When I look at this beautiful path I think about the journey of life. If our time here on earth were only as simple and easy as walking down a trail like this. We have had our share of trials and we never know what is ahead of us, but we can be sure that no matter what may come our way there is VICTORY in Jesus! Amen! The words on this picture are from that old hymn that says’s, “He loved me before I knew Him and all my love is due Him.” How wonderful to have the opportunity to experience the grace and mercy of God! What a blessing it is to know Jesus and have a personal relationship with Him!
Here is a picture of our 2017 food drive for the needy. Each year we work in association with the Jessamine County Fire District to raise funds and buy food for families in Jessamine County that could use a blessing. This year for Thanksgiving, we raised over $9000.00 and were able to provide 250 boxes including turkeys. We purchase the food from Kroger and haul it to the station to sort and distribute. We also have the Gideons to hand out Bibles on pick-up day. Many volunteers came together and we all had a great time knowing that God was the one who helped make all of this happen!
Below, is a photo that was taken in the spring of 2017. This is Ed Davidson and Frank Carter. Ed is 84 and Frank is 89 and they still work hard every day. They own a monument company here in town and continue to do all the labor just like it was done in the old days – by hand! Cheryl and I wanted them to do our personal headstone and I stop in and visit with them occasionally. I am fascinated by their talent as they are truly artists and to be honest, I simply enjoy watching and talking with them. This is a craft that will soon be extinct because computers and machines now do all the layout and engraving. I am grateful to know them as they are young at heart and really enjoy doing what they love.
This was Samson, our 5-year-old French bulldog. He was amazing and we loved him very much. He was such a lap dog and always wants to be wherever you are. He slept with us every night and he snored like an old man. He had a face that only a mother could love! Sadly, we came home this summer (2017) and found him lying on the floor. We thought he was asleep but he had passed away from an unknown problem. He was only five years old but we will never forget our dear friend who was more like our child.
I provide Bible teaching and music on a regular basis at the Jessamine Senior Citizens Center here in Nicholasville and I enjoy it very much. I love to sit around and talk with the regulars and the staff. This is a very nice facility that provides transportation to and from the center along with breakfast and hot lunch.
These are a group of sweet ladies that love to sing the old hymns and are really active when it comes to participating in the Bible teachings. I had the opportunity to sit and talk with a very nice lady today and she was telling me about some health issues she was having. I assured her the doctors were making some good decisions and prayed with her. She was appreciative and said she was very happy that I was there.
These ladies love to kid around and laugh and today they wanted to know if I would be their pastor and of course I said it would be an honor! Ha!
Now here we find a real treasure. This is Shirley Preston and every time I come, she always comes up with an old song that I am not familiar with. Today she wanted to know if I knew “Come home its suppertime” and I was not familiar with it. Like always, I invited her to come up and sing it and WOW! she has such a sweet voice and as usual was a blessing to everyone. She sang it acapella and you could have heard a pin drop in there. I am sure that music and singing have been a big part of her life and there is no sign of her slowing down!
Now, here is a story that is amazing. My Mother-in-law Mary lives in a nursing home called Diversicare here in Nicholasville and on Tuesdays I go and check on her and while I am there I also spend time meeting new friends and visiting with others. I met this young lady a while back and have always enjoyed our conversations.
One day we were chatting about our families and she mentioned she had lived in Bourbon County as a little girl. I told her my Mom also lived in Paris when she was growing up and what a coincidence that was. I told her that I remembered going to 17th street when I was a kid because my grandparents still lived there. She looked at me funny and said that she had grown up on 17th street. Sure enough, her family lived right next door to my Grandparents and she and my mother used to play together every day when they were kids! I just could not believe it! Isn’t it a small world? I called mom and told her who I had found and she remembered Bobbi Reynolds as if it were yesterday. I was able to bring my Mother to see her and they had a wonderful time together reminiscing about their childhood. I am sorry to say that earlier this year Bobby had some digestion problems and trouble with her gall-bladder. In the process of having it removed and trying to recover, she took a turn for the worse and quietly passed away. We all miss her but know she is very happy with Jesus. I also am sad to say, my Mother-in-law Mary also passed away in November. She had been suffering for over 4 years and everyone is sad she is gone, but also encouraged in our spirit to know she is in a much better place now.
