heREs oNe yOu weren’T expeCting

Someone came by looking for an answer today-one that I thought was worth sharing since they didn’t leave a name or email. It goes to prove why my blog is successful-people want honest answers when they ask legitimate questions. All of you pastors and wives-LISTEN up! This one isn’t for church people, it’s directed at us. Is it appropriate for a PASTOR or a PASTOR’S wife to pay another member’s spouse a compliment specifically about how they look physically? Sad, that someone is searching anonymously on the internet for a straight answer. It breaks my heart to say it, but church is not a safe zone like it was at one time. Do I know a pastor who has had an affair? I know a few. Do I know any pastor’s wives that have had an affair? I do. Any I call friends? Absolutely. I’ll re-emphasize, we aren’t perfect. Some that I’m familiar with were unfaithful before they were saved or entered the ministry; then again, I think of those who had been in pastoring for years when it took place. Ministers & spouses don’t get a pass to have sex of any kind outside of marriage. We’re not that divine. If you categorically deny the accusations-have the decency to step down for a significant period for your family and the church. I’m not one who thinks that this should permanently ban anyone from resuming a ministry role in the future, but if we won’t ordain a man as a deacon or minister if he’s been divorced, we shouldn’t be too lenient with an unfaithful pastor who was fortunate enough to keep his family together. To me, a salvaged marriage after infidelity is one of the most POWERFUL testimonies about GOD’S ability to fix broken things. But, only if contriteness and true remorse was exemplified for the SIN-not merely the shame of getting caught. Once, we belonged to a church with several full time pastors on staff. One staff member was so flirtatious whenever I would come into contact with him-that I wouldn’t go to Sunday School (we were in the same department) if Chipper was out of town. I wasn’t all that special-I’d begun to notice the way that he ogled a lot of women. This man didn’t try to hide that he admired me. He went so far one Wednesday evening to inquire whether or not I was home alone because I was there without Chipper. I considered going to the head Pastor-but the man had been employed at the church for years and I understood staff loyalty. I handled it by being OVERLY cold shouldered every time that he approached me. He was persistent but finally got my drift. His womanizing eventually caught up with him when an affair with another member’s wife was exposed. After the man moved, I had the opportunity to tell the Pastor that I had been dealing with the man’s inappropriate behavior several months and I asked point blank if he would’ve believed me if I had come to him about it. I respected our pastor for being so honest. I probably wouldn’t have and I apologize that you didn’t feel comfortable enough to tell me. Last night, I read a story on AOL about a twenty nine year old youth pastor’s wife in Illinois-who was counseling a sixteen year old in her home for internet porn addiction. I applaud this pastor and how he responded to a firestorm event. When she confided to him that she was having sex with this kid multiple times a week, he didn’t call a board meeting to help him concoct a cover up; he called the authorities. She’s been charged for having sex multiple times a week with a minor. I believe this church will recover faster than those who sweep criminal activity under the rug. But, then again, why does anybody care what I think? It is NEVER appropriate for a married pastor or their spouse to flirt with anyone. NO exceptions to the rules. My personality is one of a nurturer so I tend to reach out &  touch someone when I’m speaking to them. I have to be mindful of what comes naturally because if my actions are perceived the wrong way, I’ve created a problem. The same goes for a friendly pastor type. Oh dudes! BE  CAREFUL because you never know who might be looking for something to get you into trouble. I’d suggest to any woman or man; if a pastor(or his wife) offers to counsel you after office hours-and doesn’t mention having another person there with you, NO DEAL. Same holds true for teenagers..boys and girls. I came across a story last year about a large church in Lakeland, Florida. Suspicions surfaced about a male youth worker after some boys started showing up with new skateboards, clothes, money, etc. This man was paying for sexual acts with things that teens want. My son or daughter would NEVER fall for that. Those parents thought the same thing. Peer pressure is a big deal and being able to impress your friends by having those status symbols can be extremely tempting. Like it or not, we have a society that measures who we are by what we have. VERY SAD but true. Bottom line-don’t PLAY stupid. Paying someone a COMPLIMENT & FLIRTING with them is not the same thing. We all KNOW the difference-and so do they.

wHy do people cAre what i tHink

Last night my Chipper and I had a lonng talk about where we’ve been and where it seems that we’re heading. We’ve been in limbo many times throughout our married life, but, never with this magnitude of uncertainty. Our hearts are at a place of abandoned surrender and yet-we’ve turned down the opportunity to potentially pastor two churches. We’ve been at this a long time and we’ve learned how vitally important it is to WAIT on the LORD-to LISTEN for HIS instructions. As ready as we are to hear PROCEED-we know that HE has not spoken those words.

I’m an impatient girl by human nature-so my spiritual twin has been working overtime-We AREN’T moving until our FATHER says GO so whatever you need to do to stay put until then, do it. By human nature, I’m also stubborn and strong willed, thus my spiritual twin must keep reminding me-you DECREASE so that HE can increase.

As Chipper and I chatted, we marveled and moaned at how much it has taken out of us, physically, mentally and quite honestly, spiritually. CHRISTIANS do struggle spiritually-even when we aren’t backsliding. Look no further than JESUS in the garden of Gethsemane. I love the imagery of a PERFECT SAVIOR sweating blood tears. The human side of CHRIST didn’t want to go through the horrible ordeal of Crucifixion-in allowing us to watch HIM prepare for something that HIS human side DID NOT WANT TO DO, I find amazing comfort knowing that HE understands how I feel when my back is pushed hard against the wall. HE experienced it firsthand-in the most unimaginable way. Can you comprehend agony that intense? I can’t.

I was telling my Chipper that I was considering ending my blog. When I agreed to chronicle last year’s journey-I knew that it’d take a toll on me to relive it daily. My entries start out at twice the words that you read-I type like I talk-A LOT and to be sure that I was writing only the GOD led words, I spent 8-10 hours a day not only writing, but checking our files to make sure that what I reported was accurate and factual. Then there were all of the emails and comments to answer. Oh, please don’t stop leaving the comments or sending emails. You have NO idea how much inspiration your words have been to all of us!

But, I’ve been wondering for a few weeks now if the time has come for me to go back to the books, songs, ladies conference topics-all the stuff that kept my pen moving before the blog took off and took over my time!

