Friday, June 14, 2013

Remembering Papa

My father's father passed away two weeks ago today. My mother's father passed away 22 years ago this week. Both of these men were big influences in my life and I am so very thankful to have had them as long as I did. I've thought a lot about both of them lately, especially with father's day coming up. I bet this one will be a little bittersweet for Dad. Papa battled Parkinson's and was in the nursing home for the last 7 years. It was a struggle to watch a man that was once so active slowly dwindle away. Although it's tough to say goodbye, there is so much comfort in the fact that he is so much better now. I decided that I wanted to share a little bit about the man I called Papa at his funeral. I wasn't sure if I could do it, because I'm pretty sentimental and tend to cry pretty easily, but I prayed about it a great deal and I definitely felt God with me as I spoke. I thought I would share my words from that day with you all.

To most he was John, to some John Allen, but to me he was Granddaddy...well, until Dale came along, and after a short stint of calling him John, Dale named him Papa. Papa stuck and he became Papa to a lot of folks over the years.

Papa grew up in the hills and hollers of Giles County. He and his brothers made a lot of mischief while growing up, so much so they used to tell that when they would enter an "establishment," it would get quiet and people would say "Here come the Pierce Boys." I can't imagine what life was like for Katie Lee having to put up with those "Pierce Boys" as her 4 brothers!

Those Pierce Boys were also known for story-telling. They could spin a yarn with the best of them. If you believed everything they told, you'd wonder how they ever made it to adulthood! But, they did and the love and concern they had for each other carried on through the years.

I am thankful that I got to experience them as an adult so that I could truly understand their bond. A little over 10 years ago, Papa's brother Bert was living in East TN. Both of their health was beginning to decline, so Mom and Dad loaded us all up and we made the trip to visit Bert and Edith and their family. When we arrived, and Papa and Uncle Bert first saw each other, they both cried. After we all shed a few tears, the tears soon turned to stories, and we all enjoyed the day together with family.

Papa also looovvvved to travel. Over the years he and Granny lived in Florida and traveled a good bit, but Tennessee was always home. When Dad was 13 years old they made a trip out West in their first new car, a 1963 Ford Falcon. It was before the Interstate and road system that we have today, and they were headed up Pike's Peak. Granny was down in the floorboard, scared to death. Despite her fussing and praying, Papa plowed right on up the mountain.

The summer after I graduated from high school, Granny and Papa took the three of us grandkids to Disney World. Not long after we were on the road, we realized that Granny didn't fuss about my driving near as much as she did Papa's, so I did most of the driving to Orlando and back. Whether he die because he trusted me, or just to keep Granny's fussing to a minimum, it meant a lot to me.

So, whether it was going to Dale's ballgames, taking the grandkids to Gatlinburg or Washington DC, a bunch of day care kids camping at Davy Crockett State Park, or Mrs. Lois Davis and Mrs. Effie Richardson to Blue Ridge Mtn Bible Camp, Papa was ready to go!

Papa also loved to tinker and build things. Most of his jobs over the years involved hands on construction of some sort. Although he quit school before graduating, he had a Master's Degree in a lot of things. In fact, he owned a glass business for several years. He got a big job once in Kentucky, and he loaded up T.J., Ray and my Dad in his motor home and set out. There soon was a competition amongst everyone to see who could fall asleep first because Papa snored like a freight train. I'm pretty sure Uncle T.J. snored too. Dad said it would still be daylight outside, but he'd be in the bed praying to go to sleep.

In his "retirement" years, if you could call them that, Papa was still very active. He rarely slowed down and he was ALWAYS working on something. Back in the early 90's my parents built a new house, and we as a family did a great deal of the construction ourselves. When it came time to lay the hardwood flooring, I soon found my job as the "go-between." As much as Papa loved to talk, Dad doesn't. So, my job was to read Dad's mind about which piece should be laid next, and to repeat everything to Papa. He had perfected the art of selective hearing over the years, and I think it finally caught up with him. He couldn't hear thunder!

In his later years, he probably should have had hearing aids, but it was really more trouble that they were worth. When you went to visit him at the nursing home, you had to get right in his ear to talk. He had good days when he recognized us and could carry on conversation or he would tell you who had come by to visit him that day. He also had bad days that really weren't so bad compared to some of the other residents; he was just busy carrying a load of tires to Florida or getting donkeys out of the barn. One day, Randy and I went in and I sat on the edge of the bed next to his chair and Randy was standing at the foot of his bed in his line of sight. I leaned right in his hear and said "Hey Pop!" He blinked a few times, and we weren't sure it was a good or not so good day. Then he said "Hey there Randy, take a seat."  It was a good day.

Although you may not have realized it, he almost always knew those who came to visit him. He would tell Dad who had been by that day. Your visits and love for him meant so much to him and we as a family truly appreciate it.

