Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Thank you, God!

Thank you, God for the lady who gave Chris $1 last week. We were needing to fill up our tires with air on our way out of town for Thanksgiving. The one gas station we went to that had free air we couldn't use because the machine was broken. As we left town, we kept looking and they all cost 75 cents (for air!) We didn't have the cash on us. (sad I know!-We use our debit card for most purchases these days.) At one place, Chris went in and asked the lady if she could put 75 cents on his debit card and then give him the coins. She said no. There was a lady who had just paid for something and gotten change. She handed Chris a dollar bill that he was able to then make change from to get the 3 quarters he needed. It may seem like a little thing, but I thought that was so sweet! In this world where there appears to be so much selfishness and greed, that lady gave to others. Bless her!

Thank you, God for Suzanne Messick. She is a lady at our church who is suffering from cancer for about the 3rd time. She just had major surgery a couple of weeks ago. I'm not sure what all it entailed, but I think it involved removing major organs. She is just very sick, and I'm not sure what the prognosis is. Yesterday, Gracie got mail. The card was addressed to only her. Inside was a card with a newspaper clipping. We had gone to Story Time at the local community center Tuesday afternoon before Thanksgiving with some friends. While there, Gracie had been interviewed and had her picture taken by a newspaper reporter. Her "quotes" & picture had been put in the paper. Mrs. Messick, amid all of her pain & suffering, had taken the time to cut out that article & picture and put it in a card to send to Gracie. That is very touching to me. Honestly, I don't even know her that well and certainly didn't think she knew my children that well, so it means even more.

Thank you, God for the other person from church who sent us a card yesterday with a note of appreciation. Sometimes you just need to hear things like that and I know it boosted me!

Thank you, God for Jesus most of all!

Monday, November 21, 2005

callecting moone for the old peppol

My sweet Gracie. At the risk of sounding like I'm bragging, I just have to say that I am so proud of her! I know we're not supposed to be prideful, and I don't want to brag either, but I am so proud of my precious little girl!

Our church supports a children's home in South Carolina. One of the opportunities we have to help them is through having change cans in our homes and placing our change in them over a certain period of time. We've done this once or twice, and Gracie has always enjoyed dropping the money in and hearing it 'clink.'

We don't have the change can at home right now because it was recently time to turn it in to the lady who coordinates that effort. The other day, Gracie came to me with a handful of change and said something like, "I want to give this money to some people who don't have that much." I told her that she could take it to church and put it in the collection plate. She asked how we would know that they'll use it to help someone. I assured her that that is what they do with the money. (Of course, I didn't go into explaining salaries & other expenses, etc.) Ultimately, the money is used to help further the Lord's kingdom!

After a few minutes of thinking, I told her that we could get a jar or something and save up change that she finds and change that we give her when we have it, and she could buy something for a child at Christmas. I know they always have the Angel Tree Children and similar things and I figured this way she would actually see with her eyes what she was buying. I don't mean to take away from contributing to church at all; I just thought this would be a good way for her to really take a hands-on approach to helping someone who "doesn't have that much" as she says.

Well, right now our church is meeting in the cafeteria of an older folks' apartment building. We are in the process of building a new church building which is projected to be ready in late January. We've been meeting at this temporary location since February. It's quite obvious, even to the children, that a bunch of "old people" live in this building.

I guess it was yesterday that Gracie said something about giving money to the old people. I questioned her about it and I think she said something about them using it to buy clothes & food, etc. Well, Chris & I kind of chuckled, thinking of how many clothes these old people could buy with the little amount of pocket change a 5 year is going to collect. Then I remembered an idea that I'd tossed around awhile back.

When I was little, we would visit an older folks' apartment building, Christian Terrace, in Atlanta. Our Bible Class teachers would periodically take us over there to deliver crafts we'd made for them in class. We'd always walk across the bridge through the "woods" to go to McDonald's afterwards. so fun! The ladies who lived there in the apartments always seemed to appreciate our little pieces of artwork and just a chance to see young people.

Today, I asked our minister about an idea to buy candy canes and attach them to a little note with a Bible verse and deliver them to the residents of the building where we're currently meeting for church. He talked to the manager of the building and she said that was fine. Once we decide which night to do it (an hour or so before Wed. or Sun. evening church) we'll let the mothers of the other children know about it so they can join us if they'd like. It will probably be a good idea to split up between floors to cover more residents at one time.

When she asked for a piece of paper so she could make a sign for her jar that says she is "callecting moone for old peppol," I told her that I'd talked with "Mr. Mark" about this idea and she was happy with it. I told her she could use this money to buy the candy canes and she thinks that's great! We've talked to my dad and Chris' mom to let them know they can contribute to this cause. Of course, my dad wanted to know if the money was for him since he's an old person! I told him he's not that old! I had to tell Chris to tell his mom to only send some change, not a check! His mom is generous with gifts for the girls, but the point of this is for her to collect change from our pockets and save it up...not to cash a check from her grandmother!

Chris & I both are so happy with our little girl! I really feel like her heart is so sweet and yearning to do for others. I love her so much and pray that she continues to have this type of spirit & attitude. It is so wonderful to see our child wanting to do something like this and with so little prompting from us. We're just kind of helping her along. God has blessed us with this precious angel!

