Sunday, December 19, 2004

Breakfast With Santa!

Last Thursday, the local Golden Corral hosted breakfast with Santa! Stephen's class was invited, and we had the entire restaurant to ourselves! The kids had a blast! We all ate pancakes, sausage, eggs and bacon till our tummies were content. Every child sat on Santa's knee and gave him their lists of Christmas wishes and whispered into his ear what they want most this year. We told Stephen the night before that it doesn't matter that he couldn't talk or write to Santa, because Santa knows everything. He knows when you're sleeping and when you're awake. He knows if you've been bad or good. He understands the language of those unable to speak. The language of the heart is universal.

Just like me when I was a little girl, he is a skeptic. Stephen just had to pull on the old beard. The child does this every year. Fortunately, this Santa saw it coming and grabbed onto his beard before Stephen got a good hold on it. He quickly reached into his bag of goodies and gave Stephen a red felt stocking, filled with candy and pencils. Stephen wasn't really interested. He wanted to reveal the man behind the beard to all of his classmates. The jolly old man rushed him from his lap and said his, "Ho,Ho,Ho's" before Stephen had a second opportunity to yank the beard. 

Quickly, Stephen's teacher took him by the hand and guided him to visit the face painting elf. A few minutes later, he returned to us with a perfect snowman on his left cheek. How he was able to sit still for that elf and have his cheek painted is beyond me. You should see me trying to cut the hair of a moving target. Maybe I should buy an elf costume?

I hope you all are having a nice winter break so far! We have been very busy and probably will stay that way until after Christmas. I have photo's of my goddaughter's wedding [yesterday] to show off soon. I still haven't sized them down for uploading to aol yet. I will do so as soon as I have time.

Y'all take care!

Monday, December 13, 2004

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year ...

Or, at least it smells like it.

Today when I got Stephen off of the bus, he couldn't wait to get in the door. The aroma of Amish Friendship Bread was in the cool, crisp air. Mmmm, and it was coming from my kitchen!  I only bake this bread for the holidays. It takes 10 days from start to finish. That is one reason why I only do this once a year. The starter keeps well in the freezer, and I accidentally threw mine out this past summer. I was so upset when I realized this. Do you have any idea how many recipes there are for starters? Furthermore, have you any idea how bad some of them are? I've tried many of them, and the only one I truly love is the one my friend, Susy gave me the first year I made it. Thank goodness, she and my cousin Beverly still had copies of the original recipe and 10 days ago, I mixed all the milk, sugar and flour together and then added yeast to it just to see how it would go and, voila! Just like my first starter arrived, 5 years ago!

This is what Stephen's teachers are getting for Christmas, along with some other goodies and candy. I hope he scores some major brownie points! ;P

Uh, oh ...There's only one problem ... I ate half a loaf and I don't feel so good. Did I mention, it's really rich and sweet?

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Love And War

Some of you may be wondering, "Where the heck are they? Why haven't we seen an update?"

Several reasons, actually.

I've told this story so many times, I'll tell you the truth, I don't want to write it again, so I'll copy and paste the e-mail that I sent to a local Christian radio station, who read my plea on the air, and I thank them very much for doing so. I would also like to add right here in my public journal, the response from the Birmingham, Alabama Christian community was not overwhelming or even adequate, in my humble opinion. Yes, I am aware it's Christmas. I'll also ask, speaking of which, "What would Jesus do?" Here is part one of this story:

The E-mail that I sent to several friends, family members and the local Christian radio station:

I'm calling on everyone I know who might have "connections" in the area to help my goddaughter, Alicia and her fiance, Matthew. Here's the situation:

My best friend's daughter and her fiance were going to have a nice, long engagement. That was wonderful, we had plenty of time to plan this wedding. However, her fiance is now going to Afghanistan, January 3rd.  :( 

As you can understand, they really want to be married before he goes overseas. They have moved the wedding date to December 18th. There is literally no room at the Inn for these two kids. [I mean, this soldier and his bride.] Everyone we've checked with is booked that night with Christmas parties. They will most likely be married at the small church of her grandparents, but it's too small to handle the reception. They don't need a very large place, just something big enough for about 60 guests. If you know of a church with a reception hall in the Shelby County area, [available that night] that would be great too! But ... any community center, etc., in the area would be fine for the reception.

In closing, I want to ask you all for your prayers. Matthew is a brave young man, putting his own life on hold to help others in their time of need. Please, join me in prayer for his safe return.


