Haven Caylor-Brown has an Educational Doctorate in Instructional Leadership. He is a husband and the father of twins, Carter and Ammon. He has taught for over 26 years: From kindergarten to graduate school. His other degrees include Education Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction, a Master of Education in Social Studies Education, and Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Studies Education.
Carter, Ammon, and Haven are featured in Pyle & Karinch’s Find out anything from anyone, anytime (Career, 2014) for his parenting strategies in questioning children for information, and he is also featured in Scenic Scenes: A collection of Chattanooga’s arts and literature (Over the Counter Productions, 2013) with two short stories regarding parenting. Haven is also the author of Christmas Hawk (Xlibris, 2015) a delightful story about a Red-tailed hawk and the special role she plays during the yuletide season.
After traveling the world since 1984, my favorite “museum” (it’s really a living, breathing church) is Westminster Abbey. For anyone who is nerdy and loves some world famous literature, they will not want to leave Poets’ Corner of the abbey.
I opened with Tennyson’s “Crossing the Bar”. Alfred, Lord Tennyson is buried in Poets’ Corner at Westminster Abbey. He was England’s Poet Laureate 1850-1892. I researched Lord Tennyson for a literature project in college many years ago. “The Charge of the Light Brigade” is a world famous poem as well. The Bronte Sisters have a memorial in Poets’ corner. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte gives me chills when I read such quotes as Cathy’s “Nelly, I am Heathcliff!”. For us who have felt a spiritual bond to a loved one it is a “punch to your soul”. My favorite short story of all time, “The Happy Prince”, was written by Oscar Wilde. If you read only one of his short stories, read that story. It still makes me cry; “You have rightly chosen,” said God, “for in my garden of Paradise this little bird shall sing for evermore, and in my city of gold the Happy Prince shall praise me. What the heck happened??, you have to read the story. You won’t be sorry. Oscar Wilde is NOT buried at Westminster Abbey, but in Paris, France. He was a pauper when he died, but fans raised money for his monument where he is buried. Sean and I visited the famous cemetery the spring of 2008. However, Oscar Wilde also has a stained glass window at Westminster Abbey.
I am not a huge fan of Medieval pieces of literature, but every few years, I enjoy a review and read of “The Canterbury Tales” by Geoffrey Chaucer. He is buried at Poets’ Corner as well. Musical composers at Westminster Abbey? Well, George Frederic Handel , composer of “The Messiah” is buried at Westminster Abbey. He was, indeed, German, but lived and composed in England. The first public performance of Handel’s Messiah took place in Neal’s Musick Hall, Fishamble Street, Dublin, in the shadows of Christ Church Cathedral on April 13, 1742. Ammon, Carter, Sean, and I toured that cathedral and locale on December 22, 2022-Thursday. I am finishing with the world famous, Charles Dickens. He is the author of “A Christmas Carol” ( 1843) and my 2nd favorite novel (Gone with the Wind is my first) A Tale of Two Cities (1859). I love and think of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ, when I read “ It was in vain for Madame Defarge to struggle and to strike; Miss Pross, with the vigorous tenacity of love, always so much stronger than hate…” Please read and see how love triumphs over hatred written through Charles Dicken’s plume to paper.
I hope you all can enjoy some of our photos from Poets’ Corner, a bit of this read, then find some of these pieces of literature to enjoy, ponder upon, and perhaps develop a liking for.
From Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey, the Caylor-Browns wish Everyone a Happy New Year 2023!
Well, I was jogging when it hit me… God is showing His handy work with the UT Vols football team without a 2023 National Title. As I jogged in the cloudy, Sunday morning of November 27 ( My mother’s 82nd birthday!!) I was talking to God in the Spirit, and I was able to focus on the blessings my household, the Tennessee Vols, and the NCAA football world have received since Tennessee’s losses to the University of Georgia on November 5, 2022 and South Carolina on November 19.
