......revelations of one woman's reality of life, love, and all things hopeful...

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Dear 2008...

Dear 2008,

You've been a good year to me, and I can hardly believe it's time to say our goodbyes. It's like you just got here! We've been through a lot together, huh?

It all began when I finally left long-term care. Those were 10 fantastic years, but when you grabbed my hand, 2008, we entered a brand new world. Just look at this picture I found from Halloween at the nursing home some years ago...I don't know how on earth you convinced me to leave. I miss it sometimes, but we both know it was time to go...

We went through some sad times together, 2008, on January 17th to be exact. MawMaw Ray passed away. This picture is a page from my scrapbook. See her with Mom? And there in the top left, she's pictured with Papa Ray. I know they are truly living now. It still makes me sad sometimes...but I know life must go on...

Speaking of "life goes on", I witnessed the birth of a baby with you by my side, ole-friend-2008. That was a new experience for me...well, sort of. When my nephew Grayson was born, I was in the room, but I remember specifically sitting in the corner of the room trying not to puke. (No offense, Grayson. It's just that I've grown up some since then). Maybe my sugar was low or something. Remember how fast it all happened when baby Za'Marea was born? We were so excited that we almost forgot to take some pictures after she was born. Dr. Blake looked at me and said "Does anybody want to take some pictures?" You're darn skippy we did! See...

Oh, 2008, let's not forget about the week at the beach with Aunt Kathy...ahhh...

2008, you convinced me to get healthy. We eat a lot of diet bread together, don't we? And some herbs. And some baby spinach. And some coffee with splenda. But it's paying off, huh? We're holding steady at about 32 lbs. lost this year.

And of course, 2008, we can't fail to reminisce about the Dolly Parton concert in Atlanta. Now that's something we won't soon forget.

2008, you were really good to my nephews and their Alexandria Valley Cubs peewee teams. Both teams were champions in their league. I spent many weekends with my brother and his family this year and I enjoyed it so, so, so much. I wish that I lived closer to them and could just drop in to see them any time I wish.

Rick and Bubba! Rick and Bubba! Do you remember, 2008, when we went to the Rick and Bubba Show? Remember how my cell phone kept ringing after Rick said my name over the air? Even people I worked with in Scottsboro were calling to ask if it was me at the Rick and Bubba Show!

Finally, 2008, we must recall the Turkey Trot. We walked it. We came in last...but thankfully we were not alone. There were a few other ladies in the caboose with us, huh? That was a first for us, and I think we should be really proud of ourselves.

Yes, 2008, you were a very fine year.

I have a request of you, 2008. We you speak to your Creator, the One who created every year before you and will create every year to come, the One who IS the Beginning and the End, will you please ask Him to do a few things in 2009...

Please ask Him to bless The Way Home.

Please ask Him to bless my whole family.

Please ask Him to help everything to come together when Brother builds his new house.

Please ask Him to help me to Run the Turkey Trot next year....whoa, He's gonna need to work a miracle!

You can thank Him, too, 2008, for the blessings of you!

Chocolate Covered Bacon? What's so weird about that?

.....for my cousin TINK...

Today I was waiting in the long, long self-checkout line at WalMart, and in an effort to distract myself from the panic attack I could feel bubbling up inside of me, I decided to flip through the January issue of Oprah's magazine. I noticed a letter that someone had written to the editor commenting on a previously published topic of "chocolate covered bacon" as if that was a completely foreign and barf-inducing delicacy.



Sounds like a fabulous idea to me!

In fact, I recently noticed that on Christmas morning as I sat around the breakfast table with my Dad, brother, sister-in-law and 4 kids, we all indulged in a traditional breakfast treat of chocolate gravy and biscuits, and yep, you guessed it, we all "sopped up" the chocolate gravy with bacon. Yum-Yuuuum! To be quite honest, I think I even dipped my scrambled eggs in the chocolate gravy, too!

In recent years, I've been doing a little "study" on this concept of chocolate gravy. It seems that the concept has originated in North Alabama. I would dare to say that if you are unfamiliar with the term "sopped up" then you likely have never experienced chocolate syrup and biscuits and are completely repulsed by the idea of chocolate covered bacon.

