With Dolly, I feel God deserves an Oscar for that sunset. He is a winner every day and every night.
My reading of the newspaper is not complete until I have read the comic section. Now the strips range from soap operas to science fiction to crime. They surely aren’t "the funnies" anymore. My favorites are "Family Circus," "B.C.,"" Dennis the Menace," and "Hagar the Horrible." Often I get a chuckle or at least a smile and sometimes a deeper thought for the day. We are pleased that Bil Keane, of "Family Circus," and Johnny Hart, of "B.C.," both Christian gentlemen, have very generously given us permission to use their work in our newsletters.
Many of the family strips bring back memories of our children growing up and remind me of our grandchildren. Hind-sight suggests that I should have "lightened up" a little as the children showed the special spontaneity of their childhood. Most of the memories are pleasant, however, and I am preparing my "Mama Remembers" for my children, grandchildren, and Ava. I have some very good genealogy but I want most of all to relate how the past generations of the family lived as children, youths, and adults and to go on into Don’s and my lives and our years together. It will be very casual and informal--with emphasis more on content than construction.
Bil Keane’s new paperback Count Your Blessings has been a joy to all our family. His introduction describes it well:
With small children in a home, it should be easy to "Count Your Blessings"--if they’d only sit still while you count! For 35 years my cartoons have shown the fun, tears, laughter, and love in a typical family. Much in evidence is God’s place in the home. While I do not pretend to be an evangelist or preacher, my "inspirational" drawings are often called educational in portraying religion as a natural part of everyday life. Favorable reader reaction to this material has made me want to assemble this book of "Family Circus"cartoons that focus on the family in a special way. Not every scene depicts Billy.
Dolly, Jeffy, or PJ at prayer, in church, or referring to their Heavenly Father, the angels, or the saints. I believe, however, that any cartoon showing tender love among siblings and parents, or the innocence of children, belongs in this collection. Here you will find depicted in many ways what, in my estimation, is the strongest, largest, and most blessed congregational gathering in the world: The Family.
If you want a copy of Count Your Blessings and cannot find it in a bookstore, call the Funeral Home (662-234-7971) and get more information on how to order it.
COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS
When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost.
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings. ev’ry doubt will fly.
And you will be singing as the days go by.
When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth
Count your many blessings, money cannot buy
Your reward in Heaven, nor your home on high.
So, amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
Rev. Johnson Datman, Jr.
"WHERE AM I?"
On a certain Sunday morning some months ago, I had a conversation with God as surely as with the other people with whom I conversed that day. The conversation began before the morning worship services as I read the sermon topic and scripture reference which our pastor, Reverend Charles Lipe, had included in the morning bulletin. As I read "Where Are You?" as God called out to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:9, it immediately turned into, "Patsy, where are you in your spiritual life?" As this question stayed uppermost in my mind, I began to consider areas which I knew needed attention. It was not just a fleeting selfinventory, for I have continued to return to these thoughts. With the humbleness which I feel is natural with Christians as we see and feel our mighty God in all His greatness and stand in awe, I do not expect to attain perfection in my spiritual life, but I do want to work constantly forward in my growth.
Prayer is important to this growth. Once when I visited the Leavell home in Oxford, I was shown a small closet space beneath the stairs and was told that when Mrs. Leavell went into this place to pray and closed the door, not one of her family ever considered intruding on her time there. Those familiar with Baptist history of the South will recall the strong influence of Mrs. Leavell’s children on the denomination through the years as a seminary president, as professors, as a director of the Baptist Student Union ("Miss Marion").
Jam conscious of talking and listening to God all through my days and nights. Though I have been concerned that I am not always meeting God in a quiet spot where he and I can communicate as I pray to him, I am thankful for how faithfully God helps me wherever my need and plight. I have read recently a discussion of conversational prayer. I continue, however, to find most nourishment in time set apart to pray and listen as God speaks to me.
I find Bible study important also to my spiritual growth. I have chided myself that I purchased The OneMinute Bible from the New International version. If I intend to set aside just one minute a day for reading and study of His word, then I am guilty of showing disrespect for its importance. In the depth of study we may feel as Mark Twain, who said, "It ain’t those parts of the Bible I can’t understand that bother me; it is the parts that I do understand." The parts we understand are the parts that keep our lives in order.
Perhaps one of the easiest but often neglected area for spiritual growth is praise. Often when I turn a tap and get water, I find myself praising God and thanking Him. In a recent devotional in The Upper Room (September 13, 1995), Anugraha Behera, of Calcutta, India, refers to water as a great symbol of God’s promise and grace. He says that "Few of us realize the value of running water until we are faced with a water shortage. Less than one quarter of the world’s population has enough water to drink, and only one sixth has safe drinking water."
