Thursday, November 10, 2005

Okay, Okay - Part 2 Already

Okay ... I heard y'all. Sorry about that. It really wasn't my intention to leave you hanging like that.

Meet, Jean - That beautiful lady in the photo with Stephen up there is Jean. She's so much more than respite provider. She's family now. Stephen adores her!  She has been working with him for almost 10 months now. Gosh, I didn't realize till just now, how long. We've never had anyone stick with us that long. We've never been able to depend on anyone else to take care of him like she does. On a regular basis, that is. My mom used to help from time to time, but hasn't physically been able to in a long time. Speaking of my mom, she could really use prayer. She finds it hard to just get out of bed and walk down the stairs. I hurt for her and I'm angry with her all at the same time, for she still refuses to even try to quit smoking. She knows that she has an aneurysm and emphysema, still, she keeps puffing away and has given up on life. It is hard for me to be around her for long periods of time, I catch myself wanting to shout at her or shake her,  just to get some sense into her. She can't have a conversation for coughing to the point she loses her breath. If a friend comes to visit, she won't go to the door. She's just staying in bed, wasting away. At this rate, she won't be with us much longer. ::sigh:: I can't talk about this anymore. I've gotten off the "happy" subject anyway. I'll continue ...

Now, the rest of the story. I was saying that Jean led us in prayer about the waiver denial. I got the phone call on Monday from Stephen's case worker and we saw Jean on Tuesday and broke the news to her. We formed a circle, all 4 of us, Stephen included, and prayed about it. [Of course, Stephen's attention span is even worse than mine and he decided to go to his room and get lambchop to throw around while the grownups prayed.]  I felt a calmness after she prayed that prayer and I knew that no matter what happened, all was going to be okay. If Stephen lost his medical coverage, God would provide a way for us to afford his medication. I slept good that night. The next day [Wednesday], I decided to ask God for favor in this situation. Stephen's dad was here and he heard me say, "Let's put Joel Osteen's theory to the test. [I've been reading his book, Your Best Life Now) Let's keep this positive attitude going and be thankful in advance that it will work out. I pray that Stephen's case will land on the desk of someone in Montgomery to review, and that person will have a desire that they can't explain to look into this case and want to help Stephen." That's the last time we spoke of it. On Thurday, Stephen's case worker called and wanted to know if I was going to appeal Medicaid's decision. I said, "no, it's hard to argue with them since they changed the guidelines and I just don't have the strength for the fight. We're going to leave it in God's hands." [At first, I was going to appeal it, but then I had the feeling that all was going to work out, no matter what and if I had written for an appeal, it would be tied up for a long time. We would have to go to Montgomery before the board and to tell you the truth, I don't have the energy for that. So, we just left it in God's hands.]

A week went by. The following Friday, I got a phone call from Stephen's case worker again, and she said, "Mia, this is ________. You guys have been praying haven't you? My mouth just sort of dropped open and I asked her what was going on and she said, "I just got a call from ______ in Montgomery and she said, "I'm looking at the Stephen______ case and I can't explain why I feel this way, but ... I feel that we have moved in haste when we denied him. Can you tell me anything else about this child so that we can get this resolved for him? She told her, "Well, his mother mentioned that he has a heart and lung disorder that isn't on his paperwork. We have his primary diagnosis as Cerebral Palsy, but  believe me, even though he is able to walk, and he's not being fed through a G-tube, this child is never going to be capable of living alone. He'll always need someone to take care of him. His mother is his primary caregiver and I hate to see her lose the 7 hours of respite, and the cost of the medication alone will break them. What can I do to help him stay on the program?"  The woman told her to talk to Stephen's Dr and find out all she can about his Pulmonary Artery Sling. [that's the name of his heart/lung disorder] She said, "Mia, this is not a promise, but it sure sounds hopeful. It's better than the news we got last week, and I'll tell you, I've never seen them do anything like this! When they make up their minds in Montgomery, it's done." Well, my jaw was still on the floor from hearing the exact words, "I can't explain why I feel this way, but..." The hair on the back of my neck was standing straight up. I had goose bumps. I knew that not only was everything going to be okay, but more importantly, God heard my exact words when I prayed that prayer just a week ago and those exact words came back around to me. Donna and I got our thoughts together, she was going to hang up, call Stephen's Dr and fax this info ASAP to Montgomery. Stephen's services were due to end on Monday [Halloween] That Monday, his case manager called me and said, Happy Halloween! This is no trick, but a treat, Stephen's case has been been redetermined, he's not going to lose his medical waiver and services! Isn't God, good?"  I was so happy, tears of joy filled my eyes again, but I wasn't in shock. When I got the call from her on the previous Friday, that was the confirmation I needed. Our prayers were heard. On Friday, I accepted that this was going to work out for Stephen. I had no doubt that Stephen had the favor of God. 

Until this happened, I'll tell you the truth - -  My spirit felt as dry as the Autumn leaves I walked on the other morning in the woods. My soul was thirsting for reassurance that God was still there, that He could hear me. I felt so separated from Him at times.  Now I am reminded that not only is He out there, somewhere ... He really does walk with me.  

