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Blessed to be Neighbors

by Adam Watkins

     Here we stand with 2/3rds of 2017 in our rear view mirrors, and what a year it has been so far!  Does anyone else feel like we've lived a decade in just 8 months?  From the inauguration of a new President in January on the national level, to the locally dramatic impacts of a huge tornado ripping through the cities of Hattiesburg and Petal the very next evening! Fast forward to August where we experienced the excitement of the first total solar eclipse in decades, witnessed over almost the entire continental United States, and then days later, the arrival of Hurricane Harvey to the Texas Gulf Coast.  The damage and torrential flooding from that storm is still not fully known at this writing.  It's been an exhausting year in many ways.  Our thoughts and prayers remain with so many who have been impacted by this storm.  

     It can be easy to become discouraged and angry if you spend too much time watching the news recount and opine on these events and hundreds of others that I will not take the time to detail.  Suffice it to say, there is a lot of turmoil in our world, in our country, and in our communities - both real and imagined - precipitated by the activities of nature and man.  Recently, Amelia and I made the decision to reduce our intake of the news media because we recognize that regardless of what is being reported in the media - both on television and online - that it's no where near the full story.  It often ignores the good that we can find all around us, and it leads us to a place where we are tempted to begin viewing our neighbors as our enemies as opposed to our friends. Good news and good people/neighbors are out there, mind you - I guarantee it!

     How do I know?  Because the simple goodness of people and their desire to serve others was on full display in January when thousands of volunteers flooded our Hub City to give us a helping hand after many had lost everything in January's tornado.  Our family worked alongside those coming to the aid of those in our community, and many of them camped out in our church's parking lot for weeks afterward.  They loved us and wanted to help.  Most of you have similar memories of those days 8 months ago, I'm sure.  It's often in these of times of utter devastation that we're shaken from our television sets and mobile devices, and we discover who our neighbors are and learn to love them in spite of differences (real or perceived) that may exist.

     Right now, thousands upon thousands of volunteers are on their way to the aid of millions impacted by the affects of Hurricane Harvey.  By the time you receive this issue of the Star Chat, most of you will have already heard testimonies of the work that is taking place there.  Some of you may be amongst that number of volunteers, and many of you will know volunteers who left with only a moment's notice to aid victims of this latest disaster.  It's uplifting to witness, and I encourage you to focus on and engage in those efforts.  It can help balance our perspectives and force us to look beyond our "screens and stereotypes," and into the lives and hearts of others.  What a novel idea.

     REALTORS will be a part of this effort as well!  The Mississippi REALTORS Disaster Relief Fund was established after Hurricane Katrina to provide aid to property owners who've experienced damage and displacement from their properties as a result of disasters such as this one.  Since 2005, it has distributed more than $4 million dollars in aid to those impacted by various disasters both in Mississippi and other states, including aid to victims of flooding in Louisiana last year.  No doubt, REALTORS from all over the country will engage with this current disaster in similar ways, as they always do!  REALTORS view ourselves as caretakers of communities, and we are both obligated and honored to put that belief into action!

     It's a good time to reflect on the relationships we have with our neighbors, and the silver lining of the opportunity to serve your fellow man in a time of need and witness and experience the good of others.  It's out there!  At the end of the day, we have been blessed to call the finest land on earth our home, and we at The All-Star Team, REALTORS, are so thankful to serve you as our neighbors.  May God bless you all...wherever you may be...and in whatever circumstance.  We are thankful for you!

Adam and Team

Labor of Love, laughter and sometimes purple hull peas

by Linda Seifert

     Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s in my parents’ home Labor Day had a whole different meaning.  Oh sure, it was the last hurrah before we went back to school but NEVER was it celebrated with a back yard barbecue or trip to the beach.  In fact, as I recall, every day was Labor Day as we all had assigned chores.  When I was 10 we moved from the Mississippi Gulf Coast back to the Pine Belt when my Dad took a job with the Pontiac Eastern Oil Refinery south of Hattiesburg.  Dad used his VA benefits to purchase a small 20 acre farm with a 3 bedroom, 1 bath home.  With additions and renovations over the years by my parents and later my brother and his family, the home grew to a sprawling 4 bedroom dwelling with 3 baths.  It was on this property that our many adventures toward adulthood took place.    

     Since my parents were raised on Farms it was second nature for them to have farm animals and a huge garden that not only stocked our pantry and freezer in the fall and winter but provided fresh produce during the summer.  There is nothing to compare with a good home-grown tomato sliced thick on two pieces of white bread and plenty of mayonnaise!

     Over the years my siblings and I had dairy and beef cattle as 4-H projects.  We liked working with the animals even though it could be a daunting task in the coldest of weather.  We were reminded however, it was our job so out we trudged to provide feed and hay to the patiently waiting bovines.  When the harvest was ready from the garden my Mother and Dad hauled in several large bushels of butterbeans and purple hull peas.  (They preferred gathering the vegetables as we kids weren’t as vigilant at the task).  ‘Waste not, want not’ was their motto and I guarantee you there was not one veggie that escaped their eagle eyes!  How I dreaded the labor of shelling butterbeans and purple hull peas by the thousands.  The only saving grace from the monotonous job was being allowed to watch a favorite television program from one of the 3…..count ‘em…. three channels!  Any grumbling by us was futile because our parents’ golden rule was ‘our children WILL work for food’!    

