He can walk!

Yes, my husband John was able to walk the next morning after back surgery. He was in a wheelchair for 3 weeks prior to surgery.  The PT lady in the hospital was amazed how well he walked and the doctor released him that day.  Wow, back surgery and only one night in the hospital. Praise God!


 is my word to consider for 2018

 – –  how we take it for granted.

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All the Time?

All the Time?

Pastor – “God is Good!” – response People – “All the Time!”

Pastor – “All the Time!” – response People – “God is Good!”

Our church service begins with this ritual.

Many times, I think – All the Time?

When a loved one dies?

When the diagnosis is cancer?

When your spouse leaves?

When your child rebels?

When your husband has been in pain for ten days?

You get the picture – many times we don’t feel like God is Good – all the time.

Nothing was working out.  No one returned my calls.  It did not seem that God was good this Monday.  No one seemed to care.  I shouldn’t say that- family and friends kept in touch with me constantly– they cared.  The prayer chain at church was active. The medical community was not responding.

I awoke with such optimism Monday morning – that someone would help – we would get an appointment that day for my husband.  John was not able to stand without excruciating pain or walk for ten days.  He had an MRI at the ER on Tuesday before Thanksgiving and was sent home with pain meds and prednisone.  He had a herniated disk. Now, he was out of both medicines and pain not improved.

As the hours dragged on and no calls I was anxious, ok, I was depressed.

Finally, at 4pm I received a call from our local doctor’s office. I rushed to town to get the prescription.  Then to the pharmacy to have it filled.  It was then my cell phone rang – a neurosurgeon’s office – could we be there at 8:50 the next day?  Yes, someone does care.

The next morning our son helped me get John in the car and loaded the wheelchair.  We left our house at 6:30 am for the one and half hour trip over the mountain to Gainesville.  It was a beautiful clear day the sun was shining and warm for late November.  I drove around to the front door to let John out.  Amazing, a handicapped parking place right in front.  I don’t like to pray for a parking space – but God reserved one for me that day.  After a few pulls and tugs I was able to get the wheelchair unloaded.

I rolled John in the office and before we got settled in for the wait (he was being worked in their schedule) he was called back to see the doctor.  The doctor came in and showed me the MRI and X-ray and said his disk was completely pinched and he needed surgery as soon as possible. Everyone in the office seemed concerned and the doctor was concerned about his pain level – he scheduled surgery the next week.

They called the hospital to try to schedule preop for that day.  No openings – Preop on Friday.  Oh, no go over the mountain again in few days?  John could not make that trip again.  But Yeah surgery scheduled!

I got him in the car and then tackled the wheelchair.  After several lifts a lady appeared and said, “Here, let me show you how to do that!”

We went to lunch.  John said, “Why don’t we go by the hospital and see if they can work us in for preop today.  Sure, enough someone else cared and after an hour nap in the waiting room they put him through preop procedure.

God was certainly good that Tuesday.  On the drive home, I recounted all the blessings – Praise the Lord for a safe trip, beautiful sunny day, parking place right in front of office, surgery scheduled, a lady to lift wheelchair and preop done.

But was God good on Monday when I was so despondent and distraught?  Sure, he was – he gave me the strength to keep pressing on.  Even though I didn’t feel like he was good, he was working all the time.

Seeing the goodness of God on Tuesday helped me get through the next week before John’s surgery as his pain increased even with strong medication.

Where are you today?  Do you feel that God is Good all the time?  My experience is miniscule compared to my friend who lost her husband or another friend facing cancer or someone whose spouse leaves.  But I know God can meet you even in those times.

There are many scriptures to encourage us that God is Good and that He works for our good.  Here are a few from New International Version (NIV):

Psalm 73:1                          Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.

2 Corinthians 9:8              And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Philippians 2:13                For it is God who works in you to will and act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Romans 8:28                      And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Psalm 121
A song of ascents.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.


This song by Casting Crowns – speaks to our times of doubting that God is Good all the time!





Kissing Cousins

The three quarter length sleeves on the red dress were flattering as was the fitted waist.  Even though it was a warm day in September I could not resist wearing the new dress on my date.  Johnny picked me up and said, “I’d like to stop by my house – there are some people I’d like you to meet.”

