Friday, July 29, 2011

Me: a Great Gramma... How Can I Pray For You?

I am going to be a GREAT  GRAMMA early next spring! Our grand daugher Emily was married recently to her Navy fiance  and this week they announced that she is due to have their first baby ! Since my  daughter in law  and  my son were both born when her mom and I were VERY young and Diana had Emily when she too was VERY YOUNG, I will be a VERY VERY YOUNG Great Gi-Gi. (Y'all know my age joke..."42 is a big enough number for an age so that's where I parked mine." I AM  of course,  so saying I'm 42 is not untrue. If I said I was 57 THAT would be a lie. I am not there yet. ) My son will be 37 next week and Emily is almost 20. WE are ALL very young!  Emily told me that (and I took this to be a tribute to my dad  and tradition) Joshua will be called "Pop" like he called my dad. Diana said that she will be "Lolli". YES, that is how we roll. I guess the Family Crest will have a Tootise Pop on it!!
Youthful as I may feel, some of my parts are inconflict with this concept. Overusing my right hip while on crutches for a left knee problem trashed my hip joint and the X-rays  and my orthopedic doctor indicate that a Total Hip Replacement is in my future. He told me that I will know when I am ready , and they will schedule it accordingly. The prosthesis used for younger more active people is a bit different from those used for more sedentary or less active people. It's still the  opening up of my leg, the removal of my God-given  ball joint and sanding down of the hip socket, gluing in a plastic socket and skewering a new ball into the top of my thigh bone, putting me back together and teaching me how to use a hip that will be void of wear and eventually  of pain, but with some limitations that my painful ,worn out hip does not have. My painful, worn out hip is already limited since I lost full range of motion quite a while ago, I limp almost all of the time and include Motrin or Aleve as part of my daily diet. There is the option of hydrocortisone injections into my hip to give me a bit more time before The Big Event, and I am going to take advantage of that until later in fall.  I dont' want to be on a different floor of the hospital from Esther when she has Riley and I need to be ambualatory to help her for a while. A planned trip in August  is also not conducive to a walker and rehab three times a week. I know that I "knew"  this was going to be the diagnosis and prognosis was before I saw the orthopedic surgeon, he thought he "knew "too from my desciption of  of events and my time line. When he and his PA assessed my X-rays  they REALLY KNEW.   It's not nearly as radical as it used ot be even a few years ago. There is no  more in-patient stay for 2 weeks or in-patient rehab for  5-6 more  weeks. I will be hospitalized for maybe 4 whole days ( a Tuesday morning until some time on Friday) with  walking  and rehab starting on day 1 in the hospital. I will definitely be slowed down for a few months but I'm promised I can swim and walk the 5K lake path again  before too much longer.............depending of course on how seriously I apply myself to my rehab regeime.  God sustained me through the need for gall baldder surgery and through the need for vein stripping surgery and healed me up in remarkable time  from both of those ,so I am praying and trusting for a similar recovery. If you'll remember to pray with me as I prepare spiritually and physically for the procedure, I would be so very grateful!! Thanks in advance for your prayers! 
NOW,  please tell me ,  HOW CAN I PRAY FOR YOU????????????????

Monday, July 25, 2011

"Greater things are still to come, greater things are still to be done here!"

