Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I'm Back.....

For those of you who know me, you know I normally post every day, sometimes more than that; but I haven't been feeling up to par lately. Christmas Eve I knocked myself so hard in the head getting stuff out of my van that I hit the ground! I was dizzy and nausea for days and finally ended up in the ER Friday (not very good since all the doctor's in Pensacola had been closed for three days!). Baptist Hospital and Sacred Heart both had 12 hours waits (in the waiting room alone) and West Florida had a five hour wait. I started out at Sacred, after heading home, decided to go to West Florida at my mom's coercing. I don't have a concussion, just bruised the noggin and gave myself a good jolt. I hit so hard my jaws clinched down and they've been hurting ever since. I called the dentist, she saw me this morning. I've fractured a tooth; the big molar in the back. Yeap. I have to have a root canal and crown done. I'd be OK with that, but the tooth next to it has five fractures in it! I've been babying that one to get it done later instead of sooner. Oh well, looks like it's gonna be sooner.

I've also been dealing with other issues....about six months ago I was diagnosed with depression. I guess with all that has been going on and me missing some of my thyroid medication doses (more than some...) that I've thrown my system into wack. My thyroid levels are now low, causing exhaustion and confusion which plays on the chemicals that cause one to be labeled "depressed." It's a vicious cycle.

With all that in mind...haven't felt like posting. We did have a wonderful Christmas though. We had my mom, Chris' mom and brother, Kayla's boyfriend and his grandparents over for our first Christmas Breakfast (which we will do again). It was nice. We also made a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas Eve which we (me and the kids) decorated on Christmas Day. It was nice. We were completely blessed with an overflow of gifts for the kids replacing so much of what they have lost. They also all got bikes....real bikes....no more trikes! Christopher informed me yesterday that since he has a real bike now we have to find a boy who needs a tricycle. Made me smile. Maybe I am doing something right in this parenting thing after all.

I am really tired. We have lots and lots of pictures to put up from Christmas.

Be blessed and if I don't post again before the 1st....HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I woke up sick in the middle of the night; head is spinning and keep can't my balance. It's been bad all day. Kayla picked up the slack, without me even asking! She cleaned up the kitchen and put away the wrapping stuff, cleaned up the hallway that had pictures leaned on the wall from our mold clean up and boxes of "other stuff" that hadn't made my to-do list. I sincerely appreciate her work and efforts as we have company coming for our first Christmas Breakfast in the morning....

The weather is dreary, muggy, cloudy...yuck. Sure wish it was cold.

I have been counting down making a birthday cake for Jesus...today is the day, but with my spinning and sorts haven't gotten to it yet. Chris has started dinner, and we are going to try making the cake as soon as I finish this post. We had planned on making icing for sugar cookies also and putting together a Gingerbread House.... the cookies will be done with sprinkles and no icing and the Gingerbread House, well it will have to wait until tomorrow after gifts are opened and company is gone.

Kayla has already left with Justin to have their gift exchange and eat dinner.

In all the hustle and bustle, I hope you remember the purpose of the day...Christmas. To celebrate the birth of Christ. He came to be born, in order to die. He died for me, He died for you. Hallelujah! Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Another Day...

Another Sunday home; very discouraging. Kayla is very sick, dizzy spells, light headed, gets sick and lethargic shortly after every meal and is sleeping all the time. Chris was going to take the younger two with him this morning as I was up most of the night again. Unfortunately, we have a front coming through and there is a cold rain coming down. So much for quiet time for me. I was hoping for a cold Christmas this year, but seems the front that is leaving us with a high of 56 today will be gone by tomorrow and back in the 70's the rest of the week. Oh well, one day I will have a cold Christmas....maybe even a white one?!

Yesterday did not allow for the rest I was hoping for as Chris had to go in to work. What was supposed to be a couple hours turned into an eight hour day. I did manage to get three or four boxes unpacked from the hallway (boxes we had to pack up for the cabinets to be taken out). I don't know how I did it, but I have all the stuff put away without those bottom cabinets in! Now... where did I put the spatula?! Ha-ha:)

I have to go referee a four year old and a three year old!

More later. Be blessed.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It Was Me.

Well, I sit here today; ashamed. I posted a few days ago that I was dealing with some hurt feelings and anger. Today, I am ashamed I couldn't get past the point to see it clearly. I see it now. I honestly didn't think it was me, but it was. No ifs, ands or buts. Isn't that normally how it is though?! A few days ago, I was bound and determined to be heard and voice my anger, and thankfully I didn't get that opportunity or I'd be eating crow right about now. Today, I'm just overwhelmed and thankful. Enough said.

I have worked more this past week than I normally do, and boy am I exhausted. Last week I worked Wednesday with shopping and making diabetic cheese cakes for Pine Summit's Dessert Theater. Friday I finished baking those cheesecakes, baked cookies, made the tea, coffee...anyway, turned into a 12 hour day, Saturday and Sunday were much shorter with the cheesecakes being done, but nonetheless, I am not used to working a four day work week... then had to pull myself out of the bed yesterday to go cook for Wednesday dinner and tonight is The Most Excellent Way's Christmas Party! I love to cook and feed people, but man... am I ever tired! My house is a mess, dishes piled high, boxes of stuff still to be washed from the sawdust and sheet rock and still have boxes on my front porch of decoration and there is a huge pile of stuff still in my yard to be hauled off! I guess getting it all done by Christmas just isn't going to happen. The sooner I get that through my thick head the better off I, and my family will be! While I am tired, I am not complaining. The Lord is meeting our needs above and beyond what I could have ever imagined. Gleaning just came to my mind...inthe book of Ruth, I think it is called "gleaning" (is that the right spelling/word?) Ruth had to work for her provisions... the Lord just made it a little easier for her. The Lord's made it easier for us by using caring people to help us this year, and by giving me extra hours of work...to feed the hungry...every day folks like you and me... the hungry. I'm getting paid for what I love to do... how cool is that?! Pretty amazing to me.

Enough typing, time to wash:)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Orthopedic Doctor

Kayla and I just got in from her appointment with the Orthopedic Doctor. She has been taken off the splint and told to try using her leg as much as possible. She was given a steroid shot...yes, it was very, very painful. She goes back in three weeks. At that time, if it's not better, she will have to have a minor surgery for them to scope her knee. The doctor impressed me because when I told him she had been taken Loratab, he said, "She's coming off a narcotic, she's only 16!" I couldn't believe my ears. Usually, most doctor's want to cover up the pain and not address the issues at hand. I was impressed.

Also...we got a refrigerator today! It was being delivered as we were leaving and is set up and nice and cold! What a relief, I can cook for my family! We are having Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes and Mixed Veggies tonight...I am so excited! I haven't cooked a real meal in weeks.

I read a cool devotional this morning. I mentioned a few days ago how I tend to pull away from the Lord when trials occur because I don't like going to Him and complain and wine... my devotional wasn't a "real" devotional, but something out a book I picked up to read this morning. I love lighthouses. It was my first visual the Lord gave me, that He is our light, our Beacon of Hope, and just like He is that light, I too, am to be that light in a dark world. Anyway, it was a simple reading from "Lighthouse Psalms, God's Gift of Direction and Hope." I'd like to share it with you.


Search for the Lord and for his strength, and keep on searching. Psalm 105:4.

Each night without fail, the faithful beam from the lighthouse searches the waters below. It stands as a guide for passing ships, a searchlight for ships in peril, and a warning of dangerous rocks and sandbars to vessels approaching the harbor. It is a tower of strength for those who depend upon its beam to light their way.

If you are searching for a tower of strength in your life - someone who will guide you safely through the troubled waters of life, someone who will rescue you in your time of distress, someone who will warn you away from the obstacles that lay hidden in your path - open your heart to God. He will be there when you need Him most.

Something I noticed, that reading does not say He will be there for you only in good times. Does not say that in all, but in contrary. But, what's cool too, is that even in the calm, the lighthouse remains. It's not just there for the storms, it's not just there for the calm seas, it's always there. "Instead of pulling away next time Lord, help me to run to you as fast as I can."

