A New GiGi…



My sweet friend Gail has been a GiGi for all of almost three weeks. I, for one, am obsessed with her sweet new granddaughter. Let me just TELL YOU…little Nora is gorgeous. Absolutely. Positively. And blessed beyond words to have been born into such a dear dear family.

Our pal Pam (who is NOT the boss of me) and I decided that we wanted to have a little soiree for GiGi Gail, so this morning the new GiGi, proud aunt Jennifer, and proud great Aunt Dianne joined us for a GiGi brunch. Of course, PINK was the color of the day and after cheese nibbles, cucumber sandwiches, bellinis, quiche, grits, fruit, salad, cake, and coffee, Gail opened a few special gifts to keep at her house for when baby girl comes to visit.

Pam and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and hope that Gail, Jen and Dianne did too.


Decluttering and Tidying Up


You should SEE my office at school. It is so tidy and decluttered. Crazy as it sounds, my mind is feeling more tidy and less cluttered too. I have my bullet journal at home and am developing one for work. Not going for perfection…just functionality. My home journal has my prayer list, gratitude/blessings lists, books I’m reading and those I want to read.  I’m still working on my collections…that’s bullet journal lingo for a list!

Hank is on board with the tidying and decluttering at home. Over the years we’ve cleaned out the homes of four elderly folks. Holy moly…we just kept putting things in the upstairs of the guest house. And downstairs. The closets. So much that it wasn’t possible to use the guest house for it’s intended purpose. Downstairs is good now…all tidy and spiffed up. Upstairs is better but not quite there yet.

Inside the house, the living room is DONE. I thought I’d do a room at the time but it’s not working out that way…but it IS working.  I’ve made great strides in every closet except the one in Lorelai’s old room. Most of the dining room and about a third of the kitchen cabinets and drawers. No rush…my goal for completion of complete decluttering and tidying up is December 31st so I’m feeling real good about the progress.

The one Marie Kondo move that I just can’t make myself warm up to is the part where, when I change my clothes in the evenings I…wait for it…I pat my clothes and shoes lovingly and THANK my clothes and shoes for serving me well on that day. Don’t get me wrong, I am so very grateful but talking to these items just seems a little odd.

I discussed it with Bowman and he agrees that it would be weird.




Inauguration Day



A lot has happened since my last post in September but I felt REALLY compelled to share my thoughts in light of yesterday’s big event. The picture is neither here nor there, except that at 92 years of age, Jimmy Carter was right there yesterday AND I think Jimmy Carter is the bomb diggity. I did not write what is to follow. Maria Shriver did, sometime yesterday. Her sentiments are mine almost exactly. I did not share it directly from her Facebook post because of some of the truly horrible comments left by people whom I, thankfully, do not know.

“I know many of you said you wouldn’t watch the inauguration this morning, but I did. I watched the transfer of power between two presidents — two men — with very different visions, styles, tones and politics. I hoped for a vision of uniting one man’s “we” with the other’s. I hoped for language that would bring the two hands of our country together. I hoped for an inaugural address that would find common language and ignite common dreams. While I didn’t hear that today I acknowledge that perhaps others heard exactly what they were hoping for. The truth is, I really believe we all, at our core, have the same hopes: to live in safety, to raise our children in safety, to give our children a good education that prepares them for a changing world, to have jobs that allow everyone to live with dignity and to grow old with dignity. The “we” of the previous administration is still a part of who we are as a nation. May President Trump find ways to bridge the divide, in language and in deed. As President Trump takes on this position, I pray that the enormity of the job and what he is about to do has sunk in. This is the greatest opportunity of President Trump’s life. I hope he does all that he can to safeguard the lives and freedoms of all of us.”

When you want to make a good first impression…


So you know how much we love Bowman…how obsessed i am about his happiness and well-being.  Yes?  Yes.

We’ve been looking for someone to keep him when we go out of town. We don’t go out of town that often, but still.  I need to know that he is loved and happy. I found a great retired couple who live about 20 minutes away and they came over this afternoon to meet him.


We were like people trying to get their child into THE perfect kindergarten. Good impressions count. I went from work to the chiropractor and then home. Bo and Hank got home from the farm about 20 minutes before the sitters arrived and we got him (Bo, not Hank) brushed and smelling all sweet. I combed his ears and he was OH so handsome.

While we waited, I gave Bo a good pep talk about not getting overly excited and reminded him that he should not jump on people when he meets them because lots of people don’t like that. He’s our little work in progress.

He heard a car drive up. Hank opened the door and I saw the look in Bowman’s eyes. He was getting ready to run out to greet them in grand style. I had my iPad in one hand and was trying to hold Bo back with the other. Then I don’t actually know what happened. Bo was out the door. I was on the floor. The iPad was out on the deck at the feet of the people coming up the back steps. Hank didn’t know whether to go after Bo or see about me. I’m happy to say that he chose me.

To their credit, the sitters did not turn around and drive away. We had a lovely visit and signed Bo up. The minute they left, Hank laughed until he cried. Bowman needs another class at puppy school.

I’m fine, by the way…just might need the chiropractor again sooner rather than later.

So much for first impressions…

My Every 4th Year Election Season Message! And one more much more important item!!

I’m not fond of labels and certainly not fond of propaganda. I’m reasonably smart. I do not believe that everybody I know should agree with me from a political standpoint (that may be fudging the truth…I DO think that everybody should agree with me on EVERYthing but that’s wrong and I’ll continue to pray on it), nor that they are any less smart or intuitive than I just because their politics differ from mine.

