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.




Making Notes

Making Notes

So you think you don't have enough memories to write your life story? You are wrong. They just need to be brought out to the here and now. There is an excellent way to do it, take notes. It will take time, but you will see results.

There is nothing to stop you from writing your memories down on a note pad or in an exercise book. But memories rarely arrive in chronological order and when you start writing your book of life stories, you will be forever flicking backwards and forwards through the pages trying to find the note that you want.

Who Were the Longhunters?

Who Were the Longhunters?

Robert Kato, a Longhunter reenactor, speaks at the June 9, 2018 meeting of the Nicholas Gibbs Historical Society.

Groups called Longhunters [18th century explorers and hunters] were the first to blaze the trails into the American wilderness across the United States. Elisha Wolfe led a group of Longhunters as early as 1761-1765.

Augustus and the Norris Reservior

Augustus and the Norris Reservior

Years before Harry Potter inspired older children to keep reading, Augustus inspired me, late in the primary grades, to keep reading. We were about the same age when we met at the school library. Eventually I grew up, but I never forgot him. In my imagination, he will always be out there somewhere on the Mississippi River with his kind, well meaning, but somewhat dysfunctional family.

Augustus' family not only lived in a houseboat on the river, but also lived off the river. What could be more exciting to an eight-year-old boy?

The Miracle of Plants

The Miracle of Plants

As an amateur naturalist I have a curiosity to know how things work. In college I once saw the chemical reactions involved in photosynthesis laid out on a large poster. This all-important method plants use to make food for themselves (and ultimately us) was incredibly long and complex. It is so complex that it’s tempting to simply say that plants bring in carbon dioxide and water, add sun energy, then a miracle happens and out comes oxygen and food. While there is truth there, let me elaborate on the miracle part.


Spine Osteoarthritis Patients and Those Under 65 More Likely to Use Opioids to Manage Pain

Spine Osteoarthritis Patients and Those Under 65 More Likely to Use Opioids to Manage Pain

A large percentage of patients with knee, hip and spine osteoarthritis use opioids to manage their chronic pain, especially those who are younger or have symptoms of depression, according to new research findings. Osteoarthritis, or OA, is the most common joint disease affecting middle-aged and older people. It is characterized by progressive damage to the joint cartilage—the cushioning material at the end of long bones—and causes changes in the structures around the joint.

Milk and Cornbread

Milk and Cornbread

We all have that one special treat that we look forward to having. For me, it’s a tossup between something chocolate and somebody doing the laundry. My Mamaw Jo had a treat that I could never understand: milk and cornbread. In all fairness, I did try it, but I didn’t like it. For one thing, milk and I don’t get along.

Blackberries and Dumplings

Blackberries and Dumplings

I spent my early years in Michigan. The last thirty years I have been here. If I had known how wonderful Tennessee was, I would have been here long ago. Don't fault me for being from Michigan. We all have to be from somewhere. I will try to keep the secret of how wonderful East Tennessee is. After all, there is only so much room for former Yankees down here.

Commission Approves 2019 Budget, No New Taxes

Union County Commission

Passing a budget and setting a tax rate in June has now become best practice in Union County. For two consecutive years, Ann Dyer, County Finance Director, and County Mayor Mike Williams have diligently worked with County Commission led by Chairman Gary England and the Budget and Finance Committee to complete the budget process before the beginning of the new fiscal year on July 1. Their combined efforts have solidified the budget process into a transparent, accountable, and responsible fiscal practice that has set Union County on a course toward improvement and maybe even prosperity.

Cyn Taylor joins Authors Guild of Tennessee

Cyn Taylor

Local author Cyn Taylor was recently vetted by the Authors Guild of Tennessee and welcomed as a new member of the group in May.

A Knoxville native, Taylor writes Southern Contemporary Romantic Suspense staged in the Smoky Mountains and surrounding area. Smoky Mountain Mist is Taylor's first series. Blue Mountain Sky, Red Morning Glory and Dawn's Gray Light are the three books completing that series.



Prayer for Community Worship & Revival

This is an update of the information for the Luttrell Community Worship and Revival...
Several pastors from different churches are going to the worship site once a week to pray. We invite anyone who feels led to pray at the site to go anytime the Lord impresses on them to go there to pray. Please join us in prayer for the revival.
Dates to remember....

*Thursday, May 10th at 7 PM - Pastors and deacons pray at Luttrell Ball Field, the worship site.

*June 21 at 7 PM -Pastors and deacons pray at worship site

*Revival July 30, 31, and August 1 @ 7 PM

Meet-the-Candidates Tuesday, June 26 6PM-8PM

Dear Candidate:

Thank you for being a candidate for public office!

You are invited to participate in a Union County Meet-the-Candidates evening gathering on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, at 6 PM - 8PM at the Union County Senior Citizens Center.
This event is intended both to help our citizens cast an informed vote on August 2 (or earlier) and to help introduce you to your voters. Palm cards, written materials are welcome. (A surrogate for the candidate who cannot attend is welcome.)

Union County Board Of Education


The next regular workshop and meeting of the Union County Board of Education will be held on Thursday, June 28, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. at Union County High School. The workshop will begin at 6:00 p.m. with the meeting immediately to follow.