Monday, November 7, 2005

He Walks With Me And He Talks With Me ...

I tried to post this entry this morning, after my walk.  But as I was typing, I got knocked offline. Then, the hubs got here and asked me to follow him to the transmission place. Long story short, we were driving home the other night and the transmission in my truck freaked out on us. You didn't know that I drive a truck? Well, I told you I live in the uh, woods, didn't I? The photo above is my back yard. Actually, it's behind our back yard. And while I'm correcting myself, I might as well also add that is isn't ours. The property, all hundred-something acres belongs to our landlord. But, we live here, go for walks in the woods and even got one of our Christmas trees from these woods a few years ago. Gee, I sure hope my landlord doesn't read my journal ... The truth is, Charlie Brown's Christmas tree was prettier. It was almost dead anyway. We had waited too long to get a tree, it was almost Christmas and come to think of it, I don't think it was his property, I think we may have wandered away from his property ... anyway ... I can't remember where I was going with all of this. I'm getting off the subject again. Forgive me, I'm terribly sleep deprived. I was making a lot of sense this morning with this and now, I can't stop yawning, my eyes are tired and my shoulders are burning. Oh my goodness, and it isn't even 10 O'clock yet. I'm too young to feel this old.

I do remember that along with the photo up there, I was going to list this scripture: 2nd Peter 5:6-7  [6] Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: [7]Casting all your care upon Him; for he careth for you. (KJV)

A few weeks ago, we were given some very bad news. Stephen's state medical waiver had been denied. Federal and state guidelines have been changed due to the fact, the money just isn't there to cover all elderly and disabled children. So, in order to keep the programs going, they have to do a lot of cutbacks. Stephen didn't meet the new guidlines. They said he isn't critical enough. If you've been reading this journal for a while, you know that Stephen has to take medication every day to control his seizures. What I probably haven't mentioned is, these medications total about $800 per month. That's not including his other meds which are only around $100 total. For all of his meds, we're talking, close to $1,000 a month. Have I also mentioned that we're not rich? We were also going to lose our respite provider who, if not for her, we'd never have a night out to be a couple. Every marriage needs that, but when you are parents of a child with multiple disabilities, it's crucial. The divorce rate of parents with a disabled child is about 80-90%. We've been there too. But we also realized that Stephen's family is ALL he has. He's been robbed of so much already, we are determined he isn't going to lose his family. It hasn't been easy. But a few months ago, we found a trustworthy respite provider and we've been mending our broken home. Respite providers cost money, medicine costs a lot of money. You'd have to be wealthy to afford what insurance doesn't cover in our situation. What could we do when we got the news? First, I cried. And cried. And cried. Then, I cried some more. Our respite provider and good friend said nothing when we told her, she just reached for our hands and said, "Let's pray about this." That was two weeks ago.

I'd love to continue with this, but it's time for sleep. I feel I'm not making sense tonight. I'll continue this story/testimony soon. Don't worry, it has a good ending. :-)

Take care!  

Monday, October 31, 2005

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Better late than never, I suppose ...

The last few weeks have been most challenging, but we're doing much better now. I'll save the details for another time.

Stephen has been sick but is feeling better today and was able to go trick-or-treating around the block tonight. A new thing for us was going "trunk-r-treating" at our church after the trip around our block. The children's church staff held a cool event indoors for the kids and after the program, everyone decorated their cars and handed out candy from the trunks. Some of the mini van people even had buckets of water and apples so the kids could  go "bobbing for apples." (no, thanks. that never was for me.)  Stephen was exhausted when we got home. After he ate a Peanut Butter Cup (bless his heart, that's all he wanted), his dad gave him his bath while I put this little graphic together up there of Stephen and our pumpkin. In case you're wondering,  he was a scaredy-pumpkin. The little thing is sleeping like a baby now. I'm still trying to decide on whether or not he'll go to school tomorrow. I'm leaning towards seeing how he is and then just check him in if he's okay.

Please keep him in your prayers. He's a tough little dude and I know he'll be just fine. He's getting over a virus and just doesn't feel like himself yet.

Hope you all had a nice Halloween. We'll update ASAP. Right now, mommy is pretty tired as well. :-)

 

 

Friday, September 23, 2005

Goodbye to Summer. A Recipe. A Chat with my Cousins.(all rolled into one)

I am sad that summer is officially over. Although the temperature today is in the mid 90’s with moderate Alabama humidity, the truth is, it‘s Fall! I meant to post this recipe way back in the summer, but other things (such as, parenting Stephen) took priority. This weekend, we, as a family will officially say goodbye to summer. Tonight, we're going to the County Fair, and tomorrow, we'll be attending a festival at our town Library. Stephen’s favorite part about the festival? The pony rides. My favorite? The used books sale! Yes!

