Wednesday, December 29, 2004


Yep, I've been looking back, looking at now, and looking at the future. In his painting, "An Allegory of Prudence," 16th century Venetian artist Titian portrayed Prudence as a man with three heads. One head was of youth facing the future, another was of a mature man eyeing the present, and the third was of a wise old man gazing at the past. Over their heads Titian wrote a Latin phrase that means, "From the example of the past, the man of the present acts prudently so as not to imperil the future." With the new year right around the corner, I think we need this kind of wisdom to overcome the anxiety created by our past failures and the fear of repeating them in the future-an anxiety that keeps us from living to the fullest now. Sometimes I try to forget my past and anticipate the future. My memory hasn't been erased but I do feel more free of any guilt I may have felt from some of my past actions. I have to forgive myself, and hope that I have been forgiven by any I may have hurt, but know in my heart I have been forgiven by God. As we close the chapter of 2004, I believe with His help I will be able to live fully in the present and I will gain wisdom from the past and face the future with courage. There's a saying, can't remember where it came from but it goes "Don't ever let your bleak past overshadow a bright future." I like that. I hope everyone has a blessed and wonderful Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Harpers

The first picture is the same little kids from the last entry in front of the house.  The second picture is the father from the last entry with all his brother's and one sister.  If you got out a phone book in my home town, Harper would probably be the name that you would find more of than any other name.  My Pepa used to tell me so many stories about his family, they were quite interesting.  It all started with in the picture in front of the house or actully his great grandfather was the first Harper to come to the town I'm from.  His great grandfather was Leonard Harper.

Leonard Harper Sr. is the progenitor of the large Harper Family of
Irwin and Coffee Counties, Georgia. Leonard was born abt. 1735 in
Peas Creek, NC, according to Huxford's Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia.
To date Peas Creek has not been located but may well be Pea Creek, SC.

According to Huxford, Leonard Harper Sr. came to Liberty Co., GA
(which was later cut into McIntosh Co.), with his son, Leonard Jr., during
the Revolutionary War.* In the Surveyor's General Dept. in Atlanta, GA,
there are four headgrants issued to Leonard Harper and perhaps his
son, Leonard Harper Jr. The claims are:

200 acres - Glynn County - 1798
400 acres - McIntosh County - 1803
200 acres - McIntosh County - 1816
102 acres - McIntosh County - 1819

Upon arriving to survey the ground for one of his headgrants (which
you could receive by paying a a filing fee of 5.00) Leonard found a
house had been constructed and someone was living in it. The man
residing there invited Leonard in, gave him a meal and a bed for the night.
The following morning Leonard rose, pulled the title for the headgrant
from his pocket, and told the hospitable gentleman that the property
now belonged to him.

Life on the new frontier was perilous and indians were an everyday part
of the lives of Leonard and his family. The Creek Indians made a raid on Leonard's plantation in Liberty Co., in 1788. The indians made away with his horses and hogs and, according to family lore, the house was burned and
all of Leonard's tools along with miscellaneous items were taken.
Leonard's wife and children hid in the bushes during the raid. Leonard
later found the tools and other items buried in his field when he was
plowing.  Leonard Harper Jr. filed a claim with the Indian Claims Bureau
on behalf of himself, and his siblings, as a result of this raid. The claim
was paid. (These records can be obtained from the Bureau of Indian
Affairs, Washington, D.C.)

Emily Gray Martin, Gentlemen and Their Ladies - Gray Family History,
states that Leonard fought in the Revolutionary War, participating in
the battles of Troy and Sumpter. It is said that he had the fastest horse
of any, having outrun the British on at least one occasion. With the
British in pursuit Leonard approached a wide gully. He and his horse
jumped, the British came to the edge and stopped.

It is not known who Leonard's wife actually was but it is said that she
was Dutch (according to records found in Irwin Co., GA). Emily Gray
Martin states that " . . . Leonard Harper Sr. met the boat carrying
five females from Holland who came here looking for husbands.
It was told Leonard Sr. married one of them (black-Dutch)."

*I personally feelthat there is a discrepancy in Huxford's work. He
states that the son of Leonard Harper Sr., Leonard Harper Jr., was
born in 1788 in Liberty Co., GA. However, I believe that there was a
third Leonard Harper, b. abt. 1735, and known as Leonard Sr.,
husband of Elizabeth. Elizabeth applied for administration of his estate
on April 12, 1804 (McIntosh Co.). I believe that this is the Leonard Sr.
that Huxford was referring to and that he came to McIntosh Co., GA,
with his son Leonard during the Revolutionary War. Upon the death of
the father the son became Leonard Sr. - this would be the Leonard Sr.
who died in McIntosh Co., GA, in 1822 and was probably b. abt. 1750.
His son, Leonard Jr., born 1788, died in Irwin Co., GA, in 1845. This
opinion is further strengthened by the fact that Leonard reportedly
did not bring a wife with him to Georgia but married a Dutch woman
after his arrival.


