Sunday, December 30, 2007
For Christmas Mammaw Berta gave all of her grandkids this wonderful Christmas Gift. Each of us are now a proud owner of the "Come unto Jesus" record along with a framed photo of Mammaw Berta, Pappaw Elmer and Aunt Geneva. It came as a shock to some of the younger grandkids...some of them did not know that there was such thing as a record made by The Believers!!! Just wanted to share one of the highlights from the Sims Christmas.
Love you guys,
David Bruce, Sally, Emma Lou and I have returned from our trip to Peace Home School in India. Wow, what a trip! David clocked our actual travel time by plane and train at 34 hours and that does not include layovers. Let me tell you it was worth every mile. As we entered the school we were greeted by hundreds of children with glitter, confetti, and flowers. Over the next 3 days we inspected the school, handed out Bibles with the Gideons, fed the children, sampled the food the girls had cooked, awarded medals in sporting events, looked at tents the scouts built, attended the schools Christmas program & gave Christmas presents to the students & teachers. We also had the opportunity to purchase a sewing machine & gave addition funds for computers.
Even with this busy schedule we had the privilege of visiting the homes of some of the students. While visiting one of the homes one man told us that he never felt worthy to visit the school that his children attend. He stated that he was very humbled that we would come to his home. At the Christmas program the next day we were looking around & there he was...for the very first time. What a blessing that was for us! I think this was the highlight of the trip for me.
We scheduled a couple of extra days to site see. During those days we had the chance to visit Buddha's burial place - and guess what??? HE IS STILL THERE!!! Isn't it great that we serve a GOD that is no longer in the grave! Among other things we did get to see the Taj Mahal. Even with all that we experienced nothing can compare to the experience of being with the kids.
Here are 4 pictures of the thousands we took. If you have the time I would be glad to show all of them to you.
We thank God for a family like ours. It is a VERY RARE thing in this world today.
Duwane & Emma Lou
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Last weekend Amanda came up to St. Louis for a weekend with Eliot. On Friday Katie was away for an overnight women's retreat at church and I had a show across town, so Amanda was excited to get there just in time for some quality baby sitting time with Eliot right away. Problem was, here flight was delayed. Laura had come over to spend the night at the house, to, and offered to pick Amanda up from the airport. I tried and tried to keep El awake until she got here, and just as he was dozing off Laura's car rolled up the street. I picked Eliot up and took him outside so Amanda could at least give him a good night kiss. We were all bummed that she wasn't gonna have any time with him on Friday night after all. But the minute she said hello he practically jumped out of my arms, cuddled up on her shoulder in a little ball and held on tight. We made our way into the house, and El slowly fell asleep on her shoulder. So although there wasn't a great amount of playtime on Friday night, it didn't seem to matter, because that was very special. Laura and her roommate spent the night, so it was a good time for them to catch up as well.
The next day was filled with going to the park, having lunch together, playing soccer in the front yard, etc. Eliot was turning on the charm and pulling out all his newest tricks for Aunt Amanda. It was like he knew that she needed to catch up! And of course,
she took TONS of pictures and video to share with everybody at home. So if you'd like to see all of the fun things they got to do together, just ask. She'd be more than happy to show him off!
Saturday evening Katie returned and the two girls did lots more playing and catching up, and then Sunday we all went to church and had a day full of hanging with friends. Amanda was here for the "shower" that Katie threw for her friend Sharon who lived with her in Guatemala. That night Amanda came to Damascus Road, the young adults ministry I lead worship for on Sunday nights. All in all it was a pretty busy weekend, but packed with lots of fun. We had a great time and Eliot LOVES his Aunt Amanda.
Mom comes up this week after Thanksgiving, so I'm sure she'll be ready to share even more photos and stories. Until then, I'm having Amanda post some pics on this blog so you can see how big and cute our boy is! Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
I have an idea. I've been thinking about this for almost a year now. I have mentioned it to a few people already (Mom & Katie) and I really feel like this is something that needs to be done. Last year my roommate, Alyssa, and I got into a conversation about our families. We discussed how things have changed in the world we live in today, compared to what it was when our grandparents and great-grandparents were growing up. In our conversation, Alyssa came up with the idea of sitting down and interviewing both her grandparents and great-grandparents, asking them questions about their lives. I thought that it was such a great idea, but I never made time to put anything together. Today when I went to the Bentley Family News blog, I saw the pictures from Mammaw B's 97th Birthday party. She's 97...HOLY COW!!
