Friday, July 27, 2012


 "Hey, kids, did I ever tell you about the time. . ."

Eyes roll, indicating I might be repeating my stories.  Again.   All mothers do. One time when I started one, Katy chirped, "Ohhhh, I haven't heard that one, Mama."

"Really?" I was encouraged.

"No. I lied, Mom. We've heard it many times."

But it didn't stop me.

Nor Doug. Recently he told one from his youth and Kent genuinely exclaimed, "Dad, I have NEVER heard that before! How could I have missed that? Great story!"

But since it's from his childhood, I'll let Doug tell it:

I can't remember at what point in our growing up as a seven children family I heard this story. But I do know it was one we retold over and over again, always out of earshot of Mom.

We lived next door, literally, to the church Dad pastored. He'd get up real early on Sunday mornings and go to his study at church. In order not to wake Mom, he'd dress as much as possible in the bathroom then just gather his wallet, keys and watch from the dresser on the way out.

On one of these mornings, he put on his suit and realized he didn't have a silk handkerchief to put in his front breast pocket. He kept them in the top dresser drawer. Unfortunately, that was also the drawer where mom kept her underwear. She was not a small woman, so when he slipped back into their dark bedroom, grabbed what he thought was a handkerchief. It felt right. He tucked the white handkerchief into his coat pocket then quietly left.

He had not thought of the handkerchief until he needed it to wipe his brow during his sermon. We lived in Florida at the time, where the weather was hot, and the church was not air-conditioned. Being quite lively in his preaching, he worked up a sweat. He was a hacker. He would preach a sentence and then catch his breath real quick, which sort of had a rhythm to it.
Granny knew how to wield a skillet!

It was while he was working up to a particular point that he decided to wipe his brow. He nonchalantly pulled the handkerchief from his pocket and did wipe his head, but began to notice that it seemed larger than usual. As he stood there in front of God and everybody, he grabbed the top of the waist band of Mom's underwear and pulled them to their full width. He was as shocked as the congregation.

I can't remember if he tried to finish the sermon after that, but he might as well have just bowed his head and prayed a benediction on the way out the door. Don't remember Mom's reaction either, but I'm sure it was rich.

No doubt he made sure he always put the handkerchief in the pocket the night before, or moved them entirely to another drawer.
Their granddaughter, our Kimberly,  found a new use for over-sized
Granny panties!  She actually won Hat Day at school with them and
an inflated rubber glove. Bet Granny's laughing from heaven.
 "Utterly ridiculous"  

Friday, July 20, 2012


"Look, Kathy! A blue jay!"                       

"That's a first."

"Oh, look! There's that red-headed woodpecker again."

Just this week those words bounced off the window panes at our bay window as our back yard bird feeders offered up colorful glimpses into God's creation. Flanking our feathered friends I see orange hibiscus, trumpeting His glory too.

I'm not quite sure when I became a nature lover but it was in recent years. Knowing that, our Katy and Dave gave us a huge book called Bird Songs Bible. On each page you can press a button and hear the calls of 728 birds. Don't miss the brief video demonstrating a few bird calls from the book at the end. We've even had live birds talk back to the book!

We're bird nerds! Officially. Cameras and binoculars included.

Daily, from my sofa, I simply turn my head to the left and am filled with wonder. Purple petunias nod at me, grape vines curl hellos, the birds flutter, flinging bird seed, squirrels invade (aggravating me and the birds!) So maybe my nature loving is selective. I admit it. I'm prejudiced.
Recently I pondered why this scene infuses me. 
  I realized that many times two Scripture passages bob around in my head as I watch.

Matthew 6:26-28

New International Version (NIV)
26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.

Matthew 10:29-31

New International Version (NIV)
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.[a] 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

So when I find myself fretting over basics of life, I'm reminded in living color. . .that's God's business! Quit worrying, Kathy! And I do. It's a recurring moment of releasing myself or my fears into God's loving care.

I love the second verse too:

This is my Father's world.
The birds their carols raise.
The morning light, the lily white
Declare their Maker's praise.

So do I! So should you!

Praising Him,


He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
Bird book video:

Friday, July 13, 2012


oes arose bush have thorns or does a thorn bush have roses?
It really is all about perspective.

Sometimes I wish I could fill a prescription for happiness. Now I realize God's goal is not to make sure we're all happy, comfortable or successful. Life is not pain free. Pain helps us become the man or woman God wants us to be. It's not all about me. It's about God. Yet as Americans we have an inalienable right to pursue it. But I have so many friends lost in that pursuit, muddled in the mire of discontent and negativity. If it were simply a drug or dessert, I'd be pill pushing to my sad friends or giving away cupcakes!

Does the rose bush have thorns
or does the thorn bush have roses?

Dr. Kathy's remedy does not presently come in pill form. However, there is recent medical research backing my theory.

"Researchers have discovered that grateful people are more satisfied with their lives, and not because they ignore the bad stuff--they're just better at appreciating the good.

I knew it! Attitude is everything. Attitude is a choice. How you think determines how you feel and act. Eventually those very choices determine how happy or content you are in life.

Personality types may range from pessimistic to idealistic. Optimists fall somewhere in between. But that shouldn't become an excuse. "I'm just natured that way." Whether your nature makes it easy or not, we all can choose to THINK THANKS. An attitude of gratitude can spin your day, lift you from the mulligrubs, even on those blue days, even against your natural bent.
This month we're thankful for daffodils."

