Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas 2015

As I begin writing this post, there are only about 40 minutes left of Christmas Day, 2015. 

Isn’t it funny how all the preparations we do to be ready for December 25th take so long...and then it’s over in a day. Well, not ‘over’ over...just done.

It’s kind of like a wedding with all the plans that are made, people involved and details worked out only to have the wedding ceremony over with in about 20 minutes (and a reception that lasts a couple of hours). Then it’s over. And then, the hard stuff starts like being married “...till death do us part.”

But I digress. (I’ve noticed that I do that a lot when I’m writing these blogs. My mind digresses a LOT! If you could see inside my mind, it would probably look like a jukebox, a playground at McDonald’s, with lots of DisneyWorld thrown in.)

When Christmas is over, sometimes all the joy and season’s greetings can seem to be over, too. People seem to be a little friendlier during the holidays...wishing total strangers to have a merry Christmas!

Generosity comes a little easier. The bell ringers find the red kettles a little heavier when they remove them from their stands because folks dug deep into their pockets to share their loose change to help The Salvation Army.

Goodwill toward men. We need that all year long.

I’m a Christian...and I try to have goodwill toward others on a daily basis, but some days are harder than others and I find myself not always living out what I say I believe. Thankfully, I serve a forgiving God who knows I’m gonna blow it and offers me second, third, and more chances to make it right.

Christmas has been a little different for us this year:
We had two deaths from our congregation on Christmas Day, and that’s an especially hard time for families to lose loved ones. It’s also hard on pastors who need to share family time and church work.
I got sick with bronchitis and a sinus infection. When I spoke, I sounded like I was going through puberty...and I was unable to sing the solo I’d been asked to share at one of our six Christmas Eve services at church.
We moved into a new (to us) house the same week as Christmas. (Not something I'd do again. Kinda like the car ads where the little disclaimer comes up: "Professional drivers on a closed course. Do not attempt." This was not one of our best ideas.) Joe was busy as usual with church matters, yet was able to do a lot toward our move, too.
There are so many boxes stacked around our house, it almost looks like a warehouse.
I’m still trying to find things that I need, but it’s been an adventure unpacking boxes that have been stored since our 2012 move!

Things have been quite chaotic at times, and in the midst of this move during Christmas week, we’ve seen The Church in action! Volunteers from our new church (First Broad Street UMC) came to help us move, paint, unpack, and feed us. One guy in particular fixed so many things in the house that I told him we’d never be able to thank him enough for all he’d we’d just have to adopt him!

Where am I going with all this? Let’s keep this good stuff going. Christmas cheer can last all year! Hey, that rhymes!

Let’s say it together now:

With every blog, I close with this challenge: If you have a pulse, you have a purpose. Make your life count!

Saturday, December 19, 2015


Have you ever driven to a store or mall to shop, then walked out to the parking lot afterward and not been able to find your car?

It happened to me the other day. When I couldn’t spot my Honda CRV, I felt this burning sensation inside.

Was my car stolen?!?
Of course not! I have an alarm system!

But what if it didn’t activate?!?
Of course not! The alarm system works just fine! Sometimes it goes off when I’m sitting in my car, unknowingly hit the remote door lock when I’m fumbling around with something, and then put the key into the ignition to start my car!!! Sets off the alarm every time...and boy, that thing is loud! It won’t stop until you unlock the doors...and you have to do that with the remote!

Maybe I probably just went out a different exit than where I entered. Nope. Can’t be. Lowe’s stores only have entrances and exits in the front.

I was in a fix. My car was definitely gone. I figured I should call the police, then call Joe and tell him what happened. Oh dear.

I couldn’t believe my car was stolen from a Lowe’s parking lot! It’s the holidays! And we’re in the midst of moving to our new home! This was a lousy time for something like this.

...and then I remembered.

Joe and I traded cars with one another earlier that day so he could get my tires checked before our Christmas trip. In all the scenarios I imagined, I forgot to imagine that maybe...just maybe...I was looking for the wrong car.

Just another day in the life of a discombobulated woman.

