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!




Thanksgiving 2018

What a great day!  We had lunch at Joy’s and per our tradition, went over and decorated Pop’s house for Christmas.  Not all our family was in attendance, but those of us who could, gathered together and made a wonderful day of it.  We missed you, Adam, Alex and Will.

So, here’s a few pics from our day…


We missed Mother…




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!



Oh! Me!  Oh! My!  Here it is, almost Thanksgiving, and I am all in a dither…or a tizzy…or bum fuddled!

If you keep up with me, you know my turkey experiences.  I have raved and raved to you about the fantastic, marvelous Jennie-O turkey that is oven ready and cooks in its own bag.  Easy as can be and that’s how I like it.  And not only easy…but delicious, too!

I have looked everywhere for my tried and true…best ever turkey, and I can not find it anywhere.  I even have a friend who has been keeping an eye out for me, too.  (Thanks, Em!)  But no luck.  I have even gone to their website to see if I could find out where they are available in our area…and they are NOT!  I even checked to see if I could have one shipped to me…they don’t do that.  (You know dry ice and all. ) Actually I was looking for two…Thanksgiving and Christmas, I am on turkey duty!

Well if that didn’t put a damper on my spirits.  Cause doing it the ‘old fashioned’ way is quite a chore for me.  But, that’s just me and my lack of culinary skills.

So, I find myself at Wal Mart last week and I asked about them.  The girl I asked said, “Yes, we have them, but they are in the back.  I’ll go get you one!”  “Make it two,” I said.  And she disappeared.  Friends, I might have done a little happy dance…I’m sure I was grinning!  The turkey fairy had smiled on me and I was going to get raves from the family on Thanksgiving Day…because you. can. not. mess that turkey up!  So, I waited and I waited and was beginning to think she had gotten stuck in the turkey freezer!

Out comes a man and asks me if I was looking for the turkeys in the bag.  I told him I was and he went over to one of the cases and pulled out a turkey.  It was NOT a Jennie-O.  It was a Butterball!    And, it was only a turkey breast.  I told him that I needed the whole turkey…and I was looking for MY brand.  He begins digging down into the bottom of that bin and he pulls out a turkey.  A Butterball!  In a Ready to cook bag.. just like the Jennie-O!  I took it and it looked very similar…so I asked him to dig one more time and get me another one.  And, he did.  The directions for this turkey are almost exactly like the other one.  No thawing…no washing…no slipping out of your hands and landing on the floor.  Just put in pan, and bake!

So, just to update you.  Can not find any of Ready to Cook in bag turkey by Jennie-O…but, found a similar looking Butterball.  I will try it on Thursday and report back to you.  Butterball usually has great turkeys…so we’ll see.  I have had four people contact me this year asking where to get one.   Sorry, folks.  but, for those in a bigger city, you may have better luck.  *****EDITED TO ADD*****A friend contacted me about a recall on some of Jennie-O products.  The list did not include whole turkeys.  So maybe that is why they are scarce.

When I am doing cooking things, I like to stay with the things I KNOW work well with my skill level.  But, I’m a brave girl and I can venture into new territory if I have to.  So wish me luck, and I’ll poll the family on Thanksgiving Day and let you know the verdict.

Hope your turkey (whatever the brand) is tasty and that your day is filled with such happiness that the memories will stay with you far into the future!  Happy Thanksgiving!


At breakfast this morning, Levi told me he was really sad. When I asked why, he said that he did not get to fill a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. His Mom took care of it for the family in the interest of time., and filled several boxes.  But, Levi wanted to do one himself. “I know what to do. You buy things the little boys would like and then you pack them nice and neat in the box and you fill out the paper and the church sends it on an airplane and the children all get new things! I do it every year.”
So, I told him that I would help him do one and we would get it to his church before time to send it off. He immediately went and got pen and paper to make his list. Handing it to me, he said, “Go to WM or Target and get these things. Be sure to get the right size. I can’t go with you, but I think you can do it!    Yes, Little Man, I think I can. Thank you for having a loving, sharing heart.
You, know, the way our little ones learn to be people who care about others and do for others is to be taught.  They may see us doing things for others and slowly understand what we are doing.  My own boys went with me to deliver Meals on Wheels for several years when they were small.  They enjoyed it and learned about the elderly and unfortunate in our community.  I also took my boys to the nursing home to visit quite often.  They learned to not be afraid of someone who is aged, but just to give them an chance to talk to someone..  They learned that whatever name they were called by to just act like that was right.
Find ways for your child to give back to others…share with them the needs in our community…and teach them that we are mandated by God to help the poor and needy.
Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ. The organization serves the Church worldwide to promote the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Operation Christmas Child is a non denominational effort to bring Christmas joy to children all over they world.  The boxes we pack go out to those in over 100 countries.
  Samaritan’s Purse also provides Crisis Response, Food and Water, medicines, and shelter.
The staff at Operation Christmas Child advise that these are the items most needed in the boxes…SCHOOL SUPPLIES… pencils, papers, crayons, coloring books, tape,   TOYS…( if it require batteries, send extra taped to toy)…MAKE YOUR OWN CRAFT KITS…       PERSONAL HYGIENE ITEMS items…toothbrush, soap, washcloth..no toothpaste or any liquid…       .CLOTHING ACCESSORIES..socks, underwear, shoe strings, flip flops, hair bows, elastics.  ALL NEW ITEMS…NO USED!
NO CANDY.  The least chosen group of children is boy…9-14, fyi.
I hope you get the chance to participate in this global project.  Be a part of sharing Christmas around the world. This is collect week, so hurry if you would like to participate.  I think almost all the Baptist Churches in town  take part, I don’t know about other denominations, but feel certain they do.  You are welcome to drop your box by any church office.  My church is Southside Baptist on Cottonwood Rd….signs lead to the office.  You are also asked to make a $9.00 donation to cover shipping.
For more info…www.samaritan’s purse.com………..Pinterest has many great ideas to share.
WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com