Tuesday, September 29

Storms Not Of Our Making

Bro. Daniel Jordan preached for us in the mrning service this past Sunday.  He took his text from Acts 27. The account is of the time that Paul, as a prisoner, was sailing to Italy. The trip was dangerous and Paul admonished those he was with that he feared for their lives. However, the centurion listened to others instead of Paul and they continued on. In the end, the ship could not stand up against the winds and storm, and as they headed to land it run aground. The centurion commanded that those that could swim  cast themselves into the sea, and swim to land.  And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship made their way to land until they were all safe.  (Mind you, this a very condensed version of this chapter, just to give you the background). 

Bro. Jordan's message was on making it through the storms when they are not our fault.  He talked about the storms that come into our life through decisions other's make, or because of illness, etc. Situations that are not of our making and we can do nothing about, but yet we must deal with the consequences of those things.  They affect our lives.  The hurt us, physically or emotionally.  These storms batter us and toss us about.  They change us.  We do what's right, but we can't change the situation no matter how much we may want to.  Many times we're not sure how to handle it.  Just like Paul had to deal with the decision the centurion made in sailing on, even though Paul advised against it and feared for their lives, we have to ride out these storms.

 What really stuck out of this message was when he got to the part about the people making it to land.  The last part of verse 33 & verse 34 says that the centurion " commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land: And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land." 

Bro. Jordan talked about how some people make it through the storms still strong and able to swim to shore.  But others have a harder time.  They have to cling to the boards and broken pieces, the shattered pieces, and float on in. I know that many of our church are going through these type of storms.  Storms that are not their fault. I watch and I see the strength that some have, able to keep right on.  I admire that strength.  Others I see, are hanging on with all their might, but they are making it. 

There are several of these storms in my own life right now.  They are raging all about me.  My heart is heavy.  I'm tired.  I want to be one of those that are strong and swim right on in.  But I can feel the waves breaking over me, and sometimes I struggle to keep from going under, to keep my head above water.  I am clinging to those boards, for all I'm worth, as I cry out to the Father for help. Sometimes, I feel myself slipping and I struggle for a better grasp.  I am floating in on His grace and mercy.  I want to make it safely to the other side.  But I know, even in the journey, I'll be changed.  Things will never be the same again.   For you don't come through the storms without looking at things differently.  I pray that that change will be a positive one, so that when the next storm comes, I'll be stronger. Able to swim, instead of clinging to the pieces. 

I know that all things work together for good!

Friday, September 25

Happy Birthday, Aaron!!

Today is my first born "baby's" birthday.  He's 28!  Wow, where have the years gone?  It seems like just yesterday we were bringing him home from the hospital.  He has two babies of his own, Kylie (3 1/2) and Wyatt (15 months)  Aaron will be getting out of the Air Force in January, having served 8 years, but they'll be coming home in November.  I can hardly wait! 


Friday, September 18

Happy Sweet 16, Mikiah!

Today is my neice, Kiah's, 16th birthday.
 Kiah is Stephanie's little sister.


Thursday, September 17

Happy Birthday, Stephanie!

Today is my neice, Stephanie's, birthday. 
She's the ripe old age of 26.


Saturday, September 12

33 Years Ago

Thirty three years ago, I met the Savior!
But my story started the summer before September 12th, 1976.
 During the summer before we moved back to Tennessee, we came home for a visit.  My Aunt Bob, Uncle Lige and Aunt Bonnie were attending Swan Pond Baptist Church.  While we were home, Debbie and I went to church with them.  That in itself wasn't unusual, as we usually did this when we were here.  The last time we had been home, they were attending the Harriman Baptist Tabernacle. Since then they had changed churches.

The service we attended that summer Sunday was different than any I had attended before.  There was a lot of singing and shouting and testifying.  And during the service, they kept talking about how you needed to be saved.  This was all new to me.  I remember thinking that these people were crazy, and I couldn't wait to get away from them.  We finished our vacation, and returned to California.

Even though I got away from "those crazy people", I couldn't get away from the things that I had heard and felt.  I couldn't get it out of my mind.  I would go to sleep thinking about it and wake up thinking about it.  Debbie had a little black and white tv set with rabbit ears.  I used to turn it on and flip through the channels adjusting the rabbit ears, looking for the shows with preaching.  I would read my Bible, but did not know where to look.  I was trying to find out what it meant to be "saved". 

Night after night, I would find those shows and listen, trying to find out how I could be "saved".  Out of all those shows, I never heard a clear cut presentation of the gospel.  I knew I was a sinner and that I needed God to "save" me, but I did not know how to get Him to do that.  I could not sleep for worrying about something happening and me not being "saved".  I did not understand it then, but I was under conviction. God was dealing with my heart.

