Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Yep, that's what I just ate and it was delicious! Does it even matter that I walked an extra half mile at the park this morning? Instead of my regular 3 miles, I walked 3.5 miles and was so proud of myself. Then home I came to fix an early supper due to Agustin's work schedule. He had to leave the house by 3p.m. I sabotaged myself when I baked that cornbread! Oh well! Tomorrow is another day!

Many of you asked about the homemade laundry detergent. I'm not thrilled with it yet, but I didn't quite follow the directions exactly and improvised. Let me do it exactly per the instructions and then I'll post about it, okay?

My son and brother are in West Virginia these days working for my cousin. He has two rustic rental cabins built so far but plans to gradually add to that number. John and Josh helped finish the second one and were happy that finally, yesterday the lumber was delivered to start on the third cabin. KUDOS to Keith who decorated them himself! Click here to see just how cute they are! Rita, be sure to scroll to the bottom of the home page to read about all the other AREA ATTRACTIONS! The Pocahontas Coal Mine Tour piqued my interest!

Monday, April 27, 2009


A beautiful day here! I feel I accomplished much for a Monday. We started our day by eating breakfast out on the back patio overlooking our small lake. Then we dove into laundry and school work. The last two weeks have been short changed due to the TEA RALLY, out of town guests, and then mom's back surgery. So today, we tried to get back into a normal routine.

Shane and I made some home made laundry detergent. I've used it for my last two loads of clothes and it seems to be working as well as a fellow blogger suggested it would. I like that! It will save me quite a bit of $$$$$ and we all like that don't we? I finally got Shane's dress slacks hemmed. Mighty Mom will be so proud of me!

I just got off the phone with mom. She sounded so good! Two ladies from her church were there visiting her, so I'm sure that energized her. Thanks Connie and Sarah!

Mom saw her diabetes doctor today and all was good. At her request. he also checked her incision and saw no sign of infection, so that was good to hear. It really wasn't his job to check it, but dad had suspicions he spotted a little oozing at the incision site.

I'm on the phone with my Aunt Ruby Carol who lives in West Virginia. She saw my baby today! He was unloading lumber for the new log cabin!
Now for my sister, who really LOVES all things political, a few short video clips from the Tampa Tea Party. Enjoy Rita!
FYI: Since I can now post videos, I removed my playlist from this blog. Jackie, I trust this brings you a smile!

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Mom was released from the hospital late Monday evening and so happy to be in her "HOME SWEET HOME"! She is doing very well! How happy she was when on Wednesday she could go up and down the step into dad's study without holding the door frame! She hasn't been able to do that in years due to sciatica, pain, etc. She is still experiencing pain from the surgery, but is encouraged that once healed, she will be able to work and move in a manner she hasn't been able to for years! We are all so happy for her!

Mom was in surgery for a little more than five hours. A 'cage' was inserted between two bones where the vertebrae had worn away, two fusions were done, some bulging discs were trimmed away, and her pinched nerves were straightened out.

The first few days I had to turn my head when mom tried to stand. There was nothing I could do to help her and the pain she was enduring was too much for me to watch. I AM NOT A GOOD NURSE!!! She would grab onto the walker and work at getting up ever so slowly with lots of moans and groans. I really was worried to bring her home Monday. It seemed she was still in so much pain. However, by Wednesday, she was getting up out of bed without the assistance of the walker! She looked better and was alert. Thursday and Friday were not as good for her. She mostly slept through out the day. When I called her today, she said all she wanted to do was sleep.

I cleaned her bathrooms and Shane vacuumed mom and dad's house yesterday. I changed the bedsheets on the bed mom is using to recupe in and the sheets in the guest room where I've been sleeping. Agustin had the day off and came over to cook for us! He's a keeper! He grilled steaks and onions, made a huge fresh salad, baked potatoes. Everything was so tasty! I always think other people's cooking tastes better than mine. Do you think that too?

The staples up mom's back remind me of a zipper, about 6 inches long! She goes to have them removed on May 12. She hasn't taken any prescription pain meds since Wednesday; only Tylenol. It amazed me how much she improved from Monday night to Wednesday morning! God designed this body to accomplish amazing things!

Dad is doing well and taking everything in stride. We had to reschedule a few Dr.s appointments due to the passing of one of his church members. The visitation with the family was Monday evening, which I was able to attend. It's amazing how sweet the visitation with family can be the night before a funeral. When the deceased is a Christian with a Christian family, the time of visitation feels more like a family reunion. They know Christ intimately and are experiencing HIS almighty peace right before your very eyes!

