Tag Archives: Lisa

Once upon a time … a gift was born!

Once upon a time, there was the first born child of a magical family. The father was a minstrel that had travelled around Nashville, but settled down to the noble profession of royal messenger. The mother, who wooed the minstrel from his frolicking in music, was tender, caring, and precious. She assisted many on their journey, making others better and more efficient. She cared for those around her, showed hospitality to all who entered her abode, and cooked scrumptiously almost every Sunday for this soon to be son in law.

They first lived near the cliffs of the oaks, just in the shadow of the bustling metropolis of D. And their love produced two playful and heavenly daughters that would make the world oh so much more delightful. Later, they would migrate south, all the way to the land of DeSoto, home of eagles.

The first of their heirs, the heaven sent gift of smiles and sparkling eyes, would be given the name Lisa.

Lisa … a name deep in the roots of Hebrew, German, Greek, and English. Regardless of the language, Lisa’s meaning is spiritual; the name is said to mean “oath from God,” “devoted to God,” or “my God is bountiful.” The Hebrew meaning is derived from the name Elisheba, which also references the lily flower.

So this spiritual, lily flower of a joy was born. The year is withheld and pointless, for the joy is eternal.

The tales and legends of her journey on this world could fill books. But for today, let’s just share some of her wonderful attributes …

  • Her smile was the first thing I noticed about her. It showed joy, love, and an inward trait of faith in God through all circumstances. (Yes, I still get that from her smile)
  • Her spiritual thirst. From the first Bible study groups we were in together, to watching her daily routine of study, devotion, verse memorization, praise in song, and more … she is truly like a deer panting for the water.
  • Her patience. She married me didn’t she. But this is seen in all circumstances.
  • Her love for her son … the spoiled brat that he is, it’s her fault. Always supportive, always praying for him, always. And it kind of stung this past week when she flew to Dallas just to spend time with the love of her life. (I thought that was me?) And not surprisingly, she now has expanded that bubble of love to our new daughter in law. I just hope she leaves some of that love for me.
  • Her willingness to serve and help others. Her profession as EA (executive assistant) fits her demeanor. If it was a spiritual gift, it’s hers (helps is a gift you know).
  • Her tenacity. She keeps at things. She told me that as a child, she would slowly work on the bolts on her crib. Little by little she would work to remove them and to escape her captivity. That tenacious spirit has stayed with her … in her studies (she just got a college degree this year) and with me. She stuck with me through thick and thin and all across the nation as my profession moves me around.
  • Her cordiality. She says hello to everybody. I mean, everybody. Guests at church, neighbors driving by, the people at the table next to us when we go out to eat, and the guy getting gas in the car next to us at the gas station, the dog running through our yard … everybody.
  • Warped sense of humor. Don’t get me wrong here, She has difficulty telling jokes and often misses the punch lines when I tell my masterful works of humor art. But she loves to laugh. And when she does, the smiling laughter lights up the room. FYI, she passed the inability to tell jokes to our son. I feel sorry for him and his wife because of this.
  • Her focus on the eternal.

I wish I had made her life easier. I wish we could be closer to our son geographically. I wish some of the decisions I made were more beneficial to her and her life, but I also know her love and patience are something I am so glad she has.

Today … it’s her birthday, but her being here is my gift.

Today … it’s her birthday. May it be blessed and may she know she is loved.

Removing the Bandages

My wife took a sabbatical. No, not from me (please don’t tell her that might be an option.) She took one from posting on her blog. Well, she’s back baby. And I thought today’s was exceptional. So I want to give you her post for my post. After all, what’s mine is hers and what’s hers is hers. At least that’s the way she tells me it is. So here is “Removing the Bandages” …

When I was a child, my sister and I would stay up with my father watching the classic movies. Not just any black and white vintage movies. The scary movies from the 1930s-1950s. To me, no one is a better Dracula than Bela Lugosi. Only Boris Karloff perfectly portrays the Mummy and Frankenstein. And the best Wolf Man is none other than Lon Chaney, Jr. Of course, let’s not forget that every horror film needs an amazing comedy team to lessen the fright. Who else but the best … to finish, click here

((Oops, your gonna need to go to her blog to see the rest. You won’t regret it.))

Entering that door … Surprise!

Surprises. Some love them. Some despise them. Others are like ho-hum. I am the latter. And so is my son.

I drove 2500 miles just to see surprise him. The excitement filled the room, albeit a tiny, itsy-bitsy room. But we both know it is kind of cool, for that’s how I roll. More on lessons from this trip later.

