Walls can talk!

imageYou’ve heard the old saying- ‘If walls could talk…’ . In New York City, walls really can talk! Look at this one we found in NoHo! Really good advice, don’t you think? And what about Times Square? All of those buildings sport advertising, the revenue from these ‘talking walls’ is so good, the offices they cover are almost empty!


And what about this brick wall, found beside a sports bar near Rockefeller Center?imageWho knew? So, this week…slow down a bit…Stop, Look and Listen. You might start seeing that walls really can talk!imageHave a great week! Love y’all, Camellia

Psst! Couldn’t resist one more… If these walls could talk- they would tell you they house the homeless at night for inside shelter, but this building started out its life as an orphans home, and became the site of a very famous movie- ‘ Miracle on 34th Street’ with the equally famous child star- Natalie Wood !image

NYC Shopping- 2016-Classic or Bohemian?

Anthropolie Window Display- Rockefeller Center NYC 2016

Let’s get oriented…if you’re from a small town and you go to a big city- the best thing you can do is make sure you stay close to a familiar spot so you can get back there! In New York, we stayed at The Jewel right across from the Rockefeller Center – it is a tiny boutique hotel, with tiny rooms and big windows- we could see St. Patrick’s Cathedral , unveiled now, in all of it’s glory and also see the side of Radio City Music Hall where the entertainment equipment is unloaded. A bonus is that we can look straight across the way and see the side of the ground floor NBC Recording Studio. The famous shopping on Fifth Avenue is a half block up from the Jewel Hotel, so we’re oriented! Everyday we passed by JCrewJCrewand Anthropolgie Anthropologie to go to our hop on- hop off bus! And every day I thought – well, you’ve lived long enough to have seen and worn Classics and Bohemian styles. JCrew’s spin on the classics by adding ‘bling’ necklaces is just a winning combo! Anthropolie’s Bohemian looks soft, feminine and vintage without being overdone- that’s their winning combo! Both looks are totally wearable for Spring and Summer. Which will you be wearing? I generally prefer the classics- but I loved both stores!

From JCrew…

From Anthropologie…

The handbags were small, but the shoes at Anthropologie were chunkier as you can see in the photos. At JCrew, there were classic pumps and tennis shoes…and of course the jewelry they have become famous for…

It looks like a good weekend to go shopping! Even if you get yourself an iconic T-shirt for your favorite birthday boy from Katz’s Deli Katz’s Delicatessen !

Katz’s famous Delicatessen

Just had to kid around with you a little bit!  Have a great weekend!


Love y’all, Camellia


IMG_1345We met one summer in a foreign country, a British island, at the Fairmont Princess in Hamilton, Bermuda. It was one of those enchanting chance encounters. They were waiting for their room to be ready, we were waiting for our children to come downstairs from their rooms. We struck up a conversation, their younger daughter had gone away for summer camp for the first time with their older daughter, a seasoned camper. They were from New York, we were from Alabama. We just hit it off, the beginning of a beautiful friendship. We have two daughters as well. By the end of the trip, we promised to keep in touch and we did. That fall, we made plans to go to New York. We all met at Katz’ Deli and then on to Serendipity and Dylan’s Candy Bar next door. Their daughters were adorable! We became very good friends. We exchanged Christmas gifts- I sent one of my grandmother’s pound cakes, they sent a Junior’s Cheesecake- who got the best end of that deal? We did! Elizabeth participated in a charity that I am passionate about and I thoroughly loved interacting with their precious daughters, Katie and Julia. They are growing up so fast into smart, talented beautiful  young ladies. It seems as if we have known each other for a very long time. We exchanged Christmas gifts and kept in touch. Last fall, after the National Football Championship game- Richard emailed us a congratulations on the win for the University of Alabama, then sent us a photograph of the Empire State Building all lit up in red and white! Three years between visits was long enough- we made plans to go again to New York.. They juggled their schedules and surprised us by getting tickets to the Broadway play- Beautiful- the Carole King Musical.image This could not have been a better choice for the two of us. With all of the blockbuster Broadway shows right now- if we had planned it all out in advance, we might have missed one of the best shows playing on Broadway! Let me explain- Carole King’s music is our ‘era’. And since I grew up in Birmingham it was an extra treat for me! I belonged to a high school sorority, Phi Kappa Nu, from 1965-1969.

