Saturday, January 30, 2010

My Big Plan

Monday of last week I told ya'll that I had been laid(?layed) off.  It was a shock and a surprise.  But I can see God doing something marvellous.  I've been dreaming of something for a while.  And now I have the opportunity to reach out and touch that dream.  I was actually going to begin taking the baby steps last summer.  But then we found out that Johanna had Trisomy 18.  God changed our/my plans and His timing really is the best.  So now instead of taking the baby steps, I get to take the big leap all at one time.  I'm afraid to go do it and I'm afraid not to do it.  I feel like I am Charlie and Willy Wonka has given me the golden ticket.  All I have to do is take it to the chocolate factory, and ride the magic glass elevator.  Well maybe that was over the top.  But I do love Willy Wonka.

I digress.  And I'm rambling(because I'm scared).

I have worked in medicine in one form or another since I was in high school.  And I love it.  I'm made for it.  With God's direction and His unexplainable timing, I have decided to begin the journey of Emergency Medical Services.  If all goes as planned(but what does) and as the advisors have assured me, I will begin the Paramedic program in August.  I can't begin to describe how excited I am.  There are so many advantages and very few disadvantages.  The program is a 2 year program and I should finish May 2012 with an AAS in Emergency Medical Services.  Once I'm finished I want to work.  I love working.  And I hope to be in a position to actually help someone.  To save lives and to show others how much God loves them.  My ultimate fantasy goal would be that of Flight Paramedic.  But that has to wait.  We'll see what God has in store for me.

He works all things for my good(paraphrased from Romans 8:28).  Even unemployment.  He knows the desires of my heart and is giving them to me in the most unexpected way.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The One We Praise.........

Some days grief is not heavy or hard.  Some days it weighs more than an elephant.  Some days I can push through all of the wondering and the why.  And some days I need reminding that God loves me.  And all of this journey is for His glory.

In light of the recent homegoings of Sydney and Zoe I needed a little reminding.  Johanna hasn't been gone from us for very long.  But it feels like an century.  And whenever I learn of another precious child making their passage to heaven I'm reminded.  It's not bad to be reminded.  My Dad tells me that we hurt to remember.  And I'm so glad we do.

But..............I'm also reminded of something else.  And today I'm envious of all the babies, children, and adults that have gone before me.  They are already praising my Savior in His presence.  The very thing I was created to do.  My heart, soul, and spirit yearn for that day.

There are many things that bring comfort.  This is my comfort today.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler
Psalm 91:1-4

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I Will be Back

We're having some work done at the house and it's messing with my chi.  Or creative writing abilities.  I'll be back once it's done.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Have a New Husband by Friday!

 Yesterday Clayton and I decided to hit up the ESC and try our hand.  It was a success(I hope). We were only there for about 15 minutes and the very kind receptionist assured me everything was taken care of.  And once again everyone believes I am who I say I am.

On the way to the hottest building in Burke County Clayton and I(mainly just I because Clayton was pointing out every single solitary truck we passed) were listening to "Focus on the Family".  They had an author by the name of Dr. Kevin Leman on today's broadcast.  He has written many books but the topic of today's broadcast was on his book "Have a New Husband by Friday". I didn't get to finish listening to the broadcast so I came home and finished it  online after Clayton went to bed.  It's amazing.  I would definitely recommend listening to it yourself.

I can't just sit and listen to anything.  I am after all a woman and that means I am constantly multi-tasking.  Last night was no exception.  As I listened to the broadcast I messed around on their site and ran across this amazing artical about being a successful couple.  I thought I would share it with you.

  1. Happiness is not the most important thing. Everyone wants to be happy, but happiness will come and go. Successful couples learn to intentionally do things that will bring happiness back when life pulls it away.
  2. Couples discover the value in just showing up. When things get tough and couples don't know what to do, they need to hang in there and be there for their spouse. Time has a way of helping couples work things out by providing opportunities to reduce stress and overcome challenges.
  3. If you do what you always do, you will get same result. Wise couples have learned that you have to approach problems differently to get different results. Often, minor changes in approach, attitude and actions make the biggest difference in marriage.
  4. Your attitude does matter. Changing behavior is important, but so is changing attitudes. Bad attitudes often drive bad feelings and actions.
  5. Change your mind, change your marriage. How couples think and what they believe about their spouse affects how they perceive the other. What they expect and how they treat their spouse matters greatly.
  6. The grass is greenest where you water it. Successful couples have learned to resist the grass is greener myth – i.e. someone else will make me happy. They have learned to put their energy into making themselves and their marriage better.
  7. You can change your marriage by changing yourself. Veteran couples have learned that trying to change their spouse is like trying to push a rope – almost impossible. Often, the only person we can change in our marriage is ourselves.
  8. Love is a verb, not just a feeling. Everyday life wears away the "feel good side of marriage." Feelings, like happiness, will fluctuate. But, real love is based on a couple's vows of commitment: "For better or for worse" – when it feels good and when it doesn't.
  9. Marriage is often about fighting the battle between your ears. Successful couples have learned to resist holding grudges, bringing up the past and remembering that they married an imperfect person – and so did their spouse.
  10. A crisis doesn't mean the marriage is over. Crises are like storms: loud, scary and dangerous. But to get through a storm you have to keep driving. A crisis can be a new beginning. It's out of pain that great people and marriages are produced.
There is nothing new about any of these tips.  I just felt like repeating them.  I especially liked #10.  If Johanna, Trisomy 18, and the last year have taught 1 thing(they've actually taught me many) in relation to my marriage it would be this.  Only together can any couple weather any storm, whatever the storm may be.  Chad and I tried to do it alone after we found out that JoJo was sick and dying.  It didn't work.  Only after we released our own independence and with the Lord's help leaned on each other, did we learn a new level of love and intimacy for each other.  And that has been true for any "crisis" in our marriage.  They have all made our marriage stronger.  When Chad's truck had the hiccups yesterday(it's fine now, thanks everybody for asking) it was no big deal in light of our past experiences.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