I praise God constantly for the beauty of the earth and I appreciate especially our own little corner of the world at Clear Creek. I have never seen anything to compare with daybreak coming over the hill in front of our house or with sunset behind the trees beyond the lake behind our house. I have been in Jackson several weeks now without coming home to Clear Creek. Somehow the trees, birds, sunrises, sunsets, and even the rain seem prettier at home. I feel God created the world then came back and did Clear Creek Road as the King’s Highway to the Promised Land.
Too often we take our blessings for granted and do not recognize their source and offer praise and thanks to Him "who doeth all things well." Praise seems to be rooted in gratitude. When I feel most grateful, my gratitude is expressed in praise.
To bless the lives of others seems to be the strongest evidence that God has his rightful place in our lives. St. Bernard of Clairvaux, a French Monk (1090-1153) wrote, "He rightly reads scripture who turns words to deeds." The words of a children’s hymn of years past, "He went about doing good in every place that he could" makes the point simply.
Stewardship is necessary to spiritual growth. When I first began working at the Golden Rule store from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays for $2.37 I felt a tithe of 24 cents or a quarter was almost insulting God. One summer I played the piano for a revival and the church gave me $15, and I was pleased to have a better tithe. The next revival the church gave me $25. It seems the more we give the more we receive. During my earliest years at Clear Creek Church, Brother Ed Briscoe sealed my belief that our tithe is only the beginning of our giving.
We are as accountable for good stewardship of talents, strengths, abilities as for our monetary blessings.
Another gift which can strengthen our spiritual life is the sharing with others of how we have been touched by the leading of God. I suggest you share your own experiences and feelings with others. I believe we both give and gain strength through our sharing of our thoughts and experiences.
Our wish for each of you is God’s presence in
your heart and life during the holiday season.
For those who have experienced the loss of a
loved one since the last holiday season, we feel
special concern. May the days and warmth of the
season help heal the pain of your loss.
We are blessed by the giving as well as the
receiving of friendship and love. May your Christmas
be filled with the true spirit of the season--love
of God and of each other.
The Staff of Waller Funeral Home
NOTES ABOUT THE STAFF
A special holiday greeting from the Waller Funeral Home staff is found elsewhere in this newsletter. From the beginning, we have thought of Waller Funeral Home as "ourfamily serving your family." The staff is not all family in the true sense of the word, but is bound together by our sincere desire to lessen your burdens when death occurs. Staff members are:
Don Waller and Patsy Waller, Owners
Bob Rosson, Funeral Director, and Beth Waller Rosson, Managers
Bobby Phelps, Funeral Director and Insurance Agent
Eyon Brownlee, Funeral Director and Insurance Agent
Trish Cousley, Insurance Office Manager and Insurance Agent
Our duties overlap, and everyone, like a family, pitches in when special needs arise. Sid Wolfe and Robbie Ash, though retired, sometimes help out.
QUALITY OF SERVICE
How do we measure up? The feedback we get is positive. Recently the daughter of a lady whose arrangements we handled sent us a copy of the follow-up response she sent to the National Selected Morticians for their routine after-service survey. Excerpts: "The compassion displayed by the staff was wonderful!" "Nothing additionally could have been done." "The atmosphere was very caring, yet professional. Each detail (note cards on flowers, payment to minister, etc.) was handled superbly." Everyone likes to be appreciated so we treasure such comments. We also appreciate suggestions about how we can improve our services. We will continue to do our very best to provide capable professional and compassionate services.
Families are often anxious as they anticipate funeral service costs--whether for their loved ones or for themselves. Since financial dealings with a funeral home are infrequent, many people have no idea about costs. Costs vary greatly, depending on casket type, outer container, and services provided. We provide itemized costs as part of funeral service/burial planning. Waller Funeral Home charges are 12 percent below the national average cost as determined in a January 1995 random survey by the National Funeral Directors Association of 1,550 members with 656 responses. The comparison included an 18-gauge steel sealer casket with velvet interior and did not include outer container or cemetery services.
Recognition of the importance of preplanning continues to build in the funeral industry and in public perception. Preplanning gives peace of mind by providing for oneself and relieving loved ones of financial and emotional burdens at times of stress. Pre-arrangement locks costs in at the current rate. The Waller Funeral Home staff will be pleased to discuss preplanning with you without obligation.
One aspect of preplanning is purchasing a cemetery plot. Eastover Memorial Cemetery, just off Highway 30 on Camp Hopewell Road, provides a beautiful rural setting for burial. The attractive layout of the cemetery includes an encircling driveway and convenient concrete walks which make every lot accessible. The focal point of the cemetery is an impressive statue of Christ in prayer, which was placed on a slight incline in the center of the cemetery to be equally beautiful from any point in the cemetery. Waller Funeral Home is responsible for the sale of lots and for complete management and maintenance of the cemetery. Members of our staff are available to show lots and discuss purchase options at your convenience. We are also familiar with most other sites available in and around Oxford and we are glad to provide the information we have and to suggest contacts for these sites. Selection of a site and purchase of a plot are a decision and expense which can be taken care of in advance of need to ease the burden of loved ones.
