Saturday, May 22, 2010


Follow me, please to the new and improved Gatherings! Just click on Gatherings to take you directly there.

Here is the address to the new site... I will be waiting for you to join me there!

See you soon.....Tonja

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Just a little modern day trivia for you today...

I'm sure by now everyone has seen this commercial! A child's toys left in the car overnight, take a "Joy Ride". Originally aired on the Super Bowl.

Kia actually got the top wave runner rider in the country to do the stunts in the sock monkey suit.

And, here is sweet Sock Monkey sporting his new tattoo. One of the most clever parts of the commercial is the 'sewing on' of his new tattoo! Just look at those innocent eyes!
Also clever is having the robot doing a dance called....'the robot', of course!

The funky music is "How You Like Me Now?" by The Heavy...originally by James Brown.

Lyrics used in the commercial

How you like me now?
Remember the time when I heat? you up?
So how you like me now?
How you like me now?
how you like me now?
Oh yes-ah

A colorful group of characters have some fun in Las Vegas in a montage that takes them bowling, bull riding, dancing, and more.

The red cyclops is Muno, a character from the Nick Jr. kid's show Yo Gabba Gabba! The other characters in the ad include a hairy creature with a black & white striped shirt, a blue robot, a sock puppet monkey, and a teddy bear.

The group all fits into the 2011 Kia Sorento, and rides around some scenic locations. Some other adventures they have include: jet skiing, making snow angels, hot-tubbing with a bikini girl, getting a 'MOM' tattoo (actually sewed on), standing by the Las Vegas sign, riding down the street standing up through the sunroof, passing by the New York, New York casino, and arriving at the Monte Carlo casino.

The punchline to the ad is all the characters are a child's small toys. The mom pushes the Start button and the music starts up again.
I know it is hard to believe, but, I just do not know how to get those videos on my posts. Well, that's not exactly correct. I can get them on there...I just can't get them to play! Which actually defeats the purpose of putting them on there in the first place!!! BUT, if you wish to see the complete commercial, one minute and 11 seconds...just google Kia Sorento Commercial.

And prepare to SMILE!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Did you have to get up too early this morning? Did someone call you while you were still in the middle of a sweet dream? Yep, happened to me, too. Painters coming to my house. Oh well...Have a good day, anyway!
No. This is not my dog, or my bed, or even my city...but, it sure made me smile!
Hope you do, too!

Sunday, May 16, 2010


"God has given us these times of joy." Nehemiah 12:43

Tina and I travelled to Moultrie today to attend a very special party. Shirl is retiring after 28 or 38 years of teaching. (I don't remember which she said. 38 seems like long time...I don't think she's THAT old.) Her sweet daughters had a surprise party for her to let her know how proud they are of her. Both of her daughters are in the teaching profession as well as one of her SILs. Well, she was expecting pictures with the family...but she got all of us instead!

Look at all the food! Yummy goodies!

And, look at this cake! So pretty and so good! Shirl thought the top layer should be all hers!

Sue, Shirl's sister, was the first to spill something on her clothes! Seems the older I get, the more I do that! Jayna to the rescue...she fixed it right up!

I do not remember what we were laughing at here...but it was really funny! I love to laugh!

Remember my big kitchen picture from Maui? Well, here's the small version. I brought it to Shirley because she has a lot of the blue and white china. And, because I love her!

And here are The Sister Friends! Tina...Shirl...Tonja

Shirley and her daughters...Jayna( son, 3 years...daughter due in 2 weeks)...Shirl...Jolie (daughter 5 years,son due in Oct.)

The Lord provided us a beautiful day with blue skies, and plenty of beautiful sunshine. Jolie and Jayna honored their Mother, and showed her how much they admire the work she has done through the years. Several of the ladies she teaches with were there also to celebrate with her and share their memories. And, Tina and I were blessed to be able to share the day with them all. 'Cause, it really wouldn't have been a party without us, now would it??? :)

Jayna's husband, Keith, is a man of many talents! We should all be so lucky! He built their house, cans vegetables and fruits, and is a gardener deluxe! This is a hanging basket on their deck. I thought it was so beautiful. The colors just made me smile!

Tina and I made it home safely, and solved all the world's problems along the well as planned a bridal shower! Women should rule the world...we know how to get it done...and get it done right! :) Happy Sunday to you!

Friday, May 14, 2010


I think those of you that visit me often, here at Gatherings, know that I love to have a decorating project! And, I love seasonal decorating in my home. So, since it is summer here in South Alabama (92 this week), I have been busy putting out the summer decor.

