If we can't have snow at Christmas, why can't we have another Christmas when it snows? I woke up to a world of white and it put me back in the Christmas spirit. But when you think about, Christmas is not just a day. It's a feeling, an emotion, a state of mind. One of my greatest joys at Christmas is giving. So when it snows, it just put me back into that frame of mind. So I think today will be craft day. I bought some discounts items last week and I think I'll spend today making a wreath for my Mom's kitchen. I have several other craft projects going that I'll finish up today. If I don't have anybody in mind for them, I'll just give myself a little gift. So enjoy the snow and find something fun to fill your day.



As February rolls around, we turn our thoughts to chocolate. This confectionery delight can take shape in many forms. Candy, cakes, cookies, drinks, etc. It can come wrapped around nougat, caramel, nuts, or a mixture of all three. We love it with coconut, marshmallow, graham crackers. We are a world that loves it's chocolate....in any form. If I was ever going to build a statue to anyone, it would probably be Milton Hershey. But chocolate dates back much further than that. According to historians, cocoa was discovered in 2000 B.C. in the Amazons. Throughout history, it has taken on many faces and been used for many purposes. It has been used as currency in Spain, as a dowry for royal marriages, as a drink for rulers; the list goes on and on. But chocolate as we know it today, is a comfort food. Many believe it should be one of the main food groups. We love receiving it as a gift. Fill a small candy dish with M&M's or Hershey's kisses and give it as a gift and you have a friend for life. I am convinced that chocolate is an acceptable breakfast food. As with anything, it is good for you as long as you do it in moderation. There is nothing like a bite of chocolate to renew your energy, uncloud your mind and give you a shot of "pep" to keep going. So unwrap that candy bar, take a bite and relax. A little chocolate once in a while is good for you.


A mother's love

Drink your milk. Eat your carrots. Stay out of that candy. Clean your plate; there are starving children in Ethiopia.
How many times have we heard these and similar remarks from our parents? We try so hard to set a good example for health and nutrition for our children. But how many times to we worry so much about their emotional well being?
Do you congratulate them when they do good or are you always berating them for misbehaving. Do you tell them you love them and let them know how special they are or are you "too busy" to stop and play?
Little hands when you were small
Left little fingerprints on the wall.
The floor was covered with lots of toys,
There were cars and Barbies and lots of noise.
As you look back and recall those days,
I hope you remember the times we played.
I tried to clean house, but I didn't obsess.
I'd mostly do it while you were at rest.
I strived to be a mother you'd love.
One you'd grow up to be proud of.
It must have been right, those things that I did.
'Cause I see that same love shown to your kids.


The funny things you remember

Mom and I were talking today about the funny situations in our lives that were hilarious to us that others would never see the humor in. One incident came to mind that we still chuckle about to this day. My family had all come down to visit and we were playing tourist. We went to Auntie Bellam's in Gatlinburg. My daughter, Diana, would have been about 11 or 12 and my nephew, Robby, would have been about 10 or 11. We were shopping around, taking in the sites and Robby and Diana came over to me and said, "We found something we want to buy for Mamaw but we don't have enough money. If we put our money together, could you loan us the rest?" They said it was some Mamaw would love and they wanted to buy it really, really bad for her. So I went with them to look at it. Here's where the funny part comes in. It was a jar of jelly in a pretty glass jar. It was only a couple of dollars and between the two of them, they still needed to borrow a few cents from me to get it for her. My mother loved that jar of jelly as if those kids had given her the moon. To this day, when we reminisce, somebody always says, "Remember when Diana and Robby had to put their money together to afford a jar of jelly for Mamaw." It cracks us up, but guess you had to be there.


In loving memory

In loving memory of my daddy
Luther (Luke) Harden Garretson
July 31, 1923 - January 25, 1999
That little dash between the dates represents a lifetime of love, moments of memories so etched in my mind they will never fade. This is one little girl who loves her daddy with every breath she takes. Though he's been gone 11 years, not one moment of my life with him has been forgotten, not one laugh we shared is gone. I see his features and personality in other members of our family and know that his legacy will live on for generations to come.
So from Mom, me, Rachel, Jack, Andy, your eleven beautiful grandchildren, and your ten precious great grandchildren, we all love you and miss you with every beat of our heart.
If Tears Could Build A Stairway
And Memories A Lane
I’d Walk Right Up To Heaven
And Bring You Home Again.


