Thursday, March 31, 2011

in a big family . . .we celebrate lots of birthdays!!

I loaded these pictures several days ago and just forgot to write about them!! My sister-in-law, Rebecca, celebrated her birthday two weeks ago. She is allergic to latex and can't eat all sorts of foods because of the latex . . .so my mother-in-law made a crustless cheesecake and it was delicious!!Here she is getting ready to blow out the candles. It doesn't matter how old we are, we all have a birthday cake with candles!!
As if age mattered . . .look at that silly Mark! Boys never grow up, do they?

A big puff . . .but she didn't blow them all out. She had to blow again! Happy birthday . . .a little late . .. to my sister-in-law Rebecca (she is married to Mark's younger brother, Bill). Glad you were born . . .because we got to eat cheesecake (and other reasons, too!)

Pedal Faster . . .

Last year, my doctor actually wrote a prescription for this bicycle. Yes, he did. He did write the prescription to "Mark" rather than a drugstore. We shopped around until we found one that we liked. It started out in the basement next to the treadmill. Seemed like a good idea at the time but there is a lot of dust and cat hair in the basement and I'm allergic to both. So on one of Glenn's visits home, Mark and Glenn lugged this thing up two flights of stairs and put it in the bonus room for me. This room now houses an ugly sofa (see in left of picture!). That sofa has made it through raising two kids and a million friends, a trip to Auburn where Laura used it in her apartment for two years, a trip back to Birmingham and back up two flights of stairs (where it got dropped on put a huge divot in the hardware floor :-). To the right of my bike is my wonderful scrapbooking and sewing space. The room is full to say the least. During Lent, in addition to giving up something, I always try to take on something. (I think I mentioned that in another post.) God gave me this body and I haven't always taken care of it so during Lent, I have committed to riding the bike a minimum of four times a week. I can't call this a "spiritual discipline" but it does take discipline. (by the way, I am spending more time each day during Lent - not just four times a week - in prayer and scripture reading. I've been riding the bike after work. I was late getting home last night after spending some time at the hospital with good friends and so Mark joined me in the bonus room. (actually he and the cat snuggled on the sofa while I rode the bike - he had already lifted weights for a long period of time and walked on the treadmill for about 45 minutes - he is ALWAYS disciplined - not just during Lent . . .and it shows!). Toward the end of my "ride in the park" (that is the name of the program), I was pedalling uphill and I was saying, "pedal faster, pedal faster" because I was trying to burn more calories. The program finished and I had ridden about five and a half miles and burned a whopping 120 calories. I said that out loud to Mark and he said, "isn't it amazing how few calories we burn???" Dang! I don't know about you, but I can inhale (maybe without eating!!) 120 calories in a heartbeat. Once again, I'm just a middle-aged mom trying to pedal faster and burn some calories!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

a cat with expensive taste

These pictures speak for themselves . . . a cat who loves a coach bag. What more can I say?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

how many years?

I have always (except for a few years as a young adult) been a part of a church family. One of the things that I love about being a part of a church family is the opportunity to get to know and love people of all ages and stages in life. To be totally honest here, I'm not that great with old people BUT there are some older folks in my life whom I adore. Bob and Julia are two of those people. When I was a young mother, I was in an accountability group with Julia. She had raised her children and was working on grandchildren and she allowed me to be her friend. We have spent many hours praying for our families and for others. We have spent many hours eating lunch at the Little Professor. Their son, Bob and my husband, Mark were on the same Emmaus walk together so we have lots of connections.

They celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary and I was so blessed to go to their party last weekend. I must admit that I am not a fan of dressing up on Saturday morning but I am so glad that I made myself get up and shower and dress and go to their party. It was a small party with family and friends. Gayle and Bill were at the party. Gayle was in that same accountability group with Julia and me. After they took this picture, I laughed and whispered in Julia's ear, "Let's tell Bob to go visit with someone else and the three of us can have reunion group right here." Julia is having trouble with her memory but she chuckled. She got it.

