Archive for May, 2010

The Rescue

Posted: May 28, 2010 in Roots by the River


Pets are a wonderful addition to a family.  Our family is not unlike any normal American family who goes through a wide variety of pets to find the one that fits in our home.  After we had gone through caring for fish that died of overfeeding, dogs of all sizes and breeds, and a co-dependent bird, (that really is a funny story), I decided to give it one more chance and try a cat.

I worked at the Water Management District in Tallahassee, Florida and out behind the maintenance building, the crew found some very small kittens abandoned by their mother.  They were so small their eyes were not open yet.  Well my heart fell in love with this marble-colored little bit of fur.  I took her home, and began the task of caring for Gwinnie.  Her name was actually Lady Guinevere, but here close friends and family called her Gwynn for short.  We decided since she had a rough start in life and we wanted her self esteem to be high, so we named her after an elegant lady of history.  Not that she would care, but it made us feel better.

Gwinnie took her place among our family and was constantly in and out of trouble.  She would get stuck in the strangest places, and sometimes I believe she would actually hide just so we would look for her.  She had her favorite places to nap and one place was under the shop outside.  The shop was built up off the ground just a bit, and she dug a hole big enough to squeeze under.  It was warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and a perfect place for her to rest and not be disturbed.

Now if you are from the South, you know afternoon rain showers can be very quick and heavy.  It was a warm day and the clouds were gathering for the regular shower.  I decided to take advantage of this down time and do some work in my office.  John and Ashley were playing in their rooms, I thought!  While deeply engrossed in my work, Ashley bolted in my office and began yelling, “Mom, come quick, Gwinne is stuck under the shop!”  It was thundering and lighting and I knew this storm was a doozie.  I told Ash, ”she is okay; she is protected from the storm under the shop.”  Well, Ash was not buying that one, and she kept on until she was screaming for me to help her cat.  So I decided to go check it out.  I got my umbrella and headed to the shop. One step out the back door, and I knew we were in trouble.  The water was like a river around the shop.  I saw the small hole where Gwinnie went in and began to dig her out.  The more I dug, the more water came out.  I saw this little paw digging from the other side and knew Gwinnie was digging for her life.   I would dig, and then she would dig.  Ashley kept yelling to her, “hang on Gwynn, we’ll get you out!”  After some effort, we finally pulled her out.  She was shaking and soaking wet, and so were we.  We headed for the laundry room and wrapped her in a warm blanket.  It was a scary moment; we thought she was going to drown.  She spent the afternoon in the safety of the den with her family close by.

 Looking back I believe had it not been for the watchful eye of Ashley, Gwinnie would have died.  I believe it was the sound of Ashley’s voice Gwinnie heard and knew she was to be rescued.  From the very beginning Ash and Gwynn had a very special bond.  Gwynn would come when she called and Ash could get her to do most anything.  It was Ashley who was most concerned when the storm was approaching and it was Ashley who went searching to make sure she was safe.

 We have someone who is searching for us.  We have someone who is concerned if we are trapped in the storm.  His name is Jesus. He longs to know we are okay and he knows if we trust in Him we will be safe, no matter what the circumstances.  Psalms 37:39-40 says, ABut the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord; he is their strength in the time of trouble.  And the Lord shall help them and deliver them, he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.@

 Dear Father, when I wander off into a place where I think I am safe, rescue me and draw me back into your loving arms, where I KNOW I am truly safe.

 Ann Cason


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Twenty-seventh in the series Get close to God


What’s been on your mind lately?  What have you been thinking, crying, or laughing about the most?

What do you really want out of life?  Do you feel you are doing what you were made to do or is life just routine and boring? Are you longing or yearning for something more?  Maybe life is sucking you dry and you’re just trying to cope.

Until things change, what is a person to do with these thoughts and emotions?  If you have a friend who is willing to listen, that can help.  So can prayer and meditation on the scriptures.  But there is something else you can do right now to help free up those questions and feelings that are holding you captive.  And it’s as close as your pen and paper.

I’m not just talking about keeping a diary of your daily activities, updating your status on Facebook, or even simply journaling what you’ve learned.  You need to go deeper than that and dig down into the core of your soul.  Honestly search your heart and record your questions, passions, hurts, and desires.  Wrestle with how to describe your feelings, confusion, pain, and joy.  Be as descriptive as you can.  Don’t just say she broke your heart.  Tell me she you ripped out your heart, stomped on it, and threw it over a cliff, and now you can’t find it, much less mend it!  That gives me a better picture of how you really feel. 

