Friday, February 24, 2012


Presidents' Day this week reminded us of George Washington and Abe Lincoln, two very wise leaders in American history.

There's a big difference between someone who is SMART and someone who is WISE. Wisdom is not directly linked to intelligence nor even age. I know people who never went to college with more wisdom than others with PhDs.

My dad was one who knew how to apply knowledge in practical ways of life. Some call it horse sense. His bottom line on advice was usually, "Honey, just do what God leads you to do." Wisdom.

Here are a few words of wisdom from others in history:

A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don't need it.
Bob Hope

Whenever you find you are on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
Mark Twain

Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for.
Will Rogers

Why does a woman work 10 years to change a man's habits then complain that he's not the man she married?
Barbra Streisand

The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one.
Oscar Wilde

You can lead a man to Congress but you can't make him think.
Milton Berle

Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.
Benjamin Franklin

Always listen to the experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it.
Robert Heinlein

Life doesn't imitate art; it imitates bad television.
Woody Allen

It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.
Mark Twain

Old age is fifteen years older than I am.
Oliver Wendell Holmes

It takes a long time to grow an old friend.
John Leonard

It's one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

When your friends begin to flatter you on how young you look, it's a sure sign you're getting old.
Mark Twain

You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something sometime in your life.
Winston Churchill

I think men who have a pierced ear are better prepared for marriage. They've experienced pain and bought jewelry.
Rita Rudner

Life is never fair and perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not.
Oscar Wilde

Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.
Forrest Gump

Love is what makes two people sit in the middle of a bench when there is plenty of room on both ends.

And I'll add one I just read by Chuck Swindoll:
A commendable etching on a gravestone would be: "Here lies a man who kept growing as he kept aging." Growing up and growing old need to walk hand in hand.

Older, if not wiser,

Friday, February 17, 2012


When Daddy died, Mama had a stroke that
left her wheelchair bound. She lived several years beyond him. She often said, "It wasn't supposed to be this way. I told Elbert I wanted to go first!" During those unplanned years, we three children cared for her in our homes. Then she moved with us here to Florence. During the move she was at a beautiful assisted living center for respite care. We thought this would be a temporary place until we unpacked the boxes. Our plan was to move her back into our home. But she quickly grew to love her care givers at Windsor House and they loved her.

It became home and as she put it, "I'm not pining for you here." Only Mama
would use a sweet, old word like pining. I got it though. I think she actually regained a measure of dignity there where others took care of her. Once again I was simply her daughter, not her nurse.

My brother, Ricky, recently emailed me the following and included an 11 year old letter I'd emailed him.

Kathy, sometimes I tend to forget. Do you? My forgetting is the truth and simplicity of:
This is the day which the LORD hath made;
we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Ps. 118:24

Each day is a gift, a treasure from God. I tend to forget that and rush about thinking in the back of my mind about the coming tomorrows. Its a mistake to live like that. Today, not tomorrow. Today.

I stumbled across an old email from you, Sis. It was a good one of a simple, Day Which The LORD Hath Made. How can we not rejoice and be glad in it?


From Kathy
December 6, 1999

Today I began with devotions and asked the Lord to order my steps--long list of errands and chores at home. He did. I debated whether to work first then go see Mama. I decided to put her first.

As I drove there, He gave me a creative idea--take her ON my errands with me. The day is gorgeous and they plopped her into my car. We didn't even take the wheelchair. She held my hand and squeezed and patted the whole time. "Some one's playing with my hand, " I teased.

"Mine too."

I had to stop in parking lots to write down our little dialogs so I'd be sure to share them with you.
First we drove to my house to "surprise" Doug. He was in the garage when we drove up, but didn't notice the car at first. "Mama, watch him when he sees YOU." He did a classic double take then jumped. She laughed hard.

We saw ours and lots of Christmas decorations riding around. She read signs out loud. "Majestic. . .there's one that says 'Strip poker'. . ."

"Do you want to play, Mama?" I asked, wondering if she even knew what it meant.

"No. I can take my own clothes off!"

"When do you do that?

She looked at me incredulously, "When I go to bed." (Silly me.)

