I’m sitting on my in-laws’ back porch in Marlin, Texas, thinking that I need some sort of distraction. My eyes settle on my father in-law’s cactus garden. It’s getting a little weedy, and I’m thinking there’s probably nothing like weeding out between a bunch of cacti to keep my mind off of all the goings… Continue reading The Cactus Garden
There’s a little coffee house next to the apartment complex where we live during Spring Training. I usually walk down to it every Sunday morning after watching our church service back home. Emily is the barista on Sundays. She remembers me from last year, even remembers my favorite iced coffee drink. We always have a… Continue reading God’s Game Piece
It’s been a while since I’ve written. Maybe I needed some time away, or maybe I was just using the few months that we had to take in every second of our baseball off -season. We had a wonderful off- season. We enjoyed time needed with each other, with family and friends. We accomplished projects… Continue reading Saltines and Jesus
The Historic Vernon A.M.E. Church stands in the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Whenever I’m in downtown Tulsa, I walk over and look at that church. There’s just something about it. Maybe it’s the red welcome sign attached to the front. Maybe It’s the thought that someday I’ll be in Tulsa on a Sunday when… Continue reading Overcomer
Yesterday I was roaming around in a shop here in downtown Tulsa and came upon Calligraphy sets with which people can teach themselves Calligraphy. I looked at a sheet of paper that guides the person through how to write each letter, and it reminded me of the cursive workbooks I used to buy our children… Continue reading Cursive
One recent Saturday morning I was sitting in a Dallas, Texas bridal boutique. The boutique is located in an old refurbished house along a tree lined street, in a sweet downtown neighborhood. I was there to be with our future daughter in-law along with her mother, grandmother, an aunt, and one of her good friends,… Continue reading In the Clouds
Below our apartment is a sidewalk. A lot of the day the sidewalk is in the shade. On that sidewalk sits a bench. That bench sits in front of an ice cream parlor. Underneath the window of that ice cream parlor grow beautiful red Geraniums. A person could hangout on that sidewalk all day long,… Continue reading Step Off the Sidewalk
I was home from college sitting with my step-father and mother at the supper table digging into one of my mother’s delicious meals, when the subject came up about me getting married one day. The two of them talking like I wasn’t even in the room. My mother said one thing, then my step-father said,… Continue reading The Perfect Man
We climbed out of the truck, leaving it with the valet, and made our way to the hotel entrance. I noticed an elderly couple sitting on a bench and asked, “How are y’all today?” The old man replied, “Broke,” and gave me a weary grin. The hotel we were walking into was part of a… Continue reading Broke, Crossing the Red Line
Growing up in The South, in South Carolina, our Summers were spent at the beach. Families and friends would rent beach cottages for one week to weeks at a time. The cottages were simple with outdoor showers, window AC units to cool us off, and as many beds as you could get crammed into the… Continue reading What Once Was
Each baseball season I have an assigned seat. Whether at home or away, I am given a ticket for each game and printed on that ticket is where I’m told I will sit for the next two to three hours, sometimes longer. In the past thirty plus years in those seats, I have made lifelong… Continue reading The Dusty Seat
I wrote this blog post right before Easter. I thought with what we see happening around us today, there was some comparison between present events and when Jesus was crucified. Then I thought maybe I shouldn’t post it. Some may take it as a political post, but that is not my intention. I am just… Continue reading The Angry Mob
I have a Jesus nightlight. My mama gave it to me as a Christmas gift. I remember opening the present and there was “Jesus” staring up at me. I thought, “Mmmm, okay Mama” and then I plugged “Jesus” right in. I cherish this small gift from mama. That nightlight really lights up a room. It… Continue reading Plug In Jesus
My friends and I are at that age where our parents are passing on to that better life in Glory. Some of us have experienced this at a younger age. My father passed when my sister and I were in our twenties with babies who never got to know their grandfather. My brothers were in… Continue reading In God’s Country, Now
Yesterday afternoon I watched a marathon of Clint Eastwood movies, then I noticed on the History Channel schedule that the movie ‘Hacksaw Ridge‘ would be the evening movie. I have wanted to see that for quite a while, so I fixed an early supper and settled down to watch. ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ is the true story… Continue reading Just One More
One Tennessee autumn day I was out in the yard with my granddaddy helping him rake leaves. I’m thinking I was six or seven and just yapping away to him about something when I mentioned that I “loved” a certain object. My granddaddy stopped raking, looked down at me and said, “Montee, we don’t love… Continue reading Love God, Love People
The other day my husband and I were driving up from Tuscaloosa on I-59 North. In the Winter I always see houses I never thought were there along the highway because all of the many trees are now stripped of their leaves. I wonder if the people in those houses wish for Spring and Summer… Continue reading Stripped of Our Leaves
A new title has now been awarded to the Saturday before Christmas. You ready for this one? “Panic Saturday.” I’ve been hearing that come from our television set over the last several days, then last night once again, “Tomorrow is Panic Saturday!” According to those sharing this news, men will be the biggest “panickers” because… Continue reading The P-Word, Panic or Peace?
