Winnie the Pooh and Paddington Bear

Doug, Isaac and I traveled to O-town on Saturday to visit with my interwebby friend Tia and her girls.  (You can click on her name to visit her blog.)

Saturday was our first real taste of fall here in central Florida.  The temperatures were mild (in the mid-70s) and it was overcast and very windy.  With the exception of hurricanes, we do not have many blustery days, and that makes them so much more enjoyable to us!  And, of course, makes us think of Winnie the Pooh and his blustery day!

Tia, Mog, the Little Princess and Mary met us in the lobby of their hotel…all of us smiling and hugging and shaking hands in greeting.  The Little Princess was in her very impressive Land Rover chair and helped us keep up a good pace when we headed down the hotel corridors.  Really, it was an amazing little electric wheelchair that she has for traveling.  God bless the mind that created such a cool, little chair for the adorable little people who need them.

Mog was in rare form, telling us about her upcoming shopping trip via her Talking Book.  It is an amazing notebook that Tia has put together, with what I can only think to call "Question Trees." 

Tia went through 3 or 4 main questions, and Mog immediately let us know when we had hit upon the one she had an answer to.  Tia kept asking "yes" and "no" questions, until we had sifted out the ones Mog was not interested in.  Finally we hit "pay dirt", so to speak, when we asked if she had chosen a name for her new sock monkey!

She had chosen a name!

A few more questions were asked, and to MY utter delight, she wanted to name her little monkey "Alesha".  I'll tell you – I was quite honored. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Our sweet friends brought us some sweet gifts.  This lovely orange marmalade is from the Women's Institute:

Marmalade

I asked if I should bake some scones to have with my marmalade, and was told no, but to eat it on toast, like Paddington Bear. 🙂

They also brought along some lovely teas for us:  Yorkshire Gold (a black tea) and Clipper (a loose leaf green tea).

Englishtea2 Englishtea

All very English gifts, weren't they?  We were so tickled to receive them.  My religiously-soda-drinking husband has had tea TWO mornings in a row, and has already looked to see if the Yorkshire Gold is available in the states.  I am amazed, Tia!!!  I never would have guessed how much he would like this tea! 🙂

Honestly, though, much more special than any gifts they could have brought, was the sweet time of fellowship and visiting.  We stay for over 2 hours, and really, would have been happy to stay longer, but little ones needed medications and changes of position and tea and so forth; and so we made our way home with happy, full hearts.

The best part?  Hearing voices pronounce names we had only read in print, hugging friends we had never seen, seeing smiles next to us that previously only beamed at us from our computer screen, and communicating with little ones who have become so special to us over the years.

While I hope that this meeting was not a once-in-a-lifetime gathering, in all truth, it just might have been.  I am so grateful for the time we spent together with Tia and the girls. 

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Our lives are far richer because of your friendships!

Blessings,

Alesha

 

Twenty-Four Years Ago

…on July 15, 1988,

 

Two crazy kids…

 

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said "I do."

 

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And my life has never been the same!

 

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Oh, how I love this man!!!

Happy Anniversary to Doug – my amazing husband and very best friend.

Looking forward to the rest of our adventure together,

Alesha


Finding a Van for Isaac – It Takes a Family, Not a Village

 

We are in the process of trying to find a wheelchair-accessible vehicle for our family.  Our truck died on May 8th, and we have been without a vehicle since then.

I know intellectually that family is incredibly important, but to see family spring into action on our behalf has really been amazing!


