Saturday, December 31, 2011

Turning another year older....

On Dec. 21st, R turned 8 (and she thinks she's going on 13 sometimes).

We were still Searcy because R had a half day of school left (filling up on candy and chocolate - Joy!). She had to wait all day to get one B-day present and J HAD to get an early Christmas present. :) We then got to have a birthday party for R in Garland on Thursday evening and she got to spend some good times with old friends during the Christmas break.

The 21st also marked the date of Donovan's death and (in a way) I'm glad we weren't in Garland on that day. There were times (while we were at K and G's house) that I was just waiting for Donovan to come walking down the hall. The knot of dread of that day wasn't as bad this year (for me anyway). The old adage of "if walls could talk" still holds true to some extent in that the memories of trying to climb up into the bed at K and G's while I was still prego with J came flooding back.... Thankfully, Jeff was always there to reassure that all is well...

More to follow.....

Monday, December 19, 2011

Antcipation and dread

The above title probably doesn't make sense to a lot of people but this time of year makes me nervous. You would think after three years, it would be easier and not so difficult but it is.

I look forward to R becoming another year older and get caught up in her excitement of having another birthday. I also dread it. I know that one day, she will be asking of when did Donovan die (her birthday). I just pray that she never looses that glow in her eyes when it gets to be her birthday and Christmas. I'm so proud of the young lady that she is becoming and know (as Jeff pointed out) that she has a lot of growing up to do before she could even emotionally handle the fact that her father died on her birthday.

When we were at K and G's for Thanksgiving, I caught myself expecting to see Donovan come walking down the hall sometimes but am at peace that Jeff is always there and he understands. Even the simple task of going to bed brought back not-so-pleasant memories of those countless nights of heaving into bed (and the bed is pretty high off of the floor) to calm a very terrified little 5 year old and wishing I could just get a little boy out of my tummy and that the nightmare would just go away.

The nightmare's have gone and only blessings remain (and the intermittent why-did-that-mental-image-have-to-come-back-now) and I am so thankful to have two healthy children and a loving and patient husband. God knew EXACTLY what He was doing in putting us together. :)

This year will be different in that we won't be in Garland on THAT day but will be able to celebrate with R (and her long time friends) on the 22nd. Jeff will be with us this Christmas as will Jay (K's brother) *at least for a few hours anyway* and J's new appreciation of presents (which I'm sure he will be trying to open more than his own.. LOL). Overall, good times ahead and looking forward to a New Year with my family.

My prayer is that each of you that reads this has a great and safe holidays. That your Christmas time is spent in laughter and joy and if there is some sadness, that it will only be fleeting. Life is too precious to go through it with tears and regret. So, here's looking to some fun, and a bright New Year! :)

Merry Christmas and God Bless!

More to follow....

Friday, December 16, 2011

Why is there more emphasis during this time of year?

I recently read an article that stressed the importance of reaching out to others, thinking of those less fortunate, and spending extra time with family. Society has a whole pushes for doing something that makes us feel good in doing something for someone else or, in getting the best deal(s).

Question: Why should we cater to just one month out of the year? Why not continue the "Christmas season" trend all year long? Are we so concerned with taking care of #1 the rest of the time that we (and the country as a whole) use Christmas time as our meager way of giving back?

God calls us to give of our means every first day of the week with cheerfulness and purpose. Couldn't we all do that with everything else? Would our lives be simpler and less stressful if we take each day as a chance to give and to set aside?

Granted, the holiday time is also difficult for many because there are people who won't be there to celebrate either because they are no longer with us or live to far away. But, people hurt year round emotionally for the same reason. Why focus on just the holidays? Would it hurt anyone if we did the same kind of outreach year round? Could we still be kind and compassionate all the other months of year and still hold Christmas time as a special time?

I am going to make a challenge to myself. Every month this coming year, I am going to give something unexpected to someone (or several people) as gifts (and not because they may/may not have a birthday that month either). Will keep everyone posted as each month rolls along (and yes, I expect you all to help me be accountable for this too!).

More to follow....

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Father knows best

This week has been full of ups and downs (emotionally) for me and today was no different.

In the last few days, I have learned of friends who are expecting and one that just had a miscarriage and the heart hurts for her because I know what that's like (as have others). I also have had a daily lesson from a little 2 yr old who shows what the simplicity of love is by saying two simple words... "Wove ohh" aka Love you. Which is said often and randomly throughout the day (along with impulsive, leg-grabbing hugs).

This morning I got another lesson from the Father that He does know best. A member of the church that we attend has a house that is literally right across the street from the church building. The house has been used by the church office but, since the building has been added on to (and will be moved into soon), Jeff and I found out that the owner of the house was wanting to put the house up for sale. We also knew that there was another couple interested in the house but only wanted to rent it (the husband was recently diagnosed with early onset of Alzheimer's). We thought we had a good chance of working something out and moving this coming summer from the rental that we are currently in. This morning, Jeff learned that the couple had convinced the house owner to rent to them anyway. Needless to say, I was disappointed. I was soo hoping to move into that house. It was perfect for us and we would have been able to get the rest of our stuff out of storage and put it to use. I was in tears and got onto myself mentally for getting my hopes set up on something that was concrete to begin with. I am glad that the couple will be so close to the church building and am sure that, as time goes on, the church will be able to help them with whatever needs that they will have.

I then had to just put on the breaks and pray. Who was I to know what was best for my family? I didn't have all the answers and I knew God did. I prayed for strength, guidance, and patience for what His will would be for us. He has always taken care of us (we are blessed to be living where we are now!) and always will as long as we continue to look to Him for everything. Then, I felt at peace. I knew that everything would be ok and that things would work out for our best in the end. It also helps when there's a good sounding board in the form of my hubby to see things in the best light as God would have us to do anyway. We weren't given this life to try and accumulate stuff but to live humbly and uprightly before God and men. Granted, it's not always easy to live life completely in faith but it's what God ask of us.

More to follow....

Monday, December 12, 2011

Late nights, sleeping in the living room and beating a bug

The last couple of days have been pretty difficult for our family.

Last Wednesday morning (0400 hours) J woke up crying and throwing up (which he only did once) and I am thankful that Jeff was willing to help clean J up and getting him settled back down for the night. Wednesday night, Jeff complained of his stomach hurting but didn't really think much about it. Thursday night (0800 hours) R and I started a 6 hour marathon between us of who could run to the bathroom the most (and manage to make it to the toilet in time - needless to say, I won that race). Finally, at 0300 hours on Friday, both of our stomachs decided to behave themselves (YEAH!) but we both ended up spending the night in the living room... R in the recliner and I on the couch (with Jeff holding R most of the time until he finally got to go to bed). We had thought that maybe the bug had just messed with Jeff but sadly, it hit him full force Friday night. Most of Saturday was spent with Jeff sleeping and me keeping the kids quiet so that way he could *much to some tears from J in "miss daddy!*

Needless to say, our diet (up to today) has consisted of juice, 7-up (for me), crackers, and peanut butter. R has been REALLY cuddly with Jeff for the last several days as well which Jeff has eaten up (J gets his time in with Jeff as well) and it's been a really good bonding time for all of us (even when we feel we are at our worst). Thankful that God gives us only what we can handle at a time (as in the case 24 hour time frames). :)

More to follow....

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Early mornings and making traditions

This morning did not start off the usual way. It started at about 4:15 AM.

First of all, we had a nice 2 inches of snow on the ground which was pretty exciting to see. Secondly, J was crying almost in a panic kinda way. He had done that before when he had a bad dream so, that's what we thought. Jeff decided to get up and settle him back down and was in J's room before he came back and said that he needed my help. J had thrown up in the projectile fashion so, Jeff cleaned J up and I tackled J's bed... Fun, fun! Once J was back down for the night, I told Jeff how grateful I was for his help. His automatic response was priceless.... "I gotta take care of ma boy". So blessed.

Later, we decided that we would start a new tradition. On the first snow (whether school is canceled or not) the kids would stay home from school so, this morning (unknown to R) we let her sleep in and wake up on her own. Her first two questions were as follows: "Can I go play in the snow?" After having breakfast, her question was "Can I get dressed for school?" I then asked her if she would rather play in the snow than go to school today. Her response was typical of any kid.... SNOW! She played in the snow by herself and then she and Jeff had a nice little snow ball fight and then she tried to make a snow angel. J slept in until 10 and hasn't had much energy today which may explain why Buddy (orange marmalade cat) was sitting on his lap (first time ever!) after supper.

Lots of memories made today and a few surprises and looking forward to whatever is next. :)

More to follow...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Little kisses

Yesterday, Jeff got a pleasant surprise. J gave him a little kiss!

