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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Had a wonderful family Christmas! Hope you did, too! Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Goodnight!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Another Book Signing to Benefit Wellspring Living

"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year...." Charles Dickens

The book signing Dec. 4 was a huge success! Thanks to all who participated! There is one more signing scheduled for the Northside of Atlanta. I will be signing copies of Chicken Soup for the Soul's deluxe hardback Christmas Book The Gift of Christmas, which features two of my stories. (This gift book, which has deluxe endpapers and a ribbon bookmark, is available only at Wal-Mart or from the authors.)

The signing scheduled for Saturday, December 18th, 1-3 at our new Cobb store had to be cancelled because of "red tape" associated with getting the store opened. If you were planning on being at the Cobb signing, I hope you'll be able to go to the signing on Tuesday, December 21, in Duluth instead. My friend, Ann Platz, noted Atlanta Interior Designer, speaker and author, will be joining me to sign her books:

Wellspring Treasures
2785 Buford Highway, Suite 103-B
Duluth, GA 30096


My story, '"Santa Hats," is about our family tradition of wearing Santa hats in unusual locations for our Christmas photos. Here are a few of the photos mentioned in the story!

Hot Tub Santas!

Dog Sledding in Alaska--1999

2008 Venice Italy

Skyping with my niece from Dubai

The other story, "My Nativities," is about my collection of Nativity Scenes, in all shapes and sizes, from around the world.

The tiny Nativity Church gift from the Hanes that started my collection
Inside the Nativity Church --One of my smallest Nativities.

Largest Nativity, with one of my other Nativities on the floor waiting to be placed!
Also, there is a Nativity mobile hanging on the window up higher, and a collection of smaller nativities across the middle of the windows.

 Some of the Nativities on display year round in my living room.
Cookie Jar and Hot Chocolate Set on the top.

Nativity Fire Screen

As I ended the "My Nativities" story, "Seeing my collection every day reminds me that we ought to celebrate our Savior's birth all year long, not just at Christmas."

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Thanksgiving is Overflowing!

My Thanksgiving is Overflowing!

"All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God." 
2 Corinthians 4:15 (NIV)

This year, indeed, my "thanksgiving is overflow(ing) to the glory of God!" I am grateful for many things, including: Jesus, family, friends, the United States of America, the military and civilian servants who keep our country safe, good health, chocolate, dancing, laughter, and LOTS of other things!
Family and friends after GSU's last home football game of their Inaugural Season. 

In the last few months, I have seen some miraculous things occur, and, especially at Thanksgiving, I want to Thank God, and give Him ALL the Glory! Among the biggest miracles: two friends were healed from life-threatening illnesses!

In October, my high school best friend, Julie Lasserre's, daughter, Jeannine, was healed from major complications which arose after Jeannine contracted e-coli from an unknown source. Jeannine was in a coma for 9 days, and appeared to possibly have had a brain stem stroke. 

During a 24 hour prayer vigil, Jeannine woke up. Over the next few weeks, she came off of dialysis, regained much of her strength, and was able to go home, without significant medical issues, in time for her 16th birthday. Many very specific prayers were answered! God is Good! (Even some of Jeannine's doctors have deemed her recovery "miraculous!")
Julie and her "miracle girl!" 
Earlier this month, my life-long friend, Mary Julia Little, in her words, "was perfectly fine one day and the next, I was sicker than sick." She had "sepsis of unknown origin." Mary Julia goes on to say, "I feel very blessed to be here to enjoy this holiday.  I have never ever really been seriously ill before, and it is quite a humbling experience.  Praise God many prayers were answered and I am alive today."
Mary Julia on the beach with the "Beach Chicks" in September. 
More miraculous outcomes were obvious after the Wellspring Living leadership and prayer teams, and board members, observed a 40 day period of fasting and prayer for Wellspring and for those whom Wellspring serves. God answered very specific prayers in ways that were "exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think!" (Ephesians 3:20 KJV)

I thank God for all of the "big" miracles I have witnessed. I also thank Him for the hundreds of small, "everyday miracles" in my life, which are no less amazing than the big miracles! 

