My Two-Cents

I can’t believe I am even jumping in on this conversation. There is such a wide range of opinions regarding the Corona Virus pandemic. There is criticism for those who have panicked and criticism for those who are living their normal lives. There is criticism for those who have prepared and for those who have blown it off as media hype. I hope I fall somewhere in the middle.

I have extra toilet paper. There. I said it. I just keep thinking that if all my kids end up coming home, that is a lot of… well, let’s just say we will need it. I also have extra cleaning supplies. And canned goods. You see, ever since Y2K I have believed in a well-stocked pantry, cause you just never know. And yes, nothing happened with Y2K, and no one (including me) wanted to admit they bought flashlights and canned goods. But this is not Y2K—it’s not some possibility that might happen. This is a reality. Maybe it won’t be bad in our area—wouldn’t that be a mercy? That is what we hope and pray for. But still, there is such a thing as COVID-19 and it can be bad—very bad for some people. I think everything we do should be reflective of our love for God and our love for others. Those are the two greatest commandments, after all.

So, let’s take the first and most important commandment. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength. So what does that look like in the crazy days we are living in? First of all, it means we pray. And we don’t pray as one with no hope. We pray acknowledging that He loves us. As I am thinking of my kids when I prepare, even more so, He thinks of us. He has given us every assurance that He will never leave us or forsake us. He will be faithful to us today and tomorrow. Say that aloud three times every day. Announce and declare that you believe that, even if your mind secretly thinks otherwise. He will not abandon His children any more than I would abandon mine. It’s who He is. Our Father, Abba, Daddy.

We love God by trusting in Him. We don’t let our hearts be filled with fear. We tell that fear to flee because our God is bigger. We cast down imaginations and destroy speculations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.

We love God by absorbing His Word as our reality. Let me repeat that. His Word is our reality. His word will not return void, but will accomplish that for which it is sent. Meditate on His Word day and night. Read His Word more than you read the latest COVID-19 reports. (By the way, I am preaching to the choir on this one.) Meditate on the following scriptures day and night. Pray them for yourself and your family, your city, state, country, world.

 

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.

                                    Psalm 91:1-7

 

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.

                                    Isaiah 26:13

 

Indeed, we live as human beings, but we do not wage war according to human standards; for the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but they have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.

                                                                        2 Corinthians 10:3-5

 

no weapon forged against you will prevail,
    and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
    and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord.

                                                Isaiah 54:17

 

Now, let’s take the second greatest commandment: love your neighbor as yourself. Those of us who have extra toilet paper, be prepared. God may want us to share it with our neighbors. God may want us to give some of that extra food to those who depend on school lunches for their daily food. God may want us to be generous and share and trust that He is able to multiply our food (and toilet paper), just as Jesus multiplied the fish and the loaves—for He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Love your neighbor as yourself. No one wants to get sick. Even if you think you are young and healthy and could fight off the Corona virus like a champ, there are others who can’t. I have a bit of a unique take on this. My husband is a doctor and there is a good chance he will come into contact with COVID-19—as will every other doctor, nurse, and medical assistant—even the receptionist at the doctor’s office. And then he comes home. At what point do we keep our distance and for how long?

I have family members who have Type 1 diabetes. They are in “that group” of those who are more susceptible. My mother is on hospice with advanced pulmonary fibrosis. One of my son’s best friend’s has cystic fibrosis. My mother-in-law is in an assisted living home and she just buried her husband of 58 years. She certainly doesn’t need to deal with a potentially deadly illness on top of the grief. Do you see the domino effect of what could happen if we don’t love others? If we are flippant about the risks, we may be just fine. But we may pass it on to others who will not be just fine. So, maybe think of this time of social distancing as a way to love your neighbor as yourself.

