Category Archives: Remembering

Monday Morning Moment – Laughter – Medicine for the Heart

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Here’s to all those who make us laugh! Without any need for alcohol or even inspiration, something said or done, a facial expression or shoulder shrug, and we are happily taken off-guard and laughter follows. No matter the setting. In fact, I have memories of laughing with friends at the family visitation before my mom’s funeral. As off-putting as that might have been for some, it was a joy in reminiscing over shared times together, with Mom in the mix. I’m sure in some Heavenly space, Mom was glad for that momentary release from grief for us. Laughter…what a gift!

Photo Credit: Swedish proverb, PPT-Online

Earlier this morning, I was thrifting with my friend, Angela. We were scanning titles in the used book section of the store, out of view of each other. Then I heard her actively engaged in animated conversation with a man also looking at books. They clearly knew each other and their laughter at this chance meeting splashed over into my own heart. He was an old co-worker from another season of her life, Angela would tell me, and it was a happy remembrance of those days.

For me, it was just fun to hear her laugh. I was reminded of a situation yesterday afternoon while reading a book my daughter had shared with me. She said I should occasionally take a break from my serious non-fiction reading and recharge with some fiction. The first book she lent me, some weeks ago, was author Gary D. Schmidt‘s Okay For Now. [I highly recommend it to anyone who needs a break from the serious.] I finished it in a couple of days. Then she gave me Schmidt’s The Wednesday Wars. Both books tell the story of middle school boys and the trials and tribulations of their lives (as seen through their oftentimes hilarious take on reality). The stories are set in the late 60s during the Vietnam War era (I resonated so much with that period and those stories).

There’s an especially funny part in The Wednesday Wars where seventh-grader Hollings, the hero of this story, was assisting the school custodian, who was replacing bulging ceiling tiles damaged by two enormous rats. Previously, the rats were the class pets (cute when tiny, terrifying once grown) but they escaped and built a nest in the unseen space above. In dislodging one tile, the custodium unleashed an avalanche – the gross, chewed up contents of the rats’ nest fell straight down onto Hollings’ head. [You’ve got to read it to know just how hysterical it was.] Reading that portion out loud to husband Dave – we were both laughing so hard, it was nearly impossible for me to finish what I wanted to share with him.


All this gave pause today, thinking about the joy of laughter. I’m a fairly serious sort, so folks aren’t drawn to me for hilarity. You can count on me to stay in the room if you’re struggling with something. Hopefully, you might feel better, encouraged, hopeful after our visit, but laughing out loud? Probably not. Thankfully, others bring that gracious gift to relationships.

[I actually took a few minutes to go through my phone directory to be reminded of those who simply brighten life by showing up…more than that, they regularly make me laugh. They probably aren’t that way all the time, but they are genuinely and gently funny. Steve C., John D., Sarah DeJ., David G., Anne S., Heba T., and Sharon W. Combinations of people also have a chemistry that literally combusts laughter for everyone – Khiry, Cam, and EB are such friends. Who are your people?]

Being a serious person who leads a fairly quiet life, I end up going to reels on social media for laughter (too often really; should just invite these friends over for dinner…or invite ourselves for coffee dates). Recommended for you are the three comedians below…there are many others, including folks who are just funny without making a living at it. Please put any favorites of yours in the Comments.

Michael Jr. – From Comedy to Clarity

John B. Crist

Leanne Morgan Comedy

Finally, in my family of introverts, I’ve had great cause for laughter. Husband Dave is one who makes me laugh. He can be very serious himself, but his take on life can be quite oddly funny. He also remembers perfect lines from movies for just about any situation.

Then there are our children. Christie, as older sister to her brothers, has always been a buffer for their shenanigans. She calls them back to perspective and, like her dad, has a sharp memory for stories, situations, and song lyrics (that make us laugh and can shake us all out of sourness). Her tales of babysitting in college and teaching kids in public school are still favorites when we’re together. Now with children of her own (who aren’t subjects for social media), she captures the sweet and funny with them and shares with us.

Nathan, our middle child, makes us laugh, with his many faces, and his wise and sometimes unusual takes on life. Growing up, he could be hard on both his big sister and little brother, and yet he also brought the joy. Even more now.

[Nathan with one of his many faces and post-anesthesia after wisdom tooth extraction. Legendary.]

Daniel, our youngest, is also one who can make us laugh and whom we want to make laugh. He loses it better than anyone I know. We never tire of each of the kids’ retelling stories of Daniel’s antics growing up and his many funny outbursts and creative word pronunciations. We have hilarious memories from our family vacations together, especially in the seaside town of Oualidia, Morocco. Like experiencing seafood we’d never eaten before – sea urchin (the spiny exterior was still moving) is one that caused uncontrollable laughter at our table.

Our Daniel works very hard at living independently and can take the struggles of life too deeply to heart. That’s why it’s especially lovely for his Mom to have his siblings around the table to pull that smile and laughter out of him.

Is There Laughter in Your Walls? – Cavin Harper

The grandkids are their own story which I won’t share here. Still, don’t kids say amazing things? Their wonder and joy at living, their perspective on life, and their sibling and cousin challenges and how they get sorted…always make me smile.

So there you go…now, you may be one of those people in your world that makes others laugh. I just want to thank you for that. If you’re one who takes life more seriously (as part of your own wiring), and you don’t have regular encounters with the people above, maybe it’s time to take an inventory. Watching YouTube videos or Instagram reels are a bandaid for sure, but let’s be intentional about having laughter in our lives. That generous kind that spills over into the lives of others. Bring it!

[Please comment on those folks, professional and personal, who make you laugh. Share away. Also what do you do to up your appreciation of the joys around you? – like collecting and remembering stories, journaling the joys of life, being present in the moment wherever you are and whomever you’re with.]

Laughter in the Walls – a poem by Bob Benson

Leave Some Laughter in Your Walls – The Raineys

The Science Behind the Joy of Sharing Joy – Emma Seppälä Ph.D.