And not to leave out our other precious blessing from God, here is a picture of sweet Katie Boo!

On another note, please remember Kate in your prayers. Her dad was in a bad car accident last Saturday. He is in the hospital with broken ribs, a fractured pelvis, internal bleeding and is on a ventilator because of low oxygen levels. He is scheduled for surgery Monday. Kate & her family have traveled to be with him and this is tough on her right now.

Dear Lord,

Once again, I say thank you for Gracie's sweet spirit. I pray that we will cultivate this good in her. Please help us to be the kind of parents you desire for us to be. We can't do it without You! Please comfort Kate as she is hurting for her dad. She needs You to be with her as we know You are!

In Jesus' Name,


Friday, November 18, 2005

sweet things

Sweet things that have made me happy lately:

*I'm really trying to like hot tea. Sadly, I'm just not that into it. At night, I love to curl up on the couch and watch t.v. and sip something comforting. I'm trying to like hot tea, but I just really don't. Last night, Chris fixed me a cup and brought it to me on a matching saucer. I tried it and asked for some honey. He brought me some. I tried it and had to give up. It just wasn't good. Chris came in with the hot chocolate he'd fixed for himself. He saw that I'd given up on the tea, hesitated for just a moment then handed me his hot chocolate before going to fix himself a new mug. Not many men would do that.

*Katie hates having the sun in her eyes while we're driving. She will make it oh so obvious with her fussing & crying. It happened this afternoon once again. I told her there was nothing I could do about it. When I turned into the parking lot of Blockbuster it wasn't in her eyes anymore. She promptly said, "Thank you." (which sounds more like "Ta too.") Seriously, when she says thank you (and she says it at appropriate times) it is one of the sweetest things and I just want to melt each time! It's also sweet that she thinks I actually made the sun get out of her eyes just to make her happy!

*I explained to Gracie about the little girl at her school who had the brain tumor. I simplified it by telling her that she had surgery because her brain was sick. Gracie has consistently included her in her prayers. I can tell that she is concerned about her and really wants her to be okay.

*Apparently they went around the room today at school talking about things they were thankful for. Gracie told me that Ali said she was thankful for God & Jesus. When I expressed how happy that made me that she had friends who also loved God & Jesus, she told me that Morgan & Lakenya had also said it. Gracie apparently had said that she's thankful for "a whole bunch of love." That's kind of been her thing lately. She keeps saying things about giving a whole lot of love for Christmas. I'm not sure if she heard that somewhere or something, but it's sweet! I reminded her how we've talked about she can tell her friends about God & Jesus and show Jesus' love. I told her that this is what Ali, Morgan, & Lakenya did when they said what they were thankful for. Telling others that they're thankful for God & Jesus is one way of sharing them with others.

*I got up this morning to help Gracie get dressed & get her hair done for school, but Chris was home to take her, so I went back to bed when she was ready. I didn't really think I'd be able to fall back asleep very well. Well, I guess I did because I didn't end up getting out of bed until after 10!

*Chris had a doctor's appointment yesterday that was a potential worry. Katie behaved while we were there (hooray!) and I left feeling better about things. He's still not always going to feel as good as he wished, but there doesn't appear to be any major areas of concern as far as long term serious things.

*Alissa called to check on how his appointment went. I appreciated that.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Dr. Kelly Hamby

Every now & then, I'll log onto ACU's site to see what's going on. I saw today that one of my favorite teachers, Dr. Kelly Hamby, has died. He was only 66. I am having major flashbacks of being in his class. It's actually a little embarrassing to admit that I was in his class because he taught General Studies. I had him for math. Basically, my SAT (or ACT) score in math wasn't quite up to the ACU standard, so I had to take general studies math my freshman year. Yeah, that's right. I'm not so mathematically gifted. (After teaching it, I have a much better understanding & appreciation for math.) I actually found out later that my ACT (or SAT) score was high enough for math that I didn't really have to take it. I took both the SAT & the ACT; I can't remember which one was high enough. Anyway, point is, I took the "baby math class" in order to meet my requirement and Dr. Hamby was one of the sweetest men I've ever met. I remember emailing him a few years ago and he emailed back. He was truly a nice man.

My all time favorite teacher at ACU was Dr. Perry Reeves! He taught Chemistry and Science for the Elementary Teacher (I can't remember the exact title.) He made his class fun and was understanding and giving (with his grades! HA!) and believed in me. Whether or not he really believed in me, he made me feel like he did and I will always remember one particular conversation I had with him that made me feel so good and will still bring tears to my eyes today if I tell it. He is an awesome teacher! He even gave Chris & I a wedding present! I thought that was so nice with all of the students he had!

Another favorite teacher was Dr. Dan White. He taught mainly reading courses in the education department. Seeing as how my specialization was reading, I had him quite a few times. I remember him as being a very gentle, patient man who always had time to talk and answer questions.

Dr. Finis Cavendar was another favorite from my freshman (?) year. He taught Biology. I did not do well in his class at all. Looking back, I wonder if it was actually a Greek class because that's pretty much the extent to how I understood it. He was so nice, though!

