Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Winds of change...

Does anything ever really stay the same? Are we not in a state of perpetual change and growth?

Hubby is preparing for his last day of work at the Plant...his last day of full time employment for as far as we can see down the path...
He will register for spring semster of classes at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte soon...he will begin his part time job (with full time benefits!!) next week...what an amazing adventure this continues to be! I have detailed in my other blog all the ways that God has worked, the amazing tapestry that He has woven to assure us that this is His plan...we will look to those stones of remembrance when the way becomes rocky and the road is so very long...

and so we go the very top of the roller coaster...too late to turn back now...with no control of our own...but only the faith God continues to grow in us...trusting and obeying...with hands high in the air screaming at the top of our lungs, knowing life will never be the same again. And being thankful for it...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Eve... Eve....

Nate and I wrapped presents this evening while at home alone. Joe went out in the world to do some secret shopping, Emily is having a sleepover tonight with ice skating tomorrow.
I got a phone call from Bobo that Pappaw McNeil has passed away...he was in the hospital at Thanksgiving so it's not unexpected, but there is no way for me to get to TN for the funeral. Lots of things to be in prayer for travel for all the dynamics...stress and grief always make tensions magnified.
I had a longer than expected crazy day at work, but am very thankful Daddy has taken a few days off and is home with kiddos. He'd wanted to take kids shopping this morning but I had both booster seats for Nate.
No family advent devotions tonight...I missed them, I've REALLY enjoyed the scripture reading, candle lighting and hymn singing that we've done consistently during this season. It really has helped me keep the focus where it should be this season.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Robert Franklin "Bob" McNeil

Robert (Bob) Franklin McNeil, age 85, 200 Fagan Rd., Johnson City, passed away Monday, December 21, 2009 in Johnson City Medical Center Hospital following an extended illness. He was a native of Butler, TN and a son of the late Wesley and Mae White McNeil. Mr. McNeil was a member of the Cedar Grove Baptist Church and retired from Texas Instruments. He played in the semi-professional baseball leagues in Tennessee and South Carolina as a pitcher. Mr. McNeil was a member of the Unicoi Masonic Lodge # 681 F&AM and Jericho Shrine Temple.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by two brothers: Jessie McNeil and Paul McNeil.

Mr. McNeil is survived by his wife Juanita Buchanan McNeil, three daughters and two sons-in-law: Marqita and Keith Tittle, Unicoi, TN, Letta McNeil, Elizabethton, Margaret and Harrison Bradley, Bristol, TN, three sons and daughters-in-law: Ricky and Vickie Buchanan, Unicoi, Steven and Betty McNeil, Butler, Spencer Jim and Becky McNeil, North, Virginia, numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, three brothers and sisters-in-law: Fred and Betty McNeil, Hampton, Spencer and Louise McNeil, Otis and Maude McNeil, all of Elizabethton, two sisters and one brother-in-law: Roxie Reece, Zionville, NC, Nancy and Jim Murray, Hampton and two special friends, Jim Murray and Bob Bennett.

The funeral service for Mr. McNeil will be conducted at 11 a.m. Thursday, December 24th at the Tetrick Funeral Home with Rev. Maurice Quillen and Rev. Bill McDaniel officiating. Music will be under the direction of Patricia Vines. Interment will follow in the Roselawn Memory Gardens, Johnson City. Active pallbearers will be Jim Murray, Steve McNeil, Bob Bennett, Keith Tittle, Jake Tittle, Wesley Murray, Barry Bennett and Ricky Buchanan. Honorary pallbearers will be men of Cedar Grove Baptist Church, Jack Tipton, Jack Murray, Gene Woodward, Bill Standley and Luther Goodman.

Frank or "Pepsi" as my grandma Oliver always called him was not related to me yet, he had a profound affect on my life.  He was my Momma's first husband.  The father of the only siblings I've ever known...a part of my families family.  He always had a smile for me...I have pictures of him holding Emily and marveling at her.  He always opened his home to me and I felt comfortable there.  Yet, their family has suffered immeasurable hurts that continue to affect the generations after them because of the circumstances of this divorce.  
It had recently occured to me that if he and Moma (Evelyn) had stayed married...if all had been well and there had been no divorce in a time when divorce held quite a life would have been quite different.  She would not have been where she was (next door when I was being abused) when she was to be my "rescuer"...she would not have become my Moma...
God works all the time to bring good to those who love Him and He is sovereign...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Nate's been facinated by our bones...wants to know if Bella (the dog) has a skeleton under her skin. We told him that she did. He's been feeling everyone's ribs.
A few nights ago Daddy told him that I have a machine at my work that I use to look at people's skeletons. He thought that was pretty cool.
Tonight...after sitting looking at the few presents under the tree...he came into the kitchen and asked, "Mommy...can you look at presents at your work and see what's in them?"

Monday, December 14, 2009

Nate's Christmas Program at Preschool:  Starring as a shephard ;)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Where did it go? It's truly a blur. Here's some of the things happening while I was obviously NOT blogging:

  • Halloween: Supergirl & Spiderman, local community Halloween event then our usual trick or treating in the neighborhood. (I promise to post pictures as soon as I upload them)
  • an A- accomplished by Hubby in Biblical Greek I
  • a report card from the girl with all A's except a B in math.
  • a Thanksgiving play by the Third graders, with very poor quality photos.

  • Continued acclimation at my new first 90 days of employment were fullfilled yesterday.
  • Friday night small group--which has been awesome! Awesome people...awesome discussion...awesome topics.
  • A wonderful Thanksgiving with a family meal at Granma's...and a visit from Bobo, Uncle Chris & Austin (and two puppies) for several days...
  • Black Friday shopping with some of my favorite people...and success for a few items we were looking for...

