Tuesday, August 14, 2018

When you're face down


Jerry’s cell phone rang and I heard him call our son in law’s name. My antenna went up, because I couldn’t think of a reason he’d be calling. I left the kitchen, and went to the den where Jerry was. As I stood in front of him, the smile on his face turned to a frown, and the word broken drifted from the other end of the conversation.


Adrenalin pumped, fear rose, and Jerry saw the concern on my face. “Hold on a minute. “ He took a deep breath and said, “Mari is in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. A horse kicked her in the back and they think she has broken ribs. Don’t really know anything else yet.”
 
 

Our daughter, Mari, a longtime rider once on a university equestrian team has never suffered an injury despite a fall many years ago.

It only took a few minutes to grab our things, call our pet sitter, and take off. What should have been an hour and a half trip turned into over two-hours because of event traffic in Atlanta. We tried to keep up our hope with intermittent reports that Mari was talking and seemed to be doing well though in a lot of pain.

Later we found she had been walking a friend’s horse on a lead, when inexplicably the horse pulled away, turned, and kicked her in the back. She never saw it coming and had no time to react.

The blow sent her reeling to the ground while the horse tore off, running wild.

She tried to get up to keep from being trampled, but couldn’t.

Thankfully, others at the stable saw what happened, rushed to her side, got the horse under control, and called 911.

Of course, our big concern were head, back, and internal injuries, but tests revealed she had two shattered ribs and one broken one. As painful and awful as the injury is, we are grateful because neither the spine, head or lungs were affected.

Before we left the hospital, even through the pain, she was already talking about getting back to the stable. Though my heart goes pittypat at the idea, I knew she absolutely must go back. I was looking at the face of courage. She probably wouldn’t call it that, because loving horses is in her DNA. It’s part of what makes her the person she is. But it is courage.

In life, we may have experiences that feel as if we’ve been kicked in the backthings we never saw coming. We’re lying on the ground, concerned the pounding hoofs are headed back our way to finish us off.

How will we ever face the arena again?

It makes me think of something Dr. Brene’ Brown says. “You can choose courage or you can choose comfort. But you cannot have both.”

If all we’re going for is safe, then the parameters of our life are going to get narrow.

This applies in to so many different situations, but since I write, I’ll use that as an example.

I speak with writers who have experienced rejection, and they decide they never want to submit their work again to avoid the pain. It does hurt when those negative comments come our way. A lot. I’ve been there so many times, I wouldn’t be able to count.

When you’re face down, there’s a big temptation to insulate yourself against experiencing the hurt again. I read recently that the difference between a published writer and an unpublished one is that the published one never gave up.  True for so many other applications as well.

If you’re face down from a blow trying to decide what you’ll do next, take a cue from our daughter. Decide now in the midst of the pain to face the arena again. Choose courage.

“Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take” (Joshua 1:9 The Message).



We’d love to see you at the book launch event for Faith in the Fashion District at Divine Salon, Spa and Gifts in Watkinsville, GA, August 23 from 6-8. If you’ve already purchased a book, just come by, say hello, and have a piece of New York Cheesecake. We’ll have a couple of giveaways that night as well.

To buy Faith in the Fashion District HERE. 

 
 
 



Tuesday, August 7, 2018

When God weaves the threads together (and giveaway 2)



One of the great things about being on the planet for a while is you get to see God weave the threads of your life together.
 

After ten years, I left the career I write about in Faith in the Fashion District to become director of a ministry to women in crisis pregnancy. When I was introduced to the board members, one of them was Vanessa. She would be a huge encouragement to me as I made the crazy transition from fashion buyer to ministry director. The entire time I worked there, she was one of our biggest supporters. She was also one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever known, inside and out.


Fast forward more years than I want to count and Vanessa is still incredibly lovely. She is also a savvy business woman who owns a salon and spa which has a retail and online component. When I was thinking about where I might like to do the book launch for Faith in the Fashion District, I happened to be at her business and mentioned it to her. She graciously offered to have the launch there.

Back in the day, when Vanessa and I were putting together a charity golf tournament and raising money through concessions at Georgia football games, neither of us imagined (especially me) that we would one day be teaming up on a book launch for a book I had written.

But God not only imagined it, he put it together.   

The events of our lives are not some random, hodge podge of coincidences. God sees the end at the beginning. From where we sit, life may seem a mess, yet God sees the tapestry coming together.

