Photography Award

Although Christian Grandfather is an award free blog, I am pleased to announce that I have been ranked in the top 50 of most popular photographers in 2016 among my “View Bug” (photography site) peers. I feel honored in every way. When I tried to copy the award it was so small on this blog you couldn’t read it so I posted on top of one of my floral photos. the original is posted at the bottom of this post.

award_3967_edited-3If you would like to see more of my photos you can find them at andyoldhamphotography.wordpress.com

Here is the little bugger that won me this honor.

Click to enlarge detail

possum__0990

This is the copy of the original award that could not be read here on WP.

view-bug-2016_6167

View Bug is a wonderful place to post your photos. You will receive instruction, encouragement, information on contests, and awards for your photography. Please visit at viewbug.com

Advertisements

Made to Love

This is a continuation of our discussion on Bridges.

Please join in the conversation.

Reblogged from susanirenefox.com

January 6, 2017 · by Susan Irene Fox · in Bridges, Christianity ·

glassofwaterJesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)

Think about this: rather than love our neighbor with the same amount of love as we love ourselves, what if Jesus meant for us to love our neighbor from the same Spirit who allows us to love ourselves? The same Spirit who allows us to forgive, offer grace and receive spiritual wisdom?

After all, aren’t we capable of loving in this way because God loved us first?

File written by Adobe Photoshop¨ 5.2

Sometimes we get so full of our own offenses we end up wearing blinders to the pain and injustice raining down around us. We can no longer stand by the sidelines with impunity, for this is the opposite of love. We can no longer hasten to react in anger or call someone out of their name when Jesus clearly told us these things were unacceptable. We can no longer extend fingers of accusation instead of extending offers of invitation to know someone’s heart.

In order to love as God loves, we must first understand we are not the center of the universe. If we hinder our vision due to fear or hate, we hinder our experience of God. Only with hearts, minds and eyes wide open can we hope to embrace the fullness of God’s love and grace continually poured to overflowing into us and through us via His Spirit.

God is love, and we who live in love live in God, and God lives in us. And as we live in God, our love grows more mature in us. So we are free from fear on the Day of Judgment. We can face Him with confidence because we base our identification with the love of Jesus in this world. Such love has no fear, because mature, compassionate love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully embraced and experienced God’s perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first. (1 John 4:16-19)

As we experience the fullness of God, we begin to mature in our relationship with Him. We start to comprehend the complexity of humanity, the sacredness of our unique and ineffable creation, the dignity and value of who we are as children of The Potter who designed us. We are no longer unworthy, for through Christ, the Father has adopted us into His family. We are beloved in His embrace. All of us.

Therefore, as He has declared us His heirs, we are to live up to His expectation of loving each other through His unconditional love. We are to offer each other forgiveness and grace through the grace He has given us before we deserved it. We are to mirror God’s image, not our own.

And God, through Jesus, always stood up for the broken-hearted, the outcasts, and those singled out by injustice.

Yes, at times we feel tired and hopeless; at times we feel frustrated or disappointed. But our task here and now is to draw others to the heart of Jesus, and to reconcile all people to our Father. As we surrender to the Spirit in us, He helps our hearts to stay open; He prays for us; He strengthens us; He connects our heart to the heart of the One who wraps us in His everlasting love.

corporal-montrell-jackson“I’m tired physically and emotionally. Disappointed in some family, friends and officers for some reckless comments. I swear to God I love this city but I wonder if this city loves me. In uniform I get nasty hateful looks and out of uniform some consider me a threat. I’ve experienced so much in my short life and these last 3 days have tested me to the core. These are trying times. Please don’t let hate infect your heart. I’m working in these streets so any protesters, officers, friends, family or whoever, if you see me and need a hug or want to say a prayer, I got you.” Corporal Montrell Jackson, Aurora PD, Baton Rouge, LA, written on his Facebook page July 8, 2016, three days before he was shot to death in the line of duty.

