So . . . . .

there is a lot to be learned. First games can be eye openers.

I bet after Coach Saban and his coaches get through with practices and replay discussions, the Tide will play better two weeks from now. Not to mention, why should Saban show all the plays if he didn't have to {grin font}. Watch out, Johnny Football. Your attitude just might take a beatin'. In fact, I know it will. Roll Tide!

... and the Tide Rolls Tonight!

and we can't wait!
Let's go, Bama! 
UPDATE: A reader alerted me to the fact that the logo showing for VA Tech is NOT their logo. And she is correct!! Below is the photo from Google and apparently someone has photoshopped it! I exchanged this one with the one above. Thank you for alerting me to this!

Getting Ready to Roll!

I am a SEC fan. Love love LOVE the SEC Conference.
However, when it comes to Denny Chimes
and the University of Alabama
I'm about as partial as they come.
It begins this Saturday at 4:30 CDT on ESPN.
Against Virginia Tech under the Georgia Dome.

Here are a few, of the thousands, of items you can find on Pinterest. I have a board, of course! And I belong to a group that maintains a board for the Tide! The season begins this Thursday night with the South Carolina Gamecocks looking for a win over North Carolina Tarheels.
The Campus, with Denny Chimes in the background.
(I've always loved college towns. There's such a unity.)
Found this on Pinterest & thought it vintage & just neat.
And who doesn't love Subway art!
A nice printable!
I"m telling you.
You want anything with the Crimson Tide?
You get it early. Like 3-6 months before August!
I have one of these!! Too.Cute!
But unless she posts more this season, they sold out quick.
Seriously, parents registering for a new baby and the showers to follow will put little booties and adorable onesies on their list of necessary items at the boutiques and shoppes. Those that wait until July or August to come in, only get "I'm sorry. We're out. You need to try one of the larger athletic stores."
Click here to read a post I wrote upon learning more on how the team trains, a few of their traditions, and feelings that course through the veins of the Crimson Tide players. Enjoy!
And of course, it would not be complete
without a photo of our ElleBelle,
dressed and ready for an Alabama football game.
(And to brag? Her mommy made the outfit! Roll Tide!!)

Back to School ~

As soon as I saw this photo, my answer was, "No." Then I realized they weren't talking about grandmothers. And grandfathers. Pa's. And Nan's. I'm sure there are mommies like me that enjoyed having our daughters at home. Being a teacher at the local school was even better. I got to see more of them. But oh, I worried those first few weeks of a new school year. Were they nervous? Did they have everything they needed? Would a teacher be impatient with them or would anyone try to bully them.

 Sheez. It's not easy being a parent.

Well then, just wait until you have grandbabies. It's even tougher. I wanted to call every day just to see if the day went well. Did they get in the car happy or wishing they didn't have to go tomorrow? After the first weekend, were there tears because it was Monday and that meant going back to school again? The prayers of this Nan were many and fervent. From the length of their Pa's prayers, his heart was right there where mine was. We were also praying for the mommies, so they wouldn't have worry or stress.

This is the third week for our MS babies and the second week for our AL babies. So far, so good. Although I'm not sure they'd share anything negative anyway. They'd deal with it in the infinite patience they have, they'd pray about it, and then turn it over to God. Nan needs to do that. I need to begin now.
Or, maybe, wait until I see them for myself {Wink font}.

Adorable Abodes

I read within a poet's book
A word that starred the page:
"Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage!"
Yes, that is true; and something more
You'll find, where'er you roam,
That marble floors and gilded walls
Can never make a home. 
But every house where Love abides
And Friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home-sweet-home:
For there the heart can rest. 
A Home Song
by Henry Van Dyke
And I?
Oh I just know
that I could live quite happily
in any of these ~

Back to School 2013-2014

They're ready to learn, laugh, and make this world a better place. 
I'm so in love and so very very proud!

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart

Forever and a day,
for always,
with all my love.

"I Don't Believe You Were There"

"With man, this is impossible,
but not with God.
All things are possible with God."
~ Mark 10:27 (NIV)

It's been seven years since April 21, 2006 and there have been some dark places I've gone through to get to where I am today. Places I am ashamed of, but forgiven. Places that had I been stronger, would not have done. This is what I need to write, to exorcise and release in hopes of saving another from the road I chose.

I don't remember much of the rest of 2006, nor the following year, 2007. Those were times of learning to walk again, to take care of myself without help. John remembers them. Nelson and our daughters remember. I'm blessed that I don't.

This post is not about what sent me to the Garden, but rather what has taken place since. I know others prayed for me, suffered through it, and I am grateful.

