Sunday, December 23, 2007

From our home to yours...



May you have a blessed and Merry Christmas!


May your heart rejoice in the One whose birth we celebrate...
God in human flesh.

He did not stay the babe in a manger
He was and is...

Jesus
Emmanuel
King of Kings
Lord of Lords
Savior

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
Isaiah 9:6


"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."
Luke 2:11


"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
Luke 2:14


Christmas blessings to you and yours...

~~~~~~~~



I will be taking a bloggy break until after January 1st. See you next year! : )


**Image provided by allposters.com

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I must be losing my mind....

Or I misplaced it somewhere in the midst of wrapping paper, Christmas cards and dogs eating popcorn off Christmas trees.

So yesterday morning I was busily trying to get out of the house to do the numerous errands on my list and get back for a 4pm hair appointment and a 6pm Christmas dinner at church. (A little overbooked, don't you think?!) Ashleigh called and we were laughing and talking as I was rushing around gathering the last of the Christmas cards to be mailed out and paperwork to be dropped off at our church's Christian school.

I kissed my guys goodbye and rushed out the door, still talking to Ashleigh on the phone. I hopped up into my hubby's jeep and took off down the street--but as I got farther from home, Ashleigh's voice was breaking up. I thought it strange because my cell phone never has problems in this area. That's when I realized I was not on my cell phone, but on the house phone! Ashleigh's trying to talk to me and am trying to tell her what's going on, but of course I was out of range, so she couldn't hear me. At the same time, I was laughing so hard, I could hardly turn the jeep around to get back home. Once I was able to tell Ashleigh, she started cracking up and we had a good laugh. And yes, my guys thought it was pretty funny too. : )

We were supposed to go to Knott's Berry Farm today. We've gone every Christmas since 1993 when Knott's started allowing firefighters and their families in for free or a discounted admission price. Unfortunately, Ashleigh's husband John was up all night with a stomach bug, so we are going to try to go tomorrow instead. If you think about it, please be praying for my sweet girl and her family. They've had a rough week with illness, getting ready for John to leave for Iraq in a few weeks and they received heartbreaking news yesterday from John's sister that added to an already difficult week.

So today we are home. Zach is practicing his fiddle for a memorial service at church on Saturday, Rande is trimming the bottom of the bedroom doors--and as soon as I finish this post, I have ten different things I could choose to do--obviously not doing all of them at once, lest I leave the house with the portable phone again. : )

Hope y'all are having a happy and blessed Thursday!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Popcorn for breakfast and other Sunday happenings...

Remember in my last post I mentioned we strung popcorn for the Christmas tree?

See this face? Isn't he cute?



Well, we weren't thinking he was too cute when we came home from church this afternoon and discovered Brodie had decided he wanted popcorn for breakfast. He had eaten the entire bottom strand of popcorn off the Christmas tree!

Of course I just had to get a picture of him by the tree--notice the strand hanging down? Uh, yeah. Guess he was thinking we had strung that popcorn just for him!


Thankfully, there was one leftover strand from the other day, so I was able to tie it on and you'd never know about our beloved border collie's rebellion. : )

On to other Sunday happenings--we enjoyed an excellent message this morning at church followed by the annual Christmas cantata. This year's presentation was Born to Die by Ron Hamilton. It was very moving and I believe the Lord used it to touch hearts--I know it touched mine. Zach sang in the choir and had a speaking part, which was actually fun to watch because this was a boy who when he was little, would never want to take part in any holiday church specials because he was so scared. Once he even cried his little eyes out and ran down the isle back to where we were sitting. Isn't the Lord good to help him overcome his fears? Rande and I were very encouraged.

As I type this, my dear hubby is taking a nap because he worked his 24 hour shift yesterday. Zach and his good friend Thomas are playing the Wii and drinking Starbucks. Thomas is home for Christmas break from Pensacola Christian College. He just got home yesterday and the boys couldn't wait to get in some Wii time.

And for the record--our couch is not tomato red. I love red, but not tomato red. It just comes out this way in pictures. It's actually this color (Cardinal Red), which is a deeper red. I will say though--I *love* my red couch! : )

I hope you all are having a blessed Lord's Day! Hugs to you all!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Stringing popcorn...

Yesterday afternoon, Ashleigh and her little family stopped by on their way home from Colorado. We all went to church, came home, had cherry pie and ice cream--and I promptly fell asleep while Ashleigh was talking to me. I have been running like a crazy woman these past two weeks and just couldn't keep my eyes open a second longer.




Troy is really into snowmen right now, so I had this little Frosty waiting for him. You push a little button and it plays the Frosty the Snowman song. Troy loved Frosty and we had to listen to him play his little song over and over. : )






It was so good to see little Merritt too--he's getting so big! It's hard to believe he's already six weeks old. Being a Grammie is the best!











But the real reason for John and Ashleigh stopping by, was so we could carry on a tradition we started many years ago: stringing popcorn for our Christmas tree.

Putting popcorn on the Christmas tree is something Rande always did growing up and I loved the idea. The first time we strung popcorn, we invited a bunch of friends over and we made a party of it--complete with dessert, hot chocolate and hot apple cider.






We make a new batch every 3-4 years (we air-pop the kernels) and it's always fun to see who will join us. This year it was Troy and Merritt! All Troy wanted to do though is try and eat the popcorn!






And even though John was so tired from all the driving he did the past two days--he was a trooper and helped string popcorn.









The only bummer was Rande had to work and couldn't join us. This was the only time we could do it though. Normally we would have our Christmas tree decorated by now (we'll do that tomorrow night when Rande is home) and the outside lights up, but we've been so busy trying to get the house in some sort of order to be able to actually enjoy the holiday in a house that's not a mess. It's been exhausting, but good.

I think the only things we have left to do are the baseboards throughout the house, trimming the bottom of the bedroom doors (once the carpet was installed they no longer closed), installing closet doors in all three bedrooms and some other minor things. Rande and I were saying it feels like we've been on one of those t.v. shows where they re-do a room in two days--or whatever it is. It's been fun and stressful at the same time. It's all good though! And we have much to be thankful for--our house is starting to feel like a home again.

I'll leave you with a picture of Zach's bathroom. Well, it's not a full picture, but it will give you an idea of what it's starting to look like. Plus I think the people in the picture are really cute! : )


Monday, December 10, 2007

Good morning!

Did y'all have a wonderful weekend? I sure hope so!

On Saturday, Zach came home from a youth retreat at Camp Ironwood. It's called the Ezra Retreat (based on Ezra 7:10) and it was very different from the teen camp he attends in the summer--this had less "fun" (although it included that too) and much more intensive Bible study and personal evaluation. It was intense, but he thoroughly enjoyed it--and it was exciting to see how the very things the Lord was showing him over the course of the retreat, were confirmed through the messages at church yesterday. Don't you just love how God does that?! I know it was a great encouragement to Zach.

Rande worked Friday and Saturday and was home yesterday. I am so thankful that even though my husband comes home completely exhausted from going on calls all day and night (he works at a very busy fire station) he still wants to go to church. Granted, there are times when I'm sure he'd like to lie down in the pew, rather than sit in it! ::smile:: Really though, Rande is such an example to me in this area.

