Five on Friday {April 17}

1. I am really LOVING Sam Hunt’s CD Montevallo. He is definitely easy on the eyes, and the entire song list is incredible. My favorite is “Make You Miss Me.” But I was so emotional watching the video for “Take Your Time” which highlights the issue of domestic violence. 

2. This weekend, I’ll be working on Miss Julia’s kindergarten registration. I started teaching again when she was four months old. I cannot believe that time has flown by so fast and am extremely grateful for the time I have had with her and Mason at home.


3. We have started tball. Our first game was rained out before the first inning was over.  Aunt Kaitlin had not even made it to the field before the game was called, but Aunt Gerri Gail saw both my babies hit doubles!


4. Very excited that my favorite television shows are back on! I just adore TLC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” and PBS’ “Call the Midwife.”

Mr. Justin and I are also slowly working our way through this season’s “House of Cards.” Dang if I don’t feel like I need to go to confession after watching it, though! 

5. I found a new favorite candle company through Instagram recently and was touched by the background of its creation. The Refinery of Georgia supports Still Waters, a safe home for women and children in Bainbridge. 

According to its website, 

We take our name from Psalm 66:10 as we believe we are all in a refining process. We are carried through difficult times, we are stripped of things that seem to matter and we are being made new. We are best when work together; rubbing like sandpaper at times to a smoother, softer level surface. 


I find so much comfort and inspiration in that message and am proud to support such a beautiful organization. 

Candles by The Refinery can be purchased at The Bookshelf in Thomasville. 

New Relationships

Mr. Justin’s mom is just the most beautiful woman I have ever met. Her soul is so lovely, and she gives me so much hope for my future. 

A few weeks ago, she sent a sweet package for me by way of her son— her favorite translation of THE BIBLE and a movie that she ordered us to watch called Fireproof.

Then, on Easter, she gave me a lovely cookbook for kids in the kitchen. I asked her to sign it, and she did.


I will treasure these gifts and her words for the rest of my life, because they are a sign that I am worthy of love.  

Tallahassee Symphony {Date Night}

I love the symphony, but tickets are usually a splurge I have reserved for the holidays. 

Mr. Justin, however, managed to snag us front-row tickets to a special Word of the South festival performance commemorating the meeting at Appomatox between Lee and Grant ending the Civil War. 

Ironically, my maternal second great-grandfather, William Riley Johns, a member of Company F, Florida 9th Infantry, CSA, was surrendered and paroled on April 9, 1865, at Appomatox Courthouse. 

Because of the weather, the event was moved inside The Moon nightclub. 


We still had amazing seats right behind the symphony, so we could watch both the conductor and the stage, where Oscar winner J.K. Simmons portrayed President Lincoln during a performance of Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait.”  

My Bomba was born less than an hour from where the 16th President came into this world in rural Kentucky, so this was a double family connection for me.



The show was magnificent! I was blown away by Simmons’ performance and was, at one point, moved to tears as he read the words of a Civil War soldier writing home to the love of his life soon before his death. My heart ached for his dear Sarah and the pain she must have endured! 

I must say, though, that my favorite part of the show was the spirituals performed by Marcia Porter. I am fascinated by Afrcan American history, and her performance reminded me of a similiar Christmas candlelight concert I once saw with friends at Drayton Hall in Charleston, South Carolina. One of my goals is to return there again soon. 

Small world, Ms. Porter’s son was with her and yelled out at me as they passed by following the show, “Hey, you’re Mason’s mom!!” Turns out, he is Mason’s best buddy in kindergarten, and we made a point of taking pictures for Mason to tell him that we missed him at the show.



Theatre TCC! {Date Night}

Mr. Justin’s parents are long-time supporters of Theatre TCC (Tallahassee Community College), and his Dad graciously offered us the use of their tickets. 

Funny timing, almost as soon as the offer was made, one of my former students invited me to her debut performance in Catch Me if You Can


We sat front and center and, although we were both very tired, loved relaxing and watching the show.  

