Tuesday, November 12, 2013


I am an animal lover but in particular, I'm a cat person.  I learned early on that you either are or you aren't - a cat person that is.  There's usually no in-between grounds. They can, at times, be very temperamental and almost scary to some folks. At the same time, they can learn to walk on a leash, fetch balls of aluminum foil and be very loyal, much like a dog.  Tim wasn't a cat person but learned to tolerate them because of my love for them.  He "married into"  cats when we got married and we've had at least one, usually two at a time our entire married life.

Hershey, our tortoise, long haired cat is 17 years old.  That's approximately 85 human years! She's been around a long time.  Mikayla was 3 when we got her, Katie was 6, Aaron was 9 and Nate was 11. I was 37. Wow. She's lived her entire life in this house that we currently live in. She's always been a primpy, petite little cat almost strutting gracefully as she walks. In her younger days, she was curious, loving to get into places that she really didn't need to in the middle of a bed full of clothes. As she gets older, I regularly find her sitting on an air vent during the wintertime.  I think the warm air feels good on her joints.  And she never gives up the opportunity to beg for the crumbs left on your dinner plates.
When it comes to people in general or our other cat, Bubba, we laugh about Hershey and say that she has to have a bubble of space around her. If Bubba, especially, invades her bubble of space, a hiss will soon follow.  She  loves to find a warm lap to curl up in but it has to be on her terms when she wants to do it. The kids have always said that she is a great "sick cat".  When anyone in the family is sick, she seems to be aware of that and will come to where they are laying down and curl up next to them as if to comfort them.

Animals can be wonderful friends - the kind that love in spite of, the kind that give their human friends the benefit of the doubt, the kind that trusts completely.  It is that trust that led me to decide after several months of off-and-on sickness caused primarily from just plain getting old that I was doing her no favors in prolonging her life. It was strictly for my benefit but neither humans or animal's organs are designed to continue to work indefinitely. I knew that intellectually, but consciously making the decision that enough was enough was painfully difficult even though the reality of her body breaking down and her worsening condition was plain to see.

So on Monday of this week, I gave Hershey a final, long rub on her fragile head - the kind that she would always lean into as if to say "more, more" and Tim, being the wonderfully, sweet man that he is, took her to the vet in the soft bed that she had spent so much of the last year in.  When he brought her home, still laying in her soft bed, we buried her in our backyard, the same backyard that she grew up and played in for 17 years .

If you're not an animal person at all, it's hard to imagine this kind of emotion associated with one. My world in a nutshell changed this week. Animals are animals but when they've been around and a part of the family for as long as Hershey was, they have a way of tugging at our emotions.  Hershey did mine. Monday was a hard day. I'll miss her. But when spring comes, and the flowers around the site where she is buried start to bloom, I'm sure that my memories of her, many of them captured in the photos on this page, will bring a smile.

Hershey being her typical self in her middle-aged days...lazy and stretched out on a friendly lap...not a care in the world.  :)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Any Good Teachers Out There?

To all of the educators in my family that have and continue to inspire me, to all of those that have taught my children over the years and are still doing so at the college level,

You do a good thing. When life in the teaching profession gets you down, as I know it does, remember that. YOU DO A GOOD THING!  YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
 So often, I hear teachers being criticized as a whole. The good ones are often criticized with the ones who don't care. I'm just really tired of that. As in any profession, yes, there are bad teachers out there. There are teachers who show up at 7:45 and hit the door at 3:15.  There is also a public education system that needs a major overhaul.  