Don’t tell me you can’t write that well.  No one has to read it or judge you.  The exercise alone will help bring clarity and healing to your heart, soul, and mind.  Steve Pavlina explains it this way:

“Journaling is one of the easiest and most powerful ways to accelerate your personal development.  By getting your thoughts out of your head and putting them down in writing, you gain insights you’d otherwise never see.

While your brain is technically capable of processing a great deal of input simultaneously, your conscious thoughts play out in a certain sequence.  One thought triggers the next, which triggers the next, and so on.  Sometimes these sequences have a few branches, but they’re still subject to linear time, and at any given moment, you’re following one of those branches.  These thought sequences have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and it’s nearly impossible to see the big picture overhead view of a sequence while you’re stuck in playback mode.

This is where journaling can provide huge advantages.  Journaling allows you to break free of sequential thinking and examine your thoughts from a bird’s-eye view.  When you record your sequential thoughts in a tangible medium, you can then go back and review those thoughts from a third-person perspective.  While you’re recording the thoughts, you’re in first-person mode.  But when you’re reading them, you can remain dissociated instead of associated.  This dissociative view, when combined with what you’ve already learned from the associative view, will bring you much closer to seeing the truth of your situation.”

The advantage to taking notes during a lecture is not just to have something to refer back to.  The very act of writing engages more of your senses and enhances the storing and retrieving of documents tucked away in the filing cabinet of your mind.  This is why mathematicians and scientists scribble equations on a blackboard, architects use a draft board, and painters use a canvas.  Our thoughts and ideas take fruition and come to life as we transfer them from our minds and onto paper or computer screens.

Here’s how it works for me.  I will read a truth from the Bible, then ask God and myself: “What should I do with this, how can I explain or illustrate it?”  Or an idea or concept will randomly pop into my mind.  Instead of letting it vaguely vanquish away, I try to put it into words that makes sense to me and hopefully to others.  What do I get out of the process?  A better understanding of an issue, but also relief from creating an escape valve in my mind that finds healing from acknowledging my deepest longings and frustrations, even if I don’t understand the hows or whys.  I also feel close to the Lord during the process of crafting my take and understanding of what he’s trying to teach me.

Let’s hear from someone who was a master at shedding light on spiritual principles, Oswald Chambers:

“If you cannot express yourself on any subject, struggle until you can.  If you do not, someone will be the poorer all the days of his life.  Struggle to re-express some truth of God to yourself, and God will use that expression to someone else…Try to state to yourself what you feel implicitly to be God’s truth, and you give God a chance to pass it on to someone else through you…The author who benefits you most is not the one who tells you something you did not know before, but the one who gives expression to the truth that has been dumbly struggling in you for utterance.”

Start a blog or write some posts for your Notes tab if you’re a Facebooker.  Keep it short, though.  Most people will not read more than 1000 words (about two pages.)  Give your article a catchy title and include a picture, if possible, to entice your readers.  Be prepared to receive some feedback, some positive, some negative.  Being vulnerable comes with the territory, but it’s worth the reward when you hear someone tell you how much your words have encouraged them.

Finally, after you have poured out your thoughts and feelings on paper, read it as a letter to the Lord.  If you need some guidance, check out the Psalms.  David didn’t hold anything back, and neither should you.  Respectfully cry out to your Heavenly Father and confess all your fears, hurts, and desires, as well as your love and thanksgiving to him.

So, what are you waiting for?  Go grab your notepad or keyboard!


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Posted: May 16, 2010 in Candle Lights


We spent hours and hours at the ballpark when our son was growing up.  Baseball is my favorite sport, but the day games were killers in the Florida sun.  At the baseball park it was hard to find any shade.  I would seek refuge in the shade around the concession stand and the bleachers in an effort to get a little relief from the sun.

The only problem with the shade provided by the concession stand and the bleachers was that it was fleeting.  I would have to frequently move my lawn chair as the position of the sun changed.  My refuge would keep moving, and it would eventually disappear.  When my refuge was gone, I was vulnerable to the sun’s burning rays.

Our relationships with others are subject to change also.  I think about my daddy a lot.  I always felt safe in the shade of his protection, but even before the Lord took him Home, dementia had taken his mind.  With the onset of Daddy’s dementia, my shade disappeared.  When life hurts, I wish that I could crawl back in Daddy’s shade.