Upon further investigation, I must report that there is much commentary on the world wide web about this new invention of chocolate covered bacon. I think I read somewhere that there is nothing new under the sun. I've been enjoying the choco-baco my whole life...it's not new.

...now, ya'll come back.... for my next Slim-Fast update will be coming up real soon, now...


Monday, December 29, 2008

A Wedding at Sunrise...

There's something special about the dawn.
Dawn brings the end of a long night's darkness, and with it comes the hope of a new day.
Dawn brings the anticipation of a fresh start, and sometimes, a second chance.
Dawn brings the potential for a most perfect day.
Dawn shouts that the One who created the moon and stars is always faithful to always raise the sun.
Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.
I think dawn was a perfect time for this wedding.
They're happy, I'm happy.
Dad the Groom, Kathy the Bride, Aunt Amelia the Witness, Uncle Neal the Preacher.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sweet New Babies...Awwww!

Soup Supper

Last Saturday evening, my family had our annual "Soup Supper," a tradition which started some years ago to celebrate my MawMaw's birthday (she would have been 90 this year). This is my dad's side of the family. He has 6 siblings, all with spouses, children, grandchildren, and some great-grandchilren...Wow! They're getting old! I don't know how many of my aunts, uncles, and cousins were there, but there were quite a few!

Me with my aunts Myrna (left) and Marie. I've never noticed that
we have "the same mouth".

My Aunt Marie, great-uncle Gene, and Aunt Kathy.

My dad's wife-to-be Kathy(as of Dec. 27, 2008), Dad, and me.

Aunt Marie and her granddaughter, Deidra.

My cousin Julie and her husband Richie.

My Uncle Gerald, his daughter Cheryl and her husband Phillip. Baby Carlin...not their baby.

Chris, Steve, Ashley, and Stephanie. Again, Baby Carlin is not their baby! Chris and Ashley are married, Steve and Stephanie are married. Chris and Stephanie are bro/sis.

Left to right, Myrna, Carl Lee (baby Carlin's great-grandpaw), Marie, Jack, Dad, Neal, Kathy.

A Creature was Stirring...It's a MOUSE!!!

'Twas the night before Christmas vacation and all through The Way Home house, all the creatures were stirring, even a mouse!!!

As I sat on the couch, I heard a great clatter. What, oh what, could ever be the matter?

It was Silkyla who squealed as she hopped from chair to chair, "A mouse! A mouse!" she cried. "There's a mouse over there!!!"

I leaped from the couch and tried not to freak. Scooting the couch from the wall, I took a little peek.

And what before my eyes did appear? What I would have given for just a tiny reindeer! Oh, but nothing could be that easy....I saw this big, creepy rat and immediately became queasy!

What, oh what, tell me WHAT SHALL WE DO? Who will be our hero? Who can come to our rescue?

I had an idea and picked up the phone. Lord, please, please, please let Jessie be home!

Jessie, I know that it's late, but please get here quick! There's a monster under our sofa! No, this IS NOT a trick!

Jessie came in a flash with a twinkle in his eye. He had a fool-proof plan...the mouse was gonna die.

The chase was on. I thought I would cry, but before we knew it, Jessie captured that little gray guy!

I'm dreaming, you say? This tale can't be true? We captured it on tape! Just take a quick view!!!

Watch closely for the creepy-mousey...focus on the area to the bottom left of the screen just below the electrical outlet!

Before, anyone says a thing....I'm sorry we screamed over a mouse while holding a sleeping infant! I know it was wrong....but we girls were acting like girls!

Just to answer your questions...We were all just sitting in the living room watching tv tonight, taking silly pictures with my camera, and just generally having a fun night before everyone leaves tomorrow for Christmas break. Suddenly, Silkyla (pronounced like "tequila" but begins with the "s" sound instead of "t") freaks out because a mouse somehow crawled across her back and along the back of the sofa. I call Jessie. Jessie comes over. That's where the video begins.

