One Day At a Time

About a working wife, mom and owner of four horses who lives in Alabama....and trying to take things "one day at a time".


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This is my second post under the heading of Faithful Fridays and I'm 2 for 2. Yeah! There haven't been any big events this week to remark about or major decisions to make (other than the hardest one - WHAT TO COOK FOR DINNER????). The fact this week has been pretty non-eventful is a statement of God's faithfulness in itself. But as I type this, I am reflecting on some of the week's activities where I have seen and heard God's hand and voice in the "small things".

  • Shelby had her K4 program this week and it happened to fall on the same night as Jessie's RLC class party. I was devastated a week earlier when I found this out. I discussed with Chad and my Mom and we decided Chad would go with Jessie and the rest of the family could be at Shelby's. Mom and I felt maybe she should also go with Jessie. So, later that evening I discussed with Jessie - as I told her the dilemma, she immediately said "it's ok, it's Shelby's first program and I'll have lots more RLC parties". I was so humbled by her willingness and unselfishness in this situation. Shelby learned that not "everyone of her family" was going to be at her program and she was being rather pouty on the night of her program. So, Mom discussed with Jessie and Granny came on to Shelby's. Chad and Jessie shared time together at the RLC party. God sure has a way to use our kids to show us the unselfish nature he desires in all of us - to give up what we want for what He not keep Him all to ourselves and share Him with others.

  • I have been under the weather this week and last week for that matter. My husband has been very faithful to feed the horses, which he did not know were going to be a part of our lives when he married me. Also at a low point, the other night, he took care of getting the girls bathed and in bed. Our marriage and both household and parental roles continue to evolve. I see in him a man who wants everyone to be "happy" in how he deals with us and his own family. He is the "laid-back" one and I am the uptight one. Thank you God for balance - even though sometimes I feel like my end of the see-saw is stuck way up in the air!

  • Lastly, I often joke with friends that we bought our house for the land and not for the "house".....however I will tell anyone that our home was a Gift from God in His uttermost perfect timing. I can relay all that later..... There are several things that we say, "oh we'll change that one day" or "Oh, I'd love to see this...." but I'm ok with having a "work in progress". I like projects.....I like to make things "my own" and I really am ok with all of it. I will say I was really excited that our home has a fireplace....I really wanted a fireplace in our next house. So, can I say I have been waiting for the night we would build a fire and snuggle in the living room? You can imagine my surprise when I came home Wednesday evening and Chad had built a fire!!!! After dinner, I curled up in the floor in front of the fireplace and that's where I stayed - yes I slept half the night on the floor in front of the fireplace! He also built a fire last night and I curled up down there again - but I did go to bed at a decent time. It's a silly little wish, a wish that came true...there may be a million others that don't and at least a dozen that didn't come true with this house....but this wish reminded me God cares about the small things....even a wood burning fireplace. Now if I could just change that green tile around it - LOL! I just had to say it..... Thank you God for showing me that in my love for projects, that I am a project of yours. I, too, am a work in progress. If my house were perfect, where would be the appreciation? If we had been created perfect, where would be the appreciation.....for what we were, what we are now and what we will be one day?

So, I'm reminded of another song from my childhood..... Hope you have a great weekend!

He's still working on me to make me what I ought to be.

It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars,The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.

How loving and patient He must be, He's still working on me.

There really ought to be a sign upon the heart,Don't judge her yet, there's an unfinished part.

But I'll be perfect just according to His plan

Fashioned by the Master's loving hands.

In the mirror of His Word reflections that I see

Make me wonder why He never gave up on me.

He loves me as I am and helps me when I pray

Remember He's the Potter, I'm the clay.



We made it to church today, in spite of running later than normal. We made it to church in spite of both adults, er parental figures not feeling well. Once at church we made the drop-off rounds and settled in "our seats". "Our seats" is just a reference to general area of the balcony where we like to sit and is in close proximity to the door. Also, not chosen to enable us a faster exit at the first sign of boredom or our toes getting stepped on, but only to be close for when we leave to make the pickup rounds. Pastor Kevin began to speak from Proverbs and was speaking on relationships. Thru my stuffy head, I heard him say - "all relationships will have strokes" and he repeated it several times and asking the congregation to agree that all relationships will have strokes. I sat there trying to figure out what he meant by that and started quickly pondering the cause & affects of a stroke and was trying to sort out what relationships and strokes have to do with each other. Still puzzled, I conceded to move on and was shortly met with the fact that my stuffy head had muffled the sound of Pastor Kevin's voice. I soon realized he was saying "all relationships have struggles" NOT strokes. Ok so mystery solved - right? Well, while I was trying to sort out relationships having strokes - I came to a lot of conclusions about the impact a stroke would have on a relationship and decided to come home and look into it further. A stroke is defined as a blockage or hemorrhage of a blood vessel leading to the brain, causing inadequate oxygen supply and, depending on the extent and location of the abnormality, such symptoms as weakness, paralysis of parts of the body, speech difficulties, and, if severe, loss of consciousness or death. Step outside your own relationships with your friends or spouse for a moment and ponder with me if a "stroke" happened in that relationship. Something happens - a fuss, a fight, hurt feelings and they go unrecognized or untreated. The tension builds and builds with no where for the anxiety to go that is building inside you or between the two of you. This is creating a blockage in the relationship and preventing the relationship from flourishing. The blockage exists until one day you overflow with emotion, a hemorrhage of sorts..... The hemorrhagic event results in more hurt feelings, sometimes irreversible effects, sometimes side effects that will linger throughout the rest of the relationship....there may be weakness and vulnerability, there may now be an emotional paralysis or physical paralysis where you are unable to reach out or be reached, there may be speech difficulties making communication next to impossible.....there may even be death...death to the relationship. I'm sorry to say I've experienced a stroke before in a relationship....many of us may have. There's also a lesser form of stroke called TIA for Transient Ischemic Attack. This occurs when a blood clot clogs an artery for a short period of time. This is sometimes called a warning stroke. The symptoms are much like a major stroke, however, they last for a shorter period of time. Are you having TIA's in your relationships? Can you see any of these signs?.... Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body Do you find yourself growing numb to the fusses and fights? Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding Do you feel like the world is passing you by and no one cares or understands? Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes Having trouble seeing how things are going to get better? Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination Just don't feel like you can go another day, take another step, go this alone? Sudden, severe headache with no known cause Pain just too great to bear any longer? Can you head off a major stroke by knowing these signs? What will you do? Sometimes a medical doctor will put a patient in therapy to recover from the effects of a stroke...sometimes prescriptive medicine is required which is usually a type of blood thinner to keep clots from reoccurring. If you've found yourself thinking about a relationship you are in or have been in, has it had a stroke? I'd ask you to think.... Do you see warning signs? Do you want to keep it from having a stroke? What course of treatment is right for your stroke? Will you make a full recovery or find yourself in the same situation again? Will therapy or counseling help you recover from your stroke? Can you be treated preventively with "blood thinners" - will you allow "blockages" to be removed, tear down the walls, open the veins of communication and let the flow resume? I know we serve a mighty God who in Him nothing is impossible (Matthew 19:26). Let him take control and be the great physician. Grab hold of your faith.....for with "faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain 'Move from here to there' and it will move'." and "NOTHING will be impossible for you" (Matthew 17:20). God can give you the strength to make a full recovery, to be healed and fully restored, to make you a new creation in Him. His word also instructs that we are to "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing” (Isaiah 43:18,19). With His commandments he provides us the tools to execute those commandments - not like buying an assembly required entertainment center from the discount store and opening the box to find no instructions and no idea on where to begin. In 2 Chronicles, chapter 7, we are simply told if we will humble ourselves, pray and seek His Face...He will heal our land....His eyes will be open and His ears attentive to prayer made in this place. How amazing is that ....we hold the key to our healing and restoration in our own minds, words and prayers? We have step by step instructions and know the end results....pretty simple or is it? Can you humble yourself to ask for help from the Great Physician? Can you swallow the medicine? Can you perform the therapy? The health of your relationship, your happiness and hope - depend on you!


Faithful Fridays

Won't promise I'll make this a weekly occurrence but will try if for no other reason than to remind myself of God's faithfulness, goodness and grace. So, here's my first log in the heading of Faithful Fridays.

  • God has been extremely faithful to me and my family in many areas. Most recently is in the area of my employment. Went thru merger at one company and knew my job was going away, went to company down the road, struggled thru some initial hardships and now going thru another merger. Job is secure during this merger and have been given some assurances of that. Have seen friends come thru this triumphantly, as well, and we will stay a "team" for the most part while adding new faces to our teams.