My daddy’s shade may be gone, but my Father’s shade covers me at all times (Psalm 121), and it never will move.  James 1:17 tell us the Lord is “…the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness….”  I do not have to keep moving my life’s lawn chair for the shade of the Lord will never move or disappear.

Psalm 121:5  “The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.”

Diane Padgett


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I am pleased to announce that my cousin, Ann Cason, has begun submitting articles for a new category, Roots by the River. 

I know you’ll enjoy this first edition and we can look forward to reading more of her life stories in the weeks to come!


Robin, by Ann Cason

My sister, Linda, loved horses and always wanted one as a child.  It wasn’t until she was about 14 years old that she got her wish.  Our neighbor who owned the farm up the road from my grandparents had a quarter horse that was beautiful.  Uncle Kermit, as all of us kids called him, was a kind and gentle man.  When Linda was about eight  years old, she asked Uncle Kermit, “When you die will you leave Robin to me?”  Of course he said yes to this little girl, but my parents had no idea he was serious. 

Six years went by and you guessed it, Uncle Kermit died, and we got a phone call from his wife asking us when we were going to pick up the horse. Robin was 14 years old when he came to live on the farm, and we all joked about him being too old to ride.  But Linda saw things differently.  This was the dream she wanted.  She groomed him, fed him the best feed, and he basically became her best friend.  After school each day, she would saddle him and off they would go on their afternoon ride around the farm.  

Behind our house, (by this time in my life we had moved to the farm), there was a field the size of about 14 acres.  It was a beautiful view from the back porch of our home.  It was also a beautiful sight to see Linda and her quarter horse in a full run coming toward the house.  She had long blonde hair and Robin had a beautiful chestnut colored mane and in a full run they seemed to blend as one in the wind.

Now I was not much of an animal person like Linda, but I thought one day it might be nice to take a ride with Robin.  My best friend, Sharon, lived on the back side of the 14- acre field, so I took Robin and rode over to pick her up.   We were having the nicest ride, Sharon was behind the saddle with her arms around my waist and were talking, as teenagers do, not paying much attention to the animal beneath us. 

We got about half way home and all of a sudden Robin started running wide open with no warning.  It was chaos!!  All you could see were arms and legs flying around struggling to hang on.  Sharon was slowly slipping off to the left side, and was taking me down with her.  She had a death grip around my waist and we both were slowly losing our hold.  I began screaming for Sharon to just let go and drop off, so I could get Robin under control and finally she hit the ground.

I was not an accomplished rider as Linda was, and I was now in the middle of the ride of my life.  The power beneath me was uncontrollable and the speed was unbelievable.  My parents were sitting on the back porch watching the entire event unfold, and my Dad, the humorist that he was, was cheering me on to last the eight seconds to qualify for the next round of competition.  When I looked up and saw him, somehow I didn’t feel the same humor he was feeling.  Robin was heading straight for the chain link fence that separated our home from the field and it did not appear he was going to stop.  So I braced myself to go over the fence with this animal. 

Well Robin did not go over the fence, but I did.  He stopped as fast as he started running, and I went flying only to land at my Dad’s feet.  I was not hurt, just shaken up and emotionally scared to death.  Dad embraced me with only the comfort of a Father, and escorted me through the gate and back to the horse.  He insisted I ride Robin across the field again and back to the barn.  My objection was strong and determined, but Dad would not budge until I gave in to his request.  I rode Robin again and took him to the barn.  That was the last time I was on a horse.

Sharon was fine, but a little shook up, and joined us on the back porch for a recap of our one and only riding event.  We discovered from Linda, on the afternoon rides she would take with Robin, she would walk him out to the end of the pasture and at the same spot on the return trip she would break him into a full run.  Robin was simply doing what came natural to him.  A small detail she failed to inform us about before we rode.  Sharon and I decided to let Linda have her horse and we would stick to our own dependable source of transportation, our feet.  They had served us well in the past and were not prone to surprises. 

Now in this life we cannot see what is down the road.  We don’t know what surprises are in store for us.  We may be going along smoothly and then without warning, we find our life suddenly running full speed ahead, struggling to hang on. 

Proverbs 3:25-26 says, “Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh; For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.”

No matter how wild the ride, we can know with confidence, our Father is there in the midst of it, and will guide us safely through.

Dear Father, teach us to ride with confidence, help us to walk without fear, and comfort us with your presence.

Ann Cason


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