With every blog, I close with this challenge: If you have a pulse, you have a purpose. Make your life count!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A lot adds up in 41 years...

Joe and I have 41 years of marriage together.

We have 1 daughter, who gave us a son-in-law and a grand-dog

We've lived in 6 parsonages, along with serving 6 ministerial appointments...McClure/Clinchco/McCowan’s Chapel, Dryden/Seminary, Ft. Oglethorpe, Central, First Alcoa, Cleveland District, and currently First Broad Street UMC

We've driven 3 VW Bugs, 3 VW Rabbits, a beautiful 1968 Chevrolet with an 8-track player, a Ford Windstar, 1 Toyota Celica, 1 Toyota Camry, 2 Honda Accords, 1 Honda Civic, 1 Honda Odyssey, and 1 Honda CRV

Owned 7 guitars

Raised 3 Toy Poodles: Gabriel, Abraham, and Obadiah (aka Gabie, Abie, and Dobie)

Eaten at least 3 meals a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year for 41 years (I must admit I didn’t cook all of them)

And of all the meals I did cook, I can count on my fingers the number of times I absolutely burned the food. That’s not a bad track record for 41 years.

But tonight, I must start counting on my toes because I ruined dinner. Burned. Charred. Blackened...and not in a flavorful way.

Guess you could say I adore my husband so much that I gave him a 'Burnt Offering.'

I hear charred things can be good for digestion.

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

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Boxes & Blessings

Been a while since I’ve blogged...

I’ve had good reasons:
We’ve been living with boxes since March
We moved from Cleveland to Kingsport, Tennessee in June
We couldn’t unpack
I went to Ohio for a couple of weeks to attend my favorite campmeeting
I came home and still couldn’t unpack
I’ve been home two weeks and still haven’t unpacked (except for my suitcases)
We’re living in basically three rooms in our parsonage…so SOME things are unpacked

In the United Methodist system, most churches have parsonages provided for the minister and family. But that is quickly changing as many of the larger churches are choosing to go out of the parsonage business with the burden of upkeep, financial responsibilities, etc. In those cases the minister receives a housing allowance to rent or purchase a place in the community where they serve.

When we moved into this parsonage, we were aware of the possibility of the sale of the house, so I packed accordingly. And that’s why we didn’t totally unpack right away. A vote was held by the congregation earlier this month and the decision was made to sell it. Good thing we didn’t unpack!

But that brings another wrinkle...
Our little house in Cleveland is for sale. Has been since May. We can’t buy a house in Kingsport till that one is sold. The feedback from realtors is how much people love the house but dislike the tiny back yard with neighbors living so close to one another. Never was a problem for us. The neighbors weren’t out that much, and when they were, they were enjoyable. And the side yard is HUGE!

Our pleasant, tiny, fenced-in back yard is a drawback.

Last week we lowered the price listed with our realtor. I asked her if the cost was lower, would that make the yard look bigger? Maybe.

So, boxes are still everywhere in the parsonage. We still live in three rooms. I’m starting to be ‘over this’ really fast. But then I have to think, at least there’s a roof over our heads. At least there’s plenty of food in the partially unpacked kitchen. I don’t have to drive somewhere just to do our laundry. We have all we need.

Yes, it’s inconvenient.
Yes, I’d like to have everything in place in OUR place already.
Yes, I have my moments when I want everything to be solved YESTERDAY.

When Joe and I married, we promised to love each other “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, to love and to cherish till death do us part.” That promise was made 41 years ago. We’ve done really well with all those vows we made to one another!! And we still like each other!

The inconvenience of all this is just a bump in the road. Some days (like today) I tend to forget this is temporary and God’s got the whole thing under control. He already knows where we’ll live! I wouldn’t mind a bolt of lighting with a note on the end of it to tell ME where...but that’s not His style.

And it doesn’t define home to us because wherever we’re together is home...even when boxes line the walls. Joe’s used to being around lots of boxes. He grew up around a funeral home! He tells folks the hardest thing I ever had to learn was to sleep in a bed with a lid on it!

