"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

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Running the Race

I never fancied myself much of an athlete. I don’t have the competitive edge needed to be successful at team sports. I am much better at individual activities where I only have to meet or exceed my own expectations. The only team sport I ever semi-excelled at was bowling when my husband and I joined a team when we were first married. In elementary school, I was the marble champion of the playground, but, again, that is more of an individual sport.

In May, I decided I needed to do something good for my health. My doctor had asked me numerous times what I was doing for exercise. My response of, “not much” wasn’t making her smile. I started by buying a DVD walking program with the option of doing one, two, three or four miles and a cool down. The first and fourth miles are 15 minute miles which is the pace I had done years before when I was on a regular exercise program. I knew I could do it now because I had done it before. The second mile is a 12 minute mile, accomplished by including a two minute running portion. The third mile is a 10 minute mile and includes, you guessed it, two running sessions of two minutes each.

I diligently used the DVD in varying lengths every morning for about four weeks. When grandchildren were here, they had fun doing it with me, especially the running sets. We’d run through the house and out the back door and around the deck and back in time to do the next part of the video. I was feeling very accomplished.

Cathy and Mary Jane crossing the finish line
Color Run, Asheville, NC

About that time my daughter sent an email advertising a 5K Color run/walk in nearby Asheville, NC. The proceeds would support two local charities. We talked it up and several of us signed up, along with some friends. It sounded like fun and we had 6 weeks to get ready for it. The only hitch in the plan was that I did all my training on level ground and Asheville is very hilly. There were several smaller hills that I managed to navigate without much trouble, but then came the granddaddy of all hills. The sight of it made me groan. It rose in front of me like an impenetrable wall. I made it about halfway up before I had to stop and rest. I am so thankful for my dear friend and running/walking partner who waited with me and encouraged me to keep going.
First Place Medal

Since then I have done three more races and have three scheduled for November (what was I thinking???). The funny thing is that I have won first place medals in my age group at all three of those, not because I am fast, but because there aren’t that many people my age running 3.1 miles. Come back next week to find out what I have learned through all of this.

Going out with joy today-


Saturday, September 20, 2014

What a Friend we Have in Jesus

My favorite picture of
Ruth Thompson Brown
My friend of 40+ years, Ruth Thompson Brown, passed away in her sleep on August 30, 2014. A determined woman, independent in her thinking and a little quirky around the edges, she made me smile. She lived a colorful and fruitful life. She taught school for 48 years before retiring. At 99 years old, she had lived more history than most of us have read about. I joked with her one day saying, “You didn’t have to study history, Mrs. Brown; you lived it!” She chuckled and said, “I guess you’re right.

Ruth loved people and saw the potential in them. Using unconventional teaching methods, she was able to teach many who had already been counted out by the system. I think they knew she loved them and wanted them to be successful. Ruth and I met when her Granddaughter, Lorie, and my daughter, Nanci, were in Kindergarten. Lorie invited Nanci to go swimming and when I dropped Nanci off at Lorie’s Grandma Ruth reassured me that she would see that they were safe.

Nanci had a watch on and, in her excitement, jumped into the pool before taking it off. It quit working immediately. Mrs. Ruth felt compelled to have it fixed. After a week, she went to pick the watch up at the jewelers only to find that he couldn’t fix it. Mrs. Brown’s reply, with eyes sparkling, was, “I know a man of your caliber and talent can fix this watch, so I am going to leave it another week. I know when I come back next week, it will be fixed.” And it was!

Ruth loved God, her church, and its people. She thought everybody ought to have a church. It troubled her that “people just flat out won’t go.” When she invited someone and they showed any interest at all, she would call them early on Sunday mornings to see 

Gilboa United Methodist Church
Rutherfordton, NC
if they were up and getting ready. That’s how she got the Crowder family involved in Gilboa United Methodist Church, her church home. She faithfully played the piano there and directed the Charge Choir for oodles of years. If she didn’t think the congregation or the choir was singing with all the gusto they could muster,

she’d stop playing, stand up next to the piano as tall as she could stretch her 5’3” frame, and say, “Look-a here. I think you can do better than that.” And the second time, we did!

