Sunday, July 31, 2011

Renewal Ranch graduates first class |

Renewal Ranch graduates first class |

Renewal Ranch, the faith-based addiction recovery program for men, held a graduation ceremony for four students at Family Life Bible Church on Saturday. The graduates have all spent the last six months recovering from drug and alcohol addictions at a facility that offers spiritual approaches to recovery. Charles Washington, a member of the graduating class was displaced to the Conway area during Hurricane Katrina and had started drinking at the age of nine. He credits the program and his faith in God for the transformation he has been able to make in his life. “I always started something but I never finished any of it until today,” he said. “I finished the race but for the grace of God.” Pictured, from left, are executive director of the program, James Loy, Shepherd Palmer, Atlas Stavely, Michael Taylor and Washington. CANDIE BECK PHOTO

Here is just a small glimpse of four of our precious men who graduated on Saturday.  I will have more pictures later this week.

Charles (on the far right) surprised our family by attending church with us this morning.  He brought his beautiful fiance, Shannon.

Our hearts are full to overflowing.  Thank you, Lord!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Weekend Worship at Cathedral of St. Andrew


Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he chose for his inheritance.


From heaven the LORD looks down
and sees all mankind;
from his dwelling place he watches
all who live on earth—


No king is saved by the size of his army;
no warrior escapes by his great strength.
A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
despite all its great strength it cannot save.


But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,


I lift up my eyes to you,
to you who sit enthroned in heaven.


Your statutes, LORD, stand firm;
holiness adorns your house
for endless days.


The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty;
the LORD is robed in majesty and armed with strength;
indeed, the world is established, firm and secure.


Your throne was established long ago;
you are from all eternity.

You are from all eternity!

a repost from past pages

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

duct tape or duster

Before I really get to the gist of what I want to write about today, I want to tell you about a little incident that I think is so funny.  But it won't be funny if I don't tell you this first--bear with me please--

My daughter-in-law, Dree, loves duct tape.  She is a duct tape freak.  She does everything with duct tape.  When she and my son were getting married, they were on a very low budget.  She is very innovative in her thinking and decided to give all of their groomsmen a roll of duct tape--what better cheap gift, huh?  Everybody sooner or later needs duct tape.  So not only were they able to do something meaningful, thoughtful and helpful for those close to them but they did it very frugally.

So hopefully you get the gist of how important duct tape is to her--only now, it is even more important to her because she has nostalgic memories of it--get the picture??

Okay on to this:

It was the year 2000. My fifth granddaughter's, Ashton's, birth was IMMINENT--and I am not joking--

Ashton's mom and dad (the couple described above) had gone to great lengths to make her birth memorable. They brought along special music to play that they had spent months choosing and recording. They had numerous scriptures taped all around the birthing room that they had so meticulously printed out by hand.

There were special blankets and toys and even her own "Lovey" with her name embroidered on it--If ever a room was prepared with love for a new birth, this was it.

 Everything seemed to be in order--the mother to be was there, the soon to be father (my son was there), the doctor, nurses, the mother of the mother and the mother of the father, (me).  We were all there and the baby was coming--

 I don't know why but right before the birth they started discussing whether they brought everything or not (mind you the birth was imminent, imminent I say--did I mention that the baby was just about to be born) and all of a sudden Dree cries out, "Honey, we forgot the duct tape."

My son immediately responded with, "Oh no, what if the baby falls apart."  We all had a good laugh which lessened the anxiety of the moment.

So I tell you all that to tell you this.

My husband and I went to dinner with my brother tonight.  He was telling us about a friend of his (a friend of over fifty years whose father had taken him--my brother--fishing one time long, long ago--didn't hardly know my brother--just wanted to do something nice for him).

The friend's father died last week--he was ninety five years old-- and my brother went to his funeral.  He said the parking lot was full, the building overflowing--something you don't often see at a ninety five year old's funeral--most of their peers have passed and usually attendees are few and far between.

But to get to the point of this story--The family had the old man's Bible laying out on a table and it was duct-taped together.

What a life!  What a testimony!

Do we need duct tape or dusters for our Bibles?

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

broken and poured out

she walks hesitantly but with determination to the door and knocks

leper Simon opens the door

she does not turn and run from the disease

her disease was worse--spiritual leprosy

she enters the house, alabaster jar in hand--the best she had to give

she bows at His feet, tears streaming down

washes the feet of Jesus in rivulets of remorse

anoints his head with perfume poured from alabaster jar

simon refers to her as sinner, questions Jesus about her presence

disciples question wisdom of emptying alabaster jar of pure nard--could be sold, money given to the poor

Jesus explains that she is preparing Him for burial

Jesus is preparing her for burial

burial of a lifetime of sin and shame

He is preparing her for resurrection

resurrection of love that had died

love that will now love much

because it has been forgiven much


she poured out herself in worship to Jesus

her community viewed it all

will we do any less?

a repost from past pages

thanks to Polly at for the beautiful photo

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sometimes I dream . . . .

