Christmas Bride…

‘In her soul- a woman never forgets a man who has occupied her heart so many years’                                                                                                                Author Unknown

I met him when I was a freshman at the University of Alabama. His date was beautiful, mine wasn’t exactly Prince Charming. I looked across the room and saw him, there was a knowing. I went back to my dorm and told my roommate and two other friends that I believed I had met the man I was going to marry.  It was a turbulent time, my cousin had died in Vietnam the previous summer just three days after his arrival;  yet on that beautiful Tuscaloosa campus there were protests against the Viet Nam war. And I had met a brown eyed handsome man, who was a gentleman, clean cut and the most decent person I had ever met. He still is. I felt calm when I was with him. I still do. Our first date was on Valentine’s Day, 1970. He loaded his old car with my friends and took us anywhere we wanted to go. He still prefers old cars to new ones, gets sentimental amount them. I appreciate this now that I’m an older model myself. He was athletic, had been All County in Football and Baseball, he was in a Tank Unit in the Alabama National Guard and went on to become a paratrooper Special Forces Green Beret. He was unpretentious, and even after a lifetime of achievements- he still is. His favorite TV Show was Andy Griffith, it still is. He liked Country and Classical, I liked Motown and Soul music. His Chet Atkins’ style guitar-playing won me over. I still love the songs he played back then- Silver Wings, Long Black Limousine, Miller’s Cave and Windy and Warm. When he finally got that Country Gentleman Gretsch™ Guitar, like Chet’s it sounded even better!

He made me laugh with his  dry sense of humor, like the time I asked him-

  • ‘Do these shoes look funny?’
  • ‘Well, they’re not hilarious.’

We married ten months after we met. I was a Christmas Bride.2014-12-11 16.50.53

We were told we would never have children, for eight years we didn’t. Then just 21 months apart, we had two delightful baby girls. This Christmas Bride found out we were expecting, not once but twice, just days before Christmas! We would never get over our miracle babies. We’ve enjoyed every minute of being their parents. Given the chance we would do it all over again. Our children are the joy of our lives. They have made us better people. During these many years, we have known-

  • better and worse,
  • richer and poorer,
  • sickness and health
  • yet we have never forsaken each other.

Those vows I made as a Christmas Bride were easy to keep because of the man I married. He has made my life richer in so many ways and through so many folks we have known. Our life has been full of rich experiences. Everyday he still makes me laugh and every single day he brings music into our home. img_0512

I have embraced his deepest beliefs as my own- Don’t Mistreat People. Do What You Can to Help. Pay your respects. Never forget the folks who helped us. Be there. He’s better at it than I am-but I know this to be true:

We honor our vows when we honor those beliefs.

This man has occupied my heart for  many years; I became his Christmas Bride on the twelfth day of December. Dare I say it? Young Love is sweet but Old Love is best.

Take it away Chet! And Happy Anniversary Darlin’, Camellia




Such a little word…IF. Right in the middle of the word ‘Life’ is that tiny word – If… Part of the human experience uses the word- If… generally in a ‘looking back sort of way’. IF often stands for questioning regrets, the ‘what-if’s’ -the ‘if only’s’ which haunt us, disappointments with life and with God…

  • Lord, if You had been here…
  • Lord, if You had not allowed this.
  • Lord, if You loved us…

‘Help us Lord, to watch for that day, when our eyes see You. Give us that gift of faith, which believes when all else says impossible. While we are waiting for You to heal our broken hearts, to straighten out our paths- give us Light for an unsure future- let us see a shimmering glimmer of You. You know there are hidden places in our hearts where we just gave up. Help us renew our commitment to believe, until You reveal Your purposes in circumstances that puzzle us, in situations that are stubborn and have not changed in many years. Whenever we stumbled; whatever happened that made us stop believing; wherever the IF’s are in Life, wherever we were-whether by the grave or by the way, give to us the courage to lay down the IF’s; so that we might pick up our faith once more. In the Strong Name of Jesus Christ. Amen’

Trouble, regrets and storms are a part of life, I hope we won’t waste too much time using that ol’ word IF. Remember the old saying? ‘We can’t always control the wind, but we can adjust our sails’ as you listen to this beautiful meditative version of ‘Sails’ by Chet Atkins!

