Letters from the Front Porch
Seasons of Life
April 6, 2018
I haven’t written a new post in quite a while. This has just been a very difficult few months. There are seasons of our life where we just can’t seem to find our way “UP!”. And as I get older, I find it’s more difficult to keep up with it all. But, I know if I will just hang in there, this season will end. I understand the “Word of God” enough to know, we are going to have those difficult seasons, and when we face them head on, with every ounce of God given strength we have, we will come out of it stronger, wiser and more mature.
There’s a phrase I have heard a lot lately, “I Don’t Know”. Why is this happening? “I Don’t Know!” When will it end? “I Don’t Know!” What am I going to do now? “I Don’t Know!” My friend, Linda, has said this so many times lately and every time she says it, she says I’m sick of saying, “I Don’t Know!”
We just lost one of our dearest friends “Jerry Lee Bond”. He was one of Johnny’s best friends. We spent so many trips together hunting, camping, riding 4-wheelers, going to the beach (well Linda and I went to the beach and Johnny and Jerry stayed in the room, in the Air Conditioner). It’s not very often you can find a true friend and I have always told my kids, “If you ever find that true friend, you had better hang on to them, because they are few and far between.” Jerry and Linda were just that to us. As a matter of fact, when we went off together, most of the time, people thought Johnny and Jerry were brothers. Oh my goodness, the stories we could tell.
Our friendship didn’t start out overnight though. Our friendship developed slowly but once it started, there was no way to end it. Jerry and Linda started church because their daughter was marrying a young man from our church. They wanted Johnny to do the wedding but he required them to come to church. Jerry and Linda didn’t have to come but they decided to support their daughter, and be there for her. (We know now, that God had a plan) Their intention was to come for 6 weeks and then they would be, “out of there!” (That was over 18 years ago.)
After about a week, we had an opportunity to sit down with them one evening. Our church was going to a Bill Gaither Concert. We were all meeting at “Buddy Freddie’s” in Plant City, as a group and then going together from there. They were sitting by themselves, at the restaurant, so Johnny and I sat down with them. It was a going pretty good, we thought, when all of a sudden they saw their daughters’ “future in-laws” come in and they just got up and left us to go to them. Johnny and I looked at each other and said, “What just happened?” We have laughed often about this. They said, they didn’t even realize they had done that. Then a few weeks later, Jerry went into the hospital and Johnny went to visit him, every day. (Also, at this time we were building our home.) Jerry was so touched that Johnny kept coming to see him that he decided to build a mantle, for our fireplace. Now, we didn’t know Jerry was an amazing carpenter, so when he said he was going to do this, we didn’t know what to say. What if we didn’t like it? What if it was ugly? No matter what it looked like, we would accept it and we would put it up. The day he brought the mantle to the house, to set it up, he had it all covered up. He drove up and with great apprehension we watched him uncover it. OH MY GOODNESS! It was gorgeous. We were shocked. Not only did Jerry build the mantle but he decided that he wanted to help Johnny to build the stairs in our home, as well. This man was so creative it was unbelievable. Many nights he would stay really late and I would hear him and Johnny laughing about something stupid (I know that’s politically incorrect but that’s the best word to describe what they were saying!) and the two of them would laugh hysterically. They would also get into some really deep conversations and the “Word of God” began to develop within Jerry. On those long nights, Jerry began his “personal walk” with Jesus.
His main goal in life was to make people laugh. He would do just about “anything” if he knew he could get you to laugh. And that “I believe” was Jerry’s gift from God. Our very first camping trip together, we were in their motor home. We went to Abbeyville, Alabama. It was midnight getting to the campsite. As we pulled into the property, we needed to get the motor home parked at a place where we could get it level. It was was so dark, Johnny and Jerry couldn’t see each other. Jerry was looking for him in his rear view mirror and Johnny had a flashlight but over and over Jerry had to pull up and back up. Turn right, turn left. I don’t know how many times they jack-knifed the trailer with the 4-wheelers. When they finally got it where they wanted, Jerry jumped up from the driver’s seat, marched to to the door saying, “I’m going out there and kicking his butt!” Maybe it was the time of night and we were slap happy, maybe it was the look on Jerry’s face or maybe it was just Jerry trying to lighten up the mood, whatever it was, I started laughing hysterically. And that is when the journey of our amazing friendship began. We were connected for life.
He will be missed tremendously. His humor, kindness, caring and giving spirit will forever be etched within everyone who was graced to be a part of him. My heart goes out to this family. He may be gone from us physically but he will never ever be forgotten. I know Johnny and I will never forget this wonderful man.
Jerry you left us way too soon. We love you and we will always remember your crazy antics, you showing up to work at the pasture when we lost our lease and had to move, your smile, mowing for hours at the pasture because you loved the peacefulness and your willingness to be there whenever we needed you.
From My Porch to Yours
March 15· Can You Describe It?
This week, I lost the key to Johnny’s truck. Now this is no big deal if it was an older truck but this truck key happens to cost a lot of money to replace. I knew it wasn’t “LOST” I just couldn’t find it. (LOL) Anyway, I prayed and asked the Lord to please help me find it. I did my part by looking everywhere I possibly could think. Finally, I gave up and said , “Lord, I know you can help me remember where it is, so I’m going to stop thinking about it.” The next day, the thought came to my mind to look in all my pants pockets and dress pockets. I was in a rush so I quickly did this. Nope, nothing. I had to go to church so when I got home that night I still felt the urge to check my dress pockets, “slowly” this time. So, I went in and, one by one, I purposely checked the pockets. Guess what! I found the key, in a dress, that I don’t even remember wearing! Thank you Jesus!
I was so happy and as I was thanking the Lord, he reminded me of something that happened last year at a Tampa Rays baseball game. We parked and as as I was getting out of the truck, I looked down and there was a roll of money, wrapped with a rubber band. My first thought was, “Thank You Jesus!” What a blessing! (Laughingly, I told Johnny, “Look, I found a drug dealers money! We have been blessed with the devil’s money!). Then, another thought came to my mind. What if someone is here with their kids and this money was supposed to help them have a fun night? It was only $133.00 so if it was drug money, the dealer sure wasn’t having a good night!” LOL So I decided to write a note and put it on the window of the car, next to where I found the money. I put on the note. “If you have lost some money, please call me. Tell me exactly how much and what was your way of carrying it.” We went into the game and sat down. About the 2nd inning, I get a call from a number I didn’t recognize. It was a man who claimed to have lost his money. He gave me all the details, including that he had wrapped it with a rubber band. I had Johnny deliver it, since I wasn’t sure who it might be. It was a man with his 3 kids. They were so excited to get the money back. He said he was frantic and had ran all the way back to his car looking for it. This man was so grateful, he didn’t know what to say except “thank you”. He offered to give Johnny back some of the money for returning it. Of course, he declined. After seeing that kids were involved, we were thankful to be able to help make their experience at the ballpark better.
I know exactly how that man felt. I too, didn’t know what to say, except, “Thank you Jesus.”
Jesus is full of surprises for all of us. He wants to bless us and make us happy. If you are a child of God then you have all right and authority to call on the Name of Jesus and ask for His help. I John 5:4-5 (ESV) For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
Whatever you have lost...Keep Looking...And Keep Praying....
I Peter 5:7 (NIV)
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
II Corinthians 9:8 (NIV)
“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
From My Porch To Yours