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Monday, December 29, 2008


After the Christmas Eve service at First Baptist Church, Jefferson, Georgia, Abby and I drove down to my parent's house for Christmas. (For thoughts on the Christmas Eve service see

The next day, Christmas Day, when I got up I dressed for the day. It had been indicated that we didn't need to be late in arriving at my sister's house as we were at Thanksgiving, so I was going to be ready. We did take some time to open our gifts to each other.

I was ready, but we were still later than planned, although still in plenty of time for the meal. In fact, my brother-in-law had yet to put the turkey in to fry when we arrived.

All of the family was there. Actually, I qualify this by saying that Donna was the only one who was not there. Of course, the Trussell's might have added Betty and Everett to that list of those not gathered for the celebration.

The food was very good. Carol (and Kenny) did an excellent job with the food preparation. Then there were gifts to open. Most were exchanges between the Trussell's - parents and children, but there were a few exchanges between them, me, and my parents.

Then there was the afternoon together and then the food was uncovered for a second round of eating, which we did in stages. Then, some started to play a game that had been received for Christmas. Then, it was time for the goodnights and goodbyes.

It was good to see the family gathered: Melissa, of course, came from Atlanta; Joy and Andrew had come from Ft. Worth, Texas (they had arrived earlier to celebrate birthdays and their 1st Anniversary with Kenny and Carol and with his parents); and April and Tim had come in from Boston, Massachusetts.

Joy and Andrew left the next day. They had to return, I believe for a job interview. The rest of us were able to gather Friday evening for another meal at a local restaurant.

It was good to see you all.

Since Donna and I did not regularly spend Christmas with my folks, there were not so many memories, other than last year when we were all there, but sick.

I was able to share some of Donna's nice purses with the ladies of the family and that was good. Me, I got a robe, lounging pants and a shirt, cashews, candy, pants, a tie, a donation with thoughts of Donna and I, and a toaster oven.

Thanks all! God's blessings on each in your endeavors this coming year!

Richard/Uncle Richard

Her Birthday

For weeks I had contemplated the observance of Donna's birthday. What could I do that would both help me through the day and, at the same time, give proper celebration to her life?

Someone suggested taking the largest picture that I had of her and sitting with it before me as I thought about her. Immediately I thought...NOT!

One thing that she did enjoy on her special days (birthday and anniversary) was going out to eat. This year, as for several years, the Versaille at Chateau Elan was not a practical solution.

So the obvious was sushi. She loved sushi and anytime was a good occasion for it.

I issued the invitation to those who would like to join me in a celebration of Donna's life to meet me at RuSans in Athens, Georgia. Of course, December 18 was a Thursday, making it difficult for some. Others had there own celebrations: birthday and Christmas parties already scheduled. Some just don't care for sushi or Japanese cuisine. But, we assembled, all who could and all who would. The size of the party was actually just a perfect size for a celebration of this type.

Thank you to Charles and Allie, Charles and Gwen, and Claire for making the day special. May God's light graciously shine on you for your kindness. And, the fact, that you enjoyed the food was a great benefit.

Thanks and blessings,

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Well, the first of the major events without Donna has passed.

Originally, I had planned to be in Virginia for Thanksgiving. The cemetery had indicated that the grave marker would be in place in 6-8 weeks - I thought after the burial. However, I discovered that they meant after payment. So, hopefully, there will be a marker by Christmas - perhaps.

I suppose it was better this way. By coming to my parents for Thanksgiving, there were several advantages.

One, I had contracted some type of throat virus - that's what the doc called it. Even with a shot on Tuesday, I am still dealing with the effects of a sore throat (much less today) and stuffed-up head. Better here than on a 5-hour road trip.

Two, since Donna and I had rarely come to my parents for Thanksgiving, there were few memories to deal with, especially as my sister was the actual host for the Thanksgiving meal at her house.

There have been moments, as there have been the past 2 months (already, it's almost 2 months since the accident), but all in all, we have made it just fine this holiday season.

Now, there remains her birthday (December 18), Christmas, our anniversary (January 21) - it would have been 26 years, and Valentines. By God's grace, I anticipate that we will be sustained and make it through these events as well.

Dear God,
Thank you for Your own goodness, grace, and mercy.
Thank you for Donna and our more than 25 years together.
Thank you for family and friends who love and support.
Thank you for Jesus and His great sacrifice.

God is VERY good!

