Clinton High School Reunion… 30 years.

Half of my hometown’s still hangin’ around
Still talkin’ about that one touchdown
They’re still wearin’ red and black
“Go Bobcats” while the other half
Of my hometown, they all got out
Some went north, some went south
Still lookin’ for a feelin’ half of us ain’t found
So stay or leave, part of me will always be
Half of my hometown. -Kelsea Ballerini

The country club is decked out in red and black, the colors of the Clinton Arrows. In the entrance, there sits a table with name tags. “Whew. That’s a relief.” I say to myself . It has been 20 years since I’ve been to a reunion. At that reunion, our 21 year old was just a toddler and our other two children weren’t a glimmer in our eyes. Most of the class of 1992 were just getting settled in careers, marriages, parenthood, and the like. And here we are twenty years later. A little older. Maybe wiser. Experienced. And middle-aged.

I find my nametag and hand my husband’s to him. The room is already pretty full considering we are a little late. As my eyes adjust to the dim light, I instantly recognize a few people. We exchange hugs and seem to gravitate towards conversations about our children. It’s always about the children, right?When I was in high school, it was about who was dating, what people were driving, wearing, and the like… but my dad has always said that life is the great leveler. I look around and I don’t see cheerleaders or popular athletes. I don’t see “nerds” or the shy, reserved classmates. We all either have careers, kids, spouses, or a combination of these. We probably all wear glasses or contacts, as well. I continue to greet former classmates and apologize to a couple for having to look closely at their name tags.

There is a table that catches my attention. A basket that contains our high school annuals is on one side, but beyond that I see senior portraits that are framed. The boys wear tuxes and the girls wear a black drape. They look timeless, not as if the pictures were taken in 1992. There are eight of these pictures, each illuminated by a single candle. This is the memorial table. These are the friends that have gone on before us these last thirty years. I will always remember them as being eighteen somehow.

A slide show highlights photos of dances, get togethers, parties, pep rallies, graduation, and dozens of other memories. At the time, taking pictures in the parking lot of the high school must have seemed trite, but now these are irreplaceable moments frozen in time. The wall on one side of the country club is covered with some of the same photographs. I see young people with their whole lives ahead of them… the girls with sequined gowns and pouffy hair and the guys sporting tuxes and cumberbunds to match their dates. The kids in the photos hadn’t had to pay bills, worry about children, jobs, health issues, or faced many of life’s hardships yet. But as I look around at all of us thirty years later, I see resilience, strength, and joy.

As the DJs play songs that take us back to simpler times of tight rolled jeans, teased hair, and Thursday night high school bonfires, we all gather outside on the twinkle lit patio to take pictures. The men take a group picture. The women take a group picture. Then we all take one together. I’m reminded of a time when we took these pictures in prom dresses and last day of senior year shirts that everyone signed. It can’t REALLY be 30 years ago that we graduated to real life, can it? But it is. And I’m blindsided with the profound reality that time really DID go by that quickly. We graduated. Grew. Made our own lives. Moved on.

As I take in the faces, sights, and sounds of this night, I almost feel transformed back to my youth. I look at each face and instead of seeing middle age adults that have come together for a few hours of reminiscing, I can still see those young people who had the world just waiting at their fingertips. I see parking lot conversations before school, pep rallies, Sonic runs, Blockbuster rentals, date nights, Jitney Jungle park lot meets, and 1000 other snapshots in time that maybe we just took for granted. We know better now, though. Time and wisdom seem to go hand in hand. And as I return home to the Coast, I know that I take part of my hometown of Clinton with me, too… the black and red. Go Arrows. And to the Class of 1992, all my love and best to you.

My husband and I.

Thank you to all who worked so hard to plan our fabulous 30th reunion. You are appreciated. This blog is dedicated to the memories of our classmates who have left this Earth but remain in our hearts.♥️🖤


We look twelve. Also, my waist isn’t photoshopped because this was back in the Iron Age and no one did that.
A spray tan and giddiness are the best accessories. Charleston was like Disney for people who want peace and quiet.

