Saturday, November 29, 2003

Friday Five Answers (a little late)

::Andrea's Friday Five::

1. Do you like to shop? Why or why not?
Yes, bc I was born to shop. I love bargain shopping. I never buy anything unless it's marked down. I'm very thrifty. My weakness is antiques! Love'em!

2. What was the last thing you purchased?
A movie for Stephen

3. Do you prefer shopping online or at an actual store? Why?
I don't mind buying books, CDs or movies online, but clothing, etc, I want to try it on, feel it. 

4. Did you get an allowance as a child? How much was it?
No, but I was allowed one treat a week. When I was really young, my choice was candy. When I got older, I got one magazine a week. Usually one of those, teen beat mags or something like that.   

5. What was the last thing you regret purchasing?
My white couch. As a parent, what on earth was I thinking? Somebody should've stopped me!


Thursday, November 27, 2003

The Night Of Thanksgiving

Dinner at my house was wonderful, even better than I hoped. Mom and Dad stayed long enough to watch a movie. My brother sent this to me, and I love it!. The picture is the creation of somebody's awesome talent. Here's the story that he send with it..cute, and very fitting for this evening.

'Twas the night of Thanksgiving,
but I just couldn't sleep.
tried counting backwards;
I tried counting sheep.
The leftovers beckoned, the dark meat and white,
But I fought the temptation with all of my might.
Tossing and turning with anticipation
The thought of a snack became infatuation.
So I raced to the kitchen, flung open the door,
And gazed at the fridge full of goodies galore.
I gobbled up turkey and buttered potatoes,

Pickles and carrots, beans and tomatoes.
I felt myself swelling so plump and so round,
Till all of a sudden, I rose off the ground!
I crashed through the ceiling,
floating into the sky,

With a mouthful of pudding
and a handful of pie;
But I managed to yell as I soared past the trees,
"Happy eating to all... pass the cranberries, please!"

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

We have a new journaler!

Hey guys! I plan to get back to my "I'm thankful for" series. But first and foremost, I want to introduce you all to a very dear friend of mine. Her name is Brenda, and like me, she is the mother of a very special son.  His name is Jonathan. You will enjoy getting to know Brenda, and her family. She has been such an inspiration to me. Her son is (correct me Brenda, if I'm wrong) 22 years old. She has walked the uphill road that I am traveling, and has helped pull me up, and encouraged me in times I didn't feel like I could take one more step up this road. Please take a moment now to visit Brenda at "admire the magnolias" introduce yourself and welcome her to our community.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

::Sunday:: I'm thankful for..

Today, the first thing that I am thankful for: I am thankful the day has come to an end. So busy! When I was a child, Sundays meant, rest.  What has happened?  When I was a little girl, Sundays meant :: Church, fried chicken at Mamaw's, playing with my cousins - and, sometimes, snooping to hear what my mama and aunts were discussing. Sometimes, they talked about whatever crisis the family was in. (In big families, there's always a crisis) But, usually what they did the most, when they were not having to discipline one of us for running in the house, and making us go out to play, was swap recipes. Oh, my goodness-we're a cooking bunch of people! Maybe it's a southern thing. My daddy has always been a gardener. You should see the abundance in my freezer and refrigerator, all from my daddy's hard work and the piece of earth that is his sanctuary. His garden. Today, he hand picked and brought me some of the most beautiful broccoli I've ever seen, or tasted. He's trying (with very little success) to teach me everything he knows. I'm telling you, you don't truly appreciate vegetables to their fullest as much as you do when you've sown the seeds and reaped the harvest. It's more than just a head of lettuce, or a tomato, or a bean ... it's your creation, your masterpiece. That's what my daddy has taught me. So today, I am thankful not only for the food on my table, but for the hands who grew it, and the women who taught me how to cook it! I'm thankful for my family and my southern roots. They grow deep. Like the seeds planted in my daddy's garden. What ye sew, ye shall reap. My folks deserve a fine harvest. If there is anything good within me, it's because of them sewing the seed, tending to that seed with love, and pruning when neccesarry :) 

Note to self::Get lots of pictures of daddy, working in his garden. You never know when these things you take for visual granted, may become only memories. (something I learned in Church this morning that had an impact on me. A sad reality)

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Thank you Chief!

Since this is the week of Thanksgiving ~ I want to share something each day this week with all of you, for which I am thankful. (I will try my very best to keep up every day as planned, but you know how sometimes, life just throws a curve-ball `atcha.) But, my plan is to list at least one thing, each day this week, that I am thankful for.

