Thursday, December 29, 2011

ALL I WANTED FOR CHRISTMAS

I GOT!

We rented a house large enough to hold all 20 Hendersons!

video
For full screen click here.


One reason I started a blog was to preserve our family history. If you watched the above pictures, you've been more than gracious with our family's Christmas week. Don't you hate getting trapped at someone's house seeing their vaca shots? Feel free to leave anytime.

For the stalwart, a 2nd blog is below. Scroll down (or you may need to click on Older Post, right) for 2 video clips of our week together (playing, music, fun moments.) If you care to hang with us another 5 minutes or so, then have some popcorn and settle in. We welcome you!

See you here next Friday.

Happy New Year,
Kathy

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Videos '11


We rented a house at Myrtle Beach large enough for 20 Hendersons. It was one of the best weeks of our lives! Here we captured a smattering of the fun, music and laughter.


video



video





It all began with a KISS!

Have a blessed New Year!


The Hendersons












Friday, December 23, 2011

GIFTS & GIVERS

Do we enjoy the gifts more than the giver?   They are an expression of love and our appreciation for them should ricochet love back to the craftsman.  In human relationships we're careful to thank each other.


How would Doug feel watching his kids receive his wood-working gift but never express love or appreciation directly to him?   


Our kids express appreciation BOTH for Doug and his gifts. Here are his '11 creations.
Jewelry boxes for the ladies

And for the guys' desks, their names in cedar, oak and walnut
Mama made chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cake and the best chicken gravy ever.  It expressed her love.  But when arthritis and a stroke took away her ability to cook, I loved her still.




At Christmas our thoughts turn to gifts and especially the greatest Gift of God to us, His Son.  It's easy to sometimes love the creation more than the Creator.


Likewise, our spiritual gifts and talents should reflect our love for the One Who gave them to us.  Do I love the music more than Him on Sunday morning?  Teaching, preaching, church work can become performance traps without eternal reward.  "You have your reward."  


Love the Giver more than the gift.  Whether giving or receiving, it's about the relationship not stuff.


Celebrate Him!


(See more of Doug's beautiful woodwork below in last week's blog, a rerun from '09.)

Friday, December 16, 2011

MERRY XMAS

 As we had our annual Finger Food Festival (piano recital) this week, I remembered this event  from several years ago.  This was a blog from 2009 but I felt the message is worth repeating at this season as we celebrate Christ.

MERRY XMAS
Taking Christ out of Christmas...

X = the Unknown Factor...

Politically correct:  Happy Holidays!

You've heard it all before.  But Christmas two years ago, the rhetoric became real at our house.  Christ was taken out.

Doug's capable carpenter hands worked several seasons building a nativity scene. Finally complete, we set it out across our front yard.

The wind blew some pieces over, so he chained together the large plywood figures and staked them into the ground to secure them.

Every year my piano students perform Christmas music for their families at our annual Finger Food Festival.  The party atmosphere is far more palatable that recital mode!  

Decorations up, lights on, punch bowl filled.

Then just before everyone arrived, Doug came home and noticed, "Baby Jesus is gone!"

"WHAT?"


"Stolen I guess.  Some of the other figures were flat on the ground, Kathy.  I put them back up but the chain was broken where the manger was."

Startled and saddened, but with no time for either, I welcomed our houseful of students and guests.

"You may have noticed our scene out front is missing the Centerpiece..."

I went on to share that the world takes Christ out of Christmas, but we each face the choice about what we'll do with Him.  The Unknown Factor does not have to remain unknown.

"Emmanuel means 'the strong God with us.'  He wants a love relationship with you.  If He's in your heart no one can take Him away."

Let the music begin!  Delicious food was spread and shared.  Guests left. Clean up time.  The doorbell rang.  Probably a student forgot something.

When I opened the door, a stranger in a suit and tie stood there holding the wooden Baby Jesus in both hands, offering it to me.  I gasped and hugged the tall, black man.  "Thank you!  My goodness!  What..."

