Last week, Levi came to stay with Don and me for the day.  We have missed having him here every week, as Suzanne is out of school.  Don cooked him his favorite, ‘Baconeggs’…one word…and toast and fruit.  They ate and then got busy.  First they had to fill the bird feeder.  Levi and I have 2 special birds that visit everyday…Mama and Daddy Redbird!  And, their food was getting low.



Then Pa let him ride his tricycle down the lane for a little bit…even though he (Levi) was still in his pajamas!  He didn’t mind!  We didn’t either…just don’t tell Suzanne!  🙂  I couldn’t walk with them…this FOOT!



After their workout, they decided to sit a spell and check the paper to see what was going on here in Dothan…not much.



Pa had to leave for work, and Levi wanted to ride some more.  But, first, he had to take a potty break and get on some cooler clothes.  Even at 9 AM it was very humid and sticky outside.  I pulled up the rocker so I could watch him, and put out his barricade.  Our driveway has a steep slope to it…and once he gets past a certain point…there is no stopping till he gets to the lane!  And, since I couldn’t go after him…I gave him a stopping point before he hit the slope.  Then I sat back and watched.  He had such fun filling up the back of his train…which he is really too big for now…but he loves it the best… with leaves and pinestraw and rocks and bringing them to me and making a little pile of the most interesting things.

Why are these long?  (pine straw)

They stick together.  They pull apart.

Why is that leaf yellow?  Why you have no red flower? (hydrangeas will have to do)

What is that sound?  (weed eater)  What is that?  (garbage truck)  I hear music.  (wind chimes)

Big rock…little rock…WHY?

Is the sky blue today? (no it is sort of gray)  Why?  (because it is hiding some rain)

Rain and thunder?  Storm?  (maybe just some rain today) Welcome to summertime in the South, my boy!

We get wet?  (No, we will not)…but maybe we would if I did not have this cast on my leg…one day we will)

Oh the delightful mind of a three year old!

 “Stand still and consider the works of God.”     Job 37:14


He made a few more trips and then stopped to rest awhile right by my chair…so I took the opportunity to snap a few pics.  He wasn’t really in a smiling mood…obviously all this nature play had started his mind rolling!  I did manage to catch a few poses that brought some thoughts to mind as I looked back over them…




A little boy is full of energy! What a joy that is! God has blessed him with a strong body and a strong will. It is important that he has plenty of time to run that energy off. Running and riding and playing and swinging and swimming…all so wonderful to build up his little body and mind to stay strong.



There is a great big wonderful world that God made for him to explore. We must teach him some of the things we can do to take care of it. Watering the flowers, feeding the birds and taking the time to marvel at the size and colors of the leaves and rocks!

“You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.”                 Nehemiah  9:6


We must also work on his interpersonal skills. Children need to be taught to be obedient. We say, “OBEY…RIGHT AWAY!” Now he and I do not always see eye to eye on what is acceptable and necessary. But, this is where we have to bring in a little discipline. Usually TIME OUT works really well! Adam and Suzanne do such a good job raising him. He loves to attend church and gets excited retelling the Bible stories. We always look for those ‘teachable moments’ to teach him about respect and good manners and politeness.

My personal philosophy is this…God made this fantastic, wonderful world for us all.  He put so many things in it for us to delight in.  I still discover new things everyday.  Wonderful and amazing things.  It even can be overwhelming to me when I think of all I don’t know and wish I did.  And, how do I even know what else I’d like to know?  Even at 61, I want to know and see all that I can.  I want to experience things I have only heard of!  (Well, not everything…but some sound amazing!)  So just imagine how a little one feels thrust into this same big, wonderful world!  They have to learn to navigate it as well.  It is so much easier when you take it a little at a time.  But they do not know that.  And, jump with boundless energy from one thing to the next…overloading all the circuits!  We must teach them to slow down…take time to really see…really feel.  We must teach them the ‘rules’ for the best path through this life.  We need to teach them how easily doors can open with the right words and actions.  And, how quickly they can close to those who don’t appreciate how precious are our hearts and minds and feelings.  We must tell them that it is OK to travel over the same path several times if we are happy there…but there are so many other paths that lead to equally wonderful times.  How sad to not at least try.

(Like asparagus and beets…I tried them both.  And now I know I NEVER want to go down that path to their garden again…ever!  I will stay with my friends broccoli and fresh corn and sweet Slocomb tomatoes).



