Thursday, December 23, 2010


I read this quote and just smiled. "The best Christmas of all is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up with one another." I surely have felt that this Christmas season and we haven't even gotten to Christmas day. Our house last night was full of family and full of good times and giggles. Watching our two grandchildren interact with each other, watching our adult children just hanging out and talking about some of our past Christmases was so much fun. I was even scolded for allowing Morgan Kate to open a gift early. I laughed. I am the grandmother and I can do that :) :)

I want our grandchildren to know the real reason of the season. I want to tell them about the birth of Jesus. I also want to see the excitement in their eyes of "Santa" and the gifts he will bring. I want to soak up every minute with them. Enjoy time with everyone. We don't have everyone together yet but they are coming. In the meantime, the dishes can wait, the house can be cluttered....after all we are just enjoying being wrapped up together this holiday season. Loving each other. Talking to each other. Getting to know each other better and it doesn't get any better than that! Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Today two years ago

December 9, 2008, was not just any other day. It was the day we would finally bring Morgan Kate, our first grandchild, home from the hospital after 107 days in the NICU! It would be the day that Heather and Travis would begin their journey as a little family. It would be the day that Loitton and I would begin our journey as grandparents.

What a journey it has been so far and we are only beginning. There is so much about being a grandparent that made being a parent worthwhile. As a parent there were days where you felt like all you did was say "no, no, no". There were days where you felt like the enemy. There were those days were you felt like your children hated you because you had to enforce the rules, you had to insist on them having manners, you had to insist they listen and behave. You were the one who demanded that they finish their homework, that they help with the dishes, clean up their rooms, and the list goes on and on. HOWEVER, so far as a grandparent I am having fun and loving it! Such a nice reward for sticking it out as a parent :)

Morgan Katherine Callahan - I love you to the moon and back and I am so proud of the progress you have made in the 2 shorts years since we brought you home.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

This past Sunday in our worship service, the children's moment leader held up a sign that said "Happy Thanksgiving". He then broke it out into three parts and asked the children three questions. What makes you HAPPY, what are you THANKful for and what can you GIVE. It made me stop and think and reflect this week alot. I think at times we tend to focus on the bad rather than the good. So I attempted to focus on the good.

First, when I think of what makes me happy the first thing that pops in my mind is the way God loves me unconditionally. Then I thought of my family.. .my amazing husband, my six children and my grandchildren, my mom, my mother in law and ALL of my extended family. Other things that make me happy (in no particular order) are my friends, hearing my granddaughter say "Hey KaKa", seeing my grandson smile when he hears my voice, having my children share their lives with me, having my children come home and look forward to spending time at home. A peaceful afternoon at the farm. Riding 4 wheelers. Cooking for my family. My church. Playing with my grandchildren. Rocking my grandchildren and watching them fall off to sleep. Smelling their sweet little heads. Morgan Kate's arms around my neck. Seeing the pride in Loitton's eyes when Morgan Kate wants to know "Where Gakor". Folly Beach. Day trips to Charleston with Loitton. Gracie. Traditions. Family time. More family time. I found the more I named, the more I could name. Happiness is all around me! Not every day brings happiness but that's ok. For this week, I am focusing on what makes me happy!

When I thought about being thankful.....the list that makes me happy is the same list that I am thankful for. I am also thankful for a good job, good health, and as odd as it sounds I am thankful for the negatives in my life as well. I think they have made me more determined, more humble and stronger.

As for the giving part. I know I should pass gratitude on. I can listen more closely. Love more deeply. Forgive more often. I need to give back as often as I can and share what God has so richly blessed me with.

I am happy. I am thankful and I am going to be better about giving. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Yikes - 30 years ago!

Just typing in black and white that an event took place in my life 30 years ago sounds like a long time. But for this particular event, it seems like only yesterday. On August 16, 1980, our first child was brought into the world. Labor was not easy but the result was so worth the pain. On that day Heather Morgan Hardison was born at 11:16 in the morning. And on that day my life was changed forever. On that day my heart basically started walking around outside my body. On that day Loitton and I became parents and on that day it was love at first sight.

