Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Please Pray for Ellie (Elise)

...and if you so desire, please add her to your prayer chain and blog so that others will pray for this family as well.

Ellie (Elise) is the daughter of James Lee and Liz and little sister to Matt. She was hospitalized back on December 2, 2005, with HUS, Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome. I have experienced the ravage that HUS does to a little child firsthand as my oldest dauther, Cynthia, is a HUS miracle survivor. I know that my daughter would not be alive today if it had not been for the intercessory prayers of thousands of people all over the United States as a result of family, friends, acquaintances and friends of friends adding her to prayer chains. There is no other explanation for her being alive today, except that God gave us a medical miracle. It is my prayer that Ellie, James Lee, Liz and Matt receive this same miracle. I pray that God will fully heal Ellie and that her recovery will point many to HIS kingdom.

Not So Useless Anymore

My husband is telling everyone how proud he is of me. He is noticing a huge change, one I really hope to continue. This change was due to the Angel Sermon that I blogged about on Dec 13, Am I Useless in the Kingdom in Heaven. I've actually dwelled on this a little more and have realized that Satan really hasn't had to do much to keep me useless, I had been doing it all on my own. I really have not been a good witness to my husband or to my children. Yes, I take them to AWANA's on Wednesday nights and I sometimes help them with their verses during the week. However, they have not been seeing me walk the walk.

My next step is to start a Bible Study in our home. I've been doing one on my own on the book of John, but my children need to be reading the Bible everyday as well. I'm thinking that we should read the same praise Psalm everyday for a week, then come together on Saturday morning and talk about what they think that the Psalm means. Hopefully by the end of the week, they will almost have the Psalm memorized as well.

I know this will not be easy, but keeping my house clean for a month has not been an easy task either after many years of laziness. It is one of my deepest desires that by leading a Bible Study in the home that my 4 younger children and possibly my husband will also desire to accept Christ as their Savior or desire to be more led by God.

Monday, December 26, 2005


That's what Kurt and Shelby were singing while playing with the magnetic letters on the door this morning. It's amazing to find out that your 2 1/2 year olds know that the song they are singing refers to the letters they are playing with!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

We Wish You a Merry Christmas!

Tonight we will read the story of Jesus's birth, but this morning was all about the presents. I woke up around 7:45am and found that Jaba was not in bed, so I ventured out into the living room and found him and Mary-Jo laying on the couch watching Jesus of Nazareth on the History Channel. It's hard to believe, but the rest of the children were still asleep! While the three of us sat there enjoying the movie, Jaba relayed his conversation with Mary-Jo.

He asked her, "What day is it, Mary-Jo?"
"Christmas." Mary-Jo replied.
"Well, what do we do on Christmas?"
"Open presents."
"Do we have any presents?"
"I don't think so..." then she slowly looked up and over her shoulder and exclaimed, "well maybe we do!"