When we awoke yesterday morning there was a light dusting of snow. I know it doesn't even compare to the snow Ashleigh and her little family are enjoying right now--but it was beautiful! And with the cold weather outside, it seemed fitting to make chili and cornbread for our Sunday meal. My guys were thrilled! They love a good, hearty meal.

This weekend was also spent praying for those who are facing difficult circumstances: two families in our church lost loved ones on Saturday. Both were dear, older saints. Homegoings are bittersweet for those of us left on this earth, aren't they? We are thankful our loved one is now in the presence of their beloved Savior...but our hearts miss them so.

Also if you would take a moment to pray for this precious little girl. She fell from a tree--20 feet-- and it's a miracle Morgan is alive. Please pray for her family too--especially her mama. Alyssa is a wonderful mother (when Ashleigh was 14 she spent time with her) and this is one of those things that can happen to any of us.

On a much lighter note: Rande and I stayed up until after midnight (he did get a nap in between church services) hanging the curtains in our family room. Unfortunately, when we went to hang the last panel (there are two on each window), something was not quite right. It was in the same packaging as the other three, and the SKU numbers all matched, but the color and texture were slightly off. (The curtains are a chocolate brown chenille.) We were tired and delirious, so at that point all we could do was say, oh well!

So guess what I'm doing today? Yep, making the long drive to exchange one curtain panel. The nearest store that carries them is just over an hour away. I do have some other things to get and will make the most of it. Such is life when you live out in the boonies! (But hey, we do have a Home Depot!) ::smile::

Oh! And our bedroom furniture arrived! Woohoo! We've had our clothes in plastic containers since July and it's bliss to have actual drawers to put them in. I'm telling ya'--these are exciting times!

Have a wonderful and blessed Monday!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

These are the moments...

Precious moments. The kind you know are completely from the Lord...etched in a mother's heart and mind. Forever.

Sitting in my car this afternoon--in the middle of the grocery store parking lot--I listened as my son shared his heart. As he talked, I took in every word he said--fully realizing this was one of those moments. It was a gift from the Lord, to me. Answered prayer. Thank You, Lord.

There we were for at least a half hour, sitting in the car. Talking. Listening. Mother and son. Two sinners saved by God's amazing grace. Thank You, Lord.



"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."
Jeremiah 29:11-13




May you have a blessed Lord's Day tomorrow...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

On a mission...

I'm still here! Although I am a little distracted as we continue the final stages of our remodel.

Ashleigh and John were quite surprised when they arrived on Saturday. The "surprise" was how very different our family room looks now--with the new flooring, new paint color (the house was painted months ago in a neutral color, but I decided to paint this room in a khaki) and new furniture--the whole room has been completely transformed. I promise to post pictures when it's done. Today I'll be hanging the drapes and we still need to put the baseboards on. : )

Monday evening Zach and I went to pick out a shower curtain, towels and rugs for our front bathroom, which is the bathroom he uses. You would think a teenage boy wouldn't be interested in that kind of thing, but we actually had a lot of fun and I appreciated his input.

Yesterday was spent trying to find things like towel rods, cabinet hardware (knobs and pulls), bath accessories, a shower rod, accent pillows for the couch, drapes, lamps--and I ordered our bedroom furniture, which should be delivered this weekend. What an ordeal that has been! The master bedroom is not very big and it's been a challenge to find pieces that will work as far as storage and size. We finally settled on a headboard, two nightstands and an armoire (instead of a tall dresser). I truly wish we could have kept our old dresser because it was my grandmother's. It is beautiful maple, very well made, with a matching mirror--I loved it! But it is huge! It was much too large for our bedroom and we had to set it at an angle because it wouldn't fit along the wall. And our nightstands were actually end tables that belonged to my grandmother--again much too big for our room. So we gave the dresser to Ashleigh and John, with the promise to keep it in the family--and the end tables we'll just hold onto and see if we can use them somewhere else.

Can I be honest with you for a minute? As thrilled as I am about finishing our house, I really don't enjoy the process of decorating. It's very stressful and overwhelming to me because I don't have an "eye" for it and I have a hard time visualizing how things look. I have been relying on a certain catalog for ideas and inspiration. But what I really would like is for my mom or my friend Julie to fly out and do it all for me! ::smile:: They both have impeccable taste when it comes to decorating.

I also realize that while it's fun to decorate and purchase new things--it's all just "stuff". While I was out yesterday I received the sad news that an acquaintance had died. She suffered a brain aneurysm and within days was gone. She was a Christian, wife, mother and grandmother. The news of her homegoing caused me to reflect on what is truly important in this life--our relationship with Jesus Christ (and sharing the Gospel), our family, serving others, our health, ect... Don't get me wrong--I am very thankful to the Lord for providing the means to get our home back in order. It's just that in the midst of all this "house stuff" it's easy to focus on things, rather than that which is eternal.

So, we continue on! And I will post pictures--we seemed to have lost the battery charger for our small camera and I just got my Nikon back after loaning it to a friend.

Happy Wednesday everyone!! : )

Friday, November 30, 2007

Back to work!

I've just spent the last thirty minutes eating my lunch and catching up with y'all. I sure enjoy reading your blogs and finding out what's going on in your lives. I'd love to spend the next few hours reading more...but alas, I need to get back to work.

I've been painting since yesterday and thought I'd be done by now, but there have been a few glitches. In fact, all that motivation I mentioned in my last post? Well, it's waning right about now. Actually, it's nearly gone. Obviously--because I'd rather read about your lives than do what I need to do in my own! : )

All week there have been glitches with this and that (remember I need to be vague because some things are supposed to be a surprise for Ashleigh and John when they get here tomorrow), but if there is one thing I've learned through this whole remodel ordeal it's this: it will get done ( or delivered, installed, ect...) when it gets done. And it usually won't be in my time frame, so I need to keep my expectations low and be grateful when things work out in a timely way.

And for the record, I just learned that three weeks ago. Our remodel has been going on for almost three years. : )

So I'm just plugging along. I guess that means I need to get back to painting!

Have a blessed weekend!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Home...

Good morning friends!

After traveling through eight states and driving just over 4,000 miles--we are home! We had a great trip and as I look through the many pictures we took, I can honestly say this was one of the best trips we've taken. The Lord blessed us with safe travels, precious time with family and dear friends and an opportunity to see some of this beautiful country we live in. We all agree we'd do it again--in a heartbeat!

I'm glad to be home, but I am missing Alabama and my sweet mama. It's always hard to leave, but this time seemed especially so. There's no getting around it--it's just not easy living far away from family.

So it's on to the next thing, which is actually very exciting! You may remember that we had our new flooring installed just before we left for our trip. You can't imagine how wonderful it was to come home to new floors! To walk in the house and not feel that familiar, "Ugh!" when we saw the old yucky floors was the best!

Now we are in high gear to get our home back in order before Christmas. In fact we are so motivated, that yesterday not two hours after we got home from the last leg of our trip, I ran to Home Depot to get some paint. Then while Zach was at his orchestra practice, Rande and I went "down the hill" (which means a 45 minute drive) and purchased some other things (I'm being vague here because we want to surprise Ashleigh and John when they come out this weekend) pertaining to getting our home back in order. And today we are taking advantage of Rande still being on vacation to continue working--because there is still a lot of work to be done. But it's good. It's all good!

I can't wait to show you pictures, because well, I am just so excited to be finally, finally getting our house back to being a home. These are exciting times, for sure! : )

Happy Tuesday!

