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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Toto...I Don't Think We Are In Kansas or Arizona Anymore...Thank God!!!

Please let me stay in Oz...

   So...there are a couple of laws trying to be passed right now in Arizona and Kansas that will make it okay for people who don't like gay people or rather...do not agree with the homosexual "lifestyle"  to refuse service to them because it might go against their 'religious freedom'.  Um...what religious freedom exactly are they referring to?  The freedom to be a butthole? When does serving a person who you think is committing a sin become a violation of your religious freedom? Do you know how many adulterers or fornicators or liars or gluttons you served in one day? When did you become the 'sin police'?  When did you get to decide which sin is greater than another? 

Okay...so I got a little over passionate there..but come on...give me a break. I remember when blacks were not allowed to eat in the same restaurant and or drink out of the same water fountains as white people...it was an ugly time. It was a time I thought we had overcome..and that when we knew better ..we would do better. Obviously I was wrong. Obviously, now that we cannot discriminate legally against other races...we can now discriminate on cherry picked sins. 

Let's just..for argument's sake say...homosexuality is a sin...and you think baking them a cake for a wedding is you condoning that sin..let's just say that for a moment. So, when was the last time you baked a baby shower cake for an unwed mother? When was the last time you baked a wedding cake for a couple where one or both had been divorced? Or what about a birthday cake bought by the mistress of a married man? What about those cakes? How much did it hurt you to bake and decorate those?

And for the rest of us who are not uptight bakery workers...how many times have you sat beside someone in church you knew was a liar, a cheater, a gossiper, an adulterer, or a drunk... and you did not call them out on their sins? Did you speak up? Did you declare that it was against your religious freedom to be forced to share a church pew with them?  Well, if you did not...I am afraid there is little hope for you...other than the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ who is no respecter of persons (which means He shows no partiality and really does not care how you sin...only that you ask forgiveness and that you carry out his commandment to love and not judge others) ! Get your mind out of the bedrooms of other folks and on your own short comings...trust me...that should keep us all busy for awhile.

~ Squirrely Girl...just being Squirrely...

Monday, January 6, 2014

Duck Dynasty and Wall Street

T.V and Movies….They Are Not Just for Sunday School Any More…


Two of the stories listed in the round up of ‘biggest news’ for 2013:  the uproar over Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame’s comments and Martin Scorsese’s film “Wolf of Wall Street”.  Two different issues, but same complaint:  Somebody on TV or in a movie did or did not teach society the right lesson.

I’m sorry…did I go all Rip Van Winkle and sleep for a couple of hundred years? (Very possible, the sleeping part anyway),,but when did TV and movies become the moral compass of the United States of America and all mankind? When did shows like American Idol and The Voice replace singers and musicians developing their art in basements, dive bars or on street corners to create a ‘real audience’ …play ‘real songs’….play an’ actual instrument’ and maybe even write an’ original song’? And when did we look to reality shows or films to teach us about sin and religion???
I keep hearing day in and day out how this country and the whole world is going to hell in a hand basket and we wonder why…really??? On one side people are losing their minds trying to defend a duck hunter’s opinion and obsession with a few passages of the bible concerning homosexuality and how it is somehow connected to bestiality (because they are mentioned in the same verse….you know…just like adultery and murder is mentioned in the same verse…that means….every single human who has ever lusted in their heart when married… is also gay, a killer and in a relationship with a goat)! On the other side people are ticked off with Phil because he stated his opinion in a magazine article (not even on his ‘reality show’ mind you) and they wanted him fired because he shouldn’t be giving moral opinions in magazines or on TV…then…those SAME people turn around and complain because Scorsese did not  condemn greed enough in “Wolf of Wall Street”.  ?????????????

I typed a LOT of question marks because I got a LOT of questions. Listen up people…God is not up there keeping a score card on which sin you think is most disgusting.  I understand the hypocrisy of movie critics and the media, their job is to talk good or bad about a movie or TV show …for money. It is shallow and worldly and no one expects more. I don’t know why they would throw such a fit over Phil’s opinion then trash someone else for not having one.… but the question remains…if we can get all our ‘lessons’ from movies or TV…why did I spend all those years in school?  I think I learned all I needed to know from Captain Kangaroo and Andy Griffith way before first grade if we are rating our morals on programming.
But I can promise you this…  I don’t look to “Roots” to teach me about the injustice of slavery. I don’t look to Gone With The Wind to teach me about the Civil War, and believe it or not…I don’t look to Forrest Gump to teach me about the horrors of Vietnam, I had a brother who was there to give me a firsthand account.  And I CERTAINLY don’t look to a flavor of the month reality show personality for interpretation of bible verses.  I don’t like the media and critics being wishy washy and crazy but they get paid good money to go back and forth about the value of a film or news story and all they claim to be is ‘critics and media’ nothing more and nothing less.