Praising God that we got some rain last night after so very  very long! The burn ban around here has even been so far-reaching as to prohibit welders from doing their work because of the spark-fire threat. Our governor has lifted several restrictions for truckers hauling hay to help the ranchers and farmers because so many are having to buy hay from less draught-sticken states like ours.  The land in Oklahoma is so parched and burned and dead, there is very little hay growing. there is very little "scruff" for lives tock to forage or graze. Buying hay  from out of state is expensive, but currently necessary. Gov. Fallin  is allowing wider loads with no additional fees for 60 days. Just that lifting of a weight/size load restriction will help  and we take our help where we can get it! This part of Oklahoma has  been 26 days straight with over 100 degree temperatures and 8 more  days predicted (upwards from an official 108)  so last night's rain, even though it was slight, was so welcomed!!
AND THEN.............. our IRS  Tax Advocate called me this morning to tell me that IRS has completed their review of our tax refund file (yes all 131 pages of it) and that they have apoprved our refund to be released in full! Just in time to make the  one PAID IN FULL payment on our AC unit, instead of the frist of potentially many, very large payments!
The stitches came out of my toe on Thursday. It is healing slowly but healing. The broken bone pieces will gradually heal themselves and I guess I will feel tingly sensations along the way. Weight bearing is still painful but so is the "pull up" effort I seem to default to  to NOT be weight bearing. I'm working hard to put weight on my foot so that the toe doesn't heal with a crooked upward tilt. The nailbed is "icky" looking but not infected and not so swollen either. I wore regular shoes to church yesterday around the bandage, much to the amusement of many! I am a "high-heels" kind of girl and that flat ortho boot  I wore for two weeks needed to be Linda-history .  I am thankful !
Several months back a friend recommended a book to our prayer group. I saw it at our bookstore and without doing much research, bought it. God had a plan for me to have that book for someone else entirely!  The book is Made to Crave  Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, not Food. by Lysa TerKeurst  who is the Proverbs 31 Ministry originator. The book is amazing if you are not familiar with it. Yes, her premise is learning to seek GOD  for our sufficeincy instead of  the craving for food, but she goes so much whatever ones' personsal "lust of the flesh" might be. It is an  EXCELLENT book! I have a dear friend who shared with me recently a desire to totally submit the craving, (yes, "craving" was the word used!) for food and to give that once and for ALL to God and see God bring victory over it. WELL........ God put this friend's face right in the middle of my spiritual vision with a prompting to give the book to my friend. I did. Last night I got an excited phone call telling me that this WAS exactly what God had been speaking and the book was EXACTLY what was needed right now!
There are other things for which we are trusting God and praising him for as well, but these two things are "biggies" and I wanted to give God the praise before I did anything else!
As I was looking for a video of "God of This City" for Sunday worship,  I discovered how the song came to be written and that it was not Chris Tomlin who wrote it as I'd thoguht but a group named Bluetree from Dublin, Ireland. They wrote the song while on a mission trip to Thailand. While  in the midst of a "Red light " district, deep in a section of brothel and sex trade businesses, God moved on their hearts that HE had great things for that city..........when they returned to Dublin, God spoke to them about that city as well. Knowing that changed my whole perception of the song , which I already liked a lot! I loved being able to share that part of the story as we sang God of This City yesterday morning as part of our worship music time. God put this song together in my mind with "Holy is the Lord God Almighty," "How Great Thou Art," and "Shine Jesus Shine" God was stirring hearts and it wa a special time!!
Are you aware of  "THE RESPONSE",  A Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis ?  Gov Rick Perry has  called this a National  Solemn  Assembly and has rented the Reliant Center in Houston Texas as a central gathering place for all who would want to come there on August 6 to pray. Other churches are participating across the country simulataneously with the day of prayer and fasting in Houston which is slated for 10 AM-3 PM  A number of churches in our town are participating here and gathering at a large facility here. I would invite each of you and  challenge you to set this day aside in your churches, fellowships, Bible Study groups or Home Groups , Cell Groups. Our nation IS  in crisis for certain, on every level, but most of all in its spritual decline. I believe that God WANTS to heal our land, I believe that there ARE "greater things.... still to be done here" and I want to be a part of any effort, "organized'  or personal, to keep praying  "THY WILL BE DONE  ON EARTH AS IT  IS  IN HEAVEN.   Click here to find out more about                           The RESPONSE

