Wednesday, October 31, 2007


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 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


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?" 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 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

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...