We were greeted by a friendly crowd of all ages.  Picnic tables were spread with what looked like old sheets and it seemed like every one was bringing food to the tables.  Johnny disappeared in the crowd and was kissed by several beautiful young ladies.  I knew his two sisters and they were not the ones kissing him.

Later in the car I asked about the pretty young ladies kissing him.  He said, “Oh those were my cousins!”  Kissing cousins I thought.  Ummmmm.

Those kissing cousins, Sue, Lee and Betty would become lifelong friends.


Sue, Betty and Sue’s daughter Kim



Lee and daughter Melodie


That was my first introduction to a family reunion.  My boyfriend’s mother was one of seven children; six girls and one boy.  Virginia, Lenora, Zora, I.V., Jessie, Ethel, and Cleo.  When they all got together on the fourth Sunday in September there was feasting, fun and pictures.

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The original gang minus Aunt Lenora

Now that handsome young man is no longer called Johnny but John and my husband of 52 years and I did not wear a red dress but a dark blue dress which detracted from my not so small waist.


John with Benny and Gene









Many gatherings have been enjoyed over the years at family houses until the crowd grew too large and then church halls, recreation centers and once at Vogel State Park.  The last several years we have meet in my sister-in-law Gayle’s church basement.

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Gayle, Tommy and Uncle Dutch


All the original seven sisters and one brother are gone but we still meet in their memory and in their honor for what they taught us – to love God, love our family and our neighbors.  The crowd has dwindled a bit but the food was still good and we try to keep up with each other’s lives – the babies born, growing children, those graduating from high school and happenings in our lives.


Nana Pat, Cameron & Chalonda




Our almost seventeen-year-old grandson drove us to the gathering and our son and his daughter led the way in another car.





We enjoyed the food and fellowship.

A few years ago, we gathered around the keyboard and sang old hymns as our cousin Keith played.


Sanders Family Singers


I couldn’t help but shed a tear thinking about how John’s mom and dad and all the others who are gone now would have loved to hear that singing.

But I imagine the original gang is having their own reunion in heaven!

Exodus 20:12New International Version (NIV)

12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.


Sugar or Starch?

How could something so sweet be good for you and yet stick to the bowl like starch?


July and August may be the dog days of summer because of the heat but they are our time to ‘put up corn.’

Sweet corn is my family’s favorite vegetable.  When the family gathers for Sunday lunch or at holidays, we serve a large container of corn. Not just any corn but fresh corn that is frozen quickly to preserve the taste.

To have enough corn to serve at these special family gatherings, we schedule several processing times. Our goal is to put at least 50 quarts in the freezer.

A local farmer provides the corn, hopefully family gathers to help Papaw shuck the husks and then into the house for me to blanch, cool, and cut off cob.

I thought I would record the process for future generations, in case they want to have that fresh tasting corn we have every Sunday for lunch.

Our son and grand kids and whoever might be around help shuck it and then John and I prepare for freezer.


Cha, Kelley, Johnny, John, Cam, Gavin




Just a few more ears to go!







A few tips to make sure you get that fresh taste!


Well, which is it sugar or starch? It is both. The grain can produce corn syrup which is placed in most of products we use.  Read the labels.  The corn plant also provides edible starch to make corn starch, jellies and candies.  The dextrin from the raw starch is used to make glue, fireworks.  Crude corn oil is used in making plastic resin, glycerin for soap and refined oil for salad oil, cooking oils and medicinal oils.  Corn is also used to produce ethanol (ethyl alcohol) for fuel.

Of course, our ancestors used corn to process by wet milling, fermenting and adding yeast to convert the sugars into alcohol, also known as “white lightning.” Sorry no video for this process!

Several years ago I was told there was no nutrition in corn.  But read today that corn has vitamins B and E as well as minerals – phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron and copper with traces of selenium. Also good source of fiber.

Get the fresh corn and enjoy the sugar and starch and even some nutrients.

Fake Strawberries

John 15:4-6 New International Version (NIV)

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.








“Oh, you accomplished this did you?”





After working in the garden at 100% humidity– I stopped to rest and drink some water. Even though I was exhausted, I looked around and took pride in the garden.

My husband told me that he would not be able to help in the garden this year because of his back problems. Stubbornly I pursued the task of planting and weeding. We failed to place a layer of wood chips in the fall which would have kept the weeds under control.



Squash – newspaper to block weeds???


