I’m Posting– It’s A Christmas Miracle!

Hello there, lovelies. Remember me?

Well, my ‘short break’ has stretched out over a couple of months, and for no good reason other than… I guess I must have needed a ‘short break’! I don’t exactly know why it took me this long to start writing again, but I sincerely apologize for my neglect, and I should totally drop and give you 20. At any rate, everything is great, we are all well and happy, life is full and busy, blah di blah blah, rinse and repeat– but how are YOU?

*bats eyelashes fetchingly*

If I tried to recap everything that has gone on since our last visit, this would turn into a manuscript of epic proportions and you’d get bored and wander off to get a snack and I’d get my feelings hurt, so for all of our sakes I’ll just condense it into this Catch-Up Haiku:

Life in Bell Buckle…

Like end-of-the-rainbow gold

Covered in cat hair.

Hey, I know what– let’s say it in pictures! We’ll call this segment


(And yes, this little exercise in narcissism will be chock-full of photos of ALL TAFFS/ALL THE TIME. There’ll be other stuff/people too, but come on, who else am I gonna feature?)

Let’s see. We went on the Homecoming Canadian cruise and Russ got randomly stopped and wanded as we entered the check-in area, and because I am such a supportive wife I stopped laughing long enough to capture the moment. (Also, you can’t really blame the security guys because if you check out those enormous kicks at the end of his skinny little ankles, it TOTALLY look like he could be smuggling drugs in there. Or ponies.) :


**Looking at art in Quebec City while lugging around a giant shopping bag full of gifts because I am generous like that:


**The Bell Buckle Arts Council had our 2nd Annual Plein Air event– that’s Billy Phillips watching his store being captured on canvas:


**Had a wonderful couple of days at Mark Lowry’s house in Houston with dear friends Bubba, Cynthia, Chip and Reba. Either Reba just said something that cracked both of us up or I am grabbing her butt. I forget which.11retreatFRIENDS

**We taped six months worth of Homecoming Radio shows in October, and my sweet Bonnie joined us for one of the days, which was way too much fun. We have been friends for 30 years, which I can barely even type with a straight face– how can that possibly be?!


**RT presented at the Dove Awards and hung out all day with these guys. This kinda looks like a LensCrafters commercial.


**And then he hung out all night with these guys. Whatever is around Russ’ neck makes it look he is trying to pass himself off as a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Or possibly a diplomat.


**Madi Rose and I went with Russ to Myrtle Beach Gaitherfest– apparently we DID get the memo about the dress code:


**Best of all, we got to see our beloved Momma Lloyd:


**Meanwhile, Charlotte got ready for a Halloween party–funny,  I don’t remember Mario being quite so, um, statuesque:


**Family brunch at the River Cafe in Normandy, TN (slightly out of focus, but hey, so are we):


**Russ and William Golden shot a video together (RT is a circuit-riding preacher and William Lee is his scout. Both of those scenarios should give you pause.):


**Let’s see, what else… Oh, yeah! “Hick hop” country rapper Big Smo opened a store in Bell Buckle. You can’t make this stuff up, people. Madi Rose is posing in front of what she refers to as the Smural.


**Had a wonderful Thanksgiving with the Smedleys. As always, June and Bud welcomed us with open arms and hearts– since Mom and Dad are gone, this is most definitely our ‘home for the holidays.’ We are rich in family. Here’s how Madi captioned this photo:

“I’m thankful that nearly 40 years ago, an English teacher and her husband took in a gawky little boy who, with their selfless compassion, would grow up and be my daddy. Words can’t describe the love and gratitude I feel for each person in this room. Especially Bruce Willis on the left.”


**OK, that’s not really Bruce Willis, it’s her Uncle Stuart. (Although he is pretty much as bad-ass as Willis.) Ladies and gentleman– Stuart Smedley, County Coroner:1STUARTcoroner

**Oh, and for those of you that have asked about Catsy Cline– she’s still here:



11catsyeditor**And she’s still…


**Well, that pretty much brings us up to date. Ish. It’s now Christmas time in the Buckle, which makes my town even more adorable than usual. I’ll leave you with a few holiday shots, and then I’d really love to hear from you guys– so how ARE you, anyway?!

(Courtesy Bell Buckle Chamber of Commerce)


(Courtesy Butterfly Kisses Photography)





9 Responses

  1. bettyrwoodward

    Welcome back. We missed you!

  2. auburn60

    Weell…I wasted a lot of my better, smart-ass comments on some of these pictures on FB or Twitter…so…I got nothing.

    I DO have some coroner stories, but those are probably better in another venue.

    So…I got nothing.

  3. kroselynn

    That was worth the wait, Tori. Thank you so much!
    That was funny that Russ got picked to be wanded. Although he doesn’t look too happy about it. LOL!
    I really have to visit Bell Buckle, all those pictures you share, the way you talk about how much you love your little town and all the events and festivals really sound awesome. Just my kind of thing.
    I bet I could even find a glass of RC from a fountain there too, hu? It’s been so long since I’ve had RC from a fountain. :D
    Merry Christmas Tori, and to your whole family as well and many blessing for the new year and every day forever. :D

  4. Gramma Jac


    That’s all I’ve got! I’ve been working too much so Gramma Jac is a dull girl!!!!!!

    Merry Christmas to all!!

  5. Gramma Jac

    Oh, except I want to HUG Momma Lloyd!!!!!

  6. tori

    bettyrwoodward: Thank you!

    auburn60: First of all, non of your smart-ass comments are EVER wasted and secondly, I happen to know you have a unending supply of them. And hold on to those coroner stories, I’m interested…

    kroselynn: Hey girl! We do have a soda fountain (the Bluebird, owned by Billy Phillips’ parents), but I’m not sure if they have RC, except in the bottle. Now I have a good excuse to go check!

    Gramma Jac: My experience has been that you are NEVER a dull girl, overworked or not! And yeah, EVERYBODY wants to hug Momma Lloyd…

  7. auburn60

    Ah…you so get me… :)

  8. Barbara M. Lloyd

    You’re back! Now we can sing Christmas carols….knowing all is well in the Taff family and the quaint adorable town of Bell Buckle. I just know the town is decorated…not too much unlike that popular Christmas movie that comes on every year.

    Because son Chris has to work on Christmas Day, we will be having our regularly Christmas Eve family dinner ton the 23rd. Then my granddaughter, Jenniver, and her two little ones are staying all night with me on the 24th and santa will come to my home where we will be so excited on Christmas morning. I love it!

    Doncha just have a warm, thankful and joyful feeling throughout these days of this blessed season in our lives? The decorations seem to bring everything alive…and the smiles help a little, too.

    At risk of sounding a bit overly sentimental, I sure do love my little Taff family (Grandma Jack, them thar’s some good hugs).

    Merry Christmas…always.

  9. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Oh my goodness, Grandma Jac, I was trying to say that the Taffs all hug terrifically….and I kinda think it sounded backwards from that. Besides, that hug from you sounds nice, too.

    What’s everyone having for their Christmas dinners? (You, too, Tori)

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