Tag Archives: Kentucky Derby

Terrific Tidbits From This Year’s Triple Crown Winner…

Friends!  How exciting was this year’s Belmont Stakes with Kentucky’s newest star horse, Justify?  Already victorious in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, suspense built all the way up to June 9th’s last leg of the Triple Crown, finding millions of us glued to the television not to mention those in attendance at the race, all of our hearts pounding…

Much to our delight, Justify and his jockey, Mike Smith, pulled it off for the win.  PLUS Justify was the second horse for trainer, Bob Baffert, to win the Triple Crown since 2015. (American Pharaoh)

I was thrilled to discover Eric Metaxas invited Elliott Walden into his studio on Monday, June 11th for the first hour of the show. (www.metaxastalk.com ). Elliott is the current President, CEO, and Racing Manager at WinStar Farms in Versailles, Kentucky. (www.winstarfarm.com )

Also, in the studio was Lisa Troutt, wife of WinStar Farm’s owner, Kenny Troutt.

We’ve been blessed to know Elliott over the years when his boys and our youngest son, Woody, played football together at Christian Academy. Fast forward a few years and my John got to be with Elliott again. They were two of ten men Bob Russell spearheaded to attend the first Businessmen’s Retreat at Country Lake Christian Retreat Center in Indiana.  (www.bobrussell.org ) Bob’s hosted three so far, and they’re planning on more.

Bob’s been mentoring young pastors from all over the country, teaching monthly retreats for several years since he retired from Southeast Christian Church. He also wanted to do the same for Christian men in the marketplace.

My John maintains their experience was worth a small fortune.  Bob brought in successful business entrepreneurs  and other ministers to share some of their insight as part of the program. Since their gathering, Elliott often sends out devotions he crafts, always centering around a Scripture verse to share with their fellow attendees.

In the radio interview, Eric begins talking with Elliott, sharing how he and his wife, Suzanne, enjoyed the race immensely. When he heard jockey  Mike Smith give all the Glory to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Eric shouted out a huge “Hallelujah!”

He continues by saying, “I’m a Jesus freak.” To which Elliott says, “So am I.”

Eric said, “I know that.” Christian fellowship at its finest, live on the air!

Elliott proceeds to show how Mike Smith truly walks the walk in his faith, always exalting the Lord and not himself. You’ll learn some jaw dropping tidbits throughout the interview PLUS you’ll get to hear from Mike Smith as well.  Learning of Mike’s faith and witness is heartwarming. What an encouragement to all of us!

A few examples you’ll want to listen for:

How long was Elliott a horse trainer before he got the opportunity to work for WinStar?
Who names these horses?
How do they come up with the names? (This part is fascinating.)
How much does Justify weigh?
How much does Mike Smith weigh? (Aren’t we glad we’re not all jockeys who have to STEP ON THE SCALE before every race?!!!)
How did Elliott wind up in the horse business?
How did Elliott beat Bob Baffert out of a win for another potential Triple Crown many years ago?
How long has Mike Smith been a Christian?
Hear why Mike thinks the Lord has blessed this horse so much…
Will Justify run in more horse races?
How much longer will Mike Smith, now 52, ride?

Run, don’t walk to your nearest iPad or phone or laptop and listen up.  You’ll be so glad you did.

To God be the glory.

‘Til next time!




Filed under Friends, Kentucky Derby

When “Helmet Hair” Can Be a Good Thing…

If you’ve ever been in Louisville, Kentucky the first weekend in May, you know we Louisvillians go CRAZY over the Kentucky Derby. If you’re not one of the one hundred thousand plus people to go to Churchill Downs, then you’re part of the rest of the city going to or hosting a Derby party.

(If you don’t believe me, go to www.kentuckyderby.com and see the countdown to 5/7/16…it’s in days, hours, minutes and seconds…Seriously.)

Following this progression, if you’re female, hat attire is a prerequisite. Many of us have been known to find a hat first, and then a dress, while others march into local stores with dress in hand, hoping to find that perfect match. (Lots of guys wear hats as well. Hats in a mock up of Churchill Downs always make the news!)


