The Stratford (Retirement Home in High Point, NC) invited me to work with residents creating Valentine’s Day Cards. All materials were brought to the facility and just creativity was required.

Many beautiful cards were made for family members using colored papers, special cutting tools, ribbons, button, flowers and various stickers.

After leaving The Stratford, I learned a few craft making techniques from the residents. One of their staff members even made a card for her daughter.

The facility is just beautiful with its open atrium, bright light and many windows to view the geese meandering through their gardens.

The Stratford was a pleasure and we hope to craft again in the future making cards for the community, our soldiers and loved ones. It was even mentioned, the activity bus will bring residents to Just a Cloud Away, Inc. ™ Journals, Celebrate Mother Earth event April 16th for some outdoor fun.

Meet Sparky, a wonderful young Chihuahua puppy about one year old. Notice his eyes have a touch of blue.

Sparky is very good with children

and other pets (Willie is also adoptable)

He will let you know he needs to go outside by walking in a circle, yes, he does this. Sparky also likes dressing up for the holiday’s.

Sparky will be one of the adoptable pets at the “Celebrate Mother Earth” event April 16th.

Sparky deserves a forever home. With his adoption, we are able to work with other rescue Chihuahua dogs, improving their chances of adoption in the Piedmont Triad Area. Open your home and your hearts to a new family member.

When you have made your adoption, schedule your pet portrait session with Rhonda Lester, welcoming your new member.

Just a Cloud Away, Inc. ™ Journal

Pet Portraits

Memory Lane Portraits by Rhonda Lester is partnering with Just a Cloud Away, Inc.™ Journal, 50% of pet portrait session fees will be donated to the publication. The journal provides our community a platform to share stories of hope, healing, loss and memorials of a loved one, pregnancy or pet.

Memory Lane Portraits by Rhonda Lester creates beautiful artistic portraits of pets and their families. They welcome well-loved animals of all types and ages and love capturing the unique personality of each.

Rhonda is partnering with Just a Cloud Away, Inc. ™ Journal by donating 50% of all pet session fees booked through mentioning this ad. Rhonda has over 25 years experience in photography, and compassion for capturing the love between owner and companion.

Rhonda’s first pet session was for a dog with terminal cancer, named Chester. His owner, Sheila, wanted something special to remember her beautiful and beloved Chester, as he had been part of the family for so many years. When they arrived at the studio, Sheila wasn’t sure Chester would cooperate, as he usually disliked being photographed. Knowing this, and how important the portraits were, Rhonda was a little nervous about how the session was going to progress. She was used to being patient and playful with reluctant children to capture the best pictures, and decided to apply those same skills. Staying calm, Rhonda not only got Chester’s cooperation, but a variety of heart warming images­. The result was a priceless portrait of a very much-loved companion, Chester……

“End of Life Photography” was provided for the pet owners of Monty, adopted 15 years ago from a shelter. He is a very special part of the family, being the first of 7 dogs to enter the household.

It is said, 78% of owners consider pets a full-fledged part of the family and rightly so.

 View additional pictures

Consider having a professional portrait of your loyal 4-legged friends with Rhonda Lester (336.474.6867), she has a heart of gold and also a volunteer photographer for a national non-profit,  Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, photographing deceased babies for bereaved parents. These photographs provide families with keepsakes to begin their healing journey.

Thank you for partnering with Just a Cloud Away, Inc. ™Journal and we appreciate all you do Rhonda.

PRE-PLANNING MY FUNERAL-Is it my responsibility? 

Sitting down with loved ones to plan your funeral may not be high on the priority list, but it is something that should be discussed in order to ensure a ceremony or service that reflects your legacy and provides for your wishes. Otherwise, the “to-do list” could be overwhelming for bereaved family members.  The choice of having a traditional funeral, being buried in a green casket, having ashes dispersed in the ocean, or the decision to donate your body to science are based on an individual’s personal beliefs, religion, and passions.

A retired schoolteacher preplanned her service to include ceremony music, how her body would be returned to the earth, and who was to be invited to the church. While diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, she composed a beautiful letter to be imprinted on the back of the funeral program. She expressed the gratitude and love she had for all the guests, the happiness in her life, and how she enjoyed living life to its fullest. She did it all.

In a sense, purchasing life insurance is pre-planning. It is a guarantee that upon one’s death, a lump sum of money will be available to cover funeral costs and other expenses. Hypothetically, if a 40-year-old bought a $100,000 Whole Life insurance policy and passed at the age of 60, the total cash value would equal $34,400 with a death benefit of $113,600 based on dividends earned – all from a total out-of-pocket investment of $31,400. This money could cover various costs associated with a funeral or memorial service along with the survivors’ unpaid expenses.

Benevolent Funds are collections taken up by churches and are often included within fiscal budgets. These collections provide funds to assist with funeral costs of members who were not successful in purchasing life insurance prior to death. If families are in an impoverished financial state or someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness, a small, modified life insurance policy is an alternative. Some churches may find benevolent funds too much of a burden on budgets; their monies could be used to support those in need who are still living.

Know your options and plan ahead.  Do it as an act of love for those you will leave behind.