When I realized this, it finally hit me. I need to do this interview. I think that getting her story on video would be just an amazing thing for all of us to have and share in (I know I would definitely enjoy having it). I wanted to email everyone and see what you think?! I would like to get the taping done at Christmas time, since that's when I'll be in NLR. I was planning on sending Mammaw B a letter, asking her if it's alright that we do that, once I got some feedback from everyone. In the letter I would probably need to give her a general idea of questions that would be asked. So here's where I need some help. If you have any questions that you think should be in this interview please let me know. I want to get a good number of questions so we can have some sort of direction when we're interviewing. I want this to be somewhat like an interview but also like a documentary style, with pictures and maybe even other people sharing stories of Mammaw B. Once all the video taping was finished I would bring it back to school and edit it together, putting it in a nice DVD format. Then every one can, if they wish, get a copy of it.
I guess just let me know what you all think of this idea? Give me any feedback you want. I will probably need help in arranging questions, getting pictures, etc. so maybe if anyone wants to help me with that, fantastic! I hope that this is something that everyone is interested in doing. I know that I, along with many others, would be blessed to have Mammaw B's story, especially if it's on a sweet DVD! (hehe) So let me know what you think, give me tips and/or ideas! Oh and I think I would eventually like to do it for Mammaw Berta as well, so be thinking on that too!
Love you all! Miss you bunches!!
oh...and if you know of anyone else to send this email to, then by all means...go for it!! (I, for some odd reason, don't have many family email addresses...bummer)
(here's a link I found with some questions. I'll probably use a lot of them, so if any stand out to you, please let me know. http://genealogy.about.com/cs/oralhistory/a/interview.htm)
*If you have any questions or ideas to give to Laura you can either leave comments (which are always welcome) or you can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will pass them along.
I think this is a great idea Laura!!! We should have a great time pulling together to have something to pass down to the next generations.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Their waiter was most patient as we kept delayed their ordering. It was so good to see them. I love to hear Erick tell a story and he didn't disappoint me!! He told us about one of his friend's wedding that he was to be in last week-end. We laughed and laughed as he told the details. We enjoyed the few minutes we shared with you Meaghan & Erick. You never know who you may run into....
That reminds me of the time we ran into David Bruce's family in Mexico, but that's another story altogether!
-your plans for the holidays
-your family traditions
-favorite stories from holidays past
We want to hear from all corners of the family. Send us your info for a blog entry to: email@example.com
Friday, November 2, 2007
Weirdsville can be found at www.moviefone.com and at many other similar sites.
P2 can be found at www.P2theMovie.com and at other sites.
Weirdsville is a dark comedy. P2 is anything but a comedy.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
This is a picture of Patrick and his girlfriend Juliet. The picture was taken at a wrap party for the Mike Nichols film Charlie Wilson's War which stars Tom Hanks. Pat was on the production crew but did get a speaking part (one word) in the film. We don't know yet whether he made the final cut.
Here is a picture of Wes on the red carpet at the premiere of his newest movie "Weirdsville".
Monday, October 29, 2007
I talked with Mother tonight and she said he is doing well and will probably be going home in the next day or two.
Will get more news out about the get-together on Sunday and will have pictures to share in the next day or so. In the meantime, please keep Uncle Fred in your prayers.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
I had no idea I'd be just feet from these people. Never thought that combo would have actually crossed my path in one night.
Bragging over. You can roll your eyes now.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Linda and Bruce (Uncle Fred's daughter and son-in-law)are going to be in town and as you know...the Bentley Crew looks for any reason for a party!!! Please come and join us.
Since it is so close to Mammaw B's (Great Mammaw's...that is for Uncle David's crew)birthday we are going to have a birthday cake and celebrate her 97th birthday!!!!
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
They are just at the beginning stages of this process but they do know that the children that will be placed with them will be anywhere from 2 years old to 17 years old. The child will also have to be in their home for atleast 6 months before moving on to another foster home.
