Wednesday, December 5, 2012


This last weekend, we made a trip to AL. This was a good trip overall but, the reason for the trip wasn't pleasant at all. Jeff has a church family that (in all aspects) is family. They were there for him during the times that he needed family the most. He may have been the only peanut in the chocolate fudge but, as his "brother" put it, Jeff was his brother...from another mother. :) That being said, he keeps in contact with a lot of people via facebook. Unfortunately, he also found out that one of the sisters in the congregation was brutally murdered last week so, after making several phone calls, we made the decision to drive to AL to be with the church family there on Sunday. This was not going to be an easy feat... Not only did it mean that Jeff and I were going to be pulling an all-nighter to get things packed up for the family to leave out at 2AM but also the emotional bomb that went off for both of us. The news of having a dear, sweet, God-fearing, always trusting sister to be taken advantage of and then murdered shook Jeff down to the core. It hurts when you see another in emotional pain. It also brought back very vivid memories for me as well. Mental images I wish I could erase but knowing that will never happen. You see, EVERYTHING we experience with our senses (sight, taste, touch, smell, and hear) gets filed away in our memories (whether it's pleasant or not). When I initially thought about those individuals (whoever they were) who went to go check on their "sister" because they hadn't heard (or seen) her for a few days. Only to find a mess in her apartment, it made me sick to my stomach. It brought back the mental and emotional memories of the night that Donovan had his accident and I found him on the floor unconscious but still breathing. The memories of the police, EMS, and fire departments flooding the house and trying to help came flooding back like a ton of bricks. I cried.... hard. Thankfully, Jeff was there to hold and cry along with me as I was there to hold and cry along with him. Those tears were necessary and they had to flow. Emotions weren't meant to be bottled up. They are meant to be shared, understood, and let out. The more we try to stuff our emotions down and bottle it up, the more harm we do to ourselves (and possibly others). This doesn't mean that we can (or should) erupt like Mount St. Helens and just let our anger or bitterness fly as it may. Adults aren't suppose to act like three year olds. Ok... Sorry, soap box.. Ha! :) Anywho, we made it to Southside Church of Christ (with kids in tow) with 15 minutes to spare (barely enough time for Jeff to just shut his eyes and relax for a few - he drove the whole way). The AM service is both edifying and uplifting. I now know why Jeff loves this congregation soo much.... In the midst of tragedy, they let their light for God shine and it is beautiful to see (and hear). We were blessed to be a part of that worship time. It was also good for Jeff to be able to sing with the guys once again. :) The trip may have been emotionally rough but, I'm glad we were able to go and spend time with this family. Satan can (and will) try his hardest to pounce people down but God gave us His strength, His Word, and His body (the church) to overcome whatever Satan throws at us. Just got to keep going on in Him. More to follow....

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Season of First...

I haven't posted on here in quite a while and, for those of you who know me and my family, there's a good reason for the silence..... This Thanksgiving, I did some things that I had never done before and it turned out really well....Just about anyway... :) For starters, we moved into a new (roomier) house a week before Thanksgiving (and yes, we are a bit crazy for doing so but, it's been worth it. We aren't completely moved in as we still have odds and ends to box up at the old house (and we have until the first of December to do so.... eeeekkkkksssss!) This is the first time that either Jeff or I have had enough space to have company over during the holiday's have have them stay with us (and also share in the meals all at the same table *kids included*. This was also Lex's first Thanksgiving. He is now every vocal and all smiles (98% of the time) and almost sleeping thru the night (still waking up around 3 or 4 am... yawn!) What gets me is that he will sleep for maybe 15 - 20 minutes at a time during the day so, it makes it more of a challenge to get anything done. Jeff does help out a great deal tho. He isn't afraid to change dirty diapers or do bottle feedings (thank you, Lord for bottles!). This was my first time to fix a Thanksgiving meal (or two) and, needless to say, I'm very thankful for the crock pot! Fixed turkey for the main meal on Thanksgiving day and then ham yesterday.... Both turned out delish! The big challenge for me was getting the side dishes done... Ha! Over all, it's been a good holiday and my prayer is that each of you had a great one as well..... More to follow.....

Friday, September 28, 2012

A few weeks of challenges and changes.

The last *almost* 4 weeks have been full of adjustments, challenges, and changes but it all works out for the best. I can now testify that life with 3 children (under the age of 8) can be a challenge at time and I have a new appreciation for parents of 3 or more who are much younger than my 3. There has been only one time (so far) that proved to be taxing for me. L woke up for a 4AM feeding and each feeding time usually takes about an hour to get him filled up, burped, and changed. Just when I was about to get him down, J wakes up crying due to a nightmare. Once I get J settled down and back in his bed, R wants to get up (and the sun isn't even up yet!). I pointed this useful information to R and she slowly went back to her own room (even though I'm sure she probably didn't go back to sleep). This gave me about an hour of sleep before getting R ready for school. Needless to say, I was almost in tears because of being so tired. If you were wondering where Jeff was during this whole time, he was asleep *and for good reason* on Sunday and Tuesday nights, he is at the county jail and doesn't get home until 10:30 or 11 PM and then has to take about an hour and a half or so just to unwind. Also, he has to put in a certain amount of hours at the prison and he goes on the first and third Thursday of each month in the evenings (which puts him getting in much later than 10:30 PM). I am thankful that Jeff is able to do what he loves doing. He is able to walk to school with R every morning (unless he's had a really long evening at the jail or prison and completely worn out). We've also worked it out that I tend to L at night and Jeff tends to him (and the other 2) in the afternoons so that I can try to get a little catch up on sleep. Speaking of sleep.... J has now been passy free for a solid two weeks now! :) The first 24 hours were tough! J wouldn't/couldn't sleep during naptime or at night so, while one of us was getting up and dealing with L, the other was getting up and dealing with J. I thought we would have more than just the first 24 hours to deal with in J's lack of sleep but, Jeff sat down with him and they talked about how baby's (like L) needed passy's sometimes but that J was a big boy and didn't need to suck on something all night/ every night. After that little talk, J didn't ask for a passy and there has been only one time that he tried to sneak one of L's passy's (conveniently) onto his bed for later use (but then brought it back when L started getting fussy and his bottle wasn't ready yet). And yes, I'm a proud momma! More to follow....

