Thursday, August 28, 2008

Photostory Friday and a He'p Me Dada Moment with Noni


This picture was taken on Thanksgiving morning. It is a picture of Noni (Jarrod's mom, DeAnna) greeting two of her three grandkids, our Elyse and Isaiah, as we arrived for dinner. It was our last Thanksgiving with my mother-in-law. She went to be with the Lord very suddenly on Palm Sunday of this year. Today Elyse told her daddy that she missed her Noni and wanted to go to heaven and see her. I thought it was fitting to share a little bit of her life with you for my Photostory Friday.

DeAnna was a tremendous writer. She wrote literally hundreds of stories, devotionals, and articles. Her life was a testimony to her faith in God and her writing reflected that. The following is a story she wrote about Elyse and Isaiah:

HE’P ME, DADA!



Two weeks ago, while my son and very pregnant daughter-in-law were still packing up in the Texas piney woods for their move to the far southern regions of the state, Isaiah and Elyse stayed with me for three nights. To capture fully the heart of this picture, you must envision an 18 month old and a 2½ year old deprived of a bathtub.

I live in a house built the same year I was born where for over a year the bathroom with the tub has not worked. Gratefully, I don’t need to rely on a sink and a washcloth, or a wooden tub in front of a blazing fireplace.

I’ve another bathroom … with a shower. Elyse loves the shower; she has for over a year. She sings, often at the top of her lungs, and dances in the rain, spinning round and round and round, hands uplifted all the while trying to capture every drop. Getting her to come out is the challenge. Isaiah is another story. I’d hoped putting Elyse into the shower first, where her obvious joy mixed jubilantly with the showers, might, just might, spill over unto Isaiah when he joined her. NOT!

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry …or somehow indulge in both. From the moment the first droplet bounced off the tile floor onto Isaiah's little body, his screams drowned out hers … with on singular difference. Absence of any peace or joy, let alone enjoyment, marked Isaiah's cries.

“He’p me! He’p me! Dada, he’p me!” reverberated off every wall, drowning out my own words of comfort. His were not quiet imploring words, but rather strident, demanding shrieks. There simply was no consoling Isaiah as those gentle, cleansing waters fell. No words of assurance brought peacefulness to his little heart. Not until I’d gathered up into my arms his little towel-draped body did his cries weaken and finally stop. Only then, at rest at last, did a sweet smile returned to his little face.

All the while, Bella, face often turned upward, reveled in the cleansing rain. Her voice filled the cubicle with her gleeful laughter, while she graced the tiles beneath her feet with such joyful dancing I couldn’t help but glory, myself, in her submissive delight to the gentle power of those cleansing waters.

For three nights, my heart drank in this unchanging lesson, unaware there even was one. It wasn’t until later, until after I took my grandchildren to their new home. On my two-hour return drive back to my home, reflecting on my time with the babies, I began to relive the nightly shower episodes. Only this time, it wasn’t Elyse, or Isaiah, beneath the cleansing waters.

It was me standing there, beneath that cleansing flow. At times, like Elyse, I realize my soul rang with joyous gratitude … my face turned upwards, arms stretched delightfully overhead trying to capture every droplet, feet dancing with unrestrained songs of thanksgiving.

More often, my own cries echoed Isaiah's. Inconsolable. Without understanding or gratitude. Or even the awareness that I frantically fought the necessary cleansing of the showers of God’s truth. Heavenly ears lovingly bore the heartbreaking pain of my own pleas, pleas every bit as desperate as Isaiah's.

He’p me! He’p me! Dada, he’p me!

I realized, then, as I reflected on my own life through this shower filter, that I’d never been without my Father’s help, my Father’s safekeeping, my Father’s gentle embrace or soothing voice. Whether I’d gloried in the moment like Elyse, or fearfully fought against it like Isaiah, my Father’s love for me never wavered … neither did His faithful presence both with me and for me.

Such, I picture my life. I know it a true picture, a faithful picture. In many ways, we never stop being children before God. Most often, when faced with the choice between Eden and Gethsemane, Eden’s garden seems so much more delightful. But, our soul, frolicking in Eden’s self-delight, becomes soiled, and we don’t even realize it. When Love brings His cleansing showers, we fight them, we fear them, even as His arms wrap gently, lovingly around us.





