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.