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Welcoming a blessing and dealing with challenges.

As most of you already know, we now have a new addition to our little family. What you may not know is some details of before his arrival and some challenges that came up during labor and delivery. I have to start on Friday, August 31st because that's when things really got busy for us. At about 11:30 pm, we lost power in the house. Usually, we just have to wait a little while and then the power comes back. Not this time. Thankfully, the house retained most of the AC air for most of the night so it wasn't tooo uncomfortable. On Saturday, that was a different story. Gail was coming in and the heat kicked in as well.... A nice 105. Not very comfortable for this very prego momma! Needless to say, all of us ended up getting hotel rooms and G was brave enough to take BOTH R and J that night. By Sunday afternoon, we finally got power back on but had a hot house and ruined food in the fridge. Thankfully, we still had most of the meat in the freezer that was either partially thawing or still frozen.... Yippie!!! We had originally planned to have friends over for some grilled steaks but found that we had a lot more meat to grill so, why not have even more people over for Labor Day and not waste any meat?!?!? So, we were able to have Gail, the McDuffy's, and the Nunnally's over on Labor Day for some good food and fellowship. :) Tuesday, Sept. 4th started very, very early for Jeff and I. Managed to get over to White County Medical Center and start the inducing process a little after 5:30 AM. Things were going pretty good until about 8:30 or so... Lex started showing heart rate problems everytime I would have a contraction (which was every 3 - 4 minutes). His heart rate was typically around 130-140's but would suddenly drop down to 70... and then next contraction, heart rate dropped to 60 and then it would drop down to the 50's. MD and nurses stopped the PICT, had me sitting up, laying back down, turning one side and then the other to see if that would help Lex's heart rate to get normal and stay that way through a contraction... No dice. MD made the decision to do c-section since Lex's heart rate was soo unstable during contractions. Meanwhile, Jeff was pretty much doing a play-by-play via text and facebook of what was going on. When the order came to prep for c-section at 9:30, Jeff put the word out and the response was amazing! Everyone started commenting that prayers were being said for me and for Lex. 10:30 came and went and no open room in the OR. Lex's heart rate started to stabilize and not dip down in to the 50's. I was at a 10 and starting to throw up so, Dr. Citty gave the order to have me push up to when Lex was about to crown. Once we got to that stage, I had to wait until Dr. Citty got in the room. Funny thing is, just when he got there and was set up, I started throwing up again (at least I was able to warn them a little in advance)... Dr. Citty's nurse was telling me... "Wait! Wait! Don't throw up yet! Wait!" to which Dr. Citty (half chuckling) "Can't really tell her to wait..." This is one of the reasons why I like Dr. Kris Citty so much. He was very calm, almost laid back in amongst all the craziness. Once the throw up session was over, I had a couple of more pushes and Lex was born at 12:01 PM. I almost held my breath, waiting for that first cry. Scared that there had been some damage to his heart after being under so much stress during labor. Thankfully, the cry came and a collective sigh of relief from everyone in the room (I think). There was an older couple who stayed the whole duration. Mr. and Mrs. John Wilkins (Jeff worked with him at Mount Hutchison Church of Christ several years ago and fills him for him when they are out of town). So thankful that they were there as well as the Krehs at various times. Also sooo thankful for all the prayers that went up for me and for Lex (and for Jeff) when things got so crazy. Prayer is one of the strongest medicines that most people can't explain. I am also extremely thankful for Jeff. The last month of this pregnancy was tough (emotionally, mentally, and physically). I couldn't help but think about the differences between this time around and the situation I was forced to be in when James was born. MAJOR difference! With J's birth, I was thankful for the prayers of my spiritual family and thankful that K and G were able to be there when J was born but it still left a HUGE, gaping hole because Donovan wasn't there to see his son being born. Even now, it hurts that Donovan has missed soo much of J's development over the last 3 1/2 years and yet sooo thankful that Jeff has taken on fatherhood 100% in helping shape both R and J into the young people that they will become and that their Dad loves them just as much as he does his own flesh and blood. I'm also thankful for God granting us this little blessing. After Donovan died and J had outgrown all of his infant stuff, I just "knew" that it would be the 3 of us (R, J, and myself) from here on out. I gave all of R's and J's baby stuff away to other's who had little ones (even tho it kinda hurt to see them experience that joy and "know" that I would never have that chance again. Little did I know that God was going to be blessing me far above what I could dream up. Donovan and I had always planned to have at least 3 children. When he died, that dream got shattered. When Jeff and I were dating, the talk of children (of course) came up. We both realized that we both wanted more children (Lord willing) so, when we found out that we were expecting, both of us were on cloud 9. After nine long, mostly difficult months, Lex is finally here and we are blessed. R and J love and care (and in J's case), protective of their little brother.... Blessed! More to follow......

