Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I am blessed beyond measure to have 2 of the dearest women on the planet as heart friends of mine. I say 'heart friends' because they hold my heart with their kind souls....and I hold theirs, as well.
We have had some fun adventures through the years, and it's not gonna stop anytime soon! Each year we have a FALL FLING...and a SPRING FLING. And, this is written in stone! However the year we went to Hawaii, we had just one HULA FLING...cause we were saving our money and all. But, Flings have become a necessity in our lives, and it's gonna happen just as surely as we're gonna breathe...or shop.
We are leaving tomorrow for a day at the beach with Shirl, who is already there with her Mom and Sis. Then, we are headed into parts of Georgia...ending at the Cotton Pickin Fair in tiny Gay, Georgia on Sat. We will return home on Saturday night...exhausted, broke, and happy.....with just enough 'fling' to last us until Spring!

Just a few pics from former flings...

Monday, September 28, 2009


Adam and I are in Birmingham for another eye surgery.

We began talking on our trip up yesterday about how many years he and I have been coming to Birmingham for medical issues. He was diagnosed with cancer when he was three years old. That would be 1978. Back and forth we came for the next 12 years. But, he continues to be cancer free, and really, we do not ever think of that as a possibility anymore. God, in His grace and mercy, healed Adam. We accept it, we believe it, and we claim it!

And, now this eye! What a mess! Ian started this whole journey when he found this wonderful doctor in Birmingham, and decided to have Lasik done on his eyes. After his wonderful results, he talked to the doctor about Alex. We had no thoughts of there being anything that could be done. But, we were wrong. God used Ian to bring about help for Alex's vision. The doctor told Alex that he had some of the worst eyes he had ever wise. But, he set about devising a plan to give him back his eyesight. And, he did. Alex still has double vision...and nystagmus. That is not able to be corrected as those problems come from the brain...not the eyes. We are thrilled and thank God for choosing to heal this part of Alex's vision.

And, then Adam wanted to get in on the party. He has been wearing glasses since he was 5...and his vision has continued to deteriorate through the years. He has, however, been able to wear contact or glasses ,,,then contacts AND glasses! When he saw the doctor, he told Adam that HE had the worst eyes he had ever seen! My boys...such over achievers!! :)

The doctor laid out his plan to help Adam, and he was anxious to get started. First, was the same surgery Alex had. All was well...for a few days. Then he had a torn retina...then a detached retina. That is extremely serious. More surgery. This was not caused by the first surgery...but just 'happened' to occur at the same time. So, that's 3...then he had a cataract form that had to be removed. And, today, a vitrectomy...which is literally draining the fluid out of the eye and replacing it with another solution. This surgery was to correct the huge 'floaters' that were blocking his vision. One of them fell down as I think I told you...but it came back. And there was another one that he said looked like a windshield wiper! These floaters are debris left from all the other surgery. So that brings us up to 5. Now, next week he is going to have another surgery for a cataract in the other eye. His eye will be very vulnerable to another tear in the retina after that...but we are praying that that will not happen. And, then...after everything heals...Lasik. Wow! What a ride! The doctor had told him to start with that when he finished, he would have near perfect vision. However, that will not be possible now. It will still be much improved, but he will have to wear reading glasses. Hey! We'll take that!

Here he is this morning before the surgery.

And, this is after.

"For we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5"7

The human eye is a marvelous organ. It does amazing tiny activities all the time...without us even realizing it! Do a little research on the eye and see just how many different processes there are. Only the Master Designer could have planned and executed such a marvelous organ. Good or even fair eyesight...don't take it for granted!

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Have you ever seen such an adorable face? This little baby is Jezabelle McDougald,
my great niece fur baby. She is the teeniest thing, and to hear her bark...oh, my! Too cute!

I spent the day today helping Lori with decorating her new home. Ben was away for the day and...not that he would mind or's just easier to work when it's just us girls doing the playing, isn't it? Lori, Joy and myself had a full day of work to do. After we got the major moving around finished, we added some fall pieces to her of which is this great fall leaf bowl. Suzanne, my daughter in love, came by and quickly fell in love with Jeza. She thought she would look cute in the bowl...and so she did!