Thank you for your unconditional love, even when I am not as loving. Thank you God for your mercy when I know I am not as merciful with others. Thank you God for your goodness when I am not so great. Thank you God for your faithfulness even when I am not as faithful. Thank you for bringing me up in a Christian home, where as I child I learned these words....

Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.

Little ones to him belong

They are weak but He is strong

Yes, Jesus loves me - Yes, Jesus loves me - Yes, Jesus loves me

The Bible tells me so.

Thank you that not only does your word tell me of your love for me, but that you SHOW me all the time, in so many ways and in so many places.


Update on Condition

The black eye is more a purple eye today accompanied by a sore throat and stuffy head. However the new symptoms are typical of this time of year and crazy weather we have here. Was really puffy this morning and made it hard to see when I first got up this morning. This aggravation resulted in me applying a bag of frozen peas to it while I fixed the girls breakfast. My mother in law got me in with the Dr. she works for and I am going to see them this afternoon after lunch. I will update if they find anything wrong with me - ha ha, we know there is plenty wrong, I mean medically!


Down For the Count.....

Sunday evening I started feeling less than "well"..... I had eaten a late lunch (no supper) and felt like it was just settling heavy on me. I took some Pepto and curled up on the couch with a blanket. I finally drifted off but not for long....I kept waking having cold chills and overall discomfort. I decided to go to our bedroom about 2:00 a.m. and the symptoms persisted. I woke up every hour or so for the next three hours and then it was time to get up to begin getting myself ready for work. I shuffled into the kitchen and decided to take my temperature since I had wrestled with cold chills all night long. I finally found the thermometer and started taking my temperature. I didn't think the thing was ever going to beep and it wasn't doing it's thing fast enough....I was feeling so lightheaded and knew I needed to get back in bed (fever or no fever). So, I headed back down the hall to our bedroom. I got to the first bedroom on the left which still has unpacked boxes in it and didn't feel I could make it much further. For a point of reference, ours is last door on the right and there is another bedroom door across and just slightly past ours (kinda diagonally- I call it the second bedroom and it will ultimately be our "office" when we get a desk for in there!). Can you see where this is headed? At that point in my "trek" down the hallway to make it to my bed, I braced myself against the wall. My head felt like it weighed a hundred pounds and was pulling me downward. I tried calling for Chad but I am not sure I got it out of my mouth or if I just felt like I was calling for him.....but I knew I was going down and quick. The next thing I knew I was "waking up" in the floor". I called for Chad in between crying and shaking.....he was asleep and he told me last night he wasn't sure if he was "dreaming" or not when he heard me calling. He called back to me "where are you" and he said I said "I don't know". I don't remember answering him but I do remember him asking me where I was and I wasn't sure so I guess I did say that. He found me in the doorway to the second bedroom/one-day office room. I was face down and in pain. I could tell I must have hit my head / face when I went down....we still aren't sure on what except for maybe the door casing(???) So he helped me up and to the bed where we were discussing what happened and what my symptoms are/were. I was aching in places I didn't know could ache and my head was just if it weren't throbbing before the impact with the doorway. The morning routine was now all on him as he had the task to get the girls ready and off to school. Thankfully we had laid out clothes on Sunday evening so that part was taken care of....they were a little wrinkled but could pass for the day. I could hear the events of the morning and they all seemed to be doing fine. The girls did come to my bedside to get their hair brushed and fixed and we managed that just fine. At some point I needed to go to the bathroom and almost fell off the facilities due to my lightheadedness. In going back to my bed, I went down again and the girls and I found myself being shaken by Chad and girls at his side. I know that had to worry the girls...poor babies. I found out later that Jessie told Mrs. Kim (our neighbor, who took she and their daughter Emilee to school) all about it! Kim is an R.N. so she has seen and heard it all.....her husband told me they thought I should have gone to the hospital. He cracked me up - he said "Tonya, that's not normal to just pass out. I drink and don't even pass out. You don't even shouldn't be passing out like that!" I spent the day under the blankets and then out from the blankets as the chills persisted and body aches continued. Sipped on a glass of water to keep from getting dehydrated and monitored the swelling on my face. Also, got in a hot tub of water which did wonders for the aches even if only temporary. Last night, I was feeling some better and we snapped this shot to memorialize the day's events. And this was the view this morning.....can't wait to see if it turns worse tomorrow, especially since I anticipate going back to work tomorrow.


My 1st MEME

I have been reading / following a blog by a Mom called Everyday Mommy. Her blog caught my eye when I read the following on her site "It is my passion to encourage Moms to see the mission field who sleep in the bunkbeds in the room down the hall." That truly hit home for me as I thought about my two girls who not long ago were sleeping in bunkbeds down the hall and thought about where we were and how far we've come. So, this morning she posted a meme 5 Things You Don't Know About Me and here are my responses: 1) I used to skydive....lived for it...but I was young and crazy (now I'm just older and crazy). 2) I share my birthday with my dad and my parent's anniversary....and my best friend's daughter was born on same day. 3) I used to own a pot belly pig. 4) I was a week away from owning a motorcycle when my husband passed away.....kinda made me re-think the whole thing even though his untimely death was not motor related. 5) I was double promoted in school....where did the "smarts" go? TAG - you're it; post a reply here or on your own site and let me know! Have a great day! PS - While we're at it - if you can post without fear of a family member reading it, what's the most outrageous item on someone's list this year or from year's past? Mine isn't all that bad but it's that my 8 yr old wants memory foam pillows and memory foam mattress topper. She wanted the mattress until I explained to her how much mattresses cost in relation to other things (i.e. horses) and that her mattress is very new therefore not going anywhere! She never ceases to amaze me with what she comes up with!


In Thanksgiving....

  • Monday was full of funeral activities, glad it's over - was thinking about how he's gone and how I don't have any grandparents any longer. I will always have the memories of better days!
  • I have a JOB!
  • Reconciled with a family member
  • Had dinner last night with Chad's Family
  • "Paid it forward"
  • I love my kids, husband and our horses!
  • We have our health.
  • Will have Thanksgiving time with our families tomorrow
  • Am off work on Friday and will get to spend time with my girls!
  • Plan to ride some this weekend.

and baby makes 3......

Did that title get your attention? NO, we aren't expecting an addition to the family....but this past weekend we kept my 11 month old nephew as my brother and his wife went to Atlanta for a wedding. He's a good baby and goes to sleep without a lot of fanfare and sleeps pretty well. We also took him to the Hitchin Post for the trail ride on Saturday. Mom got to ride Goldie and Goldie didn't try any of her usual tricks. I took Shelby on a "trail ride" where I walked her on Blackie thru the woods and made a loop on a nice little portion of the trail. When we got back I let Shelby have the reins and she and Blackie and I went to the outside arena and we played around weaving in and out of some barrels for a bit. Then Jessie and I went for a ride on the same loop with me on Hannah and her on Blackie. He got lazy halfway thru the loop and I had to take Hannah behind him and prod him along. He is a great "speed" for Jessie right now but she will be back up to full speed in good time. She is asking me let her ride Blackie with me on a real trail. I may take her to Oak Mountain for a little ride and change of scenery for us both. Also, the arrangements were made for my Grandfather and the funeral was set for Monday the 20th with viewing and graveside services all in one. We also had to secure pallbearers. On Sunday, Callie - Richard and Allison came over for us to take each other's pictures for our family CHRISTmas cards. We picked the coldest day of the year - brrrr! We took their photo using Blackie and got a cute picture of Allison on Blackie. I really need to take more pictures of the girls with the horses - the one of Allison turned out so cute! My brother and his wife came to get James and soon we were back to our family of 4. He's a great baby but it's such an eye opener to what life would be like if we added another. Chad missed a part of our time of having James at our house as he wasn't home Saturday night to go hunting with his Uncle and didn't get home until almost 11:00 on Sunday afternoon. He needs to have the full weekend to really understand the impact! I think we will give it a few months before we "pretend" again!


For Whom the Bells Toll.......