The good news is, they found a church and reception hall very close to their town, and the wedding is set for next Saturday at 1:00 in the afternoon. The church is having a Christmas program that evening, so we have to have it cleaned up and be out ofthere by 4:30 or 5:00. Not easy, but also not impossible.  There will be many of us, we can do it. Unless I am mistaken, [correct me if I am wrong, Beth] We had no offers from the radio station audience. However, almost every single church I drive by in my community has the same billboard: "We Support Our Troops" I honestly thought I'd witness more patriotism. How very sad. My cousin has a close friend who is a pastor's wife, and this couple offered their church, reception hall and the pastor's services. So if you're wondering if my faith in my fellow Christian[s] has been destroyed, the answer is NO, is hasn't. But I won't hesitate to say, it has been shaken, a little. A reminder; the Christmas season is about Jesus, not us. Most certainly, not about "things." I believe He still listens and He has room for those who call upon him. Wise men, still seek him.

Lesson learned this week: People [even those who share your faith] will let you down. God will not.

You all know that it's seldom I discuss my religious or political beliefs in my journal and I try to keep things lighthearted around here, but sometimes, things weigh very heavy on my heart. This is one of those occasions.

I am now going to ask those of you who pray, to please pray for my goddaughter and her soon-to-be groom. I Pray for them, a long and happy life together. May they always be as in love as they are today. I pray too that God will keep Matt safe while he serves in Afghanistan. I hope the next year and a half passes by quickly for them, so they can start their new life together.  ...Amen...


Sorry, I had to edit. Also I wanted to add that I forgot to tell you everything else that's been going on and next week is going to be the busiest week I've had in a long time. But it will be in a good way. Winter break begins after December 17th. I'll have Stephen to care for and enjoy, 24/7 until January. I will [try] to update on our latest happenings soon. Stay tuned for photos from Breakfast with Santa coming next week. Stephen has quite a week ahead of him too! Have a happy weekend!

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Dear mia,
Here is your horoscope
for Thursday, November 25:

If an authority figure or elder seems to be deliberately butting heads with you, don't question your sanity. It's not you. They're irritated -- but maybe not with you personally. Approach them, and talk this over.

Wow! How'd they know?

Note to self:: Smile and nod your head whenever mama speaks today. Go to a happy place...

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving [a little early]

I said I was going to make a Thanksgiving entry and list all I am thankful for.

Well folks, this tops the list. The angel whose hands created this art for me to enjoy and share with you all, is what I am most thankful for.

Stephen's smile was the first thing I saw when I opened my eyes this morning. What more do I need? 

Praying all of you have a very blessed and safe Thanksgiving.

Give thanks if your loved ones are sitting around the table with you. Pray for our soldiers who are far from their loved ones this Thanksgiving. Give thanks for those who sacrifice their safety for ours.

I will try to make one more entry with details [maybe even photos] of our menu, etc. My parents will be coming here tomorrow.

I'm signing off to bake some pies!

Monday, November 22, 2004

Comfort Food [to make you feel uncomfortable later]

Today, Stephen missed school. He had a tummy ache. Even worse, I think it's partially my fault. Yesterday, I was craving banana pudding and said, "I'm going to make Stephen some banana pudding. After all, he loves it so much."  That sounds much better than saying, "I feel like I could eat a whole quart of banana pudding!" He does love banana pudding as much as I do, and between the two of us, we ate more than half of it within 20 minutes after taking it out of the oven. 

It's beginning to storm, so to prevent a repeat of the modem trouble I had after hurricane Ivan, I'll make this recipe entry quick.

Mama's banana pudding

2/3 c sugar
1/4 c flour
1/4 t salt
2 c milk
2 eggs, separated
1 t vanilla flavoring (please, don't insult your taste buds by using imitation vanilla)
vanilla wafer cookies
3-6 bananas, thinly sliced  (very ripe ones are best for pudding)

In a double boiler, combine sugar, flour and salt. Stir in milk. Cook over boiling water, stirring unil thickened. Beat egg yolks. Remove boiler of custard from heat and add some of it to the beaten egg yolks. Slowly add the egg mixture to the pot of custard. [this prevents curdling.] Return to double boiler, cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add vanilla. Line a one quart casserole dish with vanilla wafers and top with sliced bananas. Pour some of the custard over the bananas. Repeat layers, ending with the custard.

Beat egg white untill stiff [but don't over beat them, or they'll be dry] Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Pile the egg whites on top of pudding. [swirl'em and make it purdy] Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for about 5 minutes.

Silly, me. I should have taken a picture of it when it came out of the oven. But to be honest with you, I was salivating from so much anticipation, I never thought about it. Stephen and I sat in front of the TV and slurped banana pudding like pigs as we watched The Wizard Of Oz.

...And today, we paid for it. Ah, but it was well worth it.  