John Allen Pierce was a man among men. He loved to laugh and be silly, loved to talk, loved to sing, loved his family, loved his church family, and loved the Lord. It's this love that will carry on through all of us...

So Happy Father's Day to all of you fathers out there. I hope you all know that your legacy lives on in your children and grandchildren. And, if you are fortunate to still have your father with you, give him an extra hug this weekend and let him know what he means to you.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I get by with a little help from my friends

Ok, so I realize that I haven't posted in a while, and I have a pretty good excuse (other than the fact that I had a little lack of inspiration). Since some time last fall I have been very busy with our local community theater group and most recently our production of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice." My friend Truman chose this show as his directorial debut. I decided to sign on with him as assistant director since it was his first show and I knew this one would be an undertaking. Also, it just happens to be one of my all-time favorite stories. I have read the book and watched the movie countless times. (The 1995 BBC version, mind you. Colin Firth is Mr. Darcy!) I wanted to make sure it was done right! :)

The show closed Saturday night, May 4th, and I must say this has been one of my favorite casts of which to be a part. Each show becomes a little family of sorts as you share this common experience. No one else can fully understand your bond, your jokes, etc. I very much enjoyed getting to know each actor, and I can't tell you how proud I was to watch them grow over the course of the rehearsals! We even had one fella who was so nervous at auditions that he just shut down. Truman gave him a non-speaking role to help get his feet wet, and man did he blossom right before our eyes! We had several other folks who had never done anything with us before, and it was such a blessing to be around them and be a part of their experiences. They inspired me and uplifted me. It's also fun to be around old friends as well. You sit around and tell stories and memories from past shows, almost like a family reunion.

I spent a lot of time backstage this show with hair, make-up and costuming. This, mind you, is not my usual area of expertise, but it allowed me to really bond with this cast. I enjoyed it immensely, especially the young people. I vowed a few years ago that I wouldn't work with a bunch of teenagers again due to all of their drama. We call it drama drama (get it????). Anyway, these guys and gals were an exception. For the most part they were very responsible and they all had a good work ethic. Their parents should be very, very proud of them. I am.

My theater friends are some of my best, and I always enjoy being around them. Each show just makes that circle of friends a little larger. Although the rehearsals were looonnngggggg, it was well worth it! Pride & Prejudice will go down as one my favorites.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Mama said...

No wait! She didn't!

Ok, forgive me for just a moment because this post will digress at little from the previous ones. So, if you are looking for solely inspirational talk, you can stop reading right now :)

I want to thank my friends Sara and Rebecca, for the, let's say re-inspiration for this post. They brought the topic up on Twitter last week,sort of. I have always been one to write things in my head, or start and never finish, and this topic was one of such musings in the past.

When did I become a ma'am?

As children growing up in the South, we are taught to respect our elders. Yes ma'am, no sir are the normal around here. I didn't realize how abnormal that was until I did a little traveling. About ten years ago, I spent two and a half months in Australia with a friend of mine working with and supporting a church there. One gentleman I had the honor of getting to know while I was there, had been a young man during WWII. He was German and did not sympathize with the Hitler regime at all, so he went into hiding. He was tended to by a Dutch nurse, whom he later married. He was, upon first impression, very stern and gruff. The accent made him sound that way whether he was or not! So, I called him Mr. along with his surname. He looked at me with his gleaming eyes and said with that accent of his "Ha! Just Tom. Just call me Tom." I looked at him in shock. That went against every fiber in my being. We settled on Mr. Tom.

Somewhere along the way I have crossed over into being a ma'am. I'm not sure when it happened. Sometimes I understand how Mr. Tom felt, and think "I'm just Andrea! No need to ma'am or Mrs. me!" but then I remember that thankfully, these young people are being raised right, and their parents have taught them to respect people, just like mine taught me. So, begrudgingly, I accepted the ma'am.

How did that happen?

I only wish someone had told me that at least some of these things would follow the ma'am:

-When you reach a certain age you will most likely wet yourself if you do any of the following:
cough, run, jump, laugh, sneeze, etc.

-That one day you will look in the mirror just right and you will see a 2 inch whisker growing from your face. Seriously! How long has that been there and how many people saw it and never told me it was there?!?

-Not only is wetting your pants a problem, but apparently gas is too, and it can "slip" up without notice, and once again makes bending over, coughing, sneezing, etc. an adventure!

-Hot flashes are typically only thought of in women of the menopausal age, but hormones can rage up inside you at any age and cause a mini tropical vacation all your own. Or, as one of my co-workers also likes to put it, your inner child starts playing with matches.

-That it would literally hurt when you get out of bed some mornings, even if you didn't do an extreme workout the day before.