First thing that comes to my mind is our city's fire and rescue dept. My brother was employed by our city as a firefighter and paramedic for about 20 years, and is still involved with them. You see, there is something I've learned, being the sister of a firefighter and good friends with many of them: This career they chose goes far beyond putting in a day's work, and looking forward to that paycheck. It's in their blood. It isn't a career move, it's a calling.  They are not just, *friends* they are *brothers* In the above picture, is a photo of our recently retired fire chief, John Cochran, who has been a part of our family for as many years as I can remember. I remember the old police car that he used as his first EMS vehicle, sitting in his drive, a few houses up from ours. I remember seeing the red lights flashing at a moments notice, and knowing that he was off to rescue someone. Being a little girl, I sometimes imagined, "maybe he's going to rescue someone's cat from a tree, or maybe even from a burning house!" If I remember correctly, I believe there have been a few cases, they really did rescue a few pets. I remember my brother used to walk over to Chief's house in the evenings when he was a young man, and they would have a chat. I don't know wht they talked about, but I think that probably Chief played a big role in inspiring Randy to be a firefighter. All the kids in the neighborhood looked up to him. I know I did, and I still do. Let me take this time to encourage each of you to take a moment this week to let your local firefighters know how much you appreciate them. Maybe, take them a pumpkin pie or something, just to say, "thank you!" :)

::photos used on this page are from our hometown newsletter::

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Just for fun... What's your most embarrassing moment?

Hello there everyone. I am taking a five minute break. I will probably not post tomorrow. They tell me I will sleep most of the evening. (that'll be a first)

I was just in my bedroom, doing some last minute dusting, changing bedding, etc. and my most embarrassing moment popped in my mind, causing me to stop for a minute, sit on the edge of my bed and lol for just a few seconds. Years ago, I actually went out to a few clubs. Not on a regular basis, but maybe 3 x a year. One year, a bunch of us, mostly all family went to a local club for New Years Eve.  I am a funny drunk when/if I drink, and it only takes a half to one drink to make me act goofy. You know, girls almost always go to the bathroom in groups. (why do we do that?) Anyway, my cousins and I just came out of the ladies room, when the band started playing a good dance tune. So, off to the dance floor I went with the only person who wasn't ashamed to be seen dancing with me. (I can't dance well, but I think I can, once I've been drinking) I glanced over at our table and everyone was lol'ing to the point of tears. Some were actually ROFL at us! I was like, "why are they lol'ing? My dance partner said, "don't worry about them, just have a good time." Finally, after people on the dance floor started lol'ing too, by best friend took mercy on me and ran to the dance floor and jerked about 5 yards of toilet paper off of my shoe. (thanks, Beth) Everytime I kicked up my leg, the charmin would flow. That's just one embarrassing moment. I have so many, as I am always doing something silly. I'm not going to be feeling well after coming home from the hospital tomorrow afternoon. So, I'm going to need some funny stories. I know y'all have some. Please, share your most embarrassing moment with us!

ps: wish me luck and say a prayer tomorrow!

Monday, November 17, 2003

Just a quick note:going to be a busy day/week

Yes, this is going to be a busy day. I have to have those darned procedures done on Wednesday at the hospital. (yuk) But, I will be asleep, thank goodness. It'll probably be the best sleep I've had since the last time I was sedated.

I wish I had time to write all that I feel today. So much happend last week, and I'm about to explode to tell y'all about it. I need feedback about a few things going on with Stephen. And, I will ask all of you for your opinions when I have time, bc I know that you all have grown to love him, and want the best for him too. I have a story that will make most of you as irritated as it did us. That too, will have to wait till I have time.

My agenda this week:: TODAY: Hubby and I are doing our Fall cleaning. That means, every corner of the house. Busy, none stop day for us. Then, Stephen's caseworker comes at 3. We love her like family. Can't wait!

Tomorrow: I'm doing a h/c and perm for a very sweet little old lady, who'll bite your head off if you call her an "old lady." That is my "good deed" for the week. - free of charge, but she'll pay me back with words of wisdom :)

Wed: (yuk) But, at least, I will sleep :)

XO to all of you! Say prayer; wish me luck for those biopsies to be normal!

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Happy Birthday to my brother, Randy. Nov. 16th

There is something about having a big brother, that makes a little girl feel safe.
From the first memory I have, until present, you have been my hero.
I should have known you would choose to be a firefighter.

