Thursday, May 10, 2012

Repost: Anita's Mother's Day Tribute.

Mother's Day Presentation: Anita, May/10/2003

Here are my notes from the talk that I gave at the Mother/Daughter
Banquet 5/10/03.
You have chosen for your theme Mothers Are Everywhere.
There are days when I certainly wish that were true - because I NEED to
be everywhere in order to get EVERYTHING done!
But we have come tonight to celebrate the MOMs in our lives and we really
can't do that without honoring the ONE who truly is everywhere, all the
time & never changes! It is only through God's grace and faithfulness
that moms can be anything or anywhere.
I have found that being the woman that God wants me to be is what enables
me to be the wife, mother, daughter, friend and neighbor that God wants
me to be.
In Matthew 28:20 Jesus say * "and surely I am with you always . . ."
implied . . . To enable you to do as I have commanded. In reality Moms
can't be everywhere but we serve a living God that will never leave us or
forsake us. The most important thing that a mom can do is to realize that
and to pass that knowledge on to their children.
I had a wonderful relationship with my mom. Even as a teen, I counted her
as one of my very best friends. She wasn't the type to sit up and worry
when I was out - she would go on to bed - but I think she would have been
disappointed if I had not gone to sit on her bed when I arrived home. We
had wonderful long talks, accompanied by my Dad's snores, in the dark of
her bedroom on weekend nights during my high school years. Later, just
after I had graduated from college and only several months after I met my
future husband, Dale, I remember HER sitting on MY bed as I shared with
her my hopes for the future of our relationship. Then early in at least 2
of my 4 pregnancies I remember going to share the news with my parents
and Mom saying, "I had already figured that out, I was just waiting for
you to be ready to tell me." J Not only was she everywhere - she knew
everything! J
When Kristin was born - the first grandchild for my parents - my whole
family sat in the waiting room for 7 hours awaiting the announcement of
her arrival. I had never really understood the depths of a mother's love
until after her delivery - when having a very fresh memory of the pain of
childbirth and my mother said "Having you in the delivery room and
knowing what you were going through was harder than having a baby
myself." WOW!

My mom continued to be available to me - When I had a 2 year-old
struggling with adjusting to a new baby in the house and threw up my
hands in despair - mom was over in only a couple of minutes more than the
25 minutes between our houses. There wasn't much she could do but just
being there renewed my courage.
The most poignant recollection of her presence at the right time was in
May of 1998. I was 9 months pregnant - due to deliver our 4th child
within a week or so. Mom made daily phone calls from KY to check my
condition. Finally, on Thursday morning, May 14, she called and said "I'm
just going to come check on you and if nothing happens in the next day or
so I'll go back home and wait for your call." She arrived on Thursday
afternoon. Early Friday morning my water broke and we were able to leave
for the hospital worry-free knowing that our 3 children were in the best
of care! I have thanked God many times for sending my mom to OHIO that
When that baby, Alyssa, was only 6 months old, my mom was diagnosed with
colon cancer and surgery revealed that the cancer had already spread to
her liver. The Doctors told my parents, but they chose to not tell anyone
else, that she had only 6-8 months to live. My mom resolved at that time
to live life to the fullest and to concentrate on making memories. For
her, chemotherapy treatments became just an appointment on her calendar.
She choose not to dwell on death but to live! She didn't miss a single
birthday celebration of the grandkids, she organized a surprise party to
celebrate her in-law's 60th anniversary in VA. She even insisted that she
and my dad and sister make the 3 hour trip here one Sunday afternoon to
see my children in a Christmas production at church, only to turn around
and make the 3 hour trip back home that same night.
It was that same Christmas, 1999, when she gave me the most treasured
gift I had ever received - this Mother's ring. It had been her mom's and
then my mom's and being her only daughter with 4 children she wanted me
to have it. To me it is so much more than a ring - celebrating not only
the gift of my children but also my mother's love and legacy.
Late in April of 2000, Mom and Dad came to Ohio to celebrate Kathlyn's
7th birthday. Mom began experiencing some problems and that was her last
trip. In June I was able to spend a couple of days caring for her and had
just returned to Ohio when we received the call that she was dieing. As
the Lord helped to make all the arrangements we were able to leave the
camp, with Kid's Kamp in full swing and were the last immediate family
members to arrive. Immediately I went to her bedside and, reminiscent of
those high school days, sat on her bed and shared my heart. She wasn't
able to speak back but God assured my spirit that she heard. Within an
hour she was in His presence.
And at that moment I began to experience what it's like when Mom is not
everywhere! But you know what? She had modeled for me a complete trust in
the ONE that IS everywhere and I found in Him a comfort and peace that
can't be described.
No, my mom isn't everywhere, but God is! I have chosen to dwell not on
what I don't have but on what I do. In a time of intense grief about 3
months after mom's death God spoke to me through a phone call from an old
friend that I had spoken with in several years. I have never experienced
His love for me as expressed through a servant as I did that night! I
have His comfort!
I also have a rich heritage and legacy left by my mom. She was committed
to God and through His love served her husband, her children, her church,
her neighbors and her community! She gave me a beautiful example of
Christ-honoring servant hood.
And I have a new relationship provided by God - a step-mother! Just 1
year ago my Dad married Kaye. Kaye loves God with all her heart,
faithfully serves Him and has a love and care for my Dad that is a gift
to us all! But she is also a wonderful "mom" to me and an OUTSTANDING
"Grandma" to my children! I have God's faithfulness and provision!
Proverbs 31 talks of a woman who fears the Lord, diligently works to gain
and share wisdom and is busy sharing from her surplus with her family,
the poor and needy, and making a difference within her community. VS. 28
says "Her children arise and call her blessed".

