Thursday, August 30, 2007

What would you call it?

What would you caption this picture?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Home movies

Just thought I'd share one of our family videos from a few years ago. This is from a trip my family and I took to visit some of our old friends and neighbors. It brings back fond memories:

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Things I Love

Two of my favorite things: Antique Clocks and Stained Glass

It's time for another installment of things I love. I think it has to do with the time of the year. Since Fall is my favorite time of year, and while it's still early it's still feeling a tad Fall-ish's brought me to the "Things I Love" post. So...things I love:

1. Fall
2. Getting peanut butter out of a brand new jar.
3. Gardenias
4. Walking along and unexpectedly passing through an aroma of orange blossoms or jasmine.
5. Sharpening brand new pencils
6. Office supplies in general. I don't know why!
7. Anything Chris Rice.
8. A good movie
9. Recently, Facebook. It's been so fun connecting with co-workers and former students. It has made me feel pretty old, though.
10. Fall/Winter holidays. All of them. And pictures of Fall leaves. Mike and Carmi, I'm putting my order in now!
11. New ideas
12. Crisp Red Apples. Our family can't get enough of them.
13. Hills Bros. English Toffee Cappuccino mix.
14. Can't forget Starbuck's Mud Pie ice cream. I know I mentioned it on a previous list, but there is nothing like it on the planet. I think it's a sin to eat it.
15. That lightbulb moment kids have when they finally get something.
16. Teachers in general.
17. A few good preachers.
18. Studying. I don't get to do it as often as I like.
19. Mexican and Italian food. I don't think that will ever change
20. Gilmore Girls.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Promptings, Listening and Learning

Sorry, I can't take credit for this picture. I wish I knew who to give credit to, but I don't. But it's a nice picture!

I thought I'd share this over a cup of morning coffee:

Starting out the new year brings to mind my friend that passed away last April. It's easy to think of her at this time, because while I'm in the throws of beginning-of-the-year scheduling, and I'm looking over my protocols,her handwriting is all over the place. This is natural, because I took over her position when I started teaching at this school.

But it has caused me to reflect on some things that took place during the previous two years I taught. She and I remained in touch, often catching each other on Skype to talk about the job, and her life in China, and about some of her former students.

It was during this time that I felt a real need to let her know how a few of her former students were doing. She worked really hard and lay the groundwork for the successes in these students lives. And, as is so much the case in the teaching realm, she didn't get to see the fruits of her labor. Their success came after the years of hard work, patience and perseverance that she displayed in working with them.

I can only call my desire to let her know of their successes promptings. It might have been a small light bulb moment in one of my students, but I knew it was there because of her work and I felt strongly that she needed to know. So I followed those promptings, and I'm so amazed that I did! Really. It's sad to say, but life was so hectic and busy, that it wasn't always easy for she and I to connect, but I did. I am so glad I listened to that voice.

See, while I miss Andrea, and I do regret not speaking at her memorial (I don't cry pretty), I am so thankful that I don't regret anything else. Had I denied that voice, had I not told her about the fruits of her labor of love, I would be grieving her death in a much different way.

Sometimes listening to those promptings brings about a whole new level of learning. It's that other level that God wants to take us to. The hands-on learning. Not just the book knowledge, but the life application part and the understanding part. He's there on that new level, just waiting to hand out the blessings that go with it.

So here's to promptings, listening and learning, and the blessing of peace that is there along side. In the end it's not about me, but it allows me to grow anyway.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


There's something to be said about people who have grown up in difficult times. I don't think we understand difficulties in the same way as generations before us. I realize there are folks and families who suffer, but to suffer as a complete generation I'm sure changes how one views the world.

Mamaw and Papa, my mom's parents, were such people. I remember sitting in Mamaw's kitchen shelling crowder peas during summer vacation. If one pea fell to the ground and rolled under a chair or cabinet, they found that pea. It was something we would tease them about. They recycled without being told to do so. They lived frugally, even though they didn't have to. They had what they needed, and that was that.

Their lives weren't easy. Papa had rheumatoid arthritis, and suffered a slow deterioration of his health and independence. I'm sure that had to be hard, since he was a strong vibrant man in his youth. But Mamaw took her place at his side as caretaker, without ever complaining. She was his wife, and this was what she was called to do. Her job of caretaker was not glamorous, and she received no "atta girl's" or "way to go's" She just did what she was supposed to do. She was a part of that great generation, who knew suffering, knew how to do without, how to ration....and it taught her to love the moment.