I owe a lot to you, my big brother. You instilled in me qualities that I don't believe I would have ever developed on my own. For this, I thank you.

In fact, there are a lot of things that come to mind that I would like to thank you for:

I remember when I was about four, I wanted to walk with you and your friends to the store, and they didn't want your little sister tagging along. You took me anyway... thank you.

Many times, you would chase the ice cream truck on your bike to buy a tootie-fruity snow cone for me. Many times, I dropped it, and cried -- you would get on your bike and chase him down again... thank you.

In fourth grade, I was doing poorly in history. You helped me build a houseboat for a history project. Okay, you built it for me, I watched. I [you] won first  place, which brought my grade up... thank you.

When I was a teenager, I thought it would be cool to try drugs. Whatever it was, it had been tampered with, and I thought I was going to die. You took care of me, then disciplined me, and convinced me to leave the stuff alone. You didn't tell Mom and Dad... thank you.

Once, a guy came calling on me whom didn't meet your standards for me, and you slammed the door in his face. I was really upset about that. I now see where most of that crowd is...
thank you.

You taught me to drive when everyone else was scared to get in the car with me... thank you.

.... oh and by the way, thank you for not killing me when I ripped grandma's porch off the house with your Monte Carlo. J

Shortly after I had Stephen, the doctors said he might not make it. You called me from work and cried with me, and prayed with me... thank you.

On your last day with the fire department, Stephen began having seizures. You were on the scene in record-breaking arrival time... thank you.

For being forgiving of my foolish behaviors... thank you.

There is not enough room, even in cyber space to mention all of the things you have done for me, Randy.

Thanks for being all you have been to me. I love you!

I'm back! (for now)

Well, well... I started to feel better yesterday :) I'm not 100%, yet. But I'm on my way. I'm a very stubborn creature. My health problems are half emotional, half physical. Yeah, I'm aware the emotions bring out the physical symptoms. I won't go into detail, but I will say that I inherited genetic illness from my grandmother, and I'm going to have it, regardless. But, stress triggers it. Along with menopause. I will announce my age: I'm 37. A little young for menopause, but my mom had completed menopause by the age of 36! I've learned many things lately about how evil this thing can be! I've learned that whatever underlying health conditions one may have, can be a hundred times worse during menopause, and PMS. I want to thank all of you guys for the e-mails and e-cards. What a nice bunch of friends I've made here! Keep me in your thoughts, I'm not out of the woods yet. Thanks for the words of encouragement.

UPDATE: Dr called an hour ago. I am scheduled to go to hospital next Wed. for yet, more testing. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Saturday, November 8, 2003

Last entry for a while::

Hello friends! I'm sorry to say that this will be my last update for a while. At least until I am feeling better. I've been feeling this episode coming on for the last couple of weeks, but I've been fighting it, hoping it would just go away. I was so happy, because I thought that whatever my health problem is, was going away. I've been feeling better since August.  But, what most of you don't know is, I've been under an immense amount of stress for the last couple of months, and I guess it's catching up with me again. I have these "episodes" when under a great deal of stress and worry. I finally reached the point of shutting down last night while cooking dinner. I haven't eaten very well for the last week, been too nauseous.  Last night, I became very sick while cooking dinner and ... that was that. I'm now having fever again and if this is like the other episodes I've experienced for the last couple of years, I will be having to rest as much as possible. I'm very anemic at this point and very weak. I think it may be as simple as, me having ulcers, but all the tests I've had done, come back normal. So~if the Doctors can't figure it out, what else can I do? I'm beginning to wonder if I'm just going crazy bc they can't find anything wrong. But, I know how I feel, and it scares me. I have to be very healthy, as I am Stephen's primary caregiver, and I have no support system. His dad helps when he isn't busy with other things. If anyone ever needed a nanny, or to be cloned, it's me.  Anyway, just so you all know, don't worry, I'm still here, I'm just very sick right now. Who knows, I could bounce back in a day or so. Whatever this illness is, it's very wicked and I doubt that'll be the case. These episodes usually last a couple of weeks, and I mostly live in my bath robe and do as little as I can get by with. Oh-and Stephen is still sick, so please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. I'll be visiting all of your J's as often as possible and of course the e-mail. If at all possible, I'll add brief updates. Y'all take care!

PS: A thought to ponder....Why is it, when you feel your worst, your children misbebehave the most?