My questions and his answers ran together in one waterfall conversation.

"I'm your neighbor a few streets back.  This morning at 5:00 AM, I left Florence for my job in Charleston.  Large pieces of white wood were strewn in the street in front of your house.  They blocked my way.  So when I got out of my car, I realized someone trashed your nativity scene.  I laid them back on your lawn.  About a mile away I spotted something white in a ditch.  It caught my eye because it looked like the same thing I just saw."

He explained that he pulled onto the shoulder, went to the ditch and lifted the manger.  Knowing we were sound asleep, he placed it in the trunk of his car.

"I figured I'd bring it back to you after work.  I'd have been late to work and wakened you this morning."

"Oh, that's fine!  I'm just so glad you found it.  Thank you.  Thank you so much."

When I took it in and showed it to Doug, he was amazed and offered, "I can sand and repair the scuff marks."

"No.  Let's leave it as is."

I recalled and thought, "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him. And with his stripes we are healed..."  


Our Prince of Peace.  He came to save.

I didn't expect His return that day.  Do you?


Blessings!

Kathy


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

DADDY'S PEARL HARBOR DAY LETTER


Dad's letter Dec. 7, 1941

"Grandma, what's this envelope from Daddy?" I asked as I thumbed through a box of old photos.


She reached for the tattered, yellowed airmail letter, opened it and gasped, "Oh gracious!  It came two weeks after Pearl Harbor.  We didn't know until then if Elbert was alive or not."


"You mean you thought his ship was one bombed?"
Read this enlarged below.




Mamie & Alfred Tippett
Grandma & Papa
"Honey, back then, we didn't know much about where their battleships were.  News traveled slow during those days. Even the letters home had black-out marks in them. A security thing I reckon."


I reached for the letter and we were both trembling.  It was a lost piece of history, reclaimed.


Daddy was in the Navy for over 30 years.  During World War II he was stationed on the battleship USS Washington.  That was the letterhead where my eyes fixated.  Battleships were named after states then.  This was the sister ship to the USS Arizona. 
USS Washington battleship


This was before my birth but Daddy had a wife and little boy, Bert, back home.  He sat down on board his ship just hours after Pearl Harbor was bombed.  He pecked out his emotions on the day of infamy, as he typed this letter to his parents. I began to read it aloud:

Elbert Worth Tippett, Jr. 


"Sunday, 7 December, 1941


Dear Dad & Mom,


Well I wrote you a couple days ago and I decided to write you again tonight.  I just finished a letter to Kat and Bert.  I guess they have been up to see you several times by now.  Well this leaves me just fine and ready to go.


I know everyone down there and all over the United States, as a matter of fact, are keeping their ears glued to the radio for the news.  We are all listening, trying to find out the dope.  I was asleep in my bunk when someone came by and said Honolulu was bombed.  I did not believe it at first.  I guess the nation as a whole was shocked.  The reason I sat down to write this letter was to tell you all not to worry about me for we will be OK.  We are ready to meet anything they have or will get.  I try to tell Kat not to worry about me but I guess she is like the rest.  You can not help but worry just a little.  I know every one of you will do more worrying than I will.  If I don't, why should you?  Of course you and any of the rest will not know where we are and of course that is as it should be.  But I will write often and you all write to me and when I get the chance I will be home to see you all.  I would like very much to be home for xmas but I doubt if I will be able to get off.  In fact, I don't even expect to do so.


Bert will soon be walking all over the place I guess.  I would like to see the little rascal.  I have been very lucky for I have been around this long with them.  I am glad I sent them home when I did and they might as well stay down there until further notice.  I don't intend for her to stay down there for nothing.  I guess she will most likely stay at her home but you all will see them from time to time and I know they will be better off down there.  If they need anything I know you will help them and I appreciate it.  I don't know when I will be able to send her any more money.  I may be able to and I may not.  Anyway she will start getting a check each month starting the first of February but just in case, I know she will be taken care of.  If she has to have any, it would not be much.  I will gladly repay any of you, for I will have it.  It will, or might be, the problem of getting it to her.  But in case, I will see you get it back, in case you lend her any.  I don't think you will have to but I like to think they are taken care of when I am not there.