 

 So, though I’m running through the wrinkle cream these days, there are advantages to seeing God’s masterful hand at work in the long term.

My friend, if you’re in a season of feeling your life is unraveling, take comfort in knowing that in God’s time, he can take that tangle of threads and do something so surprising, you wouldn’t have even dreamed it.  It may not be what you planned, but as dear Beth Moore says, “If God doesn’t give you what you ask, he’ll give you something better.” For sure.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11)

We’d love to see you at the book launch event at Divine Salon, Spa and Gifts in Watkinsville, GA, August 23 from 6-8. If you’ve already purchased a book, just come by, say hello, and have a piece of New York Cheesecake. We’ll have a couple of giveaway’s that night as well.


Speaking of giveaways, I’m having another one here this week. Just leave a comment on Facebook or my blog and I’ll add you to the drawing. Once more, it’s a copy of Faith in the Fashion District, a New York motif scarf, a bracelet of vintage 80’s and new beads, and a New York motif tote bag. We’ll draw on Friday, August 10 at 5:00 p.m.

The giveaway is now over. Brenda Dixon is the winner. And because of an oversight with a few names, we drew again. Freida Thornton, you are also a winner. Congratulations!!

To buy Faith in the Fashion District HERE.

 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The Key to Everything and "When you write more than you know"


As Promised, the cover reveal for The Key to Everything., which releases digitally in September with the print version following a short time later.

The Anaiah Press Blog hosts a post from me today where you can read more about this story which centers on forgiveness. Here for “When you write more than you know.”

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Key to Everything Coming Soon

Those of you who follow One Ringing Bell know I have a nonfiction book, Faith in the Fashion District, releasing on August 23rd from Crosslink Publishing. Congratulations to Elaine Crunkleton, who won the advance copy last week.

Amazingly, I also have a novel releasing digitally in September from Anaiah Press, The Key to Everything (print version will be available in a short while). Tomorrow, Anaiah is having the book cover reveal on their blog as well as a post from me about the book. So, stay tuned. I’ll link HERE to the post when it’s available.

Thanks for following and many blessings.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

How God is never late (and a giveway)

Elaine Crunkleton is the winner of the giveaway this week. Congratulations!!! For the rest of you, more opportunities to win coming soon. Please sign up to follow my blog so you don't miss out.

The countdown is on―thirty days until Faith in the Fashion District releases on August 23.
 

 

I wrote a bit HERE about what led me to write the book when it first released, but as Paul Harvey used to say, here is the “rest of the story,” or at least part of the rest of the story.

At writer’s conferences, when I ask folks what they’re writing, most say, “I’m writing a book about me.” Memoirs are coming up now in the market, but that's not what I wanted to write. There’s more here on this blog about me than anybody would want to know. What would the book theme be anyway?

Yet, I find myself with a book about to release that is in part, a memoir.

How did that happen?

I’ve written here of our 7000 mile cross country trip with our family in the summer of 2001 and how formative it was in all our lives. That summer I was struggling with a call to write, to do something more than continue to fill up my closet with those journals I’d kept since I was eight.

On a mountaintop in Montana where my husband was the speaker at a family camp, I received a word that seems something of a bookend to what is happening now.

 “‘Beverly,’ I heard the worship leader call one evening as I was leaving a meeting. He approached me, ‘I sense God is saying that you’re afraid to go after what God is telling you. I believe he’s encouraging you to do it afraid. And that he will confirm whatever this is to you.’

That night in a dream, I saw a nonfiction book, and the title was from Matthew 7:7, ‘Ask, and it shall be given you’”( from High Places, in the Dream Summer series).

I left the camp believing I had been given a divine directive and began to ask God for that book, sure it was going to happen in a short time.

In the intervening years, there have been many articles, devotions, screenplays, short compilations, and novels, but no actual nonfiction book. At times, the vision for it seemed to grow more and more distant. Along the way, I often struggled with fear of vulnerability and of failure. And then just before God gave me the idea for Faith in the Fashion District, I went through a year of almost being shut down creatively. 

I meet starry-eyed writers who believe they’re going to get a contract for a first draft of a manuscript they’ve penned, and I have to walk that fine line of wanting to encourage them but at the same time speaking the truth in love. Their journey is usually going to involve many more drafts, more manuscripts, and more time.

Last fall, sixteen years after God gave me that word on a Montana mountain, I signed a contract for a nonfiction book. It has taken longer than I could have possibly imagined to get here.

