Monday, June 18, 2018

Promises Kept

When our daughter was nine years old, a movie was released that she just had to see. “The Flintstones” was in theatres in the spring of 1994. Joe and I took Hannah to Roanoke, Virginia on his day off and we enjoyed popcorn, soft drinks, and family time watching the movie.

You know how it is when there’s a movie on HBO that you really, really like? I can watch the same one several times and not think a thing of it. Seeing “The Flintstones” once was plenty for me…but not for Hannah. A few days after our trip to Roanoke, she begged and begged to see it again. Joe told her they’d have a date night and go back for pizza and a movie.

The day before their big date came and she was getting excited. Then the phone rang…

Her daddy was a United Methodist minister, and if you know anything about that denomination you’ll know that there are lots and lots of meetings. Sometimes there are meetings to plan meetings! Joe was closest to the telephone while we were eating dinner, so he picked it up. You could tell from his side of the conversation that a specially called meeting had been set for the next evening. The chairman of the Finance Committee was calling to insure Joe would be there.

I saw Hannah’s face change as the conversation wore on. Her little eyes looked down as if she’d cry…but she didn’t. She was used to her daddy having to spend evenings now and again at the church. I watched her as Joe wrote down the time and place of the meeting. Her date night had been spoiled. I hurt for her because her daddy was very good at making time to spend with her on a regular basis. But this was the Finance Committee! Any preacher knows you don’t miss one of those!

Then he told the voice on the phone that they’d have to conduct the meeting without him. He had a previous engagement that couldn’t be broken.

She was his “previous engagement” and she knew it! When she heard those words Hannah’s eyes lit up! And a smile so big it could’ve lit up the room came across her face! Once again, Daddy kept his promise to her.

That’s his habit. If he gives you his word about something…even “The Flintstones” movie…he’ll keep it. I’ve grown accustomed to this in the 44 years we’ve been married.

When I was a kid, I remember times when my dad’s churches would take up so much of his time that he’d be eating dinner at 9 or 10:00 at night. When he first started as a pastor, he had five churches! Five! When we moved to a place that only had two churches, we thought we had arrived! Ha! But meetings, hospital visits and the like kept him pretty tied up. I’m not criticizing his dedication. His devotion to his ministry and his family were inspiring. But when you’re a kid, there are things that stick out in your mind.

When I was 14, my dad promised that he’d take me shopping to buy a dark skirt for a choral concert at school. My sister was in that chorus, too, and we had one dark skirt between us. I was growing taller and needed a new one. Dad told me what day we’d go after school and he’d take me to Wilsons (my favorite hamburger place) for supper after shopping.

The day came and Dad called the house to tell us that he’d be at the hospital all evening because a church member and their family needed him. No shopping. My heart sank. At the age of 14, I couldn’t understand why he’d need to spend an entire evening with church members!

Now, after being a pastor’s wife for all these years, I appreciate so much more why my dad did what he did. It’s the ministry. It was necessary! He was needed. That was his job and calling!

But what I saw Joe do for our little girl that night in 1994 has stuck in my mind all these years. I can still see the look on her face when she heard about his “previous engagement” and the delight she took in her daddy at that very moment!

Joe has been dedicated to his ministry for 46 years. He has been extremely effective every place he’s been appointed by the UMC. He's guided churches through building projects and renovations. Every church he's ever served has grown! I’m very proud of the pastor he’s been and the man he is. His love for Christ and His church is obvious. But in all that dedication, one thing he’s always done is family first! Over all these years, I’ve come to realize that not every pastor knows how to balance home and church. Joe does.

What you see is what I get! Joe is the same no matter what. He’s happy, dedicated, and a man who totally loves Jesus…and totally loves his wife and his family. Not every pastor’s spouse has this balance, but I can say with certainty that I do!

Now that he’s retired, we don’t know what God has in store for us, but we’ll be waiting to see. Meanwhile, there’s joy in the journey. Part of that joy comes from living with a man who keeps his promises. I am blessed.

i love you, Joe…



(I got my skirt, by the way. That night I dug around in my mother’s sewing patterns, pulled out some dark brown fabric, read the directions and sewed my own skirt on a sewing machine no one in our house had ever used!!! I’d never sewn before! A temper tantrum turned into a lifelong love of sewing!)



