It’s been a year like none other. There have been a lot of tears shed and reminiscing done, a lot of hugs, and kind words, and a lot of prayers since and before the death of both of our dads. I can recall standing in our kitchen doorway tearfully looking at Willie and saying, “I don’t know what I will do without my dad.” That was before he passed away. Somehow God prepared me, and even in my weakest moments and most helpless feelings He has been there every step of the way being my strength when I had none of my own. And Willie, because we have each other and know the pain within, there has been an unspoken assurance that we both have and feel as we lean on God. I have now more than ever a deeper appreciation for my mom, if that’s even possible. She is a prayerful, faithful, and devoted woman of God. I saw (and still see) in her a relentless faith and strength as she stood by my dad’s side through his many health crises and illness caring for him and being an example of a Christ-like wife. Things happen in our lives that we have no control over. The people we love will not always be with us and 2018 has taught me more than ever before to cherish those that God has put in our lives. It’s easy to take for granted when you say, “see you later” that you really will see that someone later. Make every moment count. Give an encouraging word. Think positive. Make someone smile. Show patience. Express gratitude. Extend hospitality. Appreciate the little things. Acknowledge God’s faithfulness. Relish in His blessings. Enjoy someone’s company. Forgive someone that has wronged you. Find pleasure in God’s many beautiful and wonderful creations. Be the you only you can be. We’re all in this together, this journey called life. However, we’re connected I’m glad to share the journey with you. I have been in a valley this last year, and I’m ready to climb to the top and ready to see what the next year brings. My hope and prayer is that 2019 will bring much joy for all of us.
I actually wrote this a couple months ago for my FB page, just to therapeutically rid myself of some hurt I had inside. I hope it helps someone else going through a similar experience. I constantly remind myself that I am not responsible for someone else's actions or words, only my own. How I respond to hate and lies could be as much as or more damaging if I let my human nature take over. It could be a constant battle if I let it be, one that could consume me if I didn't give it to God. I continue to pray for restoration and know that with God, even the hardest hearts can change.
How does someone clear the air when there is too much pollution to be removed? And how would one go about chasing and gathering feathers that have been scattered and carried away by gusts of wind? Suppose you had a down pillow and ripped it open and let the feathers loose on a blustery day. Why would you do that except to illustrate a point? Imagine chasing down each and every feather that got away. It would be impossible to contain them all. Hundreds and thousands of them scattered about. That’s exactly how lies spread…and just like that the damage is done. The lies circulate. You’ve got (a) the liar; (b) the lie spreader; and (c) the lie believer. And to go a step further, you have those that go beyond telling lies, spreading lies, and believing lies. You have the ones that retaliate, taking action to threaten and intimidate people. Maybe at the urging of the liar or maybe not, but regardless of that they’ve committed acts against the victim or victim’s friends or family to blatantly display hatred and instill fear. And then you have the victim(s), the one(s) that the lie or lies have been viciously spread about.
Friends, let me tell you by my own experience that lies hurt people. Time does not heal that wound, even after the initial experience of my loved one almost 12 years ago. People I love have been brutally hurt and betrayed by someone they once loved and by so-called “friends.” By what I know, I’m probably included. However, my concern isn’t for me, it’s for the people I love that I still see hurting by the action of others. What is another sad fact is that people professing to be Christians are the perpetrators, and it’s no wonder why some of my non-believing friends are turned off by Christianity based on the hypocrisy they can see happening for themselves…because Christians aren’t supposed to treat Christians like that, are they? Or anyone else for that matter.
Lies divide families. For the victim lies cause mental anguish like nothing else. But to the liar and manipulator, the ends justify the means. The liar now becomes the “saint” because that person has now covered their wrong doing for the sake of self-preservation and to maintain control over others. All the terrible things the liar has spread, even though untrue, are now believed and they now have a following and a loyalty, thus dividing what once were friends and family (children) of the victim.