And that’s OK. People who know me well know my politics…and that I’m the kind of gal who stands by her convictions. Having said thus, and agreeing that folks surely are entitled to put what they desire on their blogs or Facebook pages, my bottom line is this:

I don’t have time or energy for all sorts of negative dithering about between now and Election Day. If that’s “your deal” then have at it. I’ll see you again on the world wide web later this fall. I’ve got church activities…a bridal shower to throw…football games to watch/attend…tailgate parties to organize…joy and sunshine to spread…and work.

Certainly, I’m always up for good discussion and a respectful exchange of ideas. Not so much the name calling and vitriol.

You vote your conscience and I’ll vote mine. We will not discuss this further.

Now. I am at home. Wish I was in Auburn, Alabama. Next week this time I will be in…



How do you want to be remembered?

One Sunday a  year or so ago, Legare leaned over to me before church started and pointed out a memorial to a church member long gone on to glory. There are a number of such on the walls on both sides of the sanctuary. He remarked that he hoped to be remembered similarly…and I have to agree. I’d like to be remembered this way as well…

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My buddy

In honor of the beginning of a new school year, an old post about a former student!

Dook is a senior in our high school.  He’s a character…a good old boy with a big old heart. He’s a hard worker when doing something he likes,  but NOT a big fan of academic endeavors. Dook and I have an interesting relationship.  Most mornings, if I’m out and about when he walks in, he says, Good morning, Mrs. Southern…I love ya. Sometimes he growls at me like a bear.

For the first few weeks, Dook took his time getting into the school groove and got behind in his work. At that point, I started laying down the law. We had a few rocky weeks. Finally one morning I was OVER it.  Dook loves coming to the office and that particular day he stuck his head in my door about 9 a.m. and declared, Mrs. S…I’m signing out at 1:30.  It was time for some tough love, so I turned in my chair and replied, You know what Dook, why don’t you go on and sign out now.  You’re practically a grown man and if you don’t WANT to do what it takes to graduate in May, I apparently can’t make you. 

He went back to class.

Two days later, my door was closed, so he went to my secretary and said, Will you please go tell Mrs. S. that I’m signing out at 1:00?  She came around the back way to tell me and I replied loudly, No he’s not! I heard a growling sound through the door, but he went back to class and we had four really good weeks.

Around noon today, Dook was at my door.  He started with, Mrs. S…you know I’ve been working really hard on my school work and I haven’t signed out a single time lately.  I’m going to leave now.

Dook, I said, I know you’ve been working hard and I am VERY proud of you, but it’s Friday and school is out at 3:00.  What in the world do you have to do between now and 3:00 that is so important?

Well, he countered pointing to his lower left jaw, these teeth have been bothering me when I eat anything hot or cold so I’m going to the dentist.

(Dook is not a good actor…)

Belle:  What time is your appointment?

Dook:  Well (pause) I don’t exactly have an appointment.  I need to call.

Belle:  Come on over here and use my phone. I don’t think you’re going to get a last minute appointment on a Friday afternoon but if you CAN, I won’t give you any grief about leaving.  I wouldn’t want you to suffer with a toothache all weekend. That would be TERRIBLE!!! I’d worry about you ALL weekend long.

(I, on the other hand CAN act…)

Dook:  Well (pause) I don’t have the number…it’s at home.

Belle (getting tired of the “wells”):  For pete’s sake Dook, what’s the dentist’s name…I’ll look up the number.

Dook (putting his hand on his upper RIGHT jaw):  Mrs. S…I know it’s hard to believe (he looks up at the ceiling) but I can’t remember the name of the dentist.  Besides, I need to make sure it’s OK with my mama if I go.

ME:  Come on and call her. She’ll know the name of the dentist. Get the good word from her and we’ll call for that appointment.

Dook: MRS. S….OK…PLEEEZE let me leave early because I’ve REALLY BEEN WORKING HARD!!!

Belle (all shocked like):  Dook, are you telling me that you do NOT have a toothache????

Dook (looking at the floor):  No ma’am. 

ME:  You almost had me there, pal.  Tell you what…let’s split the difference.  You can sign out at 1:30.

He growled.

I growled back, but I was really smiling inside.  Apparently, Dook has forgotten that, at 18, I can’t MAKE him stay if he really takes a mind to leave. 

At 1:30, I was standing in the hall as he blazed by on his way out of the door.

Dook:  Love ya, Mrs. S

ME:  Right back atcha, Dook. 

That boy is going to get a high school diploma on May 31, and I’m going to be the one handing it to him, probably through tears.  The only person in that room who’ll be more proud will be his mama.

Memory lane…tap dancing through life

I’ve been reminiscing my way through the old blog and there are some posts that I am going to share over here on the new blog. I started the old one in 2007 as Lorelai was starting her senior year in high school and Legare his senior year in college. I pushed through pretty well until both were done with school  If you’re an old blog reader, you may occasionally have a sense of deja-vous.

Back in the day, a dance teacher came from a nearby small town to our even smaller town to give lessons every Wednesday afternoon at the American Legion Hut. She had bright red hair piled up on top of her head and taught it all…ballet, jazz, and tap. As I recall, she wore leotards and bright caftans all the time. My friend, Karen (on the far left) and I (next to her) were in a class with two older girls, Melanie and Evelyn. This particular recital would have been at the end of our second year of lessons. Karen’s mom, our beloved Miss Helen, leaned over to my mother during our dance and exclaimed, “LOOK, Melanie and Evelyn don’t know what they’re doing…they’re not in step with our girls AT all!”

You’ve got to love Miss Helen’s faith in Karen and me…Unfortunately, my daddy had his camera at the ready and the evidence is pretty compelling that as tap dancing through life goes, Karen and I were destined to find another way through.