Notes from John & Tammy

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Move by Mercy Me

Posted on December 25, 2011 at 1:20 AM Comments comments (0)

My tribute to James David Eunice on Christmas Eve! As difficult as this year has been I know because of Jesus Christ I have hope and confidence for eternity. I love the dancing and spunk of this video! It's probably the song James is singing right now around the Throne of God! But if I'm going to be honest, he does a much better job with the dance moves than the guys in the video! Can't wait to see my boy again!

Video is posted on the video page of the website.

Dec 23

Posted on December 24, 2011 at 11:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Joy is a popular word this time of year. It's defined as a state of happiness. It also happens to be the name of one of James' favorite teachers, and I know James was always a source of joy for her. The word joy has always meant a great deal in our household with all three children through the years, especially during the Christmas season as we pause to reflect on the many blessings in our life. This year is quite different. A big reason for our joy is missing this year, and we've been through some really dark and challenging days. But yesterday was a day of great joy. The Red Cross held the James Eunice Legacy Blood Drive, and it was a great event. James gave blood for the first time last year. Our church held a blood drive on December 23rd, and we went as a family to donate. He was excited afterwards, and told Sara Wilder the next day about it and said, "someone is going to get some awesome blood." The Red Cross asked CrossPointe to sponsor another drive this year on the 22nd, and asked us if they could use James' name with the drive. We were honored, and said absolutely. Will Fricks from Red Cross did an amazing job getting everything organized, and arranged support teams from Valdosta, Albany, Savannah and Atlanta to assist with the donations. The church did a great job supporting the drive. Many of the local radio stations allowed us to promote the drive, both school systems promoted it, the Valdosta Daily Times wrote an article about it, WALB and WCTV covered it, and many local businesses helped to promote it. One of the great sources of joy yesterday was watchig so many of James' friends get involved. Many donated blood for the first time, others volunteered with signing in donors, and some just stopped by to say hello and encourage others. Many others within the community stepped up to volunteer and donate. I met a lady who had lost a son years ago in a car accident. She found out about it by reading the article in the newspaper. She said when she read it, she had to come donate. Many donated for the first time because of James. Many regular donors scheduled their giving to coincide with this drive. Many others tried to donate but couldn't. Lindsey flew in from DC to surprise Tammy, which helped make the day even better. All told 277 signed up to donate, and 236 pints of blood were collected. We were thrilled.

As I was stopped at the traffic light two blocks from the church on my way to the drive that morning, I looked at the back of the car in front of me. They had a sticker that read, "Just one drop." I thought how ironic. That's what we were trying to do all day, collect that drop of life giving blood. It's a season of miracles, and the blood collected will be miraculous for many lives over the next several weeks. We were honored to be a part of this effort, and, once again, overwhelmed at the support from this community.

As we wrapped up the blood drive, we headed home for an open house for many of James' friends. It was a wonderful evening, and joyful perfectly describes it. Over 50 of his friends stopped in to visit and say hello. The last ones left about 2:30 this morning. It was great. James has wonderful friends, and we feel so fortunate they continue to visit. It was definitely a day of joy, and we were so blessed by everyone involved. One of our very dear friends, Stephen See, and his wife Ashley and son Ethan stopped by the church yesterday and visited with us for several hours. They were in town from Tucson for the day and spent it with us. As they were leaving, I told Stephen that I was sorry we weren't able to spend more time with them, and he said, "it was a great day. We were able to see everybody today, and being here for the blood drive gave us a sense of James being here, too." That was a good way to describe the whole day. A day of joy, with feelings of James all around.

Feb 15th

Posted on December 3, 2011 at 11:30 PM Comments comments (0)

James went missing one month ago today. I miss him so much, and think about him all of the time. Tonight was a celebration though. We attended the Wildcat Football Banquet along with his teammates, other parents, coaches and boosters. It was a great event, and I know James would have loved it. James won the Howard Bridges Scholastic Award for the highest GPA on the team. He had a 3.95 GPA. It was so good to see so many of his good friends, including Jay, Yontell, and Zach, win awards as well. James loved being a Wildcat and loved his teammates.

