Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New Project

For a long time I have wanted to record some of the old hymns in the setting of First Presbyterian Church as the golden sunlight streams through the stained glass windows. Hymns like "O To Be Like Thee", "Jesus, Rose of Sharon", and "Let the Beauty of Jesus Be Seen in Me". These hymns are too beautiful to vanish off the worship radar forever and I would like to sing them for my neices and nephews......and anyone else who will listen.

There is probably only an hour of "sunset sunshine" so our recording window of time is limited. We finally were able to experiment and since the church was decorated for Christmas I did a couple Christmas carols for starters.

This is the first attempt.....a bit amateurish but hopefully there will some improvement if I practice!!! Special thanks to David Sowers for recording these. He is the son of long time friends, Donald and Janice Sowers.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sunrise at Table Rock

I heard You speak to me
in the golden moments
When You painted with a broad brush
the pink and blue shades of a new day.

I heard You speak to me
through the quiet majesty
Of the mountains rising in the distance
catching the first delightful kiss of the sun.

Your care, Your love, Your strength,
have been my constant source
Even though the scenes of life
have changed for me since I last met You here.

You've brought me through some bitter miles
when all seemed lost and hope was dim.
At times You felt so far away
but now my faith is bright again.

I was certain I'd find You here--
and when I heard You tapping on the glass
I knew You wanted me to come and see
the sunrise--painted just for me.

by Dorothy Klass

Rick Warren Interviewed

This interview with Rick Warren is well worth listening to.
davidgregory: If you are interested, here is my intvu with Rick Warren http://bit.ly/4AgiLI
by:David Gregory

Saturday, September 19, 2009


It started this morning with a casual walk to the barn. My little niece had informed me that there were some new baby goats and wanted me to see them. There is nothing more wonderful than babies of any kind and these were no exception. They were SIMPLY adorable and when I picked up a tiny one in my arms, he laid his little head against me and made THAT a FAVORITE MOMENT!

A short time later as I walked to the garden, I observed that the rising sun had covered everything in beauty beads. It was a BEAUTIFUL MORNING!! Dean was cutting some okra for me and suddenly I noticed the row of dried cornstalks behind him. The entire row from end to end was covered with Morning Glories in full bloom. Hundreds and hundreds of blooms various shades of pink, purple and blue literally blanketed the garden. It was spectacular, breathtakingly lovely and another FAVORITE MOMENT!

I left Dean's and drove to a neighbors who had muscadines that needed picking. What a sweet, delightful treat to see the vines hanging with the delicious grapes. I enjoyed filling my gallon bucket, tasting as I went. That was a FAVORITE MOMENT!

After coming home (I had stayed with Mom last night) I felt tired and a little sad so I snuggled with Mark in his big recliner. Mark is the MOST snuggable person in the entire world and the peaceful, happy feeling that snuggling with a loved person brings made THAT a FAVORITE MOMENT!

In a few minutes Mark left to take some things to his parents so I went out to play with the neighbor's dog. The poor animal lives in a sea of mud and doggie doo doo and always seems hungry for food and friendship. I took one of my worn out socks, tied a knot in it, and we played tug-a-war for quite awhile. He enjoyed a doggie treat and his "smile" made it a FAVORITE MOMENT!

God, thank you for all the simple yet wonderful moments in my life. The day is only half over and You've given me SO MUCH!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Where's the GROOM?

The past summer months I have seen many wedding albums posted on face book as friends and children of friends "tie the knot". It is always fun to see friends and acquaintances getting married and I LOVE looking at the pictures to see who I know and observe the beauty of the bride!!

One observation I have made is the fact that there are MANY more photos taken of the bride than there are of the groom!

Every aspect of the day from preparation through the ceremony and on to the reception there is usually photo after photo of the bride. There MIGHT be a shot or two of the groom, although there was, in fact, one set of photos posted which I perused several times and NEVER DID see a photo of the GROOM!!!!

No, the wedding day seems to be made especially for the bride and SHE is in the spotlight!!!!

