Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Tugs done gone and become a doctor!

It has been nearly 6-months since I have written anything on this blog. It's been 7-months since I submitted my final test in the Doctor of Theology program that I took through Andersonville Theological Seminary. This past Friday I finally was able to walk through the commencement exercises in Albany, GA.

I can't even describe to you the joy it has been obtaining this degree. While it was very time consuming trying to complete each assignment, work in a full-time job, pastor the Church full-time, and be a full-time husband, and father, I've got to say it was well worth it. Getting to walk across that stage and be recognized for the hard work was very satisfying.

There is no way I could have accomplished all of this without the love, patience, and support of my entire family. They have been with me through thick and thin. My parents were also a huge help in seeing that I was able to go through the graduation ceremony and afford the trip to Albany.

The question that everyone keeps asking me is, "What now?" Everyone wants to know if I am going to stop earning degrees. So far in my life the Lord has enabled me to complete my AS in Electronics from T.I.E., a BS in Management from Fountainhead College, a M.Min. from The Crown College & Seminary, and now my Th/D. from ATS. Honestly, the only other degree that I am toying around with in my mind is my Ph.D. and I'm already looking into possible schools to attend. But, I think I will take a year or two off from school and work on the book that my dad was always urging me to write.

As I have told everyone, this life is short and there is no time to stop. We need to accomplish all that we possibly can while we still have the time. Or as the Apostle Paul puts it, "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." ~ Ephesians 5:15-16.


Friday, May 6, 2016

Dealing with all of the "firsts"

 It’s been 71-days since dad left this walk of life and went home to be with the Lord. We have been dealing with all of the “first” things in life since losing him; March 25th was the first full month since he had passed. March 27th was the first Easter we spent without him. May 4th was the first time he was not here for his birthday (he would have turned 76). This coming Sunday will be the first Mother’s day that he won’t be accompanying my mother to Church, and the list will continue until a year has passed by.

The briefness of life really does not sink in until something like losing one of your siblings, parents, children, or spouse happens. The Book of James refers to it as a “vapor.” James 4:14: “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

People keep telling me that things will get better with time. I sure pray that they do. I think of dad almost constantly. So many times I have started to call or go over to my parent’s house to get dad’s input and advice on things, only to realize that he isn’t there. When I’m preparing a sermon or a Sunday school lesson I am constantly wondering what dad would think about a certain passage of Scripture or a thought behind it.

I guess the hardest thing for me is all of the constant reminders of dad when I’m going about my normal day. Almost every morning without fail when I am getting into the shower I think of dad in his last week’s not being able to do things like take a simple shower. When I’m dressing and putting on a white t-shirt I think of my dad sitting in his recliner in a white t-shirt.  The same with drinking a cup of coffee, I can see dad holding a cup in his hand.

This morning I drove his Dodge Ram to work. How he loved that truck. I imagine on a day like today he would have headed to the lake to try and catch some Stripe fish. If I had any available vacation days left I would have turned that truck around and headed to Cherokee lake instead of the office. But, I came on in with dad on my mind and had to type out my thoughts before it overwhelmed me.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Daddy's hands

We had just left the cancer center where dad had only received more bad news. He was very weak and had to be held up as he walked with a cane. I sat there across from him at our table at Hardee's waiting on my mother to come back with breakfast. I didn’t really know what to say to him, I was afraid that I would start crying if I even tried to speak. I looked at the man that raised me to be the man that I am today. He had always been the strongest person in my life.

 As we sat there just staring off into space, dad suddenly said, “look at that, how smooth your hands are compared to mine.” I looked down at his hands which were just inches from mine. They looked like the same hands only his was weathered and spotted and they trembled even just sitting there at the table. “My hands used to look like yours, he said, but look at them now.” My heart was breaking for him. He fully understood that his time here on earth was very short. He still had so many dreams and desires to fulfill but now it was too late. I never knew how much my daddy's hands meant to me until that very moment in time.

I sat and stared at his hands and remembered how strong they had always been in my life. Those hands used to hold me as I sat on his lap clutching to my toy gun as we watched Gunsmoke on television together. Those hands were the ones that balanced me on a bicycle when I was learning to ride. Those hands were the ones that I used to watch as he strummed on the guitar while he sang the blues, country, and gospel music. Those hands were the ones that I feared when they would pull the belt from his waist when I had done something wrong. Those hands were the ones that shook mine after I was called to preach and he told me he was proud of me.

In dad's last hours here on earth as he laid in a hospital bed that we had setup in his room, my mother and I sat with him. He hated that bed because we had to pull rails up on the side of it to prevent him from falling out and hurting himself, As he laid there struggling for breath, I held to one of his hands and my mother held the other. There was nothing either of us could do to help him except pray. I don't even know if he knew we were there by that time. I sure wish I could hold to my daddy's hands again.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A life of regrets

We somewhat enjoyed eating lunch with several of our family members, but dad was just too weak to hang around after eating. I walked him to my car, helped him get in, and we headed toward his house. Halfway through our drive dad started talking about how there was so many things that he never got around to doing. He had been wanting to go fishing again when the weather warmed up and he had plans for buying another gun. I’ll never forget him turning toward me and saying, “Byron, if there is anything that you want to do in this life, you better do it now because you never know how much time you have left.” I can’t even tell you the number of times those words have went through my head over the past 2 months since his passing.