Well I will close for this time and don't worry who will get licked for I know we can.  As one of the senators said, "Now that it has started, get in there and lick the hell out of them."  And that is just what we will do.  Ha.  Ha.


Love to all the family,
Elbert"



A letter buried for over 30 years under faded photos, gives us a glimpse into the heart of a vet.  Now it resurfaces 70 years after Dad wrote it. 


I share it with you, to honor Daddy and the many others who bravely dedicated and sacrificed their own lives for your freedom as an American.



Kathy

Friday, December 2, 2011

TO TELL THE TRUTH

"Truth, dare, consequences, promise or repeat!  Choose one!"  My big brother, Bert, chanted with mystery in his voice. We sat Indian style in a circle of neighborhood kids, playing the familiar game while crickets chirped into Saturday evening. 


Even as children we knew if we chose truth, our words had to be factual.  "Cross your heart and hope to die?" Now that's commitment to the truth!


As adults we stress honesty to our children.  Integrity matters even in little things.


As Christians we handle God's Truth so we must be trusted to be accurate in our words.


The gospel contains some hard truths, hard enough for the world to believe--like Jesus the God-man, His virgin birth, walking on water, resurrection, miracles, heaven and hell. These can't be scientifically tested or proven.  We don't see, hear, smell, taste or touch them.  How are we to be believed then?  How is God's Word to be trusted?  


By faith.  Faith in Him.  Faith in us as truth handlers.  To be reliable witnesses to Truth, we must carefully handle truth in ALL things.


Kathy mounts her soapbox here.  


Christians often jump aboard whenever they hear or read a dramatic story or warning that supports right wing views, whether religious or political.  Now I love a good story as much as anyone.  My blogs prove it.  But if we are known for passing along fodder without researching its veracity, we're just gospel gossips!   I've even mentioned it to friends when I found their story to be more in the "Once upon a time" category.


I see it all the time on Facebook, emails, newsletters and church bulletins. Sometimes we even hear it in sermons.  Do we hit send without checking out for truth?  Are we too lazy to research or just careless with truth?  Certainly we're not so naive as to think because it was on the internet, it must be true.  We might pass along an article under the guise of, "I care about my family and friends so I'll warn them."   That well-meaning approach may eventually cost us credibility with those we love most.


As a Christian I feel we should be held to a higher level of honesty, accuracy and truth telling.  Reader's Digest does! They research facts many times before publishing. Sometimes they still get it wrong.  But they try.  


Even red-faced editors print newspaper retractions when they get it wrong,.  It may be in small print and buried but they know the importance of reliability so they try. 


Reporters know loss of credibility may even cost them their jobs!  A whole newspaper recently folded (yes, I meant that pun) over integrity.


Snopes, truth or fiction, urban legends are not infallible but at least a step in the right direction of research.  


Let's be good Truth bearers since the Truth abides in us. 

If we're to be believed, unlike the little boy who cried wolf, we must do better.  The world already sees us as naive, easily duped, uneducated and out of touch with reality. Satan fathers lies. Don't be his conduit!  


Our integrity may be the real test of character.  Handle God's Word carefully.  Handle your own words carefully.  The two are linked!


After I wrote this blog, I ran across this. 
Rev. Chuck Swindoll writes:
We live in a day of hearsay, when few people pass along information that is precise and reliable. Do you? Are you careful about what you say? Do you have the facts? Do you offer proof that the information you are conveying is correct? While there are occasions when it's appropriate to pass along needed and serious information to the right sources, there's a growing preoccupation with rumor and slander. Half truths and innuendos become juicy morsels in the mouths of unreliable gossips. There is no way to measure the number of people who have been hurt by rumor, exaggeration, and hearsay. Perhaps you have suffered this yourself.
Be careful what you say. Be careful how you say it. Be careful that you send the right message, that you send it to the right person, and that you do so with the right motive.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

OH, FORGET IT!


