Sunday, March 31, 2013

Because He Lives!

God sent His son, they called Him, Jesus;
He came to love, heal and forgive;
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!

And then one day, I'll cross the river,
I'll fight life's final war with pain;
And then, as death gives way to vict'ry,
I'll see the lights of glory and I'll know He lives!

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!

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Friday, March 29, 2013

The Dogwood Tree

On this Good Friday, the most solemn day of Holy Week, I would like to share this slideshow presentation of an inspirational poem called "The Dogwood Tree."  I wish I could credit the author, but, unfortunately, the author is unknown.  Be sure your sound is turned up if you'd like to hear the music.

With my sincerest wishes for an Easter
celebration filled with reminders of His Amazing Grace.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Thursday, March 28, 2013


When our son and daughter were little, I began a tradition of buying a special Easter keepsake for them each year and, eventually, we had quite a collection of bunnies and other Easter decorations.  A few years ago, I began creating a centerpiece at Easter time, featuring the keepsakes and other decorations I've collected through the years.  Here is what our centerpiece looks like this year ...

 It looks like I'm going to need a larger table soon!

When our grandchildren, Avery and Maddox, came along I started adding the keepsakes for them, and these two little frolicking bunnies are this year's addition.

They remind me of Avery and Maddox when they're running and tumbling outside ... and every time I look at them I can't help but smile.   

The lamb and bunny in the next picture are from last year, which was Maddox's first Easter ...

I like the French Cross in the background of this picture, as a reminder of the reason we celebrate this glorious season of Easter ...

Another treasured reminder is the cross I added to the church.  Our son made it in Sunday School (with the help of his teacher, I'm sure) when he was little.


This is Avery, who is seven, helping me set up the centerpiece while she was with us during her Spring Break from school. So serious, and such concentration as she places the little figurines just so ...


I wouldn't take anything for her enjoying the rituals and traditions of the seasons we have observed through the years. 

I hope your Holy Week has been blessed with traditions and sweet memories-in-the-making with your little ones, as we teach them that Easter is not just about the Easter Bunny, new clothes, and Easter egg hunts. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Holy Week

As surely as the sun rises, He will appear;
He will come to us like the winter rains,
Like the spring rains that water the earth.
                                                         [Hosea 6:3]                                                            

Wishing you a beautiful and meaningful Holy Week filled with God's Glory
 in the Beauty of Nature ... and the Hope and Promises of Easter and Spring.    

The Days of Holy Week

Holy Monday was when Jesus overturned the tables of the money changers, saying to them: "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer'; But you make it a den of robbers." [Matthew: 21:13]

Holy Tuesday of Holy Week is the day when the incident between Jesus and Pharisees is thought to have taken place. This was when the churchmen tried to trap Jesus into making a blasphemous, or, anti-God remark. This day is also significant as the day Jesus discoursed to his disciples on the Mount of Olives about the destruction of Jerusalem and the signs of the last day.

Spy Wednesday: The day Judas betrayed Jesus.

Maundy Thursday: The day of the Last Supper. In the words of Matthew: Jesus took bread, and blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."

Good Friday: The Crucifixion

Holy Saturday commemorates the day Jesus Christ's body lay in the tomb.

Easter Sunday: The day of the Resurrection.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Curb Appeal ~ Southern Style

You never know what lagniappe awaits you in small towns across America, especially the small towns of the South.  I love exploring "off the beaten path" Mississippi towns, in hopes of capturing a little of their southern grace and hospitality in pictures, as reflected in the "curb appeal" of the houses there.

Curb appeal is a popular subject these days of the home and garden TV shows, and during my ramblings I have discovered that curb appeal, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Webster's defines "curb appeal" as "the visual attractiveness of a house as seen from the street" ... and I have found that some houses have a way of catching your attention by seeming to welcome you and beckon you to "come sit a spell."

From primitive country cabins ... to charming little cottages ... to the grand antebellum mansions of Natchez and Vicksburg ... I have gathered quite a collection of pictures of houses whose curb appeal  epitomizes what southern hospitality is all about.  

I'd like to share some of those pictures, but first, let's talk a walk through an imaginary neighborhood in  "Small Town, Mississippi," and see some of the lagniappe I've captured along the way.  Like this lovely  Wisteria arbor (and the picket fence and flowers shown in the distance, too) ...

I love gazing balls, and found this one "floating" amongst a rose garden  ...

Cottage gardens always catch my eye ...
And it just doesn't get any better than a cottage garden
with an arbor and collection of birdhouses to welcome guests!

And speaking of "welcoming guests" ... notice the table and chairs set up in the cottage garden of this colorful cottage.  And if you click on the picture, you can see the "twig fence" that encloses the garden.  Talk about "curb appeal!"