Stress Relief from Laughter? It’s No Joke – Mayo Clinic

How Does Humor Affect Mental Health? – Dan Brennan

Give Your Body a Boost–with Laughter – R. Morgan Griffin

Feel-good Hormones: How They Affect Your Mind, Mood, and Body – Stephanie Watson

Independence Day Reflection – You Say I Am Free – Lauren Daigle

Photo Credit: My God and My Dog

[Adapted from Archives]

Today, we Americans celebrate our Independence Day.

Food, fireworks, and freedom. That’s what it’s all about. Family, too, and/or friends gathered. It’s a big day around here.

Photo Credit: Pixabay
Photo Credit: NeedPix, Martinique Le Prêcheur

In this early morning, I’m reflecting on freedom.

American Independence Day (4th of July) commemorates our declaration of freedom (July 4, 1776) from the rule of Britain. We declared our own freedom. On July 4, we celebrate the freedom we continue to have as Americans because of the many wars fought to hold onto or to obtain freedom.

How much more transforming when the Lord Himself declares us free!

Some time ago, we were in Dave’s family’s home church – Grace Church in Seaford, Delaware. One of their pastors was teaching a sermon series on Avoiding Colossal Mistakes. That Sunday’s sermon centered on the cross of Christ (podcast here).

During the worship service before the sermon, this lyric really penetrated my heart:

“You gave Your life
To give me mine
You say that I am free.”

When you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he made you alive with him and forgave us all our trespasses. He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it away by nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:13-14

As we celebrate our Independence Day, we have a far greater celebration in the cross of Christ. Apart from receiving His death for our sin, His righteousness for our own unrighteousness, we would be dead in our sins today. Still in bondage, enslaved.

We, in the US, have a dark history of slavery. No matter how deeply we are grieved by it, the stain of that great sin is forever a part of our nation’s fabric. Try as we may, we cannot wash that stain out.

Those who lived as slaves in this country, like those who are enslaved today through human trafficking, did not bring their bondage on themselves. It was/is a wrong done to them.

Many anti-trafficking organizations have a key strategy:

Reach, Rescue, & Restore

This is exactly what Jesus has done for us. In our sinful state, He reached out to us. He rescued us through the cross, and He restored us to Himself.

As we think about the freedom we have in Christ and the freedom we have as Americans, I pray we don’t forget our own bondage, or that of others – spiritual bondage, and for some…the physical bondage of being trafficked, forced into slavery even today.

We must reach. We must rescue. We must restore.

Worship with me, as we celebrate freedom, to the Lauren Daigle song “How Can It Be“:

I am guilty
Ashamed of what I’ve done, what I’ve become
These hands are dirty
I dare not lift them up to the Holy one

You plead my cause
You right my wrongs
You break my chains
You overcome
You gave Your life
To give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be
How can it be

I’ve been hiding
Afraid I’ve let You down, inside I doubt
That You could love me
But in Your eyes there’s only grace now

You plead my cause
You right my wrongs
You break my chains
You overcome
You gave Your life
To give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be
How can it be

Though I fall, You can make me new
From this death I will rise with You
Oh the grace reaching out for me
How can it be
How can it be

You plead my cause
You right my wrongs
You break my chains
You overcome
You gave Your life
To give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be
How can it be*

He himself [Jesus Christ] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world. 1 John 2:2

So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude. Colossians 2:6-7

*Lyrics & the Story Behind the Song “How Can It Be” performed by Lauren Daigle – Songwriters: Paul Mabury, Jason Ingram and Jeff Johnson

The Victory of the Cross – Chuck Smith Sermon Notes – Blue Letter Bible

Colossians 2:14-15 – Commentary – Precept Austin

Photo Credit: QuoteFancy

Independence Day in the USA – Celebrating the 4th of July and Remembering that Freedom is Not Free – Deb Mills

Conflicted Thoughts on Independence Day – Chris Turner

Worship Wednesday – Praise You Anywhere – Brandon Lake

Photo Credit: GodTube

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!Psalm 150:6

Rejoice in the LORD, O righteous ones; it is fitting for the upright to praise Him. Psalm 33:1

The Lord is faithful to all His words and merciful toward all He has made.
The Lord lifts up all who fall, and He supports all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look eagerly to You, and You give them their food at the proper time.
He opens his hand, and He satisfies the desire of every living thing.
The Lord is righteous in all His ways and merciful toward all that He has made.
The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.
He grants the desire of those who fear Him. He hears their cry and saves them.
The Lord watches over all who love Him, but He will destroy all the wicked. My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord. Let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever. – Psalm 145:13-21

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” Revelation 5:13

Praise is a completely natural response to both the character of God and His marvelous works.

On a phone call earlier today, my mom-in-law was going down her prayer list, asking me the status of different ones for whom she has been praying. Over and over, she would say, “Answered prayer!” It was true. As we pause our lives and consider God, we can take hope, even rejoice, in all that He is doing in our lives and around us. This world feels broken, but He isn’t finished…not nearly so.

We may all have different ways we praise God and different preferences as to the setting of praise. In the expansive out of doors or inside in a “quiet time” chair. In the living room of a house church or a huge worship space. Alone or with others.

Photo Credit: Deb Mills, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Richmond, Va.

The point is that we keep praise a priority in our daily lives. Even in valley experiences or a season of suffering, when we look for it, we will find reason upon reason to praise the Lord. A dear friend of mine finishes her cancer treatment this week. We are praising God for how He walked with her through this time such that she made it through a hard regimen and will ring the bell on Friday to celebrate the last day of treatment. We are also praising God as another friend is getting prepared to start cancer treatment; her cancer was found before she started having symptoms. We are trusting God for good outcomes for both. Praise. Praise. Praise. He is worthy.

Several months ago, I went with a friend to a concert that turned out to be so much more than just great music. It was church. Worship with a few hundred folks we didn’t know but shared a love for Jesus that would bring us to our feet, hands in the air, singing along with singer/songwriter Brandon Lake.