    Saturday, October 31, 2009


    Wednesday, October 14, 2009

    Nate's Fourth birthday...

    These are in reverse order...too tired to fix it tonight!
    Nate opening presents
    Nate and His Buddy Ethan...preparing to protect & defend

    wassup! the "magic" candles kept relighting...enough is enough!

    Blowing them out again!

    Ms. B delivered his cake and we got pics before friends arrived!
    This year she used a great recipe substituting bananas for the eggs...
    with a cream cheesy type of icing...yummy!! Another delectable morsel from
    "Deckerated Delights"

    I can hardly believe he's four...and seeming like such a little boy. No longer a baby, but a preschooler who seems to be soaking up the world. He makes my heart melt with his smile, skip and hop when he giggles...and something stirs in my soul when he talks about God's love, being a peacemaker instead of a troublemaker...and that soft words turn away wrath. When he belts out all the words to "We are the Body" or asks if he can pray and proceeds to say, "heavenly Father...thank you for...sippy cups, chocolate milk, mommy, Daddy, Emily, our friends...
    thank you for food, and playing outside and spider man costumes".
    It's indescribable how my heart smiles. It's cute and sweet...
    but more than that it's such a picture of how God draws His children to Himself.
    Nate loves deeply...and verbalizes perceived injustices with equal passion.
    On any particular day, he may head out as Spider man to take care of the bad guys...Buzz Light year to have an adventure...a soldier in armor as he states, "Em-i-ly, I need to protect you!"
    May I always remember that God is using these things to write a message on his heart, and may I find strength to stand out of the way as God works his purpose in his life.

    Friday, October 2, 2009

    I've got no fancy title...

    it's been a week! Influenza Type A (yes, that would be the dreaded swine flu) invaded our home and reared it's ugly head first in the girl. I knew the jig was up when I arrived at church Sunday night for our new pastor's installation service. She had gone early with her Daddy for children's choir (all exposed by the way!) and stayed while he had to be there with the other elders for the commissioning service. When I got there...there she was, curled up soundly sleeping. She was cool to touch, but I probably checked her every five minutes during the service. I finally woke her up. She complained of a headache, barely ate any of the sweets at the dessert fellowship afterwards so I was NOT surprised when I went to tuck her in and she was burning up with a fever. She's better, her cough is still horrible. She was quite pitiful and spent 3 days in bed...I mean IN THE BED! Last count one half of her class has gotten it as well. She's got a pile of school work to catch up on, but we'll work on it this weekend.
    The boy succumbed, waking up with a high fever on Wednesday morning, but got Tamiflu, so his duration was shortened dramatically and he didn't descend into any respiratory symptoms...he just threw up everywhere...over and over. It's just not pictures they include in the "What to expect" books..or in Parenting magazine with all these sweet cherubs in gap clothing. Don't get me wrong, I am very thankful we avoided steroids and around the clock breathing treatments. Just throw up is...well yucky (and yes, I am a nurse...and a good one...but the sounds of many of a patient have left me turning green...I haven't ever thrown up on anyone after they've thrown up, but I did come close once when I was pregnant with the girl...). And another thing...when I'm cleaning up vomit, it kinda muddies the waters of whether I am getting sick or if I'm just feeling bad because of cleaning up the mess. It just makes everyone involved...well, involved.

    Hubs was able to work some creative work hours this week (sooo very thankful for his workplace/boss/coworkers flexibility), wouldn't be possible to do that just anywhere. But a few days, he stayed home/worked from home while I went into work and then he drove on to Hamlet once I got home at lunch time then worked burning midnight oil.

    Staffing changes were announced at the clinic, but my position remains unaffected. There may be grumblings about the changes, but I've really not heard them-maybe it's because I'm the new girl. Everyone kept their chin up and seems to have great attitudes compared to some other places I've worked.

    I am enjoying working...even with the added stresses of making sure the kids are cared for. I'm beginning to get into a routine, know where the bathrooms are, am beginning to remember some co-worker's names, and can leave my "office space" (a cardiologist walked by today and said, "I like where we've stuck Loretta"... I'm in a room over on the Electrophysiology side where some sort of treadmill test of internal cardiac defibrillators are done-who knows...I'm not even sure, but I have a bat mobile desk that folds up and will roll out of the way...and share the space with a huge treadmill and some monitoring say space is at a premium is an understatement...But, it's quiet) anyway, I can leave that space and actually find my way around without walking in circles.

    The boy begins a two week fall break next week and it will be a daily juggling act to have friends and family take care of him while I work. I'm very thankful for the willingness of those friends and family...but you know me and my scatterbrainedness---so if I show up at your house to pick up the boy, just kindly remind me you don't have him today and that I need to recheck the schedule. It will happen, I just know it!

    Hubs took his second Greek test this week...he passed and that's all the info I have to share. He's beginning to translate passages...and he's reading his Greek New Testament every day. He walks around the house mumbling in I could understand his mumbling in English, haha. Every now and then a word sounds familiar to me and I can hear the root word that an English word might have come from.

    It's autumn...but I've really not had a chance to relax and enjoy the change in the temperatures, maybe next week. I know the moment will come, it always does.

    I'm going to put on a pot of soup for the weekend...clean the house...catch up the laundry...just in case I start oinking or growing a little squiggly tail ;)

    Wednesday, September 30, 2009

    In Christ alone...

    Tuesday, September 29, 2009

    39 Things I love about him...

    1. He truly listens...he is rarely trying to form what he's going to say before you get finished talking. It causes his answers to come more slowly (which drives me crazy sometimes)--but he's truly being thoughtful about it.

