07.24.14 His Kids Special Needs Day Camp – what a blessing!

Some experiences in life stay with you. No matter how many other experiences you have in life, that one sticks in the back of your mind as a very special experience. Two years ago for just one day I was blessed to be able to help with our church’s His Kids Special Needs Day Camp. Around 20+ children from ages up to 25 came together to learn about Jesus and experience the love we, as Christians, have for them. I left there that day being blessed by their gentleness and joy. They did more for me that day than I could possibly have done for them.

Last year we were in Minnesota during the summer when they held His Kids Camp. This year, since we are home, I was able to help again.

IMG_20140721_115725_170The theme this year was SHINE. The area I worked with was crafts with Ashley and Alisa. Each child made four coasters which were four inch ceramic tiles with a shiny surface. We sprayed alcohol on each, wiped it down with cotton and then creatively dropped small drops of various colored special alcohol paint.  When we dropped the paint on the tile it spread quickly and when the children blew on the paint with straws it created special shapes.  I had fun making one before we started and could see the joy and pride in the children’s eyes when they created theirs!

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Between some of the parents and caregivers being there, several of our church members and outside volunteers who work with special needs kids we had almost a one on one ratio so each child was given the attention they deserved.  There were crafts, recreation, bible study, music time and group time.  Sort of on the same order as a Vacation Bible School is set up. 

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Christie Williamson is the director of the camp and is a member of our church and most importantly she is my hairdresser (who of course knows all my secrets as all hair dressers do!)  She works all throughout the year having periodic His Kids activity days and during the summer His Kids Day Camp for a week.  I know she has a lot of help to make all this possible but she is amazingly creative and dedicated.  Her son Lucas is a special needs young man and she’s been an inspiration to me in her dedication to making his life what he deserves it to be. 

A lot of times we take for granted all the things our kids without special needs can do.  My sons didn’t have physical special needs but were both in the special education programs at their schools.  One was gifted, which has its own set of challenges, and the other had a learning disability which he only overcame through the special techniques used by his schools and us over the years.  I’ve always thanked God for the special needs of my children since I know it brought me closer to both of them in their own way.

Again I got to spend one day there this summer and it was again a special experience!  I wanted to share about it with you all so you can pass this along.  Maybe invite someone to it next year or start one at your church.  I can imagine it is an enormous undertaking  though I know God will fulfill every need and lift you up to overcome any challenge.

horizontal lineAfter an outing to Cracker Barrel for dinner, toys and candy, we watched (our first time) the movie Frozen the other night with Madisyn.  She filled us in on what was going to happen and who was who and all.  Of course there was (as always) a bowl of ice cream in it for all of us.  She doesn’t quite fit like she use to under her Paw Paw’s arm but always makes her way to sit right next to him during ice cream time!

IMG_20140717_183022_866 IMG_20140717_213435_072horizontal lineRoy wanted to clean the RV engine since we had my brother in law George’s pressure washer.  Since it is under our bed, the bed went up and he actually pressure washed it from inside the RV.  I was not too positive that would have a good outcome but of course knowing Roy he was very careful and we got both a clean engine and no soggy bedroom!

IMG_20140719_115336_563 IMG_20140719_115346_500 IMG_20140719_120327_814buy-me-pleaseSadly, there were no house showings this week.  Someone will want our beautiful pink house I just know it! 

We had a fairly busy weekend doing family things (of course Madisyn was in on most of it!). We enjoyed BBQ with family Sunday after church, helping our son Chip move into his new home on Saturday, and purchasing a used riding lawnmower to cut our grass with.  My work with RVillage is very slow right now so we realized we couldn’t afford the luxury of paying to have our lawn cut. Roy started searching Craigslist and we found one, just perfect for us!  Of course it needed a few parts, some tinkering and a good cleaning but that’s Roy’s specialty!  It will pay for itself in a month of cuttings and we’ll decide what to do with it when we sell the house! I really didn’t think we’d own a lawnmower again but it is true that we should never say never!

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07.23.14 Presenting – Dana! Mother, wife, photographer, blogger, author and teacher!

danaI want you to meet my niece, Dana. She is an extremely creative published author, blogger, photographer, teacher, mother of three and wife. Dana is almost the same number of years younger than me, as I am younger than my sister (her mother).  She’s been more of a little sister than a niece (I even washed her poopy diapers when she was tiny!) and when she got married she asked me to be her Matron of Honor.  I’ll never forget what an honor that was.