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  • My mechanically-inclined brother, who has done the physical labor on our truck the past several times that it needed work, and who had the wisdom to say (as did Bones on StarTrek) "It's dead, Jim!" when our truck blew it's head gasket last Tuesday.
  • My fiscally-responsible brother and sister-in-love who unselfishly pick me up for choir practice each week, and bring me home from church on Sunday and Wednesday nights, who pick up groceries when we need them, or prescriptions when we have no way to get them, and who support me emotionally when I feel the need to let off steam, by simply listening or by taking me to the beach for a day (and thereby rescuing my sanity.)
  • My extended family who are praying and watching for deals and encouraging us that God will meet our need.
  • My brilliant husband who can tell you which car/truck/van has the best and poorest Consumer Report ratings for the past 15 years, and who is humble enough to accept rides back and forth to work but is independent enough to walk to the drugstore and grocery store when we needed something.
  • My sweet mother- and grandmother-in-laws who give advice and encouragment to Doug each week and who help us pray for answers.
  • My servant-hearted cousins who are willing to do anything at all for us from toting a wheelchair, to physically helping Isaac in and out of his wheelchair, and who act out the belief that "Pity is a benign form of abuse, " and therefore do not pity Isaac, but accept him just as he is and help him to be a true part of their junior church ministry every Sunday.
  • My dad who has worked unfailingly to help us find a vehicle, who has loaned his vehicle for runs to the bank and the grocery store, who drives alone to church in his work truck so that the rest of us can fit in the "nice" vehicle, who believes in a fair price and a good work ethic, who has friends all over town because of his own work ethic, and who has blessed his family for many generations to come by following Christ's example and keeping a good Christian testimony.
  • My mom who has taught all of us by her incredible example that PRAYER WORKS, and who is continuing to live out that truth by praying a MIRACLE down for us!!!

 

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BeckyandisaacMikejenGrammypapa2Hermanbonnie WaynenancyWallaceruth
BillieLouieGrammy

All these combine to make this time of waiting, bearable. 

As we sink our faith deeper into the mind of Christ, and trust Him to meet this incredible need, we are propped up and encouraged by these in our family who have come along beside us.

Of course, we have sweet friends who minister to us, too, giving us ideas and telling us about vehicles they've seen, and encouraging us with reminders of Who God is, and that He promises to meet every need.  These are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and so, by that definition, are FAMILY, as well!

 

AleshaandlauraKarenHowardruthPaulaCorinMyralissetteBrenCheryldaniJewel

The world has swallowed the lie that it takes a government, a society, a village of people to raise a child.  This is wrong and unScriptural.  It takes individuals who are committed to the success of the child and to the spiritual growth of the child, to properly raise that child to be a Child of the King.

In Isaac's situation, he is "safe" in the Lord, because he does not have the understanding to make a personal decision for Christ. 

So, in his case, we are not coming together to teach him about Jesus and salvation in a mental and spiritual way; but rather we are coming together to teach him how Jesus IS by meeting his physical and emotional needs.

 

I John 3:16-18 "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
 But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth."

 

My family is loving Isaac, and loving us, "in deed and in truth."

That is very humbling and encouraging and is – quite honestly – just blessing my socks off!!!

Thank you, Lord, for my family!

 

Family

 

HopeFULLy,

Alesha

I Forgot I Was Grieving

I am, on balance, a fairly happy person.

I love the Lord, and I love my life.  I feel content in most circumstances.  Even if I get temporarily thrown off my usual stride, I can usually find my equilibrium, so to speak, pretty quickly.

You see, I like peace.  I like to feel peaceful.  I dislike anxiety, fretfulness and worry.

So, I'm learning to focus on my Lord, and to allow His peace to fill me.

That is why I have been extremely frustrated with my self the past month or so. 

I have not felt very peaceful.  I have been quite fretful.  I have been grouchy, cantankerous, and (I say it to my shame) a tad unforgiving lately.

And I don't like being that way!

I have been unhappy with myself that I am feeling unhappy with others and with life in general.

Then, this morning, I was working with Isaac, listening to the music playing in his room, and I just burst into tears.

The song was about Heaven.  I hear songs about Heaven several times every day.  I don't usually break down over them.

This song, however, was about our friends and loved ones who are already in Heaven, how we miss them, and how happy we will be to see them again.