    2. He loves me...unconditionally...and I'm really not sure why, cause really, I'm a mess...

    3. He doesn't mind when our house is a wreck and could care less if I ever dusted.

    4. He rarely complains about the "little stuff"

    5. He says Thank you...for all the things I really don't think he notices

    6. He works hard and rarely reminds us of it...

    7. He laughs...alot...and it always makes my heart smile...

    8. He's smart--really smart, a Master's in Mechanical Engineering w/Professional Engineering License...and it all came relatively easy from the studying I saw...he's a good "engi-nerd"

    9. He can fix anything...really! Even if it's complicated...if there is a maintenance book/repair manual...he will read it and figure out the right way to fix what's broken.

    10. He likes our kids...and I don't mean that he loves them, but he likes them...he enjoys being with them...they delight him.

    11. He loves his Momma! Do I even need to say more?

    12. He's a wonderful uncle to our niece--the only father person she's really had. He makes her feel cherished.

    13. He's always thinking and planning...

    14. His heart has been broken...

    15. His heart has been mended in a way that makes him respond differently to people who are hurting...he has much more compassion than he did before (in his 20's)...

    16. He knows his purpose in life.

    17. He's a problem solver... (sometimes in our marriage this frustrated me--but now I let him know when I just want him to listen to me rant and rave)

    18. He lets me rant and rave ;)

    19. He thinks I'm funny...usually mostly when I'm ranting and raving...

    20. He rarely gets mad at me over stupid things (like backing the car into a post, even if he has to come out in the middle of the night and work in a hospital parking lot to patch a radiator for us to get it home)

    21. He gets that "stuff", although nice, is just "stuff" and that people are the important things

    22. He'll watch chick flicks with me and sometimes will even cry ;)

    23. He believes that God is sovereign...

    24. He is not a risk taker...but rather likes the occasional adventure...

    25. He will take a risk rather than lead a predictable, unobedient life...

    26. He will admit when he is does happen occasionally ;)

    27. He loves to work with wood...but would rather play tickle monster with the kids in the evening

    28. He is the spiritual leader in our home...prayers, devotions & singing together (off key, although he can actually sing pretty good)--the kids will remember and for now they beg for that time together...

    29. He's cute... ;) and he's Tall... ;)

    30. 19 years of stuff too tangled and woven for me to even begin to describe...

    31. He makes me laugh...and watch movies I would never watch alone

    32. He knows honest about his faults...

    33. He's accepting, loving and 19 years, he's maybe said 2-3 unkind things to me...ever!

    34. He likes to wait patiently while I ride roller coasters...

    35. He thinks it's good that living with me keeps him on his toes, he never knows what I'm gonna do...

    36. He lets all our friends think I'm the nice sweet one...

    37. As a SAHM, he never, ever let me feel like/say I didn't have a job...he says I have the most important job...He tells me that I am a good mom...and that our kids are blessed to have me...

    38. He likes coffee...with the morning...and he's NOT a morning person y'all!

    39. He has promised to love me forever...even though he knows I'll keep making the same stupid mistakes over and over again, and that I'm not even close to perfect...cause he keeps his promises :)

    Happy Birthday to the most wonderful 39 year old I best friend...

    Sunday, September 27, 2009

    Great idea...

    Looks like a great way to organize meals to bless others:
    Linked to this:
    From here
    And will be investigating this more....

    Friday, September 25, 2009

    Friday Five...

    • The end of my fourth week of work...feeling comfortable, like I'm getting the hang of the routine...remembering what I used to know without even having to think...IV sticks...weinkebach...12-lead EKGs...ace inhibitors...beta blockers...statins...calcium channel's all coming back to me.

    • The Girl learned an important thing this week...not a good idea to gesture or point with the middle finger...uugghh! And about another hand gesture that led her to ask the question, "what does gay mean"...still waiting for some wisdom to answer that last one...

    • Hubs has all kinds of Greek stuff lying around---and I think it's starting to really make sense to him! He made a 94 on his first exam, has to take his second one this week I think.

    • Two shots and a prednisone dose pack and my rash is much less itchy (but still present)...weird, still don't know what caused it.

    • Homesick for the mountains and the people we love there...melancholy and wanting to smell home...

    and that's all I got...boring, I know.

    Friday, September 4, 2009

    The snorkeler man...

    You really can't make some of this childhood stuff up. Nate wants to be the "cuba-diver like on Memo" when he grows up, he wants a new snorkeler and a breathing tank for his back. In the meantime, he's making due with the equipment he has on hand. Today he put scotch tape on the eyes so they look dark like the guy on Memo.

    Thursday, September 3, 2009

    third day...

    at my new job and I got to do some clinical stuff...started an IV, gave some drugs...seems like a long time since I've been in this saddle, but it's all coming back to me. I distracted the patient as I started my first IV in about 3-1/2 years...hard stick, first dirt. I used to be "good" at starting IV's but was worried it would take me a while to get that skill back...
    Everyone at The Clinic is nice, seems to appreciate that I'm there--which is always good. Nursing, has always been a good security blanket for me...a job that I've mostly loved and has been easily accessible. Time to go...more later ;)

    Tuesday, September 1, 2009

    Second Day...

    at my new job was spent doing computer training. The lady and I got a kick out of each other...and went down a few bunny trails. One of which included talking about the good 'ole days of nursing...back when we charted on paper...wore white starched hose and nurse mate shoes and some of us (me at my very first job) wore nursing caps...and even the not-so-long-ago time when we wore color coordinated scrubs for each floor. This stemmed somehow from a conversation about when we each got the Hepatitis B vaccine and trying to remember when it came out. I am sure that I received my first series in 1992...shortly after the vaccine was approved for health care workers. Followed by a titer that was positive.
    I remember vividly my very first orientation at my very first health care job. It was a small 100 bed hospital...I worked on 600 Hall, where the surgical patients were, as a unit secretary during the 3p-11p shift on Friday. Saturday and Sunday I often worked 7am to 7pm. It was a great job for a nursing student and I couldn't have gotten better training. The worst part about the job is that I missed weekends with my new husband...and the last few months with my Momma.