At lunch, I visited a local mall to make a few purchases. As I left, I stopped outside the store's exit and fumbled in my purse for my keys. As I stood there fumbling for my key's the Salvation Army bell ringer was ringing his bell. I was not even paying attention to it until I was stopped to find my keys. As I stood there the bell's ring, seemed to resonate in my head and I was totally distracted from finding my keys. My focus kept drifting to those that have lost loved ones and those that are going thru difficult times as we approach the "holidays". The bell was ringing so methodically and my head was almost spinning. In such a brief moment, I thought of so many families and their situations....many of the families listed in my "Praying For" list located on the left of my blog. I couldn't believe how my mind was racing....couldn't find my keys....wanted to find a dollar bill to put in the kettle and wanted to run....all at the same time. As I walked to the kettle, I thought specifically of the wife lost today in Tennessee - BJ Kilpatrick and of little Jake Raborn and how his family continues to turn his death into opportunities to "pay it forward" and of Hannah Sobeski's family "carrying the torch". I pushed my dollar in firmly and hoped it would find a way to "pay it forward". The ringer smiled, wished me a nice day and I thanked him and told him "you too". It was as if the bell stopped but I know it didn't....I know he was still ringing it and with the same methodicalness that was there a few moments just didn't have the same resonance that it seemed to have just moments earlier when I fumbled for my keys and was going to pass it by. I know a dollar isn't an impactful this moment I don't think that ordeal was about the amount but about the recognition and the reflection that took place for me. Little did I know I would get back to my office and receive a message from my dad about 20 minutes later. That message was that I needed to call him and that it was very important. You never know with my dad...important can have varying scales with him but that's another one for another day. I called him to have him tell me my grandfather had passed away this morning. He is my Mom's Dad and she is an only child. There have been extenuating circumstances that have placed a strain on the relationships we all shared with he and his wife (not my grandmother, she passed away in 99). Nonetheless, it met me with a swell of mixed emotions and will cause some angst for us in the days to come. So the bells have tolled and continue to must go on, even when others have passed on. To quote James 4:14, "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." How small that truly makes our life yet so important that we live it while we can. So, I will persevere thru the next few days and close another chapter in my life. As the next chapter begins for me and for you...I'd ask you: Are you living your life - truly living it? Can you take the time to hear the bells and really hear them? Can you pay it forward? Can you carry the torch? In my prayers - Tonya


Trails to Ride.......

This past Saturday lived up to all my expectations and much much more! I awoke earlier than I do for work during the week and began getting my stuff out to the truck and trailer. Chad got up with me and was a huge help also. A big thanks to Nee Nee (Chad's Mom) for keeping the girls on Friday night so we had no little ones to contend with - but they probably would have slept right thru me leaving as early as it was. I didn't leave or get up quite as early as Chad does for fishing tournaments but I had a little drive ahead of me similar to some of his fishing trips. (Our exit was actually the Lay Dam exit!) At any rate, Chad helped me load Hannah up and I think the high temperature on Saturday had been reached when we were loading up at 6:00 a.m....with the humidity and 65 degree temperature, I was "glistening" (HA!) as I left for the first leg of the drive. The temperature would only continue to drop as the day passed and it dropped rapidly. The first leg of the drive meant a quick detour off of 65 South onto 459 North to pick up Kristan and her horse Foxy, who I had "met" on an MSN message board, AL/GA Horse Lovers. I have jokingly called it my "blind date" I have told everyone that my blind date went well and I think we may "go out again". She was super nice, so easy to talk to and not a "weirdo"! That's just a joke...since her husband had asked her how did she know I'm not a total weirdo? and she said, how does SHE know I'm not a total weirdo! I told Chad he ends up in his boat with a total stranger everytime he fishes a BFL tournament as they have to draw for a partner and is most always someone he doesn't know....then they are in a boat from daybreak to 3:00pm fishing together. In my case and his, you are at least with someone you know you share one common interest with and for both of us those "interests" are something we are very passionate about. With that in mind, it's easy to make friends in those settings that you might not make in a different setting. So, I had a great time meeting Kristan and was glad to have some company for the ride to Clanton. Kristan and I headed to Clanton and got there with time to spare! The place was absolutely beautiful. It's called Creek Valley and the owner, Les Hope, was a super host. You can see my day's pictures in my shutterfly album. Take a look, Creek Valley was a beautiful place to take in and spend the morning....the Outback Riders gathered for a quick meeting and then they split up into a couple of groups. We went with the slow group and started our trip. I was quickly in my "la la land" as it has jokingly been referred to.....when I get on the trails, it's like nothing else is going on. It's so peaceful and just a great time to clear your head. But we were in a good size group and I stayed in check as much as possible. Hannah was doing great and wasn't letting anything bother her other than she was playing with her bit for most of the ride. Pretty soon, we found ourselves at one of the first hills on the trail. The next thing I knew the riders in front were all-out running their horses up this hill. I am totally not accustomed to that because the guided trail rides at the barn do not allow people to run their horses. I have to say, the first time up was a little shocking and I was wide awake by the time we got to the top....but I couldn't wait to do it again.....and we did - again and again and again! Poor Hannah will probably never want to get back on the trailer again. She and I are so out of shape and several others were commenting that their horses weren't ready for that either. Well, I want to keep Hannah and shape and I can't wait to do it again. When we got back to camp, we ate lunch and they were going out again. Kristan and I had decided our morning ride would be it for that day and we were going to load up. Several others were going to call it a day as well. The temperature was rapidly dropping from the morning temperatures we met when we first began. Earlier that morning, I was SWEATING as we loaded up and suddenly we were freezing! Back at camp, I saw the owner again and he asked me what trail we went on.....I told him that I thought we went out on the yellow trail and came back on the red trail. In a questioning tone, he said "I don't know how y'all did that....well, if you did you would have been up and down, up and down (doing his hands like a roller coaster and shaking his head)" I said - We Were! and I just laughed. It was absolutely the most fun I have ever had riding. I am looking forward to going back as soon as possible. This weekend we have a ride at our old barn where we used to board. I am keeping my 11 month old nephew this weekend so my Mom is going to go with us so we can all ride and keep James Adam. Next weekend, I plan on going to KC Ranch in Double Springs with the Outback Riders Club and am shooting to ride on Dec 2 back at Creek Valley. A view of the pavilion and one of the ponds My trailer and Yukon on the right and miles to ride out in front! Me and my dirty but good girl Hannah! Group taking a break on the trail!


Looking Ahead.....

This weekend is approaching with the excitement mounting inside me. I am so excited that I am going on a trail ride with some girls from the horse lovers message board. So, while our last few weekends have been busy with doing things for others and with others - I am getting some "me" time and getting to spend it with my horse Hannah. The only thing that would be any better is if Jessie were at a point that she could go.....she'll get there again one day and Shelby will too! This week our elections have made headlines and provided abundant fodder for the analysts, journalists and other interested parties. It's not that I'm not interested but I'm just not very politically motivated. This campaign season tried to pull me in whether I wanted to or not. Our democratic candidate for State Supreme Court was running an ad which contained a song running in the background. The song was the oh-so-well-known children's church song "This Little Light of Mine". Her ad's focused on her experience as a judge as well as her personal life as a church pianist. My daughter's would hear the ad and immediately begin was kinda cute but then snap back to reality that it was a campaign ad that had them lulled into singing their church song. Kind of an oxymoron - dontcha think? Anyway, this same ad had a blurb in it about her house being firebombed at one point in her career as a judge. My oldest daughter has a heart of gold and was truly concerned about the fate of the judge's family and her home after this "fire bombing". She asked me numerous times if I could "find out what happened"....I did a quick search of the internet and came up pretty empty. So, I went to the candidate's website. (You might be asking why I keep saying "her" and "candidate"??? It's just that if anyone is searching for this person on the web, I don't want my blog to be a hit for them in the search.....not interested in any political ties or torture as a result of this post) The website was a dead end as I e-mailed the campaign office and did not hear anything back. Some time passed and my Mom and I happened to be discussing the candidate's and this whole series of events came up. My Mom was a little miffed that I had not heard anything back from the campaign office.....and just as luck would have it, she had a little free time on her hands that day. She began making some calls and was running into dead ends and even "butt ends" as she relayed that someone in the campaign office was less than cordial when she inquired. Next thing I knew she was asking me to look up the library number to the candidate's hometown. Apparently there was an article in the candidate's hometown paper and the library there should be able to provide it. She relayed to me later the librarian was a little hesitant to discuss the life and times of the towns seemingly favorite daughter. It's a small town, they are family friends, they go to church together and I know that in small towns you live and die by the garden club, your church and the beauty shop! So, Lord bless the librarian for her loyalty to her friend and town but also for her dutifulness as she sent us the article which she had to retype into an e-mail to be able to send to us. The article explained no one was home at the time and the damage was minimal. They felt the suspect was probably someone who had been in her court however I don't believe anyone was ever charged. I will say I'm not sure that this firebombing was as sensational of a headline once the details were unearthed but it sure sounded good in the ad and got your attention (at least my daughter's and in turn ours). At any rate, I am glad my Mom didn't have to have the interview with the B'ham reporter who was chomping at the bit to interview her and find out why no one would divulge the details of this firebombing...I'm glad Jessie got her answer....I'm glad the good librarian helped us all.....I'm glad the candidate only donated $300 to John Kerry instead of several thousands and Dear Lord I'm glad the ads are over. May "This Little Light of Mine" never be exploited again! PS - she won the election....may her values and hometown roots guide her in her decisions and in the relationships she is about to cultivate.


