Monday, August 31, 2009


Of course, it would be impossible for us to drive straight home. Not when there is wonderful shopping about halfway. We really were looking for something we made a quick stop at TJXX. Here I had a most interesting encounter.

I was standing next to the books, and a woman started talking to me. I have never seen her before in my life...but obviously, she knew me, and my excellent shopping reputation.

Lady...Do you think this will look good in Dayron's room? (I'm only guessing at the spelling. It could be Da'ron or DayRon or Dearon) I just don't know .
Tonja..Excuse me?

Lady...I was thinking about getting this for Dayron. Do you think it will match?

Tonja..Well, I'm not real sure.

Lady...You know how Dayron is...

Tonja..Well, is Dayron a girl or a boy? (Honest! I did not know.)

Lady...(Laughing,) Well, of course she's a girl! You know that. You've known her all
her life!

Tonja..(Laughing)...Just Kidding. What would she use it for? ( Now this was one of
travel aids that has all the little pockets in it, with a clothes hanger at
the top. It's for toiletries, and is to hang in the bathroom.)

Lady...I was thinking she could put all her hairbows and stuff in it and we could
hang it on the wall.

Tonja..Well, I think Dayron would love it! It will look really good in her room,
too! Great idea.

And I moved along down the aisle cause I was in a hurry.

Lady...Well, what about this? (She held up a bag of some sort with a big initial 'M' on

Tonja..Is one of her initials 'M'?

Lady...Now, you know it's not! Silly!

Tonja..Yeah, just kidding again!

Lady...But, it is her Mother's I thought it might just do.

Tonja..Maybe you should buy it for her Mother then.

Lady...No, it's for Dayron.

Tonja..Then, I just don't think it's a good idea. You know how girls are at that age! (What age would that be?

Lady..I just think I may get it anyway, maybe Mama can change it to a 'D'.

Tonja..That's right, I bet she can. Then get it...good idea.

Lady...(Throwing it back on the counter and walking away in disgust) I ain't getting that piece of trash! You can have it!

And, she turned and walked away without saying good bye to me. And, I felt really hurt. I mean we had somehow managed to bond right there in TJXX. She even told me about Dayron or Da'ron or Daeron"s mother and all. I found it hard to just let go like abruptly. So, I walked over to the nest aisle and said to her:

Tonja: You be sure to tell Dayron I said "Hi" now, ya hear?

Ah! Closure!!

And Joy and I quickly exited the store...knowing for sure and certain that I had just walked out of...The Twilight Zone!

I should have made her picture to put in the dictionary next to the word 'CRAZY' !!

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Our trip to Birmingham was full of things that fed our souls:

Beautiful flowers and plants...

Wonderful stores to tempt our credit cards...

Enjoying the colors and decor as the seasons begin to change... maybe it wasn't just our souls getting fed...

A visit with a son and a nephew...

Watching the wildlife along the busy highway !!??!!

Playing with the merchandise in the stores...

She always copies me!!! :)...

Admiring the beautiful sunset as we travelled back to our motel...

This did NOT feed our souls or give us reason to smile. Our keys would not work...someone let us into the first door, but when we made it up to the room with our 'spoils of the day' wouldn't work there either. So we called the desk, and waited until they keyed a new card and brought it up to us. We were too tired to go back down and get it. And, as you can see, I was too tired even to stand! PLUS, our cheesecake was getting hot!!!

On the way back to Dothan, we stopped at a wonderful fruit and produce market. Everything was so fresh and yummy looking. I bought peaches, fresh peas (already shelled), little red new potatoes,and fresh tomatoes.

They even have a store inside that sells fresh, home made ice cream.

As we entered the Dothan City limits, Joy said,"LOOK!" And there was the most beautiful rainbow. The sky was still dark from the rain that had been falling, and the clouds were heavy. This was one of the few rainbows that I have actually seen in a complete arc. It went in and out of the clouds, but it was easy to see the arc.

