Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"You are More" : thoughts from a friend and lyrics to a song

It is still Christmas  in my thinking  but I've moved my Christmas music down a bit in my play list. My #1 song right now is by  10th Avenue North and is called "You Are More". The lyrics are so powerful; my children and I have been blessed by them since the day I brought home the 10th Avenue North CD , which we play very  often! My friend Kim  posted  thoughts about the song today on her blog. Her words need no more comment from me. They are also the words of my heart. THANKS Kim for how you let God direct your words when you wrote !! I hope that each of you who stop by Smithsoup to visit will be ministered to by listening  to the whole song   while you read the words that follow.....

From Kim at  "His Hands, His Feet Today   " You Are More  
Every time I've turned on my radio, be it in the car or at home, this song has played for the last two weeks. It's been running through my head day and night.

"You are more than the choices that you've made,

You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,

You are more than the problems you create,

You've been remade. "
I think of, and am prompted to pray, for several people whenever I hear it. Adults and children. People who have been hurt. People who have believed lies. People who are searching. People who need to be remade. People who need to know that it's only when they surrender their lives to Jesus ... can that happen.

People He created.

People He loves.

The very people He died for.

There is so much more I want to say to the flip side of this, but for fear of offending my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ (because that's not my heart), I will not. But I will say, that being silent to an issue is not an answer. The Word says that once you know ... you- are- responsible.

Our new triplets

Calico Acres' latest additions!

love the snuggle going  on here

Pansy and Brownie 10 hours after the Christmas night birth

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas in a "stable"

We had all of the family over for Christmas Eve night and then a smaller group of family and friends over for Christmas Day.  WONDERFUL TIMES!!  Missing my two sons and daughter ( and families)  who were unable to be here from their home-responsibilities in the States and my two precious little Liberian darlings so far  away from my arms but so close to my heart!  I was all set to play a game of Cranium with my mom and kids after gettting  Christmas Day dinner cleaned up when one of the boys told me that Brownie (my best dairy goat who was due to deliver on the 25th) was getting ready to have her babies: they had seen the "bubble break". That was some time before 4PM. As things would go, Baby #1 of Brownie's triplets turned out  to be coming butt breech and  was stuck. I've delivered butt breeches before and done fine, my vet did stuck triplets for me  last year and we lost a doe. It can be very dicey with multiple babies after two. . At 7 :30 I knew we had real  problems when she had not delivered (goats birth less than an hour after that water bag presents and breaks)so I called my vet who as life would also have it , was in California. Called several vet friends of Jael and also of  my neighbor: it was  Christmas night, no one wants to answer their phone on Christmas night, ( I DO NOT BLAME THEM!!) those who did told me to take Brownie to OSU Vet Med hospital for an emergency C-section. BLAH. I NEVER told a patient in my midwifery practice (or when I was taking call for another midwife)  to go somewhere else on Christmas; I went out  and took care of my ladies and their babies, numberous times!!!

