Thursday, August 18, 2011



Several years ago Charlie and I were driving to town when Charlie noticed a small yard sign which read, “Adopt or become a foster parent.” He was quick to tell me that it would NEVER happen in his lifetime.

The very next day we got a call from a local pastor. He wanted to drop by to talk to us about something. The pastor wasn’t from our church and we couldn’t imagine what was so important that he had to talk to us in person.

David Holton was the pastor at New Life Church of God at this time. One of his members was in need of someone to take care of her grandson. Seems like there had been a tragic accident and the grandmother couldn’t take care of the three grandchildren anymore and so the church was trying to help by finding homes for them. We were on their short list!

Alan, one of the grandchildren, was only 15 years old at the time of this incident. We had known him for about three years; we all attended the Jeffersonville Church of God together, before the grandmother decided to move her membership to the Cochran church.

As David, along with one of his elders, sat with Charlie and me discussing the family situation, I remembered Charlie’s adamant declaration just 24 hours previous. His exact words were, “Not in this lifetime!” Now we were faced with a life-changing decision; a decision that would change our lives and Alan’s forever.

Everything about our situation screamed, “NO!” We were definitely too old. Charlie was 72 and I wasn’t far behind him. We had left those troublesome teenage years far behind us and we were coasting in the clear. Were we nuts, or what?

“We’ll take him,” Charlie said simply.

When David and his elder left our house I looked at Charlie with a big grin. “I’m proud of you honey.” Charlie told me he couldn’t refuse because God reminded him about something from his past. His mother had been left destitute with three children. Charlie’s grandfather had taken them all into his home and never gave it a second thought. “I could do no less,” said Charlie. CHARLIE AND ALAN IN 2005 - HE WAS A COCKY LITTLE TEENAGER

For the next few years our home was definitely changed, not only physically but in every other way possible. When we agreed to take Alan, we got two for the price of one. His girlfriend Brittany was part of the deal. She loved Alan and spent as much time at our house as her mother would allow. She ate with us, watched TV with us and went to church with us. ALAN AND BRITTANY ON PROM NIGHT

Initially Alan had some anger issues. They were soon resolved by several time tested methods. Work: Charlie made him clean out the chicken house, feed the animals and haul topsoil. I added to that my rendition of housework, gardening and errand running. ALAN TAKING CARE OF THE CHICKENS - JUST ONE OF HIS MANY CHORES

Then there was the Bible workout. For anger: copy every verse in Proverbs about anger. For life in general there was memorizing a scripture for every letter of the alphabet. How about this one: “F” for FLEE YOUTHFUL LUSTS - A VERSE FOR EVERY LETTER OF THE ALPHABET - GREAT MEDICINE

When it came to dating, Charlie was super strict. One time he told him to be IN the house by 11 PM. They got home at 10:30 but he didn’t come in the house until 11:10 PM. Oops! Sorry Alan, thirty days restriction on that one. No cell phone, no Internet, no telephone, no dating. You’re grounded buddy.

Well, I guess it all paid off. He’s one great son and Brittany is one terrific daughter-in-law. They are now married with a beautiful baby boy named Ayden. ALAN, BRITTANY AND AYDEN

Alan graduated TODAY from the Georgia Police Academy and is now a certified correction officer with the State of Georgia and planning to continue his education, majoring in criminal justice. ALAN IS NOW 'OFFICER ALAN RAFFIELD'

I’d like to add one thought when you say NEVER; it only works if your wife is not praying, “Lord, help me be the answer to someone’s prayer today.” Maybe we need to get on the same page here. Ya think? CHARLIE SHAKES HANDS TODAY WITH A REAL MAN!

“Call unto me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things that thou knowest not.” (Jeremiah 33:3)

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Ever have days when some things, not all things, just some things don’t seem to go right? I was having that kind of day yesterday. I was a bit pushed for time…a bit stressed trying to pull everything together to go to a ladies conference today.

“MY” plans were to end the day by going to the first football game of the year in nearby Hawkinsville. Not that I’m that great of a football fan, but since it’s our granddaughters last year of high school I wanted to hear her play in the band. (BTW they creamed Hawkinsville!)

As I was on my way (running late) I realized I didn’t have any cash and knew I would need some for a ticket. I stopped at our local grocery store, only to realize I didn’t have my checkbook. So, back home I went to grab another checkbook.

When I went back I decided I might as well get a case of water for the ladies who would be going on today’s outing. “Sorry Ma’am. You can’t write that check for $30 over the amount. It can only be written for $29.11 over.”

Grinning from ear to ear I immediately heard God’s voice. “I’ll take it,” I replied. “That $29.11 sounds like Jeremiah 29:11 to me. I know the plans that I have for you says the Lord. Plans for good and not evil, to give you a future and a hope. Yup. $29.11 will be perfect!”

Don’t you love it when God assures you that everything’s gonna be alright?

Thursday, August 11, 2011



When Zach, our grandson, was nine years old he developed a painful condition called Sever’s Syndrome. For Zach, an avid sports participant, this was extremely trying.

The painful heel condition affects growing adolescents between the age of nine and fourteen. In this condition, the growing part of the heel bone grows faster than the tendon that connects on the back of the heel.

This tightens up the tendon and creates tension where it attaches to the heel. Eventually, the tension causes the area to become inflamed and painful. Fortunately, the condition is not serious and is usually temporary

Charlie tried to encourage Zach after he had a cast put on his foot. Charlie had been wearing a cast from his hip down to his ankle for nearly six weeks at the time this happened to Zach. Charlie’s knee cap had been removed, on what was the third operation on his left knee. Talk about confinement. Charlie was the right person to encourage Zach. Just knowing someone else was going through a hard time seemed to do the trick.

