Coronavirus 101

I opened my Email Inbox only to find that every other message contained a warning, explanation, or information about how this or that organization was dealing with the Coronavirus. From hotels and restaurants we frequent to our newspaper, Our Daily Bread, local library, and Caption Call, everyone is trying to stay current with warnings and explanations of measures they are taking to keep us safe. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate their efforts, and think it’s wise to be pro-active, but it can also make us feel like we are living in an infected test tube.

A week or so ago, it was on the radar, but now, just as a virus can do, it has invaded every aspect of our society. You can’t turn on the TV without seeing some update, you can’t go places you’ve always gone because they’re closed, can’t shake hands, can’t buy toilet paper, and so many other seemingly innocuous things that are a part of our daily lives. Cruises and Spring Break trips have been cancelled, schools and colleges are having classes online, and – brace yourself! – SPORTS have been called off for the rest of the season/school year!

When the stories began to emerge about how it had become THE topic in other countries, I knew it would soon filter into ours, but little did I know how pervasive it would become. Almost overnight it has changed our lives like nothing since 9-11-01.

As cases appeared along the west coast cities in the US and were reported, the news media wanted President Trump to immediately declare a national emergency. When he didn’t panic, they accused him of not taking it seriously, not being prepared, and not supporting their hysteria. Friday, the President held a news conference and declared a “State of Emergency” to “unleash the full power of the federal government” to fight the virus. In an election year when he is being portrayed as unconcerned, he could hardly afford not to take a strong public stand. But that wasn’t enough. One reporter if he would accept responsibility for not reacting sooner.

In the beginning stages, I felt like the Coronavirus COULD BECOME a problem, but I wasn’t concerned yet, and thought the President’s stance was a proper reaction. I also decided that nothing would change in my life until it became necessary. Fast forward two days, and the entire country is shutting down, forcing every organization to follow suit because they have no good options. If they don’t change anything, they are seen as being foolish, uncaring, and ill-prepared. If they do change, they are seen as over-reacting, “drinking the kool-aid,” and causing a panic. Sometimes you just can’t win.

I know the changes we’re now seeing are hoping to keep the virus at bay to prevent deaths. In comparison, according to the CDC, there were 17-24 million flu related medical visits in America between October 1, 2019 and March 7, 2020. Of those, there were between 22,000 – 55,000 flu deaths in that same time period, but we didn’t have anything closing as far as I know. I also know that every two years (major election years) there is some contagion that the media uses to hype its viewer ratings.

Since Jim and I are in the category of “elderly” (which we hate, by the way!) we are said to be among the “most vulnerable.” We are trying to be cautious, not going to some places we normally go, but we are going to church, going to the grocery store (with gloves), going to the bank, and going to our doctor’s appointments – between us we have 10 in March alone!

In this Monday, March 2, 2020, file photo, microbiologist Xiugen Zhang runs a Polymerase Chain Reaction, or PCR, test at the Connecticut State Public Health Laboratory, in Rocky Hill, Conn. U.S. health officials say more and more public and private laboratories are now able to test for the new coronavirus. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

When the Thunder was about to tip-off on Wednesday night, a team doctor ran onto the court and told the official to halt play. Very soon all the players and officials returned to the locker rooms. Even the commentators had no idea what was happening, and continued to speculate about possible reasons for the delay. The confused, but anxious fans waited to hear what was going on, and soon learned that the NBA had called off its games for the rest of the season. The reason? The team doctor had just received confirmation that the tall center about to touch the ball in tip-off had tested positive for the Coronavirus.

That same player who was questioned earlier in a news conference about a rumor that he was infected, declared it false, and as he left, touched all the microphones and recording devices on the table in front of him. Now every sports entity from the NCAA to the Olympics are having to decide whether they will continue to play games.

So this highly public action prompted the NBA’s decision, and fans were told to go home. To their credit, there didn’t seem to be anyone who was mad enough to knock over a table, throw a beer can, or display any bad behavior. Had this happened in another city, I think we might have seen a near-riot. But then, this IS Oklahoma City!

In a Brave New World where Disney parks are shutting down, TV studio audiences consist of the show’s staff, and there are no sports on TV, what’s a body to do? I guess we all just hunker down, ration our intake of available food, and get to know each other better! I predict there will be a baby boom in December!

At least we still have I-phones, Facebook, and Twitter. Social media has become a lifesaver for those of us who just have to know what’s happening.

Seriously though, let’s pray for our country and for those in the line of fire – victims of Coronavirus, healthcare workers, emergency workers, and decision makers from the local to the state, to the federal. We need to look to God for wisdom and then use that wisdom as we move forward.

Come December…..

Feel free to share this post…but not the virus!

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Impeachment or Not? We Can’t Decide!

I’ve read many opinions by friends on Facebook and Twitter regarding the impending impeachment, and they range from “Donald Trump may be the antiChrist,” to “Donald Trump is the greatest US President in history.”

I fall smack dab in the middle of these two statements. I think he’s done some great things for our country, but I wouldn’t put him above Washington, Lincoln, or even Reagan.

As for his spiritual condition, I don’t necessarily think he’s a true believer, but that’s not the issue here. He’s our President, not our spiritual leader, and he’s no worse than most we’ve had in that office. In his younger days he was a womanizer who said and did things there were inappropriate. So did Bill Clinton. So did John F. Kennedy. So did Franklin Roosevelt.

His language isn’t super-clean, but it isn’t as offensive as what most of us hear on TV daily, and nowhere near what most movies and popular music contain. He also supported abortion rights years ago, but later came to the conclusion that abortion was murder, and has strongly supported the right to life.

As for the things he is now being accused of, I do not agree that they are wrong, much less impeachable offenses.

1. Abuse of Power: This is a vague charge because HE BROKE NO LAW! Impeachment is reserved for high crimes, but he broke no law. He asked the Ukrainian president to investigate Joe Biden who clearly abused his office as VP in more than one way. Clearly Biden has done enough to raise questions, but no one in Congress seemed to notice or care. Instead, they are going after the person who does care. It was not an abuse of his presidential powers to ask for an investigation according to several Constitutional experts. He freely admitted doing so because he saw no reason to deny it. It was and is a practice that many people have done while in office. Remember how JFK and LBJ had the FBI to investigate and monitor Martin Luther King, Jr.?

