Friday, February 27, 2009


Congratulations are in order to Wanda, my new love. She completed over 27 years of service to the Lord at Bartow First Assembly of God yesterday. I hired her as the church secretary and she has served in recent years as the church administrator. 

When I have visited the Bartow Church in recent months, I have noted that Wanda is truly loved by all of the people there. They didn't want to see her leave even after working there for that many years. They weren't tired of her, but greatly loved her and admired her.

Wanda has approached her work as a ministry to the Lord. She has done so many different types of ministry and she has done it all with a zeal and passion to honor Christ.

She has worked for four different pastors. I asked her who she thought the best pastor was, and I could tell by her big smile who that person was---ME! Sorry.... Larry, Mike, and Tommy. And she thinks I am the best looking too!

I sent her a text message on Monday congratulating her on 27 years of service and wrote, "I made a great decision 27 years ago when I hired you and an even better decision to marry you...."

Congratulations, Wanda, I am very proud of you.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Man, I am sore. 

My right arm has been stretched upward for hours as I have painted the new molding added to the crown molding in my family room, kitchen, living room, and dining room. It has taken three coats of paint and lots of elbow grease--my elbow grease. It looks great and has added more elegance and warmth to the house.

When we bought this house, we did a major renovation and removed walls, added space to the master closet, closed a door and added a door in the house office, painted throughout, put new carpet and hard woods as well as some new tile. Four years have passed and the kiddies' visits all their fingers prints have necessitated painting again, and in four years I hope they have messed it up again. 

Here are a couple of pictures of the partially finished work. I still have some work to do, and incrementally it is happening. What is the saying about light work? "Many hands make for light work." It is true.

Thanks to Rebecca, Terry and Sandra, and Randy along with my good friend Bill Watson for helping brighten up my home.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I think it might be very hard to celebrate victory if you know you won by cheating. Nobody likes to be cheated, or lied to, or betrayed. Cheating leaves a bad taste in your mouth and causes others to have a total mistrust of anything you do.

Why have I chosen to write about cheating today? 

I have watched the effects of cheating in marriages as I have counseled couples for almost forty years, and it is devastating. It robs, maims, debilitates, and crushes. It leaves a burden that only God's grace and forgiveness can restore.

I have seen young people and older folks bear the marks of cheating in finances, work, relationships, business deals, and on and on.....

Cheaters don't win. They lose and they lose big. It just takes time for the effects to sink in and sour life.

Look at the effects cheating on our economy. Cheating on loan applications has ruined our Nation's finances.

Recently I watched a high school basketball team beat a favorite team of mine and eliminate them from competition from the state basketball championships playoffs. Everyone knows that this team cheats by recruiting players from across the Nation, and they have been put on probation in the past. But it is hard to prove they are cheating even though everyone knows they are. 

They held their hands high as they won, but I wonder down deep if their heads are hanging low. They know they cheat and they have to work hard to hide their sin. But they know and God knows. 

I stood by a fan at the game my team lost and watched the winning team jump up an down in jubilant celebration. After a moment, I said to the fan, "It must be hard to really feel good win you know you have cheated."

He said, "You're right."

The gym emptied, and we went home.

The effects of cheating are still to be felt on that winning basketball team, but sadly they will leave their mark. It will take time, and it won't be pretty.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Did you hear about the guy who won the procrastinator of the year award. He got kicked out of their club for failing to renew his membership.

Do you know why the Procrastinator's Club has no members? If you apply, you don't qualify.

Definition of Procrastination: Why put off today what you can put off again tomorrow?

I am not a procrastinator, but sometimes things stack up and have to get in line to be completed. That must be some kind of procrastination going on there, but I won't admit it at least not today.

Anyhow, the paint job is going to get finished in record time. I plan on having the crown molding that I am adding painted and up and then painted again by Wednesday. That means that in less than a week I have gotten the major part of my house repainted with additional molding added by volunteer help. My in-laws did the major part of the work and I got everything organized, prepared, and on task, and painted diligently too. I did pay to have the additional crown molding added, but that was something we couldn't do.

