Sunday, July 5, 2009

Born in the USA!

It was a busy, but great Independence Day. Fireworks, family, friends, and work! Phillip and I worked hard on the deck all weekend. Thanks to Rodney who also helped for a few hours on Saturday. Just wanted to share a few photos taken at Hollis park on Saturday afternoon. I love being at that park. It's so peaceful.

Aunt Darlene makes the best Caramel Cake. She wanted a picture of this one because she says it is the ugliest cake she's ever made. Apparently there was a phone call while cooking the icing. It may have been ugly, but it still tasted good to me!

Kacy and her niece got in a little 'swinging' time.

Cooper enjoyed playing in the rocks with a stick. Wouldn't it be nice if all of us could be entertained with the same simple nature of a 1 year old!

Debbie the 1st is enjoying a little time with the newest addition to the Hollis clan, Devon Perry. Son of Kerri Hollis Perry

Jordan and Allen were enjoying themselves on the 4-wheelers. Jordan is so much like his Daddy when he was young. I kept calling him Little Ken.

Xavier was so cute and so good walking around and watching the bigger kids. And he knows how to get someone to pick him up when he wants. He just asks for a hug. Now who can turn that down!

Kaelyn and Caleb at their favorite place in the park. And of course, Grumpy has to push!

Aunt Beck and Aunt Darlene.

Ely Weakley - Another Little Ken in the making!

The crowd was a bit small this year, but the love, fun, and sharing of stories is still some of the best times we have! Thanks to Judy and her family for hosting the picnic!

Saturday, May 23, 2009


It's been a while since I have made a post, but have something to share today. When I go back to the doctor on June 1st, I have to give him a decision about taking the plate out of my shoulder. My shoulder has been keeping me awake at night and muscle aches, but aside from that, I can use it and do most everything I want to, so it's been a hard decision for me, knowing I will have to be careful with it for another 6 to 8 weeks to avoid re-breaking while the 'screw holes' heal. And knowing there are no guarantees. There could be no improvement. From the beginning, I have had this feeling (trust your gut) that the plate needs to come out, but have been doubting myself lately. For Mother's Day, Michael gave me a book, "A Book of Prayer". Today when I picked it up, I just said, "Okay, God, if there's a message I need today, point me to it." With that I opened the book and the first prayer I saw was entitled "Because He Redeems All Things."

The prayer says, "Lord, I thank you that you are the God of redemption and restoration. Thank You that You are all about taking the imperfect and injecting Your perfection into it. Help me to remember that so I don't give up on situations, relationships, hopes, or dreams just because I think they are unredeemable. Thank You that You love me enough to be my Redeemer."

Since God is the center of my 'gut', I cannot doubt it. My decision is made. Thank you God, for sending me the message that it isn't time yet to accept the limitations. Your work is not finished.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

“This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (New American Standard Bible- Psalm 188:24

Tomorrow marks the beginning of a new year. A year, that promises to be full of change. One of the first events of the year will be the collection of activities which revolve around the swearing in of the 44th President of the United States of America. This year’s Inauguration is known to be one of the most open and accessible in history. The theme for this Inauguration is “Renewing America’s Promise”. President-elect Barack Obama claims a moment in history as not only being elected president, but the first African-American president of the United States. I’ve had some very mixed emotions about Mr. Obama, as the media is full of articles indicating controversial (my opinion) voting. I have heard of many people who did not vote for Obama due to his race and of others who did vote for him based on his race. I personally believe neither of these is a valid reason for casting a vote. I’ve also heard rumors indicating he could be the anti-Christ based on his Muslim association. Putting all of this aside, I will support and respect him unless he does something to indicate I should not. I’m sure I will not agree with many of his decisions (nothing different than any other president), but I will give him my support, starting with the greatest and most powerful support I can give, which is prayer. I am pleased to see that the inaugural ceremony still begins with an Invocation and ends with a Benediction. I know some of the older people in our lives have seen very difficult times in their lifetime, but for most of us this is the worst we have ever seen for our nation. So for not only President Obama, but for all of our political representatives, and for every citizen, I pray for peace, health, and prosperity. And a special prayer for our military, who disrupt the lives of themselves and their families, to give us the freedoms we enjoy. So lift your glasses for a toast for a great year ahead. Please be safe and responsible as you celebrate the arrival of the New Year. God bless you all!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I Believe!

