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Ida Lou's book

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S: Ida Lou's "It's a wonderful life"

BC: Made in Texas by Lori Nicholas Jones May 07, 2012

FC: It's a wonderful life! | Ida Lou's

1: Sweet Ida Lou Blair

3: 1933 | Cousins

4: School Days

9: Ida Lou is a regular in the various newspapers!

10: a GREAT PHOTO OPPORTUNity!

13: Glamour

14: School Days

16: Irene Mabry Grandmother | Bon Jean Mamma | Lorene Blair -Mother

17: Age 10

18: Lorene and Tom | Mother and Father

21: Friends

23: October wedding

26: First Child

27: John Blair

28: Mom... From the terrible 2's...and the even worse teens, you have been there for me. No matter how far away I lived, you made a point to come see me. It was going through all these pictures that made me realize...YOU WERE ALWAYS THERE. Thank you for being my Mom...and my Friend. Leslie

29: Leslie Ann

30: Dear Mom, You have been an inspiration to me my whole life. Your strength and faith are amazing. I don't know how you handled 5 kids and you managed it with such grace. I know I was not an easy child and teenager...You never gave up on me. I have learned so much from you and have become the strong woman I am today because of you. I love you so much and am so thankful that you are my Mother. Love, Lori

31: Lori Cecilia

32: And then the twins came along!

33: Wombmates!

34: Linda Carol

36: Life Lessons from Mom For years, I have wanted to write a story about my mother who is my greatest source of inspiration; a story of her unwavering devotion as a wife and mother; a story of an unsung hero whose career was about raising her family and caring for others. When dear sister Lori came up with the brilliant, heart-warming idea of making a book to honor Mom on her 80th birthday, I finally seized the opportunity and got down to writing. I have really enjoyed thinking about Mom - who she is and what she means to me, not only as my mother and best friend but as the strong, beautiful woman, Ida Lou, child of God, sister in Christ, and friend to all who know and love her. Everything Ida Lou says or does is steeped in loving kindness. She has an indomitable joyful spirit that is infectious and a peace and quiet centeredness that comes from her unshakeable faith. Mom’s beauty sparkles from the inside out. She is an eternal optimist who looks for the best in everyone. She never forgets a face and when you meet her, you know there are no strangers. When I was little I couldn’t wait for the school bell to ring so I could go home to Mom. She would always ask me how my day went and gave me her full attention. I don’t know how she managed to ever spend time with me given that she had a husband, 5 kids, and multiple pets including dogs, cats, fish, birds, strays of all sorts and even an injured government-banded pigeon. We were so blessed to have a Mother whose full time job was caring for her family. She knows exactly how to comfort me and hugs me when I need it most. She lets me lie in her lap and rubs my forehead when I’m weary. She taught me the 23rd Psalm the day our family dog died. We always knew that Mom would be there to save the day. No matter how tired she must have been, you never would have known it, for she never complained and still doesn’t to this day instead choosing to keep a smile on her face. As a witness for the Lord, my mother is my benchmark for whom I aspire to become. Throughout my life, and especially when confronted with a dilemma, I put it to the W.W.I.L.D. TestWhat would Ida Lou do? Thus, I have come to learn many life lessons from Mom that are too valuable not to pass on.