The house is going to look great. It has a new smell and fresh look. I needed the extra sparkle in the house and my new love is going to like it too. I had planned on doing this for some time and now was the right time to make it happen. I will put before and after pictures up in a few days, if I don't put that off. HA!


Nic, my second grandson who lives in Tampa, won the Kid's 6 Year Old Gasparilla Run in Tampa, FL, this past Saturday morning. He is a fast, athletic little guy and usually rises to the top of the class in any athletic effort he is involved. He is great in soccer, baseball, football, and even loves tennis and swimming.

He is a good little boy, but he is having some real tough times in his personal life. I mention this so my dear friends will pray for him. He has faced several tough spots in his short six years that I won't go into, but the one you know about is his Nana's death. He has deep emotional hurts that have become very severe. 

Right now, Julie, his mom, has hung the large portrait that I had made of Kristy in Nic's bedroom. He is comforted by it being there with him. He recently told Julie that he wanted a nana. I am working on that, and in time Wanda will become a great nana for him.

Grandkids tug at your heart strings, and when one of them is hurting it is especially hard. Nic is a winner, and I believe he will do well in life. This has been a very hard place and time for him. It has also been very hard for Julie.

Julie said that Nic stumbled when the Gasparilla Run began, but then he caught up and won the race. That is often how life is. We stumble and wonder if we can even cross the finish line, but with God's help we can. Nic will win in life too, but he is really hurting right now.

Nic needs special prayer. Will you pray for little Nic today? Your prayers can make the difference.

Friday, February 20, 2009


Our painting party is over and the results look great. I have a carpenter scheduled to come on Tuesday to put up the addition to the crown molding so I can finish that painting so the work will all be finished.

Terry and Sandra, Rebecca, Randy and I worked like Trojans to finish the painting of the family room, kitchen, living room, dining room, and master bedroom and bath all in one day. They all had smiles as you saw in the post from yesterday.

But Sandra was absent. 

I didn't have a picture of her painting. Actually, she didn't paint but she worked just as hard as the rest. I tease her unmercifully and am fighting to keep from writing a little poke at her. But, I will resist. I always respect my elders and wouldn't do anything to hurt one of the older ones. She wasn't pictured but I wanted you to know she worked hard too.

After all, when one works as hard as Sandra did at her age then they deserved lots of respect. 

Oops, I did it again. 

Devil, you get behind me and don't push. 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ouch! I'M SORE!

I think I will stick with preaching! Painting is a tough way to make a living, at least that is what I think after painting all day Wednesday.

The good news is that I had the best help in the world, my family. They are all great painters, work fast and neat, and have great attitudes. We laughed and had fun all day long working as a team to do a major paint job. We got the family room, kitchen, living room, dining room, hall ways, and master bedroom and bath all painted. 

It looks great.

Terry and Sandra, Rebecca, and Randy and I worked from sun up til sundown and everything is finished except that I am adding an additional molding for the crown molding in the family room and kitchen, and living room and dining room. The carpenter is coming today and I should have that done within a week. 

I am so excited about the updates. The colors look great and adds a new brightness to
 the house. Here are some pictures of our painting work. Everybody has a smile and that makes work go better.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Terry and Sandra, Rebecca, and Randy are having a painting party in my house. I will put pictures up tomorrow. It is looking good!!!!

The colors are super and there is a new glow in my house. I needed that. A little paint makes even a barn look better. Does that apply to women too?

Better not go there. I will get into trouble.

Too busy to write much more. My good help might not keep working if I'm goofing off on this computer.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I am painting the interior of my home in new bold colors. It needs some touching up here and there and I want to change some colors schemes. Golds, reds, and greens are going to be used throughout the house and will add freshness and a new look.

Change is good and we all need updating in so many different ways. Life has one constant that can be counted on and that is change. Life changes by the moment and affects every dimension of our beings. We all get into routs too often and have difficulty getting out. 

