All Grown Up and Saving China…

This post if from Dannye Reigh’s 2013 trip to China. She is returning to China in two and a half weeks, for the same purpose, but for a shorter time! God has already begun to supply her needs there a “GoFundMe” site:
Please be in prayer for our girl! Her last trip had some very painful aspects to it, but Dannye is excited to go back to see the children and her dear friend, Melodie!
Thank you for your prayers!!


If you’ve never seen the Disney movie “Mulan,” you don’t know what you’ve missed! I’d probably not have let my kids watch it when they were little – too much Hindu “ancestors” stuff to have to explain to a little one for me (Mulan’s Mom: I should have prayed to the ancestors for luck. Grandmother: How lucky can they be? They’re dead!)- but since it came out in 1998when my kids weren’t really kids, we’ve loved watching it! We quote it constantly, especially Mushu, voiced by Eddie Murphy:

“You know, we have to work on your people skills.”

“Man, you are one lucky bug.”

AndMulan’s Grandmother:

“Who spit in her bean curd?”

“Great. She brings home a sword. If you ask me, she should’ve brought home a man.”

Now that my Dannye Reigh is actually going on a trip to China, I feel a bit like Mushu – ”My…

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My Friend Joe-Joe

Much of this post is from one I wrote in 2007. I’ve just brought it up to date a little.

When I was 16 years old, I met a man who would become one of my best friends. His name was Joe, but we all called him Joe-Joe.

Joe Brister

Joe-Joe was not from one of the better-off families in town; he’d probably never been to church except for weddings or funerals; he didn’t finish high school, in fact, Joe Joe couldn’t even read. When I met Joe, he was 24 years old. He was a very simple-minded person, didn’t think too much, didn’t want to. He was working as a ranch hand on the ranch across the road from our home. He didn’t have his own vehicle, but drove a ranch truck. I have hauled many a bale of hay with Joe Joe. Well, I drove the truck (I was a little too girly to pick up & throw bales of hay!) while Joe, Dave and Jeanne threw & stacked the bales.

I became closer to Joe Joe through my boyfriend, Billy. They were good friends, both coming from longtime Montgomery families. Joe’s brother owned a local beer joint which Billy frequented. I was not allowed there, although I’ll admit I’ve been more than once. (You young people don’t die of shock – when I walked in the door, Billy’s friends would holler “Watch your language, Nina’s here! They took care of me like a china doll.) Joe and I were the only ones who didn’t drink alcohol, me because of my upbringing and convictions, Joe because he’d seen what alcohol had done to his father and brothers.

Joe was always there for me. Whether I was dating someone or not (it was mostly “not” for me, I was not popular) Joe was there to take me places, ride horses, visit with my folks, whatever I wanted to do. “Joe-Joe, I need a Coke!” was a familiar request Joe heard, to which he never failed to comply.

When I was about 19, I dated another fella (this part of my life is where you learn from my mistakes, not from my example. This is history, and as my Daddy so aptly used to put it, you can’t change history!). We all ran around together, Jeanne and Mike (now her husband), David (my brother), Joe-Joe, David (my boyfriend) and me. In our small town, a night out usually meant driving around on logging roads, hanging out in one of the 2 gas station parking lots, or, on very special occasions, we’d go to Conroe. My boyfriend turned out to be a jerk (they often do!) and the night I discovered his duplicity was one of the most horrible of my life. But Joe-Joe was there, trying to protect me from the truth, staying with me through the pain and tears – he would have gladly hurt David if I’d have let him!

When I was around 20 years old, before I met Bill Petty (the most wonderful man in the world!), I asked Joe-Joe to promise me something. After the guy-troubles I’d had, I had a fear of being an old maid, so I said, “Joe, if neither of us are married by the time I’m 25 and you’re 32, promise me you’ll marry me!” Joe promised. Joe-Joe was fun, he was loyal, but I never loved him in that way. He was my security, though, and he let me use him as such.

