Another Good Reason to Run, Pray and Give

This is an e-mail form my good friend Melissa:

She is begging for prayers for this little boy whom she has never met. This little boy is the same age as our daughters, two and a half. I can’t imagine the nightmare this family is going through.

Read her e-mail. Visit this child’s site. See his beautiful face and send his family a note of prayers and then give.

Here is the link to visit the caringbridge website Brayden’s grandmother created for him. Caringbridge is a nonprofit webservice that connects family and friends during a critical illness, treatment or recovery. I was introduced to it almost 2 years ago when a dear friend’s nephew, Joe (some of you might remember him…some of you selflessly kept him in your prayers for so long) was involved in a horrible accident that almost claimed his life. The prayers and messages of support, from so many people he didn’t personally know, made a HUGE impact on him and his life (as reported by his aunt, a dear friend). As my sisters and brothers in Christ, am calling on you to visit Brayden’s caringbridge website and leave a message of hope for him and his family. The grandmother told my mother today to forward the link to me and ask that I share it with as many people as I could. It goes without saying that this dear woman, a sister, covets the support of family and friends. And as fellow Christians, we all fall in that category of her “family”. Ever heard the story of the power of one? An old man was walking along the ocean after the tide had went out and was picking up starfish, one by one, throwing them back into the ocean. A young boy came up to him and started poking fun at him, exclaiming, “What are you doing old man? There’s a million starfish along this shoreline, there’s no way you’re going to save them all!” The old man looked at the young boy, bent over, picked up a starfish and tossed it in the water. He looked back at the young boy and said, “I made a difference to that one.” Every single prayer and message will make a difference in the life of Brayden and his family. Thank you for showering God’s love on this precious little boy.

In the grip of His grace,Melissa

*Proverbs 31*

Run, Run, Run for your Life

My sister, Margaret, and my cousins Jen and Charlie are running in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society TEAM in Training, San Diego Rock-N-Roll Marathon on May 31.
Jen is raffling off everything but the kids and the kitchen sink for donations. If you could take the time to go to her sight…… and give a lot or a little to this cause. It would be greatly appreciated. Jen has some amazing posts and to my astonishment writes something almost everyday. It is worth your time and is always a good read.
On this site you will see Team in Training Sites. Please click on anyone of those sites and give what ever you can………the money all goes to good things like………Saving Lives. We know 100% the LLS does not give to embryonic stem cell research. Which, as Catholics, we like…….. and we also know 100% research saves families like ours…………

As they say in the South “Praise GOD!”

For if it where not for Cancer Research I would not have my father today. AND we as a family would not be whole. It has been 4.5 wonderful years more with this man……..who we all love very much………..the wind beneath his wings (our mother and his wife of 56 years) would be even more lost then any of us.

My mom and dad

Although, Margaret, Jen and Charlie and countless of others are preparing to run a race that should take them 5-6 hours and are putting their bodies and families through hard core training; it is people like my father, Jen’s Friend, Deana and the little boy Brayden, who is only two and half years old and who my friend Melissa is begging prayers for have the hard part in this race……… For they are fighting for their lives.

Please give………to any of these sites…………

I am pasting the web pages only because I am new at this blog thing and I cannot figure out how to add these on to my web page yet.

When I figure it all out I will have them on my site.

To help out ,a little, I will be donating Mary Kay profit money to these teams in training. If anyone wants to have a party or buy products from Mary Kay ~ tell me that you would like the profits to go to TNT Cancer Research. It would be my pleasure and privilege to do this. I would also like to add; I can ship the products to you and I offer free shipping.

This is my web page

We all have to join this fight:

For cancer knows no discrimination…………… my mother says ” Read the list of Cancer victims and pray Catholic, Muslim , Jewish or Buddhist……..that it doesn’t happen to you or a loved one. Run, Run, Run for life.”

The Birthdays

As January ends the Birthdays begin….

First there is Karen
Then there is Bill

Mark’s Mom

Margaret and My dad

We celebrate these birthdays in one big party.
This year we went out to eat and everyone came.