OK, we'll start with the mantle. I've done it a little different this year. I got these 3 new shell pics that have such wonderful colors in them!

I've used all my blue and aqua books as lifts and fillers....and they are all on the sea or Hawaii or something related. My sea birds are balanced on either end of the mantle. NOTE: Things are not about to topple off as it looks like in the pics, I was about to topple over as I tried to get just the perfect angle so as to show you the tiniest details. Anyway...I covered the mantle first with a fishing net, and added a few sea stars to it.

Moving over to the table by the library, I fixed this display. My sweetest DIL gave me this great aqua bowl for my birthday last year. Isn't it unusual? Well, I thought it looked just perfect full of coarse sand, and some beautiful shells.

Add 3 sea life sculptures, and a pic of 2 of the cutest girls to hit the shores of Maui this year.

Next comes the buffet next to the dining table. Here are some fun new things!

Have you seen these resin sand castles? We found these on Maui and I just couldn't leave it there! There were all sizes, but, this was the only size I thought I could add to the stash I was already hauling back to AL! It has a votive candle cup inside...

...and doesn't it look fun when it's lit? One of my favorites!

And, these were a serendipitous find. I ran into Big Lots to pick up something, and there on the end of the aisle were these beautiful candle holders. They are mother of pearl, and are very well made. Selling for $45.00'elsewhere'...I got them for $7.20 each!!! All I need to do is add a votive cup and candle.

A few more close ups of the summery, beachy, warm weather, fun colors of the season!

“Our memories of the ocean will linger on, long after our footprints in the sand are gone.”

“My life is like a stroll on the near to the edge as I can go.”

“Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think."-----Robert Henri

"If I can't be at the beach, at least my house can look like I am."---Tonja Owens

AND...I decided that the new vase in the kitchen needed a little more color, so I added a few poppies.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


It's been fun getting The Creek House ready for summer. Pool parties, bridal showers, July 4th, Birthday Celebrations, etc! I love it! I love the sun and the summer.

Let's start with the kitchen:
I bought this canvas when I was in Maui in March. It is very different than the things I usually like, but something about the explosion of color, and the feeling of 'canning fruit' in Aunt Ree's kitchen (see the jar of huckleberries), just spoke to me. My family doesn't really like it, they think it looks like an 'old lady'. But, since there are no 'old ladies' around this house, I decided to hang it up. And, I love it! It makes me happy! you notice the 'blue willow like' china in the picture? I thought it was important to bring that out, and I did not have any pieces. So, I sat off on a quest. Find some pieces at a low, low price. First stop, R*ss...where I scored this great platter for $5.95! It really is pretty. Next over to TJM, where I found the bowl and saucer for $3.99 each.

Heading back to TJM several days later, they were just putting out these small lamps...$9.99. And, on a trip over to Pop's, I realized Mom had several pieces on the top of a cabinet. The large pot on the second shelf is hers. It is difficult to tell, but right in front of the lamp is a dish of faux cherries. There are cherries in the pic. Now, I am on the prowl for some faux strawberries. None around these parts, so I may have to look out of town. A little pot of herbs, some oranges, and a little greenery...all in all, it's coming together well.

And, look at this beautiful tall pitcher...from Adam and Suzanne for Mother's Day. It is just perfect in my kitchen! They are very good to me!

FYI...canvases can be wrapped and not framed, as such, and I really like that look better. However, since I was hanging this in the kitchen, I decided to frame it under glass instead, to better protect it.


KITCHEN TIP: To get rid of those pesky kitchen out!

Let me share with you a memory I have of my Granny Merritt, that makes me laugh every time I think of it. Once when we went up to visit, Granny and I were sitting and talking. She brought up cooking and I told her that I had a motto:
........."FROM THE CAN...TO THE PAN...TO THE MAN!".........Well, she though that was the funniest thing she had ever heard! She laughed and laughed, and told everyone who came around about it. But, she kept forgetting part of it. She asked me to write it down for her so she would not forget it. All I could find was an old scrap of blue paper. But, I wrote it out for her, and she hung it on her refrigerator. Later, after she died, Mom found that tattered old blue paper tucked inside her Bible! She brought it home to me, and I have it among my treasures.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Ian came home from Birmingham Saturday evening. I didn't know he was coming, but I had a feeling he just might. He's a boy who loves his Mom. He had to leave Sunday morning early, so I stayed home from church to spend some more time with him. He doesn't get home as much as he used to, so all the moments are precious.

It has become a ritual with us for me to walk out to his car with him when he leaves. Then he turns around when he gets on the street and gives me one more wave before he crosses the bridge...and is out of sight.

Today as we were speaking a moment before he got into the car, I said to him, "Look, son, do you see my hydrangeas? Look how good they are growing. They are going to be full of flowers soon." And, he said, "Yeah, Mom, they're really pretty." And, I could hear it in his voice. He did not care one whit about my flowers...not one little bit. And, that's OK. I know boys pretty well. But, at that moment, I lost it...thinking of the women who had come before me.
My Granny T (Pop's Mom) was quite a gardener. She lived in Douglasville, Ga. with her daughter and another son. She was always ready to show off her beautiful flowers and trees. In her house and on her screened porch, she had many succulents. That hot Georgia heat did them good. She would walk out to the car with us when we were leaving and point out one or two other plants on the way. Mom would bring home cuttings from her for one thing or another.

My Granny Merritt lived in a mobile home in my Aunt Marie's yard. She had lots and lots of space to grow things. I can remember her asking me soon after I got to her house if I had noticed the latest plant as I was coming in. And, I had no idea what plant she was talking about. Later, after she had let us rest maybe an hour, she would say, "Come on, Tonna, and let me show you what I got out in the yard." And, I would walk over her yard with her and she would tell me how she started this from a cutting from Aunt Someone's yard....or she moved her bulbs here from there and she wasn't sure if they were going to be OK, but, "LOOK! they are coming up!"...and I would see a little bit of green just breaking the through that North Carolina soil, And, I would rejoice with her. She would go on and talk about this flower or that, her 'high geraniums' (hydrangeas), and we would walk and look and she would point and bend over and pull up weeds when she found them. It would get hot and she would go in,,,telling me, "we'll look at the whatever's tomorrow." And, when we left to come home,in our trunk and under our feet were bulbs and cuttings of this and that and hostas.

I think back to winter 2009, my Mom was so proud of her pansy garden. It surrounded the big tree next to the driveway. Pop had helped her build up around the tree, so she had a nice bed to plant in. And, she would put out a hundred or so every year. Then, in the spring and summer, she would grow something else, and she delighted in showing me. She had a 3 level plant stand next to the house, and she kept it so pretty. Geraniums, begonias, bougainvillea, all doing their best to live up to the plan she had in her mind of how they were going to look. And, she had a little garden of zinnias next to the fence. And, when she went out with me when I would leave, she would point out how well they were growing, and did I want to cut some to take home with me?

These pics were made last summer, but Pop (with Joy's help) has replanted all the flowers. It looks so pretty, and Mother would be so pleased. He takes good care of them. Bless his heart, he honors my Mama's memory so well.

She showed up at my house several years ago...when I lived on Saddlewood. And, she said, "Come on, Tonja Lynn, we're going to dig up that spot by the driveway and put in these hosta. They are from Mama's(Granny Merritt) yard. I put all I could in my yard." And, we went out and dug up the little triangle of dirt and grass between the driveway and the garage and we put those bulbs into the Alabama dirt. She said, "You'll be proud when these come up next year. They'll be real pretty." And, I though to myself, "we'll see." But, when those green shoots started poking up through the soil...I was indeed happy to see them. And, every year, more and more came up and Mom came back and we divided them. And, they continued to grow their beautiful green variegated hearts out. And, I would plant little white impatiens in between them. Oh, they were pretty.

We have since moved to the Creek House and Adam and Suzanne have moved to the Saddlewood house. I told Suzanne early on that I was coming to get some of my hosta bulbs when it was the right time. And, some of the iris bulbs in the front. But, I will leave enough of them that she can point to them one day and say, "These came from your Great Great Grandmother's yard. And, they were tended by your Great Grandmother and your Grandmother...and me."

And, right out on the driveway, I had a little cry with Ian, and he hugged me tight and said, "It's all right." And, it was, all right, I mean. I told him, "Thank you for bringing these memories to mind today. You reminded me of something very sweet."

And, I turned him loose, he kissed my cheek and drove out of the drive way...and turned back to see me waving....and he went over the bridge and out of sight.

I stood there, looking at my hydrangeas and remembering for a few more minutes. I shed a few more tears and went into the house...came to the computer and began writing while this was fresh on my mind.
I am my mother's daughter. As different as we were, we were very alike. I am her daughter, and I am my Granny T's and Granny Merritt's granddaughter, and I am my Aunt Marie's, and Aunt Evelyn's, and Aunt Della's niece.I was DIL to Elizabeth. I am SIL to Beth and June. And, I am the mother to Adam Ryan, Alex Townsend, and Ian David and mother in law to sweet Suzanne. I am aunt to Tara and Lori. I am aunt to Jim and Dan and Todd and Stan and Kim. I am great aunt to baby John Thomas.

And, I will show them all my beautiful hydrangeas when they leave my house. And I will wave to them as they drive across the bridge and out of site. One day they will read this (I hope) and realize that they come from a long line of strong women. Women who did wonderful things with their time. They were women who raised their families well. And, they still had time to grow beautiful flowers!
Adam and Suzanne came over this afternoon and we spent time together with them. They brought me the most beautiful vase in the perfect shade of orange! Love it! Suzanne has exquisite taste!

Alex was unable to be up at all today. He did manage a "Happy Mother's Day". Bless his heart, he is in so much pain these days.

I received a beautiful card from Don.

And, Tara and Will had Baby Dedication at their Church yesterday. Joy and Tommy and Pop all were there, and Will's Mom and Dad and Brother and SIL and children. John Thomas is a blessed little boy to be surrounded by so much love and by so many people to teach, guide, and direct.

And, these are the things that happened...and were remembered...on this Mother's Day 2010.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


I am feeling sadder than I thought I would today...this day before Mother's Day...the first one without my own Mom. It has been 10 months since she went to live with Jesus. Most of the time I feel settled about her being away from us, but today as I sit here and think about tomorrow, Mother's Day...I'm all undone. She was sick last year on Mother's Day, and Ian and I went to visit with her for a while in the afternoon. The picture of that day is on my sidebar. I don't think that today I can write in complete sentences and think about words flowing smoothly from one to another. I don't think I can write the words that will let you know what a dear, dear person she was. I do not have the words in me today. And, I think I have said it all before. So, as a reminder to myself and my sister, and my children, I am going to just make a list of things that she liked...and some people who were especially dear to her...and I know I will leave out some, and if I leave you out...please forgive me.


jewelry...lots of jewelry
pretty clothes
new shoes
my shirts...the ones I designed
sour gummy worms
china...she had several sets
beautiful serving pieces
a clean kitchen
to iron everything
to fix food for family
to sing
to do missions
to be silly
the 'moo cow moo'...poem she learned in elementary school
'shoe fly pie'...a song she loved to sing and dance to
her SS class
Bro Jerry
to change furniture around and to buy new
to entertain
plan, plan, plan!
use fabric underneath displays
be in charge
a fire in the fire place
planting flowers
peach rings
Black filled Christmas candy...creme drops, I think
to dress she, Joy, and me alike when we were little
Evelyne and Ed
Rudean and Frank
Katherine an Allison
Jerry and Rhonda
Dick and Lahoma
Jane and Wendall
June and Jerome
Bill and Pat
mentoring younger women
her sisters and brother
fresh vegetables
hose to match her shoes
bag to match her shoes
Pillsbury Dough Boy
growing tomatoes
my new house
dressing Pop
making her poundcake for others
treating the church staff to special lunches
her prissy living room
to play the piano...but only at home
having extra outfits ready to go at a moments notice
buying gifts early and storing them
having a gift closet
traveling with groups around the world when she was young
traveling with Pop or Joy and I in the car in later years
my blog...she read every night before bed...
going to Graceville for shrimp (a tiny town nearby)
going to NC and putting up veggies...she even liked the shelling!!!
Mission Trips and the teams that travelled with her


very brave
so proud of her grandchildren
a mother to be proud of...and I am.

March 2009
March 2010...Maui

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


My sweet son, Ian, called me last week and told me that he was in the process of making me a new blog site! Well...this is very good news. And, I am very excited. My only hesitation is the fact that I am only now learning all the things I need to know about this one!!!

He has worked very hard to make me more current and up-to-date. He's transferred all the info over, and is working dilegently to fix things so that I can do it all by myself. [Don't tell him...but, I doubt that is EVER going to happen]. But, I'll try! I have been working on the stuff he has taught me so far.

So, if I'm a little absent around the blogiverse this week, that is one reason. The other is...John Thomas stayed with me today...all day, and is coming again another day. Just color me one happy girl!

Friday, April 30, 2010



When it's hard to keep doing the right thing, when you really want to bop someone in the head or shake them till their teeth rattle...don't. Just count to 10 or 280, and keep your cool. Perhaps take a walk...preferable in a shopping area for maximum benefit!!!

When you want to eat the last cookie in the box, and it's your most favorite kind in the world, but you know someone who lives with you loves them as much as you do...go ahead and leave it and you eat Ritz instead. And, if you should need a chocolate milkshake to go with...not a problem. No calories will be counted because you were being magnanimous in the first place.

When you have made 2 trips to the drug store in the last day, and SOMEONE comes up to you and ever so kindly asks you to please take this other prescription to get it filled, and would you mind waiting because they need it in the next 2 hours, and it just happens to be right at 5:30, when the CVS is the busiest, so you can not drive through, you have to go inside, which means you'll have to put your bra back on...just smile sweetly and say, "I'll be glad to," and remember it is against the law to sit and wait at the pharmacy in the back of the CVS without downing a Diet Dr.Pepper and a Snicker Bar while you wait.

And, if you are feeling really sick, sick nigh unto death, and your kind "neat freak" spouse complains about the 4 pieces of Tupperware that are in the sink instead of being in the dishwasher or preferably washed by hand and put away...try to refrain from taking every piece of that 'Faux Tupperware' (which is really, really faux...not even Glad or Ziplock...but more Dollar General) and laying it gently on the floor and then taking your dainty foot and stomping every square inch of that wimpy plastic until it lies flat on the ground, never to be a square or rectangle again in this life...and then throwing it in the garbage can. And all the while spouse who started this whole scene, stares at you with mouth hanging open, eyes bugged out of the head, and brow furrowed. The next words that leave his lips are, "Are you out of your mind?" To which, the correct answer is, "Yes. Yes I am. So, if I were you, I'd be very afraid." But, say it with a smile on your lips....for full effect.

And, if you are able to do this..."Lo! You shall be rewarded! And GREAT shall be your reward. For you are indeed worthy." Truths from Tonja: Chapter !

I'm not bragging on me or anything like that...humble girl that I strive to be...
BUT! Look who came to stay with me AGAIN. THIS. MORNING! As you can easily see...He is indeed delighted!

HOWEVER, there was just one little problem. This very smart little boy (kin to me)is used to much visual stimulation. And due to the fact that he is either on his tummy or his back...there is not much to look at. When I hold him, he is very happy...even overjoyed...because he gets to look at me! But, even his Aunt Tonja can't hold his attention forever. So what's a resourceful aunt to do? Hmmmmm....

Well, when he sits in his carrier, it has a bar that toys hang from. Which excites him greatly! When he rides in his car seat in GiGi's car, there are toys tied everywhere for his amusement. But, at Aunt Tonja's house...there is nothing that hangs above his head for him to grab and teeth on and wad up and gnaw on. And, he obviously misses his toys because he doesn't tarry for very long on my face.

So, using what supplies I had on hand, I set about to build a playground for Master Bush. I needed something to hang toys from, and whatever I hung the toys from needed to be suspended overhead of baby boy. First, I found some old macrame cord. I used to be quite a good macrame knot tying artist. I made plant hangers for every post me or Mom or Joy ever had. And, they were fine ones, too. And, purses! Oh. My. Goodness. Purses of every color, shape, size that you could imagine! I gave them away, I sold them, I made them for everyone who even thought they wanted one. I even made a table. Yes, a table. A hanging table,but a sturdier table you could not find in all of the city.

But, I digress. I have not done macrame in about 20 years. However, for some reason, I have held on to this small amount of cording. Actually it's probably 10 yards. Now, how to SAFELY place this cording above the baby. I began tying the cord to the leg of my work table. Securing it, I moved to the next leg of the table...because I wanted to be sure JT couldn't pull the table over to him.!!??!!
OK. that was on one side of the baby, now to the other side of the baby, but safely overhead. There it was...the corner of the daybed! Perfect...higher than the baby...higher than the table, so there could be a nice dip in the the toys could be reached. OK..done! Looking good! UH OH...maybe the toys should have been strung onto the cord BEFORE it is tied into several double knots on the bed posts! OK...are you ready? Here is the the "SWINGING TOYS FOR BOYS" designed and manufactured by Auntmade.

Ignore, please, the condition of the room. There are several things out of place today and there will probably be several things out of place tomorrow, too! Notice the specialized cording tied to the table leg on Right, and the bed post on the Left.

LOOK! He's found it! He likes it!

Notice, please, that the 'specialized cording' is at a safe distance from his head.
Notice also that the toys are in the correct position for ease of playing.

Looks like it's working just fine!

It MUST BE NOTED here that at NO time during the use of the Swinging Toys for Boys was the child in question left alone. A responsible (!??!!) adult was there at all times!