For today, I want you to enjoy a great article written by my wife. It is 2 minutes of your time that really is exciting. Click here to read the whole article. But here is a snippet …

What a thrill to watch one who has pressed on to reach a goal! We may think of examples of those competing in a race though they were injured. Either a competitor or someone from the stands comes to help them to the finish line.

There will be a day when believers will go through a victory gate–the gate in which one passes from this life into eternal life. Revelation 21 describes the …

Finish reading the article, click here

Keep on rolling people. And be excited!

Obstruction vs Opportunity

This week is a series on comparisons of outlooks during the time we shelter in place.

I don’t want to destroy anybody’s wonderful image of me – especially when it comes to my classy way with people. So if you don’t want to be disillusioned, skip today’s blog. For when I began my initial efforts with the glorious woman who would become my wife, I was more of a slobbering idiot than a smooth operator. And i know you can’t believe it, not much has changed.

So, there she was. A smile that lit up a room and made my heart all a flutter. A quiet and strong woman that I couldn’t get out of my mind. I planned, I bought tickets to a concert (of which I knew she liked the performer), I built up the nerve and made my move. But something didn’t work out so well. She was part of a trio that never separated. I could never get her alone. So I did what any guy would do – I asked all of them out. What a goober. I only had two tickets.

Fortunately, she/they said no – for they already had tickets and theirs were better than mine. My heart was broken, but I didn’t have to scramble for more tickets.

This was an obstruction – more than one actually. She had said no, I couldn’t get her away from the two others in her posse, and I didn’t know what to do next. So after deep thought, I planned again, I somehow got her alone (I think), and I made my move.

Eventually, I asked her for enough dates that I wore her down – and she said yes. SHE SAID YES.

And through this journey, I’ve stumbled more than I’ve shined. Yet nothing will change the fact she said yes!

The initial setback was depressing. Obstacles and detours. Rejections and dismay. So I had the choice: do I go home defeated or look at the scenario as an opportunity?

Churches and individuals today are faced with a similar dilemma. We can hide in our houses and wait for normalcy (which probably has been lost forever) or look at this time as an opportunity to expand and redefine our way of doing ministry. Not that we have to throw out former ways, but we can expand our outlook.

Can’t meet – then expand your online presence. Can’t fellowship – then reach out through snail mail, or Zoom, or just learn to call and talk to people again instead of text alone. Can’t go to FUGE or summer camp – design your own weekend catered to you kids and make it personal. Can’t preach to an audience – try a drive-in worship or interviewing someone for worship.

We couldn’t do an egg hunt, so we did a drive around scavenger hunt. Also, our community had people put stuffed animals in their windows/yards for a area wide safari photo shoot (my bear was a bit different, having been captured by a dragon.)

Paul was obstructed from going to Asia – so he went to Galatia and other places. The obstacle to go East opened opportunities for other mission work.

This season of life we’re in, will you be beaten by the obstacles or see them as opportunities from God?

I will not be deterred – opportunities are what I see.

Got Outside – Guest Blog

Wide open spaces. Fresh air. Few people. Some articles say it is the lowest vulnerable activity if social distancing practiced. So today, I give a blog from another page.

Here is a teaser…

Welcome to Faith Connections Friday! It is a joy having you today! For the next several weeks until Easter, we will identify a biblical character from the Easter story and connect them to our life’s pursuit of excellence.

Two events leading to the Easter story involves Mary of Bethany. We witness one of the most beautiful biblical characters and the way she worships. In Luke 10:38-42, we see Mary worshipping the Lord while …

Read the rest here. And check out more of her blogs too.

My Best Valentines – Ever

Dating. If there ever was an adventure in life, dating would near at the top of the list. The emotional rollercoaster. Love bombing. Becoming vulnerable. Stashing. Ghosting. Benching. Breadcrumbing. Catfishing. The DTR moment. Lockering. And so much more.

And yes, it’s been awhile since I’ve had to deal with any of this – unless you count having to explain all of this to my lovesick puppy of a son when he was wooing that princess he just got hitched to.

But looking back, there was one VDay I remember, and it took place while I was dating the last person I would ever date. I had laid my cards out too early – I dropped the L word before she was ready. But then, bam, she returned the action a few months later – on Valentine’s Day.

She shot my heart on VDay!

She loves me. She wants to kiss me. I was king of the world and flying high. She also gave me a stuffed bear – which I still have. Val is his name. And not because she thought Val Kilmer was hot (which she did/ does/whatever). She was my California Girl – and I’ve been hooked ever since. And I had found the one I want to date forever.

But I also know my identity is not found in her – and hers is not found in me. Our identity is not about the here and now but the hereafter. It’s not about temporary but the eternal.

Single? that’s okay, truly wonderful. Married? Absolutely great, but doesn’t mean God loves you any more or any less. Dating? I’m sorry. Just kidding. But best wishes.

