Saturday, July 29, 2017

Lest I Forget My Best Birthday Ever

My 80th birthday was an event I want to remember
and relive forever.
It was by far the best of my Exclamation Point Life!!!
So...I am memorializing it here mostly for me.

On July 13th, my actual birthday, I got up to find this
in my front yard!!!
It was soooo exciting!
A first for me for sure!
I was also delivered a big Starbucks and a
selection of my fav donuts by Susan.

I then picked cousin Sarah up at the airport
(who also brought me donuts!) 
 and had a fabulous lunch at the Sanford House
attired like this:

Please look closely 
(or click on the picture to make it bigger!)
so you can see my glittery crown,
compliments of my glittery actress daughter!
It actually has an "80" dangling in the center!

Really my celebration began the day before
when I wore my tiara to the nail shop!

You really gotta zoom in on this one!
I'll bet I was the only 80 year old in this world of 
millions and billions of people getting a pedi 
in a rhinestone tiara.

The next event in my celebration was seeing
Always, Patsy Cline
with the whole extended family (or most of us.)
In the program Susan had beautifully dedicated
her performance to me and my 80th birthday.
A first for me and touching beyond words.
But then...she introduced me from the stage after
the show and presented me with a dozen pink roses!
This event was taking place on Rob's mother's,
Shirley Metzger Branham's, actual birthday,
so she was presented with a dozen roses also!
It was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of evening!

Here I am, still in my special attire, with my girl.

"Oh, what a night!!!"

And then...The Main Event!
A birthday party extraordinaire!!!
The location: Metzger Party Central
The hosts and hostesses: Susan and Rob
Terri and Jay
For some reason, they chose a travel theme for my

My fabulous cake!

My precious family.

How do I tell you about
Playing in a loop on two televisions was a video
of my life compiled by my beyond amazing
daughter-in-love, Terri!
Set to the most amazing music ever!
(She was also responsible for those darling
water bottles and the personalized! M & M's!)

You can see my video by clicking here:

Linda's Exclamation Point Life!!!
(be sure to have your speakers on!)

We had a sing-a-long 
(with lovely word booklets thanks to John Deaso)
and then were entertained by the Von Metzgers.
At my request Susan sang 
Before the Parade Passes By.
Terri also included that favorite on the music
for my video!
Then Madeline and Susannah sang a very appropriate
rendition of Sisters.
And Susan and Rob, also appropriately, sang
Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better!
However, I think this may be the last time Rob does
 this one with Susan if the verses
"any note you can sing I can sing higher" and
"any note you can hold I can hold longer"
are included!
We were blessed to have Debbie Jasper playing
the piano for all of this.
Then Susan did a little Patsy Cline a capella.

When one overuses superlatives daily and
openly owns up to the overuse of !!!!!s,
one has a difficult time describing the best
celebration of one's life.
But this was it.
Plain and simple.


Credit for the phabulous photos:
Tammy Ferguson
(Who doesn't usually work on Sunday
but did so for me)

Friday, July 21, 2017

A Heart of Gratitude for Charleigh-Girl

I'm having to face life without my C-G.
My questioning about why she was taken too soon
has changed to gratitude for the 12 years
she was with us, then just me.
You see, I know the timing of losing her could likely 
never have been "just right."
But the timing of her coming into our lives
definitely was.

One day when Susannah  was 9 years old she talked
Susan into stopping at Petland to look at the dogs.
She found a little long legged Sheltie and
immediately decided she was perfect for 
Mimi and Gaga.
(Nevermind that Mimi and Gaga had been
married 48 years and had NEVER
allowed a dog to set foot in their home!)

That was in 2005. Jack was at the halfway point
in his battle with Alzheimer's.
I waited a week before I succumbed to going
to look at the puppy I was not going to get.

She rode home in Jack's lap.
As surprised as we all were, she was his dog
from that moment on.
Here we are surprising Madeline and Susannah
with the new member of our family.

From the beginning Jack carried Charleigh-Girl
He took her to the office--in his arms.
He carried her into the vet's office--in his arms.
The receptionist there finally asked us if there
was a problem with her legs.

Charleigh was also his only hobby.
He took her outside constantly.
While he could still drive he drove her to his office
and let her to bark up the place!
(Which he would NOT have allowed anyone else to do.)
She was with him the day he got lost.
Our whole family was surprised (to put it mildly)
at his love for this little dog.

Through the years I have posted so many pictures
of Charleigh-Girl.
But not this one that I found!
Here is the family massage therapist, Susannah,
apparently being assisted by Charleigh-Girl!
Just couldn't resist including it.
 What a sweet memory.