You know, another thing, since I am being so real today. I have allowed a person, a group of person's break my heart. I am hurting very badly and I am angry. I have attempted to make an appointment to speak to one of these people, but was told I could not. I am praying, and honestly, I don't mean it when I pray it, but I am praying it anyway, that MY PART OF THIS, if it's petty and silly, would go away. I know what the Bible says that man will disappoint and that is why we are to put our trust in the Lord. All I know is my heart is hurting right now. I would appreciate your prayers in this kind of unspoken area.

I'm running to you Lord....wow...His arms are wide open and waiting on me!

Prayer Request

Ooops, I just got a frantic call from my mother saying my grandmother wanted to know what was going on with me! Sorry, this is not me, but is a copy of an email that was sent to me from my friend Lori. She is having the surgery this weekend.

Dear Family and Friends:

I am writing to you asking for prayers for me. About two weeks ago, during my annual exam at the gynecologist, they found a mass (size of a large grapefruit) on my right ovary. This Saturday, December 20th at 8:00 am I will have surgery at Sacred Heart Hospital to remove the mass, the right ovary and any thing else that doesn't appear to be "normal". The blood work called a CA125 was very promising that it is just a mass, but they will do further testing once they get it out. I will be in the hospital 1 night possibly 2. Please pray for the my doctor - Dr. Antonetti, for the anesthetic doctor, for all the other professionals that will assist in the surgery, for me for peace and for my family. Thank you in advance for your prayers. I know that God is in control, but I'm human!!!! I do appreciate and love you all. Lori

PS - Please feel free to forward this - would not decline additional prayers!!! :-)

Monday, December 15, 2008

More Doctor Appointments and USAA

The Dessert Theater is over; I'm pooped and know all the others involved are too. Sunday night was by far the biggest in number...which I haven't gotten yet. I had planned on spending the day in my P.J.'s, but all that changed when Kayla's knee turned blood red and mooshy. She was in so much pain she was sick. Her pediatrician saw her, prescribed pain meds and nausea meds and ordered some blood work to be done. We also picked up the x-rays that were taken last week in order to take to the Orthopedic Doctor tomorrow morning.

I got some wonderful news this morning from USAA. They are going to pay us on the high end of our claim for the loss of our food in the refrigerator and freezer!! This is a very good thing. Also, Lucie is having a new refrigerator delivered tomorrow from Lowe's. Oh, and another cool thing, USAA can do a direct deposit thing... no waiting for the mail... so I get to go grocery shopping! There's nothing worse than wondering what I am going to feed my family.... it's been stressful and I am so sick of fast food I think I could gag. It's killing my "girlish figure" (yeah right) and is deeply killing our pocket book!

I'm sure I'll post after the Orthopedic appointment in the morning. Until then, rest well.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Busy Bee

I've been awake since before 4 a.m. I can't sleep. This is the first year I haven't been worried about Christmas. It's been cool. Refreshing. Keeps things in perspective. I have to say, it must be the Lord working overtime. I read Marybeth's blog http://marybethwhalen.blogspot.com/) just about daily (with Proverbs 31 Ministries......http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/). She told of how each of her children get three gifts each (she has six by the way..yikes!). Each gift is represented by Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. The Gold is the luxurious, non practical gift, the frankincense is the growth gift...something that will grown them spiritually, and the myrrh is the practical gift...clothes, shoes, maybe earrings. I tried scrolling back to find that particular post, but can't find it, sorry. BUT, if you would go through her post and read some, I know you will be blessed. She also has an e-book that you can order. WOW! It's great. I was given it as a gift. It gave me some great ideas and put things back in perspective for me this year...Christmas Joy.... it sure isn't found in the shelves of our stores, or under our trees, but in our hearts. We haven't done much shopping at all, but we did pick up a few things at LifeWay yesterday. They had a great sale on Friday and Saturday. We got her the most awesome....oh, I would tell you what we got Kayla, but I found out she has recently started reading my post when she found I talked about her:) Anyway, Chris and I have discussed this and I am pretty sure this will begin a new tradition with us. I believe it will help us keep our focus and be more "picky" in our gift giving. We are also starting this year by making a birthday cake...for Jesus! My three year old, Kaitlyn, EVERY TIME we say "Christmas" she yells, with her finger pointing in the air as if to get more enthusiastic, "JESUS' BIRTHDAY!" It's great. We are also having a Christmas Breakfast this year instead of the traditional Turkey/Ham dinner.

Friday was a long day...left my house at 9 a.m. and didn't leave Pine Summit until 9 p.m. Shopping and baking and preparing for the Dessert Theater...I was exhausted. I didn't have to be there until 4 pm last night and the same for tonight.

I can't remember if I mentioned or not, but our refrigerator has died! Can you believe it? We noticed something was leaking when we got back in the house, but thought it was the ice maker or water filtering system...it was the ice maker alright...it was the ice melting! We have had to throw away all the food in the freezer and the fridge. We have our milk and juice in a cooler... I thought we had a fridge, but the lady called yesterday when I was resting. She hasn't returned my several phone calls since then. So, if you are reading this, pray for a refrigerator! Nothing fancy, used is great! We've already told Lucie a refrigerator takes precedence over counter tops and cabinets...so pray for a great deal of a fridge...OK! I did get some good news though. After telling a friend about the ordeal, I mentioned my renters insurance... so I called USAA. I had a message on my phone when I got through with the dessert theater than USAA will reimburse us for our loss of food!! Hallelujah! I was doin' the jig~it wasn't a pretty sight, but nonetheless, I was doing it! I'll call him back on Monday with a list of food items I thew away...whew.

Well, I have already drank my two cup limit of coffee for the day, but I think I just might need to make another cup or two.

Have a blessed Sunday. Please continue to pray for Kayla. She is hurting so bad, she voluntarily said she wanted to stay home from church this morning. Christopher is still have coughing spells and breathing treatments, BUT Kaitlyn seems to be trying to get better! Another Hallelujah!

More next week when life slows down....

Friday, December 12, 2008

Pine Summit Dessert Theater

A Journey To The Manger
Friday, December 12th through Sunday December 14th
7 PM Nightly

Pine Summit Baptist Church
2920 Bellview Avenue
(Corner of Community and Bellview)

Free Admission

Free Childcare

No Reservations Needed

For more information, call 944 - 2888

Pray for An Unborn Child

I had asked the person who asked me to be in prayer for a special unborn child if I could mention names and be specific, and while he said yes, I sense the Holy Spirit leading me to not be specific. So right now, as each person reads this, I am asking you to pray for an unborn child. My Jesus knows which one, my Jesus knows the mother, the physicians and the ailments. We are praying for a miracle healing of an unborn child and salvation to it's mother.

When my precious friend Eddie was passing away, a sweet lady from Olive told me, "Stacey, People can try second guessing how soon, how long, but what they are forgetting is that Eddie will not die until he has touched the very last life that he was meant to touch for Jesus." I believe that to be so with every life. I believe no life is an accident and that regardless of the outcome, can be used for Jesus.

Stop now and pray please.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pictures Are Woth A Thousand Words...

Over the last seven weeks or so, we have had many ups and many downs. Through loss, there has been gain though. Life did go on, and progress is being made. We took pictures throughout our ordeal. Here are just a few.....these go from the beginning when we found out we had to leave, until recently when the camper was pulled out of our driveway:)

That's a dress? Where's the rest of it?!

Kayla's homecoming with Justin. We were staying at my mom's for her to get ready.

The kids did get baths...it wasn't like living in the woods! This is Duke, my mom's dog. He started off doing great with the kids, but as stress levels grew, his anxiety grew and he began snapping and biting the kids. This particular night though, Duke sat by Christopher the entire time in the tub. Once the kids got out, Duke jumped in!

Kaitlyn and Christopher playing at Grammy's.

Christopher with Duke and Kaitlyn with Cheyanne (mom's other dog.)

Kaitlyn turned three during all this. We decorated at Grammy's (my mom's) for the morning of her birthday.

This picture was taken at Memaw's where we had her actual birthday party!

During all the chaos, we took advantage of our zoo passes and took the kids to the zoo. Chris has most of the pictures on his camera, but here are just a few. This was a fun day, and much needed break from reality.

I have developed a huge fascination with Peacocks. Don't know why, but they intrigue me.

This is a picture of the camper being set up in our yard. Many, many thanks to Eddie and Lynette for letting us make their camper our home for two plus weeks. We were blessed.

