Saturday, June 25, 2016

Be the ONE!

Wow!! It's been a while since I last posted!!  I really need to get better at this :) 

Last week, I had the incredible opportunity to attend our spring court reporter's meeting with so many of my colleagues.  It was an amazing weekend!!  Made new friends, learned a lot of cool new things for my business, etc..  But the best speaker of the weekend for me was Paul Vitale.  I made the comment he could sell you swampland in Arizona.  So motivational!  If you ever get the chance to listen to him, I highly encourage it!  (And he's from Russellville, so that makes it even better LOL)

Anyway, he shared a story with us and I am going to do my best to retell it to you.  He attended the Super Bowl a few years back when the lights went out in the middle of the game.  The generators kicked on, but the game was delayed until all the lights came on about 30 minutes later.  He showed us a picture of this guy in his section.  While they were waiting, this guy decided they all needed to do the "Wave."  (We've all done this at some point or time, right?? LOL)  So he stands up, shouts, "Lets do the wave." About two or three people stand up.  So he tries again.   This time, a few more people stand up.  After a few tries, their whole section is standing up for the WAVE.  However, the section next to them is not interested.  So they boo at them!!  LOL  Long story short after about 20 minutes, the entire stadium is doing the WAVE.  Why?  Because one guy made a decision, stuck with it, and convinced 80,000 people to do the WAVE with him.  He made an impact on 80,000 people!!! 

So as I was driving home, I kept reliving that story.  I'm wondering if that guy knew he would have an impact (positive or negative) on anyone that day, let alone 80,000 people!  And then I put it into perspective in my Christian life.  Am I the ONE?  How am I impacting the people around me??  Think about it:  If I come home and I've had a horrible day, I'm not the most joyous person.  It will impact Dennis.  Before long, he's telling me how horrible his day was and we are both tired and worn out!  That's just one person!  But think if I changed my attitude -- the impact I can have.  If I smile at someone in Walmart who is having a bad day, but sees the love of Christ in me, maybe my smile can impact her, which in turn she will impact someone else, etc...  Does it make sense?? 

Let me try it this way:  I did a little devotion on this Sunday.  If Jeremy asks us to all go smile to two people and in turn we ask them to smile at two people --- well, that's math that I can't do.  Now, change that -- if we tell two people about the plan of Salvation, and they in turn tell two people, who in turn tell two people ------- get the impact just one person has!!!

Be the ONE!  Find what you can do to make an impact.  Is it teaching?  Is it in music?  Is it being faithful?  Make an impact in someone's life today!  Start your own WAVE!


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Dennis and Jannie walk into a bar.......

Sounds like the beginning of a joke, right??

Nope, just the way yesterday that God spoke to me.  So this is my devotion -- you may not agree with everything in it, and that's okay.  Let me preface by saying a few things: 

No. 1 - Dennis and I don't "boycot" restaruants or businesses that sell alcohol.  The way we look at it, if we did that, we would never walk into a Walmart, Kroger, Sams Club, Pizza Hut, etc.... It may not be sold in Russellville, Arkansas stores, but if you are going to boycot any business, then you have to boycot them all -- you can't pick and choose.  That's our opinion.  Again, we can agree to disagree and we can still be friends.

Mark 2:15-17King James Version (KJV)
15 And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him.
16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?
17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

No. 2 - What I'm fixing to share has nothing to do with etifying us or to say that we did something great.  So please don't read that into my post.

So here we go......

I had to work until 11:00 last night.  So Dennis came into town and we had an early dinner.  We went to Chili's.  We didn't ask, but the waitress set us in the bar area.  The bartender was our waiter some of the time.  He was extremly busy, but was courteous and gave us great service.

There was a gentleman sitting at the end of the bar.  You could tell that he had already had quite a few drinks -- whether there or elsewhere, I don't know.  Anyway, I overheard him ask the bartender for another drink.  The bartender came over to wait on a table and the guy got up and walked out without paying his tab.  Once the bartender realized what happened, he was extremly upset.  I heard some talk about he might have to pay for the tab out of his check, etc...  A couple of guys went outside to find the guy.  I saw them walk back in, but the "stealer" of the drinks wasn't with them. 

It really bothered me.  The bartender came over and apologized to us for loosing his temper, saying things he shouldn't have.  He made the comment that it was stealing and it just wasn't right.  It didn't matter what he was stealing, this guy knew it was wrong.