 

When James was thinking about playing football and baseball, I would tell him that you learn so much from sports, because it's so much like life. You win, you lose, you learn to work with others, you suffer together, you celebrate together, and you accomplish things as a team you never thought possible. A big part of learning those life lessons is having the right men, the right coaches, to help you along that path. James was blessed to have good men, good coaches, to help him along that path. David Pipken mentioned tonight that God puts good people in our lives to help us along the way. James was blessed to have outstanding coaches, and men who made a difference in his life through sports. Coaches Rance Gillespie, Ashley Henderson, Alan Rodemaker, Taz Dixon and others all impacted James this year through football. Bart Shuman, Mark Kirksey, Adam Haire and others impacted James through baseball. James also thought a great deal of Coach Rick Tomberlin. I’ve preached all of my adult life that sports help develop character and prepare young men for life. These coaches helped do that, and helped mold James into the young man he was. They encouraged him. Much like Proverbs 27:17: "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another."

Good coaches set an example and mold young men to become leaders and contributors to their community.

I had coaches that I still look back on as mentors, men that I respected, and that I would ask for advice now. I could actually approach them for help, and ask questions without fear of reprisal or being made fun of. James was blessed to have the same type of men as coaches. Men who inspired him to be better. I have a friend who coaches a group of fifth graders in Cincinnati. These are youngsters who were cut by their school teams, definitely a group of Bad News Bears. My friend took them and worked with them, and has coached them to the final four of the district tournament. He didn’t do this by beating them down, but by coaching them to be better, by encouraging them. That’s not to say athletes don’t get yelled at. They do, and coaches need to know that fine line. James' coaches knew that line, and balanced criticism with instruction and encouragement. During my freshman year at the Air Force Academy, we were required to learn quotations by famous military leaders. One that was hammered home was part of General John M. Schofield’s graduation address at West Point in 1879. He said, “The discipline which makes the soldiers of a free country reliable in battle is not to be gained by harsh or tyrannical treatment. On the contrary, such treatment is far more likely to destroy than make an army. It is possible to impart instructions and give commands in such a manner and such a tone of voice as to inspire in the soldier no feeling but an intense desire to obey, while the opposite manner and tone of voice cannot fail to excite strong resentment and a desire to disobey. The one mode or the other of dealing with subordinates springs from a corresponding spirit in the breast of the commander. He who feels the respect which is due to others cannot fail to inspire in them respect for himself, while he who feels, and hence manifests disrespect toward others, especially his subordinates, cannot fail to inspire hatred against himself.”

I thank God that James was blessed to have men impact his life through the sports he so dearly loved. They inspired him to do his very best. James is now part of the greatest team of all, and being instructed by the greatest coach of all.

Feb 1st

Posted on December 3, 2011 at 11:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Sitting at the computer tonight across the hall from James' room. Sure is quiet with no guitar or Ipod music I don't understand. We miss James, but we know how he lived, and how he loved God, loved life, and loved others. To quote Ernest Hemingway, "Every man's life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another."

Based on the lives he touched, I'd have to say that James distinguished himself in a very positive way. I will try to be more like him.

Remembering James - Feb 2, 2011

Posted on October 10, 2011 at 8:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Kaeleigh Farrish wrote the following note on the second of February, three days before James' service.  She and her family are very dear friends of ours.  Kaeleigh is the daughter of Dan and Pam Farrish.  Dan is one of my very best friends, and they watched James grow through the years whenever we were fortunate enough to get together.  Thanks for sharing this Kaeleigh.