PS I'm not really sure why the text at the top is BOLD, but I couldn't get it fixed.  Crazy Blogger!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

It's Just Another Manic Monday........

woo...woo....wish it was Sunday.....woo....woo.......

I have had this whole day planned out for a few days.  Clayton and I were going(against my better judgement on a Monday) to the Employment Security Commission to attempt to convince them that my surname(their wording) was in fact correct.  I have my documentation all ready and I have my "take no prisoners" attitude pulled out of the closet for today.

And then..............

Here's where the insane saga begins.  We have a environment friendly pellet heater.  Not that we're are particularly "green" obsessed.  We needed a new heat source for our super old house and we came upon this heater at a steal.  You wouldn't believe me if I told you.  It was no coincidence, God provided for us exactly when we needed it.  Anyway, because we live in an older house with a very damp basement we don't have anywhere to store massive amounts of pellets.  We buy what we need on an as needed basis.  There are only 2 places in our area that we can buy them.  We decided to get them yesterday at the Tractor Supply near our church.  Well........we forgot.  I remembered it about 6:37 during church service.  Everybody is closed at that time on a Sunday and besides we were in church.  Fail #1.

Because I am so not gonna win any mother of the year awards this year I immediately panic.  What are we gonna do about Clayton?  He can't stay at a house that is cold.  Since we were at church and Chad was supposed(more on that later) to be at school this morning in the same town as our church, where the pellets are, and where my parents live, Chad and I decided that it would be the smartest thing for Clayton to stay with Mom and Dad last night and Chad would get him as soon as school was out at 10:30 this morning.  We are after all adults and can deal with a cool house that actually wasn't all that cold to begin with.  And I would go to the ESC(again against my better judgement) alone and deal with the masses.  And then bathe myself in a vat of sanitizer.

And then............

Chad and I got out of bed this morning, he got ready for schoole and I sat down to enjoy my Special K.  When Chad left and started his truck...........nothing.  Dead in the water.  Dead as a door nail.  Kaput.  Finito.  It had kicked the old bucket.

He's working on it now.  There are a whole list of things that could be wrong.  We are thankful that Chad grew up around trucks(even if they were diesel many of the applications are the same) and knows how to fix almost anything.  Because of the way our drive way is made, my car is trapped in the drive way.  No ESC( WOOT!!  WOOT!!) for me today.  Sigh......I just have to do it tomorrow. 

I hope your Monday is infinitely less interesting that ours has been.  And it's only 9:22am.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Get the Vote Out Peeps

Don't forget today is the last day to vote in the Chase Community of Giving.  I of course would like for you vote for the Trisomy 18 Foundation.  But there are a lot of other really awesome foundations and organizations in the running.

There are many different ways you can vote.  If you have a Facebook account then you can fan the Trisomy 18 page and voted from there.  You can also go to the Trisomy 18 foundation page and there is a link you can use to vote.  If you have or have had a Trisomy child you can upload their picture or video and that counts as a vote as well.

And just because I'm a proud Mommy.  And I feel blessed that God would choose to give me a very special Trisomy 18 baby.  Wanna see her pic?  I thought you would.  Lucy and Ethel  thanks for voting for Trisomy 18 in memory of Johanna.  I did the same in honor and memory of your SMA babies.  I can only imagine what they are doing on this cold and rainy Friday. 

(Chris this is my fave.  And thank you very much)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tell It........

To Be Continued...............

I heard something at our Ladies Conference that I hope changes my life.

You have a story to tell.  I have a story to tell.

God's story!