In contrast, we saw candidate Hillary Clinton (who was then Sec of State) and her Democratic cohorts who actually DID collude with Russian operatives to write a FALSE dossier charging candidate Trump with colluding with Russians. They filed it with corrupt FBI Director James Comey which led to the two-year “investigation” and Mueller Report. After two years and $40 million spent, they found NO evidence. Comey has since apologized for his part in this fiasco, most likely to deflect blame.

Hillary Clinton also used her power as Sec of State (with Pres Obama’s blessing) to deny protection to our diplomats and Navy Seals who were under attack in Benghazi. As a result, four good men were killed and their bodies drug through the streets by terroriists. Why? Because Clinton and Obama wanted to cover up their tracks of supplying arms to terrorist groups. So they lied about what happened, and got off Scott-free. No abuse of power there? Really?

In addition, Pres Obama colluded with Iran (our sworn enemy) and sent them $150 billion in cash at night in secret. That’s BILLION with a B! No abuse of power there, right? No abuse of power when he signed the treaty with Iran over nuclear weapon production. This is IRAN, the terrorist country that chants “Death to America,” all the while we’re paying them Billion$ in cash. No abuse of power there?

And that doesn’t even begin to touch the abuse of power in an election by Nancy Pelosi, Donna Brazille (DNC Chairwoman), and Clinton who colluded to push fellow Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders out of the race for President by giving Hillary questions in advance of the debate. No one seems to notice anything Hillary Clinton does, because she lies her way out of everything. And yet they cry, “No one is above the law….No one!”

2. Obstruction of Congress – The audacity of this charge is mind-boggling. If you have a kangaroo court leveling charges against you, why on earth would you participate? Nothing about the way they handled this investigation resembled a real “court of law.” Witnesses who auditioned for the committee, hearsay accepted as evidence, and the primary witness finally admitting that he just “assumed” the President withheld aid from Ukraine as a threat. All of this is contrary to the rule of law, yet it is now being held up as though it was valid.

President Trump may be impeached, and if he is, it will be because of two things:

1) The elite Left (One-World crowd) can’t control him, and they are afraid he’s on to them. Many tentacles reach from Pelosi, Biden, Clinton, Schumer, and Schiff to people we don’t see but who pull strings and run the world. Who knows what might be uncovered if President Trump investigates further into their business dealings.

2) He didn’t lie about his conversation with the Pres of Ukraine. He didn’t feel there was anything wrong with what they discussed, and I don’t think so either. I daresay that most of those who are accusing him have done the same thing in a run for public office.

Lastly, I’ve noticed that people of faith (Christians, believers, or whatever we go by) are quick to tell each other what we should feel. Some say that we shouldn’t even have an opinion. Others say that our support of President Trump or lack of it is wrong. How quick we are to jump on anyone who disagrees with us. If we feel we’re right, we shouldn’t need their agreement to validate our opinions.

We’re not the ones who get to vote on the impeachment, so maybe it would be best to let the Lord figure out who is wrong and who isn’t. Maybe we are the ones who are abusing our power to “speak the truth in love.”

Personally, I can disagree with you on this issue and not feel the need to doubt your salvation or lambaste you to hell. I would appreciate the same courtesy.

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What Was Accomplished by the Mueller Report?

Like many of my fellow-Americans, my disgust and contempt for Congress has been raised to a new level. After 22 months and $25 million taxpayer dollars being wasted on the Mueller Report, we find there was NO COLLUSION by President Trump with the Russians regarding the 2016 election.

Though President Trump was exonerated, we see that, in the process, several Republicans were arrested, tried and convicted of crimes such as tax evasion, and some were sent to prison. However, none of those crimes reached anywhere near the level of the abuse and criminal activity by the Democratic darling and presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton (HRC). If one Presidential candidate was suspect, why not the other? Since the investigation began, we’ve learned more about Russian collusion, but it ha nothing to do with Trump. It was HRC who colluded with the Russians instead of the Republicans, but she has not been investigated, arrested, nor even questioned about it by the Justice Department.

Meanwhile, Clinton sits in her New York mansion awaiting the next opportunity to delude and rob the American taxpayers of anything she can get her hands on. She has not been convicted or even charged with ONE THING regarding all her abuse of power as a candidate nor her sloppy handling of classified information during her tenure as Secretary of State. She wasn’t just sloppy, she literally stalled until she traced down anything that could confirm her guilt and had it bleached out of existence.

Her hands dripped with the blood of Americans in Benghazi, Libya, as she ordered military to stand down while knowing American diplomats and Navy Seals were being slaughtered and their bodies drug through the streets of the Libyan capital by Muslim terrorists. Then she and Obama stood and told bold-faced lies to their families about what prompted the attack on our embassy there.

Her crimes not only included collusion with Russia over the election, but handing over 20% of America’s uranium resources to Russia and getting nothing for it in the process. Said uranium is used to make nuclear weapons, which pose a threat not only to America, but also to the entire world.

If all those things were not worthy of arrest and punishment, HRC absolutely colluded with the Russians, the very thing they accused Trump of doing. Clinton had the Democratic National Committee to pay for and present to the FBI a FALSE dossier that they had created with the help of Russians which led to the Mueller Investigation by the FBI and Justice Department (i.e, James Comey, Rod Rosenthal, et al).  So in effect, they knew what they had done was illegal, so to cover their tracks, they made up a story and began saying that’s what Donald Trump was doing. They even had his phones wiretapped (with Obama’s blessing) in the Trump Tower hoping to find any trace of collusion, yet found none.

It’s clear to me that the Democratic Party and their cohort members of Congress were out for blood, hoping to find something…anything that they could use to legally impeach President Donald J. Trump. Fortunately for America, they found NOTHING. But that didn’t stop them from stirring up the wrath of liberals in the media and anyone  who didn’t happen to like President Trump. In the almost two year period, his name has been dragged in the muck of a political scandal in which he had no part, and his family has been put through torture for no reason.

This was by design, not the result of  truth, and it was repeated over and over and over again by every news media in the country, with the possible exception of Fox News. Now, we learn that none of the charges alleged were true.  Not only has our President been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion, but he and his family have endured the worst possible treatment of any President in history. Everything  from being called Hitler, to being killed in effigy on national TV shows, to having his son see comedian Kathy Griffin on TV holding a likeness of his severed head with blood dripping from it, and thinking it was real. Can you imagine what the Democrat snowflakes in Congress would have done if this were Obama’s likeness portrayed in such a way?

I am thoroughly disgusted with the Democratic Party which is nothing more than a front organization for the Socialist causes of the world. But I am also not acquitting the Republicans in Congress who have constantly caved and sided with blood-thirsty Democrats every time they dream up new charges to lay at his feet.

