Friday, September 28, 2007


O, my little granddaughter, is 3 months old today. This delightful little girl is now smiling with bright, twinkling eyes and giggling with sweet, melodious sounds. With each new dazzling photograph, I see her personality beaming thru. O is truly beautiful and perfectly adorable! She’s an incredible miracle who has brought love and laughter into my life.

In this brief span of time, my life has been amazingly blessed by this special little one. Oh Dear O, I just love you, little girl!

I have a list of “100 Things to Accomplish Before I Die”. O has fulfilled one very special item on that list – “to have a grandchild”. I wonder if I’ll ever get to item #67 – go skydiving.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

north carolina - the cradle of ’cue

My husband is an addict – absolutely and positively, a fanatical addict. Of course, I had no idea until after we were married. He was incredibly devious about the whole thing, cleverly hiding his unrelenting obsession from his dear bride. Poor me. By the way, he is addicted to BBQ.

There are four spellings for BBQ – Barbecue or barbeque, and abbreviations BBQ or Bar-B-Que. Use any one, for they are all synonymous. Dictionary definitions are basically the same – 1: to roast or broil on a rack or revolving spit over or before a source of heat (as hot coals), and 2: to cook in a highly seasoned vinegar sauce. However, the first definition is incorrect. Perhaps the editors have limited knowledge of BBQ. I have the correct definition below.

The word barbeque is not defined as the act of cooking food on one’s grill. BBQ is the actual name of a food item of which one eats – Like “Let’s order BBQ to eat at the restaurant tonight”. The act of using a grill to cook food is called grilling – like “Let’s grill hamburgers for dinner tonight”. How simple is that? It’s a real pet peeve of mine is to hear someone use BBQ in the incorrect manner.

Wouldn’t you know, NC is the Barbeque Capital of the World. There are two different recipes for BBQ – western style and eastern style. Mark likes both types, which, unfortunately, expands his restaurant patronages. Great. At the moment, there are several packages of barbeque in our freezer. No surprise there! He has also scoured the internet for more BBQ restaurants – ( He is partial to – Woodlands in Blowing Rock, Lexington Barbeque in Lexington, Stamey’s in Greensboro, Skippers in Henderson, Bill’s in Wilson, and Parker’s in Wilson. By the way, if anyone out there cares, my favorite is Woodlands.

Hard to believe, but there is actually a North Carolina BBQ Society – ( I wonder what type of person came up with that? Hmmm. Mark could be a devoted member, but please, let’s not tell him. And, wouldn’t you know, our son’s father-in-law is a BBQ enthusiast as well. When Mark and Tom get together, they discuss every subject that remotely deals with BBQ. And, of course, this conversation is over a cup of coffee.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Callie is generally a snoopy cat - very curious, especially inquisitive, and sometimes, down-right meddlesome! Indoors, she typically follows me from room to room, and when I go outside, she watches me thru the door or windows. Either she loves my company as much as I love hers, or she is just plain nosy! From the very beginning, Callie’s snooping tendencies got her into trouble. We quickly realized she had this predisposition by default, but gee whiz!!!

The other evening, Mark heard some commotion outside, coming from the house next door. The place had been vacant for many months, and neighbors were beginning to move in. Mark carefully peered thru the blinds in our guest bedroom, just to check it out. Callie came running into the room, bounded up onto the nightstand, stretched out her paw, yanked down a hefty section of blinds, and stuck her head thru until her nose touched the glass. So, should the neighbors notice the window, they'd see a cat head sticking thru, with eyes gawking at their every move. This goes way beyond sticking her nose in where it didn’t belong, literally.

Welcome to the neighborhood!

The trouble with cats is that they've got no tact.
P. G. Wodehouse

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

the old dirt road

From days gone by, the summer trips to my maternal grandparents bring about the most vivid memories of my childhood. These visits were our family’s annual two-week vacation. What better retreat than to wonder about the vast beauty of God’s creation and to savor the serenity it brought? What better vacation than to visit with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and lots of cousins?

