Wednesday, December 31, 2008



For new readers to this site, I am writing since Kristy's battle with a GBM brain tumor and her passing on July 21. Kristy made me a romantic so I write to share christian love stories.


Here are family posts that I would like for you to read before I write further about my new love. They have each expressed, along with other family members, their confidence and love for me and this new relationship. I know that some have wondered how this came about so quickly and I have given the best answer I know. God did it and He did it in His time and His way.

Please read these comments from my daughter Jennifer, Kristy's sister Rebecca, and her brother Terry. I think their comments speak to many of the issues and questions some might still have.


My daughter Jennifer wrote:

Jennifer said...
Dad, I believe you are doing the right thing sharing this story. It's too wonderful not to. I believe the love developing between you and Wanda is God given.The fact some can't understand that is the exact reason it needs to be told! Without Christ love is distorted, people need to know of the amazing, unique love God offers!


Rebecca (Kristy's sister)I read yesterday's blog early in the morning; I just now read the comments from yesterday.


Don and I attended Bartow First Assembly when you pastored there. I know Wanda (and Jim) and their children very, very well. Don and I still attend Bartow 1st and so does Wanda. I see her all of the time. I can attest to the fact that there was no "attraction" of that sort; only a desire on your part and Kristy's to mentor Wanda and Jim in their walk with the Lord.And it paid off. They serve(d) the Lord faithfully; they became very involved in the affairs of the church and especially missions.

Their children are grown, married, have children, and best of all love the Lord with all of their hearts and are faithful and committed to their churches.Julie and Jennifer played with Wanda's children while y'all were at Bartow 1st.

We all fellowshipped together. And after you and Kristy left our church, Don and I continued to fellowship with Jim and Wanda.If anyone went into our church right now and asked anyone there what they thought of Wanda, every response would be positive - seriously, there would not be one unkind or negative comment about Wanda.

Just yesterday, our pastor gave an opportunity for people with needs to go and pray. I saw Wanda go down and pray with another couple. She loves God; she does not just sit back; she has a heart for the things of God.I know that you loved Kristy; there is no doubt about how strong and pure your love for each other was.

Kristy knew you were a young man; she did not want you to live alone. Truthfully, I'm glad that the Lord led you to Wanda (and her to you). We have all known her, her character, her family.

I pray God's blessings on you and Wanda and your children and grandchildren.

You are my "brother"; Wanda will be my sister-in-law.


Terry Roberts (Kristy's brother) said...


I knew you before Kristy did. As one of your college buddies, I was impressed with your devotion to God, yet you were also "real" -- and a lot of fun.

I was glad when you asked my sister for a date and thrilled when you asked her to marry you. I was glad that you would be not only my friend, but family. Over the years I've observed you in all kinds of circumstances -- highs and lows, victories and disappointments. I've always been impressed with the wise and measured way you've handled whatever life served up -- always determined to trust God, no matter what.

You have distinguished yourself among your peers as a solid and gifted man of God. I'm glad you're still "real"-- and still a lot of fun. You're still my friend and you will always be part of my family.

I haven't had the privilege of knowing Wanda as well as others in our family have known her, but from everything I hear from them, I am impressed. I truly rejoice that God has graciously brought someone into your life whose solid reputation as a godly woman is known far and wide.

I don't mean to presume, but if you and Wanda decide to marry, I will welcome her into our family, too.Your brother, Terry


Thank you for taking the time to read what these family members have written. Other family members have written of the own initiative and desire without my asking any of them to write. They have all shared their respect for me and trust in my walk and service to God. That really matters to me.

I have written today's post so hopefully most of you will see my sincere and true honest walk to honor Christ and do His will. Serving Him and following His leading is the most important thing and love of my life. That is all I am trying to do now. I am not perfect and have a long way to go, but I am striving to please Him each day of my life.

To continue to write this blog is a labor of love and service to the Lord. I don't have to do this except I honestly feel that it has and will be an encouragement to others and to obey what God has put in my heart to do. It might be easier to let this story unfold without ever being written on the pages of this blog--especially with some comments that have been written without any factual or christian fairness on the commentors part. However, I feel this story should be told so by the help of the Lord I will write it.

I will not write any further to explain or defend what I am doing. My family supports this and that is what really matters. I do fully understand anyone having honest questions as to how this could happen so quickly. I have asked that question too. It is a fair question.

The short answer is that God has brought this about in His time and in His way with the full and complete blessing of my children, Wanda's children, our parents, siblings, and accountability partners. I will follow Him and the godly counsel He has given me.

Tomorrow I will begin telling the story of my new love. You will wipe a tear, smile, and know there is a God who love us and cares about us and is faithful in all His ways.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008



For new readers to this site, I am writing since Kristy's battle with a GBM brain tumor and her passing on July 21. Kristy made me a romantic so I write to share christian love stories.


Figuring out who you are at this stage of life isn't the easiest thing in the world. Can you believe that I left "Twinkies" off the what I love list? Actually I have found deliverance from them as I have had so much other holiday sweets that have filled the void. I don't guess that really counts as deliverance if you have gone on to hard stuff. Anyhow, I am not eating Twinkies so I left them of the love list.

I also left off tennis, Scrabble, domino's, and a myriad of other things that I will not go to right now. It is an interesting proposition to review who you are at this stage of life though all of us should keep learning, growing, and reevaluating who we are and refocusing on the goals and dreams of our lives.

That is part of this exercise. What are my goals and dreams at this stage? What do I want to accomplish? Where am I headed?

Your comments have been very kind as a number have written who and what you see when you look at Milton Dykes. I wondered after I posted that question if I really should have done that in light of some of the comments in the last week or so, but you have been very kind. In fact your words have been so kind that I think I have got to take it up a bunch of notches just to get close to what you have written about me. 

I am regathering myself after the holidays and focusing on 2009. Julie and Jennifer told me that their Mom wrote on this blog after her recovery from brain surgery that she was happy as a lark. They said that if Mom felt happy as a lark while knowing she was dying then we can be happy while we are living. 

That is a great revelation. As a family, that is what we choose to do. We are going to live and be happy as a lark. That is what Kristy wanted for all of us.

Why not! 


Dear Lord:

I pray for Anonymous 8:10 PM yesterday who is battling in a life and death struggle with cancer. I pray for faith, courage, joy, and peace. I pray for healing and strength. I pray for her family and especially her husband. Give them good days of love and laughter. Give her long life. Give her assurance you are with her. You are the mighty, faithful healer.


Monday, December 29, 2008



For new readers to this site, I am writing since Kristy's battle with a GBM brain tumor and her passing on July 21. Kristy made me a romantic so I write to share christian love stories.


Singleness after 37 years of marriage brings one back to full circle. I am no longer two, but one. For 37 years I was joined in heart, spirit, faith, and flesh to a godly woman who partnered with me in life and ministry.

Now through death, two has become one again. 

So who is the one now left here? 

Who is Milton Dykes?

Before 7/21/08 I was a composite with a pretty redhead who made the picture more beautiful. We were truly one but that has all changed and I am wondering again just who is Milton Dykes?

I have not changed in purpose and life calling. I still feel called to preach and to pastor. I still have a great burden to see the lost saved and brought into the Kingdom. I want to see families grow in faith. I still want to make my life count by using my best energies, passion, creativity, sacrifice and commitment for Christ. I was called to preach before I met Kristy and that hasn't changed. My passion to preach has grown more intense and forceful.

My parents would say I was a good boy and teenager growing up and they are still alive and very connected to my life. I think they would say I am a good son and they are very proud of me. My daughters love me and have expressed their confidence and respect for me. I have many wonderful friends all over the world that I cherish and have who shown unusual kindness to me.

Who is Milton Dykes and what do I love? 

I love God, my Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, my daughters, my grandchildren, my parents, my family, friends, Church, unsaved people, Country, apple pie, football, Alabama football, Jaguar football, church work, momma's fried chicken and pound cake, walking, bike riding, jogging, all sports, all food, mediam rare steaks, peanut butter, peanut butter, peanut butter, Sunday afternoon naps and football, travel, history, American history, church history, sports history, world history, writing, finishing writing, neatness, cleanliness, nice smelling perfume and cologne, HD TV, Southern Gospel music, contemporary christian music, classical music, big band music, country music, blue grass music, any kind of good music one can understand, preacher jokes, church jokes, lawyer jokes, funny real life stories, laughter, smiles, funny and clean pranks, family gatherings, family dinners, good friends, being with my closest friends, good movies, old movies, funny movies, clean movies, heart warming movies, clean Seinfeld programs, Bob Newhart shows, Andy Griffith Shows, and lots more.

I like to read the Bible, pray, prepare sermons, teach, mentor, learn, grow, strive for excellence, help others, live by the Golden Rule, help make life easier, get task completed, set goals, dream, brain storm, learn new and more efficient ways to accomplish tasks.

What do I dislike or hate?

I dislike fat on my body, sleeplessness, cooking, cleaning, gossip, cruel acts, ugly looks, spankings, rude people, Alabama Football losses, Jaguar loses, things that need repairing, computers that act cranky, poor losers, overly proud winners, sin, the results of sin, high mindedness, abortion, immorality, divorce, crime, stealing. lying, unfair taxation, communism, socialism, lying political parties, unrighteousness, unjust laws, close mindedness and unwilling to follow God in positive change, dirty cars, dirty house, dirty clothes, dirt, germs, cold, sickness, cancer, all health infirmities, faithlessness, disobedience to God, disrespect for things of God, godless laws, bad smell, stink in any form, bad jokes, and anything that opposes God, disloyalty, and unfairness in any form.


Oh, I will write about Wanda again in a few days. So more is coming about my new love. This is a godly new love that will amaze you and even those who are unsure about timing, how, and why. It is a pure love story that began with a voice from heaven. That is how it began for me. I will tell you more soon.


If you have something constructive and helpful to write, then I ask you, "Who and what do you see when you see Milton Dykes?"

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Another post by Milton:

For new readers to this site, I am writing since Kristy's battle with a GBM brain tumor and her passing on July 21. Kristy made me a romantic so I write to share christian love stories.


What do you want put on your grave marker? 

I really haven't ever thought about grave markers until this year after Kristy went to heaven. She planned everything to the max but she never told me what she wanted put on her marker.

I have waited these months to reflect and think what I would put on hers . I felt that Julie and Jennifer and I would talk about that sometime during our Christmas Holidays together and during all the joy, reflections, some tough tears, and celebration of her life we did discuss it.

Visiting her grave hasn't been on my mind even though I actually drive by the cemetery often without even a thought of stopping. In my mind she is not there. She is in heaven. I just haven't felt a need or desire to go there. I certainly understand and respect others who visit their loved one's graves, but thoughts of her are in my mind and heart--not in a cemetery.

I had thought that after the first of the year I would finalize my plans for a marker and what I it should read. My discussion with my daughters wasn't long on this subject. I was working on her blog and read the first part of her bio. There the words were. She had written them for all to read. Florence Littauer wrote a bio quote that Kristy used to begin her bio. I mentioned it to the girls and right off they said that was it.

I thought of using a favorite verse of Scripture.  She loved Matthew 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you."


Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."


She often quoted Psalm 56:3  "What time I am afraid I will put my trust in thee."


Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love the Lord...."

Kristy also had several quotes that she loved and had placed in various parts of the house and office. Maybe one of them should be on her marker? There was so much that could be engraved to remember her.

But here is what I will put on her marker. It fits her. It was the essence of her life and how she lived it. She lived her life to glorify God, to bless her husband, children, and family, and to help point the lost to a loving God.

She did it all with -- Pizzazz, Enthusiasm, High Energy

That is Kristy. She had passion for life.

Kristy Roberts Dykes


Pizzazz! Enthusiasm! High Energy!

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Another post by Milton:

For new readers to this site, I am writing since Kristy's battle with a GBM brain tumor and her passing on July 21. Kristy made me a romantic so I write to share christian love stories.


We couldn't have Christmas in San Juan without a trip to the beach so Christmas afternoon we all loaded up and headed to a beach in Condado, an area in San Juan. It was windy, but the kiddies loved playing in the water. It was warmer than Florida is right now and has no snow like those of you up North. 

When I was a child I remember thinking that going swimming at any pool, river, lake, pond, or beach was like going to heaven. Our kiddies still think that, but life changes and so have my interests in swimming. Walking, jogging, or running the beach is much more preferred to me now.

Living in Jacksonville means that the beach is just minutes from my house and all along I head there for a walk or bike ride. I plan on running the beach when I get back to town as the Jacksonville River Run is coming up in March. I've got to step it up to make that happen. The River Run is a 15 K  or 9.3 mile run. I have done it several times, but I am not in very good shape right now. That is the goal when I return home--to get in better shape. I'm headed toward the River Run.

The girls and kiddies have been such a blessing to me this Christmas as well as all my dear friends, church family, and my dear family. I have been blessed and I choose to join with my girls and count our blessings even in this tough season of loss. 
"God is so good," Kristy said over and over during her life and even in her illness.

God is so good. God is so good. God is so good to me.

Friday, December 26, 2008


Another post by Milton:

For new readers to this site, I am writing since Kristy's battle with a GBM brain tumor and her passing on July 21. Kristy made me a romantic so I write to share christian love stories.


Julie, Jennifer, Javier, and the kiddies and I drove to El Younque to enjoy the rain forest on Tuesday. It is only 30 minutes or so from San Juan where Jennifer lives. I have been there with them in past 

 visits but the kiddies wanted to go on a picnic, hike, and play in the water. The water was way too cold for me, but they had a ball.

Listen to the video closely. I was worried about the kiddies getting hurt and then having to haul them 30 minutes way back up a very slick, sloping narrow trail back to the vehicles. These kiddies fall and get hurt in their bedrooms, and I could just see one of them busting a head or breaking an arm or leg. Thankfully, no one got hurt. I guess Kristy had the angel patrol on heavy alert for her kiddies. I keep feeling a nudging to get out of there. It must have been Kristy pushing an angel to tug on on arm. 

The hike and picnic was a great fun and good distraction. I am feeling better now and know that there is a hope and a future. My heart has a new appreciation for those who have lost a loved one and are alone during the holidays. Reach out to someone in need that you know is alone today. It will bless you and most of all bless them.

Enjoy the pictures of the rain forest. Puerto Rico is a beautiful island and a wonderful get-a-way for the holidays.

Click on more share options below to watch rain forest video of the kiddies. It is beautiful!

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Another post by Milton:

For new readers to this site, I am writing since Kristy's battle with a GBM brain tumor and her passing on July 21. Kristy made me a romantic so I write to share christian love stories.


Christmas eve we all went to Jennifer's church for a candlelight service. I took a picture of Julie and Jennifer during the candle lighting. They are beautiful young ladies who make their dad proud.


Here is a brief video of the Christmas Musical at Southside Assembly this year where I serve as lead pastor. Our Music Director Mike Hammontree, his wife Dana, and all the singers and sound and lighting teams did a great job.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Click on more share options below to watch video.


more share options



This year Jennifer put up a Christmas tree that had picture ornaments of Kristy with the family. I have to admit that is was extremely hard to look at when I first arrived here, but God is faithful and with the girls help I have been able to celebrate the joy of Christmas. God has been so good to our family. I was blessed to share 37 wonderful years with Kristy and she gave me two beautiful girls. God is so good to me. That is what Kristy would say. God is so good to me.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Another post by Milton:

For new readers to this site, I am writing since Kristy's battle with a GBM brain tumor and passing on July 21. Kristy made me a romantic so I write to share christian love stories.


I am having a blast in San Juan with my kiddies and daughters. They all have lifted Papa's spirits and we're seeing the sights and sounds of San Juan and the Rain Forest. Old 

 Juan is a very historic place to tour and always has exciting and interesting sights to see. There were three cruise ships in port and hundreds into a few thousand people from all over the world enjoying this sunny Caribbean Island. 

Here are some pictures and a video of Caribbean music. 


CLICK ON more info below for a short music video I shot in Old San Juan.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Another post by Milton:

For new readers to this site, I am writing the continuing story of christian romance since Kristy's passing on July 21. Kristy made me a romantic so I write to share christian love stories.


Today, Monday, I drove from Jacksonville to Orlando and flew from there to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to spend Christmas with my grands and two beautiful daughters. I have made this trip before by myself but this will be the first time to go alone to share Christmas with by family. It is also the first time we have been together, both daughters and me, ever without Kristy. That makes for a double whammy--first time together since Kristy’s funeral and first Christmas together without Kristy.

For some reason I had not thought about us being together for the first time since her funeral. I guess I knew Christmas was coming and that we would be alone without her, but I just didn’t think about it being the first time that we would all see each other and be together. It really slammed me over the weekend as I packed and contemplated us sharing Christmas and being with the grands and everyone together without Kristy.

I talked with the girls and blueness began to settle in that I wasn’t prepared to handle. Tears and more tears began to flow. It became surreal all over again, and then over and over again it was surreal.  Questions began to run over and over in my mind. Why? How? Fairness? Past? Future? 

The girls sensed what was happening to me as they too were facing the stark reality of loss. 

Jennifer called me at the airport before I took off to make sure I was OK. My girls are really good girls. They are wonderful, caring, loving sweet young ladies--not girls anymore. They are my flesh and blood. They came from a loving relationship with a good, godly, gifted woman. Sweetness doesn’t begin to describe them. I have been so proud and thankful for them in this journey. They have grown up some and realized even more the importance of living with purpose. That is how thieir parents have lived and now their Mom is gone. They are flollowing close in Kristy;s footsteps. That makes me proud.

Jennifer said to me, “Dad, Mom is alive. She is well and enjoying heaven. She isn’t gone. She just went a little ahead of us. We are going to focus on what we have, our blessings, what we can be thankful for. We aren’t going to dwell on the loss. We are going to count our blessings."

Wow, that picked me up. I knew those words, but I needed to hear them. Jennifer said them to me for her, for Julie, and for her Mom. That is what Kristy would say. Jennifer said it for all of us.


Wanda drove from Bartow to the Orlando Airport to see me off. She is off to visit her family for Christmas. Having someone present to show kindness helps too. Our relationship is far more than grief counseling or grief comfort. But today it was about grief comfort. She has to be the sweetest, kindest lady in the world. 

God sent me someone to help me walk beyond the valley. I am very grateful. I will walk farther, but today I had to take a pause to gather myself again. The journey will get better. I know. 

Everything is going to be OK.

Monday, December 22, 2008


My father emailed me about a very unfair place in his life and family. All of us face tough times that don't make sense. Only heaven knows the full record of how God took a very bad place and worked it for eternal purpose. My Granny Dykes was one special lady--a lady who trusted God.

Dad wrote:

It was May, l929. The great historical depression had just occurred. My Dad, Milton's grandfather, accidentally fatally shot himself. He owned and operated a dairy farm in Andalusia, AL. Deliveries were made twice daily to residencies. He was preparing to make the evening route. No one ever knew what he was doing with the shot gun.

My Mother had just returned home mid-afternoon from shopping and heard the shot gun blast as she was getting out of the car. She rushed into the house to discover my Dad lying on the floor and drawing his final breathes. She didn't hear a final word from him. My Dad was 38 when he died and my Mother was 37.

She was left with nine children that ranged in age from 6 months to 20 years old. Since my Dad managed the dairy and Mother was the homemaker she didn't know how to operate the business. With the responsibility of caring for the nine children it is suddenly her lot to care for the business also. Customers had fallen on bad financial times and had no means to pay their milk accounts. The financial difficulties she faced were indescribable.

It was thru God's mercies she and the family survived. All the children grew up and became God fearing Christians. Three became Ministers. The eldest who was one of the ministers died this past August at age 99. Six of the nine children are still living and serving God. My Mother remained a widow and died at age 76.

Life is unfair, but God is good. 


If you are facing a bad spot, don't lose heart. Trust God. Cast your care upon Him. He cares and will see you through. He saw Granny Dykes and her brood of 9 through the Great Depression. He will see you through your depression.


I'm flying to San Juan, Puerto Rico today. Soon you'll see pretty pictures from the beautiful Caribbean. My grands and daughters are waiting to see me. It is a tough time for all of us, but God will help us. He never fails.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


I cannot and do not post all the comments, but they all have blessed me and my family. Here is one from yesterday I had to share:

Anonymous said...

Softening spirits...that's what I'm feeling here. God is allowing this new chapter in your life to penetrate our hearts. Softly, so softly God whispers to us....ever so gently He moves to let us know that He is STILL an awesome God and He MOVES IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS.

Gentle Spirit, like a breeze

Heavenly Father, how we believe

You are timely in your moves

A cloud of peace, our faith's renewed...

The very whisper of Your Name

Makes us bow; your truths proclaim

We feel your presence, and like a flame

Its warmth allows us to heal again

HEAL again, Heal again

Like a gently, soothing rain...

Milton, these words flowed from my heart, in God gave them to me....He's so Good.


11:38 PM


A lifelong college friend, minister, and respected leader told me that family and their feelings are all that really matters in the process and healing from the loss of dear spouse to the transition to a new love. He said that when it occurs and when it is acceptable to occurring is up to the person and the family. Obviously, there are many other considerations in this process, but the ultimate issue is family--what they think and when are they ready and open to proceed with opening your heart and life to someone new.

Those words came to me early on after I had returned from a month of sabbatical rest and then a brief visit with my daughters. By the time I heard this I had been told by Jennifer who she felt that the Lord had for me and I wasn't even asking or thinking in those terms.  These words came to me unexpectedly like so many other things that had been shared, but my friends words had significant impact on me and how I thought through the process of what I would do and how I would proceed. 

Slowly over a period of weeks there was a process of change, some healing, and openness to what God had said in that voice that came to me in early morning just ten days after Kristy's funeral. I didn't ask for any of those thoughts, voices, words from my daughter, or advice from my friend. All of this just happened. 

There were many other "words" that I had given to me and it was amazing how they all pointed in one direction. I will write about some of that later, but I make note all of it now just to write that I came to a conclusion that one thing I know happened--God did speak to me early on that Sunday morning.

If you go back and read what I posted about the minutes leading up to Kristy's death you will see that I wrote twice in her last moments that I asked Kristy when she saw Jesus to tell Jesus to send me some help. I didn't ask or wasn't thinking about what or who that help would be. I just asked Kristy to tell Jesus to send me some help. Jesus was in the room and I could have asked Him myself. However, I knew she was about to see Him face to face and I wanted her to ask Him for me when she saw Him.

I believe that when Kristy walked through those gates of pearl onto those streets of gold that it wasn't long before she mentioned to Gabriel that she would like to tell Jesus about her husband's request for Him to send me some help. I believe she told Jesus and Jesus told me who that help was for me and my family. That voice which came to me early one morning ten days after Kristy's funeral was God's response to Kristy's request on my behalf. 

That is what I believe.


I will take a break from writing this story and write about my family and our Christmas together through the holidays. This has been a busy Christmas season already for me and Monday I will fly to sunny San Juan, Puerto Rico for a few days visit with my daughters and grands. 

There is no Christmas tree up in my house this year and I haven't put my lights and Christmas decorations out in the yard like I normally do. The girls didn't feel like coming home and wanted me to join them in San Juan--so that is the plan. 

Part of my Christmas gift to them was to buy tickets to San Juan for Julie, Alex, and Nic. They are already there and waiting for Papa to fly down on Monday. So you're in for some pictures from Puerto Rico.

Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas everybody! 

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Jim's reference for ministerial credentials set on my desk. I had led he and his wife, Wanda,  to the Lord many years ago after they attended my first church service as the new pastor of Bartow First Assembly of God. I visited them in their home that first week after my first sermon there, and I remember the openness and receptivity they had to my visit and the hunger that seemed to be in their hearts to have more of God in their lives.

I was about to leave their house when a small voice inside me said, "Ask them if they would like to invite me into their hearts. They want me in their lives."

"Would you like to invite Jesus into your hearts," I asked?

Jim spoke up and they both nodded yes.

They repeated the sinner's prayer and you could see an instant change in their countenances. They were saved, believers, born again and you could tell it. There were tears streaming down their cheeks and you could see the difference in them.

Now years had passed and Jim was ready to retire and follow the Lord in missions work overseas. I looked long and hard at that reference form and with joy and thanksgiving. Jim and Wanda had made a difference for Jesus. They had faithfully served the Lord and raised there two children to serve Him. It was easy to fill out his reference application. I knew him as a young believer. I had discipled him and Wanda. I had watched them serve as some of the most faithful church members you could ever hope to have in your church.

And now at retirement Jim wanted to use the remainder of his life to serve Jesus by helping people in foreign lands find the Lord. You have to know that holding that application made me feel like my efforts as a pastor had made a difference. I felt that I had done something significant and it made me want to keep up my efforts for the Kingdom.

Quickly I checked off the app. with top scores. Jim had it. He had it together. There were no questions or reservations in filling out a reference for this man. I had filled out and graded hundreds of applications as the chairman of the credential screening committee for our state denomination, but this was the easiest one I had ever filled out or graded.

A few months later, the phone rang and Jim was on the line.

"Hey, preacher," Jim said. "How about making a trip to minister in Cuba with me and our church? You have been down there, haven't you? We'd like for you to help lead a group of men from our church. What do you think," He asked?

I agreed to go with his group, but later my life took another turn and I became pastor of my present congregation and didn't think that a mission's trip at that time was going to work for me. I called Jim and told him that I would have to pass on his trip to Cuba and that later we might could do something together.

That was my last conversation with Jim. We never got to talk again.


My cell phone rang as we pulled out of the hotel in St. Petersburg, FL where we had just enjoyed a weeks vacation. The person on the end of the line from my church office said someone in Bartow had died and they said I needed to call them.

"Someone named Jim had died," the caller said.

"Wait a moment," I responded. "Let me pull my car off to the side of the road. You said Jim died. It can't be. Jim can't be dead."

But he was. He wasn't feeling well at work and slumped over and had a heart attack. Kristy and I drove straight to Bartow and met Wanda and her children, Mark and Jennifer, and their spouses.

I looked at Wanda and saw brokenness, shock, and sorrow. Her tears of grief are even now etched in my mind. This was such a fine family. They lived right. They did right. They deserved better. Jim was a great christian gentleman. How could this be? Why did it have to be? They shouldn't have to go through this.

The next day I stood with Mike, Jim and Wanda's pastor, and helped preach Jim's funeral.
That was five years ago.
Sometimes, life isn't fair.


Tomorrow, another page will turn.

Friday, December 19, 2008


San Juan, Puerto Rico is a great place to visit. The island is beautiful and the people are fun and friendly. My youngest daughter Jennifer has lived there for over ten years and has a Hispanic husband and two gorgeous children. After a month sabbatical and a week back at my church, I took one more week to get-a-way to visit them and enjoy the Caribbean sun. 

Jennifer is a bubbly, beautiful young women with her mother's funny sense of humor. We have a ball when we get together and she always has something happening. Both daughters, Julie and Jennifer, are wonderful young women and make their dad feel very proud. 

We bike, walk Old San Juan, picnic in the parks, and stroll the tourist areas of San Juan. It makes for a great trip to go there to see the Caribbean play land.

After I had been there for a day or so Jennifer shocked me with a rather straightforward conversation. Jennifer wrote the following a couple days back for me to include in this blog. 

Jennifer wrote:

Dear Dad, 
Looking back I feel the Lord was preparing me for what is ahead of all of us.  It was a very odd thing because after mom's death it was like the Lord brought Wanda to my mind and I couldn't shake it. 
Before mom died she told me you would quickly find a new wife and that she would be a great help. At the time it broke my heart and angered me, but something inside told me to be quiet and listen to what mom was saying, I knew later her words would have great meaning.  So I just soaked in all she had to say and mentally filed it away as something I hoped would never come true. 
Before you came to visit in September I could feel the Lord slowly changing my heart, from bitterness over the thought of you with another wife to great joy that unusual blessing could soon come to all of us through Wanda.  Peace came over my heart and I felt I knew that Wanda was the one God had for you.
When you came in September I didn't know if I should say anything to you or not.  But again I couldn't shake it and finally blurted out "Dad I know who you're going to marry." 
You stopped me and said you didn't want to hear it or talk about it. By your angry reaction I thought I'd blown it.  I couldn't figure out how those words had left my mouth! I thought, oh great now I've gone and scared dad to death and messed up God's plans.  But I began to pray "Dear Lord, this is way bigger than me and I'm sorry if I messed up, I'm sorry if I spoke too soon." And so I committed it to the Lord, trusting that if it really was His plan that He would bring it all about in His way and timing. I prayed God would open your heart to the great blessings in store, that no fear or grief would rob you of what He has for you.

But before you left to return home we talked again and I told you who I felt God had for you. You didn't say much but told me that you knew who I would say even before I told you. 
I'm so proud of you! You are a shinning example of God's true love.  You loved and honored mom with all your heart and soul.  Never could one love more deeply. Now God has given you a new love and you've handled this new relationship with such respect for all involved. I'm so proud you're my dad, you deserve all the happiness and love God has for your future.
We will always love and honor mom.  A new love doesn't change that, to me it enhances it and shines forth the great love and mercy God has for us all. God bless you and Wanda.


Milton here again:

After that conversation with Jennifer which was almost two months after I heard that voice in my bedroom, now things were beginning to turn over and over in my mind. On my way back to Tampa for a couple more days with Julie and her kiddies, I pondered the words I had heard in the early morning:

"Wanda Dunsford is the one I have for you. She will bless you and bless your children, and you will bless her and bless her children."

There began to be hope, comfort, and peace in my heart. When I was losing Kristy, one of the points of anger in my heart was that I didn't want another love. I didn't want her baggage, her family, her issues, or children if she had any. I only wanted Kristy. But something happened in my heart and mind when that voice spoke to me. I felt a soothing in my spirit. I felt peace. It would be OK. No, I didn't know or have a clue how this would come down or happen or if it would happen, but there was peace and hope. I would live again someday. The grief and pain of a year's heartache was releasing and I was finding some sense of assurance that I would be OK. Kristy told me I would be OK and now I felt through Jennifer and through the soft voice of the Holy Spirit that I would be OK.

So, who is Wanda Dunsford and how do I know her? No she is not an exotic dancer but she is a beautiful lady and she is very sweet and kind and she doesn't have red hair. And I found out later that she was Kristy's pick for me. 

So who is Wanda Dunsford?

Another page turns tomorrow.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


The journey had been long and I was hurting bad, real bad. Kristy was in heaven and I was here alone and feeling pain in my physical, spiritual, emotional, mental being. Yes, I did feel the comfort of the Holy Spirit and I had so many friends--hundreds and into the thousands who were praying for me. But the months of pain watching my beloved suffer and leave this world had taken a harsh toll.

I had just returned from a brief get-a-way to Steinhatchee, Fl. Does anyone remember where Steinhatchee is? My sis Norma and her husband drove me to a condo provided by mutual friends and I rested and recovered for several days there and then had returned to my home. 

It was my first night back to sleep in my master bedroom where Kristy passed. I wondered if I could sleep there and if I could stay in our home? Would I have to sell it and how was all this going to come down?

Early in the morning just ten days after Kristy's funeral, I was awakened by a voice that came from the corner of the bedroom where I held Kristy's hand and placed it in Jesus' hand as she left this world for heaven. The voice wasn't Kristy's and it wasn't audible. It was surprising and mildly shocking but at the same time I felt unusual warmth, peace, comfort as the voice spoke to me. 

The voice was very strong and clear and I heard these words, "Wanda Dunsford is the one I have for you. She will bless you and bless your children, and you will bless her and bless her children."

And that is all the voice said. I was amazed, stunned somewhat, but yet there was sweet comfort and peace. I felt it was God's voice and I held it closely in my heart. No one else heard it. I guess some reading this might not believe such a thing happened or ever happens. I wasn't thinking about the future. I wasn't looking to move ahead in any manner toward a new relationship or new love, but the voice spoke--what I have just described happened.

There was warmth, peace, and a feeling like soothing oil that moved over me. I can't adequately explain it, but this is what I felt. 

So, what do you do when such a voice speaks to you? These were unusually unexpected words. They were words that would change my life forever if they were really true words from God.

For me, I let this rest in my heart and went on toward healing and recovery from a very bad storm in my life. I did not tell anyone. I certainly did not contact Wanda. I was hurting all too bad for anything like that. I hadn't asked God for direction in this matter and then heard this voice as a response to my prayer. I hadn't prayed or thought about anything like this. Everything was all too fresh, too raw, to surreal to move ahead. It was only ten days after Kristy's funeral.

The voice spoke to me early on that Sunday morning and later I got dressed and went to my church and heard my brother-in-law, Ron McGee, preach. The next morning I  got into their SUV with them and headed North to the Carolina's for a month sabbatical. To be honest, I didn't think about this voice for several weeks. There was no reason to think or act or do anything about this. Remember, I didn't ask for this to happen to me and I assure you if I had done something about it at that time Wanda wouldn't have talked to me or been open to me. She is a lady and would have spurned any advances that I might have made at that time. It wasn't in me to do anything like that because I wasn't ready. I wasn't sure about what had happened and what to do about it. I didn't ask for this and didn't have a clue how any of this would ever work out or if this was something that I wanted to work out. And, obviously Wanda would have a say in all this. She might not feel this was God or might not like or love me or might not want to be a pastor's wife or might not.......

Four weeks passed and I returned to Jacksonville from my sabbatical and preached one Sunday and then left for another few days off to see my daughters and grands. No one knew what had happened. I didn't think about it and obviously didn't talk to anyone about this voice and what I had heard. 

I drove to Tampa to see Julie and Alex and Nic and then flew to San Juan, Puerto Rico for another few days with Jennifer, Javier, Claudia, and Lorenzo. 

There is a reason why that voice spoke to me and I will explain why in a future post. It took me weeks to understand and fully accept what had happened early that Sunday morning, but over and over the Lord confirmed it in my mind and heart. Still I didn't tell anyone. 

God had spoken to Kristy and she told Julie and Norma--though she never talked to me about Wanda--and now God had spoken to me. How would God speak to Wanda? Would she be open to God or to me if I ever contacted her? Would we be attracted to each other? How would all this to come to pass? 

Wait until you read what happened there in Puerto Rico with Jennifer. This is an amazing story of love. Another page turns tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Who did Kristy tell about the new love to come? How did she know who the love would be? Why did she tell others who the new love would be? Was she a prophetess? Was it a wild guess? Was she just being pushy?

Kristy told Julie who God had for me not too long after her brain surgery. She sat Julie down and said that ????? would make me a wonderful wife and that ?????? was a sweet, kind lady who would be a great help to me and would take care of me. Julie said that her mother was very clear and direct in what she thought and that Kristy wanted the best for me. Kristy said that ?????? was the one God had for Milton.

That is amazing. Now remember, Kristy never told me her wishes. We never talked about who God had for me. I will admit that the one time she talked to me about God bringing a new wife into my life which really upset me. I just couldn't stand it. So we never talked about that again, ever.

Julie only just told  me this story just a few days back. So how did I come about calling this lady? Hold on with me just a while longer. There is still more back story to write.


Now read what my sis Norma emailed me on Monday. This is the second person Kristy told that ????? should be my new love. 

Norma emailed:

One day when Kristy and I were sitting in the den she told me she had something very important to tell me.  Kristy was already very weak and she knew her health was failing fast.  So, I wondered what she would tell me.  

She had talked to me several times about Milton and how much he needed companionship...she was concerned about leaving him...and this time she began by talking about this again. Then, she said that she believed she knew who Milton should marry when she died. 
Because I have been in a battle with cancer for several years, I understood her attention to this concern.  One time when I was not doing so well I wrote a letter to my husband with my thoughts on who he should consider.  Later, when I was doing better I shredded the letter!!  

So, Kristy began to tell me about a lady who is a member of a church that Milton pastored years ago.  She said that she would be a perfect fit for Milton and that when the time was right that I should talk to Milton about her.  Kristy told me her name and made me promise to remember. 
When Milton called me and told me that he felt a strong direction from the Lord to call a lady that he had pastored years ago, I remembered Kristy's instructions. I did not tell Milton at first because I wanted to see what his interest would be.  

When I could tell that he definitely was interested, I told him about this amazing conversation.  Kristy was always taking care of people's needs....especially Milton's...!!!


So l guess the obvious question is am I trying to fulfill Kristy's wish or prophetic word? The answer is no. Neither Kristy, Julie, or Norma told me about who the new love would be. While I love Kristy and honor her with all my highest desire, I could not move toward this new love with her push. More had to happen, and besides we never talked about who this new love would be.

But the obvious is that it is coming to pass. So, does God speak to us in this manner. Was Kristy kind, caring, or concerned or was she meddling in the wrong places? 

How did I come to find a new love and woo her? Why did she respond to my advances? How can I be so confident in all this? Why do all our families and my accountability partners support this love?

I will write more soon. 

Here are a couple of comments from a previous post that I would like everyone to read. 

Anonymous said... (My sister Tricia wrote)

Milton, I tried yesterday to post a comment, but it did not go through for some reason. I would like to express the sentiments of Milton's family (parents and siblings) if I may. We are all very happy for you and very thankful for the person God has chosen for you. She has been my friend for over 28 years now and we all hold her in highest esteem. She is a woman of integrity and has many talents and abilities to use in God's Kingdom. May God bless you both as you follow after His will.

 Dad Dykes said...

Amen, Tricia! Those are our sentiments too. We met Milton's new love the first time for lunch on Nov. 29, 2008, Milton's treat to celebrate his parent's 64th Wedding Anniversary. When he introduced her to us my first comment to her was, "I would like to nominate you for Miss America."

She is a wonderful Lady and we trust she will become our new Daughter-in-law.

Dad & Mom Dykes