Thanksgiving is a time for our nation to thank God for blessing us with all that we have in this wonderful country. I remember when I was younger how Thanksgiving Day was regarded as a kind of holy day. Our family would all come together and I felt the warmth and love, not only from… Continue reading With Thanksgiving
My husband had some surgery almost six weeks ago, and since then has had to go to physical therapy one morning a week. I take him, drop him off and go do a little exploring, or maybe a little shopping. A lot of the time I drive around into parts of Chattanooga that I’ve never… Continue reading The Peeling Steeple
My paternal grandfather had a 500 acre farm along the Red River just north of Nashville, in Clarksville, Tennessee. I loved being on that farm, so every Friday mama would pack my little suitcase and off I went for the weekend with my grandparents. They lived in a stone cottage that was built with stone and wood from the land they lived on. My grandparents’ stone cottage.
In the Spring their backyard looked like a snowy day with all the many Dogwood trees in bloom. I would sit on the porch with my grandmother and learn about the trees that kept the house cool in Summer, the birds nesting in those trees, and the flowers in her abundant flower beds where the flowers were waking up from their Winter’s sleep. The Summers were spent working in the fields. I would go out with my grandfather on his John Deere or on horseback. I learned how to count when we would count cattle together. I would ride on the fender of the tractor as we meandered through the woods down to the coolness of the cave spring that was located on the edge of his property. After a warm morning of being out in the fields, we would go in for a good lunch, take a nap under the cool sheets, and then back at it until Supper. In Winter the snows would come. My dad would bundle up and drive through the snowy fields in the old truck to feed bales of hay to the Herefords. Afterwards, we would all get our sleds and go sledding down the hill that led to the stone cottage. My grandfather would have a fire going in the fireplace and I would lie on the rug to watch that crackling fire, and football games on his Zenith television. I remember all those times like they were yesterday. Now that the days are finally getting cooler, I think about this time of year on the farm. The apple orchard behind my grandparents cottage and the pony barn that was built near the orchard, the Shetland ponies beginning to grow their Winter coats. There were acres of tobacco being harvested by hand, then placed on flatbed trailers and pulled away to be hung in the “FD” tobacco barn for curing. I can see Sunshine Shack where old Dave one of my grandfather’s farmhands lived, and the beautiful maple tree in the backyard with it’s golden leaves glowing in the autumn sun. I will always cherish those memories.
The cool autumn morning brings dew on the grass that looks like a sprinkling of sugar across the ground. I notice the small, intricate webs the spiders have woven within the damp grass, looking like delicate lace.
Behind me I leave a trail in the dew. Behind me I leave the passage of time. I look up above to see the leaves of an old maple that have turned a beautiful gold. The leaves slowly fall around me and for a moment, time stands still.
The aroma of tobacco curing, brings me back to the present. There is a thin line of smoke that snakes above the ground.