We even needed two very long tables

My mother seemed confused about all this. But, she shouldn’t be.

She knows there are a lot of us.

Even though we celebrated the January/February Birthdays together

We have to celebrate it all again and again on the actual day………

We must have another Cake and a ‘Happy Birthday’ song.


Whatever the case may be………

Is it because we like cake, pies, singing or just plan eating?

Well……some of us do!

But then again!

We have a LOT to celebrate!

George your next!

My Little Flower

Yesterday, I went with Kathryn and the club she belongs to, called the “Little Flowers”, to a nursing home. The group wanted to hand out home made Valentines, Mary Kay hand lotion and some foot cream.
It was a great experience.
It just so happened that day the director in the nursing home said “her” people needed a “pick me up.” Our group of girls had just the thing an aching heart may call for……….Little Flowers handing out well wishes, candy, presents and hand crafted valentines to people they didn’t even know.
That day, the people in the Nursing home where grieving over a death of one of their close friends from early that same morning. They where more then happy to see our girls come in and spread cheer.
At first the girls were very shy and nervous until they discovered the people in the home were just like the people they know and love in their homes. It was so amazing to see how all the girls slowly bloomed from shy little flowers into loving, caring roses that wanted to make a difference in someone’s day.
All the girls lovingly gave out “thier goodies” while they talked to the residence. Everyone felt great about how they were spending their Valentines Day.
I really think these young woman understood they where actually making an impact on someone’s day. Before we went into the home, the mothers where telling the girls…..”How life was not about what you get, it is more about what you give”…..and yadda, yadda, yadda.
It seemed to me that day…..the message was not just for our little girls………the message went to the big girls as well.
I was ,of course, encouraged the most by my little flower, Kathryn.
To the outside world she is a shy, quite girl that is not always sure of herself. In my world she is a loud Tom boy that tries very hard to keep up with her 6 foot plus, brothers and dreams of “whipping the tar out of them”. Kathryn loves animals of all kinds, music and her baby sister.

This day I saw my future in “my Little Flower”. She blossomed into this loving young woman who gently opened gifts and lovingly read the cards she crafted for people she was afraid to meet. She held hands with sick strangers. She gave hugs to grandparents who told her they didn’t get to see there own granddaughters and could she just do this one more thing.


Sometimes I wonder…….. am I doing enough for society? Am I helping others the way I should be? Should I be fund raising, doing bake sales and doing all those other outside things people do to make a difference……..I wonder and then I research……. and then I think…….. I am just a stay at home mom that home schools her kids. I take care of my family, teach my children, help my husband and try to help my extended family…………..then I look at my girl……my little flower

AND I know……….

Mathew Driving Me

I am now the mother of a teenage driver! This statement really scares me.

First of all, I can’t figure out how my son got so old and I have managed not to age at all. But, never the less, I now find myself sitting in the passenger seat.

Matthew’s first time driving me

Now that Matthew is driving, I think he will be a good driver…..I hope. He is smart, safety conscious, by personality and he really knows the rule book……..that’s good right?

The one thing that really scares me about this “driving thing” is he forgets things, by personality…..He forgets things like; looking to see if cars are coming into his lane before he turns or backs up without looking and the old forgetting to turn the blinker on when turning….he has forgotten to go……… and that leads me to my number one fear…..he may forget to stop! Yicks!! That is what the six month drivers permit is for……… right? With a parent by his side we should be able to guide him into the transition of passenger to driver………So, I have to teach him to drive well………….. ME!!

I keep telling myself, I have taught him many things, after all we home-school. We can do this…….I help him with his math and Literature. We talk about history, Apologetics and I help with the debate club “stuff ….However, I do not DO his Science. I can’t help there………He past me long ago on this one. As his mother and teacher our lives are full of learning from each other………I have even taught this kid how to punch like a man ………but…….. this driving thing really has me shaken.

Matthew looking very intellectual

I think of myself as a fair teacher…. Most of the time……However, I do not think I am a good driving teacher. I get too scared. I really feel bad about the whole thing because of course , all this makes him very nerves……….I suck all my breath in really fast or say “OH! GEE!” “It’s okay….. we’re okay.” and then the other kids ask “what is wrong Mom?” “Isn’t Matthew doing a good job?”……… Not very comforting…. I know!

