Saturday, August 26, 2017

Self Absorbtion Talk

"You're such a good speaker," someone told my mama after she gave a devotional.  

"Oh, I'm more of a talker than a speaker," she replied.

I think I'm very much like Mama.  

How does one distinguish between speaking and talking?  I shun the word blabbermouth. But sometimes the line between the two is a matter of temperance.  Speaking should balance with listening.

I do love to share what God is doing in my life through conversation or a devotional.  I am a teacher. Someone might then say, "I wish I could speak."  God gave us all abilities, gifts to use for His glory and for others. Imagine a teacher who was petrified to speak!   

So if God called you to help or serve others, your gift may not be speaking or teaching. Gift projection (thinking everyone should do what I'm called to do) and gift envy ("I wish I could. . .") are traps that sidetrack us from God's call on our lives.

My real need was to learn to LISTEN. To be silent. Silent time with God also helps me do so with others. I see myself as a soft shoulder for others to cry on. I hurt with the hurting. Mama was like that too. As a talker though I have to hold back at times on giving advice, when all they want is an ear. Easy? No.

Years ago a depressed friend called me almost every evening, often interrupting our family supper. Because her "Hello" began in tears, I'd leave the table and miss our family mealtime.   They grew to resent it, obvious by the eye rolling and waves when the phone rang.  

She complained and whined endlessly day after day.  I decided not to say a thing about myself for a week.  She never noticed.  She didn't care about my life.  She was really more of a neighbor than a friend. Self absorbed.

I never want to become that person, consumed by self-absorbtion talk. Every trial must be shared in droning detail.  Every good deed must be proclaimed for others to hear. There's no heavenly reward in that!  It can lead to approval addiction.

As Dr. Phil says, "There's something about you I don't like in me." 

Sometimes my best motivator is seeing the mote in someone else and realizing it disturbs me because it's a reflection of my own beam!

I learned some lessons from those nightly phone calls.  Talking comes easy.  Listening is an acquired skill.  Every thought in my head does not need to be spoken.  JUST SHUT UP!  

This lady's writing reveals the desperate lengths this road takes one into a constant need to be heard and approved of by others.  

Approval Addiction

23 Mar 2010

Shari Braendel

"Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." Philippians 2:4 (NIV)


One day I got tired of hearing myself talk.

During a time when everything seemed to be going well, I found myself in a whirlwind where God revealed to me that my life was actually out of control. I knew I was walking the path He had laid out for me and it lined up with my passion for helping others. The problem was that I had become so good at it I didn't feel the need to call on God's help anymore.

What I did come to need, however, was others to tell me I was doing a good job. In fact, if someone didn't pat me on the back, I would tell them about my good deeds!

Everywhere I went people told me how skilled I was at do ing this particular thing. I had become so adept at it that I figured there was no need to consult God anymore. I stopped praying much about it and would just "do." In the middle of my doing, however, I would make sure and ask others if I was doing it okay.

One day I was talking to someone and God allowed me to see myself, almost like I was listening as an outsider. I hated what I had become. Who was this person? Why was she talking so much? Who cared that she did this or that? Oh my goodness, what had become of me?!

I decided that day to stop talking about myself. I decided to quit depending on other people's thoughts about what I was doing, or how I was doing it. I decided that the only One I needed to impress was God. I knew that it wasn't going to happen without thought and planning. This desire for approval was not going to go away by itself.

First, I sat down and had a good cry. Then I consulted God and prayed. I made a decision to be quiet about myself for 30 days. Whenever I talked to someone, I would not mention "me" at all. I would not recount my accomplishments, my breakthroughs, or my shortcomings. Nothing. I decided to begin listening to others as if hearing them for the first time. If they asked about me, I would simply answer, "I'm doing great, thank you." That's it. No more information. I wanted to turn outward and begin to invest in other people's lives.

Well, 30 days turned into 60 days, and then into 90. I will tell you...I'm different now. My friends would probably agree, but I can honestly say I don't desire their approval anymore. It's funny how when we turn attention away from ourselves, we end up feeling more complete in the end. Because truly, the only thing that completes us is God.

