We packed, we prayed, we cried…..and we did sparklers! Austin’s Nashville bound!

All three of our kids have lived out of our home for many years….April left at 18 for college in Tampa, Andy left at 18 for college in Alabama and Austin left at 18 to live on his own as he attended college locally and worked here in Miami.  Austin was the only one that has never left Miami, so we could see him on a weekly basis if we wanted to  and we knew that he was never far away.

Today was moving day…the day that he’s been talking about since the beginning of the year.  He’s planned, saved and networked to make this adventure all possible and we are proud of him for setting forth this goal and making it happen.  

His music journey began when he was a young boy and he began playing the piano, singing and writing music.  When he was 19 he auditioned in downtown Miami for an unknown t.v. show that was new to the U.S. called “The Voice”.  He made it past the Miami auditions and had to cross a few more hurdles before making it to the final rounds in L.A.  It was a lengthy process before getting to that point and the field was narrowing but Austin kept getting past each process and did very well.  The Voice flew Sammy and I out to L.A. for a week for the audition where the judges sit in chairs with their backs turned to the singers.  

Sammy and I were led into a room where we watched the screen as Austin sang a song for the judges. He was nervous because the song was a bit lower than his range and not particularly his style, (they chose the song for him) but he killed it.  Sadly, the judges didn’t turn their chairs, but encouraged him and gave him good advice.

That experience catapulted Austin into the music industry and he knew from then, that music was what he wanted to do.  It became his passion.  He sang locally and wrote music for others while working to pay the bills. Over time he decided that he was ready for a change….another adventure in his life.  Nashville became the goal…starting fresh…meeting new people…..and exploring new options.

We’re excited for him but nervous as well, since he is our baby.  We want him to be safe, succeed, be happy and lean on God for his every need. As I write this, he’s only 6 hours into his journey and maybe not even out of Florida yet and I’m wondering if he’s ok.  I don’t want to call him, because I don’t want him to be distracted by his phone, so we’re waiting for that phone call when he arrives at a childhood friend’s home in Georgia. 

Before he drove off today with his SUV packed to the ceiling, we as a family held hands and prayed God’s protection over him, his new life in Nashville and the new people he would meet.  We cried some, hugged a lot and then Sammy lit the sparklers and we celebrated our youngest son’s aspirations and adventurous spirit.  We’ll be making a trip to Nashville in the near future. 🙂


A Difference a Year Makes!

As we prepare for our family trip to Alabama that we have made as a family for going on 36 years, I am reminded that so many things happened this past year.  Looking back it is sobering to realize how fast life passes by and how quickly things can change.

Photo on 12-31-17 at 11.01 AM #2At this time last year, we were headed back to Miami from Alabama after being with family, celebrating the season with laughter, games, food, bonfires, 4 wheeling and multiple trips to Fairhope….just because we love it there so much! While there, my Mom and Dad both were battling the “crud”.  I went to the dr. with my Mom and Dad and they both were injected with an antibiotic. My Dad showed improvement as fast as the ride home from Fairhope to Bay Minette…..however my Mom continued to decline.

In spite of her obvious suffering from fever, coughing and just feeling overall terrible, she insisted on being in the midst of all that was happening with the family around her.  She would come out to the living room every day and sit in her chair quietly watching her grandchildren and great grandchildren move about around her. One evening we had our annual bon fire in the back of their property and she insisted on going out and sitting in her lawn chair watching everyone else enjoy roasting hot dogs and marshmallows.  She even had a hot dog herself! It was blatantly evident to all, however, that she was fading.

We left, traveling back to Miami and received notice that she had been admitted into the hospital.  I flew back to Alabama a few days later where she laid unresponsive for several more days with her family by her side.  My Dad stayed by her side, spending the night in the hospital room, as well as me and my siblings.

On that day, the day she took that last labored breath to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, we were all with her.  I can’t say that she knew we were there for sure, but it doesn’t even matter. Her peace came from knowing that when she did leave her earthly body, that she would most assuredly be present with the Lord.