 

New Year’s Resolutions for You and Your Church (2017)

Next Month I will be speaking to the Senior Luncheon for our Church. In preparing for this talk I happened upon this article. After reading please give sincere thought and make a commitment rather than a resolution this year.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It’s that time of year again.

We’re going to lose weight, exercise more, get out of debt, stick to a budget, stop smoking, save for the future and spend more time with family.

We make resolutions because we want to bring change to bear on our circumstances. We want to improve ourselves and our quality of life. And the top resolutions, for most people, tend to revolve around the same three poles: money, health and family.

But what would a set of New Year’s resolutions look like for you and your church, your role as a leader, or simply as someone who wants to live a life of strategic Kingdom investment?

And specifically, what if they came from the Bible?

Though many more could be added, here are fifteen to consider:

1.      Pray more.

So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord… ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’” says the Lord Almighty. (Zechariah 4:6, NIV)

2.      Invest in your spiritual gift(s).

Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. (I Timothy 4:14-15, NIV)

3.      Get more intentional about evangelism.

I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. (I Corinthians 9:22, NIV)

4.      Care for yourself spiritually.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (Philippians 3:12, NIV)

5.      Make the tough decisions you know are best.

And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. (Acts 20:22-24, NIV)

6.      Confront debilitating patterns of sin.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

7.      Do the hard work needed to build community.

If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. (Matthew 18:15, NIV)

8.      Keep in touch with contemporary culture.

From the tribe of Issachar, there were 200 leaders… All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take. (I Chronicles 12:32, NLT)

9.      Quit comparing yourself to other Christians, other leaders, and other churches.

Turning his head, Peter noticed the disciple Jesus loved following right behind. When Peter noticed him, he asked Jesus, “Master, what’s going to happen to him?” Jesus said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you? You – follow me.” That is how the rumor got out among the brothers that this disciple wouldn’t die. But that is not what Jesus said. He simply said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you?” (John 21:20-23, Msg)

10.    Read more.

Timothy, please come as soon as you can…When you come, be sure to… bring my books,… (II Timothy 4:9, 13, NLT)

11.    Prioritize your family.

A leader must be well-thought-of, committed to his wife,…attentive to his own children and having their respect. For if someone is unable to handle his own affairs, how can he take care of God’s church? (I Timothy 3:2-5, Msg)

12.    Refuse to use ministry to satisfy your personal ambition.

Should you then seek great things for yourself? Seek them not. (Jeremiah 45:5, NIV)

13.    Love people, not just crowds.

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. (I Corinthians 13:1-3, Msg)

14.    Be more open to change.

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? (Isaiah 43:19, NIV)

15.    Stay focused on the vision.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47, NIV)

Dr. James Emery White

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president.

http://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/dr-james-emery-white/new-years-resolutions-for-you-and-your-church-2016.html

SPONTANEOUS VACATION

Our Oldham family was by no means well off in the early 1950’s. Of course my two brothers and me never knew that. We thought we were just right. The only thing I can remember that would indicate otherwise was when Dad said something I have never forgotten. “These rich folks that live in $20, 0000 homes have it made.” Why I remember that, I don’t know. I guess it was the first indication that I was born into a poor family in south Louisiana.

Even still, I did not understand the implications of these words, at the time, and continued playing with my friends. I loved the era and the upbringing in which I grew up. Living a life of understanding black-eyed peas, fried SPAM, and cornbread was good for me, I still find them delicious. However, it was these years of innocence that I now look back upon as an adult and appreciate the very few real vacations that we took as a family.

Dad worked full time for the NATB (National Automobile Theft Bureau) as a Louisiana State Trooper. He took a second job pastoring the small Church of God in Tickfaw, Louisiana. Mom worked as a bookkeeper. With these three incomes we were able to enjoy vacation moments that were short and adventurous. Sometimes we went fishing at Old River or False River on the western side of the Mississippi River. These used to be a part of Old Man River until he changed course and cut them off, making nice fishing lakes. Otherwise, if we weren’t fishing in someone’s pond, or the creek bottom, we were swimming in one of them—if we could shoo the snakes away.