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Still no word from the IRS about the status of our tax return. The horror stories from other adoptive families keep coming and coming; I stop and pray that somehow they will get quick resolution and that we will get our return released as soon as the Tax Advocate  had indicated or sooner............ PLEASE LORD!!!
Today was the 21st day in Oklahoma with temperatures  over 100 degrees in a row. Absolutely incredible to be living through, I have to say. Several state governors have called for official Days of Prayer for rain. Our governor is among them. When I see these conditions around me  and read of the struggles in Africa of people who have it even worse, and who are dying from the heat , lack of rain and lack of food, I am so grateful for what we DO have, even in this heat wave . I am reminded to pray for others, and not to focus on ME. I/we  have it VERY easy compared to those who are truly suffering in the heat. Lord, are You coming soon?
I will see the orthopedic doctor  tomorrow to follow up on this shattered toe thing. The nail bed feels , well, dead. I "think" the nerves were crushed in the accident but  I am very aware of the sensations in my toe itself. Trustfully the bone pieces are calcifying their way back to each other in healing!!
Charlie, Gideon, Isaacand Isaiah went to Colorado for a long weekend of camping and fishing and mountain climbing. They got back way late last night after a wonderful 26th birthday trip for Gideon. They had a really great time together and made lots of wonderful memories. They tell me that in addition to camp sites there ARE  cabins to rent.............That would be MY  kind of camping, minus the snow, minus the fishing.  Nuff said???

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I love my friends!!!

What a special visit we had last Monday when my cyber-friend Susan  who  also  became my face-to-face friend  and her family got to come spend some time with us on their way to Arkansas! What an even more fun time we had today when they made time to come back and spend more time with us   on their way back to California!!!  Their son Zach had such fun riding horses with Naomi , who had just as much fun with his equine kindred spirit! After an almost "obligatory ' dip in the pool, Naomi and Zach were out to the pasture to catch Sugar and Lucky and saddle up! Kallie was still holding back, so swam a bit more and  watched movies with Leah, Rachel and my grand daughter Mady.  I fixed my oh-so-delicious and OH -SO-FAKE  chicken enchiladas as a casserole for dinner (another friend had used my exact recipe but instead of rolling tortillas with the chicken , etc mixture, she tore up the tortillas and layered all the ingredients in a casserole and it was REALLY GOOD too so I copied  her tonight) in two huge pans with Susan and Mike helping tear up tortillas and layer all the "glop" and cheese so we could bake it up. AND WHAT FUN that Kallieann loves guacamole as much as I do ! AS I put chips, salsa and guacamole out as a side dish, she was so excited!!! I got back from a few last minute errands  just after Susan and Mike, Zach and Kallieann arrived so I walked in to find Susan already cuddling on Daniel. What a beautiful picture my mind snapped as a "memory photo" !  After dinner, Kallie  FINALLY got up her horse nerve and had Naomi lead her around the yard and pasture on Sugar's back, Kallie loved it!! Too soon it was time for all the Brenners to pack up  and hit the road for the next part of their long trip back to California. I don't knwow when we will see each other again; I am sure it will be  too long from now, but I am so thankful for these precious friends and their children!  SAFE TRAVELS DEAR FRIENDS!!!
Earlier today anothe friend and her 4 daughters came by for   a visit but also for an "interview". Something at their  church  led to a challenge to ask someone how they came to invite another person to join their family, essentially  about adoption. The 10 year old daughter thought  of our family and wanted to interview us. She knew we had a large family and quite a few children who were adopted, but had not heard our "5 Loaves and 2  Fishes"  story. It was so fun to share our story with her and her mom and sisters! Lori, the mom,  had not heard all of our story either and she was thrilled at what all I had to share. She kept saying "WOW!!! THAT is a GOD THING! Nothing else!!" and she was so right!! I love being able  to share our story  and the bottom line, as I reinforced to these young girls is that we should never say "NO"  to God. He may say "NO"  to us, but we need to always be ready and willing to tell God "YES LORD!"  and let Him guide our steps, that we never know what all God has for us until we ask, but if we back off of something and spew all the human  excuses for why "a thing" is impossible or too hard, we may cheat ourselves out of a blessing God  has for us. I hope and pray  that God uses this time together to reinforce something or stir up something in that young girl, or her mom and little sisters. I am so aware of God's hand on us  over the years, and it is ONLY GOD who has brought us  to the place we are now. Had we said "NO GOD" at any point in our incredible life journey, our story would be so different, if not in visible , tangible  circumstance, in spiritual growth or maturing attitude. If we were to say "NO GOD" tomorrow, the awesome blessings of our  yesterdays  would  be little more than stale bread, and I have no desire to accumulate stale bread! I want , I crave, I desire,  and I am pursuing and  aiming for a John 10: 10  life...Life and MORE ABUNDANTLY!!! (more modern versions and translations say   "The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.  or   " LIFE TO THE FULL")  Isn't that what YOU want?
I am reading Lysa TerKeurst's book  "Made To Crave, satisfying your deepest desire with God, not food"  and this is a wonderful book!! I am not particularly struggling with food, but Lysa's point is that WHATEVER we crave above our craving for God needs adjusting. Her intro says "This book is dedicated  to you, my friend. While I don't know your name, God does. I believe He led you to pick up this book because He wants you to know  your issues with food are not a curse but a gateway through which He can touch  the rawest places of your heart and help you discover a deep satisfaction only He can give.  Go ahead and dare to believe that this time around things will be different!"  I am reading this book to let God root out what my "food"  cravings may be so that God can work in my life to cause me to want HIM ALONE  as what / WHO  I crave above all else!!!   (She is the Proverbs 31 Ministries Lysa TerKeurst, btw)
 My heart sings "  You are my King! In all I do, let me honor You!"

