Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Resolutions? Yes or No?

Ok, who makes resolutions? I guess at some point in our lives we all do.  I have been doing some thinking about resolutions and my failure to keep them over the years. It is always the same old things that you plan to do, but never manage to accomplish. Well this year I have decided not to make any resolutions!!  To me making a resolution is to much like making a vow and to me a vow is something that should never be broken. So, instead of making resolutions I have decided that they are some areas in my life that I do need to make some changes in. 


Area #1:
 I need to strive to do better in my Christian walk and life. I often feel that I fail in this area.  I want to make sure that I put aside time each day for devotions with my family. We should have time each night to sit together as a family and read the Bible. I also need to sit aside time for my own personal devotions. I want to spend more time each day on my own in the word of God learning about him. I also need to increase the time I spend in prayer. I have often prayed for things and then just stopped, but this year I plan to continue taking those requests to God. I need to take more time in witnessing for the Lord. My own personal goal is to pass out a tract for everyday next year. I have tried doing it many times, but never was able to accomplish that goal, this year I am going to try even harder to do it. My goal for 2014 is that  I want to make sure that I am being all that I can and doing all that I can for the Lord.

Area #2:
I need to take better care of myself. I read somewhere that if you do something everyday for two weeks it becomes habit. I do not know if that is true, but I was thinking it was worth a shot anyway.  The other day I was looking at myself in the mirror and the first thought I had was, "You look like a tired, old woman!". I decided then that I was no longer going to take my skin for granted. I have always been one of those women who would just come home and go to sleep with my makeup on and wake up looking like a raccoon. Well not anymore, I have decided to start taking better care of my face, after all it is the only one I will ever have, I can't afford plastic surgery. I am also planning to start exercising at least three time a week. I got really behind in that when my daughter was in the hospital and I need to get back to it. I still need to watch what I eat and try to eat healthier, but I'm not going to let that number on the scale define who I am. I have two daughters looking at me stressing over that stupid number and it is just not worth it. I want to be healthy and happy with how I look and pass that on to my daughters.

Area #3:
I need to do better with saving money. Most of y'all know that I am a penny pincher as some call it. I have been called a cheap stake and many other things by my family.  It is not that I can not buy things, I just flat out refuse sometimes. That being said, yes I use coupons and yes I have so much each month to go into a special savings account, but I still falter at the savings game.  My main goal in this area this year is to set up and keep a budget.  I have tried so many times and have falling flat on my face, but this year is going to be different. I have been following a particular blog for about two years now and she has a complete plan for budgeting, it is couponingtodisney.com(I have inserted a link to those of you who would like to take a look). I know that this year is going to be full of doctor appointments for my daughter and also doctor bills, but I still plan on trying my best to be able to coupon like I should, make sure everything is paid and still have a little to put back for our savings.


"That's my 'two cents worth', what's yours?"















Saturday, December 28, 2013

Happy New Year!! Our year in review

Man oh man, can I just say what a year 2013 has been!! For any of you who have been reading my blog over the last few months you know that it has been one more year for us.  I wish I could say we have had a great and wonderful year, but we haven't. Please don't take that statement the wrong way or get angry with me for it, but honestly the year as a whole has been a real struggle.  The first of the year started off like most of the others, no major issues or things going on. I was having some difficulty in knowing what God wanted us to do about a certain thing in our lives, but for the most part we were just going on with the day to day stuff.

 My husband was working full time, the girls were in school and I was babysitting during the week for a cute little almost one year old.  I guess you could say things were pretty much going along a normal path for us.  Then very suddenly and unexpectedly my uncle Billy passed away on Good Friday. It was quite the blow to our family and very difficult to handle. I am so glad to know that he was saved and I will get to see him again one day in Heaven.

About one month after his passing I discovered I was pregnant again (for the fifth time). My husband and I were both so excited, my last two pregnancies had ended in miscarriage and we just knew everything was going to be fine.  We decided to wait and tell everyone after our 12 week check up had passed, but unfortunately we did not make it that far. I miscarried our baby, who I named Quinn,  one day before my 12 week exam.  It was a heart wrenching time for us and one that I am still dealing with today.

 It was just a few weeks later that my aunt was diagnosed with Ovarian/Colon cancer and then three weeks after that our daughter was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  Let me just tell you, I was starting to really be able to get a  feeling for  what poor old Job went through.  I was unable to deal with the loss of our baby because I had to put the focus on my daughter and taking care of her.  I am not sure if that was a good or bad thing. I do know that the Lord has a plan for all things and he worked it out just as he wanted it to be.  Now we have been through Chemo and all other kinds of treatments and test and the Lord has been faithful and walked with us the entire way.

  My Aunt is doing great and goes in for surgery in January. We are praying that she will continue to improve everyday and be back to good health in no time. Unfortunately my mother and her siblings did lose a sister  back in November.  My Aunt  "Gertie" passed away very suddenly and is missed greatly by us all.  Our family get together this year just was not the same without her.


  I guess over all the year hasn't been completely bad. Our daughter was declared cancer free after four months of treatment.  I would say that was a great way to end the year and also the highlight of our 2013. I can tell you that our year has been filled with ups and downs and there have been many times I felt as if I were on a roller coaster ride that I could not get off of. I mean have you ever been on a ride that you just couldn't wait to end, I have physically and figuratively. As a child growing up I remember hearing people around me always saying, "Don't wish your time away, it is something you can never get back." Well, let me tell you I will be glad to wish 2013 good-bye and to only have the memories of it to look back on. So here to is to looking forward to 2014 and hoping and praying that it brings continued blessings for our daughter and my aunt. I also hope that it brings blessings on our entire family and yours.