I had a dream last night. I dreamt that once upon a time I was young and free, bouncy and spry. I dreamt about a time when as a young sapling, adolescent cowboys would use me as a bucking bronco, riding the air beneath me--feeling as though they had been thrust to the stars and back.

I dreamt that I grew and produced a small shade. The lady of the house came outside, stood, stared wistfully at me and dreamt of her grandchildren swinging from a stout branch one day.

I dreamt that I grew hardy and gave enough shade for young lovers to spread red checkered tablecloths beneath my branches, nibble on moon pies and swig RC colas without a care in the world.

I dreamt of girlie giggles, boy shyness and carved initials in my sides until I split with joy--
I dreamt of little boys drawing circles in the dirt beneath my shade, getting blisters on their thumbs from their opalescent marble shooters--

I dreamt of little girls playing house, using my leaves to shield them from the summer sun, and when the golden rays gave way to silver droplets, making mud pies to serve their doll families.

I dreamt that one day that same little girl who sat beneath my shade, who served mud pies, dined with young loves and carved initials in my sides would one day stand here and dream--dream that she could go back for just one day and listen as her mother's lilting voice calls her to dinner, dream that she could return for just one moment and feel her big brother's hand give her a "just right" shove from the back, dream that for just one hour she could sit with her grandfather as he told stories of riding that bucking young sapling--

Sometimes I dream, if only for a moment--sometimes those moments encompass a lifetime--

Sunday, July 24, 2011


ave you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all this. Job 38:18

Love and faithfulness meet together;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
and righteousness looks down from heaven.
The LORD will indeed give what is good,
and our land will yield its harvest.
Righteousness goes before him
and prepares the way for his steps. Psalm 85:10-13

Don't feel guilty today when you look out a window or walk out your front or back door, look toward the horizon and behold the rendezvous of sky and earth--after all, it is not done in secret--the sweet kiss there for all to see locks the fullness of God into an eternal embrace with all of man.  Oh, that we would fall in love with Him again today.

Hope your week is filled with the vast expanses of His unsearchable love.

pictures my DIL, Traci, took in Maine recently--

Friday, July 22, 2011

Weekend Worship at First United Methodist, Little Rock, AR


Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.  Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins.


A voice of one calling:"In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. 
And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken."


A voice says, "Cry out."And I said, "What shall I cry?" 
"All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. 
The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. 
Surely the people are grass. 
The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever." 


You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. 
You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, 
"Here is your God!" See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and his arm rules for him. 
See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. 
He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart: he gently leads those that have young. 


Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? 
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? 
Who has understood the mind of the LORD, or instructed him as his counselor? 
Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? 
Who was it that taught him knowledge or showed him the path of understanding? 


Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust. 
Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires, nor its animals enough for burnt offerings. Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing.


To whom, then, will you compare God?  
What image will you compare him to? 

 As for an idol, a craftsman casts it,and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and fashions silver chains for it.  
 A man too poor to present such an offering selects wood that will not rot. He looks for a skilled craftsman to set up an idol that will not topple.
Do you not know? Have you not heard? 
Has it not been told you from the beginning? 
Have you not understood since the earth was founded? 
He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. 
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. 
He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. 
No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.

"To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One. 
Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? 
He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. 
Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. 
Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God?"
 Do you not know? Have you not heard?  
 The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  
 He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.  
 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  
 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  
 They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40
New International Version

Have a wonderful, worshipful weekend.

A repost from past pages

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


This is me at Kailey's age -- a little resemblance maybe--don't tell her I said so--smile!  My dad was right--youth really is wasted on the young!!

The instagram app is great fun--not for sure what all phones it will work on but this was a quick pic my granddaughter took of the two of us today.

Since I have her picture handy, I will tell you one of my biggest blessings this summer. Kailey is a very hard worker and perseveres through some really difficult times. She was planning on working quite a few hours a week this summer to help her family with her college education expense. She is starting her senior year in August and has worked steadily throughout her college career.

Due to circumstances beyond her control, her summer job fell through and she was left stranded. The company told her she was hired, just had to get some paper work in--yada, yada, yada--a mall retail store--anyway, they piddled around and summer was going to be half over before her training sessions--and the company knew she was applying for a SUMMER job--

Anyway, I do not have any kind of steady help with housework and had been thinking of hiring someone to help me get a few long overdue things accomplished. I hired her about a month ago and not only have we gotten so many things done, made many lists and crossed off most of them, but we have had a ball in the process and gotten to know each other so much better.

I have always been involved in her life but since she is turning twenty one this summer it has been several years since she has had much time for other things besides boyfriends, extracurricular activities such as basketball, high school and college academics--

So, Lord, I just want you to know how very grateful I am for this opportunity to bond again with one of my precious granddaughters. I do NOT take this time for granted and appreciate it with all my heart.

Instagramming is a new fad I guess so this "gramma" will be ready at a moment's notice to instagram with my lovely granddaughter!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Strength & Sustenance

 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:16-21

Oh Father, here I am again, Lord, asking, seeking, knocking for my children, my grandchildren, my seed, my descendants, the men of Renewal Ranch, my friends' children and grandchildren, my extended family and their descendants--

First of all, I want to give glory where glory is due and Father, You are due all the glory. You alone are good and worthy and true and righteous and holy. I recognize that in You lies everything my heart could ever dream or hope for and I acknowledge that You are the King of the universe and we are saved by the sacrifice of Your one and only Son, Jesus.

I also acknowledge that You alone are just. My logic will never figure things out but because You are just and trustworthy and Your mercies begin afresh every morning, I can trust You, Father and I do trust and believe You. Where there is doubt or unbelief in my heart, I depend on You to help me. You alone are the giver of faith and I trust in You for even the faith to believe.

Oh God, the scripture above is so powerful and I ask that You would strengthen the inner being through Your glorious riches of those for whom I am praying. We can do nothing apart from You but we can do the impossible with You--the reason I ask for this--so that Christ may dwell, truly live, in their hearts through Jesus Christ.

Father, I pray that You would root and establish those that they would know beyond a shadow of any doubt just how wide, how long, how high, how deep is the love of Christ and that they together with all of God's people would know this love that surpasses knowledge and be filled with the fullness of God.

O God, show us what that looks like--if we can bear it, Lord--to be filled with Your fullness--oh, that our countenance would shine forth the power of Your glory--for the benefit of the gospel so that those around us would know that we have truly been with God.

And as that last verse in this portion speaks of--O God, throughout all the generations of my seed--Lord, let not a single generation be spared the glory of the vision of You in all Your fullness.

Father, I give You praise and glory and honor and devotion and all that I know how to give You from the bottom of my heart and ask these things in the Name that is above every name--Jesus! My Savior and Lord. Amen and amen!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Weekend Worship at Cross Church, Bentonville, Arkansas


You are my hiding place


You always fill my heart


With songs of deliverance


Whenever I am afraid


I will trust in You, I will trust in You.


Let the weak say


I am strong


in the strength of the Lord.


You are my hiding place, you always fill my heart


With songs of deliverance,


Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You!


I will trust in You!


I will trust in You!


I want to always stay hidden behind the cross, I want the cross as my shield
my guide and my armor of light.


I want my life to mirror the miracles of the cross and resurrection.


As I turn to walk away from this beautiful sight, my heart is saddened but only for a moment.  

The miracle of the cross is made known in my spirit. 

I am His temple.  

The eternal God inhabits my very being. 

I am alive with the glory of Him.  

I am leaving beautiful mortar and stone behind. 

 I take with me always the glory of the risen Christ!  Hallelujah!  

He is my hiding place, he always fills my heart 

with songs of deliverance,

 whenever I am afraid,

I will trust in You!  I will trust in You!

Lyrics from You Are My Hiding Place in Gold

A repost from past pages

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty. ~Author Unknown

What would happen in your life today if you let God unleash all the potential He has invested in you? Would you compose an aria that would be sung in opera houses around the world for the next few centuries, or paint a picture Michelangelo would envy, or fashion a sculpture that would dethrone Venus de Milo in the Louvre?

Or maybe you would design a cathedral the likes of Notre Dame or St. Peter's.  Or invent a cure for cancer or Parkinson's disease--maybe you would create some technology that would make the IPad seem like it should be housed in the historical section of the Smithsonian.

Or maybe you would donate a smile to a stranger you meet on the street, or ask a grocery clerk if anyone today has told them Jesus loves them with an everlasting love, or bake a latticed homemade apple pie to take to an elderly neighbor or mow your pastor's lawn, or write a real letter to a political prisoner in a faraway country.

Will we remain caterpillars today or will we let God unleash the beauty that He has invested in each of us?  There are myriad ways God can use each of us to reflect His beauty today.  Would you humbly ask Him how He wants to reveal Himself through you in the next twenty-four hours.  I would love to hear about His incredible workings in your life.

