Thursday, December 29, 2011



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

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,

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.

It all began with a KISS!

Have a blessed New Year!

The Hendersons

Friday, December 23, 2011


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


 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.

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!"


"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?



Wednesday, December 7, 2011


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,

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.


Friday, December 2, 2011


"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.