Chipper said that it was my decision-although he felt that it was a mistake to quit when I’ve just begun scratching the surface of blog success. He emphasized how many people read an average blog and how many regularly read mine. He reminded me about several who especially benefited from my “transparency”.  My husband knows that I can be convinced to do most anything if you show me the money-prove that it works & I’ll keep at it-an annoying, facet of my perfectionist personality if I’m honest. The man gazed into my eyes and declared that I was all about the SUNRISE, not the sunset...gag

Yesterday, I had the highest number of hits since Dangerously Transparent began. Traffic for Lori’s Story was significant enough to prompt an internet retailer to place an ad underneath the post without asking! A Christian Clothing Company-who I assume saw my sisters’ pictures and wanted to sign them up for business or modeling.

“Spare me the dramatics and the sales pitch, too”, I advised… and then went on to explain to him that it’s a very daunting endeavor to be so personal and transparent. The cruel truth is, faking it is waay easier and you get waaay less criticism. And besides, I added with an exaggerated, poor, pitiful, little ol’ me-Penelope PitStop-sigh– why do people care what I think?

He answered-Honestly? I think one thing that makes your blog work is that-you’re true to yourself-you’re chaotic and all over the place about everything from whining women to wind chimes; people don’t know what to expect-your titles don’t really give a clue what your posts are about so people are compelled to read the whole thing. Like, where did ETHEL KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT come from? Nobody I know thinks the wacky way you do! I listen to what you have to say-whether I agree with you or not.

MEN-they’ve always got to show off their manhood just a little don’t they?!

Have you ever wondered that? Why do people care what you think? I’m not being sarcastic-why do people who live outside of my house-give a second thought to what I say, think or do?

I guess-for the same reasons I found myself looking at Jessica Simpson’s photos last night during President O’Bama’s uh-speech. Jess’s boyfriend was trying to get her to their car unnoticed. Why did I care what explanations her peeps offered-the picture spoke the truth-she wasn’t tired, stressed out from too much work or disoriented because of her cold medications; the poor girl was dead dog drunk. It BROKE my heart to see this beautiful and incredibly gifted, young woman in such a disheveled condition.

Throw stones-that’s what we CHRISTIANS do best. When I looked at those horribly unflattering shots, they literally brought tears to my eyes. It was like her eyes looked straight at me (as straight as she could look anyway). I saw a plea for my prayers-not my haha’s, she’s trailer trash, has been, washed up, fat and all of the other stuff that’s said about her. She’s got a double strike against her. Her dad was a youth pastor- I don’t feel sorry for her-she should KNOW better.

Maybe she should but maybe she doesn’t. And, even if she does know better, I know better than to make some of the choices that I make as well..I hope that you’re honest enough to admit that you’re not perfect, either. I don’t want to be naive-NON-CHRISTIANS do care what I think-and if I’d stop worrying about what the I will not be spotted by the world CHRISTIANS in my circle think-I’d be more prone to THINK and ACT like JESUS.

If my JESUS had been standing outside that bar when Jessica stumbled out, I know one thing-he would not have STOOD by and done nothing. He would not have laughed at her, called her names, or made her feel like dirt under his feet. MY CHRIST would’ve shown compassion to someone who obviously needed it. HE would’ve put HIS hand over the camera lens and told those stone throwers to GET LOST. That’s the CHRIST I serve-that’s THE ONE I want to pattern my actions behind.

Some of our dearest friends, Larry and Sandra Kelly, from Denham Springs, La., have a ministry at Angola Prison-I’m motivated by their desire to mingle among thieves, drug users & dealers, rapists, murderers, pedophiles and prostitutes-the Kelly’s are carrying JESUS where many of us CHRISTIANS will not go.

Granted, not all of us are called, like Larry and Sandra are-to go into such a place, but-that doesn’t eliminate the responsibility of finding where GOD does expect us to share HIM.  How will THEY know unless we tell them? From the girl next door JESSICA-to the mass murdering BUNDY. Do you hear what I’m saying?

So, I came to the conclusion that maybe it’s not time to put the blog to rest. If I’ve prompted even a few to rethink that good ol’ boy mentality of what going to church is all about and challenged the authority of those in leadership who have no business being there, this blog has been more successful than I realize.

Pointing fingers and turning up our noses is NOT bringing people to JESUS-it’s pushing them closer towards hell. I’m determined to to look at and respond to MY world with HIS eyes by staying in THE WORD to ensure that what I think is reflective of what CHRIST thinks- not,what the Christians, think. Now there’s something monumental for me to think about.

  Brandon Heath’s GIVE ME YOUR EYES

loRi’s stoRy

People sometimes make the assumption that I’m arrogant. The reality is that I’d love to have a small sprinkling of arrogance just to counteract the true me, a woman with a total lack of self confidence. Besides, if I had a tendency to think highly of myself, GOD devised a plan that keeps me humble-three little sisters. I was almost five when the first one came out screaming-Move over & give me some room will ya, sista! About the time I’d moved from that one’s shadow, here came another one and another one!

Lori’s always been SMARTER

Amy’s always been FUNNIER

Kelly’s always been PRETTIER.

My sisters shine in unique ways. I’ve told you about Mama and Daddy, so I’ll introduce the girls, one by one. An age guide-I’m 4 & 1/2 years older than Lori, 7 older than Amy and almost 10 years older than Kelly. I earned the title mother hen!

Lori Lynn Cribb Hurston-is not only the smartest (Valedictorian and offered a scholarship to Princeton), she’s the quietest and probably the most polite. When Amy, Kelly and I want to ruffle Mama’s feathers, we moan that Lori is Daddy’s favorite..we know better– but, she is the most like him, personality wise. Lori doesn’t lose her temper as quickly as the three of us and don’t count on her to get in your business-because if she’s not involved directly, she’s not talking. Admirable but B-o-R-i-N-G!

Twenty years ago, at the invitation of a friend, she went to a Bible Study Fellowship (known nationally as BSF). Lori grew up as a  pastor’s kid and was an active member in a local church. She and Scott hadn’t been married long, she was working full time and about to start their family. Going to another bible study wasn’t on her list of things to do. Don’t judge too harshly. If my sisters and I added up the times we’ve been at a church and combined them-there’s probably no number for the number!!