Your identity can only be of worth if it is found in God. An identity that is not achieved but is received.

And if you want to know real love, Jesus is the one you get to know.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

She’s a Brick House … Could this be the song for worship Sunday?

Stay with me … three parts will come together.

Part One … my life, my wife. Do you have a song? A song that makes you think of your wife? I do. And it is the most popular, longest lasting hit of the Commodores … Brick House. Before my church members get pitchforks to run me off, let me share.

Now this is not a song that objectifies women, but talks of one that has beauty, wits, and strength. She can knock a man to his knees. Her subdued Alpha personality can take control of any situation. My wife is humble, spirited, beautiful, wise, and she is mighty-mighty, oh yeah, mighty-mighty. This song makes me think about all of that in my wife.

A very popular spin with DJs, especially at weddings, Brick House, brings its swagger of funkiness, it’s powerful bassline, and ingrains itself into our very mood and mind. When it hits the playlist, my whole body gets into jamming and my mind brightens to the music. I am not a dancer, not at all (scary thoughts just typing this), but when it played at Calvin and Tiffany’s wedding (my son/new daughter in law), even I thought of getting my lady out on the barn floor to show my moves that have been declared illegal in 30 states and 12 nations.

Calvin line dancing with his Brick House at the wedding

Part Two … Commodore Legacy since 1977. The history of the song takes it back to the Tuskegee Commodore studio. The majority of the song came together in one setting. It went on to reach #5 on the charts, and possibly the most impactful staying-power tune of the band’s playlist. From the creative mind of the drummer (yes, they bring lots to the table at times), this tune sparked beauty contests on their tours. “Miss Brick House” of that locality. Over 800 showed up in Indianapolis for the contest.

It represents any strong women, the best of whatever one desires. Like in home building, brick is appreciated, strong, and desired by homeowners. so too is whomever comes to your mind when this song hits the air waves or ear pods.

Part Three … the Jewish Brick House who won a Persian king’s heart. About 2500 years ago, this young, strong, wise, humble, trusting woman is thrown into a beauty contest to please King Xerxes, yes Xerxes. The great king who was stalled by Leonidas and 300 Spartans.

The king needed a wife so virgins were brought in from all across the land. The contest was NSFW and objectified women and left a strand of one night stands throughout the year. In this questionable debacle, God works to put Esther in a place to save her people.

This text, Esther chapter 2, is my text for sermon this coming Sunday. So, when my choir director asked for suggestions, I told her Brick House. I am not sure Evergreen is ready for this, but I know I am. I’m pretty she will ignore my suggestion.

Let’s bring these three together

God has positioned my wife at the right place. We are together and she is used greatly in my life, my ministry, and my all. Walter Orange, the drummer, was positioned at the right place to bring this classic tune to fruition. And God positioned Esther at the right place too.

God has positioned you where you are as well. It may not make sense, you may not see God in the immediate circumstances, but He can bring out something great. As Tony Evans says … God is always doing something bigger than what you and I can see.

May you trust Him, He is at work.

Have a blessed day … I am turning off the keyboard and turning on iTunes … to, Brick House, what else.

It only took one thing … a lesson from Lexington, VA

What a lovely town.


One bad apple.

I came across this statement … I really loved my job, but there was this one jerk there who made life miserable for everyone. One bad apple spoils the whole barrel, unfortunately. (From the web, not my life, just to be clear)

You know what I mean.

Last week I fell on my hike. I won’t let that little spill ruin what was a beautiful time appreciating creation.

Editors note: as I write the next few paragraphs, I realize Lisa will scold me for sharing too much. Such is life. But it gets my point across.

This weekend, Lisa and I visited a lovely little town … Lexington, VA. Walked the streets, got chocolate at the Cocoa Mill, drove around Washington Lee College and passed by the football stadium of VMI while they were combating another collegiate team, ate on the patio of a downtown eatery, walked by Stonewall Jackson’s home, visited The Urban Farmgirl and Walkabout Outfitters, and so much more. Lisa enjoyed the weather, delighted in the little shops, and treasured the company she was with (me!)

But, as we left town, we passed the Red Hen Restaurant. This little bistro gained national notoriety when they asked a then-current part of the presidential team to leave. It made all the news outlets and caused quite the discussions. This Muddy Shoes pondering isn’t about politics, but about being aware of impressions we leave.

It changed the outlook on the little town. And not in a good way. How is it our impression of something changes because of one aspect … one aspect that seems to overshadow all others? I see this all the time in church life. One disappointment changes our mood. One bad sermon and we write of that preacher. One rude person or one time of being ignored, and we think all at the church are like that. One less than stellar worship, and we begin to look elsewhere.

