I Got a Bee in My Bonnet

My mind is forever thinking of new projects that I want to do. Sometimes the ideas get to "buzzin" around so fast that I feel like I have bees swarming around in my head. This saying actually came from my grandmother. She used to say, when she had an idea about how to do something, "I got a bee in my bonnet and I couldn't rest until I got it out." So, when I think of something new I want to do, I can't rest until I get that bee out of my bonnet. Ü

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas pictures...finally!

The tree is loaded with presents
Jacye is waiting for the kids to arrive
Norman reads the Christmas story from the BibleCamryn begins passing out the presents

Andrea and Charles wait on their gifts

Andrea and CharlesAndrea, Camryn and Charles
Alison and John

Norman, Alicia and Jacye
Our whole family
We enjoyed a great time with the kids. We opened presents, ate our Christmas dinner (which was actually a Thanksgiving dinner that I didn't get to prepare in November) and then played the game, Battle of the Sexes....and the girls came from way behind to emerge as the WINNERS!
Oh yeah! Girls rule!
Seriously, it was a lot of fun to be together as a family as we enjoyed a day of food, fun and fellowship!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

I hope all of you are enjoying a very Merry Christmas with your families. We will be gathering here around noon for our family Christmas. I will post pictures after we get through opening presents and eating our Christmas dinner!
Until then.....have a great day!

Monday, December 22, 2008

How quickly things can change...

My last post was expressing the Great News that Mother got to go home. However, she was only there for a day and a half. Early Sunday morning (2:30 to be exact) Mother ask Shelia to take her back to the hospital. She just didn't feel right. She had not slept more than about 45 minutes since she had been home. She was feeling cold one minute and hot the next and said she felt all jittery inside and nauseated. So, Shelia took her to the ER. Her blood pressure was pretty high by the time they got there so they admitted her and sent her back to CVICU. They did some more tests and basically felt that she was having panic attacks which was causing the fluctuation in her temp and blook pressure. They did give her a light sleeping pill so she could rest which she did and even remarked that she was feeling better this morning than she had in a week. However, that condition quickly changed. This afternoon, just 6 hours after I had called to check on her, they had to take her down, stick a needle into her lung so they could draw the fluid off her right lung (1200cc). Her nurse said she had been through quite a bit today and was worn out from the procedure. She has been sleeping the whole day since that was done and was not even aware that Daddy and Shelia were in the room with her. According to her nurse she will most likely would be in CVICU for several more days and maybe through Christmas. Prayers are needed once again for her recovery...for her to get the rest she needs so she can regain her strength...for the doctors to be able to control the fluid build up in her lung and for the panic attacks to subside.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Mother is home and feeling great! Shelia said that she had done about 180 degree turn in how she was feeling and in her mental attitude since she got home around noon! Praise the Lord and thanks to all of you who have shared in praying for her recovery! God is truly good!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Two steps forward...three steps back...

I just got a call from Shelia letting me know that they had to move Mother back into CVICU last night because her heart rate went down too low. When she got to step-down yesterday she had the hiccups and had been dealing with them most of the day. One of the doctors had prescribed some meds (Thorazine) which was to help her relax and sleep. Evidently this caused her heart rate to drop too low. She was getting some great sleep but it seems she must also have a bit of sleep apnea which caused her heart rate to drop. So back to CVICU she went in the night. Shelia did call and talk with her nurse this morning and he said she was doing great...sitting up in a chair and talking about what she was going to eat for breakfast. I will send more info as I get it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Better news on Mother

As I said in earlier posts, things can change in a matter of minutes or hours where a heart surgery patient is concerned. Shelia called to tell me that Mother had eaten some Insure pudding this morning as well as a saltine cracker. She is not nauseated which is definitely an answer to prayer. She has been sitting in her chair and had even walked down the hall pushing a wheelchair this morning! Praise the Lord! Maybe things today are going to be better! Once again, I want to say thanks for your prayers, notes and calls!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mother's condition changed...

If there is one thing I have learned through all this, it is that a person's medical condition can change in a matter of minutes or hours. We thought Mother would be in step-down by now and well on her way to heading out the door and home. However, Friday night her body began to retain fluid, especially around her lungs, so she had to stay in CVICU. Saturday she was a little confused although pretty alert. However, today was not a good day for her. She experienced nausea all day long and could not make herself eat anything for fear of throwing up. Also, yesterday around 7 PM her heart went back into A Fib and has not converted back to sinus rhythm as of this post. We are all praying that tomorrow will be a better day for her and that the nausea and heart rhythm with correct themselves.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Praises and more Praises!!!