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Moving up in grades

It's that time of year again! School is now in session and we've got one excited little girl and one (slightly) jealous little boy who now claims that "I go to High School". We are doing something different this year. Jeff is walking R to and from school. The only times that probably won't happen are the mornings that he's been at either the jail or the prison late (which is typically around 10). He can't just come home and then go straight to sleep. There's a lot of emotional turmoil that those guys need to get off their chest and I'm thankful that they feel safe enough to talk to Jeff about anything. Just don't like it when he has to give a death notice to an inmate. I'm thankful that Jeff is able to do what he loves to do and he's good at it. There is a price to pay in working with (and helping) others who have hit rock bottom. I think R is happy about being back at school. She already knows several of the other kids who are in her class (which is always helpful) and the great staff that are more than willing to help her get caught up with her classmates. For the last two days, she has talked almost non-stop in letting us know about her teacher, the rules, what she did in class, etc. We also got her testing results of where she stands academically. Let's just say that we've got A LOT of work to do this school year but, she's willing and eager to try her best and get down whatever it is that's placed in front of her and I couldn't be more tickled about that. Today, she saw the school counselor (which she started to do about the middle of the year last school year) and I think that has helped her work through some of the emotional stuff that she's still trying to figure out in her own mind. I think Jeff has been a big help in that area as well in that she's really opened up with him over the summer and that's given her confidence about our family and knowing that there's solid stability again. My hat goes off to those who are single and trying to raise their child(ren) on their own. It's very tough to do and especially difficult when you throw in the death of a spouse. So far, things have started off great and I look forward to new accomplishments with both children this school year. Thankfully, J will be in Carpenter's Kids which is run by College Church of Christ. He'll be able to be around other kids his age twice a week for half a day. This will definitely help me out once Baby Lex gets here. :) More to follow.....

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What a change a year makes

One year ago today, the children and I made a BIG move all the way to Searcy, AR. It was a rough trip emotionally, mentally, and physically but, I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with a man who helped make me feel complete and that would be a great Christian leader for me and my children. It isn't easy leaving everything that you know and love behind to start out on a new journey but, it's something that each one of us does on a continual basis throughout our lives. We may not recognize those changes until later. We all start leaving home when we start Kindergarten. We learn, we grow, make new friends and change as each year comes and goes until we finally hit college. Then we continue to learn, grow and change even more. Life is about change and we would quickly become very board if we didn't have challenges and changes in any given year. I was leaving friends and family who had meant soo much to me (and my children) during the darkest days of my life. Suddenly loosing your spouse is very difficult. Add pregnancy hormones and trying to make it full term is even more of a challenge and I have been soo blessed to be surrounded by family and friends who were there for me (even when I didn't see the need but they did). Jeff drove the 5 1/2 hours to Garland to help me load up a UHaul truck and help me move all of our stuff to Searcy. Neither one of us had pulled an all-nighter in a long time (at least since college) but, that night, we had to in order to get moved in and then get R started for school the next week (this was a weekend ordeal). Thankful for a great couple who worked the all-nighter with us and for K and G taking care of the kids during that time. We started on Friday and finished getting the last box in the truck at 0300 hours on Saturday morning. Took some time to eat and get showers at K and G's (kids didn't sleep hardly at all that night either) and then drive to AR. Jeff drove the UHaul (with trailer attached to get his car home) and I drove my car (with a loaded trunk and kids in tow). I finally had to get Jeff to stop so that I could get 30 min shut-eye in the cab of the Uhaul while Jeff entertained/took care of the kids. By the time we pulled into Searcy, I was ecstatic! I knew I was home! This was MY hometown. I had come full circle and it felt great! Jeff popped the big question a few weeks later and then we got married in Sept. Now, we find ourselves living in a home that is comfortable. Two children who adore their Daddy and are at peace within themselves and looking forward to the new school year (although there is the occasional "I don't like school!"), and the excitement of having a new addition to this family. Yes, times can be tough. Challenges can be scary and uncertain but, God is ALWAYS there and always has been. He has/does provide in ways that boggle the mind and I have been truly blessed in how things have worked out this past year. I can only pray that Jeff and I will be ready and able to handle whatever challenges/ changes come our way in the coming year. So far, so good! More to follow....

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A little challenge...