Horsey Scare!

On Monday of this week, Chad called me and told me that Goldie was not getting up. Goldie is Jessie's horse who is her "dream horse" - a Palomino! He said he could get her up but she would go back down and for any non-horsey people, that is not a good sign for horses! He called me several times with updates and I was on the phone with vet and a few friends of ours getting advice. I also called my Mom to head that way to help Chad since he works from home and needed to be "working". He also didn't want to leave to go get Shelby from Kindergarten. I finally couldn't take it anymore and asked to leave work. I picked up Shelby and my Mom headed to the Hitchin' Post Stables to get the medicine that the vet said we needed. I made it to the house a little before her and headed out to see about Goldie. It was not good! When Mom arrived we gave her the medicine and kept her up walking. All speculations were that Goldie was colicing. An hour after giving her the medicine she was acting very sleepy and almost drunk. Spoke with the vet again and concluded with needing to keep a close eye on her and use a little salt on the tongue to encourage her to drink. She went down again one more time but then gradually improved over the remainder of the afternoon. We put her under the "almost finished" stalls and used our round pen panels to make an enclosure. There she would stay dry from the approaching rain. The other horses were staying close by and it seemed as though they knew something was going on. We were trying to keep the severity of this from Jessie. She was supposed to have lessons and when Courtney arrived she asked if Goldie was colicing? Jessie's radar went up because she knew colicing is what killed her friend's horse last year. We were going to do lessons on Sparkle but she was feeling way too frisky for Jessie to ride. We used the lesson time to talk with Courtney about where Jessie is and what she needs to be working on as well as Courtney rode Sparkle. Courtney really liked Sparkle and told Jessie that Sparkle would be her barrel horse if she gets to that point. I stood close to Goldie's temporary stall and kept an eye on her. Throughout the evening I kept tabs on Goldie and when we fed the other horses, she was very vocal with us that she was there too and obviously wanted feed. She couldn't have any yet, Dr's orders. But it was a good sign that she was whinnying to us. I was instructed to give her a half dose of the Banamine at bedtime and so I did (in the rain and mud!). As I went to sleep, I asked God for peace of mind through the night about Goldie. I didn't wake again until 4 a.m and got up a little later and headed out to check on her. She craned her neck over the top of the stall and whinnied at me. That was the best sound I could have ever heard!!! As I log this, she is doing great and we are all happy we made it thru this scare. But we only made it thru with the help of a few great friends, each other, our vet and lots of prayer!


Trick or Treat - we had them both !

With having the Fall Ball "bash" at our house, the girls and I discussed not buying costumes this year or going to any other fall festivals. But, they are my girls and in that they are resourceful! So they came up with things we had at home to make costumes out of and twisted our arms to take them to Nee Nee and Big Ron's neighborhood like we did last year. (Sidenote - last year, was the first time we skipped the church fall festival and took them to their neighborhood. We only took them to houses that Chad and his family have known forever. They loved going to the doors and then coming back to dump all of it in the living room floor of Nee Nee and Big Ron's.) Jessie decided she would be Ellie Mae and knew exactly what she wanted to wear to achieve this look. Shelby wanted to be a princess and we have plenty of apparel to accomodate that! Jeannie aka Nee Nee had us all over for supper and invited my parents as well. My parents brought my nephew James Adam as my sister-in-law and brother had to be at the funeral home for her step-father's visitation. My parents visited the funeral home and then brought James over with a monkey suit in tow. Jessie poses with her "costume", note the hay string she chose to adorn her hair with! Shelby poses in Jessie's first pageant dress AND in a real crown that Shelby won in her first pageant. I had out a play crown and she would have nothing to do with it. Slightly out of focus picture of James in his monkey suit AND he has the hat still on his head. He hated the hat. There are better pictures below but no more with the hat on..... To add to the excitement, Sandi and Ryan got their wedding pics and had a gazillion pictures to look at. We "oohed and aahed" over those as Jeannie called us all to the table. It was hard to put those down as we relived that day....Sandi could be the cover of a bridal magazine and Ryan could be a model as well. Then I saw pictures of my girls.....they are soooo pretty and I can't wait to order some of those for myself. We also had Tiffany and Mark with us for dinner. Last year, Mark had fun tormenting trick or treaters and the "fun" was about to begin again. However, in the torment last year Shelby was petrified of a mask that Uncle Ryan had brought out. She asked Chad a million times yesterday if "that mask" was still there. Chad promised her "no mask"! We were posing the girls and James on the stairs for pictures (see first picture below) when she looked up shortly after I took the pictures and she saw Ryan in "THE mask"....she frieked out.....see next picture. Chad admonished everyone involved. Bless her heart...she has been sick this week and almost didn't even get to go and then this!

she had not seen the mask yet

now she's seen it!

Chad, Nee Nee and the kids left to go hit a few houses....before they could get down to the sidewalk - "Ellie Mae" had a fight with the stairs and the stairs won. Chad carried her in the house crying and we had to doctor a skinned shin and arm before they could continue. While they were gone, Mark and Ryan tormented our trick or treaters with jumping out of the shrubs with power tools and masks on. They crack me up!
The kids came back with candy in tow and they sorted thru their loot in the living room. We took a few more pictures during this time (all can be seen in our online albums in the Halloween album at We had a great time having everyone together, minus Big Ron who had taken his parents to the beach.
The girls are in a wedding this weekend - YES, I do rent them out for weddings to earn extra money for my horse habit!
I am sure I will have more pictures from that event to post later.
Thanks for reading about us. hug your kids or a family member and live life to the fullest in God's Grace!

Fun Pictures....Fun People

Pictures from the Rodeo

The girls look on at the action.....we'll have fun next year! Jessie rides a mechanical bull. She has asked could she have this at her birthday party next year, since they rent it out. Look out parents, we'll be having a rodeo at our house!


Work and Rodeo's......

Guess in some ways they have a lot of similarities....I mean in both there are clowns, bulls, thrills and spills! No this is not some profound analogy of the two - that's just the only title I could think of that describes my week and weekend, then when I got to thinking about how funny the two sounded together - I started thinking maybe they aren't so different after all. So, this week in the midst of the M word (that's merger - for those new to my blog)...we found out who our manager will be. The old Regions comp manager will be the new manager in the new Regions - makes perfect sense doesn't it? Ok - when Regions m'd with Union Planters - the Comp Manager came over from the Regions Comp Mgr moved to another position in HR. Then, the Exec Comp Mgr, who was from UP, was "displaced" so that Comp Mgr came back into Comp doing Exec Comp. So, he has a lot of COMP experience and will be the new mgr over Base/Variable Comp in the new Regions. I know him, like him and feel things will be fine. He was actually part of my decision to come to Regions in the first place even though I knew I would not be working for him...he was instrumental in helping me make my decision. So, I feel good about him and the fact that he will be working for a former SouthTrust manager who has been at Amsouth. So, that's one less unknown in this cake we are if we can get the rest of the ingredients we might know what kind of cake we are making....until now I've just been worried about pre-heating the oven! I say that to say that we know we have a job just not doing what or working for whom and it's like knowing you've got to make a cake but not what kind or you're just standing there at the oven waiting to start it pre-heating!!! I know - I'm goofy....but that's the way I feel. I just hope our cake doesn't go flat and personally I prefer carrot cake to german chocolate; so let's just keep the coco"nuts" out of this recipe! So, next on the agenda is I got my Yukon back - yeah! I am no longer in the racecar, I mean Grand Prix and the new has worn off the girls and they were ready to have our car back. So, I'm on my way home later than usual last night because I had to go to Trussville to pick up my car. I pass by a home which has a few horses and one of them is out, grazing by the side of the road. I called my sweet hubby and asked him to bring a lead line - to which he replied "you're kidding - right?" and I said "no, I don't want this horse to get hit and no one is at home here" off he comes, kids in tow and I try to play Roy Rogers (just kidding). It was dark and this guy was not thru grazing....pinned back his ears and took off. I got his halter briefly and he immediately pulled back and went up with his head, so I let go. I am not into playing "cowgirl" especially with strange I called the Sherriff's Dept and left it in their hands. I did find the number for house thru and called later. The horse had been captured and was safe and sound. I was relieved! I am also very thankful to my husband for coming down there for me....he didn't have to do it and I know he was getting ready for a tournament (by the way he came in 2nd - whoo hoo!) So, with that rodeo behind us....we were off to a "real rodeo" on Saturday. We got up bright and early Saturday morning to head to Hidden Creek Ranch near Vincent / Vandiver. Jessie went to horse camp there this summer and LOVED it. They were holding their 2nd Annual Dusty Bottoms Rodeo for kids ages 2 - 15. We did not pre-register and weren't exactly sure what all it involved. When we got there, I made an executive decision that we would not participate or compete this year but watch for a little while and then embark on other activities. The lineup showed it would be a long day at the Dusty Bottoms Rodeo and it was the two combined did not seem appealing for an entire day. But we watched long enough to know that we will be back next year and with horses in tow for them to participate. While we were there, Jessie got to ride a mechanical bull - well you can only imagine what that has led to....I got pictures and will have them posted later. She also enjoyed watching the roping events and told me how she wanted to practice roping! We were heading to The Hitchin' Post for a b'day party and she told me she wanted to look at the roping dummies when we got there and the ropes! Lord - help us, I can just see Shelby being roped, Reed being roped, Blackie being roped and heaven forbid I make her mad! Once at Hitchin' Post, we checked out the roping dummies and ropes. Mr Cedar was there and he advised us on that aspect and he is going to let her borrow a rope for calf roping and give her some pointers. She also tried on a really cool pair of new boots from the John Deere line which have brown bottoms with pink uppers and are toooooo cute. We are going to see if she can get those for Christmas! We had a great time at Hitchin' Post and they are in full swing for their rodeo next weekend. We were worried we weren't going to get to see too much of their 1st Annual Rodeo because the girls are in a wedding next weekend....but the rodeo doesn't start until 8:00 each night so we will probably get to see plenty of action. If you are looking for some fun, come out to Kimberly, Alabama to the rodeo OR you could just go to work for a company in the middle of merger - it's all about the same!


