…what was revealed at worship this morning?

Location: LFBC, Alabama. Photo by dfav. 11/08/2020

With COVID, my husband’s illness, my lack of mobility when I am alone, we’ve not been blessed by being able to attend church services steadily once our state government made it possible again. Until the last month when it depended on physical strength, breathing and a whole lot of wanting to.

This morning, for the first time in eight months my bass singing husband was able to stand up with the worship team and sing again. It was a tremendous faith resulting event for both of us, our church and wholly the work of God in our lives.

Not surprising, music is where God worked in my heart right away this morning.

For every day and night since the 2020 Presidential Election kicked into high gear I’ve really wrestled with trying to understand what was going on. After the actual vote I kept it up. As of this writing, the only ones sure of a winner of the Presidential Election are the national news media and the Democratic Proclaimed winner.

I still have many questions. Answers seem far away. Truth seems to have disappeared. This country, America, that I love, seems closer to peril than before the election. And yes, I really struggle with not reacting to posts, comments, and people whose actions, behaviors and thought processes are plain offensive.

This morning though messages I received that eliminated part of the struggle for me came from the lyrics of a song, “In the Father’s House” as sung by Cory Asbury.

"...my failure won't define me
That's what my Father does...
Ooh...lay your burdens down.
Ooh...here in the Father's House.
Check your shame at the door,
'Cause it ain't welcome anymore,
Ooh...you're in the Father's house..."

If in my quest to avoid conflict, confrontation with people I consider friends and even some of my family members, I kept the “peace”. Had it come at a dreadful cost? If so, I found assurance that it’s a failure that won’t define me. I know I voted the way I was lead to by God, the Father. Yet, I also know people who would say the same thing about themselves who voted exactly opposite of me.

If God was leading all of us, then how did we end up at such radically different decisions when our pens touched the ballots this week? If anything should absolutely mirror us the exact same, it should be the Word of God.

Now if you don’t believe in God, or His Word and have no respect for either or anyone who does, that would answer the question immediately. I’m not talking about those who choose this way to live. I’m talking about those of us who claim we do.

"The story's never over,
If the story isn't good,
Failure's never final
When the Father's in the room."

This portion of the son brought load of tears to my eyes. If I am the one who has sinned and refused to listen to the Father’s directive, “the story” isn’t over even if it isn’t good. God will take my failure and make something good out of it. That’s the kind of God He is. Now, He won’t remove the consequences of my sin (if in this case I am the one who is wrong) but He is prepared to help all of us through the next four years. The story doesn’t end here, in these moments.

After investing a lot of time into researching a lot of the candidates and their respective parties, I have come away with a cynical, very cynical view of main stream media. Plus, so many of the alternative sources as well. Add to that the candidates themselves.

For example, in my home state we had a long-term Democratic senator on the ballot for re-election. Not sure of the reasons why exactly the Alabama Republican Party put forth a former instate SEC football coach to challenge him. In my research this coach was a decent coach but he has no political experience and at the time of his nomination was a resident of Florida.

Was this the best we had? Maybe so. Would you run for a political office given the cess pool politics has become? I sure wouldn’t. Maybe that’s why our pool of choices was so limited.

I voted for the coach simply because my conscience wouldn’t allow me to vote for the now outgoing senator. He was the least of two evils.

"Miracles take place
The cynical find faith 
And love is getting through 
When the Father's in the room. 
Jericho walls are quakin' 
Strongholds now are shakin'  
Love is breakin' through 
When the Father's in the room..." 

With those words I could picture all of our prayers combining this morning, upholding one another, a crowd of around a hundred people (and more not knowing how many were viewing our service on Facebook or YouTube), lifting our hearts and voices in prayer.

I could almost hear the steady thump, thump of the feet of the children of Israel as they marched around Jericho in silence until the last day. Or were those our feet marching around Washington D.C.? The strongholds shaking were those of the past or of the current? Right down to the private ones we hid in our lives?

We were certainly reaching God. I could almost see the movement between us of the Holy Spirit. Was this same uplifting happening in every other House of Worship this morning? If not, why not? If we’re all worshipping the same God, how can we be so divided?

Not just on abortion, healthcare, taxes, jobs, foreign relations, racial relations, education to name a few, but on the foundational stones of our society and our lives? Things like truth? Trust? You absolutely cannot build any relationship if there is not 100% honesty so there can be 100% trust.

I’m blessed again by being able to say, I was able to understand all this even before our pastor preached. He too brought the Gospel and the truth.



