Hmm, Something Is Wrong With This Picture

You know in this household, our blood runs crimson.
However, that is NOT why I am about to say what I am about to say.
If you look at the rear window, you'll see that I am strictly truthful
when I tell you this picture was titled, How Auburn Launches a Boat.
And yes, I laughed out loud, and knew I had a post for tonight.

I have always been extremely blessed to have girlfriends.
In every facet of my life, at every stage of my life,
there's been girlfriends ~ those wonderful women
that laugh with you, cry with you, and sometimes,
just sit quietly with you and watch the world go by.
Some of them go all the way back to grammar school, and
there's some that have brightened my life
just in the past few months. They all remain good friends.
Great friends. And there are quite a few that are my besties.
You know those, the ones that know more about you
than your minister. Or your mother. Or most of your friends.
One such friend will leave tomorrow. While she was here,
we've gotten together with other besties and it's always fun.
Girlfriends make time for each other.
Girlfriends are always only a phone call away.
Girlfriends make life a bit easier, and loads more fun.

Just Bits & Pieces

Deborah is still here with us and today we wandered downtown. I found a gorgeous bracelet at Carol Brooks. You've got to visit that shoppe! They have some of their fall and Halloween items up and decorating the front windows. I also got a cute little 'Cowardly Lion' figurine with his TrickorTreat bag. Lunch was at Marchelle's and too good! Crab cakes, roasted potatoes and grilled asparagus. Yum. (Jenny was the one that made me aware of how good crab cakes could be and I'll be forever grateful.) I have so enjoyed this visit with one of my bestest friends. We have laughed, shared, cried, and laughed some more. I'm going to miss her.

We drove out to visit with Jenny and the boys, and while there it began raining! And thundering! And lightening! Don't you just marvel at the power of nature and the beauty of His handiwork! Noah is sick with croup, but looked better yet sounded really hoarse. Jenny is very, very pregnant with Elle and you can see her latest pic here.

Tonight we camped out in front of the tube to see if Jillian and Ed are still a couple (they are) and nothing spectacular jumped out as this season's The Batchelorette drew to a close. A neat way to end a great day.

Friends, Food, & a Film!

What do you get when you take a best friend,
delicious food, an attentive waiter, four hours
of laughter, girl talk, and more laughter,
and a super cute movie?!One great time!
(And the four hours? That was just dinner.)

I haven't had a chance yet to really explore this site, but as many of you are already in my area I wondered if you might like to connect with this site as well. There is a section where you can find other blogs in your part of Alabama! You can click on the picture (which is actually their header) and link to the site. Add your name to their Mr. Linky and get on board! They have a button you can add to your sidebar, but I find it easier to right click on the header, save it to my computer, then upload under 'Add a Gadget', add the website address, and presto, you have your own button and you don't have to worry if it's too large to fit your sidebars!

Universal Health Care Program

"You can avoid reality if you choose to do so,
but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."
~Ayn Rand
The question was asked recently, to Obama on an ABC Special on Health Care, "Mr. President, will you and your family give up your current healthcare program and join the new "Universal Health Care Program that the rest of us will be on?" Obama ignored the question. He never answered it.

A number of senators were asked the same question and their response was always, "I'm thinking about it." It was also announced, on the news, that the Kennedy Health Care Bill has been worded so that Congress will be EXEMPT! So, if it's not good enough for our President and Congress to want for their families, it's still okay for the rest of us?!

I have listened to CNN, FOX News, MSNBC (thank you, God, for a husband that enjoys staying on top of the news) and I am concerned, very concerned, with this health care package being discussed and pushed past us. I remember my parents traveling in Canada and hearing Daddy talk of the problems they had/have with their health care and that he prayed America would never, ever walk that road. Now the leaders of this country want to put us on that same path.

What can we do? We are a Grassroots country and yes, what you say and what you do matters. If you do nothing more than Google and research what I have just written, if you do nothing more than pray that Obama's plan will NOT become law, you are still doing something. Call, email, write your leaders. Finding the information is as easy as getting on a Search machine. I've found a couple of sites that will go a bit more into the little that I have brought to you this morning. Click on one of the cartoons to be directed there.

And again, pray. Pray unceasingly for America. There is still so much good here, but it is ultimately up to us to keep it that way. And yes, we have to stay on top of the government we put into office.

I know, I know this is a bit serious for a blog but it was/is important to me and I wanted to put it out there. I will be interested to see how you feel ~

A New Place To Visit

Many of you know Bro. Raymond Elliott and already follow several of his blogs. He now has another that I think you may find interesting and you may have something to add to this blog! Especially those of you that attended Alabama Christian College during the early years! I'm sure he would appreciate you heading over there, reading his opening post, and spreading the word to those you may know that would enjoy reading about those days of yore, and just maybe they can email Bro. Elliott and add to this blog with posts, memories, and photographs!

