One Year Ago

May 26, 2014

One year ago it was a beautiful Sunday afternoon. I wore my royal blue dress, and the kids wore blue kool-aid stains around their mouths.  I watched my nephews  run around and hide behind the headstone. I felt the sun warm my face and saw Claira talk to her Paw-Paw in heaven. We were all there. Our whole family sat on the green, cemetery grass to help mom celebrate her anniversary. As the tears began to steal from our eyes, mom spoke. She said 41 years ago this family was started, and she would have never dreamed of what the Lord would do with them. She told us of how thankful she was for us kids and for dad and the wonderful legacy he left behind. It was beautiful, and I don’t know how she could show so much of her heart and still have so much left.Together we sang a song. Together we grieved.  The Lord smiled on us that day. I think I left a little bit of the pain behind there in the graveyard that day.

Another year has gone by. Another anniversary is here. It is a little easier. The tears still fall of their own accord, but most of the time I can smile through them. I can look back and see the Lord. I can see Him walking with me through the last two years. I can see him binding up my heart, showing me the little patch of light to follow to get through the dark valley. I can see Him asking me to walk a little closer, to know Him a little more. He beckons to step out from the numbing darkness and to see this life in its fierce and cruel beauty. What were the sunrise if not for the darkness? What were the waking spring without winter’s icy blasts? What were my Savior without Calvary’s tree?

Today, as I think back down the path I’ve traveled, this beautiful song rises in my heart…..

  1. Nearer, still nearer, close to Thy heart,
    Draw me, my Savior—so precious Thou art!
    Fold me, oh, fold me close to Thy breast;
    Shelter me safe in that “haven of rest”;
    Shelter me safe in that “haven of rest.”
  2. Nearer, still nearer, nothing I bring,
    Naught as an off’ring to Jesus, my King;
    Only my sinful, now contrite heart,
    Grant me the cleansing Thy blood doth impart;
    Grant me the cleansing Thy blood doth impart.
  3. Nearer, still nearer, Lord, to be Thine!
    Sin, with its follies, I gladly resign,
    All of its pleasures, pomp and its pride,
    Give me but Jesus, my Lord crucified;
    Give me but Jesus, my Lord crucified.
  4. Nearer, still nearer, while life shall last,
    Till safe in glory my anchor is cast;
    Through endless ages ever to be
    Nearer, my Savior, still nearer to Thee;
    Nearer, my Savior, still nearer to Thee!




Happy Birthday

May 18, 2013

Dear Daddy,

Happy Birthday. I sure do love and miss you. Right now I’m sitting on an empty beach, on a cloudy morning viewing yellow morning glories with the backdrop of rough waves crashing on the shore. It amazes me how such a hostile sea can be so calming and peaceful. You would appreciate its beauty. I rode your old purple Shwin bike out here to have a few minutes alone. Nathan fixed the inner tube and aired it up for me, so it is ready for more adventures; although it looks a little worse for the wear. I still remember you riding it all the way to church one Wednesday evening. It must have been at least 15 years ago. So many people stopped and asked if they could give you a ride, but your determined, adventurous spirit (or maybe it was just a stubborn streak) made you refuse the rides.

I believe I have a little of that spunk in me. I try to keep it hidden most of the time, but Nathan knows our secret. There are so many things that I have that came from you -a little spunk, a love for bluegrass and acoustic music, an appreciation for the depth and wonder of books. There are also things about you that I wish would develop: an amazing measure of faith, the ability to be a best friend and to give love to everyone that you meet, to minister through pain and suffering, but most of all your drive to never, ever, give up.

You kept going even after your last ounce of strength was gone. I want that mantle, Dad. I don’t want to quit. Like you, I want my last breath (even if it’s in pain) to be spent loving my family and friends. Daddy, I’ve never seen any one so physically weak that showed such mighty strength of spirit. I’m still learning from you.

You would be so proud of Mom. She has that same spirit. Y’all must have been made of out a different type of dirt. I think it must be all used up now. Mom just keeps on going. She has the best attitude. She sure does miss you, but she doesn’t let that stop her from loving people. Your ministry is still going strong. She is encouraging so many with her joy and happiness with her path in life.

We are selling our house. I wish you were here to talk about it all with us. There are so many decisions to make. I sure miss your advice and approval. I know you would be so proud of Nathan. You’ve always loved him. He’s taking such good care of me and Claira.