We again invite you to use the library at the Funeral Home. We have assembled approximately 60 books and pamphlets for you to borrow at no charge. Many of these deal with death and grief, some with special circumstances such as the death of a spouse, or child and suicide. Some offer help in dealing with critical illness and with guilt and loneliness. Special attention is given in several books to helping children and young people deal with death and grief. Some are books of devotions and prayers for spiritual growth. We have a listing of the books with short descriptions of contents to make selections easier. We think the library is a great resource and, frankly, we are disappointed that people are not making use of it.
We continue to be concerned about numerous address changes being brought about by the E-911 specifications. Please let us know immediately of any address changes. We want to keep in contact with you through this quarterly newsletter and to avoid the expense and delay caused by post office returns.
We are sending copies of a pamphlet, After the Loss... Coping with the Holidays and an article relating to the first Christmas since the death of a loved one to members of families we have served since last Christmas. If you know of someone else who you think would benefit from these, please call us. We gladly share these with anyone whom they might help.
Magnolia Health Services and Hospice is conducting free Education and Support Group meetings on the third Tuesday of every month at the Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi, Magnolia Auditorium, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. The group is for anyone in the community who has suffered the loss of a family member, loved one, or friend. Subjects include the stages of grief, handling the holidays, depression, anger, guilt, and emerging from grief. Interested persons may attend one session only or attend on an on-going basis for as long as they need grief support. More information can be obtained by contacting the Hospice office at Magnolia Health Services and Hospice (662-234-8553).
We dedicate this issue of Seasons to those who died and whose families we served from August 16, through November II, 1995.
Mrs. Francis Kisner Bailey 8/16/95
Mr. Clifton Alvis "Cliff’ Franklin 8/17/95
Mr. John McMurry Bowles 8/17/95
Mr. Johnny William Keel 8/18/95
Mrs. Lula Turner Tubbs 8/21/95
Mr. George Turman Howard 8/21/95
Mr. Joseph Harold Bryant, Sr. 8/23/95
Mrs. Addie L. Hvinden 8/25/95
Mrs. Stella Fichner Leddy 8/27/95
Mr. Willie F. "Bilbo" Singletary 8/27/95
Mr. James Leighton Pettis, Sr. 8/28/95
Timothy Dwayne Bowles 9/3/95
Dr. Larry William DeBord 9/3/95
Mr. John Robert Tarver 9/3/95
Mrs. Grace Cearley Stone 9/9/95
Mrs. Celia May Queen Smith 9/11/95
Mrs. Emolyn Holland Ducas 9/19/95
Mrs. Bette Mullins Garrett 9/20/95
Mr. Timothy Charles Hargrove 9/27/95
Mr. Arthur Malcolm Metts 9/27/95
Mrs. Pollie Agnes Ransom 9/28/95
Mrs. Bernice Wall McGraw 10/7/95
Mrs. Shirley Marie Sockwell 10/9/95
Mr. Thomas W. "Tom" Gray 10/15/95
Mr. Merril Isaiah Bailey 10/20/95
Mr. Quinton Thomas "Q.T." Keel 10/20/95
Mr. Douglass "Doug" Allen 10/23/95
Mr. Billy Joe Bell 10/26/95
Mrs. Kathryn B. Galloway 10/29/95
Mrs. Helen Elliott Franklin 10/29/95
Mrs. Bessie McGonagill Knight 10/30/95
Mrs. Elizabeth Stephens North 10/31/95
Mr. Joe Earl Hendricks 11/7/95
Mr. Glenn D. Hill 11/9/95
Mrs. Minnie Ruth Murphy 11/11/95
Just Another Boy
Sleepless and bewildered but gloriously proud, the husband of Mary emerged from the stable and made his way to the census taker’s booth. For it was the decree of Imperial Rome, ordering a general census, that had brought them to Bethlehem.
The angels’ song hummed through his heart and he timed his steps with its rhythm. His fine bronzed face was radiant with the wonder of the night.
"Name?" the census taker demanded in a routine tone. "Joseph, carpenter of Nazareth, of the house of David." "Married?"
"Yes." "Wife’s name?" "Mary." "Children?" The carpenter drew himself up One child." he answered proudly. "A son, Jesus, born last night."
Was there any comment? Did the petty government official who wrote for the first time the name that was to be "above every name" — did he wonder as he wrote? Probably not. It was just one more name on the census roll. Just another boy.
What laughter would have rung through Rome if someone had pointed to that name and said, "There is the beginning of the end of your empire."
Rome would have laughed. and Rome is dead. The influence of the Child lives on. We celebrate His birthday, and the festival of all children everywhere. They, not we, are the really important people of the earth. In cradles, and at the foot of Christmas trees, are the lives that are to overthrow and rebuild all we have built.
Nothing is so powerful or so perfect that it cannot be transformed utterly by the miracle of another girl. Or another boy.
—Reprinted with permission of International Center for the Disabled and of Guideposts, where the story was reprinted in a Guideposts Christmas card.