But if we have reached such a low level of intelligence that we have to look to media for our religious guidance…then…I do have a real problem with Christians using a TV show or a fast food restaurant to show how much they love Christ.
There…I said it. Before you burn a cross in my front yard let me say this: I consider myself a follower of Jesus Christ. I believe with all my heart and soul in the gospel, the good news. I believe Jesus is the son of God and died for my sins and through his resurrection I am washed in the blood, fully redeemed and claim the victory!!! I am far from perfect, I fail at being ‘Christ like” every single day, so I am not ‘preaching’ to nobody. I am just stating my opinion…just like Phil.

 I LOVE me some Duck Dynasty. It makes me laugh. It reminds me of my own family in so many ways (minus the millions of dollars) and I have to tell you…I agree with Phil on a lot of things. I admire their family. I love the way he loves Miss Kay and his boys and grandkids. But just like my own family, that doesn’t mean I have to agree with him on everything. I am sure some of his family doesn’t agree with him either but they are right to stand up for his freedom to voice his opinion. I stand behind his freedom to voice his opinion and quote scripture all day long. What I will not stand behind is the way he said it and the meaning behind some of the things he said. And his meaning was perfectly clear and it was far from loving, therefore it was far from being “Christ like”.
I have been imagining if Mama Bess was here today and what she would say to Phil. She would have been his elder and if Phil is the kind of guy I think he is…he would have listened to Mama Bess and listened closely.  I can’t speak for her of course …but being raised by her and listening to every word she said for most of my life I think Mama Bess would have said something like this: 

 “Phil, ‘em is some mighty purrty grand babies you got right there!  Now… me and you need to have a little talk so sit yourself down right here and let me get you a biscuit. You do know with great power comes great responsibility, right? And you have great power. Your show is watched by millions of people, you proudly proclaim your belief in Jesus Christ and that made a lot of us Christians very happy and proud. You pray at your dinner table and the show ends each week giving hope that families all over can return to a closer relationship with each other and with Christ. That is nice, we really needed that…and son, you have the freedom just like anyone else to say whatever you think…but you also have a greater responsibility because more people are listening and you put yourself in a place to represent Christians. If you are gonna represent me…you need to know what you are talking about before opening your mouth and you need to know the consequences.

  Phil, I love ya….and I know your reality show is all about entertainment and fun but your remarks were crude and nasty and hurtful and untruthful….a long way from what Jesus would say and I gotta tell ya, I was ashamed of you and embarrassed for you. Jesus never described the intimate body parts of a man and woman and how they were used in a sermon.  Actually, Jesus never talked about sex in his sermons. He talked a lot about love but never about sex. You seem a little obsessed with sex Phil…that’s alright…most men are but you can’t go around talking about it in those downright dirty words these days..with all that new fangled  digitoreryographay whatever it is called..cause EVERYBODY is gonna read it, see it or hear it. How did you feel when your grandsons heard you describing a woman’s vagina and a man’s anus all over the world?  Shame on you…sure it got you ratings and it got a bunch of so called Christians boycotting A &E and calling you a Christian hero…but you can’t have it both ways, Phil…you can’t condemn others for sins you happen not to be committing at the moment… then turn around and make money off committing the sin of judging others (that one Jesus did talk about…a LOT).  Do you understand? Let me quote you some scripture ...John 3:17 “For God sent NOT his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be SAVED.”  Remember that one? You do a great job memorizing scripture … try some of the ones about salvation… you know… the great commission…to go forth and spread the good news?

 We grew up in a different time. You and I remember back when these things weren’t really talked about. Oh, people knew of homosexuals, as a matter of fact I grew up knowing a couple of ladies who lived together all their lives. They loved each other very much.  We all knew they were different, but things like that were just not discussed. They didn’t bother anybody and nobody bothered them. No one ever knocked down their door with a message of sin and going to hell. No one did because no one condemned them for loving each other…none of us knew what they did in the privacy of their own home. Just like we don’t know what goes on between you and Miss Kay…you could be swinging from chandeliers for all we know…but it is none of our business. You said in your interview that you were a drunk and a mean man before you found Christ and it turned your life around. So you of all people should know better.  If your goal was to get a bunch of ‘Atta Boy’s” from people who think just like you…you succeeded, if your true goal as a Christian was to lead others to Christ…you failed miserably.  My Paw used to have a saying…”You can’t feed ‘em till you catch ‘em”. What you were saying was like trying to shove a T-Bone Steak down an unborn baby’s throat. Do you think tons of unsaved people went runnin’ to church after they heard you condemn them screaming…”I just can’t wait to meet that God!! He sounds absolutely wonderful and loving! He only sends non perfect people to HELL whooppeee”  ??  You did a lot of stone throwin’, your arm must be plum worn out. So I would give it a rest for a little while if I was you. Listen… I am not about that new ‘feel good’ religion. I know that sin is real and the bible has a lot to say about it but try this for a change Phil….

 Let the Holy Spirit and the word of God that is sharper than a two edged sword do the convicting of sins and you stick with making duck calls and being a good husband, father and grandfather.   Nobody loves the scripture more than me…but when you had an audience of millions of people…you chose to harp on sin instead of the saving grace of Christ. I think people know a whole lot more about sex and sin than they do about the love of Jesus. So I want you to take some time and think about this Phil…..somewhere out there is a young man or a young lady…several of them….maybe too young to even know what you were so crudely talking about…but they know they are different and they are confused and struggling and now thanks to you they feel doomed for hell and may never even get the opportunity to hear a more compassionate description of Christ who loves ALL people, even sinners such as you and I.  And they will be too afraid to even talk to their friends and family or pastor…they will take the bullying and the Duck Dynasty mantra they hear every day around in their hearts and their minds until they finally end their lives before they ever have the chance to hear the message of grace and mercy of a loving heavenly Father. Think about that long and hard and do not be deceived for….'When Jesus saw this he was indignant (that means ANGRY)…  He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such “.  Mark 10:14  

 Phil, you might very well have hindered many young people with those crude thoughtless statements. And you didn’t just hurt them… you hurt many parents and family members and friends of gay people all over this country. I pray you never experience that sort of prejudice, hate and pain.  But maybe you grew up in a world that taught you to be insensitive to others feelings. Did every black person you grew up around and work with in the fields truly seem very happy to not have the same rights as other humans or did they just hide it really well?  I grew up during those same days, I remember my little girl looking up at me and asking why the water fountains had ‘white’ and ‘black’ on them…I said, “Cause folks are stupid, Baby…and it makes God very sad.” I also read in that interview you gave in that fancy magazine that you went to college. I never got to go pass 8th grade, too busy picking cotton, but I had enough sense to know black people were NOT happier before they had the basic rights afforded all mankind, but they might have been a whole lot safer, because many died trying to claim those rights. Think about all of those families and how they suffered just to have a vote, or sit in the same classroom as you and me. Those are some of the things I want you to think about. See, there are lots of scripture in the bible and it would do us all good to read more of them more often and in context.

 If you are going to be on a show where millions of people watch you and you are going to loudly profess to be a Christian…you are making yourself a spokesman for all of us and there are so many things that need to be said and said loud! You need to remember all those words too.  You did say it was your job to love everyone, but people will not let you love them after you just said they are doomed for hell, have sex with animals and would be happier as slaves.  So get back to the real ‘message’. When we know better…we do better. I will expect better from you now because I think deep down you meant well.  But in the future…if you and your family want to make millions off of  viewers who care more about what is on TV than what is going on in their own home, community and church…please add a disclaimer at the end of the show that says, “ This show does not represent all Christians. Not all Christians cherry pick sins and most do not have time to list the over 600 sins mentioned in the bible and since they can’t point them all out to everyone every day, they just stick to worrying about their own sins. That appears to keep them pretty dog gone busy.” In the words of my Paw…”Son, looks like your barn is a burnin’ down whilst you over here counting the termites in mine”  

  Thank you and may God Bless you and yours. Tell Uncle Si I said “Hey,  how’s your Mommer and ‘em..I got you some sweet tea”!!
~Mama Bess

P.S. Uncle Si would LOVE Mama Bess…she made the bestest sweet ice tea EVER!

~Squirrely Girl

Sunday, December 15, 2013


And it has nothing to do with football.... 

I really appreciate all the friends I have made over the last year on this blog. We didn't all agree on everything and I will admit right now....I have been wrong about a thing or two or three or maybe a hundred...but you guys have hung with me and dang...we are almost like a family now! A family where people can love each other and still disagree. Where you feel safe to say..."I think you have lost your ever lovin' mind...but Imma love you anyways ".... (yeah...we know those aren't real words...but we don't care)!

And that  truly describes my 'real family'...you see ...I have been ULTRA BLESSED...I was born the 'baby' of a family who some people call 'entertaining"....and others call..."crazy as a sprayed roach' but we are the "McCormicks".  Born to Daddy Frank and Mama Bess...the most romantic love story since Loretta Lynn and "Doo"! We are brothers and sisters who have experienced some of the most wonderful and a few of the most horrible things in life. We lost our precious brother, Dewayne many years ago ..then lost  Daddy Frank on Christmas Day 1987 ...not long after lost our older brother Kenneth and then...Mama Bess in 2005. The four of us left didn't see how we would go on.  But we have...and as much as I hate this overused cliche.... "MAKE NOT MISTAKE".....we will keep going and we will stand by each other no matter what. Which is the perfect introduction to this:
 over the top ...completely unashamed and blatant bragging about ...THE GATOR!

The Gator...aka...Dwight McCormick...needs no introduction to anyone in the panhandle of Florida. I am pretty sure that... (and GOD FORBID) ..if the good Lord decides to take the GATOR home...there will never be enough churches, chapels, funeral homes, basketball courts, gyms...whatever... to hold his family, friends and admirers. We recently had a scare with his health and my Facebook and Blog messages lit up like a billboard with people wanting to know about The Gator!

Isn't it always the case? That those who are extraordinary don't know how valued they are until there is  a crisis?  I told him when he had his little 'incident"  (that is what the Gator calls every major event...a little 'incident')...I said "You know... Hank Williams was never really famous until he died!" He laughed as usual and said.'Well...Hank didn't have the internet and Facebook"!!

I agree...so let me introduce you to my brother...the GATOR... no....he does not pull for the Florida Gators..(we would disown him) He is a FSU Seminole inside and out. From my own recollections...the nickname "The Gator" came from him really hunting ALLIGATORS...way before all those reality shows!  So there is a little fact you might not know!! I will let him fill in the details here...I still get a little squeamish hearing about his 'gator huntin' days'.

But more important...I want to tell you about my brother, Dwight.  He is one of the most remarkable human beings I know. He is loyal and kind. He is funny, compassionate and extremely  talented but humble.  He is hilarious, witty, Godly and understanding. Not a common or likely combination. 

He was the guy who called me up and said ...'you pick yourself up, shake yourself off ...and try it all over again until you get it right'...and the same guy who said...'you are my baby sister...I will love you whether you succeed or fail". 

He was man enough to cry with me...to show me that being a real man doesn't mean you don't cry or hurt or need comforting...that being a real man sometimes  means listening and loving you no matter what. He was the inspiration for more than a couple of songs I wrote because he didn't mind saying how he felt...not ashamed to admit that he hurt like anyone else.  So he has always been accessible for those in need.  The most Christ-like characteristic of all.

I will not share the name...but as some know... the Gator worked with many  inmates in a county jail for years.  After one of the inmate's release, he told me that he owed his very life to my brother. That he never treated him like a criminal but as someone who still had worth...that when he was down to the very last breath he wanted to take...the Gator gave him hope.  It was one of many stories I would hear over the years.

I have never had a heartache in my life when the GATOR was not there to hold my hand and soothe my soul...to pray with me..to let me know that no matter what...I was loved. 

People say that me and my sisters are a lot like our Mama Bess....and we all three laugh at that ...because we know...deep down.... the Gator has more of our precious mother's traits than any of us.  He has the perfect combination of the grace and mercy of our mother...and the steadfastness and no nonsense of our father. He is the  Gator....He is our brother and our best friend...and we could never be more proud!  

Happy Birthday Brother....we love you so very much!  Never stop being YOU!!!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

It is okay to forget!!!

Fear not....It is a wonderful way to live...

I just realized...this is the first year since 1995 that we have not remembered our son Adam's 'new birthday'. His bone marrow transplant was in July and we normally do a big celebration of his second chance at life from his older brother Jeremy. None of us really mentioned it this year. But that doesn't mean we have forgot how to be thankful, that means we are finally getting the most precious gift of all...the point where cancer does not rule our lives anymore. See…when someone in your family has cancer....cancer takes over everyone's life. Adam suffered more than any of us will ever really know...fighting this disease that seems bound and determined to take every person and everything in life we love, but he was not the only one. As he has said many times...watching the rest of his family suffer along with him made the cancer even worse. 

His brother was a junior in high school...just 16 years old. When other boys his age were juggling sports and girlfriends...he was wondering if his bone marrow might fail in saving his younger brother's life...a pretty heavy load for any teenager. I remember the day that I called him at school and as soon as he picked up the phone...I said..."Jeremy!!! You are a perfect match!!!"  He said, "I knew it...YES..let's do this!!"  

It was not an easy procedure for him. He takes after his mom and gets deathly sick from that 'sleeping medicine'. Just like most donors, he never complained for a moment. When they brought up his bone marrow the bag said, "To Adam..From Jeremy...I love you!"  It was a special moment every mother hopes she will never have to experience...one child...sacrificing his life for another. It made me look at the gift our Heavenly Father gave to us… the ultimate love...and the ultimate pain. But "Bless the Lord...oh my soul and all that is within me, bless his holy name."

(This is a beautiful lullabye to that song)

 And then there was their baby brother Dusty...who was not really old enough to understand why everyone in his family seem to just disappear from his life for about 6 months. His Mema Judi (who I could have never made it through without)  brought him to us at Duke University Hospital so we could celebrate his birthday that year. All I really remember is he liked Power Rangers..the rest is just a blur. I was pretty much a walking zombie at that point and God bless Jeremy and Dusty…. They just got what little was left of their mama during those years...they never once complained. And their Grandma, Mama Bess...if there could be anything worse than watching your child suffer it has to be watching your child watching their child suffer....she was our rock through the whole thing...but I know her heart was breaking. Having my own grandson now...I  have a glimpse at what she was going through.  Bless you Mama Bess. Our sisters and brothers...who wanted so to lift our burden and did everything they could and my precious friends who could really do nothing but just be there and talk to me day in and day out...you will never know how much that meant. And the Hub...who worked at what ever job he could find in North Carolina to stay close to us and support me when most people would not have stayed in the same room with me most of the time...it takes a village and Adam had an awesome 'village'.

When I realized today that we had not 'remembered' that day..that week..that month....even that year….it was the ultimate "Helllllooo?" moment. Once the war has been won, we don't have to keep re-living the battles. We don't have to keep remembering the pain, the hurt, or the mistakes. This IS a new day that the Lord hath made and we SHOULD be glad and rejoice in it!!!  

Doesn't mean we don't give thanks and honor the moment, but we can now do that a new way, by not letting cancer keep us afraid that it will come back. There have not been many days since Adam was 6 years old and first diagnosed that I haven't lived with the fear of cancer taking his life...and even now 18 years later...I lose my mind a little if he gets the sniffles. Fear is not of God...so really I have been doing what I have told everyone else they should not do. Isn't that just the way it goes? It all sounds fine until it comes to living it yourself...then... not so easy. But my children have taught me to "Stop it...you can't worry about us all every single minute or you are going to miss out on enjoying us!"

So...I think our time is better spent being a comfort to those who are fighting the same battles today. For those who have recently lost dear loved ones to the enemy cancer and to those who are in the midst of the war with any other illness...we will try to be here for you. We do remember when it seemed impossible. We remember crying out to God for mercy and healing and for strength if healing would not be His will. We remember all the children that didn't make it and their precious families and the lessons they taught us. The number one lesson was: Make today count and live it to its fullest. 

I remember kids in the bone marrow unit getting the most devastating treatments, being so weak and frail and then five minutes later they would all be in the hall racing their remote control trucks and cars like nothing had ever happened.  They let the bad stuff melt away quickly and got on with the business of living and enjoying every second of this precious thing called  'life'. They concentrated on living…not dying. So if we are to go back to the year of Adam's cancer ever again.....that is where we need to return. To the hope, to the courage, to the strength of children with cancer and the lessons they were teaching all of us. 

Thank you Lord, for the opportunity to get to know every single one of them and be with those precious families who lost their children that year...they are all still in our hearts today. And help us take the lessons we were awarded that year to help others and not live in fear but in victory. Amen.

~Squirrely Girl

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I Saw A SHARK In The Clouds....

I Saw A Shark In The Clouds…

I really did…

I saw a shark in the clouds today. Not a cloud shaped like a shark, the clouds surrounded the shark and the shark was just this big old Jaws Great White Shark in the middle made up of nothing but beautiful blue sky. And then I looked to left and I swear there was a big mouthed bass, and then to the right… a catfish…all the same way. Now before you go thinking I was dipping into Old Grandpa Cough Syrup or was out in the woods nibbling on mushrooms, let me put your mind at ease. I was in the truck going down the road somewhere between Florida and New Mexico.

See, we are a ‘travelin’ band’. We go from one side of the country to the other to play our little songs, not because we think people need or even want to hear our little songs…but because we are either…artist who must pursue our craft…or …we are crazy as a bedbug. Most folks go with the latter. But we travel long distances and we cover a lot of the country and up until today, I let a lot of that go pretty much unnoticed. I am not proud of that.

I don’t know exactly what the term for ‘fear of traveling in a vehicle’ is called…I am sure there is one. But I got a bad case of it. It is unreasonable and just this side of insane, but I have horrible anxiety attacks when I ride in any car or truck, train, plane, bus, motorcycle, little red wagon, horse and carriage…you name it.  It was not always that way. I can remember loading up my kids and traveling alone from Florida to Memphis, TN without thinking twice. The thought that we might be in a car accident or break down in the middle of nowhere never entered my mind. I loved traveling, I loved driving, and I loved seeing new places. And then it happened. I got ‘that phone call’. You know… the one where they say, “Ma’am your husband and little boy have been in a car accident. Your husband is at one hospital and your son is at the Children’s Hospital, we are not sure if they are stable.”  I had just met my next door neighbor, (who is still one of my closest friends today) but I ran over and said, “Take me somewhere…I don’t even know where, I don’t even know where the hospitals are here.”

They were both okay in the end, but the trauma of seeing my little boy in a neck brace and his head swollen like a basketball and not even knowing the condition of my husband did something to me that day. A lady had just pulled out in front of them…. just an instant in time… and our lives would never be the same. I think that is when my mistrust of anything mobile started. We all know the moment we get into a vehicle it is not just our good judgment, but that of a million others that count, but it is probably not normal to worry every second, then again, being normal is not something I have ever been accused of.
Maybe if that had been the only incident, I would not be so crazed, but add that to:

“Ma’am this is the Sheriff’s Department, we have your husband at the emergency room..he was in an accident and someone finally found him.” (He was okay too)

“Mama, we were in a car accident, your grandkids are a little shook up but we are all okay… the van is totaled but we can get another van.” (Praise the Lord)

“I don’t know how to say this but your Aunt and Cousin were in a car accident, your aunt was killed instantly… your cousin is in intensive care, you should come now.”

The last one was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. I was convinced there is no safe place on the road. And the last one about my Aunt and Cousin…..is what takes us back to the shark in the clouds.

I know you are wondering by now how the two could possibly be connected. Well, I’m gonna tell you. My Aunt was married to my Uncle Junior who was like my other father. He lost his wife and almost lost his only daughter,( his first had been taken by breast cancer) in that accident.  I didn’t think we would survive the whole thing and (forgive the pun)… it put the nail in the coffin, so to speak, with me and the love of travel.  But my Uncle Junior and Mama Bess told me I needed to get over that and gave the old adage “Get back on the horse”, so I did. But the fear never completely went away. So I will travel…but I also will be either reading a book, working, playing a game or sleeping. Basically, I go into the ultimate denial stage and just pretend we are not going down the interstate at 70mph. And this worked until a few years ago…. the night an 80 year old man got confused and went down the wrong side of the interstate hitting the car in front of us head on. Once again we were very fortunate to have minor injuries, but I remember thinking, “See, I told ya’ll, the road is not safe and we should all move into caves and protect our loved ones.” I was back in fear mode once again.

Fear is a horrible thing. Fear is paralyzing and never leads to anything good. Fear is the main ingredient that Satan uses in his prize winning recipe to keep us from ever doing anything, enjoying anything, or serving God in anything. He uses it like a drug. Fear is addictive, once you have picked it up it is almost impossible to put it down without a strong intervention. Uncle Junior passed away last week, it was very hard to let him go. He was that rock you knew you could turn to in time of trouble. I think he was also my ‘strong intervention’. Something happened to me when I said my last goodbye to him. I was reminded of every conversation we ever had. One of those conversations was about all the wonderful things we get to see on our journeys, and I said, “Well, I don’t see a lot of things because I am too busy trying to pretend I am not going down the road.” I laughed, but he didn’t. He said, “You have to stop that, the best part IS the traveling and seeing all the different things. Do you know how many people would LOVE to have a job where they got paid to travel? I sure would. Most of us have to pay to go anywhere and you get paid to appreciate and enjoy all the things God has made. You need to put those books down and look out the window now and again.”

I said he was right and I would try, but I didn’t. Like some other great wisdom that has been shared with me, I just put it in the back of my mind with the excuse that he just didn’t understand how afraid I was, how the fear had taken over any common sense. Not a fear for myself or my life. I do not fear death… it is a different kind of fear and anxiety that is not rational and not easy to explain. Then on the way home I got the call, he had passed away and all I could think was what he had said so many times. “Today could be it for any of us and we should probably act that way”.

When we left yesterday to go back on the road…. he was on my mind so strong I found I could not read a book or write, or play solitaire or listen to music. I just sat and looked out the window. And there it was…a perfect shark in the clouds. I love the “name that cloud’ game and I still play it with my grandchildren where we lay on the ground and say what the clouds look like…but this was different. It wasn’t the clouds making the shape. It was the sky making shapes around the clouds. It took my breath away. I had been looking at it all wrong. Thinking the clouds were in control, when the sky was in control the whole time. There was something very comforting in that thought. A peace I had not felt in a long while. Don’t ask me why it was a shark…I think my brother, Kenneth had something to do with that…he took me to see Jaws and was an avid fisherman, AND he had a warped sense of humor just like me!!

But there it was, undeniably talking to me. I am not saying Uncle Junior’s passing was a way to teach me a lesson. It was his time to go, he had been anxiously waiting to go and join his wife and child, his Ma and Pa, his brothers and sisters. But I do think… no… I KNOW he has enough pull up there to make a couple of miracles happen. I imagine it this way. He went to Mama Bess and said..”Well, she is still doing that whole ‘fear of traveling’ thing and missing out on some amazing things God is trying to show her…and Mama Bess said…well you give it a try…she is obviously not listening to me and Kenneth chimed in with  ..make it a shark.”  And so there it was….I saw a shark in the clouds…actually I saw a shark in the sky and it was swimming through the clouds! I expect to see a unicorn and squirrel before this trip is over. I don’t need to be afraid, fear is my enemy. Be safe, take all common sense precautions, and then …what will be will be. Whatever happens will happen but in the meantime I have been missing all the blessings around me. Fear is the devil’s playground. He knows if he can keep us scared, he can keep us from being a witness. He revels in stealing our joy. The worst Christian witness is a ”miserable Christian”.  Fear and anxiety and worry can make you awfully miserable. The fear trap waits around every corner in many shapes and forms.  The bible says over and over, ‘Fear not”.  I think fear is our need to be in control. The enemy knows that and uses it against us.  But…”Yea though I walk through the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me…” 

I think I have taken so much for granted. Uncle Junior was right. There are many people who cannot even get out of bed, who would love to see all the wonderful sights we see every day, while I bury my head in a book and pray for time to pass so I can get OUT of the truck.  Shame on me! And shame on all of us who do not make the very best of every single minute. The devil found my Achilles’ heel and he has made great progress with me. I plan on stopping him in his tracks.  My heart may still beat a little faster than it should, I may never completely get over the anxiety of traveling, but I can make an effort to appreciate the little things, open my eyes and my heart to the enchantment of the earth God created. Heck, we may even seek out the world’s largest ball of twine, maybe kiss a dolphin or pet a dolphin (whatever it is you do with dolphins) stop at every ‘Historic Landmark” on I-10 and take a pic or maybe  I will chase a prairie dog or two this trip and take one home to the McFarm. What I will not be doing this trip is burying myself in ‘busy stuff’ to shut out the fear. We are all on a journey of some sort and any number of things can happen to us along the way. Might as well sight see….

 Thank you Uncle Junior for another lesson, and thank you God for Uncle Junior and for being bigger than all my fears.

~Squirrely Girl

Monday, May 6, 2013


Who IS Gonna Fill Their Shoes?

We were all saddened to hear about the death of George Jones, one of the legends of country music. He died at the age of 81. He will be missed greatly. He was one of the major influences of country music. I know he gave me years of enjoyment and a great respect for traditional country music. Nobody could sing a song like "The Possum".  When he sang, "He stopped lovin' her today"...you believed it with your whole heart and soul...you could feel the pain with every perfect note. We were playing in Vinton, La when we heard the news and that night when we played one of his songs, I couldn’t help but cry. One of the greats had passed on from this old world and I knew things would never be quite the same. It was truly the end to an era. A generation of music. 

But then today, the biggest loss to the world came and my life will never be the same. His name was Roy Junior Carroll, he died at the age of 82. To many he was just Junior or Uncle Junior, to me he was and always will be Unck. That was my nick name for Uncle Junior. I was blessed with so many wonderful uncles and aunts.  They were all unique, they were all talented, they were all funny, smart and amazing and they all hold a special place in my heart.

But I only had one Unck…he was Mama Bess’ baby brother and she said from the day he was born he was special. He had a spirit about him that is hard to explain, because I don’t know who to compare him to today. As a matter of fact, I am afraid that with the death of my Unck…much like George Jones…there may not be anyone to “fill his shoes”. You see Unck was a different sort of man. He was strong and dependable without being mean or bossy. He was spiritual and pure without being judgmental. I can’t remember him ever saying a bad thing about anyone, yet he could correct those he saw stumbling without being offensive. He did it sternly in love. What a unique talent. What an incredible thing that is lacking so much today.

I grew up just feet or yards or inches away from Unck…(he always noted I had no sense of direction or distance, so I should be watched closely at all times…basically what he said was, "You can't find your way out of a wet paper bag and the only child I know who needs directions on how to get out of a tree she just climbed"...hehe)! His daughters were like my sisters..some people call it ‘cousins’..but we knew better. We knew that we were just sisters you could get away from when you wanted to. Unck probably got on to me more than my own parents because I practically lived at their house. I would show up…usually around meal time (which was my second dinner or supper…yeah... back then we didn’t have ‘lunch’ we had breakfast, dinner and supper …’lunch’ was just something you got at school)  and I would bebop in and say, “Hey Unck…what we having for supper?” And he would say, “Hard to tell, but from the smell of it, I think it might be some peas and corn and okra, with something fried and it better be cornbread, ‘cause you know we can’t eat without fried cornbread.” (The man literally would not eat without some sort of bread on the table...now ya know where I get that little obsession).

I think I pestered the living daylights out of Unck for most of my life, but his quiet chuckle always assured me that he would love me no matter what. See Unck was the baby of the family and I was the baby of the family, so he understood that I had some strange belief that I was special and could get away with anything. He even understood I was never even called anything but “Baby” until I was like 35 years old. If someone said my real name, I knew I was in serious trouble or at the doctor’s office. I think that was one of the reasons we had such a special relationship, that and the fact that I spent every other night of my life at his house with my ‘cousins’. He had no problem coming and telling all three of us to ‘not make him come in there again’.  I would start giggling so loud after he closed the door, he would open it it back up and say, “And I mean it too!”  I knew he meant business so I would bury my head in the pillow and giggle until I fell asleep or passed out from lack of oxygen.

We reminisced about those days just a month ago. It was the day before we left to go on the road. We looked at pictures and laughed at all the memories. When it was time to go, he held my hand a little longer, and I hugged him a little tighter than usual. Maybe somehow we both knew that might be the last time. I don't know, we were too busy laughing about the time we all went on vacation and wet chickens came flying out of our motel room when we checked in to think about such things as 'last goodbyes'. 

That is just a sampling of the memories I have of my Unck. As the years passed we would share many laughs, good times and some devastatingly bad times. We shared the loss of his parents, my parents, my brothers, his brothers and sisters, both watched our children suffer with cancer and then...losing my favorite aunt and cousin….his wife and daughter.  I did not think we would make it through some of those days. He could have acted all macho and strong and resilient, instead he held me and cried right along with me, showing the true strength of a man. I have seen him be angry but resolved not to let anger take control. I have seen him be humble and proud... only of his children, grandchildren and recently his great grandchildren. I have seen him be silent when most men would have raged and I have watched him take men twice his size down with a simple look and kind but firm word.

Today has been a really bad day. I can’t seem to stop crying. And it is not only because I am sad at losing a special family member. I think it is because I am afraid. Not just that Uncle Junior has passed, but because there is only one aunt left on Mama Bess’ side of the family. That means that whole generation is almost gone. And I am afraid that somehow we might not live up to the standard they set for us. I will admit I am more than a little worried that I don’t have what it takes to be the leader, the example that Uncle Junior and all the others were to us. It is scary to think that my nephews and nieces might look to me the way I looked to Uncle Junior…what a dismal disappointment that might be. I am afraid of ‘stepping up to the plate’ I guess.

George Jones may have made a mark on the world in country music, but my Unck made a mark on the world as a man of God who never sought anything for himself and everything for others. There may be a young artist who can come along to fill the shoes of people like George Jones, Conway Twitty, Tammy Wynette, and Loretta Lynn. Someone that can reach out and touch people with a song that leaves a lasting impression, but I pray that those of us who are now the ‘aunts and uncles’… can come close to filling the shoes of people like Uncle Junior and leave the lasting impression the world really needs. Be patient with us all you young folks…we have some REALLY big shoes to fill. I think the first thing Unck would have done is be honest and admit that he was scared about being able to get the job done.

Rest In Peace Unck….I don’t know how I ever got special enough to have you be a part of my life…but I thank God for it everyday!!!!

For you ...from your Squirrely Girl  Niece~

"Will The Circle Be Unbroken"...Chuck Wagon Gang


Friday, March 1, 2013


Does Anybody Really Care?


Does it really get any better than Chicago? I think not. A little rock, a little classical, a little jazz AND a little philosophy!

"Does anybody really know what time it is, does anybody really care, if so I can't imagine why..."

I can’t imagine why either. Do you know what year this is? It is NOT leap year. You know what that means? No February 29th….I cannot for the life of me understand why we can only get a February 29th every......4 years (unless the year ends in 00’s).   Oh I tried to read up on leap year in the Wiki Tiki Taffy Pedia..but it started talking about the intercalary or bissextile year and Gregorian calendars, lunisolar calendars,  and astronomical and seasonal years…too many big words and too much science for me. But do you know what they call a year without February 29th?? A “common year”…and that’s why I don’t like ‘em.  Who in their right mind would ever want a ‘common year’?

I want every year to be special and who decided we could just ‘add a day’ or ‘subtract a day’?? Who?? You know what this means? NOBODY really knows what time it is. Nobody even really knows what DAY it is and obviously NOBODY cares.

We have been traveling so fast across this great country that even our smarty pants phones can’t keep up with the time….the Eye Pads can’t keep up with the time.  We don’t have a clue what time it is or what day it is…until today…when I realized we lost February 29th.  Just flat out lost it--an entire day…. I  would have probably found a cure for cancer or invented disposable clothes if I had just had that one extra day instead of just another ‘common year’.

I am normally going to bed when my friends and family are getting up to go to work. Not that I didn’t do that before I was on ‘Mountain Time’ but I realize more and more that time is relative. When I call home three hours behind my family and they say…”For the love of Oprah Winfrey and Tom Cruise, why would you be calling us at midnight?” …I say, “Well it is only 9 pm here…get up”!! I know that time really means nothing. It is just according to where you are.  And in just a few weeks the ‘powers that be” will make it even more complicated by changing to ‘daylight savings’ time…like they are going to change how much daylight we have.  It doesn’t matter what your clock or watch says people…there will be the same amount of ‘daylight’ hours and ‘nighttime’ hours. The sun and the moon will do their thang regardless of whether we spring forward or fall back…I promise.

They try to convince me that the whole ‘saving daylight’ was for the farmers…bull malarkey…farmers get up with the sun and go to bed when the moon comes out.. they do not care what time you call it. No…the whole ‘daylight saving’ time thingy was invented for 9-5 people to be able to go home and cut their grass. They could have just changed their schedule and went to work one hour earlier and saved us all the trouble. Nothing makes me madder than changing time to ‘save some daylight’. Just means I have to get up when it is dark so I can have a little more daylight to pretend to be doing something productive. 

And if we REALLY ‘add’ another hour on to daylight every year…why can’t we just add February 29th every year? And how about a December 32nd???  I don’t know about you but I would like two New Year’s Eves too..as a matter of fact I would like three December 25th’s and at least four Thanksgivings. I already celebrate my birthday all month so I don’t see why we can’t do that with every holiday.

The whole point of this rant is …well…I can’t remember the point because I am too excited at the thought of celebrating Halloween for ten days straight. Nothing better than a reason to dress up like the Walking Dead or Marsha Brady…and while we are at it…let’s have National Chocolate day every Wednesday…then it will no longer be burdened with that awful “hump day’ nickname.

Does anybody really know what time it is? No we do not.  So I say it is 5 o’clock everywhere right now…so you are all now officially off work...

Party on… ~Squirrely Girl