Dear Lord, forgive me for seeking approval from anyone but You. Teach me to be silent so I can hear others and most importantly, hear You. Bring to my attention, in a way that only You can, times when I am becoming self-absorbed during conversations. Thank You for loving me enough to help me grow. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Saturday, July 1, 2017


Janice Baskins Banks
Doug Henderson & Kathy Tippett (college years)
Kathryn & Elbert Tippett
Kathryn Tippett
Ricky Tippett

Kathy Tippett college FWBBC
Tippett family with Bert in the middle

Monday, January 16, 2017


My younger brother, Ricky Tippett, shares a story from our family.  It's one worth preserving!
Ricky. . .the younger

Papa and the Mule
My Dad died in 1993, and I often think about the legacy he left me as a boy and later as a man. Filled with wisdom and discernment, his quiet way drew people to seek him out for counsel.
One day, many years before he died, Dad told me a story about his father—my Papa—from my Dad’s younger days on the farm. Though poor in many ways, my parents were rich with strong families that loved God and loved people. Farming can be a tough life and I think that’s a major reason Dad decided to enlist in the U.S. Navy as soon as he graduated from high school.
Daddy, the enlisted sailor

When Dad was a boy Papa hitched up their only mule and went out behind the house to plow the field. Everything was going well, until about the end of the third furrow and that was when the mule decided he had plowed enough. Stubbornly standing still, the mule refused to take another step. Papa snapped the reins and talked to the mule. “Come on, now! Let’s go! Work to do!”
But the mule just stood there refusing to budge.
Dad smiled as he watched the scene unfold, but he had enough sense not to laugh at times like this. Papa had his own boiling points and this was not a time for a son to snicker at his father’s frustration. Dad told me that he looked down or back at the house and Papa didn’t see him grinning.
Papa Tippett with Lloyd Jr.
Back at the mule, however, it was not going so well. By this time, Papa was pulling on the mule’s bridle and yelling at him to come on and plow. With each tug Papa’s mood changed from irritation to anger and now to the final level.
No longer smiling, Dad just watched Papa’s futile efforts to convince that mule to move forward.
Not sure whether it was a warning to the mule or just rage talking, Papa screamed, “Fine! Just stay right there!”
Stomping off to the barn about a hundred yards away, Papa soon came back out with a huge four-by-four post in his hands. While Papa was not a big, heavy man, he was a tall, lanky man and the post in his hands looked small. But there was nothing small about it.
Now standing in front of the immovable mass of flesh, Papa held the post up to the mule’s eyes so he could clearly see it. “You see this post? Well, you better see it,” Papa yelled. “Cause I’m about to lower it onto your mangy head if you don’t start plowing right now!”
Not convinced, evidently, the mule just stood there staring back. As if Papa was counting it down, …. 3…. 2…. 1…..

Papa raised that post over his head with both arms and with all of the force he could muster and all of the rage in his head, he whacked that mule on the top of his head, right between the eyes.
Dad said that he saw that big old mule drop to the ground so fast that he never even saw his knees buckle. It was just dead weight that hit the ground so quickly it didn’t even seem real.
No longer smirking, Dad was shocked. He remembered thinking, “Oh, my goodness! Daddy his just killed our only mule!”
The mule’s eyes were closed and he was absolutely dead still. Papa showed no signs of remorse and seemed glad the mule moved at last, even if it was in the wrong direction and for the last time.
Dad was wondering what they were going to do without a plowing mule. Papa was just staring down at his dead mule.
There was another surprise to come. Dad noticed after a few minutes that one of the mule’s hind legs twitched. Then another leg moved and suddenly the mule jumped up to a standing position and without another word from Papa, the mule started to plow right where he had left off.
Dad said that Papa had to hurry to catch up to the mule and get ahold of the reins. I remember smiling when Dad talked about how the mule never stopped the rest of the day, but plowed the whole field until the sun went down.
Then one morning I came across this verse in Psalm 32 and this scene from decades ago played out again in my mind…
Be ye not as the horse,
or as the mule, which have no understanding:
whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle,
lest they come near unto thee.
(Ps. 32:9)
While the mule is known for being stubborn the horse is known for being uncontrollable and impetuous. Both are bad. Both want to go their own way. Both need the controlling bit and bridle. One is stubborn. One is impetuous and impulsive.
I don’t have a good horse story about being brash and headstrong. But I don’t need a horse story. I have been like that old mule enough to learn that I need God to control me. That’s why I am drawn to the verse preceding this negative verse about two animals. I love verse 8 –
I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go:
I will guide thee with mine eye.
I can go my own way like the horse or the mule or I can learn from them.
Regardless, God always gets His way.
Submission is a lot easier without scars left behind by a four-by-four post.
Ricky Tippett

Friday, November 11, 2016


Today is a day to show gratitude to the many veterans, both living and dead, who sacrificed to give us our American freedoms and rights.  I thank you one and all.