And I can think of many more good things that could come of just a few weeks of pressing the pause button on regular life. Maybe we can rest for a change. Maybe we can get that garage cleaned out, that board game played with our kids, that book read that we have been wanting to make time for. (I have a good suggestion for you on that one! #TapCodeBook) This is actually an opportunity to spend time talking to our teenagers, plan our garden, write in our journal, call that friend we haven’t connected with in a while, read our Bibles more than just the quick morning fix.

So order that take-out food, have those groceries delivered (and don’t forget those locally owned stores and businesses!). Stay home for just a little while. Don’t put the Lord your God to a foolish test, as Jesus said. Embrace this as a unique opportunity to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. Trust Him, pray, believe, declare the truth of the scriptures, take the authority over the enemy that is ours in Christ Jesus. Oh yea, and wash your hands!


Thanks for ALL Your Support!

The launch of Tap Code has been extraordinary. Smitty and Louise have traveled the country, had many interviews in radio and television, and visited many Air Force Bases. I am thrilled that the world is getting to know this amazing couple!

We have hit #1 spots in several categories on Amazon, landed a spot on Apples Top 10 Books People Are Talking About, and have had the support of local friends, family, and even strangers. I am so happy to hear that others are being inspired and touched by Smitty and Louise’s story! If you could do us a huge favor and write a review on Amazon, Books A Million, Barnes and Nobel, Goodreads, Target, Walmart, or any online store which carries our book, it would be greatly appreciated!

But today, I wanted to give a shout out to our local supporters! Reed’s bookstore has supported us with a huge turnout for our book signing last weekend!

Next week, we will be in Oxford for a book signing at SquareBooks on Tuesday at 5:30. All you Ole Miss fans please come out and meet Smitty and Louise! They are true American heroes! You can order the book online and in the store.

We SO appreciate these independent bookstores! They provide an atmosphere of community and expertise, which is so missing in today’s world! Please take a look at both of their websites and order a signed copy today! #shoplocal

I will try to keep you posted about other opportunities to meet Smitty and Louise! They will bless you so much!

https://www.indiebound.org/

https://www.squarebooks.com/event/carlyle-s-harri

https://shop.reedsms.com/products/tap-code-by-carlyle-s-harris-sara-w-berrys-tap-code


The Way I See It

I don’t like politics.

Yes, I have strong opinions, you can call them convictions; but I don’t like politics. I really avoid speaking out on political issues, especially on social media, because there is the whirlwind of anger, misunderstanding, hate, and separation of friendships that often follows.

But there is this one issue …

And before I express my opinion let me address my friends who see it differently. Listen carefully! I. Love. You. And actually, I like you. And respect you and admire you and think you are funny and compassionate and kind. And that doesn’t change because we see it differently.

But I have to tell you how I see the topic of abortion.

I see it through the eyes of dear, godly friends who have struggled for decades with regret, emotional pain, anxiety, and depression because they chose abortion.

I see it through the eyes of dear, godly friends who desire more than anything to feel the movement of life within them, yet can’t no matter how hard they have tried to conceive.

I see it through the eyes of my role as a mother, who has felt life within my belly 5 different times. Each time I saw that pink line on the pregnancy test, I knew there was life. When I heard their heartbeats as early as 8 weeks, I knew there was life. When I felt them kick and roll around inside me, I knew there was life. When my back ached and the labor pains came and my life was forever changed, I knew it was worth it, for there was life.

I see this topic of abortion through the tear-stained eyes of seeing one of mine blue and unresponsive when born. I also see it through joyful tear-stained eyes when I heard the gasp for breath we longed for, then the loud, screaming cry announcing she was still with us. (Admittedly, that cry had a different effect on me at 3am for 8 weeks, but it was relatively a short season!)

I see it through the eyes of one who has longed for and prayed for and filled out miles and miles of paperwork, so that we could bring home two adorable Asians, who didn’t look like us, but were so very us. When I look at them, I see life. And when I look at them, I see the love of two different birthmothers who had a choice to make.

