Fighting Fear with Faith and Hope

Bone.  Marrow.  Biopsy.

Three words I hoped I’d never hear again.  But that’s where we were on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at the UNC Cancer Hospital when Kelly’s blood work numbers came back askew.   Not all the numbers were bad.  In fact, all the numbers were in the normal range — except for the one number that really counts, his absolute neutrophils.  Neutrophils are white blood cells that fight off infection.  Kelly’s neutrophil number was 1, meaning he had about 1,000 of those cells to fight off infection in his body.  That’s a problem because normal absolute neutrophils will range from 1.8 to 7.7.  In July, his absolute neutrophil number was 4.2 — the best it’s been since he went into remission.  When he was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010, his neutrophil number was 0.

Neutrophils.jpgNeutrophils (The most abundant white blood cells in most mammals.)

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When we were discussing options, Dr. Foster looked at Kelly and said, “Another bone marrow biopsy is an option.  I know a biopsy is uncomfortable.”

Uncomfortable,” Kelly replied wryly.  “Is when your underwear rides up.  Bone marrow biopsies are excruciating.  But it’s the only way we’ll know for sure what’s going on, so let’s do it.”

So, this past Monday, two years, ten months, and 27 days from the first time he had a bone marrow biopsy, he lay on a gurney at the UNC Cancer Hospital having his sixth one.  He was face down, waiting patiently while Dr. Van (his other cancer doctor) was preparing the site where the needle would be inserted.  I was holding his hand and it just didn’t seem like it was enough, so I got on my knees by the gurney and laid my head next to his so that we could be face to face.

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We prayed.  We cried.  He gasped in pain as they numbed his hip.  Silent tears rolled down his cheeks as Dr. Van used three separate vials to aspirate marrow samples.

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It’s hard to watch the man who is your earthy rock go through so much pain.  It makes you feel so small.  And I remembered several scriptures and began to pray them:

 All you who put your hope in the Lord be strong and brave.  (Psalm 31:24, NCV)

Always respect the Lord.  Then you will have hope for the future, and your wishes will come true. (Proverbs 23:17b-18, NCV)

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  (Isaiah 40:31, NIV)

Be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when trouble comes, and pray at all times.  (Roman 12:12, NCV)

When I had no more words, I sang.

I sang “How Great is Our God*” by Chris Tomlin.

I sang “Great is Thy Faithfulness*.”

I sang “He is with Us*,” by Love and the Outcome.

I sang “Amazing Grace*,” which led into “Amazing Grace/My Chains are Gone*,” by Chris Tomlin.

We were holding each other’s hands so tightly that our fingers were white.  So I poured out my tears, a language that only God truly understands.  And in near silence, Dr. Van continued to work.

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And Kelly broke the silence, not with a gasp of pain, but with these prayerful words, sung so softly that I might have missed it if I hadn’t been so close to him:

In seasons of despair and grief, my soul has often found relief… I’ll cast on Him my every care, and wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer.*”

Almost immediately, Dr. Van said, “There is power in the Blood.  And I know that you both know that God has this — either way.”

I usually write something about weight loss on Wednesday — physical weight loss.  Today’s post is about losing the weight of a spiritual burden.  I took a great deal of fear with me into that procedure room, but I came out feeling light and full of hope.

What will the biopsy show?  We don’t know.  But we know God’s got this — either way.

*To listen to each song, just click on the title.  “Sweet Hour of Prayer” is sung by George Beverly Shea, who for years was the voice of the music at all the Billy Graham Crusades.  Kelly loves Billy Graham and loved to hear GBS sing.


Faith It Forward: Tricia Edwards Smith

O death, where is your victory?  Where is your power to hurt? (1 Corinthians 15:55 ERV)

Thursday, October 17, 2013, the angels came to collect my friend, Tricia, and escort her home to Jesus.  Her long and arduous fight with cancer was done.  After years of praying for it, she was finally healed.

Todd & Tricia

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But her fight has not been in vain.  In her fight to live, I saw an extreme display of faith that has forever changed me. I watched as her family, her church, and her community rallied around her to offer her strength through prayer and an outpouring of love through deeds of kindness.  The irony of it all is that while we were offering Tricia our strength, she was giving us hers.

Her husband Todd, and sons Carter, Aaron, and Nathan brought her such joy and she was the light of their world.  Her parents, Nancy and Landon Edwards, raised Tricia in a Christian home, full of love and laughter.  Todd and Tricia established the same kind of home for their family.  She had a close, loving relationship with her brother and sisters, Mike Edwards, Pamela Edwards Pritchard, and Teresa Edwards Pritchard.  Her nieces and nephews adored her.

Her friends were another source of joy to Tricia.  A Facebook page, “Friends of Tricia,” was established so we could share with her our thoughts and prayers.  Hundreds of messages were added each day.  She was never far from my thoughts and when I had even the smallest bit of time, I would read each and every message (many of them prayers) and lift them up to God as well.

Never one to think of her own needs first, she was constantly looking out for the needs of others and it led her into healthcare.  As a critical care nurse, she loved caring for others and she was good at her job.  She worked well into her battle with cancer, refusing to let it keep her from the profession she was so obviously made for.  It was not only her medical knowledge that she imparted to her patients — she shared the love of God and joy of serving the Great Physician. Even if you didn’t personally know Tricia, you could take one look at her and know that she was warm, giving, and selfless. She had a million-watt smile that could light up a room and she always had a kind word and a hug to share with everyone she met.


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Tricia’s greatest source of strength and joy was her relationship with Jesus Christ.  That’s why, even in the last days when Hospice was called in, she wasn’t afraid.  As others tried to comfort her, she sought to comfort them — to let them know that no matter the physical outcome, she was spiritually ready.  She took satisfaction in the knowledge that this world was a temporary residence for her.  She trusted completely that she was just biding time on earth, simply in transit to her true home — Heaven.

I love what her niece, Erica, shared:  “I’m praising God for the life of my Aunt Tricia. So jealous of the angels today. Thank you for your many prayers. Our family appreciates each one. Please pray for continued strength as we go through this arm in arm and only through the grace of The Lord Jesus.

