Thursday, November 15, 2012


Dear Abby,

I enjoy the pictures of you and your friends on Instagram. There is a "glow" about you that cannot be bought. Proverbs 15:13 tells us that a cheerful countenance comes from the heart. If our heart is pure and clean it will show in our countenance.

I have observed people for years now. I especially like to watch children and young adults to see if their are "lights" in their eyes. When children are loved and protected they have a glow about them. If they are hungry or scared they do not. The same applies to our spirits. If we know The Lord personally, we stay in the word and keep ourselves clean, we will glow.

Abby, look at yourself in the mirror when you are mad or upset then compare it to pictures that you like of yourself. You will see what I mean by the "glow." There is a big difference in countenances. One is warm and welcoming while the other is sad and unapproachable. Some of the most beautiful people I know are not necessarily beautiful by birth. I am talking about the heart that manifests itself in the face.

Remember to glow or not to glow is a matter of the heart. Guard and protect it from anything that comes between you and your walk with God. May The Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other. Love you very much.


Thursday, October 25, 2012


Dear Abby,

You are old enough now to know that some things in life are just painful. People often say and do things that cause pain for themselves and others. THAT'S LIFE! The question is: "How do we deal with it?"

We all have "defense mechanisms" that we use to get through the painful times. The one thing our family is known for when one of us is hurting is to cry. We can't help it, we just get weepy-eye syndrome.

You have already developed your ways of coping with pain I know, because it is developed gradually in one's life. Perhaps you keep a journal and write to ease the pain. It could be that you play your music and take it out on the keyboard! I like to sing to comfort myself. (A little chocolate doesn't hurt either!)

We are all individuals and handle emotions differently. One thing we should not forget to do during difficult times is to remember that no one can comfort us like The Lord. We are told many times in the scriptures that He cares for us personally. We can talk to Him and read His Word for assurance.

Abby, always remember Jesus cares, He really cares. May The Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other. I love you very much.


Saturday, September 22, 2012


Dear Abby,

I got a text from you yesterday asking what I was doing. I was in a store looking at yarn. I asked you to allow me to pass on the craft of crochet to you. It is one of the most enjoyable, productive things you can do with your hands.

You have been both fortunate and unfortunate to be born in a generation of super technology! Fortunate because machines can do it all, making products plentiful and inexpensive. Unfortunate because something is lost between grandmothers, mothers and daughters in passing down crafts such as sewing, knitting, crochet and cooking. All of these things, by the way, have made some women very wealthy in the last thirty years or so. (Martha Stewart for one.)

Fortunately, you come from a family where you can learn to do many of these things. Your mother enjoys creating her own things and likes to share it with others. Aunt Amy also is very creative and has a blog about sewing. I like to cook and also crochet and knit occasionally. Grandmother has made many quilts and given them away. You have one yourself. She also embroiders very well.

I have been crocheting for 42 years, taught by an older cousin when I was 18. I wish I knew all the things I have made and given away. It's wonderful to be able to do something with my hands besides hold an iPad or phone all the time.

Abby, learn all that you can from the women in your life while you have the opportunity. One day you will pass down the same handcrafts to others. You will remember fondly those special women who touched your life and took the time to share something special with you. May The Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other. I love you very much.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Dear Abby,

Don't we live in a beautiful section of our country? We are so blessed to live this close to the Smoky Mountains. I have many fond memories of times spent there with friends and family over the last 36 years. We have pictures of our children at different ages of their lives in the mountains with both sets of grandparents. We also have pictures of our own grandchildren in some of those same special places.

One of those special places is "The Chimneys." Papa and I went there yesterday for a picnic. Every once in awhile he will feel the urge to go to the mountains. He also has memories of going there as a young child with his parents and a grandmother and aunt. There is something special about driving "up" to the mountains and looking for bear and deer. Papa likes to walk on the huge rocks and listen to the roar of the water all around him.

Another special place in the mountains is "Cade's Cove." It really is a beautiful haven of peace and quiet where you can get away from the hectic life we all live. Not too far from there is a small town called Walland. You have been with us to the cemetery where Papaws relatives are buried. Your mother took pictures so as to remember but you should know the name of it is "Keebles Chapel Cemetery."