**Image is one of our most favorite places on my mom's property--the bridge over "Gramz Creek".

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

I've been thinking about y'all--my dear bloggy friends--and hope you are having a blessed Thanksgiving Day! It's been a great day here--being with family, reflecting on the Lord's blessings in our lives, good food, sweet tea ::smile::, cold weather and of course, football!

I've tried to post a few different times since we've been in Alabama, but because my mom only has dial-up Internet and it can be *very* persnickety (and frustrating for me!)--I finally gave up. But tonight I'm trying again and I hope it works.

We are having a wonderful time and it will be a sad day on Saturday when we leave. It's been very relaxing--especially compared to the last time we were here and my mom was so ill. She's not 100%, but doing much better and I am so very thankful to the Lord for answering our prayers regarding her recovery.

We celebrated Zach's 17th birthday yesterday by going out to dinner and then having my Aunt Pat and our dear friends, the Evans family, over to my mom's for cake and ice cream. They brought their instruments and my mom's formal living room was turned into a jammin' room! : ) It was a fun day, but we really missed Ashleigh and her little family. This was the first birthday Zach has spent without his sister and he missed her terribly. I'm thankful that even though my children have their own lives, they are still so close.

I'm going to end this post now. I'm afraid to write more and then lose it because the connection timed out. I'm feeling really happy right now and I don't want to get frustrated. : ) I'll catch up with y'all when we get back to California.

Hugs and blessings to you all!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Greetings from Arkansas!

I'm writing from a little town located in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. It's been a great trip so far, despite the fact that just a few miles after we entered Arkansas, Rande got pulled over by a state trooper. What is it about my husband and getting pulled over?! Apparently he drove over the white line that separates the road from the shoulder and it looked suspicious. I'm sure the California license plate was suspect too--because you all know the great reputation we Californians have for being good drivers! ::smile:: We explained to the officer that we were trying to find the exit for our motel and thankfully he was very nice and told Rande to just be more careful. We got back on the road and continued looking for the exit. Just as we came upon it, Rande passed it! He thought he would get off at the next exit and turn around. Too bad the next exit was almost 15 miles away! We decided to keep driving and eventually found another motel. So here we are! Thankfully this motel is nice and clean--something that's very important to me. And obviously it also has high speed Internet access. That's a good thing too! : )

Anyway. It looks like we'll pull into Alabama tomorrow afternoon. We spent last night in Albuquerque, New Mexico. These pictures were taken this morning--aren't the fall colors beautiful?!




After leaving New Mexico, we drove through Texas and Oklahoma. We saw miles and miles of this:


Rande and I took turns driving throughout the day. We all listened to music, talked, read and ate Chexmix and chocolate. : ) I even read some of your blogs using Rande's phone! It's been very cool having his phone with Internet access--whenever we see something of interest, we just Google it and read about it right then. And the two guys in the back seat (the human one and the furry one) kept busy playing computer games and watching the cars go by.


Fun times for sure! Alabama here we come!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Gettin' ready...

Well, our flooring is now completely installed! And it's beautiful! I love, love, LOVE it!! I will be sure to post pictures when we get back from Alabama.

Alabama. Yep, we are heading south again. Early tomorrow morning we will be embarking on our first cross-country road trip to see my mom. It will be Rande and I, Zach and our dog Brodie. Sounds like fun, huh?! It's going to be a lot of driving, but we are all very excited!

Before church tonight, Rande went to pick up our rental car. Whoa, is it nice!! It's a very cool Chevy Tahoe with all sorts of bells and whistles. We needed the room and didn't want to put the mileage on our own vehicle. Plus, we got a very good deal. So-- we have our Auto Club books and our trip all mapped out. The snacks and water are packed and ready to go, we've got plenty of good books and our ipods--the only thing left to do is load up the luggage. Unfortunately we can't do that yet because, well, umm...I haven't finished packing. (Then why am I on the computer?? Good question! Because I am p-r-o-c-r-a-s-t-i-n-a-t-i-n-g! I hate packing--too many decisions!)

Anyway. When we get to Alabama we'll be celebrating Zach's 17th birthday and Thanksgiving. I believe we'll also be making a trip to Nashville to see Ricky Skaggs and his fine band Kentucky Thunder play some awesome bluegrass gospel at the Ryman. Woohoo!

So we're off! I'll be checking in with y'all (I'm practicing for when we get to Alabama) since I'll have the laptop. Oh, and if you are interested in reading the details (and I do mean details) of Ashleigh and baby Merritt's birth story, you can go here. Honestly, I cannot believe the things that happen in our family. There is always a story! : ) But can I just say--Ashleigh's daddy and I are so thankful and proud of her. She did a great job! (John too!) We were a little concerned about how she'd do with no medication, being that she has never had a real high tolerance for pain. But she did awesome! The Lord answered our prayers to give her strength and she did it! I am so thankful we were a part of the whole experience

Ok. I need to get back to packing. I'm dragging my feet--can't you tell?! : )

Blessings to you all....

Monday, November 12, 2007

A little piece of quiet...

Look what I found this morning when I walked into the room that use to be our dining room....

My sweet son made a little sitting area for me in the midst of our controlled chaos otherwise known as "the remodel".

Zach brought in the table and included some of my favorite things...my lone fall decoration (I usually go all out with the fall decorations, but have not been able to for the past three years), my reading book (Steve and Me-by Terri Irwin-about her life with the Croc Hunter before his untimely death), a Longaberger basket and a Yankee Candle, which of course he lit. What a guy, huh?! I love that kid! : )

Do you know why this simple act of love was so very special to me? Because this remodel has been very stressful for all of us, but especially so for Zach. He has endured a lot of upheavals in the midst of this project which was supposed to only take a few months and is now going on almost 3 years.

And what a trooper he has been! This is a young man, who when we was a little boy and we would have a houseful of people staying with us (which was often during those years), I would find him in my bedroom just sitting on the bed. The first time I found him I asked what he was doing and he answered, "I just needed a little piece of quiet." (Of course I knew he meant to say, a little peace and quiet.)

Don't we all need that sometimes? Just a little piece of quiet? And my son knew that with all the busyness of the next few days--carpet installation, an extra orchestra practice and performance, music lessons, school work, church and preparing to leave for Alabama Thursday morning--that his mom just might need a little piece of quiet every now and then. And you know what? He was right.

So thank you my sweet boy...your Mama loves you with all her heart.

Veterans Day

I know yesterday was the official day we honor veterans, but since today is the federal holiday commemorating Veterans Day, I wanted to take time to say Thank You to those who have served in the United States armed forces.

My husband served in the United States Marine Corps, my son-in-law is currently serving in the USMC and one of Zach's best friends has 18 days left of Marine Corps boot camp. We have many people close to us who have served or are serving our country in the armed forces. Most of you know too, that our own dear pastor and his family lost their beloved son-- Army Spc. Timothy Watkins--two years ago while serving in Iraq.

Veterans Day is not just another day for our family. It's the day we honor all those who have served--and the sacrifices they have made.

So to those who have served and to their families...



Thank You and God Bless You!


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Life is good!