Dear Lord,
Thank you for these men who were inspirations to me in one way or another. I wasn't always the best student, but these teachers taught me about more than just the subject matter that was on the syllabus. I am so thankful for Christian universities where the teachers try to be Christian examples. Please be with Dr. Hamby's family as they grieve their loss of a father & husband.
In Jesus' Name,

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Know of a good 12 step program?

Hi. My name is Jacinda and I'm addicted to buying books for my children. My friend Tracy blogged earlier in the week about being a TV junkie. I relate to that as well, but for now I'm focused on my book buying addiction.

I mentioned earlier that we were going to the Scholastic Book Fair today. I told Gracie we'd get 1 book for her & 1 for her teacher to use in the classroom. We accomplished that and left with no more than that other than a bookmark. I spent a little more than I wanted on the book for the classroom (it was actually a Dora phonics pack) but oh well. I remember making out my wish list when I taught school and hoping some of my students' parents would buy one. I also didn't want to look too cheap by doing price comparison on the different items she'd asked for and the library started filling up with the older kids once the 2nd bell rang so I was ready to get out of there.

When we got home, I opened up Gracie's folder and there was another book order form. Aaahhh! At first glance, there's probably $30 worth I'd like to get! I seriously think I'm going to throw it away so I'm not tempted. (The phonics pack I bought for Miss S was in there for about $2 cheaper than I paid at the book fair, too! I told you the book fair isn't the cheapest way to get books.)

It's not like Gracie & Katie don't read the books I get them. They both read alot, especially Gracie and especially now that she actually can read the majority of many of them by herself. I just need to stop or we're going to run out of money! At least I'm not addicted to going out to Barnes & Noble to buy them. I do usually stick to ordering them from the Scholastic order forms or the 2 websites I mentioned earlier in the week. I do feel good that at least most of the ones I buy are bought at good prices.

*sigh* So there's my addiction. Could be worse. Anyone else struggle with this?

Dear Lord,
I'm thankful that we are blessed enough to be able to buy books for our children. I'm thankful that they enjoy reading! Thank you for my precious children. It made me so happy when Gracie, unprompted, said "Thank you for taking me to the book fair." It's so wonderful when she's thankful and expresses it without having to be reminded. Thank you for all of our blessings!
In Jesus' Name,

Monday, November 14, 2005

praises & requests

What does a proud 5 year old look like when she's showing off her "caught being good" ribbon? Look to the left and you'll see! (Is that a goofy lookin' picture or what?!?! BTW, she's getting her hair cut tomorrow. Those bangs have about had it!) She's been "caught" twice this year. This time was for sharing. She told me last week that she had done that (I can't remember exactly what it was that she shared) but apparently the teacher was watching and told the 'powers that be' because she got another ribbon and another Chick-Fil-A coupon. I'm so glad they reinforce positive behavior at her school!

I guess she went to the library to get the ribbon and she informed me that they saw it all set up. Oh yeah! She's way excited about the Scholastic Book Fair! For me, I don't get too excited about book fairs because they seem just as expensive as going to the bookstore and I'm all about a bargain! I order quite a bit from the Scholastic order forms that go home and I've found a few good sites for cheaper books, Daedalus & Book I did tell her that we'd buy 1 book for her & 1 book for her classroom. It supports the school, right? And you really can never have too many books!

I just had to include this picture of my 2 girls doing their homework tonight. Katie wanted to be right in there with "Sissy!" So cute!
I have a major praise to God to report! Remember the truck problems from Friday? Well, Chris & I thought over the weekend and we discussed and ranted about what to do. We decided that he'd ask them what was the least they could do to fix the most pressing problem. The guy told him what that'd be, fixed it and charged him $25. $25! He had originally quoted him $880! No lie. Now, of course this doesn't fix all of the problems, but the main thing was this smokey stuff blowing into the cab of the truck. That was fixed for $25. I had prayed & prayed that God would show us what to do and that He'd help us to know, etc. I feel like He answered our prayers in a big way! I always think God answers our prayers, but I feel like He answered them in a happy way this time! The other problems will need to be addressed at some time, but for now, all is good and I'm so thankful. Thank you, God!
I also have a major prayer request. There is a 2nd grader at Gracie's school who had surgery last week for a brain tumor. Apparently, she was having lots of headaches, was scheduled for a cat scan, started getting worse and had the cat scan immediately, was diagnosed with a brain tumor, was scheduled for surgery, but ended up hemorraging (sp?) and almost not making it, then having the surgery earlier than expected. They were able to remove it but she is looking at chemotherapy and a long road ahead. They took out her breathing tube this weekend but ended up having to put it back in last night. This all came on rather quickly.

Her mother is the PTA President. I feel like a heel because I called her house today to ask a PTA question, not knowing how serious this all was, and talked to the girl's grandmother who was extremely nice. I had to hang up very quickly because I was going to cry. I did cry after I hung up, partly because I felt bad for having called about a PTA question and partly because of the situation itself. I cannot imagine this being my child. I think with Gracie complaining of headaches so often it also has gotten to me on that level. This little girl has the same doctor as Gracie, so I have to feel that she must have presented with different symptoms because he didn't suggest a cat scan for Gracie when we went to see him. Hers have gotten much better lately, too. It's just worrisome. Please, please pray for this little girl & her parents. Her name is Carley. I think she has 3 brothers also.

blogger friends

I added a new link today. JettyBetty has joined my ever growing list of blogging buddies! I left a comment on a site the other day, never expecting anyone I "knew" to read it. However, she saw it, figured out it was me, and was one of the few supporters of what I wrote. Since then, I feel like we've gotten "close." (as close as you can get on cyberspace!) She writes some thought provoking things about God & the Bible & Jesus....good stuff from what I've seen so far.

