Best. Readers. Ever. (Alternate title: ‘When The ‘Bloomr’s Away…’ **Edited to add new photo

I cannot begin to tell you how much you guys delight me!

I have read every single comment and laughed my middle-aged whoop-bottom off! Nothing could please me more than to know that good ol’ has served as some sort of a cyber-space Starbucks for all of you to swing by and have a conversation with each other while I was off gallivanting– seriously, it warmed my heart and also? Made me literally LOL more than once! Thank you so much for all of the participation and the de-lurking and the humor and the (WARNING: CLICHE AHEAD–) incredible sense of community you have all created here. You have made the newbies welcome and gotten to know each other better and shared your stories and faith with each other… Makes me proud to be a blogger, I tell ya. You blessed me.

(Only problem, of course, is that now anything less than triple digits in the comments section will be a horrible, horrible personal let-down to me and will cause me to reevaluate my worth as a human being… No pressure, just sayin’. *waggles eyebrows*.)

Moving on. In other news:

My house has gone to hell in a handbasket.

I honestly considered taking pictures of the unbelievably weedy overgrown area around the front of the house, and the truly impressive collection of suitcases in various stages of packed/unpacked that Russ has accumulated IN THE FRONT HALL OF ALL PLACES SO THAT IT IS THE VERY FIRST THING THAT YOU SEE WHEN YOU WALK IN THE DANG PLACE, and the overflowing piles of newspapers/soda cans/junk mail that desperately need to be taken to the recycling center and the scummy fish tank and the… well, you get the idea. But I couldn’t bring myself to actually document it on film because I want to preserve the illusion that we live in a bright, shiny, perfectly groomed gospel music castle with 24 hour unicorns and maid service. That is how you picture my life, right? I’m pretty sure that’s the impression I leave with people. *smiles primly and smooths skirt*

At any rate, I am looking at at least a good solid week of work in order to establish a beachhead of order in this island of chaos. Expect to hear lots of whining. Also? Some indignant foot-stamping and a smattering of eyes-raised-to-heaven muttering with phrases like, “Would it KILL them to bring their dishes downstairs? What is the deal with the wet towels on the floor? Am I the only one this bothers, for crying out loud???” thrown around for good measure. Then I’ll settle down and things will go back to normal– which means just the usual amount of clutter and disorganization!

The Alaska cruise was great– relaxing and fun, with lots of good food and laughing. Betty, aka themema, was on the cruise with her gorgeous granddaughter Sarah, and we actually got to sit down and have a few leisurely ‘visits’, as we say in the South. It was so much fun to have her there, she is such a remarkable woman. The weather and the seas were both pretty good, which in Alaska can go either way at the drop of a hat. We did miss two ports of call (Skagway and Victoria, B.C.), which is unprecedented for any cruise I’ve ever been on, because of high winds at docking time– or at least that’s what they told us! It seemed kind of weird to me that wind would be a factor when you are docking a ship the size of a small village, but what do I know? At any rate, the scenery was beautiful and it’s actually very nice to spend the day at sea, though I would imagine some people on board were disappointed they didn’t get to hit all the stops.

The video shoot was fantastic– Bill was quite concerned with this one, because there were so many variables and you really only get one shot at getting good concert footage. We shot some B-roll at a fish and chips lunch and a salmon bake in Juneau, but the big concert on the deck of the ship was “the money shot.” They actually changed the filming day because it was kind of gray and drizzly, which ended up being an accidental stroke of genius. The next day we happened to be cruising down this  gorgeous 26-mile narrow fjord with glacier ice floating in the water and an absolutely breathtaking ever-changing vista on either side of the ship– mountains covered in mist, then a waterfall, then a glacier, then a forest, then a cliff…It was like a kaleidoscope of one ridiculously beautiful backdrop after another! I think the footage will be unbelievable, and Bill was absolutely giddy with relief and excitement. The concert itself was great fun, even though it was more than a little nippy when we first started out. The singers were sporting all kinds of colorful, oh-so-trendy scarves which were really less of a fashion statement and more of an attempt to keep their golden throats from freezing up! I had a front-row seat, which seemed like a good idea at the time, but I kind of momentarily forgot that these video shoots can go on for-stinking-ever… My butt and my smile were permanently frozen for the next four hours, but it was still worth it. (Russ did a knock-em-dead version of “Somebody’s Coming”, by the way!) In my line of vision I could see Betty sitting right smack in front of the stage too, and she was grinning the entire time! I think it is going to be an incredible video.