It sends me the scent of autumn. Memories of autumn. A Tennessee autumn.
My little family posing underneath the old Maple tree behind my grandparents’ house. (1998)
Last night when I laid my head down on my pillow, there was the wonderful sound of rain and a distant sound of thunder. It was perfect sleeping weather. During the night I awoke to some fierce lightning and thunder. The lightning was like a whip slashing through the air around my house, and the… Continue reading Victory Over the Storm
In a small town you drive by green stalks of corn waving in the breeze, cotton fields of snow, and fields of maze topped with a golden shock top as they grow under a blue sky that goes on forever and ever. In a small town you take your time. You walk down the street… Continue reading In A Small Town
In just a few weeks, in just a few mornings, I’ll be waking up in Chattanooga. Back in my nice, comfy Rice Bed feeling like I never left home. The fact is, we haven’t been in our home since February. Six weeks of Spring Training then five months of ballgames and life with a Baseball… Continue reading Truly Home
It’s funny how when you open up your Bible and begin reading, God places before you a certain verse or verses that you need to learn from. This morning when I opened my Bible to Ephesians, there it was. He knows I need to work a little more on my Inner Towanda. Don’t use bad… Continue reading Fixing My Inner Towanda
These days most of us have a GPS in our car and on our phone. This is a modern convenience that can be very helpful, or not. How many times has your GPS led you into some rough parts of town? That’s happened to me several times and so I’m still a map kind of … Continue reading God’s GPS
Do you ever feel like you are always the one who is asked or chosen to do everything? It could be at church, at school, at work, or taking care of a family member in need, you are always the one doing the majority of the work. I know we can complain about being asked… Continue reading Our Father Knows Best
Just about every morning you can find me out at the swimming pool. The apartment complex that we live in during baseball season has a great saltwater pool. It’s 150 feet long, with palm trees along the winding edge. When the weather starts getting really hot here in Texas, too hot to do my walking,… Continue reading The Little Sparrow
The other morning I was listening to a podcast from Pastor John MacArthur where he was speaking on parenting and he mentioned the Chinese Proverb above. Today is Father’s Day and just a few weeks ago we celebrated Mother’s Day. It’s nice to have days set aside to honor our parents, but we should honor… Continue reading Under the Shade Tree
Last week many people were saddened to learn of Anthony Bourdain’s passing. I loved watching his show ‘Parts Unknown.’ He took the audience to exotic places, where he ate exotic foods. You felt like you were walking alongside of him on a foodie adventure, and then sitting right next to him along with the locals… Continue reading Parts Unknown
One of my favorite things to do is to go junkin’ for architectural salvage, oil and watercolor paintings that were painted by some unknown artist, chippy/rusty things, and very old books. Yesterday, Castroville had its annual city-wide yardsale, so even though it was 5,000 degrees here in Texas, I made my way over. As I… Continue reading Finding Treasure in the Junk
Several years ago, Phillip was working for the St. Louis Cardinals and we were with their team in Springfield, Missouri. Not far from our apartment was Springfield National Cemetery. It looks like most National Cemeteries with the uniformed white stone grave markers in rows upon rows set in the green grass and surrounded by a… Continue reading With Gratitude
The other day Phillip and I were sitting at a table outside one of our favorite coffee shops in Castroville, Texas. We were enjoying the cool morning before the heat of the day set in. Phillip is reading the Bible in one year along with a group from our church, and they were getting into… Continue reading The Pursuit for Our Heart
3 The serpent was the craftiest of all the creatures the Lord God had made. So the serpent came to the woman. “Really?” he asked. “None of the fruit in the garden? God says you mustn’t eat any of it?”2-3 “Of course we may eat it,” the woman told him. “It’s only the fruit from the tree at the center of the garden… Continue reading The Blame Game
I love spending time tending a garden and working in the yard. That’s one of the things I miss about being away from my home, that time spent digging in the dirt, mowing the grass and smelling the scent of that fresh dirt and newly mown grass. So, when a friend came over for supper… Continue reading Tending What Has Been Planted