Ruth loved her family. You could see it in her eyes; sense it in her spirit. She shared their successes with glee and, being a realist, she shared their failures with sadness. She loved that she could help the ones she could and she wore herself out trying to figure out how to help the ones who had more potential than they were using. I loved the family stories she shared with me. She was four when they moved by horse and buggy to the house she lived in until her death. She loved to garden so, while others cooked and cleaned, she worked outside with her father and brothers. Almost totally vegetarian (she would occasionally eat some sausage or bacon), she had a passion for fresh vegetables which carried over from her childhood.

The last time I saw her, she woke from her pain medicine induced sleep enough to look at me and smile and say, “I love you. . . . . all the time.” I said the same to her, and she lapsed back into her slumber. I sat next to her bed for awhile singing hymns, She lifted her feeble arms and played air piano when I sang “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” her favorite hymn.

I love you, Mrs. Brown . . . . all the time.  Thank you for loving me.

Going out with joy today, thanking God for a blessing like Mrs. Brown-


Monday, August 4, 2014

What Would You Do?

The Vacation Bible School our church chose this year was Agency D3. We spent the week as Special Agents discovering truths about Jesus, deciding what we believe about Him, and learning how to defend our faith. The Bible verse for the week, in the simplified version for younger children, was “Always be ready to tell what you know about Jesus.”  I Peter 3:15

A couple weeks ago, my brother experienced a real life test of this verse. Here’s his account of the evening: 


 A couple Saturdays ago, we celebrated our daughter’s 22nd birthday by having a family dinner at a local restaurant. After we were seated and our orders were taken, I got up to go to the bathroom. After completing my bathroom “business,” I began washing my hands. As I rinsed the soap from my hands, an elderly man (I’m guessing @ 75 years old) burst into the bathroom. Before I could do anything, this man began sobbing. WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

 I must confess, my first inclination was to leave the bathroom as quickly as possible. Men don’t acknowledge each other in the bathroom much less strike up a conversation. This man was obviously distressed and I couldn’t just leave. I placed my hand on his back, and said, “Sir, what’s wrong? Is there anything I can do to help?”

This well-groomed, nicely dressed man looked up, eyes swollen
and red and replied, “I’m here with my entire family to celebrate my retirement.” I immediately replied, “Well, this should be a happy occasion, why all the tears?” The man looked at me, took several deep breathes and replied, “I saw my doctor today and he told me I have a very aggressive form of cancer and have 3 months to live. I haven’t told anyone, and I don’t know how to break the news to my family when everyone is so happy.” WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

 I responded, “at least you’ve got your faith to fall back on.” This tortured man looked at me with a blank look and said, “What ‘faith’ are you talking about, I’ve never been to church.” (I had made some basic assumptions based on his outward appearance and on the fact that most everyone in the Bible Belt has at least some passing knowledge of God and “church.”) WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

 I quickly sent God an urgent prayer and asked Him to please give me the right words to say to this lost man. As my new friend began to wash his face, getting ready to return to his party, I blurted out, “I’m not trying to make light of your situation, but you were always going to die. I’m going to die, all those waiting for you at the table are going to die. It’s not that important that we’re all going to die, but what is important is what happens after you die.”

I continued, “I know one day I will die, but the grave doesn’t have a hold on me. Jesus promises that if I believe in Him and ask Him to come into my heart, I will spend my eternity in a place that doesn’t have cancer or pain, a place of constant joy and happiness.” My friend politely listened and then said, “Tell me more about this Jesus.” I gave him a short version of my testimony and spent the next few minutes taking a walk down the Roman Road (see below). 

When I finished, he fell to his knees and cried out, “I need this
Jesus you’ve been talking about!” I got down on my knees beside him right there in the bathroom of a busy restaurant. We prayed and my friend accepted Jesus.

 When we finished praying and stood up my friend looked like a different man. He smiled, and looked like he was ready to run a marathon. I offered to go back to his table with him to help explain what the Doctor said, and to explain what happened in the bathroom. He felt like he could handle it himself, so I told him to come get me if he needed help.