    Anyway, it was a good second day. Working half days like this sure are nice. The boy and I still had time to play outside before a nap...and I was home when the girl got off the school bus. And one more day...that the boy was cared for and loved!

    A quote for the day...from a book I'm reading by Beverly Lewis (the Amish books...) The Secret:

    Grace located the item the other clerk had wanted and wondered what might have prompted the customer's preference for all things simple. She recalled something Mammi Adah often said with a knowing smile on her wrinkled face: "When you get what you you want what you get?" Grace assumed it was merely human to crave a different situation in life and not something unique to fancy folk.

    Let me know what you think about that...

    Monday, August 31, 2009

    Matthew 6:25-35... been driving me to my knees and to the Word for the past few months. These verses in Matthew have been a source of comfort and of the few sermons that Joe has prepared and delivered over the years came from these verses.
    How appropriate on the day before reality truly strikes my heart--in the form of beginning working again outside our home...that the sermon was on these verses...and not being "anxious about anything".
    One of the meditation quotes that I will continue to ponder, I wanted to share:

    Anxiety is a sin also because it is a lack of acceptance of God's providence in
    our lives. God's providence may be simply defined as God's orchestrating all
    circumstances and events in His universe for His glory and the good of His
    people. Some believers have difficulty accepting the fact that God does in fact
    orchestrate all events and circumstances, and even those of us who do believe it
    often lose sight of this glorious truth. Instead we tend to focus on the
    immediate causes of our anxiety rather than remembering that those immediate
    causes are under the sovereign control of God
    . Jerry Bridges in Respectable Sins.

    Thank you to the Ladies God is using today to alleviate my "anxieties"...the three women, who for today, are standing in the Gap with my children...loving them and caring for them as I begin yet another leg of this Great Adventure!

    Saturday, August 29, 2009

    a Funeral...

    Frances A. HarkessFrances Atkins Harkess, of Aberdeen, formerly of Albany, N.Y., went home to be with her Lord Tuesday morning, Aug. 25, 2009.
    She is survived by her husband, Harold Harkess, of Aberdeen; son, Robert Frost, of Southern Pines; daughters, Diana Frost, of Cross River, N.Y. and Catherine Bogin, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; cousin, Betty Jo Johnson, of Martinsville, Va.; four grandsons, two granddaughters, and four great-grandchildren.
    Frances Atkins was born April 2, 1931, in Martinsville, Va., the daughter of Robert Greene Atkins and Nettie Noel Atkins.
    Frances and Harold Harkess were married for 36 years. They made their home in Albany, N.Y., until August 2006 when they relocated to Aberdeen. They built a new home in Forest Hills, Aberdeen, in 2008.
    Frances was a member of Alpha Omicron Fraternity (sorority) and had served as a chapter adviser to the chapter at the University at Albany (Albany, N.Y.) for several years prior to moving to Aberdeen. She had been a child protective services caseworker and later a family and children services specialist for the State of New York Department of Child and Family Services for 17 years prior to her retirement in 1990.
    Fran was a member of Sandhills Presbyterian Church, and served on the fellowship committee and missions committee. Previously she and her husband had been active members for 30 years at New Life Ministries in Schenectady, N.Y.
    In accord with her wishes, there will be no visitation or viewing. There will be a celebration service at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, at Sandhills Presbyterian Church, 650 Pee Dee Road, Southern Pines. This will be followed by a lunch at the church. A memorial service in Albany-Schenectady, N.Y., will be held in late September.
    Gifts and/or memorials may be made to Sandhills Presbyterian Church Youth Fund at the address shown above.
    Condolences may be made at

    As appeared in The Pilot
    The photo does not do her warm smile and sparking eyes justice...was taken at the most recent WIC Salad Luncheon in July...

    Tuesday, August 25, 2009

    On the First Day of Third Grade...

    All ready to go
    Getting ready to get in the car...
    didn't ride the bus the first day!

    Teacher's assistant
    Delightful Daughter at her desk

    Delightful daughter putting away supplies

    Sunday, August 23, 2009

    super doubles...

    There is a rumor in the internet world that Harris Teeter will be doing super double coupons in just another week...possible??? I'll be saving up my coupons over here!

    Friday, August 21, 2009

    August 21st...

    will always be my momma's birthday, though she's not been here to celebrate the last 18. She was a few weeks shy of her 65th birthday when she died. I have now officially lived with sweetie pie as long as I was in momma's house. (19 years of marriage in January---I went to live with momma when I was 2, got married when I was 20...). The reality of that amazes me. I continue to talk to my children about her as if they knew her too...they didn't. Sometimes I suspect they think I'm making her up. Sometimes, I wonder if I am too...

    She's missed a good bit of my life...I think the most important parts. The milestones, the things she would have been proud of...the becoming of who I think she hoped I would become.

    I know she would have been full of advice (much of which I wouldn't have wanted to heed and I would have had to concentrate hard not to roll my eyes), been a loving Granny to my children(even though she wasn't always able to be to me...she was so very bone tired and with a weary heavy soul--she showed love in ways that I didn't understand). Kids brought out the best in her. She would have delighted in the boy...and said that he's full of meanness with that sparkle in her eyes revealing that she thought any boy worth his salt was filled with some meanness. She would have fallen head over heels for him. I have a hard time picturing her with the girl...I think girls were harder for her...she would have loved her and been proud of her, but I'm not sure the girl would have been sure. Maybe...but then, their relationship would not have been anything like ours was...and it's hard for me to imagine that. It's hard for me to imagine my life with her still in it...