37: Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, strength and mind. Luke 10:27 Mom loves the Lord. She taught us about Jesus. Her love, faith and trust in the Lord have never waned and even in the midst of great storms, she has remained steadfast. Always look for the best in others. I was with my 7 year old niece Lola recently when I encountered a teachable moment. Lola happened to be telling me a story of a classmate at school that no one likes; a little forlorn girl that dresses differently and wears her hair funny, does gross things and still sucks her thumb! My mind wandered back to a time in my youth. I found myself sounding like Mother as I began sharing one of her life lessons with Lola. Tears welled up in my eyes realizing perhaps for the first time how it must feel to be a mother loving her child. I felt my mother’s love for me as I feel for Lola. I also felt the daunting responsibility to lead by example since children watch everything we adults do. That day in the 6th grade, I came home and told Mom how I hated Mrs. Jenkins, my Math teacher. I had gotten into trouble because I had allowed a friend of mine to cheat off of my test. I didn’t quite understand at the time that allowing my friend to cheat made me just as guilty as the cheater herself. However, this lesson wasn’t about the cheating part but my mother’s response. First, she said “Please don’t use the word ‘hate’. You may not like something or what someone does, but do not hate.” She then challenged me by saying “If you always look for the best in others, you will find it.” The next day I went back to school to look for the best in Mrs. Jenkins. It worked! Mrs. Jenkins ended up becoming my favorite teacher that year. I wondered if Lola had understood the moral of my story. Several weeks later, I found out that Lola opened her heart to this girl that she once thought she didn’t like, and now they are friends.

38: Do your best Mom never criticized me when I got a bad grade, lost a tennis match, misbehaved, or even when I was mean to her. She would still love me and ask “Are you giving your best?” Mom tucked me in bed until I was 16 years old, and we would pray together. One night, I asked God to help me win my tennis match the following day. She lovingly guided me to pray, instead, asking God to help me do my best. Never give up Ida Lou never gives up on people. She never gave up on me during my illness. She tirelessly sought help for me calling and writing letters across the country to doctors, researchers, and foundations and pounding the pavement until we got answers. She missed a lot of work. She sacrificed time, money and herself sitting with me in multiple doctors’ offices, hospitals and so on. She started prayer chains and hugged me through panic attacks. She has never abandoned me or the hope that she has in the Lord, waiting on Him in all circumstances and reminding me, “This, too, shall come to pass”. And, thankfully, it does! Put others first Mother always puts the needs of others ahead of herself. She gives others the benefit of the doubt. When I get upset with people who cut in line during traffic jams, she says, “ Don’t judge because you don’t know what hardship they may be enduring for them to do something like that. ” Early one morning we were having a garage sale when the garbage truck drove by. Off jumped one of the workers who spotted a microwave and asked if we could hold it until he got off work to cash his paycheck. He came back as he had promised, and we discovered that the microwave was accidentally sold to someone else. Mom saw the disappointment in his eyes. After the garage sale, we went to the store and she bought him a new microwave. The next day when the garbage truck arrived, she gave it to him along with some Christmas cookies for the crew. It turns out that he was to be married soon, and he was going to give his bride a microwave. Mom is a cheerful giver and a master problem-solver .

39: Ida Lou has been volunteering for as long as I can remember. I would embarrass her if I share any more but suffice it to say that Ida Lou IS the Good Samaritan. She taught us to work at understanding people and why they act the way they do. She taught us grace and forgiveness. She taught us to “be content in all things”, and she would remind us that “When you think of others instead of self, you will be happier.” Love One Another She didn’t have brothers and sisters of her own and made up for it by having 5 kids! When we siblings would fight, she would remind us how lucky we were to have each other and that we will learn to count on each other one day. (Mom, you’re right!) When Mark and I were about 5 years old, we each went to Mom saying that we were bored and there was no one to play with. She would encourage us to play together by teaching us card games like “Battle”, “Concentration”, “Old Maid” and “Crazy 8’s”. We were never short of board games either. Mom has a beautiful voice and can harmonize with the best of them. She would lead singing in the car on family vacations to keep us busy so we wouldn’t fight. She kept the tempo light-hearted teaching us songs like: “Three Little Fishes” , “Little Sir Echo”, The Hut-Sut Song”, “Around the Corner”, “Oh playmate, come out and play with me” among many. To this day, we enjoy singing these songs on road trips together, and it always helps to have Ida Lou keeping the tempo light especially during spousal discussions over directions and maps. Have fun Mother doesn’t take herself too seriously. She has been trying to get me to laugh at myself all my life. Life is fun and the best thanks unto the Lord is to enjoy His blessings and share them with others. Mom is playful. Mom is fun. She can tell a good joke. She will break out in song anywhere, at any time, and in any place. Once while shopping at Kroger’s, Ida Lou was caught singing away by this man who walked by and joked in a serious voice “No singing in the aisles”. She might even write a song about you to the tune of Edelweisse!

