A Gentle Giant

We had a great week of vacation. We went to Lewisburg, Ohio for a family reunion on my little brother’s farm. It was a great time of fun and family and reminiscing about things past. After the reunion the family went for a stay in the Smokey Mountains in Gatlinburg, TN. This was the first time we had rented a cabin and it was wonderful. Of course we went to Dollywood and Splash Mountain. And of course there always has to be shopping, ugh.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Friday was our last day and my son and daughter wanted to see Wonder Works, an upside-down house with lots of things to do inside. Once we found out it would take three hours we decided to take Kenzie (my 1 year old granddaughter) back to the cabin and wait until they called.

Half way up the mountain the car started sputtering but we made it to the cabin. When the kids called I climbed in the car only to find out it would not start. I called a repair shop and was told they would send a wrecker to pick me up but it would be at least two days, which would turn out to be Monday, due to being closed on Sunday, before they could even look at it. I told them to forget it.

I called my insurance and they sent a tow truck. Hearing the wrecker groan up the mountain to our cabin, I got worried. Upon arrival a man from the movie Deliverance climbed out of the cab. He loaded the car on the back and I rode down the mountain with him. He kept complaining about the brakes squealing because the shop won’t take the time to fix them and he told them one day they are going to give out. I prayed, “please, Lord, not today!”

Upon arrival at the shop, which was somewhere in the boonies and not near the main strips, I was stranded. The first thing I saw was Cujo. Stop laughing, it was true! Lying in the middle of the front door was a large Saint Bernard dog. He covered the entire entrance to the shop. He looked at me like he was thinking, not another person to disturb my nap. Cujo 1_Smokey Mountians_8083He was a huge dog with a right eye that was red and deformed. This did not make it any easier to make a decision about what to do. You can imagine what went through my mind. Do I step over him? Call for help? Try to find a back door? Shoo him away? None of these options seemed a good idea. Finally, a man walked out and stepped over him.  I took his action to be my cue so I stepped over Cujo and wasn’t ripped to shreds, YaY!Cujo 2_Smokey Mountians_8083_edited-1At the counter was a woman who reminded me of a very poor family with dirty clothes and face. It almost made me wonder if she was the mechanic. She was very polite and even offered me her car if I needed to go pick up the kids. Her husband came in. He was a big burly man with a high-pitched, almost female voice. I was relieved to see him and felt much safer when I read his cap, which simply said, I love my Jesus! He was just as polite as his wife and said he would send someone out to look at the car right away. He did, too. The battery was dead; there were only 7 amps of power left; she could not hold a charge. A new battery was installed only to find out it did not help. I waited for them to put in a new alternator, while I sat in a white plastic chair trying to keep Cujo from sniffing places I did not appreciate him going.

Only an hour had passed before, BAMA, the mechanic, had me ready to go. I was thankful for such nice people, a weird and unforgettable experience,  and that I could finally get back to the cabin.

The kids had walked about 4 miles to a McDonald’s in Pigeon Forge and waited for me to pick them up. We went back to the cabin and let them take a shower while I hugged on Kenzie. We went out for supper and then more shopping, ugh!

If you are ever in the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area and need a tow, or a good mechanic, please look up BAMA at Carr’s Service Center. They are open 24/7, even the shop. Just remember this one thing, when you see a large Saint Bernard in the middle of the doorway it is safe to step over him. He is a gentle giant.

Carr's 24-Hour Service          865-453-3152

Carr’s 24-Hour Service

The Legend of the Dogwood


“When Christ was on earth, the dogwood grew
To a towering size with a lovely hue.
Its branches were strong and interwoven,
And for Christ’s cross its timbers were chosen.


“Being distressed at the use of the wood,
Christ made a promise which still holds good:
‘Never again shall the dogwood grow
To be large enough for a tree, and so,
Slender and twisted it shall always be,
With cross-shaped blossoms for all to see.


“’The petals shall have bloodstains marked brown,
And in the blossom’s center a thorny crown.
All who see it will think of me,
Nailed to a cross from a dogwood tree.
Protected and cherished this tree shall be,
A reflection to all of my agony.’”


For more about this legend:


It’s Friday……..But Sunday Is Coming!!!

I am sure that many of you have heard this message before. It is always worth hearing again. When I was in college back in the 1970’s I was privileged to hear Dr. Anthony Compollo preach this sermon. It is one I have never forgotten, especially when Easter comes each year. He preached it for many years on Good Friday. Read and enjoy.


Taken from the following website: http://apologetica.us/2009/04/10/its-friday-but-sundays-coming-2/

The whole tape is great but the best part is at the end when Tony Campolo recalls one Sunday when he had a little preaching competition with the head pastor at the church where he attends.