When I added her to my links, I started thinking about how all of these other people got on my list. It's really quite interesting to see how all of them came to be there. I have a couple of "real life" friends who don't really "get" blogging. (My husband being one of them!) I think they just don't see the point or maybe they're leary of revealing too much personal information for the whole world to see. I understand that not everyone is going to be into blogging as much as others, but as far as I'm concerned, it's a great thing as long as it's done carefully.

I love being able to record little stories about my babies that otherwise probably wouldn't get written down anywhere. I love connecting with people I grew up with or people I went to college with and just other people who I've met online. This is fun for me!

I thought I'd go down my list of blogging buddies and write a little something about how they came to be on my links list. Could be interesting.

Stephanie-I'm not sure how I originally came across her site but I knew from the first time I saw her picture that she looked familiar. I kept going back to her site and reading it to see if I could figure out who she was. She made references to ACU so I figured that's where I had seen her before. She also made references to Siggies which is the social club (ACU's version of a sorority) I was in while at ACU, so that was another connection we had. Somehow one day we got into a discussion about how we knew each other and it turns out she knew my brother-in-law. When I told her who he was, she said, "You married Little Shanks!" Yep! With an older (& bigger) brother, I guess Chris was appropriately called Little Shanks or Baby Shanks I remember him also being called. After we made this connection, we added each other to our links list. I enjoy reading about her dealings with the PTA at her daughter's school.

Kate-She is one of my "real life" friends! She is an amazing writer. You should check out what she has to say.

Matt-He is a minister at my parents' church . I ran across his site and have enjoyed reading it. I like reading about his experiences with his children and I like reading the comments that people leave because sometimes I know those people! We always enjoy being at Campus when he is leading worship because he is a wonderful worship leader! My mom doesn't quite understand blogging, but she likes Matt & his family so it helps for her to know that he blogs, too. She said that Matt told her that I was one of his blogging buddies. I think he gives my blogging credibility for her!

Malia-Malia was one of the first ones who commented to me when I first started blogging. She kind of helped me get started. I enjoy reading about her children and seeing different ways in which we are similar.

Mandy-I went to ACU with Mandy although we didn't hang out or really know each other. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her through blogging and wish I'd known her "face to face" while I had the chance.

Tracy-I also went to ACU with Tracy. She & Mandy were/are best friends. I didn't really know her either, but I have also enjoyed getting to know her. She lives in San Antonio which is our favorite city in Texas, so I enjoy reading about places she goes there (especially when she talked about eating at "The Alamo Cafe!" yum!)

Corey-He is friends with my brother-in-law. He's a good guy!

Adam-Adam is another "face to face" friend. He is Alissa's husband and also a good guy!

Alissa-She is also another "real life" friend, married to Adam (above). We enjoy playgroup with she & her three children each week.

Deana-Deana's husband, Chad, was one of Chris' roommates at ACU. That's how I know her!

Lauren-Honestly, I just ran across her blog and thought it was fun to read from time to time. She's pregnant with her first baby, so that's been fun to read about!

Kristen-Again, I just ran across hers somehow. She seems like someone I'd really enjoy hanging out with. I love reading about her 2 sweet boys!

Britney-I grew up with Britney as the little sister of Tracy, one of my best friends. She is a sweetie and all grown up!

Elizabeth-I ran across hers kind of randomly, just like Lauren & Kristen's. I think I probably linked from one to the other. I know that Lauren is her sister. Her family seems very sweet and I enjoy reading about her PTA activities and her family life.

Brandon Scott-I went to ACU with Brandon, although he was older so I didn't really know him well. He lives in Nashville, one of my favorite cities ever, and my brother lives there, so I enjoy reading about his life there. I also enjoy reading about his family & the ministry he is a part of.

JettyBetty-I wrote about her above.

Have a good day everyone!

Friday, November 11, 2005

lemonade anyone?

I feel like I need to write a disclaimer before you read this. Chris and I aren't dumb. We don't live in a run down house with knee high grass that is littered with all of these old vehicles. Please don't take that image away with you. We've just had some unfortunate luck with our vehicles and, in an effort to relieve myself of the vehicle stress of the day, I am writing this post.

Chris said, "When you get a lemon, make lemonade." I assured him that we'd made plenty of lemonade over the years...too much if you ask me!

Our family just does not have luck with automobiles. Even before Chris & I were married, our auto luck, or lack thereof, began. If you care to do so, take a trip with me down memory lane (but you might want to drive your own vehicle on this trip!)