Remembering James: "Take time to love someone"

by Kaeleigh Farrish on Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 3:01am

On January 15, 2011 James David Eunice, a kind, intelligent, compassionate 17-year-old boy who meant a great deal to my family, spent a familiar Saturday afternoon duck hunting with a friend on Ocean Pond in Georgia. Suddenly, Drew saw James’ boat traveling in circles--without James in it. After an agonizing 16-day, 24-hour-a-day search, James was finally found and brought home early Monday morning. We are blessed for the closure his body provides, but unspeakably heartbroken that it comes back without him smiling from inside it.

 When he was very little James would call my dad, “Mr. Sir” because he couldn’t always remember his name--he only knew that Mr. Sir was his dad’s best friend from the Air Force and when they got together they would laugh for hours. James would stand near Mr. Eunice to listen to their phone conversations and note the way Daddy made him laugh. As he grew up, James and Daddy shared a very special bond as the lively, happy and joyful people they are.

 In school, and in life, James was known as the kid who would look out for the students others might forget—he would seek out and speak with those who had no one to talk to:

 “Making my life seem like it has actual meaning," said Michael, who thanks James for leading him to God. "That I have a reason to be here. Without James, without CrossPointe, I wouldn't know where I'd be right now."

 Heike was touched by James' support Friday (the day before his death), "He grabbed my shoulder and said 'You're not leaving school, you're not giving up anything. You're staying right here. Even if I have to help you myself with your classwork for hours a day. I will do it.'"

 He was a young man with strong Christian convictions and lived them. When the student manager on his baseball team was killed in a car accident last spring, it really bothered James that he did not know much about Joseph and didn’t make the time to interact enough with him before his tragic death.

 He wrote this on his Facebook after feeling that loss:

 “Take time to love someone. Today, tomorrow, for the rest of your life. Because when that unexpected day comes that they pass on, you'll be left wondering what you could've done better. How you could have made them feel more welcome, and show that you do care for them. Don't wait until it's too late like I did.

 Show the love that Jesus has for you to everyone you see. Let your heart break for what breaks His. Christ is enough. Let Him show you life. You never know who He may touch through you. It is so sad that it takes a tragedy like this to comprehend how our days are numbered. Only He knows. Keep your faith in Him. He will bless you beyond belief. Our job is right now. This very second. So often, God gives me a little nudge towards someone... and I put it off until the next day... and then the next and then the next. Stop stalling. God put us on this earth for HIS glory. Not ours... and so many times, the things I do always point back to me and my stupid self righteousness. So do something with me. Everyone. If this just touches one person, I will have done my job. Don't stall. Judgment is a heart beat away.”

 James was living those words in the months before he died. His family was in awe of all the people coming to them with stories of James’ kindness--but they should not have been surprised. Mr. Eunice and Ms. Tammy raised their children with such wholesome, honest love and support any child would be lucky to feel even in passing. Johnny and Lindsey can attest to that, and have shown inspiring strength when faced with the loss of their baby brother.

 Those of us fortunate enough to know and love the Eunice family can share a mere 5 minutes with them and leave feeling positive, uplifted and loved. Without exception. The family emanates love and compassion, and James was certainly no exception. The time we all shared together never failed to fill our hearts with warmth, laughter and peace.

 James‘ legacy will live on. And if even a few people stop and simply do what he asked--“take time to love someone today”--then we all partake in honoring the life of this remarkable young man. Don’t stall, don’t wait until it’s too late. Love today.

 You all have touched my life and I am thankful for you. I love you.

 And James, you have touched my life and I am thankful for you too. I'm sorry I didn't get to tell you more when you were around. I don't understand why this happened, and I don't think I ever will. I miss you. I love you. Goodbye.

