Sunday, April 15, 2018

I Love A Rainy Night

Sitting on the back porch as a storm rolls in is a balm to my soul.  Right now it's pouring and our crazy Lab puppy is gleefully running around the yard trying to catch the rain in his mouth.  Everything is green and fresh.  The wind is blowing and the rain is falling on the metal roof.  Dusk is falling.   It really doesn't get any better than this.....

You know what one of my greatest worries is?  That in heaven there will be no rain and no night!  I can not imagine an eternity without rain or night time.  I love both, and if I'm lucky enough to get a rainy night the just fills my cup up:).   All those old songs about heaven talk about unclouded days and no nights and no storm clouds... maybe the would make some folks happy but not me!  Of course I love cloudless blue skies too - I'm actually pretty easy to please about the weather but my favorite time is when it rains.  And I love the night...the night out in the country is very quiet, usually the frogs and crickets are going to town making their noise but that's ok with me.

I do love to see the night sky on a clear night.  I remember as a teen going from my home town to an even smaller town about 25 miles away, where my best friend's dad owned the movie theater.  I'd help out at the concession stand with my friend.  Sometimes on the ride home, on dark country roads, her crazy brother would turn off the car's headlights.  We'd stick our heads out of the windows and stare up at the stars.  Life was so good.  I miss that  (and for the record I'd absolutely kill one of my boys if they did that!!!!   Somehow we are all still alive and well in our 50's and 60's -how the heck can the be? LOL. We all got together recently and I thought about all the foolishness that we all participated in throughout our earlier years LOL. I was only involved in a little bit for the record!  Sadly!  If I had life to do over I'd probably be more involved!)

I'm seriously considering booking a trip for me and my husband to a campground in the middle of the Everglades.  It's supposed to be one of the best places to see stars in all of the Southeast.   Of course I'm sure the mosquitoes would be big enough to carry us away!  I hate putting on spray- every single brand I've tried has made me nauseous.  I've tried everything including natural junk-obviously I have some kind of allergy.   Anyhow even if it's rainy, I figure we'd enjoy being so far out in the woods.

So night is falling, the crazy Lab is still running in the rain.  We've had for over a month-I guess she is actually going to be a keeper although after she destroyed our front porch screen door and all my plants I had found a home for her!  But at the last minute I decided to keep her.   The screen door was fixed and all my plants were too for the most part.  She absolutely loves to run in our yard.  Evidently the person who had her lived in an apartment-I can not imagine her in an apartment.  She is a big goofy happy dog.  But she has so much energy it's crazy.  She is really doing good at being trained.  Most of the time she obeys me.  She tries so hard to become friends with the cats, it's hysterical to watch.  They do not like her, although three of them are learning to tolerate her.  She is an outdoor dog, she has her own doghouse under our carport right by Selah's window.  We have a fenced in yard including security cameras so she is safe.  I'm not a "big dog in the house person" especially as my little ones can't see nor do they understand boundaries.  It would not be safe.  Actually all three of the little kids do not like animals at all.  I've tried them so many times but they just do not care for them.  It's crazy that our kids don't like animals as they've been exposed to them so much.  Anyhow I would not risk their safety or the dog's safety-I can't alway have my eyes on everyone every second.  Shad usually takes her jogging every day and once Steve is home from college he will too.  That'll help her tame some energy.  She's a good dog with a sweet personality.

So I got a new computer, a MAC and I'm just trying to learn it.  My son assures me I'll evidently love it...not so sure about that.  My old computer had traveled all over the world with me.  It was more than 6 years old.  I got it for $200 on a special sale before we went to Ukraine so I guess I got my money out of it and then some!

Well I'm going to go and enjoy the rest of this nice rainy night.  Hope the weather is nice where you are at tonight!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Mission TripS

This summer is going to be a busy one for our family!  Our two oldest boys are going on mission trips!  I may need a prescription for Valium or at least be praying A LOT!

Steve is going to Haiti with Southeastern University in May.  They will be doing orphan ministry in several orphanages.  One of the orphanages is for very special needs kids.   He is looking forward to this trip because he knows what a little extra attention can do for children.  He is hoping to take his video camera (a real professional one) and do some promos for the ministries he will be assisting.  He hopes to be able to show the supporters of the ministry the needs of the kids and what their giving does to help them..  So he will be using his skills as a videographer & the skills he has learned with his little sisters.  The rest of the summer he is hoping to work full time.  Steve will be graduating in December- a semester early!!!

