If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, "Move from here to there," and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. ~Matthew 17:20

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Back in the Land of Milk & Honey

It was so refreshing to smell fresh cut grass this morning during my run! Cole and I even commented on it at the same time.  That's another bonus of being in a town with no real winter.

Our day was full of grocery shopping, a run to the 99 cent store and finding a place to put everything once we got back to the apartment.  It was gorgeous outside so I spent the rest of the afternoon on our "porch" catching up on e-mails and reading.  So nice.

This evening, I accompanied Coppelia and her daughter Freya as they went to Los Feliz to look at an apartment.  Unlike us, they have moved to LA permanently and are looking for a more livable space (something bigger than 395 sf).  The apartment was nice but look what was on our car hood when we came out....
sweetsie baby!

She was sooooo lovable and so incredibly sweet.  Oh, if only I could have taken her home but since she had a collar and was obviously well cared for, I thought that might not be a good idea (but I haven't ruled out making a mad dash over there in the middle of the night for a little cat-napping!!!!).

Now, we are all trying to keep our eyes open until at least 9:30!  Ah, the challenge of adjusting to a new time zone.

"We ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith flourishes more and more and the love of each one of you all for one another is ever greater."
~2 Thessalonians 1:3

Monday, January 30, 2012

We Are Here!!!!

We got an early start this morning for our departure from Flagstaff, Arizona, mainly because I forgot to set my clock back one hour and when I set my alarm for 6:00 a.m., it was really 5:00 a.m.  Yep, makes for an early morning.

It was really cold with a temperature of 19 degrees and snow on the ground.  Thank goodness the roads were clear.  By the time we arrived in Burbank at 1:30 this afternoon, it was a sunny 70 degrees.  Yummy.

What a wonderful welcome we had when we arrived at "our" apartment complex.  So many friends.

Coppelia and Michelle have been such a blessing.  Coppelia prepared us an amazing dinner and Michelle brought over a bottle of wine for a housewarming gift.  These girls know what I like.

The kids were also glad to see each other...
Spencer & Brooke.

Brayden & Cole.

Our bellies are full and we are ready for bed.  Unfortunately, it's only 8:49 p.m....looks like we are in for another adjustment.

The boys have assumed their "normal" positions...
Xbox and checking on sports stats.  Some things never change.

"Always rejoice, constantly pray, in everything give thanks."
~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Are We There Yet?

I was going to take interesting pictures along the trip and make ya'll guess our location each night, but by the time we made it to the hotel, all I want to do is put on my pjs, have a glass of wine and go to bed. 

Last night, we made it to Amarillo, Texas.  Beautiful hotel....right next to the stockyards.  Lovely smell.

Tonight, we are in Flagstaff, Arizona.  No stockyards. ;)  We always try to stay at Drury Inn because they are always clean and reasonably priced.  But, I have decided the best reason we stay here is because they are dog friendly.  Got to smooch on several dogs tonight when we were downstairs for happy hour.  Hmmm, maybe that's why they call it "happy" hour!  My pj's are on, my teeth are brushed and we will get a good night's sleep for our last leg of the trip tomorrow.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
~Matthew 11:28

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hello LA, We Are Heading Your Way!!!!


After three weeks of tests, waiting and more tests, I have finally been cleared by my GI doctor!  I had my last test today which was the nuclear medicine test to check the function of my gallbladder.  I am happy to report it is functioning at a whopping 76%, which equates to pretty darn good in gallbladder vernacular!  Woot woot!

Our plan (as of 7:43 p.m. on Thursday) is to leave for LA early Saturday morning.  I know this is subject to change but that is our goal, unless we are otherwise directed by our favorite "Travel Agent" in the sky!

After two days of solid rain and low clouds, this was the sight waiting for me when I got home tonight....
...sure am going to miss these sunsets for the next three months.

Because our trip was delayed for a month, the testosterone driven boys I live with are rallying to drive straight through from Little Rock to LA. 
No way.  Not gonna happen.
However, I feel that my sightseeing detours will be nixed.  And any stops for food.  Heck, I will probably be lucky to get a potty break.

