Judging Others

If we polled most Americans and asked them if we should judge others, I would say that the majority would say that we should not.  However, how many of us actually practice what we preach?  I would say not very many of us, unfortunately. We have all been taught from a very young age that we should not judge others.  We have all heard the scriptures, “Judge not, least you be judged in the same accord” or “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” but most of us do not do that.  I know that I am guilty of passing judgement myself.  The fact of the matter is none of us are blameless.  We all have sin in our lives, we all live our lives in a way that others can find fault with, and we all have different values and interpretations of what is right and wrong.  

The thing that most of us seem to forget is that we do not know everyone’s situation.  We do not know why they do the things they do.  We cannot see someone’s heart; we can only see their actions.  I personally think that we judge because it makes us feel better about our own lives.  We know that we are not perfect and it makes us feel bad about our shortcomings, so we find someone we think is even more flawed than we are and judge them for that.  I believe that if we all had the peace and hope that God offers us, we would find ourselves judging a lot less often.  

The thing is we can all be found unfit in some way.  Think of it like this; if we are able to find reasons to judge others, don’t we think that others can find reasons to judge us?  Of course they can.  We are all flawed, and we all do things that people think are wrong.  We need to focus on improving our own lives and allow God to convict us to make the changes we need to make in our own lives.  

God wants us to love our fellowman.  He wants us to encourage each other and build each other up.  He wants us to focus on changing our own lives, and in the process we may change someone else’s life.  God wants peace for all of us, and that peace cannot come to us if we have a judgmental spirit.  None of us have any idea what it is like to live someone else’s life.  We have not had their experiences, so we should not pass judgment on their choices and decisions.   

Peace and love will come to all of us if we set aside our judgmental attitudes and accept people for whom they are.  If they need to change, God will change them.  It is not our job. Let Him be the judge of others.  Our job is to work on our own lives and give people the benefit of the doubt.  When we can truly do this and rid our lives ofjudgmental attitudes, our lives will be full of more peace than we can ever imagine and PEACE MATTERS!

~Dan~    

An Optimistic Spirit

The world in which we live is full of negativity.  It seems that we are unable to escape it.  It is everywhere we go.  We cannot turn on the radio or television, get on the Internet, or go to work without being exposed to negativity.  We often participate in this negativity, and sometimes we even feed it.  There is so much negativity in the world that is seems, at times, that we thrive on it.  It seems that it is all we focus on and all we talk about.  Changing a negative spirit is difficult, but it can be done.  

We all need to train our minds to focus more on the positive.  It is impossible to have peace in our lives if we have a negative spirit.  God has called us to be an optimistic people.  To have an optimistic spirit or be an optimistic person, we have to have a partnership with God.  An optimistic spirit has trust, hope, and faith.  These things come from God.  If we allow Him to, God will train us to let go of the bad.  If we truly have faith and hope in God, He will allow us to see all the positives there are in life.  When we have an optimistic spirit, we do not seek out or tune into the negativity of the world.  I am not saying that we should bury our heads in the sand and refuse to accept that there is negativity in the world, but we have to spend most of our time focusing on the good rather than the bad.  

If we want to do something about the negative things in life, we need to start with ourselves.  We cannot change the world if we do not have a positive or optimistic spirit.  It is, in a way, a grassroots movement that will start out slowly but begin to grow if we change our own attitudes first.  When we have an optimistic spirit, we can firmly close the door on all that which oppresses people.  An optimistic spirit has joy in knowing God’s goodness, faithfulness, and honesty.  The result of an optimistic spirit is a peaceful spirit.  When we surround ourselves with negativity or negative people, we cannot expect to have an optimistic spirit.  If negativity breeds negativity then the opposite must also be true.  Positivity breeds positivity.   An optimistic spirit extinguishes the fearful spirit of those living in negativity.  God wants us to be the positive influence on others that changes their negativity.  

