Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

Barbie is away and will return this Friday.

Friday, May 28, 2010

It's That Time Again--Viewer Comments

A blog reader asked me the other day if I had any more viewer emails and comments lately. Of course, they are a dime a dozen! And some of them can be rather funny.

WLBT has been touring our viewing area programming Midland Weather Radios for viewers. The comment I've heard the most over the last two weeks:

"You sure are better looking in person than you are on tv!"

All you can do is laugh because you know they mean well, but they just don't know how to say it.

I walked into a local convenience store to buy a Diet Sunkist the other day. When I took it to the check out counter, the clerk said, "You look just like Barbie Bassett on WLBT!" I said, "I do? You think so?" She shook her head. "Are you her sister?" the clerk asked. "No, I'm not her sister," I told her. "I swear, you look just like her. Bet you hear that a lot, don't you?" she asked. "Yes, quite a bit," I said. "Yeh, Barbie Bassett's a big 'ol girl, you know, since she had all of them kids," as she looked me over. "But you're a tiny thing, so you couldn't be her." I didn't have the heart to tell her who I was! I was afraid she would've been embarrassed.

And then, I received this email yesterday:

I know you have lived in Mississippi all your life and have been doing the weather for a long time. You should know how to pronounce the towns. In Franklin County, you always mispronounce Lucien and Eddiceton. If you are not sure by now, you should contact some one that knows. Thank you for finally getting this right. Signed, Lazarus


Monday, May 24, 2010

People Along The Way...

As quickly as it started two months ago, my book tour ended over the weekend. I will be doing a few book signings over the summer, but the initial tour is over for now. Since mid-March, I have traveled to 28 different towns on Saturdays and met thousands of people. This past Saturday was no different as I was in Carthage signing at the Briar Patch Gift & Nursery.

I had gotten word the day before an older gentleman wanted to come see me, but he probably couldn't get out of the car. When I drove up, guess who was standing outside the car waiting on me? He is 96 years old and had just been released from the hospital the day before with oral cancer. He was there to buy a book and was willing to wait in line! I made sure to expedite his book signing and got his done first. I believe he is the oldest book buyer I've had to date.

A young man who had some mental challenges came to bring me a gift and a letter he had written. I opened the gift and it was a freshwater pearl bracelet--absolutely beautiful!

Later on, a lady in a wheelchair was being brought to the front door. I offered to meet them outside, but she was insistent on being inside. She was hard of hearing but we were able to communicate.

Also in line was a woman in her 80s who had made me a christening dress and baby booties when I was expecting Gracie. She wanted to meet me in person and it was a neat time for me to properly thank her for her meticulously made gift some years ago. "We were just here yesterday picking out flowers for my husband's funeral. He died yesterday," she said with tears rolling down her face. "When I found out you were coming, I had to come back!" They had been married for 61 years and he died Friday from a massive heart attack. I sat and listened to her and prayed for her.

To think that all of these people came, each for a different reason, is very humbling. Some were looking for encouragement through the book, some wanted an autograph and a picture taken, and others just wanted to be loved on for a while.

But last week, I received a rather unique request via email:
"Barbie, my dad has always been a huge fan of yours. He had to go in the hospital last Friday. We got the results Tuesday that he is in stage 4 lung cancer. Yesterday my cousin brought him your book, which he has displayed so he can see it. He starts his chemo today, tomorrow, and hopefully Saturday and will get to go home then. They are moving him to the cancer ward this morning. We were telling a couple of nurses yesterday about how much he loves watching you. We would consider it a huge favor if you would go visit him and sign your book. I know you keep a busy schedule and I know you probably get this all the time, but I thought I would just ask. Thank you so much and if you can't I certainly understand. He doesn't even know I'm harm done. Have a blessed day and keep on smiling because it means a lot to people. Yours truly, Cathy"

I am getting ready to take a trip so I have plenty to do in preparation, but I couldn't delete Cathy's email or give her the "I'm too busy" excuse. The next day, I went to visit her dad, Houston, in the hospital. When I walked in, his face lit up. He knew exactly who I was and even told his wife, "I need to sit up for this visitor!" so she helped him sit up in his hospital bed. We talked for a bit and he told me how he had stopped smoking 18 years ago, but his doctor said his lung cancer is a direct result of smoking for many years. In a calm manner, he said he believed God would either heal him here or give him the ultimate healing in heaven, and he was ready, if God was calling him home. I held his hands and prayed with him. What a precious man!