I’ve wrestled with this for many years. Living in a small enough town, I continue to hear things, untrue things. And now of course with FB it doesn’t matter what town you live in. No matter where you go you can’t run from it. I’m not in denial like the liar once told me. I’m not blinded by my loyalty and support of my loved one(s). I know the facts. I know the timeline. And I know that my dad went to his grave never to see a happy ending for someone he loved. I don’t want that to be the case for my mom someday. As I said, I’ve wrestled with this for many reasons. What I thought I had put behind me from so long ago, occasionally (more often lately) creeps up. I’ve chosen not to speak up about it publicly. Our family is private, and we don’t care to, for the lack of a better term, air our dirty laundry for the world to see. And besides that, I would like to think that by being silent that we are above the liar’s tactics. I don’t want to come across as being vindictive or spiteful. God knows my heart. He knows the concern I have for my loved ones and the prayers I have prayed and tears I have shed. I don’t wish any ill will on anyone, including the liar. I want to be Christ-like, but I am so far from being like Jesus hanging on the cross loving on his enemies and the people that mocked him, and lied about him, and killed him.
If people lived believing in the Golden Rule and never broke the Ten Commandments and truly loved like Jesus told us to love and came to repentance when they sinned I wouldn’t be writing this right now. But I’ve seen firsthand how Satan can use even God’s people to do his dirty work. He came to steal, kill, and destroy and what better way to make that happen than to have people spread lies and destroy relationships and families? Hate kills, and sometimes all it takes is one lie to start that seed of hatred. But love wins over hate. My loved one still loves the people that have caused him so much hurt. He hasn’t become like them. All I’ve even wanted and hoped to happen is for the liar to take back the lies about my loved one. To clear the air, that’s all. Unfortunately, that may never happen because the lies are like feathers in the wind.
I have learned something from this experience, and that is that when hearing of someone else’s experiences I don’t spread one-sided accounts or necessarily believe them. I know there is always another side to the story that I haven’t heard. I’ve also learned what I’ve always known, and that is that God is my healer and His Holy Spirit is my comforter. I can depend on Him for everything, even for peace when lies are circulating around me.
I hope that you will take this as it is intended, an exhortation to believe the best about people and not to be so eager to believe the negative. What you may think you know may not be the truth. Put yourself in the situation…what if it were you that the lies were being told about? Just something to think about.
I’m trying to make myself get back into writing after a two-year hiatus. What used to once come so easily and naturally and without any great effort has now become so difficult. How did that happen anyway? I had a conversation with my mom the other day. She had also taken a break from the things she once enjoyed and hadn’t picked up her Kindle in two years. Until January, we had both been caring for my dad. She 24/7, and me taking time off work and after work as needed to help, and in February my dad passed away. We both seem lost now. In the course of our conversation I encouraged her to pick up reading again from where she left off on her Kindle. So I brought her a book, and I made a deal with her, a promise, that if she started reading again, I’ll start writing again. Today is that day to begin, but I don’t know where to start, what project to tackle, and where to find that spark of inspiration that will help to fuel thoughts to words and words to pages. If I can begin with one sentence, just one, something that will open the door for God to help me find myself again and be used again, then I can begin to find my way.
His hazel brown eyes stared ahead with, a haunting look. Eyes that penetrated but could not be penetrated. This little boy who was not given a second thought was an afterthought. He daydreamed of a place faraway, a place he had never known of and may never go to. He dreamed of a make believe place where he was finally free.