In my last blog I mentioned that a good marriage will always contain an element of surprise. This surprise is taking a while to be revealed, but it’s still good. I’m praying that God will keep that at the forefront of my thoughts these days. It’s going to be okay. It is. When I finally get to unpack these boxes somewhere, it’ll be fun! I’ll find more stuff I forgot I had!

And when I look back on this, I'll realize all the blessings I've enjoyed all along the way. And that element of surprise? Always enjoy it.

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

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Packing, Purging, Moving

This week Joe and I are moving from Cleveland (southeast Tennessee) to Kingsport (northeast Tennessee) where he will become Lead Minister at First Broad Street United Methodist Church. We've missed it, so we're excited about being back in a church again, but moving is no picnic.

The movers are here now, loading two trucks in 90ยบ heat. By later this afternoon, it’ll be nearly 100. These young men are constantly moving. I know they’re burning up, but they have the most wonderful attitudes and have been nothing but nice guys and hard workers! (We’re using Still Transfer Company out of Kingsport...and this advertisement is free of charge!)

My friend Diana has been a HUGE help during the packing phase of our move. We’re members of the same church and have been buddies ever since we met! The two of us made a great team!

Because I’m sort of picky about the way I pack, Diana was very helpful when she saw my strategy. I have catalogued in a notebook every room and every box. Yes. I know. In 41 years of ministry with Joe, we've moved six times. This is the seventh and I think I finally have a system!

I print out destination labels so the movers don’t have to search for where it’s headed because each box is labeled with a room destination and a number, which is added to my notebook, listing the contents. This way, when I’m looking for a particular item at the next place, all I’ll have to do is check the notebook! It’s a little time consuming on the packing phase, but a great help on the other end...

An interesting thing happens when one begins to pack for a move. With me, it’s been a matter of purging, organizing, cleaning, and finding things.

I thought the Bluetooth headset for my cell phone was lost two years ago. I was wrong. It was in a drawer I rarely open. Why did I do that?

For several years I’ve been trying to find our daughter’s wedding photos. I found a couple of photo boxes that hadn’t been opened since the last move. Yep. There they were!

My hubby hides my Christmas gifts. From himself! Yesterday when he was pulling the last items out of his home office closet, he found a gift. It was so funny when he walked out and said, “Merry Christmas!” In his hand was a beautiful blue Kobalt tool bag, complete with everything I’d need to do what I love, which is fixing stuff! Joe knows I’m a fixer-upper from way back, so he knew what would make me jump up and squeal with delight!! He bought it in the fall, then hid it for Christmas morning. Last year.

Reminds me of when he asked what I wanted for Christmas in 1992. I told him I’d like to have a pancake griddle. (kind of like other things I've liked receiving...jumper cables, power tools, a really nice Road Atlas, etc. so this wasn’t an unusual request on my part.) In the spring of 1994, the clothes rod broke in the master bedroom closet. A trustee from the church was coming to repair it, so I hurriedly emptied the closet so he could work.

As I was pulling the out the last items, I found the pancake griddle hidden in the back corner of Joe’s side of the closet. Feeling bad about finding the gift, I called him to apologize because I’d “...found my Mother’s Day gift, even though I wasn’t looking for it!” Joe didn’t seem to know what I was talking about, so I told him I found the pancake griddle.

“Pancake griddle...pancake griddle...pancake griddle.” He said, “I don’t remember a pancake griddle.” There was a long pause as he tried to recall.

Then he acknowledged with much satisfaction, “Yes, I remember now! That isn’t your Mother’s Day gift. I bought it for Christmas...two years ago!”

A good element to any marriage is the element of surprise. I think my husband has that one nailed. 

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

Saturday, May 2, 2015

We're Moving!

We’re moving.

Time to cut the clutter.

Time to downsize.

We did that last time we moved! How could we have accumulated enough stuff to downsize again?!? We’ve given away a lot of things in the last year or so. And there were things I’d been saving for a yard sale some day. That day came today and the sale was succe$$ful! 

