Sunday, January 31, 2010


I just received this from fellow Mississippi University for Women alum Lynn Lott Schneider. If you can't be at the meeting tomorrow, please call and email. And pray! Also, ask your friends and family members to do the same. Thanks.

The tide seems to be turning in the Mississippi legislature about a name change. We have heard repeatedly that the name change won't make it out of committee, is a dead issue this year, etc. However, some of the "friends" in the legislature who said this have apparently changed their tune.

There is a hearing at 1:30 tomorrow of the Senate University and Colleges committee in Room 409 of the Capitol. PLEASE if you can get there, BE THERE!!! We need a visible showing of support for the W and it's current name! OR if you are willing to make phone calls or emails in favor of the current name, NOT Reneau University or whatever else the legislature or the college board may come up with, let me know ASAP.

There was absolutely two days notice of this hearing and there is a HUGE scramble to prepare. We need to have as many as possible show up in support of our name staying the same. You need to be there around 12:30 if at all possible.

Be aware that with all the name change talk lately, "mission change" has also been mentioned by Hank Bounds, Commissioner of the IHL Board. If the mission and name are changed, then any reason to keep a university 30 miles from another university will also be gone. Merger and closure of colleges is still not completly off the table, either. So it is not just about wanting to keep our name.

Again, IF YOU CAN BE THERE, WE NEED YOU. THIS IS A CRUCIAL TURNING POINT. If you can't be there, and I'm with you since I can't miss another day of school, then phone calls and emails to Lt. Governor Phil Bryant, Senator Doug Davis and the rest of the committee will be the next thing. We need to bombard them with support for the name. If you need more information about what to say and how to contact the senators on the committee, let me know.

W alums have fought to keep our school before, and it's time to do it again.

Here is contact info for the key people who need to be contacted by as many as possible before 1:30 TOMORROW:

Chairman Doug Davis
1268 South Lake Dr, Hernando, MS 38632
(601) 359-2220 (S)
(662) 449-5617 (H)
(662) 449-4115 (W)
District 1 DeSoto

Sampson Jackson
PO Box 686, DeKalb, MS 39328
(601) 677-2305 (H)
(601) 743-5900 (W)
(601) 359-3935 (S)
District 32 Kemper Lauderdale Noxubee Winston

Hillman Frazier
2066 Queensroad Ave, Jackson, MS 39213
(601) 359-3453 (S)
(601) 359-3935
(601) 982-1871 (H)
District 27 Hinds

Tommy Gollott
235 Bay View Ave, Biloxi, MS 39530
(228) 374-1431 (H)
(228) 374-1070
(228) 432-5450
(601) 359-2220 (S)
District 50 Harrison

Alice Harden
PO Box 20084, Jackson, MS 39289
(601) 359-3232 (S)
(601) 359-3998
(601) 359-3696 or (601) 359-3935
District 28 Hinds

Briggs Hobson
405 Long Leaf Cove, Vicksburg, MS 39180
(601) 359-3211 (S)
(601) 636-6399
District 23

Billy Hudson
300 Churchwell Rd, Purvis, MS 39475
(601) 359-4090 (S)
(601) 794-0606 (H)
(601) 466-3573 (C)
District 45 Forrest Lamar Pearl River Perry Stone

Gary Jackson
495 Austin Place, French Camp, MS 39745
(601) 359-3221 (S)
(662) 262-9273
(662) 547-6684 (H)
District 15 Attala Calhoun Choctaw Montgomery Oktibbeha Webster Winston

Tom King
PO Box 1134, Petal, MS 39465
(601) 359-2886 (S)
(601) 582-3617 (H)
District 44 Forrest Lamar Perry

Nolan Mettetal
PO Box 414, Sardis, MS 39666
(601) 359-3229 (S)
(601) 359-2220
(601) 359-3935
(662) 487-1512 (H)
District 10 Panola Tate

Gray Tollison
PO Box 1358, Oxford, MS 38655
(662) 234-7070 (W)
(662) 234-8395 (H)
(601) 359-3425 (S)
(601) 359-3935
District 9 Lafayette Tallahatchie Yalobusha

Johnnie Walls
351 South Washington Ave, Greenville, MS 39701
(601) 359-3165 (S)
(662) 332-4522 (H)
(662) 335-6001 (W)
(662) 378-8958
District 12 Bolivar Washington

J. P. Wilemon
PO Box 82, Belmont, MS 38827
(601) 359-3232 (S)
(601) 454-7585 (H)
District 5 Itawamba Prentiss Tishomingo

Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant
PO Box 1018, Jackson, MS 39215
601-359-3200 Phone
601-359-4054 Fax

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Looking for something special for the person in your life who has a special love for Africa? This beautiful, handcrafted, silver pendant by Tracy over at JUNKPOSSE might be just what you're looking for. My husband gave me a similar one by the same artist at Christmas and I absolutely love it. Not only is the pendant a gorgeous reflection of my love for Africa, but it came charmingly packaged and 30% of the purchase price goes to help a family who is adopting from Africa.