And so, it begins ~

It didn't feel good not to be able to teach again. I lost a large part of who I was. Not teach?! Not ever again?! NO!

It didn't feel good to to sell our home. Because I couldn't drive anymore, nor did we need the payment, we had already sold my Murano. One of my favorite vehicles. But we, like so many others, spent what we made. Had we held on just another year and a half, we could have kept the home, but it would have always been a struggle. And God had other plans.

The house sold quickly (a great blessing) and we prepared to downsize. A stranger came into our life, sent by God, to help us in areas others couldn't. She found us a beautiful home on the east side of town, and we settled into a wonderful apartment. I should have thrived. I didn't. Leaving a job I loved still hurt deeply. I felt lost. Useless.

Later that year, I had the chance to substitute at a local elementary school and was thrilled! Then terrified. Being led into the classroom, the door closing behind me, I suddenly lost touch with reality and John was called. The words 'psychotic break' was mentioned. (Dr. Mary Neal talks of this in her book, To Heaven and Back. The feeling of wondering if 'this' is a dream or if you're actually back on earth.) An amazing network of family and medical support got me through, but it had serious side effects. I became addicted to prescription pain drugs and began a descent into depression.

Were there reasons to be happy? Of course! We had grandchildren to love. Three lived within twenty minutes of us. But I felt incapable of keeping them. One daughter and her husband even voiced this to us, reducing me to a sobbing mess, but they were right. My adored husband? He loved me, but hated seeing me sad and hurting, so he allowed me to sleep as much as I wanted. He became an enabler and I became a recluse, going into deeper hibernation, my soul crying, 'why did You send me back?!' We rocked on.

2011 began with laughter. A family vacation to the Smokey's and plans for another family vacation in May! This one at Disney World. The year held great promises. John and I took a trip to the Gulf coast in April to visit a friend, and it was then, he says, that he realized a change had to take place. The blessed Holy Spirit whispered to him that he needed to move us south, to a place where there were other retirees, but no one knew us. So much to do, a variety of places to eat, and to top it off, the fresh air off the Gulf of Mexico. We bought a home there the next month.

Now, not only was I in the throes of withdrawal from the prescription drug addiction, but there was the pain of leaving the only child I gave birth to, the sadness of leaving the only family member still talking to me, realizing we were leaving three grandchildren, and saying goodbye to friends of my heart. Sobbing became a daily occurrence. Looking for answers, for peace. Did I ever stop praying? No. Never. I just wondered why He allowed me to return when I couldn't find a reason or a purpose to be alive. I needed to feel needed.

It was a year of major life changing moments. I'm surprised we both survived. But God is so amazingly good and He had plans for both of us. Plans for healing. Plans for new friends, new experiences and the chance to just be us. Not 'victims of a horrid medical accident'.

By Spring of 2012, health issues dating back to the accident surfaced and coupled with a compromised immune system, I was not only sick physically but sick at heart. I prayed. Praying in earnest. Did I feel as if He was listening? I did. Was I listening to Him? No. I didn't want to hear what he had to say. I just wanted to sleep until I 'felt all better'. Talk about being a modern day Jonah!

But there are times when you have to listen. When He makes it impossible to ignore Him. We are blessed with three Godly daughters and they love us very much. Enough to show tough love and we needed it. I needed it. I will forever be grateful to them and love them even more for it.

A Godly physician corrected a serious kidney problem that kept me sick the Spring of 2012. Beginning in 2013, a dear friend told me of an easy way to still eat some carbs but eat healthier (Metabolism Miracle). And through a daughter, we learned of a natural way (thank you, doTerra Essential oils!) to cleanse the physical body. Spiritually, I became a very present part of a bible study with two wise ladies that taught me of a God I never knew. God's Spirit, the Holy Spirit. I began spiritually preparing my heart to do His Will. The healthier I became, the clearer I heard Him. I realized I had been sent back to share what I learned. Sent back to assure the hungry that yes, there IS a God. He DOES forgive and He doesn't want any of His children to choose an eternity away from Him. Away from Heaven. But there IS a Hell and we do have free will. We can choose to follow a Father that loves us deeply or live without Him and spend an eternity in torment wishing our choice had been different.

There are still friends that find it difficult to believe I was in one of His gardens. Telling me it was a dream, much like the nightmares that took place when my body was weaned off paralytic drugs. These questions are valid and easy to answer. NO. It was not a dream. The world is hearing of an increasing number of incidents of near death experiences. Word is being spread of what they witnessed. And that they, too, were sent back to share. Why are certain ones chosen? I don't know. I don't care. I only know we were sent back to encourage, to reach out to the lost, to reassure the believers, and to witness for our Father.