I have changed hair styles, reading patterns, eating habits, TV habits, and now am changing things in the interior of my house. It is time and it will be good.

Terry and Rebecca along with Randy, Rebecca's son-in-law, are all coming to the big painting party. Several years back I helped Terry paint the interior of his house and now he is returning the favor. Rebecca is just being a kind, good sister-in-law. Randy is just a good guy and wants to help his uncle.

Years back we all gathered at Terry and Rebecca's mom and dad's house and painted the exterior of their house. It took a couple of days or so to do it and we all had a ball. It was lots of fun and we helped the Roberts and saved some money for them.

Helping each other is what life is all about. You feel good to get a task done and when family helps everyone feels better.

Watch out for the paint. It starts flying on those walls soon.

Monday, February 16, 2009


I had a great time this past Saturday watching my two little grandsons in Tampa play in their first baseball games. They are handsome guys and are good athletes for six and nine years of age. I wish I was closer to them to see more of their games. They really loved having their papa with them. 

Family time is important. I remember my first baseball glove and my dad taking time to play  "pitch" with me. Childhood years pass to quickly and are gone before you know it.

When I was a child in Montgomery, AL., we played softball many afternoons after school. There were only a couple of guys in our neighborhood so some of the girls played too. I didn't get into little league ball but we had a boat load of fun right in our own neighborhood.

Some time back my grandsons over heard some talk about what we did as little kids building forts, tree houses, playing in the woods, shooting BB guns, fishing, and many other things. Their little eyes got big and finally they spoke up and said, "Man! Y'all really had lots of fun!"

Now kids can't got outside without an adult, and they sure don't have a clue about building forts and tree houses.

Kiddies today sit in front of screens and push buttons and wonder what real life would be like.

But that is for another article.

Jennifer, my daughter in Puerto Rico, has just posted this picture of Claudia and Lorenzo on her blog. I couldn't help but include it too. Now just tell me, aren't those some really beautiful kiddies? And I bet you can't tell that I am a very proud papa too!

Nic just lost his two front teeth. Papa saw to it that he got something under his pillow. 

Friday, February 13, 2009


My eighty-three old dad sent me this in an email. I thought it was a hoot.


The three old maid sisters finally arranged their first dates. They agreed before the dates that they would share the number of times each one was kissed the morning after at the breakfast table by using the word morning. 

At the breadfast table the eldest sister greeted the others by saying, "Goodmorning."

The next eldest sister made her greeting by saying, "Goodmorning this morning."

The youngest sister made her greeting by saying, "Goodmorning this morning. Its a fine morning this morning. If tomorrow morning is as fine as this morning, it will be a fine morning tomorrow morning."


So was it a good morning for you?

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day so give your special love a really big kiss. 

No, I still haven't kissed my new love. I, we, are keeping our vow to wait until we are married. That will be one special kiss!

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I am still a romantic even though I haven't written about our love story lately. Some I know are wondering what is going on in my romance department, but I have broadened my scope of writing to include more topics. Obviously I have not included so transparent writings as I had been sharing. 

Plea doesn't sound romantic at all, and I know that is disappointing to many. Maybe I will yet change the blog title and theme some, but I feel this is the direction I should take. 

Valentine's Day is coming so here is a silly poem I remember from way back. It is a kissing love poem I heard when I was a teenager in Youth Camp way back in the early 1960's at Oak Mountain State Park. 

I pressed a kiss upon her lips,
I could not help but linger.
And as I ran my fingers through her hair,
A cootie bit my finger.

I don't know where that came from after all those years. That sounds a little kiddish for an adult like me, but it is funny. At least I think it is funny.

With Valentine's Day only two days away,  it would be a natural time to get engaged, but I have some news for you. The lady has a ring.

So when are we getting married?

We are formally engaged though I am not sharing the wedding date in the blog world until it has passed. 

Our love is growing and this has become an even more incredible story. My writing will not focus on our love story as I am writing a behind the scenes book to include Kristy's story and the new love story God has unfolded. It is a beautiful, romantic love story.