Photo Credit: Heartlight

There is something about Brandon Lake that reminds me of King David in 2 Samuel 6:14-22 when he was dancing in the streets at the return of the Ark of the Lord. He could not contain his joy and had no care for what others might have thought of him. Praising God, dancing before Him, taking great comfort in this moment of feeling God’s pleasure and provision.

God is worthy of praise, with complete abandon, our minds riveted on Him, both alone and in the company of the saints.

Worship with me…and Brandon. Stand on up. You will be in good company.
Sometimes you’ve gotta dance through the darkness
Sing through the fire, praise when it don’t make sense
Sometimes you’ve gotta stare down the giant
Worship from the lion’s den

Sometimes you’ve gotta shout it from the mountain
Louder in the valley, trusting that He’s gonna get you there
Sometimes you’ve gotta welcome the wonder
Wait for the answer, worship with your hands in the air
I’ll praise You anywhеre

Praise, give Him praisе, give Him praise in the highest
Praise, give Him praise, give Him praise in the highest
He is worthy, yes, He is worthy of all of the praise

Sometimes you’ve gotta praise in the prison
Cry out to heaven, shout it ’til the doors swing wide
Sometimes you’ve gotta stand on your shackles
Brave in the battle, worship with your hands held high
I’ll praise You anywhere

Praise, give Him praise, give Him praise in the highest
Praise, give Him praise, give Him praise in the highest
He is worthy, yes, He is worthy of all of the
Praise, give Him praise, give Him praise in the highest
Praise, give Him praise, give Him praise in the highest
He is worthy, yes, He is worthy of all of the praise

Faithful all my life, blessings day and night
Countless reasons why I’ll praise You anywhere
Every promise kept, goodness every step
Each and every breath, I’ll praise You anywhere
Faithful all my life, blessings day and night
Countless reasons why I’ll praise You anywhere
Every promise kept, goodness every step
Each and every breath, I’ll praise You anywhere

Praise, give Him praise, give Him praise in the highest
Praise, give Him praise, give Him praise in the highest
He is worthy, yes, He is worthy of all of the praise

Oh, I’ll praise you anywhere
Oh, mountain or valley, I know that You’re with me there
I’ll praise You anywhere*

Photo Credit: Heartlight

We’re not done! Years ago, when we lived overseas, in Cairo, Egypt, we would attend a monthly praise event called “The Cutting Edge” at Maadi Community Church. Our kids were young and just cutting their teeth on corporate worship. Those evenings, in the cool of hot days, we gathered in the courtyard of this international church and sang together – with other believers from many nations, all having different worship styles and preferences. It didn’t matter. What a grace to focus on Jesus and sing our hearts out!

One more song on this Worship Wednesday – “Praise” with Brandon Lake, Chris Brown & Chandler Moore. Somehow I had missed this song until a few days ago…we have so many reasons to praise the Lord. Let’s get after it!

Worship with these brothers:

Let’s go, 1, 2, hey
Let everything that has breath
Praise the Lord (You got it), praise the Lord
Let everything, let everything that has breath
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord
(Let everything) Let everything (Hey) that has breath (Hey)

[Verse 1: Brandon Lake]
I’ll praise in the valley, praise on the mountain (Yeah)
I’ll praise when I’m sure, praise when I’m doubting
I’ll praise when outnumbered, praise when surrounded
‘Cause praise is the waters my enemies drown in

[Chorus: Brandon Lake & Chandler Moore, Both]
As long as I’m breathing
I’ve got a reason to
Praise the Lord, oh my soul
Praise the Lord, oh my soul

[Verse 2: Chris Brown & Chandler Moore]
I’ll praise when I feel it, and I’ll praise when I don’t (Yeah)
I’ll praise ’cause I know You’re still in control
‘Cause my praise is a weapon, it’s more than a sound (More than a sound)
Oh, my praise is the shout that brings Jericho down (Yeah)

[Chorus: Brandon Lake & Chandler Moore, Both]
As long as I’m breathing
I’ve got a reason to
Praise the Lord (C’mon), oh my soul
Praise the Lord, oh my soul
I won’t be quiet, my God is alive
How could I keep it inside? (I gotta)
Praise the Lord, oh my soul
(Yeah, praise the Lord)

[Interlude: Brandon Lake]
C’mon let me see a dance, put a dance on it tonight (Yeah)
If you’re grateful, c’mon
Hey, hey, yeah

[Bridge: Brandon Lake & Chris Brown]
I’ll praise ’cause You’re sovereign, praise ’cause You reign
Praise ’cause You rose and defeated the grave
I’ll praise ’cause You’re faithful, praise ’cause You’re true
Praise ’cause there’s nobody greater than You
I’ll praise ’cause You’re sovereign, praise ’cause You reign (You reign)
Praise ’cause You rose and defeated the grave
I’ll praise ’cause You’re faithful, praise ’cause You’re true
Praise ’cause there’s nobody greater than You

[Chorus: Chris Brown, Brandon Lake & Chandler Moore, All]
Praise the Lord, oh my soul
(C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon)
(I gotta) Praise the Lord, oh my soul
(Praise the Lord, oh my soul)
Praise the Lord, oh my soul
Praise the Lord, oh my soul
I won’t be quiet, my God is alive
How could I keep it inside? (How could I)
I won’t be quiet, my God is alive
How could I keep it inside? (I won’t keep quiet)
I won’t be quiet, my God is alive
How could I keep it inside? (I gotta)
Praise the Lord, oh my soul

[Outro: Chandler Moore]
Jump, jump, jump, jump, jump
Let everything that has breath
Praise the Lord (Hey, hey), praise the Lord
Let everything, let everything that has breath
(C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon)
Praise the Lord (C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon)
Praise the Lord (C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon)
(Let everything), Let everything that has breath
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, praise the Lord
(Let everything), Let everything that has breath
(Praise the Lord)
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, praise the Lord**

*Lyrics to Praise You Anywhere – Songwriters: Jacob Sooter, Brandon Lake, Ben Fielding & Hank Bentley

**Lyrics to Praise – Songwriters: Steven Furtick, Chandler Moore, Brandon Lake, Pat Barrett, Cody Carnes, Chris Brown

Worship Wednesday – the Wonder of God – Count ‘Em – Brandon Lake – Deb Mills

Why Is Praising God Important?