They had been rough houseing a little bit and Jeff gives J a lot of kisses and it always gets him in a giggling fit. Then, J decided he needed to give Daddy a little kiss back (with all the sound effects to go with it).

I was happy about this and a little jealous. J has yet to give me one of those little kisses but, I do get a ton of hugs throughout the day so, I'm happy about it. :)

A little bit later, Jeff and R were able to get some one-on-one cuddle time (which R LOVES!). I was in the room and Jeff made a motion with his hands. In a nutshell, he was acknowledging that R had him wrapped around her little finger. Actually, I think this is true both ways. R adores Jeff and he adores her.

I know Donovan would have been happy about how things have worked out for our family (although I'm sure he would have liked be here instead). I didn't know until much later that Donovan had several middle names on his computer that K ran across it (several months after Donovan had died). I knew that he was excited about J coming but not sure to what extent.

More to follow.....

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


This year, we were able to go and visit with K and G for thanksgiving. It wasn't the initial plan but thankful that things turned out the way that the did.

The kids did pretty good on the drive down (even though they slept for about an hour - J DOES NOT travel very well yet) and they shared a room once at Mema and Poppa's house (with additional threats that if they didn't talk to each other, they wouldn't get into trouble).

Thursday was spent in eating lots of great food and also visiting with K's older brother Jay. Jay is currently in the hospital undergoing psych evaluation for beginning stages of dementia and possibly bi-polar disorder. K is responsible for his welfare and they are doing the best that they can in getting him the care that he will need. Right now, it's up in the air as to what that is yet so please keep the family in your prayers as they will have some tough decisions to make soon. Margie (G's mom) wasn't able to be with us this time as she is slowly going downhill mentally and not able to move around as easily as she used to. I went to see her with G on Friday. She knew who I was but still had no concept that Donovan was gone (even though G has told her several times that Donovan is dead). The visit was good and a bit awkward but, sometimes you just have to let people be content in their own world rather than face stark reality (especially at the stage that Margie is in).

Saturday morning/ afternoon, K put up the Christmas tree and the kids got to decorate it that afternoon. Jeff got into the festivities with bringing some holiday music out and hanging some decorations as well. The only difficult part was when R found an ornament that Donovan had made when he was about R's age. She asked G who's picture that was and then when she was told it was Donovan's, she became very quiet and downcast in looking at Donovan's picture. I'm not sure if she put that ornament up or not but the down time didn't last long. J was very much into the decorations and putting things up on the tree (just had to make sure that the one's he had weren't breakable - one ornament wasn't so lucky).

Sunday morning, we got to spend time with the church family. I met a lady who had lost her husband about 4 months ago and, even though she was fighting back tears of grief, she was still happy for us and that I had found love again. People couldn't believe how much taller J had grown and that R felt confident enough to read in Bible class for the first time (and yes, I was a proud Momma). Had a good lunch and then packing everything up. The hard part was leaving. K led us in a prayer just before we got in the car and got emotional and G broke down when giving me a good-bye hug. I know that they have a lot on their plate in taking care of Margie and Jay and that they miss the kids (and us) terribly so going back for Christmas will be good for everyone.

Hoping that everyone has a great holidays ahead and looking forward to the new year.

More to follow.....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hanging on to memories

Over the last few days, R has been talking about Donovan and how much she misses him. Tonight was a tough one to deal with.

I had just tucked her in for the night and I reminded her that Donovan's blanket had been sewn into the blanket that she sleeps with (which is a pretty big silk blanket) every night. She then asked me "When is Daddy coming back?" I told her that he wasn't. I asked her if she remembered when I took her to see where Donovan was buried and she said she did. I then told her that burying Donovan's body was it. The only time we will get to see Donovan again is when we get to heaven. She seemed to grasp that ok.

I then told her that Donovan's death was the reason why I married Jeff. I told her that I needed someone who was going to love me as much (if not more) than Donovan did and that Jeff felt the same way about me and about her and J. She grinned about this. Sometimes, it's sooo reassuring to know that someone loves you and will always be there for you..... No matter what. I know that it has got to be very tough for R to wrap her mind around everything. It's alot for adults to grasp and even harder for a 7 yr old to understand but, she doesn't focus and cry buckets about it like she used to. I don't know if she needs to just have a good cry again or not but, I do know that she hasn't woken up screaming in the sleep since we moved here and that she hasn't asked me to stay with her until she falls asleep either (except if it's storming outside). I also know that as she gets older and understands more that there will be more questions and I am thankful that she feels comfortable enough to talk to me about whatever is on her mind. I am also thankful for Jeff's steadfastness and understanding through it all as well.

I know that R is also trying to hang on to the memories that she has of Donovan and that she is also willing and able to make new one's (like both of the kids HAVING to get a last minute hug from Jeff before he left to go work at the prison and all three conveying their "I love you's!"). There may be some rough roads ahead but, God has always been there during the roughest times and He will be there still. I am blessed!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Becoming more of a family.

Last night, Jeff found himself to be more of a Dad than he had thought he was.

Usually, R keeps herself busy with whatever she's got going on in her own world. She will either be busy drawing, playing with J, or in her own imaginary world. At times, she will stop to "play" with Jeff and every once in a while, she'll cuddle with him. Last night was one of those times.

I had just given the kids a bath and R had complained about being cold so, I suggested she go and sit with daddy. She cuddled right into him and he kinda wrapped her up in one of J's blankets and it stayed that way for quite a while. Then, J (not wanting to be left out) decided he had to have some daddy time too but that quickly turned into a tickle fest with both kids (and Jeff being the tickler) until bed time.

Earlier, they had both gotten in trouble and both had gotten a swat on the behind from Jeff (they did a big no-no) and I think Jeff thought that R would still be mad at him for disciplining (that was the first time he had given her a swat) her. I pointed out that now both kids respected him as their dad and they love him for it. I know it's been a bit of a turmoil for R in that she's having to figure out how to put things in perspective. She had a dad that she still has good memories of and she also knows where he is buried but she also has a dad who loves and corrects her as he should and the bond between them gets stronger each day (just as the bond between J and Jeff). The kids have the stability they have needed for the last two and a half years and they're loving it.

Also, after Jeff and I had called it a night, J woke up crying. Jeff got up, rocked him until he had settled down and put him back in his bed (with their own ritual of course). These two events affected Jeff deeply in that he is now able to do some things that he had never been able to do before but had longed to. Simply to be a dad and he's doing a great job.

More to follow.....

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Stepping out in faith

Before I moved to Searcy, AR. I was asked by a lot of people if this was a good move for me. It was argued that I would be "giving up" a lot or "running away" from everything I knew. At that time (as is the case now), I had no doubt that moving here and getting married to Jeff would be the best thing for me.

Sure, I had it pretty easy (and good) back in TX. I had family close by. I had a great, loving congregation of people who were there for me at the darkest time of my life. I had a nice house to live in and I knew my children would be ok just where they were. All but one thing was lacking and Jeff was that one thing.

What a lot of people don't realize is that I gave up a lot to move to TX and get married to Donovan (back in '01). I lived in a nice place, had a good job and surrounded by a great group of Christians. I just felt a tad bit empty and Donovan filled that (and was supposed to be my forever - which only lasted 8 years).

Sometimes, God requires us to trust him completely. Even when times are tough, scary, and stressful. He doesn't ask any more from us than He did from His Son.

More to follow.....

Monday, November 7, 2011

Getting the kids to mind....

The past two months have been a learning experience for our family in that new boundaries are set and then reinforcing those.

Actually this all began when Jeff and I started dating much earlier. He had made a comment about wanting to say something to one of the kids (probably J)while we were dating but didn't want to step across my authority with the kids. We decided that he should start out slowly so that the kids could get used to his "tone" of discipline (rather than waiting until we were married).

As a result, Jeff just has to give "the look" or a sterner tone of voice to get the kids to obey. They also know that if they get in trouble with me, they're going to get it again with daddy. R has learned a lot from J in this aspect because, like most 2 yr olds, he likes to try and push his boundaries (especially with me) and they both know that daddy means business.

Funny story... J and R had been playing in J's room for about an hour while Jeff and I had an "in-home date night". Then R knocks on the door to the living room and telling us that J's crib is broken. Joy! Jeff assess the damage and (low and behold) the crib is broken and one of the spindles' tips is broken inside (where is should be able to come out). Jeff dismantles the crib and in comes the pack-n-play. The first night, J slept like a log. The 2nd night, he decided to get out of the pack-n-play and play. As soon as Jeff opened the door, J automatically put his hand back to "protect" his bottom. He knew he was going to get a spanking for getting out. J also only wants Daddy to put in him in bed for night-night time. They are also both learning not to argue with me. It has gotten so much easier for me when I know my teammate has my back (and I have his). To those that have had to raise their child(ren) on their own, my hat goes off to you.

