Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Diet

Please pray y'all. Wendy is the kind of kid who is always hungry, yet oh-so picky. The new diet is gluten-free, sugar-free, pork-free, etc, very limited, and so far, impossible. I give her vitamins, vit. D, acidophiles, etc, so I hope we can get her to eat some of God's most wonderful foods---eggs, avocados, quinoa, and pump up her health some.
Sleepy Beauty~ Gosh, you know what? She did her Spanish repertoire for karaoke at Los Cucos (which she pronounces correctly, as opposed to her mom and dad), and this man sitting at the bar, so enjoyed her performance that he anonymously put $20 towards our meal, which was what it always is (fajitas for one, which is enough for the 4 of us!), $16, so Wendy, in essence, paid for our family! She's a professional now with a paying fan!!!!! James saw the man gesture towards us, so he and Wendy actually did go up and thank him. What an angel.

Sleeping Stud Muffin'. He's been SO cute lately, using his little potty, taking it over to the big toilet, dumping it, flushing it, rinsing it out, washing his hands. He learns processes well!

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Life has been chucking hardballs, directly into my heart, for over a year now. It's funny how life can just explode with events at times.
I guess we moved here closer to two years ago now, but in hindsight, it just causes me to wonder why so many traumatic things have happened.
When we first interviewed, we stayed in the Howard Johnson (to save the company money), and that night, we called police due to violence right outside our window, and I wondered if it was "a sign," but of course, not really. Then, a couple months later, when our shipment arrived, at 1 in the morning, after many desperate phone calls, all smashed up and incomplete, that was another hardship. Then, you all know, late November, Wendy was found to be honeymooning with Type 1 ("the bad kind"), which is the heartbreak of my life as I wait for it. Not long ago, I wrecked our minivan in Houston, and now, dear friends are also going through upsetting events. Can't help but wonder why, you know? However, as a Christian, I know that all things that God permits, have a purpose----even the sad things. And, I may never obtain those answers, but peace comes from knowing that these things are not outside His will, and His ways are perfect. His sovereignty makes His blessings that much sweeter, and personal, too.
My grandmother passed away Feb 2nd, and I was there with her, along with my mom and her best friend, Suzon. Now, when I learned that she would be on Hospice, I had this thought that was combined with feeling, that I needed to be with her when she leaves. I visited her as often as I could in the 4 months that she was with my parents. I am glad I was able to see her several times. Then, I found out that she was getting weaker, and James gave me the okay to stay longer than I'd planned to, as I just knew it would be on this Friday.
God blessed me with a sacred wish, granted, to love her, in person. I was beside her during the final hours, minutes and seconds. My mom, Suzon and I sang hymns as we attempted to comfort her, and awaited the moment of The Savior's won-for-all/one-for-all victory over death, and my grandmother's victory--into the triumphant presence of Christ, Jesus. My father joined us at the end. And it was peaceful. Her spirit left as surely as a vapor. She went from faint life to glory. Amen.
Here are some pics a family member sent to us from the day of her funeral~ I know the smiles might be disturbing given the fact that we are all grieving the loss of her presence with us here, but the smiles were for our knowledge of where she is now, that her suffering is over, and that our family is close and faithful.

This is a painting my uncle has on a wall of his home, depicting my grandmother, looking at my daughter. I have to tell you this----as I witnessed a significant milestone of this earthly life, a conclusion, I couldn't help but wonder what God intends to do with Wendy's life, or with ours. The gravity of this reality sort of re-anchored me in the knowledge I had that our time is predestined, that our circumstances are as well, and that there is an interwoven tapestry of things known and things unknown. Each scene is meaningful. The laughter, the tears. It makes sense in a bigger picture, the big picture, that we have yet to see.

More recently, me with my valentine! Samantha watched the kids.

Before we left, Daddy gave the kids their gifties, and boy howdy, were they ever excited!

Before her school Valentines Day par-tay. Yeah, it's not easy to live in a normal world where all the other kids eat normally (so all the candy from her loot-heart had to be tossed, and I allowed her ONE sweet as opposed to the load the other kids injested.) Hurts...and then friends come up and hand her candy with her card, and it's like, ", I need that, okay?" Ugh.

I helped to finish this fun Valentine for the teacher!

The awesome hearts they made to contain their valentines!

We visited a chiropractor/alternative doctor recently, to see if anything can be done to improve her prognosis, or lengthen her honeymoon period, and we are now trying a gluten-free, sugar-free diet, so her first meal out, was steak and steamed broccoli.

Uncle James and lil' Elly!