Our President is blamed for everything from school shootings to natural disasters to children dying because their parents chose to bring them on a journey across multiple countries, refusing the asylum they say they seek, until they reach the “promised land.”  That land is the America where Democrats have “promised” them free housing, free welfare dollars, free medical care, and free college tuition for their children.  Who will pay for all these free benefits? Why it’s none other than you and I – the American taxpayers – who are Taxed Enough Already. That TEA is why the much maligned TEA Party was formed in the 2008 election year. But I digress.

Since the Mueller Report has come out, it would seem logical that all those who accused President Trump of collusion with the Russians would be apologizing, or at the very least, retracting their lies. Not so! Instead, they are now  trying to force the resignation of  the Congressional member who is trying to protect the classified information contained in the report from being publicized. And nothing has been pursued with regard to Clinton’s campaign violations. Former Chairman of the House of Representatives Oversight Committee Trey Gowdy laid out the facts after the Mueller Report was made available to Congress, saying:

“There is only one campaign that took negative information from Russia. There is only one campaign that actually paid for that information. Fusion GPS and the Clinton campaign was actually spending money to dig up Russian dirt on Trump.”

Our US Constitution gives Congress a lot of power, but the last few decades have shown us how their power has been abused, breaking laws and giving favor to one party over the other. They have particularly allowed corruption to go unchallenged and unpunished by Democrats while hauling Republicans into court for every possible violation. Neither should be off the hook.

You may remember from your high school history classes that there was a great deal of controversy during the founding of America about what type of government our newly independent states should create. A set of rules and regulations called the Articles of Confederation was a first effort, but was generally regarded as a failure. So as the need to replace the articles was sought, each state sent representatives to Philadelphia in 1787 to meet and together to hammer out a new agreement.

The deliberations of this Constitutional Convention were held in strict secrecy, so many interested citizens gathered outside Independence Hall when the proceedings ended, eager to learn what had been decided behind those closed doors. As the delegates left the building, a lady named Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin:  “Well, Doctor, what have we got?”

Without hesitating, Franklin said, “A republic, if you can keep it.” Not a democracy, not a democratic republic. But “a republic, if you can keep it.”

For years our country has suffered threats to this Republic, but never to the extent that we are now experiencing. One reason is that political correctness (PC) has all but silenced those who shed light on corruption and demand that truth and the rule of law be the modus operandus.  We find today that to criticize those who lie and cheat puts not the offender, but the critic in a dangerous position. Those men and women like Congressman Gowdy and conservative journalist Andrew Breitbart are on the Democratic hitlist – literally in the case of Breitbart. They are considered the enemies of America when they speak truth and enlighten the public about corruption.

This makes good, honest people question whether it is worth their reputation and possibly their lives, to stand for right and law, knowing they will be castigated publicly in the news media and on the floors of our US Capitol.  A republic can only work if we have men and women of character leading our country. Otherwise, we fall into the abyss along with countries whose corrupt leaders are coddled until they become dictators.

When we see our representatives going along to get along with the crowd in a wave of PC rhetoric, we become a nation that is ruled by the majority, by peer pressure. This is not a republic, but a democracy.

So what is the difference between a republic and a democracy? The following quotes are from an article on the website entitled “A Republic – If You Can Keep It.” 1  The following quotes are by Chip Wood  the author of the article, who says:

“A lynch mob is democracy in action.  If you believe someone is innocent until proven guilty, that they deserve their day in court, and that a jury of their peers should decide their fate, then you believe in a nation of laws, not just the whims of a mob.”

He also says:  “Democracy is five wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for lunch. If you were the sheep, which would you rather live in—a republic or a democracy?”

In this article, Wood quotes what some of our founding fathers had to say about the two terms, which come from The Federalist Papers—the collection of articles written during the debate over ratifying the new constitution.

James Madison, who is often referred to as ‘the father of the Constitution,’ said:  “…democracies have … in general been as short in their lives as they are violent in their deaths.”

He quotes Alexander Hamilton who concurred in a speech he gave in June 1788, urging the ratification of the Constitution, said: “The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government.  Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity.”

Fisher Ames, a member of Congress during the eight years that George Washington was president, wrote an essay called “the Mire of Democracy.” In it, he said that the framers of the Constitution “intended our government should be a republic, which differs more widely from a democracy than a democracy does from despotism.”

Our founding fathers knew the difference between a republic and a democracy. They revered a republic, but hated and feared a democracy.

So did you notice the two words: democracy and republic? They are very similar to the names of the two major political parties – Democrats and Republicans.  That is not a coincidence, it is by design.

In America, our government is NOT a DEMOCRACY – defined by Merriam Webster as: a government by the people, especially by the rule of the majority.

In America, our government is a REPUBLIC – defined by Merriam Webster as:  a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law.

If nothing else was accomplished, the Mueller Report has exonerated our President from the lies told daily by the press. It also has made us aware that we live in a time when our republic is in danger. Franklin said “…if you can keep it,” and we have come very close to losing it.

If we continue to allow corruption to go unchecked and allow the loudmouths in Congress to control by intimidation and promises of give-aways they cannot pay for, instead of governing by rule of law, we will lose the republic our founding fathers died to give us.

Let’s get behind our embattled President and help him “drain the swamp.”


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The Night Before Christmas

My mother loved poetry, and music. She taught us many songs, nursery rhymes, and poems, most of which I still remember. A couple of days ago, I thought about “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” and recited it almost perfectly, word for word, though it is very long and not at all repetitious. I believe the things we learn VERY EARLY in life stay with us continually. They fade into the background during our adult years, but as we age, they begin to emerge from the dark recesses of our minds.
Today marks the 195th anniversary of this poem, “A Visit From St. Nicholas.”  It was written in 1822 by writer and lecturer Clement Moore for his own children, and was published the next Christmas (1823) in the Troy Sentinel. It became a favorite of many children as it described Santa’s visit to their homes. We take our mental images of Santa Claus from the words described by Moore in the poem.

Night before Christmas


Here it is. I hope you enjoy reminiscing as much as I have over my lifetime. Maybe you can teach it to your kids or grandkids.
“A Visit From St. Nicholas” (“The Night Before Christmas”)
by Clement Moore
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And Mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap;
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
 Night-Before-Christmas-child at window
The moon, on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name;
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on Cupid! on Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
 And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof —
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
 He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he look’d like a peddler just opening his pack.
 His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook, when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed, when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
Santa w toys
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And fill’d all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Merry Christmas!