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Today, my parents returned to their home. I turned, walked into the house with Abby, and said to her something like, "Now we're on our own." And it was a sad moment.

Wednesday, October 1, life changed drastically...Donna was killed in a one-car accident. Immediately there was the rush of others to help. The sheriff and a local pastor who took me to the hospital to see her; the myriads of people who came to make my house presentable to those who would drop by; my niece, parents, and sister and brother-in-law appearing. There was the need to find Abby (she was with her "mother" at the time of the accident and ended up spending the night in the woods).

Then, we moved to the funeral home to make arrangements. Next was the visitation on Friday and the funeral service on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we left for Virginia for a graveside service and burial on Tuesday with the need to go on Monday and finalize arrangements with the cemetery.

Next was the trip home on Wednesday and the need to start going through Donna's things.

Today, my parents returned to their home...and now here with Abby...

I feel lonely!


Saturday, June 21, 2008


Dandy Lions
Dan duh Lie ons
Dan dell eeons

Interesting word combos, but I digress (yes, I started by digressing).

Last week, I cut the grass.

Actually, to be more precise, I cut the dandelions.

It was actually fairly easy as there had not been much rain, so the real grass had not grown (often as high as a foot or so before I get it cut). And nothing was bloated with nectar/grass sap/whatever it's called.

Dandelion flowers are actually very pretty. I love the yellow color. And the white puffballs are pretty as well, although much unwanted because of their readiness and willingness to float out and create another 'child' at the smallest breathe. (As to the leaves, not so much.)

I guess a lesson is obvious here. The beauty of the flower hides the danger.

(Wow! More digression!)

Anyhow, as I cut the 'grass' and pondered the predominance of dandelions and their ability to flourish with so little water, a thought occured to me:

If the folk in hell were to sweat, I bet dandelions would grow there!


Thursday, June 05, 2008

A Skunk, a Retractable Leash, and God

As you will know if you have visited my website ( we have a miniature Schnauzer named Abby. Actually, she has her own webpage, click here to view it.

One of my jobs each night is to go outside with Abby so she can take care of "business."

This past Tuesday night as we went outside, Abby discovered something she thought interesting and took off running into the lot next door. I did see her do a quick jump, spin, etc., but didn't think much of it. She did more running and some barking, but these are all fairly usual for her.

As we continued our journey around the house, I noticed an odor in the air. Well, in our neck of the woods, "that odor" is one thing - a skunk. But, then again, that is not unusual either.

We continued our journey and went inside the house. The odor persisted in the house, but that also is not unusual when the smell is strong outside. However, I did wonder and I bent down to smell Abby. Well, it had been some time since her last bath so she didn't smell pretty, but nothing stung my nose, so I didn't think more of it.

Then, we went into the bedroom, where Donna commented on the smell and how strong it was. OK, short story long, Abby HAD got it, at least some of it - enough to make her unpleasant to be around. So, Donna sprayed her with some "smell better" stuff and lit a Yankee Candle tart.

Well, Wednesday came and I went to work. Later in the day, Donna revealed that she couldn't take it any longer and had given Abby a bath - actually 2 baths.

So, when I got home (and she did smell much better when she greeted me at the door), it was again time for me to do the nightly honors. However, with "the odor" already present in the air outside, I knew we didn't want to risk the previous night's adventure with a clean Abby.

Out came the halter and retractable leash and then the trip outside.

Abby, of course, wanted to explore so I willingly went with her, but in those areas (especially along the back fence) that I wasn't sure about I held the leash so that she could not enter those areas.

Our retractable leash allows about a 15 foot distance from "holder" to "restrainee" so Abby had a circle with about a 30 foot diameter that she was FREE to roam, and I was moving so this circle was constantly being expanded for her. However, she generally stayed at the far end of the restraint and wanted more.

Then, I thought about God!

There is a continuing struggle in theological circles about God's sovereignty and human freedom.

I did wonder if God's sovereignty might not somehow be like that retractable leash. He is in control. As His child, He puts restraints on my life, both for my protection and for His glory. Yet, He willingly lets me to wander and explore "freely" as long as I stay within the realm of what He allows. Of course, I often push to the end of the restraint and want more freedom, but God knows what is best and so He lovingly holds the leash steady and keeps me from the danger that I would so readily get into.

Hmmm...a skunk, a retractable leash, and God...

I wonder!


Monday, May 12, 2008

It Was a Miracle

It was nothing short of at least a minor miracle, if not a major miracle - Donna was able to be in church with me this past Sunday, May 11.

First, there is the pain that she lives with. On Saturday, Sunday attendance was looking doubtful as she experienced pain, discomfort, the effects of medicine, whatever.

Second, there is the hurt that she has experienced, even those things one runs across in a new church that bring up old wounds that are not yet healed.

Third, it was Mother's Day - a day full of pain for one who has so wanted to experience motherhood and has been denied, as well as a reminder of the loss of her mother just before Mother's Day several years ago.

But, there she was, struggling at times to get ready so early in the morning, but walking out the door and getting in the car to travel the distance.

There she was, seated at the piano, taking part in worship leadership through 2 services.

There she was, on the pew beside me, crying through the sermon as she thought of her mom and the child she would never have.

The service was made easier by the fact that there were no babies to dedicate and no special recognition of those who WERE mothers (as opposed to those who WERE NOT mothers).

There were roses in the big pot at the front given to support the American Cancer Society's Walk for Life (now a cause for Donna as a survivor of melanoma), one which honored her and another which honored the memory of her mother.

So, as we sang the Doxology, her own voice raised in song and praise, I give praise to God for this, for ...

It was a miracle!


Friday, May 09, 2008

Check It Out

Besides encouraging you to check out my other blog Music Musings, where my posting is more frequent than here, I would like for you to check out

I have added links to Top New Stories and a Today in History section so that it is not the same thing everytime you go to my website.

Thanks so much and ...


Sunday, May 04, 2008

A Basic Christian Library

What are some of the books that one might find in a basic Christian library?

I have posted some recommendations with links for your consideration.

There are Bibles, reference books, and devotional books. I also included a link to "The Chronicles of Narnia" since there is much interest in the movie "Prince Caspian" that is coming out in theatres.

It is a long page with a lot of information, but I hope it will prove helpful.

You can find my recommendations on my website, Dickson Home, by clicking here or on the link on the sidebar and then clicking on the menu link to "Recommended Reading."


(Note: this is a duplicate of the post on Music Musings.)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Rebecca St. James Embarrassed

At least she ought to be!

I usually listen to Contemporary Christian Music as I travel to and from work each day. I generally like the style and it helps keep me awake. Therefore, I don't consider myself a classical prude when it comes to this style of music.

However, I often wonder what the musicians and producers are thinking. Don't they ever actually listen to this stuff they are putting out.

How much longer do we have to listen to lyrics like "My-ee," "ho-lay," and "I ador-a-(breath sound)ore" (just say it and you'll understand that last one)? Even with the stylistic nature of contemporary music, singers ought to at the least be able to pronounce the words correctly! Some actually do!

This is Christian music - at least that is what we call it. If it is Christian shouldn't it be our best. It should definitely be better than what the world offers.

So, back to Rebecca St. James embarrassment. Frequently in the last few days, I have heard her rendition of the song "Breathe" - which I associate with Michael W. Smith. Maybe she was trying to catch the feeling of the title, but it throws me everytime she sings, "I-hi" - I have to say, "Hi" back. Then there is all of the air sucking sounds.

Let see if I can approximate what I hear:

"And I-high canuh live withou yooo (suck air)."

If the instrumentalists on the recording had been so sloppy, I feel they would have been fired. Where was the producer and what was he actually listening for? He should have been fired. And Rebecca St. James, well, she should be embarrassed. She has been in the business long enough to know better.

Come on Christian musicians/ better. You can do it, and I feel sure that our Lord would be very appreciative of the extra effort.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008


For those who have not done so already, I wanted to invite my readers to visit my webpages: They can be reached by clicking the link in the sidebar or by clicking here.

You will find pages about "our girls," as well as sermon notes, and who knows what else. Feel free to browse around. Some of the content may not be recent, but you will certainly find out a little more about us in the process.


Sunday, March 23, 2008


Dear Reader,

It is Easter Sunday and we have once again celebrated the resurrection of our Lord. I would be remis to not wish you all a very Happy and Joyous Easter.

One of my great joys is to announce the good news on Easter Sunday. I had that opportunity once again this year in our sunrise service. So once again before the clock tells us that another Easter Sunday has passed let's say it again.

Christ is risen! - He is risen indeed!

And that my dear readers is VERY GOOD NEWS!


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Music Musings

I appreciate so much those of you who read these rambling thoughts even though the postings are few and far between. Please understand that I will continue to post here from time to time as my rambling strikes, but ...

For those who are interested, I have started another blog which I have been adding to basically on a weekly basis. It has to do more particularly with the church I am currently serving and the music program that I lead there.

I have posting thoughts on the Lenten season scripture readings and how they, the sermon, and the choral music selection relate to the church's Lenten theme. Readers may find it interesting.

The blog is called Music Musings. You can access it at or by clicking the link in the column to the right.

Thank you again for your support.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Best Laid Plans -or- Happy 25th

Well, it has been an interesting week, actually an interesting couple of weeks.

Friday, a week ago, ended with the Sons of Jubal Annual Retreat which this year involved an intense 2-day recording session. It was good, actually better than I thought it would be, but that's not the point of this story.

However, it, in part, helped lead up to an emotionally draining start to this past week. And this week ended, shall we say, very interestingly. Remember those best laid plans.

Ten years ago, Donna and I celebrated our 15th Wedding Anniversary with a small ceremony. I guess I should mention that Donna loves weddings. However, I asked if she could hold off on the big ceremony until our 25th. Well, she started them with the planning and preparations. She dreamed and planned and dreamed and planned and then dreamed some more. Along the way, the dreams changed or grew or whatever.

But, this past week, it caught up with us - the time arrived.

We had scheduled the big event for this past Friday, January 18th, at 7:00 p.m. A couple of years ago, while members at First Baptist Church, Toccoa, she had planned on having the ceremony in the new chapel, but with the new position at First Baptist Church, Jefferson, GA, one of those changes of plans happened and we scheduled it for that sanctuary with help and participation from members of our "new" church.

Then the week arrived and all was not done. Those last minute details got to be longer and out of hand. There was the rush to get it all done, but Donna was not physically or emotionally up to the task. She was simply worn out. Oh, she worked hard for the last two days with her friend Wanda helping out, but it was simply impossible to get it all done. Then there was the mad rush to get out of the house and on to Jefferson and the church. And, of course, in the rush, items - special items with a special place in the ceremony - were left at home (and with a 45 minute drive, were impossible to retrieve). We did remember some things like the plates and cups for the reception and we arranged for Wanda's husband to go by the house and pick up them up, but there were those other things that were not remembered until it was too late.

Donna was greatly saddened that all was not as she had dreamed it would be. Ten years of dreams altered by the last minute rush and the slipping of time.

For my part, small as it was, I thought it turned out well and Donna, well, she was more gourgeous than I remembered having seen her. Did I mention that she had gotten the wedding dress of her dreams (actually several years ago and at I price that even I thought was a bargain)?

Then after the ceremony, the reception, the photographs, and the clean-up, we were able to get away for our special weekend. We had planned a weekend in Atlanta visiting a few places that Donna wanted to go but for that first night, we rested. It was good, then we awoke to the promise of snow.

Now, you have to understand that Donna (and I) love snow, but now with the snow, more of Donna's carefully crafted plans were slipping (literally/figuratively??) away. So, with regrets we canceled our Saturday night stay, packed up, and headed home. Of course, this morning we learned that the snow was not nearly as bad as had been predicted and we probably could have continued with most of our plans (the zoo may not have worked out as the temperatures were very cold and it closes under those circumstances).

So ... what can we learn from this?

1. Life doesn't always go as we expect or plan. Sometimes we actually do have to just go with the flow and make the best of what we are handed.

2. The sweet is not in the details, but in the relationships. The details didn't match the dreams, but Donna and I did, in fact, before witnesses re-affirm our love for and commitment to each other. And, those who attended didn't seem to mind (or notice) that the topper for the groom's cake was missing - the one with the bride fishing for the groom - if you haven't heard that story yet, just ask me sometime when you see me.

3. God is still good. I can't pass up this opportunity. If you haven't guessed, this is a recurring theme.

So, now what are my plans?

Well, now I plan to try to take my bride to the zoo, the aquarium, and the world of Coke, but it probably won't be tomorrow and probably not all in one trip. I also plan to make up that second night away at some point, but probably not next weekend. And, my original plan is still in place - I plan to take my bride, on our anniversary, January 21 out to eat her favorite meal - sushi.

Who knows, even my plans may get changed, but love and commitment remain, not affected by changes in plans or dreams.

Donna, I love you! Happy 25th Wedding Anniversary!