Thursday, September 30, 2010

Quiet Time in Tulsa

Wednesday, yesterday, we drove back to the Q which was parked on a church parking lot not far from Stephanie’s house.  Well, the battery was down and food was beginning to thaw in the freezer, so we decided to try to find a park so we could have electricity and also sleep in our bed!!  We found a nice place about 10 miles from Steph and Rick’s.  We’ll be here for a week.100_3507

A shot of downtown Tulsa from an industrial area.100_3508

Before long, this flag will need to be replaced.  It’s still beautiful to me.100_3512

I realize that I’m posting random pics, but that’s what I do when we are not doing anything special.  I titled this one:  Three Organ Donors (no helmets)100_3513

Tonight, we spent the evening with Stephanie and family.  She baked chicken spaghetti that was really delicious.  After, dinner, Taylor helped his mom clean up the kitchen.  He’s such a good kid.100_3514

Logan’s a good boy, too.  He’s helping.100_3517

After watching a little OSU/Texas A & M football, we came back to the Q.  Well, actually, we left because I spilled a glass of ice water on myself and we came home so I could get out of the wet clothes.  Such a clumsy dweeb. (shock… spell check didn’t disallow that word… dweeb)     

Thanks to Bev and Jerry for the following email I received today:

It’s time for a chuckle and as the song says, if you can’t say something nice, say nothing!

"He Was a Saint!"

“Giving the right answer at the right time makes everyone happy." - Proverbs 15:23, CEV.

There were two notorious and wicked brothers who terrorized a small town in the Midwest. When one of the brothers died it became the other's responsibility to make funeral arrangements. However, he could find no pastor in the county who would agree to officiate at the funeral. It wasn't because they lacked compassion; it was because of the unusual request made the surviving brother. He wanted the pastor to say of the deceased, "He was a saint."

Of course, no pastor would agree to do such a dishonest thing.

In desperation, the brother offered $1,000 to any pastor who would say the words during the funeral, and one pastor agreed to do so. He was a prominent pastor of a prestigious church, and the entire community was shocked when they heard of his decision.

When the day of the funeral came, everybody showed up — not because they cared anything for the dead guy, but they wanted to see if the pastor would really compromise himself for a mere thousand dollars.

When the moment arrived, the pastor delivered the epithet without a stutter,

"We all know that Charlie here was a wicked man. He was twisted, foul, perverse and full of the devil. But compared to his brother .... he was a saint!"

Never underestimate a preacher's ability to find a way to say it right — especially when money is on the line!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Kris update from Carol and George…

Dearest friends and loved ones!

My last email may have sounded a little bit blue because it was right after Kris's surgery and it seemed that she slipped a little.  Not to worry!  By Monday last week, she was back up and running!  She had her spirit back, her sense of humor, and her drive!!!  Last Thursday, we took her back down to Brooke Army Medical Center to have her staples out, and that just seemed to help her even more.  This week has been about the same: she's working hard, making some more "tiny steps" and, generally speaking, she is back on track.

Kris did have another swallow study this week and, while the epiglottis seems to be working a little bit, it still isn't doing the job it's supposed to do.  Therefore, she will have to continue with e-stym (electrical stimulation) to her face and neck to encourage good swallowing, and I will continue to give her tiny teaspoons full of sherbet, pudding, yogurt, etc.  It's a tedious daily happening, I'm afraid, but I've learned it takes all 54 muscles in the neck, face and mouth to actuate a complete swallow (think of it!), otherwise... choking and the possibility of pneumonia looms out there.  We'll keep working!!!

Having said all that, there are some new things coming.  George and I went to San Antonio to look at another facility that had been recommended to us by a family here at Texas Neuro Rehab Center (TNRC).  They are taking their son down there and told us of the great TBI program they have.  Since TNRC was highly recommended for traumatic brain injury patients, that's why Kris was sent here to Austin back in May.  However, when we went down to the facility in San Antonio (it's called Health South Rehabilitation of San Antonio), we discovered it is everything the other family said it was and more.  The best part, it will allow Kris to be much closer to her home, her family, and all of her friends and co-workers at both Wilford Hall Hospital and Brooke Army Medical Center.  Russell is all for the move so, as soon as the paperwork and the military get things worked out, she will go back to San Antonio. 

While we've been staying in the loveliest RV park here in Austin (and the folks here have been super!), we still are not used to the traffic here and, believe it or not, San Antonio is not as bad!!!  We do believe a change of scene, a new beginning with new therapists and just being closer to home will help Kris a great deal.  We're ready to go now, but it will take a few weeks to make it all happen. 

I may not have had time to respond to some of your emails lately; I keep running out of time.  But please know that I will get back to you.  We are constantly meeting new folks out here and making new friends.  So many are in similar circumstances and in need of prayers, too.  You just can't imagine!!!  If I were to give any advice to folks we know and love, I'd say: wherever you go, please drive carefully and safely.  Don't ever take life for granted; it can change in an instant.

Blessings and much love,

Carol and George

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Time with the Grand's in Norman

Finally, we got to watch our Lydia play volleyball with her 7th grade team.100_3466

This is her mom, LaNae, made over. 100_3471-1

Lydia’s hands look just like her mama’s and she even holds them the same way when at the net.100_3472


Good picture of Lydia and her friend, Lilly, in the background.100_3488

Hooray for the Cougars!  A win goes into the books for Lydia’s team.100_3489

After the game, we took Lydia and Blaine to the Golden Corral for dinner.2010 Sept 28 Lydia and Blaine-1

Growing up so fast.100_3493-1

At the game, LaNae had told me that Lydia has decided she is not going to play basketball this year.  On the way home from dinner, I asked her about that and she confirmed what LaNae had told me.  I asked her if she never wanted to play basketball and she said that she did want to play, so I explained how she would be losing a year of skill level if she skipped this year and that was something she hadn’t thought of and it made sense to her, so she changed her mind!!  Yeah!  Lydia’s going to play basketball.  She’s a little concerned that she will never match up to her mom on the basketball court, but I think she has the potential to be even better.