My entire life growing up around my dad, all I heard him talk about was wanting to one day own a farm with a bunch of land and have a place he could hunt and fish. A place where all of his family could come and spend time and eat Sunday dinners together. He came close one time of obtaining his dream but it was pulled out from under him right at the last minute. I think he gave up on it after that. 

Losing my dad has been the single most devastating thing to happen in my life. I am almost 50-years old now and feel that I am at a crossroads. If I am lucky I still have 20 or 30 more years left but then again, I may not. I feel like I’m trapped in a situation that I have no control over whatsoever. My strongest desire in life right now is to be able to Pastor full-time and be close to my family. But circumstances prevent me from doing that. My kids are nearly grown now and I feel that I’ve missed out on so much of their lives. Although we have had good times together we have missed out on so many things due to my work schedule and fulfilling my duties as a pastor.

I don’t want to come to the end of my life with regrets. How I pray the Lord would guide me in the right way. I am still mourning over my dad and I honestly don’t know how life will ever be as meaningful anymore. I know this is has been a rather depressing post but I am only speaking from my heart. If you’ve read this far I want to ask you to pray for me that the Lord will give me some kind of peace and the knowledge of what to do in my life so that I don’t have any regrets.


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Always on my mind

Yesterday officially marked one month since my dad passed away. I can tell you without a doubt there hasn't been an hour that has went by that I've not thought of him in some way. Some days are harder than others. Yesterday my son and I drove to Pigeon Forge in dad's old Dodge truck. We went to some of his favorite places; Bass Pro Shops, the Tool Outlet, the Boot Store, but I could not make myself go into the Knife Works. It was just too painful to think about.

I am torn between wanting to remember and wanting to forget. I want to remember all of the good things about dad and the great memories I have, but I would really love to forget that final month of his life that was so tragic. Sadly, it is the latter that seem to haunt me the most.

This morning as I was taking a shower my mind kept going back to dad's final week of life. One of the things that he wanted to do was to take a shower. My mom had to explain to him that we just were not able to get him in the shower, that it was too dangerous for him and us to try and lift him over the bathtub. Instead, mom would have to give him sponge baths in the bed. I kept thinking how horrible it would be to realize that you would never be able to take a shower again. Just a simple little thing that we get up and do every day that we take for granted, yet when it is taken away from you it suddenly becomes a very large thing in your life. It is thoughts and memories such as this that bother me the most.

This past week while I was on my lunch break at work, I was sitting in dad's truck going through his CD's that he loved to listen to. I suddenly wondered what was the last thing that he played when he drove the truck? I pushed the button on the CD player and beautiful guitar music began pouring out of the speakers. I haven't yet been able to make myself eject that CD, I just keep playing it over and over as I drive thinking about my dad driving to the lake listening to it.

I know this post is rather long but it is really for me anyways since nobody really reads my blog anymore. But, one more thing I want to mention is that for a week my son and I had planned on going to Cherokee Lake on Good Friday so we could fish together. It was going to be sort of a tribute to dad. Unfortunately it rained really hard on Thursday night which turned the lake banks into pure mud, so we did not go fishing. We went shopping in Pigeon Forge instead. But, I am determined to spend more time with my son because I realize now how short our lives are and how easy it is to neglect the things you should pay attention to. You really don't know what you've got until it's gone.


Friday, February 19, 2016

I Want My Dad Back

Taken on 2-17-2016
I am sitting here listening to my dad groan under labored breathing. My days are all running together but I think this is day number five that I have sat with him and watched his rapid decline. Sleep has been very sparse for me and my mother over this past week as dad tends to sleep more in the day than he does the night, which keeps us hopping up and down nearly every hour on end to tend to his needs.

My heart is wrenching from having to see my dad go through the devastation that cancer perpetrates on the human body. A man that once was the picture of perfect health now sits as nothing but a frail, broken skeleton-like creature unable to perform even the simplest of human maneuvers. His legs no longer hold him up, his arms unable to raise above his waist. All of his life his greatest joy was to sip on a morning cup of coffee, now he cannot even hold the cup to his lips to drink. He hasn’t eaten anything for a week. The offer of food to him is met with a look of disgust and rejection. We do not force feed him per his own orders given to us weeks ago when he was still in a normal frame of mind.

Taken on 2-17-2016
At times he is able to speak plainly but more times than not his slurs are unintelligible. I believe that his mind is fully aware of everything that is going on but the effects of powerful pain killers and lack of nutrients in his body often causes him to react much like an Alzheimer’s patient. He is restless yet worn out. He sits most of the time with his eyes closed, a pained expression on his face, loudly sighing and uttering phrases such as, “Oh Lord help us.”

I never thought I would see the day when I would have to pick my own dad up and carry him from bed to wheelchair to recliner. I know he is embarrassed and irritated that my mother and I have to help him do the things that he has been able to do all of his life such as using the bathroom, clothing himself, or brushing his teeth. Cancer is no respecter of persons, it is a debilitating, evil scourge upon the human race.