12 Reasons God Is Worthy of Worship – Karen Hoffman

Photo Credit: Ullie Kaye Poetry, Facebook

Worship Wednesday – The Maker – Chris August

Photo Credit: Paul Lee & Roger M. Smith, Heartlight

Do you not know? Have you not heard?…
He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth….
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy….
Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these?…. Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. –
Isaiah 40:21-22,26,28

Thus says the LORD, “I made the earth and created man on it: it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host”…This is what the Lord says—He who created the heavens, He is God; He who fashioned and made the earth, He founded it; He did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited—He says: “I am the Lord, and there is no other.”Isaiah 45:12,18

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.Psalm 8:3-5

Wherever your thoughts are taking you right now…open the door, first chance you get, and walk outside. The world is so much larger than we are. Take it in. The sights, the sounds. Breathe in. From the expansive heavens above us to the packed earth under our feet. Teeming with life we can’t even see but must appreciate. This world…was made for us…and we were made for God and each other.

A dear friend of mine is going through cancer treatment. It is the hard, “going for cure” kind of treatment. Every day, my friend faces new struggle, and yet she remembers God, her Maker. Even in her searching, she always lands here…God is good; He loves her and He will make a way for her.

Photo Credit: Karen Walker, Facebook

When we are in the throes of struggle whatever the situation may be, we may question the goodness of God. Even when He told us to expect trouble, we think it will land somewhere else. In John 16:33, Jesus told his disciples, on the night before he died, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Jesus had to take courage Himself that night – wrestling with the will of God. Yet, as He prayed, His peace was restored. He remembered the goodness of His Father. He knew a battle for our souls was in front of Him, and He faced it triumphantly.

This beautiful God – the Maker of this universe and the Lover of our souls – is the focus of singer, songwriter Chris August‘s anthem. If your circumstances have hit hard, and you are struggling with seeing God as Victor in your life, I pray you let the words of this song wash over you. You are so loved…and will be forever. Take heart, Dear One. He is faithful.

Worship with me.

I see You in the sunrise
I see You in the rain
I see You in the laughter
I feel You through the pain.

Everything that You have made is beautiful
Oh, my God, I can’t believe my eyes
But in all of this to think that You
Would think of me
Makes my heart come alive.

Your love is like a mighty fire
Deep inside my bones
I feel like I could climb a thousand mountains
All at once
And I never have to wonder
If somebody cares for me
I love the Maker
And the Maker loves me.

I see You
You are creation
I see the grandness of Your majesty
The universe is singing all Your glory
I can’t believe You live inside of me.

Everything that You have made is beautiful
Oh, my God, I can’t believe my eyes
But in all of this to think that You would think of me
Makes my heart come alive.

Your love is like a mighty fire
Deep inside my bones
I feel like I could climb a thousand mountains
All at once
And I never have to wonder
If somebody cares for me
I love the Maker
And the Maker loves me.

More than just some words upon a page
You’ve shown me in a million ways
But there is one that stands above them all
Hands of creation on a cross.

Your love is like a mighty fire
Deep inside my bones
I feel like I could climb a thousand mountains
All at once
And I never have to wonder
If somebody cares for me
I love the Maker
And the Maker loves me.*

“Even in your old age I AM he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and I will save.”Isaiah 46:4

Photo Credit: Bible App, Facebook

*Lyrics to “The Maker” – Songwriters: Chris August, Ed Cash

Private: The Maker-Creator

Story Behind the Song “The Maker”

Chris August’s testimony on how he wrote “The Maker” – Soundcloud

More Than a Song Podcast – “The Maker” by Chris August

Monday Morning Moment – The 6 Sacrifices of Leadership – in Memory of Clyde Meador

Photo Credit: GOBNM

10 years writing this blog. I started 10 years ago this very month. The reason, in particular, was because I felt my memory clouding some, and there were memories and counsel I wanted to make sure were left for my children. As writing does, the blog cut its course through many topics – God, life, marriage, parenting, beauty, friendship, work, meaning, purpose, and reflections of all sorts. Now 10 years out, my memory is still hanging in there, and for that I’m thankful. Also for the having of words to share with those I love.

Our friend Clyde Meador started a blog himself 3 years ago this month. He may have had similar hopes – to leave something for his children and for the sake of a greater work.

Leadership was a topic that I studied for years (posting in my Monday Morning Moment). I learned so much from great leaders in my life, as well as some leaders who could have used some mentoring by our friend Clyde. That may not have been kind, but good leaders matter – in our lives and in the futures of organizations.

Photo Credit: Facebook, Stephen White, 2017 [Clyde and his beloved wife, Elaine]

In the first year of Clyde’s blog, he wrote a series of posts entitled 6 Sacrifices of Leadership. The topics were:

  • Loss of Constant Firsthand Involvement
  • Too Much Negative Knowledge
  • Constant Criticism
  • Leaving
  • Sacrifice, Isolation, Ostracism
  • Impact on Family Ties Due to Travel and Workload

Take the time to study those posts to learn from Clyde. In a recent tribute to him, a friend and colleague, Charles Clark wrote a brief summary of Clyde’s six sacrifices, their dangers and rewards. You find them in the image below:

Photo Credit: Clyde Meador from Charles Clark’s Facebook page, May 2024

In April 2024, Clyde Meador, this wise, humble, and insightful leader friend of ours, died, at 70 years of age. Complications of a long battle with cancer. He leaves a big hole, for his family, but also for the many people who have known him and loved him through the years. However, he would say something along the lines of God doesn’t leave holes.

We all have stories with Clyde in them – his lessons on life and leading. His legacy is that he never wavered in his faith walk, his love for his family, or his determination to do excellence in the work God had given him. He and Elaine have been a picture of constancy in our lives. Leading and loving.

