A Father’s Eyes

High School football stadium in Nashville, Tennessee, Friday October 7, 2011 the half is almost gone his team needs the points to leave the half with a lead. J. R, Osborn, fifteen year old freshman at CPA came into the game to attempt a 51 yard field goal for his team; if successful it would set both a school and personal record. The snap came, the line held and J.R. put the ball through the uprights. Of course the crowd went wild, the coach was elated and J.R. lived one of those thrilling moments that all of us guys would love to experience. His mother, Jennifer Osborn VanOrman and step father Justin stood two feet taller and the thrilling moment is still ringing.

Heaven

Somewhere in the glory of glories Jim Osborn who left this world on April 4, 2001 smiled one of those complete and beautiful smiles.  O I know that heaven is always great but this moment for a father who did not live to see his son hit the level of success he has achieved must have smiled really big and said if to no one else but himself, ‘Way to go son.’ J.R. is Carole’s daughter Jennifer’s son and thus my grandson. I knew his father and I watched in those closing moments of his life how he faced the journey of death, how he prepared for the care of his wife and son, and how he lived those final days with the certain assurance that all was well.

Life is good for Jennifer, J.R. her husband Justin and their four year old son Jack, but it still brings tears to my eyes when I think how long God has allowed me to live and how Jim had just half of those years. J.R. is having another good season now as a Sophomore and each game has provide some thrilling moments; but still the tears flow that Jim missed those moments, yet I believe, I really believe, that he has view them from a father’s eyes in his Father’s House.

Ivan

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Published in: on October 31, 2012 at 11:23 pm  Comments (1)  

Halloween and Other Days

Let me get on my old rags before I write this because I know I am going  to have some tomatoes thrown at me for this blog but why not read it all and do so with the understanding that one of the beautiful things about our land is that we do not all have to think alike.

I understand, for I have read, just as you have all the ‘stuff’ written about Halloween and other days we observe. I can understand that many people do not wish to observe Halloween, well we really don’t observe it we just do it, feed our kids too much candy and make them look like, well who knows what.  I know churches for example who will not use the name, ‘Halloween’, they call it something else and that is ok but calling a horse a cow does not change the fact that he is a horse. I also understand all the mystery that is suppose to surround this day.. but in truth folk that is not what we do today. No mater what it might have once been, that is not the day we have, not even in my lifetime, and that is a long time. has it been more than a night for candy, treats, and lots of pumpkins; yes and of course the eggs, now we can do away with the eggs, beside they cost too much. Of course some will say but look how it all started, I understand that but it is not what we do now.  For example I hate slavery, and the man who wrote “Amazing Grace” was the Captain of a slave ship in his early years before he met the real author of Amazing Grace.  That does not keep me from loving the song and wanting it to be played at my home going.  Don’t get so tight that you always want to fight, stand for truth, but don’t invent a problem.  Same goes for Christmas, you are right, I love Christmas, maybe it had a bad start but boy at 246 South Lindsey Street it was the wonderful day of His birth and I got the presents. Hard to beat that.  I also enjoy, not the best word, I observe, Easter, I know it had a tough start but we always knew that He, Jesus, would win.

Enjoy the days, supervise your children, tell them the wonderful stories of Christmas and Easter and try your best not to look like the spook you can be on Halloween.

Ivan

Published in: on October 30, 2012 at 11:09 pm  Comments (2)  

Spot

Charlie had never express any emotion toward his mother, he spoke very little, did not want to be touched, and spent his life somewhere deep inside himself. Betty, his mother took him to school each day but she wondered if it was only adding a burden to the teacher Ms Rachel. Ms Rachel greeted him each day like he was the only person in her class but even with all the love which she could give Charlie lived somewhere in his own word.

About two months into the school year she decided to bring the small fuzzy puppy she had rescued from the dog pound to class. Spot, as she called him because of the large black spot on his head surrounded by and otherwise white body took immediately to Charlie. He raced across the room to where Charlie kept his word blocked from the others, but Charlie would have nothing to do with Spot.  Spot would bark at him try to climb into his lap, but nothing doing for Charlie. The days turned to three weeks with Spot running each day to Charlie being rejected but staying close all the same and watching him like he was the only kid in the room. One day when Spot jumped into his lap, instead of the usual rejection, Charlie touched him, then held him. The days became weeks and the two grew a bond that was a wonder to both his mother and teacher.

