Daddy Speaks Volumes Without Saying a Word

Daddy at Shokitin's

My dad enjoying karaoke after Amber’s graduation from The University of Georgia

You ever had one of those conversations that you initially felt the purpose was to benefit someone else, only later you sense that perhaps God may have had a hand at orchestrating the time of that particular conversation for your benefit as well?

I believe I recently experienced that exact situation.

On Monday, December 3, 2012, my dad and I discussed how we felt God was bringing my daughter, Amber, through a season of relying totally on Him for everything that she could possibly need as she would head off to YWAM, a mission training school in Colorado Springs on January 10, 2013. My dad said that Amber was going to have to trust God and not allow circumstances cause her to doubt, which is exactly what I had just told her. We also talked about believing the whole Word of God.

I felt this was confirming what Amber and I had previously discussed.

My dad and I talked in-depth about trusting God and standing on His Word for approximately thirty minutes, until my step-mom called and our conversation was cut short. At that point in time I did not know that this would be the last extensive conversation I would enjoy with my dad.

I would be able to briefly hear his voice one last time on Wednesday, December 5, 2012, when I called him to inquire the status of a friend’s wife that had been hospitalized.

Then at 9:47 a.m. on Friday, December 7, 2012, as I was drinking a cup of coffee, my phone began to ring, showing my dad’s number.  I answer it, expecting to hear my dad’s voice, only to hear my baby brother telling me that he has just found our dad, alive, but unresponsive. He had already called 911.

As I am running across the road to my dad’s house, I keep saying, “Please God, let him be ok, Please God, let him be ok.”

The first responders are already there. I try to be strong but it’s really hard to see my dad like that. I go to my brother, he puts his arm around me and we just stand there as we watch them work on our dad. As they sit him up against the bed; I go put my hand on his head and begin to pray out loud so he knows that I am there. I then move out of the way, so that the first responders can do their job.

I call my friend, Jamie, while they are working on Daddy, who prays with me over the phone. Thank you so very much, Jamie : )

All of our family meets at the hospital, not knowing exactly what has happened. After a few hours have passed and tests are run, they call all of us in the room, and tell us that Daddy had a massive bleed deep in his brain and now there is no brain activity. We are devastated! All of our family except my sister that lives in Illinois is here. She and her family are on their way.

They tell us they will move him to ICU and we will have a few days to decide what to do.

On Saturday the doctors tell us that another scan shows his brain is absorbing some of the bleeding. He is even moving around and opening his eyes. But this is only the beginning of what would be a rollercoaster ride for the next two weeks of my dad’s physical improvements and relapses.

I am a big believer in the Word of God. I believe there is power in speaking the Word. I continued to speak specific scriptures over my dad. I truly believe the reason God gave us His Word is to teach us, to prepare and equip us. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Our words make a difference. We can speak positive or negative. “The tongue can bring death or life.” Proverbs 18:21

I stood firmly on God’s Word, believing for my dad’s healing, no matter what the doctors would say, and praying over him each time I was in the room. I reminded him numerous times of our last conversation about trusting God and standing on His Word. Even though he was unable to speak I felt sure that he understood what I was saying.

After some signs of improvement at first, we were hopeful. He then contracted pneumonia, which we felt was serious, but turned out not to be the fatal issue.

The doctors told us that the bleed had caused such damage, that he would probably not be able to lead a productive life, even if when taken off the ventilator, he could breathe on his own. We as a family had to make a decision of whether to keep him on the ventilator or take him off, since he could not speak for himself, and had no living will.

Then one day as I was taking my authority, as it says to do in Luke 10:19, over the thief, that I knew was trying to steal my dad’s health, and claiming the abundant life, which Jesus came for him to have; (John 10:10) my dad began to squeeze my hand extremely hard. I opened my eyes and noticed he was looking directly at me. I said “Daddy you remember what we talked about, don’t you, trusting God and standing on His Word? That’s what I’m doing for you.”

The intensity of his stare deep into my eyes, not only told me with certainty that he understood what I was saying, but perhaps he was trying to tell me something in return. What was it? As I continued my conversation with my dad, I felt I realized what he was trying to tell me. It was as though Daddy was saying, “Yes, I remember our conversation, Do you?” I felt at that point I knew that Daddy meant I had to trust God, because He knew what was best for Daddy.

Later that night, I couldn’t sleep, my thoughts went back to my conversation with my dad on December 3, 2012. During our conversation, I mentioned to my dad how God not only provides all that we need but, “If we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us our heart’s desires.” Psalm 37:4  My dad commented, “Sometimes our heart’s desires are not what is best for us though, so God may not give them to us.”

My heart’s desire had been for my dad’s physical body to be healed and made whole so he could stay here on earth with his family, but I felt as though my dad was saying I had to trust God to know what was best for him. I know without a doubt that God can and does provide physical healing here on earth, but if my dad’s physical body were still here, he would have to deal with sickness and disease and many other things, just as we all do.

After sensing in my heart this was what my dad was saying, there was such a battle within me. Do I go to my dad and say, “It’s ok, you don’t have to fight to stay here for me, for us.” Would I be giving up? Will that make my dad feel like I am giving up on him? I was so torn.

They were already calling hospice in.

On December 20 around 10:45 a.m. they took Daddy off the ventilator. It was an especially emotional time. I wanted to be in the room, but I couldn’t watch. I buried my face in my husband’s chest. He talked to me as the nurse removed the tube, “He’s doing great. He looks good. Almost there. Ok, you can look now.”  Several of us stayed back with Daddy for a while. I didn’t want to leave until I knew that he was stable. All of his vitals remained reasonably stable with medication to help him rest throughout the day, until the evening.

Sometime in the late afternoon, I remember going out in the ICU waiting room. My sister, Sharon, and Mr. Dennis, my dad’s good friend, who had been with us throughout the whole time, stayed in the room with Daddy. Then Mr. Dennis came to the door and said the nurse thought we should all come back.