In July of 2023, life and cancer treatment got in the way of Clyde continuing his blog. What turned out to be his last blog is so appropriate and beautiful. “To Those Who Come After Us”. Here are the last paragraphs.

“I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.”  (Psalm 89:1, ESV)  “We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonders that He has done.”  (Psalm 78:4, ESV)  This commitment of faithful followers of the Lord must be our commitment, also.

“So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.”  (Psalm 71:18, ESV)  I am grateful that I have reached old age and gray hair, and pray that I will faithfully do all I can to communicate the truth of the Gospel to those who come after me.

Of all those things which we teach our children and those who come after them, nothing is more important, more urgent than the truth of the Gospel.  I have a less-than-perfect record of success in this endeavor, yet I seek to faithfully persist in sharing the Truth.  I challenge each of us to a major focus on sharing all we know about our Lord and Savior with the next generations! – Clyde Meador, To Those Who Come After Us

[Dave & Clyde, a few weeks before Clyde went to be with the Lord. So grateful. What a humble and wise mentor he was to so many.]

Worship Wednesday – Make You Known – Sherwood Baptist Church Worship Team

Photo Credit: Phil Ressler, Verse of the Week

For we are not proclaiming ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves because of Jesus.2 Corinthians 4:5

How do we want to be remembered? Something one ponders as we get older, but better to live each day in a different sort of way. Not to be remembered, necessarily, but to be “known as” of “known for”.

Here is a brief story taken up in song of how one man is known. Michael Catt, previously a pastor from Oklahoma, came to Albany, Georgia, in 1989, as the new lead pastor for Sherwood Baptist Church. Albany, Georgia is a town deep in the Bible Belt of South Georgia, with dozens of churches from which to choose.

What Michael Catt accomplished (credit of which he gives all to the Lord) is phenomenal. He and this great church, empowered by God, take the Gospel seriously and personally.

“Michael served as pastor of Sherwood from 1989 through 2021, when he retired to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. In his over 31 years at Sherwood, the church grew into a multi-generational congregation with members from more than 20 nations. Michael led the church to establish numerous Crisis Pregnancy Centers, launched a Biblical Counseling Center, built a 100-acre Legacy Sports Park, and repurposed an old Coca-Cola bottling plant into a ministry center for the underserved of Albany.” – Celebrating the Life & Legacy of Michael Catt

Some of you may have seen the excellent faith-centered films by The Kendrick Brothers. These film-makers and their films come out of a collaboration with Sherwood Pictures, another ministry of this church and, for a long season, Pastor Michael Catt.

It’s not surprising then, when Michael Catt passed the 30-year mark of his ministry at Sherwood Church, that a great celebration was planned. It included a surprise song written in tribute to him and his heart to ever know God more deeply and to make Him known widely.

“Make You Known”.

Shortly after that celebration, I came across the song on social media, following one of his daughters and the church. It is song that points to God and crescendos in such a beautiful way that it isn’t hard to imagine what Heaven will be like as we surround His throne in worship. Michael Catt, who retired the next year and died in 2023, is there already, having lived to make God known. That’s the legacy right there.

Worship God with me to this beautiful tribute of a song to God and His faithful one, Michael Catt.

When they think of me, will they think of You?

Will this life I live unveil Your truth?

When they speak of me will they speak Your name?

Will my legacy reveal Your fame?

With every breath that I will breathe, I live to make You known.

With everything inside of me, I choose to finish strong.

With all of my heart, with all of my soul, with all that I am, with all that I have and all I own

I live to make You known.

So I take this road, looking to the sun.

By Your grace alone, every battle’s won.

I will make the most of my given name. Every circumstance I will bring You praise.

With every breath that I will breathe, I live to make You known.

With everything inside of me, I’ll choose to finish strong.

With all of my heart, with all of my soul, with all that I am, with all that I have and all I own

I live to make You known.

I’ll make my boast, I’ll make my claim in Christ and Christ alone.

All glory, honor, power, and praise arises to Your throne.

I’ll make my boast, I’ll make my claim in Christ and Christ alone.

All glory, honor, power, and praise arises to Your throne.

I’ll make my boast, I’ll make my claim in Christ and Christ alone.

All glory, honor, power, and praise arises to Your throne.

With every breath that I will breathe, I’ll live to make You known.

With everything inside of me, I’ll choose to finish strong.

With all of my heart, with all of my soul, with all that I am, with all that I have and all I own

I’ll live to make You known.

With all of my heart, with all of my soul, with all that I am, with all that I have and all I own

I’ll live to make You known.

I’ll live to make You known. I’ll live to make You known. I’ll live to make You known.

I’ll live for You alone.

I’ll live to make You known. I’ll live to make You known. I’ll live to make You known.

I’ll live for You alone. I’ll live to make You known.*

*Lyrics transcribed from the YouTube video with Worship Leader & Songwriter Mark Willard & others.

Michael Catt – 1952-2023 – Obituary – beautiful story

Make You Known album – Sherwood Worship You Known video


Photo Credit: Facebook, Sherwood Baptist Church

Photo Credit: Pete Briscoe, YouTube

Monday Morning Moment – Complaining Rewires Your Brain – How to Curb (Maybe Not Stop) Complaining

Photo Credit: Stream

What’s the last thing (or person) that caused you to complain? You felt totally justified, right? When we think of the negative aspects of complaining, others come to mind as being “those people”. The complainers, the contrarians, the grumpy people, or the ones you just can never please.

For much of my early life, people who knew me well would describe me as a Pollyanna, someone who looks for the silver lining, the good in people, “the cup half full [or fuller], the possibilities. “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” The Pollyanna turns into an accidental contrarian.

Monday Morning Moment – Spend a Minute with Pollyanna and the Contrarian – There’s a Place for Each of Us – Deb Mills

Maybe life itself changes us – dealing with hard situations, losses, failures, etc. We harden a little. We analyze, scrutinize, and make ourselves the tweakers of people and things (always looking for those little improvements that, we think, need to be made).