Then, I met Bill and we got married. About a year later, Joe also got married, but 2 children later his marriage ended. You see, Joe Joe had begun drinking shortly before I met Bill. I never thought he would, but he did. His marriage died and Joe began to slide down the slippery slope of alcoholism: joblessness, instability, & disability. For years, Joe Joe spent his hours at charity hospitals (emphysema/COPD), beer joints, and visiting his dear sister. I only rarely saw him in passing on the back roads of Montgomery.

I got to see Joe at his daughter’s wedding in 2007. He was thrilled to see me, as I was him. He was still the same old Joe-Joe, simple, loving, laughing at everything – he talks so fast and quiet, you can’t understand half of what he says, but he just laughs at his own jokes and goes on! But alcohol had taken its toll on his mind and his body.  He was as touched as every father is to see his daughter get married.

Lindsey And Josh 10-14-06 631

Last week, Joe-Joe had an accident. He fell and hit his head and was Life-flighted to a hospital.  He never came home.

I am so heartbroken. Joe-Joe was my friend. And though I’ve not seen him in a very long time, I think I will miss him, because I will feel the absence of his friendship. There will be no service for Joe-Joe, whether by his wishes or not, I don’t know. I had to write tonight, though, just to tell the world that my friend died, and I will miss him.

Goodbye, Joe-Joe. You were a good friend.

Goodbye, Joe-Joe. You were a good friend.


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A Different Kind of Encouragement

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Eustachian Tube Dysfunction…

There’s an episode of M*A*S*H in which a soldier has been given his discharge from the service, and is well-known for being a scavenger.  He is wanting to get out of flying home so he can make a great big haul from Korea on a ship:

Sgt. Kimble – “You know, I think flight-homewise I got a little problem, Doc, with my ear.  I’ve got chronic adhesive otitis with Eustachian tube dysfunction.”

B. J. Honeycutt –  [Chuckling] How do you know that?

Sgt. Kimble –  “A lucky guess and a little research.”
B.J. – How long have you had this?

Kimble – I caught it the second I read about it.
B.J. – Your ears will hurt if you fly. Right?

Kimble – Bad.

Well, I’m not planning on flying anywhere (thank goodness!) but I definitely have some kind of issue with my Eustachian tube!!  I’ve had this issue before, but never quite as bad as this.

For months, I’ve had a problem with the very back of my throat on the right side. I didn’t know what the problem was, but I would cough and cough, but never really get to the source of the itch or pain or whatever it was. Drainage? I don’t know! But what began as seemingly a throat problem is now from right ear to back of throat, with pain radiating EVERY DIRECTION!! I sleep with a cough drop (or 10) in my mouth. My teeth are going to rot out of my head!!

This morning I awoke with the hope of it being better. Maybe it is. The pain isn’t so bad this minute, but then, I did take 4 Ibuprofen awhile ago.  I might should go to the doctor, but there are lots of issues with that thought right now, so I’m counting on prayer, Hall’s Mentholyptus cough drops, Nyquil, and Ibuprofen!

In the meantime, I didn’t get to have my grandkids this week because of this sickness!  I miss them so much when I have to go this long without seeing them! Selah is in the throws of potty training, and while it isn’t the easiest thing to deal with, I was loving the successes she was having! She was so proud of herself, and wouldn’t let me empty her potty until she could show Nee-Nee!  Titus was proud of her, too. It was so much fun to see their excitement! Indeed, I miss them!

2014-07-12 Maelynn First Birthday 585 Nonnie and Selah


These are some photos of Arulai’s “Frozen” camp. She had the BEST time, as they learned character lessons from the movie “Frozen,” and then acted and sang in an adapted version of the movie.  My heart just about burst with joy for this little girl – she LOVES drama and play-acting! Oh, and singing!!

2014-08-01 Arulai's SHOW! 036

2014-08-01 Arulai's SHOW! 047

2014-08-01 Arulai's SHOW! 069

After the show was over, the children all got to meet Elsa and Anna, main characters from the movie. They were THRILLED!

