Sunday, April 10, 2016


On a recent road trip through the American South, the route was planned so that it would pass through the tiny town of Plains, Georgia, for the purpose of visiting the Jimmy Carter National Historic Sites, as well as attend Easter Sunday services at the church where Jimmy Carter teaches a Sunday School class.

This brick structure is about the largest building in the tiny town, so it was fairly easy to find.  Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter attended both grammar and high school here.

They were influenced by teacher and principal, Miss Julia L. Coleman, who was a guiding force at the school from 1912 until 1958.  She told her students that "any schoolboy, even one of ours, might grow up to be president of the United States." 

The former school now functions as a Visitor Center and Museum ( ), and includes a replica of the Oval Office, as it looked when President Carter was in office.  My traveling companion, Diane, looks very "presidential" sitting in this place of distinction!

When I had my turn to be photographed at the desk, it was the first time I could see what it looked like to be sitting at a desk that is cleared of "stuff", sitting on top of it!  The desk I use at home is stacked shoulder-high with "to do" files, and memorabilia!

This is the former school auditorium, and most likely the place where Rosalynn Carter was honored for being the valedictorian of her class in 1944.  We sat in the old-fashioned wooden seats to see a very interesting video, telling about the Carters and the amazing lives they have led.

The Visitor Center serves as a museum, and also has exhibits that recount significant milestones in the life of Jimmy Carter.  This exhibit contrasts the peanut farmer, Jimmy Carter walking in his fields, with the President Jimmy Carter, walking on the "mine fields" of Washington, D.C.  I think it is safe to say that no matter where Jimmy Carter is photographed, he is "Outstanding in His Field"!

Another photo exhibit told about the work that Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter have done in third world countries, as well a few of their adventuresome treks to climb
some of the tallest mountains on the globe!  He is also well known for his work with Habitat for Humanity ( ), that has its World Headquarters in nearby Americus, Georgia. 
In 2002, Jimmy Carter was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize ( ).   The award includes the gold medallion, a diploma, as well as a cash sum of about 1.5 million dollars.  President Carter was presented the award for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflict; also, undertaking peace negotiations, campaigning for human rights , and working for social welfare.  As an ex-president, Carter has conducted  active peace and mediation campaigns , which sometimes seemed to run counter to official U.S. policy.  One of the negotiations he is most famous for---and which he referenced when he taught his March 27, 2016, Sunday School class on the topic of forgiveness---was the signing of the 1979 Peace Treaty by Egypt's President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin.   Therefore, I am using my memories of the Nobel Peace Prize as the visual aid for my First Place 4 Health  ( ) memory verse that says, "A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."  John 13:34-35
This portrait of Jimmy Carter when he was U.S. President, and the quote written above it, are in the entry hall of the Visitor Center.  The full quote says "We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles."   President Carter spoke these words in his 1977 Inaugural Address, and attributed the words to his high school principal, Miss Julia L. Coleman.

The entry hall is also the location of the official National Park Service gift shop, that is "chock full of nuts"!!  (Peanuts, that is!)  There are also souvenir clothing items, books, postcards, and presidential memorabilia items.

A short distance (2.5 miles) outside the city limits, visitors can tour the Carter Boyhood Farm.  This is where Carter lived for 14 years. 

On the 360 acre farm that the family moved to in 1928, the Carters raised cotton, peanuts, and corn to sell, and vegetables and livestock for their own use.  In 1938, "an almost unbelievable change took place in our lives when electricity came to the farm," Carter recalls.  East of the house is the commissary building where Earl Carter, Jimmy's father, sold seeds and supplies to farmworkers and neighbors.  Young Jimmy Carter picked cotton and worked alongside the farm's African American employees, some of whom were childhood friends. 

Jimmy Carter has been in campaigns where he was seeking to be a member of the local school board, governor of Georgia, and President of the United States.  His most recent campaign, however, is the one where he is seeking to be a cancer survivor.  I am thankful that on the March 27, 2016, Easter Sunday I was able to worship God with him, at a small church in Plains, Georgia, as he was declaring himself a winner in that campaign!
As I listened to him teach Jesus' Gospel of Grace and forgiveness on the cross that morning, to a diverse group of people, from  around the world, I was also thankful that I had voted for him all those many years ago, when he was running for President.  As a result of his serving in that office, it has given him a platform to tell (and more importantly, DEMONSTRATE!) the Good News of Jesus Christ.   That gives  me "MILES OF SMILES"!!   Tricia