Friday, February 29, 2008


I ran across these pictures while browsing the web. Can someone tell me why trees need panties? I just find it an unnecessary accessory. And besides, they look a little tight!

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Thanks, Kat, for this sweet award. It was just what I needed today!


What is a Mom to do when she is faced with 3 sick boys? How does she get it all to make sense? How does she get it all put into perspective, and learn from it? How does she cope day to day, week to week, year to year? How does she get it to all make sense when since the time she became a mother, she has been tending to sick children?

I shared with you recently how God has directed my life, in regard to my children. I have a few more things I'd like to share with you. These are some of the things we learned by trial and error. Some of the things, God just revealed to us and we knew it was the right thing to do.

1. I am so blessed that my family lives here in the same town. Don's parents live with Jesus now, but mine are here. They have always been available to help and offer support and guidance. My sister and her husband are always here to help, too. So we have always felt we had plenty of people to call on at a minutes notice.

2. I have friends who go beyond what friendship means, and are always here to lift me up. They look after me and keep my spirits up...they listen and don't judge.

3. As much as my children suffered, they also learned lessons that they may not have learned otherwise. They know what it is to be sick and have to stay in a hospital. They know how it feels to be look feel bad and not be able to play. They have an empathy with others that comes from living it themselves. They have a brotherly love for one another, but, also a different kind of love... because, they understand what the other is going through.

4. They learned that God does not promise that we will always be healthy. He doesn't promise that we won't hurt. But, He does promise that He will meet our every need. When the boys were younger, we kept a chart on the refrigerator. When a need arose, we would add it to the chart...and when God provided a way..we added that too. So, they heard about this concept, they saw it written and they lived it. The evidence of God keeping his promises was right in front of them.

5. They have seen healing. God chose to heal Adam, even though we were told we'd have less than 2 years. They've seen spirit triumph over adversity. God gave Ian such a vibrant personality that many times people would not even see his scars. They have seen God be silent. There are hosts of people praying and pleading with God to heal Alex. But God has not answered as we would like. Still, He meets our needs and He gives us grace and strength to endure. They have seen our faith remain strong as we continue to praise God for his blessings.

6. They know how blessed they are to have been born into a Christian family in America. Even having to endure what they have, there has always been a hand to hold, and a lap to climb up in. There has always been someone there to wipe their tears. They have always had food to eat and clothes to wear and a nice home to live in. Not a bad life, even if you are sick.

7. They truly learned that the doctors and nurses were there for their benefit. This is one of the ways God provides for our care. Even when procedures hurt, they were never allowed to be unkind to the one performing said task. Of course, they would cry, and be comforted, but treating the caregiver unkindly was not an option. They also have always had a voice. We felt it was important for them to be able to say how they felt about what was happening to them. We made sure they had a chance to speak to the Doctors and nurses themselves. They could ask whatever questions they wanted to, and get their own answers. When it was possible they got to make decisions as to their care. It may be a trivial thing to us, but to them, it was a chance to have a small bit of control.

8. The boys knew that Don and I would always be totally honest with them about their treatment. If it was going to be painful, we said so. We devised a scale of pain and they knew where on the scale this procedure would fall. Because we were honest when things DID hurt, they could believe us when we said it would NOT hurt. We felt so strongly about this and still do. Kids are tougher than you think. And they can 'rise to the occasion' so to speak. Give them credit and give them honesty.

9. There was a certain level of behavior that had been set in our family from day one. We had rules to follow about acceptable behavior. Our boys were well behaved and fun to be around because we taught them how to behave in different situations. Now, they were no angels, and still got their share of time outs and corrections, but they knew what was expected and what the consequences were if they chose otherwise. Sometimes, it was worth it to them to test the waters. And so, since a great deal of our time was spent in hospitals and clinics and treatment rooms, we established the rules for these places also. And, we stuck by those. This was our reasoning. When a child s sick, his world is rocked and a lot of things do not make sense any more. Many things have to change. But, the more that you can continue with the normal routine, the better. So, that's what we did. Some kids become brats when they are ill, and quickly learn to manipulate the adults who naturally feel sorry for them. Even though we had to make some concessions to the illnesses, our basic rules of behavior stayed the same. And rules were to be followed whether you were at home or in the hospital. I hope this doesn't sound harsh to you because I am here to testify that a child feels safer and more comfortable when as much of his normal routine as possible can continue.

10. We believe that because God has blessed us, we must bless others. God is able to use our situation to minister to others. And, so, we have gone to those whose children are diagnosed with cancer and shared our lessons learned. We have pictures of all the stages of Ian's reconstruction, and we go to the hospital and take these to encourage new parents when their child has the same affliction. We have been able to point several people in the direction of our good doctors and hospitals where they have also found help.
But most of all, our family can stand as a testament to God's grace and His strength and His healing powers....and His all-encompassing love that wraps you up in His peace.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God".
2 Corinthians 1: 3-4