In America we are obsessed with our lives. Think about it. We obsess about our government and what it’s doing. We are obsessed with having the best no matter what we need to do to get it. The best home, cars, clothes, the best bank account. There are even American pastors who preach that we… Continue reading An Obsession for Eternal Life
A few days ago I left the desert. I was physically in that desert for 49 days straight and it was time to pack up and move on. I remember the very first time I traveled to the desert. My first impression from my seat on the airplane was that the desert looked pretty rough.… Continue reading Through the Desert
Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona, AZ Have you ever had a time when you were really praying for something to happen and out of the blue it seemed your prayer was answered? I’ve been praying about something for the last few months and out of the blue one day my prayer seemed to have… Continue reading Change of Plan
It can be very hard to leave home for baseball season. Last year I had a terrible time leaving, but once we get to where we are going, things are okay. I know God places you where you need to be, but I never really thought about our baseball season being used as a mission… Continue reading Be Disciples – The Woman at the Well
“Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And… Continue reading The Gate
Here we are once again in Arizona for Spring Training. It is the 34th Spring Training for my husband. I doubt he imagined when he signed up for Little League so many years ago, that he would make a career out of baseball. It was all because of thievery that he got his early beginnings… Continue reading The Fungo
Here we go again. Here we go again questioning, debating how evil can happen, how evil can happen to the innocent. Here we go again asking how someone slipped through the cracks and why we are having to bury our children. Here we go again arguing over whose fault it is. Here we go again searching… Continue reading Searching For the Answer
The other day I was scrolling through Instagram and a post by Jimmy Don Holmes of HGTV’s ‘Fixer Upper’ fame caught my eye. He had posted a photo of his newest metal sign creation, “Always stay humble and kind.” I already own one of his signs, hanging in my hallway back home in Chattanooga among… Continue reading Always Stay Humble and Kind
In Matthew 18:20 Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” Some of my earliest and fondest memories are attending church with my family. My Christian foundation was being built as I sat in that pew as a small child. Now whether… Continue reading Church
We Southern girls love our monograms. A monogram is a motif of two or more letters, typically a person’s initials, usually interwoven or otherwise combined in a decorative design, used as a logo or to identify a personal possession. Pillows, sheets, towels, clothing and jewelry……if it’s not moving, we monogram it. As I get things in… Continue reading One Stitch at a Time
While most people are preparing for their New Year’s celebrations, reflecting on 2017, or pondering what’s ahead for 2018, I’m here thinking, “Six weeks. I’ve got about six weeks until Spring Training.” Those six weeks will fly just like the rest of our “Off-Season” flies by. Our “Off-Season” isn’t really time off. In just a… Continue reading Prep Mode, Are You Ready?
Last night Big Daddy and I grabbed a coffee and a hot chocolate then headed out to look at the Christmas lights here in Chattanooga. We drove over to a very small, hidden neighborhood called Shepherd Hills on the east side of Missionary Ridge. If you drive a little past that neighborhood, you can park… Continue reading Take It to the Curb, Jesus
We all do it. We all are impatient when we have places to go, deadlines to meet, a schedule to fulfill, and then we find ourselves catching every red light along the way. We sit at that light fussing and fuming, or blow the horn at the slowpoke in front of us because it’s all… Continue reading One Little Corner of the World
Last week we were all so saddened about what happened in that tiny Texas church. It seems every day all that we see is tragedy and heartbreak, but if you watch and listen, you see God’s power and grace rise above it all. I don’t watch much of the news on TV these days. I… Continue reading His Reason
When I think of suspicious minds, I think of the Elvis song….” We’re caught in a trap, I can’t walk out, because I love you too much, baby…..” Then the chorus goes, “We can’t go on together, with suspicious minds, and we can’t build our dreams on suspicious minds…..” These days when I think of… Continue reading Suspicious Minds