Wednesday, November 5, 2003

Photos: stephen. fall colors on our little street. halloween

In the first 2 photos above, Stephen was resting on the sofa, so he could be ready for Halloween! He had no fever, so we gave him a breathing treatment and let him go around the block. After that, to my brother and sis in law's, and then to the church festival. He ended up having a big night and was wheezing pretty bad by the time we got home. But, we did another treatment, let him have some candy, then a vapor bath and he slept like a baby. In a couple of the photos that were taken on that night, he looks scared to death, bc, he was. Poor thing, I almost didn't let him go to the haunted house that our neighbor had. But, he had a great time after all.

The other photos were taken last week on our street. We were on our way home from the pumpkin patch, the sun was beginning to go down and I wanted to get a few shots of the trees that are just beginning to turn, and the creek is always pretty this time of year. The creek and pasture are behind our house, and the drive home is always so pleasant on that little stretch. Paul was able to pick Stephen up, and walk on rocks to get to the big rock in the middle of the creek. I took the picture from the bridge. Yes, we are so far out, you can actually park your car in the middle of the road & get out to take pictures w/out worrying about backing up traffic. I posted a pic of our speed limit sign, bc I thought some of you (especially, jslack) would get a kick out of our actual speed limit on this street. And sometimes the cattle cross over to the other field and that does back up the traffic, sometimes up to 5 cars! :) You wouldn't know, but behind the patch of trees, beyond the cow pasture, there is a very busy highway! Our town is the largest in the county, and the fastest growing in the state. Sorry, I hate change. I grew up here, and remember when we were a small, little town, right in the middle of Alabama.

 Hope you enjoy the photos. I'm too tired to come up with a real subject tonight, so I thought I'd let our latest photos speak for me. It's after 1 am and I'm going to bed now. Stephen will be up early!  I'll try to update soon. When Stephen is well.

Special Olympics Soccer Blast

These pictures were taken last week at Soccer Blast. Please, guys.. don't get upset with me for posting so many photos. When I got them back, I couldn't decide on just, "one" out of all of them to upload, so I am using the, "you've got pictures" album for these. The first one that you see up there, was made the morning before the bus got here. He was so excited when we mentioned the word, "Soccer." He loves to play.

In a few of the pictures, he is on the (indoor) field alone, with the oversized soccer balls. Those were the ones for the wheelchair participants, but they let him go in there and play anyway. Or, actually, he insisted on going in there to play, and they finally gave in. He loved these oversized ones, b/c they were much easier to kick b/c of his problems with balance and he hasn't quite mastered how to run, yet and falls a lot. In some of the pics, you will see his daddy; he helped out on the field. It's hard to say who had the most fun. As you will see, they both enjoyed it, and Stephen was most unhappy to leave.

Monday, November 3, 2003

about ::THE SPARROW::

Before you read the entry below, I wanted to give you a little background.  Most all of you know Stephen now, and have grown to love him. I want to thank each and every one of you for every single kind comment you make regarding my son. I read each of them to him, and he smiles. This is my Journal, but I am Stephen's voice. With the awards going on this week, I've noticed, I'm seeing a lot of new readers.. So, I'm going to use this opportunity to be the voice in representing all families like ourselves in your communities. There is a Stephen in every town in America. You may be unaware, because they do not get out much. Seek and ye shall find. I posted the following Plea on my website and sent it to churches in my own community, and much to my surprise, there are people who care! People like each of you. I got tons of mail, and E-mail from coast to coast, and Canada! We can all do something!

Ps: as a side note, if you are a non-churchgoer, you can still help by contacting your local programs such as: ARC (association for retarded citizens) United Way, UCP (United Cerebral Palsy) just to name a few.

The Sparrow

Laying in the stillness of the night, a mother says a prayer, “Father, please help him, if you choose not to heal him, give me strength.” After getting all of two hours sleep, she is awoken by the sound of the alarm clock. Again, she says a prayer, “Dear God, help me make it through another day. Please send a friend.”

Raising children in these times is a challenge for most parents. When you are the parent of a child who suffers from multiple disabilities, the challenge is magnified, ten fold.

Having her morning coffee as she sits on the porch, she watches a humming bird, feeding from the bright, red feeder, made by the hands of a little boy, who doesn‘t realize the life he is living is challenged. “Amazing,” she says to herself, as she is reminded of something she heard in church, as a little girl, “He sees every sparrow when it falls.” Wondering to herself, “does He?”