I called our old vet , left a message.......... but he did call me back pretty quickly, from 3+ hours away, but gave me some tips and said "YES OF COURSE YOU CAN DELIVER HER!."  Followed his advice, which was a tad bit of different technique than I was using, and discovered not only the butt breech  I'd been feeling, but that the head of #2 was stuck  in the birth canal under the butt of #1. A good hard push back on #1's butt pushed #2's head out of the way. I never was able to pull  the legs down  and out ( the preferred way to deliver a breech animal) ; the baby advanced  quickly when that other  baby's head was out of the way, and I delivered the baby butt breech. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!! A DOE!!!!! #2 came less than 30 seconds after #1 was out and #3 came a few minutes after that. Two bucks but its OK. #1 is fine and SHE IS A DOE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Time of delivery: 9:55~!!!!! Brownie and babies did just fine, the goat midwife is fine too but stiff from being in her small confine on my knees for all that time. At first I thought that all three babeis were black and white like the daddy  but upon closer  examination and light of day on Sunday morning, I was beyond delighted to discover that we had TWO  brown  babies and a black one! We've never had brown babies from Brownie: pure white ones and  black and white ones, but  this accidental breding, shall we say, er, brought out the brown genes that would not have presented otherwise? (Redneck and inbreeding jokes caused the names of several "sterotypical  comment" -States to be suggested as names for the babies...if y'all get my drift?? )
So after not getting to bed till after 3:30 Christmas morning, and really hoping for a relaxing after noon.............. I got 6+ hours in a cold stable of sorts, with my hand up a goat. It is OK. I got a doe out of those triplets . A  brown doe!!!  Brownie has only given me boys the last two breedings and boys on a dairy goat farm are pretty worthless!
 Attending this birthing on Christmas  gave me a whole  new empathy for Mary, Joseph, and Jesus' birth, being out there all that time in the straw and the cold. Straw is a great insulator, but definitely better for the birthing of goats and other furry creatures than for human babies, especially The Son of God.  I thought of Joseph...poor guy. What could he have possibly known about labor and birth in that day and culture except that it should NOT  be taking place in a place like a borrowed stable with an espoused husband actign as midwife! I thought of young Mary and all the things she had already experienced in her few years.To also travel while so great with child,...all those miles from home and her mother, with no midwife...... and then  to know she would give birth to God's Son  in straw and animal dung WITH HER HUSBAND  ATTENDING HER?  What humble obedience  that all was! And then, as she lay recovering from labor and birth, trying to figure out how to nurse the baby and think all the thoughts that first time mommies have, a band of shepherds showed up, pumped and awestruck by the angels' visitation ,  to see The Baby.  I have had visitors very shortly after I  have given birth in the comfort of my home and nice bed and it was "OK"...they were known and trusted friends. Sweet Mary not only gave birth in that stable but entertained guests there . It's truly more than my brain can get wrapped around. No wonder scripture tells us that Mary kept  and pondered all those things in her heart: she had a LOT to ponder!

So,  Christmas was wonderful, both days of it. I was so thankful that there was no unwanted drama from ANYONE either day and that it truly was a celebration of God's gift of Jesus, start to finish. Getting to talk to Junior and Diamoh  gave me a wonderful start to the day to be sure!

The babies are WONDERFUL!!!! Brownie is such a great momma to her babies, every year and this year is no exception. The babies are snuggled closely up by her neck most of the time and she keeps them close to the heat lamp in her little nursery stable  as well.  The doe we will keep to further that Brownie bloodline and her name, like her grammas and half-aunts will be a flower name. She is Pansy,  named for a tough winter- resistant  and very spunky flower. She  will join Rose, Sunflower, Daisy, Lilly, Daffodil and Topsy Turvy (there was NO  flower to name that upside  down butt -first baby girl last March so she breaks the tradition!)  in the pasture when she is a bit older. .The boys will either be put up for sale or raised for meat. Cute is only good for so much mileage on a farm. Boys are "worthless" since they have come from the mammas who need to be bred again the next year.
Today has been a wonderfully slow "do regular stuff " kind of day  and for that I am very grateful! A big pot of beef noodle vegetable soup warmed everyone for dinner tonight and Isaac said  "Mommy, this is almost atthe top of the favorites list with Barley soup!" I knew it was a hit because Barley soup is THE  favorite and most requested soup around here.Its amazing what one can do with a small portion of marked down "on sale" beef and a well stocked pantry!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH 2:30 AM and all is well!!!