Visit from St Nick

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That’s Weird!

“But everyone else is doing it!” a child whines to his parents when questioned about clothing or behavior that isn’t particularly a good choice. We laugh when we think of the question often asked by the parents:  “If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you jump, too?”

This rhetorical question is meant to show the idiocy of blindly following another person’s behavior without question. Even as adults, we are not immune to peer pressure. It’s easy to get caught up in doing what seems to be all the rage. We see it everywhere — in business, movies and TV, education, and in fashion. Let one idea become successful, and everyone jumps on the bandwagon to do the same thing, with maybe a slight variation.

churchChurches and Christians also get sucked into it, claiming to have the latest and greatest thing, whether it’s a new book, a new seminar, or new music. Most people are basically copycats, sometimes because it’s easier than using our imagination to come up with a new idea.

Call me crazy, but I have always had a desire to be different. I don’t know if being one of fourteen children instilled the desire for uniqueness in me or not, but I never wanted to be the same as anyone else. I have always tended to be independent and take the path less traveled. It wasn’t so much that I was seeking attention, because I was naturally shy. It was just that I saw everyone around me following the herd, conforming, and fitting in with the normal, and wondered why. It seemed quite natural for me to question the logic and test the abnormal. It wasn’t always the easy way, and it sometimes isolated me, but it was my way, and the way I felt God wanted me to go.

If God wanted us to think alike, look alike, talk alike, and act alike, why did he make us all so different? If He wanted us to conform to a cookie-cutter life, why would He give us different ideas, interests, and talents? I think we can miss the plans He has for our lives by copying the plan He has for others.questions

It takes effort, and maybe even a little courage, to be different from those around us. We may have to work a little harder to forge our own path, but the results are well worth the effort.

If a child is encouraged to follow his/her interests and talents in choosing an occupation, rather than settling for what the parents think is most practical, he/she may come up with better ideas. He/She may even develop a plan that goes far beyond the parents’ plan and find an occupation that’s never been done before. For example, suppose Thomas Edison’s parents had insisted that he not waste his time trying to invent things that no one had ever heard of, such as a light bulb. We might all still be in the dark.

If we think like normal people and behave like normal people, we can expect to lead a fairly normal life. But is that the life you want? God wants us to be unique. First Peter 1:15 says,“…be ye holy for I am holy.” We often define the word “holy” as “sinless,” but there’s a broader meaning. It also means to be set apart, different, or unique.

As much as anything, God wants us to be the unique person He made us and to fulfill the unique plan He has for our lives. If we try to follow His plan for someone else, we are missing the mark. In John 21:19, when Jesus told Peter to follow Him, Peter turns to John and asks Jesus, “What do you want him to do?”Jesus w Peter and John

Jesus answered, “If I want him to wait until I come, what is that to you?”  In other words, He was basically saying, “It’s none of your business what I want someone else to do!” 

One of the most unique individuals in the Bible was John the Baptist. We accept his strange clothing (camel’s hair), his strange diet (locusts and wild honey), and his lifestyle (living alone in the desert – a remote place) because in hindsight we see how effective he was despite his weirdness. He was so unique that crowds of people followed him asking if he were the Messiah. John rightly pointed them to Jesus, but he was so different, so weird, that people knew he was special. Jesus himself said of John, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist…”

John_the_BaptistIf we want to reach our ultimate potential in life, we must be willing to be different, even to be weird in the eyes of the world, to go where others have not gone, or where angels fear to tread, to follow God’s unique plan for our lives.

Even the world recognizes giftedness when they see a truly unique person who is worthy of attention. These trend-setters are the ones who win acclaim. They are the ones who become the next great thing, not those who follow in their footsteps.
Ephesians 2:10 says, For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  He made us and set a plan in place for us to find and fulfill. Allow God to make and mold you into his unique creation, and search out the unique plan He has in mind for you. Don’t be afraid to be weird, if that’s what others think of you, as long as you are following God’s plan.

That’s what I think…what do you think?  Let me know in the comments section below.

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In an effort to honor those killed in Orlando, and an effort to be “inclusive,” the Presbyterian Church USA offered prayers to Allah at the opening of their general assembly and demoted Jesus to “prophet” along with the Muslim prophet Muhammed! 

Friends, this is idolatry, pure and simple! America is a Christian nation. We cannot allow Islam to invade American society, much less our churches. To their credit, there were some attendees who objected after the event, and were given an apology that amounted to basically – sorry you were offended.

But we DO NOT serve the same god! Allah is not the same as Jehovah God. Our God identifies himself as “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” and in many places, “the God of Israel.”  Those who claim Allah as god would NEVER accept the inclusion of Israel (Jacob) into their rhetoric or their worship.  Why should we include Allah or any other god in ours?



For example, read the names below that were called out by the man who prayed — Wajidi Said, co-founder of the Muslim Education Trust.  Mr. Said led the attendees in the prayer to Allah, the Islamic deity, but never included “Jacob” or “Israel.” Muslims HATE Israel and vow for her destruction. This is anti-God.


Beginning in Arabic, Mr. Said quoting from the Koran (Qur’an) prayed: “Lead us on the straight path which is a commonly-quoted prayer by Muslims meaning the straight path to Islam.


He then switched to English praying:

“Allah, bless us and bless our families and bless our Lord. Lead us on the straight path – the path of all the prophets: Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. Peace be upon them all Amen.

“In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful, let us praise the Lord. The creator of the universe, the most merciful, the most compassionate and the Lord of the universe who has created us and made us into nations and tribes, from male and females that we may know each other, not that we might despise each other, or may despise each other. Incline towards peace and justice and trust in God, for the Lord is one that hears and knows everything and the servants of God, the most compassionate, the most merciful, gracious are those who walk in the earth in humility and when bigots and hateful and Islamaphobes address them, they say peace. Peace be upon them and peace be upon Allah.”

Why would any denomination include a Muslim leader in their worship services? Friends – Americans are being sold a bill of goods in the name of tolerance, peace, and inclusion. God does not look lightly upon this worship of other gods. 

Exodus 20:    says:  “I am the LORD! Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

Isaiah 42:8
“I am the LORD! That is my name! I will not share my glory with anyone else, or the praise due me with idols.”

Exodus 3:15
“God, furthermore, said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations.”

Isaiah 43:11
“I, even I, am the LORD, And there is no savior besides Me.”