More to follow....

Sunday, November 6, 2011

New last name = new title for blog

First of all, I want to say thank you to those of you who gave inputs about the title of my blog.

I have decided to change the title to "From Widowed to Wed."

Hope everyone has a great week ahead!

More to follow......

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Question for everyone

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been debating on whether or not to change the title of the blog. The reason is simple. I am no longer a widow. Yes, I still have painful times and challenges that will eventually come up (either with me or with the children). Yes, Donovan will always be a part of my life in some way. He gave me two wonderful children who are being lead by a great man (and myself).

So, the question remains. Do I change the title or not and if so, what do I change it to? Any and all suggestions, comments, idea are welcome!

More to follow.....

Sunday, October 23, 2011


The past is never dead, it is not even past. ~William Faulkner

The above statement became very true to me this afternoon.

Over the past few days, Jeff has slowly been getting his stuff out of his old house and (whatever can be) moved into our house. As a result, there has been additional room made so that we can both store DVD's, CD's, etc and put into bookshelves.

We also have had a corner of boxes that were moved and emptied. One of these boxes had "Family video's and DVD's" written on it. Little did I know how big a flood of memories would come about when I unpacked that box. It had homemade video's of R when she was growing up (in her first year of life) which always brings a smile to my face. It also had a disc video of my grandmother (3 months before she passed) and her getting to see and visit with R. The box also had Donovan and I's wedding video and pictures/ video's of our first year of marriage and a CD's that Donovan had made for me while we were dating (with it's original artwork on the front of the jewel case).

I had packed those items twice before but never really looked at the cases because it was just to painful to even think about and I knew during those packing times that I couldn't emotionally handle it then. I still can't now. I didn't think I'd start gut-wrenching tears again, but I did. Even though it's been almost three years now and a lot has changed since then.

Thankfully, Jeff saw those tears and kissed/ wiped them away. As if on cue, Buddy (Jeff's marmalade cat) decided he needed to intervene as well and promptly put himself in between me and the cases that I had in my hands and started purring and wanting attention. Jeff put the cases back in the box that they came from and said "Let him (Buddy) love on you for a while. You don't need to deal with this (the video's) right now." And he was right. There is a time for everything and things aren't usually on our time frame anyway.

I have loved, and lost and then loved again and so blessed because a man loves me for who I am and understands me better then I do myself (sometimes). :) Thank you Lord, for great blessings!

More to follow......

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tough to hear

This morning, Jeff and I went to R's school to talk to the speech therapist, her teacher, and the assistant principal about R's stuttering problem and the test results that the therapist found.

R has been stuttering since she was 2 or 3 and it never stopped but only got worse as she has gotten older. Most children go through a stuttering phase at around age two and then grow out of it by around age four. When this doesn't happen, the brain's neurological pathway for speech is diverted another way so that she can get her sentences out but it's delayed (hence the stuttering).

The test results for R proved that she needs speech therapy and will be getting therapy 60 minutes a week for 90 weeks (for starters). The challenge is to help her slow down (and retrain) her brain so that her speech flows like it should. She will also be talking to the school counselor (just to talk about whatever) because it's hard to tell if her attention (or lack of it) is due to emotional turmoil (still dealing with Donovan's death, changes in family dynamics, etc), or possibly ADD, or just having a frustrating time of trying to get out what she wants to say. R is having a hard time in comprehending what's being required of her and staying focused to the task at hand but, everyone agreed that the speech therapy is a must and we will see where we stand at a later date.

This was all kinda hard for me to hear. It's not easy for a parent to be told by someone that there's something wrong with your child (whatever the case may be) and (as a parent) we want to protect and shield our child as best we can from any difficulties or pain. I told Jeff that (in the back of my mind) I wondered if there was something I could have done so that R wouldn't have such a difficulty now (knowing full well that this is something out of my control). I do know that this is all in God's hands and in good hands of a school that truly cares about the educational welfare of their students. R is also a very tough little girl and she has a willingness to try her best. She enjoys going to school and she has a group of friends (and one "BFF" that lives across the street from us). Last year, she would cry on her way to school because she didn't want to go (and this was throughout the school year). She didn't want to read or do much of anything school related. This year, she enjoys telling us what she has learned that day (or the day before) and has a big grin when she goes to school in the mornings.

More to follow....

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The sweater

Last night, Jeff got all of his winter cloths from storage and brought them home (since the high today is 58 degrees). He brought out three really heavy sweaters. One of them looked just like a sweater that Donovan wore when it got really cold. I couldn't say much at first because the reaction to a sweater caught me by surprise.

After we got the kids down for the night (about 30 min later), I told Jeff about the sweater and the tears came. In my mind, I could still "see" Donovan throwing snowballs at me in that sweater. Jeff's instant reaction was priceless (and one of the reasons I love him so much). He said "Guess I won't be wearing this sweater again". My reaction was that this was something that I was going to have to work through and deal with. Jeff (in essence) disagreed. Won't be seeing that sweater again.

I have moved forward with the life I've been given and so blessed to have Jeff a part of that life and thankful that he understands that Donovan has a special place. Thankful to God for the life that I have been given.

More to follow.....

Monday, October 17, 2011

Getting adjusted

Marriage in and of itself is always an adjustment (at whatever stage you are in your life). Ours is no different. :)

For the first couple of weeks, it was a major adjustment getting used to sleeping next to someone who wasn't 7 years old and didn't kick... Which was a very nice change by the way but the downside was that Jeff had to be up at 4AM (Monday - Thursday) and work 10 hour shifts. Not only was this a bit tough for Jeff and I but it was also difficult for R and J. Both of them were still unsettled from being moved to a new house, new school, new state, etc... and then having to get used to seeing someone (other than myself) every day and confused because he wasn't always there first thing in the morning.

That all changed two weeks ago. Up to that point, we had talked and prayed about Jeff eventually going full time in working with the jail and prison ministry. Initially, we thought that Jeff could still work at Road Systems and on the weekends, we could go out and raise some more support so that he could get away from Road Systems altogether. One Sunday morning, we got a rude awaking. Jeff couldn't be up for any longer than a few minutes. His back had finally given out form all the stress and strain of using jack hammers, and other heavy equipment in restoring trailer beds for 18 wheeler trucks. The doctors orders were simple. No going back into the trailers. What's kinda funny is that Jeff had put in his two week notice the Thursday before his back went out. All I can say is God can definitely have a way of letting you know what the right course of action should be sometimes.

Now, (besides going to the MD every week and sometimes several days a week) things are much calmer. Alarm goes off at 6:30 (R is usually up by then), J wakes up (sometimes around 7, sometimes earlier) and we have breakfast. R is more settled and doesn't ask for me to stay with her before she falls asleep anymore. J is at the age of challenging where his boundaries are and has learned very quickly not to mess around with Daddy. One look from Jeff and J scrambles back to what (or where) he's supposed to be. He's also latched on to Jeff more in the last couple of days than previously. He wants Daddy to play or just to give Jeff a hug. Of course, Jeff's being home more has helped me a lot as well. It's given us more time together (not only as a couple but as a family). My hat goes off to those how are a one parent family. It's very difficult to try and raise children with just your own set of eyes, ears, and hands. It's much easier when there's two and you work as a team (and the kids know it!).

So blessed!

More to follow....

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The wedding!

Moving from TX to AR - expensive. Moving into a rental home - a weeks worth of very little sleep. Getting married to a wonderful Christian man - priceless!

From the day that we had decided to move the wedding up to Sept. 10th to our actual wedding day, gave me about 2 weeks to get everything done. Was I in a panic? Not a chance! Why? Because Jeff did just about everything (including setting up the tables and chairs for the meal before the ceremony). My job was to get the food coordinated, get the kids taken care of, and get whatever needed to be done, done. Simple!

Jeff's roommate decided to grill some tri tips, people signed up to be side dishes and we even got an oriental plate of meat and deserts. The whole meal in and of itself went very well. Everyone got as much food as they could handle and the gathering was small (which is exactly what Jeff and I wanted).

The ceremony itself was very special (even it it was mostly a blur) and I think it may have brought a few tears to those who were there. The reception (which is going to be on the 15th of this month) is going to be great and special as well.

I am so thankful to Jeff in everything that he does (and did) for me and for the children. There are two things that stand out on our day. One was that K and G drove up from Garland and kept the kids that night (even if they didn't get much sleep). BIG kudos's for that! Also that as soon as the preacher had introduced us as husband and wife, James ran straight to Jeff yelling "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" James may be only two but, he's a smart cookie. He understood what was going on. Especially considering that he had never had a reason to say the word Daddy up to that point.

