100 Things

Since it’s my 100th post, there’s an unwritten bloggers’ rule that says I’m supposed to tell 100 things about myself.  It’s taken me quite a while to compile this list. Not sure they’re unique or even interesting, but here goes!

1. Born October 8, 1960 — am 51 years young

2. Born in Metropolis, Illinois, home of Superman!

3. Was almost named “Stephanie”

4. The middle of 3 girls born to my parents, Wayne and Bettie Rixie

5. Was the ultra-shy, compliant kid — not so sure I’m that way anymore

6. Have lived in the South all my life except for 5 years when we lived in Miami, Florida (and no, you cannot consider this the South!)

7. Can remember/speak a little French, can remember my Latin pretty well

8. Favorite color: Blue

9. Favorite season: Autumn

10. Love white shirts! I counted this morning and I have at least 15 in my closet

11. Wear a size 9 shoe

12. Despise high heels but know there are (sigh) times I must wear them

13. Favorite candy (when I indulge): Reese’s Pieces

14. Favorite Bible verse: Romans 1:16. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.”

15. Favorite Christian song: “Blessed Assurance”

16. Favorite time of the day: Early morning, when I can sit down with my Bible and talk to God

17. Came to know Jesus as Savior when I was 12 years old

18. Prayed to accept Christ in my bedroom, without anyone else around

19. Was baptized on Easter Sunday morning at East Ridge Baptist Church, Chattanooga, Tennessee, by Pastor Henry Preston

20. Am the product of a great youth ministry — was always smack-dab in the middle of mission trips, concerts, outreaches, retreats, camp counseling — whatever our youth group did

21. Was an active Southern Baptist Acteen and achieved the next-to-highest level possible, Queen-Regent-in-Service

22. First solo at age 15 was “The King is Coming” by Bill Gaither

23. Am a reluctant soloist nowadays

24. Am a eager duet or trio singer, though! Especially with Al and daughter Audra, when they let me sing with them –

25. I was a girl scout and earned 25 merit badges when I was a Junior Girl Scout. Still have my badge sash and pen knife!

26. My first car was an orange  ’77 Rabbit that I shared with my older sister, Valarie

27.  I wrecked it 3 weeks after I got my driver’s license

28. The next car I drove until I got married was a coppery-brown ’73 AMC Gremlin

29.  I went to my senior prom with a girlfriend, Patricia McCormick, because Al was in college in Chicago at the time.

30. I was treasurer and class historian for the ERHS senior class of 1978

31. First wanted to be a veteranian when I grew up

32. And adopt lots and lots and lots of stray animals and live on my very own farm –

33. Which explains my passion for horses. Loved to horseback ride and always wanted one of my own.

34. Then I wanted to be a professional artist

35. Then I aspired to be a writer — guess that one stuck!

36. Ended up getting my college degree in teaching

37. Have a B.S. , double majoring in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education from Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee

38. Love being around children and know that my ability to teach them is one of my spiritual gifts.

39. Love helping children learn Who Jesus is and how much He loves them! I teach a Discovery Class at our church twice a year for children who are somewhere in the process of salvation.

40. Played all kinds of sports growing up, but liked basketball the best

41. Played half-court basketball in my day as a defensive guard.

42. Was named to All-District basketball team for SE Tennessee my ninth-grade year

43. Then started nurturing my artsy side in high school and performed major roles in 5 separate high school plays and musicals.

44. Played flute in band for 4 years

45.  Worst trouble I’ve ever been in–got taken to the East Ridge (Tennessee) Police Station for stealing political campaign signs and posting them in the front of East Ridge High School

46. The worst part of which was apologizing in person to Mr. Starnes,  husband of one of my high school English teachers

47.  The next worst part was calling my daddy to come get me at the station at 12:00 that night

48. I won’t venture into salt water anymore because I saw Jaws on a Florida vacation when I was 12 years old

49. Don’t like extreme heights. They make me dizzy.

50. Can’t ride roller coasters that go topsy-turvy anymore, for the same reason

51. Don’t remember the exact first time I met my husband Al

52. We grew up in the same youth ministry at East Ridge Baptist Church

53. Found out later we had the same piano teacher who gave us each lessons on Saturday mornings, Mrs. Lea

54. I asked my future husband Al out for our first date

55. Which was to the Homecoming football game, October 1, 1976

56. I cheered for the football team; he cheered for the marching band!

57. Al is the only man I’ve ever dated. Period. I found a keeper –

58. Al’s sense of humor drew me to him. It sure makes life more fun!

59. That, and he also loved the Lord. This makes life the sweetest!

60. I was 4 days shy of turning 20 when I married Al: October 4, 1980.

61. We’ve been with each other altogether 36 years and been married almost 32 years.

62. We’ve been in the ministry together, in 3 churches and 3 states, as long as we’ve been married. We will have been at Ridgecrest Baptist Church for 25 years, come January.