About 5 minutes later Kurt and Shelby woke up so we sent all three of the youngest to go wake up the two oldest sleepyheads so we could open presents. I couldn't find the digcam so we don't have any Christmas morning pictures. So I'm going to have put it in prose here so I at least have it recorded for posterity. First the kids all got to pull out the toy in their stockings. I don't wrap these presents so they got to immediately start playing with them. Then we started unwrapping presents about 10 minutes later.
First off, Jab and I got the kids 2 gifts each and then 1 for them all to share. However, my mom also bought them 2 gifts each and my Aunt Debby mails a gift for everyone in the family each year as well. So each child got to open 4-5 gifts. Shelby loved opening presents just as much as the other kids, but the joy on her face was just so apparent. The other kids had a "down to business" kind of look on their faces as they ripped the paper off. We let everyone open a present at the same time. Then we'd take it out of it's store package so they actually get to enjoy it for a few minutes before we went to the next present. This seemed to work really well for all of them. No one got bored or cranky.
After all the wrapped presents were opened, Jab asked Mary-Jo and Alex to go get him the frozen fruit out of the deep freeze in our multi-purpose room (dining/school/kidsTV). They both just walked right past the pink and blue bikes, got the fruit and walked past them again to bring Jab the bag. So he told them, that he preferred the frozen peaches instead of the strawberries and for them to go back and turn the light on and exchange it. Finally, they saw the bikes and started jumping up and down with excitement.
There was one more present to go, though. Mary-Jo went back to lay down beside Jab and he whispered to her to look out the window into the back yard. Mary-Jo whispered, "A trampoline, Daddy! Can I tell?! Can I tell?!" But Jab told her to wait, then he told Cynthia and Al to go look at the snow in the back yard. This is Central Louisiana, ya'll, we don't get snow, we get sleet or have an ice storm. So they go look and start jumping for joy because now they don't have to go to any of the neighbors' homes to jump on a trampoline. Everyone took a trip out to the back yard and jumped on the trampoline for about 5 minutes before they could no longer stand the morning chill.
Their favorite gifts, besides the trampoline, are as follows: Cynthia--portable CD/w headphones in a carrying pack, Alex--guitar, Mary-Jo--guitar, Kurt--cars, Shelby--play guitar & Mary-Jo's lipgloss. I got Jab a cell-phone for Christmas and I got some Journey perfume that I asked for. My mom also got each of us a pair of shoes from the kids.
Afterwards, the kids played with their toys while Jab and I cuddled on the couch, pleased with our beautiful family. Around 9am, I sent each of the 3 oldest to go take turns bathing before we headed out to my SIL's house for dinner (for you non-Southerners, that's a 1-2pm lunch). When 11am rolled around, all the kids were dressed and it was time for Jab and I to get cleaned up. We were finally able to leave around noon.
At Aunt Darlene's, the kids got to open another 6 gifts each. Kurt got a Thomas train and 2 cars to go with it that he rolled all over the house on imaginary tracks for the 3 hours that we were there. Alex got a remote controlled helicopter that he played with for 2 hours, too. Mary-Jo got a barbie with a pegasus horse. Cynthia got a watch and Shelby got twin babydolls--one that wet and one that has lots of clothing fasteners to open and close. But their favorite gift was the season passes for 6-Flags.

We had a beautiful Christmas. I hope and pray that all my net friends had a wonderful Christmas, too.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The tree is up!

I'll try to add a picture by tomorrow, but we finally have the tree up. It's a 4 1/2 ft tree sitting up on a table. All the kids got to put ornaments on the tree and I just did a little rearranging this year. Hopefully, next year I'll be able to keep my hands off of it, as I really do love looking at how the little ones put 9 and 10 ornaments all at the end of one limb.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


NO, it's not the kind that you cook on the stove or in the microwave. It's the kind that is on the ceiling and now it is all over my floor. Well, at least until the culprits get it vacuumed up.

I smelled Smoke!

My first thought was, "ALEX! Where's the match!" However, it wasn't Alex...this time, anyway. I guess I've been putting the washer through the ringer this last week, because it was the culprit of the smell of smoke/fire. I think we caught it in time, though. It may just need some simple repairs. So for the rest of this week, I'll be using my Mom's and my SIL's washer & dryer so I can keep up and not have the laundry pile up on me.

Jaba has been very appreciative of the way the house has been looking these last 2 weeks. He's even helping me do things that I ask for him to do without griping. It does help that I ask him the day or night before and also that I'm either helping him with the job or doing other work in the house at the same time. I'm just as thrilled that my children are starting to actually complete the small jobs that I've asked them to do as well. I do have to keep them on task and it sometimes takes them 30-45 minutes to do a 5-8 minute chore like folding towels or cleaning off the table after a meal.

I don't know why it's taken me 13 years to learn how to do this, but if it makes my husband happy, then I'm willing to keep at it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Laundry down; Toys to go

I've finally washed every stitch of clothes & linens (including rugs) in my house. I've only stored one tote that combines some clothes for Mary-Jo, Kurt and Shelby to wear next year.

Right now there is only 3 very small partial loads (whites, darks, towels) that is from what we wore or used today. So that means 3 loads to wash tomorrow evening.

I told Sandi, today, that this seems to be a seasonal thing for me because I will let laundry pile up on me and go through a laundry catch-up period like this about once every 3-6 months.

