Posts by tonja


1fp4On the occasion of First Presbyterian Preschool Kindergarten Graduation…2017…

What a beautiful group of children!  Some tall, some shorter, some a little chunky, others thin.  Brown hair, red hair, blond hair, black hair.  Skin darker, skin lighter…there were children who excelled and others who were a little slower getting the hang of things.  There were those who sang out loud and proud  and others who barely moved their mouths.  Watching them, I remembered some of the ones who loved to explore through art…and others who would much rather not be getting their hands messy.  Some of the children stood still in their outfits Moms or Dads had ironed…keeping their shirttails tucked in…hair neatly combed and bows tied perfectly.  Others had bows untied, shirttails pulled out or halfway out…shoes untied and hair all disheveled.

But everyone is perfect!  Perfectly themselves.  It’s amazing how at five and six years old you can already see the personality of a child.  You can discern if they are a perfectionist or totally laid back.  You can tell if they see the big picture or get distracted by the details.  You can see if they are rule followers or prefer to follow their own path.  You can see if they are explorers who want to be involved in discovery or prefer to let others do the discovering and read about it later.  You can see the ones who are leaders and those who prefer to follow.  Some are sweet and gentle, kind and soft spoken.  Some are also loud and boisterous and always desiring to be in center of something…if there’s not something…they’ll start it!  Some are nurturing and want to take care of others…some want to do things without any help…from anyone!  Each is perfectly made in God’s image.

And you know, our society needs ever single one of them…just like they are!  We need the ones who will be content to study quietly and who will love to listen to their teachers.  But, we also need those who will are not afraid of a challenge and prefer to discover new things for themselves.  We need people in our world who  love to throw lots of color onto a canvas and swirl it around.  But we also need those who prefer to draw tiny sketches with a pencil.

Which of these dear children will be doctors with empathy for those who are ill?    Which child will be a merchant who stores goods that we all need?  Who will be the lawyer who helps solve problems?  Who will be the policeman and firemen and paramedics who respond quickly in disaster?  Who will run the library and catalogue the books and have them available for us when we need them?  Who will be the schoolteachers who will guide more young minds?  Who will be the preachers who remind us of our need for God and how to better serve Him?  Who will be the artist?  Who will be the movie star?  Who will be the secretary who keeps all the books and files in order?  Who will be the scientist who discovers something we never knew before?  Who will run the gas station and the clothing stores and the restaurants?  Who will be the mechanic who works on our cars and sees that they are safe to drive?  Who will be the farmer who grows crops to feed us all?  Who will be the missionary who goes far away to share God with the world?  Who will run the daycare and preschools?  Who will teach the world to sing and love music?  Just think of all the people we need to run our world?  Every occupation is necessary and provides for our livelihood.  Every choice of what to do with our lives is an opportunity to find joy and fulfillment and is a chance to serve others.

We need everyone of these little ones to take their place in the world when the time comes and make their own contribution.  Do you realize what just one of these 75 could do?  One of these children could change their family’s life.  A few could change our town.  A group could change our state.  Together…they could change our world!

We must do our parts to see that they have every opportunity to excel…in their own way.  We must encourage and train and listen and reprimand and challenge and support and discipline and love these little graduates as they move away from the cocoon of their kindergarten classroom into a new and exciting world.  They may take it all in stride.  Others may be overwhelmed.  We must be ready to under gird them when needed  with patience and love and respect.

May God bless them with an inquisitive mind and a spirit of peace.  May He bless them with able bodies and minds to fill with the wonders of His world.  May He cover them always with His arms of safety and protection.  May he fill their hearts with empathy and grace and mercy and may they look for ways to serve others and Him.   And, may they look to Him for guidance, above all else.  I pray each and every tiny soul here today finds the big world they are going into filled with love and kindness and support and opportunities for them to find the fulfillment they and their Heavenly Father desire.   Amen



“Dear God,

Thank you for all my friends at First Presbyterian.  Thank you that I got to go to school there.  Thank you for all my teachers that I love at my school.  Help the people at Providence to understand that I might have to go back and visit at First Pres.  Help people who lost their job at Gander Mountain to find new jobs.  Help all the people who don’t know God.  Amen”

Prayer by Levi at lunch after a tearful goodbye to his dear teachers at First Presbyterian Preschool.



I’ve always been honest with you souls who choose to read what comes out of my heart.  It has always been a wonder to me that anyone would want to read what my ‘pitiful typing’ fingers eek out.  It’s always been amazing to me, as well, that I have a need to write down certain things and share it with folks I’ll never know…except through a little blurb where they make a comment at the end of an essay.  So I find my self saying “thank you” for reading and I hope that whatever I have written has glorified God and eased your own burden by knowing someone else has gone through the same.

To be perfctly hones, this is thstate fo mmy tyin fingers at the moment…Not to good, but i  will fisit for you.

This has been a difficult week for me.  Several things have happened all at once, as they usually tend to do in my life.  First, my sister has been really sick with the ‘crud’.  (if you’re from anywhere around at all, you know the crud).  I worry more about my daddy when she is sick.  She is an excellent care giver to him and has played the major role since Mom moved to Heaven.  I am available and do what I can, but Pop wants her.  Not that he doesn’t want me..he just loves her best.   Not that he loves her best…she caters to whatever he wants!


So, Joy has been sick, and Daddy is 91, and my sweet Alex has had an awful few weeks.  He has been in such pain.  And, I have been going to physical therapy for my back and hips trying to persuade them to not act their age and perform better for me.  My youngest, Ian, passed two kidney stones last week.  I have taught 2 art classes this week which is a joy, and I am helping my DIL prepare gifts for children in Levi’s class in school.  Levi has stayed with me two days this week, and Adam, my eldest, had major eye surgery in Birmingham on Thursday.

I am not even going to go into the list of health issues my children have.  The numbers are many and you may say I exaggerate.  But, I don’t.  One of the things they all suffer with is poor eyesight.  Especially Alex and Adam.  Alex has had several surgeries to treat some of his issues…but, still has nystagmus, which is an eye that is moving up and down all the time…or left and right…and last year lost a major portion of one eye to macular degeneration.  Adam’s eyes have always given him terrible trouble.  He also had a bout with a torn retina.  It took 2 or 3 surgeries to fix it.  They put what is called a ‘buckle’ into the eye to stabilize it.  But, now the major eye muscle has grown into the buckle and caused him to have double vision.  They went in with high expectations from the doctor that it would be fixed.   And…it wasn’t.  They did everything they were supposed to do..but it is not working.  They are hoping and we are praying that the muscle will strengthen and begin to work again.  This would be a ‘best case scenario’.  If not…we don’t know what is next…there is more surgical intervention possible…or we may wait and see.

As you can imagine,this has been hard to take and sad news for us all.  As those of you who are parents know…it matters not the age our children attain…they are always our little ones and they are always cared for now as they were then.

I was bemoaning my state of mind to Jesus last night.  I just thought I would tell Him again how disappointed I was.  And, ask Him to please consider touching Adam’s eyes with His Healing Hands, if He saw fit.  I told Him we loved and honored Him whatever He did or didn’t do.  And, that our faith was strong.  He was always our God and our Strong Hold.

And, then I told him I was also sad because I wanted to talk this over with Mom.  I miss her everyday.  I do not grieve her as I once did…but I miss her so much.  I asked him to tell her hello for me and kiss her for me.

And, then I went to sleep.  Not a peaceful sleep…but a fitful sleep.  I kept waking up and wondering why the clock was moving so slowly.  I wondered why this seemed like such a long night.    Then I began to dream.  It was one of those strange dreams that are so weird you wake up and wonder why in the world you are dreaming this.  That ever happen to you?  Please say yes…I don’t want to be the only one with strange dreams!!!

Joy and I were preparing to go on a trip.  She was packed and so was I.  But she didn’t like the shoes I was wearing.  She told me they would not be comfortable.   I don’t know why she said that because I was wearing grocery bags on both feet and kept trying to stuff both of them with fallen leaves and such to keep my feet warm.  (WEIRD !!!! I told ya!)  So I got into my suitcase and brought out a pair of mid calf red leather boots with an unusual design around the laces.  They laced up the front like men’s work boots, but they were of nice leather, and had heels.  (NO. no, I do not have any boots that even remotely sound like that)!

I put them on and it was time to leave.  We hurried to get aboard the train…kinda like you see in old movies where the train is leaving the station and folks hop on at the open doors in the side.  That’s what we did.  Though I know i couldn’t do that in real life…it was exhilarating in my dream.  As we hurried to our seats…we noticed a large group of our loved ones standing there to tell us bye.  They hugged and kissed us and hopped off the train.  I do not remember any of the faces.  Until the last one.  It was my mom!  And she took my head in her hands and kissed me square on the lips and said, “I love you forever.”  Then she disappeared.  She didn’t jump off the train…she was just gone.  I don’t even know if Joy got to see her.  But, then there was Daddy leaning against the front window by the door.  He didn’t look like my daddy, but that’s who it was.  He said, “Be careful girl’s” and hopped off the train, as well.

I immediately woke up and thought, “I just kissed my Mom!”  I just kissed my Mom!”  Then I went back to sleep for a couple of hours and when I awoke the second time, the dream was just as vivid!



Now I, for one, have been comforted by many things in my life.  Sometimes it is a distinct presence of the Lord.  Other times it has been a scripture verse, a picture, an animal, the words of a friend, or just a passing thought.    God will comfort us…He promises us that.  And, I guess he can use whatever He thinks will work the best at the time.  Last night, he used a dream!

And, she was just as beautiful as ever!




“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!


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!





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!


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…


Levi’s tree and bunny…


My dining room table…


Centerpiece close up  on table…


Close up…


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…


Levi’s spring art…



My buffet…sa43

Here is a project I worked on yesterday…



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



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.


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.


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


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?


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.




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…


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.)