Monday, March 31, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Even though I haven't lived in the mountains of West Virginia at any time during my adult life, I do remember my childhood visits to the state of my birth. Some of the sweetest, loving people you would ever care to meet are from these mountains. I could list a few here, but the list would grow oh so long I'm afraid.
We left West Virginia when my dad wanted to adventure out to the WEST (California) to find employment and possibly make "big money"in the booming logging business. He had grown tired of driving a coal truck. We can look back now and see how it was the hand of God moving my dad, mom, and I. I was not quite two years of age when we moved. After a few short years in Fortuna, CA, my father was visited by a Pastor of Campton Heights Baptist Church. Pastor Smith shared God's simple plan of salvation with dad and a new creature in Christ was born that night, right in our home. I was five or six years of age at that time. I remember daddy walking into the kitchen and pouring his brand new 6 pack of beer down the kitchen sink, all on his own accord. He said, "I won't be needing that anymore!" He has never drank a sip of alcohol since. Much has happened since that day which I plan to share at a later time.
As you watch this video and listen to the mountain music, let it speak to you about times that were less complicated. The dear folk and sceneries shown in the video take me back to some of my summer visits to a state which will forever be close to my heart! Once my Uncle Mack took my son "4 wheeling" up one of the mountain paths near his home. While up on the mountain top, Josh had need of a restroom. Uncle Mack told him to "pee" over the side of the mountain. Josh returned home so excited, hurriedly telling me that Uncle Mack had just named the spot of the moutain where he relieved himself as "Joshua's Point"!! I myself can remember walking those "country roads" with cousins to the community post office or to another cousin's house. My cousin Teresa, showed me how to pick beech right off the beech trees and start chewing! It was so refreshing! Remember, Beech Nut Chewing Gum?
Lawsy, I wish I could just take you dear blogging buddies up home to one of our Family Homecomings! I have uncles and cousins who play the banjo, guitar, and sing that ol' bluegrass. I especially enjoy taking the time to listen to stories from my relatives who knew my Granny Susie and Grandpa Booker; my Grandma Lula and Grandpa Johnny. Many we visit when there remember my great-grandparents as well and many other relatives of ours.
Oh and if you happen by one of the hollows (hollers) where my relatives live, you'll never go hungry! You'll be offered good food before you can take a seat! My boys love it there! When I was little though, this was the land of pinto beans, cornbread, fried taters, fried flitters (some call them "fritters"), farm fresh eggs, fried chicken, fried pork chops, fresh garden veggies! I LOVED the home cooked breakfasts when I visited all of my aunts. The normal fare was fried eggs, sausage, milk gravy, fried taters, and a big whopping pan of home made biscuits with fresh butter and home made preserves! OF course, most of my relatives are health conscious these days and no longer have to plow the back forty acres, requiring a slight change in diet. But I bet we can still find a pot of fresh pinto beans just about anywhere in those hollers!
The hospitality is a whole other post! Lovely homes nestled between two mountains on flat bottoms by the creeks. At night, I enjoy being able to open my bedroom window, breathing in the fresh night air as I listen to the babbling creek, crickets and toads. OH, and here is another story I just remembered about one of my Josh's visits to W. Va. He was allowed to sit on Aunt Virgie's porch with Uncle Mack and shoot a rifle! People, he shot off a rifle while sitting in a rocking chair on someones front porch! What a life! You must realize that nobody lives across the "street". Josh was actually shooting across a large front lawn, across the holler road, (which is now paved!)and into the mountain side! He loved telling his city slicker friends back home in Tampa about that experience!
In the words of John Denver, "Take Me Home Country Roads!" I think I'm ready to spend a few weeks "back home".
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Oh and just a reminder for those who have the time. Please head over to my son's blog to read his report about the Thomas-Ford Winter Estate field trip. Click HERE and leave him a comment which I think will encourage him to write more! He checks each day to see if someone new has read his post!
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
2. The Constitution
3. The Ten Commandments
C O W S: Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that during the mad cow epidemic our government could track a single cow, born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the stall where she slept in the state of Washington ? And, they tracked her calves to their stalls. But they are unable to locate 11 million illegal aliens wandering around our country. Maybe we should give each of them a cow.
TH E C O N S T I T U T I O N: They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq . Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it has worked for over 200 years, and we're not using it anymore.
T H E 1 0 C O M M A N D M E N T S: The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments posted in a courthouse is this: You cannot post 'Thou Shall Not Steal,' 'Thou Shall Not Commit Adultery ,' and 'Thou Shall Not Lie' in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians...It creates a hostile work environment.
Monday, March 17, 2008
"Be courageous! Whatever setbacks America has encountered, it has always emerged as a stronger and more prosperous nation...."
"Be brave as your fathers before you. Have faith and go forward"
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Rheumatoid arthritis (rue-ma-TOYD arth-write-tis) is a chronic disease, mainly characterized by inflammation of the lining, or synovium, of the joints. It can lead to long-term joint damage, resulting in chronic pain, loss of function and disability.
