Sunday, February 27, 2011


I heard my husband laugh before I ever laid eyes on him! Sitting with my sister in the seminary cafeteria, I heard this wonderful laugh...the kind that comes from deep in a person's soul. My sister worked for the seminary at the time and that's the reason we were eating there...not because we were scoping out the men, even though it was a nice venue to do that in, which we didn't necessarily think about but probably were unconciously doing it anyway...

Now where was I? Ah, yes, the seminary cafeteria!

I asked my sister, Vangie, who it was that was laughing so loudly. She looked up, then looked back at her supper and matter-of-factly said, "Joe Green." I asked her to point him out...which she did...and I saw this handsome guy with dark hair and long sideburns standing at the back of the line with his arms folded across his chest, his head back, and laughing with everything he had in him. I was totally taken with his laugh! It was full and happy. I figured he must be a fun kind of guy to enjoy a laugh that much. I was right. Not long after that I married him!

I didn't marry him for his laugh, or his good looks, or the fact that he had a really cute 1970 Volkswagen Beetle...although those were nice benefits. I didn't marry him because I liked his hair, which was long and thick, covering his ears. In fact, I never saw his ears until after we were married when he came up out of the water in the hotel swimming pool. I stood on the side of the pool thinking: "Hey, that's the first time I've seen his ears...and I'm his wife!" (The ears were nice and looked as though they were a good fit with the rest of his head.) I married him because I had fallen in love with him...quickly...three-months-after-we-met-quickly...and have loved him for over 37 years. I sold my red 1967 Mustang to pay for our wedding! I MUST love the guy! (When I get hacked off with him, I tell him how much I miss my car! smile)

We laugh a lot at our house. We laugh everywhere...even when we're trying to get to sleep. Something funny will pop into our heads and we laugh. Pretty soon we can't stop laughing. In fact, our daughter slept down the hall from our bedroom and on occasion would hear us. LAUGHING! (we shut the door when we weren't laughing or sleeping) After she tired of hearing the raucous laughter from the other end of the hall, she'd call out: "You know you have a daughter down here who needs some sleep so she can go to school tomorrow!!!!!!!" We'd quiet down for a bit and giggle, but then something would happen and we'd start up again. The daughter got over it, and I hope that when we're gone from this earth, and she is old and needing to remember something fun about her parents - she will remember having to call us down for laughing too much! She's married and in her own house where she and her hubby can laugh as loudly as they want and not bother anybody but their dog, Dexter (NOT named after the serial killer, but after a jazz musician).

Just last week, I had Joe laughing in bed and begging me to stop singing:
This is a song that never ends
And it goes on and on my friends
Some people started singing it
Not knowing what it was
And they'll just keep on singing it
Forever just because
This is a song that never ends...
I can't remember why I was singing it in bed, but it was fun at the time. And now that song is stuck in your head, isn't it?!!? Go ahead...try it tonight...start humming it softly then break out into song! If you sleep alone, you'll be entertained. If you sleep with a dog you may have a howling good time. If you sleep with a cat, you might be abandoned. If you sleep with your spouse and start to may still end up alone or abandoned. (But chances are, you'll both end up laughing!)

I am one of those minister's wives who can say that her husband is just the same at home as he is everywhere else! Not every one can. He's a happy guy...and that makes for a happy wife...which makes for a happy home. Oh, we have our moments, like every other couple, but the moments of laughter are so much fun!

Proverbs 17:22 reads: "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones." I married a man with a merry heart!

Remember, if you have a pulse, you have a make your life count!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Baby Names

I don't usually watch Oprah. To be honest, I think she is quite overrated. But I do think it's nice that she is rich and knows how to share her wealth.

There really aren't any good reasons why I don't particularly like her. Maybe it isn't so much that I don't like Oprah...I just feel sort of "meh" where she is concerned. Last week, I had to watch her show because she was featuring Helen and Ellen...the two sweet ladies who founded The Love Kitchen in Knoxville, Tennessee 25 years ago. I met these ladies in October and they were absolutely delightful! Helen and Ellen are twin sisters born five minutes apart and are in their 80's, still running the kitchen that reaches out to the community, feeding hungry stomachs and souls with food cooked along with plenty of love. Oprah's show was not a disappointment. She blessed The Love Kitchen with enough money to provide new appliances and coordinated with Kroger to donate LOTS of food for their cause. The show was a blessing! And then I saw the promo for another show that peaked my I watched yet again.

From my hometown, Columbus, Ohio, a couple with sextuplets were on Oprah's show. They looked adorable as their parents rolled them out in a giant stroller onto the stage in Chicago. The six babies - Olivia, Madison, Rozonno Jr., Josiah, Elijah, and Isaac - were born to Mia and Rozonno McGhee in June of 2010. The babies came after Mia had taken fertility drugs. Watching that show helped me to admire the mom and dad who prepare 24 bottles and change 36 diapers each day! "That's a lot of dung!" to quote one of my favorite SNL commercials for Oops! I Crapped My Pants Adult Diapers.

