Monday, September 29, 2008

I've Had Visitors, Wednesday thru Monday

Little Ada Belle (Ada, really) came with her mom to see us, on Wednesday of last week. She and Laura Beth left just this morning. It was 6 days of cousin stuff - so cute. It was also Ann's ten year class reunion. The homecoming parade was on Friday - and SEC football on Saturday. Sarah was here - arriving from Auburn on Thursday night. She left this morning, right before LB and Ada. Ada
This is Ellie two weeks ago.
It was the day after she fell, at home, and knocked out another tooth.
It balanced the look, and this grandmother thinks she looks cuter than ever.
This photo doesn't reveal her toothless smile,
but the one below does, taken just last night.
Ellie is only 3 1/2 - so we'll have her this way for a few more years.

And Luke. He has on part of his pirate outfit - inherited from his cousin, Jonathan, who lives in Arizona. He is climbing on his bed to show us the bed. Ellie had led us upstairs to see how she had "made her bed" - and of course Luke had to show us his bed, too.

I have nothing more to write about other than my weekend - but just want to say that the weather is getting nicer and nicer - isn't it? Fall is getting here. I have the itch to do something creative. I hope that I will. I won't make any promises - but painting something would be nice - as in a picture - acrylics - I think. I'm looking into it. I don't really trust myself in that dept. to "get it done", but one never knows, does one? I'll be posting again - soon - This is a big week - Ann finds out the gender of her baby - on Thursday. That is Grandchild #4. Can't wait! My sister, Mary Ann, is traveling here for a visit on Thursday - and Kate is also coming for the weekend.

Happy Fall! and I am going ahead and posting a few favorites from past autumns.

These were taken at the Sunday School Assembly in Monteagle, TN. Amazing and fascinating place - been there since the old days - It's like a walled in community of very old houses and going back in time. There are 2 Bed and Breakfast Inns there. It's across the Interstate from University of the South in Sewanee, TN. I highly recommend a visit there - my friend, Mary Bratton, introduced me to it. These pictures were taken when Charlie and I were celebrating one of our anniversaries - maybe 20th or 23rd. Can't remember. We stayed in one of their Bed and Breakfast Inns.

Love Fall.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Last week - when I read on Laura Beth's blog that, due to their strict budget, she would attempt to stay at home all week - I went into Mom Rescue Mode. My first impulse was to send her a twenty dollar bill and tell her to go buy some gasoline - so she and Ada could get out of the house. I am fascinated by her updates on the Dave Ramsey lifestyle and knew that sending the twenty would defeat the purpose - not that I won't ever do that. Mom's instinctively want to rescue their children. "Deliver my babies from suffering is my tendency, which in turn relieves my suffering". Wisdom told me not to send the twenty, so I began to consider ways she could avoid going "stir crazy" - I know that Laura Beth, like myself, can become so absorbed in a book that she forgets the world around her. She's read most of my books, but I considered some she might not have read. I called her with a list. (I really didn't think she could make it through the week without putting gasoline in her car - she did - I was wrong)

One of the books on my list for her to read was, is The Shaping of a Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliott. I don't think I mentioned that one to her - pretty sure she hadn't read it. Honestly, I thought I better read it again before I recommended it. I had read it once, when my girls were still at home - still being shaped predominantly by parents - but before any of the teen years. I loved the book. LOVED IT. It has all the elements that I like in a book - a sort of biography of her parents and siblings - and autibiography -her life as a child and teen. It is a "very good read". It is about a culture at least 1 and 2 generations before me. It is about a simpler time, more disciplines, more order, more balance than it seems we have now. It has a few pictures - but not enough for me. As I reread it, I kept my finger in the spot where the pictures were, so I could see images of who and what she was writing about. I love the book even more, now that I've read it a second time. I finished it Saturday night, and Sunday morning ordered 4 hardback copies off of, for my 4 daughters. Kate laughed so hard when I told her. She wasn't surprised that I immediately ordered 4 copies.