…about forgiveness?

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When it comes to love, people have a lot of expectations. Some of those are reasonable, good, and necessary. But, sometimes these relationships are unhealthy, unbalanced and even abusive.

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The Bible has a lot to say about love in all avenues of our lives.

Love between neighbors:

“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.” Leviticus 19:18a

The Holy Bible, New International Version, 1973, 1978, Zondervan Corporation.

Love for God:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5

The Holy Bible, New International Version, 1973, 1978, Zondervan Corporation.

Love for your enemies:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. Matthew 5:38-42

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48

The Holy Bible, New International Version, 1973, 1978, Zondervan Corporation.
Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

Love between husband and wife:

“Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” Ephesians 5:22-24

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church–for we are members of his body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:25-33

The Holy Bible, New International Version, 1973, 1978, Zondervan Corporation.
Photo by August de Richelieu on Pexels.com

Love between parents and children:

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”–which is the first commandment with a promise–“that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not exasperate your children, instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:1-4

The Holy Bible, New International Version, 1973, 1978, Zondervan Corporation.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

What happens though, when the relationship isn’t healthy? What happens when the relationship is abusive? And there’s a whole lot of ways a relationship can be abusive.

A relationship between a church member and a church can be abusive if scripture is twisted and used as a means of control or to excuse sin. We tend to think of this relationship as between a cult and their members but I’ve known of it to occur in churches where leadership is uneducated, where tradition is taught more than scripture.

Relationships between husband and wife can definitely be abusive. The ways are many: physical, emotional, sexual, verbal, psychological, financial, and spiritual. These relationships do so much damage to the partner being abused. It can be either way, husband to wife or wife to husband.

Children can certainly be abused by a parent, older sibling, cousin, aunt or uncle, or another adult, such as a live-in partner. A child who grows up in an abusive home is likely to be an abuser or to accept abusive behavior toward them because it’s all they’ve ever known.

When abuse happens, when someone is swallowing their emotions, their words to avoid making the abuse worse at some point an explosion occurs, scores must be settled. Healing can and will take place if you are able to forgive.

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Especially when you get yourself out of the abusive relationship and are working on moving on from it. The Bible is also clear about forgiveness.

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21-22

“So watch yourselves. ‘If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” Luke 17:3-4

The Holy Bible, New International Version, 1973, 1978, Zondervan Corporation.

God’s Word is clear in His expectation we forgive those who hurt us. What that looks like, how that happens isn’t quite so clear a picture so I speak from experience.

My father was physically, emotionally, financially, and even spiritually abusive to us. There were times he struck our mother, many, many times he was physically abusive to two of his three children. He was emotionally unavailable to us usually except for the youngest child. That turned out to be abusive too.

The church we attended in my teenage years was spiritually abusive in that tradition was taught, scripture twisted to make their point. For example that women should not wear pants inside the church building. The first time I did after I left home for college I got nothing out of the service because I was afraid God was going to strike me with lightening during the service. It was a physical relief when I walked outside after service in one piece.

One summer between the first and second grade I was molested by a family member staying with us to help my mother with a sick child by caring for us older two. My parents were so angry with me.

As a young adult trying to make it on my own far away from home on February 9 I was raped in my apartment.

There have been a couple romantic relationships that were emotionally abusive.

Sadly, even a relationship with a family member became emotionally abusive as we moved into adulthood.

Photo by Dominika Roseclay on Pexels.com

Each of these relationships have had an event that set me on the road to forgiveness for the abuser and myself. Sometimes, I can reach that point easier than others. But, each time I have forgiven, without giving that person the power to hurt me again.

There have been some relationships, some abuse that lasted longer in my life and I’ve forgiven, reforgiven and repeated the act, the prayer, the release multiple times, sometimes daily. But, I keep on doing it because God tells me He expects me to forgive for He has forgiven me.

When God forgives me He forgives the sin but He doesn’t remove the consequences of my sin. I had opportunities in life that I failed to take advantage of because my self-esteem was beaten down so low. God would have helped me had I been willing to try, but I was still convinced I was meant for the back row, not the front.

I encourage you to turn to God for help forgiving those who have hurt you. Live your life where God wants you. Forgive, forgive and repeat until the need lessens. Don’t expect the other party to ask for forgiveness, or to even acknowledge the pain they’ve caused.

Forgive because God expects you to.

Forgive because God loves you.

Forgive because God forgives you.

Forgive because it will keep you from carrying the burden of unforgiveness one moment longer.


