Margarita's Birthday

Margo's Birthday

Today (September 14) is Margarita Gavrilovski's birthday.
I have known Margo since 1999 during the time of
the Kosovo War.
We met on Easter Sunday that year - in a snowstorm - 
and began a friendship immediately.

I made this picture of Margo the month that
we left Macedonia (September 2012).
I miss her tremendously!

When Amy and her family (then consisting of Christopher and Elijah) came for their first visit to 
Gostivar, Macedonia,
they met Brane & Margo and their family.

After hearing about Margo's stories of being 
a doctor (especially during the days of the war) 
Christopher returned home to write this poem about

a safe space
On a perilous and arduous path,
          Early in the morning.
She’ll arise and awake,
          And journey long to mend and heal.

Mend and make whole your brother’s enemy,
          Let your love labor for all.
She’ll create a safe space,
          In the midst of war and hate.

Between the fierce fire of war and the lingering smolder of hate,
          She’ll create a safe space.
A safe space to mend and heal,
          To water love and plant peace and reconcile enemies,

And the hurt man asked,
          Why are you here and why heal your brother’s enemy?
And she’ll answer,
          Because my brother and his enemy are one.

When we love and pray and hope for our brother’s enemy,
          And when we reisk and care for and mend our brother’s enemy,
Then we are joining the work of angels,
          Then we are healing God’s own fractured heart.

She’ll arise and early awake,
          To nurture a safe and holy space,
Where your brother and his enemy
          May join together in the song and laughter of peace. 

It says it all:  Margo cares for people.
She has provided healthcare for Macedonian,
Albanian, and  Turkish families for 
many years.
Her patients from multiple ethnic groups love her.

So Margo, I wanted to share this poem with you
today - in honor of your birthday.
I love you and miss you,


Kay and Roy Buice 50th Wedding Anniversary

Here are other pictures from 
Kay and Roy Buice's 50th Anniversary.

Pictures of the Bride and Groom at
the Reception

 Pictures of the grandchildren (all girls)
and what a fun group!!

Fun pictures of Kay and Roy:


A Tribute to Our Fathers

A Tribute to Our Fathers

Shelia's Dad

My Dad (Henry Warren Hopkins) and I 

This picture is one of my earliest memories of my Dad.  
We are standing in front of our house on 12th Street in Longview, Texas. 
He had just come home from work (he was a police officer). He was one of the first policemen to ride 
the new motorcycles the department
had gotten.

I remember his hands being rough from many years of hard work (a lot of it manual labor and carpentry 
which he loved to do), but I also
remember how gentle his touch was when he held me.

I look at my hands now and see his.
He had arthritis and his knuckles were swollen in later years -
just like mine are now.  It never seemed to stop him.
My mother had long beautiful fingers - 
great for playing a piano,
but I got my father's hands - 
which were like his mother's too.

I could ask for no more in life than to not only have hands that look like my dad's,
but that I would have touched as many people with 
love and kindness 
as he did in his lifetime.

He cared about people and they knew it. 

Arville's Dad - Malcolm Dewitt Earl

(from left to right)
Me, Terry, Mom, Dwight, Dad and Derrell

Remembering my dad on this Father's Day brings to mind
 so many stories.  
He never talked much about the traumatic experience of his ship going down after being hit by a torpedo, 
and his survival and rescue.
He seemed to prefer, instead, to talk about life 
in a different context -
that of growing up on the farm.

He talked about the adventures along the river 
with guys in the gang - 
like Felix and Neeley and Charles and a few more,
of his horse named Dolly,
 of borrowing money to buy his new tractor,
 and of things that happened
 while "rough-necking" on the drilling rig 
or working on the pipeline crew.

Then there was church life at Cross Roads, 
Bethany, and Greenwood
(all Baptist churches where he was a member) 
which made up a whole other sequence of historic events.

These were his real-life stories and those he most frequently told.

To my dad, no remembrance was more cherished, 
than growing up together, 
being childhood sweethearts,
 and making a life together with my Mom -
A shared life that produced four sons.
(pictured above)

As I remember Dad today, I hope that I can exhibit some of that same honorable character 
that made him the man that he was.
My Dad -
for whom I am very grateful and 
of whom I am very proud.



Our Cottage Makeover

When we bought our house in Talmo,
this is what the outbuilding looked like.

(That is Ben crawling up the steps.  
He is Derrell's and Iris' grandson
 -Matt's and Liz's son- 
so this picture was made 
before we actually bought the house).

It has been our desire to remake this
outbuilding into a cottage-looking 

Last week the work began.
First we had the roof replaced 
an old door 
that I purchased 
several years ago
 installed in place of the barn-like door 
on the original outbuilding.

We are now ready for "our" part of the work.  


This is how it looks today.

Our Plans Include:
  •  painting the outside, 
  • installing porch rails and trim, 
  • putting up a picket fence, 
  • making a walkway up to the cottage,
  •  installing some old shutters that I have saved for this purpose, 
  • and completely renovating the inside with
    • a half wall of painted tin sheeting from the old roof, 
    •  pallet board half-walls on 2 interior walls,
    • creating a great place to repurpose furniture for the booth and do our painting & woodworking projects,
    • make a place to take a break when the work gets too hard. HA!

I will post pictures as we go along so you can see the progress we are making.


Braselton Antique & Garden Festival

We had a great time today at the 
Braselton Festival.
Our house is very close to this "artsy" town so we decided to take the afternoon and do some fun shopping.

Here are few of the finds we came home with:

I think I may paint this suitcase red and line it with some pretty floral cloth.
 We think this was some kind of kerosene burner, but I will put a plant in the top of it.  I liked the colors!  
 Small black side table.  I think I will paint it to match my other
front porch furniture - maybe a duck-egg blue??

 An old pulley that I may use to raise and lower 
my front porch fern when I water it.??
I liked the color and will think of something 
to do with it if it doesn't work for the fern.


And the most expensive purchase of the day
is this beautiful garden angel. 
I have always wanted one and this one was 
pretty and the right price at $50.
She looks great in my rose garden.

Pictures of My Flower Garden

Here are recent pictures from planting the front 
flower beds at our house.

Now it is time to start the vegetable garden (pictures coming soon).


Snow in Atlanta 2014

We had snow yesterday.
This is the first snow we have seen since leaving Macedonia.
It was only 3 inches - and stalled traffic in Atlanta for a long time, but here in 
north Georgia, 
it was beautiful.

Here are some pictures.





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