Thankfully, this picture is not of my hands. However, this is an example of severe joint damage caused by RA. I have very minimal deformities when comparing my hands to those of this dear soul.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) progresses in three stages. The first stage is the swelling of the synovial lining, causing pain, warmth, stiffness, redness and swelling around the joint. Second is the rapid division and growth of cells, or pannus, which causes the synovium to thicken. In the third stage, the inflamed cells release enzymes that may digest bone and cartilage, often causing the involved joint to lose its shape and alignment, more pain, and loss of movement.
Because it is a chronic disease, RA continues indefinitely and may not go away. Frequent flares in disease activity can occur. RA is a systemic disease, which means it can affect other organs in the body. Early diagnosis and treatment of RA is critical if you want to continue living a productive lifestyle. Studies have shown that early aggressive treatment of RA can limit joint damage, which in turn limits loss of movement, decreased ability to work, higher medical costs and potential surgery.
RA affects 1 percent of the U.S. population or 2.1 million Americans. Currently, the cause of RA is unknown, although there are several theories. And while there is no cure, it is easier than ever to control RA through the use of new drugs, exercise, joint protection techniques and self-management techniques. While there is no good time to have rheumatoid arthritis, advancements in research and drug development mean that more people with RA are living happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives.
Some symptoms which manifest themselves in me are:
Cervical spine (the neck): Symptoms include neck stiffness, weakness, and loss of motion. Other symptoms often can't be felt or seen in exams. Ligaments are often inflamed, and there may be problems with the spinal cord or nervous system. Neck pain alone tends to get better, even when the joints are damaged. Damage to the nervous system does not usually improve.
Shoulders: The main symptom is loss of motion. Your body's unconscious reaction to shoulder pain is simply not to use your shoulders. Since daily life doesn't require much shoulder use, frozen shoulder syndrome can set in quickly.
Hands and wrists: Almost everyone with RA has affected wrists. Joints in the middle of your hand and fingers are usually affected. The knuckles at the ends of your fingers usually are not. RA can cause joint deformities that freeze your fingers in unusual positions. Rheumatoid nodules and tendon inflammation can make it hard to bend the fingers. Nodules can cause a locking and catching action as your fingers bend.
Knees: It is easy to feel the swelling in the knees. A fluid-filled lump called a Baker's cyst often appears behind the knee. It can burst and leak fluid into the calf.
Feet and ankles: RA commonly affects the joints in the middle of the toes and the ankle joints. The deformities and pain in the toes can cause problems with walking. The sole of the foot can feel tingly or numb.
The progression of RA is hard to predict. The swelling of RA flares up and dies down, and milder forms of the disease often don't require much treatment. Mild RA may even go undiagnosed.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
A single mother living in inner Chicago, Brenda has been struggling for years to make ends meet and keep her three kids off the street. But when she's laid off with no warning, she starts losing hope for the first time, until a letter arrives announcing the death of a father she's never met. Desperate for any kind of help, Brenda takes her family to Georgia for the funeral. Nothing could have prepared her for the Browns, her fathers fun loving, crass, Southern clan. In a small-town world, full of long afternoons and county fairs, Brenda struggles to get to know the family she never knew existed and finds a brand new romance that just might change her life.
Based on the popular stage production of the same name, TYLER PERRY "MEETS THE BROWNS" is a charming story about the joys of family and the possibility of second chances.
Go check it out for yourself here!
Meet the Browns
And in other news, there has been a posting by Battle King Shane. He is hosting his first photo caption contest and just wait until you see the photo!!! To see it and to leave a caption entry in his comment section, just click HERE
Monday, March 10, 2008
...and it's my lovely niece, Jackie! She is turning 23!!
I love you girl and don't tell you often enough just how proud I am of you. It warms my heart to be able to call you "niece".
I awoke this morning thinking of you on your special day. Even though you are oh so far away, I always feel you close in my heart.
One of the memories that floated through my cloudy mind this a.m. was about the time we went to get DONUTS!! (Need I say more Miss Jackie? I bet you are giggling already.) When Jackie and I are together or even just on line chatting, we only need to say the following phrase in a nasally, nerd voice to get us both LOL. "Are you an economist or something?" I know folks, it isn't the least bit funny to you, but I know Jackie giggled when she read it! Am I right dear niece, am I right??? For the rest of you, it's just one of those times when you HAD TO BE THERE! On the way home from that incident with the donuts and economist remark, we laughed so hard, we almost had to pull off the road. Well, I almost had to pull off the road, since I, thankfully, was the one driving! We all know how Jackie is behind the wheel of a vehicle! Too much of your mom's DNA there girl. Anyhoose, the tears and laughter were such an impediment to my driving, it was kind of scary crossing that bridge over the Hillsborough River!
I also started reminiscing about all the concerts we went to together and how excited and starry eyed you would get afterwards, waiting for autographs or photos with the performers. Of course, I was just as excited as you ever were, maybe more so! Fun times, those were!
Remember all the Sunday naps we tried to take together? I could drift off to sleep so easily but you, oh no, your mind wouldn't shut down for even one minute.
