Saturday, November 27, 2010


We planned all week to go Friday. The kids could hardly wait for the end of the school week. It was finally here we picked the boys up and headed to McDonald’s on Stewart Avenue, it was the first one of its kind in Atlanta, that’s hard to believe. It was cold outside which made it even better. Sitting at a table, we watched for Dad to come back with the tray full of the famous hamburgers and fries, hot from the grill. We filled our bellies but still had room for a hot apple pie and then we were off….

As we arrived at our destination, you could see lights surrounding the lot. They sure helped to see as we walked around searching for the perfect one. The smell was all around us as we walked up one aisle and down another. We each would see one and say “this is the one” with a holler back so we all could hear. This was the big night to select the Christmas tree for the year!

I can smell the pine aroma as the trees stood tall after being freshly cut. You could almost hear them saying, “pick me”, “pick me”, but we had our eye on just one. Then we all agreed on the one that was the right one. It stood about 6 or 7 feet tall and as we worked the price out with the man who owned them all, it wasn’t long till we had it ready to transport to our home. The chill of the night made us look forward to the hot cocoa waiting for us at home, how we looked forward to the project we had ahead.

Getting all the boxes down we packed neatly last year, we began our assigned task singing along with the Christmas music, playing in the background. How fun it was building memories for the future! The strings of lights were a tackle as we all strung them just right, arranging from the inside out. Then it was time; we counted one, two, three… dah, dah!!! But it was now time to put on all the ornaments, the boys were patience, as I would bring out each one telling them where it came from or who gave it to us. My favorite was the one I protected each year, I had gotten it as a child, it hung on many a tree. We filled the tree full of beauties of all creations, some from far away travels. Finally it was time to place the Angel on top to find her place. As we stood back gazing at our finished work, we had a warm feeling, as we looked forward to the days ahead. It was beautiful as it lit up the room it was now time to bring in another Christmas to enjoy.

One last box was sitting over to the side as we started to clean up. In it was the best thing of all. It was the manger scene that had been pass down through the family. Assembling it we had a sense of worship, thinking about what this time of year was really about. Placing the porcelain figurines carefully under the tree, we talked about what it must have been like the night in the stable when Jesus came into the world. How did Mary and Joseph feel realizing this Baby was the Living God that had come to this earth to save mankind? We stood back looking again at our creation and this time there was nothing missing for the manger scene had made it perfect, bringing to our attention the Real Reason for the Season!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I know that there will be days you think, “Oh Yeah?” I’ll be honest with you I have those. When I read about what we have in Christ, if we are believers, that’s the way we can live. He died for all our days to be successful. I have the benefit of being a Counselor/Life Coach observing people who are living in every type of situation you can think of. I listen and sit there thinking, how in the world are you making it through this to get to our office? Yet I know in my heart you can in Him!

Looking back on my history as a Christian and before the day, I have seen some hard times. I know of days if I described them to you here on this page it would scare you. I remember a day I sat in the darkness of my closet saying, “Lord I am not going back out there and I am quitting on this life thing”. He was so patient with me as He had to hear His child spout out such things in deep-seated anger and…some of them were to and about Him. Well you guessed it, I did come out and I did make it and He still loves me!

All around people are saying the same thing I did. They are facing challenges that seem like mountains they just don’t have the energy to climb. They don’t have to do it alone, there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother, and His name is Jesus. He was there all the time in my life. Just in the last few years, I have gotten to really know Him and it seems to have come after I had that talk with Him clearing the air between us.

Phil is keeping a verse before us in our Life Group, it is Matthew 11: 28-30 "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.". He says PaPa is keeping it before him in his life challenges. I love it when the teacher I sit under is teaching from what they are experiencing, we get the overflow of what’s going on in their life lessons. As a learner, the things I receive seem to have longer “shelf life” for me to use in my life, somewhat “richer” when taught what’s tried and proven.

So to end this today…. you see you can STAY ENCOURAGED AND HAVE HOPE with whatever you are facing! We are not out here living this life all alone. We have victory over every situation that is coming our way, or has just left us! Like the children of Israel were told by God, “before the water will part you have to put your foot in the water” It’s all about Faith taking that first step….

