Timeline: My Daughter's Pro-Life Full Circle Moment

The front door creaked as we walked inside and switched on the lights. I surveyed the modest room:  A few chairs, some potted plants, an end table or two and a coffee table stacked with magazines. It was cozy, warm and inviting, and I was eager to get to work. My aunt Sandra was the director at the Alpha Pregnancy Center in Titusville, Florida. My adolescent mind did not understand her responsibilities and the role she played in helping women; however, I knew it was important work and I wanted to help. She tasked me with various chores such as vacuuming the waiting area, straightening the magazines, dusting, and organizing the brochures.  As I browsed, my eyes fixated on a graphic picture of a fetus who had been aborted. The image haunted me. A young woman came into the center. My aunt led her to a back room and spoke softly with her. I heard the muffled sounds of a videotape playing. The young woman was in need of a pregnancy test, and it would take 15 to 20 minutes to complete. While waiting for the test, Sandra encouraged her to watch the video about the importance of life. I wanted to know more.  By the end of the day I picked up some brochures and collected data on unwanted pregnancy, abortion, and adoption. I also added to my collection two plastic babies representing fetuses at 12 weeks. I armed myself with information to share with others in my circle. I left that day feeling satisfied that I not only helped maintain the center, but I had become a...

Timeline: Spring 1997 – What Will I Do For The Rest Of My Life?

While a Senior in high school, my daughter Melody was faced with that age-ol’ decision, “Who do I want to be when I grow up?” She pondered nursing but was afraid she might accidentally kill someone — which made her ponder — perhaps — forensics . . . CSI Miami, anyone? Melody consulted her high school guidance counselor.  Having experienced the joy of working with small children in the church nursery, Melody decided that teaching could be an option.  She told her counselor that she had learned some American Sign Language and would like to explore that field.  When Melody left the counselor’s office, she had made the decision to pursue a career teaching children who were hearing impaired. Her counselor told her about a wonderful college in St. Augustine, Flagler College.  Before Melody graduated high school, she had been accepted into this fine institution of learning. Her grandmother Shirley (who will be at the retreat this year) asked her, “how do you know that is what you want to do?” (I really believe that Shirley “Nanny” may have had some ulterior motive in that she did not want her granddaughter to be five hours away from her — yes, they are close.) Melody had no answer. While attending “Night of Joy” (an all-day, all-night concert event at Walt Disney World Orlando featuring various top contemporary gospel artists), Melody pondered that question . . . how do I really know? How do I really know that teaching deaf children is my life’s career choice? While observing Michael W. Smith in concert, and out of the corner of her eye,...

Timeline: 2006: Autism And Miracles

One thing about Broward County, miracles still happen. Here is an account of a miracle experienced first-hand by some of my sales associates who were involved in the event below — either as performers or as spectators. ________________________________________________________ On December 19, 2006, President Bush signed bills to raise federal funding for autism . . . Congress voted on Dec. 7 to significantly increase federal funding to identify the cause of autism, now diagnosed in one in 166 children. The Senate, acting a day after House passage, approved on a voice vote legislation that authorizes $945 million over five years for autism research, screening and treatment. Associated Press. December 19, 2006. “This was a most amazing moment.” In 2006 I was in the choir and cast of the Fort Lauderdale Christmas Pageant and had been for three prior seasons. During the 2006 season, we performed over nineteen shows, in addition to various rehearsals and four formal dress rehearsals. The entire cast grew quite weary but were determined to finish strong. Each night before the show the cast and crew received notes and information from the pastors as to how we could enhance our performance. We were read testimony after testimony of how various members of the audience enjoyed the show. One particular letter was extremely tough for Senior Pastor Dr. Larry Thompson  to read. It involved the parents of a young fourteen-year-old boy who had always been non-verbal and was diagnosed early in his life with autism. The parents provided Bible videos and cartoons which entertained him day after day. He had never spoken. For the first time, his parents took him...

Timeline: 2nd Grade: Egg Tree

1964. Easter. Second Grade. Raleigh United Methodist Church. The class each had brought a dozen colored eggs which had been hollowed out (remember that messy exercise . . . . put a needle in each end of the egg and gently blow out the insides). We were instructed to bring a branch from our own backyards.   Previously on Palm Sunday, we had all planted our branches in separate containers filled with Plaster of Paris.  On Easter Sunday, each child was to take the hollowed-out colored eggs and hang them with beautiful pastel ribbons on the little trees. During the week, the branches were to have dried out and died.  ******************** When I arrived Easter Sunday Morning to Sunday School, I was met with a wonderful surprise.  The branches on my little tree did not die. Unlike the others,  they bloomed!  God...

Timeline: 2011 Retreat (April 29-May 1) "Of Duty and Deadlines"

April 1, 2011. A retreat is packed with deadlines. Last year I really pushed the proverbial “envelope.”  I had touted early on that I wanted to write the theme song. Kat had written a beautiful poem that, one night, I set to music.  I wanted to get a professional recording so that I could embed the audio into a “music-type” video for the drama. Between the poem, the guitar and the shower, the song wrote itself. 🙂 I had ONE HOUR reserved at the studio. Ana Adler accompanied me, in fact, she drove me.  She was a blessing and the talented videographer of the documentary. There were keyboard issues. The studio hired Annie, an incredibly talented pianist. She had beautifully arranged the song.  Annie really wanted the better keyboard.  We had to wait until her teen-aged son brought it from clear across town. There were engineering/computer issues. There was tension. There was a large dog panting. I was tearing up with every run-through. This was supposed to be a surprise for Kat. Finally, the song was recorded.  A few tweaks on the computer and the engineers delivered a fresh cut CD before the clock struck “DONE.” Now all I had to do was get back to my computer and “lay the track” under the final video for Sunday morning. Excited and “anxious,” I discovered the song was in the wrong format. Adobe Premiere Pro would not accept it.  Adobe Premiere Pro did not recognize it. Ugh. I called the studio to see if they could send me a .wav or .mp3 file. No answer. Just a hollow recorded voice on an answering machine....