I heard a loud voice from the throne. It said, “Now God’s home is with people. He will live with them. They will be his people. God himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain. All the old ways are gone.”  (Revelation 21:3-4 ERV)

We will grieve mightily because we will miss her happy, humble presence — a woman with a gentle spirit and a heart as big as all outdoors!  Her family will especially miss her.  On special days to come — holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings, and the days her grandchildren are born — there will be a yearning for her physical presence. There will be an ache that cannot be soothed because those will be days when there would have been memories to be made with her — that she would have loved to make.  But she leaves such a rich legacy behind that it will almost seem that she is here — and she will here, living in the hearts and accomplishments of those who loved her.

Today, Tricia is rejoicing because she is in Heaven, completely healed, and in the presence of our Lord.  Tricia can finally say, “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have served the Lord faithfully.” (2 Timothy 4:7 ERV)

I have seen glimpses of faith in my life, but life-altering portraits of faith have been few and far between.  Faith has a new face for me now.  Faith looks like Tricia Edwards Smith.

If you would like to make a contribution to the Tricia Smith Charitable Fund, send your donation to:

Fayetteville Community Church

2010 Middle Road Loop

Fayetteville, North Carolina  28312


Celebrate Me Home” (The Perrys)

To follow me on my Facebook page, “Loved by the King,” click here.

Letting Go (with No-Carb Crock Pot Rotisserie Chicken Recipe)

I remember a conversation I had with my husband, Kelly, so vividly it’s like it was yesterday.  This was just a few months after we were married in 1987.  We’d decided that I’d come off birth control and we’d start our family.  I said to him, “By next year, we’ll have a new Rosser to take to big family Thanksgiving dinner at your Aunt Ruth-Marie’s house.”

In the same conversation, we were discussing the longevity of my teaching career.  I was teaching at Eastover-Central Elementary School and was honored as their “Teacher of the Year” for 1987.  That was huge for me because I’d only been teaching for three years.  To have my peers vote to give you, a virtual newbie, an honor like that was overwhelming for me. “Yes,” I said confidently. “I will be teaching until I am blue-haired, squint-eyed, wrinkled beyond recognition, and walking with a cane.”

As confident as I was that day, neither of those things came to pass.

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Instead of getting pregnant, we found out about our infertility. “One in a million chance,” was what the doctor told us.  Of course, I told him that God was the Great Physician, and without much consulting with the Great Physician, Kelly and I decided that our journey included donor sperm and monthly visits to Duke Fertility Clinic.

Within the next year, I injured my back at school while moving a science kit.  It only weighed ten pounds, but something happened that morning that I can’t quite put my finger on.  All I knew was that I was in excruciating pain.  Five years and seven surgeries later, I was medically retired from a profession I thought I’d be a part of until I was…well, you know what I said in the first paragraph.

After six unhappy months of in vitro at Duke, Kelly and I finally let God have the infertility issue, and we adopted.  It was the oh-so-right thing to do.  We could not love our children anymore if they were our biologically.  At nearly 25, 23, and nearly 16, they bring us so much joy. They like to tell me that they may not have grown in my womb, but they grew in my heart.  I kinda think I’ll keep ’em.

The one thing I fought God on at every turn was the fact that I was not in the teaching profession anymore.  I spent YEARS filled with anger at how that dream of mine had taken wings and flown. Even with the joy of adopting my children and the absolute miraculous ways He brought each of them to us, I held God accountable for not healing me physically and returning me to teaching.

In 2002,  I did let most of the anger go and for the most part, I was able to move on with my life and be relatively happy. But the little sliver that I harbored in my heart, kept me out of God’s will.  Seven years ago, I really had a come-to-Jesus moment that forever eradicated any anger I had and brought me to my knees to beg for His forgiveness.

I walked into a church where I was not a member because we were looking for a new church home.  At the end of the service, a woman came up to me and said, “You know, we need someone to work with our children and when I saw you walk in today, I knew my prayers had been answered.”

That woman was my Aunt Melba Rosser.  We were visiting the Kelly’s home church.  I was just visiting to be nice.  I did not think we’d really choose to become members of Culbreth Memorial UMC.  For heaven’s sake, I’d been a Baptist for forty-four years!  But this is where God led us, the church family He chose for us — and even though He hasn’t healed me physically (yet — I’m not ever ruling it out!), He healed me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

This church  took me just as I was, knowing that some Sundays I might not be able to show up because of my chronic pain.  I have a fantastic group of parents that pitch in and do things that I can’t physically do.  We started with a very small group of five children.  Now I work with fourteen: one children’s choir, one youth choir, and a drama team.  We’re growing every year.

The one thing I realized I’ve always been teaching — God gave me three children to teach.  And that I’ll still  be teaching for years to come, just in different circumstances.

Is it the life I envisioned that day back in 1987?  No…it’s better!

What had you envisioned that was not in God’s plan for you?  What did He lead you to instead?


No-Carb Crock Pot Rotisserie Chicken (Serves 4-6)



1 whole chicken, 4-5 pounds

1 bottle of McCormick’s Rotisserie Chicken seasoning

1/4 cup of water

Nonstick Canola Spray



1.  Remove the giblets and neck from chicken.  (I freeze them to use for making chicken stock.)

2.  Rinse chicken thoroughly inside and out.  Pat dry.

3.  Spray crock pot with nonstick spray.  Add 1/4 cup water.  Turn on crock pot to “low.”

4.  Use the McCormick Rotisserie Chicken season and coat the chicken liberally with it.

5.  Place chicken in crock pot.

6.  Cook chicken on low for 6 hours.

7.  When done, remove chicken and place on a platter to rest for 10 minutes.

8.  Skin and de-bone chicken.

Serve with vegetables or salad or use in a sandwich.  I freeze the chicken diced or chopped in 1-cup portions in quart bags to use on salads throughout the week at lunchtime.  This is moist, delicious, and cost-effective.

Tips:   I was in Wal-Mart yesterday and checked the deli prices for one of their rotisserie chickens — $8.88 for one not nearly as big as the ones I cook.  I try to find whole chickens on sale and buy them in bulk.  They will keep in the freezer up to nine months.  On sale, I can usually get whole chickens for about $ .69/pound.  (Aldi has frozen chickens for $ .89/pound every day — which is not a bad price either.)

Nutritional Information (1 cup cooked chicken):  231 calories, 5 g fat, 119 mg cholesterol, 104 mg sodium, and 43 g protein.

A Very Special Music Monday: Like My Mother Does

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I love you, Mama.  We are so much alike it’s scary…but in a good way.  Linda Hall, you are my best friend and role model. You taught me to be a good daughter by watching how you loved and cared for your own mother, my Granny Mae.  You taught me that a mother-in-law can be a source of joy through the relationship I watched you have with my Granny Brook. I realize that because Betty died so soon after Kelly and I were engaged, I’ve missed having her as a source of strength, example, and faith.  Thank you for loving Kelly like he was your own son.  You’ve made such a difference in his life.

My children love you.  You did the job of two grandmothers because you knew that Betty couldn’t be here to share the task with you.  You have offered them your love and advice.  The fact that Claire still gets up on Saturday mornings to have her weekly shot of “Grammy” time is a testimony to the great love and respect she has for you.  The fact that Steven waited so patiently (okay — maybe not-so-patiently) for your rental house to become available so that he could raise his family in the place where he was raised is a testament to our family’s great love and support of each other.  And even thought Martin is still living at home, working on his education, it means a great deal to him to be able to walk over anytime and see you.  I know their adoption papers say that they are not blood-related to you, but your spirit flows through their veins and your influence has shaped the persons they’re becoming.

Four Generations:  My Mom and Joshlyn (center), Steven (right), and Me (left)

Photo Source:  Sandra Hall Rosser

I’ve watched you struggle with eyesight issues all of my life.  Of course, I didn’t know you were handicapped until I was in high school.  You could do everything, except drive, and I just thought Granny Mae drove us everywhere because she loved being with us.  You play the piano like a professional and have been the pianist at Judson Baptist Church for fifty-four years.  You worked as a teacher’s assistant in the Cumberland County Schools and touched hundreds of children’s lives with your love and Christian influence.

You’ve seen me through bad choices, rough situations, emotionally crippling times, and countless other faults and sins I’ve endured in my fifty-one years.  Although I didn’t always appreciate your advice when I was younger, the older I get, the more I realize that you were right more times than you were wrong.  Even when you were wrong, you admitted it, and that made an impact on me.  As a parent, I’ve made countless errors, but I always admit when I’m wrong because it lets my kids know that I am human and need forgiveness.  I’ve even begun to hear that phrase that is music to my ears:  “You were right, Mom!”

In wishing my Mama a happy birthday, I have to acknowledge two other very important women who added to my spiritual and emotional education:  Eula Mae Carter (my maternal grandmother) and Mary Alice Westbrook (my paternal grandmother). I lost them over a decade ago.  Granny Mae’s birthday would have been on September 5.  Granny Brook’s birthday would have been on September 7.  I believe that I have received wonderful traits from my “September Superwomen.”

She watches over her family
    and never wastes her time.
Her children speak well of her.
Her husband also praises her,
   saying, “There are many fine women,
    but you are better than all of them.”
Charm can fool you, and beauty can trick you,
    but a woman who respects the Lord should be praised.
Give her the reward she has earned;
    she should be praised in public for what she has done.                                                                                            (Proverbs 31:27-31, NCV)

My Granny Mae was a woman after God’s own heart.  She lived right beside my family as I was growing up.  My greatest memory associated with her is that she always had her Bible on the kitchen table and open to whatever she was studying.  I had the great privilege of having her as my senior high Sunday school teacher.  She lost the love of her life in her fifties and never re-married.  She worked hard all her life.  She loved me unconditionally but she never minded telling me when she thought I was wrong.  She was a woman who kept her opinions about other people close to the vest — not much of a gossip.  (Sorry, Granny Mae.  I’m striving to be more like that daily.)


Three Generations:  Granny Mae (center), Mama (right), and Me (left)

Photo Source:  Reflections Photography/Diane Atkinson

She was the reason I was able to participate in any after school activities.  Because my mom was visually impaired (and I was not aware of the ramifications of this until I got my own driver’s license at sixteen), she and Granny Mae made sure I could stay for chorus, cheerleading practice, and any other activity where the school bus couldn’t take me home.  I cherish those times — the three of us coming home from school, sharing what kind of day I’d had with two of the three most important women in my life.

The thing I’ll never forget about her is that when Martin and Steven first came to live with us, she started making breakfast for them on Saturday mornings.  “I don’t know how long they’ll be with us,” she said.  “But we’re going to make memories while we can.”  When we found out that we could actually adopt them, the Saturday morning breakfasts continued and family from all over the neighborhood began to show up.  It was like a having mini-family reunion every week.  I miss that.

My Granny Brook was also a woman after God’s own heart.  She did not believe in mincing her words — you knew exactly where you stood with Alice Westbrook.  She lost her first husband when my father was two years old and married my Granddaddy Percy, who loved my daddy like he was his own child.  Living directly across the street from her while I was growing up meant that I could visit anytime I wanted.  She always had a garden and the best-stocked freezer!  Summer corn and butter beans in February was always a treat.  My husband says she made the best fried chicken, corn, and butter beans ever cooked on this planet.

IMGGranny Brook (left) and Daddy (right)

Photo Source:  Sandra Hall Rosser

The thing for which I’ll always be grateful is that she lent me the money to go college.  My tuition wasn’t much by today’s standards, but it was more than I could manage without a loan in 1980.  She loaned me the money, interest free.  She was proud that I would be the first college graduate in our family and that I wanted to be a teacher.  She loved my children and they loved her.  Martin and Steven got spend more time with her because they were ten and eleven when she died.  She and my grandfather used to take them to the Autryville Cafe for lunch.  Steven always called it “The Chicken House” because he always got a chicken leg and french fries for his meal.

Claire was only four when my grandmothers died.  Her memories are sketchy, so I always tell her stories.  My Granny Mae and Granny Brook considered her their “little princess” and no great-granddaughter was ever loved more.  I remind her that her middle name, Melinda, is a combination of her grandmothers’ names: “M” from Mary Alice, “E” from Eula Mae, and “Linda,” which is my mother’s name.  She carries a huge legacy in that name and she is proving to be a smart, strong, God-fearing young lady.

It’s my mother’s birthday.  I want to have her around for years to come.  The song I’ve chosen today is not necessarily sacred on face value, but the underlying meaning is sacred for me.  It’s generational in nature because I am what my mother is because she is what my Granny Mae was.