I used to love your visits to my bedside when I was on bedrest for most of my pregnancy with Shane. It was the highlight of my day, but I think I've failed telling you that. I have photos of you and some of the cousins and the Josh's all circled around my bed, some of you on the bed with me, entertaining me. It really helped to break up my long, boring days. I was so glad my bedrest fell at a time when you all were here in the states on furlough.
Some of my most favorite memories though are of our time in Mexico together! You were my baby! Agustin insisted on taking you on just about every date with us. He couldn't stand it when we would leave the house, and see and hear you in the living room window, crying after us. So many times he would rush back inside to ask your parents if you could come along. Remember, you were only 12 months old or so!
One memory that still brings tears to my eyes, is from the week or so before I married. It was such an emotional time, as we were putting last details together on my wedding, entertaining guests from the states who had flown down for the big day, and your parents were packing and making arrangements to return to the United States for a couple of months before moving on to Venezuela. I asked your dad if you could start sleeping with me in my bed for that last week before my wedding. I'd go to bed and just hug you and cry into your soft baby hair, as I thought about having to say good bye to you so soon. You all were going to head to Mexico City right after my wedding. You see, I knew I wouldn't see you after I returned from my honeymoon, so I was wanting to hold you and talk with you and spend every moment with you that was possible. You were 18 months old and you performed so well in my wedding as the Jr. Flower Girl! We all think you stole the show away from me, the BRIDE!!
OH my, I'm sorry I just grew so sentimental! This day is supposed to be all about you, not me! LOL
I know your hubby has made it possible for you to enjoy your special day. God bless you my love, as you continue to become that Proverbs 31 lady you so desire to be. You are such a blessing to know.
If anyone reading this would like to pop on over to Jackie's blog and leave her a birthday greeting, simply click HERE
CAUTION: Nauseating amount of photos to follow!
Your Uncle Agustin's sarcasm and wit always draws a big ol' laugh out of you!
(This was taken right after Grandpa performed your private, family, wedding ceremony.)
Do you remember the time we drove out to Uncle Johnny's work site with Uncle Chilo and my mom in law? It wasn't long after this that Uncle Johnny fell from a high column here at this same site, to the ground and broke his arm.
This was another birthday of yours. I think you were turning 13 and your parents were out of town, but your dad, being the great guy that he is, sent you a bouquet of flowers. Also, do you see the back of my little Shaney Pooh behind you?
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
I'd like to see who can compose an interesting sentence using "my" new word! Just leave it in my comment section if you feel so obliged!
nonagenarian \non-uh-juh-NAIR-ee-uhn; no-nuh-\, noun:
A ninety year old person; someone whose age is in the nineties.
Monday, March 03, 2008
Look who took time out of his oh so busy schedule to meet up with us for an early supper Saturday evening!
My first born! With his job, church, and social life keeping him busy, and due to the fact that he lives almost an hour away, we don't see him often. He was looking fine, tanned, fit, and rested and was in oh such a pleasant, talkative mood. His natural tendancy is to be somewhat subdued, serious, and quiet, unless he has something he feels is important to say. He doesn't talk just to hear his brain rattle, if you know what I mean! Don't misunderstand me here though, he can be quite the clown and the life of the party if he feels so inclined! He is usually quite happy to slip into a party unannounced or to give advice only when asked. So anytime I catch him in one of his talky moods, I relish it! He shared some business plans with us, some prayer requests, some of his goals, and some of his funny life stories. It was such a blessing to have him share his heart with us and to learn how the Lord is truly working in his life. It's hard for this mama to grasp that her baby boy will be turning 21 on April 6th! Where has the time gone? I must be honest, my heart swelled with pride as I watched him interact with the server, his dad, his little brother and I. Oh yeah, and with that certain someone behind me who kept distracting him! *winks*
You can click on any photo to enlarge it for better viewing.
(I'm so sorry Josh is squinting. The sun was so bright. It was a gorgeous evening!)
Supper was delish. We met up at Red Lobster. Agustin had his regular, "The Admiral's Feast", Shane had his regular as well, "Kid's Chicken Fingers". Josh had his regular, although it's no longer on their menu, they prepared it for him, his beloved "Cajun Shrimp Alfredo". I tried one of their promotional items, "Lobster Stuffed Tilapia". It was super delicious! Of course, we all enjoyed the Cheddar Bay Biscuits, YUM! Yes, I endulged! But I must emphasize that although the food was great, the time spent as a family was even better. Thanks Josh, honey, for the wonderful visit.
Side note to my brother in law (Yekwanaman): Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit and counsel with Josh about a week or so ago. He appreciated it so very much, which makes me appreciate it so very much.
Saturday, March 01, 2008
"God is gracious and good beyond measure to bless with hearts like yours, to share that little quiet space with... a friend to worship with...
Thank you, Pam, for sharing you with me, and giving glory to Him ...Together, let's keep walking with Him towards Home! "
"All that happens becomes bread to nourish, soap to cleanse, fire to purify, a chisel to carve heavenly features. Everything is a channel of His Grace."