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…are you voting tomorrow?

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Anyone in America that claims not to know there’s a presidential election on November 3, 2020 must have been off the planet since 2014. Following that election those on the losing side have been trying to undo the results of that election. It doesn’t set much hope for this election either.

As a country we’re electing a president. His running mate is going to be vice-president. The President and Vice President of the United States of America. Regardless of who I’m voting for tomorrow, the most important thing is to know who I’m voting for before I enter the poll. This is no time to feel pressured to make a decision. I’m sickened by it all and sick of it all. Can’t we just vote?

Who you’re choosing to vote for, in my opinion, doesn’t matter as much as you voting. Exercise you’re right to vote. It could save your other rights. “Please, please vote. I hope you VOTE. Fulfill your obligation”.

It’s our daughter’s first time to vote, period. We know she’s backing another candidate rather than our’s. That is her privilege, her decision, her right. But, the agony of waiting my turn to vote in person is gnawing at me. Really it’s the unknown of what either side will do or leave someone else to do that is frightening.

Remember 2016 when colleges had to call classes off because kids were so upset President Trump won and not Senator Hillary Clinton? Crayons, coloring books and pizza were brought in. Students were wailing on campus lawns. Professional counselers stood ready to help.

Who or what will they do this time?

You’re getting close to the deadline to vote. This time tomorrow it will be over.












Photo by KAV, edited using Photogrid by -dfav,

On August 30 of this year our home also became the home of our daughter’s black American Shorthaired cat named Meatball. We all have come to love this furry creature. She’s an indoor cat, except when she goes on little adventures, like a youth football game. Imagine my surprise when out from underneath our car last Friday came a black American Shorthaired cat. How had Meatball managed to escape?

My husband was now holding the cat and I was vocalizing my surprise when he said, “This is that cat that’s been hanging around where our daughter works.”

Sure enough when he turned the cat so I could see her rear end she was missing all but a couple inches of her tail.

We both were sure our daughter had brought the cat home because the maintenance man had threatened to take the cat home with him and skin her.

But, she’d been off for three days and we hadn’t seen the cat when we had been outside. We’ve tossed several ideas of how the new cat came to be at our house.

Our daughter is adament she hadn’t brought the cat home and couldn’t believe it had managed to slip into the car then out without her noticing.

My idea that since where our daughter worked was only a mile and a half away maybe the cat managed to follow the car home was met with eyerolls.

Had she stored away on the engine block?

We’ve never heard of a cat “tracking” someone down and how could she have tracked the car?

Regardless of how she came to be living on our back porch she is here now. It’s clear by her actions she’s accustom to being an inside cat but we’ve got to have her in with the vet before I will entertain the idea of her joining Meatball inside.

A vet visit is even more important now that we know her tail nub is infected. I’d suggest we have her fixed while she’s there but how much trauma would be for her? We already know that infected tail has been an issue for at least a month and a half, as that was the time she showed up at our daughter’s job.

Meanwhile, the “new cat” seems okay with her current living arrangement. And our daughter has given her a name. What goes with Meatball better than Spaghetti?

Photos by KAV, edited on PhotoGrid by -dfav.

While I was thinking of Velvet or Midnight, in the face of her logic what could I say? Spaghetti it is.

Spaghetti seems content with living here, except she clearly wants to be inside” but Meatball is not that happy with the situation. That’s going to be a big issue if I relent about Spaghetti coming inside.

Have I conveyed how much I love our daughter? In two months I’ve gone from “no animals in the house” to an indoor cat, that I too, am attached to. Plus, I’ve agreed to the addition of an outdoor cat. Trust me, this is a huge deal for me. Aside from going against my parental upbringing the presence of cats and mice trigger a very painful, traumatic and life changing event in my life. Yes, only the deepest of love can smooth the way for one cat, much less two, in my life.

I’m also concerned about how close we live to the highway, as in it’s twenty feet from our front door. Our backyard is fenced in but a chainlink fence is no deterrent to a cat.

Will Spaghetti join Meatball inside? Will Meatball agree to the addition? How did Spaghetti get here? Will both cats learn to be on a leash?

I guess my therapist and I have something else to talk about.

However I have a strange yearning for spaghetti and meatballs for supper. (The pasta and tomato sauce based meal. No cat will be harmed in this house.)


…what do you mean you traveled during this pandemic?