So here is a plea for more romance as Valentine's Day approaches. Cupid's arrows are flying all over. Watch out. You might get hit.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Alex Rodriquez had tears streaming down his face Monday on ESPN as he confessed to a "substance" abuse, probably steroids, years ago as a baseball player. He still plays baseball and makes about 25 M a year plus endorsements. Did you get that? He makes $25,000,000 yearly playing for the New York Yankees, and now he has tears because he got caught cheating. 

Rodriquez said, "I just want to be honest. I just want to play baseball and I want to be honest."

That is a very novel idea, being honest. Just a few years back a certain President parsed words as if being honest didn't really matter, and now our country is reaping a whirlwind because honesty wasn't in vogue. Alex Rodriquez is reaping what he has sown and our Nation is reaping what we have sown.

Stephen Covey has written another best seller entitled "The Speed of Trust." It is an outstanding read on trust in the market place, and how the lack of trust slows all business efforts. A lack of trust makes for a lack of money in the market place.

Covey quotes Jim Burke, Former Chairman and CEO of Johnson and Johnson, who said, "You can't have success without trust. The word trust embodies almost everything you can strive for that will help you succeed......"


Honesty, which is the foundation of trust, really matters. It matters in the business world, and it matters in simple one on one relationships. You can't have a successful marriage unless there is trust. And you can't trust when there is the lack of honesty.

I vote that we bring honesty back into vogue.

How about you? 

It might just speed things up some.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


This past Sunday at church I had Dr. Robert Spence, President of Evangel University in Springfield, MO., as my pulpit guest speaker. Way back in 1971 I served as his youth pastor at Crichton Assembly of God in Mobile, Alabama.  He and his wife also had lunch with me and we reminisced about old times back in 1971.

We laughed and about rolled on the floor at some of the funny things that happened there. Once, Kristy fainted while singing in the choir on a Sunday morning. I had to pick her up and carry her out the side door of the church. Her eyes had rolled back in her head and I thought for a moment she had died. She hadn't, thankfully. She just got weak and fainted. All the ladies thought she was pregnant, but she wasn't. 

I learned a lot from Dr. Spence as he served as a mentor to me even at a distance all these years. Everyone needs a mentor or model to follow. I have been very fortunate to have had a number of great leaders who have blessed my life.

One amazing thing about my relationship with Dr. Spence is that my dad, who is a minister, gave him his first preaching opportunity, and then years later Dr. Spence gave me my first full-time ministry opportunity. I guess you could say this was a very unusual connecting relationship between our families.

God uses people to connect us and help develop us into the fullness of His perfect plan for our lives. Who has God connected you with that can mentor and bless your life?

Monday, February 9, 2009


That is not a very good question to ask in my opinion because the brutal and unfair points of life can skew one's perspective and raise unholy fears, doubts, and accusations. 

But sometimes the questions of fairness and justness come to the forefront before we realize it. Pastors ask that question in their own personal lives without even recognizing it. I know I have as it relates to church life and church growth. "Why is it that pastor "so and so" church is growing and why do they have or get all the breaks," I have wondered? 

Or as I felt when I wrote last Friday about singleness, why is it that God brought someone into my life so quickly and others wait and wonder for years for a life mate. What is fair or just about that?

When Wanda and I have told our stories of how God brought us together, there have been some who were thrilled for us but also hurt because they were still waiting, praying, looking, and hoping for God to bring the right person into their lives.

You could see the look in their eyes wondering why not me and why not now? I have had that look and question in my own heart and mind on other things. 

So, is God just? Why does He allow some to flourish and others go through the desert? Why doesn't the rain fall only on the unjust? That is how I would make it happen, and that is obviously why I am not God. My lack of wisdom and my overwhelming pride would never allow fairness either. Who am I to judge who should get what and who should live in the sunshine? 

