Monday, March 23, 2015

Listen to HIM!

Beautiful Savior!  Lord of all the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
Now and forevermore be thine.

Lent always brings out the Jesus programs on TV.  Which is good.  I'm glad the world notices these pre-Easter days.  Lately I've been watching CNN's series Finding Jesus.  The programs focus on the people and things connected to Jesus.  They begin with the Biblical accounts and then show what our modern culture is saying and believing about these things.  The whole point is, of course, to find solid evidence that Jesus lived and that the Bible accounts are true. 
With all their scholars and archeologists... people who spend their lives sifting and digging through centuries of buried relics and artifacts and written accounts - both those in the Bible and in other writings from ancient times... they have not produced one shred of anything that in any way changes the story that is the foundation of the Christian faith.  It's such a simple story.  A baby, a preacher, a cross, an empty tomb.  The preacher's words are recorded in what has been accepted for thousands of years as the sacred Scriptures.  They're the only words that count.
The seventeenth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew gives us the story of The Transfiguration.  Peter, James and John went with Jesus to the top of a high mountain.  "There he was transfigured before them.  His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light...a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.  Listen to him!'"
When all is said and done... listen to HIM!

Friday, March 13, 2015

My Rewards

        Children, too, are a gift from the Lord, the fruit of the womb, a reward.    Psalm 127:3

Have you met my Rewards?  Let me introduce you.  On the left is elder daughter, Lyn.  Her whole name is Lynda Sue but we're not quite southern enough to constantly hang the whole double name thing on her.  Besides, when she was learning to write her name, Lyn was enough.  We reserved Lynda Sue for times when we needed to be firm!  Lyn and her family live in the Knoxville, TN area.

On the right is younger young' un, Becky.  Kelly Rebecca to be exact.  She dumped the first part herself.  I understand that.  I did the same thing with my name.  When she was born, we still weren't sure if she would be a Kelly or a Becky.  One look at her and that was solved.  She has been Becky forever, but in later years even shortened to Bec.  Especially by her nephews... Aunt Bec.  With her hysterical hubby (her words, not mine!) and two kids, Becky lives in Jacksonville, FL.

They're especially on my mind this time of year because it's their birthday time.  Lyn is our leprechaun... born on St. Patrick's Day, March 17.  Two years and fifty weeks to the day later, we welcomed Becky, March 3.    Both today are active moms with busy lives... the kind of harem scarem life I remember when they were growing up.  And Lyn is really tired of leprechauns! 

It's a joy of my life that they are both educated with master's degrees and both are married to godly men who are great dads.  What more can parents ask?  O yes... the grandkids.  They are spectacular but that's a whole 'nother blog. 

Lyn has been Homeschooling her two boys, Andrew and Jack, for two years.  With her education in family counseling, she's better prepared for that task that a lot of us would be.   I sat and listened one day while she worked a math lesson with her son for two hours and I almost understood it!  And that's saying something because math is not my thing.  The challenge she and her husband face everyday is that their elder son, Andrew, has Aspberger's Syndrome.  His mother is his greatest advocate.  I'm so proud of the way she works with both her boys, keeping them active in church and scouting activities.  Lyn herself is also active at church, where she is involved with the Women's ministry and sings with a praise band. 

Becky has made music her life and is on the voice faculty at both Jacksonville University and University of North Florida.  Like her sister, she and her family are active in their church.  Daughter Charlotte and son Nathaniel attend a charter school near their Father's office.  We were all stunned last Fall when Nathaniel -age 5 - was found to be acutely hearing impaired.  After enduring test after test, it was determined that he would need a hearing aid for his left ear.  Taking a page from her sister's advocacy book, Becky has been the mom on the case, learning everything possible about hearing loss in children and the care of a hearing aid.  All of this while keeping Charlotte, a nine-year-old socialite, going in her own groove. 

Becky being the most serious musician among us, recently recorded her first EP album under the care of producer Camp Kirkland and arranger Brian Green.  It's called Rise and you can find it on iTunes and GooglePlay.  Her second recording is in the works and will be available by the end of this year.  In the meantime, watch for future activities on her website beckyloarministries,com.

And last, but by no means least, listen for her on  You can hear her interview with Babbie and a cut from her album, Rise Above. 

Happy birthday to both my Rewards... you are the best and your mama (and your daddy!) love you to the moon and back. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Visit From Babbie

Sue Holbrook, Babbie Mason, Becky Oliver
The women at Vero Beach First United Methodist Church made a great new friend yesterday.  Babbie Mason came to see us! 
You know what she told us?  God loves each one of us just like he loves Jesus.  And what's more than that... I'm his favorite.  Are you his favorite, too?  I hope so! 
Thank you, Babbie, for a wonderful day.  Your love for Jesus was spread all over us.   

Check out Babbie Mason at

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Day of Ashes

Come near to God and he will come near to you.  Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Grieve, mourn and wail.  Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
                                                                                                          - James 4: 8-10 NIV

This is the day we wear the ashes.  Christians all over the world come to receive the ashes in a cross on their foreheads.  This is the day we tell the world we belong to the One who was sacrificed for our sins.

It is a humbling moment to stand before your pastor as the words are spoken and the ashes mixed with oil are drawn onto your head.  For the rest of the day, every time you see your image, the reminder of what you are is right there on your face.  You are dust... ash... and you will return to dust.  This day marks the beginning of Lent, when we are to spend time in introspection and personal sacrifice.   We humble ourselves before the Lord and he will lift us up. 

In the words of Jan Richardson:

          This is the day
          we freely say
          we are scorched.

         This is the hour
         we are marked
         by what has made it
         through the burning.        (