In July Shad will be going to El Salvador on a missions trip.  He will be working with career missionaries from our denomination.   He will be assisting in door to door and street ministry.  This is something he does on a regular basis at home.  Since January we have been going door to door in our neighborhood and giving out packets and inviting people to church.  Shad is very bold and never gives up (even when I want to lol)  Our neighborhood is rural so we have made it to about 400 homes thus far.  That's probably equal to 20 miles worth of walking!!!   Recently we drove through a more suburban area of our small town and Shad said with great awe in his voice "it would be so easy to do door to door here- there are no fences and the houses are so close" LOL   He also will be going to Miami Fl for a week outreach to the homeless and will be doing street ministry.  It's cool to me because when I was in college I spent one spring break week in Miami doing street outreach!  I think he will even be staying at the same church we stayed at!     Shad also will be going to youth camp for a week.  He is going to be a world traveler this summer!

Often I've wondered how effective mission trips are - but I know from my own experiences that it is a time for the person who is going to learn more and often (and my case and my husband's and many others) leads to a career path of missions and helping others.  Plus you never know how effective and life changing it can be for the ones ministered to.  It's eye opening for young people and time and time again I've known of people who committed to a life time of service after going on a trip.   As hard as it would be for me not to be physically close to my children in the years to come, I'd be honored if God called one of my boys into ministry/missions work.

So if you'd like to help our boys raise their funds We all would really appreciate it!
Steve has already raised all but $600 for his trip.  Shad needs about $1300 for El Salvador and $245 for his Miami trip.   If you are interested in giving please send a check to
Grace Church
7060 Berry Road
Zephyrhills Florida 33540
 Mark on it clearly that it is for their trip and you can specify which boy if you'd like to.

But above all please pray for our boys.  It is not an easy thing for me to send my kids off believe me!!!  Please pray for their protection as well as the teams they will work with. 

Thank you all!!!

Monday, March 19, 2018

The People of Perry Documentary

This is the video that my son and his small production company did last summer in my hometown.  Steve was teh producer and worked the cameras also.  I am so very proud of him!!!  Please watch and share!!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

All kinds of new things!

Look on who made it back to church!  this was the first time he'd been out of the house except to go to the doctor for 7 weeks!  He still is having issues getting his tummy back in order and is on some stool softener and laxatives.   We are working hard on decreasing the amount of meds as we know his belly needs to get back to work on it's own.  

 The other night Shad and I were out walking/running the new to come... and I took these beautiful pictures.  It was amazing! 
What else was amazing is one of my neighbors saw me and then sent me a message the next day to tell me that she had spotted a Florida panther  down by the river less than a mile from my house and only about a quarter mile from where I was walking!!!!  WOW!   At least I enjoyed the night!!!

Oh Lord!  Am I crazy or what?  Last week I got a call about this girl.  She is a  refugee from Puerto Rico.  She got sent here and a lady adopted her.  The lady lived in an apartment and the dog is not an apartment dog!  LOL  So I agreed to take her after talking with my husband.  He was gung ho  about her but you know who does the hard work right?   It took a few days for us to come up with a name but we named her Molly.  

Molly is a handful to say the least but she is sweet.  She's learning commands already.  We were told she only knew Spanish LOL  She is crate trained which is wonderful.  We have a huge crate that she sleeps in under our car port. We are planning on transitioning  her to a doghouse but want to make sure she won't go out the fence at night.   She hasn't tried to dig or jump the fence which is good.  Our Lab Brownie was a wonderful dog but she loved to dig!  Molly is way too excited  to be around the little kids yet.  We are really working on her not jumping up.  She has scratched all of us and knocked me down once. 

I need to take some videos of her and the cats-they have firmly put her in her place :)  

We have tried several times to find a dog for our family.  We had Brownie for many years, she was 16 years old when she died.  We just have not been successful with dogs since then.  We have been able to find homes for the dogs that didn't work out with our family thankfully.  It takes a special dog to be around my little ones.  I think Molly may work out but she is still a puppy- a 50 pound strong excited puppy .....   