(Redbook, April 2012 issue)

When my Kimberly was about 5 years old, she was riding in the car with my mother one spring day. Mama was a joyous person and spread it around freely, without even realizing it.

"Oh, Kimberly! Look at those daffodils! They're just beautiful."

"Forsythia is the first sign of spring. Don't you just love that bright yellow?"

"Oh, look, Honey! A robin red breast right on that gorgeous dogwood tree!"

During a break between Mama's monologue of merriment, Kimberly inserted, "Grandma, I think you love everything and think it's all beautiful." Glancing out the car window, she added, "You probably even think those telephone poles are pretty!"

She probably did.

The apostle Paul said from jail, "I've learned in whatever state I am to be content." Notice he used the word learned, not pill-popped. It was a learned process. I see 3 steps:
  • gratitude
  • contentment
  • happiness
Contentment ultimately holds the key to happiness. But there is a link to gratitude on that same road to pursue happiness.

Oprah once suggested via one of her guests that we keep a daily Gratitude Journal. Not a bad idea. God had it first though.

Philippians 4:8

New International Version (NIV)

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

We all can adjust our attitudes by intentionally programming our brains to think on the good. Today's tendency is to mull over the bad, gripe about what's wrong, complain over how we're treated, feed on the latest news warning. Then we wonder why we're sad all the time. Sometimes medical help is needed for true depression but it should not become the automatic lifestyle for children or adults. Some of the meds to cure depression "may cause suicidal tendencies." I know of several folks who did take their own lives. The common denominator was anti-depressants.

Hear me again as I repeat from the middle of the above paragraph. Sometimes medical help is needed. I believe that too. The operative word there is sometimes. I've experienced those lows and so have family members and friends. However, too often it becomes the first thing we do rather than the last. Frequently it becomes a permanent rather than temporary aid.

We might find a better first choice is to learn to recognize the cure God placed within us as human beings. We can actually tap into hormones far stronger than prescriptions. Even in bad circumstances or discomfort, we can find the good. God is good. Begin there. That strength, even in your weakness, becomes your joy.

Our attitude toward life defines not only who we are, but the quality of life we will have.

I find myself reflecting whatever I'm around. So again my choices in music, reading material, friends, conversation all feed either my happiness or my discontent. For me it meant:

  • watching less news
  • reading my Bible daily
  • applying God's Word in practical ways
  • spending less time around complainers
  • ejecting thoughts of criticism

2 Corinthians 10:5

New International Version (NIV)

5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

  • thinking less on my circumstances and more on the lessons I need to learn there
  • believing God can change me, my habits, my thoughts, my attitude daily
  • begin and end every day in praise

Every night Doug and I kiss each other and say, "Goodnight. I love you." Every night I step out onto my dark front porch and end my day with, "God, thank You for ____________." It's different every night but I go to sleep thinking thanks.

I wake up happy. No pills for that!

Throughout this blog I've use the word happiness and gratitude because there is a direct link. The happiest folks on earth are not so because of what they have or their circumstances. They are happy because they have found the nugget of gratitude even in bad circumstances.

Chuck Swindoll said we need "to wean ourselves from the rabid pursuit of happiness so prevalent in our culture. Happiness is a byproduct of contentment." That's it! Pursue gratitude and happiness just happens.

Thorns are painful, but the world is filled with many roses.

Stop and smell them!

Here's the best example I've seen in awhile.

Anything bugging you today should pale with this perspective check. Learn from this joyful child. Choose an attitude of gratitude and BE HAPPY!
Chapter 2
As an epilog this video also makes the political link and importance of gratitude.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


The Miles family and ours have shared years of fun, friendship, music and laughter. Here's a sampling. But don't miss the special story after the pictures.


I answered my phone and noticed the call came from Peace Free Will Baptist Church.     

"Hello, Donnie!" I took a chance.

"Hi Miss Kathy. How are you?"

After amenities we got to the purpose of his call. "I need your help to surprise Trudy for her birthday." I was in! Plans were made. Doug and I would be included in their bed and breakfast get-away. Our kids gave us that as a Christmas gift so we decided the four of us would enjoy it together.

Trudy now teaches piano for me but back then she taught in our local Christian school. Donnie called the principal to make secret arrangements to intercept her day and whisk her away from the cafeteria on Friday.

Imagine her red face when I, her redneck chauffer, burst through the doors, shouting, "Mrs. Trudy Miles! Trudy Miles! Yer ride is a'waitin outside. I cum to pick ya up fer yer birthday!" She tried to avoid me. To send her into complete humiliation in front of her high school students, I sang Happy Birthday as loudly and nasally as possible. Finally she left with me, figuring that was her best escape from the madness invading her lunch break.

I delivered her to Donnie at church where he and Doug waited, suitcases all packed.  It was a memorable weekend.  It was almost as good as the trip we took to Mayberry (Mt. Airy) another year for Donnie's birthday.  Andy Griffith died this week but his memories live on!

              Abingdon Manor Bed and Breakfast, Latta, SC
               Take a peek at:

(As I toured around the site on the above link,  I found myself listed as a musician available under weddings then additional services!  Craig, your picture is there too!)

We really enjoy our friends getting older!