63. God has blessed me with 3 amazing children: Melanie, 27; Audra 25; and Casey, 21. Each very different in their own way. Not a day goes by that am I not amazed by my kids!

64. I love to learn! If you had to ask me to name my favorite school subject, I would honestly have to say “all of them.” Never met a subject I didn’t like!

65. Can type about 90 words a minute–comes in handy with my present job as medical transcriptionist for a Duke ENT practice

66. Besides elementary school teacher and medical transcriptionist, I have had several other jobs in my life: french fry cook, ice cream scooper, daycare worker, church office secretary, house cleaner, optician’s assistant.

67.  White chocolate vs. brown chocolate? White chocolate, hands down.

68. ALL RIGHT, I ORIGINALLY LISTED THIS ONE TWICE (#38 above) so here’s another one: Profanity makes me cringe and unkindness of any kind makes me mad!

69. Morning person vs. night owl? Morning person! I go to bed at 10:00 p.m.

70. All-time favorite food: cinnamon rolls

71. Oh, and my Mama’s carrot cake

72. Favorite comfort food: Grilled cheese sandwich

73. Ideal vacation: anywhere I can curl up with a tall stack of books by my side, undisturbed. With my laptop nearby, should I get new ideas for a book!

74. Newest passion: Feeding and watching the hummingbirds outside my office window

75. Al would say I’m hard to buy gifts for because I am so practical. I received a brand-new stove one year for Christmas and was ecstatic!

76. My favorite Christmas present of all time: an aqua-blue Royal typewriter

77. Favorite all-time book: the Bible!

78. Next-to-favorite all-time book: Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning

79. Favorite Christian fiction book series: Yada Yada Prayer Group by Neta Jackson

80. Favorite secular mystery writer: Margaret Maron

81. Dearly. Love. Books. I’ve been known to spend money on books rather than buy food for myself.

82. Loved mysteries as a kid and still do–Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Trixie Belden–I cut my eye teeth on those series

83. Love to travel; I’ve been out of the US six separate times and hope to go to many more places

84. Most challenging place I’ve traveled: Hiked 4 hours to the top of Mount Sinai

85. Most beautiful place I’ve traveled: Alaska

85. Places I definitely want to visit before I die: Scotland and Australia

87. Don’t watch a lot of television but I have 2 guilty-pleasure shows that I religiously watch: Castle and Celebrity Apprentice

88. First thing I remember writing that got anyone’s attention: A poem called “Clowns” in second grade

89. Get some of my very best writing ideas while driving a car. No joke. I have a pen and pad in the console to capture those snatches of inspiration at a stop light!

90. Have seriously studied the craft of writing for at least 20 years and tried my hand writing in many genres

91. My short story, “Fishy Business,” has been accepted into a mystery anthology and should be published in hard copy sometime in the next year

91. Have one completed mystery manuscript I hope to be sending out to agents in the next months, with the same main characters as my short story.

92. Have paused writing my Christian fiction women’s manuscript I’m halfway through but will come back to sometime–

93. Love writing those big emotional scenes with movie soundtracks blaring through my earbuds.

94. Also love to writing calmer scenes to piano instrumental music. Again, there are no words to distract!

95. Belong to 4 different writing loops. These are my writer sisters and brothers!

96. Random stuff now: Andy, my dog, is a bichon frise (Al calls him a “poodle on steroids”)

97. I inherited him from Al’s mom who couldn’t take care of him. He’s my little white shadow!

98. Only nickname I’ve ever been called: Jeannie Bean

99.  I have a “dumb phone” and I don’t text

100. I do have an iPad, though, and thoroughly enjoy it! (Pinterest is way too much fun. . . . )


That’s me, in a nutshell.  May you have a wonderful, blessed day!