I/ We would have never known of the awesome friendship between Hendon Hooker and the talented Joe Milton III. Hendon cannot finish his college career because of his torn, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), and his best friend has taken over the “star quarterback” position. Even the SEC announcers says they have never seen such a friendship between quarterbacks (lot’s of envy / jealousy I’m sure) . We need friends who love us and support us during the good and bad times, clap for our successes, weep with us in our sorrows, and put up with our crap. Joe Milton and Hendon Hooker have a special bond, indeed.
During their previous 2022, eleven (11) games, I had absolutely no recollection of hearing names such as Walker Merrill, Princeton Fant, Dee Williams, and Dylan Sampson…. Okay, okay… and, Squirrel White (Love that name)!!?? The recent events have brought these young men “to the light”. Sure we have heard the names Jalen Wright, Jabari Small, Jalin Hyatt, and Cedric Tillman all season, but God wanted us to see some other people in action.
God wanted to show the flaws in the Vols’ defense. Will it be corrected by the playoffs and the bowl games? Probably not, but folks, if Heupel continues rolling like he has since January of 2021, the Vols defense will be crushing the opponents’ offense by the big games (Alabama, Georgia, LSU) October of 2023.
We are not to the 2023 National Championship yet, but I am standing by what I wrote “…God will use this Vols team to glorify Him, and it WILL BE CLEARLY VISIBILE before the January 9, 2023 NCAA Football Championship in Los Angeles.” The team is glorifying God, but He, in turn, is showing us some “hidden talent”, a wonderful friendship, and a defense (yes, perhaps even a new Defensive Coordinator) that needs to improve. Our God is an awesome God, and “It’s Great to be a Tennessee Vol!”
Take this quote from Haven TO THE BANK: “If UT does not win over UGA today, it’s because God has something better planned!”
Thanks to my niece, Jennifer Barrett-Tatum, I enjoy watching The Tennessee Vols. When she completed both her undergraduate degree and master’s degree from The University of Tennessee at Knoxville, I began visiting Jennifer “Little Sister” [ I was 15 when she was born … kinda helped raise her … helped take care of Orrin a little bit … LOVED being a part of her college career & watching her become a phenomenal (perhaps like Uncle Small) ] who now is almost 10 years into being a Doctor of Philosophy/ Education … okay, you get the picture that I’m a fan of my niece. She lived in Knoxville for about 10 years. OMGeez.. Neyland Stadium was a “sea of orange”, the crowd singing “Rocky Top” penetrated my soul (both the Caylor’s and the Cox’s came from East Tennessee) , the COONHOUND (if you know me, you know my love of coonhounds) Smokey the Bluetick, the pioneer waving the UT flag!!!! Haven was HOOKED!!
I watched Casey Clausen (a few years too late for Peyton Manning, I was) and Erik Ainge. Haven even spent $$ on a “#10” Ainge Jersey. I had NEVER done anything like that in my life, and I was 40 years old at the time. Then, bum, bum, bum…. Carter & Ammon! Then…. Back to work … then… Pandemic … NOW 2022, Josh Heupel and Hendon Hooker (possible Heisman Trophy Winner … as of 11-3-2022 , he is the frontrunner for the Heisman!! I’m tearing up. NO ONE is perfect, but Hendon gives every sign of being a faithful Christian young man who gives glory to God for his gifts. People (some whom I’ve met) who have met him says Hendon’s spirit is very “Christ-like”
It’s been a treat to watch Head Coach Josh Heupel since the Music City Bowl in January. Carter and I KNOW the Vols really won over Purdue. Speaking of Carter, it’s been a Father’s Joy to have Carter by my side this 2022-2023 NCAA football season watching the Vols to what is today their 8-0 record. Our whole family and Jennifer’s family attended the UT vs. Akron game in Knoxville on September 17. When Tennessee beat Alabama on October 15, 2022, Carter and I were in our living room. We sat in enthralled, disbelief when that buzzer sounded and the Vols had won 52-49 . Y’all 101 combined points. What a testimony to the greatness of these two teams. Both offenses had battled beautifully, but the talent of the ever-improving Vols triumphed. Heupel, Hooker, Small, Hyatt and the WHOLE team working together for the art that is college football is some like an animated painting that is constantly evolving and electrifying your brain synapses to keep enjoying and returning to the painting over and over. And, oh, man , the recruiting is gleaning STAR QUALITY players from across the nation: Nicholaus Iamaleava, Sham Umarov, and Chandavian Bradley are only a “drop in the bucket” of rising greatness headed for Knoxville and the UT Vols.
