Sunday, March 29, 2009

I really don't think that Obama is starting things out well. This so called "stimulus" thing he's doing is basically giving you next year's tax return in tiny amounts throughout the rest of this year. There is your "raise." I think many people are going to be very surprised when they file next year and then get a small return. I redid my W4 to make sure that I will get a return. Single people don't get the breaks that marrieds and those with children do. So goes the Obamanomics.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

And of some have compassion, making a difference

The world lost an incredible person Friday, March 13. She was a woman who, at first, scared me when I first moved into the dorm. I was so not ready for the changes that were going to be taking place or the spiritual battle I was about face. But through it all, she, my dorm mom, was there to help and encourage me, pray for me, and admonish me. My life has been forever changed because of her.

I knew that when I received the news that she had passed on to Glory that I wanted to be there for her funeral. The only thing standing in the way was some 550 miles road, a reliable vehicle, and time off of my job. The Lord quickly allowed each of those things to fall into place and by Tuesday night, I was on my way.

So, Tuesday was a busy day in itself. I judged vocals all day in the ODACS competition and then asked my boss about taking Thursday and Friday off to attend the funeral. He okayed it and then the mad dash began. I had to send in my grades and then pack before a coworker came to my house to to give me a ride to the Metro. I made it MD in a timely manner to meet up with Jen. From there we had an uneventful 9-hour ride to IN.

Room 17. That's where all the single girls stay when they come back to visit. This is the second time I've stayed in that room. This time, I wasn't greeted by my beloved dorm mom.

I know that things change with time and that people are born and people die. I don't know why it's so hard to accept this when it occurs all the time. Jen kind of summed up some of my feelings in her blog. You can't go back. All we are left with is the memories (sometimes regrets) of a person's life.

I chuckle at a time that Mrs. Leslie was not happy with me. It was my freshman year and I was as independent as could be. I needed a tire changed on Hank the Tank and since I'm my father's daughter, I knew how to do it. The only thing I lacked was a good floor jack (I've never liked bumper jacks) so I asked a guy if I could borrow a jack. All he said was that a guy should do it (he didn't offer to do it). So, I changed the tire. I returned the jack and went back to the dorm. Mrs. Leslie was at the front desk and I mentioned to that I just finished changing my tire. She then told me that there was no reason for me to do that and that a guy should have done it for me. My independent mind was reeling. By my senior year, a number of guys had tried their hand at fixing Hank, and Mrs. Leslie and I were laughing about that freshman incident. She told me that she wanted to roll a huge tire across the rec room during the Christmas party just because of me. LOL! I forget the reason why she didn't.

It was very evident that Mrs. Leslie cared for all her girls. She often did little things (notes of encouragement, special treats) but the greatest thing she did was pray for her girls. I know I needed lots of prayer through my years there.

There are so many things I can remember about Mrs. Leslie. I volunteered to go visiting with her once and when we go to where the card said to go, no houses existed there. We just kind of laughed about it. I remember getting a note from her that was addressed to the "Energizer Bunny." I think that was the year I was working two jobs, 7 days a day week (at both jobs). I remember her telling the girls that worked the cleaning job (there were 4 of us at first) that we were allowed to go down to one of the empty rooms to continue sleeping when we got in real late. I enjoyed leaving a case of diet coke outside her apartment door "just because." I also enjoyed getting her thick, fluffy socks to replace her holey ones.

The dorm is not going to be the same. Ever. Mrs. Leslie was one-of-a-kind.

As I have said before, the feelings were bittersweet. While she will be terribly missed, I can rejoice in the fact that she is in Heaven, no more in pain. I was put at ease even more when I got to the dorm and went to the rec room to put something in the refrigerator. The Leslie's apartment is on the bottom floor and I heard lots of laughter coming from the family inside. There was no depressed sorrow of a death, but a celebration of life on the other side of that door. That's what a Christian's life should be like. We should be able to rejoice in the life that was, not the loss right now. Our loss is Heaven's gain.

Mrs. Leslie's life can be summed up by the verse: And of some have compassion, making a difference.

She sure has made a difference in my life.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

This past week has been interesting. On Monday, I was able to meet Byron Foxx, founder of Bible Truth Music and rehearse with him with the ensemble. We then sang a BTM piece for the chapel special.

Then, Friday and Saturday was spent in Norfolk attending an Elizabeth George conference. I bought a few of her books and she signed them. Her husband, Jim, was there and he signed one of the books he authored for me. I enjoyed the conference and it left me with some things to think about. The theme of the conference was Following God with All your Heart. One of the hardest things a woman may deal with is her thought life. It's easy to look back and think "what if?" or "if only" and that's not what we are supposed to do. We need to be thinking about what is real and true, not what has happened or what may happen, but what is happening.

(me, Gloria, Claudia, Yolanda, Julia, Lucia, and Melissa
Mrs. Elizabeth George)

She also mentioned a book entitled Faith is not a Feeling by Ney Bailey. The story she shared with us about Ney Bailey was moving.