The nurse told us because he was working so hard to breathe, Daddy’s heart could wear out within the hour. We went and got the grandkids from the waiting room, gathered around Daddy, loved on him, talked to him, each one of us said what we wanted to say to him. Then we began to sing Christmas Carols. Yes, we sang Christmas Carols right there in ICU room # 11.

They moved Daddy to another room on another floor, so that we could all be together as much as we wanted. More family came and joined us kids and grandkids, my step-mom and Mr. Dennis in the room. And we filled up the whole waiting room with Aunt Mary, Uncle Laverne (aka Glen), Vicki, Roger & Teresa, Steve & Belinda, Kevin & Kaye, Lee & Laney, Brother Johnny & Ms. Darlene, Tim & Courtney, (what would we have done without our precious Courtney,thank you for taking such good and loving care of Daddy).

More singing continued. We laughed. We cried. We loved on Daddy and each other. My sister, Cindy, and I shared a little couch that night. My brother-in-law, Matt, snored, which, quite honestly didn’t bother me in the least. I am used to much worse. My sister, Sharon, didn’t sleep at all. She stayed right by my dad’s side all night long. Every time I opened my eyes she was right there beside him. I don’t know for sure when my brother, Eldon left. I remember seeing my sister-in-law, Sheree, in the early morning because she brought coffee. I need my coffee. My baby brother, Eric, and my step-mom stayed there in the room with us until sometime in the early morning, I think. I don’t recall the exact time they left. My Aunt Mary and her two daughters, Belinda and Teresa stayed well into the early morning too I believe. I’m not sure when Mr. Dennis left. Seemed like he was always there. He’s just become part of the family.

Hospice had scheduled a bed to be delivered to my dad’s house the next morning around 9:30. They were to transport my dad home around 12 or 12:30. We were informed that the bed did not come with sheets, so I made a Wal-Mart stop and picked up sheets, some new pillows, a new cotton blanket, and a few other things that Courtney had told me that we would need.

I went to my dad’s house and me and my brother, Eldon, got the bed ready. It wasn’t long and Daddy was home and settled in. Next thing you know, everyone was there. One Hospice nurse told us, if you are a loud family, then be loud, if you are a loving family, love on him. Well; we are loud and we are loving; so that’s what we did.

Once again, we laughed, we cried. My brother, Eldon, brought out the photo albums. Lot of laughing going on there. Then, the singing began again. My brother-in-law, Matt, sings so beautifully. I love to hear him sing. Anything. And he did, and we all sang together. But one of the most treasured moments for me was when I was standing beside my dad holding his hand, and my sisters, Sharon and Cindy, were standing directly across gazing so lovingly at Daddy, and we were singing, don’t recall the song,  I looked up at Matt, wondering if he wanted to come and join us, and he just nodded toward Cindy as if to say, “She’s got this.” I looked at both of my sisters with such joy and pride in my heart while they so elegantly sang to our dad, as he was getting ready to go and meet our Lord and Savior.

One thing the Hospice nurse told me that has stuck with me. If you are with your loved one when they take their final breath, I can’t think of a better place to be. It’s like being in the presence of the Lord. How awesome is that?

As hard as it was to watch my dad struggling to breathe; I couldn’t leave. We were all gathered around him, in his favorite spot at home when he took his last breath.

We buried my dad on Christmas Eve morning. I felt sure that there would not be many people able to attend the service because of the holidays and the suddenness of the situation. The funeral home attendant instructed us to sit as closely as possible as he was leading us out into the sanctuary because “it was standing room only” he said.

The service was beautiful, with my niece, Bethany, playing the piano, my daughter Amber, and niece, Shelby, reading a very touching “Grandfather” poem, my cousin, Courtney, reading a rather inspirational poem, and my brother-in-law, Matt, on whom we can always rely to touch our hearts with his glorious voice, sang two beautiful songs. Two of my dad’s long-time friends, who are pastors, conducted the service, one of which read an amazing poem that my sister-in-law, Sheree, wrote herself. There were tears, but there was also laughter throughout the church. Yes, laughter. One of the pastors that has known my dad since I was young, told some funny stories and made us laugh. More than once.

How can we laugh? We know where my dad is. Do I miss him? Absolutely! You better believe it. Every day. It hurts like crazy! And there is nothing anyone can say or do to make it go away either.

About a week after the funeral I began to have time to just think about things. Down time, you know. Christmas was over. No more going back and forth to the hospital. No more having to run around and do stuff. We had our first family dinner without my dad. That was extremely hard for me.

Then I started thinking, what I was I doing that morning, the morning it happened? How long had Daddy been lying there and I was just across the road. My brother had described how he found my dad; and I will never forget how he looked when I got there. The thought of my dad lying there fighting for his life, and me directly across the road. I felt so guilty. I felt like I had let him down. Those images would not go away. I couldn’t get rid of this guilt.

I keep a journal. On this same morning I noticed that God had laid someone on my heart to send a scripture to just one hour before this happened. How can I trust myself to hear God’s voice if I can be casually drinking a cup of coffee while my dad is lying across the road literally fighting for his life?

Here I was again, not doubting God, but doubting my ability to hear God’s voice especially where the people closest to me are concerned, and this time my dad’s life was literally at risk because of it. I failed him when he needed me most.

Why did God not lay my dad on my heart? I do not blame God. No. I just felt so guilty. I have continued to wrestle with this over and over for the last three last weeks.

Then once again, my dad’s look from that day in the hospital room, came back to me, as if to say, “Do you remember our conversation? You have to trust God completely, that He knows what is best.”

I also know that this feeling of guilt is not of God, and Daddy would not want me to carry it around either. It doesn’t help me or anyone else. Romans 8:1 says “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”

Knowing that my dad had an intimate relationship with Jesus, that he has been given the ultimate healing, has eternal life, and that I will be with him again, does give me peace. As I said, I miss like crazy, but I think on one of the things that I heard my dad refer to so many times.