As we were eating, Bro. Chris' message from Sunday kept coming back to me about showing our love in our actions.  I could tell it was really bothering this guy what had happened.  So as we were getting up to walk out, I walked over and handed him money and told him I was sorry the guy walked out without paying his bill, and put this towards it.  He looked at me in awe and said thank you many, many times.    Did I say everything I should have to him?  Probably not.  Was that money going to solve all of his problems?  Absoultey not.  But I'm hoping that he saw in our actions that even though we didn't know him, we have the love of Jesus in our heart which we should be showering on everyone else -- not just in paying a guy's tab, but in what we say, what we do, how we act, the love we show others, etc.... The list is endless!

It doesn't matter where we are, who we are with or what we are doing.  God can show his love through us and through our actions in any situation.  It would have been easy for us to say, "Please don't put us in the bar area."  But if we had done that, then God wouldn't have placed this guy in front of us to minister to.  We can get so caught up in our forest that we can't see the trees needing to be nurtured right in front of us.  Don't get so caught up in "where you are" that you forget what we are "commanded to do"!

John 13:34King James Version (KJV)
34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

I'm so thankful that people are called into the mission field.  But we all have a mission right here in front of us.  Be a witness to those you come in contact with everyday -- your mailman, your barber, your co-workers and even the bartender you don't know.  

It was a little thing for us to do and say, but you could tell it made a BIG impact on him.  Maybe, in the back of his mind, he had prayed -- Lord, send me a sign -- maybe we were it.  You never know.  

Oh, and in case you are wondering -- we did have 2 drinks a piece -- two big mugs full of cold Dr. Pepper!


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Who (or what) are you devoted to?

A comment was made by someone yesterday that struck a chord with me -- "People check Facebook several times a day."  The more the day went on, the more I thought about that.  How often am I on Facebook?  Luckily for me, I can honestly say -- not much.  Yes, I do check it in the morning and later in the day.  But to say I am constantly checking it???  No, not so much.  But what if I did?  Why would I want to do that?  What if it's not Facebook, but it's something else?  What is your crutch or your habit, if you will, during the day? 

The more I thought about it, the more I started adding up the math.  Let's say my "habit" is Facebook.  Let's say I check it in the morning - read through all the notifications and posts -- maybe 10 minutes??

Now, I'll check again at lunch -- another 10 minutes?  (Unless there are cute baby pictures, then we know that time grows by an incredible amount!)

And now before bedtime -- another 10 minutes. 

By the end of the day, 30 minutes of my day is gone -- never to be given to me again.  What have I accomplished?  I have probably been disgusted by something posted.  I have been made to cry and laugh, probably even posted something myself that I thought the entire world needed to know.   Was it worth it?  Did it benefit me?  Did it benefit anybody else?

And before you quit reading this -- I'm not bashing Facebook.  I like it.  I keep up with family and friends.  I even actually use it at my job.  It's not a bad thing.  Dr. Pepper is not a "bad" thing -- but if I drink 8 a day???? Now, it's bad.  It's moderation.  It's keeping it in perspective -- whatever your "habit" is. 

So what could I have accomplished with that 30 minutes?  I could have called (not texted!) an elderly person in our church.  I could have whipped up some egg salad to take to a person who is sick.  If my parents were still here, I could have sit down and visited with them.  I could have read my bible.  I could have prayed. 

So will I check Facebook tomorrow?  Probably so, at some point in the day.  But I hope that I change my bad "habits" to good "habits" and, hopefully, make a difference in someone's life.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A lesson from a 4-year-old

It's funny how we find lessons in life, relationships, parents, spirituality, etc...  Some lessons hit you smack square in the face, and others, you have to delve deep to find the meaning.  Well, I'm not a deep person.  Never have been.  So I like to get my wisdom and life lessons from someone who I can understand.  In this case, it's a 4-year-old -- Brasier Kale Duvall.

Now B-man is quite the smart little fellow.  I think he is well mature beyond his years.  His comprehension and language skills are leaps and bounds over where my kids were when they were that age.  So it would be easy to see how he could be so independent and so vocal about his opinions.  Oh, and he's spoiled -- a lot!!  Mostly by Dennis who teaches him bad habits and gets him in trouble.  But I digress...back to my life lesson.