It would be impossible to share the many many memories that have blesssed me over the past 30 years but one or two of them immediately pop into my head. As a baby Heather and I would get up and go to Sunday School and Loitton would meet us at church. After many attempts by me to get him involved in Sunday School, guess who was the convincing factor...Heather. She would tell everyone that "her daddy was home eating cheese toast". He eventually went with us basically to keep her from saying that :) I vividly remember the first day that I took her to day care. I did fairly well when I left her but when I got to work I fell apart. Unfortunately I work with mostly men so there was no sympathy, just strange looks. I remember her putting a plate of spaghetti on her head and laughing that noodles hanging down looked like her hair. I remember preschool, elementary, middle school and all the little girl drama that went along with that. I remember high school, graduation, college, her masters degree...and so many things in between. I remember her wedding day and dancing into the wee hours of the morning. I rememeber her pregnancy test with Morgan Kate (Burger King and we did get it our way...he he). I remember the heartaches along the way and the challenges we overcame together!

I now watch her as a mom and I watch her with incredible pride. We have come full circle. Tomorrow she will drop Morgan Kate off for the first day at her day care provider and my eyes will fill with tears much like they did back in 1980 when I dropped Heather off for the first time. I will know her emotions and I will know the love she feels. A bond like none other....a bond between a parent and a child. Heather, my prayers continue for you as you transition into a "new normal". However as your mom, I know you will meet the challenge and one day down the road, you will be telling Morgan Kate the same things I am sharing with you.

Let me go ahead and say Happy Birthday! I am so thankful for the gift of parenthood and may your next 30 years be just as rewarding. Love you Skeeta!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Newlyweds becoming oldyweds

I read once that newlyweds become oldyweds and oldyweds are the reasons that families work.

Today I look back over 34 years of marriage and 39 years of being with the same man. It all started in the back yard of my neighbor when I was over visiting him and his best friend dropped by. The best friend was Loitton and is he now my best friend and has been for all these years. I can truly say it was love at first sight as corny as that might sound. I vividly remember telling my sister after one of our first dates, I will marry him and sure enough I did.

As with all marriages and relationships we have had our fair share of ups and downs. Trials and tribulations. Joys and sorrows. Pride and some not so proud moments. But when we said for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health forsaking all others, we meant it.

Heather commented this morning that she was thankful for our marriage. I truly believe the best gift we have ever given any of our children is our relationship with each other. We have tried to show them unconditional love, respect for one another and first and foremost love for God.

As our family gathered last night to celebrate Kyle's 21st birthday, I looked around the room and smiled. Loitton and I have been blessed with three amazing children, an awesome son in law, a terrific daughter in law and another daughter in law will join our family in April 2011. We have also enjoyed two grandchildren that are the light of our lives!

As my neighbor once told me, I am the richest woman in the world. Richly blessed! I give God the praise and the glory for our marriage so far and truly hope he continues to bless us for many many more years together.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Age - it's just a number!

I once read a proverb that said "everyone is the age of their heart". I have always believed this. Monday was confirmation once again of that belief. As many of you know, I met Loitton when I was 15 years old and in my eyes I can still see him at the age. When I met him he was a lifeguard at a local pool and loved, loved, loved anything pertaining to the water. Just recently we joined the local YMCA. We had several reasons for making this decision but the main one for Loitton was to be able to swim and for me it was to get more exercise.

Monday, we arrived at the local Y, I headed to the weight room and he headed to the pool. We didn't have a game plan so as I was exercising it dawned on me that we had not decided on a time to meet up when we finished our work outs. When I finished up in the weight room, I went to the pool to hopefully get to watch him swim a few laps but he was no where to be found. I looked around the building and in each and every room. I knew he had to be somewhere but where??? I finally stood at the front door of the building because I knew he had to leave out of that door. After a few brief minutes, I looked up and my eyes caught two men standing in the middle of the water park. I did my infamous whistle but that was not to be heard over all the excitement at the water park. However, Loitton turned around and noticed me waving at him. He came to meet me and as he approached, I realize he is with our minister. I just chuckle and wonder what the two of them have been up to. They have just finished the "big slide" and are so proud of themselves. I honestly loved the excitement I saw in Loitton's eyes! He was just like a kid and couldn't wait to tell others about the slide. As I looked around, I venture to say he was not only the oldest person in the water park but apparently the oldest who had gone down the slide. Our minister commented that there was a sermon in their experience and I quickly questioned him to make sure Loitton had not said any bad words coming down the slide :)

So you see, everyone is truly the age of their heart and on Monday, Loitton was younger than his calendar years and boy I can't wait to go back! This time, I'll join him.