The book I never wanted to write turns out to be a book God planned all along. I sometimes get concerned it will be viewed as fluff, not serious writing because of the subject, yet it is the story of how God helped me live out my faith in an environment that was apathetic and even hostile to Christianity.

In Revelation 12:11, we find these words, “They defeated him through the blood of the Lamb and the bold word of their witness. They weren’t in love with themselves; they were willing to die for Christ.”

Faith in the Fashion District is my bold witness, and I pray it is not the story of me being in love with myself but in love with Jesus and that it will help others live out their faith, as well.

Sometimes, it’s a long, long road from vision to realization. If you’re there, my heart and prayers are with you. I don't know if you find this post encouraging or discouraging, but take heart the Bible says, “God is not late with his promise as some measure lateness” (The Message 2 Peter 3:9). Persevere in your calling from God without regard to how long it takes to reach the goal.

In my life, the fulfillment of one of God’s never late promises means August 23, 2018.

I’ve received a few advance copies of Faith in the Fashion District, so I’m having my first giveaway. I’ll have several more giveaways here before the book’s actual release date. The giveaway includes a book, a famous maker New York motif scarf, a bracelet (made by my daughter) of vintage 80’s and new beads plus a New York motif tote bag (not shown above). If you’d like to be considered, just make a comment here or on Facebook and one name will be chosen at random. I’ll post the winner at the top of this post and on Facebook. The drawing will take place this Friday, July 27 at 5:00 p.m. If you don’t win, try again next week.  Spread the word. 
 
The book I never wanted to write turns out to be a book God planned all along. (click to tweet)

Persevere in your calling from God without regard to how long it takes to reach the goal. (click to tweet) 

HERE to buy Faith in the Fashion District.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Comforting words for distressing times


A thunderous crash sounded outside my friend, Tina’s house. The booming noise was so loud, she even wondered if a plane went down. She ran out and discovered a car had crashed into her brick mailbox. Thankfully, the driver was okay, but the collision sent bricks and car parts flying as much as sixty feet away from the point of impact.

Yet, a nest in an unused paper box landed intact still with the spent egg inside.



I’ve been thinking about that fragile nest, how it was unharmed amid so much destruction.

Sometimes, we scan the landscape of our lives and in every direction we look, it seems as if one event could send circumstances spiraling into a cacophony of destruction.

Life can feel so transient and fragile. That’s because it is.

A single happening can cause the dominos to fall for what seems like infinity.
,
We find this verse in Colossians 1:17, “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

As the delicate nest held together amid the flying bricks, the God who was before all things―holds our circumstances together, no matter how hard or devastating the impact we experience .

Take special note the verse does not say some things, a few things, or one thing; it says ALL things hold together in Him.

ALL THINGS.

Comforting words in distressing times.

Occasionally when I write a post, I sense that it is maybe even for one person. I had that sense when I wrote this piece. If that's you today, know God has you in the palm of his hand.
 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Yes, Mister Rogers, I’ll be your neighbor


Oh, if only I could.

Jerry and I went to see Won’t You Be My Neighbor last week. Like most everyone else who has seen it, we squalled.

One of the most poignant moments for me was when ten-year-old quadriplegic Jeffrey Erlanger  appeared on the show and he and Fred Rogers sang It’s You I Like to each other. Evidently, Erlanger had no idea they’d be singing that song and just jumped in with Mister Rogers. I remembered seeing the episode with my own children. But my memories are not just from seeing it with my kids. I watched Mister Rogers as a child and found the show a peaceful oasis in a quagmire of ongoing difficult circumstances in my life.

He was my neighbor then and I was his. When life seemed to be going off the rails, I could count on him for thirty minutes a day to have a quiet soothing voice and speak helpful words either as himself or through puppets like Daniel Tiger. The show didn’t skirt around topics like assassination, racial injustice, and divorce but dealt with them head on.

Mr. Rogers helped me, helped us deal with the hard things in our lives.

In an interview apparently done before the turn of the century, Rogers said he believed the biggest challenge in the new millennium would be to “make goodness attractive.”
If we consider the media offerings today, we would have to agree. I have had my fill of meanness, lewdness, snarkiness, and sarcasm. But I have not despaired, because I see people like Chip and Joanna Gaines, Tim Tebow, and my favorite author, Jan Karon, who are using their platform for good, who are eschewing a public appetite for crudeness and choosing a higher road. We expect those in the ministry to do this, but there are those in athletics, in entertainment, in publishing, in education and everyday folks who have chosen to spend their lives doing what Rogers hoped “make goodness attractive.”