Yes, they lived in a country where they could have easily made a different choice. They could have ended the life of my children without repercussions, or social stigma. Not only is it not illegal in China, but it is also encouraged to end the life of a baby in the womb. But these brave women chose differently. They chose life. They chose life despite these children having birth defects which could have been dangerous and complicated. And because they chose life, the world gets to experience the joy of Sally and Charlie. They are healthy and funny and smart and silly and kind and generous and accepting of others. They love life. They are my life. All because two mothers in difficult circumstances chose life.

To the women of New York, who may feel that your answer has come and your difficult problems are solved …

To the women who are rejoicing that they now legally have the choice to abort their baby whenever they want to …

Let me tell you that I am sorry for your pain. I am sorry for your difficult circumstances. But let me encourage you in this: you do have a choice. And would you please stop and think about adoption over abortion? Before you make your choice, would you pause long enough to investigate the process of life within you? The heartbeat, the development of hands and feet and brain and fingers and toes.

You do have a choice. Please know that choosing life is still on the table. And the way I see it, it is really the only wise choice to make.

Now, to my friends who see it differently. Wanna go get a cup of coffee together? Wanna talk and laugh and go see a movie? I’m here. And I love you.


My Dad is Crazy

I have a guest writer on my blog today–someone I adore, writing about someone else I adore.  My sister, Nan Williams Green, is writing about our dad.  He is Kenneth Williams, businessman, to many.  And to many more he is Koach.  To us, he is daddy.  We have had a front row seat to watch him for 40 years, day after day, put on his running shoes and push himself with perseverance. My sister and I, along with our brothers, have learned many lessons–both practical and spiritual–as we have watched our Dad. And… well … I will let Nan explain.

 

My Dad is Crazy
A Daughter’s Thoughts on her Boston Marathon Dad

Every child thinks that their parents are crazy at one time or another.  I accept this as true about my parents and I know my children and grandchildren will feel the same way about me – if they haven’t already.  Wink wink.  And while my mom has had some crazy in her life, my dad has worn the “crazy crown” for as long as I can remember.  Yesterday, I watched one of his crazy days, and I must say, it was one of the best days of my life.

You see, my dad is a runner.  Other runners call him “Koach” because his first name starts with the letter K and he has coached ALOT of people around the world.  He started running long before it was cool.  He began back when running was still called “jogging”, and he has never stopped.  Yesterday, he finished his 17th Boston Marathon!  I have to stipulate “Boston Marathon” because he has run a total of 67 marathons all over the world.  To run in the Boston Marathon, one needs to qualify, which means running another marathon at a certain pace based on age.  In other words, no one can just decide to run the Boston Marathon.  There are rules and requirements and one has to meet those requirements to be eligible to run.  So….Dad just ran his 17th Boston Marathon as a qualifier.  He’s a little north of 76 years old.  He’s definitely crazy.

Over the years, I must confess to an eye roll or two when Dad’s running adventures have come up.  I accepted his running as part of who he is and what makes him tick, but I’m not sure I embraced how much he loves the sport until these last few years.  I believe my thinking changed exactly 5 years ago when he should have been at the finish line of his 12th Boston Marathon, but a knee injury had slowed him down. A bomb, heard around the world, changed the way I thought about Dad’s crazy addiction to running.  Before that point, running was just his pastime…the thing he did for health, stress, and the camaraderie of the act.  But that day I caught a glimpse of something else…something stronger and more powerful in him, and in others like him, than I had given him credit for.  Something even crazier than I had first thought.

As late as February of this year, I found myself thinking that my husband and I should go with Dad to Boston for the 2018 marathon.  My mom has been faithful to support her husband of 55 years as he ran everywhere.  Together, they have had wonderful trips centered on running, including most of Dad’s Boston adventures.  Illness has prevented her from traveling in recent years, so it was our turn to go.  And April 16, 2018 was the day!