Sunday, November 21, 2004

~Checking In~

Just in case any of you were wondering, I survived the potted meat incident.  I've just been too busy to say so. However, I couldn't help but chuckle at all of the comments. Isn't it funny how just one little sentence can start such laughter? You guys are great.

I have been busy lately visiting A LOT of journals that I had missed out on while my modem was down. Please forgive me, for I have not left as many comments as usual. Stephen has gotten so .... clingy these days. When he sees me typing something, he starts hanging all over me or communicating that he has to go to the bathroom, or anything else it takes to pull me away from the computer. Of course, if we are visiting the Noggin, PBS kids, or Nick Jr. websites, he is a perfectly content little angel.

So, Thanksgiving is approaching terribly fast this year. How many of you already have your Thanksgiving menus planned? All I know for sure at this point is, we're having turkey and dressing. Oh, and how can I forget, pumpkin pie. I bought some pumpkins after Halloween for only 99 cents each. I cooked them, mashed them and froze them so I have that out of the way. I would like to list a few things I am thankful for this week. We'll see how that goes. How about you? What are you thankful for?

I've been online for a while today trying to find Amish Friendship Bread Starter recipes. This starter freezes well, and I always have some in the freezer. I must have tossed it while cleaning out the freezer.  If any of you happen to have a "simple" starter recipe, would you please send it my way?

I'll check back in soon!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Never read the ingredients on the back of a potted meat can...

While you're eating a potted meat sandwich.


::ewww:: I was going to update, but it'll have to wait...


Thursday, November 4, 2004

Here we go again...

All last week, through Tuesday night, I was beginning to believe that my connectivity problems were getting better. I felt hopeful. Tuesday evening, I was able to stay online for 70 minutes! I was the one to choose it was time to sign off.

Beginning yesterday morning, I was right back to only being able to stay connected between 2-10 minutes! Sometimes, unable to even connect at all.


Isn’t that strange? Hmmmm….. What are your thoughts?

If my son wasn’t watching and learning how to behave from me, I would smash this thing to pieces and toss it onto the lawn. But then, if he did the same thing to something, and was punished for it, what kind of message would that send? :P

If you don’t hear from me for a long time, you’ll know that for a moment, he looked away and I did it anyhow. ;-)

Ps…I plan on going shopping this weekend for a new modem to see if that resolves the problem. Wish me luck.

update:: Friday, Novemeber 5th.

I finally got a new modem today. So far, so good. Keep your fingers crossed for me... I just "might" be back soon!

Whoohoo! :)

ps ~ Have you any idea how dang hard it is to take one of these babies apart, find what you're look'in for, and put it  back together?  When you  have NO clue as to what you're doing?  That subject calls for a whole new entry...  ugh!

Too Much Halloween

I don’t know about all of you, but we’ve had enough of candy to last a year! Stephen had a great time, trick or treating. But we’ve all had too much candy and my lil’ buddy has had tummy trouble for a couple of days. Poor lil' guy.


My landlord owns 100 + acres here. He has a mini-museum of civil war findings that he found on this property. Also Indian arrowheads and such. Could be a number of spirits roaming these parts. I can certainly tell you this; we’ve lived here for 9 years and there is absolutely the strangest energy here. Does that make sense? It’s never felt quite right. Weird things happen. And our lives have changed since moving here. Not in a good way either. I’ve had the house blessed twice, and was told that they felt a terrible spirit of oppression and depression here. A spirit of anger and hostility. But I don’t think it’s the house. It’s only 15 years old, and we’re the 3rd family to live here. That I know of, there were no deaths in this house. I think it’s the land. We constantly have things to come up missing, only to reappear in the very spot we‘ve been looking for hours or days. The latest example of that is, DH’s wallet. Last week, the last time he remembered having it was when he was welding pipe, 15 ft. under the ground and then, the crew covered the pipe. He was certain that since he couldn’t find it anywhere in the house, it must be underground. Still, I had a feeling he must have brought it home or he would have noticed it was gone before the next morning. We looked everywhere. His bedside table. My bedside table. Under the bed, just incase it had fallen and got kicked up under there. Nope. Nowhere. It must be on the jobsite. Monday morning, I was making the bed and guess what was on the floor on my side of the bed? Yup, the wallet. There is NO WAY I walked over that thing for 5 days. Uh, uh, no way! The wallet, just like numerous other things had disappeared and was returned to an obvious place. Don’t laugh. I’m certain of it! I’ll never be convinced otherwise. We hear noises. Sometimes, a window that has been raised for days will slam shut. I’ve seen what looks like a shadow where there is no one standing. Then, it’ll be gone. We’ve never experienced such happenings before moving here. I have neighbors who experience the same things we do. Nothing terrifying, just annoying at times.

