Thursday, March 15, 2018

Nicknames--We Don't Get to Choose

by Debra DuPree Williams @DDuPreeWilliams

My sister and I had a good conversation last night about nicknames. We shared a few laughs walking down memory lane. I don’t know how prevalent they are up north, but here in the south, I know a lot of people who are called by a nickname.

My name is Debra Ruth, but most people who’ve known me all my life call me Debbie. I’m not sure that’s as much a nickname as some, but I guess it still qualifies. One of my Florida friends always calls me Debra D. My husband calls me D. My grandchildren call me DD.

Legally Changed

When I was a child, Mama always called me Debbie Jane. I have no clue why on earth she didn’t just name me that. I asked her once, but I honestly don’t remember her answer. My daddy’s stepmother’s name was Ruth, and that is where that came from. Debra came from one of Mama’s friends. On my birth certificate, it is spelled Debarroh as whoever wrote it couldn’t spell it. I had I legally changed to Debra when I was sixteen as that is how I’d always spelled it.

My sister got married when I was only ten. My brother-in-law Julian, the brother-of-my-heart, has always called me Ruthie. He’s the only one who does that. I and my husband call my brother-in-law, Bub. He got that one when I came to the conclusion that I needed a good name for him that was just my name for him. Thus, Bub, short for the ever-popular Southern Bubba, was born. That’s only fitting as I’ve always called my sister, Sissy.

Now, Sissy didn’t get by with just that one nickname. No, she wasn't that lucky. She was named Bobbie Ann for our daddy Bob who was called Bobby in his childhood and youth. But Sis was called Bobbie Sam, for our grandfather, Sam DuPree. She wound up just being called Sam by many who love her and know that story. These days, she prefers the name she earned with the birth of  Brit, her first grandchild . . . MiMi. Everyone who knows her well calls her MiMi these days. Well, except for me. I still call her Sissy.

Sissy and I had this one cousin, God bless his sweet soul, who was . . . well . . . different. He was the only child of one of Mama’s sisters. To the family, he was always Doodlebug. His mother and father never called him that, but Mama and her other sisters did. And the cousins did. He’s in Heaven now, but when I think of him, Doodlebug is the name that comes to mind.

My Family's Names

My husband has a few nicknames. His name is James, but I’ve always called him J. When he was a boy, he was known as Jimmy. The younger of his two sisters still calls him Jimmy and her children call him Uncle Jimmy. To his other sister, he is Jim, and her kids call him Uncle Jim. But he garnered the name Willie when he was in high school. I don’t know anyone who calls him that these days. In a workplace in Florida, many years ago, a co-worker began calling him by a certain nickname. I can't post it here as J uses it for passwords. Our eldest son always calls his dad by that name when he calls him on the phone. For some reason, it just resonated with Ken and he uses it affectionately. But I think other than Dad, J’s favorite name is JJ, what our grandchildren call him.


J and I have four sons. The eldest one is Ken. When he was little we called him Kenny Boo. Boo stuck and sometimes we still call him that. Son number two is Christopher and we called him Crisco. We don’t do that anymore. We used to call him Chris, but a few years ago, he told us he loves his name and wishes to be called Christopher. So that’s what we all call him now. Son number three is T. Adam. Once or twice he’s been called Tommy Toe Nail. I hated that, so it didn’t last long. My daddy always called him Little A. But now, he’s just Adam. It suits him. Then along came our surprise in the form of Daniel. God bless him, he’s had the nickname of Budgie since he was born, with us often calling him Budge. I frequently call him Daniel B. or even Baby Boy, but not in public. He doesn’t go by Danny. Mostly, he’s just Daniel.

Family nicknames always take on a life of their own. Some are so old, we have no clue where they originated or how they evolved. In the olden days, Mary was often Polly, sometimes Dolly. Martha was Nancy. Mama’s elder sister, Beulah, was Doll. Her sister Mary was called Fatty by her siblings. Let me add, I never called her Aunt Fatty. Mama’s elder brother was Bura and was called Boo by the family. Mama’s younger brother was Chester, but we called him Uncle Check. Mama, Dorothy, was always Dot─one of the Bass Twins─Dot and Doris.

Do you have a nickname? How did you come by it? Share that with us below.