One of my favorite things about the cruise was that even though I missed the girls like crazy (and I truly did, it was so weird not to have them there), I was able to be ‘off-duty’ for a week! Even though the girls are old enough and responsible enough that they don’t require constant supervision and entertaining, any parent knows that as long as your kids are with you, you always have one eye and one ear trained on them– ‘Where are they and who are they with? Have they eaten? What time are they supposed to check in with us?’  That kind of thing. So to have 7 days where I was only looking out for myself was a real novelty! I actually read 5 books, I am not even kidding. We had some lovely dinners with some of the artists that we never seem to be able to spend enough time with, like Michael and Marcie English and Kim and Dean Hopper. We had some great sitting-around-and-solving-the-world’s-problems talks over morning coffee with two of the best Deep Spiritual Thinkers I know, Mark Lowry and Gloria Gaither. All of the most recent babies were ooh-ed and ahh-ed over, and the ridiculous rate at which the older kids were growing up was dutifully noted. I got to hang out a little with one of my favorite people ever, Emily Sutherland, and I also met some really nice fellow cruisers. All in all, it was a great time, and though I’m SO GLAD to finally be home, I am so grateful that I got to go.

While we were gone Madi and Charlotte both started their brand new schools with great success. Madi is especially thrilled with BCA, and the fact that she only goes two days a week (and works on her own the other three weekdays) is going to be a wonderful thing, I think. Charlotte loves Brentwood Academy, though I can see a little lingering anxiety as she adjusts to the new responsibilities and expectations that come with being a middle schooler. It’s only been four days, so she is still figuring out her schedule and where all the classrooms are. It is very hard for this mother’s heart to hear her baby say, “I’m feeling kind of stressed this morning…” She’s such an earnest little thing and always wants to do things right, so I’ll be glad when she’s got enough days under her belt that she’s settled into her routine. It will be just fine, I know. *smiles a little too brightly* Right?!

Well, I better get going. I’ll leave you with a few shots from the cruise, and I promise the posts around here will start coming more regularly… Even though you guys apparently took up the slack without any trouble at all!!!

(Love you.)

**Here’s a couple of photos that will answer the question, “Why would anyone want to go all the way up to Alaska for a cruise?”

(Courtesy of Morgan Easter)

(Courtesy of Morgan Easter)

**Juneau, from our balcony.

**Shooting B-roll at a fish and chips lunch with two of my favorite people, Mark and Gloria.

**Russ and I

**Setup on the deck for the video shoot.

**Russ and David- how cute are they? (Though Russ does look a little bit like he doesn’t know where he is… MORE COFFEE, honey!)

**Know what’s even cuter? David helping Wes (aka The Pocket Tenor) get dressed.

**Every once in a while during the shoot everybody had to just stop a second and take in the glorious sights that we were gliding past… That is a big honkin’ glacier right there.

**Caught Bill mid-sentence. Shirt looks nice, though.

**Ever wonder what pieces of ice that have broken off from glaciers and are floating through the water look like? Well, now you know.

**Annnnd welcome to Ketchikan!

**No, he is NOT shopping for purses, he just stopped to check his text messages.

**This beautiful woman is a remarkable watercolorist, I bought three of her paintings! Her equally gorgeous daughter is named Claire, and I tried to buy her too, but no dice.

