Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dub's Double Trouble

Meet our beloved grandfather. Known to us as Gigi. Known to his friends as Dub. He is the one second from the left. He is the centerpiece of our family and one of my favorite people in the world. He is full of life and love. He has always lived his life full throttle, no holds bar. When Joshua was given the assignment to interview a relative and write about them, Gigi immediately came to my mind. He has lived an adventuresome life, surviving the Depression, two wars and even a plane crash. I hope you enjoy the following true story as much as we enjoyed recording it.

Interviewed by: Joshua Grogan
Written by: Joshua Grogan and Mom

“Dub’s Double Trouble”
It was a beautiful, sunny day in November in Murray, Kentucky. The year was 1965. I had just left church service and was on my way to the Murray Airport. While I was driving to the airport, I thought back on the past four years. I had spent those years working tirelessly on building a two-winged bi-plane. I had built the entire thing from scratch. It had taken hours of my time and had seemed like an endless journey. Finally, though, I had finished it. Even though I was forty-five years old, I sure didn’t feel like it. I felt like I was twenty again because accomplishing such a difficult task as building an airplane made me feel like I could do anything.

When I got to the airport, I opened the garage door. I stood back for a moment to admire my bi-plane. What a beauty! There she stood in all her glory, white with red stripes. The body was built out of metal tubing while the wings were made out of wood. It had an upper wing and a lower wing. ‘Double Trouble’ is what I had named her. I would soon find out that her name fit her well.

I got in my bi-plane and started it up. I drove it out onto the runway. I wasn’t quite ready to take her up yet. I wanted to get some more practice handling her and get a feel for her attitude before flying her. I did this by driving it down the runway and pulling the joy stick back a little so the plane would get some feet off of the ground. I had already spent some afternoons driving her up and down the runway practicing with her. Recently, I had installed a new propeller and was anxious to see how she flew with it.

I started down the runway, going about 80 miles per hour. Then I pulled the joy stick back a little and the plane went straight up in the air. “Whoa!” I exclaimed. I didn’t know that the propeller was going to give it so much more power. Instead of lifting off the ground a little, the plane went full force straight up into the air. I was going to be flying this plane today whether I liked it or not! I continued to pull back the joystick so the plane would keep climbing upward and gain altitude. When I climbed to about 500 feet, the plane could not gain any more altitude and the plane went into an air stall. An air stall is like driving a car up an icy hill with your tires spinning and not going anywhere. When a plane air stalls, it literally quits moving because it doesn’t have enough speed behind it to push it up. The only way to get out of an air stall is to pull your joystick forward and go into a nose dive. I did this, hoping I could get enough speed behind it to lift back up into the air. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough air space to bring the plane back up. As I was quickly approaching the ground, I realized the plane was going to crash. I said a quick prayer to God and said bye to my wife because I thought my life was over. Right before the impact, the plane cut left making it hit the ground upside down. It hit with such force that it dug a two foot hole in the ground. I felt like I had been in an explosion. I couldn’t believe I was still alive! Hanging upside down, I noticed that my legs were stuck in the crushed metal. I jerked and pulled, finally cutting loose. I had not been wearing a seatbelt (later I found out that had I been wearing one it would have cut my body completely in half upon impact). I was soaked head to toe in gasoline. Then I saw people running towards me from the airport.

“Dub, are you all right?” they shouted.

“I’m fine!” I assured them. They looked at me doubtfully, pretty sure that I was not telling them the truth.

“I’m going home,” I said, starting for my truck.

“No, don’t! You don’t need to drive!” they yelled after me.

I wasn’t listening to them though. I ran to my truck, jumped in and drove home. I don’t remember much about that drive home (later, I would find out that my body was in shock). When I pulled up into my driveway, I forgot to hit the break and drove right into the side of my house. I am sure not too many people have been in a plane wreck and car wreck all in one day and lived to tell about it!

My wife took me to the hospital where they determined I had a fractured ankle, a broken leg and several scratches and cuts on my face. I ended up staying in the hospital for three days.
I was thankful to be alive but remorseful that I had crashed my beautiful airplane, ‘Double Trouble’. Sadly, I never got to experience flying this plane that I had worked so hard to build. I sold the salvaged parts to a man in Alabama, who rebuilt it. He said that she was a mighty fine plane and had many adventuresome times in the sky with her.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sophie's Baptism

If you read my last post, you know that the last couple of weeks have been difficult and sad. But there have definitely been sweet moments that I know God orchestrated as a way to shine some rays of sunlight down on the storm. One of those moments was Sunday when Sophie got baptized. How perfect that the timing of this event was so close to the year anniversary of my mother's death! Such a picture of redemption and of being able to celebrate life during a time when death is so on the forefront of my mind.