 I want my dad back. I do not want to remember him this way. How I wish I could sit and talk with him about the Bible some more or to go on one of our all-night crappie fishing trips as we did years ago. My dad has been the most rock solid person in my life. No matter what I may have been going through or trouble that I was up against, I knew that I could always count on him to have the answers. What am I going to do without him?

Taken on 2-19-2016
 I am a man of faith but lately my faith has become weak. I feel helpless like I am drowning and barely holding my head up out the water. I understand that sin is the culprit behind all of the misery, pain, and sickness of mankind, yet I do not understand why God’s children must suffer so in the final stages of their lives. I am not mad at God like I was when my older sister Pam was stricken with Leukemia and taken from us, but I am dismayed. I do trust God and love Him and ultimately I know within my heart that He knows what is best and that He loves us. I just wish that it could be easier.


Monday, October 12, 2015

Final Doctorate Exam Submitted!

I really don't know how to feel right now. I am excited, anxious, and tearful knowing that I just submitted my very last Seminary paper to be graded; NTBB8538 Exposition of 1 & 2 Thessalonians. This one took me a little longer than I expected. Even though there were only 19 exam questions, they were pretty lengthy and detailed. I've also been very covered up lately with work and ministry duties. It seems nearly half of my congregants are sick right now so I'm stretched pretty thin.

All in all this last course took 27-days. Below are the specifics of the course work:

  • Read all of 1 and 2 Thessalonians.
  • Listen to and take notes on 17 lectures containing 12-hours of instruction.
  • Complete a 19 question exam which ended up being 15 pages and 5,652 words.

It was so strange to click on the "send" button when I submitted my exam. It was almost like I could feel a load being lifted off of my shoulders. It is similar to after you have worked and practiced for hours for a large event such as a cantata or concert and when it is finally over you just feel overwhelmed.

I still have to wait for Crown to send my transcripts from my Master's program and then submit my diploma request and intent to graduate form to ATS and receive back my grades from the final two courses that I have submitted before I can officially graduate. Right now I feel like this is it for my education but you never know what the future holds. I never dreamed I would have went this far. I may still take some Greek and Hebrew courses for my own personal benefit.

I really appreciate the prayers from my family and friends and anyone that may have kept up with my progress. It is only by the Lord's good graces that I have been able to achieve my dreams.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

THEO7340 Doctrine of Christ - Complete!

The past 27-days have been like a roller coaster ride. So many things going on yet I have relentlessly pursued completing this course. This was a tough one for sure. Below is an outline of the work I did:
  • Listened to 20 lectures totaling 14 hours.
  • Read over 300 passages of Scripture.
  • Took a 49-question final exam.
  • Typed out 26 pages of notes totaling 6,675 words.
It is only with the Lord's help I was able to complete this course in the time that I did. I have also studied, prepared, and preached 12 sermons and prepared and taught 4 Sunday school lessons in that amount of time on top of my other pastoral duties and father/husband duties and of course my full-time job. Again, this isn't bragging, I'm letting you know that obtaining an advanced degree is no easy task. Anyone who thinks so has never attempted it. I will tell you this, it will be worth every minute and dollar sacrificed having the satisfaction of completing this degree. It may not mean much to the rest of the world but it means a great deal to me. As always, I desire your prayers as I have only one more course to complete before I graduate.

Last but not least: NTBB8538 Exposition of Thessalonians


Friday, August 7, 2015

THEO7330 Doctrine of the Holy Spirit - Completed!

It has been 21-days since I submitted my last course so you know I have really been going at this course relentlessly. I will say this has been my very favorite course out of all of them I have taken so far. I've studied the working of the Holy Spirit for years but never on the level that I have been studying these past 3-weeks. I have learned a lot through this course especially concerning the work of the Holy Spirit during the Old Testament times as opposed to how He works in the New Testament times.

The Lord has already directed me to preach two sermons dealing with the Holy Spirit out of my studies and I feel that He wants me to preach more. I may end up doing a complete Bible study series on Wednesday night's concerning the Holy Spirit.

So, work involved in this course; I listened to 24 lectures totaling 17 hours of audio, typed out 78 pages of notes totaling 28,518 words, took a 9 page 2,293 word final exam, read a 223 page book and wrote a 1,206 word summary on it.

Next up - NTBB8102 Exposition of Matthew II - as always, prayers appreciated!


Monday, July 20, 2015

Exposition in Matthew I...COMPLETE!

I believe out of all of the courses I have completed thus far this one was the toughest of all. Just in case you are interested in what all was required in this course let me give you a run down:

  1. Read the entire 28 chapters of the Gospel of Matthew and write a 500 word minimum summary.
  2. Read course textbook, Matthew Thy Kingdom Come, by John Walvoord and write a 500 word minimum summary.
  3. Read course textbook, Matthew, by H.A. Ironside and write a 500 word minimum summary.
  4. Listen to 20 lectures totaling 13 hours and taking notes.
  5. Take an 81 question final exam.
  6. Write a 5 page minimum research paper on the Roman Catholic theology of Mary as Mediatrix aor Co-Redeemer explaining their beliefs, Scripture references, and to refute their beliefs. (this was by far the toughest of everything in this course.).

