Let Me Call You Sweetheart

Flower Heart

Image courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Twelve years ago on Valentine’s Day.  Can it be?  I was in a florist shop with happy, rather loud people.  The place was bustling with men. They were shouting, “Hey, I’ll take the teddy bear with the red roses!” or “Pink roses for me.”  More often than not, a deep voice would cry out, “You say they’re how much?”  And then the customer would follow up with “I’ll take ’em anyway.”  More shouts of “a dozen” or “two dozen” or “only six–but mix a lot of greenery in them so they look like more.”  Such gaiety!

The man behind the counter finally got to me and said, “What’ll you have, little lady?”  I swallowed hard and tried to whisper, “I need a floral spread for a coffin, please.”

The salesman stammered.  Immediately, the shop got deathly quiet.  I apologized to everyone for putting a damper on their fun.

I made my order and retreated to my car as more customers merrily pushed their way into the shop.

The day before, I had picked Mom up at the nursing home and tucked her in my car. It was a glorious sunny day in Virginia.  Jonquils were pushing through, bringing the promise of spring. Momma chatted as we drove across the lengthy James River Bridge there in Newport News, VA.  She pointed to the clear sky over the water and said, “Janie, do you see that?”  I saw nothing but she insisted there was “something up there.”  She begin to sing with the Gospel music that vibrated out of the car speakers.   After our little excursion, she asked the same question that she asked every time we crossed this long bridge: “How long you reckon this bridge is?”  I smiled and answered, “Momma, next time we cross it, I’ll check the mileage for you.”  Her answer seemed strange, “If there is a next time…”

When we returned to the nursing home, Momma said, “I need to go put out my red blouse  because Bob’s One Man Band is coming tomorrow to entertain us for Valentine’s Day.  You coming?”  I assured her I’d be there with bells on.  I hugged her goodbye and we exchanged “I love you’s”.  As always, she told me to drive carefully back home to Norfolk.

The next morning, one of my closest friends came to my door.  That seemed  unusual since she’d given me a Valentine gift earlier.  I sat down to chat with her but she knelt beside me and simply said, “Your lil Momma is singing with the angels.”

How could that be?  She had seemed fine on our drive less than 24 hours before.  In fact, she had seemed almost giddy with glee.

I miss her terribly.  I see her face when I look in the mirror ; I hear her when I laugh; I see her hands coming out of my coat sleeves–but I still miss her.  I want her to see how my children and grandchildren are doing.  I want her to see me cook with her recipes.  I want her to know her quarters are still safely wrapped in tissue,  tucked safely in her purse where she hid them from others whom she’d beat in Bingo at the nursing home. I want her to know I wrote the book that she kept telling me to write.

But on Valentine’s Day, 2002, God Himself called His sweetheart home.  She never got to hear Bob’s One Man Band.  And she never went over the James River Bridge again.  I have no idea what—or Whom–she saw in the blue skies, but I have an idea.  No wonder she was giddy.

I love you, Momma.



In Your PJ’s…

It’s FREE!  FREE, I tell you!  No strings attached.  A FREE Kindle download on AMAZON beginning at midnight tonight (official start of Black Friday through Sunday.)

In your PJ’s…fuzzy slippers…tattered robe….no makeup…sipping coffee…blurry eyed from turkey…you can download my book, I WILL NEVERonto your Kindle FREE.


Just dig those toes deeper into those fuzzy slippers, start your download and smile. It’s just my Plain Jane way of wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving.

Or you can get 100 hard copies for Christmas gifts (but you need your credit card for that). I’m not picky.

You do whatever your little fuzzy heart desires.



God’s Amazing Timing!


Image courtesy of winnond / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I was at a book signing on Saturday in our local Christian bookstore here in SC when a Mom walked in with her two children. I had never met her but she had written after hearing me on Focus on the Family in June. She has an adopted son who has aggressive tendencies, like our son Daniel. In fact, the day she heard our story on Focus on the Family on the car radio, she and her son were on the way to his appointment with his psychiatrist. Continue reading

Vintage ain’t always good

Brokenlaptop“Dead-er than a door nail,” I tell you. Slow, painful death. Innards unceremoniously sucked out by an expert. Currently in a box, “resting in peace.” In the demise, it took valuable information.

The “Genius” explained that it was almost vintage.  Since I’m more than almost vintage, I can relate.

The dearly departed was my old computer.

My shiny new, bigger-screened computer sits atop my desk just waiting for me to tap out a blog to you.