An old friend I used to know has a farm where he also has collectedmany an arrowhead and confederate metal buttons, etc. The spirits that roam his farm were very scary to me. One day, they were all hunting and I stayed at the house. I was on the phone with my mother when I heard a noise and saw something move from the corner of my eye. When I looked into the direction of that noise, I saw the hanging plants start to sway back and forth. There were no windows open. I convinced myself it was my imagination. During a conversation that evening, I found out about the rumor of that farm being an old battlefield. Since then, I’ve had different people tell me different stories about strange happenings they encountered while visiting there. One girl said that she was visiting them one weekend and the stereo kept coming on in the middle of the night. The TV in her room would come on and when she walked over to turn it off, it would go off before she touched it. [No, there was no remote control to either of these] This one guy was at a party there and went in the house to put his beer in the fridge and as he reached for the refrigerator door, the door opened by itself and then, slammed shut. The guy threw his beer down and ran outside and told the owner, who only laughed and said, “Oh, you have met one of my ghosts. They won’t hurt you. They just like to make their presence known for attention. I’ve gotten used to it.” The guy left, and never-ever went back. Even the owner stained his underwear the evening he was minding his own business, watching TV. He was drinking a Dr. Pepper when an image of some sort came out of the TV, he heard a scream and the glass he was holding shattered in his hand. Yeah, that would be enough to make me move. But as far as I know, he still lives on that farm. Not everyone experienced this sort of happening there. The only thing I can assume is, some of us are more sensitive that others? I don’t know.

So, there are my ghost stories, a week late. But when I make a promise, I try to keep it. I said I’d continue, and I did.

How do you like the photo above? LOL! I can’t take credit for it. It was sent to me by a friend a couple of years ago, and it just tickles me to pieces, every time I look at it. Maybe I’ll try to be that creative next year with the pumpkin carving.

Stay tuned as I will attempt to post some recipes in the near future. Maybe even a story or two. Thanksgiving is just around the corner!


Friday, October 29, 2004

Who Goes There? ....



Being in the very heart of Alabama, you can bet there are plenty of Civil War battlegrounds and cemeteries. Many soldiers are in unmarked graves, scattered about. On the very land in which I live, legend is, was a battlefield. And across the street from my neighborhood, there is a small cemetery and historical landmark where Civil War soldiers were laid to rest.

But…are they really, resting?

The house that you see in the photo up there is a house that just this time last year, I begged my husband to buy. It’s less than 2 miles from here. To say it was a handyman’s special would be an understatement. The previous owners had already started remodeling projects and just left it, along with all of their material to complete what they’d started. It is not a very old house. It was built in 1946. The kind of old house I’ve always dreamed of, is turn of the century-old. That dream is far from practical and will be one of those dreams to never come true. Still, I almost had the hubs convinced on this one because along with the house, was 6 beautiful acres. The price was a steal. I went to the house to take pictures, and that was the day I changed my mind. Have you ever felt like you were not alone? That is how I felt. I know it sounds silly, I’ll admit that I scare easily, but my imagination did not bring this fear on. I was so happy that day, no fear or suspicions in my mind at all. There were cold spots in the house, which I found weird, considering the sun was shining bright through out the house. My skin crawled with goose bumps in one room. The one thing I’ve learned, as I get older, is to follow my gut feeling. There was a bad energy in this house. I felt it.  I don’t know the history of it, but I didn’t like it. So - that was the end of that. Someone did buy that house; I would drive by on occasion to see the progress they were making in their remodeling. The people abruptly moved, I guess. I haven’t seen any activity there in a while now. So - I don’t know. Maybe the renovation was going to be too expensive. Yet, when I was considering buying the house, my cousin inspected it and he said it had a solid foundation, and overall was in good shape. The only repairs needed were cosmetic. So, who knows? Most likely, the “house” wasn’t even haunted. Could have been the property. Which, by the way, is adjacent to the property we live on now. And, might I add, we’ve had our share of weird happenings while living here.

To be continued…

Note: I stand corrected. Mama informed me the house was built in 1940. Not 1946.  :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

A photo and short story entry

The following articles and stories featured this week [modem permitting] are based on my personal beliefs. The stories I will write are from my own personal experiences, or those of family members and friends.

Do you believe in ghosts/spirits? I very much believe in ‘spirits.‘ Someone once told me the difference between ghosts and spirits, but to be honest, I can’t remember the details. I believe there are human spirits and nonhuman spirits. I believe human spirits are the spirits of people who have passed on, or are on the brink of passing over to the other side. I believe that nonhuman spirits are the spirits of good and evil. I believe the good spirits that walk this earth are heavenly spirits. Angels.

