Courage 2016

Dear John Michael,

This October I want to focus on some very courageous people I’ve been blessed to cross paths with this last nine months. Some are old friends; some are new friends; some are family; some are people I don’t know well, but whose path suddenly veered on mine. I’ve heard someone say and I truly believe it… There are no chance encounters in this world.

When I think of courage, my thoughts automatically turn to you as you are the embodiment of courage in my mind. I’ve spoken so many times about the year you were in 4th grade – waiting to go into the school for a “reading lock-in.” I dropped you off – then as I watched several boys scuffling not far from where you were standing, you stood alone – anxious to read all night, and so secure in standing, following the instructions to stay in that one place. My thoughts rushed to me – “it takes a lot of courage to stand alone.” And, stand alone, is something we all have to do at certain moments in our life.

“It takes a lot of courage to grow up and become you really are” e.e. cummings

So who crossed my path?
• Neighbors who loved us no matter what was happening
• An elderly widow who stepped out on faith for us
• Friends texting, emailing, and calling to see how we were, never ceasing
• New friends who didn’t really know us, but who loved us anyway, praying without ceasing
• New friends who became life-long friends… Now joined by “ties that bind”

It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up for our friends.”

• A mother picking out flowers for her son’s service – I volunteered to deliver the flowers to the church as she was from out of town and didn’t know how they would get there
• A mother sharing about her son’s 4-wheeler accident that took his life a year ago.
• A young girl picking out flowers for her mother’s funeral, with all the planning left to her as she was the oldest child – just 19 years old herself, but picking out each flower that she thought would make her mother smile
• A mother and daddy planning their only child’s service – their son. Too close to my heart this was….

The most painful moments and memories eventually lead to the greatest strengths and growth in life.” ― Kemi Sogunle
I am humbled by all the courage I’ve had the privilege of seeing … And, the common thread is that it’s courage wrapped in relationships. Last week, as Dad and I began listing all the positive things that had happened in our lives the past year, relationships kept coming to us… Relationships with our friends, with our family, with each other, and, most of all, with God; we are truly blessed.

One more year without you… does time heal…does time make it easier? No, but time does allow relationships to grow and new relationships to join our journey.

Courage to love, courage to live, courage to die…. Your courage sustains us.

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
We love you, our baby doll,

Your mama and daddy

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Happy Birthday 2015

Dear John Michael,

I just received a phone call from Grandma….. she wanted to read me a card you had sent her. For some reason, it suddenly appeared in a drawer she had opened. The postmark was July 1999. You were writing it in the car, telling her we were on our way to an ice hockey camp in Minnesota, but were traveling through Wisconsin getting ready to stop at a “cheese place.” You went on to tell her we had hooked up a tv in the suburban so you and Will Rivard (“a cool friend”) could watch movies on the trip. You were telling her and Papa about the mission trip you had just returned from in the Appalachians – said you were staying in Tennessee, doing Vacation Bible Schools in Virginia and eating in Kentucky “how neat” – and, all about the friends you had met there. You described the place you were staying in how it wasn’t very clean, but every day you would drive for Vacation Bible School – your group had gone to church on Sunday at a church so small that the offering was only $15 – and, you sure hoped to go back next year.

The best of all about this card was that you said it was July 22 and in only five more days it would be your birthday!

Coincidence…. I don’t think so. She went on to say after she read it, she looked up at the television and a scary movie was coming on (and, you know you liked to watch scary movies with her). Coincidence…. I don’t think so. A reminder of how special you were – always wanting to do something for those less fortunate – and, how you loved your Grandma and Papa so much.

I’ve been so brave today… no tears. And, I usually have tears every morning for you. But now, they stream down my face.

You were the best thing that ever came into my life. I loved you more than life itself – and, still do. I can still see every freckle, every mole and place them on your body in the exact place. To hold your hand again, to rub your feet again, to scratch your back again, to hear you say, “that’s my mama” again…. To hear you laugh just one more time.

Some day, Dad and I will be with you again. For now, I hold you tightly in my mind and heart. Your spirit surrounds me.