Today, Ed, Blake, my niece Tricia, and I, served at a Thanksgiving lunch and social services event for the homeless and disadvantaged in South Fulton County. It was a blessing, but also a sobering event. I am increasingly aware of the blessings of good health, and of having "enough."

Because of the faith that comes from seeing God's answers to "impossible situations," I am encouraged to trust Him for even more miracles! Please join me in praying for the following friends:

Nina Ray, has been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease.) She has an amazing attitude about a difficult diagnosis. Nina is retired from United Community Bank in Fairburn, (formerly Fairburn Banking Company.) 

Pray for Nina as she deals with ALS. Pray for Nina's healing, and that Nina and her doctors will have wisdom, and all necessary skills and resources. Nina has lost her ability to speak "naturally," but through some amazing technology, Nina now has a new feminine voice, activated via electronic keyboard! Praise God! 

Pray for healing and wisdom for Johnny Harris, who also has a degenerative disease. He is the husband of Landmark Christian School employee, Lynn Harris. They have three children. 

Dorothy Jean Pickett Beville, another Fernandina friend, summed up (on Facebook) the way I feel this Thanksgiving, "thinking about how much we all have to be thankful list is endless." 

Endless Blessings! Yes! AMEN! 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Panther Pride Peaks in Tuscaloosa!

Panther Pride Peaks in Tuscaloosa!

Going to Tuscaloosa to watch GSU play the defending National Champions in front of over 100,000 fans, was a great experience for all involved! PANTHER FANS were treated to the spectacle of our New Favorite Team playing in the huge Bryant-Denny Stadium, home of The University of Alabama Crimson Tide's legendary football heritage. 

While watching the BAMA fans gather before the game to line the walkway on which the Crimson Tide enter the stadium,  I was "fast-forwarding" 20 years into our future, to where, in my mind, "Panther Pride" will be legendary on its own merit, and we will have our own signature cheers and events with which to inspire awe in our opponents. 
Bama Fans Lining the Walkway, waiting for their team to arrive. 

The score may not reflect it, but Panther fans have a lot to be proud of! GSU is the 

only team to run a kickoff back for a TD on BAMA this year. Here is my shaky video. 

(My son is # 18) 
We had some good kickoff coverage. We completed a 55 yard pass. We made a good goal line stand! Defense made some good stops. It was exciting
to watch our guys on the field! I know the team loved playing in Bryant-Denny Stadium! 

The enthusiasm of the BAMA fans was infectious.Those of us in Blue may have been vastly outnumbered by those wearing Crimson and Houndstooth, but we were not intimidated or discouraged! 
Hearing our GSU Marching Band perform our new fight song caused  Panther Fans' pride to soar to new heights! 

 "The sky is the limit" when it comes to 

writing the future of the GSU Panther 
Football "Tradition." Maybe the athletic 
department should have a forum (online 
and public meetings) and become 
intentional about getting input on ideas 
for new "Panther traditions" and ways to  
build team spirit, fan support, and 
sponsor buy-ins for all Panther sports.

(Perhaps everyone making claws out of their 
hands for first downs, while chanting "Pounce Panthers!")

It would have been nice to have seen a "miracle" win in Tuscaloosa, but, regardless of the score I am VERY PROUD OF OUR INAUGURAL PANTHER FOOTBALL TEAM! Our program is only going to get better!  GREAT WORK, GUYS! See you in 2011!

The Panthers are on the Prowl--Entering the Stadium of 100,000+ Fans!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

GSU Panthers in Tuscaloosa!


GSU Panthers in Tuscaloosa!

The Panthers have scouted out the stadium and visited the Bear Bryant Museum. 

Here are some photos to get Panther Fans revved up for tomorrow's game!