Observing the thriving  plants, I thought, “Look at this, I planted all this by myself and it looks so good.”








Immediately the Lord reminded me that all I did was plant and weed the garden – he caused the growth with the abundance of rain and sunshine. I felt like Job when the Lord challenged him for using words without knowledge in Job 38-41. Oops, sorry Lord.

He encouraged me to look at the strawberry patch that was overgrown with weeds.


Right side (before)



“That is what you can take credit for – a mess. Without me you can do nothing!”





Thankfully, after four days of pulling weeds the strawberry patches are cleared of those tall weeds.


Right side (after)


Left side (before)


Left side (after weeding)


Just like Job, I was challenged that God is the creator and sustainer of life. Success comes from acknowledging his majesty and authority over all I attempt. Whether it is gardening, volunteering, or any area of my life, the praise should go to God.

It is important to recognize the weeds as they creep into the strawberry patch.


tiny runners are weeds – fake strawberries




Just like these fake strawberry vines, we must be aware of the invaders.






Are we taking pride in ourselves and our accomplishments without acknowledging that every good and perfect gift comes from the Father and without Him we can do nothing.


Thank you Lord for giving me strength and stamina to pull those weeds!


Job 38  New International Version (NIV)

The Lord Speaks

38 Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:

“Who is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?

Which Season Are You In? — Pat Strickland

One of my hobbies is color analysis. I enjoy the process of helping someone discover what colors are best for them to wear. Each person can be categorized in one of the seasons of the year – fall, winter, spring or summer. It is amazing to see how one’s hair color, eye color, eye pattern, […]

via Which Season Are You In? — Pat Strickland

Which Season Are You In?

One of my hobbies is color analysis. I enjoy the process of helping someone discover what colors are best for them to wear.  Each person can be categorized in one of the seasons of the year – fall, winter, spring or summer.  It is amazing to see how one’s hair color, eye color, eye pattern, skin tone and color preference reveal the season.  Sometimes it is hard to determine their season without the draping process.  This is done by comparing several pieces of drapes in the four season’s palettes.

Some have compared our lives to the seasons of the year.  Spring for youth, summer as the prime of life, fall for maturity and then winter for the older stages.

My favorite way to feature the seasons is the flowers.

The first signs of spring are the bulbs pushing up through the barren ground– crocuses, daffodils, tulips.  Forsythia (or yellow bells) take over the landscape.  They swiftly fade away.


Warmer days cause the azaleas and rhododendrons to take the stage only to last a few weeks if we are lucky.


Summer begins with my favorite- the glory of the day lilies. If there is enough rain – hydrangea upstage all.  Wish they could last all summer.


Summer’s heat ushers in the crepe myrtles and black-eyed susans.

Cooler days are welcomed as the trees take on the show with the rich, brilliant colors of fallview.johnny.house

It seems only a few more weeks and the flowers shrivel and waste away as the leaves drop from the trees and give way to winter’s barren cold.



Blooms of the Christmas cactus brighten winter indoors.thanksgiving-cactus.jpg

Chronologically I am in the winter of my life.  Although I can view the flowers in my gardens and I feel like a spring chicken.

We often think of someone as we knew them 20 or 30 years ago.  It is fun to look on Facebook and see friends from “way back when” and see how they have changed.  Not me???? But suddenly I look in the mirror and see a grey-haired person who is slightly overweight! Well, maybe more than slightly. Who’s that????

“I’m 17”– my friend Beth says!  In our minds, we are all a certain age – 17 or maybe 30 or even 40 for us over the hill gang – 60 is the new 40 these days.

Don’t you know that time passes faster as we age?  Maybe something to do with our brains and how we process time.

Just like the flowers in my garden, our lives are swiftly fading away.

One day we will be a memory to the younger generation.  What will they remember? I asked my granddaughter “What words would you use to describe me?”

“Flowers, food and family,” she said.

When I am no longer able to take care of the flowers, prepare the food and serve my family, will she and my grandsons remember my faith and desire to follow God like their Nana? Our lives are just like a mist that is here today and gone tomorrow but the word of God endures forever.

So, what season are you in?  It will pass so swiftly.  Enjoy each season and share God’s word with your family.


James 4:13,14 (NIV)

13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

I Peter 1:24 (NIV)

All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
25but the word of the Lord endures forever.”

 Ecclesiastes 3 (NIV)

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.