Photo Link for the Fall Ball

I hope this link will take you to pics of the Fall warned there are a ton as I am collecting them from everyone who took pictures. Let me know if it doesn't work!


The Fall Ball has come and gone...

The much planned for "Fall Ball" has come and gone. I had hesitated to call it our "first annual" because I just knew after my husband missed a day of fishing and all the work that went into it...he would say NO WAY to another Fall Ball. But last night he surprised me and said something to the effect of we know things we will do different for next year and I said, "so that means there is a 'next year' ?" and he said "yeah - I had fun and we can do it again". Yippeeee- I just knew he would be wanting to kill me by the time the day was over but he was a real trooper in all the prep work, setting up, saddling the pony and running the hay ride....which was a huge hit. I told one of the mom's that I was going to owe him big time for this one and that he would want to fish every Saturday for six months after this day!!!! But I truly think he had a good time. We certainly would not have pulled it off without the help of our families who all pitched in to set up and keep things going. I think at times I felt things were a little more chaotic and less organized than I had 'planned' for them to be....but I think everyone had a great time. One of the dad's said he thinks this will be talked about for a long time. Shelby's pony, Blackie, was also a real trooper as I walked him probably 200 times around the round pen. He has not been ridden in at least a month and when Shelby does ride him - it is not for very long. I should have had a step stool out there to help the bigger kids get on him....I did not know I could lift that much back is telling me today that I shouldn't have. I am so glad Blackie is not spooky....because a baby was on him with her Mom holding her to pose for a picture. Someone outside the round pen decided it would be cute for the baby to put on a cowboy hat and threw it in to landed right on Blackie's head and slid down his nose. There are many horses that would have flipped them out so I am so thankful for that not happening and safety for us all! The games were fun as all the kids enjoyed the cake walk, bobbing for apples, hunting thru the hay for candy, a ball toss and a duck pond. I had a great time even though I didn't get to mingle too much. I am just so thankful God has blessed us with the setting, the friends and the means to do something like this.....I will post pics as soon as I have them. Looks like I can safely call it our "First Annual Fall Ball"......


Well this weekend we will be hosting our "Fall Ball" at our home. This was my "brainchild" that I dreamed up last year but had to put on hold until we actually had a place to host it. So, we have invited the girls classmates, ball team, family friends and our extended families to our home for the Fall Ball. This "ball" will consist of games, hay ride, wienie roast, smores, pony rides, etc. Also, my friend Kim is going to hold Micah's one year old b'day party at the same time....with her own guest list. We will know a lot of people on her guest list from church and from knowing her family. So, the crowds should mingle well. For me and my family, we are doing this in lieu of other fall festivals, halloween costumes, etc. The invites told everyone to put on their best "western duds" so we are attending in western attire....maybe others will follow suit. I did help Kim get Micah a cute overall outfit with a broncing horse embroidered on the front and we got her daughter, Maggie, some overalls off of ebay as well. We have been having Crafts 101 as we adorn her overalls with some horsey fabrick and fringe on the pockets. Maybe this will be an annual event for our family. At any rate, wish us luck - I will update and post pictures later!


Pics from Chattanooga

this is of "the girls" outside the aquarium: this is "the girls" and their "Chaddy" after he weighed in: that's my girls!: this is Shelby and Chad on stage:


It's the Little Things....

Thanks to my boss, I was able to get off half a day and get a headstart on our drive to Chattanooga. The girls and I were heading up there for Chad's weigh in on Friday. The first weigh in was Thursday but Jessie wasn't out of school until Friday. So, we loaded up and were on our way. The girls were really excited - they love 'quick trips' and act like we've really gone somewhere. We went to Chad's Triton Gold tournament this summer in Florence, AL and the hotel had a great pool...the girls were in heaven and you'd have thought we really went some where. The girls and I made a day trip to Chattanooga two years ago so Shelby was 2 1/2 and she really didn't remember a lot of details from that trip. We arrived at Chad's hotel Thursday evening and settled in. Chad was laughing at how giddy the girls were and commented you'd think they were in Disney World - told ya - it's the little things! Chad had a decent day of fishing on Thursday and weighed in at approx 9.15 with four fish. This placed him around 22nd place out of 146 boaters. This is the Regional tournament for the BFL and he had a nice showing in the points this season. It was a nice follow up to him winning the points in the Mississippi Division on basically unknown waters to him. He got up bright and early for the tournament this morning and I told him bye, love ya, get 'em in the boat, all the loving things a fisherman's wife says.....and got directions to the weigh in before I turned over to try and sleep in some more!!!! The girls did actually sleep in but then were pestering me about going to eat breakfast. I told my little hoggly wogglies (jk) that we were not going to make the 10:30 cutoff and that we would get them something for lunch on the way to the aquarium. Got directions from front desk to the aquarium and made it there with no problems. Got great parking and headed in. Shelby was much more interested in the exhibits this time and at one point looked up at me with those big brown eyes and said "this is the BEST day of my life"....she can really melt me! Again, she showed me 'it's the little things'. She was dying to get to the "sharks" but at the first sight of one...she was thru! Hate we couldn't squeeze in the IMax Shark movie - she would have really had a fit! I took plenty of pics of the girls and will post later. After leaving the aquarium complex, we headed across the river to North Shore. Chad and I visited Chattanooga on a quick weekend trip when we were dating and I gave him a hat as a 'souvenir' from the trip from a store called Choo Choo Fish and Fly. It was well worn and has been retired. I was hoping I could replace it...but no luck, the store is closed! The girls and I browsed the shop windows and got ice cream from Clumpies. We then headed to the pedestrian bridge over the river and the girls loved that. After that trip, we went down to the riverside park and rode the indoor carousel, then walked around the park. They had a blast and I had fun just watching's the little things. We got to the weigh in site and waited for a glimpse of Chad. When we finally saw him, he shook his head and I knew that wasn't good. He weighed in one fish and I knew that would not put him in line for a check that would pay to the 24th place. I was disappointed for him but as I would tell his parents later....all the guys there fishing this weekend had to qualify and fish well all season to get there, so they are all good if not great fisherman and it's a tough tournament when they are all this good. Several of his friends got checks and in his usual style he was very happy for them! We left to head out and grab a bite to eat before hitting 59 south to the Ham. One parting thing about the tournament, was that Shelby and Jessie ran to see him when he was getting ready to weigh in and much to my surprise, Shelby had already decided she was going to weigh in on stage with him. Jessie sat next to me and said "I wish Chaddy had more fish...I wish he had made the cut" and I could tell she meant every the same time I watched Shelby go on stage with him and his one fish. She could have cared less one fish or five as he held her up there and told the weighmaster her name.....she was with her Chaddy and that was all that mattered......I was glad we were's the little things! We love Chaddy and I love my girls!


Get Rid of a Bad Cold?