Last spring, I had the honor to help out on a fishing trip with the Veterans at Thomson-Hood. It was misting rain and windy which made it a little cool for the older guys. We went to the Frankfort Fish and Wildlife State Park and it was really nice place to fish and picnic. Everyone seemed to enjoy just getting out and getting a breath of fresh air. Some of these men were serious fishermen in their day and proved it by catching some catfish and trout. We brought a picnic lunch and that is always a spirit lifter! Even though we had to cut the trip short and some did not catch anything, they all said it was great fun. Another trip is coming up soon.
Here is a man that I have included in my rounds at Diversicare nursing home every Tuesday. His name is Fletcher and he is 94 years old. I really enjoy being with him and talking to him as he is always telling stories about working on farms throughout Jessamine County and what a blessed life he has had. He says he has lived in the County all of his life and can remember lots of people and things that have happened over the years. He is a very neat individual and dresses sharp. Here, I found him polishing his dress shoes and let me tell you, he had them shining like new money!
When I visit each week, I make it a point to go down the halls and try to meet as many of the residents that I can. I have made a lot of friends like this lovely lady and I am grateful to add new people to my “buddy list.” Lately, I have been having some fascinating conversations with Mrs. B. She is 99 and still has a strong mind and can remember her life as good or better than others who are much younger. I asked if she would mind for me to capture her stories on a voice recorder and she said that would be fine. So, one day I recorded about an hour of her talking about her life. She was telling me a story the other day about walking to school when she was a little girl. They lived so far back in the mountains that when the creek was flowing too high, she and her brothers and sisters would just turn around and walk back home. Mrs. Bruner only went to the THIRD grade because she was needed on the farm to help her parents survive. She said that all of their time was focused on existing but proudly declares it made everyone very close and they had lots of love and respect for each other. My grandmother has told me that she grew up the same way and evidently this was common back in the 30’s and 40’s. After her husband passed away, she could still live by herself but became very feeble when she walks and everyone was afraid she would fall, so she ended up in the nursing home. She says that she had a blessed and wonderful life, a strong, hard-working and protective husband and wonderful children who constantly visit her. What a great lady! I am sorry to say that Mrs. B passed away in her sleep in March of 2017 but I am happy for her that she is now feeling no aches or pains and is now rejoicing with Jesus.
We had another great time buying food this year (2015) and distributing it in our annual Thanksgiving outreach. We ended up with close to $8000.00 of food and fed 120 families. Special thanks to all who gave their money and time to help those in the community. We are all very blessed and most of us do not know what it means to be in need.
The County Fire District has always been a place of generosity and the firefighters and the community are always willing to help any way they can.
This year like always, we had plenty of volunteers to help sort and box up all the food. We also made 19 deliveries to those who had no way to come and receive it. One of our helpers was a 12-year-old girl that worked so hard and was such a delight to have as a part of our team. We are re-grouping our resources and getting ready to do this again for Christmas. We are planning for this to be larger than ever!
2016 was an even bigger operation as we had more money and more applications. We ended up feeding over 400 families with large food boxes and turkeys for everyone.
Our local emergency response team (CERT) gave a Christmas party for the residents at Lord’s Legacies Ministries and the people loved it! We provided a very awesome looking Santa and he gave gifts to everyone. This is a ministry that provides day-care for mentally and physically handicapped adults. These men and women were so excited as they kept hugging us and thanking us. They are such a blessing!
Ann Stevens is the founder of Sonshine Ministries in Lexington and the host of the Christian radio program, “Sonshine for today.” She has been giving birthday parties for Jesus for 20 years and this year was very awesome. She rented the conference room at the Hilton and provided a banquet meal for over 100 needy people and also provided bags of gifts for every family.
There is a strong emphasis directed toward Jesus with Ann bringing a short salvation message along with puppets that sing and tell the story of Jesus birth and some of us led everyone in some Christmas songs. Nice Bibles were offered to every person and several children raised their hands to accept Christ as their Savior and were given some personal counsel about being saved. Much prayer and preparation goes into this celebration throughout the year and is always a very generous demonstration to show the love of Jesus and to give Him all the glory!