So, how do we do that?  Like I said before, we have to start with ourselves.  We have to train our minds to see positivity in the world more than we see negativity.  We have to surround ourselves with positive things and people.  We have to communicate with God and ask Him to help us see the good in the world.  There still is good in the world, and there are still positive things on which to focus.  Those events are not often reported by the media because they do not make popular stories.  We are so focused on negativity that that is all we want to hear about.  We expect to turn on the news or read the paper and see a story about something negative.  In fact, when we see something positive, we are surprised.  I find that very sad.  I want to live in a world where I am surprised when I hear about a negative story.  You may be thinking that that is an unrealistic attitude to have, but really, I do not think it is.  We all live in a little bubble.  The world is a big place, but our part of it is relatively small.  If we can change our little area of the world by having an optimistic spirit, it can spread to other parts of the world.  

So, let’s make a conscious effort to cause that change to occur.  Let’s focus on the positivity in the world.  If we cannot see anything positive in the world, let’s create it.  Let’s not participate in talk that breeds negativity, let’s not be drawn to the negative stories reported by the media. Instead, let’s look for positive things on which to focus.   I think it would be a wonderful idea if we would all have gatherings at our homes, churches, or schools where negative talk or attitudes are not allowed.  When we gather at these events, we should discuss only positive things or ways to make positive things happen.  I really think it will make a difference in all of our lives and in the lives of other people.  I truly believe we can do this, if we start with ourselves first and allow God to train our minds to see the positive things in life.  It may be difficult at first, but it will get easier and pretty soon there will be more positivity in our lives, and that will make the world a more peaceful place and Peace Matters!

~Dan~

A Kentucky Homespun Christmas: 2016

I will be doing the A Kentucky Homespun Christmas show which will be held in Cave City, Kentucky on Friday, November 11th from 4 PM to 8 PM and again on Saturday, November 12th from 9 AM to 3 PM.  I will have ten samplers, most of which have been designed by me.  I will be set up in Arnett’s Country Store’s booth.  I hope you will stop by and see me.  You will also want to stop in and see some of Stacee Droit’s Santas.  

I am excited about doing the show and look forward to seeing those of you who can attend.  I have thoroughly enjoyed stitching these samplers, and each one of them has brought me peace while I was stitching them and PEACE MATTERS! 

~Dan~

Designed by Dan Weaver-White

Designed by Dan Weaver-White

Designed by Dan Weaver-White

Designed by Dan Weaver-White

Designed by Dan Weaver-White

Pattern by Tina Woltman

Pattern by Jenny Hoffman

Designed by Dan Weaver-White

Designed by Dan Weaver-White

Designed by Dan Weaver-White

Designed by Dan Weaver-White

Designed by Dan Weaver-White

Who I Would Like to Meet Part Five: Dolly Parton

Someone recently asked me a very simple question that I have been thinking about a lot lately.  It wasn’t a question that would really change the world, and it wasn’t a question that men have pondered for generations, but it was a question that has replayed in my mind over and over again. The question was, “If you could meet any five people in the world, who would they be?”  When the question was asked, I didn’t have to give it much thought. I quickly rattled off the five names of the people I would most like to meet.  Those five people were: Doris Day, Joanna Gaines, Kelly Ripa, Reba McEntire, and Dolly Parton.  

Like all good questions, there was a follow up question:  “Why those five people?”  Now, I have to admit, this is the question that I have been thinking a lot about.  I answered not long after the question was asked, but I have continued to think about why I said those five people.  What is it about these people that I am drawn to?  What do they have in common? What makes them special?  I am going to do my best to answer those questions, and hopefully I will learn a little bit more about myself in the process.  

Dolly Parton

I first became aware of Dolly Parton when I was in the second grade.  This would have been the 1980-1981 school year.  A boy in my class brought the soundtrack from Dolly’s new movie 9 to 5 for show-and-tell.  I can remember looking at the cover of the album off and on all day and wondering who this woman with blonde hair was.  When the time came for show-and-tell, the boy stepped to the front of the room and played the title song “9 to 5.”  From the first few beats of the song, I was entranced by the music and when she began singing, I began to fall in love.  I know that sounds crazy, but that was my first introduction to Dolly Parton.  I guess in a way, it was love at first listen. 