A long time ago my dad used to drink and smoke, but he quit, and he would say, “Me and the Lord quit drinking, and me and the Lord quit smoking.” That was his way of referencing Philippians 4:13 to his life “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” He knew that in his own strength he could not overcome these things, just as I cannot overcome the deep sadness, the void, and the guilt that I feel, in my own strength.

I continue to remember my conversation on December 3, 2012 with Daddy about standing on the Word of God, Hebrews 13:5  tells me that “God will never leave me or forsake me.”

John 14:27 tells me that Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

And I love this, because I know that Daddy has a mansion that he is enjoying right now. “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:1-3

And  2 Corinthians 5:7-9 says “For we live by believing and not by seeing.Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him.”

I know that my dad is home with our Lord, and they would both want me to continue to share with others of God’s love and grace, and that the only way to eternal life is through Jesus Christ.

Yes, Daddy Continues to Speak Volumes Without Saying a Word.

May you all be extremely blessed,

Sheri Haskins : )

daddy and ms betty thanksgiving 2My dad and step-mom at Thanksgiving 2012. This is last picture I took of my dad just twelve days before he collapsed.

group grad photo

My daughter, Amber’s, graduation from The University of Georgia May 2012.

family shokitin photo

Family photo after karaoke fun at Shokitini’s

Christmas 2011

Christmas 2011, our last Christmas with Daddy.


My daughter, Kara’s 15th birthday, May 2012.

me and daddy after football game

Me and my dad on New Year’s Day 2012 after watching football.


Father’s Day 2012

My Home is a Hardee’s in McDonough, GA


Hardee’s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our youngest daughter, Kara, is a sophomore in high school, but in the last week of her 8th grade year, she and I, unwillingly, and at the mercy of my GPS, went on an adventure that left me extremely frustrated. Kara, on the other hand, I believe, actually enjoyed the incident. Ever since that day it has become an ongoing inside joke at my expense each time we travel. Honestly, I really don’t mind laughing about it now; but at the time, it was not funny at all!

Just to fill you in; that particular year, Kara was in Honor’s Chorus, and they were traveling to perform in Tifton, Ga. which is not very far from where we live, and I well-know the way there without the use of my GPS. I did, however, follow the school bus, since I did not know the exact location of the school where they would be performing.

I had planned on Kara returning with me to her school after their performance to meet with one of her teachers to catch up on some work. Leaving the school in Tifton, which did seem to be way out in the middle of nowhere, I wasn’t at all concerned about finding my way back. Clearly, I had my GPS if I couldn’t remember all the turns that we had taken.

Kara asked me if there was a Wal-Mart close by. I told her to input that information in the GPS. We started to head to Wal-Mart, but decided it was out of the way and would take too much of our time, seeing as her teacher would be waiting for us at her school. I told her that I remembered passing by a Walgreen’s on the way. We could just stop there.

After deciding not to go to Wal-Mart, we then changed our destination to “HOME”. I wasn’t exactly sure where I was in Tifton, and was not familiar with the particular area at all, but had my trusty Global Positioning System.

Not thinking anything at all about where “HOME” might be, I followed where my GPS was leading me, straight to Interstate 75. Now, for those of you that don’t know, normally to get to Tifton, I don’t take I-75, but I thought, after arguing for a few minutes with my wonderful navigation system, I would follow where it was guiding me and, hopefully, it would have me exit to my usual route before long.

My husband called and said that there were tornados reported in Albany,GA, which is approximately 40 miles from Tifton. In asking our location, I told him we were on 75. He asked, “Why in the world are you on 75?”  I explained to him about not knowing the surrounding area of the school, and how we had entered in the location of the nearest Wal-Mart, but changed our mind, then reset our destination to “HOME”, and this is where it led us. I told him how I had argued with the GPS, but it seemed determined for me to go this way, so I was looking for our normal course. He just said to be careful.

It started raining really hard. You could barely see the road signs. I tried to watch for the exit signs but visibility was minimal. I proceeded to drive at a slow even pace, thinking a few times that we may have to find a place to pull over. Finally the rain let up.

As Kara and I were riding along and talking, I realized nothing looked familiar to me. It seemed as though we had been on the road for quite a while, but I attributed it to the sluggish-moving traffic.

After stating my concerns of not recognizing anything at all, not even the names of any of the towns, we decided to pull off at the next exit. Kara asked, “You want me to check and see where “HOME” is?”  “Why would home be any different than it has ever been?” I said. “It has been the same place for the last 15 years”, I told her. “I don’t know.” she said.

She proceeded to check and found that “HOME” was Hardee’s in McDonough, Ga. “What the Heck?” Excuse me, but I don’t know how in the world that even happened. We live in Southeast Georgia, almost to the Florida line if that tells you anything.

Now, my daughter, Amber, was at UGA in Athens, for three years, and we would go and visit her. My dad and stepmom do borrow my GPS at times. I guess in the midst of all of this traveling and switching back and forth, somehow our home address got changed. Don’t ask me how, but it did.

When we finally got to a place to get something to eat, we found out that we were in Cordele, Ga. We had been headed to McDonough the whole time. In other words, we we had been traveling in the opposite direction since leaving Tifton.

Kara loved it. I was not having a good day at all. I was trying my best to get her back to the school so that she could get caught up on her work.

Although I knew my destination and my usual route, I allowed myself to become misdirected and distracted. I lost my focus of where I was originally supposed to be going. I ignored the quiet, calm, familiar voice of the Holy Spirit, that I sensed trying to get me to stop for a moment before leaving Tifton and check my GPS to find out WHY it was leading me on a different route. I was in such a hurry to get Kara back in time to finish her work that I became more focused on the task at hand, not Who gives me the strength to accomplish the task. That, I believe, is where I went wrong.

How many times in life do we start out doing what God has called us to do, then somehow wind up going in the opposite direction? We may continue doing good, and God can definitely still use us, but just think how much we could be missing out on if we fail to be still and quiet, and wait on Him, and listen for His direction.

