We have several family birthdays in February and since all are located in Mississippi and Louisiana we decided to take a trip down south to celebrate with them and get away from yet another snow event here in East Tennessee.  Sweet husband has a birthday tomorrow, but we will celebrate alone together.

STOP ONE: Wilmington, NC to see new friends, Mike and Karen. They live two blocks from the Atlantic, so even with the cold ocean winds, we had to walk down.


Wilmington is home to Arlie Gardens. 67 acres of paths, lakes, formal gardens, live oaks (one is 500+ years old), 5,000 varieties of camellias, birding trails, thousands of azaleas along with historic, contemporary and primitive garden sculpture. Beautiful even in February.

STOP TWO & THREE: We visited Sweet Husband’s sister and brother-in-law, Martha & Del, in Orlando on our way to stop four and spent a couple of fun days catching up. We also met Del’s sister and husband (Eileen & Stu) in Lakeland for lunch. They are now official Snowbirds from Maine.

Also in Lakeland we toured Florida Southern College designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright. We count his architecture art work and tour each structure when possible.

STOP FOUR: We had met and developed close friendships with several people in Yellowstone with promises to visit; we keep our promises. Couple number one: Rose and Robert live in Cape Coral, Florida. They crammed in island visits, lunch on a fabulous pier and dinner with Robert’s sister and her husband.

STOP FIVE: Navarre Beach, FL to spend two nights with dear friends, Jim & Sharynn Singleton, from Mississippi, now in Florida.


STOP SIX: Another Yellowstone couple Jerry and Mel. They live in Texas, but were visiting their son in Ocean Springs, MS. We stopped for a great lunch and sweet reunion.


STOP SEVEN: Super Bowl Sunday in Baton Rouge with my daughter, Trish, and her family. We had two birthdays to celebrate: Nicholas #6 and Aubrey #16, sweet 16. Aubrey and I exchange flamingos from time to time and have since she was about three, so I had a special cake made for her. Our friend from The Rose Parade and co-conspirator, Teegie (who lives in Baton Rouge) joined us for dinner and the celebration the night after the super bowl.


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STOP SEVEN: Jackson, MS. We visited several close friends, John, Curt & Sherry, Kay and her Mom, Gay, my Brother (Bubba) and my sweet son Tony.

Due to circumstances beyond our control we didn’t get to see Leonard’s daughters or precious Grand-Wonder, Liam, for his 3rd birthday, but we left gifts on the porch.

Liam 3

STOP EIGHT: Didn’t happen. We hoped to spend time with my son, Joe and daughter Lorie and their precious families (no birthdays), but they were all fighting a virus and/or the crud.

FINAL STOP: An evening with Rogers and Hammerstein at the Knoxville Symphony Pops for our valentine gift to each other.


All this in only two weeks. We are getting good at this.


How I got to New York

Many years ago, when I started experiencing an “empty nest” I felt depression and gloom slipping in to my life.  I had four children and their friends constantly in our home and I loved the crowd, the laughter, tears, empty pantry. . .   This kind of change is extremely difficult… “Mother” was an identity I had had for many a year and was a painful transition.

Naturally, I could not halt the movement of the usual and proper progression of life.  As a Christian, instinctively I took this dilemma to my Lord for wisdom, comfort and direction.  He reminded me of all the things I said I wanted to do once I got my children raised and on their own.  I called it, “My Someday List”.  This was years before The Bucket List came out.

When I had the responsibility of children to raise, naturally, I had different financial, time and energy priorities. During this chapter of my life, when I would see something I wanted or wanted to do, I relegated it to the “someday” list in my head.

Now, let me be clear about the list. This list is ONLY for the really, really important stuff that needs to be seen, done, or experienced before this life ends.

I am aware that some folks don’t have an actual list….I do and I recommend one.

The top 10 items on my someday list are:

  1. Fall in love again
  2. Visit the Grand Canyon.
  3. Walk into the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans
  4. Tour Ireland with my sister   AND
  5. Learn to sail
  6. Visit NYC and Niagara Falls
  7. Write a book and get published
  8. Ride on a Hot Air Balloon
  9. Attend my granddaughter’s wedding
  10. Meet all my great-grandchildren

We can find plenty of excuses to not do some of the things we want to do or we can allow other people and their “someday stuff” to take precedence, if we are not careful. I made my list, I wrote it down, I didn’t let anyone take precedence and I laid it down before God and let Him cause it to happen.

I’m writing this to encourage you to kick out the excuses because I started learning to sail several years ago! I purchased a 16′ Hobie Cat and took it out on the beautiful Barnett Reservoir with a friend and an instructor. My heart hasn’t smiled like that in a long, long time.

I have fallen in love again, I have written a book, I have been to Ireland, I have been to the Grand Canyon – twice! I have been to NYC (twice), Niagara falls and Saratoga and Buffalo and Lake George. I even got a bonus of seeing Wicked on Broadway.

My friends, make a someday list and do something on it soon! Please don’t put it off any longer! You never know, you might not have as many “somedays” as you think.

For me, life is NOT a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming WAA-HOO, What a Ride!

As I have said (many times), “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but the moments that take our breath away.”

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