Pop Pop Epistle # 156 – Where I was 20 Years Ago Today


Dear Grandkids,

Today we say goodbye to Sunset Beach. Another family vacation is in the books, more memories to hold onto, and back to real life. But it only seems appropriate to remember for you what happened 20 years ago today. It was perhaps THE most culturally defining day of my lifetime. And I have lived through a lot of defining moments – a presidential assassination, Watergate, Vietnam, a moon landing, the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, etc. What happened 20 years ago today dramatically changed our country and we feel the ripple effects every. single. day.

It was a Tuesday. Sometime between 9:00 and 9:30 AM. I was in the parking lot at the Post Office down the street from my church when it was announced on the radio that a plane had crashed into the side of one of New York City’s Twin Towers. At the time it was reported as a crazy air mishap. But 30 minutes later when another plane crashed into the other Twin Tower we began to understand that this was more than accidental.

Little did we know how much more. I was meeting a friend for lunch at Elmo’s Diner in Durham when we got the news  that a plane had crashed into the Pentagon and another plane (Flight 93) had crashed in Pennsylvania. We would later find out that it was targeting either the White House or The US Capitol Building. I can remember saying to my friend, “What is going on?”

As the day unfolded we learned that these four planes has been hijacked by  terrorists – later to be associated with the group known as al-Qaeda and masterminded by Osama bin Laden. Almost 3000 people died that day. The attacks resulted in the largest loss of life by a foreign attack on American soil.

Your parents were in middle school and high school when 911 (as it is referred to) happened. I was planning that coming weekend to raft the Gauley River in West Virginia (and its class 5 rapids) with a buddy to celebrate his 40th birthday. That did not happen as he got grounded in Toronto when air travel was shut down. Overnight the world became a scarier place to live.

Things that we are quite familiar with today did not even exist prior to 911. The Department of Homeland Security, The US Patriot Act, The War in Afghanistan (which just ended, sort of), ISIS, the TSA, Immigration Reform, the TV show 24 and it’s hero Jack Bauer.

September 11, 2001 will rightfully get talked about and remembered a lot today. But there are other things worth remembering as well…

  • The God that we worship and serve was not surprised by anything that happened on that day.
  • A quote that bears repeating: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
  • A Scripture from Matthew 16:33 where Jesus said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
  • A reminder that when things seem out of control, God is still in control.
  • Our faith is built on the historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus and the  blessed hope that He will return one day to make all things right.
  • People are capable of incredibly heroic exploits – but the most heroic thing that we can do is to demonstrate love to the people around us every day.

There will no doubt be more days like 911 in our future but as a people of faith we are not to live in fear, but rather to hold out the hope of the gospel. God’s good news always trumps the world’s bad news.

Never forget that you are very loved,

Pop Pop

Brick #104 – 1 John 5


The focus for this brick will be on the word “overcome”. Note what 1 John 5:4-5 says…

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”

The words overcome, conquer, and victory all stem from the Greek word “nike”. Yes, like the shoe company. Got Questions says this:

The verb implies a battle. The Bible teaches Christians to recognize that the world is a battleground, not a playground. God does not leave us defenseless. Ephesians 6:11–17 describes the armor of the Lord available to all believers. Scattered throughout this narrative is the admonition to “stand firm.” Sometimes all it takes to overcome temptation is to stand firm and refuse be dragged into it. James 4:7 says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” An overcomer is one who resists sin no matter what lures Satan uses.

Believers in the truest sense are overcomers. So what are some of the other marks of an overcomer.

  • Overcomers can have peace in the midst of trouble because Jesus our King has overcomes the world. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
  • Overcomers can stand firm against the enemy and his minions because Jesus our King dwells within us. “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
  • Overcomers can anticipate a great reward because Jesus our King says “The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.” (Revelation 3:21)
  • Overcomers are undergirded through the troubles of this world because of the great great love of Jesus our King. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:35-37)

1 Corinthians 15:57 succinctly says it this way: “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

May this brick encourage you today to overcome whatever is keeping you from walking in the victory that belongs to those who call Jesus King.

Brick #103 – 1 John 4


One of the enemy’s tactics to confuse believers and to negate the effectiveness of our faith is to distort the truth. This has been true since the very first encounter with Adam and Eve. It was true in John’s day. It is true today. Specifically if the enemy can distort the truth about Jesus then he gains a win.