I think of my sister, Tammy, who spent thirty-one years in early elementary education and consistently demonstrated goodness to those children in her classroom. I am thankful there are many others like her who are dedicating themselves to that endeavor.

The children’s class I lead at church recently finished a series on the fruit of the spirit. We developed a fun talk show type format for the series and when we were to discuss goodness, we invited our friend Randy for an interview. Randy spends a lot of time helping with a local food ministry. The kids loved hearing about the ministry and some have even volunteered there. To me, Randy makes goodness attractive in his life. That’s why I wanted to interview him.

Fred Rogers is gone and seeing the movie made me realize how much we lost when he passed. I miss him, but I’m grateful for the people I know who exhibit goodness. Rogers’ challenge is before us. How will we, how will I make goodness attractive to those in our/my sphere of influence? We can’t, unless we do it the same way he did and allow God to work out His fruit in our lives.

Thank you, Fred Rogers for a lifetime of living above the fray and showing us what being a neighbor and goodness really look like.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control” (Galatians 5:22).

Check @Beth MooreLPM on Twitter as she and her worship leader, Travis Cottrell sing, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.” So fun!!

Rogers’ challenge is before us. How will we, how will I make goodness attractive to those in our/my sphere of influence? (Click to tweet).

Remember Faith in the Fashion District is now available for presale at many online retailers .
 
“As a Ford model during the 1980’s, the New York fashion world was my world. Beverly’s encouraging stories of how God moved in that sphere help us realize that no matter where we are— even on Seventh Avenue—God wants to use us for His glory.”
Nancy Stafford
Actress (“Matlock”), Speaker, and Author  



Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Celebrating, remembering, and sacrifice


I recently came across this quote from American poet, Carl Sandburg. “Whenever a people or an institution forget its hard beginnings, it is beginning to decay.” Engraved on a plaque in the Cox corridor of the U.S. Capitol, these words serve as a reminder of how much sacrifice was involved in the origins of our country.

Thomas Paine penned in December of 1776, “These are the times that try men’s souls.

David McCullough in his book 1776, quotes Charles Peale in describing Washington’s troops camped on the shore of the Delaware River that dark December, “. . . they looked as wretched as any men he had ever seen. One had almost no clothes. ‘He was in an old dirty blanket jacket, his beard long, and his face so full of sores that he could not clean it.’ So ‘disfigured’ was he that Peale failed at first to recognize that the man was his own brother, James Peale, who had been with a Maryland unit as part of the rear guard.”

As McCullough notes, General Heath would write, some of the men were “destitute of shoes that the blood left on the frozen ground, in many places, marked the route they had taken.”

For this among so many other reasons, it is an amazement this tattered group would overcome enemy soldiers camped on the other side of the river. McCullough again, “. . . only four Americans had been wounded, including Captain Washington and Lieutenant Monroe, and not one American had been killed. The only American fatalities were the two soldiers who had frozen to death during the night on the road.” The Americans took 900 prisoners.

Yet, they couldn’t have known that in order to secure freedom, there would be seven more long years of war with estimates between 25,000 and 70,000 American casualties.

Hard beginnings, indeed.

In a later battle according to McCullough, a Revolutionary officer would write of George Washington, “I shall never forget what I felt . . . when I saw him brave all the dangers of the field and his important life hanging as it were by a single hair with a thousand deaths flying around him. Believe me, I thought not of myself.”

Katherine Lee Bates captured this thought so beautifully in “America the Beautiful,” “O beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife, who more than self their country loved . . ."

This Fourth of July as we’re shooting our firecrackers, firing up our barbecue grills, and taking a swim, let’s take time to remember. Let’s not forget the hardness of it all, the bloody feet and ragged soldiers who laid down their lives: let's thank God for their sacrifice. In continuing to remember, we help preserve that for which not only they, but so many have fought and died.
"Preserve me, God, for in Thee do I put my trust" (Psalm 16:1).
(Written in a Capitol Chapel stained glass window depicting George Washington in prayer.)
Remember Faith in the Fashion District is now available for presale at many online retailers .