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By day she teaches and by evening and weekend she blogs, write, photographs and cares for her family. Her photography caught my eye and my heart so, with her permission, I decided to share it with you here. This is but a small sample of the many photographs she has available for purchase. Any of the photographs can be purchased canvas prints, framed prints, greeting cards, acrylic prints, metal prints and many other forms.

These pictures below are just some of my favorites. There are also many Catholic related photographs that this Baptist girl wasn’t necessarily drawn to, but those may be the ones you may really want to see so I want you to know about them. Check them all out at http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/dana-doyle.html. I think the concept of being able to get one of these beautiful pictures put onto canvas, metal, whatever is amazing!

pirates-alley-dana-doyle kaleidoscope-dana-doyle street-signs-dana-doyle sparks-fly-dana-doyle country chapel monarch caterpillar stone span bayou clouds ripe for picking i love new orleans rainforest cotton blossom maple splendor broken heart desoto waterfall stgreetcar horsefly heart rock  shadow bike footbridge

Her published books are primarily related to her deep Catholic faith. However, one of the books is hope for healingcalled “Hope for Healing: from the effects of childhood sexual abuse”.  I’d recommend reading this one to anyone who works with children, has children/grandchildren, teaches children or just loves children. She gives warning signs to look for and real life experience she had with healing from the experience. This was a personally difficult book for me to read, however the benefits it can provide to others makes me want to share. Here’s a link to it on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Hope-For-Healing-effects-childhood/dp/1469924064

You can get to know Dana through her blog “Catholic Working Woman” at http://danardoyle.wordpress.com.  She has many more followers than I do, so especially if you are of the Catholic faith I believe you will benefit from following her blog.

She has a new book out called “The Answer for Families”. I have not read it 10532774_923593867666998_6155723174852297216_nbut if it’s like Dana’s other books she puts much of herself into them and I’m confident if you read it, you will be blessed.

horizontal lineOur sticks and bricks house has been shown twice and we’ve received great feedback. They said it “shows well” and we were on the top of one of their list. The cleaning, etc. continues in a very small way. Today I scraped up paint spots from the concrete back porch, watered transplanted bushes and grass, then pulled weeds. Yesterday I cleaned all the white wooden blinds inside. Monday was spent at church helping with our His Kid’s Special Needs camp. I took several pictures and want to share with you about this awesome event in my next blog.  

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07.15.14 A Must Visit – Walter’s Peach Farm in Mississippi!

Before our days got jam filled with all the repairs and cleaning at our sticks and bricks house we took a trip to Walters Peach Farm in Ellisville, MS.  Our friend Elizabeth’s mom, Pat owns it and we enjoyed our visit with her a lot. 

walters 10 IMG_20140620_121422_157  walters 7Pat sold out of most everything before we ever arrived and turned down probably a dozen people who drove up while we were there.  This is one of the lucky folks who actually got some of these delicious peaches.

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Pat saved a bunch of peaches, nectarines and plums for us though and we felt very special! We brought home four boxes of peaches, nectarines and plums some of which didn’t make it all the way home before being eaten.  

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Pat let us take her jeep for a ride around the tree farm which was really cool.  Lots of tree limbs were sagging to the ground under the weight of tons of ripe fruit.  It was amazing to see all that. 

walters 2 walters 1 walters 3 walters 4 walters 12 walters 11This picture above is Pat picking some special green plums for us.  Very unusual when they are green and taste great with salt on them!  They did eventually turn purple and were sweet then!

I don’t know how much longer they will be selling their fruit but if you’re planning a trip to anywhere around Hattiesburg, MS or just want a nice place to go to get delicious fruit check them out. 

Their Facebook page is where Pat tells what’s getting ripe and updated fruit information.  It can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/WaltersPeaches 

Since they closed the Hammond Krystal Burger we’ve been so deprived. When we found a Krystal Burger after visiting the farm we got a bunch and enjoyed them on the way home.  As adults we always try to do things the right way but every now and then it’s fun to just be a child so Roy and I tossed each of our Krystal boxes on the floor after eating the burger!  It doesn’t take much to make us happy!

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Here’s some pictures we took while we were at the farm and then at home preparing them for freezing.  I’ve never put peaches up so this was a first for me.  peaches hot

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peaches pealed peaches allI plan to share our two week tale of getting the house ready to go on the market so that will come next.  Today is the day the photographer comes at 2:30 pm to take the pictures for the internet and I hope the line forms quickly with interesting families wanting to buy our house! 