In the first 6 verses of 1 John 4 we see the apostle encouraging believers to know and to stand on the truths of Scripture regarding Jesus. There are “preachers” who are very skillful communicators who have used their golden tongues to turn people away from the historical Biblical truths of the gospel and of Jesus. So just what should we believe about Jesus? Here is a short list of  truths – if you ever hear a preacher or anyone else call any one of these into question then you can be sure they are “not from God” (4:6) no matter how convincingly they may speak.

  • Jesus is the eternal Son of God
  • Jesus was NOT created. He was “in the beginning with God”
  • Jesus is the incarnate Son of God – He willingly took on flesh
  • Jesus was born of a virgin
  • Jesus lived a sinless life
  • Jesus is the propitiation for our sins – He appeased the wrath of God by dying on the cross as a sinless substitute for sinful man
  • Jesus rose triumphantly fro the dead
  • Jesus ascended into heaven
  • Jesus will return again in power and glory to judge the world

May this brick help you stand firm in the faith as you encounter those who will try to distort the truth of Jesus.



Pop Pop Epistle # 155 – About Your Great Grandmother Tucker


(Written by guest blogger Nona)

Dear Grandkids,

Adele Mauney Gold Tucker
8/26/1929 – 11/27/1998

I know those are a lot of strange sounding names (I even thought that as I was growing up) but I knew her best as Mama when I was little and then Mother as I got older.  She was named “Adele” by her aunt who taught French.   If you figure out the dates, she died when she was 69 – but I was only 40, and that felt so very young to be losing my mother.  But as Pop Pop told me, I would never be ready and he was so right!   This was indeed a big week for us each summer – we had 3 birthdays in 4 days (and then added Tucker’s for 4 in 5 days).  We celebrated each one!

My mother grew up in Cleveland County, North Carolina.   I always thought it was a very rural area and it still is today.  They farmed, her dad ran a cotton gin when she was little, he helped build army and navy bases during the depression, and then he ran a hardware and grocery store (I remember his store and the candy we could pick out!) She graduated from Polkville High School (I think there were about 19 in her graduating class) and then she attended the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina (it was called WC) in Greensboro, NC.   I always liked the fact that I also graduated from there (the name was changed to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNC-G).  I was always very thankful that both my parents went to college – that was not common for most of my friends growing up.

Mother majored in sociology and while I was growing up she was a school social worker.   She stayed home while I was young but went to work when I was in the 2nd grade – they knew college was coming soon -Jeanne was in the 6th grade).   I always liked it that she worked in the same schools I attended.  She was always involved in the things we did:  PTA president for the elementary school, Girl Scout cookie coordinator for our troop one year, went to every event we were involved in.   She also made sure she and daddy attended all the grandchildren events:  even driving to Durham to see soccer & basketball games, Christy cheer in middle school, church performances whenever possible.

One of the major things about my mother was that she was born with a dislocated hip.   They knew it at birth and tried to fix it but it didn’t work.   She was ok as a child but began to have pain when she was a sophomore in college – 1949.   She did not have surgery to replace her hip until 1974.  By that last summer she could barely walk and drug her left leg with each step.   I grew up being very aware that she was in pain all the time and couldn’t always do things with us.   I remember visiting Washington, DC and Daddy taking us up in the Washington Monument and Mother waiting on a bench at the bottom.  Joint replacement surgery was not done on younger people at that time so the doctors made her wait until she really couldn’t walk.   I will never forget seeing her just after her surgery – I fainted!   But she lived without pain and without a limp for the 10 years after it – then it was replaced again after part of it cracked.   That second surgery left her with a slight limp but still no pain!  She did amazing things though even with the pain she was in – she didn’t often complain about her leg!

My Mother was an expert gardener.   Her yard was beautiful.   She always had something blooming and kept flowers on our kitchen table.  I never saw her go out and weed for hours like I seem to do!   She would go out each morning and walk around the yard and look at her flowers – they brought her great joy!   I remember her watering them a lot in the summer!   Her favorite flower was an iris – and she had lots of them!   We (Jeanne, Anne, and I) still have flowers that came from her yard and they are very special to us.  Daddy grew a LARGE garden in the summer and she would can tomatoes and green beans, freeze corn, and make pickles.   Her vegetable soup was the best I’ve ever eaten – but it was made with her home canned tomatoes.

My mother was also an expert seamstress.   She made all of our clothes until I was in high school, made clothes for our dolls, learned to quilt and made all of us (3 daughters/7 grandchildren) queen-size quilts, plus made cute smocked clothes for all 7 of her grandchildren (that would include Christy, Scott, and Tucker!)