Maybe, sometimes We are his eyes. Are we watching the sparrows around us?Do we see them when they fall? Do we look in the other direction, because we have too much on our plates, as it is? Or, are we simply too busy to even notice? Some of us may see the sparrows and say, “a broken wing, that’s a shame.” Others simply choose to step over them, while the sparrows who once soared high, are struggling to get back up and fly.

Ask yourself

How many sparrows has God allowed to fall, in front of me?

What did I do?

What will I do tomorrow?

Statistics show, 90% of families with disabled children, do not attend church.

Statistics show, 80% of marriages who are parents of disabled children, end in divorce.


I am writing this because I do not want my family to become a statistic

The need for church programs to include special needs children and their families is something most people attending church are unaware of. Although 18% of the population is suffering from some form of disability

Your church can help keep these families together. Please, open your doors and your hearts to these families




Sunday, November 2, 2003

My Cousin Vinny :: Part 1

You may be asking yourself, “Why has she posted the DVD cover of the movie, “MY COUSIN VINNY?”

You must be thinking that I am going to write a movie review. Well, I’m not.

I would be very surprised to hear that you haven’t seen, “My Cousin Vinny“. After all, it was released in 1992. I do love this movie though, and it’s special to me. One reason this movie is special to me is, (as you already know) the story revolves around a murder that takes place in a small town in Alabama, and these two guys from New York are wrongfully accused, as they are only passing through on their vacation. They get put under the jail, and this is when cousin Vinny (Joe Pesci), an Italian, NY attorney comes to the rescue. Most all of you know by now, that I live in Alabama. And while we’re on the subject, let me say that my town is nothing like the town depicted in this film. But, I can take you across the county line to one or two that are similar. J I’ve visited many towns across this land, big and small, and our town isn’t much different from yours, I promise. I personally do not know anyone named, “Bubba.” Oh, but they’re out there. I’ve seen a few good ole boys at the Wal-Mart that, if I had to guess their name, that name would be my first guess. I’m sure they are harmless. Just different, that’s all.

Back to the movie. Reason two that this movie is special to me. My Cousin Vinny is the very last movie that my husband and I saw at the theater together. Yeah, almost 12 years since the two of us have had dinner and a movie, out. We’ve gone out to dinner a number of times, but not to the movies. Since we’ve had Stephen, we’ve rarely had the time or the money to do both, so we choose dinner, so we can relax, sit back and be served while we have conversation, just the two of us. Something we can’t do at home in the rush of things. Our conversations are always about Stephen, of course.

I just thought I’d share this with you all, because, when people ask us, “What was the last movie you guys saw at the theater?” we have to nearly pick them up, off the floor after they’ve heard our answer.

My Cousin Vinny ::Part 2

Stephen has changed our lives in big ways and small ways. Going to the movies, is one of the small things that we miss. After he was born, I went from working full time, to part time. When he was two, I just quit all together till Kindergarten. I went back to work for a short time after he started school, but I soon realized that him going to school wasn’t going to allow me the time to go back to work and earn money, b/c those first few years, he was so sick. So-again, I quit, and Stephen is my full time job now. You’d think when he is well enough to be in school, I could work. And sometimes I do a perm, h/c, or color on the side for extra cash. But, I have become Stephen’s manager, caregiver and-well, his voice. I have had to take classes to learn how the special education system and the Medicaid system work, so that I can advocate for him. I’ve reached out for help. Legal help, so I can know his rights, and prevent what happened to him in 2nd grade from happening to him again, and if possible, prevent it from happening to other children like him. When he is sick, and he is sick a lot this time of year, I am also his nurse. My family Dr. put it in a way that I’d never thought of, when I worked in his office for a short period of time. He said, “Mia, you are a nurse, whose shift NEVER ends.” He’s tried to talk me into going school, and becoming a paid nurse. Yeah, like I have time for that! I don’t even have time to go to the movies…

The last time we were asked, “when was the last time y’all went to the movies?” was in September when Stephen saw his cardiologist. They must have seen, from watching us with him, that we need a break as a couple. The shock on the Dr’s and his assistant’s face was priceless. On our way out of the office, the Dr’s assistant chased us down with her card and home phone #, and said, “I insist that you call me, next time there is a movie out that y’all would like to see! My children are great with special needs children, I’m an RN, he’d be in good hands. Please, just think about it, y’all need to be a couple as well as parents.” Honestly, we see ourselves as “Stephen’s parents” or even worse, coworkers, instead of Mr. and Mrs. There’s an old drive in theater close to her home, I’m thinking about giving her a call, and take her up on her offer J