SPRING BREAK 2016

It came around again…and it was as delightful as ever!  Spring Break!  I spent a few days at the beach enjoying some quiet time at the beginning of the week.  Got lots of reading done…and napping as well! My bestie, Shirl, happened to be down from Moultrie as well.  We were able to spend some time together catching up while enjoying a lovely spa pedicure!

Then Suzanne and Levi came down on Wednesday.  We played and shopped and ate and did all the fun things the beach has to offer.  Adam joined us on Friday morning.  Levi was so glad to see his Daddy.  The 3 of them spent the day together yesterday and we all headed home last night.

Silly shopping time…

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Sometimes a Lulu needs to find a time out spot for a little boy…this one worked great!

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A visit to the fish pond…spotting turtles….watching ducks

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Let’s go eat…

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Fun with Daddy….

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Family…print28

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A little sprucing up…

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Until next time…

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TEACHING THE THREE’S

This has been running back and forth through my mind lately and I know why.  It’s because the people involved were all women who had an influence on me.  A good one.  All ladies in my church. These were ladies I grew to know and love from the time I started at Southside Baptist Church.  I was in the 6th grade.  These were ladies who were already adults when I was a child and so they were my teachers and my leaders and my examples.

I trained several years while I was in college at Glorietta Baptist Assembly in Glorietta, NM.  I wouldn’t expect you to know about this place unless you were a Southern Baptist.  There was another one in Ridgecrest, NC.  In those years, people would travel for a week or two to one of these assemblies and stay on the grounds.  Then they would go to classes in their area of service during the day.  Every evening there were services with the visiting pastor for the week.  Each night was like a good ole Baptist Revival.  The best preachers were there…the best singers were there.  And, helping to run it all was college students from around the country.   Most were employed to clean cabins during the day, or work on the grounds, or serve in the kitchen…cooking and cleaning.  Some were used in the recreation for the visiting children.  And, a few…just 5 or 6…were selected to work in the preschool department.

I was one of those.  Now, I didn’t realize just how fortunate I was at first, but anything was better than cleaning and making beds or washing 600 dirty breakfast plates!  Thus began my training and subsequent love of preschool education in the church.  The leaders in each of these areas were the tops in their field.  These were the people who wrote the literature.  They wrote the books on how to teach.  The wrote study course books outlining how to set up a preschool department and why.  These people were amazing.  They wrote children’s books and children’s music.  They did it all.  And, for 2 summers, I was directly under their direction and leadership and teaching.

This is the way it worked.  We all got a crash course in teaching preschoolers.  We’d watch and learn.  We’d do something wrong and learn.  We’d read and learn.  And, soon enough, we would take the whole room of children and be responsible for them.  See, the parents who came to attend classes would bring their children.  We in turn would keep them and teach them…like a Sunday School department.  There were classrooms set up.  And, all around the outside of the room were dark screened rooms with chairs.  The leaders would hold classes elsewhere for those who were interested in preschool work and then sometime each day they would quietly enter those darkened screen rooms and observe what we EXPERTS were doing.  Believe me, if we did not not handle a situation right…it was used to talk about the right thing to do…and we were made well aware of the blunder! They would sit quietly for 30 or 40 minutes and then leave.  The children never knew they were there.  (I do remember one little boy coming up to me and saying that the “that wall has coughing in it!”)

I can’t even begin to tell you how soon I began to know just how blessed I was.  This method of teaching made perfect sense to me.  A department was set up with certain areas in it….art, home living, blocks, puzzles, books, etc.  These were a constant each week.  Then an activity was prepared for the child to do in each area.  An activity that went along with the lesson.  The children made the choices as to the areas they visited…but in each one they had the opportunity to hear the Bible Story of the day.  So, by the time they got to Large group time, they had heard the story at least 3 times already!  Then all the lessons followed a rotation system in the areas of God, Jesus, Natural World, Self, Others, Family, Home.  It changed either monthly or quarterly.

This system made such sense to me and it still does, though few follow it anymore.  I began to to work in a local church while I was in college.  And, I had already taken 2 years of Early Education courses at Samford University.  Don and I married and I taught in our church in Birmingham until we moved back to Dothan.  About that time, our home church began a major building project for a new education building and a preschool building was included in that.  I was able to give some input and insight into the building…and they used consultants from Baptist State Boards to make sure it met the requirements they had set forth.  How blessed to be able to teach in a building, and have the materials to teach, all according to the proper set up!  I started my work in preschool at Southside as Preschool Director.  I stayed in this position for some 20 years.  I then passed the job to capable hands and began teaching the kindergarten class each Sunday.  This was probably another 20 years.  I worked as Director again for a few years when we remodeled again, but now I am out of it altogether.  Age and family and health…you understand.   But, I miss it every single time I am at church!