One night, out of desperation, I cried out to God and asked Him to "save me".  I told Him that I didn't know what all that meant, but I knew I needed Him, and without Him, I would die and go to Hell for all the bad things I had done.  I told Him that as soon as we moved back to Tennessee, I would go to church and find the answers.  After that night, I was able to sleep and was no longer afraid. 

We left California to move back to Tennessee on my fifteenth birthday, September 5th, 1976.  On Sunday Morning, September 12th, I went to church with Bonnie, Bob and Lige.  On Sunday night, we had a service similar to the one the summer before.  This time, I wasn't afraid.  Bro. Wayne Burnette gave the invitation, and said that if you knew you needed to be "saved", you should come to the altar and someone would meet you there and show you how.

I went forward that night, and Bro. John McCormick took God's Word and explained to me why I needed to be saved and what I needed to do.  He told me if I knew I was guilty and was sorry for my sins, that I needed to tell God and ask Him to forgive me and save my soul.  I knew that I had asked Him before, but now, understanding what God's Word said, I asked Him again.  That night, I confessed to the church that God had saved me.

I know that God saved me thirty three years ago.  Whether it was that night in California or the night in Tennessee, I have no doubt that He forgave me!  He gave me His sweet peace.  The Bible says "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

I am so thankful that God saw fit to trouble my soul and show me that I needed Him!  Praise His Holy Name!  I have tried to do what He would have me to do and live for Him.  I know that I have failed Him too many times to count.  I'm sure I will fail Him again, however unintentional.  But He has never, ever failed me!  He has walked by my side all these years, blessed me, gave me His mercy and grace and taken care of me. 
I would be lying to you if I said this road had been easy.  It hasn't.  There have been many, many rough times.  Times when I did not know how I would make it through, times when I could not see the way, times when it was nearly impossible to catch my breath.  But He has been with me, "for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee"

What about you?

 Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior?

The Bible says "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23)  We are all sinners and there is nothing we can do in ourselves to pay for that sin.

"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23) God has offered us a gift, a free gift.  We can have eternal life through Jesus!  Without Him, we cannot pay the price and we face an eternity in Hell.

"But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)  We can have that great love gift, because He died in our place.  He took our punishment.

 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Romans 10:9) We just have to realize we are sinners, believe on Him, accept what He has done for us with a repentant (sorry) heart and we can be saved.

"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13)

God loves you just as much as He loved me, or anyone else.  My prayer is that if you don't know Him, God will trouble your heart and bring you to that place of repentance, so you too will have that "friend that sticketh closer than a brother." (Proverbs 18:24)

Happy Birthday, Momma!

On to the second event that happened on September 12th.


Today is Momma's birthday. She would have been 67.  She was born on September 12, on her mom's (Mamaw Webster's) birthday. When I was little everybody thought I looked like Mom, but when we were teenagers, everyone thought Debbie looked like Mom. They always thought they were sister's instead of mother and daughter, Mom looked so young.
This picture is of mom and her little sister, Edna (the cotton top). Mom and Aunt Edna have always been real close. They also looked alot alike, more so than Mom and any of her other siblings.
This is Mom and Dad. I believe it was taken shortly after they were married. Probably 1959 or 1960.

I'm not sure what year this picture was taken, but I believe it was before 1999.
This picture was taken in 1999. I made it with the first digital camera I ever owned.
This was from Labor Day Weekend, 2005.
 Momma was the 4th child in a family of eleven (see pictures in previous post about Mamaw Webster).  She and Dad were married on December 19th, 1959.  I came along on September 5th, 1961 and Debbie on August 7th, 1962.  Kim was born on May 8th, 1969.  Up until that time, Mom and Dad both worked  at Roane Hosiery.  We lived in the holler in Jett Valley and attended Child's Memorial Baptist Church.  Shortly after Kim was born we "loaded up the truck and moved to"....Glendora, California. 

We literally loaded up the truck, Dad put the mattresses in the back of the truck with the camper top, and me and Debbie rode there on the way to California.  Dad rigged up an intercom so we could talk to him and mom.  Kim was just a couple of weeks old and of course, rode up front with Mom.  I remember as we left the driveway in Jett Valley, Deb and I were in the back singing "California Here We Come".  We were off on a grand adventure!  We stayed with Aunt Helen & Uncle Don for a while in West Covina, before moving to Glendora.  We spent 8 years there, before moving back to Tennessee. 