They lived near Erin, Tennessee on Green Acres, a 600-something acre farm. It rested among gently sloping hills, in a serene and secluded community known as Long Branch. To reach the farm, we turned off of a state road onto a narrow dirt and rock road. An abundance of lovely Black-eyed Susans greeted us along the roadside and like a beacon, pointed the way to Green Acres. The old dirt road carried us around gentle curves, thru woods, past fields, by a one room schoolhouse, past a farm with peacocks and pigs, over small wooden bridges above rippling creeks, and by an uncle’s house.

My Mom and her sister and brothers attended school in that one room schoolhouse, now standing weathered and in disrepair. They walked along that old dirt road to school. It seemed to take an eternity to get from the beginning of “granddaddy’s road” to the driveway of the old, two-story, white frame farmhouse.

I loved that old dirt road, and its Black-eyed Susans. I have several clumps of these flowers growing in my own backyard garden, just behind the gold fish pond. The Black-eyed Susans are a lifelong reminder of the summer trips to my grandparents farm. These are cherished memories of days gone by.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

word of the day

Geek (gēk)

NOUN: Slang 1a. A person regarded as foolish, inept, or clumsy. b. A person who is single-minded or accomplished in scientific or technical pursuits but is felt to be socially inept. 2. A carnival performer whose show consists of bizarre acts, such as biting the head off a live chicken.
ETYMOLOGY:Perhaps alteration of dialectal geck, fool, from Low German gek, from Middle Low German.OTHER FORMS:geek y —ADJECTIVE

OUR LIVING LANGUAGE: Our word geek is now chiefly associated with student and computer slang; one probably thinks first of a computer geek. In origin, however, it is one of the words American English borrowed from the vocabulary of the circus, which was a much more significant source of entertainment in the United States in the 19th and early 20th century than it is now. Large numbers of traveling circuses left a cultural legacy in various and sometimes unexpected ways. For example, Superman and other comic book superheroes owe much of their look to circus acrobats, who were similarly costumed in capes and tights. The circus sideshow is the source of the word geek, “a performer who engaged in bizarre acts, such as biting the head off a live chicken.”

(The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I'm looking at a miracle,
God sent to bring us pleasure;
Another chapter in life's book,
Bringing joy beyond all measure.
There's nothing like a grandchild,
Especially a little girl;
She wraps your heart with heartstrings,
And captivates your world.
She dances into your very soul,
All ruffles, dollies and lace;
You melt into a puddle,
With one look from that little face.
She wraps you 'round her finger,
And plays with you like a toy;
But that's the reason God gave her,
To bring her Grandparents joy.
This heritage of our heritage,
This blessing all giggles and fun;
Was sent by God as a special gift,
Our precious little one.

Author: Allison Chambers Coxsey

I love that little girl...

Monday, September 17, 2007

our adoption

Callie is an eighteen-month-old calico cat who shares our home. She adopted us in April of 2006, chock-full of attitude from the start. Mark and I totally understood from the beginning that we did not own her, but rather she owned us. I’ve heard it explained as ‘dogs have owners and cats have staff ’. How true!

Prior to finding Callie, I searched the internet daily, checking the County Animal Shelter and the SPCA sites for a kitten that might choose us. We knew we wanted a little girl and had chosen her name before the search began. One weekend when Andrew and Sheila were visiting, we were pulling into a Blockbuster lot on Friday night, when Shelia asked if we were going to look at the kittens in PetsMart. We went across the parking lot to the pet store, and there she was, meowing from a lonesome cage, crying because her siblings had already adopted families. I held her, and that was it - I was in love. Saturday morning, we were hers. Many thanks to Sheila!

Long before our adoption, I had been shopping all around town for supplies. Some of the items I bought were a large, sturdy scratching post; a litterbox just for kittens; a warm, soft kitten bed; stylish water and food dishes, a brush and nail clippers; and too many toys.

The very first night, Callie slept on our bed between Mark and me. The next morning, Mark awoke to a little one lying on his pillow, just above his head, with a little paw resting on his eyelid. How totally adorable is that?

Callie quickly adapted to life in her new surroundings. It wasn’t long before she learned to have her wishes and desires granted. Of course, we doted on her, making her training of us a great deal easier! And, this was just the beginning…

"When I play with my cat, who knows if I am not a pastime to her more than she is to me?"