But I must confess, one veteran holds top place in my heart.  He was called Chief Warrant Officer Tippett.  I called him Dad.

He taught me respect.  Naval officers don't move through ranks from enlisted to officer without that.  They don't have to agree with their superiors but must respect the authority of the position. I learned to respect him and Mama at home.  That translated into honoring God as my ultimate authority.

He taught me loyalty.  Dad modeled loyalty not only to the Navy but to all military branches and America. I remember him often saying, "We're not a perfect nation but we ARE the best nation in the world."  He's still right on that. The land of the free is still where refugees long to come.  That translated into loyalty to my family, my church and my friends. In the Christian walk, we call it faithfulness.

He taught me to grow in education and learning.  That's how one moves through the various military ranks, by study and hard work.  As his children, Bert, Ricky and I were the first generation to finish college or go on to graduate degrees.  He modeled Christ who also "grew in wisdom and knowledge."

He taught me a strong work ethic.  He didn't need someone watching over him to do the job right nor to complete it.  We learned that at home with chores.  As adults it translated into working "as unto the Lord" not merely giving eye service to our bosses. 

He taught me honesty.  Dad served in various areas of food service.  Sometimes it was in the commissary other times in the mess hall.  He was not a cook but was over many who did cook.  Taking home leftovers was NEVER an option for him, although some in service did steal.  Mama said, "Your daddy wouldn't even take home a paper clip or military ballpoint pen!"  That translated into telling the truth, owning our mistakes in little and big things. Integrity mattered.

Today I salute and honor our American veterans in appreciation.  Today I wish I could hug that one special vet and say, "Thank you, Daddy, for serving us, our nation and God."

Do you think they read blogs in heaven?

Saturday, July 2, 2016


My guest blogger today (though he doesn't know it) is one of my favorite writers telling one of my favorite stories.

The Woodcutter's Wisdom 
by Max Lucado

Once there was an old man who lived in a tiny village. Although poor, he was envied by all, for he owned a beautiful white horse. Even the king coveted his treasure. A horse like this had never been seen before—such was its splendor, its majesty, its strength.

People offered fabulous prices for the steed, but the old man always refused. "This horse is not a horse to me," he would tell them. "It is a person. How could you sell a person? He is a friend, not a possession. How could you sell a friend?" The man was poor and the temptation was great. But he never sold the horse.

One morning he found that the horse was not in the stable. All the village came to see him. "You old fool," they scoffed, "we told you that someone would steal your horse. We warned you that you would be robbed. You are so poor. How could you ever hope to protect such a valuable animal? It would have been better to have sold him. You could have gotten whatever price you wanted. No amount would have been too high. Now the horse is gone, and you've been cursed with misfortune."

The old man responded, "Don't speak too quickly. Say only that the horse is not in the stable. That is all we know; the rest is judgment. If I've been cursed or not, how can you know? How can you judge?"

The people contested, "Don't make us out to be fools! We may not be philosophers, but great philosophy is not needed. The simple fact that your horse is gone is a curse."

The old man spoke again. "All I know is that the stable is empty, and the horse is gone. The rest I don't know. Whether it be a curse or a blessing, I can't say. All we can see is a fragment. Who can say what will come next?"

The people of the village laughed. They thought that the man was crazy. They had always thought he was a fool; if he wasn't, he would have sold the horse and lived off the money. But instead, he was a poor woodcutter, an old man still cutting firewood and dragging it out of the forest and selling it. He lived hand to mouth in the misery of poverty. Now he had proven that he was, indeed, a fool.

After fifteen days, the horse returned. He hadn't been stolen; he had run away into the forest. Not only had he returned, he had brought a dozen wild horses with him. Once again the village people gathered around the woodcutter and spoke. "Old man, you were right and we were wrong. What we thought was a curse was a blessing. Please forgive us."

The man responded, "Once again, you go too far. Say only that the horse is back. State only that a dozen horses returned with him, but don't judge. How do you know if this is a blessing or not? You see only a fragment. Unless you know the whole story, how can you judge? You read only one page of a book. Can you judge the whole book? You read only one word of a phrase. Can you understand the entire phrase?