40: Ida Lou is a music, dance and theatre aficionado and knows all about pop culture. She is my “go to” person for keeping up with what’s going on around the world. She loves a good game of scrabble, line dancing and karaoke. I love her critiques on the latest movies. Tell the truth Mother always told me the truth even about “the birds and the bees” when my curious 4 year old mind inquired where babies come from. Even though, I didn’t quite understand it all, I was satisfied with her answer and appreciated how years later she had told me the truth. Moderation in all things Mom has always eaten healthily and exercised regularly. She is a great role model of enjoying life in balance and lives by the adage, “Moderation in all things”. She doesn’t go to extremes in any aspect of her life nor does she get caught up in the latest fads. She honors the Lord by the way she treats her body. After I had completed the rough draft of this story, I emailed Mom to ask her what her favorite Bible verses are. The very next day I received the following email which came as no surprise to me. Read through these verses and you will clearly see, our mother Ida Lou Blair Nicholas living her life serving the Lord by serving His children. Like her grandmother Bon Jean Mamma always told her, “In this Bible, holds all the answers to life’s questions.” Here you see the driving force in Mother’s life, her opus, and the key to her joyful and abundant life.

41: Hi Linda, These are my favorite Bible verses: Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things. Philippians 4:11 I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. 1 John 3:13 This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Romans 9:10 If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord" and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 1 Thessalonians 5:15 Be kind, one to another. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances. I enjoyed looking these up. There were many more, but these are the ones that I love the most. I love you, Mom

42: In writing this story, I have gained a powerful insight about Mother. Because she lives by "moderation in all things", she can put others first because she is healthy in mind, body and spirit. She has no vices, no hangups, no spite, no malice...only pure love and a deep and abiding fiath that fills her and allows her to give so freely as she feels the Lord lead her. Sometimes, I have told Mom that she is an "enable" and now I see that I am wrong. Mom is an angel sent from Heaven to show us what the Lord is like. We need more Ida Lous' in this world. Thank you, Mother, for who you are. I love you! Linda Thank you, God, for creating Ida Lou, our precious mother and friend to all. Thank you for making her the beautiful person she is. Thank you for allowing me the great blessing and joy to be her daughter and call her friend. Lord, please continue to bless Ida Lou with many, more happy, healthy years, 'cause we sure have a lot more lessons to learn from her! Amen

45: Mark Gerald

46: Dear Ida Lou, As we go through life, we are touched by people in different ways. You have touched my life for the better. You have always made me want to be a better person especially in dealing with other people that I have crossed paths with in my journey in life. And though are birthdays are very close, I feel like we are kindred spirits. It has been a blessing in my life to have you as my Mother in law and friend. God bless you, Ed

47: Gruene Hall

53: Texas Girl

54: Our Family

55: Belton

57: The Girls

59: Siblings

60: LIVE | LAUGH | LOVE

61: Ida Lou, You are a big part of why I feel like the luckiest man alive. When times are tough, I try to remind myself how lucky I am to have hit the lotteries. Not for bucks, though that would have been nice. I've hit the "children" lottery, the "wife" lottery, the "parent" lottery and others. I've also hit the "mother-in-law" lottery. I hear mother in-law jokes, complaints, criticisms, but I've never been able to relate because my mother-in-law has always been the best. I love you, Ida Lou, and I'm so thankful I hit your lottery. It has helped all my other lotteries be possible. You are one of the people most responsible for making my life something to be thankful for. Randy

62: Santa fe | Padre Island

64: Lots of fun and Lots of friends!