But let me give you the flip side of that.  There are teachers who would love to have the opportunity to just teach. In spite of the "broken-ness" of the system, they continue on. The paperwork necessary, the paper trails necessary to cover themselves is unbelievable. There are teachers who spend many, many hours at the school - long before you arrive at your job and long after you leave, showing up at 6 or 6:30 during the school year and leaving at 7 or 8 in the evening to prepare themselves to do the best job they can. There are teachers who spend the summer working on the next school year. Their "lunch hour" during the school year is usually about 20 minutes, if they get that much.  These same teachers are educating special needs students in their mainstream classroom along with students of every other ability, being required to come up with separate lessons and activities for those special need students, as well as modifying their lesson plans to meet the academic needs of the other 15-20 students in the classroom with varying abilities.  Someone please tell me how that works successfully! I just have a difficult time seeing how that benefits anyone.
These same teachers leave college with a BS in Education making less in one month than most professionals make in 2 weeks or in a bonus check.  So, so shameful!
Let me encourage you to walk a day, or a week, or better yet, a school year in their shoes, dealing with the day to day life as a school teacher, making the salary that they make, and then...only then have you earned the right to discuss how you would do things differently while being forced to work "within the system".  Maybe then, you could better see how giving a day every now and then to help out a teacher, to make a difference in some children's lives and pay back what so many teachers have done for your children would be beneficial instead of talking about how it's broken.   
Any good teaches out there?  You bet there are!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Rag Quilting...My new hobby.
August 21, 2013

I've taken up quilting...rag quilting, specifically. Now, I've made what I would call a real quilt - one. It was the kind where the top was pieced together to make a design, then batting and a backing was sewn to the quilt top, then all of it was quilted together by hand. That only took me about 10 years from start to finish!!! Needless to say, I wasn't serious enough about it when I started and got sidetracked often and for long periods of time.  But I can say that I've made one.

Rag quilting is much more my style.  The preciseness and "eye" that I believe is required when making regular quilts isn't required when making rag quilts.  In other words, rag quilting is very forgiving. If there ever was a person who needed forgiving hobbies, it would be me. 

I've made a few for baby gifts and graduation gifts and I must say that I'm really enjoying it.  They look like they require a lot of time, a lot of know how, and a lot of precision.  But I'll just keep all of that as my little secret!


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Make me to know thy way...

We regularly sing a song at church. The lyrics of one of the verses goes...

Because I trust in thee, O cause thou me to hear
They loving-kindness free when morning doth appear
Make me to know thy way wherein my path should be
Because my soul each day do I lift up to thee
I close my eyes I see His majesty
I close my eyes and feel His love for me.

The song talks about our need to listen to God in order to understand what He would have us do. The third line, "Make me to know thy way wherein my path should be" caused me to think about some things.

Can I honestly say that I want to know what God thinks my path should be?  Or am I just looking for a God who makes me feel good... One that sees to it that I never have a bad hair day, that I usually get the best parking space, and that nothing bad ever happens to me or those I love while the rest of the time basically leaves me alone. Is that how I see God?

We live in a time where we can been made to feel unloving if we venture to say that something is not as God would have it be. To many, the umbrella that covers it all is love. Many have the mindset that a loving God doesn't condemn, doesn't judge, doesn't say anything to cause another to feel uncomfortable.

It is true that I don't want to be offensive in what I say. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. Those traits in our lives can run people off from us and the very thing we're trying to teach them. But while those can all be admirable goals to strive for, it may have reached the point where we are taking it to the extreme. We no longer consider what God has to say about matters in general unless it fits into the kind of God that we want to have. We want a loving, caring, feel-good God who turns a blind eye to whatever we choose to participate in.  We want to make it okay for folks to live however and be whatever.

Let's think about this for just a minute.  If I have a problem with lying, my believing that lying isn't wrong doesn't make that true. It still is considered a sin by the Creator.  It still is an act that needs to be turned away from. The Creator has the right to set the rules for His creation. That doesn't make me a terrible person for lying, that makes me human. But upon learning that, it should cause me to do my best to turn away from that, if I want to please God. That is a distinguishing characteristic of one who is a child of God. When I know better, I do better.