"That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?"





Friday, December 20, 2013

Why we celebrate Christmas!

Our family just loves the Christmas season, it is always a joy to get together with family and friends.  Christmas is my favorite time of the year for so many reasons, but mainly because of the "real" reason for the season, the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  We have several family traditions that we enjoy doing with our children at Christmas time. The first being that no one in our family opens a single gift on Christmas day before we read the Christmas story aloud and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.                                        

                       http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+2&version=KJV

 
  We decided when our kids were born that we would always put the focus on Christ and let them know what this special time of year was truly about. It was a personal decision of ours that we would not tell our children about Santa Claus and that is a personal decision for all parents. We have always told our children their gifts come from Jesus, that he allows us as parents to have good health to work and provide for them.  I know this way of thinking does not sit well with all people, but then again it is a personal decision. I have explained to our girls that some parents do tell their children about Santa and that they should never tell another child that he is not real. I want them to know that it is a parents place and not theirs. I will admit that we have had some close calls at times and that our children do need a gentle reminder this time of year. 

As I sit here at the hospital waiting for my oldest daughter to come out of surgery I am reminded of how precious family is and that we have been giving a very precious gift this year, her being cancer free.  I can honestly tell you that this Christmas is going to be wonderful for that, but also bitter sweet, as I would have been giving birth to my third child right after the new year. I am glad to know that my precious baby will be spending his first Christmas in Heaven with Jesus.

I hope that y'all have a very Merry Christmas and remember without Christ there would be no CHRISTmas.


"That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?"
 

 
 
 
 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

One of my happiest moments!!

I know that we have all had some happy moments in life. When I think back there are some major ones that jump out to me. The day I married my husband, each time I found out I was expecting, the birth of my children, but the best was the day that I discovered how much the Lord loved me and that he sent his son to die for me. Recently I posted a blog about the scariest sentence I had ever heard, the day my daughter was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. Well, today I want to blog about the very happy sentence we heard just a couple of days ago. After four months of chemo treatments, many stays in the hospital, a whole bunch of blood work and a few blood/platelet transfusions we got the news everyone longs to hear, "Your daughter is cancer free!"  Oh, how that sentence made my heart soar! I can not even begin to describe the jubilation that I felt with just those few words.  In that small moment of time I took in the awesomeness of our God. I knew that he had been with us throughout the whole process, but to see and hear that healing had taken place made me see the miracle that is my daughter. As I begin to cry her doctor handed me a tissue and apologized for making me cry, my reply was, "These are happy tears".  I felt so good, almost as if I could have flown from the hospital roof.  I could hardly wait to call and tell everyone, but her Grandmother was to be the first to know and that had to be in person, you see it was mammy's birthday and she got the best present ever. It was just a couple of months ago that my husband told me he believed we would get a Christmas miracle, well he was right, because we did.  I know our journey is not over yet, we still have another surgery (to remove her port), she will be seeing the doctors a whole lot over the next few years, and she still has lots of scans to do. I was just telling someone a couple of weeks ago that sometimes you can't leap into things in life, you have to take small baby steps to get to where your place is. I know that we have many baby steps to take, but as God goes before us, I know he is making a way for us to follow.


"That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?"











Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thankfulness is for everyday

Let me apologize for being absent for almost a month, as you can imagine things around here have been rather crazy. My daughter has been able to be in school much more this month and I have been busy with the family and preparing for Thanksgiving.  I'm sure by now all of you have gotten together with family to celebrate Thanksgiving and if your like our family you are still trying to get rid of all the leftovers that didn't get eating.  I get really tired of them, but then again it was very nice to not have to cook after church today. I hope that each one of you took the time on Thursday to express some of the things that you are thankful for. We started a new tradition of a thankful tree this year, but of course I forgot to take a picture of it. My daughters started their own tradition of reading The First Thanksgiving story to us. When you take a moment to stop and think about all the hardships that the Pilgrims went through it is amazing that they even chose to stay in the new world. It was not an easy start and life continued to be difficult, but they were able to stick it out and persevere.  Any way I just wanted to wish all of you a belated Happy Thanksgiving and to remind you and me that we shouldn't wait for one day to be thankful, but we should strive to  be thankful every day of the year for all the blessings in our lives.

                                           "That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?"

http://www.plimoth.org/learn/MRL/read/thanksgiving-history










Saturday, November 9, 2013

Autumn: My favorite time of the year!

Let me start off by saying I just absolutely love the fall of the year. There are so many wonderful things about, even if my husband says he doesn't like it. My husband loves the summer time, he says, "The hotter, the better!", we totally disagree. I mean summer has it good points. I like that the days are longer, the kids are out of school and that we get to go swimming, but around these parts it is just so hot it makes you miserable.

I guess the cooler weather is one thing I love about autumn.  I just adore being able to get out my sweaters and long sleeves. I love fall festivals and sitting around the bonfire with family and friends.  What is my favorite thing about fall?  I love the colors of the leaves. I often walk out unto my back porch and just look at the beautiful colors. It is almost as if God has taken a giant paintbrush and went around and painted all the trees.  Of course I know fall can't last forever, there has to come a winter and that I am not crazy about. I mean I like to see if snow, but I also love to see it leave. I can't imagine living anywhere that the snow lays around for days, weeks or months. I would be a lot crazier than I am now if I had to live like that. At least after the winter comes the spring and life starts all over again, but I am partial to the fall, it is my favorite.