1. Discuss School Trips

· None at Time of Publication

2. Budget Amendments and Transfers/Director’s Monthly Report—Ann Dyer

County Commission will meet in Special Called Session

County Commission will meet in Special Called Session

The County Commission will meet in Special Called Session on Thursday, June 28, at 7:00 to finalize the budget amendments and transfers of the current budget to facilitate the filing of the Annual Financial Report. The public is encouraged to attend.


Thursday, June 28 2018 – TIME 7:00 P.M.


Community Worship & Revival

On February 22, 2018, A Call To Prayer was made in the Luttrell Community. Several community pastor agreed to go back to their respective churches and call on their members to pray for the Lord to guide in an effort to unite our churches with a common goal of a Community Worship & Revival leading folks to Jesus the only begotten son of God.


Rev. Earl Ray Johnson

Reverend Earl Johnson – age 82 of Union County, went to his Heavenly home on June 19, 2018. He was a member of Ailor Dale Baptist Church and former pastor of several churches. Earl was a dedicated man of God with the strongest faith. He was always caring and giving to everyone, always putting others needs before his own. He will be sadly missed by all that were lucky enough to know him.

Edna Mae (Beeler) Shoffner

Edna Mae (Beeler) Shoffner, Age 97 of Sharps Chapel was born on November 23, 1920 and went home to be with the Lord on Monday, June 18, 2018 at her home surrounded by her family. She was a member of Oak Grove Primitive Baptist Church.
Edna is preceded in death by her loving Husband Charlie Shoffner. Daughter: Wanda Brown, Son: Tom Shoffner and Grand-Daughter Gabrielle Shoffner. Parents: Mack and Lennie Beeler. Brothers: Tommy, Otis, and Clarence Beeler. Sisters: Mert, Lelia, and Georgia.

Teresa Ann Greer

Teresa Ann Greer, age 44, of Maryville, TN passed away peacefully on June 16, 2018. Preceded in death by mother Judith Ann Greer. Survived by children, Courtney Ann Thomas and fiancé Brandon Yeaman, Justin Joe Bradburn, and Madison Ann Bradburn; father Bobby Joe and wife Deborah; grandchildren John Mason and Eli Blane.

James Paul Myers, Jr.

James Paul Myers, Jr. age 70 of Knoxville, passed away June 15, 2018. James was a Vietnam veteran. He was of the Baptist faith and pastored many churches in his life. Preceded in death by wife Janet Myers; parents James P. Myers, Sr. and Juanita Myers; sister Helen Wrinkle. Survived by sons Jay Lloyd Myers and Stephen Myers; very special brother David Myers; several nieces and nephews. Family will receive friends 6:00p.m.-8:00p.m. Wednesday June 20, 2018 at Mynatt Funeral Home Fountain City Chapel with service to follow, Rev. Clyde Lakin and Eddie Myers officiating.

Anna Mae Shelby Davis

Anna Mae Shelby Davis-age 78 of New Tazewell passed away Friday morning, June 15, 2018 at U. T. Medical Center following a long illness. She was a member of Raccoon Valley Baptist Church. Preceded in death by daughter, Kathy Ann Davis; parents, Jim and Louella Shelby; brothers, Willis Shelby, Troy Milton Shelby; sisters, Grace Shoffner and Viola Shelby.

Gary Lynn Anderson, Sr.

Gary Lynn Anderson, Sr.-age 72 of Luttrell passed away Thursday morning, June 14, 2018 at U. T. Medical Center. He was preceded in death by parents, Rev. Frank J. and Mildred (Hundley) Anderson; brothers, Robert (Bob) Anderson, Paul Anderson; sister, Cheryl Tyson; grandson, James Thompson; great-grandson, Skyler McClure.

Betty Jane Patterson

Betty Jane Patterson-age 91 of Maynardville passed away Sunday morning, June 10, 2018 at Beverly Park Place, Knoxville. She was a member of First United Methodist Church of Sevierville. She also enjoyed square dancing and was a member of Good Times Square Dance Club. Preceded in death by her husband, Clinton Patterson, Sr. in 1998; three sisters, Dorothy, Jean and Alla.

Beulah E. "Gose" Walters

Beulah Elizabeth Gose Walters-age 99 of Luttrell passed away Tuesday morning, June 12, 2018 at U. T. Medical Center. She was a member of Little Flat Creek Baptist Church. Beulah was a retired Post Master of the Luttrell Post Office with 30 years of service. She was preceded in death by husband, Tom Walters; parents, John and Lora Gose; sisters, Hazel Chandler, Bonnie Lawson; infant brother, Leon Gose; grandchildren, Karen Seymour and Tony Walters.

Earnest Ray Norris

Earnest Ray Norris – age 80 of Knoxville, went to his Heavenly home on Wednesday, June 13, 2018. He was a member of Grace Baptist Church in Halls. Ray was saved on May 17, 1975 at Milan Baptist Church in Maynardville and served as a radio minister for several years.

Maria Elaine McMurray

Maria Elaine McMurray – age 71 of Maynardville, went home to be with the Lord on Friday, June 8, 2018. She was a member of the Northwest Baptist Church.

Elaine is survived by her husband of 45 years, Jim McMurray; daughters, Tara (Duane) Brown and Julie DeMarcus; son, Scott (Maria) Blatemore; grandsons, Tyler Allen and Jared Blatemore; sister, Teresa Helton; and several nieces and nephews.

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