Busy School Days Three Things We Did

School Days are busy days, that is for sure! The days will go by, no matter what.

Welcome to Reality - Road sign

The hour is 2:30 on a Tuesday afternoon, and I find myself walking through our quaint Marietta Square thinking about afternoons gone by, when our son and daughter were small and coming up. Now married, ages 31 and 28, Leah and Walker are both married with children of their own.

Were we busy on school days! The hours between 2:30-8:30, six hours in all, were so jammed pack, roller skates would have probably helped me to make it to their bedtime. Homework, sports, carpools, snack time, Mission Friends,  baths, music lessons, dinner, and more, filled those six hours each weekday and the memories come flooding in when I allow them to. My husband’s work schedule did not allow him to help me shuffle them here and there, so it was lots of other Moms, and me, who counted on each other to create plans that were workable.

TODAY, however, as we continue to face the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic. school days are anything but “normal”. (I heard it said once that “normal” is nothing but a setting on a washing machine, lol)

What we are facing, collectively, is something most of us have never dealt with before—the threat of contagion, the challenges of quarantine, and the possibility (or reality, sadly) of major losses, both in human terms and economically. AND now, it is August and Back To School Season, after abruptly closing our schools down in Mid-March 2020.

During these especially challenging times, I think it is particularly important to remember to be non-judgmental, kind and supportive regarding the school decisions that our family and friends are making for the students who still live at home.

Some are choosing virtual, some are home-schooling, and some are attending classes face-to-face. All choices are permissible.

As we continue to move forward with tremendous hopes for finding a viable vaccination as soon as possible, let’s pour out resolve, resilience, and support to all who are in our path. Let’s look for ways to help others during this time, even in small ways such as an encouraging note or a meal for a neighbor who is battling cancer. Let’s all Look UP, keeping our faith strong.

Now at a local Starbuck’s patio at the corner of Whitlock and North Marietta Parkway, the hour is closer to three p.m., and I think about the parents are  would normally be heading to schools for pick-up, while the teachers are calling the day a wrap as they clean their boards and straighten the classrooms in preparation for Hump Day.  Not this year. Not in 2020. Many schools are virtual, while a few are not. Either way, the days go by, no matter what.

Back to school design over white background, vector illustration

I don’t feel sad as I recall these school days gone by, but I do recall easily three things that we intentionally tried to do every single day:

1) Eat dinner together as a family-not every night, but we tried hard to make it most nights. We would go around the table sharing “highs” and “lows” from the day gone by. The crockpot was my best friend then! Click here to read a pertinent article about this.IMG_5309


2) We read together every night at bedtime. When they were nonreaders, we would read to them and once they learned to read, we would read with the popcorn method-you read a page and your child reads a page. Click here to read an important article about reading with your kids.


3) Each and every night, we would rest our hand on our child and give them the following blessing from Numbers 6:24-26: “May the Lord bless you and keep you; may the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you; may the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Parents today, more than ever before, still want the Lord to bless their children. 

How about your family? What intentional traditions and memories are you building into the busy days of your children and grandchildren? The SKY is the limit!


Related posts you may have missed:

The Family Circus

10 Ways To Value A Teen

The Best Birthday Cake

The Long And Winding Road

Thanksgiving An Acrostic



Thanksgiving 2019 comes late this year! November 28, 2019. We plan to enjoy a much smaller than usual gathering in the North Georgia Mountains. But first, tomorrow, we will celebrate the life of our dear friend, Debra O’Dell, age 58, who passed recently from a cancer battle. Debbie has been quite the fighter and lover of life, as a Kindergarten, a missionary, a Mom, a wife, a devoted servant in our church and the kindest friend you could ever have. Deb will be greatly missed!

It is Thanksgiving Week and I am wondering what this annual holiday means to you. I wrote this blog post on Thanksgiving 2014.