I believe that evil spirits also walk among us. Demonic spirits. I believe there is a heaven and a hell.

That is as deep as I am going to get into my personal beliefs at this time

The story I am about to tell is not a ghost story. It is simply, a true story. Told by two of my aunts, who I believe with all of my heart.

This is a story about my aunt, Willow Dean. Dean was quite a surprise to the family, as my grandparents thought their childrearing days were all behind them. Their four daughters were practically grown when Dean came along. She was such a pleasant surprise. Loved by all and spoiled by her older sisters who showered her with things they were not able to have when they were little girls. Barbie dolls were introduced when Dean was a very little girl. Every week, her sisters would cash their hard-earned paychecks from the cotton mill and buy her a new doll or dress. She had beautiful, lacy dresses hanging in her closet. Tap shoes! Oh, how she loved her tap shoes. You could hear her coming a mile away, tapping those black patent leather shoes and singing a favorite tune. You would think that a child that spoiled would be rotten-mean, but everyone says she was an absolute angel and brought joy to everyone’s life. Dean’s life ended too soon when she came down with encephalitis at the age of ten. Papaw said that she woke from her coma and looked at him and smiled. Saying, “Oh, daddy … you should see it. It’s so beautiful there!” Dean peacefully closed her eyes and went to sleep. Never again to awaken. Not only was her family devastated, the entire cotton mill village in which they lived felt the pain of her loss.

Eventually, life must go on and everyone tried tocarry on as best as theycould. My aunts Marie and Christine were on lunch break at the mill one day and went to the bathroom before getting back to work. They were the only ones in the bathroom at the time. Their stalls, side by side. Christine said that she kept hearing a tapping sound that came from the hallway. Then, the tapping got closer to the bathroom. As the sound got closer, she heard humming and singing. It was clearly, Dean’s voice. For the first time since before Dean’s illness, she could hear her voice sing a familiar song they‘d heard her sing a thousand times. Aunt Christine said she held her breath and remained silent as she listened to her tapping and singing fade into the distance until it was quiet again. It was as if she came from the hall, and walked right through the bathroom and exited through the other end. My aunt Christine said that they washed up and walked out of the bathroom and went back to work. She said nothing to Marie because she was still in shock from what had just happened. That night, while walking home, Christine said to Marie, “Today, while we were in the bathroom, I could swear that I heard…” Marie interrupted her, “You heard her too? You heard Dean come into the bathroom, singing?” They were each amazed that the other heard the same thing. One reason being, it proved they were not losing their minds. And another reason being, it confirmed that there really is another side after this life is over. We will see our loved ones again. If we choose to follow the same path they did. Aunt Willow Dean was only ten years old when she passed. Innocence was all she knew. She must be in a better place. My aunts shared this with the rest of the family and everyone was able to let go a little easier and felt a greater peace for Dean.

The above story is not intended to be a ghost story to instill fear. Rather, it is a story of hope and peace. I have a bittersweet smile on my face and a tear in my eye as I type this. Because I believe that my grandmother, who would have been ninety-one years old last Thursday, was with her daughter, Dean, and her other loved ones on that day. Although I miss Mamaw terribly, I know that her spirit is still with us and watches over us from where she is.

The cotton mill has been closed down since about 1979. I took a lot of pictures there over the summer because I know they are tearing it down to build a mall. If any of my relatives or friends from this area reading thiswould like photos, email me and let me know.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Long Time, No Update

Splitting headache as I type this update. Please pardon any typos. It’s been way too long since I’ve updated. I’m terribly sorry about that, but as everyone who knows me, knows by now … My modem is on the blink. I hauled the whole darned thing to my parents and I got disconnected there too. So it’s gotta be the modem. Right?

Oh, well … enough of that.

What else is new? Been dealing with a lot of fatigue this week. Not sure what is going on there.

Field Trip Hell!