Tonight I honor the memory of my mother, Barbara Absher and honor my
step-mother, Kaye Absher for their love and service for God and their
families. I am truly blessed!

Moms, I want you to think for a moment -
What kind of legacy are you building? Are we giving our children reason
to "rise up and call her blessed?"
I love studying PROVERBS. It is packed with so much practical stuff -
things I can apply and put into practice. As I have studied Proverbs
there are 3 things that stand out to me that will help us to build a
First, a fear of the Lord.
Proverbs 31:30 states "Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting but a
woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."
* Will you be remembered as a woman who loved God?
* Have you modeled for your children a complete trust and reliance on
Proverbs 15:16 says "Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great
wealth with turmoil."
* What are we seeking after? Things and possessions or a greater
understanding and love for our Lord?
Proverbs 3:5 and 6 are very familiar verses, "Trust in the Lord with all
your heart, do not lean on your own understanding - in all your ways
acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight."
But lets go on to verses 7 and 8 "Do not be wise in your own eyes, fear
the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and
nourishment for your bones."
Second, as I look at the Proverbial Woman that God wants to make me into
I see a woman seeking to serve others.
Proverbs 31:15 says "She gets up while it is still dark; she provides
food for her family and portions to her servant girls."
Throughout this chapter there are many mentions of this woman serving and
doing for her own family. This woman is not so busy with outside demands
on her time that her family suffers. No, I see this woman as focusing and
concentrating on the needs of her family.
Then, with what time and energy is left she reaches out to others.
Proverbs 31:20 says "She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands
to the needy."
vs.26 states "She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her
Legacy Women will seek to share with others from the wisdom and resources
that God has given them!
And last but certainly not least important a woman of legacy will seek
wisdom and endeavor to grow.
Let's read Proverbs 2:1-11. These verses are addressed My son. I don't
think it is inappropriate to substitute My Daughters!
Chapter 23:12 says "Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to
words of knowledge."
In conclusion
A legacy builder will have
A fear of the Lord - this involves a reverence, trust and surrender of my
whole life.
She will look for opportunities to serve God through serving others
Will continually seek God's wisdom and growth in her relationship and
walk with Christ!
Moms, let's take a moment to consider our legacy. Search your heart and
allow God through His Holy Spirit to mold you and make you.
Daughters - and that really should not exclude any one in this room -
take a moment and consider how God has blessed you through the person of
your mother. If you still have your mom, resolve now to take the time and
look for an opportunity to "rise up and call her blessed". Don't take
these moments for granted! Tell her what she means to you!
If your mom is a memory take the time to thank God for her sacrifice and
love and look for an opportunity to honor her memory!