Back to my quote “If UT does not win over UGA today, it’s because God has something better planned!” … EVERYONE I have listened to. Yes, even primary resource whom have been in the physical midst of this 2022-2023 UT Vols team, says something special . “They are a good group of boys.” … many of whom are Christians and know that it’s CHRIST FIRST. So, God does use crazy sports to Glorify Him, and whether this team loses to Georgia today or not, God will use this Vols team to glorify Him, and it WILL BE CLEARLY VISIBILE before the January 9, 2023 NCAA Football Championship in Los Angeles. Happy Saturday, and “It’s great to be a Tennessee Vol!”
I am embarrassed that I haven’t blogged since last year. So many awesome things (our Trip to Italy) have happened as well as sad things (Our Nana passing). There is a blog in the works. I know we posted of Italy 2022 in Facebook, but there are so many more things to share. If I am mentally and physically well during Thanksgiving Break, I will probably blog about Italy 2022. Until then … Haven
I first saw Buddy at 613 Flagstone in Ft. Oglethorpe at Ray Brown’s (Sean’s dad) house early 2006. He had been neglected, a rescue dog, and brought to Sean’s office to go to Ray’s house. He didn’t even have a name. You could also tell that children had annoyed him and/or abused him. There were neither scars nor broken bones on this thin, handsome miniature black and tan dachshund with a wounded soul. Sean said he was timid and covered with mud when he was brought to the office. Sean gave him a bath, made sure he had plenty to eat, then transported Buddy to Ft. Oglethorpe to be with Ray.
The evening I first saw Buddy he was already spoiled. Buddy had already been eating people food (fried chicken, bacon, cubed steak, whatever Ray had fixed for himself that he shared with Buddy), tried to sleep in Ray’s huge, king-sized bed but didn’t know quite what to do since he had slept outside probably on a chain for a year, but Buddy already felt LOVED. Buddy would not stop springing up to our knees showing his delight for whatever kindness we showed him. It was dark that evening, but I took him for a walk around Ray’s neighborhood. Ray was using an oxygen tank 24/7, and it was difficult for him take Buddy out frequently. Oh, yes, Buddy… he didn’t have his name yet. From the time I met Ray late 2003, his #1 nickname for Sean was “Buddy”. After Buddy had been with Ray for a few days, Sean mentioned to his dad that “Buddy” would be an easy name for Ray to remember. Ray loved the idea, and it didn’t take long for our intelligent little dachshund to recognize his name.
In the beginning, Buddy was a HORRIBLE car rider. In May of 2006, I took him to be neutered. He was all over the vehicle whining. He would even place his front paws up on the steering wheel and peer over it. He looked like he was driving, and to any passer-by up high enough along side of me to see into my truck they could see Buddy “driving”. He also jumped down into the floor board near my feet several times while I was driving. He made me a nervous wreck! Thanks be to God, by the autumn of 2021, he was calm, cool, and collected as he rode in a vehicle.