Love y’all, Camellia

Top photograph- the Beautiful Sunset by our photographer friend -Jeremy Miniard. Prayer and Excerpt from Chapter 7- If is a Part of Life, page 48 of ‘Four Days-the Lazarus Principle’ by Brenda Wyatt- more information on ‘About Us’ page Bottom photograph by Tony Marlar for his YouTube video of ‘Sails’ by Chet Atkins

Mr. Guitar…


I’m blogging ‘live’ from The CAAS- in Nashville, Tennessee! We’ve been Chet Atkins fans for many years- the smoothest, most talented guitar picker, possibly the world has even known- at least in the country music industry. It is being held at the Music City Sheraton, I have probably seen only 5-6 cars unloaded which do not have guitars! There are 1000 people in attendance for four days of non-stop picking! They call themselves either ‘fingerstyle’ pickers or ‘thumbpickers’– which are styles Chet Atkins made popular. The sessions start at 9 a.m. and go until midnite- without stopping! At any moment- guitarists may start playing, in hallways or stages or meeting rooms! Some are amateur, of course but others are recording artists- who either played with Chet Atkins or recorded with him or that Chet Atkins produced their sounds with RCA. And the folks who attend are not locals, they have come from as far as Australia, Great Britain, Eastern Europe and Asia. There are workshops, collaborations, lectures and of course performances. Gretsch Guitars has a wonderful room, where a team is on hand to sell, adjust or repair and answer questions. Chet Atkins made several guitars famous, but his ‘Country Gentleman Guitar in Gretsch Orange’…is wildly popular to this day.


You can see Gretsch Orange below and between the black and white Gretsch guitars– I don’t know all of the names- but I do know the ‘White Falcon’ is also very famous. Wallace Guitars has a presence here as do other guitar makers- there is even a prototype of a Gretsch guitar, that is said to be worth over $75,000- you can still see the marks on it where Chet had them make modifications; along with other vintage guitars.

Chet Atkins, also known as ‘Mr. Guitar’, died about 15 years ago- however, one of the highlights for me- was watching Meagan Taylor perform- Chet Atkins was her great uncle and the family resemblance and talent is uncanny. Chet usually told an ‘old corny joke’ when he performed; these live performers are keeping that tradition alive. Now, I am going to share a few of them, but don’t leave Camellia’s Cottage without listening to the song that made Chet Atkins famous… ‘Mr. Sandman’. One of my personal favorites! *at the end of the post.

Here’s two of the corny jokes- One performer said he grew up ‘pore‘ like Chet, but that farmers in his hometown are getting more prosperous now- he told of a farmer that had saved enough to buy one of those fancy tractors- the salesman said- ‘It’ll cut your work in half’– the old farmer said, ‘Well, then…I’ll just take two of ’em’…. Another said when he first started out as a guitar picker, he would play wherever he could, whenever he got the chance- one night he was playing a club and he was real nervous. He ran to the men’s room before he went onstage. When he got on stage he began playing a few tunes but the audience was not even listening, much less clapping…so he opened it up for requests. He saw a man near the stage writing fast and furiously, the waitress handed the guitarist the paper- he hoped he knew the requested song…The paper said – ‘Do you know- Your Fly is Open?’ Nervously, he said ‘No sir, I don’t know that song!’ So, instead he played a familiar Chet Atkins tune… This time he got some applause…he leaned over low and took a bow. Emboldened by the applause, he stood and continued to play another Chet tune…the same man at the same table was writing out another ‘request’… Now, the guitarist was really worried…another tune he didn’t know?? He took the paper from the waitress- this time- not one but two songs on it…the paper read-

‘Your Barn Door is Open!’ and ‘The Horse has Gotten Out of the Barn!??

The guitarist paused and  said, ‘Where do people come up with these songs?’

Oh lordie, we laughed and laughed…Love y’all, Camellia