READY, FREDDY?

“Ready, Freddy?”  “Ready, Betty!”

Levi and I have used these code words since he could buckle his carseat by himself.  It let me know that he was buckled in and ready to ride.  (Course I always double check first.)  He used to think it was so funny.  When he was first learning about rhyming words…we would continue…“Where’s Eddie?”   “Have you seen Letty?”  “I’m feeling sweaty.”  “I want spaghetti.”  And on it would go until something else caught his attention.

Yesterday…4/12/17…after school pickup…

“Ready, Freddy?”  No answer.

“Ready, Freddy?”  Still no answer.

“Levi, are you buckled up and ready to go.”  “I am.”

“Well, why didn’t you answer me?”

“Lulu,…… I just didn’t want to say it.”

“Why not?”

“Well, Lulu…it sounds a little silly to me.  And I am in kindergarten now, you know?”

“Oh, so you think you are too old to play this game anymore?  It always makes me smile when we say it.”

“Don’t be sad, Lulu, I just think I’m too big now to say that.  Can we just not do that anymore?”

“Well, of course, Little Man.  I understand.  When you grow up, some things you thought were funny one time…just seem silly now.  So we don’t have to say that anymore.”

“Will you be sad, Lulu?”

“Of course not!  You can always tell me if you prefer not to do something.  Maybe I’ll agree.  Maybe I won’t.  But, you can be honest with me always.”

“I love you, Lulu!”

“And, I adore you, Levi!  Now are you ready to go!”

“Yes, m’am.  I am!”

And then we both started laughing again…his attempt at becoming grown up had led him to make another rhyming answer!

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He understood the irony of that without me saying anything….another sign of maturing and growing.  I can say I’m sad to see it happen, but that’s not really the truth.  The truth is I will forever miss these little jokes we have had between ourselves.  But, I want him to grow and explore and change.  This is what he was born for…to become a man.  And, even though he has lots of growing left to do…now that he’s 6…some things will be forever different.  As he begins first grade, he will see this world with such different eyes.  My prayer is that God gives him a mind that delights in new information….that he will always nurture his creative side…and that his goal will always be to be more like Jesus everyday!  And, that he can always laugh with his Lulu!

He’s ready, Freddy!

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SPRING IS COMING AGAIN…

Spring, as usual, is a fickle girl!  It has been so nice and warm here in Dothan…and then BAM!!! out of the North Pole blows this frigid blast of air that has stayed around too long to suit me!  It is 40 degrees here as I write!  Last week, kids were in shorts and Birkenstocks!  Of course…it does give us Southern ladies another chance to wear our boots…and the kids get to wear their big coats their parents bought for the two or three days they actually need it!

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I love spring!  All the newness and the budding out and the green taking over again!  It’s so lovely!  I decorated my house for Spring and Easter right after Valentine’s.  I know it was quite early, but I put a lot of effort into decorating and I like for it to last a while!  Decorating my house is a creative outlet that feeds my soul.  I wish I could just go house to house and decorate for any one that wants it!  I will share some pictures of my work with you.  First, my mantel…

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Levi’s tree and bunny…

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My dining room table…

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Centerpiece close up  on table…

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Close up…

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A little arrangement I put together…the moss bag was a gift from sweet Suzanne…added some greenery and small stems cut from a larger bush…

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Levi’s spring art…

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My buffet…sa43

Here is a project I worked on yesterday…

 

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Found this great little moss basket…hollow inside…and reinforced with wire rods.   Sorry I didn’t make a pic before I filled it..

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I added a styrofoam ball to the space and covered it with more loose moss.  Then I found these silk ranunculus that were so pretty.  They had them in several color variations, but I love white flowers!  They were bundled into groups of 7.  I bought 4 bundles.

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So in this project I used 23 flowers.  Of course, if you like the look of seeing the stems, you could use less.  But I love the look of the flower heads packed together closely.