The last week of January 2007 Ray had to be admitted to Memorial Hospital. After visiting Ray on his admission evening, I drove past Ray’s house to pick up Buddy and Murphy ( a rescue cat) to bring them to our house until Ray was better. Sophie our female dachshund who was our “baby” until Ammon and Carter came along was a bit jealous of Buddy, but not too bad. The worst part of having her guest was sharing her food. Her food was off limits, but her love and care towards Buddy had NO LIMITS. Buddy was totally confused and afraid of using the stairs. As I mentioned in our tribute to Sophie when she passed in 2018, she taught Buddy how to use the stairs. It was a marvel that I will never forget as long as I have a memory. She taught him to take his time and conquer one stair at a time until he was down to the first floor. Several days later, he could go both up and down the stairs. On January 27, 2007, Buddy became our permanent fur child when Ray passed. The rest for us was nearly 15 years of Buddy joy. He was our “Buddy-Buddy boy who gave us Buddy-Buddy joy”.
Buddy was so faithful to Sophie, Sean, Ammon, Carter, and to me. He didn’t know he was a miniature anything. Except for squirrel or his favorite, rabbit tangents, he would walk/jog with us for an hour. After his diversion off the jogging track in and around the barn or through some thicket of trees or shrubs, he would be right back near our feet trotting at our jogging pace. While he was healthy, he only took one jogging break after the neighbor’s dog bit him on his back. He was out of commission for about 2 weeks, but soon he was right back to the jogging. Both Buddy and Sophie LOVED running up on Grindstone Mountain with me and the coonhounds which we did on a regular basis until Carter and Ammon were born the autumn of 2008. It was Sophie’s last trip up on Grindstone December 30, 2017 that we noticed that both Buddy’s agility and eye sight were waning. He misjudged a leap across a boulder and fell in a crevice that was perhaps 8 inches deep. He was by no means harmed. It was well-padded with fallen leaves. We scooped him out quickly. We also noticed that he had trouble on the house steps that went from wood steps to carpet steps. Something about his clouding cataracts caused trouble in the visual transition. By the end of 2020, we started carrying Buddy up and the down the stairs because he kept trying to judge the stairs, misjudged them, then tumbled backwards to kitchen floor.
He had several bouts of health problems from back pain (hereditary dachshund back ailments as well as where the neighbor dog bit him), teeth problems, and finally congestive heart failure! We thought we were going to lose him on April 25 of 2021. He was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, but all the symptoms were looking like pneumonia. The vet at the emergency room clinic wanted to put him down. We said, “In the name of treating a 16 years old dachshund with mercy, please treat him for pneumonia with a powerful antibiotic, and if he lives through the night at his house, then he will die where he is loved.” She complied and we brought him home. He did make it through the night, and he lived for another 6 months!
The first week of November, Buddy made it through a seizure that Sean saw as remarkable. The next morning after the seizure, Buddy acted fairly normal and ate quite a bit of baked chicken. However, it quickly went downhill that evening and the next day. When the vet told us Buddy had kidney failure just a few days after his seizure, we really thought he would rally and make it through the New Year. We had seen Buddy rally so many times. We weren’t fools. We knew that day would come when he wouldn’t “bounce back”. That day came on Tuesday morning November 9, 2021. Sean had been Buddy’s constant nurse maid for almost a week. Sean was with his “Buddy” (remember Buddy was Ray’s endearing name for Sean for decades) until Buddy took his last dog breath and crossed into dog eternity. We know Sophie was waiting for her brother and Ray was reunited with his fur baby, “Buddy”. The three are all enjoying heaven together as I type this.
Thank you, God , for our fur babies and our fur “buddies” especially our Buddy-Buddy Boy.
I love exercising (LOW IMPACT), and I have all my life. My body wasn’t designed for sprinting, but years ago I discovered that walking was good for my fat. As a middle-aged, overweight adult, I discovered that I burned more calories especially if I was trying to lose weight… like for the 1000th time in my life … if I jogged.