On a side note, thank you to Heather for the new look on my blog! I love it and hope you do too.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

More on being a grandmother

I know I have written a post on being a grandmother before but things are changing. I now have two grandchildren and twice the blessings! I once read that grandmothers are the ones who take delight in hearing babies breathing into the phone. This weekend I had the delight of being with both of my grandchildren. On Friday evening, we were in the grocery store and Morgan Kate and I were wandering down an aisle all by ourselves. Actually I was trying to keep up with her but anyway we were on the cookie aisle. She would go from one side of the aisle to the other, taking off a box of cookies each and every time. She would place the box on the floor and move on. At that moment, I stopped and chuckled. I thought about the times that my own children would do that in the grocery store and I would reprimand them and see who was looking. I certainly didn't want anyone to think my children were out of control. On this trip to the grocery store, I not only didn't care what others thought I laughed at Morgan Kate and played along. (Just for the record I would put the boxes back on the shelf as she moved on). My point in sharing this was to hopefully explain how for my children this type of episode in the grocery store would probably not have been pleasant but for my grandchild, it was genuinely fun and a valuable lesson learned. I have learned to enjoy the simple things in life, the pleasures of watching inquisitive minds at work and to truly step back and allow children to be children. It's amazing how the things that your own children did that drove you crazy are the very things that are so cute when your grandchildren do them.

On Saturday I shared lunch at McDonalds with both of my grandchildren. Again an experience that was just plain fun and I'm sure everyone noticed the pride on my face. Upon returning home, I was swinging Hunter outside. He was wide awake and looked up with his beautiful eyes as I was singing to him. I probably need to stop right here and explain that the majority of my family dodges me singing so to have a captive audience was nice. I honestly don't know if he was just trying to figure out what the noise was or whether he enjoyed my singing. I like to think the latter.

To top the day off, my mom had come for a visit and she was quizzing Morgan Kate - she loves to see what she can say these days and my mom will prompt her and see what answers Morgan Kate gives. She pointed to me and asked Morgan Kate who I was. Morgan Kate never missed a beat and shouted "Ka Ka". Talk about your heart melting! The sound was sweet and the hug that followed was beyond words.

Being a grandmother is just that....GRAND!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Another weekend without enough days

Wow - can't believe another fun filled weekend and oh so sad to see it end. Last weekend was family oriented, lots of time with our children and their friends. This weekend was strictly dedicated to us - Loitton and I! Friday afternoon as I was leaving my office, I thought I would treat myself to a pedicure. As I headed home, I looked forward to some down time, time to relax and enjoy the evening with my hubby! The evening started off great - steaks on the grill, taking time to talk and catch up on the week...just chillin. While we were in the yard, we allowed our lab, Chevy, to get out of the pen and roam a little. Well, his roaming turned into his first overnight away from home!! All throughout the night we got up and would look outside just knowing that he would be at the back door - not. Saturday morning we decided to pack up and head to Charleston for the day. As we were loading the car we looked up and guess who came home - Chevy! Dog tired and I mean that literally :) After fussing some, we hugged his neck and put him back in his pen. Not sure when his next outing will be. At least with him home, we could go to Charleston and enjoy ourselves. WELL...we did not get the memo about all the activities taking place in Charleston this weekend. The Blue Angels were in town, Folly Beach was having a Sea and Sand Festival and their was a cancer poker run. All of this coupled with just a normal day in Charleston made for tons and tons of traffic. Lady luck was on our side...we beat the heavy traffic into Folly Beach, we beat the dinner crowd at California Dreaming, and managed to do a little shopping. All in all a wonderful day. This morning we topped our weekend off with church activities and another afternoon of relaxing. Oh how I love the weekend when Loitton does not have to work! As I was putting this post together, the song "You're still the one" came on and I just laughed. I have to agree....after all these years, you are still the one Loitton Hardison. I sure enjoyed the weekend, my better half :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

There are not enough days in the weekend!

I thought when I was younger that once I got married I would not wish for the weekends however as I have gotten older, I long for the weekends even more. It seems like there are just not enough days in the weekend and this past weekend was a good indication of that.