The inside...the table made a bed, which became Christopher's bed. Behind him is where Chris and I slept. On the other end, was a bed also, which is where Kaitlyn and Kayla slept.

Yes, this is me, grateful, but with attitude...is it possible to have both?!

My little man...

On of many camp fires! It was rather cold our first night out, so we made hot chocolate and S'mores over the campfire! That was a fun night. The tent that is set up behind them is where we stored all our clothes, extra blankets, books for Kayla's schooling and dry food products.

Christopher had a blast!

Now, this is my Granny's roaster pan. It sustained high heat and roasted my first whole chicken over a campfire!

Isn't it beautiful! Martha Stewart has nothing on Stacey Paden!

These are the mold guys ripping out the walls and floors....

more ripping out....


Once the mold people got everything treated and the A/C people treated and cleaned the unit and vents, I was able to clean the living room and bathroom so we could get out of the camper!! We had four blow up mattresses placed side by side, and it was crowded, but it was in the house and we got to take a shower in our own house! Christopher and Kaitlyn got to decorate their "Charlie Brown Tree" also.

We had donuts the next morning....can you tell they were chocolate?!

1,800 pounds of wet, rotten, stinky smelling particle board and vinyl was hauled to the dump over a two day period. In this picture, you can see where the water line ended...

The insurance company is not paying for us to get cabinets. If not for the generosity and kindness of Dewayne (our contractor), we would not even have a partial counter or sink. Dewayne built this to "make do."

This is "Uncle Ronnie." DeWayne is under the sink:)

DeWayne and Uncle Ronnie went above and beyond to take care of us. DeWayne shoots it straight, gives a best case and worse case scenario so we always knew the top and bottom of the line for cost. My life and my kids life has been blessed to meet DeWayne and Uncle Ronnie. If you every need any work done around your home, you contact me and I'll give you their number. You too, will be blessed.

Now, let me tell you about these guys! THEY DID A FANTASTIC JOB LAYING OUR NEW VINYL! The company is J.C. Crenshaw. There number is 850-291-7944. I asked them if I could put their picture on my blog and they said only if you advertise for us! Ha-ha! Seriously though, they really did a great job. Lowe's had come in about a year ago and laid vinyl for Lucie, they did a horrible job. These guys really do good work and I highly recommend them.


This is Eddie....gee, is the camper being taken down? Yeah! This means we are completely in the house!! We actually got to get in the house on Thanksgiving night....we have much to be grateful for. It took about a week to get stuff cleaned in the house and move all the stuff from the camper and tent and our outside kitchen back in the house. We are so thankful for the generosity of Eddie and Lynette for letting us use their camper. We truly are blessed. Please pray an abundance of blessings over this family for their generosity!

Going, going, gone....:)
My little man is really sick. He has been nearly a week of school...running fever, crouping, sinus yuckiness...took him to the doctor on Tuesday. He is wheezing...so they started him on breathing treatments every four hours. He is also being treated for a sinus infection. For some reason his skin coloring is changing...he's almost yellowish and very pale. He wakes up going strong, but within a few hours, he is curled up in the recliner (which was donated for us!) and stays there until bed time. His appetite is next to nothing and he sure is getting skinny. Please be praying for my little man.

Kaitlyn seems to be getting over the worse of her sinus infection. Kayla, in case you haven't heard, is on crutches. She fell again this past weekend and I had to take her to the Emergency Room. She's been giving a leg sprint, pain medications and we are still waiting to hear from the Orthopedic Dr. I am so glad all this is happening in the house though and not in the camper! Can you imagine?!
So, these are our pictures. I have lots more, but I know I have already added too many.
Have a wonderful Thursday!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My Sick Little Man

Christopher is still running fever after six days. We took him to the doctor yesterday. He is being treated for a sinus infection, he has fluid on his ears (Christopher is prone to ear infections) and has been put on breathing treatments for wheezing. Hopefully he will be back in school by Monday.

On a positive note, THE CAMPER IS GONE!! Hallelujah! Chris will be downloading pictures for me today from the last six weeks while I am cooking diabetic cheesecakes all day for the Dessert Theater at Pine Summit Baptist. I will try posting pictures this weekend of the last few weeks.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Psalm 91:4

I usually open my Bible to Psalm 91:4 because I have feathers on the page of that scripture. Psalm 91:4 is one of my favorite scriptures. I haven't been faithful in the reading of my Bible or spending quality time with the Lord in several, several weeks. I don't know if anyone else does this, but when trials come my way, I seem to drift away from the Lord like that because I feel qualty asking Him for help...I can't describe it. Anyway, this morning, when I went to open my Bible to my starting point of Psalm 91:4, it opened at 2 Kings 18:6. How my feathers got on that page, I'll never know. The scripture for that verse says, "He held fast to the Lord, and did not turn from following Him but kept the commandments the Lord had commanded Moses. Verse 7 says, "The Lord was with him, and wherever he went he prospered." Hallelujah! I needed that love note from the Lord this morning. I've thought about it all day long.

I had to get Kayla to the ER this morning. She fell again on the already bad knee. It's not broken, but has fever in it, swollen and bruised. She is in a leg brace and was given pain pills. We are waiting to hear from an Orthopedic Dr. Christopher and Kaitlyn are both sick. Christopher has been running fever since Saturday.

I've made little progress in getting my home cleaned up and put together. Our yard is still full of piles of debris that has to go to the dump. ECUA will not pick it up as it is too big of a pile. All I need is a sign that reads "RED NECKS LIVE HERE!" Heck, we don't even need the sign!

Kids are calling my name, drier buzzer is buzzing and the dog needs out.

More later.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Real Quick

Home with not only two kids, but all three. Kaitlyn woke up crouping like Christopher. Kayla's knee is swollen and has fever in it. She was moaning and whimpering in her sleep all night. Satan sure hasn't given me much of a break between jumpin' back on my back...all I can say is, "Get behind me satan and no weapon formed against me will prosper!" I sure am glad all three of my kids aren't sick and we are still in that camper (which is being taken home today)!!!!

Chris and I got to sleep in a REAL bed last night for the first time in five weeks! It was wonderful!! We are getting ready to eat breakfast at our kitchen table...first time in five weeks. (Sigh..) even with everything in boxes and clothes baskets and the house a mess, and the dust of sanded sheetrock everywhere, it's so good to be home...it's good to be home.

Have a blessed Sunday...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Been Crazy...

I mentioned a few days ago that Kayla was back on crutches; well, she fell today by slipping on the edge of a blanket that was covering the couch. She fell straight down on the same knee that is already hurt. She is in excruciating pain. She was able to hobble, but now can not put any pressure on the leg at all. My little Christopher is also very sick. He is running a high fever, and hurting.
On a positive note, Chris and I get to sleep in a REAL bed tonight! Hallelujah!
Gotta get my little man in a lukewarm bath...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Job, A Tough Lesson Learned

I learned something new today. During the last month I have had more people tell me, "look at Job; look what he went through and he never doubted." Well, I've heard that so much, that it began making me angry, because I wasn't measuring up. I had never read the book of Job all the way through, so, I, and my daughter started reading it and studying it. We've been using it as her Bible Course for homeschooling and I have been using it for me, to learn and grow. (Hopefully Kayla will benefit more from it than "just a school credit." After reading a few chapter, I started getting confused. The reason I was getting confused was because, in my opinion, based on what I was reading, Job did doubt God. How can someone have such remorse over the day they were born, and even conceived, and not call that doubting God?! Today, it was explained to me. After Job went through the wavering period and wondering why, he began to be remorseful. And while he did doubt, he never turned his back on God! The experience drew him closer to the Lord, causing him extreme remorse...bringing him to a repentant heart! As soon as Noveta said that, my heart was filled with pain. Just this past Sunday, as I shared earlier this week, my Pastor preached on a repentant heart and he even referred to Job's repentance! I was overwhelmed with such emotion I could not control the tears. In my heart, I knew Sunday's message was for me, but I also knew I hadn't dealt with it. I went to the ladies room, sat in the stall and cried and cried, asking the Lord to forgive me for doubting, asking Him to forgive me for wanting to be dead at times during these five weeks, asking Him to forgive me for wavering in my faith and in any area I have missed. When I got through sobbing like a baby, I realized, and while I know this, it became reality, I don't have to be in Church to repent, don't have to be in Church to worship, don't have to wait for the invitation from the pastor to come to the alter... Jesus met me today, in the stall of the ladies room at Pine Summit Baptist Church. He heard my prayer, He forgave me for doubting and wavering, and He is teaching me how to not do that the next time trials come my way.