Thinking along this line brought me to consider another wedding where I am quite sure the GROOM will be the One in the spotlight and that is the marriage of Christ and The Church. To look into the eyes of the One Who has loved us all along, through our bumbling and mistakes, and has seen in us something He desired so much that He suffered terribly and died. To imagine gazing on the face of such a beloved friend and Redeemer, especially in the context of a marriage......I cannot even REMOTELY comprehend such a moment!!

I know the bride will be pure, spotless and without a blemish, but I believe all focus and attention will be on the GROOM!

What a day that will be!!! It will be worth any perceived hardship, battle, or struggle HERE to experience His nearness and loving presence THERE.

Truly Jesus will be what makes it HEAVEN for me.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


In preparation for leading our district women in worship, I began meditating on the names of God. As I did a little research, I found many more names for God than I ever knew existed! And I found out what I already knew - my God is EVERYTHING I need.

Is my mind embattled with rushing unwanted thoughts over a particular situation or circumstance that I have NO power to change? my God is JEHOVAH SHALOM: the Lord my peace.

Do I need finances to pay this week's bills? my God is JEHOVAH JIRAH: the Lord who provides.

Does my spirit cry out for nourishment and intimacy? my God is EL HANNE'EMAN: the faithful God (to support and nourish) and EL SHADDAI (the all sufficient God). Aletha Hinthorn points out in her article "Hallowed Be Thy Name" and I quote, "The word SHADDAI is derived from the word invariably used in scripture for a woman's breast. As the mother is the all sufficient one to her baby, God is the satisfier of His people. SHADDAI suggests perfect supply and perfect comfort. It suggests exuberance, sufficiency, bountifulness, and perfect satisfaction all combined with irresistible power!!!"

Do I need wisdom to live life today? my God is EL DE'OT: the God of perfect knowledge.

There is nothing I need - physically, mentally, emotionally, financially or spiritually that He cannot supply!!! What a God!!! I challenge you to find any other god capable of meeting your personal needs with such overpowering abundance.

As I was pondering all this, I turned the radio on just in time to hear a hymn from yesteryear. The words seemed especially alive with meaning, "Take the name of Jesus with you, child of sorrow and of woe, It will joy and comfort give you, take it then where'er you go. Precious name, O how sweet, Hope of earth and Joy of Heaven." Jesus- One with and equal to God.

Later that day, as if Someone wanted to be sure I got the message, I heard SAME song AGAIN, "Take the Name of Jesus WITH YOU......". The words were so powerful, "Take the Name....TAKE THE NAME......WITH YOU."

My attitude and outlook are forever changed when I TAKE THE NAME!!!!

P.S. There are just a FEW of the names I discovered........for a faith building study look for yourself!!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

HE Was Here

It seemed to be an ordinary voice lesson. My student, a lovely 77 year old African American lady, had vocalized and we had worked together on "Because of Thy Great Bounty".

She has a way with words and sometimes at the beginning of the lesson inspires me to greater teaching heights by announcing, "I am NOT going to pay out good money for voice lessons if I don't LEARN something!"

So we worked fervantly on pitch, rhythm, tone, breathing, etc. and were just about to finish the 30 minute lesson (which inevitably stretches into an hour.....I want to make sure she gets her money's worth!!!) when I suggested, "Why don't we finish up the lesson with 'My Tribute'." I knew it was one of her favorites. Her rich contralto voice began,

"How can I say thanks for the things You have done for me,
Things, so undeserved, yet You give to prove Your love for me,
The voices of a million angels could not express my gratitude,
All that I am, or ever hope to be, I owe it all to Thee.
To God be the Glory, to God be the Glory, to God be the Glory,
For the things He has done."

Her voice filled with deep emotion as she continued,
"With His blood He has saved me"

She looked up and raised her hand to heaven
"With His power He has raised me"

I FELT HIS PRESENCE fill the room as she continued.
"To God be the glory for the things He has done."