Once we begin to complain, we find others willing to join in. Commiserating is born. It’s not a happy community. Complaining becomes a habit and even a lifestyle, if we’re not careful.

Monday Morning Moment – Grumpy Begets Grumpy – Understanding It, Not Reacting, and Turning It Around – Deb Mills

On Sunday, we listened to Cliff Jordan‘s sermon entitled “Complaining in the Wilderness”, pondering the strangeness of a delivered and protected people’s complaints against God.

Cliff talked about how complaining actually rewires the brain – how we see others, ourselves, our circumstances, and even God. I’m not going to address the science of this, but do an online search and you’ll see how this happens and the negative outcomes of chronic complaining.

The source of complaining, Cliff noted, relates to our memory. Do we focus on the irritants to the detriment of remembering the good in our jobs, the people we work with, the many graces of life, and the kindness of God? Complaining has a stubbornness to it. It wants satisfaction and has very little patience for others. As we practice more positive thinking, we are poised, not to minimize the situation but to maximize the potential outcome…including safeguarding our relationships.

The Destructive Power of Grumbling and Complaining – Michael Brown

Andrew Kirby, a successful Youtuber and entrepreneur, actually posted a super helpful video on how complaining rewires the brain.

Kirby also acknowledged that not all complaining IS negative. When we complain about something, it’s an indicator of a change that might need to be made.

Photo Credit: Andrew Kirby, YouTube

The key is to not stay in the complaining mode but to act in a way that brings positive change. Too much complaining can drive a person to make unwise changes, based on advice given to them by sympathetic hearers of their complaints. Better to be judicious in what change needs to be made and take wise steps toward that change.

The prescription for rewiring our brain away from complaining is straightforward and easy, with practice. In fact, these four reminders could easily sit on a card at our work station to help us stay on the road and out of the ditch:

  • Be grateful. – Keep a journal and write down things/persons for which you’re grateful – morning and evening. Turn your thoughts toward gratitude when you’re tempted to go negative/complaining.
  • Catch yourself. – Shake off the temptation to complain before your friends/coworkers intervene…or pull away. Learn to catch yourself and change course.
  • Change your mood. – If your emotions start to spiral downward, shift your environment. Take a walk. Listen to music. Step away from your work station. Grab a few minutes with a friend.
  • Practice wise effort. – “Wise effort is the practice of letting go of anything that doesn’t serve you. If your worry [complaint] won’t improve your situation or teach you a lesson, simply let it go and move on.This is much easier said then done, of course, but if you write it out, ask friends for advice, and take some time to think it through constructively, it really can be done.” – Daily Health Post

All this is common sense. Still, in an age of outrage, we must practice thinking positively (refraining from chronic complaining) until it becomes a discipline…a healthy habit.

“What you practice, you get very good at.”

As that relates to complaining, do we really want to get good at that? No. In fact, practice doesn’t always make us good at something. We can practice unhelpful, unhealthy habits and they can become ingrained….even permanent…unless we intentionally do the work to reverse them.

Photo Credit: QuoteFancy

When we know something needs to change, make the complaint count by refusing to think ill of others involved and taking your concern to the right people. Make yourself part of the solution. Whenever possible, remember all the good you can. It will keep you humble and grateful.

How and Why You Should Stop Complaining – Elizabeth Scott Ph.D.

The Three Types of Complaining – Robert Biswas-Diener

How Complaining Rewires Your Brain for Negativity – Travis Bradberry

How Complaining Rewires Your Brain for Negativity and Literally Kills You – Janey Davies

Monday Morning Moment – Rewiring Your Brain Toward Thinking in the Positive – Deb Mills

Monday Morning Moment – Negativism – Its Cost and Cure – Deb Mills

How to Stop Complaining: 7 Ways to Change Your Attitude – Amber Murphy

Photo Credit: Amazing Facts

Saturday Short – Remembering Our Chad and the Legacy of Chadwick Boseman

Photo Credit: L) Chadwick Boseman – Gage Skidmore, Flickr, R) Chad Stephens (pic taken by Deb Mills)

[This piece is adapted from the Archives on the 30th anniversary of my nephew Chad Stephens’ death. He was 23 when he died instantly in a car accident. After so many years, I’m not sure who all have the sweet memories of Chad that his family has. As to legacy…only God knows. I was reminded today in remembering Chad of another’s legacy – the actor/influencer Chadwick Boseman. His legacy is large and public. For both of them, Chad and Chadwick, dying sooner and harder than any of us imagined would have happened…who knows the extent of their legacy – either Chad, a young man with most of his promise still ahead of him, or the profoundly gifted Chadwick Boseman, dying in his 40s. Below you’ll find excerpts from a blog I wrote when Chadwick died, as I also remember Chad today.]

Shock waves covered our country and the world at the news of actor and Black Panther superhero ‘s death. He was/is a bigger-than-life figure in our culture. As we all know now, he had late-stage colon cancer since 2016 (four years prior to his death). That the public didn’t know he was ill isn’t a surprise, given Boseman’s private nature and also the incredible production of 10 of his films from 2016 until now (one of them Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom released after his death). Fighting his battle with cancer at the same time, what grace, focus, and courage he displayed through all the making of those films!

Chadwick Boseman, ‘Black Panther’ Star, Dies at 43

Boseman died on Jackie Robinson Day – August 28, 2020 – at the age of 43.

‘Black Panther’ Director Ryan Coogler Pens Emotional, Beautiful Tribute to Chadwick Boseman – Ryan Parker, Borys Kit

Boseman was very committed to raising the opportunity and quality of life for fellow black people. He used his work to reflect the dignity of humankind. He showed his own respect for others not only in the Marvel blockbuster Black Panther but in all his films. Several of which were biopics – two of my favorites being Marshall (on the life of Justice Thurgood Marshall) and “42” (on the life of baseball player Jackie Robinson). Both movies are timeless in their handling of justice for blacks in America.