Thursday, March 8, 2018

If I Had Hammer

by Debra DuPree Williams @DDuPreeWilliams
I have a lot of family and friends who have decided to jump on the let’s get healthy band wagon. I have to applaud their efforts. Some have done quite well with their lifestyle changes, but others are like me, they go up and they go down, and they go up again, and down again. You know, the proverbial, cliched yo-yo. You’ve probably seen the cartoon of the woman with a hammer or some such object in her hand, and the scale broken into a thousand little pieces. That’s so me. Some days, I just want to bash that scale.

I’ve struggled with weight issues all my life. Unlike my mother and my sister, both of whom were created with a small-boned frame and a tiny waist, slender feet and hands, and even bird ankles, I was just the opposite. Now, it’s true that Mama, Bobbie, and I are all short, but I didn’t get that tiny-boned frame. I’m built more like our daddy, who was also short, but he and I were blessed with big bones, big feet, and big hands. In fact, my hands are the spitting image of Papa’s.

I’ve been on every diet known to human-kind. I’ve done one popular diet program at least five or six times─probably more than that. Now, true, I do manage to lose some weight─the last time, forty-odd pounds, but I’ve never reached the goals they set for me . . . ever. It isn’t for lack of trying. They look at me and automatically say, “Hey, five-foot tall, female-of-a-certain-age, you should weigh this and no more.” They have not once taken into consideration how big my bones are for those five feet of space I take up vertically. I’ve fallen short of their set goal weight by at least twenty pounds. And even though I've worn size eights and even some sixes, it isn’t where they think I should be. (Heavy sigh inserted here.)

I’ve done the cabbage soup diet, popular back in the seventies and eighties. I lost a few pounds eating those foods, and I lost it quickly. But, it was so horrid a routine, I couldn’t stick with it for more than a couple of weeks. Toss that one in more ways than one.

Then I moved on to the grapefruit and boiled egg diet. All I'm going to say about that is, no wonder I eventually became allergic to citrus. Ugh!

The diet with which I've had the most success is a low-carb diet, or as some call it these days, the keto diet. I’m not much of a red meat eater, but I do eat chicken and turkey and some fish. I don’t eat shellfish as I fear an allergic reaction like the one my mother had in her later years. I’m sensitive to, or allergic to, so many things, I don’t want to take the chance. A little shrimp isn’t worth it to me.  I like eggs as long as they aren’t just plain boiled eggs (see the diet above), so I usually do scrambled eggs at breakfast. I like bacon, or Canadian bacon, or turkey bacon, though, if I’m going to eat it, I do prefer the real thing. Now, I must insert here that my doctor isn’t thrilled with the fact that I eat so much bacon. She prefers that I not eat it at all, but I suspect that she’s a vegetarian anyway, so naturally, she wouldn’t want me to eat bacon.

I love vegetables. In fact, I could actually live as a vegetarian. I’ve just never felt compelled to do so for any reason, so I’m not one. But my daughter-in-law is. And I respect that. When we visit them and I cook for her family, I always prepare her food first, and if anyone wants meat products in what I’ve cooked, I prepare that separately and let them add it. Her husband, our eldest son, is a vegan as is their elder daughter. Just fix some veggies and grains or some tofu, and they are good to go. Our younger granddaughter is an omnivore. I like to kiddingly say that she eats anything that doesn’t eat her first. She loves food. All kinds of food, but neither she nor her sister care for sweets. They much prefer veggies and fruits, though Little Bit will get down and dirty with a good steak every now and then.

My nephew and his wife have been doing Forks Over Knives for about two years. They’ve both done well with it. My niece has a bit of a struggle with it as she works crazy hours as the charge nurse, working nights at the hospital. It’s a stressful job, plus she is the mother of seven, and grandmother of soon to be, five. And, we all know that men always manage to do better with weight loss than women. Always. But because of the foods they eat, both of them have amazing blood test results.

So, if you are thinking about doing some kind of weight-loss program this year, you can see that those programs come in all manner of sizes and styles. You have to choose the one that best suits your lifestyle and your particular tastes. Choose the one that you will stick to, that you feel you can do for the long haul. And if you fall off that wagon, just get up and start again. There's no shame in trying and not reaching that goal. As long as you keep your good health as the focus, you can do this.

