Joni Parsley Daydream Believer
Monday, July 01, 2013

See You in the Funny Papers-My Tribute to “Clyde”

*note-this is my personal tribute to my late (and great) father-in-law. It’s an open letter to him so forgive me, if I don’t use formal titles etc. He and I were never formal and I liked it that way. He was so many things to so many people but this is who he was to me and I certainly could never do him justice in these few paragraphs.

Dearest Clyde,

I only write this in letter form because I have no other way that comes to mind. This is all simply surreal. I don’t particularly like the world without you in it and it’s an odd and empty feeling. I’ve known you since I was nineteen years old-most of my adult life. Seven years later, when I married your son, I had no idea that I got two great guys in the deal-well, really three if you count Austin. Your moral code, work ethic and sense of honor and integrity reminded me so much of my own Dad-I guess that’s why you both got along so well. I always loved overhearing your conversations about fighting in Korea and, the laughter that went along with some of the stories, made me think you two got in a little trouble while you were there!

Your laugh is what I may miss most but there’s no way I could pick just one thing. Most people don’t know what our relationship was like because few really saw it. It was forged in the many days and nights while I was alone, with the kids, while Rodney was on the road preaching. Often, Ellen was gone ministering too and we were both alone. Since we were neighbors, you quickly became our safety net as you came over to check on us, have dinner, or take the kids outside for an adventure. Unfortunately for you, the “emergency repairman” title came along with it too! Oh, the many times I called you with a dead car battery, a clogged drain, a basement flood or some broken “this or that”. My favorite emergency was the infamous garbage disposal explosion. I had put an entire pan of rice down the disposal and it exploded like The Yellowstone Geyser! You and I waded through rice and water up to our ankles and you just laughed, took off your shoes and socks, and rolled up those khaki pants you always wore. I deserved a lecture but you never said a word-I’m still really sorry over that one!

I can still picture the countless times you walked through the back door, coffee cup in hand, saying, “Do you need anything boys?” From there our chats covered several topics and often, we’d vent to each other about things that always remained between us. Thank you for being a sounding board and a voice of reason since no one else would have, or could have, understood what it was like being the background to someone else’s foreground. Even though we’d have it no other way, there were still drawbacks that only we knew relative to our particular situations. I always felt better knowing you were there…now what am I supposed to do?

I remember one of our conversations about the things that matter in life. You told me your goal was to be a great Paw Paw and what I can say to that is… Mission Accomplished! More people should have goals like that; uncomplicated but everlasting. What memories you gave your three grandkids! I could never list them all but you know and they know and that’s all that really matters. You never needed applause or accolades…people that have great depth of character don’t. Your applause came in the squeals of Austin’s delight on the four-wheeler, the pride on Amy’s face as you taught her to shoot her first gun, and the pure pleasure of teaching Ashton to drive the junky “Buck Truck” at age ten! Your accolades came in the time you had with your family and your devotion was matchless. I watched intently as you hovered over your daughter’s bedside and we’ll leave it at that since you are joyfully together now…as it should be. You stood beside your son in ways that are indescribable-you built way more than just buildings. You cheered on your wife as she pursued her calling and by example, helped me do the same.

I could go on and on but the volumes I have left will forever remain in the torn and tattered pages of this wounded heart that I wear on my sleeve right now. You are not just one of the good ones; you are one of the great ones. Whenever you left my house, you always left your coffee cup and I’d wait until I had three or four before I return them. The other day, I found one of them in the back of a cupboard I was cleaning out…um, you’re not getting it back! I’ll keep it along with my fondest of all memories -what you always said when you left, “Well, I’ll see you in the funny papers.” I miss hearing that, I miss laughing over the Letters to the Editor in your hometown paper, I miss your orange paint on everything, I miss hearing the sound of your truck pulling in the drive, I miss your jokes, I even miss your singing…I guess you could say I miss everything.

This I know, there is a heaven and you’re there. You deserve your Crown of Righteousness and your Eternal Reward. You deserve to have no more sorrow, no more pain, and no more loss. You deserve the joy of being with your daughter, your loved ones and your Lord. You deserve it all and that’s my solace. As Ashton said, “Paw Paw had too much life to stay in that body”. I agree, as hard as it is to say, but I agree. I’m comforted in knowing that this goodbye isn’t forever but until then, please know that I love you and well… I’ll see you in the funny papers.

Love Always,


Filed In: All Posts, Grievance |  |   31 Comments
Tuesday, June 25, 2013

This is a moment at a keyboard I never wanted... but the time has come. The Parsley family is sharing this news with our family, friends, associates, partners, church and ministry families that, after a long physical battle, our beloved Mr. James Parsley (Pastor Rod’s father) is carrying out his final days on this earth and is preparing to be received into the arms of his Savior very soon. He is currently resting peacefully surrounded by his loving family. Mr. P’s wonderful team of medical professionals confirmed what we already knew in our hearts.

We have released our dear loved one to join his daughter, and a host of others waiting, in the Heaven that is his reward for a job well done. He has enjoyed eighty wonderful years on Earth’s journey and now deserves to reach his eternal destination. Though our hearts are heavy, as we enter our season and time to grieve so beautifully described in Ecclesiastes, we are comforted knowing that he’s going home in the truest sense of the word. He’s been asking us to go home for a while and now… he finally gets his wish. What a welcome he is going to have!