This article was written in collaboration with the Family Life Transition Team, assisting families with life changing events such as; the death of a loved one, infant or pregnancy, divorce/separation, disabling event or illness, passing of a pet, physical catastrophes, adoption, or job loss. For more information contact Melody Anderson of Chadwick Insurance Group, LLC, 336. 707.9308. Family Life Transition Team can come to you.

Just a Cloud Away, Inc. ™ Journal

The Burns Hill Neighborhood Watch Association has taken the initiative making their community a safer place for families raising  children and the elder population and improve the quality of life. A Commitment to Community Award Dinner recognized outstanding members and noted “all” were deserving of the awards.


The president, Jerry C. Mingo was very appreciative of all community members taking action to ensure a neighborhood, safe to come home to.

Even Boy Scout Troup 6 participated.

Pastor, Annie Baker, Chaplin said a few words and song.

We had live entertainment from Brenda Bey-Vocal Xpressions, just beautiful.

Angela Howard-Health Coach of Take Shape for Life was a sponsor, member of Burns Hill and Mistress of Ceremony.

Awards were given out for

  • Perfect Attendance
  • Good Neighbor Award
  • Unsung Hero Award

One of the sponsors of the evening- Call on Red, computer repair.

Centerpieces were green and “Green”, created by

Subjects Discussed were

  • Children’s curfew
  • Slumlords -homes not boarded up properly, contributing to other issues
  • Promiscuous behavior
  • Selling of illegal substances
  • America’s Night Out Against Crime
  • Cleaning up the neighborhood
  • Community gardening

Pride and taking ownership and responsibility was noted,  the building blocks of strong community.  Burns Hill Community Neighborhood is working together with local representatives, moving mountains for the good of the people.  What if all neighborhoods acted ?

Great Job Burns Hill!

Planting “Green” (eco-friendly) flowers/plants within cemeteries or Residential Memory Gardens would increase the beauty of the resting places and may decrease maintenance, whether it is a memorial monuments, statuary, or outdoor garden art. Non-invasive groundcover grow low to the ground and usually have a definite width. In zone 7, we have many options including, deciduous, evergreen, annuals, perennials or herbs. Mowable or crevice groundcovers are very low maintenance.

Even if you decide to use an annual groundcover and need to plant yearly, there is healing taking place and a connection being made between one’s self and nature.

Some suggestions for sun groundcovers are:

Creeping phlox comes in a variety of colors, blue, violet, white, red, pink and bi-color

Creeping sedum “Angelina”

Ice plant is deciduous


Dichondra is an annual


Hens and Chicks add great texture and drought tolerate

Laurentia flowers blue in the spring

A few suggestions for monuments located in the shade or part shade:

Creeping  jenny “Gold”

Ajuga is absolutely gorgeous

Don’t forget about the smaller bulbs. They are finished blooming when mowing season begins.

Some additional ideas are creeping thyme, mazus, scotch moss and irish moss.

Mowing usually begins in April and many of the plants are finished blooming and could use a good mow. In zone 7, mower blades are maintained at 4 inches, plenty of room for these small plants. Most of the plants suggested can tolerate foot traffic.

Please join Just a Cloud Away, ™ Inc. Journal for a free workshop regarding mowable groundcovers at, Celebrate Mother Earth in SE Guilford. Bring a plant to swap and you may walk away with the very plant you desire. Here is a brief list of avavliable plants; verbena, black mondo grass, mazus, yarrow, columbine, st johns wort, crape myrtle tree, golden raintree, helleborus, rose of sharon, daylily, monkey grass, roses, raydon’s favorite aster’s, siberian iris, plumbago, german iris, sweet pea vine, and so much more

We hope to see you in the spring

North Carolina is ranked among the highest in the nation regarding obesity, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In general, states in the West and New England rank lowest in the fattest states rankings, while states in the South and the Rust Belt tend to rank highest. 57% of North Carolina adults are overweight or obese.

Some factors causing weight gain and obesity are

  • Lack of energy balance
  • Pregnancy
  • Emotional
  • Inactive Lifestyle
  • Environment
  • Health conditions
  • Family genes
  • Medicines
  • Smoking
  • Age
  • Lack of Sleep to name a few

Could we, as North Carolinians change those statistics?

Let’s Fight the Fat Stat and Learn to Live Lean and Mean with our local resources (and they are not difficult to find)

Angela Howard-Health Coach with Take Shape for Life addresses  issues on an individual basis. Her motto, “There is no 1 solution to weight loss, it is a combination.” Angela has personally lost 212 pounds and works with clients who desire loosing 2-5 pounds per week, taking the healthy route.

Below is a picture of Angela and her husband, both at least 200 pounds over-weight. An unfortunate reality was the diagnosis of early onset of Alzheimer’s Disease, motivating her decision to change her life.

Angela provides workshops regarding health and wellness

What foods to select, how to prepare, are supplements needed, exercise implementation or other activities to improve quality of life are all examined. It is a known fact, people trying to lose weight with the help of a coach or another trained health professional, do so faster and also keep the weight off. They act as your support system while you walk the journey to a healthier lifestyle. Angela can be reached for questions at, 336.301.9321. Fight the Fat!

If you have been declined for health insurance, or feel you may not be accepted, there are other alternatives, call Melody Anderson of Chadwick Insurance Group, LLC for assistance. There is no charge for consultations.