The fog looked like smoke at first but the closer we got, the heavier it became. Photographer – dfav, 10/22/2020

Way back in March of this year my husband and I had been planning a small getaway to the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee. Right at the time COVID-19 was causing shutdowns, back-ups in medical care and my husband became deathly ill. Prior to this it had been nine years since we took a “vacation” and fourteen since we went anywhere just the two of us.

My husband grew up in Knoxville and his mother, sister and her family still live there. His mother had just recently had knee replacement surgery and this was one of multiple hospital stays for various reasons in the last few years. We both felt it was important he see her. Plus it had been fourteen years since we saw her.

We talked about our missed getaway and decided to tack it onto our trip to Knoxville. Then, yes, we went to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Yes, we dared travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. I assure you, it’s possible if you plan ahead and are prepared to practice safety measures in the area you are in at that time.

First, lots of people criticized Tennessee for reopening too soon. As a state and from what we witnessed, the citizens are taking COVID-19 seriously. All but one movie theatre was closed. Many fast food restaurants had their indoor dining closed but drive-thru’s were doing a brisk business. Eat-in restaurants operate under limited seating and capacity. All business, including any based on food service, had limited hours they were open.

The one open movie theater afforded us a delightful experience. A movie on a true big screen with complete surround sound. Cinemark, the theater that was open, had some seriously preventive measures going on to stop the spread of COVID-19.

  • First, there is great encouragement to purchase tickets online and choose your seats. They in turn blocked off all other seating within six feet of you. You run the risk of not being able to sit together with the people you come with or getting tickets at all if you show up and purchase tickets at the time of the movie showing.
  • Second, movie times were staggered so people from one movie weren’t waiting for concessions, even six feet apart, at the same time. People weren’t just hanging around in the lobby either.
  • Third, Cinemark had some serious sanitary equipment in operation between movies, before opening and at closing. (And their seats are the big cushy recliners with a heat feature.)
  • Fourth, facial masks were required, social distancing mandated.
  • Fifth, concession prices were lowered.

We ourselves always followed the requirements for safety on this trip. But, not one time did we have to wait to enter a store, even at 50% capacity. We did have to wait outside for a table at two restaurants. We took extra sanitary precautions in our hotel room and kept our hands to ourselves going through lobbies. We also didn’t go in anywhere that we didn’t have a real reason to go. We had a bottles of hand sanitizer in our car, my purse and our hotel room.

We drove into the mountains and were amazed at the fall foliage. To witness the change of seasons after being shut up inside our home for seven months was like seeing it for the first time in our lives. Shopping was limited to outlet stores for specific items and there was no extra “just looking”. One of our great treats was from Ben and Jerry’s, we had the best tasting ice cream because we had it outside at a little table where no one got to close. The traffic, which is legendary in this area, wasn’t that bad either, as if the 50% capacity applied to traffic as well.

We left Tennessee much re-energized and more relaxed than when we left home. We’d done it. Managed a sweet, brief trip on our own schedule. Back home all of the realities were waiting. I for one, find myself allowing my creative side to have more freedom. Inspired by the colors, the people, the sights and the sounds my senses rediscovered.

If you’re thinking of a getaway or a vacation as a couple or as a family/group you have to be smart about it. Don’t go to any place with known issues. (Recent outbreaks, riots, upswing in crime.) Go to places where measures are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Follow those requirements. Know where you’re staying, how it’s cleaned, keep your hands to yourself and be prepared to take precautions on your own. (Wipe down surfaces with a disinfectant for example, in your hotel room.) But, if you can’t go without stressing over COVID-19 then I’d say stay home. You won’t have a good time if you can’t get past the possibility of a crazy virus being near you.

If you can travel and plan ahead to be extra careful I suggest going for it. I would avoid some areas like New York City though.


…when addiction hits home, then what?

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It is possible to become addicted to nearly everything. Street drugs, over-the-counter and prescribed medication , alcohol, sports, shopping, anger, people and even sex just for starters. Anything that can be misused and abused in one’s life can become an addiction. It can quickly occur in the life of the person involved.

A surgery leads to a lot of pain that doctors ease with medication. No one starts out thinking, “I’m going to make myself addicted to these pain killers”. Your pain is real. The relief from the pain medication is real. Then you discover the extra dose, or two pills instead of one eases the pain even quicker.

Today most doctors are more aware of the patient who is abusing their medication. Doctor shopping is harder to accomplish. Still, it’s possible to find yourself addicted to prescribed medication quickly.

