Friday, December 19, 2014

Then He Smiled At Me

I was listening to the radio the other morning and the song “The Little Drummer Boy” came on.

I’ve heard it a million times.

I’ve sang it a million times.

I watched the claymation movie when I was younger.


But I’ve never really paid attention to the lyrics.

I mean REALLY paid attention.

Read them:

Little Drummer Boy: Lyrics
Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum 
A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum 
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum 
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum, 
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum, 
When we come. 

Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum 
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum 
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum 
That's fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum, 
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, 

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum, 
On my drum? 

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum 
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum 
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum 
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum, 
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, 

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum 
Me and my drum.

I had no idea that this song was about realizing our purpose.

Let me explain.

“I am a poor boy too”

Don’t you love that this line says, “too”?

That means that the drummer boy recognized that our King of Kings was right then, right there, “slumming it” in a manger.

He could have had all the material things of this world.

But he was lying in a manger.

The drummer boy could relate to that.

God is so good to meet us right where we are.

No matter who we are.

“I have no gift to bring,
That’s fit to give the King.”

Havent we all, at some point, felt "not good enough"?

But the pure humbleness of the little drummer boy’s “not good enough” revealed his ultimate need for a savior. That on his own, he was destined for death and that through this baby, death would be overcome.

I could see how the drummer boy would be overwhelmed 
with a gift big enough, 
appropriate enough, 
worthy enough, 
of such a sacrifice.

One day, in heaven, we will feel the same when we are presented with crowns bejeweled. We will be thoroughly aware our own unworthiness, so much so, that we will cast those crowns right at the feet of Jesus, the only one worthy.  (Revelation 4: 9-11.)

“Shall I play for you… on my drum?”

Of course, the only gift the drummer boy could offer is the very gift hed received from the one he desired to play for.

And I love that he asked permission.

Seeking the will of God.

And he waited to receive it.

“Mary nodded”

Speaking for her son and her savior, 

too young to speak on His own, 

using the Spirit to prompt her to nod, yes.

“The ox and lamb kept time”

Can you even imagine?

I envision them like a swaying gospel choir filling in behind the manger and the the little drummer boy.

…that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, 
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.”

Philippians 2: 10-11

“I played my drum for Him.
I played my best for Him."


This isn’t about giving a gift.

It’s about using our gifts.

About honoring the King, Jesus, 
with the gifts He’s given us.

The part that struck me the most when really listening to the lyrics was:

“Then He smiled at me."

Isn’t that amazing?

He smiled! This tiny, new born baby, smiled in encouragement at the little drummer boy!


This baby,
 our King, 
made flesh, 
yet still God, 
recognized the gift offering of 
the little drummer drumming his drum.

Pa rum pum pum pum

“Then He smiled at me.”

While this very human baby was in need of all the care a newborn requires,

He was still God, who is love

and he couldn’t help but smile at the little drummer boy.

Not in a thumbs-up-I-am-the-Roman-emperor-and-I-am-pleased kind of way.

But in an encouraging-attaboy-yay kind of way.

How could He not?

This young boy, had it right.

He didn’t scramble to buy something he couldn’t afford 
in an attempt to impress the King.

He didn’t try to add up all his good deeds in a 
performance report for the King.

He didn’t run away assuming he could never 
be good enough for the King.

In fact, he didn’t think his gift was 
“not good enough” at all. 

He simply asked permission to offer it.

“Then He smiled at me.”

Not because it was the greatest drum solo ever.

But because it was the

Being in the presence of the Lord,

offering back what we’ve been given.

And we get that opportunity every day.

We just have to recognize it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Thanksgiving at Fripp

In these final days before Christmas, I think I should finally get around to talking about our Thanksgiving.

We went to Fripp Island, South Carolina this year.

Our beloved Fripp.

We’ve always wanted to see what it was like in a different season.

Due to a nor’easter slamming the coast, it was much cooler than it normally should’ve been.