     Of course, we had plenty of free time to roam those 20 acres, play in the cold clear creek that ran freely through the backside of our property, climb trees and wander the wooded, hilly terrain with the carefree abandon of childhood.  Along with the fun though, we were expected to perform our duties, get along with each other and create as little chaos as possible.  If there was discord amongst us for whatever injustice one caused the other, then it was inevitable that we would be given the privilege of choosing our own switch from the giant peach tree in the back yard.  If we came back with a twig, then Mom would choose her own switch which was considerably sturdier with plenty of snap!  I can’t tell you how many times we thought about chopping down that peach tree!  Unlike George Washington and his admission of chopping down the cherry tree, we would have lied through our teeth!  (This would be yet another infraction for which we would have been soundly punished)!  Our Mother was long suffering with our occasional slips into non-conformity but when she reached the pinnacle of her patience, we were in trouble.  It was not unusual for the sake of time and argument to just line us up and administer the punishment to each of us for whatever crimes and misdemeanors had been accumulated over a period of days or weeks.  Being the oldest and holding rank for that honor, I was first in line.  I suffered through the indignity of being punished with a steely reserve and could not believe Mother had the audacity to punish me because of course, my siblings always deserved ‘it’ more than I did!  My brother was second oldest and next!  He was the bravest of the brave and was far too manly a boy to let girls see him cry.  By the time it was my sister’s turn she had screamed hysterically, run around the room several times and generally made enough noise to bring my Daddy to her rescue!  Come to think of it, I’m not sure she ever got switched much so she may have been the smartest of us all.  Her antics cost her little more than well-worn humiliation from time to time.  For those of you who may be thinking, ‘the poor darlings, wouldn’t a time out have worked just as well’?  You would get no argument from me!  However, I can testify from first-hand experience, if we were told more than once to do something and did not respond favorably, action really does speak louder than words! 

     My brother, sister and I had loving, hard working parents that provided all the necessities of life for which we are most appreciative!  They nurtured us, taught us the value of a day’s work and that labor was indeed a part of the process of growing into productive adults.  Whatever connotation you place on Labor Day, celebrate at work or play with those you love as the memories you make will be woven into your hearts forever.

Live and love well!

Reaching Milestones

by Brenda Blackwell

August was my birthday month!  Well my birthday is definitely not sneaking up on me this year!  My first birthday present came back in May when I received the most patriotic Red, White and Blue Medicare card! And since then I am being reminded almost daily with calls and letters to help me with the all the decisions that come with applying for Medicare and Supplements.  Thank goodness I have a husband who, after turning 65 last year, has become the Medicare “guru” and attacks this challenge like he would a mathematical equation!

I must say that reaching this milestone in life is something that makes me truly thankful.  I think that anyone who has survived the “Big C” is truly grateful for each and every birthday thereafter.  I choose to stay positive and laugh at most situations that others find overwhelming.  For that reason, I decided to read some of the humorous blogs and jokes written by Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) and share my favorites.  I found the following quote, written by Kurt Vonnegut an American author, extremely amusing since I have just returned from a “mini” high school reunion.   He states, “True terror is to wake up one morning and discover your high school class is running the country!”  That is a scary thought since I am sure we can all identify some of the “crazies” we grew up with!  This quote did make me laugh, but in actuality the approximately 800 students in my Class of 70 at Robert E. Lee High School in Houston, Texas had some incredible students who I believe would be excellent at running our country or anything else for that matter.  Go Generals!

Another one that I can certainly identify with is…”At 65 you can go to the antique shop and visit your old furniture.”   I took a realistic look at my décor and decided that my daughters are probably right…my house looks like a museum!  I can’t help but think of that cartoon that shows  an old man opening up his garage doors to a garage stuffed to the hilt with junk (oops, excuse me…his precious belongings ) and he turns to his son and says, “Just think…one day all of this will be yours!”  That one really hit home because Michael and I are trying our best to clean out and it is so hard deciding what to keep and what to throw away.  I’m pretty sure…we can throw it all away!

As a young child I can still remember my grandmother going into a room and saying…”I can’t remember what I came in here for!”  Well I have been doing the same thing for years now.  I cracked up when I read this quote that expresses the same thought.  “These days I spend a lot of time thinking about the hereafter.  I go somewhere to get something…then I wonder what I’m hereafter.”

Here’s one last one…”Why do they give you a watch when you retire when it’s the first time in your life you don’t care what time it is?”  Well, I’m not quite ready to retire yet but my goal is to slow it down and watch others (especially my grandchildren) reach their milestones.  My little Kelly, who just turned 18 months, is finally walking!  I have never known a baby to wait that long to walk!  But she would have won the gold in the Olympics if they had an event for “speed crawling” or “walking on your knees.”   And precious Tanner will be entering Kindergarten this year.  He reads like a top and can tell you about every animal at the Hattiesburg Zoo. By the way, The Hattiesburg Zoo is truly one of Hattiesburg’s treasures!   He collects animal figurines and I’m amazed how he can log on to Amazon and put the animals he is missing in the cart.  Right now he is collecting his “work” quarters for an African Wild dog and a Pangolin.  I don’t even know what a Pangolin is but I am learning!

Another milestone, that all of us here at the “All-Star Team” have just celebrated, is reaching the $10,000,000 mark in production for the month of June!  How awesome is that?  We are truly grateful for all of you and your support!

Have a wonderful rest of the year and be thankful wrinkles don’t hurt!


Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4




Contact Information

The All-Star Team, REALTORS®
Bringing you home...again and again!
4 Willow Bend, Suite 2A
Hattiesburg MS 39402

The All-Star Team, REALTORS brings you over 200 years of accumulated experience along with the most innovative marketing strategies in the real estate industry. We specialize in the real estate properties located in Hattiesburg, Oak Grove, Petal, Sumrall, Purvis, Columbia, and the entire Pine Belt region. Put The All-Star Team, REALTORS® to work for you as you consider your next home sale or purchase. Experience the team approach to real estate and make us your REALTOR® for life! See how The All-Star Team, REALTORS® really is bringing the Pine Belt home again and again.