There are lots of “tells”. Prescriptions run out before the due refill date. Doctors don’t want to prescribe more to you. Your thoughts center on when you can take your next dose or if two pills give you the relief you used to get. Do you need three?

Thought patterns change and shift. You no longer think about spending time with family, your job, your church, being financially responsible, instead you are consumed with the object or person you’ve become addicted to. You need it or them more than anything else. Test yourself, In a conversation with someone focus on how many times you say the word “I”.

  • “I’m in so much pain.”
  • “I just can’t wait until the six hours pass.”
  • “I can’t believe it, someone is stealing my medication.”
  • “I am going to have the manager change my locks. Someone is getting in here and messing with my pain pills.”
  • “I feel”, “I want”, “I need”.

Addiction is no respecter of social class, wealth or lack of, education levels, life circumstances, gender, marital or parental status, age or anything else. When it breeds in you it consumes you, your mind, your heart and your money. Those left in your life, witnessing this, are confronted with a situation most of the time they have no idea of how to handle.

In our family recently we tried to confront the person gently but firmly. The person has a difficult personality that combined with her addiction proves her deafness isn’t only with her ears. Until she allows us to speak candidly with her doctors we are limited in the conversation we can have with them. Reality is it’s going to be a hard road for us all.

The harshest truth is that you can send them to rehab, you can alert doctors, guilt the addicted to see what they’re doing to their children or grandchildren but until they themselves want free of the addiction it’s useless. This health crisis the world is experiencing due to COVID-19 isn’t helpful. In person, face-to-face contact is so limited. The computer screen, in my opinion, only adds a layer of denial for the addicted. The numbers already show an increase in depression and anxiety, and no additional mental health issues are helpful to an addict.

This is the first straight-up addiction problem our family as a whole has faced together. Thankfully, we’re recognizing it early and are in agreement to continue to pursue all avenues open to us to help our loved one. We all have to help one another not to get to that place of no longer caring about what happens to the addicted because of the pain wrought in our lives long before this became an issue. We will pursue help for ourselves to help this family member.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4: 6-7, New International Version, 1973, 1978, Zondervan Corporation.

Though we’re new to this link of the journey through life we are far from alone. We’re also depending on God to help us through this.


…what’s new with you?

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, ‘Look! This is something new’? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.”

Ecclesiastes 1:9-10, New International Version, 1973, 1978, Zondervan Corporation.

Everyone has their own idea of what is exciting. Does your heart sometimes cry out for a new adventure? Something new and exciting to get your blood pumping and heart racing?

For some it’s physical adventures like ziplining, bungee jumping, wrestling an alligator or cliff diving. For others its more cerebral, like a visit to a new museum, reading a new book from a much loved author or a brand new one or even debating upon a subject you’re passionate about.

Of course there’s other categories of adventuring too. But, if we apply King Samuel’s point-of-view to life period we may get a new perspective ourselves. King Samuel was King David’s son, they were both the King of Israel in their time. Samuel determined that he would seek from God wisdom. God granted him that request. By asking for wisdom King Samuel wasn’t asking for earthly riches or fame. But to be able to govern and lead the Children of Israel in the ways of God.

King Samuel wrote the Book of Ecclesiastes, located in the Old Testament. It has long been a favorite book of mine and contains my favorite passage, chapter 3 verses 1-15.

I was reminded today that a lot of people are searching for something new under the sun. As we have the cancel culture movement, political upheaval, equality for all races, genders and sexual orientation along with the peaceful protests and not-so-peaceful riots everyone it seems is looking for something.

Will we find it? No. You can’t mix billions of people across the entire world and expect everyone to be happy. Why not?

Because, like it or not, life doesn’t work that way. The power shifts. Those that are bullied and strong-armed find a way to turn the power around. Those that bully become the bullied. We can’t all agree on a single issue. Because we are all imperfect. Because we’ll never all be perfect.

Is there racial inequality? Yes. Is there gender inequality? Yes. Is there discrimination because of sexual orientation, wealth, and even physical ability? Yes. Because we are all imperfect and when we gain something for “our side” or “our people” it’s never enough. Because there are bullies in our leadership that have always been bullies and will always be bullies.

For myself I have a few “aha moments” that shape my conception of this topic.