Please pray for Meaghan and Erik as they embark on this new journey. I know that God will use them to reach children who need a loving home.
We are very excited for you Meaghan and Erik!!!
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Linda and Bruce are going to be in town for a few days and they have asked if we could have a get-together while they are here. You know us...any excuse for a party! It's going to be another great family time. So here are the details:
PARTY PLACE - Roberta's house
DATE - Sunday, October 28th
TIME - 1:00
WHAT TO BRING - Snack foods. We are putting sandwiches together, and will probably have a birthday cake for Mammaw B. Just bring your favorite goodies to add to the table. Maybe some can bring 2 liter drinks.
We're hoping for a pretty day, so bring your lawn chairs as well.
"We're goin' on over to Roberta's house...."
Susie was a pharmacist and served most of our family (who live in this area) needs throughout the years. Ike and I had the privilege of knowing her on a more personal basis when we attended Winfield United Methodist Church during the time David Bruce pastored there. Please remember Sally and her family during this time. I know your prayers and words of encouragement will be appreciated.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
This year, hundreds of people (women AND men) will hear the words “You have breast cancer,” and there’s a good chance that some of them will be people we know and love. Because of this I have chosen to step up and help the fight by participating with Team Disney in the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Central Park on October 21st. Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is an opportunity to honor and celebrate breast cancer survivors, educate women about early detection and prevention, and raise money to fund lifesaving research and support programs to help fight breast cancer.
Below is a link to my personal page that I hope you will visit. There you can join my team and walk with Team Disney, start your own walking team, or sign up to walk as an individual. If you are unable or unavailable to walk with me, you can make a donation. Our team's goal is $35,000 and every dollar helps!! Plus it's tax-deductible!
Hope starts with me and it can continue with you. To donate now, use this link to visit my personal page.
Thanks so much!
Joy Sims Brown
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
-Jackie is now an instructor at the very school she attended to become a medical assistant! She works 4 evenings a week teaching classes to eager students who are working their way toward a career in the medical world. Good for you Jackie!! You never know what opportunities lie ahead of us! We really are proud of you.
-Joy, who has been living in New York City for 6 years (I can hardly believe it) has been working for the Disney Corporation in their Theater division for the last year. She is a tax accountant for two Broadway shows. She was handling Beauty and the Beast and Mary Poppins. Since Beauty and the Beast has closed, she still has Mary Poppins and has now added High School Musical On Tour - that's right - High School Musical. When she went to New York she said her goal was to be working somehow within the theater world in 5 years. I wonder what the next 5 years will hold for her. Love you, Joy.
-Some of you will be saying "when will she ever stop" where this subject is concerned, but for those who don't know their whole story, our daughter-in-law lived in Guatemala for eight months while going through the adoption process to get Eliot. Russ made several trips down during that time and he says he spent a total of about 3 months there with them. This story will never get old for me. Their story is an amazing one and if you haven't checked it out we have a link to their blog on the top of this page. Check it out. You will be blessed. Katie and Eliot came home to St. Louis on July 9th. Kisses to Eliot!
-It's been a couple of years now that Duwane and Emma Lou's daughter, Cindy, and her family came to family reunion. Their family has gotten closer and closer with trips being made both ways to and from Texas as often as opportunity allows. Theirs is another truly wonderful story. If you don't know the details and would like to hear more, maybe we can get Emma Lou to write a blog entry. I'm telling you we have an amazing family and yet we don't all know the depth our family's experiences.
-In case you didn't recognize him in the family reunion photos, Kevin has lost over 110 pounds since January of 2006. He has been swimming, walking, running and now we can add mountain climbing to get himself in shape. He looks great and says he feels terrific. Three cheers for Kevin!! I certainly admire your determination.
I've had a suggestion that on a fairly regular basis I should get a story from Mammaw B to share with everyone. I'm wondering how many of us know how she and Pappaw met. There is bound to be a story of interest there. What do you think? Send me your ideas. We have an email address set up for firstname.lastname@example.org. You can send your stories and/or photos to us thru this email address.