How it went down. Baby girl, Kelly, worked at a hoity toity shoppe. If you know my family or have looked at our photos, it’s evident Lori and Kelly are fashion icons. Amy and I inherited our daddy’s genes-the man has gone to church wearing ONE brown & ONE black shoe-at the same time. He’s dressed sharp when you see him because Mama chooses his clothes and makes sure his shoes & socks match before he walks out of the door. Lori and Kelly know how to rock  the clothes because they inherited their know how from Sara Frances.

One day, Lori dropped by the boutique to visit with Kelly and the manager, Robin Lehman. Lori and Robin were about the same age and had a lot in common like-clothes and accessorizing (BARF). It wasn’t long before Robin invited Lori to accompany her to a bible study. Because Sissy is so polite, she agreed to go one Wednesday. It was a lot to do for a new friend since it started at 9 and wasn’t over til noon, and was held at a church forty minutes from their home.

I could drag Lori’s Story out-it’s so special..but we know what happens but, I’ll hit the highlights. God impressed on her heart that HE wanted her to commit to this Bible Study. When I say commit, she COMMITTED! BSF runs in a SEVEN year cycle! I’m sure her initial prayer went something years of Bible Study at a church forty minutes away from home? Lord, I’m leading a small group already. How will I have a baby and come over here every week for five hours?  GOD had that worked out-Blake and Loryn were born thirteen months apart so she took care of her two little ones at one time. If you have time, read Luke 5:1-5..Simon Peter felt the same way as Lori did. HE didn’t UNDERSTAND why JESUS would tell him to take his boat and nets back out into the sea after coming in from an ALL NIGHTER with no fish to show for their labor. He was tired and no doubt very frustrated but, Peter answered, at your word I will do it, nevertheless.

Lori completed the seven years and when it was over, signed up for ANOTHER SEVEN! Remember, that conniving elder brother who conned Issac into marrying his older sister before getting the bride he loved and labored to earn? Brother Laban would love making deals with Lori.

This past spring Sissy went to Colorado for a week of training since she has been tapped as assistant Lecturer for BSF’s sister study group, Community Bible Study-CBS. Remember my post about wrote about getting serious about God’s word? I noted if you search, ponder, meditate, and value the Bible, expect to experience the supernatural. Sissy’s willingness to learn led to God entrusting her with an esteemed place of leadership. She and her head lecturer, will lead 2oo ladies weekly. My sister will teach other chicks what she learned after years of studying herself.

Mama and Daddy went to the first lecture that she taught and sang with her before she lectured and of course they were proud. Mama called to tell me how Lori did. She gushed how her new glasses made her look even smarter! For Mama and Daddy to look up at the pulpit and see their little girl-standing as a MIGHTY WOMAN of GOD was thrilling. That’s a perfect conclusion to Lori’s story, but I’m not quite done.Remember Robin, the manager of that boutique where Kelly, worked? We never know how GOD will use us as a conduit to connect life to life. Baby girl played a part in the tale.

I withheld at the beginning of the story, Robin wasn’t a CHRiSTiAN when she hired Kelly. She would come to work on Mondays wearing sunshades to mask the blurry eyes of partying all weekend. My teen-aged sister was convicted to witness to her. Kelly wasn’t over zealous. Her prayer went like this. God, she’s my boss! I just got my job and need the money! She’s older than me so why would she pay attention to what I say? I’m scared she’ll fire me but, nevertheless I will.

Kelly began witnessing to Robin. She didn’t get fired but, initially her words went in one ear and out the other. Still, she didn’t let that stop her. Kelly became passionate about seeing Robin get her life straight. Neither had an inkling how imperative it was.

Early one Sunday, the phone rang at my parent’s. Kelly answered-not knowing it was her boss. Kelly! I gave my life to CHRiST late last night and I want to come to your church this morning. Kelly gave Robin directions to our church. Hand in hand with Kelly, she went forward, confessed CHRiST publicly, joined the church and was baptized. When she died of cancer a few years later, ROBIN LEHMAN had left her mark on thousands of lives.

I love these principles. Had it not been for Kelly first witnessing to Robin, Robin may never have given her life to CHRiST. Had Robin, not given her life to CHRiST, Lori may not have gone to that Bible Study-which means she might not be teaching the WORD as she is now. And, had ROBIN not responded to GOD’S gift of salvation, chances are, she may not be basking in the glory of HEAVEN at this moment.

The next time GOD places something in your heart and you question why He’s calling you to do something that doesn’t make sense-have enough courage to trust HIM and to answer-at YOUR word I will do it Lord. NEVERTHELESS!


secREt liVes of pAStoRs wiVEs-celeBRiTieS

There are bunches of pastor’s wife blogs; rebellious pastor’s wife-atheist pastor’s wife, unhappily married pastor’s wife-reading some of the chronicles, I say everything from you go chick-to have mercy on the poor dude! My blog is for everyday chicks but, let’s peek at life on other side of the altar!

America’s original mega church, Brooklyn Tabernacle, was smart enough to acknowledge what their pastor’s wife brought to the table or perhaps best said, the choir loft!  Not taking anything away from Pastor Jim, author of one of my favorite books, FRESH WIND, FRESH FIRE, but Carol, put Brooklyn Tab on the map. You don’t get ANY better than Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. Carol is one of my role models. She leads the best choir in the world without knowing how to properly read music. Carol Cymbala is a real lady.

Victoria Osteen, the impeccably dressed, pastor’s wife at Lakewood Church in Houston, is often in the limelight for drama mama behavior like assaulting a first class flight attendant. The case went to trial and she was exonerated of the charges. Regardless of personal impressions, I believe that much of what’s said about Victoria is exaggerated or fabricated. She has a strong personality and does more than look pretty and whisper PREACH IT BABY after sugary words floweth from her husband’s mouth-but that doesn’t make her a she devil.

Bobbi Houston, Hillsong, Australia is married to the South Pacific’s most famous pastor & is the former pastor’s wife of the world’s most celebrated worship leader, Darlene Zschech. She stirred up a fuss when she wrote a series on CHRISTian women & sex. I don’t know why it caused a ruckus, it not like she penned Fifty Shades of Grey!  Bobbi dons the grooviest outfits of any PW on the planet. Having never met her, I can’t vouch for her character, but this fifty something year old wife proves that not all of us have to wear a coiffed bob & fancy suit and I’m all about that.