Now the quest is for boxes. We’re always on the lookout for good boxes! Jerry Seinfeld has the funniest routines about moving and boxes you can watch here:

According to Seinfeld, caskets are good boxes. They have nice handles to lift with. I guess I can understand that. Joe’s daddy was an undertaker so we’ve seen lots of ‘good boxes’ in our lifetime together...but usually only at the funeral home!

The family business has been a big part of our lives. Because of it, Joe proposed in a asking me if I’d like to be buried in the family plot. I said, “Now?!?!?” Following our honeymoon we opened our wedding gifts in an upstairs storage room at the funeral home. His favorite car is a hearse. And he likes to tell people the hardest thing I had to get used to was sleeping in a bed with a lid on it!

I think it’s kind of funny that I would close this particular blog with the line I use in each blog posting, but I will anyway...
“If you have a pulse, you have a purpose…so make your life count!”

Sunday, April 12, 2015


In the past week I’ve done the following:

1. Ran across a parking lot in the rain.
2. Sat cross-legged on the floor.
3. Mowed our yard.
4. Rode my bicycle.

This might not be a big deal to anyone else, but to me it is because none of it made my knee hurt! For the past decade nearly everything I did made my knee hurt. Every. Thing. And after all the things I did on that list...I was able to stand up and walk around without limping and/or grimacing. One year ago I was so happy to have a new knee that I named it! Nehemiah was a rebuilder and restorer in the Old Testament. Since my knee has restored things for me…that's his name! And if you don't want to call him by his full name, just call him Ne. Get it? Ne? Knee? Never mind.

To say my knee replacement last year has made a huge difference in my life would be an understatement. (see list) 

Nehemiah and I celebrated his first ‘birthday’ last month. I even had a birthday cake made for the occasion and took it to the staff at Maryville Orthopaedic Clinic for the final appointment with my surgeon, Dr. Eric Morgan.

There are some things that need celebrating. You know...all the regular things like births, weddings, retirements, etc. But in our family, we get excited about things that others might not celebrate. Like first dates. A good grade on a paper. Losing a tooth. Eating a vegetable you never liked before and deciding that it’s tasty after all. (that causes our family to dance on the chairs...don’t ask) We even have a special Red Plate that we use when we’re celebrating certain things (not the vegetables though).

Joe and I enjoy life together. He’s fun to live with. We laugh. And we celebrate. A lot. At this very moment...thinking about all that he and I have together...I’m smiling.

As a matter of fact, I’m wearing the smile he gave me.

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

If you want to know more about The Red Plate, go to:

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Thin Walls

Joe and I were married five days after he graduated with a Master of Divinity Degree from Asbury Theological Seminary in May of 1974. Following a honeymoon, we stayed with his parents until Joe’s assignment to his first church. Actually, we had three churches and split up meeting times between two of them...and meeting every Sunday at the main church on the circuit.

Most United Methodist ministers live in parsonages, which are homes a church provides for the pastor’s family. Our very first home was an apartment inside the church building. We literally lived in the church.

It wasn’t a bad deal when I was running late for service. I’d just run through from the bedroom, through the dining room, kitchen, and laundry room - make a left turn and walk through a door into the sanctuary.

Really convenient. Except when you needed to do laundry on Wednesday night during prayer meeting. That spin cycle was a doozy! And loud. When it would start the spin cycle, the washer would creep out to the middle of the laundry room floor. (Good thing there were long hoses from the wall...) Joe and I would take turns running out and jumping on the washer to hold it in place till the spin cycle was done.

Another interesting thing about living in this church is that the bathroom and guest room were located just behind the chancel area. One Sunday I stayed home because of a stomach virus. Folks called all afternoon, checking on me. I asked how they knew I was sick and they’d all say the same thing, “We heard you!” Guess you shouldn’t flush that commode during worship.

While sitting in the choir one morning, I heard commotion coming from the guest room. I slipped out during the Pastor’s Morning Prayer. Our cat (I wasn’t allergic way back then) was having a party on the top bunk with my sewing patterns! Confetti! Spaghetti! It was a mess, but he was having the time of his life! I picked him up by the scruff of his neck and spanked him. “I’m gonna KILL you, you stupid cat!!!!!!” I’m a loud person. I said that with great emotion and great volume.