We had our whole family Christmas tonight , all the kids and my mom, 2/3 of the local grandchildren and it was so much fun!!!!!!! I had a whole porkloin left over from Esther's wedding  and that was tonight's dinner meat. LOVE   smoked meat in mid December!! A departure from the standard  rice with every meal (although there was OF COURSE rice) was "Potatoes Supreme" one of our favorite potato dishes to go along. Photos are loading SO  slowly on my poor old computer so I'll share  a recipe instead. For a crowd of 20 use 3 bags of Ore-Ida frozend Potatoes O'Brien (with onion, pepper  and celery in the 'taters) 4 cans of Cream of Chickn soup, 1  1/2 containers of light sour cream. 2 cups of milk and 1 pound of shredded cheddar cheese. Grease a huge cake pan ( I use my three cake mix  size pan for this recipe), mix all ingredients together and spoon into the pan. Bake at 350  for 45-56 minutes or  until cheese is bubbly and starting to brown. LEt sit for 15 minutes before serving. UBER  YUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  ( unless of course you are a non-dairy vegan........there is no vegan substitutions for this recipe ) With corn and rolls, and a mixed berry pie with ice cream for dessert, it was a Christmas dinner to remember!
Fun with the Secret Santa for sure as the Smith kiddos and spouses and Smith grandchildren exchanged gifts with each other lasted for a long time!! Everything from an  Airsoft gun and 10,000 bbs for said gun to an Aggravation board game to Gummy Bears, to beef jerky to deodorant, fancy Christmas stockings, and a fun fish-and-net bath toys from Daniel to his nephew Charlie and a soft fuzzy hat for Daniel from his big sister Esther made for a great exchange and a demonstration of individual imaginations at work!
Hannah and Jon gave me a new nut cracker for my ages -old collection and now in addition to my soldier in his camo-gear and my Uncle Sam, I have a Marine in full dress blues joining the traditional nut cracker soldiers. This nut cracker is my 38th. The talk of the evening was of course CHIGGER and Charlie's ongoing shock anddelight at receiving her. I'm pretty tickled that our WHOLE FAMILY  knew but no one spoiled the surprise! Work boots for Casey, a new heavy jacket for Esther, wonderful cologne for Hannah and Jon were mine and Charlie's gifts to our older chidren. Since Hannah and Esther  will be with their husbands' parents tomorrow for Christmas 2010, Smith Family Christmas was pretty heavily loaded in to Christmas Eve, and shortened by Esther and Casey having to drive 100+ miles to Casey's parents house tonight.  Christmas will be completed later today with Sopehak and Malachi and my mom again . We will read the Christmas story, sing carols and when my mom arrives for dinner later , more caroling and my last gift to her will be singing "Bethlehem Morning"  as she requested. I've been working all week; its been years since I've sung that song!
After everyone earlier tonight  left I still had stockings to stuff and distribute, and "stuff" to clean up so yes, here I am blogging at almost 3 AM. It was an awesome day, almost ever last minute thing that was supposed to arrive via  UPS/ Fed-Ex did arrive so no one is giftless . As we stop to remember that all the festivities started because of  a humble stable birth ( not even a home birth!!! a stable!!) and shepherds catching the overflow of joy from a heavenly host , the gifts and wrappings pale pathetically  in the REALITY of what God's Gift to us was. No big bows, no flashy paper or bells, but straw in a cave. No big bills incurred to give the gift but the canceling of the biggest debt possible. Its fun to give tanglible gifts ,  won't deny that, but if we would truly give as much thought to what GOD gave us as we do to what we are going to give each other, I suspect our walks with God would be closer ones. As I 've shopped and wrapped  I have really tried to shift my focus  and keep it on WHY I'm shopping in  November or December at all. Jesus, Jesus  JESUS
J E S US ....................no matter what else I do, what we do, all that matters for all eternity is what we do about the Gift of Eternal Life that God gave on on the day that  we celebrate as Christmas. I know that I have  confessed my sin and asked  God to wash away my sin,  and that I have received Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior, I know that God gave to me salvation and the promise of Eternal life though Jesus shed blood and resurrection from the dead...nothing that I did or could ever do  "earned"  my salvation, we can't ever "earn" redemption, but by believing that God sent Jesus as a baby  via  virgin birth  to be the final sacrifice for sin, we can be  given salvation. That's a gift we won't come close to understanding the fullness of until Jesus comes back to take His followers Home. I can't wait for THAT day! We celebrate that Messiah has come, but He came to come AGAIN and as big as Christmas is, as big as Easter is, THAT DAY will defy all description! Enjoy your Christmas day/weekend thoroughly as you ponder CHRISTMAS:  God's Gift in Christ's birth. Amazing love, how can it be !

Maybe now I can get down to Christmas business!

It is finished. The arrangements all made and executed, the almopst 3 hours of driving to go to the necessary destination, all the emails, text messages  and phone calls worked out the details and Calico Acres Farm, most specifically   my husband, now own a Registered Half Arabian , Registerd Quarter Horse named  Erin's Jig but known as CHIGGER. She is "blood bay"  a bright  rich  red color, with a black mane and tail, and a white sock  on her back right foot. For those of you who know horses, she is 15.3 hands high  for those of you to whom that means nothing, she is big. Chigger is almost 6 years old and my husband was totally taken by surprise when we called him outside to "see something" Friend and neighbor  Lori and I drove her truck and trailer to go get Chigger, had  a lot of fun in the process and were thoroughly impressed with what Naomi had found  on Craigslist for her Daddy. From the second she saw the ad she "knew"  this was her Daddy's horse. Details seemed to make this a not-workable deal  but God stepped in and it all came together in two days. Perfectly together.  I made a big  bow for Chigger's neck and Lori and Naomi led her over from  the other neighbor's pasture to make our presentation. It was absolutely a fun moment when he realized what we'd called him in such urgent tones for!!
Meet Chigger!!