Kayla is writing a paper on the book of Job. One of her assignments is to give five other scripture references in the Bible where someone is going through the storm, and how they praised the Lord while going through it. I'm taking on this assignment also.

I actually came home from work sick today. My husband was up most of the night sick and coughing. I knew I felt bad too, but man it hit me hard this afternoon with fever. I'm spread out on my couch (YES, WE GOT A COUCH AND RECLINER TODAY!!!!), watching QVC with Mrs. Prindable's Caramel Apples...yum. My mother-in-law is feeding the kids and my husband. Her house is packed with six grand kids there and three of her four kids.... I'm glad I'm here, in the quiet...and resting.

Also, as I just mentioned, we were GIVEN a couch and recliner today. I could not believe it. A friend of mine stopped by The Waterfront Mission in Milton yesterday to see what they had in way of furniture. Everything they had was new...and way out of our price range. She explained the situation to the person working there, that we had lost almost everything, and the clerk said, "I have a couch and recliner they can have!" I couldn't believe it. Chris and his brother went and picked it up this morning. The recliner is dark blue and nice. The couch is old, BUT in good condition AND it gives us a place to sit! We also had the vinyl laid today. It's beautiful! I so wish we could have afforded to have the vinyl laid throughout the kitchen. We had to leave half of the old vinyl and put in a seam thing in the kitchen. I can't remember what it's called...but, we have a floor. That's all I care about. The contractor blessed my socks off also. They not only laid the floor in the utility room, they put sheet rock up in there today! It was an unfinished room for 20 years. It's now finished. I could not believe it! I want you to please, please, please pray an abundance of blessings on our contractor for going above and beyond. Lucie's insurance company has really just pulled one over on her. I'm still praying for them too. My God is bigger than any insurance company! Our cabinets are being given to us... hopefully. Chris went and looked at them this morning, and they had been demolished. West Florida is renovating for the Baptist Hospital buy out. The gentleman that is trying to get them for us is hoping to get there before the ones tonight are demolished. All I want is a sink! Washing from the bath tub has not been a pleasant experience! Although, I'd rather wash in the bath tub and have hot water to do so than to have to use the hose like we had to while in the camper.

OK, my mind is fuzzy and I just can't think any more. I hope I haven't made too many mistakes, I'll have to proof it later....

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

We Are Getting There!

I got the tent emptied today from clothes, books, toys and four weeks of mail. I also got the tent down today. WHEW! I feel much better. Progress is being made on the clean up. The contractor is hauling off all the debris and then some tomorrow. The vinyl is being laid tomorrow also. Friday ECUA is picking up all the mattresses and as much debris that we can fit in a 6 foot by 6 foot section. Chris picked up a washer and drier from a friend in our Sunday School Class. Our washer broke. She wanted a new one, so we were blessed with not having to purchase a new washer right now. I got a phone call today from another friend in S/S Class. She was at the Waterfront Mission in Milton. A worker there has a couch and love seat for us! Chris is picking that up tomorrow and a co-worker from Olive is giving us one of her Queen size beds. We'll need to get a frame, but Waterfront sales them for like $15 (so I've been told). Seems like things are coming together. OH, and Chris is meeting with a guy at West Florida Hospital tomorrow morning to look at the cabinets they have that are being taken out for a renovation because of the Baptist Hospital buy out. We will probably have to purchase new counter tops as the counter tops on the existing cabinets have the sinks in the corner of the counters, and not centered under my window:) I know the Lord will provide. Our contractor has blessed us beyond measure. He laid plywood in the utility room that was not even supposed to get done. He took out all the rotten particle wood for me, which I was thrilled about. But to have the plywood down...simply wonderful! I am praying the Lord will bless him beyond measure because of his kindness.

I cook tomorrow at Pine Summit...Roasted Chicken, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Vegetable Medley, Roll, Salad and a dessert. Yum. I'm hungry. I also have to make a diabetic cheesecake tomorrow for the staff to sample. Pine Summit's Dessert Theater is coming up next week and I have to make the diabetic cheesecakes. Normally I am further ahead than this, but with all the events that have taken place, I'm behind. I haven't even bought all my cheesecakes for the theater! I have to have 80 of them; I've only bought 9!

I have to unstack all the stuff I brought in from the camper and tent today so my husband will have a place to put the couch and love seat tomorrow. It is true you know, the Lord does provide. I was so bummed about our insurance companies not taking care of our "stuff." It's all worked out though. We need an entertainment center or shelves to put our videos and all my pictures out. That too will come.

On to the putting away, and IF I can stay awake, finish decorating our tree. I was up again for hours in the middle of the night...just not sleeping well.

Leo Day & Friends/Olive Baptist Church

Don't forget! A CLASSICAL CHRISTMAS with Leo Day & Friends (December 7, 2008) Leo Day (Minister of Music at Olive Baptist Church) will celebrate Christmas by presenting a concert entitled A CLASSICAL CHRISTMAS with Leo Day & Friends! Leo Day and Friends begins at 6:00PM. This concert will feature many Christmas selections from the classical repertoire as well as several traditional tunes.

The concert commences in the Worship Center of Olive Baptist Church.

Don't miss it!

Leo Day
The Music Man

I copied and pasted this announcement Leo sent out today about the musical this Sunday night. If you can't be here in person, I'd like to encourage you to attend by live streaming (olivebaptist.org). Olive has been blessed to have Leo with us since he and his family left New Orleans because of Katrina. I've been a Christian for 10 years; however, I did not know nor understand the freedom of worship until sitting under Leo Day. (Olive's Sunday morning services, both 9:30 and 11:00 are also streamed.)

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, THERE IS FREEDOM!


Monday, December 1, 2008


Kayla hurt her knee in February of this year. She fell right on it when she slipped on her blow drier (I know, what was it doing on the floor?....She's 16. That should say it all.) Kayla is a slow healer and is very sensitive to pain. She has a very, very, low pain tolerance level. I sometimes tend to ignore her complaints because of that. Something I am working on. Kayla started having shooting pain in that same knee a few weeks ago. The pain was waking her up at night. Then, this past Saturday, she must have pulled something in moving and cleaning stuff because on Sunday she was in a lot of pain. Today, it was worse. The doctor saw her at 5:15 this afternoon. It appears she has bruised the joints somehow. She will be on crutches for one week. If it's not better by next Monday, she'll have to have X-rays done. Kayla said she is going to personalize the crutches and trim them in pink lace and sequences. She's a nut.

The contractor said he hauled off 800 pounds of flooring today! Hard to believe it was that much. They will be back at 8:00 tomorrow morning to lay the floors and hang the sheet rock.

We let Christopher stay up and watch the Grinch. He is enjoying it. I just asked him, "they are still singing, even though the Grinch stole all their stuff. Do you know why?" He said, "Because...it's Jesus' Birthday!" Hallelujah! My baby gets it:) One my favorite parts of this movie is when the Grinch's heart grows three times. I often use that analogy when sharing my testimony. Ezekiel 36:26 says that the Lord will take that heart of stone, and give me a heart of flesh. The Lord, and only the Lord can take a cold, hard heart and make it warm, sensitive, and real. I'm thankful the Lord took my heart of stone, and has given me a heart of flesh!

Kitchen Work Begins...Laundry OVERLOAD!

I got the biggest blessing today!! A friend of mine called me and asked if she could help with laundry, I said, "yeeeeah!" We loaded my van up full of sheets, blankets, bedspreads, comforters, quilts, and all the laundry the five of us have that had to be washed. I'm not kidding. We are talking a van load full (with the seats out of it)! With my washer broken and not getting another one till tonight, I was just overwhelmed. With no exaggeration, we had to of washed 20 loads of laundry! Everything is now washed, dried, AND FOLDED! Now comes the putting away part. I am pooped beyond pooped. I was very surprised it cost tso much. I spent $70 and my friend spent some of her own money too. I had no idea it would cost that much; but it would have been that on my water and electric bill plus it would have taken a month to get it all completed. Oh I am so thankful! She blessed me. Kayla Lou worked very hard today too. She was in there sorting, loading, switching out and then she took complete control of the driers! We took the joint over. It was great:) We only had to throw away one thing that was obviously contaminated with the mold and unfortunately it was Kayla's feather bed. After washing it in hot water, lots of detergent and borax, and drying it, it still smelled horrible. Upon further examination, it was covered it mold spots and ripped. She's very disappointed. I don't see how we are going to replace it, we'll see.