More to follow......

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Decisions, heartache, and renewal

Every relationship has hurdles to get over and ours was no different. Initially, Jeff and I had agreed to maybe get married in October (which is now the date that our reception is *and everyone is welcome to as well*) but that all changed due to one of Jeff's "friends".

This "friend" was concerned for Jeff and he thought he was "saving" Jeff from (or even me) from rushing our relationship. The "friend" said some biting/attacking remarks to Jeff's roommate who then told Jeff. Needless to say, Jeff was furious and torn up about the whole thing. What hurt me (besides the fact that the "friend" attacked me and my family) the most was that it was tearing Jeff up and what hurt him, hurt me. You know how you don't get inbetween a momma bear and her cub. Well, anyone who messes with either one of us is bound to get retaliation from the other.

We knew we wanted a small, simple wedding and we also realized that it was getting more difficult for both of us to be apart when living in the same town (and literally down the road from each other). It was also a bit unsettling for the children because they were both asking where Jeff was every morning. So we decided to move the wedding up to Sept 10th and had a potluck dinner before the ceremony.

The "friend" was at the wedding and he tried to smooth things over with Jeff so all is well. Granted, he will talk to Jeff (or even the kids) at the church building but never say anything to me. But, that's ok. I don't have any hard feeling towards him and I know God will take care of everything in His time and in His own way. The important thing is that we are now a family and getting adjusted to that. In many ways, the "friend" helped us more than anything in that our love and appreciation for the other is even stronger than it was when we were dating. :)

I know that challenges will come up down the road but, I also know that our love and commitment to each other is strong and that our love for God and his will can get us through anything.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The move!

The last solid posting that I have on here talked about getting a house for the children and I to move into here in Searcy. Now to fill in the gaps of that move.

There is a saying that a man will do whatever it takes to be with the woman he loves and Jeff proved that in just getting us here!

We managed to find a rental house to move into (and in a college town, that is NO easy feat!). I got the kids back to Garland late on Monday Aug.1st. Had two days to load up dishes and bedding before heading back up to Searcy on the 4th. Needless to say, all the traveling was starting to take a toll on R and J (especially J who doesn't travel very well). Got to hear Jeff and First Day sing in Mountain Home (which is a two hour drive from Searcy) on the 7th and then head back to TX and start boxing everything I could on the 8th - 14th.

Jeff drove down on the 13th to help box and then load the truck up (which was the biggest we could get and we still couldn't get everything in). The 13th ended up being a very, very long day for Jeff and I and we couldn't have gotten half of everything done without the help of K and G (who took the kids) and Steve and Jackie Meadows. Jeff finally closed the door on the truck at 3:30 AM on the 14th and we took some time to go over to K and G's house, Jeff got to shower and we both got something to eat. Both of the kids were also up (they may have cat-napped for a bit) at 4AM and then we headed out of TX and to our "new" home (at least for me, R, and J).

Jeff drove the truck ahead of me and I drove my car (kids in tow) and loaded down in the back for the 6 hr drive. I'm thankful neither one of the kids were very fussy but it was very difficult for me (and I'm sure for Jeff as well). It's one thing to pull an all-nighter when you're in college. It's something completely different when you are much older. I finally had to call Jeff and ask him to pull over somewhere before I either hit a guardrail or someone else in route. Jeff found a big empty parking lot and I took a 20 min. nap in the cab of the UHaul while Jeff played with the children. After the nap, I was good to go. Jeff never rested.

We managed to get to the house late in the evening on Saturday and then the kids and I crashed (J in a pack-n-play and R and I on inflatable beds). Started unloading the truck sometime Sunday afternoon and got the beds up. Jeff has to go over to the prison every Sunday night so that the inmates can have a service and Bible study (which is open to everyone) and then have to turn around and get up at 4AM to to go work (for 10 hours) on Monday. Needless to say, we had the truck all week because of time constraints on Jeff and my lack of ability to lift heavy boxes but, we finally got the truck turned in and (thanks to a good friend) the trailer for Jeff's car turned in much earlier.

I am soo thankful for Jeff's willingness to do whatever it took to get us to our new home (and everything he continues to do even now for the betterment of the family).

More to follow.....

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Getting caught up (again).

Greetings from the land of AR! I haven't been in front of a computer for almost 2 months (and yes I'm still breathing) but, A LOT has happened since then.

I've had a lot of event's, turmoil, and thoughts going through my head and about to go nuts if I didn't get it all down somehow so, please bear with me over the next couple of days as I slowly get all of this stuff out.

For the moment, I am one tired momma. J was up TWICE last night so sleep has become mandatory (and for those of you that are parents, you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about). Until then, prayers are that everyone has a great rest of your night.

More to follow....

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

And the "fun" begins!

This last weekend, the children and I went back up to Searcy and, as you could probably guess, it was very, very busy...

Arrival time: Thursday evening.... Had enough time to have some dinner with Jeff, get the car unloaded and kids bathed and ready for an early bed time.

Friday morning started off with looking at two houses to rent and move into asap (one of which we now have a lease on.... Yippie!). Also started the pre-marital counseling sessions with a great guy (Sam) and meeting up with an old friend from Freed (and thank you Jenni for taking the kids for a while so we can get some stuff and "us" time in as well). Sam also suggested that Jeff and I read Stinnett's and Beam's book of "Fantastic Families: 6 proven steps to building a strong family. We managed to find one a local book shop (and some great coffee to boot!) but I still have to get one. Next session will be this coming weekend so, guess who's going to be on the road again (hint: It's NOT Jeff). R and J also had fun.... Jenni has a 3 yr old and a 14 month old daughters and they got to make cupcakes (talk about an ecstatic R!) I've also learned that Jeff knows A LOT of people. Almost everywhere we go, he runs into someone that he's good friends with. He even had one guy yelling at him to call him across a parking lot... (learned later it was a friend from church and we got invited out to lunch after services Sunday morning).

Saturday we just took it easy. The kids and I took at whopping 5 hour nap in the afternoon (shock!) We've also learned that J like to instigate games with his sister. Case in point: J grabbing R's favorite blanket (which she sleeps with nightly - and very special because it has Donovan's old blanket sewn in as a filling to the outer shell) and proclaiming "My blanky!". This promotes R to have a mock tug-of-war to keep said "blanky" from little bro (and lots of laughs from both in the process).

Sunday was started off with services in the morning then bible class (which is always full of discussion). Then off to lunch at a friend's house. The couple have 3 boys plus two more boys from Indonesia who will be staying with them through the school year (how Michelle does it? Hats off!). We also went and looked at one more house (which unfortunately was overrun by baby cockroaches - shudder!). Needless to say, the kids had a blast and have no trouble eating homemade spaghetti at their own table (kuddo's to J for staying put and eating a plate full plus some extra on the shirt). Then straight to worship and singing night. This, of course, was J's favorite. He had his songbook out and singing at the top of his lungs (even in-between those leading the singing). Needless to say, I didn't have any problem getting the kids down for the night.... A great day!

Monday morning was busy as well. Meet with the landlord and now we have a home to start moving into (joy!). So now the fun part begins of starting to move things from TX to AR. The only concern R had was that Chloe was coming too (and everything in her room of course). She asked me later if she could just stay somewhere while I go back and forth over the next several weeks. Granted, it's going to be tough (moving never is easy) but, Lord willing, we'll be a complete family by Sept.

More to follow....


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Proposal! :)

The above picture says it all. :) Now, for the details (which Jeff didn't go into).

The children and I arrived in Searcy this last Thursday evening and got to grab something to eat with Jeff before he had a meeting to go to at 7.

Friday, Jeff told me that SOMETHING was going to happen this weekend but wouldn't say what (even though we went to several places that had wedding rings). The places that we went to all said the same thing... No size 4's and "we'd have to ship it out and get it sized and send it back to you". Friday afternoon, got the kids down for a nap and Jeff said he had some errands to run.

So, my thought was, Ok... So much for THAT idea and just focused on enjoying our time together (even though I was a bit bummed)... Ha! Went to a friend's wedding Saturday afternoon (which R was elated because there were TWO cakes! and J did really good in not making a mess - so proud of them). Had just enough time to go back to the motel, get the kids changed, me changed and then head to Highway Church of Christ to go to their VBS kickoff (complete with cookout, games, and First Day singing - Jeff sings with these guys). Got to see some ol' friends from CRC (Crowley's Ridge Jr. College) days. Devin Swindle (who now preaches at Highway) and Tracy Davis Miesner (and Adrian and kiddo's).

