MESSING WITH TELEMARKETERS                                                                                                 Andy Hollifield 1-5-19
I don’t think there is a verse of scripture that can apply to what I am about to write. I have developed a new hobby that irritates the devil out of telemarketers. I figure it like this; if they want to waste my time with their constant Robo-calls I will just talk to them. In this article, I will list a few things I use to start a conversation that usually ends up at some point with me getting hung up on. How rude can you be? They call me and then hang up without even saying goodbye.

This year started off with me finding out from a phone call that I had a check coming to me from Publisher’s Clearing House. I have waited all of my life to win but I gave up on it years ago and line the trash can with any mail I receive from them. Since I hadn’t entered I was amazed that I had won. This gentleman that called had trouble pronouncing my name, to begin with. Had he been looking at an entry form it isn’t that difficult to pronounce. He began by asking me to verify my info so he could pull me up in his database. I told him that since he obviously had my phone number and name, he could use that to pull up my info. I also told him that I would need him to verify my info back to me so I could verify the call wasn’t a scam. Apparently, his computer system is outdated because he couldn’t pull up my info unless I gave it to him. I asked him to notify me by mail and we could take it from there. Then; the sound of silence. I guess his division of PCH doesn’t use US mail. My phone also lost connection the next day when Kingston, JM called. That was what was on my caller ID so when I answered and he asked for me by name, I got excited and said: “Hey, is this JM Kingston?” I’m not sure what happened but the line went dead before he could answer.

I immediately looked up PCH online to notify them of the suspected fraud. I looked on their website the question “How are winners notified?” The answer was that the prize patrol will show up on your doorstep for prizes over five or ten thousand dollars and otherwise they would notify winners by mail but never by phone calls. I called my mom to inform her about the scam and what I had found on the website. I had even called the customer service number for PCH and the nice lady there said it was definitely a scam. A little while later, mom called back and said she was also a winner. Wow! Two winners in one family on the same day! The funny thing about her call was that when she told the man that her son had talked to PCH and they told me it was a scam. Apparently, that hurt his feelings and he didn’t want to talk anymore. Easy come easy go I guess.

With my luck running so high, I wasn’t surprised when I received not one but two different phone calls with my last opportunity to extend my vehicle warranty. Since it would have been rude to hang up, I pressed one to speak with a warranty specialist (AKA telemarketer). The calls were from two different companies and neither of them has very well-mannered customer service personnel. When I got to speak with them, they thought I had called them to extend my warranty. I quickly informed them I was responding to their call. I asked them which vehicle they were wanting to warranty. Was it the van with 241,000 miles or the Honda with over 230,000 or maybe the Dodge with 209,000? I guess we must have gotten disconnected because I never did find out which one they were calling about.

As my good luck would have it, I just kept getting calls from people wanting to help me save money. The next call was some nice foreign man wanting to lower my interest rate on my credit cards. Again, he asked me to verify my info and I told him since he obviously had it right in front of him he could tell me what credit cards I had and what the balances were. When he was reluctant to do that I reminded him that according to his message my credit history had been reviewed and I was deemed eligible for lower rates. That was why his company had called me, to begin with. It was because of my great credit history and on-time payments. I just couldn’t understand why someone who knew that much about my finances would need me to verify anything. I told him if he would give me the info I would know that it wasn’t a scam call. He assured me he had no “malicious intent” but when I still didn’t give the info I must have lost a golden opportunity because we too got cut off. Oh darn! It was my last opportunity to lower my interest rates. I guess I will have to wait until tomorrow to have one more “last opportunity.”

That brings up another little issue I didn’t even know I had. Apparently, my phone must not be working properly because all of these people said they had been trying to reach me. I think these folks should probably contact the Asheville Fire Department and the Sheriff’s Association and also the State Trooper Relief Fund. They don’t seem to have a problem getting ahold of me so maybe they could help all of the others to reach me. I hate for anyone to encounter so much trouble just trying to save someone money.

Getting back to the interest rate people for a minute, I have found out that if you say, “I didn’t know you would do that for someone in bankruptcy but you better believe I would be interested in your program” I start having the same phone problems I mentioned previously and start dropping calls.

