"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." 3 John 1:4

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My "Precious Angel" Granddaughter!

Even before she was born, I loved my Madeline Jean Smalling! We didn't know until she was born, that she was a "Maddy" instead of a "Jac". I was blessed enough to be there for all of my grandchildren's births, with Maddy being the first. I was instantly in love with the chubby baby girl with dark hair and "fat eyes"! :) Melanie posted some cute newborn pictures of her recently on her blog --"Ballerina" ... Here they are:

Newborn Maddy

The bow got misplaced during her nap...isn't that the cutest thing you've ever seen???

Although I don't love Maddy any more than I do the other grandkids, I guess there's just something extra special about the "first". I started calling her my "Precious Angel" right away and as soon as she could talk, I could ask her, "Maddy, you're Dani's...what?" and she would always say, "Pecious Angel"

It's fun to see her developing into a young lady. She was 8 in December and that's just too hard for me to wrap my brain around. She was 4 1/2 when we left for Honduras. I'm so thankful that we lived close those first few years of her life. I kept her 2 days a week while Melanie was finishing up her degree at WKU and will always be grateful for the opportunity to grow as close as we did.

Maddy is her own unique self...nobody is like her. She has a certain way she likes to do things and it's hard to talk her into anything else! I've said since she was 2 that in "Maddy World", things are supposed to be a certain way and if they aren't, she doesn't always handle it very well. Actually, as she grows and matures, she has learned to handle change in her life pretty well. I'm so proud of my "precious angel" for being such a good big sister and for loving her family so much.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My Oldest Grandson, Noah

Noah has always reminded us of David "Uncle Dobie". Once, when Noah was probably about 4 years old, a good friend of mine (we raised kids together in Searcy, Arkansas) was visiting the church in Nashville where Melanie and her family are members. She noticed this little boy (it was Noah) standing, waiting for his mommy just outside the ladies restroom door and said to her daughter, "That has to be a White grandchild...he looks just like David!" Isn't that crazy?!
Well, he does have that sweet personality and tenderheartedness that our David had as a little boy and he does look like him, too. Noah is such a happy boy and honestly, the sweetest thing...you can see it in his face, can't you?
The photo at the above was taken last summer at a park in Nashville.
Noah also has a large imagination. He comes up with the most hilarious things sometimes. He also makes up names for everything. He will be playing with a piece of plastic that fell off of something and if you ask him what it is, he'll say something like, "It's my special neuro-cromatic laser weapon!" Or whatever...I know "neuro-cromatic" isn't a word and it's not the one he used, but I can't remember what it was...Melanie, you'll have to help me out here.
I'm borrowing from Melanie's blog again because she says it best when it comes to the kids' personalities...
"Setting: in Honda Odyssey somewhere on I-65 N, near White House, TN
Me: Noah, what is that you're coloring?
Noah: Oh, I'm just drawing an angel.
Me: Really? What kind of angel? (expecting the response of either "it's an angel that's really an....ALIEN!" or "an angel BRAIN", since aliens and brains are all he draws lately)
Noah: It's the angel that visited me last night when I was in my bed.
Me: Hmmm...and what did it do?Noah: It said, "Do not be afraid. I am with you, and I am God, the Lord."
Me: Were you afraid?
Noah: (incredulous) Not after I saw the angel!

My Youngest Grandson, Jack

Sometimes, I make the comment, "That Jack is high maintenance!" I don't mean it in a negative way, really. I just mean that he needs a lot of interaction from people. He is very curious, always wanting to know how things work and his imagination is big...very big...and interesting! He can be a "handful" at times, but this little boy who likes to get into stuff and make a mess and doesn't want to take "no" for an answer sometimes...is the same little boy who comes up with amazing superhero outfits, can play all day outside, gives the best hugs ever and asks (in the sweetest voice you can imagine), "Wanna play wis me, Dani?"
He's the "baby" of the family for now, but in just a few months, there will be another little boy to take over that role. Each one of my grandchildren has his or her own unique personality but I have to say, this little boy Jack is one of the most unique kids I've ever known.
There are many posts of my daughter's blog dedicated to this uniqueness. They will make you laugh...they will make you cry...they will make you hurry to the pharmacy to refill your birth control pills! (just kidding...sort of...) Her last one is especially cute: "A day in the life of a schizophrenic superhero!" You just have to read it!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day has not traditionally been a day that Steve and I have celebrated over the years. I remember when we first started dating in the fall of 1974, I looked forward to February 14, 1975 because I had never seemed to have a boyfriend on that holiday, therefore, I had never received candy or flowers for Valentine's. Well, I found out shortly before the date that Steve didn't "do" Valentine's. Now whether it was really because he felt that every day was a "day of love" for us (which is what he said) or he didn't have any money....sure enough...I didn't get a gift that year...or the next year...or the next...etc.

I was disappointed...even though Steve tried to explain to me that he loved me every day of the year and that just because someone put that day on the calendar, it didn't make him love me any differently or any more one day a year. Right....Well, I still wanted flowers and candy.

Over the years, almost 33 to be exact, I have actually received flowers and/or candy (usually a Snicker's) a few times from my "valentine". I never knew when they would come...certainly not every year. And over these almost 33 years, I have come to appreciate the fact that my man does love me every day. I don't need, nor do I really even want, gifts just because it's the day when guys usually give them to their sweethearts. I have known couples who really didn't even like each other but every year, come February 14, he would give her roses and candy and she would always expect them...but didn't appreciate them.

Steve and I really like each other. Every day of the year, I know that he loves me...I can see it in his eyes when he looks at me...even after 33 years and a whole bunch of pounds and a few wrinkles and gray hair (maybe a lot...only my hairdresser knows for sure)...he still loves me.

Steve has loved me through my moodiness, my selfishness and my many "weirdities" if that's a word. He has loved me through the happiest times of our lives and through the saddest. He has loved me when I cooked him 5-course dinners...with dessert and when we had tuna casserole (he says several times a month for the first year of our marriage, but actually that isn't true...) He has loved me through my highest "highs" and through my times of depression. He has loved me as a blonde, a brunette (well...light brown) and a highlighted blonde...now with gray fighting for dominance over the blonde highlights.

He has loved me during our child-raising years when I didn't make nearly enough time for him...for "us"...and now he loves me as we work side-by-side every day in the mission God has given us in Honduras. We have spent more time together and had more fun together since moving here in July 2004 than in all the years previously.

So, to my dear husband and best friend...the love of my life...I say, "Thank you for truly loving me every day of every year." By the way, I'll have to print this or tell Steve to go to this blog to read this post because he also doesn't "do" blogs! :)