Peter got distracted by the storm when Jesus called him out of the boat to walk over to Him. Peter was certain where he was going as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, but as soon as Peter took his eyes off of Jesus, he began to lose sight of his destination, and began to fear, doubt, and eventually started to sink, until Jesus stretched out his hand and grabbed hold of Peter. Matthew 14:28-33

For those who would like to stay in the center of God’s will, it can be true in life, whether in our professional careers or our personal relationships, we may set out knowing our original destination point, feeling certain we are still headed in the right direction, we might get deterred or distracted, oftentimes by circumstances that may arise or even by individuals that may be a part of our lives.

Ocean Hiking TrailIf we feel that God has called us to a specific purpose, our vision can become distorted and our hearing unclear when interrupted, maybe not intentionally or purposefully, by individuals that enter into our lives and possibly even family members, and cause us to veer off our initial path. But we can regain our focus if we stop and take our eyes off of everything and everyone else, return our focus on God.

Erwin McManus writes in his book Unleashed

“Yet even with all the noise pounding inside your head, you will still clearly hear the voice of Christ and His call if you listen carefully enough.”

Isaiah 30:19 promises us “Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go, whether to the right or to the left.”

“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow. Isaiah 48:17

James 4:8 tells us that if we “Draw near to God He will draw near to us.”

In Hebrews 13:5, God says “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

So many wonderful promises in God’s Word for His children, and He honors each and every one.

“God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind.” Numbers 23:19

You are not called to live the same life as everyone else, your life is unique before God, your path is yours and yours alone” Erwin McManus – Unleashed

May you follow the path that God has for you, and if you get off course, just “Be still, and know that He is God.” Psalm 46:10

May you all be extremely blessed,

Sheri Haskins : )

Where Oh Where Did It Go?

English: A chicken running Français : Un poule...

Like a chicken with its head cut off; I run around frantically searching, tossing items aside like a child ripping through the wrapping paper on Christmas morning. Leaving behind destruction like Hurricane Katrina; I have one thing, and one thing only in mind; to find my precious item that holds such great power.

It didn’t matter, man, child, or beast; it was best to stay clear of my path until I could locate what I was searching for.

“How could I have allowed it to leave my possession?” I wonder aloud, rummaging through my dirty clothes basket piece by piece, not concerned with picking up after myself.

How long before I noticed it was gone; almost three days now? Anything could have happened to it. It could be anywhere. Now; anyone could hold the power that it contains.

As I plunge my head into the washing machine, desperately probing every inch of the drum with my fingertips; I emerge empty-handed. Angrily, I walk about referring to myself in the third person, like Gollum from The Lord of the Rings, fearing that if I pass by a mirror I may see this shriveled up creature with big eyes rather than my own reflection staring back at me.

CG depiction of Gollum created by Weta Digital...

CG depiction of Gollum created by Weta Digital for the Lord of the Rings film trilogy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I really start to panic. Where haven’t I looked?

There’s always the freezer. I found my wedding rings there once before.  Nope, no such luck.

In my mind I try to replay where I last saw it; I shudder as the visualisation comes into play in my mind. After that moment; I draw a blank; I have no recollection of having it in my possession. AT ALL.

Minute upon minute has turned into hour upon hour. I have responsibilities to attend to. My family will soon need to eat. I have to abandon my search. For now. But; I can’t stop thinking about it, worrying about it. It has consumed me, my every thought.

There will be no sleep tonight.

At times, casually I might add, throughout my search, I would ask God for His help in finding this thing in which I feel has so much power.

During this ever-so-restless night, I feel God asking me, “Do you trust me?” To which I respond, “Of course I do.”  Again, a second time, I sense a questioning from God, “Do you trust me?” I reply, “Yes, Father, I trust You.” As I continue to toss and turn throughout the night, a third time comes the same question, “Do you trust me?” I am beginning to feel like Peter in John 21:15-17, as Jesus asked him three times if he loved Him, to which Peter answered Jesus each time “You know that I love You.”

As I told God that I trusted Him; I was reminded of 1 Peter 5:7 “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”

Had I done that? Absolutely not! I decided to do that now. Sleep finally comes.

With the morning comes peace of mind in knowing that I have given, not only my search, but the fate of who holds the power of my precious item over to God.

Have given up my search, moments away from calling the bank to order a new one, I look down to see my debit card standing upright, on its side, between a small table that fits between our tub and toilet.

Instead of remembering who I am (Ephesians 1) and giving my cares over to God; I had given into fear and spent a senseless night of worrying. How ridiculous is that?

Proverbs 4:23 says “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

Most certainly I need to remember to guard my heart and give all of my concerns over to God; for I know that He truly does care for me. May you do the very same thing.

May you all be extremely blessed,

Sheri Haskins : )

And What to My Wandering Eyes Do Appear . . .

But full frontal nude pictures of John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

Yes; You read that correctly.

By chance; I was alone, browsing through the magazine shelves at Wal-Mart; I happened upon this Special Collectors Edition Rolling Stone magazine, on the cover, an up-close photo of John Lennon. “Oh my gosh, Kara, will love this,” I thought to myself.

Kara, my 15-year-old daughter is a HUGE Beatles fan. I picked it up, flipped thorough the pages. “Wow, This is great!” I thought. “This is going in the closet for Christmas.” When the girls were little I used to hide the gifts in there. So; now as I buy for someone, that’s where the gift goes.

I finished my shopping, found another treasure, that shall not be named, (don’t want my secrets getting out here) checked out, loaded my groceries in the car and headed home.

After returning home and unloading the car; I called my daughter, Amber, out to the car to show her the items that I had purchased for her sister for Christmas.

As I excitedly flipped through the pages of the new Rolling Stone Magazine, showing my 21-year-old daughter what I had just purchased for her 15-year-old sister for Christmas, we both jolted in shock, our jaws dropping open at the same time, as suddenly appearing in our vision on page 16 of the Rolling Stone Magazine was John Lennon and Yoko Ono standing naked with their backs to the camera, and on page 17 was full frontal nude photos of them.

We just stood there. Completely in shock.

Um, well; Kara’s not getting this for Christmas.