After a good cat-scolding, I slipped back into the sanctuary during the offertory. Von Fletcher leaned over and asked, “Did ya kill him?” You could tell by looking out at the congregation that everyone heard me. My hard-of-hearing husband thought he’d been healed because even HE could hear me!

This is just one of many moments when our church members found out that the preacher’s wife was weird.

I still am.
But I’m happy!

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

Friday, March 13, 2015

Sourdough Bread - Part Two

If you haven’t read my last blog posting, stop here...go back and read it because it’s important for you to understand my excitement! It worked! The moonshine. The yeast. It worked!

So, as promised, I’m giving you the recipes for Sourdough Starter and Sourdough Bread. The recipes were given to me in 1986 when I spoke at a UMW meeting for Apison United Methodist Church (which my husband now has as one of his 68 churches in the Cleveland District). Debbie Rockholt is the girl that shared these recipes with me...but my ‘starter’ came from another source. And my original starter was given to me 29 years ago. (again, read the previous blog so you'll know the significance of that)

Instead of getting one cup of Starter from a can start from scratch, Debbie’s recipe for Starter is as follows:
3 packages yeast
1/2 cup very warm water (not boiling, or you’ll kill the yeast)

Once that is dissolved, stir the following ingredients into the yeast mixture:

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup warm water
3 Tablespoons instant potato flakes

Leave out overnight in lightly covered bowl. Then pour into a quart glass jar with wax paper lid. Refrigerate 3 to 5 days before feeding again to make your first batch of bread.
This is the original starter for first time use only. After that, follow the sugar/warm water/potato flakes instructions...and refrigerate remaining Starter.

When ready to make bread, feed your starter, stir well, then let stand for 8 hours or overnight.

Sourdough Bread
In a large bowl, make a stiff batter of the following:

1 1/2 cups warm water
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup corn oil
1 cup Starter
1 Tbsp. salt
6 cups Bread Flour (not all-purpose or self-rising)

Grease another large bowl. Put dough in and turn it over so that the oily side is up. Cover and let stand 8 to 12 hours. Then punch down the dough and knead. Divide into 3 equal parts and knead each part a bit more before placing in bread pans. Brush dough with oil (I spray the dough with Pam). Cover and let rise 4 to 5 hours...all day is okay, too.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove and brush with butter. Cool on rack before wrapping. Bread should be stored in fridge if not eating right away. This bread also freezes well.

If you want to make a pan of rolls, just bake them about 10 to 12 minutes.
Pizza crust? Easy. Roll out dough (1/3 of your stiff batter) and put on pizza pan. Allow to rise for an hour or two, then put toppings on and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Get creative! You can make Pepperoni-Mozzarella Rolls, Cinnamon Rolls, Garlic Cheese Rolls, and lots of other yummy things. Just use your imagination!

Who knew that cleaning out my cupboards and finding a pint of moonshine would lead to me starting to make sourdough bread again after all these years!

And just so you know...a church member gave us the moonshine.

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

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sourdough Bread

Just the mention of Sourdough Bread conjures up memories that take me back to 1986 when I began to make it for our little family. Hannah Beth was six months old when I got the ‘starter’ for the yummy bread. Wish I could remember for sure, but it came from either my friend, Ninkey McCarty, or from my mother-in-law. Either way, for all these years, I’ve kept Sourdough Starter in my refrigerator.

You’re supposed to ‘feed’ the starter every week, then use one cup of it to make a batch of bread and refrigerate the rest. The ‘feeding’ is warm water, sugar, and instant potato flakes. I’d say that if you took a swig of the mixture you’d get a little tipsy!

About ten years ago I stopped making bread, but would feed the starter periodically just in case I decided to resume the wonderful habit of serving that homemade yumminess.