Happy birthday, Mama.  I don’t mind being told that I do things “like my mother does.”  It’s a great compliment.  I hope I make you proud.


Like My Mother Does” (Lauren Alaina)

Music of My Heart: Joe Lupton

When I taught school, I was pretty brazen.  If I wanted something, I was not afraid to ask for it.  If the answer was “No”, I was not afraid to ask again…and again…and again, until the person usually just said “Yes” to shut me up. (I didn’t realize how annoying this trait was until I had children.)

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In this post, I want to introduce you to someone who bolstered my faith and definitely knows how to “Faith It Forward.” His name is Joe Lupton.

I spent some of my student teaching at J. W. Seabrook Elementary School in Fayetteville, NC.  This school was special to me because it’s where I attended elementary school.  My supervising teacher in the spring of 1984 was the great Frances Piland.  I learned so much from her and my teaching style mimics hers.  She knew how to get to a student by any means necessary — even if it meant paying for a child’s field trip or making sure a child ate breakfast in the mornings at school because she knew that there had been nothing for supper at his house the night before.  That is a teacher who is worth more than her weight in gold.

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After I had taught at Eastover-Central Elementary School for the first five years of my career, I got a chance to come “home” to Seabrook.  It was my first experience teaching sixth grade, but I found that I loved it.  Although my degree was elementary education, we had music in my classroom every single day.  In fact, it became the greatest disciplinary tool in my arsenal:  misbehave during the day = no music for you.  I rarely had disciplinary problems and I attribute a lot of this rare phenomenon to music.

During the 1989-90 school year, I had an exceptionally musical class.  Around Thanksgiving of 1989, one of my most animated students, Duane Tabb said, “Mrs. Rosser, you ever thought about doing some Michael Jackson?”  Until that moment, I hadn’t, but if I could hook some students with MJ and if I could find the right song, I thought I’d give it a try.

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One day after the Christmas holidays, I stopped for gas at the convenience store.  Low and behold, there was a MJ cassette tape on sale in a little rack beside the cash register.  It was $1.99 and I bought it.  On that tape was Man in the Mirror.  As I listened to it, I knew that this song would be the song to teach my kids.  Kristian Johnson, another student, brought me a tape of From a Distance by Bette Midler.  Both were wonderful songs with messages that taught Christian concepts.

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These kids learned the songs with such expertise.  They added dance moves and sign language.  It was amazing.  One day, our principal stopped by and listened to us.  Mr. Strickland was so impressed he asked us to sing at the final PTA meeting in May.

In 1990, the choice of karaoke tapes was very slim.  I couldn’t find MJ or Bette.  So, I thought about who I could get to play this on the piano so the kids could sing without words on a tape.  I had met the choral teacher at Stedman Junior High School just once, but his piano talent was widely known in our neck of the woods.  That was when I decide to ask Joe, choral teacher and pianist extraordinaire, to come and be our accompanist for the evening.

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I called him after school one day in late March and asked him if he’d consider doing this for me.  Without a single second of hesitation, this man who didn’t really know me from Adam, said “When is the performance?  I’d be glad to.”   (I was SHOCKED!  It was a big favor for a casual acquaintance.)  But as it happened, our final PTA meeting fell on the same day as his spring choral concert.  (My heart fell.)  Then Joe said, “If you’ll send me the sheet music by the school courier, I’ll make you a tape.”  (Again, I was simply without words for the generosity of this man, and for those of you who know me, I’m NEVER without words.)


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He did this huge favor for me (and even provided a better cassette tape than I sent him because he knew that tape quality affected the sound of the music).  He barely knew me.  But he did it.  I have always been touched that he would take time out of his day (and money out of his pocket for the cassette tape) to play two songs for a brazen teacher and her sixth graders.

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Joe is now the organist at Pleasant Grove UMC in Durham, NC.  He has touched hundred of students in his teaching career.   He’s still the same amazing person and a superb musician…and he’s fighting pancreatic cancer.  He has good days and bad days.  But he’s a fighter.  You can follow him on his blog, The Big C, Not Middle C.

 Jesus answered, “The most important command is this: ‘Listen, people of Israel! The Lord our God is the only Lord.   Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second command is this: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ There are no commands more important than these.”  Mark 12:31-32 (New Century Version)

Joe’s act of kindness is the essence of what Christ teaches, and I’m so glad that Joe is my brother in Christ.  He recognized me as his neighbor and then did what Jesus would have done.   I mentioned this memory to him the other day and he exclaimed, “I’d forgotten about that!”  I never have.  And I never will.

 Joe Lupton  (photo credit: his)

I want to ask you to pray from my friend, Joe.  Cancer is tough, but God is tougher.

And Joe, I just want to say, “Thank you.  You made a difference in my life.”


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Don’t Worry. Trust Jesus!

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The Beach Boys sang, “Don’t worry, Baby.”  Stevie Wonder sang, “Don’t you worry ’bout a thing.”  Bobby McFerrin (and Bob Marley) sang, “Don’t worry.  Be happy.”  These are only three of 3, 473 songs that came up when I did a Bing search for “songs about worry.”  While all those may be well and good, my Savior has a few things to say about not worrying that mean a lot more to me than any pop song ever could:

“Don’t ever worry and say, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ Everyone is concerned about these things, and your heavenly Father certainly knows you need all of them. 33But first, be concerned about his kingdom and what has his approval. Then all these things will be provided for you.  So don’t ever worry about tomorrow. After all, tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Matthew 6:31-34 (GWT)

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How I fail at the “not worrying” directive!  For the last twenty-four hours, I’ve been holding on to some fear and worry about a situation that simply cannot be changed by my worrying.  My thoughts about it have been incessant.  It’s left me with a queasy stomach and a lack of appetite, which might be good for my diet (which I will be giving an update on next Wednesday, by the way) but it’s not doing too much for the increase of my faith and belief that God is in control.

So, I’m giving it up.  I’ve had a little cry and begged God’s forgiveness.  I know that my doubt goes against the whole of my “Believing God” Bible study that is coming to a close next week.  Perhaps Satan is trying to make me believe that I’ve been wasting all of my study time with Him and Beth Moore, but I’ve decided to throw it back in his face.

