Five-year-old Ryleigh and her older sister, Maddie, came to the office last week to have their teeth cleaned.  When it was their turn, we called their names, and they skipped back in festive Halloween attire.  Ryleigh was decked out in a purple and black dress with bats on the skirt.  Her ankle boots set off the outfit perfectly.  Maddie wore other fun Halloween colors:  yellow, orange, and green. 

Commentary: 7 truths about waiting on God

Several months ago, I arrived at my doctor’s office and checked in. Sometimes things run behind, but this time, I waited and waited. People arriving after me were called back as I sat. Closing time drew nearer. I approached the receptionist and she said, “Oh, no, they haven’t called you back? We must have forgotten you.” When we find ourselves in God’s waiting room, thankfully, we’re not forgotten. God is working.

There’s a picture hanging in the parsonage that wouldn’t mean anything to you.  It’s not fancy, not a Monet, a Picasso, or even a Russell May.  In it, a woman stands at a flower cart.  A horse-drawn carriage travels a dirt path in the background behind her.  The peach colors and muted hues hint that the artwork is decades old.

What is the difference between consistency and complacency? What is the difference between showing up in a consistent way and becoming complacent by always showing up in the same way? Think about it. I have to admit that for me it is so easy to fall into the place of complacency especially with the issues of life, job, family and relationships.

Sarah York’s voice runs through my head several times a day.  Not in a creepy way, but in an inspirational, motivational way.  “Use all of your resources,” she keeps telling me. Sarah, also a pastor’s wife, is a treasured friend and was knitted to my heart when we met.  Though we’ve only known each other a few years, she’s one of those people you feel like you’ve known forever. 

Have you ever been through something so very painful? Maybe it was a death, divorce, sickness, or just heartache from a situation. I am pretty sure that all of us at some point in our life can say we have been there. It’s always hard when you see your family hurting, but one of the hardest things I have ever had to deal with was realizing our youngest daughter who is special needs required more help than we were able to give her.

Commentary: Waiting on God is hard work

I made a hospital visit recently and had to circle the parking deck to find an open spot. Finally, I saw backup lights, so I paused. Someone came up behind me, and immediately honked, attempting to move me along. Surely this driver knows if I’m sitting here, I’m waiting for someone to back out, I thought. I hit my turn signal and sat there until the space cleared and pulled in. The driver behind me then sped on his merry way.

It hadn’t been a good day, so I asked Artificial Intelligence (nickname AI) to write my column. His real name is Bard. His full name is Bard Dot Com. I’ve read that AI can do all sorts of things: write your thank-you letters, compose an apology for being too honest about a dress, list the latest stats in major league baseball.

I’m a tea lover.  Every morning I brew a delicious concoction of green and black tea to drink throughout the day.  I bring water to a boil and steep tea bags for several minutes for optimum flavor.  Usually, the sound lets me know it’s getting ready.  I can hear the water molecules bouncing off each other telling me they are heating up. 

I do not like traffic, not one little bit. Of course, I don’t know many people that would say they do. Lately, traffic from Jefferson to Dacula in the mornings has been horrible. Maybe it’s the time change, construction, weather, school, summer, who knows, but it’s been bad.

This had been an expensive week at the Johnson household. Wouldn’t you know that in the same week my vehicle and my husband’s vehicle would BOTH need new tires? It would have been nice to try and not do both in one month, but that didn’t happen.

Commentary: 7 reasons I stay in the pastorate

Presbyterian Pastor Alexander Lang caused quite a stir recently when he published his blog, “Departure: Why I Left the Church.” Lang never imagined how many hits he’d get when, with full transparency, he laid out the pressures and unrealistic expectations of the pastorate. One commenter wrote, “Whiner.” He hasn’t walked in Alexander’s shoes. I have, maybe not in his specific circumstances, but I can certainly relate.

A thrill seeker I am not.  There are two super scary things I’ve done:  white water rafting at the Breaks (I nearly drowned) and riding the sky lift at Natural Bridge State Park where I made a vow to the Lord that still stands to this day. My idea of adventure is to be married and have kids — plenty of excitement that lasts for years.

