Thursday, June 30, 2011

Today is my parents’ 44th wedding anniversary!

When I was about six (and had two younger brothers) daddy gave up his good job at the bank and the decision was made to attend Hyles-Anderson College in Indiana.  Daddy went to school and worked full time.  My mom also worked full time.  We kids were enrolled in Hammond Baptist Grade School and we attended First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana (to me, the preaching was exceptional and I heard great preachers such as Dr. John R. Rice, Dr. Bill Rice, Dr. Lee Roberson, heard Rudy Atwood play the piano, and laughed at ventriloquist Geraldine and Little Ricky, too!).  Three more kids were born, one with life a threatening birth defect that required major surgery over the course of a year or more, which in turn extended Daddy’s years in college and our time in Indiana to a total of seven. 

It was encouraged that all men who attended Hyles-Anderson should become “preacher boys” and that they should go out on weekly “soul winning” visits.  My brother Brian and I sometimes went with daddy to the ghettos of Chicago, knocking on doors and telling people about Jesus.  Some people closed doors in our faces, some invited us in, some invited HIM in! What a great learning experience for us kids!

I remember my mom’s boss, who was Jewish, coming to our home.  He was loud.  He stretched himself across my parents’ bed.  Daddy had his Bible out and they talked about Christ as the promised Messiah.  Because of my mom’s witness at work, daddy was able to lead him to the Lord. 

We lived in Oregon for three years while daddy pastored a small church.  I distinctly remember hearing that one of the women in church told my mother we kids were not going to turn out right because my mom had a job outside the home.  Can you imagine being told that?  However, God used my parents in that community.  Souls were saved and lives were changed.

According to my sister, Elizabeth, what influenced her the most “was the closeness that (was) experienced as a family.  Even if it was just a Sunday afternoon drive, Mom and Daddy always tried to make things enjoyable and interesting. Everything was a learning experience, but fun at the same time.”  I remember those drives and trips! I remember standing under the rocket in Huntsville, Alabama (1970s).  We went to Mount St. Helens (which had erupted a few years earlier) in Washington.  We camped at Crater Lake in Oregon.  We hiked  and rode horses all over Oregon.  We saw the redwoods in California.  We saw the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, the Rocky Mountains…!

Some of Elizabeth’s best memories as a family? Our “moving from Oregon to Alabama. What an adventure! Being able to see sights as a family that we knew we may never get to see again was awesome.” 

About that move… my parents sold just about everything so we could take our two horses with us.  My parents said it was easier to take the horses than to leave the kids!  Taking the horses proved a grand adventure!  We stopped more often because the horses needed exercise (so did the kids!!).  We had some fun riding down the side of the highways!  At one roadside stop in New Mexico a state trooper pulled over and ultimately invited us to his home.  We made such an impression on him (don’t know if it was good or bad!) that he sent cards for several years.  It took us two weeks to get from Madras, Oregon to Montgomery, Alabama, arriving on an extremely hot Mother’s day weekend in 1985. 

We have been back in Alabama twenty-six years.  Daddy has built a family business where three of my four brothers are partners.  He honors God through his business and is quick to witness to everyone he meets.  The reputation of our family is such that people come up to us kids and say, “you’re one of those Coons, aren’t you?”  Yes, we are! 

Proverbs 22:6 says “train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  Because of my parents’ training, all six of us accepted Christ as our Savior at an early age.  My brothers have all married Christian women.  All of the grandchildren who are old enough have also made early decisions for Christ.  And all of my brothers serve in lay positions in their churches.

Happy Anniversary Daddy & Mama!


Ephesians 6:2  says, “honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise.” 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bear One Another's Burdens

I am slowly learning things about myself.  Things I wish I would have learned years ago.  Maybe I already knew these things, but just never put them into practice. I am talking about how to accept help from others.  Even when I feel like I don't need it. Even when I don't know I have something I need help with! 

This past Saturday afternoon I hosted a Sunday school party at my parents' place in the country. A friend volunteered to come down early and help set up, and he would bring another friend to help.  I thought I could do it myself, but remembered what my grandmother told me not too long ago, that I might be robbing someone of a blessing if I don't accept help when it's offered.  Even if I don't think I need the help.  Puts a whole new perspective on things!  So I accepted the offer.  And I was glad I did!  Apparently I worked too hard in the morning and early afternoon, or maybe I just got too hot from staying out in the Alabama sun so long, but I was tired, and ready for some help when it came along. Thanks, guys!!  It was nice to be able to finish setting up early and then sit back and relax, waiting for the rest of the gang to show up.  And you know what?  It didn't hurt me one bit to accept that help.  In fact, it was really nice!  I even let them help take things down!