I also found out if say, “Federal Trade Commission Fraud Division” my phone suddenly conks out on me again. I thought maybe I needed to be a local agency so I tried saying, “Sheriff’s Department Fraud Division.” That didn’t work neither because my stupid phone conks out on me every time. I don’t know how a feller is supposed to take advantage of all of these good deals if his phone keeps cutting people off. I don’t usually like to answer like that because I don’t like telling a lie.

The last one is those nice gentlemen from Calcutta, India who are always wanting to fix your computer for you even when there is nothing wrong with it. They’re so nice they even offer to remotely clean your computer and make it run faster if you will give them remote access to it. When they tell me the price, I usually have to check my bank account to see if I have that kind of money. When I ask for their number so I can call them back, my phone seems to always cut off at the crucial point of the conversation. At least I guess it’s my phone. I am sure being major companies in the business of helping the rest of us save money, they probably have a top-notch system and never lose calls.

As you can tell, this whole article is sarcastic. I hope maybe I have given you some useful info on how to mess with telemarketers. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. The best part is this info is made available to you for the once in a lifetime, low, low, price of zero down and only four monthly payments of zero dollars and zero cents. Money-back guaranteed.

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WORTH THE WAIT                                                                                                                                 Andy Hollifield 1-4-19
Psalms 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. (ALL SCRIPTURE USED IS KJV)
I want it now! Isn’t it funny how that when we want something from the Lord we want it now? But, when he wants something from us, we want him to wait until it’s convenient for us. The word “wait” is used 106 times in the bible. Twenty-one of those are in Psalms.

The Psalmist David was a man who was well acquainted with waiting and from reading his life story, he didn’t like it any better than we do. He waited on the Lord to lead and teach him (25:5), for his divine preservation (25:21), and strength and courage (27:14). The next one merits talking about.

Psalms 37:7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

The one thing that I have trouble with the most is waiting for the Lord to deal with a situation where someone prospers even though they are wicked. Especially when I am trying to live right and seem to always struggle. Those who commit evil against me have a way of bringing me to my knees. It isn’t usually to “pray for them which despitefully use” me (Matthew 5:44). I have to admit it is usually wanting the Lord to avenge me. We are promised in verses 9 and 34 of Psalms 37 that the Lord will avenge us and cut off the evildoers. I believe that is why he began verse 7 with “Rest in the Lord.” We can rest assured that God will take care of our enemies even though it isn’t usually in our time frame. I would like to think I am the only one that struggles with that kind of animosity but we’re all made of the same dust so I doubt I am.

Verse 34 says while we are waiting on him we are to “keep his way.” David said in Psalms 39:7 he waited on the Lord because his hope was in him. It would do us good to remember who our hope is actually in. It should be in him rather than our own plans and abilities. Psalms 52:9 says he will wait on the Lord’s name because of all the things he has done. I can’t help but have my hope in him when I remember all he’s done in my life. What a blessing to be named as one of his. Psalms 59:9 says he will wait on the Lord because he is his defense. Just like he did at Jericho for Israel, if we will be obedient and wait on him he will fight our battles and bring us victory. In Psalms 62:5 he declares that his “expectation is from him.” If we would learn to wait on him because we expected him to move on our behalf, how much heartache could we avoid? Even in those times like in 69:3 when we are weary of crying and our throat is dried and we can’t even cry anymore, we should still have our hope in him. What hope do we have if not in him when we get to those dark times in our lives?

Psalms 104 speaks of not only man but also all creatures and creation and how they wait on the Lord and depend on him to sustain them. I saw one example recently about this on TV. In the Arctic, Polar bears have to wait for the ocean to freeze so they can walk across it and hunt seals to sustain them. The same ice that creates a hardship for other animals provides these bears with life. While we may be enduring hardship in our lives, someone else may be strengthened by what we have to endure. They may be drawn to the Lord when they see how he sustains us even in those hard times. Psalms 123:2 speaks of waiting for the Lord’s mercy and 130:5 speaks about waiting because our soul hopes in his word. Psalms 145:15 says, “The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season.” What a blessed relief when we are waiting and watching for him and see him bring just what we need right when we need it!