 Yes, God is a loving God. His love for us is hard to comprehend. Just stop for a minute and recall his ultimate act of love.  It is unimaginable! But that same loving God is holy and he tells us to be holy so we can have a relationship with Him.  You see a holy God and sin just don't mix. To believe otherwise is only believing a lie.

Monday, July 1, 2013

It gives me great pleasure...

The long weekend has been full of emotions only matched by the continual realization of the awesomeness of our great God and thankfulness for His love, His goodness and His mercy. As a dear friend said, Tim and I joined a somewhat odd club giving away a daughter this weekend...a perfectly good daughter at that! We not only gave her away but had clothed and fed her for years, had her formally educated and actually paid to hand her over to a young man with no exchange of funds! And we are so grateful for every step of that process.

Tim and I were somewhat teary, off and on. To those of you who know us, not a big surprise, huh? Not tears in a sad way though but I think it's just difficult not to be. I told someone that the emotion level is so high from every corner. They come like waves of the ocean that overwhelm at times causing our hearts to almost burst wide open with happiness. At the same time, they cause us to think about the seriousness of what is about to happen as well as relive in our minds the past years that have led up to this point in life. Yes, overwhelming is an accurate way to describe it.

The day was practically perfect in every way. The rains did come but the staff at Mt. View Gardens and Ballroom were incredibly accommodative, drying off 200 chairs after it rained 30 min. or so before time for the ceremony to begin.  The wedding party came in, many of the girls having been friends their entire life.

Tim walked KT in ...the last time he would be holding her arm as Katie Smith and gave her
hand to Jarred, the one who has promised to love and protect her, as Christ does His church. If you've been there, you know how that feels.  If you've not, there's no describing it.

Promises were exchanged and  "I Dos" were said with emotion-filled voices and love-filled hearts.

Even though my friend has a valid point in our being members of a somewhat odd club now, I like to think of our role in the event as one of support, not one of giving away.  In my mind, it's easier that way. As a matter of fact, Elijah Aaron, the minister, asked, "Who supports the marriage of these two?"

On June 28, 2013,  Katie and Jarred recognized and celebrated the promises that they had already made to each other. They did that in front of many people who love them.  Tim  and I are so thankful to our family and friends who shared it all with us and to our God. I am confident that it is because of Him that they are where they are this day and am also sure that He smiled on it all.

So, without further delay, let me proudly introduce to you, Mr. And Mrs. Jarred McCrary!


Sunday, June 9, 2013


Mary and Joe
May, 2011

From the time I met them over 30 years ago, I knew something was different about them. They just seemed to get along so well...two peas in a pod. They didn't just love each other, they really did enjoy one another's company. It was rare when you would see one without the other. What they did, they did as a couple. When they were thought of by others, it was usually as a couple, not individuals. They were very different physically. He was tall and slim. She was quite petite. He was a few years older than she was but when she caught his eye, he knew that she was special.

That couple has been married for 58 years now. That tall slim man is 83. His hair is white, hers is gray. He walks with a little less pep in his step these days and sometimes forgets things but their love for one another has not diminished. It has, in fact, grown stronger as the years have passed.  The love that they now share is not the same kind of love they had when they were married for those first 20 years.  It's more of a caring, nurturing kind of love. It's the kind where she fusses at him for trying to do things that he really shouldn't try to do. It's the kind of love where he still tries to comfort her when the worries of life get her down.  I have no doubt that either one of them would willingly give their life for the other.

Their example to me has been a great one of what it means in a practical sense to no longer be two individuals going their separate ways but to cleave to each other as a married couple. During the time that I've known them, they haven't "done their own things" without considering the other.  They've loved and supported each other, even showing support to the extended families that they married in to.

That's a lesson we can all learn whether we've been married for 1 year, 25 years, or 50 years. We live in a world that encourages us to do "what's best for us",  to put "us" at the top of the totem pole.  I think we've forgotten what it's like to put another person's needs and desires above our own. There's no other relationship where that is more important than in the marriage relationship. It may be in reference to a specific need or sometimes it may just be a desire of our spouse, something that we'd really prefer not to do if we were thinking only about ourselves. It's times like those that I need to remember the examples that I have been fortunate enough to have in my life and specifically the example of my mother and father-in-law, Mary and Joe Smith.

