Thursday, September 29, 2011

Kris update: A Very Long Winter?

To all our dear loved ones and friends,
If I were to compare today with the most frustrating day ever, I would have to say it was much worse. And I am going to give you the new address for Kris tonight, but I will send out a caveat in the next day or so confirming she made the move. That should give you some idea of where we are.
Yes, the approvals were all done. Yes, the military, the insurance company, the VA: all approved. The medical records were sent, the application was filled out, all admission information was completed. We had Kris packed up, everything loaded up on a cart, and we were just waiting for delivery of a new special walker for Kris, with every intention of leaving at noon today. Then I received the phone call from the admissions person down at the facility where she will (hopefully) be going. Someone on their board needed a written letter attesting to the fact that Humana (Tricare) will definitely being paying for Kris’s to stay there. It was an afterthought. It was a snafu. It was an oversight. But it extremely upsetting, took us by surprise, and ruined what was to be an easy transition for Kris.
Well, we managed to contact all the right people (military liaison, case workers, Tricare liaison: anyone who might be able to help on short notice), and I think we will move Kris tomorrow (Friday). The frustration and telephone calls going and coming all afternoon made it very difficult to be positive and, by the end of the day, we are still not 100 percent certain. But, here is where you can send those wonderful cards and letters:
Maj Kristine Ratliff
[new address will be posted later]
As always, Kris is so aware of everything that is going on and, when phone calls started coming and going and worried comments were being made, I know she was worried, too. Thinking how she must feel is our foremost concern, and I must tell you it was difficult to conceal our frustration and anger so that it would not affect her any more than necessary.
As to whether we have made the right decision to send her there or not: we just have to hope that we have. It is close to her home, it will be easier for Russell and the children to visit (especially Joshua, who will turn 18 in December, by the way!). As soon as Russell gets the renovations at their house completed (enlarging a bedroom and adding a full handicap accessible bathroom), Kris will be going home, which will make Kris and the family very happy, I’m sure.
The facility is only ten years old and we were able to visit there again yesterday. We talked to several of the folks who will work with Kris and saw her room – a lovely private room with full bath. So... as you receive this update, please pray for our continued guidance and that we have chosen wisely. But, most of all, continue to pray for Kris. George and I truly must leave here in a week or so to return to Florida. It is going to be even more difficult to leave now than it was last December, because I know the winter months will be very long. I have already talked about coming out several times and that will help, but there is just no way to be comfortable not being here every day.
Physically, I do need some time, I’m afraid. We both do. George keeps reminding me I’m not as young as I used to be and, much as I hate to admit it, he’s right! But Kris has plateaued and my greatest fear is that she will decline again as she did during the three months we were not here last year. There have been beautiful, caring Christian folks working with her at RIOSA, and they have uplifted our spirits on numerous occasions. A retired pastor and present employee at RIOSA prayed with us and anointed Kris with oil today. It was just that extra “portion” we needed. Our prayer and strong hope that his prayers (and yours) will be answered: Kris will walk and talk again one day.
George and I bought Kris a special hat last Saturday. (See attached photo.) Across the front, it reads: Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran. She was so tickled when we gave it to her and wears it every day to go to therapy. Today, Russell brought in one of her oak leaf cluster pins signifying her position as Major, and George pinned it on the front of the hat. 2011 Sept 25 RIOSA LobbyWatching her smile and realizing how very proud of her service she is helped make the day bearable, truly. And watching her salute fellow veterans who are at RIOSA as patients is a definite heart warming experience. Kris is a very special little lady, and the respect that has been shown her is an indication everyone agrees on that. Without being able to speak, her smile, those sparkling blue eyes and that salute... you just can’t imagine! God is not done with her yet, and He will use her in a very special work for Him... I have no doubt.
Blessings and love,
Carol and George

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Leslie leads worship

A couple of Sunday evenings a month, our Leslie is part of the worship team at their church.  We were thrilled to be here on a Sunday that she was singing.100_6407

I could listen to her sing all day long.100_6408

A picture of the screen in the auditorium.100_6409

She did a beautiful job singing Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone).100_6410

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Have camera, will play all day!