When you read all of the things David endured throughout his life, There are a lot of those things that could have made him bitter. The death of his son because of his sin of adultery and murder, having Absalom turn against him, rape and incest in his immediate family, the betrayal of Saul, his life as a fugitive, and the ridicule of his brothers in his youth. Any of those things could have made him turn from God but yet he turned to him. Why? Because he knew the Lord was the only hope he had and he believed his word and waited on him.

I don’t know what you may be facing in your life right now. I hope these scriptures have encouraged you to “tough it out” resting in the Lord knowing he will deliver. It should be no surprise after the way God delivered in David’s life he would say in 27:14, “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” The Jews believe it was penned on the occasion of his deliverance when Abishai slew the giant for him and Israel vowed to not let him risk his life in battle anymore. Regardless of when he wrote it, he did so based on his personal experience with the Lord. Don’t give up now. You too will be able to look back one day and testify how the Lord gave you courage and strengthened your heart in your battles and delivered you. Things may be tough right now but to have that testimony about your God, it will be worth the wait. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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IT’S ALL IN HOW YOU LOOK AT IT                                                                                               Andy Hollifield 12-31-19
Ecclesiastes 7:8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
I am sure there are a lot of people that would agree with that scripture when talking about this year. Truthfully though, we say the same thing every year. The pessimists will probably look at the end of this year while the optimists look forward to the possibilities of a new year. In all honesty, it just one day. It’s a turn of a page on a calendar and one last second on the clock that separates the end from the beginning.

There isn’t a lot I can say to encourage each one of you because only you and God know the kind of year you’ve had. Looking back, I still don’t think I’ve ever had as rough of a year as 1983. It was in January of that year that the world as I knew it came to an end. On the seventeenth, I was informed I would either have a kidney transplant, start dialysis, or both within a year. Three months later, my first real love told me she wasn’t going to see me anymore. Three months after that was when I started dialysis and three months later in October, was when I spent three and a half weeks in the hospital due to my kidney transplant rejecting.

That being said, 2011-2013 would come close. June 2011 was when I went out of work and my hip replacement went bad due to infection caused by poor stitching by the doctor of all things. The next year wasn’t quite as bad overall but I was learning to live on far less than what I had made working but I adjusted. As things sometimes do, they went from bad to worse. It was in December of 2012 I was notified by my insurance company that my long term disability was being terminated. That was also the month I was administratively terminated from my job at Fed Ex Freight after seventeen years. In 2013, I began to prepare myself to lose everything I had worked for all of my life. I was 46 years old, disabled, too broke down to work and too young not too.

In retrospect, 2007 would have to be considered also. That was the year my dad spent the whole year sick, was diagnosed with terminal cancer in June, and passed away in October. Other than that, it wasn’t such a bad year.

Now that I have probably made you feel sorry for me and maybe even jerked a tear out of you, let me go back and give the other side of the story. It was in January 1983 when I was told in so many words that although my kidneys were pretty much shot, there was hope for my survival and the doctor had a plan. As far as dialysis goes, if it had not have been available I would have most likely died that year. Thankfully, I only had to spend two and a half months on dialysis because my older brother had been tested and approved as a kidney donor. It was on October 6th, 1983 at the age of 181/2 my life would begin again. Over the next three and a half weeks I was the recipient of more of God’s grace than I ever thought I would ever need. My kidney rejected overnight. It went from amazing the doctors to rejection in a matter of a couple of hours and was scheduled for removal to be given to someone else. Three of five possible doses of steroids and a lot of urgent prayers later it was working perfectly again. God had put me in a position to humble me and show me how great his grace and mercy was even though I was too backslid to appreciate it like I should have at the time.

The transplant was 36 years ago this past October and it is still working fine. I had been told in 1983 that transplants typically lasted about 20 years if anyone took care of themselves and followed doctor’s orders. Little did I know on October 28, 1983, when I walked out of the hospital, that my kidney would ever last nearly four decades and still be going strong.

As far as the girlfriend, we are still friends as far as I know even though I haven’t seen her in years. She overcame cancer in her late teens or early twenties and has gone on to have a good life and raise a son.

