Thursday, February 27, 2014

Bitterness vs Contentment

Today I was talking with a friend of mine.  In the conversation we started talking about being content with whatever situation we are in.  And that led, to discussing bitterness which is the opposite of being content...  made me think I should write about this!

Right now in my life my heart is content.  I'm content.  I'm content in my circumstances, I'm not anxious about trying to change things.  In the world's eyes we don't have much.  We live in a small parsonage, have a rather crazy life...the ONLY thing I'd change would be Selah's situation!  If Selah was well I wouldn't have a care in the world.  BUT even in this situation, my heart is still & at peace. 

There was a time when I was NOT like this.  I've written before how very bitter my heart had gotten after the death of the twins.  Bitterness just ate me up.  I was bitter over my childhood, over my present situation, over the ministry, over some hurts, over the loss of the name it and I was BITTER about it.  I was mad at God.  I think I thought He owed me I had served God since my childhood, which was pretty bad and I was serving God by working in the middle of the inner city of New God owed me.  But my babies died and I was quite pissed off.  Boy I'd bring up all kinds of thoughts and memories to remind myself how awful and unjust God was.....

During that time, we were making the MOST money we'd ever made, lived in the nicest and biggest house, drove new cars BUT I was not content, I was bitter in my heart.

This valley went on for several years.  But God still reached out in various ways towards me during that time.  He brought me out of that valley in spite of the bitterness.  God melted that away.....

Then in a few years, God gave us Sam.

One day in the hospital corridor, while Sam was still in the NICU, I saw a family on their way out with their healthy newborn.  I don't mean to judge but this family looked all they wanted to do was to get home to their trailer, crack up a 6 pack and watch some soap operas (ok that's mean but.....)   Right there, I turned to God in my heart and told him to look at that family....then I named all the reasons WHY I shouldn't have a sick baby and those folks who did not act like they cared at all had a perfect healthy baby.....

BUT I stopped myself!  In that moment, it became crystal clear to me that I had a choice.  I could go back to bitterness or I could trust God and with that gain contentment.

I CHOSE GOD  over bitterness!

I chose His Peace, His everlasting arms and the contentment that comes with trusting the God who created this Universe!

And that changed everything.

That choice I made that day, set a new pattern for me.

No more bitterness over the past or what should have been or could have been.....
All the way back to my own birth and all the heartaches and pains.

That choice brought me freedom!

And that choice prepared me for future choices that I'd have to make.

Dealing with the accident, has been the hardest thing for me but I've never once blamed or questioned God.  I don't think that is because I am so spiritual (ok friends you can quit rolling on the floor and laughing now!) but because I determined to not let bitterness grow a root in my heart ever again.  I'd "been there, done that and had the tshirt"   Didn't want to go there again! 

I chose to be content and actually I really am content in the circumstances of my life.

There are lots of things in life that come down to making a choice.... whether it is a choice not to commit a sin or whether it is a choice to turn to God rather than away from's our choice.

Let me encourage you today to don't let bitterness grow in your life, it will poison every relationship, it will cloud every judgment and it will color your whole world.

Instead be content in the place that God has you in.  It may not be the easiest place but it's where you are at and when you practice being  content , it's lovely.  It too will affect every relationship, help you with decisions and make your world brighter.

I know I've chosen to do both at different times and I know the difference!!!!!  Trust me on this one!

Some verses.....

Hebrews 12:15         
See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;

Ephesians 4:31-32
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Isaiah 38:17      
"Lo, for my own welfare I had great bitterness; It is You who has kept my soul from the pit of nothingness, For You have cast all my sins behind Your back.

 Hebrews 13:5            

1 Timothy 6:6                         
But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment

Philippines 4:11-13
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
(ok this is my favorite verse!)


All is well at the Clanton's.  today is the busiest day, teachers from 9am-2:30 pm with the little ones.  Shad had a good day at school.  Steve  & his friend got some instruction by the man who came to work on our computer/sound system and then a bunch of them went to the drive in tonight.  Selah's heart rate is up just a bit but nothing else seems off and she is on two antibodics so if she is fighting something, then that should take care of it all!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Kids & Angels singing....

Sarah at the doctor's appointment



Shad and Sarah


I love this girl!!!!
This was just a yearly check up.  Sarah brought a form of scabies home with her from Ukraine.  There is a term for it, but I don't remember it.  It's not contagious which is a good thing:)  When we got home from Ukraine at midnight, we had a 9 am doctor's appointment...when I walked in with her our doctor said "scabies!  How long have you been holding her?"  I told him for 6 weeks so I was a goner.  Then since she didn't respond to the treatment he gave us and we didn't get it, he sent us right to a dermatologist. and Sarah was diagnosed with a form of it that comes from having it for years.   It's not contagious at this point.  Many of the kids had the same kind of spots she did, but Selah didn't have them at all. 
She had to be treated twice with oral meds to get rid of the worst of it.  Now it only comes back a little on her body.  I had her in a sweater dress and she started frantically scratching her tummy and arms, turns out that kind of material irritates it.  She hasn't had an outbreak since November but we keep meds on hand to get rid of it if she gets it.  He doesn't think she'll ever get free of it but it will get less and less as time goes by.
Since the blog is working I thought I'd share some more pictures!
Sam going to take a nap
 the above picture is the kids' inside trampoline do you see Sam under it?  He did that by himself!