Oh my!

Sometimes, situations in life happen that define those special moments. The moments that are filled with laughter. Those times that you can tuck away in your memory and pull out later in life and still laugh as hard as you did when it happened. We had one of those moments yesterday with Baby Girl. We were leaving the mall when Brother wanted to get his little trains out of the diaper bag. Well, Baby Girl wanted her diaper bag because she knew she had some toys in there, too. As I'm driving out of the mall, I can see her in my rear view mirror. She is very intent and has her head bent down over the diaper bag that she has pulled into her lap. She is rummaging and searching and having a grand time discovering what is stored in the bag. We drive along enjoying the beautiful day, glad that both the children are content, when we hear Ahhhh! from Baby Girl. I glance in my mirror and shout "Oh my gosh, look at your daughter." Any of you who have ever been around small children know the rules of emergencies. 1. Assess the situation. 2. Determine everyone is okay. 3. Take a photo before the moment gets away 4. Solve the emergency. Now, my daughter, being the brilliant person she is. had the foresight to grab both our camera phones and document the moment before she repaired the damage. They say a picture paints a 1,000 words so I'll let the Kodak moment speak for itself.


It's the little things that thrill me....

I am one of those people who get so excited over little things in my life. Today, I get to go to McKay's Book Store on Papermill in Knoxville. I love going there. I take back all my books I've read and then swap them out for new books, DVD's for the kids, DVD's for me & Allen, whatever suits my fancy. The place is huge. I absolutely love when I get a new book to read. And to be able to get a bunch of new (to me) books at once and not cost anything and not have to take them back by a certain date is heaven. When I leave there, I get to go to AC Moore and pick up some craft supplies. Wow, could my day get any better. Well, yes it does. 'Cause I have a coupon for 10% off my entire purchase at AC Moore. Anybody that knows me knows I love my bargains. So free book and a discount on crafts is going to make my day today.


Why I love Fridays...

Friday is such a wonderful day. You are winding down from a long week of hard work. Hopefully, you feel like you have accomplished something, achieved some goal, made some difference. You look forward to 5:00 when you can leave the work world behind for two day. There is a sense of anticipation. You wake up with a little more pep in your step. You starting looking forward to what to do over the weekend. How to spend time with you family.
I love Fridays. I usually start the morning off with a little housekeeping so I can have a nice weekend without having housework staring me in the face. I know I will go shopping Saturday, even if it is just to the grocery store. I make a list for what I want to look for, what I need to pick up.
I look ahead to the prospect of getting to go to church on Sunday. Getting to worship and be uplifted before I start another week to do it all again.
Friday should always be feeled with happiness and light. You should be patting yourself on the back for making it through another week.
So enjoy your Friday. Be nice to someone. Be thankful you are a survivor. And rest of this week, enjoy your two days off. Because, come Monday it's gonna start all over again. Have a great weekend!


For this day...

For this day, I pray for peace and contentment.
For this day, I pray for love and comfort.
For this day, I pray for health and prosperity.
For this day, I pray for joy and laughter.
For this day, I pray for family and friends.
For this day, I pray for satisfaction in a job well done.
For this day, I pray.