Dr. Campolo tells how he preached the perfect sermon in every way and had taken the congregation to ‘the heights of glory’. As he sat down beside his pastor, Dr. Tony patted him on the knee and simply said, “Top that.” The older black pastor looked at him and said, “Boy, watch the master.” Then Dr. Campolo recalls for us the very brilliant message which followed.

The following is a short printed version of the 45 minute sermon–the printed version doesn’t really do justice to the original, but you can at least get an idea what the last part is like:


It’s Friday. But Sunday’s coming—

It was a simple sermon, starting softly, building in volume and intensity until the entire congregation was completely involved, repeating the phrases in unison. The sermon went something like this.

It’s Friday. Jesus is arrested in the garden where He was praying. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The disciples are hiding and Peter’s denying that he knows the Lord. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is standing before the high priest of Israel, silent as a lamb before the slaughter. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is beaten, mocked, and spit upon. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Those Roman soldiers are flogging our Lord with a leather scourge that has bits of bones and glass and metal, tearing at his flesh. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The Son of man stands firm as they press the crown of thorns down into his brow. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. See Him walking to Calvary, the blood dripping from His body. See the cross crashing down on His back as He stumbles beneath the load. It’s Friday; but Sunday’s a coming.

It’s Friday. See those Roman soldiers driving the nails into the feet and hands of my Lord. Hear my Jesus cry, “Father, forgive them.” It’s Friday; but Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, bloody and dying. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The sky grows dark, the earth begins to tremble, and He who knew no sin became sin for us. Holy God who will not abide with sin pours out His wrath on that perfect sacrificial lamb who cries out, “My God, My God. Why hast thou forsaken me?” What a horrible cry. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. And at the moment of Jesus’ death, the veil of the Temple that separates sinful man from Holy God was torn from the top to the bottom because Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, heaven is weeping and hell is partying. But that’s because it’s Friday, and they don’t know it, but Sunday’s a coming.

And on that horrible day 2000 years ago, Jesus the Christ, the Lord of glory, the only begotten Son of God, the only perfect man died on the cross of Calvary. Satan thought that he had won the victory. Surely he had destroyed the Son of God. Finally he had disproved the prophecy God had uttered in the Garden and the one who was to crush his head had been destroyed. But that was Friday.

Now, it’s Sunday. And just about dawn on that first day of the week, there was a great earthquake. But that wasn’t the only thing that was shaking because now it’s Sunday.

He Has Risen_3856_edited-1

And the angel of the Lord is coming down out of heaven and rolling the stone away from the door of the tomb. Yes, it’s Sunday, and the angel of the Lord is sitting on that stone and the guards posted at the tomb to keep the body from disappearing were shaking in their boots because it’s Sunday, and the lamb that was silent before the slaughter is now the resurrected lion from the tribe of Judah, for He is not here, the angel says. He is risen indeed.

It’s Sunday, and the crucified and resurrected Christ has defeated death, hell, sin and the grave. It’s Sunday. And now everything has changed. It’s the age of grace, God’s grace poured out on all who would look to that crucified lamb of Calvary. Grace freely given to all who would believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross of Calvary was buried and rose again. All because it’s Sunday.

At the end of the message the pastor shouts out:

It’s Friiidaaaay!

And the whole congregation responds:

But Sunday’s Coming!


If you would like to listen to the entire sermon you can find it here at this link (the last 5 minutes will have this part in it).




The Night Bessie Bumped Her head

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John Neil Ider “Ida” (Owens) Oldham was better known as Grannie to my two brothers and me. Her daddy wanted a boy and he told his wife it did not matter if it was a boy or a girl. When the baby was born he was namin’ it John Neil. His wife told him she did not care what he named her, she was naming her Ider. Most folks understood her name should be pronounced Ida, of course. In later years, she would have trouble with her name when needing identification because her name did not match her gender.

One of the things I enjoyed most, in growing up in Louisiana, was going to her house during the summer time and spend a week; just the two of us. The summer of 1959, at nine years old, is one I have never forgotten. Pioneer, Louisiana was a small town with one wood frame country store and one gas pump. Because it was a farming community there was always danger on every corner if you did not stay fully aware of your surroundings.

Papa had died in 1954 leaving Grannie to tend the forty-acre farm alone. I was only four when he passed. She was lonely at times and enjoyed having company. TV was watched every night with the shows in black and white. Bedtime for me rolled around at 8:30PM. I was usually afraid to go to bed alone. A farm in the country is extremely dark in the middle of the night. One consolation was the .22 rifle standing next to the bed. I had used it several times looking for rabbit and squirrels. I knew if I needed to protect myself the rifle was there.