The Bible talks about helping others.  "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ," Galatians 6:2.  That's not a suggestion, it's a command.  How can we help someone today?  Oh -- and how can you let go of your "control" on things and let someone help you?


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Why Not Share God's Word?

Bellingrath Gardens, April 2011
Isn't it wonderful when people share with you?  Even better when they open their hearts and share.  But better still is when a friend reads verses of Scripture, thinks of you, and just has to pass them on.  That's what happened to me recently. 

My friend shared John 16:33 which says "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."  And he also shared John 14:26-27 which says "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."  My friend said that these verses had been an encouragement to him that day, and hoped that I would be encouraged, too. Of course I was!  First, someone had been thinking about me.  Secondly, God had impressed on his heart to share God's Word with me, and he obeyed.  So it actually felt like GOD was whispering these words to me, Himself!

Have you allowed yourself to be used by God lately?  Pay attention.  Listen to Him.  Give it a shot through obedience!  Who knows how you might encourage another believer!

Guess what?  I was able this week to use these same verses to help another friend!


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Raising kids!

My sons and I are enjoying summer.  My oldest has his learners permit and although he has driven a good bit with his dad, including on the interstate, his dad has an automatic transmission and I don't!  I thought I was going to put holes in the floor boards on the passenger side last night, I was pushing against them so hard!  And that's when he was practicing in the neighborhood, going from stop sign to stop sign.  Oh, boy!  Today the boys went to the movies with my sister-in-law and her kids, and planned to go swimming afterwards, but they were rained out.  So instead they played indoor games. 

It's sometimes difficult to balance freedoms and privileges with responsibilities, but I have to remember that freedoms and privileges are part of responsibilities.  I try to give my kids freedoms, but with reasonable limits.  Such as: you can go to your friends house, or to the ball park, etc., but you need to call me first -- so I will know where you are. 

I remember when I was growing up.  I am the oldest of six kids, the youngest is ten years younger than me.  Both of my parents worked outside the home, so from the time I was thirteen on it was my responsibility to take care of the younger kids.  I also took care of the laundry and making sure we had dinner on the table every night.  I wanted a horse so bad during that time.  So my parents offered to pay me for taking care of the younger kids, doing the laundry and dinner.  It was an awesome experience to take that money and buy my first horse when I was fifteen!  The thrill and responsibility of making that purchase, and then of taking care of the horse, buying it's supplies myself --wow! 

And then when it came time to ride my horse, my brother and I were sometimes driven out to BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land with one of his friends (we were 15, 13 and 13).  We were dropped off in the morning, and told to follow the railroad tracks back into town.  Off we would go, just the three of us.  All alone.  On horses.  No cell phones.  No one for miles around.  We were completely responsible for ourselves. Thinking back on it now, I wonder what would have happened if one of us had an accident.  We were allowed these privileges because we were trustworthy and responsible, but I imagine our parents also worried about us while we were gone. 

Sometimes it's tough to be a parent.  It's hard sometimes to know how to raise your kids.  The Bible is full of wisdom regarding raising kids, and also on how kids are supposed to respond to their parents.  "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).  Isn't it wonderful that God says He will honor our Godly training of our children?  We have to be careful though.  Sometimes kids don't turn out the way we think they should, even if we have done everything according to God's plan.  We have to trust God to do the rest. 

Other times we have to discipline our kids.  The Bible says that "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes" (Proverbs 13:24).  I know our kids don't believe that, but it's true!  Who is going to discipline someone they don't care about? 

Kids are also given responsibilities in the Bible.  Paul said in Ephesians 6:1-3, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.  Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth."  Do you see God's promise to the kids if they do what He asks?  

Look a little further, in verse 4.  Parents are also given responsibility and directions.  Paul says, "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."  Don't provoke your children to anger or wrath.  Sometimes that can be done unintentionally, but sometimes it's done on purpose.  How does the child, especially a teenager, react when we provoke them? It's not pretty, I can guarantee that!

This day and age, we Christian parents need all the help we can get.  We need to remember to use all our resources, including the Bible, church, family, friends, and other outside sources.  We need to never be afraid to ask for help.  And if help is refused, find someone else!  After all, our kids (and their kids) futures are at stake!

Many prayers on your wild ride of parenthood!