For more information, visit JUNKPOSSE's Etsy website at:

Friday, January 29, 2010


A couple of months ago, I wrote here at Graceland about a special date I had with my hubby. We drove down to the tiny town of Wesson, Mississippi, for a special lunch at a unique restaurant, Porches. The service was friendly and helpful, the surroundings were charming and cozy, and the food was downright delicious --- as they describe it "traditional Southern cooking with an imaginative flair". I loved it so much, I took one of my best friends for her birthday last month. And when I found out they offer a special Valentine's Day dinner, well, you can just guess what I told my man.

And yes, we'll be spending our Valentine's date eating supper under the twinkling lights at Porches.

Normally, Porches is only open for lunch. But a couple of nights, in honor of Valentine's Day, all the stops are pulled out and sumptuous, elegant dinners are served. The menu upscales and the decor is all about sweet, Southern romance. Here are this year's offerings:


Pontchartrian Blues Crab Cake - 8.95
Fried Oyster Cocktail - $7.95


Roast Prime Rib
A 12 oz. cut of slow cooked USDA choice Prime rib finished to your
preference in Madeira au jus. Served with American horseradish cream.

Chicago Stockyards Choice Aged New York Strip
Our traditional cut of Choice 21 day aged strip loin seasoned with Kosher salt and
cracked black pepper. Pan seared in a cast iron skillet and finished in a super hot oven.

Creole Fried Catfish
Two large fillet of Mississippi farm raised catfish, marinated in buttermilk,
Creole mustard and seasonings. Rolled in corn flour and deep fried to a golden brown.

Shrimp Ala Carbanaro
Fresh large gulf shrimp sautéed in olive oil, garlic and seasoning. Finished with a
heavy cream, bacon and Parmesan sauce. Served over fettuccine pasta.

Fresh Gulf Blackfish - Destin Style
Fresh fillet of gulf black drum, dredged in our Destin flour, sautéed in
olive oil and butter. Served with Lemon Caper sauce and sautéed shrimp.

Fried Gulf Oysters
A Bakers dozen fresh gulf oysters, lightly seasoned and rolled in cornflower.
Deep fried to a golden brown and served with our tartar sauce.

Cowboy Cut Crab Stuffed Pork Chop
A large pork chop stuffed with our crab cake mixture. Seasoned and pan seared in a cast
iron skillet. Finished in a super-hot oven and served with a Lemon and Caper sauce.
$ 16.95

All entrees served with our deluxe garden salad.
Baked potato on steak and fish entrees


Porches Bread Pudding with Almond Sauce
Chocolate Resurrection

Doesn't that sound absolutely delicious? I'm thinking the fried oysters are calling my name and I know the Chocolate Resurrection and I are going to get intimately acquainted before the night is over.

So if you and your sweetie are looking for someplace a bit off the beaten path this Valentine's Day weekend, then Porches might just be what you're looking for. But call and make that reservation quickly! They are popular and book up fast. This year they will be serving their special Valentine's supper on Friday the 12th and Saturday the 13th from 6pm to 9pm.

You can reach the friendly folks at Porches by calling (601)643-9094.

By the way, they say on the bottom of their website's menu that "fire is served with all ladies' desserts". How tantalizing is that?

This is a Valentine's dinner that I've been looking forward to for two months now. Any time spent on a date with the mister is always nice...but I have a very good feeling that this one is going to be more than nice!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Unlike some members of my family who will remain unnamed, ahem, I adore Valentine's Day! I have sweet memories of cutting valentine cards out of this big book as a child and carefully choosing who got which one. I loved the school parties and the boxes that would be filled with cards from my classmates. And the sweets? parties always included yummies to eat.

I still love this holiday. In fact, for me, it runs a close 2nd to Christmas. The special date with hubby, the chocolate, the cute cards, the fun homeschool party, the chocolate, the color red, the color pink, heart themed clothes and jewelry, the chocolate, romantic music, extra kisses and hugs, and even more chocolate....what's not to love?

Because I love Valentine's Day so much, I thought it would be fun here at Graceland to dedicate the couple of weeks leading up to February 14th with posts centered around that theme. I got an early start yesterday because I wanted you to be aware of the special Valentine's Day promotion going on over at Children's HopeChest. If you didn't read about that yet, check it out:

Today, I want to tell you moms, grandmoms, aunts, and anyone else out there who has a reason for buying little girl clothes, about Sallee's beautiful clothing creations over at PoppyDips. I've mentioned her before and I'll keep mentioning her because her clothes are THAT cute and she's THAT sweet and the reason she makes them is THAT awesome. Yeah, you could just say that Sallee and PoppyDips are "all that". ;) Sallee is a blessed mom of 3 biological children and 2 adopted far. She and her family are on the journey to adopt again and one of the ways that they are financing the adoption of their new Ethiopian blessing is thru the profits made from PoppyDip clothing sales.

My little 4 year old Miss M is now the adorable owner of several of Sallee's creations and I can wholeheartedly testify to not just their awesome appearance but their high quality. These things are sewn to last! They are heirloom quality that will definitely be something that can be passed down to younger siblings and friends. In fact, Miss M owns some "recycled" PoppyDips and they arrived to us looking brand-spanking-new despite the fact that they all were previously owned and worn by another little girl.