As she continued, I sensed God spirit settling down on the two of us,
"Lord, let me live my life, let it be pleasing Lord to Thee
And should I gain any praise, let it go to Calvary,
With His blood He has saved me,
With His power He has raised me
To GOD be the glory for the THINGS HE HAS DONE!"

It was one of those holy moments when suddenly the ordinary becomes extraordinary, when the mundane becomes memorable. We both worshipped, praised, and thanked our LIVING GOD for meeting with us in the voice lesson.

As this dear lady was leaving I gave her her weekly grade (she HAS to have a grade each week to show her family how she's doing!!). At the top of the page I wrote the following: A+ "HE was here".

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Book

I wrote this piece awhile back and wanted to post it today as a Mother's Day tribute to my wonderful 81 year old mom, Dorothy Espey Bowen.

Cora Mae....my fingers trace the mysterious flaking letters that many years ago were embossed in bright, yellow gold on the small, worn Bible.

Cora Mae....my mother's birth name! The name represents a part of Mother's past that seems locked away forever. Little is known of her beginnings. There are few photos of the tiny, black-haired girl, her face reflecting a lost loneliness that brings pain to my heart.

Eventually adopted by an older couple so she could "take care of them", her life was filled with drudgery...scrubbing floors on her hands and knees, carrying heavy buckets of coal for the furnace, wall papering rooms with high ceilings, caring for her invalid "step-grandmother", sleeping alone in a cold, dirty, attic.

Cora Mae...I wonder how many times her hands held this Bible as silent tears fell on it's pages.

And now I proudly hold the same Book, wrapped in a beautiful white ribbon and bow, on my wedding day. Mother is beside me for just a few moments before the organ begins the Bridal March, and her eyes are filled with love, the love I have seen all the years of my life.

Love for me, the oldest of her seven children, love for her husband, my father, the minister she stood beside so faithfully for many years, and love for God, the One she came to know through the Book I now hold in my hands.

Mother will forever be my inspiration, and my role model. Possessing little, she has given much. Having few educational opportunities, she has shared her wisdom with many. Lacking eloquence, she speaks the language of kindness and empathy.

Cora Mae...I will treasure the Book and the love of the one who gave it - always.

Friday, May 1, 2009

I slowly got out of my car and began walking toward the front entrance of Thomasville Middle School. It was about 7:30 a.m. and I felt sleepy AND a little grumpy about substitute teaching that day.

I noticed a teacher greeting the students at the front entrance as they were dropped off for school. I didn't know the teacher's name, had never met him but.....Wow! He was REALLY dressed up....a black suit, white shirt, and red tie. The thought passed through my mind that there MUST be a special assembly; I had NEVER seen a teacher at school dressed in a suit.

As I got closer I called out, "Is there something special going on? You look awfully nice in your suit." He responded with a loud, hardy, "WELL, PRAISE GOD!" I was really taken aback and I suppose looked a bit surprised. As I walked toward him, he shouted again, "WELL, PRAISE GOD!" I gave a rather weak "Amen" as he explained. "I have grumbled and complained so much that I just decided that I need to STOP complaining and START praising......so I'm PRAISING GOD today!"

As I walked in the front door my spirits were raised considerably! But I also felt a twinge of guilt.
I reflected on the fact that I, too, have grumbled, complained, worried, and murmured about anything and everything. I began to wonder what my attitude says about my faith and trust in God when I constantly question what He's doing. It surely must make His heart sad when I'm unappreciative and proud, taking for granted His blessings, complaining over every delay, hardship, or trial that come along.

So, I've decided to PRAISE GOD! When things go right or wrong to MY way of thinking I remember that He DOES have a plan, I don't KNOW the plan so I just need to TRUST and PRAISE GOD!!!! You know what? I think God REALLY likes it!!!!!

Saturday, April 25, 2009


As a substitute teacher, I walked into the classroom yesterday morning with the familiar sense of trepidation and anticipation. One always HOPES for a good day but middle school students can be a handful....especially on a FRIDAY!!! However, I felt positive and was praising God for the opportunity to interact with 8th graders and earn a living!!