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Goat sitting. Really?

Yes I am. A woman  to whom I sold two does several weeks ago had just moved to our town and was not thinking about the commitment having dairy goats involves and totally forgot  that she had a trip planned out of town for her son's military graduation. WHAT TO DO WITH THE GOATS??? She called me to ask how messed up they would be if she left food and water but didn't milk them for 5 days, saying she was pretty sure that was a bad idea. I sensed her dilemma and offered to goat sit my former goats for her. Today she brought them back but was just thrilled at having them and spoke of how sweet they are and how glad she is that she got them. She'd asked me about bringing them back to breed in fall so I happily introduced her to Thor , our Future Stud Muffin. She and her younger sons were very pleased with him too. Yes, goat sitting. why not?
I saws the orthopedic doctor today who was pretty pleased with the state of my toe after we soaked off the old dressing to evaluate . I was pretty pleased with the suture job when I saw  it because Thursday night ,frankly my toe was a wreck. Today it's just red and held together with black sutures. (Photo upon request, decided not to post it with a disclaimer "Not for the Squeamish"  (wink!) Next week I will get the stitches out, have new X-rays and we'll see if the bone pieces are healing together  although he told me to expect that to be a very slow process. I stood on my foot TOO MUCH yesterday and by evening it was so swollen and sore. I really behaved myself today and I can truly feel the difference. Still restricted activity, and no swimming, certainly no mother- daughter shopping trips for  a while and no bowling. When Charlie and I took the kids bowling today, I decided that since I could not bowl, I could get busy on Riley's baby blanket. She is due to make her arrival in EIGHT WEEKS!!!!! Hard to be a very conscientious cheer leader when buried in intricate crochet instructions and counting stitches to keep the pattern perfect! It felt good to get  several inches and rounds completed.
We are praising God tonight for the fact that it is ONLY 82 degrees right now! We got a little bit of rain which cooled things down for a few hours and almost watered the gardens...almost. We still need about three solid weeks of slow steady rain to revive the parched pastures , yards, fields and gardens  but we will take what we are given. Tomorrow's temsp are due to be back over 100 again but for now I will happily open my porch door and let some fresh air in the house!!!
Don't you love  Natalie Grant's song, "Your Great Name"  I  love the music and I love the words! Listen alongwith the sound track as you read the lyrics below and be blessed as you worship!
Your Great Name

Lost are saved find their way

At the sound of Your great Name

All condemned feel no shame

At the sound of Your great Name

Ev'ry fear has no place

At the sound of Your great Name

The enemy he has to leave

At the sound of Your great Name


Jesus worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us

The Son of God and man

You are high and lifted up

And all the world will praise

Your great Name
Verse 2

All the weak find their strength

At the sound of Your great Name

Hungry souls receive grace

At the sound of Your great Name

The fatherless find their rest

At the sound of Your great Name

The sick are healed the dead are raised

At the sound of Your great Name

Jesus worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us

The Son of God and man
You are high and lifted up
And all the world will praise
Your great Name