Because of my computer problems, my fiction book Jesus Called Me Grandma  will not be finished as soon as I had hoped.  A newer edition, however,  of my book I WILL NEVER...now has pictures as well as copies of a few things our son Daniel had written.

The book is available at Amazon.com as well as locally at Christian Supply. Even got a few in my car.  I hope you’ll think of I WILL NEVER...for Christmas gifts!  It would be a great gift for those who say “I will never…” (which is about 99.9% of the population.)

You know one thing that people tell me about the book? Continue reading

The Yucky Peach Parable

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Looking into the refrigerator, I moved the bag of grated cheese that was leaning on “something”.  The “somethings” were 4 peaches that had been hidden for a very long time.  Not only were they brown and squishy, they were also growing their own little sweaters.  Argyle, I believe.

I put on plastic gloves to remove the furry little things but they were so soft, they melted into each other, resulting in one brown, soft, fuzzy glob.  There was no alternative but to clean the entire refrigerator.  Since I was in the process of making supper, cleaning out the frig was not on the schedule.  Come to think of it, I don’t know when cleaning the frig is ever on my schedule–which is why those peaches were hidden for so long.

The  sticky peach juice had leaked into the crisper drawers as well as dripping onto other shelves.  This resulted in brown, soggy lettuce and other foods that were….well, I’m not sure what they were. Continue reading

New and Improved

I Will Never coverDo you remember having #2 pencils in school?   I don’t know what a #3 pencil is, do you?  But I know what a #2 is. It was often referred to as a “standard #2 pencil”-which makes one wonder what a sub-standard one would look like. A brand new #2 pencil had a clean, untouched eraser on the top.  Or was it on the bottom of the pencil?

Once those erasers got worn down, you could buy the “portable erasers” to stick on the top….or bottom…of the pencil. In time, however, they’d get worn down, too.  The pencils outlived the erasers.  We all know what that means.

Of course, we understand erasers were essential.  In Algebra.  English.  Latin. Gym.  Well, maybe not gym.  But we would use them in health class for written exams when the teacher would ask us to write about a femur and where it was on the body. Continue reading

Dancing In The Rain!

celebrate, dance

Image courtesy of sujin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What’s in a 5 1/2 inch tall, round blue box that has a picture of a little girl in a yellow dress, holding an umbrella?  Here’s a clue: The Bible says we “are the ___ of the earth.” Congratulations if you got the first part right. Now, the second part: What’s the motto on the box? Need another clue? “When it _____, it _____.”

You get an A + (that is, if you said salt is in the box and the motto is “when it rains, it pours.”)  If you got half of the answers correct, I’ll grade on the curve, and you get a B-. If you didn’t get any right, you are probably under age 30.

When it rains, it pours, and it has done exactly that in South Carolina for weeks. Lots of bad hair days. But… Continue reading

Survivors in the Parking Lot

Image courtesy of scottchan / FreeDigitalPhotos.ne

Image courtesy of scottchan / FreeDigitalPhotos.ne

The large parking lot in front of the strip mall is usually empty. Yesterday I was driving by, minding my own business, when I realized the lot was filled to overflowing, as was a car dealership nearby. Police directed traffic. Television cameras rolled. I was tempted to turn around and join the fray – but I didn’t.

Later I learned that the mob had come from across the USA to audition for a place on the TV show, Survivor.

I have no idea if someone was chosen for the show. I do know this, though. The excitement of being on that show – or any other – could not begin to compare with the excitement at the Bateman house this week. The overwhelming response to the airing of our story on Focus on the Family has blessed us and humbled us. We are blessed because of the encouraging comments from so many of you – and we are humbled because God continues to use our story. Continue reading

Baby on the Doorstep

New Book, I Will Never

Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

After birthing the book I WILL NEVER this week, I keep waiting for our nice driver–don’t know his name– in his little brown truck to come to my very doorstep with my baby. I expect Mr. UPS to do a jig when he gives me the box.  I expect him to offer to hand out cigars around my neighborhood while he shakes my hand profusely.  I expect him to ask the baby’s name.  Date of birth.  He’ll know the weight better than I since he probably has it stored in his little computer.  I doubt that he’ll ask about the labor, but I just may tell him anyway.

But before the little brown truck gets here with my hard copies, Amazon.com has already made the birth announcement.

Check out my baby’s birth announcement on Amazon

As one reader suggested–the baby’s announcement arrived just in time for me to give it back to God as a Father’s Day gift.  All of this was His idea anyway.

Happy Father’s Day to my Abba.

And thank you.