    I do not know how I would have handled the guilt that would have come from moving so far away from "home", and from her. Maybe she would have moved with us, maybe we would have made her life better, easier. Life decisions that have seemed clear to us would have been more complicated...If she had lived longer, my life could have been completely different with different paths and choices as options. I would have felt responsible and what end, I'm not sure.

    At 20...or 16...or 12...there was no way for me to appreciate her the way I do at 39. The perspective of understanding the motivation and driving forces through the lens of life have changed my heart...I no longer doubt her love or feel that I was just a burden to her. I understand that some of the times that she shook my self esteem was not even about was deeper and stronger than I could have ever understood. She was attempting to be in control of my well being using whatever means necessary, and the harsh words left deep wounds. It was easy for me to believe I was more of a burden than a delight. Now, I focus more on the sweeter words she spoke, the tender moments in which I truly felt as if I belonged to her. It's easier, now, to believe she did love me and that she thought I was worth the effort. It's easier for me to know that because she loved me she carried the burden of taking care of me...when at age 44 she was asked if she would take me, she said, "yes" when "no" would have been the much easier choice! Most times I never remembered she had a choice. For her loving me meant providing food, shelter, safety--anything else was a luxury...and our luxuries were few but I treasure them infinitely more now understanding that they came at a high price.

    I am so thankful to a Sovereign Father who guided me...placing me where He needed me to be so that in His perfect time, I would be drawn to Him. After years of asking "why"... I have been given an answer in the stillness of my soul that "I might never understanding the horrors I was protected from". I am grateful that in the process, He chose to use a wonderful, courageous, resourceful, witty, unconventional, spirited, strong-willed woman, yearning for a second chance, to shape me and guide me...and love me.


    Nate and Bella are hilarious sometimes. Nate plays with her like he's a dog and she plays with him like he's really a puppy. She nips and tugs and plays...but never hurts him, it is amazing. Nate gets down, nuzzles her, bites her etc. It really is funny...

    Once again, laptop is repaired

    and I'm getting weary of this routine. I couldn't even get on blogspot from the dinosaurus desktop. So, I'll be busy uploading blog posts previously written. By the way, the lawn mower, the Cuisinart coffee pot and the cell phone have been on the fritz as well over the past few weeks--perhaps there is a bigger more sinister issue at large, perhaps we're being overtaken by some sort of strange magnetic field that is affecting all our stuff....

    Wednesday, August 19, 2009

    Mom & Delightful Daughter Date

    while BB went to school...DD and I had a date in Down Town SouthernPines...we went window shopping and then had hot chocolate and coffee...chatted, laughed and just enjoyed Boy Free Time!

    First Day of Preschool

    Ready for school...been ready for 2 hours ;)

    Sunday, August 2, 2009

    Aunt Irene...

    In Loving Memory
    Irene Frances DeMoss
    "Aunt Irene"
    5/24/1926 -8/2/2009

    Irene Frances DeMoss, 83,
    a 40-year resident of the county died
    on August 2, 2009 in Loma Linda, California.

    She served the area over 20 years as a real estate broker and professional, including ownership of DeMoss Real Estate with her husband following his retirement from military service at Norton AFB. As a devoted wife of a 25-year career USAF officer and a loving mother of two sons, she willingly traveled throughout the U.S. and Asia; and in each place, she provided a godly and hospitable home environment for her family and countless visitors. She was a wonderful cook, combining country-cooking learned while growing to adulthood in West Virginia with Asian dishes she learned while attending cooking school in Tokyo. Her passion for teaching the Bible to adults and children over many years provides her a spiritual legacy that will long survive her departure for Heaven. She was a long-time, active member of Immanuel Baptist Church, and contributed tireless volunteerism to the San Bernardino Assistance League and the Republican Women’s Club.
    Irene is survived by: sons, Kurth and Lawrence DeMoss, brothers Richard and John Miller, sisters, Lorena Arnold and Norma Jean Gaston, and four grandchildren. One brother, Donal Miller, is deceased.
    Memorial Services will be held at Immanuel Baptist Church, 28355 Base Line, Highland, CA on Friday August 7th at 2:00 pm. Her interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia with her husband of 31 years, Lt. Colonel Louis W. DeMoss who was interred there in 1983. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to San Bernardino Assistance League in Irene's memory.

    Friday, July 31, 2009

    BBQ Beans & Smoked Sausage

    The Recipe: BBQ Beans & Smoked Sausage

    The Results

    Wednesday, July 29, 2009


    Wish I'd gone on to Sanford for our Walmarting---they're remodeling and ours is a mess right now!! I got what I needed though---and will now make a menu based on what's in my pantry & freezer and stopped at SCCC for farmer's market stuff & spent the 10-ish dollars in my wallet for 2 lbs of roma tomatoes to make beans...and a watermelon...and some red & orange tomatoes for salads and wraps. I'm gonna make a bean and polish sausage crock pot meal one day this week...

    Our very first trip to the orthodontist was today. The first opinion is that Emily has impounded teeth (not the right word--impacted teeth) that aren't going to be able to come in if we don't make some room---also has a cross bite in the back which will mean when those molars fall out/if they fall out---those could also be impacted too. Apparently impacted teeth will grow in horizontal or destroy the roots of the teeth next to them---and permanet teeth could be lost or destroyed. He says she needs an appliance W-wing in top of her mouth and partial braces on top and bottom to the tune of $600 down and $160 a month for 14 months ($2400) which would then be applied to the toal amount of Phase II or "real" full braces that would be put on probably as soon as the partial ones come off---to the tune of $4000-$5000 (minus the $2400 we would have already paid and possibly minus a 5% cash discount...). They said if we start soon, they can get a lot of the appts done before school I'll try to schedule a second opinion ASAP--Read, baby, read!!! Finished the Picture Perfect Jodi Picoult book last night when storming & Boistrous Boy couldn't sleep---it was okay, no actually pretty good--but about domestic abuse (husband beating wife...)