My mother became a Christian when she was about ten during a revival at her church.  She and her brother both were baptized at the same time.  Her mother had been very sick for several months and this happened when she was in the hospital (My grandmother recovered-the doctors had no explanation but she began to get better after the church gathered to pray for her)   After I became a Christian at 19, I would go home on weekends during my sophomore year and share with Mother everything I had been learning that week.   I know the Lord used my excitement to help my Mother grow in her relationship with the Lord and she began to read her Bible daily.   I am very thankful for that memory.

My mother served us all so well.   She loved her children and grandchildren and wanted the best for them.  She would have loved each one of you so much and would have been so proud of you!   I know as you grow up there will be times you get really frustrated with your parents – especially your moms.   How I wish I had more time with mine and miss her!   You all have great moms – treasure the time you have with them!

Never forget that you are very loved,


Pop Pop Epistle # 155 – About Your Great Grandfather Tucker


(Written by guest blogger Nona)

Thomas Sutherland Tucker  
8/24/1926 – 1/18/2003

Dear Grandkids,

Today is my daddy’s birthday – he would be 95 today!    He died at the age of 76 due to Alzheimer’s Disease.  That’s actually ironic because daddy was a brilliant man (one of only 10  freshman inducted into the honor society in college)  He was also a very quiet man – but your Pop Pop knew how to ask the right questions and get him talking.   That’s a great memory for me.  (He was called Tommie – but he didn’t like having a nickname.  My sisters and I are all named so that there wouldn’t be any nicknames.)

Daddy was born in West Jefferson, NC and maybe the mountains just were always a part of him.   His family moved to Winston-Salem when he was young but he spent every summer from the day school was out until the day before school started with his Grandmother Sutherland in Ashe County on the family farm.   He helped his uncles and had great relationships with them.  He loved to take us to the mountains and show us all the things he loved. We could all see the change in daddy the closer he got to the mountains.   (His grandmother was very sweet – we all loved her!)

Daddy graduated from NC STATE in 1949 with a mechanical engineering degree.   He was drafted into the army after his freshman year and was able to finish college on the GI bill.   He always said he may never have been able to finish without that.   (He went to Germany as WWII was ending and was an MP -military police).  This began our love for NCSU – (Jeanne, Anne, John, Allison, Tucker, Danielle, and I all have NCSU degrees!)

Daddy worked for one company his entire life!  He was hired just out of college by H.E.Crawford Co. in Kernersville, NC (where I grew up) and retired from there in 1990.  He began as a mechanical engineer – drawing parts for the machines they made which made men’s socks and ended as vice-president in charge of production.   He loved the company and the people who worked there.   Jeanne, Anne and I all worked with him during the summers when we were in high school and loved getting to go eat lunch with him!   He knew everything about that company and everyone just came to ask him questions – it was easier than trying to figure it out!

Daddy planted a huge garden in the summer – much more than we could eat or Mother could can.   He loved to give away his vegetables – and took lots of them to the people he worked with.   Daddy’s thinking was always if one of something was good, then 25 would be even better!  He loved corn on the cob – he would do 4 plantings each summer so he could enjoy it for longer.    We would put one ear in the water to cook for each of us and then 4-5 for daddy!


Daddy had several interests – he researched his family tree (in a day without computers).  Pop Pop thought it was really funny when he would show him his tombstone etchings!  He started a huge pipe collection when he was in Germany even though he never smoked. You probably have some of his pipes around your house.  He loved photography and took lots of pictures over the years – we loved having family nights to look at old slides.   He collected coins and he started a stamp collection with me – I loved to do it because it was something daddy and I did together.   He loved sports too!   I learned all about football from him watching pro football games together when I was in middle school.  Of course we followed the Wolfpack too!

Daddy was quiet but we never doubted how much he loved us – and we knew he was proud of us.   He would have loved you so much too.   Scott carries his name (Thomas Scott) as does Haddon (Haddon Thomas), your parents’ cousin Ryan Thomas, and Tucker.   We knew he was the last grandchild and we wanted the Tucker name to carry on.  He came to faith in Christ in the summer of 1979 and quietly walked with God until he died.  It’s been over 18 years since I’ve seen him but I know I will see him again!

Never forget that you are very loved,


Brick #102 – 1 John 3


It’s hard to get past the very first sentence of chapter 3.

The ESV puts it this way: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”

The KJV puts it this way: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.”