If you have a pulse, you have a purpose…so make your life count!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

He mowed the grass in a tie!!!

This is a photo I took of my daddy one summer…and yes, he’s mowing in a tie!
When I was growing up, he usually had a tie on every single day. And he’d leave it on until bedtime because he never knew when a parishioner would need the pastor! It wasn’t until he retired that I saw Daddy in sports shirts and slacks!

His brother, Virgil, used to tell me that Daddy always looked like he’d “…just stepped off of a bandbox!” He told me that Daddy would press his own clothes so he’d get them just right. Grandma thought he was vain for doing that, and told him so. She was a member of the Friends (Quaker) denomination and pride was a thing to be shunned. (Guess it should be for anyone!) Uncle Virgil said that Grandma’s critique didn’t stop Daddy from looking his best. He was quite a handsome young man, so I’m sure all the young ladies appreciated his extra efforts!!! A few years later, our momma certainly did! Then she started ironing his clothes! (smile)

As a little girl – and even as a teenager – I would help my dad with chores. He’d be on one of those wheeled dollies that you lay down on to slide under a vehicle…and he’d pull me under the car with him on a gray wool blanket, so I could hold the light and hand tools to him as he worked. I still have that blanket. I remember at the age of nine, helping him change the shock absorbers on our 1957 Chevy! I loved it when he’d change the filter on his cars so I could cover them in aluminum foil, to pretend they were swimming pools for Barbie, Ken, Midge, and Skipper!!!

This past Friday, I took lunch to our very pregnant daughter. Sitting at her dining room table, I saw her New Yorker magazine cover and it made me smile and feel tears welling up in my eyes…all at the same time. It looked like something my daddy and I used to do! I was his shadow!

We had our moments – like the time his hearing was better than I anticipated. And the time he tried to teach me to drive a stick-shift, then stormed into the house, threw the keys at my sister and said, “I’m too old for this! YOU teach her!!!”

When Daddy was sick for three months, I spent a lot of time with him. He was in a nursing facility, but the medical folks were gracious enough to let me sleep in his room on a cot at the foot of his bed. I bathed him, helped him in the bathroom, changed his sheets, measured and emptied the bag filled with fluid coming from his liver, and anything else he needed. He cried one day as I bathed him, saying he hated that I had to do that for him. I told him it was my privilege…then to stop his tears, I told him a funny story about Mother. It’s the story I tell in my comedy routines now! He quit crying and chuckled, then laughed.

It was the last time I heard him laugh.

During those three months, we took care of some things. I asked a lot of questions. He answered them. I had a problem with the decision he and my mother made when they moved to take another church between my sophomore and junior years in high school. I asked why. And he told me. I was satisfied with the answer. And, as it turned out, that move was one of the best things that could have ever happened to me.

Another Father’s Day has come and gone without me being able to call Daddy to tell him how much I love him. He’s been gone for 17 years.

So I’ll tell you that I miss the man. I love him to this very day…




And just as I always do at the end of my blog postings, I’ll remind you of this: If you have a pulse, you have a purpose. Make your life count!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

…the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day



My new closet looked so good, I posted a photo of it on Facebook. Proud of my hard work at our recently purchased home…I thought myself to be in pretty good shape to tackle the next project.

That was the Master Bathroom. Check that off the list. Looks good, even though the curtains aren’t on the window yet because they’re in some box I packed that’s stacked in the house.

Today, I’d planned to work on lining the kitchen drawers and getting that most-important room ready before the weekend when Joe will be driving home for an overnight visit. You see…he is still in Kingsport finishing his work at First Broad Street UMC through the end of June while I am here getting settled into our retirement home in time to welcome a new granddaughter in a few weeks.

The title of this blog, borrowed from the book/movie “Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” is more true than I’d like. It started this morning at 2:55 a.m. and went downhill from there.