66: Morgan Le Fay

67: Mama Lou, Happy 80th birthday! You are such an amazing, inspirational woman! I am so thankful to have you in my life and have you as my Grandmother! You live life to the fullest and enjoy every moment, always continue to do that! I love you! Love, Morgan

71: Generations

73: Austin Daniel | 21

74: Wyatt Nicholas | Dear Mama Lou, I have such a wonderful life and so many things to be thankful for, and I owe many of those things to you. You are such a kind, caring and loving soul. There's nothing more than that I could want in a Grandmother. Thank you so much, Wyatt

77: Niels Christian

78: Lots of

79: Hugs & Kisses

84: Lola Cecilia

86: Family

88: Cheers!

94: Dominican Republic | Ninfa's

95: Life is full of adventures! | Savannah | Eagle One | Big Bend

96: Home is where the heart is

97: Ida Lou, Dear In my life I have had about 5 friends who were so special enough to me to be my "sister friends". I believe if we had been in each others life more, you would have been a sister friend to Emmet and me. Happy Birthday! (80 isn't too bad!) With love, Mattie and Emmet

98: From Dominican Republic to Padre Island Ida Lou loves the outdoors

99: Canyon Lake | Big Bend | Grenada

100: Dancing- Oh lots of dancing!

101: "Bye Bye American Pie" | And lots of Ushering!

102: Meal time | Breaded Veal Cutlets | Chicken Spaghetti | Beanie Weenie Casserole | Hash made from Sundays leftovers | Fondue | Kentucky wonders | French silk pie | strawberry pie | Sunday Pot Roast

103: Mom always made sure that we ate meals together. As we got older with all of our activities-Sunday Lunch became a ritual.! | Grandmother would always come over with her basket full of goodies | Even after we were grown and left the house-We always could count on walking in on a Sunday to a home cooked meal | SUNDAYS at the Nicholas house!

104: France 2001 | Giverny

106: Adventure | Israel

107: Our Alsatian trip

108: These Are The Moments I Live For

109: K i d s at

110: Hi Ida Lou and Happy Birthday. What a milestone, and you look so good. I Have enjoyed getting to know you so much better through our Poker Group. Look forward to our next get together. Have a great day. Love, Virginia | Ida Lou is one of the sweetest ladies I have ever known. She is always so happy: smiling, laughing, having a good time. So pleasant to be around. I am so thankful that she is one of my favorite friends. May God bless her always. Love and hugs to you, Ida Lou. Mildred Ford | Friends | are saying... | Here's what

111: Ida Lou Praise the Lord! He has blessed you with 80 years of earthly life. I came from the Virgin Islands to Fort Bend ISD as David Lambert's secretary; you were one of the first ones to welcome me. Because of our kindred spirits, I immediately felt "at home". The beginning of our friendship that has lasted beyond the years of our mutual retirement. Your wonderful charm and cheerful outlook made it so pleasurable to be around you. I will always remember the many lunches we had together - you always wanting to "split" whatever - me wondering how you could survive on such meager portions - NOW I KNOW. One of my fondest memories of you, is the time you asked my husband, Michael, and daughter, Cybele, to play steel drums for your family in your backyard. What a delightful afternoon with you and your beautiful family. May our blessed Lord and Savior Jesus grant you excellent health and His peace and joy in the coming years. Have a glorious birthday celebration, Ida Lou. I love you, Mary Csenge Alexander

113: Dear Ida Lou: I have only known you a short time, but in that time I have learned that you are a very caring person. I hear the stories about all you do for your neighbors and friends in need, and what a caring grandmother you are, too. There are some things that make life important, like people we know who are special, and so we keep them close. You are a definitely a KEEPER. Have a wonderful 80th birthday celebration! -Love, Adele Booth- | I wanted to write and tell my feelings for Ida Lou. I have known her since the 1970's and she is a wonderful and caring person. We have had some great times together. We are in a Poker club with a few other gals and have a blast. I have some health issues and she is always there for me, to take me to Doctor's or bring me food or whatever I need done she is there. She is one of the most care giving person I have ever had the pleasure to know and it comes from her heart. - Bev Boettcher - | To my Dearest Aunt Ida Lou..somebody told me a story the other day.that you were turning 80. I told them, they got their math wrong. Aunt Ida Lou was born in 1952!!! I’m so blessed to have Aunt Ida Lou as my aunt!!! Nick Wolda