See this heart shaped cake? A cake has been baked in this pan for every wedding in their family for several generations. Isn't that cool? They had a big fancy cake from the bakery to share with everyone but they had this special cake that their daughter baked in a special pan.

Here is a picture of Linda with Bob and Julia. Linda and I go way back also. She and Mark go even further back. Her husband, Butch is older than Mark but they were in the same fraternity at Auburn. I think Linda may have been their little sister??? Anyway, Butch and Linda used to go to the same church with all of us. She was pregnant with her third (a boy) when I was pregnant with Laura and Glenn. As a matter of fact, she had Patrick one day in November and I delivered Laura and Glenn the very next day. Somewhere in my old picture box, there is a picture of the two of us in the hospital. I remember that she looked great and I looked like crap! Isn't that a weird thing to remember?

Here is a picture of Gayle, Julia and me. Just seeing this picture makes me smile.

65 years of marriage . . .wow! Mark and I will have our 27th anniversary in May. They have been married more than twice as long as we have. They have been such a blessing in our lives.

good pizza . . .good fun . ..

Several times a year, our Sunday School class tries to get together at local restaurants. Our class is actually very large and we have a couple of really big parties each year - usually one at Christmas and a Mardi Gras party and both parties are really well attended. For a night like this Friday night, we send out an email to everyone in the class and say something like, "meet us at Dave's pizza on Friday night at 6:30????" (it has to be a place that can seat at least 30 of us together) We call ahead to let them know we are coming (except this time they didn't have our reservation BUT I had my cell phone which still had the message that said, "This is Brent at Dave's Pizza calling about your large group . . .yadda yadda" on it!!). (I have to stop and tell you a crazy aside here. Mark bought a million pounds (not really but the back of the explorer full - probably 400 pounds??) of fish food last week to put in his fish feeders at the farm. These bags are large and he decided that he wouldn't unload them but he would leave them in his car until Saturday when he could take them to the farm. They smelled like funky dog food and his whole car smelled like that . . .and I already have a tendency to get car sick . . and we were driving fast because one of our friends had already called us to tell us that they didn't have our reservations . . .I thought we were going to have to pull over!!!!!!!) There are way too many parenthesis in that paragraph - just read it and figure it out - sorry! We finally arrived (and I didn't throw up) and we all stood out on the sidewalk while they figured out what to do with 30 of us. They figured it out pretty quickly and put us all down the side of the restaurant. Dave's has those cool roll-up/snap down kind of walls and since we are in the middle of spring here (even though it only arrived yesterday), it was a great night to be in an "open air" kind of place. This picture was taken from one end of the table. This whole place is eclectic. They have pendant lights and chandeliers and big screen tvs. Here are just a few of the folks - that is Dickie and Sally and Scott and Bonnie and Roy and Butch on this end of the table.

I walked down to the other end (because you certainly couldn't talk to the people way at the end of the table!!). Howard and Carolyn were on that end.

Let's see - we have Howard and Carolyn and Liz (her hubby was still at work) and Jolene and her friend, Rick. While we waited, it was nice to get up and visit and they brought baskets of the most yummy (and obviously fattening) garlic bread for us.

I love this picture of Billy and Gary. Pretty much sums it up. These two men would give you the shirt off their backs - good men! (and they happen to have great wives also!!) I know that Debbie and Jim were there and Kim and Gary S. but I don't see them in any of my pictures.

Butch was chatting with some of our newest class members. You can meet people on Sunday mornings and you can stand around and chat and drink coffee before class, but if you really want to get to know folks, you need to socialize with them (that is my motto and I'm sticking to it!)

Here is Carolyn G. and Mitch and Donna. I sat right across from Mitch and I laughed so much that my face hurt.

