Such a wonderful dawn I feel like singing, “Oh, what a beautiful morning!”

Seated in a big cedar rocker on the front porch looking across a gentle hill, listening to crows in the woods and watching Cardinals at the feeder… Hummingbird just “hummed” past visiting colorful flowers in the beds along the front of the house. Red roses, Rooster Combs, and some delicate purple blooms. Crepe myrtle trees with dark pink blossoms hanging over like fountains, so lush and heavy. Up the hill are peach and fig trees and beyond, a garden with tomatoes, eggplants, Bell peppers, and cayenne peppers. Behind the house and down the hill are trees with a hammock, a catfish pond with pier and rockers and beyond that, acres of woods with nice wide walking trails.

Sounds like a bit of Heaven, doesn’t it? Feels like it too. Wish I could say it’s mine but it belongs to cousins who’ve “lent” it to me for solitude and uninterrupted writing.

My cousins … all I have left on my father’s side of the family … and all but one lost everything in Katrina. Living all their lives from 50-80 miles south of New Orleans along the Mississippi River, they’ve now scattered and relocated to many places so different from their culture that it’s been hard to acclimate themselves.

Katrina is never over for us along the Gulf Coast. A whole way of life for many thousands of us has been destroyed. We live Katrina every day and will the rest of our lives. Then rumors accompanying last year’s Gulf oil spill made it sound as if all the beaches from Florida to Texas were ruined, so all tourism took a big hit even as beautiful white sandy beaches lay idle.

Our seafood industry here in Louisiana is always one of the most-carefully monitored as we supply so much for the nation, but that news too was distorted and while we’re down here enjoying all kinds of fish, crawfish, turtles, alligators, crabs, oysters and shrimp – general public elsewhere is fearful!

As if all that weren’t enough, the moratorium on off-shore drilling is about to finish us off. Our economy wasn’t suffering nearly as much as many other states but now thousands have been put out of work from this.

When you consider the restaurants, motels, stores, gas stations, airports, heliports, laundries, marine and marinas it takes to supply the needs and transportation of oil workers – without new drilling in the Gulf and others leaving, these have had to close. And that’s not even talking about the loss of gas and oil to our nation.

So thanks for asking.

As for me personally, I’m still trying to write more and travel less. Almost finished the novel Jacklyn Welch Shockley started and became ours together. Hopefully before long I can submit for publication.

Nearly three years ago the editor of an area paper asked me to write a weekly column. That means I’ve had to behave myself as people really do recognize a columnist from her photo in Sunday papers!

I recently had a great honor come my way – was named Grand Marshal of the 2012 Strawberry Festival which is second only to Mardi Gras in attendance for free festivals in Louisiana. That weekend in April our small town draws 300,000 people for this family-style event. But I’m learning there’s lot more to serving as Grand Marshal than riding in the lead convertible for our two-hour parade! So on the go quite a bit and it’s just started.

There’s a new Kathryn DVD out! Filmed live from my key note address to an Ohio state convention for those who work in Senior Activities. So few staff members get to attend state or national conventions that I want to help meet the need for in-services in their own facilities. The DVD is “Keep on Lovin’ ‘em and Makin’ ‘em Laugh!” based on a letter I received from Minnie Pearl years back. That phrase sums up successful care for the elderly – seeing each as human and surrounding each with love and humor.

So while the Miz Maudie DVD’s (“Miz Maudie Visits the Nursing Home” and “Miz Maudie Goes to the Doctor”) are used for audiences and residents’ entertainment as well as for in-services, the new DVD is Kathryn speaking and the only one made especially for workers themselves. Long enough to be used over three sessions.

My book, “Believe It or Not—Mama Likes the Nursing Home!” is still in demand for prospective residents and/or family members, still being used by some facilities as a must-read for staff members, and still being enjoyed by the general public for its encouraging, uplifting “never-give-up” message – humorous as well as touching.

I recently spoke in Orlando at one of the Disney resort convention centers. The national retreat was for Directors of Nursing in long-term care and I’m always impressed at the caring folks who give so much of themselves.

Our area of Southeast Louisiana has a Creative Minds Writers Group and I spoke recently to regional writers on writing (and speaking) non-fiction at the Books, Berries and Bridges Annual Writers Conference. Also at Career Day at our high school I spoke on writing as a profession. Then at City Hall Miz Maudie and I were guests of the Mayor, speaking as part of our town’s 150th birthday celebration.

Trying to include some things I’ve always wanted to do, have taken some basic and landscape painting courses just a few blocks away. Our beloved high school art teacher retired and within a few days opened The Art Station especially for adults. Visit to learn about all the wonderful variety of courses offered as well as Kim’s DVD you can purchase and never leave home as you become part of the class filmed live!

Well, a lot more is going on but out of space. Just know, each of you so faithful to keep up with me through the years, that I never forget you.

Thanks for your caring and your prayers,