"That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?"





Sunday, October 27, 2013

Beach Break!

Well last week our kids got the whole week off from school for fall break, so we decided to take off for a day trip to the beach.  I know it may sound crazy to some folk, but Grace desperately wanted to see the ocean, so we took her.  I am happy to report that we had a wonderful trip and really enjoyed our time together as a family.  We did not see any attractions, but spent the day walking and playing on the beach and then the rest of the evening in the heated pool .  We kept with vacation tradition this time and ordered in pizza Friday night and then we were all so tired we crashed out before 10.  I wished we could have stayed an extra day, but we had our annual church fall festival on Saturday so we had to head back home. Before we left we stopped off at Mammy's kitchen for breakfast. The food was fantastic and to make it even better someone took care of paying for our meal, what a blessing.  We stopped off at a place called the Berry Patch for ice cream and a bathroom break about half way home and then we headed straight for our church.  It was so much fun seeing our church family and the kids really enjoyed the games.  I have to admit today I am just slap give out, but the weekend was wonderful.  Tomorrow we face heading back into the hospital for our daughter's 4th chemo treatment. My emotions are always mixed about it, on one hand I dread it and on the other I know it just puts us one step closer to beating this cancer. 



"That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?"









Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Break from our Battle: A day at the fair

First off I will give y'all just a little update: My daughter is doing very well in her battle against this cancer. She has just recently completed her third round of chemo, like the champ she is and is getting a few days off.  It seems that we have adjusted well to the new medication she is having to take and are hoping to be off of it in a few weeks.

We decided to take a break form everything and go out to our local fair today. It was so much fun spending time with the girls. We watched a magic show, a tractor pull and my favorite, the pig races.  We got to ride a few rides, but mostly we just ate. We got to eat nachos with cheese, ribbon fries, chocolate chili flavored ice cream and a Krispy Kreme burger. In case you wonder it is a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, and pickles with two doughnuts as the buns. It was so good!!

We really enjoyed being able to go out and spend some time together and get away from everything for a while. You don't really think about how much time you spend going and doing when you have a sick child. It is always a doctor appointment, blood work or something on your mind. We can never really plan to go anywhere because you just don't know what is going to happen. Thank God for allowing us to have some much needed family time today! Now it is time to snuggle up with my babies and watch a little Star Trek before bed.









Friday, October 4, 2013

And the battle rages on!

Man oh man what a crazy last couple of weeks it has been for us, I will try to catch y'all up as best as I can.  Last Wednesday we went to the hospital for our daughters scans to get idea of how the cancer is doing.  We hadn't been home no time at all when they called and told us to come back. They had found a blood clot in one of her main arteries and she needed to get back as soon as possible.  Let me tell you hearing the words "blood clot" is almost as scary as hearing the word cancer.  I rushed around to get everything together and took off to the hospital.  We ended up with a two day stay and having to be on blood thinner, but everything seems to be going well.  We went back in this week for our regular chemo treatment (round #3) and was told by her oncologist she will not need any radiation. Oh my word, let me tell you, I was one happy mama.  All I could do was just praise  the Lord for that good news, but God wasn't done with us yet. The dr. then told us that after consulting with some other oncologists they had come to the conclusion that she was only going to need 4 rounds of chemo in total and we had already finished two. It was so good to hear that we may be done with these chemo treatments by Thanksgiving. Let me tell you it took a couple of seconds for that to sink in!!  God just kept blessing us yesterday and sending us positive and encouraging news.  As I sat here at the hospital writing this blog I can't  help but think about how much our lives have changed over the last couple of months.  I have decided to reflect back on that in a later blog, after she has beat her cancer, and I know she is going to beat it. God has been so good to us, not only in her healing, but also in how he has used our family, friends and church family to help us out during this time. I am so glad we have had them to support us. I am going to end on that note and stop to watch The Phantom of the Opera with my daughter. 



"That's my two cents worth, what's yours?"
 
 
 


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Muddy Rain Boots

The last couple of blogs have been of a very serious nature, so I thought this week I would take a break from blogging about our cancer journey and do something fun instead. I wrote this blog a couple of months ago, but had not shared it with y'all yet. Hope you enjoy! 

Looking back over my lifetime I can not ever remember us having such a cool, wet summer as we have this year.  Usually we are burning up by the end of July and all of August with no relief in sight. It is normal for our light bill to be sky high with running the air all the time, for the grass to be brown and "burnt up" and for everyone you meet to be completely miserable.  This summer has been completely different!!  Of course I'm not complaining, I mean the weather has been great and it has giving us lots of chances for playing outside.  We have enjoyed every chance we have had to get muddy!  It sure is fun to get those boots out and get them dirty.  We love to tromp through the mud and splash in the puddles. It has been so rainy here that our pond has almost overflowed.  We love to walk around the bank and hear the water squish while our dog swims and chases frogs.  I heard somewhere as long time ago that rain contains vitamin B-12.  I don't know if that is true or not, but it gives us one more good excuse to be out playing "in the rain".  

Of course when I was growing up we never wore rain boots or galoshes as some call them. We just always ran around barefoot for the entire summer and sometimes we do that too. 

