MY OPEN LETTER TO THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

Today, June 26, 2015, I watched everything I was ever taught in my grade school history classes, high school civic and government classes, and college law classes crumble before my very eyes.  It is a death — a death of democracy, a death of religious freedom, and the death of The United States Constitution.

Today, a group of nine unelected men and women, who are supposed to remain bipartisan and fair, legislated from their judicial bench.  Rather than scroll out The United States Constitution and make a ruling concurrent with that constitution, your ruling clearly shows your bias and agenda.  In your ignorance of The United States Constitution and arrogance to The American People, you have effectively told over 50 million voters that their opinion does not matter and that their votes do not count.

Further, and more importantly, you shook your collective fists at an Almighty, Holy God and said, “Your laws are ancient, irrelevant, and hateful.”  God has emphatically stated in His Word that homosexuality is an abomination and they that practice it will have their place in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone.  (See Romans, Chapter 1, Holy Bible) Your decision has called God a liar.

Do not be fooled, God will not be mocked.  He will judge this nation according to your decision and its celebration of it.  May God have mercy on us all.

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Daddy

I wanted to share one more thought about my Daddy before I head to bed for the night.

I have so many fond and cherished memories of my Daddy and the goodness he brought to my life.  There were so many times that I failed him — that I thought I had lost favor in his eyes – I know there were many, many times that I disappointed him and let him down.  However, there is one time in particular that I recall the most.

It was the summer I turned 17 years old, 1983, and this was the summer before my Senior year in high school.  It seems that from the age of 13 and up until that summer (and way past it too, if I were to be honest) nothing seemed to fair well with me.  I drudged through one crisis after another and my Momma and Daddy probably felt that I would not survive to adulthood — either because I killed myself or they killed me, LOL.

I can’t remember the circumstances that led up to this afternoon, but I remember well the consequences of those circumstances.  I had once again failed to meet some expectation, and always being harder on myself than anyone else could ever be (this is something that still rings true for me even now), I anticipated the fallout with my Momma and Daddy.

In that anticipation, I decided to “fix” it in my own blundering way and — RUN AWAY!  My goodness, can you think of any way to only escalate a problem more than running away from it??  To ease your mind just a bit, let me assure you that I didn’t run so awful far away — I ran to the other side of the lake to my “second” Momma’s house, Christie Nielsen​!  Not only did I just run away — I employed my youth pastor’s son, Jerry, to transport me there.

My Daddy, being the wise and most able policeman that he was, knew exactly where to find me.  Did he wait for me to come home on my own??  Of course not!  He decided it was time to teach me some police “brutality” and came to fetch me right home.  He barged into Christie’s house, twisted my right arm up behind my back (like a common criminal) and started hauling me out of her house.  I dug my feet in for all it was worth — I cried — I screamed — and then I said those three words that I could NEVER recall:  “I hate you!”

I fell to the ground — out of hard-headedness, out of anger — but mostly out of shock — I had let roll out of my mouth words that would forever sting — hurt — pain…not just my Daddy, but me, as well.  For at that tender age of 17, I had not yet learned Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”  My Daddy had not learned it either.

Proverbs 12:18, “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” was far from my mind and Daddy’s.

What we had reached instead was an impasse — a gulf that would span for several more years — he frustrated and feeling defeated — and me more detached and willful.  I would not learn or understand the harshness and permanency of my words until much, much later in my life — I would not feel the full impact of them until May 1998 — although my Daddy felt them immediately.

My Daddy went home to be with Jesus in 1998 — but not without bridging that gulf between us one more time — while he had forgiven me many years before his death — while I had said a million “I’m sorrys” and ten million more “I love yous” — his words of healing and forgiveness touched me more profoundly 2 days before he died and this is the telling …

He had my Uncle Tommy call me from his ICU room that day.  Uncle said to me, “Tammi, your Daddy is here and he wants YOU to pray with him.”  He cradled that phone receiver up to my Daddy’s ear and Daddy said, “Baby, I’m going to die now.”  I said, “Daddy, I know and I will pray with you.”