At the beginning of the video, one of the girls, Kiara, is jumping on the couch to try to scare the mouse out from under the couch. Arabian is our official videographer. Silkyla's screams were real....the mouse had actually crawled across her back earlier...she was really scared!

A special thank you to my good friend, Jessie, who got out of bed at 11 p.m., drove up lookout mountain in the freezing cold, and captured the mouse! Initially, the mouse was under the couch. As you can see on the video, it ran from the couch to behind the entertainment center. It eventually ran behind another chair, and into a storage closet. How Jessie caught that mouse, I don't know. Whew!!! I'm so glad he did!!! What a mighty good man!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Will UPS come through for me?

My camera died right after the Dolly Concert and I have missed it soooo much. I did eventually buy a card reader so that I could download the Dolly pictures , but since that time I've been having amateur photography withdrawals during my amateur blogging.

I'm happy to bring you some glorious news.....It seems that my camera has been repaired and is currently in route from Connecticut to Alabama via UPS!!! Yippee!!! Just in time for Christmas!!!

Now the big question that remains...will UPS come through for me? The scheduled delivery date is this Friday, December 18. OHHHH! I can't wait! I can't wait! I can't wait!!! I'm off work Friday, but I think I should stay home to make sure I don't miss the big brown truck!

Let's all just hope and pray that UPS delivers my camera and not THIS!!!




Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I'm Done with This!

Perhaps I will regret writing this post, but I'm just going to say it. I'm sick (and tired) of citizens in these great United States of America playing the racism card. We just elected an African-American president for Heaven's sake!

I am an Auburn alum.

I love Auburn.

I even love Tommy.

I can't really comment intelligently on the new coach that AU has hired, but it seems neither can Charles Barkley.

I'm done with this people. Enough!

Monday, December 15, 2008

LIttle Girl Rescues Prancer

I happened upon one of my favorite Christmas movies on television tonight. "Prancer" the movie from 1989 is about a little girl who lives with her widower father, her aunt, and her brother at at time when the family is completely down on its luck during the holidays. The little girl rescues a reindeer who she believes wholeheartedly to be one of Santa's reindeer, Prancer. Well, I won't tell you all about the movie, but you should know that every time I watch it I take away something new...childlike faith, innocence, hard work paying off, eternal optimism. Or, one could just enjoy it as a good Christmas movie without searching for every little literary theme. You should rent it! You can actually watch the whole think on youtube if all else fails...it's broken down into 12 parts on youtube however. Here's part 1 to hook you...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

But For Because of the Grace of God...

It's late. It's so cold and windy here on top of Lookout Mountain. I brought "the boys" in to sleep in their crates tonight, and I can smell the "stinky dog" aroma drifting in here from the laundry room. "The boys" don't know how bad they smell...they are just happy to be all warm and cozy for the night.

I've just been sitting here pondering all the things going on in the world and around me...Just trying to decide what to write for my blog for the day. If I really told the truth, I would say that what I started to write was that I'm tired and lonely and a little frustrated. But then I remembered....

...somewhere someone is sitting in the hospital at their child's bedside like they did last night and the night before that, and the night before that, and the night before that...that person is tired

...somewhere someone attended the funeral of her best friend today...that person is lonely

...somewhere someone is re-reading his pink slip for the hundredth time. After giving 30 years to the company, this is what he gets...that person is frustrated

What is that old saying? Perhaps I'm misquoting, but it's something like...."But for the grace of God, there go I...." I started to write that old saying, BUT...who is excluded from the grace of God? Isn't it available to everyone? Exhausted parent? Bereaved friend? Displaced employee? TWH house mother?

Misfortune doesn't come to us because God has withheld His grace. I believe grace is made for those of us with trouble, stress, and misfortune! How would we ever make it through our most stressful days without His grace...protecting us, guiding us, refreshing us, reminding us, forgiving us! I will even admit that His grace completely cleans up after me on most days!

So what, then, shall I do?