One of my dear friends, Gwen Paten, is hat decorator extraordinaire. She’s now working at Two Chicks, so keep that in mind when Springtime rolls around. What she can do with a hat is nothing short of remarkable. (www.twochicksandcompany.com ) With the holidays nearing, keep in mind she can whip up a fabulous wreath for your door too!

The first time John and I were invited to go to the Derby, our boys were quite young, just 3, 5, and 8. Biggest challenge was finding a babysitter which finally happened at the eleventh hour.

John was handsomely clad in a coat and an equestrianesque tie, while yours truly found a fun, festive dress and the obligatory hat. Finally ready, we walked out into the hall to greet our sitter who was already entertaining the boys. Woody took one look at me and burst into tears. Now there’s a confidence builder!!!

Obviously I never wear hats and this frilly, feathered fedora was too much for a wee one to see his Mother in…I think the older boys just laughed. Surely this was Halloween and Mother was trick or treating???


Guys can even accessorize with needlepoint belts!

Tradition usually entails the marathon Derby day morph into a marathon night as our guests also suggested dinner out. After wearing a hat all day long??? Can you fathom one’s hairdo??? You’re either married to the hat for the day and night, or sportin’ some sad kind of coiffure come dinner time.

Enough said for “hat head”. Our topic today, is something a little more interesting: “helmet hair”….

Hubster is now quite the cyclist. A recent article in his Bicycling magazine caught my eye. A woman cyclist asked about how to avoid “postride frizz”, twin sister to “helmet hair”

The answer suggested spritzing your hair with argan oil, or bringing a bandana or a baseball hat (!!!), in addition to a pomade (!!!) such as Aveda Men Pure-formance and Got2bGlued. Tres amusmant if you ask me.

So, while “helmet hair” can be challenging, in the physical realm, helmets are the safe route to take. Stats prove you are much safer wearing a helmet than going unprotected.

Group Of Cyclists On Cycle Ride Through Park

Likewise in the spiritual realm, we must protect ourselves daily with the helmet of salvation, another piece of the Full Armor of God. (Remember last week we talked about the belt of truth.)

The Armor of God

Each piece of the armor is equally necessary for us to put on The Full Armor of God daily. (The Belt of Truth, the Breastplate of Righteousness, Feet fitted with the readiness that come from the Gospel of Peace, the Shield of Faith with which to extinguish the fiery arrows of the evil one, the Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God and finally, prayer.) My prayer is you’ll do this study so as to learn about all of the armor!

The Full Armor of God

My favorite point Priscilla makes about the helmet of salvation are the benefits we can receive by simply putting it on.

Would athletes enter the field of their sport unprotected? I don’t think so! Priscilla adds, “Choosing not to wear a helmet means leaving our mind exposed, unprotected.”

Priscilla says a helmet offers “comprehensive coverage”. This phrase reminds me of an insurance commercial years ago that had a ginormous umbrella covering an entire family. Full coverage.

Businessman hand drawing an umbrella above a family concept for

Additionally, Priscilla has us look up several Scriptures which illustrate the “importance of the mind to the believer’s ability to function in health and victory.”

Two verses in particular are excellent to fill our minds.  First, Isaiah 26:3-4…

Isaiah 26 3-6

(NIV) The New Living Translation says, “all whose thoughts are fixed on you.” (the Lord)

The Message helps further: “People with their minds set on you, you keep completely whole, steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don’t quit.”

Romans 8:6-7 is black and white:

Romans 8 6-7

Priscilla warns, “If your brain is impaired, your body will also be impaired, no matter how healthy the individual parts of your body may be.

And what the brain is to the body, your mind is to your soul….which is why the enemy works so diligently to cripple you thru’ negative thoughts and unhealthy patterns of imagination.” YIKES!!!

We must keep pouring Scripture into our minds,

wearing the Helmet of Salvation,

savoring our salvation,

claiming our salvation,





CAPTIVE…(2 Cor. 10:4-5)

Each day of Week Six builds on the other and you will be thrilled, assured and equipped to learn many new fun facts. (Praying you’ll take the time to do that!)