Close ups


he loves all the little toys we keep in the box under the trampoline.  This just cracked me up.  He figured out how to get out WITH pushing the box ahead of him.  we were laughing!
Selah is doing great.  She is back on her normal formula AND her meds came today!  Our friend the UPS guy got here before 10am.  He's not used to having to get a timed package to us.  We see him all the time for all the various supplies we get for her monthly but not one like that!  So now she is started on her Tobi and the other antibodic, we are sure she will handle this ok now.  Everyone is seeing her new little expression.  Our day nurse tried to capture it with a picture but didn't quite get it but we are all excited!  I hope she is trying to smile, today it looked like she was!!!!
A friend of mine shared this video on my Fb wall....
it's called "Rodney Howard Browne- Angels sing with People part 1 this was back in the early 90's
Y'all know I'm a bit of a Pentecostal skeptic...
I was there that night
I heard this with my own ears
a knowledge of something much greater was worshipping with us in that service
About 4 minutes into this you can hear clearly the main sound of worship, the angels and you can tell the difference that sound than from the various people who were worshipping. 
I was sitting in the back right side (facing the pulpit) area with some family & friends.  When this started, it was NOTHING like anything I've ever heard in my life.  Sure you can hear people worshipping but if you look at the folk's faces, many were silent. ( I know I was silent- I was in awe!)  There was a sound above our heads, that just listening to this still give me chill bumps.  I was sitting next to my sister in law and I just grabbed her hand.  I was pretty sure Jesus was about to come!  I knew, no one had to tell me that we were hearing angels.  No one made an announcement.....there was absolutely no need to do so.  We knew.....
As I said I'm a skeptic although I'm a Pentecostal preacher's wife.   But this was something else.  The sound came in waves like the sound of rushing waters... 
this is part 2
Rodney Browne's services were characterized as having "holy laughter"  I had seen that a little when I was growing up but never to that degree.  I'm not saying some folks were not "in the flesh" but it was real in my opinion. 
I'll tell you what happened to me.... a few years before this video was taken. 
I'd heard about the services being held at a large Assemblies of God church.  My husband (who is much more open to things than I am) had plans with a friend one night so I decided to go by myself.    We actually were scheduled to speak at that church in a few weeks.  So I slipped in and sat in the back, trying to hide since this church was a little too out there for me!  (we were coming to speak to share about the ministry we were about to start in NYC)  So I watch the service (not this service ) and at one point realize it was 10 pm!  I got up to go to the lobby to call home since that was late! (this was back in the early 90's no cell phones)  When I got up to go, I could not move!  I mean there was a heaviness to my limbs that was NOT from it being 10 pm at night!  I believe it was God touching me, the presence of God was very strong.  BTW the pastor of that church was sitting behind me as I tried to stumble out.  I was so embarrassed!  But I could not control myself.
So Jon and I both go back the next night.  We sat a little closer...RIGHT behind another pastor that we were scheduled to speak at his the next few weeks  - and the pastor had probably 15 people with him.  At the close of Rodney's message, he asked everyone to stand and lift their hands if they wanted a refreshing from God.  I did, feeling foolish as I am not a "hand lifter"  He began praying from the pulpit that was far in front of us and he ended the prayer and said something like "Fill them now!"   Well I was "slain in the spirit"  right there with NO one touching me.  "Slain in the Spirit" is a term that Pentecostals use to describe being overcome by God to the point you can not physically stand up!  I fell between the pew in front of me and the pew behind me without hurting myself at all. When I hit the ground I began laughing at the top of my lungs, again uncontrollably.   (BTW I had never been "slain in the spirit " before this and haven't since)
Now I was younger back then but I had been raised in Pentecostal churches all my life.  I've been in situations where I felt the need to "perform" to show I was "touched by God" but I always resisted!  By that point in my life, I'd survived my home church, 4 years of Bible college and was married and in full time ministry.   NOTHING like this had ever happened to me before.  By that time in my life I was well into my role as a skeptic.  Believe me, when friends heard what happened to me, they came in DROVES to see what was going on LOL  Cause they knew I "didn't play the radio" translated...I didn't play around about the things of God. 
But here I was towards the back of the church, surrounded by a pastor and some folks from his church that we were going to speak at soon and I would have never wanted them to see me like that at all.  My husband just began saying "IT's God, It's God" because he knows me and knows how I am. 
So here I am down on my back on the floor, between the pews, screeching with laughter...with tears running down my face.  The tears were not from me laughing so hard but rather from a release in my heart.  I can not explain or defend what happened to me.  All I know is it happened, I don't fake it for no body....and the bible says that God uses the humblest things to confound the wise....
There was much discussion in the Pentecostal movement  at the time...was it real or not?  All I know for me it was real. 
What I appreciate about the minister Rodney Howard Browne is that he has gone on to pastor a church, a church that focuses on reaching the lost and he has never been in a scandal and has remained faithful to serve God.  He and his wife even went through the pain of losing a child to a horrible illness and yet serve God faithfully.   His fruit has remained for all the naysayers out there.  Some who fought the revival  ( that went on for years) , don't even serve God themselves now....
I will be the FIRST to say that Pentecostals can be a bit emotional in their experience with God  (not usually me but some can be)  But when you experience God, your emotions will get involved. 
So sharing this is very personal for me.  I'm not a typical Pentecostal and I will admit to being somewhat ashamed and embarrassed by Pentecostals and what they do LOL. I'd make a GREAT Methodist!  But I'm sharing my "real life" as it happened.....and when my friend Joe shared this, it brought this all back to my mind.  Although he and I are arguing what year it took place in LOL!  I say it was in Jan of 1996 and he says in was in 1993 (the revival went on for years with meetings that would go for a straight 6 weeks at times)... but we were all there and together when it happened.  And we've never forgotten the night we heard the angels sing!!!!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday Mornings

Love my happy boy, Shad!  This was taken at his Valentine's Dance.  He met up with a girl there but it was really like glorified recess.  The kids danced to Christian music and played games and won prizes.  I came for the last few minutes and it was a loud happy party!

Selah continues to do good.  OF COURSE her Tobi med didn't come hour on the phone tracking it will be here by noon tomorrow....and people wonder WHY I have an anger issue??   She had PT today but we're going a little gently on her.  She still is not up to her regular self but she is ok.  Our weekday nurse saw the new facial expression and really feels Selah is trying to smile!!!   He was almost crying when he saw it, he's prayed for her to be able to smile at us:)  

The kids have been busy with therapy and teachers today.  Mondays are big days for us. 

I've tried to get going but even after a LARGE coffee and TWO doughnuts, I'm dragging trying to do paperwork.  I swear I do more paperwork NOW than when I worked full time.  So overwhelming at times.  Everything takes so many steps to finish the whole thing.  Makes me want to go take a nap!

Tomorrow is a crazy busy day for us.  I scheduled Jon to see GI (he has some issues with his throat) and Cardiology. I figure I've had to see all these doctors, now it is his turn so we will stay healthy!  Sarah has an appointment with dermatology in Tampa.  She came home with a form of scabies (non contagious) and had to be aggressively treated.  Every great once in a while she'll have a small outbreak that we can treat with ointment.  So she sees dermatology once a year.  Plus we have PT in the morning.  Long day!  And Tuesdays are my day to go out to lunch with my friend:)

On Thursday I have someone coming to redo our whole sound system in the church along with the computers and he is going to look at my computer and try and figure out the issue with my blog!  Yeah maybe I'll soon be able to load up pictures again.    I'll be so glad to have all this done.  Our system was like just put together all kinds of ways with cords  hanging out.   We may have to buy some equipment to update the system but it will be nice to have it working and understandable. 

Well I hope you've had a more productive Monday than I have, about the only thing I've gotten done is cleaning out junk pipework, throwing away and shredding.   At least the pile is smaller, thanks to that:)  But now it's time to go and cook supper.  Chicken & Rice casserole with mashed potatoes and baked beans.  Easy peesy...and pretty healthy.  Have a great night!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

New Day!

What a day for the country of Ukraine.....things are happening fast and it's very fluid right now.   This morning's headline for AOL was this article   It starts out saying "it is a new day in Ukraine"   LOVE is a NEW day.  We just pray blessings on the country of Ukraine and pray that the country will go towards more democracy, freedom and that the Gospel of Christ will have more freedom to be shared AND that orphans will have better care!