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After I finished, I filled in any blank spaces with more of the loose moss…

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While I was at the store, I found this beautiful birds nest on a branch.  It needed a lot of fluffing, but isn’t it lovely?

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I added it to the base of the flower arrangement…and love the look!  You could always lift the basket on a stack of books or even a cake plate surrounded by little eggs  and more moss if you need the height.

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I hope you enjoy decorating like I do.  It is a creative outlet for me.  If you don’t have a lot of spring decor…start small and just buy a few things all along. I have 3 wonderful silk greenery garlands that I use most every season.  It’s wonderful filler.

Here is a picture of Suzannes’s mantel…you can see the same garland here…

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Hobby Lobby has all their spring and Easter at 40% off.  I’m sure Jo-Ann’s and Michael’s does too.   And, if you live close to a Home Goods or TJ Maxx, you can score big time there…just buy it when you see it, it won’t be there when you go back!  I speak from experience!  Remember that you can download coupons for all these stores on your phone and use one each time you shop.  (For my friends who are local…the flowers, moss basket and bird’s nest came from Inside Accents.)

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ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY….I AM….

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I am a woman…daughter…sister…wife…mother…daughter-in law…mother-in-law… sister-in-law…cousin…aunt…great aunt…grandmother …friend…teacher…nurse…classmate…church member.  I am a story teller… planner…artist… crafter… a decorator…a musician…writer…a collector.   I am a driver…cook…caregiver…dishwasher.

I love blue skies…sunshine…kisses from my boys…tenderness from my husband…smiles of pride from my daddy…sweet memories of my mother…hugs from my friends…laughter from my grandson…talks with my daughter-in-love…time with my sister…camp with the family.  I love reading a good book…watching a funny TV show…cooking out in the backyard…and floating in the pool.  I love to be silly…plan surprises…have fun…make people laugh.  I am messy and unorganized.  My mind is always on overdrive…I have ADD.  I have health issues that cause me pain.  I have hope that tomorrow will be better than today.

I love chocolate..sweet tea…bread…Chinese food…Mama’s pound cake…sweet potatoes…broccoli…filet mignon…baked chicken…zipper peas…cheese crackers…graham crackers…peanut butter…eggs over easy with grits and bacon… little white powdered doughnuts…and chocolate.

I like to decorate…plan parties…throw parties.  I like to play inside games…give gifts…read books to my grandson and grand nephew.  I like to travel and explore new places.  I like to dress in style.  I love beautiful jewelry.  And shoes.  And purses.

I love listening to music…all kinds of music.  I love to sing… but only with children….or congregational hymns at churchor in my car when I’m alone.  I like making lists and marking things off…I like to take hot showers.  I love to sit outside in nature and just breathe.  I love to get a good book and get lost in it.  I am truly happy to share everything I own.  Things are not heart possessions...people are.  What I have, I’ll gladly lend to you!

I love to teach children.  It is my life calling, I believe.  It brings me joy to see a little one coming to grasp some new information.  I believe in following rules and having boundaries. I believe children should be immersed in art and music!   I believe children should be listened to and taught when to listen themselves.  I believe children should be taught there is always someone in charge.  I believe they should learn about self control…and empathy.  I believe we should respect a child’s feelings…never telling them ‘they shouldn’t feel that way’…they do.  We should try to understand them..  I believe that they should know that doing the right thing...is its own reward and not expect another! I believe they should be surrounded by Biblical teaching from birth.  There is nothing that matches the look on a child’s face when they ‘get understanding’ about a detail!  It is magical to watch!  There is no love that is so pure or honest and true as the arms of a child begging to wrap you in a bear hug!  I imagine that’s the way my Heavenly Father feels about me, too!

I love a full moon…and the birds that come to the feeder outside my window…especially the redbirds…I love bare trees in the winter with all the branches showing…I love seeing tiny green buds appear on those same trees in spring.  I love swinging in a porch swing.

