Sunday, October 19, 2014

Friends

Last night we joined some friends and church members for the Annual banquet for the Zephyrhills Pregnancy Center.  I've always thought highly of the director and of this ministry but never knew to what extent it reaches our community.  Loved hearing the stories and talking to some of the families last night.  It's great to be PRO life- but being pro life is so much more than just being ANTI abortion.  Pregnancy Centers provide support, training education and counseling for families for Years!  Several of the moms there had  been involved with the Center for five years or more.  This center provides GED classes, parenting classes, clothing and all kinds of assistance.  It was a good night!

This morning one of our "old" friends preached in our church.  TJ is a college friend and actually used to be the youth pastor at our church years ago-before our time.  He is now Doctor Kimball and is a Christian counselor as well as an advocate for special needs families.  He and his wife, Liz, have three boys, one who has Down's Syndrome.  They have a ministry called Joshua's Friends https://www.facebook.com/JoshuasFriendsOrg  to help other parents and have many plans to expand that ministry.


 





 
 
 
 
 
 
 Jon and TJ have been good friends for over 20 years.
 
There is one thing about being in the ministry, that is hard.  We have close friends all across the nation and overseas that we only get to see in passing.   Some we went to college together, some we've worked with in various ministries, some we've met briefly and just "clicked with".....we get just a few hours here and there to see each other and then it's back to our places of ministry  Since college, we've only had a chance to see the Kimballs a few times.  We have so many dear friends like that....one thing I think about is that ONE day heaven will be so sweet when we get to spend time together and share how God brought us through life....





After church I just had to take some pictures of my ballerina before she changed.  Is she just precious or what???   Sarah dances on her knees during church, she ONLY responses to Christian music, Sesame Street does not interest her.  What is so beautiful, to see, sometimes Sarah will clap her hands as if in agreement with a specific song or a part of a song.  It always is so appropriate  when she does it.  I don't know what she understands but when she does her little dancing twirling, I believe she is giving praise to God.  (and I'm not big on dancing in church LOL)













 
 
 
 



Hope you all had a great weekend!  It was busy here, but good! 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Walls are UP!

 
 
 
The first walls are up!!!!
 
 
This morning the Habitat for Humanity staff and volunteers from Florida Hospital Zephyrhills met to start the work on the house!
 
We were able to be there, along with all the kids.  We started with a word of prayer that Jon was asked to give, then Habitat's director shared a little history and the philosophy of HH...
then the work started!
 
 
 
 
 

Sarah didn't like getting ups so early! Neither did Selah!





About 2pm the work was finished for the day.  The room that will be our storage room had the walls up!  Here is the "after" picture!
 

(we are in the middle I've got on the Capri jeans) 


This past week there has been lots of rain and the main part of the house does not yet have its' foundation.  Work will start on that this week:)

We stayed out there for a little while, then took the kids home.  After I cooked and fed everyone a "brunch", Jon and I went back out to work.  Jon turned out to be a good nailer.  Me?  Not so good.  All two of my nails had to be taken out LOL.  It is harder than it looks! 

We got to meet and talk with the volunteers from Florida Hospital Zephyrhills.  It was great to get to know them.  Jon was just at a community workshop yesterday with some of them, he didn't know they'd be working on our house the next day!

Today was a FUN day~ so exciting to see the house being built.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Tomorrow is the big day-the walls go up on our new home.  We will have a ceremony at 8 am with the Habitat for Humanity staff and volunteers.  How exciting for our family.  We plan on having the whole family there, maybe even Selah.  If you want to help work on the house or give towards the materials, you can click on here to sign up  https://www.mymissio.com/missio/the-clanton-family-habitat-home



I got an update on the baby boy- the mom decided to keep him, her family is supporting the decision.  In the domestic adoption world, things like that sometimes happen.  There is an older special need child that is being placed, if you are interested contact Janna janna.adoptionadvisors@gmail.com for more details.





Here is the little girl Angela who we sponsor through Life2Orphans  This picture was taken over the summer at Druz Orphanage (the one we raised money for their well)  She is STANDING!!!!!!

