Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Time for a Change!

Mickey and I have lived in our home for nearly 10 years now, and it is time for a change. Oh, not that we haven't made a few changes since we've been here. We painted a few times (okay, NUMEROUS times) and we have added items to the walls, and we've added furniture, but we have decided it is time for a semi-major change!

We bought a new couch and loveseat (the solid is the furniture, the paisley will be pillows) over the weekend, and some paint for the livingroom... and we are going to install wood flooring as well. Actually, we wanted wood flooring when we moved in but alas, carpet was cheaper, so we went that route.

Think that it will be fun to make a few changes... it always makes the place seem brand new once again. Just not looking forward to the process... tearing out carpet, removing baseboards... the mess this will create... but you have to have a mess in order to have a finished project!

Kind of like our lives... we are constantly reminded that we have areas where a fresh coat of paint might make a difference, but we hate the mess and the cost that comes about when we make a change, so most of the time, we opt to NOT remodel... but the end result... well worth the time and effort!

So if you have some free time... give me a call... I think I can set you up with some weekend work!


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Two Posts - One Day

Crazy isn't it? But... I just had to share this picture sent to me by one of the "special daughters" that I have been blessed with... the caption underneath read - "I love my new blanket".

This is Emily Jean, whose Daddy, Joe, and Mommy, Erica are like a part of our family. To Emily I will be "Aunt Nanny", and I made her this blanket before she was born. So she is certainly wrapped in a lot of love there!! And isn't she just plain gorgeous!


Question for the Day

What would you do with a million dollars???

Here is why I ask...

Our adoption agency, Bethany Christian Services sends out a monthly newsletter via e-mail - it lists Children of Promise (special needs children) who are available. They only showcase a few each month, but there are so many in need who are just longing for a family. And believe it or not, sometimes that "special need" is nothing more than the age of the child. You see, most people want to adopt infants, the older children are often just not thought of.

That truly breaks my heart. Michael turned 4 while we were in China to "pick him out" as he puts it. Yes, Michael did have CL/CP, but he was also older, which was included as a "need". In this months newsletter they showcased children from Taiwan, and there was one little boy on the list whose only need was that he was an "older child". Yes, an other child at the age of 6!!! He is a beautiful little boy with a smile that just melted my heart.

So, if I had a million dollars I know the first thing I would do, I would bring this child home to live with us, and I would love him with all my heart. As for now, all I can do is hope and pray that someone out there will see this little face and have the ability to bring him home, where he can be showered with love and affection. Yep... a million dollars would go a long way... and I would bring home as many children as I could bribe Mickey into letting me have, because EVERY child needs someone to love on them!!!

If you are interested in adoption, please don't hesitate to contact Bethany Christian Services, they will be more than happy to place a child in your arms that will love you as much as you love them!


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A fun day

Yesterday our middle daughter, Rachel, brought over the grands for lunch and a swim in the pool. This was Levi's first swim in Nanny and Pappy's pool, and a little sunscreen can really change a guy's doo!!!

Yep, he instantly transformed into SHARK BOY!!! His Aunt Carly looks for any opportunity to give him a "faux hawk"... she thinks that the style suits him!!!

The day was perfect for a swim, and there was NO RAIN... and I've heard that there is NO RAIN due to arrive today. Finally a chance to dry out a little bit. I know... the rains are supposed to return tomorrow, but I am truly looking forward to some dry time in between.

In closing, I'd like to share the scripture I read this morning... one of my favorites... from Psalm 108...

My heart is steadfast, O God,
I will sing and make music with all my soul
Awake , harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn!!
I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations
I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, higher than the heavens,
your faithfulness reaches to the skies!


Monday, June 22, 2009

All I can say is....


This morning Mickey and I were preparing to take Michael to Indy for his yearly visit to Riley Children's Hospital, where he meets with a Cranio-facial team of doctors. It was really pouring down when we woke up, and in a matter of a few minutes we had 1/2 of an inch of rain.

When we returned home at 3:00 we found we had had more rain... a total of 3 inches of rain fell today at our house. Now, that is just crazy! And we could tell where roads had washed and trees had fallen... quite a spring/summer we are having, isn't it?!

Yep... that says 3 inches!!!!!