Sam and Sarah got a lovely gift from our local Lion's Club yesterday!!!
The Lion's Club gave them a new swing set!  It's 8 foot tall and came with 4 swings.  We replaced two of the swings with the kids' swings they got for Christmas for now.   We are going to put a foot of mulch under the seing set, so it's not quite finished. and that's why the seats look so high.  
This swing set will be something they can use well into adult age.  Sam and Sarah both crave swinging.  - it meets their Vestibular movement needs.  

Vestibular ,movement  is necessary for us all but especially for kids who are vision impaired.

From the website above

The Power of Vestibular input

Vestibular input (movement and balance) is critical for brain development beginning in utero. Then after birth, it is how we calm infants and also how we make them smile and giggle. We rock them, bounce them, swing them, and sway them. All of this movement is doing a whole lot more than putting them to sleep or making them smile. It is creating a foundation for the brain and development. This need for movement continues throughout life and is especially crucial in the developmental years, but it is essential throughout our lives to support self-regulation.

Key Points on Vestibular Input and How to Make a Difference

  • Everyone should have the opportunity to get up and move every 15 minutes. Even just a quick stretch is beneficial. 
  • Inverting the head is very powerful and an excellent tool for a quick dose of vestibular input. 
  • Fifteen minutes of swinging can have a 6-8 hour effect on the brain.
  • There are 3 vestibules, all which detect and process different planes and directions of movement: back and forth, side to side, rotary, diagonal, and vertical input. It is important to incorporate all of these planes of movement, but allow rotary input only in controlled doses.
  • Vertical vestibular input (bouncing and jumping) is typically the most accepted form of vestibular input and is very regulating and organizing since it also involves a great deal of proprioception. 
  • Whenever possible, offer options besides sitting in a chair…lying on the floor propped on elbows, standing on a balance board, standing on a BOSU ball, sitting on a ball chair or T-stool, etc.
  • Spinning needs to be limited and supervised. This can be very disorganizing for the brain and can cause delayed sensory overload and dysregulation. Monitor spinning and limit to one revolution per second and a maximum of 10 revolutions, then switch directions. This is referring to single point axis spinning. 
  • Respect a child’s reaction to vestibular input as it can be very powerful and cause a systemic reaction such as nausea, a headache, flushing of the skin, and even a low grade fever. Stop means stop if the child has had enough. Watch closely for signs of sensory overload, especially if the child is unable to verbally communicate.

Thank you Lion's Club!  I know Sam and Sarah will have many years of enjoyment on this swing set!!!!!  I'll post again when we put the mulch in!

Friday, March 2, 2018


Boy, Born September 2004
Nolan is such a handsome boy!  He needs a loving family!
Listed: August 4, 2010
From his medical records:  long-term effects of some early trauma (right-side hemiparesis), mild mental delays, seizures, flat feet, farsightedness
He has fine motor skills, understands everything, he talks but it is hard to understand him.  Nolan is very physically active, happy and cooperative, friends with other children.   A family living in the states who has 3 children, one who is significantly disabled, has taken a special interest in Nolan but cannot add Nolan to their own family due to the needs of their children. Per the family, “Nolan’s eyes and smile caught our heart. He is close in age to one of our own children. We hope this gift will enable someone to give Nolan the chance to live outside an institution.”
A family must have a completed homestudy to commit to Nolan.  Due to the size of Nolan’s grant, 50% of grant funds will be available upon receiving a travel date, and the other 50% upon passing court.
Nolan has a grant of $19,597.50 available towards the cost of his adoption!

This was written by a family who had hosted him and wanted to adopt him.....
(hosting is a program where the child can come to America for a few weeks with the hope of meeting a family who will adopt him/her