To say the weather was bad is a massive understatement.  Many seasoned runners said the conditions were the worst they had ever experienced.  The temperature was around 40 degrees at its highest point, with constant headwinds often reaching 30 miles per hour.  Oh and it rained!   And it poured!  And it never stopped.  Fears of hypothermia, dehydration, what to wear, and how to keep feet dry were the pre-race dinner conversations with fellow runners for the days leading up to the race.  But it didn’t matter…every runner was wet and cold before they crossed the starting line.  Finishing became the real fear!

Let me back track a minute and let you in on a small secret!  My dad is a marathon Rock Star! Not an “elite runner” as far as running times go, but a celebrity none the less.  He has the years of his runs stitched onto the back of one of his Boston jackets – all those years taking up the entire back of his jacket.  I’ve watched people stop and point.  I’ve seen them count out loud, adding up the total.  I’ve seen people high-five him, take photos and videos, and ask for advice! I mean he has 12,000 followers on Twitter!  This weekend, people took his photo and moved aside as he passed.  It was crazy!

Dad began running his 17th Boston Marathon at 11:22 am yesterday morning, a part of the fourth wave of runners.  A marathoner doesn’t just get to the starting line, fight for a spot and start running when the gun goes off.  No!  First, all the runners gather at a specific location in downtown Boston.  Based on their running number, they line up, and board “yellow dog” school buses and are transported to a small Massachusetts town called Hopkinton about 26 miles outside of Boston.  Runners are herded into the “athlete’s village”- basically a big tent and a lot of port-a-johns.  The conditions of the athletes village yesterday was referred to by one runner as a “refugee camp” with acres of mud, trash and personal items abandoned and discarded everywhere you looked.  In this area, they wait for their starting times.  I don’t want to think about the nerves and butterflies, the fear, the concern, the nasty port-a-potties, and the constant “what ifs?” my dad must have had before he could line up.  The fourth wave of runners started their journey at 11:15 am, and there were so many runners that it took Dad a full seven minutes before he could even cross the starting line to begin his race.

Monday was not a great day for him. In fact this race was the slowest marathon he has ever run by over an hour.  The conditions, previous injuries, and maybe his age were all factors in a disappointing marathon time.  But, my father is my hero!

He ran for hours longer than average runners half his age.  He withstood the elements in very little clothing, wet feet, and a couple of borrowed garbage bags.  He smiled and hugged us at mile 17 and asked to borrow my phone so he could call my mom and assure her that he was okay.  He cracked jokes about being an “old man” who would not be receiving the whoops and hollers as usual from The Wellesley College girls who weren’t crazy enough to stay outside in the miserable conditions.  He climbed hills, ran though commercial and residential areas, ran in big groups and totally alone.

He turned right on Hereford Street only to be met by a road littered with thousands of garbage bags and ponchos all of which were discarded by other participants.  He turned left onto Boylston Street where more rain gear had been thrown to the ground and caused many runners to slip and lose their balance.  It was still pouring rain, but as the end was in sight, runners were anxious to lighten their loads – or maybe they just wanted to look good when the professional photographs were taken at the finish line.

He crossed over from the left side of Boylston, through the debris to where my husband and I were cheering him on…just 300 yards from the big blue and yellow finish line.  We followed him up the street until we were assured that he had crossed that painted line to finish the race and receive his Boston Marathon Finisher’s medallion. (Each of his medallions will go to his 15 grandchildren and with enough left over for some “greats”.) My eyes filled with tears as strangers encouraged him, clapped for him, and rang cowbells as he wobbled past them.

My dad never stopped running!  He’s crazy like that!  Crazy mixed in with just enough stubbornness, stamina, determination, perseverance, grit and love for his sport.  He earned a “Crazy Crown” years ago from those of us who know and love him, but yesterday, it was as if a gold laurel wreath crown had been placed on his head.
My daddy is crazy!   And I want to be just like him.