Head on over to Ann Street Memories, and leave him a comment. Then, if you haven't already done so, visit his other sites. You'll be glad you did. John loves Hunting Humor & Tales. I'm a bit partial to Early Morning Meditations.

And it's Friday! I have a dear friend coming this weekend and will be staying with us before she takes a flight to Virginia. I am so looking forward to getting together with girlfriends. I'm sure there will be much laughter, love, giggles, and lots of good food. I pray that your weekend is filled with many moments of love and laughter as well ~

You Were A Good Man

(The following is simply because I want to always have this available ~ there is a bit of Charlie Brown in each of us and tonight I was trying to remember where I placed my copy of this poem. Posting it here, I have it readily handy forever.
The doghouse sits silent
The pitchers mound, too.
Linus cries in his blanket
The whole world is blue.
The round headed kid
Whose life was disdain,
Will never feed Snoopy
Or play baseball again.
I watched him stay humble
At Halloween time;
When rocks filled his bag,
His heartache was mine.
Christmas was Peanuts
And that sad little tree;
Linus made us realize
What Christmas should be.
Pigpen’s life
Was a dust-filled swirl;
Charlie Brown’s heart
Was a red-haired girl.
The World War I Ace
Shot the Red Baron down;
Then snuggled with Woodstock,
Down on the ground.
They attached to our souls
They were part of our hearts;
In the morning over coffee,
On the TV in the dark.
So our world is a much
Lonelier place tonight;
A legend has passed into the light.
And somewhere a beagle howls
A most pitiful sound,
He’s lost his best friend.
You were a good man, Charlie Brown.

"The Eagle Has Landed"

I cannot believe I missed this day! Yesterday, 40 years ago, Neil Armstrong uttered the famous words, "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed." Oh.Wow. I remember this day and I remember my dad speaking of it at the dinner table. He took us outside and we stared upwards, looking at that place in space where dreams existed. Maybe it wasn't made of cheese!
My next favorite part of this exciting time was after describing the surface dust as "fine and almost like a powder", Commander Armstrong stepped off the footpad, and into history, when he said his famous line "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind". And we all cheered. We were all on that moon with him. We took that step. We saluted that flag.
Yeah, it was an extremely exciting time for America. I remember my grandfather talking of how he had witnessed the coming of the Ford vehicles and now here we were with men on the moon. He used to say "those weren't the good 'ole days, THESE are the good 'ole days". And he was so right. If we could go to the moon, we could do anything.
(Neil Armstrong, Commander; Michael Collins, Command Module Pilot; Edwin 'Buzz' E. Aldrin Jr., Lunar Module Pilot) You can click on either photograph to be directed to more information on this incredible time in our lives.

A Princess & Her Birthday ~

This is Miss E and her parents ~
She had a birthday recently, and guess what she got?! Every princess needs a crown all her own.
Of course, every princess has a prince
to make sure everything goes as it should. And of course,
every prince simply adores a princess.
Oh, what a beautiful love story.

Someone Always Comes ~

In the movie, Passengers, one of the main characters says something to the effect, "Someone or something always comes to help you, to make it easier." And the movie comes together, and you realize what the plot is, what the message is.

I was expecting a suspenseful thriller; what I wasn't expecting was this feeling I am experiencing right now. At this moment. Nauseated, but thrilled. Wanting to slip back into those 'zones' I found comforting after the accident, and during recovery, yet almost afraid to go back there and remember.

John is sitting not four feet from me, yet my mind is wanting to take me worlds from here. And the thoughts crowding my mind, my memory, are coming too fast for my fingers to type. I want to capture what I am feeling. I want to know that there is someone out there that experienced what I experienced. I want to know that there are others like me, that crossed over and came back. I want to know I am not alone. I want to know, are we alive?

You have no idea. You have no idea how it feels to be there and then to be sent back. To come back and wonder if everything is real. Or is this still a dream? Is this bits and pieces of life as you knew it? To think that what I know as life now is only a fragment of what the movie The Matrix was based upon.

There are times my mind screams for validation that I am alive, that I did not remain dead that April day. It was such a beautiful day, my memories of our trip to Birmingham are so clear and bright. Turning to look at Johnny, thinking how handsome he was and how good life was.