In all of the years of knowing Mamaw, I never knew her to say a cross word, even when we were visiting and filling her house with noise and bed rolls. Huge breakfasts of homemade biscuits, scrambled eggs and gravy were the norm, and evenings filled with card games and dominoes, or watermelon seed spitting contests were our entertainment. She would start cooking two weeks before we arrived, because she wanted to ensure that each grandchild had their favorite dessert. Mine was chocolate chess pie.

What did all of that work accomplish? Her children and grandchildren grew up knowing they were loved. We knew how to have fun without having to be entertained. Her children and grandchildren have fond memories of catching fireflies in jars and lining the front porch with them, or riding the lawn mower around the yard. We look back on our times at her home, and one word comes to mind: contentment.

It's what Mamaw emulated. She lived her life content with what she had, who she was, and what she was called to do. It wasn't glamorous. It wasn't exciting or adventurous. But it instilled in all who knew her this much forgotten quality. All I need to recall it is a piece of chocolate chess pie.


* 1/4 cup butter
* 1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 1 tablespoon flour
* pinch of salt
* 1/2 cup milk
* 2 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 unbaked 9" pastry shell

Melt butter with chocolate. In a mixing bowl, combine chocolate and butter mixture with sugar, flour, salt, milk, eggs, and vanilla; beat with electric mixer for 5 to 6 minutes. Pour filling into prepared pastry shell; bake at 350° for 35 to 45 minutes, until set.

Well, that was strange.

I don't know if it's because of our new abode which is a row house, but this typhoon just didn't seem bad. It especially didn't seem like a category 4. We were living on the 6th floor of an apartment building during the last category 4, and our windows shook and felt like they were about to blow out. The wind whistled and blew water into the house through the tracks of the windows. But this time, we hardly heard a sound. We had rainstorms this summer that were worse. This storm blew directly over us, too.

So, what we thought might be a night of moving things from the bottom floor to keep them from being ruined turned into a nice little rainstorm and nothing more. The southeastern part of the island received the first hits, so I'm sure they have some damage, but as for us, on the Taiwan Straights side, we're doing fine.

No dramatic pictures, though.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Category 4

That's how big this typhoon is. Should hit in the middle of the night. This should be good. Gusts to 165 mph, sustained winds at 120 mph.

See you on the other side! (Of the typhoon, people.)

Pictures to come...

Friday, August 10, 2007


Here is the macro shot I was talking about. Isn't that starfish the cutest little thing? We almost couldn't see it because of the angle when we were looking into the tank. My daughter is the one who saw it. I like the way the seahorses are out of focus in the background. I wish the color was a bit more crisp, but it was hard to get a shot without a reflection on it.

By the way, seahorses are mesmerizing. I could watch them for hours.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Path Before Me

I took this picture at Torrogo Gorge a couple of weeks ago when my sister-in-law and niece were here. We took these just before we undertook the six hour trip through the mountains in the dead of night. We were oblivious of the perils before us, mainly because we couldn't see the thousand foot drops just inches from our car tires. We COULD see the one lane tunnels and narrow openings, AND...the smoking brakes on the other side of the gorge. What a trip.

Paths. I like pictures of paths. And roads. They represent a lot for me, and are symbolic for many reasons. This picture represents the work of a craftsman, someone who took pride in his work. He knew this path would provide enjoyment for people for years to come, because of the beauty they would be able to take in while walking this path.

Paths represent places where others have traveled before me. My way is easier because of the work someone else has done. This is no more true than in missions. When we lived in the village, I had luxuries that were never afforded those of just a decade before me, the internet being one. I may not have had water or electricity every day, or running water in my kitchen, but I did have a computer and access to my family just about any time during the week. My friend visited with her three small children and called me a pioneer woman with a computer. Funny but true. However, I could not imagine doing the work we did without that small bit of technology enlarging my world and keeping me connected.

Paths represent something else, too. They represent a journey. A route presented before me. I don't know where it leads, but I have an idea of direction. I will walk this path with others. Some will be with me a short while and we will encourage each other on our journey. Others will work to direct me off of my path, to more difficult places I was never intended to walk. But all along, there is Someone who walks with me, protecting me, guiding me, even when our paths with others veer away for various reasons, good and bad. He directs my paths, and makes His way known to me. This is my path, and no one else can walk it for me. Some of us will walk a long way together, but in the end, I will report on my journey and mine alone.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Mimi's Eulogy

Mimi's funeral was a real celebration of her life. All (7) of her kids made it there, and some grandkids, too. There were also quite a few pastors and people that are in ministry now because of Mimi and Papa's ministry. Below, I have posted her Eulogy, which my dad wrote/presented (all of the kids had some part in the service). It's long, because it chronicles their life and ministry (including their elopement!) but it is a good reminder of days gone by, and the lives that were led before technology. I especially liked the part about Mimi making breakfast for the soldiers they would find sleeping in their cars on Sundays.

So.....Mimi's Eulogy

We all know her by different names. Honey, Mom, Mrs. Ledbetter, Tot, Aunt Fleta, and Mimi. She was my mother. Most of the time I called her Mom. She was wife, cook, house cleaner, Pastor's wife, teacher, and a host of other titles - and all of them fit. Her parenting style was not soft and cuddly, it was more in the mold of a Marine Drill Sgt. She was born in grinding poverty at the beginning of World War I. She went through the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean Conflict, Viet Nam, Desert Storm and the Invasion of Iraq, and was not moved or dismayed by any of these man-made disasters. She had a firm, grounded, and sure faith in her Lord.
She went from battery powered radios to the internet. From the horse and wagon to space ships. She lived in a time when there was hardly any cars to the time when there are concrete arteries clogged with teeming millions of them. Her family walked through plowed fields of cotton, corn and Johnson Grass to watching others walk on the moon. What kind of an impression did that make on her? Not any that I could notice. She cared very little that a person could walk on the moon. She would rather know if you walked with the Lord.
Entertainment for the Powers family was far different from ours. A group of neighbors would gather on a porch belonging to one of the families in the group. One would have a guitar, another a mandolin, another a fiddle, (There was never a violin) then maybe there would be a Jews Harp, an accordion and any other musical instrument they could round up, and they would strum and pick the evening away, playing and singing all the old songs they could remember.
The kids who couldn't participate, or didn't want to participate in the music, played hide-n-seek, Red Rover Red Rover, Blind Mans Bluff, or any other host of games. Some would chase fire flies and put them in a jar. Others would just sit and talk.
Another source of entertainment was the Funnies from the Sunday Newspaper. Grandpa's budget was so tight he could not afford the subscription price. So they would wait until late Sunday evening and then go over to a neighbor's house to get their paper. Their version of recycling. One evening Mom and her closest competitor Aunt Mae was commissioned to get the Paper. Somehow Aunt Mae got the paper first and headed out the door a step or two ahead of Mom. After telling them thank you and good night, Mom took off after her. She knew if she didn't catch her, it would be the next day before she got to see the funnies. They flew down the street, rounded the corner with Mom breathing down Aunt Mae's neck. As she got ready to reach out and slow Aunt Mae down long enough to get the paper from her, every thing came to a jumbled stop. There were fierce animal noises, papers flying everywhere, and two young ladies screaming to the top of their lungs. Recovering as fast as they could they beat it back to the neighbor's house to report that they had been attacked by a bear. With lantern and shotgun in hand he started out to solve the mystery. The solution was not long in coming. They had run headlong into a 400 pound sow and her piglets who had escaped a neighbor's pen.
Not every evening ended that way. Most were quiet and unspectacular. Mom attended and excelled in school up through the tenth grade. That was one grade short of graduation. They only had eleven grades in those days. Grandpa needed her to work and help support the family which she did for a couple of years. One day she was standing on the east side of the Hillsboro High School when some guys from the local Civil Conservation Corps camp came walking by. One of them happened to be a brash young man by the name of Lloyd Sanford Ledbetter. He broke from his group and asked her if she would like for him to buy her a coke at the local drug store. She consented, and a romance began. Six months later On June the second, 1935, they were standing in front of their parked car in the middle of a dirt road in Blanton, Texas where Dad's brother-in-law performed the marriage ceremony that made them man and wife. They had eloped. Two weeks later her parents found out, and although they didn't like the way it happened they welcomed their new son-in-law into their family. That marriage lasted over 64 years.