-You would see young people with the piercings, tattoos, Bieber hair, short skirts, loud music and cars etc. and think about how you can't believe kids these days :)  Seriously though, does that head-jerking hair swinging thing not get on your nerves!!!!!!

-One day you will look down while washing dishes, or folding laundry and see your mother's hands.....ok, so maybe that one's not so bad.

I am sure there are more, but I can't seem to remember them right now. What was I talking about anyway???

Monday, April 1, 2013

New Life

Spring Has Sprung!

In this neck of the woods, Spring has officially arrived. It has been cooler this year than most recent years, but that has not stopped the buttercups from poking their little heads out and the dang Ornamental Bradford Pears from blooming (they KILL my allergies!!!). I love this time of year when life begins to show itself anew.

Friday night was date night and I spent a little quality time with the husband. It has been so busy at our house since before Christmas, so we took the opportunity of the rare Friday night off and went to eat with some friends at John T's Barbecue in Winchester. If you live in this area, you should give them a try. We love the ribs!

This was a weekend full of activity. Early Saturday morning, the husband and I traveled to Franklin Co. to purchase a couple of heifers to add to the herd.
These young girls are so gentle! I stuck my hand in the trailer and the one on the right rubbed her nose all over my hand. Most cattle would run to the other end of the trailer!

My next activity for Saturday was the Easter Egg hunt with Georgia and Aron and the church kids. I was so thankful that the weather held off and it was such a beautiful day! The kids all had a great time and it was fun watching them all. I tried to get some pictures of Georgia and Aron, and in true fashion, Georgia just looked at me with a scowl. She is definitely her mother's child! (And she lives up to her namesake for those of you who read my first post! Little Georgia is a hoot!!)

Thanks to my buddy Sam for the rabbit ears on the egg :)

Saturday night was a fun night of food and fellowship with some church friends. We ate lots of good soup watched a little basketball, and rocked out with some Rock Band and Just Dance. Thankfully I don't have any photos of that to share!

Resurrection Sunday

Although it was rainy outside, what a glorious day it was! At church we celebrated the resurrection, as we do every Sunday, but this one was special. Not only was it a time when the world stops and does the same, but I got a new brother in Christ this Sunday. A young man that I have watched grow from birth dedicated his life to Christ on Sunday and was baptized. It was a beautiful moment to see that young man come forward and make his confession before us all. And, as if that weren't enough to make you teary eyed, two of his buddies, who I have also known from a very young age, moved to his side to support him and congratulate him on his decision. Needless to say the waterworks were flowing (I'm starting to tear up now as I type this!). I cannot tell you how proud I am of these young men. It makes my heart rejoice and sing to know that these young people have hearts on fire for the Lord. I know that their parents are proud of them, just as we all are. I am also proud of their parents too. Good job.

Sunday was capped off with two meals with family and time spent together, oh, and a little more basketball. The Louisville-Baylor women's game was an exciting one! This weekend was busy, but I am thankful for each and every moment. I hope you all enjoyed your Easter weekend as well.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Fabulous Friends

Fabulous Friends Family

Most of you may know that I am a part of the Fabulous Fifties Show, a local production featuring music from 50's, 60's, and 70's with a skit thrown in to transition from one song to the other. It's a pretty big show with about 60 singers, actors, dancers, and band members, all of which are local talent. Each participant volunteers their time and talents, and there are many more volunteers that help with sound, staging, costuming, ticket taking, ushering, concessions, and many other things. It is truly a community event, as most of the county attends at least one of the 8 performances, along with people from all over middle Tennessee and northern Alabama. A few folks make trips from all over the country to attend! The proceeds from the show go to support cancer patients and their families.

We just wrapped up 27th annual show this past Saturday. What most of you may not know is how much the show means to each of us who participate. Three ladies that are involved have been with the show since the beginning! The cause is so important to us all. MANY of us have been touched personally by cancer, or have a close family member who has. As a matter of fact one lady is currently undergoing treatments for cancer, and yet she made it to each show to do her job. She is the true definition inspiration. Another member's husband just got a good scan this week and is in remission. Praise God!

The best part of the show, other than the cause that it supports, is the fact that we are like one big family. The show is a lot of work, but we have a lot of fun too. There is a lot of laughter at rehearsals. We come together and share about our days and our lives. We support each other through the good times and bad. We laugh together, cry together, sing together, and just love each other. And like a family, there might be times that we may not see eye to eye, but we get through the rough spots together too.

One of the things I love the most is how we encourage each other. Every time, and I mean every time, someone comes off stage there is someone waiting in the wings that tells them what a good job they did on their song, dance, or joke. I can't tell you how much that means to me personally. It is such a great boost to have those folks telling me "great job." To my Fabulous Family, I love you all.

