Honestly, it has been a while since I wrote anything here.  I did some other writing projects but nothing personal.  My reasons for staying away were/are valid. Still, this is a good outlet for me and I do enjoying sharing both my faith and my adventures.

As my Daddy still says, my middle name is “go” and frankly, sometimes “going” keeps me sane! We are  (I am) still traveling. I think since my last post in March 2017, Steve and I have been to:

  • Memphis to see Billy Joel in concert,
  • North Carolina for a week in the mountains,
  • Gulf Shores for a freezing weekend (seriously!),
  • Yukon to see the Northern Lights (missed them but loved being there!).

JoJo and I made a train trip to NOLA and a road trip to  Biloxi for a few days. I’ve been to NYC with my friend Ginger to see the revival of Sunset Boulevard and Billy Joel at MSG (yes – I really, really like Billy Joel) as well as to catch up with a friend who is in school there and see the World Trade Center Memorial.

Recently, I was able to share in a magical musical few days in Chicago with my friend and cello teacher Rebekah seeing Hamilton, playing tourist (Chicago River, Lake Michigan, Magnificent Mile, Hancock Tower for the 360 view, Millennium Park where we heard part of an open orchestra rehearsal, deep dish pizza with friends), and finishing with Yo-Yo Ma and the Chicago Symphony.   It.was.amazing!

First Baptist Jackson still keeps us both rolling. My volunteer hours have crept up but that is ok. VBS has rolled through twice during my hiatus as did Carols 2017, Easter 2018, and even another KidsRock musical, A Not So Terrible Parable (my last post in March 2017 was about Treasure Island). I am enjoying working some different sorts of tasks that really engage my gifts as well as spending time with my friends there, and, best of all, having the opportunity to mentor some terrific young adults.

The best thing I have done is begin cello lessons. My grandmother, Hazel Benton, played cello. I always thought I might want to do that. I finally decided to sign on to lessons at the FBCJ Academy of Arts and have loved every minute of it. My teacher is an amazing young artist and somehow “gets” how to deal with OCD me.  I love lessons and I love to practice! I even (thanks to my “friends”) allowed myself to be backed into playing in the spring recital.  This was far more nerve-wracking than any band solo auditions I did back in the day and I always managed to con my way out of piano recitals (seriously). My goal was to not embarass Rebekah or myself!  No one ran out screaming though I will admit that Bach and I are not consistently friendly!

Probably best of all, I celebrated my 14th year of being cancer free and the extended McHenry family welcomed two more little girls and the family at large is doing ok.

So – here is to a restart to writing. We will see where it goes! I leave you with this thought…

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Romans 12:12 NIV

Still choosing joy!


“Be Ye Kind”

Ephesians 4:29-32 (NASB): Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

I have not blogged in a while. It has been an unusual summer and fall – family illness, illness and loss of a much-loved four-legged child, just the stuff of life. Looking back as I get myself ready spiritually and mentally for Carols By Candlelight, I realize that were it not for hope and grace and faith, I literally would not know where I would be (I think there is a song in that somewhere…)

Right now though, I am troubled. To present the Gospel clearly and compassionately, we have to live what we believe. Sometimes I just simply wonder about us – all of us – who claim that we are Christians and yet when we are supposed to be engaged in telling others about Jesus we do some pretty petty things that I am certain are not God honoring.  I think it is best at times like these to think back on verses we learned in Sunbeams and GA’s (that’s “Mission Friends” and “Acteens” to some of your girls not quite my age) and Sunday School. This passage is full of those life lessons.

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. – In other words, if you don’t have something positive, uplifting, encouraging to say – something that builds people up rather than tears them down, it is probably best left unsaid. Period. My Mama subscribed to that theory and was known to regularly explain that to us. It is a lesson I have not forgotten.

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. – I suspect at times I grieve the Holy Spirit just because I react (rather than respond) or just because I cannot have it “my way”. And I get mad. Or I make it about me. Or I am jealous because someone else got something I did not. And when I do (we do) these things, we are not setting an example. Life is not about us. Carols is not about us. Whatever is not about us.  Sharing Jesus should be our focus. We cannot do that when we focus on ourselves and what is in it for us.  I Corinthians 12:27 (NIV)  Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. If some part of the body is not in sync with the body of Christ then we are not in focus. No talent is more important. No preference is more important. No personal desire is more important. What is important is that we lift each other up and we encourage each other and work in sync to share Jesus with those around us and to encourage those in the body of Christ who have needs and who particularly need encouragement.