Gloria Copeland, Lindsay Roberts, Frances Swaggart, all share the pulpit with their hubbies. Through the ongoing years of Jimmy Swaggart’s prostitute scandals, stoic Frances never gave up her throne on the platform so I shout GOOD on ya, you’ve earned your seat!  Then there’s cotton candy pink, Jan Crouch. That’s about all I’ll say about  that.

RUTH GRAHAM. I have genuine respect for this woman of GOD, who for the most part, remained primarily in the shadows of public eye, kept the home fires burning and never once caused any controversy to cloud her husband’s global impact. I think of her as the epitome of that beloved Proverbs 31 lady.

Arguably, the best known famous preacher’s wife is the late Tammy Faye. In their glory years, the Bakkers enjoyed a rockstar status in the Christian and secular realm. I was watching PTL one morning as she rushed on set, threw her hands up & huffed-Sorry I’m late. They closed the Dam Bridge! Jim went pale as the live audience gasped, but Tammy Faye was Tammy Faye. She diffused the tension with her unmistakeable raspy but childlike cackle. We cross D-A-M Bridge to get to the studio. What did YOU GUYS think I meant?

Underneath the eyelashes was a natural, even those who didn’t like her, couldn’t deny that she was a larger than life character. After the PTL debacle,  she hosted a talk show( I KNOW-her co-host was gay) and starred on an MTV reality series The Surreal Life.  She had no trouble standing tall (quite a feat at 4’11”) by refusing to participate in a nude segment on Surreal Life. That decision gained respect from non church people and won back many CHRISTian fans who’d written her off.  To be honest,  I was fond of her. I read her autobiography, followed her web journal and wept through the documentary about her battle with terminal cancer. She had issues, so do you and I. Fortunately, ours isn’t splattered on the news, in the papers or aired in a TV movie. It’s sad how most who shared the big life with the Bakkers, were so quick to bail when the gospel ship ran aground. 

Some pastors’ wives have replaced their husbands completely!  Does anyone know what Dave Meyer looks like? It must be hard to deal with the ridicule and jokes I’m sure this guy does. But, their ministry spans around the globe and when suspicions arose about their wealth, they were cleared by the government for misappropriations of funds. Let’s commend Dave for sacrificing a public role for the sake of the Kingdom.

What about Pastor Randy White? Never heard of him? Maybe not. But you have seen ex wife, Paula, the Barbie Doll blonde who preaches like her mentor, Bishop T.D. Jakes, who I do listen to now and then I don’t watch her broadcast, read her books, blogs or anything else.  This photo was taken on the Sunday that the Whites announced their divorce to CHURCH WITHOUT WALLS in Tampa. He continued to pastor the church and Paula moved to Texas. Long story short, the church in Tampa tanked, Randy was arrested on a DUI charge following a series of personal struggles so he handed the pulpit back to his famous wife. She’s the one on the cover of the National Enquirer with a still married, Benny Hinn, but I won’t go there.  🙂

Mansions, private jets, Mercedes, are indeed part of the perks. But NO THANKS on living the celebrity pastor’s wife with a public life!

eTHeL! KEEP your MOUTH shut!

I have an Everyday Life Amplified Version Bible I like to study. Joyce isn’t everyone’s-cup of preachin’-but, in my opinion, she’s got an ingenious way of connecting with her audience. I doubt she’d have as many listeners if she strutted’s her IMPERFECTION that draws me. I have a harder time connecting with those who don’t need to study GOD’S WORD like mos t of us. They came out of the womb knowing it-or that’s what they want us to believe. I don’t buy it. There’s a lot of faking goin’ on!

It’s disheartening to see statistics about the time Christians spend delving into GOD’S WORD. Glancing over a Sunday School lesson or taking OPEN WINDOWS to the bathroom doesn’t qualify. Nobody is smart enough to breeze through the WORD and reach Sister Saintly or Brother Brain status; it’s a CONCENTRATED, CONSISTENT effort. We don’t get it all the first, second or sixtieth time. Isaiah 28:9-10 says it poetically. To whom will HE teach knowledge? Whom will HE make understand the message? Those who are babies, just weaned from the milk and taken from the breast? For it’s; precept upon precept, precept upon precept, rule upon rule, rule upon rule, here a little, there a little.

Living in The WORD is a lifelong process. There are times when our hearts soar-we GET & SEE-or uncover an answer we’ve been searching to find. When that happens, faith grows to GIANT size. But, we get to places that boggle, confuse and BORE us. It’s painstakingly torturous to struggle through page after page of names we can’t pronounce. I think GOD understands that the Old Testament genealogy doesn’t light our fire the same way that Christ’s Crucifixion or a glimpse of what JOHN saw does. Still, HE expects us to learn what HE’S given us to learn.

I was THIRTY when I got SERIOUS about learning GOD’S WORD. I’d been in church all my life. To be honest, I thought I was AHEAD for a person my age. One Sunday morning, when I least expected it, GOD showed me how I was NO WHERE CLOSE.

The teacher was seven years older than me. Fifteen chicks of all ages were in this class-asking question after question and this teacher could answer everything from the WORD-book & chapter. I was mesmerized! Sandra appeared to be an ordinary chick doing something I’d never seen any man do-I’m not saying there aren’t men who can do it, but I’d never met anyone with BIBLE knowledge like her; she impacted my life significantly. After the class, I bombarded her. How do you DO that? You MUST study all day! An older lady walked by and said-she has FIVE kids & a job!

She shared her secret this way. Five years ago, I was asked to teach this new class. I didn’t know the Word well enough to be responsible to help these ladies learn-but, I was sure GOD was leading me to teaching. I promised that if HE’D work with my limited time to learn, I’d do my best to soak it in. THAT’S IT? But, you’re a BIBLE encyclopedia!