Here are the names for you to look for:

James Cross, Born Sept 12, 1881, Died Dec 26, 1934 (Your great-great grandfather)
Pearl Ogle Cross, Born Sept 7, 1893, Died Feb 13, 1973 (great-great grandmother)
Leon J. Cross, Born Feb 9, 1931, Died Jan 6, 1956 (great-great uncle)

Abby, I wouldn't trade all the memories and times spent there for all the best that Disney has to offer! Not me! Some of the most simple things in life, like picnics in the mountains, cannot be replaced by anything man can dream up. Be sure you carry out the tradition of going to the mountains with your children. We must plan a breakfast up there soon with the whole family. May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other. Love you very much.


Saturday, July 28, 2012


Dear Abby,

Papa and I have been married for 40 years today and I want to tell you about our romance. We both gave our lives to serve the Lord in ministry at a young age. We left for Bible College at eighteen and met shortly after we arrived. We really didn't have "love at first sight" because real love comes from knowing someone not just looking at them.

It didn't take long for us to realize we wanted to spend our lives together after spending hours talking about what we each wanted to do with our lives. Our main goal was to serve the Lord and tell others around the world and here at home about His love for them. Neither of us had money to spend on dates so we would go watch basketball games in the field house (gym) and talk for hours on end. Our love grew quickly for each other out of the love we shared for the Lord.

We got married before our 20th birthdays! (Hard to imagine today.) We headed down the road to life and have had many adventures together. We never looked back or regretted marrying each other. We have been through some very tough times as everyone in life does, but it increased our love for each other more.

Abby, set your heart on pleasing God and ask Him to guide you in choosing a mate. He will not let you down. You must trust Him and guard your heart with all diligence. Papa gave me a card this morning and reminded me of a verse that he and I claimed for our marriage. It is "Oh magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together." Ps. 34:3. May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other. I love you very much.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Dear Abby,

I really feel impressed to talk to you about "old" people. A few generations ago the older people in our lives were treated with great respect and consideration. Some countries still place a high priority on the elderly. I was taught to be very respectful of anyone older than myself and to listen when they were speaking. When you think about it, they really have more to say than anyone else because they have lived longer and had more experiences.

When Papa plans a speaker for our church, he usually asks the older more experienced preachers to speak. The reason being he knows he can learn a lot from them. He and I have had the privilege of spending hours with older pastors and evangelists and their wives. We have taken every opportunity to ask questions and to glean from their years of experience.

I want to tell you about a Christian man that is about 104 yrs of age. To my knowledge he is still living. His name is George Beverly Shea. He has been singing for the Lord for most of his life and what an amazing voice he has! He was born in Canada into a Christian home. I think his father was a Methodist minister. He had the opportunity to have a career making a lot of money but chose to give his life in service to the Lord. He travelled and sang with the Rev. Billy Graham all over the world and saw countless numbers of people from many countries come to know the Lord. I love to listen to him sing because I know he is singing from his heart. I have listened to his testimony on YOU TUBE and been encouraged to know that this man has walked with God and found him to be faithful these many years. He has no idea how many people he has encouraged simply because he chose to serve God and stayed the course.

Abby, don't ever take for granted the "old" people in your life. Every time you get the opportunity to listen and observe one, pay attention. It may be in church or school or your home. Take the time to do a "search" of George Beverly Shea and I know you will be blessed by his testimony and his voice. May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other.


Monday, July 2, 2012


Dear Abby

You are on vacation with your family this week and I am enjoying just thinking about it! We were at the beach earlier this summer and if I close my eyes I can hear the ocean and feel that wonderful sense of relaxation you all are having. I just have one thing to say about your vacation with the family and that is "Enjoy every minute of it!" The memories you make together in these days of your youth will be with you forever. God has given you parents that work at making happy memories for you. He has also given you a brother and two sisters to enjoy. Have a wonderful time and savor every moment. May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other. I love you very much.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Dear Abby

Once when you were very small, your brother was fussing about something and you said: "All this whining is giving me a headache!" Now there are more of you in the family and you know how crazy it can get when one or more decides to whine about something. Whining is nothing more than vocal selfishness. It is an "all about me and how difficult my life is" attitude. If you think listening to children whine is rough, try listening to adults that whine!