How can they put these out for the general public to get their hands on. Anyone of any age could pick one of these up and look through this and see these pictures. Who would have ever thought that you could just walk in to Wal-Mart and pick up a magazine like this and purchase it.

Ok. I wonder if Wal-Mart knows what is in this magazine. So, I call to inquire of  the manager concerning this situation. I actually speak to the assistant manager, who seems to be in as much shock as I am when I tell her what I have discovered. She assures me that as soon as she hangs up the phone, she will go out and take a look for herself, and pull the magazines off of the shelves; and then proceed to call the company.

Thank you, Wal-Mart assistant store manager : )

Apparently; Rolling Stone feels they have the freedom to publish whatever they choose, and put it in the hands of whomever they please.

As I read up on the history of these photos; undoubtedly; back in 1968 John Lennon and Yoko Ono released an album entitled Two Virgins. The album’s front cover showed the couple frontally nude, while the back cover showed them nude from behind.  The cover provoked an outrage, prompting distributors to sell the album in a plain brown wrapper. Copies of the album were impounded as obscene in several jurisdictions. Hmm, go figure. (source WARNING Images are shown here!

I realize that there may still be a lot of Beatles fans around; but give me a break; there is no call for publishing these nude photos and putting them out where anyone can get their hands on them, and to top it off, without any WARNING on the cover of your magazine. REALLY? Is this what you think sells your magazine?

Shame on you Rolling Stone!

On the back cover it reads


Well; they definitely got that right. Could they not have elaborated a bit more.

What is our world coming to? This is ridiculous!

Is this really what we mean by “freedom of press”? Jeez!

Ref, That’s Gotta Be Unnecessary Roughness, Right?

As I said in my last post; our grandson, Mason just started playing flag football. Even though I am new to this and don’t know all the rules; I feel quite certain that tackling your opponent to the ground and sitting on them, over and over again, would be considered unnecessary roughness, or at the very least, unsportsmanlike conduct, right?

Well, apparently; I have different ideas of what the rules of flag football are.

The thing is the coaches on the opposing team weren’t saying anything to their players about it; and neither were the referees. Nothing. At all. Not even a reprimand to the kids. Really? Are you kidding me? Finally one mom on “our team” told her child, “When he comes at you next time; you tackle him.”


Referee (Photo credit: Brandon Giesbrecht)

Someone jokingly told our daughter and son-in-law that Mason would put some hurting on some kids if he did that. He is a solid boy, if you know what I mean. They both replied at the same time, that not only would Mason NOT do that; but if he saw someone do it, he would tell the person doing it, to stop; and then he would help the person up that got pushed down. That is just how he is.

I noticed that my son-in-law, Kenny, called Mason over to the side and told him that he was doing a good job. He gave him some pointers, some football jargon that I didn’t understand, gave him a high-five, and again told him he was doing a good job. Not once did I hear him encouraging Mason to use the same tactics the other team was using.

I have to say; I was extremely proud of my son-in-law, and extremely proud of both of them for how they are raising our grandkids. What a great example they are setting, not only to Mason, but to whomever may be watching them.

Part of Mason’s cheering section.

Aunt Kara & Uncle Jacob

If you feel you have been attacked by the hurtful words or actions of someone and revenge is alluring to you; Romans 12:17-19 says:

We should “Never pay back evil with more evil. We should do things in such a way that everyone can see we are honorable. Do all that we can to live in peace with everyone. Never take revenge.”

Mason with his dad after the game. Mason’s team went on to win 28-0.

May you all be extremely blessed,

Sheri Haskins : )

Who’s Your Biggest Fan?

Our grandson, Mason, just started playing flag football. My husband, Roy, and I were unable to make it to his first two games. I told our oldest daughter, Amber, Mason’s mom, that we would be at his next game. She told Mason that he would have some surprise guests at his game, but did not tell him who it was. Mason’s other grandparents told him personally that they would be there; so he was expecting to see them.

Amber told me later in the week how excited Mason was when he saw we were there. That stirred within me a flood of memories of someone who, though they no longer are here in body, are forever in my heart, and I believe was my biggest fan.

My grandmother, Lucy Hickey, was always there for me, not only on special occasions, but when I needed someone to talk to, or wanted to watch something scary, but didn’t want to watch it by myself. She would take care of me when I was sick, staying up as late as it took, sitting by the fire until my ear would stop hurting, and I could finally go back to sleep.

Oh, she would make me work too, but I didn’t mind. From cutting okra and pulling corn early in the morning, to picking and shelling peas and butter beans.

I remember being right beside her in the kitchen as she dropped scalding hot tomatoes in a sink full of cold water. I could hardly wait to plunge my hand in to see if the skin was ready to peel off. I thought that was the coolest thing.

And; she would tell me what I needed to hear; sometimes, not exactly what I wanted to hear. But; she did that because she loved me. I miss that.

I can still hear her voice even though it has been eleven years now since she has been gone. It saddens me to think that Mason nor any of our other grandchildren will ever have the opportunity to meet her. But; as I look around at the lives of her children and grandchildren that she has touched with her love and generosity; I realize that she will be known to our grandchildren because she lives through us.

I would like to be able to say that I, in return, was Lucy Hickey’s biggest fan; but I would probably be standing in line with many others claiming the same thing. So I will have to share that title with those whom she so wholeheartedly cheered for over the span of their lives.

Although I haven’t spent as much time with my grandchildren as I would have liked; I hope that I have many more opportunities to prove to them that I am their “Biggest Fan”!

So, Who Do You Feel Is Your Biggest Fan?

This was my Grandma’s last birthday with us. My husband was snapping random photos of everyone. I can literally hear my Grandma saying, “Roy, you sucka, stop that”, as he was taking this picture of her.

I hope that each of you have had someone in your life to cheer you on; and may you be, in return, someone else’s “Biggest Fan”.

May you all be extremely blessed,

Sheri Haskins : )

Where Does Your Power Come From?

Power Line Tree Trimming: After

This was not what I was going to write about at all; but as I kept trying over and over to charge my phone today, only to find two bars showing on my battery each time I would check my phone, finally discovering the reason why my wonderful cellular device was not progressing further in its electrical charging phase; I decided to share this with you.