One time a friend told me that I shouldn’t store the starter with a lid on it, but instead should put a paper towel over it while it’s in the refrigerator so it can 'breathe.' I'd never heard that before but tried it anyway. Well, that didn’t work out too well because I forgot about it and it dried up in the bottom of the jar. Oh no! Now I’ll have to start all over and that was from my original 1986 starter!!! I started over. But to make sure it was still from my original starter, I scraped the dried stuff from the jar (that sounds disgusting but it isn’t) and put it into the new batch. Hence, I basically still have the original!

While cleaning out and reorganizing my cupboards last week, I found an ingredient that might be helpful in getting my starter active again. Moonshine. 

Now before you get all upset with this preacher’s wife for having homemade moonshine in the house, let me explain...
Three years ago when we moved from Alcoa to Cleveland, Tennessee we were given a gift. It was a little pint jar of Moonshine. The bearer of the gift makes it in his garage. I didn’t know what we’d do with it, so shoved it in the cupboard when we moved. I’d pull it out whenever I cleaned but always put it back........WAY in the back!

See? That isn’t so awful, now is it? Do you use Nyquil? Or cough syrup? Is that the same difference? Just sayin’.

Back to the bread starter...
I pulled the starter from our fridge, stirred two tablespoons of moonshine into it and put it back in the fridge. Yesterday, I fed the starter like usual, but I put some yeast in the warm water, thinking it’d give a little kick to make it active again. (like the moonshine wasn’t kick enough!!)

This morning I went into the kitchen and saw that my starter was ready for use (it fizzes and kind of moves around in the jar) so I made a batch of bread. It remains to be seen if things turn out the way they used to, but it gives me a smile to think I’m still using basically the same starter from 29 years ago!

If it doesn’t work, I’m out of luck because I threw away the rest of the Kickapoo Joy Juice (aka moonshine)!

P.S. If this turns out well, in my next blog I’ll post the recipes for original starter and the bread.

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

Sunday, February 1, 2015

"O say, can you sing?"

The National Anthem.
At this year’s Super Bowl, Idina Menzel performed it beautifully. My favorite Super Bowl performance will always be when Whitney Houston sang with so much power, if you weren’t needed a toe tag!!! 

There have been poor performances of our nation’s inspiring anthem. Some even seemed to me as though they were mockeries. (think Roseanne Barr) And there have been efforts that were very good.

I’ve heard a special needs person sing it. It was exceptional. Not a dry eye in the place. And it was done flawlessly.

When I am in a place where the “Star Spangled Banner” is performed, I immediately honor our nation’s flag by placing my hand over my heart. In my opinion, everyone should give our Stars and Stripes that honor.

The only time I haven’t done that is when I’ve been performing it myself. Know why? Because my hand is usually shaking so I have to hold the microphone with both hands (as my knees applaud my bravery)!

Once I was invited to sing the National Anthem at a UTC Mocs basketball game. That same night, alumni Dominique and Gerald Wilkins, both of whom were playing professionally by that time, were to be honored at the beginning of the game...then I’d sing. I’ve done this sort of thing before, at graduations, local baseball and football games. This shouldn’t be any different.

Then the moment came...
I walked out to center court, microphone in hand. As I stood there, the announcer asked everyone to rise. Suddenly, my mind went blank! B L A N K !!! I couldn’t remember the lyrics to our National Anthem!

My mind was spinning, blood rushed to my head. The only lyrics and melody I could think of was “The Lord’s Prayer.” I could feel panic. Real panic. Was I going to faint?!? I’ve been nervous singing before, but never thought I’d faint! 

Then, as quickly as the lyrics left my mind, the words came as I opened my mouth! I sang “The Star Spangled Banner” without missing one note or word! That was it. When I finished, I walked back, handed over the mic and breathed a sigh of relief.

That long pause...
the one that felt like an eternity. Do you think anyone noticed? Was it obvious that I’d forgotten the words? I asked a friend of mine who was at the game if the long ‘pre-song’ silence was extremely noticeable. He said he just thought I was waiting for the crowd to stand and get quiet.