A note about the following recipe, a little about my grandmother and a chat with my cousins about the family cookbook:

My Maw Maw was a fabulous old-time Southern cook, famous in these parts for her cobblers and other Southern specialties.  Unfortunately, Maw Maw took most of her recipes and kitchen secrets to her grave with her. This is why I encourage everyone to take part in my not-so-annual family cookbook. I haven’t updated our family cookbook since way before Maw Maw passed on. I started writing it in 1989 and Christmas 1990, I started my family tradition. My intent was to give this book to every woman in my family and update it every Christmas after that. I got a little sidetracked and didn’t continue the tradition until, I think 1995 and then one more addition in 1997. For those family members who keep up with this journal, get to typing and e-mailing! We have a few new cooks in this family now and we need to teach them the tricks of the trade! And, hey … let’s face it ladies, they can probably teach us, “old-timers” a thing or two. Did I just call us, old-timers? I digress. Getting back to the subject of the cookbook --- I speak for all of us when I say, I wish I had Maw Maw’s recipe for … I learned that if you wanted to know Maw Maw’s recipes, you had to hang around with her in the kitchen and make mental notes as she prepared the goodies. I don’t care how many times I asked her for a recipe, her answer was always, “Oh, I don’t know. I don’t really have a recipe. I just add a little of this and that.” One of my favorites was her cobbler. To the best of my recollection, this is her Peach Cobbler recipe. I added a few touches of my own. For example, Maw Maw would never use refrigerated piecrust! But, did they have prepared piecrust in stores in her day? I wonder if she would have taken a shortcut, had one been available? I somehow doubt it. I’ve tried quite a few of them and none compare to her hand-rolled, homemade pie crust. For the record, I can make homemade piecrust, but I don’t have time anymore. I must admit something here. I made this Peach Cobbler and it was very good. I just realized, I didn’t jot down the recipe as I made it up! (doh!) As you read the recipe in the You’ve Got Pictures album, you’ll see that I sound a little like Maw Maw without even trying.

Maw Maw’s Peach Cobbler Recipe (or, not) To The Best Of My Recollection

You will need:

*A basket of fresh peaches HINT: make sure they’re ripe and soft. Soft peaches, sweet peaches. Hard peaches, not so sweet.

*A stick of (real) butter

*Sugar to taste for sprinkling on the crust

* Refrigerated pie crust (or make your own if you wanna make me look bad)

*Vanilla or Almond flavoring, if you like.

Directions:

Peel and slice the peaches. Cover the bowl and put in fridge all day or over night. They will be very sweet and moist after this step, so don’t add your sugar just yet. To tell you the truth, I don’t think I even had to add sugar to mine.

By now, the fruit should be very moist in it’s own syrup. Taste the peaches (not to the extreme Stephen did. Be sure to save enough for everyone else) This is when you’ll add your sugar and flavoring. Almond flavoring goes better with peaches than vanilla flavoring, in my opinion.

Preheat your oven to 350°

Melt some butter in the bottom of your cobbler dish (about 2 tablespoons) and melt some separately, for brushing the piecrust with. Add about a cup of peaches to the butter and put a piecrust on top. Brush the crust with butter, sprinkle with sugar. Put this in the stove and watch it carefully, not to let it get too brown. You don’t want it to be very doughy. If you don’t brown the crust layers, it’ll be too doughy. This is one of the few things Maw Maw told me about it. After I asked, “Maw Maw, why are you doing that?” when I was about six years old, standing in her kitchen. Again, I digress…

By the time you have finished, your cobbler will have 2-3 layers, ending with the crust, of course. Best served with vanilla ice cream and a cup of Red Diamond® coffee, just like Maw Maw used to make!

 

In my whole life, I’ve never seen another cobbler done like this. Most others have one crust on the top. By the way, you really want those peaches to be syrupy for this recipe, or it’ll be dry. Just so you know ….

One more reminder to my cousins: Be thinking about your favorite recipes and send them to me, please. As a bonus, let’s all, to the best of our recollection, share Maw Maw’s recipes we were able to pick up from watching her.

For everyone else in J-land, sorry to bore you with the family announcement. But do try the recipe!



Friday, September 16, 2005

Husbands. You Gotta Love'em

Those who have me on alerts, sorry for any editing I have to do. Can anyone tell me why, when I copy and paste from MS Word, the paragraphs get all jammed up after I save to my journal? I always have to go back and "fix" it after it's been saved.   On with the story ...

The hubs had to be on the job-site a little early this morning, so his alarm clock woke us up sometime after 5:00.  My alarm always chimes in at 6:00 on the dot. This morning, however, I got up when his clock radio went off and I stumbled to the kitchen to turn my coffee on. When he noticed that I was awake, he says, "honey, it's only 5:30. Why don't you go back to bed till your alarm goes off? You don't have to get up just because I am up." Sounds good to me. I was more than happy to do so. A few minutes went by and although I think I am dreaming, I realize I'm not ..  he's asking me a question ....

Him: Hey, have you seen my phone?

Me: No. Look on the desk.

Him: (yelling from the living room, which is close to Stephen's room) It isn't there!

Me: Maybe it's in your truck.

Him: Huh?

Me: MAYBE, IT'S IN YOUR TRUCK!