Got to the rest of the guys (and still trying to figure out where I know the sound guy from). I had met the main lead (Matt) and his wife (Carolyn - is also 7 months preggers and also a cohort in Jeff's scheme for the evening) the last time that we went up to Searcy. She had asked me to sit with her and that she had to sit kinda close so that she could do some stuff for the group and take pictures. I learned later from Jeff that her "main job" was to get me up closer to the stage and in the isle so that way Jeff wouldn't have to go over people to get to me. Also, I knew this concert was special because it was a tribute to Devin (who started the group to begin with). So, thank you Devin for giving up a bit of your spotlight with us! (He and Carolyn were the only ones in the group that knew what was going on).

The group sang a few songs and I was busy grinning at Jeff and trying to keep J from going up on stage to be with Jeff (J was content to either be "singing" along with the group *using a pencil as a mic* or using two pencils as a drumming sticks and keeping up with the guys).

The surprise came when the guys were introducing themselves. Jeff was the last one (I learned later he did this on purpose) and he got off the stage and was walking to where the children and I were sitting. First thought was... "Uh Oh!" "Oh boy!" Oh Dear!". First he introduced who I was and then promptly got down on one knee and proposed. Needless to say, I was ecstatic! Somehow, I manged to get an "I love you" and a "Yes!" out and thankfully Matt heard it through the mic (thanks to those little ear pieces that let the guys hear each other sing) and he kinda hollered "She said yes!" Jeff started to put the ring on my left hand but ended up putting on my right (and it almost didn't go on!) but, switched it later (once I realized the oppsss). The guys went back to singing and got Devin up to sing some "final" songs as well. Brought back some good memories of hearing him, Travis Eades, Jason Elms, and Rusty McMillion.

As for the kids, J is pretty much clueless. He just wants to be around Jeff as soon as he walks into the room! Case in point: Jeff goes to the Jail and helps/does the services for the inmates on Sunday night (which makes it pretty late when he gets out). I had just gotten the kids down (or tried to) when Jeff came up to say good-night to me and the kids. Jeff went over to J in his pack-n-play to give him a hug and kiss good-night and then went over to do the same for R. Well, J would have none of that. He climbed out of his pack-n-play and ran over to Jeff demanding more attention than just a hug and kiss good night. R is the same way. She got as close as she could and telling Jeff (don't kiss me! Don't kiss me!) all while showing her cheek and staying as close as she could to Jeff.

Jeff told me later that he knew he wanted to propose either at the concert or in Bible Class Sunday morning..... I'm glad he did it at the concert! :)

More to follow!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Small Words

Over the past several months, J has expounded in his vocabulary. Today was the beginning of the words "I want".

All of us start out needing the basics... food, water, love, protection, etc. The question is, when are we no longer satisfied with just the basics? When do we go from "I need" to "I want"? Granted, some children don't even receive these basic's (and I know that just from experience and seeing first hand growing up) which shouldn't even be an issue but continues to be one in this country (as well as the rest of the world. But, when we get start getting it in our heads that we are entitled to something?

I remember J (and R as well) being perfectly content with just the basic's. Do we teach our children (and others) that we are entitled to things and so should they? There is a song in the musical "South Pacific" that caused quite a stir up when it was released called, "You have to be carefully taught". That song hit me when J started the "I want" phase. Granted, I'm thankful that he's able to verbalize something that he wants to do (ie: swing in this instance) so now the challenge comes of teaching him the difference between "I would like... This" and "I need... This" and then being thankful for the things received.

How many times are we guilty of not being thankful to God for the blessing that He gives us? All our "I want's"?? All our "I need's"??

Thoughts, comments, suggestions???

More to follow.....

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Passing the baton

This last weekend was a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me. While it was wonderful to have Jeff back in town, it was also a bit tough.

Friday, in and of itself was great just to kinda relax. R even got to help make (from scratch) some chocolate icing for a chocolate bunt cake that we made (also from scratch) on Saturday.

Saturday was the challenge. I had known for quite a while that I wanted to show Jeff where Donovan was buried. Initially, I had wanted to take him and it just be the two of us but that's kinda hard to do when I have the children 24/7.

I had asked R if she wanted to go and see where Daddy was buried and if it would be ok for Jeff to see (which she agreed to). We took the kids to a splash park and they had a blast. On the way back, I asked R again if it would be ok to go and see where Donovan was buried and this time she said no. I asked her if it would be ok for Jeff and I to go and she could stay in the car (running of course) with J. She was ok with that.

Both of the kids had crashed in their seats when we got to the cemetery so we got out and let them sleep with air conditioning. As soon as I stepped onto the grass, the tears came. I was not expecting this! I knew that there would probably be times down the road that I would miss Donovan and I also knew (as Jeff did) that I wasn't looking for someone to "fill" Donovan's shoes (so to speak). In many ways, Jeff has already meant so much to me and the children. We stood by Donovan's grave and it felt like he had died eons ago, rather than in Dec. '08. I also showed Jeff a grave marker that was done about a week or so after Donovan had died. It is a burial plot for a whole family who (I'm guessing) were killed in a car wreck. A mother, father, and two children.... Gone in an instant. Each time that I had gone to Donovan's grave, I would see that marker and be reminded of how blessed and thankful I should be. I lost my husband at a very difficult time but I know where he is now. Another family lost much more and who knows about eternity.

One we got back to the house, I had a lot of heaviness but I also had someone to hold on to and cry with and a God who helps more than (many times) we give Him credit for. After a while, the heaviness left and we were able to make an awesome supper and a nice chocolate bunt cake (which R and a neighbor hood friend got a sugar rush from) so the day ended well.

It was also great just to sit next to Jeff during worship. Sometimes, you forget how good you had it or how much little things mean until you suddenly don't have that anymore. Yes, it's challenge to try and keep a certain 2 yr old from talking (or singing) at the most inopportune moments (which little ones seem to capitalize on) but it's soo important to have someone that prays with you, sings with you and studies God's word with you during worship. Thank you for being the man you are Jeff!

More to follow....

Monday, July 11, 2011

The trip up to Searcy...

This last weekend, the children and I went to Searcy to spend some time with Jeff Henig.

We left on Thursday morning/afternoon and drove about 5 1/2 hours up. I had made a reservation through a discount site and got a good deal on a room only to be very disappointed upon arrival. Much to my amazement, the motel staff had no clue that we were going to be checking in that day. All the rooms were for smoking, and the pool that they had wasn't working.

The pool aspect was a disappointment in that I used that swimming experience in order to get the kids good and tired so that they would both go down for a nap in the afternoons and also just before night-night time (which works great by the way).

In all my "wisdom" I asked Jeff (since he was about to leave his house) if he had a few candles to burn in the room to knock the smell of smoking out (and please, don't get offended about this if you do smoke). The room we were given was in the back of the building (which didn't look like a very safe place to be) and as soon as I walked into the room, I almost gagged. The room reeked of cigarette smoke (imagine someone sitting around and puffing around 9 packs a day kinda smell). Not a very healthy place for a 2 yr old and a 7 yr old to be sleeping in (not to mention a very tired momma).

Thankfully, there was another motel chain right across the street (I hadn't bothered turning the car off and letting the kids out before hand and I'm glad I did) so, I checked to see if they had a room available (all while fighting back tears of tiredness and frustration). While I was in the process of finding out if there was a room available, Jeff came in with a calm (but kinda concerned) look on his face. Talk about a calm in the storm! He was that for me! Managed to get a room and then had to go back to the other place and try to cancel that reservation (which I had to call another office since this particular one didn't have a clue that I even existed) and then unload children and stuff in the nice, neat, clean room. Needless to say, I won't be looking to book at the America's Best Value Inn and Suites ever again! I also learned that the motel that we stayed out often gets customers from the said Inn quite often.... *huge note of sarcasm* I wonder why??

After all that, we managed to just hang out and relax a bit on Friday (and meet some new friends who also happened to have a 4 month old baby girl - R was delighted with this) and then have a cookout on Saturday.

Sunday morning was a TOTALLY different ball game. Jeff was to preach for a small congregation in a town not very far from Bald Knob (and no, I don't know the town... Only that it's among some very winding roads with an occasional gravel road). He said that we had to be on the road by 8am... Sharp! No problem there (wonders of wonders). We actually got there a full hour BEFORE Bible Class was supposed to start so me (in all my "wisdom" once again), suggested we may want to ride around a bit instead of either having two very hot and sweaty children (if they got out) or cranky (for having to sit in a car for an hour). This idea was all well, fine and good.... Until we started heading back to the church building. Long story short, we made a few wrong turns and ended up being about 20 or 30 minutes late for Bible class (which Jeff was teaching). Needless to say, we both learned a few things that morning... One, Jeff is not allowed to trust his own memory on winding *sometimes graveled* roads and two, not to get tooo flustered about being stuck behind "Sunday drivers" on said roads when you are running late. Thankfully, the members didn't seem to mind to much and had a chance to give Jeff a hard time later (all in good humor I might add).