115: Ida Lou and Family lived across the street from us during the time we lived in a townhouse. Even after we moved, we remained friends. We spent many days at the local YMCA exercising, taking walks at the track off Glen Lakes, attending bible study, church together, and many other activities. Ida Lou got friend together and drove them to Waller to visit me after I got home from the hospital. She has always been ready to host a luncheon or help friends in their times of need. She has many gold stars awaiting her in heaven for all the caring things she has done. I consider her to be a very good friend and a very special person Hoping your birthday is as special as you are. Your friend, Ginger Craig | JUST A NOTE TO WISH HAPPY BIRTHDAY AND TO LET YOU KNOW HOW BLESSED I FEEL TO BE A PART OF YOUR LIFE IN YOUR CIRCLE OF SO MANY FRIENDS. YOU ARE A LIVING INSPIRATION TO US ALL WITH YOUR CARING WAYS AND DEEDS. BEHIND YOUR BACK WE CALL YOU THE GUARDIAN ANGEL TO SO MANY WHO YOU HAVE SUPPORTED AND CARED FOR. IN MY HEART WE WILL ALWAYS KNOW WE CAN CALL ON IDA LOU. YOU ARE AMAZING AND MUCH LOVED (EVEN THO YOU WIN MY MONEY AT OUR POKER QUEENS WEEKENDS) SEE YOU SOON JO P.S. AND I HAVE YOUR SWEATSHIRT TO WEAR AND KEEP ME CLOSE TO YOU. Love, Jo Rodger

116: Ida Lou, Our friendship began in "Life After FBISD" at the YMCA and we found out what free women could do. Our involvement at Smile, volunteering in the second language program at South Main Baptist Church, will always be one of my most satisfying experiences and our luncheons for the women we taught are great memories. And who could forget our evenings with Loving Friends. I surely don't have to be reminded of the one "Not-So-Loving Friend" and our on-going relationship when she insisted I hadn't paid!! I will always treasure your support in planning our wedding and attending to all the details of it and the reception. Thanks to you, it was disaster-free and we have perfect memories. I know you and Florence enjoyed attending a new kind of wedding where several of the guests had walkers, canes or even a wheelchair. Richard joins me in wishing you Happy Birthday. It is one of life's many coincidences that you were in the same class at the University of Houston. I know you both enjoy exchanging information on old friends so we will have to get together soon so you can continue catching up. Enjoy your birthday in one of my favorite places, Ruidoso. You are such a kind, thoughtful friend and you deserve a lot of happiness. Love, Blair

117: My love to Ida Lou as she celebrates her 80th. She has been a wonderful friend. Please express my love to her on this glorious occasion. The attached photo is a negligee that Ida Lou was modeling for us. I understand that this was a present from her Mother-in-law. I was amazed that she had kept it all these years, and more amazed that she could still get in it! Use your own judgment as to whether or not to include this. Love, Polly Jones | I have known Ida Lou a short time, but it doesn't take long to learn that she is truly a thoughtful and kind person!! A true Christian at heart; a pleasure to be around. Happy Birthday Ida Lou, and may you have many more happy ones! Fondly, Sallie Smith