Kaitlyn has been at Memaw's all day. Her Aunt Sheri is in town with her children. Both kids love playing with their cousins. Christopher didn't want to go to school today because he wanted to play with them.

Dewayne came today and ripped off the flooring. Got pictures, but still have to get my husband to download them all.

I have to unload my van and get Kaitlyn home and get ready for Christopher to get off the bus.

Will post more later...and by the way, the kids slept great in their own rooms, in their own beds, and Chris and I got to sleep in our own room, and in our own beds! It was absolutely wonderful.

I can see the light at the end of this tunnel. Whew. It's been a long tunnel, that's for sure!

Be Blessed.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

So Appreciative....

Each child is in their own room tonight. Some friends of ours gave us their daughter's bedroom suite, along with two beds with box springs and mattresses. Kayla got her bed set up last night. I, along with the help of my sister-in-law and brother-in-law, got Christopher and Kaitlyn's room set up as well. Christopher and Kaitlyn are in their rooms, in their beds, and....do you hear that....silence. They are asleep! Hallelujah! Tonight, we sat down together, read our Bible stories, did prayers, and they were out. I couldn't believe it. Only one time Christopher said he wanted to sleep in the living room with everyone. I told him God had given us their new beds, and that he would sleep in the bed. That was the end of it. I put our blow up mattress in mine and Chris' room. For the first time in nearly five weeks, we will all be sleeping in our own rooms!

Our Pastor preached this morning on a repentant heart. The message spoke directly to my heart. I've questioned God, doubted God, and have been angry at God. I didn't realize it until hearing the message, that I desperately needed to ask the Lord's forgiveness, that I needed to repent for my doubting, for being angry, for even saying and thinking some of the things I've said and thought. I'm so grateful for Grace....Amazing Grace!

Kayla and Justin are watching a movie...Chris too...Princess Bride. It's one of Chris' favorite movies. Me, I could have gone a lifetime without watching it. Does nothing for me.

I'm going to take advantage of my children being asleep and go to bed early tonight. I'm just so grateful for friends and family that have done and helped us. While I truly believe the incidents that have occurred were used to save our marriage, I also believe it has allowed me to see just how many people care for us. We are truly blessed.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


I am sitting here, watching a Veggie Tale movie with my kids; and knowing just how blessed I am. We are taking a break from decorating our Christmas Tree. We have no water again because the water heater is doing weird stuff. I'm wondering if the reason the electric bill has been so high is because the water heater hasn't been working right and we didn't know it. I don't understand all the reasoning behind all the "stuff" that's been going on, but what I realized, sitting here on the blow up mattress a friend let us borrow, is that there are thousands of boys and girls that probably won't even get a Christmas tree this year, that for some, not having running hot water is the norm, and having a washer and drier is a dream. My kids are well fed, we are safe, we lack for nothing, and we have friends that care so much about us that if we did lack for something, they would take care of us. In the midst of the chaos, man my heart is OK. It hasn't been OK for a few weeks. It's like I can see all the battling around me, but I can also see for the first time that it is being held at bay. It's cool.

Let me get back to the movie. The kids are climbing on me for attention. Man I'm blessed.

Hot Water Anyone?!

Seems like everything is breaking, bathroom sink has a leak, tub is clogged, kitchen pipes have a new leak, and now, the hot water heater seems to be shot. Chris replaced the elements and thermostats; the GoodCents people of Gulf Power came out, still no hot water. Very frustrating.

Been rainy and gloomy this afternoon. We so need the rain. Been watching football today. My college team lost...

Kayla got her room all cleaned and wiped down and got her bed set up. She has more clothes than anyone that has to be washed. I had no idea we had so much clothes! If the closet doors were closed and the dresser drawers were closed, then the clothes don't have to be washed. Unfortunately, Kayla and Kaitlyn have no doors on their closets, and what isn't in the closet is on their floor. Lots of work to do.

Much still to do, more later. Have a restful Saturday!

Friday, November 28, 2008

For The First Time In Ten Years....

This is the first time in ten years I haven't been out shopping on Black Friday! Normally I am up and gone by 3:30 a.m. and standing in line when the doors open. Usually I am filled with an overwhelming sense to rush out and buy and frantic that my kids won't have enough; but not this year. I can only give praise where praise is due because I truly believe the Lord has answered my prayer and desire for me to not "forget" and get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season. Now, that doesn't mean I have bought, but I am thrilled to say I have only bought three items, one for each child, and they only cost $10 each! It's just very important to me that my kids know and understand the reason we celebrate Christmas. I want them to be able to have fun with Santa, but don't want them to get wrapped up in the whole thing that they lose their focus. My 16 year old says I'm taking all the fun out of it, I'm just struggling with it. My three year it excited, every morning she wakes up and says, "It's Jesus' birthday!" We are starting a new tradition this year of baking a birthday cake for Jesus. I'm just looking forward to what the Lord is going to show me this year.

On another strange twist, my husband is the one that got out this morning! It was the funniest thing. He was out for a couple hours, and back home. He had been up most of the night not feeling well and decided to put his lack of sleep to good use. I told him specifically something I wanted, a Chronological Timeline Bible. LifeWay had it on sale for $19.99 this morning, originally it's like $50. I usually don't ask for stuff for Christmas, but for months and months it has been on my heart to study the Bible in a chronological time line; so I asked for it:)

We slept in the house last night for the first time in four weeks! I got the living room cleaned and we all slept on blow up mattresses in there; got the hallway mopped and wiped too; today I've gotten my room wiped down, swept and mopped and am working on wiping all Christopher's wooden train pieces down, toys, bed, and sweeping and mopping and still have Kaitlyn's to do today.

We put our tree up yesterday. I'm ready to get all our decorations out, but we have no furniture to put the decorations out! We have had to throw out so much, but, again, for some reason everything seems to be OK. It's hard to explain.

Well, my break is over and I have lots still to do.

Happy Black Friday!!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Yesterday the President of the United States pardoned Pumpkin and Pecan. Every year I hear of this pardoning I am reminded of a Bible Study I did. If you, reading this right now, have asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, then you too have been pardoned. Instead of being doomed to an eternity of hell, you have been freed to live eternity in the Glories of Heaven with Jesus, where you will have no more pain and no more tears...hallelujah!

Lets put our worries aside...it's wasted energy anyway, and be thankful today. If you are reading this and you have never been "pardoned" of your sins, all you have to do is acknowledge you are a sinner, that there are none righteous, that Jesus Christ came to this earth and died....but here's the thing, He still isn't dead! He is alive, three days later He arose from the grave. With that, we have been given free will to choose eternity with Him in Heaven, or be separated from Him in hell. If you believe that, simply pray this prayer, "Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner, that my sin separates me from you. I believe you came to this earth, you lived, and you died, and you rose again. I believe you came to set me free from my sins that I can live with you for eternity. Lord Jesus, I ask you to come into my heart and set me free. I love you Jesus. Amen."

If you have just prayed this prayer, please let me know. The Bible says that if you have just done this, that Angels are rejoicing in Heaven over you this very moment!! Gives me goosebumps!! This is just the first step though. The Bible also says that one must believe in his heart, and must confess it with his mouth; now that you are a Christian, believing in the Lord Jesus, it's time to not only grow, but tell others. Baptism needs to follow as well. Find a Bible teaching, believing church and keep running to Jesus!

God Bless You and have a BLESSED Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cleaning Progress Made

We made progress with Chris getting the mattresses out yesterday, we got the other furniture out that had to go. We got the two bathrooms cleaned and the living room picked up. We have so much stuff stacked on the walls and in corners because of the furniture that was taken out. All the nick knacks still need to be wiped down with a borax solution and put in boxes until we get another entertainment center, end tables and shelves. We were hoping to sleep in the house tonight, but we just couldn't pull it off. I'm resolved to sleeping in the camper another night or two, just so I don't stress over getting "x" amount done and then be disappointed when it doesn't get done. I'm sure it will all come together this weekend.