If we don't squelch the urge to whine and complain while young, it becomes a nasty habit that gets worse as adults. Listen to those around you and see if there is a pattern of whining in their everyday conversation. Check yourself when you feel the urge to whine and ask the Lord to help you nip it in the bud! Replace the whine with pleasant words that lift your spirit and those around you. I love you very much and may the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other.


Friday, May 25, 2012


Dear Abby,

When I was growing up I thought my parents were not afraid of anything. Because of that, I never had a fear of storms or people or life in general. ( Except for those huge palmetto bugs, lizards, spiders and other critters the South is so infamous for!) I do remember when horror movies became popular and occasionally I was allowed to go see one with friends. (I have no idea what my parents were thinking.) That is when I would struggle with fearful thoughts. Even today I cannot allow myself to watch things that involve murders and frightful evil.

There are a lot of "what-ifs" in this life. Your mind must be protected as much as any other aspect of your being. It's not that we should bury our heads in the sand and ignore what is going on in the world, but we are instructed in PHILIPPIANS 4:8 to think about things that are" honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report." The only way to do that is to guard our minds. Be careful about what you read, watch and who you listen to.

If you do become fearful of anything, ask God to help you to overcome it. You can quote scripture and pray for peace of mind. "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (II Timothy 1:7) Abby, a "sound mind" is what every Christian should have. Guard it and nurture it as you do your body. May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other. Much love and prayers go out for you.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Dear Abby,

I am sure by now you have come to realize that life on earth is all about submission. We are all under the authority of someone at all times. It is necessary to have an order to things if life is going to be productive. Within your home, your parents have the authority over you and your siblings. At school, teachers have authority over the class. In government, we have those in authority to help keep law and order in our land. There must be a method to the madness lest chaos reign.

God is the one that established the idea of authority. Romans 13:1 says "the powers that be are ordained of God." It goes on to say if we resist the powers over us, we are resisting God's design for our good. We need to follow the design that the Creator gave us.

I read this definition of submission: "One equal, voluntarily placing himself under another equal, that God may be glorified." That really puts things into perspective! When I choose to submit to those over me, I bring glory to God with my life. We all have a choice to make. Should I have a submissive spirit (not to be mistaken for weakness) or should I go through life doing as I please and no one better get in my way!

Papa and I talked about this subject a few days ago. He began to name people who are examples of those "under authority." He also named some that he felt did not have an attitude of submission in their daily walk. We should be known for our submissive spirit. Our attitudes and actions tell all. The opposite of this would be "pride and arrogance."

Abby, you cannot go wrong with an attitude of submission. You understand the difference in that and weakness. It takes more character and strength from God to be under authority than it does to be rebellious and prideful. Ask the Lord to give you that submissive attitude that will bring glory to Him. Your life will run much smoother if you do. May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other. I love you very much.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Dear Abby,

I read this quote by Jim Elliot, missionary to Ecuador, written about 60 years ago: "Wherever you are, be ALL there!" The first thing I thought of was how frequently I am looking at the top of someone's head because they are looking down at a phone, iPad, or some other device. When Jim wrote this quote he didn't have this technology so he was referring to giving your attention to people regardless of the era you live in.

My point for you is to "be present when you are present!" (You can quote me on that one.) It is so important to give people our full attention when we are with them. We don't know what opportunities we are missing by zoning out or looking down at something all the time. We should not be walking around with a phone in our hand all the time as if our life depends on the next text or phone call we may receive!

Your generation will have to learn to put those things aside when you are in the presence of others be it church, family meals, or just visiting with friends. If you don't learn the appropriate time to use these, you will be robbed of deep intimacy that comes from face-to-face communication with people in your life. You will be like a bunch of marbles bumping into each other all the time.

So what will you choose to have people know you for? Will it be the top of your head or your sweet face and smile? Abby, wherever you are, be ALL there! May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other. I love you very much.


Friday, April 20, 2012


Dear Abby (and Grant),

If I could bestow on you anything I desired for you in this lifetime, it would be something that the Bible says is "more precious than rubies." It is something that brings "riches and honor" to your life and who doesn't want that for their grandchildren? It is the gift that keeps on giving because it also brings "pleasantness and peace," "happiness," "safety," "sweet sleep," the knowledge of God," "length of days," "preservation," "promotion," "understanding," "life and health," and so much more!