Through the years, I have gotten to know more and more about Dolly and have had the opportunity to hear more of her music, see more of her movies, and watch more of her interviews.  Every time I listen to her music, see her on the screen, or watch an interview I always feel the same way.  I feel joy.  I feel that the world is actually a beautiful place to live, and I believe that good still exists in the world. 

Dolly’s story began in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee a little over 70 years ago.  She was born to a very poor family with many children, but Dolly had a dream.  She dreamed of being a star.  She dreamed of writing songs and singing them for millions of people to hear.  It seems like an unlikely dream for someone born into those circumstances, but it was her dream and it was certainly God’s plan for her life because she became the person that she dreamed of being.  In fact, in many ways the life she lives is far greater than anything she could have dreamed.  That is the thing that we should all remember.  God can take the little dreams and goals we have for our lives and turn them into more than we ever thought possible.  He can do that for all of us.  We just have to be patient and have faith. 

To me, Dolly Parton is one of the most sincere people there is.  She is who she is and she does not make any excuses.  She is down to earth, caring, compassionate, funny, and generous.  She has brought so much light into the world and has brought joy to countless people’s lives.  She has certainly made me smile on more than one occasion.  That is another thing about Dolly that I admire.  When you see her or hear her voice, you cannot help but smile.  It is like Dolly’s character, Truvy, said in the movie Steel Magnolias, “Smile!  It improves your face value.”  I believe that when we do smile, we have no choice but to feel better and we make others feel better and they smile back.  A smile is truly contagious. 

I am not sure if I will ever have the opportunity to meet Dolly Parton, but you can bet if I do I will thank her for all the joy she has brought into my life.  I will tell her about the little boy in second grade who was entranced by the sound of her voice, and I will tell her about the smiles that she has brought to my face.  And who knows, I may even say, “Why don’t we sing together?”  Now that, my friends, would be a miracle.  When we feel joy and when we give joy to others, there will be more peace in this world and PEACE MATTERS!

~Dan~ 

Life Lessons I Learned From my Grandma: A Birthday Tribute

Ninety-one years ago today my grandma, Ruth Cutsinger, was born.  I am sure even then people knew what a special person she would grow up to be.  She was raised to believe in miracles, and she witnessed many miracles as a child growing up in the Great Depression, and those miracles continued to follow her until she drew her last breath on May 22, 2016.  She spent her life telling the stories that she collected in the 90 years, 7 months, and 10 days that she was on this earth with everyone she came into contact with.  

She wanted so much for people to be encouraged.  She wanted to show love to everyone she knew, and she wanted them to know that God was always with them.  She truly spent her life spreading the good news.  I cannot adequately say how proud I am to be her grandson.  It has been the biggest blessing of my life.  I am so glad that God gave us each other.  We truly were two peas in a pod, and we loved nothing more than spending time together and making each other laugh.  No one has ever made me laugh as much as she did, and I am not sure that anyone ever will again.  

Even though I miss her every single day, I feel her with me.  I feel her comfort me when I am discouraged, I feel her strength when I feel defeated, but most of all I still feel her love.  That will never go away.  Love never dies!  So today, I would still like to honor my grandma’s birthday. Even though her earthly body has gone away, her spirit is alive and well.  Happy Birthday grandma!  I love you! 

Jeff and I made this video to honor my grandma’s first birthday in Heaven.  The song is perfect for her because she spent her life telling her story.  I hope you enjoy it. 

When I remember all the stories that my grandma told me and I do my best to apply the lessons I have learned from her to my life, I have more peace and PEACE MATTERS

~Dan~

Who I Would Like to Meet Part Four: Reba McEntire

Someone recently asked me a very simple question that I have been thinking about a lot lately.  It wasn’t a question that would really change the world, and it wasn’t a question that men have pondered for generations, but it was a question that has replayed in my mind over and over again. The question was, “If you could meet any five people in the world, who would they be?”  When the question was asked, I didn’t have to give it much thought. I quickly rattled off the five names of the people I would most like to meet.  Those five people were: Doris Day, Joanna Gaines, Kelly Ripa, Reba McEntire, and Dolly Parton.  