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07.09.14 Darrell Scott’s powerful, penetrating, and deeply personal words

I looked into this, to make sure it isn’t a hoax and it’s not, but it didn’t happen recently.  It was written a year or so after the shootings at Columbine High School.  It struck me as very meaningful and true so I wanted to share it with ya’ll. God is what this country needs and as along as our President and legislature are removing him from our country at every turn, events like Columbine won’t stop. 

green-fancy-line-hiGuess our national leaders didn’t expect this. On Thursday, Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colorado, was invited to address the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee. What he said to our national leaders during this special session of Congress was painfully truthful.

They were not prepared for what he was to say, nor was it received well. It needs to be heard by every parent, every teacher, every politician, every sociologist, every psychologist, and every so-called expert! These courageous words spoken by Darrell Scott are powerful, penetrating, and deeply personal. There is no doubt that God sent this man as a voice crying in the wilderness. The following is a portion of the transcript:

“Since the dawn of creation there has been both good &evil in the hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.

“The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used.. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain’s heart.

“In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA – because I don’t believe that they are responsible for my daughter’s death. Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel’s murder I would be their strongest opponent.

I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy — it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves. I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best.

Your laws ignore our deepest needs,
Your words are empty air.
You’ve stripped away our heritage,
You’ve outlawed simple prayer.
Now gunshots fill our classrooms,
And precious children die.
You seek for answers everywhere,
And ask the question “Why?”
You regulate restrictive laws,
Through legislative creed.
And yet you fail to understand,
That God is what we need!

“Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. Spiritual presences were present within our educational systems for most of our nation’s history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact.

What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine’s tragedy occurs — politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws.

Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts.

“As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right! I challenge every young person in America , and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School prayer was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him.

To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA — I give to you a sincere challenge.. Dare to examine your own heart before casting the first stone!

My daughter’s death will not be in vain! The young people of this country will not allow that to happen!”

  • Darrell Scott

green-fancy-line-hiRoy and I have been working day and evening every day for the last two weeks getting our sticks and bricks house to be ready for sale. Our son Chip has been a wonderful help taking some of the burden off his poor old folks whenever he could take a break from his responsibilities.  I want to share all this excitement with you but haven’t had much time to settle into a good writing mode so trust me, it will come!  Tuesday is the official “going on the market day” so I should have an update complete with pictures shortly thereafter!

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07.02.14 God’s blessings while we’re getting the house ready for sale!

blog 4The picture above says it all.  One exhausted, worn out man taking a break in front of his fan with holes and paints in his shirt and pants!  He didn’t get to do too much of this but it was nice when he did!  This post covers our last two weeks so it may turn out to be a long one.  We haven’t visited any interesting locations except inside and outside our sticks and bricks house but hope to be heading out west where we’ve planned many wonderful stops and will, of course, be sharing them with ya’ll!

Our days the last two weeks have been full from sun up till after sun down.  No more sleeping late for us for a while, though we’ve been so exhausted that we fall into bed as soon as we’re finished for the day and sleep soundly until the alarm goes off!  Our renters have moved out and we had a long list of work needed to get the house ready to put on the market. 

Day after day was spent cleaning, painting, repairing, weeding and dozens of other jobs.  We cleaned all the kitchen cabinet fronts and the master vanity which is a beautiful piece of wood furniture with many many crevices and ornate woodwork and a marble top.  I used six different chemicals or blends of homemade chemicals to clean glass work (glass bath doors, vessel sink and waterfall faucet, ceramic cook top). Just a little note here when you mix baking soda and vinegar it acts like it wants to blow up which was rather frightening since I was in the house alone at the time. That did stop and after adding more baking soda it made a nice paste to scrub with.  Then there was scrubbing walls (I went through 21 magic erasers – my new favorite cleaning tool), painting walls,, baseboards, bannisters, stairs.  Roy painted a lot of this including the trim on the two dormers on the roof – we call them dog houses!). Then there was lots of wood floor revitalizing, pressure washing, repairing some things, buying lots of things, planting new plants, transplanting old ones, and mulching what we could.

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Painting the dormer trim, see pictures below, involved Roy climbing on the metal roof after attaching a bolt to the floor inside the second floor of the house attached to a rope going out the window and tied around his waist and anything else he could tie it to. Because there are two windows he had to attach the bolt and rope for one, unattach it when he was finished, take it to the other room attach and reattach that one, Reaching the top of the trim involved putting a step ladder on the roof, me going inside to the second floor and holding onto the ladder through the windows hoping I wasn’t going to let it slip and see my husband tumble down the roof.  Even if he was attached to the rope who know how he would fall! 