As some of you know, we were going to adopt Nolan. HE ONLY HAS 2 YEARS BEFORE HE IS TOO OLD! ALSO: WE DON'T KNOW HOW LONG INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION WILL BE ALLOWED. He is an orphan with very mild special needs who lives in Ukraine. In fact, we had spent many thousands of dollars to do that, but some bad things happened financially. HIS ADOPTION IS FULLY FUNDED! YOU WILL JUST NEED TO PAY TO HAVE A HOME STUDY AND FILE A USCIS FORM AND BE FINGERPRINTED! We're in a lawsuit with a Chinese factory who committed fraud against us and I don't really know what will happen to my family right now, as essentially, they stole so much, we are actually thinking of buying a cheap RV to live in with our 4 kids as a back up plan. I hope that gives you some idea of the magnitude of what we're going through. I hoped this would all get settled fast, but right now, I just want to know that he is not going to be left behind.
I tell you this ONLY because many of you also know that we hosted him and I don't want anyone to think that we backed out because of him being difficult or anything besides the issues we are facing.
I visit his profile several times a week because I can't stand the idea of THIS child being left I am writing this plea for him.
There's a lot I want to tell you. He lived with us for a month. WE LOVE HIM. He *really* needs medical help. His jaw is out of alignment very very badly, so much so that when he eats and drinks, it comes out of his mouth.
1. He sat on my lap every single night and listened to Gospel music. His favorite is "Amazing Grace." He knows when it's a Christian song, even if it's in English and he says "Christo!" Somewhere, someone has told this child about Jesus.
2. He was calling me Mama from day one without me telling him to. When I had to send him home, he was crying so hard, they were not going to let him get on the plane.
3. He cried when I went anywhere and actually got insanely upset ( he self harmed) BUT...This is actually a good thing, because he bonded with me so easily.
4. When he first came, if he got hurt, he would keep smiling and tried to take care of himself as if they are not allowed to have feelings, but after awhile, he cried and came to me.
6. He is a very fast learner, having learned the English ABCs in 3 days. He has mad building skills.
7. He bonds with women and sees men as a big brother and likes to harrass them.
8. He is a vegetarian.
9. He is a food hoarder and also hoards other things. I worked with him on this and it got much better.
10. His sense of humor will keep your family laughing, but also, he is sometimes very very naughty.
10B. You HAVE to give him work to do or he will get in trouble. He LOVES working. He can not take a minute of boredom or he starts rocking.
I wrote about him extensively while we were hosting him and I am here to answer questions to anyone about him. He never had a seizure while he was with us.

I am not advocating for any program or adoption facilitators JUST for this child.  

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

My Thoughts on Recent Events

I love History-my favorite time is World War II.  That time frame and what led up to it, fascinates me.   But recently I read "Killing England" by Bill O'Reilly.   It's been awhile since I've read about the Revolutionary War.  Of course I studied it in school and in college as most of my generation did and have a basic understanding of the time frame.

But reading this book, reminded me of how brutal the war really was.  As I read of the decisions of  General Washington and other leaders it made me think.   Washington would hang deserters, no appeals...  he pushed his soldiers to the limit, and himself also.   While in most battles, the losing soldiers were often killed rather than taken prisoner.  This war went on for five long years.

Do we have that same kind of strength today to fight against an enemy?  Unfortunately I do not think we do.  If our generation had to make a choice to either stay with an unjust government or rebel, this generation would not have the courage to stand up and fight.  It would cost too much.

When I look around, I can not imagine our younger generation being able to stand up and fight like America did in WWI or WWII.  I see young men who are not growing up to be men but rather just older boys.  It's sad to me.  Oh there are some who are growing up to become men but so many who are not.

This all ties into what I'm seeing in social media following the shooting in Broward County Florida.
For the record, I feel the FBI, the Broward County Sheriff's Office and the Broward County School District are responsible for not stopping this attack.   Sheriff Israel is the absolute worse sheriff and I am glad the Governor has the FDLE investigating his office!   I believe Sheriff Israel with be relieved of his duties!

