Another Day of Memories...

So many days of remembrance lately...anniversaries, birthdays, and other memorable markers.  I'm rather hit and miss about posting lately (about those or anything else!), and for anyone who might be wondering...that has only to do with the limitations of my brain and body, nothing more.  I'm only getting to about 1/25th (judging by the things I'm marking off on my "To Do" list) of the things I need/want to be doing these days, and the stats on the blog posts I'm getting done are even worse than my general list!  But...today I happened to have photos easily accessible to help commemorate the 102nd anniversary of Granny Kitty's birth, so I'm going to take a few minutes to post them.  I'm having some typing issues at the moment, so I won't say the dozens of other things I'd like to say...I'll let some old scrapbook pages do the talking instead.  (You should be able to click on the images to make them larger if you have trouble reading the journaling...)

Granny Kitty and I with the car that started my Ghia obsession. :)

Granny and Papaw with Daddy and I at our apartment in Birmingham.

Brown Family...Papaw, Granny Kitty, Daddy, and Emma Jo...1940.

Love this pic of Mother and Granny Kitty at my wedding!  Granny's trademark expression when she was concentrating.  Papaw used to say that if you cut out her tongue, she wouldn't be able to accomplish anything. :)       

Happy Birthday, Granny Kitty!!


Birds in the Snow

We had a backyard full of melting snow and feasting birds today...I just couldn't resist few (ahem :)) more photos.  God's creation seen in the birds, as well as in the beauty and uniqueness of the snowflakes, never ceases to amaze me!


Snow Day

The weather forecast for today called for light snow with no accumulation.  Imagine our surprise when it began pouring snow at 8 a.m. and pretty much didn't stop all day.  I haven't heard official totals yet, but it appears to be about 6 inches.   I'm not a huge snow lover these days, but this one was beautiful!  Here are a few images from the day....


Valentine's {and other} Smoothie Yumminess!

Bayley is in the midst of C25K (Couch to 5K) training.  She has her daddy's discipline and determination,and she is persevering despite weather issues, crazy schedules, and the aches and pains that accompany beginning a new workout program.  I am so proud of her!

In addition to the C25K workouts, she is making some changes to her diet.  The whole family has benefited from one of these: daily smoothies.  So far, she's been using various combinations of fruit, Greek yogurt, and flaxseed.  We're in the process of collecting new recipes to try in the coming weeks. 

Today she made a special treat for Valentine's Day: Strawberry/Chocolate Chip.  It was a fun change for the holiday. :)

Valentine's Day: Strawberry/Chocolate Chip         

I wish I'd thought to start taking pictures when she first started the smoothies, but I didn't start until this past Monday.  Here are this week's creations: 

Monday: Strawberry/Banana/Pineapple

Tuesday: Strawberry/Blackberry/Banana

Wednesday: Strawberry/Banana/Pineapple (a repeat at little sister's request :))  

Do you have a favorite smoothie combo?  We'd love to hear about it in the comments!  Keep an eye out here for more of Bay's creations. :)

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Happy Birthday, Ammah Grace!!

9 years ago...I had gone to bed SO excited...after three days in a hospital bed in Little Rock by myself, Billy and the kids, my parents, and the Cartys were coming to visit the next day.  The dr. had even given permission for me to ride down to the cafeteria in a wheelchair...as long as I wasn't showing any more signs of early labor.  I was more excited than  I'd ever been any Christmas Eve of my life.  

But in the wee hours of that Saturday morning, I began to realize that something wasn't quite right.  At first I was just terribly disappointed that I would be bed-bound for the day's visits, but as the morning wore on, it became obvious that that was a very minor issue in the scheme of things...the much more major one being that I was again in labor, with an infection that was dangerous to me and to the baby.