There were many beams of sunshine this week in regard to Sophie's baptism. For one, on Tuesday, the actually anniversary of my mother's death, I went to my hometown where my brothers and sister live to spend the evening with them. I got there in the afternoon. I went to visit my mother's gravesite and then went up on the town square where the gymnastic studio is that my sister runs. I was going to go in and see her. As I pulled up, I noticed the little jewelry store, Hutchinson's, right next door to the gymnastic studio. Seeing it brought back so many childhood memories! This is where my mom bought any jewelry I was given growing up. My first necklaces and bracelets came from this store. I suddenly had an idea. How special it would be to buy Sophie something here for her baptism! When I walked in the door, it was a comforting sight. Everything was exactly as it had been when I was growing up. The front room had all the display cases of jewelry while the adjoining room contained greeting cards. I can remember as a child looking through the greeting cards while my mom shopped. It appeared that the same man who had worked there when I was growing up was still chugging away in the back room, wearing his magnifying glass over one eye as he worked with the delicate jewelry.

Only a week earlier, Sophie had been admiring my charm bracelet. She loved the idea of adding charms based on what you enjoyed and where you've been. So, it seemed only fitting when I ended up buying her a charm bracelet and getting a charm with a cross on one side and the date of the baptism on the other. The first of many charms to come that will tell the story of her life. As my first charm bracelet was also bought from this store by my mom, it felt as if she was a part of this purchase too and made it all the more special.

The morning before church, we gave Sophie her charm bracelet. Of course, she was thrilled! To complete the specialty of this gift, the Lord did one more thing that just made the purchase and giving of the charm bracelet seem 'just right' and seem so full of Him and His love. The last song we sang as a congregation before the baptism was 'Come Ye Sinners'--a beautiful old hymn about our neediness and sinfulness and the power of Jesus. Here is the chorus:

I will arise and go to Jesus, He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior, Oh, there are ten thousand charms.

Wow. I thanked Jesus at that moment for being so involved in the purchase of Sophie's charm bracelet. For letting it be a symbol representing her inheritance that is waiting for her in heaven. Yes, dear Sophie, while your charm bracelet we--your earthly parents--gave you is exquisite and beautiful, dainty and sweet, it is just a very tiny picture of what is to come. One day you will be in the arms of your Savior beholding innumerable charms with untold beauty--beauty beyond human comprehension.

The baptism was so very special and honestly, there are just not words to describe this moment for us personally and for our church. You see, our church just began two years ago and we are currently meeting in a hotel. This was just our second baptism service. The first baptism service was also special in a completely different way. Mostly because it marked the beginning, the first of many more to come. This one, though, was evidence of God's hand upon us, growing us and guiding us. It was a celebration of seeing God work in people's lives. As friends and family surrounded the pool it put a new meaning to the bible verse '..being surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses..' It was intimate. It was personal. But most of all, it was Spirit-filled. Ten people were baptized. If I close my eyes I can picture a multitude of angels rejoicing over this. After the last person went down in the water, our song leader led us all in one more song around the pool:

On Jordan's stormy banks I stand, And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan's fair and happy land, Where my possessions lie.

All o'er those wide extended plains, Shines one eternal day;
There God the Son forever reigns, And scatters night away.

I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for promised land,
I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for promised land.

No chilling winds nor poisonous breath Can reach that healthful shore;
Sickness, sorrow, pain and death, are felt and feared no more

I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for promised land,
I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for promised land.

When shall I reach that happy place, and be forever blessed?
When shall I see my Father's face, and in His bosom rest

I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for promised land,
I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for promised land.

Sophie's sweet friend Maddie bending down to congratulate Sophie.

Sophie's sweet friends! It warmed my heart to see her surrounded by her precious friends on this day...but whoa, they are looking way too old--quit growing up!!!
One more thing I have to include. There was a bridal show going on that day at the hotel in a room right across from where the pool was located. As we filed out of the pool after the baptism, there was an orchestra playing Canon in D. You know, the song that is traditionally played as the bridal attendants come down the aisle. The one right before the bride arrives. The song that makes you tear up and gives you chills. The song that represents the bride is coming, and the groom is preparing for her. Once again, God is in every detail. It was as if he wanted these ten newly professed Christians to know how very pleased He is with happy He is that they made a decision to be the Bride of Christ. So happy that He announced it with trumpets. Another reminder that He is preparing for us and our arrival--another small picture of what it will be like someday in heaven!

Monday, February 23, 2009


This month has been a month of remembering. My mother passed away on February 17 last year. I had no idea that the year anniversary of this date and the weeks leading up to it would be so painful and difficult. Each day of this month leading up to the 17th brought back memories of what I was doing a year ago that same day.