Then I remembered.

Gail.

I am still grieving over losing Gail.

Don't get me wrong.  I think about Gail every day – usually more than once a day.  I mostly think of things that I want to tell her — then I remember that I can't.  So, I move my thoughts on to something else, and get on with my day.

But grief eventually needs its outlet, doesn't it?

I can't keep just pushing it aside for other things, because that's where the discontent comes from.  That's why I'm so easily frustrated and angered and why I hold on to those feelings longer than usual.

I've pushed aside the grieving to get on with my life, but the sadness just isn't disappearing. 

So, today, when I burst into tears, I should have just let those tears continue until I was finished with the crying.  As usual, I stopped them so that I could go about my business.

I think the next time they start, I'm just going to indulge them for a little while.  Maybe some of the anger, fretfulness, anxiety, unforgiveness with flow away with the tears.

Yeah, so I remembered I'm still grieving.  That's ok.  I think I will just give myself a little break today, and grieve for my sweet friend who I am missing so very much.

Our God is such a great God to create us to feel so many emotions, and then build into our very bodies the outlet for those emotions:  tears, laughter, and the huge array in between the two.

I almost wonder that if I allow myself to cry, I will find that my laughter returns as well.

I just think it might.

Uninterrupted Sleep is a Marvelous Thing

I am so thankful for my faithful blog readers. 

I really appreciate your words of encouragement, your doses of wisdom and your practical solutions to my climate issues from yesterday's grumpy little post.

I had seven hours of uninterrupted sleep last night, and I feel much better this morning.  I still haven't solved all the "cold" issues (mine or Isaac's!); but I don't feel so…pathetic about them today.

I've been enjoying a few sites this week that I wanted to share with you: 

  • LouAnne, over at Momidazed is only buying necessities this month.  You'll be surprised at the things she is learning to live without!  And you'll be intrigued, I think, at the substitutions she has discovered.  My personal favorite:  The Great Chicken Shampoo Barter.
  • Heather, at Simple and Deliberate, has a great post on the Winter Blues, something I have experienced too, even here in Florida.  
  • Sharon, from Sharon's Place of Blessing, has started a new blog, and is sharing her art with us.  It's My Art Journal.  I have really enjoyed looking at the beautiful things she has done through the years.  I love to go to sites that fill my "beauty" tank, and this site definitely does that!
  • And just in case you STILL have a little Christmas money left to spend:  Christopher & Banks, and it's sister store for plus sizes CJ Banks both have a BOGO sale on sweaters today!

Well, that's it for me this morning, I think.

Rest assured that should any snow fall in my yard, there will be pictures!  They think we have a possibility of freezing rain, sleet and/or snow in the early hours in the morning (Saturday.)  We will see! 

It did snow here when I was around 10-11 years old.  One of the most exciting days of my childhood! :)  I would love to see it happen again; but I'm also aware that these temperatures are endangering much of Florida's citrus and fruit crops.  So, as the Lord wills it, is how I'm praying.

May God richly bless your weekend,

Alesha


From Japan…With Love

I had such a lovely visit with Laura and her children yesterday!  I felt like we had known each other forever, and were just getting together for an afternoon out.  It was really odd to be with someone who you had never seen in person before, but feel like you had just chatted together the day before.

Here's the photographic proof of our lovely visit!

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Aren't we pretty together in our red and green Christmas tops?

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The beautiful, vivacious Bekah

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A smiley Josh (so delighted that I caught that cute little smile!)

Kei 

And here's will-o'-the-wisp Kei with Mom.  I'm telling you, it was like trying to "catch a cloud and pin it down" to get a picture of this little sweetie pie.  She was a busy, busy girl.

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Here's the whole gang, with a new little friend that we met in the PlayPlace at McDs.

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Just beautiful!

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Kei and her new little friend, enjoying the huge slide!