After the shooting I wrote this on FB

"Y'all know I grew up in the South in the 70's-80's. Every home I visited had guns in it. My home had loaded guns in it and I was instructed not to play with them so I didn't. All my relatives were hunters and they all had a lot of rifles and pistols in their homes. At my school Taylor County High School many boys drove trucks with gun racks full of rifles in them to school. It wasn't even something you thought or worried about. What has happened in these few years to change things?
What I truly believe has happened is the culture has changed-it's not guns. Unfortunately there have been so many changes.
Growing up most people I knew came from a two parent family. They were taught to respect God and most people I knew regularly attended church with their family. Were they good Christians? Maybe not maybe some people had to sow some wild oats but they had a foundation that seemed to keep them from straying too far.
They were taught respect for adults. When I was growing up we might've been doing a few things we weren't supposed to do but we didn't talk back to authority. We respected teachers and Administrators and we respected law enforcement and other kids' parents as well as our own.
There was no one on a bunch of medication. We had PE and recess and after school kids played outside and got out all their frustrations and stress by running & playing. They didn't sit inside on computers or watching television or playing violent video games. There was no double lives being led on the Internet or being in Facebook groups the no one knew of.... There was no isolation-
Everything was out in the open other parents looked out for you & would call your parents in a heartbeat and tell them if something was going on. And your parents would deal with it. If you got in trouble at school there was no coddling or blaming the school - you got in trouble at school you got in trouble at home.
Back then they were clear gender roles. Men were taught by their fathers or other relatives as well as teachers and religious figures on how to be a man and handle their feelings. They were taught what being a real man was and they didn't have such an underlying anger toward society. I think every young man I knew growing up believed that his life was going to be even better than his parents lives were - they were taught to focus on building a life not destroying society.
I feel societies changes are what is causing these type of shootings. Of course the root cause is sin and the devil. But that restraint that was in society for so many years is gone. I doubt it will ever come back.
I am so sorry for the families that grieve. I always worry about my children when they are at school, college, or a busy crowded place. The sad thing is my husband works in a prison and I am often reminded that he is probably safer going to work than most people are or most students going to school!
I think immediately every school needs to focus on Security and training their staff on how to deal with this type of situation. There was a coach yesterday he gave his life protecting students. If only he would have been allowed to carry a gun perhaps he could have stop this before it escalated!! God bless him for his efforts to keep the students safe. The college my oldest son goes to has recently authorized staff who go through a rigorous training to carry concealed in order to protect students. I'm very grateful that the plan is in place as well as having armed law enforcement on the campus.
My hope and prayer is this actually will cause a real conversation not a anti-gun reaction. Guns of been around for as long as this country has been a nation and it's only been the last few decades that this has begin to happen. It's not guns!"

Our society has changed so much in my lifetime.  The fact we are having shootings in schools, churches or stores show a break down in society.  I read a statistic that of  75% of school shooters were from fatherless homes.....     And if I were to guess, I'd guess most of those kids did not grow up in church.  Last night Shad and I watched a documentary on a British citizen who became a fighter for a Jihadist army.  One thing I noticed was his father was not in the home and the mother said she raised her children without any religious training.   But that young man was seeking a relationship with strong men and some type of belief system.  

What can we do?  I guess I don't have much faith that society will change and people become responsible and have respect for each other and authority.  That sounds awful but it's truly how I feel.  

Maybe Old Fashion ideas is what we need & it needs to start in the home.  If it starts in the home, it will become evident in society.  

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Best Christmas Present

If you are a parent you know how every time Christmas or a birthday rolls around you want to get a good present for your child.  You want to get something meaningful not just junk.  Over the years I have really worked to not waste money on stupid gifts that never get used.  It is challenging!

Well this past Christmas, I think overall for all five of my kids I did the best I have ever done.  I refused to be suckered into junky presents or things that would never be used.  But it took some thinking!

For Shad and Steve I (we-I do 99.999 of the shopping for our family lol) got them a test kit from 23 & Me!  Jon and I had done one last year and came to find out we were cousins....JUST KIDDING!  Our DNA make up was so close it was very scary LOL   But thankfully we had no relatives in common:)  If you wonder we were England/Irish with a little bit of other European thrown in.  Interesting but a bit boring.  We figure Steve's will be just as boring.  (his is not back yer)

But we were expecting more from Shad!  Come to find out he is mostly Chinese....who would have thought?   But he also has some Mongolian and Yakut!  AND he has some biological hits!!!!!!!   The closest are 4th cousins but it is so exciting to all of us.  We've made contact with one of his relatives and found out she has contact with others mostly from the Chengdu area of China.  That relative was also adopted.  She has an adopted sister who has found her parents through 23 & me! 

When I ordered the kit, I immediately had reservations.  Of course Shad is only 14 years old, would this be opening something too soon for him?  He has asked questions since he was about 4 years old about his background and family.  Of course we had few answers.

In the last couple of years we found one of Selah's sisters who was adopted in the US and we found Sarah's dad in Ukraine.  He was very interested in both situations.  Now we are on a path to find out as much as we can of his background.

The report came on Sunday so all afternoon was spent on his reading it and looking up things.  It was really cool to hear the excitement in his voice.  He was actually finding out some very concrete things about his lineage.  Then on Monday we got a response from a relative.  the look on his face was priceless.  Now he knows for a fact there is someone who shares his DNA (if only a tiny bit of it).

Boy that present was worth every penny! 

We don't know where this will lead, maybe he'll find his birth parents, maybe not but it does give him a basis of where he came from that he couldn't have had otherwise.