Chigger and Charlie , Naomi watching

Lori  my friend, grafted  in daugther and neighbor who went with me to get Chigger  coz SHE had the trailer!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cowboys, baby goats, Christmas and life in my fast lane!

Naomi, Gideon, Charlie and me in Dallas
What ?  No partridge in our "pear tree" ?

Only at our house...............

Bueller, the kicker who kicked the winning field goal, practicing . We were REALLY this close! NO ZOOM NEEDED!

I guess it's common knowledge that I am a sports fan with my boys, and Naomi. Gideon got us awesome, wonderful Field level passes for the Dallas game last week. He is probably Dallas' greatest Oklahoma-based fan and he was thrilled to be able to get those passes for Charlie, Naomi, himself and me. Dallas Cowboys stadium is beyond description and the fun of being there, so close to the players and the game was probably a once-in- a-lifetime-experience for us. A funny side story is that here at home, we've gotten passes to a number of the OSU Cowboys' games and unfortunately the last 4 games I attended, our Cowboys lost. Gideon is friends with several of the players and they jokingly ( I hope!! ) told him that I personally was the football-jinx. In fact when they were losing their last game, a couple of the players called Gideon and asked him if I were at the game. I was not. With that and the win of the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, I am declaring myself officially exonerated of that funny allegation!! We got some fun photos, got autographs of some players and Jerry Jones the Dallas owner, and Naomi got her photo taken with ( I am not familiar with some of the names here) Leon Lett and some other multi-Super Bowl game winners. Gideon was just as happy as could be showing us around the stadium and hanging with NFL players. We even were on TV briefly during the game.......in the lower right side of your TV screen if you happened to be watching.........being right at the railing of the field level puts one right at camera guy-level! Got a kiss from Rowdy, the mascot at half time too!

And in the midst of that, I was sad as well as excited. How much money spent on this place, and these players, food, drink, parking, mementos, and all of that.the opulence of it all......and I thought of how many really REAL and ETERNAL things could happen with that kind of money put into REAL and ETERNAL investments. Hearing the crowds cheering and hollering ( and I do my share believe me!) made me think of what heaven may just sound like when we all shout "HOSANNA" and "GLORY TO THE LAMB" "WORTHY IS THE LAMB WHO WAS SLAIN!!" and calling out the Name of JESUS. I was quite sidetracked by those thoughts a number of times, and wishing I was in heaven shouting my praises to my Father..........................................

One of our goats totally unexpectedly gave birth to a baby this week. Yes that happens when an excited buck jumps a fence. Goats are not in season all the time, but they sure get that way easily. apparently the smell of a nearby buck will trigger "heat" and apparently it DID!! I knew the buck had jumped the fence; we are awaiting triplets any day now from that adventure, but Daffodil was really a surprise and little Pansy is certainly a cutie!

With as much as is going on around here with Jael's ongoing medical saga, and doctor visits, I have not gotten the Christmas decorating or baking done, not all my shopping either........... this morning I was on the phone with a friend and happened to look at our Christmas tree. I set it up last week, just have not put any ornaments on it. It had ornaments which totally cracked me up!!!! Atop our tree is a turtle shell, completely intact, minus the turtle. Yes a turtle shell. My boys had sport with the tree and there is also a chicken egg, pierced with an ornament hanger hanging on the tree. Some "Real ornaments" are there too, but the egg shell and turtle shell made Smith family history!

Christmas this year is different in that we decided to replace our really old and very badly decomposing TV set. I braved the Black Friday shopping and got a super deal on a TV . Family shopping done. It still needs to be set up but that is not my domain. I also got my husband something that requires my driving quite a ways for the pick up and which I truly believe will blow his socks off. I will spill the beans tomorrow after it has been delivered. He will get it a bit earlier than we would normally open gifts but that 's just how it has to be. HOPE WITH ME THAT IT DOES NOT RAIN????????????