A note on Michael's visit... we will be waiting one more year before we begin work of repairing his clefting surgery from China. Prior to us bringing him home, they closed his pallate, and initially, we were very excited about that... until we found out that all they did was pull the sides together and close it... no bone grafting was done. So in another year, we will have to begin the task of widening his upper bite, so that it will accomodate a bone graft... and we were told that this could take up to a year of him wearing a dental device used to slowing spread his pallate... and it is the type that will need to be turned with a key... probably not the most fun thing to have in the mouth of someone who will only be 7 at the time!!! Down the road there are more procedures to come... and honestly, I just can't seem to think about that right now. Ultimately, I know that all of these procedures will be in his best interest, but the heart of a mom just doesn't like to think about the pain that will be involved. But for now... he just gets to be a rowdy little 6 year old boy, and I am just gonna concentrate on that!
And on a final note... I hope you don't mind if I share my mother's day flower again today... once look and scripture came to mind......

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
Matt 6: 28 & 29


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all... it is currently NOT raining, but it has today... and might again later... but for now... it is clear sailing!!! Hope that your grills are fired up and you are enjoying the day!

And isn't this cool... the plant that I was given by Rachel on Mother's Day decided that Father's Day was the perfect day to present me with it's first bloom. It is beautiful!!! Nothing like a beautiful bloom to brighten even a rainy day, huh?


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rain... Rain....

... Yes... I am gonna say it... GO AWAY!! Okay... Okay... I know... we need rain... but honestly... I think we might also need an ARK!!!

I guess it isn't really that bad, but I have to tell you... we opened the pool prior to Memorial Day and we have been in it ONE TIME! I keep putting in the chemical... I keep turning on the pump, but we don't get in. It has been so busy raining that the water is just COLD!

So this morning, as I have sat and watched it dump around 1/4 of an inch of rain on the ground I have found myself wondering when the rain will end. I also know that come August, I'll be asking for some rain!!

So for now, I'll enjoy the fact that the rain has momentarily stopped, and I'll begin to brace for the storm that is supposed to come.

Kind of like life isn't it? Seems that there are times when the bad stuff just seems to pour... and then it storms. But the cool thing about a storm is that it finally clears the air... it makes things clean once again.

He says to the snow,
'Fall on the earth,' and to the rain shower,
'Be a mighty downpour.'
Job 37:6


Monday, June 15, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday Levi!

While Levi turned one on June 3rd, we just celebrated over the weekend as Pappy was in the DR on his mission trip. You can tell, Levi wasn't exactly excited by the whole candle experience.

He thought that the cake was okay, but didn't really eat any until everyone left. He wasn't feeling very well during his party. While eating his cupcake, I heard his mommy say, "Note to self... no more blue icing at birthdays!"

We couldn't seem to coax a smile from him. He just didn't feel good! But, at any rate, he is now officially 1 year old, and so... HAPPY BIRTHDAY LEVI! We Love You!!!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Out of the Habit

Of late, I have gotten out of the habit of writing for God. When I first began this blog I used it as a way to reach out to people for Christ (hence the name of the blog - Neal At the Cross!) It was easier then... I had written articles monthly for a Christian Newspaper that I owned, so that style of writing came naturally. But I have to admit... it hasn't seemed to roll for me lately.

I have come to realize that a huge part of that is because I really miss the paper. I miss spending my days finding out little ways that God has blessed others. I miss spending time asking God what he would have me write about, and then being directed to the very article that He would have me write. In short, I think that I am MISSING spending time with God. And that is no body's fault but my own!!! You see... even if I no longer have the paper, God is still blessing people all around me, and he is still giving me plenty of material to write about, I have just stopped looking for it!

So, while this blog doesn't have the circulation that the paper had, I can still use it to bless those who do visit, and I think that it is high time that I got back to the basics of why I began this blog to begin with!

Now, that doesn't mean that I'll stop posting pictures of my family and our adventures, because my family is the GREATEST GIFT that God has given me... it just means that I am going to start looking for God's direction as I write... because this is also a gift that He has given me, and I am choosing to use it to bring Him all the glory!!!!!

Making the Call

Several afternoons this week my cell phone has rang around 5:30 PM.... when I answer I hear one of the sweetest sound....

"Nanny, I've been a good girl at day care!"

That would be our oldest granddaughter, Kailyn, giving me her daily report. You see, for awhile Kailyn was going through a rebellious stage... she was "asserting her independence" in a mighty way. She had decided that she didn't need to listen to anyone, especially her mommy and daddy, and that attitude was spilling over into daycare. So for awhile I was receiving a call from my daughter telling me about the "bad days" that Kailyn was having. It became a battle of the wills in their house. And it was waged for awhile before the battle was finally won!

Just this week Kailyn's day care provider, Miss Janet, told Chandra that Kailyn had been doing wonderfully. She has finally turned the corner and has become quite the helper! Kailyn had to call and tell me how good she has been, and I am always excited to get the opportunity to encourage her good behavior.