After attending the viewing at the funeral home, I left for the hospital to visit mom. I was surprised to see she had been released so late in the evening. They had her dressed and lying in her bed just waiting for my return. I wasn't able to attend the Tuesday morning funeral for Sally. Dad had to be there, as he was officiating and I couldn't leave mom home alone. Shane was still in St. Pete. Had he been with us, I possibly would have left him with mom since the church is right across the street from my parent's home. Shane could have easily called me and I would have been right there had he needed me, but things didn't work out that way. I know Sally's family understood why I wasn't at the funeral.

It was great walking into my humble abode last night, (Friday) around 4 p.m. There is nothing like one's own "HOME SWEET HOME"!!!

There was so much to do today. I've done about three loads of laundry, unpacked, sorted through mail, and can you believe, for most of the day, I've waited for a Verizon tech to come restore my phone/internet line!??? After almost a week with no time to post or surf, the one thing I was SO looking forward to was BLOGGING!!! But alas, last night, no internet!! No phone!! Thankfully, it was a minor fix today. A wire had burned out or something, not sure and don't care! The tech guy, Pete is my new hero! Thanks Pete for your friendly, positive attitude and your ability to troubleshoot and get me back on line! Whoo-Hoo! I made it a point to let Pete know how much I appreciated his friendliness and his winning attitude! I'll call Verizon on Monday to submit a compliment on Pete's behalf. Be sure you do the same when you receive good service! We are so quick to let people or businesses know when we get UNSATISFACTORY service, but we fail to communicate the good stuff. I encourage you to make it a point to compliment service people and businesses that treat you fairly and are courteous. I left two AWARDS for two of the Nurse Techs who helped care for my mom. One was a nurse tech who was a real go-getter! I enjoyed watching her pour herself into her duties and tidy everything up each and every time she entered the room. She was spoken to very condescendingly by the nurse on duty, but handled the rude behavior in a sweet, humble manner. Another tech cheerfully changed mom sheets around 10 pm after I asked her to. Due to pain or medications, mom had been sweating profusely and also some blood spots were on the sheets and gown. I just so appreciated the tech's cheerfulness while doing the extra duties that night.

I've had so much on my heart and mind to share with you all but much of it doesn't seem to be coming to surface right now - SO.....I think I'm off to read some BLOGS!!

Oh I just thought of something that really blessed my heart this week. Our friend Sally died on Thursday. Her husband, Harold, is our church treasurer and head deacon. He also teaches the Senior Citizen's Sunday School class each Sunday morning. When someone called him up to offer to teach his class, he kindly declined the offer, simply stating that he didn't see any need to quit doing his regular routines! Harold was in his place Sunday morning before his class, teaching God's Word and being a living example of grace.

Monday evening at the viewing, Harold shared with me in a quiet moment, that during the church service on Sunday morning, a peace came over him like he had never experienced before. My mind shot back to Sunday afternoon when my dad told me Harold seemed to not want to leave the church premises Sunday after the service. He stayed around, talking to everyone and dad even spotted him talking outside. Harold was the last to leave that day.

Sure he has his moments of tears, but you can see that he has such peace; a peace that we can't understand unless we too are a child of God. Harold knows that his wife, Sally, is in her final "HOME SWEET HOME"!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Not Home Yet!

I'm loving and appreciating all your sweet comments. Thanks from the bottom of our hearts for all your prayers and thoughts.

I stayed with mom until about 4:00 a.m. this morning. I got to bed around five and slept unti 12:15, at which time she called me to let us know her Dr. wasn't going to release her today. She is experiencing alot of dizziness and continues to have quite alot of drainage from the surgery. Hopefully she'll be home tomorrow sometime.
They did remove her drainage tube this afternoon and simply have her bandaged up for now.

She did seem to be able to get around a tad better today. When dad was here with her, he walked her to the nurses desk and back to the room. She is also getting up on her own to use the restroom. I came over about 8:00 p.m. to give her a sponge bath. We cleansed her face with her Mary Kay products and put on her night cream and a fresh gown. We asked the nurse to change her sheets again just so she could feel a little fresher and get a better night's sleep. While the sheets were being changed, I walked her around the unit block, the furthest distance she has gone so far. She did well, but was quite tired after the bath, the walk, and all. I just left her room at 11:05 and am posting this while sitting in the hospital cafeteria. Mom was already dozing off before I left.

