Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial day thoughts from me and Daddy...

Today is a day to honor those who have served our country, and especially those who have died for our country. Like many of you, I come from a family of men who were in the Service... most of them are dead now, and most of them I never met, but I have thought many time about them and what I could have learned from them... On Memorial Day of 2007 I wrote the following in my Journal:

I'm sitting here watching a Memorial Day tribute on TV, and as I teared up at the Navy Song I started thinking about Pawpaw and my uncle I was never able to know. My life has been influences so much by my grandfather and his outlook on things. I know that he was greatly influenced by the things he experienced while he was in the Service. I never get tired of hearing his stories, because I am simply thankful he is here to tell me. I'm thankful that he wasn't put in any major damage during his Navy years, unlike my great uncle who I never met.
Uncle Cassie Ray - I don't know much about him other than his name, that he was my grandmother's (Cole) brother... also that he was a MIA soldier... meaning that he was lost and never found. (Though I have learned since I originally wrote this that he was believed to be killed in Italy)
I have such a good relationship with my other uncles, I wonder what Uncle Cassie Ray would be like, what he might ave taught me... what I could have learned from him...
...I guess I'll never know.
Daddy wrote the following poem about his uncles he never met. One of those was Uncle Cassie Ray...

He came one frosty morning, when snow was on the ground,
Nine long months in coming, there were kinfolk all around.
He never made me anything, but happy as could be,
And folks said we were quite a pair, my little boy and me.

He grew up so straight and tall, I could plainly tell,
That someday he’d become a man, if his Dad did his job well.
But about the time he and I could both see eye to eye,
The Army sent a letter, and I had to say good-bye.

The day he left his Mom and I held our tears inside,
For he had told us he must go, his face aglow with pride.
But as his train pulled away, and disappeared from sight,
We cried and held each other close, and prayed into the night.

God please watch over our Son, as he does what he must do,
We know he can’t escape your hand, and we have faith in you.
Then one day a letter came, that said our Son was gone,
He died to save a people, so they could have a home.

Now Lord, I think that I can feel a portion of your pain,
You gave your Son to die for me, for me he took the blame.
But there are times when some of us, forget what you have done,
‘Cause just like me, you had to give your one and only Son.

Now I look forward to the day, that I see him again,
And I want to thank you for your Son, whose blood covers all my sin.
But this request I make today as my eyes grow dim,
Don’t let the ones our Sons died for ever forget them.

Written in memory of my Uncles whom I never got to know,

and my grandparents, who I did. - Dannon Cole

I am so thankful for those who have served our country selflessly and provided security for the rest of us who often take it for granted. I pray for their safety and for their families.

Love y'all,

Friday, May 28, 2010

Pawpaw's response to a prayer request

I called Pawpaw Cole 2 days ago to tell him a prayer request... it was one of those times that I really wanted to talk to Daddy about something... so Pawpaw seemed the natural substitute. I have a new opportunity professionally and an interview next week (Thursday)... I know the folks I'll be interviewing with, but I think that may be more nerve wracking than interviewing with total strangers... so anyway, I told Pawpaw about this and asked him to be praying about it with me and he gave me some very sound advice...

"Take your burdens to the Lord... and wait for His answer.
When He gives you an answer it will be right."

We then talked about how God's timing is not ours and that He may not answer when I want Him to. Pawpaw's second piece of advice was this:

"Put the Lord first and He will put you first...
He'll take care of you someway."

Oh the truth and wisdom of a nearly 88 year old man. Cut to the chase... basically he said he would be praying... but that he wasn't the person I need to ask for help from. Wisely reminding me that I have direct line to the Creator... and just cut out any middle man I might create.

However, I most definitely believe in the power of prayer and ask that you all pray with me that I will see and follow His will for my life... that's really all I want to do. :)

Love Y'all,

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I'm in the Hollow of His hand...