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord………………………

I believe in prayer……………….

I believe in family.……………….

Do I believe in Santa Claus? I believe in the love and generosity of people. I believe that the true measure of giving is to give anonymously. So, yes, I believe in Santa. I also recognize that without the love of Jesus Christ, there would be no spirit of giving and consequently no “Santa”.

This Christmas saw the end of a long time tradition and the beginning of a new one. You see every year since my birth, I have spent Christmas morning with my parents, my brother, and as our family grew, my children, niece, grandchildren, and great-nephew (and all the spouses along the way). This was the first year ever my whole family wasn’t gathered for breakfast on Christmas morning. I would be telling less than the truth if I said I wasn’t affected by the absence of part of my family. But I’m so thankful that I had yet one more Christmas breakfast with both my parents and most of our family. And that the family who was absent on that morning were safe in their new home starting a new tradition. Christmas morning at my house was still exciting and I shared a a great time of giving and receiving with family. The season was extended a bit through the weekend when I got to share and celebrate with the rest of the family.

This has been an emotional year. Phillip and I had our well-known accident, Chris and Michael lost their birth father, and I had another surgery in November. Our country’s economy is the worst ever in my life time causing loss of jobs, failure of banks and businesses, and an overall ‘fear’ amongst the people. I’ve had moments of extremely high faith and times when I have struggled, wondering why? But, by the grace of God, my faith still pulls me through. I am reminded the important thing is health and happiness for all of us.

The year was not all about struggle and sadness. Phillip and I had a great vacation in July with friends from both near and far. Michael accepted a job change which has put him in a successful and happy work environment. He, Jessica, and Reed have settled in a beautiful home on top of Signal Mountain and are expecting the addition of Molly Ruth in the spring. Despite the great disappointment of losing a dad they never really had, Chris and Michael have a renewed vow to be the best Dad they can be to their children (as they are). Chris and Regina continue to be successful in their chosen careers and Kaelyn has finished the first half of her Kindergarten year quite impressively. She has such a desire to learn. Whenever we ride in the car, she just wants me to give her math, spelling, or phonics quizzes. Caleb continues to be the most loving little boy in the world and always brings a smile to my heart.

The little ones are growing up so fast and I am so proud to be their Gramma. It isn’t always easy to be Gramma, especially when your advice is not desired. I remember when Kaelyn was first born. Settling in to that position of Gramma was sometimes difficult until I had a heart to heart with Regina one day. She has mentioned this again to me recently. She remembers the day I told her, I understood my place. She was the mom and ultimately the one making decisions. I only wanted to be allowed to love, show them off, and help in the care. She shared that it was on that day she realized, that grandparents and great-grandparents are there to help, not someone to resist. We weren’t trying to control or take her role, just help, offering advice gained from experience. After all, I must have done something right, she did choose and marry a son I raised. Now my challenge is learning how to be a good long distance Gramma. I am still struggling a bit to find my place. I’m having to learn a whole new way of being Gramma which doesn’t come so naturally to me. But I do know that I love Reed with all of my heart and as long as what I do is done with love and good intentions, it will be okay in the end. So as a close, I have borrowed a segment from a prayer written by Deborah A. Pringle and is entitled, “Grammie’s Prayer”.

Dear Lord I Pray: That each Grandparent be a nurturing role model, that each Grandparent be able to share their life experiences in a way that will have a positive effect on their grandchildren, that each grandparent find the time and energy to connect with their grandchild, that each grandparent possess patience, understanding and kindness for their grandchildren, that each grandparent have the wisdom to know when to intervene and when to let the parents handle the rearing of their grandchild, that each grandparent respect their children's wishes where their grandchild is concerned, that each grandparent be able to provide a safe haven for their grandchild whenever necessary, that each grandparent be blessed with a long healthy life, allowing them to guide their grandchildren on the right path to adulthood, as You My Lord have shown them.