Finally, a thought to leave you with….When you do have a troublesome thought which keeps recurring (oh yes, this happens to us all), or encounter a person with whom you perhaps don’t agree with, and, if you keep stewing over what they may be thinking, please listen to what my dearly departed brother-in-law used to say:

“When you’re trying to figure out what they are thinking, you are literally out of your mind.” In other words, no one but our Lord can read our minds.   We certainly cannot read someone else’s mind. It’s a waste of time and a trick the devil loves to entice us with.

Be more concerned about filling your mind with something good. A Scripture or two (or ten) a day will keep the devil away!

Run everything thru’ the Philippians 4:8 Filter:

“Finally brothers and sisters,

whatever is true,

whatever is noble,

whatever is right,

whatever is pure,

whatever is lovely,

whatever is admirable

if anything is excellent or praiseworthy

think about such things.”

Next week we’ll learn more about filling our minds with good things.

‘Til next time!


Filed under Bible Studies, Life Lessons, Scripture

What-Oh-What Do We Wear???

Guess what’s happenin’ in our town this week?  The “Run for the Roses” is about to go off!  If you live in Louisville, or anywhere in Kentucky, you know The Run for the Roses means it’s Kentucky Derby Week.

“Kentucky Derby 2013 is the 139th renewal of the greatest two minutes in sports!” boasts the Kentucky Derby website.  (Checkout  www.kentuckyderby.com) My buddy Liz Curtis Higgs sums it up best:  “For most Louisvillians, it’s not about the gambling, it’s about the beautiful horses and the beautiful hats.”

Breaking From the Gate

Whether you attend The Kentucky Oaks (Friday’s big race) or The Kentucky Derby (always the first Saturday in May), or a party, the majority of women wear hats.  No foolin’.

Derby 138

(Photo by Al Wollerton. Original photo can be found at KentuckyDerby.com.  To see 57 more beautiful hat designs, visit their website)

The hat market in Louisville is HUGE.  My friend Gwen works at a local store where they not only sell hats, but they custom design hats.  I stopped in to see her this past week.  Crowds of women were haulin’ in dresses and shoes, with excitement written all over their faces. (Husbands, while absent, were soon to be sportin’ sticker shock on their faces.)

Customers had to sign in on a list just to acquire a salesperson. A cooler of soft drinks and water awaited the thirsty.   Hats in all shapes, colors, sizes, as well as  fascinators fill the store. A plethora of feathers, flowers, ribbons, netting, etc. are available to further decorate your hat. (Checkout their website to see some exquisite hats:  www.deescrafts.com.   Note their question:  “What are YOU wearing on May 4th?”)

Fashion-challenged, I won’t even entertain wearing a fascinator.  Think terribly-tight-but-cute and over-the-top decorated headband.  Think future headache.   To be fair, some of you fashionistas CAN pull that off.   The last time I had a hat on, our youngest son, who was then a toddler, ran from me in tears because he was so frightened!  Alrighty then.

Liam Spradlin

(Photo by Liam Spradlin. Original photo can be found at KentuckyDerby.com.  To see 62 more photos from Derby 138’s red carpet, visit their website)

Now friends, I know, I know, I KNOW we are not s’posed to worry about what we wear.  Matthew 6:25- 27 plainly says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

With wardrobe in mind, let’s return to last week’s “Warrior Chick” (for more info’, you may click on “Transform Wimpy Attitude into Warrior Attitude…….)  We talked about how anyone of any age can transform a wimpy attitude into a warrior attitude  by putting on the FULL armor of God.   We must remember to put this on DAILY. (See below.)

Ephesians 6:10-17–The Armor of God:   “10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (NIV)

The chicks we’ve been talking about come from Holly Wagner’s book, God Chicks—Living Life as a 21st Century Woman.  (Our first two chicks are the Just-B-U Chick…and the Princess Chick…)  The Warrior Chick/Attitude is so important we need to camp on it a bit longer. Warrior Chicks stand firm in their faith. (See in the above Scripture how many times the word “stand” is used!)

God Chicks

I’m sure some of you are saying, “Well, that’s all well and good to try to have a warrior attitude, but what if I’m wallowing in a pit of depression?”

Glad you asked!  Tammy Head recounts a time when she was inordinately depressed and gripped by fear.  She said, “I was scared out of my mind.  Tears were my constant companion and my friends hardly knew what to do but pray.”