One night as Betty put Charlie to bed and made her always rejected attempt to hug and kiss him good night he just stared at her and turned toward the wall as was his normal reaction. Just as she went to close the door she heard her son say, Mommy, hug and kiss, she rushed back to the bed and found him receptive to her good night hug and kiss for the first time in his life.

As she reached for the phone to call and tell Ms. Rachel, she realized that it was too late but let the phone ring just the same.  They both wept and praised God for a tiny crack in the wall of silence.

The next day Spot came to live with Charlie and the world began to be brighter, hope was there and maybe just maybe there was a brighter future for all of them.

Ivan

Published in: on October 29, 2012 at 6:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

In The Mountains

I am back! I was in the Smokies last week with the Smoky Mountains Resort Ministries working with them as they minister to the thousands of people visiting the area this ‘Leaf” time of the year. I was assisting with the Fall Craft show, vendors and visitors each day from eleven until five. Since I enjoy talking I had a great time, I met so many wonderful people and some who did not quite make it.

I helped a lady who had a lot of trouble walking by running some errands for her as well as watching her craft booth. She was depressed, sickness does that to people and she had allowed it to turn her in and not allow her to reach out with her pleasant personality. We talked a lot and I think maybe I left her a bit less depressed than when we first met. I spent some time in prayer for her each night and I just know the Lord is going to bring her more business as well as more joy.

I got to meet a lot of men who had served in our military as well as a full bird female Colonel. We talked about how difficult it had been for her to advance and how she had met the different challenges a mostly male army offers to a female making it a career. We prayed together and she left with a belief that our meeting was no accident but a plan from our Lord.

I spent some time with a man who had lost his leg in Vietnam, because it was broken they had removed it while he was in a prison camp. He gave our Lord the credit for his being able to survive the almost five years of his imprisonment. It was a joy and privilege to speak and pray with him about our Lord.

Then there was the newly wed couple whom I suggested find and watch the movie, “Fire Proof”, they returned the next day to let me know that they had purchased and watched it and were thrilled at the message. They have a real chance of making it to the finish.

People growing old and afraid, people worried about out nation, those in so much debt that the future seems impossible to face, and Carlton a young boy left behind by all the knowledge of this world but thrilled that I let him touch my beard and spent time talking to him while his mother did a bit of shopping. She hugged me and almost cried as they left and Carlton waved all the way out of sight.

Nothing that changed the world kind of week, but it was good for me and I hope it was good for a few others as our paths crossed.

Ivan

Published in: on October 28, 2012 at 9:56 pm  Comments (1)  

I Believe In Miracles

Yes I still believe in Miracles: If you live in the Nashville area you will remember the wreck on Interstate 65 South of Nashville, in the North bound lanes on Monday morning. A truck jack knifed and ended up across the interstate headed South in the North bound lanes.  My wife has a wonderful picture of it, but I could not get it to load on my blog. She was one of two cars that were behind the truck. She was talking with me on her blue tooth when I heard her begin to yell, that she was going to wreck, and also asking God for help. Then she said I have got to call 911 and it seemed like a lifetime before she called back to let me know that she had missed the wall by six inches and the other car by one inch. Let her tell it – “I was one car length away from this tractor trailer when he finally came to a stop. When this was taken, my car and the car in front had backed up to get away from the gas spilling all over the interstate. I stopped facing northbound about 6 inches from the wall and I inch from the car in front. The tractor is facing south bound” Carole.

Yes I do believe in miracles. Two weeks ago Bob was taken to the hospital on a Saturday night seriously ill. The doctor said he needed surgery and planned to do it early Sunday morning. That morning he decided that the splint he had would not be the best and if they kept Bob stable in the Heart ward  he hoped that they could wait until Tuesday when he would have the best splint. Our church went to the Lord for Bob at all of our services on Sunday and continued into Monday. On Monday the doctor ran a test so that he would know correctly what he was facing in surgery and to his amazement Bob was ok, not in need of surgery. He went on to say that he had never seen anything like it. Then he told Bob to call someone to come and get him, he could go home.

Yes, I believe in Miracles.

More from Carole: Praise God!! For His hand of protection!!

Also need urgent healing prayers for terminal assistant Tina who was in car wreck back in March – she just got report that she has hole in the bone of her leg or she has infection – if infection – she may lose her foot!! Pray for Jesus’ blood to heal her completely! She goes back to doctor Monday.