I love this picture of Mitch and Donna!
This is only a small group from our class but it was a fun night and I love getting to chat with everyone.
I have to end with a funny story. I drank two diet cokes that night and needed to . . .you know. So I went to get in line. For some unknown reason, Dave's only has one unisex bathroom. Why would you only have one unisex bathroom in a restaurant??? So the door was locked and this little voice says, "Someone is in here." So I waited . . .and waited . . .and waited. Then two teenaged boys came and got in line behind me and we waited. . .and we waited . . .and we waited. (and the wall is wallpapered with old tabloids - the headlines are like - baby survived after being flushed down the toilet . . or maybe that was puppy survived after being flushed - one or the other - I'm not kidding. The teenaged boys kept reading them and laughing. Some of the headlines were a tad risque - not bad . . .but you could tell that if I hadn't been standing there with them, they would have been rolling with laughter!!) Then Mark (who had more than diet coke) came to see where I was and to check on me . ..aww how sweet . . .and he got in line and we waited . . .and we could hear a couple of little children and a momma talking . . .and we waited. We finally got out of line and stopped at Mark's momma's house on the way home!! (probably way too much info and I know that this whole post has way too many parenthesis).
It was really a fun night with friends and good pizza!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Live Love Laugh . . a lot!

Last weekend was such a fun weekend. In an earlier post, I shared about our "first" pedicure - the three girls. I also shared about the boys playing in the back yard. The whole reason that Glenn and Lauren and Jerel came home to Birmingham was for a wedding. They drove to Birmingham on Friday afternoon and met Laura at Grandmother's house and they all quickly cleaned up and changed clothes and went to the rehearsal dinner which was held at Vulcan (a local landmark). They arrived at our house on Friday night after Mark and I were long asleep. We had all day Saturday to hang out and cook cheese grits for breakfast and tacos for lunch and Tori and John Carl came by for lunch. Then we all got ready to go to the wedding. Just an aside - we desperately need one more full bathroom in our house. We have two and a half which was ok when the kids were growing up. But now . . .we really need another one but I just don't see it happening anytime soon. We did it though - everyone was showered and ready and off we went to the wedding which was held in the chapel at Hunter Street Baptist Church. Jen, the bride, actually graduated from the same high school as Glenn and Laura. Then Jen and Laura both ended up in the same sorority at Auburn. Not only were they sorority sisters, but they were hall mates when they lived on the sorority hall and then they were roommates the last two years of college. Jonathon and Glenn were friends at Auburn so it worked out great that we were all invited!! After the wedding, we headed to the reception which was held at the Wynfrey.
They had fun sunglasses as one of the "party favors." My pictures are a little bit mixed up because I had to borrow them from Laura's facebook page. Let's see . . .let me tell you about the food - they had a turkey and dressing station. I need to ask them if that is one of their favorite meals. (it is mine!) They also had a potato bar and a salad station and a mixed station (with fried ravioli and fruit and quesadillas - that kind of stuff). They had beer . . . which leads me to the next picture. Mark and I have been married almost 27 years and I can count on one hand the number of times he has been on the dance floor. Well, he danced with Laura. . . .more about that later.

This is a picture of the lovely roommates. Lauren on the left (Laura was in her wedding - the one that was in the magazine!!) Ellen is next. Ellen is engaged and we are having a party for her at our house soon. Ellen lived with us one summer while she did her internship in Birmingham. Jen if of course, the bride!! Laura on the right. Laura is waiting on Mr. Right. I am praying for Mr. Right for her!!

Not only did Mark get out on the dance floor . .. but so did I (and I was the designated driver so I wasn't drinking beer - which I don't like anyway!!). Jerel got me out there and I laughed so hard. It was fun and I must say that it was really good exercise.

He twirled me around and danced all over the place.

And look at this . . .not only did Mark dance with his daughter but he danced with me (I was actually first the pictures are out of order - just had to throw that in there.) This is such a rare occurrence that Laura grabbed the camera and Michael P. grabbed their camera. I don't think any of them had ever seen us dance together.

This is the funniest picture though. They were doing the Cupid Shuffle (is that the name of it - the one where they say something about "to the left .. .to the left"?). Jerel came and got Mark out on the dance floor. Now Jerel has great rhythm and some pretty good dance moves . . .and he was trying to teach this old white man how to do it. I laughed so hard and grabbed Laura's camera from the table and started snapping away.