One bad apple.

What would it be like if we focused on the positive, see life through eyes of grace, and realize we live in a broken world?

Lexington … quaint and adorable. Clean and inviting. Delightful and worth the trip. I will not let that one bad apple spoil my trip.

And when it comes to worship … one bad sermon will not make me give up on that church. I will just commit to do a better sermon next time. Grace can take bad apples and make something great … maybe apple pie! I could go for some apple pie.

You’re in Love

Pic from Movie Still of Princess Bride

Who is it? How do they make you feel? What passion is it that drives you into their arms?

In all the lands, there are love stories and love songs. I have my playlist that I go to when I enter into that mood where I think about my beloved Lisa. Music can calm you, lift you, and motivate you to soar, or even bring you to mellowest lows. Sunday I asked my small group their love song … maybe what they danced to at their wedding. I shared my song for Lisa is Brick House. Oh yeah. She may not think that is our song, but it is one that when I play, I smile.

Back to point. 1 Timothy says our goal is love from a good conscious, a pure heart, and a sincere faith. Pretty strong goal. I am also reading a classic work … The Princess Bride. A little diff from the movie, pretty close but so much more. But there is a paragraph when Westley declares his love for the first time to dear Buttercup …

Westley: I have stayed these years in my hovel because of you. I have taught myself languages because of you. I have made my body strong because I thought you might be pleased by a strong body. I have lived with only the prayer that some sudden dawn you might glance in my direction. I have not known a moment in years when the sight of you did not send my heart careening against my rib cage. I have not known a night when your visage did not accompany me to sleep. There has not been a morning when you did not flutter behind my waking eyelids. …. is any of this getting through to you, Buttercup, or do you want me to go on for a while?

Buttercup: Never stop.

Three thoughts …

A … that’s the obsession I want to have in my love for God, filling every breath and every thought in living in light of His love for me – and you.

2 … Lisa, if I don’t express this enough, I love you … As you wish!

Third … Calvin, this better be the way you talk to that girl down there in Texas. If you don’t, then start. Tiffany, let me know if he doesn’t.

May your day be filled with love. Thank you for this personal reminder to me! And you!

Anxiety Attack

Her body was tense. Her hand squeezed the life out of my hand. She showed fear and looked at me like I was crazy and sending her to her demise. But I am getting ahead of myself. Let me back up.

Yesterday, Lisa was off work for a Memorial Day work holiday. So we took advantage of the time together, and having little responsibility, we decided to venture out into the world. Granny Bees was closed … which left breakfast in limbo. So we went to Courthouse Cafe in Rustburg. From there, we headed north and headed to George Washington National Forest and I was going to drive around a bit. I choose to go to Mount Pleasant trail and Cole Mountain, also known as Cold Mountain.

I once read this location, the saddle meadow, is unique as the east coast’s largest open meadow on a mountain that has panoramic views to the east and to the west. I wasn’t going to do the whole trail, just the short AT section from car to meadow. But getting to the AT parking spot up in the forest is not that easy.

Some background info … Lisa is a city girl. Hiking to her is from her office to the Starbucks down in the lobby. Her last job was in part of the office tower of the Dallas Galleria shopping center. That’s her environment. From our honeymoon, I knew then, hiking and outdoor was not her forte. I live with this and don’t push. And as far as driving, roads need lights, pavement, lines, and all the needed extras.

Here comes the anxiety. To get to where we were to start, it required a high clearance vehicle, possibly a 4-wheel drive, which I have. So up the rained out, gulleyed, rocky, choppy, and zig-zag fire road to the trail head. We jerked and bounced like a bobble-head on the dash of a low-rider with hydraulics in full motion. Lisa was freaking. Thinking we would breakdown in the middle of a forest miles from everything society offers – no help from anywhere – never tasting her Honey-Vanilla-Cinnamon-Latte-Skinny ever again.

And then I made her hike … egads. We didn’t come prepared (only one water bottle, not the best shoes, but we were only doing a 2 mile in and out total) … so we ventured out … and we made it. And she survived the hike and the ride too. And at the top, in the meadow, she stood there in awe of the beauty, the splendor, the views of God’s creation displayed in wonder. Her only comment … It was worth it!

Her only comment … It was worth it!

That statement, that philosophy or world view is powerful. We go through so much junk, so much anxiety so much struggle … and I get that. But in the end, we need to remember it will be worth it. Keep our eyes focus on the goals (school degree, work project, God honoring marriage, work out goals, hikes, and more).

Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Remain vigilant. Stay the course. No matter what you’re going through, look to where it is taking you. Keep the end in mind … and I hope you will say one day … it was worth it.