Henry & Dianne Ford
In the cover article of the last issue (Nov-Dec, 2006) of VISIONS, I attempted
to address the pain and therapy of dealing with a terrible loss.  That loss
was the passing of 10-year old Jameala Croom.  In my closing comment, and
I quote “This Holiday Season consider giving of yourself, which I am
increasingly convinced, just may be the greatest gift of all.”  The power of
our own conclusions can sometimes drive us beyond what we think is
reasonable, probable, or possible.

As I was completing that last newsletter, Jameala’s mother Penny Croom was
preparing to travel to Calhoun, Georgia to attend a Banquet and fund raiser
in which Jameala had previously been named poster child.  Planning to
accompany and support Penny were two relatives, Joyce Bradford and Julia

I also had considered the trip, but all those reasons (or excuses) kept telling
me, “you can’t make that trip.  “You are already too busy;” “It’s too late to get
a reasonably priced airline ticket;” “If you take a plane, then you will have to
rent a car;” “The hotel will cost too much since you can’t share a room with
any of those lovely ladies, even if they are relatives;” “There may not be any
hotel rooms available;” “You know you shouldn’t drive, it’s a long way and it
will most likely snow somewhere along the trip; “Besides, the days are short
so you will have to drive while its dark, and you know how those deer like to
run in front of your car; etc., etc.”

Anyway, Friday morning, November 3rd found me on Interstates 71 and 75
doing what I said I would never do alone and during a single day, heading
for Georgia.  With absolutely picture perfect weather, and without a co-pilot
urging me to stop and load up on calories (the sleeping pill in disguise) I
only had a few hours of driving left after the sun went down.

The net result is that I am glad I took the time and energy and funds to make
the trip.  Calhoun, Georgia must be the cradle of Southern Hospitality.  It
was apparent in everyone I met, and even those I just passed on the street.  
The visit was like stepping back into “a kinder and gentler” time.

Since Dianne could not make the trip, the “three lovely ladies” (especially
Penny!) made absolutely sure no female looked at me more than once.

The weekend of events was planned to encourage the victims of
Scleroderma and their families and friends, acknowledge the efforts of
individuals and organizations that are involved in the research of treatments
and cures for this dibilitating disease, raise funds to continue and expand
that research, and provide entertainment and enlightenment.  The weekend
was a success, and I feel that I am better because of it.  One of the things
that usually occurs (and that weekend was no different) when I turn my
thoughts and actions towards someone else’s problems, is that my
challenges seem to become smaller and even fade away.

My concern about the emotional toll the weekend might be on Penny was
probably unfounded.  As she participated in the memorial program, and
throughout the weekend, she was an absolute pillar of strength.  If I had not
“known her story” it would have been difficult to convince me of what she
had gone through, and what she was probably going through.  So now I’m
not sure if I was in Georgia to support Penny, or if I was in Georgia so she
could support me.  What I am sure of is that when you have done your
absolute very best, as Penny did with Jameala, and when you have followed
your spiritual conscience, the trials and tribulations of life are somewhat

With my spirits lifted and my stomach full, I turned in about 11:00 PM that
Saturday night to get some rest, so I would not have to put the car on
autopilot the next day.  Just before 4:00 AM Sunday morning I was turning
onto Interstate 75 for the long drive home.  So gratifying was a weekend of
“just being there,” and being encouraged by the strength and hospitality of
others, that the trip home seemed effortless.  And while Penny, along with
Joyce and Aunt Julia have thanked me more than once, the thanks are owed
to God for planting the seeds of good intentions, providing the material
needs and the physical ability, insuring my safe passage, providing good
weather, and keeping “Bambi” in the woods as I sped along at 70 mph, some
of the time in the darkness, driving more by faith than by sight.

HERE for more Photos!
"Seeing the world not as it is, but as it can be"
"Where there is no vision, the people perish." - Proverbs 29:18
Your Success Newsletter - Jan-Feb, 2007 - Published Bi-Monthly
The Hope For Life Family
Raising Spirits and Hope in Calhoun, Georgia
Ribbon cutting ceremony for
the Hope for Life Family
Penny and Vickie Goswick, Founder &
Director of the Hope for Life Family



The King or Queen
is in YOU!

What Christmas
Means To Me
Thoughts From
Krisha, Ryan & Jevon

Congratulations to
Jasmine Hudson

Congratulations to
Tiajma Poindexter

Too Good
To Be True
Investment Cautions

The Hope
For Life Family
Raising Hopes & Spirits

Mt. Zion
of Oakwood Village
Fine Arts Center

Attention Graduates
Get Your
Invitations Here

To Future Brides,
Grooms &
Wedding Planners
Get Your Invitations Here

Back to Basics
The Power of Association

Our Commitment
To Making A Difference
Get Your
MLK Day and
Black History Speaker

Vic Reed
The New
"Sausage King?"

Getting In Shape
In 2007?
Let Certified
Fitness Instructor
Burma Stewart Help