It's good being the Grammie to two little ones--it truly is! : )

I am missing both of my little guys since leaving on Monday, but we'll be seeing them tomorrow. I'll be going to pick up Troy who is coming to stay with us for the next few days, as his daddy recovers from surgery. Ashleigh's husband is having his gallbladder removed on Friday and we thought between helping her hubby recover and having just had a baby--it might be a bit much to care for a toddler too. (ETA: Ashleigh just told me that John's mom is coming out from Colorado. This is such good news! It will be wonderful for her to see her new grandson and help care for her big boy! ::smile::)

Anyway--while we are very much looking forward to having Troy here, it's going to be a little bit interesting as to how we are going to keep him out of all the "remodel" stuff (you know, things like nails, saws, drills, ect...) Oh and did I mention that our flooring is being installed starting tomorrow?! Finally! It's going to take 2-3 days to do the first part and then the rest will be installed next Tuesday. In between we need to finish up some painting and move what little furniture is left in the house--out of the house. I am *so* excited--you can't even imagine!! This is a huge turning point in our remodel and means we are that much closer to being done. Woohoo!

And here's an ironic little piece of news: now that our remodel is nearly completed--and we've made many trips to Home Depot over the past 2 1/2 years, which happens to be a 45 minute drive--guess what opened last week? Just 6 minutes from our house? Yep, a brand spankin' new Home Depot store! You cannot imagine the bliss I experienced yesterday as I drove the short jaunt to the new store, pulled into the parking lot and walked in! And to think--it's almost just down the street from our house! Any thoughts of "why couldn't they have built this two years ago?" were wiped out of my mind as I remembered we still have baseboards to put in and lighting fixtures to purchase and install--and we won't have to drive 45 minutes anymore! Now that's something to be happy about! : )

So it's busy around here this week, for sure! But it's life and it's good. We truly have so much to be thankful for--God is good and we are blessed!

I'll leave you with a few pictures of our trip to Seaworld this past Saturday. Rande, Zach and I thought it would be fun to take the new big brother out for the day. We had so much fun and Troy was such a good boy! He is really into Nemo right now, so every fish was Nemo, except the sharks, which he knew and kept saying, "Dark! Dark!". It was too cute!






































The end! : ) Happy Wednesday!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Introducing...



Merritt Will


November 1st, 2007



5:45pm

8lbs. 2oz.

20 1/2in.










Big brother Troy--meeting little brother
Merritt for the first time...

The proud Grammie--handing precious little Merritt to his mama...













We rejoice in the blessing of the newest member of our family. We praise the Lord for a beautiful delivery and healthy baby. Ashleigh did a *great* job. In fact--she was amazing (John too!).

I'm sorry I don't have better "close-up" pictures of Merritt. There are a ton of pictures, but these are just a few of what I had on my camera. Keep checking Ashleigh's blog for more pics and the full birth story. Of course, it wouldn't be normal for our family if there wasn't a story within the story--and to be sure, this event wasn't any different!

I'll post more pictures in a few days. I want to allow Ashleigh time to post on her blog, because after all, it is her/their story!

Thank you for your prayers--the Lord answered them! I can't tell you what it meant to have so many people praying.

May you have a blessed weekend! I know we will! : )

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Baby?

Well...little Merritt is deciding to take his time entering the world. Can you blame him?! : )

After almost 12 hours of pretty regular contractions--even getting 3-5 minutes apart and up to one and half minutes long--everything has slowed down. And honestly, as it got later yesterday, we were all okay with that because none of us really wanted baby Merritt to be born on the 31st. (Today is his actual due date.) Of course there are still nine 9 hours left in the day...so we'll see.

Rande, Zach and I reluctantly left Ashleigh and John's about 9pm last night because Rande had to go to work today. Ash felt bad about everyone coming out and the fact that she didn't have the baby yet. Silly girl! We didn't mind at all! : ) It was great spending the day with family and Rande was able to catch up on some sleep after his busy week. My niece Tiffany and I got Ashleigh out of the house and walking--to the scrapbook store, Walmart, Target--and then we met the guys (Troy included) at the Macaroni Grill for dinner. It was actually a very nice day and Zach was happy because he had a day off from school.

Most of you probably don't know this because Ashleigh doesn't talk much about it on her blog, but she is having Merritt at a "birthing center" with a nurse-midwife. She really wanted to have a non-medicated birth this time and after much research and talking with different ladies, decided that a water birth was the way to go. I'm pretty sure that if Ashleigh was using a traditional doctor and hospital, they would have had her come in and when everything slowed down, they would have induced her. I'm not saying that's right or wrong, I just think that's probably what would have happened.

So now we are just waiting for our precious little Merritt to make his appearance. And whenever that is--it will be exactly when he's supposed to be here! I won't write the details, but suffice it to say, there are definite signs that this baby is coming soon! : )

Thank you for all your prayers and sweet comments--I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ok...

For those of you who know us and/or have read my blog for awhile--you will not be surprised at what I am about to write. : )

If you read the post below, then you know my husband came home this evening from being gone this past week fighting fires. He actually met us at Zach's orchestra practice about 7 pm. It was wonderful being reunited...even if it was at an orchestra practice!

Well...not even 20 minutes later, I get a text message from Ashleigh saying she was having very strong contractions about 5 minutes apart. We talked about an hour later and the contractions were getting closer. Which brings us to now. Rande, Zach and I are leaving after I write this and driving to San Diego for the birth of our second grandson/nephew!

Is this not our life or what?! We literally go from one thing to the next! It's actually pretty funny and if we had more time to think on these things, we'd probably cry! But God is good and His timing is perfect--always!

So we're off! The next time I post, I'll be a Grammie of two! : )

Hugs and blessings to you all....

Monday, October 29, 2007

Coming Home...

After being gone for a week, my fireman is coming home!! Can we all say, WOOHOO?!!

We are just a tad bit excited around here. : ) He actually won't be home until late tonight, but we don't care--we just want to see his face!!

It's been a long and sad week for sure, but God has been gracious to allow good things to take place in the midst of these terrible wildfires. It is truly amazing that despite the number of fires raging, there were not more injures or deaths. And even though so many houses were lost--many were spared. On a personal level, the Lord used the body of Christ at Thousand Pines Christian Camp to minister to the firefighters fighting the Running Springs fire. Because of their gracious hospitality, it allowed the firefighters to eat and sleep well, which in turn gave them strength to do their job. I know as the wife of a firefighter, it comforted my heart to know my man was being well taken care of.

Through the events of the past week, as well as being at a Christian camp--the Lord also worked in the heart and life of one young firefighter on Rande's crew and my husband was able to pray with him to rededicate his life to Jesus Christ. There is much more to this story, but for the sake of privacy, I am not able to give details. God knows this young man by name and if you think about it, would you pray for him? As most of us know, when you make a choice to follow Christ, there are those in our lives who aren't thrilled with our choice. Our prayer for this young man is that he would stand firm in his decision--and we trust the Lord to help him. Isn't God so good? : )

Other news: obviously Ashleigh hasn't had the baby yet--because of course if she had, you all know I would post it on here asap! But Zach and I did get to spend the day with Ash, John and Troy on Saturday which was loads of fun! We met in Temecula, ate lunch, went to Babies-R-Us and then to the mall. We were hoping all that walking would help Merritt make his entrance into the world--but nope, it didn't. All it did was make Ashleigh one tired little mama!

Today we're busy doing school and Zach has piano lessons. I am also trying to get the issue with our flooring straightened out. Remember--we had to pick out new flooring three weeks ago--because HD mistakenly sold our bought and paid for flooring, which just happens to not be available anymore. They had been holding it for us until we were at a point to install it. Anyway--the whole thing is a mess. A total mess. And trying to get answers to exactly what is going on with the flooring and when it's going to be installed is proving to be very frustrating. So if you ever wonder..."Why on earth is it taking them so long to finish their remodel?"....now you know! : )

Well friends, I need to get Zach to piano lessons. Have a blessed day!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Gotta love that technology...