Of course I am talking about "wisdom." All of these "jewels" come straight from the book of Proverbs. In Proverbs 2:6 we find that "the Lord giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding." God has given us His Word to guide us in the way of wisdom. We must choose for ourselves to go after it. As much as I want it for you, you have to choose it for yourself.

There are also dire consequences that come to those who refuse instruction and act out of their own understanding. Those people fall in line with ungodly people and their lives are needlessly turned upside down along with those who love them deeply. You can also read about them in Proverbs.

You must make the choice to follow after wisdom. If you will listen to the counsel of the parents God has so graciously given you, and go to His Word to give you wisdom, you will have nothing to lose and great treasures awaiting you! So many people love you and desire this for your lives. May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other.


Thursday, April 12, 2012


Dear Abby,

I grew up in a home with two brothers and two sisters. I shared a bedroom with both sisters. We shared one small closet and had maybe two drawers each for clothes. There was one bathroom for seven people to share! I was always trying to find a place for peace and quiet. I never did like noise and still have a low tolerance for anything loud. I avoid large crowds especially the day after Thanksgiving when all of America is at the mall! (You may or may not be there yourself). I used to climb trees or go to my room at night when everyone else was watching television just to have peace and quiet.

Yours is a different world than mine. The world has become much noisier since my childhood. There are so many distractions now (also known as computers, iPads, iPhones, iPods, Kindle, etc.). It is much more difficult now than it was then to find a time in your life for quietness. Even in church you can hear a phone ring and occasionally someone will even answer it!

Abby, in order to have a quietness in your spirit, you will have to find some time away from distractions and noise. I have come to appreciate the place computers have in our world along with some of the above mentioned electronics. However, good things can become the enemy of great things. There are some things that are only to be obtained in a place of quietness. The Lord himself had to slip away from crowds to get alone and get refreshed. I am really concerned that all of these "distractions" are going to become escape hatches that take people completely away from reality. It is hard to hear the voice of God when we are tuning Him out with everything else.

If you are to come to recognize the voice of God speaking to you, you must allow yourself the luxury of getting away from entertainment and information overload. "In quietness and confidence shall be your strength." (ISA. 30:15). May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other. I love you very much.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Dear Abby,

I never cease to be amazed at some of the choices seemingly intelligent people make! Everyday that we are given on this earth, we wake up and begin the day with choices. The first one is to get out of bed, after that one choice follows the other until the day is over and we choose to go back to bed! Sounds silly, but true nonetheless. I found this clipping tucked inside of a book and thought it worth sharing with you.


Everyday I choose who or what will control me.
If I choose to sin, sin strengthens its control over me.
If I choose to obey my Savior Jesus Christ,
He will give me the power over the destructive power of sin.
Every moral decision determines who controls my life.
I choose my master. I belong to my choice.
Who will I choose today? (written by Cathy Maple)

Powerful words to ponder. May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other. I love you very much.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Dear Abby,

One of the many things I admire about Papa is that whatever he does, he gives 100 percent. He doesn't complain or fuss about menial tasks, he just gets it done. Yesterday we were priming some strips of wood for the ceiling of our porch. I do not like detailed work and quickly lost heart in it. I like jobs that go fast, not time consuming small things. I eventually went on to another job I had started earlier while he labored on. (Some would call that ADD.)

Many times in life you will be called on to do things that are not easy. You already know the difficulty of playing the piano for competition or a recital, playing sports on a team and competing in the school spelling bee. These are the things that will "grow" you. I know you don't like the stress of being in the spotlight. One of these days you will be playing for the larger crowds or making speeches in speech class in front of a lot of people. The key to getting through it is to do it as unto the Lord. You have to forget about yourself and focus on why you are doing it.

Abby, whatever you do, do it wholeheartedly. Use your music to be a blessing to others, play the game for the team. Don't let nerves steal what you have prepared to give away to others.I am looking forward to all that God has prepared for you. "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might.." (ECCLES 9:10).

May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other. I love you very much.


Monday, March 19, 2012


Dear Abby,

A few years ago I read a book about one of our senators that had been captured and tortured in Vietnam earlier in his life. He was a POW for a few years before being released. He loves his country and has served it well. One thing that stood out in my mind is, that while in isolation for many hours, he rehearsed in his mind old books that he had read and movies that he had seen earlier in life. He said this is what helped him to keep his sanity during his captivity.