And I often do!  I forget where I left my keys or parked my car.  Senior moments are common these days.  Recently they reached an all time high. . .or low, depending on your vantage point.



Doug and I had a few days together last week in a condo at Myrtle Beach. During these fall and winter months we pretty much have the place to ourselves between weekends. 


We stayed on the 11th floor and basically saw no one except the resort workers.  


Our view from the balcony


"Doug, let's go to the jacuzzi after supper."


"Great idea.  Let me stop by the front desk to get something first.  I'll meet you there."


Knowing there were several outdoor pools and hot tubs, I added, "OK.  I'll wait for you at the indoor tub by the pool."


So I turned on the jets and slipped into the warm water.  It felt wonderful for about 10 minutes then it got lobster hot.  So I got out and swam a bit in the heated pool.  I toggled back and forth between the two for 40 minutes.  I kept wondering where Doug was. Finally I dried off, went to the lobby desk and asked for a room key, explaining, "I don't know where my husband went so I need another key please."


The young man pointed, "Here he comes."


Doug was wet and looked as exasperated as I did.  He'd waited for me most of that time in the OUTDOOR jacuzzi, then decided to return to our 11th floor condo in search of me. Only he took the wrong elevator and found himself in the South Tower on the wrong 11th floor. We stayed in the North Tower.  (I'll admit those elevators and floors do look alike, except for the room numbers!) Then he went to the lobby and asked the desk clerk if I'd been back there.  Doug didn't even realize there were indoor water features!


The mood was shot.  Had the whole blooming place to ourselves and lost each other! That was a first.


We laughed about it.  The next day.  I wrote my family about it.  The next week.


My niece, Christine, is my younger brother's daughter.  She wrote me about Ricky and Gwen sharing similar escapades this week:


Aunt K,

Just have a moment between grading tests and book reports, but I HAD to email this to you before I forgot. Your "senior moment" with Uncle Doug at the beach reminded me...

Last week, poor mom had a rough day. The five of us were in the car on the way to Chili's and she asked us, "Does anyone mind if we stop at Kohl's on the way back home? I bought some things there this afternoon and left one of my bags. I didn't realize it until I got home."

We consented, and she went on: "I also had to go to the grocery store twice today! I forgot to scan my MVP card, and it was $30 more than it should be. I went back and they gave me the cash for the difference."

Predictably, these confessions led right into a long tirade by dad teasing about how old and forgetful Mom was. She smiled like a good sport and took the heat as she usually does. Then she mentioned in passing, "I also need to go to Best Buy."

"Why?" I wondered out loud.

"I need to take back that movie Dad bought twice."

So the bad news is that they both may be in a fog of dementia, but at least they're lost in there together! :)

Christine

~     ~     ~
Another recent episode assures me that this forgetfulness is neither unique nor familial.  My Sunday school teacher, Ernestine, was about to start class with, "Ladies!  I need your attention.  I forgot to tell you something. Ladies!  Ladies!  I need to tell you something I forgot to mention."  She waited for the chatter to subside.


When all eyes were on her, she continued, "Oh shoot!  I forgot what I forgot!"


We know, Ernestine, we know.


Before I forget. . .HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
Kathy, stuffed

Friday, November 18, 2011

LANGUAGE REVOLUTION

A friend and fellow blogger, Judy Puckett, found this and shared it.  The humor makes a valid point.  My love for words makes it irresistible.  So I pass it along for your enjoyment!



The European Commission has just announced an
agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.


