Have you ever lost anything and couldn’t find it? Have you ever worked on something only to have it get destroyed in the blink of an eye? Well, that’s what happened to me recently. I had spent an hour writing my Thursday Thoughts for Southern Hill Church of Christ and went to save my work. It was then that the unimaginable happened. Every Word document I had opened suddenly turned completely white, and the message popped up “Word is not Responding!”

Danny Minton

Danny Minton

I thought, surely it had auto-saved and would allow me to retrieve it when I restarted Microsoft Word. I restarted Word, and there it was, my document! I opened it up and there staring at me was a blank page. I decided to check the file so I opened up Explorer. There it was, my file! Then moving to the right to the file size column the horror was there expressing itself, file size, “0 kb.” Nothing saved, all my work had gone “down the drain.”

          It was a good lesson, too! All about “Hitting the Gap.” It mentioned our current lesson series and a lady who had great plans. It was well-written and corrected. I used the perfect anecdote of Jesus from the Gospel of John. I know you would have read it and said, “This is really good!” But alas, it has made its way to the computer of lost documents in the sky. And it was good, too!

          Have you ever been in that situation, where you worked so hard to try and get something done, feeling you’ve done a great job and then met with people “not responding?” You feel like it’s all been a waste, your time, your effort, and your desire to achieve something you feel is worthwhile.

          I believe we all go through those moments. I know Jesus did. I picture him standing on the hill and crying out “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem!” He had the pain of his work going for naught in so many lives. You could hear it as he spoke to his apostles and sadly said, “O you of little faith!” It was tough having something so great to say and do, but feeling like sometimes all he ended up with was a blank white page and an unresponsive public.

          We will all go through that feeling at times. Our excitement may fall on deaf ears. Our enthusiasm may be squelched by others apathy. Our dreams may become nightmares when no one acts as if they care. It is in those times that we just have to start over and move forward. The nice thing about a blank white page is that it gives you a place for a fresh start. So next time you feel like no one is responding, just sit down and refocus, look at that white page and think about other possibilities. Mainly, never give up on your dreams and what you want to do. Jesus always responds, even if no one else does.

          Oh, by the way, you might save your work more often as well.


It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.

Psalm 119:71

Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ


By Loretta Fulton

“Determined, dedicated, delightful.”

Those three words pretty well define Jan Eastland. Two words that she never let define her were “cerebral” and “palsy.” Even though Eastland has lived with the neurological disorder her entire life, she never let it define her. That was proven again Jan. 12 when a reception was held for her at Hardin-Simmons University marking the publication of her memoir, “Assorted Nuts.”

The book was made possible by Lanny Hall, chancellor of Hardin-Simmons who was president of the university when he first heard that Eastland wanted to get her memoir published. Hall took it upon himself to make sure that happened.

“We’re going to get that published,” Hall promised.

Eastland had the typed pages stored on a computer disk, which Hall, his assistant Donna Hall (not related) and others got into the proper format to be published through Amazon’s CreateSpace.

Eastland has proven all her 74 years that she wouldn’t let cerebral palsy, the result of an injury at birth, define her or limit her. It took her 17 years to earn a bachelor’s degree in sociology from HSU, but she did it. One of her professors was Julian Bridges, who defined Eastland as “determined, dedicated, delightful.”

He recalled that when Eastland got her degree in 1978, something special happened at the commencement ceremony.

“All of the graduating class stood up and applauded,” he said during the Jan. 12 reception.

Hall noted in his remarks that Eastland first enrolled at HSU in the 1960s and has met all of the university’s presidents since then.

“She’s seen a lot of nuts,” he said, a reference to the book title, which Eastland chose.

In addition to seeing people buying her book, enjoying a beautiful cake, and being greeted by a crowd of well-wishers, Eastland received a couple of special notices. State Rep. Stan Lambert, who was unable to attend, got a state resolution adopted honoring Eastland.

Abilene Mayor Anthony Williams, who also was unable to attend, signed a proclamation naming Jan. 12 as “Jan Eastland Day” in Abilene. The proclamation was printed on a plaque, which was presented to Eastland.

Current HSU President Eric Bruntmyer said Eastland sometimes visits his office and always is a blessing.

“You can see her spirit,” Bruntmyer said, “as she goes throughout the campus.”





Exercise FBC

Senior exercise class at First Baptist Church. Photo by Mike Patrick

by Mike Patrick

This time of year, many people are joining health clubs in order to get back in shape after the holidays. That includes senior adults. In 2016, my wife, Nancy, attended a three-day workshop at the Cooper Institute in Dallas. She and about a dozen other people from around the country earned their certificate in senior adult exercise.

mike patrick2014

Mike Patrick

Since her return, she goes to Rose Park for an hour three days a week and serves as a substitute leader. She leads a group of older women at a local independent living center two days a week. And she leads a group of senior adults at First Baptist Church Tuesdays and Thursdays. (I go to that one.)