Kaitlyn has a virus and conjunctivitis. Praying no one else will get it.

More later.


My baby girl is sick. She started coughing the night before last, this morning she is running from her eyes and nose, chapped face, a fever, and a pink eye. I'm hoping the pink eye is because of the cold, and not "pink eye." Kaitlyn is my singer of the family. She's been singing non stop since 2. She makes songs up, she answers questions by singing, she just loves singing. This morning she woke up singing her ABC's through once, and then started in on, "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas, only a hippopotamus will do...." I'm going to have to try finding a stuffed hippo for her I guess. Nonetheless, my day which was supposed to be filled with wiping down walls and furniture, will be spent sitting in a doctor's office.

I've been thinking a lot about the last few weeks. I was reminded of a time, only a few months ago, that my clothes drier broke. We couldn't afford to fix it, so that resulted in drying all of our clothes on a clothes line. That was hard work. The Lord showed me how I had become too ungrateful and took for granted so much. We've spent nearly two weeks all camping in a pop up camper, cooking over a fire and Coleman stove, fixing quick fix meals and getting that real quick fix of a drive through. While we won't have a full functioning kitchen when we get in, I am so grateful for the anticipation of getting into our home. I know the Lord will provide the needs we have for furniture, as well as for the other miscellaneous items. I was reminded last night from a sweet lady at Pine Summit, the Bible says He will provide our needs, what we have to have. It doesn't say He will provide our wants. Now, don't get me wrong, there are many stories I can tell where the Lord has provided my hearts desire....where He has blessed me with a want and not a need; however, right now, I am learning to be content in all things, whether it is making a pallet on the floor, or cooking over an open fire.

My other children are stirring, I have a full list of to-do's to tackle. Please be praying for a quick recovery for my baby Kaitlyn (she's not a baby anymore, she's just turned 3, but she is the baby of the family and it has stuck. In fact, she tells everyone her name is "Baby Sister." ) Also, I have family members traveling today to different parts of the states, please be praying for them as well.

Bless you and your family....I'd like to challenge you to look around, see what it is you are taking for granted today, thank the Lord for your abundance. If you are like us today, struggling to get by, and not understanding what the purpose is of the valley you are in, find something of the situation to be grateful about. If you can't find anything, ask the Lord to show you one thing you can be grateful for. I know He will honor that prayer, even (especially) if you don't mean it. I am grateful for the food basket we were given yesterday from a local public school society. I am grateful that I have a husband who accepted me, my past and my daughter without any judgement when he married me. I am grateful for a mother in law who accepted Kayla as her own grandchild, even before we were married and that she never said I wasn't good enough for her son. I am grateful for the restoration of my family from the years of deceitfulness, lies and manipulation and stealing. I am grateful that the Lord blessed me with three new babies (one in being rocked by Jesus) when the world's doctor's said I would never have anymore. I am grateful for the pop up camper we have called home for the last two weeks, for I see now that home is not the structure, but the uniting of family. We have come together in a special way these last two weeks. I love my husband more today than I did a month ago when we were told to leave our home...

I am truly blessed.

On The Wings Of Prayers....

I spoke with the contractor yesterday after the mold specialist suspected asbestos in the house. The contractor came out this morning. The flooring is not asbestos. Also, the sub-flooring was not destroyed or bothered by the water/mold. DeWayne, the contractor, is going to do his best to work in the ridiculously MINIMAL amount Lucie got from the insurance company. We will have mismatched vinyl, mismatched cabinets, and an unfinished laundry room floor, but we will be in the house. In fact, the contractor said once the A/C person gives the OK, we can be in tonight. (The A/C guy was running late, I'll be cleaning the wood furniture and anything that is washable in a borax solution so we can sleep in the house on Wednesday night.

Chris took out the mattresses and couch today while I cooked. Lucie is washing curtains and sheets for me. A friend of mine is working on getting us some pillows. I think we are set on beds now.

Also, the insurance company called us back yesterday. Since Chris is in direct relation (Lucie's son) to Lucie, they are adding he and I to the home owner's insurance policy so Lucie's original policy will not be canceled.

We sincerely appreciate your prayers for our family during these last few weeks. I know it is the prayers of many that has given us the strength to get through.

Chris and Stacey

Monday, November 24, 2008

What Can I Say?

Well, after a hopeful day last week, things don't look so good today. We won't be moving back in the house. A family in our church has a house in Milton. They are willing to wave deposits, we'll clean and they are willing to help with the utilities until we can put them in our names. My husband is really having a tough time right now. My heart hurts for him.
Will post more later. Am grateful for the nice weather today, for friends, but most of all for my family. I am truly blessed.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Live Streaming This Morning

I'm home this morning instead of in Sunday School and Church. I've had little or no time just for me these last four weeks, and have missed church a lot these weeks, and while being a wife and mother does not entitle me to "me time," I am simply pooped. I am fortunate to attend a church that does live streaming at both 9:30 and 11:00 services; hence, I will be listening/watching live via olivebaptist.org.

I'm cooking a whole chicken this morning over a blazing fire. Kind of squared the logs around the roaster....we'll see what happens. I've been taking pictures of this last week, will post them eventually. I'll have to have Chris take the camera to the church and put the pics on for me.

I am cleaning out the utility room this morning as well (One of the rooms that has the mold in it). It has to be empty before 9:00 tomorrow morning. Our hot water heater is in there, I wonder how that's going to work, no water at all.... We'll see:) Most of our Christmas decorations that are in the utility room are in totes or in closets in other rooms, so we should be able to salvage most of them. Strange, I had all of the decorations in the utility room when we first moved in, (two months ago), but took the ones that are in boxes out for some reason.

I just looked up in time to see my heavy duty commercial pan I have my roaster on bend. Hhmmm...guess it's not so heavy duty if it can't withstand a little heat! ha-ha! Oooh, have I not withstood these last few weeks under a little heat? My faith has wavered. I've doubted, I've questioned, I've cried....I know and knew He was still in charge, but even today wonder what it is I am to take away from this experience. I believe it saved my marriage...no doubt, for that I am eternally grateful. I guess I won't know until I reach glory the full extent of these circumstances.

Gotta run. More later when I see what the chicken looks like....


Friday, November 21, 2008

We Love The Mold Guy!

The mold guy came out today and will have a crew in the house on Monday. Either Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning the A/C mold people will be there cleaning out the ducts. We can start cleaning and get back in the house Tuesday! We won't have a kitchen, but I have a great fire pit we've been using, a Coleman Stove and my toaster oven! Thanks for all of your concern and prayers. We will have to replace some furniture items according to the mold guy. We will have to replace the mattresses (1 king, 1 double, and 2 twins) a large majority of our regular furniture has to go (2 sofas, and some chairs) and anything made of particle board (both entertainment centers) - but, we get to be in the house, that is the blessing, all of the other stuff can be replaced. As we've found out, it's hard to replace a home. Again, thanks for your prayers.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Step In The Right Direction

Lucie finally heard back from the insurance company this morning. I have spoken with Dewayne (contractor) twice this morning. He has also spoken with the insurance agent. The insurance agent is sending out a mold specialist. He told Dewayne he hopes to have someone out here before tomorrow (Friday) to get an assessment of the situation and possibly begin taking out the mold areas before Thanksgiving (I'm not counting on this, simply relaying what we have been told). IF, the mold is removed and the house treated before Thanksgiving, we will be able to get in the house. The kitchen, of course, would not be functional, but we can deal with that. The contractor said he would do everything he can to get us functioning in the house within two to three weeks (before Christmas:)

Great things have happened these last few days between me and Chris while camping out. Truths were spoken that I don't think would have been discussed if we hadn't been in this situation.

I'm trying to figure a way to roast a turkey over a camp fire. I wasn't going to cook at all this year, but have decided I can't let satan steal my passion for cooking and feeding people. I realized I have given satan too much leverage by speaking too much negativity. Shame on me.

Just got a call from Lucie. A mold guy will be here at 9:30 tomorrow morning!

It's CiCi Pizza night for Christopher's school; so we will do our duty and order "white pizza" (Alfredo) for the kids. It's their favorite.