Find an accountability partner. My hubby and I did one diet program along with our son and his wife a few years ago. We all did great, even though, yet again, I didn’t reach the goal they set for me. Hubby, to this day, writes down each morsel he puts into his mouth every single day. If I’d done that, I’m sure I’d not had to start over again and again. I would have reached my goal if not theirs. But I’m never giving up on at least trying. As long as my cholesterol and my blood sugar numbers are good, I’m a fairly happy camper. And let me add that it also helps that I fit into my clothes.

I’d like to be around for my family, to see my granddaughters enter adulthood, get married, have a family. It's all about attitude. And if you embrace that this isn’t a diet, but a lifestyle, you will be one step ahead at the start. And the Bible says that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.(Phil.4:13) So, don’t forget to pray as you embark on this journey to good health. Oh, and don’t forget to consult your doctor before doing any diet program. Let your doctor guide you in your decision. And . . . put away your hammer. I did.

Have you begun a new manner of eating in this new year? Tell us your choice and how you are doing. We’d love to cheer you on.

If I Had a Hammer @DDuPreeWilliams (Click to Tweet)

Thursday, March 1, 2018

This World is Not My Home

by Debra DuPree Williams @DDuPreeWilliams

I couldn’t imagine all those years ago, when I stood in a chair next to my sister in one of any number of churches in the Dothan, Alabama, area, that the lyrics of this Gospel hymn would find their way, flying around the world, in a quote by the beloved evangelist, Rev. Billy Graham. Nor could I have imagined as a child, gathered as a family around our old black and white television, that I would one day see the young man preaching with such love and passion, pass from this life into eternal life.

I don’t recall the first Billy Graham Crusade we watched. I do know it would have been in Dothan, Alabama. We never missed one of his televised events. I was only a child of about five or six the first time I remember seeing one of the crusades. The young minister delivered the Gospel message in words that even this child could understand. Hundreds, if not thousands of people left their seats to go down front and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. The choir sang softly in the background, Just As I Am. Though I was very young, my heart was stirred and tears poured down my face as I watched. Every single time.

Welcome Home, Well Done

By the time you read this, Billy Graham, Child of the King, will have been in Heaven with his Heavenly Father for a bit over a week. I imagine the celebration is continuing as people, by the tens of thousands, greet Rev. Graham, telling him that if it had not been for his sharing the Gospel message, they would not be there. And though his family have anxiously awaited his arrival, I am sure that they moved to the background as their beloved Billy greeted all those who wished to welcome him home. After all, that is what they did here on earth. They understood the importance of the task, the calling, given unto their Billy.

If ever there was a servant called to spread the Gospel message who did so for as long and as willingly, lovingly as Billy Graham, I don’t know who it would be. We can all, without a doubt, say, “Well, done, good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:23 (NASB)

What about you? Have you heard a voice calling unto you?  Have you stopped and listened? Have you taken steps to heed that voice?


The Billy Grahams of this world are few and far between, but if God has called you to a specific purpose, I hope you’ve taken steps toward that end. Perhaps you’ve been called to preach the Gospel, or maybe you’ve been called to be a part of the worship team. Do you have a gift that would make you perfect for the task of greeter? Maybe you’ve been called to teach, or to act, or to care for little ones.

I have many friends who have been called to be writers. They, like all the callings mentioned above, come in all sizes and shapes, and they write all manner of literature, from Sunday School or Bible School curriculum, to devotionals or Bible studies, to Christian world-view romance novels, mysteries, historical fiction, or any number of other genres.

My point is, they heard the call and they answered. If you feel you are being called, no matter what it is God is calling you to, I hope you will take that first step, in faith, and answer. You never know who or how many people whose lives could be impacted by something you said, or wrote, or some action you took.

No matter who you are or where you are, when you walk through the Pearly Gates, the celebration in Heaven will be no less than the one given to Billy Graham. That’s just the nature of God and His promises to those who believe.

As the old hymn and Rev. Graham said, This world is not my home. All of Heaven will be there to greet you with Welcome Home! 

What a celebration.

Have you felt or heard a calling on your life? Share that with us below. 

This World is Not My Home  @DDuPreeWilliams (Click to Tweet)