Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Gift That Keeps on Being Given....(huh?)

About 12 years ago or so, a tradition was birthed in our family. It involves fruitcake. I am not a fan of fruitcake for several reasons, one being that I'm not a big fan of "chunks in my stuff". At least that is how I phrase it! :) And well, we all know that fruitcake is full of chunks! Ewwwww!

Anyway, I use to wear a pin on my coat that said, "Get revenge...give fruitcake!", just for the laughs and reactions it got. Now, admittedly, I can't remember the details of how this all started but for about twelve years now my nephew, Kyle Johnson, and I have been giving each other fruitcake, every Christmas. It gets better.......not just giving fruitcake, but giving THE SAME fruitcake to each other, trading off year after year! We have gotten very creative over the years as to how we give it so as to throw each other off at times, but you can bet that that fruitcake is going to show up sometime during Christmas day...count on it! (By the way, we did have to replace it once about 8 years ago because it got ruined but other than that, it has remained the same's like a Twinkie, that thing, it just won't die!! It's one of those that was bought at a local gas station, made by Hostess!! LOL)

Well, last year I spent my first Christmas in Macchiato and in the midst of lamenting a Christmas far from my family I had forgotten about the fruitcake. But Kyle didn't. It was his turn. So imagine my surprise when I opened a box of gifts sent from home, and the minute my hand touched the little brick I knew exactly what it was and laughed....and cried!!

That being said, this year it's my turn to give the fruitcake. However, Macchiato's heat and ant infiltration proved to be too much for the little Hostess fruitcake and I had to throw it away after many attempts to try to save it.

But.........all is not lost, and the same fruitcake shall be given, just this time creatively, through the Internet!

Merry Christmas Kyle!! Lucky for you I took a picture before it got sent to fruitcake heaven!

Enjoy!! We love and miss you all!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Bieber Fever in Macchiato..."Aaack!!"

First let me say that until they called Marshall, "Justin Bieber", we had no idea who he was and had to Google the name to find out. Since that first time, he has patiently (ok, sometimes not so patiently) posed for pictures as countless girls have asked to take their picture with him. CEO only knows how many FB pages his picture has been posted on.....much to his dismay! LOL

They are so funny how they pose with him!

He never knows how to stand!

They are very specific though about how they want the photo taken!

So for now he endures Bieber Fever, and is ready for the fad to pass, so that he no longer hears, "" whenever the kids in the neighborhood walk by the house! Some day, this will be funny to him. :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Barry and Dito

Dito is a precious little 4 year old boy who lives with his parents who run the orphanage at "Maxwell's House". This young couple have three adopted boys on top of running an orphanage with 13 children of various ages. The family is like-minded and the father also leads a group there at the orphanage. They have been very faithful and have trained all the children raising them to love the CEO.

Dito is their middle child. He has been sick, on and off, all of his short life. When we came for our vision trip in February and first met him, he was the sickest child I had ever seen that was not in a hospital. He couldn't eat or drink, just laying down with no energy. Right after that they began treatment for TB and he began to improve. However, lately they have discovered that he is very sick, his disease is life-threatening. I am asking that you pray for him daily and ask the he be healed and that his body will respond to the medicine. We were there yesterday and he never came out and his mother said he still can't keep anything in him. As you can imagine, his parents are devastated and while clinging to their f*ith, they are trying to accept this news. I hurt for them. They are wonderful people with hearts of gold and they are hurting so much right now. Please join us in lifting up "R", "Y" and Dito. They need a peace that passes understanding and strength to face the days ahead.