However, she quickly decided that she did not like this place she was in and managed to hoist herself up onto the rim of the bowl. But, once there...she could not decide what to do next. It looked too far to the top of the table. "Rescue me someone!"

"Ahhh! That's more like it! This is where I like to be most! With my mommy!"

Now, we had to do some rearranging of furniture to get things to their optimum 'look-good' potential. So, we moved couches, tables, and a TV...a big TV. A big TV with lots of stuff plugged into it...surround sound, WII, cable, DVR...many, many cords. Now to move the TV, we had to undo all the cords. However, and herein lies the unfortunate occurrence, we could not for the life of us remember what to do with all the cords once we got the big TV moved to another table and pushed back against the wall. Why would anyone have to have all those cords anyway? Seems to me that as smart as 'smart people' are these days, they could put all that stuff into the TV to start with and then you would only have to plug in ONE cord and everything would work. Now, this would not have been such a devastating thing had Lori's new hubby Ben, not asked her specifically to tape the ALABAMA game that was on this afternoon. He was hard at work, and all he wanted to do when he came home was to watch THE game. But, alas, this is not to be. Hope he gets over it. Lori didn't seem too worried. As I left, she was putting Jeza into the car and they were heading to Joy's SHE could watch the game! "Lori, if Ben asks, I'm telling him it was all YOUR idea!"

Friday, September 25, 2009

"EARLY FALL" PICS...a collection

I am a collector at heart, and it really doesn't matter what it is, if I like it...I like it...and I collect it. It is the 'gathering together' that is the fun! Most of the things I collect are of little value to anyone else. But, that's OK...that is not even what is important. It is the feeling of other hands holding and other hearts loving an item that makes it valuble to me. One day I will tell you about all my collections...but for today, I will tell you that I love to collect photographs. I love the finding and sorting and catagorizing...then the reviewing!

Today, I want to share some of my favorite 'early fall' pictures. Why, yes, there are 'early fall' pictures and 'late fall' pictures. Just as there are pumpkin pics, and fall leaf pics, and fall decor pics. There are Halloween pictures, and Thanksgiving pictures, and most precious of all...'my family in fall' pictures. I hope you enjoy looking at these. (Only collected by me...not taken by me).

Thursday, September 24, 2009

CHURCH...An Explanation

I think I have mentioned recently that my church went through a terrible split. This has been a devastating occurrence in my life. And, coming so soon after Mom's journey to Heaven, it has felt like another death to me.

I have written no less than 10 posts about what transpired. But, chose not to publish any of them. I wondered if they were too harsh. Or were they too angry. Maybe, they seemed too sad, or maybe, not really saying what I felt. I guess the truth of the matter has been...I haven't known just exactly what I really have felt. All I could say for sure was that it hurt...big time.

I have been at Southside since I was in the 6th grade. I have become the person I am today within the walls of those buildings. I have formed my thoughts on life and the way to live it properly while listening to great men of God speak from the pulpit. I have struggled with problems in my life while being supported by the congregation there. I have faced my own personal battles while keeping 'one foot in the door' so to speak.

But, this, this breaking apart of the family of God is one of the hardest things I've ever faced. There has been anger and hateful and hurtful talk between both groups. It is so hard to take. It has split up friendships, partnerships, families. It has driven wedges between people where none has ever existed before. It has devastated.

In examining why I feel compelled to address this on my blog...I think it is because I have wanted to document every major life occurrence here. But, I have agonized over this incident and how to best explain it. I am usually not so careful with what I write. While I am always on guard to never knowingly write something that would hurt another person, I tend to pretty much write the way I talk. And, that is usually speaking my mind and saying whatever comes up. But, I am so aware in this matter, that I do not want to do or say or write anything that is not honest and true. I would never want to harm the cause of Christ. And, I think in the life of Southside Baptist Church, it has been harmed too much already.

And, so, I choose to not say anything about the particulars of this tragedy. Some of the dearest people in my life are now attending another church. And, I must respect that. Just as I wish them to respect my choice. Honestly, Don and I were torn in our decision. But, I will say this...this did not have to happen...and that is the biggest tragedy of all.

Pray for us...those who stayed and those who left. We all need it. We need to look closely at what has transpired. We need to ask questions, and get answers. We need to examine everything and make decisions based only on what God would do. I do know this: "...for God is not a God of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the Saints." 1 Corinthians 14:33 NASB I know He is not pleased with this occurrence.

I hope that this will fill the need I have had to write about this. As I said earlier, I do not want to offend. Everyone who stayed or who left had their own decisions to make. And, we all had to come to our decisions based on our own set of criteria. And, that is as it should be. The pastor of Southside, before this happened; and the pastor now of this new church was very good to my family. He has a heart for hurting people. He was so kind and faithful to pray for Alex, and he was so comforting to us during Mom's death and funeral. He was there as she died and was a source of peace and comfort to our family. We will always be grateful to him.

There is not a winner in a situation like this. We all lost something very precious. We lost fellowship with our church family. Those 'ties that bind our hearts in Christian love' were broken. I miss the people that have been in my life since I was a child. I miss those people that gave me a hug every Sunday. I miss those people who I knew could be called on for anything...anytime. I wonder if they miss the fellowship that we had at Southside. I wonder if they miss those of us that stayed. I wonder if think about those who were hurting before they left and are hurting still. I wonder about lot of things...
I miss my it was.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I have been wanting some good pics of the kids(young adults) for a while, and Sweet Adam made these for me when we had our Summer Birthday Celebration on August 28. Tara is expecting her first baby in November. We are so very blessed. Joy will be a 'grandmother' exciting! And, Lord willing, there will lots more babies to love.

WAIT A MINUTE!!! He didn't make these pictures...I did! But, he brought the camera, set it up, fixed the focus, and all those other things. All I had to do was snap the pic. Of course, that takes skill and timing and great talent...don't ya think? :)

Ian....Tara....Alex....Lori....Adam ......'The Original 5'

Ian...Alex...Ben...Lori...Suzanne...Adam...Tara...Will.....'All the Grandchildren'


Ian...Alex...Adam......'My 3 Sons'

Suze...Tonja...Lori...Joy...Tara.....'The Females of the Family'


Monday, September 21, 2009


And so the travelling has begun again. Oh, my, there is alot of road between Clinton and Dothan. Mom and Pop have been making this trip for over 60 years. Pop left this area before Mom did and he would come back to see her. This trip was the first time he had come without her since they married. That brought tears to us all. Pop says that when we were just babies, we would lay on the seat beside him and stare up at the moon and stars. I can also remember when Mom would make a bed in the backseat and the floor board for us to sleep as they travelled. Then we graduated to the station wagon, where they made a bed for us. We always travelled at night. Joy was a screamer and that's the only way she could go with us...if she slept. I would not have minded terribly if they just left her at home. But, then she would have screamed the whole time because she missed me. See, she adored me and followed me around...always wanting to do everything I did. Anyway...that's why we travelled at night. At least, I think that's what I remember Mom telling me! So, we escaped the car seat era. Joy and I have even put Mom and all 5 kids in my old station wagon and made the one day. I made it once with my Mother, my mother in law, and all 3 boys. My MIL was not happy when I had to stop less than 50 miles from home and have a heart to heart with one of the boys beside the road. A little switch was involved. There was much 'wailing and gnashing of teeth' as I remember. Not much trouble out of that one the rest of the trip, though. Isn't it funny, when kids know that you really MEAN all those things you promise you will do if they don't behave, they behave so much better!!! When Ian was born with his clefts, we discovered that one of the finest programs in the US was in Chapel Hill, NC..and so began a 20 year plan to fix his problems. My aunts and uncles were with me all the way...every step. How blessed to be able to go through this uncertain journey surrounded by family!

We decide that since we have fortified ourselves with such fine and wonderful food these past few days, we will try to make it in one day. We go back the way that has the most Interstate Highway...which moves us along quicker.

Now, you may remember that while we were on our fun trip up here, we learned much about the car. Oh! It. Is. A. Fine.Car. I was of the impression that we had learned all there was to know about this fine vehicle. If I had a dollar for every time they pulled the car manual out of the glove compartment....! I digress. Really, I just left the driving to them. They were enjoying themselves so much. Discovering new things, and sharing them with one another, and talking about them again...and again...and again. What kind of daughter or sister would I be if I interfered with the excitement they were finding in this car? So, I just stayed out of my book...took my naps...and left it to them. I did offer to drive, however. And, I would have been happy to, but, I probably couldn't enjoy it as much as they did.

Trust, that is the issue here. I trust them to transport me safely from one town to the next...cautiously following every traffic sign and looking for the other cars and driving defensively and all. So, I felt at ease to drift off to dreamland...knowing they were doing all that was necessary to keep us all safe. Imagine, if you can, the FEAR...the TERROR...the HORROR I felt when I was awakened by Joy yelling to Pop, who was behind the wheel..."Take your hand off that button...We're going 95 miles an hour! Turn it loose!" Jumping up from where I lay peacefully napping, I hit my head, and spilled my drink. "Turn it loose", I yelled, not knowing what the culprit was at that time. But, if he was holding it and she was yelling, it was not good.
Remember, that *&$#* cruise control? The one that moves up by 5 mph when you tap it? Well, if you hold it just cruises right on up at a steady rate...UNTIL YOU TURN IT LOOSE!!!!!!
Joy prevented a crisis....Pop learned a lesson....Tonja wet her pants!

Oh, it was a fun and exciting trip! I asked Pop if he should be driving since he was having trouble seeing, but he said he was just looking around that big black spot in his vision. That eased my mind. Joy leaned her head over and went to sleep and let Pop I watched the road with him...knowing full well there was nothing I could do from the backseat. But, bless her little heart, she needed the rest. Yeah, like I needed to be in a 4 vehicle pile up!

FYI...As per the rules, I got out, ready to pump the gas, but Pop did it. I was, however, able to teach him how to use the credit card to pay at the pump. That was good. And, did Joy get herself out of the car to get a lesson on how to pump gas? No! I tell you, she is still 54 years old and still DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO PUMP HER OWN GAS!!!!

We made it into Dothan about dark thirty. And we moved our things into our cars and took off to our own homes. And, the road trip was over. NEXT YEAR? Only if there is NOT a new car!

In all seriousness here, I must end this series of posts by telling you how blest my life is. I have a wonderful family. Immediate and extended. I love my Pop and my sister so much...and I miss my Mom. But, God in His infinite wisdom chose to take her home. And, while I do not like it...I trust Him. Pop is doing so well, and we are all trying to adjust to life without her. She was such a presence when she was around, and she has left a void that will never be filled. It was bittersweet to be with her sisters last week. They share some of the same mannerisms, and it was good to see that part of Mom again. They had her when she was a child, and then she belonged to us as she was an adult...but, they have always been a big part of her life. I am so thankful that Joy and I had the chance to be here when we were young, and forge this bond we have. They are our family, too. And, I love this part of my heritage. I love this area of the country. This little town filled with people who are 'salt of the earth'. They live with the things of nature in the forefront of their lives...crops, animals,weather. I always feel when I come here, that I have left the cares of the world I live in behind...and things take on a slower, more honest pace. Walking in and eating what's left of whatever we had for supper, showing up at the backdoor just to visit, and talking about the same things with each one, but loving it every time. These are real people...these are my people. I can see why Pop was so taken with this area when he got out of the Navy, and why he chose to live here for a while. They captured him, too. And became his family as well as Mom's.

Aren't God's ways so wonderful? How can we question his wisdom? But, I do...too often. You'd think I would have learned by now that what He does, He does with our best interests at heart. I forget that sometimes...and try to remind Him that I have an opinion on how He could best run things. Thank goodness, He does not listen to me! " Oh, Lord, your ways are perfect. Forgive me for not trusting you more. Thank you for giving me what I need instead of what I think I want. Thank you for the plan you set forth in my life. Thank you for my family...every single member. I treasure them...and I treasure You. "

Joy and Aunt Della

Aunt Evelyn



Aunt Marie...Ian

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Saturday dawned bright and early...well actually, EVERY day dawns early, doesn't it? But not all dawn bright. I like the bright ones best...don't do the cloudy, rainy ones as well. Great and leisurely breakfast. Took our time getting dressed. Visit a while...dress a while. With 1 bathroom, we all had to hurry, and not use TOO MUCH HOT WATER!!!This is the back of Aunt Marie's house. I think it is so neat. It is a tiny house...but always big enough. The house was built by her husband and his father. They chopped the trees and made them into lumber and built it themselves. It has 2 bedrooms, a living room and a dining room and kitchen. Also a den and a small screened porch. And, see that carport over there? That is the choice place for shelling peas, butterbeans, zipper peas...shucking corn, cutting and eating watermelon...anything that needs to be done outside. In all our time together, I have NEVER seen anyone come in her front door. There might not even be a front door, for all I know. This is the kind of house where everyone who comes in feels like they are at home. That doesn't just comes because of the people who live here and have lived here. My Uncle Arthur Lee died quite a few years ago. He was a dear man. Gruff and tender at the same time. No nonsense...but full of fun. I miss him, and I love him still.

My Aunt Della came over to visit...she lives a few miles away. It was good to catch up on her children, and grandchildren, and great grandchildren! She's a very sweet glad we got to spend some time with her.

OK...on to Saturday night. My Uncle Charles,pictured here, is a hoot and a half! He's always loves to give me grief. Do you see all his grey hair? He's gotten really old since the last time I saw him. And, when he laughs, he makes the funniest sound...kinda like "Hee-Haw-Hah...Hee-Haw-Hah" Strange I've never really noticed that about him before...hmmmmm...

Well, in spite of his ornery ways, he DID take us all out to dinner on Saturday night. We went to a long standing restaurant in the Clinton area, The Sandpiper. They served seafood...and it was delicious. But, the dessert was so tiny, it was really just 1 bite! Left you wanting more!

Here is a cute picture of Uncle Charles and Pop. Looks as if Uncle Charles is telling some joke...that's normal!

And here is Joy and I with Uncle Charles and Aunt Evelyn. Isn't she pretty. Mom always thought so, too. She is Mom's baby sister. I can remember Mom talking about her and saying how she always had such a neat home. Always in order. She is a saint...she's put up with Uncle Charles all these years. :) Mom loved her dearly...and I love her dearly. I wish we lived closer and could spend more time together.

Here are Mother and daughter, Annie and Ada! Thought I had a pic of 7, the black donkey...must have lost it. Hmmmmmmmmm... Annie and Ada...those are his mother and mother in law's disrespect intended.
Now, I like to learn things. Isn't the world so full of things we'll never know about? I just feel like I want to know everything about everything that I can. So, here's what I learned about donkeys. Girls are jennies...boys are jacks. Uncle Charles says they are very smart. They come when he blows the horn of his they come up, 7, the jack, started talking, and Uncle Charles talked right back to him! Hmmmmm guess he speaks their language! Anyway, he has the donkeys to keep the cows safe! The donkeys will run and kill any varmit that gets in their pen. Like what? I don't really know...but if it is a small varmit...7 and Ada and Annie are on the job! And, the cows will not come if he is on the brown truck...they will only come if he is on the white one. The horns sound different, and the white one is the one with the feed. Isn't that amazing? Well, it is to a city girl. They also raise teeny, tiny miniature horses. Can carry only about 50 pounds. So cute! I need a picture of them...sorry.

After dinner, we came back to Aunt Marie's to visit. We had a delightful treat. My cousin, Chris and his wife, Lori, and children, Heather and Brian, all come to visit. I was so glad to see them all. The children were so young last time I saw them, and now they are in HS and College! Chris is Aunt Evelyn and Uncle Charles's son. Also, they have a daughter, Lisa. The teeny horses are hers. Sorry, no pics here either. Sometimes I just lose myself, and forget what I need to do. And, when I find me again, I don't always remember what I should have been doing! Ever happen to you?
Well, as we talked, I learned Uncle Charles and I have something in common. He's a collector, too. And, he likes to display his collections in his office and barn. He has many pump somethings, and little tractors, and about a hundred old cast iron skillets! AND...crocks and jugs! Well, that peaked my interest! I have a wonderful collection over my stove in my kitchen. They are all old. Shirl and Tina got several for me last year, and several I already had. We hopped in the truck and went down the road to see. How interesting! He has everything displayed so nicely. He is an auctioneer and knows everybody in the county...on account of he's been around for so long...and people just call him when they have the stuff he likes! Neat, huh? He gave me a rusty skillet, and a jug. Actually, I think it's a whiskey jug. I'm certain he never used it for that, however!!! He had some wonderful big crocks, too. However, since I already had a chair in the trunk, I figured I better not push my luck and try to bring one of those the whiskey jug came home with me. See it, to the right of the picture! It's great! And, I loved adding it to my collection! Never mind that I nearly broke my neck when I climbed up on the cabinets and tried to heave it up there! Hey Lisa, save me that tall crock with the flower on the front...I'll be back one day!

This was a wonderful day! Full of fun, family, laughs, and new memories!

And, it's Sunday. A light breakfast, because we all know what's coming for lunch...a FEAST of epic proportions! We can hardly wait.

To pass the time, Pop, Joy and I go to the cemetery to look for the grave of Pop's Navy buddy and life long friend. After they were discharged, Pop went to NC to see Lafayette and ended up staying and working in a restaurant they owned. His Mom took him to church with them, and while he was there he spotted a cute young girl in the choir...she turned out to be the girl he Mom. And, the rest, as they say, is history. My history.

While driving over to the cemetery where my grandparents are buried, I spotted this sign at the end of a road...why is there another stop sign on the fence, when there is already one on a pole?

Getting up close, we see 'WHOA' instead of 'STOP'. We thought that was so funny. I don't know if you can tell or not, but there are horses inside the fence it is posted on! Pretty smart!

Now, back to that lunch we were waiting for...Country ham, Chicken and Dumplings(chicken pastry round these parts), corn, peas,candied yams, congealed salad, tomatoes, biscuits, cornbread,tea, lemon cheesecake, pumpkin roll, pound cake...and she forgot the okra. Delicious...Wonderful!

This is my cousin, Harry, Aunt Marie's son and his wife Charlotte. Dear people. Harry had a heart cath the morning we left, and had a stint implanted. Get well, Harry! Do what the Doctor says!

And, these are Aunt Marie's great-grandsons, Landon and Tanner. These are delightful boys, who I had not seen since they were very small.

We ate, and visited, and before we turned around good, Aunt Marie had prepared a big pot of chicken and rice...with cornbread. When Joy was a little girl, she told Aunt Marie she wanted her to cook some 'loose rice' that name has stuck and I suppose it will forever more be 'loose rice' in this family.

And, so it ends...our time with the family, at least. Big hugs all around! I always dread this part. The getting in the car and driving away. It is just so far away...and I love them all so much.

Me with sweet Aunt Ree...
(Yes, I do have another shirt, but this one had already been stretched out. And, since I knew I was going to be undergoing tremendous stress in the backseat...I thought it wise to dress as comfortable as possible)

A quick hug from Joy

One last wave....a prayer by the road...and away we go!

FROM CLINTON TO DOTHAN...coming up in Part 3...