*1994 Spring Break Chris & I are driving from Abilene to Atlanta to make wedding plans for our upcoming wedding in August. This is my first car. It is a black Ford Taurus. We called it "Black Beauty." We stopped in Leeds, AL (near Birmingham) to eat at Burger King. We got back into the car and it wouldn't start. would not start! I called my Dad and immediately started crying when he answered the phone. He later told me to never start crying when he answers the phone while we're traveling until after I've told him what's going on. I guess I scared him. (It is a 1000 mile drive and we were only 20 & 21 years old!) So, we wait over 2 hours for my parents to come pick us up. We leave the car there to be repaired. My dad & Chris go back later in the week to pick it up. (I'm beginning to laugh as I write this. Remember we're not even married yet.) My dad works at a Christian school in Atlanta and had a meeting at another private school in Georgia. Chris tagged along (it was a meeting with a speaker & a nice lunch so it wasn't too bad). After the meeting, they went to pick up the car. They get the car and are driving back to Atlanta, Chris in the car and dad in his car. Along the way, the transmission decides to fall out of my car! (the one that had just been "repaired" in Leeds, AL and the one we were supposed to drive back to Abilene in a few days.) They stopped on the side of the road and figure out that it's not going anywhere. When they go to get in my dad's car (to get a phone I think) they discover that my dad has locked the keys in the car (or van, I think it was.) Anyway, the car was not able to be fixed before we had to go back to Abilene, so I "inherited" Mom's car. She was not so happy with this situation. I think they had ended up leaving the car on the side of the road and had it towed into Atlanta. When it was finally "fixed," the guy told my dad to drive it to a dealership, don't stop at any red lights, don't turn it off until he gets there, and take whatever the guy will give him for it!

***Chris & I can't agree on the exact timeline from here. He says we took Mom's car back to Abilene then got the Taurus back again because we think we drove away from our wedding in it. He thinks we had the Taurus for awhile longer then it died again and that's when we got Mom's car.***

*The car I got from my mom was a red Pontiac Bonneville. Although my mom wasn't happy giving up this car, I didn't exactly love it. I guess it was okay for awhile, but towards the end of our ownership of it, it would just stall at the most inopportune times. I remember living in Lubbock and going under underpasses and having to make a rather sharp turn and holding my breath because it would want to stall out at those times. There I'd be turning to get onto the Interstate along with a merging lane and cars behind me and mine would stall! I would have to shift to neutral, crank it, then pop it back into drive and step on it! Needless to say, Chris "inherited" this car from me and I ended up driving his cute little blue Pontiac LeMans. (Looking back, this was not a cute car, but at the time I thought it was. It's what he drove while we were dating in college. I loved it!)

*1995-1997? So, we're living in Lubbock with the Bonneville & the LeMans. We're wanting to get rid of the Bonneville, but Chris is in grad school and I'm not making much money either, so we're trying to stick it out. Along comes a hail storm! Thank you for the beauty of nature! We lived in a quadraplex with no garage or carport or anything, so we watched our little Bonneville get pelted by the hail. (I can't remember where the LeMans was or why it wasn't damaged.) We got some nice insurance cash out of this hail storm and used it to make a nice downpayment on our next car: a white Plymouth Breeze.

***I should mention here that not too long after we got the Breeze, we moved from Lubbock to Uvalde, TX. The U-Haul truck we rented had problems on that trip. Would you expect anything less?***

*1997 So, in Uvalde, we have the Breeze and the LeMans. I don't remember the LeMans giving us too much trouble but maybe I've just blocked it from my mind. We decided to sell it for $1000. We were renting a house at the time and some guy came out there to fix something and saw it. He offered us $900 cash and we took it! I do remember making Chris tell him all the things that were wrong with it (so I guess it did have some problems.) I remember seeing that cute little car in carline at the school where I worked, so I guess one of the parents had bought it. I really did like that car! Well, Chris wanted a truck, so he bought a Ford F-150 from a friend. It was a nice full size truck. We rode to the hospital, to give birth to Gracie, in this truck because the car was in the shop in San Antonio!

*2000 Yep, that's right! We had gone to San Antonio (about 2 1/2 hours from Uvalde) the Saturday before Gracie was born on a Friday. She was about 3 weeks early, so we didn't know we were going out of town so close to when she would be born. I don't even remember what happened, but something happened and we were stranded in San Antonio with me basically 9 months pregnant and it being about 90+ degrees! Chris stayed on the phone for a gabillion hours with some lady with the insurance company. He kept getting put on hold. He finally told the lady that his wife was 8 months pregnant (or maybe he said 9) and it was over 90 degrees. She then felt bad and offered to call for some help. He assured her that medical help wasn't necessary but we needed to get a wrecker there now! We were basically in the parking lot of a nice restaurant but I was self conscious about going in there and sitting for long periods of time by myself. We finally ended up calling up our preacher and his wife, Mark & LeAnna Hale, who drove 2 1/2 hours to pick us up and drive us back home. Bless them! We did end up eating while waiting for them. The next day, I felt horrible and stayed home from church. Later that day, I told Chris I needed to go to the hospital because of a problem I started having. Everything was okay, but I really feel like I got dehydrated that day and less than a week later, Gracie decided to make her arrival! Ironic thing, Chris was planning to head out that morning with 2 work colleagues to San Antonio. They were going to a meeting and were going to pick up the car while they were there. My water broke at 5:45 that morning. I am so glad that it happened before he left for San Antonio. Can you imagine my fear & anxiety if he'd been 2 1/2 hours away when that happened?!?! His friends ended up picking it up when they went for the meeting.