 
Here is me and Angela while she was in Torez Mental Institution.  We had just started sponsoring her while we were in the process of adopting Sarah and Selah.  Both of my girls had a sponsor for which I was eternally grateful.  So I had asked L2O if there was a child we could sponsor to "pay it back".  they told me about Angela and that is who we picked.  Getting to meet her was very emotional for me.  I cried for her.  Even with a sponsor it was a hard place to be. 
 

 
I was able to play with her on several occasions.  She was brought out to us.  We bought her some toys before we left. 
 
Many people sponsor kids and never get the chance to meet them.  We were lucky but it was very hard emotionally to meet her.  I felt guilty for not adopting her also but at the time, we felt she had so many needs that we could not take care of her.  She was not mobile and it was doubtful she could ever walk.  We felt like we could not adopt a child that could never walk.  We knew Sarah couldn't and Selah didn't walk good but we thought both would improve.  Now, we know we could take care of a child that can not walk.  Who knows....one day if the war ends over there......  In the meanwhile we support her and her caregiver and we are raising funds for the orphanage during their time of crises.  Pray that God will protect this sweet little girl!!!!
 
 
 
here is where you can donate to this wonderful project to help the children of Ukraine.  We are still working on the Druz project,  to help pay for beds for the kids.   Still need about $3000 to buy the beds and mattresses for all the extra children who have been brought in from other orphanages. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My World....


In my happy little world, things are good.  Selah is on top of everything and is becoming the most consistently responsive than ever!  She looks great and is happy.  We can tell if she is happy, because she makes faces when she is not:)   The schedule/nurse change has worked out really good for her. 

Right now the other four are outside in this beautiful late summer day ( can't call 80 degrees Fall-even in Florida)  Sam and Sarah are on the swing set, Steve is watching them, listening to music and Shad is playing.  My husband is at the prison, doing a job he loves.  I'm getting ready to cook supper and look forward to another night together with my family, watching something on TV.......but that is just in MY little world.

But in America, we have another Ebola patient, one who was on a airplane less than 24 hours before becoming sick....   We have a CDC who refuses to close our borders, when we can not even keep the few patients we've had from infecting others. 

For the record, all three of our adoptive kids HAD to be tested for TB BEFORE being allowed a visa to come to the USA!  I've heard of families, that their newly adopted kids tested positive and the families were stuck in the countries they adopted from while the child was getting treatment.    When you adopted internationally after you finished with that countries paperwork THEN you go to the American Embassy and the child has a physical including a TB test, if there is a reaction, then the child has further testing, if truly positive, the child is NOT allowed into the USA.  

When we adopted Shad the Bird Flu was rampant in Asia.  Many people wore masks.  I was told before I left that if I got sick I would not be allowed on an airplane to come home.....  We were screened at the airports.

Why am I telling you all of this?  I feel our borders need to be closed from admitting people in the affected areas.  Give humanitarian aid but close our borders.  Already England and France have stopped commercial flights to the affected countries.  WHY don't we follow?  It is not about being cruel or racist....it's about stopping the spread of this disease as best we can.  Quarantine has always been used to try and halt the advance of disease. 

Now we are having "mysterious" diseases that hit children.  A boy died last week just a country over from us and there still has not been a clear diagnosis.

Also have you heard about what is happening in Houston Texas?    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/10/15/pastors-to-mayor-dont-mess-with-texas-pulpits/
Five pastors who have spoken publically about a new law that would allow men and women to use the same restrooms at the same time .....it's really about much more than that but it's been called the Bathroom Bill" have now had their sermon notes, emails etc subpoenaed.  Clearly a separation of church and state....where the state is trying to control what the pastors say....

Then I think of the border problem we had BEFORE Ebola....and all the many issues and scandals rocking our government within this country. 

Then there are all the dangers from without....
ISIS.....
Russia......
North Korea.......

Outside of my little world, there is so much going on~some of these things could soon affect my world. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Thoughts on Many Things.....

Just could NOT come up with a title, since this blog is about all kinds of things!


