Thankful For. . . Second Chances

Everybody knows what a mulligan is. . . a do-over . . .also called a second chance. . . that God gives a person, just because. . .

I am thankful for second chances.

By far the second chance that has affected my life more than any other involves my teen and young adult years. I have Crohn’s disease, was diagnosed with this chronic inflammatory digestive disorder when I was 16 years old. In a nutshell, it means I can develop ulcer-like lesions  anywhere in my digestive tract, though mine tend to localize in the duodenum, the first part of the small bowel into the end of the stomach. Often these lesions can lead to pain, nausea/vomiting, obstruction, and a host of other unappealing conditions.

When a young person, I was frequently sick and/or hospitalized for complications arising from Crohn’s. My weight yo-yoed as I bounced between taking large amounts of  prednisone (with the typical “moon- face” appearance) or being off the meds and unintentionally dropping the pounds until I was rail-thin.

When Al and I were called to our second church ministry in Miami, Florida, God had prepared our pathway to a world-class doctor whom we would get to know very well. Dr. Arvey Rogers was listed in US News & World Report as a top U.S. gastroenterologist at the University of Miami Hospital in that first year we moved to Miami. As was typical, I had a flare-up soon after we moved to Miami and had to seek medical attention. Al let his fingers do the walking through the Miami/Dade yellow pages and he found Dr. Rogers  (imagine the probability of that?) Anyway, we scheduled an appointment. Dr. Rogers took a moment to stare into my face, at my fingernails. He told me how long I’d been on prednisone, he told me what other medicines I’d probably been on, and told me all kinds of other details about my particular illness. He was spot-on in his medical observations and we were amazed. He also predicted, in that first visit, I would probably need a special surgery to relieve the obstruction in the future.

As Dr. Rogers predicted and prepared me for, within the next year I had Roux-en-Y surgery (long before it became the norm for bariatric surgeons). This procedure created another ending to my stomach which allowed food to pass when the normal end became inflamed and closed off.

I am now considered in total remission, although most people suffer with Crohn’s disease all their lives. Crohn’s disease can be completely debilitating, and in the most serious cases lead to death. The gastric surgery not only saved my life, it gave me my life back. Al and I started the family we’d been dreaming about. . . I took on all sorts of new volunteer and creative endeavors, because now I was not ill all the time. . . I  asked that God would give me new ways to serve Him, and He has. And allowed me to do so much more for Him than I thought possible. To Him be all the glory!!

Has God ever given you a second chance?  Would you like to share it with others? Send it to me and I’ll include it in a future blog post.

Lookin’ up,


“Thankful for. . .Change”, Guest Blog by Renea Hunnings

Renea Hunnings is one of those people who once she meets you, she “adopts” you and  keeps you close. She has worked with our Ridgecrest Baptist Church youth for several years now, and her rapport with young people is legendary. If a parent ever wants to know what’s up with their teen, they can go to Renae and get a solid answer. What other adult, but Renea, would willingly attend a Justin Bieber movie, just to get a handle on the star’s influence over her young charges?

Renea is married to Robert and mother to Kyle and Kenzie, both students at Clemson University. These days she finds God is leading her in a different direction, and she states she’s thankful for the change in her ministry path.

Who Says “Older People” Don’t Like Change?

I now fall into that category of “older people”. . . and the older I get, the more I realize that ‘change’ is not all that bad.  As a matter of fact, I am often thankful for change.  As I found myself 2 years ago going from 3-4 nights a week “having” to be somewhere to now abiding in an “empty nest” with nothing but time on my hands. . . change was imminent.  Did I have much choice in this change?  Not really. . . my kids were not going to stay home from college just so I would have something to do!

Maybe I am realizing that I am not as in control of the change which makes it a little easier to accept.  No, I believe that I am becoming more and more satisfied with my life as a whole and am just comfortable with change and have learned to accept things a little more freely.

A very well-versed young man, Jon Chasteen, asked this question one night at an FCA function at NHS. . . Are you satisfied?  I have been thinking about that ever since (and that was about 3 years ago.)  He was speaking from a spiritual perspective, but it covers our whole lives and the spiritual element, as a Christian, is an integral part of it.

I do stay busy and fill my time, but I am finding that satisfaction comes from within.  I am learning the difference between needs and wants realizing daily that God supplies all of my needs and my wants are just not that important anymore.  There are “things”. . . or as my husband would say “stuff”. . that we just do not need, but there are always things we want.  That is where I am seeing some changes. I do not want as much as I have in the past. . . SATISFIED?  I think so!

Secondly, I am finding my desires outweigh my obligations.  If I really desire to do something, it is more fulfilling to me when my heart is in it, than feeling like ‘I have to’ do it!  My worship feels this way, as I let God lead me in it instead of trying to force things to be the way they are supposed to be.  As God’s love spills from my heart, it exudes from me and you guessed it. . . I’m SATISFIED!!

Finally, as my life continues to change, I have learned that leaning on God and his promises is just so much easier than trying to come up with a plan of my own!  One of my favorite things to remember all the time is that obedience=blessings.  I have seen it too many times to recall and can daily place a finger on a blessing in my life that is a direct result of obedience. Oh yes, I can also see results from disobedience when Satan wins by slipping his own satisfaction into my life.  As a whole though, no matter how many changes occur, I realize things are going to continue to change in all aspects of my life.  I can honestly say that daily I move closer to the answer to Jon’s question?  Yes, I am SATISFIED (changes, and all).  In this season of Thanksgiving, I am thankful to God for “mellowing’”me a bit to not be such a control freak and be thankful for the blessings he bestows on me daily!

Thankful for. . .Our Veterans

Today is Veteran’s Day, when we stop to honor the 24.9 million living U.S. military veterans who have served or are serving on our behalf.

Some facts about Veteran’s Day you may not know:

  • November 11 was intended to observe the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, which marked the armistice of World War I. The first Armistice Day in the U.S. occurred on November 11, 1919.
  • Armistice Day was declared a legal holiday by Congress nearly 20 years later. In 1954 the name was changed to Veterans Day.
  • Veterans Day is still celebrated as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world, including the United Kingdom and other past and present nations of the British Commonwealth.
  • Why the red poppies? World War I vets are remembered by the wearing of the real and artificial red flowers, like those found in Belgium, in reference to “In Flanders Fields,” the name of a popular World War I poem eulogizing fallen soldiers.
  • The difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day? Veterans Day is to honor and observe the sacrifices made by all veterans, whereas Memorial Day is to honor the fallen—those who have given their lives for the defense of this country. (Thanks to Ker Than, National Geographic News, for the fun facts above!)

We owe so much to the military men and women who unselfishly serve and we all need to say “thank you” whenever possible. . .to acknowledge their presence among us and their sacrifice. . .and to pray for their collective welfare, wherever God has them across the world.

They are our heroes, our vets. Let them know how you feel!!

Because of You, Unknown Soldier

By Courtney Tanabe



Because of you, I am here

Because of you, I am able to live freely


Yet I do not know you

And I have not done anything for you


But there you stand, ready to fight

And there you are prepared to die

For me


You’ve fought before

And you’ll fight again

For someone you don’t know


So thank you Unknown Soldier

Fighting for me


I’m here because of you

And I owe my future to you

Lookin’ up,