121: Lori: Thank you for your very nice email regarding Ida Lou's upcoming 80th Birthday it will surely be a wonderful occasion for celebration! We have just returned from Corpus Christie where we had a wonderful few days. There are so many times we have laughed and had so much fun with your Mother. However, the memory is not too good on detail. The attached is a little memory when we got together 1st of January to wish Aurise & Stewart the very best of everything in their new home in Florida. We were having a lovely brunch with Ida Lou and Aurise and Stewart, Jeanne, Jacquie and Helen. The brunch was arranged by Jeanne and Jacquie as a little "farewell" to Aurise and Stewart who were planning to move the following Wednesday. It was a delightful gathering although a little sad too...We were all thinking about how we would miss them.. We had just finished delicious eggs and ham and a bowl of beautiful strawberries was being passed around the table. When the bowl reached me I helped myself and asked Stewart if he would like some strawberries. He replied somewhat mechanically "No thank you". I then reached over to Ida Lou with the bowl and she then turned very slightly back to Stewart and said "Would you like some (remember her twinkling eyes!) strawberries Stewart?" and he replied so delightedly "Oh Yes puleeeze Ida Lou!!! I cried out what is this? One minute ago I offered you some strawberries and you said "no thank you" and here you are smiling all over at Ida Lou and saying yes! yes! Then Aurise clapped her hands and smiling happily began to dance.. Love and best wishes Marie & George

123: Dear Ida Lou, I can't keep up with you. How on earth can you be 80 years old? Impossible! I just want you to know how blessed I feel to have known you as a friend the last two years. Volunteering at The Alley with you and Phyllis was such fun, and I really appreciate being included in the Bunko group with you ladies. You are such a genuinely sweet lady, and I admire you for being such a wonderful Grandmother! Your love of family, movies, plays, and travel is apparent from the way your eyes sparkle whenever you are sharing memories. What an inspiration you are to volunteer as you do as well. Happy Birthday and may God Bless you with many, many more years of days that make you smile. Love ya, kiddo! Gina

124: Boliver,Tx | Dominican Republic

125: Day at the Beach

126: "I hope you always have a shell in your pocket...and sand in your shoes."

128: Toledo Bend | Clear lake | The banana mystery- The night Morgan was born

129: Lasting Memories...

130: From Jacque Brodeur | Dear Ida Lou, I found this picture from our trip to japan. What a wonderful time! I am so happy to have Ida Lou for a friend. She is a very loving and thoughtful friend. Mu love and wishes for a "Happy Birthday" with many more to come! With love, Marie Figoski

131: Ida Lou, we can hardly believe that you and your family are celebrating your 80th!! We have so many memories of living on the Island and you along with Linda are a BIG part of it. You are such a great motivator always smiling and always reminding the rest of us to appreciate today and look forward to tomorrow. Have a great Birthday but hopefully we can continue the year- long celebration at our place later this year. Love you and Thank you for letting us be part of your life BJ & John | I love you, Ida Lou. You have always been a big help to me. Happy Birthday! Love, Jan

132: Dear Ida Lou, How wonderful for you to be celebrating this "special" birthday. You are the most giving, kind, generous and thoughtful person I have had the pleasure to call my friend. Thanks for introducing my to "SMILE". Such happy times and memories with our students. Enjoy yourself. God bless. Love, Jeanne

134: Dear Ida Lou, So happy I get to spend your 80th with you! You help me so much. I love spending time with you and love you dearly! Love, Jackie Turner | Dear Ida Lou, Wishing you every happiness on your birthday and always too. For only the best is good enough for someone as special as you! Love, Louise

135: Happy 80th dear Mother!

137: Prayer for Ida Lou Ruidoso, New Mexico, 2012 Feliz Compleaños Ida Lou!!!! Dear Lord, Prince of Peace, Provider of all that is good, all that will be, Thank You for Ida Lou Blaire Nicholas. Thank You for herself, and the blessings and joys and rich happiness that she brings to all. Thank You for the family she founded and the welcoming love they have shared with me. Thank You Lord for her daughter Linda Carol who completes and fulfills my life and encourages me to grow and be all that I can every day. Thank You for Ida Lou’s granddaughter Lola who we all love beyond words, and thank you Lord for the unconditional love and anchoring that Ida Lou brings to Lola’s life growth process every day, Thank you Lord for the love and life insight she has brought into my life. May I always draw on the strength of Ida Lou’s love, faith, and grace to engage every person and situation I encounter from a positive, accepting, and loving manner, just like Ida Lou. Thank You. Lord, for Ida Lou Amen, Brock

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LORI JONES
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