*Well, the Breeze continued to have some problems and the truck was having some as well. We traded both cars in on a shiny red Suburban. Ah. my suburban. I loved it. However, we couldn't afford it. I had resigned from my job of teaching at the end of the school year. We were blessed enough to find someone who knew we were selling it, asked how much, and offered to write us a check for the whole amount....enough to pay it off. Bless her! We were nervous because it had had some problems but nothing too major. We then bought a 2000 Chevy Malibu in April 2001 right before (like a few weeks before!) we moved to South Carolina. We were moving to SC so Chris could have a better job and I could continue to stay home with Gracie. As much as we like Texas, the job move was a good move.

*2001 We came to South Carolina with just the one car. It was great for awhile, too. (Aren't they all?)Chris really needed something to drive to work. So, he bought some rust with 4 wheels, otherwise known as a truck, with $1400. You can imagine what a lovely vehicle you can buy with $1400! I don't even want to get into all of the problems that truck had, but one day it went "KERBLAM!" and then proceeded to sit in our yard for probably 4 months. Finally, some auto place paid us about $250, picked it up, and took it away. I guess they were planning to sell it for parts or something. Yeah, good luck with that!

*So, once again we were down to one car for awhile. Well, my parents decided to get a new vechicle and let us borrow their old one. The insurance would allow it for so many days (I think it was 90). It was a beautiful 1994 Chevy Astro van! Let me tell you, we were the envy of all of our friends! HA! Seriously, it was a little embarrassing, but we like to live by Dave Ramsey's motto. "Live like noone else so one day you can live like noone else." We did our taxes that year and got quite a big refund so I asked Dad how much he'd take for it. We ended up actually paying money to keep the big thing! Yes ma'am, we were now the proud owners of this fine contraption.

*Once again, I had my parents' hand-me-downs. At least this time, I paid for it! Back in '94, I took the Bonneville and ran! The Astro was quite the automobile, let me tell you. We spent so much money on that thing keeping it running and keeping the air going. Ugh! The Malibu, by this time, is having problems too. It's almost like we would flip a coin to see which one we'd like to have in the shop each week. The final straw with the Malibu came this Memorial Day. We were on our way to Nashville for my niece's birthday party. My dad had just called on the cell phone to check on how we were doing. When I answered the phone, everything was fine. About 2 minutes into the conversation, Chris had shifted into neutral and was coasting off the Interstate to the end of an exit ramp (in the middle of nowhere I might add). I was not happy. There I sat with my not quite 5 year old and 1 year old while my husband took a ride with some farmer up to a gas station. They tried filling it up (even though I knew that had nothing to do with it) they tried jumping it with cables, nothing worked! Eventually, we ended up walking uphill about a 1/2 mile with our 2 children along the side of the road up to a gas station/convenience store. This was literally probably the only one within 5-10 miles. It was actually a "nice" one as far as they go with tables and rocking chairs and big screen tv playing "The Dukes of Hazzard." We got the car taken somewhere and my brother drove from his house in Pegram, TN to pick us up (a little over an hour.) Chris & I were crammed into the front seat next to Josh. Neither Chris or I could wear our seatbelt which I hated! Anyway, after that trip I was pretty close to throwing in the towel on it. Soon after that, we ended up buying our beautiful (really this time!) red Honda Odyssey.

*2005 I really like my Odyssey. It's not brand new (2002) but it's been a great vehicle so far. The "Maintenance Required" light came on when we were on our way to the church retreat but it just meant that it was time for regular stuff like oil changes, etc. I hope this one lasts awhile!

*After we bought the Odyssey, we sold the Astro and Chris bought a little truck. You may ask why we were talking about making lemonade today. Well, let's just say his truck aint no Honda Odyssey. Yep, you guessed it. It was in the shop today with a less than desirable diagnosis. *sigh* Chris said he wouldn't expect anything less from us. It's "drivable" but needs some stuff done to it. I'm not sure where the money is going to come from, but God has been faithful to take care of us so far in our lives. I was reading "The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Real" tonight and one of the characters was talking about listening to Twila Paris' song, "God Is In Control." I needed to read that. He is in control!

Since this post has really served as stress relief for me, I am feeling better. Here are some good things that happened today:
*I have Jesus in my life!
*We played Candy Land and Cariboo tonight with the girls and that was fun.
*The pure excitement & happiness Gracie showed when Chris mentioned "Family Night" was refreshing.
*The joy she had picking out 2 things at our new local Dollar Tree this afternoon was cute as well.
*I thought I "smelled" Katie this morning and said something to her about being "shooey." She left the room and then I saw the box of wipes being pushed around the corner. I went to investigate and there she was with a diaper and wipes. Smart girl!
*Chris wore a new shirt I'd recently bought for him and he looked really cute in it!
*I have Chris & the girls in my life.
*The weather was nice & cool today.
*My dad just called and said they were going to drive through town tomorrow and offered to take us to brunch. Our life is good!