Tuesday was Soccer Blast at “Sports Blast“. An indoor soccer field. You might remember our pictures from last year? Our county has Special Olympics soccer games there every fall. Let me tell you, it was anything but a blast! Stephen decided he was going to be the biggest brat in the world on Tuesday. In a way, I can’t say I blame him. This is how it went: The children all had to stand in line forever, just to kick the ball one time. Who’s big idea was this? Are they kidding? Special needs or not, I don’t know a kid in the world who would be happy about that. In all fairness, his dad and I got there late. I was not feeling well and had to make myself go. Maybe they had a blast before we got there. I couldn’t tell you. I felt sorry for Stephen’s aide as she tried to keep him entertained in line. He would try to break free from her and break in line. At 11:00 they had lunch break so the bigger kids could play, and he pitched a good old-fashioned fit and refused to eat. Not only did he refuse to eat a bite of lunch, he screamed at the top of his lungs till his face was as red as a beet. A fireman friend from our town came up and said, “Is Stephen okay? He’s not injured is he?” “Not yet!” his father replied. Eventually, we had to gather his lunch, escort his little butt out to the car and he finally got his mind off of soccer long enough to catch his breath and eat a little. Finally, it was time for the fun and games to begin again. We went into the building, found his teacher and handed him over to her and said, “Here he is. We’re leaving. See ya later. Bye.”

Ahhhhh, silence was bliss! Stephen’s daddy suggested we eat lunch at Chili’s. I didn’t argue. I ordered a man-sized order of baby back ribs and ate like there was no tomorrow. In fact, I believe I even had barbecue sauce in my eyebrows when I was finished pigging out. [I’m a stress eater. … You can imagine]

How’s that for an update? I just want to set the record straight and possibly disappoint all of you who thought I was a perfect mother who never loses her patience with her child. Let me make it clear; I am not a saint. Actually, I’m just like everyone else. I’ll go so far as to say, most are probably way better than I! I get stressed just like everyone else. I yell at my child. I know a good opportunity to use the school system for a babysitter when I see one! And I did so, this past Tuesday. :P

Fall carnival this weekend at the school. Do we dare go?

Saturday, October 9, 2004




Still have connection problems. I installed version 6.0, which came with  my computer, and the AOL tech was wrong. It isn't a RAM issue...

I'll check in as often as I can.

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

A Few Pictures of the 50th Celebration!

For some strange reason, You've Got Pictures doesn't work for me in my "Mia Renee" journal. I have NO idea why. Oh, well..

I'm adding a few photos here if you want to take a look. My digicam pictures didn't turn out very well. It was too dark inside, compared to the light outside and everything was too dark. I tried to brighten them with Photoshop. They'll do...


Saturday, February 28, 2004

Field Trip To Walmart Super Center

Well, it's been a while since I've updated this old journal :o) I'm not sure why, but I couldn't do "AOL-you've got pictures" from from MiaRenee.. I am hoping it'll load from  here.

I'll try to not get too wordy, as the pictures are what we call a social story, themselves. Stephen and his friends had a blast yesterday. I was even able to let go, and trust that he'd be okay at IHOP without me,  bc I had too many things to do yesterday. He made it home just fine, and I don't even feel very guilty for not going on the 2nd part of the fieldtrip! How's that? :P

I'm going to admit something: I really hate fieldtrips. But, I remember being a kid and everyone else's moms went with our class and I would secretly be upset that my mama wasn't there. I always said, "When I grow up, I'm gonna go with my kids!" So, I feel like I have to stick to that now. It's usually okay after I get there, but by the end of the day, I have a headache that nothing can make go away.  And guess what? We were the only parents there.

We had asked his teachers to not let him know that we were going to be there, bc we wanted to observe how he behaves when we aren't around. He was an angel! (the lil stinker!) One of the last times I took him shopping with  me, I said I'd never go with him again unless someone else could go too! He pulled over a whole display of tampons! I was about 500 shades of red, and just stepped over them and kept walking as some jerk was laughing at us. (what was HE doing in the feminine product aisle anyway?) So I've gotten a little wordy, and off track, please forgive me. What I'm getting at is, here I was, feeling bad for not wanting to go and after he saw us in Walmart, he smiled and went back to shopping! He didn't even care! But, that makes me feel better. I  know he must really feel comfortable with his teachers. Please take a moment to look at our pics up there. Don't mind the blurry ones, I didn't want to use my flash in Walmart and that group of kids moved fast! If the album doesn't come up, try your refresh for me sometimes. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Ressie's Corner/Sunset with God

Ressie's corner/Sunset with God

I've been taking photo tips from SloMo, what do y'all think? I know we all agree, that girl has the eye. If I have SloMo's approval, I feel good about it J

The above picture's title is simply, "Ressie's corner."  Ressie is my aunt, the one I talked about in one of my Christmas entries. Ressie is one of my positive influences, like SloMo, Trish and I talked about on Saturday. The reason I have named it, Ressie's corner is because everything you see there on my nightstand was a gift from Ressie, with exception of my Rosary beads, which were a gift from a dear Catholic friend. I see Paul's beads there too, hanging beside my lamp. The lamp, also a gift from Ressie. Many times I have thought, surely there was some mix up~Ressie was really my mother. I guess that wasn’t meant to be, for I really love my mother, and although I am quite quirky, she helped mold me into me. Love me or Hate me, I say.