So get out there and enjoy all the rain and mud. Take the time to squish, stomp, and make mud pies with your kids. They will love it and so will you. 

*(I have to remind y'all of this: If you can hear thunder you can be struck by lighting. So please don't play outside during a thunderstorm.)


"That's my "two cents worth", what's yours?"









Friday, September 13, 2013

...And The Battle Continues!

Let me apologize for being absent from blogging, but I'm sure that y'all understand the reasoning.  When I left off last time my daughter had not yet completed her first round of chemo, so let me catch y'all up. She went that Monday and finished up that round of therapy and was able to return to school for 1/2 a day on Tuesday. On Thursday she had her blood work done and her WBC  counts were almost nothing. She had to miss a day of school and was very unhappy about that. Finally on Tuesday of the following week her counts were back up and she was able to go to school for the rest of the week. It was so good to pick her up from school and see her run to meet me, what a blessing the Lord gave us. We were able to go with her Sunday School class last Saturday to a local amusement park, it was so good to get away for a few hours and not think constantly on our situation.   She had to return to the hospital this past Monday to begin round two of chemo. We spent three days there, but she did so much better this time. Her number one complaint with the chemo is that she just feels so tired all the time and that just when she feels like she is getting back to "normal" it is time to start all over again.  I have to take her again today for her injection to help build up her WBC and RBC counts and then Monday for the last treatment this round. It is a 22 day cycle that will just continue to repeat until she is cancer free and we are hoping and praying that time will come sometime soon. Through all of this I have been reminded daily of the verse,

Psalm 46:10a 
 Be still, and know that I am God:

I know that the Lord is looking after us and helping our entire family through this. He has blessed us with an amazing hospital, doctors and nurses to care for her.  He has allowed us to live close by so our family is not apart during this time. He has giving us family and friends to encourage and support us. His blessings and mercies have been too many to name and I thank him everyday for each of them.  Her battle is not over and she is fighting this cancer with all she has in her, but she knows her strength comes from the Lord and he is with her. Sometime within the next two weeks they will do more scans to see how the cancer is responding. It is very hard to wait so long, but I know that the Lord is taking care of her and  I know that he still can do miracles, which is exactly what we are looking for. Thanks to all of you for the prayers and please continue to say them for us, it means more than you will ever know. 






Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Battle: It has begun!

Let me start off by saying what a week we have had, it has been unbelievable! Let me fill you in on the events of the week: 


 Our daughter had her surgery on Monday to put in her port, she did great and had no problems. The site is still a little sore, but they say that is normal for about the first week.  She also had a bone marrow biopsy done which came back negative. That was a huge blessing and much needed good news. She was admitted to the hospital on Monday afternoon and began her first chemo treatment. It really zapped her, she got sick on her stomach, but thank the Lord she had no throwing up.  When her doctor came to visit on Tuesday he said she did so good they were going to move up her treatment time for that day. She was so pitiful that night, just tired and grouchy. In fact she was out by 9:00 and she slept almost the whole night, only waking up a few times. On Wednesday the doctor was so proud of her and how well she was doing they moved up her last treatment and let her come home a day early. We were so happy!! She was very excited to come home and sleep in her own bed. 

On Thursday, she went to school for the whole day and that took a lot of her energy. She came home did her home work and spent the rest of the night laying on the couch.  She only went to school 1/2 a day on Friday, she had to get an injection to help build up her WBC (white blood cell) and RBC (red blood cell) counts. She felt good enough last night to go spend the night with her grandmother and I'm glad she was able to. 

I have to admit that my anxiety level has been greatly reduced. It was so hard for me to sit here at the house day after day knowing that this horrible cancer was in her body and there wasn't anything being done. From the time of diagnosis to the time she began her first treatment was 10 days. I have to say that was the longest 10 days of my life!! I have never been a patient person, but I have had to learn to have some through this whole process.  She has one more chemo treatment on Monday and that will complete her first round of therapy. She will get a couple of weeks off and then start the process all over again. After that they will repeat her scans and see how the cancer is responding. We are praying it will all be gone and she will be in complete remission. It is a very long wait for me!!  Just knowing she is being treated and getting medicine makes me feel so much better, but there is still the anxiety of the unknown and I believe that is just the mother  in me. I know that the Lord is working in all of this. He is not only working in our daughter, but in our lives as well. I ask that you please continue to hold her up in prayer, it is greatly appreciated. 



Saturday, August 17, 2013

The most scared I have ever been!!

First let me apologize for being blog absent for two weeks. Our family got some heart wrenching news a couple of weeks ago and I just haven't been able to write anything.  That is what my quickly thrown together blog is about this week. So here goes our story....

....two weeks ago our 13 year old daughter was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. I can tell you that is the scariest sentence I have ever heard in my life, "I'm sorry, but your daughter has cancer."  I had to get the doctor to repeat himself so I could make sure I heard him right. At first I was just numb and in shock, but after that I couldn't breath and felt as if I was going to die.  For the first three days I just felt as if I was walking around in a fog, unable to even go about my daily routine.  After meeting with the oncologist and having a whole days worth of testing done, we have been told that this is highly curable and that they are very optimistic about her outcome.  We head to the hospital next week for surgery and her first chemo treatment. I would like to ask all who read this to please remember her in your prayers. I know whose I am and I know whom I serve and I know that my God is greater than this cancer. He is the great I Am, the maker of all things in Heaven and Earth and he is the great physician. I am putting my faith and trust in him!!