Selah is continuing to do ok.  She is still not back to 100% but we are thankful that she is handling this illness WITHOUT having to go in the hospital.  This is the sickest she has ever been and yet remained at home.  We are thrilled that she is being able to recover at home and not in the hospital.  This episode reminds us of how important it is to have nursing for her.  There is no way we'd be comfortable dealing with her like this at home WITHOUT a nurse.  We have been in contact with both her pediatrician and her pulmonologist and followed their guidelines.  We were given  parameters to be able to keep her home, and thankfully she stayed within those parameters.   Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers!

Despite not feeling good Selah is doing something NEW-completely NEW!  Just yesterday she started bringing her top lip up in a way she never has before.  It looks like she could almost be smiling or maybe showing she is upset like a sneer.  I only saw her move the left side but our nurses have seen her move the right side also.  We didn't think those muscles worked but they seem to.  When she was up in the stander today, she used  this new movement and we could tell it was absolutely a purposeful movement.  I'm really excited, every little thing matters!!!!

Mr Sam has been a mess lately!  Just within the last week he had acted cranky and out of sorts.  And of a sudden, he has become a real toddler:)  He is into everything.  Yesterday he got a box of cereal, took it to his room and emptied it all over the floor!  In the past week, he has gone from just walking to his swing outside to running around the whole yard, getting into the garden, finding a ball and climbing down the slide without help.  He also found the dog's water dish!   We are loving it but at the same time, are quite astonished.  He has always been so cautious, not being able to see very good but now it's like "Katie bar the door" LOL  (old southern expression that means to LOOK OUT here come trouble) 

This morning before church we found him UNDER the trampoline in his room trying to get to some toys in a box. He has never done something like that!   We took pictures, that won't load on this crazy blog.  But we have photo evidence!  We had a guest speaker today so Jon sat with the family.  Sam could not contain himself and wanted to play with daddy.  I took him out, and he protested LOL 

It's like he has had this huge leap in his reasoning abilities.  The way Sam progresses seems to be like this but he has never ever had this big of leap before.  It's really something for us to watch.  We also know that we need to be extra careful with him right now as we were thinking he might figure out how to open doors by himself!  Glad we have an alarm system!

So our little ones are learning new skills.  Sarah is continuing to walk everywhere using her walker.  She wore a new summer outfit to church today and new sandals, she was so cute but I think the sandals were a bit harder for her to walk in.  She did it with a smile though:)

Big news.....Shelly Burman is HOME from Ukraine after being there since December 8th....she made it through many hardships, many things changed and she did not get the children she originally set out for BUT she rescued FOUR gorgeous little boys and made it through a near civil war.....I think she should write a book!!!!  But she is safe at home tonight with her hubby and all her children.  Pictures will be forthcoming I'm sure:)  She is a real trouper!  

Hope you all had a great weekend and a good week coming up!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Our fighting girl

Selah is holding her own.   What a little fighter!  The antibodic seems to be helping.  Her secretions are down, no fever today and no throwing up!   We are still being careful and have stopped the fish oil till she is back to normal.  We also are not giving her the formula tonight either, keeping her on Pedialyte.  In fact we kept it going on all on a slow drip in her gtube to make sure she stayed hydrated without using the juices like we usually do during the day.  Trying to keep things as easy for her as possible. 

Actually I'm thrilled that she is handling this illness as well as she is!  She is our tough little Ukrainian!!!!  I think this shows how healthy she is despite all she has been through. 

Speaking of Ukraine.....what a day for that country!  The president has stepped down, the former president has been released from prison.....  We hope and pray that freedom is finally coming to that wonderful country that has our hearts!

We got three more of our Square Foot Gardens filled today.  One with collards, one with squash and one with all kinds of peppers.  I have 4 more to fill and 3 to redo.  SFG are made of Untreated wood so they don't last forever.  Basically we'll just shovel out the remaining sand, put up the new sides and cover the bottom with cardboard boxes and newspaper and fill back up with compost. 

The boys worked hard after I had to go back inside and mulched & weeded around the house.  I then potted some flowers to hang.  Things are looking like spring time!  For their reward, they wanted to go to the movies....I only wanted to fall out on the couch!  Love having an older one who can take them to the movies for me! 

Tonight I switched back my closets . I know I live in Florida BUT I have this  thing about closets!    Summery and winter clothes can not be together LOL!  So since my closet now only has spring/summer clothes  I'm sure we will have SNOW LOL!    It was probably in  the mid 80's today. When I finished working outside, I took a COLD shower and was still HOT! 

But it is bathing suit and shorts weather down here....sorry to all my friends who live up north but just remember when you are having a nice warm summer, we'll be dripping with sweat down here in Florida!   I love Florida in spite of the heat & humidity!  It's what I'm used to:)  Personally I like as few clothes or shoes on as possible so that works good down here!  (NO I'm not a nudist- just love tshirts and shorts!) 

I have a collection of flip flops:)   No fancy shoes for me but I do have some really nice flip flops, some would be considered dress shoes:)  That's how we roll down here!!!!    Last year I found black flip flops with rhinestones and another pair with jewels on them.  I love them!

 Hope you all have a great weekend!  Please keep praying for Selah.  I'm thankful she has done as well as she has but she always needs prayers.  I don't understand everything about prayer but I know God hears Selah's name often.....


Friday, February 21, 2014

Our Sick Girl

Selah had a rough night, had to be suctioned often, her blood pressure was up enough to need a blood pressure med she has not taken in months!  She also had a big poop....The nurse gave her some valium also in the early morning.  Then she seemed to be ok till after she got her morning fish oil.  She threw most of it up.  Then a little later she threw up some water the nurse had given her.  She also started running a low grade temp.  She managed to keep the Tylenol down and has kept all her meds down since about noon. WHEW! 

I called both her pediatrician and her pulmonologist to see if we should take her in but we all were in agreement that we'd keep her home IF she could hold down her meds.  We don't want to expose her to something in the hospital if we can help it. 

Tonight we are just giving her Pedialyte   in her gtube feeds rather than her formula, in hopes of not upsetting her tummy!  So far so good!

We all think she is having a bit of a surge of her trachea infection.  She is colonized and that is why she gets Tobi (inhaled antibodic- 28 days on 28 days off)  She is supposed to start it on Monday....BUT this is the drug we fight MONTHLY with our insurance company.  It's supposed to be delivered on Monday but my bet is it won't come.  Our insurance requires it as a "specialty" drug to come through their mail order company.  WHAT a freaking pain! If we could just get it, we could start her a couple of days early and clear this up.  As it is, I can only hope she can make it through the weekend without having to go to the hospital.  I called the on call pulmonologist tonight.  She was able to call in a med we can use until we get the Tobi on Monday.  Hopefully that will help. 