Friday, September 14, 2007

apple of His eye

I recently came across this story – it’s a good reminder of how God values me.

A well known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill. In the room of 200, he asked, "Who would like this $20 bill?"

Hands started going up. He said, "I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this." He proceeded to crumple the bill up. He then asked, "Who still wants it?" Still the hands were up in the air."

Well," he continued, "What if I do this?" And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now all crumpled and dirty. "Now who still wants it?" Still the hands went into the air.
"My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson."

"No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20. Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless.

But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value in God's eyes. To Him, dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to Him."

We are the apple of God’s eye. We are cherished above others:
Keep me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of thy wings,

Psalms 17:8 (RSV)

In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye,
Deuteronomy 32:10 (NIV)

For this is what the Lord Almighty says: "After he has honored me and has sent me against the nations that have plundered you--for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye
Zechariah 2:8 (NIV)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

valle crucis

This past weekend, I was in my favorite place - the mountains. I positively love the Boone, NC area, and treasure every moment spent there. The cabin was in Valle Crucis, meaning “The Vale of the Cross”. This community is reached by way of winding, curvy mountain roads. The cabin was spectacular and had breathtaking views. There were several relaxing porches complete with swings, rockers, and a hammock. Immediately below the back yard, the crystal clear Watauga River leisurely flowed by. The weather was just right, the warm sunshine brilliant, and the mountain breezes gentle. The beauty of this place reverberates the majesty of God’s creation.

Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy;
Psalms 98:8 NIV

The family had an enjoyable time together in Valle Crucis. We went grocery shopping, grilled burgers, went to church, took naps, and had ice cream at The Marble Slab. We'll have to make The Marble Slab a tradition!

Grammy, Poppy, and I got to sit with Olivia while her parents ventured into Boone. Olivia is such an incredible little girl. At about two and a half months, she smiles, she laughs, and she “talks”. When I see her peacefully sleeping, hold her in my arms, or watch her play during tummy-time, it makes me very grateful for the honor of being her Nana.

A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on.
Author: Carl Sandburg

My Grandchild's Hand
The promise of tomorrow
and the hope of dreams come true...
a reminder of the childhood
that's still a part of you...
The wonder of a miracle
from which this love began...
there is so much found in the touch
of holding a grandchild's hand.
Author: Unknown

Thursday, September 6, 2007


I know fall is on its way when the writing spiders show up. There are several of these huge, black and yellow spiders in the backyard. There’s one a bit over 1 ½ inches long, and I’m not including the legs! The spiral web is rather intricate, and has a large, bold zigzag down the center. It looks pretty neat with the morning dew sparkling in the sun. Since my writin’ spiders are so gigantic, they may live anywhere in the yard they wish. After all, they are very beneficial to the garden.

Don’t misunderstand me – I do not care for spiders in the least. When my son was just a few weeks old, the two of us had a very traumatic life experience. I was holding my tiny, helpless baby when someone opened the front door of the apartment and an extremely huge spider walked right in. Of course, I started screaming and screaming while jumping up and down on the seat of a chair. I guess I should mention that all the while, I was still holding onto my baby. My husband attempted to shoo the spider back outside when all of a sudden, hundreds of itty bitty, teeny weenie baby spiders began crawling off the back of their mommy. They quickly scattered up the door and up the wall and onto the table and across the floor. My husband was our hero! He saved his wife and baby! I have never witnessed such a terrifying incident, and I don’t care to ever again!

Years later, long after leaving SC, I learned that the monstrous spider was a Carolina Wolf spider. In 2000, someone had the nerve to designate the thing the SC state spider. I’m very thankful we had the good judgment to move back home to NC.

Look very closely at mommy’s back, and you can barely see the itty bitty, teeny weenie baby spiders. Of course, the one that invaded our home was approximately four times this size!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

the nursing home

This morning, I paused and realized I was humming an old hymn. It was one of my favorite old-timey ones – In the Garden. My thoughts traveled back to a time long ago, to some pleasant memories of my childhood. I hadn’t reminiscenced on these times for a long while. This is what I remember …

My Dad, along with a friend, took turns leading a prayer meeting at a local nursing home one night a week. My whole family would be there, as well as the other speaker and his wife. Others would come to join the group or to lend a hand. We usually had a nice crowd as the residents joined us in the big visiting room. The service included a time of singing, a short Bible study, and a time of prayer. Special song requests were taken from the older folks eager to hear a favorite song. I believe these hymns, so dear to their hearts, brought hope, encouragement, and love.