Thought I would close with a picture of a very happy Mark. He loves this group of guys and loves to hang out with them. I say that hanging out with younger folks makes us feel younger!! You've seen these young men before on my blog - they were all in the wedding. Kaylor and Michael on the back. Glenn on the left (and he has lost 20 pounds since the wedding!!) and JohnCarl and Mark. I must admit that I love them, too.

Yes, I did drive home after a very fun evening!! Thanks Jen and Jonathan for the invitation!! May God richly bless your marriage!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sunday lunch at Grandmother's house

We eat lunch at my mother-in-law's house every Sunday after church. Well, actually . . .we probably eat there about 45 out of 52 Sundays a year. Occasionally, we eat at Zoe's or at the Dragon (Chinese) and a couple of Sundays a year she is at my sister-in-law's house in Delaware. But all of the rest of the Sundays in the year . . .this is where you will find us. We go to early church and then to Sunday School and then we go to her house and I help her finish preparing lunch and Mark cuts her grass. We eat at 12:30 . . .unless it is just us and then we sometimes eat earlier :-)

These pictures were taken last Sunday when Glenn and Lauren and Jerel were all here. While we were finishing the lunch preparations, some folks were sitting in the den visiting with each other. She has this incredible sofa that is about a mile long . . .two very tall adults can lay on it . . .or as you can see, four (or more) adults can easily sit on it. It really is a great sofa.

She also has this really comfortable chair and ottoman. Glenn claimed it on this day. It is a great reading chair. . . .or a great chair right in front of the tv. George ended up sitting on the hearth.

We usually serve on the island in the kitchen . . .makes life easier.

She is of the "old school" regarding meals. You need a meat, a salad, a starch, two vegetables and bread and dessert. She buys these wonderful large rump roasts and covers them with black pepper and garlic salt and cooks them in the oven. Delicious. What else were we having that day? I see rolls . . .and baked apples (Glenn loves them and she always tries to fix our favorites) and green beans and yukon gold potatoes and there was some other vegetable but I cannot remember what it was . . squash perhaps? The salad was over to the side. Since Glenn and Lauren had not been home in a while, she made several of Glenn's favorites including homemade banana pudding for dessert. She makes the kind where you cook the custard - she doesn't use instant pudding . . she makes it from scratch.
Lunch at Mrs. Susie's house (no, I don't call her that - I call her Grandmother or Mark's momma) is kind of legendary. We have tried to get her to auction off lunch at her house for the youth fundraiser but she has decided that it is just too much pressure. I think it would bring in quite a sum of money. Her tradition of serving family lunch on Sundays serves multiple purposes - one, she gets to see her kids each week (those that are in town). It also keeps us a little closer because we all sit down together. She also gets her yard done each week by Mark . . .so there are a lot of good things in it for her. Now, every once in a while you might find me complaining about lunch on Sunday . . .not about the food, just the fact that we are expected to attend . . .but I guess . . in reality, I love it. It is tradition. It is family. And it is quite yummy!

Friday, March 18, 2011

backyard fun . . .even at 24 years old :-)

Glenn and Lauren and our friend, Jerel came home from Mobile last weekend. When Glenn was a little boy, he always wanted to be outside playing. He was either riding a bike or playing ball or roller blading. He never wanted to stay inside and read and he didn't watch a lot of tv or play too many video games. He wanted to be outside. Well, that hasn't changed much. Laura, Lauren and I pulled into the driveway after our pedicures and look what we found. The boys were outside playing with the arabee. I love it when my new camera actually catches the action.

Jerel was executing a fancy throw. I think they played a lot of ultimate frisbee, etc. while at Auburn!!

Glenn made much fun of me for taking this picture but it was a gorgeous day and he is my handsome son and I hadn't seen him in two months and I'm a middle-aged momma - what else do I need to say????

We looked out the window and realized that Jerel was lying (or once again . . .is it laying??) in the grass SOUND ASLEEP. He took a good nap right in the middle of the back yard . . .until he got too hot and came inside and finished his nap in the cool house.
ok, I followed everyone around with a camera all weekend. I admit it. I do that. I'm obsessed. When I uploaded all of the pictures, look what I found. Jerel had picked up my camera and made this hilarious picture of himself!!!