Please keep Selah in your prayers.  She doesn't seem to be too upset or uncomfortable thank goodness but we are not feeling too good about all that is going on with her.  Times like this make me very glad we have full time nursing! 

This picture is from Thursday during her time with her teacher. 

she was really paying attention to everything.
Thanks for your prayers!!!!!!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Proverbs 31 NOT

This was my FB post yesterday:

Planted the garden FIVE beds cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, egg plant, carrots, and herbs cooked a huge meal.....AND all the clothes in the house are clean at this moment in time..... (cooked spinach shells, cheese tortellini, and spaghetti and made a big salad we'll have good leftovers for a couple of days. )

Boy I sound like the perfect Proverbs 31 woman don't I?  I've included some pictures but it doesn't look like they are showing up. 

I had it all going on....the garden was done, the weeding was done, the mulching at the church was done (thanks to Steve and his friend Gabe) I had made a huge meal since I had agreed to take Steve to a youth event that night.  I had everything done for Jon so when he got home, he wouldn't have much to do but put the little ones to bed....  I cleaned the kitchen, not a dirty dish in sight.....  The laundry bins were EMPTY, everything was put up....went back outside to see the finished results...and when I came in.....there was a call on my cell phone from Shad's came in at 3:48 see, I was supposed to pick up Shad at 2:30pm.....the same time I've been picking up kids from school for the last 8 years.....

I frantically tried to call the school back, but it went to voice mail.  I tried calling a close friend who works there as I ran around trying to find my van keys....Totally freaking out......

Luckily Steve's friend's mom was here and she ran me up to get him.  Shad thought it was funny, he'd been hanging out with some kids that were still at the school and wasn't upset at all. My friend said I am now "THAT " mother......I can't imagine what the teacher and others were thinking yesterday when they couldn't' get ahold of any of us.....

It's a funny story....I had everything RIGHT, except for forgetting a kid!!!!!!

We are all still laughing about it.  But doesn't that show how NOT perfect we are?  We might have it all together in one area then be totally off in another one.  I plead GUILTY!  I think this will be a "classic" family story. 


Selah is really doing some new things, they are subtle things but everyone is seeing them.  She sat in her pillow chair with minimum back/shoulder support and held her head up for over 10 minutes Tuesday night.  She had nothing around her neck helping to hold herself up.  Today she seems very responsive to her teacher who is quite amazed at some of her responses and it seems she is following/tracking more with her eyes and by moving her head.  I took some good pictures that will not load on here.

Don't know what is going on with my blog not accepting pictures.  My computer is fine, it's just the blog. 

As you can imagine our hearts and attention are on Ukraine.  Please pray for this country that it will experience freedom. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Please pray for Ukraine

Please pray for the people of Ukraine.  The unrest is growing by the hour, things are in constant change.  The pro government forces are attacking the protesters.  I've seen report of at least 19 killed today.  Up to a 1000 in local hospitals with injuries.  There are fires in Kiev in the government building area.....  You can go to Euro Maiden's page on FB and get up to the minute accounts if you are interested. 

Live Tv coverage

I'm not a political science major....all I know is Ukraine has had a horrible history of being overpowered by it's neighbors, especially Russia.  Ukraine wants the freedom to chose the future path of their country.  By all accounts their present leaders are corrupt.  Not all Ukrainians want change and some do want to be back under Russia.  This is the tension.  We were told that Ukraine was greatly divided and that a civil war could be coming.....I guess I am shocked that it has started so soon.   Being American, I can understand wanting to have the freedom to help shape my country. 

Please pray for the people of Ukraine and for freedom.  I think of our friends living in Ukraine, people that we fell in love with while we were there.  I think of all the orphans, life is rough for them already, how will it be if civil war comes to that country?

My heart is moved by the things I've seen and heard of priests supporting the protestors, of the protestors praying knowing that they maybe killed by the government forces.....


Well no gardening got done today!  I had a doctor's appointment that lasted for 3 hours...of waiting...and 1 hour drive both ways.  I went for a 2nd opinion on the thyroid cysts and it looks like I will have to have a biopsy.  The doctor was great once I finally saw her and she was upbeat.  She feels it's 90% not cancer and if there is a problem it should be contained as she can't even feel it manually.  But I just don't want to deal with this at all!!!!  UGH!!!

I came home to Steve having totally mulched a section of the yard where our big adult swing is:)  That was nice!


So my thoughts tonight are with the people of Ukraine....may God bring forth justice in that country and I pray for our friends there who we love and all the children in the orphanages.  

Monday, February 17, 2014

Working on the garden

Today was a beautiful Florida day and we worked on the garden and yard.  As you can see I filled up our old van with 40 bags of mulch and 3 bags of compost.  On the second trip I got 5 more bags of mulch and 7 bags of compost and 3 bags of cow manure:)  Cow manure brings out the butterflies:)

I also bought some plants.  Cucumbers, tomatoes, collards, herbs, different kinds of lettuce and some marigolds for the garden (that helps keep bugs away) and some peonies to put in hanging baskets.  We also got a big climbing red flower vine.  I have no idea what it is but I love vines on our fence, it makes the yard seem cooler in the summertime. 

yes the van was full!
yep that is the back LOL!  I had to drive that home.  It was so heavy that one of the tires looked somewhat flat so I stopped and got air in it!  The guy a the tire shop was amazed I had so much in the van!  But I got it all home and we worked.
Pictures tomorrow.....didn't have time to get everything in the ground but got two beds planted.  I LOVE to plant!  Everything is so new and fresh and full of promise! 
Sarah is walking all over with her walker, it is something NEW for us to get used to.  Today she was adamant that she wanted to be outside with us working.  She sat on the big swing but loved being a big girl.   she is also learning to let go and STAND without holding on.  This is pretty new for her.  She has done that a little but now she is doing it numerous times a day!  Go Sarah Joy!
Tomorrow if my blog will cooperate, I will have pictures of the yard and garden and maybe the hard working gardeners (Shad and Steve!)  They did a good job today and I know they'll sleep good tonight!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Square Dance

Last night our family had a blast at an old fashioned square dance.  Jon & I both took square dancing during PE in high school.....but we learned that had been many  years ago LOL! It took us awhile to catch on.   But we had a blast.  I started out in heels, ended the night in tennis shoes and hardly being able to move!  (took 2 aspirins when I got home and put myself to bed!)  Loved seeing Steve dancing the night away with some friends.  Shad even got into it.  Shad was doing the "limbo".  There was also some line dancing, one dance I really caught on to, some of the other ones, were a bit too much for me.  What a fun night for our family.  Sam & Sarah sat and listened to the music.  When the hall cleared out some, we danced with them and Sarah walked all over in her walker. 
Here's me and Jon from the back:)
Today our church had a church luncheon.  Fun times but I'm so tired I feel like somebody beat me with a stick!  But it's been a great weekend, planning on going to bed early tonight!!!!
Everyone is doing good, we've had a wonderful weekend here in sunny Florida! 


Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

Jon outdid himself this year.  I'm not into flowers or candy but I love that he wants me to have someone come in to deep clean our house once a month and he got me gift cards to go out to eat, enough to bring all our little Valentines with us:)  Steve vacuumed out the van for me, I'm simple, I love to have things neat and clean so it made me happy! 

Our nurse had an appointment and I got to be alone with Selah for awhile.  It was really nice to spend one on one time with her.  I so appreciate our nurses but I don't mind taking care of her by myself either.  It gives us time to bond, without people around all the time.  There are times when I miss all the nights that used to seem so hard doing all the nursing.  But with having to take care of the other kids, it's hard.  I did enjoy today. 

We're enjoying a cool Florida day, Jon is walking Sarah outside in her new walker, Steve is practicing for his percussion group, Shad is running outside and Sam is napping.  Selah is in her stander, all is good in the Clanton world.  Thanks for your continued prayer and support:)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Career mom vs. Stay at home mom

My crazy blog continues.  There seems to be some glitch in posting pictures.  This has happened before, hope to get it fixed soon.   I have some great birthday pictures of Sam and the family.  We had a great night and he is loving his present, his own iPod:)  He is a music lover to say the least.  Hopefully I'll be able to post the pictures soon.


Yesterday I was near my old office doing some errands so I stopped by with the kids.  I quit work when Sam was born so it's been 10 years....the building hasn't changed one bit.  The funniest thing is I had a small cut on my finger that would NOT stop bleeding so I ask the receptionist to give me a Band-Aid from the medical kit.  She was new and didn't know where it was, I told her where to look and the same kit was there from 10 years ago.  That made me really  LOL!

There has always been the big debate especially in Christian circles about career moms  vs. stay at home moms.  Usually the working mom is displayed as not as spiritual.  I've been both and I truly hate to hear when a stay at home mom goes on and on about how hard her job is and how much she is worth.....  A working mom does all that a stay at home mom does AND works a job! 

For me, I wanted a career, I never really thought about staying at home with my kids (actually I didn't think much about having kids!)  .  Having a college degree, I meant to use it!  I worked for 4 or 5 years for a contracted agency under the Department of Juvenile Justice, right after college.  I enjoyed my job back then a lot.  We then moved to NYC and I worked in the ministry with my husband, with regular work hours.  After Steve was born, I did stay home some but I was also able to take him to work with me some.  When we moved back home, I knew I'd need to go back to work full time and THAT was hard for me.  I did not want to leave my 2 year old all day.  He on the other hand was quite fine with it!  For the first year, his aunt kept him and then he went to daycare.  Daycare is a pain in the butt if you've ever had to deal with it, you'll know what I mean.  Steve was at the first daycare 6 weeks and it closed....we had to scramble to find another one.  Then he was at one for a year or so and it went downhill....then we went to another one for a few months and it finally by the time he was 4 years old we found the perfect one for us and for him.  It was great once we got settled.  The good thing is that preschool was connected to Christian school, which he attended through 5th grade. 

Jon and I worked hard to ensure we spent as much time with Steve as possible, when Steve was in preschool.  Jon was able to work his schedule so he didn't go in till noon so Steve was able to stay home till 11am with Dad.  Then I'd go into work earlier and tried to get off early, sometimes by 4 pm so I could pick him up early.  And "back in the day" I was able to bring him into work at times. 

Once he started kindergarten, I no longer felt guilt about working because even if I didn't work, he'd been in school anyhow.  We were lucky, Steve always enjoyed daycare and after school care.  He never cried when he was dropped off.  I cried a few time after I'd dropped him off.   It was hard for me at times. 

Once I was pregnant with Sam, I found a daycare that would have taken him at 2 months.  I had him signed up on the wait list.....but Sam changed all of that!

When I realized I couldn't go back to work after Sam was born, because he was too medically fragile for daycare, things changed quickly for us!  Thankfully we were not in too much debt.  We paid off everything that we could and really learned to make do with less.  Soon after Sam was born, our lease was up on our house.   In Florida if you work at the prison, you can live on the campus, they have trailer lots.  We bought a used mobile home, moved it out there and had no monthly lease or mortgage payments.  That cut down on much of our expenses.  Jon could literally walk to work if he wanted to.  It was a crazy time but we were all together and that part was nice.  We were lucky, we were able to cut back tremendously and we made some really good financial decisions in those first few months that helped us.  We were able to pull some money out and pay off bills.   We did NOT want to have to declare bankruptcy and thank God we did not have to.  Our income went down more than 50%, I was a probation supervisor and I made more than my husband.  Also because I was administration, our health care was paid for completely.  So when I quit, the income and the perks were gone.  But we learned to deal with the it. 

So then I became a stay at home mom.  Of course my situation was different than some, as I was dealing with a very sick fragile baby but I did enjoy the extra time with my family.

It's been 10 year now.  There are times when Jon leaves for work that I wish I was going too.  Not so much to be away from my kids, but because I enjoyed working (for the most part)  I was good at my job, it was a bit stressful but it worked for me.  Now looking back, I do see that it was a "dark" job, if that makes sense.  Working with criminals for years, can make you despair of the human race at times.  But it was always interesting.   I was a juvenile probation officer, then I became a Senior probation officer.  At that time, I took over all the committed felony cases for our area.  I dealt with the lock down facilities and the ones who were in the adult system also.  When I became a supervisor, I supervised probation officers who were handling all those type of cases for the county.  To be quite honest, I HATED being a supervisor.   Being an officer, I did my work well and never had much to worry about.....when I supervised people, I quickly found out not everyone did their work like I did and I could get fired if one of my workers made any serious mistakes!  Thankfully nothing like that ever happened to me!  But it was more stressful supervising others than just doing my own work! 

Personally, I don't necessarily think that kids who have stay at home moms do a lot better once they are adults than kids whose moms worked.  Looking at my circle of friends, most of my closest friends have worked at least part of their kids' childhoods.  Some worked the whole time.  Most of my friends have worked career type jobs with stable hours and quite a few are teachers who had close to the same schedule as their children had.  I have few friends who have stayed home completely with their kids but looking at others that I know, there doesn't seem to be that much difference in the young adults and their success/failure rate or whether or not they are Christians.  It seems many young adults have issues in their early adult age whether they had stay at home moms, or if their moms worked.  I do think there are other factors that may determine whether a teen struggles a bit more in certain areas but that is for another blog post. 

