Bindings: Reflections on faith, life, and good books

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Posted 4/21/15 at 1:38 AM | Ramona Tucker

Shall We Dance?

The lights dimmed. The room began to spin as my husband and I glided across the floor as if in a dream. Then the alarm rang. It had been a dream. As I lay in bed getting the resolve to move and face the day, I thought about the previous Friday evening when my husband, Chuck, and I had gone dancing for our date night. “T-A-NG-O” rang in my ears as I heard the instructor teach us the dance steps.

Actually, we were getting pretty good. Only I always left the studio somewhat perturbed with myself for getting so antsy with Chuck. “Don’t be so wooden,” I’d fuss. “Be more graceful; make sure your arms are positioned in the right way.” Then, to make things worse, I’d try to lead. After all, I was doing it right! Wasn’t I?

After a barrage of criticism, I would look at Chuck’s face, only to discover I had dampened his spirits and ruined an otherwise fun evening. I’ll do better next week, I’d tell myself. I’m still trying to do better next week. I’ve learned something about myself through dance. I’m still trying to control our relationship, not just in the tango, but in other areas of our marriage as well. It hurts to admit, but it’s true. But admission is a good place for change to start. FULL POST

Posted 4/16/15 at 1:11 AM | Ramona Tucker

Ballparks have Come Alive Once Again

That time of the year has arrived once again. Coats have been put in closets, short pants and short sleeves shirts have been pulled out of winter storage, lawnmowers buzz in neighborhoods, and the cracking of bats fill the air in ball parks. Well, actually, these days with aluminum bats that sound may be more of a clink than a crack. Most teams, with the exception of the majors, don’t play with wooden bats anymore.

While I’ve been an Atlanta Braves fan most of my life, last Saturday I had the joy of watching the Cubs and the Pirates. My all-time favorite player wears number eight for the Cubs. He had a great game. Strangely enough, he never hit a single ball out of the infield but he got on base every time he batted. I’m not sure that any player in the majors has done that. That young man can run! He also scored every time he got on base. Did I mention that number 8, is my grandson, Drew? I also don’t think I told you that he doesn’t play in the majors, at least not yet. No, he doesn’t play for the Chicago Cubs but the Beulah Cubs. He’s five years old and they hit the ball off of a tee. They have almost as much fun as their parents but not nearly as much as their grands. FULL POST

Posted 4/13/15 at 1:00 AM | Ramona Tucker

HOW THEN SHOULD WE PRAY?

Twenty years ago God burdened my heart for corporate prayer in a way that I had never experienced before. Sure, as a believer for thirty years I had done my share of praying, but this was different. God so saturated my heart and mind with the desire to pray that I devoured every book, every resource, every sermon on prayer I could get my hands on.

One book that stood out above the rest in its simplicity and practicality was What Happens When Women Pray by Evelyn Christenson. It was as if someone had turned a light switch on for me. No longer did prayer groups have to be long and boring, listening to one or two people drone on and on while the rest slept. With renewed excitement, I took Christenson’s format and organized three small group women’s prayer meetings which met during the week. Our groups found the style non-threatening and freeing. Here is what we did. Perhaps you will find these ideas helpful in your group. FULL POST

Posted 4/8/15 at 2:13 AM | Ramona Tucker

What Does It Take To Be A Writer?/

Invariably, whenever I speak somewhere, someone will come up to me afterwards and say, “I’ve always wanted to write a book.”

Typically, I respond, “What’s holding you back?”

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over my years of writing, it’s this: The dream of writing will remain a dream if you never set pen to paper. 

Writers write. Period. Not all that profound, really. But the mere two-word sentence made me sit up and take notice the first time I heard it through the Christian Writers Guild.

How true it is—writers write. About everything, from the maiden blush of spring to the birth of a baby. No subject is off limits to the one obsessed with observing life and crafting words into workable essays, articles, and stories based on those observations. FULL POST

Posted 4/5/15 at 10:54 PM | Ramona Tucker

The Ultimate Gift from a Heart of Love

Everett Smith and my Dad were first cousins. His mother and my grandfather King were brother and sister. Everett and his wife, Sylvia, had four children, three girls and one boy. The oldest girl, Janice, was one year younger than me and two years older than Kaye, her closest sister. I loved going to their house in Bremen, Georgia, to visit when I was growing up. They were a great fun loving Christian family. They lived in a large two story brick house with a basement that Everett had built. I had never been inside a house as big or as nice as theirs. They even had a pool table in the basement. I didn’t know how to play well but I sure enjoyed trying.

One night, in the wee hours of the morning, they woke to the smell of smoke. All of the bedrooms were located on the second floor. By the time anyone realized that the house was on fire, the bottom floor and the stairs were engulfed in flames. Janice was about fourteen. Her father helped her out onto a lower roof on one end of the house. From there she jumped to the ground. She sprained her ankle but still managed to find a ladder and raise it to the roof. Her dad helped the other three children through the smoke filled house to the ladder. All four children made it out of the house safely. Everett returned to help his wife out but by this time something had fallen on her and she was unconscious. Everett refused to leave her there to die alone. He probably could have gotten out and lived had he been willing to leave his wife behind but he simply could not. That is the power of love. FULL POST

Posted 3/31/15 at 12:44 AM | Ramona Tucker

A Tale of Two Churches

Celeste Road Baptist Church and Turnerville Baptist Church are located five miles from one another. North of Mobile, Celeste Road is in Saraland and Turnerville is in Chunchula. Recently they have shared more than their close proximity to one another. Both congregations have suffered tragic loss yet both have survived and continue to operate in the aftermath.