I did get some sad news on the way to Norfolk: my dorm mom passed away after a fight with cancer. The feeling is bittersweet as I miss her, but I know that she is in Heaven.

I got to do something that I have been wanting to do since I moved to VA: Go to the ocean! Now, the weather was not the best, but we still got up early and went to see it. The rained hadn't started yet for the day, but the wind was blowing and it was cold! But, I did not let that stop me. I still took off my shoes and entered the water. I know that all beaches are basically the same, but this was my very first time to see the ocean. It was incredible!

(awful pic of me, but I am in front of the Atlantic Ocean)

Saturday, March 07, 2009


What an inspiring story!

By Edna Ellison

I spent the week before my daughter's June wedding running last-minute trips to the caterer, florist, tuxedo shop, and the church about forty miles away.

As happy as I was that Patsy was marrying a good Christian young man, I felt laden with responsibilities as I watched my budget dwindle .

So many details, so many bills, and so little time. My son Jack was away at college, but he said he would be there to walk his younger sister down the aisle, taking the place of his dad who had died a few years before. He teased Patsy, saying he'd wanted to give her away since she was about three years old!

To save money, I gathered blossoms from several friends who had large magnolia trees. Their luscious, creamy-white blooms and slick green leaves would make beautiful arrangements against the rich dark wood inside the church.

After the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding, we banked the podium area and choir loft with magnolias. As we left just before midnight, I felt tired but satisfied this would be the best wedding any bride had ever had! The music, the ceremony, the reception - and especially the flowers - would be remembered for years.

The big day arrived - the busiest day of my life - and while her bridesmaids helped Patsy to dress, her fiance Tim walked with me to the sanctuary to do a final check. When we opened the door and felt a rush of hot air, I almost fainted; and then I saw them - all the beautiful white flowers were black. Funeral black. An electrical storm during the night had knocked out the air conditioning system, and on that hot summer day, the flowers had wilted and died.

I panicked, knowing I didn't have time to drive back to our hometown, gather more flowers, and return in time for the wedding.

Tim turned to me. 'Edna, can you get more flowers? I'll throw away these dead ones and put fresh flowers in these arrangements.'

I mumbled, 'Sure,' as he be-bopped down the hall to put on his cuff links.

Alone in the large sanctuary, I looked up at the dark wooden beams in the arched ceiling. 'Lord,' I prayed, 'please help me. I don't know anyone in this town. Help me find someone willing to give me flowers - in a hurry!' I scurried out praying for four things: the blessing of white magnolias, courage to find them in an unfamiliar yard, safety from any dog that may bite my leg, and a nice person who would not get out a shotgun when I asked to cut his tree to shreds.

As I left the church, I saw magnolia trees in the distance. I approached a house...No dog in sight. I knocked on the door and an older man answered. So far so good . .No shotgun. When I stated my plea the man beamed, 'I'd be happy to!'

He climbed a stepladder and cut large boughs and handed them down to me. Minutes later, as I lifted the last armload into my car trunk, I said, 'Sir, you've made the mother of a bride happy today.'

'No, Ma'am,' he said. 'You don't understand what's happening here.'

'What?' I asked.

'You see, my wife of sixty-seven years died on Monday. On Tuesday I received friends at the funeral home, and on Wednesday . . . He paused. I saw tears welling up in his eyes. 'On Wednesday I buried her.' He looked away. 'On Thursday most of my out-of-town relatives went back home, and on Friday - yesterday - my children left.'

I nodded.

'This morning,' he continued, 'I was sitting in my den crying out loud. I miss her so much. For the last sixteen years, as her health got worse, she needed me. But now nobody needs me. This morning I cried, 'Who needs an eighty-six-year-old wore-out man? Nobody!' I began to cry louder. 'Nobody needs me!' About that time, you knocked, and said, 'Sir, I need you.'

I stood with my mouth open.

He asked, 'Are you an angel? The way the light shone around your head into my dark living room...'

I assured him I was no angel.

He smiled. 'Do you know what I was thinking when I handed you those magnolias?'


'I decided I'm needed. My flowers are needed. Why, I might have a flower ministry! I could give them to everyone! Some caskets at the funeral home have no flowers. People need flowers at times like that and I have lots of them.. They're all over the backyard! I can give them to hospitals, churches - all sorts of places. You know what I'm going to do? I'm going to serve the Lord until the day He calls me home!'

I drove back to the church, filled with wonder. On Patsy's wedding day, if anyone had asked me to encourage someone who was hurting, I would have said, 'Forget it! It's my only daughter's wedding, for goodness' sake! There is no way I can minister to anyone today.'

But God found a way. Through dead flowers.

'Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.'

If you have missed knowing me, you have missed nothing.
If you have missed some of my emails, you may have missed a laugh. But, if you have missed knowing my LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST, you have missed everything in the world.

May God's blessings be upon you.


This story is too beautiful not to send and share with others