Over the last few days, I would have missed some spiritually intimate moments had I been too busy to look and listen. I pray that God will open your ears this week so that your eyes can see the special moments He wants to bring into your heart.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Why Satan Attacks You

In our home, I'm always telling the children not to listen to the devil. "The devil will get you in trouble every time," I tell them. They are learning to say 'no' to Satan at an early age. Since I've been studying more in depth about spiritual warfare, I am seeing things I've never seen before.

I Peter 5:8 says, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." Just because you are a Christian doesn't mean he quits and gives up. The only people who don't find themselves under attack by the devil are those who are so totally controlled by the devil that they no longer feel guilt or have any conviction about temptation.

We never get to a point to where Satan gives up. He is hard headed. He showed up in the wilderness to tempt Jesus. Satan showed up in the body of a man filled with a legion of demons in Mark 5:9. Satan always showed up in the public attacks to question Jesus' credibility and authority. He even came to the court of Herod and the judgement hall of Pilate.

Satan knows once you've accepted Jesus as your Savior, you are God's child forever and there is nothing he can do to steal your eternal home from you. He also knows he can't separate you from God's loving presence. Paul said in Romans 8:38-39 "Neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

So why doesn't the devil just give up and move on to somebody else?

Because his goal is to keep you and me from using our spiritual gifts to bless others in Christ and from doing God's work--all of which can result in a smaller reward in heaven. Satan will continue to come after you to undermine what you say and what you do so that your influence for Jesus will be questioned, weakened and ineffective. Because of this, he will discourage you, cause you to live in depression, oppression, make your life miserable and less fulfilling, bring doubts to your mind and hurl sickness, tragedy and crises into your life.

If you are in the middle of spiritual warfare, you're doing something right. level, new devil!

Monday, May 17, 2010

How Satan Uses Anonymous

I've been studying more in depth about spiritual warfare. I hope to share some of what I'm learning and what the Lord is dealing with me on in some upcoming blogs. One thing I've discovered is Satan is a stealer of the truth and primarily works in the mind.

I've shared a few weeks ago how it seems that the barbs have been coming my way ever since I set out on the book tour. I am enjoying seeing God's hand at work in the lives of others and in my own life. But just as I have been getting a fair number of nice letters and emails from those who have read the book or heard me speak somewhere recently (which I appreciate so much), the spiritual warfare has increased.

A viewer sent this to me last week:
"The town isn't pronounced as 'Green-VULLE'. It's pronounced 'Green-VILLE'." Signed, Anonymous

The email below was sent to my boss Friday. It makes some hurtful comments and accusations, but is something I'm having to deal with on a daily basis from some viewers. (How would you like to go to work every day and have to listen to what other people outside your work place think about you and how you're doing your job? :-)

Many of you have asked if I respond to the letters and emails I receive. I do. If there is a return address, I always respond in the same way I do to those who email. I know how I respond speaks more of the God I serve than anything I will ever say on television.

Barbie Bassett's practice of reminding viewers that she predicted the weather correctly the day before is childish and a lot of people I have talked to are tired of hearing it. I switch to David Hartman when the weather comes on. I also understand that she has alienated viewers in Byram by trying to charge a fee to speak to school children. They retained a different speaker at no charge. I live at the Reservoir and heard about this so I guess news travels fast. I think Barbie's self perceived fame has gone to her head. In my opinion, Eric Law would make a better Chief. He reports the weather without making it sound like he is talking to an audience of children. Signed, Anonymous
(My email response)

Thanks so much for your email. I am more than willing to address the concerns you raised in the email below.

I don't remind viewers that I correctly forecasted the weather the night before. What I have been known to say is something like, "As we talked about last night, the clouds came in today..." or "If you were watching last night, you knew to take your umbrella to work this afternoon..." or "Hopefully, you weren't caught off guard by today's rain if you were watching last night..." In the same way, I am quick to admit when I get the forecast wrong, as you've probably noticed if you've watched me over the years. Why not admit my faults and mistakes? For the last few months, Bert Case has been pointing out my forecasting accuracy. Every time he does so, I try my best to deflect his comments and give credit to the WLBT Weather Team or smile and say, "God sometimes makes me look smart, Bert." If my doing so offends you, I apologize and will cease making these comments.