 P.S. Whenever I order sliders now I'll think of you. :)

Paying it Forward - Sep 18, 2011

Posted on October 10, 2011 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)

We received a phone call this morning before church. When I picked up the phone, Sheriff Chris Prine was on the other end. Normally those kind of calls are never good, but Sheriff Prine was just checking on us as he was driving to Sunday School. Sheriff Prine is one of our favorite people. This goes back to January 15th when he walked up to us that first evening and told us, "we're not leaving until we find James." He passed along to us that the dive team had used the dry suits and equipment for the first time in a recovery effort in Tifton last Sunday. They spent all of last Sunday searching for, and eventually finding, a person that had gone missing in a body of water near Tifton. After they recovered the person, the Tift County sheriff came up to him and asked him to let him know what they needed to do to pay for the assistance from Lowndes County. Sheriff Prine replied, "You don't owe anything. James Eunice, number 23, paid it all." It was a bittersweet comment to hear, but, at the same time, made us proud for James' name to be associated with the effort.

Many of us have heard the term "paying it forward." A friend of ours runs one of the MacAdoos' drive-thru restaurants here in town, and he tells the story of one of his daily customers who will always pay for the person behind him, as well as his own meal. He's paying it forward. I have a good friend who's a senior executive in the Department of Defense. She tells me she takes the time to mentor others to repay the people who assisted her in getting to her position. She says she's paying it forward. James did that as well. Tammy relayed the story that Coach Gillespie told her, that anytime one of James' teammates needed help with a class, James was always one of the first to volunteer to help whoever it might be. He was paying it forward because others had helped him along with his studies. But I think if James had heard this comment, he would have referred all of us to the story of the one who paid it forward for all of us. James would be quick to say, "Let me tell you what Jesus has done in my life. He's the one who really paid it all." He would refer people to Romans 5:8: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Others have used the term unashamed when it came to describing how James lived his life. He was unashamed in how he lived, and in what he believed. James loved God and he loved people. James would be proud that his legacy is still being associated with that, and that his life still has an active purpose. We can pay it forward in many ways, but the bottom line is we all hope to leave this world a little better than we found it by the life we live. James tried to live his life to honor Christ, because he knew Christ paid it all for him . It's something we should all remember.

Let Them Be Little

Posted on July 28, 2011 at 11:31 PM Comments comments (0)

July 27, 2011

.by Tammy Allbritton Eunice on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 12:26am.Let Them Be Little

Lonestar

Richie McDonald/Billy Dean)

 

I can remember when you fit in the palm of my hand

Felt so good in it, no bigger than a minute

How it amazes me, you're changing with every blink

Faster than a flower blooms they grow up all too soon

 

So let them be little 'cause they're only that way for a while

Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day

Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle

Oh just let them be little

 

I've never felt so much in one little tender touch

I live for those kisses, prayers and your wishes

Now that you're teaching me things only a child can see

Every night while we're on our knees all I ask is please

 

Let them be little 'cause they're only that way for a while

Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day

Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle

Oh just let them be little

 

So innocent, a precious soul, you turn around

It's time to let them go

 

So let them be little 'cause they're only that way for a while

Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day

Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle

Oh just let them be little

 

Got a note from a dear friend of ours from our assignment in Boston, MA. She and I were a little out of our

element because we were both from the South. We had an instant connection and became fast friends. She had two boys, Nick and Zach who played with Johnny and Lindsey all the time.

Jan and I didn't spend alot of time together but we did do some fun little get-aways for the day. She would come pick me up and we would run up the road and shop while the kids were in school. I treasured my time with Jan. She and I shared alot of really great times. She sent me a letter back in Febuary and I ran across it again today. It brought back so many precious memories of James as a baby and toddler. We were able to connect a few times over the last few years and picked up right where we left off. (It's amazing how you can do that with your true friends!) She was able to see James as a 13 year old and when we made the trip to Highlands, she and Gus made James feel so special. I wanted to share part of the note Jan sent to me because her memories date back to James from about 3 months to almost 3 years old. Her recall of events warmed my heart.