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I'm beginning to think it is really going to happen now. When I went by this morning, there were people working and they had staked it out! YEAH!!!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Made it home about an hour ago. Arrived in B'ham to an absolutely beautiful day! It was sunny and warn and delightful! We made the rounds to a few of our favorite stores in Homewood and Mountain Brook, then a quick stop at Pottery Barn. Ian joined us there. Mom was ready for a little siesta, so we hit Chick Fillet and then our room. We all visited for a while with Ian, then he had to go to class. Joy and I decided to let Mom have a little quiet, we headed over to Hobby Lobby, then waaaaay across town to Anthropologie...which just by some strange coincidence happens to be located right next to CHEESECAKE FACTORY! Now friends, Joy and I did not even try to pretend this time that we were going there for the went straight for the good stuff...the cheesecake! But, what sad daughters we would be if we enjoyed that wonderful concoction without Mom. So, "3 go please. Yes, with whipped cream, too". Back across town to our motel. And, into pajamas, and under the covers, and DIG IN! YUMMY!!! If that doesn't make you have sweet dreams, nothing will. Mine was Godiva Chocolate, and theirs was fresh strawberry! Boy, did it storm last night. And a tornado somewhere close by.

Awoke to a coooold, dreary day. Downtown to the Dr. at 10:00. Mom met with the doctor and then I did. He said she is due for an oil change and tire rotation, and just a little engine work. But, he's gonna be able to take care of everything...and she'll be ready to race again soon. We will come back for her transmission overhaul in a few weeks. Till then, she can only travel at slow speeds on short trips, and must use only premium fuel! Ian met us at the hospital and took us out for a lovely lunch...we managed to all get something we did not order, but got a free all's well. Gassed up and headed South. Stopped in Montgomery to refuel with a Smoothie and head on home. Luckily, we never ran into any rain, although it was all around us.

Thank you for your prayers, and kind thoughts!
Now, may I ask you to please add another to your prayers. My dear friend, Shirley, called me this morning with news of her Mom. ( She did not know I was in B'ham. ) Her Mom has been unwell for a little while and they were having a hard time finding help from the doctors where she lives. They brought her to Dothan and did a colonoscopy this morning,,,the results were unfavorable. She will be having surgery on Thursday, so please keep her and Shirley and her sister Sue in your prayers!

Monday, February 25, 2008


I am leaving this morning on a little medical mission with Joy and Mom. Mom is having a few unpleasant occurrences, and we think it wise to check in with a doc in the big city. So off to Birmingham we go. Her appt. is Tuesday morning...but why waste a perfectly good trip to the land of great shopping? So, we are going to go up early and have today to do a little credit card damage and then come home after her visit tomorrow. Well, maybe not straight home, we do have to go through Montgomery also.
And, I think a little 'retail therapy' may be just what she needs to perk her up a bit. Listen, friends, I am willing to sacrifice anything for Mom's happiness and well-being! But, that's just the kind of daughter I am. And Joy is too, by the way!

Seriously, we would appreciate your prayers for safety travelling and wisdom from the doctor. Donald has a colonoscopy scheduled for this morning...Adam will be with him and then be available for Alex. I am so blessed to have a family that works together and pitches in to help when needed. It seems that it really does "take a village" to keep this family going!

Check with you when I get back!

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Flutter by, little butterfly!

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I never was a "great" student. I did fine in most classes, but some things, like anything to do with numbers, would pass a few miles over my head. Then when they began saying that numbers equalled letters...I was beyond confused. I got out of high school doing the very least amount of math I could get away with.

I met Don in high school. He was 2 years ahead of me. And, when he finished, he went off to college. We continued to date each other as well as others. When I completed my high school days, I decided to go to college based solely on the fact that Donald was there. It was certainly not for any desire to further my education. To do that would require working with numbers, and those were things I wanted to stay far away from. Well, I managed to get into the same university as him, but what would I declare as a major? I had made plans for my major long ago. They did not include higher education, or numbers. They did include a marriage license and many babies. A full and rewarding career. But, these people who were counseling me , were saying I had to say what kind of degree I wanted to get. So, based solely on the amount of math required...I chose early childhood education. I always enjoyed working with children. And since I wanted to raise a kindergarten, that became my declared major.

My first 2 years passed, and I found I actually enjoyed these classes, and since I was at a Baptist University, there were also religion and Bible classes. Very interesting and thought provoking. Since I had taken 10 years of piano lessons while growing up, I decided I would continue studying that also. I signed up for private lessons through the school, and continued to study piano.

Don and I married, and continued going to school; he working a part time job, and parents helping with the bills. Somewhere in the midst of this, I began feeling an intense desire to become a nurse. Where, pray tell, did this come from? I had never even considered nursing as something I was even remotely interested in. But, the feeling continued, and soon, it became clear to me that this was something I had to do. At this point in my life, I did not recognize that this could be the leading of the Holy Spirit. I was a Christian, and had been raised in church, but not much beyond that. And, so, I dropped out of college and enrolled in nursing school. I loved it from the very beginning. It was challenging and exciting...and I was good at it. The things that would gross out the other students were fascinating to me. I gave great shots, and was asked for by name many times. One man who had to get a series of rabies shots in the abdomen, wouldn't let anyone else come near him with a needle..and I was still a student! Don graduated and in a few months I graduated. We then moved back home to begin our grown-up lives. He got a job and I went to work at one of the hospitals here.
I worked for about 8 months, and discovered I was pregnant. I worked until I was 6 months along, and then quit on advice from my DR. Soon Adam was born and life was good. This is what I longed to a mother. (I wasn't so sure, though, when the first time I changed his diaper...he peed in my face!) I quickly learned how to avoid that! We decided I would not go back to work, but would stay at home to raise Adam. Now, with my years of piano training here and at college, I was able to teach piano lessons. So, I began doing this in the afternoons, and it became quite profitable. I ended up teaching in my home for about 20 years. And, I thought my nursing career was over. HAH!
When Adam was 3, we found out he had a malignant baby had cancer! (More on his story in a later post). Because of my nursing experience, I was allowed to stay with him in ICU, I was able to do much of his care, and most of all...I was not frightened by all that comes with cancer. I had studied this, I was familiar. I understood what the Dr. were saying and was able to help the rest of our family understand better. Because this was a long illness with much follow up and eventually 6 major operations, my skills were used often.