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Happy 30th Birthday

July 26, 2014

Thirty years ago, Skip and I sat, or rather he sat, and I propped myself up in a hospital bed, waiting for the birth of our baby. I say baby, because we didn’t know if he would be a girl or a boy…. really expecting a girl. At noon, Skip changed the channel to All My Children – he had just returned from Braum’s with cheeseburgers and shakes for the nursing staff and us. Stillwater Medical Center surely hasn’t forgotten us – for a week we had been there and eating quite well – and, sharing our food with all.

This is our fifth summer to celebrate John Michael’s birthday without him…… as I have written in previous blogs, birthdays were always a celebration – I can remember every cake, every party, and every person who attended – all the way back to his first. I started this countdown two weeks ago….. making homemade salsa – his favorite and then going to the movies – yes, a Disney movie ☺. So, tomorrow, we will do what we would have done if he were right here with us…. Go to church, eat a great Sunday dinner, and watch a movie. For our greatest times were those we three spent together.

Dear John Michael,

You loved celebrations! So thankful that we made any occasion a celebration, whether it was hanging out at home or traveling on a special vacation. Last week, I just know you were chuckling…. At a cemetery board meeting discussing the mowing and upkeep, I became just a little heated, speaking up about the sacredness of cemeteries and the responsibility we all have to keep them looking nice for anyone seeking peace – I even suggested the board take a “field trip to the cemetery” – so, there the board went – and, patiently listened as I talked passionately about what needed to be done. On our way home, Dad and I talked about how we just knew you were listening and laughing as you know I spent 25 years being passionate about everything you did – and, I was never at a loss for words to share my thoughts with anyone!  You would just say, “that’s my mama!”

So, tomorrow, we will head to church as up until the day you left us, you always found peace in the words of our Lord. You loved Sunday School – even in high school. You sought peace in your last days from the prayers of many, including the pastor who visited you every single morning while in the hospital. And, it is your peace that we draw our strength each and every day, but especially today and tomorrow as we remember the best day of our lives……. the day you were born – the best gift we will ever receive besides the day when we are taken from this life to join you in Heaven. Love, your mama


JM bench pic

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“This is the day that the Lord has made; rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Four years have now past since John Michael left.  Labor Day week, four years ago, I drove him to the emergency room, never imagining that it would his last day to spend a night outside of a hospital.  September comes……….I feel this weight drop on my shoulders, slowly making it’s way through my body, thinking this pain is just as raw as it was four years ago.  Suddenly, a song flows through me, soothing the pain, removing the weight.  Over 20 years ago, I bought a picture with Psalm 118:24 woven through it; the picture hung in my bedroom above my lingerie chest no matter where we lived or placed that chest.  Every time I would look at it, I would be reminded of those words put to music that we had sung in church so many times. So, how amazing that those same words would bring me peace and joy – and, remind me that October 11 – no matter what year it may be – is the day the Lord has made.  And, while my darkest day was October 11, 2009, it was John Michael’s most beautiful day.

Dear John Michael,

Every day, I miss you more.  I replay your voice in my mind each morning, as I never want to forget the sound – especially your laugh.  Four years……may I always be mindful of how blessed I was for 25 years and to live every day honoring the joy you still bring to me.


 Your Mama

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Cemetery Board

Two weeks ago, I was driving to Clayton to a cemetery board meeting….thinking “why did I volunteer for this?” Then, it occurred to me, “why not?” Some of my best memories of being a mom were volunteering to help with something John Michael was involved in….

Wyomissing, Pennsylvania: when no one else would volunteer, I said “yes” to being the Cub Scout Den Mom (only if moms would take turns each month helping me) – many thanks especially to Kathy Everline, who helped at almost every meeting. I fondly remember making dirt cake at the Everline’s after a meeting. I still have the recipe in John Michael’s handwriting. I’ll never forget though that Skip was supposed take the boys to Day Camp – something came up at Walmart, so off I went. Up in the woods north of Berks County, our first task was a scavenger hunt. On the list were mosquito eyeballs, a salamander, and a hemlock cone (state tree of PA, but I had didn’t know what one looked like). WE DID NOT WIN! Add to this list in Pennsylvania was soccer mom, baseball mom, and volunteer mom at Wyomissing Elementary School.