Today has been a progressively rainy day as a "cold" front has moved through Florida.  I know I say this all the time but I just love rain.  And I also like Mondays....LOL   I can't sing the Carpenter's song "Rainy Days & Mondays always get me down" because they don't :)

Sarah and Selah got their braces today.  Sarah got a short ankle brace that she tolerated much better than we anticipated.  The only shoes that work with it are Sam's tennis shoes -Only our therapist would find them for Sarah.  We keep our most frequently worn shoes by the front door on a tiered stand, so she tried all the little ones shoes with the brace until she found one that worked.  Sarah and I will be going shoe shopping this week!  she has to have pretty shoes:)  right now we are just using the brace for 30 minutes at a time.

Selah got new hand braces, that are really comfy looking.  she also got knee braces and got her regular foot braces back!  She also tolerated it all very well.  I took pictures but for some reason the laptop won't let me load them!   The new hand brace is to help her thumbs not to curl up into her hand, some days this is more bothersome than others for her.  The knee brace is help her get range of motion back in her knees, since her hip surgery & recovery time she lost some range of motion ROM, that our therapist believes can be gotten back with a little more work.  Her feet braces, were too tight so now they've been made to fit better.  

Sarah has been in the "I love Mommy & want her to hold me all day" mode :)  She used to be content with me just holding her, it helped me to get a lot of reading done.  BUT now she wants to play the "Up" game where she pulls up on my hands, pushed them away, stands for a few seconds and then sometimes takes a step into my lap.  No reading can be done while we do that for hours......  Oh but it is ok with Mommy too. 

Last night I read another mom's facebook post about her daughter also adopted from the same mental institution as my girls.....  Her daughter can speak and has given us some awful but not surprising details of life in the institution.  It hurts so bad to hear, but when I hear it, and my heart hurts, I feel like I am entering into my daughters' and the other children's suffering. I get so angry to think caregivers can be so mean to helpless children, but I know it happens.  Not all caregivers were bad, but the ones who were, were very bad. 

I have friends who don't watch the news, don't want to hear about the reality of life because life can be so sad and hard.  It can be, no lie.....  but we can also share each other's burdens.  I can pray for the children I know (and the ones I don't know) who are left behind in orphanages all over the world.

This article caught my attention....Mom Regrets Not Aborting Disabled Baby: I Would’ve Killed My Son if I Had the Chance
http://www.lifenews.com/2014/10/13/mom-regrets-not-aborting-disabled-baby-i-wouldve-killed-my-son-if-i-had-the-chance/

Unreal....Basically this couple was told their son had a small defect with his arm, turned out that he had much more wrong with him.  "Dylan was born with severe micrognathia, a condition that causes acute breathing problems and an undersized jaw. Iain said, “We made it clear to the doctors that we didn’t want a child who wasn’t going to be able to ride a bike and do things that normal children do.” Now, Dylan has a permanent tracheotomy, has a deformed arm, slurred speech and must be feed nutrient-rich milk through his stomach"  Despite his physical problems it seems he is normal mentally and his mother plans on telling him that had she known how disabled he was, she would have aborted him.  Wow that should make for a great relationship.......

The article goes on to say "Unfortunately, because of the extensive care Dylan needed, both Iain and Jill were forced to leave their jobs and were declared bankrupt. Eventually, they even lost their home"  This is a family from England where they have universal health care, so they shouldn't have had any medical bills right?  I don't understand why both parents felt forced to leave their jobs.  I know when Sam was born, I did leave my job, and he was very medically unstable but we had medical bills galore! 

Sam changed our lives......even from the beginning I was grateful for his life despite my fears for his future.  Oh I cried, some silly tears now that I look back on them.  I worried about things like him not riding a bike or playing a video game....   But the things that looked so upsetting and scary back then, are just vague memories now. 

Just like there is a commitment in marriage, there is a commitment to your children.  What if that family's "normal" daughter was in an accident?  A near drowning?  Would they still love her and take care of her.  What if the husband gets ill and is unable to walk, would the wife leave because he was now disabled?   I don't know about you but I wouldn't that husband or wife on MY "next of kin" list!!!!