“Father God, how often I have brought You to a place where You don’t know whether to laugh or cry over my apparent fear of a touch I don’t understand and can’t avoid. Your touch, meeting a need unperceived by my childish understanding, cleansing me, covering me with the sweet aroma of Redemption Wine. Thank You that in those moments of my confusion and my fear, You wrap me securely in the comfort of Your grace and whisper soothing words to my heart. One day, Lord, I will know I need only stretch my arms upwards within those blessed showers, capturing every drop of mercy, and set my feet to dancing in the glory of Your love for me. Until that day, thank You for Your patience with this heart still fascinated by Eden but longing more and more for Gethsemane. ”

© 25 March 2007
DeAnna L. Brooks

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek




Monday, August 25, 2008

Baby Be Gone








My baby has gone from this









To this

















to this sweet little girl







To so grown up



In the blink of an eye.


Yesterday Bella turned 4 years old.
It's going way to fast. But everyday she makes me just a little more proud of the little lady she is becoming.
I love you sweet Bella!


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Friday, August 22, 2008

I've Been Tagged and Have Discovered I'm Neurotic

I’ve been tagged by my blogger friend, Jenn@Random Thoughts. Sounds like fun, so here I go...

Here are the rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. List 6 unspectacular quirks you have- (as opposed to all my SPECTACULAR ones?)
4. Tag 6 bloggers by linking them.
5. Leave a comment on each taggee’s blog to let them know they’ve been tagged.

1. I have to fold my towels a certain way. Everybody else in my house has to fold them a certain way too. My Way! Not only that but my towels stack two high and two next to each other. The ones on the left have to have the stitching on the towel facing on the outside of the towel and when it is on the shelf the stitching on the left towels are on the right side, the stitching on the towels on the right face the the towels on the left, facing left. (N has figured this out and is now allowed to fold towels.)

2. My spices are on a turn table in alphabetical order... it drives me crazy if they get out of order.

3. I daydream A LOT. Not just "oh wouldn't it be nice if we had a new house?" daydreams. First I plan the house, then I decorate the house (this is all in my head of course) then I make up scenarios of our day in the house. But I can't just be content with that. There has to be reality to my daydreaming. Like where did we get the money for this 7 bedroom house? So I have to back track and come up with why we are so rich. Whenever I am bored or doing anything monotonous I return to my little dream world and go about the events of the day in my rich snobby little fantasy. I live there often. Strangely enough I tend to be a very content person and my make believe world is what keeps me that way. I daydream about the things I don't have that I wouldn't mind someday having. The people in my life are always the same. All the things I love are there. My husband, kids, parents, siblings... If ever I find myself becoming too discontent with my regular life I abandon the daydream for awhile and then return again when I feel it is safe.

4. I organize my closet in a very particular way. (I bet you are shocked after the whole towel thing) Strappy dresses, short sleeve dresses, long sleeve dresses, shorter skirts, longer skirts... in order like this, you get the point. Same with the shoes, black dress, black casual... (I also recently had over 60 pair of shoes, I downsized quite a bit a few months ago) Again drives me crazy if my closet is out of order. I can leave shoes scattered all over the house (and I do) and my room can be an absolute wreck (and it sometimes is) but once it has made it to the closet everything must be in it's place.

5. Like Jenn, I make up silly songs all the time. I catch myself singing them to myself, my kids, N... It is sometimes like a musical around here. I realize I am singing to the kids about what we are doing. N has been so sweet to point out that a very large percentage of them are about potty related things. Shocking, I know!