Six years later, we had a second son, Alex. Adam's treatment was still on going, so I ended up leaving my new baby with my sister for a month at a time to be with Adam in the hospital. But, Alex was healthy, and Adam's visits were slowing down. Things seemed to be better and we were looking forward to a 'normal' life soon. When Alex turned 1, I discovered I was pregnant again. Surprise! But, we were happy and excited to welcome another child.

Ian arrived and when I saw him in the delivery room, I went into shock. Part of his face was missing...what was going on here? This was not supposed to happen. I had already had 1 ill child...I shouldn't have another one. Well, the fact is, I did. And trying to care for him started immediately. Trying to get him to eat, trying to prevent choking, trying to find a doctor to fix this...just trying to get was never ending. He took constant attention from day 1. Fortunately, I had the contacts to find the best treatment for Ian. We travelled to North Carolina, and began a 20 year association with the hospital and Dr. at UNC. Daily, I used my nurses training to take care of this little boy. When he was 6 months old, he went limp in my arms one morning. I recognized very quickly that he was in major distress and rushed him to the hospital. We discovered he had a heart condition called PAT, for which he had to be on meds and has had 2 operations. 10 facial and orthodontia surgeries later, he is finally finished with treatment. I have been able to go into surgery with him, take out stitches, do after surgery care, stay in ICU with him. And, I have learned much more than I ever cared to now about cleft lip and palate. When Ian was in kindergarten, I was offered a job at a private Christian preschool, as a music teacher. I quickly fell in love with teaching. And all was fairly smooth for a few years. Adam was fine now, and Ian was having some treatment all along.

When Alex was 13, we discovered that he had a degenerative brain disease. He suffers great pain, loss of balance, uneven walking, loss of most vision, and other complications. So again, my nursing skills are called into play. As, we have not found a treatment for Alex, he's 26 now, I am again using my nursing every day. Because of an understanding boss and flexible teachers, I have been able to continue to work mornings at the preschool. I am blessed to be able to do this work I love.

So, I say all that to say this. I had no idea what was ahead of me when I went off to college years ago, but God did. I had no thoughts of being a nurse, but God did. I had no idea my children would all suffer severe and ongoing illness, but God did. I didn't know how to prepare for all that was to come, but God did. He knew...and He spoke to my Spirit and put in that desire for me to become a nurse. I thought it was so strange that I should want to do this, but God didn't. I had no idea that I would be good at nursing, but God did. I did not know what kind of future I would have in my profession, but God knew that I would have 3 very important patients. I didn't know enough to even realize that God was leading and directing my life, but I know it now. He put me where I needed to be so I could do what I needed to so. How great is our God! How kind and compassionate is He. How like God to give this young mother the skills I needed to deal with her children.

We have had and are having a wonderful life. God not only prepared me to deal with illness, but He has provided Donald with a job that supplies our needs. As you can imagine, medical expenses have been staggering, but we have never had to worry about paying for them. As a matter of fact, Don left his first job about 1 month before we discovered Adam was ill. He began a new job and the insurance was to pick up in a matter of turned out to be weeks...his insurance was activated less than a week before Adam's tumor was discovered. God knew all about it. Without a doubt, God has provided a job for me at my school. It has given me a chance to be away for a few hours, and has provided a creative outlet for me as well. I can not imagine not being able to use my talents in a productive way. And, I must say, I could never work for a more understanding boss or fellow teachers. It is a gift from God. And, they NEVER ask me to use big numbers! Just the basics!!:)

As I have become a wiser person and grown in my faith, I can see just how wondrously God has orchestrated my life. And I didn't even ask Him to! But, as a child, I did ask Him to be my Savior. I belonged to Him, and He took control of my life and led me in the right direction. His direction is always perfect. He will lead, if we will just follow!


"In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

"For I know the plans I have for you", says the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11


And this I know is true!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


This is my story...and I'm sticking to it!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Life continued with our family...highs and and downs...sickness and health...and we prospered. Not just monetarily, but in ways that really, strength, wisdom, relationships with God. Not all the times were good...some were gut wrenching. But the family stayed the family, and we worked together, and still do. Don and I are still very opposite, but through the years, we've learned to appreciate each other's strengths.