Last night I woke up early because I couldn't really get my mind to stop... Oddly enough I had a dream that the Rapture was about to happen... I was trying to rush home because I wanted to be with mom when it happened, but one of my first thoughts was "see you soon Daddy."... So I woke up thinking about the reality of that dream. I think that if any person is truly honest with themselves, there is something about the Rapture that is a little scary. I mean, a trumpet blast that happens quicker than you can blink and suddenly you are in eternity (if you have accepted the Salvation offered by our Lord). Everything you have earned and compiled on earth, worthless. For me it's the uncertainty of it all that makes my mind race. Now I know I'll be one of the ones Raptured if I have not already passed on by then... and I know I'm on the winning team. But the thought that it absolutely could happen at ANY second (and let's be honest... some of the signs are starting to show) is a little unsettling for someone like myself who likes to plan.

As I was laying down tonight trying to sleep I starting thinking of that dream again... and then I just began thinking of all the other uncertainties in my life. One of daddy's songs came to mind that I just feel the need to share with you all. (I really wish I could figure out how to put some of them on here in an audio file)

By: Dannon Cole

Sometimes my way seems uncertain,
Sometimes my burdens’ hard to bear.
And I don’t know the cards life may deal me,
But I know I’m in the hollow of his hand.
But I know I’m in the hollow of his hand.

Life holds no promise of tomorrow,
Each breath might be the last one that we take.
The hourglass of time is almost empty,
But I know I’m in the hollow of his hand.

There is peace in the midst of trouble,
There is calm in the midst of every storm.
And though the winds of life may be raging,
Still I know I’m in the hollow of his hand.


The nail-scarred hands of Jesus,
They may look worn out and frail.
But I have this calm assurance,
That these hands will never fail.
That these hands will never fail.

Let his words sink in with you... in our uncertain times and our sudden storms, we can have calm assurance that our Lord has us in His hands...

Guess I'll try and get some sleep now.

Love y'all,


Monday, May 24, 2010

He knows when we don't...

Yesterday in Sunday School Steve directed us to one of his favorite chapters in the bible, Romans 8. As he talked about the first section of the chapter, I read ahead and found one of the most encouraging few verses I think I have ever read.

18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

No matter what we deal with in our lives... God has equipt us with His power that will be revealed as we deal with our "present sufferings." I believe it is how we deal with these sufferings that reveal Him... that show us what He can do, and ultimately can show others (through us) the power that He has to change lives and change hearts.
20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
Right here, I believe that the Word is saying that God allows bad things to happen to us (creation) as christians, because He wants us to see the freedom that we can have through His glory. We can nothing without him... and that includes dealing with the sufferings in our lives. As we deal with those through Him, we see Him. I can tell you from personal experience, that turning to Him in a time of suffering, knowing that I have the Creator on my side... gives me the strength to deal with the sufferings, and not dwell on them.
22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
Everyone complains when the suffering comes... we all do. We all have Why Me moments. But this passage speaks specifically to christian in their complaining (groaning). We pray for God to deliver us, but He already has... We hope for what we already have.
26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.
I literally sit in awe of verse 26. He knows what we need, when don't. He hears our prayers, when we don't even think them. He knows us when we don't even know ourselves.
I pray we will all consider this in our times suffering... that He already knows when we don't.
Love y'all,

Friday, May 21, 2010

Daddy's last words...

It just occured to me... that I don't remember the last thing Daddy said to me.

I have no clue what it was...

The last time I can remember him even knowing I was with him was the night before he died. Aunt Lanell and Uncle Lloyd were in his room as they were going to move him to ICU and as soon as he heard me walk in the room he perked up...which is when I didn't take advantage of the moment and tell him I loved him... because I had no clue it would be the last time he I would touch him or talk to him that he was responsive. That is my biggest regret...