So, even though the weekend started off a bit disappointing and hectic, it ended on a good note (with lots of laughs and lessons along the way). Coulda, woulda, shoulda can't change the present so why get your feathers all in a ruffle (which Jeff didn't by the way)? All any of us can do is make the best of things, apologize when we need too and learn to do better for the next time we have a "coulda" moment.

More to follow....

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

July 4th weekend

Each weekend, especially lately, I look forward to because it also means spending time with Jeff and a chance for the rest of the family to get to know him a little bit better each time.

This last weekend was a memorable one for several different reasons. One was that I learned that he can REALLY cook! He fixed a kinda spaghetti casserole which had your typical (and not so typical) sauce but, instead of spaghetti noodles, we had shells instead.... YUMMY! We also had K and G over to help us eat it all (even though I still had two Tupperware containers full afterwards). We also got a very small (top of the table) grill so R and J REALLY enjoyed being able to "help" with that... Only downside was that we ran out of time in getting to make smores so, this coming weekend, maybe we can *praying that the chocolate doesn't melt on the drive up to Searcy*.

Drove over to the Gaylord Texan for the fireworks display (which was totally worth the drive over) and amazed that J stayed up the whole drive back!

On Tuesday, J decided to ring the holiday out the right way with his own little "confetti" celebration.... Complete with R's glitter (5 bottles to be exact) and a nice kitchen floor to dump it all out on himself and any surface available. Needless to say, I now have a sparkling floor from one end of the house to the other.... Nothing like celebrating the "correct" way.

Hope everyone had a fun and safe 4th!

More to follow.....

Monday, June 27, 2011

Another loss

This last Sunday afternoon, I got a phone call from K and G. They told me that Everett (Donovan's grandfather, Ken's dad) passed away in his sleep. He would have been turning 98 on July 10th.

Everett had had episodes before of falls/mentally unstable before and had always rebounded rather quickly. On the 19th, K had gotten a call from his sister that Everett had fallen but also had some blockage in his intestines which made the mental problems more pronounced. That Sunday night, K had kinda pulled me aside at church to see what I thought. He also told me that Everett had asked for him (Ken) *major red flag* but, the family went ahead with the plan to wait until Everett's b-day (when everyone was planing to go and see him anyway). The funeral will be tomorrow....

Sometimes, older folks will have some time (or moments) of crystal clarity in their thinking and make request. Case in point, when I was living in Knoxville, TN., I had the honor of working on a locked unit of a Geri/Psych ward. I wore many hats on that floor and one of them was for Social Worker Assistant and I did one-on-one time with patients who didn't go to group that day. It was kinda late in the day and I went to see a dear, sweet lady and see what she was thinking about. She looked at me with such clear eyes (not a dazed or confused or blank look) and asked me "Am I going to be getting any better?" I told her that she would probably be released to go back home either tomorrow or the next day. It all depended on how she did and what the Dr thought. She seemed happy about that and then got really sad and asked me "But I'm not going to be getting COMPLETELY better, am I?" All I could do was smile, give her little shoulder a rub and say "We'll see". She died in her sleep that night. Needless to say, the whole staff was shaken the next day.

Too many times, the older generation that lived through war, the depression, etc get overlooked and written off. Many times, all they want is compassion, empathy, and a little time to share their memories and knowledge. If you have grandparents/ parents who are suffering from any kind of mental/emotionally problems, please give them that little bit of time that they want and deserve because you may not have that time tomorrow.

More to follow....

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Another suprise

This last Sunday night, I got a pleasant surprise.

For the first time in 7 years, R got to spend the night with K and G! Over the last couple of years especially, R and I both have asked them if R could spend the night at the grandparents but were always given some sort of excuse. Needless to say, R was ecstatic!

It was a little weird not having her at home (even though she has spent the night at several friend's houses' the last few years) but, I was happy she finally got a chance. What's sad is the lost amount of time to get to this point with K and G! I guess it took a BIG wake up call for them to finally quite giving excuses and take advantage of the time that they have!

So, those of you who are grandparents (or have family members with children), please don't pass up amazing memories with children before it's almost too late!

More to follow....

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Another status change

Over the past month or so, I had a friendship that took things to a whole
different level for me, R and J. All thanks to EHarmony. This last Wed.,
he decided to take things up a notch by making our relationship public on

I had vaguely known Jeff back at Freed. He was graduating the year I
started at Freed as a Sophomore and was in the "rival chorus" on campus
(HUGE note of sarcasm here).

I had been a member of EHarmony since Jan of this year and had "talked" to a
few guys (after we went through the questionnaire thing). Jeff didn't even
bother with that stuff once he discovered that we both went to Freed
*thinking It's a small world theme song* and started off with a question to
verify that I had been there. Admittedly, I had to look him up in the year
book.... We discovered that we had a lot more similar interest that just
that we had been at the same college. He is into Jail/Prison ministry and
wants to do that full time (once he gets congregations to support him), he's
in a singing group and has about 30 or so concerts each year, and he works
full time for a company that refurbishes tractor trailers.

The kicker for me was an email that he sent which included these words...
"If I come down to see you" (and yes, he lives in Searcy). Just a side
note but, have you ever really understood how power a single word can be?
Just sayin'... :) Anywho, my only response was that one little powerful
word but with a question mark... "If??"
Needless to say, he has driven 5.5 hours down here to see me for the last 3
weekends and some of you got to see him (abet a bit briefly) this morning
before he had to head back to Searcy to preach at the Jail tonight.

More to follow....

Monday, June 6, 2011

Another hurdle

Another hurdle has been cleared as of this last Saturday and no, this wasn't one that I had to clear.

Over the last two years, K and G didn't go on the Back to the Bible Campaign which is conducted by the Northwest congregation in Lawton, Ok. In '09, it was conducted in Lawton and I took the kids and went door knocking with everyone. Emotionally, it was very difficult. Not just for me but also for the people at Northwest.

K and G lived there for several years while Donovan was about Rebecca's age. So it was difficult for the Northwest folks as it had been for me. This year, the campaign is being done at Amarillo, Tx and K and G decided to go but it wasn't an easy decision. As K put it, "If G doesn't go this year, she probably won't ever go again". They're tie with Northwest is strong in that they had gone every year since Northwest started doing campaigns so, yes... This was HUGE for them.

They called me Saturday night (or rather G did) and she sounded a little tearful but happy at the same time. I was really close to going as well but, it was a HUGE blessing for me that I didn't... :)

More to follow....

Monday, May 30, 2011

The empty chair

Last night, I got to watch a little bit of the National Memorial Day Concert put out by PBS and considering today is National Memorial Day, the pain of loss crept in just a little bit.

On Facebook, I have seen lots of thanks going out to our military and their family and to remember those who gave their lives for the sake of our nations freedom. One status that I saw went something along the lines of ..."while enjoying your time with your family, remember that there are those who have an empty chair". That spoke volumes to me.

Granted, we (as people) need to remember our fallen soldiers and their families. We also need to keep in mind those countless others that have lost loved ones (whether it was an expected loss or not). Yesterday, there was a birth of a little girl who now has a very proud uncle and there was also a family who lost a mother/wife/daughter and who was also very influential to a lot of college kids at Freed. Rather ironic isn't it?

More to follow....

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"Dad's Day"

This morning, R saw an advertisement for Father's Day on TV. She then asked me if we were going to celebrate "Dad's day" to which I replied that we were and make it extra special for Papaw (Donovan's dad). She liked this idea and proceeded to get all excited about what she would get for Daddy and for Papaw. I simply smile and tend to the task at hand which is getting her ready for school and getting J fed.

The problem is, it brings back a painful reminder that Donovan will be missing another Father's Day with his children. He was sooo looking forward to J's arrival and had been coming up with middle names for J.... Names I didn't know about until several months later when K got on Donovan's computer. R and Donovan were getting very close too in Donovan's sharing his love of records and music with R.

Yes, it's very easy to slip into the questions that won't have any answers and it's ok to ask. The thing is not to get bogged down with the why's and change it to why not. Why not make things as easy and as fun as possible? Granted, it can be a struggle sometimes but, if I can be honest with myself and say, at the end of the day, "This was a good day and the next will be even better", it makes everything worthwhile. I know that God has something special for us down the road and that as long as we keep striving to follow His Word and His Will, it will all work out for the best (in spite of tears along the way).