The Kickoff is 7:33 EST, 

Thurs., November 18th, on ESPN-U


Coming out of the tunnel!
101,821-seat Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala. 
 Blake Wyatt GSU #18 in front of Bear Bryant's Desk
Trophies in Bear Bryant Museum 

Coach Curry's Exhibit in the Museum

This Cross is Easy to Follow!

On an AMAZING 2009, 1500 Mile Road Trip with my friend, Cindy Fetch, (during a Colorado/Oklahoma/Texas spring blizzard), we traveled home to Georgia via Groom, Texas. We wanted to see the huge cross that caught my fancy in an internet forward!

Our friend Laurye Campbell Ray had sent me an e-mail about the giant cross just before the opportunity arose for this trip. As Cindy and I were planning our route to avoid as much bad weather as possible, I jumped at the chance to see The Cross! (I recently received a different forward about The Cross in Groom, and that's what inspired me to revisit our trip there.)

The Cross is billed as "The Largest Cross in the Western Hemisphere," and my first glimpse of the cross was exciting! I'm not sure exactly how far away we were when we got our first glimpse, but it was interesting how The Cross seemed to keep "changing sides!" At first, it would appear to be on one side of the highway, then it would appear to change sides....

The cross (click link) is ringed by plaques and statues depicting the Stations of the Cross. There are other inspirational displays on the grounds, including a large granite statue of the Ten Commandments and a Monument supporting the Sanctity of Life, in Memory of the Victims of Abortion. There are replicas of the Last Supper, Jesus hanging on a cross between two thieves, and an empty tomb. There is also a nice gift shop, with delightful volunteers. For LOTS more photos from our visit to The Cross in Groom, click here.

My Cross visit inspired me to go back again someday! It was very cold and VERY windy while we were there, and we arrived just before closing, so I didn't get to spend as long "exploring" as I would have liked. (We were also trying to make up for lost time on the road!)

I'm in the process of mapping out plans for a "Quirky/Unusual Christian Sites Tour." I'm thinking it would make a great multi-state bus tour! (Other potential stops, besides The Cross: the Great Passion Play in Eureka Springs, Arkansas and the Miraculous Stairway, at Loretto Chapel, in Santa Fe, New Mexico.) Anyone interested? Any ideas for me?

Stay tuned for "1500 Mile Road Trip--
Part Two!" 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Showering Katelyn!

2 Previous Blogs:
GSU Panther Football

Showering Katelyn!

The way I first remember Katelyn!
(Some of you have asked how the bridal shower for Katelyn turned out, so here's a report! For those who don't know, Katelyn is my daughter, Brittany's, friend from church youth group. Katelyn's wedding will be Brittany's first time serving as a Bridesmaid. Recipes for Tortilla Roll-ups and Punch at the end of this blog entry.)

Brittany and I planned a traditional "Southern" Bridal Shower for Katelyn. The table was appointed with crystal and silver that I received as shower and wedding gifts, myself, over 33 years ago, along with some antique family pieces that my husband and I have inherited.

I engaged my church catering friend, Pat Ward (click on link), to help prepare some of the "party food." I knew I needed help. I didn't have the time or stamina to do everything "all by myself" this past week, along with all my other commitments!  Pat to the Rescue! Pat's contributions helped me to (once again) add more "home cooked goodness," without the all the mess, time, and backaches! (Thanks, Pat!)

I had most everything (pretty much) ready ahead of time, (linen table cloth cleaned and pressed, silver polished, food organized....) Brittany came home several hours before the party, to help with the last minute "fluffing,"  "finishing touches," (translation: cleaning off counters and tables, hiding "stuff," straightening pillows, adjusting lighting, etc.) and food preparation (heating up food, fixing punch, putting food in containers, on trays, etc.)
Ed picked up the petit fours, put out signs directing guests to the front door, and helped with other last minute tasks. 

We were putting the final touches on the table when the bride arrived with her mother. We pinned on corsages, took a couple of photos, and the guests started to arrive. 