**These salmon were swimming right under this little bridge on famous Creek Street. Russ almost wept openly and went after them with his bare hands.

*****EDITED TO ADD: Emily Sutherland and I in our fancy-shmancy  dresses! (Thanks, Em– you movie star, you!)

**I’ll leave you with this moody little lighthouse and a very cheerful fish- more later!

47 Responses

  1. MostlySunny


    Tell Russ I have that very same Starbucks personal cup.

    My husband and I were all set to go on the Alaska cruise last year but had to cancel at the last minute. Maybe one of these days!

    So glad you’re back from all your travels and had the opportunity to do it all.

  2. johnboyFL

    welll welll….you can never leave us that long anymore. i nearly had a godiva chocolate relapse. or maybe i did have one. i kinda blacked out and woke up with godiva wrappers all over me and the floor…LMAO

    that could explain the trouble i was having getting into my swim trunks. thank goodness i dont have to wear a two piece. LOL

    im so glad yall had a good trip. i sure hope yall can go on the hawaii trip. thats one id love to do. but as i had blogged earlier that will be a very expensive cruise and airfare is going to be astronomical. but im hoping to go.

    the pictures are absolutely amazing. ive always loved going to alaska been many times. always something different to see each time. no whale pics??? surely yall saw some??

    i see yall went to catch-a-chicken….what did ya think??? i like it there.

    thank goodness madi kept us entertained on facebook while you were gone….i tried to get her to lets make prank phone calls but someone busted my bubble and had to bring up caller ID….technology sux…LOL

  3. shannonmnorman

    This is Shannon, Madison Easter’s fiance. I’m so glad I finally got to meet you on this cruise! I have heard so many times how fabulous of a writer you are, and I must say, I am impressed! I really enoyed reading your post. (Fabulous photos, too!)
    Hope all is well,

  4. Silver Hair Fans

    Beautiful Pictures loved all of them!…It sure looks like a “Breath Taking” cruise!! Loved the pictures of the “Bergy Bits” Yep ..they sure are blue!! Can’t wait for the Homecoming Video!!
    One question…with the rough seas how many cups of coffee did Russ spill!! Muwahahahahaha

  5. GRITSinNC

    Oh Wow! I loved every word and every picture. Only problem is it always leaves me wanting more. You even answer my questions without me having to ask…such as the blue ice. I was wondering if it was really that blue or the way it photographed and you so kindly read my mind and posted the answer.

    Can hardly wait for the video and hearing Russ’s song, as well as all the artists & scenery.

    We know you have a lot to do, but keep us entertained & updated whenever you can spare a moment. Give Russ our love and tell him to start posting over in the GC. :o)


  6. delightedabroad

    I’m glad you’re safe and sound back home. Must have been overwhelming to see all those ‘landmarks’ God created ! And as I could see not a tiny bit of your writing talent went overboard :)

  7. bettyrwoodward

    Welcome back Tori. I think the Alaska pictures are even better than the English ones! Your house sounds a bit like ours when we get back from holiday. Know just how you feel. Similar comments as well.
    Welcome Shannon you’ll get used to all the silly comments on here!


    Oh, girl, how I have missed you & prayed for you! I am responding as I read – so be prepared for sporadic thought patterns! I would have loved to see the crazy chaos – suitcases, weeds, etc! Seeing is believing! OK, abd the “Bill” thang just freaks me out! I used to look at you & Russ as superstars – but, your image has lowered/hightened to friend, not personality. (that really was a compliment!) But, when you refer to THE Bill Gaither as just plain ole Bill, that throws me a little. I say, “Whoa!”. I forgot I was in the presence of celebritism! OMG! They started school w/out yall? How did that go, & how are they liking their new school? They’re tough little cookies, for sure! BCA? Huh? Ooops – never mind! And, yeah, Tori – it will all be just great – no worries. Is Mark Lowery really that funny ALL THE TIME? I JUST LOVE HIM! OMG, AGAIN~look how blue that ice is? OK, I was one of those folks that wondered why in the world anyone would want to go on an Alaskan cruise – NOW I KNOW! And, I love that orange, olive & tan purse! WOW! OK, I’m gonna let all this sink in, and be so grateful of your safe return, & compassion for our addiction to your personal life! I love you, Tori! Oh, finished the pepper jelly – is setting as we speak. pray for it!