As first block students came in I greeted them with a smile, introduced myself and gave the assignment the teacher had left on the desk. Most students began doing the work quietly. But there were five boys at one table who seemed oblivious to the fact that there was a teacher in the classroom and I quickly lost control as they became disruptive. They talked loudly, began walking about the room, and throwing paper wads.

One boy was extremely rude and argumentative. He went from one table to the next doing NO WORK at all. After about thirty minutes he suddenly became studious and asked me to help him with the pronunciation of words. When he brought his book to me I saw that he was on the WRONG chapter (purposefully) and only wanted me to pronounce the words because they were about body parts that were a little embarrassing to say out loud. I asked him to sit down. He refused and continued to whine, "But I can't read these words. How do you say THIS? How do you pronounce THIS? Ms. Klass, you won't even help me." He kept this up for three or four minutes really trying my patience. He was a problem the entire time.

Another little boy was so defiant that I wrote him up and sent him to the office. A girl offered to escort him but I heard one of the kids whisper to her, "When you get in the hall, tear up the discipline form." So I called the office and told them he was coming alone.

A couple girls came to the desk at least four times and stuck their paper right under my nose in a demanding way saying, "I can't get this question." I think they had sprayed something on the paper because they would rudely push it in right into my face!

When the buzzer rang for dismissal I couldn't believe what happened. As the children RACED out the door I was hit with a barrage of paper wads and balled up paper!!! They had to have planned this final insult!!! I felt like bursting into tears and going home. (Later, when I thought about it, it seemed rather funny but at the time I was devastated.)

Fortunately second block was a planning block so I collected myself and decided I wouldn't let the situation get the best of me. (Actually, I HAVE been in MUCH worse!!!) I called my husband and mom and asked them to pray for me. I had brought some scripture verses in my bag to try to memorize so I got them out and read the following:

"....and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath PUT ALL THINGS UNDER HIS FEET......" (Eph. 1:19-22a)

God prompted me with the thought, "Put the verse into practice!!!" I felt impressed to begin a "prayer walk" around the classroom!!! I walked to each table praying over EVERY CHAIR asking God to give the students a desire to learn. I prayed for a quiet, peaceful, classroom where the students would be respectful and do their work. I quoted the scripture in Ephesians several times as I prayed. God's spirit seemed very close.

When the third block students came I sensed an immediate difference in the atmosphere. They sat quietly, did their work and were respectful. There was minimal talking and even when we went to lunch and recreation time outside, they stayed together and I had NO PROBLEMS WHATSOEVER with this class and it was STILL the 8th grade and a LARGER class than first block.

The fourth block was about the same.
So, yes, there IS STILL prayer in PUBLIC SCHOOL!!!! He will answer our cry WHEREVER we are!!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Problem of the Day

I'm sitting in a Special Ed class. All the children have learning disabilities of one sort or another. An eighth grader brings me a "Curious George" book and I listen as he stumbles through a couple of pages. A Downs Syndrome child smiles, shyly inviting me to help him with a learning puzzle.

The PROBLEM OF THE DAY is on the board. It simply says, "SOLVE. WHAT IS 25% of 448?" The students now pore over their calculators thinking hard. "What is 25% of......????" They hopefully lean over their notebooks writing their answers. To them THIS IS SO DIFFICULT.

If only THIS problem of the day was MY problem of the day because I know the answer to THIS one. I smile because it is SO easy. Without a calculator or pencil and paper I can tell you the answer.

The lead teacher makes an announcement. "I'm going to get a drink. WHEN I COME BACK, THE PROBLEM OF THE DAY IS OVER." She quickly leaves the room.

I think about MY problem of the day. I don't know the answer. To me it is very difficult. I imagine God smiling because to Him it is SO easy. He already knows the answer. Then I remember that He said He's coming back. And when He gets back MY PROBLEM OF THE DAY IS OVER!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

An Evening in Spring

The beauty of Your world cries out to me....
the soft, bare, lacy branches of a tree against a great, white moon,
fragrant crab apple blossoms, lilacs, blooming into the night,
tiny lavender and cream violets almost crushed into the grass,
narcissus' standing tall in their delicately fringed Spring gowns,
newly planted marigolds, staunchly braving the chill evening air,
rows and rows of tulips, spilling color everywhere.