On Friday I felt like our home was a distribution center...people were coming and going. They were all there for one reason. They needed to pick up their "Team Morgan Kate" tshirts for the big walk. We had some dear family in town to help us get ready for the event and to just hang out and enjoy fellowship. One thing that our family prides itself on is the closeness that exists and has always existed. When one family member is in need of support, everyone steps up. My sister, niece, and a friend (Charlotte) came on Friday, had dinner with us, and was there for the weekend events. On Saturday, other family and friends joined us to kick off the walk for the March of Dimes. I was almost breathless as I looked out over the crowd of supporters, almost 70 in number, sporting a tshirt designed by Heather in honor of Morgan Kate! We not only walked for Morgan Kate, but for our other grandchild, Hunter, who was born at 35 weeks and we walked in hope that "Baby Lee" my niece, Kelly's little one who is due in October and Becca (Amanda and JP's) little one due in two weeks and Nolan (Raven and Koto's) little boy will be born healthy and full term. You see we really walked for all babies - because all babies deserve to be born healthy!

A walk is using one's feet to advance or to accompany someone and I was honored and proud to use my feet on Saturday to accompany all of those people who sacrified their Saturday morning to walk for babies! I hesitate to mention all the names for fear of overlooking someone but you know who you are and I will never forget you doing this!

The weekend was capped off by a baby shower on Sunday for a very special mommy to be. Raven was honored by her friends (Heather, Liz, Melissa and Rita) at a baby shower - everything was perfect down to every little detail. Special detail for a very special mommy!

Wow - what a weekend! I honestly had to go back to work to rest :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

William Hunter Hardison

On Wednesday, March 10, at 8:20 pm, our first grandson was born! William Hunter Hardison weighed 7 lbs 4 ozs and was 20 3/4" long.

When Morgan Kate was born, I sent Heather a poem I had come across about becoming a grandmother. I found it online and loved what it said. I edited it, of course, for Morgan Kate's situation. Yesterday, I pulled the poem out again and revised it for our first grandson.

It was taken from a Chicken Soup for the Soul devotion. This is how is goes....

A Grandmother Is Born

It’s the time I’ve been waiting for, yet when it comes, it’s still a shock.

This is it, Kyle, my baby is having his baby!

And so the adventure begins. This pregnancy was a roller coaster ride and we held our breath and prayed earnestly that this baby would not be born too early. We prayed that this baby would be born healthy and that this baby would heal hearts, and bring two families together in a special way.

You called on Wednesday morning and said Mom, come…he is on his way! This time I could reach your dad on the phone…unlike when Morgan Kate was born. We arrived and began our day of anticipation. I did a little pacing and a lot of praying! I sat and watched your excitement build, Kyle. I sat and thought a million thoughts, and said short sentence prayers throughout the day.

Today, I knew that I would be somebody’s grandmother again!

After an afternoon of waiting, Kyle, you burst through the hallway doors and words escaped you. You stood there and in that moment I knew your world had forever been changed. I knew that a grown man had been brought to his knees by a tiny little baby.

I meet that bundle moments later and fall madly, desperately, hopelessly in love. Of course, I wept and laughed and thanked God for allowing me this moment, this gift, this day.

Later, his new uncles and aunts greet Hunter, laugh joyously at his perfection, and it dawns on us that Heather is an aunt for the first time.

This being, after all, the age of technology, the moments are dutifully recorded on video camera and pictures are flashing everywhere. Someday, we will watch—and laugh at our foolishness. But for this day, it is totally acceptable to act this way and to marvel at the new life.

A baby is born. The universal family of man—and our family—grows once again. It is as old as time and as new as tomorrow’s dawn. The dance of life goes on. The circle grows. And a dazed, overwhelmed grandmother tiptoes out of a room where a miracle has happened, wondering how she ever got to be so lucky! Thank you God for the blessing of grandchildren.

I love you Hunter Hardison! Welcome to our family.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Weather and my mood

What was your weekend like? I don't know about you but I thought the weather in South Carolina was just about perfect this past weekend. The only thing that would have made it better was if my hubby had not had to work and could have been awake to enjoy all the sunshine! I did however wake him up early enough on Saturday to enjoy a trip to the farm and 4wheeling! We absolutely love getting outside and riding together. Although we had a short trip, it was just nice to feel the sunshine on our faces. I realized on the way back home, that my mood lately has been alot like the weather - gloomy! However the sunshine seemed to really perk me up much so that I got outside and walked instead of walking on the treadmill. The scenery actually changed and I was even willing to pick up one trillion pine cones in our front yard.