Tomorrow is going to be 11 months since Daddy died... It's so hard for me to believe some days that he has been gone so long... somedays I still can't believe he is even gone. Other days I think about how much I know he is enjoying heaven with the Lord and I need to stop being so dang selfish wishing that he was here. I look at his picture every day and think of his smell, the feel of his skin, and the sound of his voice. Thank God I can still hear his voice when I want to on my iPod. The more I think about it, I'm really dreading Father's day weekend... because I know it is going to be really really hard. I know throughout it all though, that the Lord will continue to comfort me... because He always has, so why stop now. So for anyone needing comfort... here are some verses that may encourage you:

"My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life." Psalm 119:50

"Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones." Isaiah 49:13

"As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you..." Isaiah 66:13

"Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow." Jeremiah 31:13

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." Matthew 5:4

I know Daddy and I had conversations between this remarks from an email and his death, but this was an attachment he sent on his second to last email... he didn't write it, but according to the email liked to refer to it:

“Between You and God”

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfishness, Be kind anyway.
If you are successful you will win some false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you. Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone may destroy overnight. Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough. Give the world the best
You have anyway.

You see, in the end, it’s between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway.

He also wrote the following in his last email: "Please continue to pray for me and this procedure being administered. That sounds selfish to me, so I'll say it this way. Remember to pray for those in need of which I am just one." No matter what was going on with him... he always remembered others. I need to dwell on that as well... no matter how much I may hurt missing him... someone else somewhere hurts more and I need to pray for them and their struggles as well.

While he was in the hospital, Daddy always signed his emails "Love Y'all..." So I guess those were his last words to all of us.

Love Y'all,

Saturday, May 15, 2010

1, 2, 3...

So I have realized there are 3 things in the world I would really like to have...

1. a house...
2. a porch with a swing...
3. a dog...

I went to my favorite store in the world today... Hobby Lobby... and purchased some really awesome things for a home I don't have. But hey, it was all over 50% off so I figured it made sense. As I was walking through the store I was admiring the picture frames. Alot of them have quotes on them like "It all began when two people fell in love" or "Family is what matters"... I felt myself getting emotional as I walked up and down the aisles... seeing the biblical quotes on frames and nearly cried when I saw a picture frame with a quote about a Father and his gentle hand... I don't remember the entire quote... but I really did feel myself tearing up at the sight of the frame.

I'm not really sure why... I think that as we approach the 1 year mark of Daddy's death there are a lot of things going on in my life... good things and good possibilities. These are moments I wish I had to share with him... when I look forward to possibly moving off campus sometime soon and having a place of my own (no I'm not planning to buy, but at least I could paint a wall), I wish he would be here to see it, to help me move, to enjoy it with me.

I want a dog... and I would love to be able to discuss the right kind of dog for me with Daddy. Instead, I watch animal planet and got on the Eukanuba (or however you spell that) website to find out that according to my preferences the Cheasapeke Bay Retreiver is the best breed for me. I've never had more than a mutt... but if I do eventually have the chance to get a dog, then I'm going to do my research and hopefully choose wisely.

Ultimately... and I sit here and think of these 3 things I desire... I can't imagine a more wonderful setting than sitting on a porch on any evening (you pick - spring, summer, fall) surrounded by friends or family or students I work with, with a sweet dog at my feet and a glass of sweet tea in my hand...

Man, I can't wait for that evening... and though I may not have my dad to share it with... God has blessed me with so many other people that, though they can't take his place, they can fill it. Believe me, if 1, 2, and 3 ever come together you will all be invited :)

Also... one of those frames I just remembered the quote (or part of it anyway):
"Don't wait for the storm to pass,
Learn to dance in the rain."

I think I'll strive for dancing... and try to be thankful for the rain in the process.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Practicality's absence in our country...

I just remembered why the only news I watch is E! news...

Because reading the news is depressing and simply reminds me of the demise of our country... The lack of respect for each other, for our forefathers and the documents they created to protect our country and our faith from big government, as well as the selfish lack of respect for life just make me sad. Here are a few questions that the answers just don't seem to make sense to practical old me...