I don’t remember that prayer — the words that I said — I only remember the unspoken words between a Daddy and his daughter — words that echo through eternity — words of sweet forgiveness — of the grace he had extended me oh so long ago.  At that moment, I not only saw and earthly Daddy, who had adopted me at age 4 and loved me as his own — but I saw him mirror that same love the Lord Jesus had for both of us — another adoption — a grafting into the True Vine.

You see — God used an earthly man — tall and lean, strong yet crippled with arthritis to show me a picture of Himself!

I am so thankful for Jim Shook — I’m thankful he fell in love with my sweet Momma — I’m thankful he found me worthy to be called his daughter — I’m thankful that I knew him — but most of all — I’m thankful for his humility and for humbling himself before the Cross of Calvary — what a beautiful picture — what a beautiful legacy of two fathers — an earthly one and a Heavenly one — bridging the gap for a lost little girl.

Potpourri Out of Wildflowers

Who am I?  What makes me who I am?  How did my personality, dialect, mannerisms, and physical features become me?

I suppose I have thought about these questions from time-to-time throughout my years.  Today, however, I was faced with the question during a conversation with my son, Joshua.  I proposed to him that I am a potpourri — he asked, “What is that?”  I said, “Well, it is a mixture of things.”  Then, I thought, it is much more than a “mixture of things” it is a blend of exotic dried flowers that make a beautiful aroma — isn’t that exactly what we are?

How did the potpourri that is “Tameasa” become exotic and is she beautiful?  So, I began sifting through the flowers that were a part of who I am…

I would have to say the first — my mother — only sixteen years old when she became pregnant with me…delivering me at seventeen.  So young, she was, and so naive to the world’s ways.  Yet, she chose to carry me to term and give me life, when it might have been “easier” to abort me.  She struggled raising me, but I know that she gave me the best of all she could give me, including so many aunts and uncles that loved me.

Then there was my dear Grandma Keen — her skin so soft like rose petals and she always smelled of Oil of Olay.  I remember how she loved Jesus and wanted all of her children and grandchildren to love Him, too.  She taught me things that I don’t think about much…unless I’m doing them.  For instance, how to fold my napkin when I was finished eating, so the crumbs wouldn’t get on the floor and how to think of others and share with them all that you have.  She taught me how to cut paper dolls out of the JcPenny Catalog (because we couldn’t afford store bought paper dolls).  I would sit forever, on the floor, playing with my paper doll family…and oh, the many outfits that they had to wear.  My paper dolls were affluent.  She also taught me how to write a thank you note or a note of encouragement.  I remember on one occasion that she set me to that task, all on my own, to write a note of an encouragement to my Aunt Margaret (one of her younger sisters).  A couple of weeks after that, she received a call from Aunt Margaret wondering why I had mailed a “sympathy card!”  Oh, how I miss that beautiful flower I called Grandma!

Then there were Aunts — my goodness what a lot of wildflowers I had in them.  My Aunt Lorraine was always the most beautiful lady I had ever laid eyes on — lovely through and through.  She was elegant and graceful and seemed to have such strength — that of a Southern Magnolia.

Oh, and my Aunt Scarlett — who always peppered me with hugs and kisses and love like none ever known.  She had such a way of making you feel that you were the most important person in the world to her when you were with her.

I can’t forget my Aunt Deita — she was the “fun” aunt.  She always drove cool cars and did cool things.  She wore the latest, stylish clothes and demonstrated what a strong, single woman could do.  She also gave me my first taste of sea spray and introduced me to that magnificent Atlantic Ocean.

I cannot forget my sister, Rene!  She has loved me with an unconditional love that has shown me security.  We have laughed ourselves stupid together, cried together (especially when our Momma passed), and we’ve shared God’s love with one another.

These are just a few of the wildflowers that gave me my poise, my accent, my laughter and my joy.  Yes, I’m a potpourri of all these ladies in all the ways that cause a sweet fragrance…I’m so thankful to be a cut of these dried flowers and pray one day that, I too, will cause a sweet fragrance to those lives I have had the honor and joy of touching.