It is hard to spin 2007 in a positive way because the loss of your dad is something you always wish was different. At the same time, I have to be thankful for the fact that he lived three and a half months after he was diagnosed. My prayers for dad’s healing got answered even though it didn’t happen where I wanted it to. The upside is that he didn’t have to suffer any longer than he did and it could have been a lot worse. I asked the Lord during that time if he wasn’t going to heal dad and it was his time to go home, to just let him be “daddy” when he left. The Saturday before he passed, he sat in his easy chair for the first time in at least a couple of weeks, ate breakfast, drunk coffee, and spent a few hours visiting with family. He did so well that if it hadn’t been for the oxygen hose, you almost wouldn’t have known he was sick. The night before his crossing, he had endured a rough day during which he didn’t talk much if at all and spent most of the day sleeping. At about 8:20 I believe it was, I arrived at his house with my niece who I had gone to Tennessee to bring home from college. When she came in and mom told dad she was there, he came to life like they hadn’t seen all day. She is the oldest grandchild and we believe he hung on to see her because he had seen everyone else. He passed less than 12 hours later and received the healing he so desperately needed and finally saw the one he had lived his life waiting to see. It could have gone a lot worse in a lot of ways except for God’s mercy and grace.

To explain 2011-2013 I need to go back to a conversation I had in 2002 with my then pastor Rusty Rector. On a mission trip to Kentucky, we were coming home in the church van and he asked me, “Just how far do you want to take this thing?” He was speaking of H.O.P.E. Ministries that I had started only a few months before. I have never forgotten my answer. I said, “I would love to do it full time but there’s not any money in it and I have to make a living so I don’t see that happening.” Little did I know that only nine years later the Lord was going to take away my career, show me how he could let me keep all I had spent my life working for, give me back my health, all while putting me into full-time mission work. I learned through those years you better be careful what you ask for because God might just give it to you. Now at the end of 2019 and looking forward to the 18th anniversary of our ministry in March, I would have to agree with Mark 7:37 and say I am “beyond measure astonished” because “He hath done all things well…”
According to Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” That includes both the good and bad in our lives. We know he is working everything in our lives to our eternal benefit even though it may not look like it at the time. I don’t suppose that Elijah was hiding in the cave on the run from Jezebel thinking how great everything was. I am sure he had no idea that down the road a little way, God was going to rapture him home to heaven in a flaming chariot. We just need to learn to trust God and his divine providence knowing he knows what we need before we even ask. Romans 8:26 says “…we know not what we should pray for as we ought…” Verse 28 says God takes care of us “…according to his purpose.”

Looking back at 2019 I must admit I haven’t always understood God’s purpose. I just have to trust him and be thankful he has a purpose he is working in my life. In 1983 and also in 2011-2013, I had no idea what God was doing in my life and it didn’t even look like he had a purpose. Whatever you have faced in 2019 or will face in 2020, you can rest assured that God is working His purpose in your life and he hasn’t forgotten you. He still does “all things well.” Remember; “It’s all in how you look at it.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!! Happy New Year!!!

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GIFTS THAT TRANSCEND                                                                                                                     Andy Hollifield 12-26-17