Jan writes:

"Dear John and Tammy,

I have searched the stores for the perfect card to send to you. I give up. There is absolutely no way Hallmark, or anybody else for that matter, can design a card that conveys the love I feel for your family and lets you know that each day you are all part of my thoughts and prayers.

Our Christian faith tells us to rejoice that James is home with our Lord in heaven. In spite of the fact that I know James is with God, I am still terribly saddened by his death. I share your grief and want you to know that whle y'all "birthed him" I considered him family. What a fine young man he was in his life here on earth and I was blessed to have had the opportunity to watch him grow up.

I smile to think of James as a grinning little blonde-headed fireball jumping on the couch in your house at Hanscom AFB. Tammy, I can hear your frustrated, "James David, I'm goona tear you outta the frame if you don't get down from there right this minute." Then there is that voice from our yard in Highlands, "Mr Gus? Mr Gus?" His energy was such a force that I find myself wondering how many of heaven's Angels he wears out by the end of each day.

I am sure that for all the young people who have approached you and told you stories about how James touched their lives, there are many more whose name you will never know. Those lost kids watched James, filed away in their memories his goodness and his ability to reach out to those in need. They will remember him, remember how he lived his life and some of them might just turn their lives around in the years to come."

This was a treasured letter as all of the letters and cards have been to us. The thing that makes this letter special is that Jan knew James as a baby and toddler. She and Gus saw him a few times after we moved but her memories of James were of a toddler who rarely slowed down. This letter allowed me to go back and remember the days of leaving a ballgame that Johnny or Lindsey played in and being dirtier than they were because of chasing James from one end to the other. It's funny when you are in the midst of those days, you think it will never end but trust me, it comes way too soon. So like the writers of the song, my words to the exhaused moms and dads out there are:

 

Let them be little 'cause they're only that way for a while

Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day

Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle

Oh just let them be little.

Thanks Jan for the reminder of just how precious our babies are to us!

.

Love Has Come

Posted on July 28, 2011 at 11:23 PM Comments comments (0)

July 27, 2011

.by Tammy Allbritton Eunice on Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 12:05am.

Love Has Come

Mark Schultz

VERSE 1:

I know this life is filled with sorrow

And there are days when the pain just lasts and lasts But I know there will come a day When our tears are washed away With a break in the clouds His glory coming down And in that moment

 

CHORUS:

Every knee shall bow

Every tongue confess

That God is love

And love has come for us all

Every heart set free

Every one will see

That God is love

And love has come for us all

 

VERSE 2:

For anybody who has ever lost a loved one And you feel like you had to let go too soon I know it hurts to say goodbye But don't you know it's just a matter of time 'Til the tears are gonna end You'll see them once again And in that moment

Chorus

Every knee shall bow

Every tongue confess

That God is love

And love has come for us all

Every heart set free

Every one will see

That God is love

And love has come for us all

 

BRIDGE 1:

Oh, and on that day

We will stand amazed

At our Savior, God and King

Just to see the face

Of amazing grace

As our hearts rise upand sing

 

BRIDGE 2:

Glory, glory, hallelujah

Thank You for the cross

Singing glory, glory, hallelujah

Christ has paid the cost

Chorus

very knee shall bow

Every tongue confess

That God is love

And love has come for us all

Every heart set free

Every one will see

That God is love

And love has come for us all

When we lived in Watkinsville, GA we attended a wonderful church, Briarwood Bapt. Both Johnny and Lindsey made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ during our years there and were baptized. We loved our church. James was born in Athens at St. Mary's hospital in June of 1993 and they delayed baby dedication so we could be a part before we moved to Yankee country....John took me kicking and screaming! I was so torn up about leaving such a beautiful congregation of people who had taken such good care of us for 3 1/2 years. I remember walking in that last Sunday with James and John to the second verse of "Because He Lives," which says:

How Sweet To Hold A Newborn Baby,

And Feel The Pride And Joy He Gives;

But Greater Still The Calm Assurance:

This Child Can Face Uncertain Day Because He Lives.

