I can say that we are all courageous women for many reasons, but here are a few. I can share that GG-Dot overcame the growing up with an alcoholic father and the struggles associated with that atmosphere.
Mallory and I have triumphed over some personal challenges. When Ellie is older I hope to tell her the amazing stories of victory behind this statement.
And, Ellie is a miracle baby.
It is only because of God’s Goodness that are we all thankful brave souls. Praise be to God for the chance to share together in this precious moment.
another front yard
Doug and Debby have an awesome back yard!
[Ken 06/24/2016] While we are in Colorado visiting our family and Ken's mom, we are going to leave Faith parked in Ken's brother's back yard in Bellbrook, Ohio. He has so much space, we cannot see his house from the motorhome (and he cannot see our motorhome from the house). We even have a private, gated entrance! THANKS, DOUG and DEBBY!
visiting mom and dad!
[Deb 06/18/2016] We are visiting my mom and dad in Monroe, Ohio, this week. It's been almost three years since we've seen them. They will be celebrating their 63rd wedding anniversary next month. In spite of some of the health challenges they face, their spirits are buoyant. They stay busy keeping the Treasure Barn, a resale shop on campus, in top shape. It is so nice to experience Mom's and Dad's hugs again!
[Ken 06/19/2016] My dad would have been 90 years old this week. He always had something to say. His words of wisdom were not limited. Some of his wise words were pithy, some trite. I reflect on the ana of wise words as “daddilees.” Some daddilees went in one ear and out the other, I confess. For example, “Two wrongs don’t make a right,” he would often say – but I never understood how the illogic of these words could combine to diffuse any situation at hand.
Whether I acknowledged it at the time, or not, some daddilees were truly wise words -- great wisdom – advice that reflected a principled value system. From-time-to-time he offered three that made more sense than others – and I took to heart. The first two daddilees were very simple; they usually came as book-ends in a conversation. The third was cloaked in encouragement and usually stood on its own. I recall the last time I heard this daddilee – I was burdened with work and a new baby while also searching for time to finish my Master’s Degree when, this time, we talked on the phone. It turns out that these were very wise words for me to heed.
Maybe your dad impressed on you advice as valuable as this. I can still hear these daddilees in his voice. He would start by saying, “Kenny…
I don’t know if my dad was a Believer. Church was not part of his life as an adult. As a youth, he was a Sunday-morning, Sunday-evening, Wednesday-evening Methodist. He said that his family was always at church. Every-once-in-a-while he would walk around the house singing a verse or two from one of those great old hymns. And he was proud to have read the entire Bible in a time when that was unheard of. But one Sunday morning in his childhood his nine-year-old sister was struck by a car coming out of church; I think church began to mean something different to him soon after.
Mary Alice was holding hands with her two brothers, George and Ken, when she exited the steps of Stealey Heights Methodist Church – she was right between my dad and my uncle when her life was so suddenly ended. And it was only a few months later that my dad lost his mother to tuberculosis. And then his father, struggling with life, died a few years after that. One story reports that my paternal grandfather died of a broken heart, with a bottle in his hand. In the course of all of this loss my dad had gone from being in a vibrant, church-going family to being an orphan. He did not talk much about these life-changing times.
The daddilee wisdom that I heard through Cub Scouts and Junior High School and seemingly at every other life hurdle, provide evidence, however, of the roots of his value system.
In Philippians 2:3-4, Paul exhorts the church at Philippi to, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” And in 1 Chronicles 28:20, David tells Solomon to, “…Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD God; my God; will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you…” In other words, do not negotiate it, do not deliberate it, do not sit down and invent reasons to over-think, over-complicate, and/or delay the plans, but be strong and of good courage and just go do it. Go and be an example that by your willingness and hard work will honor God.
I want to believe that my dad knew Jesus Christ, even if he would not talk about it. It may have been birthed a long time ago when he was a young child. Or throughout his youth as he was raised by a Christian family. I certainly pray that he knew our Lord before he had his strokes. The great wisdom that dad impressed on me is evidence of past Biblical teaching.
These daddilees reflected my dad’s value system. Now, these daddilees are arrows in my leadership quiver. I shared them with my own children. I used them in my career. I used them as an adult leader in the Boy Scout program. I taught them in leadership forums. I have applied them in my ministry with SOWERs. In fact, I have presented daddilees in my own words of wisdom in conversations with protégés as recently as last week. They are truly wise words -- great wisdom – solid biblical advice that should be heeded.