She was unbelievably humble-a not yet forty year old wife and mom of five, could tell you where any familiar scripture was and direct you to those you never knew were in the pages. Breathtaking verses-beautiful imagery-I’d read the Bible through in a Year at least twice, I was proud of my accomplishment..but, not so much when I acknowledged-that I’d done it to say I’d done it..more than to LEARN it. This chick had the ability to give an answer with GOD’S WORD & PROVE IT because she knew EXACTLY where It said so.

The thing that stuck was- if you’re sincere, He will teach you. HE wants us to know HIS WORD but you’ll have to be serious enough to WORK for it if you’re gonna learn.

I made the promise several months later. Studying faithfully for twenty years, I still can’t do what Sandra could..but-I’m happy with where I am. I won’t lie-there were times when I almost quit..but she WAS right-being serious-made the difference in how I retained & understood. READING the Bible is easy..LEARNING is work! But, somewhere along the way, I began to crave learning more, writing it down, comparing versions. When you can give the reference, it validates what you’re talking about, builds your own confidence in sharing CHRIST if you feel more prepared.

I hold on to all my old study Bibles and periodically review notes I made in 1980, 1986, 1999, 2005. Those notes are like personal progress charts. That’s mainly why I bought the Joyce Meyer study bible; I’ve entered into a new season of life and I want to read with a renewed, fresh perspective. Things I read fifteen years ago have a deeper meaning today. Hopefully, the same will be true when I look back at notes I’m making ten years.

Psalm 119:162 says-I rejoice at your WORD as one who finds great treasure. This concise verse became my ace in the hole. As a mere reader, it didn’t mean that much but, when I became a learner, I saw it as a perfect solution to those who won’t take your word for it-they say-Show me. Learning how to show the passage gives me courage to be challenged.

Daddy is a preacher, Chipper is a preacher-but, I don’t rely 100% on what they tell me all the time. They are two of the smartest BIBLE scholars I know and I honestly can’t tell you how often I ask my dad or husband, who both have years of formal theological training to give me their take on a passage. But, as smart as they are, they don’t KNOW everything and I disagree with them on occasion about issues that are non-essential to salvation-but, are important enough that GOD included them in HIS WORD.

Everyone makes scripture blunders-Issac & Jacob…Rebekah & Rachel, they play mix/match in my head sometimes-an example why genealogy needs to be studied and learned. But, I’d rather take a second to get my facts straight OR to say nothing if I’m not sure-than to talk like I know what I’m talking about-be wrong and never even know I’m wrong!

Chip and I were being interviewed by a church once and the chairman of the search team solidified a point by taking an Old Testament event and foolishly placing it in the New Testament. As if that weren’t bad enough, he sited the book where IT WASN’T included. Note to self immediately set off alarm bells-if you’re a BIBLE DOOFUS-keep your mouth shut; you never know who is listening and does know the Bible well enough to correct you. It’s better to say-I’m not sure where this story is and carry on. People may wonder if you should study your BIBLE more-but they won’t be as apt to wonder if you have ever studied it at all.

WATCH & LEARN-I’ve been on the front pew 50 years and have seen adults cut down to size by a SWORD DRILL CHILD when attempting to fake it. From my own humbling experience, while I’m proud to see kids showing off Bible skills-it’s embarrassing to be corrected by a seven year old.

Every pastor faces the dilemma of getting Teacher Know it All out of a class because the attendance is plummeting and everyone BUT teacher knows why. One teacher we dealt with spent 40 of the 50 minute class time-talking about his grands, why his wife banished him to the couch and how their wayward kids were causing them insurmountable grief. I’ll never forget having lunch with a couple one Sunday who begged us to do something. The lady declared in desperation-His OWN wife doesn’t come to our class anymore.

I recall a deacon who came by the office one Sunday and left his bible on our secretary’s desk. Monday, she opened it to see who’s it was, assuming it was a child’s or brand new Christian’s because it looked unused-no marked passages or notes. When she found the name, she said-oh, he’ll be looking for it Wednesday night. That bible stayed the office for weeks. I don’t know what the guy studied from at home, perhaps this one was left at the church for convenience but, it left a negative impression on our secretary and spoke to me. I don’t want people to wonder if I study the WORD-I want them to know that I do.

That guy later lashed out at the same elderly lady-you need to get your head out of your butt. I was offended and told him so directly but there were some who heard the exchange and said nothing. What broke my heart and riled me up, too-was I had heard a few of those who stayed silent reprimand kids in our church for saying-that’s crap or it sucks. Fair enough-but how do we one justify closing our ears to an adult church leader, who speaks to anyone so vindictively or vulgar? We would all gain by losing our holier than thou attitudes.

PROVERBS advises wise men not to behave as fools, unable to control their mouths and are void of understanding in how to treat people. David Jeremiah issued a challenge once that I accepted and have done for twenty five years.  Proverbs has 31 chapters, so read the one that correlates to your monthly calendar. I’ll continue this for the rest of my life. 

In my church observation-it’s NOT the one who TALKS a lot about their bible knowledge who intimidates me. If I were a betting chick and you lined up Deacon #1, Sunday School Teacher #2, Pastor #3, Worship Leader #4, and quiet, white haired granny money’s on the old lady, baby!


i GOT you GOT me..

I spent an hour on facebook having it out with my Chipper; a SUNRISE/SUNSET blog war. My sides were hurting from laughing so hard; as usual-we had onlookers chiming in to egg us on. We tend to draw a crowd when we play fight. People who know us, know exactly what to expect and tonight was no exception-we showed out in rare form! When the bell dinged, we sent our buddies home with a good laugh & it got me to thinking how much I like being a pair-my chipper and me.

There’s an image people have for a pastor’s wife and I don’t fit into that mold. Tailored clothes & bling are really NOT my thing. But, neither is the culottes & NO makeup look. I can’t sit still long enough to have a mani/pedi, I hate to shop and it’s a chore to go to a beauty salon-soI color my own hair & keep it long for the convenience of wearing ponytails everyday of the week. I promised Mama & Mother in Law, that I’d get a classy, Lisa Rinna haircut at forty. When I made it to forty, I upped it to forty-five. Here I am at fifty and I don’t see it happening for at least another five.

My daughter keeps me straight on what is age appropriate for a chick in my decade & I have a medical condition which makes me look seven months pregnant more often than not. I DO have an affection for shoes-but, I step out in FLIP FLOPS all year round. Go figure.