One of the things I worked on in those years is getting trained teachers for all the classrooms…babies, toddlers, threes,fours,and fives.  And I was able to do that.   I taught classes for all ages.  One of my greatest success stories was the Threes!

I don’t remember exactly, but this is my recollection.  My Mom came to me and said that she and two of her friends wanted to teach the threes.  Well, this was just as I was looking for new workers.   I told her that would be great!  So the team of Mom (Eloise Townsend), Jeanette Glover, and Rudean Newton was formed for our three year old department.  They were willing and anxious to learn the ‘right ‘ way to do everything!  They knew how important it was to have training, and spent a week at an Alabama assembly that taught classes similar to the bigger assemblies.  This was Shocco Springs.  They learned and began the work with our threes.  What a wonderful job they did!  Oh, and how thrilled I was to see things done the right way…the way for optimum teaching of little ones.  They worked together for quite a few years.  I don’t remember exactly why, but Mrs. Rudean had to bow out….and was replaced by the wonderful Betty Swicord.  She fit right in and things went on just as smoothly as before.  I had forgotten this but Jeanette told me Sunday that when Mrs. Betty had to exit, another lady stepped in.  And, through all the years, when one or another of the ladies were unable to be in attendance, Shirley Hammond was the designated fill in person.  She was as talented as all the others and could move in with ease.

This post is a thank you to this group who saw the need for  preschool education.  They didn’t think threes were too young to teach.  They understood the principle that, starting with babies, you build a foundation that church is a happy place to be.  People love me at church.  People take care of me at church. We do fun things together at church.  This foundation carries on and is built upon as the child grows.  Soon he is able to learn more about why we come to church…eventually learning to love God and surrender their lives to Him.

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The saints in this group are no longer all together.  Mom and Mrs. Rudean have moved to Heaven.

Mrs. Betty is dealing with serious health issues, Mrs. Jeanette has just undergone some serious health problems, as well.    In the midst of the illness of both of these ladies, they have been faithful and continue to serve the Lord.

Shirley Hammond is no longer a member at Southside, but is doing well and serving the Lord in many ways.  She is and will always be a part of us!

I want to honor these ladies and the example they are to me!  I have watched you all for many years.  I see what you do and how you act.  I see how you suffer and continue to smile.  I see you faith in our Lord shining through adversity.  I don’t think I can ever measure up to any of you, but you are my inspiration.

My mother was wise in many ways.  She was a friend to many.  These ladies were dear to her and loved her.  And, she loved and trusted them.  At times, in church, I get a little emotional, when something reminds me of Mom.  These are the ladies I want to hug…because they loved her, too.  And, I feel almost as if I can feel her though their hugs.

Mom, Rudean Newton, Jeanette Glover, Betty Swicord, Shirley Hammond…thank you.  You have a special place in my heart of hearts.

 

 

A FLING IN TENNESSEE

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With my partners in the hunt for all things old and rusty and distressed, Shirl and Tina and I headed north to Franklin, Tennessee for a few days of fun, shopping, catching up, good food and …shopping.  This was the weekend of the City Farmhouse Pop-Up Show in Leiper’s Fork, TN, close to Franklin….close to Nashville.

First of all, Franklin is such a neat town…with lots to do.  Cute little shops and terrific places to eat.  We spent two days exploring the shops and discovering little antique stores…finding little treasures all along the way!  We all did some Christmas shopping…both for giving and decorating!  Here…a few pictures from around town.

 

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Look…It’s MY store…

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Great lunch here…

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The bottles say…FAMILY and FRIENDS…perfect!

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Acting silly in a Christmas store…we all bought a hat for our grands…but we had to make sure they were cute first!

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Oh, what fun this was!  Over 150 vendors from all over the U.S.  It was everything we love!  The grounds were beautiful and it was just delightful being out in God’s beautiful world!

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city-farmhouse-basketAll too soon, Sunday rolled around…

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…another fun adventure in the books…sweet memories made…and friendship bonds stronger than ever!  Till next time, friends!

 

*********Picture credits…..#1,9,14,17,18,19,20,21….The City Farmhouse…..all others…Tonja Owens.**********

 

A RESPITE *

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I have a several Pinterest boards (43 to be exact).  I am a collector at heart…not a hoarder…a collector.  Much nicer sounding, don’t you think?  There are so many things I read and think, “One day, I’m going to want to read that again.”  So, I save it.  The sayings and verses I pulled from for this post are titled ‘Things I Know For Sure’ and ‘Woman of God’ and ‘The Bible Tells Me So’.   I knew I would find within these boards just the right pics and words to help tell my story today!

This week, I have been battling some health issues.  Nothing that a lot of you haven’t gone through, but painful and hard to deal with anyway.  This is nothing I want to get graphic about in this forum, but there are times it is impossible to move or even breathe for several seconds.  Then it subsides.  But, I feel like I look like I’ve all of a sudden gone into a catatonic state.  Which can cause folks to stare at you sorta strange like.  You know if you just can not move your buggy out of their way IMMEDIATELY, they want to start a fight because you are interrupting their flow! Well!

I got some medicine which will take care of this, but I could not pick it up until Friday morning at 8:00.  Friday morning at 10:00, I was responsible for teaching the art of drawing pumpkins and then painting them with Kool-Aid to around 50 children…3 classes…teaching one  class at a time.  So…on my feet for a good two hours.  I was panicked thinking what these kids and their teachers would do if all of a sudden, I zoned out on them like a hippie from the sixtes stoned on weed.  (Not that I ever was a hippie from the sixties stoned on weed, but I’ve seen some people who were and they looked s-t-r-a-n-g-e!)

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I had problems all through the night before…and got little sleep.  But, before I got out of bed…and in the shower….and eating a banana nut muffin….and loading my car…I prayed mightily!  I boldly asked My Father to stop this process happening in my body for the time I was going to be working with the children.  I didn’t ask Him to take it away completely…just give me a break for a few hours…a respite.

I had to make a stop on the way to pick up some candy for the kids and sure enough…in the store…BAM!  it hit me!  This one stopped me for a full 30 seconds!But, I got into my car and prayed all the way to school.  Well, ‘begging’ may be a better word.  And, I told God that I would give Him the glory and praise if He allowed these classes to take place without me ‘zoning out’ in front of the teachers and most importantly, the kids.

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And, my friends, I am here to testify to you that from the second I left my car at school…I had not one, single pain!  Not even a twinge!  No need to ‘space out’ except for the fact that our room was covered in  pumpkins and we just may have gotten a little ‘high’ from the smell of all the Kool-aid.  We probably went through 50 packets!  Some of the kids even asked if they could lick the table!!!!

We finished our project and I was able to clean up.  Well everything except my hands!  They, I fear, are forever stained red and orange!  I tried everything to get it off…baby wipes, clorox wipes, soap, goof off,  fingernail polish remover, and finally a magic eraser!  The magic eraser worked the best!

What fun we had!  The joy of seeing the colors on the paper and experiencing a different type of art was such a good time!  I’m so blessed to be able to do this.

I gathered my bins of supplies and walked to the car.  After putting my supplies in the back, I went around to my car door.  BAM!  There it was, back with a vengence!  After I was able to move again, I got in the car, bowed my head, and thanked God!

Isn’t He amazing?  Isn’t He wonderful!  It thrills me to the bottom of my soul to think that the Master and Lord of the universe, who has whole worlds and heavens and oceans to keep an eye on…cared about me, a mere speck in the face of all humanity.  He cared enough about what I needed Friday morning to touch me and care for me.  He heard my prayer…along with the millions of people praying for oh! so much more important things than I was asking for.  He heard me, as He heard them all.

“…you have not because you ask not.”  James 4:2

And, that is why I felt compelled to share with you that He does listen and He does hear.  And, true, He doesn’t always answer our prayers just like we want Him to.  And, that’s where faith comes in…trusting that He knows what we need better than we do!  That’s a hard one, isn’t it?   I think He wants us to be specific when we pray, don’t you?  Generalities cover so much.  I think He wants to hear exactly what it is we think we need.  And, perhaps, being specific helps us to put things in a better perspective in our own minds.  Well, today, I was specific, and He so graciously granted my request.  I thank Him, and I praise Him…and I am humbled.

I end this post by sharing one of the most comforting passages of scripture to me.  A friend shared it with me years ago, when I really did feel I was being consumed.  And, truth is, sometimes I still feel that way at times.  I’m sure you do, too. We all have those time that it seems as if everything and everybody is ganging up on us and we are going under…FAST!  Remember this promise when you feel this way.  I know, for sure, it is truth!

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*…(res-pit)…a delay or cessation for a time, especially of anything distressing or trying ; an interval of relief”

 

THESE ARE THE PEOPLE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD…

I had an early doctor’s appointment today.  And while I was there I kept running into people who I found interesting.  Nothing major…just little things I noticed today.

As I was pulling into the parking lot, there was a car in front of me…going very slowly.  I also noticed that a first parking place under a shady tree was about to come available.  So, I just sat and waited for the driver to pull out.  As I waited, I noticed Mr. Slow Driver pull on down and pull into a parking place.  Then he backed out of that space…slowly.  And, pulled into another.  Then he backed out of that one.  Next thing I know, he is heading back toward me…and sure enough…he whipped that old Buick into that first parking place…with me sitting there waiting…with my blinker on!    It struck me as funny..instead of irritating me.  I just went on down to the place he pulled out of first.  When he got out of his car, he must have been 90 years old.  I ended up walking with him to the office.  “Boy, you sure lucked up to get that nice shady spot,”  I said.  “Oh, Jesus was saving it for me!” he replied. I don’t think he even realized what he had done.  That was his space and he was going for it!  I held the door for him and the next door and then let him sign in before me.  Finally, he was all set.  I signed in and sat down.  “Thank you, Lord, for letting me be gracious to this old man..especially since it was YOU saving the parking place for him!!!”

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As I sat in the waiting room, I noticed a mother with her daughter.  The daughter had a little baby.  He was fussy and whining, and they were doing their best to pacify him and make him happy.  But, both were getting frustrated.  It wasn’t long before the Grandmother came out from seeing the doctor.  That baby saw her, let out a yelp and got the biggest smile on his face.  Little arms reached out to her, and she took him.  Immediately the whining and crying stopped!  He was where he wanted to be!  Oh, it’s great to have ‘grandmother power’!

I didn’t have to wait too long.  Then it was off to the lab.  Blood work every 4 months…and these old veins don’t get a bit more cooperative!  But, Ms. Lab Tech was so kind and happened to get my blood on the third stick…in my hand!  She felt so bad.  It takes so little to be kind…especially when you are causing pain!

As I waited there was a lady sitting in the room with me.  Somehow, we got to talking about how everything today is computerized. Helper Lady began telling me about how she helped several elderly people who had to do things online…and they had no idea even how to open a computer!  She said that she had found a way to help people while staying home to care for her mother.  Isn’t that the nicest thing?  It’s just the little things people do that mean so much.  Have you ever thought about what those with no computer knowledge  do in this day and time?  As she said, when our generation dies, that should not be a problem since everyone younger than us has grown up with computers.  Interesting, I thought.

Then, as I sat back in the lab waiting room, a older man from our church came in.  Mr. Joe makes honey and molasses and sells it.  It is divine.  We talked a little about Pop…they are in the same Sunday school class.  And, then he began to tell me how much better molasses is for you than even honey.  It was very interesting.  He is such a fine man, and I enjoyed talking to him.

He got called out and a young man came in.  He was huffing and puffing.  He was not happy.  Tired Man was having to wait too long.  He said he was tired and had worked all night.  I’m glad I wasn’t the lab tech going to draw his blood or the doctor or nurse who worked with him later.  This is for sure…it was a good thing he had a wad of gum in his mouth to chomp on, because he was that mad!  Good for him…not for me.  One of the most annoying sounds in the world to me is to hear someone smacking and popping and chomping their gum!  It is rude, people.  If you could only hear what it sounds like.  Not that this young man cared a bit!!!

And, this is the truth, so help me!  When he got up and left…a woman with a bag of knitting came in and sat down.  Y’all.  Y’all, if she burped one time, she burped twenty!  Not like hiccups…but those kind that my boys used to do to see who could be the loudest or the grossest!  And Burping Woman never even looked up from her knitting!  Never!

I heard a voice in the hallway that sounded familiar.  Sure enough, it was a girl that I taught at church…she and her children.  She has always been just a delight and is now a  drug rep . It was good to speak to her.  Our paths do not cross too often anymore.  Thanks for the smiles, CWH.

One more thing.  As I was still in the lab area, I overheard another Doctor tell his nurse that he saw an obituary for one of his patients in the paper this morning.   He told her to be sure they sent a card, and called the family.  I though that was so kind.

I finally saw my Doc.  He was happy, as he always is.  Got some new meds and some tests set up.

I thought it was just an interesting mix of people this morning.  No matter where you go, there are always people who are old and feeble, kind and helpful, rude and complaining.  There are always those that look for ways to help, and those who are kind and caring in the jobs they perform.  There are those who are rushed and ‘put out’ when things don’t go their way.   I think we all get that way at times.  I pray to become more aware of how other people perceive me.  There were 3 people I ran into this morning that knew me and knew I claimed to be a follower of Jesus.  Did the others I saw see that in me?  What kind of impression did I leave with them this morning?  I hope I was kind and patient and helpful.

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And, perhaps, those who were annoying to me this morning were facing greater battles than what was evident.  Who knows what they are dealing with daily?  Only God…perhaps their doctors.  I am not always patient and kind and helpful.  There are so many times I fail.  I have to ask for forgiveness and start all over again.

I will say, in my behalf…I exercised a GREAT deal of restraint with Burping Woman, and Gum Chomping Tired Man.

 

“Oh, these are the people in your neighborhood,

In your neighborhood,

In your neigh-bor-ho-od,

These are the people in your neighborhood,

They’re the people that you meet,

When you’re walking down the street,

They’re the people that you meet   each    day!       (from: Sesame Street)

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