We've all heard someone talking about the cold they just can't seem to get rid of.....just can't shake. We've probably even been there, done that ourselves. I will have to say I have a case of the "cold I just can't get rid of"......but my ailment is in the form of some people in my life. A few of these have seemed to pop up when I least expect them some of these cases I try to get out the chicken soup and go on.....while there's another who I don't think I will ever be rid of for matters beyond my control. Chicken soup doesn't seem to work on one of my colds....I would say I'd try something toxic but that wouldn't be very Christian like, so I digress - I'm sure there's a lesson in here somewhere but I keep asking God what part of the lesson have I missed in all this time. Let's see, so far I've studied bitterness, unforgiveness, resentment, love thy enemies, pray for your enemies and finished with passing grades. Guess I am going for my Master's now? I am currently studying that I am a new creation in Christ and that old things have passed away (2 Cor 5:17)....... We all know even when someone passes away there is a memory that is the scripture doesn't say it's going to kill the memory it just says those things are gone when we are new in Christ. I struggle with that because I want to rid myself of the cold, the virus, the bug and even the memory of being "sick". However, I am realizing that if I never remember being sick, I won't appreciate being "well".....and that if I forget about the sickness, I won't pray for it to stay away or pray for a "cure to be found". So, I'll struggle on with my various colds that won't go away.....the ones that seem so resistant to antibiotics....I'll pray that my attitude I discussed in a previous post will become "more contagious" as I said and that my attitude and Christ like mind will be the cure and the antibiotics for these colds!



So far this week I have: ~Collected more items for the class basket for the fall festival ~Committed myself to work a booth for an hour at the school's fall festival ~Submitted our volunteer interest form for the Ronald McDonald House ~Worked on scheduling dinner for the families there ~Sent out invitations to over 50 kids for our Fall Ball ~Attended the company's shareholder meeting where merger was approved ~Introduced myself to the CEO to thank him for his genuine compassion and concern for an issue near and dear to my heart (no sarcasm behind this, true story) I will never hear the name Jack Moore and just think of a CEO...I will always think of someone who took the time for me and a family he didn't even know! ~Made the appointment to get my Yukon fixed ~Made Dr's appts for the girls ~Met Shelby's former preschool teacher for lunch with Shelby ~Met up with my bestest friend from high school thru myspace (see honey - all that nighttime computer time is not in vain?) ~Scoured the internet and sent out numerous e-mails to secure assistance for an issue "near and dear to my heart". Paid off - YEAH! ~Had at length discussion with my 8 yr old on why bad things happen and about her worries over people possibly dying, people being sick, animals dying, God's role or no role in Hurrican Katrina, discussed her question of did her Daddy know Jesus, how good things can come out of seemingly bad things and how I am struggling with kids being sick when they haven't even begun to live. Not too much going on..............Jeremiah 29:11 "for I know the plans I have for you".........


and They Lived Happily Ever After......

We’ve heard that famous closing to many fairy tales before.....this weekend we were part of our own little fairy tale as Sandy and Ryan (my husband's brother) got married. They were high school sweethearts and tied the knot this weekend in a beautiful outdoor wedding. The locale was perfect and the weather could not have been better. The wedding took place at the lake home and private lake of Temple and Lucy Tutwiler. Additionally, Lucy's parents - The Brower's - opened up their newly built home on the lake for the bride and bridal party to get dressed in. They could not have been more gracious hosts! On Friday evening we had rehearsal and dinner by Sal's Restaurant. YUMMY! Then on Saturday, we arrived at the Brower house shortly after noon and I began dressing both my girls for their roles in the wedding. Shelby was one of two flower girls and Jessie was one of eight honorary bridesmaids. Chad was one of 8 groomsmen and there were 7 or 8 traditional bridesmaids. The Brower house was a flurry of activity with makeup artists on hand from MAC and Aware Cosmetics doing makeup and finishing touches and bridal party running around preparing for pictures. Once we were all dressed we shuttled up to the Tutwilers house where we would make pictures. The former tennis courts would be the site of the wedding, which was now adorned with white chairs, mums, tulle and a great arbor built by Mark and Ryan. Pictures began with a planned point where Ryan and Sandy would see each other for the first time. At this point we all gathered outside the home under the portico....Ryan's back was turned and the front doors were opened for Sandy to step outside. Ryan was told to turn around and see his bride to be. She was absolutely beautiful and Ryan's face told everyone he thought the same thing. Pictures began and then drama began.....I mean, what's a picture perfect day for a wedding going to be like without a little drama? We were in the back yard, with the lake serving as the backdrop, taking more group photos. The photographer was posing some groomsmen and she stepped into a hole....when she did just about everyone heard snapping like twigs cracking under her feet....except it was not twigs...but her foot. SIDE NOTE: In true professional style, she pulled herself together and took as many pictures as she could until backups could arrive. Additionally her husband and mother arrived to take her to the hospital. Even after back-ups were there she was still taking pictures and left the reception totally in the hands of the back up. With my prior stints as a wedding photographer, my husband was wanting me to let her know so I could help as needed. I conceded and told her and was handed a camera to go take candid shots! They eventually needed that camera back and needed me for some family photos so my stint as photographer was over - whew. I know weddings are work and I felt so badly for her! Back to the wedding, to prepare for the beginning of the wedding we had to shuttle back down to the Brower house where a true Cinderella carriage was waiting to carry Sandy and the flower girls to the wedding site. This was the moment Shelby had been waiting for - she was beside herself. The carriage was being pulled by a smokey Percheron and knowing the size of our horses, she could not get over the size of his "feet"....quoting Shelby! I got back up to the house to await their arrival....the director cued them to make their way to the house - Sandy's dad, Chuck, took the radio and told Sandy he had a full tank of gas and could get her out of there (joking of course) but he was breaking my heart as I watched him knowing he was about to send his baby down the aisle. So everyone could see the carriage coming and began to stand for the bride. They made their entrance in grand style and I took my seat up front by slipping down the side. Shelby lasted most of the wedding but her feet had hurt her all day and she came to sit with me near the end of the ceremony. I took her ballet shoes off of her and she exited the ceremony with Chad and with her shoes in her basket! The reception was filled with BBQ, dancing, fruit and wonderful cakes. Shelby's feet must not have been hurting too badly at this point because she danced with several people....her favorite partner was Charlie, Sandy's brother. She told us it was supposed to be a secret that she was dancing with him! In true Jessie style, she acted like a perfect young lady throughout the day.....her long blonde hair had slight curls, those big blue eyes and her pretty pink dress...she made a great honorary bridesmaid and made me so proud to be her mama! A few pictures are below. I left a post on Sandy's myspace site and told her how she did look like a princess who was marrying her prince...carriage and all...but that I hope they always keep Christ as King over their lives. They have a great start and I certainly do hope they live happily ever after! ps. even though they did miss their flight on Sunday morning!

Pics from the Wedding



Before you skip this boring intro and statistics, please read thru: On October 25 of 2003 a flammable shrub called chaparral was dry, in abundance and ignited by a "hunter". Strong 40 mile-per-hour Santa Ana winds made for extremely dry conditions in and around San Diego County and Lakeside. Daytime temperatures were above 90°F and the humidity was in the single-digits. With all elements of the fire triangle present and at high levels, the Cedar Fire rapidly turned into a dangerous firestorm. Government reports support a final conclusion that nothing could have prevented major destruction after ignition. The Cedar Fire was the second largest wildfire in the history of the state of California. San Diego County's Cedar Fire burned over 280,000 acres destroying 2,232 homes and killing 14 (including one firefighter). Most of the victims were killed on the first day of the fire as they tried to escape their homes by foot and in vehicles. One hundred and four firefighters were injured. If you read thru it - you're probably wondering why I would be writing about wildfires in California. It's to make a point.... A single shrub set on fire destroyed 280,000 acres and destroyed 2,232 homes and killed 14 (including one firefighter). There is a familiar saying "Attitudes are contagious, is yours worth catching?"...I know I have not always had the most desirable attitude and it is something I struggle with. Regardless, I want you to know that one person can make a person can start a person can start a person can start an epidemic...make your life count!


