This year has to have been the most special Boogaloo Camp yet! It was the most fun and the most joyous time, just us girls and our little boys!  And, the Lord sent us perfect weather!  Last year, we had to leave after 2 days due to a tropical storm closing in!

We arrived on Friday morning.  Everyone unpacked and sort of moved in on one another!  Usually 3 of us stay at the trailer next door, but due to some college friends needing a place to stay for a few weeks, we lent it to them,  Which left us all together in the house.  But even a tiny house has plenty of room when it’s filled with love!

We started the day off with the results of a project that I gave the girls a few weeks ago.  They were to find a flamingo and enhance it in some way.  The rules were lenient, but everyone got into the fun!  First John Thomas and Tara…they found a flamingo stake and added clothes and a blinking light flamingo necklace!  It came complete with a sparkly sign.

Next came Levi and Suzanne.  They decided to build their own flamingo!  They built a stand and then fashioned the face and body.  A true arts and crafts project!

Then Joy arrived with the biggest flamingo I had ever seen!  She dressed him in a hat and and he was carrying a large gift bag with smaller gifts for us all!  How clever!


Lori came in last…and brought her project!  She had found a flamingo pinata and added some darling accessories!  Sun glasses, and lovely blond curls. She also had a necklace…so cute!

We visited and let the boys discover their boxes of treasure and projects we were to accomplish!  Then I shared my flamingo gift to everyone!  The softest, comfiest flamingo pajama pants!  I bought everyone a pair…and we all liked them so much, if we weren’t dressed to go out…we had on our new pants!  Aren’t they cute?  Found them at Wal Mart several months ago..guessed at sizes…and saved them for camp!

We went out to Boondocks to eat, one of our favorite places!  The boys went to feed the fish after dinner on their pier.  I went out long enough to snap a picture…but the bugs were biting so bad, I came in to wait!  See Levi scratching!

Joy had brought ymmy flamingo cookies and that was our desert!

Next morning was our first run on Thomas Doughnuts…excellent as always!  Then we all prepared to head to Shipwreck Island.  This was the boy’s choice.  They promised me I would like the lazy river and that there were plenty of places to get out of the sun.  So, Joy and I bravely joined them.  Yes, I loved the lazy river.  As a matter of fact, that was the only thing Joy and I did.  But it was relaxing and cool.  However, enough was enough for the seniors in the group.  After a few hours, Joy and I headed for home.  The girls and boys stayed a good while longer…wave pool, slides, all that they offered!  They had a ball!

Everyone was hungry and so we headed out to The Shrimp Basket.  Had a little wait, but not too bad.  Great food. Not much atmosphere, but we enjoyed it!

After dinner, we decided ice cream was in order…trip 2 to Thomas Donuts and Ice Cream.  I love their snow cones!  Home and a little book reading to the boys.  I always bring the funniest books I can find to make them laugh!  Do you know The Wonkey Donkey?

Suzanne woke us to the smell of bacon and eggs, yummy!  And, then Levi, John Thomas, Lori and I met at the kitchen table for a painting session!  We worked slowly and learned about blending and the way the ocean looks when you stand on the shore and look at the horizon.  They worked very well…here is their work in progress…

After this, we got right into a massive tie dying session.  Oh! it was messy!  And, so fun!  Can’t believe I didn’t make pictures of that, but we made some great shirts and had a ball doing it!  Then Levi had some gluing and pasting he needed to do!

Don’t the boys look cute in their matching outfits?  Yes…we know that won’t happen too many more times!

We also did some work with clay.  The boys decided on the designs for their fish depending on what they could find around the house to make marks in the clay with.  They did good, huh?

Everyone decided a trip to Pier Park was in order (shopping, if you don’t know).  We found shoes for the boys and a little of this and that.  Then we headed to Red Robin for an early lunch.

After lunch, Joy and I headed to the house for a little respite and the girls and boys headed out to explore.

And, when they came in…they had found a new candy store called I Love Sugar.  They had bags and bags and bags of treats…lots of the old timey candy.

Time for bed!  This year, all 7 of us stayed in the house.  I have some friends whose college sons needed a place to stay for a few weeks, so they were using the Flamingo (trailer).  So, we were all together…really together.  Stepping over one another, running into one another and loving every minute of it!  We may even do it again next year!

Bacon and eggs again, and biscuits, too!  Lori had to head back to Dothan for work.  And, the boys were more than ready to head to the beach.  So off they went.  Tara has a dear friend (Jayna, daughter of my friend Shirl).  They have a house about 3 blocks from us.  They were here this week, so they all met on the beach.  The kids played together and the girls talked!  The water was pretty rough, so they had to stay pretty close in.  Fun was had by all!

Joy headed back, she had something to attend too the next morning, and after the beach, John Thomas and Tara headed on their way, too.  She had work the next day.  Got the boys to do some cleanup before they left.  Joy had bought them some of those popper things that leave little white papers..100 each!  Plus, they had marshmallow shooters!  They swept and did a great job!  It was hard for Levi when they left.  He was sad.

That left Suzanne, Levi and myself.  What to do?  What to do?  Hmmm. ” Levi, have you heard of Aladdin?”  “OH yes, let’s go!”  And so we did!  But ended up having to wait for two hours, so they took me to see the great, new, grand, enormous candy store.  We explored it all, then decided what was calling our sweet tooth.  We filled up several bags.  Got several bags to bring back to Alex.

The movie was amazing!  WE got a large popcorn and cola icees.  And settled in to those reclining seats to enjoy!  Such a visual treat for the eyes.

Levi was exhausted when we returned.

Next morning, Suzanne and Levi headed home…after helping me clean up and vacumn.  And, that left me.  All alone in the Sandcastle.  Man, it was quiet.  I lay down on the couch to rest and reflect…I woke up two hours later!  Then I sat on the porch and read, and rocked, and read some more.  The next day, I started on my second book and finished it, too.  I miss having the sweet girls and my Sis and my sweet little boys.

It’s been such a good few days.  We are so blessed to have a family that loves each other and wants to be together.  This has become a highlight of our year and we look forward to next year!


March 31, 2019

Today I went to church. The church I have grown up in. The church that has helped mold my life. The church that is family as sure as my genetic family.

I started attending this church when I was in the 6th grade. We were attending a small country church, and my parents thought the bigger ‘city’ church would offer more opportunities for sister and I. And, it did. Southside quickly became ‘our church’ and the people there became family.

I still remember the first time I attended. I remember the sweet lady who was teaching…she became one of the dearest people in my life, (JCK). I sang in the youth choir in this church. I went on youth trips with the other kids. I learned about missions in this church…I was a GA and an Acteen. I stood before the church in my cap and gown when I graduated from high school. I left for a few years to go to college. I got married in this church. My husband and I raised our boys here. Many of the same people who loved and poured into my life, did the same for my boys. They followed through doing some of the same things I did…youth trips, lock-ins, VBS, youth choir…and then they stood in front of the church in their cap and gown when they graduated from high school.  They were all 3 baptized in this church.

I served in this church in many capacities through the years…mostly with children and preschool. I learned to love missions through the influence of my parents and godly women who taught me well. I became a leader in some of the same groups I once was taught in. My mom and I arranged 14 mission trips for the ladies in our church. She was very active in the mission teaching at Southside. My Pop was always a deacon and a leader in many ways, especially in missions. My sister and her family were as involved as we were. Sister serves as pianist even today. So, my church has been an extension of my own family.

In 2009, things changed. Mom left us to live with Jesus, quite unexpectedly. Our church family was there for us and helped us all through this difficult time. There were so many people who loved my Mom. It was hard to go back to church without her there…sitting with Pop on the 4th row from the front on the right side.

There were some other heart breaking incidents that occurred in our church soon after Mom passed. But God provided grace and strength for all involved. He knew it all along and allowed it, and it has been used for His glory.

Today, I went to church for the first time since my Pop died. A little hard…but, expected. The last time I was in our sanctuary, his casket was lying in front of the altar. Today, my immediate family at Southside numbered 3. Where once there had been 15 of us. Now, we are down to 4 active members. The others are all actively serving the Lord in their own churches.  And my Mom, my Pop, and my Mother -in -law all worship in Heaven.

I feel sort of a deep sense of regret when I look around the congregation and see those that are missing…who have gone on to Glory. I remember them so fondly, and with great love. I see many of those dear saints that I looked up to for so long, sitting and listening and worshipping. They are still encouraging and teaching us how to be faithful until…

I love my church family. I love those who are still here and those that attend elsewhere. I love those that are worshipping at the feet of Jesus today. The bond that was formed many years ago stands strong because it was a bond formed of love. Love of God first and love of others. Love that was a serving love…the older teaching the younger…and the younger becoming the teacher, in due time. And so it will continue.

My church looks different that it did 10 years ago. And, in another 10 years, it will look even more different. And, so it goes. Things change. People die. Families take different paths. It’s just change. But if things don’t change, they die.

My thoughts are tumbling over and over themselves in my mind as I write…so this post may be a little discombobulated. That seems to happen to me more and more, the older I get. I think there are just a lot of ‘thinks’ that need to get thought and dissected and put into perspective.

All it boils down to is…I love my church family…those here and those elsewhere. I miss my Mom and Pop  and Don’s Mom being in church with me. I miss my boys being in church with me. But, I am happy in my heart for the legacy left by the many Saints I was, and continue to be, blessed by.

May God continue to bless the church on the corner of Cottonwood Road and Appletree Street.



And so, Christmas 2018 is in the books. We prepared, shopped, cooked, shopped again and again, gathered together and had a wonderful Christmas celebration. We sort of spread it out a little this year.

We decided last Christmas, that this year we would try to make it easier on the ones who have both families here. So hard to visit both places in one day. So we decided to have our big family celebration on the Sunday before Christmas…this year that was the 23rd. It really turned out well and the best thing was that we all were together! Alex was feeling well enough to be up and enjoy the day. And Pop, at 92, did very well. But, was ready to go home right after the presents. Our 2 little ones, John Thomas and Levi performed for us. JT played the guitar while Tara sang Silent Night. Then Levi quoted some scripture he had learned in school. I let these guys fill in the blanks while reading the Christmas story from Luke. Amazingly, they could quote most of the scripture whenever I would stop! So proud of them!

Now, some pics from Sunday…the whole family…and from Christmas Day…our immediate family! And, we got Alex again! What a blessing!


Don and I in our aprons..sstarted cooking at 5:00 AM

Donald and Tommy at lunch…it was warm enough for some to sit outside on the porch.
Tara and Will at lunch
Uncle Alex and Levi
Joy, Pop, and Tonja

Suzanne and Tonja
Levi and Lulu…happy
Levi and Lulu…silly
John Thomas playing Silent Night on his guitar
Ian, Alex, Tonja, Levi, Don, Adam, Suzanne
(sorry about that bright light around my head…it’s so hard to hide a halo!)
Townsend, Owens, McKibben, Bush Families
Lori, Tara, John Thomas
Lunch Time
Uncle Alex and Levi
Tonja and the boys…
Levi and his tree
Don and the boys…
Adam and Suzanne
Our beautiful Mother, who celebrates Christmas in heaven now. We miss her so.
Thank you, Lord Jesus for blessing our family. Everything good comes from you. We acknowledge that and give you honor and praise and glory!


One day last week, Levi and I made ornaments together.   I have a big trunk filled with plastic Christmas balls just ready to be filled with whatever strikes his fancy!  Feathers, little reindeer, tiny beads, pictures we drew…anything and everything.  We have lots of things to string and hang and lot to make garland from.  We save it all…year after year…and we have quite a collection now.

After we got a little weary of that, we opened up the other boxes that belong to him, and pulled out all his favorite ornaments.  We started collecting little red trucks carrying trees when he was just a baby.  Now we get any color truck and have branched out to other vehicles….motorcycles, cars, campers, firetrucks…anything that goes!  I think we have about 40 now!

As we worked together, side by side, on his tree, he was talking up a storm.  These words really touched my heart…

“Lulu, I remember doing this. We have done this before. We always put my tree right here and it always makes me happy. Is that called a MEMORY?”

I answered…“Yes, sweet boy, it is a precious memory. Those are the kind that stick in your brain very well because you really enjoy doing something. It is a sweet memory for me, too.” 

He spoke again and said...” I think it is because I like when we do things together.  It makes me happy when  you and me can make things.   I love all my tree things and the ornaments I made, and today you taught me how to tie a slip knot!  It was hard, but now I can do it!  This is a good day!”


I thought…”Oh, my little man…you have no idea how I treasure every day we can spend together…you’re 7 now and things will continue to change for you. Other things will become more important as time goes by and spending these kind of days together will get less and less. It’s the way of the world.  I hope we can still have special days together.  But these precious memories are locked away in my heart of hearts forever!”

That’s all.  Just sharing a sweet moment between grandmother and grandson.  Making memories.  Hope you make a lot of sweet memories this Christmas, too!





Well, Thanksgiving celebrations are winding down and folks are going home…stuffed.  Our dinner was wonderful, we all contributed and there was an abundance of everyone’s favorites.

I, roused out of bed at 5:oo am to put the turkey in the oven.  To be clear…this is the new Butterball Roast in Bag.  It was easy as could be.  Open the outer bag, place turkey in roasting pan, cut 4 slits in bag, slide into the oven for 4 hours at 375 degrees.  Just the same as my Jennie-O.

I went back to bed and soon the aroma woke me and I went to check on it and all looked well.  It was browning nicely.  Lots of juices in bottom of bag.  I waited the allotted time and removed from oven.  Let it sit in bag for 20 minutes.  Then I was ready to open it up.

Here’s where the trouble started.  The bag was stuck to the turkey.  As I pulled it away, all that glorious browned skin came off with it.  This has NEVER happened with Jennie-O.  My plans were to take the turkey in its all together state and carve it when we got ready to eat.  No.  That was not what happened.  I finally got the bag off and tried to lift the turkey onto the platter.  It fell to pieces.  The bones slide out and the turkey…she had no shape at all!  This has also NEVER happened with the Jennie-O.  I ended up having to use a large knife and tongs to get all the meat out of the pan.  It was not the vision of loveliness I expected to share with the family.  Instead, it was sliced as best as I could do.

Now the taste…it was good.  BUT.  Not as good as the Jennie-O.  There was not the same seasoned flavor that we all loved.  But, it was just fine, as far as turkeys go.  Everyone said it was good and they certainly ate it up and took leftovers home with them.

To sum up…the Butterball Roast in Bag was tasty, but the appearance was disappointing.  The Jennie-O Cook in Bag is both extra tasty and pretty to look at when done.  So, I will continue to search diligently for Jennie-O and hope to be reunited with her before next year…but if not, the Butterball is a fairly good second choice.

Hope your day was as special as ours was.  We laughed and talked and heard wild stories.  We prayed together and feasted together and then went over and decorated Pop’s house for Christmas.  A wonderful day filled with sweet memories.  God is so good!