This whole article is just so outside of where I live that it is hard to fathom thinking like that.....

Oh we have had some hard times financially, especially after having Sam but what is that?  I can very easily remember having to pay hospital bills so that Sam could have another surgery and wondering how we were going to make it.  Really I do not know how we did it BUT for the help of God!  We made some choices, totally changed our lifestyle (not that we were big spenders before LOL), and we made it.  We moved from the beautiful home we'd leased for years to live in a trailer ON the prison grounds, that was hard but necessary for us to do.  I only cried once about it, I was too busy taking care of Sam and we were in and out of the hospital so much, I was just glad when we were all together.  I grew to "love" that trailer at the prison so much that I was very sad to move from it to the church parsonage!  It had good memories of the four of us together.....

Obviously this women, has no idea of God.  That is pretty clear.  When one has a proper perspective of God & His ways, then I think a peace comes over every situation.  Contentment in whatever situation is really "great gain" just like the Bible says it is!   Once I learned contentment in every situation, things changed in my heart. 

I'm excited about the new house, it will make life so much easier for our family and our nurses but you know we are happy now.  We have fun now.  My little house is comfortable and the place I feel the happiest in.......because my family is there.  It's home.  We aren't waiting to move into the new house to be happy.   When Selah was in the hospital for all those long 5 months in NY, that room in the Ronald McD House with the six of us sleeping in there every night was home.  I did not pine for our little house here in Florida, I was content with the place we were at....together. 

So what I'm saying is LIFE does not have to be perfect to be good!   LIFE can be good in some of the hardest situations.  Life can be good-even when there is pain.

Selah's accident has broken my heart more than anything else ever has done.  I thought losing the twins was the absolute worse thing and it was bad.  But the accident has been far worse in so many ways, I knew Selah, I'd felt her little chubby arms around me, I'd held her hand, heard her babble, fed her supper, taught her how to drink from a cup, played with her, took her to the beach....all those precious memories.... BUT the difference between losing the twins and Selah's accident is I just gave (and give) the pain to God.  I do not "charge God foolishly" I put my trust in Him.  What a difference the outcomes have been personally.  Oh it's been hard, I've had a few panic attacks, I have had many tears....but I am trusting God through this valley.  And even if we never come out of the valley, I am content. 


My prayers are for that little boy, I doubt he feels accepted by his family.  How horrible.......

Monday, October 13, 2014

Happy 25th Wedding Anniversary!

Where has Yvonne been???   Celebrating her 25th wedding anniversary:)  I fought temptation and did not take my laptop with me and since being home we have just had a crazy busy time!

For the first time in 16 years, Jon and I went on a short vacation-JUST the two of us!  We went to St Pete beach and had a great time.  It was a little odd not to have any child with us...but we had a really nice time. 





These are HAPPY feet!
 
 
the beach just makes me HAPPY! 
I'm a beach girl!
















We walked down the beach and  ate lunch Friday at the Loews Don CeSar Hotel






But we stayed at a much economical hotel!  



this was our room.  

I'd recommend it, comfy bed, good shower and right on the beach -it fits my criteria!  

After lunch we swam all afternoon.  Usually when I'm at the beach, I'm holding kids, watching kids etc...  I swam so much that I was aching by the time I went to bed!  I had to take some advil:) 









 
 
 






















 
 
 




We watched the sunset
 
 

this is the back of the hotel






We just stayed one night and then came home on Saturday.  I have to admit, I was glad to see my little people, all my kids but my little people were glad to see me!  I had planned on surprising Jon with a DVD set to music for our actual anniversary on the 12th (Sunday) so I had scanned all the pictures and given the disc to my friend, she then put it to music for us.  She sent it to me via FB and we had to figure out how to download it so we could play it at church Sunday.  That involved going to Staples and one of the guys there helping me!  I was able to download it to my computer after much work but could never get it off my laptop.  Luckily we were able to connect the laptop to the church's system to play it Sunday morning.  I really wish I could down load it to the blog.  Maybe one of the boys in our church can figure it out, we have a genius, who is only 15 who has more common sense than most 50 year olds:)   No one else has been able to figure out how to do it, it really got complicated!   Anyhow our pictures are set to the music "Still the One" by Orleans and the other song "Still the One" by Shania Twain - totally separate songs but meaningful to us!  Everyone had some good laughs at some of my hairdo's....I took BIG hair to some extremes at times in the early 90's!