A colorful cottage garden graces this cheerful little house in Vicksburg ... 

Bottle trees are a common sight in southern gardens, and come in all shapes, sizes, and styles ...

I found this lovely lady in the center of a courtyard, all decked out in her Easter bonnet (and little else!), waiting to welcome visitors to the Natchez Spring Pilgrimage.

Oh, how I wanted to walk along this beautiful
meandering path and see the rest of that glorious garden.

I couldn't resist stopping to smell the roses growing on this charming picket fence ...

But enough lagniappe!  Let's look at some of the houses I've captured in pictures that, to me, are overflowing with curb appeal -- southern style!

I love this pretty house in Crystal Springs, Mississippi, with its vine-covered arbor and twin Japanese Maple trees welcoming guests ...

Patriotism is alive and well in Port Gibson, Mississippi ... 

I also found this little Victorian in Port Gibson, and was immediately drawn to its beautiful Mexican Petunias, brick sidewalk, and picketed gateway ...

This country cabin in the Louisiana Delta, had a cornfield for a backyard.  The front yard was begging to have its picture taken, and I was happy to accommodate it ...
From country cabins to the more formal facades of the grand houses of Natchez ... I love them all.

This next picture features Myrtle Terrace, ca 1844, Natchez, as seen through its ornate iron gate ... 

Stately Stanton Hall, ca 1857, Natchez

Rosalie, ca 1823, Natchez
I hereby nominate Rosalie as "The Queen of Southern Curb Appeal"
It just doesn't get any better than this, Y'all!

"Faded Grandeur," but this old house still has curb appeal, as far as I'm concerned ...

Although not as grand as the historic houses of Natchez,
this cottage is brimming with southern charm ...

Picket fence, huge Crape Myrtle, Azaleas, and Flag ... this one has it all!

Raymond, Mississippi
Love the white iron fence and elegant gate!

Sweet little porch ... Raymond

Curb Appeal, Canton, Mississippi Style
The Priestly House, ca 1852

Vanity Castle, ca 1896, Canton

I love this pretty almost-hidden red chair beckoning to passersby on a quiet street in Vicksburg.

And these "painted ladies" of Vicksburg are sure to turn heads ...

Two huge magnolia trees welcome visitors to this
lovely southern home in Yazoo City, Mississippi.
And last, but not least, are these two pretty houses I found in Crystal Springs, Mississippi ... 

If you are a southerner, you may live in a house like the ones I've shared here, or perhaps there are houses in your neighborhood that reflect the traditions and culture handed down from generation to generation of southerners who grew up in a kinder, gentler world where picket fences, porch swings and rocking chairs, slamming screen doors, American flags, azaleas, and magnolias were taken for granted ... long before the term "curb appeal" was created.

I think I just described Mayberry, didn't I!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring Break

The weather was perfect last weekend, and we were able to spend a good bit of time outside with our grandchildren.  Of course, I couldn't resist capturing some pictures -- I think I uploaded 303 from my camera to my computer! -- but I will try to limit myself to sharing just a few.

Most of the pictures I take of 19-month-old Maddox usually have blurred little hands and feet, because he is never still.  In fact, he doesn't ever just walk ... he runs wherever he goes, as fast as his little legs will carry him!


Even his big sister Avery has trouble keeping up with him ...


I did manage to get him to sit for a few minutes by giving him some rocks to play with.

The only problem with that is that he apparently thought they looked good enough to eat!

I will never cease to be amazed by the difference between little boys and little girls.  While Maddox was busy eating rocks, his sister Avery Grace was taking the time to smell the flowers.

I do believe there is some truth in the nursery rhyme about little boys being made of "snips and snails and puppy dog tails," and little girls being made of "sugar and spice and everything nice."


Avery is seven now and I was thrilled when she said she would come spend her Spring Break with us.  I asked her to make two lists for me before she came -- one listing things she would like to do, and the other one of things she wanted to eat.   We were able to do everything on both lists, and then some, and made so many sweet memories to treasure in the process.

One day we went over to the Vicksburg National Military Park to take pictures.  This was our second photo shoot at the park and we had such a good time capturing pictures of monuments, cannon, the Vicksburg National Cemetery, and a variety of sites that caught our attention along the way.

Here she is capturing the Seal of the State of Illinois which is inside the Illinois Monument ...

Avery is a very good little photographer and has quite an eye for composing pictures from different angles. She took this next picture of the Navy Memorial, and, as you can see, her picture is much better than the one I took of the monument.

Avery's Picture

My Picture

She was excited about her pictures and we created a photo booklet of them for her to take to school today to show her teacher and class.

I loved every minute of our time together, and hope it was as meaningful and memorable for Avery as it was for me.  She's growing up so fast, and I hope and pray that this won't be the last time she will want to spend part of her spring break with "GrandMama."