Here I was all snug and enjoying sleeping on my new pillow (yes, it’s a My Pillow and it’s too wonderful for words) when I heard a loud noise coming from my perfect closet. My husband had told me it wasn’t a good idea to load so many clothes on that rack. I retorted that the builders put in this closet system, so it MUST be able to handle the weight.

My first thought when I heard the noise was, ‘Joe was right. I hate it when he’s right.’ I got out of bed, opened the door to the perfect closet and found all my clothes and shoes on the floor. I closed the door. What could I do about it at 3 a.m. anyhow?!? After about 30 minutes of stewing, I finally fell asleep. I’m sure if it weren’t for the new My Pillow, I’d have been stewing for MUCH longer…

This morning, after taking measurements and photos of the wall to see what I needed, I headed for my favorite store to pick up new brackets and all I needed to bolster the support for what should again become the perfect closet. The wall wasn’t damaged in the catastrophe, so I didn’t have to get anything else. After showing her the not-so-perfect closet photo on my phone, I paid the cashier for my purchase, and headed to the restaurant where I’d grab a bite before going home to be “Mrs. Fixit!”

Wait! Where’s my phone?!? The waitress brought my order and I was in a panic. I ran to the checkout and borrowed a phone to call the store I just left. No, they hadn’t had a phone turned in at Customer Service. I scarfed down my soup and egg roll, then quickly drove back to the store. I searched the parking lot. I searched the shopping carts (buggies, if you’re from the south) and the phone was nowhere to be found. The cashier who’d checked me out earlier got the head of security to check video footage. He saw when I’d shown her my photo, then closed the flap on my phone and laid it in the baby seat part of my cart, covering it with my purse. He even saw where I’d walked in the parking lot. But the phone was not seen after I covered it with my purse. We walked out there and he kept dialing my number so we could hear it ring. Over and over, he dialed it. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

I left there and drove back to the restaurant. No, they hadn’t seen it! I drove back to the store. No, it hasn’t been turned in. I drove to my Verizon dealer to see if they could help me. They ‘pinged’ my phone and said it was at the front of the store where I’d shopped. I drove back to the store. No. It still hadn’t been turned in! Then I saw the security footage guy.

“Glad you found your phone!”

“I didn’t find my phone.”

“You texted me that you did…said it was in your car.”

“I didn’t text you. Whoever has my phone texted you.”

Then the security footage guy texted a message to my phone that the owner was standing right there with him and wanted it returned – no questions asked. He even added the little white lie that the police department was ‘pinging’ the phone and knew where it was.

Within 10 minutes, my phone magically appeared at the desk in the ceiling fan section of the store. He raced to get it and handed it to me! He didn’t see who left it, but he will - because he’s going to check the video footage. I was so happy to have the phone back that I hugged the guy!!!

After checking my phone, I saw that all the ‘notes’ on my phone had been deleted. Quotes, scriptures, funny stuff and…yes, passwords. No one would know which passwords were for which thing except for me. But they were gone. Boy, is that little stinker that stole my phone gonna be surprised when none of those passwords work because I hurried home, got on my computer and changed all of them. Even called LifeLock to let them know what had happened so they could be alerted.

The clothes are still on the floor in my closet. As Scarlett O’Hara said, “…tomorrow IS another day!”

But for today, the title of this blog posting is accurate.
I’ve been quite emotional since this move to Maryville. Happy to be here. Sad to leave my friends and church in Kingsport. Happy that Joe is retiring. Sad that he has to stay up there and finish while I’m down here missing him (except for Sundays that I drive up to hear him preach). Happy that I’m only 25 minutes from my beautiful/wonderful/amazing daughter and her growing family. And aggravated that someone would steal my iPhone!

So…it’s only a cell phone. I lived without one for years. Why did I get so upset about it?!? Because I don’t know people’s phone numbers by heart……..and it’s full of pictures of my granddaughter! Duh!!!





Remember. If you have a pulse, you have a purpose. Make your life count!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Bed, Bath & Beyond


My husband had never stepped foot in one of my favorite stores. Until tonight. And he may never be the same!