Him: (Comes in the room) Where?

Me: ::sigh:: Why don't you dial your number and listen for it?

Him: Dials the number. (Can't hear it anywhere in the house.)

Him: Oh, I bet I left it in the truck.

Me: (beginning to feel like I'm in an, "I Love Lucy" episode)

Him: (Goes outside, comes back in.) Hey, it was in the truck.

Me: ::sigh:: You don't say!?!... (with just a hint of sarcasm) 

We say our goodbyes.

A few minutes go by ...

Him: (coming back in the house) Hey! Do we have any bandages? [all joking aside, the poor thing got a nasty burn at work last night]

Me: (I can't believe this!) YES!!!

Him: (coming back in the room) Hey, do we have any bandages?

Me: Yes.

Him: Where are they?

Now, he's lived here just as long as I have. Why doesn't he know where we keep things like that?

Me: The medicine cabinet! (as I throw the blanket from myself and jump to the floor, thinking, "Oh-My-Gosh!!! Are you kidding me?")

I opened the medicine cabinet, hand him the box of large bandages and walk back to the bedroom.

Him: (I swear, really he did) Do we have any tape? (just as I was getting back under the blanket)

Me: LOL! (I'm laughing in a semi-crazy, lunatic sort of way by now. I don't know whether to laugh, cry or cuss.)   

I got up, knowing we didn't have any of "that kind" of tape. I walked over to the drawer where we keep the tape, batteries, etc. and found some painter's tape. and gave it to him. I explained this is all I could come up with and I hope it'll work.  

Him: (He bandaged himself up, walks out and sees me drinking my coffee and watching the morning news.) Honey, what are you doing up? Why didn't you go back to bed?

Me: A blank stare as a million ugly words come to my mind but I didn't say any of them.

After all, seriously - the man got hurt at work last night, didn't complain as much as I would have with a burn like that. He's been working literally from daylight to dark for weeks. What do I have to complain about?

[anyone who personally knows us, will understand that statement]    

I'm not sure when ithappened, but somewhere along the way, we have started "growing up." The old me would have pitched seven duck fits in a row.  ... And he wouldn't have cared (or known) what time I got up.

Still taking it one day at a time ...

-----------------------------------------

I'll be back soon with some helpful links

Monday, September 12, 2005

Week Two After Katrina

With my friend, Brenda's permission, I am posting a message at the bottom that she mailed out to the LISTSERV (the other day. Sorry it's taken me so long to do this) Stephen's dad and I have been so shocked and confused till our brains were a little foggy about what we can do to help. Last Sunday, our church took up a collection to help one of our fellow-churches in Mississippi that was hit very hard. Some of the members were still missing and they were waiting to hear about them. Some of the members have come to the B'ham area till they can figure out what to do next. But we still felt we'd done nothing. From the time we became aware of the mass destruction, our hearts went out to everyone. But there is another family that we are a part of, and that is families of disabled children. What's a parent to do when something like this strikes? The stress involved when you have typical children is hard enough. Now, imagine you have a child (or adult family member) with special needs. Who is nonverbal. Who cannot function when their routine is upset in the least. I can only fathom so much and then my mind just won't let me go there. Everyday life under "normal" circumstances is hard enough, but when that routine is turned upside down and shattered ... So - instead of allowing myself to dwell on the negative to the point of a breakdown, I decided to get active. What would "we" need in a situation like this? What are some things that Stephen must have daily in order to not only remain healthy by taking his meds on time but his emotional health, His parent's emotional health. Stephen is not the type of child who can mingle with other children and play games or color in a coloring book in a corner. He needs his own world. his own way. Things that wouldn't even enter another childs mind are things that Stephen strives on. Spoons, for example. Stephen thinks he must have several metal spoons and a container to sort them in. (stimming, we call it) Each child is different. Children with autistic-like behaviors although alike in many ways, are so different and unpredictable. Thinking of my brothers and sisters in the Gulf area makes me want to do all I can to help them and their children. So, if anyone from the LISTSERV is directed to this journal through Brenda/Magnolia Angels, please E-mail me about your special child and let me help. Our church is a very generous congregation who loves children. Stephen's school is full of compassionate parents and teachers. I'll do all I can to get the message out and send supplies, etc.

 

Now - Brenda's message and her list of ideas.

 