November, 2010

On this 9th day of June, 2013, Mary said good-bye to "Joe-Daddy". Her partner of 58 years left this earth to start a new life, one that will never end. One where the memory doesn't fade. One where drugs aren't needed to help you live in a comfortable manner. One where sad hearts don't exist. The saying good-bye part is difficult - not just for Mary but for all of us who loved Joe. It's just the human part of us. We'll miss him. He truly was an example of a kind, gentle man that loved the Lord. I couldn't have asked for more in a father-in-law. What a blessed thought to realize that our loving God knows and cares and that He has prepared a place for his where Joe will never have the desire to leave...even if he could.

Me and "Joe-Daddy" Spring, 2013

Friday, May 24, 2013

Some Thoughts About Marriage...

With so many sweet, young friends of ours as well as some of our own kids, either having married  recently, getting married soon, or talking about getting married, some thoughts about marriage and the seriousness of it have popped into my head.

     I'm not an expert on the subject. That's probably not a news flash to 99.9% of you. For the other .1%, I'm not.  I came into my marriage a beautiful shade of green which was probably not uncommon for a young lady who married in the early 1980's. I really do believe that I loved Tim as much as I knew how at that point of my life. It wasn't until I had been married for some time that I understood how little I knew in what loving my husband was all about. I believe most couples who have been married for any length of time will probably say something similar.  The real shocker to me was when I realized that it wasn't about me at all! It went from being about me to being about Tim...and us.

     Let me preface what I am about to say by saying that I do believe that most of those sweet, young friends of ours and children have made wise choices in their selections.  That's a thrill for us to see. They have been able to not just see the present and have the fairytale feelings that go along with getting engaged, planning a wedding and getting married but to look down the road and "see" this person that they are planning to spend the rest of their life with. They have been able to look at some real life concerns...What kind of leader will he be in our family?  Would he be the kind of father that I would want to raise my children? What about God? Would he/she lead me to God or away from God? Would he/she lead our children to or away from God? Is he/she one that will "leave his/her father and mother" and cleave to me?

     Some of what I will say may offend.  That's not my intent. I'm concerned. I'm concerned that far too many are failing to look at God's word when it comes to the seriousness of marriage.  I'm concerned the most when I see both young men and women placing their trust, their confidence, their heart in the hands of one who, from every appearance, has given little, if any, thought to the God who created them. That's scary.  Girls, what are when you thinking when you willingly submit yourselves to a man who hasn't submitted himself to God? You're placing your life, your welfare, your soul in the hands of a man who has chosen not to have God as a priority in his life.

     We know from Ephesians 5 that males and females are equal in their relationship to Christ, but God gives specific roles to each in marriage. Verse 23 gives the role of leadership or head to the husband. Does this mean he can be a dictator or condescending to his wife because he is the head?  Absolutely not! He's commanded to love her as Christ loved the church. He's commanded to love her with an "agape love". That love is the love that seeks what is best for her.  It is chosen.  It is a love done on purpose. There are times when, in a marriage, you have to choose to love - not because you necessarily feel it at the time, but because God has commanded you to love.  (If you've never been in that situation, you just haven't been married long enough!) Verses 28-29 tells men to love their wives in the same way that they love their own bodies, feeding and caring for them. Girls, think about that. Don't be blind. Is he the kind of man that will care for you in this way? Guys, are you willing to love her in the way God has commanded?

     Girls, you are told in Eph. 5:33 to respect your husbands. Is he the kind of person that you truly respect for who he is, the kind of life he leads, the example that he shows to others. Will he lead you to God or will he lead you away from God? If he isn't this kind of person, what are you doing???

