In Memory of Johnny Micheal Spann – March 1, 1969-November 25, 2001


I’ll never forget the day I first heard of Johnny Micheal “Mike” Spann. I was standing in my kitchen, watching non-stop post-9/11 coverage on television. The US had recently invaded Afghanistan, and, like so many other Americans, I expected at any moment to hear the news that Osama bin Laden had been captured.

What I heard instead was that an American CIA agent had been killed in a prison uprising. He was an Alabama boy – a native of Winfield who served in the Marine Corps and graduated from Auburn University. He was survived by a wife and three young children.

His name was Mike Spann, and he was the first American citizen killed in post-9/11 combat. He was only 32 years old.

There is absolutely nothing I can say that would adequately address the heroism of Mike Spann and the other 3,500-plus men and women who have sacrificed their lives during this seemingly endless war on terror.

But what I can do, what all of us can do, on this day when we celebrate the freedom that life in this country affords, is to remember them.

To see the website Mike’s family has created to honor his memory, click here.

In addition, you can read the Congressional resolution passed in his honor, along with a page devoted to American heroes buried at Arlington Cemetery.

If you’re interested in paying tribute to one of our nation’s fallen men or women, you can find more information at Some Gave All.

How’d They Get So Smart?

For about a month Alex has been talking about a little girl – I’ll call her Sidney – at his Mother’s Day Out.

Just about every single time that I pick him up, he tells me all about Sidney…that she’s not as old as he is, that she’s his friend, that he plays with her. I couldn’t figure out why a younger child would be in his three year old class, so I figured that Sidney must be on the playground at the same time, or maybe he saw her in chapel, or maybe they had music together. Regardless of how they met, it’s been pretty clear that Alex adores her.

Yesterday Alex stayed an hour longer than normal at MDO so that I could get my hair cut, and when I walked in the extended care room, he was sitting at a table with three or four other kids having a snack. As soon as he saw me he hopped out of his seat, ran toward the door, and said, “Mama! I’m having a snack with Sidney! It’s Sidney, Mama!”

And when I looked at the little girl who was sitting to the left of where Alex had been, I saw his precious blonde-haired friend named Sidney. What I didn’t expect – because Alex hadn’t told me – is that she has Down Syndrome. He hadn’t told me, of course, because he never noticed. Why would he?

As Sidney watched Alex running toward me yesterday afternoon, the joy in her eyes took my breath away. I was blinking away tears before I ever knew what hit me.

While Alex and I gathered up his things and started walking toward the car, I asked him if he and Sidney had fun playing. He said, “Oh, yes ma’am, Mama! Sidney wanted to read Blue’s Clues, and we watched a movie, and we had a good time, Mama!”

And as I buckled the little man in his seat, all I could think about was how grateful I am for Sidney. I’m so thankful that she’s Alex’s friend.

They’re buddies. Plain and simple.

There are many things I love about children, but the tenderness of their little hearts – the way they look at people and at the world without judgment, without prejudice, without bias – it just blows me away.

Alex and Sidney, for me, are a reminder of what real friendship looks like.

And I thank them for the lesson.

This post was published originally on November 9, 2006.

Calm Before The Storm




I snapped these pictures this afternoon right before today’s storms hit our area. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more eerie sky.

As it turned out, the worst of the weather missed our neck of the woods, but thanks so much to those of you who have emailed to check on us.

And please keep the families in Enterprise, Alabama in your prayers.

My Big Fat Bloggy Error

You know how sometimes you can work on a post over the course of a couple of days? Maybe even during the commercial breaks when your beloved alma mater is playing the number one team in the nation only to lose by three points?

And then you put the post away for a little while, work on it some more, take your young’un to the playground to clear your head for awhile, and then put the finishing touches on it before supper?

And then you see a mistake or two you need to correct, and you’re trying to do sixteen things at once, and instead of selecting a couple of words that you’d like to delete, you select the whole post and then delete it? And then you blame the spambots because you’ve grown so accustomed to hitting the “delete” button thanks to the 600 spam comments that you’ve gotten over the last week that you’re completely desenstized to what the “delete” button actually does?

And then you flail and flog yourself?

I might know a little something about all of those things right now.


Prayers Needed

Emma’s going home! 

Another update from Heather here.

Heather at Especially Heather (formerly Midlife Moments) posted a prayer request for her daughter Emma Grace yesterday. Today Emma Grace has been admitted to ICU and needs our prayers more than ever. Click here for the most recent update from Heather’s best friend Laura.Those of you who aren’t familiar with Emma Grace’s condition can click on her picture over in my right sidebar.

Thanks, everybody.


I’m going to put up the post for Kelli’s donations at midnight. If I have to wait until 6 in the morning, I just don’t think I’ll sleep at all. And I really think that it’ll be fine…I have done so many test runs with the link that I’ve worn a path in the internet.

So…T minus 30 minutes and counting.

I’ll be back in just a little bit.