My dad…how was I so blessed to have him for my dad, of all the dads God could have chosen for me? There wasn’t something special about my dad…there was A LOT of somethings special about him. He was amusing. If I dropped in to see him and Mom and he had a bruise on his lip I knew exactly why. He attacked corn on the cob like it was the last meal he would ever eat reminding me of the cartoon Heckel and Jeckel. He was giving and generous. If he went anywhere at all, he didn’t come home empty handed. If he saw something that he thought someone would like, he got it to give to them. If he picked raspberries for himself he picked you just as many. If he edged his yard he would edge the neighbors yard too. If he knew someone was sick or in the hospital he was there to visit and pray with them. He was affectionate. The nights that I stayed over when he was recovering from a hospital stay I could hear him being mushy to Mom and saying all the sweet nothings as if they were newlyweds. He exemplified what a helpmate should be. He never missed an opportunity to say “I love you.” He was a hard worker. He was determined to take care of his family and he did. As a child, I thought my dad could do anything. He was devoted. Faithful to his wife and family and faithful to God. During his stay at Avamere he asked to have a “family altar” where we prayed and read scripture together. He never complained. There were times I watched him struggle to do the things he once did and occasionally saw him wince in pain but he never complained. If you asked him how he was doing, his answer was always a positive one. He was strong, bold, and fearless yet kind, loving, and tender-hearted. He loved people, and people loved him. There was something special about that in him. It just came natural. He could strike up a conversation and be genuine with strangers. He was unforgettable, lovable, humorous, and sometimes mischievous. His lip would quiver when he was telling a fib or pulling your leg. It was a dead give-away to us his family, yet people that didn’t know him didn’t know that little quirk, like the time that he and his brother had someone believing that he grew macaroni from seed. He had a heart of a teddy bear. His chest would heave when he held back tears in moments of joy or sadness. I remember many moments like that. Above all the happy memories and fond stories that we have in common or can share about my dad there is this: God had a hold of his heart, and Dad had a hold of God’s and never let go. His greatest joy, besides Mom and his family was telling people about Jesus. During a visit with Dad while talking to one of the nursing aides he asked the young man, “You must be a born-again Christian?” Maybe because the young man showed him kindness or maybe because he just wanted to talk about Jesus or heaven. I don’t know, but when Dad didn’t get the answer he hoped for he didn’t let it end there. He said, “Your heavenly Father has prepared a special place for you.” And God has also prepared a special place for my Dad. He is now where he wanted to be. When talking about going home, Dad didn’t mean four walls with doors and windows, he meant home, in the presence of his Savior and that is where he is today, and I know that when the time comes he would want to see each and every one of you there some day too.
I have to share this story my dad wrote several years about an incident that happened several years before he wrote it. He has so many stories to tell, but his memory is failing him in his elder years, and I don't know how many more opportunities there will be to share more. I wish he would have written more.
The Story of Half-Acre...
When I first met Half-acre his birth name was Jesse Huffacre, but this was soon to change. Matter of fact, this most fascinating gentleman and my good friend was project foreman at the Blews Creek construction site of a large dam and steam plant in upper North Carolina State. When on the job site only a few days, we struck a note of camaraderie and remained good friends. I jokingly called him Half-acre which was the only name he was known by until the end of the Blews Creek job.
Each day was filled with hard work, lots of accomplishment, and loads of fun. Here is just one adventure to note:
As we began to work on a hot and humid day in mid-July, Half-acre jumped up on the track of the D-8 “Cat” which I adoringly called “my baby.” His instruction to me was to clear some right of way “down yonder.”
I was eager to put the new D-8 cat to the task. I began uprooting and excavating the under-brush and large trees, everything in my way went down. Before me stood a large sweet gum tree, and in the cat face of this tree was a family of one million honey bees busy making succulent honey for the coming winter. I hated to do it, but I had to…oops, there goes another sweet gum tree.
As this sweet gum tree struggled to stand, the force of the yellow monster pushing with the power of a thousand horses became too much. As she crushed to the earth the family of bees held on; the queen and all her commons.
I could see the golden honey flowing free from the fortified hive. In my weakness I yielded to temptation. The greed for honey was my down fall. When I stepped from the tracks of that “cat,” all one million bees began to take sweet revenge. I’m not lying, outrun those little boogers I did…for about two city blocks back to where a hysterically laughing Half-acre was, who by this time after watching the whole show from his foreman’s perch, lay on the ground weak and withering in pain from laughter. The most stupid question I’ve ever heard in my entire life had to come from Half-acre: “Did they sting ya?”
