Bainbridge knows how to throw a Belleabration!

It’s Sunday morning and I’m about to head for the airport, pointed towards home with a stack of stories. I do believe I’ll be leaving a bit of my heart here in Bainbridge, Georgia, but I’m okay with that. I’m taking memories a plenty back with me that will more than compensate! Trust me, if this weekend was in a ledger column, my side would be in the black many times over.

Unfortunately, our well-planned Belleabration got off to a rough start, (thank you Delta) with Friday’s flying follies. I had to connect in Atlanta. I could probably just leave it there, right? Bottom line– delay after delay flat-out torpedoed our Friday night event. There’s nothing like a no-show speaker, but the ladies of Calvary Baptist took it all in stride, pulled off Plan B and looked forward to the Saturday morning session.

After a long, long, long, (did I say long) travel day, I could not have been more pleased to see these two girls in their ATS SOUTHERN PEARL t-shirts, no less, waiting for me in Tallahassee to drive me to Bainbridge.  That’s Rachel on the right and Paula on the left!

While I didn’t get to see it, I hear tell that back at the church the ladies were devouring a Bellabration cake modeled after Suck Your Stomach In and Put Some Color On. Isn’t it cute?

But, that was Friday night, and as previously noted, we belles turned the page and headed straight into Saturday without looking back, determined to laugh, share, and enjoy the sweet Presence of Sweet Jesus!

Seriously, these folks could not have made me feel more welcome! This sign was waiting on us in the sanctuary …

…and these lovely songbirds led us right to the throne with some mighty fine worship– one of my favorite pastimes!

And you know what that means, right?! I may have cut up a good bit before I shared my heart. May have. You’ll have to get with the girls to hear the rest of that story.

By the way, IF I did clown, the people in this next picture are some of the ones who would be largely responsible for my endless storytelling!

After the service, we continued our Bellabration over lunch. I wish I had better pictures of so many of the ladies in their pink t-shirts, designed by this talented young woman named Mandy (shown below)– and full of southern mama wisdom taken from my books!

My new forever friend, Paula Stewart, who set up the whole weekend can be seen on the right working my book table with her trusty side-kick Sarah.

That, so I could run my mouth visit with the ladies while I signed books.

I love this pic– you can see us belles all busy signing off on the pictures in various cameras.

Now, as a general rule, this is where most of the events end– with me headed back to the hotel and scrambling to get to the airport. Not so this weekend. When we were planning our Belleabration, Paula asked me if I would stay over Saturday night for a fish fry her family wanted to hold for me. Now, just between us, I really think it was an opportunity for them to get together, but don’t tell them I know that, okay?  We’ll pretend it was all for me!

I said YES and I’m so very thankful that Father somehow got my attention that day and impressed upon my heart that it was OKAY to slow down and accept the invite. Rare but really great move on my part!

I know I’m supposed to be a word girl and all, but words, they flat out fail me to explain how much I enjoyed the evening with my new family, for that is exactly what these dear people became– another branch of my extended family tree! What follows are a couple pics, me with my new women folk and another with the fellows.

I was supposed to “minister” to this wonderful community this weekend, but the blessing was all mine. I’m not gone for good, I’m just gone for now. Thanks, Bainbridge, until next time…

Hugs to all,


About Shellie Rushing Tomlinson

Known as The Belle of All Things Southern, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson is a national best-selling author, speaker, radio host, and columnist from Louisiana.
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5 Responses to Bainbridge knows how to throw a Belleabration!

  1. Teresa Spooner says:

    Shellie, We had an awesome visit with you. You definitely made an impact on my heart. It was so much fun to sit and talk, laugh & Fellowship with you. God Bless You,always, my fellow toe Popper. LOL. Much love, …….. Teresa

  2. Pingback: ATS LIVE and My (Not So) Storybook Life! | Shellie Rushing Tomlinson

  3. Thank you, Shellie . . . God used you in a mighty way and I hope in the years to come you will hear great tales of how that very first Bellabraton impacted not only Calvary Baptist, but Bainbridge and beyond . . .! Even though it had been a long journey with planning and preparation, I was able to slow down, laugh and allow God to speak to my heart. Even though I am not a natural born Bella, acclamation has been a quick process being married to a Bama boy and I appreciate the education (although let it be said . . . I never thought southerners at flitters. )

    Seriously, THANK YOU!
    Heather Hatchett

    • Heather, I realize I’m supposed to say “You’re welcome” but honestly, it’s hard because I truly feel like I was the blessed one. I’m delighted that y’all enjoyed our time together. I really do look forward to returning to Bainbridge one day!

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