Tell your story.  Whatever God has done for you......Tell it.  If God has saved you from Hell and an eternity apart from Him..........Tell it.  If He has blessed you with babies.........Tell it.  If you've struggled with infertility and learned valuable lessons about life............Tell it.  If you have an awesome job that God dropped in your lap..........Tell it.  If you are a SAHM and love it..........Tell it.  If you learned something totally awesome in your personal Bible Study or during the preacher's sermon......Tell it.  If you can pay all your bills this month........tell it.  If you can't pay your bills, but then God miraculously provides for you and there is absolutely no explanation........Tell it.  If you are happily married to a Godly husband........Tell it.  If God has brought you through a divorce and you've learned forgiveness and redemption.......Tell it.  If you have totally awesome Christian friends that love you for who you are.........Tell it.  If you've been betrayed by a so-called friend.........Tell it.  If, like me, you have buried a child.......Tell it.

Tell the world your story.  You have no idea who's listening.  You have no idea how God will use your life story to touch someone's heart and bring them closer to Him.  You don't have to tell the WWW like I do.  I'm comfortable with it but you may not be and that's OK.  God will show you how and when He wants you to tell your story.  Listen to Him.  You may only tell parts of your story to one other person.  And that's OK.  There are things about Trisomy 18 and grief that I only tell Chad.  And that is as it should be.  There are things about my story that I only tell God.  And that as well is as it should be.  But, what you can tell........Tell it.  A single life is an amazing story. 

Let Him tell His story and use you as the author.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ladies Conference 2010

Our first(and hopefully annual) Ladies Conference our church hosted is in the books.  It was totally awesome.  I loved every minute of the planning, the actual conference, the cleanup, and washing all of those white table cloths(no Mom I'm not being sarcastic).

I was the first one at bat on Friday evening.  It was awesome to tell Johanna's story and to see others responding.  I'm so glad God gave us this little girl when He did.  It's amazing.  Had she been born earlier I might not have had the opportunity tell her story.  Had she born later, I wouldn't have been able to get through my speech(that's what Chad kept calling it).  And I got a totally awesome gift basket.  It really was quite cool  It had a picture frame in it that fits perfectly on the back of my toilet.  Don't laugh.  I've been reading a little about shopping your house when you want to change up a room.  And since my new job doesn't pay anything I decided to that yesterday.  And I love seeing my babies and the hubs when I'm drying my hair.  I almost forgot.  My lovely basket that now sits atop my dresser and contains Chad's belts, tie chains, cuff links, and other sundry necessities also contained a book "Having a Mary Spirit".  I'm loving it.

I digress.

Next up was our keynote speaker, Ms. Carol Kent.  She spoke briefly about her son and their journey.  Google it if you are interested(it's an awesome story of redemption and unconditional love).

On Saturday I got to help play hostess with Mom.  And I loved every minute of it.  It's so wonderful giving back to these ladies that work so hard to take care of their families.

In addition to Carol Kent our Saturday speakers were Christine Braidwood and Lori James.  Ms. Christine and her husband were missionaries to Haiti for a number of years.  She spoke about their ministry there and also about the recent earthquake and how that has affected God's work in Haiti.  In the afternoon Lori James brought to us a message of the New Year.  And how in this new year we have an opportunity to examine ourselves and become more involved with our church, our family, and most importantly our Lord.

We also had a fashion show(that was totally awesome and HILARIOUS), a skit, door prizes, and lunch.  That Chad claims he "cooked".  Even though it was a cold cut sandwich, cookie, and chips that needed to be assembled.  And if I remember correctly our totally awesome ladies had everything assembled before Chad was to take over the kitchen duties.  Thanks for you help babe.  We couldn't have made it without you.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  It was an awesome way to spend the weekend.  Basking in God's love, mercy, and grace with like minded women!  The only thing I would add is calorie free chocolate that still tastes like the most amazing dark bitter chocolate to munch on throughout the entire conference.  That would be a ladies fantasy dream.

There are many things that I have taken away from our conference and stored in the closets in my brain for God to use at a later day.

And that later day will be tomorrow.  I learned something amazing and I can't wait to share it.

To Be Continued.....................

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

You Provided the Q's............... I shall provide the A's.  All with a little Veggies Tales in the background.

What was the first thing that went through your head when you found out Johanna had Trisomy 18?
This is a totally awesome question.  I'm not really sure if I've ever answered that to anybody excpet maybe Chad.  But maybe not even to him.  The first thing I thought was that I would never go shopping for a prom dress or help plan her wedding. I know that's not the most spiritual thing but that's the honest answer.

What was the nicest thing that someone did for you while you were waiting for her?  After her birth?
I have honestly thought about this for an entire week and I don't have just one thing.  I was given a celebration luncheon with my former employees.  I also had a girls night out a week before JoJo was born.  My OB's office sent me flowers and a sympathy card.  We receive somewhere close to 200 sympathy and thinking of you cards.  My mom took me on a short getaway to Pigeon Forge to give JoJo Christmas.  I'm sorry to not be more specific but I just can't narrow it down to 1 thing.