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Weeds were pulled from the gardens every day by the bushel full. At the end of the two weeks new weeds had already dared to grow back in some of the first gardens I weeded. This Louisiana rain sure does grow some strong weeds!  I have scratches, bug bites and I think poison ivy on 10394041_10152457151943903_3710178840653846148_nevery inch of my hands, arms, legs and feet.  I usually post pictures of most everything but you would not want to see pictures of my skin right now! I think it looks like leprosy, Madisyn says it looks like chicken pox. 

We got an estimate from a professional painter for just the trim outside (not the dormers) and the walls inside.  It was a very fair estimate and probably right in line with other painters but way way over what we can afford.  Again God blessed us by putting this wonderful man who paints by day at Southeastern and has for years, into our lives.  Roy saw him painting at the office and just mentioned he could use a man like him at the house.  He said he’d stop by the next day and he did.  From noon till about 7 that night and a couple of hours the next morning he painted all the trim ceilings, columns, and windows on the front and back and the green decking  and shutters on the front porch.  What a tremendous burden that took off Roy and the amount he wanted was less than one-fourth of what the original estimate was and this guy did a perfect job! Roy painted the white trim on the sides of the house leading up to the second story peak which was very difficult but the rest added to that would have been too much.

Anyone in Hammond wanting this guys contact info please let us know.  He was a pleasure to work with and I’d highly recommend him.

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When I post cute little graphics about God’s blessings and what he can and will do it’s real, this is a perfect living example of God taking care of us because we accepted Him as our Lord and Savior and gave our lives to him.  The first weekend I had chest pains from doing so much work, being 10489924_10152472930218903_7163219169099977594_nunder so much stress and not eating properly.  Once I rested for a little bit that weekend I was better but the scope of what we were trying to accomplish was bigger than Roy, me, Chip or our finances could handle and he stepped in to ease that.  What an amazing God we serve!

Since we sold our lawnmower we went in search of someone to cut our grass and found a wonderful man to do it and his first grass cutting and weed eating made everything look wonderful.  Thanks Scott Tribble for being the wonderful Christian responsible man you are!  He’ll cut the grass for us ever 10 days until we sell the house. 

Roy’s working 10 hour days at the University now (temporarily doing his old job) so I had plenty of alone time working at the house.  He was off for four days for the 4th of July holiday and took a day off work the following week so we could finish it all in fourteen days. Fourteen long, awful, draining, exhausting days. 

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It took 5 days of work (not full days) to pressure wash the house, garage and all our sidewalks and porches. Roy, our son Chip and I took turns with that wonderful project. 

Chip helped in so many different ways and I truly believe without his help and God sending us the painter this project may have been more than Roy or my health could handle.  It was fun having Chip around and seeing him take such pride in the work he was doing.  From digging up azaleas and transplanting them for me, to hauling off piles and piles of branches, pressure washing the whole garage and carport, and more things I can’t remember, his help was a blessing! One of the best things Chip did for us was to make sure we had lunch every day and wonderful Gatorade to keep us well nourished. IMG_20140717_143853_053

We finished the last item on our seemingly never ending list a couple of days ago, Roy’s been working every day at Southeastern and I’m recovering while trying to make some headway on cleaning the RV which got severely neglected for two weeks!

The MLS internet listing pictures turned out beautiful.  I’m so thankful they used a professional photographer because she captured the house’s features in a beautiful way!  Thanks to Kelly (photographer), Tiffany and Jamie (our realtors) for doing such a wonderful job!  Check out the pictures at http://www.kw.com/homes-for-sale/70401/LA/Hammond/11337-WARDLINE-Rd/3yd-KW-8_998527.html

IMG_20140717_143811_262This is our address on Wardline Road.  I’ve always loved these tiles and wanted this picture to  remember this neat little momento of our stay in this lovely home!

We just got word that they are showing the house at 1 pm today!  Wonderful Scott came by to cut the grass just in time for him to finish before they get here.  Do you see it?  God’s timing is always perfect. 

Here’s praying everyone has a restful, peaceful, recuperative weekend.  It’s forecasted to rain here all weekend so we’re going to hunker down and watch movies as much as possible.  if these folks don’t buy the house we’ll let you know when it does sell which will mean we’ll be preparing to move out west!  We might just have to buy us a couple of cowboy hats for the journey!

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