I invited him to church and he indicated his sister and a few of his co-workers in attendance were church members. He thought once they heard his good news they would want him to try their church first. We exchanged names and phone numbers and we agreed to stay in touch. He left the restroom and I prayed one more time, praising God for taking over the conversation. God is good and always faithful to provide, even in the men’s room at a local restaurant! 

 Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. (1 Peter 3:15)

Tommy John 

What will you do when you are asked to tell what you know about Jesus? Plan now for when that time comes. All you are required to do is be ready to tell what you know. Take a few minutes and make a list of the things you know about Jesus. If you still feel unprepared, do some more Bible study on Jesus. Use the internet to look up a sharing technique that works for you, The ABC’s of Faith, the Roman Road and others. Use scripture when possible because the Bible tells us scripture won’t fail to accomplish what it is sent out to do. May God bless you as you prepare.

I’m going out with joy today to share the Good News-


How to Use the Roman Road to Witness:

from "The Next Step" by J.T.C., (pages 55 to 59)

The Roman Road lays out the plan of salvation through a series of Bible verses from the book of Romans.I don't think witnessing is easy.  My idea here is that you just have to read the red text below.


To be a soul winner, you should get yourself a small New Testament.

Coming at people with a large Bible scares them.
You must first prepare your little New Testament with guide notes, for your own benefit.
Take a colored pen or pencil and turn to the book of Romans.

Your first verse is Romans 3:10 
Now that you've marked it like we have above, you move to the next verse.

The next verse is Romans 3:23
Always indicate in the margin the next verse you are to read.

Here is the list you will follow on the Roman Road . . .
1) Romans 3:10 
2) Romans 3:23 
3) Romans 5:12 
4) Romans 5:8 
5) Romans 6:23 
6) Romans 10:13 

7) Romans 10:9-10

Mark all of these down in your New Testament - so you won't make any mistakes.With this technique, you don't have to memorize the scriptures . . . that will come in time as you use the system.

Before witnessing, pray, asking God for power through the Holy Spirit.  Ask Him to use you to win someone for Christ.
Never hit them cold with a question like . . . "Have you been saved?"
Talk about the weather or their job for a few minutes.
Then ask . . .

May I ask you a question?
"Sure, go ahead!"

If you were to die tonight . . . are you sure you would go to heaven?
Any reply less than 100% certainty is a sign you must present the Roman Road.

If it were possible to know for sure that you could go to heaven - would you be interested?
"I'd be a nut if I didn't!"

If I could show you how you can know from the Bible, would you do what the Bible says?

People aren't always interested.  Some get angry.  Be pleasant, leave a tract, and go talk to someone else.

Romans 3:10 points out that I'm not righteous and you're not either ... "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:"  (Ro 3:10)

Romans 3:23 says we all fall short of God's standard! ... "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"  (Ro 3:23)

Point out that you are a sinner first, then that he is also.  Never put the sinner below you.

Romans 5:12 says in the beginning, God and Adam's hearts were knit together.  Through Adam's disobedience, their sweet togetherness was broken.
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:"  (Ro 5:12)

Adam died both spiritually and physically.  We inherit spiritual and physical death from our parents, Adam and Eve.

In Romans 5:8, we find Christ died on the cross, He became our substitute by taking our place!
"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."  (Ro 5:8)

Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death ... "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."  (Ro 6:23)

Most of us work for wages.  Our pay for being a sinner is death!

"Why did Adam listen to Eve, and sin?"
We'll come back to that later!
Warning:  Never get off the Roman Road by arguing doctrine or opinion.

". . . but the gift of God is eternal life . . ."  (Ro 6:23) ... If someone gives you a gift and you receive it, you know you have it - right?