So check out PoppyDips if you want to spread a little Valentine's love to the little girl in your life. And know that when you do, you're not just dressing your little girl in an adorable outfit, you're helping an African orphan be united with their adoptive, forever family.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Why not give one that blesses both the recipient and an orphan in Ehtiopia? When you buy your loved one (or yourself, for that matter) one of the limited edition SHIRTS FOR SHOES t-shirts, Children's HopeChest will give 100% of the proceeds to buy a pair of shoes and a shirt for 400 orphans in their Ethiopian ministry programs. These are children who are mostly orphans, many of them wearing no shoes at all or shoes that are terribly torn up, too small, way too big, or just very inappropriate for their environment.

To read more about this amazing offer, visit:

Make your purchase today
! Place your order before February 1, 2010.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Last night, The Kissing Monster (also known as moi) was smooching on the three youngest as they prepared to go off to LaLa Land, when 8 year old LG asked "what's for breakfast". Now, I know a lot of you moms out there, maybe even some dads, are a lot more organized than I am and could probably tell your kids exactly what you're serving for breakfast tomorrow, the day after that, even a week after that. But The Kissing Monster? No way am I that organized. But, I figured that a good monster mommy should have an appropriate breakfast entree for her little monsters. So, I popped out with "Fish Eye Soup".

Then this morning, the same little miss asked again, "what's for breakfast?" and the Kissing Monster Mommy responded in the same way, "Fish Eye Soup".

Now here's a recount from 2 of the little ones on what this dining experience was like.

LG and T, did y'all like the fish eye soup we had this morning?

T: Yeah, it was AWESOME!!!

LG: Yeah.

What did it taste like?

LG: Cream of wheat with raisins and...

T: Food dye! It was awesome!

Well, I'm glad you thought it was awesome. Maybe next time we'll have Fish Guts Icecream.

LG: It's gonna be icecream with meat? Meat with icecream?

T: Nope, it's gonna be food dye that is white.

I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

BTW, the fish eye soup really was just cream of wheat with an eye ball drawn on it with decorating gel and a raisin stuck in the middle. But it sure was, in LG's words, "good". I love being a mommy.

Monday, January 25, 2010

SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL... this Swazi sweetie.


Photo of carepoint child taken by Amanda Larsen. Visit her blog for more visual beauty: and to read about her African adventures:

Sunday, January 24, 2010


You know a book is good when it has you hooked in the introduction! And this book about two years spent in South Africa near the Swaziland border fits that bill. I'm only a few chapters into, but Jason Carter (grandson of President Jimmy Carter) has me enthralled.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Today was Jamelia's funeral. Please keep praying for her family and friends as they walk out the mourning process. Over 700 were in attendance today and it was very obvious that she was a grealy loved young woman, one who was kind, dedicated, respectful,intelligent, gifted, and with an infectious smile. She is going to be greatly missed.

Thank you.

Friday, January 22, 2010


So last night we are watching all these beautiful videos of Africa....lovely cities, modern malls, sweeping landscapes, seaside drum festivals...when all of a sudden, we stumbled across THIS! What a hoot! Just had to share it. And c'mon, admit it, you started moving to the music. Didn't you? Didn't you? Just a little bit???? I caught you. You did!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


To read stories of hope and even find out how you can be involved in helping Haiti after the earthquake's devastation, go to:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I don't have any "by birth" sisters. Growing up, I loved my brother. As brothers go, he was a really great one. But still, I wished for a sister. When I went to Mississippi University for Women and pledged the Troubadour Social Club, I was given an entire sisterhood. Over the years, new girls have pledged the club and the tiny spark of Troubadour love has united us despite differences in ages, background, and even color. In Troubs, we were all true blue. Some of the new girls I've gotten to spend lots of time with, others I just know through facebook or photos. But regardless of how much we have been around each other in person, we are still sisters. I can walk on that MUW campus on any given day and be welcomed back to the family. The W is a small college and so the students are tight-knit on the whole. And the social clubs are an even smaller, more intimate group of friends.

This past weekend, four MUW students were killed in a fire at a Birmingham, Alabama, area hotel. One of them was a Troubadour baby, Jamelia Brown. Though I hadn't had the chance to spend much time with Jamelia, she was still family. She's a W-Girl and a Troubadour.

My heart hurts over the news and breaks for the MUW students and on-campus Troubadours who are dealing with intense heartbreak this week. I have wept tears along with them for a beautiful girl who we will never see again on this side of eternity.

During this time of mourning, I am reminded that we have no promise of tomorrow. It has caused me to hug my babies extra times this week and tell them how much I love them and how glad I am that they are mine.

It also motivates me to remind those in my life that there is a God who loves them, who wants to be in relationship with them, and wants to give them a life of worth, not of regrets, no matter how short or long it is.

God loved the world SO much that He gave His only begotten son Jesus that if we believe in Him, we will not perish, but have everlasting life!

Believe in Him, friend. I want to spend that everlasting life with God and with YOU!