Moving to Tennessee and Kentucky, I soon added Webelo leader, 4-H leader, and Sunday School teacher. I’ll never forget going to 4-H Camp with 4th grade boys and girls! Beautiful camp grounds outside of Columbia, Tennessee….I had committed to teaching summer school at Dickson County High School, so I would get up early, drive back to Dickson, teach until noon and drive back to camp, do my leader duties, and spend the night trying to keep all the girls quiet.

As John Michael got older, I moved up with him…… chauffeuring the golf team to summer camp, chauffeuring JM to help little kids with ice hockey, traveling to Minnesota to hockey camp, cheering at football games, taking refreshments to ice hockey games, and, some of the best times….. accompanying the high school youth group on ski trips.

My last “job” was sharing the title with Skip as co-presidents of The University of Oklahoma’s Parent Association….

So, why would it not be fitting for me to take on the Cemetery Board…..ensuring that the hallowed ground of Stephens’ Cemetery is looked after with care and love. John Michael would expect nothing less of his mama.

Dear John Michael,

Nothing gives more pleasure these days than watching your daddy take care of the resting place of your beautiful body. He takes such care as he mows and weedeats, then cleans the Blair and now Gore monuments. I know that you are watching as we visit the peaceful surroundings of the Kiamichi Mountains and Potato Hills – we feel your presence with us. Your Aunt Karen and I will serve proudly in yours and PaPa’s honor.

Your Mama

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Three Years

Three minutes…….John Michael, the peaceful look on  your face will forever be embedded in my heart.  That smile….beautiful smile of when you took the hand of Jesus

 Three hours…… hand in hand, Skip and I took our longest walk through the hallways of Baptist Hospital, to the car, and drove home in silence, knowing so many decisions were ahead of us

 Three days……so many decisions came naturally because of our family who walked beside us and our Heavenly Father who carried us – planning for a celebration of John Michael’s life and the joy he brought to us every single day

 Three months……our hearts are broken, will they ever be the same – Lord, why didn’t you take me, not him

 The Cross….. It took three days for a wooden cross to take on a new meaning…..of hope, of grace, of love, of joy, of life.

I remember reading a book, maybe 15 years ago that talked about how much those three days symbolize how we must look at any trials and tribulations that come our way.  The author said to never make any major decision without waiting three days or when sadness comes your way, wait three days for the cloud to rise….and, maybe three years. This past spring one of our pastor’s sermon was from the book of John, where Jesus was preparing his disciples for the future.  This made me think of all the ways God prepared me for losing John Michael; I just didn’t know it at the time.  I love to read anything….. but, a few books have left an indelible mark on my soul:  Christy, where Catherine Marshall has Christy’s heart broken with the death of Fairlight Spencer, a beautiful soul; Why Bad Things Happen to Good People, a Rabbi searches for answers after his son’s death; Death be not Proud, a mother and father’s true story of losing their son; Journey through Heartstrings, the true story of ten year old Mattie as he shares his journey towards  death through his poetry; and, then The Shack, where a father tries to make sense of the brutal death of his daughter.  All stories about a devastating loss and heartbreak, but yet stories of faith and hope.

For several months now, I have had the best intentions of continuing with my blog…..but, my goal to be inspirational just wasn’t happening.  My thoughts were swirling, but words on paper wouldn’t flow as the thoughts kept turning to the hurt in my heart.  I remember late fall and early winter several people commenting to me how they admired how I was able to work through the pain and share with others the hope that emerged.  I went through a few weeks thinking, I don’t want to be that person who others look to for how to overcome the pain of losing a child and move on………wanting to shout “The pain is as deep today as it was the first – I’ll never heal.”

But, last month, I looked at Skip and told him that my heart, though hurting, was slowly letting joy to enter – and, I felt guilty.  Skip, in his always-wise way, said – “Just think of the joy John Michael’s feeling now.”  So, as we reach the third year, the tears still flow every morning…..but, they are now just not tears of sadness, but intertwined with tears of joy….joy that I was so blessed with the gift of John Michael and am now so blessed because of the wonderful memories I have…and, the hope that was given to me when I said that final goodbye.