10 Commandments

About Israel,

God said in Genesis 12:3:
“And I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curses you: and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

Please share this blog and take a stand against this attempt to bring Islam into American culture.…/presbyterian-church-usa-offers…

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One for the Record Books

Team w trophy 2When you consider the American culture, sports is probably as deeply ingrained as any other single ingredient. Pick up a magazine or newspaper, turn on the television or radio, log on to the Internet via computer, cell phone, or any other device, and you are sure to encounter a story about sports – be it football, tennis, basketball, wrestling, volleyball, soccer, track, gymnastics, baseball, golf, softball, hockey, boxing, or horse racing. It’s as American as…well, baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie.

Baseball may be the only sport that is losing popularity in America, primarily because the nature of the game is slower, and we sports fans are all less patient. Instant news, run-and-gun basketball, fast food, and high-speed Internet service have conditioned us to expect results post haste! Researchers tell us that the average time a user will spend waiting for a webpage to load is about four seconds.  Yes, FOUR SECONDS! And ten seconds is about the limit for keeping a user’s attention once he/she interacts with the information there.

So even though baseball still has its rabid fans, fewer and fewer are 20-years-olds looking for instant gratification, so the fan base is dying off. Though I’m much older, and though I played league softball well into my 50s, I am not a baseball fan. The tools and rules of the two games are different, but the general play is the same. I care almost nothing about watching baseball games which move at a snail’s pace. It’s not quite that slow with fast-pitch softball, so I tune in when the stakes are high.

Last week, I watched a softball game that went on for more than FIVE and a HALF HOURS, and I was engaged and intrigued for at least the last three hours. That 17-INNING game was riveting because each team kept one-upping each other, making the outcome a surprise.

The University of Oklahoma was playing against the University of Florida.  OU has a tradition of winning teams – football, basketball, baseball, and women’s softball. In fact the OU Sooners have won the NCAA Women College World Series (WCWS) three out of the last five years. The winning tradition includes 14 Big Twelve Conference titles, 11 appearances at the WCWS, and four national championships under the excellent coaching of Patty Gasso. The first WCWS title for OU was in 2000, when Gasso’s team went 88-6 enroute to the national championship. They’ve been very competitive and consistent ever since, winning three more national titles.

Despite their great 61-9 record in 2017, OU women were seeded #10 in the standings at the beginning of the tournament. They played three tough games defeating #7 Auburn, #8 Washington, and #3 Oregon to reach the final. In the final they faced the #1 Florida Gators in a best–of-three contest. Number 10 against number 1 is David and Goliath seeding!


Kelly Barnhill

Kelly Barnhill’s fast-pitch style

Florida, with a 58-10 record, had eliminated team after team with the excellent pitching of Kelly Barnhill, Aleshia Ocasio, and Delanie Gourley. Barnhill won National Player of the Year as a sophomore.


Gourley pitching

Delanie Gourley’s pitching was excellent. 

Back during regionals, teammate Amanda Lorenz sent Gourley a challenge via text promising, “You keep us in the game, and I promise somehow, some say, we’re going to get you a run.” Lorenz made good on that promise as she went 5-for-8 (.625) with two runs scored, two RBIs, one home run and three walks., and the Gators were on their way to the WCWS.



Fast forward to Oklahoma City where the senior Gourley really came to life retiring batter after batter as the Gators chomped up opponents on their way to the final game.


Paige Parker gave OU a win in the 2016 WCWS contest.

But OU also has an excellent pitching squad. With freshmen Mariah Lopez and Nicole Mendes and the two-paige threat – Paige Parker and Paige Lowary – it took all styles of pitching to complement one another and to compete with the Florida pitchers. Parker has been the stabilizing influence that gave OU the victory in 2016. Lowary’s comeback has been stellar since being hit in the face with a line drive that nearly cost her an eye and a career. Wearing a face mask to prevent another injury, she pitched two perfect innings with three strikeouts, and pitched at least one 75 mph zinger, almost unheard of among the college ranks.

Lowary mask on


Florida HR excitement

#1 Seed Florida Gators celebrating a home run early in game 1

The lead was up and down several times in the first game between the two teams. Each time one team scored, the other rallied and came back to tie the score. On and on it went, through a wild series of extra innings – eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen innings! At that point, ESPN commentators were making jokes about their empty stomachs, and wondering how the girls, who probably ate their last meal six or seven hours earlier, could continue to compete at the necessary energy level. Going into the seventeenth inning the score was tied at 4-4. With OU up to bat at the top, first baseman Shay Knighten hit a home run with two players on base and OU went ahead by three. Florida got one more run in the 17th, but was unable to do more before the outstanding pitching of Paige Lowary ended the marathon game with OU over Florida 7 –5.



Shay Knighten brought in two other runners to put OU over the top in a marathon game. 


The game was so exceptional that you hated to see either team lose. The pressure those girls must have felt for hour after hour was enough to give them, as well as their parents and fans in the stands, a migraine. If you’re thinking, “It’s only a game!” then you haven’t felt the fear of letting down your teammates in such a high profile setting. The pitcher always feels a great responsibility for how the game progresses, but on this occasion, it was truly magnified.

Team w trophy

The pitching by both teams was amazing, but Shay Knighten was named the WCWS’ Most Outstanding Player after hitting .350 (7-for-20) with four runs scored, two doubles, a home run and eight runs batted in. She hit the home run that sealed the deal in the 17-inning game that took so much energy and intensity out of the players on both teams.

The second game was anti-climatic, and only lasted seven innings, as we usually expect. In the seventh, Lowary threw back-to-back strikeouts before fielding a chopper and firing to first for the final out. The dugout emptied as the team piled on at the pitcher’s mound in celebration of the 5-4 victory.

Knighten joined Lowary, Parker and Mendes on the All-Tournament Team after the final game. What a game it was to finish off the season, but it didn’t compare in excitement to the previous game that was definitely one for the WCWS record books:

Lowest-seeded team to ever win the WCWS

Most innings in a final series – 17 innings

Longest final game in WCWS history (nearly 5 hours and 45 minutes)

Only team to clinch the WCWS National Title four times

Only team to win the WCWS National Title in consecutive years

But Coach Patty Gasso’s style isn’t bragging about accomplishments. After such a Champs posterstunning win, she spoke about the struggle the team experienced at the beginning of this season and the turnaround that came from sheer determination and a disciplined work ethic. Gasso said, “I think if you looked at us in February, March, and even part of April, you would never have imagined us sitting here with trophies in front of us.”