Remembering seeing Tim Buck walk toward us with flowers and thinking that I barely knew him, that I had only gotten his daughter on my class roll, yet he cared enough to be there. To come as we waited for my name to be called. My name. It was called.

It was called and I walked through the door, following the nurse. Changing into a gown with that hideous opening in the back. Getting up onto the table, and telling her the IV didn't hurt as she apologized for the prick. Then telling her I wasn't feeling as sleepy as I knew I should, watching her as she brought another syringe up to the IV and touching my hair as I heard her say, "Nighty night, Mrs. Hood".

And I open my eyes. And I know, I am not alive. To know, I am dead. And there is someone on my right. Now I wish I had looked to see who, what was there. Was it someone I would have known? I don't think so. I can almost assure myself it was a heavenly being. A messenger.

"Someone comes to make it easier, to help us find our way." Who was there for me?

John is sitting over there talking and talking and I get the feeling he is trying to include me in his day. All I want to do at this moment, at this time, is get lost in what happened then. And I wish Greg was here for me to talk to, to share with.

I can't share with John. Not like I can with Greg. Greg. Such a blessing in the form of a Christian counselor. Trained in helping those of us with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD. A fancy name for the mind not being able to handle what was, what might have been, and what actually is.

John doesn't like to remember that time. It hurts him to hear my pain, my fears, my questions. Basically, I keep them to myself. But I have to tell you, there are still times, even after three years, that I wonder if this is all real. If I am existing on a separate plane in life from reality.

Why does talking of death make so many people uncomfortable? I love telling what I saw, what I felt, what I know is there. I have read since the accident, when looking for answers, that severe traumatic experiences heighten one's sensitivity to life. Extrasensory perception. Maybe it just heightens us to what is already in front of us, what is just waiting to be felt, to be known. If we would just take the time to be a child again and notice.

I know this. Life is far shorter than we realize. He tells us it is but a vapor. It is no more than the breeze on your face. And there are those around, angels if you will, that are ever present. Right now they are having a difficult time comforting me because I have wrapped myself in the memories of that time in order to capture what I am feeling. Because I want to remember. There are things I want to remember, that I still feel my mind is shutting out. What is still there to recall?

Why the need to write this down? Why did I grab the laptop as soon as the movie was over? I would like to think that there is someone that will read this and not be afraid to leave me a comment. Or leave an email. Saying they have been there. They saw what I saw, and they are still dealing with living today and having the memories of the event that took them to Paradise.

I have learned many things since that April day ~ a few major ones would be that even death cannot heal family issues when lies still prevail; our nightmares are just that, nightmares, and life has its equal moments of light and happiness; and that we do not cross over alone. There is someone, something that comes to make the way easier.

Watch for His angels. Watch for those things you can't explain. Look into the eyes of those you pass. I promise you, when they look at you and smile, you'll know when you've been in the presence of angels. And yes, they can look just as human as you and me. Sometimes my whole being overflows with things I feel the need to say, to share, but then I realize it's a bit overwhelming. A bit to much for some, for most, to comprehend and understand.

I can tell when you are uncomfortable when I speak of these things. You begin to fidget, to glance away. You reach out with your hand to shush me, to quiet me. You tell me you're sorry. It's like trying to quell a bubbling brook.

I'm afraid to scroll back through this and see how long it is. What I have typed. What I have shared. I want to hit the 'publish' button and have this out there. For all to read. And just maybe, someone will be there. Someone like me, that feels as if you have a foot in both worlds. What is, and what will be. Just maybe, there's someone.

Are you out there?

"I Don't Know"

"I don't know, we haven't played Alabama yet."
Vince Lombardi, upon winning the 1966 Super Bowl and being asked
what it felt like to be the greatest football team in the world. (Pictured with Coach Lombardi, Bart Starr, a graduate of Lanier High School in Montgomery, Alabama, the University of Alabama, and the only player to quarterback a team to five NFL championships.)
Just a few more weeks ~

The Little White House

Two things caught my attention in the museum.
I giggled out loud thinking of the men I know wearing this!
I am so glad times have changed! And it looked like wool! I was disappointed that there were no stairs
in order for you to see inside the car! All I could see
were the top of the seats! Roosevelt drove with
hand controls and the exhibit for that was interesting! I love this house. I would love to live in this house.
But we had to enter through the kitchen!!
and look how sparse and tiny it is!
Do you know Eleanor didn't like coming here?
And rarely did. The children came only a time or two.
Apparently, she didn't like the poverty of the area
and the children didn't like the 'sick' ones nearby.

