The Walmart Singer

I can’t remember the first time we saw the man we now call “the Walmart singer.”

We go for rides late every evening. We enjoy the waterfowl at the lake. We “people watch,” appreciating all of God’s unique creations.

Walmart is always pure entertainment from the people camping in the parking lot to the variety of late night shoppers.

One night we saw a man sitting on the sidewalk, playing his guitar and singing. At first, he was just part of the scenery. We noticed him and drove on by.

The next night, we put the window down and caught bits of his songs, as we passed.

The next night, we drove slower, so we could hear more of his songs.

The next night, we slowed enough for me to smile and nod. He looked up and returned the smile and nod.

The next few nights, he was not there. We were disappointed. He had become part of our life … the lone troubadour bringing music into an otherwise chaotic world … faithfully doing what he was called to do … unafraid … unashamed … daring in his own way.

After the few nights of absence, he was back. We were delighted. We began to wonder who he was and why he was there.

We still don’t know. We have not stopped and talked yet. Being a writer, I have imagined numerous scripts for his life. But for now, he is simply “the Walmart singer.”

Tonight, as we enjoyed his music again, I pondered why more of us do not have the courage to share our songs with the world. It might be fun for all those who dare to only sing in the shower to broaden their horizons!

With This Ring …

Wedding rings are important to many people. My mother wore her engagement and wedding rings for over 70 years.

Rings were not the thing for men when they got married. So my father never wore a ring.

Rings serve as an outward sign of commitment for many people. It is also a general announcement to “hunters” that they are “taken.”

Jay and I started our married life with rings. I don’t think either of us were very much into it. We were both free spirits, who resisted being branded or tagged.

We knew we were exclusive to God and each other and we did not need something on our bodies to remind us.

We also knew if a “hunter” approached, it was not a ring that was needed to throw them off scent. It would be our behavior and whether we would happily acknowledge we were married.

We tried to wear the rings and we did for a number of years. But both of us frequently took them off when we were in the privacy of our homes. And then, there was the problem of being nurses and having to wash our hands a lot.

More than once, Jay took off his ring to wash and then forgot to put it back on, prompting a panicked search for the ring.

Finally, we agreed to stop what had become burdensome for us and just file the rings away. We frequently held hands and the joy of each other’s touch unhindered was well worth it.

When the day comes to part, it is each other’s touch, full skin to skin, that we shall remember.

Today, we were organizing mementos and we came across the rings. We tried them on. We smiled, remembering the first day we wore them. We held hands and agreed the rings should go back to the box.

It is a fond memory of another day and time, but not representative of who we are now.

We hope our lives will let the world know that what God has joined together will not be put asunder!

Training For Heaven

Ever wonder why you are here? We are here for basic training.

God has a specific Plan for us. He said, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11

In fact, God has been planning for you since before you were born. God knew us before we were even in our mother’s womb.

David said, “Your Eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

God took our unformed body …our spirits … and put us in a human body. That body was specially designed for the living conditions on this planet.

I believe earth is our basic training ground. It is here we learn how to use all the talents God has given us.

What He has planted grows within us. The Master Gardener nourishes, fertilizes and prunes us.

He teaches us. He gives us tests. He gives us more than enough blessings to cover any wounds from earth battles.

It is on earth that we learn to trust and obey. It is here we learn to forgive. It is here we learn to love.

Why are we here? We are being prepared for Heaven. After we have graduated from our basic training, we will be ready to go to work in the kingdom.

I do not believe Heaven will consist of just sitting around with family and friends on clouds.

I believe we will experience the full joy of being out of the body suit … free of the training wheels … able to freely move from place to place in every time and place and do the good works for which He is now preparing us.

The poet, Rudyard Kipling, envisioned that day when he wrote,

“When Earth’s last picture is painted and the tubes are twisted and dried,
When the oldest colours have faded, and the youngest critic has died,
We shall rest, and faith, we shall need it – lie down for an aeon or two,
Till the Master of All Good Workmen Shall put us to work anew.”

Paul said,
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Ephesians 2:10

So, use your earth training time wisely as God prepares you for what will come next. Graduation Day is going to be awesome and you will be headed home!

Can I Question God?

I was very blessed to have two parents who encouraged me to ask questions.

They answered the ones they could and were honest in letting me know there were some questions they could not answer.

They acknowledge they had questions too. They freely wondered about things.

When people would get together with their sweet tea and funeral home fans, they wondered together. I remember one relative saying to my father, “Horace, what do you reckon we will have to go through before we get over yonder?”

My parents always referred me to The One Who has all the answers. My mother would say, “I don’t know. Let’s ask God together.”