But it didn’t stop McDaniel and Ellie from laying out on the beach.

Those our my yoga panted legs and tennis shoes.
It was chilly!
People walked by in their coats and stared at the girls.
Someone commented that they must be from Canada.
It didn’t bother me at all that it was cold.

I always wondered if Fripp would still be my beloved Fripp outside of the summer season.

It was.

It was still beautiful.
The beach doesn’t change with the seasons.
But the leaves changed on the non-palm trees.

It was still the most relaxing place on the planet.
You can NOT be in a hurry in the presence of Spanish moss hanging from the trees.
You can’t.
It’s not possible.

It was still the most entertaining place with nothing to do.

Doesn’t that cloud look like a big fish getting ready to eat something?
McDaniel was so excited that she was finally old enough to drive the golf cart around the island.

Even though driving the golf cart around the island meant creating more wind. More cold wind.

I was so glad I brought my boots with me.

Finding pumpkin decorations on the steps of the houses was so cool.

And this was even more cool:

McDaniel fell in a ditch and twisted her ankle right before this picture.

Everything had a beautiful glow about it.

The marsh grass turned gold.

We always see lots of deer at Fripp but we couldn’t believe how many more we saw this trip.

It’s against the rules to feed the deer on the island.
And the alligators.
Monte decided to bend the rules.
Not about the alligators.

Look at the dolphin swimming right up to all the pelicans. I just typed penguin instead of pelican. It wasn’t THAT cold.

My mom made this cute turkey cheese ball Thanksgiving Day.

Don’t you love his side-eye look?

The girls made these chocolate covered pretzel turkeys.

They realized that when they stood the candy corn beak up it turned into a penguin and when they put it flat, it turned into a turkey.

I’ve never walked on the beach on Thanksgiving Day before.

I liked it.

Mr. Pilgrim Nutcracker made the trip too.

It was by far the most relaxing trip ever.
My dad napping.
McDaniel and Monte sunning themselves in our front yard.

Black Friday on the island didn’t start at midnight. Or 4:00 am. It started at the very reasonable 10:00 am. and involved 30 unique vendors. None of which were Wal-Mart.

McDaniel bought herself a monogrammed chevron scarf.

We did go up to the gift shop at the front of the island where everything was 40% off. There was a line of about 15 people waiting to check out. I’ve never seen that many people in the gift shop ever.

Apparently, my mom didn’t notice all the people forming an orderly line because she just walked right up in front of all of them, plopped down her items and checked right out.

I think the gift shop employee was too appalled 
and filled with Southern hospitality to protest.

I tried to indicate to Mom, WITH MY EYES, the wrongness of her line-cutting.

But then I noticed all the people in line indicating WITH THEIR EYES the wrongness of her line-cutting, so I sided with them and stayed quiet.

Really, really quiet.

I quickly devised a  “She didn’t take her pill this morning.” 
answer if anyone asked.

That night there was a Christmas celebration that involved Santa and Mrs. Claus riding into the Beach Club on a firetruck. With the sirens and lights on.

As we were headed to the hot chocolate station, I spotted Frosty the Snowman with his “handler” who had an ear piece waiting to get the word on when Frosty should take his place with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

It looked just like the Frosty that McDaniel was TERRIFIED of when she was little and visiting Santa back in Ohio.

The same Frosty that kept following McDaniel around the park thinking posing for a picture would make her day but instead it TERRORIZED her.

Monte had to pull Frosty aside and tell him to “Back off, Bub!” 
or he was going to have to pop him in one of his eyes made out of coal.

So when I saw that the Frosty at Fripp looked just like that, I hollered for McDaniel to come and see.

Because I’m a fun mom like that.

When I turned around, Frosty was MUCH closer to me than before and staring directly at me.

In a scary clown kind of way.

So I screamed as I snapped this picture.

That’s why this is fuzzy. I was screaming.

Frosty was a bit surprised by my reaction.

