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Feb 1, 2016

Don’t die with your book in you!

Cannons and Hodges NDCBF Dec 2014

Cannons and Hodges NDCBF Dec 2014

Three very special people in my life answered the call of death this month. First, My Play Brother Casey Cannon. He was my friend and partner in crime for over 26 years. His wife and I were single ladies together. We fellowshipped at church, meet in a couples group and raised our children together. He was simply one of the best people I’ve ever meet. I was able to still be a tomboy and “little sister” with Casey, even though I was older.  He helped me set up my craft shows.  He let me drive his stick-shift truck without a second thought of me stopping the gears or wrecking it all together.  He helped me gather and haul what I call “Casey’s Magic Water” in Hot Springs, AR.  Many of you who are connected to me on social media may remember that I’ve written and asked for prayers for him and his family for the past few years. He’s now all better, because #CaseysHome! I ask that you please continue to pray and send kind thoughts to his wife Michele and their four children.

CAUAA-DFW at Denise Johnson Stovall Services

CAUAA-DFW at Denise Johnson Stovall Services

Next was my college friend Denise Johnson Stovall. She and her husband were a few years older than me when we meet on the campus of Clark College (now Clark Atlanta University) . Eventually, they relocated to Dallas and were instrumental in helping to start our first Alumni Chapter. I was President then; ironically, I’m reprising my role as President now after a 24 year break.

On January 19, I spoke to them, arranging to pick them up for our next meeting. We were so happy to be coming together again with a new and energetic group of Alumni members in just a few short days. The last thing we talked about was finishing our books. Me, spa lifestyle and gardening books. I admitted I’d put these off for much too long, apologizing that they were not “heavy” subjects and I had been distracted trying to find “the hero” in my story.  They both said, “So! Get the books out there, especially something that will help us live healthier!”  Her book would be exploring the challenges of being “differently abled” within a church setting, being “First Lady” and the role of the church in dealing with issues such as poverty and women’s health.

Her husband Charles, was a former Methodist pastor.   She a former reporter for various outlets, including the United Methodist Women publications. They both had health issues. I said, “That’s right Denise, we don’t want to die with our books in us!” We laughed, saying we couldn’t wait til Sunday.  The following night Charles called me with shocking news, “We lost Denise – she is gone!”  A series of seizers had lead to a stroke, from which she would not recover this time.  Her 23 year battle with Multiple Sclerosis was over.  I went to the emergency room to be with him, their daughter and of course Denise.  God was so gracious to give me a Spirit of Courage vs Fear at the exact time I needed it.

I am resurrecting my books and getting them done!  They live in my computer and head – probably like so many of your talented works of arts, poetry, prose, etc.  No more – because, “We don’t need to die with our books (etc.) in us!  I’ve encouraged Denise’s daughter to go through her computer to glean what she can and get then out to the public.  I know that there are many blessing contained in her words.  Here’s a sampling of Denise’s writing from a few years ago.  Are you holding out on your waiting public by not getting your talents from under the bushel basket?  Take them out from under there so they can give light to everyone in the house.  Matthew 5:15   The signs are all over everywhere and my last conversation with Denise sealed it.  My books will be good enough – NO, they will be great!  They will be about my passions.! They will be blessings to others.! And most of all God will continue to bless my efforts!

Cousin Charlotte (THHMB Family Reunion 2015)

Cousin Charlotte (THHMB Family Reunion 2015)

Lastly, a cousin I had only recently meet at our Family Reunion in Memphis passed away last week.   Though our encounter was only for that weekend, we struck a cord with each other.  Charlotte was in a wheelchair and obviously dealing with some health issues.  As part of the Planning Committee, I was pretty busy with the details of the event.  I was also providing samples of my Rbellah Soaps to our family members.  Wanting to make sure everyone received a gift, I limited each person to one until everyone was covered.  I let Ms. Charlotte know that.  She told me she was going to remind me.  And she did – several times!  I made sure she got her extras.  She was so happy!  She had such a strong but sincere personality.  And she could maneuver that electronic wheelchair.  I would not want to get in her way!

So that’s been my month of lives coming to an end.  Even though it’s sad on so many levels; what I’m taking away from these earthly partings is that we must strive to live everyday of our lives as fully as possible.  No matter if we are afflicted with physical diseases, we can get through it.  We can lose our jobs and earthly possessions.  We can lose loved ones.  We can still live our best life – day by day.  If we are a care-giver, we can show love and compassion to our loved ones.  Don’t forget to take some time out for yourself, though!  If everything is going Marvelously in our lives, reach out and help someone who may need something as simple as your presence, your smile, your phone call, etc.  I believe we do good by helping others and by the “Splash Effect”, we help ourselves.  Go ahead, give it a try!

Until next time remember, “We’re all in the middle of something.  The question is, what are we going to do to make it Marvelous?

Rhonda

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wife, mother, sister, friend. Business owner, writer, photographer. Yes, it's a lot but life is full of opportunites and we should take full advantage of them.
Scripture Memory Verse:
SMV: Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed. Prov 16:3