 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
 Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. 
 Psalm 139:14

A very special thank you to my sweet friend, Nava, who sent me one of her latest photos to share with you. Nava is a talented photographer and I am trying to talk her into starting a blog so you can be blessed by her many awesome pictures--most of them, if not all, are of God's creation.

Didn't Do So Well

I didn't do so well on some of yesterday's "Just for today." The one I seemed to have the most trouble with was the murmuring and complaining one. Oh yes, all the grumblings were uttered under my breath but I noticed myself at least ten times saying things that were very unbecoming to a Christian.

True, there was no one with me when I said them--and most of them were directed at myself and some of my "not so smart" shenanigans, but I had to wonder how much I mutter and complain on a day when I have not placed my focus on making sure I don't. And I had to wonder what my close friend, the Holy Spirit, thought about my actions.

I thought of the idea of this post the other day when I was talking to some of the guys at the Ranch and noticed hints of the enemy trying to come in and disrupt their peace with "little things" against their brothers. So on Sunday when I told them about my idea for the post, one said, "Well, you better make it simple, like........."

"Just for today I will not kill my brother" (please know this was totally 'tongue in cheek')
and another said
"Just for today I will clean up my 'pee pee' after myself"--this was a forty-five year old bachelor who said this which made it funnier--and he was not saying it about himself but hoping some of the others would "make it their own."

I live with one man so I can imagine how it must be living with eleven others, especially if you are a clean freak--we a have a few at the ranch--

So, here's the challenge--be alert today, listen to yourself, see how you do--and hopefully let me know in the comment section--

Hope your day is blessed and hope nothing but wholesome words come from your mouth--after all God's Word says

But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.'  Matthew 15:18

Monday, July 11, 2011

Just For Today

'Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” Jeremiah 32:17 

So, just for today I will remember and believe that "nothing is too hard for You.

Just for today I will remember that mercy triumphs over judgment.  James 2

Just for today I will trust You and lean not to my own understandings.  Proverbs 3

Just for today I will keep my mind on You.  Isaiah 26:3

Just for today I will know that your mercies begin afresh every morning.  Lamentations 3

Just for today I will know that you will finish the work you started in me.  Philippians 1:6

Just for today I will esteem others above myself--Phil. 3

Just for today I will do all things without murmurings or complainings-Phil. 2:14

Just for today I will know that you love me, you rejoice over me with singing and you are MIGHTY to save.  Zep. 3:17

Picture taken recently by Jerry James in front of the bunkhouse at Renewal Ranch.  Thanks, Jerry, for letting me use your incredible photograph.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Renewal Ranch Update!

Just wanted to share a little Renewal Ranch update with you! Thought you might enjoy--

God is so good and faithful and has blessed us here at Renewal Ranch beyond any words we have to describe.  The Saturday morning worship service was refreshing with the voices of the Dooley's leading us in praise and worship.  Thank you once again to the Dooley Family for their incredible dedication and loyalty to our residents at RR.

Our residents and a few others pray over a prospective resident.

Thank you, Bro. Larry Pillow for a good word from the Lord. Basically the message was an exhortation to follow those who are in spiritual authority over us. A gentle message with a powerful impact--Thanks Bro. Larry.

The day continued with a potluck for all who attended the morning worship service with visiting in the afternoon.

Visitation at Renewal Ranch is reminiscent (to me--the maintainer of this website and I am old) of Sunday during the 1950's--no T.V's, no radios, no cell phones--just people interested in one another and fellowshipping together--one of the true beautifully simple things in life.

The guys are always eager to share what they have harvested from their garden. These are some of the delicious Roma tomatoes they have grown. Among other things, they have harvested cucumbers, watermelons, potatoes, corn, squash, purple-hulled peas, peppers and cabbage. Thanks, guys for always being willing to share your produce. It is wonderful!

This is Charles and Michael shelling some purple-hulled peas. They will both complete the 6 month program and graduate on July 30th. We are so thrilled with their dedication and hard work to complete the intensive Bible study and scripture memorization and grow in their walk with God. We have two other residents who will graduate with them, Shepherd and Atlas. Congratulations, guys, we love you dearly.

A great big thank you to Jerry James and his friend, Wes, who came out to fry fish for our guys that evening. It was great!

Here is our precious Ben!

And looking out over the pond at the end of a very good day. To God be the glory--great and mighty things He has done for us!

This is a copy of a post originally published on the Renewal Ranch history website.  To access it and learn more about Renewal Ranch, you may visit this link--

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