Emma loves taking pictures.  She took this pic of her Nonna.100_5546

When my cousin, Patsy, came to visit, Lydia took our picture. I have always loved and wanted curls like Patsy’s.  She’s always wanted straight hair… like mine.  Isn’t that the way it always is.100_5569

Outside, Emma is still taking pictures and Camden being Camden.100_6360

Time-out to watch the video Emma just took.100_6361

She is oblivious that I am taking a picture of her as she videos herself singing. It’s a toss up which one of us is having the most fun.100_6366

Time-out, again, to watch her latest video. So serious.100_6368

Our All-Boy Boy. 100_6370

Camden loves watching Emma’s lens “art.”100_6371

Not only does she take the pictures, she creates her own movie, complete with background music. 100_6372

We walked down to the boat ramp so they could watch the fishermen loading their boats onto their trailers.100_6401

I’m just thinking how things change, but stay the same.  When I was a kid, I loved taking pictures, too, but it was expensive to have pictures developed, so I couldn’t just carry a camera with me all the time and take pictures of everything and everyone.  Now, it’s different and I think it’s wonderful.  Now I’m wondering what taking pictures will look like for Emma’s children.

What a fun day we had!

We love hats!!!

Emma shopping-1Camden likes the hat-1

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Waco Wednesday

We were excited that we are here when Camden had Grandparent’s Day at school.

First, they served breakfast for all the kids and grandparents and then all the students and grandparents went into the auditorium for their Thursday chapel time.  It was really good and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

After chapel, I went back to Camden’s classroom to take a picture of him with his teacher.

Good job, Camden!  Thanks for inviting us to your school.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Look who we found!!

It’s Tzu Tzu (pronounced Su-Su)  that we met at Johnson Creek RV Park.
Tzu Tzu's ‘parents’ are parked just a few sites from us and they are here to close on their new home.  They’re moving to Waco!  Sep 21 Tsu Tsu in Waco
I promise you, she does not know she’s a dog.

Monday, September 19, 2011

It’s ‘moving’ day!!

This has been the longest week!  Always, we begin to get excited about going to see our kids and grandkids about two weeks before it’s ‘moving’ day.  And today has finally arrived.  By 9:00 AM, we are hooked up to the Q and rolling.

In Marble Falls we found construction going on.  Looks like they’re building a new bridge across the beautiful Colorado River.  As always, to pass the time quickly, I take pictures.100_6255

The Colorado River.  We were thrilled to see that there is water in the river.100_6256

We stopped at the Evant CafĂ© (nothing to write home about) and ate lunch because … we were hungry.

Back on the road and about twenty-five minutes from Waco, we crossed a small bridge, felt a bump and instantly heard KAAAPOWW!  We both new instantly that we’d had a blow out on the Q.

We didn’t want to see it, but we couldn’t wait to get stopped to assess the damage. It wasn’t pretty.  Why can’t someone invent a tire that doesn’t blow out?  I mean, really, think about it.  How difficult could it be?  It’s like the tire has been invented and it works, with a few flaws, so we’ll just let it go at that.  Cone on, Creative People, you’re missing a golden opportunity to GET RICH!100_6258

Are we ever so thankful for cell phones?  Yes, we are.  Got roadside assistance headed our direction quickly.100_6259 - Copy

Standing on the side of the highway with traffic going by, not slowing down at all, by the way, and watching the Q rocking as it is parked on a slope and I think for sure the next big truck that comes by is going to blow it over.  Anyway, Don and I are both thinking that it’s going to take a big wrecker type truck to attach to the Q or something big to take care of this problem of getting the spare tire on.  Well, me more than Don, probably.  So, you can imagine my surprise when this little Kia pulls up behinds us.  We get out and I keep looking down the highway expecting a wrecker to be following, but it’s just this little car and Ray Walker, who isn’t as tall as I, who had assured me, on the phone, that he had jacks that would handle tons of weight. 100_6260 Mr. Walker was so nice and reassuring, stating that he’d changed a tire on a 5th wheel about a week ago.  He even asked if we needed a bottle of water or anything.  He gets all the needed equipment out of the trunk of his little car and goes to work jacking up the Q, getting the spare off it’s wrack and replacing the rude tire.  See that yellow tank in his car?  He used that to put air in the spare.100_6262

We were delayed only about two hours and were soon parked at our destination in Waco.