Praying for Jamelia's family and friends, the MUW community, and her Troubadour Sisters,

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I wanted to pass along this important message from the folks at Children's HopeChest, the organization that we traveled to Swaziland with in 2008:

Haiti's devastating earthquake may triple the number of orphans living on this small impoverished island. Already one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti's new orphan crisis will bring incredible strain upon the country's resources to care for children.

Our ministry team has developed a two-stage plan to assist organizations in caring for an expected 300% increase in orphaned children in Haiti.


Through our "5 for 50" program, we have already contributed $3,000 to Kids Against Hunger. In 2009, they shipped over 500,000 meals to our carepoints in Africa. From Jan 1 - Feb 28, HopeChest will donate 100% of all 5 for 50 contributions to Kids Against Hunger to feed Haiti's orphans. To join us, please go to to make a gift. 100% of all contributions made before Feb 28 will support emergency food relief for orphans in Haiti.

Organizations are rushing into Haiti--just as we watched them pour into the former Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Today, less than 10 percent are still ministering in Russia. Right now, HopeChest is conducting extensive due diligence on several orphan ministry partners in Haiti. Our COO, Bob Mudd, has been on the phone every day with new potential long-term partners.

We are looking for ministries with a pre-earthquake track record of caring for orphans, and who will experience a substantial increase in the number of children they are serving. Through a ministry partnership with Children's HopeChest, we will explore providing long-term care through our CONNECT COMMUNITIES outreach, as well as our TRANSFORM church sponsorship programs.

Above all, please pray for everyone affected by the earthquake, especially David Hames and his family. David attends Vanguard Church, one of our Swaziland carepoint sponsors. David was in Haiti to film stories of children for Compassion International and was in the Hotel Montana when it collapsed during the earthquake. Search and rescue teams are working to locate David, and we ask you to join us in asking for God's miraculous hand to work in Haiti today.

Thank you for your support and prayers.


The HopeChest Ministry Team

Thursday, January 14, 2010


You can thru A CHILD'S HOPE INTERNATIONAL. Larry Bergeron, the founder, traveled with my group to Swaziland in 2008. He and his family have a heart for hurting children and that love is demonstrated thru the ministry of A CHILD'S HOPE.

Go to their website, , and find out how you can directly help a hurting child in Haiti right now. Even a small donation can make a big difference as so many lives have been devastated by this horrific earthquake.

"What you do to the least of your brethren you do to me"-Jesus

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I have just finished reading AN ORDINARY MAN, the true story behind the movie HOTEL RWANDA, and I highly recommend it. As much as I am interested in Africa, I haven't watched HOTEL RWANDA because I didn't think I could handle some of the explicit harshness of it. But AN ORDINARY MAN tells the story but it is done in such a way, that while it doesn't whitewash the events at all, was more on the level that I needed.

If you're not familiar with story, the basic summary is that a hotel manager,
Paul Rusesabagina, was able to save the lives of over a thousand people during the 1994 Rwandan genocide through diplomacy, wisdom, and downright cheeky pluck. While hundreds of thousands were being massacarred, not a single person seeking refuge in Rusesabagina's hotel was killed.

Read AN ORDINARY MAN and be challenged to be the difference that is needed somewhere in this world. For as Rusesabagina says, "people are the ones who can change what they want to change"...even very ordinary ones.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


No, this isn't some story about a young woman who is a child bride nor is it about a teenager who gave birth to multiple sets of multiples. This is a story about an American teenager, Katie Davis, who had it all going for her and decided to leave the American dream behind to follow God's amazing, crazy plan for her life in Uganda...a plan, that to this date, has entailed her becoming a single mom of 14 children at the age of 21. Read her story, go to her blog, and be challenged!

It is my 16th Birthday and I am eating sushi at my favorite restaurant with my parents when I tell them that I would like to explore the possibility of taking a year in between high school and college to do mission work. This is unheard of in my family and they say they are not sure and will think about it. I am nervous, but somehow I know it is right. He changes their hearts.

I have just turned 18 and find an orphanage online. I beg my parents to let me visit over break, just three weeks. A month later I am on a plane. I am so excited. I am so scared of being, but I know He is going with me. I fall in love.

I graduate high school having made the commitment to teach Kindergarten for a year at a school in The Middle of Nowhere, Uganda. In August I get on the plane. I’m apprehensive and I cry most of the way because I miss my Mommy and my boyfriend. I am eager, but so uncertain. I trust Him. I teach 138 children how to speak English and to love Jesus.

It is October and I am just not sure I can do it anymore. I live in the smallest room I have ever seen in the back of a pastor’s house. I am more uncomfortable than I had bargained for. No one understands, not people here, not people at home. I am tired. But I am prideful and I am not going to quit. I don’t like this. But I know He has a plan. I learn, I grow, He is there.

It is December and God has spoken very clearly about opening a ministry that sponsors 40 of the orphaned children in the village where I am working. This involves moving into a different house, ALONE. It is big and I cannot imagine how God will fill it up. I am lonely and I am anxious. But I am still trusting. He fills the house, and we now have 400 children sponsored.

It is January and I am looking at a little girl, crushed under a brick wall with no one to care for her or her younger siblings. I offer to take the three home with me until we find them a better placement. I am not really sure what to do with them, but I know they are God’s children. They stay.