Do you notice the book on top of my pile of books that I am reading? Ressie bought that, and all of the others, except for the one on the bottom, which was a Christmas gift to myself last year, a collection of short stories by Louisa May Alcott. Ressie buys me a book every Christmas and usually for my birthday. We share the same taste in books. Some books, we simply love for the beauty of the cover. And they say you can't judge a book by the cover! I beg to differ. Last night I was reading, Sunset with God, which has a Bible scripture before each story. I like that, scripture and story on the same page. As I closed the book, I noticed on the cover of the book it says "Sunset with God. Meditations to end you day God's way". It has a picture of a porch, overlooking the ocean, with the sun setting on the horizon, an empty reading chair, beside that on a table-a journal and pen, a glass and pitcher of iced tea (the drink of the south) a fern dangling from the ceiling of the porch. The only thing missing, was me, sitting in that chair. I must admit, I studied the cover of this book more intense than the story I'd just read. I felt as though that empty chair was waiting for me. I was able to put the book down, forget about life's problems that I can't control anyway, and drifted into a sleep feeling a peace that I didn't feel before. The objects you see on my nightstand are very important to me. They comfort me.

What would I find on your bedside table?

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

An Award, much to my surprise

Much to my surprise, I found this in my mailbox on Saturday! Thank you for the E-mail, John G! Thanks to the panel of the Journal Keepers for finding interest in my Journal, and for being so kind to give me your award. I display it proudly and thank each of you!  

Monday, January 26, 2004

I'm a cabbage patch kid.

If you have trouble seeing the album, click your refresh button.(worked for me)

I don't think I've mentioned that sometime before Chirstmas, my mom began having back, hip and leg problems.  I've been going over there and helping as much as I can. This morning, she wanted my help. No..I'll rephrase that, she needed my help with her personal care, house work, and of course, taking Rocky, their 12 year old dachshund out for a walk. I was feeling a little gloomy this morning. Partly because the weather was gloomy. As I walked with Rocky in my parent's backyard, the backyard I have known all my life, I stayed in daddy's garden for almost an hour, in the cold. Funny, I didn't feel cold at the moment. If you've looked at the album up there, you understand. For as long as I can remember there has been in a garden in that spot. It used to be about a 1/2 acre larger. This is his winter garden. Broccoli, turnip greens, cabbage, winter onions. A little this, and that. In the summer, big sweet, juicy tomatoes, pole beans, butter beans (called limas by most) etc.. The list goes on. When my brother asked mom how he got here, she felt he was too young for the speech and blurted out, "we found you under a cabbage leaf" He bought it! Well, it would make sense to a 4 year old, if your daddy grows cabbage, wouldn't it? This is the garden where I walked beside daddy, putting seeds in the rows for him. At the end of the day, he would say, "Daddy's girl sure was a big help today!" I felt so proud of myself, I am sure I glowed. I loved getting my hands in the soft soil, I loved the smell of fresh tilled dirt. Sadly (a thought I avoid), when mama and daddy go to Heaven, it will be my place to do the gardening. I won't let his legacy die. He's well known in the neighborhood as The Gardener. I just hope I can learn as much as he wants me to. I decided today to be that little helper again, to learn all I can absorb from him. I will soon go over and take pictures of him working his masterpiece. I will treasure those pictures like gold. Soon, it began to sprinkle again, I actually let it hit my face like I did when I was little. I breathed in and smiled a huge smile. What a beautiful day to remember.  

Thursday, January 8, 2004

Introducing our girls!

In honor of and much thanks to Andrea for helping me through my Journal woes tonight, I am posting not ONE but TWO entries about the other members of my family. Because I know how she loves kitties, and that she probably doesn't even know that I too love them dearly, I am going to introduce you to my two girls, Puzzle (nickname-kitty mama) featured above & Patches (nickname-baby girl) is pictured below.