6. I HATE talking on the phone. I spend probably a total of 7 to 10 hours a week on the phone with my mom (some weeks, is that an exaggeration mama?) I talk to Jarrod often when he is out of town, I call my sisters occasionally and we have a hard time getting off the phone. Otherwise I am terrible at returning phone calls. I avoid it until Jarrod makes me. I would rather email someone than have to pick up the phone to ask a quick question. The thought of getting on the phone, at times, makes me feel like my insides are just crawling. Once I am on the phone I am usually okay. And, this quirk is getting better. (it use to make me sick to my stomach and a little emotional, in my defense I was going through a yucky time in my life emotionally when I reacted that strongly to it). My dad also hates talking on the phone and our conversations are often times strange. We both want to get off the phone (not because we don't love each other. We are actually close and despite what he says, he LOVES every ounce of time he has with me) but we don't want to offend the other person by not at least pretending to inquire about the others day, etc. The phone is just not something either of us do well. However, given the right topic (tips on what to do for my husband for valentines) you might just find yourself in the middle of a very detailed, very blunt conversation with daddy that you cannot get out of fast enough. (I think I have almost brought myself to be able to glance in my father's direction without blushing since that one... actually I think I am blushing now just thinking about it.)

So there it is, yep, I am a freak! What can I say? I am lucky to have a few poor souls in my life that love me in spite of all of this.

Now I am tagging...
Lisa@Boondock Ramblings
Elsie@Flower Fairies and Fairy Cakes
Jill@Live Laugh Blog
Cecily@My Chaos My Bliss
Harris@Why Me (because I have a feeling his whole life is one big quirk)
Sue@Navel Gazing at It's Finest





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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Photo Story Friday and Potty Training in Style

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek




(Because it has been far too long since my blog has covered anything bathroom related)




These pictures were taken a couple of years ago when we were potty training Bella. I left her to sit for a minute to do her thing. When I came back she had grabbed a magazine from the basket we keep by the toilet for... well... you know. And there she sat contentedly flipping through the pages of a Life and Style magazine! Gotta start them early I suppose.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Touché the Least: Death Rates In Hospitals, Good to Know!


I read this in a recent article in USA Today:

Until today, hospital death rates were closely guarded secrets, discussed in board rooms but beyond the reach of patients whose lives are on the line. That changed this morning when USA TODAY posted on its website the government's best estimates of heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia death rates for every U.S. hospital for two years.

Now anyone with access to a computer can directly compare a local hospital with the one across town to see how it stacks up against the biggest medical institutions nationwide.

Death rates from heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia are widely viewed as yardsticks of a hospital's overall performance.

"We're in an era of change at last," says Donald Berwick, president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, a non-profit in Cambridge, Mass., that works with hospitals to improve care and eliminate errors.


I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to know that if I start experiencing chest pains that radiate up and down my arm, sweat, and general feelings of impending doom. I can stop, sit down in front of a computer, and figure out which hospital more people are flocking to, to die from these symptoms.

And if for some reason my cold has gotten so bad that I can barely lift my head up off the pillow and therefore I may be forced to let someone drive me to the nearest hospital because I am feeling just that lousy. I do find comfort in the fact that before my ride gets there I can prop myself up in bed, (if I can find the strength) boot up the old laptop, and learn where I can go to be put out of my misery fastest!

Thanks USA Today. I for one was curious which hospitals were getting the job done! And which ones where just there for the good food and friendly service!

For more crazy revelations click here.



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Monday, August 18, 2008

Home With Friends!



I am so excited!! I have been working for several weeks on a new website and I am finally done! ...okay well not done... but it is now live and on the web!

Come by and check it out. www.homewithfriends.com.


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and find out how you can have your blog featured on the homepage


Ask expert moms your burning questions and get wise counsel


Submit prayer requests and praise reports

Check out what else is coming soon to Home With Friends!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Photostory Friday: One big push for mom, one huge leap for Nana!




I love this picture! This is my mama.

Three months ago the youngest of my parents 10 grandchildren was born. It was the first time she got to be in the room with one of us during delivery. My sister had asked my mom ahead of time if she would like to be in the room for it. When it got to be time to go in mama was feeling a little apprehensive and wondering if she would make it through the whole delivery without chickening out. This look tells the whole story. She appeared back in the waiting room after my sweet nieces birth and exclaimed "I did it!"

Yeah mama!! You did it!!


If you don't participate in Photostory Friday you totally should! It's a blast!

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Photostory Friday: If A Photo Could Talk...

Oh, look here, this photo does talk!

We have a short school time Bella, Buddy and I most mornings. Just working on learning letters and how to count. I got Buddy on tape counting... with a little help from Bella. Not too bad for a two year old! But I may be bias! video

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek