Monday, January 26, 2009


This blog is the story of Kristy Dykes and her writings. 

On July 21, 2008, Kristy walked through the gates of heaven onto streets of gold. Kristy's  blog will always be a reminder of the joy and blessing of serving God and the love God adds to marriage. 

Please click on the address below to go to my new blog. 

See you there.

Milton Dykes

Kristy Roberts Dykes
August 2, 1951--July 21, 2008

"Pizzazz, Enthusiasm, High Energy"

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Today is the last post I will enter until Monday, January 26 when I will begin my new blog. I will enter a link on this blog address on Monday to connect you to the new site.

I look forward to your visiting the new site on Monday. Remember, check this site for the link to the new blog.

This post is the video of Kristy's final time to attend church when she shared her last words to our church we pastor and where she also grew up. She was so sick that morning before church that she couldn't remember how to put her makeup on or how to put on her jewelry. It was miraculous that she was able to attend church and even more amazing that she spoke.

Her words to the church will never be forgotten by those present. They were challenging, inspiring, and encouraging. I don't believe I have ever witnessed faith in anyone more than what I saw and heard that morning as Kristy spoke.

Double click above to watch video.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Dear Kristy:

Before you had brain surgery, you asked me to journal entries on this blog to tell your story and our story. At first I couldn't see how I could write with all you were facing and I told you that I couldn't. But, at your insistence, I began to photo journal your story and have for almost fourteen months. I have attempted to tell your story to the best of my ability. 

Your faith and determination to honor God has blessed untold numbers of people and lives as a legacy through your family and those you have touched. 

I remember when you started this blog almost five years ago the enthusiasm and energy you had in developing it. Week after week and then month after month and now year after year you wrote, and now I have written daily for you for some fourteen months. This has been one amazing, incredible journey that one day our kids and grandkids will read, view, and watch with appreciation for your faithful and committed life and service to them and to the Lord.

Thirty-seven years is not long enough to be married when you share the sweet love that we enjoyed. We did so much and walked together with an honest and pure love. I still wipe tears over our blessed and wonderful years we lived as husband and wife. 

You gave me the most beautiful daughters and stood faithfully at my side to help me serve as a pastor and church leader. Wow, did we ever live and have fun!

I have written daily about you and all you have meant to me. I could add more, but you know the christian romance we shared. We had fireworks, sparks, sweetness, and joy mixed and intertwined with eternal purpose. You made this Alabama boy a better man and a true romantic. 

Your articles, books, and this blog have touched millions and heaven will record the full magnitude and impact of your romantic, sweet pen. I tried every way that I could to support and encourage your efforts and vision to write. Many years ago the Lord told us that we would write together and bless many people. You kept faithful to your calling to the very end and God truly blessed your hard work, and together we wrote and shared to encourage others. 

Sweetheart, I love you dearly and thank you for all you did to bless me, our daughters and grands, our family, the churches we served, and many others we do not know. You did good and made life better for all of us. 

We all miss you terribly. The girls and the grands hurt and hurt real bad, but we are going to make it. You showed us how to live with joy and die with dignity and peace. That cloud of peace and chair of strength are still with us. God is so good. He will not fail.

You told Julie and Norma the plans God had for me with Wanda before you passed. I am awed at your insight, love, and kindness to bless me and push me to move forward with my life. How did you know that Wanda was the one God had for me? You are one classy, spiritual lady. You knew my needs and loved me more than one could ever imagine as you released me to God's full plan for my life. I am grateful. Just moments before you went to heaven when I asked you to tell Jesus to send me help, I didn't know that you already knew who the help would be. You are amazing! 

It won't be long and all of us will join you. Life here is brief, but eternity is forever. I will live for the day that we all see each other again in heaven. With God's help, I will be faithful and finish my life with commitment and determination to honor God and give Him glory just as you did.

Kristy, thank you for loving me and walking with me and blessing me. 



Tomorrow will be the last post entry on this blog for some time to come. This blog will always be here for you to read, and on rare occasions in the future there will be updates. 

Thank you for all your prayers and kindness to Kristy, me, my daughters, and our family. 

May God bless you.

Monday, January 19, 2009


These are the last words Kristy wrote on Thursday April 24, 2008,  just one week before she entered hospice and walked deep into the valley of the shadow of death . I wanted to share her last written words to you on these final days of entry on this blog. These words express so much of her heart.


Kristy, here:

Thanks, all, for your GLORIOUS comments. Appreciate you all. Just came in from a midweek prayer service. Lots of strength when you're surrounded by believers. Thanks, all, for your prayers. God is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo gooooooooooooooooood to me! Even with brain cancer, I can say that. He's a good God.

Sunday, January 18, 2009



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.


In three days I will enter the last post on this blog for some time to come. I will probably enter a new post or one of my daughters for unusually important milestone or occasions in the future. I will start a new blog that will be linked you from this blog to the new one. The new blog will start on Thursday, January 22.

There is so much I could write but today this post will be brief. Why not take the time to go back and read a few past posts. I have. They go back almost five years. You will read the heart of a passionate woman named Kristy who loved God, her husband and daughters, family and people in general, and you will read a christian love story that will change your life.

Saturday, January 17, 2009



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.

I have asked Julie to write her thoughts about her Mom as I finalize the last posts on this blog. I am so very proud and thankful for Julie and Jennifer. They make their Dad proud.


My dad asked me the first of the week to write something about my mom. Well, I have had a very busy week. Report cards were due (I’m a teacher.) My boys had a lot of homework. It was difficult to find the time to sit down and gather my thoughts. I was finally able to sit down late last night after a long day of work, after I put the boys to bed, and I began to try to write something.

I thought and I thought, and my heart was so heavy. I went back and read old posts, wanting the Lord to impress something on my heart to write. And all I felt was heaviness. Dad finally called me again about 12:30, and was worried about me being up so late. He told me to go on to bed. I had to get up in about five hours.

When my family writes, they always write something so uplifting. Something that is inspiring. When I spoke at my mother’s funeral, God gave me those words. They came flowing from my heart. Right now, I want to write something inspiring. I mean, my mother was amazing. How hard this could be, you may wonder. When I go back and read all of the posts and look at all of the pictures, my mother was vibrant and faithful and full of joy every single day until the very end. How amazing is that? I wonder what it must have felt like to have been told, “You are going to die. And it will be painful at the end. You only have a few months left.” I can’t imagine what that REALLY, TRULY must have felt like.

I’m sitting here at my computer, and I know I have things I would like to share with you all. Things about my mother and my father. But right now, the ideas won’t come together. My heart is heavy and my eyes are filled with tears. So… I’ve decided to just be honest. To tell it like it really is. It hurts. It hurts to lose your mother. She was 56. In the prime of her life. I would like you all to please continue praying for me and for my family. I will make it. I’m built from stern stuff as my mother would say. But life has changed for me. It just doesn’t seem as bright as it used to be.

I remember the night I found out my mom had a brain tumor... She and Dad told me the day before that they had found out she had lost 25% of her peripheral vision. I knew that something had caused that, but never in a million years did I think she really would have a brain tumor. I remember the seriousness in my father's voice as I listened to him over the phone that Wednesday night. Our life was forever changed.

I remember the day of my mother's surgery. Our family and close friends all waited in the waiting room together. Janet, Dad's sister led us in the song, "How Great Is Our God, Sing with Me How Great Is Our God. How Great Is Our God. He's The Name Above All Names. Worthy to Be Praised. How Great is Our God!" I remember when the doctor came to talk to my dad, my sister and me. He told us they would let us know in a day or two if it was cancerous. I know he really knew then, but he wouldn't tell us anything. I remember telling him, as we walked in to see her, "She's a really special lady."

I remember a couple of days later when the doctor came in the hospital room to tell us her diagnosis. My dad, sister, I, and some of our family members were in the room with her. No one had really looked up much online about brain cancer. And I hadn't done much research, but I did read a little. I remember the moment the words "Glioblastoma Multiforme Stage 4" came out of his mouth. Everyone else in the room had to wait for him to explain what that meant, but as soon as he said those words I knew they were a death sentence. I had read that someone who has that only lives 6-9 months. Immediately tears began to stream down my face. I had to get out of that room. I quickly ran out to the waiting room bawling. I had to pull myself together before I could go back in there. But mom, she barely blinked an eye when they told her. Wow.

I remember going to Cheesecake Factory with her and my sister one day for lunch. I sat there in that restaurant, and I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, “My mother has a brain tumor! It won’t be long and she won’t be here to be able to have lunch here again with me!” It was the weirdest feeling sitting there with all of those people going on about their daily lives, and my mom was sitting there and she looked as normal as could be, but she was dying.

I remember visiting my mother throughout her illness. She was always giving to us, even though she was sick. She truly had a servant’s heart. On one of my visits from Tampa I had had a busy week so I brought my laundry with me when I came to Jacksonville. We had a busy day, going to the cancer center and then I think we went out to eat. When we got home we decided to take a nap which is something she never, ever did before she got sick. I told her I would do my laundry when I woke up and told her to please just leave it that I would take care of it. Well, as we lay on her bed, she insisted on scratching my back. (Our family likes to scratch backs and give each other massages.) Here she was the one who was sick, and she wouldn’t let me do anything for her, she still wanted to take care of and look out for me. Later when I woke up, I went into the laundry room to do my laundry and found she had already done it! She was dying of brain cancer and was still taking care of herself and looking out for and helping her family as well. I just couldn’t believe she had washed and folded my laundry. I did not want to put her out. She was so sweet….

Well, as I gathered my clothes off of the dryer, I realized… She had forgotten to wash them!! She was at the stage where she was getting a little confused and mixed up with some things. I discovered she had thrown my dirty clothes straight into the dryer without ever washing them and then folded my still dirty clothes! I never told her, but Dad and I sure did get a good laugh out of that one!

I know this post is a little different from the normal posts on this blog. But I just felt like being real today. I miss my mother so much. God has placed some things on my heart that I do want to share. I’ll have to ask Dad when he would like me to do this. I have thoughts swirling around in my mind. Thoughts on my mother’s faithfulness, and on the depth of her love for us ( I mean, what kind of love is that, how sweet, how deep, how real, and how selfless- that she told me she knew who would be good for my father. I’ll have to share that story with you all soon. It happened when we were getting ready to go to lunch one day, as we were putting our makeup on in her bathroom. She told me about Wanda with a sparkle in her eye! That came from her, and from God- that was the farthest thing on our minds! None of us ever thought anything like that about Dad after she would be gone. We wanted her here. We wanted her to get healed.)

I also want to write about her amazing sense of peace and of her deep joy that she had through the great times and that she exuded all the way through death’s valley.

And finally, I want to write about my dad and about Wanda. Both of them have experienced heartache- that comes with life…. But this is truly the most beautiful, special, sweet- oh so sweet christian love story that has ever been. CHRISTIAN LOVE STORIES… my mother couldn’t have chosen a more fitting title for her blog.

That is what I think EVERY SINGLE time I open her blog and read her words… CHRISTIAN LOVE STORIES.

Friday, January 16, 2009



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.

I asked Wanda if she would like to write her thoughts as I finish these last few days of entres on this blog. Wanda has so graciously written a tribute to Kristy. This is amazingly incredible.


It is with honor that I write a tribute to Kristy.    

I first met Kristy when Jim and I started attending Bartow First Assembly  in 1980.  It seemed like from the very beginning Kristy and I connected and became good friends.  Our children where the same ages, Kristy and I were the same age, we had been married the same about of time and just had a lot of things in common .  

I believe, because we were their first converts in the church in Bartow and her love for people, she had a great burden to help disciple and mentor me as she knew I was going to need guidance and direction in my new walk with the Lord.   With her kind, gentle spirit that is what she did.

My family enjoyed many times of fellowship with Kristy, Milton and the girls, going to different homes, to McDonalds and Burger King almost every Sunday night after church.  We had only been in the church for about six months and Kristy and Milton wanted to go on a trip to the mountains with the youth but could not take Julie and Jennifer.  Having no parents here to help them out, Jim and I offered to keep the girls for the week.    Kristy entrusted me with the girls even though we had only known each other for a few months.  Through this, we became family to each other.   When they returned from the trip, her gift of appreciation to me was a devotional book by CorrieTen Boom.  Again, there was her gentle, kind, spirit mentoring and helping me to grow in the Lord.

Kristy and I remained friends during their eight years as Pastor in Bartow.  She encouraged me to become involved in the church by teaching and being a leader in the ladies ministries .  She was my teacher, as I taught others.  

As church secretary she treated me very well always making sure I had what I needed to get the job done.  As of today, I have a plant in my back yard that she sent to me on Secretary’s Day to show her and Milton’s appreciation to me.  She was always thinking of others.

After they left Bartow we continued to stay in touch, seeing them at District Councils and other events.  Every time she spoke in the area I always made it a point to try to attend.  After she began writing, she always sent to me autographed copies of her books, which I still have and cherish.

Little did I know that years later, when she knew that the Lord was calling her home, that she would feel that I was the one that the Lord would call to be the help that Milton had asked for the night that she went to be with Jesus.  I know that the Lord is the one that has put Milton and me together, but I do feel that because of the way Kristy mentored me, she helped prepare me for what the Lord now has for me.   

She left a great legacy of love.

Thursday, January 15, 2009



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.


Traveling light is the best way to go. Heavy luggage and too much stuff slows everyone. Kristy knew how to travel and she also lived in a clutter free manner that made efficiency and excellence easier to achieve. I am more of the pack rat but I have learned from her that to keep something beyond its time of usage didn't help present life. Too much stuff is hard to handle and deal with.

Kristy told me to make changes in my house that would allow for new to come alive. She didn't want things to be stuck in time and not have use or value for today. She didn't want her house decor to cover my future and restrict new life from budding. So Norma and Ron have been helping with changes here in my home that Kristy wanted to take place and that I now realize are important too. 

As they gathered items that needed to be packed, saved, or stored for my kids and then other items that needed to be given away, nostalgia filled this house and my heart. 

I noticed her travel train case that we had made hundreds and hundreds of trips over the years. For almost twelve years we spoke in one to three different church across Florida, the South, the Caribbean, our Nation, and other parts of the world. Trip after trip we packed and unpacked. She kept that travel case ready to go at a moments notice. We both knew how to get things ready in a hurry and when we returned home we both knew how to unpacked quickly.

I have reflected about some of those trips and packing and unpacking over and over again. I can remember only a couple of times or so that we left something at home that we needed on the trip and only a time or so that we felled to get it all back home.

Once I forgot to take a belt that I needed and maybe we left something somewhere that I have forgotten, but pretty much that was it. We just knew how to get going and get back and do it quickly, efficiently, and in the manner to have just what we needed for the events we would participate on each trip.

That took planning and diligence over and over and over and we partnered to make it happen. We traveled and spoke at conferences, seminars, revivals, men and ladies events, and attended all kinds of seminars that we weren't the speakers and learned and gleaned to sharpen our ministry work saws to best help others.

Norma took a couple of items out of that train case that the girls might desire to have, but then she and Ron put it with items to go to bless others. That is what Kristy would want done. She wouldn't keep anything just to keep it. She kept life clutter free. To her, that was the most efficient way to live.

That is how Kristy lived--efficient, effective, with excellence.

That travel train case was worn from use and now it was time to pass it on for others to use. That is what Kristy would want too.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009



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.


Working through transition is hard, but I promise you that after 37 years with Kristy that she never beat around the bush or waited on anything. Push! Push! Push! Go! Go! Go! That was Kristy all the way. She would not stand for me to be lagging or overly pining away or wilting in life. I know grief is a process that is healed over time by God's grace and I am gradually moving forward in that process.

The day after Kristy's funeral I gave jewelry and clothing of Kristy's to daughters and family members. Changes have been made periodically and gradually all those these last weeks and months.

But change  is hard and I have cried tears and then more tears as necessary transition is taking place. 

Today I went to pick out a marker for her grave. As mentioned in an earlier post, my daughters and I chose to put on her marker "Pizzazz! Enthusiasm! High Energy! 

Those words described Kristy very clearly. I had called the marker company and found that the type of marker for the area Kristy is buried allows only four words on the marker. As I talked on the phone I counted the words on my fingers. Yes, there were exactly four words that we had chosen for Kristy. Amazing! What if they allowed on three words? Or, what if we had chosen ten words? Well, all things work together for good....

Norma has been helping work through some changes here in my house while they are here and Ron is preaching for me. They were present Sunday when Wanda greeted my church and Ron spoke and helped make the introduction easier for Wanda and me. 

These changes slowly and smoothly but yet with some hurt have been taking place. It is the right time and is happening in the right way. 

I was excited to have Wanda in church on Sunday. She was calm, collected, cool, and cute! It was good to have her with me and it was the first time for us to be in my church together. My congregation could not have been kinder or more gracious. That is just their manner. They are great!

But it was different to have Wanda there and not Kristy. It felt different. It looked different. It was different. That is the obvious. 

But that is OK. I know Kristy and I know that she was pleased. She probably wondered why it had taken so long and why everyone took so long to know what she had know first of all as God had shown her God's plan for us to be together. I am blessed and so grateful for God's goodness and faithfulness to me. God know what I need and is here to meet my needs now.

I wept more tears today when I arrived home with the changes. The changes are right. They are good and they are at the right time. But the changes of pictures and some changes of certain decor in the house speak of the obvious again. Kristy is gone. That still hurts.

But the hurt is being comforted and the future is before me and that is what Kristy wanted for me. Push! Push! Push! Go! Go! Go!

This blog is in the process of changing and winding down with a new blog being developed. My daughters and writing some final thought for this blog as Jennifer as already posted her thoughts. I will be sharing final thoughts on this blog over the weekend. 

Change is happening. There are tears and there is hurt and there is expectation of new joy and new things and new plans and new dreams and Kristy would want that sooner rather than later.

That was Kristy's way. It is right way for me right now.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009



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.

Jennifer, my youngest daughter, is sharing on today's blog thoughts about her mother and this blog. Jennifer is a great writer and has a marvelous style of writing. I love to read her thoughts.


Unique Paths

My dad has asked me to write something for the closing of mom’s blog. I’m not sure my heart is up to the task but I promised I would… please bare with me as my heart is heavy and my eyes brimming with tears. I might jump around but I’ll try my best to make sense.

The last time I visited my mom, before she got really sick and entered hospice, we had an amazing last time together. We went to lunch at Cheesecake Factory and ate dessert together, we had coffee at Starbucks, we went to church for last time together.

Oh the sweet memories… Mom, You where such a good mother…

The most memorable moment was the last time we sat at her kitchen table together. It was late at night, the kids were asleep and it was just us talking about life. She was giving me advice and telling me not to settle in life but to know God had much in store for me and to reach higher.

Oh the memories around that table… Mom, You took such good care of us, you fed our bodies and our souls as well…

At the end of the conversation she said she had a word from the Lord for me. We left the cozy kitchen table for her always well supplied office so I could write down what she had to say. She couldn‘t write anymore. My mom, the woman with unending energy and talent, was now the author who couldn’t write…it was too much of a struggle for her. So I pulled a freshly sharpened pencil from the coffee can turned into a homemade pencil holder one of us had made for her as a kid.

Oh the memories of sweet childhood… Mom, I’ll never forget how you were always home, pouring your heart and soul into your family.

It was late at night and we were both tired (even with terminal brain cancer, the woman was still amazing! ) but we both wanted to get this message written down. Here is what she said to me that late night.

“God has a walk for you. Don’t be surprised but walk as I have in trust. My walk is requiring trust and your walk will too. Don’t be afraid. God has His plan. The steps of a righteous man are ordered of the Lord. Just as He has had me walk this unique path, a unique path will befall you. Just keep living for the Lord and He will reveal it. Trust is the important word in unique paths and as we trust He will work out Romans 8:28”

Oh the memories of her alive talking… Mom, I’ll never forget that even though you were the one dying, you wanted us to be ok!

By now most who are reading know my mom’s unique path led her into the waiting arms of Jesus. She won! She won on July 21st when she left this world and entered heaven.

But what of us? What of us, those she left behind? I’m still discovering what unique paths God has for me. So far there have been lots of twists and turns that I didn’t expect but her words from that night ring in my ears. Trust. I will trust as I follow Him on whatever unique path he has in store. I will remember back to the truths my mom helped put in my heart. I will pull from the strength her wonderful example gives.

Mom, I will never forget you. Part of you is inside of me. All you taught me, all you wanted me to be is inside…thank you mom… I will carry you in my heart forever.


Monday, January 12, 2009



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.


I am winding down my thoughts to be posted on this blog. It is a great blog started by a great, classy lady. Stroll back through Kristy's past writings and you will read a love story that will continue forever. 

Kristy oozed romance and she made me a romantic. I assure you that Wanda is and will be a recipient of love cultivated in me that will  show and share romantic expressions in both word and deed.

I will write more. Wanda and I have agreed that I will write more but it obviously will have a new and different view. 

Today as I talked with me sister Norma she offered a book title that I may well use as I write the love stories of my heart. I will tell you the suggested title at a later time. This will be a connecting story linking the past love with the new love. I believe it will make a great book. Hopefully one day you will see it in print.

New love, after sharing love as Kristy and I did , takes some adjustment and time and the ability to let the new cultivate and grow. I am so very thankful that God brought Wanda into my life now rather than a year or two from now. Every person who loses a spouse deals with it in different ways, but for me it would have been unbearable to face without the love and comfort that Wanda has been able to share. She has been kind, gracious, and amazingly secure through all this process. 

Today Wanda went to church with me where I pastor for the first time. My parents were there along with sis Norma and Ron, her husband. I briefly introduced her to the church and she greeted the people with grace, humility, dignity, and class. Her sweetness and love reached out to people who still hurt over Kristy's passing. Wanda told the church that she loved Kristy and understood their hurts. She said that she loved Kristy too. She said that Kristy was her mentor and they were friends. Wanda made an amazing speech that really touched my heart and I believe touched all who were present.

The new blog is coming, but for the next couple of days or so my girls and I will write reflective conclusions for this part of this blog's life.

I hope that many of you will post your thoughts in the comments section about Kristy and her impact on your life. It would bless my girls and me if you did. I will include some of the comments in the main body of a future post. Thank you for your love and prayers for my family and me. I am grateful.

This christian love story will continue and will always be here on this blog. It will be a testimony to Kristy's heart and love.

Sunday, January 11, 2009



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.


I have received many bits of advice and wisdom as I have walked through these last weeks and months dealing first with Kristy's illness, then death, grief, and now a new love coming into my life. It has not been an easy journey and there has been more than one surprise along the way. 

But God remains faithful to me through it all.

Wanda and I have talked at length about my grief, our love, and the future. She is a God send to me and has been just what I need. Truly God provided a new friend and love to help me and bring comfort to me. She has become my very best friend.

But is still has some rough spots. I will admit it. We both loved our spouses and my loss is still up front, fresh, and with some very raw edges. I am moving through this a the pace that God is leading and setting for me, and thankfully each day I have felt His wonderful, comforting presence.

Wanda is in Jacksonville this weekend as my parents are acting as our chaperons. We went on a double date for dinner with mom and dad sitting in the back seat as I drove. Dad told me to use both hands, but I told him I had to drive with one. HA! It is Biblical, according to dad, to take your parents on your dates. He said that Samson took his parents on his dates. 

Before Wanda arrived for this visit, I changed a few things at my church office. I moved a few pictures and rearranged some pictures and remembrances of the past. It was hard to do, but it was the right thing to do and it was the right time to do it. 

I took Wanda to my church office, again with my parents, and showed her around. I pointed to a beautiful framed picture of Christ hands extended hanging in my office and asked if she remembered it? 

She said, "No." 

I asked her to look closer and she read the engraved inscription noting it as a gift from the Bartow Church, her church, where I pastored many year ago. It was a gift from the church to Kristy and me for our one year anniversary at the church in 1981. That brought back some memories for both of us. Wanda was there the night they gave it to us.

Then Wanda pointed below the picture to a very finely stitched picture of "praying hands."

Wanda asked, "Do you remember this?"

I looked closely and said, "No."

I looked closer and then it came to me. This was a cross stitched picture Wanda made for Kristy and me almost twenty-five years ago. There were her stitched initials on the bottom. 


It was incredible. 

I had totally forgotten this picture and who and where it came from and amazingly this stitched framed picture remained with me for all those years. Through these 38 years of ministry untold gifts like this one have so kindly been shared with Kristy and me, but this one remained with me and was in my office. It was a precious gift from Wanda to Kristy and me.

I cannot believe that I still had it and that it was displayed in my office. 

It was as if God was confirming again His will for my life and our lives. On the first day that Wanda arrived which was the day after I had re-arranged pictures and remembrances, all of a sudden there was something from Wanda that just happened to be placed in the room. She saw it and it spoke to me and to us. It was if God was saying I am making a change and now is the time for Wanda to move into the picture.

God is neat. He does things special. He confirms His will in amazing ways.

God is good.

Saturday, January 10, 2009



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.


Fast forward to this past New Year's Day.

Wanda and I just arrived in Tallahassee, FL, for a brief visit for me to meet her mother and siblings. Her daughter, Jennifer, lives there with her husband, Paul, and son, Alexander. Yes, we both have a Jennifer and an Alexander. 

We had been at Jennifer's home less than 5 minutes when we watched Paul and Alexander ride past the front of their house on a four wheeler. They have a beautiful home on acreage out in the country. Paul raced by the house on the dirt road as he and Alex were enjoying riding.

Just as they raced past my eyesight as I looked out the front windows of their house, I heard a hard thud sound and the four wheeler engine noised stopped. It happened suddenly leaving a very eery feeling.

"That didn't sound good," Jennifer said. And we opened the front door to check on Paul and Alex.

My heart stopped as I saw a horrible sight. The four wheeler was upside down on top of Paul and ten year old Alexander was screaming and running around begging for help.

Jennifer dashed toward them and I was right behind her with Wanda trailing me. Jennifer said, "Call 911." 

I turned and yelled to Wanda to go back into the house and call 911, and I chased after Jennifer as we both ran to check on Paul. I could see a puddle of blood and Paul was face down into that blood and he wasn't moving and the big, heavy four wheeler was on top of him.

It looked bad, real bad. He looked dead at a distance. Images raced through my mind with all kinds of fears. I had comforted many families through the years whose loved ones had broken necks, died, or had life altering injuries from less accidents than this one appeared to be. This looked horrible.

Alex was screaming and running around in shock. He was scared silly. His dad was hurt and we didn't know how severe. As I got closer the image of the blood under his face and the four wheeler on top of him got bigger and more serious looking. 

Is he paralyzed? Or brain damaged? Or have broken bones? Or hemorrhaging? 

Will he  rupture with internal bleeding if I can manage to get the four wheeler off him? Is he hemorrhaging now and will he die and will I have a wife, son, and mother-in--law in shock in a few moments. All kinds of thought were running through my minds as I raced to help.

Jennifer was screaming now, "We got to get it off him."

I am quickly looking the scene over to see if pulling it off quickly will do more arm than not. Blood and more blood was under his face. He was laying face down in that blood with the huge four wheeler on top of him.

Paul begins to moan and cry out and Jennifer is screaming and begging God and I am praying hard for mercy and trusting their are no internal hemorrhages or brain damage.

Before I could say anything to Jennifer about the wisdom of pulling the four wheeler off or not, she begins to try to get it off Paul. This was a very big four wheeler and she can't budge it. I reach up and try to pick it off and can't move it and she says we have to get it off. It seems too much, but I can't stop and I heaved again with one more huge try and we lift it off. 

Paul is writhing now. I can see by his movement there is no paralysis, but the blood is puddling and I look to see if there were signs of internal injury. He begins to cry out and move around and is coming out from being knocked out. . But the possibility  internal injury is looming. 

We were way out in the country and it will take a while for 911 to respond. Paul began to writhe more and I tried to keep him still and quiet, but he moved more and more. He tried to sit up and I tried to keep him still as I was fearful of internal injuries.

His face was a bloody pulp with gashes all over the back of his head and side and front of his face. He looked like someone had wrapped his face in a bloody towel. It was puffy and swollen and dirt was all over into the blood and the gashes and puncture wounds were looking horrible.

He began to come out of a daze and Jennifer asked him a question and he is confused but finally answers partially. He looks terrible and I am wondering if internal injuries are going to get him. Finally first responder county fire fighters arrive and begin to try to treat Paul and Alex who is now complaining of his head hurting and is really upset. Later ambulances arrived and prepared them for transport to the ER. 

I prayed with Alex and Paul and Jennifer. I had been praying under my breathe and out loud some. 

They kept Paul several days in the hospital. God was merciful and Alex had bruises and minor scratches so he didn't have to stay in the hospital. Paul had a broken collar bone, three cracked ribs, and a punctured lung, and bad puncture wounds on his face. 

Paul was fortunate and blessed in spite of those injuries. It could have been much, much, worse.

That morning before all this happened, Wanda and I  had prayed for Paul, Jennifer, and Alexander as well as other family members. God had heard our prayers. He kept them for severe, serious physical harm. They both could have been killed.

Later I remembered what God spoke to me ten days after Kristy's funeral service when He woke me up early in the morning and told me, "Wanda is the one of I have for you. She will bless you and bless your children, and you will bless her and bless her children."

Those words were coming true. That day I had blessed her children. I had helped save Paul's life from worse harm and had blessed them by being there in a serious time of need. Yes, God was blessing me through Wanda, and I was blessing her and her children.

Wanda and I worked together well in a very urgent and severe test. We did good, and I was able to bless her and her children.

Friday, January 09, 2009



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.


Driving back from Winter Park to Jacksonville my cell phone rang and it was Jennifer calling from San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

"How did the date go, Dad," Jennifer asked?

She and Julie wanted to know what was going on and how my first date with Wanda had gone. Can you believe that I am even writing such a thing--date? I had just gone on a date? What is that?

"We had fun. We had a ball. Everything was fine," I said back to her.

"Well, I have two questions to ask you," Jennifer said. "First, were you attracted to her?"

Jennifer knew that we hadn't seen each other and she knew that God wanted Wanda and me to be together, but she also knew that we would need to be attracted to each other. So that was her question. Did you like being with her? Are you attracted to her?

"Yes, Jennifer," I said. I really liked being with her and she is a beautiful lady and I was attracted t her."

"Good," she said. 

"OK here is the second question," Jennifer laughing as she spoke. "Julie and I made a bet between each other and we want to know who wins the bet?"

"What was your bet," I asked?

"We bet whether or not you kissed her." 

"You bet what," I asked as I laughed over the cell phone driving up I-95?  "Who bet which way?"

"Julie bet you kissed her. I bet you would not kiss her," she cackled over the phone. 

We were both breaking up laughing and laughing.

"Well, you won, Jennifer," I said. "We didn't kiss."

I told Jennifer that I had told Wanda that Mama said that I couldn't kiss on the first date. We both are dying laughing now. I am trying to keep it together driving up I-95. I did have a ear phone for safe driving, but it was so funny to hear my daughter tell about their bet.

I don't know what they bet or how much they wagered, but I do know they were having some fun with their Dad.

"Jennifer, I told Wanda that I probably wouldn't ever kiss another woman until I marry her. So we have made a vow and we're going to keep it."

She says, "Wow, Dad, that is something."

My 84 year old minister father told me that I was dumb for having such vow and so did my mother so I guess it would be OK to kiss, but we didn't and haven't yet. 

I laughed and laughed with Jennifer as I drove up I-95 towards Jacksonville after my spiritual but "hot date" with Wanda. Can preachers go on hot dates? My answer--yes, if it is a spiritual date too. 

Our date was spiritual. 


It looks as if my potential blog name needs a little work--even my daughter Julie thought it needed helped. Jennifer liked the title, but I had a few moments to talk with her and explain my reason for considering it.

I will  pray about it and brainstorm more. We'll see what rises to the top of the best ideas and most of all what it seems God's suggestion might be. 

Thursday, January 08, 2009



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.


Wanda brought he Bible on our first date. I had asked her if there was something that God had shown her about God's plan for her and for us. After lunch while we sat in Starbucks and had coffee, she took her Bible and shared a few Scriptures with me. She read from the Old Testament and we talked about how God had been speaking to her, to me, and to us. We had been praying nightly together over the phone and God was confirming His will to us.

Christian romance was what this was all about. It was about two very committed believers walking with God and God leading their lives and good things coming out of holy and good relationship. Christ was at the center of this new love and relationship.

Can you have fun and take your Bible on your first date?

Yes, we were having fun. I like to laugh and tell jokes and poke fun and tease some and see if I can get a stir out of someone. And Wanda likes to laugh too and Lord knows both of us needed some laughing.

But this relationship was also spiritual. You learn after going through what both of us had with losing spouses that we each dearly loved that life is short, things changed quickly, and we have no assurance of tomorrow. So, we have to make things count and the best way to make things count is to make sure that God is at the top of the list and that you are following Him.

That is what Wanda and I were doing. We were trying with all of our hearts to follow Him and make sure He was at the top of our list.

It is really amazingly, incredible how God connected us so quickly with our children's blessings and that we connected and had so much fun and yet it was spiritual, and good, and clean, and pure and we knew that it felt right. There would be no regrets because God was at the top of the list.

This relationship is right. It is spiritual. It is fun. He has the peace of God in it.

We left Winter Park that afternoon and we had a very good date.


Tomorrow I will write about a bet that my daughters made between each other about our first date. I am going to quickly wrap of this phase of telling about my first love in the next day or so and then write some concluding thoughts on this blog.

My thoughts will then be written on a new blog that will be linked from this blog to the new site for readers to follow. That will happen in a week or so.

My idea for the new blog title is:

Plea -- an appeal to the higher good--

How does that sound?

I haven't finalized that yet, but I have been praying over it and that is a focused description of a what a major part of my calling and personal purpose is all about. My life and calling to a great degree has been a "Plea" for people to live for the higher good that is found in serving the Lord. I am called to preach and part of preaching is to plea for the higher good.

The new blog will not be a preachy blog, but it will be an inspirational, funny, romantic, encouraging, motivational, personal, and with a wide ranging style of writings that will push couples, individuals, young and old, believers, and unbelievers to the higher good.

I still have to write about Carrabelle, FL and Barney's cousin and funny church stuff and small towns and life and death and falling down and getting up and trying over and over and a lot of good that always overcomes the bad.

Good is better than bad.

Tell me what you think--the good, the bad, the ugly about this potential blog name.

Plea--an appeal to the higher good

If I can't handle it, then the filter will wipe it away.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009



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.


So Wanda and I were falling in love. 

Yes, it is a new, blossoming love. It is not the full mature love that it will be as we commit our lives to each other and learn each other and help each other and grow together and fulfill God's plan and destiny for this new love. It will grow and it will grow solid with maturity and grace and kindness and joy and excitement and blessing and ministry and forbearance and long-suffering kindness. 

This love will grow and it will be wonderful.

Finally after what seemed like an eternity we were able to arrange to see each other. We had our children's blessings and we had accountability partner's blessings and we were ready and excited to see each other.

So, where does a preacher take a lady friend, a new love, on a first date? We had limited time and a distance to drive and we wanted to be discreet and under the public radar. 

So where should we go? What do we do?

Well, preachers go to church. That is where preachers go. I'll take her to church.

Actually we met at Calvary Assembly in Winter Park, Fl  in their parking lot at noon on a Friday and left Wanda's car and I took her to a nice restaurant for lunch in Winter Park.

You cannot imagine the awkwardness that I felt as I drove to the parking lot to meet Wanda. I had not dated anyone but Kristy for almost 40 years. I had already told this lady that I loved her even though we had not been together or seen each other yet. And, there were all of those affirmations that she was the one that were looming in my mind.

But we had not seen each other, and we had fallen in love.

What do I do if we are not attracted to each other? What if she doesn't really like me after being with me? I had not looked at Wanda real close. I told her over the phone that I liked black hair also besides red hair, and she told me that she didn't have red hair or black hair. I thought she had black hair. I knew her hair wasn't red, but I thought it was black. She said it wasn't black and then I wondered as we talked over the phone what she really looked like. I really hadn't paid close attention to details in the past about Wanda, but now the details were beginning to get really important.

Isaac and Rebecca had an arranged marriage by God. Eliezer, Abraham's servant, found Rebecca for Isaac through God's guidance without them ever having seen each other. As the events worked out, later Isaac did fall in love with Rebecca as she was the chosen one for him, but the Bible says that Rebecca was "very fair to look upon." She wasn't ugly. That would not have been as nice of a story if Rebecca had been ugly as a mud fence! 

Well, I was beginning to think about the "pretty" aspect of this relationship. Yes, we had fallen in love. We fell in love over the phone. No, I didn't think I would change my mind once I saw her regardless of how she looked. I wondered if she would change her mind once she saw me?

Also, I had kidded Wanda in one of our phone conversations and told her that my mother said that I couldn't kiss on the first date. She laughed. I laughed. We laughed. She said something like I wouldn't have to worry about that anyway.

And then I added. 

"Wanda, you may think that I am crazy, but I will probably not ever kiss another woman until she is my wife."

Silence, again for a few moments.

"I am OK with that," she said. 

And we haven't kissed. We have made a vow to each other and to God. We will kiss only after we are married. 

So some of the ground rules for dating had been set. We would have lunch. We would spend the afternoon in Winter Park and then head back to our separate homes before it got dark or too  late.

As  I drove into the parking lot I was nervous--very nervous. I had preached at that mega-church several times in the past with its rising escalator going up into the sanctuary and its orchestra pit behind the pulpit and its 6,000 or so seats, but I was much more nervous driving to see Wanda than when I had preached in that big church.

How will this go? Will I say the right things? Will we have fun? What color is her hair?

I arrived and she was already there and I went up to her door to greet her. We said something but I don't know what and then we drove into Winter Park to have lunch. I got lost for a moment or so and then I got my bearings  and found the restaurant.

We were seated and talked about how things were and how nice it was to see each other and not have to talk on the phone. The server brought some bread and we talked,

but I was looking. I was staring. 

I was looking deep into her eyes and noticing hair color. It is brunette.  And I was looking at her skin and, and, and, I was just looking and looking and looking. Of course, in a godly sort of way. Yes, men can look and not lust. I just wanted to see what this lady looked like.

Here is the short answer. 

Yes, I liked what I saw. 

I liked how she was poised. I liked that she wasn't timid, or shy, or loud, or too quiet, or intimidated or taken back by this fellow who was looking this lady over. I looked into those pretty brown eyes and I saw sweetness, and kindness, and maturity, and trust, and compassion. I could see wisdom and faithfulness and generosity and trustworthiness. And she is tiny. She is dainty and tiny. I saw more in a few moments than I had ever noticed about Wanda Dunsford

I could tell that she knew that I was looking at her. I told her that I was staring at her, and she said that she knew that I was. But she wasn't bothered by my staring. It didn't seem to upset her. She sat there as we talked and I stared.

And we were having a great time. The lunch went fast and the awkwardness melted. We laughed and we talked about Kristy and Jim and Julie, and two Jennifer's, and Mark, and Tara, and seven grandchildren and son-in-laws, and we talked about life and future and likes and dislikes and told some funny stories and remembered successes and disappointments, and good times and tough times. And I wiped some tears and she had compassion and empathy and I felt better. 

And we walked up and down the shopping area of Winter Park and in a small park there and got Starbucks and sat and talked and talked some more and looked in some stores and got some ice cream and laughed and forgot some deep troubles and had fun.

We were having fun. The relationship and friendship were growing. It was happening fast. Jennifer, my Jennifer, said it would happen fast and I didn't hear her. Jennifer was right.

Our commonalities were becoming evident. I could see how we were different and would complete each other and I could see a sweet, beautiful lady who I was falling in love with and who was falling in love with me.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009



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.


Today Wanda has written her thoughts on our new love and how God confirmed it in her heart and mind. She is a very committed believer and is diligent about her walk with God. It has amazed me how patient, mature, thoughtful, and kind she has been in this whole process of developing a friendship and a loving relationship--all while I write on this blog and the blogworld comments. 

My Mom mentioned to us last week that Wanda is a very special lady. Mom said, "Few people have the ability to walk through the last few weeks as Wanda with grace and dignity as Wanda has." 

I called Wanda. She did not call me. God put it into my heart to call her probably much sooner after Kristy's passing than I would recommend to others as a pastor, but God led that way and it was confirmed by family and godly counsel. 

But Wanda also faithfully listened to the Lord and followed His leading for her life. I admire her and am grateful that God brought her to me.


Here is what Wanda has to share:

After my husband passed away, I really had no desire for another mate.  Because of my great love for Jim, I had no desire to remarry as I felt that I would never be able to find anyone else that would be as great a husband and a father to our children  like Jim was. People told me that I would find someone else, and my comment was always that if it happened God would have to send him to me as I would not be out looking.  During this time in my life I just remained still as the Lord had told me,  and prayed  for the Lords guidance and direction in my life.   I had become comfortable with single life and felt that if this is what God had that it was okay with me.

Four years after my husband’s passing, I took a trip to New York with our current Pastor and his wife and the Lord used them to minister to me and help me realize that it was okay to move on with my life.  Sometimes the Lord just has to get you away to speak to you.  After I returned from this trip I finally realized that I had fulfilled my vows to my husband – till death do us part and that it was Okay to move on in life.  At this time I did change my prayer and began to pray that if the Lord did have someone for me that I was open, but that He would have to send him to me as I had said before , I would not go out looking.  

When Milton called me the first time I was surprised.  He told me that He felt that I had a need and he felt led to call me to see if he could help me.  

In my mind my first response was, "Yeah, right!"  

As we continued to talk during the next several weeks  I realized that maybe I did have a need.  I actually had someone to talk to at night and I was beginning to enjoy that.  I knew that God was beginning to do something in my life.  Milton had not shared with me any of the other stories, only what Kristy had said about us.

I began to really seek God in prayer as I did not want this to go any further if it was not His plan.  I went to church on a Wednesday night and our Children’s Pastor spoke that night on “I Surrender All.”  The scripture she used was the same one that God had been speaking to me right after Jim’s home-going, “Be Still and Know that I am God.”    I knew at that moment that God was fixing to do something special in my life and He prompted me again to Be still and listen!  

That is exactly what I did and the Lord began to give me scripture after scripture to let me know that Milton was the one  that He was sending  into my life.  One scripture was Jeremiah 29:11 – "For I know the plans I have for you and through this scripture he let me know that through my pain, suffering and hardship that he was about to see me through to a glorious conclusion."  

The morning after Jim’s passing the Lord gave me the scripture Philippians 1:12 “Now I want you to know brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advanced the gospel.”  This was such a peace to me as I knew that the Lord was going to use his death to further the Kingdom.  I have already seen this scripture come about in my family, within co-workers that  worked with Jim, and personal friends. They saw the life that Jim lived and realized that it could be taken away at any time and they wanted their life to count as Jim’s had.  

After talking with Milton and realizing that I was falling in love with him, the Lord brought this scripture back to me and let me know that through us, Milton and I, that this scripture was going to be fulfilled even further.

Another confirmation that all was going to be OK was I had gone to church on a Sunday morning and during worship I had strong urgency to go forward and get on my face to pray concerning all that was transpiring between Milton and I.  The Lord spoke to me and told me that this relationship was like a puzzle and that He was putting it together piece by piece and that when he completed it was going to be one beautiful picture.  That  was what I needed to let me know that Milton was the one that the Lord was sending into my life.  

After we had been seeing each other for several weeks I shared with my children about what all the Lord had told Milton, Jennifer, Julie and Norma.  My daughter then began to weep and told me that she had felt for some time that Milton and I would be together. There were many more affirmations that the Lord gave me. My pastor told me that the Lord had to give me this many to let me know that it was okay to move on with my life.  

And that is exactly what I am doing.