It is three days later and the littlest looks at me and calls me mommy. My heart might break in two. Something clicks. I am even more scared than I was the day I stepped on that plane, but I KNOW. Today I have 13.

I have to deliver a baby, give a boy stitches, pull a tooth, give and injection. I am petrified. But no one will do it if I do not. He is present, He holds my hand, they are all fine.

It is August and I must get on a plane back to America to go to college, as I have promised my father. I do not remember how to be a teenager or what it is to be normal Brentwood, Tennessee. I will have to leave my babies. I will have to make new friends. I am sad and I am terrified. He wraps His arms around me. He puts just the right people in just the right places, and they help me and they make me feel at home.

First semester is over and He speaks clearly to me that I cannot serve two masters. “Go HOME,” He says, “and stay.” I am uncertain, but I want to be obedient. He squeezes tighter. I am thankful.

I have to look at my loving parents who have given me everything and tell them that I will not go to college right now, because I feel God wants me to be in Uganda. I know how disappointed and how angry they will be. I am more scared than I was when I got on the plane and more scared than I was when I took my first children. But I know that this IS the Plan. They love me anyway.

It is February and my daughter’s biological father comes to take her away. My heart breaks in half, and I am not sure I will ever be able to get out of my bed again, let alone foster another child. I am more than devastated, but I want what is best for her, what He wants for her. She comes back and her biological father learns about Jesus.

It is March and a lame little girl is brought to my gate. She is undoubtedly mine, but I am still anxious. What if I can’t do it? I don’t know what to do with a special needs child, especially as my 13th child. I am criticized and ridiculed. I wonder. I trust and praise God for her sweet little life. She starts to walk.

I find myself in a village full of starving people that for some reason seem to want to kill me. God says to serve them anyway. I am not sure how it is going to work, or if it is safe. I can’t figure it out, but I know He can. 1,200 Karamajongs, the poorest of Uganda’s poor, are now served hot meals daily.

We keep taking in more children until there are 400 in our program. There is no way we will raise enough funds, but by now I have stopped worrying. He has always provided. Blessings rain from the sky, and all 400 children go to school.

I am 20 years old and have 13 children and 400 more who all depend on me for their care. Who are all learning to love Jesus and be responsible adults and looking up to me. The reality of it all can be a bit overwhelming at times. However, it is always pure joy. There is a common misconception that I am courageous. I will be the first to tell you that this is not actually true. Most of the time, I am not brave. I just believe in a God who will use me even though I am not. Most mornings, before I even get out of bed I am overwhelmed with His goodness, with His plan for my life; I stand in awe of the fact that He could entrust me with so much. Most days, I don’t have much of a plan. I don’t always know where this is going. I can’t see the end of the road, but here is the great part: Courage is not about knowing the path. It is about taking the first step. It is about Peter, getting out of the boat. I do not know my five year plan; even tomorrow will probably not go as I have planned. I am thrilled and I am terrified, in a good way. So some call it courage, some call it foolish, I call it Faith. I choose to get out of the boat. To take the next step. Sometimes I walk straight into His arms. More often, I get scared and look down and stumble. Sometimes I almost completely drown. And through it all, He never lets go of my hand.

To read more of Katie's amazing journey of love and obedience, visit her blog at:

Monday, January 11, 2010


Okay, so if you're not from Mississippi or at least a state close by, you probably are scratching your proverbial head about now.

What the heck is a "Bully" and why is it on an egg, you might be asking.

Well, one thing at a time.

Bully is the mascot for the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

And why is he on an egg? Because I work part-time as a struggling artist at a local children's specialty shop that is famous for its wooden Easter eggs. We sell hundreds and hundreds of them a year. In fact, we got a shipment of a couple of thousand eggs in the other day...all just itching to be personalized.

Usually, the eggs have bunnies on them....bunnies garbed as firefighters, ballerinas, angels, soccer players...even as Amelia Earhart! Whatever a customer can imagine, we can paint.

At Christmas-time, I had painted some college themed ornaments and painted my very first Bully. So today, when I started painting eggs to have on hand ready to sell, I thought I'd make Bully be the bunny.

I enjoy painting the eggs. It brings me joy to see their little personalities come to life. But for some reason, this little Bully especially made me happy. Maybe it is his little snaggle tooth smile. Maybe it is the good memories associated with MSU, after all, I did marry a State boy. But whatever the reason, I really liked the little feller and I just wanted to share him with you here at Graceland.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Good evening, M. How are you?

I am good for the day of my life. And I love you so much. And you`re the beautifulest mama.

Awww-w--w, thanks, M. I love you, too, beautiful girl.

I gotta go to the bathroom, Mama. Hear me? I gotta go to the bathroom.

Okay, M, I`ll wait til you get back.

*Song about toilet paper can be heard coming from the bathroom.*

She`s back!

My kitty cat is doing good and hope it will have babies and we will get rid of the babies.

Where will they go?

They`ll go to a news home. And they`ll have some good days with their babies when they grow up. And my Christmas was all about baby Jesus.


And I also had a good Christmas night.

What was your favorite part of Christmas night?

Opening presents.

Did you have a special person visit you on Christmas Day?