Gasso said her goal was to make the team as good as they could be. She said they focused not just on winning but on doing their best and trying to lift each other up. “We’re a humble group. We just play hard and try to win for the university. If you aren’t winning championships for OU, you’d better get moving. That’s our job and we’re proud to do it.”

Here are some of the staggering stats from ESPN’s website:

17:       Innings played

2:          Times Florida was down to its last strike before it extended the game

2:         # of starting pitchers (Kelly Barnhill & Paige Lowary) who re-entered the game

3:         RBIs on Shay Knighten’s homer in the 17th that won it for Oklahoma

6:         Runners stranded by OU in the 15th and 16th  innings before winning in the 17th

31:       Players involved in Game 1

496:     Combined pitches thrown by two Gators and two Sooners

40:       Combined strikeouts by the four pitchers

22:       Combined hits by the Gators and Sooners

102:     Total outs recorded

6:07:    The official start time – Central Daylight Time

11:35:  Time in Oklahoma City when the final out was recorded.

5 hours, 28 minutes:   Elapsed time between the first pitch and the final out

Paige & Gasso

Paige Lowary and Coach Patty Gasso celebrating

Well, if Patty Gasso won’t brag, I will do it for her. All I can add is “BOOMER SOONER!”







It’s definitely one for the record book and maybe one for the ages.
Gasso with team



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I Remember!


My Birthplace and home in West Virginia

I remember, I remember

The place where I was born.

It’s just a small community

Where trees and grass adorn

The tiny house surrounded by

A garden growing beans and corn.



I remember, I remember


We didn’t wear helmets in those days!

The road on which we rode

Our cars and trucks and bicycles.

And the family abode

That sheltered us from heat and rain

And warmed us when it snowed.





Our favorite tree to climb was an apple tree. 

I remember, I remember

The many trees we climbed

We sat on sturdy branches,

A memory sublime,

And watched the birds flying away

Leaving winter far behind.



I remember, I remember


A bee sting on the foot made you more careful the next time. 

The clover in the grass

Where honeybees werew working hard

Gathering nectar in their grasp.

Our small bare feet avoided

The bees and rocks and glass.



I remember, I remember

With a smile as I recall

Where kids could play and parents

Never worried much at all.

They knew their neighbors would help out

If trouble came to call.


An actual class at Crab Orchard Elementary in the 1950s 



I remember, I remember

The school where I was taught.


Where we learned to read and write

And where some of us fought.

The big white building on the hill

Where splendid teachers wrought.



Having recess outside was fun. This is a special Maypole celebration.

I remember, I remember

Playing in the rhythm band.

While learning songs and poetry.

During spelling bees we’d stand

To spell some words we’d never heard

And dream of the life we planned.




I remember, I remembervan

The day we moved away

Where neighbors gathered ‘round us

We shed some tears that day.

We’re left with just a memory

Of where we loved to play.




Me in second grade. 

I remember, I remember


The ones who lived next door

Where no one was a stranger

And some we’d known before

Had moved away just as we were

How we loved them ever more.


I remember, I remember

A carefree time and place

Where life was so much simpler.

And the people we embraced

Are now a treasured memory

That time does not erase.


One of my favorite TV shows, Lil Rascals. 

© February 17, 2017    by Judith Puckett

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What do Women Want?

Over the last two days, I have seen posts by so many of my friends on Facebook and Twitter saying in essence: “These women who marched in Washington, DC, do not speak for me.”

I haven’t yet posted such a disclaimer, but I certainly agree that they do not speak for me. I didn’t watch the march or even care about seeing it.  But while seeing news reports on TV and posts on social media since then, it didn’t take long for me to see that I have little in common with these protestors or the messages posted on the signs they carried. This wasn’t a grassroots movement, it was basically an organized group of angry Democrats, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters who were well-funded by George Soros. Reportedly, the ultraliberal billionaire, who seems to be behind every anti-American movement we see, gave $90 million to the 50 different activist groups participating in the march.


I have not been able to determine exactly what their message was intended to be.  From the signs they carried (many too X-rated to post here) espousing everything from Black Lives Matter to  Equal Pay to Open Borders to Abortion Rights to Not my President to Pro Islam to Sexual Harrassment to White Supremacy to Funding Planned Parenthood, it’s clear that there was no one message except that they hate President Trump. It’s also clear that they are using his Presidency as an excuse to blame him for everything they believe is wrong with America.

Ironically, until now Donald J. Trump has held no public office that would even allow him to put such policies in place or to change them! He has never tried to impede progress for women. The truth is that he has been a champion of women in the workplace, beginning with his daughter Ivanka. Nepotism, you say? Then a second example is Kellyanne Conway to which he entrusted the biggest and most critical job opportunity of his life. He placed his political campaign – and ultimately his fate – in the capable hands a woman. His trust was well-placed, because Conway quickly turned around the failing campaign and is the first woman to ever manage and win a presidential campaign. Subsequently Trump appointed her as Counselor to the President, and she will be the highest-ranking woman in the White House. To paint Trump as holding women back is blatantly false.

I like what Harris Faulkner, host of Fox News’ “Outnumbered,” said today:

“How is it possible that all these issues erupted immediately when Donald Trump was sworn into office? Did they not exist 48 hours before? Did these women not want to embarrass President Obama by organizing a Million Women March to say, ‘This is not working for me.’? I’m confused by the timing of this march. Is this a female ‘Occupy’? What is their goal?” 

I don’t know what march organizers were thinking when they put up on the stage people like Michael Moore, or like Ashley Judd comparing Trump to Hitler, or like Madonna, who spouted foul language and said, “I’ve thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House.” When a speaker gets up and repeatedly uses profanity, promotes violence, and leads a crowd in chanting obscenities, you can’t expect that anyone will take her seriously. Somehow a message of “love and peace” gets lost in the tirade of hate and vitriol.

Besides the fact that their messages are hateful and often ill-informed, march organizers only accepted people who agree with them. They would not allow Pro-Life women to join their ranks. These women who want no censorship at all actually shut out the voices of pro-life women like me who believe abortion is murder and that our government should not be involved in it or pay for it.

Sigmund Freud, who founded psychoanalysis and who many believe best understood the human psyche, asked a simple question:  “The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is ‘What does a woman want?’ ”

I don’t claim to know what those women in the Washington march want, but I think I know what the majority of American women actually want. I will not be able to list them all, but here are a few:

We want to be taken seriously and accepted as equal (though not identical) to men in intelligence and abilities. Each gender has strengths and weaknesses, and each has a lot to offer.