We came back "home" in September of 1976, when I was 15.  Mom stayed home with us when we lived in Glendora, but worked several jobs after we moved back.  She worked several years in the deli at Goldston's Quick Check.  She also worked at Roane State, Johnson's Nursing Home, a steak house in Harriman and Shoney's.  The last place she worked was for Debbie & Wendell in their store.  She loved to work on her house and with her flowers.   We attended church at Swan Pond for several years, and for the past 4, Mom and Dad were faithful members at the Harriman Baptist Tabernacle, where Kim and Debbie and their families also attend.

Though she only had three daughters, she had 12 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren.  Mom had rheumatic fever when she was real young, and then had it again before Kim was born.  It caused damage to her heart that worsened through the years.  Four years ago, Mom had open heart surgery and a mitral valve replacement.  She amazed the doctors with how well she recovered.  She had a problem with her heart out of rhythym early this year, but the doctors were able to correct it. 

Momma passed away suddenly from a stroke on March 23, 2009.  She and Dad had been married for 49 years.

Some of my fondest memories of Mom are from the years right after we moved to California.  We only had a pick up truck at the time.  Dad had to use it and often worked away from home for a few days at a time.  We would spend the summers walking.  Me, Debbie, and Mom pushing Kim in the stroller.  We would walk to the local stores to shop, usually Gemco and Newberry's or Woolworth's.  We would shop and then have lunch in their cafeterias or at the lunch counter.  Sometimes we would go to Thrifty Drugstore for an ice cream cone.  We would also walk to the library.

 During the windy months, Mom would go with us to the playground at Gordon (our elementary school) and fly kites with us.  During the school year, Debbie and I would often walk home for lunch.  Kim wasn't yet in school.  Often Mom would fix us macaroni and cheese, corn and pork & beans.  (Pork & beans have never been a favorite of mine, but I can eat them if I have corn and macaroni and cheese to go with them). 

Back during that time was when the heiress, Patricia Hearst was kidnapped by the SLA (Simbianese Liberation Army) in Northern California.  We watched all the news coverage on TV and even the shoot out that went on.  We went to JC Penney's one time, and Mom used her credit card and security was called.  That wasn't a good time to share the name of a kidnapped heiress even if it was spelt different!

It's hard to believe that Mom's been gone for 6 months.  I know that she is in a better place than we are, spending time with family and friends who went before her, and most of all with her Savior, but I miss her!  I know Debbie and Kim and Daddy, as well of the rest of the family, miss her too! 
I'm thankful that one day, there will be a family reunion!

Mamaw Webster

September 12th is kind of an eventful day in our family.  Three special things happened on that day.  I guess I'll have to write three separate posts to cover it all.  I'll start with the first event that occurred.

 September 12th was my Mamaw Webster's birthday.  Zettia Molly Edwards was born in 1913.  She would have been 96 today.  She married Walter Edwin Webster and they had 11 children.  Helen, Faye, Sue, Pat, Edna, Alvin, Earl, Donnie, Diane, Darrell and Jan. They lived at DeArmand's Crossing in Harriman.
 The picture below is of Mamaw holding Cotton (Alvin), Edna, Pat (mom), Sue, Faye and Helen holding Earl.
I'm not sure when this picture was made of Mamaw, but probably some time in the 70's.  It was made in front of the cornfield that was planted beside their house.
Mamaw did not have an easy life.  She raised 11 kids in a tiny house.  They had well water and they did not have indoor plumbing until I was a teenager.  (I remember making many trips to the little buidling up the hill.)  Mamaw suffered from poor circulation and had a condition that caused ulcers on her legs that would not heal.  She had to have repeated skin grafts.  She suffered with it for as long as I can remember.  I do not remember a time when she did not have "Ace" bandages around her legs.  I don't remember alot of the details about the skin grafts, but I gained a greater appreciation of all she went through when Debbie had to have her skin graft.  Procedures and things are so much better now than they were then.  I can only imagine what it was like for her.  Her daughter, Sue, drowned when she was 16.  Her youngest daughter, Jan, was what they used to call a "change of life" baby and was born mentally handicapped.  But you know, I never heard Mamaw complain.  She may have, but I never remember hearing her utter one word of complaint about the way things were.

Mamaw always had biscuits made.  And as soon as we would come through the door, she would tell us to come get one.  When I was younger, there used to be an old upright piano in the living room.  I don't remember what she played, but I remember her standing at the piano playing a tune. And "Chopsticks".  She taught us to play "Chopsticks". I also remember her dancing the Charleston for us.  There always seemed to be music at Mamaw's, since some of the boys played the guitar. 