I must choose to be thankful in all things, remembering the grace that is poured out on me through Jesus Christ.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Baby Trey

My little cousin Tiffany, who in my mind is still in first grade carrying a Little Mermaid lunchbox that I bought her for her birthday, is all grown up. In fact, she's a mommy now.

I received these photos today from Baby Trey's new proud papa, and I just can't resist posting them.

I hope my cousins across the country enjoy the pics...especially the very last one. It looks as if one of the uncles snuck his way into the nursery!!! No, not really! I think the way the story goes, Uncle Jack was actually the privileged one the get the first look at the baby...Daddy brought the baby out a different door than everyone expected...near where Jack was waiting.

Full House...the update

Nothing fell through...we are fully stocked at TWH these days. Currently we have 4 girls (2 are expecting little ones in March, 1 with an 8 month old little girl, and 1 with a 5 week old little boy). So far everything is running smoothly. Busy, but smooth. Perhaps I will have photos to come a little later...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Full House

No babies yet...no, no new girls...yep, we still just have one girl... That's what I used to say.

If nothing falls through, however, we should have a full house by the weekend. We are expecting 2 girls and 1 baby tomorrow, and on Saturday, we are expecting 1 girl and 1 baby.


I'm nervous as cat tonight....that's why I'm awake and blogging at midnight. My alarm clock will sound off at 5:45. Uggggh!

Pray for us! It's about to get exciting!!!

In the words of my good friend BamaSlammer, "this is my blog of the day."

The end.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Senate Babes to get a new Nanny?

Have you heard who has her eye on Hillary Clinton's soon-to-be-vacant seat in the US Senate? It's The Nanny, Fran Drescher! Check it out!

I love The Nanny...perhaps she prefers "Fran" but I know her as The Nanny. Yes, her character is funny and beautiful on the 90s sitcom, but I like her for another reason. She and I had the same type of cancer. She has worked so hard in her Cancer Schmancer movement to raise awareness and get legislation passed which advocates women's cancer issues.

The Nanny? For Sentate? You bet your high heels I would vote for her!!! You go, Franny!!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Nightmare Comes True

...for my cousin Chris...

In Minneapolis on Saturday, more than 300 Santas gathered for the city's 3rd annual
Santa Run, a fund raiser to help provide free legal services to people who cannot afford it.

I just need to say something about this. I cannot be more thankful that I was nowhere near Minnesota on Saturday. I'm not kidding. 300 Santas in one place is truly my nightmare becoming reality.

I love to get presents from Santa, let's be clear about that. I just prefer that he waits until I am fast, fast, fast asleep before he comes in my house.

I've always been a bit hesitant about Santa Claus. Some years ago, oh say 30 years, I remember having a melt down on Christmas Eve...I didn't want Santa to come. I was afraid of his beard.

When is the last time you saw someone with a thick white beard that hang halfway down his big fat belly? I mean really? Let's face it, only Santa can get away with that! Other men with really long beards are referred directly to Extreme Makeover.

I can tell you when I last saw a man who looked like that... A few years ago I was working at a hospital doing speech therapy. My coworker who did speech for the home health department of the hospital was on vacation, so I helped out by treating some of her home health patients.

I got the directions to my first patient's house and headed out for Crow Mountain. I drove and I drove, turning left and right, left and right. The roads became more and more narrow as they winded their way deep into the heart of the boonies of Jackson County. I knew I was getting close to the correct address, but I wasn't positive which house I was looking for.
As I was driving, I glanced to the right and noticed a man standing out in the yard of a little run-down cottage. He was really tall, barefoot, wearing overalls with no shirt underneath, and yep, you guessed it....he had a long, straggly white beard. I shuddered as I thought ooo, I'm glad I don't have to go there.

Well, I know I don't even have to say it: I had to go there. As luck would have it, after I passed the man, I kept driving to discover, according to the house numbers, I had gone too far and must have missed the correct house. I turned my car around and soon discovered that my patient was at overalls-without-a-shirt-long-white-beard-man's house! Oh this is just great! I'm probably about to die!

He turned out to be harmless, and his mother (my patient) was just precious.