One of her friends brought her a huge stone.  She told her, “God told me to get this for you… It’s an old church cornerstone.”  She didn’t really know what to do with it, so she asked the Lord and here’s what He told her:  “Lay it beside your bed, and when you wake in the morning, stand on it.  This will be a sign to you and your confession that I am your Rock and will hold you together.”

Tammy reminds us that “a cornerstone holds the WHOLE building together.”  May we savor and cling to Christ, our cornerstone and these Scriptures from  Ephesians 2:19-22:  “That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.” (MSG)


Last week we talked about warrior-like and faithfully persistent Kristen Sauder.  Thank you for praying for her and please keep it up! (www.kristensauder.com)  Her blog this week also talks about Derby and she tells of a church billboard out in  Oldham County which has “the perfect Derby message:  ‘Bet on the guy riding the donkey.‘”

This week, I’d love to tell you about another friend of mine who is also an incredibly persistent Warrior Chick.  Her name is Diane Schreiner.  Diane was in a serious bicycle accident last August which still remains a mystery.  Neighbors found her unconscious with broken bones and even worse:  bruising to her brain.  Doctors were uncertain about her survival.

Diane’s husband Tom set up an online journal thru’ CaringBridge to keep friends and family updated.  His entries revealed their strong faith and absolute trust in God’s sovereignty.  Painstaking therapy and utter patience was required, all of which Diane sailed thru’ valiantly. She is a testimony to the power of prayers of so many AND to God’s incredible healing power.

My sister-in-law, Marte, and I visited Diane in the hospital early into her recovery.  She seemed amazingly alert and conversed comfortably with us that day. She said she still struggles with memory issues. After weeks and weeks of staying at Frazier Rehab, she was finally able to go home and then be driven to physical therapy several days a week.

The next time I saw her, I picked her up from therapy to go to lunch.  She walked out of the door of the building, by herself, down the stairs, and straight to my car. No walker, no crutches, just Diane!

My mouth dropped to the ground!  I felt like I’d seen a ghost!  I kept trying to help her and she kept saying, “Nope,  I don’t need any help, I’m just fine, thanks!”  Diane’s recovery is truly miraculous.  She is literally a beautiful vision of answered prayer.  We praise you, Lord.

Diane Schreiner

Diane and Tom exemplified warrior-like attitudes, clinging to their strong faith, and blessing all who crossed their paths. Many people’s faith has been strengthened because of what Diane went thru’ and HOW she handled everything. One of Tom’s entries in CaringBridge said, “The best thing to prepare for suffering is good theology.  Whether it is life or death, healing or disease, God is good and He rules.”

Diane says, “I know why God spared me: to glorify Him with my life in the coming days and years.”  Is she a warrior chick or what?!!!  You can read a beautiful article on Tom and Diane in the most recent spring issue of Southern Seminary magazine.  (Go to www.sbts.edu for more nformation.)

Not only do Tom and Diane stand firm in their faith, but like we talked about last week, Diane wields her sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.  (See v. 17 in the above Ephesians passage.)

Lady Justice

Tom tells of Diane having Isaiah 41:10 posted to a window sill, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand.”  The article says, “Schreiner’s response to this crisis demonstrates that he and his family believe this promise in Isaiah to be true.”  Amen and amen.

Let’s NOT worry about what we’ll wear today.  Let’s DO put on the Armor of God.  You GO, Warrior Chick!

‘Til next time!

(This post is dedicated to my very brave Warrior Chick friend, Diane Schreiner.  Let’s all vow to pray for her continued healing and recovery.  Thanks Diane for showing us what true, sincere faith is.  The Lord is smiling on you.  And, here’s a fun fact for you readers out there:  Diane’s husband, Tom, is not just a devoted husband and father, he also happens to be an incredibly gifted teacher, preacher and author. He’s too humble to brag on himself, but I happen to know students from all over the country come to Southern Baptist Seminary just to have him for a prof.  You can listen to his sermons he preaches at Clifton Baptist Church on their website:  www.cliftonbaptist.org   God Bless you all and your sweet family.)


Filed under Book Reviews, Holidays, Life Lessons