About 6 years ago, we started to remodel our house. We had added on a bedroom and a garage in earlier years, but it was time to redo the kitchen and update appliances. We were adding a sunroom also. But, before we got finished, Don began to talk about selling our house and building another. This had always been my dream. I had built it a hundred times in my head, changed the plans, rebuilt it, furnished it, etc. So, with that in mind, we pulled back on the kitchen remodel, finished out the sunroom, painted and changed the carpet. And I was fine with that because, we were going to build a new house. The plan was to get it in shape to sell. We began to look at plans, and plans, and more plans. Finally we found a set we both loved. Spent $3000.00 on that set of plans, we did. Took them to a draftsmen to change them around a little bit, and began looking for a lot. Don, in charge of all things financial, began to calculate the costs of it all, and slowly started to think that maybe since our house was nearly paid for, it would be wiser for us to stay put for a while. 3 expenses, life. I was not a happy camper, but I knew he was right. Oh, but that 'build our own house' switch had been flipped, and it would be very hard to turn it off! So, he decided that if we could buy a ready built house, it would be more cost efficient. OK...I could do that. So, we began looking for houses. There were several things that were on our list of 'must haves'. We wanted a library, I wanted a studio, and most importantly, we wanted a place for Alex...his own apartment...separate, but close enough for us to be available for him if he needed us. Don found one listed in the newspaper and we met a realtor there and looked at the house. It was on a street I had never even seen before. Loved the location...but the house...not so sure. We returned the next day, and looked again. It was then we spied the empty lot across the street. A fully wooded lot...lots of hardwoods...just what we wanted. Don decided we needed to own this lot. So, that's what we did. We bought the lot. Now the realtor we bought the lot from, Carolyn, became a tireless helper in our quest to move on. Don, told her that even though we bought the lot, he was still open to moving into a ready built house if we found the right one. So began our 3 year involvement with her. Bless her heart, she showed us every single house in our city that even came close to meeting our requirements. We looked and kept looking. Until I said NO MORE. I am through. And I was. And we dropped the whole 'house' thing for a while. Then one day, about 6 months later, Don said, "Let's make a list of what we want in a house." Here we go again. We made our list..Don typed it up all official looking, and made an appointment with an architect. We went to see him, and he said, Yes, he could build us a house just like we wanted, but he was tied up for a year. Don said, we would wait. And we did. Last summer, we began working on our plans, all new plans, and met through the fall and winter. Right before Christmas, he told me that all was on track, I could plan to be in my new house by next Christmas! Joy! Jubilation!
And then, word from him until the middle of February. I was about to come unglued. "I'm gonna call and see whst is going on," I said "Do not call, be patient," Don said. So I didn't, but I sure wanted to. "Well, you call then,"I said. "No need to, he'll call when he is ready." he said. Finally Bill calls and we set up an appt for last Monday. When we got there, a builder was meeting with us. "When can you start?" I said. "Tomorrow!", he says. And, friends, the blue birds came out of the trees and carried a little banner in their beaks that said, "O HAPPY DAY!" And all was right in the world. Bill likes working with this builder, so Don asked him to give us a price. We left... with no plans to start building...and the birds went back into the trees and rolled up their little banner. "WAIT" This, is one of the hardest words in the English language for me. But, I had no other choice. Don had to go out of town on Friday. Bill called him while he was away and said, "Mike (the builder) wants to start that OK?" Don calls me, and says, "Do you think this is what we need to do?" People...I have talked and planned and hoped and lost hope and trekked through every house that has been for sale in our town for the past 3 years, and planned plans, and drew up plans, and finalized plans, and most of all WAITED...WAITED...WAITED! "Tell him OK, Don, just tell him OK," I said. And so, he made the call...and told them OK...and on Monday...we started building our new house! "LOOK UP!....Here come the blue birds with their banner again!" "O HAPPY DAY!"

And honestly, this wait has not concerned Donald one little bit. He has not been in a hurry. His philosophy is that with God in control of our lives...everything happens right on schedule...when the time is right...and not before. And, that is true. Even with all the drama, we have both prayed long and hard about this. We truly want our wishes to line up with God's plans for us. This home will be dedicated to His glory and goodness.

And perhaps when God put Donald and I together 35 years ago,'till death do us part', He knew that without me pushing Don, things would take forever to get done...and with him holding me back...they would be done in the proper time. And the way that I have it all figured, that is what marriage is all about. Cue those blue birds again! Oh, and say a prayer we make it through this next year...intact!

Monday, February 18, 2008


And so, with God's help, we raised our family. Living out the struggles of every day life...along with dealing with 3 acutely ill boys. We tended to balance each other out very well. We innately knew when the other's method was the one to follow...and we would let them take the lead. In the times I was more knowledgeable, I would lead. In the times when thinking and planning were the most important, he would lead. Which is the way I think it should be. Because God was so gracious to allow me to complete nursing school before we had children, I was usually in charge of medical matters. The myriad of things that everyday life, cars, insurance, bill paying....those were all handled by Don.