Yep. That’s it. I was waiting for the crowd. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My Sister, My Friend: Vangie

Today marks the second anniversary of the day my Vangie went to Heaven. It was unexpected. And still unreal to me. She’d had a stomach virus and was hospitalized for a few days, then sent home. I’d planned to go to Ohio to be with her in the hospital and she convinced me not to because she wanted me to “...wait until we can have some fun together.” So, I didn’t go. Oh, how I wish I had...but ‘coulda-shoulda-woulda’ is too clear now.

She was released from the hospital and recuperating at home, but she began to have severe pain in her abdomen. Next thing we knew, she’d been admitted to the hospital again and in emergency surgery. Ruptured bowel. Her immune system had been weak for many, many years...and this was just too much for her to body to fight. She was put on a ventilator in surgery. It was unhooked two years ago tonight. The nurse said it would be about ten to fifteen minutes. But just like the ‘cruise director’ she was...Vangie lasted four more hours. Her terms. Her timing. Gotta love it that she did that. One of my brothers said she was ‘bossy’ like that! LOL!

I’ve been weepy today. Thought a lot about Vangie. About how much I miss her. How much I love her still...

But I’ve also thought of some funny things. She could get the giggles at the worst time and then I’d start! We were a bit irreverent at times. Vangie and I lived together in 1973 and 1974, sharing a trailer in a little town called Wilmore, Kentucky. I came in from work one cold afternoon to find Vangie huddled in the corner of our sofa, feet on the cushion, still wearing her coat, with her purse still on her arm. She was terrified.

What was the object of her terror? What had her frozen on the corner of the sofa? A mouse trap...with a mouse that she watched struggling as it moved from this earth to that ‘great big hunk of cheese in the sky.’ The trap sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor snapped as she walked in the door. She ran to the sofa and squirmed as she watched it die.

When I walked in the door, she was terrified...of a dead mouse. A mouse that could in no way harm her. Dead as a doornail. She was waiting for me to come home and dispose of the terror. I pulled out a garbage bag, turned it inside out and put my hand down in it so I could pick the mouse and trap up without touching it.

If you could have seen her face...priceless!

She and I had a lot in common. One of those was something I just learned about last month.

In 1995, I was preparing to move from Virginia to Tennessee and had just finished serving on an Emmaus Walk. As we team members were packing up our things and loading our cars, someone suggested making a circle in our cabin so they could pray for me since this was going to be our last time together. After prayer time, we hugged and cried...saying our goodbyes. It was tough. I left first, and turned around to take one last look. My friends were still crying. So I moved toward the door, then said, “hey girls, check this out” and promptly mooned them. Yes, they stopped crying. Ha! Loved the looks on their faces!!!

Last month I learned that Vangie shot the moon to a bunch of girls after they ‘kidnapped’ her along with a couple of other ladies at a church camp. I’m not sure the circumstances because I think it’s some sort of ‘secret sorority’ but I just know that my sister topped off the night by mooning them all! That was her last time at camp. She gave them a lasting memory! Got to the bottom of things!!!

Somehow, it didn’t surprise me when I heard about it. After all, we are Lena’s daughters...and Lena had a funny/silly side that would come out now and again. Vangie’s husband mooned Mother on High Street in downtown Columbus, Ohio.

Vangie and Gary (in the back seat), and Joe and I, were in our VW Bug while Mother and Daddy were being driven by our brother in their car. We pulled up next to each other at a light and Gary mooned Mother!!! The funniest part about it was that she turned to Daddy and said, “What is he doing, Bob?” Daddy laughed till he cried! Mother couldn’t figure it out until we got to our destination and Vangie told her what happened.

I’m just glad he rolled down the window on our car before he did it.

She and I were close. Unusually close. I don’t know too many sisters who have the kind of relationship we had. We loved each other dearly and could drive each other nuts! I have loads of memories that I won’t share here right now. But you need to know that my sister was an awesome, loving, funny, happy, and devoted God, and to her family. She was one-of-a-kind. 

I’m glad she was my sister.

Each blog I post is closed with a particular phrase. Just for the record...Vangie did that every day of her too-short life.

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