Repost: Mother's Hands, Mindy McCulley

Mother’s Hands ; Mindy, May,2003
I saw my mother’s hands the other day. This might not seem very surprising
to some, except for the fact that my mother passed away nearly three years
ago. I was changing the sheets on our bed when I looked down and saw
mom’s hands. For many years people have been telling me that I look like my
mother, but I never could see it when I looked in the mirror. Yet, there I was
doing a menial task like changing the sheets and then I saw them, my mother’s

There wasn’t anything really remarkable about her hands. Well except for the
crooked fingernail on her pointer finger that she had smashed in a car door
when she was a teenager. And her knuckles were the biggest parts of her
fingers; she used to call them her Pennsylvania Dutch knuckles. Her fingertips
were rough and calloused, probably because she never used a cutting board.
And her thumb had a distinctive curve, like she was always giving a thumb’s
up! Needless to say, no one ever asked her if she would like a career as a
hand model. But you see, she did have model hands.

Her hands had the softest touch. They could soothe a crying baby or calm an
aggravated teen or corral a wayward toddler with the gentlest encouragement.
Her hands could feed many or just a few. Her hands could coax beautiful
melodies out of piano keys (sometimes), autoharps, hand bells or even little
children more inclined to sing off-key. And only when it was really necessary,
her hands could put a sting on a young behind. Her hands could bolster a
young mother on the verge of giving up. Or make the sourest lemonade taste
sweet. Her hands could make blankets, sweaters, prom dresses and, of
course, baby doll clothes. Her hands could turn wildflowers and weeds into
arrangements worthy of a king. And her hands could lead the eyes of a small
child across the page time and time again as he learned to read. But her hands
became most powerful when she folded them in prayer.

My favorite memory of my mother was when Joshua was born. Craig asked
Mom to be in the delivery room with us because he was afraid that his weak
stomach would cause him difficulties and he didn’t want me to be by myself if
he passed out. So, there the three of us were with nurses and doctors coming
around sporadically for 14 hours. After Joshua was finally born, and he was
lying on my chest, he reached his arm out and spread his fingers and Mom
reached her hand out and laid his hand on her palm. Joshua and Mom always
had a special relationship and I think it started just a few minutes after his
birth, when he felt the security of her hands.

So it’s okay if I see my mother’s hands whenever I look at my own. I just
hope that the legacy my hands leave will be half the legacy she left to me.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

W.J. Absher Chapter 4 , McDonald Mill Community, where he grew up.

This is a view of Dad's home place through the window of McDonald Mill United Methodist Church. I had the privilege of worshiping this morning(4/3/11) in the church where Dad accepted Christ about 80 years ago.

Before I went into the church I stood outside the door and looked up the road which I'm sure Daddy walked many times. Here is what my mind's eye saw: Off to the right I saw a house on the hill, the same one framed by the window from inside the church. There were stones arranged as stair steps snaking up the side of the hill from the creek to the yard gate. At the creek there was a bridge mad with two logs serving as the supports and boards with large cracks nailed to the slightly twisted logs. The twists made the floor of the bridge a bit wavy which warned the walker to slow down, beware, or be splashed into the creek.

There was enough space between the road and the bridge for a store building that was operated by the Absher family in the 1920s. William Avery had moved his family to the McDonald Mill community when William Jessie was less than a year old. The store building had unpainted weather board siding and a sloped roof which gave it a higher front than back. A small porch was the buffer between the road and door to the small room that was lined with shelves, had a small counter and another door that led to to the warehouse in which bagged goods such as animal feed, seed, flour, and other bulky items were kept. It was not necessary to keep a big inventory on hand since there was another store at the Mill,  Custer's Store , up in Roanoke County and another at Dry Run. The senior Absher moved to the county two buy a track of timber and the two houses and the store building were a part of the deal.