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  Isaiah 40:31


Thoroughly Equipped: Schedule for Bible Reading for February

Hey, friends!  I hope you are still reading God’s Word each day and listening to the whispers the Holy Spirit has for you.  Keep going!  Here is the list of scripture reading for the month of February.  If you get behind,  no worries.  Just pick back up and start on the current date.  Or you can quickly catch up by listening to it on the Bible App as you go about your day.

 

February 1:  Exodus 13:17-15:18, Matthew 21:23-46, Psalm 26:1-12, Proverbs 6:16-19

February 2:  Exodus 15:19-17:7, Matthew 22:1-33, Psalm 27:1-6, Proverbs 6:20-26

February 3:  Exodus 17:8-19:15, Matthew 22:34-23:12, Psalm 27:7-14, Proverbs 6:27-35

February 4:  Exodus 19:16-21:21, Matthew 23:13-39, Psalm 28:1-9, Proverbs 7:1-5

February 5:  Exodus 21:22-23:13, Matthew 24:1-28, Psalm 29:1-11, Proverbs 7:6-23

February 6:  Exodus 23:14-25:40, Matthew 24:29-51, Psalm 30:1-12, Proverbs 7:24-27

February 7:  Exodus 26:1-27:21, Matthew 25:1-30, Psalm 31:1-8, Proverbs 8:1-11

February 8:  Exodus 28:1-43, Matthew 25:31-26:13, Psalm 31:9-18, Proverbs 8:12-13

February 9:  Exodus 29:1-30:10, Matthew 26:14-46, Psalm 31:19-24, Proverbs 8:14-26

February 10:  Exodus 30:11-31:18, Matthew 26:47-68, Psalm 32:1-11, Proverbs 8:27-32

February 11:  Exodus 32:1-33:23, Matthew 26:69-27:14, Psalm 33:1-11, Proverbs 8:33-36

February 12:  Exodus 34:1-35:9, Matthew 27:15-31, Psalm 33:12-22, Proverbs 9:1-6

February 13:  Exodus 35:10-36:38, Matthew 27:32-66, Psalm 34:1-10, Proverbs 9:7-8

February 14:  Exodus 37:1-38:31, Matthew 28:1-20, Psalm 34:11-22, Proverbs 9:9-10

February 15:  Exodus 39:1-40:38, Mark 1:1-28, Psalm 35:1-16, Proverbs 9:11-12

February 16:  Leviticus 1:1-3:17, Mark 1:29-2:12, Psalm 35:17-28, Proverbs 9:13-18

February 17:  Leviticus 4:1-5:19, Mark 2:13-3:6, Psalm 36:1-12, Proverbs 10:1-2

February 18:  Leviticus 6:1-7:27, Mark 3:7-30, Psalm 37:1-11, Proverbs 10:3-4

February 19:  Leviticus 7:28-9:6, Mark 3:31-4:25, Psalm 37:12-29, Proverbs 10:5

February 20:  Leviticus 9:7-10:20, Mark 4:26-5:20, Psalm 37:30-40, Proverbs 10:6-7

February 21:  Leviticus 11:1-12:8, Mark 5:21-43, Psalm 38:1-22, Proverbs 10:8-9

February 22:  Leviticus 13:1-59, Mark 6:1-29, Psalm 39:1-13, Proverbs 10:10

February 23:  Leviticus 14:1-57, Mark 6:30-56, Psalm 40:1-10, Proverbs 10:11-12

February 24:  Leviticus 15:1-16:28, Mark 7:1-23, Psalm 40:11-17, Proverbs 10:13-14

February 25:  Leviticus 16:29-18:30, Mark 7:24-8:10, Psalm 41:1-13, Proverbs 10:15-16

February 26:  Leviticus 19:1-20:21, Mark 8:11-38, Psalm 42:1-11, Proverbs 10:17

February 27:  Leviticus 20:22-22:16, Mark 9:1-29, Psalm 43:1-5, Proverbs 10:18

February 28:  Leviticus 22:17-23:44, Mark 9:30-10:12, Psalm 44:1-8, Proverbs 10:19