Photo Credit: AZ Quotes

After seeing the incredible film Black Panther some time ago, I was reminded of the relatively small part Boseman also played in Draft Day. Two very different films, but both where he played one who took his platform to champion others. This seemed to be true of Boseman’s public and private life.

Photo Credit: AZ Quotes

After a weekend of trying to get hold of the life and character of this man from Anderson, South Carolina…this man who became a Christ follower as a boy and served in his church’s choir and youth group…I couldn’t get to sleep.

Photo Credit: AZ Quotes

What Boseman accomplished in his relatively short life as a public figure will last as long as we watch the movies…and longer still.

What can a regular non-celebrity do in our world gone mad? What really can this older white woman in the suburbs of a small city? What can you do?

Last night, in the dark trying not to wake my husband, I grabbed my phone and wrote the following list. It came quickly. Hopefully it is understandable.

  • Listen hard with ears, mind and heart open.
  • Seek to understand.
  • Ask the question: “What are we hearing?”
  • Ask the question: “What are we not hearing?”
  • Ask the next layer of question without judging: “What sounds true? What sounds like deception motivated by something else? How can we know?
  • What is the source of what we are hearing? [Sidebar: Where we get our news is often where we get our attitudes. If we take in news at all, we need a mix of views or we won’t critically be able to sift for what is true…or hopefully true.]
  • Then…
  • Speak up on behalf of one another.
  • Stand up against evil and for the truth.
  • Act up? NO. Act in love.
  • Mobilize our resources, relationships, and influence to actually make a true, lasting difference for those most vulnerable in our country.
  • Who has the courage to say “Enough” to what is hurting more than healing, to what is destroying more than building up, to what is not really for change for those who most need the change?

Boseman once said: “The only difference between a hero and the villain is that the villain chooses to use that power in a way that is selfish and hurts other people.”

Boseman’s life reflected his faith in Jesus.

Therapist Kalee Vandergrift-Blackwell wrote a beautiful piece (below) on “a brown, immigrant, refugee, colonized Jesus”.

Did You Know Jesus Is Brown? – Kalee Vandergrift

Jesus died at the hands of the political and religious leaders of the day, but…He did not die a victim. He gave his life in all its beauty, courage, and truth – for our sakes…and He gave his life, even for the political and religious leaders of the day.

When He called out the wrong motives of religious leaders and turned over the tables of opportunists, everything He did, He did in love. He calls us, His followers, to do the same.

Jesus calls us to love our neighbors…and even to love our enemies. We aren’t allowed to just take sides…we are to full-bore, wide open love people – to recognize, respect, and validate in all we do the worth, dignity, and God-breathed humanity of all.

This is our legacy…this is what I want to have the courage and the depth of love to leave when my life is over.

Not complacency. Not comfort. Not smugness. Not arrogance. Not blaming another party or one president over another (if there’s blame it extends much farther…). Not violence. Not isolation.

So…that is the burn I got this weekend after taking in and grieving over the loss of Chadwick Boseman.

One last quote from Boseman that is especially poignant and inspiring right now is this: “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything You gave me.”

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr


In remembering Chad, also, I’m reminded of his legacy…not as publicized as a great actor who died too early…but of a young man who had also given his life to Christ. A young man with great heart and strong convictions. A young man who thought of others. A young man who lavished love and joy on all of us, just entering the room and then staying in the room. A young man who could flip the tension of a family dispute…just being present, by showing up over and over, even in the uncomfortable and imperfect.

Whatever our influence or audience – the world as with Chadwick Boseman, or a much smaller sphere as our Chad – we all leave a legacy. We learn from those who’ve gone before us. Because of what Jesus did for us, and knowing that both Chad and Chadwick received Jesus for themselves, we will see them again.

That makes today a little less hard and a whole lot more hopeful.

Chadwick Boseman – AZ Quotes

10 Inspiring Quotes From Chadwick Boseman That Could Change Your Life – A. R. Shaw

YouTube Video – Chadwick Boseman Tribute – Marvel

Monday Morning Moment – Mom – a Lifetime Full of Love Notes – Her Birthday Just Ahead of Valentine’s Day

Mildred Jane Byrd Stephens McAdams – Feb. 2 1927-Nov. 2 2002

[Today is Mom’s birthday – 22 of them now in Heaven. This blog adapted from the Archives. ]

Our little family has never lived close to the grandparents. This was not easy…for any of us. Before I married, I lived close to home, and Mom was my best friend. She died 22 years ago, and I still miss her every day. To people who knew her well, I would often say  “when I grow up, I want to be just like her.” Still working on that.

Mom and I shared a weakness for words…they are probably excessively important to us, delivering both positive and (sometimes) negative weight. She was a consummate encourager. She rarely missed an opportunity to lift another’s spirit or to speak loving truth to someone desperate for God’s touch.

Mom pictures for website 012

When I moved away to take a teaching job, she and my dad helped me with the move. New Haven, Connecticut would be a 2-day drive from Georgia. At that time, it was the farthest I had ever lived from home. She stayed a week to help me settle in.  While there, she was such great company. We explored the city together and laughed over a new culture and cried at the missing that was ahead for us.

She filled my freezer with her baking, and, while I was at work, she wrote notes. Then she hid them everywhere. After she flew home, I began finding them. In my coffee mug. Under my pillow. In the pocket of my coat. Among my reference books. Behind my music books on the piano. She was with me in the love notes she left, and it made the distance between us…less.

My mom and I also had a weakness for bits of paper. I have kept every one of her notes. These from that move over 30 years ago are fading…red ink on pink paper. There is a lifetime of notes between Mom and me. The tradition she started on that first move has become a life-long tradition for our family. Our visits back and forth, across the US and then the globe, have been papered by little notes like these.

Our children, from the time they could write, entered into this tradition much to the joy of their grandparents. Before we would leave from visits with them, these three young ones would write of their affection for their grandparents and hide them all over their houses. I delighted in their cooperation in this conspiracy of love.