Like all good questions, there was a follow up question:  “Why those five people?”  Now, I have to admit, this is the question that I have been thinking a lot about.  I answered not long after the question was asked, but I have continued to think about why I said those five people.  What is it about these people that I am drawn to?  What do they have in common? What makes them special?  I am going to do my best to answer those questions, and hopefully I will learn a little bit more about myself in the process.  

Reba McEntire

I am not 100% sure when or by whom I was introduced to Reba McEntire.  I believe it was in the early 90s that either my friend Toni or my brother Andrew first told me about her, but too many years have gone by for me to remember for sure.  I guess it really does not matter how I came to know Reba McEntire.  All I know for sure is that I am very thankful that I did.  

I am a huge music fan and truly enjoy all genres.  I like classical, easy listening, rock, pop, and country.  As I look back on my life, it seems that my musical preferences have gone through phases.  I believe that we all have a soundtrack that accompanies our lives and when I hear a certain song, memories of that time period come flooding back in an instant.  When I was introduced to Reba McEntire, I was going through a country phase.  This was during a time that country music was enjoying a resurgence in popularity, and it seemed to me that Reba was leading the pack.  

The very first Reba McEntire album I ever owned was bought for me by my grandma.  She and I were at Wal-Mart and I told her that I was looking for a certain CD.  We found it, and like most grandmas, she insisted on buying it for me.  I listened to that album over and over and memorized all the songs.  This first album left me wanting more, and I began buying all of Reba’s albums.  

One album that was particularly important to me was entitled For My Broken Heart.  Reba recorded it after several members of her band had been killed in plane crash.  When I first heard the songs on this album it was 1994, and my Grandma Weaver, my dad’s mom, had just passed away.  I had recently gotten to know my Grandma Weaver better and had spent more time with her than I ever had, and I was very sad when she died.  The songs on the album For My Broken Heart seemed to be perfect for where I was in life, and they each brought me a lot of comfort.  

Soon Reba started doing some acting, and I wanted to see everything she was in.  I even rented the movie Tremors, which was not the best movie, just to see more of Reba.  Reba began making made for television movies, and I watched all of them too.  The entire time that I was watching Reba act, I was continuing to buy more of her albums.  Then in 1995 Reba wrote her autobiography which was entitled, Reba: My Story.  When I read the book I was amazed to find out that, like me, Reba has gone to school to be an elementary school teacher.  She student taught, but then her career began taking off and she never became a full-time teacher.  After reading her book, I felt an even deeper connection with Reba.   

In 2001 my mom and grandma began telling me about a new television show that they had been watching staring Reba McEntire.  I am not a big television watcher, but after years of hearing how good Reba’s show was, I began watching reruns, and I loved it.  I enjoyed seeing Reba on television, and I loved seeing her being funny.  Reba’s show made me laugh so much and brought me a lot of joy when I watched it.  Jeff and I own all the seasons of Reba’s show and have revisited it many times over the years, and it continues to be one of my favorite shows.

In 2007 our little guy, Peyton, was born and I could not think of a better middle name for him than McEntire.  That is how much I loved Reba.    

So you see, Reba McEntire has definitely been a huge part of my life for a long time.  I am not sure if I will ever meet Reba, but you can bet if I do I will thank her for the joy and the tears that her music has brought into my life.  I will thank her for the laughter her show brought me and for the inspiration her movies gave me.  Most of all, I will thank her for the peace her songs, movies, television show, and book have brought me because PEACE MATTERS

~Dan~

Who I Would Like to Meet Part Three: Kelly Ripa

Someone recently asked me a very simple question that I have been thinking about a lot lately.  It wasn’t a question that would really change the world, and it wasn’t a question that men have pondered for generations, but it was a question that has replayed in my mind over and over again. The question was, “If you could meet any five people in the world, who would they be?”  When the question was asked, I didn’t have to give it much thought. I quickly rattled off the five names of the people I would most like to meet.  Those five people were: Doris Day, Joanna Gaines, Kelly Ripa, Reba McEntire, and Dolly Parton.  