Can I tell you how very thankful I am that my husband has a cell phone? And that he can email and send pictures from it? What a blessing! It's been our lifeline to him this week while he's been fighting one of the many fires that have been blazing throughout southern California.


Rande and his crew were moved yesterday from the Lake Arrowhead/Grass Valley fire, to the the much larger Running Springs/Slide fire. So when you see Running Springs on the news--that's where my hubby is busy protecting homes.

I thought I'd share some of the pictures he sent via his cell phone. (He sent a few of homes that were destroyed, but due to privacy reasons, I didn't think it would be a good idea to show those.)
Getting the truck ready to head up the mountain...

A helicopter doing a water drop. Rande said it's feels like rain pouring down on them...

My fireman (on the left) and one of his guys...dirty and tired...but happy to be doing a job they love.



Thank you for your continued prayers...


**For an update on Ashleigh and her little family, go here.



ETA (10:15pm): We just talked to Rande and he sounded really good. A Christian camp is allowing some of the firefighters to use their facilities. The camp fed them dinner--ribs, baked potatoes and salad--which Rande said was "excellent" and he's most happy to be able to sleep in a real bed tonight (he's on a 12 hour day shift now).

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Getting some rest...finally

I just got an email from Rande (via his phone) with this picture. He and his crew are going to get some sleep in this evacuated house which was under construction. His turn-out gear is his makeshift bed and I see he has his Bible too. : )


Please be praying for our firefighters...



**For more of an update, please read the post below.

Keeping busy...

Thank you for your continued prayers on behalf of those involved in the terrible fires burning here in southern California. There are so many people affected--from those displaced because of having to evacuate, to those fighting the fires--and sadly, to those who have actually lost their homes. It seems there is no end in sight. Right now we are praying for cooler temperatures and for the wind to slow--and of course, safety for Rande and the other firefighters.

I talked to Rande for about a minute (literally) this afternoon. He called to say he was doing fine--he's tired, but safe. His crew is doing structure protection and while they are able to save some homes, it's heartbreaking because they can't save them all. Rande is currently at the Lake Arrowhead/Grass Valley fire.

Ashleigh and her little family are staying holed up in their home near the San Diego fires. It is truly the hand of God that is protecting the community where they live. The largest fire is about 10-15 miles away from them and there is another one burning on the other side of their city. They aren't in danger right now, but the air quality is so bad that John was notified to not come into work today. We are praying too, that baby Merritt would hold off on his arrival until this is all over.

Zach and I are trying to keep busy--we've got the news on, but he's doing school work and I'm doing other things around the house. Thankfully, we have the second evening of revival services at church tonight. We talk to Ashleigh almost every hour or so--I know this is very nerve wracking for her having her dad out fighting a fire, being surrounded by fires and getting ready to give birth at any moment and the difficulty of getting to the birthing center if she does indeed go into labor.

So, we just continue to rest in the Lord. For now we are all safe--including Rande. We pray for those who have had to be evacuated and especially for those who have lost their homes.

Once again, thank you for your prayers, my faithful bloggy friends! Blessings to you all! : )


ETA: The news just reported that between all the fires burning, nearly one million people have been evacuated--the single largest movement of people in the United States since the Civil War.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Monday Happenings...

It started off with a really bad headache. I rarely get headaches like this, but it was bad. I think it was caused from lack of sleep--between the women's retreat (which was wonderful), coming home and getting food ready for a luncheon at church the next day, a long day yesterday and getting up early this morning--my body was saying, "I need some sleep!". : ) So after taking some Advil and a little nap, I'm thankful to report my headache is finally gone.

If you've been watching the news today, then you probably know there are fires raging all over southern California right now. My husband got called into work last night to cover for the fire crew his department was sending to San Diego. We were at a friend's house enjoying a sweet time of fellowship after a wonderful day at church (our church celebrated it's anniversary yesterday--44 years!) when he got the call. We gave hugs, said our goodbyes, then headed home so Rande could get his gear and get to the fire station.

Then this morning Ashleigh called me to say she didn't know if she'd be able to get to the birthing center for her midwife appointment because of road closures due to the fire. After talking to her dad and John, it was decided it was not a good idea for her travel alone. Thankfully John was able to come home from work to take her (and Troy)--and they are now back home safe and sound. If baby Merritt should decide to come during this fire storm, then they have an alternate plan in place. And of course there's a lot of praying going on! : )

I like to call Monday's "Music Mondays" because Zach has piano lessons in the afternoon and then orchestra practice in the evening. We've already tackled the piano lesson and after dinner is orchestra. The parents usually stay for the three hour practice, but tonight I'll be dropping Zach off and then going to church. As part of our church's anniversary celebration, we have special services this week with Bro. Phil Prettyman preaching and the Darden family doing special music. I am always encouraged by Bro. Prettyman's preaching and the Darden family's singing...so I don't want to miss either!

We've been keeping an eye on the news all day--and I had a feeling as things have progressed that Rande might be going on a strike team to fight a fire somewhere. Sure enough, he called about an hour ago and he and a crew of 4 others are heading to a large fire in Lake Arrowhead where they have already lost 100+ homes. Your prayers would be appreciated for their safety as well as the safety of the other firefighters, civilians, homes, ect... Thank you! I'll keep you posted!

Never a dull moment, huh?! Happy Monday everyone! : )

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Off I go...

I think.

After praying, discussing, praying and discussing some more--Rande, Ashleigh, Zach and I--all agree I should go ahead and go to the women's retreat this weekend. I'll be heading out at 2:30pm today and will return Saturday afternoon.

So, I have my driving directions from the retreat center to the birthing center--in case I need them. I am praying I won't need them though. ::smile::

Have a blessed weekend!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Happiness is...

...when your grandson calls just to chat.



Ashleigh took a picture of Troy talking to me on the phone as he tells me about his Nemo book. Precious!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Because I'm so smart...

Ahem. Yeah, right.

I just spent the last thirty minutes trying to un-jam the jammed paper shredder. Woohoo! Fun!

It says right on the shredder that it has a five sheet maximum, but I thought--what would two more sheets hurt? Obviously there is reason for the five sheet limit. : /

So how do I know it took thirty minutes? Because while I was pulling little pieces of paper out of the shredder with tweezers, I watched (more like listened to) an entire episode on HGTV where a sweet young couple had their kitchen remodeled--which of course added to my frustration because what I wouldn't give to have our remodel done in a half hour segment! LOL

Anyway...on to other news!

Zach has been sick with a stomach virus that's been going around. He's doing much better tonight, but yesterday morning I had to run out and get the old standbys: chicken noodle soup, crackers, applesauce and 7-up. Poor guy! We are praying no one else in the family gets it because as some of you know, we are anxiously awaiting a special little someone's arrival at any moment. : )

Speaking of sickness and the arrival of that special little someone--our sweet Ashleigh is battling a bad cold, and I am concerned it has turned into bronchitis. I've talked to her a number of times today and each time she sounds worse. Thankfully she has a doctor's appointment tomorrow to get it checked out.

So yeah--it's been hard for this mama to have both her babies sick.

I've been talking to my mom every day and she's definitely doing better. She's had the home health care people in and really liked the lady who came to help. This is an answer to prayer, for sure!