As to your concerns about me "trying to charge a fee to speak to school children", I have no earthly idea where this came from. You may not be aware that I have 3 small children. I do not send my younger children to daycare; I keep them in our home. You may not know that I homeschool, too. I am being a mother to my children, which is my primary responsibility, until I go to work at WLBT in the afternoons. I cannot afford to accept every speaking engagement that comes across my desk. Who will keep my children? When I am asked by a school and/or teacher to speak, I explain my at-home responsibilities and schedule (many of them don't know that I homeschool and stay at home with them), and every time, the schools and/or teachers are very understanding. For those who have offered for me to bring my children to their school while I talk, I always take them up on the offer. My children enjoy it and so do I, but I never ask the school and/or teacher if I can bring my own children. I consider that to be rude. Anyone who tells you that I charge to speak to schools has not asked me to speak to their group. Otherwise, they would know the answer to that question.

I do charge a fee for a certain genre of speaking engagements. I do quite a few speaking events for churches, seminars, conferences, banquets and the like--all of which are charged a fee. With all of these speeches, I am asked to come share my faith and how others can be encouraged in the Lord. I am NOT asked to talk about the weather at these kind of events, nor am I asked to talk about WLBT.

At the end of this month, I would have spoken to 45 different groups. More than HALF of those are at no cost to the school, club or organization. I could give you a list of schools/teachers and clubs who would gladly tell you that I did not charge them one dime for coming and talking to their children about the weather and my job responsibilities at WLBT. I know this explanation isn't a salacious piece of talk as your email implied, so I challenge you to tell the person(s) who told you this bit of news that it is not true. You heard it straight from me and perhaps they should ask me if they want the truth. Saying anything else is gossip. And by the way, I have not even received an invitation to speak to a Byram school this year, although I have spoken to schools in Brookhaven, Madison, Jackson, Clinton and Brandon in the last 2 months.
I apologize that you believe I give the weather as if I am "talking to an audience of children". This is the first I've ever heard of any sort of complaint in my delivery. If anything, viewers tell me I am easy to understand, conversational, don't talk over their head and make them feel like they are a part of the forecast.

I welcome any comments you have regarding me, my forecast delivery or my extracurricular activities. As you can tell, I am easy to reach and will always be willing to respond. Hopefully now after hearing the truth, you will see that I'm not the arrogant and greedy person that your email has made me out to be.

Thanks again for sharing a part of your day with me and WLBT!

Although this person is anonymous, I ask you to pray for him/her. And in doing so, pray that the Lord will help me to respond to critics in a way that glorifies Him, and not me.

And if you haven't been attacked by Satan lately, get deeper into the Word. I promise, it won't take long.

Friday, May 14, 2010

For The Stellas In This World

Several viewers have noticed I haven't had a hair cut in a few months and wondered why I was letting my hair "get straggly" (as one lady put it). After much thought and prayer, I've decided to grow my hair a third time for Pantene's Beautiful Lengths.

For the last two years, the hair donated by me and thousands of other WLBT viewers was used to make human hair wigs for women who have lost their hair due to cancer. Mississippi women have been able to select a wig for themself at no charge. These human hair wigs normally retail for $1,000 to $1,500. We set up a wig bank at a local hospital--the first of it's kind in the state.

Unfortunately, the wig reserves are getting low and the need has only gotten greater. Not to mention, a good friend of mine and my husband was diagnosed with cancer last month. Stella McNeer is a spirit-filled Christian, mother and wife. She teaches a Bible study at her church and is a paramedic by day. When she got her diagnosis, I knew what I wanted to do--grow my hair in honor of Stella. During her treatments, Stella has enjoyed pushing her grandson down the hospital halls.
Knowing how personal hair can be to a woman, I took Stella one of the last Pantene wigs to the hospital this week. Her face lit up when she felt she looked somewhat "normal" again.

Stella looks like a new woman with her new hair do! And amazingly so, the wig just so happened to be her natural hair color.