But, that’s okay cos my baby LOVES ME the way that I am. I don’t have to be perfect or the best at everything; he says that my quirkiness may be annoying sometimes, but life with me is NEVER boring. He says that he’d be miserable if I didn’t voice my own opinions or was afraid to disagree with him or anyone if my convictions lead me otherwise. One of our favorite past times is friendly debating about everything from current affairs to bible passages. Because of my self esteem issues, I wonder why this awesome, intelligent, man wants to spend his life with  an all over the place gal like me–but he does.

Chipper walked with me through the dark years-a long, hard journey. I was a messed up MESS and he had no idea how troubled I was because I didn’t know myself. When I came frighteningly close to the edge, he REFUSED to let go & kept me holding on when I didn’t want to anymore. I know that only GOD’S grace prevented him from walking away from me so how can I not love him like I crazy do? I I know a lot of great people with super marriages so I don’t want to sound sappy or overly spiritual but, we’re as ONE as two people can be.  Ask family and friends to tell you something about us and more than likely the very first thing you will hear is how unusual our marriage is.  Even our parents, couples married for 50+ years, have said that they’ve they’ve never seen two people so PERFECTLY matched as the two of us.  Our bond is unique; although we certainly don’t purposely FLAUNT it, if you’re around us for any length of time, you’ll pick up on it. Nobody makes me laugh like he does-after thirty years, I’d rather spend my time with him than anyone!  People, especially church members, have asked through the years how we stay together all the time and never get sick of one another. Truth is, we came to the conclusion a LONG time ago that we just don’t do separate. It’s not something that suits everyone, but it honestly works for us.

After our kids were born, we realized that married couples tend to invest everything into their kids, leaving little or nothing else for each other. In light of the fact that kids grow up, move out & move on, we made it a priority to nurture a life outside of the children, because one day it would be the two of us again. We tried never to put Joshua & Jena before or between each other & I believe that’s a big reason why we have this incredible love for one another all these years later. I love my children fiercely & I’d lay my life down for them quicker than anyone-but I’ll tell you this-the person who I don’t believe I could ever live life MY CHIPPER.  ❤

my joy COMES in THE morning..

I’m up every morning by 4:30 and it’s not because I have to be. I wake up naturally and love to see dawn break. My Chipper can’t understand. His theory is; if you wake up while it’s still dark  outside, it means one thing only; get up & go NOW so you won’t have to get up & go later. He is going to scold me for writing that. He’s old fashioned about bathroom talk.

I LOVE my routine-Desmond and I tiptoe downstairs-I put him on the sofa while I fetch my coffee. SAECO machines ROCK! Fresh espresso or drip available 24/7 at the touch of a button. Loves it!

About Coffee-I’m not really into blueberry cobbler or french vanilla or chocolate brownie or hazelnut-we use classic EIGHT O’CLOCK whole beans in the red bag-only they changed the red bag to a white bag. I don’t have a marketing degree-but, the way I see it, it was a real stupid thing to do-now their bag looks like everybody else’s bag.

I remember going to the A&P where they had a grinder at a few registers. While your groceries were tallied, a man, usually wearing an apron-would unseal the bag, pour the beans in the machine, stick the bag under the spout and freshly ground coffee aroma would fill the air. Most fresh beans smell the same when they’re ground, but- Eight O’CLOCK gives the smell plus warm, fuzzy, childhood memories as a bonus. I’m overly nostalgic.

My first cup’s always the same-a splash of half & half  and the tip of a teaspoon of sugar. I don’t turn on the light because the moon shines on the kitchen side of the house and spotlights RIGHT on the coffee maker. We’ve got panoramic glass windows to maximize the views-no curtains-except for in our bedroom because my CHIPPER does NOT like to wake up to the sun pouring in the windows like I do-he wants it as dark as dark can be for as LONG as it can be!

After I get my coffee, Desmond and I sit on the sofa without turning on any lights at all. I don’t know! It’s just how I do things. It’s how my Mimi and Pa did it. All my life, those two were up at 4:30, sitting in the dark, drinking their coffee.

I sit for thirty minutes or so and answer the questions rolling across my brain screen. What to wear? What’s for dinner? What has to be washed? What needs to be cleaned? Who needs a callback..HUSH!!? Can you tell how stretchy your lungs are yet? Have you got any ideas about what you’ll post today?

After I’ve been up a while, I come to my office, turn on my fireplace-check emails, see where my blog stats ended up, write in my journal, study my Bible, write some scriptures in my binder, look at facebook, get some more coffee and I watch the sunrise.

I’m a bit different than most-I love a beautiful sunset-at Morgan Meadows, no two are the same-but, if I had to choose between sunrise or sunset-I’d go for sunrise. It’s an indescribable emotion when I see it peek over the horizon-perhaps it’s because I tend to prefer gearing up as opposed to winding down.

That’s what I’m anticipating at the moment-gearing up for what’s peeking over our personal horizon..a ministry GOD has meticulously been organizing for us. HE hasn’t clued us in on a lot of the details-but, we have enough to know that it’s going to be an amazing journey with some incredible people..GOD adventures always are!

My Crazy Husband’s Rebuttal

she’s GOIN’ to the CHAPEL

I just glanced up at the clock, trying to decide if I wanted to post anything else today or if you’ve had enough of my rambling already..and it dawned on me that..

it’s 5:35pm

Three weeks from today, Jena will be standing in front of family and friends, pledging to love Scott McDowell for the rest of her life. Their ceremony will be unique; reflective of the CHRIST centered relationship they have. Just like he did at Joshua and Nikki’s I know my Chipper will speak- a bit choked up-from a daddy’s heart.

I think (at least I hope) that we’ve managed to keep our job circumstance from putting a damper on this long awaited, event-thanks to the overwhelming GENEROSITY of those who love us and her-and have given unselfishly to ensure our amazing daughter has the wedding of her dreams. It hasn’t been that hard-Jena, has bare taste-yep..I meant to use a b instead of an r. She tends to lean more towards natural and understated, which is a GOOD thing when money is an issue.

For instance, her idea of the perfect reception was having Papa’s world famous (more like COUNTY famous) barbecue. And, about the cake-she opted for a small gluten free traditional one for pictures-but we’ll be having a dessert bar with everything from peach cobbler to red velvet cake, honey!