I totally and unabashedly adore my 3 boys! My boys are strong, and they are weak.  My boys are kind and gracious, but they are selfish and stubborn also.  My boys are full of empathy…they lived through learning that trait.  They ‘re the best parts of their father and I..and their grandparents.  They never followed all our rules…sometimes they went their own way.  They had the opportunity to choose the easy way…some took the hard.  I believe that every single thing you go through in this life is a piece of the puzzle that fits together to make you who you are.  Lessons learned come at a price…we all paid.  We all grew.  They are men who I love to talk with and yes, even still try to reason with and finagle.  They love their Mama.  They hold my heartstrings. We walked through the ravages of disease and sadness and pain together….and we grew through it and are the better for it. Brother helped brother helped brother and still do today.  I weep at the goodness of God to bless me with the total and complete perfect gifts they are to me!

God blessed me with a husband who is a man of God.  He is a deliberate thinker and a fairer man you will never find.  He weighs both sides of a situation and with God’s help makes his decision.  Always, he waits on God.  I admire his peaceful nature and his patient ways.  I rely on his wisdom to reel me in when I go off on some tangent. He is a man after God’s own heart.  He is my anchor in this life we chose to go through together.  (We absolutely argue and fuss.  We absolutely don’t always agree.  He absolutely drives me bonkers at times.  We absolutely are together forever!)

I am a sinner saved by the grace of Jesus.  I am a follower of Jesus Christ.  I love reading my Bible…singing the old hymns…responsive readings.  I am Heaven bound!  The Word of God can bring tears of joy to my eyes as I read it.  He wrote it just for me! He added things that just I need to hear!  It is my personal letter from Him!

I believe that God is in total control of the universe.  I do not worry about global warming and such…my God is big enough to handle this planet…after all He created it.  If we need more bumblebees, He can handle that!  I believe God uses many things in our world to speak to us.  I believe He speaks to animals…I believe he uses animals to teach us and to guide us and to protect us.  He made them all and they are one of His great gifts.

I love life…and the people in it…I love learning about people groups of other cultures…I think missionaries that spread the gospel in foreign lands are true heroes.  I love seeing the beautiful people who are so different than me, and were raised differently than me and do life differently than me.  And, yet, we can serve the same God!  I so admire and pray for those who give their lives in the winning of people to the Lord…especially in difficult situations.  They deserve my praise.

I know who I am.  I know what I believe.  My belief system was formed from childhood as I was raised around the people and places my parents thought were decent influences.  The friends I grew up with and their parents…the teachers and leaders in my church…my teachers at school and college…all left their lessons on me.  I am strong and resilient.  I have weathered very tough times.  I have been inundated with stress and grief.  These times brought lesson to my soul that stay with me always.  Lessons learned from living through tough times sticks well!   I am a survivor!   I can speak for myself and am not afraid to do so.  I believe it is always possible to be kind.    I believe that you have the same right to your beliefs as I do.    I do not need to belittle your beliefs.

I believe every law abiding citizen should have the same rights…I think our country should welcome any non-criminal  who is willing to become a citizen, and learn the English language.  I believe we should protect ourselves from the evil in the world whenever we can.  I believe we should be knowledgeable and up to date on daily news.  I believe we should never put our full trust in anyone other than God.  I believe we should be discerning about who we follow.  I believe the Bible when it says to “flee from evil”.  I believe we can be kind to everyone, regardless whether they think like we do or not.  But, your rights don’t trump my safety!  I believe no group should have to sacrifice their rights just to make another group happy. I believe in the sanctity of life.  I believe every child deserves the right to life.  I believe those who abuse children and animals are deserving of a hotter hell.

I believe our guiding light should always be the Bible.  I believe it is the perfect Word of God with no mistakes or double meaning.  I believe our lives should be governed by His Word.  I fully believe that God makes NO mistakes.

I believe we should pray for our government leaders.  They are in their positions because God allowed it.  Whether we voted for them are not.  They are leading our nation and need the intervention of the Holy Spirit in all they do!

I believe I am wonderfully made.  I believe God chose me to be who I am…where I am…with whom I am.  I believe He chose the circumstances of my life in order to mold me into what He wants me to be.  I believe He is always good.  I believe He hears and acknowledges every prayer.  I believe His way is always right.  I believe He speaks to me and you.  I believe He sends angels to watch over us.  I believe He created everything just as His Word says and I believe He is in charge of what happens…when it happens…and where it happens.  I believe He is never surprised.  I believe He is all knowing .  I believe Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven.  I believe He always keeps His promises.  I believe He is truth.  I believe God is love.  I believe I will live with Him forever.

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It is for me, then, to speak up when the opportunity is put before me…to speak wisdom when it is the appropriate time to do so…to take every chance God puts in front of me to speak the truth as I know it…to be quiet when silence is the best answer.    I can impact others by living true to God and myself…where He put me…when He tells me.

This is the woman that I am.  These are the ways I live my life with the freedoms that I enjoy…fought for and won by patriots and many wise and wonderful women before me.   I am a woman of value.  I matter in the lives of people I meet.  I matter to my friends.  I have been blessed with the best group of heart friends ever!  Women whom I love and cherish and who continue to teach me!  I matter to my family.  This is what I am grateful for.  I thank God I was born an American.  I thank God that He chose me to belong to Him.  I am blessed beyond measure.

I believe these words with all my heart and soul.  Amen!

3/8/17…International Women’s Day

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You are equally as valuable. You have your own set of values and likes.  You can take some things easily and others turn your stomach.  You are wonderfully made.  I encourage you to take the time to put it all down in an essay such as this.  There is no formula to follow.  Who you are and what you experience works together to make the special woman you are.  I do not feel boastful for sharing with you my heart thoughts.  I feel understood.  Tell someone today….better yet…write it down…just for you…just for posterity…for your great grandchildren to get a glimpse of who you are.   You are important…You are special...You deserve to be known!

 

A NEW GAME

I love my grandson.  I adore my grandson.  Since he was an infant we have shared our days together (along with other grandmother).  We have enjoyed wonderful days together as I’ve watched him grow.

I’ve watched as the toys have changed  signaling new skills or interests.  We’ve gone from rattles and chewy things to pull toys and toys that easily amuse.  We’ve gone through big fat Legos to millions of teeny tiny ones that hurt like OUCH!!! when you step on them.  We progressed from Play Doh to Mr. Potato Head…along with his missus!  He fell in love with the movie CARS…and we have no less than 75 of the delightful people/cars to inhabit my our studio.  Of course they have an entire city consisting of pastures, and drive ins and car shops and tire stores and a junk yard for Mater!  We have progressed from stuffed animals to the Disney characters to the Monsters, Inc family to the whole gang from the Toy Story conglomerate.  We have colored in books, on paper, on cardboard, on canvas.  We have painted on easels, on canvas on rocks on leaves, on the table.  We have cut reams of paper and glued the results to other reams of paper…only colored.  And, for the last little while..we have been inundated …and converged on…enveloped even, by Star Wars.

1xxx The characters are plentifully bestrewn all across the studio floor.  There are big space ships and little spaceships and teeny tiny space ships.  There are people in war regalia and creatures I did not know existed…but are ready for battle.  There are 268 teeny tiny guns….each of which go to a certain character.  To me a gun is a gun.  To Levi, the character’s correct gun in his or her hands makes all the difference in winning the battle and living another day.

Now the thing about Star Wars is that I’ve already gone through this Invasion twice in my lifetime…about 40 years ago and again 7 years later  with the instigators being boys named Adam (Levi’s daddy) and Alex (Levi’s Uncle).  Alex was actually the more enamored one and when he was 16, insisted that we pack up the brightest and best of his collected dynasty to save for posterity.  And it all sat in a big plastic bag at the top of his closet just waiting for another little man child to have the love and vision for what could be in a galaxy far, far away.  And, one such devotee was birthed into our family.  And, may I just add…the young one plays with those toys for all he’s worth.  The ones from 39 some odd years ago are not even made anymore.  He has some special pieces.  And, they mix together just fine.  He makes sounds for each separate spaceship and people mover.  He engages in battles and wars that extend out of my studio into the foyer and down the hall.  There is nothing…NOTHING…he loves better than for his Uncle Alex, who knows the finest details about Star Wars and has lived with these people for 33 years, to engage in battle warfare with him to save our very existence here on Planet Earth…or some such place.  And, his daddy is becoming about as crazed as he is about collecting the various good guys and bad guys and good space ships and bad space ships…which is great by Levi!

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So, my point her being…that Dear. darling Levi has a plethora of toys and books and art supplies to keep his healthy little mind occupied with plenty to do.  That’s why this was particularly hard to take………

LEVI…Lulu, I’m thinking of another game for us to play.

LULU….OK, I’m a little tired of blowing up planets and sailing spaceships through the universe.  How do you play?

LEVI…First, you go sit on the couch.  But don’t lean on the back of it… sit at the edge of it.

LULU…OK, I can do that.   And so I did!  He proceeded to take himself all the way to the other side of the room.  He then placed his body in a position reminescent of a runner beginning a big race. ” Something is amiss”, my clever brain told me.

LULU...Can you tell me the name of this game before we start?

LEVI…Sure…It’s called KNOCK DOWN THE GRANDMA !!!!????****!!!!

LULU…Well little man, there is one thing I need to tell you before we start.

LEVI…What, LULU?

LULU..You’ve picked up some tragic space sickness and it is lodged in your brain and is making you think about crazy things if you think I’m playing this game.

LEVI…AW, come on Lulu, it will be fun!

LULU…NO!  NO!  just no!

And, I destroyed the light in a little boys eyes who had such high hopes that his new game would be a delightful change of pace for all involved.  But, I’ve seen that particular light in years past…and I never forgot it   Hard history lessons only repeat because some one didn’t remember.

And, because I am a wise and clever grandmother, I was out the door and into the yard before he could blink.  I grabbed the basket ball and threw it into his arms as he rounded the garage door.  And we then spent half an hour shooting baskets.

And, that’s the way I saved my life on 2/22/17!

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REMOTELY CONFUSING

OK…so here I am in a resort hotel room while my husband attends a conference.  He left early and will be back around noon.  Sure is quiet in here….can’t sleep.  So, decided to see what was on TV this morning.

OH! MY! GOODNESS!  This is the first thing I was confronted with…

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Now why on earth do you need 3 remotes to turn on a TV and scroll through the channels.  I’ll be the first to admit, I’m old school…not up with new technology very well.  But, really, now…3 remotes!

But, I was bored…so I gave it a try.  But which button do you push to turn the power on…all 3 have power buttons!  I took a stab at it…and I got lucky!  The TV came on…and it was showing FOX NEWS.  Well, I really like Fox News…but not so much this morning.  So I tried to change the channel.  Well that was a big mistake!  I saw this…

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Obviously, I had done something wrong… so I tried another remote.  Yep…something came through all right…THIS!

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Friends…I went from one remote to another for a good 30 minutes or so.  Never came upon Fox News again…never came upon anything but those creepy crawly bugs scurrying around the screen.

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I mean…how hard would it be to make a remote that just had volume, and channels?  Guess we are too far gone in this tech age of ours.   This grandson had the right idea for his grandma, though…

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And this one…

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Oh, I know It will not get any better.  I would be lost on our TV at home if it wasn’t for Alex bailing me out over and over.  The saddest thing is…when Levi is at my house…he does it!  Boy, has this stuff just passed me by!  Are you as baffled as I am?

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So, I decided to just turn it all off…which took awhile because, you know 3 power buttons!  I’ll just listen to some music on my I PAD.  Great idea, huh?  Not so much!  Couldn’t get the internet to connect to it!  And, it kept shutting down on me.  Now I will have to pat myself on the back a little bit…I  do have my laptop up and running…talking to you on it right now!  So, that’s something, I guess.

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Now…there’s just one more thing that scares the mess out of me!  I just got a new car…and the whole thing is run on an touch screen!  You don’t even have to use a key!   It even stops itself if you get too close to something!  How will I ever learn something else new?  I was just getting the hang of my old car.  “This is improved”…they say.   “This is much easier to use than your old car”…they told me.  Well, we’ll see.

Meantime, I’m glad I have a techno genius living in my house with me…”Help, Alex!!!!!”

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And, this is well worth remembering!  Precious promise!  Bet there won’t be crazy, difficult, un-figure-outable remotes in Heaven!

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HAPPY HEART

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While getting ready to teach my last art class, Levi and I decided to make a sample at home before I taught the project to the children at school.

I taught the children how to draw a valentine heart shape.  Then we covered the back of the drawing with bleeding tissue paper.  This kind of tissue paper oozes lots of color when it is wet.  The children used valentine colors and covered their papers.  We saturated them with water.  The next day, the tissue was dry…and all the lovely color had transferred to the heart.  They then cut them out.

I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of the rest of them, but here is Levi’s.  I love to frame children’s art,  And, it’s quite easy.  I just bought a cheap frame from Michael’s and backed his heart with a piece of scrapbook paper.  Makes such a pretty picture!  And, oh how special a child feels when they see their art framed and put in a place of honor.  Change it up with the seasons….or just start a seasonal grouping of art work through the year!

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I love this…happy heart…happy color…from my happy valentine!  (Another Lulu/Levi project)

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THIS MORNING AT CHURCH…

I have been a member at Southside Baptist Church since I was in the 6th grade.  I have grown up, become a Christian, gotten married, raised children, buried a parent, and worshipped my Lord in this church.  There are so many dear souls here who reside in my heart of hearts.  Some have gone on to Glory with Mom, and some are still here worshiping with us.

This morning, Don was not feeling well, and was not able to attend.  So, I sat with Joy and her family.  As I sat there, between Joy, and Pop, I was overwhelmed with a love for my family.  Sweet Lori and her love were there with us, as well.  And, dear, dear Mrs. Linnie Carpenter, who is for sure one of the Saints was sitting in front of us.  She could probably quote most of the Bible to you, chapter and verse!  Good friends, Pam and Ron Ellis right behind us.

I just had a need to record this morning.  So, I tried to be very discreet with my camera…Lori helped…and we took a few pics of today.  (There have been two deaths in my Pop’s family this week…he lost his younger brother just yesterday.  We are not promised tomorrow…as our pastor pointed out this morning.  When things start falling down around you…you better have already made the decision as to whom you’ll be clinging to!  Tommy also lost his dear brother 2 weeks ago.)

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So here are just a few snaps of today…just an ordinary Sunday…but precious, nonetheless.

Lori and Brad…

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Pop, Lori and Brad…

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Me and Pop…

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Pop, Joy, and me…

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Joy and Tommy…praying…(sorry)

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Mrs. Linnie…singing…

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Our new stained glass above the baptistry…

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My dear friend, Monty Clark.  Her Mom just celebrated her 90th birthday and the flowers in the church today were in her honor…aren’t they beautiful…the flowers and Monty!

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As friends gather at the end of the service to gab a little bit, I found myself with three of the dear girls I have loved for many, many years.  Monty Clark, who grew up here at Southside with me…Pam Ellis, pianist extraordinaire and kindred spirit, and Joy, best sister ever!  Since the camera was out, I decided to take a selfie….but look at our photo bomber!  Our pastor, Stacy Stafford!

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So, we tried again…this time with someone else taking the pic!

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Again, nothing special about this Sunday…just for me, a little celebration of family and friendship and sweet fellowship!

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