While speaking at a luncheon about the importance of exercise for those of us getting up in years, she concluded her time with the following, popular internet article (author unknown).

“Most seniors never get enough exercise. In His wisdom God decreed that seniors become forgetful so they would have to search for their glasses, keys and other things, thus doing more walking.

And God looked down and saw that it was good.

Then God saw there was another need. In His wisdom He made seniors lose coordination so they would drop things requiring them to bend, reach and stretch.

And God looked down and saw that it was good.

Then God considered the function of bladders and decided seniors would have additional calls of nature requiring more trips to the bathroom, thus providing more exercise.

God looked down and saw that it was good.”

So if you find as you age, you are getting up and down more, remember it is God’s will. It is all in your best interest even though you mutter under your breath.

Mike Patrick retired as Chaplain and Ministry Education Coordinator after 27 years at Hendrick Medical Center.


By Danny Minton

I Am Resolved

As I stepped on the scales this morning, the LED screen came on, flickered a little, then went blank. Maybe it needs a new battery I was thinking, so I stepped off and then on again. Nothing. But the battery isn’t that old was my thinking, so I tried it one more time. This time it worked, but when it stopped at my weight, I was positive it needed a new battery since the number, obviously inflated, couldn’t be correct!


Danny Minton

It’s that time of year again. Everyone is making New Year Resolutions. Mostly I see the same ones in some form or fashion: lose weight, get in shape, quit some bad habit, read the Bible daily, get organized, get out of debt, keep in touch with family, etc. The list goes on and on; same lists, new year.

They aren’t resolutions, but admirable goals. You see, a goal is something we want to achieve. It’s something to shoot for and keep in our sights. If we don’t reach it, we’ll try again. Every year I set goals, most of which I fail to kept to the one hundred percent level, but only in part. I can only remember keeping one New Year’s resolution in my life.

A resolution, on the other hand, is the way we approach our goals. We are looking for “reSOLUTIONS” to areas we feel we are lacking. We’re trying to find a way to solve them and make ourselves a better individual. To be resolved means to make up your mind that you are going to be successful. To be resolute carries the meaning of being firm, stubborn, steadfast, tenacious and unwavering.

The reason we don’t keep our resolutions is primarily that we don’t have a resolute attitude. Many of us start out and then get what Zig Ziglar called the “loser’s limp.” You know what that is, don’t you? You’ve seen it. You watch a race and see an athlete who sees that he is going to lose, usually in an embarrassing way, so to save face he reaches back and grabs the back of his thigh as if he’s pulled a muscle or maybe she starts hopping on one foot as if she turned an ankle. The crowd responds with empathy, and the athlete doesn’t look so bad for not fulfilling his or her goal. They were saved by the “loser’s limp.”

Paul wrote to the Corinthians “Do you not know that in a race, all the runners run but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” As you consider your goals, if they are worthy make them true resolutions. But make the first one to be like Jesus. Then, when you have achieved them you can be as Paul when he said in a letter to Timothy “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

As I sit here writing this and sipping on my cup of black coffee, I‘m reminded of the only New Year’s resolution I ever kept, made some 35 years ago. No more sugar or cream in my coffee. Not a biggie, but it does show that anything we set our minds to can reach accomplishment if we make an effort.

Have a great New Year. As for me, my resolution is changing the battery out of my scales today.

Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ


by Mike Patrick

A middle-aged woman visited with a counselor because of her depression. Joy in life had evaporated over time. She hated her job and had difficulty getting through the day. She started her morning with energy and feeling upbeat. However, it got worse by the hour.

The counselor thought that the way she lived her life at work might manifest itself the same way in other activities. He asked her, “What’s your favorite meal?” After she described the meal including chocolate cake, he asked, “What do you eat first?” She responded that she ate her dessert first. He then said, “Tell me how you eat your chocolate cake.” She said she always used her fork to scrape off the icing and ate it first.

She approached work the same way. She began the day with what she enjoyed the most and delayed unwanted tasks for last. Thus, her day became progressively worse as it went along. The counselor recommended that she use her morning energy to do the more unpleasant tasks, thereby making the day progressively better with the more enjoyable tasks.

The key: delayed gratification requires patience. It means I show a willingness to delay an immediate reward in order to have a greater reward later. This woman’s fun task at work and her chocolate cake in and of themselves remain the same, early or later. But by using patience, she also reduces the amount of depression in her life.

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:16-17, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

Mike Patrick retired as Chaplain and Ministry Education Coordinator after 27 years at Hendrick Medical Center.