***You will notice the date is from 2017.  As I reread this, I decided I would publish it again in hopes of maybe encouraging someone.  I hope you enjoy it.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is far from above and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
Every good gift and every perfect gift. I usually like to put the emphasis on giving but sometimes you get a gift that really means something. Christmas 2017 will not be forgotten for a couple of reasons in our family. We are mindful that it is the day set aside to celebrate our Savior’s birth and the best way to do that is with those you love. Family, food, and fun were what my day consisted of, which is probably like most people’s. But as I mentioned to start with; every so often you get a gift that goes beyond words and redefines your whole day and transcends all your expectations.
I have said for years that Christmas really ends for me with the completion of the H.O.P.E. Ministries projects each year. As I have gotten older, I have made the change from the giddy receiver of gifts to a grateful giver. Just to think that something I give to someone might really be that gift that, as I mentioned, transcends expectations, is what excites me now. I am not writing to brag about anything but to express my gratitude to the people in my life that gave me those gifts this year.
I first want to mention a young lady that thinks I helped her but has no idea what it has done for me. To know that something you might have done actually makes a difference is one of those gifts that transcend. I was blessed with a phone call a couple of weeks ago that put me in touch with an expectant mother that was about to be homeless. Most of you have already read a lot about her but what you didn’t realize what exactly what that situation was doing for me. Also, just to know that there are still people in this world that love people enough to open their home and heart to someone in a desperate situation is indeed a gift that transcends. The gratitude of this young lady is a gift in itself that we don’t see near often enough. I am sure that little man of hers when he arrives, will always have a special place in my heart as well as in the hearts of her surrogate family.
I thought after that situation that it probably couldn’t get any better but I am man enough to admit when I am wrong and I was. I have always claimed that I am a relatively simple man and don’t have to have a lot of “stuff” but I had made up my mind that I was going to find me a good tactical flashlight, like the police use, shortly after Christmas. My wife insisted that I make her a list so that was one of about four things I put on it. I also got the others but the flashlight was the one I wanted most.
But I have to tell you, it only got better from there. To see my son’s reaction both at home and his nana’s and also at grandma’s (my mom) was the stuff memories are made of as usual. I enjoyed that and as I walked into my mom’s Monday evening I was about to get another special memory made for me. I was the victim of getting horse-laughed by my entire family. Before I tell you why; let me give you the details leading up to it. I had called my baby sister who lives at the Outer Banks Saturday night to wish her a merry Christmas. I tried her home and cell phone both but just got her answering machine both places so I left a message. I had told my nephew, I guess on Friday or Saturday, I wished his mom could come up for Christmas. I even asked him “do you reckon she might surprise you?” and his reply was “it would be nice.” What I didn’t know was that the big rascal had already seen her when she got here on Friday. Now back to my story. As I walked into mom’s living room at four o’clock on Christmas day just like we always do, I walked into the living room and started taking my jacket off and telling everybody hello. All of a sudden, everyone starts laughing at me. I was wearing sweat pants so I knew my zipper wasn’t undone, which is usually the first thing a guy thinks about in that situation, so I didn’t know what was going on. I asked “What! All of a sudden, off to my left I hear a chuckling voice say “hello.” I looked and sure enough, my baby sister had made it home. I had looked around the neighborhood for her truck as I turned in the driveway. She is enough like me to where it wouldn’t have surprised me if she had parked at a neighbor’s house just to keep from spoiling the surprise. I figured then that it was just wishful thinking and I went ahead and parked and went inside. What I hadn’t considered was the fact that she could have left her truck at her in-laws and her and my brother-in-law could ride over with my nephew. That was exactly how she pulled it off. Sometimes you don’t mind getting laughed at. Especially when your big brother comes in and turns around to sit down on the couch and is facing her direction and still don’t see her. So at least I did get to laugh at someone else. What a good gift for her to come home!
I thought that topped off the day but I was wrong again. As we started handing out gifts, I received my first one. We have long ago passed on those duties to the nieces and nephews unless mom just wants to help which she sometimes does. My gift was a small bible design gift box. I thought that was really cool but when I looked inside, I forgot about the box. My oldest niece had given me a little medallion Christmas tree ornament. In the inset on the front of that medallion was a picture of my dad that passed away 10 years ago. I am emotional, or as my wife says, a sappy person but I don’t usually get too bent out of shape at Christmas because my highlight is giving all the ministry gifts. Yesterday was an exception. I held it back but I did get a little watery and I have again as I write this. Needless to say, that one won’t be in a box until next year. It is now hanging on a trophy on top of my piano. That will be a treasure for a lifetime.
And yes it still got better. When we got home we done the one family tradition that we have. We always read the Christmas story from the bible on Christmas night. We started doing that on Tyler’s first Christmas when he was only 9 months old. As he has gotten older, he has come to expect it and always reminds me of it. Right before we went to bed, we all gathered in the living room as I once again got to read it to my family. That makes 20 years and counting. To him, that is something that has to be done and I am thankful that God has given him a heart like that.
The flashlight, as much as I like it, can’t hold a candle to the rest of it. The young momma, my sister coming home, the ornament with my dad’s picture, and my son wanting to hear the Christmas story once again. All of this reminded me once again that; the best things in life aren’t things at all: they’re people. The “perfect” gift; the gift of God’s Son and salvation for us. Also the “good” gifts; the blessing of family, blood kin and heart relatives alike; these are the “gifts that transcend.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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WINDING DOWN                                                                                                                                    Andy Hollifield 12-29-19
Do you realize we only have two days left in this year after today? Not only that, but it is also the end of a decade. Do you remember how this century we are now in started? For a year or more before, we endured all of the talk about Y2K. Have you stopped to think about this; few if any of this year’s high school graduates were even alive at the turn of the century and probably have very little knowledge of Y2K? My how time flies whether you are having fun or not.