Bill has finished the first 90 hours course work toward his Home Inspector license! It has been HARD work for my hands-on, fall-asleep-if-he-sits-still hubby!! There is still a lot more book work, but he gets to begin the labs now, which he will love. The work he is doing as an Inspector’s Helper has him excited about this career, and he thoroughly enjoys his boss.  I’m still so amazed at the Lord’s hand in providing this apprenticing job!  Amazed, and so, so grateful!

We’re gearing up for our busy month, October. We have 2 family events that are set in stone (or perhaps blood!!) – the Annual Allen Family Reunion on the first weekend, and our annual family vacation/homeschool camping trip in Glen Rose on the third weekend.  We’ve hit a bump in the road for these two events – we’ve always had access to Bill’s folks camper trailer for our trips. Recently, due to Mrs. Petty’s frailty, they sold their camper. We aren’t sure now how things will play out. We do know we will be at the family reunion, however we manage to sleep.

Glen Rose is not so sure. I’m really frustrated about that trip, because I’ve been working really hard this year to get our younger members of the Home School group excited about the camp out.  It has meant a great deal to our family in the scheme of homeschooling, as far as support and friendships, not to mention the education and spiritual blessings we’ve received from Dr. Carl Baugh and the Creation Evidences Museum!! So, anyway, we were all (the homeschool group that are coming) going to meet at one of the campsites for potluck and “met and greet” time, and after all my organizing, we may not even get to go! I know the Lord has it all in His hands, so I am truly letting Him work it all out. He knows whether or not the group even needs me there!

Glen Rose 1

This Saturday, and a Friday in October, we are shooting some Fall mini-sessions. I had the best time putting our set together!  I used to be really crafty, but haven’t done much in the way of crafts in quite a number of years. I knew what I wanted for our sessions, and I was so, so grateful when my son and his brother-in-law came over to make my plans a reality!  Nathanael had hurt his back, so Elijah did pretty much all the hands-on stuff while Nathanael and I gave input and supervised.  I had wanted a “stand” – e.g. lemonade stand, kissing booth, or in this case, a pumpkin stand.  The guys (and Grace, E.J.’s friend) captured my idea perfectly, and it is wonderful!! What used to be our school cabinet has now been transformed into a beautiful Pumpkin Stand! I just love it!

Fall Mini-Sessions (1500 x 762)

I was pretty timid about doing the chalkboard, but it turned out pretty nice. I recovered my grandfather’s old stool (I left his last upholstery job intact – it was a 1977 cloth calendar turned upholstery fabric!), and I also made a beautiful wreath for my project. Sad to say, I forgot to put the wreath on it, but I don’t think it needs it, do you?  Molly and Charlie seemed to think it was okay!

Fall dogs

Bill just got home, so I’d better get off here. He’s doing some outdoor projects real quick before he comes in for the evening, but that will be sooner than later. It’s beginning to get dark much earlier than even just last week, so he won’t stay out long.  We’re grateful for the tad-bit cooler weather this week – I’m not longing for the cold, but do love these days when the high is only in the 80s!!

God bless your day!

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Being 54

Me and Levi

Ever since I’ve known Bill Petty, one of his favorite lines has been, “I’m __ years old, and I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.” I think it could be difficult to follow someone like that, but for me it’s not been. At least not as a whole. There have been days when I wished he would just make up his mind and do something for a pair of minutes! Continue reading

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A Million Years…

Okay, so it’s only been 5 months. But, SERIOUSLY?? What is so challenging about what basically boils down to writing a letter a couple of times a month? Well, it must be – I’m sure not getting on here to write.