The hardest thing I've ever had to do was to
take Jack to Silverado and drive away without him.
Having this little dog at home helped me so much.
I know my family was so thankful we had decided 
to get her when we did.
With all my heart I feel God sent her to us/me.

The second hardest thing I've ever had to do was to
rescue Charleigh from her desperate situation.
One can say, as I did, that having her peacefully
go to sleep is the "last good thing I can do for her,"
and it is; but it is AWFUL.
I kept saying I "would never get over it."
Terri told me that I wouldn't, but that
I would get through it.

Tomorrow will be three weeks.
I know that's not very long.
My cousin Sarah was here for 6 nights of that,
so I had some distraction.
Now I have tears again, missing her terribly.

What an example Charleigh was of 
unconditional love.
So happy to see me every time I walked in.
I never got a picture, cause she was so short,
but she smiled at us--a lot!
And she was SO BEAUTIFUL, wasn't she?

She is, very appropriately I think,

buried in her back yard.
I will certainly never forget this first animal I
ever loved.


An Epilogue:

Susan Stovall Metzger A couple of special clarifications, I actually found C-G at pet land one afternoon by myself, and took susie back to see her, why? Because her name was originally Bonnie and that was the name of mother's dog growing up! I knew from the instant I laid eyes on her that she needed to be a part of Mom and dad's life...I just used susie baby to seal the deal! I'm not bragging on myself, it's just another sign that C-G was sent from God as a comfort and a joy for Mom and Dad. She lived her life as a faithful, loyal friend, and she had a pretty posh life too!!
July 22 at 9:06am
Linda Lynn Stovall Oh my! I really did not know this and have told the story exactly as I wrote it for all these years. But you were very smart, Susan. Susie Baby was a certain seal for this match made in heaven.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Why Do I Go To Church?

This blog may not be perfectly theologically sound.
I am just sharing my heart with you
 in all its imperfection.

Do I attend church because I am "religious?"
No.  I am not "religious."  I am a Christian.
I would much prefer that you call me a
"Jesus freak" (I am!) 
than call me "religious."
I believe that religion is man's attempt to
reach God,
while Christianity is God miraculously reaching
down to man.

I go to Fielder Church every Sunday because
I want to obey the Bible's command:
"Let us not neglect meeting together, 
as some have made a habit,
 but let us encourage one another..."
Hebrews 10:25
From this verse we find out that the building on
Fielder Road is not the "church."
The church is the body of believers who unite
in that building.

We unite to worship!!!
We unite to study and learn!!!
We unite to pray for and encourage one another!!!
We unite to inhale the gospel, 
so that we may exhale the gospel to a dying world.
We unite to learn how to serve.

The person who said that organized religion (church)
is for the weak was exactly right.
We know we are weak and in desperate need
of the strength only Jesus can give.
Do I believe going to church makes one a Christian?
No.  Definitely not.
The saying so often quoted is true:
"Going to church doesn't make one a Christian
any more than standing in a garage makes one a car."
But we meet to find strength in our weakness.

In meeting with fellow believers on Sunday morning
I have developed loving relationships.
I serve by singing in the choir,
and feel uplifted and blessed by doing so every week!
I feel like the entire choir is my "family."
I love my "small group" (formerly known as
Sunday School class) and feel like they
are yet another part of my "family."
It is exciting to me that so many believers gather
at Fielder Church that I get to ride a 
bus from the parking lot to the building!
I love the diversity of people I meet in the halls!
I love the spirit of excitement!
Everyone is welcome at Fielder Church.

Of course, I hope I exhibit that 
my whole life is built upon Jesus.
I cannot imagine not going to church on Sunday.
I am not legalistic about attendance, however.
I often miss when I am traveling. is my way of life.
It is an integral part of my week.
Yes, it is my habit.
But this is one habit I hope never to break.

"It is my eager expectation and hope that I 
will not be at all ashamed,
but with full courage now as always
Christ will be glorified in my body,
whether I live or whether I die.
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

Phillipians 1:20-21
Linda Jane Lynn Stovall version

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

An Embarrassing Admission

I have myself convinced that I am not a big worrier.
About big things, maybe I'm not.
You know I travel all over creation alone
with absolutely no fear.
And I spend no time worrying about being snuffed
out by chemical warfare.
I can't believe I'm admitting this, but
 I am a terrible "awfulizer" about small stuff.
That is my cousin Sarah's word for imagining the absolute worst outcome in any situation.

I think I can prove it to you.
We got home from Maui Saturday.
On Sunday night, I realized that one of my
dental crowns had come off, 
and I was chewing upon it!
A most unsettling situation.
Let's see what I can do with it!