Before we arrived at our park, I took this picture of a huge Texas flag along the way.  Can someone explain to me how a flag flying outside, with the blue sky in the background, creates a shadow?  Is that weird or what?100_6269

Soon, Khalil arrived with our two grandchildren and three of their friends.  He also brought Bush’s fried chicken… our favorite!!!  So we had a picnic!100_6270

Grace, Emma, Ashley, and JoJo, who wanted to sit by Leslie who had to be at open house at her school tonight.100_6271

Our grandson, Camden.100_6273

Big sister, Ashley, helping little sister, JoJo, who usually drinks from a sippy cup.100_6274

After the picnic, the kiddos all wanted to go down to the lake before it got dark.100_6275

Precious girls having fun with rocks and sticks and shells.100_6277100_6279

We got to watch a pretty sunset.100_6286100_6287

Pretty soon, it was time to head back to the Q so Khalil could get the kids home and ready for bedtime.100_6288

Waco Time in the Fall was slow getting started with a little delay, but it’s off to a good start.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Goodbye to Chapel in the Hills

A parting picture taken in the early morning today. 

Goodbye Chapel in the Hills.

Beautiful Ms. Etta

At First Baptist Church Ingram this morning, I took this picture of a beautiful young lady, Ms. Etta Shell.2011 Sep 18 Ms Etta Shell, Ingram FBC 94 yo

We have fallen in love with her and she kept telling me this morning, “I am sure going to miss y’all.”  Ms. Etta will be 95 in October and she has been in church every Sunday we’ve been there, since May 12th. 

I pray that I have as sweet a spirit as she has should I live to be 95.

God bless you, Ms. Etta.  We’re going to miss you, too.

Took a picture of Chris Dahse, the pastor.  It’s not a very good picture, but at least, I got a picture.

2011 Sep 18 Pastor Chris Dahse Ingram FBC

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sisters on the Fly and Suzie

There’s a Sisters on the Fly rally going on at Johnson Creek RV Park and Resort this weekend.  They started rolling in here on Thursday in their cute vintage trailers.

One of the Sisters happens to be Suzie Humphreys on her “maiden voyage” with the Sisters. “Who’s Suzie Humphreys?” you ask.  Suzie is a radio and TV personality that I loved during the late 60’s and early 70’s in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

When I rolled up to her site on the park golf cart, we hit it off like we’d been friends forever.  Yesterday, while I was working in the office, she brought me her autographed book, “If All Else Fails, Laugh!” and invited me to come see her trailer.

>>> Click here <<< to see pictures of some of the vintage trailers and a picture of Suzie and I.

The Sisters love it here and are having a wonderful time together.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

There is a solution

On this 10th anniversary of 9/11, we heard two really good sermons. 

There are so many emotions and thoughts in my head, that I can’t process them all right now.  I thought I should watch something on TV to remember that horrible day and honor the lives taken, but I just couldn’t.  It just makes my heart hurt too much. 

Instead, I walked outside and prayed and took pictures of the setting sun.


How calm the water that reflects the clouds above.100_6183100_6184100_6185100_6187100_6188100_6189100_6190

When I got back to the Q, it was almost dark.  I sat down outside and called my mama.  While we were talking, the deer entered the orchard.  You have to look real hard to see them in the distance, but I wanted a picture that showed the pecan orchard.  We still need rain here.100_6194

Tomorrow starts our last week here at Johnson Creek RV Resort and Park.  Our summer here has been wonderful and relaxing.   As beautiful as it is here, the best of all are the friends we have made.

I will be working all next week, so I may not be able to take very many pictures, so I hope you have enjoyed these today as much as I enjoyed taking them.

I do remember. I remember how life in the United States changed ten years ago in a matter of a few minutes. I remember how this nation has lost it’s way.

We are in a “storm” and our “ship is sinking” unless we cry out, “help us lest we perish, Lord Jesus!”

Here’s the declaration:  The problem is our SINful condition!

Here’s the solution:  Jesus Christ