Lookin’ up,




Kick Off Your Shoes: Guest Blog by Wendy Huskey Corder

 Wendy Huskey (now Corder) graduated two years after me in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Down below, you’ll see a picture of her alongside the East Ridge High School mascot. (“GO PIONEERS!”) Wendy was an acquaintance of mine. I always knew she was a beautiful and sweet young lady but being younger, and she and I did not really have a chance to connect and be friends while in school. Jesus and Facebook have changed that!

Wendy is a gracious Southern lady, a pastor’s wife formerly in local-church ministry and now working with her husband, Mitchell, in the denominational women’s ministry for the Virginia Church of God. The love of Jesus radiates through her. May you be blessed today by her refreshing words about servanthood. Welcome, Wendy, to “From the Church House!”


Being a southern girl, I run around barefoot a lot.  I don’t go to the mall barefoot – or to the grocery store barefoot.  I wouldn’t walk on the street or sidewalk barefoot…usually.

If you saw someone walking down the street barefoot, what would you think?  You would probably think they were a little stupid, or so poverty stricken that they can’t afford shoes.

Things weren’t that different back in the Bible days, with one exception:  If a person was barefoot, they were very poor and most likely – a servant.

Knowing this gives us a whole new perspective on several familiar scriptures.

When the Lord told Moses to take off his shoes because he was on holy ground, where was Moses?  Was he in the temple?  No. He was in the middle of the wilderness, on Mount Sinai.

What made the ground holy?  The fact that God was there.

God met Moses, and manifested Himself to Moses, in a remote, obscure place in the wilderness of Sinai.  We deceive ourselves if we think God is confined to work in certain places. God can speak comfortably to His people no matter where they are.

Let’s take a look at the reasons why God might want Moses to take off his shoes.

The traditional thought pertains to the holy ground.  There are several places in the Bible where God told people to remove their shoes because they were on holy ground.  And let’s face it, if God told you that you were standing on holy ground, you would believe Him.  And if He told you to take off your shoes, I am pretty sure you would.

Secondly, shoes are generally thought of as dirty or unclean.  It is a matter of respect or reverence to remove your dirty shoes in a holy place.  But also, think about all the things you carry around on your shoes.  You carry traces of the dirt from the places you have been.  The dirt on your shoes can prove where you have been and what you have done.

There is one more possibility that could be the reason for God asking Moses to take off his shoes.  He could have been asking, “Will you be my servant here?  Will you do something to show me that you are my servant?  Will you be obedient and follow my orders?”

God was saying, “I have chosen this place to be holy.  It may not be a place you would have chosen.  It may not be what you consider to be appropriate, or good enough.  But I say this place is holy and this is the place I want you to serve me.”

A few years ago, I went to a lecture by a Christian woman who specialized in Natural Health.  I still have the notes from her class and refer to them occasionally.

One thing she recommended for your health is to let your bare feet touch the earth for 15-20 minutes each day. It has something to do with the gravity from the earth pulling toxins from your feet.  God designed it this way.  She said that wearing shoes interferes with the earth’s ability to do this.  For a few minutes each day, we need to remove the thing that is blocking our connection to the earth.

Sometimes, we also need to take away the things that are interfering with our ability to connect with God.  Sometimes we need to re-evaluate our perceptions, come close to God and let Him know that we are His servants and will do as He wishes.  Sometimes we need to remove the things that have traces, or reminders, of where we have been.

So, we could almost say:  Barefoot = Servanthood

Romans 6:16 says, “The person you obey, you are his slave.”

We limit God by thinking that we have to be in a certain place or circumstance to serve Him.  God doesn’t think this way.  Don’t let anything come between you and God:  Not where you are, what you are surrounded with, what people are telling you, or what YOU think is best. We have to let go of all those things and say, “I will be your servant here.”

If we are able to do that, God gives us many promises.  One of those is this; “Every place where you set your foot will be yours.” Deut 11:24

Interpreted:  Wherever you are my servant, I will give you that place.

If you will totally surrender to me here – I will give you this place.

Are there things in your life that are blocking your connection with God?  Are there things or people in your life that are distracting you from giving yourself totally to Him?