Romans 10:13 is a promise, if we call on the name of the Lord, we shall be saved - not maybe!  but - shall!
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."  (Ro 10:13)

Revelation 3:20 is another promise.  This shows Christ outside our lives.
He wants to come into our hearts and be the center of our lives.  He says He will come in, if we ask Him!
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."  (Rev 3:20)

Romans 10:9-10 tells us how to call on the Lord.
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."  (Ro 10:9-10)

Would you like to call on the name of the Lord right now, ask Him into your heart, and know that you are saved?

Let me pray for you - Lord, thank you for this opportunity to present my friend, Mr. Jones.

Now, Mr. Jones, will you please pray?
"I don't know what to pray!"
I'll help you!

If you mean business with the Lord - you tell Him these words:  Lord, I know I'm a lost sinner
(let Jones repeat these words)

I'm asking you to forgive me of my sins
(Mr. Jones repeats)

and come into my heart and be my Lord and Savior
(Jones repeats)

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ
(Jones repeats)

(Jones repeats)

Do you mean business?
Then according to Romans 10:13 you called upon His name.

Do you believe He saved you like He said He would? If you died tonight, would you be sure you'd go to heaven?

How do you know?
"God says so!"

Now go tell somebody what's happened to you - because the Word tells us to in Romans 10:9

Also, Matthew 10:32 says:  "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven."  (Mt 10:32)

Why don't you come to church with me and make a public confession of your faith?
"I will, thank you."

You have just been born again spiritually and, like a newborn you need nourishment to help you grow.  The Bible is our spiritual food - you must read it daily!

The more you know about scripture - the easier it is to present the Roman Road.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Position of Victory

Tommy with
        My brother, Tommy, has been battling with low platelet counts for just over a year. In the beginning, his primary care doctor wasn’t too concerned and decided the best course of action would be to watch it and repeat the tests in a few months. At the repeat of the tests, Tommy’s platelet count was even lower. His doctor made an appointment with an oncologist/hematologist as a precaution.

          The oncologist ordered a few more tests and we found out Tommy’s spleen is enlarged which could account for the low platelet count. She decided to watch his blood levels for a year and release him then if his counts didn’t get any lower. They fluctuated some over the course of the year but basically held level and Tommy went for his last appointment with her, expecting to be released that day.

          As you’ve probably surmised, his tests weren’t good. Not only was his platelet count lower than it had been all year, his hemoglobin and his white cell count jumped on the bandwagon. Again, as a precaution, the oncologist ordered a bone marrow biopsy. The test was done under anesthesia on May 7th and the results would be explained at an appointment on May 21st.

          The good news was huge. Many cancers were ruled out. Praising God began immediately, only briefly interrupted by a teeny, tiny, little cloud trying to diminish the good news as we learned there were some cells deemed abnormal that couldn’t be identified. My brother’s response was, “I now have medical proof that I am abnormal!”

          You might ask how Tommy can have such a light-hearted outlook given the mixed bag of news he received. The answer is easy. On Valentine’s Day, 1991, he accepted Jesus into his life as his personal Savior. Every since then, Tommy has fought his battles out of a position of victory. The victory over life, death and everything in between was won for him by Christ when He died on the cross. That makes me want to shout out loud!

          What about you? Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior or are you struggling along with an “I don't need God. I can do it myself” attitude? There’s good news for you:

          God loves you regardless of what you’ve done or been or the attitudes you have toward Him. He doesn’t have favorites among those He created so what He did for Tommy, He’ll do for you. I’ve heard God called The Hound of Heaven. He won’t give up on you. He desires for you to live forever with Him, just so He can love you longer. Salvation is free. Jesus paid your debt for you.

          I’d love to talk to you about accepting Christ as your Savior if you have never taken that step. E-mail me at: hiskid410@gmail.com and we’ll arrange a time to talk. The victory is yours for the claiming.

Going out with joy today-


The A B C's of Salvation
Admit to God that you are a sinner. Repent (turn away from) of your sin.
Romans 3 : 23 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"
I John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins
and purify us from all unrighteousness."