Dear Lord,
Please help Chris & I to focus on You all the time! Help us not to get stressed over things like car problems and help us to make good financial decisions. Please help us to be there for other people when they need us. Help us to be the kind of parents you want us to be. Thank you for all of our blessings!
In Jesus' Name,

Thursday, November 10, 2005

in honor of Katie

My mother-in-law sent us this little poem about toddlers because it reminded her of Katie. We agree. So, in honor of Katie, on her 20 month birthday, I present to you,
I Am A Toddler
If it is on, I must turn if off.
If it is off, I must turn it on.
If it is folded, I must unfold it.
If it is a liquid, it must be shaken, then spilled.
If it is a solid, it must be crumbled, chewed or smeared.
If it is high, it must be reached.
If it is shelved, it must be unshelved.
It if is pointed, it must be run with at top speed.
If it has leaves, they must be picked.
If it is plugged, it must be unplugged.
If it is not trash, it must be thrown away.
If it is in the trash, it must be removed, inspected and thrown on the floor.
If it is closed, it must be opened.
If it does not open, it must be screamed at.
If it has drawers, they must be rifled.
If it is a pencil, it must write on the refrigerator, monitor or table.
If it is full, it will be more interesting emptied.
If it is empty, it will be more interesting full.
If it is a pile of dirt, it must be laid upon.
If it is a stroller, it must, under no circumstances, be ridden in without protest. It must be pushed by me instead.
If it has a flat surface, it must be banged upon.
If Mommy's hands are full, I must be carried.
If Mommy is in a hurry and wants to carry me, I must walk alone.
If it is paper, it must be torn.
If it has buttons, they must be pressed.
If the volume is low, it must go high.
If it is toilet paper, it must be unrolled on the floor.
If it is a drawer, it must be pulled open.
If it is toothbrush, it must be inserted into my mouth.
If it has a faucet, it must be turned on at full force.
If it is a phone, I must talk into it.
If it is a bug, it must be swallowed.
If it doesn't stay on my spoon, it must be dropped on the floor.
If it is not food, it must be tasted.
If it is food, it must not be tasted.
If it is dry, it must be made wet with drool, milk or toilet water.
If it is a car seat, it must be protested with arched back.
If it is Mommy, it must be hugged.
I put in bold & italics those that are especially meaningful in our home.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

2nd day in a row

For the 2nd day in a row, I am alone in my house! Chris has taken both girls to church this morning and left me home alone. He didn't think I needed to go to church since I hadn't been feeling well. I got up to go anyway but then decided maybe he was right. Hopefully, I will go to Life Group tonight. No doubt I feel better than I did, but my ears are still so stopped up and the headache keeps lingering. Anyway, enough of that.

Chris is leading singing this morning, so we were brainstorming people who could hold Katie during that time. If the nursery attendant is already in the nursery, he'll just drop her in there before church. Otherwise, he'll need to find someone to hold her. She actually stayed in church with us through the whole service last week(yippee!), so I hate to just put her in the nursery at the beginning this week, but with me not being there it may happen.

Yesterday, I was home alone while Chris & the girls ran a meal to a member of our Life Group. She had just moved into a new home and our group wanted to take them a meal. I was planning to do it (I really want to see their house...I hear it's beautiful!) but under the circumstances of being sick, I stayed home. Gracie was disappointed that their 2 little girls weren't there, but she'll probably see them in Bible Class this morning.

Not much else going on. I thought I'd post a couple of pics of the girls from this morning. Hope all of you have a good Sunday!

Saturday, November 05, 2005


Well, here I am at 2:45 in the morning unable to sleep. I guess I went to sleep a little too early last night and am restless from not feeling well. Chris was nice enough to sleep on the couch so I could have the whole bed to myself, so I can't watch t.v. since he's in the den. So, I've been reading blogs for the last hour and a half.

I found this quiz and thought I'd share it with you. I actually think I've taken it before although I think it's changed a little. So, "Are you a Yankee or a Rebel?"

FYI: it said I was "70% Dixie. Your neck must be at least pink."

Friday, November 04, 2005


Yep, that's right. I have strep throat! Remember last week when I said I was thankful for Chris' schedule that he has every Friday and weekend off? I'm really glad for that this week since he was able to be home today to do "Katie duty" and "school shuttle duty."

I remember mentioning to my friends at playgroup yesterday that I wasn't feeling great and my throat was feeling "questionable." Last night, I started feeling worse. Today, I went to the doctor and got a prescription and a promise that I'd soon feel better. I think I caught it pretty quickly b/c I haven't felt horrible, but bad enough that I knew I was probably going to need some meds. I also knew that tomorrow starts the weekend and I didn't want to have to try finding a doctor on a weekend. Been there, done that. I don't know about you, but the "doc in a box" around here hasn't impressed me at all! It's only 6:30 and I'm already thinking about heading to bed!

Elizabeth had it this week, too. I told her germs must fly through cyberspace!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Dear parents of my ex-students,

Dear parents of my ex-students,

I apologize.

I apologize for any time that you came to me with a concern about your child, and even though I may have done what you asked, I also may have muttered under my breath. I may have thought to myself, "They need to let their child grow up." or "They shouldn't be so picky." or "They need to let me do my job with no interference or input from them." or "I know their child better than they do."