=>Tangent: you wonderful friends who say my body is just fine, I SO MUCH appreciate that, but according to age, height, & body size crap, I’m 10 pounds overweight. I’m 145 yet I should weigh 135 … I digress <=
Since Sean and I moved to our house and property here in 2004, we’ve taken advantage of our fields to keep a periphery mowed for a jogging/walking track. It is awesome, and the whole route takes approximately 12 minutes to complete. However, we appreciate diverse surroundings. Weather permitting, Carter, Ammon, Sean, and I also walk as a family every day and in various, surrounding locations. We walk approximately an hour. HOWEVER, Walking doesn’t help me lose weight, and if I choose to indulge a bit, I gain weight while STILL walking an hour every day. So, poor ol’ Haven who destroyed his metabolism by abusing his body with crash diets over 35 years ago needs to jog to help burn extra calories. The best part is that I do enjoy jogging especially in nature. When I jog by myself, it’s an introspective treat. Jogging invigorates my body, mind, and spirit whether in the hills of Southeast Tennessee, on the beach in Daytona Beach, Florida, on sidewalks along the shores of the River Thames in London, England, or down the Medieval streets of Gdansk, Poland.
I recently started watching some YouTube videos for the mind and body. The soul is still filled with prayer and daily Bible study with God’s word…. Haven’t used YouTube for the soul any. A mind over body motivational speaker, David Goggins, is on both YouTube and Instagram. I understand his motivational speaking and even SOME of his cursing because sometimes a good curse word has an IMPACT no other synonym can match. His motivation to me says, “Get up & Get at it! Stop the whining refuse (arrrgh, I want to curse!) and excuses!” This “Get up & Get at it” is all about mind, body, and soul (my relationship with God) for Haven, but, for today’s entry, I’m sticking to the topic of PHYSICAL/CARDIO EXERCISE.
At some point every day, my lower back hurts, my right knee hurts (it has off and on for almost 20 years… Sean say’s it my meniscus), my right shoulder hurts, and I have a 3 feet long varicose vein on my left leg that looks HORRENDOUS like disfigured looking- yet not the least bit painful. LOL. Like David Goggins discusses staring at his running shoes before he runs, I do the same: it’s like an event. This event sometimes takes 10 minutes to complete. I look at the socks, I put on the socks, I look at the shoes (sometimes boots), I tie the shoes, and I sit. I prefer jogging in the mornings. Honestly, my lower back and legs are sore the majority of the mornings, and if I have my coffee first then wait an hour, the process goes a lot more smoothly and happily. Now, after saying that, I don’t want to wait 2 hours after getting up to run. I want to do it as early as possible. Okay, okay…. Moving along… I’ve had my YouTube channel for 10 years, and after watching some mind and body influencers on it, I decided that this 55 years old fart, Haven Caylor-Brown, could diversity his YouTube channel and socialize with other old farts regarding their physical, mental, and spiritual fitness.
This morning I jogged for 1 hour and 5 minutes. It was 4.47 miles, and I burned 662 calories. It was awesome, and I have been jogging this route at Enterprise South for about 2 weeks now jogging it 3 times a week. There are plenty of spacious, paved roads with sights (deer, foxes, trees, squirrels, chipmunks, & birds) and sounds of nature, but the ground of the wooded paths are “padded”, and much easier on my knees, legs, and lower back. I do hope my jogging adventures will inspire / influence some folks to get some cardio exercise or exercise more, and as the days and weeks go by, I will be using my jogging and walking videos to weave some mental and spiritual thoughts, inspirations, and positive influences as well.
I’ve been looking for something to “nudge” me into my next Haven’s Ideals post. There have been multiple negative events (family life as well as career path) and positive events (retuning to worship as the pandemic wares down as well as a phenomenal and blessed trip to Daytona Beach, Florida and Disney World)for multiple blog entries to flourish, but apathy and laziness got the best of me. I was needing something quick and spiritually uplifting for a catalyst. I had no idea it would take a MOURNING DOVE to prompt me to write.
