Take a peek at Clark plugging in the lights, Cousin Eddie and the fried cat.**(see below)


....for the "Really Woolys" to move to the mantle and sit above the "grands" stockings!


...the MOST wonderful time of the year!

Friday, December 9, 2016

NOT a Christmas Tradition

Since our first born was able to say "ights," we've driven all over Memphis looking for the beautiful Christmas lights. Now, that's tradition! Kids always make it more fun.
But, this year we went without children and had a once in a life-time experience. We drove to Forest Downs in Germantown which is just off Forest Hill Irene on the west side of the street between Poplar Pike and Germantown. Beautiful trees with BIG snow flakes hanging are seen as you turn in to the subdivision.
And then....there it is---the Griswold House with all the things folks remember from the 1980s film---
even Clark is standing out front ready to "plug-in all those lights!!! 
Even Uncle Eddie is there with his RV parked in the drive
and the chair that Clark and Eddie carried out the "fried cat." 
A once in a life-time experience!!

How do I know it's a once in a life-time experience? Because.....next year this house will be torn down. The owner, who just purchased it for the property, decided to give it a grand "Christmas Vacation"send off this year. Too funny to miss for adults who remember the film. Clark looks real and the RV is a wreck in the driveway. 
Tune into 94.5 on your radio, hear the soundtrack from the movie and have a memorable time that won't become a tradition because it will be gone soon.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

of stillness and storm

What a paradoxical day for dear friend and author, Michèle Phoenix. A day of comings and goings.
As Michèle celebrates the "coming out" of her latest novel today, Of Stillness and Storm, she will be "going into" Central Dupage Hospital for a bilateral mastectomy.

The Amazon reviews on this "release" day have been glowing. As they should be. This gal can write. For those in ministry on foreign fields, Of Stillness and Storm will seem more REALISTIC than fictional. Michèle's words create mental images of the poverty stricken Nepal setting while touching us right in our emotional core as she weaves us through the lives of a missionary family--- Lauren, Sam and their son, Ryan. 

For me there was an intense emotional undertow throughout the story. The beauty of Michèle's prose is that she doesn't use additional adjectives for her words to convey feelings but that she uses the perfect words. Pithy with a punch----the way I like them. It's almost poetic when an author has the ability to say the most with the fewest words.

Of Stillness and Storm is a contemporary read that begins in Katmandu, introducing us to the daily life and hardships of the Nepali people and yet transcends the miles to an America connection via the internet. A juxtaposition of hope and disappointment at almost every turn.

“I felt torn between two worlds. Each with its own mystery. One more captivating than the other, but the other more real and breathing.”  (Michèle Phoenix)

Her reviewers used words and phrases like poignant, heartrending, and "must read." I agree.

A riveting story, the book will keep the reader turning pages long after the acceptable time for lights out. (B. Miller)

Complex characters and a provocative theme---comparing it to reading Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible as Phoenix masterfully plays with the reader's perspective's and emotions as the story unfolds.
(J. Morris)

An absolutely outstanding cautionary tale that is deeply affecting and will linger in reader's minds long after the last page is turned. (K. Branfield)

To me, the title also reflects much of Michèle's life as an MK. Her life has spanned the ocean and travel in third world countries but because of her faith in Jesus Christ she has weathered these storms, being an inspiration for all who know her. "In quietness and trust is her strength." (Isaiah 30:15) 

Even today in the midst of this new "cancer storm,"  Michèle has an aura of peace---a peace that passes understanding. (Philippians 4:7)

Thursday, December 1, 2016


Maybe the "memory moments" began as I sat by "my Molly" at the funeral of  6 yr. old Milla G. this week. Such a service can have any parent wanting to hold on to sweet memories of their precious children.
This morning I wondered what memories my children and grandchildren would carry with them once I am gone. Would they remember that in their early years I always sang a little 2 line "ditty" to help them ease into their mornings. "Good morning Sunshine. How you doing friend?"
Guess what made me think of that today! My morning cuppa!