My journey to wholeness has been a long, difficult one. I'm thankful that John listened to Holy Spirit and made the difficult decision to move us. It's been a time of healing, of letting go and grabbing hold. It's been a blessing. But then, when we allow Him to lead us, we are blessed beyond measure. "For I know the plans I have for you, 'declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" ~ Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

I encourage you to read 'Heaven is Real' by Todd Burpo and 'To Heaven and Back' by Dr. Mary C. Neal. Don Piper speaks more of what is after death in his book '90 Minutes in Heaven'. These have encouraged and inspired me.

And always, God's Word. The Bible. His Word is filled with accounts of what we can expect, what He will give us, teach us, and wants for us. He is our Father, our Lord, our King and I will live the rest of my life living a life for Him and talking of what awaits us. I, for one, cannot wait to see the rest of what He has prepared.

I believe His promises to be true. I believe Heaven is real. I also believe He has a plan for me and that He will help, and even carry me, when needed.

"Be still,
And know that I am God."
~ Psalm 4:10 (NKJV)

I am not perfect, but I'm forgiven. I know He loves me. I am excited about today. About tomorrow. I have a God that has given me a second chance. I will spend the rest of my life on earth going where He leads and listening to everything He has to say, even when like Jonah, saying no would be easier. "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'" ~ Isaiah 6:8

Summer Wanes On the Coast

the beaches are less crowded
there's coolness in the breeze
children, off to school
vacations, taken and used
life returns to normal

for locals, there's a silence now
as they walk the sand
listen to the surf
and watch the waning of Summer

Two Favorites ~

If you have followed me for any length of time, you know that Hooked On Houses is one of my very, very, long time, favorite sites. There is SO much to learn on her site and she is one of the kindest bloggers I've met since being a part of the blogger's world. I tried once to choose my most favorite part of her site and it wavered between Movie Houses and Realtor Mistakes, but then I gave up, called it quits and kept digging and delving.  Seriously, you can never read everything she's either dug up or a reader has sent in. It's forever changing and I love that.

This afternoon I knew by her caption I was going to like this post. The landing didn't look too shabby to begin with, until I scrolled down and saw what you see here. Oh.My.Stars!! Now, I know a designer came in and did this, but I just bet with the determination and a husband to say 'yes' or 'I can do that for you' you or I could do this, too. That is, if we had a landing. Which we don't. But that doesn't stop one from dreaming, even when you tell everyone that YES this IS the last house for us. {Snicker font} Our best friends know us too well. Take a nice long look at the AFTER shot, then hustle over to Julia's site and see a few shots of the rest of the home. Leave her a comment, too. We heart comments. Bookmark this site!
And oh my sweet friend, Dawn. The Feathered Nest. One of the very first sites I found while up late one night recovering from the accident and trying to find out what a blog was all about. She's become a 'friend I haven't met yet' and I treasure her thoughts and artwork. They come from the heart. You can find more posts on both ladies if you look over to the left and scroll down to labels. Some blogs you just can't get enough of, and these are two of mine.

I have long loved Winnie the Pooh and feel such a kinship with him. This is one of the quotes close to my heart. Dawn has always offered her beautiful vintage and antique prints for free for you to use to create your own beauty. Yeah. She's a gift of His. This print today is just one of many. Click here to go to her site, if you don't already have it bookmarked. I always feel better having visited. And there's normally a smile on my face ~ 

Summer ~ 2013

Wow, here it is August. Hot, hot August. Hot, humid August. I'm not normally an irritable person. Nor a grumpy one. Not even a lookingforafight kind of person. But this weather Garfield said it so well.

Ah, but it's a nice summer. Filled with family, thunderstorms, friends, rain, good food, humidity, giggles and snuggles from the grands, thunderstorms. You get the idea. I do think it's the busiest summer we've had since moving to the gulf coast. Along with those coming in to visit and eat seafood and swelter on the sand, we've met more nice strangers that have become good friends, found places to eat that tourism overlooks, and fell into a nice routine of retirement that seems to suit both of us just fine. Took awhile but we're pretty much there.

Just a few more weeks and I can tell my self, "Self, it's September and you know what that means? Yeah, yeah, it's gonna be cooler, but it's SEC FOOTBALL TIME!!!" WhooHoo!! The Tide will roll once more and we aren't with MediaCom this year so we shouldn't lose a single game!! Oops, you did not read that, Satan, you can only hear. You cannot read.

Here's to a few more weeks of sweltering heat, enough humidity that the grands ask why there's water on our windows, and staying inside, only going out long enough to get the meat off the grill!!

~ from The Letter Writer ~

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