My heart cannot hold it---the beauty of Your world.
Your creativity which brings it into being
Causes praise to rise in me.
Praise that comes from knowing
If You clothe Your world with such amazing care
Your watchful eye, Your constant love, are with me always, everywhere!!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Ms. Carmel Is Waiting for Us

Ms. Carmel Gore passed away Friday, February 27, 2009. She was 95 years old and a dear friend of mine. Ms. Carmel was clear minded and lucid up to her last moments. When the ambulance came to her home to take her to the hospital she told Pastor Billy Roy, "I don't know if I'll be coming back here." (to her house) When he asked her if she was ready for heaven, she said, "I'm ready for Him if He's ready for me!!" What a great testimony and so typical of Ms. Carmel's succinct way of putting things!!! She clearly knew her surroundings and was aware of what was going on.

I want to relate an experience Ms. Carmel had just before she died because it speaks to me of the closeness of heaven and those who have gone before us. Let me first explain that Ann was Ms. Carmel's older sister and Ms. Carmel was very close to her. Ann passed away five years ago. Doris Ann Wilder, Ms. Carmel's daughter, related that the last time she took Ms. Carmel to visit Ann, Ann said to Ms. Carmel as they were leaving, "I'm going to be waiting for you at the Pearly Gates and I'll hold your hand!"

Now, five years later, Ms. Carmel, lying in the hospital bed, has not said anything for some time when she tries to speak. Her daughter, Doris Ann, is with her when she finally gets the words out. With a clear tone Ms. Carmel says, "I'm in Gloryland! And Ann is holding my hand! She said she would!"

Doris Ann says, "Mom, do you see your mom and dad?" Ms. Carmel says, "I do!" There is a pause and then Ms. Carmel says, "Tell all my family that I'm going to see them in Gloryland and tell everybody else that I want to see them in Gloryland!!!"

This took place Wednesday morning and those were the last words Ms. Carmel spoke. Friday around 2 a.m. Ms. Carmel was restless and seemed to be struggling for breath. Doris Ann put her arm around her and spoke into her ear, "Mom, you know I love you and my family loves you, but if you want to go on to Gloryland, you go ahead!" In three minutes Ms. Carmel was gone!!!! But we know where she is!! Heaven is much closer than we think!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Traveller

I just rediscovered this poem by Amy Carmichael. Years ago, while going through a terribly difficult time, I came across it. As I read the words for the first time, tears came to my eyes and I felt that Jesus had entered the room. His comforting presence brought healing to my spirit.

The Traveller
Love, travelling in the greatness of His strength,
Found me alone,
Footsore and tired by the journey's length,
Though I had known,
All the long way, many a kindly air,
And flowers had blossomed for me everywhere.

And yet Love found me needing Him. He stayed;
Love stayed by me.
"Let not thy heart be troubled or dismayed,
My child," said He.
Slipped from me then all troubles, all alarms;
For Love had gathered me into His arms.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Come to God then....

I love this selection from George MacDonald's book,
Discovering the Character of God:

"Come to God, then, my brother, my sister, with all your desires and instincts,
all your lofty ideals,
all your longing for purity and unselfishness,
all your yearning to love and be true,
all your aspirations after self-forgetfulness and child-life in the breath of the Father.
Come to Him with all your weaknesses,
all your shames,
all your futilities;
with all your helplessness over your own thoughts;
with all your failures, yes,
the sick sense of having missed the tide of true affairs.
Come to Him with all your doubts, fears,
dishonesties, meanness,
paltriness, misjudgments,
weariness, disappointments, and staleness.
Be sure He will take you with all your miserable brood into the care of His limitless heart!
For He is light, and in Him is no darkness at all."