While my phone was attached to the cord that it is designed to be plugged in to an electrical outlet; I had not noticed that the other end, in fact, was not plugged in at all to the wall outlet. I was pretty sure that I had just charged my husband’s phone last night, or so I thought, on this same cord.

Cell Phone Cameras

Cell Phone Cameras (Photo credit: compujeramey)

Two of our daughters, Amber & Kara, had been in the kitchen last night making cookies. I knew they had unplugged some things, but hadn’t thought anything of it since. In their cookie making process; Amber was using her laptop for a recipe. As she tried to plug it in, it would not charge in any of the outlets. At first we could not figure out why. They finally came to the conclusion that the reset button on one of the outlets simply needed to be pushed in. I guess too many things going on at one time had tripped the breaker.

These things made me realize how sometimes we think just because we are plugged into church; you know, we go every week, never miss a service, or we have a certain area of ministry that we feel called to be involved in and we stay so busy “doing” for God, we have good “Christian” friends or groups that we are “plugged” into, that we rely on these things as our sources of strength.  And all these things are great; but they should not be our primary source.

I know that Hebrews 10:25  says  “And let us not neglect our meeting together”, but Jesus tells us in John 15:1-5 to “Abide in Him, that He is the vine; we are the branches, and without Him; we can do nothing.”

rooted poster (John 15:4)

rooted poster (John 15:4) (Photo credit: Grant MacDonald)

Just as my phone would not charge without being plugged in to the main power source; we need to make sure that we are not so plugged in to other sources, depending on them for strength, such as our friends, church, pastors, etc, that we neglect to check to make sure we are plugged in to our primary source, God, with a consistent, personal & intimate relationship with Him.

May you all be extremely blessed,

Sheri Haskins : )

Hope Remains

Upon dealing with the same physical and emotional issues for the last several years; I have, at times, become discouraged. Even though I have made considerable progress in some areas; it seems as though there are other areas where I have made slow-moving progress, only then to slip backward.

I feel one of the hardest physical aspects foMain health effects of sleep deprivation (See ...r me has been the continual lack of sleep. It makes it especially hard for someone who already deals with migraines. I am not talking about a few hours of sleep loss here and there. I only average 3-4 hours of sleep each night on a regular basis. This began about 6 months to a year prior to my multi-level cervical disc fusion in 2009. We thought it would improve after my surgery, feeling that it was pain-induced sleep deprivation. Only; in 2010 I was involved in a motor vehicle accident that seemed to increasingly make matters worse.

Last night was one of those nights where I awoke at 1 a.m. As I lay there, shifting, re-adjusting, trying to get comfortable, trying to go back to sleep; I just couldn’t. I tried praying, not just for my situation, but asking God to lay the needs of others on my heart that I could intercede for, to take my mind off of myself. Still awake at 3:30 a.m.

As I was finally dozing off this morning, feeling as though I might could really sleep, the alarm was going off at 5:15. It was time for my husband to get up. He usually gets up and drinks his coffee, then he will wake our daughter, Kara, around 6:00. I get up and fix her lunch sometime after 6:30. He takes her to school in the morning on his way to work. I pick her up in the afternoons.

As I lay there trying to go back to sleep, I could hear him in the kitchen and as he came back through our bedroom. Finally my body gave in to sleep; and the next thing I know he was asking me if I was going to fix Kara’s lunch. I fixed her lunch, told them goodbye, and went back to bed.

One day like this is one thing. You think; “Things are going to get better.” But when you continue to face them over and over you get a little discouraged. I know people go through a lot worse; but I feel like my days are passing by, like I am missing out on so much. You know?

When the doctor tries this and that. You try praying. You feel alone. Yeah; it can get discouraging. But when I woke the final time this morning, a lot later than I would have liked to; these words were in my head:

“When disappointment finds me and things don’t go my way. My joy will not be stolen. No one can take my faith. And I won’t stop pursuing. No I won’t be afraid. Though I’m not sure what’s coming, I know that Hope Remains.”

These words are from the new CD, Hope Remains, by Jamie Nunnally.

If you feel like you are facing a hopeless situation  Psalm 39:7 says “ Lord, what do I wait for?My hope is in You.”

Psalm 43:5 says “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God.”

May I encourage you to visit Jamie’s site and listen to “Hope Remains” and allow it to minister to you. While you are there; listen to some of his other music and may you be extremely blessed by it. Afterwards, you may want to go over to Amazon and download your own copy of “Hope Remains”.

May you all be extremely blessed,

Sheri Haskins

I’m Not Lisa

About a month ago I received a message on Facebook that read “Hey, Lisa, how are you? Hope you’re doing well. I would like to know about yourself and about your family. Tell me more about your life. What do you do? What’s your hobbies?  Looking cute, nice smile. I hope you always smile as now in your future life. Hope to hear from you soon. Take care.  Keep safe.”

Lisa Simpson

Upon first reading the message on my phone; I did not notice that it was addressed to Lisa. I just read it as if it were addressed to me, Sheri. As I read it the second time I realized that it was, in fact, addressed to Lisa.

So, was this message intended for Lisa and sent to me? Was this message actually intended for one of my daughters in the picture with me? Hmmm. But where did the name Lisa come from? I have no idea.

One thing I do know for sure is; I’m not Lisa.

This reminded me of a time when, Jamie, first asked me to sing on the worship team while Dana King was out. Anyone who knows Dana, knows; those are mighty big shoes to fill. As I sat with Jamie about to let him hear me sing for the first time; I said, “Well; I’m not Dana.” Jamie replied, “I don’t want you to be Dana; I want you to be Sheri.” Whew; that was a relief!

Several months ago it was brought to my attention that someone close to me had made some decisions that could adversely affect the rest of their life if they continued on in the manner in which they were going. Prior to this knowledge; God had laid it on my heart to encourage someone who I barely know. I felt that specific words of encouragement, at a specific time, were meant for this person. After learning, though, that such a thing could be happening with someone very dear to me without my knowledge; I doubted my ability to hear God’s voice correctly. How could I trust myself after neglecting someone I care so much about?

