Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Just Shameless Bragging..........

Yesterday I posted two photos of my Christmas trees and gave a shout-out to my cousin who sent me photo tips for that Christmas glow. 

So.........I have to add, 
I have super, cool relatives!!

I mean, seriously........

Check out some of these photos
by my cousin Wes Craft, the photographer (*mentioned above)

And click this link
for my cousin, Amanda Duke Brown, the artist

and did I mention that another cousin, Scott Garrison
published a book recently?
Check it out here

Although I don't see my extended family often,
I love them all and I am so very proud of their accomplishments!

Last but not least.........we are all such a very good-looking bunch!  :)

Scott, the author

left - my mom's brother, Uncle Rod
Aunt Becky in pink
Amanda (artist)  and her hubby Chris
smack middle, Lydia
(this is an old picture, Lydia is married now with a new baby!)

left to right
Ben and Rachel
Reni and Ellis
(Rachel and Ellis are siblings and NEW parents)
This photo was taken last Christmas

My mom, (right) and her siblings
Aunt Ramona
Uncle Rod

Monday, November 29, 2010

more Christmas........

In San Diego, we had a two story house.

So.........I had a Christmas tree upstairs and one downstairs.

This year, they are side by side in the living room.

Am I crazy?

Some would say yes.

But.........the "white" tree is "MY" tree with matching ornaments and such.

And the tree with colored lights is the "BOY" tree with all their hand-made ornaments from their younger days. 

Both are very important, so I couldn't choice one over the other.  We decorated the boys tree last Monday.  Here are a few snapshots. 

The white tree

the boys' tree

(*special thanks to my photographer cousin, Wes Craft for the tips on capturing the GLOW of the Christmas tree!)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving photos

Our Thanksgiving started last Sunday.

We had a great time at church with our Bayview family sharing in worship, food and testimony.

I forgot my camera, so this is a photo from my phone.
My deepest apologies to Maddy, I didn't mean to cut off your face.

The boys had school M-W, which was a change for us.
We had the whole week off in San Diego for Thanksgiving.

The baking started on Wednesday, and we got to see a Seabee friend passing through,
Mike Monreal from NMCB-11.  The BUZZ CLUB baked up loads of sweet treats for the Seabees
that are deployed here from Gulfport, Mississippi and I know the troops were thankful for a homemade
cookie / brownie treat!! 

Thursday was spent with the Gillams.  They came over early afternoon and we ate about 2:30.
Sam and Maddy were both a bit under the weather, but that didn't stop her in the kitchen! 

She asked me to do the BIG BIRD in my oven and she did the rest.
(*for a video of Zion helping with the turkey..........click here

Pumpkin Pie
Apple Pie
Sweet Potato Casserole
Green Bean Casserole

I don't think I have mentioned before, but Sam is not American, (she's Canadian)
But really, you would think she has been cooking American Thanksgiving her whole life.

(I can't wait until Christmas.........20 some odd days, and we will do it all again)

A great day

great food

great friends

We are so thankful!

They were playing some kind of pretend vampire game.  (That's Maddy's coffin)
(for a few pictures from Sam's blog with Thorntons in it............click here!)

On Friday after Thanksgiving, we also hung out with the Gillams.

The DADS were at the Gillams watching the A&M game.

The kids and moms at the Thorntons.

Kids = playing

Sam and I - scrapbooking.

We have been scrapbooking once a week now for at least a month.

We used to do this once a week back in Panama City Beach in 2004 with another buddy, Chris Lewis.

It is a little piece of joy in my life to scrapbook, and spend time with Sam.
Double bonus! 

She has talked me into doing an album called, December Daily

It will be CAKE for Sam - (she's really so organized)

and will require an extra bottle of TUMS for me. 

But, she knows I don't back down from a challenge............so here I go!!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

I said, "WHAT?"

They say opposites attract.

There are some things that Mike and I have in common,
but mostly, we don't.

For example:   I talk 100 MPH to anything.
(just ask my friend Sam: she recently commented on how much I talk to my dog)

So I am famous for sticking my foot in my mouth.
(everyone that knows me just chuckled, I heard it)

But Mike is really good at thinking before he speaks.

And usually, when he says something, it is straight and to the point and accurate.

We banter back and forth every year (all in good fun) about putting up the Christmas decorations.

Mike leans toward "Scrooge" and I lean toward, "Macy's"

We have to meet in the middle -
which usually means, as long as I don't ask him to do too much,
"go for it". 