So in a perfect world, I'd say do what works best for your family and what is in your heart.  Of course there are moms who work and it is not what they want to do but what they have to do to help their family.  I know it was very hard for me to leave Steve when he was young.  But we needed my income and it was very hard when I had to quit work.  We were blessed that we had family who were involved and helpful in our lives and the fact that we didn't have terrible debts.  But it was a scary time financially. 

Since I've been a working mom AND a stay at home mom, I see both sides.  One great thing about being a stay at home mom, is time with your children.  You can never buy time back......  Just yesterday after we left my old office, I told Steve how much I've enjoyed the extra time I've gotten to spend with him in the past 10 years.  A job is not more important than TIME with your children and family.  But for many a job is what keeps the family together.  There are many single moms who have to work hard to provide for their children.  In this time of high unemployment, there are moms who are the breadwinner in the family. For us personally, my husband is a minster and a chaplain....neither pay much!  He has chosen not to take a salary for our church as it is a small church and that decision has freed the church up to be able to do many of the repairs and upgrades needed here.  As a chaplain, working for the state, it's not a big salary! 

So at this point in my life, we have a unique family situation that takes more of my time and involvement that many families have.  I don't see myself going back to work a career type job at all.  IF I did, it would NOT be in the criminal justice system......I did my time....about 12 years so I'm good! 

I think what I lean towards would be a career of sharing our story, by writing and speaking, due to our unique life.  If I were to go back to a 8-5 type of job, I'd like to work as a vision teacher for preschool aged clients and their families.   The two vision teachers we had from Blind Services helped us as a family learn how to raise a blind child and what they taught us, has been our building blocks!  But I don't want to have to go back and get another Master's degree which is what it would take for me to be accredited.  You'd think they'd just take Sam's word for it LOL!

But to every mom who is reading this.....don't be ashamed for whatever decision you make!  Most moms work because the need is there.  If that is the case, be thankful you have a job.  There is a part of me that is torn, I personally would rather stay home with my kids (95% of the time) but I do understand women who have careers and enjoy their careers.  I'm somewhat of a feminist, in that I support a woman's right to work, make the same as a man, be promoted for the good job she does.....  Personally I never was blocked as a female in any jobs or promotions as an adult.  As a teen I had a couple of horrendous experiences with groping bosses!   But don't look down on other moms who chose to stay home with their kids!

If you are a stay at home mom, don't be ashamed of it.  It's a blessing to be with your children.  BUT also don't be thinking you are so much more spiritual either!  

Again personally I'm thankful for all the time I have with my kids, I certainly never thought I'd be able to be a stay at home mom BUT we do not live the average middle class lifestyle.  There are many things we have chosen to give up in order for me to be able to take care of the children full time.  We don't go on big vacations, or have a lot of extra things.  We've struggled over the years to ensure our boys stayed in private school.  Having them in private school was very important to us.   I shop at thrift store, and buy brand new things only on sale. We only bought older vehicles that we paid cash for.   We are blessed that our church provides a parsonage so we don't have a big monthly house payment. 

There are pros and cons to every situation.  There are good things about working outside the home and good things about being a stay at home mom.  Staying home, I don't get up and have to get ready to be in court in dress clothes every day.  I can stay in my PJ's till noon if I want, although I have so many people in and out of my home every day I tend to try and get up and be presentable early!  

Everyone has a different story and situation.  And the situation you are in right now may change in time.  But I just had in on my heart to write this to encourage you to be content whether you are a career mom or stay at home mom. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

My Crazy Blog

I have such great pictures I was going to share tonight but my blog has gone absolutely nutso.....every now and then my blog will not cooperate with pictures.   I had a really good blog ready to honor Sam but it will have to be for another day since I am tired from all the partying and ready to go to bed!

In a nutshell we've had a wonderful day celebrating Sam's 10th birthday:)  He is one happy boy!

I promise pictures tomorrow, hopefully and the whole scope:)

This was my FB post today....

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SAM! Can't believe he is 10 years old. He is the most life changing gift that I've ever been given. God allowed his little life and his little life helped change the future of three other children. If God had not given us Sam, we would have never even thought to adopt Shad, Sarah or Selah. So he has done more in his 10 years than most people have done in a lifetime. Every life... is precious, some people may see Sam as just a disabled blind child, maybe even a drain on society....BUT that is not how God sees his little precious life & that's not how we see him. He is a gift that is more precious to me than anything else. He changed my life, for so much better than it was before him:) It was scary handing over the "normal" dreams that we had for our son but God helped us not to be bitter but to look forward and that changed everything. Happy birthday Sam!
Ok for the last two days if "seems" like Selah is bringing her hands together and resting them on her tummy.   This is something she has never done and now 2 of her nurses have seen her do this.  We really don't know what to think.  No one has "positioned' her but we are wondering if her hands just "accidently" came together or is this a real thing she is doing?   If so, this is big.  We will have to see if this continues.  There is this whole thing about "the midline" and kids doing things like this as a development stage.  Please pray that it is something she is doing and that she will continue doing it!!!!
Sarah is doing great with her new walker!  Her PT can tell the difference already with the new walker as we are using it everytime she goes out.  She is loving her new walker and is ready to get in it and GO! 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Ten years ago......

Ten years ago...I was having steroid shots in preparation for the very premature birth of my Sam, not knowing what the next day would bring. We didn't know if he'd survive his birth (planned c-section due to no ammonic fluid & little growth on his part) as I hoped & prayed that day that we wouldn't have to go through another loss....I had NO idea of the adventure I was really about to embark thankful I've gotten the chance to be Sam's mama!!!!

I remember many details of the day before Sam's birth.  I went into my office for really the last time to say goodbye and let people know what was going on, at that time I thought I'd be back to work in a couple of months if all went well.  Then I went to the hospital for the 2nd very painful steroid shot.  They showed me around the NICU....NOT the best thing for me.  I saw babies smaller than anything I'd ever seen before.  The nurses had a little bed already prepared for Sam with his name on it.  That totally freaked me out.  I was so scared & upset after seeing the NICU!   (I don't really like to know about reality until it happens LOL)

Got home to our septic system being pumped out....nice. Back then home was a "huge" compared to now, house in suburbia with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, a screened in patio, fireplace, walk in closets...  I laugh now, what did Jon, Steve and me need all that room for?  We didn't know how lonely we all were!

Jon took me to the mall to buy some PJ's.  Until the day before I'd been on bedrest for months so this was my only time to shop before his birth.  The day before the doctor had decided that Sam was in more danger in than out so it was time for him to be born.  But they gave me the steroid shots two days in a row to help his lungs mature faster. It really worked and he had little problems compared to some preemies. 