The month started with Wes' birthday on the first. We had a grand time celebrating his birthday with a few of his friends coming over and having a Clone War's party. We then quickly moved onto Joshua's birthday on the 12th. Of course, this is when it started really getting difficult. From the 12th on, each day I became more painfully aware of what I was doing on that day. Hardest of all, are the things I regret not doing. As I have relived each day, especially the day at the hospital on the day she died, I am bombarded with images that I wish I could erase. Oh, they are memories that I wished weren't there! The biggest word, though, that keeps going through my head is: REGRET.

-regret that I made the decision to go as planned on a trip to celebrate my oldest's son's birthday the Friday before she went in the hospital. I will always wonder if I had chosen to go to Indiana and be with my mom instead of going to Nashville if things would have turned out differently...

-regret that I asked the doctor a question that resulted in him taking her off the ventilator when he did...

-regret that I let the busyness of life keep me from going and spending more time than I did with my mom...why didn't I spend more time?

-regret that I couldn't handle watching her gasp and struggle to breathe and didn't stay in the room the whole time because it was so unbearable to watch. Oh, how I wish I had stayed right beside her now. Now I feel like I abandoned her.

Over this past year, the Lord has flooded me with his grace, joy, love and peace. He has healed my heart from so much of this--or so I thought. But then, as the year anniversary of these days came, all of those painful feelings resurfaced again. It has been like walking through it all over again, except this time, I feel all alone. Everyone around me is going on with their normal lives while I am stuck in this sad place with these sad memories. People want you to just move on and focus on the happy memories and not the sad. I suppose it is uncomfortable for them if you don't. Yes, focus on the good. Sure, that sounds good. I sure do wish I could do that. But it's just not as easy as all that. I can't just stuff all that down and ignore it. Neither can I stand still and allow it to keep me immobile and buried. There is no way around it. No, I must walk through it.

While no person can understand the loneliness, the pain, the sadness, God CAN. And He can use His people to allow beams of sunshine on these cloudy, gray days. He has done this for me. And those things are what have gotten me through these very dark days. A starbucks card from my neighbor on the 17th touched my heart. A knock on the door on the morning of that day--a friend bringing me a hug and my favorite candy meant the world to me. My daughter rallying our boys to make a card for me, with her writing 'You can do it!' along with 'have a good day. The Lord will guide you threw and threw' brought a smile to my face (and the smarties taped on the back of it--well that was an instant mood lifter!). The delivery of a bright flower on a bleak day...a listening ear...watching our kids so Eric and I could have a date...these have been rays of light and have kept the loneliness and sadness from taking over. (Sidenote: if you have a thought to do something for someone, do it! Don't dismiss it as something too small and insignificant. That small thing might be the thing that keeps that person going. I am preaching to myself too!)

The devotions on the 17th and 18th in My Utmost His Highest seemed directly sent from God. The one on the 17th was called 'Taking the Initiative Against Depression' based on 1 Kings 19:5 "Arise and eat"-- here is what it said:

'The angel in this passage did not give Elijah a vision, or explain the Scriptures to him, or do anything remarkable. He simply told Elijah to do a very ordinary thing, that is, to get up and eat. If we were never depressed, we would not be alive--only material things don't suffer depression. If human beings were not capable of depression, we would have no capacity for happiness and exaltation. There are things in life that are designed to depress us; for example, things that are associated with death. Whenever you examine yourself, always take into account your capacity for depression.

When the Spirit of God comes to us, He does not give us glorious visions, but He tells us to do the most ordinary things imaginable. Depression tends to turn us away from the everyday things of God's creation. But wherenever God steps in, His inspiration is to do the most natural, simple things--things we would never have imagined God was in, but as we do them we find Him there. The inspiration that comes to us in this way is an initiative against depression. But we must take the first step and do it in the inspiration of God . If, however, we do something simply to overcome our depression, we will only deepen it. But when the Spirit of God leads us instinctively to do something, the moment we do it the depression is gone. As soon as we arise and obey, we enter a higher plane of life.'

The devotion on the 18th was titled 'Taking the Initiative Against Despair' based on Matthew 26:46 "Rise, let us be going":

In the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples went to sleep when they should have stayed awake, and once they realized what they had done it produced despair. the sense of having done something irreversible tends to make us despair. We say, "Well, it's all over and ruined now; what's the point in trying anymore." If we think this kind of despair is an exception, we are mistaken. It is a very ordinary human experience. Whenever we realize we have not taken advantage of a magnificient opportunity, we are apt to sink into despair. But Jesus comes and lovingly says to us, in essence, "Sleep on now. That opportunity is lost forever and you can't change that. But get up, and let's go on to the next thing." In other words, let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him.

There will be experiences like this in each of our lives. We will have times of despair caused by real events in our lives, and we will be unable to lift ourselves out of them. The disciples, in this instance, had done a downright unthinkable thing--they had gone to sleep instead of watching with Jesus. But our Lord came to them taking the spiritual initiative against their despair and said, in effect, "Get up and do the next thing." If we are inspired by God, what is the next thing? It is to trust Him absolutely and to pray on the basis of His redemption. Never let the sense of past failure defeat your next step.'