Just another day of playing in the backyard . . .bliss!


This morning, I was lying (or is that laying? I cannot remember the rule on lie and lay and I need to find that information soon!!) in the bed . . ."thinking" . . . actually dozing . . ..because it is Friday and my day off! I was thinking about all of the "firsts" in our lives. We take our "first" steps, we get our "first" haircut, we attend a million (not really - you know I exaggerate) "first" days of school or class. We have a "first" date and a "first" kiss (that was Mike Parker under a sprig of mistletoe in the church hallway!! and I thought I had died and gone to heaven - he was an "older" guy in the church youth group).

This last weekend, I experienced a new "first" . . you can start laughing now. This was my "first" pedicure with my TWO daughters. Laura and I have been together before but Lauren was in town and so we had a "first." I embarrassed them with my camera but heck, who cares? Some day I'm going to be an old woman (no, I am not there yet!!!!) and I can look back and remember this "first." By the way, it was a good day . . a really good day.
and didn't I pick a pretty color? (which was not a first by the way. I have a tendency to pick the same colors over and over!!)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!

Yes . . .this is on my kitchen table . . .and yes, I have lots of different decorations in my house for all sorts of occasions. One of the young adults asked me if I had decorations for every holiday. I thought about it for a moment and replied, "for most of the major ones." I actually don't have any patriotic decorations (I might have a miniature flag hidden away and I'm sure I have some red, white and blue stuff somewhere).

I was looking on the internet today for Irish blessings and Irish prayers. The one that most of us have heard before is this one: "May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.”

I also found this one that is called St. Patrick's breastplate:
Christ be with me,
be after me,
be before me,
and be at my right and left hand.
May everything I do be for Christ.

This one is good also:
May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Friends at work . . .

I am blessed. I know it. I thank God for that fact. I get to work with really nice folks in a good place. I know this for a fact because I have worked in other places where people were not nice to each other. I have worked in offices where folks would use profanity to pepper their sentences . . .and maybe even direct those profanity laden sentences at you. Being on a church staff is a little bit like a dream come true. Don't laugh at me. I really love my job.

One of the reasons I love my job is the people. They are all unique creations . . .created by the Creator of the world . . .in His image. Some of them are funny. Some (actually most everyone) of them are incredibly gifted and talented. I'm close friends with some. Good people.

Every few months, we celebrate birthdays. We celebrated on Fat Tuesday with a delicious lunch. Some of the lunch was provided by a church member who brings lunch for us every Fat Tuesday. We always have birthday cake and celebrate all the birthdays that have occurred since the last get-together. On this day, we were celebrating several birthday. Both Scott and David are a year older. David is in the middle- he is our youth minister and he is doing amazing things for Christ! Scott is on the right and he is our Director of Music. Music at Trinity has gone to a whole new level since he came to Trinity. Mary is over on the left. She is the keeper of all of us. She is actually the Administrative Assistant (or something like that) for the senior minister.
Speaking of the senior minister, here he is . . .in his Mr. Roger's sweater. We all tease him about his sweaters. It wasn't his birthday but he had just made all the announcements, etc. and we were getting ready to sing happy birthday. We had King Cake for birthday cake.

Kristi and Amy are so much fun. I love that they let this old woman hang out with them. They make me feel young!! Kristi is expecting baby number FOUR . . .yes, I said FOUR. She is a brave woman. I love to laugh with both of them. We eat lunch together every day. We eat at 11:30 every day and we start the circle and usually quite a few other staff members join us.

I don't have pictures of everyone but there are so many good people at work. Our "boss" is Ann and then we have Haley and Jeanne and Linda and Julie and Donna all of the other pastors. We also have a great janitorial staff and they join us for this big luncheon. I'm sure that I'm leaving out someone's name. Most everyone gets along very well and we enjoy working together.
Here is one more picture. Each person gets a birthday card signed by everyone. Pretty much every white space on the card is filled up with birthday greetings. I always love reading what everyone writes because there are always some funny comments. Scott is checking out his card in this picture.