Debbie and I were the "older" cousins.  Doug and Donna and Sharon were older than we were, but they lived away and didn't get to come home much.  We used to come home to Tennesse every other summer and spent time at Mamaw's with all the little cousins.  One of our favorite things was to take them for walks up the road, and when the snow cone truck would come by. 

After we moved back to Tennessee, our cousins, Mike, Scott and Greg would come in from Georgia.  One winter, it came a great big snow storm.  We all walked from our house in the snow, to Mamaw's and Papaw's.  All the aunts and uncles came and we made a huge snowman in the front yard.  Someone from the newspaper came by and made our picture with the snowman. 

We were able to give Mamaw and Papaw a 50th Wedding Anniversary Party at our house. The picture below is of Papaw and Mamaw with their anniversary cake.
This picture was made at their party too.  That's Darrell, Helen, Donnie, Papaw, Earl, Mamaw, Cotton, Edna & Pat (mom).  Diane, Faye and Jan are not in the picture.
Mamaw passed away a little while later.  She had a stroke.  I remember going to the hospital, and being there when she left this world.  She never regained consciousness after the stroke.  The doctor's said her heart was just wore out.  I don't ever remember Mamaw going to church.  She hardly ever left the house.  I think it may have had to do with the condition of her legs.  But I remember her talking about when she used to walk to Mount Calvary to church, which was just across the hill from her house.  She said that she had been saved.  I'm looking forward to that reunion in Heaven.

My kids didn't get to know Mamaw.  Aaron was 4 and Rachel nearly 2 when she passed away.  I never pass by DeArmand's Crossing (which I have to do any time I go from Wartburg to Harriman) without thinking about Mamaw and Papaw.  I love her and miss her too!

Thursday, September 10

Remembering Granny

My granny, Roxie Buck Hurst, was born September 10, 1911. Today would have been her 98th birthday. Granny's family was from Sunbright. This is the earliest picture I have of Granny, when she was a young girl. Granny was married twice. Something we knew, but it was never talked about in detail. When asked, she would only say that her first husband went off to find work and never came back. She had a son that died soon after birth.
Granny married my Papaw, Lus "Buckeye" Hurst and they had 4 children. Barbara, William (who also died shortly after birth), Tommy (my dad) and Sue. After Granny's death, her sister told us that Granny always believed that William was buried alive. She thought she saw him move before the casket was closed. This was attributed to her being a grieving mother. Whether it was true or not, I can only imagine how horrible it must have been to think that. This is a picture of Granny and Bobbie.
Below is a picture of Granny, Bobbie (who was pregnant with Ronnie), Sue and Dad. It had to have been taken in 1946 as that was the year Ron was born. (Sorry, Ron. We'll still tell everybody we're the youngest)
This picture below was taken about 1959 or 60.
After their children were grown, and the grandchildren were coming along, Granny & Papaw adopted Granny's great-neice, Bonnie.
This picture was taken in the early 70's. It is Ronnie, Granny & Bonnie.
Granny & Papaw had 10 grandchildren. Ron, Me, Debbie, Kim, Rich, Heather, Justin, Talisha, Myron and Marcus. There are 17 great grandchildren and 8 great-great grandchildren.
This picture was taken shortly before Granny was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis.
The one below is Papaw, Bobbie, Dad & Granny. It was made at the funeral home when one of Granny's siblings had passed away.
The picture below was taken after she was diagnosed and had been on prednisone. She didn't like this one much, as one of the side effects of the prednisone was that it made her face fat and she thought the picture showed that.
The picture below was taken before she had to go on oxygen all the time.
This one is of Rachel and Granny. All of my children got to know and have memories of Granny. Even Seth. He was 4 when Granny died. I am so glad they did.
This is Granny on an Easter Sunday at my house, before she was no longer able to get out and go places.
This is the last picture Granny & Papaw had made together.
I have alot of fond memories of Granny. I remember when I was little, before we moved to California, we would sometimes spend Friday or Saturday night at Granny's. Me, Debbie, and Ron. Later on, Bonnie would be there too. Granny would always make us popcorn and we would sit in the floor and watch tv. I remember the time she was cleaning out the kitchen cabinet and dropped a can on her foot. She 'bout cut her toes off and she was bleeding and we were scared. Or the time we spent the night and heard a noise on the backporch. The next morning a whole box of pecans was gone and she told us the squirrels got them. Once we moved to California, we only got to see her about every 2 years. But she always wrote us letters. I remember being so excited to get a letter or when we got to talk to her on the phone. And every year, we'd get a big box of Christmas presents from Tennessee. (I was going through Granny's recipe box after she passed away and found a letter I had written her shortly after we moved. She had saved it all those years!) They even got to come visit us one year. Bob, Lige, Ron, Granny, Papaw and Bonnie all piled into the car and made the 2000 mile trip to spend 2 weeks with us. I think Granny's middle name should have been "Go" (she actually didn't have a middle name). She was always ready to travel. Papaw, on the other hand, wasn't. He didn't like to go anywhere for long. It still amazes me that he made that trip to California. Once we moved back to Tennessee, we spent alot of time at Granny's. Debbie and I would spend the night and walk to the Carol Anne to catch the bus for school. We also spent alot of weekends there. We would get up and get ready for church on Sunday morning to Mull's Singing Convention. I remember picking vegetables from the garden and apples up off the ground. Sitting on the front porch and breaking beans or hulling purple peas. Swinging in the swing till we flew over the bannister. Family dinners and washing all the plastic cups and silverware, because Granny would have a fit if we threw them away. I remember Granny teaching me how to make dumplings and fried apples. How she would say "yello" when she answered the phone. I remember how excited she was when she won the drawing for the TV at Goldston's Grocery. And then how that TV sat on top of the big TV and Granny would watch her "stories" (aka soap operas) on it while Papaw watched his baseball games on the big TV (with the sound down, he couldn't hear it anyway). I remember taking my kids to granny's. They loved going to granny's about as much as I did. She always had to feed them, and send something back to Charlie (usually chicken parts). When Granny could no longer get up and around, we would each take a day and go clean her house, cook for them, run errands, etc. I'm so glad I was able to do that for her.