What is your favorite memory of your husband?
Hubs is absolutely wonderful to me.  I think my most favorite memory is the very first time he held my hand.  It was our first date(more on that later).  I remember everything about that night.  I remember what we were wearing, the butterflies I had in my stomach.  It was a great night.

What is your favorite memory of your son?
The day he smiled at me(and just one of those random or gassy smiles). I was having dinner with Mom and Dad at a restaurant called Judges.  He was still in the tiny infant car seat.  I looked over to check on him and gave me a big pacifier grin.  He melts his mommy's heart.

What is your favorite memory of your daughter?
This one's easy.  Her cry.  It was short but I'm so thankful we got to hear it.

If you could go on a family vacation somewhere, where would you go?
I would go to Pennsylvania.  I want to go to the Amish Country, Sesame Place, Hershey, Gettysburg, and Philadelphia.

Did you have a specific plan of how far apart in age your kids were going to be, and how many you were going to have?
Yes I did.  Chad and I waited a little while to have babies.  That was best for our marriage and relationship.  However we both wanted them close together once we started.  I wanted 4 and he has always told me that he would take an entire baseball team(that's not happening unless God strikes me with permanent insanity).  I had always thought that we would have them all within 6 years.  After reading that maybe I am insane.  4 babies in 6 years is quite an undertaking.

And does it bother you at all that your kids(not forgetting the one in Heaven) will now be further spaced in age?
I'll be completely honest and tell you that it does indeed bother me that MY plan has been changed.  This is something that I'm having to surrender to the Lord daily.  He's working on me.  But I have a hard time letting go of MY plan.  There are days when I wish things were different and that Clayton won't be so many years older than his next sibling.  But in light of recent unemployment events I can see God's timing.  I can see Him shutting the baby door for now.  I think we will know when its God's timing for more babies.  I've had to adjust to this train of thought because this is not how I wanted my life to go.  But it's all good.

When and where was your first date?
Our first date was on June 18th 1998(that seems like such a long time ago).  We went to the movies and saw "The Truman Show".  It is probably the worst movie I have ever seen. We were silent in his truck on the way back to my house and Chad reached over and held my hand. 

How come you don't post any photos of yourself on your blog?
The WWW is the place that I can be 5'5, 125, and a natural red head.  I can be anything you imagine me to be.  I've never really thought about that except that I'm usually the one behind the camera.  Maybe I need to step out front a little more ofter.  For my adoring fans of course.

What are your favorite beauty products?
The absolute cheapest thing I can find.  I'm serious about that.  I've used Suave shampoo, conditioner, and hairspray for years.  The one thing that I use that is kinda pricey is Bed Head's Small Talk.  My friend introduced it to me a few years back and I've been hooked.  I only use Crest Whitening Expressions Cinnamon Rush toothpaste(because I'm picky about tastes and textures).  I do like Johnson and Johnson Cucumber Melon Baby wash.  I bought this on a whim for Clayton about a year ago and I haven't looked back.  Chad and I use it to wash ourselves as well.  And I use it instead of shaving cream.  I just like it better.

That was so much fun.  Thanks for participating.  I really enjoyed reading the questions and thinking about all the answers.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Who Knew?

On Friday I mentioned that I had a very specific and special prayer request for my family.  I'm over the shock now so I think I will share with my Internet buddies(no I'm not pregnant).

Deep breath................

Friday morning around 9:28, I unexpectedly, unknowingly, and from no fault of my own I became for now a STAY AT HOME MOM.  Health care has taken a hit because of the recent insurance reimbursement changes and the ever depressed economy.  Because of these monetary decreases physician offices have less money to go around.  And when there is less money there are less employees.

And this time it just happened to be me.

On Friday it was a complete shock.  For the over obscessive planner that I am it would have been nice to have some kind of warning instead of things coming out of the blue.  But God knows I'm an over obscessive planner and I would have been worried for weeks if things had been laid out before me earlier.  But today on Monday morning I'm excited.  I can't wait to see what the Lord has planned for me.  It's gonna be something totally awesome.

I know what I want to do.  I don't want to share it just yet because I'm a little afraid.  I know that seems silly in light of all the things Chad and I have had to deal with in the last year.  But what I'm praying about and asking the Lord to guide me with will be life changing for our family.  I don't want or plan to be a SAHM forever.  I love working.  Please don't blast me with nasty email about the advantages and joys of being a SAHM.  I believe both publicls employed mothers and mothers that work in the home are both needed in our world.  In my opinion(and this is my blog I can do that) God loves the working mom and the SAHM the same.  Neither job is more important to the Lord.  That's a rant I've had for years and it kinda feels good to have it off my chest.  I've been employed constantly since I was 15 so this being around the house thing is going to be a new and strange experience for me.

Just as I have blogged about Johanna(and still do), I will now also blog about the joys, trials, laughs, and tears of unemployment.  The Employment Security Commission office should provide a great cultural experience.  I think I'll leave you with a verse.  It's one of my faves(but I have oodles of fave scripture).  I believe it is fitting and appropriate for this transition.