To work at a place like Trinity UMC is a blessing. I recognize that and I give thanks!! Now I better get my behind in gear and go get ready . . .so they won't fire me!!

Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday

From celebrations . . .to ashes . . .on Saturday, we celebrated with friends . . .and on Tuesday night, we celebrated and studied with the young adults. We had a great evening. I had decorated the tables for Mardi Gras. We had red beans and rice and dirty rice and salad and loaves of french bread. We had lots of decadent dessert. I set up a pancake bar and cooked small pancakes and we served them with chocolate chips and whipped cream and strawberries and blueberries. We had coconut and more whipped cream. Someone brought doughnuts to share and someone else brought Twinkies. We had a large group - 21 young adults plus Mark and me. Great discussion. We love this group of young adults.
Do you know why they serve pancakes on Fat Tuesday? People used to give up eggs and sugar and fat (and meat . . .) during Lent. On the night before Lent began, they would use up all of those ingredients in their house and make pancakes!! Our friend, Brian who grew up Russian Orthodox (is that right, Lynn? . . .are you reading???) shared with us about the baskets that each family brought to church on Easter (Easter baskets!!). They were filled with all of those items that were given up during Lent - eggs included (Easter eggs!!). They would break their "fasting" from these items and feast on Easter Sunday. You know that I love fun facts to know and tell.

We moved from celebrations to contemplation. Wednesday was Ash Wednesday. I know this sounds crazy but I actually love Ash Wednesday. I love Lent. I think it is the one time in the year where I actually try to focus more on Christ each day and ask him to be at work in me. That sounds terrible . . .surely as a Christian I am doing that all the time . . .and I do, of course, to some extent . . .but not as much as during Lent. Don't laugh at me but I'm giving up Reese cups for Lent (you can laugh if you want to . ..since I can't hear you!). We have a jar (and drawer) full of Reese Cups at work and I have gotten in the habit of eating several every afternoon. I'm trying to replace them with a healthier snack (though today we did all get an ice cream sundae from McDonalds!). I am also taking on a few things which I think is sometimes even more important (for me).

I was honored to serve communion at the Ash Wednesday service. At Trinity, we usually have three groups of servers at the altar rail. A pastor most often serves the bread and we (lay people) serve the wine (juice). I've served a lot of times with Andy and he goes quickly and I am able to keep up. I always tell him that I have on my running shoes. Since it was Ash Wednesday, the plan was different. I served the bread and Haley served the juice and Andy followed with the imposition of ashes. We had a fairly large crowd and I was so worried that we would forget someone and I was trying to move quickly yet still look each person in the eye and say the words, "So and So, this is the body of Christ given for you." Sometimes there is a moment when I look into their eyes and it is almost like an electric shock. The first time that happened to me, I was serving a UM pastor - Bob Gunn - and I asked him about it later. He said that it was the "Christ" in me greeting the "Christ" in him. It has happened many times since then and it is powerful. I often say that serving communion is one of my favorite "perks" of working on a church staff. I can't even put into words how much it means to me.
So, if anyone is reading my blog . . .do you give up something for Lent? Or do you take on something for Lent? Is Ash Wednesday meaningful to you?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Let the good times roll!!