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If you don’t know the five-statement pledge of faith about believing God, here it is:

  1. I believe God is Who He says He is.
  2. I believe God can do what He says He can do.
  3. I believe I am who God says I am.
  4. I can do all things through Christ.
  5. The Word of God is alive and active in me.

So, take that old devil.  I will not be shaken anymore.  I will not spend anymore time in fear.  I will concentrate on how God is going to take care of the problem without any need of my worry to help Him along.  He’s got this all by Himself.


Things My Father Taught Me: Lonnie Raymond Hall

My Parents & Me on my Wedding Day

The first man I ever loved turned 70 years old yesterday.  That sentence might register high on the “Ick” Factor unless you know that I am speaking of my father, Lonnie Hall.  But in all truth, he was my very first love.  It is because of his love for me that I learned to love God.  It is with much pride that I introduce you to him.  Apart from my mother, he has had the biggest influence on my Christian life.

It should not surprise you that Kelly, my husband, and my Daddy are very much alike in many ways.  My Daddy loves my Mama in such a way that it’s the standard I used when I was looking for a man who would love me for a lifetime the way Christ loved His church.  Over my life, I have seen the kinds of choices that other female friends have made who did not have the kind of love I received from my father. Some of their lives are pretty messed up.  I know every day how blessed I am.

Listen to your father, who gave you life, and don’t despise your mother when she is old.  Proverbs 23:22 (NLT)

To honor his birthday,  I want to share with you five things my father taught me:

  1. Always be honest.  When I was nine, my father left instructions for me to water the dog.  I did not.  When he came home and found the water dish empty, I said, “The dog drank it all.”  Had this been a small bowl, I might have gotten away with this blatant lie.  However, the water “dish” was actually a huge trough-like metal structure.  If we would’ve had twenty dogs, that thing wouldn’t have been dry at the end of the day.  I was punished.  He talked to me afterward and though I don’t recall word-for-word what the conversation was, the impression it’s left with me for the past forty years is that God hates a liar and so does my Daddy.  It’s important to tell the truth because your reputation is all you have.  When you ruin your reputation by becoming a known liar, you are of little use in God’s kingdom.
  2. God is first;  family is second; all others can wait in line.  I learned to love going to church at an early age.  It’s not the building I loved, it was the fellowship of believers.  There have been seasons of my life in which I’ve removed myself from this fellowship.  These were the most miserable times of my life.  Church is where I go to commune with my Christian brothers and sisters and to give my support to them.  I have often said I don’t know what people who don’t have a church family do in times of trouble.  Likewise, family events are not to be missed unless you are sick or dead.  All of my childhood years, my paternal grandparents hosted a huge family meal in June for my Granddaddy Percy’s birthday.  I can’t say that I was always happy to see that annual event roll around, but I always had a great time after I got there.  Now that my grandparents are gone, I long wistfully for the years that the party was held in their front yard.  It has morphed into a yearly family reunion now and we hold it at a local restaurant.  It’s just not the same as finding my Granny Brook’s fried chicken and butterbeans on plywood tables held up by saw horses.
  3. How you treat your employer says a lot about your character.  My Daddy didn’t call into work sick a lot.  If there was ever a time he missed work., it was probably because my brother or I was sick.  He held his job in esteem because it was what paid the bills.  He showed up and worked hard because to do less was to be ungrateful to your employer and to God, who supplied you with the job in the first place.
  4. Love your children well and be involved in their lives.  My father did a great many things in his life that he would never have done except for me.  He coached my softball team.  He came and watched me in forensic speech, school plays, and beauty pageants.  He came to every football game and basketball game when I was a cheerleader at Cape Fear High School.  It wasn’t until after I graduated that I noticed he stopped going to those ballgames.  I thought he went because he was a sport enthusiast, but he went because I was there, participating.  And if you know how much Lonnie Hall hates a beauty pageant, you will get a glimpse of how much I know he loves me.
  5. Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior.  This lesson I learned as much from his actions as from his words.  I saw him living the Word of God at home and serving in his church and community.  It thrills me that we will one day be in Heaven together and that it’s partly because of him that I’m there at all.

My son, obey your father’s commands, and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.  Keep their words always in your heart.  Tie them around your neck.  Proverbs 6:20-21 (NLT)

The day that Kelly and I got engaged, my Daddy asked one thing of us:  to find a church, attend it together, and build our family with God at the center.  It’s a formula that’s worked for my parents for fifty-two years.  It’s been working in my own marriage for nearly twenty-five.  We have kept  “his words in our hearts” and they’ve never failed us.  They’ve never failed us because the words of my father are the words of his Father.

Thank you, Daddy.  I love you with all my heart.  I will always be your little girl.

Photo Credit:  Sandra Hall Rosser 1987

Faith It Forward: Like My Mother Does

Linda Carter Hall - My Mother

My mother, Linda Carter Hall, is big part of who I am and what I’ve become as an adult.  The really wonderful thing about her presence in my life is that she would tell you that she takes very little credit for how I turned out, but that is hardly the truth.   I’m sharing this story as a “Faith It Forward” post because she was one of the first people to teach me how to “faith it forward” even though I didn’t call her particular influence by that title until this past year.  I am writing this to “honor my mother” as God wrote in the Ten Commandments.  (See Exodus 20:12)

My parents were married in 1960 and I came along on April 24, 1962.  My birth was difficult for her because I was two weeks late AND breach (butt first, and for those of you who know me well, this might be the explanation of why I have had to learn some things the hard way).  In 1962, a C-section was only done in dire circumstances and perhaps if she’d had a different doctor, it would have been done at my birth.  The fact that I even have a younger brother after my labor-intensive arrival is a testament to her fortitude!

I was raised (and for you grammar hounds, I know the word should be reared but I’m from the South, therefore I was raised ) in a Christian home with warm, encouraging, loving parents.  I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior when I was nine.  I was pretty oblivious to the some of unusual circumstances of my childhood.  In fact, I did not realize until I moved back home after my failed marriage just what kinds of lessons my mother had been teaching all along.