I’m still keeping my Texas grandkids a couple of days a week, although we’re down to two now. Arulai, our oldest, is going to school! I can scarcely grasp that she’s that old now, and if I weren’t so excited for the opportunity she’s been given, I would scarcely be able to tolerate how much I miss her! Bo and Emily have homeschooled her up until this year, but it was becoming so difficult, given the fact that Emily’s business simply EXPLODED this year! So they began looking into private schools – oh, so expensive!! Right before the school year began, we remembered a small Christian school that just happens to be within 1.5 miles of their home! It is run by friends of ours who were in our homeschool group back in OUR days of homeschooling. As a matter of fact, it is actually just an expansion of their own home school, very intimate, and much less expensive than other schools. I am beyond excited for Arulai, and probably more especially for Emily, because the burden of educating her girl was so very heavy on her shoulders! And Arulai just LOVES it! Every time we ask how school was today, she answers, “It was AWESOME!!!”

Arulai's first day of school

Arulai goes to school

My little man - he is still all Monster Trucks and Mud Buggies!

My little man – he is still all Monster Trucks and Mud Buggies!

Our littlest Texas Girl - she still has Nonnie's heart in a death grip!

Our littlest Texas Girl – she still has Nonnie’s heart in a death grip!

In other news, my sweet hubby is also going back to school! He began hearing good things about the career of Real Estate Inspector, and it is truly right up Bill’s alley as far as interests go! He registered for school on a Thursday in late August, and the very next day received a call from his brother about a Home Inspector friend of his looking for an apprentice! So, not only is Bill going to school, he is now working in the field for which he is schooling!! God is so good! Now Bill’s days are filled with work, study, photography, and grandkids. He’s worn to a frazzle, but he’s got a goal in mind, and is truly happier than he’s been in a long time!

Bill being funny (and hefting up those heavy books!) after registering for his schooling

Bill being funny (and hefting up those heavy books!) after registering for his schooling

We’ve also spent some of our summer working on Dannye’s house – our old mobile home. It needed complete new flooring, and that part is almost done. She will then be doing mostly cosmetic things like painting and carpeting. We are so looking forward to the day that she gets the go-ahead for her adoption of little Avalyn. We covet your prayers on that front!

The first workday at Dannye's house, with Bill, Nathanael, Michael (my nephew), and Elijah (Emily's brother).

The first workday at Dannye’s house, with Bill, Nathanael, Michael (my nephew), and Elijah (Emily’s brother).

Dan’s days have also been filled with our photography business, and I began a blog simply for that business. I enjoy doing it, especially because I love showing off their work. It’s called “The Not-So-Petty Blog,” and I’d love for you all to go over and take a look!

There is so much more to tell, but Dannye Reigh wants to go shopping this afternoon. She wants me ready when she gets off work, so I’d better get a move on! Please comment, even just a sentence or two, and let me know how you are all doing!!

God bless your day!

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Sisters, Grandkids, and a Full Life

The past week-plus has been so busy. Not that this is an unusual way of life for me, but it certainly felt busier than usual!  I definitely live a busy (sometimes too busy) life, but I’ve known for a long time that this is pretty much the norm for me. My sweet Mama always told me, “Nina, you’re going to make yourself sick!” And often, she was right.  I will occasionally find myself bedridden for a couple of days after a super busy period. This time, though, I seem to be hanging in there. Well, as much a 54 year old woman can, anyway!!

The beginning of my super-busyness was our annual Sisters Retreat. I am one of 4 blood-sisters (Bettye, Martha, myself, and Jeanne), and we have 2 sis-in-laws (Greta and Karla) that are just as much sisters to me, as well. Five of us were able to get together at Greta’s home, and oh, what a wonderful time it was!!!  You never heard so much talking, laughing, and perhaps even a tear or two as we shared our lives, our stories, our perspectives.  Because we have a 20 year range in our ages, we didn’t all grow up together.  We have, however, GROWN together as adults!  We’ve been through deaths, births, painful diagnoses…all those things life brings that either draws you close or tears you apart. We have chosen to draw closer! So I love spending time with my precious sisters, and I pray we will be able to do this for many, many years to come!!