And the NIV puts it this way: “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”

John is inviting us to do something that I love to do – PONDER!. He is inviting us to ponder just how awesome, just how marvelous, just how how incredible the love of God is.

Some time ago I spent some time doing just that and put my pondering in the form of a poem.



How much more could Christ have done than what He did so long ago?
And yet today He fills my heart with a joy that overflows.

How much more could He have done than when He set this captive free?
And yet today I taste the fruit of His awesome victory.

How much more could He have done that when He rescued me from sin?
And yet today He gives me hope and helps me find my strength in Him.

How much more could He have done than save my soul eternally?
And yet I find that in this world I live with joy and power and peace.


How much more, O how much more could He do in you and I 
If Christ alone became the greatest treasure in our lives.
How much more, O how much more could He really do in us
If our hearts could fully grasp the mighty power of His love. (Refrain)


How much more could He have done than break the chains of doubt and fear?
And yet today when I despair I find that He is always near.

How much more could He have done than to create new life in me?
And yet He fills my soul with songs that I cannot help but sing.

How much more could He have done than make things right with God again?
And yet today He walks with me as if I am His greatest friend.

How much more could He have done than prove His love at Calvary?
And yet today I am reminded of His faithful love for me.


How much more, O how much more could He do in you and I 
If Christ alone became the greatest treasure in our lives.
How much more, O how much more could He really do in us
If our hearts could fully grasp the mighty power of His love.


As you have time I invite you to spend some time pondering the incomparable love of God in a way that you can come back to again and again. Perhaps it too is a poem. Or a song. Or a journal entry. Whatever way you choose, the love of God is worth pondering again and again.

May this brick encourage you to ponder just how remarkable the love of God that has been expressed to you by Jesus on the cross truly is.


Brick #101 – 1 John 2


Lots and lots to ponder in chapter 2. Much more than could be covered in this post so I am just going to focus on one verse – verse 6:

“Whoever says he abides in Jesus ought to walk in the same way in which Jesus walked.”

The word “abide” is one of my favorite words in the Newer Testament. Maybe because it was one of the  Apostle John’s favorite words. He uses it 9x in chapter 2 alone. And perhaps it was one of the Apostle John’s favorite words because Jesus liked it so much. John famously quoted Jesus in John 15 where He said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” 

So how do you abide. There are NOT 3 easy steps that you can take to start abiding. Abiding has to do with relationship. J. C. Ryle put it like this:

To abide in Christ means to keep up a habit of constant close communion with Him – to be always leaning on Him, resting on Him, pouring out our hearts to Him, and using Him as our Fountain of life and strength, as our chief Companion and best Friend. To have His words abiding in us, is to keep His sayings and precepts continually before our memories and minds, and to make them the guide of our actions and the rule of our daily conduct and behavior.

And Andrew Murray put it like this:

It is only into the thirst of an empty soul that the streams of living waters flow. Ever thirsting is the secret of never thirsting. A soul filled with large thoughts of the Vine will be a strong branch, and will abide confidently in Him. Be much occupied with Jesus, and believe much in Him, as the True Vine.


“Walk in the same way in which Jesus walked” – As I pondered this part of the verse I was reminded of 1 Peter 2:21 which says, “Christ suffered for you as an example that you might follow in His steps.” Back in 1896, Charles Sheldon wrote a book called In His Steps. It is the story of a pastor who, while preaching on 1 Peter 2:21, challenged his congregation to ask the question “What would Jesus do?” before they did anything. It is a great book. A classic book.

Back in 1989, a youth group up in Holland Michigan, after reading the book together, decided to embrace the challenge. To remind themselves to ask the question they created bracelets that said “What would Jesus do?” And thus was born the WWJD movement that swept the American Christian world in the 1990’s.

“What would Jesus do” is still a great question to ask. But another great question to ask to help discern the answer to “what would Jesus do” is to ask the question “what DID Jesus do”? So here is a short list of some of the things we see Jesus regularly doing as He walks through the gospels…

  • He spent time with the Father
  • He embraced the outcasts
  • He gave hope to the hopeless
  • He confronted hypocrisy
  • He taught the Word of God
  • He served others
  • He genuinely cared for people
  • He developed leaders

Whoever says he abides in Jesus ought to walk in the same way in which Jesus walked.” The natural result of abiding is to walk in the same way that Jesus walked. Think about those quotes by Ryle and Murray and practice abiding until you get great at it.

May this brick encourage you to abide diligently so that you can walk in the same way that Jesus walked!