Mr. A.C. did. Is his name short?

Yeah, I guess so.

So that`s what it`s all about.

What what is all about?

Mr. A.C.

Mr. A.C. is all about what?

Having friend over.

Oh, okay.

So what did you and Mr. A.C. do?

We did something fun. He sleepeded and I draweded because it was fun.

What else did y`all do?

I also told him about my new home I lived in.

Did you take him outside?

Yes, I did.

What did y`all do outside?

Ride horses, get pictures tooken, eating with us, and having a nap.

But I don`t think you napped and ate outside.

We didn`t. He napped inside.

What else was special about Christmas?

I did lots of things and played lots of games, like Apples.

Apples to Apples?

Yesuh. And played "stand, stand, who stands still".

What is that?

It`s a game.

But what do you do?

I played and hosted people who came over to my house. So that they can see it even if the women wanted to steal Blue Baby Doll. I kept on stopping them.

Oh, you mean at WE WILL GO?


She was just joking with you M.

But she really looked at [Blue Baby Doll] a lot. And I had brownies. T and me had brownies. It was important. I had a lot of brownies.

At the WE WILL GO Christmas Day?

Yes, at the WE WILL GO Christmas Day. I loved it. But cept the person who wanted to steal Blue Baby Doll.

M, that lady did not really want to steal your doll. She was just joking.

Mom, she told me. Really, Mommy. I need to tell you about it. It was important.

M, she was just pretending. She did not really want to steal your doll.

It was so fun. Mr. A.C. had to go home. So we left from home so that we can go over to the Peace House. I love the fun things I did. I couldn`t figure what I eat.

I am glad that you love going to see our friends in inner-city Jackson. They love seeing you.

I went to the nursing home! Then we went home. I had to go to the bathroom. So we stopped at a gas station. Mama came with me. It was so fun. Even if I liked it. So much fun. I did something that was really funny.

What did you do, M?

Eat and we went to the creek before naptime. We didn`t see any ice.

Was this on Christmas Day?

Yeah, this was on Christmas Day. I got a new stroller to roll Blue Baby Doll in. Even if I want to do something new. I got a coloring book on Christmas. And the other day, we went to the creek. To see some ice. And it was fun. I love the day.



You know what one of my favorite things about you is?


How much fun you have and how much you love life.

And [Brother P] broke into ice.

Yes, he did.

And [Sister LG] got her shoes dirty. The Roberts came over. Me and LG liked having Littlest Pet Shop races. And Lizzie, she spent the night. We went to church on this day. She came with us.

Well Miss M, it is getting late and you need to go to bed.


No buts. It is bedtime.


Wanna say "goodnight"?

Goodnight! So I`ll have a good sleep tonight.

Love you, M.

Goodbye!!!!!!!!!! And it was so fun to meet you. Have a good day for the night.

Saturday, January 09, 2010


Christmas Eve traditionally finds just us at home doing some things that are special for us. Every Christmas Eve, Jim plans a big spread of fancy cheeses, two or three kinds of crackers, an assortment of breads and meats, our favorite kinds of chips, lots of condiments (we love condiments), sparkling grape juice, and whatever Christmas sweets we've not yet devoured. After the meal, we watch THE MUPPET'S CHRISTMAS CAROL and let the kids open one gift before they head off for their Christmas slumber.

This year, we added a new element to the mix. On son P's birthday earlier in December, his cake had been dropped and smashed. So his sister B made him a new one and we did a mini-birthday celebration for him all over again.

P and his Lego decorated birthday cake.

Daughter LG tries to choose what to eat among all the goodies.

P shows off his sandwich complete with a Hershey's Kiss right smack dab in the middle.

And my 3rd daughter LG found this Kiss and brought it to me. Have you ever seen such a Hershey's tail?

Son D is obviously enjoying his Christmas Eve supper. He's not too far from his 13th birthday and his appetite these days certainly reflects that.

Little Miss M shows off her specially made sandwich.

Yes, those are M&M's and maybe even a potato chip squeezed in that pita bread.

This is an ornament from my childhood days. In college, I pledged a social club, The Troubadours, that have mandolins as one of their symbols. So now this ornament is even more special to me.

Daughter B made this ornament as a preschooler at Mommy's Morning Out at Colonial Heights Baptist Church. Her teachers thought she was a little angel.

I made this ornament of Anna's hand when she was a baby.
Heart to God, Hand to Man.

And here they are...our favorite Christmas Carol cast!

Friday, January 08, 2010


Are you looking for a change?

Do you want your life to make a difference?

Thursday, January 07, 2010

State Prepares For Winter Blast

My husband received this today and thought others might benefit from the valuable information shared, including the online resources, so I'm posting this hear at Graceland. Y'all stay warm now, ya hear?

PEARL – MEMA and key state agencies are preparing for a strong winter storm system that will move through Mississippi tonight into Thursday. The National Weather Service is forecasting snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain for most of the state. Temperatures are expected to remain well below freezing through Sunday for the northern half of Mississippi with the possibility of single digit lows.

Earlier today Governor Haley Barbour issued a state of emergency in advance of the weather.