Let’s go out this week and try this, wish I could hear all about the stories you could tell I just know there will be many good ones! My prayer is that you will experience LIFE TO THE FULLEST!!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I love our town of Blairsville! When we go out of town and come back, I get so excited, especially when I see the peeks appear as we top a hill or go around the bend as in this scene. The day I took this picture it was a clear fall evening. It was about 6:00 PM as we were coming in from Atlanta, with our goods we had gathered. The weather was a cool November chill. The mountains looked like they had been washed as they made such a pure definition of each mountain. And look closely; you can see Brasstown Tower standing tall on one of those mountains, like it’s waving us in. Everybody has seen it, as they round the corner it means we’re almost home!

Speaking of home, everyone likes a place to call home. It’s where you can come in throw off your coat, kick off your shoes and relax from the sometime wariness of the fast pace world outside. Our home is a safe place. We can trust each other as we share our deepest thoughts and dreams. The meals are shared to our unique liking. Everything in the house is open for each to share. And in the cabinet, we can keep our special cup or plate right in its place, for each time we reach to use it.

The morning is so nice and cozy in our house. On those cold mornings the one whose up first will turn the heater up, to start the day with the warmth of the fire. The coffee aroma fills the house as it begins to perk. On special mornings, maybe a Saturday when things run slower, you can smell the sausage or bacon cooking. Its getting ready to blend with the eggs, grits, gravy and biscuits placed on our plates.

When all the family return home, we gather around the morning table filled with all those servings. The Lazy Susan is spun around so we can select the fresh jam or jelly, of our choice. And… we don’t forget to first get a big dip of real butter ready to go on the hot biscuits, taken right from the oven. Lots of talk and laughter can be heard as we each tell all that has gone on in our lives. Oh My! What stories can be heard, since the last time we were in our circle, at our place around the table.

HOME.... there is nothing like it! I hope you make yours open to everyone. And to each one that passes through, hope they can say they come there because it is their place they call HOME!

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Just got this idea. Jenny O’Kelly our friend, has this pig named Gravy, she takes him places and it has become quite an attraction. She has been a third grade teacher for several years until recently she resigned to go to the mission field. She will serve in Romania under ABWE. Please remember to pray for her as she goes out to this mission.

Just for fun I thought it would be interesting to interview her pet, whose name is Gravy, so here goes.....

Today I am interviewing a real celebrity who has been around lots of places to say the least. This is Gravy O’Kelly who has traveled to places maybe some of you have not been able to go and we would like to hear about them along with other questions to get to know him or her. BTW for a starter that will answer our first question…..

Are you male or female?
I know it's hard to tell because I am pink, but I'm a boy pig.

When were you born?
Well, I'm not exactly sure when I was born per se, but I was adopted in 2007.

Where were you born?
Who knows probably China.

What is your whole name?
My whole name is Gravy Boat O'Kelley, but it was shortened to Gravy B. and then to just Gravy.

Are you married?
No, but I have a girlfriend. Her name is Biscuit.

Gravy how many countries have you traveled?
Well, let's see... 6 countries so far, but that'll grow more as time goes on I'm sure. I've been to Canada, China, Italy, Romania, Bulgaria, and Greece.

How many States have you been in?
Oh man tons of States! Let's see...15, I think. Georgia (of course), Florida, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Washington DC, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Indiana, got lost in New Jersey recently!(11/19/10 update going to Portugal as we speak)

Who are some of the people you have been pictured with?
I love to meet famous people! Some of the ones I've met are Beth Moore, Louie Giglio, Charlie Hall, Kirk Franklin, Oscar the Grouch, Kermit the Frog, Cinderella, Belle, Sleeping Beauty, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Mary Poppins, and Donald Duck.

What is your most memorable experience?
I've had so many, so I can't pick just one. I'll have to give you my top five.
#1 Standing on the Great Wall of China
#2 Getting blessed my the Pope (I was stowed away in a kid's backpack so he didn't know he blessed a pig too!)
#3 Touching the Liberty Bell (You're not allowed to touch it you know, but the lady let me because I was so special.)
#4 Seeing the metal round of ski jump at the Vancouver Olympic games
#5 Getting to meet amazing people around the world

Who do you contribute your success in your lifetime?
I owe most of my success to my owner Jenny and her friend Amarius. If it were not for them, I'd still be in the clearance basket at Barnes and Noble.