All in all it took me over 2-months to complete working nights, lunch breaks, and any available free time. My brain is completely fried right now but I am excited that I only have 4 more courses remaining before I complete my doctorate! Next up: THEO7330 Doctrine of the Holy Spirit. As always, prayers are appreciated.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Epistles of John... done!

I've been working nearly non-stop on this course. After 13 days, taking 22 pages of notes with 9,848 words, taking a 7 page final exam with 50 questions,listening to 14.4 hours of lectures, reading all of the Epistles of John plus reading a 296 page book by Zane Hodges about the Epistles of John, I have spent 65 hours total on this course.

Bear in mind, I am not telling you about this to brag, I am letting you know that acquiring an advanced education is very time consuming and not for the faint of heart. I will say that I do not regret a single second I've spent on my education through the years and although I still have more to go before I finish this doctorate course, I feel that I am on the downhill side from here on out!

Next up NTBB8101 Exposition of Matthew I


Thursday, May 14, 2015

New Testament Theology...DONE!

Acts 26:24  And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.
I think I understand what Festus meant now! Nine straight days of relentless studying listening to 15  hours of lectures, reading through all of the Gospels and most of Paul's letters, taking 48 pages of notes with 17,477 words and a 19 question final exam, studying, preparing, and preaching 4 different sermons plus working my full-time job at work and being a husband and dad... I believe I am truly beside myself and gone mad. I could use a vacation.. It was very challenging but very rewarding but I'm glad to have THEO7200 NT Theology in the books!

Next up is NTBB8870 Epistles of John. I'm ready to get to working on it. Keep praying!


Friday, May 8, 2015

The Orange Push-Up Pop

It's 1972, I'm 6 years old riding in the backseat of my dad's Dodge Monaco. We stopped off at the Economy IGA on Millertown Pike and my parents bought us ice cream. My sister Pam picked her favorite, a brown cow and mom got a nutty buddy. I can't remember what dad got. Of course I got my favorite, an orange push-up pop!
The orange push-up pop was the perfect summertime treat. It was cold, sweet, and fun to eat. I can still feel the breeze blowing through my hair with one arm hanging out the window and the other holding my ice cream. We felt like kings and queens for a moment.Those were the days my friend.
Well, today we discovered that Ingles has their own orange push-up pops. They look almost identical to the ones that we used to get back in the day and they are just as tasty. There for about 15 minutes I felt like a little barefoot country boy again, enjoying myself as we headed down the road. Sure wish I could go back and do it all again.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Exposition of Galatians in the books!

After 3-months of work, listening to 15 hours of lectures, writing 11,698 words on 27 pages of notes, taking a 25 question exam requiring 250 word answers for each question making it 9,556 words and 26 pages long, I am finally finished with NTBB8525 Exposition of Galatians! That along with the previous two expositions, wraps up the first section of three courses before completing my Th.D in Pastoral Theology. Lord willing I hope to graduate this time next year. Prayers appreciated.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

If I had only known...

One of my dad’s favorite sayings to me when I was growing up was “you gotta learn everything the hard way.” It has taken me the better part of nearly 48 years to understand just how true that statement is. If I had 10 things that I wish I had understood when I was young that I could share with my children they would be:
  1. Pleasing God and pleasing people rarely go hand in hand.
  2. The truth may hurt but it is the best thing for you. 
  3. The people that truly love you will stick with you regardless of how stupid you have been. 
  4. The ability to gather large crowds of people does not equal success. 
  5. Don’t believe everything you hear. 
  6. People that negatively talk about other people to you will talk negatively about you to other people. 
  7. Getting an education is worth every single penny and minute you spend. 
  8. You will never regret spending time with the ones you love but you will regret every single second that you didn’t when they are gone. 
  9. You will never be as smart as your parents. 
  10. The greatest thing you can do in life is trusting the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Exposition in Daniel in the books!

It took nearly 3-months to complete Exposition in Daniel but it was a wonderful study. I enjoyed listening to the lectures by my instructor, Dr. John Nocera. He did a fantastic job digging in deeply into the Book of Daniel. I have preached and taught from Daniel for many years but he brought out some things that I had not considered and it will help me greatly the next time I preach from that book. That is one of the best things about going through Seminary, it provides additional help with sermon preparation and teaching points.

I received my grade back from this course in mid March and was delighted to see another grade of A. Looking forward to working on the next course, "Exposition in Galatians." As always, prayers are appreciated.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Doctorate Update

Old Testament Theology Grade
It's been a while since I posted anything about school. I finished my first course, Old Testament Theology, This course was challenging but rewarding. I enjoyed getting deeper into the Scripture and listening to the lectures. I ended up with 100 pages of notes and I took a 27 question exam as well. I sent my work in this past December and received my grade back about a week later. I was thrilled to receive an A for my grade.

Next up is Daniel. I have been working on it off and on for the past 3 months. There are 13 assignments and I am on the 10th assignment. I have taken 20 pages of notes so far. There is also a 50 question exam at the end of the course that I have to take.

As always prayers are appreciated.


Monday, October 27, 2014

My Aunt June

Day #11: My Aunt June Perkey.
My earliest memories of aunt June are spending the night at her house and waking up and eating buttered toast and hot chocolate. June was always a fun person to be around. She loves to laugh and joke and have a good time. Out of all of my mom's sisters, June has always seemed to be more like my mother than anyone else.
June raised a pretty large family and has a very large extended family who is always at her house. She is one of the hardest workers I know (even though she is supposed to be retired). She has worked all of her life for the family business, Perkey's Upholstering.
June has one of the most tender and caring hearts of anyone you will ever meet and she doesn't know a stranger. It wouldn't matter if you were the poorest person on earth or the most well off, she would welcome you into her home and treat you like family. She would give you the shoes off of her feet if you needed them. She was always faithful and loyal to her husband and literally waited on him hand and foot, and now she does the same with her kids and grandkids.
I always thought I got my bad coffee drinking habits from my dad but through the years I have learned that it probably came from my aunt June. I'll be she sleeps with a coffee IV connected to her at night!  One thing is for sure, she knows how to cook. Between her, my mother, and my granny, it would be hard to say who is the best cook of them all. She's the only person besides my mom that cooks enough for the entire neighborhood. Her son (my cousin Jerry) will tell you, she makes the best lemon pound cake on this side of Heaven.
I guess the thing that I admire most about my aunt June is her endurance. Although she carries a heavy burden for some people she still goes on another day. I have had to share some tough times ministering and grieving with her during the loss of her husband (my uncle Onloe) and her daughter (my cousin Donna). It hurt me so bad to have to see her go through such pain. I know she is still not over it either but she faithfully endures.
I don't get to see June a whole lot even though she lives just up through the woods from me. She goes out to eat with my mom every week and that's pretty much how I keep up with her. But I do love her and admire the life that she has lived and I pray that her work load will lighten up and she can enjoy life because if anyone deserves it, she does.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

My Best Friend Kevin

Day #10: My best friend, Kevin Roberts.
Kevin and I met when we were only 5-years old. We both lived on Maloneyville Rd. only one mile apart from each other. When our parents first introduced us we hated each other... for about an hour. Kevin was tall and skinny, I was short and fat. We called each other names and refused to play together. Finally out of our disgust for each other we began chasing each other through the yard. After a few rounds of hitting punching and name calling, we became best friends for life. I guess they call that BFFL's nowadays...
Kevin came from the same kind of Christian family that I came from; hard working, God fearing, poor country folks. We had so much in common it wasn't even funny. From the day we met we were inseparable. If I wasn't at his house, he was at mine. We would walk the railroad tracks or ride our bikes to each others houses all the time. We both went to the same school as well. Our summers were filled with camping, fishing, hunting, exploring, trespassing, and innocent mischief.
I could fill page after page of all of the stories of our adventures together, and in fact, if you want to read about a lot of them just visit this link on my Tug's Life blog: and you can read all about our various crimes and the times he literally saved my life!
When I met my wife the first person I wanted to introduce her to was Kevin. I always wanted to get his approval on everything, and he likewise. It's funny how God works things out because the next thing you know Kevin meets my wife's sister, Martha, at our wedding and they fall in love and get married too. You could make a great Hallmark movie out of our lives I suppose. So not only is Kevin my best friend but he is also my brother-in-law!
Speaking of God's mysterious ways, as it turns out Kevin and I were both called to preach. He has pastored for about 20-years, just recently giving up the church he had been at for many years, and I have been preaching/pastoring for about 15-years. It's great to get together with Kevin these days and talk about things of the Bible and ministering. I wish we had more opportunities to do that but due to life, jobs, and families we just don't have much time to get together.
I guess the thing that I admire most about Kevin is that he is man of great humility. He gets a lot of that from his dad. Kevin has much to be proud of in life but he doesn't go about bragging. He preaches with great humbleness and love for Christ. He has been a faithful worker at KUB for many years, even after nearly losing his life in an electrical accident, he remains a good employee. He has raised a great family and remained faithful in the ministry.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