"I have issued a state of emergency to protect all Mississippians from the dangers this bitter cold presents.” said Governor Barbour. “Our state agencies are ready to respond and our residents can help themselves by protecting their families, homes and vehicles."

MEMA Executive Director Mike Womack is also urging Mississippians to watch out for one another. “We should all think about opening our homes to neighbors, especially seniors, who may not have adequate heat. It’s the same thing we say that during a hurricane, only this time for people who don’t have the ability or can’t afford to heat their homes.”

The following is a list of preparations being made by state agencies:

MEMA: Keeping in close contact with local emergency managers to provide resources if necessary. For updates follow us on Facebook and twitter using MSEMA.

MS Dept. of Education: The Mississippi Department of Education has asked district superintendents to report school closings to the department and closings will be listed on

MS Dept. of Transportation: MDOT will have crews monitoring the roadways at all times out in each district, especially the bridges and overpasses since they tend to ice first. As roads begin to slush and ice over, each district is responsible for sending out a MS Traffic Alert on the iced road condition. MDOT maintenance crews will be out on the roads with trucks to salt/gravel those icy roadways.

MS State Dept. of Health: MSDH Emergency Response Coordinators across the state are continually checking on healthcare facilities licensed by MSDH to ensure they are prepared for impending winter weather and that they are able to continue all standard operations. The MSDH Bureau of Emergency Medical Services continues to remind State EMS of the immediate response necessary to residents exposed to extreme weather. More information on staying safe and healthy during severe winter weather is available on

MS Dept. of Public Safety: MDPS has an 800 number the public can call to get updated with the latest road and weather conditions for their area. That number is 800-843-5352. Mississippians can also go to, look under road conditions to find district by district information.

MS Attorney General: “Consumer Tips for Storm Victims” guide can be found at . Many of these tips are applicable in winter/ice storms. Consumers with concerns or any fraud related complaints can call the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-281-4418.

MS State Fire Marshal: Fire safety information and tips are available in the special Holiday and Heating Fire Safety Web page on

MS Department of Human Services: The announcement of DHS office closings will be disseminated through MS Public Broadcasting and other local media sources as available. Currently, all offices are scheduled to be open statewide.

MS National Guard: The Mississippi National Guard is fully prepared to support state and local

authorities with manpower and equipment statewide during and after this winter weather threat.

MS 211: Hotline can be accessed from any phone around the state by simply dialing 211 just as you would 911 for an emergency. Our call specialists can connect callers to the help they need--from shelter information to financial assistance with heating bills.

MS Public Broadcasting: Mississippians can stay informed of the latest weather updates, road conditions and shelter information across the state by tuning to Mississippi Public Broadcasting. Starting today, MPB will increase its weather and emergency information reports. Follow MPB weather updates on Twitter.

MS Forestry Commission: The Forestry Commission is prepared to provide wildfire protection in the event of any wildfire activity occurring during this period of severely cold weather. Also, the Forestry Commission stands ready to provide assistance to county emergency coordinators in response to damages caused by an ice storm event.

Tell a friend/co-worker about Newton Alert! Forward this message to them and have them register for this free service at

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


My darling husband, we are living those dreams we had long, long ago. They have come true every day, every year. And now we're dreaming new dreams and I look forward to one day sitting beneath the mango tree with you.

I love you. Forever and always.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


Christmas was very, very busy for us and we ended up being out of town twice for nearly a week of days total. Needless to say, my blogging suffered as a result. I'm trying to get caught up so thought I'd take the time to post some of our Christmas photos. The first set is from our trip to see Jim's Dad and Step-Mom a few days before Christmas. Jim's sister and her children joined us for the day of celebrating. The cousins always have a great time when we get together.

Here are the three teenagers. They are not just cousins, but true friends.

The lovebirds.

The two oldest with their awesome Grandma Sally.

Half of the "kids' table".

The "grownups' table".

And here we are on Christmas Eve Day enjoying a breakfast comprised of edible traditions. The first tradition is Gingerbread People Pancakes. I think I first started doing this after reading a "My First Little House" book and seeing the illustration of Ma making them for Laura and Mary. I try to fix them every Christmas though the day varies when we have them and the decorations change from year to year.
The second traditional dish I served was Piggy Pudding. I found the recipe years ago in the newspaper and have modified it a bit but basically it is a casserole consisting of layers of sausage, sliced apples, and cornbread served with syrup. It is DELISH! The kids love the pancakes best but hubby loves the piggy pudding.

Our "other daughter" Lillie (aka our neighbor) joined in on our breakfast traditions for the first time this Christmas.

As you can see, she enjoyed herself immensely!

I've got lots more photos to share from our holidays but will save them for another day...or days. I exaggerate not when I say I have hundreds. Don't worry, I won't post all of them here. Promise.

Monday, January 04, 2010


A couple of nights ago, I was all set to interview my 14 year old daughter B....but, she fell asleep.

And now she's gone to her bff's house so my firstborn daughter A, also known as Indie, said that she would do a Christmas interview for Graceland.

Okay, if Indie can manage to pull her head out of the sleeping bag, the interview will begin.

"Alright, I'm good."

So....where shall we begin?