The second house was closer to my vantage point but not as easy to see as the house on the hill. This house was actually older that the one on the hill and was just immediately across from the store building. The house on the road was only as wide as the builders could make it as they eked out a flat piece by moving rocks up to where the mountain took a sharp jut upwards. The house had to go up rather than out so it just consisted of four rooms, two stacked on the other two. This was truly a "road house" and it had housed family and travelers for many years after the Indian fort at McDonald Mill became non-functional. (To be Continued)

Willie Jester's Valentine's Day 2012 @ Prayer Breakfast

Willie Jester became good friends with Mom and Dad and he enriched their final years. He was asked to speak at the BUMC prayer breakfast. Here are his notes ( with permission).

Prayer Breakfast – 2/14/2012 – BUMC
Good morning! How appropriate – Valentine’s Day a day of love yet….
Did you know what we are doing this morning is illegal in 52 countries.
Actually, what we do on Sundays is too….and that is worship.
Have no doubt…each of us is not only incredibly blessed to be able to worship freely as we do, we are also here with a purpose. Luke 12:48"To whom much is given, of him much will be expected."
I met Bill Absher in church. I came in and happen to take the seat in front of he and Jean (Reggie had not started the sermon yet, so Jean was awake). During an early part in the service we stood and Bill’s bulletin, full of propaganda as Reggie has called it from time to time, filled my seat. It was 3-4 sheets. I turned around and said, golly day, I have only been in church 10 minutes and you are already throwing things at me!  Well, that started it, because that smile Bill had was something you can’t forget.
Now, this was, of course, during  the early service. And this speaks to God’s engineering of circumstances far better than my own wisdom. …you see….as a single guy you are suppose to go to the regular service to meet girls, but apparently God wanted me to go to the early service and see the light of Christ instead. ….once you met Bill Absher, I believe you saw the light of Christ in his eyes.
And now what…you can give that up……Let’s see…the Light of Christ or the regular service…I went with Bill.
You don’t “get” Bill without his wife Jean. Without Jean, you don’t get the angel Barbara, without Barbara you don’t get to Archie.
God’s engineering is amazing to say the least
Without Bill and Jean I don’t get to Janis Perdue….who has become my mom. You see I had lost my mom, and here God was…knowing what we need.  Pay no attention to the fact I affectionately call her the witch.   God’s engineering
….now Archie was in the class of ’52, my dad’s class here at VPI.  Go one step further, when I applied to tech, Cliff Cutchin was on the Board of Visitors for Tech, and he happened to live down the street from me. He wrote a recommendation letter for me….addressed to Archie.
God works in mysterious ways to say the least.
Well, I started getting out of God’s way… when you get out of God’s way… you realize God just might be on to something.
I started to see how they (Bill, Jean, Barbara, Archie, Janis) were letting Christ out. I came to understand that it is ironic how God, through His Prevenient Grace beats nudges, pushes, pulls, you to let Him into your heart and accept Him and the Holy Spirit… once we do….the Holy Spirit (conscience on steroids) spends all of His time nudging us, prodding us, pushing us to let Out!. To put Him in the game. Christ, the Holy Spirit wants out, via the expression of your life.
Well with Bill Absher, he let the Holy Spirit be in the game, as a matter of fact he not only let the Holy Spirit in the game, he turned over all the coaching to Him as well. You see…. I learned  it is not about your ability, it is about your availability that makes a difference. Bill made himself available.
I saw this in Bill, and the Lord opened my eyes to see it among you…the Body of Christ…..made me see it in others…. Janis, Janet and Mike Sims, Steve and Mary Ann Cass, Steve,  Denise Walker, Charlie and Ellen Coale, Joey and Tracey Altizer,  Stuart Mease, Mike Day, all the men in Bible Study, the Parks, Pam and Tindal with Fun 143, Mary Korb leading non-Christians in a bible study and more….
