Monthly Archives: January 2018

Flashback Friday 10

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Flashback Friday 10

We’re ending the first month of 2018 already! It may be the new year, but if you’re like me, you’re becoming weary of the winter weather. The Flashback for this week is from almost exactly 20 years ago. It was published in the January 29, 1998 edition of the weekly Chester County Independent in Henderson, TN. Reading back over it, I was reminded of the beauty of our amazing landscapes and how “the very stones would cry out” to glorify God in our silence (John 19:39b ESV).

As you read this week’s column, take a look around you at all the beauty you have in your life. I know it’s cold, and we’re getting tired of it, but spring will come. Rejoice in the good things of this season of our lives.

How Majestic is Your Name

tops-of-pine-treesWhat I love about pine trees is their majesty. They stand straight and tall, boughs uplifted to the heavens, as if in praise to the Almighty. When I look at a pine tree, I am reminded of one my favorite choruses by Michael W. Smith, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth. O Lord, our Lord, we praise Your name. Oh Lord, we magnify Your name; Prince of Peace, Mighty God; O Lord God Almighty.”

The words to this song make me want to stand up tall as the trees and “shout unto the Lord with the voice of triumph.”

I recently experienced my first ice storm, and saw pine trees in a new posture. As I drove to work, admiring the exquisite adornment of the countryside, I thought what a symbol of worship the bowed pine trees were. Instead of arms raised high, the trees were bent under the weight of the ice, as if in humble subjection to an awesome God.

ice on pine

As I think back on the memory of those ice-laden trees, the words of another chorus overflow my heart:

“I love You, Lord, and I lift my voice to worship you. Oh my soul, rejoice. Take joy my King in what You hear. May it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear.”

Flashback Friday 9

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Flashback Friday 9

It is so interesting for me to dig back and reread these 20-year-old columns. It’s fun to be reminded of the things my kids were saying and doing, and to recall my own struggles and fears and know how far I have come. The first fear expressed in this column from 1998 is fear of speaking in public. Now, as a public speaker, I don’t even remember having that fear.

But some things stay the same. At the end of this column, I quote Psalm 27:1 and call it my mantra. A few short months ago, I started my first doctoral level class. We were asked to share a scripture that would help us through the obstacles to come in this four-year intensive online program. I shared the same verse that gave me courage when I left home for the first time, when I became a parent, when I went through divorce, decided to leave a secure job for the unknown, and now embark on earning a doctorate.

I hope you enjoy this flashback. And please, share in the comments what helps you move through your fears to find victory on the other side of the battle.

A Child Shall Lead Them

I’ve heard it said that children “inherit” their parents’ fears. If that is true, the real Geoffrey Taylor and Jeanna Elizabeth Alexandra Cooper probably will become subjects of a switched-at-birth-made-for-TV movie.

So far, my children show no signs of fear of speaking in public. At a recent trip to the doctor’s office, 3-year-old Geoff kept the entire waiting room entertained with tales of “The Magic School Bus,” “Kratt’s Creatures,” “Arthur,” “Bananas in Pajamas,” and “Barney.”

They show no concern for what others may think of them. Last week 23-month-old Jeanna walked up to a stranger in the bank and informed her, “I’m Jeanna. I’m pretty!”

Financial worries are alien to them as Geoff begs for Matchbox cars from “the Wal-Mart Car and Gum Store,” and Jeanna continues in her baby adopting endeavors.

Fear of bodily harm completely surpasses them as their fingers and toes web together and gills sprout behind their ears.

As they perform somersaults and mid-air flips, jump from counter tops and slide off of desks.

As Jeanna shouts, “Higher, higher,” and pumps her legs in the “wing.”

As they hug, kiss, and pat every dog, cat, lamb and goat they see.

At the end of eighth grade, I had my first “panic attack.” I stood in front of the “enormous”Torrington High School and begged Christ to return before I was forced to encounter such fearsome obstacles.

I was certain I’d be taken up in the rapture before I had to face the frightful four – high school, college, marriage, and childbirth. In just 11 years, I succeeded in all four, and the only downside has been those extra 30 pounds I still blame on my children.

Before I left home for a large college in Florida, I discovered a verse that has become my mantra. Psalm 27:1 says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

My husband and I tell the kids that they have nothing to be afraid of because God and Jesus always are with them and protecting them. God says “fear not; for I am with thee,” (Isaiah 43:5a).

Maybe Geoff and Jeanna have more to teach me in some areas than I have to teach them.

 

Flashback Friday 8

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Flashback Friday 8

I kicked off the new year by listening to an audio book called, “The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper” by Phaedra Patrick. I thought Mr. Pepper might have some strange quirks about his personality that the author called curious charms. It didn’t take long for me to realize the charms were part of a bracelet Arthur finds when he cleans out his deceased wife’s closet. He takes on the challenge of tracking down the origin of each charm and learning about a part of his wife he had never known. The book is a beautiful story, sprinkled with humor, of grief, healing, and restoration. As I listened to the adventures of this widower while tracking down the origins of a tiger, an elephant, an artist’s palette, and other charms, I was reminded of my own charm bracelet. Actually, I have several, but my first charm bracelet came from my former mother-in-law, who is still a dear friend. Twenty years ago she read this column and it’s closing paragraph. That Christmas, I received a lovely gold charm bracelet with the first two charms attached.

SYMBOLS OF FREEDOM

As a Navy Brat, I’ve seen both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and most of the land between them. I’ve stopped in the middle of a summer softball game to stand, hand over heart, as the “Star Spangled Banner” played and the flag was lowered at the end of a day on a Naval reservation.

I whole heartedly believe that the United States of America is the greatest country in the world. I realize there are a multitude of problems in our nation. I’ve been known to grumble about a lot of them. But there still is no other place I would rather live.

When I was in high school, someone made a rude remark about my sister. I immediately defended her. The person said, “but you’ve said the same thing about her yourself!”

My brilliant response was, “Yeah, but she’s MY sister.”

That’s the way it is with family, and that’s the way it is with the U.S. We can fight and gripe, but an outsider better just keep his mouth shut.

“From sea to shining sea” are monuments symbolizing our nation’s ideology and the men who have led us in those ideas. From the Liberty Bell to the Washington Monument, we are reminded of our greatness.

Our country also has many symbols commemorating our freedom. As Americans, we may be selfish with our parking spaces, but when it comes to freedom, we want the whole world to have what we have. That is why we have monuments like the three soldiers raising the flag at Iwo Jima, the Vietnam Memorial and the Statue of Liberty.

The first two monuments recognize the lives that were lost in defending democracy – for ourselves and our neighbors.

The Statue of Liberty symbolizes our willingness to share our bounty with those who could not find it in their own homelands.

I have never seen the Statue of Liberty. But someday, I hope to stand at her base and read the inscription – “Give me your tired, your poor …” I don’t remember the rest of how it goes, but it reminds me of another symbol of freedom – the cross.

While Jesus was still on this earth He said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” (Matthew 11:28, KJV).

Then He died for our freedom.

Each little trinket on a bracelet represents something of importance to the one who wears it. If I had a charm bracelet, the first two symbols I’d hang on it would be miniatures of the Statue of Liberty and of the cross.