Redeemer my Healer Lord Almighty
Defender my Savior You are my King

Monday, July 11, 2011

Of IRS audits, air conditioning, broken bones and visitors from far a way

We were so unexpectedly delighted to find out that some changes in the Adoption Tax Credit were going to result in our return being larger than we had ever expected. We filed the forms, and began the wait for our direct deposit, as with every year since  direct deposit was  an option. Imagine my surprise and dismay when checking the IRS website "Where's My Return"  to find a notice saying our return was being "reviewed", we were not to send any documentation at this time  but to wait for up to 45 days for IRS to contact us and ask us.. I began to hear from a lot of adoptive families that this was  also happening to them. Our larger than "normal" returns were raising red flags with processors and  we as a huge group were being pulled for audit. As I've mentioned before, our central heating and cooling unit went out last summer and we had been counting on that money to replace the unit, knowing it would be COSTLY. We never dreamed in mid July we would still be waiting on a tax return over documents we have submitted over 5 years and followed IRS rules to submit. This in mind I called the IRS to ask if our case could be considered a hardship and a Tax Advocate assigned to adjudicate and perhaps  expedited our case. It has been summer in Oklahoma since May, with our temps over June and July so far being well over 100. PRETTY HARD  on a baby who is unable to thermo-regulate because he is missing that part of his brain to maintain when the inside of our house was 98 degrees a lot of days. Box fans helped a bit, but mostly only moved hot air. Going outside in the sun and coming in a few minutes later helped the healthy members of the family to re-group and to cope; we were able to borrow 2 small room AC units which helped some too, but overall, 107 is just plain HOT.  The IRS  agent was gruff to me at first because I had disregarded the 45 day instruction before I called but when I explained that 10 of us were living in a non-air conditioned house, he softened quickly and became VERY helpful. In less than the 10 days he told me it would take to hear  from a Tax Advocate to contact me about our case. The Advocate was very warm in her letter but required our supporting documents in SEVEN DAYS  from receipt of her letter! I spent every minute of those days putting receipts together with adoption decrees, travel documents...every thing that we had kept carefully filed  for"just in case" At 4:30 PM  on DAY SEVEN I faxed 131 pages of supporting evidence to "prove " to the IRS that we had indeed adopted the most recent 4 children and that they are real, live, breathing people and not tax cheat material. HOW the IRS can no possibly know how much money in fees the USCIS requires to even start an adoption and how much money in Home Study fees to get that USCIS documentation, how can IRS  not know that all adoption documents are required to be presented  at Social Security Administration to prove that said child exists and was legally adopted and allowed into the USA so that a Social Security Number may be assigned  so that said adoptive family could even CLAIM said child on the tax forms?? The changes made for this year made the "Credit'  a "Refund' so expense documents should have been a moot point, HAD IRS TRAINED ITS STAFF IN NEW LAWS and to EXPECT LARGER THAN USUAL REFUNDS FOR ADOPTIVE FAMILIES, but no. We were assigned the same IRS agents who ferret out real and potential  tax cheats, rather than being viewed as middle class folks following IRS instructions.  To support our hardship claim, I enclosed the weather reports from our newspaper for three weeks surrounding the audit document preparation time and photos of the thermostat on my dash board showing the time and date and 107 degrees.
 HOW GRATEFUL  I WAS  for the super lady who owns our local shipping office. Instead of the usual $1 per  page to fax documents, she helped me run the whole packet and confirmed that it was sent for me  and blessed me with a $12.50 bill!!!!!!!!!!!!! She told me that if any of my receipts from her  store had faded she would look them up in her files and make me new documents.  I wrote her a thank you note and left it on her desk after she left the store.

Assembling our doing 5 adoptions all at once!