It was a chilly, October evening 2 yrs and 3 months ago, when we met Puzzle. We had just gotten Stephen in his bed, and we went out to the porch to build a fire in the outdoor fireplace that I had just gotten for Paul so we could sit out there in the cold, and stay warm by the fire. (we don't have an indoor FP) and for some reason, we just had to have one. I remember that I felt something furry rub against my legs and scared the holy manure out of me. We live in the country and it could've been anything, I've seen possums on our porch before. So, I hear this, scared MEOW, and I looked down and saw the saddest looking kitten I'd ever seen. The only light I had was the fireplace, so when I saw her face, I said, "Oh, Paul-look it's been burned and has a scar on it's face! and it's so boney!" I immediately ran in the house and got her some tuna, and she's been a member of our family ever since. My first cat since I was 5 yrs old! Who knew I liked cats? Looking at her face, you can see how we came up with the name, Puzzle. As it turned out, it was not a scar, just a very interesting mark across her face that looks like a puzzle piece. So fitting for her too, for she filled in a part of our lives that was missing. Especially, mine. The following June, she had 3 kittens, we found homes for 2 and kept the runt. The one that everyone calls "ugly." We named her Patches. She's always been babied and is so friendly with everyone. Mama only trusts us. I guess she does have scars. Our neighbors call us the people w/the ugly cats. I beg to differ! Beauty's in the eye of the beholder. (my personal childhood trauma about cats, told below) Also, Patches has her own album.

Our other girl...Patches (baby)

For 30 years, I fought it and claimed to not be a "cat" person. The sad truth is, I've secretly always adored kitties. When I was a very little girl, we had an indoor dog, and my daddy had a few hunting dogs. But being the girly-girl that I was, I wanted a kitten. At age 5, my parents let me have my first kitten. A beautiful little Siamese kitten. I named it, Kitty. Kitty caught something, and died after I had gotten good and attached to her. Then, a few months after that, one of daddy's renters asked if I wanted one of their kittens, I asked my parents and they were hesitant, after having to deal with my grief over Kitty, but agreed. I don't remember this kitten's name, or whether it was a boy or girl. Perhaps I've blocked as much as possible. This kitten followed me everywhere I went. It was summer, and I had a playroom in the basement. This is where this little tabby and I played and snuggled. The kitten knew that my parents kept milk in the extra refrigerator down there, and I always shared my milk with it. You know how cats always follow you to the fridge, and try to get in there? I guess they know that's where the goods are. One day, I was getting us some milk & I turned & let the door slam to pour some milk into the kitten's bowl. I turned when I heard a flopping noise. That's when I realized, I had injured my little kitty. Yes, it's little head got caught in the fridge when I slammed it, and I broke it's neck. It died in my arms as I screamed for mama to come downstairs. I'm serious, I was severely traumatized after that. It still makes me feel horrible when that picture enters my mind. "That's IT!" my mama told daddy. "She can never have another cat! She may never get over this!" We did have a tom cat who wandered up a few years later, but he was never allowed in the house. I played with him outside, and he'd cat around for days, and then, wander back. One day, I found him in the curve, he'd gotten hit by a car. So, you can clearly understand why I thought I wasn't a "cat" person. I'm bad luck to cats! They would do the sign of the cross when I crossed their paths. But, then, 30 years & 2 cats later, that 5 year old little girl in me, has peaked out and admits that she loves cats! The girls are part of our family, and you can see, that between the two of them, and Stephen, we just work for the 3 of them. Stephen & cats RULE!


I tried to edit the below entry, and it's like the links are all dead... I've been having this problem, repeatedly! I have found it most frustrating. All I want to do, is add photos and edit my entries, and no way am I able to do this with either journal.  I contacted AOL live help about this issue and the friendly person I spoke with, was unable to help. Although I know they meant well, their "help" was about as useful as a rubber crutch. 

I have literally been trying since this time yesterday to update both  of my journals, no luck with either, except the miracle that I was finally able to add a photo from hometown to this entry after clearing some ftp space (the only advice that was helpful) (I didn't have a lot stored in it to start with) ANY ideas? those of you who update often, adding photos, doing editing and such? Has is become a major pain the the neck for anyone else? Is it just me? I

I'm going to unplug this baby for a while and get some much needed "rest." 

I hope this all went through, via IM!


Yes, I've been quiet.  That photo up there describes how I feel after 3 weeks of 24/7 caregiving.  Poor, lambchop. Stephen has put her through a lot. But it was all through his love.  He hangs on to her (and me) all the time. Look how she's aged.  I know the feeling. I've been through it too, every step up the hill. He didn't mean to wear us out. He's just loves us to death.  We've both been chewed on, hugged on, kissed on, cried on,  puked on, crapped on. Some may see lamby and myself and say, "Gosh, look  how neglected!" ahh, but those who say these things do not know the magnitude of LOVE that has brought us here. We treasure every tear, rip, wrinkle and stain. Yeah-we feel as exhausted as we look, but HIS face is the first one we see each morning, and that gives us the will to face the day. He is the one who kisses us with slobbery smooches each night, and we go to sleep, thanking God for him and all we've been through. We have lived! We've survived! The following song is my theme song today for obvious reasons.

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