Isn’t it amazing how we, as grandparents, have so much more patience than when we were raising our own?  I guess that is what is meant by all the things I hear people say about being grandparents…’you really haven’t known of love til you have a grandchild.’  Of course it’s the children…they are so adorable.   But so were yours and mine.  I think we enjoy them so much because we have time to be quiet and watch and discuss and explore.  And, wisdom!  We have so much more of it now, don’t we?  We can give them that most valuable commodity…time.

I find myself thinking back to when we were raising our 3 boys.  Oh how I wish I had taken more time in some areas.  Life gets so full and unexpected sometimes that the best you can do is just ‘get through it’.  But, I don’t think that’s what God intends.  How sad we come to this realization later than sooner.

 “Let us be concerned with one another in order to promote love and good deeds.”     Hebrews 10:24




“Thank you God for this precious boy…and all the precious grandchildren those of us ‘of a certain age’  are blessed to love and guide and enjoy.  Thank you that we can play ‘Follow the Leader’ with them to some wonderful discoveries.  And, how blessed we are to watch them make others all on their own.  I, for one, continue to take your command to ‘train them up’ as a necessary part of my job as a Lulu.  And, I am so grateful for this precious gift you have placed in our lives.”

“Grandchildren are the crown of the aged…”  Proverbs 17:6



And, aren’t crowns just the most delightful of accessories?






I posted this pic on FB a little while ago…..OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


I was really just trying to be funny.  And, now I feel guilty.  Because this is a wonderful, day!  My neice, Lori, and Suzanne and Levi all came to swim this morning.  I went outside to sit and watch for a while.  I love seeing Sweet Levi practicing his swimming and getting braver and more confident in the water.  To our surprise, Alex came out and said he wanted to get in for a while.

Those of you who know us know that this is a rare treat!  Usually he is not even well enough to get out of bed.  But, God granted us a beautiful day…blue sky, white clouds, little breeze…and He granted Alex the strength to enjoy it!  You can not even imagine how it makes my heart fill with joy to see him able to enjoy himself for a little while.  Of course, his buddy, Finn, will not leave his side…even if he is in the middle of the pool!  So, here comes Finn, too!  It is amazing how he never takes his gaze from Alex’s face!





Lori helped him get in and down into the water, but once in…the limitations are gone!  He can move freely and without falling.  The bouyancy of the water supports him and he can swim and float and play.  Just enjoy the day!

Since I was only a ‘watcher’ today, I had brought my camera out with me to snap some pics.  Now, me and technology…even cameras…do not go well together.  This was my newest camera that I got when an unfortunate ‘accident’ happened to my last one at the beach.   When that occurred, Adam went with me to get another one.  He picked this one out and said that I would like it, because, ‘it would not break if dropped and would not die if it got wet’.    But, here’s the thing.  Every camera I have ever had immediately died when it was dropped…whether on a tile floor, a dirt and rock driveway, a sand dune, or a hardwood floor…or into a dishpan of water.  I have had much experience with cameras.

But, Alex, seeing the camera, and being in the water, said “Give me the camera, and I’ll make some pics of Levi under the water.”  (Well, he might as well have said, “Why don’tcha just throw your camara up against that brick wall?”)  “Oh, I don’t think that’s a good idea, Alex”, I countered.  “Mother, I told you it was water proof!  Besides, this is the most’ Tonja-proof’ camera Adam could find!”, he said.  “OK…but it’s coming out of your pocket if it drowns!”, I told him.

And, I hobbled and staggered over to the pool and handed it to him.  I cringed and closed my eyes and said a quick prayer….and wonder if I had totally lost all the good sense I once had. He snapped pics, and they played and Levi swam and Suzanne and Lori  and Alex and Levi laughed.  Finn would dive for toys and Levi tried to wash off his spots!   It was pure joy!  What a blessing for me to just sit and take it all in!  God is so good, friends.  Days can get weary and hard and unhappy things can happen.  But, right in the midst of it all…God comes in and just throws a big ball of HAPPY into the mix and things are seen in a much better perspective!

And, on top of that…Alex made some great pics…UNDERWATER!!!!


















Then, my sweet boy, Adam, graciously gave me some time on his day off to come over and get Finn to the Vet for me.  He was past due his shots and meds, and needed a good pedicure!  It is hard for me to get him there on a good day…but with this cast…would never happen!  Another blessing on this day.  Thank you, Adam for blessing me with your time and strength today.





When you encounter the everyday, the ordinary, the annoying…do you see it for what your eye beholds quickly?  Or do you stop and take in the glorious wonder that is the natural world?  Perhaps these few pictures will show you a different way of seeing this mundane little weed we yank out with a vengence and toss in the trash pile.





























If you truly look…




Oct 26, 2013…….Part 3 of a story in 3 parts


A photo of all the helpers!  (Tina D, Joy, Tonja, Shirl, Patty…minus Suzanne, who was wrangling Levi)


0891 copy


2:00…..Adam began pictures of the Bride and Groom and Jackson…(All the photos were made on the wooden bridge on the road where I live…just 2 doors down.  The remainder are in my backyard)


0539 copy


0574 copy


0618 copy


0709 copy

0797 copy



4:30  All the troops were back, everyone was taking care of the last minute things they saw.  Time for family pics.  Adam set up camera.  Don didn’t like the background, so Adam moved it.  Someone else didn’t like that. Adam was very patient, but finally he put it where he wanted it and we all got in place.  SMILE!   He had to do them quick before Levi jumped again! We managed to get one or two where everyone was looking in the right direction!.  Then the individuals.  Then a few that I wanted.  And, that’s it!  Adam said we were finished!


0816 copy


0841 copy




5:30…time for food… it should have already been delivered.   All guests were arriving and people were milling around and visiting.  Shirl and Tina D lit all the zillion candles, as dark began to descend.  The minister arrived.  The food still is not here.  Don called the caterer.  No answer.  Must be on their way.  Whew!  Tina and Shirl began to lead everyone to their seats, and the food is not here.  Don was still on the phone.  No answer.  Bro. Billy, our minister, was in the other room with Tina and Ian and Jackson.  Everyone was seated.  They say I have to sit down now!   And, still. no. food. “Lord, what am I going to do?  All the food we have is what Suzanne prepared and some crackers and dip that I prepared.  That and a can of nuts.  You know all about it.  Help!  Fix it for me, Lord.  I want this to be perfect and now it is falling to pieces!  Help me, please!”  I went and sat down with Don.



0940 copy


6:00…Brother Billy and Ian walked out the side door and got in place.  And, then came beautiful Tina in her gorgeous dress with sweet Jackson holding her hand.  She walked to stand by Ian and Jackson sat in my lap.  Here we go!




Patty went to join Billy to sing a song that I felt would start the evening off and set the mood for the service….”Surely the Presence”

“Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.

I can feel His mighty power and His grace.

I can feel the brush of angel wings, I see glory on each face.

Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.”

And friends, even though I intended this to be a duet…everyone there joined in and by the time we sang the words through a second time, there was no doubt the angels were circling round and God, himself, was right in our midst!  I was covered in goose bumps, but not from the cold.  From the fact that with much help from many friends, we had created a little chapel right here on my porch!


Lights twinkling in the trees, with their tall, tall branches silhouetted against a purple sky…candles surrounding the little area and flickering their little wicks…a fire gently burning in the background behind the minister with the coals already beginning to glow a festive orange and red.  And, Ian and Tina standing , surrounded by friends who have loved us and cared for us, and gone through life with us, supporting them with their love.  It was perfect.  It was just the way I wanted everyone to feel…. warm and peaceful and happy…. and they did.  And I did.  And Ian and Tina did.

0953 copy   0927 copy


The “I Do’s” were said.  And the vows were spoken.  The promises were made and the rings were exchanged.  And the kiss.  Then the pronouncement…Mr and Mrs. Ian David Owens.  And, it was done. They made their way back into the den and I stood up to give further instructions.  I had nothing prepared to say, but I had called on God earlier, so He took over.  I reminded them, as they sat there, that they were invited specifically because of who they were and what they meant to us and that they were an extension of our family.  And, then I told them that since they were family, I felt like they would forgive us for not having more food…because the caterer NEVER SHOWED UP!  So, we would put out what we had and share it and please know that we planned on having a much bigger meal. Suzanne and Joy and Otelida took the extra plates off the table and we replaced them with 2 of everything we had and we had plenty!  Everyone ate and ate and ate.  And then there was cake!  So, it turned out OK…and everyone understood….and we saved a ton of money that would have gone to the caterer!  There’s always something to be grateful for! :).  But, I’ll never use them again…for anything…ever.  (Edited to add:  When Don finally did get in touch with the owner, the excuse they gave was flimsy and not at all acceptable.)  Oh! Well!  Live and learn!  And, besides, it makes for a great story!


1065 copy 2

We cut the cake and the bride and groom tasted it!  Ian had a few words to say of appreciation and thanks to Don and I and the gathered friends.  Then, to the shock of a few…Shirl started singing (to the tune of “Going To The Chapel”)  “Going to the Creekhouse and we’re gonna get ma-a-a-rried”  I joined in “Going to the Creekhouse and we’re gonna get ma-a-a-rried…”  Joy and Patty and Tina come in with harmony…“Going to the Creekhouse and we’re gonna get ma-a-a-ried…Going to the Creekhouse of Love. Whoa-whoa-whoa… Fa-all is here, The-uh-uh sta-ars will shine. Whoa-whoa-whoa… I’ll be his And he’ll be mine! We’ll love until the end of time, And we’ll never be lonely anymore! Because we’re going to the Creekhouse, And we’re   gonna to get ma-a-a-rried. Going to the Creekhouse, And we’re  gonna get ma-a-a-rried. Gee, I really love you and we’re   gonna get ma-a-a-rried. Going to the Creekhouse of Love … Whoa-a-whoa-a-whoa-whoa Going to the Creekhouse of Love …Whoa-a-whoa-a-whoa-whoa Going to the Creekhouse of Love! And, I tell you, everyone in the room was singing and clapping the beats of the song and having a great time, serenading the newlyweds!  It was the best!  And, I am so glad we did it!  Our little flash mob at the wedding!  (Corny, for sure, but memorable!  And, I don’t think we embarrassed the younger folks too much!)


0996 copy     1020 copy


So much fun! So much love in the room.


1122 copy

1100 copy


The cousins…Ian, Lori, Alex, Tara, Adam

1146 copy


Everyone visited with each other and caught up on all the news.  But, slowly, it became time for folks to leave and they began to drift away.  First one and then another and another until the only ones left were Don and I, Ian and Tina and Patty and Mike.  I insisted that Joy and Suzanne leave.  They did a lot before they left, but we finished up the rest.  Don was leaving the next morning for a trip to California for the week and I knew that I was going to be sacked out for a day or two…or three.  Mike offered to take all the rentals back, which saved me from loading and returning them.  That was wonderful!  And Otelida washed the last dish.  And we were done.  She and Yazzmine, her granddaughter, left.  Ian and Tina were getting Jackson settled. He was going to stay with us while they went to a quaint little B&B in a neighboring town for the night.    Jackson was on my daybed, watching cartoons.  I got on the couch.  Don and Adam and Alex were watching a ballgame.  When that was over, Alex came and got in the bed with Jackson, because he had promised he would stay right with him all night.  And he did. Good night!  I’m too tired to even dream. Don left early the next morning, and Jackson and Alex and I had breakfast.  He played and watched TV till Ian and Tina came back around noon.  They opened some gifts and said their goodbyes and headed off to Birmingham to begin their lives together!    And, I climbed into bed! It was wonderful!  It was fun!  It was nerve-wracking!  It was blessed!  I am so thankful Ian and Tina decided  to come here and have their wedding.  It popped up out of the blue, but that’s OK.  Surprises are wonderful!  My hope is that when they look back on this night, in years to come…they will remember it as warm and cozy, glowing with good wishes and happiness…and filled with love for those they love and who love them. We felt that God was in our midst and that He blessed their marriage. I was reminded later, as I  pondered the events…we can plan and work and plan and work…and it still may not go according to our plans.  And, so what?  Isn’t life best when the unexpected pops up to surprise us?  That’s when we are our best, really.  Because it’s then that we lean on family and friends and God, most of all.  That’s when we work together and even out the rough spots and laugh about the rest!   “It was a perfect weekend!

“GOD HAS GIVEN US THESE TIMES OF JOY!”  Nehemiah 12:43  To Him go all the thanks and honor and glory!

0623 copy







Spring! How beautiful is the

Spring! How wonderful is the


Spring! How majestic is the

Spring! How fantastic is the

Spring! How tantalizing is the

Spring! How glorious is the

Spring! How melodious is the

Spring! How joyful is the

Spring! How breathtaking is the

Spring! How uplifting is the

Spring! How happy is the

Spring! How magnificent is the

Spring! How colorful is the

Spring! How tasteful is the

Spring! How memorable is the

Spring! How flavorful is the

Spring! How aromatic is the

Spring! How sweet is

Spring! How beautiful is the


Poem by Alex Fisher………Fish caught and proudly displayed by John Thomas Bush……….Spring, the world, and everything in it, created by God.


No words are really necessary for this post.  Just seeing Adam and Levi playing, loving one another and creating beautiful memories is enough to lift me to the heights!  These faces are filed with pure joy!   Love these boys!







                       Adam, please forgive me.  I didn’t ask you first, but this pic deserves to be seen!