Happy events seem to have been on the schedule for me lately. Both my family and my plants have been full of surprises.

Two years ago, my Sanseveria (snake plant, mother-in-law's tongue) blossomed. Like several others of my plants, I'd had it for several years. It had never bloomed, and I had never even heard of one doing so, nor had anyone else I talked to.

And, of course, there's that Gloxinia I keep telling you about - the one that decided on an extra season this fall - it now has three beautiful blossoms, and shows no signs of going into its normal dormancy for this time of year.

And it hasn't stopped there. My grandson called my attention to another plant in bloom this morning - still another one I've had for years, never blossoming, and have never ever seen one in bloom. It's my Creeping Charlie - I think some folks call it Swedish ivy - and it has a spike of tiny pale blue flowers that look almost like miniature orchids.

Life is full of surprises, and it's so nice every once in a while for those events to be happy ones!

Like my "early birthday gift." My birthday was Thursday, but I started getting texts and pictures on my cell phone Tuesday morning - the best surprise of all - great-granddaughter No. 4 had arrived in Abilene. Big brother Josiah, 2, is completely enthralled with her. Hopefully, I'll be able to make that trip next summer!

Life is full of surprises and changes. We start new things and end others. It's the end of a longtime part of life for a local pastor whom I also consider a friend.

andbull; The first time I talked to Pastor Ed Fleshman of the Northside Baptist Church, I swore I'd never talk to him again.

This column was just getting started, and I had made my list of churches and pastors to contact to get information on special happenings at the churches. When I called and asked Ed if there were to be any special events at his church that week, he grumbled, "No, and there won't be." Not the response I was expecting. But what I didn't know was that he had a very different sense of humor, and there was no rude intent in that exchange. Shortly after that, I met him at the Community Good Friday service and learned what a super person he is.

Sunday will be his last official Sunday in the pulpit as pastor. He is going to retire.

His memories include a lifetime of Sunday sermons, weddings and funerals, down at Trees of Mystery and here in Crescent City. It's time to step down, and maybe do some traveling, seeing God's great creation, which he's preached about.

He'll still be around, though, and will help his replacement, filling in on occasion when there's a need. God bless you, Pastor Ed, you've certainly earned the rest!

andbull; The class on the 613 Commandments will be held at 10 a.m. today at Temple Beth Shalom. The class will be taught by Rabbi Les Scharnberg.

andbull; Nov. 8 is the date for the "American Idol" concert at Cornerstone Church. Phil Stacey and Chris Sligh will bring a musical treat sure to inspire you.

The program starts at 7 p.m., and there are three levels of seating, two of which includethe "extra" of a meet-and-greet with them at 5:30 p.m.

Tickets, available at Del Norte Office Supply and on, are $10 for basic seating, $25 for VIP and $35 for VIP Plus.

andbull; There's a special week coming up at Pelican Bay Evangelical Free Church.

Dr. Cecil Peasley of Living Ministries International is from Johannesburg, South Africa. He is an internationally known evangelist and pastor.

The scheduled programs are: Sunday, 9 a.m., 10:45 a.m., and 6 p.m.; Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday services at 6 p.m.

He is sure to have some very interesting and encouraging messages.

andbull; Coming soon, the Smith River United Methodist Church will again present its annual Holiday Bazaar.

On Nov. 15 and 16, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., stroll through displays of baked goods, jewelry, collectibles, toys, Christmas items and assorted treasures.

Hungry after? The homemade soup and bread luncheon begins at 11 a.m.!

To reach Martha Williams, call 460-3000, or e-mail