The Many Lessons I Learned From Helen McDonald Exum

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Helen McDonald Exum was my friend and mentor. As I think of her passing I can only imagine the celebration that is happening in heaven as the news of her arrival is being told. I am sure that there is a party that not only has she organized but that there is not a detail that has been left to chance. I am sure that it is the grandest of events, for you see, she has been planing it all of her life.

Helen was the best friend that any of us could ever have. She was not just caring, she genuinely cared. There was never just a note or phone call she was present. By this I mean she loved her friends enough to hold their hand, feed not only their bodies but their souls as well as telling us when and how to pick ourselves up and "make something happen." 

She was a great listener. She was kind and generous. She was easily able to see the beauty and goodness of those around her. She always made people feel special.  She taught me enthusiasm as when I would call to chat with her she would proclaim "oh let's plan a party!"  I often compared her to Auntie Mame because she did see life as a party and we should rejoice and celebrate each other and celebrate each day.

Helen taught me many lessons. One of the most profound was the "quick prayer." This is a prayer that can be said upon entering a room full of strangers and praying that everyone be receptive and opened to one another. It is a prayer that is said when being seated by a person on a plane and asking to be able to communicate on a friendly basis. It is a prayer to say when walking to a podium before speaking to a group, it is a prayer to be said when you are about to have a disagreement with someone and it is a prayer to be said when your teenage child walks into the room to ask for help in communicating with them.

She taught me many reasons to offer up a "quick prayer".   Helen also taught me that life sometimes can be overwhelmingly tough but that those are the times that mold you into becoming a stronger and wiser person. She taught me to always see the joy and humor in the most simple of events. I am fortunate that I had the opportunity to learn from Helen.

Helen and Mr. Roy McDonald gave me the amazing gift of believing in me. The two of them encouraged me and convinced me that because they believed in me that others would believe in me too.  They gave me confidence to reach for the dreams that I had for "sick children".  Helen was a friend that would hug me in times of trouble and celebrate with me in life's triumphs.

I cherish the times that I had with Helen. I loved her and I look forward to the day when I meet her again and I can only imagine that she will greet me with her ever-present smile and twinkle in her eyes and say "Oh Judy, I am glad you are here I have planned the most fun adventure that you have ever had."  Until then, my friend.........................

Judy Bellenfant



Civil War II

These same people have been around with us for a very long time. See Ecclesiastes Chapter 10 Verse 2. " The wise man's understanding turns him to his right; the fool's understanding turns him to the left. Thus says the Lord." The rest of the chapter is also worth reading. Democrats, Liberals, Progressives are all the same, the only thing they want is power over people since they ... (click for more)

Transparency Needed In County Government

On Aug. 29 of last year, Jim Coppinger convened a press conference on the courthouse steps to announce that he was raising property taxes. The mayor and commission gave no notice; the deal was already done. Seven days later County Commission passed the tax hike on its first reading. Citizens were never invited to comment on the matter. Is this any way to run Hamilton County ... (click for more)

Voters May Decide In November On Whether To Eliminate City Court; Paving Fund Also Considered

Chattanooga voters in November may get to vote on whether City Court should be abolished. City Council members indicated during budget talks on Tuesday that may be an upcoming referendum question. Councilman Jerry Mitchell said he, for one, "would vote to eliminate it." However, he said the court would apparently run through 2021 when the eight-year terms of Judges Sherry ... (click for more)

Riverton Development Spurs Talk Of Riverwalk Along The Northshore

Development of the former BlueCross property at Lupton City is spurring talk of a Riverwalk on the Northshore. The City Council discussed the topic on Tuesday night in giving final approval for a Planned Unit Development for Riverton on 210 acres. Officials said there are no specific plans for a Northshore Riverwalk, but several groups are actively working to make a connection ... (click for more)

Fairyland Swimmers Upset Country Club

The Fairyland Flash had their best swim meet of the season at home Tuesday night when they beat the Country Club Wavemakers by a single point, handing the visitors their first loss of the season after four straight wins. Country Club had prevailed by a lopsided 466-322 margin just last Thursday, but the Flash was more than ready for the competition the second time around. ... (click for more)

The Ups-And-Downs Of Life In The Minor Leagues

Life as a minor league player can be tough. Few players ever get to live out their dream as a regular player at the big league level. For every player who realizes their dream, another player is forced to be released or find another organization to keep his dream alive. Recently the Lookouts have lost T.J.White, one of the most popular players in recent years. Word has come ... (click for more)