The Fabulous Fifties Show means so much to me in so many ways. I can't convey all of the feelings and thoughts that I have about it in just one blog post. I have life long friends that I know that I could call on any time, night or day, and they would be there. Also, there are many in my area who have benefited financially at one of the most trying times in their lives. Cancer takes it's toll on a family, not only physically, but in many other ways. I am proud to be a part of something that can help these folks in some small way. I truly believe that God has blessed the show, for without Him, we are nothing.

Thoughtful Thursday

I spent my time in prayer this morning during my drive to work. I hope that you are all finding ways to strengthen your prayer lives as well. Feel free to share your stories!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Thoughtful Thursday


Let me start off by saying that I did not intend on this blog being entirely about prayer, but the response that I got from everyone on my last post really flattered me and it got me to thinking. What else can I do to be more deliberate with my prayer life?

Making Time

For those of you who don't know, I love music. Love might be an understatement. I love to sing, I love to listen to good music, I have complete appreciation for someone who can really play an instrument of any kind (I can still play my very first piano recital piece and that's it), I have an appreciation for people who can write music. I LOVE music. My ipod has anything from Les Miserables to the Beastie Boys on it. Did I mention that I love music? So, riding to and from work is one of my main music times. I go through phases, so it's really cool to have XM Radio which offers me some variety. Sometimes I get on an 80's kick, sometimes I listen to an old CD, sometimes I listen to whatever play/show I might be involved in at the time. Whatever the choice, car time means music time.

Last night I thought, what if I turn off the radio tomorrow and use that 20 minute drive to work as God time? I mean, really, I am in the car a minimum of 40 minutes a day. What if I used that time to concentrate on talking to God. No radio, no phone; just me and Him. If you're like me, you have trouble with getting distracted while praying/studying, so I thought surely I can devote this 20 minutes solely to God.

So, this morning I got in the car, almost forgot about my promise, but quickly turned off the radio and started talking to God. Now this wasn't my normal "please God get these slow people out of my way so I can get to work on time" kind of prayer. This was meaningful time of asking God to bless my day, and that of my family. I prayed for each family member, for my co-workers, for my church, for my friends. Let me say that it was a great way to get my day started right. I've decided to make it a weekly event and call it Thoughtful Thursday, because I've got to be honest with you, to me music is a gift from God, so I will continue to enjoy that gift as well! But, for now Thursday car time means God time.

Maybe you can try something like this too. I know many of you have kids and you are lucky to have any quiet time, especially in the mornings! So, try it after you drop them off. Or, maybe you can use the time to talk with your kids about God and prayer, or share their celebrations or concerns about the day. Heck, maybe you can talk one of them into praying for you all!

It doesn't matter what you do, just pick a time that you can begin to devote solely to God. After all, He gave His Son for us, and all He asks of us is a committed relationship with Him. We have all heard that successful relationships take work, so give this one the work it deserves.

Friday morning addendum

I had trouble getting this to post last night, so I am posting today. While we are talking about prayer, I ask that you pray for a sweet family who lost their husband and father last night. Mr. Ronnie Osteen was a good man and he will be dearly missed. Singing at church just won't be the same without him.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pray with Purpose

This year I have had the mindset to be more purposeful with my prayer. My prayer life has had it's ups and downs as I'm sure most of us have, so I decided to get out of the mundane "Thank you God for...." and get deeper in and more in touch with God. There are a few things I am doing a little differently, and I have already seen how God is using me and blessing me through this experience.

For example, Facebook. Facebook can be a wonderful tool for connecting with family and friends. The main reason I joined several years ago was to be able to keep in touch with some dear friends of mine in Australia. It's wonderful to be able to see them and their families grow in almost real time! I miss them terribly, so it's a blessing to be able to communicate with them. But, as we all know Facebook can be very destructive. I decided that this year I will not participate in the negative aspect of Facebook, but I wanted to do more. I wanted to think of a way that I could use it for good, without being overbearing. It's funny how things hit you, but I was in the shower on New Year's day, and I came up with the idea of praying for each of my Facebook friends over the course of 2013. So, each day I take the first 2-3 names that pop up on my timeline and I pray for them. I pray for them and their walk with God. Some I know well enough to know what to pray specifically, and I am also very sad to say that I do not know what some people's convictions are. God knows, and I rely on Him and the Spirit to know their needs. It has been such a blessing to me. I have prayed for folks, sometimes not knowing they were going through a particularly rough patch in their lives such as sickness or death of a loved one, only to later find out they were struggling and prayers were so desperately needed. I shouldn't be surprised at all by this, nevertheless it is amazing and awe inspiring. The God we serve is truly awesome.

I hope this motivates some of you to stretch your prayer comfort zones a little and witness what a wonderful tool God has given us; the ability to talk to Him.

Feel free to share some of your prayer stories with me! I would love to read them.