Me with my niece and her first cousin, my WOO LOO!

Cousin Linc looking adoringly into lil' Elly's big brown eyes!

One day when I sat for a friend---cute kids they are!

Tickets are going fast! Hurry for your chance to see the fantastic sibling musical review, featuring Wendy Woo Loo on the piano, and Linc the Lincster on the drums!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


This evening, I was trying to fold clean laundry, in the laundry "room," if you can call this narrow space a room, and all of the sudden, OF COURSE, both kids come a' runnin' in! "That wouldn't happen," you might think if you know about our trampoline in our dining room, the new rocking horse, drum set, mini piano, tool bench, walk-in play kitchen, etc, etc, that fill our living spaces. Forget about it. Wherever I am--that's where the real fun is! They're in the mix of it all, completely messing up my neat piles, and tossing socks into the hamper and machines, and I just sit there, exhausted, and decide to laugh along with them. Later, while putting Wendy to bed, she declares, "Playing in laundry is the KEY to happiness!"
"So, I suppose your sixth birthday party invitation should read, 'You're invited to celebrate Wendy's birthday at our home by PLAYING IN OUR LAUNDRY!'"
She agreed. Strange child...Stranger mother---WHY do I waste money on TOYS?!

Super Bowl Etc

We had a few families over the other night for the Super Bowl, and it was just so much fun to catch up, stuff our faces and enjoy a game that really, wasn't all that important as neither team was "our team," you know? Still, a fun excuse to get together!

Before our friends arrived, I put the kids to work! Wendy emptied the bags of chips into bowls!

SO funny! When some of the confetti wound up on the floor, Linc went out to the back patio and came back with Daddy's industrial broom!

A good pic of Wendy and Cameran!

Then, the girls had a fashion show for us! Also, it just so happened to be Angel's birthday!

The other day, Wendy had a very sweet idea. She decided to write Grandmother a note, and then attach it to a balloon to release up to Heaven! Well, we soon realized that her notes (below) were too heavy to allow the balloon to rise! So we tore them smaller, and I explained that once they get to Heaven, they will be complete and perfect, just like everything else up there!

Second attempt, well, you can see that it sort got tangled up in the tree. So, we ran for Daddy to help.

Finally! Third time's a charm!

The night James took Wendy to the Daddy Daughter Dance at the Children's Museum (the first time), I took Linc with me to Johnny Carino's to share a bowl of spaghetti and meat sauce. But that night, it was raining hard, storming, and within 40 minutes or so, James and Wendy had to leave the dance, as he was on call and a tornado had touched down! Leaving the restaurant, Linc and I dashed off in the rain to Daddy's work to get Wendy! Fortunately, they gave James rain check tickets for the following night's dance! And this dance would have the little girls age 6 and up, so that was even more special for Wendy! And this second night, I took Linc to the movies to see Beauty and the Beast, 3D, but he is not ready for the theater. Wouldn't keep his glasses on, wanted to get out of my lap, etc. We left early.

The second time~These pics turned out better than the first set. My grandmother had made this dress for me many years ago!

My father took me to a Father Daughter Dance at the Officers' Club when I was 4, I think! I wore a blue velvet dress and tiny pearl cross necklace!

Linc, my doll-man!