I opened up my iPad to worship songs and laid it gently on her pillow close to her ear.  I’m not sure if she was aware or could hear, but all of us in the room could.  We worshiped as she labored. We sang as she waited patiently for God to take her.

At the moment she stepped into Glory, the labored, bloodshot veins in her neck and face turned to a beautiful ivory.  What I feared so much was seeing my mother die, but instead I was instantly comforted by the peace and beauty radiating from this woman of faith….the woman who had loved and cared for me all of my life, even into adulthood.  She was always just a phone call away for advise on a family recipe, or knowing how to get a stain out of a white shirt.

My fear turned into a blessed hope that this earth is not our end…….it is only our beginning.  Her legacy of being a wonderful mother, faithful friend, loyal wife…..etc. was just a short glimpse of the eternity that awaited her. She finished well here on earth and I’m certain that God greeted her with open arms saying….”Well done thy good and faithful servant!”

62830_455506424048_5266309_nI miss my Mom terribly and there are days that for just a second, I forget that she’s even gone.  Her presence was large in this life, and her absence is palpable.  But I know that in time, I will see her again.  I still talk to her…….but just not with my cell phone and sadly not in person.  When I crochet or cook one of her dishes, I smile and inwardly thank her for passing on valuable lessons and skills.  I thank her for gently reminding me to forgive and to be thankful for my blessings. I thank her for the 83 years she poured into our lives so that we would be with her for eternity.

What a difference a year makes!

Miami at Night….Me at Night

f841e629adc16b92fa6480841d88faf2Regardless of whether or not you’re a city person, there’s just something magical about a big city all lit up at night….especially Miami! It is absolutely beautiful! The reflection of the spectacular lights on the bay, along with the breeze off the ocean makes for a unique experience….if you like that sort of thing. Even though we live south of the city, and don’t often venture that way, we still enjoy an occasional trip that direction. Miami is like New York, in that it’s a city that never sleeps.

Well, tonight, and many nights lately, like Miami, I’ve been a gal that never sleeps! Seriously, it’s become an issue when my eyes aren’t even heavy at 3 in the morning! I start off sleepy and comfy in our bed, but after a few hours I’m stirred from my slumber and my mind begins to go into gear. When that happens, it’s game over for me. One thought leads to another and sometimes I get up and write things down. Other times, I’ll get on my computer and turn the screen on dim, hoping that I’ll get drowsy. I’ll turn on the t.v. with the volume at its lowest point and eventually get drowsy enough to head back to the bed.

I’ve tried not eating later in the evening, not drinking anything with caffeine and even putting lavender on the bottom of my feet to lull me into a relaxing slumber. I’ve prayed during those hours of sleepless nights, thinking that God is keeping me up for a reason. I’m sure all of this helps, but it just doesn’t stick. So here I sit, writing a blog about not being able to sleep while the rest of my family are snug in their beds.

So of course, I searched for scripture about not being able to sleep…..there were many and they all had to do with peace…..here’s a few that I found!

If you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
Proverbs 3:24

In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8

 I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33






Waiting is probably the most difficult thing for me. When an idea comes in my head, I can already see it to completion. It’s sometimes difficult for me to realize the time and effort that is required to get to the end result! I will sketch out an image on paper and expect Sammy to magically get it done by the weekend, but he lovingly explains everything that has to happen and it may take weeks, but it turns out to be so much better than it would have been if the process would have been rushed.

Sammy balances me out in this area and has proven to be the patient one in our relationship over the years. He, too, sees the final outcome, but also realizes the work and detail that has to go into making it right. If I were in charge, whatever it is that I’m attempting to do, would no doubt get done, but it most likely would involve errors and sloppiness.

Most often, the things we have to wait on are well worth the wait…….having a baby, waiting for a garden harvest, allowing treatments to attack an illness, working on that college degree or saving money for that down payment on a first home!

Waiting creates many emotions. In my case, often it’s impatience since I’m bent to want things so quickly. My anxious heart takes hold, and is only quieted sometimes by my husband’s rational perspective or God’s comforting embrace assuring me that He’s with me in the waiting.