I began to think about what I'd do if everything was taken from me. What would I rely on to get me through such a difficult ordeal? Abby, there is no doubt in my mind that the single most important thing to get me through would have to be the scripture that I have hidden in my heart. The reason I say that is because I have already learned the significance of God's Word in my life in some of the darkest times.

You have had the opportunity to learn scripture from early childhood. Do not take it for granted or become bored with it. There is great danger in that. I challenge you to sit with pen in hand and write down all the scripture you know. Practice falling asleep while quoting scripture or while getting ready for school in the mornings. Keep it fresh in your mind and meditate on it.

God's Word will give you wisdom and direction for life. Cherish it for the treasure that it is. I heard a missionary tell of handing out Bibles in Russia. People would stand in line for hours to get a Bible and then kiss it when they got it. Americans have no idea how blessed they are to have so many Bibles available to them.

Some of the chapters I have memorized are Psalm 1, Psalm 23, Psalm 100, Psalm 121(my favorite), I Cor.13, and I am now working on Hebrews 11. There are many single verses that come to mind throughout the day depending on what may be going on at that time.

May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other. I love you very much.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Dear Abby,

When you were very small your parents began to teach you "good habits." You know what I mean, things like brushing your teeth, combing your hair, cleaning your room and saying "please" and "thank yous." These are the things that help shape our character when we are small.

I would like to suggest to you a good habit to begin at this age in life is to guide your conversations with friends toward the things of God. You are at the age where God really begins to work in your heart. In every group of people there is someone guiding and setting the tone for the conversation. If we are not careful our conversations will go to the negative realm. We can always find negative things to talk about, it comes natural to us. The challenge is for someone in the group to steer the conversation to spiritual things.

Of course you want to talk about what girls love to talk about and that is fine, but be sure you monitor the tone of the conversation so that it is pleasing to the Lord. One of the ways to do that is to read good Christian books and share them with friends. Ask your friends what the Lord is doing in their lives and tell them what He is doing in yours. Ask your friends how you can pray for them.

Abby, pay attention to the conversations you have with others. See if there are opportunities for you to talk about spiritual things, if not, create them. It is a good habit to get into. When people walk away from a conversation with you, be sure they were blessed by your presence.

May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other. I do love and pray for you.


Thursday, March 1, 2012


Dear Abby,

When I was growing up it was very important for people to be dependable. The lessons for that began with school attendance. Tardiness was not tolerated except for something that couldn't be helped. Other areas of dependability involved appointments, jobs, volunteer work and commitments to church choir or other opportunities to serve.

The small things early in life help us with the bigger things as we grow up. If you understand the importance of being on time for school and church now, then it won't be as hard when you get a job or go to college to be dependable.

There are times in life that we are called on to do things when we don't feel like it. People today rely on feelings more than they use to. They may or may not show up for church or even a job if they don't feel like it that day. Abby, feelings should not control our lives. I am not talking about being sick. That's another story. There are many days that I have seen Papa in a lot of pain or extremely tired but he chose to go to work anyway. That is because he learned at an early age that dependability is very important.

If you join a choir, a school club, accept a babysitting job, or other commitment, be there and be there on time. Be known for your dependability. It does have its rewards. It may not involve money or recognition, but you will reap many benefits for it in your lifetime.

You've heard me quote this children's poem before:

"Whether the weather be cold,
Or whether the weather be hot,
We'll weather the weather
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not!"

May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other. I love you very much.


Thursday, February 23, 2012


Dear Abby,

One of the things that has greatly influenced my life is reading. You may have discovered by now that reading another's life story or reading about the history of our world can direct the path of one's life. Other than the Bible, I enjoy books that help me in my Christian walk, biographies of famous people, books about our country, some of the great literary works and some for sheer pleasure like children's poems and the one I recently shared with you, "Papa's Wife."