My Uncle Ronnie

Day #9: My Uncle Ronnie Spencer.
Uncle Ronnie will be the first to tell you that he is my favorite Uncle Ronnie. Out of all of my uncles I'll have to say that he's the only one that has taken much interest in me. Don't get me wrong, I love all of my uncles but Ronnie is just special.
Born in '51, Ronnie is the youngest of my mother's brothers and sisters. I think he missed his calling in life as a stand up comedian. As far back as I can remember I can't seem to recall a time when he wasn't telling some kind of joke. I remember one time he came over to our house and for some reason my parents weren't there and he sat on the couch and just kept cracking jokes. He had us all rolling in the floor with laughter. Still to this day I remember some of the things he said such as, "you wouldn't happen to have any small cakes or pies would you?" Or, "you know it's going to be a bad day when you open the refrigerator and the rump roast farts in your face." His "bowl of olives" joke is still a number one hit around my house, even with my kids as I have retold it over the years.
Growing up Uncle Ronnie sang in numerous Southern Gospel groups; the King's Servants, the New Creations, and the Bread of Life, are the ones that I remember. I thought he was a super star. I loved getting to go to the concerts where he was singing and sit in the front row and watch him sing. To me it was more exciting than seeing Elvis Presley. My favorite memory of him singing was when he sang at his own mother's graveside (my granny Spencer) and it was pouring the rain down. I stood and watched and listened to him wondering how he was able to do that in such a trying time.
Uncle Ronnie is a man of many talents and he is very smart. He can sing and play numerous musical instruments. I am not aware of all the jobs that he has had but I know he is a retired public school principal and former music minister at several churches. I'm fairly certain he could do or be anything he wanted. I do know that he makes the best Deer Jerky you have ever put in your mouth!
Ronnie has had a few major blows in his life which there is no need for me to go into detail about but let me just say that some of the things that he has had to face would overwhelm most people to the point of giving up on life entirely. But he has kept up the faith and kept pressing on. Even here in his retirement days he is having to deal with things that he shouldn't have to be dealing with. I pray for him and his family constantly that the Lord would give him some relief.
Uncle Ronnie is a great man of faith and knows the Scriptures. He and I can have great discussions on spiritual matters and also church related things. He has often given me great advice where the ministry is concerned. He is also my go-to man when I need a great speaker/singer for a church event and has always been very gracious to try and accommodate me.
Which leads me to the thing that I admire most about my Uncle Ronnie and that is his kind, compassionate heart. You've heard that old saying, "you can't keep a good man down," I think they must have written that about my Uncle Ronnie. Through the heartaches, trials, and tears I have seen him be a man of great compassion. He reminds me of the forgiving, loving father in the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. Which is funny because it seems that every time Uncle Ronnie has heard me preach, I have brought messages from that parable (not on purpose though!)
This is only a small fraction of the things that I could say about my Uncle Ronnie but I best stop before his head swells too big (just kidding unc.) I know many of my Facebook friends know Ronnie and can attest to everything that I have said about him. If you haven't gotten to know him, you should, he would be a great blessing to you.


Friday, October 24, 2014

My brother

Day #8: My brother, Joshua Chesney.
I can't recall ever actually calling my brother by his proper full name of "Joshua." Back when he was just a little guy I nicknamed him "The Wild Bohemian," and just always called him "Boheme." He earned his nickname well, because he was one wild little dude. I have given him some slack in my old age and call him Josh about as much as I call him Boheme nowadays though. Josh is 12-years younger than me.
Josh came into our lives through the foster care system. My parents kept foster children during my childhood years and Josh came to live with us at 7-months old. He was a sweet little kid with red curly hair and boy did he like to eat! My parents eventually got the opportunity to adopt Josh and he officially became my brother (not that he wasn't already as far as I was concerned).
As Josh began to grow I wanted to be the best big brother anyone has ever seen so I went about teaching him all the things he needed to do to survive, such as; tasting worms (boy those were good, huh Josh?), eating green persimmons, putting dandelions in his mouth (I'm starting to see a pattern here...), how to dodge flying cow manure, how to run barefooted through a sticker bush.. you know all the things good big brothers do. Of course I wanted him to know how much I loved him so I hugged him quite often, go ahead and ask him about the Pyle Driver, The Small Package, Steam Roller, or Sleeper Hold. I think he really enjoyed our valuable time together.
I also taught Josh the act of fine balancing. How he didn't wake up when I hung him suspended in mid air from underneath the bunk beds by two leather belts, I'll never know. He sure did seem thrilled about it when he woke up though.
Josh is lucky he had me to toughen him up as a kid because the Good Lord knew that he would need it when he got older. I'll never forget that hot August summer night in 1996 when he crashed his Camaro into a tree stump and the front porch of a house and was pronounced dead. I'm sure it was due to his toughing up that he was able to be resuscitated. You would think after breaking nearly every bone in his body and having to learn to walk again that he would have stayed as far away from moving vehicles as possible, but no, 18-years later he got a job with TDOT and was hit by a car breaking all of those bones again. I know I've been joking a lot in this post but it's just to keep from crying. Seriously, Josh has had to go through more than his fair share of trials and tribulations. I pray the Lord would help him to recover and be able to have fun again.
Josh is a very hard worker and very mechanically inclined. He is good at fixing things and doing things hands-on. Due to his numerous injuries from this last accident, it has limited his ability to do a lot of the things that he loves to do. I know that must be hard on him but he keeps on keeping on. He's like a Timex, he takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'.
I guess the thing that I admire most about Josh is his kind heartedness. He may look like a rough and tough rock-em-sock-em robot but down inside Josh is a sweet caring person. He would do anything for anyone if he could. Life has dealt him a lot of tough blows and not just where accidents are concerned. As much as he's been through I wouldn't blame him if he was a mean bitter man but he's not. He's the same gentle compassionate Josh that I've always known and loved. I know I don't get to spend a lot of time with him these days and I rarely talk to him but I do love him and pray the Lord's richest blessings on him and his family.
If I know Josh like I think I do, he's probably reading this and is crying. It's okay Josh, I am too brother. I love you Boheme!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

