Urgent Help Needed:

Dear friends, especially Florida friends:

I need your help to make a plea with Governor Rick Scott of Florida on behalf of our girl, Luz María and men and women like her who need a level of care that a community system just cannot manage.

We have gotten word that there is a serious risk that the state of Florida will cut funding for Intermediate Care Facilities, such as the one our daughter Luz María lives in.

We need friends to advocate by to sending an email or calling the Governor’s Office in support of Line Item 216. (See below for the link.) If these funds are vetoed, ICF/IIDs will in all likelihood experience rate cuts in July 2018. It is very important that the Governor understand the need for these dollars! Our Governor listens to the needs and wants of families and tax payers so please make sure that you, your families, friends and others communicate the need for the increased funding in Line Item 216.

Please feel free to cut and paste the appropriate text below, or to use your own.  Governor Scott, please do not veto the $11.5 increase for ICF/IIDs in Line 216 of the General Appropriations Act. This is important to me personally as a concerned friend of a person and family that needs ICF services.  Luz María Mallow resides in an ICF in Davie Florida, (BARC Housing, Inc.). The level and quality of care she has received there since she was 16 has given her a quality of life that her parents never dared dream would be possible.  Please do not abandon the most vulnerable amongst us. Please do not veto the $11.5 increase for ICF/IID’s.  

Please open the link below and follow the prompts to advocate for all ICF’s, including Barc Housing.


We are terrified almost beyond words at the prospect of having this safety net pulled out from under the daughter we love more than life itself.  Thank you for your help.



The world made new, again

My body seems to know Daylight Savings is coming (like tomorrow! Ugh…). Or perhaps I’ve just never gotten back to CST since my trip to St. Thomas. Whatever the reason, I wake up early, early, early these days, and this morning, I woke up not just early, but full of hopes and expectations. It’s spring here, and we take some extra steps when the weather person says we’ll have a frost, but spring will not be stopped.

I was out planting some Snapdragons, some Salavia and a little Lily of the Valley before 6:30 this morning, stopped long enough to eat the breakfast my spouseman had fixed for us, and then headed back out. The early morning light is so gentle and kind. I stopped and looked out across our front yard and thought I saw something I had been waiting on for three years. Surely, it was, but probably not, I said to myself. I went up close and looked. Yes! In early 2015 Sherod and I went to a plant nursery outside Selma with some dear friends. It was our first spring after 18 years and everything was new again. We ended up buying a cherry tree sapling, a couple of dogwoods and some wild azaleas.


Cherry blossoms

I knew the wild Azaleas had started blooming for the first time ever, about a week ago. A few days ago, I saw the first tiny dogwood flower at the tip of one of the branches, still green and unfurling. Today, it was the cherry blossom that made itself known to me. The azaleas have been quite exuberant, with lots of blossoms; the cherry tree and dogwood will require more patience, unfolding into spring more slowly; carefully, testing this new world they have come to inhabit, though I trust a spring will come when they’ll be bold enough to cover themselves in blooms.



It may be next spring or the one after, when it’s not just one or two flowers at a time; perhaps the wait will be longer. I think that’s as it should be—it seems like it would be too much for the eye and heart to bear, seeing a sapling still so small and frail, loaded down with blossoms. It would be too easy to take them for granted and miss the exquisite beauty of a single, somewhat lonely flower waving gently in the morning breeze. I might miss it all if time hurried too quickly.


Wild Azalea

A son of the South

The funeral service for Walter Turner at Church of the Ascension represented some of the very best of the church I serve.  Everything came together to be the kind of moment the Episcopal church does gracefully, tenderly, beautifully. Clergy who served before my time came back to preach, commend, and commit his ashes to the ground in our Memorial Garden.  The rector who was at Ascension when the church burned in 1984 was there, though enormously diminished by Alzheimer’s,  Walter had been such an important lay leader in the rebuilding effort immediately after the fire that Mark Waldo’s namesake and son Mark, and Anne, Mark Sr.’s wife, 90 and with a knee replacement just two weeks old, thought it important to have Mark Sr. there to honor Walter.  The music during the service was simply exquisite. I teared up when the choir sang  Balm in Gilead, and again, when they led the congregation as we sang Lift Every Voice.  We celebrated and remembered a life of great goodness.

With the bells tolling, and the cross leading, with 6 vergers dressed in cassocks, one carrying the fragile, precious urn of ashes, we made our way to the Memorial Garden after the service had ended to commit Walter to the earth that he was made from and was returning to.  About half-way to the steps leading down to that garden, I looked up in the perfect sunshine of an early spring day in Montgomery.  A Camellia bush was in full bloom and in front of it, a Dogwood was laden with flowers as well. The azaleas lining the bed along our path were days, if not hours, from bursting into full bloom.  I’m almost glad there was no way to capture the moment with a camera–it was so much more important to be in that moment, in that procession, in that strange combination of joy, sorrow, and brokenness that marks all funerals, but in a powerful way, this one.

As much goodness as shaped Walter’s life, there was more than a fair share of sorrow in his and his wife Betty’s life.  Just a year ago, in this same month, Walter and Betty entrusted their son Will’s ashes to the same earth, the same garden.  As I looked at the flowers blooming, and thought back on my visits with Walter, when I would take communion to him and strain to understand the words he breathed out after having his vocal chords removed and replaced with a permanent tracheotomy, I thought, “this was a son of the South whom Pat Conroy would have understood well. And this is a day worthy of such a son’s funeral.”  Rest in peace, Walter.  You were well loved. We will watch over the ones you left behind, who miss you beyond words.