It was the last few weeks of school. I was driving to pick up my daughter, Kara. I was angry and disappointed with myself. How could I even think that God could use me to encourage someone with whom I had such little contact with, when someone exceptionally close to me was sinking so deeply right in front of me; and I couldn’t even see it? Why would God not show me this if I could really hear His voice? Maybe if I had been paying closer attention this would not have happened.

I’m literally explaining aloud to God as to why there is no way He could possibly use me, seeing as to how I have failed those closest to me. “I should have seen the signs, God!” “How could I not have noticed?” “Did you try to tell me and I wasn’t paying attention? Did they try to tell me and I wasn’t paying attention?” I am so distraught over this. I know if anyone were to see me rationalizing to what looked like thin air; they would think I am absolutely nuts!

I have cried so hard for so long that my eyes have begun to swell. By now I am to the point of sniffling quietly. There is no other sound in the car. I feel that I hear the word “CD”. At first I ignore it; because I have no faith in anything that I hear at all anymore. I am so discouraged. I feel that I hear “CD” again. I finally give in. I push the “on” button on my stereo and these words to the song “You Are So Good” by Jamie Nunnally begin to play “You’re not looking for perfection. Your desire is connection. So, now I’m changing my direction. You’re calling me. You’re drawing me closer. God Almighty, Lord of Glory. You are so good to me, so good to me.” (Just so you know; this is not at the beginning of the song. This just happened to be where the song started playing.) I begin to sob, not cry, sob.

“Ok, God”, I say, in between my sobbing , “so I don’t have to be perfect; and you just want a relationship with me. Is that what You are saying?” ”I’m trying to hear Your voice, but how can I trust myself if I am letting those down who are closest to me? I’m trying to let You use me, in whatever way You will. I just can’t seem to get things right. I’m sorry”, sobbing even harder now. “I’m really trying.” I’m so sorry.” Jamie’s song is still playing, I begin to try to sing “You are so good to me, so good to me.” “Your thoughts are higher. Your ways are better.” My voice is cracking and my nose is completely stuffed up. I am so glad I am alone in the car. I continue to try to sing, “Your love is deeper. I’m bound no longer.”

Joyce Meyer says in her book, “The Love Revolution”

Cover of "The Love Revolution"When I fail, I ask God to forgive me and start fresh; and I believe that is the best policy. We spend far too much time feeling bad about ourselves because of the mistakes that we make-and that is a waste of time. Only God can forgive us and He is quite willing to do so if we will simply ask Him. If we aggressively think about what we can do for others there will be no room in our minds for wrong thoughts.

I wish that I could tell you that after that moment in the car; I had no more doubts whatsoever; but in all honesty; I can’t do that. I still struggled. I would feel confident one moment of what God was asking me to do; then in the next; I was struggling again with doubt.

The following week, as I continued to seek God, in some quiet time alone with Him; I felt drawn to a specific page in Joyce Meyer’s book “Battlefield of the Mind” which read,

Cover of "Battlefield of the Mind: Winnin...

Cover via Amazon

“Here is another good thought to think: I believe God. I believe He is working in me no matter what I may feel or how the situation may look. The Lord has begun a good work in me, and He will bring it to full completion.” (Philippians 1:6  Philippians 2:13) It is in this manner that you can effectively use your weapon of the Word to tear down strongholds. I recommend that you not only purposely think right thoughts, but that you go the extra mile and speak them aloud as your confession.

Remember, God is delivering you, little by little, so don’t be discouraged and don’t feel condemned if you make a mistake.

Be patient with yourself!”

Just as Jamie didn’t expect me to be Dana; and I am definitely not Lisa; God doesn’t want or expect us to be anyone but the person He created us to be. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

When we fail or make mistakes, and we will; He doesn’t want us to waste time feeling condemned. Romans 8:1 We should just ask for and accept forgiveness and allow God to bring healing.

Quite honestly, I believe my fear and lack of confidence to pursue what God was asking me to do stemmed from my quest to attempt to do things on my own, in my own strength rather than rely totally on God. No, I’m not perfect; and if I wait until I reach perfection to do anything for God, then it will be too late. Jamie’s song “Now Is The Time”, written with Jim Courtney, that is on his new CD Hope Remains, just released today, inspired me to “Make today the day! To step aside and leave my independence and pride! And make it all about Jesus!”

John 15:5  For apart from me you can do nothing.

May you make today the day that you stop putting things off and make it all about Jesus! May you not allow any situation, circumstance or person cause you to doubt who God created you to be or the purpose in which He has called you to. And may you be extremely blessed,

Sheri Haskins : )

Take A Walk on the Mild Side of Athens

Athens, Georgia – Where, if you dare to go anywhere near Sanford Stadium, on any given Saturday between the months of September and December during a home game, you will find it to be extremely crowded and loud with Georgia Bulldog fans. It can be exciting, if you like that sort of thing. Never thought that I would, but I certainly got caught up in it after attending my first game back in September 2010, and am now forever a DAWG fan. GO DAWGS!

   Me and my daughter, Kara, at our first Georgia Bulldog game September 2010. My daughter, Amber, was in the student section.

After that day, you could find me standing in front of my tv shouting “Go! Go! Go!” as Brandon Boykin ran a 100 yard kick return against Kentucky, and never, if at all possible, to miss another game again. 

My daughter, Amber, first began her education experience at the University of Georgia in the Fall of 2009 and will be graduating this coming Friday, May 11, 2012. I can’t believe it has gone by so fast.

Athens, Georgia – a place where just a quick run for a few groceries might bring you an encounter with one of these.

But Athens certainly has much more to offer if you take the time to look around; as I hope to show you from my recent visit there.

My youngest daughter, Kara, was on spring break the first week in April.  She and I decided to take that week to visit Amber. With only a few classes to attend and a minimal work schedule for the week; Amber was available to spend some quality time with Kara and I, and take us to see a few places that she has discovered while living in Athens these past three years.

