Cynthia Clawson

Once Again, the Dust Has Settled

Once again the dust has settled, but wow, what a weekend 'twas! As far as I can tell, the Susie Edwards Memorial Concert was one total success. Again taking cues from Honey in the gratitude department, here are some people and things for which I am thankful tonight (knowing full well I'll miss something important):

  • All the singers and instrumentalists who went the distance rehearsing and performing magnificently. Many of them came from a great distance to participate and celebrate with our family Honey's life. Apparently, the Herd has not disbanded and a bunch of them are fine singers of "the Christian song."
  • My brother, Randy, who put the very meaningful program together and pulled it off with precision and excellence, and for his assistant, Tina McCartney, whose demeanor is much like Honey's. 
  • The staff of First Baptist Church, particularly Joe Fitzpatrick, Laurie Hall, and Wesley Lankford, who hosted the event and tended to the many details that went with it. 
  • Kim Hester who worked two sides of the three-sided table -- Celebrating Grace and FBC Nashville Music Staff as accompanist. 
  • Weslee and Nathan, their families and in-laws who shared the weekend with me and made it even more special. 
  • Friends from near and far who attended the concert or watched the live-stream to remember and celebrate Honey again, more than a year after her death. 
  • Tom McAfee and Celebrating Grace staffers Janet Jarriel, Kim Hester, and Mary Ruth Welch who have worked tirelessly to bring the Notes From Susie book from suggestion to reality. 
  • Don Beehler, book editor and cheerleader
  • Everyone who generously contributed to the Children's Freedom Choir
  • People who cut me slack signing books last night when I couldn't for the life of me think of their names, people I've known for years. I'm still red-faced! 

I told you I'd forget something important. 

Those are day-after objects of gratitude. The thing that kept washing over me last night during the concert was gratitude that Honey and I were allowed to serve as that church in the first place and for almost a whole career. I sat alongside many women and men in seminary who would have enjoyed serving at FBC Nashville just like we did, but we were given the opportunity. There's only one explanation for that -- GIFT! Whoa, I miss that gal and certainly did during last night's wonderful music. But sitting there perusing row after row of current, former, and distant choir singers, seeing/greeting/hugging orchestra players who played for us all those years, looking upward to that cross-shaped support holding that majestic room together, enjoying the room's natural acoustic that fosters glorious congregational singing of timeless hymns, being inspired by long-time friends Cynthia Clawson singing and hubby Ragan Courtney speaking, then capped off hearing/seeing sweet Somerlie -- who grew up in our church -- play forth her heart and soul flawlessly through that oboe on "Susie's Gratitude" -- oh my soul! GIFT! That's it. GIFT! Like salvation. 

My heart is full. How can I keep from singing?

Notes From Susie books will begin shipping tomorrow from our Macon (GA) warehouse. Thanks for your patience. Production didn't move along as quickly as we anticipated. But they are here now and look great. You still may order via this link: 


Here is a song written by my brother for last night's concert: 

 As we walk the way with Jesus, many challenges we face. 

Fear, despair, and loneliness sometimes impede the race.

So we hope and pray and listen, always seeking the right choice, 

as we follow Jesus' words and listen for His voice. 

In the middle of the journey Christ comes to light our way.

In the midst of our great trials there is peace. 

In the center of the darkest night there's hope and comfort sweet. 

In the middle of the journey there is peace.

Let us then be true and faithful, giving thanks for each new day,  

showing grace in everything, in all we do and say.

For we know that life in Jesus is much more than here and now. 

Soon we'll gather 'round His throne, and there we'll humbly bow. 

In the middle of the journey Christ comes to light our way.

In the midst of our great trials there is peace. 

In the center of the darkest night there's hope and comfort sweet. 

In the middle of the journey there is peace.

In the Middle of the Journey -- Randy Edwards, 2016

Blessings, dear friends. 

Memory is a Good Thing: One Year Later

Unbelievably, it was a year ago today that Honey died. Phone calls, emails, and texts have been received all day and are certainly appreciated. I think about her and miss her off and on every day.  Every morning when the outside temperature cooperates, I go in the guest room that became her sick room remembering her last days in there, to open the shades and brighten the room like unto her.  Even that near daily liturgy is not unduly sad for me but rather another occasion to remember, celebrate, and give thanks for who Honey was and for the gift that was mine those almost-forty-five years.  Memory is a good thing, you know, and I hope to never lose that part of my memory.

On this first anniversary of Honey’s death some things are springing to life related to the release of our book – Notes From Susie: Choosing Gratitude in Life’s Low Places.  Our new website ( goes live today and includes:

  • this blog
  • a video that tells the story of the book featuring Weslee, Nathan, and me
  • links to a new Facebook and Twitter page for the book
  • a few excerpts from the book
  • information about the book's release and book signings
  • a link to pre-order the book

(All this would be more than amusing to Honey you understand.)

Also, plans continue at YouthCue, Inc., and Celebrating Grace, Inc., for the Susie Edwards Memorial Concert, May 21, 6:00 PM at First Baptist Church, Nashville, TN.  This is a free concert that will benefit the Children’s Freedom Choir in south Nashville.  A large choir composed of area churches and friends of our family will sing some fine music accompanied by full orchestra and conducted by my brother Randy (who initiated this event all on his own) for choir singers is necessary and still open.  Our long-time friends Ragan Courtney and Cynthia Clawson are featured guests.  I am, reportedly, going to sign books so I’m already practicing my signature.

Perhaps not so coincidentally, today is also Maundy Thursday– a commemoration of Jesus’ washing the disciples’ feet, His institution of communion at the supper in the upper room, the garden of Gethsemane experience, and Judas’ betrayal.  After the betrayal, Jesus gave His disciples a new commandment, a mandatum (Latin) from which we get the word “Maundy” – “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.  Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” (John13:34)  Honey not only knew that commandment, she almost personified it.  She naturally loved and valued everyone.

A couple days ago I ran across a solo arrangement of an old hymn I wrote and played for Cynthia Clawson to sing in our church more than twenty years ago.  Re-purposed in a haunting minor key (Cynthia’s good idea) seemed to be a fitting improvement over the original, bringing fresh light to the lyric:

Christ, the transforming light touches this heart of mine,

   piercing the darkest night, making His glory shine.


Oh, to reflect His grace, causing the world to see

  love that will glow till others shall know

  Jesus revealed in me.

Here, Lord, I bring my heart, my love, my strength, my will;

  cleanse me in every part with all Thy Spirit fill.

Triumphant peace is mine, now Jesus lives within;

  He giveth joy divine and victory over sin.

Oh, to reflect His grace, causing the world to see

  love that will glow till others shall know

  Jesus revealed in me.

                        “Jesus, Revealed in Me” –  words Gipsy Smith

Honey loved for me to play and “sing at” that arrangement.  Because she was a keeper of Jesus’ new commandment, she was a reflector of His grace and “glower” of His love to the point that others saw Jesus revealed in her…even yet.  Good job, Honey!

Yep, memory is a good thing!