And if He didn’t answer right away, she would assure me He would answer in His Good Time. She said sometimes the answer would come in Heaven, “but,” she said with a smile, “You might not need to ask the question then!”

Is it ok to question God? James tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, Who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
James 1:5

In fact, God invites us to talk to Him. He said, “Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know!”

The Joy of Writing

From the time I could write, I loved putting words together.  God was beginning to bring up seeds He had planted in me from the beginning.  He was preparing me to be a writer.

I loved reading what others wrote.  I was well known to the town librarian, who was amazed at how quickly I was back on her doorstep, begging for another book to read.

 I enjoyed entering the worlds others had created.  But beyond that, I found I could create my own worlds.  My imagination was limitless. 

Over the course of my life, I have written stories, plays, skits, newspaper and journal articles.  I have written music.  In recent years I have written a blog.  I write the scripts for the Christian teaching we do on our You Tube channel.

I enjoy commenting on life.  It clears my head.  It focuses random thoughts.  And I love the feeling that I am connecting with others.  

I feel such gratitude when I know I reached someone in the great “somewhere out there.”  But I also write for those I may never know.

I think of all the writings I enjoy today, many from those who wrote their words years before I was born.  In fact, my favorite book, The Bible, was written long before I came into existence!

I write, not just to share my opinions, but more so as my form of worship of The One Who gave me The Gift.

I want to be a part of those who follow The Call of The Creator.

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Revelation 21:5

I invite you to take a look at my blog.   I am at carolynpriesterjones.org

Here are some of the topics from the past couple of months.  If you find something of interest, go to the archive on the left side of the screen and click on the month in which it was posted.

And if you would like to be notified of new postings, please subscribe!

Position Worth Defending

True story of our long marriage.

When you are tempted to poke your spouse with the point of that umbrella (argument) or maybe beat them with it (I’m right. You are wrong!), put a little distance between you, look away, and hold up that umbrella.

Recently after an argument, in which I raised my voice loudly (OK, I yelled …), I felt badly. I apologized to Jay as he was half asleep. (Best time, easier to digest crow when your partner is too asleep to rub your nose in it).

Jay mumbled through his sleep. “That’s ok. Your position was worth defending.”

Sitting there in the dark, I realized what a beautiful moment that was.

Behavior forgiven.
Message heard.
Position worth defending.
He did not concede he agreed with me, but he affirmed my right to express myself and be heard.

And so we move on …

Unexpected!

In a memorable episode of Star Trek The Next Generation, the Android, Data, is having a conversation with his human friend.

The friend, describing a catastrophe, said, “It was disastrous.” Data, who only could process data, searched his data base and then looked puzzled. Finally, he said, “Unexpected. You mean it was unexpected.”

Most things in life that we categorize as catastrophic, disastrous, terrible, outrageous, etc, all come under Data’s category of “unexpected.”

What really counts is what happens next. After the unexpected comes renewed hope. We may not be able to go the way we planned, but we can go another way.

I love Paul’s perspective. He acknowledged things were rough, but he was not defeated. He may have been weak, but God in Him was strong. He pressed on toward a brighter tomorrow!

“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed.

We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.

We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God.

We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.”
2 Corinthians 4:7-10

It’s Time!

Jay and I have always had a different view of time. I am compulsive about being on time, often arriving early to be sure I am not late.

Jay can leave home five minutes before a scheduled appointment and never break a sweat.

In times past, I would be at home waiting for him to arrive. When I called him, he always said, “I’m on the way.” It appeared sometime he had taken a 100 mile detour before he arrived, completely oblivious to the fact I had already imagined him dead on the road.

In sharing our household tasks, we have found our idea of time is quite different. What I think will only “take a minute”, he believes cannot be done now. “It will take too long,” he says.

On the other hand, when he says, “give me a minute,” I know I should probably settle in with a good book, because it’s going to be awhile.

How long is a minute? My father said, “it depends on which side of the bathroom door you are on.”

My father also made other observations about time.

He said, “Time is like wrapping a rope around a tree. When you start, it takes the rope longer to get around the tree. But the more it wraps, the shorter the time to go around the tree.

When you are young, it seems to take forever to get to your next birthday. But when you are old, you will think you just had a birthday and it is time for another one.”

How does God view time? He does not. While He has chosen mercifully to cut time into small bites for us to digest, to Him, time is seamless, uninterrupted, endless.

Peter said, “But forget not this one thing, beloved, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
2 Peter 3:8

And somewhere inside ourselves we know time is an illusion just now. We cannot remember all of where we have been or see ahead to how many measured bits of time there are to come.

But one day, perhaps, we will see more of the whole picture. God will show us how beautiful He has made everything in His Time!