Claira still knows you. She loves to watch you sing from the campmeeting recordings, and she pointed to your picture when I was at Mom’s house and said, “that Paw Paw” with a big smile. The songs that you sang to her, when I was still carrying her, when she was a fussy infant in her swing, and even in the hospital when you were so weak you would barely talk, are so precious, and I’m so glad that I have some of them recorded. I wish she would be able to know you as she grows, but I am so thankful that you got to meet and love her. I was thinking the other night of when she was born, and how the night turned out so different than we had planned. You and Mom, Nathan, Bobby and Donna were there when I woke up to hear the news that she would be my only precious baby. My support team. My strength. Thank you for being there for me so many times.

Daddy, we all miss your prayers for us. It is so evident that they and your godly advice is gone. They were a solid anchor that kept us grounded. Now we are adjusting and frequently flying about with every wind. But I guess it’s time that we stand up. No longer can we just depend on you to intercede to the Lord for us. We must do it ourselves. I’m ready. Your example has blazed the trail. My wonderful earthly father is gone, but I have a Heavenly Father that cares for me even more, just like He did for you. Thank you for helping me find Him.

I’ve always been Daddy’s girl. You gave me such a strong foundation with your love, approval and confidence in me. We didn’t always have to discuss everything, but I could always feel the love and understanding in the warmth of your smile and the few words you would give.

Although I miss you so much my soul aches and often leaks out my eyes, I know that “As for God, his way is perfect” and I am so glad you are healed and healthy now.

Happy first birthday in Heaven. When I picture you there, I think of you as you are in one of my favorite pictures. I was around Claira’s age, maybe 2 or 3, and you were young and the picture of strength and health. You were squatting down next to me,  your blue lipped little girl, smiling. I know you are  young and healthy again, smiling, thinking of how much we all still love you down here, knowing that in heaven you are not bound by time, and it really will be just a little while and we will all be united.

Looking out on the horizon above the water, as those gray early clouds have broken to let the sun and blue skies in, I am trying to do the same thing. Heaven is just over that horizon!

I love you, Daddy. I’ll see you soon.

Cherish the Moment

February 6, 2013

“It’s Campmeeting Time!”

That how Bro. Bobby always starts out the meeting on Monday nights. We just finished our January meeting a few weeks ago, and, man, there were so many of us there thinking of Danny Hall. We really had a wonderful meeting, and the Lord used  it to really encouraged my broken heart, but it was also bitter sweet. This meeting marked a year since Dad has been at our church.

Dad was so very sick last year at the meeting. I spent most of those nights crying to Nathan and the Lord about how worried I was about him. But being sick never stopped Dad. He made every service; although, several of them he had to leave to go puke up his socks. Tough as nails-that man. He refused to let his body hinder him from serving the Lord. He would stumble back in, weak as a kitten, and carry on with worshiping the Lord (I can just hear his laughing and crying, the “wooooo” that signaled not a train, but the presence of the Lord stirring his heart). Bro. Danny had Mom and Dad sing several times that week, and the Lord touched them immensely. Just Dad walking up on the platform, looking so skinny and frail, was a testimony of God’s grace. It’s amazing how someone can break and strengthen your heart at the same time, but that was always Dad’s way, and that’s what was happening to so many in the congregation that week.

I was honored to be able to play along and sing with them that meeting (a lot of the times I’m in nursery, serving lunch next door, or staying home with Claira and her annual campmeeting bug, but this time I was able to be in on most all of the services). Friday morning God began moving in a quite yet powerful way. Bro. Jones had just finished exhorting on the death, burial, and resurrection of our lovely Lord (bringing out Old Testament truths and pictures like only he can), and we were called up to sing. We first sang “My King’s Apparel” and then “Thank You Lord” and that glory cloud gently continued rolling in. Please don’t think I’m trying to brag on us, because it was all the LORD. As we continued singing, Bro. Leroy Dalrymple was stirred and began what my preacher calls “exhorting.” Dad decided to sing “Happy Grand Reunion” (Bro. Leroy’s favorite). I was struggling the whole way though (aka embarrassingly crying like a baby). My heart was just so full; I was thankful at the Lord’s moving and especially him allowing me to be a part of it, but I was so broken over dad’s condition. My preacher, Bro. Danny, saw me having a hard time and came and whispered into my ear, “Cherish the moment, Carrie.”