More later.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Electric Blankets Are My Friend!

I have never slept under an electric blanket, until last night. Oh I loved it! We layered the kids last night, put on their beanie hats and layered the blankets on them, kept the space heater running all night, and cranked up the electric blanket and stayed toasty warm! It's been cooler this morning, but we are glad we didn't go stay at my mom's. We had countless phone calls of people concerned for us being here with the temps dropping, but we really are glad we didn't lug everything to some one's house and then have to lug it all back.

Chris just called, we missed the bus. We were late getting there this morning. Chris is taking Christopher to school. I cook today at Pine Summit. I'll be by myself as Kayla is sick.

Thanksgiving is next week. I honestly had no idea. Days and time seem to be running all together the last few weeks. I just can't believe it's a week till Thanksgiving! Normally I am excited and have planned a complete menu and have my Christmas decorations planned in my mind.... but not this year. Normally I do the turkey and dressing and green bean casserole and ...everything. This year, we get to be the guests. Normally by now I have a complete list of Christmas gifts and have a Christmas plan. This year, nothing. Black Friday is my favorite day besides Christmas...this year, not sure what I'll do. Might sleep in for a change. While I still love the Christmas Season because of Jesus...., I am just not getting into it. I guess that's a good thing because I am forced to constantly remember the reason we celebrate Christmas....again....Jesus. Every year I hope and pray to stay focused on Him, and every year, the day after Christmas, I ask forgiveness for getting so wrapped up in the hustle and bustle. This year will be simple, and strangely, I am OK with that.

The water is boiling for hot chocolate and Chris should be home soon from taking Christopher to school. I've had lots of interruptions posting this morning. I think I'm going to make a small fire and go read my Bible by the camp fire.

Oh, one more thing, didn't hear from the insurance company. My mother-in-law will call them today. Will keep you posted.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Low's Tonight, Upper 20's/Lower 30's.

Life has been busy. It's hard work having to plan ahead for every meal, clothes, and even bed time is a chore with baths. There is no more quick and easy meals for us it seems. We seriously considered going to my mom's tonight as it is supposed to be in the upper 20's/low 30's tonight. I'm still not sure what we are going to do. It's very stressful packing up clothes, blankets, pillows, food and toys for just one night for a family of five. I think I'm going to throw blankets on the camper floor so the floor won't be so cold. Chris is going to run another cord from the house for a 2nd space heater and I'm trying out the electric blanket today. I have no winter clothing at all. The girls and I went to Wal-Mart this morning and I got a sweat shirt and pants so I will be warm. We also had to get some gloves...2 pair for $1.50...good buy! Picked up more hot chocolate and breakfast foods too. Kayla is sick. Had to get her some medicines as well as some for the younger two. In such tight quarters, I'm sure it's going to go around. (I was even supposed to clean a house this morning and had to cancel.)

When we got home, I noticed the awning on the camper was on top of the camper! Two of the metal poles were in the front yard and the others were scattered about. If our van had been in the driveway, the poles would have harpooned right through the windshield. (Good thing I needed some sweat pants!) The wind is blowing so hard Kayla and I couldn't even roll the awning up. Chris had to come take care of it or we wouldn't have been able to come in or out of the camper.

Much to do before getting Christopher and doctor appointments this afternoon. The camper is shaking from the wind....do these things flip?!

More later.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Silver Linings

We got the power back on to the camper today. Kayla helped me get things set up. A friend from Sunday School took our laundry and washed for me. Another friend picked up lunch for us and came and visited. Chris dug a pit for a fire today. We did S'mores. Kayla and Justin took apart wire coat hangers for us and put the marshmallow's on those. Memaw and Uncle Craig came over and roasted marshmallows and made S'mores too and enjoyed some hot chocolate. It was nice. It was then, sitting around the fire, that I saw a silver lining. It's called quality time. It was nice for Justin to be over here hanging out instead of Kayla always being at his family's. It was just nice. We took a few pictures of us all sitting around the fire. It might be a few days before I can post those as we are having to depend on other peoples computer right now. Another silver lining I experienced tonight...the stars. I can't tell you the last time I have looked up towards the heavens and just gazed. Tonight, walking back from Memaw's, I looked up and saw the most beautiful picture...creation. I have been too busy about stuff that just doesn't matter. I've been to distant from people who want to be close and I have missed out on too many family opportunities.

I sure don't know where all this is going and I sure don't know how long we are going to be able to camp out, but this moment, I am thankful the Lord allowed me to experience a glimpse of Him tonight. I don't understand His mercy and grace and after the doubt and confusion that I've experienced, I sure don't deserve what He showed me tonight.

My husband has been a real trooper through all this. He's not one to go camping, and I know he feels responsible for all this, and I know he is hurting right now, but I can honestly say if these events had not occurred, he and I would not be doing as well as we are right now. For me, it's been like a rekindling of romance.... oo-la-la! It's been nice.

Time to get some rest after not sleeping last night.

More later.

What Will Be Next?

In my mind I had set up how we would set up the pop up, a tent to put our clothing and food items in, and an outside patio table with chairs for us to have a place to eat at. I was ready! The table and chairs that were outside were given to me from my mom. When we pulled in the yard, I noticed the table had been tipped over. I had left the umbrella up, the wind literally picked the table up and pulled the umbrella out of the brick, tipping the table over. I prayed, please don't let the glass top be broken, please. The closer I got I could see the shattered the pieces covering the grass. I lost it. I started yelling, "You've taken everything else, couldn't you leave me a table to sit at with my family?! Just take everything why don't you!" I just don't get it.

Eddie and Lynette came and set up the camper. My mom and Kayla helped Chris put the tent up. We loaded the van and mom's car. We plugged in the two space heaters (it was in the 30's last night) and wham! The fuse blew. Chris tried flipping the switches, he checked int he house to see if it tripped the breaker in the house (yes, he wore a mask!), couldn't find anything wrong. Eddie will be out this afternoon to look at it. We are at Memaw's right now. She had coffee ready, let me use her oven for Cinnamon rolls and fixed ham steaks. Maybe tomorrow we'll have power to the camper and I can cook over there. It was just too cold this morning to try it outside on the Coleman.

In the midst of it all, my husband did remind me that we have it better than some. We are together. I know he is right. I know hundreds or thousands across the United States slept under the interstate last night, we were protected from the wind on all four sides and had a space heater running from the house to the camper; I know thousands and thousands of people across the United States go to bed hungry every night, we went to bed with full tummy's at least; we had the luxury of cramming in the van before going to bed to use Memaw's "facilities" and not having to use a tree; and we also had a warm place to come this morning to all get showers. So, if I have so much more than some, why am I so ungrateful right now? I don't know.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hi, Ho, Hi Ho, It's To The Zoo We Go!

Well, this is the last morning my children will be able to wake up their Grammy at 5 a.m. Yeap, for some reason my son has an automatic alarm clock in his body that just won't let him sleep past 5/5:30. Crazy. If he would whisper and stay calm, it would be one thing, but my son likes to be loud.

We are taking the kids to the zoo today. We bought season passes with our income tax return this year. This is our third or fourth trip, so they have more than paid for themselves. It's nice and cool this morning. My husband would say, "It's cold, this is Florida. It's not suppose to be cold in Florida." It's only in the upper 50's right now. Perfect weather for camping! Ha-ha:)

I ran into Wal-Mart last night and bought the kids some of those fleece pajamas that zip up and have feet in them. They didn't have that kind for Kayla, my 16 year old, but I did find her a set of fleece pajamas with Eyore on them! They are cute. The pop up camper has a small space heater in it, but once we are heading to bed, that thing will be turned off! Wal-Mart also had some rectangle clothes baskets on sale, I bought some of those so we would all have a basket with our clothes in them to put in a tent that will be set up for getting dressed in. I had to buy a $9 clothes rack to hang Chris' work clothes on. The Bledsole's (the people that are letting us use the pop up) have linens for the beds and pillows we can use. There is also some plastic plates and utensils in there we can use. There's a skillet and pot as well. I have a Coleman stove I plan on using.... I just love camping, my kids have been wanting to go for a while also, so they are thrilled. I am struggling with the pride thing though. It's one thing to go camping at the camp grounds, but in your own yard?! The one thing that keeps coming to my mind is the scripture that refers to Jesus not even having a rock to lie his head. Kind of makes everything OK.