I enjoyed myself way more than I ever have before while shopping the aisles of my beloved Bed, Bath & Beyond! Watching my hubby discover all the wonderful items offered in the store was better than any shopping spree I’ve ever had! He was fascinated – like a kid in a toy store – at all the offerings!

Every time I wandered away from him into another aisle, I’d hear, “Hey, Beth! Look at this!” I’d dutifully go to his side and see what fascinated him: a lighted, mounted shaving mirror…or a massaging chair…or a $399 Dyson Hair Dryer. (Frankly, the expensive hair dryer fascinated me, too – not because of the way it worked, but how much it cost!)

He was amazed at how perfectly stacked the bath towels were displayed above the shelves. I kinda hated to mess up his fascination at the uniformity of the stacks by telling him they weren’t really stacked, but that the towels were tucked into forms to make them look stacked even though they weren’t.

I shop in BB&B all the time and up till now have never found so much wonder among the merchandise as he did! Shopping with my hubby is almost always fun, but tonight was exceptionally fun!

Did we buy anything?
Is the Pope Catholic?!?!???!?

I came home with a “Better Brella” – the kind that reverses when you close it so the rainwater doesn’t soak you when you pull it into the car on a wet day. When I saw it I was fascinated!!! (insert wink here)





Always remember: If you have a pulse, you have a purpose. Make your life count!

Monday, November 13, 2017

First Kiss

When her mother was pregnant I didn’t even know she was a she!

I couldn’t wait to hold her. But before that, I had to kiss her mother and make sure she was okay after giving birth to her first child.

When I held her, I’d only known her name for an afternoon. Ophelia! What a wonderful name!

Time passed. She grew.

I told her granddaddy that I couldn’t wait for her first smile. When I got it, I can’t describe to you how happy my heart felt!

The next milestone I couldn’t wait for was when she would finally recognize me. The day after she was born I’d made up a little song just for her. And one day, as I sang it to her for the umpteenth time, her eyes lit up when she looked at me…kind of like ‘hey, I know you!’ My heart melted!

So, the natural next goal was the first kiss she’d give to me. She’d thrown a kiss to me a couple of times and that was too adorable for words! But I was waiting for a kiss on the cheek.

Last night, I babysat for Ophelia while her mother and daddy went downtown to a play. Little One and I played on the floor till she was exhausted. I got her ready for bed and we cuddled, read a book, then headed to her room. The lamp gave off just enough light for me to see her cry and reach up her arms for me to pick her up and not leave her in that crib. It worked. I picked her up, sang to her as I swayed back and forth till she was asleep in my arms. After gently laying her down in her crib for the second time, she awakened and reached those sweet little arms for me to pick her up again. But I was strong. I left her there, rubbed her back for a moment till she took the cry down to a soft whimper. Within two minutes she was quietly sleeping. I left the room with a little sadness because our fun night was over.

Next thing I knew it was Sunday and time to drive back home to Grandaddy. As I said goodbye to her at the front door, she was in her mother’s arms. I always kiss Ophelia’s mother first…when I see her and when I say goodbye. So, after that I asked Ophelia if she’d give me a kiss. I leaned forward. She leaned forward. And then she planted an open mouth kiss (which is the only thing a 14-month old knows how to give) on my right cheek!

On this day, November 12, 2017, I got my first kiss from my first grandchild…exactly fourteen months, two weeks and four days after I kissed her for the first time!!!

My heart is happy all over again.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

First Day of Kindergarten

I just read the post of a friend whose daughter started Kindergarten today. Here’s James’ post on Facebook:
"Ok this dad has been emotional all morning. Took our baby girl to her first day of kindergarten. So proud of this young lady. This last month some of the decisions she has made shows us we're doing something right. 1 down 1 more to grow."
And this is what his wife, Karen, responded in the comments:
"I know the time has just flown by, I just feel like crying. I am happy and proud of her, I am just so not ready for this."

This little girl, Gracie, was a long-awaited child. Her name is Miracle Grace because she truly is a miracle! I’m proud to be one of the Grannies in her life. We don’t live near each other, so I have to keep up with her in pictures on Facebook and she is a dear! She’s also a big sister, so her mother and daddy have one more to send to Kindergarten. I’d venture to say that day with J.D. could be equally emotional!