Why did Jim Dunsford have to die of a heart attack and leave Wanda and her children? Why did Kristy have to die with a GBM brain tumor? Kristy and Jim were both good, wonderful people who only did good for others. Kristy always made life better for everyone every place we ever lived. Her life goal was to seek first the Kingdom of God. Jim also lived to honor God.

Why did she have to suffer? Why did Jim have to leave so quickly and suddenly?

Why do little ones suffer and die before their time? What is just about the innocent unborn babies that are aborted by the thousands? Explain why there have to be wars, terrible calamities, airplane crashes, and car wrecks?

What about Alzheimer? Cancer? Personal injuries? Disabilities? Birth defects and handicaps?

Is God just?

Yes, God is good. That is the simple answer. His ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts are beyond our comprehension. He is holy, just, and good. 

I have not spent much time trying to figure out why? I don't have enough brain power. I have simply tried to trust. I have chosen to trust Him when I don't understand.

I don't understand why Kristy and Jim left us. I don't understand why God so quickly brought Wanda into my life and others seemingly wait for God's provision for a life mate even though they don't see the answer or person yet.

But God is just. He is righteous. He is holy. His love allows choices in this old world that give us freedom and liberty for the good or bad. All of the countless choices all the way back to Adam and Eve have real impact that can affect all of us. We cannot escape their force at least not in this world. Amazingly, His love and gift of free choice touch us in so many ways releasing blessing or sometime releasing trial.

I will not try to figure out all of life's hurts and disappointments. The rain and sunshine will both come and go. He allows both.

I will trust Him.

God is just.

Friday, February 6, 2009


I wouldn't even begin to say I have a clue about what life is as a single adult. I haven't been a widower that long. There is new compassion in my heart for those who have lost mates, and there is new compassion for single adults, and new compassion for singles who have children. No, I don't have children at home, but this season of my life has also given me new respect for single parents.

People are gracious to include me even in couples gatherings and make me feel comfortable. At least that has been how I have been treated up to this point. No one has dropped me off there invitation list just because I don't have a spouse or date. Wanda is hours away from Jacksonville so I go alone for now.

However, I do have feelings about being a third wheel or the spare. I actually had a waitress asked me what was wrong with me as I sat with a group of three other couples and I was the odd single or spare part. 

She blurted out, "What happened to you? Why are you alone with all of the other couples here?"

I said, "It is a sad story."

She responded mistakenly guessing that I had been dumped and divorced, "Poor B ______d!"

My friends said, "Not its not that, he......."

Then she went further and said, "Are you gay?"

I assure you that has and never will be true.

All my friends are rolling in the floor at this waitresses' stunning comments and questions. 

Finally, Kristy's sister, Rebecca, whispered into the waitresses' ear what had happened to me, and then the server just about climbed under the table.

That was the worst situation I have faced, but there are many other issues.

Being single after 37 years of marriage is the oddest feeling when you get around groups that include single ladies. My heart goes out to singles in a way that I never had understood. It isn't easy for singles at all. People want to match make and put you together. Then you wonder all kinds of thoughts and feelings of how other singles are viewing you.

It ain't fun.

I guess that is why my mother said that it is good how God brought Wanda into my life without ever going into the singles dating arena. Now that could not have been any fun at all.

God is good.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Florida is cold!!!! 

Wednesday and Thursday nights there are to be record lows expected into the teens. 


That is too cold for Jacksonville, Fl! But the good news is there is no snow or ice to deal with and by Sunday the temperature will be back into the 70's. 

The Sunshine State is still very sunny, but it is very, very cold. The wind has been blowing and that makes the chill factor even lower, but that probably doesn't get much sympathy from my really cold friends up North. 

People up North often poke fun at the perceived backward ways of us Southerners, but the funny thing is that I haven't met anyone who retired and moved up North. I-95 that passes right by my church is filled with those snowbirds who drive South away from the frozen winters at home.

But I am cold. I am alone and cold. And I dread another night in a cold, lonely bed. 

It is not good for man to be alone.

Alone with no warmth
Alone with no kind words
Alone with no sweetness or tender touch
Alone by myself.