I want to thank the dear ladies of my dad's church for the delicious meals they've been bringing over to the house . Saturday evening, Lois and Jeanette brought us bar-b-que ribs, potato salad, macaroni salad, baked beans, and deviled eggs! This afternoon, Kevin and Rose brought over MOJO rotiserrie chicken, beans, cole slaw, rolls and a fruit bowl. I haven't eaten any yet, but it sure smelled great! I'm anxiously awaiting to see what arrives at the house Monday evening! LOL That sounds kind of greedy doesn't it? I sure appreciate not having to worry about meals right now though. It's a real blessing being part of God's close knit family and having friends who step up without being asked! And these dear ladies of the small church my dad pastors are also caring for the grieving Hargrave/Padgett families. I know they will receive blessings in return.

Well I'm off to mom and dad's house to sleep. Agustin is just getting off work and will be heading to our house; the opposite direction than I. Shane is with my nephew Josh in yet another city. My Josh is up north working. It feels so strange to know my family is scattered all over the place. I miss my boys! Shane took some of his school books to Josh and Naomy's house with him. I know we will have some making up to do when things return to normal, but at least he can do some math drills, spelling practice, writing practice, and reading while away from home. He is dying to play against his cousin Josh on the new Playstation 3!! I warned Josh - "School work first!"

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Update on Mom

Happy Fiftieth Anniversary to my Parents today. Two years ago, my dad was in the hospital on their anniversary for heart surgery! Not to be outdone, my mom is in the hospital this anniversary!

Twenty Three years ago today I met my handsome husband! I was living in Mexico and was invited to a birthday party for his younger brother. I'll tell more of the story at another time.

So sorry I haven't gotten back to update since yesterday a.m. Mom came out of surgery around 3:15 Friday, we were allowed to see her for a short visit in recovery at about 4pm. I was frightened when I saw her! I wouldn't have recognized my own mom had I met her on the street looking that way! Swollen face, thick lips, swollen tongue, white and pasty just like dad after his open heart surgeries.

Here's a cute little tidbit that happened in the recovery room. She seemed to want to talk but couldn't due to the dry mouth and swollen tongue, lips condition.

I rubbed her head and told her not to speak. Did she listen? Oh no! Not Loretta! she tried and tried until she got enough strength to tell me she had been on her stomach and on her arm for the entire surgery. Her arm felt like needles pricking it. I know that feeling! I started rubbing her arm, trying to manipulate the blood flow. She squeaked out the word "Dream". I, her daugher, kept rubbing her arm and her forehead and tried to fill in the blanks. "Oh you had a dream." She said, "Jackie, soothing." (That is her grand-daughter who is a missionary in Paraguay.) I continued rubbing and soothing. I said "You dreamed about Jackie soothing you?" She replied in the affirmative. I said, "Yes Jackie is soothing when you're sick" and I kept trying to soothe my mom. Then she said, "I wish Jackie was here!" I replied, "So what am I, chopped liver?" I thought it was funny and shared the incident with Rebecca when I returned to the waiting room. Rebecca chuckled with me. I couldn't wait to get this on my blog for Jackie to read. I hope it brings a smile to her face too!

Mom continued to improve through out the evening and even walked with the help of 2 nurses and a walker. I saw her alertness and the swelling go down rapidly. So I decided to go on home and let the nurses care for her during the night since she seemed to be doing so well.

I sat with her until 11:00p.m. last night and then with hopes of her being sent home today, I went home to rest so I could help her with the transition to her house and feel well enough myself to take care of her. Dad can only do so much these days, plus he's in the midst of pastoring a family who just lost a loved one. (The funeral will be Tuesday.)

Around 4a.m.Sat. morning, her head started hurting so badly she called the nurse in. Her blood pressure was up to over 200. Then she bacame nauseus and we know what that means! She was administered a shot and later was able to walk with the walker all the way to the nurses station. She looks better as of this evening. I'm on my way back up to her room and will leave here around 11:00 again if she is still doing well. She is hoping to go home tomorrow, but dad hopes they'll keep her until Monday. They did remove her catheter today and she was able to get up and go to the restroom on her own, but it wore her out.

When the surgeon spoke to dad and I after surgery yesterday, he said it all looked good. They inserted a cage, did two fusions, trimmed a couple of bulging discs,and that all went well. Then he said "We then took a look at all her pinched nerves and that was a mess! We think we've got her all straightened out though."

Josh Daniel and Naomy just left and took my Shane with them for a few days. I could tell mom thouroughly enjoyed having us all around her bed for awhile this evening.

Thanks Rebecca and Clint for the lovely balloon arrangement!

Thanks Rose for the lovely roses you brought by!

Thanks to all my friends, both in blogland and in the real world for you heartfelt prayers. I can feel them! The Lord has given me grace and energy to keep going. Not too many complications due to my health right now. I know it's my heavenly Father watching over me!

Have a wonderful Lord's day tomorrow!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Good morning all! We are sitting here in the surgery waiting room. Mom was here at 5:30 this morning. We visited after she finished with all the prep stuff. Then around 8:00 they took her back to surgery. We sent her on her way with lots of hugs and kisses and messages from all of you. Dad prayed over her before they wheeled her out.

Her surgery will be around 9:00 a.m. We were told not to expect her out until 3:00 p.m. or so. Dr. Ridell is one of the best and is doing essentially 4 surgeries at once. A plate (rod) will be inserted, a couple of fusions, and a couple of bulging discs will be taken care of. They told her she will be on her stomach and in much pain afterwards. Wow! She seemed a little concerned about that!

We do so appreicate your prayers and we're optimistically looking for mom's quality of life to greatly improve after this surgery.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Prayers Please

My mother is scheduled for back surgery early Friday morning. (Apr.17) I'd so appreciate your prayer support for her and my dad. He has recently recovered from shoulder surgery and is in rehabilitation. Also, a member of dad's church passed away this morning, so dad will be busy with funeral plans and counselling the family. I'm sure the Hargrave and Padgett families would appreciate your prayers as well. I will be staying at mom and dad's house for the next week or so trying to help out in whatever capacity I am needed. I'll try to post when I can. Thank you all so much for remembering us in your prayers.


My cousin Gehrig, me, and Shane. Agustin wanted to portray his artsy side and lie on the grass to take this shot of us in front of the skyscraper. I always enjoy visiting our downtown area! I tend to forget that we are privileged to live in such a beautiful city!
All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Some of the officers around the park. Loved the fact they employed the horses as well.

A few of the "right wing extremist idiots" that the MSM seemed occupied about, mixed in with their dirty sexual innuendos!

Still shot of my hubby being interviewed for Univision. Notice the Cuban cigar hanging out of the cameraman's mouth. Very Tampanian!

More crazy right wing extremists! LOL

These two ladies and I hit it off! The one in denim gave me a tea bag to hang from my flag.

The pretty park in downtown Tampa where the Tea Party was held.

There were tables set up inside the park, allowing you to make your own signs. They knew many protesters would be coming to the tea party directly from work.

I can just imagine what MS*NBC's Ra*chel Mad*ow (MadCow) would say about this!

Leaving downtown, we passed the University of Tampa. This once was a hotel in which Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders stayed in before deploying to Cuba.

oops! We were in the car, leaving and I really thought I was getting a shot of the entire horse! My bad!

As we first approached the Tea Party a little before noon. The park continued to fill
up after we arrived.

This beautiful church, nestled in by a parking garage just begged for me to take it's picture!

Please be sure to scroll back up and stop the music player before watching this video. Clip is only about 15 seconds long. I plan on showing a video clip or two each day so my political junkie sister can get a taste of what the rally was like. She was deterred from attending a Tea Party yesterday due to the fact she lives in South America! Please bear with us!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hubby Interviewed for T.V. at Tampa's Tea Party!

Just quickly before I bust! I wanted to get this video clip up before I get ready for church. I jotted some 'talking points' on an index card "JUST IN CASE" I was approached for an interview at the Tea Party today. WELL---within five minutes of arriving at the park, my husband was approached by UNIVISION!! I was so excited! I wish you could hear what Agustin said but the noise all around us was just too loud. If you listen closely, you can hear him tell the reporter his name. Lots more photos to come later! Right now, I'm watching the Spanish news now to see if they show my hubs!

Oh To Live Up To This

You Are Bright and Innovative

When You Are Comfortable:

You are very unique and talented. You solve problems well, and you have a creative approach to life.

People see you as straightforward and level headed. You can see opportunities when others only see troubles.

When You Are At Your Best:

You are enthusiastic and flexible. You are open-minded. You prefer to learn from others... not judge them.

People see you as kind and cooperative. You are very supportive when friends are down on their luck.

When You Are in a Social Setting:

You are a sensitive, gentle soul. You want to save the world... or as much of it as possible.

People see you as unselfish and well mannered. You truly enjoy being around others, and it shows.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Glimpses of our Easter Sunday

Please scroll down and turn off the music player before watching the following videos. Enjoy these songs from our Easter service.

Kevin sings "I Saw His Scars". Since meeting Kevin about 12 years ago, he has become one of my favorite singers. Trust me, this video does NOT do him justice!

Kevin and I share a long time private joke! Don't worry-his wife took this photo.

It's too much to explain here!

Me, Shane, Agustin
(We're missing Josh who remains in WV at this time. I really missed making up an Easter Basket full of his favorite goodies this year! Even the year he was in college, I took baskets to him and all dorm students.)