Granny went home to heaven in November, 1998, when she was 87. She was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis in 1991. When she was diagnosed, they put her on prednisone, which she hated. They told her without it she would only live about 6 months. She took herself off the prednisone and showed them! She lived for 7 years without it. For the last few years of her life, she was bedridden and on constant oxygen. We dreaded to see her time come to an end, because we had been told she would die a horrible death, smothering and not able to breath. But the good Lord had other plans. Shortly before her death, she was diagnosed with colon cancer (from being bedridden). The pain was so bad, that she finally agreed to have a colostomy. She went in the hospital and had the surgery, but never came home. I was in the room when Granny left this world for her home in Glory. She had eaten and was sitting up in the bed. She seemed to be doing a little better. I remember sitting there watching her, looking at her eyes. I can only describe what I saw this way: It was as if the light in her eyes went out. Her breathing slowed to nothing, and she passed away peacefully.

Granny may have been gone for eleven years, but she's not forgotten. She lives on in our hearts and memories. She taught us many things, and we continue to pass them on to others. It may seem like a silly little thing, but I have Granny's old fashioned potato masher. I still use it, and often my grandkids want to help me when I'm cooking. They like to "smash" the potatoes. Every time we use it, I tell them about Granny. They never got to know her, but she is still touching their lives. I loved her very much, and I still miss her. I always will.

Wednesday, September 9

Not Going Home Today

Talked to Wendall and he said that Debbie's white blood count and all the other numbers were still good, but because she is not eating enough, she won't be going home today. He was in a hurry and I didn't get to ask him any more questions. I'll try to talk to him again later to find out more details, and then I'll update again.

Tuesday, September 8

Debbie's Still In The Hospital

I stayed with Debbie at the hospital last night. She managed to sleep a little better than she had been, and was feeling a bit better today. She's had a really rough weekend, and has been in a lot of pain. She told me that this is the worst pain that she has had so far, even worse than the surgeries, skin grafts, trach, etc. Her white blood count has gone up quite a bit, though, from Saturday, which is a very good thing. They have put radiation and chemo on hold until her mouth heals some. She has blisters all over the inside of her mouth and throat. She still hasn't ate much at all since last Thursday. She has lost 40 pounds total. Please continue to pray for her. Steph has updated her blog and Debbie's if you want to check them out.

Sunday, September 6

Update on Debbie

I talked to Wendell and he said that Debbie may be doing just a tiny bit better this evening, but she's been pretty miserable all day. He said they have given her so much medicine that it's hard to tell. She hasn't eaten in 3 days. Her blood count hasn't gone up, but the doctor thinks they'll start seeing an improvement tomorrow. We went to see her last night, and it breaks my heart to see her in pain. Although she doesn't complain, you know she's hurting. I'll be going to stay with her tomorrow night. Please just keep her in your prayers. Thanks again!

Saturday, September 5


Dad called a little while ago and told me that they had put Debbie in the hospital early this morning. She was running a fever, not feeling good, and her blood count was really low. I would appreciate it if you would remember her in prayer. Thanks!