I'm sure that many of my blogs will be about our journey together as a family through this and also some of her story and input will go in as well.  I will do my very best to keep updated on all that goes on and ask again for your prayers and for you to please pass along this request for us.




 







Saturday, July 27, 2013

What's so great about the new royal baby?

I know by now some of you are so tired of hearing about the new royal baby, in fact I have even heard people say, "What is all the fuss about that baby?!?" 
 
I am one of those people who are super excited about all the news coming out of London this week. It's something about that new baby that makes people feel good. I got to thinking about that. What is it about that baby that seems to effect so many people around the world? I came up with the following ideas: 

1. He is a new baby!!  
It is a simple known fact that when a new baby is born there is joy and happiness. Of course in the day   and age we live in that is not always true, but it should be. The birth of a baby is a new life, a brand new person coming into this world. I remember a quote from one of my favorite movies of all time (Gone with the Wind), Ms. Melanie says "That babies are life renewing itself.." I think that is very true! I mean if there was no more birth than all life would cease to exist. 

2. He is the future heir to the British throne!! 
I find it fascinating that I have been living long enough to see two future kings born.  I won't give away my age, but I remember when Princess Diana presented young price William to the world as a newborn. I remember thinking what a cute baby, but why is he on television. I didn't understand at the time what was so important about him, but now I do.  

3. He is bringing joy to his countrymen and others around the world!!
In the day and age we live in there is so much doom, gloom and despair. We hear bad news at every turn and it just seems to get worse everyday. The birth of this baby is giving happiness not only to his own country, but the world and in these times we could all use a little more happiness. 


These are just a few of my opinions about young Prince George and his royal birth. I think it's wonderful news and if you don't agree, just keep quiet and let the rest of us celebrate. 


"That's my "two cents worth", what's yours?"





Friday, July 19, 2013

Gettysburg: The trip of a lifetime!

Back during the week of July 4th we had the opportunity to take the vacation of a lifetime.  Due to an unforeseen emergency surgery the week before we decided to leave a day early and take our time driving up to our destination.  We drove up through Winchester, Virginia where we stopped to visit the Confederate Solider Cemetery. It is the resting place of 2,575 confederate soldiers and is located in Mount Hebron Cemetery. Most of the names are known, but there are still some graves that have never be identified. This is so sad to me. I can only imagine how the families of these men felt when their loved ones never came home and they never knew what happened to them.
http://www.mthebroncemetery.org/stonewall.html



When we left Winchester (I just love that name), we drove on into Hershey, Pennsylvania which would be our home for the night. The next day we went over to Chocolate World. We got to tour the factory, make our own candy bars and take a trolley tour around the city, it was lots of fun.
http://www.hersheys.com/chocolateworld/



We then headed to York, Pennsylvania which would be our home for the next 3 nights. We stayed in the Holiday Inn Express, it was so nice and clean. The customer service was also fantastic!  The next day we drove over to Gettysburg to see the museum and battlefield. Can you say crowded!?! There were so many people there, but we expected that, it was only the 150th Anniversary of the battle. We learned so much about the Civil War and the battle there. Did you know that they estimate that 10,000 women dressed up as men and fought during the Civil War? They were only discovered when they were killed or wounded. Did you also know that for every man killed in battle, two died of disease?  Honestly it is a miracle anyone survived to go home to their families. My great-great-great grandfather was wounded at the the Battle of Gettysburg(he was on the confederate side of course), but thank the Lord he survived to return home, marry and have children.  When I consider the fact that my family would not be here if he had died, it is a very sobering thought. I also had a great-great grandfather that fought at Gettysburg(Confederate again, of course). Thank the Lord he made it home to finish raising my great-grandfather so that our family line could go on.
http://www.nps.gov/gett/index.htm



 The following day we headed over to the re-enactment of the first day of the battle.  It was an amazing experience!! We had the opportunity to hear General Robert E. Lee speak, toured a living history camp and then got to meet General Lee and Lt. General Richard S. Ewell. I was so tickled to get our picture made with them and have a chance to speak to them.
http://www.nps.gov/gett/planyourvisit/150th-anniversary-index.htm






On our last day we headed over to Amish Country. We got a tour an Amish farm and took an Amish buggy ride. It was a wonderful learning experience for us as we took in the Amish culture and discovered new things about them. The company we used was Aaron and Jessica's, they are in Bird in Hand Pennsylvania and the tour was fantastic. We then went over to the Good and Plenty for a traditional Pennsylvania-Dutch meal. The food was great and it was lots of it!!
http://amishbuggyrides.com/
http://www.goodnplenty.com/


Up North is a great place to visit, but I was very happy to get back home to my native South (No offence to my Yankee friends or readers intended)!

I hope that you have enjoyed the re-cap of our trip and that you have taken the time to explore, learn and discover some new things this summer.


"That's my "two cents worth", what's yours?"



Friday, July 12, 2013

Ancestry: Knowing your families story!

I have always been very interested in my family history (the story of my ancestors, who they were, what part of the world they came from, etc.).  So a few years ago I started a free 14 day trial with Ancestry.com (http://home.ancestry.com/).   I recommend this first step for anyone interested in their family history.  With the free trail you have access to limited things, but you can still set up your family tree with what you know and add to it as you learn new information.  Well, a couple of years ago I received a 6 month USA only membership for Christmas to do more research, that gave me access to all of the records they had.  I was amazed by what I discovered!!