If you are interested in joining me in growing your hair for women who have lost theirs due to cancer, then jump on board. We will gather in February 2011 for the big cutting event and possibly break another Guinness Book of World Records like we did before!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Faith Building

Each day I go to the gym, I'm reminded why I don't like to exercise! For some reason, running on a treadmill, sweating on the elliptical trainer, or lifting weights isn't how I like to spend an hour of my day. But, exercise increases my muscles and my health.

I don't know why God allows problems to arise in our life, but I think He intends to use them to deepen our faith and mature us. Trials and troubles are like dumbbells and treadmills for our soul. They make us stronger. Even the Israelites realized this at the end of Exodus 14 when it said they "believed the Lord and His servant Moses." Faith is when we fully rely on God.

In Luke 1:45, we read where Mary learned she was be the earthly mother of Jesus. Her relative Elizabeth said, "Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"

In Romans 4:20-21 it says Abraham "was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised."

Even Paul told his friends in Acts 27:43-45 during the storm to "Keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as God told me."

I note how someone sits in a chair next to me and that chair hold them up. They can put all of their weight on the chair and it holds them. They have faith in the chair's strength and I can, too. When I turn on the shower, I have faith hot water will flow. God created this world so that the principal of faith is always at work.

For Christians, faith is assuming God is in control and He will care for us, based on scriptural promises. We may not understand every turn of event in our life or have the forethought to appreciate why God is allowing it to happen. But God has given us promises and we disappoint Him when we question His ability to keep His Word.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Faith One Step At A Time

I've discovered if you go as far as you can, God will open up the rest of the way.

Last year at this time, I met with my book publisher Joe Lee of Dogwood Press. I told him I was feeling prompted by the Holy Spirit to write a book. After a few meetings, he agreed to sign me to a book deal. I didn't know the first thing about writing a book. All I knew to do was to follow the leading of the Spirit and He would handle the rest. As of today, over 2,000 books have been sold in just 5 weeks! That, my friends, is a God thing.

When the Israelites came upon the Red Sea, they didn't have a pair of magic binoculars to see the future. They couldn't see Canaan, much less the shore on the other side. But God gave them simple instructions: go forward.

Some theologians believe the Red Sea did not divide all at once, but opened progressively as the Israelites moved forward. If that was indeed the case, they had to trust God for each step, literally. I realize I may not have years of wisdom to give, but I have learned in my own life that God generally leads us step-by-step, minute-by-minute and day-by-day.

Numbers 14:14 says, "You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day." Psalm 42:8 says, "By day the Lord directs his love." 2 Corinthians 4:16 says, "Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day." Luke 11:3 says, "Give us each day our daily bread."

When you don't know what to do next, take the next logical step by faith. Plotting doesn't get you to God's will, but plodding does. Take one step at a time and He will open your Red Sea the rest of the way.

Barbie will be signing books at Gifttees in Flowood Saturday from 10am-11am and at Lifeway Christian Store in Jackson from Noon-2pm. Lifeway will be offering a 20% discount on her book during this time.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Growing Faith

The older I get, the more I learn about faith. God is constantly growing my faith, if I let Him.

Knowledge and understanding are two totally different things. My children KNOW not to touch the eye of the stove because it could possibly burn them. When one of them actually did it a few months ago, their knowledge was immediately translated into understanding. This forms life changing experiences.

As Gracie's teacher, I sit down and explain a concept to her. I give her information and explain the rules of basic math. Then comes the test. What follows is sometimes more discussion, some frustration and tears, more learning and another test. It can seem like an endless cycle, but in the process a young student becomes a skilled professional. A little faith grows into greater faith.

But if you think about it, that's how God operates, doesn't He? He gave instructions through Moses for the children of Israel, then brought them to the banks of the Red Sea, then to a desert. He basically told them, "Time for the test. Let's see if you can apply My promises to your problems."

Jesus taught the disciples on the hillside, then they loaded into a boat only to sail into a horrific storm designed to help them apply God's truth to their life.

The same thing happens to us every day. We hear the Word preached each Sunday, we have our devotions and we feed on the scriptures. Then the Lord allows a trial into our life which gives us the opportunity to put His teachings into practice. As we pass the test and trust Him, we are strengthened for what is to come down the line.

Our faith grows when we make the choice to apply God's promises to today's problems and use those experiences to allow us to grow even more for what tomorrow will bring. Rest assured, we never encounter a situation for which God has not provided a promise to get us through it!