     The wonderful thing about my marriage though, was and still is, that we were both trying our best to serve God.  Although we were and still are far from perfect, our goal has always been to please God and when that is the goal, the frustrations and difficulties that come with marriage are small. They can be worked out, usually easily, because the heart is trying to please God. When that is not the goal of both the husband and wife, the frustrations and difficulties can turn small hills into mountains to climb.

     I'm thankful for folks, young and old who have lived their lives in their marriages as Godly examples. What a joy it is to see real love between a husband and a wife.  So many people come to my mind when I think of what it is to really love your spouse. It absolutely can be a taste of heaven on earth.  At the same time, it's heartbreaking to see folks, young and old, make poor decisions that will impact them for the rest of their lives.  Marriage is one of those life long decisions. God intended it to be for life. We've allowed easy divorce to become a part of our culture. How sad. That was not in God's plan at all. Please, please treat the thought of marriage with the prayer and the seriousness that it deserves.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Our world took on a smiley face.

     Hey ya'll! It's been a while, I know, and I'm a little bit late with our latest news.  Things have been kind of hectic around here!  Our world took on a smiley face on March 25 when Jarred McCrary asked our Katie to be his wife. Their wedding is planned for June 28...yes, I said June 28. And yes, that's only 3 months! So, we had to kick it into high gear really fast!

I've had so many sweet friends let me know that they will gladly help in any way.  Thanks ya'll!  I've already called on some of you and will definitely be asking for some more much to do!

Anyway, we're terribly excited for them and thank God for his loving-kindness and care.

Here's a peak at some of Katie and Jarred's engagement photo session.  The photographer is Cindy Shaver Photography of Huntsville, AL.   Yes, she's awesome!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

It's so hard...

  As a lot of you know, I've had a roller coaster issue with my weight for many, many years. I guess most of my adult life.  I know I'm not alone. I've heard many of you talk about the same thing, up and down, up and down.  It's so frustrating!  It seems like when I think I have conquered it in the past, it crept back up again, and there I was as heavy or heavier than I was before I lost the weight.

     Some contribute excess weight to genetics, some to environment. Others to just consistently making really poor choices or feeling as though they are addicted to certain types of food. My thoughts?  All of the above. I really do believe that all of those factors play a role in our physical bodies. Children who have heavy parents tend to be heavy themselves. Food, bad food is all around us and constantly advertised. It is just so difficult to consistently make good choices when our world, especially the Southern part of the US has no function unless food is involved.  It IS all around us! But then I got to know, a person could easily have those same thoughts about things that we, as a society, consider really detrimental to our health., like drugs. My parents were "druggies". It's all around me! I have such a hard time making good choices when it comes to doing drugs.  My body craves them. Hmmm...

      I found this the other day when I was reading a book that Katie gave me years ago.

"Self-control is kind of like a gravy boat.  Sure, you've got it, but you don't ever use it.  We battle with our conscience, bargaining for one more minute of sleep, one more hour of television, one more piece of pie, one more new sweater...We know that we shouldn't, but we find the most imaginative (and illogical) ways to justify our actions and push self-control out the window.  More often than not, self-control often loses the inner debate.
There's a line from an old children's song that defines self-control this way: 'Self-control is just controlling yourself.  It's listening to your heart and doing what is smart.'"
Legacy of Virtue, A Devotional for Mothers
Amy Nappa and Jody Brolsma

As much as I hated to admit it, when I made the spiritual application to my life concerning self control with what I allow to be taken into my body, it seemed to click for me. Is it easy? No. It continues to be difficult for me every single day...every single day. It's an area in my life that I really struggle with. But children of God, true children of God live to please their master, not themselves. Pleasing Him is their top priority in every aspect of their life. If we are taught to add self control to our lives, how can we justify falling short here? It's just one of many things that we're told to add to our lives, but it is no less important. The question is, "Am I willing to make the application in this area of my life?"

5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 2 Peter 1:5-7