Some of my baking is completed , some just messed up. WHY did the brownies stick to the pan that I know I greased? Kids had brownie crumbs with ice cream for breakfast just now, coz that's how we roll! Pecan pie gifts are underway, more cookies to follow AFTER "the gift trip".

I am giggling and "ho ho ho-ing" like crazy ....should be a really fun Christmas on the gift side. Hoping that my precious Liberian children have a special Christmas too... we sent their money long enough ago so that shopping could take place there too. Dear Junior asked me for new shoes as the ones I gave him in June have gotten too small. THAT thrilled me : he is growing, he has enough food to eat and he is GROWING! Thank you dear Heavenly Father for that! We will be trying to call them tomorrow and or Christmas; you never know if the phone lines will be working or jammed or what. TRUSTFULLY this is the very last major holiday we have to be apart from Junior and Diamoh!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Just for a smile!

Isn't this the stuff greeting cards are made of?? It's grandson Charlie who is almost NOT grand  BABY any more, and son-in-law Casey's niece Cassie (named after him!) who were the ring bearer and flower girl for Esther and Casey's wedding.

Have a blessed day today whatever you have to do or choose to do!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Back online ! Our newest family photo!!

We were without  internet for 4 days  which meant virtually no school for the Smith Kiddos and NO easy way of communicating for the Calico Acres Mamma! I have that really nifty new Blackberry,  having had to replace my other phone ( lost at a not-victorious  OKC  Thunder basketball game the night before Thanksgiving) and I have figured out  how to Face Book.. but the screen is too small and its all too loopy for me to do much else. All you really saavy  techo-folks, I envy  your skills!
Our boys have been super busy with their basketball season which has been very successful so far, with only one loss and six wins. Its  so fun to watch my sons and their teammates ' skills develop as their confidence grows as well. I love watching Malachi, once the player I watched,  now be the coach of the team he once played for. One opposing team coach asked last week as he heard all the team introductions "Is your whole team last- named Smith?" We laughed because we do not have a "big bench" ( large team) and with three players and a coach all being Smiths, we ARE the definite  majority!
The boys really do play well as a team, and its so Mamma-heart popping to observe how they cheer each other on and brag about each other,  rather  than " Look at ME  ME ME  LOOK AT ME, Listen to what I  I  I  I  I  did!!" They came in the door last night with " Peter did this and Peter did that"  stories and I had to really dig deep to find out how Isaac, Noah or Isaiah did. Peter told me. That 's how best friends should be!!
Leah is not a fan of watching basketball at home or courtside, but she  and  Rachel can be persuaded to go root for their brothers and pals; Naomi LOVES basketball and is the first to ask about game schedules and if we will be able to go to a game. She is Isaac's  prodigy as far as NBA goes too:  she knows a lot about  many NBA  players and has her own personal favorites!  The night of the fateful Thunder and Linda's phone  loss, Naomi was sweetly cheering AGAINST our  OKC team in favor of Houston's Rockets, who won. When they would score , she'd smile and clap for them, give Isaac a smirky -lovey smile and when our Thunder would miss a shot or lose the ball, she'd do the same. Made for a fun night!
Jael is taking her 2nd round of SAT exams this morning  in hopes of bumping up her first sore by  two or more points. This will guaranteed her full admission to OSU's Honors college, and lots of funds!! She is so bright and so strong in mathematics! This is not my strong suite so I'm thankful that she inherited her daddy's  math ability. I am little help in that department. She  and Gideon are strong in Language Arts ( my "gift")  and sciences  which  I guess is from both the Daddy and the Mamma. Isaac comes by everything very naturally it seems, while everyone  else, home grown and adopted has to really work at grades in almost all subjects.  Malachi is on  scholarship this year, and he worked SUPER HARD to  earn that; it was not easy  in the slightest.
I just heard this song you are hearing  play  right now for the first  time last night.  On YouTube you may find it  set to  film footage from "The Nativity" and sung by a woman, and my version is Randy Travis (?)  but it is a beautiful Christmas song called  "A Labor of Love". I hope you enjoy it as much as I am! I'm still really enjoying  "Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel" with  "Hatikva" in its background.   PRAISE GOD for His wonderful gift of music!  Brook Fraser's  "Hosanna"  is also one of my "gotta listen to"  songs right now as well.  Her words "I see a generation. ...rising up with selfless faith" really move me!!
Are WE rising up to where God would have US? Are we raising up the next generation with selfless faith? Stir us Lord, challenge us every day to seek Your face, to be on our knees, physically and mentally .. For Your Kingdom , for YOU LORD!!!!! For YOU!