John, Diana, Denise
Diana was thrilled to have her daughter and son in law in town for the special day.

Rose, Stephanie, Kevin

AGUSTIN, please tell me you're NOT discussing politics at church?
(I see the body language here which is all too familiar lately! And I heard Kevin tell him he should run for Governor of Florida, to which Agustin responded:
"I am considering running for Mayor! LOL)

Shane, Grandma, Grandpa

What is more precious than an annual tradition? These two have been coloring eggs together since Shane's first Easter. He was 4 months old when this tradition began.)

I've seen Stephanie grow into a sweet, young lady. I'm sorry my camera stopped recording before she quite finished this song. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 09, 2009


Boy oh, have things been a tad busy around here! I want so badly to tell you about the 'Celtic Woman' concert I attended on Sunday afternoon, but I haven't loaded the photos onto my laptop yet. Let me just say, it was a wonderful experience and being with some old friends
made it all the better.
I do, however, have available photos from a Bridal Shower I hosted,
to share that with you for this post.

Weekend before last, I hosted a Bridal Shower for a sweet, young lady who attends my father's church. I've watched Grace blossom from an eleven year old girl into
the young lady she is today.
(EDITED TO ADD: YES jANe, we played some very fun games!! It was a general shower. She received gifts such as towels, glasses, baskets of body care items, etc. One game we played involved M&Ms! I used Pink and Green to match her colors. Each lady had a little cupcake liner full of M&Ms. I asked them to pick out a few, any amount, but not to eat them until later. After they all had their M&Ms in hand, we went around the room and each one had to say something nice about Gracie, according to how many M&Ms were in their hands. So if you were greedy and chose 10 M&Ms, you had to think of 10 nice things to say. I also said they could use words of wisdom and encouragement for a turn as well. Many godly and wise words were offered that day on Gracie's behalf.)

I had Grace wear the veil during the entire shower.

(In case we forgot just who the bride to be was!)


(EDITED TO ADD: Mrs. C.!!This isn't her real veil. I picked this up in Wa*-Mart's wedding section for about $6.00.)

A couple of the pretty gifts!

Sarah, long time friend, made and served the punch!

Julee, wife of one of our deacon's, made and decorated the cake! Simple but feminine!
(EDITED TO ADD: jAnE!!! The cake was delicious! Julee had a layer of preserves between the cake layers, a nice touch!)

I would have loved to have hosted the shower in my home, but was afraid many of the older ladies from church wouldn't drive out this far. It just seemed more sensible to meet at the church fellowship hall to show our support, love, and best wishes for Grace and this new chapter of her life into which she is about to embark. The big day is May 16th, which means that she and her mom are busy girls these days!
I'm sure they would appreciate your prayerful support!


(EDITED TO ADD: YES Rita, Gracie is moving to North Carolina.

Another reason Missy needs our prayers and support!)

Missy (Mother of the bride) and Grace!

Sunday, April 05, 2009


After a beautiful Sunday morning, I'm so looking forward to this afternoon! Thanks to my long time friend Marie, I have a ticket to join her and some other "girlfriends" for some girl's time out. (Click here to see where we're going!)
I'm so excited!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Sweet Slumber...

...is the stuff of dreams. I've been an insomniac for years now, thanks to Rheumatoid Arthritis. There are times I enjoy better sleep than other times, but for the most part, I'm always searching for helpful tips to help me get the sleep I need. I'd like to give you a head's up concerning the importance of sleep.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. But for many busy Americans, that is the stuff of dreams for sure! The NSF's 2008 Sleep in America poll reveals that workers today average only 6 hours and 40 minutes of sleep each night!

The precise amount of sleep necessary to lead an enjoyable and productive life varies from person to person and changes with age. Regardless of age, one thing remains the same: Not getting enough sleep can have serious consequences.

Studies show that well-rested people learn tasks and perform memory and creative problem-solving exercises better than those who are deprived of sleep, even by just a few ours. A lack of sleep also slows reaction time considerably. Concentrating and paying attention are more difficult, and certain tasks - driving in particular - can even become dangerous.

Insufficient sleep increases your chance of strokes, irregular heartbeat, heart attacks, diabetes and congestive heart failure. Sleep is also a powerful regulator of hormones. It triggers those that help build muscle mass, repair cells and tissue, and encourage fertility. Lack of sleep has also been tied to an increased appetite, putting the chronically sleep-deprived at greater risk of obesity! If you frequently experience problems falling asleep, contact your doctor to discuss possible remedies. Personally, I'd like to suggest that you go to GO*OGLE for some natural helps in creating a sleep cycle.