About two weeks ago, I had a check-up with my OBGYN. I had told him at the beginning of my 3rd trimester that I had a lot of itching in my feet and lower legs. I was told that it was pregnancy hormone related. The only problem is that it was now keeping me up at night and seemed to be getting worse. He then had me get some blood work done to rule out if there was anything going on. I was supposed to find out the following Friday... Nothing. Was told that I would hear from them on Monday... Nothing. Finally, on Tuesday (of last week) I got a call from Dr. Citty's nurse and she said he wanted me to come in that afternoon if possible. Talk about feeling nervous! Thankfully, Jeff was able to stay at home and get the kids down for a nap and I could go ahead to the MD's office. They were busy but I eventually got in and given a shot in the left hip (a rather painful, stinging one at that) and strapped to a baby heart monitor. This also brought back memories of when I was about this far along in my pregnancy with James. The situation was different but the uncertainty was certainly there. Once again, I was going down a path that I wasn't prepared for and didn't know what to expect. At that time, I was just trying to breath and eat. This time, I was just trying to get some sort of relief and sleep. I didn't have to worry too much because I knew Jeff was there along with me. May not have been physically there because he was taking care of the kids but he was with me in spirit. That made a world of difference! When the MD came in, he told me that my bio salts in my liver were too high and that is what was causing the increased itching and it could cause complications for me and the baby as it got closer to due date. Not something that I got all nice, warm, fuzzy feelings about. All I knew was that I wanted to be healthy and have a healthy little one (whenever he gets here). Thankfully, in comes the internet (specifically FB) and being reacquainted with old friends that I knew as a teenager. One of my friends told me that the symptoms sounded alot like what her sister had to deal with in her pregnancy. Rachel then gave me a lot of good info and a website that explained a lot of the why's, how's etc, of this ( which gave me a much better understanding of what was going on and some things that I could do to help improve the situation for me and Baby Lex. I am so thankful for friendships that had been made over the years and how supportive everyone has been in dealing with a (somewhat) unknown. Life is full of challenges which can either make us stronger individuals or break us down completely (if we allow that to happen). The most important thing is to continue in God's faithfulness in that He will never forsake us when we think things are getting a bit much.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Visiting family and friends

This last weekend, our family went to meet/visit with some of Jeff's extended family near Montgomery, AL. The GPS said it was an 8 hour drive one way. The kids were excited about meeting lots of cousins and going to a lake. The drive initially started out pretty well. Unfortunately, we didn't have a working DVD player in the car because a certain 3 yr old jammed a DVD in and now it's stuck (and the poor DVD player is constantly trying to get the disk out. Thankfully, the kids had other things to keep them busy so that was ok. As we got into Montgomery, we got to a stand-still and the GPS advised us to turn around and go a different direction instead of not moving. That "other direction" ended up adding 2 hours to the trip and putting us in a constant circle. Needless to say, baby Lex was NOT happy with me which caused quite a bit of discomfort for me. Finally got to the house and were able to eat a late dinner with the family and the kids got to acquaint themselves with their "new" cousins. R was ecstatic because she was the oldest of all 8 kids. J (like most little one's) didn't sleep very well in a new place until the last night (go figure) but boy did they get a good work out while we were there! :) Lots of kids to play with, plenty of room to run around in, adults who treated our kids like they do their own, and plenty of time spent at (or in) the lake and playing in the sand and just being able to relax for a few days and get to know some awesome people. :) We decided to go back home a different direction and to split the trip up (much easier on me and the kids). Jeff had lived in Athens, AL for several years before moving to Searcy. He had also sung with a singing group. Jeff made a quick call to one of the guys who (as Bryant put it) was a "brother from another mother" and they let us spend the night (since one of their daughter's had recently gotten married and moved out). They also had singing practice that night so, Jeff got to see some ol' friends that he used to sing with and sing with two of the guys. J (of course) only wanted a microphone and to sing on his own so, both of my boys were totally in their element and having a blast! The rest of the drive back went pretty well and the kids are still kinda recouping on sleep :). Over all, it was a great trip and the start of some great memories. :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The importance of words

Ever since Jeff and I have been married (back in Sept. '11), Jeff made it a point to tell R "I love you Princess" every night as part of the good-night ritual. He also tells her the same thing when it's rest/nap time in the afternoon (and yes, she still goes to sleep in the afternoons). Lately, I've noticed what kind of effect that these words have had on R. Even before Donovan died, she didn't play with Barbie's much or dress up as a Princess. She would dress up for a fancy tea party or as a fairy or something but, she didn't hear those words on a daily basis from anyone. If there is a Princess movie out (like Barbie's MANY Princess movies), she'd watch it maybe once and that would be it. Since she hears those words on a daily basis, I believe it's also raised her self esteem. She's more confident of herself. She's more open and that little spark of joy that left after Donovan passed is coming back - stronger each day and I love seeing that. Like I told Jeff a few nights ago, God KNOWS what He's doing and He knew exactly what each member of this family needed so, in His time, He provided. It's both humbling and inspiring to see and experience. Depression and grief and sap the life out of someone if they allow it to and Satan is rubbing his hands in glee when this is accomplished. Grief can leave you with a feeling of "I deserve this" or, "It's my fault my life is like this" when, in reality, life's experiences were beyond our control anyway but, we are left with feelings of guilt, depression, resentment, anger, etc.... God has a way of changing that by the people who come into our lives and help us become stronger. He has everything perfectly timed for smooth transitions that we only notice in hindsight. The thing is, we HAVE to let HIM have His way and on His time. Life can be a very challenging and scary roller coaster ride. The tie breaker is if we keep getting back up, shake the dust off, keep our faith alive, and keep trusting in Him. More to follow......

Monday, July 16, 2012

The records

Over the past few weeks, Jeff has started cataloging Donovan's records that I held back. Jeff has been wanting to go thru them and see exactly what we have but, it's kinda hard to do when there's about 2 or 3,000 of them and most are not in alphabetical order. So, Jeff has now gone thru two boxes and put all of the info into a database that he will be using later when we get some shelves up for the records. Donovan was a "makes-no-sense" kind of collector. He and his dad would look through record bins at different thrift stores or, I would find something that I thought he might find interesting at estate sales in the DFW area. Mostly, Donovan went for 70's and 80's type of music and then throw some jazz, classical, and anything else. Luckily, Jeff has found some records that he initially took with him to boot camp (but didn't walk out with them) and then some that he just liked the sound. It's kinda nice hearing the music again but, it's different. Neither one of the guys listened to the same type of music so, we'll see what's left standing when Jeff gets through it all (and that will take a while). The kids seem to enjoy hearing the records as well (especially when Jeff throws in a black light and a lava lamp). R REALLY enjoys that aspect and isn't upset when somethings playing. Not sure if it's just because of the effects of the room or that she hasn't recognized anything that's been played yet. She just happy to have some music appreciation time with her daddy. It seems that every week, she's opening up more to Jeff. There have been some times that she just wants to cuddle on his lap and not share with J (even though he won't let that rest until he has his spot on Jeff's lap). Makes me smile. More to follow........

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Father's Day weekend/week

A few days before Father's Day, Jeff and I decided to go to Garland, Tx and spend Father's day/K's B-day with them. As a result, it ended up being much more than just a trip to see family. We left home on Friday and got in rather late Thursday night. I also found out that one of my dear friends (who was facing her 2nd round of chemotherapy) was having a "wig party" on Saturday night and if we could come.... Only stipulation was that everyone HAD to wear a wig. Babysitters/food provided. So, (with G's help) we managed to find some hair pieces for Jeff and I (and yes, I have pic's). Got there kinda late due to Jeff having stomach issues (that had developed on Thursday on the way down) and J managing to get a nice cut on his chin from hitting the kitchen table (little 3 yr old boys... 'nuff said). Vince and Jerra have set a HUGE example for me in many aspects. They agreed to both shave their heads to 3" of hair. The reason, I learned later was that, if you are taking chemo and completely shave your head before your hair starts falling out, the hair follicles don't like it and cause the muscles in your head to hurt (A LOT). Jerra is a fun-loving lady who has tried to see the positive aspect of facing breast cancer. They have 3 adopted children (who are originally from Russia - the two youngest - sisters - they adopted a year ago) and have gone thru a lot of hurdles to help their children.... Such an inspiration! Anywho, Vince got his head shaved first and their son didn't handle that transition very well but, thankfully they have a little pool in the back yard that the kids were taking full advantage of. Jerra went next and it took a little longer because they had to cut her hair first before shaving it down. She looked like Demi Moore from GI Jane! Beautiful! It was sooo good to see so many of my friends that had rallied around me after Donovan died now, rallying around Jerra! When I first learned that Jerra had breast cancer, I bawled so, I wasn't sure if I would cry when she got her hair shaved or not but, everyone kept the atmosphere in a good mode and that makes all the difference sometimes. :) The rest of the time that we were in Garland was pretty much spent with K and G. K and G's mom (Margie) have their birthday's pretty close so the kids went to celebrate (K and Margie) birthday at the nursing home that Margie is at. Good times! G also took the kids to the science museum and Jeff and I were able to have some "Us" time for a change.... Soooo nice to find a book store/Starbucks and just slow down a bit. On Sunday, it was good to see everyone at Centerville Road C of C and how people reacted to how much the kids have grown and changed (especially R who- as the Bible school teacher put it - is blossoming). We've noticed some small changes with R in that she's opening up more with Jeff and not constantly running to me for answers/questions... Etc. One thing that I noticed on this trip was that she was more on edge when we were over at K and G's house. She seemed relaxed elsewhere but not at their house. Not sure if it's because she sees the same pictures of Donovan everywhere (they haven't changed anything as far as pictures goes since he died) or if she doesn't quite know how to act around them. Ideas??? One thing for sure was that she was much more relaxed and at peace when we got back home and that makes all the difference to me. She doesn't feel under stress at home which is as it should be. The kids also did a hand-printed shirt for Jeff for Father's day. On it, it says, To the best Dad... Hands down. Brilliant me didn't realize that the kid's hand prints wouldn't be dried before going to Tx. So, we did the hand prints on Thursday evening while Jeff was ministering at the prison. I let the kids stay up extra late so that they could show it to him when he got home.... Reaction, priceless! The kids were sooo excited about their handiwork and being able to give something to their dad.... :) More to follow.......

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Another loss

The above pictures were taken on Aug. 16th, 2001.... The day Donovan and I got married. The lady is Marcelline Buchanan who passed on to heaven yesterday. She was a wonderful christian lady who was a "Mom" to my dad and a "Grandmother" to me. She taught me so much and also taught me how to drive. She spoiled me as anything grandmother would (except that we weren't blood related). When we were living in Lamesa, Tx. She was my dad's secretary and didn't know how to use the computer (she was in her late 70's I think at the time) but Dad taught her how to use the computer. She was there for my wedding to Donovan and was able to meet R less than a month after she was born. Sadly, about 5 or 6 years ago, she started down the road of Alzheimer's. During the last few years, she didn't know who anyone was. I had often debated on whether to go down and see her but, I'm glad I have these good memories instead. In the first picture, there is also a man named Everett who was K's dad and passed on to heaven about a year ago (either this month or next). Yet another reminder of how brief life really is. Everett and Marcelline were in their late 90's but Donovan was only 35. Death does not respect people.... regardless of age. Disease doesn't either. I am thankful that, for the first time in 3 1/2 years, I was able to look at my wedding pictures of Donovan and my wedding and not break down to uncontrollable tears. It actually felt good to show those pictures to Jeff. He was with me when I got the call from G about Everett's passing and he's here again when I got the news about Marcelline. I've been soo blessed! More to follow.....