I am ready for spring and warm weather. How about you?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

CHD/MOD and Miracles

Two sets of initials (CHD and MOD)! Two terms that have become all too familiar and two terms that I am learning more and more about. First, CHD. It stands for Congenital Heart Disease or Defect. I'll never forget the phone call I got from a dear friend who was in tears trying to attempt to tell me that her precious grandson had been born with a heart problem. I was stunned. I had no words to console her other than I'm sorry and I'm praying. Here they were new parents, their first born, and he was being whisked away to a hospital out of town for heart surgery. Can't imagine, don't like to imagine the fear and anxiousness of those moments! By the grace of God and amazing doctors, that little fellow will turn 2 this month. How ironic he celebrates his birthday in the same month known as "heart month". We heart you Luke Jervey and wish you a Happy Birthday!

MOD - March of Dimes. A cause I am learning more about and becoming very passionate about. So passionate that I am trying to raise money for the cause and trust me I am not a salesman. However if I can raise money and raise awareness for the March of Dimes, I will step out of my box and try! You can make an online contribution for "Team Morgan Kate" as well as sign up to walk with us on April 10. We would love for you to do both. You can also contact folks yourself and raise money on behalf of our team. If you have any questions, post them and I'll try and answer them or get you answers.

Thanks so much for considering a donation. GO TEAM MORGAN KATE!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


In Philipians 4:13 (a verse near and dear to my heart) it says "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me". Isn't that a comforting thought. God fulfilled this promise this morning and I witnessed it first hand. After a very challenging and sad week for Heather, she got up in front of a group of people and found the strength to deliver a message about prematurity. She spoke from experience and with true conviction. God promised her strength and He delivered. It was amazing and she is amazing! I'm so proud of you Heather!

On a side note, the Orangeburg March of Dimes Walk is Saturday, April 10....please join us as we walk and any contribution you could make would be awesome. More details coming.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Out of my box

Last Sunday I stepped out of my box and did something I was a little apprehensive about. I lead the Children's Moment at church. When I was first asked to do it, I said no problem, glad to help. As the time approached, I asked myself just what was I thinking! Get up in front of our church (luckily it was the 9:00 service) and give a brief summary of the sermon - ha! I looked at reference material, I asked for people's input and finally came up with something. I have to admit the minute I sat down in front of those sweet children, my apprenhension went away and I was in the moment! I just simply told them what was in my heart. Then yesterday in church, the children's moment was about friends and the value of friendship. I thought to myself, man I wish I had the children's moment today because I could speak volumes on friendship and the importance of having a friend.

In Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 it states "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; if one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up." That scripture sums it up in a nutshell! Two are better than one. Lately it has been my friends who have held me up, who have prayed with me and for me, and who have prayed for me when I couldn't find the words. Friends like that are priceless.

Just this evening, my "buddies" and I went to dinner to celebrate a birthday. This group of ladies know each other so well that we literally could order food for each other, finish sentences that are started and offer hope and encouragement to each other at all times. We hold hands and pray together and the electricity that is felt at those moments is beyond words. I try to convey to them how much I value each one of them and just in case any of them are reading this.....Thank you ever so much for all you do to brighten my day! Thank you for the love and laughter we share and thank you for loving me the way you do!

And by the way, what happens at Chestnut Grill stays at Chestnut Grill :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Pain of a Parent

In my last post I talked about a hope filled 2010 however the year has started off with many struggles and today is only January 17! I know if we are breathing we should praise the Lord but sometimes it is just hard to deal with life. And I think one of the hardest things for a parent is to see their child struggle...whether it be emotionally, physically or spiritually. Lately I have witnessed my childen struggling and it is not an easy sight, in fact it is down right painful. I can't find the words for this post much less the words that will bring comfort to the different situations that are taking place in their lives. It's hard for me to be an encourager, an optimist, or a good example of having faith when I struggle myself at times.

I just cling to the fact that the same God who blessed us with the miraculous birth of Morgan Kate is the same God who will walk with us as we face these challenges. May I have faith the size of a mustard seed.