When Dad separated from the CC Corps, they moved back to Cleburne, Texas, Dad's home town. With Mom's support the first thing they did was settle into a new church home. After visiting several churches in Cleburne and Ft. Worth, they decided on a small congregation there in Cleburne. It was the Chase Ave. Baptist Church. Their preacher at the time was Rev. Moon Mullins, a long time friend of my Dad's. Bro. J. Vernon McGee followed him, and then came Bro. Loys Vess. Dad and Mom both were saved under his ministry. After Bro. Vess was Bro. George Sullivan. This pastor had the heart of an evangelist and wanted to hold a revival meeting down town. It was when gasoline for cars was rationed. He felt it would allow them to reach more while not being a financial burden on the families. The Deacons informed him that he could do that if he liked, but when the meeting was over, don't come back to Chase Ave.. That was when Calvary Baptist Church of Cleburne was formed. Mom and Dad were charter members.
It was during these years that I came to see my Mom in a new light. One of my cousins had put on a little height and weight and thought he could push mom around. She pushed him away and told him to go fly a kite. He reached out to take hold of her and quick as wink she slipped her arm around his neck and stepped across in front of him and executed a hip roll that would make Hulk Hogan green with envy. He never bothered her again. I can still see the shocked look on his face as he lay on the floor trying to catch his breath.
A short time later Dad was called to preach, and moved from Cleburne to start the Calvary Baptist Church of Belton, Texas. Mom willingly gave up her home, their savings account, her family and kinsfolk to follow Dad in his new venture. One of the ministries she was called on to fulfill was preparing meals for soldier boys stationed at Camp Hood, later it was changed to Fort Hood. Dad dealt in automobiles to help support us in the ministry. Most of the churches funds came from Dad's tithes. My job was to go around to all the cars he had in our yard and wake up any of the soldiers asleep there and invite them in for breakfast. It was not unusual on Saturday's and Sunday's to have as many as five or six soldiers for breakfast. One who really stands out in my mind was one I missed one day. He came in after breakfast was over. Mom never batted an eye. He got breakfast, and as he sat there eating, Mom pressed upon him the Gospel and his need to get saved. He believed what she said, received Christ as his Savior and was baptized that Sunday. Six weeks to the day after he was saved he was shot dead on a battlefield in Korea. He came that close to a Christless eternity.
From Belton, we went to Sherman for nine months. Dad was an associate pastor to Bro. Sullivan, and then on to Gainesville to the Bible and Central Baptist Churches. What was developing in Mom's life was a burden for children. She started out with the young ones, but by the time Dad was pastoring the Central Baptist Church in Gainesville, she had moved up to teach the teens. She was my only youth director until I arrived at Baptist Bible College. There was one time when for a few months Bro. R. D. Wade was my youth director, but it was not long enough for me to be corrupted. Joke! Joke! He felt called to preach and soon headed to south Texas to pastor the church Dad had started. After I left home for College Dad and Mom moved to Sherman where they pastored for 17 years. From that ministry, there were as many as 30 young men and young ladies who went out from her youth department to minister the Word of God, literally around the world.
One of Mom's many talents was to welcome a host of people on a moment's notice. Dad would call her and say, "Mom, the Jones, missionaries to Mexico just pulled into town, can you help them out?" Mom would say, "Send them over, we'll find something to set on the table." And sure enough, by the time they got there, there would be a table full of food. Mom could make a pork-n-bean salad that was to die for. If you lived on a deserted island and that was all you had to eat, you could live off of it. With all the things Mom put into it, it supplied 100% of the minimum daily requirement for all vitamins and minerals, and a few other trace elements.
From Sherman, Mom and Dad moved to California, and after a short stay in Long Beach they moved to Fresno and ministered there for 23 years. From California she moved to Georgetown after Dad passed away. It was my privilege to be her primary caretaker after we lost Dad. When I say that I was the primary caretaker, I really mean Bettye was the primary caretaker. Mom trusted Bettye and would respond to her many times when she wouldn't respond to me. And sometimes when she was feeling ornery, she would do what I said and ignore Bettye. She had to be busy in the Lord's work, so we put her over the older children in Children's church. It was not unusual to see here bringing several children forward in our services to be saved. One of our girls, Jacqueline Mladan told her folks, if you didn't get saved, Mimi would beat the salvation into you. She would correct them right in the services, and out loud if they weren't behaving.
But the time finally came, she just did not have the patience for the ministry anymore, and one day as I was escorting her into the house, she confided in me - "Don, you need to find someone else to teach my class. I can't stand up to teach it any more and I just can't stand sitting down to teach.
Mom was a very simple person.
She lived by two simple rules.
One was, Obey all of God's rules.
The second one was, Obey all of my rules.
And, if there is a question, obey my rules first and then we will work on the others.

Don in Georgetown