Yes, I know that Santa is harmless too.

Can't somebody just give him a makeover? All that facial hair is just scary!

It's no wonder why babies cry when their mommas make them sit in Santa's lap.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Toot-Tooting my own horn!!!

"They" say, researchers and scientists, that is, that you can fight off Alzheimer's and dementia by keeping mentally active. Supposedly, it's a good thing to always be learning new things.

Well, I just learned two new things, and I must toot-toot-toot my own horn! I know very little about anything in this world, especially computers, so when I figure something out, I'm really proud of myself!!!

First of all, I figured out how to do the little "scratch out" (as I call it) that I often seen on more fancy sophisticated blogs. You can use this tool in various ways. My favorite is when you want to say something that is true but mean and hateful politically incorrect and you need to be sarcastic funny about it so you won't chap someone's end offend someone. That's the perfect time to use the "scratch out".

The next thing I learned is a more savvy way to include links to other websites. For example, in my previous posts, I might have described a news story that I read on Foxnews.com. I would say... "click here to read the full story: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,459564,00.html." Now, that doesn't look too purty professional, does it? Now, I can just say "read the FULL STORY HERE." All you have to do then is click on "full story here".

Isn't that neat? I love it!

Let's practice....shall we?

If you want to see a walrus named Sara play the saxophone just like better than Bill Clinton, click HERE.

If you are in the mood to watch dogs dance to the tunes of Rod Stewart and Aerosmith, hop right on over to HERE. This really isn't my favorite one, so feel free to skip it!

Finally, if you really want to be thankful your not from Britain proud you are an Alabamian, you just might be interested in WATCHING THIS.


I love this stuff.

I'll try not to overdo it, okay?

Where's my Christmas Spirit? I KNOW I didn't!

Last night my friend Gequetta and I had planned to meet for dinner then go see the movie that's all the rave "Twilight". I had a few minutes to kill before I was supposed to meet her, so I decided to browse around in Dollar Tree.

See, I'm on a mission. I'm planning a very special event for late January and I found something just perfect that I've been looking for in Dollar Tree of all places. Over in the Christmas decorations they had these huge, clear and iridescent snowflakes. I had to have them and there weren't many left. So I walked away just long enough to get a buggy. When I got back to the snowflakes there were these two old hags elderly ladies pawwing (is that a word, pawwing? you get the idea...) all over MY snowflakes.

I stood behind them as they discussed all the ways they could use the snowflakes. I inched my buggy a little closer as I listened to them ooo and ahh over the snowflakes. I breathed down their necks as I watched them hold the snowflakes up to the light and admire the prism effect. Finally I just puffed out loud in aggrivation. They got the hint.

They started counting out how many snowflakes they wanted....1....2....3....4....5....6....7....How many are you going to take, lady!!!

I was planning my attack if she took them all. Would I be assertive, aggressive, or pitiful?

Luckily, she didn't take them all. Just almost all. I took all that was left, which were 6.

So after dinner, we headed over to the late show of Twilight.
Good movie, better than the book in my personal opinion. I had taken the book to the beach back in the summer and I struggled to stick with it. Someone had recommended it as a good beach novel, but they didn't tell me it was really geared toward teenagers. I actually never finished the novel.

We were sitting about 10 or 12 rows down from the back, center section in the theater. Well, on the very back row, left section, two little teenage girls decided to catch up on their gossip and giggles during the movie. The whole movie. I found myself periodically turning completely around, glaring at them in the dark (like they could see me!). They were driving me CRAZY!

So as soon as the movie was over, I darted straight back to the two girls on the back row. "Girls, I just want to thank you for talking during the whole show and disrupting the movie. I really, really appreciate it. Congratulations. Good job. Thank you." I literally gave them 2 thumbs up.

Oh my goodness! What a Grinch! I know I didn't! How mean was that!!!! I don't know what came over me! I feel so bad today!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

There are no orphans of God...

I went to see my new little cousin today. Jonathan Anthony Bright III was born yesterday weighing in at a whopping 6 lbs. 3 oz! He is just as sweet as he can be. Wacky me forgot my camera (and I call myself a blogger...sigh..)! Perhaps soon I can post his sweet pic!