My heart was so heavy and I was so sad about leaving that I really only heard the first 2 lines of that verse which said, "How sweet to hold a newborn baby and feel the pride and joy he gives" but the last 2 lines are what mean so much now: "But greater still, the calm assurance: This child can face uncertain days because He lives." Because of what Jesus did at the cross, I have assurance of where James is because his faith was rooted in Jesus!

On Febuary 4, 2011 Pastor Dan sent us a letter to express his sadness in the loss of James. That is what I'll write about tonight:

"Dear John, Tammy, Johnny, n Lindsey,

We have had you on our minds and in our prayers for weeks and since we could not be with you today and tomorrow I decided to write you this note for both of us.

One of the pastor's great joys is the surprise of new friends bounding and bonding into your life. Such was the case of the Eunices in ours at Briarwood. Just appearing one Sunday and choosing us during John's assignment at UGA. It became so much more meaningful when James made his appearance during your stay here-a lifetime experience in so short a time span. During the past couple of decades, we only had occasional news of your whereabout an activities until facebook and then we had almost daily news. What a thrill until that Saturday when Eddy Thaxton let us know of the tragedy. The world stood still. The unbelievable gradually became reality.

Folk, there is no way we can say we know how you fell. We have never been there and to say we know how you feel would be the heights of foolishness. But you know, it really isn't James' death because we aire all terminal- It is the inverting of life's order. Children are supposed to bury parents not parents children. And when that order is inverted, it just isn't right in our minds and we have a hard time accepting death that way.

Speaking of death, I've heard and said so many times that it was the will of the Lord. I don't believe that anymore. God never meant for man to die. He planted a Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden and did not forbid Adam and Eve to eat of it. Death in the New Testament is spoken of as the enemy of God-in fact, the last enemy Jesus destoryed by his own resurrection. Isn't that just like our God. He uses the hardest thing for us in this life, the separation that death brings as the avenue for His ultimate will for us: '...that where I am there you may be also...'. We haven't lost James. We know where he is. And we are going there.

My favorite verse to use at a funeral is Genesis 25:8. It is written about Abraham: 'He (Abraham), gave up the ghost... and was gathered to his people.' I don't know the Eunice genealogy but James is with all who have gone before him to heaven. That is why the Psalmist could say 'Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints' (116:15); Paul could write 'For me to live is Christ and to die is gain' (Phil 1:21). When you look at death from that side rather than this side, death is not an end but a beginning' not a separation but a reunion; not a loss but a gain.

Even knowing that doesn't make the separation any easier. The only thing I can think of that could hurt more than the separation from one we love would be if it didn't hurt. I've had a few fuerals when it seems as if it didn't matter. That was awful. Tears are just interest on a life well lived and loved. And so lived James and so loved all of you. So it will not be easy but also it will not be permanent-just a little longer here. Feel our prayers for you during this time. Most of all sense His 'Lo, I am with you always.'

Praying God's best upon you and yours always, thanking God for our short time together, and hoping to see you soon, we are yours because of Him. Pastor Dan and Mama Fay."

I have taken my time reading letters and cards and this is why....If I rushed through I would miss treasures like this! Pastor Dan preached a sermon in a letter to us! One of the many things that stuck out to me was this nugget of wisdom: "Tears are just interest on a life well lived and loved. And so lived James and so loved all of you."

Pastor Dan and Mama Fay, this letter means the world to our family and y'all mean the world to us! Thank you for your love and comfort....

.


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Notes from Tammy & John

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You can support the James Eunice Scholarship Fund by visiting the Community Foundation of South Georgia's website at http://www.cfsga.net/donations.htm and going to the James Eunice Scholarship.  Donations made via this link are tax deductible.  You can also purchase items to benefit the scholarship fund.  You can purchase The Clock is Ticking t-shirts and other t-shirts from the web store.  Thank you for supporting this effort.

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