Brick #100 – 1 John 1


1 John is an awesome little letter near the end of the New Testament. Here are a few factoids about the letter in general:

  • It was written by the Apostle John who also wrote the Gospel of John, 2 and 3 John as well as writing down the Revelation.
  • It was written between 85-90 AD most likely while John was living in Ephesus.
  • It was written to safeguard the saints against several false teachings that were circulating: 1) Docetism – which denied that Jesus was God in the flesh, and 2) the idea that there was no such thing as sin.

As I pondered chapter 1, there was one verse in particular that caught my attention: “This is the message that we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” (verse 5)

My curiosity was piqued as to why John would sum up the message of Jesus in this way. I mean, after all, this guy wrote 21 chapters of stuff that Jesus did and that Jesus said – why did he succinctly describe Jesus’ message with this one sentence and just 12 words?

As John writes, it has been about 60 years since he hung out with Jesus – 60 years since the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. He is an older man and has had a lot of time to reflect on the time they had together. No doubt some of his experiences with Jesus impacted him more than others. Here are three that might have influenced why he said what he said in 1 John 1:5…

1) “I am the Light of the World” – John chronicled 7 “I AM” statements of Jesus in his gospel. One of them was this one: “I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will walk not in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). When Jesus said this he was having a conversation with the scribes and Pharisees. It led to a series of outrageous claims by Jesus that ultimately resulted in the Jewish leaders trying to kill Jesus (John 8:59). No doubt this would stick in John’s mind all these years later because it dramatically changed the relationship Jesus and His disciples had with the leaders. From this point forward they had to always watch their back.

2) The Crazy Way Jesus Gave Sight to the Man Born Blind – Talk about something you would never forget… John and his buddies were with Jesus when they passed a man that had been born blind. They were trying to understand this from a theological perspective and asked Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:3-5) Then Jesus did something John would never have expected and would never forget. He spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. He then placed the spittle facial on the man’s eyes, told the man to go wash the mud off, and when he did, lo and behold the man could see for the first time in his life. I don’t think I’d ever forget anything like that either.

3) The Transfiguration – Matthew 17:1-2 records this… “And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.” And if that wasn’t unforgettable enough, Moses and Elijah join the party and have a pow wow with Jesus as He prepares to make His way toward the cross.

As John was writing his little epistle, no doubt these incidents and more flooded his memory bank. And as he tried to sum up Jesus’ message in one short sentence the idea of LIGHT kept coming to mind. “This is the message that we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.”  It was the perfect description for an audience that was surrounded by darkness and needed the encouragement for their souls that The Light of the World will always overcome the darkness.

May this brick remind you all over again that Jesus is indeed the Light of the World!

Pop Pop Epistle # 154 – Our 40th Anniversary


Dear Grandkids,

If you read my last epistle you will note that at the end I said, “Perhaps next year I’ll be blogging about the memories we created on our 40th anniversary.” But I thought that I might go ahead and do it since it is fresh on my mind.

We had an awesome day.

It started with church. We spent the morning with our faith family at Ridgecrest. Many of our friends knew that we were celebrating our anniversary and we got lots of congratulations.

We left church. Ran home and ate a quick lunch and then headed to Raleigh. Our first stop was Umstead Park where we spend an hour and a half doing some hiking We explored the Sycamore and Graylyn Loop Trail. Here are a few pictures.

Then we headed to The Umstead Hotel. It is a very upscale hotel  and not something we usually spend that much money on. But it was our 40th and we decided to treat ourselves and create a memory.

We went to supper at The Bonefish Grill and reminisced about our 40 years together and tried to envision what our next 40 years together will look like. I have a history of writing poems to recount our memories. I wrote one that I shared at our rehearsal dinner on July 31, 1981 called Memories of Love that talked about our courtship. I wrote one for our 25th anniversary called More Memories of Love.  And then at supper I shared one called Still More Memories of Love that recounted our last 15 years of memories. It went like this…

Still More Memories of Love

A lot of things have happened in the 15 years since last
I wrote a poem of memories about our storied past.

Christy was at App and Scott at UNC
Tucker was at Northern still at home with you and me.

‘06 would come and go and then our daughter got engaged
At a castle in Slovakia while everyone hurrayed.

The next year she got married on the day I turned 5-0
And thus began a decade that would see our family grow.

In ‘09 we went to Israel then moved to another home;
Both of these would help us learn a lot about shalom.

The next year we would travel to the country of Peru
And see the mighty Amazon unlike most people do.

The accident in India in two thousand eleven
Taught us much about our faith (since we almost went to Heaven).