Mom always wrote notes…not just to us but to so many. She and her Sunday School Class ladies would send cards every week to the sick ones or the sad ones. She had a special burden for the elderly, for widows (including functional widows, deserted by husbands) and for fatherless children (again including those “orphaned” by still-living fathers). She inspired me by her humble ambition .

Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world. – James 1:27

I am so thankful for my mom’s bits of paper…for her love…and for her perseverance in encouraging and serving others. Her generation is sadly almost gone, and it is for us to pick up these traditions, or traditions like them. Passing them on somehow to the next generations…Maybe there won’t be bits of paper or love notes like in the past. I do hope we still take the time to write. Definitely, the call to serve and to encourage is as current as ever. My life continues to be rich with those, young and old, who reach out with words of kindness and encouragement. Written or spoken, they are love notes to the heart.

[Thankfully, our grown-up children continue to show love to their parents with words – both written and spoken.]

Thanks, Mom. After twenty-two years, many may have forgotten you for now. Many more won’t know of you this side of Heaven. Your life may have seemed small, but it was larger than life to me.

Thank you. Thank God for you.

Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.1 Thessalonians 5:11

The 59 “One Anothers” of the New Testament

Sunday Grace – A Valentine’s Day Reflection of the Deep, Deep Love of God – Deb Mills

Monday Morning Moment – Hall-of-Famers and What Makes Them So

[One of the W-3 Huddles – staff retreat for Holston Valley Hospital’s W-3 cancer nurses]

What is it that distinguishes an individual or group and sets them apart from all the rest?

I’ve had the privilege of working with such folks from time to time through my life. In the late 80s-early 90s, it was a group of nurses in Kingsport, Tennessee. We had moved there as young marrieds after Dave finished his Ph.D. for him to start work as a research chemist at Tennessee Eastman Chemical Company. I left my job as professor in the nursing program at Yale University to find my way into a tight medical community. People were kind, but it would take awhile for me to prove that I had something to offer.

The nurses on 3rd Floor Wilcox Hall of Holston Valley Hospital, in those days, were a rare collection of capable and caring women. We all know the adage about working smarter, not harder. They worked both smart and hard. I was honored just to help in whatever way I could as they shouldered heavy patient loads with stressed families to care for as well.

They were funny, scrappy, no-nonsense, determined, and loving. It’s been almost 30 years since our days together, but I will never forget them (and others of whom I don’t have pictures).

L to R: Nurses – Nan Ritchie, Kay Mitchell, Debbie Seymore Shields, Chris Blue

Just this weekend, I was on a long, refreshing phone conversation with Kay Mitchell. She, Kathy Visneski, and I worked closely together during those W-3 days. Kay was nurse manager, Kathy a nurse educator, and I was clinical nurse specialist. We dreamed, planned, and executed programming, support, and training for some of the best nurses we would ever know.

Kathy and I led a support group for cancer survivors and their families. Part of its success was the trust these folks had in the care they received during the times when the cancer was new and raw, and for some, when it would finally take them. The W-3 nurses would be wholly there for them in every season.

[in conversation during Take Time…to Help to Heal cancer support group]
[an activity from the Take Time…to Help to Heal support group]

Love Your Neighbor – Cancer Support – How It’s Done Well – Deb Mills

In our phone call, Kay told me a story. A few months back she had a knee replacement surgery. Years of nursing, like with many professions, are hard on our knees. As she was “ambulated” – being walked in the hall shortly after surgery, she was in the company of nursing friends who’d come to see her. Friends from the era we shared. Like Kay, they had gotten older (it is odd how we get older but still, with each other, feel the full vigor of life shared in the workplace). It must have been a sight, this nurse “patient” and her friends filling the hall, walking slowly together, in conversation and encouragement. A physical therapist observing them captured the scene with the word, “Hall-of-Famers”. These women who were known and, as it should be, revered.

Kathy Visneski & Dr. Chip Helms, Radiation Oncologist
L to R: Nurses Chris Blue, Ruth Couch, Kathy Visneski, Volunteer Sherry Weaver
Amy Thacker, Chemo Nurse
Sherri Rogers, Nurse Manager

So how do people become “hall-of-famers”? What made these women…and other men and women like them…notable? Remembered with tremendous fondness and honor.

Here’s what I think. It was their servant leadership. Whether staff nurses or nurse managers, they led with excellence and a serving heart.

The phrase “servant leadership” is not new, but it is more than just a prescriptive or descriptive style of leading. Such a leader, as described by Collins and Collins, is “‘compelled by an unshakeable desire to serve’. Leaders who lack that core belief are not servant leaders but rather using servant leadership practices among the many in their toolkits. Notice we are not describing a servant but a servant leader. Servants generally don’t have a choice, but a servant leader, through humility, chooses to put others first…Leaders who do this well focus on where they can bring the most value to others…When we see someone step up in a difficult situation despite the probability of failure and commit themselves wholly because it is the right thing to do, we are more likely to join with them for the long journey. The unconditional nature of serving may be the most defining quality”..of these women.

“I saw this picture today that captured so well the amazing nurse Chris Blue. I was so blessed to have had the best role models as nurses! Chris Blue, Nan Ritchie, Joan Bishop, Jane Faries, Evelyn Parker, Kathy Visneski, Deb Mills, Amy Thacker, Ruth Couch, and Cynthia Wright to name a few. This picture captures the care we provided on good ole W3! Beyond blessed. So glad my roots are strong that started with this group. Brought back some amazing memories!”Teresa Bailey, 2020
Teresa Bailey

Hall-of-famers. Steadfast. Hard-working. Resilient. Intelligent. Caring. Full of life and love.

Who are the hall-of-famers in your life? Maybe you share your workload with some of these wonders. Please comment, if you’d like, about your experience with hall-of-famers. Maybe you are one…or on your way to becoming one. Thank you.

[A note I sent to our nurses and other cancer nurses in the region in 1994, the year we left East Tennessee]
Kathy, me, and Kay…some years later.