It meant a lot then, but over time it’s come to mean so much more:

Cherish serving the Lord with your father, cherish being a part of this old time worship that is now so rare. Cherish the heritage that you have. Cherish the Lord’s touch and seeing with your eyes His power. What better memory could I have with my Mom and Dad than being used of the Lord with them?

“Thank you, Preacher. I’m still cherishing it.”

Stevebrownministries has been such a blessing in recording our camp meetings. Thanks for capturing this for us to enjoy over and over. It’s not quite the same as being there, but it is a glimpse into one of my treasured memories.

Your Lone Journey

October 28, 2012

God’s given us years of happiness here
Now we must part
And as the angels come and call for you
The pains of grief tug at my heart

Oh my darling
My darling
My heart breaks as you take your long journey

Oh the days will be empty
The nights so long without you my love
And when God calls for you I’m left alone
But we will meet in heaven above

Oh my darling
My darling
My heart breaks as you take your long journey

Fond memories I’ll keep of happy ways
That on earth we trod
And when I come we will walk hand in hand
As one in heaven in the family of God

Oh my darling
My darling
My heart breaks as you take your long journey



I recently heard this song on one of my bluegrass stations on Pandora and was so moved. There is such a simplicity in the music, yet its effect is haunting.

I just discovered that it was written by one of Dad’s guitar heroes, Doc Watson (who ironically passed away just four days before dad), and his wife Rosa Lee . I should have known. Although, I must admit, I do prefer the Krauss version, sorry Dad.

The simple  mountain harmony and pure acoustic tones make it the perfect ballad for Mom and Dad.


Thanks for trying, Dad.

August 11, 2012

“Tell your momma I’m sorry.”

“What, Dad?”

“I tried to stay a live.”

“Oh, Daddy. You’re doing okay…”

This was how my Friday morning began. I had stayed with Dad on Thursday night. We had a good time together, but not much sleeping was done. Can you believe that the nurses come in at two for test and procedures, and they actually gave him a bath at four in the morning?  And they tell you “you need your rest  now!” Yeah right, maybe if they gave us both some morphine!

I talked mom into staying in my hotel up the block with Claira and Dee,  so she could have a night in a real bed and hopefully get some much needed rest. Earlier that evening, after mom left I had put on my pjs, cozied up to dad in my hospital chair, and was so thankful I was finally where I felt like I needed to be. I was finally there with him. A few days before Dad had had a major set back, was on a respirator, and the first thing he wrote down to communicate was, “Carrie home?”

The week before I was on a one-year in the making Cox Family vacation-a five day cruise in the Caribbean. I was really torn on if I should go or not, but in the end the whole family was going, and this was to be the last time we were all on a trip together before Josh and Denise left for the mission field. Mom and dad encouraged me to go, and I promised to call often from the boat and even catch a flight from Mexico if it came to that. We did have a nice time, but all the while my heart was aching for my daddy.  The day we got back, and ironically my 5th and my parents 40th anniversary, it seemed the bottom dropped out. Dad was much worse, off the transplant list, on a respirator, the doctors were not sure of their next move, and possibly dad was just going to go home with hospice. My first instinct was to get home, unpack, repack, then hit the road. Thankfully my husband is more level headed than me, and talked me into waiting until we found a little more information before we just reacted, and he said I could fly up in the next few days either way. The weekend was very frustrating, because we kept hearing different results. It was over, let’s just go home, or his body might heal itself, and we can get him back on the transplant list once he gets back some strength. The next few days Dad improved, but before I got to the hospital from the airport on Tuesday, my brother told me he had had another set back and was back in ICU. Our whole week was up and down like this. It was so hard to try to stay positive and happy for dad, to have hope that maybe the Lord was helping him, all the while trying to prepare yourself for the worst. Trying to see what reality was, was impossible. It changed everyday.

It took a little while for mom to decide to stay away one night (Dad was a little clingy, and didn’t hardly want her out of his sight). But finally she decided it would be okay. (Although, later she told me she couldn’t rest that night either. She kept worrying about Dad, and just wasn’t able to really rest). I read dad a few Psalms, we talked some, and it just comforting to be there with him. Dad looked really bad, he was skin and bones, extremely yellow, and honestly my first thought when I saw him was You can’t come back from this. He really had the look of death. Whenever I would feel that way, I would try and concentrate on his hands. They looked the same. They were my daddy’s hand, still big and strong looking, whereas everything else was so very weak. When everything else about him had changed, it was his hands that I could hold on to.