Trust that Jesus is God's Son and that God sent Jesus to save people from their sins.
John 3 : 16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever
believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."
Give your life to Jesus. Ask Him to be your Lord and Savior.
Romans 10 : 9-10 That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord', and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Mother's Day Blessings

Cathy, Nanci, Caitie and McKenna
Four Generations
I hope your Mother's Day was as wonderful as mine was. All but one of my children, who lives away, attended church with me. Two granddaughters and my great-granddaughter made four generations of us in church together that morning. No gift can outdo the joy I receive from worshipping with my family.
Later that day my daughter, Nanci, invited my husband and I to go to a newly opened yogurt shop in our area. When we arrived at her house, I was met by an excited six-year old who had made "a surprise" for Grandma. When Emma joined our family, we felt blessed. I had no idea what joy she would bring to us. What follows is my version of a poem for Emma.
Emma with my "Surprise"


As precious as diamonds,
An unexpected blessing. 

She stood on the steps as she’d been taught,
But when the car stopped moving
She bounded through the grass,
One hand held captive behind her back.                

She danced in anticipation,
Satisfaction filled her smile.
She was confident I would love
What she was about to reveal. 

She had worked quickly, in silence,
Her secret to keep.
Then her voice oozed with pride,
“Grandma, these are for you!” 

She unleashed the lovely prisoner-
Twelve white clover blossoms and
One pink azalea, for accent,
All bound up in a clover stem. 

As precious as diamonds,
An unexpected blessing. 

By Cathy Biggerstaff 

Going out with joy today-

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Report of My Death was Exaggerated!

“The report of my death was exaggerated.”
Mark Twain

Some of the medications
and paperwork
            Several of my readers have asked if some horrendous catastrophe has befallen me since I haven’t blogged in 2014. The answer is yes, and no. The whole month of February was dedicated to fighting a huge kidney stone that managed to move itself out of my kidney just enough to keep my kidney from functioning. It all began on February 2nd and, after two surgeries, two runs of antibiotics, weekly doctor visits, much pain and discomfort, I had my last procedure on February 28th. It took me almost three weeks after that to regain my strength. I’m learning the body was made for activity, not lying around for an extended period. The human body creates energy by expending energy.

            I felt privileged when I was asked late last year to be part of the Leadership Team for the 2014 Write2Ignite! Conference for writers of Christian literature for children and young adults. I signed on to produce the Resource Manual which would be given to each
attendee. My deadline was February 25th with most of the information not available until late January. I missed the deadline due to kidney month festivities. All transactions were handled electronically so, working as I was able, I did get everything submitted in March in time for the draft to be edited, returned to me for revisions, and sent to the printers so we could have them ready by conference time.        

Most of what I’ve described doesn’t seem to go with my blog/life theme, Joyful Journey, but as I consider it I can find joy to spare from this experience:

1)    It gives me joy bubbling up and brimming over to see all the tiny details God arranged so that I could get the care I needed. Last year I met Jane, a doctor, at the women’s Bible study I attend. This year I became part of the leadership team for Community Bible Study and she became my shepherd. When she made her shepherding call the day after I’d been to the ER, I told her about my stone. She used her influence to get me into a urologist’s office the next day. There’s no telling how much worse my condition would have gotten without her intervention. God started this process at least as far back as the birth of this little girl who became a compassionate doctor. Another quirky note in the story is that Jane’s husband and our new urologist grew up in the same town.

2)    For the previous four years since my forced retirement, I haven’t had any health insurance. In January, I was eligible for Medicare. The costs for my February care added up to tens of thousands of dollars. With Medicare, I only paid about $2,000 of that. I am so thankful for God’s provision, not just in this experience, but over the last four years as well.

3)    The urologist I had seen for years moved out of town to be closer to aging relatives. He had a partner who had seen my husband but I couldn’t imagine being his patient. I started dreading that as soon as I realized I had a kidney stone. God provided again when I found out we had a new urologist in town. The new doctor was everything I needed in this situation-compassionate, efficient and the appropriate amount of urgency and reassurance. His staff was wonderful, too.

The premise of this blog is that God drops gems of joy along our daily paths. It’s our job to recognize them, appropriate them and share them with others.

Going out with joy today. I hope you will, too!