"I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord.  Thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you an expected end."  Jeremiah 29:11

PS.  The Ladies Conference was out of this world amazing.  I'll blog more about it this week.  It was wonderful to share JoJo's story.  It's also opened up a few doors to go elsewhere and tell about God's love and a very special litle girl.

PPS.  QandA coming soon.  If you have more questions in light of these recent events please leave them.  I would love to answer.

Friday, January 15, 2010

It's Finally Here!

Our Ladies Conference starts tonight.  I am so excited.  Right now I feel like my candle for Jesus has been extinguished.  I'm hoping to get it relit this weekend.  I'm can't wait to see what God has in store for us.  I'm speaking tonight about Johanna and how she has been a blessing to our family.  I can't wait to have an opportunity to talk about my baby girl.

I've shared so many parts of our journey and struggles on here that I wish all of ya'll would be able to be there to see one of my many life dreams come to fruition.   Since ya'll can't be there I thought I would give you a sneak peek into what I'm talking about.

We decided to name our daughter Johanna Raye.  We named her Johanna simply because I liked the name.  I had like this name for a very long time and had always wanted to use it if we were ever blessed with a daughter.  We didn't know until a few weeks later that Johanna actually means "God is Gracious.".  How fitting for this very special little girl.  At this time we also gave Johanna her verse.  Both of our babies have their own verse.  Clayton's is 1 Samuel 1:27.  We gave Johanna Psalm 139:14.  "I will praise thee for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Marvellous are thy works and that my soul knoweth right well."  Even though Johanna was considerably different than most infants, she saw still fearfully and wonderfully made.

Trisomy 18 is a rare, incurable, and mostly fatal chromosomal abnormality.  Normally each person has 2 copies of each of their 23 chromosomes for a total of 46.  You get 23 chromosomes from your mother's DNA and 23 from your father's DNA.  Johanna had 3 copies of the 18th chromosome.  The 18th chromosome is a power house as far as cell function is concerned.  Every single tiny cell in her body was affected.  There are 3 different kinds of Trisomy 18.  Johanna had the worst kind.  95 percent of babies with T18 die in utero before they are born.  Of the 5 percent that are born alive, only 5 percent will live to their first birthday.  The children that do live past 1 year old have profound mental and physical disabilities.  There is no treatment for Trisomy 18. The only "treatment" is to terminate the pregnancy.  In fact because most women choose termination the mortality statistics have changed in the last year.  We did not and will never choose the path of termination.  It's not an option for our family.

We felt like we had been given a death sentence for our daughter.  Little did we know that we had actually been given a fountain of blessing.

That's just a part of it.  If my lappy will cooperate I'll get the rest on here within the next week or so.

I also have a very special prayer object for Chad, Clayton, and me.  I don't want to discuss it today.  But I will very soon.

Enjoy your weekend.  It's gonna be great.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mish Mash and Pish Posh

I must seriously be running out of blog post titles because this one makes no sense.  Anyway today will be a random smattering of things.  What's going on in our lives right now.

  1. The Ladies Conference at our church starts tomorrow.  And I am so excited.  I'm excited to talk about Johanna.  I'm excited to hear all the other speakers.  I'm excited that our church is doing something like this.  I'm excited for the decorating the ladies have done(I didn't have any part in that because that's just not my thing).  And I'm even excited about that boxed lunch on Saturday.
  2. Clayton has been at his Gram and Popa's house since yesterday morning.  And I'm having serious Cman withdrawls.  He's there because of some crazy scheduling things this week.  A collaborative decision was made that he would be happier and more rested if he stayed with Gram and Popa instead of being hoisted around all over the place.
  3. Our youth choir is singing somewhere(I can't remember where at the moment) next Friday evening.  They are practicing so hard and learning new songs.  It's really cool that the Lord is rewarding their efforts this way. 
  4. Our dog, Emma, is finally at long last almost house trained.  You have no idea how excited this makes me.
  5. I got the most awesome pair of shoes recently.  I am a shoe freak.  I love them.  All kinds of shoes, but my favorite are heels and dressy shoes.  I was so very fortunate to get a suede purple wedge with a ruffle on the toe for $7.  Yeah you read that right.  They will probably make an appearance at the LC this weekend.  They're way too awesome to keep them stuffed in a closet.  Shoes need room to breathe people.
  6. I'm reading through the Bible in chapter and book order right now.  And really loving it.  I've never attempted this before.  Hopefully I won't get bogged down in Numbers and Levitivus.
  7. I'm loving my life today.  It's crazy busy but it's so much fun.  I'm blessed.  Today is a good day and I plan to embrace for all it has to offer.
Two more things and then I'll let you get back to whatever it is you were doing before you came to ye olde blog.