Kayla has spent the week at a friends house on a farm. She'll be home this afternoon. I needed her to not have to deal with the adult issues at hand. It has been quite an emotional few weeks, she needed some fun in her life.

I have had several people mention my book lately. I've done no writing with all the events that have taken place. I don't know when I will have the book completed, but hope to get back to my writing once we get settled in the camper.

I will post pics of the zoo trip later, as well as of the camper and our little "set-up." We'll have to use the "facilities" at my mother-in-law's and do laundry there or at my mom's. I've roughed it before camping, but will not be building a latrine this go round!

The oven is preheated and the kids are ready for breakfast. I sure appreciate all the comments on my blog from Marybeth's post. I treasure your prayers. I believe in the intercession of saints and I know the impact it has on ones life!! Thank you!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Home Owner's Insurance

My mother-in-law finally heard back from the insurance company. They did a phone interview this afternoon. She will know by Tuesday if and what will be covered regarding the repair of the house. Unfortunately, since Chris and I are tenants, they will not pay for us to stay at a hotel or reimburse us for the loss of personal items. At least we don't have to worry about furniture right now though. Once we know what the insurance company says on Tuesday we will know how long we'll be doing the camping thing and if we will have to begin looking for another place to live. At that point and time we can begin dealing with no furniture. I can only deal with today, today.

I had a really cool devotional come across the computer yesterday. It was from the Proverbs 31 Ministry. It was about "Home." I am copying and pasting it below. It was very appropriate and spoke wonders to my heart. I plan on printing it out and taping it to the door of the camper as a daily, hmm, maybe moment by moment reminder, of what a home really is. I hope it puts things in perspective for you as it has me.

November 12, 2008

Home: More than Just a Word
Marybeth Whalen

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
Romans 12:10 (NIV)

I opened up my email to discover another one of those forwards we all get from time to time. I almost hit “delete” but my eye landed on this acronym for the word “Home”:

Honor the Lord
Obey His Word
Minister to one another
Establish walls of truth

I was glad I took a look at this forward, because it made me think about whether or not these four components are present in my home. When looked at it in this light, the word “home” means so much more than just a place to live. Isn't that what we want all of our homes to be? More than a place to sleep and eat and occasionally clean, we want our homes to be a place where lives are shaped into God’s design. This little acronym zeroes in on four important goals we should have for our home. The exciting thing is, no matter who lives there, or what problems we are facing, or what limits we feel like we have, with effort and intention our homes can be places where these four things happen.

Honor the Lord: We can honor God with our lips, but yet our hearts can be far from Him (Mt. 15:8) — and the people who live with us will be the first to know when we do this! Let’s seek to honor Him behind the closed doors of our homes, living out our devotion to Him in a visible, gentle way as we realize that our families are watching.

Obey His Word: Obeying His Word at home is not always easy. The Bible tells us to be submissive to our husbands, to love others more than we love ourselves, and to pick up our cross (as we pick up after our children, or care for our elderly parents). When we do these things with humility, those we most want to impact will notice. More than that, they will file it away in their hearts, and our lives will echo in theirs in ways we can’t possibly foresee.

Minister to one another: Ministry requires us to love others, to reach others, and to lay down our lives for the sake of those God has placed in our sphere of influence. This must happen at home first. And yet, if we’re honest, it’s usually the last place it happens. We go out and give the best of what we have to offer to others, then give our leftovers to the people we profess to love the most. Let’s minister to those in our own homes first.

Establish walls of truth: When I first read this, I will confess that something prickled in me. Establish walls? How is it Biblical to establish walls? I questioned. However, I soon realized I was thinking of walls as a means to keep people out. When in actuality, we need to be building walls of truth—God’s truth, designed not to keep others out but to guard our hearts and give us a safe place to retreat and to rest. These walls of truth make our homes into fortresses—a place to run to when our daily battles wear us out.

These are not things we can just do once and move on. They are daily requirements, regular sacrifices, and even personal struggles. We won’t ever do it perfectly and there will be days we feel we are taking one step up and two steps back. But with God’s help, we can keep working to make H.O.M.E. mean so much more.

Dear Lord, make my home a place that includes these four components. I want my home to be more than just a place to live in—I want it to be a place where lives are impacted and relationships are strengthened. Lord, I need Your help to do these things. Thank You for Your promise to always help me when I ask. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pop Up Camper

After nearly signing on the dotted line to move to Milton, changing Christopher's school, and dropping out of the MEW meetings at Pine Summit, the Lord has provided a pop-up camper. It will be set up on Saturday. It will be tight quarters, but it will keep us on the property and with our pets (saving three and four trips a day to check on them, feed them and let them out), will keep Christopher in the same school and even allow him to start riding the bus again, will keep us from having to transfer utilities, will keep Chris close to work and us close to church, will allow us to keep Kayla in tutoring at Pine Summit, will allow me to stay involved with MEW on Thursday nights and Kayla can keep her job with the childcare, and it will give Lucie some "lot" rent. This is not an ideal situation, but when we write all the pros and cons out, the pros definitely outweigh the cons (as long as I don't let my pride get in the way!). The insurance company has not returned our calls in three days. We still do not know if they are going to pay to make the repairs or even treat our furniture.
Thanks for all the prayers, phone calls and emails of rental listings. We appreciate each of you.

Milton House, Pine Summit MEW, Tutoring, Gas....?????

Haven't posted in several days, just been swamped. My days consist of daily Internet search, daily paper reading, daily phone calls and driving all over from Pensacola to Milton trying to find us a place. At one time we were closed to moving to Pace or Milton because we didn't want to change Christopher's schooling; however, the only thing we can afford that is decent in Pensacola is a 2 bedroom trailer....(that will let us keep our pets); while we are willing to do that, if we can find a 3 bedroom in Pace or Milton (we have found one in Milton and walk through tomorrow) to make life a little better, we will do that. We are praying the Lord will meet the needs for transfer/new connection fees as well. The home owner's of the house in Milton are willing to work with us on utilities until we can get them in our name. Another thing to consider, if we make the move to Milton, I'll have to drop out of Thursday's Most Excellent Way meetings at Pine Summit and Kayla would then have to quit working in the nursery on those Thursday nights (childcare for meetings). It's too long of a drive and would kill us on gas. She would also have to quit tutoring because of the drive over there (she gets free tutoring at Pine Summit on Monday's). If we have to make that move to Milton, we won't be moving back into Lucie's house...she's not getting our rent money now, this affects her income to pay her rent. We still haven't heard back from the insurance company. They were supposed to meet with us on Monday, never called until I called them and then was supposed to meet us Tuesday, never returned my phone calls or my mother-in-laws. We are are frustrated. I can't make that move to Milton and change Christopher's schools and then move him again when/IF the house is repaired. I feel like I am carrying not only my family's burdens, but Lucie's as I know she is struggling. There's just so much to go through and ponder. It has been exhausting. I have been in bed before 9:00 almost every night because I can't keep my eyes open.

We had a family gathering at LaHacienda for Chris' birthday on Monday. I have pics of him wearing the sombrero and will attach them later. I haven't even finished uploading them.

We would appreciate your continued prayers in making the right decisions. Please also pray for my mom. She's been a trooper, but I know this is taking a toll on her. She's dealing with screaming, obnoxious kids, an emotional teenager and an overwhelmed, emotional me. That's enough to push anyone over the edge!

I'll be cooking at Pine Summit today. Not sure how long before I post again, but will post when I know more.

More later.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Kaitlyn's Birthday Party

We decorated the hallway at mom's for Kaitlyn's birthday.

My little Princess.

Kayla decorating at Memaw's. (Christopher is over-seeing:)

Daddy taking my picture

Both my princesses!

The card is singing to her. She loved it!

"Ooooh, so this it was it looks like?!

Aunt Julie

Uncle Derek

Christopher and Cousin Rich

"There's no place like home, there's no place like home."

My Cinderella.

Kaitlyn still thinks it's her birthday. I don't know how to get her to understand. She gets very upset when I tell her it's not her birthday today, that she has to wait a year.
Chris' birthday is Monday. He'll be ..... older:)