Thanks for the comments you've been leaving on our entries. It encourages me to write more when I see your comments and know you are taking time to visit the blogsite. And by the way, Kevin, that photo of the grandsons was the best I had. Sorry, Rob. I'd really like to get some of the photos you guys were taking to put on the site.
BLOG QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Do you know which family member studied at Oxford in London, England? Post your answer on the comments....
Love to you all!!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Every year we have the same amount of time available to us at the pavilion at Burns Park. The pavilion is ours from about 9:00 am till 4:00 pm. In recent years, for whatever reasons we were all usually gone by 2:00 or 2:30. This year the weather was perfect and the Razorback game didn't start until 6:00, so even though most had gone, there were a few of us who sat down at a picnic table and shared the remaining hours talking until exactly 4:00. Thanks for the extra time, guys. It's hard to put into words, but time like that is what keeps us from growing apart even when we are separated by miles. Thanks for the stories and the laughs. Thanks also for the hugs and kind words as we left each other.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
What a perfect day for a family reunion at Burns Park. When Mammaw B arrived she made her way to a chair in the shade and what fun it was watching each person who arrived make their way over to her. It was so great seeing her respond with smiles and hugs for each one. No matter how large we may grow in number, each one of us has a special place in her heart. What a wonderful feeling!!
At one time Mammaw B motioned me over and told me that for the first time in a really long time all nine of her grandsons would be there with her. I hope all of you guys realize just how special this was to her. OK, there were only two granddaughters there until about 12:30 when we doubled our number!!
If we can trust our memories, those who counted afterward tell us that there were 75 of us there on Saturday coming from all around Arkansas, Tennessee, Nebraska and Oklahoma.
As family members began to gather, as always, there were a number of "circles" of conversation with people floating out of one group into another to try to catch up with everyone. I noticed that one of these circles was mostly made up of younger ones.......and Kevin. They would be quiet for a moment and then all burst into laughter... then quiet again and laughter again. As I studied this group, I realized they ALL had their cell phones in hand. I finally asked what was going on and one of the more "technical" minded family members told me they were "Blue Toothing". Well, you can only imagine how lost I was with that explanation. Come to find out, they were exchanging ring-tones for their cell phones! I suppose I'll never be able to keep up with the times. This group was quite amused for a good while, but the smiles and laughter told us that they were really enjoying themselves!!
On the table we had everything from dressing, chicken & dumplings, chili-mac and corn, briskett, fried chicken, banana pudding, lemon pie, egg custard pie, even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and lots more. A little something for everyone! It's a good thing Ike and I had run back home for some extra tables because we filled them all and still had some moving into the children's places as they headed off for the swings and slides.
If you think the food was plentiful, I have to say that I think the number of cameras equaled the number of dishes on the table. Everywhere, cameras!! People taking pictures of people taking pictures of people posing for pictures. Yes, Freddy, I do mean you. So, as I am sharing a number of our photos here I would like to ask you to email, or even send us a disc of the photos you took so we can plaster a few more on the blog for all to see. Those who live far away and missed the reunion would really love to share in the good times.
OK, before I go any further I have to find out, who made the seasoned crackers? I rather love the idea that some think I know everything about our family, but this one I just don't have the answer for. If you can help with this one, please click below on comments, or email us and let us know.
I did discover a few things from various conversations that I think family members should know:
-Freddy and Linda had just returned from a Carribean Cruise.
-Blakely, Gayla's granddaughter, age 11, has recently been the speaker at the Sunday night service at her church, and had just spoken at a ladies breakfast meeting that morning!
-Kristen, Pat's daughter, and more importantly, Madison's mother, is staying with Pat and Jerry at this time while her husband, Tony, is in Iraq. Please pray for his safe return in December. At that time he will get his orders for their next assignment.
-Uncle Fred turned 80 on September 16th.
-Christy, Bill's daughter, and her family have just moved back to Arkansas from Arizona.
-Rob and Michelle are grandparents again, their second. Also, they are planning a trip to Cancun after the first of the year.
-As most of you probably know, Philip, David Bruce's son, is getting married in October. The wedding will be in Georgia where the happy couple are making their home.
-Emily, Gayla's youngest daughter, has just moved back to New Mexico from Washington state.