    Friday, July 24, 2009

    Friday's Favorites...

    • Birthday dinners for family (auntie J celebrating a 40-something birthday)
    • Having great long-time friends over for a great visit and dinner--and kids who let us have meaningful conversation.
    • A visit with my hair chick...long overdue!
    • Camelot park! With friends! Kids who love to run and play...and get real sweaty...
    • A new baby safely delivered into the world...welcome Zachary Savage Wilson!
    • Baby Samuel Harrison Arnold...who is no longer a baby and today we celebrate your five years of life...sharing with us a different perspective on hope, living, and joy. May we continue to learn so much more from your presence in our lives than we could ever hope to teach you.
    • So many opportunities to meet and spend time with our new pastor and his family...worn out from all the activities, but an awesome glimpse of God's glory...and timing...and grace...and mercy...
    • Bible studies...and being real with some neat ladies!

    Saturday, July 18, 2009

    Days 3, 4, 5 and 6...

    passed in a frenzied blur...did I mention that Emo attended an evening VBS with a neighbor, who also attended our VBS? This resulted into kids taxied back and forth between the two families, meals eaten quickly...a sleep-over...tired kids...and lots of VBS crafts (what do you do with those??) Add in a Nate-ster who was not feeling well, very clingy and had to be carted to the pediatricians office a few times this week...then as thrilling as it is that our Pastoral search committee is on the home stretch with their work, that results were a harried me (read: not at my best to meet and impress new people...this is all about me, right??) involved in lots of meet-n-greet festivities with our pastoral candidate and his lovely family. Oh, there is all the husband-turned-seminary-student-drama at our house. The result is one "me" with her head screwed on crooked!!
    I know you're probably getting tired of hearing how busy things are around here, but quite honestly, that just seems to be the theme of late...may be the theme for years to come for all I know. re-cap...oh, wait, I probably already did enough of that ;)
    VBS was awesome, Christ led some kids to give their hearts to Him, snacks went over quite well, there was lots of laughing...a little drama (and you know what I mean, not the skit on the stage)...teenagers with hollow legs wandering into the kitchen that we couldn't seem to get full... some throw-up, tummy-aches, skinned elbows and a twisted ankle (did I mention that S and I shared the responsibility of VBS Nurse/band-aid applier?) and I got to hang out with some REALLY neat women in the kitchen and chat...and lots of work...typical VBS stuff. If you want more: see the cool website, complete with pictures.

    Which leads me to this morning, the busyness is on the downhill stretch. There are two events today...a men's breakfast and a women's lunch at church. My breakfast casserole is in the oven, and I'm on the computer. I've finally slowed enough to let my thoughts be filled with a suffering friend, a fiesty spit-fire of a moma-person God graciously provided for me...and her coming battle with cancer.

    A few years ago, the very first time we met to get to know each other better, she asked me point blank..."where are you in your spiritual walk--a mountain top or a desert?". No one had ever asked me a question like that threw me off balance...I expected us to chat about families, careers, maybe even how we'd come to know Jesus...but "where" I was spiritually...hum, no one had ever even seemed to care enough to get that right out in front...let alone the first thing. It spoke volumes to me, and I can't tell you how many times over the last few years I've turned to her when I was struggling and needed reassurance that God is/was in control!

    I've worked hard at being compartmentalized about this news this week...I even said out loud, "I can't talk about this right now...things to do and I don't have time to cry". This morning I can't stop the thoughts or the tears...I mean, I have prayed for her this week...prayed for her family...I've actually been praying since she told me two weeks ago she was having some tests, for what her doctor thought might be a hot gallbladder. She asked, "Would my gallbladder make me feel this bad"...I quickly said, "sure", but was filled with nagging unease. My prayers have been more of the quickly whispered, "Please, Lord, NO, not THIS, not NOW".

    She is a survivor...Breast CA in 2005 (ish)...her Dad died earlier this year...she's had a year full of "stuff", but is quick to say and to remind this young chick, "God is on His throne". The cancerous tumors on her liver didn't surprise Him, and honestly didn't surprise me...and I think she had a nagging suspicion as well.

    Thoughts of what to do, what to to respond (cause we always want to "do" something when met with the suffering of others) fill my head, what her family needs, how to encourage our mutual friends...and we wait for more tests, treatment plans...and to see what the God of the universe is going to do with this chapter of His Story.

    And for now, I keep moving forward...and make Broccoli salad...Women's luncheon is only 2-ish hours away...

    ~as I rest between the Paws of the True Aslan...

    Tuesday, July 14, 2009

    Day 2 of VBS

    120+ kids and bathroom facilities that went out about mid-morning ;)

    Check out details here.

    There's an excitement in the air and even w/the broken potties things are going quite smoothly. I'm working in the kitchen with great funny women...they just make me laugh and I quite enjoy hanging out with them.

    Nate's a little better...maybe...poor guy has an infection and cruddy lungs on top of the croup.

    We ate dinner outside tonight...with music from our neighbor and his bluegrass band filling the cooler night air, they finished w/Rocky Top to our delight (okay, maybe just my delight--I clapped and woohoo'd and Joe was worried the police would be showing up).

    Picked two Roma Tomatoes and 2 cucumbers from my "garden"...made a great salad to go with our grilled chicken tonight!

    Saturday, July 11, 2009

    It's done...

    ~I finished up treatments yesterday and had the PICC line removed without any complications!! What a blessing! It's the end of a long and a eventful week.
    ~Nate had to go to the doctor yesterday for croup...yuck, he still sounds horrible.
    ~ I finished a lot of paperwork today...
    ~spent a few hours today just getting started on the house (yes...a few hours...yes started)
    ~VBS next week, WOOHOO!
    ~Lots of reading for pleasure this week, finished a Beverly Lewis series (makes me want to quilt and can) and started a new one...Yada Yada Prayer Group, looked fun!
    ~Nate & Emo spent a good bit of the day playing with a big box they turned into a rocket, a remote control for a car (steering for the rocket), and an aluminum foil/duct tape/box space helmet...complete with sound effects and a great outer space adventure!
    all for now...