As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a five-year phase-in
plan that would become known as “Euro-English.”
In the first year, “s” will replace the soft “c.” Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard “c” will be dropped in favour of “k.” This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.
There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome “ph” will be replased with “f.” This will make words like fotograf 20 persent shorter.
In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reash the stage where more komplikated shanges are possible.
Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters whish have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.
Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent “e” in the languag is disgrasful, and it should sertainly go away.
By the fourth yer people wil be reseptiv to steps sush as replasing “th” with “z” and “w” with “v.”
During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary “o” kan be dropd from vords kontaining “ou” and after ze fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl.
Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis, and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.
Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.
If zis has mad you smil, ples pas on zis vebsit tu oza Amerikans an evn tu pepl in oza plezes.
~     ~     ~
Kathy here again.  This actually made me want to preserve our American heritage.  I can welcome immigrants while encouraging them to learn our language--English!


Now I smell something burning. . .oh my!  This blog just destroyed my Spell Check.  Spell Czech.

Friday, November 11, 2011

GOOD OL' SOUTHERN BOYS

It's 11:11, 11.11.11.  This won't happen again for. . .um, 12 hours!


"Southerners can fix anything with duck tape or WD-40.  If it moves and it's not supposed to, use duct tape.  If it doesn't move and should, use WD-40." 
                                                   -Anita Renfroe, comedeinne


There are some things, however, you'll never hear a good, ol' southern boy say.  Such as:
  • When I retire I'm movin' north.
  • I'll take Shakespeare for 1,000, Alex.
  • Duct tape won't fix that.
  • We don't keep firearms in this house.
  • You can't feed that to a dog.
  • No kids in the back of the pick-up.  It's just not safe.
  • Wrestling is fake.
  • We're vegetarians.
  • Do you think my gut is too big?
  • I'll have grapefruit and grapes instead of biscuits and gravy.
  • Honey, we don't need another dog.
  • Who cares who won the Civil War? 
  • Too many deer heads detract from the decor.
  • I just couldn't find a thing at Walmart today.
  • Trim the fat off that steak.
  • Cappuccino tastes better than espresso.
  • The tires on that truck are too big.
  • Give me the small bag of pork rinds.
  • I got it all on the C: DRIVE.
  • Unsweetened tea tastes better.
  • My fiance', Bobbie Jo, is registered at Tiffany's.
  • She's too young to be wearing a bikini.
  • Hey, here's an episode of Hee-Haw we haven't seen yet!
  • Those shorts oughta' be a little longer, Betty Lou.
  • I don't have a favorite college team.
  • Sure, Honey, we can watch your chick flick.  I'll catch the game on reruns.
  • We'll just pull over at that convenience store and ask for directions.
  • You guys.
  • I just love opera!
  • Checkmate.

Now don't take offense.  It takes a southerner to earn the right to joke about southerners.  My tongue is firmly planted in my cheek.  Yes, it's my tongue. . .not chewin' tobacco!




Granddaughter of 2 tobacco farmers,
Kathy

    Friday, November 4, 2011

    RESET MY SAILS

    Jane Seymore's art design of open hearts
    Today I'm opening my heart to you on a personal issue.  It's not that I need to have a true confessional moment so much as this fits my original purpose for blogging.


    When I started writing I threw open the curtains to my life for several reasons:

    • to preserve our family history and anecdotes
    • to encourage others, often through humor or word plays
    • to give glimpses of my spiritual journey, both successes and failures
    Today that 3rd purpose reveals both a struggle and a gain in my own life.  It's embarrassing to share your weaknesses.  I'm part of a ladies' Bible study in which we do this weekly and find true bridges into each others' lives.  Raw honesty.  Being real. In a safe place.


    This blog's had over 24,000 readers most of whom I'll never meet.  Safe place?  Maybe not.  But the value of my lesson is too important not to share.  Maybe it will help someone else.


    But HOW?
    I have a critical nature.  It doesn't always show but is often in my thinking.  I complain in my head a lot--against myself, others, a situation.  The targets are many.  Controlling those thoughts is vital to a happy life.  It's also very difficult. But I stumbled onto a simple solution.  It's working for me right now.