“As a Ford model during the 1980’s, the New York fashion world was my world. Beverly’s encouraging stories of how God moved in that sphere help us realize that no matter where we are— even on Seventh Avenue—God wants to use us for His glory.”
Nancy Stafford
Actress (“Matlock”), Speaker, and Author  

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Soccer and what it has to do with my cooking mishaps


The opposite side of stadium is a big window, therefore the glare.
As my husband, son, and I watched the Atlanta United soccer team play at Mercedes Benz stadium, I thought of a discussion I had a few days ago at VBS with my class.
 
 

 

 

For fun, during our sports-themed VBS, I gave my kindergarten and early elementary class several true false questions about sports.

"The first basketball game was played with a boxed nailed to a pole for the basket,” I declared.

“False,” my student Austin said. “It was played with peach baskets on poles.”

Awed at this first grader’s knowledge, I asked, “How do you know that?”

“My coach,” he said with a grin. I was impressed his coach even knew that trivia tidbit.

I tried again. “The most popular sport in the world is football.”

In unison, they chorused, “True.”

I had them this time.“False.”

“No,” they cried shaking their heads, eyes wide. They couldn’t believe it. It just had to be football.

“It’s soccer.” I explained how football is mostly played in North America and soccer (also called football elsewhere) is played all over the world.

They still didn’t see how that could be true, I guess because we live in a football-saturated culture here in the South.

But as I watched the Atlanta United game, the players on the field proved my point. Their birthplaces were Costa Rica, Argentina, Germany, Liberia, Paraguay, and Venezuela to name a few as well as the American born players.

Each year as my sister, Tammy,  and I pack our Operation Christmas Child boxes, we include a soccer ball in at least half of our boxes. Perhaps in some isolated village in Africa or South America, we hope kids that have been playing soccer with rags, tree bark, or plastic bags they’ve molded into balls secured with twine will find a real ball in their boxes. It will be a gift for the whole village, because one shared ball is an incredible luxury in that circumstance.

I don’t know if any of our Atlanta United players started life in such difficulty, but many professional soccer players did.
 
Today, I’m kicking this post into cyberspace to remind us all we can send the love of Jesus into remote places through our Operation Christmas Child boxes and really, really, really change a child’s life forever. For every box we send, the gospel of Jesus Christ is shared with that child by Samaritan’s Purse. It's not too early to start accumulating what you'll include in your box. I already have a big storage container full for our twenty-five boxes and school supply sales are just around the corner.

And speaking of Samaritan's Purse, a piece I wrote is included in a just released Grace Publishing anthology, Cool-inary Moments; Culinary memories, mishaps, and masterpieces. All the proceeds from this anthology go to Samaritan’s Purse. No one, including me, receives a penny from its sale. You can be sure my article is more mishap than masterpiece. It’s about a very unusual recipe I once shared with my friend Sandy. I never dreamed it would appear in a book.  So check out this new collection and support Samaritan’s Purse. You may not know how to play soccer, but you can still win big-time by supporting this ministry.

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations" (Matt. 28:18-20).

Cool-inary Moments; Culinary memories, mishaps, and masterpieces HERE.

Samaritan's Purse HERE. 
 
HERE'S an article about twenty professional soccer players who began life in extreme poverty.                                                                                                                                        







Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Dream Summer: Crossing the Badlands

With VBS this week and a book edit due on Wednesday, I'm pulling from the archives this week. It was about this time in the summer years ago when we set off for our family's big 7,000 mile cross country adventure in a borrowed RV. When I read the  posts about that trip again, I see the handprints of God all over our journey. I was just beginning to feel called by God to write and now this year, I have two books releasing. I stand in awe of all God did that summer in setting the course for our lives. We couldn’t have known at the outset that in just a few short weeks on September 11, our world would change forever, and that we were seeing this country through a lens in which it would never be seen again. We embarked with a joyous abandon and freedom, which would soon be challenged when four aeronautical spears pierced the heart of America.
In this post, we're dropping in as we reach South Dakota on our trip to Montana.World Radio asked us to record a segment about our trip for their Summer Vacations and Destinations series. You may listen to it HERE.
After several hours on the western side of the Missouri in South Dakota, I began to understand why people see mirages in the desert. I kept seeing one that looked like a Cracker Barrel.
Where were we going to stop, eat lunch, and stretch our legs? After miles of desolate sameness, we finally spotted some signs about an 1880’s replica town in Murdo. 
“Let’s stop,” I said to Jerry.
 “Probably a tourist trap,” he said.
I gave him my nonnegotiable look. He stopped.
Turned out to be a good idea, if I do say so myself. The kids played checkers while they drank their sodas, and Bethany dressed up as an 1880’s belle. The owners had gone to some lengths to make the place as authentic as possible and still have it be a fun attraction for kids.
 