"It's your post. Or we could start at the very beginning. A very good place to start. When you read you begin with A, B, C. When you sing you begin with do, re, me."


*Nods her head and smiles smugly*

So again....where shall we begin. Hmmmmm....I know! If you could use one word to describe your Christmas experience for 2009, what would it be?


Do I have to put that? *Looking at her with a cocked eyebrow*

*Lots of laughter* from Indie and then some random explanation about a movie she watched and an awkward scene.

So seriously, a word to describe your Christmas.

"Overstimulating?" *More laughter emanates from Indie* this how the entire interview is going to go?


And now Little Miss M is crying hysterically for her mama. Interview to be continued later.

"WHAT?!? Why do you have to stop for HER?????"

Because she needs her mommy and is going to bed in 15 minutes.

"Does that mean I can be online until then?"


"So you can have bonding time."

Hmmmmmmmm......I'll be back.......


Okay, we are back from getting the crying children --- yes, plural---- children put to bed. Why, oh why, don't they think about finding their favorite stuffed animals and doll BEFORE they go to bed and it is dark and Mommy is tired and they are hysterical? Sigh....

Back to the interview. Where were we?

"I have no bars in your room."

Ummm...let's focus, Indie. Christmas. Not your new cell phone.

"It's supposed to be a secret."

Um, yeah. Sorry. Do I need to delete that?


Good. So back to the word thing. What word would you use---for real---to describe your Christmas?


Would you like to elaborate on that?

"Hey Mom....I don't suppose you would be willing to go ask Patch to bring the radio in here? "

No, but I"ll put Accuradio on. ANYWAY...please focus before your daddy comes home and I have to get off or I pass out from the Benadryl tablet. Whichever one comes first.

So, why was your Christmas exhausting?

"'Cause I was around a lot of people and I had to do a lot of things and it was too much for my introversion." *All said in a very sad, little girl voice*

I think your dad, no excuse me, I KNOW your dad felt the same way. It was a lot of fun but even I was tired by the end.

*Noises coming from Indie hopping up and down in her sleeping bag to get better adjusted*

What was your favorite part of this Christmas season?

"Reading all my new books. Watching movies with Avery [my cousin]. And I liked going to Cousin Beth's new house."

What were your favorite gifts that you received?

"My X-Men and Alex Rider books and my Gambit shirt."

What was the most fun or special thing that our family did together?

"Going to Bass Pro Shop set up for Christmas was fun. With all the fudge. Oh my gosh. That was such good fudge. Ooooooh."

Did you have a favorite Christmas song?

"Yes. I listened to His Favorite Christmas Story so much. And the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack which, surprisingly, some of the songs actually made me feel Christmasy. But the Muppet Christmas Carol music and movie is the only thing that can make me get in a Christmas mood even when I'm not so I listened to that a lot.

What's one thing about Christmas that you wish was year round?

"The break from school and work."

In closing, do you have anything else you want to add about your Christmas past? Ooh, that sounds like a spirit from the Christmas Carol.

"That's because it is." I was saying, do you have anything else to add?

"I got a bonus at work. That was very nice. I'd only been working there two months. I liked that."

In closing the closing, I know it was exhausting for my introverted Indie, but did you have a good Christmas season?


That's it?

"It's a yes-or-no question so why are you looking at me like that?"

That's my Indie for you.

"The End."

Sunday, January 03, 2010


"A Sunday well-spent brings a week of content."


I read the above quote and though I would generally agree, I don't tonight. This afternoon, two of my daughters spent a good part of our afternoon and evening at a local inner-city ministry, WE WILL GO. As always, I leave there feeling full to overflowing with love and joy and blessings and smiles. But tonight I am not fully content. Mixed in with good things there is concern and sadness.

Scores and scores of men, sometimes over a hundred, come to WE WILL GO in search of spiritual and physical food, free clothing, prayer, fellowship, and other needs to be met each week. And during these cold months, blankets, gloves, hats, and warm clothing are a top priority. Once again, men came looking for winter coats and thick pants to protect them from the elements and once again, there was not a single men's coat. And this time, not a single pair of blue jeans either.

I've mentioned this need before here at Graceland, but if you or a group you are a part of could help keep these men warm this winter, it would be so very appreciated.

Visit the WE WILL GO website for their mailing address or contact me if you have any questions.

Thanks in advance on behalf of those in need,

Saturday, January 02, 2010


Alright B, tell us a little bit about your Christmas.

"Do I have to? I need to take a shower and go to bed. Don't write this down. Seriously, do you want me to do this? M--O-O-O-O-M."

Ummmm....I wanted you to. You said you would. But you're falling asleep. Majorly.

*Deep, relaxed breathing is heard from my right*

Uh...guess this means you're not up for a Christmas interview after all?

*Sleeping Silence*

Okay, then. Guess we'll have to do the highlights of B's Christmas some other time. Just goes to show how fast a teenager can go to sleep while waiting for photos to upload at facebook.

Oh wait, maybe it has something to do with the fact that she stayed up til 6:30 this morning at a church Sunday school party and got about an hour's worth of sleep.

Goodnight sweet B and to all my readers, too. May you sleep well and dream of future Graceland musings.