So his Nanny Glenda told a story of how one day he was at their house playing the Wii.  He was having trouble with whatever game it is -- he plays them all, so I'm not sure which one it was, but for the sake of the story, we will say it was baseball.  He couldn't hit the ball.  Swing and a miss.  And then, fall on your face, fit......I'm mean a FIT!!  Poppy Bill was trying to help and, of course B-man didn't really think he needed any.  So his quick reply was, "Poppy, you don't know what you're doing." (or something to that effect.)

You don't know what you're doing....that's how I feel right now.  I don't know what I'm doing when it comes to dealing with grief.  I don't know what I'm doing when trying to figure out how to live a day without my parents.  Just like new parents who "don't know what they're doing" so is the person who has lost their parents.

But B-man, being the independent and strong willed little boy that he is, did just what he should do.  He went back to the Wii, picked up the remote and started playing again.  All of a sudden, he hit the ball.  Then he hit it again.  And wouldn't you know it, when we were over there the other night, he hit a homerun!!  Had he just given up and laid in the floor and quit, what would have happened?  Poppy still wouldn't know anything, and B would still be swinging at air.

So that's what I'm trying to do today.  Even though I "don't know what I'm doing," my parents were very adamant about the fact that I don't NEED anyone else to take care of me.  I don't say that to sound mean or even boastful.  We all need people.  But dad made sure I could take care of a lot of stuff on my car, or if I couldn't I knew where to start.  Mom made sure I could cook (maybe not well), do laundry, balance a checkbook.  Dad always told me that he wanted to make sure I never HAD to depend on a man....again, not a slight to Dennis.  His parents raised him the same way -- where he didn't have to depend on a woman.  (Seriously, he's a better cook than I am, and he most definitely does more laundry than me LOL) And the same with our kids -- we love our kids-in-law, but before they ever came into the picture, our kids could both do their laundry, cook, take care of vehicles, had jobs when they were really not old enough to have one, learned how to manage their money, and just take care of themselves in general.  I think it's pretty obvious they are both very independent, and for that, I am most proud, as is Dennis.

I don't know what I'm doing.  But like Brasier, I will pick up my "control" and make it through the game of "life".  There will be struggles, and I will throw a fit, just like he did.  But then just like he did the other night, I'll hit the home run.  I will try everyday to do better and be better in all aspects of my life and my relationships.  It's the way I was raised.  When you're down, you pick yourself up and start over again. 

Thanks Brasier for the lesson!


How cute is this!!  About a year ago -- when he stayed at our house for the night -- getting ready for bedtime stories.

And this is the reason why our children will never let our grandchildren stay with us!! :)  Nothing like a sock'em bop'em fight before breakfast!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A time to laugh - Part 3

Oh, Whitney.....where to start with Whitney......

I guess with Greg's post, I should have prefaced with something.  My kids did have other grandparents besides my mom and dad -- Dennis' parents were wonderful and GREAT grandparents.  However, my kids only knew them for a short time.  Dennis' mom died in 1998, his dad in 2000 and my dad in 2001.  Greg has memories of all of them, but Whit's are more limited.  So basically --- my mom was the only grandparent they had.  That makes it rough -- most kids have at least two or three or more grandparents to be doting over them.  But mine didn't have that luxury.  Just didn't want anyone to think I was slighting his parents -- that is certainly not the intent.

So with all that being said -- Whit was also the only girl grandchild.  Now, Greg and Whit have this ongoing dicussion as to who is the favorite child -- they each try to outdo each other to climb the perveribal golden child ladder.  It is quite humerous to watch and listen to.  Now, we don't think of either of them any more special than the other, but I do think there was definitetly a different facet of the relationship between Whit and my mom.  Understand -- Whit was spoiled!  I don't mean normal grandparent spoiling -- I mean a spoiling like none other.  Seriously -- until the day she died, my mom would have peeled her orange for her, taken the chicken off the bone, and made her dumplins when she was sick.  True love!

Whit loved spending time with mom and mom loved it right back.  I think it was because they are so much alike -- they both LOVE to shop, they both LOVE jewelry, they are both very opiniated and don't care to share what they are feeling -- but mainly they just loved spending time with each other.

I was very fortunate when I was little that mom was able to make a lot of my clothes.  Well that didn't stop when Whit came along.  All the ruffles and lace and cute dress pics and patterns -- well, it was all frilly at mom's house that's for sure.   As a matter of fact, mom made Whit's first two pageant dresses, and a few doll clothes thrown in as well.  Mom taught her how to quilt (I'm not sure she remembers, but we do have a quilt that Whit helped on).