Not gonna lie. Last year was the Big One. Year 25 to be exact. I’d spent 24 years asking to go to Charleston, South Carolina, and just like a middle-age Cinderella, I got my wish. We planned (I planned) for months. I didn’t know what I was doing, but when we got to Charleston, it was very apparent that my research paid off. It. Was. Heavenly. As I sit here drinking my coffee this morning and contemplating the 324 errands and appointments I have, it makes me wistful. Okay. I’m pouting. I’m not ungrateful. But my “love language” is Quality Time. My husband and I have a hard time finding it. If you see any, feel free to shove it our way. Thanks!

This year is different. NOT bad… just different. We’ve got one that’s grown and flown and we miss him. Our only daughter is about to fly and college preparations have been in full swing. We also have Little Guy and childcare is sometimes hard to come by. I’m a teacher and this is the time I begin going to my classroom. Life is just busy. That’s normal at our stage in life.

If you’re not Laura Ingalls or a 25 year old pop star, don’t bother looking for clothes here.

So what’s a busy couple to do for an anniversary when time is limited? Well, first of all, one must ask the mother in law five minutes before heading to Target if she will babysit Little Guy. Don’t ask ahead of time. Live on the edge. Step two is putting on jeans and a tee shirt previously worn the day before. That’s key. Thirdly, don’t worry about touching up makeup or anything fancy like that. Go to Target, shop mainly for the children whilst discussing doctor’s appointments, then go through Whataburger on the way home. There. Isn’t that nice?

So today we’re celebrating low key. My husband gave me flowers. God gave me a rainbow. And I’ll work on my classroom a little. After all, it IS our anniversary. Gotta save some time for that Yahtzee game with my husband and Little Guy. 💗

A Good Christmas

Five snowmen for the five members of my family… I actually have about twenty of these.

I am not crazy about my Christmas tree this year. I picked it out. Same lot. Same type of tree. Same size. I flocked our tree last year, so I flocked this year’s tree, too. It looks “meh.” The flocking did not stick well. The branches on this tree are leggy, and they have more space between them. I could not hang all my sentimental ornaments because of this. The upside is that the tree looks like we plucked it out of the woods. Like I said, it even has that just snowed on look. It will be a good Christmas anyway.

I am not finished shopping (or wrapping). I think it may be because I gave all my energy to working and other day to day tasks. I usually love to wrap and watch Christmas movies. You know that feeling of looking at the laundry pile but not being motivated to fold it? That is how I feel looking at the rest of my Christmas to/do list. I will finish everything before Christmas and it will be a good Christmas.

I coordinated outfits for weeks, shopped, booked a photographer, coordinated schedules including making sure our oldest was home from college and my husband was not working shifts. Basically, I performed a feat of engineering. The family portraits were perfect and I spent hours poring over Christmas card choices online. The cards never arrived after I ordered them. I am disappointed, but we will still have a good Christmas.

A good Christmas does not have to be perfect. Life is not perfect. But life is good. Have a very merry… and good Christmas.

O Holy Night

I don’t completely trust this ladder.

This is my second attempt at flocking our tree. The Frazier is sitting in our carport. I tried earlier today, but as I sifted the fake snow, it floated away on the wind. It was actually beautiful in the sunlight with the occasional sparkle catching the sun. I abandoned my efforts for more productive activities of blowing bubbles and playing ball with my young son. The task at hand kept pulling at me, however. So tonight l am standing in the carport (much colder now) and trying to complete what I started.


The sounds I hear are few. My little boy laughs out loud at a Christmas movie. Nat King Cole is crooning “O, Holy Night” on my phone that is perched on the ladder. Oh, I also hear an owl. I put down the flocking and shake out my wet hands. Goodness, they are almost numb. Stepping out of the carport, I can hear the nocturnal bird again. I spot some stars and what I believe to be Venus in an almost endless, velvet night sky. Goodness, I am cold. Time to finish this tree.

The Frazier is unique as all trees are. Imperfect, but as the Creator made it to be. Just as we are. A professional could do a lot better work flocking this tree, but I am happy to be serenaded by Mr. Cole and the occasional hoot owl. God is all around in the stars, the cold air, the sounds of the night. And it is Holy.