The heat really was getting to be more than we could keep up with however so in anticipation of resolution , we took out a loan and bought a new AC system, which went in on Wednesday and  Thursday...just in time for the temperatures to hit 112-114 five days in a row!! I am trusting that we are completed in time for the first payment on the loan coz it's a DOOOOOZY! We DO need the tax refund for the AC unit; we just felt we could not wait until the end of August (the projected date of our return IF IRS  "likes" all that I sent them), we DO have a comfortable house, our Audit is submitted and life was going to be relaxing over the weekend, right?  ( I spent ALL day July 4th in the house with the audit docs while my family was out at the lake at our rented camp site) .   NO.   Thursday night, babysitting Charlie, Mady and Blake for Hannah and Jon, I volunteered to walk Sugar for Charlie. I picked up her reins and I "think"  touched her cheek and caused her to think I was ready for her to walk. NO.  She picked up her big foot and stepped on MY foot, my right big toe to be exact, squarely on my toe and somewhat on the rest of my toes. I know I shouted, realized it was hurt pretty badly, but kept enough presence of mind to grab Charlie from off of Sugar's back lest  she think she should take off in  trot-run..which had happened earlier that morning with 6 year old Mady on her back. NEITHER incident was Sugar's fault at ALL. With Mady, Sugar didn't realize that Mady didn't have the reins in hand, felt enough of a side kick to think she'd been told to go, and took off. Naomi and Mady had been running the horses in and out of the back yard all day so this was an expected reaction at that point in the routine. Thankfully, even though Sugar took off in full barrel race speed, Mady hung on to the saddle horn and didn't let go . Sugar took several laps around the pond, the barn and the pond again before racing around the barn one more time, bumping into the corner of the barn and causing her to stop and Mady to get off. i was right there when this happened so grabbed Charlie from Isaac  and sent him to go help Mady. OYE! I prayed over her so fervently as he  (and Sugar )  ran!  Brave kiddo that she is, with a     little urging from the Gi-Gi,  (that's me) Mady got back on Sugar and Isaac led them back to the porch from whence they had started.  With my foot, Sugar  just didn't know I was in the spot she was starting out for OR that I was not wearing my Ariat boots or that her foot could cause my foot extreme injury.  Shortly after I left my shoe in the yard and hobbled to the bathtub to rinse my toe and assess the damage, Hannah and Jon arrived for the children and Hannah heard the Tale of Sugar and Mamma. Unsqueamish as her Mamma, she looked it over , saw that it was "pretty awful' and took me tot he ER. WHEW!!! I graded this as "not as bad as passing a gall stone but worse than having a baby" and was so thankful that when the ER  doctor starting injecting anesthesia into my toe that he hit a nerve quickly and before he was even done injecting I was no longer in pain. Two + hours later I returned home and Hannah went to sleep. I was taking off  the immobilizer boot they'd given me  and realized that my foot was bleeding far  more than I'd been told to expect  so after a call to the ER to confirm, had Jael take me back to the ER. THIS TIME  they realized that my injury was not "just " the shattered bones in my toe that were so easily visible in the X-rays, but that the arteries and veins in my toe were also torn and not clotting off. 15 stitches later in my nail bed, the bone was no longer visible and the bleeding had pretty much been stopped. We did NOT take photos although the unsqueamish and medically curious nature of  my daughters and myself made it pretty tempting! The stitches will not come out for two weeks, and I see an orthopedic specialist tomorrow morning. Don't know what he can tell me other than "elevate your foot, ice it and take Motrin" . I was given IV antibiotics as well as oral follow-up meds because of the injury and exposure of the bone and the increased risk of bone infection, and also some pretty heavy duty pain meds. I am totally allergic to Codeine so the next tier drugs down  have to do. This stuff made me so loopy and sea-sick, I decided discomfort was better  and returned to Motrin. I could not put  a sentence together but was acutely aware of the fact. THAT was so frustrating, much to the amusement of my family since I am usually the uber articulate one. It was fun at my temporary expense, to have the verbal "upper hand" for a change.  I was not sorry to cut that game a bit short!!  All this to say I am even more thankful that we got the AC  put in because I am on very limited weight bearing restriction.  Saturday  Hannah and  my dear friend Jenny took me grocery shopping since I kind of missed that on Friday. Hannah pushed a Walmart wheel chair for me and as I directed Jenny and Hannah pulled my week's shopping needs off the shelves in what seemed to me, record breaking time!!!  I knew my dressing needed to be changed so Hannah volunteered to to that chore as well. Sweet Charlie -man, not to be left out or without an opportunity to help, picked up a pair of pliers an older boy /man person had left out and preceded to "help". As she cut the dressing off, Charlie pinched the toes on my other foot.
Every time Charlie sees a camera he says  "cheese" even when doing toe surgery!