My poor son!

He has said to me many times……….”Dad is easier to drive with.” I tell him I know and I am sorry. I also tell him, I really wish dad could be the one to help with this one…..We both know he is the better parent for this job. But, I am the one that has to get us through……… I am the one that drives us were we need to go.

So, I am the one that has to calm down and learn how to teach our son to drive…………right????

Matthew did tell me the other day he thought I was doing better.

He really is a nice kid.

A Week in Review

On Sunday afternoons, our sons, Stephen and Alex, prepare for their lives as Catholics by going to a religion class. Margaret and I take advantage of the hour we have to give each other a little friendly, competitive push on our running. We talk, laugh, and try to out-do each other like good team mates should.

As we prepared Sunday night for a busy week ahead, all was right with in our world.

Monday was a normal school day and things went as they should. The bad news came Monday night, when the phone rang late. I normally would not have answered, but this time the ring had an urgent sound to it, as phones sometimes do. It was Kim, a friend of Margaret’s and mine. She wanted to tell me something terrible had happened to another friend’s son.Kim said our friend’s son had died. She was not sure of the details because she had received the news “through the grape vine”. We were not even sure if it was true.

Within seconds of hanging up from Kim, Margaret called to tell me what had happened. This friend’s son’s death was all too real.

Matt, the young man that died, was only 23. He was the only son of four children. He was a black belt many times over. He was a veteran of the Iraq war serving four tours of duty. He had also just recently signed up for the National Guard. He was a quiet, gentle kid always thinking of how he could help others. Amazingly, he wanted to serve our country even more than he had before.

Now the shock of this tragedy was starting to sink in for us. I could only imagine how his mother must feel. Matt and his mother where very close.

In this very sad time the circles of friends we have, where all at a loss as to what to do. Most of all, we were at a loss for words. Everyone was trying to do something, anything to make it better for Matt’s mother.

With no way to truly help, we cried.

We cried for his mother’s loss. We cried because we all knew Matt. We cried because we are all mothers. We also cried for all the losses of the mothers and fathers all over the country that are suffering due to this war or any war, for that matter.

A rainy, cold Tuesday was fitting for my mood that day. With the news still sinking in, the close circle of friends stayed in contact through e-mail. We shared our thoughts and most of all we tried to help each other cope. But, in reality we had the easy part and our lives still moved forward as usual.

My Matthew had made arrangements to spend Tuesday afternoon with his nana. They were going to run errands and then drop by the DMV so Matthew could take the drivers permit test. To much of his excitement, Matthew passed the test. Mark and I now have a student driver in the house.

Although, I am excited for Matthew, I can’t help but be a little sad. I keep thinking somehow I turned around and my baby boy was growing up all to fast. But, then again, I am very happy he has a grandmother that will take the time out of her busy day to spend with him and do these important things that kids need to feel special. Kathryn and Stephen went to piano lessons while Mary Elizabeth slept in the car. For me that day, my life move forward as usual.

By Tuesday night the word was out about Matt’s death. Everyone in our small town wanted to see if they could do something to help. His mother was one of the kick boxing teachers at the karate school we all had grown to love. All her old students and now friends came together at a local sandwich shop to pray, cry and talk about what could be done. Matt’s sisters had come to say thank you for caring and to tell us ways they thought we could help their mother. We learned what had happened to Matt. We learned about the very sad events of the weekend for his mother and her family.

We also learned, once again in the end, Matt showed his heroism and his mother showed her courage, faith, and love of life by donating Matt’s organs. None of us were surprised by this family’s incredible strength.

Wednesday morning, still cold and rainy and still fitting to the mood, was a rush out the door by 7 am. I had to have, my son, Matthew in Easley, an hour away. He was up for a 10 hour day of debate. Where the kids amazingly talked about sanctions, stock issues and reforms.

That same day, our father, as brave as can be, went in for another round of chemo with our mother at his side. For, they are still fighting the cancer that is eating away at our dad’s body.