The regret I have is that I only read it once when my girls were still "under our roof". I wish I had read it at least once a year as a reminder of the course I was on. I wish I had read it more often than that. It's not the bible - but it is a great handbook, a great inspiration, a raising of the bar far higher than this culture expects. And it makes me want to get in God's Word - A LOT -
Any book that instills hunger for God's word more than reading the book I'm actually reading - well - that's a good book -

So, I read it - and recommend it to everyone. I wish I had read it during my girls' Junior High years and the High School years. I regret that as a parent I veered off course during those years. I bought into some of the junk this world was peddling for children between 12 and 18. I didn't think I was doing that - but I was. I bought into compromise and stupidity - Sad. But God's grace is always amazing - isn't it? He protected my girls and they love Him.

Another reason I wish I had read it A LOT - well, as a human being I have a temper that goes off like a gun shot. A loud gun shot. Sometimes like a cannon. Even I, myself, don't always see it coming. I'll be fine - I'm being nice - I'm using a calm approach - and BOOM! I lose it. But this doesn't happen with anyone except those in my immediate family. It's a weird thing. It happened when I was a child occasionally - but not so much until I was college age. (Mom and I discussed it once and wondered why I began to have angry outbursts - beyond the obvious - sin - but why all of a sudden that sin?) Once I married and had children - that sin was then toward my present immediate family - husband and children. Naturally, now that "people" have moved out of the house - married and college - it doesn't happen so much - Anyway, it's my worst thing - loud anger toward the ones I love the most. I hate it - and always confessed it before God - to God - agreed with God - but that particular part of my flesh still shows its ugly self. Anyway, reading this book - well the sentence is written by E. Elliott, "We never heard our parents raise their voices to each other". UGH. I hate reading that. I've heard people say that. I know it's true - but inside I crumble into a slump. I wish so badly my children could say they never heard us raise our voices, but they can't. Charlie isn't a fighter, but if I provoke long and hard enough, well, he can fight - sad.

Anyway, the two previous paragraphs reveal my 2 biggest parenting regrets. I'm sure my children can name many more regrets I should have. I do have others. Those are just the 2 biggest, biggest regrets. God grant them - God grant you, girls - the grace to forgive me.

I told Laura Beth I am sending it to her - but not to let it overwhelm her - and I say it to anyone out there - read it - but don't let it overwhelm - if we have any bent toward legalism or efforts to attempt character change apart from the grace of God - well - read with caution. God is sovereign - we are all where we are under His sovereign hand. He convicts, he brings us to repentance, He redeems, He cleanses, He fills, He does the work in us. I look at it this way. Have you ever restored a piece of furniture? - taken the paint off - sanded? Do you recall that there are spots of paint, so stubborn, and you have had to really bare down with hand and thumb, to sand out that spot? Even after applying that strong solution of paint remover. It would seem that some of us have certain character flaws, certain tendencies toward sin, certain embedded old flesh habits - we continue to confess, repent, and trust that God can do the work to change us. He can - but some sins are so stubborn!

So, the book is THE SHAPING OF A CHRISTIAN FAMILY by Elisabeth Elliott
It has renewed my vision - my calling - as a mother - a grandmother. It has reminded me of the urgency of consistent prayer for all my girls, their husbands, their children. I know it, but I need to be told by older women. Elisabeth Elliott is that person for me. Mom introduced me to her. Mom was her fan - huge fan. She was mom's hero. She's mine. I met her once and nearly shook her hand off, before I walked away. I'm afraid I have somewhat of a goofy personality - oftentimes walk away from a crowd feeling as if I was too loud, too silly - just too loud. She was my hero, I was nervous, I met her, and I don't think I ever stopped talking the whole time I shook her hand. She never had a chance to speak. Oh well.
I think that is all I have to say about that.
Laura Beth made it through the week without my help. Imagine that(I say, sarcastically - of course she made it without me - but don't we moms think they can't make it without us?) I never sent her the books - because I became buried in the book I was proofing for her.
So, actually, Laura Beth's blog, her pursuits in the budget, were a catalyst toward my reading the book which has renewed my heart.
Well, there are a couple of other things I want to say. One is, that the whole time I've been posting this blog, my dear husband, Charlie, has been vacumming the entire house - up and down. Can ya'll believe that????!!!!!! Isn't that the nicest thing that can happen to someone? I'm going to mop the kitchen as soon as I finish this. And he just let out a yelp! He stumped his toes so very badly. Awwww. Anyway, I hopped up to see about him. He's fine. Back to this.
So - the other things. As a result of the E. Elliott book, naturally I went to hers and Lars Gren's website. Then I googled her Daughter, Valerie and her son in law Walt Shepard. And through one of those places stumbled upon another website. So, I have 4 places to recommend that you go. That actually involves 3 websites - but within those you can move around.
Fascinating stuff. God in the lives of people.
Let me go work with Charlie - he took the day off to be with me.
P.S. I did mop the floor - but as I was preparing to do that, I ran into the corner of my cupboard and let out an "OW!" , for my smarting shoulder. It didn't hurt like Charlie's toe - but he did ask me what happened. I told him, but conceded to him the greater pain. He said in a very dry tone, "We're too old to clean house, we hurt ourselves." I agree - we need help! :-)
I think now we're going to move to the outside - yardwork! yay!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Songs I've Chosen

How Do I start this?

Can you hear a song, and you're in that place again? Or smell a scent, and you're there? Isn't that common to everyone? So, with this blog being about what I like to remember, I have to add the music. is one of my favorite things about blogging. It's so fun to be able to search for song titles or artists and be able to hear a song from the past. I actually have created 4 different playlists - my first one, which is usually on the blog, has been shelved for a while -I began building one for the holiday season - so I decided to build one for the fall season - that's not as easy to do. I want to explain some of the songs on my list.

The Auburn Fight Song is obvious. I was playing it yesterday, while Ellie and Luke were here. Here we were, in my bedroom between the bed and the computer, and I started doing my best to march and strut like an Auburn Majorette coming down the field. Ellie of course was thrilled and tried to get in on it. Luke, too. Ellie really wanted us to join hands, but I just couldn't. I had to have my arms to swing them like the majorettes do on the field. My knees were screaming. They have arthritis in them and they were screaming this sentence,"STOOOOPPPP!!! We're gonna BUCKLE!!!!!!!!" But I kept on grinning at Ellie and marching my heart to pieces. I finally agreed with my knees and I had to stop. My heart was pounding and I was out of breath.

Confession. I had actually begun that activity with the other fight song on my list. It's the Notre Dame Victory March. Only - that was our high school fight song for the EVERGREEN AGGIES!
So, I was trying to do the kicks to that - I was never a cheerleader, but I remember those kicks. Any girl from Evergreen High School could do them. Ellie was already revved up with these EHS shenanigans, so when we went from that to the Auburn stuff - well, we were all WILD! It was fun, but I had to stop. I was very out of breath.

Another little aside - I wasn't a cheerleader, but I was a majorette - not the best one ever at Evergreen High School, though. Some girls would tryout, get it their first go round, and could possibly be a majorette 3 or 4 years. I tried out 3 times!!! I finally got it on the third try. I was majorette for one year - but it was worth it, just that one year. SO MUCH FUN! How fun it would have been to be an Auburn Majorette - those orange and blue sequinned outfits - but I didn't even entertain the idea.

Well, I'll tell you, Ellie and Luke and I had a lot of fun here in this room, marching and kicking to that music.

So when you hear those two fight songs, just know that when I hear them I am propelled back to a place - to many different days and places - I see colors - green and white - I see uniforms - I see practices, practices, practices; I'm in the stadium, I'm on the field - I can hear Daddy yelling through his bullhorn, "ELIZABETTTTHHHHHH!!!! YOU'RE OUT OF STEP!!!!!!!" I am a child, it's a Friday afternoon homegame parade(that's right - every Friday afternoon) - Our small town of 3,000(not all 3000 came to the parade, obviously, but it was a crowd) came downtown to see that same band march over the bridge, go down Front Street, turn left to go over the RR tracks and march back up whatever that other street is named. And the parade was over. We did that every Friday during Football season, for a home game. No floats - except for homecoming parades and Christmas parades - By the time I was a Senior, a majorette, the Friday afternoon parades had ended. Sad. I was finally a majorette - and no Friday parades. My smalltown life - it was so simple and so fun.

If playlist had the drumbeat, I'd certainly find it. I actually played the drums in the band and can still play the drumbeat. I have drum sticks and a practice pad. The only reason I played the drums was because it's what Daddy recommended for me. I can't believe I never asked him why. I never did ask him. I can't believe I followed his advice. But when I did, all my friends selected the drum as well. We had a huge drum section those years I was in band. You know, come to think of it - Mary Ann, my sister, played clarinet and I think most of her friends selected the Clarinet - I think quite a few. Maybe Daddy saw a pattern, and needed more drummers - so he steered me that way, like a Pied Piper affect. I wasn't that good - so perhaps he knew I could do the least damage on the drums. I don't know. The years I practiced and carried the drums on the field - well - not fun. It was hot. They were heavy - and definitely not feminine!!!! I would have preferred a flute - it's so feminine if you can't be the majorette - which is what I wanted to be the most!!! So drums - and that drumbeat - you'd have to hear it. You'd be writing about it, too.

Well - I have used up all my writing time - on the Evergreen Aggie Band. I didn't mean to. I'll close with the words to our fight song and if you hear the Notre Dame Victory March - maybe you'll think of the Evergreen Aggies.

Cheer, cheer for old Evergreen.
We are the pep squad, they are the team.
Send our volley, cheer on high
and shake down the thunder from the sky.
Whether the odds be great or be small,
Old Evergreen will win over all.
While our loyal sons are marching,
Onward to Victory!
Da-Da dunt-dunt dunt dunt dunt dunt dunt dunt
repeat song.
I have two poems I want to share with you.
They both have hung on my kitchen wall for some time.
I found them when Daddy was in the throws of his Alzheimer's disease and all around us was changing, like a landslide. Both poems made me think of how Daddy's heart could feel if he was indeed feeling. Noone knows with an Alzheimer's patient - they are unable to tell us - although I'll tell you this - God, in my quietest moment, whispered to me - "His brain has Alzheimer's Disease, but his soul doesn't". So I began to read him scripture - which he dramatically responded to - and to sing him hymns - off key, which probably grated on his nerves - the scripture and the hymns calmed him - they helped - sometimes he would weep a bit, like a child when I read God's word.
Anyway, the poems: And they do express my heart - how do poets say it so well?
There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
the earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Appareled in celestial light,
the glory and freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore; -
Turn wheresoe'er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.
And the other is in the front of Garrison Keillor's book, LEAVING HOME.
It's to his town of Lake Wobegone.
Old town I smell your coffee.
If I could see you one more time.
I can't stay, you know, I left so long ago,
I'm just a stranger with memories of people I knew here,
We stand around, looking at the ground.
you're the stories I've told for years and years.
That yard, the tree - you climbed it once with me,
And we talked of cities that we'd live in someday.
I left, old friend, and now I'm back again,
Please say you missed me since I went away.
One more time that dance together,
Just you and I now, don't be shy.
This time I know I'd hear the music
If I could hold you one more time.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


These were taken June 14, 2008
Please take note of my changed "welcome picture "- the house.

The change is subtle, but it's a change. I took that picture yesterday, September 16. My first picture of the house, if you've ever noticed it, was taken on the day of my first post. It was the very beginning of June. We're halfway through this month. I'd say September is our buffer month - a chance to shake off summer and prepare for October - FALL. Who can deny loving Fall - Autumn? This season displays, no, God displays in this season all His reds, golds, His entire "warm palette", cooled down just a bit by His evergreens . I love it. This season exudes warmth, creativity, heightened senses, a drying out - God allows nature her last brilliance, before going dormant. People seem different in the Fall - more connected, I think. We huddle up, get cozy, get closer - fellowship. Any region can claim that it has the best fall season. I live in North Alabama, but I still belong to South Alabama. So, as a native of SA, I'll give it to NA that it's hard to beat her Sugar Maples - Although if we go further North I'm guessing those folks would say the Sugar Maples and all those brilliant leaves belong to them. Who's competing? We all enjoy this season. I always want it to last longer - don't go away - please, please stay - but we move into Thanksgiving, some great reds and burgandies and browns, then Christmas, Santa Red and Green and Silver and Gold, and then Winter with its grays. While winter can be somewhat claustrophobic, weighty, I like it. Without it we wouldn't have our new beginning of beautiful Spring and then the heat and green of Summer. I like it all. I can't choose my favorite - but for now I am loving the anticipation of Autumn's colors.

(A side note on October in North Alabama. Charlie and I celebrate our wedding anniversary each October 27. We were married in 1979. It never fails that the week following that date is the peak of the season's color. We know that to be true. Only severe drought, which we had about a year ago, can shift it a bit.)

Let me also just say that the apples we have up here, from Crow Mtn., are the best. And the pecans in South Alabama in November cannot be beat. It's apple season and pecan season. The best.

So, yesterday Luke was with me while Ann went to the doctor to check on "little bit", growing in her tummy. "It" is fine, and next go around, October 2, an ultrasound will be done to unveil its gender. Yay! Can't wait. Anyway, Luke helped me take limbs to the street. The limbs were from our Bradford Pears - I clipped them on Sunday afternoon - would prefer to take a chain saw to those trees - we have too many - I love trees, but these are not my favorite - maybe one or two, thinned out - but these are blocking the sun on the west side of our house - completely blocking it. Below are pictures of Luke helping me, and while he was napping I took September pictures of my house and some trees - I'm going to let the change be seen as we move through these seasons which I've gone on and on about. If that's a correct sentence. I don't think it is, but it's something we say in the South - "they went on and on about it". or "She went on and on about it" - I love that, too - our sayings here in the South. I have a friend who lives in Tallassee and she says, "I cleared out a spot and had a spell". I love it when she says that. She says it very fast. I talk too slow to say it. I say the slower version, "I just pitched a fit". There are so many more. Two things regarding Favorites and What I like to remember - I'd like to comment on all those "sayings" which I know and remember - also - without being sad, melancholy, I'd like to write about when I miss Mother the most. There are things and times which bring her to mind more often than other times - same with Daddy - and my other family members who are now in heaven - but beginning with Mother - I want to list that. It falls under my favorite things and what I like to remember.

Okay, the pictures.

Taking a break - watching Barney.

Luke loves Barney - as well as Thomas the Train and Tigger and Pooh.

Hydrangeas in September - I know I need to deadhead, but I haven't gotten to it yet.

1412 Byron Road in September. There's a difference.

From this angle - the longer shadows. This is just after noon. My crepe myrtle is thinning out - actually not as healthy as the ones in the back. The River Birches are getting very thin. I think we needed much more rain this season. The back received more water due to certain factors.

And finally, our Sugar Maple in the front yard. The leaves haven't turned at all - yet - and this one is always later than others in Scottsboro. Not sure why. Again - water? I don't know - but it always comes through and is actually kind of nice to have waited on its golden leaves.

That's all.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Happy Birthday, Luke!

Today is Luke Barber's birthday and he is 2.
Ann plans to celebrate his birthday on Friday night with a cookout.

Today after she picked up Ellie at Mother's Day Out, they came over and the following are pictures of the little celebration we had at my house.

Let me say this. Knowing Luke is already a chocoholic, I made, from scratch, very moist chocolate cupcakes, jumbo size. I also made a very rich buttery buttercream frosting. I am trying to cut out sugar and managed to make these without tasting.
I purposed not to spend money on this impromptu birthday celebration, so I pulled out some old things I'd saved. There were some sesame street characters which I'd used on Laura Beth's 3rd birthday. (Laura Beth is now 25 and has Ada who is 1.)
Using the characters was an afterthought. You'll see the pictures of the "scene". I made myself coffee to have something "rich and comforting" to put in my mouth, since I wasn't eating the cupcakes. Also, at the last minute I did get some balloons, with helium.
Well, you'll see in the photos that Ellie and Luke hardly touched their cupcake and icecream. The balloons were their favorite and the sesame street characters. Luke especially was fond of the characters AND balloons. Both Ellie and Luke had to take a nap right after the party. So, I've tucked away the characters. I'm all about saving "stuff" for the grandchild belonging to the daughter who used the "stuff" as a child. I wonder if Luke will ask for those characters when he wakes up.