  • Being made to give up my front row desk in the first grade to the doctor’s daughter by my own mother who told me to go sit in the back row. She quickly explained who the girl was and no one dared not give her what she wanted. They had money. We did not. She deserved the seat of her choice and me? Obviously I deserved the last.
  • As a child, teen, young and older adult I have always experienced bullying and shaming over my weight.
  • In my career I would have human resource directors tell me they’d love to hire me but they had to hire a specific type person to show diversity. When I was in position to help with the decision to employ someone for our team I was told immediately what race of the person I should recommend had to be. Regardless of their skill set, experience and team behavior abilities I would have my choice overriden if I did not recommend a person of a specific race.
  • As a person in their 30’s suffering with a broken foot in St. Mary’s hospital in Knoxville, Tennessee a nurse, in front of a waiting room full of people and other staff mockingly brought me a child’s wheelchair to sit in since walking on the foot was so painful. Then the x-ray technician walked in, took one look at me and said, “I’m not x-raying that”! They had to find someone else to come in and do the x-ray.
  • Knowing my leg had developed an infection in it I was forced (it was on a Saturday) to seek medical care from one of those “doc in a box” places. First words out of the doctor’s mouth when he entered the room was, “Well, Mrs. V. I think the problem here is that you’ve gotten so heavy your body temperature gauge is broken.” He meant it as a joke. I didn’t find it funny. So I told him, “You know, I know that I’m not paying a bill for these services” and I wheeled out the door before he could close his mouth and try to get me to come back. (I didn’t pay the bill, my insurance was never charged either.)
  • As an amputee living life in the “real world” since that day of surgery on June 3, 2011 every single day has been a fight for equality. Regardless of what the American’s with Disabilities Act is intended to do it fails. All the specifications, measurements and well-intended rules are loopholes that companies, governments and people operate legally through every single day. Towns and cities get approval from the courts to delay making a building accessible or sidewalks with cut-outs to allow a wheelchair to be on the sidewalks. And the grandfathered in clause which some admit exists and some deny gets waved over the entire mess on a daily basis.

Yes, it’s impacted my employment, my ability to make equal money compared to the able-bodied people around me while I was doing more than those on equal status with me in the chart of organization. It impacts my ability to travel, attend ballgames, shop, or visit family and friends. People look away, or move away as if my disability is catching.

I’m made to feel “less than a person” and still am the object of ridicule and mockery. Take today for example, after struggling to get my manual wheelchair into the restaurant, as the door, though it meets specifications, is also only a bobby pin’s width from being the same size as my chair, the waitress asks me if I need a bib. Keep in mind there’s no food on my clothing or face mask. I’m neatly dressed, my hair is brushed, I’m not drooling or anything. I’m just in a wheelchair. But, I belong to a group of people that reportedly is less than 2% of America’s population. We don’t have enough voting power to make an impact. Government leadership from the local level to the national level can ignore us.

My experience is nothing new. It’s happened repeatedly through history. It will continue. All the change I can control is how I respond to it.

I choose non-violence. I could stage a protest that ends with a bunch of handicap people destroying public and private property wailing on it with their canes, walkers and chairs. We could spraypaint disgusting words on walls and blame the police for the situation, then beat on them with our durable medical equipment. We would get ourselves on the news as we attempt to destroy every statue that doesn’t have an equal that is someone with a disability. Or slash every art show where people are protrayed without missing limbs or with a cognitive disorder. Would we change minds?

No. No one would hear what we were saying over the noise of our actions.

But, and it’s a big BUT I, like all my other fellow “physically challenged” 2% of the American population, I choose to remember what King Samuel said:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, New International Version, 1973, 1978; Zondervan Corporation.


…what tree topper for this tree?

Recently I was blessed to be able to go to a local retailer. For the last year with COVID-19, my husband’s health crisis and all the details around them including my mobility issues, getting out to do anything is a huge treat. On this exploration I found a unique tree that stirred my imagination.

Yes, it’s a Christmas tree. Yes, all the branches are pointed downwards and fluffed outward. Yes, it’s a silver wire sparkled up half of a dress form. Yes, it has angel wings. Yes, she’s leaning to one side. Yes, that’s it’s name, Lighted Angel Tree.

I have for years made angels without faces because the Bible tells us to be careful because we often entertain angels unaware of who they are.

“Do not forget to entertain strangers; for by so doing, some people have entertained angels without knowing.”

Hebrews 13:2, New International Version, 1973, 1978, The Zondervan Corporation.

My angels also always have a gift in their hands because no angel comes into our lives without some gift. But, I never make them without a head. They may be bald, yet never headless.

About an hour and a half later we went to see Coco. The story line was valuable. Remembering who you come from, your ancestors, has real value in helping you decide on your present life. Sometimes what we think we want, or who we want it from lacks all or most of the truth. Those blind spots can kill a dream. Or open up a door you never thought possible.