I asked her yesterday if I could share their story so that people around the world could lift them up and it was wonderful to see the smile it brought to her face. They are tired, emotionally drained, and concerned for their son. If you are like-minded they are your family too, please remember them!!
*I wrote this a week ago and for some reason, it didn't post. Since then he has begun to drink some suppliments that he is keeping down.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


A true Michigan fan? Don't you love the colors!! This has absolutely nothing to do with the post, just a little football humor! :)

With all the talk lately about TSA and all of their new "patting down" and "super sonic x-ray thing-a-ma-jig" policies, I thought I'd let you know that as we were leaving the capitol city a week and a half ago, it happened to me! I'm not sure what Macchiato's version of TSA is called but as we went through the third set of security tables/scanners/door-way metal detectors the thing went off as I passed through. Now, mind you, it didn't go off the first two security checks and you want to know why? Because I'm a seasoned traveler. I have learned, sometimes the hard way, what belts, jewelry, and other things set them off and I am extremely cautious to avoid wearing them when I fly because, a) It is not worth the hassle and, b) when you have six people to move through security you do whatever you can to make it go smoothly! :) At least we don't have to remove our shoes in the airports overseas! With four kids, that's a blessing, although mine are finally old enough to all tie there own shoes it was always loads of fun when I had to do it for a couple of them!!

Anyway....back to the I walk through the metal detector and I am not lying, before I even knew or could register what was going on this lady is patting all over me! I mean she was quick, I had barely stepped through the thing when she started! There was no asking, no informing, just instant hands all over me! So as I walk away a bit shell shocked I said, "Barry, they just patted me down!" to which he replied, "They did me too!" (Of course they probably couldn't start at the top with him! LOL) I told you all of that because I get a little behind in the news over here, and when I got back I saw some articles on the whole TSA issue and I thought I'd share my experience with all of you, I know, you can thank me later! :)

Not sure what the best solution is, I want my plane to be safe, but I also don't want anyone to be humiliated or taken advantage of, and just so you know, we didn't complain, it really was done professionally, well minus the whole tell you what needs to happen part! We didn't feel singled out, and I noticed that they did it to almost all of the adults who passed through. No, I didn't stay and watch. Because we were talking about what had just happened, we missed our gate which came immediately after that check point, so we had to turn around and come back! Trust me, you are enough of a freak show being six white people on the domestic side, walking all the way back after missing your gate is really least for those watching! :)

Well, this brings me to the other night. We were sitting around the dinner table laughing, when all of the sudden we hear someone bellowing at our front door. Bellowing. It was loud. It was so loud in fact, that everyone immediately got quiet as we tried to figure out what/who it was! Barry gets up from his seat and goes to the door while Marshall and Campbell peek around the corner to see who it is, well, it's a neighbor of ours. He is a friendly man, I call him an old man, Barry says that he is probably close to his age but has just had a hard life, missing most of his teeth and mostly gray haired. He tells us that his mother passed away and he needed money for something or another. This is a common occurrence, not with him but with many people, usually daily, we just have to see how we are led as to what we do. But I mention this guy because of how the kids described who was at the door to me. They said, "Oh, it's our neighbor who patted dad down when he first met him!" I cracked up because I had totally forgot about "the incident"! We had just moved in when this guy comes walking by wearing the traditional sarong and hat, literally shuffling as he doesn't walk well, and he starts a conversation with Barry. So as they are making introductions I am watching from the porch and I see this man reach out and starting at Barry's shoulders, he takes both hands and pats Barry's body all the way down to about his thighs!! What?! I couldn't wait to ask Barry what he said or why he did that! So when Barry came back I am laughing my head off because Barry didn't have a clue as to why that man did it as he said, "Oh, an American!"

Who knows maybe he secretly wants to work for TSA or maybe he is retired from Macchiato's version and old habits die hard! Just another day in our crazy life!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Flipper? I Think Not!!

I have a dear friend who has been giving us some extra money so that when we go to Bali we can do something a little extra for fun. You know, something crazy! This friend likes to enjoy vacations like I do, full speed ahead. Our philosophy is that you never know if you will be back there again so you need to enjoy it to it's fullest! (This is much to Barry's chagrin, because he wants to kick back and relax, I mean really? On vacation? Boring!:) ) This is one of the many ways they and I are kindred souls. So last year we went on a boat ride to another island, toured it and went snorkeling. This year I found out that for a decent price we could swim with dolphins! I don't know about you, but I have always wanted to swim with dolphins! I mean, who doesn't love dolphins right? They are the gentle giants of the ocean. Sweet, mild mannered, and loved by the masses, especially since the show Flipper forever immortalized them as the darling of the sea. Remember how helpful he was? How fun and kind? Yes, I realize I am showing my age and some of you have never seen Flipper but surely you've heard of it!! I mean to top it all off...I have a secret, I do a mean impersonation of a dolphin. Now before you have mental images of me bouncing a ball on my nose or jumping through hoops in the water.....what I mean is their Whatever you call it, I can imitate it as a rare few of you have actually heard. (Rereading this I am going to be sorry that I posted that!)