It was a privilege to sleep with Grannie each night, of course I never knew for sure she was there because, if she came to bed it was well after I was asleep and she was up before dawn. The thought that she slept with me offered some facsimile of security.

I discovered the truth about where she slept one night when all hell broke loose. Heavy breathing entered the room. I could hear it but not see it; the room was too dark and heavy clouds blocked the moonlight. At that instant the clouds dissipated and illuminated two large eyes staring right at me. I sat straight up in the bed. Grannie was not there!

I sat gripped with quiet anxiety while I fought off the dragons of fear. The breathing was only feet from me–then a snort. I screamed bloody murder. I could hear Grannie running down the hallway at the same time Bessie, her milk cow, pulled her head up, and bellowed like I’m the one who scared her. She jerked her head back out of that window as fast as she could, tearing out the glass and the wood frame that held it.

Grannie ran down the hall, entered the room and stuck her head out the widow yelling some words that I did not hear. Bessie skedaddled back toward the barn where she belonged. It was the first time I had seen Grannie with no teeth. Flapping her lower jaw against her upper, she turned to calm me down and found me aiming the .22 right at the window. She relaxed me into the reality that she was not there to hurt me. I dropped the gun and climbed under the covers where I burst into tears. Grannie climbed in beside me, wrapped her arms around me and slept the rest the night, or least until I woke up to find her cooking cathead biscuits, scrambled eggs and grits.

Made you smile!

The Determined Race

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Google Photo

“An athlete is not crowned unless

he competes according to the rules.”

2 Timothy 2:5

 John was excited about field day at his school. The race was all he and his two best friends could talk about. He was determined to win. A thunder of happy kids stood around the field. Every child’s ambition was the proverbial Blue Ribbon.

Josh was a taller and towered over John. He was favored to win. Jake was shorter than both boys. The pistol fired. As his Dad I wanted John to win. I stood at the finish tape screaming, “Come on John!”

He was running as fast as his eight-year-old legs would go. He crossed the finish line in second place and I hugged his neck. He was so happy! “Did you see that Dad? Me and Josh and Jake were the top three winners!” He didn’t care about being first–only that he had finished the race. He stood in line to receive his red ribbon with a smile of grandeur and the three of them poked each other in fun. I was so proud.

On the way home he talked about the race. “I have figured it out, Dad.”

“What?” I asked.

“Josh is taller with longer legs. I am in the middle with middle legs. Jake has short legs. So, that means that who ever has the shortest legs will always win because they don’t have to step as far while they are running.”

What a great theory from a child. He finished with the prize he believed he deserved for his effort.

Paul said,

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness,

Which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day,

And not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”

2 Timothy 4:7-8

So now I ask you, as a child of God, are you even in the race anymore? Peter was. He drew closer to Him as he walked three years with Jesus. He left his boat when he was called. Jesus asked Peter who He was. Peter replied, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Peter was with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration; he heard the voice of God. Jesus called him the Rock upon which He would build His church. Peter knew Jesus. He desired to know Him more and draw close to Him.

Why then do we later see Peter following Jesus at a distance (MT. 26:58)? There had been a gradual, subtle increase in his pride and self-confidence (26:33). He became reckless (vs. 40). He began to act without thinking (Luke 22:51). Peter was ready to go to prison and to die for Christ, or so he said (Luke 22:33).

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Google Photo

Jesus was arrested. Peter followed at a distance. He denied Christ, three times. The cock crowed. Peter wept bitterly (Mt 26:54-62).

Does this sound familiar, maybe in your own life? Were you once so close to Jesus you were inseparable? Did you become over-confident? Did you deny Christ? Did someone say something about you and your left? Do you feel horrible at what you have done with Jesus? Do you feel like you cannot be forgiven? Are you now following Him at a distance? Have you done like Peter and just gone fishing?

Though Peter denied Christ he sought forgiveness and drew nigh to the Lord. He got right back in the race. He took his stand with the eleven and began to preach the Gospel. Three thousand souls were added to the Church. He healed the sick and lame. He was determined to put the past behind him and run the race.

He had made a mistake. He did not give up on what he knew and loved. Just as he had told Jesus he would do, he went to prison and eventually died for Him. The point is this. You cannot follow from a distance while waiting to see the outcome, and expect to win the race God has given you.

You need to get back in the race today. Be determined. He is waiting to forgive you and to bless you in your life and ministry. He knows the plans He has for you.