 

Published in: on October 19, 2012 at 12:20 am  Leave a Comment  

Choices, Always Choices

Life is certainly filled with choices. We see them every where we turn and make them each day of our lives. Take a look at the choices you have made just this year and how those choices have directed you to where you are on this Thursday in October.

I was working in a shoe store while attending college in Jackson, Tennessee when a man who was just a couple of years ahead of me came in the store and purchased a pair of shoes from me. He had skipped college and gone into the sales area of a large company where he told me he was now a district manager. I was impressed. I was still struggling with what God wanted me to do with my life, I was in school, working, and preaching each Sunday for a pastor who had taken a leave of absence. I had promised God when I was 15 that I would follow Him and go through any door which He opened. I was still trying to find that door. About a week after my friend had purchased the shoes he returned and said he had an opportunity he would like to talk with me about, was I interested. I told him that I was always interested in opportunities. I met him and his boss, a man about twenty years older than me at the New Southern Hotel, we had dinner and they explained to me that their company had an opening which they felt I could fill that would be both good for me and their company. They mentioned a starting salary that was certainly better than the shoe store and preaching put together along with other benefits. They explained that I would have a protected territory, company car and travel in a local area close enough that I would be home each night. All of this time I did not know the name of the company; when I asked they said, “American Tobacco Company.” They told me to take a couple of days to think it over and get back to them with an answer. That night as I walked home from the New Southern Hotel I can remember asking God if this was a door he was opening. As I crossed the railroad tracks on College Street, I could hear Him saying no just as clearly as I could hear the clanging bells of the crossing. I had a choice, this was certainly a quicker way to reach some financial goals but I knew for sure that it was not God’s choice for me. That has been more than fifty years ago, I would be long retired now, my finances might be a lot better, but it was not God’s choice. I am glad that I listened to Him.

Ivan

Published in: on October 17, 2012 at 11:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hurt Is Real

This was a new world for Richard, as new as if he were in some foreign land. He got out of his car, noticed that on the outside it looked better than any on the lot, but he knew that under the steel and fiberglass it was being held together more by prayer and will than anything. He use to get it serviced as soon as he expected a problem, now it was when it would not go any further and he scraped the money together. It had been a really upscale car, but then he did spend most of his time in it running from appointment to appointment but the appointments had ended almost two years ago and now he just cleaned and washed his car himself each week.  What else did he have to do?

Inside the state employment office he took a number and waited. The company he had invested twenty years of his life had made a mistake which cost them all of their assets and him and another thousand people their jobs. Sure they had managed to give him a reasonable severance package, name of other companies in his business, the car and his 401, at least the part that was left after the market fell.

The package was spent, insurance on the family gone, car dying, and he believe he was next on the list. He had tried all the places he knew to try, but the kids who had interview him just looked at him like he was some kind of left over relic from the past. Not even sixty yet and already old, that’s what he thought.

The lady at the state office who interview him said that she understood that as a medical salesman his chances of finding any kind of job just almost didn’t exist.  Far too many others like him, walking the street, looking for a job. He considered going back to school and getting his teachers certificate but the local principal had warned him that there were three people in line for every job. He check out the medical training schools, they just knew he would be great and after investing twenty thousand dollars with them he would be into the market big time.  But his friends in the field told him that only about half of the graduates got a job in their trained field and that the pay was nothing close to what the school had said. He left the office wondering where to go next, maybe home, at least there he was still wanted and needed.

He drove by their church as he came into their neighborhood and once again felt the greatest pain of all.

After twenty years of being a part of that family no one had ever mentioned his hurt and lost ness. He talked to the pastor, he said he would pray for him, and Richard knew that God did answer prayers, but there, in his home of worship, no warmth, no assurance, not even an invitation to dinner for he and his wife.

He wasn’t sure what he would do next, they could reverse mortgage their home, maybe it would be enough to get him to the end. Everyone said things were getting better but at 710 Cole Street this was not even close to being true, not even close. Hurt is real, so real and sometimes it seems to never end.  Ivan  (In honor of a hurting nation and all the real people who know that Hurt is Real.)