I was also struck by the colors. Bright, neon colors in the land for those who have passed away from this life and are still remembered where they because their business in this life is finished. If they go unremembered, eventually they fade completely. These beings live in a fantasy like world in amazingly colorful homes, clothes, spirit guides and the city itself is like a Christmas present on steroids with color, fireworks and color, so much color, patterns and textures.

Many thoughts entered my mind. One query I felt compelled to resolve was what kind of topper would you put on a silver angel tree with wings and no head?

  • Frosty’s head.?
  • A big red bow?
  • A big silver bow?
  • Santa’s head?
  • Santa’s hat?
  • Rudolph’s red nose?
  • A face mask?
  • Silver or gold star?
  • Purple and gold star?
  • A rainbow striped unicorn horn?
  • An angel?

This is no traditional holiday tree. It made me laugh initially. Later, as I pondered the topper situation, I laughed even more. Yes, the head of a lovely woman, even in silver, with a halo would be quite acceptable. But, expected. A less traditional form of that would be a wig stand, in silver, with a golden halo.

There’s also a top hat hung recklessly on the neck. Maybe add a cane and she might pass as a Rockette from the tinsel tree era.

Sometimes we ourselves have great ideas but we leave something vital out of the execution of it. Paul wrote something that reminds me of this situation. Saul, before he became Paul, had spent incredible energy on trying to rid the world of Christians. After his own conversion to Christianity he wrote:

“For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am and his grace to me was not without effect. No I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” (Emphasis mine.)

1 Corinthians 15:9-10 New International Version of the Bible, 1973, 1978, The Zondervan Corporation.

Maybe you’ll never design a headless body form as a Christmas tree leaving the rest of us to try and figure out what topper to put on it. Hopefully you’ll never try to eliminate Christians because you expect everyone to agree with you and your point-of-view. Yet we all make mistakes. We all need grace.

Mistakes sometimes mean you didn’t intend to do what you did. It was an accident. And sometimes it’s a mistake where you made a choice and you chose wrong. “But by the grace of God I am what I am and his grace to me was not without effect.”

Now you have a choice. Do you dull down your bright colors, flatten your presence out by being safe and believing you’re living in the grace of God? I challenge you though to consider how God’s grace in making you was “…NOT WITHOUT EFFECT”. You are who you are, flaws, mistakes and all.

“In his great mercy he has give us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or face—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”

I1 Peter 1:3b-5, New International Version, 1973, 1978, The Zondervan Corporation.

God needs serious thinkers, humorous people, creative people, He needs people from every part of humanity. His grace allows us to be His effective witness to a world muddy and nasty with wrong, with sin.

Might I suggest this:


Quote and art by dfav.

…wasn’t it just a picture?

The old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words really means something to me. If you were to tour my house you’d understand how seriously I take my photos. We have a long hallway that intersects with a shorter one and there’s only a bit of room left to hang more.

photos by dfav 10/16/2020

There are others scattered about, sitting on our mantle piece, hanging on another’s rooms wall. Some of them are of family that I never even knew. My paternal grandmother’s family. My husband’s grandparents and an uncle that passed before we got married. Every photo has a memory, a story connected and the people in them are a part of me. Of course, our daughter’s life is chronicled in photos.

There is one photograph though that has always been missing. It hung on my paternal grandmother’s wall for as long as I can remember. I used to stare at it every time we went to visit and my grandmother would repeat the story of the day it was made. In it I am a newborn, my parents were 19 (mother) and 20 (father). Off to the side watching the event was my paternal grandfather, Grandpa Tollie.

photographer unknown, March 1964.

Who knows why, exactly, but I was told Grandpa Tollie was crazy over me. Could have been that I was the first grandchild. Could have been because I was a girl. My grandparents had boys, no girls. Could be because I was cute as a newborn. I don’t know, that’s the story I was told.

Anyway along with the 8×10″ picture of me with my parents was a smaller one in the upper right corner of my father and mother on the day they were married.

My grandmother promised me I could have that picture one year when I was in high school and she was alive and well. She said, “When I die I want you to have that picture.” Granny told my parents and she told the other aunts and uncles there too. Later, when she was very ill and I came home to see her she repeated that promise.

I left my home state when I finished college so I only saw Granny a couple times after that move. Every now and then one of us would call each other. Or I would write her a letter. But, I knew her intentions about that photograph. I knew she remembered.