Three years……every step we take, John Michael takes with us; every laugh, he laughs with us; and, in every breath we take, he gives thanks with us for a glorious life, not only here on earth, but the one we will again share together.

 “If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”

A.A. Milne

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Countdown to October 11, 2012

Countdown to October 11, 2012……. So many people through the years have touched our lives, but today I give thanks for those who were there during the darkest week….

  • Kathy (Norsworthy) and Linda (Alsup), for coming when I called…..and staying through the night
  • Melody (Himes) for spending that last day with him in intensive care – I know you were praying …. seeing you and your mother come by the next morning made us smile
  • Mandy (Hillhouse), for calling Linda (Haselwood) for dinner, making keys, checking in on us, answering the phone in the wee hours of October 11th
  • Linda (Haselwood), for delivering dinner – manicotti and brownies
  • Linda (Haselwood), Anna (Looper), Mandy (Hillhouse), April (Humphrey), Suzanne (Brown) and Sabra, for unpacking our “goods” and having our house look like it belonged in Southern Living when we arrived — and, Billy (Brown) for hanging all the pictures – I know you were in the middle of football season
  • Suzanne (Brown), for finding Cubbins, the hockey sticks, and boots….definitely led by the Holy Spirit to find everything that “was” John Michael
  • Suzanne, Theresa (Dame) and Billye Sue (Hatch)…..I thought nothing could touch John Michael’s memorial table to greet all the visitors and family, until I walked into the church where another memorial table was surrounded by candles
  • For all of you waiting on us as we drove into Clayton at my mother’s home with food and love….I dreaded stepping out of the car, but then saw so many who loved us….Byron and Gertrude Bohanon, Nita Hairrell, Laconia, and so many others
  • Linda (Tallman) and Martha (Tallman) …for coming all the way from Tennessee – what a beautiful sight to see your faces that evening as you joined the family dinner
  • The Holt family and Mary Beth Sneed…also making that long trip from Tennessee – you too loved JM so much
  • Dr. Debi…..calling me every single day of those 8 weeks and then several times a day afterwards
  • Dear Lindsey….. your beautiful letter of love and comfort – he loved you so
  • My dear Arden….JM’s soulmate, teacher, and friend….and the touching eulogy
  • The many, many friends of John Michael for being there for him..and, us
  • Our many friends and colleagues from Shawnee
  • Our many “old” friends from when we were “young”
  • Marilyn, Charles, and Christopher Dorsey (one of JM’s first best friends from Kindergarten and 1st grade)
  • First Baptist Church…… the first church JM called home…thank you to all who cooked for us, prayed for us, and loved us
  • Dottie and Todd….coming every night and having a wonderful service for us
  • Many, many others who prayed for us, sent us messages of love and memories of John Michael
  • Our family
    • Jim and Cassidy – for being with JM that afternoon, and then being with us every day as we prepared for the service
    • Tracy – thank you for the website, a comfort to hear from so many who loved John Michael
    • Karen, Dusty, and Blair – for rushing to our side and never leaving us that whole week – Dusty, I’ll never forget you cooking our breakfast each morning and then helping Skip clean our place at the cemetery, making the dreaded trip to the funeral home and flower shop
    • Ramona, you smelled so wonderful when you showed up at the hospital – I know John Michael could smell you and hear your voice
    • Jessi, for rushing to the hospital to be with JM and us
    • Val, I don’t know how you got a flight out so quickly from Nashville.  And, then driving us to Clayton as we knew we couldn’t let John Michael get there without us being there, also
    • Sara Jane, rushing from Canada, across the border and down to NYC to catch your plane in the middle of the night
    • John and Heidi, for coming so quickly
    • Pat, Joe, and Butch, for he loved all of his family
    • That night
      • Kathy, Linda, Karen, Dusty, Blair, Jessi, Val, Ramona……..his last hours, you were with us…… as we said goodbye
      • The Service
        • To so many Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania friends……thank you for being there with us
        • Our Shawnee family from Horace Mann, Shawnee Middle School (Pam for bringing Jerry) and my office…Marilyn, Steve, Allison, Anna, Sabra
        • So many near and distant friends praying for us, especially on this day
        • Our family……. Because of you, the service was so beautiful..John Michael was smiling as Karen, Mother, Valerie, Jim and John sang the words that touched us all…..and SJ as you read the cousin memories.
        • It was a perfect day…..