Published in: on October 16, 2012 at 11:15 pm  Comments (2)  

A Dark Night on Interstate 40

Daniel was enjoying his ride in his 2011 Chrysler 300 as he traveled east on interstate 40. The traffic was light and his car was like a living room couch to him. As he passed mile marker 271 his car lights hit the reflection of a car pulled off onto the side of the road. He pulled the 300 onto the shoulder and put his lights on the disabled car. He could tell by the reflection in the rear view mirror that it was a young lady in the drivers seat so putting his flashers on he got out of his car and walked to the drivers side of the car approaching it cautiously from the rear. He called out to the driver and told her to open her window just enough for him to be heard. By this time he could tell that she was very frightened and didn’t know what to do. She called back and told him to stay away, that her car had stopped, the lights and power were gone and she would wait until a trooper came by. He told her that he understood that she would be afraid and to wait for him to call for help. She responded by saying that there was no cell phone service in the area. He smiled and said that he was sure his phone would work. She heard him talking to someone and then he put the phone by the door and told her to talk to the desk sergeant, she hesitated but opened the door just enough to grab the phone and said, “Hello, I am broken down and I am scared; there is some big man here but I don’t know if I should trust him are not.” The sergeant responded by telling her that she knew the man and that he was ok. The driver then exclaimed, “But I don’t know you.” The lady told her to end the call and dial star THP and when the operator answer to tell her that she needed help. She did so and the operator told her that Daniel had asked for a trooper to be sent and that one was only a couple of miles away and would be there briefly. She looked out the window and saw the car pulling across the median into her lane, off the road with his lights on her. As he stepped out of his car she saw the largest man she had ever seen getting out of the patrol car. “Hello Daniel,” the large man said, “got someone in trouble.” “Sure have Colonel Gabe,” Daniel replied, “car won’t go and she is frighten.” The large man called out, “Don’t worry miss, the troops have arrived, I am Colonel Gabe of the THP and that ugly fellow is Daniel, he is harmless.” The tension eased and she opened the door and got out of the car as the two men examined under the hood and discovered a broken belt. Gabe said “Miss this can’t be fixed at this time of night on the side of the road, too dangerous.” Daniel said, “I have already called Edd Rogers Colonel and he is sending a wrecker. Should be here pretty soon.” Great the Colonel replied, then turning to the lady asked if she needed to call someone and let them know where she was. Please as she took the phone from Daniel. Daniel said tell them to meet us at the Cracker Barrel in Cookeville if that is alright with you.” Looking confused she stumbled through the phone call with her mother and arranged for her brother to be at the Cracker Barrel.

After a long discussion they convinced her to go with Daniel in his car and Colonel Gabe assured her that he would stay with her car until the wrecker arrive.

On their way to Cookeville Daniel noticed that she was a basket case, how would she pay for the repairs, car wasn’t really worth repairing, wreaker, and could she really trust this man. She told Daniel that she was the only one in the house working and that with a sick mother, brother still in high school life was really hard. Daniel enjoyed the ride to Cookeville, they had something to eat and he assure her that if she would call Edd Rogers in the morning all would be ok.

Her brother arrived and Daniel drove away.

When she got dressed for work the next morning there was a 2012 Chrysler 200 in her driveway and a man holding the keys standing by the door. “She opened the front door and asked what this was all about, the driver said, “I don’t know miss, all I know is that Mr. Edd said to bring this car out and see if you liked it and if you didn’t for you to just come in and pick one out for yourself.” “Who, what, where is my car, what about the price?” She talked like a chain saw. “I don’t know miss, Mr. Edd said Daniel had taken care of it, that is all I know.” He turned to see another car pulling into the drive and said, “That is my ride, if you have any questions just see Mr. Rogers when you have a chance.” So the dark night beside the road had a bring new morning sunrise.

Published in: on October 15, 2012 at 10:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

Vietnam Memorial – A Good Man

The nine pm darkness of D.C. could not hide the eternal darkness of the Vietnam Memorial with its more than 50,000 names inscribed in its black granite. Somehow the unlit V shaped memorial poked its sobering majesty through the darkness and into my heart. I had asked the park ranger, Victor Pillar, to look up two names for me to locate, one my nephew Sgt. Danny R. Ayers killed September 14, 1968 at the age of 21 and the other, SP4 James Thomas Davis from Livingston Tennessee, killed December 22, 1961 becoming the first combat casualty of the Vietnam War, at the age of 24.