The Harper Plantation

This is one of the oldest houses in Ocilla I was telling you about it belonged to my great great grandparents, Henry S.C. Harper and his wife Sallie Vickers Harper.  It is still standing and looks great.  The picture I put in my picture of the day journal is of the back of the house with their entire family home for Christmas.  This picture is of my great grandparents, the little boy in the middle is of my grandfather. 

Monday, December 27, 2004

Christmas pictures

Christmas pictures 2004

My 37th Christmas!

My last entry was about Celebrate the BABY, well I did that this past weekend, plus had a wonderful time with our baby Ethan.  Mike and I went home on Thursday and I showed him around the little town I grew up in, starting with the old Harper plantation, and the oldest home in my town which belonged to my great-great grandfather.  We went by to see Andy, Dena, and the boys, Eli was sleeping, but we got to spend some time with Ethan, both the boys were sick the entire weekend with some kind of bad flu, they were coughing, and runny noses the entire weekend.  Autumn on the other hand was feeling good, she had us running around chasing her and making sure all the attention was on her.  Sherry went all out the entire weekend, beautiful decorations, and the food was excellent, Thursday we had a lasagna party, Dena, Andy and the boys came over.  We rested most of Friday, took care of Autumn while everyone was shopping, we took her too the park to see the Christmas deocorations.  Then everyone came over that night and we exchanged gifts, and ate well again.  We left Christmas morning, and came back to Jacksonville where we went over to Mike's mom and had dinner with his mom and sister and nephew.   Sherry got engaged, and got a beautiful engagement ring.  So there should be a wedding coming up soon.  I'll put more pictures in my next entry.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Celebrate The BABY

I've been going through old baby pictures, my moms, dads, grandparents, sisters, brother, niece, and nephews.  Something about babies, so beautiful.  It's almost Christmas so I started thinking about that special baby.  Jesus!  Why is ist we celebrate Jesus' birthday so diffrently from other holidays?  When it's time to honor historical figures who have a day set aside for them, we don't think about them as babies.  We don't have pictures of cute little Abe Lincoln in his log cabin.  We remember his contributions as an adult.  But I think it is proper to celebrate Jesus as a child.  Think about it, when he was born the shepards and wise men came to honor him.  These people had no idea what Christ would eventually accomplish as an adult.  But they were right in doing what they did because Jesus' birthd was the most remarkable even in human history, if I could go back to one event in history I think that's what I'd want to go back to.  How amazing!  God in human form.  The Creator of the universe visiting this planet.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas, I hope we never hesitate to celebrate this baby at Christmas, stand in awe of the tiny baby who had created His worshipers.  Then stepped back in wonder, for the story gets even better.  This baby grew into manhood, lived a perfect life, and willingly died for our sins.  This makes Christmas complete for me.  Someone sent me a nice Christmas card today it said.  "Every time a hnad reaches out to help another... that is Christmas.  Every time someone puts anger aside and strives for understanding... that is Christmas.  Every time poeple forget their diffreces and realize their love for each other... that is Christmas."  I liked those thoughts too!  I've been thinking a lot about the real meaning of Christmas.  Last year me and my friend Ginni went and saw "The Passion of Jesus Christ",  so guess I've also been thinking about how He was born to die.  Guess my mind is full when I start to think about it all, the big picture so to speak.  Bless everyone, I can't wait to get home!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Luminaries, Hayride, and my birthday pics

Last night we went on a hayride with Mike, the music was festive, we were decked out in our Santa hats and fun was had by all.  It was cold too.  The whole area of Avondale had their luminaries around their houses, we went with Mike to a party, good food and drink, but had to work this morning so we made it a early night.  Some of the other pictures were from my birthday, where I had to get up and sing the unicorn song, it's a birthday song that makes you look silly up on stage, but I really had a lot of fun.  Hope everyone is in a fun and festive mood.  Only 5 more days.

Is Four too young?

The last time I went home, Autumn looked at me with this funny little smile and told me "Guess what"  I have a boyfriend and his name is Cade."  I grabbed her and told her she better not have a boyfriend.  She laughed and laughed.  Cade is a family friend.  His parents were friends of my mom and dads, his grandmom's sister was my girlfriend in when I was in school.  Now his mom and dad are good friends of my sister's.  So he's been growing up with her, and they spend a lot of time together.  If anything they are a force to be reconed with.  The both have a lot of energy.  Only 6 days till Christmas.  Wow, hard for me to believe.  I'm ready to get home to see everyone.  Last night Mike and I went on a hayride, I'll put some pictures of it later.  Hope everyone has all their Christmas shopping done.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Me and the old Honda

Here's me in the old Honda, I have had this car for almost 10 years now, it's been good to me, she's getting old now, but she still get's me there.  I've really been lucky, I havn't had much problems in the 10 years I've had her.  Well heading over to friends, I'll write more later.  Tomorrow is my birthday.  I feel a surprise coming on.