After the funeral I asked my dad about it. He said he didn’t know so he’d ask. When he came home he told me that when they’d build Granny a new home on the same land she’d lived for decades the brothers (her sons) had built it smaller. She’d had to downsize and that picture was thrown away.

Even then it made no sense to me. But, it was gone. What was I to do?

Close to thirty plus years later, the picture pops up in my text messages. It was sent by someone else in my family. There was no “who do you think this baby is” or “is this the picture you’ve talked about”? Just a “look what I got”. No mention then, that if the baby wasn’t them they would give it to whoever it was. No mention of a copy at that point. That indicated to me they thought the picture was of my parents with them. It was like being slapped on both sides of my face and gut punched at the same time. What? No. That was me in the photograph. Further more it was my picture.

The “new owner” said, no that this photo wasn’t Granny’s it was my aunts. I quickly explained. There were only two copies of that picture. One belonged to my mother and the other to my grandmother. Mama’s had burned up in our first house fire when I was four. That was Granny’s photo and she’d promised it to me.

Suddenly I also realized that an entire room full of people, who’d heard her wishes twice, had flat out lied to me. That picture wasn’t destroyed. And why my aunt even wanted it boggled my mind. Or did my dad just lie?

This was the tip of an iceberg that led to a big arguement. I tried to be calm. I did. Yet, I also knew I’d spoken with this particular person, now angry with me, more than a few times about this photograph.

Later, someone would say concerning our disagreement that it was, “over a PICTURE, just a picture” No. Oh, no, no, no. It wasn’t about a mere picture.

We’re talking a photo that is 56 years old and counting. You’re talking about one tangible piece of my life that tied me to my parents, my Grandpa Tollie and Granny. A lot of life happened to that tiny baby.

It was also about the lies. The out and out lies. All the lies. Every single one of them came to the surface and I was so over it. A lifetime of lies. That’s what our family felt reduced to.

My dad was a champion liar. World class. To the outside world, beyond our home’s walls, my Dad was known by some as a generous, kind man. To them he’d loan money or pay for big ticket items for while his own family didn’t always have adequate food or mother had to figure out how to cover our bills. He’d let her fret over paying the utility bills or mortgage and he just kept telling her we didn’t have it. Then an hour before the bank or utility company would close he’d pull out hundred dollar bills. “Had it all along,” he’d say. He was a man who refused to let anyone know his oldest daughter and child had been molested. Refused her the help she needed to deal with all that aftermath. Telling her instead it was her fault. At seven-years-old it was her fault.

Or he was known as mean spirited man by the others in the community. One who cheated people, undercut them, lied to them, got them a job and then got them fired to prove he had the clout. Who gloated in their misery.

Whatever happened at home, his angry rages, his hitting our mother, his hitting us, our financial woes we knew never to mention to anyone. Not family. Not friends. No one at church. No, my father had two faces and we knew the angry face and actions all to well. If it wasn’t physical, especially as we grew older, it was psychological and emotional.

We really believed we’d hid our secrets well, but we hadn’t. The community knew. At his funeral I can’t count the times people came to me and said, “We knew what he did to y’all and your mother. But back then you didn’t intervene.” They all knew. No one helped us.

I have kept my mouth shut. Out of respect for initially, the two uncles we still had living and later for the last surviving one. Also, for my cousin who thought Uncle Gene was a kindhearted man. I thought they surely didn’t know who my father really was, or they would have stepped in. I thought up until then that the things my father used to tell us about what his family said about us were exaggerations. He was a liar. I knew that. But, years of therapy and talking to God I forgave, thinking I could forgive but not give him or others the the power to hurt me again.

The picture surfaced and I’ve realized that maybe Daddy wasn’t the only liar in our family. Had they said the things he said they said? Did they really hate our mother and therefore us too? Did Granny really love her other grandkids more than us? Did they really see me as “stuck up”? Or worse?

Who knows? Maybe the whole story behind that picture is a lie too. That’s the problem with lies. You can never be sure who to trust, who to believe. But, even so, that picture will always belong to me regardless of whose wall it hangs on.

Just a picture? No. It will never be just a picture. I am grateful for a digital picture of a picture though. Do I regret the argument that happened shortly after that photo landed in my text box? Yes. I deeply regret that I couldn’t rise above my heartbreak to be kinder, more understanding, to be satisfied with a copy.

Yet, the whole argument isn’t about the photo. Even I realize that but I can only control myself.

That’s nothing to lie about and I’m not going to.


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