I loved seeing the living room he spent so much time in,
and the leather chair he used often ~ and was in
when he collapsed. He died later that afternoon. John loved the handmade ship in the dining room! The bedrooms reminded me of a home one
of my great-aunts had in Highlands, NC!
Pine paneling has a certain odor you never forget.
There was a tiny bath between the bedrooms.
There were sentry posts scattered around the grounds.
But this sentry got in my car and we headed home. "What began as a beautiful spring day in Warm Springs, Georgia ended with crying and a new president. FDR read his morning paper as a day of light paperwork and an afternoon barbeque had been planned for him. He was also having his portrait painted. Throughout the day, FDR enjoyed the company of his cousins, friends, advisors, and most of all, his dog, Fala. Quietly, he edited his Jefferson Day Address that was to be delivered over radio on April 13, 1945. His notations can be seen throughout the document.

Shortly after lunch, as the artist painted, FDR complained of a severe headache and collapsed. As he was carried into his bedroom, Mme. Shoumatoff put away her painting and along with Lucy Mercer, left Warm Springs. At 3:35 pm Central War Time, President Franklin D. Roosevelt passed away and Vice President Harry S. Truman was sworn in as our new Commander-in-Chief. The photo below always grabs my heartstrings each time I see or think of it. What loss. What grief. Captured forever.
As the funeral train left Warm Springs for Washington, countless numbers of people lined the tracks to bid farewell to their friend and president. Roosevelt's casket remained at the White House for one day. On April 15, 1945 was laid to rest at his estate in Hyde Park, NY.

The 'unfinished portrait' was presented to the White House in 1952."
* * * * * * * *
On a side note? I keep hearing Obama compare his presidency to FDR's and I have to tell you, I don't see it at all. I understand FDR served during the time of the Great Depression and World War II and I know times are tough now, but let me tell you, after learning what I learned today coupled with what I heard from my grandparents, Obama can only WISH he were half the man and had half the talent and drive that FDR possessed. Of course, that's just my opinion. But then, this is MY blog {wink, smile!}

Update: It is now May, 2012 and Obama has compared himself to A. Lincoln, H. Truman, R. Reagan, and I'm sure by the time you read this,he'll have found another one yet to compare with. Personally, I pray this is his only term. Ferverntly, I pray.

Breakfast at Magnolia Hall ~

Need I tell you how my mouth began to water?!
We came downstairs and the smells hit us as we approached
the stairwell. Oh, it smelled divine ~ I became spoiled
to the breakfasts of B&B's when Deborah and I
spent time at one. Click here to read about that trip! Before we were seated, there was juice and coffee waiting.
The other couple staying there elected to have breakfast
in their room ~ yeah, we were disappointed, but enjoyed
sitting in a beautiful dining room and eating with china,
silver, and crystal on the table! And lit candles!! The eggs were so light and fluffy! And the apple dish
was right down my alley! It tasted like the smoothest
bread pudding, only better! All slathered with hot apples
and sauce! Well, you can see I didn't leave much.
After checking out and saying our goodbye's
we headed to Warm Springs and Roosevelt's
Little White House. The museum is very informational
and this is the walk of state flags. Each flag has a slab
of the state's natural material (ie, granite, marble, sandstone)
that was cut in the shape of the state. The temp here was
never above 89 degrees, although by the time we got to
Montgomery, it was 98! And extremely humid!
Tomorrow, I'll show you a bit of the home!

Trip to Hamilton, Georgia ~

We headed out around noon yesterday~
and I started the trip in the driver's seat!
(I just love driving this cute little car!)
but somewhere between here and there,
I gave it up ~ too much to see out the windows.
This was the charming view that greeted us!
It was a bit warm to spend much time outside, however
we did notice that it was never as hot as it is in Prattville!
May have been all that lush greenery & the higher altitude.
Checking in, we realized just what a beautiful home this is!
Magnolia Hall Bed & Breakfast is in Hamilton, Georgia
and near Callaway Gardens, FDR's Little White House,
Warm Springs, and Pine Mountain. Lots to do! But,
you will have to drive ~ it's not like Gatlinburg
where you park and can walk around town at all hours.
After settling in, we realized we were hungry,
and not finding anything in the town of Hamilton
we drove a few miles out to Callaway Country Store.
There was a nice restraunt with a gorgeous view!
I tried getting a snapshot of the view, but the light
was too bright ~ so just take my word for it!
We spent a bit of time on the back porch upon returning
and watched the many hummingbirds whirring around!

Tomorrow, I'll take you a quick tour of our trip
to FDR's Little White House. I'll also show you the breakfast
that was prepared for us this morning! Oh.YUM!
See you tomorrow!

~ from The Letter Writer ~

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