My first thought when I saw how little tooth was
left for the crown to cover was...
So...if I'm going to have a root canal do I go
over to West Fort Worth where the lady endodontist
has moved who was willing to give me a
knock-out drug when doing my previous
root canals?
If I do that, someone will have to take me because 
I certainly can't drive myself.
But I'm afraid I will have a panic attack like I 
have had before if I let my regular dentist
try to do it.
So should I get a new endodontist?
What if they're not into knockout drops?

Well, maybe just maybe I won't have to have a
root canal.
But if I don't, the dentist will surely have to grind
on the tooth at least some to "clean it up."
So, will he have to deaden it?
Otherwise, that grinding is going to send me
into orbit, I'm just sure.
So maybe I'll take my iPod to listen to and,
oh yeah...I'll use the laughing gas!
That should get me through.

And what makes me think he can use that old
crown again?
I don't know what I'll do about chewing
while the lab gets a new one made.
I'm scared to death some of that minimal shell
of a tooth will break off before I even get to his office.
Much less for days while I wait.
 I'm already starving!

And, I am still suffering from jet lag.
This morning (Monday) is the only day I can 
sleep late this week.
Do I really have to get up at the crack so I can
call the dentist's office and make sure I get in?


As it turns out, his office doesn't open until 11:00
on Monday.
I slept in a bit and still got an appointment for 2:30.
It took about 15 minutes for him to 
cement the same old crown right back on
that shell of a tooth.
No root canal, no grinding, no laughing gas.
Heck, I even forgot my iPod.
Didn't need it.

The sign I'm making here is "shaka" or
"hang loose!"
Not when it comes to dental matters.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Mimi and Meme in Maui!

The Mimi of the title is yours truly.
The Meme is my friend Becky Leffler.
We were widowed within 3 months of each other,
7 years ago,
and our husbands were friends and business associates.

Becky had been to Maui several times before.
I had only been once--for a one day excursion from
a cruise ship which stopped at 3 Hawaiian islands
on our way from Los Angeles to Tokyo.

We took a taxi from the airport...getting close.

And this is where we stayed...The Westin Ka'anapali!

Here I am on my balcony...just dig that background...


Becky at our first meal at Pailolo on the beach!

So...Linda Jane Lynn Stovall, sunset photographer,
had a different view tonight!

We had breakfast each morning at "Auntie's Kitchen."
(Becky and I wanted to rename it--something
more islandy and exotic.)
But the food was wonderful!

Then we were off to the beach!
Here are my toes feeling Hawaiian sand
for the very first time!

Becky knew to rent an umbrella and chaises!

Our beautiful the left...

and to our right!

Our first dining experience, if we had to choose,
would be our favorite!
We took the shuttle to Lahaina to

I bought myself the most beautiful lei!

We had calamari strips and coconut shrimp
for appetizers,
then 2 lobster tails each!
I have never tasted anything better in my long life!
I guess I should be proud of myself that I didn't
take any pictures--you know, too sophisticated or
whatever, but that's not it.
I was so busy eating I forgot!
Besides, Becky's family would call it
(Mine, too, probably!)

Back at the Westin...
Sunset view from the lobby:

But of course there are flowers everywhere!

"Are you girls waiting for a bus?"
"Well, yes, as a matter of fact we are!"

And here's where we are going,
thanks to advice from my friend Beth Blacklock!
This was so much fun!

We "just" had appetizers!
 Fabulous appetizers!

The "magic" piano was played by Annabelle,
the resident ghost.

Then we saw two amazing sleight-of-hand artists.

If you go to Maui, don't miss Warren and Annabelle's!

Okay, I'm afraid you're yawning by now.
But just a brief glance at our luau--
the Feast at Lele.

It was fun, and contrary to the empty look of
Becky's appetizer plate, it was a true feast!
Again, the elegant Ms. Stovall did not take pics
of the FIVE (5) courses. 

WOW, did we have a WOW ending to our WOW trip.
We went to see 'Ulalena, a cirque/broadway type show.
It was very good, but...
 Do you see that sign to the right of this photo?
Following 'Ulalena, there is an Elvis impersonator.
Now I'm not a big Elvis fan, but Becky is!
So we're waiting for our Uber outside the theatre,
and I see this guy going in.
So I ask, "Are you Elvis?"
He said he was, called us lovely ladies, and conversed 
with us to the point of
inviting us to stay for his show as his guests!
We stood the Uber up!
We were seated front row center! 
(At this point I'm considerably more an Elvis fan.)

His show was a major production--wonderful 
musicians, several costume changes, spectacular!

He sang to us.

And threw Becky a teddy bear when he sang...
Teddy Bear!

And as our parting shot we shared a 
Maui version of a banana split!

We are two very grateful girls.
To God be all the Glory for us being able to see
one of the most beautiful spots He created
on this earth.
And we are also always thankful for our husbands,
who were taken too soon but who
provided for us.