My OB doctor was a nice guy, I was actually friends with his daughter so we had a good relationship.  When he informed me that he thought it best to take Sam by C-section at barely 32 weeks, I was in such shock.  During the pregnancy I hadn't really gained weight, seldom felt Sam move, so I really didn't feel like I was pregnant!  It felt WAY TOO soon to be having a baby.  Well I guess I was in such shock that I didn't say anything to him.  He walked out, then walked back in because he later told me he was afraid I was going to faint!  LOL  He said he had never known me to be speechless:)

That night I held Steve close, I was afraid, I'd never had really had a surgery but when they took the twins and that didn't turn out so good for me.  So I didn't know what to expect.  I also held my little tiny baby bump because I didn't know if that might be our last night together. 

Our doctor really took major precautions based on what had happened to me with the twins.  He told me there would be no dying on his shift.  My doctor passed away a few years ago, suddenly from a horrible form of cancer, I hope he was well taken care of during that time because he showed us a lot of concern and care.  He didn't know why Sam was doing so poorly, barely growing, not moving so he did gently talk to me about things.  We had planned for me to have a tubal ligation since I was already having a C-section but he was honest and told me he just didn't know how things were going to go at delivery so he thought we should hold off on doing that in case Sam didn't survive. 
(Now we know that probably a lot of the problem was that Sam had Peter's Anomaly and it has really affected his growth.)

It was an emotional day, ten years ago.  It seems so long ago yet such a short time.  Sam has been nothing but an adventure since before day 1!  but I wouldn't have him any other way!!!


We had a good but very busy weekend.  Everyone is well, Selah has seemed really alert the last two days.  Church was great, our highest attendance yet!  Our teens begin practicing for their Fine Art's performance in a percussion band.  It's exciting to see things come together like it has. 

Friday, February 7, 2014


This morning we had the final IEP meeting in relation to the three little ones schooling for this year. This 2 plus hour meeting went over all the recommendations and services they will receive.  I agree with the majority of it, just wanted Sarah and Sam to get O&M (orientation and mobility) more time than they get it weekly.  I'm glad to be done with meetings!!!!!  I'm sure the school board personnel are also glad to be done with us!  I do feel we have made better progress this year than any year since I've been dealing with the public school system.

One good idea that was brought up was the possibility of Sam and Sarah going to school next year using a McKay scholarship..  A McKay pays for a child to go to any school, public or private in the state of Florida, as long as the child has an Individual Education Plan (IEP)* or 504 Accommodation Plan.  It's a school choice program.  Our son's school takes Mckay scholarships.  So this idea was floated around today.  After I left the meeting I called our principal and talked to him about it.  We had discussed it after the girls were adopted and before the accident happened so he recalled our conversation.  The funny thing, one of my closest friends who works there had just talked to him about a special needs classroom, just yesterday!  And she and I had NOT discussed this since before the accident!  How funny!

So we had a good talk, I brought in their current IEPs and we are going from there......I'm even hoping that my close friend may end up as their teacher if this all works out!  To be honest, it is a good thing I'm going to a psychiatrist soon.......this is a big change for me to even seriously think about.  Sam has always had such underlying medical issues, that it is hard for me to trust anyone with him but I know I could trust if my friend was their direct teacher.  I've worried for Sarah that a school setting might seem more like an institution to her.  I don't want to freak her out emotionally. 

If this works out, then all the younger children would be in school.  Steve at college and Selah with her nurse....I may actually get some of my work done.  It would take off some of the stress but then replace it with some other type of stress.  LOL  I have ALREADY started worrying thank you very much:)  I bet that Sam has never been without me, Jon or Steve for anymore than maybe 24 hours of his life, I can only think of three times that I've left him with someone besides the three of us!  Sarah has been left twice for a few hours since we've had her.  Those are 2 of the 3 times I've ever left him.....   With a child that is non verbal, it is hard to leave them.  I've never really used many babysitters, even for Steve.

So my life may really be about to change!  We'll see how things go. 

Thanks for all the kind remarks I got regarding yesterday's blog.  I never know how people will take things.  So I never know if the comments/emails will be positive or negative.  Thanks for being positive!

It's a chilly rainy day in Florida.  We got Chinese for a late lunch and I'm ready to go fall out and sleep for a month:)  Steve and Shad went off to see a movie.  It's nice to have someone else driving, but I'm just letting him start to drive the kids without us in the van.  Selah is doing good. 

Hope you all have a good weekend and please remember Selah in your prayers!

Thursday, February 6, 2014


Do you get overwhelmed by all of the responsibilities of life? I surely do! I feel I'm drowning in all the duties of my life and doing none of them very good. 

I used to be such an organized person.  Even after we had five children, I had everything done, organized and cleaned.   But since the accident, I can not concentrate on things very well.   I was such a focused person but I cannot maintain focus still.  Some days are a bit better than others.  It's not like I'm sitting around all day doing nothing, I keep busy but not focused.  It is so frustrating to me!

Today I made some decisions that I think will help me.  I bought a big notebook to keep track of the "to do list" as well as other things.  That along with the calendar should help me.   Recently I've used about four different notebooks as well as backs of envelopes, that would get this has to be better. 

We keep our house picked up and as clutter free as possible but I don't have time to deep clean very often so I've found someone to clean my house deep once a month.  To me, this is a bit humbling but at this point in life, I have people in and out of my home day & night, there is just not enough time to do this and I can't stand things not clean!

I've asked someone to take over some of the paperwork responsibilities of the church.

And this may shock some of you but I've made an appointment with a psychiatrist.  The appointment has been made for more than a month but it's like a relief to know I have the appointment set.  Some may see this as a cop out but I recognize the stress I'm under and how I'm dealing with it.  The stress of my life is not going to go away.  Sometimes a person can be in a stressful situation for a short time and can deal with it.  I've been in this extreme situation for a year and a half.  There are so very many different facets to our situation that it is just unreal.  Our lives were changed for the better when we had Sam, adopted Shad, and adopted the girls.  But with each thing came more stress and more responsibility .  Then the accident and the ongoing status of Selah is incredibly hard to wrap your mind around.   I've been asked if I am depressed and really I don't think so.  Because I do have a hope beyond this life, I know one day everything will be ok.  I look forward to that future time but I also look forward to things in our lives now.  We have a lot of responsibilities but we are really pretty happy people.  I've been depressed before, like after the death of the twins and that is not how I feel now at all.  I do feel grief sometimes that overwhelms me about Selah.  But overall, I look forward to what life has in store for us.  There are so many things going on GOOD in our lives right now. 