My next project to tackle is toys! I'm going to keep all the cars & trains for Kurt & Alex , all the horses/ponys for Kurt, Shelby & Mary-Jo, and most of the purses for Mary-Jo Cynthia, Mary-J0 & Shelby. Everything else is gone. I plan to send all the stuffed animals to Dawn and all the toys in excellent condition to the Hope House (for battered women & their children). The rest of the toys are headed for the landfill.

I hope I can talk my husband into just 3-5 gifts for each child this year. I'd like for it to be more like 1 or 2 because they get so much from the relatives on both sides. What I'd really like to do is build a combined clubhouse/storage shed for them.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I need a POWER nap!

It's about lunch time, so hopefully, after I feed Al, Kurt & Shelby, then put K&S down for their nap, I'll be able to take a nap as well. Jaba at least gets off at 5pm today, so I won't have the whole evening by myself as usual.

So, what am I going to make for lunch? I hope there is something easy in the freezer/fridge!

Edited to Add
We had chicken alfredo croissant pockets & chicken/broccoli chedder lean pockets. Guess who had what.

Am I useless in the Kingdom of Heaven?

Sunday's sermon was the last in a series on angels by our pastor.

Two things he said really hit me. First, for the believer, Satan and his minions are constantly asking how can I make this believer USELESS in the Kingdom of Heaven. Boy was I convicted and started questioning myself. I am a believer, I was saved when I was 5 almost 6. For the first 12 years, I was certainly a light shining quite brightly. After that, there were a few years where my light was hidden completely and only uncovered briefly. It saddens me beyond belief that I have not been a beacon for some in my family. I especially hope that I have not been useless in my witness to my children. I fail miserable, daily, in pointing to Jesus in my daily walk for them.

Second, our pastor did an example word association test with us where you say the opposite word, for example: good=bad, day=night, sun=moon, up=down. Then he said "God" and but didn't ask us to say an opposite because, Hallelujah! There is no opposite to God. God created Lucifer/Satan. We already know the end of the story (Revelations). GOD WINS!

Still Washing Today

I found another 4 loads of clothes that I needed to wash, but the best part is that they all are going to end up in someone else's home.

Just some clothing facts from our household:
1. Kurt has the most clothes with Cynthia in a close 2nd.
2. Mary-Jo has the most school uniforms as she can wear both Al's & Cynthia's hand-me-downs (yes I've kept hand-me-downs that long--8 years)
3. If you remove the lint from the lint trap on the dryer when you go to put in the fabric softener in the washer at the beginning of the rinse cycle, your clothes will be dry by the time the rinse cycle is complete--well, just a few might be minutely damp if you are washing jeans.
4. By the end of today it will have taken me five 8 or more hour work days to wash & sort ALL the laundry in my house.
5. I've slept an average of 4 hours each day for the last 5 days to try and complete the clothing elephant.
6. It's amazing how clean your house gets when all the laundry is washed, folded/hung-up AND PUT AWAY!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Lots and Lots of Washing

I am down to about 7-8 loads of laundry you wear and 4 loads of linens (including curtains). I have been one lean mean (well, I'm not lean and I really haven't been mean--this time) washing machine these last 2 days. I've washed nearly every stitch in the house. I've also weeded out some clothes for Mindy's youngest, Marcy; Micki's oldest daughter, Breanna; for a church friend (Angela) with a daughter 3 years younger than Cynthia; and for the Salvation Army. I've kept just a few items for Mary-Jo, Kurt and Shelby to grow into for '06--about one large plastic container with lid.

Let's see, Mindy got 2 plastic totes, Micki got 3 plastic totes, Angela's daughter got 2 plastic totes and the Salvation Army is going to be recieving 6 plastic totes, so far. Unfortunately, I had lots of stained and small ripped clothing that I ended up getting rid of, too. I wish I had the storage and the time to make quilts out of all of those unwearable clothing. I bet the kids would love to have family heirloom quilts made out of clothes that they and their parents wore while they were growing up. I've gotta go and get those patterns and the quilt holder (it goes up on the ceiling) from my Grandma so I can get to doing that!