On the flip side... our grandson Camden has decided it is time to wage his war for independence. As stubborn and hardheaded as Kailyn is, I believe that he might just be worse. So, while one battle has been won, the war is far from over. Strategies have been adjusted and both sides have drawn their battlelines!

At the end of each conversation with Kailyn she asks if I can talk to Cam, and I always say yes. When I ask him if he was a good boy or a bad boy that day his answer always varies... and he always tells the truth... so I often hear "I was a bad boy"! And he always tells me what he has done that is bad. I guess there should be some consolation in this... he knows when he is wrong and that is half the battle!!! While it is discouraging for my daughter and son-in-law to have to wage another battle so soon, I have no doubt that they will win... they are determined that their children will grow up to be wonderful adults!

I have to wonder what we would say if we were able to call God on HIS cell at the end of our day... would we be like Kailyn and say "I had a good day" or like Cam and say "I was a bad boy (girl)".... I wonder just how honest we would be? Just like Kailyn and Camden, who call to receive the praise of someone they love, we can go to God looking for approval from the one who created us... yet we often forget to be honest! And the funny thing is, God ALREADY KNOWS how our day went... he was beside us each step of the way. And when we make a mistake, He is just waiting for us to admit our failure so that he can help us to make better choices.

The most important thing to remember is that He is always ready to celebrate our successes! So at the end of your day, don't forget to make that call, let God know how your day went, be honest with him, admit where you have failed, seek his guidance in those areas, but be sure and share your successes! While he already knows, he LOVES to be in conversation with you! You will be surprised just how excited you will become to share you day once you begin this habit. And like Kailyn, you will do your best to be your best when you know you can share your day with someone you love, and who loves you in return!!!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Love to Read

While Mickey was gone to the DR (safely home now and resting up - Praise the Lord!) I knew that I would need some reading material to get me through. So, I did what anyone with a friend who has a library that rivals most public libraries would do.... I asked for a loan.

Now, my sister-friend Rebecca has a love for books that matches her love for yarn. Her home library is amazing, featuring shelves lovingly made for her by her father. When I first saw this room, I was ready to pack my bags and move in! So I knew that all I needed to do was tell her I needed a good read for his trip. She did better than a good read, she sent me a "pile of books", a series by Debbie Macomber. I was thrilled.

I had heard Rebecca mention this author numerous times, in fact, she is one of her favorites. I couldn't wait to get started. I am now getting ready to begin the third book... and they are really great. Macomber has a way of looking at a story from the viewpoint of several different characters in her books, AND she interweaves her love for knitting into each storyline. Yeah... knitting... one of my OTHER favorite past times. So this series has been great.

Reading has always been a part of my life. When I was younger my mom was constantly reading, and it was something that I thought of as "normal". It is also something that I have tried to instill in my own children. And I can see that they are already doing the same for their children.

Honestly, I believe that reading for pleasure is becoming a lost art. Let me re-phrase that... reading a BOOK for pleasure is becoming a lost art. Many people will read all day, and never crack open a book. I think that is a shame. There are so many things you can learn from books... there are so many places you can "visit" through books... books are truly a window to the world.

If you haven't taken the time to sit down to read in awhile, give it a try. Summer is here... maybe it is time to sit back and relax for a bit. And who knows... you might find you actually enjoy it!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Few More Emily Pictures

Okay, I just can't help myself... this little girl is BEAUTIFUL!!!! So here are a few more pictures from yesterday... I'll try not to take anymore... for a few days!!!!!

This was as close as Michael would get to Emily... now he has been around the grands so I didn't understand until this morning when he said... "Emily doesn't have arms or legs".... yeah... he was probably scared! Who wants to be near a lump with a head!!!!

"Aunt Bec" is a bit more excited by Emily's arrival than Michael is....

... and Aunt Carly is very excited as well....

But then who could resist this face... one look and you know she was sent straight from heaven!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

One Happy Daddy

Our friends Joe and Erica were blessed with a beautiful baby girl yesterday evening. After two weeks or so of bed rest they were excited about her arrival. At 7:47 PM Emily Jean arrived via C-section, and was greeted by a large group of anxious family and friends.

Now I have to tell you, my buddy Joe is ONE HAPPY DADDY!!! Unfortunately I had to get home to my own little guy, so I wasn't able to see Erica last night, but Joe was obviously very much in love with his little girl!

And who can resist a girl with a head full of hair????

Congratulations my friends... you are gonna be some kind of awesome parents!!!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

What's for Breakfast?

