Welcome October!

I am so excited that it is October! This HAS to be one of my favorite months of the year!

But first… to catch you up on the things I am not going to write about:

I’ve had a bit of a delay in writing because last week was super busy! We are preparing for Halloween at my office and that includes a few activities (that will mainly be virtual!) I ordered that adorable pumpkin above from Amazon. As many of you know, I am a HUGE fan of anything that is themed out or involves a costume, so obviously, that makes Halloween on of my absolute favorite holidays!

In Americus, the Downtown Main Street group asked all of the businesses to decorate their windows for the Great Pumpkin Wars. I took the task to heart and called all of the departments in the city, as well as all of the tourist attractions, to donate a decorated pumpkin that represents their brand. I’m looking forward to seeing what we end up with. On Monday, the 26th, the displays will be uploaded to FB for the People’s Choice Award. That means, I will provide a link here and you can go online and “like” your favorite display. Then on that Wednesday, judges will come by and pick the best. I most certainly hope we win!

Plus, I’m having my staff dress in costumes each day. This will also be uploaded to FB for a “Who wore it best?” Halloween costume contest that people can vote on!

Last week, I got a chance to wish my neighbor, former President Jimmy Carter, a very happy birthday!

All of the neighbors went onto the compound and did a drive-by parade to wish him happy birthday! It was really sweet. He spoke to everyone as we passed! The media were not invited in, so this was really, super special for the people of Plains.

Speaking of media, on Friday, we had a media day with SAM Shortline. television stations from Macon, Albany, and Columbus rode the train in the super private, luxury car known as the Dearing.

We had a little reception and basically spent the day chatting with journalists and doing interviews.

I ran into one of my old tv news anchors I used to work with, Suzanne Lawler. It was great to see an old friend!

I even took some time to eat at the Buffalo Cafe with my buddies Nichole from the newspaper and Qaijuan.

The weather was perfect and it was a great day! It almost felt normal again.

On Saturday, I kicked the morning off with my final photography class.

I am thrilled I got the opportunity to understand manual digital photography so much better. I am considering taking Photo II in the coming months, but for now, I want to master what I have learned.

After the class, I ran downtown to the Peace Day celebrating at Lenny’s Market in Americus.

My friend Jeni & Laura held a very successful event that attracted over 100 people. Everyone was socially distanced and wore face masks.

Dorian was such a good boy. I took him with me! Can you believe he is 7 months old now?

That night, Tim and I had a little beef stew and watched our first of many upcoming Halloween movies.

Later, we tried this new KETO dessert… but…. it was waaaay too sweet. I’d recommend.

The next day we got up and I wanted to try out my new photography skills. So we drove to Dawson, about 30 minutes south of us and headed to Mark’s Melon Patch.

As always, the farm stand was awesome! However, it was super crowded and very few people were wearing masks. We kept our distance and kept our masks on. I zipped in and took some pics and we headed out.

Here are some of the crops I took pics of:

There is a whole field of Zinnias.

You could get fresh peanuts, dried peanuts, fried peanuts or boiled peanuts. I’m more partial to the boiled peanuts, however, there was a huge line and too many people.

They have a corn maze. Folks can even come at night with flashlights and navigate the area.

Scoppernogs!

Beautiful sunflowers

Craft area for kids to paint pumpkins

And of course, an area to pick your pumpkins!

There are games, food , hay rides, and music. This really does click off many items on your Fall bucket list!

And finally, to wrap up my first week of October:

Need I say more?

Hello, Old Friend

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On the 31st of January, in 2019, I am re-committing myself to blogging again.

I know, I know… I have said it before, and I will probably have to reaffirm again. But it is a start. A beautiful start to what is quickly shaping up to be a pretty good year.

I continue to heal from the surgery back in October. Yes, I am still healing. But it IS happening and that makes my heart happy. I’ve even made strides to get a little healthier by incorporating exercise back into my life. As for food, well, I have jumped on this culinary band wagon and have been attempting to cook my way through Julia Child’s famous cook book: Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Vol. 1 AND 2.)

