"Welcome to my blog space. I believe that God has carefully placed gems in our paths to fill our days with joy. The challenge for us is to take the time to notice them. My desire is to share the gems in my life so that, hopefully, you will see the ones He's placed in yours. I hope what you read here will be worth your time and you'll want to return often." - Cathy

Friday, July 26, 2013


“No” is an anointed word!

This phrase changed my life several years ago. I had nearly worn myself out at church. Every time a job came open and no one volunteered, I’d take it. After all, I couldn’t let the Lord’s work go undone, could I? I was spending as much time at church as I was at home, often letting my housework go undone.

An amazing thing happened just in time to rescue me. The church got a new minister, Rev. Wade Ogle. In his first sermon he said, “If you are doing a job in the church just because no one else will do it, stop. Just because you can do a job, and do it well, doesn’t mean you are one who is supposed to be doing it.”

I sat there, my mind reeling, my world morphing into a new reality. He can’t be serious, can he? After my mind had simmered on his message, I went to talk to him. He confirmed his take on
this subject. I told him I wanted to resign as choir director. Without flinching, he said okay. I physically felt the load lift. I had been directing the choir for twenty years and it had become a chore instead of a blessing. I knew a little about music but was by no means a trained director. I had taken the job because no one else would. A notice was in the next Sunday’s bulletin announcing my retirement and asking for a volunteer to step up. And someone did!

Here is my wise pastor’s advice:

PRAY, asking God for direction before you say “yes.” If you are in a job and aren’t sure if you should be there, pray. If you don’t get overwhelming confirmation, give a notice and resign.

MATCH your skills and gifts to the available slots to be filled. The position you accept should be a breeze for you if you use the gifts and talents the Lord has blessed you with. If it feels like work or is a burden to you, resign or say “No” when the Nominating Committee asks you if you will keep the job for another year.

RECRUIT an assistant if your church doesn’t provide one in the nominating process. Everyone needs a break now and then, or gets sick, or has a family emergency. For those twenty years I directed the choir, I didn’t have an assistant. It becomes too much for one person to handle and burnout happens to the best of us.

BLESS the person who should be in the position by not stealing their blessing. It takes some people longer to pray and process before they step forward. If you jump in prematurely, even though God hasn’t ordained you for the job, you will steal the “right” person’s blessing. Take time to pray and give the other person time to pray.

Our church’s Nominating Committee has begun the process for 2014. I hope these suggestions will help you when you are approached by a committee member. First and foremost, pray before answering.

Going out with joy today to serve the Lord-


Thursday, July 18, 2013


I am on vacation this week visiting family in Charleston, SC. I asked my friend, Dick Kendrick, to guest post in my absence. I hope you enjoy his offering. See you next week
Several years ago my wife gave me a little plaque that reads “Everyday is a gift from God.” I kept it in my office at work and it was the first thing I saw when I walked in.  Now it sits in the window above my desk in the Potting Shed. Many were the times when I’ve read those words and thought, “Yeah, everyday but this one.”
Not all days feel like a gift; some feel like the proverbial lump of coal.
My grandmother was a dedicated Presbyterian and an avid fisherman. She never missed being in church on Sunday unless she was away fishing. She raised six children, separated fresh milk with a hand cranked milk separator, canned vegetables from her garden, put up homemade jams and jellies, cooked three meals a day on a wood-fired stove, and weighed about a hundred pounds. She lived life by the philosophy that happiness was relative and had nothing to do with the circumstances in which she found herself. It came from within. A bad day was just a good day in disguise.  She died in her rocking chair with her Bible open on her lap. I think she had figured out what made the difference between a bad day and a good day.
We all have them -- days that are difficult to recognize as “gifts from God.”
The challenge is to see what’s not so obvious, to learn to see our days as God intended them to be.  The truth is not always evident.
Robert Hasting in his essay The Station makes this point. “The true joy of life is the trip.  It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad. It’s the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves that rob us of today.”
A bad day is just part of the journey on the way to the station. The truth is that even the worst day passes and we get a fresh one the next morning.
When you have been given a bad day, or a series of bad days, it sometimes helps to sort through the facts by listing them so you can see more clearly the truth. Here’s a pattern that might be of help:
  1. Define what it is that’s making it a “bad day.”
  2. Determine the source. (God will not be the source, I assure you.)
  3. Identify the various ways you can turn it into a “good day” and what that would take on your part.
  4. If you can effect change, even if it requires seeking assistance, do so.  If it’s not changeable, don’t waste your energy beating a dead horse.
  5. Instead, look for the good, however small, and put your energy into that.
You see, it is actually true. “Every day is a gift from God.” It’s just that sometimes we need to hunt for that gift a little harder than at other times.
My grandmother used to say, “Don’t keep plowing the same furrow if it’s running crooked.”  I’ll let you figure that one out for yourself.
If you know the story of Elijah the prophet you will remember how he watched his only source of water dwindle then dry up. That would probably qualify as a “bad day” for most of us. Streams In The Desert makes this point relating to Elijah’s situation: “Unbelief looks at God through circumstances….but faith puts God between itself and its circumstances.”
Every day is a gift from God, even the difficult ones.