Four generations of us, There's my  mom holding Daniel and her Great Grandson Charlie, behind her in the cowboy hat.
May we all continue to follow hard after God and  raise up a strong next generation of Believers!
Guess I should label us, ya think? Front row: My  mom Gladys 83, with Daniel, next to her is Hannah and Jon's Madyson,6, looking  away and  up is Naomi, 9. In between Madyson and Naomi is our Rachel, 11,
Behind my mom is me, Linda with my  DH behind me, the cowboy hat is hiding Hannah and Jon's 
Charlie, 14 months, being held by  Jael, 16. Next is Esther  the bride and
Casey  her groom; in front of Casey is Leah, 14, and next to her is Daughter-in-love Sopheak, next to her is  Hannah, 23 and our son-in-love, Jon, 27. Right behind Jon is  Malachi, 22.On the other side  of the photo   behind Charlie the Patriarch is  Gideon, 25, Next are  Noah, 13, Isaac, 14, and Isaiah, 12.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Yellow ribbon in my side- bar: coming down!

With great joy and with a heart full of praise and thanksgiving, I am taking down my yellow ribbon, again! Our son Joshua has finished his latest tour in Afghanistan and is celebrating with our daughter-in-law in Amsterdam, Netherlands before returning home for their first Christmas together (and in the States) sine 2005!!They were reunited when both landed at the airport in Amsterdam last night, she from Maryland and he, from Arifjan. My Mamma heart is so full ! Our family has had someone serving in the Middle East since the War on Terror began, with very little exception. We are all home for now! Caleb is not due to deploy any time soon , Jon only re-activated with the Marines and his unit had just left before he signed back on, Gideon is planning to be re-enlisted after the first of the new year. As we continue to pray for the many families who are still separated by military service, the sight of our own, at home, serves as a deeply -grained reminder of how precious life at any stage, truly is!!

WELOME HOME JOSHUA! Thank you for serving our country and our world! WE love you so very much!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Smith Soup has a new ingredient!

We've named her Holly. She is a West Highland White Terrier, she's almost 2, she was orphaned a year ago, and needed to be re-homed by the family who took her a year ago. Enter my browsing on "Free cycle " looking for oh, goats, furniture, you-name-it and there it was : an ad for this dog. Charlie and I had been talking about "Westies" just a few days ago and I'd said that I really liked them and maybe ... if.... ever again we got a dog, I'd think about this breed. The lady had posted very early in the day and I didn't see the post til pretty late Sunday night. At noon Monday she phoned me to talk about the dog. There had been a lot of responders...always are for a free Registered dog, but she wanted a REAL family who would love the dog. She'd narrowed her choice down to another lady and us. By the end of our phone time, she was asking if she might bring Maggie out to us that evening , maybe she " spend the night so we could check each other out, " like that....

Well Maggie was not the name we'd have given her, and it wasn't the name on her registration papers either, so we all talked about names that fit her AND us, and happily landed on "Holly". All our other animals have flower names and with Christmas right around the corner, it seemed to fit just right. She seems to like it and to respond to it so I guess we did OK!
She is spunky, I don't think she knows she is a very small dog and she has already shown the kitties that she will not be intimidated by any of them. They have backed off already. All of the children seem to like her quite well. I talked to my husband( who is out of town for refinery TURN AROUND... a huge annual refinery assessment and repair event) about finding the dog, about the over night trial, and he just laughed that we had only talked about this a few days ago and NOW here was The Dog, and a freebie at that. He is going to like her with her all-over-the place personality. Except for one very early-on run -in with the kitties which resulted in the kitties scaring a bathroom experience out of her, Holly has proven to be very house broken.

Due to an allergic reaction to flea meds the other family shaved her pretty short and raggedly shorn. In a few months she will look like she is supposed to. Right now she is not quite as pretty as she will be ,but she IS very pretty!!! With the temperatures right now Holly has been quite cold when going outside, so she came to us with a wardrobe of sweaters and jackets. After a good rub down with some heavy duty scalp moisturizer, we dressed her in one of her sweaters. Some might groan. Until maybe 7 P M two nights ago, I too was a dressed-dog groaner. Now I am thinking it's just cute . HELP HELP HELP! This might indicate that I am losing some firm grip on things but I assure you I am NOT! For this chapter in our lives, she is the right size indoor dog for us. Despite her possible need for clothing, she is no wimp and I am not a wimpy dog owner .