I found out that my family has ties to the American Revolution, The War of 1812 and The Civil War. I also found out that my family immigrated here for several reasons. Most did it by choice, they came here searching for a new land, a new life and a place to raise a family.
 I did find out that a couple of them came here as indentured servants (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indentured_servant).
I also found out that one even came here because he had been convicted of a crime (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deportation).
His punishment was to be sent to the new world all alone. I have not been able to find out what his crime was, that is just one of the secrets I still have to uncover.

Most of the ones who immigrated here for a new life came into Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and traveled down the Great Wagon Road south(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Wagon_Road).
I guess they liked the land and the area so good, they just decided to stay. (I'm so glad they went south, I love being a southerner!)  I like to think that maybe some of them came here with the hope of getting rich. As far as I know none of them ever did succeed in that, but they did find a new home and a place to raise their children.  I am very proud of my heritage, all parts of it, even the parts some may consider to be non PC (politically correct).  My family had a part in the history of our country from the very beginning.  They worked very hard as many other immigrants did; farming the land, raising their crops and their children without asking for anything and they fought for freedom for themselves, their descendants and all Americans that would follow after them.

Please take some time to know your history. I bet there are some amazing stories for you to discover. Just learning about them will give you a whole new outlook on life. I think knowing your history in very important, in fact I have always told my girls, "You can't know where your going, if you don't know where you came from!"

"That's my "two cents worth", what's yours?"









Saturday, July 6, 2013

Happy Birthday America!!

First off let me apologize for the shortness of this blog, we have been on vacation and I have lots of unpacking and cleaning up to do! :)



Just a couple of days ago we celebrated the 237th birthday of our great nation.  It is a day full of backyard Bar-b-que's, parades, family get together's and of course fireworks.  It is often a time for families to go on vacation (like we did!). This day is very important to me, the birthday of my nation, my homeland.  My ancestors immigrated her in the 1600's and 1700's from Great Britain when the land was new and open.  They wanted a place to live, have a family and make a new life.  They fought for our independence in the Revolution and again against Britain in the War of 1812. I guess having such an old family history in this nation contributes to my love of country. My family has been here a long time, almost since the very beginning (later blog topic) and I love my America.  She may not always do right, but still I love her.  I'm not sure how y'all spent your 4th of July, but I hope y'all had a wonderful day. I hope you took a moment while celebrating to remember all who made it possible and everything that was done  to make and keep our nation free.

"That's my "two cents worth", what's yours?"













Saturday, June 29, 2013

Fur Babies: Great Comforters

I had no idea that as I wrote my blog on prayer last week how badly I would be in need less than 48 hours later. The reason is not something I wish to talk about publicly just yet, that will be a topic for a later blog.  What I want to talk about today is my fur baby.

What amazes me is the fact of how in-tuned to my emotional needs my little dog Dixie has been. She has always been my little shadow, but the last few days she has been my constant companion.  We brought her home on a September day in 2004. She was such a little bitty thing and at the time we didn't know for sure what kind of dog she was. In fact we're still not 100% sure, but we do know she has some Jack Russell terrier and Poodle blood in her.

As I said, she has been right with me the entire week, she lays with me on the coach. If I have been in bed, she lays on the floor by my bedside and when I move, she moves. She follows me all over the house and even when I go outside.  It is so strange that she is able to pick up on how I feel and that she has tried so hard to make me feel better and to comfort me the only way she knows how.

I can see how dogs can make such an impact on our lives and our health. I don't need them to do countless studies on the benefits of owning a pet. I can speak from first hand experience. I have to admit that sometimes she gets on my nerves with her high pitch bark, but she believes herself to be our protector and defender and I love her for that.

If you have a pet do all you can to protect them, care for them, and love them. There is no limit to the love and comfort they can show you. I honestly believe that God brings our pets into our lives to do exactly that and I believe that God expects us to do the same for them. In fact the bible says in Proverbs 12:10a, A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast:. 

So grab your pet and give them a big hug today and maybe even a special treat, they deserve it for all the "good" they do for us.

"That's my "two cents worth", what's yours?"












Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Power of Prayer!

I haven't really talked very much about my beliefs, but today I want to share some with you.  I am a born again Christian, meaning I believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I believe he is the Son of God, was born of a virgin, died on the cross for my sins and rose again on the third day.  Eight years ago this coming August, I asked Jesus to come into my heart and save me, he did and my life has never been the same.  I wanted to share this with yall before I wrote on prayer. You see prayer is a very important part of my life and I know it works.  Most people only think about prayer when someone is sick or hurting, but I know prayer can work in all types of situations.  Please don't take that statement the wrong way.  There have been times I have prayed about the "big stuff",  in fact my husband and I are praying about some "big stuff" right now. There have also been times I have prayed about the "little things", stuff that would seem insignificant to others.  For example, I remember this one time several years ago when my youngest child was in need of some new pajamas for winter (the kind with the feet in them).  As you know from my post on frugal living I hate to pay full price for anything, so I made a trip to our local goodwill and on the way I prayed that I would be able to find what she needed.  As a side note, she was also wanting a housecoat, so she could be like Mommy and Sissy, so I was praying to find one of those too.  As soon as I walked into the  childrens section I saw a little pink housecoat with the princess written on it and it was just the right size.  I was also able to find her two sets of pajamas.  You can't convince me that prayer doesn't work! 

