Tag Archive Judye


Baptism In The Jordan River

Jordan River

Photo Credit: Samantha Villagran

National Geographic was filming the day our group was at the Jordan River. Some of our group chose to be re-baptized in the Jordan & I was no exception. Why would someone travel to Israel & not have that experience???

I’ve never liked being IN water – around it, by it, looking at it – but not IN it. I’m sure this all stems from listening to my daddy describe his childhood ordeal of being thrown off a bridge by some older kids. My pastor had baptized me & after doing so, he said I was the “hardest person to baptize he’d ever seen”…

But, there I was at the Jordan River & I knew I would regret it forever if I didn’t take the opportunity. I was dressed in the white baptismal robe provided & slowly wading in with the rest.

Then the most amazing thing happened. A young Russian man had stripped down to his underwear & shouted in broken English as he ran into the water “I want to be saved! Please baptize me!” Up to that point, the photographers were appearing a trifle bored – but that all changed. They began to run into the water – clothes & all – and snapped numerous photos of us & the young man in his nearly nude body – quite a stark contrast against the rest of us in our prim & proper white robes! We were very happy & applauding his decision as Pastor McGregor spoke quietly with him before immersing him in the Jordan River.

Did I appear in the NatGeo magazine? No, but I was privileged to witness a very animated, happy, saved, young Russian man who did. You can find him on the cover photo in the NatGeo archives – the photo captures the moment he rose up out of the water. Serving God is far from boring. I love Him.

Have you asked Jesus into your life? If not, it is really simple. Just pray and ask Him to forgive you of your sins, state that you believe in Him, and make Him the master of your life. If you’d like someone to talk to about it, feel free to contact us. We’d be glad to help.


July 19

Blue Birthday Candle

Photo Credit: Foxumon

On July 19, I will be reminded of my baby sister, Janie Carol. That’s her birthday and every July 19, Mama made her birthday cake with baby blue coconut icing. Mama said it was because Janie’s eyes were so blue.

Janie had cerebral palsy & was mentally challenged but she knew what love was. She loved me & I loved her dearly – she loved to pull things from my hand – and I let her. She thought that was so funny.

We lost her at the age of 5 due to measles complicated with pneumonia. Safe in the hands of Jesus, she now romps through Heaven freely – I think she must peek through the Gate with those beautiful blue eyes from time to time, watching for me. One day, some glad day, from earth set free, I will see to it that we run through Heaven & I will marvel at her perfect little body & those beautiful blue eyes again.

Funny how certain dates bring back precious memories.


When The Lord Protected Me From… ME!

Photo Credit: Monika Leon

Photo Credit: Monika Leon

Yeah…that was me – sliding all the way across the ice arena on my belly in front of a crowd of onlookers at the ice rink about 10 years ago in Gatlinburg.

Oh, I had skates on but that’s beside the point.

Earlier in the evening my sister and I were in an elevator when a crowd of teens on a senior class trip got on with us. They were going to ice skate for the first time. They were so excited & asked us if we were going to skate. (Perish the thought !)

However….in my innate, oft misunderstood wit, I told them my sister was in the Olympics in the ice skating competition & she could teach them how to stay up on the ice. They were impressed. My sister was not – I could tell from the panic-stricken side glance she gave me. We could roller skate with the best of them so how hard could it be?

As the elevator door opened, they followed us to the arena (where our spouses were waiting in the dining area along with other couples from church). We tried to split off from our young cohorts, but they insisted we skate & skate we did. (My husband just shook his head & laughed nervously.)

It was fun for a bit, then the younguns decided to join hands and do a “crack the whip!

Guess who ended up at the end of the whip?

Thus explaining the opening sentence to this narrative. I was sore for a few days, but you know – that’s one of the best memories I had on that trip. My sister?… well, she got me back. She didn’t fall once & got the last laugh. Thank you Lord for protecting me from Me !

Judye, showing her strength while "holding Emily on her shoulders" during a youth trip. - Summer 2012

Judye, showing her strength while “holding Emily on her shoulders” during a youth trip. – Summer 2012



Teaching Repentance & Forgiveness To Our Children… While Learning The Lesson Ourselves

Photo Credit: Brandon Heller

Photo Credit: Brandon Heller

My little boy, J.R. was five when he knocked over the big Christmas tree.

I was in the kitchen when I heard the crash & knew immediately what happened. Knowing I would have a mess to clean up, broken decorations & a sick looking tree, I made my way toward the destruction.

On the way, I heard a mumbling noise & the cat scampered by in retreat as I rounded the corner to inspect the rubble. There, in the farthest corner of the couch, with his head under a pillow was my little boy – both hands raised in the air, praying loudly & fervently for God to forgive him and help him not get a “whippin’.

What can you do after seeing your little boy doing what you taught him? When you do something wrong – repent quickly. He did. Quickly and loudly. He knew what was coming though. No, I did not spank him, but we did have a long talk right before he helped me clear away the mess.

I think God is so merciful to us – right in the middle of our mess – when we need a whippin’ – He gives us mercy when we genuinely repent. He’ll even clean up the mess if needed – that’s how much He loves you.



Max Lucado writes about Delight. We all have our own definition of “delight” but I like his in-depth version.

“Delight is the Bethlehem shepherds dancing a jig outside a cave. Delight is Mary watching God sleep in a feeding trough. Delight is Joseph teaching the Creator of the world how to hold a hammer. Delight is a widow hosting a party with food made for a funeral. Delight is Jesus doing impossible things in crazy ways: healing the blind with spit, paying taxes with coins found in a fish’s mouth, & coming back from the dead disguised as a gardener. Delight is the surprise on the faces of street folks who have been invited the a king’s banquet. (I might add, that’s us – it’s waiting for us) Delight is the adultress walking out of the stone-cluttered courtyard alive, a scantily clad Peter plunging into cold waters to get close to the one he’d cursed. Delight is a father scrubbing the pig-pen smell off his son’s back.”

