Monday, September 24, 2007

Great Weekend!

Well, we are back home and made good time on the road. Not a lot of traffic on Mondays! I will definitely remember that for our next mini trip. Eli had a wonderful time with his Mammaw & Pappaw, uncle Joe, & aunt Anne! He & his uncle Joe really had a blast. They were so funny together! It was so fun to watch him with each person... but one of the coolest things was how quickly he took to my step mom's dad. It was really neat to see them interact and to watch how gentle Eli was with him when he was around.

Eli really stuck to his Pappaw, too. Like glue. He talked about going back to visit on the whole trip home. We will definitely be going a lot more often now that I have seen how well he travels. AND he was so good in the van! No arguing, no fussing, and used his manners. Very pleasant trip indeed! I love the fact that it was a smooth trip. Now I won't be so apprehensive about going that far again.

I think next time we will plan something specific to do so that he can interact with his mammaw & pappaw on a different level, other than "hyped up 3 year old".

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Weekend at Pappaws

Well, we made it!
Eli & I drove to WV to visit my dad & step-mom and he was GREAT on the whole ride here. I was not so sure how he would do for a long trip, but he did really well. Normally he says after about 20 minutes, "this is a really long drive". . . but not this time.

He was so happy to so them. He was bouncing off the walls last night and this morning he got up at 8:00 and wanted them up too.

SO far, he has walked around the neighborhood with them about a dozen times, tried to find the kitty's, keep up with the dog, played in the swing on the porch, and gathered flower seeds for him to take home & plant. He is really enjoying himself.

Today his uncle Joe & uncle Rob are supposed to ome over to see him and spend time with us. We will likely cook out or something. Maybe even make some s'mores.

Anywhoooo....have a blessed day & enjoy your weekend!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday



The News Story below was in our local paper this morning... please feel free to pass it on. It is so nice to see a newspaper actually print something like this where someone's prayers WERE truly visibly answered!!! She prayed to God to shield her bus and He DID.

'I hoped to God to shield my bus'
Richmond driver who protected 14 kids tells of harrowing gunfire

Bus 189 took the same route home yesterday, carrying the same precious cargo -- 14 preschool students -- who just the day before were terrorized when their bus was struck by gunfire during a shootout in North Richmond.

This time, there were no stray bullets to punctuate the ride home for the 3and 4-year-old children who spent yesterday at the Head Start program at the North Richmond Community YMCA on Old Brook Road.

"Today was a good day, and we are very glad for that," said Richmond schools spokeswoman Felicia Cosby.

But the woman who drove the bus on Monday, Arlene Smyre, was not behind the wheel yesterday.

Smyre, who kept her students safe during the frantic moments of the daylight shooting near East Ladies Mile Road and Hazelhurst Avenue, was traumatized by the event and said she was unable to work yesterday.

"I feel drained and still shocked over what happened," Smyre, 52, said yesterday over the phone from her eastern Henrico County home off Laburnum Avenue.

"I'm just glad that everybody was OK -- my monitor, my kids. I'm glad there were no tragedies."

She recounted the harrowing ordeal and the actions she took that kept her kids safe.

Smyre said that she had stopped her bus at a stop sign on Hazelhurst and was about to cross East Ladies Mile when she heard the sound of tires spinning furiously.

"I noticed a car driving wild and crazy," she said. "I thought, 'I'm going to have to get my bus out of the way.' Then I heard shots coming."

The car zoomed past Smyre's bus. She made the decision to stay put at the stop sign. She told the children and her bus monitor, a woman she knows only as "Queen," to get down -- and pray.

"I didn't know where the bullets were coming from," Smyre said. "I just prayed, just hoped to God to shield my bus."

Smyre heard what she thought were approximately 10 shots, one of which was followed by a "ping."

"You wonder, 'Where are those bullets going?'" Smyre said. "Where are they going to land?"

When the shooting stopped, Smyre lifted her head. The bus, she said, was quiet.

"If the adults stay calm, you can keep the children calm," said Smyre, an eight-year bus veteran who grew up in Richmond and has two grown sons and daughters.

Instead of crossing East Ladies Mile, Smyre said, she maneuvered her bus down a side street first to check on the children, who, like her, were shaken but unharmed. Then she made her way to Donnan Street to drop off a little girl.

That's when she turned off the bus and got out to take a look. She found a penny-sized bullet hole through a control panel just below the driver's seat.

"My life flashed before my eyes," Smyre said. "It didn't really hit me until I saw that bullet hole."

"The Lord stopped that bullet, cause it didn't go through," she added. "The man upstairs shielded that bus."

Smyre said she's glad she didn't panic during the crisis but is still feeling the emotional effects. She said she plans to return to work in a couple of days.

"I'm getting myself back together," she said. "The sooner I get back out there, the better I can get over it."

As Smyre recovered, police investigators yesterday continued to piece together the events that led to the 3:10 p.m. shootout Monday.

A man wounded in the shooting was released from VCU Medical Center with a non-life-threatening injury. Police were also looking for a teal green Honda Accord that fled the scene shortly after the exchange.