Blaine announced that he’s going to play basketball, too.  That would be a great big YEAH!!!

  Any American boy can be a basketball star if he grows up, up, up.  ~Bill Vaughn  (and Blaine has the potential to grow up, up, up!)

However, basketball player Isaiah Thomas said, “If all I'm remembered for is being a good basketball player,   then I've done a bad job with the rest of my life."  Amen.

Mission Norman Ground Breaking


A rose in The Joanie Baker Memorial Garden… not an official name, but I think it should be.  She spent lots of time and money planting this garden in front of the building.100_3415100_3456

What a beautiful morning for the ground breaking ceremony.100_3417

Dave Davis, pastor of the FBC of Cole in Blanchard, OK, was the M. of C. for the ceremony.100_3418

The invocation is given. 100_3421

We were thrilled to see so many folks attending.100_3425

Mission Norman Director, Gene Barnes, points to where new temporary housing will be built.100_3428

Cindy Rosenthal, mayor of Norman, spoke and cited three scriptures that apply to the work that Mission Norman is doing.  I was impressed.100_3435

Oklahoma representative, Wallace Collins presented a check from himself and his wife for $1000 and also a check from OU president, David Boren, for the same amount.100_3442

U.S. Senator Tom Coburn had a rep there, also… Steve Williams.100_3447

Another politician whose name tag is covered!100_3444

Don could not help but be emotional about this property that he planted a church on in 2002, to see that it is being used for the Kingdom of God to bring Him glory and help so many people. 100_3450-1

Don, happily, gets to break a little ground.100_3451-1

You know, election year is a great time to invite politicians to a faith-based ground breaking ceremony!  Gene Barnes could be saying, “Dig deep, boys, and put your money where your mouth is!”100_3454

Associate Pastor Jack Sappenfield, gives the closing prayer.100_3453

Mission Norman has been rapidly expanding. In just three years, the Mission has increased its food assistance by 5 times, increased it auto assistance over 7 times, doubled its rent assistance, and quadrupled its utility assistance. With this massive growth, Mission Norman is (read more here)….

We won’t get to see friends and fellow CRM chaplains for at least seven months, so after the Mission Norman ground breaking ceremony, we had lunch with them at Ted’s.100_3461100_3460

Mute the playlist in the sidebar and rejoice with us!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday with Mom

Today was spent with Don’s mom out in the country. 

Don picked the okra that wasn’t already too hard.100_3390

Don, talking to the chickens.100_3391

On the way to meet Richard and Susan for dinner, we passed the herd of buffalo.  It’s seems much larger than it was last year.100_3397

Before we got to the Salt Grass Restaurant, we spotted a sun dog in the late afternoon southwestern sky. 100_3404

The first sun day I ever saw was in Arizona last winter.  Didn’t know I would be able to see one in Oklahoma.100_3406

While we waited on the porch for Richard and Susan, I entertained myself as Don and I chatted about our day, yesterday and days gone by.100_3409100_3408

It was a good Monday and before I go…

Happy Birthday to our favorite niece, Tammy!!Tammy 92708

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Quiet Sunday

We went to church this morning at Alameda Baptist Church.  Phil Ratcliff is the pastor and Don has known him for many years.

After church, we had lunch at BJ’s Restaurant, a favorite of ours.100_3387

Looks like they made a little bit more progress on this restaurant next door to BJ’s.  This project has been about fifteen years in the making, so far.100_3385

Tonight, we watched two movies with Aunt Bernice.  Letters to God and Sheffey.  Both movies are very good and we enjoyed watching them with Aunt Bernice.

It was a quiet, restful Sunday.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom!

After Logan’s football game, we drove on over to Don’s sister’s near Blanchard for his mother’s 80th birthday party.

Here’s the Birthday Girl!100_3336

Would you believe that this was a surprise party and she did not know that she would be wearing a tiara with purple trim? She certainly was color coordinated.100_3345100_3346

She was very proud of picture of great grandkids, Logan, Kristina and Taylor.100_3353

Mom and her two sisters, Lois and Bernice.  We will be staying with Bernice while we are in Norman for a few days.  100_3363

The party was a big success and Mom loved every minute of it.

Don and I went over to friends, Larry and Suzette, to watch the OU football game with them.  Suzette opened the door telling me to put that camera up and do not take any pictures, while all the time I was just merrily clicking away.  This will teach her not to flash me a happy welcoming smile! 100_3376

Oklahoma sunset this evening. 100_3377

Friday, September 24, 2010

Neosho to Bixby

9:25 AM, we were saying good-bye to Snookie and Bob and pulling out of the Stage Stop Campground.2010 Sept 24 Neosho to Bixby-1

After the really good rain we had last night, the morning dawned beautiful with hardly no wind.  Thank you, Lord, for great traveling weather.100_3268

10:50 AM, we were in Oklahoma.100_3269 100_3281

We had an early lunch at the famous “over the interstate” McDonald’s in Vinita.100_3286

We arrived at Stephanie’s and out to dinner at Los Cabos on the Arkansas River.100_3291


Logan entertains himself while we wait for a table.  It’s Friday night and very crowded.100_3308

‘Live’ music.100_3314

We called it an early evening and were in bed at Steph’s a little after ten.  It’s great to be back with family.