Wednesday, February 28, 2007

This Bugs Me...# 1

I've heard it said that it helps to "talk about what's bugging you". And it's "best to get it all out in the open". Well,I have decided that I am going to try it...I'm going to 'talk' about some of the things that make me mad (as in crazy).

First, let's talk about gum. Now I love a good wad of gum as much as anyone...and I certainly would never want to infringe upon your right to exercise your jaws on that delectable goo. However, I do not want to hear about it. Your gum is your business. And I have no right to know about it. Just keep your mouth shut. When you smack your gum, it is just gross. I don't want to hear you eating your food and I don't want to hear you chew your gum. We teach our kids to "chew with your mouth closed", but gum doesn't seem to count. Well, here's news for you: it does count! And popping your gum.....totally inappropriate. It seems everywhere you go there is someone having a popping party in their mouth. And I think they don't even realize it. I think they are totally oblivious to the fact that they are annoying the goodness out of others. It IS possible to chew gum without popping it incessantly. Popping does not make the flavor last longer or delay the inevitable hardening of your sticky treat. I tend to think those who "smack" and "pop" in public have no other talents and just want others to know they can master some task. Do I sound mad? I am. The worst is when you are in a quiet meeting or even church and you hear that "pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop...". If you MUST pop...please do it in the privacy of your own home and don't cause the rest of the good mannered public to go insane.
Thank you very much.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Spring is Coming

Originally uploaded by Perfection Photography.
"Look around you. Winter is over;
the winter rains are over--gone!
Spring flowers are in blossom all over,
The whole world's a choir--and singing!
Song of Songs 2:11,12
The Message Bible