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do

October 7, 2012

everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  Colossians 3:15-17

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The Cross that Skip Built

The Cross that Skip Built

Last year when I began this blog, I just knew that I would spend the year thanking everyone who had touched John Michael’s life…….what  a lofty goal that was.  But, perhaps my journey was meant to take longer, winding through the days of recovery, finding my way through the strands of my broken heart, allowing me to reflect, pray, and open my life to blessings that will allow me to see what a wonderful world it is, filled with more people to thank and be thankful for……

My plans were to use this day to remember those final hours, but my journey has taken me somewhere else…..this day will be to share how God works so perfectly in our lives….when we least expect it.

The Cross….I read somewhere about the significance of the last three days of Jesus’ life before the resurrection…….our blessing this past week was trifold.  First, Skip went to visit the cemetery and discovered wild flowers growing in front of JM’s stone, in the shape of a perfect heart – what an awesome message from John Michael to us……sending his love to us.  Second, I was in the flower shop choosing flowers for this week when I saw a tarnished bracelet among the other jewelry.  I asked to see it – a small sterling silver bracelet with a heart attached, with the message “It is love, not reason, is stronger than death.”  I bought it, shined it and wear it today, along with my prayer box necklace holding JM’s baby teeth.  Our third blessing came when Skip broke the cross that holds the flowers next to JM’s stone……..last weekend, Skip, Blair, Hayley, and I walked out towards the pond where Skip found a small cedar tree that he cut down, honed the ends, and nailed together for a new cross….so healing to watch as he worked on the cross and then planted last Sunday….which takes me to the story of the cross in JM’s journey to Heaven.  My brother had asked his former pastor to stop by and visit JM in the hospital.  The first Sunday JM was at Baptist, the pastor’s father came by.  An elderly gentleman, he bypassed me as though he only had eyes for JM.  I so vividly remember watching John Michael sitting on the edge of the bed, his eyes also locked on this man holding a Bible who said, I’m going to provide church for you today.  After he had “preached” and said a prayer, he began singing “The Old Rugged Cross.”  I quickly thought to myself why would he choose that depressing song……..was I ever wrong.  John Michael and this gentleman looked as if they were the only people in the room – and, JM had this angelic look on his face as though he had just seen Jesus.  I guess this resonates so much because as I watched Skip cut down that cedar tree – and, then nail it together, another message was being silently preached – one of hope and love that all things do work for God’s purpose – the puzzle pieces we don’t understand make perfect sense to Him – and, it is only through our faith that the end result is revealed to us.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.


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Skip and I made our 21st move in 31 years this past summer.  Without any hesitation in my thinking, I know God orchestrated this move. He has listened to so many prayers that friends and family have offered up to Him – and, He answered.

Many years ago, a pastor in Ft Collins, Colorado, told me….wherever you go, live as though you will be there the rest of your life.  Reluctantly, I took the first step in following his advice, but found out soon our joy came from that attitude.  So many people have touched our lives in all those moves – our lives are so much richer because of them.

But, this move was different… was made without John Michael.  A couple of months ago, I thought I had made it through the pain of packing all of his belongings.  I told myself I would go through everything at a later date, but some things, I can’t keep packed away.  So……my heart was tugged again as I began unpacking a few of these boxes as some things I must keep close to me… the drawers of my dresser and armoire, beautiful reminders somehow keep him close to me, so……

Dear John Michael,

Last weekend, I told Dad, “He was such a pack rat.”  And, he replied, “I wonder whom he got that from.”  I could say your Grandma Ramona because we all know she still has those “special shoes, purses, and jewelry” from many years back.  But, I know Dad is talking about me as I never discouraged your desire to keep every souvenir, keepsake, book or letter you acquired.

But, just the little things I unpacked again last weekend…..all your pocketknives, your wallet, your watches – insane for someone to have that many, and how many pair of nail clippers did you have???  So, I’ve gathered these items and placed them in that box that Grandma Patty gave me – or, was it for dad – but, you took it over and loved to place valuables in it.  Your baby teeth are in my jewelry box  – except for the one I placed in a special prayer box locket that Sabra gave me, for when I wear it, your heart touches mine. 

