What Do You See Over There?

Ronnie Mincey

Mincey’s Musings
Year One, Week 22

I have always looked at decades as milestones in life. I was too young to appreciate this when I turned ten years old, but every decade beginning with age twenty presented opportunity for a significant pause to look back to what God allowed me to accomplish and forward to what He held in store.

On July 8, 1985, I turned age twenty. There seemed more life ahead than there was behind. I was a high school graduate who had completed two of the four years of my bachelor’s degree. I was a student at Lincoln Memorial University, an institution that daily reminded me of my childhood and lifetime hero. I found it comforting that Ronald Reagan was President of the United States—even then I sensed he was the Lincoln of my lifetime, an idea that I have not changed over time. I was in love with my college sweetheart, and I looked forward to marrying her and entering the teaching profession. I went to my tenth high school reunion.

Ten years later, on July 8, 1995, I turned thirty. Bill Clinton was president, and though times seemed pretty good, I did not feel as comfortable with his presidency as I had Reagan’s. The college sweetheart and I had long since parted. I obtained my third college degree. I had ended my eighth year of teaching at Luttrell Elementary and was on the verge of becoming principal of Sharps Chapel Elementary. By then I owned a house. Since all I had originally set out to do was to graduate college, get a job, get tenure, marry, and buy a house, I had accomplished all my goals except marriage.

I felt very depressed the day of my thirtieth birthday because it seemed that a third or more of my life was over and nothing great and wonderful loomed on the horizon. There was no prospect for a Mrs. Ronnie Mincey, and since it was the only goal I had not accomplished, I set out to help God help me attain a wife, with almost disastrous consequences. It is never wise to rush God, but he saved me from myself just in time.

What was lacking at this point in my life was vision. In his book Who You Are When No One’s Looking: Choosing Consistency, Resisting Compromise, Bill Hybels identifies vision as the third of five endangered characteristics of true character.

I spent the decade of my thirties reaching a few more milestones and developing a new vision. During my thirties, I had a different job every year for four years. I spent seven of those years as principal of Sharps Chapel Elementary, one year as principal of Luttrell Elementary, one year as assistant principal at Maynardville Elementary, and one year as elementary curriculum supervisor for the Union County Public School System. (My college roommate came for a visit and asked me if I was just that good or if they couldn’t decide what to do with me. I told him I was just that darn good!) The decade of the thirties introduced me to my wife, though marriage was not to come until the next decade.

I began my forties on July 8, 2005. The second George Bush was president. Though I realized my life was possibly half or more over when I turned forty, I kept busy so I didn’t think about it any more than possible. I began the job I currently hold with the school system that summer, married the following year, became step-father to a handicapped young man, and obtained one more college degree in 2012. I attended my thirtieth high school reunion in 2013.

And then I turned fifty. If I live to be a hundred (which my family history shows to be unlikely), life was half over at that point. Now my goals are to work a few more years, then retire and enjoy life before, as my will says, the “final sickness” calls me to a higher realm than I have ever known.

I would be the last to call myself a “visionary.” On this issue I tend to side with Lincoln. In a letter to Albert G. Hodges from the “Executive Mansion” dated April 4, 1864, just one year and ten days before his assassination, Lincoln said, “I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me.” (Reference—Google)

I have a Japanese proverb posted on my office door that I read every day: “Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.” There are those who dream great dreams and have great thoughts but never take action to make dreams come true.

Why do some never act on their great plans? Possibly it is the fear of taking a risk or being thought a failure. These people daydream of a future that will never exist because they do nothing to make it possible. If Thomas Edison had not kept trying after thousands of attempts to create the light bulb, we might possibly be using kerosene lamps today. Edison is quoted as having said to someone who told him he’d failed, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” (Reference—Google)

Conversely, there are those who impulsively do whatever first comes to mind, never stopping to think how their rash decisions will affect their and their loved ones’ futures. They act without a plan. In Alice in Wonderland, Alice asks the Cheshire Cat which way she should go. The Cat told her that depended a great deal on where she wanted to go. Alice said she didn’t much care where, and the Cat told her it didn’t matter which way she went. Alice just wanted to get somewhere, and the Cat told her she was sure to do that if only she walked long enough.