  9. bettyrwoodward

    Forgot to ask which books you read and whether they were worth a read.


    My librarian has used 2 of your scenic shots as her computer screen saver! And, nxt project is fig preserves! There are fig bushes around here just going crazy, & i can eat them straight off the bush. My grandma used to make fig perserves, now I shall attempt it, too!

  11. auburn60

    John–that was me bursting bubbles with my reminder about Caller ID.Just had my ‘momma hat’ on while Tori was away. I had to ask Madi at one point if I needed to make a quick trip to Nashville cause she sounded like she was having just too much fun while the ‘rents were away- what with tacos and cupcakes and banana pudding ice cream! of course, since poor Madi has been exposed to my sense of humor she probably assumed I was coming to join the party–not to break it up!

    And Tori, please note: I was not involved in any of the flirting, or discussions of taking Coke from machines, or anything. I’m rather bummed that Linda managed to keep stuff stirred up EVEN WITHOUT MY HELP. Makes me feel I might have lost my touch.

    If you solve the ‘bringing the dishes downstairs’ dilemma please tell me how. That is my biggest ‘nagging’ issue around here. Every one suddenly loses the use of their hands when coming downstairs. And their sense of balance, judging from the handprints on the walls.

    Welcome Shannon and congrats! Jump right in.

  12. rachelbaker

    Wonderful writing, wonderful pictures – welcome back Tori! We’ve missed ya.

  13. trishARKANSAS

    Welcome back!! We loved getting to know each other in the little community here aka Tori’s blog. But we are really glad that you have made it back.

  14. LindaB

    Ditto what they said about you being home and back on the bloggin’ job! We missed you “with the white hot heat of a million sins”! LOL

    Coming home to a housekeeping disaster is awful! I know I’m weird, but before going on vacation, I absolutely KILL MYSELF cleaning everything up——-better than I do any other time——so that I won’t walk back into chaos. I hate it that much! It makes me so depressed on the way home to know I’m walking into the Poseiden Adventure that I actually don’t want to go home. So, I clean and clean—-even closets and junk drawers—– before I leave so I can look forward to going home and opening the closet door and having NOTHING fall out! Yes, I AM weird, aren’t I? But all the rest of the time, clutter doesn’t bother me that much…..I just close my eyes.

    I am very interested in the pictures you bought? Would you, if you don’t mind, take a picture of them??? I’d love to see them!

    Shannon, welcome and congrats on your engagement!

    And Alyson, Dear……you haven’t lost your touch at all! You are still quite touched! ;)

  15. rockin robyn

    Wellll! Welcome back from all your travels. What awesome pics…

    Oh!, I would love to do a cruise but I’m scared to spend the money cause I’m afraid I’ll get sea-sick and spend the whole cruise and my money in bed.

    I spent a week on the Jersey shore and got a taste of the cruise life – taking the Delaware ferry from Cape May to Lewes…. I didn’t mind the boat ride. In fact I sooooo enjoyed it. How does that compare? (on a much smaller scale of course)

    Great to know that you are back and all is well.

  16. auburn60

    Thanks Linda–I feel back in the fold.

  17. tori

    MostlySunny– He already lost that cup. *sigh*

    johnboyFL– Yeah, I’ve had a few of those Godiva chocolate morning-afters myself…

    shannannorman– Hey everybody, this is Shannon! She’s gonna marry Madison Easter and she’s ridiculously pretty! Also? Sweet as a bunny. Welcome, girl.

    Silver Hair Fans– ‘Bergy bits’, I love that! Russ kind of leaves a trail of coffee spills wherever he goes– especially on his shirt.

    delightedbroad– SO glad you delurked while I was gone! Welcome!

    bettyrwoodward– Hey, how was your holiday anyway? Love to see pictures! (And love from Russ, too.)

    DELIVEREDJEPARKER63– Your stream of consciousness sounds frighteningly similar to mine– I have no trouble following you! Can’t wait to hear the pepper jelly final results.

    auburn60– Yeah, I think Madi would have loved the idea of you coming to join the party!

    rachelbaker– Hey Rachel!

    trishARKANSAS– Thank you sweetie, it’s good to be back.

    LindaB– Why oh why didn’t I get just a tiny bit of that cleaning/organizing gene in my DNA? I’ll try to get photos of the paintings– I got two wolf ones for Char, a whale for Madi and a bird one for me.

    rockin’robyn– I have a bit of a tendency towards seasickness myself, but this time I didn’t have even a twinge, thank goodness!

  18. GRITSinNC

    You left me out. Is it something I said or didn’t say?


  19. tori


    I’M SO SORRY! How could I ever leave you out?!

    (That’s what I get for scrolling up and down while I’m trying to dip my chocolate chip cookie in my mug of milk…)

    Glad you wondered about the blue ice, because it always fascinates me– it looks just like a Slush Puppy! And yes, I will definitely remind Russ he needs to check in over at GC.

  20. delightedabroad

    As I thought about the blog & pictures again I realized that 3 of my want-to-do-some-day things appear there: going on a cruise, getting to know some of the ‘Gaither people’ and experiencing a concert. (The last one will presumably happen in October…) Tori, how did you manage to read 5 books while cruising ?? I assume there was a lot to see, talk, experience…but as I’m a LITTLE bit of a bookworm (don’t ask my husband!) I guess you had time for some chapters every now and then ?

  21. justThelma

    (Doing my part to help hit the triple digits…)

    So. Welcome back, Tori! Glad to hear you had such a wonderful time on the cruise.

    Loving the pictures also. And I literally LOL at “The Pocket Tenor”! What a cutie.

    I love the shot of you and Russ. That’s a great-looking couple right there!

    And that glacier ice! Such a gorgeous blue!

    Can’t wait to see more pics. After you get your house back in order again, of course. Oh no, wait! That never really happens when you have a husband or kids, does it? LOL

    Is it possible to fit any more exclamation marks into one comment?!?!


    OK – the pepper jelly is really pepper chowder – gonna pour it all back in the pot, add some sure-jell and see what happens next. And, am attemtping fig preserves this eveing – it takes 3 hours to cook slowly. Might as well ruin the rest of the bag of sugar! If pepper jelly doesn’t gel this time, will just use it as pepper dip – hey, a new recipe! yep, that’s what it is. Hey, didn’t need goggles or gloves, though i was very careful.-

    LindaB – I do the SAME thing b4 i go on a trip – even if it is just for the weekend – clean like a lunatic! I know I will return tired, hungry and lazy, so i change sheets, do all laundry, pre-cook a frozen casserole, empty all garbage, scrub tub/toilet, vacuum. CRAZY!!!!!!! But, then I don’t dread the anticipated mess at home, which dampens the whole trip from the beginning.

    Today was first day of school – it has been awesome – no tears so far! I am in love w/ 27 new kids!

  23. themema

    Wow! Were we really on the same trip. Oh, I know. While Tori was taking pictures and reading in her gorgeous suite with a balcony, I was at two concerts a day and trying to keep up with a 17 year old high energy granddaughter the rest of the time. Not a word of the two books a had got read. We played scrabble on the flight to Seattle and Sarah chose to sit with someone who would talk to her on the flights home. That young lady does not have an off switch! I zonked out in the back seat….. where Mark says it is safest because he never saw a plane back into a mountain.

    Tori, it was great to have a little time with you, and thanks for bailing me out….. twice. When I got to the taping, even tho I had priority seating, every seat appeared to be filled and I got turned away from the priority section. Russ happened to be behind me, and said, “Oh, she is with me.” I got thru, and when someone else tried to turn me back, I pointed to a bench which formed the second row, and said, Russ told me to sit here….. and I sat down… dead center of the stage. Four hours on a bench with no back rest, but it was worth every second of it and I would stay longer

    On the last night, I left my purse in the dining hall, and when I was allowed in to retrieve it the next morning, everything was in tack… except $300 was gone. The kind soul left me $11, hardly enough to survive with a granddaughter for 3 days in Seattle. I sat down and tried to figure out how to get myself out of this predicument, and guess whose name came to mind. When I knocked on the door of Tori and Russ suite, Tori greeted me with a hug and said she was so glad I came to tell them goodbye. I said that I was not there to tell them goodbye, I was there to beg. Thank, Tori and Russ for the cash loan. I plan to go up this afternoon and apply for a Walmart greeter position. l o l .

  24. swerchon

    Hey Tori,

    Great cruise EVER !!!!

    I had a lot of firsts here; My 1st cruise, my 1st time seeing the Gaithers together, my 1st time to Alaska and yup folks 1st time meeting Tori – can it get any better???

    Tori I enjoyed our chats tremendously and wished we had more time. Great song (He Touched Me – who knew – tee hee).

    I also enjoyed the daily “devotionals” wow Gloria is a dynamic “communicator” what must that be like to talk to her and Mark in one of their deep conversations WOW (fly on the wall envy).

    Needless to say (oh well I guess I’m saying it) but the concerts were awesome – great worship !!! Russ was quite emotional at one of the last concerts when he sang “Why Me Lord” – this moved me and touched my heart – Russ you are so precious.

    As Tori noted the Homecoming taping was spectacular (can’t wait for the video to actually see the concert – I was off to the right hand side of where Mark was sitting). Actually being there there are a lot of things to look at; the beautiful scenery, the concert, and our fellow passengers a lot to take in – even in 4 hours – the video will be a reminder and keep-sake of the trip – can’t wait.

    Loved your snaps Tori – I actually took 1,200 snaps (thank God they are digial instead of film).

    I’m still having trouble getting used to the 3 hours time difference – my sleeping is still off. It was also hard going back to work today – reality kicking in big time.

    Susan (aka – swerchon) hobbling on one leg (can’t figure out why other leg is still hurting :-)


    OK now I am really jealous! I gotta get in on these get-togethers, Tori. Once again – r u going to Myrtle Beach? Once again – another, or same black shirt?

  26. GRITSinNC

    Tori, thanks for backtracking and including me. I feel better now. :o) Are you going to be posting more photos from the cruise?

    Delivered, I too am jealous but unlike you, I’ll likely never get in on one of the get-togethers but hopefully you will (an age & financial thing). Did the jelly jell yet? Fig preserves yet? Are you suddenly on the domestic old-time cooking kick or are you always like that?

  27. jonny

    OK, sorry to jump in the middle of all the cruise wonderfulness with yet another personal request, but… well… gonna do it anyway. Where my band members study and/or work at the moment they are selling many old computers to the students. Our bassist believes they may have some older Macs for sell. 15€. That’s around $25. He’ll try and get me one. For those who’ve been keeping up with the Say it!s should understand to some degree why I’m Saying it! Or, Requesting it!

    And for those it may concern, when they’re not there to nag anymore you may like it even less than you do the nagging now. Two words come to mind. 1. Count. 2. Blessings.

    OK Tori, give. Which Say it!s in the last blog made you almost pee your pants from laughing so hard?? Some of us worked our whoop-bottoms off keeping it as on-the-edge entertaining, life enriching as possible, which included trying to get people to laugh as if their lives depended on it!! Sooo… … …

  28. jonny

    Oh man, my serious bad!! Welcome back Tori!!! You were missed. And good to know you appreciated our attempts at holding the fort, keeping the family together, while you were having a wonderful little break. I miss Alaska. Thanks for the photos. Oh, and as another already wrote, I can’t believe you didn’t see any whales = /

  29. johnboyFL

    ya know i always wondered just how fast you could get to hell in a hand basket. is it extra roomy in there i hate to be cramped ya know. LOL hell is like right in the middle of new mexico right…HA

    so ya say russ was buying himself a manbag ehhh….i mean a murse…..

    ya know i have a major complaint. so ive bought 45 20oz mountain dews this week it seems and the bottles say 1 in 8 win a free 20oz wheres the justice. i mean my math skills arent the best but 1 in 8 is not 1 in 45 LMAO

    I just saw where senator kennedy has passed away. such a sad day for us lonely democrats. he was a great man and politician.

  30. trishARKANSAS

    I didn’t watch the news this morning. I’m sorry to hear that Ted Kennedy passed away.

    Jonnie that is great news!! Now we can hear more from you.

    Tori how roomy is it in a handbasket. I don’t think hell is in the middle of New Mexico. It could be in the middle of Delhi though.

  31. jonny

    I’m sorry to read about the passing also. Oh, and the computer thing was supposed to be a prayer request. Somehow the main point in the request did not make it into the initial request at all = /

  32. trishARKANSAS

    Sorry I missed that jonnie.

    Lord I ask that you grant jonnie this request. You have blessed him with open doors that most of us could ever dream of and he could use this for your glory. In Jesus name. Amen

  33. rachelbaker

    jonny, I really hope and pray you get that computer. Your thumb is very deserving of a rest.

  34. trishARKANSAS

    rahelbaker-AMEN to that. Poor guy. That thumb must be black and blue with all that thyping

  35. jonny

    But interestingly enough, I still tend to make less thypos than some other Sayers! ;)

  36. trishARKANSAS

    That is sooo true. Hey I get to bring the message in the service tonight I would really appreciate your prayer too.

    I think thyping should be the next word that goes into the Websters dictionary,

  37. jonny

    Argh!!!!! Missed a wonderful opportunity to more cleverly, smoothly enter in a new term for those of us who bother to Say it! The above Say it! probably should’ve ended with, “… less thypos than some other Sayers of it!

  38. GRITSinNC

    Between jonny & trish’s SayIts and Tori over on Twitter, I’m about to laugh myself sick. In case none of you Tweet, knowing Tori & her skills, can you just imagine what she’s tweeting to “you know you’re a gospel musician if…”

    Love you, Tori, and your good date.

  39. bettyrwoodward

    jonny really hope you get the computer. I guess the lack of typos could be predictive text!!!

  40. jonny

    Nope, I’m afraid I don’t have that luxury. I do have a crude type of spell check, though. I think it’s called a “dictionary” in my text message writing options. But, each letter, word, plus a few little extras, is individually tapped out with that much talked about thumb of mine for the sole purpose of Saying it! with/in as much love as possible, as best I can :) Oh, I also try and go over what I write a few times before Saying it!. Often because I’m so tired and miss things the first time around. Plus, believe it or not, I edit myself a lot before Saying it!. :/ Maybe the fact that it is a somewhat slower process, tapping everything out with my thumb, helps as well. Peace!


    I can’t figure out how to Tweet, yet.
    But, the pepper jelly came out spectacular, yall! Had to pour it all out of the jars, re-sterilize the jars & lids, add 2 boxes of surejell, bring back to boil, & re-distribute into jars – but now it is absolutely perfect! Gave the librarian one – yep, the one that frowns at me b/c I heehaw so loud over this blog! And, the fig preserves came out great, too, but where did they all go? I had like 4 cups of figs, they only made 2 jars of preserves! Too much work! And, the lemon is what makes those fig preserves, I found out!

    Ok, ya’ll, carry on. Next project coming up next week – pickled okra. Yummmmmmmmm!

  42. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Without naming names, I want to address some of the mentionables.

    When you make those fig preserves, you may add some strawberry jello to the mixture and out will come strawberry preserves. Figs will adapt to any fruit like that.

    I’m assuming you are gonna put that other mixture over cream cheese and serve with crackers. Yum (I bet I got in on this one late…oops)

    When you take that ferry from Atlantic City to Lews, be sure and go into that restaurant on the dock and have a huge cinnamon bun with your coffee. Then mosey on down to Ocean City, Maryland, to Phillips Crab House and have a couple of their fabulous crab cakes. They serve two kinds there…get the more expensive, it will be worth it. Down by the docks here is a store called Quackers. They have the cutest things in there. Then go back to Rehoboth Beach and spend a week or two….my old stomping grounds. Can you tell I’m homesick?

    Gracious, I went to Alaska on 2002 and it was a perfect vacation….but Russ and the other artists worked themselvles to death. I don’t think I have ever been to a more beautiful place…a picture card scene at every glance. I remember meeting the four Taffs in a shop in one of the ports. I knew right then that I had to adopt them. Of course, this was no fly-by-the-night kind of decision. I had been considering this for years.

    I don’t “tweet” and FaceBook doesn’t seem to work for me, so I’m awfully glad you, Tori, come and hang out here once in awhile….’cause I loves you. Welcome Home, Sweetheart.

  43. Sheena

    Beautiful pictures! I’d love to go on a Gaither Alaskan Cruise. Glad you had a good time, I’ll look forward to the video :)

  44. tori

    delightedabroad– OK, I brought a book with me that I almost finished on the plane, then went to the ship’s library– which is lovely, by the way– and checked out three more, read them mostly at night after dinner and before bed, and sometimes in the afternoon when I could grab a quiet hour or so. Checked out two more the last couple of days but only made it thru one of those.

    justThelma– I know I shouldn’t call him that, but come on– doesn’t he just look like you could fit Wes into your pocket?

    DELIVERED– OK, the ‘chowder’ comment got me! Sounds like you got it figured out, though.

    themema– We will happily bail you out of anything, anytime. Including jail. It was so good to finally have a few just-sit-around-and-talk times with you… Glad you are home safe and sound.

    swerchon– 1200???!! Dang girl, you were serious! Glad you got to hear Gloria’s devotionals, that’s always one of Russ’ favorite parts of the cruise.

    DELIVERED– Still not sure, and he has a WHOLE LOT of different kinds of black shirts.

    GRITS– I am looking through my pix now to see if I left out anything interesting… And wasn’t that Twitter thing hilarious?

    jonny– Oooh, jonny, I’m praying that Mac thing comes thru for you! We’re solid Mac family around here, so user-friendly. And trust me, I laughed my whoop-bottom off on MOST of those comments! (I’ll never figure out how you do as much typing as you do as well as you do it on a little phone keyboard!)

    johnboyFL– Hey john– drank all of those Mountain Dews yet?!

    trishARKANSAS– I think that handbasket to hell is probably really roomy. Though I don’t plan on ever finding out for sure! (How did your message go?)

    bettywoodward and rachelbaker–(Hello again!)

    MommaLloyd— Yep, I remember that 2002 Alaskan cruise and exactly where we were standing when I met you for the first time! I didn’t know then that the whole family would end up being adopted, or I would have tried harder to make a better first impression, like maybe bribing you with chocolate or something. Thankfully you adopted us anyway!

    Sheena– I’m telling you, that video is gonna be gorgeous!

  45. jonny

    Thanks, Tori. And yeah trish, how did the sharing go?? Prayed for that, and the seeds!!

  46. trishARKANSAS

    jonny and Tori it went really good. I can’t explain God’s annointing I just know when it’s there that it changes lives. Brothers and sisters praying for you is like water for the seeds that are planted. Thanks you guys.

  47. jonny

    Well, no Mac yet. Thanks for the prayers, though = )

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