There is nothing like holding a good book in your hand and turning the pages with great anticipation. I have Kindle on my ipad but it just doesn't hold the thrill for me that a regular book does. Here is a list of some books in my library that you might enjoy. They are not listed in any particular order. They are:

Books by Bess Streeter Aldrich such as:

A Lantern In Her Hand
Song of Years
White Bird Flying
Spring Came On Forever

Jane Eyre
Little Women
Uncle Toms Cabin
The Diary of Anne Frank
The Hiding Place

Biographical novels by Irving Stone:

Love is Eternal
The Presidents Lady
For Those Who Love

Books by Elisabeth Elliot:

The Shaping Of A Christian Family
Keep a Quiet Heart
Gateway To Joy
Gods Guidance
Passion and Purity
Quest For Love
The Path of Loneliness
Discipline, The Glad Surrender

The Pursuit Of God by A. W. Tozer probably impacted my spiritual walk more than any other book besides the Bible.
Spiritual Authority by Watchman Née
Rivers of Living Water by Ruth Paxson
Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard

Bible study books by Elizabeth George, Beth Moore and others.

Missionary Biographies about Isobel Kuhn, David Livingstone, Jim Elliot, William Carey, Gladys Alyward, Hudson Taylor and many others.

At this time I am reading "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn.

Abby, you are welcomed to my library anytime. I look forward to your excitement when you read some of these books. May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other. I love you very much.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Dear Abby,

There is no way I can describe to you the joy of being a grandmother. I was privileged to attend the births of all seven of you and then spend the first week caring for mother and baby. The bible says that "Children's children are the crown of old men..." (Proverbs 17:6) Our grandchildren are an adornment to our lives. Think of getting all dressed up and then adding the jewelry to your outfit!

You are blessed to know both grandmothers, great-grandmothers, your grandfathers and one great-grandfather. Mamaw is eighty-nine and grandmother is eighty-five. We don't see them much anymore because they live in different states but I want to tell you some things about them. This is part of your family history and one day you can tell your children about them.

Mamaw was born in Kentucky and grew up in a place known as "the land between the lakes." She was a farm girl and loved the outdoors. She said she loved riding horses and being outside with her father. She graduated high school and went to Michigan to work. That is where she met and married Papaw. They lived in Michigan until retirement age and then came to Knoxville where Papaw was born. She was a full-time homemaker and a good cook. She worked very hard caring for her family and it's no wonder her three sons adore her.

Grandmother and Granddaddy were both born in North Carolina. She went into nursing school and worked most of her life in a hospital. Grandmother was not interested in cooking and allowed me in the kitchen at an early age. I loved to cook and please my dad with tasty foods.When I was young we had a housekeeper that cared for us while both parents worked long hours to provide for us. (They had five children.) Papaw worked in a steel mill in Michigan and Granddaddy worked in a paper mill in Savannah, Georgia where I grew up.

All four of these great-grands have given testimony of a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Perfect? No way! But they were hard workers and good parents. One day we will all be reunited in Heaven.

Abby, growing old is a privilege. We are not guaranteed a long life. It is a gift from God. Having said that, I must also say that it has difficult challenges. Having cared for others for so many years, they now need to be cared for. Mamaw is beginning to forget people and other things. Grandmother lives alone and takes care of herself. She struggles with loneliness. What does God expect from us when it comes to them? We are to honor them as our parents no matter what their age. We are also to care for them as the needs come up.

I was able to help Mamaw for years before Papa got so sick. Now she is living with Uncle Steve and Aunt Kandi. I will gladly care for my mother when she needs it if that is what she wants. Whatever I do, it will never be enough to repay them for what they've done for me. Grandparents are a gift from God. Yours have never done anything famous or outstanding but they have all been hard workers and good parents. Pray for us and love us as we do you. Continue to include us in your life as much as possible for as long as God allows. May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other. I love you very much.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Dear Abby,

Hospitality is a large part of your heritage. Papa and I were blessed to have parents that taught us by example to be hospitable. Most Sundays at our house there were extra people around the table. With five children in the family, three of us teens at the same time, we often hosted youth groups or individuals in our home. Our parents had many friends and relatives that came to visit. One summer a cousin lived with us because his parents were going through a difficult time.

There are different ways to show hospitality. There is a couple in our church that have opened their pool up for families in our church. What a blessing that has been to so many. Last week I was invited to an older woman's home for a cooking lesson. She taught me to make her famous meatballs and gravy. We had a wonderful time of fellowship. Another woman in our church has hosted a Christmas cookie decorating party. She is known for her amazing artful cookies.