Our retreat ended on Saturday, and after a full day of church-related activities on Sunday (our pastor preached one of the best messages I’ve heard – or maybe it just truly ministered to me at the moment!), I had to run errands on a rainy Monday. My errands coincided with some errands Nathanael and Emily had to do, so I was able to watch the grandkids at Chick-fil-a for a long lunch. I loved being able to do that, because we rarely go anywhere during our usual 2 day-a-week visit. They love being at Nonnie’s house (can’t tell you how many times the little ones asked that day if we were going to Nonnie’s house!), and it’s just not easy for me, by myself, to get them all ready to go someplace where they all have to look neat and clean! They played on the playset until they got hungry, then they ate, and went back onto the playset.  They all had a blast, and I loved watching them climb and play and pretend! A special prize for this grandmother is that this particular play area didn’t really have space for adults to sit right with the kids; but I was able to sit right beside it on the other side of a glass window and watch them!! I could hear them somewhat, but they could yell and scream to their heart’s content and it didn’t overwhelm me!! So great!!

Bo and Emily met us after lunch, and after a bit of visiting, they took the kids, and I finished my errands. Part of my errand-running was gathering all the things I needed for Arulai’s Easter party, which she was having at my house on Wednesday.  She has been wanting to have a party, and it worked well for us to have an Easter party. It was busy, and I wanted to do too much, but I am SOOOOOO glad I did it!  Arulai painted and decorated all day!  When the kids woke up, we made cupcakes in flower pots; we made “stained-glass” crosses out of crushed, melted crayons and wax paper;  we made “resurrection rolls” with crescent rolls and marshmallows – my favorite, because we talked about Jesus dying, being buried, the oils and spices used in burial, and then He ROSE from the grave, leaving an empty tomb! It was wonderful to see Arulai’s eyes sparkle as we talked – the marshmallow (representing Jesus’ body) was covered in melted butter and rolled in cinnamon-sugar (oils and spices), then covered with the crescent roll, seams sealed completely.  After baking, the marshmallow was gone, leaving an empty roll (that was tasty with cinnamon-sweetness).  Arulai was amazed, and overjoyed at the symbolism!! Titus and Selah mostly enjoyed the process! 😉 Since I didn’t take pics, this is the link to the resurrection rolls directions:

Emily was able to come a bit early to enjoy the “party” and our dear neighbor, Sheridan, came over to help Arulai with some of the projects. One of these projects, I had almost decided not to do, but Sheridan was up for helping with it, so they went ahead. I had placed a chocolate egg inside several water balloons and, blown up, they were in the shape of an egg.  Sheridan and Arulai wound them with colored yarn soaked in glue. They had to dry over night, so my plan is to take them over to the kids on Sunday so they can pop the balloons and see their yarn eggs with a candy inside.  Titus was completely enamored with the balloons, so I’m not sure that will carry over to the yarn eggs; however, I definitely know he will be intrigued with the candy inside, and will work diligently to get it out!!  My house is a wreck, but oh, the fun they had!!  I’ve given myself a morning in bed today, but will soon be cleaning up the clutter. As I do, though, I will be remembering the fun. I hope they will remember it, too!!

This afternoon is another of our many photo sessions of late.  Dannye has been WAY busy with her work at the daycare, and then photo work in the evenings.  Her eyes still bother her a lot, especially when she has this much editing to do. It’s been good, though, because she has about a week between sessions.  This weekend we get to do our oldest godson’s senior pics, and I can’t wait.  Allen is such a gentle, sweet guy, and I am searching for a really cool location to do his session.  We are all so proud of him, as he has really had to work hard to graduate due to his Asperger’s (a form of Autism).  He is STILL working hard!! (And so are his Dad and his grandmother!!) 😉

I’d better get off – this house won’t clean itself, and my hubby might just sneak in from work early today! What a blessing that would be, since he’s been out of town A LOT lately!!

God bless your day!!

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