My dad always tells me, at the end of each phone conversation to keep on keeping on and that what I intend to do. I owe that to God, Donovan, my children, and myself.

More to follow....

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Case closed

About 2 months ago, we got Chloe which has been a blessing except for one thing that we discovered (much to my surprise).

Chloe is a HUGE fan of climbing/jumping over the little white picket fence that's in the back yard (or darting out the front door if it's opened by anybody). This probably wouldn't be that big of a deal if there was someone besides me taking care of the kids and a dog but, Chloe is very fast and she's still learning the rules of the house (baby steps). Chloe also is very smart and knew when to get over the fence when the kids had me tending to them. So, I'd have to stop was I was doing, make sure J couldn't get into something (or get out himself) and go hunt down Chloe.

Last week, I finally decided to get an invisible fence (which does not give a shock if she gets too close - but rather like a message pull to the muscles). After a few days and understanding a very key word (HOT), she no longer gets out which means I can get back to being a full time mom. Much to my (and R's) relief. Case closed! :)

More to follow.....

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Still tears

Today is generally supposed to be a joyful, happy day but this morning, it was every thing but that.

There's an old saying that goes something like this: Three strikes and your out. This morning, I got my three strikes and I was out emotionally speaking. First up, it's Mother's day and I wouldn't have been a mom to two great children if it weren't for Donovan. Second strike was that K and Donovan always served on the Lord's table at the same time. Today, K was up in front and sitting with the other men who were going to serve. Third strike was when the song leader lead everyone in a song that was sung at Donovan's funeral.

Needless to say, I didn't get through the song but had to walk out in tears. There were some good out of this tho. First was that both of my children were good to stay with G and not run out (even though it would have been very easy for them to do so). Second was that I had a good shoulder to cry into and ladies that understood. Lastly, the tears didn't hurt as much as they had in the past. It didn't make me go down on my knees but it still hurt and sobbing but it wasn't as bad this time.

I know that no one will be able to take Donovan's place and that there will always be a part of me that will never be the same but, with God's strength, time, and wonderful friends and family to lean on.... There's always going to be sunshine down the road that we call grief.

More to follow....

Friday, May 6, 2011

A challenge of stitiches

Have you ever found yourself saying - Ok Lord, please help me get through today (or rather the next hour)??

I have done that constantly this week in dealing with J and his stitches in both hands. It may not be that big of a deal but, to try and keep a 2 yr old from either getting his hands infected somehow or busting the stitches on this thumbs is hard work. Like most 2 yr olds, J is very inquisitive and very hands on with everything (and doing it all with gusto too). The problem is that I've had to keep him in most of the time (instead of him doing what he loves - playing in the dirt) and limiting what he can do (either by painful experience or just common sense). He gave a hi-five last night and then whimpered because he put pressure on his hand the wrong way and came to me with a pout on his face and with the look in his eyes like - mommy fix it! Needless to say, I will be soooo thankful when Monday morning gets here and we can get those stitches out!

More to follow.....

Sunday, May 1, 2011


This past week has been a busy one at our house (especially for J). On Wed, had to take him to the MD because he sounded like he was coming down with the croup. Sure enough, he was and so he was started on steroids to knock that out.

On Thursday night, he had grabbed a small drinking glass (which he always does for supper). One minute, he had the glass. Then I heard it break on the ground and before I could get it, he decided to try and pick it up himself. Bad idea! Then started the wailing and deep cuts in both hands.

Mad rush to the ER (with R holding one of J's hands to keep pressure on it) and 5 stitches in the left hand, 3 stitches on the right and a very angry boy because he was being held down and given a shot in both hands. All in all, he did very well and didn't put up a fight. Especially with the MD who gave him the stitches. When he came in, J stopped crying and was just mesmerized by this tall guy with glasses. The MD made a comment about it and wondered by J seemed to fixed on him. I had to explain that J isn't around a lot of guys since Donovan's death so whenever he is, he becomes fascinated. Needless to say, the MD was kinda touched by this.

R, on the other hand, thought it was cool that she was going to see what stitches looked like (but proclaimed that she was VERY happy not to be receiving them herself). Since that adventure, J has been sporting the look of a boxer with bandages looking like boxing gloves and has become very good at just using his fingers that he can move (and yes, I'm proud of him for being such a trouper).

More to follow.....

Saturday, April 23, 2011

60 seconds

Yesterday afternoon, I got to finish the movie "Leap Year". Sweet movie that kinda hit home for me (as it did the main character) and that is this simple question. If your home was on fire (or you were caught in a life/death situation), what one thing would you grab if you had only 60 seconds?

At almost the end of the movie, the main character figured this question out. She had initially taken it the easy way (and what everyone else would have expected her to do) instead of going on gut instincts, the truth, and fighting for what she really needed.

Many of us have 60 seconds that change our lives (for better or for worse) but some people never get that chance. I had 60 seconds with Donovan before the EMS arrived but I never got to say goodbye, I love you, or anything and neither did he. Do I regret not taking that chance? In a way, yes but I was also in a state of complete panic and shock.... The only thing I could do for him was call 911 and let them give him 6 more hours of life.

As a society, we are told to not say what we think (or feel) but to say was is considered by the world's standards as "nice". Please do yourself (and those that you love and care about) and say what you think. Otherwise, you may live to regret 60 seconds that could have changed everything.

More to follow....

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Not getting in a hurry...

I got the following quote in my inbox this morning and got me itching to write so please bear with me.

Nothing can be more useful to you than a determination not to be hurried.
- Henry David Thoreau

Now, how many times do we catch ourselves rushing around (either driving or at home or at work)?? Nine times out of ten (if you're like me) ALL the time. Granted, I know the importance of having a schedule and trying to stick to that but then letting even that slide for a few minutes of instant gratification (ie: something spur of the moment that makes you feel great but not something that you just HAVE to HAVE).

It takes work to slow down and not rush things. It takes time to build true friendships, families, and understanding what God's plan is for us on earth. Even though I sometimes wish I knew a rough draft timeline so that I wouldn't wonder so much but, that's where faith comes in.... Right?

J and R have been good teachers of when to rush and when not too and sometimes, R calls me on when I get tooo rushed and ask the all important question of why.

I hope all of us take the time to slow down this week, let God do His own thing with our lives and strive to do what's right.

More to follow....

Monday, April 4, 2011

The game!

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine on FB put on his status that he had 4 tickets to the Mavericks game on a Thursday night - for free! The only reason he couldn't go was because his son had a t-ball game that night... So, since I haven't been to a basketball game since college, I thought it was high time that I went.

Got the tickets and then had to message several girlfriends if they wanted to do a girls night out at the Mavs game. :) Needless to say, all 4 of us had a lot of fun and the Mavs definitely kept us on our toes the whole time..... They REALLY need to work on their defense!

Now the question is... Am I going to get lucky enough to find some free tickets again? Hope so! :)

More to follow....

Monday, March 28, 2011

Newest addition!

For those of you who don't know yet... We have a new addition to our family! Her name is Chloe and she's 3 months old and a complete joy!

R claims that Chloe is HER dog and as soon as she gets home from school, Chloe is. However, *evil chuckle here* I think Chloe is more my dog than anything else. She is right at my heels where ever I am (except when she starts out the night on R's bed). Usually, by the time I'm ready to go to sleep, Chloe is ready too and she takes up the other half of the bed (most of the time).

She's also very patient with J. She will give him a little nip if he gets too close to her "toys" (which are usually his toys) to let him know to back off when she's playing. But on the whole, couldn't ask for a better dog and it's helped R a lot (and me as well).

More to follow.....

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Getting through an upheaval.

This is the first of (many) ideas that have sprung from reading the book "Eat, Pray, Love". It took me several months to get through the whole thing. Although I liked the book as a whole, the start and about half of the middle were a bit hard to get through since there were tons of three letter words dropped everywhere (big turn off for me personally) so... I'm going to get off my soapbox and keep going. :)

The following is an exert from the book so please bear with me on this: " a housewife, then unexpectedly became a widow, then took up fan-dancing to make money, ended up somehow as the first female dentist in out space, an then tried to hand at national politics - yet who has managed to hold an intact sense of herself throughout every upheaval."

This really hit home for me in that I know I am no where near who I was 27 months ago (boy that doesn't sound very long ago... Does it?) and I know I'm probably not done changing yet either. The fact is, no one is completely done changing until they take their last breath. Each and every human being is constantly changing (whether we like it or not) and have been since the time that we were born. We've all had chaos to deal with in one way or another.