I came understand the Body of Christ.  Making self available.
The Body of Christ is the Church and the church is made up of you…the hands and feet of Christ. And each of us have purpose and make an impact on others every single day.  Oswald Chambers “However small the visible measure of our lives – out of us will flow rivers that bless the uttermost parts of the earth.”
I have learned Christ makes a difference, when you make yourself available.
When you make yourself available, you:
Exalt the Lord
Edify the saints
Equip people
Encourage people
Evangelize to the lost (Janis and tracts) – Janis makes herself available. Always!
When available you are:
Salt that can be tasted
Light that can be seen
Influence that can be felt
Testimony that can be heard – You make a difference
I have come to understand there is a choice you have to make between a cause and Christ. Christ didn’t have a cause other than to follow the will of His Father. John 4:34 – Jesus said “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me to finish His work.” Paul was devoted to a person (Christ), not a cause. Paul didn’t talk about the church’s he started nor the thousands he lead to Christ….Phil 3:10 – “that I may know Him”.
I have seen through Bill and you, the understanding of Acts 1:8 “ye shall witness unto me” – grasping what it means…. It is not to witness to what Jesus can do…but be a pure witness to the Love of Jesus Christ. Selfless.
Bill showed life is not one bit about himself.. He was instrumental in starting this prayer breakfast. Not only to lift others in prayer but demonstrating the fact that God does answer prayer.
Not what He does, but that He does it….. for us.
Oswald Chambers, “Everyone who is saved is called to testify to the fact…”
I have learned to take the focus from “accept Christ and have salvation”, although true, awesome and humbling in and of itself, there is something much more. As Jesus talks about Faith in Matthew 6:30  “will He not much more clothe you”, it is not faith in what He does, but that He will do it!
Oswald Chambers, “Abandoned to the love of Christ is the one thing that bears fruit in life.”   Bill Absher, Janis Perdue, all of you…you bear fruit.
Never forget the purpose you have and use the power you have by making yourself available to Him
Love wins…. because Jesus Lives!
I have also learned our Blessings came at an incredible price…God needs us like a hole in the head! HE created everything you see with a word. You don’t think He can snap His fingers and do it again?....... but He didn’t. He sent His Son, Selfless Servant to show His love…He died for us, then lived…for us.
When someone asks what is a Christian or what does a Christian believe, I can sum it up in two words…Jesus Lives. ….every monotheist religion recognizes Jesus Christ, but only we accept the fact that He lives…if he doesn’t live….there is no love. There is no light of Christ.
I saw light of Christ in Bill Absher. The light of Christ is in each of you….never doubt the purpose and influence you have….make yourself available.
We do not live in the minutes of our lives, but in the moments.
Jesus told Peter, “Feed my sheep”. What does that mean exactly? It is you “…being broken bread and poured out wine, that you have to be the nourishment of other souls until they learn to feed on God.”
Before I learned to feed God, I had to draw on it through others (my parents and family growing up then Bill, Jean, Barbara, Janis and you right here.
It evolves. . While your personal relationship grows with the Lord, you begin being poured out wine and broken bread of those around you. This epitomizes the church, BUMC, the Body of Christ.
Each time I see Cross, it is empty…. Gods’ Grace, Jesus Lives, and we have purpose, power and peace.
I pray
that we may use our purpose to be the broken bread and poured out wine for others,
that we use the power we have via the Holy Spirit to be strong in our witness, to exalt,  to encourage, to evangelize
and that we have joy through the Peace . Peace in the fact that we do have Purpose and Power to make a difference.
I have learned it is not about ability, but availability.
Thank you, God Bless you as you continue to be available…..and make a difference as the Body of Christ.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Special Valentine's Day

February 2007: I had been in Blacksburg with Mom and Dad, Jean and Bill Absher, for several days.  Dad was already confined mostly to his recliner and his movement restricted by Parkinson Disease.  Mother was confined as well since she gave up on driving after one lesson from Dad and an encounter with a fence in a pasture field.  That driving lesson preceded the 2007 Valentine's Day by more than 65 years- so the folks had lived through a lot in 68 years of marriage.
But Dad was aware of the day!  I was saying my good byes and he beckoned me to come closer.  He pointed to a  bouquet of roses in the Roanoke Times and whispered, " How about going and getting some for Jean."  My urgency to get back to my Valentine in Kentucky suddenly disappeared.  I hurriedly went to Krogers concerned that the roses would be sold out.  They weren't and I felt like I had discovered a gold mine, and maybe I had.   The love that was pure gold shone brightly that morning as Dad presented a dozen roses to his bride of almost 6 dozen years!
That is a Valentine's Day I'll never forget.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Day of Remembering.

Today, November 6, 2011 has been celebrated in the church as All Saints Day.  Barbara  Jean had provided pictures of Mom and Dad to the Blacksburg  UM Church. They were displayed along with other church members that had died in the past year.  Pastor Reggie noted that some of the people being remembered had been regular attenders at the 8:45 service including Mom and Dad as well as Annie Tuttle (Barbara had provided her picture as well).  The title of Reggie's Sermon was " What Matters Most."
He talked about his own life and the unpleasant times that had been a part of his family.  But he talked about flash backs of moments when he felt love,  such as the memory of his dad hauling sand from the creek bed when he was maybe 4 years old and his brother carrying him after he had cut his foot at maybe 5.
The acts of love he remembered overshadowed unpleasant events he had repressed in his memory.  His closing was touching to us: he referred to scripture that exhorts Christ followers to aspire to have the mind of Christ.  He said that Bill and Jean Absher came as close to that goal as anyone he had ever met.

This picture was the one placed on the church altar.
Kaye and I went to Mom and Dad's Sunday School Class.  They commented how they liked the picture.
I had to tell them the rest of the story.  This picture was take about 4 years ago.  It was after Dad had quit driving.   It was Valentine's Day and I was going home.  Dad motioned for me to come closer-then he whispered a request that I get Mom some roses before I left town.  I did and it made them both so happy; the giver and the receiver.
Hospice had a memorial service this afternoon.  As they presented the deceased in alphabetical order, Mom's name came up first followed by Dad's.  Barbara had provided the picture of them together that had been made for the church directory.  Several Hospice workers spoke lovingly of Mom and Dad.

My main thoughts today were about our parents that had completed the race of life and had done it so well.  We got to experience the emotions of them crossing the finish line.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Pair doesn't necessarily mean a Team.

Horses: Curtis, 3/20/2001

About 10 years ago I moved out of
the city to a rural non-farm setting. My new neighbor, Dan, had been waiting
for someone like me to “go out and play”. The play was with a pair of
standardbred horses that had been retired (not due to age) from the
track. Dan wanted to train them to plow. He had them harnessed
up but he needed holders to help the process get started. So my son , David,
and I went “out to play”. We backed the pair up to the plow and
steadied them until Dan got a pin in place to connect the double tree to the plow.
The click of the pin started the process.
The horses lurched forward. The plow wedged into the
ground, and since we’d started a little too fast, Dan jammed the plow
into the ground a little deeper to decrease the speed. That strategy
seemed to work for a moment, or until the hitch pin that had only been
partially installed, popped out. Get the picture? The metal double tree
slapped the horses quarters as if shot from a slingshot. The horses
bolted and David and I yelled almost in unison “let go, don’t get hurt”.
Well, it looked like I was trying to be a hero as I clung to my horses’
halter. I imagined the worst and then the horses suddenly stopped.
Dan and David scolded me for not turning loose. As they were lecturing
me I was almost overwhelmed by my apparent blind bravery. The real
deal was that the tongue of the halter buckle had penetrated the skin web
between my thumb and first finger. So my apparent bravery was out of
my control.
A pair dosen't necessarily mean a team.
Bravery is sometimes blind!