"Life is so vast, yet you judge all of life with one page or one word. All you have is a fragment! Don't say that this is a blessing. No one knows. I am content with what I know. I am not perturbed by what I don't."

"Maybe the old man is right," they said to one another. So they said little. But down deep, they knew he was wrong. They knew it was a blessing. Twelve wild horses had returned with one horse. With a little bit of work, the animals could be broken and trained and sold for much money.

The old man had a son, an only son. The young man began to break the wild horses. After a few days, he fell from one of the horses and broke both legs. Once again the villagers gathered around the old man and cast their judgments.

"You were right," they said. "You proved you were right. The dozen horses were not a blessing. They were a curse. Your only son has broken his legs, and now in your old age you have no one to help you. Now you are poorer than ever."

The old man spoke again. "You people are obsessed with judging. Don't go so far. Say only that my son broke his legs. Who knows if it is a blessing or a curse? No one knows. We only have a fragment. Life comes in fragments."

It so happened that a few weeks later the country engaged in war against a neighboring country. All the young men of the village were required to join the army. Only the son of the old man was excluded, because he was injured.

Once again the people gathered around the old man, crying and screaming because their sons had been taken. There was little chance that they would return. The enemy was strong, and the war would be a losing struggle. They would never see their sons again.

"You were right, old man," they wept. "God knows you were right. This proves it. Your son's accident was a blessing. His legs may be broken, but at least he is with you. Our sons are gone forever."

The old man spoke again. "It is impossible to talk with you. You always draw conclusions. No one knows. Say only this: Your sons had to go to war, and mine did not. No one knows if it is a blessing or a curse. No one is wise enough to know. Only God knows."

The old man was right. We only have a fragment. Life's mishaps and horrors are only a page out of a grand book. We must be slow about drawing conclusions. We must reserve judgment on life's storms until we know the whole story.

I don't know where the woodcutter learned his patience. Perhaps from another woodcutter in Galilee. For it was the Carpenter who said it best:
"Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself." (Matthew 6:34)

He should know. He is the Author of our story. And he has already written the final chapter.

In the Eye of the Storm
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 2001) Max Lucado

Thursday, May 19, 2016


I came home crying last night after our 47th anniversary evening out.  But let me back up and tell the story from our delicious meal at Victor's.

It was getting dark but we decided to stop by Ross' where Doug dropped me off while he went into Starbucks for a couple of pounds of coffee. When he returned for me, I noticed a man in a heavy camouflage jacket bent over the trash can, searching for food. "Hon, let's pop into Hardees right here and get him something."  

Doug rolled down the car window first and asked the man, "You hungry?"

"Yes sir."

"Wait right here.  We'll bring you some food."

Circling back with a big bag of food and a large drink, we found him waiting.  This time I rolled down my window to hand it to him.  What unfolded from there was not planned. Not by me at least.

"What's your name?"


Handing him the food, I said, "May I pray for you?"  He nodded.  His dirty hand rested on my window casing.  I touched his hand and he bowed his head too.  "Dear Lord. You created David and know everything about him.  Please let him know how much You love him.  Show Him in ways he can feel.  He's hungry so as this food fills his stomach, I pray You will fill his heart with Your love.  He needs You in his heart and life.  Bring him to You. Amen."

He quietly muttered, "Amen.  Thank you."

Then we noticed a car on Doug's side and a lady smiling from her open window, "Looks like we had the same idea."  She held up two bags of food and another drink.  David shuffled over to her car.  I heard her say, "God bless you" as he took the food.

We pulled away then I said, "Doug, can you pull back?  I need to tell him something." We did.

"David, what you just saw happen was an answer to the prayer moments ago.  God IS loving you and showing you just how much."

He looked startled then dumb-founded.  Covering his dirty coat now was arms full with 3 bags of food and 2 drinks.  He juggled, trying to balance it all, looking down at all that food. Minutes before, he'd been rummaging in the garbage for scraps. 

Tears in his eyes (and mine) he said, "Maybe I got someone else's food.  Some of this might be theirs."

"No, David. There's no mix up.  God used that lady to show you how much He loves you."

This time he looked up into the dark night and once again muttered, "Thank You."

I came home crying last night.  I came home praying too.

It was a good anniversary.