I saw a little stuffed Y2K toy in my mom’s china cabinet on Christmas Day. I can’t remember what it looked like other than it was white. I can still remember all of the hoopla and fear-mongering that went on at that time. All of the talk about the power grid and computer systems and how catastrophic it had the potential of being. Little did we know at the time that in less than two years we would be reminded what a catastrophe truly looks like with the attacks of 911. By then, Y2K was forgotten and we were diving headlong into the new century.

I know there are always a lot of people who will be imparting their wisdom or lack of it, about 2019 and all of the promise 2020 holds. I have precious little enough wisdom on stuff like that to be sharing so I will spare you for the most part. I do want to talk about the fact that we are now winding down this decade. I have lived in part of six decades and part of two centuries and the one thing I have learned from all of that living is this; they all end the same way.

With one tick of the clock, it is over. When the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, we will enter into a new decade and a new year. Only in looking back can you determine the history of and evaluate any day, month, decade, century or any other time. We have to look back to prepare ourselves for our future and to learn from our past. The twenties of the last century were called the roaring twenties. Why? It wasn’t because of the beginning but rather looking back from the end. We may have our ideas about what the twenties of this century will be but truthfully that is yet to be determined. Just as all of the hype about Y2K in 1999 proved, we spend a lot of time worrying about stuff we have no control over.

There truly is nothing we can learn from our future until it becomes the present. But we can better equip ourselves for the future by learning from our past. There are a lot of things I would do differently in my life if I had it to do over again. The fact is, we can truly only live in the present. I have lived to see a lot of incredible things in my life. For example, in the 1960s, America put a man on the moon. By the 1980s we had airplanes (space shuttles) that could fly into low earth orbit and land on the earth again. The 1970s brought us cable TV and the ’80s brought us fax and photocopiers and eventually the computer and the world wide web. Now in the ’20s, we will hold more technology in our hands in our cell phones than what most generations have ever known. In looking back, we can see where we have come from.

I believe in looking and planning ahead but I also realize I don’t have the promise of another day. Therefore, as this year and this decade winds down to a close, I choose not to spend my time worrying about stuff I may never see come to pass. I choose rather to look back and see all of the things I have worried about that never happened. I choose to see how much of a blessing each day of my life has been. Even the rough days have still been a blessing because I got to live them. Those are the ones I have learned the most from.

I choose to look and see the blessings and hand of God in my life. I look and see all of the situations that seemed impossible that God has miraculously brought to pass. I see the inevitable become unlikely and the impossible probable. The one thing that has remained constant in my life regardless of what the situation has been, is the power and grace of God.

It is with great joy I look forward to the coming year if I am blessed to have it. I will be relieved and sad to see this year fade into history but anxious to see what the next one holds. There is nothing I can do to change what the future holds but I do know who holds the future. So as the final days of this year and decade come to pass, I await with anticipation, not apprehension, to see what God has in store for my life. Based on looking back, I believe I have plenty to look forward to by the grace of God. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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50 WAYS YOU KNOW YOU’RE GETTING OLD                                                                                    Andy Hollifield 12-28-19
I just wanted to write something to make folks laugh. So, here goes. I am sure you will have some fond memories of some of these things.