Let the adventure begin!

"So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable.  Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless."
~I Corinthians 15:58

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

This and That

Ahhhh, I have many curious friends out there concerning my new venture.  Here are my responses to some of your questions:

1.  No, I am not birthing a baby, adopting a baby or stealing a baby!
2.  No, I am not adopting any more animals or opening an animal sanctuary (but too bad because how much fun would that be!  Think "We Bought a Zoo" situation!!!)
3.  I am not traveling the world, getting a tattoo or finding a cure for Hungarian bodyrot.
4.  I am, however, going to lose weight and lower my much too high cholesterol and where it leads from that, we'll just have to wait and see.

Cole had his four-week checkup today with Dr. Nguyen, his ortho doctor, who said his broken toe is about 80% healed and he released him to participate in all activities!  Woohoo!

My nuclear medicine test for my gallbladder is scheduled for 8:00 a.m. Thursday morning, and then my check up with my GI doctor is Thursday afternoon at 1:30.  I am ready for ALL FINAL TEST RESULTS so we can make a decision about LA....do we stay or do we go?  That is the million dollar question.  Stay tuned.

I leave you with this adorable picture of Missy, my mom's new puppy....
 Her first night at home.  She's such a sweetie and so happy to have a loving family.

"How blessed is the one who does not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand in the pathway with sinners, or sit in the assembly of scoffers! Instead he finds pleasure in obeying the Lord's commands; he meditates on his commands day and night."
~Psalm 1:1-2

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fast and Furious Weekend

I made a very quick trip to Dallas, Texas this weekend for a new adventure I am considering (more details to follow).  I left Friday morning and stayed with my cousin Zane, Shannan and Izzy Friday night and Uncle Danny & Aunt Wanda Saturday night.  Look who got all my kisses while I was there.....
Isabelle!  Love this little girl!

Shannan & Zane, a/k/a Mr. and Mrs. Gorgeous.  You can see where Izzy gets her beautiful looks!

I drove home in the storm last night but only had to pull over once, in Arkadelphia, to wait out the hail and rain.  I was so thankful to make it home safe and sound.

Someone was very glad for me to be home and taking him on his walk this morning....

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness."
~Galatians 5:22

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happy Birthday Spencer

There once was a couple who were very much in love and they wanted a baby.  After years of fertility treatments and surgery, God blessed us with a beautiful baby boy at 8:03 a.m on January 19, 1996....
You surprised us by being four weeks early and you were so tiny, but we were so blessed that you were healthy.

You were always a happy baby....
We called you Mr. Smiley....

You were always a "ham".....

and full of mischief.

One day, you woke up with a headache and didn't feel good.  After a trip to the doctor, we discovered you had a brain tumor.  We were devastated.  We flew to New York for the surgery....

Even after surgery, you woke up with a smile.  This was our first glimpse at the fighter you were to become.  We had no idea.

You persevered; many days, better than we did.  You fought every day to get stronger.  Through two surgeries, two years of chemotherapy, radiation and countless hospitalizations, you handled it all with grit, determination and that wonderful smile.  We almost lost you in 2008 when you were in a coma for 27 days but you showed us again what you were made of and with God's grace, you made it through.

We love how you love sports and marvel at all the sports knowledge you possess.

You love the Lord and have made Him number one in your life.  I am sure He is very pleased with what He sees in you and what a difference you are making today and in the future.

Your dad and I could not be more proud of you.  We love you with all we have and know that God has a special plan for you.  We are honored to be your parents.

Happy Birthday, Spencer Blane Ewing.

"So now, children, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways."
~Proverbs 8:32

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

That's our Cole!

We have been waiting patiently to see the video that Cole filmed last August for Disney.  Finally, this week, it was released....


Click on the above link and it should prompt you with a blue box and connect you to the video.  We are soooooo excited and proud of him.

Way to go, Cole!