It was awesome. This summer, the Topgolf driving range which also has a Putt Putt course has FREE PUTT PUTT on Mondays. So, after a set of summer showers and threatening thundershowers, the Caylor-Browns headed to Topgolf in East Ridge Tennessee for a round of Putt Putt. About the 9th hole I saw some ground movement out of the corner of my eye from the courses wooden fence. I looked down to see a mourning dove strutting / meandering under the fence. I smiled and kept on putting. As we were putting close to the driving range, I kept hearing the soothing call of a mourning dove. I glanced to my right, and there sat that dove. It would not budge. To the aggravation of Sean, Ammon, and Carter, I kept talking and paying attention to the dove. So I could get on with the round and paying attention to the scoring that I was keeping, I quickly got my iPhone and videoed the dove. Yes, the sound a mourning dove makes is lonesome and mournful, but like the white dove that is a symbol of peace, the mourning dove is a symbol of peace, love, and faith.
Happy or sad, elated with prayers of praise or melancholy with deep thoughts and questioning prayers, I hope and pray God will send you something from nature such as a song bird or a soothing sunrise/sunset, or a comforting breeze that touches your spirit to God’s Spirit. That sweet, tranquil, and friendly mourning dove that you can barely see yet hear quite clearly in my video has given me a spiritual strength I haven’t had in weeks or perhaps months to continue boldly into the future leaning on Jesus’ ever lasting arms.
It’s great helping Ammon with an entrepreneurial endeavor. Ammon and I will close Valentines & Mardi Gras crafts production on Sunday February 7. Postal Service permitting, this should make sure your Valentines goods are out & delivered to you by Saturday February 13. As I said before, we are truly enjoying this entrepreneurial ed-venture…. oh, St. Patrick’s Day and spring crafts are already underway.
39In those days Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judah, 40where she entered the home of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42In a loud voice she exclaimed, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43And why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44For as soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord’s word to her will be fulfilled.”
Until I was about 30 years old, I kept the Holy Family, Joseph, Mary, and the Baby Jesus on a pedestal of perfection with those images of the perfect nativity scene. Who remembers the plastic, bulb-lit nativities of the 1960s and 1970s? I was mesmerized by them! And, my goodness, the Christmas carols of “O, Little Town of Bethlehem” and “Away in a Manger”. I’m taking intermittent singing breaks (“Away in a manger no crib for a bed. The little Lord Jesus lay down his sweet head…)” as I type this. I am also visualizing Mary, Joseph, and Jesus with those golden halos as the shepherds and Magi Kings kneel in reverence. Wowzers!
A literary work, Two from Galilee (Marjorie Holmes, 1982), and what I think is the BEST nativity movie EVER , The Nativity Story (2006) changed my vision of the Holy Family forever.
Y’all imagine a 14 years-old girl who was told she was no longer a care-free child. She is betrothed to a man whom she had never had a sexual relationship with having to wait a year (Jewish tradition before and during the Roman reign of Augustus Caesar) to live with him without that conjugal fulfillment, and is a virgin who has never had sexual relations with any man, being told by an angel named Gabriel that she will have a baby that is a gift from God. What the heck, God? In a few months after Gabriel’s visit, she KNOWS she is pregnant. Gabriel had told Mary earlier in Luke Chapter one that Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth, was going to be a mother. Elizabeth had been the “talk of the hill country of Judah” as a barren woman. Can you imagine the gossip of those days, “What has Elizabeth done in her life that God has cursed her this way!”, “Poor thing! Look at Hannah, Elizabeth’s neighbor. She has 8 children. Hannah is so blessed. Who will take care of Elizabeth and Zechariah in their old age? Poor Elizabeth and Zechariah!”
When Mary knew she was carrying a child, she hurried to a town in the hill country of Judah to visit her elderly cousin who was passed her child-bearing years. The weeks and months had been emotionally and spiritually excruciating for Mary. “I’m pregnant! Joseph might divorce me quietly or he could encourage the town to help stone me! Dear Father in heaven, will Elizabeth have any answers for me or words of fortification?”