Thursday was a good day. Before then, he was mostly withdrawn and didn’t really talk much, but that day we had some visitors (our dear friends from AR, the Wilsons) and he woke up while they were there and all of a sudden Dad was back. He was out of the bed with the physical therapist, sitting up in the chair, and talking up a storm. It was wonderful. He was so hilarious, and even spunky.  Mom said it was the most he had talked in two weeks. I think the good day that he had was the only reason mom finally decided to leave that night.

It was really amazing, one minute dad would be telling me a story, as clear and as “with it” as Danny Hall, the expert on everything, ever was, and the next minute he was telling he that he had it “figured out” about all the arrows that had fallen from the sky, the recon actions, and the terrorists working for the hospital. It would really throw you for a loop. With his liver barely functioning, it was unable to clear out the ammonia in his blood, and it built up, went to his brain, and fogged it up a bit. I think all the sci-fi books and movies he was always intrigued by were really coming back to him. But like I said, it was only for a few minutes, then his mind would be totally clear, and he would talk as clearly as he  always had. One of my favorite memories from that night was when I was on the phone with my husband Nathan, and I let dad say hello. He was asking about Nate’s cousin Kevin’s upcoming wedding, and then started telling him how he was “trying to figure out how the Russians hadn’t killed him the night before.” It was great. A little comic stress relief. That night he also told me that his rescue ship was there before, but he just couldn’t get on yet because of all the people down below. Talk about metaphoric speaking! At first I just thought of it as more crazy sci-fi about ufos or something, but as I thought about it later, I wondered if he was telling us about the Old Ship of Zion. He was just wanting to jump on board, but we sure weren’t ready for him to go yet.

We kept waking up through the night. Nurses were in and out, Dad was wanting this or that. The next morning I felt like I did when Claira was an infant waking up multiple times at night. I really didn’t see how mom could handle it. I was exhausted.  Dad told me around three, “Well, we made it through another night.”

I thought, This is morning…it’s not even light out. This is crazy! After a little while, we both rested a little more, and I was finally sleeping hard when dad woke me up yelling. I jumped awake and went to get a nurse. Dad needed a bed pan, and I sure didn’t want to help. I could tell that morning that he was down. He seemed discouraged. After a little while he was laying on his side and told me with sad, defeated eyes, “Tell momma I’m sorry… Tell her I tried to stay alive.”

I tried to reassure him that he was okay, that he had a good night, but I think he knew it had started again. That he had given it all he had. Little did I know he had had another bleed. I sensed the nurses weren’t telling me something, but I was just hoping that I was “worrying about everything too much.”

Shortly after mom came in, and I went back to the hotel to rest. A few hours later she called and told me the news…another bleed, too many complications, he just wasn’t strong enough. Dad was going home.

Dad’s last year was rough. He probably lost close to a hundred pounds, he was constantly throwing up- I mean almost every day. He was tired and weak, yet he worked harder than I’ve ever seen him on his house. He finished the big family room, and we all were there for Thanksgiving. Dad went back to the liver doctor, full knowing all the hardships, suffering, and pain that another transplant would bring. He did all this for his family, for his ministry, for his friends. He tried. Even though it hurt, even though he had no strength, even though giving up and dying would have been the easiest thing, he chose to fight for us. Thanks for trying, Dad. It means a lot, all that you went through for us.

The Hall Family Thanksgiving 2011

Happy Grand Reunion

July 9, 2012

My brothers and I had the honor of singing at the graveside service for Dad. We sang one of mom and dad’s songs “Happy Grand Reunion” This was later that night at Mom’s house.

Sweet Fellowship

July 9, 2012

After the graveside service (the cemetery was so small and hard to get to, that only family went), we came back to the house and so many of our dear friend from all over the country were there. When we walked in there was such a sweet calm spirit. It was precious. They had been singing and playing music, and of course we joined right in. Nathan was able to record a little of our evening. I thought you might enjoy it.


Trusting the Lord

July 5, 2012

This is a comment I made on one of my friend’s blogs. She lost her six year old daughter, Nevaeh (our spunky princess) to cancer last October. She recently went to a bereaved mothers retreat, and was confiding on her blog that she realized she lost her trust in the Lord. I shared with her a few of the things I’ve learned through my recent journey of trust. Maybe they’ll be a blessing to you too.

Hello My Dear Friend,
Sometimes it is so hard to trust a supernatural being. We do not, nor will we ever this side of Heaven, understand Him. I’ve struggled with the same thing with dad. The Lord did such a work to get him on the transplant list. He opened so many door and really gave us such a hope that dad was going to make it. Being the only one on the list, he really should have gotten a liver in a matter of weeks. It never came. When one was finally available back in May, some fluke thing happened with some of his antibodies, and his kidney wouldn’t be able to accept it. That was when I realized, this may not happen. It almost seemed a cruel joke that God could open so many doors, give us (especially mom)so many literal and Biblical signs of hope. (I’ll have to tell you about them all sometime). After his hemorrhage and major set back on the 26th (mine and my parents anniversary, ironic huh?) that big flame of hope shrank down to just a small flicker. When were leaving the hospital with dad, going home to spend the last few days with him I really worried about mom. Would she be upset with the Lord? It almost seemed as if He had lied to her. I should have known better. This sure wasn’t her first rodeo. She told me later, “You know. I’m glad the Lord gave us hope those last few months. Otherwise we would have been in deep depression. It gave us something to live for, to be happy about.” Her Faith is amazing. Dee McGaughey told her and me as well, that all the promises of life, and health that that hope we were promised, really were answered. It wasn’t how we wanted or even thought they would be answered, but God did heal him, and he is still alive. More than he ever was in some sense. I looked back at the verses that God gave me for dad, the verses of hope and comfort, and really Heaven answered them more completely than a transplant ever could. Knowing how very sick he was inside now, I’m actually a little thankful that he didn’t have to suffer through such a major surgery that probably wouldn’t have worked anyway.
Again, trusting a God that never really shows you all the reasons why, or reveals the future (or even the present) is not easy, or even natural. But I’ve found out so many times, that he hides things from us for our benefit. The times in the past that I did think dad was dying, I was in such turmoil. I think if I knew for sure that it was happening then, I would have been a train wreck. The gift of hope that God gave me really did get me through it. It made the journey much more peaceful and doable.
That’s one thing that I’ve learned about the Lord and his grace. It only works for the present, not the future. I know it will be there when I need it, but if I live in today, God’s grace is there. If I think about tomorrow or all the horrible “what ifs”, I fall apart.
So my encouragement, Amy is to trust God today. Don’t fret over how you’ll make it through those special anniversaries without her. We’ll get there soon enough. Think of today. It’s not easy to be here without her, but it is doable.
I love you and your family so much. I’m so thankful the Lord knit our hearts together! I’m praying for you. Love, Carrie

Honor Thy Father

June 26, 2012

I want to please the Lord by honoring my father’s ministry and memory.Danny Mack Hall was a man that literally did live a thousand lives within his 62 years. Born in the small town of Ridgely,TN, raised in a family so poor that his stories sound at least a century old, he spent his teen years hitch hiking the across the country, was a member of the drug and hippie movement, but best of all, he was a prisoner that was set free in the Union City jail. He was set free from all his chains of sin by one single drop of holy, cleansing blood that floated down through the thermosphere, the stratosphere, the atmosphere, down past the smog and pollution, down to the west side of Tennessee into that tiny town, right through that cement jail cell ceiling, straight through the top bunk, and right straight into his heart. A small step of faith, but what a miracle!

Danny and Dee Dee Hall were married on May 26, 1972. Their journey of faith and ministry began at nearly the same time. They worked in missions, were house parents for troubled teens, went out of state to Bible school, helped start a church in Washington, pastored in Georgia and East TN, and finally for the last 20+ years have been in evangelism encouraging saints all over the United States.

After fighting hard a battle with hepatitis C, Dad finally laid aside his worn out flesh and put on that  “new coat” of Heavenly fibers. He was welcomed home to Heaven on June 3rd, 2012. My mother, brothers, and I all watched and encouraged him on his passage during that dark, predawn moment. After having a terrible night filled with suffering and the ugly, bloody results of past sin and disease in his “wore out” body, thankfully dad was able to rest more peacefully during his last few hours. Even though goodbye was heartrending, the memory of us all sitting beside his bed and sending him off with love is one that I will always cherish. The two days that he was home surrounded by so many dear friends and family members was a precious gift.