The Bible has many verses specifically about prayer:

Philippians 4:6  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

There is nothing to "big" or to "little" to go to God about. In Thessalonians 5:17 the Bible says:  Pray without ceasing. This simply means pray at all times concerning all things. 

Of course the Bible also tells us in Psalm 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:, this means if we have sin in our hearts God will not hear our prayer.  If you are not saved the most important thing you can do today is to pray and ask Jesus to save you, that is the only prayer God will hear from a sinner. 

When we read John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. In this verse we learn that God sent his son to die for all men and that all we need to do is believe. 

In 2 Corinthians 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.), we learn that today is the day of Salvation. Please don't wait or put it off until another day. Get saved so you can spend eternity in Heaven, not Hell. 

"That's my "two cents worth", whats yours?"

* If you need more to help you understand salvation you can read what is commonly referred to as the Romans Road. It consists of the following verses: Romans 3:23Romans 6:23aRomans 6:23bRomans 10:13Romans 10:9,10
Revelation 3:20a. The following link will give you the additional information you may need for more understanding: http://www.merrill.org/kjv1611/roman_road.html

* All verses quoted in this blog were taken from the 1611 King James Version of the Holy Bible. 














































Saturday, June 15, 2013

Summer Break: Vacation Time

First off I must apologize for being blog absent for so long, there has just been so much going on for us lately that I honestly have not had time to write.

One thing I love most about summer, besides school being out, is the fact that it is vacation time. I love going on trips with my family, seeing new things and new places.  Of course summer isn't the only time for vacationing. We love to go to the beach in the fall and a couple of years ago we went to Disney World at Christmas, but typically summer is when most people go on vacation. 

Most people head to the same place every year, perhaps the beach or the mountains, but not us. We are always looking for somewhere new and different to see.  We usually start about six months ahead of time deciding where we are going and then finding a place to stay. After that we work on sights to see and attractions, of course by we, I mean me.  I do all the planning then we have a family meeting to go over all the details, adding or subtracting certain ones until we have it just right.  I remember one specific vacation years ago to Pigeon Forge. We had reservations for the Dixie Stampede our first night and we needed to be there early.  I had planned for us to arrive at our hotel early so we could rest up and change, before heading over to the show, but a tractor trailer accident along with a three hour traffic jam almost did me in.  We still managed to arrive early enough to change, but with no time to rest.  I learned two valuable lessons that day: 

1. Always make sure your plans are adjustable. 

2. Vacation is exactly that, vacation, try to relax and enjoy it. 

Our family meeting this year is scheduled for tonight. I have spent the last couple of days working on the details for our trip in a few weeks. I hope my family has fun and enjoys themselves. I won't reveal our location, that will be a later blog, but it is sure to be an interesting one. 

So go out this summer and take a trip. It could be a week or just a day trip, but something is better than nothing. Spend some time with your family and make some memories that will last a lifetime. 

Happy Summer and Happy Vacationing!! 

"That's my "two cents worth", what's yours?"





Saturday, May 25, 2013

Memorial Day: A Time to Remember

Most people see Memorial Day as the official start of summer and I guess that is pretty much true, even if it was only 43 degrees here this morning (sure didn't feel like summer).  I am reminded that Monday is a special day for another reason all together, a reason I feel is often overlooked.  Memorial Day is a day to honor and remember those service men and women who have been killed serving our country.  I should point out it is sometimes confused with Veterans Day, which is for our Armed Forces Veterans, living and dead.  Just to give you a little history on this day, it was first called Decoration Day and originated after the Civil War as a way to honor and remember the Confederate and Union soldiers who died during the war.  It would later become associated with all soldiers who were killed serving our country.  I think many people don't really take the time to remember what this day is really about. Most people consider it a time to be with family, go to the pool, cook out, go on vacation, etc. and all that is fine and dandy. I'm not saying you shouldn't take the opportunity to spend as much time with your family as possible, but I do think that sometime during the day we all, each one of us, should take a moment to remember those who have fought and died for our freedom.  I did some research and at first I used Wikipedia which gave me faulty numbers, so I had to go back and do more research and according to what I found from the years 1775-present day there have been 1,264,000 American soldiers killed during war time.  The highest number being during the American Civil War when 620,000 soldiers gave their lives from 1861-1865.  When you take the time to really consider how high those numbers are it can be mind blowing, it almost seems impossible to wrap your head around the thought.  I'm asking each of you to take a simple moment sometime on Monday to reflect and remember. Take a moment to consider that our nation and it's people are what we are due to those who gave their all on the field of battle.  


God Bless you all this Memorial Day and God Bless America!! 



"That's my "two cents worth", what's yours?"
















Saturday, May 18, 2013

Messy Kids: They drive me crazy

My kids have a chore list for the week, certain things that have to be done on certain days. These chores consist of: cleaning the bathroom, feeding the dog, washing the dishes, etc.  They have one chore that is to be done everyday, cleaning their rooms.  I want you to understand that I don't mean a complete cleaning.  I have tried to explain to them if they just pick up after themselves each day, they won't have as much to do for the full cleaning on Saturday.  This seems to be a concept they can not understand!  I have always wondered why even though they said their rooms were clean, it never seemed to be true. I have come to the following conclusions on that: 

1.  Mine and their ideas of clean are completely different! 
    To me clean is a good cleaning, to them clean is lets just push it under the bed 
and hide it, Mama will never know the difference. 

2.  They have way to much stuff!!
      Honestly they have more stuff right now than I think I had my whole childhood. These kids are spoiled rotten! 