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end!
Ecclesiastes 3:11

Thank You For The Life!

I have been blessed in this life. i can hardly wait to see what God plans next!

The question of what I would have been if I followed my childhood dreams led me to reflect on the wonderful gifts God gave me.

As a child, I had dreams, but they were pretty limited. God gave me infinitely more than I could ever have thought or imagined.

Many who see me now might just see a little old lady. But like everyone else, I have back stories to tell.

I share not to boast, but to marvel in gratitude to God, Who gave me an interesting life.

At various times in my assignment to this planet, I was a
School Nurse
Staff nurse in hospitals and medical centers
Nurse Manager
Acting Associate Chief Nurse of a division of a medical center
Teacher
Writer
Playwright
Actress
Story Teller
Musician
Singer
Composer
Worship Leader
Mentor
Life Coach
Photographer
Wife
Mother
Grandmother

As a bonus, I was a founder of one of the first inpatient hospices in the state of Kentucky.

I got to publish in nursing journals and share around the world.

I have written a blog for many years now.

My husband and I published books.

We have a Christian Teaching Ministry on on a You Tube Channel.

Besides those things, I had simple joys that awakened parts of me I never knew existed.

I traveled and saw other countries.

I swung out on a cable car in the Swiss Alps.

I saw the glaciers of Alaska.

I felt the sand between my toes and jumped the waves on various beaches.

I drove sports cars.

I rode on the back of a motorcycle.

I flew a small plane for about five minutes.

I flew down a winding mountain on an alpine slide.

I got in a cage with a tiger.

I walked out on a glass floor at the top of a tower and danced as if I were suspended in midair.

Besides that, God gave me Love through so many people.

I had the joy of having loving, devoted parents into their 90s.

I have known True Love through a husband who has been with me through all seasons.

I have had the joy of having a human life grow inside me. I have shared the exciting ride, as that tiny human became an accomplished young lady.

I have delighted in the smiles, laughs and hugs of our grandchild, a precious gift made even more so by his living near us now.

I have had relatives and friends, who were with me through all the various seasons of my life.

I have had mentors, coaches and guides, who helped me steer my way through life.

I had pets who gave me unwavering love and left their paw prints on my heart. I still smile when I remember them.

I got to live in my dream house built to my (and my husband’s) specifications. It has been home for many years.

While I thank God for the life He gave me, I have no desire to replay it. I know He has even more exciting and wondrous things to show me. And what He has in mind will be more than I can even think or imagine now!

God Himself has been The Most Wonderful Gift of all. His Great Love and His constant reminders that He is with me always and ever shall be fills my heart with wonder.

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.

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 3:14-21


Message From A Sheep Outside The Fold

Jesus loved His Church, His Bride, but Revelation reveals He saw the churches in a realistic light.  He told John to write the good things, but He also addressed those areas that needed improvement.

The pandemic emphasized what was God’s call to churches even before the time of the great trouble … 

to concentrate less on getting people into a church building on a Sunday morning and more on raising up a body of believers who will go to people wherever they are and have personal relationships with them one on one.

Many churches seem to have forgotten that the sheep the shepherd sought was not a soul yet to be discovered.  The lost sheep was once a part of the flock.

While churches are seeking to attract new members or minister to the community or the world, there are church members right outside the door who are lost, hungry and thirsty, and no longer have the strength or desire to return to the fold.

We must begin by remembering them.  We must pray and ask God to bring to mind those with whom we have fellowshipped in the past and ask ourselves, “Where are they?  What do they need from us right now?”

We must go to them, not try to entice them to come to us.

In the spirit of humility, we must honestly apologize for leaving them behind.

We must bind up their wounds.

We must be the servants God has called us to be.

We must connect on a personal level, getting to know where people live, physically and spiritually.

We have been on all sides.  We have been the shepherd, the comfortable sheep of the flock and now sheep lost from our church and wondering why no one missed us.

We believe our own journey home begins with our repentance for leaving others behind.  And then we must forgive those who have failed us.  May we all join in prayer together.

Oh Lord, please forgive us for failing to seek your sheep.

We have become weary and laid down in green pastures.

We have become too comfortable in the security of our own group.

We have become distracted and not noticed the suffering of others that caused them to wander away and become lost and alone.

We have said we were a community when we had lost part of our community without even knowing it.

Forgive us, please, Lord.  May we all hear Your Voice and come home to You.  For we are the sheep of your pasture.  We belong to You.

“Know that the Lord is God.  It is He Who made us, and we are His; we are His People, the sheep of His Pasture.”  Psalm 100:3

“My sheep listen to My Voice; I know them, and they follow Me.”   John 10:27

…”that they may all be one, just as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.”  John 17:21