I ran into Roses to return a video. Then to Food Lion when I saw one of her caregivers shopping. She went out to the car to greet Mama, who barely remembered seeing her, by the time I returned to the car. Her roommate told me she was crying last night, not eating supper. So I asked her about it while driving. "Where you sad yesterday. . .crying?"

"No-ooooo..." she said, puzzled at my question.

"You didn't eat supper."

"Yes, I did." So her short term memory loss probably is a good thing on those days. I asked Elizabeth if that was not unusual and she said yes, that Mama is happy most of the time. The moment is about what we have. Thank God they are mostly good.

"You look happy, Mom."

"I am."


"Cause I'm with you."

"Boy! Doesn't take much to make you happy."

She laughed. She always gets my jokes. . .or maybe she's just being nice. "Yes, it does. YOU'RE MUCH!"

"Well, I'm happy too, Mama."

"You should be."


"Cause you've got everything."

I agreed and began to list my blessings: Doug. . .kids. . .perfect grandchildren. We discussed and agreed on that one. She's very justifying.

As we left the grocery store she commented, "I don't know where I am." I explained we were going back to my house to drop off the ice cream then to her house for lunch. I explained that I lived close to her, and Bert and Ricky lived far away. ". . .because I'm the GOOD one," I teased.

She laughed again and said, "I know."

"I'm gonna tell the boys you said that, Mom."

"I don't care if you do. . .I don't care if you do one bit!"

So there! Nanny, nanny boo-boo.

Back in my driveway, I asked, "Where are we?"

She saw Doug and said, "My son's house."

I thought she might be confused, so I asked, "Who's your son?"

"My daughter's husband," she smiled.

"You never had in-laws, did you, Mama? They're all yours."

"I don't like in-laws," she agreed. "They're all mine the same."

I told her I don't like grocery shopping but she made a bad chore a pleasant one. We'll do this often on pretty days when my errands are quick stops. I parked her in front of the buildings and told her not to let any bad men get her. "No bad man wants me."

I've got a zillion things to do, but had to write this while fresh.

Go ahead, Mama, make my day. She does! When God orders my busy steps, it's always wonderful!
Ricky's wife, Gwen, wrote me back noting that this joy ride was just 3 months before Mama died unexpectedly.

This is the day the Lord has made. How will you live it?


Friday, February 10, 2012

Pay Attention, Kids!

The old adage in this cartoon may not even make sense to folks today. When it originated, however, adults understood their jobs were to teach and children were to listen. Over time the roles morphed and reversed. Children became the center of attention. Parents became servants, listeners, cheer-leaders and reared an entitlement generation. Changing God's order carries a price.

Try to converse with a young mother and see how often her child is ALLOWED to interrupt, and do so without consequences. Many children today are seen and heard far more than their parents.

Special thanks to my brother, Ricky Tippett, for sharing this worldview article. I offer my soapbox to Chris Woodard and John Rosemond who state well my own view on this parenting issue facing every mom and dad.

Rosemond: Kids Need to Pay Attention, Respect Authority
Chris Woodward

It's not uncommon to hear older generations reminisce about the "good ol' days." But when it comes to child rearing, America's most widely-read parenting expert says those days saw better parents and better children.
"By the time a child is three years old, he ought to be paying more attention to his parents than his parents are paying to him. That's, today, a radical idea," says John Rosemond.

The well-known columnist says it would have not have been radical to someone who heard this 50 years ago because people up until the modern age understood this principle.

"The modern age is the age of 'psycho-babble' and parenting. Up until this age of 'psycho-babble,' people understood that you cannot effectively teach a child what you need to teach him, you cannot effectively disciple a child unless the child is in a position of being the student -- and that requires that the child be paying attention to you," the expert says.

Rosemond says the problem in most American families today is that most parents are paying so much attention to their children, that their children never get the message that it is their job to pay attention to their parents.

"So what you have by the time most children of three years old is children with a very pronounced attention deficit disorder that they take with them to school and simply never learn to pay attention to adult authority figures -- and as a consequence, have never learned to do what they're told," he adds.

The parenting authority adds that raising children should not be stressful, and if parents put their primary focus on their marriage, parenting will flow naturally and it will not be a stressful situation.