O Holy Night is my favorite Christmas song. When the busy season becomes too much, this hymn quiets my soul…

Image: Google


Spice drop tree

The first Christmas decoration we got out today was the spice drop tree. Good luck finding spice drops. My daughter found them at Dollar General. They literally have everything. Great store. My mom used to do this same tree with my older two kids. Now we continue the tradition with our youngest. He was very particular about where each color went. Details are important, right?

The next trip to my attic was for the Little People Nativity belonging to my youngest. I also retrieved the wise men from my own Nativity. I used to exclude them because they were not actually with the shepherds when Christ was born. But I am overlooking that detail and including them this year. Why? I guess it has been a challenging year and sometimes details can be overlooked intentionally.

I was not going to put out my extensive collection of loud (by loud, I mean BRIGHT and maybe gaudy) snowmen. Everyone seems to have more traditional collections of Santas and nutcrackers. But these snowmen are fun and happy and add a lighthearted atmosphere to Christmas. I do have two special Santas from my Grandmama. They go in a special place in my living room. I will put the snowmen in the kitchen with some fake snow. I forgot that I am out of fake snow. Maybe Dollar General will have some… I mean, details are important, are they not?♥️

A Santa from my Grandmama


A gift from a friend

There is a sweet, tiny Nativity that I keep on my kitchen windowsill. It stays there all year long. The reason I put it there is because the kitchen is my first stop after getting out of bed every morning. I can look at it as my coffee is brewing. Honestly, it helps me on many mornings when my attitude is less than positive or when I am going through a hard time. I can clean the kitchen and it serves as a reminder that Jesus is always near.

As a fairly pragmatic person, I have never been one to put up Christmas decorations early and I do not watch Hallmark Christmas movies. Oh, I have tried! And I absolutely understand the concept behind these movies. There is always a happy ending and sometimes we need an escape from the otherwise stressful realities of life. If I am truthful, I have to admit that I may have chuckled a time or two when people talk about decorating early or watching these movies. But this year is different.

Riding down Market Street in Pascagoula a week ago, I found myself looking at signs of Christmas everywhere. Never mind that the weather was unseasonably warm. Someone outside Nelson’s Outdoors was hanging Christmas lights. Out of the corner of my eye I spied the glimmer of Christmas mesh adorning the front door of The Menagerie. And on Ingalls Avenue, the tell-tell sign that the Christmas tree lot was about to open were the white string lights hanging in the front of the lot. We had not even eaten turkey, and all signs pointed to Christmas.

When I think about all the early signs of Christmas, I usually get a little jaded. I am personally guilty of stressing and making it less about the birth of the Savior than all the trappings that go along with it. But this year I am trying instead to view these signs as a reminder that Jesus is always near. Christmas is not just a day. Christmas is an attitude. A reason to celebrate…all year long.


God is never silent. For some reason, I either catch a beautiful sunset or rainbow when I’m struggling.

I do not believe in signs from God. Well… let me be more specific. I specifically do not believe in asking God to show signs. God is loud in His own way…in my child’s laugh, the sound of the rain, my older two children talking when my son is home from college, a song at church that moves my soul… He has His own way of showing up.

God is visible. He is visible in the sunset, the promise in a rainbow, a foggy cow field, the photos of my family on my phone, a sunrise, flowers, and butterflies.

At my son’s preschool before I head into work. This view reminds me to not be anxious about my day, but that God is in control.

He is tangible. God is tangible in the tears we sometimes cry, the helping hand from a friend, intercession by prayer warriors, and many more ways to count.

God is love. He is who he says He is. His Word is true. That is more than any sign I will ever need.

I like to think of sun rays as God touching the Earth.

Rocking Chairs

In the corner of the den sits a rocking chair. Seemingly out of place, it’s original home was in my little boy’s room. It is the place I sang “Over the Rainbow” as I had sung it when he was in utero. This rocking chair saw many first stories, the “boon”(moon) out the window as my little baby called it, and too many snuggles to count.

But now he is too big to sit with me in it. So I held him on his bed tonight and rocked him close to me. He was “trying” me earlier, and we both needed a hug. He melted into me the same, but just a little heavier and with twice the curls as he had in the rocking chair which seemed just like yesterday.