 “For I know the plans I have for you,” ‘declares the Lord,’ “plans to prosper

And not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

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Google Photo



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Uncle Ernest’s Kite

Andy Oldham:

Here is a wonderful memory that I think you will enjoy reading. I surely did. We should all be writing our memories like this one. Enjoy! :-)

Originally posted on Cryptic Garland:

I got a mildly terse phone call from a cousin whom I haven’t heard from for a number of years. We have joint ownership of our Grandfather. The general tenor of the call was to tell me that we never had an Uncle Ernest and even if we did he would not have left his French wife on her own and stayed in France to act the goat. I told him he was perfectly correct and thanked him for the compliment.

“What compliment?” he asked.

“The one about my creating a character that was real enough that you might have thought it was a real person.” I’m not sure if he picked up on the irony.

So allow me to explain that these are stories. I am not writing a family history. The one that follows is also not true. I made it up.

I have called it “What on…

View original 660 more words

Everlasting Cronies

I am excited to introduce you to my debut novel, EVERLASTING CRONIES. I have collected not only my own stories but those of others since I was a child. I just love stories.  My new book is a compilation of many of these stories into one. I hope you enjoy it! Available now on Amazon and Kindle Direct.

Book 2 - Front-CoverPreview.do_edited-1

In EVERLASTING CRONIES you will enjoy a heart-warming, coming of age story about a trio of racially diverse boys who experience joy, loss, conflict, and redemption during the rural Louisiana summer of 1949. There is beauty, romance, and the racial animosity of the Deep South during that pivotal period. Ample local color, the ghost of the old mule jail, a snake dance, and a traditional Southern funeral, punctuate the drama that teaches the boys profitable life-lessons about faith, trust, loyalty and betrayal. This one unforgettable summer moves this threesome to the cusp of manhood and cements an enduring friendship.

Kindle link:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref= nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias% 3Daps&field-keywords= Everlasting%20cronies%20on% 20kindle

Hard Copy Link:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref= nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias% 3Dstripbooks&field-keywords= everlasting+cronies

Careful- R-U-B-N next novel1231

Things Are Not Always As They Seem

In the early 1960’s my Dad was privileged to go on the mission field in British Guiana, SA. While he ministered and supported existing churches and their native pastors there was a need for a new congregation in the back-country. Many hours were spent on a ferry that took him sixty miles inland and up the Demerara River.

There was a new excitement in this mostly Hindu community of Linden. When Dad first arrived in this small village he was placed on a donkey cart and taken to where he would stay. After a year, someone in the church loaned an older vehicle for Dads use when he was there.

The enthusiasm in Linden was contagious. The native pastor, Mr. Watson, insisted that Dad hold prayer meetings each time he came. The church was praying for the growth of the church in their community. This small congregation, on their knees in prayer, became the engine of growth in the area. There was no more room under the little house on stilts, or even in the yard. The congregation to continue growing and running out of room. They kept on praying anyway. They began petitioning God to relieve them by starting a new congregation. There was no one willing to lead the new one church so they began to pray for this new leader to emerge. No one knew who he was. No one knew where he would come from. They just to prayed.

 “…and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake.

But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Matthew 10:22 ESV

Dad was invited to speak under another house on stilts about 10 miles deeper into the interior. Upon arrival he and Pastor Watson were met with animosity. A curious crowd formed around the house. Dad said he preached…and he preached…and he preached. He felt the Holy Spirit moving upon his sermon that day and knew something wonderful was going to happen. He was excited. Nothing happened.

 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” John 15:18 NIV

After the service, and a curry dinner, he went to the car and found one of the tires had been slashed. He opened the trunk to remove the spare when a man walked up to him and insisted that Dad let him change the tire. Once the man began removing the lug nuts he began to share with Dad that he did not appreciate his coming to his village and preaching a foreign religion that no one wanted to hear. He confessed that he was the one who had slashed the tire in attempt to send an unwelcomed message not to come back. However, after he heard Dad’s sermon he realized he was wrong and wanted to hear more. Dad won that man to the Lord that day and he became a member of the Church. Dad worked with him for a few weeks, teaching the Gospel and with Dads continued guidance, he became the new pastor of this new church. The church in both in villages continued to grow.

You see, something wonderful did happen that day. It was not when Dad expected it…during the service. No, it happened when God wanted it to, with a man who stood against God, and slashed a tire.

The church in Linden did not know the answer to their prayer. They only knew and believed and expected the answer. They knew the answer would come. In their diligence and steadfast faith the answer came. Like Daniel, they did not stop praying. The fighting in the spirit world was intense. But as always, God won, and the answer came at the right time, and in the right place.

His timing is His timing. Not ours

 “For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie.

If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. “

Habakkuk 2:3 ESV