Any observant would could see for himself that I was not kidding. He then began to show a slight sign of sympathy, and after a careful diagnosis of my painful condition, he offered a medical solution. Now Half-acre chewed black Mariah plug chewing tobacco of which he reinvented, “bacca.” “Here,” he said to me, “put this bacca juice om them stings,” as he spit the juice of black Mariah into his big rough hands and proceeded to generously apply to my feverish bee stung body. “I don’t want your bacca juice,” I said. He gave me the plug and said, “Here, make your own juice.” I began making my own juice and the more juice I made the worse became my sickness. Black Mariah had relieved the pain of the sting, but oh, the pain of black Mariah! I had never been sicker in all my life--from the extremes of violated honey bees to the bitterness of black Mariah!
Consequently, I lay on the hill for a couple of hours until I felt strong and brave enough to drive the twenty-seven miles to my home in Reidsville. After a good dinner, hot shower, and a night of much needed rest, I arrived back on the job the next morning, none the worse for wear except for two swollen eyes and two swollen ears. And there was Half-acre waiting for me. “Hey there, Mariah,” he said. “I see you made it back!”
by Chuck Bible
My prayer for all my readers, and friends, and family for the new year is that you will embrace each season as it comes your way. Find joy in the little things, and rest for when you are weary, and peace and comfort for when your heart aches. Know that whatever you are going through that someone cares and there is hope no matter what the circumstances may be. You are not alone. In times of need, reach out for help. In times of plenty, give what you can. It’s been said that you can give without loving but you can’t love without giving. I find that to be truer and truer the older I get. There are so many ways in which to give. It doesn’t have to be a lot to be extravagant. I think of the woman in the Bible with just a penny to give. When you give from the heart it becomes priceless. My gift to each of you is this prayer, that God will be with you and guide you and touch your life in a profound and special way this year and along your life’s journey.
On 8/8/16 I posted a blog about a song I had written. Here it is at the top of my "home" page for the world to hear. Yeah, me the shy one. I'm not a singer or composer. I'm a writer that just happened to be inspired to put the words to music. I hope the message in it overpowers the imperfections of this messenger, at least enough that as folks listen to it they can hear with their hearts instead of their ears.
It's so easy sometimes to forget when you…okay…when I am going through my own struggles to realize that others are going through some of their own too. I don’t mean to be self-absorbed or indifferent. I truly care. Yet at the same time I find myself on auto-pilot going about my day hanging on to hope. I know there are hurting people all around me. A friend or co-worker with a cancer diagnosis, for instance, or someone who just lost their job or home. Financial troubles, or health concerns, or family matters or the death of a loved one, or the suffering and oppression endured by people in other parts of the world. It seems never ending, just part of life. Just another bump in the road of life, but lately those bumps seem more like deep pot holes. Does it ever end? Maybe not, but at least there is hope. Reminders are everywhere I look, sometimes I just don’t see them. Saturday I went to a friend’s wedding. Her happy day brought happiness to me, in the midst of a stress-filled week. Friends and friends of friends gathered together for a celebration. This scripture spoke to me bringing new life to God’s word: “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to gain and a time to lose; a time to keep , and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war and a time of peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. Knowing that God will make everything right in His time is a comfort to me. And this one has always been a favorite of mine: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28. So when life doesn’t make sense, God’s word does.
Can you imagine 24 hours without any negativity or hatefulness? I can and I do. What a wonderful day that would be! You turn on the TV or radio or social media and there is no bad news or negative commentators. Just picture it. Wouldn’t that be nice? I want to be a part of that and be the sunshine in someone else’s gloomy day.
I have a list of good intentions (and some great expectations). How many times have I thought to start a project big or small and something else stands in the way? Too many for me to count. One, for example, is to create hand-made, all-occasion and special occasion greeting cards to send to our service men and woman and missionaries as well as to family and friends (past and present). It’s nice to get a hand-written note in the mail and know that you are thought of. It happened to me this week. A friend from the past dropped a line that simply said, “Impossible is just an opinion. DREAM BIG!” A simple message signed by a friend that put a smile on my face and fervor in my heart. Now I want to pass that same blessing on (and on and on…). No more excuses. I want to make good on my good intentions! And I can start one card at a time even if I can’t do hundreds or even dozens I can do one at a time and put a smile on someone else’s face.
Here is where you will find Kristi's blog and most recent writing, including book previews, stories and poetry.