Rosemond made his comments earlier this week on American Family Radio's The Matt Friedeman Show.

What Kids Should Expect From a Working Mother

by John Rosemond

Today's moms are servants to children.
I was recently in Somewhere, USA, where I talked on the unfortunate consequences to families and children of the prevailing nouveau idea that the more one does for one's children, the better a parent one is. This message, I said, has been insidious, especially for women.
A woman approached me afterward.
"Things have changed," she said. "Like many of today's mothers, I work full time, which gives me only three hours a day to spend with my children, and I think they deserve my full attention during that time.”

"I'll just bet," I said, "that you're exhausted after you put the kids to bed.”

“You bet!" she affirmed.

"Are you married?" I asked.

“Yes," she answered.

"Why don't you spend that three hours - most of it, at least with your husband?"

She stared at me, speechless, for at least five seconds. Then she said, with a dreamy sort of tone, "That had never even occurred to me."
Unfortunately, it hasn’t occurred to a lot of today's female parents. The straitjacket we've built for this generation of American women all but compels them to stop being wives once they have children and become,. instead, "working mothers" or "stay-at-home moms." Their husbands then fall into line by becoming fathers, first and foremost; and that, kids, is the story of how parent - especially the female of the species - is now synonymous with servant and the marriage has become the American Family's Cheshire Cat - now you see it, now you don't.
In the first place, there is nothing new about mothers working outside of their homes. My mother did. So did her mother. So did a significant number of my childhood buddies' mothers. What's new is guilt over doing so and consequently - large numbers of women flogging themselves into frenzies of "I've got to make it up to my children" every evening and on weekends.
Take, for example, my mother. For the first seven years of my life, she was a single parent. Then she married. In neither situations did she come home from her job feeling she owed me something. Quite the contrary. She came home feeling - are you ready for this? - I owed her something! What a concept! Specifically, I owed her for putting a roof over my head, food in my stomach, clothes on my back, and shoes on my feet.
For her sacrifice, Mom felt she deserved respect, obedience, and peace and quiet. And she got it. She expected me to keep myself busy And I did. Funny. I don't recall ever thinking my mother wasn't giving me enough of her time and attention. Nor did my friends-whose-mothers-worked and I form a "rejected-children's support group."
Thus did I grow up with the feeling that I was obligated to my mother.
By contrast, overwhelming numbers of today's kids are growing up thinking their mothers are obligated to them. Because the mother-child relationship has turned upside-down, inside-out and backward in the course of 40 years, today's child is at great risk of becoming a petulant, demanding, ungrateful brat. Unfortunately, the more petulant and demanding he becomes, the more likely it is his mother will feel she's not doing enough for him. And around and around they go, this codependent union of mother and child.
What America needs is yet another women's liberation movement. this time, however, women should burn not their bras, but their mini-vans.

Note From the Editor of Christian Parent's Network:
John Rosemond is a Psychologist by training and family counselor by practice. However, he does not accept psychological theory as valid and provides Biblically based counseling. I enjoy his viewpoint on many subjects and read his column regularly. Visit his website at However, the references to his column should not be construed as an endorsement of psychological principles. I believe psychology and psychiatry to be pseudo-sciences. My readings of John Rosemond's material indicate to me that for the most part, he shares similar beliefs. MB

Monday, February 6, 2012

NYC Trip in Pictures

Last weekend (as you read in Friday's blog) I went to New York for
  • WICKED (wonderful musical!)
  • BROOKLYN TABERNACLE (excellent music, worship & sermon by Rev. Jim Cymbala)
  • CARNEGIE HALL (My reason for going--to hear my student, 14 year old Gabe Smallwood's winning composition for orchestra & chorus premiered)
Be sure to hear the video clip at the end here

My most gracious host and Gabe's musical mentor, Ivy Spera opened her home and heart to me. And she opened doors for my Gabe!

We ate, laughed, talked, ate, played piano, sang, ate, walked, went sight-seeing, and cried together at Wicked.

I couldn't muster a whistle at Carnegie so I clapped, cheered and cried some more.

This creature walked down the street. I ended up getting a hug from him!