I have a gentleman who is a dear friend, who posts a question of the day on Facebook everyday. These questions are always thought provoking and challenging. He asks questions that make us really stop and think. Questions that make us look deep inside to find the answers. Through his questions, he is guiding each of us on a quest to make the best of our lives, No Matter What!
We are not only learning what makes each other tick, but what makes ourselves tick. I have learned more about myself and my beliefs through these morning sessions than I have on anything else I have ever studied.
One thing I have found is a sheer joy in challenging myself to really think about the questions and to be honest with myself, no matter what others may think.
It has been a mind-opening experience. I have started looking for ways to challenge myself...to be a better person, a more open person....to strive harder to reach my goals...to become passionate about every facet of my life. We do not have these sessions on the weekend and I miss them so much that I have started asking myself difficult questions to challenge me on the weekend.
Through these sessions, I feel like I have become a better person, developed a more open mindset and learned to look at my struggles as obstacles to overcome and conquer and not as stumbling blocks.
So I urge each of you to face the roadblocks in your life and dig deep inside to challenge your inner self to find a way to conquer the obstacles. I recommend you read his book, No Matter What!


Getting Organized

I don't know what it is about fresh air and warmer temperatures that makes us want to do some spring cleaning. When I went to my daughter's house Sunday, she had spent Saturday evening organizing closets. She had cleaned, tossed, thrown out, moved around, and boxed up until I was afraid to touch anything for fear of messing it up. Yesterday, with such a beautiful day, I could see why her mind would turn to spring cleaning in January. I have this one room that is our multi-purpose room. It serves as my home office, a library, my craft room and a family room with a sofa bed to make it a guest room when family comes to visit. The closet is very neat, very organized and very full. Every January, I get in my craft mode and want to start new projects. One thing I'm ready to do is my Camp Grandma scrapbook. I've been pulling my pictures all to one place so I can take them to Walmart to print. When I started looking into my craft drawers and containers, I realized that as I purchased the materials for the scrapbook, I have placed various things in different places. I guess I'll have to take a page from my daughters book and get organized first. How many projects do we each have laying around that are half finished because we didn't take the time to get organized first? How many things do we start only to decide, "Think I'll finish this later.". Sometimes we get overwhelmed when we get too much going on and then we don't get anything done. I have a habit of getting so excited about the finished project that I lose patience with the details that get me there. So I'm going to take the scrapbook in baby steps. I'll worry about getting my pictures printed first, then take it from there. Guess it's a good thing she organized her closets and got me motivated to bring some organization to my life.


The View

How do you view the obstacles in your life? Do you see them as challenges to overcome or do you see them as problems that lie in your path. Do you see them as something that is holding you back, a stumbling block to your success? Or are they simply one more achievement that you can say, "I did it!" when you have reached your goal. It's all about perception. Your view on what lies ahead can determine the road you take and can cause you to succeed or to fail. It's the old "glass half full or half empty". Your view of a situation can cause you to take the bull by the horns and plunge ahead, take that leap of faith that will get you the results you want. Or you can be so intimidated by the thought of tackling the situation that you bring about your own failure. What is the view from your window? How will you face the storms that come your way? Faith plays an important part in my life. I know that is why I can face things with such a positive mental attitude. It may be presumptuous of me, but when I need God's help, I just assume I'll get it. I guess that is what faith is all about. He may not answer how I want it answered, He may not give me the answer in the time I want it, but I know that He will lead me down the path he wants me to go. The grass is sometimes greener on the other side, but if you allow God to lead you and guide you in the path He wants you to take, YOUR yard can be the one with the green grass.

If I could just touch the hem of His garment

Have you ever had an issue you are dealing with and don't know which way to turn? Have you ever felt so overwhelmed that you weren't sure what steps to take. How many times in our lives do we face uncertainty, whether it be a personal situation, a health problem, concerns about family or friends, the loss of a loved one. The obstacles we face in our daily lives are many and sometimes they seem like they are insurmountable. You don't know which way to turn or what to do.
As Christians, we profess our faith and talk about God's goodness and grace. But how do we react when we are put to the test? Do we stand strong, firmly holding on to God's unchanging hand? Or do we fall apart with stress and worry. I've heard it said so many times, "Let go and let God." But do we heed this advice.
No, we struggle and worry. We contemplate the situation and try to come up with our own answers. We need to be more like the woman with the issue of blood. She had such great faith that she believed if she could just touch the hem of Jesus's garment, she would be healed. Such a short story in the bible, such a large lesson in faith. She did not worry about what she should do. She didn't contemplate the alternatives and look for her own solution. She KNEW that one touch of our precious Savior would heal her affliction and make us whole. With all the people crowded around and all the commotion going on, she took that one step of faith. She reached down and touched His robe. With all the distractions, one would think He wouldn't even know she was there. But he immediately said, "Who touched me?" That one simple act changed her life. Her faith made her whole.
As we go into this new year, I pray that God will bring this story to my mind many times. I want to develop a faith so strong that no matter what I face, I know I just have to touch the hem of His garment and He will provide a way.