I have a few more goals in mind for this year. I hope to take a photography class in the Spring that my husband purchased for my Christmas gift. It will be with the Atlanta School of Photography. FINALLY, people. I’ve been saying I wanted to do this for years. I’m also hoping to write again.

So here I am.

I also plan to reconnect with the people I love the most. Including old friends, as well as making sure I invest time and energy into growing the relationships that are newer. I even find myself attending church each Sunday, albeit not a Catholic Church. Tim & I decided to invest in our little town of Plains and we began attending a church just a few blocks from our home. It is a Methodist Church and the pastor is really good. I miss a lot of the elements of the Catholic Church, but unfortunately in South Georgia, the pickings for a church that fits my needs is not very strong. I cannot formally join the Methodist Church, because I do not want to part with the Catholic Church. However, my husband is a Methodist and it is simply having him transfer his membership. Good enough for me. It will serve my needs, for now.

Life has been moving along quite calmly – Tim and I have been coming up with house projects, as well as travel options for the year. The financial strain from building a house is easing up a bit and we are ready to move to the next phase.

The holidays were spectacular. I tried to attend every single event that I could. Here is a quick look at my year-end from November & December.

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We had a delicious and delightful Thanksgiving at my Mom & Dad’s house in Haddock.

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Spent some time visiting with Tim’s childhood friends. Apparently, it was such a momentous occasion that it made the local paper. 😉

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We spent a lot of quality time together. He did a great job taking care of me post-op.

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We spent a lot of time with our kids and grand.

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Isn’t she growing up so fast? And so, so, so beautiful. This is my grand-daughter – Cotton.

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This was my third year as the official light flipper during the Plains Christmas Tree Lighting. First time that it had rained. And.. um.. I was afraid I would electrocute myself. 😉

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We had a very successful Christmas Open House at the Americus Visitor Center.

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Tim came to support his sister & I as she judged the Americus Christmas Parade and I was the emcee.

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As a family, I introduced Advent into our home and all of the traditions that come with it.

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I reconnected with old & new friends in Macon.

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I even celebrated Hanukkah!

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We set up a cookie making night with the girls. They did a fantastic job!

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I got the wonderful opportunity to serve as an Ambassador for the Andersonville National Cemetery.

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One of the most moving moments during the Wreaths Across America.

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I had my coworkers come out to my house for a little Christmas party!

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We celebrated Christmas in Plains with President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalyn.

 

We threw our very first Christmas party in our new home.

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Got to enjoy a fantastic Christmas party with my work.

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AND – I got to emcee it!!!

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Our tree went up. I did it by myself because Tim was super-duper sick!

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And finally, I have been Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

And we are only on day 31 of the new year.

So much good is in store and I can’t wait to experience it all!

Here’s to 2019! I hope you embrace each day as a gift!

 

First Comes Love… Then Comes Marriage

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We did it! We finally tied the knot! Yes, allow me to REintroduce myself – I am now Mrs. Kirksey.

On Saturday, February 25, 2017 at 5:00pm – Tim & I gathered with our closest friends and family in Preston, Georgia (his hometown,) at Preston United Methodist Church.

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This was the church he grew up in, and where his parents married and where their parents and so on and so forth. It is the quintessential little country church, right in the center of town, diagonal from the Webster County Courthouse.

About 40 people gathered together to witness our quirky little union. There was nothing traditional about this service, and that was exactly how we wanted it. I ended up wearing a navy blue evening gown and glittery gold shoes. He wore a black Vera Wang tux with a navy vest and tie. I carried a brooch bouquet that my mother made (complete with a brooch that belonged to my great-grandmother.)

Our processional was a song that he and I fell in love with a very long time ago. We have both been down the aisle before, and we were both burned before. The song we chose had lyrics that we could relate to.

A Thousand Years

Heart beats fast
Colors and promises
How to be brave
How can I love when I’m afraid to fall
But watching you stand alone
All of my doubt, suddenly goes away somehow

One step closer

I have died everyday, waiting for you
Darling, don’t be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

Time stands still
Beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let anything, take away
What’s standing in front of me
Every breath, every hour has come to this

One step closer

I have died everyday, waiting for you
Darling, don’t be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

And all along I believed, I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me, I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

One step closer
One step closer

I have died everyday, waiting for you
Darling, don’t be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

And all along I believed, I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me, I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more.