Baby Trey will never be unloved by his family. No doubt about it. He has 2 parents, 2 sets of grandparents, and countless aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.

As I was holding and admiring this little guy, speculating on what good things must be in store for him, I could not help but reflect on a news story that had just watched as I had been getting dressed and ready for the day early this morning. It seems that a little 2 year old boy was orphaned by the terrorist attacks in India last week. It just broke my heart when they showed the clip of him crying for his mother (read the FULL STORY HERE).

In this life, we will have trouble, disappointment, and even be abandoned at times, but Christ has promised believers that He will not abandon us. There are no orphans of God. That's hard for me to fathom sometimes, but it's true.

Enjoy this song "Orphans of God". I love it...

Scary information for Parents of Infants

This story is quite terrifying. It relates somewhat to the post I wrote a few days ago about not being able to read...Not that I am implying this well-meaning mommy cannot read, she was obviously trying to stretch her pennies.

We're always careful to read and follow the instructions when mixing infant formula here at TWH. It even says on the can that not following the instructions exactly can be very harmful to the infant. I had no idea about the concept of a baby having too much water.

Maybe everyone else knows about this, but I didn't. You can google "water toxicity in infants" and get more information.

Wow. Scary indeed.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Gratitude Day 4: Pardon Me!

Did you read the story on foxnews.com about the gentleman in Missouri who was pardoned by President Bush on Monday? According to the article, twelve years ago this man pleaded guilty to federal charges on killing 3 American bald eagles. It seems that when he poisoned some coyotes to protect wild turkeys, the eagles ate the carcasses of the coyotes and were consequently poisoned as well.

It's clear the man did not intend to kill the endangered eagles, but the fact of the matter is, because of his actions, the eagles died. According to the article, "While he didn't go to jail, the conviction was hard on Collier. He was ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution. As a convicted felon, the longtime hunter had to give up his guns."

Notice that he pleaded guilty. Of course this gentleman must have felt in his heart that he wasn't really guilty because he never intended to kill the endangered birds. It just sort of happened. Nevertheless, it did happen, and it was his fault. He confessed.
Then came his pardon this week. How relieved this man must have been to have his name cleared! Interestingly, the article did not mention if the man had already paid the $10,000 in full or if he had been in some type of appeals process this whole time. Regarding his gun rights, I assume that, because he has been cleared of his felony label, he has regained his right to bear arms.
I think that's a beautiful thing about our government...the ability that the governors and President have to pardon criminals. Certainly, if my loved one was the victim in the crime, I would not likely be so happy to see the pardon, but I appreciate the concept.
And isn't that a beautiful thing about God? Pardoning sins, that is.
Our US government is surely flawed in the balance of justice and mercy at times. Sometimes that power to pardon or prosecute falls into irresponsible hands and the power is misused. This is not true of our Supreme Ruler, Jesus Christ. He is perfection in the balance of justice and mercy.
We've all been guilty of sin that we never intended to commit, no? We all sin boldly, too, knowing exactly what we are doing when we do it. Either way, it's our own fault.
I don't know about you, but in my life, God weighs in heavy on the mercy and grace and goes light on justice.
God forbid I ever forget gratitude for forgiveness.

Gratitude Day 3: SQUIRREL!!!!

One week before Thanksgiving, I began a series of a week's worth of posts expressing gratitude. Unfortunately, I have been encountering some computer and internet difficulties so I am a tad behind. I think the trouble has been resolved now, so...let's get back on schedule, shall we?

SQUIRREL!!! Don't play dumb! Most of you know that famous one-word line! Yes, I am so thankful for "Christmas Vacation" the movie.

It's one of those movies that I can pop in the VCR (yes, I have a VHS version of the movie that still plays just fine!) and let it play as I go about my business. I can listen to it in the background. I can pass by the tv and stop to watch a single scene.

I could watch Christmas Vacation almost 365 days per year. It's rather mindless. It's funny.