God is great, God is good

God is great, God is good. And we thank Him for our food. By His hands, we are fed. Give us Lord our daily bread. How basic, how simple, how forgotten. I don't know about you, but I feel like my God is always there to listen to my small requests, my simple thanks. It doesn't take words of granduer, eloguently spoken in a crisp, beautiful voice. It just takes a little child-like belief and a little thank you to have him help in your daily lives. My favorite bible verse will always be, Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God." It doesn't get any simpler than that. May He watch over you and bless you today and always.


Make mine motivational

Coffee, espresso, lattes. They are all the rage. Everyone is drinking Red Bull and Shotz Energy. At any given coffee house or restaurant, you will hear "Make mine black" "Cream and sugar please" "A vanilla cafe latte, please." Everyone is wanting that daily boost, that spurt of adrenaline to get them going. That extra "oomph" to make it through the day. Never having been a coffee drinker and staying clear of caffiene, I'm not sure what the hype is all about. Personally, I would rather read something inspirational or talk to people who are high on life to get my day going. Or simply look at a lovely photo. This is one I took yesterday when the sun came out. It is standing in my yard looking up the road.
I love starting my day with a positive attitude and a reflection on how good life is. Billy Graham said it best, “I can tell you that God is alive because I talked to him this morning.”
What a much better way to start the day!



A picture paints a thousand words. These birds are the type that are hanging around outside my window this year. I put up two new bird feeders and it has been fantastic the colors I've seen. They don't stay long enough for me to snap their picture so I've had to rely on the Internet for photos, but you will see what I get to enjoy every day.

Play things of yesteryear

I was thinking last night about the toys that were favorites in my family when we were growing up. With one sister and two brothers, we had a lot of favorites. As I was thinking, I noticed many of the things that we loved are still favorites today, while others have fallen by the wayside. Here are just some of the things I remember: Barbie Baby dolls Matchbox cars Little green Army men Cowboy guns and holsters Marbles Mr. Potato Head Slinky Silly Putty Yo Yo's Jacks Jump ropes Chinese Jump Ropes Tinker Toys Lincoln Logs And the list could go on from there. I remember my kids playing with many of the same toys and now I'm buying some of these items for my grandkids. My children grew up in the age of Hello Kitty, CareBears, My Little Pony, WWF Wrestlers, Hot Wheels, He Man and Skeletor, Transformers and GoBots, Strawberry Shortcake and Smurfs. Just stop sometime and think about the favorite toys you had and what joy they brought to you. I can still sit out on the patio on a sunny day and play jacks. I'm still good at it to. I can go all the way to my "tensies" without missing any. The only thing that has changed is somebody better be standing by to help me get UP off the patio when I'm done. Oh the joys of getting old.


The week in review

Monday - Cold and snowy Tuesday - Cold and snowy Wednesday - Cold and snowy Thursday - Even colder and the snow started really sticking good Friday - Even colder and even more snow Saturday - Bitterly cold and still lots of snow Sunday - Still bitterly cold and still ice and snow hanging around That is the week in review. I see a pattern emerging. Don't get me wrong, I love the snow and the sheer beauty of a world bathed in white. It's the bitter cold that I am not so fond of. But, I would not change my four seasons for anything. I cannot imagine living where it is warm and beautiful every day with there being no changes to notice. I love winter and enjoy snuggling in on those cold nights. By the time winter is almost over, I'm ready for spring days with gentle breezes blowing, flowers popping through the ground. Then I start looking forward to summer. Summer sun beating down on your skin. The bright blue sky with fluffy white clouds. Picnics and cookouts, beach trips and get-togethers. Catching lightning bugs with the kids and simply enjoying the outdoors. Then we start "feeling" fall in the air. The leaves begin to change, the temperatures start to cool. School starts and pumpkins start showing up on porches and yards. Ghosts and skeletons rattle around the streets searching for candy. Next thing you know, it's Thanksgiving and there is so much good food. Turkey and dressing, kids and grandbabies gathered around the old oak table. Christmas is just around the corner and the joy bells start ringing. Then we hit the long month of January and get winter again. You gotta just love it.