When my mother was around sixteen, she started losing her eyesight.  She was diagnosed with familial macular degeneration.  (This is a disease that affects her center vision.  When she looks at the world, there is a blackness in the central region of what she sees.)  Imagine seeing the world ONLY by the edges of your sight.  She is legally blind.  I didn’t know the extent of this problem until I was an adult.  I was able to participate in extracurricular activities because she and my Granny Mae (her mother) could always pick me up.  I assumed all grandmothers did this.  I felt so important when I finally got my own driver’s license because I was able to drive Mama anywhere she wanted to go.  It is still a privilege for me to drive her where she needs to go and it always will be.  My mother’s eyesight was never a real hindrance to raising her family and serving the Lord.  It seems God has always made a way.

My mother is musically gifted.  She’s been the pianist at Judson Baptist Church for nearly fifty-four years.  She’s amazing to watch!  I don’t know how many times she’s played for me to sing.  Sometimes, I’ll say “That’s a little too high for me.”  She can immediately transpose the song into a lower key.  If you play the piano or know anything about music, you recognize what a spectacular gift this is!   She also has this smooth alto voice.  She’d never sung in public much before, but after Kelly and I were married, the three of us formed a trio and have been singing ever since.  She and I have also branched out and sing duets.  We will never make it on American Idol or America’s Got Talent, but God has blessed us both with the ability to find and sing harmony without written music.  I feel closest to her when we’re singing God’s praises.  I learned to play the piano because I wanted to be like her.  I’m not a bad pianist, but my mother is truly talented.

Several years ago, Kelly and I were able to purchase the home where I grew up.  My mother lives next door.  Truth be told, I’ve never lived more than three houses away from Mama and Daddy.  I love the fact that my children have been able to walk next door and visit with my parents.  They love their grandparents and have a close relationship with them.  My mother, who is really is Grandmother Extraordinaire, keeps special treats just for them at her house.  In the past, Claire has said, “I’m going to grandma’s house.  SHE has _______.”  (Fill in that blank with “honeybuns,”  “YooHoo,” “donut sticks,” or whatever snack Mama knows they like.  She is the Snack Queen and I don’t even try to compete!)

My mother has taught me some important lessons about life, love, and God.   I consider her my first and biggest influence, although my Daddy is right there with her.  (I will tell you about him on another day.)  When I think of her, I think of the last verses of Proverbs 31.

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.  Her children stand and bless her.   Her husband praises her: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”   Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done.  Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.  Proverbs 31:25-31 NLT

Yes, she taught me about quiet strength and dignity.  When she sets a goal for herself, she is tenacious.  I’ve never seen her give up on what she desires to do or learn.  When I was in college, she was my study buddy.  She would grill me on questions from my study guides and encourage me when the going got tough.  I feel like that Bachelor of Science degree I earned in education should be shared with her.  She was just that involved in my learning process.  When I became disabled due to chronic pain twenty years ago and found out that I could not go back to teaching, she told me that God had other plans for me; that I should open my eyes and my heart to that I could see and anticipate what God”s blessings. When we found out about our infertility, she would not let me wallow in self-pity.  She propped me up when all I felt like doing was melting into a puddle of tears.   She was the first to ask, “Do you want to be pregnant or do you want to be a Mommy?”  Of course, I just wanted to be a mommy!

Yes, she has taught me wisdom.  I have apologized to her many times because she has given me wise advice and I have ignored it.  Now that I’m reaching the “half-century” mark in my life, I believe I am wiser because she laid the foundation of her motherly wisdom in my heart, and that means that she taught me to go to the Word and the Lord.

Yes,  she taught me to love deeply and unconditionally.  She, herself,  is kind and I want to emulate that in my life. She and my father have been married fifty-three years.  They are the epitome of true love and my own marriage succeeds because I’ve watched her be the kind of wife and mother that I need to be myself.  She’s my ultimate role model in all things “family.”

Yes, she prepared me for living life in the world.  I’ve done some pretty dumb things in my life, but Mama taught me that forgiveness goes hand-in-hand with that unconditional love.  She taught me that forgiveness is not necessarily for the other person — it’s mainly for person doing the forgiving.  She taught me that God forgives completely and that I should do the same.

Yes, she raised my brother, Raymond, and me to be hard-working, respectful, and courteous.  There were firm rules in our household.  Although I didn’t always understand why those rules were in place, I can look back and see that they were for my own good.  She was protecting me from a vicious, cruel world until I found the strength of the Lord to go out and do battle myself.  I am so grateful that she demanded respect from me.  It’s how I learned to make friends and get along with other people.  (So, if you’re glad to be my friend, thank my mother!)

Mostly, I am grateful to her because she taught me that Jesus is the Savior of the world;  that He died on a cross for me and rose on the third day; and that one day, He’s coming to take me home to Heaven because I am His child.  She read me Bible stories and taught me hymns of praise and thanksgiving.  She took me to church every Sunday.  She encourages me to use my voice for the glory of God.  She encourages me to write and be creative.  There are many capable and worthy women in my life, but she surpasses them all.

Her reward?  She deserves so much.  With everything I do, I want to please her and make her proud.  She is so much more than my mother — she’s my best friend and I cherish her in every way.  I cannot find enough words to say how blessed I am to have her as my mother. I am told frequently that I look just like her and that is a boost to my ego because she’s beautiful.  But every now and then, I’m also told that I act her and that is the greatest compliment I could ever receive because she is a Godly woman — beautiful inside and out.  I love her so very much and thank God for her every day.

If you love your Mama like I love mine, thank God for her.  If she’s with you, give her a hug and tell her what she means to you.  If she’s gone to be with the Lord, say a prayer of thanksgiving, and tell someone what she meant to you and why.  Remember to make EVERY day Mother’s Day.


“Like My Mother Does”  (Lauren Alaina)

Faith It Forward: Remembering Bonnie Carter

                                                                                                                                                          Bonnie Hester Carter

                                                                                                                                                    December 20, 1946 – January 12, 2011

I loved my Aunt Bonnie.  She was an amazing woman:  strong, loyal, intelligent, beautiful, and caring.  She came into my life on March 21, 1969 when she married my Uncle Roger.  Right away, I knew she’d be special because when she came, she brought playmates — my cousins Renee and Robin.  Instant cousins!  And girls!  Because when you’re the only girl in a neighborhood full of boys, it  gets kind of tough.  You either have to play whatever the boys want to play or play alone.  Up until then, I had no allies.  Robin and Renee immediately evened-up the boy-to-girl ratio.