You know you’re getting old if:

Your idea of a hot date is sitting close to the fireplace at Crackerbarrel.                                    You now have more metal in your body than your car does.                                                       Your idea of excitement is watching “Live PD,” the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. You watch the History channel and remember most of it.                                                            You listen to the old classic songs on the radio and remember when they were new.            You watched all the Disney movies when they first were made into color.                              You can name all of the Hannah-Barbera and Looney Tune cartoon characters.                    You can still imitate the voices of those characters.                                                                        You can’t name the “Ninja Turtles” but can name Dave and all of the chipmunks.               You still try to sing like the chipmunks.                                                                                            You owned a shotgun when you were twelve and never shot anyone and took it to high school.                                                                                                                                                       Your forgetter works better than anything else in your body.                                                      You go into the store for three items and come back with three but at least one isn’t what you went in for.                                                                                                                                       You try to count ice cream in the dairy food group rather than as a dessert.                            You count bacon as its own food group and count it as a protein.                                        You get excited when medical science gives reasons that coffee and dark chocolate are good for you.                                                                                                                                            You try to convince yourself that both of those are now health foods.                                       You have ever dimmed your headlights with your left foot or started your truck with your right.                                                                                                                                                You remember milk being delivered to your home in glass bottles.                                           You ever stood by the street and waved a dime and got the milkman to stop to sell you ice cream.                                                                                                                                                       You could walk through town and everyone looked like you.                                                      You could walk through town.                                                                                                      You remember when air conditioners were only in public buildings and not cars or homes.                                                                                                                                                  You remember when an air conditioner was an extra option in a car but a cigarette lighter was standard.                                                                                                                             You could smoke while fueling your car because apparently gas wasn’t flammable then. You remember when microwaves were invented.                                                                          You know that rabbit ears aren’t always on a rabbit.                                                                     You have ever turned the antenna outside.                                                                                      Your idea of fun was playing with Hotwheels in the dirt.                                                              You even know what playing outside is.                                                                                            Your bicycle was a one-speed with foot brakes.                                                                               You know what “the little brown shack out back” means and have been in one.                     Your mom’s fine dishware came one piece at a time from a laundry detergent box.             Your drinking glasses were empty snuff jars from your grandma.                                             You have ever redeemed green or yellow stamps for anything.                                                  Your birthday party was eating the cake mom baked at home.                                                    You thought “store-bought” was special and “home-made” was normal.                                   You ever sat in the car waiting while your parents shopped for groceries.                               You ever rolled the “winders” down while you waited.                                                                 You have ever owned a car without seat belts.                                                                                You even know what a Sears Catalog is, much less have had one and know multiple uses for it.                                                                                                                                                          You never heard the words latte, frappe, and cappuccino and wouldn’t have thought they were real words anyway.                                                                                                                      You went to McDonald’s for special occasions.                                                                                You know what Turpentine and Methiolate are and what they were used for.                       You have ever been the recipient of a switching, especially at church.                                      You remember not having cable TV and more than three channels was incredible.              You knew everyone on your road or neighborhood and was kin to most of them.                 You have ever gone or took someone snipe hunting.                                                                     You know what “three on the tree” means. You got sleepy reading through this list.

Well, there you have it. Many of you remember before all of these things but we can get a good laugh knowing the youngsters will be as clueless about our stuff as we are about theirs. I hope something brought a smile to your face and gave you a good chuckle. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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ANOTHER 365 DAYS                                                                                                                      Andy Hollifield 12-27-19
Those were words of excitement spoken by my son Tyler on Christmas night at mom’s house. Although he didn’t account for 2020 being a leap year. Just as all of us were probably preparing for the post-Christmas blues to set in, this was his unprovoked assessment of Christmas; “After today daddy, 365 days to go.” That’s optimism if I have ever heard it.

I have to admit I kind of share his enthusiasm this year. Last year at this time we were celebrating the arrival of our second unwed mother and also our almost one-year-old adopted grandson Sam. I guess now as we approach his second birthday next month I can drop the adopted stuff. He is just my grandson. He and his mom truly are family to us as well as Paula and Eric. This year we celebrate not only Sam and Jacky but also Little Moose who is eleven months old today and his mom Yaudy. Moose has had a mouthful of teeth since he was eight or nine months old I guess and knows how to use them.