But what I have the hardest thing dealing with is the lack of focus day to day and the anxiety that something else bad will happen to one of us.  I joke around with my close friends, who all tend to have the same sense of humor I have, and say as long as I worry about it....IT will NOT happen.  For example, one of my friends was going back home on a plane and I made sure I worried about it crashing for her so then it wouldn't crash LOL!  You know they say 99% of what you worry about will not happen so I worry so it won't happen?  Make sense to you?  It makes plenty of sense to me:)

But the serious things is I didn't ever worry about my kids falling into the Erie Canal....and it happened.  They went off in the stroller, down the sidewalk on a beautiful day........So now I worry that random things will happen to us.....Ok are you ready to call in the guys with the white suit yet?   I share this in a light hearted way because I know it is absurd but..... I worry.  And I know that that is not normal to worry so much.  Please no scriptures about worrying....I know them.  I'm also NOT going to a Christian counselor for that very reason.  I don't need to be told I'm in sin for being worried for my family.  (not that I think it is a sin to worry, I think it is human nature as we live in a fallen world where bad things happen that we have no control over.)  If the doctor turns out to be a Christian that is great if not that's ok too with me. 

So I'm hoping I will find some help to let me focus better & to let go of some of the anxiety of my life.  If you knew me "in real life" you probably wouldn't think I battle with these things.  I'm being very honest & open on here because there are so many people who struggle in their minds who are ashamed to get help.  People tell me all the time "you make it look easy"  Well it's not easy....

Of course I believe my MAIN help comes from the Maker of Heaven and earth....I wouldn't be in any way able to function without God.  But just as we have doctors for our bodies, there are doctors for our minds too. 

So I'm being extremely open and vulnerable here......but this is my REAL life and it is where I am at.  I want to be healthy physically and mentally to be able to take care of my children for the rest of my life.  I'm hoping to have many years to care and love on my little ones.  The three little ones will always need us to take care of all their needs so I want to be healthy to do so. 

I grew up around mental illness.  Of course as a child you don't recognize it it's "just the way things are"  But both of my aunts had a fear of leaving the house.  One of them had extreme anxiety about everything from her health to everyone's safety., I understand now looking back.  Obviously there were many dysfunctional aspects to my life, having parents who walked out on me as a child and  who lived like teenagers as long as possible..... so I know I do not want to live like that. 

So I hope my honesty will help someone who is reading this to get help if they need it.  I've told a few friends I was going to share about this and they were shocked.

This morning I read this on a friend's wall  "Dear friends, be careful of the preacher who never has a doubt, a bad day, loses a battle, or always is on top of the spiritual world!"  I thought it was a good quote.  So I guess with me you don't have to worry about that with me.....

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Sarah's life changed again!

Today Sarah's life changed again......

We'd been using a borrowed walker for her.  We only used it around the house/yard and church.  Since she can't see, we have to hold it and guide her as she walks.  She is a little girl so it means bending over and walking with her.  That is ok in a safe place when I only have to be responsible for Sarah.  But when I have the other children or if I'm in a parking lot, I can not be aware of what all is around me and I certainly can't let go of her walker because she could walk into something or off a curb. I can't stand up completely so I can see all around us nor can I look after Sam while I'm walking like that.   So I asked our Physical Therapist if we could put a handle on the walker.  We brain stormed different ways to do it but nothing seemed to work.  Then she researched for me and found the kind of walker I needed to safely take Sarah out anywhere we go.

It came in today.....and we went out......

Sarah walked from the house to the van, then from the van into the hair salon.  She walked around the outside until it was our turn.  (All 5 of us go so they know us and get us in and out!)  Then she walked back to the van.  Then we went to Walmart for a few things and she walked in and around Walmart some.  On the way back to the parking lot, she did make a crying face so I did carry her to the van (which I'm not supposed to do now with 2 hernias but hey....)  I was able to hold onto Sarah and at one point Sam also.   I felt perfectly safe being able to be upright and look around, especially in the parking lot.  This new walker has changed our lives! 

If she looks a little blue around the lips, she had just had a blue lollipop, after her haircut.

we started out in my fav section, the gardening section!
see my handle! It was so easy to help her steer away from things in her path
Btw if you wonder why she always wears leggings, it's to protect her legs.  She often runs into things and gets lots of little bruises.  Not being able to see, AND being very much a dare devil, makes for some interesting falls.  If she wears leggings she generally doesn't scrape her knees up as much.  Her leggings were dirty today but no scrapes or bruises :)   She is tough and seldom cries but she is so excited to just GO!  So she goes and we rush along beside her as best we can.  She has learned how to avoid hurting herself, for the most part in our home but our house is set up for a blind person.  Nothing hard, no sharp edges.....   We hope she will learn to let the walker be her protection but she still gets too excited and even if she hits something, if we don't' catch her, she'll just ram it again and again.   This is a pre caning (using the white cane) skill that she hasn't learned to master but we all think she will.  Our goal is for her to walk independently in most settings with a white cane. 
Today alot of people looked at Sarah, more than usual BUT almost all of them with a huge grin on their faces seeing that tiny girl working so hard!!!   I don't think I could love this girl anymore than I do, my heart just bursts to see her doing something like this!  She is just the most amazing child ever!
 There is a part of me that feels such a vindication when I see her doing all these things.  This child that was left strapped to a bed, who barely could lift her head up the first day we met her....Now she is walking fast all over the place!  Our Physical therapist has assured us that Sarah will walk independently one day.  Then we can give this walker away:)  But until then she is learning and we are loving it!  I'm so blessed to have this girl for my daughter!  
Before all this excitement, I got some paperwork done....the scourge of my life!  We went over Steve's books with his advisor and found he is so very close to being finished with high school.  He will probably be done in the next couple of weeks!   YEAH!  Then he can study for his ACT test for college.  Everything is just coming together for him.
Selah had a good day.  She's been up all day either in her chair or the stander.  Our PT is out of town this week so the nurses have more time to work with Selah in other ways this week. 
Shad is continuing to do well in school and is really pushing ahead in his books.  Since he is already in 5th grade work in all classes, his goal is for him to at least be starting 6th grade work before the end of the school year. 
Sam is getting ready for his 10th birthday in just a few days.  We splurged and bought him just one really nice gift.  He is going to be so happy when he gets it.....shhhhhhh it's a surprise. 
Our weather is back to Florida winder was in the 80's today although I think tomorrow it's only going to be in the 70's, winder is so tough here in Florida:)  We may have one more really cold spell for a few days and then we'll be into spring!  I'm ready to work on the garden now.
I got some awful news today.  There was a shooting in my home town.  I know the man who was the shooter, went to high school with him, he was older.  And I know the family of the cop who was such a hero and was shot protecting others.  The names of the other two that were shot have not been released but chances are I'll know them too.   I don't understand how or why someone feels they have to kill another person because of a hurt!  So sorry for all the families involved.  Perry is the last place you'd think something like this would happen.  I knew the family that used to own this dealership, been there, test drove a car there.....rode by it so many times.  You just never think something like this will happen to folks you know!  My prayers are for all involved!