About C. R. Kendrick

Gardener, writer and fly fisherman with a love of good coffee and my wife's cooking. Mentor, student of the Bible and master to a great black lab named Bud. Follower of Duke, Indiana and UNC basketball as well as a Tampa Rays fan. Retired.

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Casualty of War

U.S.S. Yorktown
Patriot's Point

          Last Sunday I attended the funeral of a fallen hero, a casualty of the Vietnam War. Although he wasn’t physically killed in battle, his spirit was wounded to the point he took his own life. Suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression since his return from war, he succumbed to the stresses of what he had seen and done in Vietnam.

I was on my way to the July 4th celebration at Patriot’s Point in Mt. Pleasant, SC, with my family when I received the news of his death. There, with all the monuments to South Carolina’s fallen heroes, I was reminded of the cost of our freedom - a cost that doesn’t end when the war ends. 

Morgan and Matthew at the
S.C. Purple Heart Monument
          Studies show that an estimated 5,000 veterans commit suicide each year. According to a 2012 study published in the American Journal of Public Health, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US, making suicide a significant public health priority. Being in the military doubles your risk of suicide.

          For Vietnam veterans in particular, the PTSD, depression, guilt, and increased suicide levels aren’t the only cost of war they bring home. Vietnam veterans with Agent Orange exposure are like ticking time bombs for major health issues. The health risk of this exposure isn’t just for the veteran, but also creates a risk for their unborn children and even their grandchildren as the various mutations pass through the family bloodline.

          Sometimes we read statistics and absorb them but they don’t become real to us. Let me bring the hidden cost of war down to a more personal level. In my small family alone:

S/Sgt. William T. John

     My father died in Vietnam in 1970.

       My husband served two tours of duty in Vietnam, contracted malaria which has recurred stateside, was wounded by enemy fire and received a Purple Heart, has PTSD, and was exposed to Agent Orange.

Stacie Anne,
our precious firstborn
          Our daughter, Stacie, was born with a heart defect associated with Agent Orange exposure and subsequently died.


Matthew - 5 months old
        Our grandson was born with a cleft lip, gum and palate and, so far, has had three major and three minor surgeries to correct it. He'll require at least one more surgery. This defect has also been associated with Agent Orange exposure.

        Multiply factors like these by the millions of men and women who go to war to protect the freedoms we enjoy and you get a glimpse of the high price they and their families pay. Sometimes veterans have to pay the hidden costs of war for the rest of their lives.

          Pray for the physical and mental health of our soldiers and veterans and be sure to thank them for their service when you see them. Like Jesus, they were willing to lay down their life for you.

Praying blessings over you today, dear Reader-


PS  My intention with this blog post was not to draw attention to me and my family. God has been so faithful to us throughout our lives. He has blessed us in each situation we've faced by placing the right people in the right places, by orchestrating circumstances in our favor, by undergirding us with a supernatural strength, and in many other ways.

My intention was to pay homage to Randy, a fallen hero and to associate faces with statistics to make the whole concept of the hidden cost of war real to you. If you haven't thought about this sort of thing before, I hope this is eye-opening for you. I hope it makes you appreciate your freedom and the soldiers who fight for it even more than you do now.

Love and blessings to you and yours-