Well...I hate to burst your bubble but not all dolphins are Flipper, and I have proof.

And as a little confession here, I am still holding a grudge. I mean, I was the one who picked this little excursion for the family. I set it all up and got everyone pumped up on how exciting this adventure was going to be, despite the three hour cab ride to the hotel on the other side of Bali,(minor detail) this was a once in a lifetime adventure we were embarking on! What's not to be excited about?

I just want to add that the photo was taken days later after we arrived home, initially it was nearly pure black! Let's just say I am glad it was me and not one of my sweet children who were not so convinced this was a good idea but lovingly trusted their mother in their innocence! :) Otherwise I might be writing this up from jail after serving up some dolphin stew! (Just for the record...I would have had Barry do it, no way would I get back in the water with "Damian"!) LOL Seriously, there was no start he just barely moved, ducked under water and took that so called "bottle nose" and rammed my thigh then resumed position as if nothing happened, he never moved again until I sat on the edge and put my feet in (like the trainer told me to...stupid trainer) and then he went after my feet! Oh, and one last thing, Barry was actually the first one in but the dolphin didn't move, so the trainer tells us that I should go first because they respond better to women, guess I should have had him clarify "respond".

We actually did end up having a great time so all was not lost. But take a little advice and next time you think about swimming with the dolphins, or sticking your children in with the dolphins.....they ain't all like Flipper!

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Bali 2010...(just a tad bit late!)

Once again we had a fabulous time in Bali this past summer! I didn't take nearly as many pics this year, just too busy I guess! We had a wonderful jam-packed week of meetings and w*rsh*ip with a group from Arkansas. They also put on the "Saddleridge Ranch" VBS for the kids and did Youth Group for the teens. All in all everyone had a blast! Everyone thought his would be our last year in Bali due to budget cuts but thanks to the Arkansas "B" Convention we will be back next year! Yay!!

This year we flew to Bali early and then met the boys there as they flew in with the rest of the campers from Camp Miki. Their camp is always the week before our meetings. It was so weird leaving on a plane without them! But everyone made it there safely and the kids had a blast at camp. Next year Campbell will be old enough to go and she is SO excited!

It was a little bittersweet this past summer because many of our friends from training were here for short term and they will be going home in January 2011. They truly have become family to us and they will be greatly missed. I can't even imagine going to our meetings next year and not seeing so many of them! Sniff....sniff.....such is our life now, full of hello's and sadly, good-bye's!! :(

After our meetings we moved hotels by a better swimming beach and stayed where we did last year and enjoyed a week of vacation at the beach. Niiiice!

Again, boys wanted to surf but the only day we could have there were monstrously strong waves and we didn't want to risk it, in cases like those, we'll stick to boogie boards! We saw friends that we had made the previous year who sold stuff on the beach and one guy found us several sand dollars, the kids loved that! We have quite the shell collection now.

Enjoy a peek into our lives!!

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Lovin' Me Some Woodstock

Before you start thinking of long haired hippies on drug trips and rock and roll, let me clarify, this is FBC Woodstock, GA. The foreign women from our island were invited to a Ladies Retreat on Batam Island (off the coast of Singapore),hosted by FBC Woodstock, GA. They sent 7 women and paid for everything except for our airfare. Hotel, food, conference, speaker, prizes, crafts, gifts, EVERYTHING was provided by them for us! What a blessing!! The paintings they brought were started by a legally blind woman and then she gave us instructions and sent paint supplies so that we could finish them! Too cool! I think they will not know this side of heaven how great it was for all of us to have a getaway together and then to be spoiled on top of it! Here is a little taste of our retreat!

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