As of yesterday evening, no charges had been filed in the shooting, which police believe stemmed from an argument.

Cosby said that in light of Monday's incident, officials were stepping up efforts to publicize and prepare for the school system's previously scheduled "Safe Schools, Safe Communities" forum Oct. 4 at Boushall Middle School.

Monday's shooting incident, she said, "just underscores the importance of getting all of the community together. It's not a Richmond Public Schools incident -- it's something in the community. But it's something in the community that our kids face, and that we have to deal with on a regular basis."
Contact Jim Nolan at (804) 649-6061 or

Times-Dispatch research assistant Jennifer Perilli contributed to this report.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Life Changes

It never ceases to amaze me the number of parents today that are separating for various reasons. It breaks my heart to see the eyes of the children that are affected. I know of a few children whom their lives are in a true upheaval of sorts, due to the fact that their parents are not together or not a part of their little lives.

Please, do not think that I am trying to make those parents out to be bad parents or anything like that... I know that there are circumstances that cause separation & other issues in life, I am just simply saying that it makes me sad.

I can't begin to tell you how my heart grieves for them. God loves us so much and He does not want us to be apart from His love, yet, that is what it must feel like to a little child whose parents are apart, or not part of their lives. I look at my life with my husband and son and I am so thankful that God has given them to me and watches over us constantly. It makes my heart melt when I see my son give his daddy a hug or a kiss. I grew up with both parents at home, but it was not the Cleavers'... if you know what I mean. My dad worked all of the time & when he wasn't working, he was busy in his workshop making things out of wood & never seemed to have any time for me or my brother. Mom was always working, too. And when she wasn't working, she had her nose buried in a book & couldn't even hear you talk to her.

Now, don't get me wrong... I love both of my parents with all of my heart. They loved us kids and provided for us. I am just simply pointing out that you don't have to be physically separated for things to be difficult for kids. I grew up feeling inadequate as a woman and was constantly craving for someone to love me ~ my brother was the same way.

I married young & our marriage was not good. We did not build our relationship on a strong foundation, Christ... we built it on shifting sands. After only 4 years of marriage, my husband began cheating on me. For 2 years, he continued to do so, while I was mostly oblivious to it. When I finally knew it for sure, I confronted him with it. It took him a week to finally admit his most recent affair... but when he did, he was full of tears and begging me to forgive him. He ended up moving out and continuing his relationship with his recent affair. After a few months apart, he wanted to come home. He begged me to forgive him & try to work things out. I let him come home just before Christmas of 1996, but within less than a week, I caught him with her again and told him that was the last straw. We finally divorced and I swore I would never marry again. I had no desire to go through what I had been through ever again and through myself into work & church.

After about 10 months of just hanging out with some really great NEW friends, one of them asked me out on a date. . . and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. John and I did everything together. We hung out with the same people, had the same beliefs, were both terribly silly, and enjoyed making others happy. In May 2002, we married. Our pastor married us under the trees on the church property with only God & us present! It was the most spiritual thing that had happened to me other than being baptized!

We immediately became pregnant, but miscarried 2 months into the pregnancy. This was a devastating blow to me. I had never in my life felt such anguish. I wanted to die. I was afraid to become pregnant again. . . what if I miscarried again? What if I could never have a child? Finally, I was blessed again and was able to carry the baby for 37 weeks. And OH was he beautiful!!! When he was born and I saw him for the first time, he took my breath away. I had never before felt such love for anyone or anything. Finally, I understood God's love for me!

It took years for me to realize that the love I was searching for all along, was found in the Bible with my heavenly Father. I am a much better woman now than I have ever been. I have a wonderful husband and a precious little one that is truly a gift from God. My husband has the patience of Job and He is truly a gift from the Lord to me. When I have a bad day or am having a difficult time with my emotions, he loves me and shares God love with me over & over. He doesn't want me to forget how much Christ loves me.

We share the same with our son. When we go through our day, we talk about all that Christ has done for us AND all that He continues to do for us. We tell him how important it is that we share God's love with others so that they will know that He loves them, even when they feel like no-one else in the world does.

Tired of all of the HYPE of working from home?!?

It is amazing how many "opportunities" are out there on the internet that are REAL work from home opportunities and how many there are that are SCAMS! I have tried SEVERAL of them and have been scammed a few times, but thankfully, I NOW have TWO that I work with and they are both absolutely better than I ever could have imagined!

I really do work with 6 and 7 figure earners, and I am here to tell you. . . they definitely think about things quite differently than most people I have known! God has blessed me to be able to work with other Christian WOMEN and have them show me and encourage me on my pathway to six figures!

My passion is to help other women out there that are TRULY interested in making a substantial income and helping others do the same. It really is a wonderful thing to help others achieve their dreams!!!

Don't stay in the dark ages and work for someone else. . . let me show you how to work from home with a REAL opportunity and let me help you achieve the success you have only dreamed of!!!
Christian Gifts Of Faith

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