I’m sharing this news because you are important to me and I’d like to ask for your prayers and support. Please pray for my husband and children, my mother-in-law and niece - our family is small but "strong in the Lord and the power of HIS might." Through God's grace, we are doing well as we lean on each other and most importantly, the everlasting arms of our Heavenly Father.

Obviously, I won’t be posting this week’s blog or commenting. I will be huddled together with my family, in these final hours, as we are wrapped in the comfort of the precious Holy Spirit. At an appropriate time, I’ll be writing a tribute to a great man, husband, father, father-in-law, and Grandpa (his favorite title of all!) and will share it with you, of course.

Thank you for your kindness as always. Please feel free to leave any thoughts, prayers, or words in the comment section. I’ll be reading every few days.

May God bless you with the warmth of His love…it’s what Fathers do best.

Filed In: Prayer, Grievance |  |   22 Comments
Monday, April 15, 2013

Today in our beloved country, terror has struck, once again. On a beautiful spring day, attention of sports enthusiast,, world-wide, focused on the popular Boston Marathon. Runners from many countries had spent countless days training for this event and made the trip with great excitement and expectancy. The race began with joy, anticipation and friendly competition. However, the race didn't end as expected. The horrible happened…a nightmare that woke up a nation.

At the finish line, two bombs were set off in the midst of many people in a city where over a million had come to participate or watch. Suddenly, the unexpected happened and left three dead and many severely injured. One child was killed and two others-all who were loved by people. I always think that. There are people completely devastated tonight; a surreal experience I simply cannot wrap my mind around…nor do I ever want to. They’ve lost someone, that they dearly love, and they died in such a horrific manner. Other family members and loved ones, fill hospital waiting rooms where limbs are being amputated from the injured. Can you even imagine that feeling?

The day was meant for enjoyment yet ended in a traumatic, terrifying event that has caused a nation to tune in to all of its news and social media outlets. We are waiting for information, maybe some answers, some comfort…some way to make sense out of a completely senseless act. Not only is this act senseless, it is heartless.

Only a heart cloaked in sin and deception could be so influenced by the prince of darkness. We need to fill our churches, fill our pulpits, fill our streets, and preach the truth of this Gospel. Moreover, we need to stop wanting to be massaged with motivational messages that keep us comfortable and thus, ineffective. Those messages are, “All about us” but the Gospel is “All about others.”

One of the young ladies in our church tweeted something very profound, “And just like that, my entire life was put in perspective.” Often, it takes tragedies like this to jolt us back to personal inventory but the trick is…keeping that perspective entact. Live ready! Help someone else to be ready! We have the promise of Heaven, but we don’t have the promise of every day on earth.

Nonetheless, a city is stunned, a nation is shocked, families are mourning, and people are hurting in many ways. It is a solemn moment. It is a time for reflection and meditation. It is a time to love and show love. It is a time to crawl up on that throne wrapped in the Comforter. Maybe you can talk or just sit there in His presence. However you choose to be with Him, He’ll be with you. Because it’s in times like this, we look to our Father and there we find safety …in every sense of the word.

We bow our heads, humble our hearts, and pray to our God for the people of Boston and all those affected by this tragic event. You are not alone…in any way.

Filed In: All Posts, Grievance, Our Nation |  |   21 Comments
Tuesday, March 05, 2013

This past week, My Aunt Nitaleen passed from this life to the next and the best. She was my mother’s only sister and they were very close. For years, she’s battled health issues and has been lovingly cared for by her family and especially, my Mom. What a void she has left for her and for many. My mind can’t comprehend losing my sisters, my best friends, and my “go-to people” - my heart pounds just writing such a thought. Loss is painful but God’s grace is God’s strength. Yet, there is joy when I think of my Aunt.

My Aunt was who she was and that was my favorite thing about her. She was genuine and it was certainly refreshing since there was never a question what you might get when you saw her…you always knew. She was fun, funny, light-hearted and very loving. At family events, she could throw an honest jab our way and all we could do was laugh. In all the years I knew her; I never remember seeing her in a bad mood. What a testimony!

As the Apostle Paul said, in 2 Corinthians 3:2, “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men.” Our lives are an open book and are read by those whom we encounter. What are we allowing others to read? What will be our living testimony?

For my Aunt, her story was one of victory amidst the most tragic of circumstances. She and her siblings lost their parents at very young ages. My mother and her brother went from foster homes to an orphanage. My Aunt was basically on her own along with her three older brothers. As a result, she certainly had an opportunity to be bitter and resentful of the life that was handed to her. Instead, she rose above those ashes and allowed her inner beauty to shine…and shine she did!

My mother ended her memorial service with a tribute to her life and their relationship. She told a story of how they’d discussed that their mother was awaiting their arrival in Heaven. My mom described her glorious mansion with many rooms and my Aunt, with her quick wit and comebacks declared, “I get the big room!” My mom, as her little sister, could have only one reply, “Okay by me…as long as they have adjoining doors.”

So as I think of my Aunt, all I can do is smile really. I think of her finally reunited with her mother in the paradise of Heaven that the rest of us long for. Heaven gives us hope. Because of that, I think of her in that mansion and I know I never have to doubt where she is…she is in the big room.

Filed In: All Posts, Grievance |  |   11 Comments

About Joni

Thanking God for blessings too many to list. He is my all and my always-the glory and the lifter of my head... He never fails.

Why the Name

"For a child, it’s as easy as blowing out candles on a cake, or wishing upon a star. But as for one of those 'grown-ups,' 'No dream comes true until you wake up and go to work.' " ...