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I know that I'm jumping forward from Spring Break but, this is HUGE to me. Ever since the day Donovan died, R hasn't prayed like she used to. You know, the child like innocence of thanking God for EVERYTHING from the people in your life to the light fixtures in the room to the bed you slept on. She used to rattle off a long list of things that she was thankful for every night.... Before Donovan died on her 5th birthday. Now, she still doesn't realize the date and I pray that she won't ask about the date until she's much older and lots more mature to handle that kind of information. She has told Jeff that she loved him..... He tells her he "loves my princess" every night before bed but she just kinda hugs him back and tells him good night. Other times, she won't hesitate with the "I love you too" bit... It comes and goes in waves but she's getting there. She has come a long way tho.... Thanks to constant love from us and help from her friends at school and teachers, she doesn't stutter like she used to (only when she gets really excited or upset about something) but not every time she tries to say something. She's happy and she laughs more (thanks to Daddy for that). For the past 3 1/2 years, she hasn't prayed on her own. She did do that once when J started wanting to give thanks before we eat but then she would politely say no if asked again. Tonight was a big on in my eyes and she used some of Jeff's words that he uses for giving thanks before meals (and then she asked what those words meant). It's like a light is slowly going off for her and she's getting her little sparkle back in her eyes. I know that there are going to be some tough bridges to cross down the road with her (as with J). As she grows and matures and the questions may be difficult, I know that with God's help, constant love and support from us, her family, and friends, they'll both make it. One day at a time. :) More to follow....

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Spring Break

During Spring Break, we had a opportunity to go with K and G to San Antonio and visit Sea World, Natural Caverns, and a petting zoo of sorts. It was a long drive for us but a lot of fun. We were able to get to Dallas on a Saturday and visit with my old home congregation on Sunday (HUGE blessing). On Monday, we all went down to San Antonio. K and G drove in their SUV with the kids and Jeff and I drove in another car (thankful I was able to get some rest in the back seat on the way down). K and G also surprised us by volunteering to have the kids sleep in their room so that we can have some peace supplied by a certain 3 yr old who fights sleep) at night and not get woken up at the crack of dawn by a certain 8 yr old... Bliss! Tuesday, we went to the caverns and the petting zoo. The caverns were really neat and the kids thought everything was pretty neat. J was a bit more interested in the guides flashlight and microphone (I have no idea why! Ha!). The petting zoo was a drive thru kind of set up. The animals would be able to come up to the cars and be fed corn. The kids had a blast feeding the animals and seeing some of them up close. We tried to eat supper at the Rain Forest Cafe. Unfortunately, the mechanical animals scared J tooo much (he was literally climbing out of the seat once a "storm" hit and the all the animals started moving. The Hard Rock Cafe was better. J REALLY liked the (as he put it) Biggie Guitar. There was a white one that he wanted (which cost more than $200)... Oi! We also went on the riverwalk and took a boat ride which gave us a really neat history lesson of San Antonio (and J was working on his mac daddy personality on the guide - Hilarious!). On Wednesday, we went to Sea World. Saw a lot of neat shows and the kids ended it by playing in the HUGE play area. R couldn't wait to get soaked in the splash park while J was perfectly content to play in the smaller kids area (which had a steering wheel with mechanical parts = fascination for a 3 yr old boy). Thursday, we headed back to Dallas and then back home on Friday. Needless to say, the kids were good and worn out by the time we got home. R is already wanting to go back. :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Jeff and J both had birthdays in Feb. Jeff's was on the 1st and J's was on the 5th. Although I felt pretty miserable from "morning sickness" which I had pretty much 24/7, it was still a good time and we celebrated simply. I was still on a diet of (primary) Sprite and crackers but we did have a cake (Thanks to Walmart!). The last 2 years, J's birthday was always one filled with sadness, regret, and playing the "what-if" game (which never helps!). Thankfully, this year was different. Granted, I still thought of Donovan and how proud he would have been of J and how much he's grown in such a short time. J is full of mischief, life and energy. He has a twinkle in his eyes that I wish R had more of but, she's slowly getting it back. More to follow.....

Getting caught up.... Once again!

Just now looked at what I've written up to now and realizing that I am WAY behind! There are SO many things that I need to get out and just haven't had the time or the energy to do so.... (aggravating is an understatement). So, I will try my best to get caught up over the next few days or so (I hope)......

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Getting past the blahhh's!

This is going to be really short, sweet and simple.

I'm into my 10th week of pregnancy. Although I'm excited about the whole thing, it's also taking a tole on me. I've been nauseated pretty much every day (and it often hits without warning). It's been tough on Jeff because, even when he does make supper, 9 times out of 10 I can eat only about 2 or 3 bites. Even taking showers have been a hassle because I'm completely worn out afterwards! Granted, some days have been better than others (which I am thankful for) and praying that this will all ease up in the next few weeks or so.