Andy, Bill, and Meriam Oldham June 1955

Andy, Bill, and Meriam Oldham
                                    June 1955

Yet the spontaneous outings Dad created were the ones I am most fond of. The one captured in this photo is just one of many such impromptu adventures. We were driving through the country roads of south Louisiana when Dad saw a Forestry Fire Tower and pulled in the driveway. As usual Mom said, “What are you doing Edward?” My older brother Bill and I stood to attention when we heard the answer.

“I’ll be right back.”

In a few minutes Dad waved goodbye to the Forest Ranger and returned to the car.

“Come on boy’s, we’re climbing to the top.”

Bill and I hopped out of the car and raced to the bottom of the stairs. The walk was exciting at first, but it did not take long for a four and six year old to tire out. Dad snapped this photo while we were resting. After catching our breath we climbed to the top and looked in every direction, over thousands of acres of trees.

Even though I was a month from turning five, I have never forgotten this small memory. A smile calms my grin each time I see a fire tower.

When Chaos Arrived

What was that? Dad turned to hear a furious noise behind him. With limbs breaking and leaves crackling his anticipation grew. The closer the noise the more anxious he became. This was, after all, his first time. He didn’t know what to expect. Grunting grew to point that he felt as if the animal was going to attack him. Dad heard each hoof hitting the ground and the dogs continued their incessant barking. The animal feared for his life and ran as fast as he could.

Dad raised his gun. All he needed was for it to appear in his site. The louder the confusion between man and beast, the more intense and passionate he became.

Deep bulging sounds—panic in the air—chaos was about to debut. The noise stopped. Where was he? Dad eased his gun to left, nothing. Questioning his whereabouts he moved back to the right, nothing. He took his eyes off the site to look around.

The dogs got louder and Dad wondered if he had missed his objective. Chaos burst through the Colorado Spruce and ran toward Dad. He turned his gun for a perfect shot. His finger was on the trigger. He lowered his gun. The Elk ran a new direction.

Bugling Bull (male) Elk Yellowstone National Park Wyoming near the Madison River ** Note: Shallow depth of field

Google Photo

Dad had hunted in the Louisiana woods his entire life, but never like this, or for the largest land mammal in North America. He had just moved to Denver to pastor the South Denver Church of God. The men in the church invited him to go Elk hunting. They took him to the license bureau to apply for a hunting license and Elk tags. He was told that to get a tag you must first sign up, and then wait on the lotto drawing. If you were lucky you might get a bull Elk or cow licenses. If you didn’t get either, you got to stay home, or at the camp while the others hunted.

Dad was excited when he received his tags in the mail. He hadn’t won a bull tag. There was not a cow tag inside either. His tag said he could hunt both. When he told the men of the church of his luck they were amazed. One of them told him they had lived in Colorado their entire life and never won both tags. They patted him on the back and assured him he had won the Lotto.

When hunting day came he was taken up in the mountains and placed on a big flat rock. He was told to, “Sit right here, be still and wait.” He would soon hear the dogs and they would run the animal toward him. “When you hear all the commotion, get ready.”

Dad did as he was instructed and sat patiently. Even with the bull Elk in his site he could not pull the trigger. He stood in awe of his beauty. The display of power and dominance impressed him with an indescribable reaction for the animal. In view of vigorous muscle, huge antlers, and breathtaking presence Dad lowered his gun.