Joy said it was a perfect ending to our trip. And, indeed it was. I always remember what I have taught children for years and years...'a rainbow is a sign that God always keeps His promises'. And, He does. He promises that we will be comforted. He promises that we will have peace. He promises that after grief, we will laugh again. He promises to guide us, to teach us, and to give us rest. He does this and so much more. I am not a great Bible scholar, but I know what I know. And, as sure as I am sitting on my couch writing to you now, I KNOW He will keep His promises. I would stake my life on it...and in fact, I have. Because He promises He will take us to live with Him in Heaven if we make Him Lord of our life and accept Him as our Savior. My Mom believed it, my sister believes it, and so do I.
EDITED TO ADD: Adam's surgery went well. They were able to remove the cataract and the lens and replaced it. It seems to be healing well and he is able to put a contact in. There is a danger of the retina detaching we are praying hard that God will heal his eyes, so he can be about his life. Thank you for your concern and prayers.


We're back! We're talked out! We're tired! We're broke! We're happy!

How do you like the new outfits we bought? I thought the stripes really elongated my figure. But, maybe I need to invest next in a good bra...the 'girls' are sagging just a bit! Will share more with you later...

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Well, we're still enjoying the sights and sounds of the big city! Plans were to leave today for home. However, when we got up and thought about heading home, neither of us was ready to go. We decided that since we were big girls now, if we wanted to stay another day...we could...and we would. And, we did! We sat and talked for a while,shared our treasures found shopping, and made our plans for the day. I told Joy that I was going to lay down for juuuust a few minutes, and then we would get ready.....I woke up about 2 hours later!!! Obviously, I needed the rest.

We have had the best time together. No one else can know me like my sister knows me. We grew up together, shared home and parents, and pets, and secrets, and plans. We have also shared the 'goods' and the 'bads' in our lives since we have had families of our own. Neither of us would ever deny the other anything...and just one word will send us running to the other's side. Isn't that the definition of 'sister'?

It has been a hard summer for both of us...and again for most of the same reasons. First Mom died, and, I was so sick, leaving Joy to do the majority of the things that had to get done.The boys have had surgery, and Adam has met with such unfortunate problems with his. Then this awful mess with our church. So, it has been such a refreshing for us to be able to talk with each other, knowing we feel the same way about things. With no distractions (well, if you don't count the amazing shopping all around) we have been able to do just what we need to do to refresh our souls.

We have spoken of Mom so often this week. "Remember when we did this?" Or, "remember that time we went here?" And, "Mom loved to shop here." Or, "Mom would have loved this so much." We missed her being with us...and we have felt her presence with us all the week. We both feel blessed that we have had this time for us to remember her, and how much she meant to us. We feel her absence so greatly...but, she would have loved nothing better than to think we were having our own little 'honoring Mom' getaway. And, so we will drive home tomorrow, having said all the things about her that we couldn't say to anyone else. Things that only the other would understand. Because that's the way it is with sisters.

The remembering won't stop...I imagine it will go on until I am able to hug her and kiss her soft cheek again. I hope that is the way it is...because it is a sweet memory anytime she crosses my mind.

[Now, lest you be concerned...we have also done our share of shopping, and eating, and visiting, and shopping, and eating. But, honest to goodness, I have not bought a single. pair. of. shoes. It's true!]

We will be having a family gathering on Saturday night. Several years ago, we started coming together to celebrate the summer birthdays all at one time...we have 8! This will be the first time since she died that we have been all together. Oh, I think it will be hard...for she had a presence that would fill the room. We will be at my house...and the last time we gathered as a family was around our pool on July 4...she died on the July 13.

It feels as if we have lived a year since then. Life changing events are not always able to be planned and prepared for...but by the Master Designer. He has chosen to change the family that we were, into a different one. But, still strong, still together, still loving....even if it's from afar for our Mother.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Quite a good picture of Joy and I , don't ya think?
We have decided that we need to 'get outta Dodge' for a few days. Time to see new things, meet new people, see what's in the stores for fall! So. we've packed our Vera Bradley...

made our reservations...
written out our to do list...
packed the necessities...

And, we're off!
PS. Should you need us while we're gone, look for this...

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Look at this man for a minute...what's he's he feeling?

"OH.MY. WORD. Can you believe the flowers in this field? They go on and on and on! And, I have to paint them all? How will I ever get this done? I will have to paint all day and all night and all day and all night. Forget sleep! Do I even have enough yellow paint? Oh, My! "

The word that comes to my mind is 'OVERWHELMED'.

Have you ever felt vaguely like he must feel? I have. Why do we do that to ourselves? Why do we take on such big jobs that require super human strength to accomplish...and then feel guilty when it is not finished to perfection? Why do we take job after job after job and then complain that we don't have time to complete them all? And, we even have our children doing it...sports, music, plays, church activities, and , oh, yeah, homework!!!

The word that comes to my mind is 'OVERWHELMED'.

If it would be foolish to try to paint all those flowers...then it's just as foolish to put ourselves through all the drama we do when we try to 'do it all'.

So, when you are tempted to add just one more thing to your already busy schedule...stop and think just how much yellow paint you will need!!!!!!!

Friday, August 21, 2009


I have had several friends contact me to see what was going on that would take me away from my blog for so many days. So, I will offer a short explanation.

1. I have been very sick...physically.

2. My Mother went to live with Jesus.

3. My son had eye surgery.

4. Another son had eye surgery and then 3 emergency surgeries on his eyes due to another problem that could have cost his sight. He has his next operation on Wednesday.

5. Another son changed jobs and homes in another city, and I was not well enough to go and help him.

6. My DIL is undergoing some medical procedures.

7. My church split and we lost all the staff, the choir, most of the deacons, and 100 members. Those who left are some of the dearest people in the world to me. It is another death. And, I am shocked and sad and angry.

8. The school where I worked for 20 years, started back last week, and I miss them.

9. Joy has had to help Pop deal with things at his house, because I have not been well enough to get out. I feel guilty about this. I should be helping.

10. Alex is in quite a bit of pain...and nothing is helping.

11. The ants are back...with a vengence!

12. I miss my Mom.

I am trying to get all of this sorted out and dealt with, but it just keeps raining...and raining.
As low as I am at this point, this I know: God is in control of the Universe, of America, of Alabama, of Dothan, of Southside, of my family, of me. He is able to direct us all into the life that He has for us. He is able to bind our wounds and heal our hurts. He is able to grow much from nothing...and He is able to right wrongs. He is able to restore what has been broken. He cares that I am sad and hurt and angry and floundering. He promises me that all will be well. And, I believe that with my whole heart. It will happen. And, until it does, I will wait and watch. And, maybe cry a bit. That's the reason He made tears, isn't it? He says to 'wait on Him'. That I will do.

"God will let you laugh again; you will raise the roof with sounds of joy."
Job 8:21

And, I will. That's a promise...from Him...and me!

Monday, August 17, 2009


There's nothing wrong. I try to take things one day at a time...but lately, several days have attacked me at once. As soon as I attend to them, and put them in their place...I'll be back.
Just a day or two. Thanks, friends!

PROMISES® Silky Smooth MILK Chocolate — Peanut Butter
DOVE® Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate PROMISES® are made of luxuriously smooth, rich chocolate that pairs the goodness of creamy peanut butter with Silky Smooth DOVE® Milk Chocolate. Each individually wrapped with a special PROMISES® message inside. An experience like no other. "I concur wholeheartedly with this claim! These are delicious! Oh.My. Goodness!!!
If you have had a day, or a week, or actually a whole month like mine...this is a medicinal product I am sure you will find most beneficial. I hear you! I hear you saying, "Medicinal? She's not as smart as she thinks she is!" Well, I am too, smart...look at this!:

All About Chocolate > Medicinal and Psychological Properties

The Mayans and Aztecs learned very early on the hydrating properties of cocoa butter, a substance obtained after several steps of processing. This balm became an staple item of their pharmacopoeia, used for healing burns and chapped skin, easing sunburn, treating the liver and lungs, and as a preventative against snake bite.

Its therapeutic uses were recognized in Europe for the first time in the Bref Traité de Médecine by Augustin Farfan, a physician to the court of Philip II, published in 1579. According to Farfan, two varieties of cocoa beans, roasted and well ground, when drunk very hot in the morning, is a good purgative "for those suffering from tightening of the stomach" and also serves "to eliminate stones from the kidneys."

Brillat-Savarin is the undisputed master of hot chocolate, which he calls the chocolate of the afflicted. In his excellent book on the classics of the table, he recommends chocolate as "a stomachic and even digestive tonic" and attributes to cocoa restorative properties capable of reviving even the most faltering strength by adding all the wisdom of the east: vanilla, cinnamon, mace, cane sugar and a few grains of ambergris.

Cocoa contains what is called "good cholesterol" and does not harm the body

Let us not attribute to chocolate faults that it does not possess
In itself, it isn't fattening if eaten plain and in moderation, with allowances for the different types of chocolate. Dark chocolate with a high concentration of cocoa is not fattening. On the other hand, the lower the quality of chocolate, the higher the cocoa butter and sugar content … so beware! If you want to inverse the process and gain weight, we suggest caramel-filled white chocolate - foolproof!

Cocoa has no effect on the liver, even in the case of people suffering from hepatic complaints. Biological examinations have not revealed any effect on liver cells. No, chocolate is not aphrodisiac, though it is a stimulant - sometimes people confuse the two.

SOURCE: The Worldwide Gourmet .........and even if I don't understand ALL those words, I can tell they are 'smart' words, and that, in itself, lends more credence to their claim. And mine! I'm just saying...

And, if you are a who prefers pure, unmessed-around-with, chocolaty'll find none better than the dark chocolate.


“There is nothing better than a good friend…
except a good friend with CHOCOLATE!”

“A balanced diet is one with a
Chocolate bar in both hands!”

“Money talks…
Chocolate sings!”


A Public Service Announcement brought to you in the public interest by the good people at Gatherings......

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I am not a cook. Never have been...never will be. Oh, I can do it. But, it just is not a fun way to pass the time. I put all that hard work into it...and someone comes along and eats it all up, and that's the end of that. Well...not actually the 'end'...there is still one more step, but I won't even go there. Well, actually, I do go there, and so do you, but, let's just change the subject. friend Keetha sent me an urgent request for a recipe or two. Ha! She just did not know who she was asking, did she? Well, the one for Banana Pudding was actually Paula Deen's I was pretty safe with that one.

But, she also wanted to know the recipe for squash casserole. Now, I could tell from her description of good squash casserole, that she was talking about the kind that I made. I make mine just like my Mom did. It was the hardest thing to learn, too. Because, she wouldn't write it down for me. I remember her saying, "Tonja Lynn, you do not need a recipe for this...just make it and you will know if it is right." I do not know why she thought I would know if it was right or not...but, after several attempts...I did get it right. And, Mom never wrote it down. And, no one has ever asked me to write it down for them, either...until now. So, I did. I wrote it down and sent it to her. I hope it is good when she makes it...if not...I'm sure it can't be my fault!


Get some squash....wash them...and cut off any bad spots. Then slice into cute little round pieces.

Put them in a pot and add some water...and salt and pepper. If you are a real cook,
proceed to cutting up an onion, dicing, actually, and add it to the pot.
If you are not a real cook and just play one occasionally for the family...
you can open up a bag of frozen chopped and diced onions and add these to the pot.
If you take the bag and put it inside the empty cereal box in the garbage can...
no one will ever know that you did not chop those little demons yourself. And, I am NOT telling!

Boil the squash and onions until tender. You can tell because the little seeds
come sliding out of the cute little round squash you so carefully cut up earlier.
And the whole mess gets a little slimy looking...but, don't judge the end result from that! A little slime never hurt nobody!

Next drain the water off the squash and pour into a big bowl. (Big is a relative term depends on the size bowls you have living in your kitchen. I like to use the biggest because I have a tendency to get so carried away with the mixing process that things seem to fly out of the bowl onto the cabinet. So the bigger the bowl the better for me.)

Now here comes the part where you can really feel like you know what you are doing..... as if you are one in a long line of super cooks who never use a recipe for anything. You just 'feel' what is right! "Recipe? Why, no...don't need one...this dish comes from my soul!"

Into the bowl of squash, start crumbling saltine least 1 sleeve. Then add an egg or two. Then add some milk. And then lots of grated cheese. LOTS.
Mix all this together. If it is too soupy...add more crackers. If it is a little dry...add more milk. It needs to be kinda/sorta soupy...just a little,
but not too much. You should not see the soupiness at all. It should all be absorbed into the crackers. But is should not be dry...How can I make this clearer to you? OK if you put it into the casserole of those oblong clear glass should slide freely from one side to the other. If it will not is not soupy enough. Whew! I hope you understand that! And, by the way...when you are buying the frozen chopped onions, and I know you will,....go ahead and buy the already grated cheese. It is oh, so much easier..and you don't have to worry about having one of those nasty accidents where you scrape all the skin off your knuckles with the cheese grater!! Once you get the sliding, soupy goodness into the casserole dish...cover the top with more cheese...Lots!

Then bake...maybe 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Just to warm through and melt the cheese., just a little...and enjoy. Serve with fresh, home grown tomatoes...
not the ones that come out of a green house or grow in water.
The kind that grow in good ole dirt and get God's sunshine on them everyday.

I hope you enjoy eating this delicious much as I have enjoyed instructing you in the making .

"What's that you say?" "Why,, I haven't ever thought about writing a cook book. It's a fine idea, though. I can just see the chapters I'd write."

SANDWICHES...Quick and Easy!
VEGETABLES...Hope you like squash!
COOKIES......Start in the freezer section and look for the bright yellow packaging that says Toll House...
DESSERTS...the many things you can use to top store bought ice cream!
MEATS...most grocery stores and even Wal-Mart have wonderful Rotisserie Chickens!

In all honesty...I really did head up a cook book committee at our church one time. And, it was a rousing success! I was smart enough to only allow excellent cooks on the committee with me, though. We actually sold out of the first printing and had to have a second printing!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Today is my Mom's birthday, and I am feeling sad. But, it's OK. Sadness will move on to sweet memories...and life will go on. There will be times to celebrate, and more times to mourn. Life will continue to change. There will be family times that will bring about happy tears, and sad tears as well. But, through it all...we will lift our voices to praise Him who joined us together as a family. We have fully lived our times together, and will continue to do so. Even as we are apart, there is the blessed hope that our Father promises. For we shall be together again...but, until then...we will celebrate life!

I wrote the following poem the day after Mom died.


The lazy Sunday afternoon
With it’s promise of rest, and reading, and quiet
Is shattered...quickly...and untimely.
A shatter that shakes to the core,
A shatter that chills to the bone,
A shatter that is first-heard
But, known, nonetheless.

The seeing.
The knowing.
The hope.
The reality.
The decision.
The peace.

Waiting, and loving.
Thinking, and praying.
Crying and rejoicing
And singing…blessed songs of hope and peace and strength and
Praise...always praise.

Breathing in and breathing out...
Natural... peaceful...
Like waves
Rolling in and rolling out;
Started at creation
To end at His word.

Lips to praise.
Souls to weep.
Arms to hold.
Hearts to break.

And Spirits to wait.

"We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done. the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children."
Psalm 78:4-6

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


lev⋅i⋅ty /ˈlɛvɪti/ Spelled Pronunciation [lev-i-tee]

–noun, plural -ties. 1. lightness of mind, character, or behavior; lack of appropriate seriousness or earnestness.
2. an instance or exhibition of this.
3. fickleness.
4. lightness in weight.

1, 2. frivolity, flippancy, triviality, giddiness.

Have you ever wanted to take a swim....right now...right this very minute....

Have you ever been so angry that you wanted to bite something? And you bit the first thing to come hopping by!

Have you ever really paid attention to those signs in the laundromat?

Have you ever been talking to someone, then turn around and they're gone?

Have you ever had a little boy who went into the bathroom...and stayed just a little bit too long?

Have you ever been thankful for duct tape??!!??