I'm still catching up from being gone the past three weeks--but I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. That's a good thing, because I am supposed to be leaving on Thursday for the annual women's retreat I attend with the ladies from our church. While I am excited to be going (it's been planned since August), there is a part of me that feels like--I just got home! I don't want to leave again! And if little Merritt decides he's going to make his entry into the world while his Grammie is at the retreat--I'll be driving my own car so I can leave if I need to.

Well, that's the news here in our little corner of the world. I hope you all are having a great week so far!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Two years ago today...

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints."
Psalm 116:15



Spc. Timothy D. Watkins

Killed in Ar Ramadi, Iraq, on Oct. 15, 2005 when an improvised explosive device detonated near their M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle during combat operations.

We miss you Tim....






**For those of you new to my blog...Tim was our pastors son.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

On to the next thing...

It's so good to be home!

Truly, as the saying goes: "There's no place like home!"

We got in about 11pm Tuesday night and even though our house is in it's remodel state--I was happy to see it! While I was gone, the flooring (tile) was installed in our bathrooms and it's just beautiful!

Speaking of our remodel--on Monday while we were still in Alabama, my hubby called the big home improvement store where we ordered the flooring for the rest of our house--to see if we could have it installed next week. The store has been holding it for us since the mess with our first contractor and waiting for us to let them know when we were ready.

Well, we are ready. So my hubby called to let the nice people at the big home improvement store know. And guess what he was told? They don't have our flooring. And they can't get anymore. Nice, huh?!

When Rande told me the news, after my initial shock, I started laughing. It was just too funny! And then he started laughing. What else could we do? If you've been following the story of our remodel, then you are probably laughing as you read this.

How did this happen? We aren't exactly sure, since the flooring was paid for and we were assured on numerous occasions that it was set aside and was no problem to hold it for us. We've been in constant monthly contact with the store the entire time and at one point last year, we even asked them if we should just store it ourselves since everything was taking so long. Again they assured us it was no problem and the flooring was fine right where it was.

So after flying home Tuesday, we woke up yesterday morning, got ready and headed down to the big home improvement store to try and resolve the situation and pick out new flooring. It was the only time Rande and I would have the opportunity until later next week. We had other errands to run, so we took care of those, came home and got ready for church. By the time we got home last night, I was more than ready to fall into bed!

Now it's on to the next thing, which for me means laundry, meal planning and grocery shopping, grading and recording the past three weeks of Zach's school work, paperwork for our homeschool group, returning phone calls and emails, fiddle lessons tomorrow (which is an all day thing) and a wedding to attend on Saturday. It's a lot, but I am just so thankful to be home--I don't even care! : )

Happy Thursday everyone!!


**Update on my mom: I talked to her yesterday and she was doing fine. A little sore, because she was up and around more without us there, but today the home health care worker is coming over to help her. I am praying it goes well and that my mom will be receptive to the help. I'll keep you posted!


Image by allposters.com

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Heading home...

It's been a very long and exhausting three weeks here in Alabama. I am *so* ready to be back in my own bed and in my own (albeit unfinished) home. I truly love Alabama and spending time with my mama--but I'm so tired--I feel like I could sleep for a few days straight. : )

Tomorrow afternoon I'll be flying out of Huntsville and my guys fly out of Nashville. Lord willing, if our flights are on time and I make my connecting flight in Dallas (which is always an "iffy" thing) then we'll make it back to California within two hours of each other.

It's a good thing I'm heading home because Ashleigh went to her mid-wife appointment today and was informed that our precious little Merritt is in position and ready to make his appearance at any time. Exciting times, yes indeed!!

Thank you again for your prayers, my dear bloggy friends! God is good--all the time!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Hangin' in there...

Hi y'all!! Thank you, thank you, thank you--for your prayers, sweet comments and emails! As I've said before, they are appreciated more than words can adequately express!

My guys flew in on Tuesday and have been a HUGE blessing to both my mom and I. Rande has been busy making phone calls to find the resources available to my mom and Zach has been taking care of some fix-it things around his Gram's house. Through the help of my dear friend Mitzi (who lives here), we were able to contact an organization that helps older people with their needs--now if only my mom realized she needs help. The organization is run by Christians and seems to be perfect for what we are looking for right now, but my mom is having a hard time with all of it.

A few people have asked me why mom doesn't just move back to California. I wish it were that easy. At the moment, we have focus on her needs right now because even if she wanted to come home with us, she couldn't travel in the condition she's in. It's definitely an option that we are discussing, but it's a huge decision for her. She would need to sell her house, ect...and at this point with our remodel going on, there is no place for her to stay at our house (although Lord willing, the remodel should be complete soon).

Mom's recovery is slow going, but it's going! The hematoma is still very large, but at her appointment on Wednesday the doctor assured us that it will go down. She had some odd bleeding earlier in the week, so her doctor referred mom to a urologist, whom we saw today. On Monday she has an ultrasound on her bladder and kidneys. I feel terrible that in the midst of the pain from surgery, mom has to now endure more tests. It's really hard on her physically.

And while it's true--things have been difficult the past few weeks--God has been faithful! In every moment, every circumstance, every need--God's grace has been sufficient to see us through. He shows His faithfulness over and over again. So even in the hard times, we praise Him!

There have been blessings too--like our dear friends, the Evans family. We met this precious family over 10 years ago while visiting here in Alabama. The Lord instantly knit our hearts together and while we only see them a few times a year, it's always a highlight of our trips to Alabama. Since I've been here they have prayed for us, visited us, made sure we have plenty of our favorite southern foods ::smile:: and just made themselves available for whatever we need. And Zach sure has had fun hanging out with them and playing music.

Speaking of music--Rande and Zach are in Nashville as I write this. There is a big bluegrass event going on and we usually attend, but had decided not to this year because we didn't want to take the time away from our remodel (and because we were coming to Alabama for Thanksgiving). Well, obviously the Lord had other plans and here we are! My guys were blessed by the man who owns the violin shop in Nashville where we get Zach's fiddles and he treated them to tickets to a concert he was hosting the other evening. They had such a great time, I encouraged them to go back today to attend the actual convention. At first they were hesitant to go, but I practically made them--so off they went! They are too cute though--they don't want me to feel too left out, so they have called several times just so I can hear the music. : )

Tomorrow my aunt is coming over to sit with mom, so Rande and I can go to the Tennessee Valley Fiddlers Convention for a few hours. Isn't that sweet of her? Some of you may remember that Zach entered this fiddle contest last year. Unfortunately he won't be going with us, because he was invited to go to the Alabama vs. Houston football game with my cousin and his family. But we know he'll have a great time!

So we're moving forward--mom is on the road to recovery, we are discussing her options and things are getting done around her house to make it a safer place for her to live at the moment. I'm thankful I've been able to be here, but I am looking forward to getting back home too. We are scheduled to leave on Tuesday. I'll keep you posted!

Thanking the Lord for each of you...

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Leaning on the Rock...

"Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.
From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee,
when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock
that is higher than I."
Psalm 61:1-2


Thank you for continuing to pray for my mom (and the rest of us). She came home from the hospital Friday evening and while not in much pain (due to medication), she still has a huge hematoma in her right groin area. The doctor told us on Friday that the procedure he did to stop the pseudoaneurysm was working and the hematoma would eventually go away. Mom has to stay off her feet as much as possible, which is fine because she is too weak to do anything else.