 
It was so much fun, we had a little trouble leaving, but we were close to the Badlands Entrance—a destination we had long anticipated.
Driving through the Badlands National Park is like driving on to another planet. The windswept terrain is unlike anything else on earth according to many who’ve circled the globe. The short loop through the park begins on I-90 and makes a forty mile circle back to Wall, South Dakota. There is a desolate beauty about the Badlands. But because of its unpredictable landscape, the French trappers and Native Dakota Americans found this part of the country a “bad land” to cross over.
 

 I eyed the gorgeous layers of sediment and rock banding the buttes. Out west, it was always tempting to do what Lucille Ball did in the movie, The Long, Long Trailer. She picked up a rock from every place she and Desi’s character went when they’d toured the country. Those rocks nearly sent their trailer plunging over a cliff when they crossed the Rockies. Aside from the similar danger of adding more weight to our already full van, I knew the National Park service would not be happy. We tried to leave as invisible a footprint as possible. 

 “Everybody put on your shoes, we’re getting out,” I said as I scanned the park service brochure. “We’re coming up to Journey Overlook.”

 
 
 I turned around in my seat to see if the kids were ready and discovered Bethany had put on her flip-flops.
“Why do I have to put on shoes?” she cried clutching flip-flops to her feet.
I pointed to the rocks. “Look, you might slip trying to climb in flip-flops,” I explained. “This is for your own safety.” 
“I won’t slip,” she said.
“Just put on the tennis shoes,” I insisted. Why were we always struggling over shoes?
A scowl spread across her face. She put them on, but she was not happy, and made no secret of it.

 

We explored a few of the overlooks, took pictures and returned to the van. There was a deafening silence coming from the back seat. Sometimes the silent treatment could be a blessing. As we neared dinner, stomachs began to growl, which only added to the shoe debacle. I was beginning to get what the Native Americans meant when they said this was a bad land to cross over.
It took about thirty minutes to get to Wall, South Dakota, our next stop. Just before we arrived, I turned around and saw my daughter drawing on a tablet.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
 

Without speaking, she handed over the tablet. What I saw stunned me. She’d captured in colored pencil the rainbow layers of fossilized sediment that appeared in the rock formations—a masterpiece from a six year old and probably one of the best drawings she’d ever done.
“It’s what I did with my madness.”
“This is beautiful,” I told her. She let go a smile. 
For years, we’d encouraged our children to do something constructive with their anger like run laps or kick a ball. Amazingly, she’d gotten it this time. Oh, how I wished I’d always created beauty from my anger.
As surprising as this painting was, nothing could have prepared me for what happened next. When we finally got to Wall, we felt like we’d crossed the Sahara. Thirsty and hungry, we went where all tourists go—Wall Drugs. We sat down at a table in their dining room and studied the menu. I couldn’t believe it when Bethany, the queen of all finicky eaters. ordered a buffalo burger.
Drop my jaw.
I never dreamed she’d actually eat it. But she did, the whole thing.
Aaron, the critter aficionado, had his picture made with a mechanical dinosaur.
 
The story of Wall Drugs captured our interest. In 1931,Ted and Dorothy Hustead were considering buying a drug store in Wall, South Dakota. Their families were not encouraging. “That town is in the middle of nowhere,” a cousin said, “and furthermore, everybody there is flat broke busted.” The depression had not been kind to the people of Wall. 
But after much prayer, the Husteads decided to go ahead with their purchase. In 1936, after five discouraging years they were nearing the end of their resources trying to establish a viable business. Then in July of that year, Dorothy had the idea to draw in the hot thirsty tourists traveling on 16A by offering them free ice water. They put signs on the highway and the rest is history. At the time of our trip, about twenty thousand people a day came during the summer.
The Husteads believed, "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters..." (Isaiah 55:1). There's a chapel for travelers at Wall Drugs, as the owners have never forgotten how it all started.
With prayer, it’s amazing what God can do in the middle of nowhere.
On a recent business trip, Aaron met and spent time with one of the Hustead's grandson's. When I found out who he was with, I sent him the picture of him with the mechanical dinosaur. They had a big laugh. Bethany is now a vegetarian.

Remember Faith in the Fashion District is now available for presale at many online retailers and at Amazon.
 