This was nighttime but the lights of Time Square made it seem like day.



In the program I turned first to Gabe's page and was shocked to see he honored me by claiming me as his piano teacher!

Gabe's family

Looks like JayZ follows Gabe! I'll pass on that.

You can see the Statue of Liberty here from our subway as we cross Brooklyn Bridge.

Dog with Kat at Starbucks. . .of course!
Video Clip of Gabe's music performed at Carnegie Hall yesterday:

Just scroll down to read Gabe's back story in last week's blog.

Friday, February 3, 2012


Kat's Pause will rerun past blogs on Fridays.  This was from Feb. 3, 2012 and was the most widely read.  Gabe is a former student of mine, now at S. C. Governor's School. We stay in touch and he's still part mine! 

(Don't miss the short video at the end of today's blog.)

He sauntered into the music studio for his lesson and began unpacking piano books, "Hi, Mrs. Henderson."

"Hi, Gabe. How was school today?"

"My teacher said it was an atrocious day!"

Surprised at the word from an eight year old, I repeated, "Atrocious? Did you contribute to that?"

"What does contribute mean?" he innocently asked.

"Gabe, how is it you know the meaning of atrocious but not contribute?"

"Because my teacher says it. A lot!"

After I defined contribute, he added, "No, I was good. It was another boy in class. He causes a lot of atrocious days!"
His vocabulary grew right along with his music theory over the next few years. He always brightened my Tuesdays at his lesson time. He charmed me as usual one day and I smiled, "I could just eat you with a spoon!"

He pointed to his chest and quipped back, "This item is NOT on the menu!"

(Music Camp '09 playing for an assisted living center. Gabe's in navy shirt.)

Over the years it was clear to me that he was truly gifted in music. He played beautifully but his passion was for composing, Sometimes the 12 year old played at church for me in my absence.

(Recital '10-Gabe is back row, striped shirt in front of Thad's trumpet)

A little over a year ago he came for his piano lesson. I greeted the 13 year old with, "Gabe, today we're not having your usual lesson. I have a surprise for you. My phone will ring in a few minutes. It's my friend, Ivy Spera. She's a composer studying at Julliard." That half hour conversation between two music prodigies launched Gabe into a world every musician longs for but few experience.

Later she called me, "Kathy, Carnegie Hall here is having a national competition for young composers. Would Gabe be interested?"

Gabe was interested. Gabe won! His work will be performed Sunday by an orchestra and 400 voice choir at Carnegie Hall. I'm flying to New York today and can't wait to hear it and see his smile.

Recently I threatened, "Gabe, I'm working on my fingers-in-the-mouth sports whistle so I can cheer for you at Carnegie."

Wide-eyed horror flashed across his face, "Mrs. Henderson, I'm working on my I-don't-know-her-face! I would die if you did that and you'll embarrass yourself too!"

"Oh no, Gabe, because when everyone in the audience turns around to stare at the whistler, I'll turn too and just glare at some innocent man sitting behind me. They'll never suspect this grandmother of doing something so inappropriate!"
(Gabe in front of Carnegie Hall this week. . .waiting for me!)

And I never suspected that a little boy went from an atrocious day to the most astounding day of his young life in just five years. Through Ivy's introductions he even met with a few Julliard professors.

Gabe went to NYC ahead of me this week and messaged me:

  • Just wanted to let you know that I went and prayed at St. Patrick's Cathedral today about my piece. It really helped. I prayed for about ten minutes.

God amazes me at how He places people and opportunities in our lives at just the right time. The Creator gave my student his creative gift. Gabe now gives it back to Him and us here together in New York City! Thank You, Lord!

My schedule:
Sat. Feb. 4 - 2:00 PM - See Wicked at Gershwin Theater
Sun. Feb. 5 - AM -Go with Ivy to her church, Brooklyn Tabernacle
Sun. Feb. 5 - 3:00 PM - Hear Gabe's music at CARNEGIE HALL (See poster & video below.)

I'll post pictures from all 3 places & Carnegie video in the next blog on Monday.

This bio video says it all in less than 2 minutes.
(See NYC pics & concert clip video in next blog!)