The rest of that day was utter chaos...wonderful visits with my family and the Cartys in between the drs. first trying to stop labor, and then deciding that it was safer for baby to go ahead and come 10 weeks early than to stay inside any longer.  Finally, the decision was made to do a c-section...stat.  I don't think Kathy has ever forgiven me for the fact that they were probably not even to the car yet when the drs. told us the baby would have to come that evening.:-)  And poor April G...she and John stopped by to visit and ended up in the middle of all the preemie baby/NICU drama...in the middle of her first pregnancy!  NOT what a first-time expectant mom needs, for sure, but they were sweet to stay with my family as they waited for news.

Finally, at 6:00 that evening, in the midst of jarring alarms due to a fire in a nearby part of the hospital, they delivered our tiny girl and whisked her off to the NICU.

The next six weeks were the scariest of our lives up to that point...brain bleeds and spinal taps and fear of life-threatening infections and code blues and ambu bags and scheduling (and then, praise the Lord, cancelling, when the bleed finally began to heal on its own) a consult for brain surgery.  And sitting in the NICU in the midst of all the machines and alarms discussing our tiny girl's prognosis with world-class neonatologists and being faced with the probability of lifelong disability and health issues.

And then came the wonderful day when Amanda and my family came and we buckled our little girl and her monitor into what seemed like an enormous carseat and drove back to Fort Smith.

And from that moment on, our teeny tiny girl was fine.  One by one, all the specialists who were monitoring her signed off with that wonderful word, "normal", and not one of those dire predictions ever came true.

As I remember that day 9 years ago, I marvel that our little girl is growing up SO fast (HOW can it have been 9 years??), but even more, I marvel all over again at God's faithfulness and wonderful work in our not-so-tiny-anymore girl's life and in our family through her.

I also remember the many people...family and friends, our wonderful church family, our homeschool group, and people literally all over the world, many of them strangers, who prayed for Ammah Grace and for our family during that time.  I remember so many who helped in so many ways...without them, we would never have made it through those weeks with Gracie in Little Rock, Billy and the kids in Fort Smith, and me bouncing back and forth like a ping-pong ball...and no matter where I was, feeling like I needed to be somewhere else. I am so thankful for each and every one.

I remember the issues with her name...we weren't quite ready to name her when she made her early entrance into the world.  We had planned for her to have a double name...I had waited to carry on family tradition of a good old southern double name for a long time!...and had mostly settled on Ammah, after my great-grandmother, for the first part, but hadn't decided what the second part would be.  We quickly decided that given the circumstances, Grace was the obvious second name, but I was still a bit apprehensive about one thing.  We have always been very choosy about name meanings, but because Ammah isn't a common name these days, we hadn't been able to track down its meaning yet.

Some time after we were finally settled at home, I began to search in earnest for the meaning of our tiny girl's name.  When I finally found it, I was totally overwhelmed at the ways God works even in the little things.  "Ammah" is actually a Biblical place name meaning, "God's people".  I still get goosebumps typing that after all these years...thinking about the significance that "God's people" had in Ammah Grace's life...the thousands that prayed, and the many who helped us in so many ways during those days.  I am so thankful that God gave us that name as a lifelong reminder to thank Him for the people that He used in her life and in the lives of our family during those days.

I sometimes hesitate to post Ammah Grace's story "one more time".  But on that snowy night just before I left for Little Rock in the ambulance, my friend Kathy shared Psalm 40:1-5 with me, and we clung to those verses throughout the time I was in Little Rock and Ammah Grace was in NICU.  Even before we knew how God was going to work out His plan, I committed that I would share His faithfulness and glory in and through it any time I had the opportunity.  He truly did give us wonders too many to declare, and so we share, and share, and share some more.  Her story is not just her story, or our story...it is the story of our great God and of "His people" that He used in so many ways.

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in him.
Blessed is the one
    who trusts in the Lord,
who does not look to the proud,
    to those who turn aside to false gods.
Many, Lord my God,
    are the wonders you have done,
    the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
    were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
    they would be too many to declare.
~Psalm 40:1-5

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