I grew up in a neighborhood that was all family.  There wasn’t a house in sight that didn’t belong to someone to whom I was related.  Right away, Aunt Bonnie and I were family and this is how I knew — Aunt Bonnie was given immediate permission by my mother to spank my behind if I got out of line while playing at her house.  Since our houses were only separated by my grandmother’s house, I didn’t have far to go, or enough time to come up with some sort of story to make me more sympathetic in my mother’s eyes if I came home before she called me inside.   You see, coming into the house early or in a pout were sure signs that something was going on.  Aunt Bonnie had full authority to send me home to play alone, without question, and my mother would back her up 100%.  I vowed never to play alone again, so I was a pretty good cousin for the most part.  My mother got the same authority from Aunt Bonnie so Robin, Renee, and I became fast friends.  I’m not saying that it was smooth sailing every day.  We’d get mad at each other and go to our own houses, but it wasn’t that often.  I don’t think I’ve ever really expressed my gratitude to Robin and Renee for being on my side during childhood, but I love them so much and they mean the world to me.

What I am truly grateful for is that it didn’t matter one iota that we weren’t cousins by blood.  No one ever said anything about the fact that they weren’t born into our family the “usual way.”  I was as close to my Aunt Bonnie as I was to my mother’s biological sisters.  All that mattered was that we were (and are) family.

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”  Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT 

I’d like to say that these were verses I learned as a child and applied it to how our family operated, but they aren’t.   All I knew as a child was that our family was seamless.  I credit all the adults involved for this gift.  I know that all families are not as fortunate.  Some adopted children are never considered equal and that is a shame.  No, I didn’t make the connect between my life and this verse until we started our home study with the Cumberland County Department of Social Services.  One of the questions we were asked was “How do you know that you will be able to love a child that is not yours by birth?”   Kelly and I had both experienced adopted cousins so our answer was easy — we were already loving people in our families who were adopted.

When we adopted Martin, Steven, and Claire, Aunt Bonnie was ecstatic.  I don’t think it’s any coincidence that her birthday became the “adoption birthday” of my sons when we finalized their adoption in 1993,  I think it was only fitting that Martin and Steven share birthdays with the person who first introduced our family to adoption.  Even though it’s very close to Christmas, Aunt Bonnie always gave the boys a small gift on “their day.”

It was then that the verses in Ephesians became so crystal clear to me.  If I, in my sinful, human nature, could love people so much through the miracle of adoption, how much more does my Heavenly Father love me?  He gave his Son so that my adoption to Him could take place because He wanted to do it.  “It gave Him great pleasure!”   And He wants us to adopt each other in the same way.

Yesterday was the first anniversary of my Aunt Bonnie’s Resurrection to Life Eternal.  She fought complications with her liver valiantly in the last few months of 2010.  When doctors were sure that there was nothing more they could do for her, she made her peace with her family on earth and waited for Jesus to bring her the Peace of her Father in Heaven.  There has been a huge void in our lives in her departure.   I have missed her since she left us here, but am assured that I will see her again one day because Jesus was her Lord and Savior just as He’s mine.

God chose Bonnie for our family and it was our great pleasure to know her and love her, and to be taught by her that family is more than being born by flesh and blood; family is born of the heart.


Faith It Forward: A Chance to Say Thank You

If you follow this blog, you are going to learn that I love alliteration. (Like “She sells seashells by the seashore.”)  I’ve decided that Fridays are going to be “Faith It Forward Fridays.”  What, you may ask, do you mean by “faith it forward?”  The idea came to me at the same time God was urging me to write the blog in December of 2010.  I need to give you a little background information about why God sent me this idea.  Be patient because I’m working from a long list of blessings, but you’ll see the point by the end of this post.

“So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us.  We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20 NLT

I was so thankful for every nurse, doctor, housekeeper, food service person, volunteer, and support personnel at the UNC Cancer Hospital when Kelly was there for treatment.  I could not have made it without my family members, our faithful friends, or our church family.  We were even blessed by complete strangers during five months of Kelly’s chemotherapy. (A stranger paid for my coffee at Starbucks one morning.  Another paid for my lunch one day in the cafeteria.)  God was showing me His faithfulness at every turn.  He sent messengers to us with His love and support — phones calls, visits, cards, delicious food and snacks, shoulders to lean on, prayer partners, cash and gifts cards, and whatever we needed.  He even sent someone (DALE WALL, I will love you FOREVER for this) to come and take our dirty laundry to her house, wash it, fold it, and return it to us. Five months of doing our laundry — how can I ever re-pay you?  When Kelly needed a warm-up jacket, he sent our cousin, LESLIE RICE, with not one, but two jackets.  Our cousin, NOEL PELLISH, visited often, brought snacks, and gave us some much-needed comedic relief.  She made it her mission to send Kelly a joke or a cartoon every single day until he was no longer in chemotherapy.  And she did it!  Every day that the mail was delivered, we got something that made us smile.  That’s every day for six months or longer!  What a commitment.

My parents, LONNIE & LINDA HALL, kept Claire when we had to be in Chapel Hill.  I know your parents are supposed to love you.  Mine always have and I’ve always said that they have given me unconditional love (and I’ve needed it at times when I’ve been a truly rotten person).  But their unconditional love and support were one of the reasons that I just simply didn’t fall apart.  My Mama wouldn’t let me.  She was ferocious in her faith and it made me stronger to have her on my side.  Without my Daddy, a strong, faithful man who loves Kelly as his own son, and our wonderful friend, STEVE KEMPF, we  would’ve had to close our business.  My friend and “sister of the heart”, ELLI DRAKOS, was a constant source of hope .  Between my Mama and her, I just couldn’t have a “feel sorry for myself” day.  Our kids, MARTIN, STEVEN, & CLAIRE, showed maturity beyond their years.  I didn’t think we could be any closer than we were, but their support cemented the unconditional love of our family forever.  Other family members that kept us going spiritually and financially were GLENN & ROBIN ROSSER ODOM (who brought Diet Pepsi by the barrel because the UNC Hospital System is a “Coke Products Only” facility — you must realize that Kelly is a “Diet Pepsi Only” person to know what a huge blessing this was),  MARK & SHANNON HANCOCK, BARBARA SARGENT, RAYMOND & TOMMIE HALL, DIANE & JOEL HANCOCK, DOT VICK, KATHY VICK,  DAVID & PATSY SMITH , AND HILDA & BOB JACKSON.