He quickly found both of them and then told me that Davis was on the top of the highest plate on the memorial and I would need a ladder to reach it and make a marker of the inscription. I thanked him for his concern and said that I would return in the morning. I walked down the dark path and stood gazing at the darkness of all those men killed in the name of their Nation. While I have visited this sobering place before it was always in the day time and it seemed to me that the darkness pushed the sadness of this honored ground deep into my soul. I stood there looking into the dark at all of those men who gave their lives for our country and until this memorial was built it seemed to me that no one noticed and no one cared. My eyes filled with tears as I though of all of the families who had holes in their hearts because of their lost. Then suddenly I saw Victor Pillar, ladder in hand and a flashlight in the other looking for me, placing the ladder by the correct plate, he climbed to the name and holding the light in his mouth made a marker of the inscribed name. Almost in tears I told him I did not know how to properly pay him only to hear him say, Sir these men paid me a long time ago, it was my privilege to do this for them and for you.

There may be a lot wrong in Washington, but there is also Victor Pillar, and he is proof that there is good in our Nations Capitol.

Ivan

Published in: on October 14, 2012 at 9:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Verse For Each Sale

(Another of the stories I love)

Pete Stewart owned one of those great old country ‘general’ stores.  From the wood front porch with it’s Coke ice chest filled with ice covered almost frozen, cokes, R.C. Cola’s, Orange Crush, Grape bet, Pop Cola, Double Cola and Root Beer to the old glass topped hand operated gas pump.

The Colonial Bread screen door slammed with the ringing of a bell when you let it go as you enter the dimly lit interior filled with all a family would need.

In the back near the table, most always filled with men and their checkers and domino, was the great round of ‘Rat Cheese’ large tube of rag bologna, shelves packed with crackers, Vienna sausage, beanie Winnies, and a great open barrel of floating dill pickles.

It was the place to be when the weather was too bad to get in the crops, at lunch time, and when you just needed to stay awhile with other folks.

Pete also had one other great tradition that thrilled the men who made this their ‘club’. When he would make a sale, and punch it into the old cash register, pull the handle and make the bell ring as the drawer would open a hush would come over the store for as soon as the customer walked away Pete would quote a scripture verse of his choosing.

The first customer on this day was an old couple who struggled to walk to the counter where the wife wanted to purchase a spool of thread. Pete opened several drawers containing blue thread and then climbing to the top shelf on the attached ladder he found the drawer with just the right color of blue for the dear lady. She was thrilled with her choice gave him the nickel and the store grew quiet as Pete ‘rang’ up the sale and said as they left, “Honor your mother and father that your days on earth may be long.” A wonderful sigh could be heard from the rear of the store and the men returned to fixing the problems of the world.

Next came three small children each with a penny and all anxious to spend it wisely on one of Pete’s penny candy jars.  It took nine jars for Pete to satisfy the mixed craving of the kids but each smiled with their penny candy choice and again the store grew quiet as Pete punched in the three cent sale, turned the handle for the ringing of the bell and the opening of the drawer, then said as the three left the store, “Suffer the little children to come unto me for such is the kingdom of heaven.”

The men returned to their problem solving and broke only with the squalling of brakes as a fancy truck pulling a shinny new horse trailer came to a stop in the front of the store.

The driver rushed in and before the door could slam and the bell ring he said, “Mr. I am on my way to a horse show and I have forgotten the blanket for my horse would you have one I could purchase?”  “Certainly”, Pete replied and went to the back room where he kept the blankets picking the one off the top of the stack and returning to the counter where he placed it down and said that would be $3.95. “No sir”, the man said, “this is a fine horse and I need a better blanket.”  “I understand” Pete replied and went back to the store room, pulled a blanket, still in it’s plastic cover, from the middle of the stack and brushed off the dust as he returned to the waiting horseman. “I think this is more your taste.” Pete said, “That will be $19.95.”

“Better”, the customer said, “But understands this is a prize winning horse got something a little nicer?  “Now I understand Pete said as he went to the storage room took the blanket from off the bottom of the stack, removed it from the bag and folded it nicely across his arm returning to the waiting customer.

“I believe I found it.” Pete said presenting it to the horseman in a very formal manner. “This one is a bit high at $79.95 but it’s my finest.”

“That’s it, that is it.” said the customer.

With that the store became as silent as death for all the men knew what Pete had done and were anxious for the coming scripture verse.

The old cash register clanged as seldom were so many keys used and the bell seemed to ring louder as the register door hurried to open.  Then as the excited horseman left the store all could hear as Pete said, “He came unto me a stranger and I took him in.”

From a story told to me by E.D. Miller in 1973.  O course I embellished it a bit.

Ivan N. Raley

inraley@yahoo.com

931.864-3816

124 Oak St. Byrdstown, TN 38549

Published in: on October 11, 2012 at 11:37 pm  Leave a Comment