I am grateful for what I am and for what I have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.”   Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) 

One of our favorite long-time traditions on this day is passing out three dried corn kernels to each person present.Standing in a circle, before we bless the feast, we pass a small bowl around and have each one name three things they are thankful for while placing the kernels in the bowl. As we do this, we remember the pilgrims who went before us, making the famous 1620 voyage, and  we share aloud our gratitude for life. You and your family may want to consider beginning a similar tradition for Thanksgiving 2018.

What will be on the menu for your Thanksgiving Feast this year? You may want to consider a salad bar station like the one pictured above. This makes for a lighter addition to the otherwise heavier choices.

If you are in the Atlanta area for this annual holiday, think about taking your crew to the Marietta Square to participate in Must Ministries Gobble Jog! It is so much fun and it benefits the homeless and hungry in our community. Click here for info.

An Annual Tradition! GOBBLE JOG to benefit Must Ministries and so much fun for the entire family!

If you have an extra side dish, pie, or a gift card to a grocery store, drop it by The Zone. The Zone is a safe haven in Marietta for those who are battling substance abuse. This amazing center will be opened for a continuous 24 hours to feed all who come by. They welcome our help and you can click here for more information.

Below, I have formed an acrostic to illustrate some of what Thanksgiving means to me. Perhaps some of these describe your thoughts about this great annual holiday.

Time Together 

Holiday Excitement Begins

Anyone Welcome

No Gifts Needed

Kindness Abounds

Sharing With Others

Grateful For Relaxation

In The Kitchen

Very Yummy Food

Am Loved and Blessed

Never Forget Our Angels In Heaven

Goodness Of God Is With Us

IMG_0651I hope this post will prompt you to stop for a few minutes during “Black Friday Weekend” and consider what this special holiday means to you.

A Loving Eulogy for My Father November 11th Veteran's Day 2013



‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Alfred Lord Tennyson, British Poet (1809-1892) from his poem “In Memoriam A.H.H.”

Five  years ago on November 11, 2013, my Daddy passed away and went to join my Mama. It was Veteran’s Day, which was appropriate since Daddy had served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in the late 1940s. My five siblings and I came up with the following attributes in reference to our father:

God-inspired, man of character, compassionate, humble, man of stability, respectable, charming, hard worker, steadfast family man, musician, avid fisherman, and beloved physician.

At the age of 93, it was certainly evident to each one of us that he had lived a long and beautiful life. Even so, this has not changed the truth of how much we miss him and our Mama, too. When one loves completely, the “missing” may lessen, but it never goes away. I spoke at Daddy’s funeral and wanted to share with you my words to honor the memory of my beloved father:

Joan’s Eulogy for her Daddy
November 14, 2013

Our father slipped away quietly on Monday, a gorgeous, autumn afternoon. The kind of day that our mom would’ve loved. When author C.S. Lewis’ wife passed away, he was quoted as saying :

“Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.”
C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) quote from his book, A Grief Observed, written in 1960

I believe that is exactly how our Dad felt after our Mama’s brief illness and death in October 2006. In fact, some of us thought Dad may join her in that first year of his bereavement.  Perhaps dying of a broken heart. But instead, our strong and courageous father rallied.Daddy continued to play his clarinet for his many grandchildren. He took take daily walks for fitness at nearby Dellinger Park. Dad also resumed his volunteer position of delivering Meals on Wheels to the homebound.

From the time I was a little girl, our big family drove to Savannah Beach every August for our annual family vacation. Often this trip landed on my birthday and I thought that was just part of the plan.  A beach birthday trip for Joan and family!

These were always great times! It was wonderful to see Daddy relax and take a break from his busy OB-Gyn solo practice.

When I think about who I am today, and who I am becoming, I think of both my mother and my father. Some of the most important character traits instilled in myself, my brothers, and my sisters are compassion and a strong work ethic. We now observe these same traits and many more in their grandchildren. WE are all thankful for the role model given to us by our parents, and I hope all of us for generations to come will honor their memory with our own lives.