I am not much for driving on the interstate, but to make it to Athens, well; that’s just part of it. So began our adventure to Athens with our GPS and our lovely lady with the British/English accent. Kara loves changing the language on that thing.  Now, if you are the person that drives 85 on the interstate; I am probably the one you fuss about. Oh; I drive the speed limit; because I don’t want to get run over; but goodness; I think 70 mph is fast enough.

I was so glad when we got off of I-75 at Macon! Give me two lane back roads where I can let my windows down and smell the sweet aroma of honeysuckle any day, versus the interstate where everybody thinks that when the speed limit changes to 60 it really means 75, and when it says 70 it means 80.

We had great traveling weather. It was absolutely beautiful from Macon to Athens on those two lane roads with our windows down, taking in the fresh air, where at one point Kara said, “Do you smell that? Is that honeysuckle?” “Yes, I believe it is”, I said.

Couldn’t be more perfect, until . . .  we got maybe 15 miles from Amber’s place and it started raining; and it was beginning to get dark. I don’t see well in the dark. Raining and dark, not a great combination for me. Being as Kara and I have not had the chance to visit Amber at her new place, we were just relying on our GPS to get us to the road Amber lived on; then we had instructions to call her.  Seeing as I am driving, Kara calls Amber and gets further instructions; not a good idea. After missing the turn several times, I pull in somewhere, don’t know where exactly, put Amber on speaker phone, and get step by step directions, which eventually leads to her saying, “Just keep driving straight. I see you, Mom. Don’t you see me? I’m waving at you.” “No, Amber, I don’t see you.” Kara says, “I see her, Mom. She is standing there on the right waving her arm in the air.” Finally she comes into my very strained eyesight. What should have taken only a 5 minute drive, took about 20 minutes for us to locate Amber, but at least we arrived safely.

Now, first night of visit + young girls = up all night talking.  Who am I kidding? Girls together in the same room = late night talking. Good thing Amber didn’t have an early morning class the following day. Good thing I didn’t have to get up early : ) The very first thing Kara wanted to do after Amber got out of class, was to visit a place that Amber frequents often, Menchie’s frozen Yogurt ,where you can mix whatever flavors you want and add your favorite toppings. This is self-serve. I got chocolate and Irish Mint with dark chocolate chips. Oh my, it was scrumptious!

We followed that up by visiting a locally owned video store and renting “The Muppet Movie”, for watching MUCH later that night. Oh, but we had to get ready for an evening at Wesley first. How amazing that was! Amber is on leadership there. All the leaders meet, worship and pray before the service begins. I was so amazed at the dedication of these young people. That was only the beginning, though. As I entered the sanctuary; I was blown away by the mass of college kids present in this place. It was packed on a Wednesday night. Every single seat was filled. They, then began sitting on the floor in the center aisle, in the back, and on the sides against the walls. “So this is what my daughter is a part of” I thought to myself.  My heart was filled with such joy as I joined in with hundreds of UGA college students who, so unashamedly worshiped God.  I was astounded that as Amber, Kara and I were leaving at 10 pm; so many were still standing with their arms outstretched to honor, glorify and worship our Lord Jesus Christ. For any of you parents that may have kids that are considering continuing their education at The University of Georgia and they would like a place to get connected with other believers; Wesley is a great place. Amber and her best friend, Anna, got plugged in immediately their freshman year at UGA.

After leaving Wesley; we headed to back Amber’s to watch “The Muppet Movie”. Yet another late night; but it was a great night. The girls couldn’t believe that I actually stayed awake through the whole movie. Neither could I.

The next day we met Amber’s discipler, Nico, pictured below with Amber & Kara at Marti’s at Midday, a local family owned restaurant, where I had a half “Matthew’s Favorite”, which is a smoked turkey sandwich on homemade honey wheat bread, with homemade pita chips and fruit. YUM! I was stuffed! Amber & Kara shared “The Mary Frances”, which is their homemade chicken salad sandwich, with pita chips and fruit. Amber said that she can never eat a whole one by herself. We sat out on their deck at an umbrella table, enjoying the lovely weather, wonderful fellowship and great food. It was truly an amazing day.

We made an afternoon trip to America’s Thrift Store where I picked up a new outfit for a total of $2.41.  Can’t be that. I found out that they are a Christian organization and have several different locations in Georgia and Alabama.

While in Athens, Kara, who had just finished reading the first two books of  “The Hunger Games”, wanted to see the movie. I was told that I had to read the book before we could go. My spare time was spent reading, so as not to disappoint her. Amber had previously seen it, but was more than willing to see it a second time. I finished the book. We went to see the movie. That will definitely be a talk for another time.

We were told by Amber that a “must see” place was The Botanical Gardens. The featured picture at the top of the blog of the girls, was taken there. We took a blanket, our books, and of course, the camera.

 Now, this is my kind of place – peaceful and quiet, and so beautiful.                 As we walked through the herb garden, pictured below, the girls would say “Hey, Mom, smell this.”  Me, oh brilliant one, would stick my face right down in it and take a big whiff! I woke Sunday morning with a sore throat. By Monday I could hardly breathe; but it was fun at the time.

The gardens even come with artwork. To the left of this sculpture are some steps that the girls and I followed that led down to an open area where we were able to spread out our blanket and relax and read for a while. I had the opportunity to follow-up with Catching Fire, the second in the series of “The Hunger Games”, while Kara was already well on her way into Mockingjay, the third of the series; and Amber was reading Searching for God Knows What, by Donald Miller. For more pictures of our trip to the Botanical Gardens click here. On Easter Sunday, the girls and I went to church, had lunch at Cracker Barrel, and took a peaceful walk along the Oconee River which runs right behind Amber’s place.  Kara and I followed Amber down the steps away from houses and concrete and people, to a path that runs alongside the river; until we reached a place of utmost tranquility. A perfect way to end our stay in Athens. To see more pictures from our walk along the Oconee River click here.