---------------------------------------------------------------- 

I really appreciate the e-mail and all the prayers and support. We are in good shape here. We have our electricity and phone service. It may be forever before we have cable which in our area means no television. Jonathan is watching movie after movie.   Groceries are starting to come back but shipments are sporadic and the shelters are in need as well. I believe there will be a continuous need for help but that many needs will not be realized until weeks or months from now. Everyone has been great. Companies are helping their employees when they can. Churches, organizations and individuals are all doing as much as possible. Communities out of the disaster area  are adopting communities in the disaster area.  I appreciate all the efforts from the list and the individual families. I have personally received many e-mails and phone calls. This has been a tremendous blessing.The emotional and inspirational support is just as important. It has a far great impact on a family for years to come.     Many of you want to know how you can help. I may make a few suggestions Dry goods Non-perishable items Hygiene products( hair & tooth brushes, deodorant, tooth paste, wipes,  hand sanitizer etc.) Books, crayons, puzzles. board games, bubbles. etc. Things to entertain that do not require electricity.  School supplies Relaxing, pick me ups etc, that parents will not have the money or time to go buy or even think of right now. Journals and pens Gift cards( food or dept. stores) Disposable cameras Stationary and Postage stamps Every day items that you would use but may not think of  or miss until the item is needed * For those getting mail send a card saying hello. This can be kept and reread. Some people may have children with birthdays coming up.  ( Grandparents Day is Sunday. Halloween is close. We will still be in disaster mode at Thanksgiving and Christmas)   Another important thing you can do for all of us and each other is pace yourself. Take care of yourself.  This isn't a short term  problem and as the days pass they will have stories to tell, questions to ask and will need support and advice.Some will live in new communities and will have new doctors or school systems etc. They will be  need your help then too. Thanks so much.  Brenda   ----------------------------------------------- Brenda, if you read this, we are shopping for pullups, wipes and ointment again tomorrow. Please forward that address to me (again) I've lost it in the clutter of mail I have printed.   Keeping all in our prayers,   Mia and family ~   ps ~ I'd appreciate any good vibes and prayers you could send my way. Most of you know, Stephen is more than half my size and I pulled my back out last night, somehow. He's very ambulatory and keeps me running, and redirecting him. Picking him up, a lot of the time. Not sure how I did it, but I did it again. thanks!  

Friday, September 2, 2005

We're Okay

I apologize for not posting this sooner. I've responded to most everyone's e-mails to let you know we're okay. (I'll get around to each of them soon) But in case you're still wondering ... We're doing fine. We only lost our power and cable tv, and only for a short time at that. We were actually out of town, on our way back home. We managed to stay about 2 hours ahead of the storm. It was getting bad as we were leaving out of Mississippi on Monday. We didn't get home in time to prepare for very much. We did stay at my parents for a short time but Stephen doesn't do well when we're not home and he's not in his own surroundings. (unless he's in a hotel. The kid LOVES hotels. Go figure.)

I'll try to come back to my journal and post some helpful links for those of you in the B'ham area. I know of a few churches who are taking needed items to the gulf, our church included. Please e-mail me any news from your church/organization and I'll pass on what I can. Thanks for all of the prayers and helpful offers. Our prayers are with those who are in need at this time.

 

Mia and Family ~

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Back To School

Yes, believe it or not, it's back-to-school time! You'd think that I'd have time to do some updating and journal surfing, but school just started back last Wednesday and I've been too tired. No, that's an understatement. I'm exhausted! Summer has wiped me out. Stephen has already missed one day of school. Today was his annual neurology appointment. All is going well. He's grown a little taller and gained a little weight since last year. Just look at him up there in the photo taken yesterday ... he'll be as big as me before we know it. The Dr. upped his seizure medicine dosage, according to his growth/weight-gain and wrote a new prescription for something that should help another problem that has been getting progressively worse. I'll get into that at another time. I just don't want to go there right now. To tell you the truth, I have been slacking on my iron supplements and I don't have the energy to get into much right now. ::yawn:: I'd give anything for an afternoon nap like my mama used to take every day. Lucky for her, I could come home from school and pretty much take care of myself and go outside alone, unsupervised.      

edit: Well, the DH is home from work early! Maybe that nap can be arranged! Whoohoo! (not holding my breath) lol - I'll check back in asap.

Saturday, July 9, 2005

Dennis The Menace!!!

Just a quick update. (who knew I'd make the time?)    We were unable to go on our road trip after all yesterday afternoon. The hubs didn't get home from work until 9:30 last night. He's working on a new Walmart Super Center and his deadline is Monday. So - he put in 13 hours yesterday to have that out of his way. He was so disappointed that Stephen was disappointed, he wanted to try to go today. We checked the weather and really thought things were not going to get bad until late tomorrow. We heard wrong. Oh, it's going to be bad tomorrow, but it started early this evening. We came all the way back home. Stephen didn't mind. He was just happy to see something different. We stopped and had a huge meal at O'Charley's in Oxford Alabama and he was an angel, if I do say so myself. He knew he'd been a good boy and when we got back in the truck, he applauded himself.     As you can see in the photos above, the clouds started to roll in. It was pouring down rain. So hard, it was difficult to see. The wind was blowing like crazy. Lightening all around. I'm glad to be home. The interstate's southbound lane has been closed between Montgomery and Mobile so all lanes can be used for those trying to flee from the gulf areas.  Hotels were full, everywhere. Restaurants were overcrowded. God bless them all. Everyone we managed to talk to seemed to be in really good spirits, considering.     I was over at Swirly's journal (Coffee Swirls and One Girl's World) and read that her nephew had to move his 4th birthday party indoors. Bummer. Poor baby. I hope he had a great birthday anyway!   Deb of, "The Making of a Home" I hope y'all are also hanging on over there in the Atlanta area. Please stay in touch and let us all know how you are doing.   I'll try to do the same. For now, I'm beat and I'm going to call it a night!