But would they recall the spiritual & sometimes quirky Christmas happenings---
  • Donald Duck always goes on tree first as it's the 1st ornament bought for a Liles tree in 1969
  • 24 days of no TV which they gave me as a gift (and then wanted to take it back, but didn't) 
  • the lobster races on the kitchen floor, 
  • Pop's "little" prayer for the "big" meal "For these and all our many blessings we thank you."
  • country ham (cooked in black ironskillet) with biscuits & re-eye gravy on Christmas eve
  • In 1982 when we walked "late" on the night of the full moon and discovered 2 moons that  December---13 moons that year---one of those "once in a blue moon" years
  • the year the lights went out, only on our street, so we had to entertain a house full of Advent guests in the DARK---at least we could use our camp stove & run an extension cord across to our back door neighbors to plug in an electric skillet, 
  • our Advent Sundays with a Jewish neighbor in attendance just to hear Mr. Liles sing "We Three Kings", 
  • the on-going "hunt" for the lost Double Bubble bubble gum canister/tub, 
  • always picking out a "real" Christmas tree, 
  • Cutting the names off of every Christmas card we received and taking turns throughout the next year praying for the names we "drew" from the yellow smiley mug. Mug had been given us by Maxine (Mommar's sister) & Clyde---along with King Leo peppermint sticks for Molly
  • taking 20 leftover Christmas trees the day after Christmas to use in Molly & Corey's wedding, 
  • Lucy being small enough to bathe in the kitchen sink on our first Colorado Christmas, 
  • the deer in the front yard on our 2nd Colorado Christmas as it snowed everyday we were there in 2014,
  • making Christmas angels in the snow then darting back inside to the hot tub
  • magic wands that turned on the Christmas lights over the big mantle,

Maybe this Christmas we can all share what we remember and then I can add to the list---remembering the One who should be the ultimate focus of the entire celebration. (Isaiah 9:6)

You, reader,  might want to start your own "Christmas Memory" list! 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

ADVENT SUNDAY---a Liles tradition

For Christians thorough out the world, Advent is a time of "waiting"----waiting for the coming and acknowledging the birth of the Lord. It's a time of expectancy. A time to remember those who walked in darkness and then saw a great light. A life changing "Nativity" for us all.
At the Liles house, for as far back as I can remember, the 4 Sundays before Christmas have been a time of celebration and remembrance with an Advent wreath of candles, special devotions (mostly the same ones each year) and off-key singing of appropriate carols. Every one participates and younger ones get a small gift.
This year Owen was with us and he read Isaiah 9:6 and "lit" the "candle of faith". (Called by some the "candle of promise" as Jesus came as the Messiah promised by the prophet Isaiah.)
After we sang "O Come all Ye Faithful" Owen practiced "Scrooge-ing" out the candle---a Liles tradition since watching Barry Fuller as "Scrooge" in Theater Memphis' Christmas Carol, snuffing out his candle with his wet fingers!
Good job, Owen!

Thursday, November 24, 2016


It's Thanksgiving and so much to be thankful for---sweet fellowship in the household of faith & shared times with family and friends. 
Blessings---a real mixed bag----shared with family, friends & faith friends!
So I had to share a Blessing Mix recipe from sweet friend Ellen.
Bugles--Shaped like a cornucopia, Horn of Plenty, a symbol of our nation's abundance.
Pretzels--Arms folded in prayer, a freedom sought by those who founded our country.
Candy Corn--The sacrifices of the Pilgrims' first winter. Food was so scarce that settlers survived onjust a few kernels of corn a day.
Nuts or seeds--Promise of a future harvest, one we will reap only if seeds are planted and tended with diligence.
Dried fruits--Harvest gifts from our bountiful land.
M&Ms--Memories of those who came before us to lead us into a blessed future.
Hershey's Kiss--The love of family and friends that sweetens our lives.

Click here for---Recommended Recipe Amounts for those "exact" cooks.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL! (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Saturday, November 19, 2016


Maybe "sweets" aren't the answer to everything....
...but sometimes "sweets" numb the pain until God's answer becomes crystal clear. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Just watch out for the side effects---sugar addiction and weight gain, NOT such a sweet RX.

Friday, November 18, 2016


So much one could say but....
...sometimes a Lockhart, Alabama "pithy grabbing" church sign can say it BEST....
along with God's word!

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. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Visual road reminders and God's word, (Psalm 34:4) a great RX for anxiety.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

B-B-B-B-B-B-Beach Bounty

So much to share---a week of B's at Blue Mountain Beach.
"Blessing upon Blessing."
Blackboard verses "bank" the chapel pews. (1Corinthians 13)....
& Bible verse (12) awaits at the altar (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
Here comes the beautiful bride & her best man.....
the "bow-tie clad bearer of the ring and baby boy, Rory....and
...bye bye in style
Biker ides, blue skies, and boogie boards in br-r-r- water, and followed by beaucoup beach adventures.
Butterfly "flutter-bys"---Monarchs and viceroys and more....
Berry bushes with bumblebees, which buzzed loudly as I closed in & then I bolted!
Birding Buddies
Even eating is an adventure at the beach---tho only room for a few pix.
Breakfast begins the day---with buns from the best bakery, La Loba.
or blueberry baby (Dutch Baby) in a black iron skillet at "The Perfect Pig," and on to...
....Bait shop, ala Stinky's, for shrimp po-boys on homemade bread at lunch and on to...
...dinners (without pix) at our best bargains yet & ole faves ---George's at Alyce Beach, where they will "split" seafood combo for us and Cafe Thirty-A with BOGO between 5pm & 6pm.
BULLETIN! BULLETIN! After a little over a year, Seagrove Market Cafeis re-opening in 2 days 11/19/16) to continue serving "deep fried love." (just 2 doors north of original address on Hwy 395)
....and a breezy balcony dinner at sunset with my "Baby Honey" of 47 years at Bud and Alley's at
Seaside on 30A with the rest of the Wright/Ritenour wedding bunch!
Bountiful blessings, indeed!

Monday, November 14, 2016


Compulsive. Idiosyncratic. Strange. Weird. That's me.
But God.....tends to honor my uniqueness.
Today's quiet time was a real "heads up" as I saw my W "caricature creation" in My Utmost for His Highest devotional journal. From today's entry I could tell that I had been embellishing Ws in both my Bible and MUHH at least since 2009.
WOW--I noticed the entry title, "Discovering Divine Designs." Oh my, that's exactly what I've been doing all these years with Ws!
My own "unusual way of "highlighting" worship as I read---and sometimes with an "eye" for worship reminders in my surroundings.
This week's "Walk of Worship" (WOW walks) on the beach was not to intentionally see Ws everywhere but to see God's perfect design in creation and to praise & thank Him for the privilege of "seeing" it!
But God....showed me a W in the wings of a bird in flight as well as webbed footprints in the sand!
Even as we returned to the condo last night from Cafe Thirty-A, I saw an arrow pointing to a glowing W. It was for a road warning....but I saw it as one more reminder to thank the Lord for the day's blessings.
Ws are everywhere---when one starts looking! Little "God Winks" to remind one of His Presence and to "worship the King!".

Friday, November 11, 2016

Heart of Worship

Because you asked---link to hear me teaching, "The 3 Rs of Worship in the spirit of Hezekiah"
Be forewarned there are lots of Rs but the main three are Return, Restore & Rejoice."
or this link if that one falters
Maybe the PP outline w/ verse citations will aid in note-taking,

2. heart of worship lyrics
I'm coming back to the heart of worship
And it's all about you,
It's all about you, Jesus
I'm sorry, Lord, for the thing I've made it
When it's all about you,
It's all about you, Jesus
3.            TITLE  HEZEKIAH
3 Rs of Worship

4.             3 Rs of Worship to Revive a Heart….
in the spirit of Hezekiah
5.            RETURN…..TO THE LORD                        2 Chronicles 29
Repent                         2 Chronicles 29:3-5a

Remove the Rubbish    2 Chronicles 29:5b-

Refocus                        2 Chronicles 29:6-10

6.Principle:                        Return to the Lord
When the Lord’s people refocus, repent and return to Him, He is ready to receive them.
Revere the Lord                                     2 Kings 18:3-5

Rev up your prayer life                         2 Kings 19:14-19, Isaiah 37:15-20

Rely on the Lord                                     2 Kings 18:6

8. Principle: Restore a Right Relationship
•When one reveres the Lord through a rejuvenated prayer life and complete reliance on Him, the Lord, Jehovah Raphah will heal and restore that right relationship.
Respond                                     2 Chronicles 29:30 - 30:19

Refresh…worship anew                         Isaiah 38:9-20

Revive….with singleness of heart                          2 Chronicles 30:12 & 26 

Principle: Rejoice Again & Again!

•Responding in worship as God leads, enables one to rejoice afresh with a revived undivided heart!