Some people have a terrible time picking out a name for one baby...much less six of them! I've known parents who take so much time picking out a name that the kid has popped out and is ready to go home from the hospital before it has a name! Some baby names are from the Bible...some from family names...some from celebrities. I heard just today that a couple recently named their first child "facebook" and figure they must have a problem leaving social networking behind. I wonder if the kid's name will be all lower case letters to stay true to it's namesake.

When our daughter was born, we named her Hannah Elizabeth. Her father chose that name five years before her birth because of the barrenness I had experienced early in our marriage, knowing that God would be faithful to give us a child. A son would be named after him. He would have had Joe's middle name "Sturm"...and a daughter would have my middle name "Elizabeth." This beautiful girl is known as Hannah to most, but also by Hannah Beth, which I think sounds rather lyrical.

Seeing the babies on Oprah this week made me think about the time I was on fertility drugs and our doctor explained to us the possibility of multiple births. He was from China and had a thick accent, which made it all the more difficult for my hard-of-hearing hubby to understand.

Dr. Lin: Fertility drugs can result in multiple births.

Hubby: Multiple births?

Dr. Lin: Yes, for instance twins...

Hubby: You mean two babies?!?

Dr. Lin: That's what twins are.

Maybe you had to be there. Anyway, it made for a giggle or two during my fertility treatment. Then my hubby decided that maybe we should pick names for more than one baby. He said he'd pick first and was certain I would love the names he chose: Winter, Ever and Forest. Winter Green, Ever Green, Forest Green.

And if we had quadruplets? Gang. Gang Green.

Maybe that's the reason God let us have only one child. He didn't like the names either.

Always remember: if you have a pulse, you have a make your life count!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Do you think they could hear that?

Not every minister's wife can say that her husband is just the same at home as he is at church and everywhere else he goes. But I can. Joe Green is one of the happiest people I know. He is a minister of the Gospel and a great communicator. He is a devoted husband, father and friend. He has the best laugh I've ever heard. In fact, I heard him laugh before I ever laid eyes on him! A few weeks after hearing that wonderful laughter, I had dinner with him. And a few weeks later he took me home to 'meet the family.' Within three months of our first date, I was married to the man! He has taught me many things...and one thing I'm still trying to learn: Joe can laugh at himself. I take myself waaaaay too seriously and he has shown me it's okay to laugh at yourself. Let me give you a "for instance" that will illustrate this point perfectly...

One Sunday morning, Joe drank a large amount of water before church and realized during the offertory that if he was going to stay in the sanctuary for the sermon, he'd better visit the restroom. And since he was the minister delivering said sermon, he needed to move swiftly. He slipped out of the chancel area and made his way to the restroom located behind the choir loft. He 'did the deed' and flushed. Looking down, he realized his wireless microphone was still on. He quickly turned it off, then washed his hands as he wondered if the sound might have been picked up through the wall by the sound system. After all, if it was then the sound technician would likely have turned it off. But the sound guy had come down from the balcony to put his check in the offering plate...the slide for Joe's wireless microphone had not been muted.

Joe came back into the sanctuary to the beautiful strains of The Doxology: "Praise God from Whom all blessings flow..." (Ha! Get it? Flow...! Never mind.) Anyway, many of the congregation who had heard the ministerial mistake were working hard to sing and not burst into laughter at the sight of the recently relieved reverend. When the congregation sang the "Amen," he made a quick remark in jest, laughed at himself, then proceeded with the service. Pretty good, huh? He just laughed and let it go.

But not me...I told him afterward that he should have at least left the mic on long enough for the folks to hear him wash his hands!!!

Remember, friends, if you have a pulse, you have a make your life count!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Now I lay me down to sleep...

This morning I called a man I've never even met! We became friends through that wonderful medium called facebook. James was a faithful listener and 'friended' me after learning that my radio show was ending. (He had been a follower on my facebook fan page which ended when the show did...and, like many others, joined me on my personal page.)

James and my husband are both ministers. His wife, Karen, and I share in the joy of being pastor's wives...but that isn't all we two couples have in common. And that is why I made the phone call. James and Karen were in an accident last Friday. Both were taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center. James has a broken leg and Karen is suffering from internal injuries. But both of them have suffered a loss with the death of the baby she was carrying...a precious baby boy who had only been growing in her belly for six months. James had posted on facebook, " baby beat me home." My heart broke for them.