-Bruce and Linda are coming home for a visit the end of October. There will be more news to come on this because we are trying to put together a big get-together while they are here.
-This year Uncle Fred got enough money to pay for the pavilion on the first try!! No second speeches having to beg for more.
-And in case you didn't know, Ike and I have a new grandson, now 16 months old and finally at home in St. Louis.
Please click on "comments" and leave your notes for all to read.
Monday, September 17, 2007
We will be adding some of the pics from the reunion later. If you have any pictures you think would be a good addition to our blog please email them to me at email@example.com.
Also, I just got word that Laura Sims has a website that she has posted more pictures from her Africa Mission Trip. Please check it out...she has a bunch of great pictures!!! http://laurainafrica.shutterfly.com
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
There is a group of people that are going to be sending a care package (books, puzzels, small toys) down to Guatemala. If you would be interested in sending something with our package please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be getting everything to Katie and she will be mailing everything together.
Please take a few minutes to read Katie's blog below:
A couple weeks ago a "raid" took place at an orphanage in Antigua by government police. Some sources say it was completely illegal and the basis for the police action is unfounded. The police claim the orphanage was illegally getting these babies and do not have the correct documents to prove that all is legit. The overwhelming conclusion is that this has to do with the presidential election in a few weeks. The current president is on his way out and this has caused a bit of instability with Guatemalan adoptions, especially with the Hague just around the corner.
This raid has caused quite a ripple effect for my friends. Antigua was the town that Eliot and I lived in for over 7 months. The reason we all congregate to live there is because of the freedom and safety it provides. A handful of times we got the chance to leave Antigua and take the hour drive to the city, but the majority of those days, we were hanging out in a 9X9 block city. At one point in my early weeks I remember writing to Russ that the 9 blocks get smaller every day. By that I meant that you run out of things to walk to or see pretty quickly. You run out of restaurants to try or places to take your baby. What does this have to do with the raid?
As if the small city didn't already have it's limitations, now fostering moms are being advised to stay at home at all times until the election is over. I can not imagine. There were days when I thought we had cabin fever even when we were safe to roam the streets and now they are being advised to keep the babies behind closed doors? This may be a small inconvenience for those who have infants, but my friends that are still there have toddlers! What does one do with a toddler in prison? Keep in mind these women don't have an overabundance of toys and books like each of our American homes. They brought the minimum, assuming they wouldn't be here during this stage of childhood. They are blessed to have the few things that visitors have brought on trips to see them, which isn't a huge amount.
I really could keep going with this thought pattern but I'll stop and ask you to pray. Pray first for their safety. Then for the heavy hand to be lifted so that they can again return to the carefree days of exploring this tourist town. Then move to praying for creativity for these moms, that they would be able to fill these lock-down days with activities and ideas that would not only amuse their sweet toddlers but also further their development. Lastly, pray for patience and endurance for these fostering parents. They each followed the call to commit to staying in whatever circumstance to take care of their babies.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Fun day at the pool for Kristen and Madison DeArmond while staying at Grandma Pat and Grandpa Jerry's! (Are Pat and Jerry really Grandparents?) Kristen and Madison came down from Washington State to spend time in Memphis while "daddy" is on Military assignment overseas.
Oh, the days of "BAND CAMP"!!!!
This picture of Spencer, Weston and their girlfriends was taken after a very long week of Band Camp. I wanted to include this picture because they are starting band competition for their high school and will miss the Bentley Reunion.
It looks like the Family Blog is catching on!!!
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Thursday, August 16, 2007
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
So as you may have heard, I have just returned from a 2 week trip to Malawi. This was definitely a life changing experience. I went with a team of 20 people. From there we split into 5 teams (1 large medical team & 4 smaller teams). I was on a small team of 3 with 2 translators. My team visited 8 villages. We went into these villages and showed the Jesus film, taking breaks to give personal testimonies. After the film we worked with the local pastor and offered a response time where people could come and pray the salvation prayer. The morning after the film we had a follow up service where we taught the people basics of Christianity (praying, Holy Spirit, salvation, etc.). I was in charge of journalism for my team. Basically I took pictures, video, and recorded the numbers from each village we visited.