“As a Ford model during the 1980’s, the New York fashion world was my world. Beverly’s encouraging stories of how God moved in that sphere help us realize that no matter where we are— even on Seventh Avenue—God wants to use us for His glory.”
Nancy Stafford
Actress (“Matlock”), Speaker, and Author  

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Thirty Years and Thirty Reasons


My friend, Sandy, and I sat outside on the church steps talking one evening after choir practice. A man came out of church and walked by us, then stopped and pivoted. “What are y’all talking about?” he asked.

I recognized him as an attorney who had given his dramatic testimony in church a few months earlier. He lost his eight-year-old daughter, his best friend, and his marriage within a two-year period and then had a “Damascus Road” type experience with God.

“Sharing what God is doing in our lives this week,” Sandy said.

A big smile spread across his face.

I honestly don’t remember anything after that, except that on the way home that night, I was so thrown off by those minutes we spent talking, I took a wrong turn and got lost.

Jerry and I a couple of months after our first date. We're at the top of a 14,000 foot mountain we'd just climbed with friends while adult guests at a Young Life Camp in Colorado.
This week, that man, Jerry, and I will celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary.

Like everyone else, our life together has been filled with all kinds of challenges―serious health diagnoses, loss of loved ones, financial stress, family issues, and other strains. I’m embarrassed to say that sometimes we get caught in petty disagreements like what’s the best way to get to the home improvement store and other meaningless rifts.

But the joy we've experienced in our lives far outweighs anything else. Still, after all this time, I sure do love the guy.

So, Jerry, after thirty years, here are thirty reasons I’m so very glad I’m married to you.

These are in the most random order and certainly not a complete list, but it’s a start.

1.       Your dimples.

2.       You played football at the University of Georgia on that SEC championship team and all the wonderful things I’ve gotten to be part of because you did.

3.       You are a wonderful cook.

4.       You don’t mind when I move furniture around.

5.       You let me have all these cats even though you have to do bad jobs because of itthe three p’s as you would say.

6.       Your smile can light up a room.

7.       You’re great in a crisis.

8.       You’re the best preacher I know.

9.       You wear starched white shirts and you send them to the laundry instead of expecting me to starch and iron them.

10.   You’re a good whistler.

11.   You’re a deep thinker.

12.   You can use a sewing machine. Who would guess?

13.   You have survival skills.

14.   You let me drag you to all the art and music events I like even though I know you’re sometimes bored silly. You even act interested.

15.   You’re a good proofreader.

16.   You’re unpretentious.

17.   I could probably paint the house zebra striped and you wouldn’t say anything.

18.   You have always been a big encourager to me in my writing and painting pursuits.

19.   You’re willing to take the small closet. Thank you very much.

20.   You don’t carry a grudge . . . towards anybody, about anything.

21.   Your Biblical knowledge astounds me.

22.   You can build things.

23.   You overlook my infinite list of shortcomings.

24.   You look past my wrinkles and tell me I’m beautiful.

25.   You sing Victory in Jesus on key.

26.   You’re so sweet with that brown dog, Lucy.

27.   You love kids and all their noisiness.

28.   You’re a fabulous grandfather to Walker and Sara Alden.

29.   You’re an amazing father to our two miracle children, Aaron and Bethany, and Mari, the daughter whose life I was blessed to be part of because I married you.

30.   You love God more than you love me or anyone else. I suppose that’s what drew me to you in the beginning.  

Jerry,  when we have our anniversary dinner later in the week, I'll be the one wearing the same dress we wore on our first date. We are not wealthy by worldly standards. Our possessions do not amount to much in monetary value, but we are rich in so many other ways. Thank you for these amazing, challenging, exciting, surprising, blessed thirty years. It has been my privilege and honor to spend them with you. I love you more!!!
 
"And now to Him who can keep you (us) on your (our) feet, standing tall in his bright presence, fresh and celebrating--to our one God, our only Savior, through Jesus Christ, our Master, be glory, majesty, strength, and rule before all time, and now, and to the end of all time. Yes."  (Jude 24-25  The Message).




 Remember Faith in the Fashion District is now available for presale at many online retailers and at Amazon.
 

“As a Ford model during the 1980’s, the New York fashion world was my world. Beverly’s encouraging stories of how God moved in that sphere help us realize that no matter where we are— even on Seventh Avenue—God wants to use us for His glory.”
Nancy Stafford
Actress (“Matlock”), Speaker, and Author  


 


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