Our church, CULBRETH MEMORIAL UMC in Fayetteville, NC, came to our aid by collecting a love offering for us, not once but twice.  Our AUNT MELBA ROSSER, PEGGY ROSSER WHITE, SYDNEY WHITE, AUSTIN WHITE, & LYNN WHITE (family members that go to church with us) brought Claire to visit and made our room look like Santa’s workshop.  There was a tree with tinsel and cling decorations for the windows.  We had the best looking room on the whole floor!  Plus, Aunt Melba knew that Kelly would need an electric razor (you cannot use a blade when your platelets are low) and she made sure he had one.  Her daily calls were a rock for us to lean on.  DONALD & SHIRLEY MELVINbeing hospital saavy, gave us a bag full of change because there are tons of places that you have to pay with coins when you’re “living” at the hospital (like when you want a drink or have to pay for parking).  More church family members offered to help in various ways:  MICHELE BEDSOLE typed and got the church bulletins ready when I couldn’t. (As the part-time church secretary, to me, this was a gift that is truly priceless!); DEBBIE GRIMSLEY gave us a book entitled What Cancer Can’t Do.  (It was uplifting and a needed source of hope.)  JAY & BETH JOHNSON and EDITH JOHNSON sent us money to help pay for parking.  MORGAN & BRANDON BOWEN (from my Sunday School class) took Claire for a night on the town during a time when Kelly & I had been away a particularly long time.  ERIKA NICOLE HOLLAND (another Sunday School class member and our church’s music minister) worked Christmas cantata practice around when I could be there and called us nearly every day.  MARLA HOLLAND sent us several goodie bags.  She’s also been my prayer partner for the last five years.  PEGGY ALLEN sent notes of encouragement and a generous donation.  I have to give a special thank you to JODIE YOUNG BAILEY (my friend and Bible study leader), whose blog “Faith and Fiction With a Touch of Southern Grace” was my middle-of-the-night source of hope and inspiration.  When it’s quiet and dark, the devil can whisper in your ear and tell you lies. Jodie’s words of wisdom brought me through some long, dark nights. She writes with honesty and powerful faith.  I encourage you to give her a read at .

Then the NCSU Police Department (where Kelly works as a patrol sergeant) came with more food, more decorations, and more gift cards.  When Kelly had to go on family leave, KRISTIN WILLS was the one who made sure the paperwork was correct.  (She did everything except Kelly’s signature.)  Others like ANNA RODENBERRY , CPT. JON BARNWELL, LT. LARRY ELLIS, BILL DAVIS, BOBBY GUY, STEVE BARHAM, MIKE MULLINS, GREG BARNES, LT. FRED PARMLEY, LT, MARTY MOODY, FORMER CHIEF TOM YOUNCE, AND CHIEF JACK MORMON just came by to tell Kelly how much he was missed.  I don’t even know all the names of the people who contributed to Kelly’s family leave time, but it was enough that he was able to receive his full paycheck for seven monthS.  Seven months!  Thank you for your generosity.

We celebrated our 30th high school reunion (Cape Fear High School Colts!) on November 5, 2010, just before Kelly’s diagnosis.  When our classmates found out about Kelly’s leukemia, they immediately visited, gave us gifts cards, prayed, put us on their churches’ prayer lists, and offered to take care of our children.  LORI SIMPSON EPLER, JIMMY POPE, CAROL HOWELL HARTLEY, BEVERLY FAIRCLOTH HOBGOOD, ALLEN GUY, TODD MOBLEY, & ROBIN MCWHORTER WALLACE — may God bless you eternally for your faithful friendships.  I think it’s a remarkable testament to friendship when the people you went to junior high and high school with are still close enough to be family.  To those who followed Kelly’s progression on Facebook and the Care Pages, your faithfulness in sending notes and lifting up prayers will be rewarded by God, who sees all things.

Former students that I had taught in elementary school and young adults whom I taught in the children’s and youth choirs visited us and sent gifts cards.  A special thanks to CHARLIE & JENNIFER STALLINGS MASSEY for remembering us in such a generous way.  My dear friend, PAUL LAWING, taught Sunday School for me on two occasions when I had to be in Chapel Hill.  MONICA WISE, BOB DEES, LYNN PRYER, TAYLOR & AMANDA BRANTLEY, NEILL MCINNIS AND OUR FRIENDS AT THE CHOCOLATE LADY & FUSION SALON (both in downtown Fayetteville, near our shop) kept in contact with us and let us know that we were missed in our little Hay Street community of businesses.

Our dear friends at the FAYETTEVILLE INDEPENDENT LIGHT INFANTRY (FILI) prayed for us at every assembly.  BRUCE DAWS and T. V. O’MALLEY brought the largest fruit basket I’ve ever seen when they came for a visit.  Thanks to GINNY POWERS and MAURICE ROBERTSON for their faithful calls and prayers.  And there are probably hundreds of others who lifted us in prayer that I will never know about.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  May God bless you richly.

My friend, Michele, has a great signature line on her emails: “Every now and then, God’s answer to a prayer is me.”  It echoes the very heart of 2 Corinthians  5:20.  We are His ambassadors.  We speak for God.  We are the only way that the world “sees” God.  We have to listen for His still small voice and act in our faith because it’s easy to become hard-hearted in this world.  I love the movie “Pay It Forward.”  It has a great message.  So my idea is to take the premise of that movie and put a Godly spin on it.  Acting in faith to do things for others from which we may never even see the results.  Recently, a young woman paid for my coffee at the Kangaroo convenience store near our home.  I thanked her and her response was, “Remember that Jesus loves you.”  That’s what I mean when I say “Faith It Forward.”  It doesn’t even have to cost money.  Bring your neighbor’s paper to them when you go out in the morning.  Hold a door for a mother who’s pushing a stroller and dealing with her other kids at the same time.  If you’re in the grocery store, offer to carry someone’s bags to their car.  We can be ambassadors in small things for the God of all things.  Just dial in with your heart and faith it forward.