    Tuesday, July 7, 2009

    Two down...

    and three more Venofer infusions more to go! All the things I worried about the most - who was going to take care of the kids-- has gone so smooth. I'm so thankful.
    Today, while I was at the Outpatient Oncology Clinic where I get the infusion, sitting in a comfy recliner...with a warm blanket fresh from the blanket warmer...getting hooked up...I looked around. I remember last time, two years ago, feeling humbled by the circumstances of the lives that surrounded me as most of the patients there are in the midst of battle...not just for more energy or to feel better...but the battle for life. Most of the patients are receiving Chemotherapy. Yesterday, one such couple came in...she armed with notes, bottles of medications, questions about how to get nourishment in him, tricks to try to get rid of GI disturbances...I overheard her tell their nurse, "He's what I do now...". He sat in the chair, cracked jokes and the only time he even grimaced slightly was while getting his IV started. There was a lot of love between them...and life was going on...they talked about the errands they would run after they finished there and what he might be able to tolerate for dinner. He teased her about having a plan...she teased back that it's always good to have a plan you can deviate from. There was a lot of depth to them and they were busy with each other. It was not a burden for them to be there together. There was not much time for more than a glance my way.
    Today, as they headed out...he asked how I was doing. I said, "Good..." He said, "Great...keep it up!" He thought I was fighting the same battle...
    He encouraged me...even though I don't have cancer and my battle is different...we are all fighting the same war...because of Adam's fall, we are all born to die. You can't help but spend time in that waiting room or in the chair amongst those soldiers and not feel it strongly...and I was encouraged by his words...I will keep fighting the good fight...and maybe tomorrow, I can encourage him.

    Monday, July 6, 2009


    Well, it's Monday...what a wonderful weekend we had!!!
    Friday, Sweet Hubby got home from Due West earlier than expected. He finished up his class work, talked to the professor for an hour and then hit the road. He beat us home since we did some late/after nap errands, thinking he wouldn't be home until way after the kids bedtimes! What a great surprise he was home when we got there!
    I came home from Wally world with new deck furniture that I've been watching like a hawk. The price dropping was occurring as they were beginning to put stuff on summer clearance...and it finally hit my target price! Just in time for a hot dog roast Saturday night.
    We did spend all our quality time Friday evening, talking theology, pondering what God is doing in our lives (I swear, I think my head is literally spinning), & sharing all the funny things the kids have done this week, while putting in screws and directions...and fighting with that little hex thing they give you to screw things in with...finally, about midnight, (about 5 hours later) we enjoyed more chatting and relaxing at our new table and chairs...SWEET!
    Joe still has a few papers to write before he's officially "completed" this course, but I think overall God definitely used this week to guide us and direct our paths...even if the course doesn't ultimately transfer and count toward his Master of Divinity course work.
    Our delightful daughter rode her bike in the local community Fourth parade with her girl scout troop. They decorated bikes and helmets...well, pics will follow as soon as I'm techno-savvy with that again! WE got nervous about her finishing the 4-1/2 mile parade route around the lake and followed the parade in the van--sure enough about half way around, she had pulled over to the side...exhausted and very hot (it was 2 in the afternoon!) the folks ahead of us threw her bike in the back of their truck and we threw her in the van and we kept going. Nothing makes you feel a part of something bigger like being in a local parade with everyone waving flags, catching candy and wishing each other a happy know moments like that make me tear up!
    We had a hot-dog dinner with the Fausz's, sat on our deck in our new deck furniture while children played and ended our holiday with sparklers...cause we love sparklers!
    Sunday the announcement was made...that after months and months of hard work and LOTS of meetings...our pastoral search committee has called a Senior pastor! It's so exciting...and amazing...and exciting! He'll be here the week of July 13th, the same week as VBS (the snack lady says to keep those donations for snack items coming in!!) doing all sorts of meet and greet stuff...then he'll preach Sunday morning and we'll have a Congregational meeting and vote...I cannot believe how God has worked during this. I am changed forever...God is Faithful and has led us through some tough the process making me more dependent on Him!
    Oh, and a new baby was born into the flock on Friday! The Kirby's are the proud parents of baby far as I know everything went well...Congrats...can hardly wait to see the baby and bring them some Swiss-chicken casserole...well, there's just excitement all around.

    I am scheduled for a PIC line placement today at the hospital and then a Venofer (iron) infusion to follow. Emily's starting Art camp this afternoon...and Nate will be playing at his Buddy-Jackson's house...I'll let you know how it goes...

    Also on a walk this morning with my neighbor...heard about "the-most-perfect" part-time job that I'm a little excited about...if I could "create" my own would look like this one sounds...God's working, I tell you! I'll keep you posted...

    Friday, July 3, 2009


    warning...this post is unfinished, I will be completing and adding the rest of our pictures...

    Saturday June 13th:
    Arrived! After over 12 hrs in travel time, due being delayed by a thunderstorm we finally got there about 7 o'clock. Late check in. Had dinner at the All star Movies cafe and played in the Mighty Ducks pool. When we walked to our room, Nate saw the three story white duck hockey mask and asked if it was cheese (it did look like Swiss cheese)...and proceeded to identify our particular part of the hotel (there were two entrances w/hockey masks) by saying, "is that our cheese?" the rest of the week.