What describes who you are? I'm a wife, a mother, a mamaw, a daughter, Daddy's girl, a sister, an aunt, a friend, a co-worker. I'm Baptist. I'm Southern. I'm country. You know what makes someone a mother, a wife, etc. You know my religion makes me baptist and my birth makes me southern. But what makes me country? What part of my "make-up" determines that I am a country girl? It's the way I was raised. It's a lifestyle as well as a state of mind. These are just some of the things I love about being country....
  • Fresh clothes out on the line
  • Going barefoot in the summer
  • Spending time in the yard with Daddy (yes, that's me when I was 2 1/2. I was so skinny Mom had to pin my panties up with a diaper pin in the back. See where Shelby gets her curls)
  • Singing along with the radio to the latest country hits
  • Eating fried chicken, mashed potatoes & gravy, corn on the cob with cake and peaches for dessert.
  • Always having cats and dogs that were outside pets
  • Old metal lawn furniture
  • Long walks in the woods on summer days
  • Dirt roads
  • Family values
  • Believing in God and going to church
  • Amazing Grace
  • The red, white and blue
  • Finding joy in the small things: a bird setting at my feeder munching on the seeds, the pair of eagles who live across the river soaring side by side over the river to scoop out fish, spending a day doing nothing but whatever hits me at the moment

To sum it up, being country is a feeling of peace, a contentment with your lot in life. It's find the good in the things around you. It's an enjoyment of life.


Snowy White Memories

I love the snow. When I was little, I can remember bundling up to go outside and play for hours. We had our old wooden sled and we would take turns going down the big hill behind the house. Sometimes we would double up. It was a blast. It felt like it took hours to get ready to go out. We would wear a pair of pajamas under our pants and 2 or 3 pairs of knee socks. We would have on our pajama top, a couple of shirts, a heavy sweatshirt and then our coat. There were always scarves and toboggans to with our ensemble. We would wear two pairs of gloves and then mom would put a pair of dad's socks over our gloves for extra dryness. As we build snowmen and forts and had snowball fights, the ice crystal would form on the socks. We would run around to the other side of the house where the old gas stove pipe came out of the living room. We would wrap our hands around it and let the warmth melt the snow off our sock "gloves" so our real gloves below would stay dry. Then we'd run back to the yard and play some more. When we would go in, we'd have to stand in the kitchen door and remove all those layers before we could go to our rooms for dry clothes. There was almost always something good waiting for us. Homemade chocolate pudding, homemade donuts rolled in cinnamon and sugar, or simply a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallow. I know and respect the dangers the snow can cause - the road problems, the school closings, burst pipes, downed power lines. But I still can't help but feel that little tug of excitement as I see the splendor of a yard covered in pristine white where no tracks have been made or the strong oaks with their limbs laden with snow. Now I am content to sit indoors and watch the beauty and enjoy the memories while I stay nice and warm.


Homemade Bread

Does anything conjure up warm memories like homemade bread baking in the oven? I haven't had homemade bread since the Big Blizzard of '93. These cold days make me long for that sweet fragrance. The house would be warm and cozy with the oven adding extra warmth. The smell of that bread was a little piece of heaven.
On days like today, I crave fresh made bread and a big pot of beef stew simmering in the oven. I'm going to go through my recipe books and find the recipe for the bread and start baking. I'll have Allen put on a stew after while. What a better way to end the day than a husband and wife sitting down to dinner with hot stew and fresh homemade bread covered in butter.
These are the moments that define our lives. These are the "little things" we should cherish everyday. For life is not always about the big stuff. It's not always the achievements or the accolades. Sometimes, the mundane is what we live for. That's where our memories are made.