"For the LORD is great and certainly worthy of praise, He is more awesome than all gods."
~1 Chronicles 16:25

Monday, January 16, 2012

Surprise Party for Spencer

Spencer's 16th birthday is Thursday and when I realized we were going to be home, instead of in LA, I knew I had to get on the ball and arrange a surprise party.  I mean, really, it's not every day that you turn 16.

All I had to do was ask Karen Colford and Anne Campbell for help and, BOOM, everything was taking care of.  Within one day, the friends had been contacted, a location was picked and we were set to go.  Love those girls.

It wasn't hard to get Spencer to the bowling alley; he loves to bowl.  It was hard to keep the secret under wraps today as Cole and I worked on last minute details.  Thank goodness Spencer doesn't pay that much attention to us! Ha!

Eight great friends were waiting at Millineum Bowl to surprise Spencer.  They not only scared him, but me as well, when they jumped out of the Arcade.  Good thing I have a strong ticker!

The motley crew and the bestest friends.

After bowling, some of the guys tried out their dance moves in the arcade.

Spencer's "cake".  Since he can't eat anything by mouth, I had to get creative for his cake so I made it out of t-shirts.  He loved it and now he has new shirts, as well (which is great since he has grown out of almost everything).

I'm so glad his friends were able to come and surprise him and he had a fabulous day.  That's the best present ever.

"He said:  "I love you, Lord, my source of strength!""
~Psalms 18:1

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Things I love...

Things I love....

My God.  I would be nothing without Him.

My husband.  I am more in love with him today than that wonderful day 20 years ago when we got married.

My boys.  They teach me something every day and they make me laugh all the time.

Our animals.  All animals.  Enough said.

My family, crazy and all.

My friends, who are even crazier and whom I love just as much.

Crystal blue skies and cool weather.

Sunsets from the mountain....

"Let the peace of Christ be in control in your hearts, and be thankful."
~Colossians 3:15

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Coach Spencer

I took Spencer to the Miracle League field yesterday so he could be photographed, along with several ML players, for a picture that will appear in Arkansas Business.  Peggy McCall, the Director of Miracle League, has been nominated for "Executive Director of the Year" and she ask Spencer to represent the coaches in the picture.

I cannot believe this young man will be 16 on Thursday!

I hope you have all had a relaxing Saturday.

"But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me and do not try to stop them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
~Matthew 19:14

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sometimes the answer is "wait"

Have I mentioned that I am not the most patient person?  Once I become focused on a project, I am determined to see it through to the end.  I'm pretty sure I drive Brad totally crazy with my hard headedness (is that a word?).  All this week, I thought that once I had my scan and got good results, we would be able to head to LA next week.  However, today I think I finally figured out that God is telling us "Not yet.  Wait."

After speaking with the GI nurse this morning, I realized that I will not be released until the end of January.  I have a follow up appointment on the 26th.  Also, I am having another test to check the function of my gallbladder but it requires prior approval from my insurance company, AND the clinic that administers the scan is booked until the beginning of February.

One great way that I deal with anger and frustration is by cleaning.  I cleaned for six hours today!  It is not often that all of my bathrooms and floors are clean but they sure look good today.  The boys know to steer clear of me and they very wisely sequestered themselves in their rooms and did their school work. ;)

After a lot praying, scrubbing, complaining, whining, mopping, washing and finally, resignation I understand that for whatever reason, we are supposed to be home right now.  Once I acknowledged that, I was so surprised at the peace that came over me.

One of these days I will learn; not my will but God's.  I only hope it happens before I am 90.

"And this is the confidence that we have before him; that whenever we ask anything according to His will, he hears us."
~1 John 5:14

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Great news and a day of rest

My upper GI and colonoscopy went great and the doctor said I have a "beautiful" stomach and colon.  Wow!  I love good news.  I got lucky in that my mom was my co-hart this morning and took me to the procedure.  It was nice to sit and talk with her because she always calms my fears even when she doesn't realize it.