Mickey and Michael have established a ritual over the past couple of years... they have breakfast together every morning. Mickey gets up early to do his reading, and then Michael stumbles out of his room aroun 6:30...
Dad: What do you want for breakfast?
Michael: I don't know...
Dad: Yesterday you had egss, what would you like today?
Michael: How about... bread and gravy???
Now, that is a Dad meal... not a Mom meal, and Michael is aware of that. He knows that if he asks, his Daddy will fix him bread and gravy, no questions asked.
So this morning, with Mick gone to the DR, Michael tried his luck... and lost.
Mom: What do you want for breakfast?
Michael: I don't know...
Mom: Yesterday you had an egg, what would you like today?
Michael: How about.... bread and gravy???
Mom: How about another egg???
Yep... he'll be glad when his Daddy is home!!!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Safe Arrival

Mickey and members of the Greenville Christian Church mission team arrived yesterday in the Dominican Republic. While there, the team will serve the people in many different ways. I think their favorite activity will happen on Saturday... VBS for the children of the area.
The team will host two separate VBS programs that day in two different locations. They have been told to expect a total of 300 children.
This is Mickey's second year to go to the DR on a mission trip. Last year, he was amazed to find that children of all ages randomly roam the streets unattended. In the center where children are fed one time daily, small children around 5 or so would bring in even younger siblings and make sure they were fed. Some small children just arrived with parents or older siblings. There were even those who seemed to weak to feed themselves. These children were often fed by a worker or a child they just happened to sit near.
These children break the hearts of those who go to work... the members of the team spend the week hugging on, loving and playing with these little ones. They will play ball, hand out candy, blow up dozens of balloons, and give piggy back rides as often as they can. They will do all in their power to show Jesus and his love to these little ones, and they will come back changed.
This year we have 6 teens on the trip... and only two of them have been on a mission trip. I believe that this could be a turning point in their walk with Christ and I look forward to hearing from them when they return.
Please keep our team in your prayers, and be in prayer for the hearts they will touch while there. (And pray for those of us waiting for our loved ones to return... especially the mommas of those teens!!!)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Picture says it all

In a previous post I asked for prayers Rachel's sister-in-law Sarah, who had been hospitalized at 27 weeks into her pregnancy. Alexander Scott made his arrival yesterday, weighing a whopping 1 lb. 9 oz. At this point genetic testing indicates that everything is fine in that department, but this little guy has a long way to go. The doctors have said he needs to gaine 4 to 5 pounds before he can go home with Mommy and Daddy, and that the first 48 hours are a "honeymoon period". So specific prayers are needed for this little one... no complications, continued weight gain, and the will to fight! Also, please be in prayer for Mom and Dad as this will be a difficult time for them!

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Walk

Rebecca, Carly and I joined others on Saturday for an Arthritis Walk in Louisville. We were there in support of my granddaughter, Emma Rose, who has JIA (formerly referred to as JRA). As you can see, I am sporting a blue ball cap (much to Carly's dismay). These were given out to all walkers who have arthritis. While I don't normally wear a cap (as you can see I look like a total DORK in one!) I was happy to do so for this day. There were 15 members on our team (and yes, we had to count Emma, Levi and their cousin Lily, even though they were in strollers!) and we raised $1, 045.00 for research. (And I managed to walk the ENTIRE 5K!! I was so happy with that!!! WHOOP WHOOP!!!!)

Carly was pretty proud of her socks... check them out! She wanted something special, and this is what we came up with. Cute huh? Oh, and the socks are cute too!!!!

And judging from the smile on Michael's face, he had a great weekend himself. What makes him smile this big? That's an easy answer.... our granddaughter Kailyn came down for the weekend.

While he also loves Camden, Emma and Levi... Kailyn is his BEST FRIEND and he loves it when she makes it down to play. His new swing set that we built got a massive workout on Saturday and Sunday. Lots of sliding, swinging and playing in the rocks...

.. and check out Emma's hair... talk about static cling. We took some video, it would go down when she bent over to pick up rocks and then fly out again when she stood up... very funny!!!!!

Didn't get a good picture of Levi Sunday... he was a little on the grumpy side... cried every time Pappy looked at him (or he looked at Pappy!) so there was a ton of crying going on. Believe that he is trying to cut a few more teeth... poor little guy!

We also had a special day on Friday as it was the....

Last Day of School!!!

Michael graduated from Kindergarten.. and while we are opting to have him take Kindergarten over, he went through the graduation with his friends anyway. He did a great job, as all of them did, singing and receiving their diplomas. His redo isn't because of academics, but more to allow him to mature. He has only been with us for 2 1/2 years, and he still has some things he needs to learn... one more year should do the trick... we have seen so much growth over the past year, it is unbelievable!

Michael, Principal Debbie Esary (l) and his teacher Mrs. Moore (r)

And this means that Carly is now a SENIOR... where does the time go???