Our Saturday was a crazy busy day. I got up before everyone else and made a giant pot of cheese grits and put them in the fridge. Mark and I then took Snuggles to the vet because he has been scratching big patches of fur . . .we've been finding hunks of fur all over the house. They checked for ear mites and they gave him a pedicure and they gave us some ear drops but they don't really know what is wrong with him. We drove home and Laura and I went to Target to get her eyes examined and then we went to Eye Mart to get some one hour glasses. It was such nasty weather - rainy and cold and yucky. We got home and ate a little lunch and then Mark and I had to drive in another direction to attend a surprise 70th birthday party for Jane. Mark and Jane have worked together longer than Mark and I have been married!! There were over 100 people at the party and it was lovely . . .except for sloshing through the mud in high heels. Jane's daughter-in-law is in culinary school. She is 50 years old and pursuing a new career. The food tasted good and was beautifully presented. Another culinary student made her cake and it was so pretty. We didn't have any cake at the party but Mark had some today at work and he said it was delicious! While we were still at the party, Laura put the pan of cheese grits into the oven for me. Mark and I rushed home after the party and changed clothes again and got ready to go to the other side of town for a Mardi Gras party. We covered a lot of miles on Saturday. We grabbed the grits, our beverages, the camera and whatever else we needed and drove to Vestavia to pick up our good friends. It was fun to ride together. My pictures from the Mardi Gras party are not that great but I thought that I would tell you a little bit about them. This is Rick and Jennifer. They are not a couple -both are married to other people in our Sunday School class. Both Rick and Jennifer have amazing stories. Rick was on an early morning bicycle ride with several other folks about 6 years ago. He and another guy from our Sunday School class were hit by an SUV and they were both in the hospital for quite some time. Jennifer had a massive stroke several years ago and almost died. I love this picture. Seeing them both at this party with smiles on their faces - Wow . . .amazing. I don't know if you noticed . . .but nine times out of ten, I seem to catch Mark in mid-word . . .could be because he is always laughing and talking. Jolene is so neat - she is a nurse and actually left the party because she had to work. She is doing a study on patients with Parkinson's. She is a single mom raising two teenagers.

Let's see . . that is Francis in the purple and Debbie in the green and Lynn and Joe in the background. I was thinking about all the stories that go with all of these people. Lynn and Joe have a miracle in their lives also. Their little girl is precious. She is in the 6th grade and just went through confirmation class. There were major complications when she was born. MAJOR complications. Let me just tell you that she is a perfect miracle. She is cute and bright and funny and perfectly normal in every way. I still remember the day she was born and I remember seeing Lynn and Joe's faces . . . and not knowing what to say . . .and praying.
You know that I have to have a picture of some sort of food. This is the voodoo punch. YUMMY. Grape juice, pineapple juice, ginger ale and a little spirit.

Butch and Mark look like they were "up to something." They must have been telling stories on someone. Butch and her husband, Roy are so special to our family. You've read about them on here before. Roy is the one who transported the wedding party from the church to the reception and Butch decorated the vehicle. They are so funny. Roy is actually a Cajun and he has read the Cajun Night Before Christmas at our class Christmas party. He can talk with that thick accent.

I think this is my one cool picture from the night. I was standing on the screen porch and I looked in through the window and thought, "ah - that would make a cool picture." There is just something about standing on the outside looking in.

Look who was out on the porch - Billy, retired fireman; builder extraordinaire and Roy in the middle and Dean on the right. Just FYI - the bottled drinks were on the porch.

There were groups of folks all over the house. The food was delicious, the conversation was loud and happy . . .those things equal a great night.

Who could this be? I told Jennifer that I was going to put this on my blog! I love it. Fun mask!!

Roy with a great smile on his face and Dona with her big feather boa.

I was standing up on the stairs when I snapped this picture - trying to capture as many folks as possible. I think there were about 45 people there. You can see Mitch talking at the far back of the picture.

ok - funny story here. Mark is on the left and his identical twin brother is on the right. That is David in the middle and people are always thinking they are all brothers (they are not). Mark and George were born at 31 weeks - they were very premature. David was born on their due date . . .same year. Different parts of the country. David doesn't wear glasses but he borrowed some from someone at the party just so he could look even more like Mark and George.

I forgot to tell you about the food - can you believe it? I always have pictures of the food . . .but I don't. We had gumbo and shrimp and grits and red beans and rice and good bread to "sop" up the wonderful sauce that was on the shrimp. We had a wonderful tossed salad and muffalettas. We had king cake and mounds cake and bread pudding and whiskey sauce. We had voodoo punch. We all did some serious eating!!

We give thanks for so many wonderful friends. We give thanks for a fun night!! Let the good times roll!