Mom brought me home and deposited me in my bed.  I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow but I had my trusty sidekicks close in case I needed something...
Love my puppies.

I spent the afternoon following the doctor's orders by resting, even though I felt great and wanted to do a little cleaning and crafting.  The dogs and the cat stayed on my bed while the boys came and went.  I did enjoy catching up on HGTv and Pinterest!

Tonight was another family night of Monopoly.  I would think the boys would get tired of playing it but so far, no.  I was lucky enough to win tonight and I think the guys are already plotting their revenge.  Ha!

Thank you so much for all your thoughts and prayers.  I really felt at peace the whole day.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you; I do not give it to you as the world does.  Do not let your hearts be distressed or lacking in courage."
~John 14:27

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The breakfast of champions!

What do you think?  Doesn't this look yummy?
This will be my sustenance for today as I prepare for my upper GI and colonoscopy tomorrow.  I like food.  No, I LOVE food!  All food (with the exception of most meat).  I love to find new recipes, I love to cook it but I really love to eat it.  So, today, I will learn to love all clear liquids.  I am looking at this as a step toward my weight loss goal for this year.

I saw Dr. Blankenship at Ortho Arkansas yesterday.  Thankfully, he was not a doctor that felt it was necessary to spend thousands of dollars on tests to let me know that everything was fine with my back. He did a physical exam and x-rays and said everything looked hunky dorey.  Whew. 

The boys are doing great and back in school mode.  When I thought that we would be in LA by this week, I submitted Cole for various projects and he has been asked to attend five auditions!  Oh how I hate to call them and ask them to cancel or reschedule.  Oh well, God has a plan, right?

Our Star Wars Monopoly game has been the choice of entertainment around the Ewing house lately.  The boys want to play it every night.  
The testosterone during these games is high and the competition is fierce.  Personally, I like Chutes and Ladders!

My procedure tomorrow is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. and I am hopeful I will be home by noon with a few more answers.  I will keep you posted.

"Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart."
~Colossians 4:2

Monday, January 9, 2012

A few more doctor visits

Today was a long day of sitting in doctor's offices but I feel that I am moving in the right direction.  At my appointment this morning with my primary doctor, he reviewed all the tests and bloodwork that has been done over the past few days and decided on a two-course action: 1) he referred me to a GI doctor and, 2) he referred me to an orthopaedic doctor.  His approach is to cover all aspects of what may be the cause of the pain.

I had an appointment with the GI doctor, Dr. Budhraja, today at 1:45.  I was familiar with her because her husband is my endocrinologist that I see for my thyroid but this is the first time I have seen her as a patient.  Not only is she a smart doctor but she has a great personality...love that.  We talked for a while and she will be doing an upper GI and a colonoscopy Thursday morning.  Even though the CT scans showed everything looked fine on the outside, she wants to know what they look like from the inside.

On Tuesday at 1:00 I will be meeting Dr. Blankenship at Ortho Arkansas to make sure that I have nothing going on with my back that could have caused the pain.  I really don't think that is a problem and I wanted to cancel tomorrow's appointment, but Brad is lovingly adamant that while we are in town, I get a thorough check up with everyone.  Sigh.

This is not how I pictured beginning the new year but I am reminding myself that it could be much worse.  I am thankful that everyone else is well and I am not in pain any longer.  God has a plan, right?

Forty one years ago today, a sweet, cute and smart bouncing baby boy entered this world.  He was my first "baby" and we are so thankful to God for him....
Happy Birthday, Dwayne.  Get the fire extinguisher!

"Then you will say to my brother, "Peace to you and your house!  Peace to all that is yours!"
~1 Samuel 25:6


I'm not sure what happened to my earlier post but I posted my "working" version instead of the completed version.

Here you go.....

Hurry up and wait

According to Google, the phrase, "Patience is a virtue." is credited to a poem written in 1377 by William Langland.  Not much is known about Mr. Langland but how wise, or crazy, he must have been to coin this phrase.