When I visited with him on the phone this morning, he shared with me about having to tell his wife about losing their baby. He didn't want the medical personnel to tell her...he wanted to be the one to break the news. Members of their family and friends gathered in Karen's room to be with her because James wasn't in the condition to be there with her himself. Seven floors separated them when he made the phone call to his wife. This was their first child.

Something was done that I'd never heard of before. The medical personnel gave them an opportunity to have a photographer come in and take pictures of this little boy with his parents. The photographer was a volunteer with "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" - an organization that gives a family the lasting memories of professional and tasteful photographs of their child. You can read about them by going to and read testimonies of families who have used their services. There is also a clip you can view from a story done about this group on The Today Show in 2005. I wept as I read notes from families. And then I thanked God for the wonderful people who offered this service to grieving parents. James and Karen will have beautifully captured pictures of their little son, whose name was also his father's.

James and Karen's son will be buried in their family plot next to his paternal grandfather. There will be a place that they can visit, place flowers, and remember the life they loved from the moment they knew he existed. That is such a blessing to my heart, knowing that they have this way of remembering their son...through photographs and the knowledge that his earthly body is guarded safely next to Grandpa's.

Joe and I know that pain of loss...though all but one of our babies never made it past the first trimester. I've miscarried six pregnancies. We lost twins that would have been born in February of 1981. In 1983 when my pregnancy lasted 16 weeks, we felt we were finally going to have a little one to raise! But it was not to be. I had given up, but my husband (who has a faith not unlike Abraham's) believed we would have another child. Because it is a long and special story, I'll save that story for another blog posting. Just know that our God is faithful in His promises and we are the parents of a beautiful 25 year old daughter who looks very much like her daddy!

For a long time, I wondered how in the world God could ever again use me in ministry with the pain I carried in my heart after all those miscarriages. He began to use me once I was able to grieve and give Him my hurt. I have had the privilege to minister to women who have gone through the loss of a baby through miscarriage. I've also been able to pray with and help women following the sad choice to abort a baby they had carried.

Joe and I didn't have a place to leave flowers and remember the lives that once grew inside me as a result of the love God had given us for one another. But there was one thing that helped me with my grief...a simple poem written by Jennifer Maze Brown. I memorized it as soon as I read it! I'm not even sure where it came from...only that it is printed on a page torn from a magazine many, many years ago. I can't even find it anymore. In fact, Jennifer may be Joyce, though I'm not sure. I only know that it helped me so much that I printed it out on beautiful paper and framed it. It hangs in our home as a remembrance for those little children that I know are in Heaven right now. It is one I have shared with many grieving mommies when I felt they needed it most...and one I will share with Karen when the time is right.

Little one, loved without knowing.
Precious one in dreams so fair,
My empty arms long to be holding
My ‘rosebud’ that blooms over there.
If you had come to be with us
I’d have shown you the stars and the sea.
But your eyes see them eternally clear;
One day, you must show them to me.

See why it did so much for me? Pray for Karen...and for James. They will be going home to a nursery that won't be filled just now. Only God can heal their hurt. And He will. He always does.

(always remember: if you have a pulse, you have a make your life count.)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I woke up at 4:30 this morning and tried my best to stay in bed and fall asleep again. Alas, sleep was not to be found. So I got up, put on my robe and went to the living room where I could prop my recuperating foot on an ottoman and visit YouTube!

When I am bored, I visit YouTube.

When I am hungry, sometimes I visit YouTube. (so the hunger pangs will pass if they aren't legit!)

And, when I can't sleep, I visit YouTube.

What a complete waste of time! But then is entertaining. I usually go to funny baby stuff such as laughing babies, farting babies, stretching babies so I can have a little baby-fix until my daughter and son-in-law decide to have kids. And they've only been married four years, so they still have plenty of time. If they decide not to have kids, that's okay...I'll just play with everyone else's babies and hand them back when they start to smell or cry. Besides, they have a dog that I love: Dexter, an Airdale that has stolen my heart! My toy poodle hates him, but that's his problem!

I also like to look at YouTube and watch baby animals. Puppies and kittens can do anything and I'll watch!

There are plenty of other things I could do when I need to pass some time...but some of those require thinking and sometimes I'm just not into that!

I teach organizational workshops, which is funny to think about right now, because one of my suggestions when you have some extra time on your hands is to clean out a couple of drawers in your kitchen! Well, friends...I already did that the last time I was bored!

This blog posting has no particular point. I wrote it simply because I got bored watching YouTube!

Uh-oh, I'm done with this...and now I have to sign off with the reminder I always use at the end of each blog posting. Now I'm completely under conviction for the time I've just spent on nothingness! Well, maybe I'll consider this posting an encouragement to relax once in a while. Or, take a little time to smile at a farting baby. Or, clean out your drawers!

Remember, if you have a pulse, you have a make your life count! (now I really feel bad)