When I was working on a locked Geri-Psych floor in Knoxville, Tn., there was an exercise that we social workers used with the patients. Most of these patients could remember back to when they were children and we asked them to think about when they first went to Kindergarten and how they felt. The first time they went to the 5th or 6th grade and how they felt about the change. Some had good memories about those times and some did not. We all have those kinds of memories that were either pleasant or horrible but, like most kids, we all rolled with the flow, tried to do what we were told and make whoever proud of us.

What changes when we become adults and start having panic attacks, sleepless nights, and anxiety because of changes? Is it because we place more pressure on ourselves or allow pressure to be placed on us? When we were kids, we knew that (somehow) everything was going to work out ok. We had confidence in our family or those that loved and cared about us and we didn't worry. What happened??

I don't know about you but, I'm trying to get back to having that confidence of a kid again. Too many times, we lose our faith in ourselves, others, God, etc and we get sooo wrapped in everything else that we lose who we are as a person. When was the last time that you went and did some serious swinging on the swings? To have that feeling of "flying" through the air without limits (at least as long as the chain would let us... Ha!).

Sure, we all have responsibilities to God, our children, parents, family, co-workers, etc... But we also have a responsibility to our individual selves in not getting so wrapped up in stuff that we forget who we are.

Change, for the most part, is a good thing if we handle it right. We can either face it kicking and screaming like a tyrant 2-yr old or just go with whatever God has in store for us and see what happens.

More to follow.....

Monday, February 28, 2011

Catching up... again.

Hello again! Thought I had forgotten?? Not really... Have been really busy and feeling an overwhelming urge to get (almost) everything out before I burst. I didn't realize that I hadn't written since Dec. 14th! Yikes!

Ok... In a nutshell. Christmas this year (for me anyway) was a lot easier to deal with. Yes, it was still painful but I didn't cry much this time. K and G still had a hard time. As usual, G had her "mask" on but K had to wipe tears from his eyes a few times. It hurts to see them upset or hurting but, I also know that, in order to heal, they have to deal with the pain. Accept it for what it is and keep going. The big problem is that too many times, people would rather stay in the pain (especially if they've experienced it for soo long) because they've become numb to it, than getting up the courage to forge ahead.

New Year's Eve was an exciting day for me in many aspects and I can only hope that I have many more exciting New Year's ahead for me and the kids. For the time being, it's back to basic's and taking care of me (and learning along the way) and the children.

J's birthday was bitter sweet in that it was another realization that another year had passed of missed opportunities for J and R. Another year gone that they've missed of being around a real man and leader. I also realized that I can't really be a father and mother to them. I can only be me and a mom. They will only be able to learn (for now I hope) from a distance and from watching the men at church and how they act and behave.

R has done pretty well this year... At least until this last Saturday. She had a melt down of sorts and cried hard. Asking the same questions of why Donovan wasn't coming back. If we could go to heave and get him back and just repeating over and over that she wanted him back. She knows that he wouldn't be able to be the same dad that she remembers if he did survive. She said that she didn't want him to stay alive in a hospital or unable to play like he would have. She also said that "when I get old, I'll obey God so that way I can go to heaven and see Daddy." Then it was off to play and a good night's sleep. I still have a lot to learn from her. I was still heavy-hearted after that talk. I felt a little happy about her ability to understand more but I wish I didn't have to sit there, rocking a little body sobbing from tears. That part kills me but, it's something that she has to walk through on her own. I can only empathize and try to help her understand things that we mere humans can grasp.

Meantime, J is blissfully unaware of such things. He as busy trying to climb on top of us in giving his sister some much needed hugs. Part of me was chuckling at him and hurting for her.... Talk about polar opposites! I know that I will be having the same type of talks with him when he is older (and hopefully he'll be at an age to grasp things).

On a completely different topic.... I did read "Eat, Pray, Love" and made lots of notes so, I will be trying to write my two cents on that book (but probably from a different view than the original writer).

More to follow.... :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Book thoughts

A good friend of mine on FB suggested that I read "Eat, Pray, Love". I finally (after a couple of months or so) finished the book and while I enjoyed reading it (and especially her honesty), I know I will probably never watch the movie (no offense Julia Roberts) largely because of the language (which is something that I can't tolerate very well).

I did however highlight things that she said that really hit home for me. In many ways, I could totally relate to the writer. So, I will be doing some writing about that as time goes on...

More to follow.....

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hope in grief

Last night, I met with a small group at Grief Works which is sponsored by several Churches of Christ in the DFW area. The group is under the umbrella of Christian Works and is geared mainly for children (ages 5 and up) and their caregivers. Grief Works helps families that have expeinced the loss of a family memeber and last night, we had 4 new families to join us.

We started off as we typically do (which is to introduce ourselves and tell *if you want to* what brought them to the group). Then, we brought up a question that, in all actuality we all need to think about. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now and what goals do you have in place (or are thinking about) to get there?

Most (if not all of the women there) had a hard time focusing in on that question because grief (in all it's stages) can be a HUGE block in looking to the future. Especially if the loss of a spouse happened within the last couple of months or so. So, I changed it to 5 months from now and then down to a simple goal for next week. Of just simply getting through one hour (or at times 5 minutes) at a time.

A loss or any sudden change can be crippling but each individual has a choice of wether to take things one step at a time or stay put and slowly sink. The christian life is much the same way, there is no standing still and hoping that you make it. It takes guts, courage, and (at times) can be downright painful but the ultimate goal is worth every step. Just like Jesus had to take Calvery one step at a time (and He KNEW what was going to happen).

Each of us have challenges that may seem small (or big) to others but we all have a goal (whatever that may be) and to each that goal... takes steps, faith, and hope.

Onwards and upwards!

More to follow.....

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Status change

Those of you that are my friends on Facebook may have noticed (or not) that my relationship status has changed (as of the first day of 2011!).

For the last several months, I had debated with myself weather to do this or not and here's the reason why.

Being a widow is painful in and of itself but, it doesn't define a person. The experience of having to go through that is downright heartbreaking (been there, done that!) but you do survive, work through it with God's help and lots of prayers from people who are sometimes closer to you than physical family.

Eventually, you finally get through the end of the grief tunnel and are much stronger (in more ways than one) than when you began. Granted, there are (I'm sure) some bridges that I haven't had to cross yet because it's all new territory for me (just like anybody else) and having a 7 yr old and a soon-to-be two year old is going to have challenges of their own... At least with R, she knows that she can ask any questions and I'll try to answer as honestly (and as basic) as I can for her to understand. J will have his own set of questions that will be different (in some ways) from R but, I'm going to cross that bridge when I get to it...

Anywho, I changed my relationship status to single for a simple reason. Being a widow has made me who I am today but it doesn't define who I am. Going through life can be a challenge but it's how you view things that will determine what the end affect is going to be for the future. Granted, there are things that no one can change but, 5 or 10 or however many years down the road, ask yourself if you would rather be still at the same spot or much further and better than you were before? Would you rather still be in quicksand or out? Sadly, most people don't even realize that they are in quicksand until they find themselves in a point-of-no-return but, as long as God continues to bless us with the air we breath, that point can always change.

My prayer for everyone that I know (or even don't know yet) is that this new year will be one that you will be proud of and be able to thank God for the blessings that we receive on a (sometimes unknown) daily basis.

I also want to say a big thank you (and hugs) to all of you who have been there for support, encouragement, prayers, strength and the ability to smile though the last year (or actually two years). May God continue to bless you as He has blessed me...

Onwards and upwards!

More to follow....


About a week before Christmas, I discovered something that I hadn't done in a long, long time.... I was getting giddy for Christmas! :)

For the last two years, Christmas eve and the actual day had been very, very difficult get through but this year was totally different. I wanted to try and decorate every room in the house with something christmasy (if that's such a word). But, I would have probably gone broke financially if I had carried out my wish so, I did the basics... Christmas tree, lights outside, garland over the fireplace and stockings up, and a little bit in the kitchen.

The only hesitation that I had was going over to K and G's Christmas eve (when the kids would unwrap Christmas presents). Needless to say, that was just as enjoyable. K and G were kinda quiet but they weren't wiping tears from their eyes either (huge blessing!).

Christmas day was even better with the introduction to a new friend and being around (and hearing from) old ones that have always been there for me and the kids. The only slight downside was being over at K and G's house for lunch and watching K wipe a tear away while he was watching J play with some toys.

In a way, I guess that's to be expected and it may take a while for them (if they decided to) get completely through the pain of loss. Everyone moves through those times in a different way and at different speeds. But as long as there's progress, there's always hope.

My prayer is that you and your family were able to enjoy the holiday as much as we did.

More to follow.....