When Papa and I got married we were always hosting someone. In college we served popcorn and koolaide to other young couples. Once we hosted 27 college kids for Thanksgiving in our tiny apartment. When your mother was growing up we had a variety of people in our home. We had missionaries, evangelist, other pastor's families, neighbors, relatives and a lot of friends. We also hosted church activities in our back yard.

A few years ago a young woman came to our church with her sister. I did not recognize her until she told me her name. She had been a friend of Amy's in school days and had been in our home on several occasions. She told me that she always loved coming to our house. She even recalled a meal she ate with us that included an apple cheese casserole that she liked very much. I cannot tell you how that impacted me. I have thought about it many times since then. We never know how our hospitality will impact another.

Your parents also are very hospitable. It comes out of a generous heart and a love for serving others. I always enjoy going to your home. We have spent the last few Christmases and Thanksgivings there and what a great time we have.

When you are grown remember to practice the spirit of hospitality. Share what you have even if it is popcorn and koolaide! You never know what kind of burdens another may be carrying and how your kindness may help lift their load. I assure you the blessings will be all yours. May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other.


Friday, February 3, 2012


Dear Abby,

Even at your age life has its ups and downs. The only way to remain peaceful is to be of a "steadfast mind" (Isa. 26:3-4). When all the drama of being a teen girl is front and center you must practice steadfastness. It simply means that you are aware of being supported by someone bigger than any human prop.

You must be trusting the Lord to sustain you. In Psalm 18 He is called "OUR ROCK", "OUR REFUGE", "OUR STRONG DELIVERER", "OUR FORTRESS", and "OUR HIGH TOWER"..... you get the picture. I remember my teen years fondly. I also remember that I was struggling to form the right responses to life's difficulties. Now is the time to learn that God is the one who will not disappoint you. He understands when others do not.

I have observed many Christian women that have wavered up and down when dealing with difficulties. They are fretful and unstable. On the other hand, I have seen others remain calm and at rest because they are of a steadfast mind. They have learned to trust in the Lord and not human reasoning. They know that He is who He says He is and He will sustain them.

You can choose to be steadfast. Read God's word, meditate on it, and ask God to make it real in your life. It will change you if you allow it to. You will find that He is trustworthy. You will become a solid woman of faith having proved Him in difficult times.

I want to be known for my steadfastness. I pray that one day you will look back at these years and tell your granddaughter that you made the decision to trust God in all your ways and that He did not disappoint you. I am telling you, my granddaughter, that He is trustworthy. He has never failed me.

May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other. I love you very much.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Dear Abby,

A few years ago your mother gave me a birthday card that read "When it comes right down to it, the secret to having it all is believing that you already do!" In other words, the real gift is contentment.

Most of life's problems can be traced to discontentment. Discontented people are always looking for something that will satisfy them. They are usually whining or complaining about the situation they are in. Their lives are marked by ingratitude. Homes are turned upside down because of discontentment.

The Bible teaches us that true contentment comes by resting in the Lord. Whatever we get in life comes from His hand. We are to be grateful for whatever He gives us. A wise woman said that "Gratitude is the foundation upon which contentment is built." That gratitude is to be directed to God. There is no true contentment in this life without a relationship with Christ.

A home where there is contentment is a blessed place to live. It is a place of peace and a refuge for comfort. If one member of the family is discontent it infects everyone. Do your part in making your home a blessing to live in.

If you find that you are struggling in this area, take it to the Lord. He will give you the grace you need. Contentment is a learned trait. The sooner in life you learn it, the better off you will be. The apostle Paul went through everything imaginable for a person to go through. He said that he "learned" to be content (Phil. 4:11-13). Abby, a content woman is blessing to everyone.

May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other. I love you very much.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Dear Abby,

One of the things I pray for you and my other grandchildren is that you will have "discretion." You may know already that discretion is having the ability to make responsible decisions, using good judgement in conduct or speech, being unobtrusive and modest. The reason it is so important to me is because the Bible says "Discretion shall preserve thee" (Proverbs 2:11). It will keep you and protect you from possible harm. The Holy Spirit gives us small "checks and warnings" in our spirit. We can, however, ignore them and choose not to listen.