If my 'puter were not freezing every time I try to upload a photo, I'd be sharing photos now. A dying 'puter is no fun, as many of you already know. I was able to upload this one photo before things froze up on me and I was not able to upload any more.

I didn't think it would be too very long after we lost Aslan that someone would be thinking about a new family dog. I probably knew that it might be, WOULD be... ME. I was right. Looking at Holly right now, sound asleep on the sofa next to Jael after having had several great runs with Naomi earlier, I'm sure we made a good decision.

We have a diagnosis for Jael. Meet Vasovagal Syncope

  Vasovagal Syncope

Jael has been diagnosed with a condition called Vasovagal syncope. Other names for it includes fainting, neurocardiogenic syncope and neurally mediated syncope.

Vasovagal syncope is not a serious or life threatening condition, but is in effect an abnormal reflex. This results in a drop in blood pressure leading to decreased blood flow to the brain resulting in dizziness or fainting. The resulting black outs, length of episode, locations during an episode, the activities engaged in at the time, these may certainly be dangerous however. Needless to say, Jael is not driving or going anywhere by herself.

OK. With normal efficient blood pressure and blood sugars on the low side of normal, Jael does not have a lot of blood pressure or extra sugar-powered energy to fight the vagal response and so the fainting happens, QUIKLY. The doctor has for now suggested and my research concurs, that we try to get her blood pressure up a bit for resistance. HOW? More fluid intake and more SALT. This is the ultimate irony for us as Jael has loved salt and all things salty for her whole life and we have worked very hard to direct her tastes into other herbal-flavored directions, with some success. Her response to the doctor's advice was priceless. "I've been preparing my WHOLE LIFE for this!" she delightfully exclaimed!

We are still keeping up with her blood sugars but not as aggressively; she is really working on higher fluid intake but that's tough because she is a water drinker already. Salt? Oh she is all about that aspect of managing her syncope and it seems to be helping. She went almost 4 days without a black out, two days were not so good but today has been a good day after she go through the early morning. She will see a cardiologist in mid month but our doctor consulted with him and we are following his advice to our regular doctor. Small meals and protein are helping too so the initial diagnosis of hypoglycemia has been helpful. The vomiting seems to be lessening as well and I was very glad to see that Jael had re-gained the 6 pounds she'd lost earlier on in this adventure.

Will she outgrow Vasovagal syncope or will it be her life long companion? We do not know. Vasovagal syncope may also slow down and seem to go away for long periods but return with no warning. It is my prayer that God will use this to make my daughter alarmingly and acutely aware of the need for a healthy life style and from there that He will choose to heal and deliver her. I know that having prayed for her since the moment I knew there WAS a baby in my womb in 1993, God has been setting His plan in motion for that wonderful baby's life. Born 5 weeks early and a respectable 6# 10 oz, Jael entered the world spunky and eager to experience everything around her without letting it get the best of her. Jael means "mountain goat" and her middle name Shamar is a Hebrew word that means a strong dedication or perseverance , to encompass like a hedge, or to protect. Jael possesses everything that her name might indicate and her responses to these health challenges are just as spunky. Not squeamish about sticking her fingers for blood sugars whatsoever, she also started a very accurate dairy of her sugar results and the episodes they involved. Her activity log was so very helpful to the doctors in assessing what all might be going on in her body. I was proud of her. I AM proud of her. She sometimes comes off as flippant about life, but I've also known people who, when diagnosed with an issue, sank into pity or sadness or depression. She has been very matter-of-fat about all of this and while she has admitted to me that she was scared, she has not let fear become a task master.We have had some very precious prayer times about her life and all of its details. Oh I know, There are children with issues far more chronic or serious...life threatening, but the risks of fainting anywhere at any time are pretty daunting and she has faced that risk with a true Shamar spirit. As her mom, I'd sure rather see that Shamar spirit put to use in some other area of life, but God is raising up a young woman warrior for His Kingdom and He knows best how to train THIS warrior as He gives a new kind of strength to her mamma!