Amen and Amen.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Romance is Alive and Well!

.....At least it is at the Cadillac Theater in Chicago! In 1987, Patrick Swayze danced into the hearts of females of all ages. Yesterday, Regina, Cassie (Regina's friend) and myself danced our way (using trains, planes, and automobiles) into Chicago and retreated into a dream world while watching the Broadway Musical of "Dirty Dancing". Josef Brown, who played Johnny Castle, wasn't Patrick Swayze, but he still aroused those fantasies that live inside of every female (no matter what the age). I've often heard of folks who fly to some city to go shopping or some other event for a day, but never saw myself as one of those people. Well, I loved it. Stepping outside my safety zone proved to be a refreshing, fun, exciting, and exhausting day. Was it worth it? Absolutely. It was worth the bumpy flight because of weather, the cab ride through downtown Chicago, and the subway ride (initially by mistake taken towards Harlem instead of the airport) back to the airport. Today it was back to work, but for yesterday, it was "the time of my life". I recommend it to anyone. And if the timing is right, you just might convince me to do it again! Thanks to Regina for making all of the arrangements and allowing her "old mother-in-law" to tag along.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Family Time

Last weekend, Mama, Daddy, Phillip, and me took a quick trip up to Illinois to visit with family. I remember many childhood trips to Peoria to visit my Aunt Jean, Uncle Buddy, Pam, and Tom. Lots of years have passed, but I was still just as excited to see everyone. Maybe even more than when I was a child. I have so many great childhood memories that evolved around either us going to Peoria or Aunt Jean and family coming home to Tennessee. Well Uncle Buddy doesn't race cars anymore and the whole family (except Tom) has moved to the country. Tom and Cheryl (sorry if I didn't spell correctly) live in the old family home in Peoria. Mike, Pam, Aunt Jean, and Uncle Buddy have moved to a little area called Trivoli tucked neatly in between massive corn fields. Driving down the road to their houses reminded me of going down to my grandparent's house in the old days. This place is the answer to Mike and Pam's dreams (except it's not in Tennessee). They have such a nice place and Aunt Jean and Uncle Buddy are conveniently nestled right next door.

Phillip and me slipped away one day and headed off to Oak Lawn just outside of Chicago to visit with his Uncle Harlon. It was a great time. Uncle Harlon was so happy to see Phillip again.

Be sure and check out our photo album.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Reunions & Memories

Labor Day Weekend, we had the Hollis family reunion. Many years ago, (even I can't remember exactly when) the Hollis' began a tradition of gathering every year in September. The first I remember of the reunions began as a celebration of my grandfather's, Henry Ervin Hollis, birthday. It was held for many years at the old "Miller Clubhouse" and later moved to the front yard of my grandparent's home. My dad is one of 9 children. One sister died at a very young age. As I grew up, my aunts and uncles were like having 8 more moms and dads. And all of my first cousins were and still are very close. For those of you who don't have cousins you are close with, you just don't know what you are missing. And the older I get, the more precious they become. Only my Dad and Aunt Darlene are still with us and this reunion means a great deal to them, so the tradition continues. On Saturday, only spouses and descendents of my dad and his sibblings get together for a cookout, ice cream, and games. Then on Sunday, all of my Dad's cousins and their descendents join the crowd. After leaving my grandparents house, we had many reunions at Cheatham Dam. We moved around a bit as things changed over the years, but all still remembered fondly the times at Cheatham, so this year we moved back there. I didn't get as many pictures as normal, just couldn't seem to get it together, but above is the picture of our immediate family taken on Sunday. Probably not the most flattering shot (hot, dirty, and tired), but one my Dad is sure proud of. He loves bragging about his grandkids and especially the great-grandkids. My Dad has promised to ride his bicycle through Henrietta on his 100th birthday and I remind him quite often that I'm holding him to his promise. And I expect my Aunt Darlene to be there cheering him on! See link on side for more photos!