Why does our government give out tons of money to foreign contries during their disasters, yet Nashville has yet to even get much recognition and the city is underwater?? Check out this video to see the reality. I truly believe that alot of it may be because Nashville is not hoarding media attention like New Orleans did during Katrina. However the reality of the situation is that anyone who moves into NOLA knows that a hurricane is a possiblity and that the city is below sea level. Nashville on the other hand was not prepared for this catastrophe... it was not a reality that anyone expected.

Why is it accepted to take away the life of an unborn child yet those who take away the lives of children or adults are in jail? Is it not, ultimately, still taking the life of someone else?? Does the 14th ammendment (which from what I read the "due process" part of this ammendment is the basis for many pro-choice debates) , in it's own special way not represent an unborn child as much as it represents someone who's life was freed from slavery. Notice that is says the state forbids denying any person "life"... is abortion not, in reality, denying somone life by taking it away?? I know that law is open to interpretation... and that's why we have courts... so that's my interpretation of this ammendment in regard to the sancitity of life... any life. If then, a citizen chooses to deny life to their child, should that child not be allowed the dur process of law?? I am not remotely an expert in this... but it is just a thought...

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on July 9, 1868, and granted citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” which included former slaves recently freed. In addition, it forbids states from denying any person "life, liberty or property, without due process of law" or to "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Does our government have a money tree somewhere? 'Cause it seems like no one but the taxpayers pay attention to the $12 trillion + dollar debt that I doubt we will ever be able to pay off!(Here's an interesting website: If the USA was an individual... what bank in their right mind would give them a loan?? I read an article regarding personal debt in the US, and these numbers are from 2004 so they are out of date... but are still scary.

- About 43% of American families spend more than they earn each year.
- Average households carry some $8,000 in credit card debt.
- Personal bankruptcies have doubled in the past decade.

So, I think it is easily predictable that those number have gotten higher in the last 6 years... and I hope and pray that I will never be that person. I remember as a kid Daddy taught me one (of many lessons) that I will always remember about money... "When your outgo exceeds your income, your upkeep will be your downfall." Just ponder that for a minute because it makes SO much sense. I pray that I will always remember that.

Why do non-taxpaying illegal immigrants get freebies when tax paying americans don't? This particular issue is controversial for me regarding culture...not cash. I have a great respect for the melting pot of cultures in our country, and anyone who knows me can tell you that I have a love for latin american cultures, but the fact that billions of dollars are spent annually to cover the health care costs of illegal immigrants bothers me... because they don't pay it back!! Here's an excerpt from an article I found with some specific numbers:

It is important to note that most services provided to illegal immigrants are funded by local and state governments, yet any taxes they pay will likely end up in the federal treasury - the Department of Education estimates that 90% of education costs will come from non-federal sources. For some states that means huge costs offset by very little revenue.

Take, for example, Texas, which spent $1.4 billion on healthcare and education on illegal immigrants and taxed them $424 million, according to the CBO compendium; or Colorado which spent $217-225 million but received only $159-194 million. Other states fared better: Missouri spent some $17.5-$32.6 million on its illegal immigrant population but collected from them $29-$57 million. But for most states, "tax revenues that unauthorized immigrants generate ... do not offset the total cost of services provided to those immigrants," the CBO concluded. It further qualified this by saying that "... the impact is most likely modest."

Any ways... as I have thought about these dissappointing issues within our coutry it just becomes more evident to me how much we need to pray for our country, our leaders, and our future. The demoralization of our country will continue to lead to the demize of the nation. Our wreckless ways and arrogance have lost us the respect of many countries and cultures. Having lived in a foreign country I can tell you that the perception many foreigners have of us as a country stems form MTV, Baywatch, and whatever movie may be playing on their tv. We are perceived as a rich country, when in fact we are morally, spiritually, and financially in debt.

For a practical person like myself... the reality of all this makes no sense.