Don't forget to  vote for Trisomy 18 Foundation between Jan. 15-22.  Chase Community of Giving on Facebook is going to give $1 million to whichever group gets the most votes.  Thanks for remembering my daughter, Johanna, Tristan, Olivia, Cana, Sydney, Annabelle, Maddox, and all the many children affected by T18.

Last but not least.  Keep those totally awesome questions coming.  There have been some great ones so far.  I love reading them and pondering how I'm going to answer them.

I told ya'll this was gonna be all over the map.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Please Help Me

and by doing me this favor you will also be helping others associated with Trisomy 18.

The Trisomy 18 Foundation has passed the first round of voting in the Chase Community Giving Initiative on Facebook.

This is excerpt of an email I received from the T18 Foundation:

What started as a commitment to raise awareness about Trisomy 18 just a few short years ago has blossomed into an amazing community of people across the country. Within 10 years, our small seed of an idea has turned into a BIG IDEA.

Thanks to you, the Trisomy 18 Foundation qualified as one of the top causes in Round 1 of the Chase Community Giving initiative on Facebook. Now, our dream of honoring all those affected by Trisomy 18 moves to Round 2 and brings us closer to winning $1 million!

From January 15-22, the Trisomy 18 Foundation will be one of 100 charities vying for $1 million to support their causes. The organization with the winning number of votes will receive $1 million and 5 runners up will receive $100,000. 

As a mother affected by T18 I am asking you the PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE check out the T18 website and vote in every way possible.  It is my earnest prayer that through increased research and knowledge of T18 more mothers and fathers will make the choice to continue their child's life as we did for Johanna.  The T18 Foundation has a lot of great resources for parents facing T18.  Maybe if they can get that large chunk of change they will be able to help and provide support services to even more families.

Thanks for your votes.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I have wanted to do this forever.  And well I'm just now brave enough to do it. 

Deep Breath............................

I don't know a lot of ya'll in the real world and I would love to know you much better and let you get to know me better(if you want to).  And real life peeps ask me stuff too if you want.  Here's how we're gonna do this.  Leave me a comment asking me anything.  And I'll answer your questions.  And if it's something I don't want the entire WWW to know I'll shoot you an email(but ya'll know I'm pretty open and honest).  This may be slightly narcissistic(or a lot) but I love it when other peeps have this on their blog and well I just want to impliment it on mine.

I'll try to wait about a week to answer the Q's with my A's.

Thanks for indulging my very strange ideas.

Monday, January 11, 2010

An Honest Statement/ And My Faves

I had a little bit of a breakdown/pity party last night after Chad and I went to bed.  I was having a hard time with the unfairness(that's probably a made up word) of having to give JoJo back to God.  I competely understand the eternal hope that I have and I'm thankful for that.  But right now it just plain hurts sometimes.  I'm hoping my written honesty will not only help me, but maybe somebody else out there in cyberland will get some help from my incessant ramblings.

Enough sad stuff.  Today I'm trying to keep my mind set on things that create happy thoughts.  Kinda like Peter Pan without the Lost Boys or fairy dust.  I thought I would share my fave things that are bringing me a smile at this very moment.

  • Route 44 Diet Coke from Sonic.  I got one at lunch and I'm still sipping away on that thing.
  • Blackberry Messenger.  I'm really far behind on this since I've had a Blackberry for a year and I'm just now learning this feature exists.  And since I've learned how to use it, I'm embracing it.
  • Our youth choir(for whom I play the piano, unless I have a sick baby like last night) is learning a some new songs right now.  The songs are just really cool and a lot of fun to sing and play.
  • Coach!!  My fantastic parents were gracious enough to get me a Coach bag and wallet for Christmas(off the clearance rack and with a coupon I might add).  I love it. 
  • Selah and Steven Curtis Chapman.  I got these CD's for Christmas.  Lovin' them both. 
  • Pink Papermate Write for Hope ink pens.  I love this pen and especially love it when I can find it in pink.
  • Freezer food.  Dinner is already cooked.  All I have to do is get it hot when I get home tonight.
That's what's making me smile at the moment.  What about you?  Got anything just really cool floating through your mind that's giving you a grin?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Amazing Sydney Grace

I don't know this family at all.  We've never met, and will probably never meet in the "real" world.  I don't know their values or their beliefs.  We have a mutual friend of a friend Traci(by the way, thanks so very much for connecting me with this family).  But we do have something in common.  Our daughters both have/had(in JoJo's case) Trisomy 18.

Sydney Grace was born on January 7th.  And like Johanna, Sydney was only expected to live a few minutes or hours.  It's now January 9th and Miss Sydney is still going strong.  Please pray for this family.  Their journey will be dificult no matter which path the Lord gives them. 

Check out their blog.  Follow them if you want.  But most importantly, pray, pray, pray.

Amazing Sydney Grace

Friday, January 8, 2010

They Did It!!

I didn't have any doubts.

Others did.