Waiting can also create in us a discipline of trust. If it’s something material, like finishing a driveway (our current situation), then it’s trusting in the process and in the workers doing the job. Yet, if it’s a spiritual matter, waiting can be a time of resting in God’s timing and realizing that He is in control. I’m reminded often that God sees the entire picture, when we only see a portion.

Not only do scripture tell us to wait and trust, but it also tells us to be strong in the waiting.

Psalms 27:14 “Wait for the Lord, be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

Isaiah 40:31 “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

In the rush of things, we would most likely not have time for God, but it’s in the waiting that we can quiet our souls and look to Him for strength and courage as we wait. God can teach us in those waiting times if we allow him to enter into our rushed lives and be that calm voice of reason that we so desperately need.

So as I wait, I pray that my complaints and impatience will be minimal and my trust in God would be paramount. If waiting on God sharpens and increases my faith, then I welcome the waiting.

Colossians 1:11 “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy…”

It’s One of those Days!

Do you ever have days when you can’t seem to retrace the last hour of your life….your mind was somewhere else…..maybe you were driving and you realized that for the past hour or so, it was all a blur! How frightening! I’ve done that more times than I can count. No matter how focused we need to be on the present, sometimes our hearts and minds are pulling us away.

This week…this month…this year has been a blur at times.  So much heart ache and struggles and to be honest….spiritual warfare has been thick around here! I’ve always been taught that when God is doing some amazing things, that the enemy will be working over time!

Our daughter and family are coming in to town this week, so I’ve had a running checklist on my kitchen counter as well as in my mind…..cut grass…power wash patio…plant flowers…clean fridge and bathrooms….wash sheets….oh…and buy a new comforter for the guest room.

I hopped in the car and trekked over to Tuesday Morning…one of my all time favorite stores…and picked out a white comforter for the guest bedroom.  I decided, like always, to walk down every single aisle…just in case I found something else…and I always do. Today it was 2 for 1 pool loungers! Tuesday Morning was full of people, and it was difficult to get through the aisles.

I checked out and got back in my car to come home.  I suddenly was aware that I had on flip flops, which I haven’t worn for several weeks because of a skin cancer I had removed on the top of my foot.  It also felt like they were oddly large on my feet and were kind of flopping around on the peddles below.

At the stop sign, I glanced down at my feet and realized that I had accidentally slipped on our son, Austin’s, huge “man” flip flops! For goodness sakes, I had been flopping all around Tuesday Morning up and down every aisle and I never even noticed it!

Instead of being disturbed for my total lack of awareness, I smiled and even laughed a little at the thought of my absentmindedness.  When I slipped on those large flops when I left my home, my mind was totally thinking of something else.

I was also reminded that I need to keep my thoughts captive. I too often allow circumstances to direct my thoughts elsewhere  (mostly on worry) and lose focus of where I need to be. unnamed

Isaiah 26:3 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

The Old Oak Tree


When I was a little girl, growing up in South Alabama, there was this old oak tree in a field adjacent to my parents’ land where I would go and find respite. To get to this tree, I had to pass through two fenced fields, across a 2 acre garden, cross a dirt road and jump a ditch…but it was all worth the effort. (Something similar to the tree above)

You see, this tree was not like any other tree! This tree had a large, flat piece of wood across two low hanging, thick branches.  The tree branches hung low enough that even as a child, it was easy to climb on top of the platform. The crown of the tree extended wide, and covered the area with complete shade. It was nice and secluded, a perfect hideout!

I spent many days in that tree with childhood friends, Gail, Kim, Lisa, Lorie and Kathy.  It was like our “club” house! Many hours leading up to the sun going down, were spent giggling, telling stories and simply being young girls.

My most memorable times spent in that old, oak tree were those spent  alone, reading a good book, praying or simply taking a nap on a hot summer day. There were some days that I would be stirred from my slumber hearing my mother’s voice calling me home for supper.