    Soon as that first negative thought pops into my brain and I recognize it as a criticism, I shoot up an emergency silent prayer, "Lord, reset my sails."  


    He does!


    Before this, my pattern would be one critical thought linking to another and another so that within minutes I'd have an iron chain necklace of negative thoughts weighing me down. Mind you I may not have voiced a one out loud.  Yet. But my inner spirit stank! And sank!  Anyone relate?                                                                                                              







    That little phrase, resetting my sails, came to me through a quote years ago.   


    "A ship hauled into drydock for repairs can sail further and faster than ever.  Resetting the sails takes time but is necessary for navigation."

    A little research into the phrase produced:
    Abstract: An improved sail restraint for Migler's vertical axis wind turbine in which excessive wind speed automatically causes the sails to be feathered, protecting them from wind damage, and, when the wind speed is reduced to an allowable level, the improved sail restraint automatically allows the sails to be reset to their nonfeathered, working position.
    OK.  What that means is. . .I have no idea.  TOO abstract for me! So a bit more research shed the layman light I needed:

     metaphor. The author is saying that we have to find out our real core values and then we can find ways to lead a fulfilled life, included finding out which career to follow or which activities to choose for our free time.
    Then he goes:

    "...first we choose to become value-driven and then zero-in on those values, which in turn can guide us to reset the sails of our lifeboat".

    Lifeboat!  I get that metaphor. My complaining, critical thoughts could sink my lifeboat quickly when negative thinking spiraled down like an anchor.  For years I've prayed about this problem during my devotions.  

    But recently I found a working application of that quote. I ask the Lord to show me the very second my thinking is wrong.  He does.  And I respond in that moment, "Lord, reset my sails."

    You blew it again, Kathy!  Lord, reset my sails.
    She hurt my feelings.       Lord, reset my sails.
    Idiot driver!                     Lord, reset my sails.
    Those kids are wild. . .  
      why don't parents discipline?  Lord, rest my sails.

    For me, this was bringing every thought into captivity.  His captivity, not mine.  Like a squished spider, the thought stopped.  He replaced it immediately with good, true, pure thoughts.  My weakness became a canvas for His strength.  

    Simple?  Yes.  It's my Bread crumb on life's journey and I share it with you.  In the parables of the lost coin, the lost sheep and the prodigal son, the one who found the treasure shared the news.  Why?  Because good news about a good God is for everyone.  

    Maybe resetting your sails is a tool you need too!


    On a lighter note I posted an extra Halloween blog below this week.  Enjoy!

    Monday, October 31, 2011

    One Dark Night

    A man is walking home 
    alone late one foggy night. . . 

    when behind him he hears



    Bump. . .



    BUMP. . .




    BUMP. . .



    Walking faster, he looks 
    back and through the fog 
    he makes out the image of 
    an upright casket banging its way down the middle of the 
    street toward him.


    BUMP. . .





    BUMP. . .





    BUMP. . .






    Terrified, the man begins to 
    run toward his home, the 
    casket bouncing quickly 
    behind him




    FASTER. . .





    FASTER. . .






    BUMP. . .







    BUMP. . .



    BUMP. . .





    He runs up to his door, fumbles with his keys, opens the door, rushes in, slams and locks the door behind him.






    However, the casket crashes through his door, with the lid 
    of the casket clapping






    clappity-BUMP. . .




    clappity-BUMP. . .






    clappity-BUMP. . .



    on his heels, the terrified man runs.



    Rushing upstairs to the 
    bathroom, the man locks 
    himself in. His heart is pounding; his head is reeling; his breath is coming in sobbing gasps.


    With a loud CRASH the casket breaks down the door.







    Bumping and clapping toward
    him.


    The man screams and reaches for something, anything, but all he can find is a bottle of cough syrup!

    Desperate, he throws the cough syrup at the casket...






    and,
    The coffin stops.