Dad's arteriogram went great! The Dr told my Mom that he did not see "enough change" to warrant any more stints at this time. He did say that based on what he was seeing he still feels like surgery will be indicated in the next five yrs.....we will just pray against that! I also got another blessing our search for hay! I know to some of you HAY does not seem like a big deal but with four horses, NO GRASS, and a hay shortage - it is a HUGE DEAL. So, we were supposed to go to Springville and pick up some hay but with Dad going in the hospital and last minute things to take care of for the wedding, there was no way we could get to Springville. Then I got a call that a man in Gardendale was going to be baling on Thursday. I was expecting that Chad would be able to go get it when he got home from work.....we had some bad looking clouds over the Gardendale area at lunchtime and the hay man was worried about leaving this in the field. Chad couldn't leave work at the moment and I didn't know what we would do. So, I ran by the hay field with Shelby in tow.....they were there still baling. He told me I could load on it on his utility trailer and they would help load it.....for me to just drive the truck thru the field. So, Shelby and I hopped in their old pickup and began driving thru the field. I have to say I think this is the funniest and most liberating thing I have ever done! Who would have thought I would have my four year old in some strange pick up driving thru a hay field (in our normal street clothes - clogs included) while some man is throwing and stacking hay behind us. I have always been seen as "Miss Priss" and was the pageant girl, cheerleader, etc.....this new way of life is shocking a whole lot of people - including me sometimes. Then they told me they would take it to my house for $35....can't beat that! So, I left to go pick up Jessie and Emilee (the neighbor) from school. They said they would meet me at my house. When I got back in my truck, Chad had called and was trying to meet me to get the hay. I was so proud to tell him it was on its way to our house. When I got home from the school pickup line (which I do not get to do everyday, so I am green at it), they were thru loading the hay in our workshop! Thank God for our blessings big and small, he cares about them all!


Hump Day - Part Two

Well, you know the saying "it can't get any worse".....of course you do and we all know better than to utter that phrase when a day has started out less than perfect. I didn't even have to utter that phrase for my hump day to get worse.... I left work at 3:00 to go by the hospital to check on my Dad. On the way there, my Mom called me to tell me that they were going to do another arteriogram on my Dad tomorrow (which is today). She was trying to leave the hospital for a bit to go home and get necessities as well as pick up her van which had been in the shop. I was letting her know that I was in the parking lot of the hospital. This particular hospital does not have any parking I was scanning the lot for a space and spotted one. As I approached it, a truck pulled into a parking space in front of me...which was on my passenger side. I was slowing down to pull into the one on my driver side. As I got even with that truck's bumper in the parking space, he decided to straighten up in the space and BACKED UP RIGHT INTO ME! My Mom heard all of it on the phone and came rushing down to the parking lot. We surveyed the damage which was a badly dented section on my passenger door....waited on police to come and then we were on our way. So, I am off work today since my Mom was scheduled to help with kiddo pickup today and obviously she won't be able to. Keep us in your prayers. Hope today is a better today and that Dad gets good news from his arteriogram!


Hump Day

Well here it is "hump day" and what is this hump day bringing: Last night I took Jessie to have her dress fitted for the WEDDING this weekend. While at home on the range, Norman and Chad worked on the stalls. These things are going to be tall! I said we needed the clearance in case a horse rared up....thinking back to my days with Shorty....God love him! and We are on the hunt for hay...trying to figure out how and when we can squeeze in going to get some! Fun - huh? It gets better..... So this morning at work, my Mom calls me and tells me that they are taking my Dad to the ER. FTTDNK (for those that do not know)- Dad had a heart attack the day before my late husband's funeral. Like we needed more drama? He has had several stints put in place following that "epsiode". So, he had been having some nagging neck and arm pain which escalated this morning to the point he called his dr. on his own. They said he needed to go in to the ER. After getting to the ER, they began monitoring him and told Mom they were admitting him. At the time of this writing, I am still not sure what they saw or felt to cause the admission. We will see! On to more fun things, tonight we will go see our neighbor's - the Mcinvale's. Their daughter, Angie has been home for almost two months from Honduras where she serves as a missionary and runs an orphanage Hogar Esperanza. Angie is probably a few yrs younger than me (if you don't know my age, you don't need to LOL) I am so impressed by the tenacity and fortitude it must take to walk in her shoes. Anyway, we are sending back some gifts for the kids, the orphanage and Angie. So, we are dropping those off tonight. We bought the house a new DVD player (they had one and it broke)....we have two DVD's...and a game for their gamecube system. For Angie, I purchased some Estee Lauder face powder and perfume in her favorite selections. A little birdie told me what I could get her! We are sad to see Angie go but she has work left to do in Honduras! We will be praying for God to let her know when her work there is done and she can come back home to her family and friends. Her parents have been wonderful to us since moving out there and have helped us with letting us use their land and stalls when we had a need, wonderful Christian people and family that I thank God for! So, Hump Day is not over and it has had a bump in it's hump already but I am praying they will decide Dad can go home after all. Keep us in your prayers! PLEASE KEEP THIS FAMILY IN YOUR PRAYERS - THEY ARE FACING DIFFICULT TIMES


Barn Raising

Ok - not really a barn raising but more like a stall raising began this weekend.... On Saturday- Chad, Norman (aka Paw Paw) and Steve all worked on the site for our stalls. We will have a row of three walk in stalls and then a section that will "L" off of that with two walk in stalls. The short end of the "L" will meet the back of our workshop and create a "corral type" area in the middle of those structures. They did as much as they could with marking everything off and digging the holes on Saturday. Sunday morning Jessie woke up with what appeared to be the starts of PINK EYE. I had some drops and gave her those. As the day progressed, her eye got better - thankfully! With that event, it knockeed us out of going to church so Chad took the girls to get lumber. When he came back it began to drizzle. Norman and he barely got the truck unloaded and had to get inside. So, no progress was made on our STALL RAISING! However, I did get the afternoon to myself and went and piddled at the flea market and bought a few things from Goody's to wear to the upcoming rehearsal dinner and wedding this weekend. Pray that Shelby will go down the aisle since she vehemently refused at my own wedding last year....anyone remember my Mom carrying her down the aisle and then when she got up there with us she announced to EVERYONE that she had to go POTTY! Gotta love 'em! Jessie and I have made progress on helping the families at the Ronald McDonald house. We are trying to schedule taking dinner down there and completing the volunteer interest form. We are excited about helping the kids and families!


Why can't I (fill in the blank)?

Get a phone number who the previous owners are not running from their creditors? I even asked Bellsouth when they issued our number in February, how long it had been since someone had the number. I don't know the Butler's who had my home number before us - but obviously a lot of collection agencies would like to. Even my Nextel, which I have had for almost three years, still gets calls to a Yashica so and so who must owe a lot of people. So, here's to getting a phone number that used to belong to the all-american, bill paying, God loving family that moved and gave everybody they knew their forwarding info.


Life Lessons

Well, what is day without "living and learning".....lately I find myself immersed in it. Whether it's kids, husband, horses, work or even self reflection. I also have this hope that my girls in their "living and learning" can also learn some personal lessons and form respectable values and humble character in the process. I want to give them the benefit of "things" yet try to not spoil them in the process. There is a real fine line there! This weekend we had a discussion about their Christmas "wants". After my oldest rattled on and on....she even said, "well if I get a go-cart - I can't get an American Girl doll and I just don't really know!". So, I quickly reminded both of them the REAL REASON we celebrate Christmas is - what? who? and they were immediately quiet and reflective on what they had just been saying and doing. They both said very can get us whatever. On Sunday evening, Jessie and I were in the kitchen and I took the opportunity to bring up our "blessings" in a different way. Some of you may not agree with what I did....but that's ok....I know Jessie's nature and I knew how impactful this would be. I took her to a Caring Bridge website and showed her a beautiful little girl and her two sisters...this beautiful little girl is missing the curls and long locks she once had as she is going thru treatment for cancer or neuroblastoma. I showed her another picture of this little girl in her cheerleading outfit and I began to let Jessie scroll thru pictures and read Madison's story. Jessie's eyes began tearing up and she said "Mama can't they help her?" and I told her "they are trying". I took her to a few more sites and she was stunned. Finally, I took her to a few final ones. These were children who have "earned their angel wings" (see previous posts for more on those children). I let her look thru their sites and then told her they were in Heaven. If you don't know, Jessie's Dad and my husband passed away 3 yrs ago when she was 5. She knows all too well the finality of death and sickness....and I knew she would understand these stories and where I was headed. What I wasn't prepared for was her response....she began making a list of "goodies" she wants to sell to help the kids and families. She put down her goal was $1000.00 and she was writing intensely. She showed it to Chad and took it with her to bed. The next morning she got up and brought it upstairs with her...she took it to school and she solicited her friends. Yesterday she told me that a few of her friends are going to help and some have to ask their parents. I'm not quite sure yet what our business strategy is going to be on achieving this or executing this but we will see what we can do to help her with her goal! She has a huge heart and I knew this "check" in her life would help her put some things in perspective. So, that was a life lesson for both of us. But on a different note, my horses continue to be a huge part of my life lessons. I had such a bad experience with Shorty that it's amazing we still have horses. Seemingly overnight he just "snapped" and it was all down hill from there. But, luckily with the help of our friends we have horses that are providing us with renewed confidence. In a previous post, I told about selling Sonny. As I mentioned, it was hard but we got him to sell him and once I got to the point that I "could" part with him...I knew it was time. I don't like being vulnerable or confrontational and horse selling is not my thing. Let's just say I didn't know how much I would mean it when I wrote below that I hope I never have to sell another one! Another one of life's lessons! Be Blessed!