As Whit got older, maybe she didn't spend the night every weekend with mom like she had before, but she certainly didn't stop taking care of her, just like mom did for her when she was little. Whit was always so good to take mom to the doctor, call and check on her, take her food, clean up her house and of course, take her shopping.  They really were like two peas in a pod about that.

As most of you know, mom had given dad two wedding rings -- one she gave to me after his funeral and the other one she kept.  She had always wanted to put a diamond on his ring, so one day, we all loaded up and went to Sissy's Log Cabin.  Looking at diamonds was making me a nervous wreck -- but for those two -- well, they were in diamond heaven!  They let mom try on a $650,000 ring!!  And of course, her and Whit were trying to figure out how they could walk out of there with it!  We did get a pic, and a beautiful diamond for dad's ring.  Mom was so proud of her ring -- of all her jewelry!  She never took it off, unless absolutely necessary.  She made it very clear that when she was gone, her jewelry would go to Whit.  Seems perfectly fitting.....

I never had to worry about being at the hospital by myself when mom would be there.  Whit could tell you just as much about her medicine, her conditions, etc... as much as I could.  She would do for mom just like mom would do for her -- she would take her chicken off the bone, peel her oranges, make sure she was eating.

Mom was certainly blessed to have Whit in her life.  

I can honestly say that one of the greatest gifts that mom has left me with is how to be a good a GREAT grandmother... I can't think of a greater legacy.......


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A time to laugh - Part 2

Since tomorrow is dad's birthday, it seems fitting that I go ahead and complete my blog about Greg. (They were somewhat inseparable!) When it comes to my kids, the posts can get really lenghty, but I'll try to keep it all short and in context :)

So when we found out we were pregnant, I wanted a cool way to tell mom and dad ( I guess "reveal" type stuff was in even back in '89!)  Mom made all of my clothes, so I thought -- perfect.  I'll go buy a dress pattern, take it to her and see what she says.  So I did.  Mom looked at the pattern, thought how cute of a dress it was, not noticing that it said "materinity" on it until I pointed it out LOL  Mom and dad were SOOO excited!

And then in January 1989, along came Greg.  I can remember thinking before he was born, "Dennis and I have got this.  We don't need any help.  No one can tell me how to parent" etc... Boy were we wrong!  I was never so excited to see mom and dad bring their suitcases and stay with us for the first week!  I learned my lesson then....I needed my parents now more than ever. 

So back to Greg... he probably spent a lot more time, especially growing up, more with dad than he did mom.  He and dad were always getting into something -- every day was spent in his workshop building something.  One year for Christmas, dad built himself, Dennis and Jerry gun cases.  Greg pounded away on them, too.  Maybe that's why our door is a little crooked??  LOL  Actaully, it's perfect!  If they weren't building something, they were hunting (or attempting to), or in the garden or dad was letting Greg mow the yard.  Now, that is a tricky subject.  Mom has flowers....LOTS of flowers!  As much as Greg wanted on that mower, he wasn't very talented when it come to making those really tight curves.  There was one day when Greg mowed over one of mom's bushes.  Of course, dad took the blame, even though mom knew who did it.  As much as she loved that bush, she loved her Gregory more.  It was okay.

As he got older, and after dad died, he spent a lot of time with mom.  He would check on her, even when I didn't know he was.  In the spring when the jonquils would bloom, he always picked her a bouquet, usually from the side of the road somewhere.   He was constantly going over there, doing chores for her, carrying in her groceries, changing light bulbs, fixing her TV.  It wasn't that she was incapable of doing some of those things -- she just enjoyed Gregory taking care of her.

Grandma was the woman by which his future wife would be judged!  I didn't know this until after they were married, but Jess had told me that when they were dating, Greg had told her that if Grandma didn't approve, it wouldn't work out.  I think that says a lot about him and his character, and the love and the trust that he put in his grandma's opinion.  Now, he knew exactly what her answer was going to be about Jess -- we all did!  Mom loved her and approved :) 

Greg was always so patient and loving with mom.  Just a few weeks before she went to Heaven, we had dinner at church.  That was the one time that she went to church in her wheelchair (which she didn't want to do by the way!)  Before church was out, Greg leaned over and told me he was taking mom on over and getting her plate before anyone left.  He didn't want her waiting, and by going before church was dismissed, it wasn't really noticed that she was in a wheelchair -- or in pants, but that's a different story for a different day LOL