When Dad told us this story he said, “He was too beautiful to kill.”

elk-2Google Photo

A New Goliath – Part 2

In Part 1 of this series we discussed the Israelites and their fear of the Philistines who wanted to subject them to their will. We also discussed David, and the panic he encountered when chased by King Saul who wanted to kill him. You can find Part one here: https://christiangrandfather.com/2016/07/28/a-new-goliath/

goliath

In 2013, there were some 2,100 Christians killed across the globe for their faith. In 2015 that number rose to at least 7,100(Not all ISIS). 3  In 2014 “ . . .the Islamic State (ISIS) . . . published a new edition of the propaganda booklet Dabiq, which is again signaling its primary enemy – Christianity.  This “terror groups desire is to conquer Rome and ‘break the cross,’” This aspiration is much like that of the Philistine’s who stood in defiance of God and petrified the Israelite army. “Their goal is to pave the way for the appearance of their Mahdi, the Islamic Messiah.” 1 Just this morning ISIS has announced they will begin attacking London and Washington D.C.

I am by no means a theologian so I am not trying to go so deep that I lose both you and me. I only share what is in my heart, and in the hearts of those around me. I left you with the following questions:

Do we have right to be afraid? As did David, should we stand against those who want to kill us?

“The Philistines were mentioned in the Bible as far back as the time when God promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations. The Philistines were the mortal enemies of the nation of Israel for hundreds of years. When the Israelites had finally settled into Canaan, they had to contend with the Philistines.

These two nations constantly fought against one another. One of the major reasons as to why the Philistines and the Israelites constantly have strife with one another is because of their religious beliefs. The Philistines primarily believed in Dagon (god of fertility) and the Israelites believed in Yahweh, or God. These two gods were nothing alike and this religious difference played out in the lives of the Philistines and the Israelites in forming their cultures and shaping their lives.

Another major reason as to why the Philistines resented the Israelites is because they had conquered so many people when they entered into Canaan under Joshua’s leadership. The Philistines were a powerful and warlike people, and they didn’t like the idea of having the Israelites being strong. So they constantly challenged the strength of Israel and many times they wanted to subject them to their rule to prove they were better. God also let the Philistines remain in the land to test and punish the Israelites whenever they strayed away from worshiping him. The Philistines defeated the Israelite armies on many occasions and they even managed to get some of the people to turn away from worshiping Yahweh.” 2

America has been a strong nation over the past 240 years. Our strength was formed on the foundation of Christianity. Those who hate us are challenging its very foundation. We see around the world Christians been beheaded and killed in other ways. They desire to come to America, and are already here in small cells preparing to attack when they feel it is time. This is our New Goliath.

My first inclination is to say, “YES” we have a right to be afraid. I believe most of us would agree this would be our first thought. We defend our fear by saying God created us with this innate characteristic to protect ourselves from harm. It is part of our human nature. If we see a tornado headed out way our emotion is to get to safety and protect ourselves. If someone wants to hurt our children we immediately run to their protection. Fear is a part of human nature. When Goliath comes for us are we to be afraid? When this huge enemy comes against the foundations of our world are we to grow fearful of what will come?

If you are old enough, do you remember the days of uncertainty; post WW2, in the 1950’s and 1960’s when everyone was building bomb shelters? We had atomic bomb drills in school. When the alarm sounded we immediately climbed under our desk, folded up into a ball and waited for the end of the world. Children were genuinely afraid and were relieved when the alarm sounded a second time to tell us to go back to learning. We were preparing ourselves for war.

Like David, if we did not have a human nature of fear we would not need these passages to remind us. The key is to overcome this mortal nature with one of a spiritual walk with out God. The Bible is full of passages where we are instructed to have no fear. In fact there are so many I struggle to decide which ones to use. We all agree with these. I believe most of you are like me in that while we agree with these scriptures we do so with a disingenuous heart simply because we have never had anything, or anyone really stand against us and threaten our lives. This New Goliath is now doing just that.

Through out the Word of God we are given example after example of how to handle fear. These examples have One thing in common, they trusted God. I imagine Abraham had fear sparked in his heart when God told him to sacrifice Isaac. His fear was quelled by his faith in God. Daniel was thrown into a den of hungry lions. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into a fiery furnace. Elijah was deathly afraid of Jezebel, who threatened to kill him, so he ran. Their own Goliath challenged each of these men of God. Paul and Peter were thrown in jail for their faith and their lives were threatened. Stephen was a layman just like you and I. He was stoned and killed for his faith. God delivered each of these men.