So anyhow we get that all squared away, as well as getting clothes out for Sunday....the nurse calls me to tell me something had happened to Selah's elbow.....   the nurse was changing her out of her day clothes into her nightgown and she started crying.   Her elbow was a little red and sore.  So we called the ambulance, not wanting to try and move her ourselves if something was broken.  The ambulance crew was wonderful, we went to the local hospital HOPING they would allow her to be seen there (sometimes the smaller hospitals don't want to deal with a complicated case)  But since this was just an x-ray, they worked with us, did the x-ray.  First they told us that there was no fracture or break, but then someone thought there could be a tiny bit of bone that was off the elbow.  I could see it in the picture but they couldn't tell if that was new or old.  By that time, she didn't seem bothered by the arm/elbow, there was no redness, swelling  or problems.  To be on the safe side, they put her in a sling and we will see her orthopedic doctor next week.  I talked to him today and he wasn't worried since she does not seem to be in pain, even if it is a small fracture, this sling is all he would do for it. 

Then we all watched Jurassic Park III & dream of dinosaurs LOL!  

Sunday morning we get up early, I rushed Jon out of the house so I could run to the store and pick up the cake and food for our party.  (it was also a surprise for him)    Get to the van, and it's DEAD!  Luckily I was able to borrow the nurse's brand new sports car-so hard to do LOL and was got everything, arranged it in the Fellowship  Hall and got everyone ready....WHEW!



Our cake!







we cut it
NO we did not feed each other LOL


   I should have taken more pictures some of our folks had already gone and all the food was gone LOL
 
After everyone left, Jon and I went out to see the work on the house, he hadn't been out since the foundation was put in. 




This is the foundation for the car port and the storage room to the right.  




 I'm standing in what will be the kitchen & Jon is standing in what will be our room
 
 











the big part in front is the front porch

 
 
this is taken from the back of the property....see the Pine Trees?  I LOVE Pines!  And well I should since I come from the Pine Tree Capital of the South!




 
We'll be doing some cleaning out!






Love this big tall Pine.
 
Even like the Pine needles on the ground!



Today Shad had COLUMBUS DAY off.  He finished up the cake from our little party.  This picture was NOT staged which is what made it so funny!
 

 
 
And whether it is PC or not, YEAH for good old Christopher Columbus, when I was a child, he was respected.  Now it's all about being politically correct.  I saw "phooey" on that!
 
 
 
So that's been our Wedding Anniversary weekend.
 
 
I have to finish this blog by saying how very blessed I have been these last 25 years.  Believe me, we had NO idea all that was before us when we said "I do"!  Many people would look at our life and think we've had a hard/sad life.  Yes there have been hard times.....but we've learned to trust God and each other.  But really most of it has been good times, the good times, have taken the edge off of the harder times.  We've certainly have grown in our faith in ways we could have never imagined back 25 years ago, done things that weren't even things we could not even comprehend back then- on our wedding day, we would have never dreamed we would have a son from China or two daughters from Ukraine......  We would have never imagined having a son born blind, or almost losing a daughter in a near drowning....or losing the twins.....
 
BUT we also could not have imagined all the blessings and joys we would have either! Those blessings and joys have far out weighed those hard times.
 
Jon is a wonderful man to be married to, he is real, what you see in public is what you see in private.  He loves our kids 100%.  He is committed to them and to me. 
 
When we eloped after only knowing each other a month.....people thought we'd lost our minds.  Many people thought we'd never make it, some said it to our faces, some behind our backs....but we're still here.  We've had some rough times, times but God brought us through!  I've found it's not the fancy wedding, big gifts, all the proper steps, the big house etc that makes a MARRIAGE....marriage is made daily-it's walked out daily......   A marriage is more than a wedding.....