To share a little bit of the reality of everyday life with the Owens'...When I had my first kidney stone...I knew nothing more than the fact that something inside of me was running rampant and wreaking havoc and coming nigh on to causing me to scream bloody murder and alert everyone within the city limits. Don calmly watched this agonizing display of raw emotion, and encouraged me to take an aspirin and come sit on the couch with him so he could RUB MY BACK. He still does not know how close he came that evening to losing quite a few of his marbles. When I finally convinced him that I was in need of medical help...NOW!!...he went to the bedroom to get ready. I waited and waited and waited. Finally, I sent Adam to see what was holding him up. People....he was in the shower! Now, I had been living with this man for over 20 years by now...and this I knew. He NEVER takes less than a 20 minute shower. NEVER.
Not even if his wife is in labor and waiting to go to the hospital to deliver their child. Because we all know how important it is for a new father to be clean shaven and smelling good when he 'helps' his wife deliver this bundle of joy. You know...first impressions and all. Anyway...Back to the 'stone story.' I hated the thoughts of dying right in the middle of our great room....but we were surely headed in that direction. Now, I was mad, as well as near death. I told Adam...17 at the help me get in his car. "Mom. you can't are hurting too bad." "I am not going to drive...YOU are!"I shouted through the pain. "You mean you are not going to wait for Daddy?" "If I wait for Daddy, you are going to be raised by a single parent! Let's go!" And we did. By the time Don was finished and was ready to go, I was already being hooked up to an IV pushing glorious drugs into my system. When Don got there, I told him I was sorry, but we had to start the party without him. They ended up doing surgery the next day. And now, if I even mention 'kidney stone' he goes and gets the car warmed up and headed in the direction of the nearest hospital. Smart man!
Come on back...part 3 will tell you where I'm going with these posts!

Sunday, February 17, 2008


As we have covered in previous posts, and as those of you who know me will attest, I AM NOT A PATIENT PERSON. When I have a great idea, which, for the record, is quite often,(in my humble opinion), I want to run with it....RIGHT THEN. Why wait? Good idea? Just go ahead and do it? No reason to think or talk or plan it to death...just GO! Now, in all honestly, I have no problem living my life this way....but, in has the possibility of getting a body in deep do-do. I am perfectly happy, then, to find my way out of the stink, and take a new path. And another, if need be. However, by then I can be in so deep, it is kinda hard to see which way to go. That is the point at which I will call for reinforcements...because what are reinforcements for, anyway, except to reinforce my original great idea!

God, indeed, has a sense of humor. Otherwise, why would He have brought my DH and I live as one, til death do us part? There is no part of my spirit that is in anyway remotely like DH. Where I am loud...he us quiet. Where I am a doer...he is a thinker. Where I am patience challenged...he is a brother to Job. Where I am plunge ahead and get it done...he is think about it, make a plan, write it down, research all the facts, study them...let them marinate in your mind for a while...weeks, month...years. Then when he finds peace about the situation and revels in that for a season...then and only then go ahead and do it!

Now, I have to say this, because I do not want to leave the wrong impression. He rarely makes a mistake. How could he? Every scenario under God's great sky has been considered. And I mean EVERY. POSSIBLE. SCENARIO. If you ever have an hour or ten to kill, ask him a question about a subject he has been thinking on. He can look at a situation more ways than you could ever imagine. And, his delight is in sharing this wisdom with you. And, he is mostly right, but a body has to listen for such..a..looooooong..time. Raising 3 boys, and all the fun and frivolity that entails, would frequently call for a time of discipline with Dad when he got home. Don firmly believed, as did I, that it was always important that the boys knew exactly WHY the correction was necessary before said correction actually took place. Now, friends, this was something I could cover in four sentences. 1.'Do you know what you did wrong?'...2.'What should you have done?'...3.'What will you do next time?'...4.'Bend over'. Commence with correction. Be done with it, and let's all get happy again. Total time spent on the unpleasantness...5 minutes...depending on how many boys were involved. With DH in charge, the whole recollection/teaching/discussion/correction process could take an hour or longer. The boys used to say, "Daddy, please just go ahead and spank me...I deserve it...let's just don't talk about it." This wouldn't work, however, because Don had already been thinking of the 'words of wisdom' that the situation called for, and he felt led to share them by one...for as long as it took for he and the 'boy of the moment' to see eye to eye. And, again, in the light of full disclosure...when Don finished up this sometimes nightly ritual, he and his little men were in one accord and peace reigned in the kingdom.
Come back for Part 2...tomorrow. This really is leading somewhere.....


Oh how beautiful are the words of our Lord!

Words to encourage,
Words to teach,
Words to chasten,
Words of peace.

Words to comfort,
Words of cheer,
Words to remember
Words so dear. ......Tonja.....2/16/08.....

Friday, February 15, 2008


Just a word of thanks to my husband. He works very hard, and is committed to running our business with Christian principles. He is a tough taskmaster, but very fair. He appreciates his customers and lets them know it. His employees respect him. He designed and built a state-of-the-art new store 7 years ago. We sell motorcycles, ATV's, and watercraft, as well as accessories. My Pop started this business over 50 years ago, selling only 1 brand, now we sell 6. Don became owner quite a few years ago, but Pop is still an integral part of the business. The plans are for Ian to come in when he completes his Master's in May.

For the last 4 years, Donald has been selected as one of the "Top 100 Dealers" in the country. He is at the convention now, and has just called me to say that he was in the top 5! That is amazing news!