The ceremony will be at the beautiful Pawleys Island Chapel-a perfect choice since their official first date was sitting on the beach there . The reception will be at Debordieu-(It sure does pay to have sisters with connections!)

Last Saturday, she spent the day at the chapel and the reception site with my mama, dear friend, Lizzie, who arranged my flowers and made MY bouquet-and my sisters-making sure they were all on the same page.

Today she and Scott went for a final fitting of his attire. Next weekend, she has finals, so it’s ALL about studying.

Her last weekend as a single chick, Liz and I, are going to Charleston to spend Friday night-hang out-take her shopping at Victoria’s Secret-that’s gonna be a hoot. Liz and I have have been best friends since BEFORE Jena was born; Izzie‘s just another aunt who’s doing the same for Jena that she did for Joshua-directing the wedding and more importantly, making sure that I don’t spazz out until after it’s all over.

I just looked at the clock again-it’s 6:30-we’ll be making pictures about this time and her daddy and I will be smiling all the way to the end-that is until she climbs in her Equinox for the first time as MRS. JENA MCDOWELL. That’s when I suspect that my Chipper and I will slip away for a good cry..after all, that’s our baby girl who will be waving goodbye.

what about HER benefits?

I’m trying my best to understand how O’Bama care is benefiting lower income Americans. I didn’t vote for him and his promises never appealed to me-but, that was my personal opinion. I’ve got more to go on these days-somebody living with us-disabled since birth-whose benefits have DECREASED since the President moved to the oval office.

My Chipper and I have been blessed to parent more than our two biological children; I say blessed because that’s what each of our other kids are to us. A few were temporary situations-but Jared, Jade, Tammy, Aaron and Walt, had a more permanent place in our home and hearts. I write about our kids often and I’ve had a few folks ask how many kids do you have because your facebook profile looks a lot like Michelle Duggar’s! 😀

Joshua, will be 28 in March and he married Nikki..which makes her ours. Jena, is 25, and she’s marrying Scott in three weeks…which makes him ours. Two by birth and two by marriage.

Aaron, 18, lives in New Zealand, with a family who took him when we returned from the mission field. He’s our redhead, but by no means the stepchild! Aaron coined a lot of phrases in our family-I can just do whatever! Perhaps my favorite was when he didn’t like the rules at our house, he’d throw his arms in the air, his hands palms up and huff. Well, fine! But I’m leaving here on my 18th birthday! I’m happy to say that he never got mad enough to really leave. For a boy who’d run away from other homes MANY, MANY times, it was a wonderful feeling to know that even when he was angry with us-our home, his home, was where he wanted to stay.

I recall a time when Aaron had an unusually bad day at school-my Chipper was out of town, so I had to go to the school when the call came. (We got a lot of calls from Principal Mike or assistant Richard, but, it was impressive how these two gentlemen cared about two wee boys-academically and socially-and did all they could to help us.)

When we got home, Aaron wasn’t allowed to play video games or go outside. After we ate tea (in New Zealand, tea- also refers to the evening meal. Supper is more of a light snack.) and he’d gotten his homework done, I sent him for a shower and told him that he’d be going to bed earlier than normal. He did as he was told, but on his way back from the shower, he lingered at the door of the lounge and spied Walt watching Spongebob. It hadn’t been one of Aaron’s better days.

You have to understand that by the time we got the boys, our children were in their late teens, so my Chipper and I had been there, done that.  To hear Joshua & Jena tell it, Aaron & Walt didn’t know the meaning of REAL discipline, but we’d had a lot of practice! I glanced at the clock and decided that Aaron had served enough time for his latest crimes and I’d let him have dessert before bed.

But, my heart melted when I got to his room and saw those sad tears; I handed him his jelly and ice cream, (JELLO is eaten with ice cream over there) and gave him permission to eat it in lounge so that he could see the last few minutes of his favorite cartoon before bedtime.

Instead of plopping on the couch or floor, Aaron followed me and when I sat down, this precious child crawled into my lap. He was about as big as me even then-but, snuggled up to me like a toddler. I’m sorry I made you have to come see Mr. Andrews, Mum. I don’t want to lose my temper, but when they call me names cos I’m a foster kid, it feels like my heart gets torn in a thousand million pieces and I can’t get it back together fast enough to make me stop being bad.

Can you imagine words so poignant coming from a little boys’ mouth? Back then, Aaron turning 18  years old seemed a long way so much.

Walt, is 17, and lives in New Zealand, at a group home. He’s our blond hair,blue eyed boy-the one who you’ll find on my wall everyday asking Wots up Muma? If I don’t respond immediately, he calls me out in public-you haven’t answered me back! He makes sure I know-he’s in poo again..sometimes it’s poo-other times he slips with the S word..but, I’m so glad that my boy comes to MUMA about his problems-though we are a world apart. Walt has always been such a little charmer! I’ve had previous school teachers contact me years later to find out how he’s doing. One told me that in all of her years in the classroom-no child had touched her heart the way our Walt had.

Now, there’s Tammy, perhaps the best known of all of our extra kiddos. Tangy, Tang-Tang, Tams, Tangerine, Tangelo, it’s whatever mood we’re in that she’s called..but rarely is it just Tammy.

Tammy was born with Turners Syndrome, a disorder that most doctors don’t know much about. Despite numerous physical ailments, she’s WORKED since she was a teen-employed by my company, a mall chain store, and childcare centers in three states.

As she gets older, her medical problems are progressing; she isn’t able to work full time and that’s medically proven.

In the two years that Obama has been in office, Tammy’s benefits have been cut or reduced multiple times. Yesterday, she had a doctor’s appointment-due to the changes in our healthcare overhaul, she is now being charged a $135 fee per year-the receptionist understood our predicament and set it up on installments. Tammy’s on a small, fixed income and doesn’t have an extra $135 hanging out in her bank account. If the healthcare changes are suppose to be helping people like my child-it AIN’T workin!

I stewed all the way home about that $135 deductable. We picked up the mail and land sakes alive, it proved to be Tang’s lucky day! She’s getting more mail than ever about her benefits-but the notifications are anything BUT good news. Tam’s a diabetic who relies on a mail order company to ship the supplies that she needs. NOT anymore! The company regretfully informed her that changes in our HEALTHCARE will be preventing them from sending any more supplies to her home. WHAT?