I am soo blessed to have Jeff and that he has been willing (and able) to take care of me and the kids for the past 2 months. Thank you sooo much babe! I love you!

Hopefully, I'll be able to get back into writing again (have a lot of catching up to do) but, in the meantime, I'm about to whip out again.. Ugh!

More to follow.....

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Testing, testing, one... two... three

This last week, we got a letter from R's school asking us to meet with the speech therapist, her teacher, and the principal for an update on how she is doing in school and over all.

Jeff wasn't able to go because he was still recovering from strep A. He was still considered contagious so he was still in quarantine. On a side note, it is one thing to be apart from your spouse because of distance. It is something entirely different when you are under the same roof and can't talk, touch, or anything. Very tough!

Anyway, the speech therapist started off the meeting with the fact that I had suggested that R be tested for more than speech because she has such as hard time being able to stay on task at any given time. The speech therapist thought that R should be tested as well (as did her teacher). R isn't failing in anything but she's cutting it very close in Math. She is reading at grade level and doing well with phonics, etc. The problem is that she has a very difficult time with concepts and grasping things. She doesn't get it when you ask her who was swinging in a swing. Her answer was "swing". Math is challenge because of this.

So, she will be tested in March (the testing schedule is full for the month of Feb) and we will hopefully get the results sometime in March.

Please pray that R will get the help that she needs.

Friday, January 20, 2012

A new addition - in the works

As most of you have probably figured out by now, we are expecting! :) This came after a lot of prayers and thought from Jeff and I.

We initially planned on waiting about 3 months after we got married to try. We knew that there would be a lot of adjustments from all of us (and in some ways, we are still adjusting - smoothly tho). We also knew that we didn't want to wait too long either. After all, I'm 37 and we both didn't really want to have little ones still at home when we're in our 60's! :)

After we got married, we decided that we would just leave it all up to God and let things go on His timing. The first 2 months were tough because each month, I would have prego symptoms, get all excited and then get disappointed. So, in December, I had the prego symptoms early again but had to keep reminding myself not to get my hopes up too much but my cycle never started in Jan! Major excited and Jeff was excited but wanted us to get "confirmed" from a doctor before saying anything.

Finally got the "confirmation" this last Wed so, Jeff and I told our families (and the kids). R was sooo excited! She has already asked if it's going to be a girl and if she can get bunk beds when the baby is old enough for a big girls bed. LOL. J is clueless and could care less. My mom wasn't really surprised about the news (as was my dad). K and G seem to be happy about it and Jeff's family and friends are super excited.

Many won't understand what this means to me so, I'll try to put it this way. After J was born, I was so thankful to have him and still have a little bit of Donovan still (as I feel that I do with R as well). I also felt robbed. Robbed of hopes and dreams of our growing family. Donovan and I hadn't talked about having more than 2 seriously but three was a good number for me. When I got rid of all of R's and J's infant cloths, that feeling of loss hit hard. While friends at church were either starting their families, (or adding on) I was happy for them but not completely. I knew I'd never have that chance again (or at least that what I thought at the time.... I now know differently!). After Donovan had been gone for a little over 2 years, I had finally accepted the fact that I should be content with my two (which I was) and just make the best of it for them. Sometimes, if we just let God do things on His time rather than when WE think they should be, we just might get surprised. :)

Jeff and I had talked about having little ones while we were dating and we knew that even if we didn't have any children together, we would adopt. The 2nd time that I had experienced prego symptoms and then having that fall through, I started praying that (Lord willing) we would be able to adopt when the timing was right for Him. I made myself stop "trying on my own" and left it all to Him. Worry can be such a health hazard sometimes (if you let it). So, yes, I'm super excited about the upcoming journey (and all the changes THAT will entail) and well as what this means for our family as a whole.

More to follow.....

Saturday, January 14, 2012

New Years - 2012!

New Year's Eve, Jeff and I managed to stay up and see the New Year in. The next evening was a wake up call for me.

R had woken up on New Year's Day and wanting some sort of party to celebrate the first day of the New Year (which she didn't get) but, we did spend time with our spiritual family which was wonderful. In the afternoon, I got the "brilliant" idea of having Jeff, R and I being able to sit down and talk about what we were most thankful for from the past year and what we look forward to and/or goals for the coming year.

Once we got J down for the night, we sat at the kitchen table and I started everything off in telling Jeff and R what I was most thankful for this past year and some goals that I have set for myself as well as what I would like to see implemented in the family in goals (ie: more organized, cleaner rooms, etc).

When it was R's turn, I asked her what she was most thankful for from this past year. She said "I don't know". We then talked about what she enjoyed the most over the past year and she brought up some good points. What hit me hard was that she didn't seem to be thankful for anything really. I then thought back to nights when R would be thankful for every single thing that she could think of and would have a long list when we had our night time prayer (this was back when Donovan was still alive).

I then realized that R and I haven't done our night time prayers like we used to. I felt bad about that realization. How are our children going to learn to be thankful to God for everything that He gives us if we don't teach them? I made up my mind that we were going to start back to the night time prayers again. So, right before bed, I asked R if she had had a good day (which we usually talk about every night anyway). Then I asked her what she was thankful for today. R: I don't know. Me: Well, we need to thank God for all the things we've been given and enjoy. R: Why? (after a few moments of silent prayer for the right words) Me: We say thank you whenever we're given something right? R: Yes. Me: Well, God probably likes to hear a thank you from us each day for everything that He gives us. R: Oh. Ok. Me: Ok, so what are you thankful for? R: My friends at school and at church, and Memaw and Papaw. Me: Ok, so do you want me to say the prayer or do you want to? R: You do it.

So, I said a short prayer but my heart kinda sank. After giving R a hug and kiss good-night, I told Jeff (in a nutshell) what was said and then explained that R used to go on and on with things that she was thankful for before Donovan's death. Once we got back home (from staying with K and G for about a month) I started the good-night prayers again but, her response was a very strong and resounding "NOTHING". I eventually stopped doing the good-night prayers and now felt like I had let her down. I felt like I hadn't been the kind of example that I should have been in my own prayer life for her to see for the last 2 years and now she came across as 'why even bother' type attitude.

Jeff and I talked about it for a while and I knew I had my work cut out for me. I was going to help her realize how blessed she really is. I realize that she still has a hard time wrapping her mind around everything that has happened in the last 3 years and that it's all going to take a lot of love and time. Sometimes, when people have their heads bowed down for so long, they forget to look up and appreciate the sunshine. I know she is much happier now that she has been the last two years and that it's going to take some time for her to get there completely. She has changed so much from 2008 to now and I know she will keep growing into a beautifully hearted young lady with lots of love and support from us, her family, and her friends.

More to follow.....

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Stopping me in my tracks (mentally anyway)

The day we headed back home to Searcy was tough in many aspects.

One thing was that K cried twice just before we left. I know it's very difficult for them sometimes to let go of the kids. They change soo much in such a short amount of time! J is developing his own little personality and sometimes, it's hilarious (case in point: Tonight, we learned that he is a comedian and will stop for a second or two and get himself into character - and he's going to be 3 next month!).

The other tough part happened the night before we left Texas. R was very upset that we were going back and didn't want to leave Memaw and Pawpaw. When I was tucking her in for the night, we had the following discussion.
R: I don't want to go back to Searcy (all said while in tears). Me: Why?? R: I want to stay and live with Memaw and Pawpaw. Me: Well, we have to be where Daddy is and Daddy's work is in Searcy. R: Well, when Daddy dies, can we move back to Texas? Me: (BIG HUGS) Sweetie, hopefully, that won't happen for a long, long time. You and J have a lot of fun with Daddy. Does Daddy make you feel happy? R: Yes (grinning). Me: Does Daddy make you feel safe and loved? R: Yes. He's funny too (some laughter coming up from both of us). Me: Did you like your school here in Texas? R: No! The teachers I had didn't like me very much. Me: Do you like the teachers in Searcy? R: Yes! My teachers like me and they help me! Me: Do you have lots of friends at school and at church and in our neighborhood? R: Yes! (she then started naming various friends that she's made in the last 4 months). Me: Do you think they would be happy or sad if you stayed here and didn't go back home with us? R: I would miss them but I miss my friends here too. Me: It's good to miss people we care about sometimes. R: Why?? Me: Because it shows them that we love and care about that and it makes our visits with them that much more special. R: (big grins)...OOOOOHhhhhhh! So, when can we come back? Me: I don't know. We'll have to look at the calender and see how things look. R: Ok (sighs) Mommy, I'm tired. Can I go to sleep now and keep growing? Me: Definitely! *hugs, kisses (but not too many kisses) and several good night's*

The whole part of her saying "when daddy dies, can we move back to Tx" make me cry for her. I told Jeff about it and he showed some concern for her (as well as for me). Both of us realized that she's still afraid of opening up completely to Jeff and that's ok. There is no set time to accept people and we don't want to make her feel that she HAS to like (or love) Jeff. The downside is that we can just pray she doesn't idealize Donovan to the point that Jeff will never be able to live up to those ideals (whether they are actual or not).

Each day, there's something that either one (or both) of the children are discovering about themselves, each other, Jeff, or me. We are all learning how to work as a team and doing so in a loving way. Sure, there are tough moments (what family doesn't have those... Right?) but, we get through them and become better people because of those moments. Live, laugh, love and the world will be a better place.

More to follow.....

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Christmas '11

We went to K and G's for Christmas and stayed for about a week. Christmas eve was a bit nerve wracking but, it all went well in the end.

The reason was because Margie (G's mom) had Christmas dinner with us and was able to open up presents along with the kids (something she told G she wanted to see). Since Margie keeps making comments about how "Donovan must be working really hard" any time she sees me (or the kids) and even tho G has told her lots of times in the past that Donovan is no longer living, we were a little worried of what Margie's reaction would be when she saw Jeff for the first time. G said later that her stomach was in knots most of the evening but Margie never said anything (in fact she didn't talk much at all on the way to K and G's house or on the way back to her facility).

Jay was also with us during the Christmas meal and presents. He has the beginning stages of Dementia so he wants to know what you are doing and why every 5 seconds. He doesn't have any comprehension of time but soo sweet! Each time he received a Christmas present, he would be genuinely surprised and thankful.

The kids had a blast and we all got some things that we could either use or enjoy doing.

Overall, a very good, relaxed Christmas (and no tears this time - at least not on this day)....

More to follow....