But God is with me.
He ever is faithful.
He remembers.
He heartens and strengthens.

I will trust Him.
He has promised to provide.
He sees my hurt and sorrow.
He heals and soothes my pain.

There is a promise.
He has given sure hope.
I will not be alone for long.
He has so incredibly provided.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


I was just sitting down at my booth close to the Chic-Fa-La counter Tuesday at noon when I saw a young adult walk up to the manager. It happened quickly and I was surprised that I could overhear their conversation.

The young man said, "I was in here this morning to eat breakfast and the cashier made a mistake and gave me too much change back. Here is the money she gave me." He gave the manager some bills and then turned and walked out of Chic-Fa-La.

I sat there taken back and thrilled at what I had just heard. We live in a time of greed and too many wouldn't ever think of returning money that wasn't their own like this young man did.

When I was in college I worked as a cashier in a grocery store, and I cashed a check and gave too much money to a customer. I am convinced that that customer knew that I had given way too much money to them by mistake. They pocketed the money, and I had to make up the difference for my mistake out of my own pocket. 

All one has to do to see the impact of greed in America is to watch the evening news and see billions and billions of dollars that have been squandered through ill gained windfalls. Yesterday, two of the new Presidents appointments withdrew their nominations to high level positions due to greed and not paying their taxes. This is all to typical of how America has been living. Now America is reaping a whirlwind of terribly sown seeds.

I would like to think that young man in Chic-Fa-La was a christian. He looked like one, and he acted like a christian should act.

Don't you think America would have a quicker turn-a-round if we all acted like that young man at Chic-Fa-La did ?

Now what is the name of that rule that would cure America? 

It is the Golden Rule--do to others as you would have them do to you.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Inez Mitchell and George Smith made great impressions on me as a high school student. One was my English teacher and home room teacher, Mrs. Mitchell, and the other, George Smith , was a sports writer for the Anniston Star when I was in high school at Walter Wellborn High in Anniston,  Alabama. 

I was a good English student and even did well in Latin--Amo, Amas, Amat. Guess what that means?

Mrs. Mitchell inspired me as my English teacher as well as my journalism teacher. My senior year I won the journalism award for Walter Wellborn High School where I graduated. I also won the the Good Citizenship Award and Band Award. I wasn't the best at any of those things, but I think some of those who more desired those awards were on the outs, and after all, I was a good citizen so I think I won by default. Anyhow, I got some of my inspiration to write through Mrs. Mitchell.

George Smith intrigued me as he wrote about all manner of sports. I read the sports page every day and only in the last months have given that ritual up. Religiously, I would read every page of the sports section in detail and could give you a run down of most sports events for the last 45 years or more. 

George's sport's columns captured me as he wrote during the glory days of Bear Bryant and Alabama Football. Roll Tide, Go Bama. I even liked his articles about Auburn and Shug Jordan and the War Eagles. George had a way with words that made you feel you were in the stands and could feel the action on the field.

If I could go back a few years and if God had not called me to preach, I think I could have made a fairly good newspaper man and especially a good sport's columnist, but I can't go back. To be honest, I really wouldn't desire to change anything as I love to preach and I am grateful for the privilege of being a pastor. 

What did Dandy Don Meredith use to say on Monday night football a hundred years ago?

"If 'ifs' and 'buts' were candy and nuts, we would all have a Merry Christmas."

Monday, February 2, 2009


This has been a very busy weekend with lots of ministry, family, and girlfriend activity. Also, there was the Super Bowl with the Cardinals and Steelers playing one of the more exciting games I can remember. I did not have a favorite team, but I don't like or root for the Steelers so I guess you could say I was for the Cardinals. They lost. How sad, but very exciting.

I didn't write for this blog as you can see. I kept my two grandsons, Alex and Nic, saw Wanda, preached, and did numerous other ministry matters.

So, what it this blog about? How about checking Jennifer's new blog makeover out. Go there to see what happening with her. Not much writing here for today, but more is coming tomorrow.