Where did the Weekend go?

FRIDAY: Chad left Friday morning to go practice at Logan Martin for a BFL tournament he had this weekend. I took Jessie to ball practice Friday night and we finally saw the house after practice. SATURDAY: We made the decision to not go to the barrel race in Nauvoo and go to Chad's weigh in. Before we could go, we had to make a few stops. Once down I-20 we went to the Pants Store to look at some bibs and jacket for Jessie. She wanted a Carhartt pair! We had to run in the Pants Store because we were cutting it close to get to the weigh in at Riverside Marina. While we were in there, we saw that Crocs are now making rain boots. However, we couldn't get their sizes in the colors they wanted - pink and purple. So, we left with bibs and jacket - no croc rain boots. Also, they don't make them for adults and I wanted a pair! We barely made it to the weigh in but saw Chad weigh in five fish - a little over 10 lbs. After he weighed in he was going to take his boat to the other marina he launched from and he would be gone for a while. So, we decided to go looking around in Pell City. Some of you know I graduated from there, but it has changed a lot since I lived there. It's funny to see places and sights and remember how it used to look versus now and in some cases not even remember how it used to look. While we were out, I took the girls to the house I lived in my last few years of high school. The neighborhood has kinda gone down and the house we lived in was ugly! Jessie's comment was she couldn't believe I remembered where I lived....that made me feel really old! We also stopped by Little Lambs clothing and made a few purchases. The lady there was really nice and gave me a coupon for a sale which would have been starting on I got some cute things. Jessie got a shirt that says "Rodeo Queen" and I got Shelby and James Adam matching Bailey Boys outfits for pictures. They are chocolate brown checked with a Paint Horse on the front! Toooooo Cuuuuute! While we were there Chad called and he had made the cut for Sunday. We were excited but sad because we knew we wouldn't be there on Sunday since Jessie had a ball game. We left to go meet him to eat at Sammy's Touch and Go at the PC Airport. While there Jessie and Shelby got to see the skydivers. Jessie promptly told two guys who were eating and then going back to the hangar for more skydiving that I used to jump. I was a little embarrassed but she was about to bust to tell them. I had even made two jumps right there where we were standing. It was fun to watch them jump and brought back some fun memories. I won't deny that I think that is probably the "coolest" thing I ever did and did it close to 100 times but given where I am at in my life....I also think it's the dumbest thing I ever did. I'll stay a "whuffo" forever and be content to watch those other "cool" people do it....and hug my girls while I'm at it. We followed Chad back to the trailer he was staying at which belongs to the Sexton's. The girls went down to the pier and then inside to "check it out"....quick potty break and we were on the road back to Corner. Before we could get to Corner, we had to detour thru Trussville. We HAD to get Savanna Hill a birthday present for her party on Sunday and I had told Jeannie that we would drop some silver trays off for her to use at Ryan's rehearsal dinner. So, we went to Academy at Jessie's suggestion thinking we would get Savanna some type of Girl's Rule shirt or something!!!! We immediately spotted some pink, black and white pajama pants with horses all over them for Jessie to give and then found a chocolate John Deere shirt with Cowboy boots on them for Shelby to give. We also went to check out the rain boots. Jessie found a pair completely shaped like pointed toe western boots but they are rubber rain boots and Shelby found a pair in true Shelby style that had a kitty cat face on the toes of them. Finally, Mom found a pair that were chocolate with hot pink trim around the edges. We finished that up and ran by Ron and Jeannie's. They weren't home but we left the dishes and headed home over the back roads. We pulled in the driveway a few minutes shy of 10:00 and STILL had horses to feed. SUNDAY: I didn't want to kill myself Sunday morning or the girls (ha ha ha) trying to get to church so we hung around the house and got ready for Jessie's 1:30 game. Of course, I was still late getting ready so Jessie rode with the Tanner's. My parents got there before I did! The game went great and Jessie had a good time. Chad called after the game and he didn't have a big enough sack of fish to win but still got a check for over $400. Yeah for him! With that tourney, he finished in the top five for the points in the division. The girls and I headed to the Birthday party and they had a blast there as well. I was tired and ready to get back home...had not eaten and was ready to have something on my stomach. Got home and immediately began fixing dinner...the girls went to ride go carts. Chad got home and things began to return to normal. After they all went to bed, I mopped - cleaned up the kitchen - and did some laundry. AGAIN, I ask where did the weekend go?


Letter to the new owners of Sonny:

Below is the letter I wrote to Sonny's new family. Thank you for buying Sonny. He will be missed. I have learned so much this past year in having the horses. I am thankful for every minute I have had with everyone of them…even my crazy horse that I traded for Sonny. I am so thankful that Sonny has shown me the “childlike” side of a horse that wants attention, loves to be groomed and won’t stay out from underneath you like a toddler. He has brought a renewed confidence to me and my family. I am “selling my husband’s dog” as we have referred to it…..hopefully we can get an actual dog and not something that is a horse masquerading as a “dog”. I hope you and your family enjoy Sonny and learn things you might not yet have learned or see a different side to horses because of your experience with him. I hope all your experiences with horses are positive but even if they aren’t, and they probably won’t be all positive, I hope you will see those as I have – as learning experiences and grow thru them. I hope Hayden’s confidence increases daily and her love for horses is immeasurable. I’ve been told there’s something special between a girl and her horse. I’m not a “young girl” anymore but I remember my first horse like it was yesterday and that love for horses has never faded. I see the same twinkle in both my daughter’s eyes and am so glad we have this opportunity. I never intended to be writing up a bill of sale or seeing a horse leave my property to go to someone else. I know he will have a good home and I am hopeful that I won’t be doing this again. They become a part of your life and routine, even in a short while. So, tomorrow morning when I fill four buckets instead of five – I know there will be an empty place, but am glad to know I helped fill a place in someone else’s life. Happy Trails and Clean Stalls to you all!

Photos of Sparkle

We got Sonny and Sparkle together in the trade for Shorty (see previous posts). When they came, we drew names out of a hat to choose Sparkle's name. Since they came to us as a "pair", I would sometimes refer to them as Sparkle and Shine or Sonny and Cher. Now there's just her and our cornerstone horses! She is a 12 yr old grade mare with the cutest white star spots on her body. She is a great horse and I really don't want to sell her. We showed her in Costume Leadline and won first place (see pictures)! Jess showed her in Walk-Trot and took home 4th place! They did great considering it was Jessie's first time in the arena and probably Sparkle's first time too.


My FAQ's

Many websites will have a FAQ section, so you can easily find the answer to the questions they have obviously been asked one million other times. Almost seems lame if it's been asked that many times why is the answer not more obvious? Maybe we secretly need those FAQ sections to confirm we aren't so different after all..... and that there is some common thread of thinking between me and the other end user of the site who by all appearances is my total opposite. Anyway, as the mother of two small girls I feel like I am their walking FAQ at times. They drill me on things that I am supposed to have the answers to and should be able to spout them out in record time....if not answered in their timing, they will ask me again and again, 'til I feel like the Calgon commercial posterchild. Well, I have my own FAQ's and doubt someone will have the answers to these. If you do, you may just win the Nobel Prize! 1) How do you explain a full term 11 day old baby dying from a heart defect? In Memory of Owen Bryant Nelson: 2) How do those parents ever get over that? 3) How do I explain to Shelby that her Daddy, she never really knew, is really ok now and that he is not bleeding inside his head anymore? 4) How do you dry the tears of children when their Granny's baby kitty dies? 5) How do I let my child ride a horse again after reading this story? 6) How did that Mom ever write that story? 7) How do the parents blogging on go thru each day? My heart aches for the families of Bailey Warr, Cassidy Tierce. When I saw Bailey Warr's pictures and read her story - I thought how she could be any of Jessie's friends, then the hemorrhage on the brain stem was too close to home. One look at Cassidy Tierce picture and I was struck at how much she looked like Shelby. My heart aches equally for the parents going thru treatments daily with their children...God give them strength. 8) Why do these things happen to these families and not the atheist down the street? I think I know the answer to that one.....the Atheist down the street wouldn't be able to stand on God's word during such a time of adversity and share their testimony with others. Do I get a Nobel? Probably not - I mean I can't even win the war with my husband over loading and unloading the dishwasher on his own. 9) What is the deal with parents when it comes to their kids competing? I think I'm going to come up with a Ball Park Parent's Prayer, a Saddle Club Parent's Prayer, a Dancer's Parent's Prayer etc and post it all the events. 10) And for my last FAQ of the day...yes there will be more, who invented the word MERGER?