Sam has become the sweetest little two-year-old there could be and yes I am biased. He loves music and playing the piano, is trying to talk, nods and shakes his head in response to questions, is a loving little feller, likes to help around the house, and loves to climb. He is a good traveler and has already been in about half a dozen states. He has been on two mission trips with me and hasn’t cried and always wins over everyone he meets. I had the privilege to babysit him Christmas afternoon and took him to moms for our family gathering. Once he got warmed up a little, he made the rounds to everyone and reached for them to pick him up. I don’t reckon he had anyone to refuse. He even entertained everyone by giving his Sam smile on command. That’s his big toothy grin with his little eyes squinted shut. He was also blowing air-kisses at everyone when we left just like Jacky had taught him.

What a blessing Jacky and Sam have been to my life and filled a gap that I thought would never be filled.  I never expected to have grandchildren and now I have two. He stole the heart of his Papa Eric and filled an even greater void than I had in his life. When Eric would come in from work, he fell asleep most nights on the couch with Sam laying on his chest fast asleep. I never expected to have grandchildren but now I have two. How truly blessed I am!

Getting back to Moose. He is about the most laid back baby I have ever seen. Sam is wide open and loves showing off and showing you every toy he owns. Moose is just content enjoying his own company but loves laughing. He also loves to argue and has for months. He will look at you and start shaking his head hard and fast grinning the whole time. If you nod and say yes, yes, yes, he will start shaking his head again. I remember the night Moose was born. Thanks to what I believe was some poor healthcare before delivery, we spent over a week in NICU while he hung between life and death and even as a newborn, proved he was a tough little cookie. I remember the first time I got to hold him. I sat in a chair in the NICU step-down room while Yaudy went downstairs to eat. We just sat and rocked as I talked to him while he slept through the entire conversation. I am convinced that when a baby steals your heart, the next baby just makes it double in size.

You may be wondering why I am writing so much about the boys but it is just because they have made life so much sweeter and Christmas far more fun than it has been since Tyler was a baby. Christmas will finally end this year for me today. I haven’t gotten to see Moose yet because he has been sick. I will see him this morning and after that, I will prepare for both his and Sam’s birthdays. I already have their gifts. I am really liking this Papaw business and I already understand why they are called “grand” children.

Somehow, in all of the hustle and bustle of Christmas, I simply didn’t have time for the post-Christmas blues this year. By the time we got home from Jacky and Sam’s place, it was time for reading the Christmas story from the bible and then going to bed and I was worn out. That is a good kind of tired. I personally think Tyler should serve as an example for all of us. He knows the true meaning of Christmas and although he is in his twenties, he still writes out his Christmas list for me and his mom and is thrilled with whatever he gets. It is still as much fun to watch him open gifts now as it was when he was little.

One of the disappointments I had this year from Christmas, aside from my dad not being with us, was that my baby sister wasn’t able to come home. I was also a little disappointed that we never got another call about an unwed mother with no place to go. God knows some circumstances made this not a good time to get that call. I will kind of miss going out in the cold and racing to the hospital to sit up most of the night waiting for another grandbaby to make their appearance. I am halfway hoping for a girl the next go-round. Between all of us grandparents, a little girl would likely wind up dressed like a china doll, spoiled rotten, and smothered with hugs and kisses.

I don’t say much about it but one of the things I really enjoy the most about all of this is showing these young ladies how much God loves them and how important family is. There is only one textbook for that and it’s the bible. We love them when others may judge, we try to encourage them even though others may ridicule, and we try and love them just like God loves us; unconditionally. If they only could open the doors of our hearts and see the love inside, only then could they really understand how much we all love and care for them.

I can’t complain about 2019 because one of the first blessings was seeing Sam have his first birthday party. That was followed up in late January by Hetzel’s arrival. There have been a lot of hardships but far more blessings. Who knows, maybe next year God will send all of us another mom to love and be a family for.

Right now, the guests are all gone, the lights and tree may be down, and all of the wrapping paper out in the trash. It sure sounds like Christmas is over but in reality, it’s on its way. In the words of Tyler; “It’s just 365 days till Christmas.” He wasn’t dwelling on what was almost over but already looking forward to what was coming. As I said, that might just be a good lesson for all of us. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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