So last Tuesday as I joke about putting up the Christmas tree soon........he gives me the eye roll and the what for.

I replied, "Because I love Christmas and it just makes me happy"

He retorted, "Well, by all means, if it makes you happy, leave it up all year"

(He didn't think about THAT one)

The tree is up.......it went up LAST week!

YES, before Thanksgiving.


good bye little scarecrow, see you next fall

it's a process

Ellie helps with decorating


Maddy - giving directions!  :)

See there - it makes EVERYONE happy! 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

We are THANKFUL - Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving
from the Thorntons

Posted here is Megan's Thankful tree.

and Heather's here.

and then the Thorntons - sad, little Oriental Trading Company Tree.

Whatever.......we are still thankful!  :)

Here are just a few of the things that the boys wrote on their leaves this year......

Zion - home, food, Guam, Harvest church, and Jesus dying on the cross for our sins.

Isaac - Mia, (our dog) food

Michael - Mia and my friends

Melda - healthy, growing boys:  that we are all together this year, and our home in Guam.

Mike - the Gillam family, short commute to work, Bayview Church, warm ocean water, our big house, and the Orphan Ministry

But most of all, I am thankful for what these photos represent for our boys.

Michael's baptism

New life

Eternal life

Because everyone will live forever,  somewhere

Isaac's baptism

because it is something we didn't earn

or work for

or inherit

or deserve

we are most thankful

Zion's baptism

For while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I am THANKFUL (day 5)

I am thankful that we have everything we need and more.

Did you know that the average salary across the earth is only $2 American dollars per day?

How much do YOU make per day?

Can you live without it?

I encourage you to donate it
........ watch one day's wages

Monday, November 22, 2010

I am THANKFUL (day 4)

for my home

tent city in Haiti - how people live 10 months after the earthquake

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I am THANKFUL (day 2)

Remember what I said about perspective?
If you have trouble with shifting your perspective (as I clearly do)

Think back to your high school days and do a COMPARE and CONTRAST.

Here is an example:

I am thankful for my washer and dryer

Because this is my GIANT laundry pile............and

because this is how my friend Heather does laundry.

 click here

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I am THANKFUL (day 1)

for healthy children, and medical insurance and doctors and nurses
and a phone to call them when something isn't quite right........

perspective shift available here

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thanksgiving Perspective

I have decided that having a heart of thanks can come completely out of perspective.  (*If you are thinking, "DUH!?"  then just cut me some slack, I'm taking baby steps here)

My question to you:

Is your glass half full?

Or half empty?

If you read my blog from time to time, you may know that I was not super thrilled about coming to Guam.

(*you can read about my attitude adjusting process here.)

But being here has been an eye opening experience.


Because it has shown me that I am spoiled-rotten, rich American.

(*chances are, you are too- Just sayin')

Most of the things I found disdain for are really lame things to complain about.

So a shift in my perspective is in order for this Thanksgiving.

And I will start by being THANKFUL for that! 

Check in for my THANKFUL list this week.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Christmas Shopping

Heard through the grapevine that Christmas packages had to be mailed by November 13th in order to arrive in the states by Christmas.  (*or pay twice as much as the gift cost to mail it priority mail)

So.........I had to kick it in high gear.

I'm not going to lie.

I am not the stereotype female shopper.

Some things will be mailed directly from the states to the states, via ONLINE shopping.

And I'm just saying, it won't be wrapped or have a card attached.

I am so sorry!

I did NOT get Christmas family photos done in time to order cards,
have them sent to me
and then,
do the turn around to send them to the states.

(I'll be on top of that next year, 'cause I LOVE getting Christmas cards from my family and friends, and I don't want anyone to cross me off THEIR list)

But seriously, I got one box ready with Christmas gifts for all the "GREAT GRANDS" on my mom's side of the family. 

I am super excited about this because we have three,


new babies in the family this year! 

Read about the first one here

and introducing the other two:


Hannah and Dad Ellis

I really, really LOVE babies! 

I don't know if all three will be at my grandmother's for Christmas this year,
 but I wish I could get my hands on them! 

ADORABLE I tell ya!

So official CONGRATULATIONS from Guam to my cousin Lydia!
And to my cousin Ellis!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Look who had the CRAZIEST hair at AWANA???

He did go to church with a shirt on.......

I think his cheeks are full of whatever kind of candy went with his medal.

Now, to convince him to get a haircut..........