Take a step back and ask God – “What is keeping me from totally serving you right now – right here?”

Go ahead.  Kick off your shoes.

Wendy Corder is currently serving as the Director of Women’s Ministries for the Church of God in Virginia. Married to husband Mitchell in 1982, the Corders have two beautiful daughters; Sarah who is married and living in TN, and Hannah who is a student at Lee University.  The first 16 years of her marriage were spent as a pastor’s wife. This service has continued for the past 14 years in denominational leadership in the states of Florida, Kansas, Michigan, and now Virginia, for the Church of God (Cleveland, TN).

Wendy is a frequent speaker at women’s conferences and special services.  She is a gifted communicator, sharing life application principles from God’s Word with warmth and humor.  She also enjoys writing, spending time with her family, interior decorating, travel, and antique shopping.  She has a heart for ministers’ wives and wishes to equip them with tools for their lives in ministry.






Independence Day

photo via Bob AyersOur church’s patriarch and oldest member, Mr. Elton Earp, is celebrating Independence Day in heaven. He died after 10:00 a.m. this morning after battling prostate cancer for two years. He has finished the fight, he has completed the race.

He was 94 years young. He proudly served his country as a Marine in the Japanese theater of war in WWII.  As he said, “God was with me. I never got hurt, never got close to getting hurt. I came back from the war with only a fungus under my toenail, thanks be to God.” How fitting is it that this solider went home to be with Jesus on July 4th?

Elton lived in Durham his entire life. He married but was never blessed with children of his own. He watched his first wife Stella, his teenage sweetheart, die of complications from a stroke. Soon after Stella’s stroke, Elton’s father came down with an illness, and Elton brought him into his home where he also died under his care. He married again many years later while in his 70’s, and cared for his second wife Ida who died from cancer. From personal experience, Elton was well-acquainted with illness and death.

Elton has extended family who live outside of Durham. But his local family, the one he depended on to get him places and care for him in his final days when he lost his sight due to macular degeneration and encountered other health issues, was his church family, the folks of Ridgecrest Baptist Church.

Not that they want credit for what they’ve done, but Donnie and Rose Ann Palmer could tell you about plenty of sleepless nights and fetching and going for Elton, because if not anything else, Elton was meticulous about life. Items in the house and storage shed that he designated for people, His affairs that were to be concluded a certain way, the item-by-item details of his funeral service—all of this was handled on his terms.

Donnie and Rose Ann’s son Jason, who is now serving in Slovakia as a Southern Baptist missionary, became extremely close to Elton in his young adult years and “adopted” Elton as his grandfather. When Jason and his wife Charity packed up to go overseas for a three-year stint with no possibility of return, Elton knew this meant he would never see Jason again, at least on this side of glory. It was a heart-wrenching goodbye for everyone.

Donnie and Rose Ann stepped in as guardians and caregivers for Elton during his last months and have allowed him the grace to die, with dignity, just as he wished, within the walls of his own home.

Several of us gathered at Elton’s home last evening, knowing his time was near. He’d not eaten or drunk anything in several days and was lying mostly unresponsive in the hospital bed in his bedroom.  Yet he was keenly aware of everything being said and done around him. We had enough parts amongst us to harmonize and Al led us in a verse of “In the Garden,” knowing the comfort old hymns and gospel songs had brought him. After we sang, we noticed tiny tears that gathered in his eyes and we gently wiped them away.

I got the chance to tell him I’d been re-listening to his tapes he recorded about his childhood and old Durham, the way he remembered it. Fascinating stuff!  His last tape was recorded a year ago, on July 4, 2011. I told him his stories made me laugh and cry and that I was so glad I had these memories of his to listen to whenever I wanted.

All of us around the bed cried some more. We each told him we loved him. It took gargantuan effort, but Elton stirred a bit. He pulled his hand from underneath the sheet and moved his lips silently in response. We watched him silently try to form the words, “I love you, too.”

A dear saint of God. Who loved the Lord and His church. Who served faithfully wherever he was asked. He’s home at last! We can rejoice with him, that he’s beholding his Savior’s face, he’s hugging sweet Stella’s neck, he’s greeting all those people he’s known through the years and they’re all welcoming him to heaven.

Welcome home, Elton. We’ll see you, when we see you. . . .

Lookin’ up,