Alabama Crimson Tide = National Champions

When Nick Saban went to Alabama he said he would take them to a National Championship in 3 years.  And he did.  Maybe now he can smile a little.

Alabama 37
Texas 21

It was a great game.  The only downside it that College Football is over until September.

Until then........................

ROLL TIDE ROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Game Day

It's game day at the Carswell Manor(Roll Tide).  If I have time I try to make special food on game day.  I make boy food.  Usually it's chili.  Today I decided to take a more healthy approach to game day food.  We're having steak quesidallas.  I've never made them before so this should be very interesting.

Here's what I planned to do.  Last week I cut some sirloin in to strips and pan fryed them.  I used no oil and seasoned them with chili powder, paprika, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and just a shake of worcetershire sauce.  I stuck those babies in the freezer and let them chill out.

Tonight I will heat them up and also add in a few onions.  When I assemble the quesadilla I will also add salsa and just a little cheese.  Yummy.

That's what's on the menu for the big championship game tonight.  It's gonna be a great game.  We've waited all season for it.  Our game shirts are on(yes we really do have them), and the flag's out on the porch.  Only one thing left to say.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Mexican Chicken Soup

This soup was one of the things Mom and I made on Saturday during our freezer extravaganza.  It's very good and very easy.

  • Cooked Chicken(boiled, fryed, microwaved(gross) it doesn't matter as long as it's cooked)
  • 1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 8oz Chicken Stock/Broth(I use more)
  • 1 can Rotel Tomatoes(you can use any strength you like on these, I prefer Hot, Chad prefers Mild, so we use Mild)
  • 4 Flour Tortilla pulled or cut apart
  • 1 cup of Shredded Cheese
Cook the chicken however you see fit.  Mom boils hers, I don't like the texture of boiled chicken so I brown mine in a pan until it's done.  Whichever you prefer is just fine.  After the chicken is cooked add it, the cream of chicken soup, the chicken stock, and the rotel tomatoes to a larger sized pot.  Cook all of this together until it's hot and mixed well.  Once it's well mixed rip apart(if you're like me and prefer to do it the caveman style) or cut apart the tortillas and stir them in the pot.  Cook some more until the tortillas look more like dumplings(if you live in the North dumplings are kinda like boiled biscuits).  This part can cook, refrigerate, or freeze as long as you would like it too.  We froze ours at this point.  When you're ready to serve add the cheese.

This is a very versatile recipe.  If you like more chicken, add more chicken.  Add more tortillas if you want to.  Add more chicken broth for a thinner soup.  It's really up to you and what your preferences are.  That's all there is too it.  I like to add a little sour cream when I eat it. 


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Onions and Cake

Grief is a funny thing.  In the words of Shrek, it has layers. 

One day the world is sunny and roses.  Nothing bothers you and you can take anything "with a grain of salt".  But there are those days when the world is a giant thunderstorm.  Everything bothers you and the smallest thing sets you on edge.  Why is that?  I am 100% positive that it's just part of the process.  And it's all normal. acceptable, and to be expected.  That doesn't really make it any easier though.

I'm starting to get back in to a routine.  And on one hand I'm very thankful for that.  But on the other hand, that routine, because it's the same as pre-Johanna, makes it seem like everything that happened last year was just a dream.  And I don't like that feeling at all.  Because it wasn't a dream.  It was real.  The things that I went through were real and they really happened.

I'm a different person than I was this time last year.  And I suppose that's a good thing.  If you aren't changed by your circumstances then what's the point?  I feel like I've aged(not necessarily matured or become more wise) more in the last year than I have in my entire life.  For some reason Johanna has made me feel like an adult(even though I still don't act it).

So maybe in the words of Donkey grief is like cake.  It still has layers but they are sweet and "everybody loves cake".  The independent ingredients of cake are actually pretty gross, but when you mix all together just right it's absolutely wonderful.  All the "interesting" things that I'm learning on Grief Ave will mix together to be something wonderful.  I'm sure of it.

One more thing(totally unrelated).

Harris Teeter has Super Doubles starting tomorrow.  That means they will double coupons up to $1.98.  So if you have a coupon for $1 off it becomes $2 off and likewise $1.50 would become $3.00.  They always double coupons up to .99cents, so this deal is even greater.  Just be sure to check their coupon policy in detail before you shop.  That's a pretty awesome deal.  If you shop the items that are on sale you should actually get some items for **FREE**!!!