One thing’s for sure—those who act without plans for the future will get somewhere, but it might not be where they want to be. Like a roach motel, they might check in, but they won’t check out.

Without either vision or action, a person will get nowhere. That is the scientific law of inertia applied to human life: a body at rest tends to remain at rest. As the lyrics to “The River” sung by Garth Brooks state:

So don't you sit upon the shoreline
And say you're satisfied
Choose to chance the rapids
And dare to dance that tide

And I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry
Like a bird upon the wind
These waters are my sky
I'll never reach my destination
If I never try
So I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry

Next week I’ll discuss yet another endangered character quality.



Let Go and Let God

Photo by Sue Tharp

With the passing of time, it is essential to have the understanding of the importance of cherishing the little moments in life. Being able to enjoy these seconds to their fullest means the outburst of laughter, sharing of wisdom, and enhanced intuitiveness. Sandra Greene’s life is a depiction of this wisdom and peace.

Its Time for Chocolatefest


The Knoxville Chapter of the Kidney Foundation started Chocolatefest more than twenty-five years ago at Knoxville Center. Eventually, the chapter decided to forego the yearly event.When one of the former board members had an urge to bring the festival back, she asked past Chocolatefest judge and local radio personality Jennifer Johnsey if she would help. Luckily, Jennifer was happy to oblige.

What a Joke!

What a Joke!

Mincey’s Musings Year Two, Week Two

A frustrated conductor once asked a band player with issues, “Son, what is it with you? Is it ignorance or apathy?” The player replied, “I don’t know, and I don’t care.”

This is a slightly tweaked missive that came my way via email. It reminded me of a joke I once heard at a meeting which I shall attempt to embellish for your reading pleasure.

Grandma's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Grandma's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Grandma made the best cookies, didn't she? She didn't work outside the home. Those were the days when she washed, starched and ironed her ruffled curtains and had time to crochet frilly doilies for the end tables next to the sofa. Ruffled curtains are things of the past as are crocheted doilies. She didn't have to get the kids properly dressed for school and then get herself to her job on time. She did have time to polish up on her cookie recipes.

Abraham and Carl

Abraham and Carl

Scratching your head? Who in the world are Abraham and Carl?

When we see the word “and” between two names, we assume they are connected in some way. For instance, I love the comedy teams of Andy and Barney (Mayberry), Lucy and Ethel and (one of my favorites) Laurel and Hardy.

For the record, Abraham and Carl are not a comedy team. In fact, they never even met for they lived thousands of years apart.

Scratching your head again?

Lemon - Cheese Salad

Lemon - Cheese Salad

I saw an article online the other day. It listed recipes that are outdated and thankful to be gone. I don't agree. Everyone of them are on my “favorites” list. I think the reason they are outdated is that they were over-used back in the day. I remember when I first discovered canned tuna fish. We had a Tuna Noodle Casserole about every other week. I have a good recipe for that, too.

Agriculture Creates Opportunity

Agriculture Creates Opportunity

One of the most important ways to invest in the future of agriculture is to invest in the people who will become tomorrow’s agriculture industry leaders. Students pursuing the agriculture industry often look for careers in planning, implementation, production, management, processing, education, or marketing ag products and services. Tennessee Department of Education predicts that over 60,000 high-skilled agricultural jobs open annually in the United States with just around 35,400 graduates in the Ag, Food, and Natural Resources program studies to fill the openings.


Wine and Canvas with Betty Bullen

Thursday, January 24, 2019 - 18:00

Betty is teaching another wonderful Wine and Canvas Class! This class we will be painting Red Breasted Blue Birds!

Sip on some wine and learn to paint from one of Union Counties best! Supplies are included.

Tickets are only $35 and must be purchased in advance by calling (865) 745-2902 or by coming into The Winery.

Seating is limited and fills up very fast so make sure you reserve your ticket today!

Area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders

Thursday, January 31, 2019 - 07:30
Area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders

"We invite all area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders to come together on the last Thursday of each month at Hardee's at 7:30 am. This is to be a time of fellowship, prayer, and discussion about how we as a community of Faith can work together to have a positive impact on our county. All are welcome!" For more information please contact Kathy Chesney at 865-566-3289.