Thanks for the daddilees, Dad. I know where you learned these. I want you to know that I continue to heed this great wisdom and share it on a daily basis.
another front yard
[Ken 06/17/2016] Believe it or not, we have found a shady, peaceful lakeside camp spot right in the middle of busy Cincinnati. We are settled in at site 25 at Winton Woods Campground. This will be our base camp while visiting Deb's parents a few miles north in Monroe, Ohio (and for other places that we are going to explore while in the area -- like CostCo!).
four hour traffic jam
[Ken and Deb 06/16/2016] Just a few miles from Cincinnati, we were stopped by a sizable accident on northbound I75. We ate, napped, watched Hogans Heroes on TV, did a little blogging, and folded laundry. Around midnight we got the "All Clear" from the state highway patrol to proceed. Made it to Monroe, Ohio by 1:00AM. What a night!
About 35 miles to the south is the town of Hazard (Kentucky, not Georgia) made equally famous, perhaps, by Bo and Luke in the TV show, Dukes of Hazard. About 65 miles to the northwest is Winchester, home to the Ale-8 brewing company, a local favorite. About 100 more miles to the west is Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby. Kentucky is famous for its bourbon, its bluegrass, and its horses -- everybody in Kentucky either owns a horse, or lives next to somebody who owns a horse. The same can be said for bluegrass and bourbon, I hear.
The cascade was wider than it was tall. About half way down, the foaming water danced uniformly from a narrow ledge before finishing in a shallow basin surrounded by an unexpected sandy beach. Delicate droplets of moisture clung to, then dropped from, the leafy foliage hanging overhead. A couple rows of ferns and fern allies embraced precipitously the narrow cracks of rock on one side of the falls. All you could hear in this remoteness were the intermittent song of woodland birds and the ceaseless, rushing cascade. It was nature's calming white noise.
It was an absolutely breathtaking setting. Beautiful.
OF SEVERAL OTHER TRAILS TO NATURAL BRIDGES AND ARCHES
WE DISCOVERED IN OUR TOUR OF KENTUCKY!
Deb and I explored the old mill/pond and looked in on the pioneer museum. We hiked to the top of Frazier Knob and back, then celebrated by playing a round of putt-putt on the old course (it had not changed one bit). The campground was near capacity even though it had been noticeably enlarged, and there was a second swimming pool, now. There were new entrance signs at each end of the park, updated picnic pavillions, and a fresh set of ducks and geese at the mill pond. And the old rusty teeter-totter, swings, and slides had been replaced with some of that 21st century colorful but plastic "safe" playground equipment.
Levi Jackson State Park was busy with visitors, picnickers, and campers. This "old, family friend" was doing just fine, I am happy to report!
they asked me to dance
[Deb 06/01/2016] This is a long, long overdue post! The last Wednesday of our [April] project at Camp Baldwin in Alabama, one of the SOWERs gave a devotion about heaven. Really it was a continued devotion on the subject. We had shared three different ones on heaven -- each presented by different people; it is fascinating to imagine what heaven will be like.
On this day, our friend, Julie, started by reading the words to the song “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me. We discussed the lyrics and looked up Bible verses on the hope of Heaven. When the song was played for us, I just closed my eyes and started to dance in my imagination. I always enjoy the experience of dancing in my mind.
When the song endded, Julie asked if anyone had remembrances of that song. I said yes, I had danced to that song before. Julie’s husband, Bill, said he thought I was going to jump from my chair and dance for them. Then, of course, I had to reveal that I had been a dance major in college. For some reason I had not talked about that with this group. I have felt uncomfortable telling people that I had danced because there are so many differing views on liturgical dance. Maybe some don’t approve of dancing, let alone dancing in the church.
But this group of SOWERs all asked at exactly the same time, “Would you dance the song for us?”
Something stirred within me. I hadn’t danced for about five years. But, this song is so glorious and worshipful, I couldn’t help but say 'yes' to preparing and performing the next morning during our devotion time.
I happened to have one of my dance dresses in the motorhome -- the Lord knew I would need it, I am sure. After a little practice, I really felt the dance was going to be mostly improvisational. I developed the chorus that was repeated throughout the song, but everything else was going to be left to the moment.
The performance was exhilarating. It’s been too long since I have worshiped the Lord this way. It felt so good! God and I did at "High Five" at the end!
As I processed the experience, I tried to figure out why performing for strangers was so easy at Camp Baldwin. I think my friends had seen me go through some tough times and I was still hiding in some of the baggage. These SOWER friends accepted me. I guess I really didn’t care what their reaction would be since we were soon to go our separate ways. The dance really wasn’t for them anyway.
For me, the others on that morning had witnessed a personal time of worship. I know now that I feel comfortable sharing about my dance history and perhaps there will be more SOWER opportunities to worship through dance in the future. I hope so.