Another life lesson that my father taught me is to have equanimity, a mental or emotional stability or composure, especially under tension or strain; calmness. While I am definitely still learning to practice equanimity, I believe another way to think of this is in Psalm 46:10:

“Be still and know that I am God.”

In closing, I remember how special the fall season has been to our parents, their wedding was on October 21, 1948.  Both Mom and Dad have now had their Homegoing in the fall.

I am reminded of one of Dad’s favorite musicians, Frank Sinatra, singing:

Autumn Leaves

“Since you went away the days grow long,
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song.
But I miss you, most of all my darling,
When autumn leaves start to fall.”

I love you Mama and Daddy, so glad you’re finally back together!


Posts You May Have Missed:

A Father Is More Than A Sperm Donor

Three Touchstones Of Showing Up: Acts Of Love Help During A Difficult Season

Four Ways To Best Help The Bereaved

Five Ways To Love Well, We Only Have One Chance

Five More Ways To Love Well, We Only Have One Chance

How The Soul Grows Through Loss

It Is Well With My Soul

A Grace Disguised: A Fork In The Road 

Four Ways To Love Our Peeps Valentine's Day Is Here

Here I will share with you four ways to better love our peeps.  As Valentine’s Day is here, our minds go to the significant, loving relationships in our life journey. Are they fulfilling, communicative, in harmony, and committed? Do we enjoy time spent with these we are in relationship with? Do we laugh together? Most of us if we are completely honest, would say, that our relationships could be better.

One of the things my Mama taught me is a tool she used during her 58 years of marriage. When the faults of her man seemed glaring to her, she would take a moment, hold out both hands in front of her, like a scale, and say this to herself: “My right hand represents Johnny’s shortcomings, and my left hand represents the ways that I fall short.” Invariably, she would tell me, her left hand always weighed heavier than her right.

'Dear Friends, Let us love one another, for love comes from God.' 1 John 4:7

Rather than wanting our partners to change so things would be better, perhaps it is time to determine how we could show up differently and make the difference we are seeking.

Here are three ways to better love our peeps:

1) Cultivate Your Love Life Inside Out

This first one may surprise you, as it has less to do with your relationships and more to do with your inner heart. Did you know? Studies have shown that one will never let oneself have more health, happiness, and success than one feels he/she deserves. What does that mean? This means that right this minute you and I are attracting what we feel worthy of having. What would you say your current self-worth score is on a scale of 1-10? What things could you do to increase that score? Before we can expect to find love from anyone else, we first have to find it within ourselves. Our God loves us and wants us to have self-worth and self-respect. And let’s surround ourselves with people who truly love and support us!

'Friends are like elevators. They either take us up or bring us down.' Naomi Judd

(2) Leave the Blame Game Behind

I know when I criticize my husband of nearly 35 years, he literally shuts down, not with anger, just sadness. Blaming and judging will guarantee a poor partnership! Lucille Ball said, “Love yourself, and everything else will fall into place.” Could it be that there is something you are ‘unhappy’ within yourself? Think about it! An important relationship is our connection to our own heart. When we accept ourselves as we are, then and only then can we accept others without condition.

My Parents, Valentines for Life!

(3) Let The Past Go

Every beating heart has a story and our history (thank goodness!!!) is not our destiny. It’s good to habitually say to ourselves: “That was then. This is now.” We all have things in our past we may not be proud of, but we can let that all go and focus on today. “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift. That is why we call today, ‘the present'” (unknown)

(4)Live Out Our Days with Gratitude and Appreciation

Wayne Dyer said: “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change.” In every loving relationship, there are more good things than bad things going on. However, if the negative things become our ‘focal point’, then they seem way bigger and become more and more dominant in our partnership.  Read this by Charles Swindoll on Attitude. We all get to choose the thoughts that control our feelings and emotions that end up driving our lives.

Now, we all know that Valentine’s Day is just one more day established by Hallmark, LOL!

Love Always Wins!

What are some of the ways you and I can exhibit more love towards our peeps each and every day of the year? How can we make our parents, sons, daughters, girlfriends, and partners feel more treasured and cherished in the days ahead?

Previous Posts You May Have Missed:

Learn To Love Yourself Despite The Struggles

Every Beating Heart Has A Story

Five Ways To Love Well

Five More Ways To Love Well

Fill Your Love Tank: Don’t Run On Empty

The Love Letter Challenge

What’s Happiness? What's JOY?

IMG_8209 IMG_8212

What’s Happiness?

What’s Joy?

Donny and I recently made the 2.5 hour drive from Asheville, North Carolina to Blue Ridge, Georgia. Normally a scenic route along the Great Smoky Mountain Expressway, our drive was cloudy and smoky indeed from all the recent rain and flooding. In the passenger seat, I reminisced about our recent holiday season, considering the coming Christmas of dear friends who had a great loss in the past year.

An article posted recently by my friend, Mary K. gave me even more food for thought on this subject: 20 Hard Things You Need To Do To Be Happy.

As the miles slipped by in the torrential rain, I thought about what brings me the most happiness and joy.

I came upon my usual, steadfast three:


Later, I ran across the following anonymous writing and it fit with my musings as we traveled last week:

We convince ourselves that life will be better after we get married, have a baby, then another.

Then we are frustrated that the kids aren’t old enough, and we’ll be more content when they are.

After that, we’re frustrated that we have teenagers to deal with.

We will certainly be happy when they are out of that stage.

We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our partner gets his or her act together when we get a nicer car, are able to go on a nice holiday, when we retire.

The truth is, there’s no better time to be happy than now. If not now, when?

Your life will always be filled with challenges.

It’s best to admit this to yourself and decide to be happy anyway.

For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, or a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. Alfred D. Souza

This perspective has helped me to see that there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.

So, treasure every moment that you have and treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time…and remember that time waits for no one.

So, stop waiting until you lose ten pounds, until you gain ten pounds, until you have kids, until your kids leave the house, until you start work, until you retire, until you get married, until you get divorced, until Friday night, until Sunday morning, until you get a new car or home, until your car or home is paid off, until spring, until summer, until winter, until your song comes on, until you’ve had a drink…. there is no better time than now to be happy.

Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

Work like you don’t need money,

Love like you’ve never been hurt,

And dance like no one’s watching.



So what will bring us happiness and joy in 2018?  

IMG_8293 IMG_8297 IMG_8289 IMG_8287

Pictured here are some of my favorite things from the past years.

But as you will soon see…”The best things in life aren’t things at all.”

The Reason for The Season
celebrating Jim’s birthday on 12/20/15
a Missouri map added to my bracelet from Walker and Jess
a tiger added to my bracelet by Leah and Scott
a copied poem and my “original art”
an unexpected gift from my friend, Susan F.
six out of eight of our FF group, friends since Fernbank Elementary
my dear friend, Kelly
GrandDaddy Page
my teaching companion , in Rio and dear friend, Deb
grands of our dear friends, The Carters
loving the resemblance between my sis, Kathy and our daughter
experience of JOY with these two on 11/14/15
brings me JOY knowing this ornament is now on another Page tree
thankful for Donna Kapper’s opportunity to give this bear a special journey….Read about this on an earlier post: “Tears To Teddy Bears”
service in a Santa Shop with my girl
fun with friends and family as David leads us in caroling
Oh my, love these West girls, whom I have known since “utero” : )
special friends, The Kramers, join us in our home
“sister sessions” with my three sisters every couple of months
33 years of marriage and still going strong…onward and upward…He makes me smile…
Our niece, Katie with her first-born, Noelle…Read more about our six 2014 babies in an earlier post: “Carve Your Name On Hearts”
~~~the memories of my parents are with me daily~~~
Cindy’s  Christmas Eve, story time legacy lives on even after they are grown
4 of us together at Krueger wedding
2015 Fourth of July in Barcelona
My big bro, John Wade and Jeanie…and Grandparents to this precious trio below
A three-way “Heart Huddle”-Walker Grands-all first borns, all born within four months of each other in 2014. Read more about them in my post “Carve Your Name On Hearts”.
women’s retreat May 2015
a rose in a vase at the Biltmore Inn
Tim and Ringer
a church in the distance as we traveled from NC to GA
my student in Rio, so excited to receive this brand new recorder
our awesome interpreters in Rio
friends in our home, Bonny and her daughter, Stacy
my sis, Laura Lea and Leah have a moment to catch up on a sunny Thanksgiving Day, 2015
My sis, Laura Lea plays “motor boat” with her new grandson, Roman
a Thanksgiving walk in the woods with 3 of my favorite people
Christmas Day 2015 with Mocha
“Great”-nephews, August and Noah
supporting Karl’s Kure
on mission in RIO
R and R at the lake
two of my favorite things: red geraniums and Gracie
these college friends since 1976 have brought so much sunshine into my life
Walker and Jessica, Summer 2015
Scott and Leah, Summer 2015
FRIENDS are a gift!
Thank goodness Donny and Gracie know how to relax!
Psalm 113:3 “From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’s name is to be praised.” Lamentations 3:22-23 “His compassion for us never fails and his mercies are new every morning.”
People are made of stories, not atoms.

Posts You May Have Missed:

My Own Little World: What If There’s A Bigger Picture

Speak Life

It Is Well With My Soul

Peace Like A River

Fertile Prayers

Wrestling and Seeking

Authentic Prayer

Run To The Roar




Yesterday~Tomorrow~Today Take A Few Minutes Out To Remember

Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12 (NIV and NLT)

Nearly 500 days ago, I first published this post and with the 2016-2017 school year off to a start and the school busses rolling again, I wanted to repost it. While we don’t want to “live in the past”, as Al Stewart sings boldly in his famous 1978 hit, Time Passages. The following green text is from my original post in early May, 2015. I hope this post will rekindle some special memories in your heart today.

Remember the Time Words Clock Flipping Tiles

This time last year, we were smack-dab in the middle of our two children’s weddings and our son’s commencement from Wheaton College. My, what a difference one year can make.

March 29, 2014 Leah Page Andrews, left and Jessica Morris Page, right.
Walker moves into his home away from home at Wheaton College, Fall 2010.

Now, it is May 2015, and here in our community and beyond, I know many, many families who are celebrating weddings and graduations themselves. More and more dear friends are becoming grandparents, welcoming little ones into their world. I wish you all well as you witness the union of your children, watch your young adult walking across that stage after accomplishing their goals or meet your grandbaby for the very first time.

Well I'm not the kind to live in the past. The years run too short and the days too fast. The things you lean on are the things that don't last. Well it's just now and then my line gets cast into these time passages. Al Stewart Time Passages 1978, US Top Ten


August 1993 Leah (age 4 1/2) and Walker (age 17 months)

This time forty years ago, our family lived at 655 Webster Drive and the six kids had a separate phone number for our friends to call in on, ’cause Daddy was an Ob-Gyn in a solo-practice, and needed to have a clear line at all times. Our phone looked just like this and sat upon an old heater in our basement. The number was 636-9339. Yep, there was no area code needed. When we were out for the evening, my parents let the phone ring off the wall because they knew there was a friend of ours on the other line wondering where we might be.


This time thirty-four years ago, I was putting up that huge hamburger bulletin board: “It’s Summer! Hold the Homework!” for my fifth grade students. I was also counting the days for my Summer Break. Back then, the 3 best things about teaching were: June, July and August. I was serving time on bus duty, loving on my students who were mostly from the projects. I loved teaching and the difference I had the chance to make in the life of individual children.

This time twenty-seven years ago, I was halfway through my pregnancy with our first child. A child we had longed for, prayed for, after more than 3 years of infertility. Our daughter, Leah Suzanne weighed in at 7 lbs. 4 oz, measuring 19 1/2 inches and has been a bright light in our days since then.

One more University of Georgia football game before we become parents!
Pure Joy as they peek in at Leah in the hospital bassinet. Cousin Amy was so proud at age 7 that she stayed up all night waiting for Leah, and her Mom, Mary Ann was a great birthing coach.
Aunt Laura Lea gets a chance to meet her new niece, Leah.

This time nine years ago, our first born graduated from Kennesaw Mountain High School, while our son finished up his ninth grade year at Mount Paran.

And in all these years, along with our friends and our family, I have been a part of lots of joyous celebrations and tragedies that are too many to count. Thankfully, I have found it to be true that friends divide sorrow and multiply joy. Dozens of people whom I have loved have passed on, several of them passing at a much younger age than one might expect.  My parents have both taken their leave.  Still, I am here, living out my days, one by one.

My parents, GoodMama and GoodDaddy, were married 58 years before Mama went on ahead of Daddy in 2006.

You are doing the same in your world…living, loving, laughing, caring and sharing LIFE.

Global Globalization World Map Environmental Concept

As I consider again, where I was this time last year, I am feeling peaceful,

though a bit nostalgic and reminiscent, as well.

What memories do you want to take a few minutes to reflect on?

Memories from 40, 34, 27, or 9 years ago?

Day by day, our life is a gift.


Yesterday is History. Tomorrow is a Mystery. Today is a Gift and that is why we call it The Present. ~Anonymous~
One of my Mama’s favorite quotes: Bloom Where You Are Planted.

Don’t Borrow Trouble He Is My Anchor


My Mama December 20, 1927-October 24, 2006

Many of you know that I started this blog in memory of my Mama who passed away in 2006. Esophageal Cancer took her from us just four short months after her diagnosis. Mom was 78. Even when she found out about her illness, her first response was: “Well, we’re supposed to bloom where we’re planted, aren’t we?” Mama made it a habit to not borrow trouble often using the word “concerned” in lieu of “worried”.IMG_8351

 Adopted at age three, Mama went on to marry, Johnny, the love of her life at age 21 and live an extraordinary life, impacting others for good wherever she turned.  Multitudes have been blessed with her memory, her heritage, including six grown, married children, twenty-six grands and twelve great-grands. A legacy like Mama’s lives on forever!

Goodmama holds a ball out for Walker and he takes his first steps!

I can honestly say that I think of my Mama every single day, and I probably always will. One reason my thoughts go to her is because of the many life mantras she lived out during our days shared together.

One of these which I consider often is “Don’t borrow trouble from tomorrow by worrying.” This brief nugget of wisdom can be applied to so many moments in our lives.

Is someone making a long trip and you are hoping for traveling mercies? Do you have a family member who is ill and you don’t know how to best help them? Is someone you love expecting a child and you are praying for a safe delivery?  Has your child left for college and now, you have no idea what their days and nights look like? Is someone you adore suffering with the disease of addiction? Are you having communication issues with a close relationship and you are unsure how it will turn out? Do you have uncertain circumstances coming up in your journey? Are you and your sweetheart planning to start a family and the timing is not what you had thought it would be?

“Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 

Have you had a recent surgery, are going through physical therapy and you are not sure if you are healing well? Are you wondering how that “special wedding day” will turn out, that day you all have planned extensively for? Are you having health issues and you are not sure which direction to turn?  Is a beloved one away serving in our military?  Has someone dear to your heart passed recently, leaving you wondering how you will keep living?

What might you add to this list that you find yourself worrying about?

Borrowing trouble from tomorrow is a bad kind of debt because it is “borrowing” with absolutely no pay-off whatsoever. Worry is often the nonacceptance of circumstances that you cannot do anything about. Even the Bible reminds us to not borrow trouble from tomorrow. See Matthew 6:25-34. The Serenity Prayer helps me so much as I continue to desire days where I do not borrow any trouble from tomorrow:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

How will you and I avoid borrowing trouble from tomorrow 

in the days, weeks and months ahead?

Click here to listen to a Michael W. Smith song

and here for a Hillsong UNITED Oceans

song, two songs  that have encouraged me in this very thing.


Related Posts You May Have Missed:

It Is Well With My Soul

Fertile Prayers

Addiction Is Real. Hope Is Real, Too.

Wedding Tips

Who’s In Our Path

How Do We Describe Grief?

We’ve Got Your Back

We Can Get Advice From A Trail

A Win For The Guinn Family

Are You Driving?

A Grace Disguised

How The Soul Grows Through Loss

Where Is He?

My Heart Will Go On

Every Beating Heart Has A Story

Blended Tears

Time Away: A Women’s Retreat

Four Ways To Best Help The Bereaved

Thanksgiving In The Woods


So we are just past Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2015.

Let us have peace.” Ulysses Grant (1822-1885)

As you reflect on your holiday, perhaps your thoughts have begun to turn towards shopping on Black Friday, checking off a gift list for those you love, an upcoming football tailgate party, or like me, clinging to memories of those who have left us too soon, including our dear friends’ son, Taylor on March 7, 2015.   With lots of folks here, six dogs, and one cat, “Louis” from St. Louis, our Thanksgiving in the woods has been a peaceful time of friends, family, and lots of fellowship!

Two tunes keep coming back into my mind, the lyrics humming their messages straight to my heart…as I reflect on those who we have missed over this holiday, those who have gone on ahead of me, those who’ve been lost in tragedies across our globe and those I have had the blessing of sharing this special day with.

Worry is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” Anonymous

I am wishing for…and praying for more and more peace in our world. I believe many of you are hoping for the same thing.

Let There Be Peace On Earth and Let It Begin With Me        AND

Imagine All The People Living Life In Peace


We now have a new great niece and nephew, Wynter and Roman!
Scott and his Dad, Mike rose early to get our 15+ pound turkey on the green egg.
Wynter and Mocha made good friends!
Leah, Scott, & their friend, Caroline refinished our kitchen cabinets as a Thanksgiving gift.
Walker and Jess, visiting from St. Louis took charge of the pies, using In A Southern Kitchen!
Mama, with eight of her grands Spring 2006, following her last Thanksgiving with us.
Mama, gone since 2006, but never forgotten…
Mama’s Ideals!
Scott’s Mom, Cindy enjoys Wynter as she dreams of the day she is a Grandma!
Walk on Thanksgiving Morn!

IMG_7657 IMG_7656 IMG_7655 IMG_7642 IMG_7640 IMG_7624 IMG_7616 IMG_7618 IMG_7619 IMG_7593

Jessica’s Parents AND Scott’s Parents joined us!
My sis, “Lalea” loves on her new granddaughter.
Aunt Laura and Leah visit.
Rhys, “Poppy” hangs out with his new grandson.
Our niece, Pamela, takes in a peaceful moment with her son, Roman.

After such a joyful, fun-filled, busy holiday, I knew that what I needed next was a few minutes of solitude.

never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.” Henry David Thoreau

My Mama always said to be sure to give your body enough time to catch up with your soul!

Just Gracie and me enjoying a walk in the woods!

Thanks for stopping by to share our

Thanksgiving In The Woods.

I hope your holiday was filled with fun and peace.

As you reflect on your Thanksgiving, you may enjoy seeing this acrostic and reading about our Thanksgiving 2014.


A Father Is More Than A Sperm Donor Remembering My Daddy

Daddy’s hands reached out to many in his time…to his wife, to his six kids, to the countless babies he delivered as an OB doc, and to the poor in Africa between the years of 1950-1955. He was always looking out for others, and one of the things I miss most is holding this hand.

Have you ever wondered, like me, why there has never been a required manual written for both new mothers and new fathers? I know this is a crazy idea, but Donny and I sure would’ve loved to read it before we conceived our two!  Though it is not a complete list, read here 10 things loving fathers can do for their children.  There is also a website for DADS at National Center for Fathering/How To Be A Good and Loving Dad.

It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.” Pope John XXIII

 A father is more than a sperm donor, that’s for sure, and my family was blessed with a daddy who loved me unconditionally, provided for me well, prayed for me, and never turned his back on me.

November 11th marks Dad’s anniversary in Heaven. Daddy passed away on a Monday, Veterans Day, which was poignant, since he served in the Army as a med-tech many years ago. He was 93. I know where he is, and that helps to keep the grief at bay. I choose to look at the life he lived with all of us as an enormous blessing. As I grow in my age, I know I am that much closer to the day I will be reunited with both of my parents and that gives me such JOY!

Daddy in November 1987 ready for my brother, Billy and Lisa’s wedding.

Some of Daddy’s grandsons are now fathers themselves, emulating their GoodDaddy.

In honor and memory of my Dad, I will share a few characteristics I have come to see as important while living with the two fathers I know best, my Daddy and my husband.

It is a wise father who knows his own child.” William Shakespeare 

This list comes from my own personal experience. I do realize that some folks grow up never knowing their father or perhaps they lost their Dad at a young age.

  • vigilant and present

  • funny

  • strong

  • faith-filled

  • problem solver

  • discerning

  • love for his child’s mother and arranges frequent dates with her 

  • unconditional love for his family

  • provider 

  • loving disciplinarian

As you consider my list,

what characteristics might you add?

Share this with the fathers in your path today.



A Memory Tablecloth Start One Today!


What You Will Need:  

white or other light colored table cloth


pieces of poster board 8 x 10 and larger

friends and family

Have you ever considered that much of our laughter, our sharing with one another, our memories together are made around the table, with our favorite music playing in the background?

In memory everything seems to happen to music.” Tennessee Williams 

We first learned about a memory tablecloth when we joined our friends, David and Rebecca for an annual Christmas party back in 2010. 

Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them.” Bob Dylan

 Spread across their dining room table was a white cloth with messages written all over it in a variety of colors. Many of us added a notation that very night.

Soon, our family started our own memory tablecloth and it has been a highlight of many of our meals for the past five years. It is fun to look back at the memories we’ve collected on our tablecloth!IMG_5671 IMG_5672 IMG_5673A few helpful tips: 

Be sure to place poster board under cloth before beginning.

Any age friend or family member can participate

from toddler to age 100 and beyond.

Always date and initial or sign your notation.

Don’t worry if you make a mistake, just make

it into a flower or a heart and carry on. <smile>

Take to dry cleaners when dirty.

IMG_5674 IMG_5675 IMG_5676 IMG_5678

Our Great Nephew, Jacob’s Nativity Scene

IMG_5680 IMG_5681 IMG_5682 IMG_5683Yesterday, my sisters and I gathered at our home to celebrate our niece, Pamela and her future groom with an “I Do BBQ” for our niece.

I have always loved this idea. Holidays at David and Rebecca’s are so special and I love reading the memory cloth. Several are messages from those who are now in heaven and they are even more special. It makes us feel like they are still joining us at the table.” 

Joanne Brewer Yates

We started them their own memory tablecloth at the party!

Pamela’s cousin, Stacey, and Aunt Bonny traveled from Charleston, South Carolina to celebrate with Pam and Joel!

IMG_5705 IMG_5704 IMG_5702

Would you like to capture more

family and friend memories by starting

your own memory tablecloth?