Monday, January 4, 2010


I don't really do resolutions each year.  Mainly because I feel like a major failure when I break the resolutions.  However, as each new year dawns and the old one passes I do reflect a little on what I would like to achieve in the new year.  As 2009 ticked away and 2010 started, I thought a lot about what I would like to accomplish.  And now here's my list:

  • Lose some weight.  I think this in on almost every girl's list.  I've had 2 babies in less than 2 years and have retained weight from both of them.  I also stress eat and last year was most definitely stressful.  So I ate.  Well it's now time to stop stress eating.  Only eat when I'm hungry.  And most importantly to eat consciously, and not just shovel in food.  1 week down and so far I'm doing great.  I'm not quite ready to work through my food and weight issues with ya'll but I will keep you posted as I make progress, fall off the wagon(I know me) and pick myself up again.  I've done it before and I can most certainly do it again.
  • Study my Bible more.  This was on my goal list last year, and I actually did it.  I've done both independent reading and Bible studies.  I like the studies the best because they keep my focused.  This year our newsletter at church has a Bible reading plan printed on the back. I'm gonna do this one.  I believe it takes you through the entire Bible and Psalms twice.
  • Save money.  Not necessarily to see the numbers in my bank account rise, although that's nice, but more to have a sense of worth about the things that I do buy.  I do not like spending $100 at the grocery store and being able to carry everything I purchased in 3 bags.  Thanks to couponing, researching sales and prices, and deciding what we actually need I've been able to save money at the grocery store.  It's a great feeling and I'm not so disappointed when I get home from the store.  I plan to keep this up in 2010 and get even better at it.
  • Cook.  I don't really like to cook.  In fact, if I could get away with it, we would eat out all the time.  But that goes against both goald 1 and 3.  I can't lose weight or save money if we're eating out all the time.  I froze the makings of 12 meals this past Saturday.  I plan to serve those to my boys through out January.  I've already done the hard work so now all I have to do is heat and eat.
  • Clean out my closets and reduce the amount of "things" we have.  I have so much junk in my house that we don't need or even use.  I hope to get rid of it this year.  And to stop bringing so much junk home.  We don't need it.
  • Be a more conscious wife, mother, friend, and employee.
That's what I would like to do in 2010.  Nothing too extreme.  I think it's doable.  We shall see as the year unfolds.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


We did it!!  Mom and I cooked all day long.  Our freezers are stocked and ready for our busy January.  For your viewing pleasure, a pictorial of the day.

Our supply of food before we started.

Mom, Mattie(that'd be the dog) and her clean kitchen before we started.

Our helpers for the day.

The once clean and organized food table after the madness insued.

Dual crockpots doing double duty.

3 pounds of brown hamburger meat.  I think we browned 10 pounds all total.

All the burners were going, and the oven was cooking.  I bet we used a ton of gas today.

Mattie was in love with the trash.

Mom and Dad still have snow on their deck.  And Clayton must play in the "no".

 The counter of food once we were finished.

We created an entire large bag of trash today.  Ridiculous.

And just because he's cute.

We made a ton of food.  Here's the final count.
  • 2 Baked Spaghettis (1 each)
  • 4 Lasagna (2 each)
  • 3 Turkey Pies(2 for me and 1 for mom)
  • 4 Mexican Chicken Soup (2 each)
  • 2 Tomato Chicken Gumbo (1 each)
  • 2 Chicken Primavera (1 each)
  • 65 BBQ Meatballs (packed in 2 Ziploc bags each)
  • 2 Chili Beans (1 each)
  • 2 Pumpkin Breads (1 each)
That's comes out to 12 meals and 1 Pumpkin Bread for both Mom and Me.  It was fun, I'm tired, and I'm glad it's over.  At least until February.  Against our better judgement we think we're gonna do this again.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Freezer Cooking

OK I have wanted to try this for a very long time and I've just been afraid to actually do it. 

But tomorrow, Mom and I are going to cook meals to put in our freezer for January.  Our January is incredibly busy with church activities so we're hoping that having meals already prepared will help up to avoid that last minute run to Wendy's.  We also decided to try and make our meals out of what we had already stocked in our pantry.  Here's what we have planned

  • Lasagna(times 2 each)
  • Baked Spaghetti(times 2 each)
  • Chili(times 2 each)
  • Mexican Chicken Soup(times 2 each)(this is the best soup in the world, if you haven't tried you should)
  • Chicken(or Turkey) Pot Pie(times 2 each)
  • Do something with some apples I have left over from Christmas treat bags(I have no idea what we're gonna do with them.  Any ideas for the apples?)
  • Brown and season hamburger meat to have on hand for even more spaghetti(Chad's fave so we eat it a lot) and sloppy joe.
We're thinking this will take us all day because all of this seems to be stuff that takes a little while to cook. 

After nap time today Clayton and I are going to 3 different grocery stores to get the things we need to round out our meals.  I'm really excited to see how this turns out.  We have a plan and a purpose.  Hopefully we can achieve our goals of making 10 plus healthy meals for each house.  We'll be counting calories and carbohydrates for each meal and labeling accordingly before we freeze them. 

I'll do my best to take pics and let ya'll know how this turns out.

And on a side note it's less than a week until the Alabama / Texas BCS Championship game.  So very excited.  I'm hoping First Time Ever Alabama Heisman Winner Mark Ingram can take his team to the top.  ROLL TIDE!!