Our overall group leader said that I have all the good stories from the trip. I might have to agree. Anything that can happen to someone on a mission trip, happened to me! My car got stuck in a ditch. I had to walk 5 mi. in the dark to a village where the girls leading us didn't speak the common language (Chichewa). I ran out of fresh bottled water & had to wait to fill my bottles up at a water well. The first projector we used broke at one of the first villages, so we had to visit 2 others without showing the Jesus film. The car broke down & we had to push it, with the help of villagers, about 6 mi. up & down hills. It took us 3.5 hours in the blazing sun! I got sick for 3 days from some sort of bacteria I picked up in one of the villages. And my bag is still somewhere south of the equator, possibly in South Africa!
Despite all the bad things that happened, this trip was fantastic & life changing! I will admit that there were times I wanted to give up & go home, but God showed me his power & control by coming through for us every time! I think that going through all of those difficult things helped me to see God's love for people & his power to overcome everything that comes up against us. I've heard of his love & power all my life, but actually seeing & experiencing it was amazingly reassuring!! He really is almighty and so powerful! Being a musician myself, I was really amazed by how much the people worshiped. They constantly praised God by singing & dancing, which really blessed me and brought me to tears a few nights. I wish I had a video to put up here for you to hear their beautiful voices, but at this moment I don't. Their songs were perfectly harmonized and the rhythms were incredible! It just amazed me! Most people don't get to experience worship like I experienced in Malawi. These people have nothing in comparison to the material items we have here in the USA. It seemed to me that they worshiped wholeheartedly (which most Americans don't). So many times we take things for granted & get caught up in our daily lives that we don't slow down to soak in the things that God has for us.
I'm not sure what else I can say about the trip. My life was greatly affected and changed through the people I met and the ways they touched my life. I went into the trip thinking I would bless the people of Malawi, which I did. However, I think I was even more blessed by the Malawians! I will never forget the people I met and the villages I visited. I know that I will always carry these memories & experiences with me. I hope to visit Malawi again & I hope that some of you get the chance to experience it as well. It has forever changed my life! The pictures I have posted will not really do any justice to the actual beauty of the country or the people. But hopefully it will give you somewhat of a glimpse into the life I experienced for 2 beautiful weeks! Thank you all for your support in funding & prayers!! I love you all!!
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
In September of 2006 Joy had one of her biggest dreams come true...she got a job with Disney Theatricals!!! This is the first time she has been able to use both her business degree and theatre degree. The two shows Joy works for is "Mary Poppins" and "Beauty and the Beast".
In November Joy had the opportunity to go to the opening of "Mary Poppins".
Since Joy works for the "Mary Poppins" show she was invited to go to The Tony Awards on June 10th.
Joy said she had a blast going shopping for and outfit and shoes for The Tony's.
There is so much more to The Tony's than anyone would think...every time there was a performance on stage people in the audience could not really see what was going on because of all the camera equipment taping the event.
Not only did Joy get to attend the awards she also got to attend The Disney After Party!!!
Now is the time for my(Amanda's) favorite part of the story.....
After a fun filled evening she decided it was time to head home...since she was in strappy dress shoes she decided to get a cab to take her home. On the way home she realized she made it through the whole evening without any food. She had been so busy/intrigued that she did not eat at the party. So, what does Joy decide to do? She has the cab driver pull over at the neighborhood McDonald's...remember...Joy is in her formal...she said she really got some funny looks from people coming in there to order a cheeseburger meal. ***Next time any of you happen to see Joy you should have her tell you that part of the story because it is so funny coming from her!!!***
Beauty and the Beast Farewell Show
After a 13 and a half year run "Beauty and the Beast" closed making it the 6th longest running show in Broadway history...and Joy and her mom were on the 15th row in the Orchestra section for the whole thing.
<-Donny Osmond came back to perform in the final show!!
Joy is friends with the producer of "Beauty and the Beast" so he introduced Joy to all his B-list celebrity friends which consisted of a bunch of soap opera stars...Mammaw B would have been in HOG HEAVEN!!!
They also got to attend the after party...it was a wonderful night!!!
We wanted to add this wonderful picture from when Joy was home for a visit in July!!!