Thursday thoughts: Faith conquers fear

Several months ago, one of my granddaughters came home with a questionnaire/survey she had filled out for something at school. One of the questions was “What are you afraid of?” Her answer was, “Well, basically I’m afraid of everything.” In all honesty, because she lives with me and I have been around her most of her life, I can say in her childlike honest way this is a correct statement.

“Are you serious?” I nearly shrieked.  “Surely there is someone else, someone better.”  My mind was blown. An assistant position had come open in the youth Sunday School class and my beloved thought I would be a good fit.  That was me a long time ago; I hadn’t taught youth in 20 years.  I felt old.   Sarah and Elizabeth old.

Thursday thoughts: Tether your life to Jesus

We are at the beach this week. During the same time period last year we were also fortunate to be able to head to the beach with some very dear friends. This is something that happened on our beach trip last year. Our trip had been planned for about 9 months and it came at the perfect time. I love the beach, it is my happy place for sure. Let me rephrase that. I love the beach and the peacefulness of the ocean. I do not necessarily love to “get in” the ocean waters.

Let’s confess. We worry. We fret. We sometimes sweat the small stuff. Concern is appropriate when it produces action. If the warning light comes on in my car, I’m prompted to get the mechanic to check it out before I have major issues. A concerned person acts to address a problem. Worrying, on the other hand, is unproductive.

I got a kick out of a menu I saw the other day for the fictional Roadkill Grill restaurant. The menu included Road Toad Ala Mode, Chunk of Skunk, Outta Luck Duck, Whippoorwill on a Grill, Swirl of Squirrel, and, perhaps worst of all, Rigor Mortis Tortoise. I wonder how many of us would admit to ever having eaten roadkill? I recall having what I might call Fowl on the Prowl, a wild turkey that didn’t make it all the way across the road, and I’ve had Smear of Deer from a fleet-footed buck that jumped directly in front of our vehicle.

Cleaning out my sock drawer, I came across a letter our younger daughter, Marcia, had given me years ago. I don’t know why I put the letter in my sock drawer. Most of that space is reserved for socks that have no mates.  Anyway, I came across this letter I had not read since 1982. I read it again. And I laughed again.

SUWANEE, Ga. — Georgia Baptists are a generous people, giving millions of dollars through their local churches each year to share the gospel around the world. During September, they’ll have the opportunity to focus their financial resources on their home state.

“Set the small cooler out on the front porch,” my beloved called to say on his way out of the hollow.  “And put the ice packs from the freezer in it, too.”  I had no clue what was going on but did as I was instructed.  With my own errands to run, I wouldn’t be home for a bit either.  Apparently, someone was dropping off something that needed to be kept cold.  My curiosity began to stir.

Are you tired? I feel like I stay tired in my life. Tired as in need of sleep and rest. Maybe it’s my age but I just don’t sleep well. I wake up at least three times during the night and if I get a solid five hours of sleep I consider that a good night’s rest.

No matter what race I run, somehow walkers and slower runners end up on the left side of the course, sometimes three or four abreast. Race etiquette dictates the slow folks stay to the right so the serious runners can pass. Same for drivers. Why do slow-poke drivers clog up the left lane of the road? Georgia and Alabama have a law making it illegal to drive in the left lane at a slow speed that impedes traffic flow.

My beloved is a great cook.  He stirs up delicious meals on a regular basis.  In the kitchen, he is a free spirit adding a dash of this and a pinch of that without measuring a thing.  With his Bluetooth speaker connected to his iPhone, he chops, slices, and dices.

I think I have said before that I take my 10-year-old granddaughter to school most mornings. On Tuesday, when she was getting in the car, I noticed three clothespins on her lunch bag. I thought it was a little odd so I asked her what they were there for. She proceeded to explain to me they have “encouragement cards” at school as one of their job assignments. another student. 

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