We were very very grateful to still be upon this earth
Because the following November we were there for Grayson’s birth.

In the nine years that would follow 8 more grandkids would be born;
Bowen, Keller, Miller, Asher were the first next four.

Audrey, Ezra, and then Haddon all came with a hallelujah
The 9th one just arrived last week – his name is baby Judah.

Scott and Tucker both of course betrothed their wifely dreams;
Mary and Danielle joined Chad to flesh out our family tree.

In two thousand and fourteen and 20 years at RBC
We were given a sabbatical and went to Italy.

Rome, Sorrento, Florence and some time in Tuscany,
Pisa, Cinque Terre and then Venice by the sea.

Some time up by the lakes and then on to Switzerland;
Zermatt and then Lucerne the Alpine beauty never ends.

Lausanne and then Geneva where our trip came to an end;
I think we’d both agree that we would do it all again.

In ‘15 it was Poland and our travels with the Hicks
‘17 was Poland and our cruise to the Baltics.

You retired one year later, now we work at Chick-fil-A
They let us eat free food and not only that – get paid.

In ‘19 we went cruising to the great state of Alaska;
The beauty there I have no doubt is better than Nebraska.

So here we are at 63 and growing old together
With lots and lots of memories life couldn’t get much better.


Monday morning we hung around the hotel as long as possible ( getting the most bang for our buck) – we hiked around the pond on the hotel property and spent an hour or so by the pool. After we checked out we took another hike (gotta get our steps in) at Umstead Park – which is just across the interstate from The Umstead Hotel – and hiked the Reedy Creek and Loblolly Trail Loop. Then headed home. A quick but very memorable 24 hours.

Nona and I have fun creating memories together. But we are really looking forward to creating lots of memories with you.

Never forget that you  are very loved,

Pop Pop

Pop Pop Epistle # 153 – Where I Was 40 & 30 Years Ago Today


Dear Grandkids,

So a few weeks ago I posted where I was 50 years ago on that day. Today I’ll briefly tell you where I was 40 years ago today and 30 years ago today.

40 Years Ago Today – I got married. To my first wife. To my only wife. You know her as Nona. I have blogged about this day before HERE and HERE  and HERE, but here are a few things that I have not told you about that day.

  • We were married at Sedge Garden Methodist Church in Kernersville, NC – where Nona had gone to church as a little girl.
  • The ceremony was at 2 pm. We then had a reception in Winston-Salem at Pinebrook Country Club.
  • We flew to Atlanta that evening for our honeymoon night before we flew to Bermuda on Sunday.
  • I don’t remember the name of the pastor who declared us married – we didn’t really know him well (but as the pastor of the church he had to be involved) but one of my best friends did much of the ceremony – Jimmy Carr. He was a seminary student at the time and I knew he and his wife Vicki from my home town, Aiken SC. I had also live with them in Gloucester, MA during my first year of seminary at Gordon-Conwell.
  • One of the songs that we had sung at our wedding was called This Is The Day by Scott Wesley Brown. It was a perfect song for a perfect day.
  • It was a beautiful, sunny, awesome day as we were surrounded by friends and family.

30 Years Ago Today – Nona and I have always made it a point to get away by ourselves every year. This was especially true when your parents were still little. We knew that we needed the time away to invest in our marriage so that we could be properly fueled to invest in them. For our 10th anniversary we spent a few days on the island of St Thomas. Christy was 5, Scott was almost 4, and Tucker was 3 weeks shy of 1 year old.

One of my favorite memories from that trip was the meal we enjoyed 30 years ago tonight. It was at a seaside restaurant called The Chart House. The Chart House is a chain of steak restaurants that we have frequented whenever we could because it has special memories for us. The first one that we went to was in August of 1979 in the French Quarter in New Orleans. We had just met in June in Galveston Texas on a Campus Crusade for Christ beach project. When the project was over, Nona drove with me to New Orleans where I went to school at Tulane University. We spent 18 hours together in The Big Easy together before she flew home to North Carolina. It was soon after our Chart House meal that we kissed for the first time in Jackson Square. So any meal at the Chart House brings back that awesome memory.

40 years sounds like a long time to be married. But I promise that 40 years goes by very fast. As you grow up and as you get married take the time to create lots of memories that you can relive again and again.

We are going to do just that today and tomorrow. Perhaps next year I’ll be blogging about the memories we created on our 40th anniversary. Ask me about it sometime.

And never forget that you  are very loved,

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