Sunday, October 20, started out like most every other Sunday at Celeste Road. The church gathered for the morning service with no idea of what was to come later that day. That afternoon around 4:00, Pastor Eddie Holmes received a call with news that the church was on fire. As he drove to the church he expected to find a small extinguishable fire. As he pulled into the parking lot he watched in shock as the roof caved in and the entire steeple fell to the ground. The church was totally engulfed in flames and burned to the ground. FULL POST

Posted 3/27/15 at 12:33 AM | Ramona Tucker

Why THE SILVER CHAIR by C.S. Lewis Is My Favorite of the Narnia Series

The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis tells of two children helping a prince escape a dark witch’s underground kingdom. It includes my favorite Lewis character, Puddleglum, a gloomy marsh creature.

Despite Puddleglum’s ongoing pessimism, he’s the one who stays the course, an encourager. He rallies the children when they are caught, forever it seems, in the underground kingdom, wondering if an outside world really does exist.

The witch taunts the children. She says this outside world is only make believe.

Puddleglum answers: “Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things—trees and grass and sun . . . Suppose the black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. … four babies playing a game can make a play-world that licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play world.” FULL POST

Posted 3/23/15 at 1:25 AM | Ramona Tucker

Billy Bob Goes to Ole Miss

Well actually Billy Bob didn’t go to school at Ole Miss but he was close. Nearby might be a better way to describe it. Not long ago I was invited to do a program of humor and music as my character Billy Bob Bohannon at First Baptist Church in Oxford, Mississippi. The large downtown church is located only about a half dozen blocks from the edge of the University of Mississippi. Truthfully, that is about as close as I or Billy Bob has ever come to going to Ole Miss.

I arrived early to set up. Among the instruments Billy Bob plays is a rare electric guitar. Did I mention that it was custom crafted from a wooden commode seat? Because it has a Fender guitar pickup and Fender pick guard I call it a Fender Flush. Others have called it a Commode-caster and a Seat-tar.

I had everything set up and perfectly placed on the stage. Left of center I had placed my banjo and mandolin in their stands. On the right stood my six string acoustic guitar and on that far outside end, for all to see and enjoy, stood the Seat-tar. FULL POST

Posted 3/16/15 at 1:05 AM | Ramona Tucker

A Call for Even the Most Unlikely to Obey

Judging from the Bible, God can call almost anybody to a task. We understand why he might call an Isaiah. This prophet was educated and perhaps connected to Judah’s royal house.

Of course, God also called Amos to be a prophet. Amos was a laborer, working with fig trees.

Then there was Abraham, too old, one would think. Or Jeremiah, who supposed himself too young.

He called rough fishermen and the scholarly Saul/Paul. He called Deborah and Anna, women in an age which tended to relegate the important work to men.

God called people who didn’t want to be called, like Jonah. He called Hosea, who had married a woman of ill repute.

What is important is not their status in life. What is important is that they obeyed God’s call (after first running away, in Jonah’s case).

Jesus once told a story about two sons. One said he wasn’t going to obey his father and work in the vineyard; He later changed his mind and went to work. The other said he would do as his father asked, but he never went to the vineyard. Which one them, Jesus asked, did the will of his father? “The one who obeyed,” Jesus’ hearers answered. FULL POST

Posted 3/13/15 at 1:25 AM | Ramona Tucker

Hey You Left Your Headlights On

Billy Bob Bohannon went and bought himself a new truck. He had been driving an old ragged out Ford Exploder that had over 300,000 miles on it. After all those years and miles his Exploder exploded. The only reason it didn’t have more miles was because the odometer broke a couple of years ago. He splurged on his new truck and even got a few extra features that he had not had before. He got the normal features like power windows, seats, and door locks. He got what he considered to be the really important features like a CD player. When the salesmen told him it came with a CD changer, ole Billy Bob being the kidder he is, said, “You mean they don’t put 8 track players in them anymore?” When the salesman demonstrated some of the special features to Billy Bob he showed him the headlamp switch. He turned the knob all the way to the right and explained, “This is how you turn your lights on and off manually. One click to your left and your lights will come on and turn off automatically.” Billy Bob looked at him and said, “Seriously? Why does anyone need lights that come on and go off by themselves? That’s not the same as having to get up and walk across the living room to change the television. The light switch is right there within arm’s reach. Maybe somebody caught that Carpet Tunnel Syndrome from twisting the light knob too many times. The salesman snickered and said, “I think you mean Carpel Tunnel.” Billy Bob asked, “Well will that lazy boy light switch dim the lights automatically too?” The salesman answered, “No sir, Mr. Bohannon, but you don’t have to stomp that little metal button in the floor anymore.” FULL POST

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