Image: Google

There is a rocking chair in the corner of the attic, its reeded seat falling in from rocking two other babies so many years ago. My oldest with the colic and soft, fuzzy head against my neck… we spent many an hour there. He is a future accountant playing college baseball. I have to swallow hard as I write that. My pretty baby girl who would rock if there was a book to be read, resting her olive cheek on me. She is a senior dreaming of college days ahead.

These rocking chairs seem to mock me, reminding me that the years never stop. Sometimes they are more gentle and make me smile at memories that seem fuzzy at times, and at others, could easily be just yesterday. Should be yesterday. The years went by so fast…. I wish I would have slowed down more. The quiet part of the evening is the loudest in my memories and I can almost hear the creak of the rocking chairs as I rock my little ones to sleep.


This is the type of lane I prefer…

“Awesome.” I think to myself. “That looks really fun.” I feel a catch in my throat as I look at the pictures of several women having fun on a beach trip. I am a little surprised and disappointed in myself. Here I am a capable, professional, grown woman. I feel as though I should be past all the social inferences… but, obviously, I still have some work to do. These women are not mean people. They are professionals, moms, wives…and have found good company with each other. I can neither fault them or be upset at them for that. As a wise man once said (my dad, more specifically), “It is what it is.”

It is my humble opinion that God places certain people in our lives at certain times for a specific purpose. Some people are there a short time and some are there for the long haul. There are just some groups of which we are not meant to be a part…. and I refer to this as “staying in our lanes.” This is so much harder in reality. Social media is a place where we shine our brightest and where others’ lives seem to shine even more brightly than our own.

Another way we tend to get out of our lanes is by comparing our lives to others’. There is a beautiful lady I know. She is always put together and her hair is never out of place. I am pretty sure she has a never-ending wardrobe. I have yet to see her get her feathers ruffled. Beautiful, put together, calm… all the things I aspire to be but fall short of so many times…it is hard not for me to compare my own shortcomings to her seemingly successful life. But God did not give me her life. And when I question my OWN worth, I am, once again, not staying in MY lane.

When we focus on being better, doing better, learning new things… and putting ourselves out there, the right people will see that. Be the best version of who God made you to be. Enjoy the ride and stay in your lane.

He Sees

Image: Google

This morning I woke up and could just tell. Aside from the migraine, there was just an undercurrent of an unsettling feeling. You know what I mean…you just know that it is going that be one of “those” days. And I know in a cerebral sense that we can decide to have a good day, but I also know that “stuffing”emotions is not a healthy practice, either. Instead of sunshine and rainbows (and a somewhat clean house), you wake up to a messy kitchen, piles of laundry, and overcast skies… both literally and figuratively.

Have you ever taken a walk outside when the weather is a pleasant temperature and the beeeze is blowing? Through some weird turn of events, this seems to also line up with my family meeting my expectations, bills being promptly paid with money left in the account, and the house looking picked up (with my favorite candle going). All seems right with the world, and I whisper a prayer of gratitude. It is in these moments that I feel God’s presence. See, a clean house, completed checklist in my planner, and good weather give me a false sense of control. Notice I said “false.” We are never really in control, are we? And this is part of my struggle…maybe yours, as well.

So what happens when there seems to be a cloud hovering over us like the little boy in Charlie Brown? Where is God when when life’s sunshine seems to stay hidden behind clouds of anxiety, disappointment, hardship? He sometimes seems far away or silent. This is where we have to reach deep down and find a bit of faith.

I am not one to just open my Bible haphazardly. But I do believe God meets us in our need. And this was the daily verse on my Bible app today. It could not have come at a better time, to be honest. On the outside, I am a wife, mom, friend, and teacher. But a closer look would garner the fact that I struggle with many things. And we ALL do. We just hide it well. But HE sees.

Your struggle with depression… He sees.

The anxiety attacks … He sees.

Your rejection from others when you try to fit in…. He sees.

The striving you do to please everyone… He sees.

Shame from the past…He sees.

Self-condemnation…He sees.

Never-ending housework…He sees.

The stack of bills…He sees.

And He hurts for you. But He is there, nonetheless…even when you do not feel it. See, He never said that feelings were a requirement, only that you have the faith to try. Sit with Him. Pour out your heart. He has grace and mercy waiting for you. He sees you. He hears you, too.