Meet McKenna

We have a new family member…a six-week-old puppy whom Sam named McKenna. He’s a full-fledged mutt; he is mountain cur/Australian shepherd/Rottweiler/blue heeler. Yes, in case you were wondering, he is going to be a large dog!

“McKenna” is Irish for “son of the handsome one.” I told Sam that was typically narcissistic of him. He said he had settled on that name before he knew the meaning, so, “It’s meant to be…”

An Unexpected Guest

2016-07-08 13.15.53If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you may have seen my post two weeks ago about the gentleman who came to my home that Sunday afternoon, telling me it was his childhood home. The visit was quite interesting and surreal. Here’s what happened, if you didn’t see the original FB post:

As Sam and I pulled up to the house after church, a car stopped out front, and a man approached us. He told us that he had grown up in this house and hadn’t been back to see it since he was a teenager. I offered to let him inside to see it, and the excitement on his face at seeing his childhood home was contagious. The man turned out to be Mitch Daniels, former governor of Indiana and current president of Purdue University. He was with Brian and Donna Noland. (Brian is the president of ETSU.)¬†They were all very kind, and I’m glad we had the opportunity to meet them.

While he was in our home, Mr. Daniels asked for my name and address so that he could send me a card upon his arrival back home. This past Friday, I received a package from him in which was a beautiful blanket from Purdue University. There was also a copy of a photo taken by Donna Noland of Mr. Daniels, Sam and myself standing on the front porch (see upper left corner). Included in the package was also a handwritten note from Mr. Daniels thanking us for allowing him to see inside his old home.

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The note says: “Dear Suzanne, Thank you for your kindness in allowing a stranger to accost you last week, and then to permit him a look at the first home he remembers living in, six decades ago. My trip to Bristol was a truly joyful experience from end to end, but the highlight by far was 100 Neal Drive, and meeting you and Sam. Thans again for your hospitality; I guess I should have expected it from a Hoosier! Best wishes, Mitch Daniels”

Here is a photo of the gorgeous blanket:

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Baptism Day

2016-07-03 10.28.21I usually consider myself to be technologically savvy, but for some reason, when it comes to recording things on my iPhone, I’m completely inept. Last month, I failed to get a video of Sam’s modeling debut, and today I almost failed to get a video of his baptism. I missed all the nice things Tony said at the beginning, but thankfully, I noticed my phone wasn’t recording just in time to get the actual baptism. (I noticed Trevor videotaping the whole thing, so I’m hoping it will be posted on the church’s facebook page where I can share the whole thing with everyone.)

I am incredibly proud of Sam! He has given his heart, his life, and his musical talent to God; and his only desire is to live the rest of his life to bring glory to God and to advance His Kingdom.

Being human as I am, I would love to take the credit for the transformation in his life, but I can’t. I’ve made many mistakes along the way; I am far from being a perfect parent and role model. The one thing I did right was to pray for Sam and to enlist my friends to pray for him as well. God answers prayer!

In the picture in the upper right corner, Tony is talking before baptizing Sam. Here is a picture of Sam stepping into the baptismal tank:

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And, here is the video…

My Latest Pet Project

EdmundI’ve written here before about my friend Edmund and his incredible product, the All-Weather Firestarter. Now, I’m happy to share with you, my readers, an opportunity to not only own one of these fantastic tools but to also help a great guy take his business to the next level.

Edmund has started a campaign on Indiegogo, a crowdfunding site, and he his hoping to be able to raise the funds to buy the necessary machinery to increase his manufacturing capabilities tenfold. With internet sales booming, production needs to be able to keep up with the demand.

Please check out his campaign by clicking here and be as generous as you can. In my opinion the All-Weather Firestarter is absolutely the best one on the market, so you owe it to yourself to check it out. Everyone who participates in outdoor activities (hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, etc) needs one of these. BUT, so does anyone who uses a gas or charcoal grill, firepit, fireplace, or burn barrell. AND, it’s a necessity for survivalists and preppers. They also make great gifts for the man who has everything.

If you’re still not convinced, watch the video below, then click here to go to the Indiegogo campaign.

A Mama’s Prayers

prayerGod is so good! Although I am totally unworthy, He has listened to this mama’s prayers and actually answered them. I’ve been praying oh, so fervently, for Sam for quite a long time. Despite being raised in church and being inundated with the Bible, he chose to go his own way for a time. He is a person of extremes, all in or all out. So, while he was running from God, he was very far from Him. He said and did some things that made me fear for his safety and even his life. (For example, he once told me that he didn’t need God because he WAS God.) I have prayed and cried for this man-child of mine so hard at times that it felt like something was about to rupture, and I asked some of my friends to pray for him as well. I’m so happy to be able to say that God has answered our prayers. Last week, Sam got saved!

He made a profession of faith when he was about four years old, and he has known practically his whole life how to be saved and why he should get saved. Finally, one evening last week, while I was at work and he was alone in his room, he decided to stop resisting God, and he accepted Christ as his Savior. He told me that he knows FOR SURE now that he is truly saved. I know it, too. He is a totally different person! Old things are passed away, and all things have become new.

All he talks about now is God and the Bible. He is seeking to surround himself with people who will help him grow in his faith and serve God to the fullest. His dreams and goals for the future have drastically changed. He is even talking about going to a Christian college (maybe Milligan), which he would never even think about before. His number one goal right now is leading his best friend to Christ. He spent a few hours talking to him yesterday and has drawn up an outline of what he wants to say next time he gets a chance to talk him some more.

I am completely overcome with emotions, which is why it has taken me a week to write this blog post: I couldn’t get my ecstatic thoughts organized enough to write anything coherent before now. As elated as I am, I know that God did this in spite of me, rather than because of me. It has been a very humbling experience for me to see God work in our home despite my failings and unfaithfulness to Him. So, if you’re praying for someone, even if you’ve been praying for them for quite a while, don’t stop! He is not willing that any should perish, and He has promised to answer prayers that are according to His will.

RIP Merle

I grew up with an appreciation for classic country, and Merle Haggard was always my favorite classic country musician. It was with tears that I heard the news of his passing yesterday, which happened to be his 79th birthday. So, today I put together a playlist of some of his songs. His career spanned 6 decades and produced 38 number one hits. With so many great songs to pick from, I was choosy and included only my favorites. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.



I’m adding this one last song separate from the playlist because it’s special to me. My dad used to sing this song all the time, and I can’t hear it without thinking of him.

Through It All

When I was a little girl, there would occasionally be singers who would come to our church to minister. There was a couple who came whose names I can’t remember. Dad bought their 8-track. (Yes, I said 8-track. Yes, I’m that old.) This song was on that album, and it was one of my favorites way back then. The other day, the song came to mind as I was thinking of some of the tough times I’m been through. As I thought about the words of the song, I realized that it could have been written about me and my life. Well, except for the fact that sometimes I don’t think I’ve quite learned to trust God like I should. Through my trials, I have often failed to trust Him, and I’ve made some huge mistakes. However, because of those trials and even the mistakes I’ve made, I’ve learned that God has never once failed me, and as I go through the rest of my life, including the bad times, I know God will be there to help me through.