Dear Harper,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Today (9/6) is your 4th birthday. It is so hard to believe that we welcomed you to this world four years ago. The older I get, the faster time seems to pass. I’m sure you don’t feel the same way, but one day you will understand what I’m talking about. Nanna and I are so proud of you and I hope today is a wonderful day filled with fun and giggles.

Speaking of GIGGLES, that’s what I want to talk to you about. Each one of my grandchildren has a special trait that is unique to that child. Hudson loves to tell me about dinos, Ellie has a smile that lights up the room, and Benny is constantly running around and his nickname (Bizzy) is the most appropriate of all of you. But you Harper…your unique trait is GIGGLING! Even as I am writing this, there is a big smile on my face because I can just hear you.

When you see me, the first thing you do is run to give me a hug and you GIGGLE. It is a sound that I believe originates in Heaven itself. God knew what 2020 was going to be like — especially for Poppo — and He gave you the ability to make me happy with a sound.

One of our favorite things to do right now is to watch Bluey (for those of you without grandchildren…Google it). Bluey has awakened your imagination and you love playing games that you have seen on Bluey. So, we play “Keepie-Uppie” and “Heavy.” And as soon as we start playing…you guessed it…you start GIGGLING and I start laughing. All you have to do is say, “Do YOU mind?” and with the little GIGGLE that follows and I start laughing — OUT LOUD!

For the adults, 2020 is not going to win any awards for our “Favorite Year.” The “virus” has created a new normal for our lives. And it has affected every area of life. For me personally, it has been a tough time dealing with all the decisions that I’ve had to make. There is always stress in the life of adults, but with all the things going on this year…my stress level has been super elevated. That’s why I think God gave you this gift to GIGGLE. I can’t explain it, but that GIGGLE has a way of lowering my stress level like nothing else can.

One more thing that I love about you is your “motherly heart.” Whether you are playing with your baby dolls or standing in the middle of the room with your hands on your hips talking to your dad, brother and Poppo — it is apparent that you have a mother’s heart. When you grab your baby dolls, you immediately tell them that “mommy is going to take care of you.” That is so sweet.

You have at least 3 great role models for this “mother’s love.” You mommy, your Nanna and your Nonnie are all special ladies who love their families with unconditional love. As you grow and mature, you watch them and follow their examples. If you do that, you will one day be a wonderful mommy yourself.

In Job 8, the Bible says, “He will yet fill your mouth with laughing. And your lips with rejoicing.” You have certainly provided that much needed laughter for Poppo. I love you and can’t wait to see how you grow and mature this year.

Remember…no matter what happens in your life, you can always count on the fact that Poppo and Nanna love you…unconditionally. I will always be a cheerleader on the sidelines for you (and your brother and cousins).

Thank you for the GIGGLES…keep doing it…it sure brings a lot of happiness to my life. And by the way…you are still My Favorite RedHead!



Missed Friday…

When I started this blog, I realized that even though my goal would be to write Monday-Friday, that would not always be possible. I have pastoral duties that will often require my attention — but that was NOT the case yesterday. I had SON duties that I needed to perform.

I spent yesterday (Friday) with my parents at Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk, VA where my dad was a patient. After some testing, we got good news! His heart is functioning as it is supposed to. The pain he has experienced this week is probably related to angina and is something daddy will probably have to live with the rest of his life. Thanks for your continued prayers for him. 

My mom takes her final chemo treatment on Monday! Praise the Lord! He continues to walk with her and her witness and attitude are amazing. After 54 years of marriage, my parents are almost attached at the hip — and that is as it should be. God has certainly blessed me and Brenda (my sister) with wonderful parents and we love them very much.

You never go to the hospital with my family and not laugh! We can find humor in ANYTHING! While that is not always a good thing — it certainly has helped us through the years as we have dealt with the problems that life brings. Yesterday was no different. We laughed all day long. My daddy is constantly picking at the nursing staff and they threaten him and we laugh. My cousin Wayne Jenkins came in and it didn’t take long for us to laugh at some story he and Donna told. Even while daddy was having his heart procedure, my mother and I sat in the waiting room laughing! If you happen to see my mother — ask her how many cell phones she carries with her and why can’t she find any of them!!!!!

Laughter…it truly is the best medicine for most anything. And time with you parents is pretty special too — even if it is in a hospital room. Cherish every minute with your loved ones — and try to find something funny. If nothing else — look in the mirror and you’ll see what the rest of us have been laughing at for years!!!

See you Monday.

It’s Not WHAT You Do…But WHEN You Do It…

“My soul, praise Yahweh, and all that is within me, praise His holy name. My soul, praise the Lord, and do not forget all His benefits. He forgives all your sin; He heals all your diseases. He redeems your life from the Pit; He crowns you with faithful love and compassion. He satisfies you with goodness; your youth is renewed like the eagle.” (Psalm 103:1-5)

I remember when I thought 40 was OLD! Most of you know that in December I reached the half-century mark. I look in the mirror and wonder how it happened. For those of you who thought 40 was bad…50 is worse! What don’t hurt — don’t work. 

Psalm 103 reminds me however of a very important lesson about getting older. If I want to continue to be used in the work of God’s Kingdom, I can’t allow my physical age to slow me down. It seems to me that it is important that I don’t allow myself to grow old and useless but rather — as the Scripture says — to have my “youth renewed like the eagle.” I want to joyfully serve God all the days He gives to me.

In his book, Living Above the Level of Mediocrity, Chuck Swindoll gives the following illustration of exactly what I’m talking about. He writes…

“Ted Williams, at age 42, slammed a homerun in his last official time at bat.

Mickey Mantle, age 20, hit 23 home runs his first full year in the major leagues.

Golda Meir was 71 when she became Prime Minister of Israel.

William Pitt II was 24 when he became Prime Minister of Great Britain.

George Bernard Shaw was 94 when one of his plays was first produced.

Mozart was just 7 when his first composition was published.

Benjamin Franklin was a newspaper columnist at 16 and a framer of the United States Constitution when he was 81.”

What’s the point? You are never too old or too young to accomplish great things when you have the talent. Age has very little to do with ability.

So how can we accomplish this? Here are three little words that continue to help and inspire me to keep on keeping on.

  1. LAUGH – One of the greatest lessons I learned from my daddy is that you ought to have a good sense of humor. We are never more like children than when we are laughing. Wipe that frown off your face and stop complaining about every little thing. Find something to laugh about! 
  2. LONG — Never give up on the dreams that God has placed in your heart. Every day, long for a closer relationship with God. Wake up every morning and report for duty — doing whatever God has for you to do that day.
  3. LEAN — We can’t do anything by ourselves. We must lean on Jesus. He is our strength. The hymn writer said, “What a fellowship, what a joy divine…Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.” Lean on Jesus and you will never be disappointed.

Remember, when we got saved, we were invited to a FEAST not a FUNERAL! It’s doesn’t matter if you are 8 or 80 — do what God has given you to do with JOY and SINGING. He will renew your youth like the eagle! It’s not WHAT you do, but WHEN you do it that counts.

Have a great Wednesday.