I'm not totally convinced the hematoma is the only thing going on, but I'm trying to trust the doctor and rest in the Lord. The lump from the hematoma is about the size of a very large egg and since being home, it's actually become a little bit bigger. I just don't know what to think. Even looking on the Internet hasn't provided much information. So we just keep praying.

I was supposed to fly home tomorrow, but cancelled my flight for the second time. Anyone who has cared for an aging parent knows there is a lot to it--especially when they live alone and far away. It's obvious my mom is at a crossroads and needs to make some decisions about her future. I've tried to talk to her in the past about these things, but she has a hard time hearing it from me--I suppose because I'm the daughter and she's the mother-- and it's difficult when roles are reversed.

Rande and Zach are flying out here on Tuesday. I wish I could do it all on my own, but I can't. I'm an only child, so I don't have the input or help of siblings. And while my mom is a Christian, she does not have a church family or even friends who themselves aren't dealing with health issues. My mom listens to Rande and we are praying she will hear what he has to say about her options and will be willing to follow through with some of these things. Our immediate concern is her care right now--and the fact that I need to go home. We were already planning on coming out for Thanksgiving, so if I am able to go home next week, it will only be a short time before we are back. We just need to convince her to allow someone to come help her now. My aunt (who lives two streets over) has offered for my mom to come stay with her, but she's not in the best health herself--so we just aren't sure what to do. Good thing the Lord knows, huh?! : )

So this is where we are at: on our knees. It's the best place to be! Thank you again for praying for us. It truly means so much and I have told my mom about each of you (even those who have stopped by for the first time). I feel bad I don't even know what is going on in your lives right now. I hope to stop by your blogs and find out, although I probably won't comment right now.

I want to leave you with a few quotes from the daily devotional I've been reading by Dr. Paul Chappell. I hope these encourage you, as they have me.

  • "We all have needs that come into our lives, and each time of need presents an opportunity for us to either trust God or worry."

  • "Peace is not found in the absence of trouble, but in the presence of God."

  • "It's one thing to hear the words of God, but it's another thing to grab hold of them and believe them to be true in your own life."

Blessings to you!! : )

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Please continue to pray....

Hi everyone... this is Ashleigh, updating for my Mama.

Thank you all so much for your prayers the past few days... it sure seems I've been writing this sort of update on Mom's blog a lot during the past six months...

Today we ask for even more prayer. Yesterday--Tuesday--my Gram went home from the hospital earlier in the day, and by the middle of the day they were back in the emergency room. Her surgery site was hugely swollen and the pain was intolerable. After a long day of waiting for her doctor who never came, the on-call doctor came that night and said that she had a hematoma... and then sent her home. He said it seemed the internal bleeding had stopped, the worst was over and that she'd be on the "upswing."

In the middle of the night, Mom had to call 911 and Gram was rushed back to the hospital by ambulance.

It turns out she does have a blood clot in (or on? not sure of all the details here or the correct medical wording--pardon my ignorance) one of the arteries in which they did her angioplasty on Monday. They are going through a series of procedures (some of which are quite painful--and Gram is apparently allergic to the majority of strong pain killers) to try to get rid of it... the last of which is another surgery.

Please just pray that the first procedure (firm pressure applied for twenty minutes--in that excruciatingly painful place) will work and they won't need to continue. Pray also for Mom... she is just about as wiped out as one can get. The care involved on Mom's part for my Grammie is quite a lot to do alone, and she hasn't been feeling up to par herself on top of all of it. Add that to literally being up all night...

Again, you are all so sweet to care about our little family and the things going on with us. We thank you for continuing to bless us by praying and just "being there."

Monday, September 24, 2007

Many blessings...

Thank you all so much for your prayers regarding my mom's angioplasty. Everything went well--the procedure was done in the groin area (the iliac artery) and both the left and right side needed stents. The doctor said mom did great and she should be able to come home tomorrow.

I had a lot of time to think (and pray) today--and at one point started to feel very overwhelmed. I was concerned about my mom and wondering what's ahead for her health wise. The logistics of me living in California and mom living in Alabama, obviously make it challenging to help care for her. How it's all going to work out as she gets older, weighs heavy on my heart at times. Of course she knows she can come back to California and live with us, but that would mean saying goodbye to her beloved Alabama--and her family here--and probably never seeing them again. Only the Lord knows what's ahead, and as I meditated on scripture, I was reminded that I need not be anxious, but instead I need to rest in Him.

I was also really missing my family back home today. I am truly blessed with a very understanding and patient husband. I know it's not easy for him to try to hold down the fort while I'm away and work--but he does a wonderful job--and he believes it's important for me to be here for my mom. I'm so thankful for Ashleigh (and John) because they are always willing to step in and pick up the slack when Rande's working, by helping to care for Zach and get him where he needs to be and do school with him. And it's not as easy to do now that they live 2 hours away--but yet, they just say, "Whatever you need us to do, we'll do it!". Zach too, has been great, as he's had to "go with the flow". And then there's our extended family--I know they've been praying for "Grammie Shirley" and their Aunt Mishel. That's what family is all about.

I'm also blessed with a church family that I know is back home praying for my mom (and me). They are wonderful and I miss them too!

And you all--my bloggy friends--I am blessed beyond words to have ladies like you, praying for us. You've done a lot that over the past many months and I just wish I could get you all in one room so I could give each of you a great big hug and say, "Thank you!".

I'm a blessed woman, indeed. And a tired one at that! : ) It's late here in Alabama, so I'm heading off to bed. I pray my sweet mama is resting peacefully tonight...

Thank you again for praying....

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A quicky update and prayer request...

My mom's angioplasty is tomorrow (Monday) afternoon at 1:00pm. I know she'd appreciate your prayers, as she is feeling a little bit anxious tonight.

Thank you so much and I'll keep you posted. : )

Blessings!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hi y'all!

I can officially say y'all because I'm in Alabama. : )

Just thought I'd give an update on my mom: She hasn't had her angioplasty yet. The doctor thinks it may be a certain medication she's been taking that would make her sodium levels low. Mom stopped taking it Tuesday and we go back tomorrow morning for more blood tests, then the doctor will let us know in the afternoon what the next step is. At this point, the soonest the angioplasty could be scheduled is Monday, which is what we are praying for.

But we have been having fun while we've been waiting!

We've been to Super Walmart umpteen times, Cracker Barrel for breakfast (woohoo!), took a drive around town while mom reminisced about her childhood, had some of mom's delicious Roquefort salad dressing (taste tested by me, with a Fritos corn chip--just like I always did growing up) and I've enjoyed numerous glasses of SunDrop soda (diet and caffeine free, of course!). For those of you who don't know, SunDrop tastes similar to Mountain Dew--only better! ::smile:: Oh...and we made a trip to "the recycle", as mom calls it. It's actually the recycling center where you take your newspapers, catalogs, ect.... Mom had stacks of newspapers piling up in her garage and since her son-in-law is a firefighter, I didn't think he'd be too pleased about the obvious fire hazard. And because my mom is so organized in everything she does--even her piles of newspapers were bagged and neatly stacked, which made it easy to just load them up and take them to "the recycle". : )

Mom is off to her weekly hair appointment (yes, she is from the generation that gets their hair "done" weekly--can you imagine?!!) and I am off to Hobby Lobby in Huntsville. We don't have Hobby Lobby in California and I've never been to one, so I'm real excited about this venture! ::smile:: I need to see if they have a certain ribbon for the favors for Ashleigh's baby shower. They didn't have what I was looking for while still at home, so I thought I'd try to find it once I got to Alabama. Of course, that was also when I thought I'd be home in time to attend the baby shower. If mom's surgery isn't on Monday, then I will probably miss the shower--but everyone agrees that mom's/Gram's health is the priority.