Friday, July 8, 2005

A Few Pictures & A Lot Of Rambling

The only explanation I have for not updating before now is, I'm just plain lazy.

True, I haven't the time these days either. Stephen really, really (really!) takes up a lot of my time. But mostly, I'm lazy. I am constantly thinking of things inside my head that I want to journal about, but those thoughts never make it out of my mind. I always get sidetracked when Stephen needs to go to the bathroom, needs a snack, or wants me to play with him. If it isn't that, I'm having to cook, clean, etc. Not to mention, my mama has needed me more these days to do little things for her.  It never ends, really.  Last Friday was the last day of summer school for Stephen and we've gotten a little off schedule. Sleeping in sometimes as late as 8:00 or so in the morning! That's late for Stephen and me. We've been staying up later than usual. Stephen, 11:00 and later, myself, after midnight. I stay up and pick up the trail of junk in the house, load the dishwasher, finish laundry. You know, all of the same things the rest of you all do, wherever you are. :-) It's exhausting to even say all of that. Makes me wonder, how I did all of this when I was working? Do I want to do all of this and work again? Did my income really make that big a difference? Nope. Not really. I'll play it by ear this Fall. I may or may not go back to work. DH has been needing my help with his business. I've never seen him so busy and someone has to do all of the ::sigh:: paperwork. Someone needs to take a small business course. I've managed salons, but the construction business is another ball game. Totally. I'd appreciate any good vibes and prayers you could send our way, for DH is about to take a leap into having his own fabrication shop. This totally scares the heck out of me. I just don't feel ready for this, but if not now, when? We're not getting any younger. But the security of working for someone else is something I will miss. I hate not knowing what's to come. Even though job security is not even close to what it once was. The reason he decided to become self employed in the first place was because he was laid of twice within 4 months, over two years ago. The benefits are not as good as they used to be, nor is the salary. Still, there are so many uncertainties with this new adventure. I'm not a risk taker. But I have to admit that I do like the fact that he is able to go to most of Stephen's Dr's appointments with me. Stephen is quite the handful. Even more, he loves to go on field trips with Stephen. Stephen is benefiting from all of this. At least, short term. I hope, long term too.   All in all, I will say, summer has been good so far. When Stephen's dad gets back from work today, we are taking an overnight road trip. The kid LOVES hotels. Since we can't plan a vacation just yet, little trips like this will do just fine. We still have to go to the beach at some point this summer and my parents want us to go with them to North Carolina in August. A lot to look forward to. Many memories to make. Many, many pictures to take. 

Now as I sign off on this overdue update, I will ask one more prayer request of you all. As  you know, unless you've been under a rock, Hurricane Dennis is headed in our direction. Same trail as Hurricane Ivan. ::sigh:: My mama has already called and begged me not to take this little road trip. But we've already promised Stephen and really talked it up to him. He doesn't deal well with broken promises. Who does? Besides, it's a little north east of here. Between Birmingham and Atlanta to be exact. So - it may not even be as bad as it is here. We're closer to the Gulf here. I think it's a 3 1/2 hour drive from our driveway to Pensacola Beach.  With all of that being said, I better go and pack Stephen's change of clothes and medication. Ooooh, I just had a terrible thought ... We didn't make reservations to go to that, small town. Umm, any chance everyone from the coast has moved up this way and have all of the Holiday Inns filled up? Hmmm... I hope not. I'd hate to hear mama say, "I told you so!"  - - Again. ;-)  

 It could be ages till I update again. I hope you all have a happy and safe summer. I will still visit my favorite journals often.  

Monday, May 9, 2005

Mother's Day

Terribly busy ... Made time to spend Mother's Day with my mama. Then it was back to rush-rush-rush ...

I am making journal rounds as I type. I'm not going to make this a long update, I'd rather spend these few precious minutes, catching up on all of you guys!

Take care!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Special Olympics Games!

I know it's been a looooong time since my last update, and I know some of you believe I left the planet for good. All I can say is, please forgive me. I've been busy-busy-busy! I never thought I'd say this, but I'm really enjoying my job(s) I'm finally building some sort of identity for myself again. I've been lost for almost 10 years. Really. Lost. Do any of you ladies out there know what I'm talking about? Ahhh, I'm sure you all do. After Stephen got older and in school, I found myself just waiting for him to come home to have something to do. Then, this year was his healthiest year so far and he was in school a lot of the time. Sure, I could scrub my floors with a toothbrush and organize closets every single day and have a spotless house. But where's the fun in that? And not get paid for it? Tuh! I think not! I'm really going to miss working (for money) when it's time for summer vacation. (vacation? Hah!)

So on to more important news ... The YGP album says it all! Stephen and I both stayed home most all week with allergies. :( But on the day of Special Olympics, we checked him in, let him have some fun, and then checked him out again. (hee,hee,hee) We had a blast! We were only there for 2 hours. Got a little sun burned, won a couple of ribbons, bounced in the space jump, went to McDonald's and then back home. How much better can it get?