Even on my best days, I am not patient.  I am a hop to it, chop chop, let's go kind of girl, although I am much better than I used to be.  I have learned that when you are going a thousand miles per second, you do miss the little things that one day turn out to be big things.  All this to say that I have tried, very hard, this weekend to be calm and wait to see my doctor today to find out what else he has in mind to diagnose my mysterious illness.

Saturday was bleak and gloomy and we all spent most of the day in front of the fire playing games and watching tv.  
We definitely need a bigger couch.

Sunday was my Gigi's birthday and we went to church with her.  We are so blessed to have her in our lives.  There are so many times I wish she was still living with us because she is just fun to be around.  I strive to be like that.

Sunday afternoon was football time.  Now, if you know me at all, you know I know nothing about sports, nor do I care to.  However, I do love Tim Tebow.  I read his book while we were in LA and became an instant fan.  So, Spencer's favorite team, the Steelers were playing my favorite quarterback, Tim Tebow, who do you think I am going to root for?
He was chanting, "Down with Tebow!" while he waved his Terrible Towel.  I am asking for a Tebow jersey for my birthday!  Ha!

We headed to my brother's house for dinner and to watch the game and to celebrate Dwayne's 41st birthday.  My oh my how his neighbor's must have hated all of the yelling.

I will see my primary doctor today and will keep you all posted.  My friend Carol gave me a new devotional for Christmas entitled "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young.  It is written from the perspective of God having a conversation with us.  This was today's reading...

"I am with you and for you.  When you decide on a course of action that is in line with My will, nothing in heaven or on earth can stop you.  Much, much stress results from your wanting to make things happen before their times have come.  If you want to stay close to Me and do things My way, ask Me to show you the path forward moment by moment.  Instead of dashing headlong toward your goal, let Me set the pace.  Slow down, and enjoy the journey in My Presence."

No truer words were ever spoken.

"God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble."
~Psalm 46:1

Friday, January 6, 2012

Hello ER

A drive at 7:30 a.m. to Baptist ER is not how I pictured my weekend starting but, unfortunately, that's what happened this morning.  

So, I woke up Wednesday morning with shooting pains in my lower back.  They come and go and aren't constant so I thought I had slept wrong or pulled a muscle.  I went to my family doctor yesterday and he could not determine the cause but made an appointment for Friday at 2:30 for an ultrasound of my abdomen.  Last night, the pain intensified to the point where I was fine as long as I wasn't moving, taking deep breaths or eating or drinking anything (the sharp pains happen after I eat/drink).  I can only describe the pain as akin to labor pains.  Yep, that much fun.

At 6:00 a.m. this morning, I woke Brad and ask him to take me to the ER.  After a CT, chest x-ray, bloodwork and another CT with contrast, they determined that I don't have cancer, blood clots or meanness.  Unfortunately, they could not tell me what the pain was from.  I went ahead and went to Radiology Associates for my scheduled ultrasound and the results showed nothing wrong with my gallbladder but I have fat around my liver.  What?!?  Please, I have fat a lot of places but around my liver!  Ugh.  So, no answers to my dilemma, only an offer for pain meds (no thank you) and to follow up with my doctor next week.

So, my car won't be ready until next week, I have an unknown medical condition and our trip to LA is on indefinite hold. I think instead of getting in a tizzy, I will just look at all this as another adventure.  I love how God is constantly reminding me that HE is in charge. 

When we got home from the hospital, Brad took the boys and left me at home for some quiet time.  Thank goodness there was something good on tv....
Five hours of "Say Yes to the Dress"!!!!!!

I had to take  Benadryl because I had an allergic reaction to the dye they used during the CT scan but I WILL be staying awake to watch the Hogs play tonight.  Wooo Pig Sooieee!!!!!

Hope you all have a great weekend and I'll keep you posted with our adventure we call life.