Monday, February 26, 2007


Originally uploaded by Tonja Owens.
"A friend is someone who knows you and loves you anyway." How true this is. These are the girls who know more about me than I know about myself,probably. Meet Tina (L) and Shirley (R). How the Lord blessed me when He brought these women into my life. We have been friends for many years and it began at church. Shirley and Tina attended another church in our town, but began visiting my church, soon joined and began serving the Lord there. When the three of us ended up on a bus going to Nashville for a Ladies Mission Trip, we realized how much we had in common. We quickly made plans to host our own neighborhood craft show, and our adventures have only gotten better and better. Oh, the fun we have had together. A few years after we became friends, Shirley went through a divorce (through no fault of her own.) We helped her move out of the family home...she has 2 wonderful daughters...into a smaller place . Then, our friend Tina, had a great idea. Her brother-in-law was not married and she introduced them. Sparks flew, I tell you. They quickly became enamored with each other and soon we were all planning a wedding. Bobby had 2 sons by a previous marriage, and the 4 kids became "family" with no problem. Now Tina has a daughter, Amy,(a hairdresser extrordinaire) who was already cousins of the boys and now added the 2 girls. So, they were becoming 1 big happy family. There was just 1 hitch in the whole plan...Bobby was not a Christian. But with the witness of this Christian family, he soon accepted the Lord as his Saviour. They married and went on their honeymoon and when they came back.........OH! SADNESS!.......he moved her to his home in GA. I liked him fine...up until then. How dare he mess up our tight little friendship. However, life never stays the same, does it? It is always changing and that's the way we grow and learn. Thankfully, it was not too far away. Now this arrangement meant that Shirley and Tina were sisters-in-law, and their children were now cousins. How cool is that? But if they thought I was going to feel jealous....well, no sirree! See, I already loved their 3 girls. Having 3 sons, I missed out on some of the girlie things and I loved being around Jolie, Jayna, and Amy. And since I claimed them as neices in my heart...I just
decided that I would be Shirley and Tina's friend-in-law and that would be that. Shirley went back to teaching (Spanish) at the High School there, and quickly made new friends. She was even selected Teacher of the Year. But...Bless God...our friendship is as strong as ever. We may not see each other as often...but when we's like she never left. And they say "the road to a friends house is never long"....and this is true. So, Tina and I continue with our friendship and see each other and talk and make plans. Tina is a 'get-it-done' kind of girl, and I am so not. Oh, I have good intentions, BUT...I somehow manage to get sidetracked and I don't follow through. Tina helps me stay focused. There's not many people who I will let get away with telling me what to do....but I KNOW her words are true and right and necessary. Tina is a planner and an organizer. I am a "do it if I'm so inclined at the moment " kind of girl. So when I have something that really needs to be taken care of....I rely on her. She keeps me going in the right direction...and doesn't let me take too many breaks along the way. :) She is also one of the strongest Christian women I know. When I have questions, I trust her answers....she is so wise to the ways of the Lord. We are fortunate to have understanding husbands who realize that this sisterhood is a very important part of our lives and they accept that. We take 2 or 3 trips together a year, usually within driving distance, and spend 3 days shopping, talking, shopping, eating, shopping, laughing, shopping get the picture. Now we can flat do some shopping. And the amazing thing is...we have such similar tastes that anyone of us could go in a store and pick out anything for the other and it would be perfect. We just like the same things, and we shop at the same pace. Stopping just when we need fuel to keep going. I think it's called POWER SHOPPING. We call it RETAIL THERAPY. And it is. Of course, when the day ends...we have to bring all our treasures into the motel room and go through the bags and try on and show off and all that stuff. Then, we consolidate our purchases into smaller order to make room for the next day's hunt. FUN! FUN! FUN!
Shirley is an inspirational speaker who travels around the south speaking at banquets, or seminars, or any special occasions. I will add her web page to my links for you. She is excellent. A dynamic, and inspiring speaker. Tina is a financial assisstant with a firm here in our city. She is so smart about numbers and taxes and stocks and bonds and all that stuff. I can't even keep my own checkbook balanced. She and I had a little business last year, we would scout out flea markets and redo furniture, along with rustic and primitive accessories. What a blast! But, I stayed away from the books...all I did was sign when she said to. And although I trained as I nurse...I work as a kindergarten music teacher and try to keep my creative juices flowing with various crafting projects.
Once when we were away on a trip, Shirley brought along a personality profile test. We all took it, and the results were right on track. Shirley is the TALKER...she can talk to anyone about anything,and is also fluent in Spanish. Tina is the THINKER, she likes to study and learn and she puts much thought into the areas of her life. And I am the DOER. I love to try new things...there are just so many possibilities in life...and I want to try them all.
We have a special trip coming up in June. We are going to Hawaii!!
We are as excited as three little girls waiting for Christmas. What an adventure awaits us! I'll talk more about that when it gets closer. But,
the most important thing we sister-friends do is pray together. It fills me with such joy to know they are calling my name to the Lord as I am theirs. How sweet a friendship is when the Lord is in the center of it

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Acting Your Age

Tonight is the Oscar Telecast, and this year it is not just a race of size 2,twenty-something, designer dolls. In the best actress category, there are 3 "older women." Meryl Streep is 57, Helen Mirren is 61, and Dame Judi Dench is 72. How nice it is that the "powers that be" are recognizing women of all ages. (There is even a 10 year old up for Best Supporting Actress. Abigail Bresslin was the little girl in Little Miss Sunshine, an excellent movie. I very rarely laugh out loud...but I did in this movie.) Oh well, I digress. It will be interesting to see what the "mature women" will be wearing tonight. They have all looked very age appropriate in the past few awards shows this season. Don't you just hate it when a woman refuses to dress her age? I think it is fun to stay up with the trends---to a degree, but at some point it starts looking silly. I think you should be proud of the age you are....I mean considering the alternative. But, back to the Oscars...let's enjoy watching tonight as these 3 are highlighted. Hooray for the women who have "gathered" years, experience and wisdom. We are all winners!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Best Dog Ever

Originally uploaded by Tonja Owens.
Here is a picture of our dog, Scooter, a Fox Terrier. He is larger than any other fox terrier we have ever seen, but we love him just the same. He is a vigilant watchdog and no one moves anywhere around our house without us knowing all about it. He is fiercely protective of my son, Alex. And,as Alex is homebound, this gives me great peace of mind. I've often heard the quote about being half the person my dog thinks I am...and I really feel that way about him. He is always greeting me at the door and so excited to see me. I don't get that from anyone else. If you have a know just what I mean. Scooter has been a gift from God to our family. He's 10 years old now ,but still loves to play "pull the sock" with anyone so inclined. His other favorite game is "try to get this bone away from me." But it's no fun....he ALWAYS wins that one!

Update on Pop

Pop went back to have a colonoscopy this week to see whether he was healed enough to have the colostomy repaired. Praise the Lord! Everything looks great! Now, Pop would have liked for them to go ahead and just wheel him into the OR right then. But the Dr.wants to give it a little more time. So, as of now, surgery is scheduled for March 27. If you talk to Pop, he can tell you exactly how many days, hours and minutes that is. God has walked with us through this whole episode and we will continue to let Him lead. Thanks be to God for his healing powers. Now, if Pop can just be patient.......

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Good Read

Reading is a joy to me. There are few things better than going to the bookstore, perusing the titles, and picking out a new adventure between the covers of a book. A bookstore is a most exciting place to visit. It is so inspiring to walk down the aisles and think of all the information that is encased on either side. Just think, you can find out about anything you want to know or do in a book. I think it is a blessing we sometimes take for granted. So much knowledge and wisdom is available to us just for the taking. Well, pay first if you are in a book store. But, there is also the it can be free, too!
Of course, I know we have the internet now, but, there's nothing to compare to opening up a book and getting lost in its pages.
Today, I recommend a book to all you mid-life women. "I Feel Bad About My Neck, and other thoughts on being a woman" by Nora Ephron. It is a delight. For those of us who have seen a bit of life and lived to tell about it, her stories will ring true. She has the nerve to say out loud what we all think. You read it, and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A Quote To Ponder

"You do not HAVE a soul. You ARE a soul. You HAVE a body."


Gathering Girl

I have a condition. Some may not understand it (I know some who don't), but some appreciate it (I know some who do). I am a collector. I love to gather things together...hence the title of my blog...GATHERINGS. When I find something that intrigues me or captures my interests...I want to own as many variations of it as possible. Yes, this can be expensive...but I have learned to be more discriminating in my choices, so as to gather only the best examples. My interests are varied. I collect snowmen (and snow women), primitive angels, birds, stone or rock hearts, and my favorites, sheep and nativity sets. I'm sure I'm leaving some out...but I will add them later. So, in my blog, I will share with you some of my collections. Since I am so burdened by all this cold weather, I will share my snow people today. I have a few packed away, but here are the most recent additions to my collection. Some were gifts from friends who share my passions. Aren't these just the cutest?
Hope you enjoy the eye candy. And I hope I can pack these away soon and bring out my spring decor.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Originally uploaded by Tonja Owens.

Originally uploaded by Tonja Owens.

Originally uploaded by Tonja Owens.

Originally uploaded by Tonja Owens.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


Originally uploaded by idowens.
"Be still, and know that I am God."
Psalms 46:10

Saturday, February 17, 2007

No Snow...Just Cold

Originally uploaded by Tonja Owens.
I know it's a snowman...and we don't have snow here...but somehow , he just looks appropriate. It is coooooold here. And it has been for too long. I'm ready for

That's all.....I'm going to get under the electric blanket.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Fabulous Food

Originally uploaded by Tonja Owens.
On our trip to Birmingham last weekend, we got to spend some time with our youngest son,Ian. He is in grad. school. He invited us for dinner one night...and this is what he served. We were pleasantly surprised. It is N.Y. strip and grilled salmon on tossed blue cheese salad accompanied by grilled peaches in rosemary oil. WOW! He is 23 and has found out he has quite a flair for cooking. Now, I have to be honest...he never got a meal like that from me when he lived at home. Somehow, I was born without the "cooking" gene. Cooking happens to be my least favorite thing to do. My mom and my sister are excellent was my MIL...but none of it has rubbed off on me. I can pull off a good meal if necessary...but it is not of my list of fun things to do. However, Ian is having a blast learning new cooking skills and his roommate doesn't mind testing out his new creations. Needless to say...we are very proud of him...not just in this...but in so many ways. Thanks, Ian, for a wonderful visit.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Forgotten House

Originally uploaded by Tonja Owens.
Isn't this just the most unique old house? It is on Hwy. 231 between Troy and Montgomery, AL. I've watched it deteriorate over 30 years. It has been a sort of landmark to our family as we travel back and forth to Birmingham. Last year, my son Adam, the photographer, stopped and made a picture of it and had it printed and framed for me for Christmas. It is a treasure. I wonder who lived there and what their lives were like. I would like to have a studio built just like this in my back yard. A little haven. I would have the only key and visitation would be by invitation only!

Shopping Woes

I went to Birmingham with Don over the weekend. While he was in meetings, I went shopping. Now, Birmingham is one of my favorite places to shop...but not on this trip. I went to several of the malls and also some specialty shops...and I was not a happy shopper, willing to part with my hard earned money to look cute and stylish. Who are the buyers for these large department stores? Obviously, they take kids right out of college, stick thin, and oblivious to the fact that there are middle-aged women who are bigger than a size 4. Where are we to shop for clothes that are current and stylish, not cut down to there, or UP to there? Most of the clothes that are the NEWEST styles...I wore years ago in high school and college. Remember the baby doll dresses, and the Pucci prints? The stores are full of them. Now, I can tell you this...this 53 year young lady will not wear a baby doll dress. Oh, they do have those old lady clothes, to be fair. You know the polyester pants with the long tops and the denim embroidered with cute butterflies and flowers. You know the ones I'm talking about...the ones that look so good with the Easy Spirit shoe. There is one shop in Birmingham that I love to shop in and thank goodness, THEY had things age appropriate and still very stylish. This shop is in Mountain Brook and it is delightful. It is called White Flowers. All the clothes are white or pale gray with black prints. All cotton and sooooo comfortable. And that will be my wardrobe until my next shopping trip. Maybe the other stores will have a better selection by then. If not, there's nothing like new shoes or new purse or new jewelry to update an outfit from last year. Right?

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Time Away

I am leaving tomorrow to go to Birmingham with Don. He has a hospital board convention to attend. So, I'm going along to do a little shopping, and a little resting.[or a LOT of shopping and a LITTLE rest]. I will also get to spend some time with my son, Ian, who is in grad school at Samford. So, good-bye for a few days...will see you on Sunday.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

My Favorite Poem

I read this poem for the first time 30 years ago in my obstetricians office. He had a poster on the wall next to the exam table . I guess that's a good place to put inspirational literature. You can't do much else but read it as you are sitting on THAT table, naked except for that so lovely paper gown. You've been there, too. I somehow managed to end up in the same exam room many more times over the next 10 years. The poster, of a very pregnant woman, standing in a field of flowers with a little girl kissing her tummy, became faded and torn. Eventually, they took it down. By then, I had memorized the poem and learned to appreciate the words and their validity. But, as time passes, and other things crowd our brains, little things like poems fall by the wayside. I could always remember bits of it...but never the complete verse.
Then, last year, on a trip to Atlanta...I happened to stop in at a World Market. Don't you just love to read some of the crazy cards they have available now? I can pass quite some time reading the clever sayings and looking at the silly pictures. As I was walking away...this card, on the next aisle jumped out at me. It was just a plain white card with the verse on the front. Not flashy or bold...just a quiet testimony to the peace and grace of God. Of all places for me to find MY poem. But there it was, and as I took it down and read it, all the words came right back to me. I bought all they I am the world's worst scatterbrain. I can put things away in a safe place, and they stay safe allright...cause I forget where they are. And, as I am continuing on my life path, I forget even more things now. But that's o.k. I think of it as planning little surprises for myself. I'll be looking for something totally unrelated, and there will pop up the most amazing things. But, back to the card... I know where one of them is because I have it posted on my bathroom mirror, so I see it every morning and night. I know for sure that God placed me in that exam room with that poster for a purpose. Those were words I would need to remember as a young mother raising my 3 boys. And, I'm just as sure God led me to find it again in Atlanta. Isn't it wonderful how he directs our paths when we let him..I wonder how many blessings I've missed...just by not looking or by being too busy. So, here it is. I hope you can find the truth in these lines, as I have.

God has not promised
skies always blue,
flower-strewn pathways
all our lives through;
God has not promised
sun without rain,
joy without sorrow,
peace without pain.

But, God has promised
strength for the day,
rest for the labor,
light for the way,
Grace for the trials,
help from above,
unfailing sympathy'
undying love.


Sunday, February 4, 2007

Stay Well

According to The International Journal of Environmental Health, these are the top 5 bacteria magnets:
5. Chair armrests in public places
4. Shopping cart handles
3. Public restroom surfaces
2. Bus armrests and rails
1. Playground equipment

Scary , isn't it? Keep those anti-bacteria wipes and hand sanitizers handy.
FYI: another tip from this article...never put food items in the child seat area of a shopping cart.
This is where the diapers have been! [I've done that so many times...but no more.]

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Pop's News

Pop had his doctor visit yesterday and he didn't get the news he wanted. However, it is not at all bad. The doctor was very pleased with his progress. He is healing well, and regaining his strength very nicely. They want to do a colonoscopy in a few weeks to see if everything has healed well, and if so...they will schedule him for surgery to reverse the colostomy. So, a few more weeks of waiting. In the grand scheme of things...this is minor. Pop was a little disappointed, but he knows there is wisdom in waiting. As I told Pop when he told me the news, the night you were in the emergency room and the doctor came in to explain everything to us...we had prayer with the doctor and asked God to give him wisdom to do what was needed and to guide his hands during the surgery. We must trust that God is still answering that prayer, and still guiding the doctor. God IS in control.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Pop Goes To The Doctor

Tomorrow, Pop, my dad, goes back to the Doctor. For the past month, he could tell you how many days, hours and seconds it was until the big day. Now, he usually is not so excited to see the doctor...but he has a special reason this time. 6 months ago , Pop had a ruptured colon and came close to leaving this world. The doctors fixed him up, but he was left with a colostomy to deal with. Now,we were all so thankful to God for sparing him...but he was not at all happy with this new addition to his body. We are a very close family, all living in the same town. We have faced some severe health issues both in the past and now, so we were able to accept this and do what was necessary to get him better. As he began to get better, we had to learn to deal with the colostomy and all that goes with it. Not a problem. Mom, myself, and my oldest son, Adam, all went through the training so we would know what to do. However, Adam decided that Pop's colostomy care was to be HIS responsibility. And so it has been. He has arrived at Pop's house as needed to help him shower, change all the paraphanelia, and get settled. I must say, this has filled my heart with joy. I'm so proud of him. As are Pop and Mom. Pop was able to begin to do some of the care himself, and now he doesn't need Adam as much...but Adam is always available on a minutes notice. What sweet memories for a grandfather and grandson. You know, God has a way of sending us little blessings in the midst of suffering and hardships. Well, Pop is 80, and a very active man. He has been a motorcycle rider all his life and still rode up until this surgery. He is raring to go now and get back to his life. So when he goes to the doctor tomorrow, he will find out if he has healed enough for them to reverse the colostomy. This is the true desire of his heart and the rest of the family, as well. He will be so disappointed if the doctor is not ready yet. My prayer is that God will continue the healing process and guide the doctor to make the wisest decision. If that is to do the revearsal...great. But, if it is to wait a little be it. We'll deal with that and whatever is to come. I know, and Pop knows, too, that God's timing is perfect . It has always proven to be so in the lives of this family and will continue to be so. So, let the countdown begin....we're ready.