Friday, November 12, 2010

Veterans' Day Boonie Stomp

Since my Boonie Stomp about a month ago,  Isaac has been asking to hike to the WWII tank.

Veterans' Day seemed like a good time.

Mike was off work and the boys were out of school.

and, it's Veterans' Day and it's a war tank............right?

It was muddy, cause, it's still the rainy season

I told the boys to tie their shoes tight to avoid having one stuck in the mud

Michael didn't listen

'cause he's 13, and I'm an idiot

So..... he had to pull his shoe out of the mud, cause it was stuck

I wanted to say "I told you so"

but I didn't.......

We all had muddy, wet feet  (*and the soil here is really red)

and Zion had some allergy issues with the grass / trees

But we made it! 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Birthday TREY!

To our sweet,



and funny nephew

and our favorite six year old

in the entire Milky Way


We love you!
Uncle Mike
Aunt Melda
and Zion

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I don't remember many kids having braces when I was a kid.

I didn't.

(my brother did)

It seems EVERY kid has braces now.

And sometimes, "pre-braces" (whatever that means)
before the "real" braces

Michael and Isaac both need braces, so we are told.

We waited until we moved to Guam because several people told us that the Navy does braces for you when you are overseas, and you don't have to pay for it.

So, we get to Guam and get ready for our FREE braces.

Uh...........NOPE, for some reason, Guam doesn't qualify for that little perk,

and so, off the base we go for braces.

After 3 months of.......




molds of their teeth

and enough $$ to buy a decent used car

Michael and Isaac have braces

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tarza Water Park

an iPhone malfuction has delayed my post about our MOST EXCELLENT weekend.

So.......to catch you up, 

the boys were out of school on Friday and Mike took the day off.

Since this also happened to be Michael's GOT-CHA DAY , we planned a Day 'O Fun.

And it was, indeed a BLAST!

Here are some videos of the FLOW RIDER and the "Dads" giving it a go!!

Kevin Gillam

Mike tries to do a trick!

For Michael's video on the FLOW RIDER, click on the GOT-CHA DAY link above!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Orphan Sunday

Last thoughts, (for now) regarding orphans.

The most ideal situation would be,

to not have orphans at all

John and Beth from Heartline Ministries are training women
to care for their bodies during pregancy

They are teaching them to drink clean water

and take vitamins

and come in and deliver their baby in a clean environment

So they can have an income

and provide for their families

Remember the Starfish story??

Buy a purse or two from one of these ladies and let her be your STARFISH!

OR host a purse party

or make a donation to the program here

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Melda aka The Broken Record


Same topic  -  orphans

I know,

I know,


I have been deleted from Facebook by people who said,

"I am sick of the Haiti crap"

Okay,  so delete me.

or don't read it.

but I can't not say it.

really, it's not even me........

be mad at God - he said it first

Psalm 82:3

Give justice to the poor and the orphan;
uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute

I have a passion, deep in my heart........

for babies,


with no one to care for them

I read a post by Tara Livesay that caused me to think deeply about this question:

Is it universal to love your child?
Or does the the privilege of wealth allows us greater freedom to love??
 (read that story here)

I'm not sure about the right way to even process that question.

But it makes me cry.

When we got the call that Isaac was born.

The social worker told us all about his birth stats.

and then with a strange pause added,

"and his birthmother is HIV+"

100% honesty here.

I remember thinking.....

I can do this

I just won't love him

so if he dies,

it won't break my heart

what breaks my heart now is thinking about people with so much death in their life,

that they can really get to that place, where it's just easier not to love

Please help these people feed their babies

so they can watch them grow

and thrive

and LOVE

Click here to donate to Tara Livesays fund raiser for Medika Mamba
Giving kids the proper nutrition that they need

Thank you!

Friday, November 5, 2010



November 5th -

is Michael's GOT-CHA day!

That is.......the day we "Got him"

It is the day I became a mother,

thirteen years ago

I love that his GOT-CHA day falls near Orphan Sunday.

But I don't tell you that so you can think about how his life is different

and better

and how "lucky" he is that he was adopted

What I want you to think about

is how MY life is different

and better

and how "LUCKY" I am

to have such a wonderful boy to call my son

His life is certainly better and very different than it would have been in Haiti
But he has no concept of that

I can, however, try to imagine my life without him.......

and it's an overwhelming thought that brings me to tears

Please consider making a difference in the life of an orphan,

not JUST because it will change their life

but because it will change YOURS

I love you Michael!