Oh--and before I forget--I want to wish my beloved a Happy Anniversary!! I love you and thank the Lord for you--today and always!

Happy Thursday y'all!! : )

Monday, September 17, 2007

Alabama here I come!

Well...at 6:00am tomorrow morning I'll be on a plane bound for Alabama to go see my mama. I'm packed and almost ready to go!

My mom's angioplasty that was scheduled for tomorrow, has been postponed. Her sodium level is very low and they need to get it back up before she can go under anesthesia. We are praying the surgery will only be postponed for a few days at most. It was a little stressful for a few hours as we tried to decide whether I should cancel my flight or go ahead and go. I talked to a few of my nurse friends and they both said it would probably only be a few days. So...off I go! : )

I'll have my laptop with me,and I'll try to keep you updated on my mom's surgery. Thank you for your prayers! I hope you all have a wonderfully blessed week!!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Saturday Memories...

It's another beautiful evening in the desert. There is a brush fire burning in our local mountains, so besides the ominous plumes of smoke to the northwest of us, the sky is most lovely as the sun begins to set.

My guys are in another part of the house reading a book together on godly manhood. Rande's back is getting better each day, but it's slow going, as back injuries usually are. Our church is hosting their annual church picnic today, but because of Rande's back, we aren't going. We will miss being there though!

I just put our dinner in the oven--Taco Casserole. Zach can't have regular tacos because of his braces, so this is easier to eat, but with the same flavors. And it's super easy to put together. I've also made a big green salad go with it. We love salad and have one with almost every meal. It's the way my mama raised me! ::smile:: I just wish I could make my mom's Roquefort dressing--because it's the BEST! Others have tried to make it, but it never comes out like mom's. You can be sure I'll be having some next week when I'm in Alabama.

The other thing my mama (and my dad) raised me to enjoy is a good game of college football. As I made dinner and even now as I type this--I have one eye on the Alabama (Roll Tide Roll!) vs. Arkansas game. My dad was a huge UCLA fan and my mom has loved football since she was in high school. Both of them, whether attending a game or watching it on t.v. would scream their heads off! One of my most embarrassing memories of my dad was when I was 16 and I went to a UCLA game with him. It was bad enough to sit in the alumni section with all the old guys, let alone to hear him scream and yell until he nearly lost his voice. I mean, I was 16 and you know, having your dad scream his head off along with a bunch of other old guys was just not cool. : )

And my mom--well, she is this little tiny, petite thing, but even to this day she will yell and scream at the t.v. during the game. In fact, I know if I were to call her right now she's jumping out of her chair (I'm not kidding!) because BAMA is ahead (31-24) and the 4th quarter just started. I have memories of her too, when I was a teenager--I would have friends over and they would be like, "Why is your mom out there yelling at the t.v.?" I was mortified.

But today--I have a football game on the t.v. and to me, it just seems normal. And now those times I was so embarrassed by my parents' love of college football, brings back happy memories--especially because my dad has gone on to heaven.

So if you don't mind, I'm going to get back to the game. My casserole will be ready soon and besides--Arkansas just scored and now it's a tie. I need to call my mom because I know she's screaming now. This is way too intense! I am sure I won't be yelling at the t.v. or jumping off the couch. But I can't promise. : )

Have a great rest of your weekend and a blessed Lord's Day tomorrow!


ETA: Oh yeah! Alabama won! (41-38) It was *very* close! Ok...and I'll admit, there was *some* yelling on my part (with my mom on the other line), but Zach was yelling too so I don't have to worry about him being embarrassed. Now Rande on the other hand--I don't know about him. He may have been a tad bit embarrassed because the windows are all open. : )

Friday, September 14, 2007

What's been happening this week...

One of the things I love about where we live is it's so....quiet.

Tonight all I can hear is the song the crickets are singing and every once in a while...a lone dog barking. The windows are open and there is a slight breeze. It feels wonderful. The first sign that autumn is on its way in the desert is the fact that while it can be almost 100 degrees during the day, the nights start to cool way down. I know it may not seem like much to some of you, but for this beach-girl-turned-desert-dweller, it means a whole lot! One of the reasons I love fall so much is that we can say "good riddance" to the intense summer heat.

Rande is at a deacons meeting. Zach is sitting here beside me reading James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans. He says it's a challenging book to read, but he loves the way Cooper writes so descriptively. Brodie, our beloved border collie, is sleeping soundly at my feet.

And me? What am I doing? Well, I am wishing I could go to bed. ::smile:: I'm tired. It's Friday. It's been a long day and a busy week. Zach had a fiddle lesson today (yes, I'm the crazy mom who drives her son 2 1/2 hours one way, twice a month to fiddle lessons) and we got home just in time for me to pop two frozen (but very yummy California Pizza Kitchen) pizzas in the oven, make a salad....and eat before driving my hubby to church for the deacons meeting.

Why did I have to drive Rande to the deacons meeting? Well...because he's on drugs. Vicodin to be exact. And an anti-inflammatory drug. It's for his back, which he injured earlier in the week. Poor guy. He took this week (and next) off to work on some things here at home and he has spent the past five days hardly able to move. He decided he'd try to make to the meeting tonight by wearing one of those air activated heating pads, but I know he's in pain. Every bump we went over on the way to the church caused him to cringe. I feel just terrible for him, because he had so many plans for things he wanted to do. But obviously the Lord had other plans. Funny how that happens sometimes, isn't it?

As I said, it's been a busy week, but very productive. I like productive! Our first two weeks of school have gone great--even with workers here at the house, orchestra, an orthodontist appointment and fiddle lesson thrown in! I've been keeping up with grading Zach's papers, which makes us both *very* happy. I hate to get behind in that area. I've also been busy with organizing things for our homeschool group--paperwork, requesting cumulative files from public schools (which is something I really don't like doing, but it's one of those things you have to do).

Something else I did was try out a new recipe: Ashleigh's Buttery Apple Chops. If you want a delicious meal and your house to smell absolutely heavenly--then this is the meal to make! Even Zach, who is not too keen on pork chops, loved it. I served the chops with brown rice and a yummy green salad and both my guys raved. One warning though: it's definitely not low fat! So out of guilt, ::smile:: the next night I made baked rigatoni with whole wheat pasta,part skim ricotta cheese and low fat mozzarella--and my guys loved it too! (I know some people don't like whole wheat pasta, but I've tried different brands until I found one we all liked.)

I also worked on some fun little things for Ashleigh's upcoming baby shower. (Of course I can't say exactly *what* I've been up to, but it's been fun.) My niece Tiffany is planning this family event -- and what a great job she is doing! She's amazing! Everyone tells her she should do this for a living, because she is so good at coordinating events. My other niece (Tiffany's sister) designed and hand-made the invitations. I'll have to post a picture because they are *too* cute.

Another thing I did this week was made plans to fly out to Alabama next Tuesday for my mom's angioplasty (with a stent). Her surgery will be on Tuesday and they are keeping her overnight in the hospital. I guess she'll be sore for a few days, so we thought it best for me to go out and be with her. Of course she says she'll be "just fine"--but I'm still going. : )

So yeah. That's been my week. It's been good. I hope yours was too!