Here are a few parenting sites I have found helpful:

Focus on the Family
Heartlight Ministries

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Tacky Jacks II, Fort Morgan Road, April 2011
Bellingrath Gardens, April 2011

Bellingrath Gardens, April 2011

Bellingrath Gardens, April 2011
Bellingrath Gardens, April 2011

Bellingrath Gardens, April 2011

Bellingrath Gardens, April 2011

Pool at Bellingrath Gardens, April 2011

Pelicans sitting on pilings in Mobile Bay, April 2011

Bellingrath Gardens, April 2011

Bon Secour Wildlife Preserve, Gulf Shores, Alabama (at the Gulf at last!), April 2011

Bon Secour Wildlife Preserve, Gulf Shores, Alabama (secluded cove off the Gulf), April 2011

Bon Secour Wildlife Preserve, Gulf Shores, Alabama (this beautiful trail ends at the Gulf), April 2011
In April I was given a wonderful gift of personal downtime, refreshing my mind, body and spirit at a beautiful place in Gulf Shores, Alabama.  A friend Charlotte (Cholly) and I went down for the long Easter weekend.  We hung out, relaxed, sunbathed (okay, I sunburned), ate some wonderful food, explored a nature trail and ended by visiting Bellingrath Gardens.  Of course I took tons of photos!  That's just what I do. 

I had debated taking the trip because my sons were away, and I felt a little guilty going without them.  However, God knew that I needed the time alone, time to get my thoughts in order, to focus and prepare for the trials of the next few months. 

Sometimes God gives gifts of rest before trials, or rest after trials.  But you know what, God is there DURING the trials as well.  As a Christian, I know that God is the One Who supports me, Who gets me through.  One of my favorite passages of Scripture is II Corinthians 12:9 which says ..."My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness."  It would be foolish for me to go through the struggles of life alone. 

Give thanks for those periods of rest!


For more information, click links below:
Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, Alabama
Tacky Jacks
Mobile Bay Ferry
Bellingrath Gardens

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Flowers from my Garden

Daylilly -- this is a descendant from my great grandmother's garden.

The flowers in these photos remind me of this verse from Psalms:  Psalm 139:14
"I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well." 

Hope you enjoyed these first photos from this year's garden!


Monday, June 13, 2011

The Question Was Asked, "What is Love?"

This past Tuesday afternoon my two teenage sons were asked "what is love?" They answered "trust" and "feelings". They were not corrected. What IS the real meaning of love? When my oldest son brought the subject up with me, I asked what he thought, and once again he said that love is about feelings and about trust.  I took the opportunity to tell him that love is also a choice. It is doing what is best for someone else even when it might hurt you.

Today's society is filled with too much concentration on self, and not on others.  Our commercials and shows are focused on how to make ME look better or feel better about myself. How can I look just as good as or better than someone else?  Most ads and shows are not about making someone else feel better. 

What did Jesus say about love?  In Matthew 22:35-40 He says, 35Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38This is the first and great commandment. 39And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Nowhere in these verses does He say you should love yourself.  All the love is directed outward, to God first and then to others. 

God gave that ultimate gift of love -- Jesus said in John 3:14-21 14And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.    Everyone recognizes John 3:16. It has been said that it's the most well known and most quoted verse in the Bible.  Take a peek at verse 18. Although God is love, God also must punish those who reject Him.  -- God gave His only Son!  Do we want to WASTE that GIFT?

Love is also correction.  What parent wouldn't snatch their child back from danger?  The child might not recognize the danger and feel like he is being unfairly treated.  After all, it HURT when he was yanked back. But the parent saw the big picture and was protecting the child.  Proverbs 3:10-12 says 11My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: 12For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

Look at Ephesians 5:25-33.  Now this passage might step on some toes!  Paul exhorts husbands to love their wives, just like Christ loved the church.  Husbands are to love their wives just like they love themselves.  However, wives are told to reverence or respect their husbands.  Hmmm...if you reverence or respect someone, aren't you putting them before yourself, which is showing love? 

There are many other ways to love or show love, but remember this acrostic most of us learned when we were little:

If we would show love to others through God, what would happen?  We would experience true love. And as a result, we would be blessed and have great joy.

What do you think?  How do you know what LOVE really means?


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Barefoot in the Garden

There is just something about my backyard that compels me to take off my shoes and walk around barefoot.  I haven't figured it out yet.  Maybe it's the feel of the cool grass between my toes.  Or walking in the soft dirt.  Or the breeze.  Or even the sun hitting the bottoms of my feet when I am kneeling down working in my flowers.  Whatever the case, this is something VERY new for me.  I HATE going barefoot!  In fact, I like to wear socks.  Even in the summer.  In the south.  In Alabama.  During June.  In the 100° weather.  Something's wrong with me...  well maybe not, because socks to me represent comfort.  Being wrapped up and safe. 

Now that I am in my 40s, I am starting to realize that I don't NEED that comfort anymore.  What have I been missing by wearing socks and shoes all the time?  Sheer and total freedom of movement!  At least in the garden.  I have to take a minute to stop and laugh at myself.  Because when I am finished in my garden, especially if I have been planting or "remodeling" my flower beds, I am DIRTY from head to toe.  And I mean REALLY dirty!  The kind where I have to take the water hose and wash off, then wait to dry, before I can even go in the house to take a shower. 

When's the last time you have walked in the garden barefoot?