So, here I stand. I stand amidst sadness and despair. But I am trudging forward in faith. I am arising and doing those ordinary things of life--this is keeping me from sitting immobile in the muck and mire. And I am not dwelling on those things in the past that I cannot change. I am letting God's grace and mercy wash over me each morning and looking towards the future. With God's strength, I will overcome.

'Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.' Isaiah 43:18, 19

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Africa Bound!

My sweet friend, Nicole (pictured below) and my sweet friend Tricia just arrived in Namibia, Africa to work with orphans with African Inland Mission. Nicole will be there six months and Tricia will be there three. Please be in prayer for them! You can keep up with them here.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Quotes/thoughts I am trying to get my head around this week

  • No one is able to take this stand for Jesus Christ who is not totally compelled by the majesty of His power. It is the only thing that matters, and yet it is strange that it's the last thing we as Christian workers realize. Paul said that he was gripped by the love of God and that is why he acted as he did. People could perceive him as mad or sane--he did not care. There was only one thing he lived for--to persuade people of the coming judgment of God and to tell them of "the love of Christ." This total surrender to "the love of Christ" is the only thing that will bear fruit in your life. And it will always leave the mark of God's holiness and His power, never drawing attention to your personal holiness.
  • Are you ready to be less than a mere drop in the bucket--to be so totally insignificant that no one remembers you even if they think of those you served? Are you willing to give and be poured out until you are used up and exhausted--not seeking to be ministered to, but to minister? Some saints cannot do menial work while maintaining a saintly attitude, because they feel such service is beneath their dignity.
  • We are in such a hurry, always doing, that we are in danger of not allowing God the opportunity to work. You may be sure that God will never say to us, "Stand still," "Sit still," or "Be Still," unless He is ging to do something. This is our problem regarding the Christian life: we want to do something to be Christians, instead of allowing Him to work in us. Think of how still you stand when your picture is being taken, as the photographer captures your likeness on film. God has one eternal purpose for us: that we should be "conformed to the likeness of his Son" (Rom. 8:29). But in order for that to happen, we must stand still. We hear so much today about being active, but maybe we need to learn what it means to be quiet.
  • To obtain true intimacy in relationship, it requires 100% truth; it requires sometimes speaking hard things but speaking those things in love. It is risky to be intimate. You have to get past the surfacy 'how was your day?' conversation and get down to what is really going on in the other person.

Monday, February 2, 2009

This is my doing (1 Kings 12:24)

My child, I have a message for you today. Let me whisper it in your ear so any storm clouds that may arise will shine with glory, and the rough places you may have to walk will be made smooth. It is only four words, but let them sink into your inner being, and use them as a pillow to rest your weary head. "This is my doing."

Have you ever realized that whatever concerns you concerns Me too? "For whoever touches you touches the apple of (my) eye" (Zech. 2:8). "You are precious and honored in my sight" (Isa. 43:4). Therefore i t is My special delight to teach you.

I want you to learn when temptations attack you, and the enemy comes in "like a pent-up flood" (Isa. 59:19), that "this is my doing" and that your weakness needs My strength, and your safety lies in letting Me fight for you.

Are you in difficult circumstances, surrounded by people who do not understand you, never ask your opinion, and always push you aside? "This is my doing." I am the God of circumstances. You did not come to this place by accident--you are exactly where I meant for you to be.

Have you not asked Me to make you humble? Then see that I have placed you in the perfect school where this lesson is taught. Your circumstances and the people around you are only being used to accomplish My will.

Are you having problems with money, finding it hard to make ends meet? "This is my doing," for I am the One who keeps your finances and I want you to learn to depend upon Me. My supply is limitless and I "will meet all your needs" (Phil. 4:19). I want you to prove My promises so no one may say, "You did not trust in the Lord your God" (Deut. 1:32).

Are you experiencing a time of sorrow? "This is my doing." I am "a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering" (Isa. 53:2). I have allowed your earthly comforters to fail you, so that by turning to Me you may receive "eternal encouragement and good hope" (2Thess. 2:16). Have you longed to do some great work for Me but instead have been set aside on a bed of sickness and pain? "This is my doing." You were so busy I could not get your attention, and I wanted to teach you some of My deepest truths. "They also serve who only stand and wait." Infact, some of my greatest workers are those physically unable to serve, but who have learned to wield the powerful weapon of prayer.

Today I place a cup of holy oil in your hands. Use it freely, My child. Anoint with it every new circumstance, every word that hurts you, every interruption that makes you impatient, and every weakness you have. The pain will leave as you learn to see Me in all things.

Laura A. Barter Snow