My little sister

Day #7: My sister, Jennifer White.
Jennifer is 5-years younger than me. There are many things that I could focus on that I admire about my little sister, her musical talents, her superior intellect, her outgoing personality, and all of those other traits that skipped me and landed on her but I will have to say that the thing that I admire most about Jennifer is her dedication.
You can go all the way back to her school days at Gibbs and find even then she was dedicated to everything she did; school attendance, good grades, dressing up every day (which earned her the best-dressed award), and her family and friends. A lot of people are not dependable or you never know how they will be from one day to the next but Jennifer is one of those solid rocks that you can count on. I believe she holds very high standards for herself and she maintains them, however, I never see her standing in judgment of others regardless of their failures.
Jennifer naturally draws people towards her. She lives up to the meaning of her name which is: "fair one." Even though she is very quiet and reserved she exhumes approach-ability. I can't even begin to count the number of young men with crushes on my little sister hoping that she would give them the time of day, but when it came to things like that Jennifer has very high standards. I always knew there would eventually be a prince charming with high moral character that would sweep her off her feet and she would forever be devoted to him. When she met and fell in love with Jon while attending college, it was all over with and the two of them happily ever after. It was sad when they moved off to different states that seemed so far away, Mississippi, Arkansas, and now North Carolina. But Jennifer always the devoted one always keeps up with family and visits whenever possible.
I suppose the saddest I ever saw Jennifer was when we lost our sister Pam. Pam was more than just her big sister, she was her best friend. I'll never forget at the funeral when Jennifer came up to me tears pouring and she said, "Byron don't you ever leave us, I can't take any more of this." It was the only time I had ever seen her break down. I loved her so much and wished that I could relieve the pain but I was barely coping with it myself. But even through the heartache Jennifer remained dedicated to family.
It has been a joy seeing my little sister grow up and become so independent. She is always doing things that amaze me. Reading about her canning vegetables and making things from scratch like our mother did when we were growing up, is such a joy. She has become a great wife and mother to 4-boys and I wonder how she does it all sometimes. But I know she is just being Jennifer, the devoted one.
Well, I could go on and on about Jennifer but when she reads this she is going to kill me. It's a good thing it takes her 4 hours to get to Knoxville, that way I have time to find a place to hide! But, all jokes aside, I do love my little sister and am very proud of her.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My youngest daughter

Day #6: My youngest daughter, Elizabeth Chesney.
I call her Liz but most of the time Squirrel. I don't know why I call her Squirrel, it's just a nickname that I gave her years ago. She calls me "Coffee." She probably should be called "fun girl" because that is all she wants to do is have fun.
Definitely the most independent child that we have, Liz wants to do things her way whether she is right or wrong. One thing she definitely got from me is being self-sufficient. If she gets something on her mind that she wants to do she will try and figure out every way in the world to do it without asking anybody else. If she asks you to do something it's because she has attempted everything in her power to do it and wasn't able.
Our whole family is musically talented but I would venture to say that the Lord blessed Liz more than all of us put together. She can belt out a song at the drop of a hat. She has the natural ability to change keys or the tempo on a song while she is singing in a way that you would think it was just written like that. We gave her a guitar for her birthday last year and within a few days she learned how to play it all on her own! Within a week or so she was composing her own songs and singing and playing them.
Liz is a very loyal friend. She has several friends that she keeps up with and talks to every day. She would do anything in the world for each of them. She's already making plans to get her drivers license and a car so she can go wherever she wants and plans to do a lot of things with them.
Liz has a very vivid imagination. She makes up stories and writes books based on characters that she has created and spends a great deal of time detailing each one. It probably stems from her love of reading. If she's not talking on the phone or singing, she is most likely reading a book. Of course they are never her school books because she hates school and studying even though she is extremely smart.
Liz has a lot of little quirky things that makes me smile, like her love of using chopsticks to eat with. That girl can pick up anything with a pair of chopsticks and use them as good as I can use a fork. She also likes to talk in funny voices and joke around with everyone. She has a sense of humor unlike the rest of the family.
It's funny how my kids resemble my siblings and myself. Jess has a lot of the same traits as my big sister Pam had, Matt is a whole lot like me, and Liz is much like my younger sister Jennifer. Liz can be very outgoing and talk to anyone and she also can be very quiet and withdrawn. She has a very big heart and will do anything for you if you ask her.
One of the things that I greatly admire about Liz is how she can get up in front of everyone and sing with a huge smile on her face the whole time. She may not be feeling well and she may even have not wanted to get up and sing but you would never know it by the way she presents herself. I pray that she continues letting the Lord use her talents for His glory. I really think she could do great things for the cause of Christ.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My Son