I learned as a child, that having time away from the everyday grind of chores and worries of life was so important. I believe that God formed us with an innate desire to pull away from the cares of this world, retreat, and fix our eyes on him.

To this day, my heart still longs for time away to reflect, pray, spend time with God, admire his handiwork and acknowledge his presence.

These days, my old oak tree is my back yard swing, my hammock over our deck,  the park, or sitting on a bench by the bay. But I still make time to retreat. It remains one of those “must haves” in my life.

God has something to say about being still.

1 Samuel 12:16 Now then, stand still and see this great thing the LORD is about to do before your eyes!

Psalm 62:5-6 Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.

Exodus 14:14 “The LORD will fight for you while you keep still.”

Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God!

The old oak tree still stands tall, and the branches hang even lower, but it is now on someone’s private property.  When I visit Alabama, I visit that special place and reminisce. I’m thankful that God afforded me fond memories of my childhood that formed me into the person that I am today.

These days….

These days, I call my dad at least twice a day to check in on him and hear his voice. I’m worried about him being lonely. I worry about him in the evening, when things are quiet and he’s alone sitting in my mother’s recliner. I worry about him spending hours upon hours combing over pictures from the past….65 years of memories documented in slides and photo albums.

I worry.

My heart aches.

My heart aches for his loss, as I feel it as well….just in a different way. I miss my mother so very much, but I wasn’t with her every day like my dad. You see, for the past 7 years, my dad selflessly honored his marriage vows to almost perfection! My mother was not bed bound, however, she needed constant care. She could no longer cook, clean, drive or even take a shower by herself. She was just too unstable and the fear of her falling and breaking a hip or worse was too much of a gamble. She walked with a walker, and was pretty good at it, but my dad did all of the rest. He even helped her get dressed in the morning and put her gown on at night. In addition, he set the alarm clock for every hour…every night to check on my mom’s medical needs that needed attention…..for 7 years!


My dad is almost 85 years old. Yet God gave him the strength to lovingly take care of his bride in their old age in ways we never dreamed. It was tough at times, and I’m sure there were days he complained and was weary. But he remained faithful, even to the minute she passed with him by her side stroking her hair, telling her how beautiful she was. His heartache was palpable and almost unbearable as we spent time by her bedside, in the hospital, after she died. The reality of his great loss, and ours, consumed him. We were, for the moment, devastated, not because we were shocked…..she was 83 and had been in poor health for several years….just the minute you go from death to life in Christ is a stunning thing to witness.

The shock quickly turned to peace. Instead of extreme exertion for each and every breath, there was silence. Her struggling turned to surrender. Her pain turned to healing. Her face became as peaceful as I have ever seen it. We knew, that although she was not with us in that room, she was instantly in another place, a much better place.

I had a moment to spend time with her alone before we left the hospital. I talked to her, kissed her, touched her and cried. But it was for selfish reasons. I wanted to memorize her face, her hands and her hair. I knew that this side of heaven, I would never hear her voice again. I wrestled with the thought and fear of forgetting her features. I don’t want to forget. I want to remember every memory I have of my mom. I’ve been telling my kids story after story of my childhood that involve my mother…just to refresh my memory.

In all of our loss and grief, there remains peace. Peace knowing that my mom loved God. She lived out her faith day after day. Her good works were evident, but not necessary for her relationship with Christ. But she chose to live out loud. She wanted others to know Him. Every day my Mom and Dad started with reading of scripture together and praying. I was always on that list….she told me. My children were on that list…she told me. I would often tell her of prayer concerns here in Miami, and she would add those to her list. She was praying for Jackie, Greg, Tony and Rick..just to name a few. A life lived like hers leaves a void. She was present. For this, we will miss her in this world. Our loss is most definitely Heaven’s gain.

My dad is doing fine. You see, he knows where she is as well. He’ll be there before too long and there will be a wonderful reunion.

I called my dad this morning…he whispered…”hey sweetie”…..and I knew instantly that he was in the woods hunting……enjoying God’s creation…and most likely talking to Mom.



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