In addition to In the Garden, The Old Rugged Cross, Sweet By and By, The Lily of the Valley, What A Friend We Have In Jesus, and When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder are just a small sampling of the old cherished songs I recall. Sometimes there would be several children there and we would get to sing a few songs for everyone. The older folks smiled a lot and said we did a really good job. They didn’t seem to tire of Deep and Wide, Jesus Loves Me, or The B-I-B-L-E. We didn’t have many songs in our repertoire, but enough to make them happy.

After the service, we would go around the room and speak to the nursing home residents. Some were sitting on chairs or sofas and some were in wheelchairs. Some of them didn’t have family or friends to come visit and they were lonely. I think the older folks were especially glad to see children. I made some good friends during these times. Once in a while, there were one or two that would sneak me a piece of candy. I remember one old gentleman in a wheelchair who always looked so delighted when he was able to give me a treat.

Each time we met together, everyone received a blessing. I can envision how much the weekly services meant to each of the older folks. They weren’t the only ones to benefit from these times together, for I learned many lessons there. Even though I was too young at the time to understand the meaning, later in life I gained from these life experiences. I desire to always care, to always love, to always encourage, and to always make a difference.

My Dad was a great teacher.

"Do not forget the hands of the aged; they have touched much of life and have become insightful and sympathetic."

34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' 37 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' 40 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Matthew 25:34-40

Saturday, September 1, 2007

my dear, beloved creek

For as long as I can remember, I have always loved creeks. Stream, brook, or branch may sound more poetic, but I prefer creek – although I like to pronounce it “crick” (krik).

My love of creeks obviously began during my family’s summer visits to Long Branch, home to Green Acres, the farm of my maternal grandparents. Their white, two story farmhouse sat among lots of green, rolling hills, a few little caves, a county road leading to “the store”, a spring awash with salamanders, a hefty herd of cattle, a wooden bridge, and my dear, beloved creek.

Two weeks of my summers were spent at Green Acres visiting with grandparents, uncles, aunts, and bunches of cousins. A favorite memory of the farmhouse was drifting off to sleep to the musical sound of rain on the tin roof. I enjoyed trekking around the hills just exploring or lying on my back watching the clouds float by. Sometimes along the road, I’d peer into the tiny caves wondering if some creepy creature would jump out. The openings were barely large enough for an arm, but I was never that adventuresome. We cousins often begged our parents for permission to walk to the store. Early on, it was a wonderful dusty dirt country road. Progress appeared and it was eventually paved. The store sold gas, candy, drinks, ice cream, other stuff, and was a library. My favorite treat was an RC Cola and a bag of peanuts to pour into the bottle. Oh, and the bottle was glass, not plastic. I was fond of playing with the salamanders that lived in the spring. The water trickling from the springhouse was the purest I’ve ever tasted. One year, my dad killed a rattlesnake at the spring. It was amusing to watch the cows pass along their predictable paths from dawn ‘till dusk. One favorite pastime was hanging my legs off the side of Granddaddy’s wooden bridge and tossing rocks into the water below.

What can I say about Granddaddy’s creek – my dear, beloved creek? Of those two weeks each summer, my best memories surround that meandering creek. The water was deepest under the bridge, and one summer, several of us dug a hole wide enough to swim in. I enjoyed taking a stroll along the creek, collecting fascinating rocks while keeping my toes away from crawdads. I wonder if throwing rocks about actually kept the snakes away, or was it our noisy talking and laughing? When resting in the sun on a small, flat boulder, I often would close my eyes and listen to the soft melody of the carefree water flowing along its rocky bed on a journey far, far away.

Sometimes, I still yearn for just one more summer day spent along my dear, beloved creek.

Like dreams, small creeks grow into mighty rivers.
Author: Unknown

As water reflects a face, so a man's heart reflects the man.
Proverbs 27:19 (NIV)

The words of a man's mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.
Proverbs 18:4 (NIV)