We want access for women and girls  the same opportunities given to men and boys, including education, jobs, sports, and public office. If we restrict men from some women-only organizations, we expect that they may do the same.

We want jobs for ourselves and our spouses so that together we can provide a living for our families.

We want to be paid equally for the SAME job. If the jobs are different and the amount of requisite education, training, risk, hours spent working, etc., are not equal, then we accept that.

We want to be valued for the contribution we make to society as wives, mothers, workers, neighbors, and people. Without each gender’s contribution, society will not function as well as it could and should.

We want to be protected by those who are stronger physically, and not exploited because we are physically smaller and created differently.

We want to be treated with respect and not regarded as sex objects for the pleasure of men. Those women who exploit their sexuality and then castigate men for seeing them as sex objects are not worthy of the respect they demand.

We want our homes, schools, churches, streets, and all public places to be safe for ourselves and our children. We want and expect our police and military to do the jobs for which they were trained, treat terrorists and criminals as enemies, not having their hands tied while trying to protect us.

We want American laws to govern our country, not Sharia or any laws that conflict with our local, state, and national laws and constitution.

We want our borders to be protected and our immigration laws to be enforced with no sanctuary for those who are here illegally. Sanctuary cities have no place in America. We want illegal aliens deported so that our tax dollars, schools, law enforcement, hospitals and other resources and agencies are not exhausted supporting people who are not here lawfully, many of whom hate America.

We want a drug-free country where our children and teens are not victims of or pawns for the benefit of pimps, gangs, sexual predators, human traffickers, drug dealers, or pharmacy moguls. We want our highways and streets to be free of drunks and anyone whose driving threatens our safety.

We want our voices and votes to be heard and counted in the world of politics and government. We want to be considered as leaders when we are able to bring ideas, resources, and abilities to the table that have not contributed by men.

We want a voice in our children’s education. As taxpayers we should expect to have input and access to the materials, information, and curriculum they are provided. Our schools should not undermine our authority or our right to participate in the education of our children.

We want our personal values, traditions and religious beliefs to be respected and protected and not denigrated, denied, or trampled upon by those in authority or by those who are here illegally.

We want America to remain free from outside influences such as the UN and George Soros. We want our leaders to make decisions for our benefit, not for their own profit, or for illegal scams such as pay to play.

We want our tax code to be simple enough that we can do our own taxes and pay a reasonable amount. We want our personal information to be kept private and secure and not subject to hacking and identity theft. We want programs like Obamacare, which force us to participate and invade our privacy, to be outlawed.

We want our national debt to be paid down before money is given for anything except essential services and programs that are self-funded – i.e., Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. We want our Congress to pay back what they have “borrowed” from these separate accounts, and we  DO NOT want them to use our funds for other purposes.

We want our taxes to be used for building America and American causes, not given to Iran, ISIS, and any other terrorist states and organizations; not used to fund abortions by Planned Parenthood; not given for the Endowment of the Arts; not wasted on pet projects that Congressmen feel they are entitled to bring to their respective states.

We want to help our fellow Americans who are truly in need, but we also want to hold them accountable in return for the benefits they receive. No one should receive taxpayer/government funds unless they pass a drug test, are free of criminal record, and pledge allegiance to the United States.

We want to hold our public officials accountable to represent our interests and do what they are paid to do, not override our desires as a group. We want every elected official to be limited to two terms so that they do not spend their time and money concentrating on re-election. We want them to experience living in the real world that exists outside Washington, DC.

We want the lifetime pension for members of Congress and the President to be revoked. We believe they are more than capable of making a living once they leave public office, and should have no incentive to continue living off taxpayers.

We want our President, Congress, and politicians to be honest and treat us with respect, not talk down to us, and not put everyone else’s needs before the needs of Americans. We want them to live under the same laws they pass and the same programs they institute for us.

We want less intrusion by the federal government. We want them to do only what the states cannot do for themselves, specifically to defend us militarily, establish justice, promote commerce, and protect the lives and dignity of every person from womb to tomb. They are to ensure freedom and secure the blessings of liberty to us and our posterity.

We want our laws and courts to be fair with justice meted out equally to all Americans. In short, we want what is beneficial for all, not for the elite, or the politically correct, or the favored race, or the LGBT, or the rich and powerful. We reject the premise that any group, race, religion, or gender should be protected and selected above others. We do not believe that women and girls are inferior or superior to men and boys.

Women want law and order, participation in society, freedom to speak, worship, and live as our founders intended when the U S Constitution was adopted.

We believe America is exceptional, and we want the federal government to reflect American values, display American flags, and not try to emulate and codify the world by instituting alternate cultures, religions, and values. We want to live in peace with our fellow man and enjoy our freedom.

These are some of the most important issues we face as American women and as people in general. Those who want government to do everything for them and give them everything, yet not have control over their lives are deluded. We as citizens must insist that our leaders respond to the wishes of we, the people, and hold them accountable when they do not by turning them out of office and replacing them with leaders who love America and Americans.



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Three Men of God

In early October, I learned that my brother-in-law Ed Cook was retiring from his pastoral ministry, which began 58 years ago. I began to think back about those early years when he and my sister Nancy first married. He and Nancy invited his best friend and roommate Jim Puckett (my husband) for a visit, and we began dating. The three of them were also classmates of my brother Jim Combs and his wife Shirley at Free Will Baptist Bible College (re-named Welch College) in Nashville, Tennessee, which is how the lives of these three preachers and their wives connected and began to be intertwined.

As these facts, figures, and words began swirling around in my head, I quickly started jotting them down, which is how most of my writing begins. At that time, we did not know that our brother Jim Combs had cancer, a diagnosis he received just two weeks ago today.  His diagnosis confirmed to me that the Lord had inspired me to capture this history in written form before it escaped my mind.

The term “man of God” has been revered and reserved for only the most dedicated among us, first used in the Bible to designate the Old Testament prophets. Eventually it became a more generic term to refer to anyone in ministry. We seldom use or hear it today, though there are many who qualify.

Without a doubt, several of my family and close friends exemplify the term. Among our families, it is not uncommon to find ministers. There are eight ordained ministers on my side of the family, seven of whom are still living. My father was the first in his family. Several others are not ordained, but are working in ministry positions. My husband’s family has a similar heritage going all the way back to his great grandfather. There are seven ordained ministers, four of them still living.