You must be asking yourself, "Does she have any clothes left for the kids to wear?" Of course! Two neighbors blessed our family with clothes for Cynthia, Al, Mary-Jo and Kurt. I just need to find someone with a daughter that is a year bigger than Shelby and I will be set.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Pride & Prejudice 2005

It's the best love story that I've seen this year. Keira Knightley (Elizabeth), Rosamund Pike (Jane), Judi Dench (Lady Catherine de Bourg), Donald Sutherland & Brenda Blethyn (Mr & Mrs. Bennet) are awesome. As for Matthew MacFadyen (Mr. Darcy), I think he has dreamy eyes no matter the brooding "pride & prejudice" behind them.

If I had to choose only one film to watch this year, "Pride and Prejudice" would be my choice. Keira is awesome and Rosamund deserves a best supporting actress nod. However, I do look forward to seeing The Chronicles of Narnia (but it will probably still be in theaters come January so P&P could still be the one movie that you could watch this year).

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Cynthia & Megan's Birthday

Cynthia and her cousin, Megan, shared their 13th, 12th birthday party on Saturday, Dec 3. They both invited about 15 school friends each, but only 2 showed up from Cynthia's list and 3 from Megan's list. However, it was really a fun party for both. My step-sister and her husband live on a military camp and had access to the movie theatre. It was reserved for just us, so the girls and their friends & family had the whole theatre to themselves. We watched Madagascar on the big screen and ate popcorn (no drinks allowed in the theatre because we had to clean it up if there was a spill).

All in all everyone had a great time and it is a birthday party that Megan and Cynthia will remember for quite some time.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Power of a Praying Parent

I wrote this on another board, but wanted to transfer it here so I would have a record of it.

I can remember when I first dedicated each of my children back to God. The first time was in 97 when Cynthia was almost 5. She somehow was infected with the virilent strain, e-coli-0157. She went in to the hospital because she would not eat (even popsicles) and was having diarrhea movements a minimum of 1 or 2 an hour. Turns out it was bloody diarrhea. We came very close to losing our beloved daughter. She was supposed to be airvaced to Tulane in NO (Nov 21, 97), but because of tornados hitting all around (Lafayette, Covington, Picayune MS, Nicholson MS) the sent a PICU team of RN specialist by ambulance. When they got there, I just assumed I would be able to ride with Cynthia but found out that it was not a given. But God knew that I was supposed to ride with her that night. That ride was full of prayer, but the one prayer that will forever be imprinted on my brain was, "God you know that I am selfish and want my daughter to live here on earth with me, but I know that she is not mine. You have blessed me so richly with the 4 years that you have lent her to me. Lord, Father, she is yours and if you want her with you, then bring her home. But Lord please give me a second chance. Heal her body. Speak to her heart and let her know that you are with her to comfort her. Hold her in your arms while I am unable." The rest of that ride, and for the most part the rest of her hospital stay (a month) and then the recovery at home (5 months), God gave me a real peace to listen to the grim statements from Doctors. Then once she began to recover and was moved from the PICU to the floor, He stayed with me as the nurses began teaching me how to care for Cynthia (peritoneal dialysis, cleaning the cathetar sites, and giving shots every other day). After 3 weeks Cynthia's kidney functions began to recover. All of the doctors were stunned. But we were not. We had so many family and friends, many church prayer chains, firefighters (my DH was a firefighter), internet prayer chains, teachers and children in schools, ALL were praying for Cynthia. I certainly learned the POWER OF PRAYER in one small month in 1997.

I still fail miserable as a Christian, as a parent, a wife, as a human. I certainly fail in my prayer life. I don't pray everyday. Cheryl, thank you for starting this discussion. And Step, thank you for providing me with the book and study guide. I pray and hope that this journey through The Power of A Praying Parent will be the catalyst for a closer walk with God.

(Our church is starting The Purpose Driven Live: 40 Days of Purpose Campaign this coming Wednesday night, too, so I'm getting a double dose over the next 6 weeks.)