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Sisters in constant motion (but can you blame them, after a 12-hour flight from Japan, then a 2+ hour from Indiana to Florida – all in a 3-day span???)

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Josh signed "please" to let us know that he wanted up off the floor.

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Kei sitting still for just a minute, saying "goodbye" to her new friend.  (this little girl's dad, mom and teenage sister sat and patiently waited for her to play for over an hour…very sweet!)

We had a wonderful time together.  I just wanted time to stand still for a while, so we could visit just a little longer.

Laura brought me a beautiful gift from Japan  A sweet tea set and chopsticks for Doug and I!  She said the chopsticks would help with our diet! LOL!!!

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I left the Japanese newspaper in the pic, because I thought it was cool!

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I didn't get too close to this page…it is a family-friendly blog, after all! LOL!!!  But I had to include it because it's just SO Japanese! 

Really, Laura, Doug has a thing about reading the papers that people wrap stuff in.  He loves to read the papers in his mom's packages, especially.  He did say, however, that some things are just SCARY in ANY language!!!

Scary 

LOLOLOLOL!!! :o)

Thanks, Laura, Bekah, Kei and Josh for a wonderful visit!  I enjoyed it so much!  And yes, we will need to do it again…maybe next time we can meet you in Indiana! :o)

And thanks to everyone who prayed for a safe and peaceful trip for them.  Laura said everything went really well.

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I guess you probably noticed that Doug and Isaac weren't in any of our pictures.  That's because our little man started running fever yesterday.  He still has fever today, as well as a nasty croupy cough and a runny nose.  I'd appreciate your prayers for him, that this will clear up on its own, so that we don't have to visit the germ-ridden doctor's office with him.

Thanks!

Alesha

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I am getting so excited about meeting my sweet friend, Laura!!!


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She will be here from Japan on Monday!!!

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We are meeting at the World's Largest McDonald's PlayPlace!!!

(I know!  What were we thinking???)

We are just hoping that a Monday
afternoon, before school lets out, AND before Christmas break, will not
be too crazy, busy and loud for us all.  If it is, we'll just find a
great big parking lot and park somewhere. 

If you think of it, please keep her in
prayer.  She is flying out this weekend alone with three children.  I
know they are 3 very well behaved children, but keep these things in
mind:

  • they are flying internationally
  • one of the children (Josh) is special needs
  • she will be bringing all of his meds with her
  • she will be bringing his formula with her

Her trip through security could be a real nightmare!

I know she would be really appreciative of your prayers for a
smooth, uneventful trip.  Also remember to pray for Josh:  he has been
pretty sick with a cold this week.  You know how flights can hurt
little one's ears, even on the best of days.

Also pray for Bekah and Kei – her beautiful, sweet daughters.  I am
asking the Lord for a flight attendant that takes a special interest in
them, and sees to it that they have an excellent flight together!

I am going to try to remember to take lots of pictures! 

I am also excited for Joshua and Isaac to meet! 

*They are the reason that Laura and I found each other and became cyber friends!* 

I am hoping they will both have a really excellent day and "see" and
"acknowledge" each other.  And if they don't, it's no big deal either!  We will hopefully have the pictures to remember the day. :o)

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Btw, my jewelry is still on sale – 25% off; and I am still offering
free shipping.  So if you need something as a last minute gift, be sure
to stop in and have a look around.

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Our Christmas cantata and play will be this Sunday evening at 7 p.m., eastern time.  If you'd like to watch it online, this is our church's website:  Landmark Baptist Church.  Just click "media" and "live services."

You can look for me in the choir.  I will be on the left side, third row.  I am not very tall, though, so you will have to look very carefully!  lol!!! :o)

I pray you are enjoying this wonderful Christmas season, so far.  If not, put on the brakes, slow down your pace, and take some time to really soak up the sights and sounds of the Holiday.

Isaiah 9:6 – For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the
government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called
Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The
Prince of Peace.

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Blessings,

Alesha