A few years ago, a young high school graduate went on a trip with a group of friends and became a missing person. It was later learned that she had made some unwise choices that involved alcohol and people she didn't know, but left with after a party. Her mother is in the news occasionally, and it breaks my heart to think what she must be going through.

A good example of a woman with discretion is given to us in I Samuel 25. Her name is "Abigail." (What a great name!) Read her story and see how discretion made a difference in a lot of lives.

Abby, no matter how beautiful a person is on the outside, without discretion the Bible compares us to a pig with a gold jewel in its snout! (Proverbs 11:22) Wherever you go, whatever circumstance you find yourself in, use discretion. Pay attention to the "checks." Ask God to give you an abundance of discretion because you will need it throughout your life.

May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other. I love you very much.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Dear Abby,

There are many ways of expressing the joy in our hearts. For me it is in singing. I have been singing my way through life these 59 years. I can remember so many songs that at any given moment, no matter where I am, I might break out in song. This poem says it all:

"Music plays inside of me;
And tunes are in my head
From waking time each morning
Until I go to bed.
Music makes me happy;
And things cannot go wrong
When I am filled with melody
And sing my faith in song."

Another way a person expresses joy is through playing a musical instrument. It thrills my heart to hear you play the piano! I am so thankful you enjoy it so much. Lily expresses her joy through drawing or making a card for someone. There is a friend of ours that loves to whistle and he does it quite well. Joy is the sign of a true child of God.

The hymns of the faith are very dear to me. Music is changing in churches today, and it is one of my desires that my grandchildren know and love the old hymns. I thank the Lord that at this point in your life you know many of them and so do my other grandchildren. I want to share with you and the others some of my favorites. When I am gone and you think of things you remember about my life, I want this to be on the list. So, for the record, here they are:


I keep a small hymn book close to my quiet time chair. When you meet with the Lord, it is nice to praise Him in song. Don't let the hymns of the faith disappear. Pass them down to your children (my great-grandchildren). "...... come before His presence with singing." PS.100

"May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other." I love you very much,


Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Dear Abby,

I just came from a little store on the corner where I go for cards and cleaning items. It seems to me that the people who run this store are a little on the crude side. It may be that this is the only place they can get a job, I'm not sure. The reason I mention it is that my heart always goes out to them.

Today there was a new cashier. She was smoking by the front door as I entered the store.. Later, I had a chance to talk with her because she was the one that waited on me. She was very friendly but sort of "down." She asked if I had a good New Year. I replied that I hoped it would be a good one since it had only gotten started four days ago! She then began to say things like "Maybe it'll get better," and "I hope it gets better." This gave me the idea that she wasn't happy nor did she have any assurance that anything good was in her future. I paid for my goods and then gave her a pamphlet to read with the assurance that she could have a very bright future. It was "GOD'S SIMPLE PLAN OF SALVATION."

Compassion is one of the oils of this life. We meet people everyday that are in need of compassion. (Sometimes we are one of them.)

Gratefulness is another precious oil of life. There is nothing more obnoxious than a person who is ungrateful. When we thank someone for helping us, for a gift received or for a service rendered, we are pouring out a blessing on them. A very difficult load can be lifted from someone who knows they are appreciated.

Politeness is another one of those oils. Never use shyness as an excuse to be rude. We should always acknowledge another person when they enter our personal space or if we pass them in the hallway at church, school or work. People who will not speak to another show the worst kind of arrogance. How sweet to be the recipient of a nice smile and a "hello." And don't forget those hugs for your parents and siblings from time to time!

No matter how old a person is, a warm hello can bring a little oil to life. Please remember the new girl in class or the one who feels left out. Be polite and include those who are lonely.

One more oil that keeps life running smoothly is thoughtfulness. How delightful it is for a daughter to do things around the home without being asked. Or maybe doing something for a teacher or friend that is totally unexpected. What an encouragement that can be to them.

Life is full of friction. It comes from sources such as people, difficult circumstances and even from within ourselves. We, as Christian women, must get that fresh oil from spending time with the Lord. You are not too young to develop a time alone with Him everyday. A good place to start is reading out of Psalms and Proverbs. Ask the Lord for that fresh oil to keep life running smoothly. You are a delight to be with at this wonderful time of life. My prayer is that you get even sweeter as the days go by.

"May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other." Love you much,