I just moved into my new home and I can’t stop smiling. I lived in the same house for 43 years and believe you me, it was a daunting task to sort out, dust out, rid out, figure out (as in figure out why I kept stuff for so many years) … pack boxes … fill two trucks for Goodwill … send family furniture off to my niece for her new house … take clothes to a resale shop and organize what was left. In the process I grieved hard for the lost marriage, the lost daughter … the lost home and the lost dreams. Here is what I told Gloria: “I had a lot of dreams that didn’t come true, but I’m glad I dreamed.” I let myself feel it all. I think if you don’t let yourself feel the bad stuff, you can’t expect to feel the good stuff.

Here is a picture of my organized closet in my new place. (Please note my perfect containers and the easy access to back issues.) The books I’ve written, neat containers with everything needed to ship books — from labels to envelopes to postage — a sturdy container for receipts and invoices, a basket for gloves and umbrellas, a hat box with little crystal Christmas ornaments Gloria has given me over the years … and, right there on the top shelf, every single Homecoming Magazine ever!

If you come to my new house, this closet is part of the tour, and I never fail to tell visitors how much I like writing for Homecoming. I brag a little and say that it’s often pointed out that I’m probably as good at gossip as anyone anywhere. There in the closet, I regale them with stories, like when I hid in a toilet stall to report the conversation between Sheri Easter and Karen Peck, and how, when visiting Bill and Gloria, I go through their drawers and closets looking for whatever I can find that would be of interest to my readers.

As I look back over the previous issues (in perfect order, in perfect containers, in my perfect closet), I realize I coulda been, shoulda been fired … BUT! … let’s face it, I know too much!

The other day when Bill and Gloria called to say they had just gotten into town and were on their way over, I panicked! Having been here for only two weeks, I felt I was not ready for prime time. Then I realized (I’m no dummy, regardless of what you heard); I could put them to work. Bill agreed to clean the mirrors. Who’da thought?

The mirrors were streaked worse than before, but he took such joy in helping me I didn’t say a word

Gloria went straight for the bed, to smooth the sheets, fluff the pillows and rearrange the throw pillows. No surprise there. She’s obsessed with bedding, always has been.

I can’t tell you the times she has dragged me around Bed, Bath and Beyond, pushing that buggy for dear life, happier than if she were in her right mind. Once, she bought Christmas presents there, and paper and ribbon, and we wrapped them in the trunk of my car … in the parking lot … in winter … singing “Mary, Did You Know?” (Sometimes I get on a roll and can’t stop.)

Please note, my Princess, a loving and friendly cat, playing dead because she knows that Gloria isn’t fond of cats. This has been a thorn in the flesh in an otherwise lovely friendship.

Truth be known, Princess has helped throughout the entire moving process, while Gloria was just here for a few hours

Princess talks. She says “Hello” and “I love you,” and she can count. She gets two Greenies every night and if I try to trick her by giving her three, she turns and looks at me as though I have two heads.

I just found out that my new best friend Kelly Nelon has a dog that talks … and drives their bus! Kelly didn’t come right out and SAY that Sam talks; she put it this way: “It’s not just the people who talk in our family. Yes, we are weird. When Amber was little and we were flying with no toys, I’d pretend my hands were dolls and make them talk. Amber could be entertained for hours that way. It’s no wonder we have a talking dog!”

I think I’ve mentioned, in the past, that if you look up the word hyper in the dictionary, it has a picture of Ladye Love and Reggie smiling from ear to ear. They are here, there, they talk, they tell stories, they paint pictures in body language. Frankly, it’s been said … and I’m only repeating what I’ve been told … they can all out get on your last nerve at times! I say all that, not to criticize, but to bring up a prayer request. Their darling little boy, Brett, is a great kid. What you don’t know is, that this poor little kid never has a moment of peace and quiet … to do what every responsible child needs to do. Study! Here is what that poor child has to do in order to get his homework done.

The Booth Brothers just get better and better. They are so gentlemanly and so reverent. Most of the time they are reverent. This photo might suggest not always.

It’s good Michael can sing. Obviously his preaching doesn’t cut the mustard.

One of my favorite things about writing for this magazine is being invited to all the awards shows. These pictures are from the Gospel Music Hall of Fame event. The Hoppers were indicted … no! Make that inducted.

Here's me, hoping for new earrings.

I sat with Judy Spencer (below) and Sue Dodge, two of my classy, interesting playmates

Whoever has the most playmates wins, you know! Or … whoever can tell you the best stuff! Me, of course!