    Sunday June 14th:
    Breakfast at Cinderella Castle at 9:45!!! Arrived by bus from our hotel in plenty of time to see the show and see the characters arrive (Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Donald, Daisy!!!) via steam engine. Immediately felt like we'd arrive in an alternate universe where everyone was happy and "having a magical day". We planned well, walked straight to the castle for our breakfast at Cinderella's Royal Table...had pictures taken with Cinderella with no waiting and went straight to our table. It was a great breakfast, the Chef came out to the table to handle Nate's allergies and brought him special food...he had a waffle for the first time in his life ;) Each of the princesses, Snow White, Belle, Sleeping Beauty, Jasmine were announced individually and worked the room. Stopping at each table for autographs, pictures and a short (but not distracted) conversation. Nate was given a "sword" to protect his princesses and Emily a magic wand. What a great way to start our time at Disney!



    We then proceeded to ride Dumbo, explore frontier land, Tom Saywer's Island, Watch the Country Bear very hot...felt faint and went back to our cool hotel room to take a 3 hour nap!

    Back that night...toon town, Mickey and Minnie's autographs, toured Mickey's house. Rode train around to Tomorrow land...rode little race cars at the Tomorrowland Raceway...Mad Teaparty teacups...ate dinner at Tomorrow Land watched fireworks show at the Castle "Wishes Nighttime Spectacular" including Tinker bell! It's a small world ride, Snow White's Scary Adventure ride, Winnie the pooh ride, and the Carousel

    And yes!  I felt like a little kid when I saw the castle change colors!  
    And when I saw Mickey Mouse for the first time, I thought I would come out of my skin...
    I know it's crazy...

    Monday June 15th:

    Joe has his first day of duty at the PCA General Assembly.  The kids and I slept in since we'd been to Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom until 2am (did I say we had a three hour Nap on Sunday?)....after lunch kids & I went to Magic Kingdom, got more character autographs, went back to Toon town, rode on train...had lunch at Gepeto's Grotto.  We were bascially doing things that we not too exciting for Daddy ;)

    One of the many parades...

    Chip and Dale...Dale was quite funny and tried to "rip" out the page in Nate's autograph book with Donald duck...his arch nemesis.  His body gaurd had to step in and tell him "No Dale"....this made the kids day!

    the wait for Pluto was a little longer, he had to take a potty break (people change I bet-It was HOT!)

    And we stumbled upon this show in front of the castle just as it was starting, but after about 20minutes, we could take the heat no longer...the only time we got to see Goofy was in the parades and at this show...



    Another trip over to Toon town to visit Minnie's house with an ice cream snack while we were waiting!  (I was enjoying the meal plan at this point)



    In the evening since we had park hopper tickets, we decided to do some park hopping and Animal Kingdom had extra magic hours that night so we headed over there, had some great barbecue with our meal plan and checked out all the rides in Dino world.  Nate was a trooper but got a little scared on the mini roller coaster there....and no pictures ;)  There was a triceratops ride that was a lot like Dumbo, so I think that was his favorite.  We saw the It's tough to be a Bug and waited in a very long line a little while for The Lion King, checked out DINOSAURS but decided it might be too much for Nate and really it was getting late and it was sooo hot, we were melted!

    Tuesday June 16th:
    Joe needed to be back at GA for some committee meeting late this afternoon, so we decided to spend the morning at Animal Kingdom, for him to leave us when we needed to or for us all to go back to the hotel together.

    We went back to Animal Kingdom...did all the Maharajah Jungle Trek and Pangani Forest Exploration trails/walkways, rode the Wildlife express train over to the Conservation Station and the Affection Section petting zoo.  We went on the Kilimanjaro safari ride, Kali river rapid ride, and Emily and I rode the Expedition Everest-Mt. Everest "Yeti" roller coaster ride that went backwards for a time.  I think Emily & I were wrapped up in each other with our eyes closed for that part ;).  We saw Jiminey Cricket and Refekie but Nate was "done" with characters by this time and said he was scared...

    We ate a buffet lunch at the Tusker House resturaunt, where once again the Chef was wonderful, came out to our table, took me to the buffet to tell me what was safe for Nate to eat....and then brought him some allergen free cookies for dessert.  Nothing could have put me more at ease.

    And the Safari ride which was awesome...animals were so close!

    This is the way to wasn't long before we realized the cost of the double stroller
    was worth it, even when Emily could and would have walked, it just felt safer to have them both in the stroller and to have it to carry our water bottles, snacks and backpacks (with lip balm, sunscreen, epi-pens, bandaids, face sticks, fresh socks, maps, ID's...)

    Wednesday June 17th:

    This was our full day of General Assembly activites.  I attended the Women In the Church Women's Brunch with the speaker being Paul Tripp.  It was wonderful...there will be another blog post about those details at a later date :)

    Joe and I perused the CEP Bookstore together and I was able to browse the vendors before and briefly after the brunch.  SO many good books and so little time!!

    Joe stayed for voting and such...the kids and I shopped for some souveniers nearby, for things we needed (more sunscreen!!!).

    Thursday June 18th:


    Lunch @ German restaurant...

    Magic Kingdom

    Les Chefs de France

    Friday June 19th:

    Hollywood Studios

    Tower of Terror!!

    Prince Caspian

    Beauty and the Beast

    Playhouse Disney

    Lunch @ Hollywood and Vine---character lunch w/little Einsteins

    Dinner in Liberty Tree Tavern---best meal we had the whole time we were there!!!!

    rides in Adventure land--Aladdin's carpet, Pirate of Caribbean,

    Peter pan....Nate and Joe rode Dumbo a few times and It's a Small World several times and the carousel while Emily and I rode big thunder MT railroad and splash MT two times each!

    We Saw Spectromagic light parade twice...

    and took one more carousel ride before we left that evening...

    Saturday June 20th:

    Bfst at all star movie resort...souveniers...hit the road!!!