I overheard part of the phone conversation between the two and Charlie’s side of the conversation went something like this, “Son, Grandpa understands, but it will be for the best in the end. You have to think about getting well for baseball season.”

Confinement is a hard pill to swallow. We all want to be free of restraints; able to go whenever and wherever we want. After ministering in prisons, jails and detention centers for over thirty years, I can tell you unequivocally, that I have yet to meet an incarcerated, confined person that enjoys confinement.

In China, in the early 1950’s a young missionary, Geoffrey T. Bull understood confinement and its eternal purpose in a very unique way. Imprisoned for preaching the gospel, his captors placed Bull in a small bamboo cage.

The dimensions of the cage caused Bull to remain in a tortuous state. He couldn’t stretch out his full length, nor could he stand. The only time he was let out of the cage was to be beaten with rods. This went on for three years. During part of this time Bull began to notice a little spider spinning a web within the confines of the cage. The spider became his main source of diversion for weeks.

One day, after an unusually dark day of discouragement, God spoke to him. “Geoffrey, look at the spider and tell me if he is comfortable as he spins and spins his web.” There was no doubt the little spider was enjoying his task, totally oblivious to Bull’s pain, discomfort and discouragement.

Then in that sweet, still, small voice the Lord came to him again and said, “You’re feeling the pain of confinement in your little cage, Geoffrey, while the spider is going about without any thought of restraint. Geoffrey, when I came to earth I confined myself to a body. Mankind is comfortable going about in this world of sin, but I was confined.”

As the days stretched into years, Bull was able to keep his mind on what God had done for him when He became man. The Lord of glory clothed Himself with flesh; willingly confined Himself to a human body in order to die for mankind.

No, confinement isn’t easy. Charlie and Zach certainly counted the days until they were freed from the confinement of foot and leg casts. The end results for both of them were positive. Today Zach plays baseball with the best of them and Charlie doesn’t even use a cane to walk with anymore.
(Zach pictured with his dad at the 2011 softball tournament held at House of Grace. Zach never misses a game!)

For thirty-three years Jesus traveled on this earth as the Word made flesh. (John 1:14) One day that confining body was placed on a wooden cross and He took our sins upon Himself. Today He lives in heaven to intercede for us. What a mighty God, who willingly took upon Himself the sins of the world. There was an eternal purpose in that act of confinement; an eternal plan that included you and me.

If your circumstances have brought you into confinement of any kind, think about Jesus and what He did for you. He understands better than anyone what you are going through. “Cast your burden on the Lord and He shall sustain you. He will never allow the righteous to be moved.” (Psa. 55:22)

Today, at almost 79 years young, Charlie keeps up an active lifestyle. Charlie definitely knows confinement, after 14 major surgeries! He's like the Energizer Bunny!

Thursday, August 4, 2011



Recently our dear friend Johnny Barton lost his lovely wife of 51 years. At Billie’s memorial service Johnny felt he was the perfect person to deliver his wife’s eulogy, saying, “No one knew Billie better than me and so I decided I should be the one to share about her life.”

We laughed, cried and rejoiced with Johnny as he shared about their wonderful life together as sweethearts for over half a century. The shared memories made us all feel like we knew Billie better.

When we meet her in heaven we’ll have to check if all the stories Johnny told were accurate…especially the one where he said she punched a man in the nose and told him to stay away from her daughter!

After the memorial service we invited some folks home for lunch. We hadn’t seen them in years and this seemed like a good time to share the roast chicken I had put in the oven before leaving for the church that morning.

We first met Coy and Carlene Goff in 1975 when I was a disc jockey at WVMG. Coy had a little auto body shop in Warner Robins and I was selling radio advertising. I knew I had a friend (and a sale) when I walked in his shop. He was listening to our station.

One day I invited him to bring his wife and his children down to Cochran for dinner. This was back in the day when our roof had so many leaks that Snuffy Smith himself wouldn’t have had enough pots and pans to catch them all.

I prayed, oh how I prayed, “Lord please don’t let it rain when Coy and his family come down for dinner.”

Obviously I didn’t have a very good connection to heaven because it not only rained…it poured…outside and inside! Carlene, whom I had never met until that evening, was in shock. Did people really live like Ma and Pa Kettle?

I don’t remember what we had for dinner that night, but I do remember I was always grateful the ceiling never leaked over the 7 foot round picnic table we had, nor over the chairs. Other than the drip-drip-drip of the water in the pots and pans we had a nice quiet evening.

After dinner I took the whole family to the radio station. I let them watch me make a commercial for their body shop, which was really fun for their little girls.

Many years later I found out that Carlene told Coy she would never be embarrassed to ask anyone to their house again after being with us. (During this time in their lives the Goffs had a very small home with unusually low ceilings. Today they have a beautiful large home on 200 acres and a thriving successful business in Warner Robins.)

What Carlene learned that day was friendship and love are not dependent on having everything ‘just so’. People don’t really care about your surroundings. They want to know YOU care! Our friendship has remained strong through the years and our love for each other has only grown.

God told the children of Israel to remember all the great things He had done for them in the past, because in remembering those things their faith would grow.

Our roof doesn’t leak anymore and the old wooden picnic table has been replaced with a more modern looking table. Our space heaters have been replaced with a central heat and air conditioning system and instead of a clothes line I have a dryer.

Sometimes Charlie and I sit on our porch swing (the same one that was here when we bought the old place in 1974) and reminisce about how good the Lord has been to us. There have been trials, but for every trial there has been matching grace. Life hasn’t been perfect (it never is), but we realize how much we have to be thankful for when we look back…when we remember.

“Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands. “ (Deut. 8:2)

A NEW GENERATION BUILDING MEMORIES (Grandchildren, Zach, Isaac, Graycen and Eli)