God’s Been Good & I Have Been Blessed

   Posted by: Mel   in Life

My Mom holding me, the day I came home from the hospital

My Mom holding me, the day I came home from the hospital

Today is my 38th Birthday. In 38 years I have only spent one birthday apart from my Mom. While most Mom’s may tend to tell their kids the birth story of how they came into the world. My Mom would tell me the story of my name. This is the first year I won’t hear that story from her. And sadly with all the technology at hand, I don’t have it on video.

Every year on my birthday Mom would let me sleep late. She’d start singing Happy Birthday to me the second she heard me coming down the hall. She’d be sitting in her chair, grinning at me. “Happy Birthday Melody!”

While this year is not what I had planned, nor what I had hoped for or prayed for. I would have never thought I would be where I am in life at this age. And that is not a sad statement. God has blessed me abundantly above anything I could ever ask for.

Dad, Melody & Mom

I had wonderful Parents. I could not have asked for better people to raise me, love me unconditionally and show me who Christ was. I was given amazing siblings who have each loved me, cared for me and stepped in when needed, whether asked or not. A lot of times putting me first during hard times to make sure I was ok, their first priority after their own family. I’ll never forget those times.

I have been blessed in my 38 years to have some pretty amazing friends. Friends who made themselves my family by choice and consider me blood. And have made me feel extremely special in ways I can’t express. I am forever grateful that God chose to put them in my life.

I am thankful for 38 years on this earth. For all the blessings of God. For life more abundantly. I don’t know what this next year will bring or even the next few months. But I know without any doubt, that whatever happens, God will be my constant.

Story of my Name:

A few years before I was born, my Parents had two babies a couple years apart that died at birth. When my Mom got pregnant with me, she wanted to name me June (June would be a blessing in my life years later). No real explanation was ever given, other than she just really liked the name. As it got closer to my birth, Mom started pulling away from the name. She said that because they had two babies die within a few years apart, God knew they needed a Melody in their life, so He gave them me. As much as that has went to my head over the years. It was them that God gave to me. I am eternally grateful.

“God’s been good in my life, I’ve been blessed beyond my wildest dreams as I go to sleep each night, Sure I’ve had my share of hard times, by my side He’s always stood, Through it all, God’s been good!”

Coates Family

Thomas & Clora Mae Coates Family



   Posted by: Mel   in Life, Mom's Life Story

Clora Mae Coates

Clora Mae Coates

Today is Mother’s Day 2015. Today is also my Mother’s 79th Birthday. We celebrated her birthday on March 3rd this year, because we knew there was a chance she would not be here on her birthday. I am thankful we had made plans to do that the day after she came home. The day before we would celebrate, I would be told she only had 3-5 days to live. Yesterday was two months since she passed. Many probably would say celebrating her birthday early was bitter sweet. I haven’t yet found the sweetness of it. Extremely grateful to those closest to our family, who could be there to help us celebrate our Mom. My Mom. My heart.

I had said when my Mom passed away that I didn’t have much to say, because anything that needed to be said, I had said to her. There was nothing left unsaid between her and I. She knew me inside and out and I her. There was nothing about my Mother I didn’t know. I had the honor and extreme joy of taking care of her during her last 16 years on this earth. I would not trade one second for the time I got to spend with my Mom. I wouldn’t change it and would have gladly did it for the rest of my life. God had other plans for both of us. Until my Mom took her last breath, I still believed God would heal her here. Nothing that anyone could say or do would have changed my mind. There is something to be said when it literally takes God to change your mind about something you feel so strongly about. Unwavering faith, it should be taught on more often. But no matter how much faith we have, sometimes God says no.

I am the youngest of 10 children to my parents. My oldest sister passed away in 2009, my brother and sister just older than I passed away at birth. So there is seven of us left, spread from California to Illinois. Today I thought I would post something for them to read and hopefully it will make them smile, maybe even laugh (I hope none of you are in public reading this).

To my Siblings:

Do you have any idea how much Mom loved you? She was extremely proud of each of you, your lives and what you had become. She prayed for you daily. Often times I would walk into the living room, she would be praying for you and your kids, grandkids, I have to admit, some of you she prayed for more often than others. I won’t mention any names (Mike). But she prayed. And she prayed deliberately for you and your soul. More than anything she wanted you all to serve Jesus. And live your eternity in Heaven.

About four days before Mom passed, she stopped talking. The day before she stopped, I came into the living room that morning. She was talking, eyes wide open. I thought she was mumbling. I touched her arm and asked her who she was talking to. No one was in the livingroom. She smiled, “Jesus. I was just thanking Him for all he has done for us. For all He has done for you kids. He’s so good to us.” Some of her last thoughts and words were about Jesus and her kids. That should tell us all something.

She was proud of each of you and all you had accomplished. She, better than anyone knew you were not perfect and had made mistakes along the way. But she knew the prayers she had prayed and knew Jesus had heard her. Therefore, you would be just fine as would your kids and grandkids.

I am not sure I can say anything to you on this day to ease the pain or discomfort this day has brought. Or the past few months for that matter. But if I could say anything that would give you some comfort I would hope it would be this. God knew who we would be long before the earth was formed. He knew the mistakes, the sin, the joy and the pain we would bring to a Mother from time to time. Though it is a cliche’, I believe it is true, He hand picked Mom just for us. He knew how long it would take her to get us all in line, how many times she would have to say no, yes or “you know better than that”. He knew the moments when we would need her most and He knew the times when we would be able to stand on our own two feet. But He knew we would only get there, with having the right Mom to lead us. That was our Mom.

No other Mom would have put up with all you people! Stealing watermelons, driving the Fiat through the fields, getting shot at, driving motorcycles off the side of the mountain, shooting at wild life with a shot gun! Mopping the floor with sponges on your feet and gallons of soap and water, not to mention all the times she waited by the door to flip the light on and off when it was time to come in. Only our Mom would have put up with all that, discipline you and then waited the appropriate amount of time before she would tell the story and laugh the whole way through it.

She loved being a Mom. But also loved being a Granny. And you guys did that for her. You made her a Granny, Great Granny and Great Great Granny many times over. And the way you raise your kids, also shows honor to her. She left a huge legacy, her family. But to her family she left the greatest legacy anyone could ever leave, she left us the Legacy of Jesus. What we do with that legacy is up to us. How we treat who mattered to her most (Jesus), is our choice. I pray your choice is clear on this day. As for me and my House, we will serve the Lord. Will you?

I will leave you with this. The last 11 days of Mom’s life, she began to tell those she loved, just how much she loved them, how much she appreciated them. Handshakes turned into lasting memories for those closest to us. And “I love you’s” seem to be said from deep within her heart. She wanted to leave no doubt to those who had chosen to be in her life, that she loved them and appreciated them. Some of our friends and family would have extremely special moments with her. Moments that I hope they remember for always. On this day, if I could have Mom back for just a few moments, I would once again tell her how much I loved her and how thankful I am that she is my Mom. As I am sure all of you would. But that isn’t possible, is it? So instead I present a challenge for you. I would like for you to take a page out of the last week of Mom’s life. Call or text (or however you choose to contact them) your family and close friends who mean the most to you, tell them just how much they mean to you. Do not wait for the moments Mom had, you may not get them. Tell them now and tell them from your heart. Leave no doubt as to how much you really love them. In the last days of Mom’s life, she let everything go that didn’t matter. And she chose to love and be loved by those who chose to accept it and give it. Why wait till your last days? Let it all go. And just love. It will change your life and the life of those you choose to love and be loved by.

Your Favorite Little Sister,


Clora Mae Coates Tribute Video


The Beginning

   Posted by: Mel   in Mom's Life Story

I was born Clora Mae Taylor to Ira and Margaret Elizabeth Taylor on May 10, 1936. I am the oldest of four children. My Daddy named me.

W.T. (Dub), Peggy Sue and Harlin Dee would follow. All being born by 1941.

I was born in Broken Bow, Oklahoma. My Daddy worked in the saw mills there to support our family. But we didn’t live there long after my birth. In fact I don’t remember it and didn’t return until 1991, when my Husband, Doyale took me and my youngest Daughter, Melody there on vacation.

We moved from Broken Bow to Adkins, Arkansas. My grandparents and great grandparents were well established there. In fact my great grandpa, Phillip Fronabarger had one of the biggest, if not the biggest farms in that area. It stretched over acres and acres of land. It is still owned today by my cousins son.

Back then, you tended to move where work was, so Daddy got word that there was work in Oklahoma and we moved. By this time Dub and Peggy had been born. We were stair steps in age. Once again, we didn’t stay there long. But long enough for my baby brother, Harlin to be born.

This time Daddy got word from my Grandparents, Grandpa McClure and Granny Fan (my Mama’s parents) that there was work in the orchards. Peaches and Oranges mostly. So we got on a Greyhound bus and headed out to California.

We didn’t have any money. And all we had to eat was a couple packages of saltine crackers my Uncle had given us. Daddy spent every dime he had on the tickets. And prayed that God would supply our needs.

Across the aisle in the bus a middle age black couple sat, they were married and then there was another younger man. Could have been their son or maybe a brother. They never said and we never asked. They had bags of candy. Some were hard candy, some were chocolate chips. We didn’t ask for anything, but it sure smelled good. The lady, I’m sure had noticed we didn’t have anything and hadn’t bought anything at the stops along the way. After one of the stops we got back on the bus, she reached in her bag and pulled out a handful of chocolate chips, leaned across the aisle and motioned to my parents to ask if it was alright.

Normally this would not be ok, we didn’t eat candy by the handfuls. But Daddy knew we were hungry, so he said it was fine. The couple would continue to give us candy when they ate it. I was thankful, because I was sure hungry. I never did know their names. But I pray the Lord blessed them for feeding four hungry kids.

We arrived in Corcron, California. Grandpa McClure came and picked us up in the horse and wagon. Mama and Daddy made sure to shake the couples hand and the young man who was with them before we left. I don’t know what Daddy said to them. But I’m sure he thanked them for their kindness. Pa took us to Exeter, 329 West Palm Street. Granny Fan and Pa had us a house ready next to them. And that’s where we settled down for the time being.

Daddy went to work in the Orange Orchard, he sure worked hard. I’m thankful for every orange he picked to feed me and my brothers and sister.

We went to the Exeter Assembly of God, Sis. Rhodes was the Pastor. Wonderful lady and minister of the gospel. Daddy really liked to hear her preach. Daddy became an Usher or Deacon as some would call it. We were faithful every Sunday Morning, Sunday Evening and Midweek too.

45-50 years later my Husband and I would be the Assistant Pastors of that same church I grew up in and our youngest Daughter, Melody would play the drums in Church for the first time. But we aren’t quite there in the story yet. I still have a lot of trouble to get into first.

L-R Back Row: Peggy, Clora Mae and Dub

L-R Front Row: Margaret, Harlin & Ira

Picture was taken about 1945


The Wedding Day

   Posted by: Mel   in Mom's Life Story

The day before we were to be married, we went to the Courthouse to get our wedding license. Doyale and I and Mama and Daddy. My Parents had to go because I was only 16, they had to sign to say they agreed to let me marry Doyale.

Doyale didn’t have enough money to buy the license. We had never done this before so we didn’t know what the cost was. Doyale was $1 short. The license was $3. Daddy loaned Doyale the $1. But Doyale paid him back when he got his next check, which was that evening. He went and picked up his check from the Texaco station, went and cashed it and got change to pay the Preacher, Bro. Simpson.

Bro. Simpson didn’t want anything for marrying us. He said my Mama and Daddy had been faithful to God by being faithful in their service, tithes and offerings to our church. And they had been a real blessing to not only the church, but to him and his family. And he wanted to now bless their kids. Doyale insisted that Bro. Simpson take the money. Said a workman was worthy of his hire. Bro. Simpson agreed to take the money. So Doyale gave him the $10.

The next day we went to the Assembly of God, our church. We came in the back door of the church, walked down to the altar where Bro. Simpson was waiting on us. Mama, Daddy, Dub (little brother) and Peggy (little sister) were the only ones there.

Mama had made my wedding dress. It was lavender with white polka dot Swiss material. It was beautiful. Every stitch was hand stitched by my Mother. Material and supplies paid for by my Daddy’s hard earned money. I wore white ballerina shoes and a little silk flower capping pinned in my hair with a couple of bobby-pins.

Doyale wore his only pair of grey dress pants, white button up shirt, no tie, grey gaberdine zip up jacket, black patent leather tied shoes and a black belt. He looked spiffy!

We stood at the altar, Doyale’s Parents weren’t there. Mama and Daddy stood behind us both as a way of saying they supported us. Dub and Peggy stood kind of out in front of us. I suppose they would have been the ring bearer and flower girl of today. We said our vowels and our I do’s.

Our Church was in revival that week, so we went back to our “new” one bedroom house, it was across from Nickel’s Payless Store on Farmersville Blvd. We changed out of our wedding clothes, put our church clothes on and went back to church. I lead song service that night. I thought real hard about leading the song, “Love lifted Me”, but I thought Doyale and Daddy both would have whipped me. I knew my Mama would have. So I lead “I’ll Fly Away” instead.

We went home after service that night, got up the next morning and went back to church, we had made the decision (though we seen no other option), We were going to start off our marriage in church. Doyale put our tithes in the offering plate for the first time as a couple. He would continue to do so every Sunday for the next 45 years. Doyale passed away on March 13, 1999 almost 46 years to the day we got married (March 14, 1953). The Sunday prior we had sat in church together at Full Gospel Assembly in Turlock. Doyale had dropped our tithes and offering in the offering bag. I had sang. Nothing much had changed in 45 years. The next Sunday would be a different story and one for another time.


The Proposal

   Posted by: Mel   in Mom's Life Story

Doyale and I met in November, not too long before Thanksgiving in 1952.

We were on our way to church one Sunday, just him and I. We were talking about this and that. And he looked over at me and said, “Clora Mae, are you going to get married?” I said, “Yes, someday.” He said, “Well, when?” I said, “When you ask me! But you’ll have to ask Mama and Daddy before I can say yes.” He said, “Ok.”

When we got home my Daddy was in the kitchen. Doyale went in and spent a few minutes in there talking to him. A little while later him and Doyale came out of the kitchen, Daddy said, “I told him you can marry him. But he has to keep a job. You have to get your own house. He has to support you and your family. He said he would, I believe him.” Daddy knew Doyale wasn’t lazy, he had been working at the Texaco station. But Daddy needed to put it on the table so it was up front and in the open.

We found a house, Doyale moved into it and after we were married I moved in. In 45 years of marriage, Doyale never once didn’t have a job. And we never had to move back in with Mama and Daddy (we did live next door to them once). Doyale kept his promise to my Daddy and to me and you kids. Didn’t have all we wanted. And we had some very rough times, but he always provided for us as the Lord showed him what to do. Doyale believed a man ought to work and support his family. I did too. Still do.

Doyale asked me to marry him just a couple of weeks after we had been officially dating. Sometime right after Christmas, we were married 3 months later. He was a good man.

I never did say yes, But I guess after 45 years of marriage and 10 kids later, I’d made my decision. Besides serving Jesus, it was the best decision I ever made.

Thomas Doyale Coates Sr.

Thomas Doyale Coates Sr.


The Meeting

   Posted by: Mel   in Mom's Life Story

Your Daddy (Thomas Doyale Coates Sr.) came to church one night. We had them old theater type seats, wooden with slats. I would take my jacket off and put it over the back of the seat, so if I got cold I could slip it on my shoulder easily, so I didn’t disrupt service by standing up to put it on.

Well my jacket would start to slip through the slats of the chair, that night your Daddy, your Grandpa Coates and Charles (I think that was your Daddy’s cousin), was sitting behind me. Your Daddy started pulling my jacket through the slats, till he had it through, then he’d put his foot on it and drag it backwards till he had it out. I would try to hang on to it, but he was stronger and he won the tug-a-war.

He’d pick up the jacket and hand it to me. He would say, “Here, you dropped this!” I would snatch it from his hands and say, “Thank you. Now please leave me alone. I don’t want to get in trouble for talking!”

A few minutes later it started all over again. I finally got tired of it about the fourth or fifth time. I turned around and gave him a look and said, “Will you please stop it! I’m going to tell my Daddy if you don’t!” He stopped. After Church him, his Dad and Charles stuck around for fellowship. We got to talking, he wasn’t such a bad guy.

The next day they showed up at Whoolworth, I was a waitress, wasn’t yet the cook. They sat down and I went over to wait on them. I don’t know how they found out I worked there. I didn’t tell him or the other two. But some how they found out. We weren’t allowed to keep tips at that time. I was only 16. But they would have me walk around and refill their coffee, each one would slip coins in my shoes. I had blisters every night from walking on the coins all afternoon.

Every day they would come in, one day Doyale asked me, “Do you work every day?” I told him I did. My family wasn’t rich and every penny helped. “How do you get to work if your Dad goes to work so early and takes the car?” I told him we didn’t own a car. And that my Daddy walked to work. And I took the Orange Belt City Bus everyday. The coins they had given me had came in handy for that. “Can I give you a ride to work each day? I work at the Texaco Station just up the road, I have to come by here everyday anyway at that time.” I thought that would be ok, so I said yes. I got off at 5:00 p.m. and he had to work till 7:00 p.m. So He would take a break at 5:00 p.m. and come pick me up and take me home, so I didn’t have to walk home either.

Asked what her Daddy thought about him giving her a ride?

Well, He didn’t say anything at first. Mainly cause he didn’t know for a long time. But when he found out, he said it was ok. Even though Doyale was older than me. But he kept going to church and was proving himself to be a good man. He would stop by and give me rides to church. After a couple of times of giving me a ride, he asked if my Parents would like to ride, it was cold out and it would be warmer in the car. Faster too. I told him no, they would walk. I thought I was smart, till Doyale told Daddy that he had offered a ride and I told him no.

Your Daddy proved himself to be a good man. He went to church, accepted the Lord into his life. He left one option on the table when we started getting serious. Marriage. There was no other option of moving in together. No option of just dating the rest of our lives. When he realized he wanted to be with me, he asked me to marry him. And he expected the same thing out of the guys you girls married and out of Mike as well. Your Daddy was a great example of a husband and father. I am so glad I said yes. We had our differences. But we loved each other.

Thomas Doyale and Clora Mae were married for 45 years. Thomas passed away on March 13, 1999 at 8:45 p.m. 3 hours and 15 minutes short of a 46 year marriage. Their first date was on December 8, 1952. They married 3 months and 3 weeks later on March 14, 1953.

My Parents: Thomas Sr. & Clora Mae Coates

My Parents: Thomas Sr. & Clora Mae Coates


The Three Faces of my Mother

   Posted by: Mel   in Life

My Mother, Clora Mae Coates

I was born late in life to my parents, Thomas & Clora Mae Coates. I was the youngest of the ten of their children. I often tell my siblings, “They finally got it right!” My earliest memory of what my Mom looked like is the picture above. As far back as I can remember, this is what she looked like. Really did not change much over the years. Hair got a bit grayer. Few wrinkles here and there. I did not know as a kid that my Mom was over weight. I never noticed, till she lost so much weight that I could see a difference. She was “Mama” and that was all I needed to know. So for most of my life when I closed my eyes or heard people ask about my Mom. This is the face I would see. This is the face I still see, even when I see her now.

My Parents: Thomas Sr. & Clora Mae Coates

Thomas Sr. & Clora Mae Coates

When I was about 15 years old, I was going through my Mom’s box of pictures (I still do this at least once every six weeks). I ran across the picture above. I had never seen (that I knew of) a picture of my parents when they were younger. My Mom told me it was her and my Dad. “You were so pretty!” I remember telling her. She replied with “What happened huh?” I told her that she was still a beautiful woman. At this time my Mom still looked like she did in the picture at the top of this page. The picture of my parents when they were younger was their wedding day. March 14, 1953. So now I had two faces to my Mother. The one I knew here and now. And the one that married my Dad at just 16 years of age.

I really did not know much about my Mother when I was younger. Just the average stuff a kid knows. Birthday (May 10, 1936), Where she was born (Broken Bow, Oklahoma), Her family (The Taylors) and her famous cake she baked for almost all of the church bake sales, Milkway Cake. But I really did not know details of her. Her hopes, dreams, what made her marry my Dad at such a young age. But as the years went on, I began to learn more and more about my Mom. After the passing of my Dad we got very close. And since that time, we have gotten extremely close. There is absolutely nothing that I can not tell my Mother. Though I do not always share everything with her. The freedom is there should I want to do so. There is no shame, judgement or disappointment in anything I might share with her. That is a true gift to any daughter from their Mother.

Clora & Matt <br>Great Grandson

Clora & Matt (Her Great Grandson)

So this brings me to the face of my Mom, now. Still amazingly beautiful. But now I see my Mom in a different light. I don’t just see the beauty when I look into her eyes. I see the 78 years that she has lived on this earth. I see a young girl with joy for the future, marrying a man eight years older than she was, at the age of 16. Giving birth to her first child at 17, the day before her own birthday. Giving birth to the second daughter 11 months later, to the day! I see a disciplined woman who raised 8 children (7 girls, one boy) in the house of the Lord, there was no excuse for not attending church. Who was not afraid to put a little thunder in the diaper when needed. But had soft arms that not one of us could resist laying on, curdled up talking about our hopes and dreams. I also see a Mother who has endured more grief than any one person should go through,  who buried two children just a few years apart from each other (RIP Thomas Jr. & Veronica), who I have never once seen her shed a tear over. I see a wife that lost her husband the day before their 46th wedding anniversary. Though I seen and heard many tears, she bravely went on about her life. She is a Gold Star Granny (RIP Pfc. Matthew W. Wilson). And buried her oldest child just two short months after Matt’s death.

But among all the heartache, the dreams, the joy and the loss. I see “Granny”. What she loves for her grand kids and great grand kids and great great grand kids to call her. I see the lady who has went through all of that to become the woman she is today. Though most days she is tired, finds it difficult to stay awake, hard to remember most things and can no longer walk without the aide of something or someone. Her mouth drawn just slightly because of the stroke. Her face has indeed changed with age and with health issues. But this same face that tells the story of her life, is the same face that lights up any time one of her great grand kids or great great grand kids crawls up into her lap. Her eyes smile without even trying. And it is then when I notice it. It’s the same face that my Mother had when I was born. The same face I seen through out my life, the same face that I never realized was getting older. It is the face of unconditional love, at its finest.


Weeding a Garden

   Posted by: Mel   in Life

There comes a time in every gardeners life that you must weed your garden. Now this is a rather easy task, if you stay on top of it. See one weed come up, quickly pull it. Lay down some compost. Plastic. Whatever it is that you use to keep the weeds down.

But if you do not stay on top of it, you can get yourself into a lot of trouble. That one weed you failed to pull, it is now a tree, over night. You heard the saying, “Growing like a weed!”. That’s no joke. A weed can literally double and sometimes triple in size, over night. It really doesn’t need any water. It doesn’t need fertilizer or anything else your veggies need to survive. Just dirt. And maybe some sun.

Now usually if you have one weed that grows, that you have failed to pick out of your garden, you find yourself within a week or so with a whole bed/row full of weeds. Now you’ve really got yourself into a pickle! Because what could have taken just a few minutes, has turned into an all day event. Those weeds now have thorns on them, not easily gotten, even with gloves. Roots that were only an inch deep, now are a foot or more down into the ground. And the real problem, now some of the weeds roots are entangled around your veggie roots.  And you know that when you reach in to grab it, two things are going to happen.

1. You are going to get poked with the thorns, even with your gloves on.

2. Some of your veggies are going to come up with the weeds, because they are entangled. The least that will happen, you will disturb the vegetables growth.

So what do you do? Well first things first. Water the area where the weeds are. This will loosen the ground around the roots and do the least damage to the vegetables. Because if a veggie starts to go sideways, because the ground is wet, you can easily build up the dirt around it. You may stunt the growth of the vegetable a little. But it will recover nicely, you’ll still get a harvest, just might not happen when you wanted it to. But it will happen.

Next you will want to make sure that when you are grabbing for weeds, you don’t mistaken a very small vegetable plant (one that isn’t as grown as the others) as a weed. So grab carefully. Letting your eyes guide your hands before you do any grabbing of the weeds.

Now for those weeds with the thorns. There are several ways you can get rid of them. But here is the most efficient way of doing it. Grab from the bottom. As close to the dirt as possible. Make sure the leaves come up a bit, use them for a covering over the thorns. Grab firm, but not so firm as to let the thorns pierce your skin. Now pull straight up. You may have to turn loose a couple of times and get a better grip. You may have to apply a little more water and soak it. But using this technique will work eventually. While pulling up be sure to pull slowly, don’t get impatient. As you are pulling slowly, you will feel each root as it gives way. Till that final huge root is set free.

Now, as careful as you are, you may still get a poke from a thorn, you may pull out a veggie that wasn’t quite as big as the others or you may disturb the growth of one that is well established. But all is not lost. When you see that you have been wounded by the thorn, apply a triple antibiotic as quickly as possible. If you pulled a veggie you didn’t intend to, check to make sure it can’t be replanted. If it can not, see if you can use it some where else (soups, compost pile etc). And lastly the plant you disturbed, unintentionally.

First build up some soil around it. Make sure it’s watered well, check on it daily. Apply water, fertilizer and whatever else you think it needs, don’t baby it. It will never be able to thrive if you do. It will rely only on you to get it through. But most of all, talk to it. Every living thing, whether in dirt, walking around or disturbed likes to be talked to. You’ll be surprised how far this step will get you! Especially if done in love!

So whether you are literally weeding out your garden bed. Or maybe the garden bed of your life. Be gentle, stay on top of it, don’t let it get away from you. But if you do, get on top of it as quickly as possible. Applying the steps above, however they need to be applied.

Here’s to a great harvest season!

“So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.” - Galatians 6:9-10 MSG


Out of the Garbage

   Posted by: Mel   in Life

Out of the Garbage

Out of the Garbage

Compost: decayed organic material (garbage from your kitchen) used as a plant fertilizer.

Garbage: wasted or spoiled food and other refuse, as from a kitchen or household.

The above two words often go together when referring to a garden. The wasted kitchen scraps are put into a bin of sorts, turned with a shovel or by hand once a day. The wasted material begins to break down, often times within a few days. Sometimes it’s a few months. Within 6 months to a year you will have compost! Garden Gold! There is no other material (dirt or otherwise) that will grow you fantastic fruits and veggies. But it must first be broken down.

Most of the time the left over scraps are pieces of food that couldn’t be used in a recipe, ends of tomatoes, cucumbers, leaves from the celery or outer lettuce heads. This is placed in a bowl usually on the counter, airtight. Once a day or when it gets full, the gardener will take it out to the compost bin, drop it in. Now in order to get great compost, one must add a few essential items. Carbon being one of them. Used toilet paper or paper towel rolls. Old newspapers or shredded paper - Trash. Trash and Wasted Food becomes garden gold.

Once this has been turned over and over, enough heat (it can often be in the 100’s in the center of the compost pile), enough water has been added, it breaks down into very fine what looks like dirt. But there is no dirt in the compost. Gardeners put this in their garden, adding it all at once or a little at a time, spreading it out nice and even, veggies begin to grow. Flourishing, often times in places that they were not intended to thrive. The compost, if added in heavy amounts and done right, will keep weeds from growing. It smothers out what doesn’t belong.

While turning my compost pile today I noticed a green leafed plant coming from the back towards the front. Stopping to follow it, I found it was coming from inside my compost pile. It is a thriving tomato plant. A vine that I put in at the end of last year to break down. A plant that, when I put it in had NO life. It was indeed dead. It is now thriving.

It is a reminder to me today that out of the garbage of our lives, the decayed, the refuse, the wasted, the trash, the broken down, in the right hands of a Master Gardener, life begins to grow. What was once dead, now not only lives, but is producing life. Life that will feed others.

No matter where you are today, if you know the Master Gardener, let him take the decayed, the refuse, the wasted, the trash, the broken down, and the dead things in your life (hopes, dreams and love) and let him call them back to life. Out of the Garbage of your life, new can begin again.

Isaiah 43:19 MSG

This is what God says,
the God who builds a road right through the ocean,
who carves a path through pounding waves,
The God who summons horses and chariots and armies—
they lie down and then can’t get up;
they’re snuffed out like so many candles:
“Forget about what’s happened;
don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
rivers in the badlands.
Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’
—the coyotes and the buzzards—
Because I provided water in the desert,
rivers through the sun-baked earth,
Drinking water for the people I chose,
the people I made especially for myself,
a people custom-made to praise me.


15 Years Later

   Posted by: Mel   in Life

March 14, 1953

Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Coates Sr. - March 14, 1953

Dear Daddy,

At the time of your death I did not understand why you had to leave. Life was good. Life was really good. So much I wanted to say to you, but time was so short after trying to reach everyone to tell them “it won’t be long”. By the time I made it back, you really were gone. I thought life was over. And it was as far as I knew life to be. I grew up very fast. There were bills to be paid.

15 years later I can say that life did go on. Not the same way. And what I wouldn’t give to have you here. Mom sure would be happier. She misses you so much these days. As much as I don’t want to admit it, I feel she will be with you and her Savior before long. I did not come visit your grave today. I knew that is the last place you would want me. Instead I spent the day with your great grandkids, their last day here before Texas (who knew they’d end up in your home state - I love Texas, but I don’t like this, hate goodbyes). We played in the park, went to the Zoo. And spent time with a great friend.

I don’t know whether you can see down here. I’d like to believe you have better things to do than to stalk me day in and day out. But if by chance you can, I’d like for you to know what you taught me. At the age of 36 (almost 37) I can say I am not the same person I was when you were here. I have matured greatly. And I now know who I am. I had no clue when you were here. So below are things you taught me, either by example or by telling me.

Let God Pick Your Friends
You never picked friends. They seemed to always pick you. Most of your friends were Pastors. Or least ‘good Christian folk’. You surrounded yourself with people who didn’t lie to you. Judge you. Or talk about you behind your back. Instead you surrounded yourself, Mom and our family with people who first and foremost prayed for you. Upheld you. There when you needed them most (and always returned the favor). You’ll be glad to know I have finally found this life lesson to be true. I indeed have allowed God to pick my friends. And have surrounded myself with people who treat me well. The ones I can really count on do not talk about me behind my back. Judge me or lie to me. And they pray for me probably more than I pray for myself.

No Excuse Not To Go To Church
“Unless you are on your death bed, you will go to church. And if you are on your death bed we will wheel you in and pray that God will raise you from the dead!” I heard this on more than one occasion. While I use caution and smarts when I am sick. I find the desire to go to Church stronger than ever before. I always thought you went to church and “made” us go because “it was the right thing to do”. But what makes a man who is in his old age, who still works 9 hours a day in his 70’s, raised 10 kids get up every Sunday morning and go to the house of the Lord? Surely didn’t have anything to prove at that point. At 36 I get it. You really loved God. It wasn’t about going to church. It was about being in God’s presence. And devoting those few hours a week to him, completely to Him. Thank you for that.

You Need To Know More Than Just How To Wash Dishes
You taught me to change spark plugs. Change my own oil. How to change a tire. How to plant a garden. And so much more than most girls my age knew how to do. I can and still do these things when needed. It has saved me money. Gotten me out of jams. And for the most part when I have no one else to rely on to do these things. I can do them myself without too much effort.

“You don’t have to be like everyone else”. Whether in the way I dressed. Ate. Wore my hair. You taught me it was ok to be who I was. And those people who were my true friends would love me for it. It was ok to be independent from all the others.

Don’t Settle
Whether in marriage, relationships with friends, church or work. You taught me to not settle for the first thing that came along. Just as you didn’t. You kept striving, kept looking till you found what you wanted. Then pray and ask God to give you the desires of your heart. Mom says this is how you ended up with her. Which leads me to the next thing you taught me.

How To Take Care Of Mom
You were very stuck in your ways at times. But no one loved Mom or took better care of her than you did. I told you 15 years ago today I would take care of her whether anyone else did or not. I have kept my promise and will continue to do so. But I could not have done it without knowing how to do it from you. By watching you both together through the years. Thank you for letting God pick Mom for you. And thank you for marrying her. I suppose you could have carried on like many do today. But you stepped up and you made the commitment to her before God. You did it God’s way from start to finish. I can not tell you how much pride I have knowing my parents weren’t like everyone else’s.

Giving God What Was His Already
You taught me to pay my tithes. First. Not last. And not give ‘whatever I had to give after bills were paid’. But to pay 10% of my income or whatever God blessed me with first. Even if it looked like there was too much month at the end of the money. God would always supply because I had done what is right. It wasn’t giving money to the Pastor. It wasn’t giving it to a church. It was giving it back to God. Giving money back to Him that already belonged to Him. But you didn’t just teach me tithing. You taught me to go above my tithes. Give in offerings. Give of my time and talent. One of the greatest lessons you ever taught me.

Above All Be A Servant
You were first and foremost a child of God. But second to that, no one I knew had more of a servant’s heart than you did. We were the first ones to church, last ones to leave. And the only ones who ever had mail sent to the church in our name (people thought we lived there). You served God and our local church no matter how you felt. I often felt that “someone else could do that just this once”. I now know better. You taught me to be first in the door, last in line and stay as long as I needed too. To be helpful anywhere I was asked to be. And nothing, absolutely NOTHING was below my qualifications when it came to the house of the Lord. I watched you scrub toilets on Saturdays. Vacuum the church and mow lawns. And then lead service Sunday morning. Teach Sunday School Class. But in the middle of church if you were needed to run unclog a toilet. You rolled up your sleeves and got the job done. All in your Sunday best. And now as I write this I smile knowing you are sitting at the feet of Jesus, the greatest servant of all mankind. Worshipping Him. And probably wondering when He’s going to let you help build a mansion. Always a Servant.

Keep Your Reputation Right Between You and God
“If you keep your reputation right between you and God. Then your reputation will be right between you an man. And you will never have to defend yourself. Others will rise up to defend you” - I found this to be true time and time again. Thank you for not only telling me this. But leading my example.

I love you Daddy. Miss you more than ever this week. I long to be in Heaven. And knowing you are there makes me want to live my life that much more for Christ. He is enough to make me wanna go. But you make Heaven a little sweeter. Thank you for everything you taught me. You taught me so much more than what is here. But these life lessons are what have helped me through a lot of tough times over the past 15 years. I am in no way perfect in all of these areas. But I strive daily to be the friend to others as you were all your years. I will never forget my last moments with you. But I hang onto the life long moments, they are what keep me striving.

I will meet you at the rivers bend, where the tree hangs out over the river, some sweet day. Until then…

“Farther along we’ll know all about it,
Farther along we’ll understand why,
Cheer up my brother, Live in the sunshine,
We’ll understand it, all by and by”

Love always,
Smiley Dolly