After sampling the "goodies," we wrote advice for the bride, put our addresses in her new address book, and enjoyed watching Katelyn open her presents. (Brittany is starting a scrapbook documenting wedding preparations and parties for Katelyn, incorporating the advice from guests and photos from the shower. Katelyn can finish the scrapbook with details and photos from the wedding.)

There were lots of laughs, and much enlightening conversation, as is always the case when Southern ladies gather! (We learned from Katelyn that she's not supposed to say "y'all" while she is student teaching--the appropriate substitute is "boys and girls!") We also heard other stories of political correctness running amok in public schools. (But that's a subject for another blog.....)

Two and a half hours later, after more circling of the food table, we helped Katelyn gather her "loot," packed a "goody box" with leftovers for Katelyn's fiancee', and bid our guests farewell. At that point, happily tired, after a successful party, I took off my shoes, and put on comfortable clothes to begin the cleanup process! I put away the food, and washed all the silver, before I ran out of steam.  As far as the rest of the mess goes, as Scarlett O'Hara said, "I'll think about that tomorrow."

Sample of the invitation we sent for the shower.

Getting Ready


The beautiful December Bride-to-be

The Guest of Honor with her Mother
Opening Gifts
Pearls from Grandma! 

Hostesses Brittany and Jamie with Katelyn

Katelyn with the "practice" bouquet for her rehearsal, made with ribbons from her gifts. 

Katelyn with her future Mother-in-law!

Friend with the Mothers of the Bride and Groom

Katelyn with her bridesmaids who attended the shower. 
Punch anyone?

Let's eat!
Showing off her bridesmaid's gown. 

Some of the guests

Jamie's Easy Punch with Ice Ring and Tortilla Roll-ups

(Always gets rave reviews and recipe requests!)

12-oz can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed**
12-oz can frozen limeade concentrate, thawed**
1 pint (2 cups) water
2 liter bottle (4 cups) chilled ginger ale
(Food coloring if desired.)

In large non-metal pitcher, or punch bowl, combine concentrates and water. Add food coloring, if desired. Blend well. Just before serving, add ginger ale; stir gently to blend. Makes 28--4 oz. servings. (80 calories per serving) 
** I thaw the concentrates in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours, so I don't have to thaw them at the last minute.


I always add an ice ring, made in a gelatin mold or small pound cake mold, to the punch bowl. Boil water to make the ice ring more clear. I put a ring of cherries around the bottom of the mold, and put enough water in the mold to secure the cherries when the water freezes, but not enough to make the cherries float. After the cherries are frozen, I add another thin layer of water to anchor sliced lemons and/or limes, around the edges of the mold. After that layer freezes, I finish filling the mold, and put it in a zippered freezer bag until needed. (The ice ring can be done days ahead.)
If you don't care about the ring being cloudy, you may use ginger ale, instead of water, to prevent diluting the punch, as I did for this party.


One of my favorite last minute appetizers is Tortilla Roll-ups, because I usually have all the ingredients on hand. You can vary the ingredients, based on what is in your refrigerator.
Omit the meat and add veggies for vegetarian.

Tortillas (preferably large--any flavor)
Cream Cheese
Cheese (sliced or shredded--American, Mexican blend, Swiss, Havarti, etc.)
(spinach/lettuce/tomatoes, etc., optional--did not use for this party)

Drain salsa well in colander with paper towels to absorb liquids. Mix drained salsa with cream cheese, and spread on tortillas. Place ham, cheese, and other ingredients on lower end of tortilla. Begin to compress the filling by rolling the tortilla over the filling, and continue to roll up the tortillas. Wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper, and place in zippered bag or plastic container. Chill several hours or overnight. Slice before serving.   

 Press moisture out of salsa with paper towels.
Trim edges, and spread cream cheese/salsa mixture on tortillas. Add desired filling and roll up from bottom, into roll shown below.
Slice after chilling.