I apologize for these things because now that I'm a parent of a school age child, I understand some things better. I have had alot of "Aha!" moments as Oprah would call them. I understood it more fully tonight as Chris called Miss S to request that Gracie be moved to a different table. Part of me was embarrassed & laughing at him for doing it, but the other part swelled with love & pride that he was so committed to taking care of his little girl and making sure she was in a safe, happy environment. You see, we didn't like how often she was complaining of a certain little boy just plain messing with her. Complaining once or twice about someone is one thing, but consistently is another. Miss S called us back after seeing our number on caller id and enthusiastically (because everything she does is done enthusiastically) agreed to move her first thing tomorrow morning. As much as part of me was reluctant to have him do it because I don't want to be seen as a "problem parent," the desire to have my child in a better situation certainly won over!

I apologize for just not understanding your viewpoint as a parent. If I ever go back into the classroom, I think I will be much more compassionate towards the parents of my students. I'm not saying that I was a horrible teacher or that I never understood your view, but I know I could have done better. I do think that having been a teacher, I do have a desire to encourage & uplift Gracie's teachers often. I try to show my appreciation & support on a regular basis and hope my admiration for all they do shines through to them!

Mrs. Shanks

Dear Lord,
Thank you for Gracie and the teacher she has been blessed with this year. Please help us to teach Gracie to deal with situations that may arise which are uncomfortable. We talked tonight about showing the love of Jesus to everyone, even those who aren't sweet. She asked for clarification on how to do that, and I pray that we conveyed the message to her clearly. She has such a wonderful attitude about school, even in the face of dealing with a "not so nice kid." I'm sure it probably bothered us more than it did her. Please help us to guide her through the process of choosing friends and how she can be sweet to someone without choosing to condone the way they act. Thank you for her sweet spirit! Please help us to parent as You would see fit.
In Jesus' Name,

Maw Maw

Maw Maw & Granddad with their grandchildren (Brent, Josh, Jenny, myself, & Andrea) in 1983.

Froot Loops, the red candy dish, peeling apples for nighttime snacks, apple pie, calling time & temperature, playing with my hair, catfish dinners, Burger Chef, burning trash out back in a barrel, her singing voice at church, red cardinals. These are all things that I think of what I think of Maw Maw. She passed away 2 years ago today. I still miss her. I know she was a Christian and I have hope in that, but I still miss her.

Maw Maw was a wonderful grandmother who loved her family unconditionally. I still remember the way she would grab my hand and squeeze it tight and I'd look down at the age spots on her hand. Playing with my hair was one of my favorite things she would do! I would get a brush and lay my head down in her lap, even until I was quite old, and she would brush & brush. My cousin, Andrea, and I would "fight" over whose turn it was. In this picture, she is doing it for both of...minus the brush! I treasure the memories I have of her and the few "things" of hers that I have....a necklace, some dishes, the above mentioned candy dish, a quilt, a rug & a Bible Study book from a Bible Class she attended at some point that has her hand written notes in it.

I am grateful that Chris and Gracie got to know & love Maw Maw. She was able to visit our homes in Texas and in South Carolina. This picture is from Thanksgiving 1998 with my cousin, Jenny, and my aunt, Nanette.

I have a picture of Maw Maw with all of her grandchildren (as of January 2003) in a frame in the den. This picture is from her 80th birthday party where all of her children & grandchildren were able to be present. This party was in January and she died the next November. I am so thankful for that party and the time we had together as a family.

I have taught Katie that the woman in the picture is Maw Maw and I love hearing her say "Maw Maw" in her sweet 19 month old voice. Katie never got to meet Maw Maw, I was pregnant with Katie when she died, but I know Maw Maw loved her anyway. She knew I was pregnant and I know she loved my child even before she was born. There is an interesting story about Katie's name that I will forever wonder about. I sometimes think maybe Maw Maw had a hand in naming her even though she had already passed away. I don't mean to sound "weird" or "spooky" about it. Just read the story and decide for yourself.

I was pregnant with Katie. We didn't know if it was a girl or a boy, although we kind of suspected it was a girl. We had thought of many names, but never "Katie." I had thought of Kathleen & Kate, but never really Katie. One night, I dreamed we had a girl and named her Katie. I woke up and told Chris and he immediately liked it. I wasn't sure because it seemed so common to me. I told my mom and I could tell she wasn't thrilled with it, mainly because of the "common-ness" of it. Chris really liked it and kept pushing for it.

Well, back at the beginning of my pregnancy, I had liked the name "Brooklyn." Chris hadn't really liked it, and my dad had gone so far as to joke, "Why don't you just name her Manhattan?" (smart-aleck!) So, I had kind of forgotten about that name. Towards the end of the pregnancy, one of my friends emailed me and suggested "Julianne Brooklyn." (Julianne was on our list.) I mentioned it to Chris and he didn't like it, but he suggested "Katie Brooklyn." I liked it! I thought I must have told my friend about liking the name Brooklyn, but she said I hadn't. I thought that was kind of weird that she would have mentioned it all on her own, so in the end that ended up being her name.

When Katie was born, my dad called my Aunt Sandy to tell her the baby was born and the name. Sandy said, "Maw Maw's favorite book was "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn." I never knew that! So, I thought that was pretty cool. After I got home from the hospital, Chris checked the book out of the library for me. I started reading it and one of the main character's names is Katie! I have always felt that Katie's name is all the more special because of these little "coincidences."

Maw Maw will forever be remembered and loved by all of her grandchildren and I think of her often!