I write to you this month on a rainy day in Athens, Georgia, that's ushering me to stay indoors and invite God into my heart, mind and fingertips as I share a few thoughts with you. Though distance separates us, this Georgia peach appreciates you taking time from your busy schedules to reach out and allow me to share part of your Sunday.
With a new year and good intentions upon us, 2018 started off right with friends as I exercised by jumping up and down frequently at Lake Lanier and the AXO house respectively during the SEC and national championship games ~ moving from a sitting position in a chair with an ottoman to a vertical jump of a couple of inches off the floor each time the Georgia Bulldogs scored. High fives with both hands extended counted as stretches when I lifted my arms in a ‘praise God’ motion to smack other hands. Is the embracement of a partner dancing and squealing considered good aerobics? You bet it is! And, let’s not forget the muscles not seen but only heard ... my vocal chords! I am sure you can only imagine. Watching the games was great fun yet exhausting, both mentally and physically, and almost perfect satisfaction.
If you are a follower of my column, you have read before about how much I love the four seasons in Northeast Tennessee with each distinctive characteristic. Athens finally received some snow and ice that shut down the campus. So, staff was unable to perform normal duties in the house. Fortunately, AXO was prepared as our awesome chefs had stocked the kitchen including a huge pan of chili I pulled from the freezer that proved satisfying for my hungry girls.
Living on a college campus, possibilities abound for entertainment. The 20th anniversary tour of Riverdance was phenomenal! What athletes, set design and music! Do plan to see the performance if it is in the area. One of my own participated in the Miss UGA pageant, a precursor for the Miss USA pageant. Scholarship winnings are used for higher education.
Celebration opportunities abound during the shorter month of February with Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day, Ash Wednesday and the Chinese New Year. The house shimmers with festive decorations that are displayed, taken down and stored with precision. Sharing dinners with guests such as a fraternity, faculty members or a sports team are anticipated.
You are reading this column a little over a year since I lost my sweet fur baby, Lily, in a car accident. Strange, but I realized as I write this to you, that I am wearing the same jacket that I was wearing when I ‘got the phone call.’ Of course, time has helped with the healing of the loss but daily reminders linger and I am still so thankful to have shared my life with the incredibly feisty Scottish Terrier ... a breed that continues to pull my heartstrings. I thank you again, dear readers, for reaching out to me during that hard time ... more correspondence after that column than any other. Dogs have special places beside us, don’t they?
Thinking of heartstrings ... what about those in the romantic department? Do you have a Valentine? I understand that some men think Valentine’s Day is a day designed to make them feel obligated to buy roses, candy and/or a gift before sharing a dinner with their Valentine. Men ~ hear me! It is not ~ unless you don’t let your Valentine know throughout the year how special she is to you. And, women ~ ditto. And, parents ~ the same! I am sharing a picture of the first Valentine that I ever received when I was only five months old. It is from my parents. I still treasure it today. Do something meaningful.
Lent starts on Valentine’s Day and I will be participating in our sorority house director’s Bible study with the book “Preparing for Easter” by C. S. Lewis. Many of us Christians think about what we are going to give up for Lent: dessert, chocolate, needless shopping, TV or such. I believe this year I will challenge myself to not only give up something but to pray to learn what I may include that would glorify the Lord.
Exercise of most any kind is better than none at all. Even my thumbs and cell phone got their workout with the constant ding-ding-ding of texts from family and friends during those early January football games. To the University of Georgia Bulldogs football program, you brought back so much excitement and pride to the school and fans. Recruitment already is looking very promising and despite the loss of selfless powerhouse best friends Nick Chubb and Sony Michel (who could have chosen to go pro their senior year), Georgia is on the horizon of a new football era. I believe that Tennessee is as well with their new coach from Alabama. The talent in the SEC will be very competitive again. And to that I offer: “Dilly ~ Dilly!”
Happy Valentine’s Day! XOXO
Susan E. Kendrick is a Sunday Stories columnist who shares her insights and Southern humor each month in Sincerely, Susan. To correspond with Susan, email her at SincerelySusan@timesnews.net. To share your events for our Out & About calendar, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.