Like all good questions, there was a follow up question:  “Why those five people?”  Now, I have to admit, this is the question that I have been thinking a lot about.  I answered not long after the question was asked, but I have continued to think about why I said those five people.  What is it about these people that I am drawn to?  What do they have in common? What makes them special?  I am going to do my best to answer those questions, and hopefully I will learn a little bit more about myself in the process.  

Kelly Ripa

The very first time I saw Kelly Ripa was on Thanksgiving Day 1990.  The actually date was November 22nd.  I was watching my favorite daytime drama, All My Children, when Kelly Ripa burst on to the scene wearing a jet black, long wig and clothes to match.  Looking back on it now, it seems like an unlikely “meeting” of someone whom I would eventually come to admire and who would land on my top five people I would like to meet list, but that was my first introduction to Kelly Ripa.  

I had been watching All My Children since 1978.  For those of you trying to figure out how old I was, I will save you the time doing the math; I was five years old.  My mom would watch All My Children when she ate lunch, and since I was not yet in school, I would watch right along with her.  Seems like a strange thing for a five-year-old little boy to watch, but I really did love the show.  It was a love that lasted until the show was cancelled in 2011.  I literally grew up watching All My Children, and as far as I can tell no damage was done.  

Anyway, I digress so let’s get back to Kelly Ripa.  Kelly’s character, Haley Vaughn, became one of my favorite characters to watch, and I was not alone.  Haley was a very popular character on the show, and she and I were about the same age.  Kelly is actually 2 years and one month older than I am.  She was born on October 2, 1970 and I was born on November 2, 1972.  I watched Kelly for over ten years as Haley Vaughn, and saw her face some harrowing situations, but I always pulled for her.  I would videotape All My Children, and it was the first thing I would watch when I return from high school, then college, and then teaching.  All My Children and Kelly Ripa were constants in my life and something I could always depend on, and watching that show, as strange as it may sound, brought me a lot of joy and peace.  

Then on November 1, 2000, I was able to see a different side of Kelly Ripa.  This was the first time that she co-hosted Live! with Regis Philbin.  I was amazed by what I saw.  Kelly was hilarious.  She was friendly, welcoming, and quick-witted.  She made the television screen explode in a way that I had never seen anyone else do.  I loved her sense of humor and laughed out loud repeatedly, something that I rarely do when I am watching television.  

I think Regis Philbin summed it up perfectly in is autobiography, How I Got This Way.  He said: 

“There was one guest we'd had on with us a few years before who had [a certain sparkle]. Hers was a natural, quick-witted, unaffected, confident, fun-loving kind of sparkle that both Gelman and I remembered very well. We decided to invite her back, this time to consider her as a possible co-host. So that was when this smiling, petite ball of fire named Kelly Ripa made her return to Live! for a test run at the rotating, up-for-grabs hot seat to my left. And my God, who knew what spontaneous combustion we'd make together?” 

On February 5, 2001, Kelly become the permanent co-host on Live! and soon I began taping the show just to see more of Kelly Ripa.  I cannot tell you how much joy watching Kelly on Live! gave me.  There were many evenings when I was single and living alone that I would come home from school and watch Kelly and Regis.  She truly made me laugh.  I love people who can make me laugh, and Kelly has the type of sense of humor that I love the most.  She can be sarcastic and dry.  She has a quick comeback to any of the guests or the hosts with whom she is paired.  Seeing her and watching her on television just makes me smile.  

Thinking about it now, I realize that her sense of humor and comedic timing reminded me of my grandma.  Seeing Kelly exchange witty comments with people reminds me of the relationship that my grandma and I had.  We were always trying to “one-up” each other and nothing made us happier than when we could make each other laugh.   

I am not certain if I will ever meet Kelly Ripa, but if I do, you can bet I will tell her all about my grandma and the laughter that she brought into my life.  I will also thank Kelly for all the laughter that she brought into my life.  That is the thing that many of us forget.  God equipped us with a sense of humor and gave us the ability to laugh, because He knew that having that ability would make life so much easier and a lot more fun.  When we laugh and see the humor in the world, we will have more peace in our hearts and PEACE MATTERS!   

~Dan~