Speaking of your lifetime just how old are you?
In pig years, 6. In people years, 3.

What type of bed do you sleep in?
Well, I'm sort of an abused pig at times. I just sleep where ever she throws me, which is usually on the floor or the back seat of the car. She does try to remember to get me out of the car when it's really cold or really hot. I can't complain though I mean I used to be shoved in a clearance basket.

What is you favorite food?
I'm not going to lie, I love a good hot dog with mustard!

How do you keep your figure staying slim being you are a pig?
Moderation and activity are the key. I'm always on the go and I try not to eat more than 15 meals a day. It also helps that my throat is sewn shut. Keeps the calories out.

What are some of the things you would put on your “Bucket List”?
I've always wanted to stand on the Great Pyramids in Egypt. I also want to visit Australia and get my picture taken with a kola in the wild. I want to go to Africa, it doesn't matter where. I also want my picture taken with John Piper, David Crowder, Chris Tomlin, Oprah, Dr. Phil, and a President (any one I'm not picky).

Are you going to the Mission Field with your owner or you going to stay in the States?
Of course I'm going to the mission field! I could never miss that great adventure. Plus, I'm being trained to be the first missionary pig. I'll be ministering to the pigs and livestock of the world. You know we're an unreached people group, and I'm going to do my part to change that!

Thank you Gravy for this interview, keep on traveling and may God Bless you real good!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


It’s that time of year when the birds head south I suspect you have seen them as I have. We live near Lake Notla in GA and seems the birds fly over that path with water on the way. I am fascinated with these birds and their formation. I like to read this story each Fall. You might have seen it, but in case you haven’t read it and see how it could apply to you.

This fall when you see Geese heading south for the winter flying alone in a “V” formation, you might be interested in knowing what science has discovered about why they fly that way. It has been learned that as each bird flaps its wing, it creates uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in a “V” formation the whole flock add at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own. People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

Whenever a Goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone, and quickly gets into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front. If we have as much sense as a Goose, we will stay in formation with those who are headed in the same way we are going. When the lead Goose gets tired, he rotates back in the wing and another Goose flies point. It pays to take turns doing hard jobs with people or with Geese flying south. The Geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. What do we say when we honk from behind to encourage another to stay focused in life’s journey?

Finally, when a Goose gets sick or is wounded by gun shots and falls out, two Geese fall out of formation then follows him down to help and protect him. They stay with him until he is either able to fly or until he is dead, and then they launch out on their own or with another formation to catch up with the group. If we have the sense of a Goose, we will stand by each other just like this …..

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Had the privilege to be with the ladies of New Hope Baptist Church in Mt Juliet, TN over the weekend. We had an awesome time. As I ended the first night’s session I gave homework, as I always love to do. It was about Journaling were you surprised? You know how I like my Journal and want everyone to begin their life journey through writing, being able to capture the accounts of their lives. It’s so valuable to look at later.

My assignment went just like this…..TELL ME YOUR STORY - write in your notebooks a paragraph or two about your Life (Be Truthful). Answer these questions WHO AM I? WHAT AM I ABOUT?/ WHERE AM I GOING?.

The next day I found out about a gal who had not written her poems for over a year, something like ''writer's block'' I guess. She shared with me how she went to her room and sat down and it just started coming to her and after so many months her mind went racing and her hand went to writing. I am Amazed at this talent, being able to form a poem and make it flow. I ask her if I could put it here I think it is of great value and you will benefit from it. Maybe you haven't written in a long time and need to start again or maybe this subject might jog your thoughts into the discovery of you. She gave it to me as a gift framed, it is here shared with you. I will cherish it as a remembrance of one of Father's precious girls in her discovery. Take a look at the words she put down about IDENTITY!


Do I know who I am
What should I use to measure,
A nickname, name or title
Or maybe personal treasure?

Is what others think of me
Noted as a fact?
Does each one see me differently
In my diffusing act?

Does where I'm from say who I am
Or is it where I'm going?
God, can You, help me see
For You are the All knowing.

On earth my identity
Is clouded and misplaced,
I've used the voice of others
And flesh distorts the taste.

You say that I'm Your child
Your daughter, and Your bride,
To You I'm someone special
That's why You came…..and died.

You've known me forever.
Yet I have just begun.
The war of life is raging
But I know the battle's won!