3.  They "forget" what they are supposing to be doing. 
     They always use the same excuse, I forgot.  I get so tired of hearing that, maybe I need to buy them so Ginkgo to help their memories. 

4.  They start to play and lose track of the job! 
     This happens all the time, they start to play or read and book and get so into what they are doing they don't realize how much time has passed and that the work is not done. 

The problem with cleaning is it just doesn't apply to their rooms, it affects other areas of our home: the play area (inside and out), the bathroom and our van.  I have decided that something must be done if I am to keep my sanity.  What do I plan to do?  I'm going to try a few things over the summer break.  

1.  They have got to clean out and get rid of some of their stuff and donate it.  We always do this before Christmas, but this year we are doing it early.

2.  They are going to have to do "spring cleaning", I mean from top to bottom, to get everything done. 

3.  Organization!!  "Everything has a place and everything in it's place!" is going to be our new motto. 

I know with hard work and a lot of prayer this job will get done.  I just wonder how long it will stay clean? 

"That's my "two cents worth", what's yours?"




Saturday, May 11, 2013

Honor Thy Mother

As I sat here this afternoon listening to the sounds of my six year old daughter and our dog looking for lizards, I begin to think about the word mother and what it means.  I looked it up and according to my Webster's Dictionary it means, "1. female parent; 2. source".  That was all that it said and to me that seemed pretty slack.  That simple definition doesn't even begin to define what a mother is. In my opinion the word mother means the following, "unselfish, kind, unconditional love, adviser, giver, hard-worker, listener, doctor, teacher, cook, maid, someone who will tell you that your wrong, etc.", the list can go on and on.

When I think about my definition, I can't help but think about my own mother.  When we were growing up she worked a full time job (outside the home) then had to work full time in the home.  She would often work overtime just to save extra money for vacations, Christmas and to send my brothers to Boy Scout Camp.   When my oldest brother was disabled in a car accident in September of 1988, our mother took on the full time responsibility of caring for him.  The years have taking their toll on her physically, but she has never quit or giving up.  She has fought for him relentlessly, to make sure he has everything he needs to live a full, happy and healthy life.  She is a shining example to me and my daughters of what being a mother/grandmother truly is.

Tomorrow is the second Sunday of May, the day set aside to celebrate and honor our mothers and all they do for us.  A young woman by the name of Anna Jarvis worked tirelessly until she was able to convince people that mother's should have a special day.  In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson declared this day an official national holiday.  There were several attempts to create this special day, including one by Julia Ward Howe in the 1870's, before the workings of Miss Jarvis proved fruitful. 
 
As a side note, the first Sunday in May is International Bereaved Mothers Day. This day is not officially a holiday, but it is a day of remembrance  for those of us (like me) who have lost a child to death. 

So remember, if your mother is still living, take the time to celebrate and honor her.  There will come a time when she will no longer be with you and your chance will be gone.



"That's my "two cents worth", what's your?"



Saturday, May 4, 2013

Senior Saints Banquet: Celebrating our Senior Citizens

One of the things that we do each year at our church is hold our annual Senior Saints Banquet. It is that one time each year that we sat aside to celebrate and honor all of the Senior Citizens of our church. We think it is very important to give them a special thing each year. They have worked hard and deserve to be honored for all they have done. 

Each year the celebration is all fixed around one basic theme and all the food, decorations, entertainment, etc. is based on that theme. This year we decided to do a theme we had never attempted before, Fiesta.  My friend Kristen and I are the ones who came up with the idea and at first there was some skepticism in our ladies group. The main question was, "What will we eat?" I guess when ever anyone hears the word fiesta, they automatically think of hot, spicy food. After some reassuring of our ladies that we not serve anything hot and spicy, we got the go ahead to plan the celebration.

We decided to have a taco salad buffet and also some pintos and potatoes for those who didn't want salad. We spent many weeks planning and purchasing items for the banquet.  We sent out specially made invites to all our Senior Saints giving them the details of our banquet.  At first, we had many we thought would not come, because they thought the food would not be good, but we assured them there would be something for everyone. Before we knew it the week arrived to start putting everything together, we had so much fun decorating our fellowship building and getting everything set up. 

Finally, the day arrived for our banquet and I have to admit I was somewhat nervous about how things would go. I have learned in this life that you can't please everyone and I've been around older people enough to know they can be the hardest ones to make happy. I had no idea how they would react or what they would say, but I knew one thing for sure, if this banquet didn't go well, it would be all my fault. I am happy to report that the banquet was a huge hit!!  It makes me very happy to know that all the planning, running and hard work paid off.  I was very thrilled to see that some of them were even brave enough to try some new foods.  I always enjoy entertaining our Senior Saints, they always know that I will do or say something to make them laugh. I do it for that purpose, because as it states in the Bible in Proverbs 17:22, "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones." I wish I had some photos to share with you of the good time that we had, but as always I was busy cutting up and making them laugh. I have some photos of the tissue paper flowers I made and the back drop that I came up with. I also made the fake cactus in the basket. It took me a couple of days of thinking on it how to do it without have to paper mache.  I also made a pinata cake, it was very good. 



                


I count it a joy and honor to be able to celebrate our Senior Citizens.  I am reminded every day when it look in the mirror that it won't be to awful long before I will be one of them and I certainly hope that someone will be willing to take the time to celebrate and honor me. 


"That's my "two cents worth", what's yours?"