God has blessed our business tremendously, and in turn, we have used our business to bless others. It has prospered through His grace, and Don, with God's help, has continued to guide it to grow and prosper even more. This is not something we take lightly. God has been very good to us and to Him goes all the glory!

"Thank-you, God." "Thank-you, Don."


As I had told you, I was home sick yesterday..wallowing in misery...feeling awful.
When Don got home, though, even in my sick and weakened state, I could tell something was up. He came into the room, with that little boy, kinda guilty look on his know what kind of face I'm talking about. "Well, I did it!, " he said. Words that cause a catch in my heart. "What did you do?" I asked sweetly. "I went ahead and did it, " he said again. Obviously, he was stalling. (Now, let me say that my DH is not one to do things frivolously. He is the most logical, think-things-through kind of guy. He NEVER buys things on impulse...he never DOES things on impulse. Actually, he likes to talk things through...backwards and forwards...up one side and down the other...and upside down...again and again and again. And the only thing we have been MAJOR discussing lately were the house plans. So, I had no idea where this confession was going.) "Donald," I said, "just go ahead and tell me what you did." So he starts in on this long list of events that started yesterday morning. I heard every step he took and every word he spoke leading up to 1:00 yesterday afternoon. Whereupon he departed from our town with my Pop and a good friend of his, and set his sites on Lake Eufaula. Now in this area of the country, this is THE place to fish. And, he loves to fish, and Pop loves to fish, and my boys love to fish. And his good friend had bought a place at said Lake a few months ago. Well, this good friend had heard about a place that had just become available and it would be just "perfect" for Don and the guys. So naturally, they went up to see it. And, according to Donald, "it was everything I had ever wanted in a lake place." So, he did it! He bought it ...on the spot...right then and there! It is a mobile home...3 BR..2 Baths...central air....fully beds and furniture...fully equipped kitchen, large covered deck with nice furniture, washer and dryer, t.v. He says, "I thought you wouldn't want to have to worry about doing all that stuff, so I thought this would make it easier on you." RIII-IGHT! Now, I am not a person who enjoys the lake. There is nothing happening there. It is sooo quiet....too quiet. There is nowhere to go. Nothing close by. No where to go out and eat. I do not like to swim in the lake and there is no where to lay out. Give me the beach any day. But, this was not about me...this was about him and the boys and Pop. And, they are all like a bunch of little boys talking about their first camping trip. They love to go and sit in the boat and hunt down the fish, and convince the fish to catch hold of their lines, then clean the fish, and cook the fish and eat the fish. And that, to them , is a fine way to spend the day...and the next day...and the next. I could lose my mind! ANYWAY...HE DID IT! He signed the papers this morning, and he has a lake place. And, I am happy for him, and the boys and Pop, and the rest of the male members of the family. I think that anything that keeps the family spending time together and gives them a wholesome, relaxing activity to participate in is great. They can leave the boats there and take the watercraft down with them. And, they'll have a ball. So, all is well, he is happy...and I am happy he is happy! But, as I told him...this does not mean that is vacation central for us now. We still have to make our annual trek to the beach! And I got his promise on that!


Thanks, Kat for these special awards. And, I see that I am sharing them with the "B" Club...those Beautiful, Babbling, Boisterous, Blogging, Babes! Can I get a 'Buzz' from my "B" sisters....we rock...oh yes we do!

I think I will pass these awards along to Angie, at By Faith....Angie.
Enjoy, my friend!

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I always look for special cards for my men...early, too, as soon as they are put I won't forget. Then the 14th arrives and I remember the cards...I forgot to send them. Well, at least I can hand it to them...well, if I can find it, that is.....not much chance of that.....SO....

****To the men in my life, whom I hold dear,**************
****Your valentine is coming by blog this year.***********

****I think you are special, I think you are great.*******
****So here are my reasons, numbered 1 through 8.*********

**** DONALD ****

1. your integrity
2. your provision for our family
3. your calm, level-headed thinking (but,it DOES make me crazy, sometimes)
4. the way you care for Mom and Pop.
5. you can always find something to laugh at (corny stuff)
6. the way you serve God
7. the example you set for our boys
8. I know that I am loved by you...I am secure in that.

**** ADAM ****

1. you are the one who made me a mother
2. your smile lights up my soul
3. you dug down and found the strength to take a different road through life
4. you recognize and give credit for those who have shown grace and mercy toward you
5. you, in turn, are quick to show grace and mercy to learned well
6. you are developing the talent God gave you and honoring Him with it
7. your heart is tender, and full of empathy
8. you were wise enough to marry Suze and give me a Daughter to love.

**** ALEX ****

1. You are my sunshine
2. you are true gentleman
3. you show concern for others, even in your own distress
4. you trust in God's wisdom
5. your mind is know so much about so much
6. you are patient (most of the time) teaching me the computer
7. you are so appreciative of others
8. I think you understand me, most of all

**** IAN ****

1. You were born with a tenacious spirit, and it has not waned a bit.
2. You love people...and people love you...because you are interested in them.
3. You had a hard road to travel, but have never felt sorry for yourself.
4. Instead of wondering about things, you learn all you can about them.
5. You are a leader among your peers...they respect you and your direction.
6. You give me a shoulder of strength and comfort when I need it.
7, You are willing to take your off time to share with others.
8. You honor the Lord in the way you live your life.