When I read James’ post, memories came flooding back to me!

It was 1989 and Hannah was starting what they called ‘Four-Year Kindergarten’ at Ringgold First Baptist Church. We went to the open house and saw her classroom, met her teacher, and learned about drop-off and pick-up. Joe and I heard the director, Mrs. Waters, explain that she understood the emotions parents had and even prayed for all of us at the end of the assembly. I was mopping my eyes most of the evening.

I knew this was a good move for Hannah, considering there were no children in our neighborhood that she could play with. Her interaction with children came on Wednesdays and Sundays at church. The rest of the time she was with Momma and Daddy, which she still calls us to this day and I love it!!!

We’d waited eleven years for this little girl and I would soon be going back to work in radio, so she needed daycare. Her daddy would drive her to school each morning and I would pick her up at noon.

My heart was breaking that night.
After Hannah said her prayers and then I prayed with her, I kissed her and turned off the lights. Stopping at the door to blow one more kiss, this four-year old girl said something like, "Momma, you will be okay. We get to play together all day when I come home!"

Oh my word! Just scrape me off the floor after that! I was proud and sad at the same time! My little girl comforted me before her first day of school!

Hannah’s always been wise beyond her years…even at the age of four!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Driving Miss Ophelia

It’s been almost 30 years since there’s been a child strapped into the backseat of my car. This morning, as I began my weekend of babysitting our nearly 11-month old granddaughter, I buckled her into her car seat then drove her to daycare. As I pulled out onto the main highway, I told her she was Precious Cargo, and I was being extra-careful as I drove. Then I started singing to her and heard a little chatterbox responding from behind me. I couldn’t help but smile.

I’ve been anticipating this weekend for a month or more!!! When my daughter called to ask if I would be free at this time to babysit, I jumped at the chance! I’m turning 64 this weekend and I can’t imagine a better way to spend my birthday than with little Miss Ophelia!

This is Ophelia’s first time to be away from Momma and Pops over an extended time…ever…so routine is important and she went to her little school for the day. I have to keep in mind that this is her momma’s first time away from the little one for a weekend, too, so have been saying some extra prayers for both my girls!

This morning, I drove into the school parking lot, walked into this special place and delivered Miss Ophelia to her teacher. I wish everyone could’ve seen the look on her face when she saw Miss Lacey!!! She lit up and went straight to her! That gave me a good feeling!

Tomorrow, we’ll be going to her weekly swim lesson. I’m really choosey about who sees me in a bathing suit, so I’m glad my granddaughter won’t remember what I look like in one!!! If she were older, she’d probably ask me if we were taking a long trip since I have what looks like roadmaps all over my legs!

The more I think about it, the more I realize, though, that I need to exude a confidence in this body of mine when I’m around Ophelia. I’ve spent too many years hating the way I look and making snide remarks about my size. I’m extremely thankful that my daughter has a healthy self-image despite the fact that her mother has felt so inadequate for far too long. I am what I am. Weight is something I’ve struggled with so long now, that it’s like this weird friend who never goes home. You don’t really enjoy hanging around with her all that much but at least she’s quiet and doesn’t need much attention (except for the occasional Peanut Butter Milkshake from Dairy Queen).

Once, when I was joking about my big-sized body to my mom, Hannah spoke up and said, “Mother…self-deprecating humor is unbecoming to you.” (Keep in mind that my daughter was 16 at the time and knew absolutely everything there is to know about anything.)
To that, my mom said, “self-defecating humor? What kind of humor is that?!?”

Point taken.

So tomorrow morning, this grandma will don her bathing suit, proudly carry her granddaughter into the pool area at the gym, and not think a thing about how fat I am! I’m in shape! Round is a shape! (Okay. I couldn’t resist that one!) I need to love all of myself. If I don’t, then what message am I sending to my precious Ophelia?

Besides, nobody will be looking at me in a bathing suit…because that little girl I’ll be carrying is so doggone cute that all eyes will be on her!



Always remember this…
If you have a pulse, you have a purpose. Make your life count!