Day #5: My Son, Matthew Chesney, I call him Matt.
Matt believes, and I agree, that he was born in the wrong time period. He longs to live in the time such as I was raised in when things were different. Back when you could still roam through fields and take shortcuts through people's yards without anyone caring or getting mad. Back when you could still ride your bicycle on the road without worrying about being ran over or abducted.
Matt loves the outdoors, hunting, fishing, or whatever. But he also loves reading and learning. He hates for us to tell everyone but he has maintained a 4.0 GPA nearly his whole school career. He is just naturally gifted with intelligence. Unlike me he is a math genius.
Matt is the kind of kid that I would have liked to have as a friend. One thing he loves is hanging out with his buddies; Cole, Koby, and Ryan. He bugs us all the time wanting to either go to one of their houses or for them to come to ours. All of them seem to have a great time and they are all good boys so we don't have to worry about them like my parents had to worry about me.
Not only is Matt intelligent but he is very talented. It seems no matter what he sets out to do he manages to do it better than anyone else. I only gave him a few pointers on learning the guitar when he was very young and the next thing I knew he could outplay me by a long-shot. I taught him how to follow shape notes in the Church Hymnal and now he has taken over my bass part when we sing. I gave him a fishing rod and the next thing I know he can out fish me and has caught much bigger fish than I've even dreamed of, which by the way, he has mounted and hanging on his bedroom wall.
He is very focused when it comes to learning... almost too much. He becomes obsessed with being the best at it and if he feels that he isn't he gets very frustrated. Once he does master something he usually leaves it behind and moves on to something else. He gets bored if he isn't challenged.
One of Matthew's fears in life is that he is going to follow me and my dad into a career that he hates. He wants to earn plenty of money but he doesn't want to be unhappy in his job. He's always trying to break away from the mold and he has hopes of being the first Chesney to love their job, and the first Chesney to learn good carpentry skills so everything he builds isn't crooked. He's already proud of the fact that he is the first Chesney that is able to do math...
When I was a young man money would burn a hole in my pocket. Even to this day I have absolutely no value in money. If I have some I spend it or give it away, but not Matt. He is very careful with his money. If he sets his sights on something that he wants and doesn't have the money, he will do every odd job he can to try and raise the money. He squirrels it away and saves it until he has enough and nothing you can say to him will convince him to get into it before he is ready. I guess that's a good thing!
There are many things that I admire about my son but I suppose the thing that I respect him the most for is his work ethic. He is one of the hardest workers of anyone you have ever seen. He can work from sun up to sun down and never give up no matter how big the task may be. And, everything that he does he makes dead-level sure that it is done to perfection. If he mows a yard and it doesn't look suitable to him, he will mow it all over again in a different direction. I've seen him work with other men and pull more than his fair share of the load and equal to any man you put him up against.
I pray that Matthew continues to let the Lord guide his life and he keeps making smart decisions. I pray everything that he dreams and hopes for comes true for him. I honestly believe he could do or be anything he put his mind to.


Monday, October 20, 2014

My Oldest Daughter

Day #4: My oldest daughter, Jessica Chesney or as I like to call her, "Jess."
When Mary and I were first married I didn't want any children. I had grown up in a home with numerous foster children and really I just didn't want kids around. So, we waited until we had been married for 7-years before deciding to have them. If I had only known in the beginning what a joy it would be to have a child I would not have waited.
Jess was our firstborn. We made all of the mistakes that first time parents make, trying to overdo everything. We were so protective; boiling the bottles, the pacifiers, always worried we were doing something wrong. But somehow Jess survived us. I will never forget holding that little precious girl in my arms thinking how unworthy I was that God had blessed us with her.
Everyone likes to think that their child is smarter and more beautiful and talented than any other child but Jess really is. She was always advanced in everything. Her greatest love as a child was music. She always wanted to listen to the radio or CD's or watch music videos on television. She could hear a song one time and remember the words and sing it back to you. She still loves music today and she is a great singer but she doesn't have any confidence in her abilities, something I wish I could change.
Jess is very creative. Her mind is always going, coming up with new ideas for different projects. She is very artistic and can draw and design things. She was a very good student in school and made great grades in everything except math (she got her bad math genes from me). If you need something creative done, give Jess a call. She is also a whizbang on the computer.
Out of our three children I have to say that Jess is the most caring. She worries herself to death over people all the time and tries to help everyone in need. She never seeks recognition for helping people, in fact, she goes to great lengths to make sure that they don't know she was the one that helped them. I've seen her work all week and make some money and then mail it anonymously to someone in need. She often gives to missions at Church, putting her money in the mission collection jar without anyone knowing.
Jess has the greatest sense of humor that you have ever seen. She is constantly laughing and joking. You would probably never know that unless you lived in our house because she is very quiet everywhere else. She and I have very similar personalities and we have a blast just sitting around making fun of each other and coming up with silly sayings. We make each other laugh and if she is down about something I usually know just what to say to snap her out of it.
Jess is a very good girl. At her age a lot of girls are out running around getting into trouble and experimenting with things but she is very grounded. I have never worried that she is going to do something stupid and bring shame to herself. She likes to hang out with me and Mary in the living room and we often call her "PG", short for "Parents Girl."
There is so much more that I could share about Jessica and the things that I love and admire about her, but you should really get to know her for yourself, she is definitely one of a kind.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP