Saturday, May 23, 2009

Life Lessons learned from Captain Kangaroo

Did you ever watch Captain Kangaroo as a child ? and Mr. Green Jeans ?

I did. And I remember very clearly a book that I was introduced to by the Captain that has stayed with me over the years. It was Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

In case you didn't watch the Captain OR you are not familiar with the book, let me recap the story for you. It starts out with this.....

"Alexander knew it was going to be a terrible day when he woke up with gum in his hair. And it got worse... His best friend deserted him. There was no dessert in his lunch bag. And, on top of all that, there were lima beans for dinner and kissing on TV!" And his solution was "I think I will move to Australia."

Well, around our house, we had Debra and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad WEEK! And I thought about life and Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Green Jeans and being a small child, sitting in front of the tv, listening to the Captain read this book and I wondered "Can I move to Australia??"

So, you ask, what happened ? Well, the week started with having the pleasure of helping a friend by keeping her two children while she did her civic duty. You can read about her experience on her blog It was interesting, to say the least. Her post is a good start to our week. I think she might have been thinking about Australia at the end of her first day of civic duty :).

Tuesday, Jason and I left early for an appointment only to receive a text message from Giann to tell me that nothing in the refrigerator was cold and the ice cream in the freezer was mush! Great, I thought. We are either in for a hefty repair bill or a new refrigerator purchase. Neither were on my list for the week. Giann, being the organizer she is, had moved the perishable things to the small refrigerator we have in the basement and the stuff that had not thawed to the deep freeze. I just had to take care of the rest of the stuff and call the repair man.

The repairman came and was a Louisiana guy that had been displaced due to Katrina (I guess that was a blessing in the midst of it all) as he told me he would do everything he could to get my refrigerator back working. Well, well, well, the part wasn't on his truck. Wouldn't you know it ?

Repairman leaves, supper is cooking, and Craig and I begin to look for Jason. We are calling him on his walkie-talkie and not getting an answer. Not even static. Very uncharacteristic for Jason. He ALWAYS answers his walkie-talkie. Craig rides around the neighborhood calling him but not getting a response. He is with a friend and the other mother hasn't seen or heard from them either in a few hours. The older brother then tells us that they had gone to the tunnel that connects the nature trail creek to the other creek on the other side of Hwy 280 ! Craig and the brother go to the nature trail and the tunnel, Craig crawls through it and cannot find them. He is calling them and still no answer. It is now 6:30 and we are very concerned. I called a personal friend who is also involved with fire and police and he was finishing a city council meeting and happened to be sitting with the Fire Chief and the next thing I knew, here came Search and Rescue,etc. Needless to say, it was tense. About 45 minutes later, the boys came out of the woods on the other side of the neighborhood, at the other child's house. Praise God they were okay. They had no idea that we had been looking for them. The walkie-talkie - had been dropped and gotten wet, thus, it was not working properly. communication. Then we had to deal with the Sheriff's Deputy....that will have to wait for another post or just leave it to your imagination.

Hmmm....Debra and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week was just getting started......Australia was looking more like a good solution........

Wednesday comes around and the repair company informs us that the part is out by the airport and that they would not be able to fix the refrigerator until Thursday morning. My inital response was "no". The lady was speechless. I replied with "I appreciate how far that is for you but I want my refrigerator repaired today". I just couldn't take it. I had two ice chests full of food, the ice was melting, I had had a horrible Tuesday, we are still trying to finish school work, etc. etc. You know what it is like. It just was not acceptable to me that just because the part was by the airport, I was going to have to wait another 24-36 hours for it. Please! (And note....I was very nice to her. I just wasn't willing to schedule the repair on Thursday so we were at a stalemate.)

Funny how things happen when you state your need in a nice manner. She finally said "if you will put a deposit on a credit card, I will make sure someone repairs it this afternoon." My reply was "I will put the whole amount on the credit card if you will guarantee someone will be out here by mid-afternoon!" She did. And they were. By 2:00 pm. Amazing! I began to think the week would get better. You know...thinking CAN get you in trouble at times.

Thursday morning arrives and we are working on finishing up those last pieces to call it a school year. However, I awoke with this very sharp pain in my back that was like no other I had had before. Great. Now what have I done ? I had a rib that had slid out of place. Once it was manipulated back into place, all the pain subsided. So, again.....I am contemplating that the week has to just get better..... either that, or I need a Australia.....

Friday....we start our day like normal to discover that Buddy, our dog, had an inflamed snout. His snout is raw and bleeding from having been scratched and he is just plain miserable. Plus, the hair on his snout has fallen out. Then, accidentially, we overdosed him on benedryl. But, we have discovered that it really didn't matter because it did nothing to him. He didn't even get woozy. We gave him 150 mg of benedryl (he weighs 60 lbs) and he acted normal. Can you believe that? We had to make an emergency trip to the vet only to discover that the dog has intensive environmental allergies (vs. food allergies) and he was the third dog in there that morning with the same profile (it was just 9:45 am). One shot and 3 prescriptions later, we returned home. Do they have allergies in Australia ?

Hmm.....maybe Alexander had a good idea....maybe things will look better in Australia.

I don't know but Craig and I will have the opportunity to find out.

You see, he was awarded a trip to Australia for all his hard work this past year.

We leave June 20.....maybe, just maybe, there won't be any terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days while we are gone........

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Camp Smile-a-Mile

Yesterday, it was "Orange Day" for Craig's company and our family joined his company in a day of volunteering. (It is called "Orange Day" because his company's logo color is orange.) Anyway, we joined about 60 other people from all over the state of Alabama and converged at Lake Martin to prep Camp Smile-a-Mile for the summer. If you are not familiar with Camp Smile-a-Mile, let me tell you about it. This is from their

Camp Smile-A-Mile (SAM) is a non-profit organization in Alabama for children who have or have had cancer. Year round programs are provided for the campers and their family at no cost. It's permanent camping location is on Lake Martin.

Why did Camp SAM start?
Before Camp SAM, children with cancer in Alabama couldn’t go to overnight camp because of chemotherapy or other medical treatments. Now, children with cancer can attend camp while receiving the medical care they need. More than 400 children participate in Camp SAM annually

With the creation of Camp Smile-A-Mile in 1985, these special children would be able to participate in a normal camping environment while remaining under medical supervision. Before Camp SAM, many children were not able to go to a sleepover camp because they were undergoing chemotherapy. Now every child up to age eighteen who is a current or former cancer patient can go to camp through our program. Qualified medical personnel from the Hematology-Oncology Department at The Children’s Hospital stay at the camp during each camping session. They administer chemotherapy as well as take care of all the first aid needs of the campers.

We did everything from plant new flowers, mulch beds, paint flowerpots, make gift bags for the moms and daughters to have "spa night" to repair bicycles, build picnic tables and wash boats! Here are some pics......

We were slways aware that this facility was used to minister to children and families who are currently struggling with cancer or had been struggling with cancer. At lunch, the Program Director shared with us that a group of families would be arriving that night that had just been diagnosed with cancer. Don't you know that their world was spinning ? I couldn't even begin to imagine the amount of emotions those families were experiencing. And all we had to do was give of our time and skill (somewhat limited in some areas!) to add a little sunshine to their lives. We gave 8 hours - really not much in the big picture.

But we were challenged to give more of our time and of ourselves. Twice.

Once by the program director when she issued a very simple challenge at lunch. She said "We need volunteers to give of themselves during the summer camps and I guarantee you will receive more from coming here than going to lay on any beach anywhere in the world!"

Second, by Craig's former boss who asked me a simple question after lunch. He said, "Hey Debra, do you think you and Craig would join Kay and me in giving a week of your time next summer down here ?" Without hesistation, and speaking for Craig since he was somewhere else, I replied with "sure - if they let my children come too!"

I was reminded of Jesus who told his disciples "Let the little children come to me." Don't you know the children smiled at the sight of Jesus and at the sound of his voice and the touch of his hands ?

Oftentimes, our pastor has said, in matters of love, one must go himself. I think in situations like Camp SAM, it is nice to give financially, but these children and families need to see and feel the Body of Christ envelop them as they walk through the journey of cancer.

In matters of love, one must go himself.

Jesus did.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Birthday Tea and April's Giving Bank

Dear Family and Friends,

It is with JOY that we celebrated Hayley's 16th birthday! Giann has come to enjoy her friendship and her sweet fellowship over the past several years. I was going to upload pictures to our blog but thought it might be easier if you just visit Giann's blog and see the ones she has posted. Her blog is listed to the right of this post and is called "My life....unscripted".

For her birthday, Hayley's request was for her friends to gather in a time of fellowship with her over a Tea. Additionally, if they felt led, her heartbeat was to provide some basic clothing items, school items, first-aid supplies, etc. for children in the Sudan. Her uncle has a ministry that will be returning to the Sudan in July and the items she collects would be able to go with him. What a perfect opportunity for us to use our giving bank in April! For more information on this ministry, you can go to their website at If you want to get involved, there are plenty of needs. Again, our prayer when we started the giving bank was for the Lord to show us how we could be aware of needs around us and participate in them in a small way. All we do is put change in the bank when we have it. Oftentimes when we are out and about and have spent cash and received change, I will give it to Jason or Giann and tell them to put it in their pocket so when we get home they can put it in the bank. That is how we accrue money to give away. It is not lots but it a small way for us to stay aware and to keep giving in front of us at all times.

Again, go to Giann's blog and enjoy the pics!


Snake followup

Hmmmmm.....some of you had very interesting comments about Craig and the snake-handling event. But the most interesting one came from a forester friend of ours who reports some interesting facts.

First, he said that the statistics say 50% of snakebites come from people trying to kill a snake. Oops. Glad we did not make that statistic. Remember this though when you are in your yard or in the local woods and come upon a snake. Your odds are not good.

Second, he said when he doesn't have his truck tire or his pistol handy to take out the enemy, he has been told by snake experts to get a 5-6 spindly branch and use it like a whip and "waa-pow" the snake at the back of his head (kind of where his so called neck would be). This is suppose to kill the snake ?! I had to ask if he had indeed seen this technique and he had. However, I just couldn't see someone try it who had never used it or seen it being used. A large rock seemed like such a better option. Of course, not having to deal with a venomous snake at all would be the preferred choice!

I don't know about you, but I prefer the NOT having to deal with the snake. By the way, I wasn't the cameraman for this event. I, very purposefully, was sitting inside the recreation hall, visiting with a friend until someone returned and told us the snake was dead. It was only then that we exited the building and returned to our dorms, watching very closely every step we took.