The day we went to the hospital, Greg was so brave.  He was trying to calm me down, when I know inside he was hurting just as much.  Such a precious, giving heart.  But true love came in mom's room earlier in the evening.  Not a lot of people know this story and I hope he is okay with me sharing....  The nurse came in to put mom's leg in traction.  She had said it would be painful, but she would try to do is as quick and painless as she could, but she assured us it would feel better once she was done.  I somewhat halfheartedly asked her if she needed help (if you know me much at all, you will know that I am NOT a nurse!).  To my surprise, she said she could really use another set of hands.  I didn't know what to do.  Greg stepped up -- he said I can do it.  Such unselfish love!  As hard as that was for him, it was a beautiful act of kindness.  At that time and that moment, I could not have been any prouder to call him my son...

I have heard before you can tell how a man will treat his wife by the way he treats his mom.  Well, he has always been an awesome kid....but if you can tell how a man will treat his wife by the way he treats his grandma, then Jess -- your days will be filled with love, respect, admiration, and devotion.  Not to say there won't be some disagreements, after all mom did get after him with a flyswatter a time or two.  But he stuck with her until the end and showed his unconditional love.

Next time.... Whit...


Thursday, January 22, 2015

A time to laugh - Part 1

It's been over a month now.  Seems like yesterday -- seems like years ago.  I still don't know exactly how to function everyday.  Seems like every day brings something that needs done, or something that needs thought about or decisions that need to be made.  If it were for anyone else, I would be calling mom and dad and asking, "Is this the right decision?"  But -- I can't.  One of our favorite sayings here at the shelter is "put your big girl panties on."  We tell each other that all the time!  Sometimes you just have to step up, make a decision, hope and pray it was the right one, and stand by it, no matter what.  Easier said that done.

But in the midst of all my downheartedness, I decided it was time to find a reason to smile or to laugh -- at least just a little.  So I thought I would down on paper things about my family that might not be known that make me smile.  It would be easy to start with the kids -- but I thought I would start with Dennis.

I hadn't really thought about it much, but he was around my mom as a "mom" for right about as long as he was his mom.  His mom died when he was 32 and he had known my mom for 30 years.  That's hard to imagine!  So he and mom had a really good relationship.  Actually, I had told her and my dad that I thought they liked Dennis better than they did me.  Funny......I don't remember them ever telling me that I was wrong!!  LOL 

Dennis spent a lot of time with dad -- they seemed to be able to get in the worst shenanigans ever!  They would occasionally let me and mom tag along.  There was one night in particular that we were coon hunting.  Mom and I were in the truck and dad and Dennis had went to get the dog.  When they came back, you could tell something had happened.  That's when the story started about how they had seen Moses' "burning bush."  Mom and I accused them of hitting a little bottle while they were gone, but they both assured us it looked just like a burning bush.  Probably some kind of glowing bugs, and maybe you just had to be there to witness their faces, but it was priceless.

Then there was the time that we were headed to a pageant in Ft. Smith.  It was coming a really bad storm.  We were driving on the state highway instead of interstate that day -- just taking a scenic route.  All of a sudden, the sky turned pitch black.  Tornado sirens were going off and the rain was POURING down!  Poor Dennis couldn't see for anything!  Mom was in the backseat begging him to stop -- in the middle of the road, no less.  Of course, he didn't -- but she was so scared.  We have had many laughs with her about that day.

Mom loved her flowers -- ALL of them!  When Dennis would mow her yard, she always reminded him not to mow down her flowers.  I don't think he ever did -- at least not on purpose, but it probably wasn't too far in the back of his mind.

We were driving to Harrison the other day and Dennis told me about a couple of years ago when we took our camper to Branson for the week.  Mom came up and stayed with us, of course.  But then Dennis decided he was going to come back home and go to work for a few days.  I expected mom to stay up there with me as she had done in the past but she decided if Dennis was coming home, she would just come home with him for a few days and then come back with him the next weekend.  He said on the way home, they saw an elk in the field.  She had never seen one except on TV.  So he pulled over so she could look at it for a bit.  He has always been so patient and kind with her, and for that, I'm grateful.

As I said in an earlier post, one of us always looked at her house before we went to bed at night to see if she was up, had a light on, etc...  I noticed last night as we went to bed, Dennis opened up the curtain, looked over towards her house, turned the light off and went to bed.  Habits are hard to break.....

Next blog......Greg.....