We are not told how far away ( Google is showing like 99 miles… over three walking/cart days!!) but I can only imagine Mary’s anxiousness. As I watched the spectacular The Nativity Story this Christmas season, I had already squalled when Joseph re-purchased Mary’s parents’ donkey (the same donkey that carries Mary to Bethlehem….tears and sniffs…LOL… that the government officials had taken to help pay for taxes), but when Mary arrived at Elizabeth’s house and Mary’s voice made John jump in Elizabeth’s womb along with the scriptural words from Elizabeth’s mouth, my chest began to heave and I sobbed with tears…tears of joy.
“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43And why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
It was so spiritually moving. God gave Mary the confirmation and affirmation that she needed all those weeks before. God had given Mary her cousin, Elizabeth, to be her “cheerleader”, her confidante, her “hand to hold” for spiritual guidance.
Can you name your spiritual cheerleaders? Sometimes it’s not even someone cheering for you. It’s someone who responds to your spirit. My two spiritual cheerleaders who are now in Paradise are Naomi Alexander Caylor (my Nanny) and my adopted grandmother, Remell Hall. When Nanny died August of 1985, Remell picked up the mantle (2 Kings 2:13 when Elisa picked up Elijah’s mantle / cloak/ coat ). I’ve always thought it ironically special that Remell died on November 6, 2003 (Ammon’s birthday!) then God blessed me with my soul-mate, Sean Brown, in January of 2004. God did not leave me desolate for long.
Now, December 2020; 54, God keeping me out of any physical teaching environment, homeschooling Carter and Ammon, watching the world reel from the Corona virus, I have several spiritual friends I go to. It’s sometimes just a text to say, “God is Great!” or “Praying for you.” . Sometimes I have something serious to share; Carter and Ammon pre-teen drama, doubts on why God doesn’t want me working right now, or a spiritual matter that is troubling me.
My buds who do not fail me are Debbie Baker, Patsy Holland, Kathleen Lanford, Tami McClain, Claire Randle, and Evangeline Starks. There is an “odd man out” literally, so I’m putting him by himself; 21 years-old singer/songwriter, Hunter Lott has become a spiritual cheerleader God placed in my path as well. However, he lives in south Mississippi, and we have only been spiritual friends via social media and snail mail. Those ladies I mentioned are the toughest, Christ-like women I know, and they are physically near me. When I see them face to face and hug them, I get a spiritual, electrical charge, and sometimes we’ve had conversations where the tears flow (mostly mine) because we share from the heart and soul. My sincerest thanks to you 7 people (holy smokes… God’s number!!!). You all have NO IDEA what you mean to me. And Patsy Holland, I’ll never forget your Christian (sister and brother in Jesus the Christ) words of encouragement to me, “God doesn’t make mistakes” during our first serious, spiritual talk together over 3 years ago.
Returning to Mary and Elizabeth. The holy scriptures do not allow us to enjoy another conversation between the two ladies. The Nativity Story shows Mary being in attendance for John’s birth, watching Zechariah speak, and watching and listening to Elizabeth and Zechariah speak words of the Old Testament to their newborn with biblical “bedtime stories”. At this point, Mary tells the jubilant, elderly couple with their “miracle baby”, John, that she is returning to Nazareth. Those weeks with Elizabeth and Zechariah gave Mary, now physically showing she was pregnant, the spiritual strength to return to her betrothed, Joseph, to face the next months; vicious gossip from the townspeople, tears and perhaps rage from her parents and Joseph, and perhaps even death if she is stoned for adultery. The Lord’s servant, Mary, was returning to fulfill what Gabriel had shared and Elizabeth was Mary’s human confidante / human- contact spiritual support to face the following months.
I truly hope and pray that you all have spiritual cheerleaders. They are priceless. As soon as the Spirit touched my spirit with Mary and Elizabeth’s meeting as I watched the actresses speak the scriptures from Luke 1, I knew I had to write. It’s also set up a second blog I hope to finish before December 23: Jesus’ Awesome, Earthly Father, Joseph.