SACRED delight is good news coming thru the back door of your heart! What you had always dreamed but never expected – too good to be true coming true! I love HIM…

Considering The Lillies

I guess the older we get, the more we recall past experiences with tempered melancholia. What seemed tragic in childhood, after mature reflection, seems somewhat sweeter as time passes. Bitter-sweet is an apt way to describe it.

My shepherd dog, Skippy, was my best friend. We were both born in Birmingham, Alabama. My parents got him when he was a puppy & I was barely walking. We loved each other unconditionally. I remember my parents telling me how Skippy saved me from toddling into a busy street by pulling me back by the seat of my pants before they could get to me.

Time wore on & we were living in Paducah, KY. I was in 4th grade & when we were at school, Skippy, would leave our house just off Schniedeman Rd. & go to my Aunt’s house – all the way to Park Ave. That’s a long trek for a dog, but he learned to cross the street with the lights & always made it back safely. She took care of him until he decided the visit was over. Most everybody on his route knew him by name.

One afternoon he came home sick & laid in the backyard for hours. Dad came home from work & said he had been poisoned & we would just stay with him until it was time for him to leave us. We didn’t leave his side. My Mom cried. We all cried as we watched him leave us. I remember it as if it happened 5 minutes ago. Daddy wrapped him in a clean white sheet & carefully carried him away. We buried him in the field right next to our house. I drove by there a while back to see if the field had been upset by new construction. It hasn’t been touched. “Consider the lilies of the field” has a special meaning to this woman who will never forget her best friend, Skippy.


Moment Of Doubt Or Life Pattern?

Photo Credit: Brandon HellerRemember Doubting Thomas in the Book of John?

Jesus didn’t rebuke him for unbelief – He SHOWED him the evidence he asked for! And Thomas replied, “My Lord & my God !” After this, the NT is silent about Thomas. Early church history claims that Thomas went to India as a missionary. He preached, worked miracles, and planted churches. Many of the churches are still active today & trace their founding back to Thomas – the former skeptic & doubter!

A time of doubt doesn’t HAVE to become a life pattern! We can still accomplish great things for Him. Faith grows & doubts leave if we remind ourselves of all He’s done!

He’s done so much for me I cannot tell it all – but the ones He brings to my remembrance, I cannot but tell it all!

Watching & waiting for HIM!


Mother To Mother

Animals are amazing. I was at the St. Louis Zoo one spring day & decided to visit the orangutans. I had broken off from the rest of the crowd and am so glad I did. If there had been a lot of people around this probably would never have occurred.

Behind a huge window were the primates – most were napping or sitting & eating what had been given to them that day. Over in the corner just out of public view, I noticed a slight movement & turned just in time to see a very large female nursing her newborn. We made eye contact instantly & I smiled & pointed to her baby.

She gently got up, walked over to the window & sat down directly in front of me. I was so stunned I dared not move. She kissed her baby & held it up to the window for me to see. I touched the window & nodded in her direction, held my hand on the window & smiled. She then grinned, held the baby to her & kissed it again.

I think about it from time to time & the wonder of communicating with such a magnificent creature who took time to show off her baby to another Mom who happened to be strolling through her world one afternoon.


The End Of The Rainbow

My son & I discovered the end of the rainbow one day.

He must have been about 12 yrs. old. We were driving toward Murray, KY after a spring rain & I noticed the end of the rainbow had to be fairly close. We turned down a little country side road & followed as near as we could to where we thought we would reach it.

After rounding several curves, we got to the top of a hill & there it was – just a few feet away. We got close enough to see the water droplets sparkling & reflecting all the misty colors. Just a simple, quiet moment in time.

God’s gifts are that way – not always trumpeted or heralding pompous grandeur – but echoed in a Mom & son’s memory – a wonder of God’s creation shared one day when they decided to venture off the beaten path & take the road less traveled.

I love Him.



I’ve often wondered why I picture myself as a child sitting in God’s lap. I thought that picture would fade as I grow older, but it hasn’t. I’m always a little 5 yr.old girl no matter what we’re talking about. When I pray, I am leaned against Him & He patiently listens and cries with me if I cry, laughs when I happily tell Him something wonderful, and reprimands me when I need it. When I pray, I never see myself as I am now – I’m always that little girl. Suddenly, it dawned on me one day. (You know that over-used, one syllable “word” that was used a while back?…Duh.) That’s the word I said aloud when HE reminded where I was when I first heard how Jesus died for me. It was Christmas Eve & my grandfather had come to visit. As he & I were enjoying Christmas candy together, he asked me if I knew what Christmas was. I said what most 5 yr.olds say, “Yeah, Santa is coming!” Well, at that, he picked me up and sat me in his lap and told me the whole story from beginning to end. All of it – from His birth on -even the blood that ran down the cross onto the ground. How the earth shook because creation wept over it’s Creator. How He had only done good & loved everyone – even the soldiers who killed Him. He explained that all I had to do was believe & accept. That I did. I leaned against my grandfather’s flannel shirt & as I listened to his heartbeat, I wept because Jesus loved me that much. Right there, sitting in Grandaddy’s lap, He came into this little girl’s heart and stayed. We’ve been best friends ever since. So, I am content to stay in the Father’s lap until it’s time to see Him face to face. And…I am so glad my grandaddy loved me enough to tell me.