My other kids did their school work in the car and at the church where the debate was held. They also helped where they could with the debating events. Elizabeth slept in the car and played where ever she was.

On the way home that night, we stopped and picked up a pizza for a late night dinner with our family. Mark and I talked with the kids about how the day went, read the comments on Matthew’s debating and then we kissed our children good night. It was life as usual for me.

Thursday morning the boys were really excited about the adventure they were about to partake with James and their grandparents. There was a very big conference about growing grapes and other small fruits that Matthew just had to attend.

For his dream is to have a muscadine farm where he, his siblings and James can become famous wine makers. They want to sell grapes to cancer research laps, make wine and anything else they can think of to do with the fruit. Incredibly, their grandparents are 110% behind them cheering all the way.

Thursday afternoon, my mother and father packed up the car and the three boys. They were taking them over night to the RAIN conference in Florence, South Carolina, about 4 hours away.

I took the girls home that afternoon to get dinner ready and to get myself ready for the funeral.

Thursday night Margaret and I went to the funeral together to pay our respects. As we drove up to the church we were taken back by all the cars in the parking lot. We walked slowly down a sidewalk that was lined with men in uniform holding American flags. Our walk into the church left us in awe for all the people that had come to show their love and respect for this young man and his mother.

The service was incredible. There was not a dry eye in the church. Everyone cried. They cried for the loss of this young life. They cried because of the things his sisters had said during the service. They cried because of the pictures that where shown. They all cried when our American flag, that covered Matt’s casket, was folded. Everyone cried even more when the bugle player played taps, and when the 21 gun salute was fired.

Even though everyone was filled with pride for this young man and pride for our great country, we cried.

Everyone cried because of the circumstance of this young man’s death. Once again the system had failed and this terrible event should not have been.

It was a tragic night.

Margaret and I went home to our whole families and even though we were both very sad; it was life as usual for me.

Friday came; Margaret and Kathryn went to their Friday home school classes. Our older boys where still in Florence enjoying the RAIN conference. Their grandfather was sick as he could be but never complained. Their grandmother showed her love and support for all her men by spreading herself thin…….watching the boys, learning about growing grapes and taking care of her husband, all 4 hours away from home.

Mary Elizabeth and I stayed home and prepared for our play date that would be later that day. Her new and only little friend came over to play. The girls played while I enjoyed talking to my friend and all was right with my world.

Friday night, everyone came home from the adventure of the conference excited and eager to get started. All three boys could not wait to get home and tell their mothers how things went and what the plans where. They wanted to tell us who they met and what the next step would be for their young lives. They went on and on in their excitement. It was all very wonderful listening and dreaming of their future plans.

Saturday came and it was time to visit Mr. Black and his family. Mr. Black is another instructor at the karate school. Thursday night at the funeral, Margaret had learned Mr. Black and his son were very close to Matt. She had learned the Black family was taking the death of Matt very hard.

After telling our group about her conversation with him, a few of us decided it would be nice to take food to their house and show our love and support.

Saturday afternoon Kim and I took a very American meal over to a very Japanese family.

This family was truly in pain from their loss. We learned how the Black’s really felt about Matt. We learned they truly loved him and how they thought of Matt as one of their own children. We learned Mr. Black’s son and Matt where as close as brothers. Mr. Black said “twins could not have been closer”. We learned Mr. Black felt he had lost a son and nothing would be right for this family again.

As we left, Kim and I hugged everyone again and drove away. We went back to her house talked a little and I went home to my family. It was life as usual for me.

Sunday again, the boys where off to more religion classes and there was another competitive run between sisters. Only this time we ran up the hills and walked, talked and laughed on the down.

Even though, Margaret and I where still felling terrible about the events of the week, we realize this young man could be any one of our children……Life is fragile and much to short……… We know now, more then ever, our sons and my daughters will grow up way to fast. This terrible death could happen in anyones family, even in ours.

As Edwin Starr sang: “WAR!…huh…yeah What is it good for?Absolutely nothing…….Uh ha haa ha”

In reality: It is still life as usual for me.