We had a gentleman play the instrumental version on the piano. As the song started, my Tim’s sister, Paige, and his mother, Ann, walked down the aisle together and stood before a photo of Tim’s father, Jerry. Mr. Kirksey died a few years back from Lymphoma. We both wish he could have been there, and decided this would be a nice way to honor his memory.

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Jerry apparently was the life of the party! Always laughing, always smiling, and he was even the Mayor of Preston for several years. According to my friends, when Tim made it down the aisle, he paused for just a minute and looked at his father’s picture. *sob*

Next down the aisle were my parents, Mae & Jack Thurston, followed by my sister, Heather Busby.

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After my sister made it down the aisle, my niece, Autumn and Tim’s niece, Micah, walked side by side down the aisle.Autumn carried my Grandma Thurston’s bible with Tim’s ring on it, and Micah carried Tim’s father’s bible down the aisle with my ring on it.

Next was Tim’s daughter, Kaitlyn, her husband Miles, and their daughter (my now) grand daughter, Cotton.

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Then Tim’s daughters made it down the aisle with us following right behind them. He and I decided to walk down together – it was a statement that traditions were thrown out the door, and we were in this together. Two adults, in their mid 40s, making a promise.

My dearest friend for almost 2o years was our minister. Tonya and I had met back in 2000 at the Girl Scouts of Middle Georgia, where we both worked. Many years later, I would return to Macon and she and I would work at the Tubman Museum, and during that time, she got her Master’s in Divinity and got ordained. We were her first wedding. Not only was she my minister, she is truly one of my best friends.

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She started the ceremony off with a prayer and our intention. We loved how when she asked the congregation whether or not we should be joined  – Cotton made a noise and everyone started laughing. It was the perfect moment to break the ice!

We started off with a poem by ee cummings. My sister recited it.

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]
BY E. E. CUMMINGS
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Following the poem, Tim’s sister, Paige, read a verse from the book of Ruth.

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. 
—Ruth 1:16-17

Following that, my dear little 10 year old niece recited a poem she had written for us. It was so sweet and beautiful! This was the one time I teared up a bit.

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After that, we had a wonderful “vowed” moment with Tim’s daughter, Kaitlyn. It was basically a promise that the only “step” in our lives would be a step toward more love, etc. You see, Tim’s daughter is actually his ex-step daughter. (legally speaking.) But in this family, Tim is Daddy. He will always be her Dad – and for that, we were recognizing how important she and her little family unit were to us. It was a very sweet moment.

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After that part, we made our promises to his two biological daughters – Karen-Ann & Alex. They are still young and live with us more than 1/2 of the time. Again, the promises we made to one another were very special.

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After this, we finally recited our vows to one another. We made the crowd laugh and cry! It was a very special moment. The girls brought up the rings, and we exchanged rings and were announced husband & wife!

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And of course, in fine Nicole fashion… I did THIS:

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We walked out to the instrumental version of Don’t Stop Believing by Journey.

Seriously…

We did.

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After the ceremony, we made our way to Plains, Georgia and to the little downtown area. Our colors were navy blue & gold – A Starry Night in Paris. We danced, we partied, and I even had a taco bar and the best DJ ever – DJ Deck. Life was grand!

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Yes – you see an Eiffel tower, with Wonder Woman being proposed to by Superman!

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My super cool bouquet

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We served petit fours!

When we arrived, over 100 people were already in the reception hall! Our minister jokingly said she was going to re enact the wedding… and suddenly the DJ cues up the “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince opening and everyone died laughing! It was a hit. Tim’s best friend Tag came up and gave a great light hearted toast, and my bestie, Telisa, came up and gave such a touching toast that she cried, and I cried (which I NEVER cry,) and so on and so forth. After that, my friend Qaijuan led us in the blessing!

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None of these pictures will ever do the party any justice. We had such a great time! So many good friends from all stages of both of our lives.

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But we did it!

If you have been following my stories – from my old blog to this one. You know this new blog is about a new life. I have closed the old volumes and I am writing a new story – a new book.

And so it begins!

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