Remembering Christmas 2012.

Jack and Kathy Sharp counted their blessings in the smiles of family and friends who visited them during the Christmas holidays.

Their circumstances that Kathy suffered a stroke the week before Christmas, and Jack has been paralyzed for years, did nothing to lessen their faith in the hope and promise that the birth of the Christ Child brought into the world.

"We had an outpouring of love and support from my niece, Tonya Carter, and Mandy and Jessie Chunn who came to care for us.

"We were overly blessed," Kathy continued, as she recalled those who had meant so much to them during the holidays, including Mary and Wendell Parker, Albert and Jessie Jenkins, Mark and Candice Gore, and Toby Stovall and his congregation from New Black Jack Church.

Also, Becky Hall, Kenny and Delinda Tubby, Ronnie and Joan Hamilton, Marion and Wanda Upchurch, and the support of Dixon Baptist Church, Goodhope Baptist Church, Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, Beatline Baptist Church and New Black Jack Church.

Other guests included Shantel Jenkins, Sonya Wesley, Scott, Christy, Kooper and Jade Battle, Jonathan Henley, Gayden Cumberland, Josh Henley, Wendell and Mary Parker, Joe and Linda Creekmore from Pearl, Jolynn McKinnion, Jennifer Goodwin and family, Darlene Tolbert and Justin Donald.

Kathy and Jack's blessings included phone calls from Ann Hicks, J. C. and David Vowell and their families, Kathy's mom, Helen Nowell, Barry, Gerald Crenshaw, Sarah and Glen Waddell, Marty Sistrunk, Willie Charles Smith, Alvis Epperson and Barbara Gore.


Following Jack and Kathy's lead, to "count our blessings, naming them one by one," may we take this opportunity to wish this undaunted, amazing couple a blessed 2013.


How did Mr. and Mrs. Hospitality spend their Christmas holidays when not hosting some of Philadelphia's grandest social events in The Cole House?

Carson and Linda Waltman drove with their daughter, Sara, and her husband, Kyle James, to Plano, Texas, to spend the holidays with their other daughter, Anna, her husband, Aaron Graham, and their Chocolate Lab named Ally.

Their four-day visit was extended to five when Sara and Kyle got snowbound while visiting Kyle's parents, Jerry and Darlene James, who had rented a cabin for their family in the woods of Oklahoma.

Did I mention that the Christmas visit was made even more joyous because of the anticipated arrival of Sara and Kyle's little girl in June?

Mari Kathryn James will be Carson and Linda's first grandchild!


Remember the recent week when it rained 24-7 in Philadelphia?

Pat Mioton, Barbara Thaggard, JoAnn Copeland, Rosanell Phillips, Brenda Matthews and her sister, Janice Smith and Jean Griffis and her friends, Bob and Kathleen Ratcliff from West Virginia, were aboard the Carnival Conquest, sailing the waters of the Caribbean.

Their ports-of-call included tours of Nassau, the Bahamas, Freeport, Bahamas and Key West, Fla.

In Key West, they visited the home of Ernest Hemingway, and were greeted by some 40-plus six-toed cats!

Even though I only have one cat, her name is Jeri, Brenda brought me back a sticker which reads, "Dogs have owners. Cats have staff."


The B.A.L.L. (Be Active Live Longer) group at First Baptist Church welcomed Kinsey Goldman, Minister of Music at Trinity Baptist Church as guest speaker at their Jan. 15 lunch meeting.

He shared background information and fun historical facts about a number of favorite hymns, and then, accompanying the group from the piano, led them in singing "Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow," "Jesus Loves Me," "How Great Thou Art" and "It Is Well with My Soul."

Dr. Eugene Dobbs invited Kinsey's parents, Jewel and Rodney Goldman, to attend the meeting.

Their son, Scotty Goldman, is married to Dr. Dobbs' daughter, Rita.

Members in attendance were Rebecca Barnett, Ricky Bengs, Gloria Burkes, Jane Cole, Dr. Dobbs, Polly and Bill Gilly, Jean Griffith, Delores Haden, Rena Harmon, Dorothy and Jim Johnson, Eunice Jones, Shirley and James Mooney, Jane Parker, Jo Lynn Parker, Louise and Billy Sharp, William Smith and Dorothy Thomas.


The BALL group has a treat planned for Jan. 31, when they will travel to Meridian to hear David Benson, organist at St. Paul's, in concert, followed by lunch at Weidmanns.


Judy Atkinson of Starkville had often assisted her sister, Janice Williamson, in her duties as Fellowship Chairman at the First United Methodist Church in Philadelphia.

Janice engaged Judy to help her with a party a "lady in the church" was having in the Family Life Center Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012.

Many happy tears were shed and much hugging and kissing occurred when Judy realized that the party was for her!

Janice, her husband, Rayford Williamson, and other family members had arranged the surprise party for Judy in celebration of her 50th birthday.

Family hosts included Judy's sister, Joyce, her husband, John Ware, Brent and Laken of Sturgis; brother, Jason Nowell, and his wife, Lou Anna of Mathiston; sister-in-law, Virna Nowell of Newton; niece, Misty Johnson, and Madelyn of Jonesboro, Ark.; nephew, Jimmie (Skip) Nowell of Newton; and son, Jason Atkinson of Starkville.

Among those attending from Philadelphia included twin sisters, Cynthia Moore and Kathy Hancock, Judy's friends since seventh grade; Kathy's daughter, Katie Russum, and her children, Brayden and Aubree; Mike and Tracy Tinsley, Susan Powell, Shelley King, Brenda Matthews, Betty Prince, Betty Adams and Jo Lynn Parker.

Judy's past co-workers and friends attending included Suzanne Shannon and Deanna Pettigrew and son Noah from Lena; Charles Avery of Macon; Michael, Joanna, and Heather Hedgepeth of Biloxi; Kreszenz Hedgepeth of Oxford; and Lisa Wilson, Kayla Brooks, Jane Kinard, and Billy Lyles, all of Starkville.

Judy's fellow nursing-student friends attending the party were Dora Payton and her daughter, Parker, Courtney Rigdon, Ashley Lang and Kayla Lummus, all of Starkville, and Gabby Chandler and her daughter, Makella, of Mathiston.

Quoting Janice, "Judy loved seeing everyone, and so appreciated all who attended and shared this milestone with her."

Guests enjoyed a delicious selection of finger foods as they shared memories of the past and hopes for the future with Judy.

Misty was recognized as having driven the longest distance to attend the party, with the Hedgepeths taking second-place honors.


Judy was honored earlier in the month when family members and friends gathered at Lake Tia O'Khata in Louisville to celebrate her birthday.

Included in the guest list were nieces Paula Lara and Lori Cox, and their families, Jay, Drake and Isabella Lara of Huntsville, Ala., and Aaron and Gareth of Kernersville, N.C.; also, Sam Lara, his guest, Shoney, and daughter, Ariel, of Starkville.

Also, Judy's cousin, Jeanne Bruce of Ackerman; brother, Jason Nowell, Lou Anna and Michael of Mathiston; Mandy Sharp of Philadelphia; Steve and Shirley Jo McClelland, Jane Kinard, and Billy Lyles of Starkville, and Charles Avery of Macon.

A little mystery evolves as Judy extends a special thank you to her favorite niece for traveling a great distance to attend the party, adding this note, "You know who you are."

We thank Judy for sharing this very special time in her life with "Friends."