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valerieluesse
Alabama
Freelance writer/editor and Southern storyteller
Recent Activity
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My keyboard’s getting rusty:) Just when I thought I could get back to Serenity, well . . . we got a little busy again with health issues. But I’m thinking this morning about a song we learned in choir a hundred years ago. The words were something like this (old... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2021 at Goin' Down to Mama's
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Long time, no Serenity:) How are you? I’ve been a little busy. Too busy to write on Sunday mornings. Busy with the business of healing. I always thought of healing as a passive process, but it’s not. It’s a daily, active, arm-yourself-with-knowledge-and-prayer-then-hit-the-battlefield-and-fight-till-you’re-exhausted proposition. At the end of June, just as... Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2021 at Goin' Down to Mama's
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Life is strange. You can write that down. I didn't copyright it or anything. I don't have a lot of time this morning, but I wanted to write that much at least. It's strange—because you can feel the least alone when you're isolated. You can also feel lonely in a... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2021 at Goin' Down to Mama's
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We need to laugh—even when we’re at our worst. We really do. But when you feel like you don’t have much to laugh about, you can forget how good it feels—what a release it can be. I have my friend Lil to thank for that little revelation. Last week, Lil... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2021 at Goin' Down to Mama's
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For the past month, I haven’t been writing very often because I’ve been on a healthcare journey with Dave. He’s not much for Facebook sharing:) So I’ll just say he had a cluster of issues that silently progressed over time until they converged like a bad weather system and kicked... Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2021 at Goin' Down to Mama's
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We just had our first family reunion in . . . We can’t quite remember if it has been 20 or 30 years since we all gathered. Probably closer to 30. My cousin’s wife told me she had prepared their young children: “You’ll probably see a lot of people who... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2021 at Goin' Down to Mama's
My friend Gary introduced me to a Sandi Patty song called “In the In Between,” and it's speaking to me this morning. It’s all about how it’s easy to celebrate God when you’re on the mountaintop, and it’s natural to call on Him when you’re in the valley. But sometimes... Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2021 at Goin' Down to Mama's
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Did you ever go through a period in your life when you felt like somebody stole your compass and you lost all sense of direction? That was me of late. And while I know better, from past experience, I chose not to admit defeat but to wallow in it, wrestle... Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2021 at Goin' Down to Mama's
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We have a tendency to talk about war in the big picture—battles won or lost, territory taken or surrendered, objectives achieved, zones stabilized. But what could be more personal than sending our mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, friends and neighbors away from home and into a place where they... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2021 at Goin' Down to Mama's
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For the sake of my physical and emotional well-being, I’ve decided to strive for something I call Modified Cat. Why Cat? Because they have no problem saying, “This is what I need right now.” Cheeto says it all the time. He’ll park himself on the floor beside the spot on... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2021 at Goin' Down to Mama's
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Am I really free? Many of us have been asking that question since the CDC lifted the mask mandate for the vaccinated. It’s still hard to believe, after all these months of masking and sanitizing everything but the cat, that we can at last free our faces (with the exception... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2021 at Goin' Down to Mama's
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I’ve never considered myself photogenic, so I don’t have many pictures of myself that I care to dwell on. The few that I do like were taken by Southern Living photographers or my cousin Richard. (Our friend Blake Sims, who worked with me at the magazine, gifted Dave and me... Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2021 at Goin' Down to Mama's
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Today is a little bittersweet for me. It’s Mama’s birthday, so lunch and . . . CAKE! But it’s my last “Movie Sunday” with Daddy. Once he and Mama were fully vaccinated, she was MORE than ready to go back to church, but Daddy’s still not quite up to it.... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2021 at Goin' Down to Mama's
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There’s joy in pleasing a bird. That’s my great takeaway from the pandemic. Little things make me a lot happier than they used to, and I’m hoping they always will. When the weight of the world seems to be knocking at your door daily and your whole life has been... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2021 at Goin' Down to Mama's
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Sunday hasn’t felt like Sunday in a long time. That will change soon, but for now, I “find Sunday” in two things: music and nature. Whenever I find myself feeling off kilter on a Sunday, I turn to both. To feel nature around me, I just open the door to... Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2021 at Goin' Down to Mama's
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When I did a Genesis-to-Revelation study of the Bible (we won’t talk about how long ago that was and how lax I have been lately), I read some commentary that said some of the dietary restrictions God gave the Israelites—rules that might sound arbitrary to us now—actually helped prevent disease... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2021 at Goin' Down to Mama's
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“What’s today?” There’s no telling how many times I’ve asked Dave that question in the past year. I never realized, until now, how much we depend on markers—large and small—in everyday life. For me, each week has always begun with Monday-back-to-work and ended with Sundays at church. Seasons were marked... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2021 at Goin' Down to Mama's
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I have no idea why I’m excited about the time change. I work from home, so it’s not like I’ll relish the extra daylight after I make it through rush hour—there is no rush hour. My doctor encouraged me to get vaccinated before I go back to church, so I... Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2021 at Goin' Down to Mama's
Absolutely!
Toggle Commented Mar 8, 2021 on Sunday Morning Serenity at Goin' Down to Mama's
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Julia T. McKinney, age 90, passed away on February 20, 2021, at the Decatur Morgan Hospital in Decatur, Alabama. You might read that and think to yourself, “Bless her heart, she lived a long time.” Yes, she did—but not long enough for me. Despite the best efforts of an outstanding... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2021 at Goin' Down to Mama's
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Yesterday a small package came for me. When Dave asked what was inside, I said, “My spring shoe wardrobe.” It’s worth mentioning here that my cousins used to call me Imelda, as in Imelda Marcos, infamous in part for her vast shoe collection. But these days, a pair of super-cushioned... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2021 at Goin' Down to Mama's
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If I were male—and a cardinal—I might be a little full of myself, what with my bright red feathers and crest, a mysterious black mask around my face. I might tell myself that the wrens and the blackbirds were jealous of my star power. But that’s not the way of... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2021 at Goin' Down to Mama's
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I’m thinking of some Daddy wisdom this morning. Yesterday, we were talking about this and that over the phone, and the Super Bowl came up. “I don’t know why some people keep saying Brady needs to quit because he’s too old,” Daddy said. “He’s just 43. If they could make... Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2021 at Goin' Down to Mama's
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My mother recently reminded me of an expression that I’ve heard all my life but never thought much about: “do for.” As in do (something kind and helpful) for (someone who is in need or just going through a rough time). She used it a lot in December. During our... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2021 at Goin' Down to Mama's
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Sometimes, you need only a little something good to help you cope with a whole lot of bad. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been completely worn down by the past year. I’m tired of “all the wipin’ and swipin’”—Daddy’s terminology for sanitizing. I’m tired of staying away... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2021 at Goin' Down to Mama's