My dear son, I know you would want us to be happy with this move, because you taught us how to find the good in every situation and every person, no matter where we are.  So, although I sometimes feel guilty about life being so good for us here, I hear your voice saying, “that’s why I love you momma and I wouldn’t expect anything else from you and Dad.”

And, by the way, thank you for being a packrat………your treasures give us comfort.

Love you, my baby.

And, to those who walk with us on our journey, we are blessed to have you in our life; we hope you rejoice with us in our love of John Michael – for your prayers to give us strength and courage sustain us…and, most of all, allow us to continue John Michael’s legacy.

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.

Psalm 23:6

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Beautiful Baby

I’ve had so many thoughts going through my mind about my next blog….and, hoped that there would have been several before this date.  But this morning my first thought was where I was on this date in 1984.  How cool was it that my brother’s wife Ramona and I were both pregnant at the same time, although JM was due the middle of July and Jessi not until September.  Jim had graduated from OSU that May and had just begun his new job with Price Waterhouse in OKC.  Ramona, taking summer classes at OSU, would stay in Stillwater during the week…….with us at dear old Patio Club apartments (Skip and I managed Patio Club apartments across from the football stadium).  It was a hot summer so how nice was it to live at Patio with the pool just out our door – and, I was quite lovely in my maternity swimsuit!  My cousin Glendora (also going to OSU and living at Patio) would clean our apartment and give me a pedicure at least once a week.  But, we made the most of that hot summer, for Skip, Ramona and I ate out every night..and, then would go to Baskin Robbins or Braums for an ice cream cone.  Skip – always a wonderful hubby – would load Ramona and me into his jeep (usually with the top off – the same jeep that JM drove in high school on the page of my first page of this blog – “about us”) and off we’d go for dinner and ice cream (and sometimes, minature golf).  I’m sure we drew many looks and comments as he drove two pregnant girls around town.  I ate myself through that summer.  For anyone that lived in Stillwater during that time period, you will remember our other two haunts for either lunch or dinner – the old Bobo’s Mexican Restaurant, Latigos and The Late Show – we always thought that was why JM loved to eat out – Mexican food and steak!  As my due date passed and the sun shone hotter, Skip would also take us out on dirt roads, hoping to hurry on delivery.  On July 24th, I checked into the hospital so they could induce my labor – but, he just wasn’t ready yet.  Ironically, I say “he” because my doctor was sure I having a girl – and, a small one.  By the morning of the 27th, my doctor had left for a trip and Dr. Jennings, her partner showed up, saying, “folks, you’ve suffered too much – we’re going to do a C-section.”  Skip and I looked at each other strangely.  We had been faithful to our childbirth classes except the night they talked about C-sections. As it had been a perfect pregnancy, we chose to go eat Mexican food instead!  And, what a surprise……Dr. Jennings exclaimed as JM was born, “not only is this not a girl, he’s a football player.”  So, our bundle of joy…..all nine pounds of him, was welcomed into our lives.

One poignant memory tugs at my heart…..they brought him to me in the middle of the night and then got so busy they just left him all night sleeping on my shoulder.  That morning, I looked down to see these big hazel eyes looking up at me saying, “you’re my mama” — and, I thought to myself, “this is my baby forever and ever.”

So many blessings that summer and people to thank……my dear friend Blanche and the ladies of First Baptist Stillwater for my baby shower, Glendora for keeping me and the apartment looking pretty, Ramona for never leaving our side that long week, to the staff at Stillwater Hospital (wonder if they remember Skip Gore who would buy them Braums burgers and shakes that week), and, the rest of our families who showered us with love……Mother, Daddy and John who came immediately; Jim, right there, too; Karen and Dusty who bought him his “going home suit,” Pat and Joe, who along with gifts for JM, brought me a pretty new summer dress.

Yes, John Michael, you were a beautiful baby!  Happy 27th birthday!  We love you – we miss you!  You will always be my baby.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  Matthew 19:13

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