Next week, good Lord willing, we will go to the zoo. I'll post photos of that as well. Or, at least that is my goal.

Enjoy the photos. Stephen says hello and sends many hugs to all of his aol-j friends!

 

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Miss Ruby Mae

Making Everything Alright ...


I arrived this morning a few minutes before nine o'clock. After setting up my station, I went into the laundry room to get out the portable heater and plugged it up; it was a cold and rainy day in the city of Birmingham. That is okay with me though. I see it as Winter's way of saying good-bye before Spring begins. I walked up the stairs to greet the ladies. They were waiting for me in the TV room. All seven or eight of them. I  think I should start putting their names and time of their appointments on the bulletin board so they'll know whose turn it is. [and so I will know too] I can't help but laugh to myself because they all give me a, "pick me, pick me!" kind of look when I walk in.  I've been told by several of them that I am their only visitor during the week, and they are beginning to feel like I am family. Some, I can't get close to. Some people are just that way, I don't let it bother me, I assume they are just private souls. Still, for the most part, I am beginning to feel adopted by many of them.  Today, I would like to tell you a little bit about Miss Ruby Mae. She is from Helena. [Just a little FYI ... If you keep up with American Idol, you may know that Bo Bice lives there. Go-Bo-Go!] Ahem, [excuse me] anyway ...   A couple of weeks ago, I burned my right hand very bad. My entire palm and every finger on that hand had blisters. Actually, I did it on a curling iron when I picked it up by the barrel. Yes, I know the barrel from the handle, but it was upside down and I was preoccupied, thinking about ten thousand other things at the time.  Miss Ruby Mae noticed that I was wearing a glove and bandage and asked what happened. I told her about my silly mistake and how painful it was, then kept rambling about how I do it all the time at home when I take my corn bread out of the oven. For some reason, I always grab the skillet handle with my bare hands, knowing very well, I just took it out of the oven. Again, never thinking. Miss Ruby Mae is one of those mother-hen types who was just consumed with worry over my hand last week. [to tell you the truth, I sort of liked that, she reminded me of my grandmothers] This morning, she called me over to her and handed me a bag and said, "I made something for you!" as she beamed with pride. Inside the bag were two pot holders, stitched way better than I ever could have done, and the woman says she is legally blind! A note, and a stick of juicy fruit gum. Now, how'd she know that as a little girl, juicy fruit was my favorite, and both of my grandmothers gave it to me to make me feel better?  I had a little lump in my throat, but held back the tears till I got home and read the note. It said, "Girl friend, [she couldn't remember my name, bless her heart]  I enjoyed making these pot holders for you. Keep smiling, God still loves you." Then she drew a happy face and put lots of X's and O's on the bottom of the paper. Now, I have a question ...  Does she read my AOL journal?  By the time I finished reading this little note written by a nearly blind lady who is almost ninety years old, I had tears streaming down my face.  As I've said before, I've been struggling with some things lately. Some of them, major things that I can't control. Some of them, major things that I can control, after I get enough courage to change them. My pastor said the other day to the congregation, "Don't ignore God. He'd rather you let him know that you're angry at him and get it out of your system than to withdraw from him. Never-ever stop communicating with God! If you do, it will be just like any other relationship when you stop communicating" I did just that. One day as I was praying, I asked God if he even heard me. Does he love me? Is he even there? Is he real? If he's there, he needs to give me some kind of sign or I'm just going to assume I'm wasting my time, talking to someone who isn't even there! Then, I ducked - out of fear of being struck by lightening. Just in case.  So Miss Ruby Mae's gesture is either a sign that God's spirit does exist, through the acts of other's kindness or, she reads my AOL journal!  I have a choice. I can choose to take this as one of life's unexplainable happenings, or as a little sign that there is a power bigger than me, in charge. I choose to believe that someone else, someone more powerful is in control, because I am learning that I can't control everything. Knowing that He is looking out for my good is a comfort I haven't felt in a long time. I'll tell you something else - That's a good feeling.

Isn't it something, that God is still using Miss Ruby Mae to teach? God Bless her little heart.

note: sorry for the repeat alert folks, I had some editing to do that I'd overlooked.

Monday, February 21, 2005

All The Latest

Yes, I know it's been a long time. Thanks for all of the "where the heck are you?" e-mails. I just wanted to let you all know that I am here. All is .... eh, okay - - I guess.

I am tired. Too tired to get online much these days. I apologize for being unsociable.

I'll try to give you a quick update.

I mentioned before that I started a part time job. Last week, I started a 2nd part time job. Both of them put together = a full time job.

The second job is at an assisted living facility. I have been blessed to cross paths with someone who was in the process of working on adding a salon to the facility, but didn't have anyone to help her with the services. When she overheard me telling someone that I still see a few senior citizens for their hair care needs, she started to beam and said, "Oh my God! I can't believe that I haven't thought of you!" Then, she filled me in on the details. We still have many loose ends to tie up, but we should have the salon all set up and ready soon. The girl who I will be alternating with is someone I worked with almost 20 years ago. She's a little younger than me and paid me the nicest compliment when she said, "I'm so glad that I've had the chance to talk to you again. I wanted you to know how much I appreciate you and all you did for me when I was a young kid, just out of school. You took me under your wing and taught me so much. I'll never forget it." I couldn't help but cry because, here I was - thinking I'd never done anything in my life that mattered. If anything, I thought of myself as a bad influence on her. You'd have to know my life story to understand what I mean. It's nice to hear from someone that I wasn't a total loser in those days.

Another reason why I haven't updated is because I'm going through some personal difficulties at this time and I'd really appreciate any good vibes and prayers y'all could send my way. Stephen is doing well, and for that, I am thankful. I'm just going through a strange spiritual eye opening which has forced me to take a very good look inside myself. I've learned things about myself that I didn't know or didn't want to know. At any rate ... my life is at a cross roads and it's very scary. I hate change. Rather, I fear change. But it's time to face some of my demons. It's time to get some things resolved so I can move forward. Maybe someday, I'll write about all of this. For now, I've gone back into my hand written journal. It's therapeutic for me to actually write with a pen and let the feelings flow onto the paper.

Lastly and more importantly, my mama's having some health problems. Last week she was diagnosed with emphysema and today, I went with her to the diagnostic center where they scanned her to see if she has an aneurysm on her aorta. While looking at the chest x-ray, the Dr. saw something that appeared to be one and he wanted to check that out. The photos I have up there were made Friday. Two of mama's sisters, their daughters and I took her out for her birthday. The photo in the upper left is the only one of mama and me. She would ring my neck for posting this because she looks tired. Maybe so, but still pretty.

Although mama doesn't have internet connection right now and won't be reading this :: Happy Birthday Mama! Tomorrow, she'll be 69 years old. I hope I get to celebrate many more with her.

 I will now end this very long-winded, over due update. :)

Y'all take care!

 

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Against The Wind

Yesterday...

Stephen and I spent the day with our friend Glenda. Her son has an amazing cake business.  To say he is a cake decorator, just doesn't say enough about his talent. There are many cake decorators.  Even to say he is an artist, is an understatement.  You may recall seeing his work in my June entry, when I posted about my parent's 50th wedding anniversary party. This man is truly gifted, and if he wanted, could be featured in Southern Living. [I think he should be] But he wants to keep his business small for now, I believe. His mom ain't too shabby either. She's downright inspiring to me. I would need to make a whole entry about her to even give you a small idea. But for now I'll just tell you, she delivers his cakes and sets them up for parties, weddings, etc. as needed.

Stephen and I were invited to go with her on her delivery route yesterday. I was a little nervous at first, afraid Stephen would, I don't know...Be Stephen. I photographed the first job, which was a cupcake tree [I'll get permission, and post that if they don't mind] for their photo album. A cupcake tree is a great idea for a child's birthday party! They are pretty as a picture to behold, and easy on the parents, for there isn't a lot of cake slicing involved.

As Glenda was setting up the cake in the community center, Stephen got a little antsy sitting in the car. Although it was very windy, we got out and I let him walk around and play behind the building. My photo-eye couldn't believe the background! A combination of the gray clouds, and the old trees, mixed with a few old barns and various other buildings, not to mention, the hills in the distance! Ahhh! It made me feel alive. I knew it would be perfect for capturing Stephen. Being, Stephen.

A sidenote to Glenda...Thanks again, we had a great time!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Blondies

Like Brownies. Only, They're Blond.

I took these to work with me last Monday, and what you see in the photo above is all that was left. I scored major brownie, or "blondie" points, that is. ;-)

These are easy and quick to make. I'm allergic to regular chocolate and become ill if I even consume a small amount of it. But for those of you who love chocolate, I'm sure you can use chocolate morsels instead of the white chocolate and add some cocoa to the flour mixture.   

Blondies

1 cup + 2 T all-purpose flour

1 t baking powder

1/4 t salt

1/3 c butter, softened

3/4 c packed light brown sugar

1/2 t vanilla

1 egg

1 cup white chocolate morsels

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1/2 c angel flake coconut [I didn't have the coconut so added extra nuts, it was fine]

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Beat in egg. Gradually beat in flour. Stir in morsels, nuts and coconut. Press into greased 8-inch square pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or till golden brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into squares. Makes about 16 bars.

 

Thursday, January 6, 2005

Holiday Album

Catching my breath ...

 

Another holiday season is behind us. All of my decorations are boxed up and NOT put away. I put them up and take them down. It's up to the DH to bring them in and then put them away for me.

I have them all lined up in a neat row against the wall in the living room. Tomorrow, I think I will put them in the middle of the floor so he'll have to walk around them. Sometimes that works with the garbage when he falls behind on that chore. I'd do it myself, but ... my back, you know. ;-)

I finally made an album. I have so many photos. 100's of them! I chose some of my favorites to make a YGP album to share with you all. I'll try to do a "real" update soon.

..as soon as I catch my breath.