Sunday, February 05, 2012


Greetings Loved Ones!
Life with us has been some sort of crazy lately! When I survey the events, the profoundly personal and emotional moments, the bits of outright humor, and the inconveniences that abound as well, my mind doesn't quite know what all of this adds up to mean! But one answer comes to mind---life.
It started with the update that my grandmother had entered the actively dying stage of life. I asked James if I could leave for Houston. He came home a bit early, and I left at about 4 pm. I should have made it there by 5:30, but FOUR hours later, due to an accident on 290, I wearily walked through the door of my parent's home, and into a certain quiet and anxious atmosphere. Stretching my body out, achy from the long drive, and taking a seat, my mom proceeded to inform me of all of the changes, of the truly physically and emotionally difficult day they had barely survived just prior to this new turn in her status. I then walked into my grandmother's room. There she lay, in a sort of coma, and I spent time with her, speaking to her, although I do not know her level of consciousness. She did respond to my mom, however, opening one eye and half-smiling when my mom reminded her, clearly into her ear, that she would soon be in Paradise!
My mother was 15 when she met my grandmother! Their history is one of love.
The following morning, their pastor, David, and my uncle Dan, came by to be with Grandmother for a while. Throughout the day, Hospice nurses came for follow-up and comfort measures, not just for Grandmother, but I think for all of us, as well--mainly by reassuring us that things were natural, and that my parents had been doing an excellent job with her care these last four months.
Later in the day, my mom, my grandmother's best friend, Suzon, and I sang hymns from two hymnals around her hospital bed. Earlier, I had wanted to do that, but doubted my mom had hymnals in their home. The fact that they had been offered discarded hymnals from their church was the first surprise. The singing was heart-felt, especially songs like Rock of Ages. The words take on a new meaning, reminding us afresh of the brevity of this Earthly life, when sung beside a loved one within hours of meeting her maker, following 91 years of a life lived well, lived for Christ's glory.
At around 5:15 or so, I would guess, I remarked how my grandmother's breathing had changed, so my mom asked me to get my father. He joined us and within 20 minutes, her soul departed her body. Her moving on was peaceful, and her facial expression assumed a look of acceptance, which, for me, was comforting. To see the instant change in her appearance was confirmation that "Ruth Dollahon" was with God now. Oh the glory of that homecoming! Her body, an empty vessel. Her soul, in awe of the perfect peace, perfect joy and perfect love of her Creator!
Hospice had given us a poem describing our loved one as a ship, sailing off into the horizon and out of our sight, getting smaller and smaller until no longer visible. However! On the other side, her vessel is looming ever larger and others are cheering, "Here she comes!" Hallelujah!
I thank God for the ability to be with her when she left us. That was a deep desire I've had for months. I am thankful to James, and his job, for their sacrifice so that he could be with our kids in this time. The nurse had said it could be up to six days, but I knew it would be on this day. And within minutes of my mother's prayer, clutching my grandmother's hand, that our Lord be merciful and gather her up in His love, she was in His arms.
Another special fact was this: "Christine Martin saw her into this life, and Christine Martin saw her out of it." This was the name of my grandmother's mother, as well as of the nurse who pronounced her. And the nurse had a Martin-like appearance as well, and a gentle demeanor.
The intensity of the experience was met with bits of humor, goofs stemming from fatigue and emotion. Those mistakes were the levity we needed, and had my grandmother been privy to them, she'd have laughed uproariously!
Anyway, witnessing birth, witnessing death, these things remind me of the big picture that overshadows the trials and tragedies of this life. We glimpse but a piece of the plan. And the rest is a marvel of which we can merely dream, anticipating that one day,we will understand enough to obtain that peace that passeth all understanding. In the middle of my internal turmoil over Wendy's health, I must remember that she is the Lord's, that her body, and all, is up to God, and that I am to do my best as her guardian, having my confidence in Him, her true father. We shall all receive resurrected bodies, devoid of diseases, disorders, injury and age. I hope I'm a size 2. Ha ha!
Yesterday morning, I took Wendy to Fine Arts Friday, and Linc, to Power Sports for the first time (which he loved, gave me a sweet kiss and hug g'bye, and ran off for the fun!) And I crashed. About 2 hours later, or less, a phone call that Wendy had had a slight incident at recess and wanted to come home. I bolted out of bed, and grabbed a cup of Joe on the way out, so that I could snap out of my sleep-state sooner. I was so tired, get this, that I am doctoring my coffee and look down to see these peculiar flakes floating on my coffee! I think "what's up with the Sweet N Low?" and then glance at my left hand. It's holding a packet that reads, "Color-Enhancing Flakes for Beta Fish."
Later yesterday evening, I'm bathing the kids and getting Wendy ready for the Daddy Daughter Dance at the Children's Museum, spiraling crystals into her hair, and all! James and Wendy are there under an hour when a tornado touches the ground, and as James is on call, he has to bolt out and take Wendy with him into the office! I then drive, in the hard rain, with Linc in tow, to get Wendy. Fortunately, another man had had no choice but to bring along his two older daughters. Wendy wound up telling me, "It was okay because I had EVEN MORE fun with the girls at Daddy's work!" They'd shared their popcorn with her and pics of their dog, etc. Tonight, he can take her again (this time, girls ages 6 and up), so she'll feel like a big girl!
James stayed on and worked all night long until abut 9 this morning, when he came home, slept maybe 2 hours, and then was back out the door to work. I hope he is able to enjoy the dance tonight!
He flies out Monday and returns sometime Thursday, making it hard for him to attend my grandmother's funeral, but this he's already changed this trip once before for one of Wendy's doctor appts, so this time, he'll see what he can do, but I'm mostly thankful that I got to be with my grandmother.
Sometimes there are obstacles, twists and turns, but then all these things are the compilation of our life's experiences, and we are blessed to have this life. And even more blessed to be given the chance to see the triumphant conclusion to one such exciting life.