Such dedication!!!
In other  Calico Acres Farm news, I found the most beautiful Alpine buckling to be my Fall 2011 "Stud Muffin" He is so sweet and social and I love his coloring! Our Spring 2012 babies are going to be gorgeous and again, coming from a great milk line himself, he will contribute to my goal of producing great  quality and quantity milk producing lines.
Meet Thor!
Since most of our horse owning experiences are happy ones, I'm sharing some photos of Mady and Naomi as they rode last week.Riding, or just being around horses, brings out the most beautiful smiles on Naomi's face

Mady and Sugar, Naomi and Lucky and Thunder, Sugar's colt, get ready for a ride

This is what I saw most of the day on Thursday...girls and horses heading out the gate!

and off they go!!!

And here she comes !

Taking a rest for a little while. These girls don't look like they know its 112 degrees out!

Madyson petting  Thunder
Today was a very special treat for me! My dear friend Susan and her family who live in California are traveling to Arkansas for some family business and wee able to fit a visit with us into the itinerary! We've been able to get together over the years a couple of times and it  is always WONDERFUL!!! Susan and Mike's older daughter who came to visit with them one time was in Cambodia  last year and was able to attend Malachi and Sopheak's wedding  adding a special international link to the event. Their son knows the children of our friends from the same Bible College in Arkansas and we also share in common that we have a Vietnamese daughter and Cambodian son who are almost the same ages. Susan and I met online through an adoption support group and communicate online pretty often. It is super special to get to meet face-to-face,  some of my cyber-met  friends , and meeting Susan has caused our two families to become friends as well.
Susan's son Zach loves horse back riding so it was no surprise that even in the heat, they spent as much of the afternoon out on the horses as they possibly cold. With a few breaks to swim in the pool and play Marco  Polo with Susan's husband Mike and the other kids, they rode and rode and their faces were exhuberant !!
Kallie had planned to ride but the heat, and the sight of my bandaged toe kind of put her off of her own riding but she and Rachel made up for not riding by swimming and I think a great time was had by all!!! There is a chance that they will come back through this way on their way home which would delight me no end, but Zach and Naomi are both talking about being able to ride together  again......................Susan and I have a lot of similar life-experiences beyond our children in that our parents have presented special  medical challenges to us as well and it was so good to have someone to share back and forth with about those issues. I have some really fun memories of being at Susan's parents' home several years back, and really enjoying their  company. My dad had died before that time , but since then, my mom had a severe stroke that changed life for her and all of us forever, Susan's mom had a severe stroke last year  that God chose to as His time to take her Home and Susan's dad is in Alzheimer's. I've been through the selling of parent's home and possessions, the nursing home selection and such, she is going through a lot of that  now . I don't have many friends who like me are still raising younger children while caring for aged  and/ or disabled parents. I hope that I can be and continue to  pray encouragement for her as she starts this project ahead of her.  All too soon it was time for them to leave, I'm so thankful for the time we had and that I was able to introduce Daniel to her . They were all so sweet and loving to him and Daniel snuggled right into Susan's shoulder, roared his sweet roaring talk and smiled his biggest smiles at her for quite a while. Shattered toe and throbbing stitched up nailbed pain or not, IRS  audit or not, life is go good and I am full of praise to our Heavenly Father for His goodness. I can  not say enough how blessed my life is!!!!!!!!!!