We had leadouts, another word for dances. The girls wore formal gowns, the boys wore tuxedos. I’m not sure how many sororities and fraternities were active at that time, but these organizations included young people from 5-6 Birmingham High Schools. We raised money through these leadouts. And we had live bands- not DJ’s. It is amazing to think of it now- Ike and Tina Turner, Martha and the Vandellas, Wilson Pickett, the Shirelles, the Drifters, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight and the Pips, even Otis Redding performed! The leadouts were held in what is now known as the Boutwell Auditorium across from Linn Park. As teenagers in turbulent Birmingham Alabama, we were selling tickets, we were having dances! We were in the midst of musicians- who would go on to become icons. We loved the sounds of Motown and black artists from other record labels. These live acts were just starting out, I guess that’s how we were able to book them. We lived and breathed those songs, we bought their records and practiced their moves. What is amazing in that point in history- during those magical nights, Alabama’s young people  were in the very best kind of harmony! What we didn’t know then was that a fantastic songwriter named Carole King along with her husband,  wrote music for some of those groups- the Shirelles and the Drifters are highlighted in the Broadway play. imageCarole King was having a troubled life of her own during those years, but somehow she made a life while she was making a living writing wonderful songs. She went on to become a fantastic performer in her own right.

In the meantime, we were able to share a ‘Beautiful‘ visit with our much loved friends.Elizabeth, Richard, Katie and Julia- thanks for the memories! I was told as a child that the city of Birmingham was laid out in similar fashion to New York City, with long avenues and  short streets or blocks, I don’t know if it is true- I do know the long and short of it is this -both cities have a big piece of my heart. I love our sweet home in Alabama but –imageI hope you will take a good look at that song list- put on some golden oldies- and on some dateless Saturday night, get your best friend to practice those routines like I did! And  if you are lucky enough to be in New York any time soon- I hope you’ll get tickets to see at least one Broadway play- I can wholeheartedly recommend ‘Beautiful- the Carole King Musical’. Oh! I’ve got more to share about our trip! Stay tuned…

Love y’all, Camellia

The Stalwart Pear Tree…

This little dogwood tree struggles and survives every year despite it’s poor location, yet it reminds me of another tree,  ‘The Quickened Stalwart Pear’, found in chapter 38  of my book- ‘Four Days- the Lazarus Principle’img_1996

Here is an excerpt with some added emphasis…

“Go with me…to New York City. While we were there we visited the 911 Memorial. I was expecting to be moved by it. I was expecting to feel anger. That is not what I felt – I felt an overwhelming sadness for what America had lost…the loss of a type of innocence which turned many of our people into distrustful cynics. A harsh rhetoric, indicative of anger and fear has descended on our people…the-stalwart-pear-planted

The most hopeful thing of all in that tragic somber place was a Stalwart Pear Tree, known as the Survivor Tree. It is now 30 feet tall and was the last living thing to be removed from the rubble. The tree was moved to a park in New York to see if the broken charred remains could be revived. By the spring of 2012, having survived two collapsing skyscrapers, several moves, and one hurricane, the stubborn little tree is a testament of resurrection power; a living lesson that we can survive, we can be quickened after the worst loss imaginable. Many Wounded Warriors come to the 911 Memorial to have their photo taken by the Survivor Tree. Native New York Swamp Oak trees were also planted, they are alive but are not yet thriving.

Isn’t that the choice we have? We can be alive, cloaked in grieving clothes-south-tower-world-trade-center-stalwart-pearor we can yield to the Savior who has breathed the Breath of Life into us while we are bound by our circumstances… We can struggle and thrive like the Stalwart Pear or we can merely survive like the New York Swamp Oaks. When I saw the Quickened Stalwart Pear, it gave me so much hope amidst all the sadness. So, hear this-

‘For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for your welfare and peace, and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome….you will find Me…when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you…and I will release you from all captivity…’  from Jeremiah 29″


Whatever it is that is holding you back, whether sorrow or sighing,  alive but not yet thriving, the survivor of disaster or dogged with depression, I hope on this blessed Lord’s Day, you will read of the survival of the Stalwart Pear Tree and find sweet comfort in this – and in the Love of God.

Love y’all, Camellia

The Stalwart Pear – New York, 911 Memorial -images from AOL images

The Survivor Tree The Survivor Tree

Four Days- the Lazarus Principle Four Days-the Lazarus Principle