As was the Frosty Monte had 
“to have words with” 
back in Ohio.

So much so, that Frosty jumped a little and lost his hat.

We all laughed out loud.

And didn’t dare help Frosty.

That’s why this is fuzzy. I was laughing.

Santa had a beautiful outfit. His chair was throne-like. 

We didn’t realize that right by the hot chocolate were also the loud speakers.

So when the countdown to the tree lighting was announced, we were all a bit blown away.

It was all very echoey in a “Never mind the man behind the curtain.” 
The Great and Wonderful Oz kind of way.

A line formed to sit on Santa’s lap. When I loudly asked if Mom would like to just cut to the front of the line like she did earlier at the gift shop, a woman in front of me pushing a stroller, stopped, turned around and indicated to me WITH HER EYES that she was familiar with Mom’s cutting ways.

Let’s just say she was not filled with the holiday spirit.

The lights were beautiful!

Monte submitted this picture in a contest that would
include the winning picture in a calendar.
He hasn’t heard back yet.
I’m not sure who’s idea it was to attempt a group selfie as the sun was going down.

But we should’ve known it was going to take several tries.

We felt like we were in one of those Hallmark Christmas movies where the big city guy or gal is forced to spend the holiday season in a small town. 

In fact, we watched that movie at Fripp. It starred Candace Cameron Bure. 


My dad predicted every plot twist in the movie. 

Apparently that was not his first rodeo.

And by rodeo, I mean Hallmark movie.

It finally did warm up on our last day at Fripp.

So my dad could enjoy his afternoon nap at the beach.

And no one accused my girls of being Canadian.

So, in conclusion, Fripp Island is a wonderful place to visit during the summer or fall.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Today Monte and I have been married 19 years.


That seems like an enormous amount of time.

Well, it did until we were on a flight to Nashville yesterday sitting next to an older lady who, out of the blue, asked us how long we had been married.

Monte proudly told her and that it was in fact the day before our anniversary.

She told us that she was married 67 years.


She didn’t hesitate to tell us her story.

She was 90 years old.

Her husband had just died on Halloween at 93.

Their 68th anniversary would’ve been November 26th.

They were married on the eve of Thanksgiving, 68 years ago and they came back 
to their family’s house the next day to eat turkey with them.

She was beautiful, sharp, with caring eyes and a lovely smile. She was on her way to Jacksonville, Florida to spend Christmas with her daughter.

She told us how her husband was a pilot in World War II and an airplane salesman.

Yeah, that was his actual job!

I loved hearing her talk.

On the elevator in the hotel in Nashville, Monte and I figured out how old we’d be on our 67th wedding anniversary.

We decided not to count on celebrating that one.

I’ve been wondering what I’d say to a young couple on an airplane about my marriage 40-some years from now.

It would be hard to condense it down.

I guess I’d mention that we met in Atlanta at the corporate headquarters of Waffle House.

That we moved to Ohio even though Monte hated the cold and had to use an inhaler every time the temperature changed.

Which was a lot.

I’d somehow find the words to get across how much Monte loved his Florida Gators.

And Fripp Island.

And how the idea of his girls growing up made him cry.

Ellie and McDaniel on the first day of 7th grade
and 10th grade.

McDaniel posing for a friend for photography class.
He teared up when he saw it.

I would explain that Monte was a reluctant handyman.

Fixing our door knob.
A bird whisperer of sorts.

Freeing the bird trapped in our addition with a broom.
A frugal man with a large head.

Monte bought this hat for $6.00 at a truck stop. He
said there were 3 sizes:  Large, Extra-large and Trucker.
Trucker fit him.
A hero to his family.

Our Halloween costumes.
And our Christmas card.

Not above cleaning up the dog poop

of his beloved Nigel.

Happy Anniversary, Monte! 

I hope we get to TOGETHER tell our story to a young couple on a plane one day.

Here’s to 19 more.

I love you!

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