And fear not them which kill the body,                                                                                                                                                                                                 but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him                                                                                                                                                                        which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.                                                                                                                                                                Matthew 10:28(KJV)

We have a hard time understanding what it means to rely on God and put our trust in him. This is why so many gloss over the scriptures that tell us “do not fear.” We battle within our hearts with what it means to not fear when the foundation of our world is crumbling. We struggle with allowing God to be in control.

These Scriptures are there for our benefit. They are God’s Word for us to place in our heart and develop a faith in His security. Instead so many of us do not embed these assurances and move forward in our own strength. When we lose sight of these promises, our worries build an intense scenario that does not exist in God’s Word. When we apply the Word of God daily He will ensure our safety.

We need to be like Job; he had a fence around him so high satan could not penetrate it. How did he have that hedge of protection? Through prayer, worship and obedience to God. How can we build this hedge for ourselves and our family? One prayer is the first brick. Another prayer is another brick on top of that one. Worship is another brick. Obedience is still another on top of these. If in our lives we are constantly laying brick we begin to realize that we are building the same hedge of protection around ourselves, and our family. Our confidence grows. In this way we begin to see that when we take God’s at his Word and do not fear, we are growing in the same confidence the saints of old had in their lives.

God is faithful to his Word. When we develop our hearts and minds to capture God’s strength we learn to depend on Him and His Word. When we have our confidence in Him, we do not have to fear. We know that this Goliath is only one of many that will be defeated by the Almighty.

The key is to grow in confidence by FOLLOWING. We prepare for battle in the same way those saints before us have done; we allow God to lead; we follow. “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you” James 4:8. This is how we prepare to meet Goliath. When we follow after God’s lead, . . .the eyes of the wicked will fail, and escape will elude them; their hope will become a dying gasp (Job 11:20).

In Part 3 I will address the question: What can the righteous do? (Psalm 11:3)

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”  1 Corinthians 15:57-58 (ESV)  

References:

  1. Newsweek, 10-14-2014)
  2. http://amazingbibletimeline.com/blog/philistines/)
  3. https://churchpop.com/2016/01/17/the-number-of-christian-martyrs-tripled-in-2015/

 

Arrested ~ My Side of The Story

Arrested - police_officer_arresting_young_man_cg4p9736339c_thI watched as the khaki and brown uniforms walked from the other side of the cafeteria. The officers stopped every few tables as if they were asking where they could find someone. The students pointed in my direction. When they got closer I stopped conversation with my friends and directed their attention toward the police. The County Mounty arrived at our table.

“I’m looking for Andy Oldham, and . . .” He said.

I only heard my name called, as it seemed the only one important to me at the moment. Why was he looking for me?

“Are you Andy Oldham?

“Yes sir.”

“Stand up, turn around and place both hands behind your back.”

“What did I do officer?”

He didn’t answer my question.

“There, they’re not too tight are they?” The Madison County Deputy asked.

“No sir, but what did I do? Shouldn’t I be told what I am being arrested for and read my rights, or something?”

“You’ll find out soon enough, and your rights will be read downtown,” he said.

*****

     The week before my arrest was Prank Week 1969. This week of scheming to see who could play the best trick happened on the campus of Anderson University at the beginning of the year. No one could get hurt physically, mentally, or emotionally. Since I have always enjoyed playing jokes on others, and having them played on me, I was looking forward to my freshman year in the dormitory at Dunn Hall.

Eric Borlin, my roommate, played his joke on his girlfriend, Jane, without realizing it. He didn’t mean it as a prank, but we loved it. Like a lot of men, Eric’s hair was dark brown but his mustache was red. To make them match he colored his mustache with brown shoe polish.

Around 10:30 one evening, a lot of guys were sitting around the fireplace when he and Jane came in to the Commons after a date.

“Hi Mo, hi Andy. What are you guys doing?”

Mo Hodge started laughing first Dennis Harrington chimed in. Sometimes I am a little slow, but this time I caught on before many others.

“Hi Eric, what’s that brown stuff around Jane’s mouth?” Mo asked.

When Eric got upset, or overly excited, his saliva filled his mouth and he would hold his hand under his mouth so he wouldn’t get drool all over his shirt. That’s exactly what happened. Eric began sucking slobber back into his mouth while looking at Jane.

“What’s around my mouth Eric?” Jane asked.

Holding one hand under his mouth he ushered her outside. “Come on let’s go.”

I can imagine the conversation they had over a large brown ring around her mouth. Of course, since she didn’t stay in the dorm, they had to go somewhere to clean it off before he took her home.

*****

    The girls in 1969 had a dorm curfew, boys did not. Late one night, several buddies of mine, and I, made our way to the girl’s freshman dorm and checked it out. We had been joking all week with some of the girls and told them we would get you before the week is over. After finding a couple of the girls cars we drove downtown to the Anderson Herald dock and acquired several bundles of old papers. We snuck back to the dorm, opened the bundles and wadded up all the papers. We stuffed as many papers in the car as we could and shut the doors. There were several bundles left over so we put them on top of the car.

When the girls didn’t comment on what had happened we were surprised. Prank Week ended and several weeks went by with no discussion. We were puzzled but knew we couldn’t ask or they would know we had played this dastardly trick.

Arrested - cop-flashlight-33872

   “My Dad is the Director of Security on Anderson’s campus,” I said. “Let me call him.”

“You will get your one phone call when we get to the jail, son. “

He took me, and my three buddies, and led us by the arm toward the front door of the student cafeteria. Hundreds of our peers stopped eating and stared in amazement. A group of my closest friends followed us out of the building. When we got the front door the Indiana policeman turned around and told them to stay there and not to follow.

“Duck your head, son,” he said, as he placed each of us in the backseat of the patrol car.

“I still don’t know what I did,” I said.

No response from the officer seemed appropriate for him, once again.

Two per car, I looked at my friend and he gazed at me.

I whispered, “Do you know why we are being arrested?”

He shrugged his shoulders indicating he was just as puzzled.

The car moved forward and east down University Boulevard, from the cafeteria. We turned right on Nursery Road, and right again on E. 5th Street. Yes, we were headed in the direction of the Anderson City Jail. Anxiety swept over my soul as we approached College Drive. Wait! We were supposed to turn left here, not right. Did this cop know where the jail was? Turning right again, and back onto University Boulevard, we were headed right for the cafeteria. Needless to say we were, now, totally perplexed.

The sergeant let us out in the same place we had been put in the cars. About that time these four girls, and about one hundred acquaintances, came running out pointing fingers and laughing. Unlocking our handcuffs, the cop said, “There has been a mistake. You are not the criminals we were looking for.” And, “Oh, by the way, you have been pranked.” He walked over to the girls and got a huge hug from each. He turned and smiled at us, got back in the driver’s seat and drove away.

I guess you know by now who played the best prank and it surely was not us guys. After several weeks the girls let us in on their secret. Even as conniving and careful as we were that night they were watching our every move from the third floor window of their dorm. They saw every piece of paper we stuffed in the car. While watching they planned their revenge. The next morning one of them drove the car to the recycle company and collected a little pocket change.

Weeks before my arrest, these college age juveniles were pulled over by this Madison County cop for running a stop sign. As girls will be, they laughed and giggled and used their child-like charm to make friends with him. When they needed a prank, he came through for them. Boy, did he ever.

I have to smile. After all these years, this was the best joke ever played on me. I will never forget. I have to stop and thank God for the humor in my life.

FullSizeRender(33)

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
865-453-3152

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