If you don’t believe me-ask our Tangy Sue what OBAMA care is doing for her. She’ll tell you that for someone who wasn’t all that into politics- GEORGE W. BUSH-is her new hero.

i could’ve BEEN a rich girl..

As my blog traffic increases, so do the questions about me, my life, where I came from-so, I decided that it was time to give you basic information about my past along and along.

I’m a writer who DETESTS filling out forms! I put off going to a new doctor because it means filling in MORE forms! That’s why you get the bits & pieces to string’s less like I am filling out a questionnaire.

Born in Savannah- first of four girls belonging to Reverend THEMOS J. CRIBB and SARA FRANCES THOMPSON CRIBB. Most of my childhood was spent in Hemingway and Georgetown, South Carolina.

School years were spent at Lake City Elementary, Juliette Lowe, Pathway Day School, Francis Marion Academy & Winyah Academy (long swim the DOLPHINS-BOOM chicka BOOM!)

Three sisters-Lori- married to Scott Hurston, mother to Blake and Loryn

Amy, married to David Newman, mother to Tyler, Alana and Ashlyn

Kelly, married to Dave Murray, mother to Noelle, Kala and Chase

Churches Daddy pastored:  Red Dam Baptist, Rose Hill Baptist, Paran Baptist, Liberty Baptist, Tabernacle Baptist, Ringel Heights Baptist and Gourdines Chapel.

Most memorable boyfriend before Chipper: Kenneth Parsons Brady-son of Lucille Vanderbilt Pate. Kenny was killed by a drunk driver at the beginning of his senior year. We had a date that night and I would have been a passenger in his mustang-but my grandparents were visiting from Savannah so that Mama could help take care of Pa, who’d had a stroke. Daddy was preaching a revival in a neighboring town and I’d gone a couple of nights already so that I could go out Friday night.

When I got home from school, Mama told me that Pa hadn’t been able to walk all day and to make a sad story short, she and my sisters went to the revival and I stayed home to help Mimi care for Pa. Ken volunteered to sit with me, but I insisted that he go to the movies in Myrtle Beach like we’d planned. He invited a fellow schoolmate, Rudolph Poston, to join him; they died instantly at the infamous flashing light in Murrells Inlet.

That unexpected tragedy had a profound effect on me. Ken had come home from an out of state boarding school to play soccer for our high school team his junior & senior year. Many girls were vying for the attention of a boy whose family owned Debordieu and Arcadia Plantations. Of all the debutantes he could’ve dated, Kenny chose a poor, baptist preacher’s girl, who refused to go out with him on Friday or Saturday nights, unless he accompanied me to church on Sunday mornings and nights.

I always have a bit of a problem telling teenagers to ONLY date Christians-though I wholeheartedly BELIEVE that it’s the best decision..but I didn’t follow my own advice. On top of that, I didn’t suffer sad consequences. Ken was a good kid who treated me with respect.

Ken LOVED our church, RINGEL HEIGHTS BAPTIST mostly because the folks never treated him like he was royalty, he was their preacher’s daughter’s boyfriend. My parents LOVED him. They’d never had a son and this boy came into our home and made it his, too.

One FATEFUL Sunday, he gave his life to CHRIST and a few weeks later, my daddy baptized him. He became a member of our church and truly fell in LOVE with JESUS. Mama and Daddy got him a study bible and so many nights we were on the phone talking-not about soccer or homecoming or the latest breakup or hookup at school..but about spiritual things. He’d sit at our kitchen table with daddy and they’d talk about the things that confused him or seemed to contradict what he’d learned about the Bible through the years.

A few months after Ken was born again, he died.

When I met my Chipper and brought him home with me from college, I warned him that it may be a little awkward. When we walked in the back door, Mama was standing at the stove and started to cry. Daddy shook his hand and spoke-then walked outside for some fresh air.

That went well.My poor Chipper! What was so ironic about it..was that he physically resembled Ken. I don’t know if that sounds morbid-but, I prepared my parents before they saw him in person that he looked like Ken-but that was NOT the reason I was dating him.

That night, we went to bed and my little sister, Amy, snuggled up to me. She would’ve been about eleven years old. Her voice quivered as she asked-Do you think that GOD let Ken get killed because he wanted you to date Chip?

My little sisters didn’t have a big brother and they loved Ken dearly. He had his own place at the table and we spent as much time at my house as we did anywhere, playing boardgames, watching TV. Ken usually brought us home from school so it was heartbreaking for them, too. When he died, my family was devastated.

No. We would’ve broken up when he went to college. He would’ve met a rich girl named Catherine Kennedy or Mary Elizabeth Rockefeller-not LISA CRIBB.  She sighed. That’s good, I guess I’ll learn to like him.

I have a doll that Ken bought for me when we were dating..a HUGE rag doll. I knew that I wasn’t what his family planned for him-though his mother, Lulu and I were quite close-especially after his death. I had a great friendship with his sister and brother, Dawn and Matt and his stepdad, Wallace. But, in reality, I was not from his side of the bridge. One night, I inadvertently overheard a phone chat between his mother and grandmother and it made me cry. Enough said. I knew that it wasn’t because they didn’t like me, it was just that I wasn’t a society girl.

I broke up with Ken that week-I told him that he was expected to find a porcelain doll, not a rag doll. That weekend. he came by the house and left a rag doll with long dark hair on the porch. Ken gave me numerous gifts, but that rag doll was the most treasured.

We got back together weeks later-as much as teenagers are capable of loving each other, we did.

After he died, Mama noticed that rag doll’s dress needed to be washed-I’d shed a lot of mascara tears on her shoulder. I got home from school one afternoon and Mama sat on the bed and took the doll from my arms. She asked if I had looked beneath her dress. It was a bizarre question to which I replied, no ma’am.

She pulled the dress up and showed me that Ken had drawn a red heart on the fabric where a heart would go. Inside of it he’d written I love you.

Rag Doll sits on the shelf in my closet. During those times that I feel MUCH more like a rag doll than a porcelain one, her smile reminds me that I am anything but

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