We were both extremely impressed with the quality of the performance, the set, and the costumes. 

Quite frankly, the play was incredible, and the theatre intimate. I cannot wait to get back.

Of course, I was also super excited watching Miss Courtney on stage. I taught her two years in a row, and I could not have been more proud. She is both beautiful and talented. I am sure she is going to be a big star! 

Happy Birthday, Mommy, and Thank You!

Happy birthday, Mommy. Thank you. I am not alone. You have left me surrounded by the most wonderful, strong women! They have covered me in support and prayer, and they have never left any doubt in my mind that I and the kids are going to be okay. What a rich legacy you have left me!




Robin is now my closest contact. She is the person who replaced you on my emergency list last week at the doctor’s office. With tears, I crossed through your name. But then I smiled knowing that Robin is near and that I also have sweet Kaitlin and Gerri Gail and Susie and Sam and Kelly and Tanya and Angie and Millie and Marcia Lynn and Nikki and Krissy and Jami….. 

Charlotte Nelson and Amber and Cherri are my constants. Charlotte even expanded her home so that we can have a place to stay when we go to Hilliard. I so want to splash my feet in the St. Marys as much as possible now. 

Then there are these sassy cousins of yours— they are my fiercests guardians. Not a second has passed when I have not felt their love and support. Bryant women are an awesome thing to behold, and I am so honored to have your genes and to have passed them down to my own children. You, Granny, Aunt Audrey and Aunt Bertia must be so proud of them.   

Of course, I have my other side, too. Susie and Sam both helped me clean out your house, and Sam and David have been like God-parents to the babies.


Speaking of them, Mama, Mason and Miss Julia are amazing. They are so strong and resilient, and there is not a day that goes by that they don’t talk about you and pray for you. You are still very loved.

 And I am loved now, too. Kaitlin has a friend named Miss Millie who told me recently that you picked Mr. Justin out and sent him to me and the kids. If that is true, and it feels oh so true, then thank you for that gift, too. 

Tell JESUS I love Him, and say hello to Bomba and Granny and Papaw Bandy and Aunt Bertia for me. 

As hard as things get sometimes, especially lately, thank you for giving me life. I love you with all of my heart, Mommy, and I will honor you all the days of mine.

Deuteronomy 30:19:
“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” {Thank you, Cousin D!}

 See how much you were adored?


I Have Found the One…

Whom my soul loves. ~Song of Solomon 3:4

This morning, I received the most beautiful photo from my cousin Erica. It was taken at her wedding, and Mr. Justin and I were dancing to “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri.  

A little while later, he sent me this, and I wondered how I ever got so lucky to find someone who loves me so unconditionally for me? And now? He has met me at the most stressful time of my life, and I admittedly am not at my best. Yet, our relationship is so easy and natural that it really does feel like home.


Today would have been my Mom’s birthday, and I am very emotional and feeling a bit under the weather. Mr. Justin came over last night and brought me dinner, and he made sure to bring my favorite snack– chips and onion dip. 

This morning, he took my trash out, fed the animals, made sure I had lunch ready when I needed it, and then held me as I sobbed for my Mommy.

Then he held my hand and prayed for me and for her and for our children and our relationship. 

And I knew this is the kind of love that God always meant for me. 

The Beauty of Baseball

I have been praying for a good male role model to be placed in Mason’s life, and last week the most wonderful thing happened.

One of my former students is now a baseball coach at my high school. He came to me and asked if Mason would like to come to hang out at their practices and games. Yes!

Mason and I randomly stopped in last week just to see if they were practicing, and it turned out they had a make-up game scheduled. Mason was scared at first and did not want to go into the dug out. Then he did and got excited! Next time, he said he wants to bring his glove.

How beautiful is this picture?

It is proof that God answers prayers, that my time in the classroom has paid off and that there are still great people in the world.