Finally, my friend Terry Sims’ favorite verse – Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.  Back in the day, Terry painted this verse on a LOT of ceramic plates and mugs and things she made for others. And lived this verse (and still does). And so should we. Just be kind. Don’t be ugly. Don’t be passive aggressive. Don’t gossip. Be forgiving. Clear the air. Love one another. Respond as Jesus would respond. Let others see Jesus in you.

#Carols2014 is about change – the only change that matters. The one in your heart that will allow you to spend eternity with Him. I cannot share the joy I have in knowing that I am changed if others cannot see Jesus in how I treat those around me. My prayer today is that others will see Jesus in me.

Still Choosing Joy


Live Your Life

“Live your life as an exclamation – not an explanation!”
(quoted from my friend Sandy Henderson Maples’ FB page)

I Have Gone and Done It (a.k.a. “Change Happened”)

I get these urges at times to learn something new. I think it is to prove to myself that my technical skills still work. Today, I was determined to figure out HOW to get the World Down Syndrome Day button in my sidebar – that is part of’s promotion this year and important to me. I messed with Blogger and html and could only get it to go to the bottom of the page. I had been toying with the idea of switching to WordPress for a while so today I took the plunge and JUST DID IT.

I need five followers (in addition to myself) on Networked Blogs since this is considered a new blog. This is to confirm that I am indeed the author. If you would be so kind, I would be honored.

Thanks for Still Choosing Joy with me after now almost 10 years!


Faith – have been stuck on that topic today.  Posted to my FB status that on Day 7 of the month of Thanksgiving that I am thankful that I understand and believe the principle laid down for us in Hebrews 11:6 (KJV): But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

After all the left, right, and middle of the election, and all the push/pull of folks telling us what matters when most of them are clueless, I am again reminded that faith is how we respond to Him if we are obedient to Him as we are commanded. We won’t know in this life necessarily the outcome of our faithfulness – that never was promised. Take a long hard look again at Hebrews 11 if your have forgotten how those promises were made and fulfilled.

Just because we are faithful does not mean we will get our way (i.e. “have our prayers answered the way we want them answered”). I do believe without a doubt God is answering our prayers but in those answers He is seeking urgently to get our attention and get us focused on Him. And I am not aware of a situation anywhere at any time where God did not have a plan for the situation at hand.

While listening to the whining and lamenting and name calling and (of particular offense to me, the stupid actions of students at my alma mater last night), I realized we have ignored how folks around us are walking in faith. There are many examples but close to my heart because of my personal walk with BC, I am particularly tuned into these.

Today while at JOA for my semi-annual check up, I watched as a wife pushed a wheelchair bearing a very tall and very very ill man into the lab ahead of me. I watched three lab techs come straight to his aid, concerned for his pain and his needs and made a way for him to get to a place in the clinic where folks were not looking on or exposing him to who knows what. He had tubes everywhere. Yes – it was the folks at JOA’s job to take care of this man – and yes – his wife is his caregiver but the compassion with which they handled him and how they encouraged him as they cared for him, caused me to sit still (my tech was helping them) and pray while this was going on. I don’t know their names. I don’t know his prognosis though I would guess it is not good. But their faith and commitment and attention gave him comfort in that moment and gave (could see it in her face) his wife relief.

I follow/followed closely the cancer journeys of several of our church members at FBCJ.  I have watched some unbelievable men of God move from this life to eternal life and do it with dignity and courage that caused others to ask what was the source of their faith.  I am praying now for another church member who is in a similar battle and yet his faith and that of his wife is amazing.  These folks did not turn their backs on God. They certainly were not/are not a part of the evil we see around us today. But they chose faith and moving forward with what God gives them today not whining and complaining about what might have been or should have been.

Other examples abound – these are just close to my heart because I have walked that road before. For whatever reason God chose to allow me to continue here for now. I don’t know what lies ahead for me (or for America). I do know He expects me to be praying, witnessing, sharing, giving hope, meeting the needs of others – being obedient – persevering. I suggest that is what He expects of each of us.  And in our obedience, we will be amazed yet again by His grace. 

Romans 5:3-5 (NASB) – And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.