Sweetest Man

With the start of the new school year and a HUGE promotion for Mista Justin, we are hard pressed for time. Every second we spend together is like gold.

Last week, he took an hour out of his busy schedule to come up and take me to lunch. I adore meeting him at our spot and walking in to see him sitting handsomely at the table with my perfectly chosen meal waiting for my arrival. He still gives me butterflies and I suspect he always will.

When I got back to my classroom, I had this precious treat waiting for me.

“My Family” by Miss Julia

My sweet little one had to draw a picture of her family for school. Listening to Hillsong United on Pandora, Miss Julia suddenly blared out the full song lyrics to “One Thing Remains” by Soul Survivor.

She sat down at the table and started her family portrait by drawing hearts and crosses.

Then she drew JESUS. He’s the largest part of our family. She even drew the holes in His hands where the nails were. He is her Heavenly Father, and I hope she knows with all her heart and soul that He will never fail her, abandon her, let her down, or leave her broken.

One thing remains. Yes, one thing remains.

Your love never fails,

Never gives up,

Never runs out on me.

Beside JESUS, she drew herself, Mason and me. I’m short. Praise the Lord, JESUS is bigger than me!

Miss Julia made sure to add a note that says, “I love you JESUS.” And I cried as I watched her work. Her heart praises Him in so many ways, each day of her life. Bless her precious soul.

I told her, “Miss Julia, you have a good heart.” She responded confidently, “Of course I do! I love GOD!!”

“I Am Special Because…”

For her first week’s homework assignment, Miss Julia had to fill out an “about you” worksheet. Her answers blew me away.

I am special because: JESUS loves me with his heart.

My one wish would be: Being with JESUS the rest of my life… And being with my mom. 

She also had to decorate a cowgirl hat to show to her class. Is it strange that hers resembles a Kentucky Derby bonnet more?

Second Day of School!!!

I was so excited to get the kids all dressed up and ready for their second day of school. They have to catch a shuttle bus from my school to theirs, and I was thrilled to put Miss Julia on her first bus ride with our wonderful driver, Mr. Dickey. That man is a SAINT and should be awarded every metal there is to offer for public service.

Miss Julia is my “American Honey.” I used to play that song non-stop when I was pregnant with her, walking around Lake Ella on my lunch breaks. I have recently shared that with her, so that is now one of our songs. For her first day school from my house, she wore a blouse and skirt by Polo, Keds, and a burlap hair bow from my friends at Abby & Taylor Boutique. She got to pick out her own book bag and lunch box from Pottery Barn Kids and, of course, she chose a ballerina theme.

Mason wore a green Nautica shirt that Mr. Justin bought him. Green is his school color, so he decided it was the best choice. He picked out a Spider Man back pack to match his lunch box from last year, and he refused to let me buy him a new one. He is so sentimental and will keep things until they are falling apart, sweet boy.

Mason was excited to help “Little Wissy” get on the bus, and she was too cute boarding it. She is fearless! And Mason is so grown. Look how tall he is compared to her.

First Day of School!!!

Regrettably, I did not have the kids on the first day of school.  Miss Julia was terrified, so I was really emotional, worrying about her. Their dad nicely sent me pictures later in the morning, which helped calm me.

These are not new school clothes, as you will probably recognize from previous photos I’ve posted. Growing up, we always got new clothes for the first week of school and, on the first day, we wore our Sunday Best. Is that a Southern thing??

Here is Mason on his first day of 1st grade:

And here is Miss Julia on her first day of kindergarten:

Thank goodness, Miss Ashleigh met the kids at school for me and made sure they were settled in nicely. She waited with Miss Julia on the playground and helped her carry her oversized back pack, filled with supplies, to her new classroom. Please ignore the fact that Miss Julia’s hair ribbons clash with her dress. My Southern Mommy heart broke when I saw that fashion faux pas. But that grin!! She puts her tongue against her teeth like I do, which makes me proud.

I picked the kids up, and they were so excited about their days. They both loved their teachers and did wonderfully! I brought Miss Julia roses to congratulate her.

And Mr. Justin bought her a ring with an apple on it.

Mason got a new Lego, which he built all by himself that night. He was so proud of his ability to do it on his own. He requested Sweet Frog, which I happily complied with. Frozen Yogurt is now our first day of school tradition.

Art & Soul by Jennifer Ward

This summer, my friend Danna got married and, of course, I changed my name. So, we needed new door signs for our classrooms. We decided to get together with Kaitlin and have a girls’ night at an Art & Soul class hosted by my friend, Jennifer Ward. Jennifer used to live in Monticello, then moved to Thomasville, where her daughter takes ballet at Miss Julia’s former school. She’s super sweet and talented. She hosts the class at Butler’s on Broad, and the price is comparable to that of Painting With a Twist.  Kaitlin’s mom, Miss Lori, joined us, and we picked up to-go treats from Sweet Grass Dairy to snack on while we worked.

Side note: I feel so very grateful to live near Sweet Grass!

As for the class, Jennifer cuts the signs herself and provides all the materials. However, she does not provide step-by-step instructions. Instead, she helps you decorate on your own and even cleans up some messes.

We had so much fun! The other women were so friendly and nice. We had the country music blaring, and we all just gabbed away South Georgia-style.

I love how mine turned out! One of my favorite memories is of walking through a flower covered field on Button Knob in Casey County, Kentucky, one night with my Daddy while we were visiting family with Bomba. Fire flies were everywhere, and I had never seen anything more beautiful. I thought of that experience as I painted.