Spead a little sunshine

The temperature is frigid. The wind blows right through you. You scurry along as you do your errands. Now is the time to stop and spread some sunshine. You see someone heading for the same parking space you want-let them have it. Let the lady with just 3 items go ahead of you in line at the store. Smile and open the door for a young mother with her arms snuggling a baby. Help the little lady with the walker carry her package into the post office. How many times do we, lost in our own world, walk right by someone in need. Someone who would appreciate that small act of kindness that we just don't think to show. I grew up in a small town up a country road where everybody knew their neighbor and pitched in to help when something was needed. We didn't own a car since Mom and Dad neither one drove. We would walk to the local grocery store about a mile away. I remember those cold winter days with snow 5-6" deep. Me and Daddy would walk to the store to get milk and bread. With four kids to feed, you couldn't run low on staples. We would bundle against the weather. I'd wear my heavy pj's underneath my pants as extra protection in the cold. I'd have on two - three shirts under my coat and two pairs of gloves. I'd wear a toboggan and scarf, with the scarf wrapped around my face so all you could see were two eyes and a slit for my mouth to breathe. We'd trudged through the snow in our old rubber golashes, get our groceries and start the mile trek back home. Somewhere along the way, we would sometimes hear a car slowing down. It would be one of our "neighbors" from up the hollow. They would give us a ride home. Oh the sweet relief of climbing in a warm car as opposed to trudging up the road with our packages. We didn't get salt on our road very often as it was out of city limits so not having to trudge back up the road in that snow was a ray of light in a gloomy day. I have to wonder if those kind neighbors who gave us a ride felt a small thrill of pleasure, knowing they had spread some sunshine into our life that day? So take the time to lend a helping hand because sometimes, it is the small gestures that make the largest impact in our lives.


Take my breath away...

In the end, it's not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away.- shing xiong The average respiration rate for a person at rest is about 16 breaths per minute. This means on average, we breathe about 960 breaths an hour ; 23,040 breaths a day; 8,409,600 a year. That means I have taken over 445 billion breaths in my lifetime so far. But what do they account for? To breathe is to exist. But I want more than an existence. I want to remember the lifetime of memories I stored up from my childhood that I can take out at any time and think about with fondness and love. I want to remember how it felt the first time I looked my husband in the eyes and felt that "Oh my" feeling that you get when you know he's the ONE. I want to remember when they placed my new born twins in my arms and I looked down and felt that tug on my heart strings that said, "They are mine...forever". I want to remember that thrill of the most beautiful words in the world, "Mom, how would you like to be a grandmother". Four times, I've had my breath taken away as each new born grandchild was placed in my arms for the first time. I want to remember all the "Mamaw, can I's" and the "Mamaw, I did's" and every single precious moment I get to spend with my precious grandchildren. I want to remember the first time I saw the mountains in all their grandeur and fall beauty. I want to remember the awe I felt as I looked on and thought "How can you look at this and NOT believe that God does exist. I want to remember the first trip to the beach as I stared at all that beautiful water and sand, thinking about how somewhere on the other side of all that water, another lady with her children is staring at that same water and marveling that there is a whole other world across that sea. I want to remember the soft fallen snow that came in 1993 when the blizzard dumped 23" on us and how beautiful it was. How for that one moment in time, the world stood still. I want to remember the sound of the mighty eagle as he glides over the river out back and scoops up a fish for super. I want to remember the beautiful colors in my backyard at the bird feeder. The deep emerald of the hummingbird, the brilliant red of the cardinal, the yellow in the small finches, the bright blue of the bluebird, the soft gloss of black and white on the chickadee. So you see, life is NOT about the number of breaths we take, but it truly consists of the number of moments that take our breath away. So don't just live, live for those special moments. Make each and everyone of your breaths count. Love your family, enjoy the world around you and take time to make that special moment that will live in your heart forever.