Wine and Design

Thursday, January 31, 2019 - 18:00

Join us at The Winery for a fun Wine and Design event.
During this class, get ready for Valentine's Day by painting
and crafting a wine bottle and wooden love sign. The class is only
$25 and includes all the materials needed as well as a glass
of wine or juice. Seating is limited and tickets must be purchased
in advance by calling The Winery at (865)745-2902.

Class starts at 6 so please come early to taste our wines and choose your favorite.

February Pick Up Party at The Winery

Saturday, February 2, 2019 - 12:00

It's that time again and everyone is invited.
February is a Pick Up month for our Wine Club and we are having a party to celebrate.

Saturday, February 2nd from Noon till 8

Live Music From:
45RPM Noon - 3:30 pm
They will be playing music from the vinyl era, the tunes that you know and love!!

Overdrive 4-8 pm
Overdrive is a band dedicated to filling the dance floor at any venue they play at! Be sure to bring your dancing shoes!


Dale Wesche

Dale R. Wesche – age 39 of Heiskell, passed away Thursday, January 17, 2019 as a result of an automobile accident. He was a member of Fairview Free Will Baptist Church. He enjoyed the outdoors, fishing and 4-wheeling with his friends.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Richard and Wilma Wesche. Dale is survived by his canine companion, Gretchen; and a community of friends.

Nancy Byrum

Nancy Byrum, age 57, passed away Saturday, January 19, 2019. Proceeded in death by father George Byrum Sr., sister Debbie Patterson, brother Timmy Byrum, nephew Brent Byrum; and many aunts and uncles. Survived by mother Margret Byrum, daughter Fran Hancock, son Michael Scott Rolen; grandchildren Jared and Genny; brothers and sisters-in-law George and Maryann, Dennis and Teresa, Steve and Susan, and significant other Calvin Stafford; many aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.

Gladys B. Ledford

Gladys B. Ledford, age 96, of Knoxville, passed away on January 20, 2019.
She attended Salem Baptist Church.
Preceded in death by husband David L. Ledford; daughter Patsy J. Price; grandson Brian Schwartz.
Survived by daughter M. Annette Rummell (Barry); son Charles “David” Ledford (Joy); 10 grandchildren; many great grandchildren and several great-great grandchildren.
Family will receive friends 4-6PM Wednesday at Mynatt Funeral Home Halls Chapel with funeral service to follow, Rev. David McGill officiating.

Rosemary Gail (Wilkerson) Johnson Obituary

Rosemary Gail (Wilkerson) Johnson, of Halls/Plainview, went to be with our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ on Friday January 18, 2019. Rosemary spent 4 years fighting a rare mantle cell lymphoma. Rosemary loved her family, was a believer in Christ, an animal lover, and an all-around genuine person. She was preceded in death by her loving parents, Roy & Mary Lynn Wilkerson; father in law, Raymond Johnson; and brother in law Ray Johnson.

Obituary of Lloyd Russell Lee Sr.

Lloyd Russell Lee Sr., age 68, of Knoxville, Tn was born July 6, 1950 and departed this earthly life on January 17, 2019 to gain his new body in heaven. His life was filled with the love of Nascar, Semi-Trucks, and Family. Lloyd was a self employed over the road truck driver for his entire life to provide for his ever-growing family. Married to Sandra “Sandy” Lee on January 4th 1969, they shared their love of 50 years with their 3 sons Rusty (spouse Mary Duso), Jimmy (wife April), and Billy (spouse Becky Litton).

Ted George Jones

Ted Jones, age 67, of Knoxville passed away on January 17, 2019. He was a bus operator for Knoxville Area Transit for over 43 years, and a member of Amalgamated Transit Union. He was a member of West Side Baptist church. Preceded in death by parents George & Neoma Jones, grandparents William Ellis & Flora Shuemaker, father-in-law Jack Jones.

Nathan Samuel Davis

Nathan Samuel Davis – age 23 of Maynardville, passed away Sunday, January 13, 2019.

He is survived by his parents, Luther and Julia Davis; and sister, Gabriela Eby.

A celebration of life service is being planned for a later date. Trinity Funeral Home, LLC, Maynardville, has the honor to serve the family of Nathan Davis. 865-992-5002 www.trinityfuneralhome.net

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