**** POP ****

1. You finally quit pinching me in church when I was a little girl.
2. you gave me the confidence to believe I could do anything.
3 You taught me to love to read.
4. You raised me in church.
5 You still show me how to 'keep on keeping on'.
6. You gave me a sister.
7. You love my mother and treat her with tenderness and respect.
8 I can have faith and trust completely in my Heavenly Father, because I have
faith and trust completely in my earthly Father.

And, now**** SCOOTER ****

1. No one...NO as glad to see me as you are!
2. No one...NO ONE..wags their tail for me like you do!
3. You love me unconditionally...all the time...every day!
4. You are my boy, too, even if you have 4 legs instead of 2.
5. You never complain about what I serve you.
7. You are happiest with even the smallest treat
8. You never question my judgement...I'm always the boss!

********NOW YOU NEXT 5 ARE SPECIAL AND DEAR,*************
********IT'S ALWAYS A PLEASURE WHEN YOU ARE NEAR!******** show great love for my sister and for my family...I am proud YOU are my brother. You are the only one who understands the 'old book thing'. You are a mighty prayer warrior for our family, and spend much time helping track down doctors. You do this out of love...and it makes you even MORE special to me.

WILL...You are so great to my sweet Tara, and I count you as my are great in SS, and even if you do enjoy the hunt...I still think you have a compassionate heart.

BEN...What a delight to get to know you! I am thankful Lori has you...and I know you love her. I gladly add you to my list of "special men in my life". are a friend through and through, and your respect and love for my Pop touches my heart. I fully trust him in your hands. But, next time y'all are in the woods, turn off the motors and listen....someone may be trying to talk to you...:)

UNCLE ALLISON...You have been an example before my eyes since I was a little girl. You never waiver or change. You stand steadfast...and show us all how to live and love. I am still amazed at the wisdom that you speak.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Have a laugh or 3 today!


I usually work 3 days a week, except in November and December and April and May when I work 5. This week I was only going to work today because the school is closed so all the teachers can work on their new spring wardrobes without feeling rushed. (Not really....teacher conferences, I think.) I went in this morning and stayed only about 30 minutes. I have a bad sore throat ( I don't guess there is a good sore throat, is there?). Any way, my sweet boss Bonnie said, "Go home." But, I feel a responsibility to be there, especially when I know it is a big day..(Valentines Parties). However, the more I talked, the worse I sounded, and the longer I was up, the worse I felt. The teachers just insisted that I come back home. So, I left them with a video to play for the kids to sing along to, and I left before they changed their minds. Stopped and picked up Alex's meds, and made a run to Dobb's for some Camp Stew. Got home, put in a load of clothes, put the stew in the crockpot on low, and now I am in my flannel pajamas...not the penguin ones...these have snowflakes in lovely shades of pink and green and aqua...and I am tucked into bed. Here I plan to stay unless the dog needs to visit the backyard or Alex needs me. Oh, yeah. I have to do those clothes and 1 more load cause Don is going out of town on Friday. But, in between all of that...I am going to rest and feel better.
I am so blessed to work with the sweetest women in town. They are the best!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I think this covers the 4 major food groups, don't you?

Monday, February 11, 2008


"The earth is the Lord's,and the fullness thereof, the world and all that dwell therein." Psalm 24:1

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Yesterday I received this award from my friend Lynne, at Lynne's Little Corner of the World. I am very appreciative, Lynne. I think it is amazing and such a blessing that we can become friends with others that we may never meet. We check their sites every day to keep up with them, and share our lives, as well. I think it's just that when you find a "kindred spirit" know it! I am so thankful to have met so many wonderful women in the blogisphere. And Lynne, is a treasure. I don't know how she does it, but she belongs to about a hundred book clubs (I may exaggerate just a little)...but she is always reading a new book and giving wonderful reviews. And I find that she is pretty much right on target for my taste in books..See? Kindred Spirits!


Is this not a beautiful thing? Are they white with black stripes or black with white stripes? Actually they are black with white stripes. When they are born the stripes are brown and gradually turn black. Their bellies are white and some zebras have a brown stripe in between the black and white ones. Every zebra's stripes are different, and the newborn and the mother memorize each other's stripe at birth. A zebra's stripes are designed for camouflage. Their biggest predator, the lion, is color blind. Therefore, a series of vertical black and white stripes moving up and down as they run away is hard for the lion to focus on. A zebra standing still in tall grass will hardly be noticed.

Zebras have excellent vision...can see color, and have night vision. His eyes are on the side of his head so he has a greater field of vision. He also has extremely good hearing. His ears can turn in any direction. You usually see several zebra acting as lookouts when the pack is grazing.

When my Pop was in Africa with missionaries years ago, they were allowed to go on a sanctioned hunt for zebra. The herd needed to be thinned, for survival purposes. Pop shot one and had the hide tanned and gave it to me. It is the most amazing thing. Can you see how the stripes continue through it's mohawk like mane? I take it to school every year and show it to the kids during their zoo animal unit. They are fascinated. It is illegal to take the skins out of the country now, so I am very fortunate to have this of my most prized possessions.

The more I look at pictures of these animals, the more majestic and beautiful they become. I feel compelled to show you some of the more beautiful pictures of them in their natural habitat. Isn't God amazing?

And, in honor of the season, a little ZEBRA LOVE!

"For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the mountains, and the wild beasts of the fields are mine....For the world is mine, and all its fullness." Psalm 50:10-12

Saturday, February 9, 2008



I admit it, friends, I am a quirky soul. I actually like rusty things. The rusting process is a fascinating one to me, and I think the color it produces is beautiful. This pan used to belong to my MIL. I took it outside one day to give the dog some water, and obviously forgot about it. Walking through the yard today, I spied it, next to this more a dull silver...but a rusty orange and yellow. It was left and forgotten and the nature of the material took over, and it went its own way. It has been left to the elements ...the storms, the rainy days, the cold, the harshness of life. It is no longer useful...and some would say it is only fit to be thrown away. I however will keep it around. #1...because I think it's pretty and remind me that when things (like our Spirit, our Heart, our Soul) are not looked after and guarded by the Word, they will go their own way and become something that is not useful. If we, who are pounded by the storms, rainy days, and the harshness of life, do not have Someone to hide in, we will become like the pan. Some may still think us beautiful...on the outside, but what we were created for will be gone.

Friday, February 8, 2008


Happy St. Valentine's Day from the Red Planet! The Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) captured this unique view of a bright, heart-shaped mesa in the south polar region on November 26, 1999. This feature is located in the Promethei Rupes region near 79.6°S, 298.3°W. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the lower left. The heart is about 255 meters (279 yards) across. The presence of this mesa indicates that the darker, rough terrain that surrounds it was once covered by a layer of the bright material.

"To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it." Deuteronomy 10:14

"You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you."
Nehemiah 9:6

"The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it." Psalm 89:11

"In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands." Psalm 102:25


Even in the outermost parts of the universe, God is there! He knows all about the unusual formations on all the planets....He was there when they began...and they continue to grow and change at His pleasure. How awesome that the God who created these masterpieces of heaven and space, knows my name and knows my heart. He has time to hear my prayer...and give me peace and hope. God, my God, You alone are great! Amen.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


I keep waiting for life to even out and get better, but, looks as if that will happen only when I change my address to: "Mansion Occupant....Golden Street...Heaven". Oh that will be Glory! Literally!

Alex has had a particularly bad week, his pain level is maxed out, he is suffering. And there is nothing I can do to make it better. Friends, it doesn't matter how old your child hurts the same when Mama can't help. The group at my church that is praying for Alex is meeting weekly to petition the Lord on our behalf. Somewhere, there has to be something to help him. I pray for God to reveal this to us, and I am confident that when the time is right, He will. Until then...we try to hold on. If we come to your mind, please send up a prayer for him. I appreciate it from the bottom of a 'Mama's heart'.

My mom is having some difficulties and is going to be having surgery soon, out of town. We are going to meet with the doctor in 2 weeks. The surgery should take care of her discomfort.

Ian called yesterday to say that he has torn his rotator cuff. Quite painful, so he says. He went to the Dr., who is going to try some therapy before he recommends surgery. He will graduate from grad school in May, so we pray this doesn't hinder that in any way.

Don left to go out of town for the weekend to a conference at a very nice resort. I was going to go with him, but, it just wasn't a good time for me to leave.

Well, I didn't mean for this to turn into a pity party. I have faith that all will work out. God will do what He says He will do. This I know. And, all will be well.

Just a reminder, if you have healthy children and grandchildren, thank God for it and NEVER take it for granted. It is a gift. From a Mom who knows, getting into the right school, or club, or having the right clothes to wear, and the latest, greatest toy or electronic gadget....really is just a passing concern...not worth your time to stress about. If they have their health, they can do anything. If they can walk and run and skip and play, they can go anywhere. If they can see well enough to read, they can learn how to do anything they desire. If they have their health, they can make their way in the world and become anything they want. If they don't make straight A' what? Every person is not supposed to be a doctor or lawyer or other professional person. This world is run by 'C' students. Where would we be without them? If "C" is their best, then praise them as much as you would for an "A". It is all relative. If they like sports, encourage them..but if they don't...that's ok. If they are into music...expose them to all types of it, and watch them bloom. If they enjoy art, be sure they have a steady supply of paints and paper. If your child learns differently than other children, or has ADD or speech difficulties...don't be embarrassed. Some of the greatest minds on the planet were at one time considered "disabled." It does not mean they are "less than". The world may need someone who sees things a little differently to solve a problem the rest of us can't understand. I pray that someone who "sees things differently" will find a way to help my son. Because the "mainstream" has not. Different things speak to our heart and minds...that's the way our Creator designed us, because He knew this world needs a good mix of all types of people. If they are healthy, they are halfway there! Be so thankful!

Uh! Oh! You got a pity party and a sermon both. Sorry 'bout that. Hug your child and tell them how special they are...just like they are.

I'm going to find a welder to repair this chain! It will be as strong as ever!
Be blessed!


Two hearts...nothing else...