Thursday, December 9, 2004


One thing about going home is knowing your going to have to go down a dirt road to see your loved ones. Autumn rode from Dena and Andy's with me back home, Dena and Andy live on one of those old dirt roads, roads that I took every week when I was growing up, and there are about 4 ways to get back home to Sherry's depending on which way you go on the dirt road. Being young sometimes your used to one way of going home, the shortest way or the quickest or just the one that is the least wet and you are not in danger of going in the ditch. Anyway back to my point. I took a way that Autumn wasn't used to taking, I took a right on the dirt road instead of a left. She looked over at me and said with big eyes, "You went the scary road". I asked her what is the scary road? She informed me it was the wrong road, not the one you are supposed to take. Well I've taken this road for years and it is a much longer ride, but I was just enjoying being home and being with her. She started looking worried when the road just kept going. Autumn for some reason gets a thrill out of being scared, she loves scary stories. Anything to make her heart beat a little faster. So I looked at her and said I think we went the wrong way. She looked over at me with her big eyes and said "I'm not scared". Well I am I grinned at her. So she gave me her hand to hold.

I love this story, not sure why but even though I know she was scared she was offering me her hand so I wouldn't be scared. Makes me think of us as humans, sometimes we have to admit that we become fearful-about dying, about cancer, about losing our mind, about losing our job, and my parents favorite was about their chidren getting in trouble, and my new one about getting older. We don't like to confess it, so we may ignore, deny, or repress those fears. But to overcome our fear, we must first acknowledge it I guess. Mike told me the other day that he was talking to someone and they said Derek sure has changed from the old Derek he knew, he goes around quoting scripture. I don't remember quoting any scripture to anyone, I think the only place I ever even mention it is in my journals. I do pray everyday that I can be used in some way. I find it easier to describe His love for us in my journals. Than to spread it in verbal words. I wish I were more verbal. I'm really mostly a pretty quiet person keeping things in. Woops off track again. Anyway a scripture did come to mind when I was writing earlier and for some reason, I was thinking about what Mike had said about someone saying I quote scripture. Anyway here it is. "Whenever I am afraid," he said "I will trust you" I think David wrote that somewhere in Psalms. I like this one, I loved Sunday School. My mom was my Sunday School teacher when I was growing up too. Along with Mrs. Martin and Mrs. Sara Grace, which I think I've written about before. It's a conscience decision to trust God. So the next time I get scared I think that's what I'm going to try and do. I really believe we can conquer our fears. To admid that we are afraid is to admit we are human. But to admit being afraid and then trusting in Him and going forward will take the fear out of fear. I had bad dreams when I was little, and I remember right before I would go to sleep I found a way to stop them. I got on my knees and said "Please God, don't let me have any bad dreams". It worked.

Monday, December 6, 2004

The Five People You Meet in Heaven

I once had a dream I was swimming in the Ocean, underwater I saw a light, and I swam to it, I got close to the light and I came up.  The waves were hitting, and I could only see this light when I was under the Ocean.  So I kept swimming to the light, and I finally reached it, when I came up in the light I saw people around me, we were all waves that swam to the were just currents swimming this light, they were people who were familiar and people that I knew, people that I've lost, and people that didn't even look familiar.  But here we all were all the waves coming together to this light.  I woke up.  Last night I watched a beautiful movie.  Mitch Albom's "The Five People You Meet In Heaven.  I read the book a few years ago.  It had been one of my favorite books from the night I read it.  Last night I watched it and it was just as beautiful.  So it's been on my mind today.  I've always seen myself as part of something connected to a bigger humanity.  Watching this last night I see how this is explored, that we are all connected to each other in ways we don't even realize, and that perhaps, when our life is over, you may find out all the other "waves" in this big ocean that you affected without even knowing it..  The lessons learned from the five people in heaven are meaningful to me.  Yes there was tears, even in reading it I had tears.  Anyone else read this?  Would love to hear what you have to say about it.  I think it would mean diffrent things for everyone.

Wednesday, December 1, 2004


One of my favorite writers is George MacDonald, I've written a few entries on him. One thing he wrote was "God has come to wipe away our tears. He is doing it; He will have it doen as soon as He can; and until He can He would have them flow without bitterness; to which end He tells us it is a blessed thing to mourn because of the comfort that is on the way." This is one of my favorite quotes, it seems like while we wait for that comfort, we can be assured that we will not be tested beyond our ability to bear the trial. My mom always used to tell me that growing up. Every difficult circumstance is times with exact precision. Screened though with His perfect love. We won't suffer one moment more, nor will we suffer more than it necessary. So why am I so hard headed, why does it take me more than one time to learn some lessons, yep that's what's going through my head. Guess sometimes the waters are deep. But deep down I always know that everything is going to be alright. Maybe I just need a good cry. What's the saying, "Tears are often the telescope by which we can see into heaven."