Ed Cook, Jim Combs and Jim Puckett in 2012

Knowing this many ministers, it is easy to take their work and dedication for granted. With the recent retirement of these three from our family within the last few years, I decided to acknowledge the great ministry each has had and share it with my friends.  These men have impacted literally thousands of lives, scores of churches, and numerous cities and towns during their 50-plus years of ministry each.  Though they came from three different states, their lives intersected as classmates, roommates, friends in college, and family. And their shared ministry and family connection has kept them close for nearly 60 years.


Jim Combs  preaching in 2016

My brother Jim Combs grew up in our hometown of Crab Orchard, West Virginia. Jimmy Kemper, as he was known, answered the call to preach in his late teens during the mid-1950s while serving in the Navy. A few years later at Free Will Baptist Bible College he answered the call to missions. It was there he met his wife Shirley Roberts, a fellow mission student. Jim began his pastoral ministry at Stoney Point Free Will Baptist, a small country church near Nashville. After graduation, he and Shirley married and moved to pastor a church in Franklin, Ohio, to gain stateside experience while still feeling the call to foreign missions abroad. They entered language study to learn Portuguese and served as Free Will Baptist missionaries in Brazil from 1964 to 2007, spending a few of those years in the US while their children attended high school. During that time they served as missionaries-in-residence at Hillsdale College (now Randall University) in Moore, Oklahoma, pastored a church, and served as chaplain for the Oklahoma prison system.


Ed and Nancy Cook

My brother-in-law Ed Cook, a native of St Louis, Missouri, answered the call to preach during the early-1960s while attending Free Will Baptist Bible College. Ed also met his future wife, my sister Nancy Combs, in Nashville. They married while still students, and Ed followed Jim Combs as pastor of Stoney Point Free Will Baptist near Nashville. After graduation in 1963, Ed and Nancy moved to Miami, Florida, to pastor Golden Glades Church, and they have continued to serve in the pastoral ministry since that time.




Jim Puckett in 2006

My husband, Jim Puckett answered the call to preach during the late-1950s while still a teenager in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He also studied at FWBBC, where one of the first students he met was his good friend and eventual roommate Ed Cook. Jim and I also met during his days as a student in Nashville, while I was still in high school. We would later reconnect in Florida where he had moved after graduating in 1962.

During the summers before and after his senior year, Jim served as a pastoral intern for Free Will Baptist churches in Raleigh, North Carolina and Miami, Florida. In the fall 1963 Jim began serving as minister of music and youth at Wesconnett Free Will Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, under the leadership of his former pastor and mentor Elro Driggers. We married in 1965, and Jim served in Jacksonville as associate and interim pastor for one year before moving to south Florida to begin his pastoral ministry at Deerfield Beach.

During their nearly 60 years of ministry Jim and Shirley Combs served the following places and positions:

Stoney Point Free Will Baptist, Dickson County, TN; summer missionary in Pinar del Rio, Cuba; pastor at Free Will Baptist Church of Franklin, Ohio; Portuguese language study in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Overseer of Free Will Baptist Campground in Jaboticabal, Sao Paulo; Resident student directors, American Christian College, Tulsa, OK; established a new church in Tubarao, state of Santa Catarina, Brazil; Chaplain, Lexington Assessment Prison Facility, Lexington, OK; pastor of Dibble Free Will Baptist, Dibble, OK; missionaries-in-residence, director of student affairs, and both were professors at Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College (now Randall University) in Moore, OK; Shirley served as professor of ESL classes at Oklahoma City University; pastor of First Free Will Baptist Church in Araras, Sao Paulo; founder and pastor of Candida Free Will Baptist Church in Araras, Sao Paulo; Lar Nova Vida Children’s Home, which they founded and where they served as Directors for more than 20 years.


Combs family Christmas of 2014

In 2007, Jim and Shirley Combs officially retired from Free Will Baptist Foreign Missions and moved back to the US from Brazil to be near their three children and six grandchildren. They continued to be involved in raising funds and awareness for Lar Nova Vida, and made yearly trips back to Brazil to support the home. After a few years away from the pastorate, Jim began serving as pastor of the Chickasha Free Will Baptist Church in Oklahoma until the summer of 2016. Shirley is currently working in the display floor room of her son-in-law’s furniture business. Jim currently works as an assistant helping handicapped students on and off the school bus.

Here are the cities, towns and communities Ed and Nancy Cook have served since 1962:

Pastor of Stoney Point Free Will Baptist, Dickson County, TN; Golden Glades Free Will Baptist, Miami, FL; First Free Will Baptist, Chipley, FL; Holdenville Free Will Baptist, Holdenville, OK; West Palm Beach Free Will Baptist, WPB, FL; Donelson Free Will Baptist, Nashville, TN; Westwood Enterprise Baptist, Ashland, KY; Oak Park Free Will Baptist, Pine Bluff, AR; Trinity Free Will Baptist, Greenville, NC; and Heritage Free Will Baptist, Ashland, KY.


Cook family in 2016

Jim Puckett has served in the following places and ministry positions:

Intern at First Free Will Baptist, Raleigh, NC; Intern at First Free Will Baptist, Miami, FL; minister of music and youth, and later associate and interim pastor of Wesconnett Free Will Baptist, Jacksonville, FL; Pastor of First Free Will Baptist, Deerfield Beach, FL; Pastor of Bellview Free Will Baptist, Colquitt, GA;  Pastor of Southern Oaks Free Will Baptist, Oklahoma City, OK; interim pastor at Kingsview Free Will Baptist, Oklahoma City, OK; Pastor of Harrah Free Will Baptist, Harrah, OK; interim pastor at Church of God, Moore, OK; Mission Director for Oklahoma Free Will Baptists; interim pastor Oak Hills Free Will Baptist; and Associate Pastor at One Church, Moore, OK.

Jim Puckett’s pastoral ministry continued until 1999 when he resigned to become Director of Missions for Oklahoma Free Will Baptists. He served as State Mission Director until 2007 and has continued to serve as interim pastor of various churches and to preach intermittently for vacationing pastors. Jim officially retired from ministry in 2015, and is working aa a real estate investor – buying, renovating and re-selling homes.



Puckett kids and grandkids in 2013

It’s easy to see that I am very proud of these three preachers. I realize I am biased when it comes to three guys who are so dear to my heart, but I can truthfully say that they are among the finest men I know. In all their ministry accomplishments, I didn’t even mention that each has been a wonderful father and grandfather who have lived as examples to their families. Their work, character, and love for the Lord, for the work of ministry, and for people is an example to follow. I thank the Lord for the privilege of being associated with each of these men of God.



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