"Be still and know that I am God."
~Psalm 46:10

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork

I hit the ground running this morning and since I knew that we wouldn't be leaving town for a couple of days, I tackled all the paperwork on my desk.  Ugh.  After six straight hours of sitting at my desk, I decided that we all needed to get out of the house so the boys and I hit the 4:00 movie to see "We Bought a Zoo".  It was EXCELLENT!!!  Plus it has two of my favorite things...animals and Matt Damon! Ha!

My car should be repaired by Friday so our tentative plan is to leave Saturday morning for LA.  Of course, that is always subject to change. ;)  

Spencer was interviewed by Emily Griffin for an article in this month's edition of Savvy Kids.  You can read it here and it's on page 48.  Emily is a wonderful writer and I thought the article was very well written.

Hope you all had a good day.  Anyone having trouble getting back into the swing of things after the holidays?

"You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever."
~Psalm 16:11

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Change of Plans

"When you get your oil changed, have that rattle checked out."  Those were Brad's parting words on Monday morning, as he left for work and I headed to the Toyota dealership to get my oil changed, tires rotated and an overall check of my car before we hit the road to LA.  Shouldn't I know that a rattle is never just a rattle and it always turns out to be something more?  In this case, yes.  The technician came out with a sheepish look on his face so I knew right away that it was not good news.  He proceeded to explain (I'm sure to him, it made perfect sense.  Not so much to me.) why the "rattle" was a MAJOR repair and would take a minimum of three days and cost $4,000.  Picture him holding his breath and me turning pale, losing all focus in my eyes, hearing the whooshing sound like I am going to faint, and dialing my phone to call Brad all while sucking down coffee.

Today, I dropped my car off for a second opinion but from the sound of things, we're still looking at at least a two-day repair and a substantial amount of moolah.  Nice.

I have had a conversation with God all afternoon that has gone something like this....
Do you not want us to go to LA?
Do you have something better in mind?
Is this just a setback but you want us to persevere with our plan for LA?
Can you speak a little louder so I can hear you more clearly!

My Gigi called, just to check on me, which I love.  She is so wise, thoughtful and loving and I value her opinion.  She said God sends tests our way and she would pray that I would have the wisdom to know what to do.  What would I ever do without her in my life.

Instead of fretting, I spent the rest of the day working on paperwork and going for a walk with the boys.  When we returned from our walk, we suddenly lost electricity (not uncommon when you live out in the woods).  After a call to Entergy, they assured us the power would be restored by 7:30 p.m. but we have learned not to put much credence into their estimated time so we went to work.  Cole and Brad went to the store to pick up some things while Spencer and I got out candles and built a fire.

As I sat on the back porch and watched the sun set, God had my full attention and boy did He provide a spectacular view...
It was so beautiful and quiet.  An owl flew by without a sound and it took my breath away.

So peaceful.

The boys played Connect Four and after dinner, we all played Monopoly.  Brad won and we all had a great time and to my surprise, the kids even moaned when the electricity came back on!

I know God has a plan and I am praying that He will give us a clear answer as to what He wants us to do.  In the mean time, I am going to enjoy the opportunities I get to unplug with my family.

"Pray to me when you are in trouble.  I will deliver you, and you will honor me."
~Psalm 50:15

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year

Hello 2012, I wonder what you have in store for us.

Brady, Spencer and Cole sure did have fun New Year's Eve playing games.

I fell asleep on the couch at 10:30, as usual, and the boys woke me up at 11:30 so I could ring in the new year with them.  I think we all finally went to bed around 2:30 a.m. and Spencer and I were up by 8:00.  Sometimes, I wish our bodies would let us sleep late.

We were lazy all day yesterday but today begins "cleaning and packing" day.  Time to clean up, pack up and get ready to hit the road for LA on Wednesday.  Part of me is excited about all the possibilities in LA while another part of me is dreading leaving Brad, my family, friends and animals behind.  However, I know that God has an exciting adventure awaiting us and I pray that He will guide our steps and that we please Him in all that we do.

I hope your new year is filled with exciting promise and you are blessed beyond measure.

"So now, children, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways."
~Proverbs 8:32