7:15 AM

Good morning to all of you and Praise the Lord!
I just called to check on Mother from Sherwood (I am back at work) and she is doing very well this morning. They said she was alert, talking, her vital signs are good, her kidneys are working and she is back in sinus rhythm! What an answer to prayer! I think she has turned the corner and will soon be moved to step-down and then home. Thanks so much for all your prayers and notes!
Have a great day!

AND the lastest Praise!

11:00 AM

Shelia called me around 10:20 to say that Mother was sitting up in the recliner in her room and had eaten a good breakfast!!! Woo Hoo! They plan to get her up and walk her around a little later today. AND they plan to move her to step-down tomorrow! Praise the Lord for this answer to prayer!
I love and appreciate each and everyone of you!

God is truly an awesome God who loves and cares about each of His children no matter how young or old.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Update on Mother

I just wanted to let all of you know that read my blog, Mother made it through surgery very well. We all got to go in to see her and she is of course very swollen but the doctor said all went well and he was please with how she did. They expect her to wake up later tonight. I appreciate all your prayers for her. More to come as news becomes available.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Prayers for my Mother

My Mother will be having surgery tomorrow to have her aortic valve replaced. She is very calm about the whole process realizing the outcome is all in the Lord's hands. Her faith is strong and she is at peace with whatever the Lord has for her life. We would covet your prayers for her and her surgeon, Dr. Wilson.
Thanks so much!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas has come to the Gillaspie's

Well, in spite of our "non-traditional" happenings for Thanksgiving, one thing did remain traditional...we put up our Christmas decorations on Friday and Saturday. Norman got out and did the outside lights and figures and I got busy on the inside. I usually put on one of my favorite Christmas movies, (either White Christmas or It's a Wonderful Life) to get me in the mood and then I get to work. Fortunately, TV Land had White Christmas playing on Friday night! With Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney singing in the background, my house took on a cozy Christmasy (is that a word) glow. I just love the warm cheery feeling that Christmas decorations give to a room. I finally got all the inside decor completed on Sunday afternoon when I got the tree decorated. There are still a few more spiral lighted trees that I want Norman to add to the outside light display, but other than that everything is finished and ready to enjoy our holiday season.
For those of you who don't get to visit our house during the holiday's I have prepared a vertual tour.

Our tree and window decor...this year I did move away from the traditional decorations on the tree. I bought a few new balls, and ribbon and went with a silver and red color scheme. I like it for a change.

The mantel with Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus
The Snowman village on my entertainment center

A closer view The couch area

Left side view

Right side view

And of course the decor would not be complete without a cute little fireside dog... our miniature schnauzer, Jacye, in her red holiday coat.

It was pouring rain last night so I couldn't get out to take pictures of the outside of the house. I will try to do that today and add them to this post tonight.

Hope you enjoyed seeing our home...I didn't get shots of the kitchen, but I will.

Wish all of you could come see us during the holidays but now at least you have an idea of what your missing.

We wish all of you a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Thanksgiving this year was quite different from our traditional holiday. Here is why:
On Monday, Nov. 17th around 2 PM I got a call from my sister, Shelia, telling me that my Mother was in the hospital. She had been down with brochitus/a cold for a few days and had gone back to her family doctor for a recheck of her lungs. When she told him that she was having great difficulty breathing and was extremely tired, he sent her immediately to the hospital and order a heart cath to be done on Tuesday. So, I immediately started getting my things ready to head to El Dorado...(covering all my bases in case I had to stay for a while). I arrived at the hospital at 6 PM. Mother was doing better, but still having difficulty breathing. We stayed with her until around 9:30 then Shelia went back for the night. Tuesday she had the heart cath done and they found that her aortic valve had some calcification on it which caused it not to open as it should. We were given the options by the cardiologist of treating it with medicine and adjusting to a very limited lifestyle or having open heart surgery to replace the valve. Mother was not willing to settle for a life of sitting in a chair and having to be waited on hand and foot, so she opted for the surgery. The cardiologist had her meet with the surgeon and her surgery was set for Friday. Then on Thursday Dr. Bhatt said he had been thinking and reviewing all Mother's tests and info and said he was not quite ready to rush into surgery. He wanted to have some other test run and confer with other cardiologist to confirm his findings. So, our emotions went from being "good to go" for the surgery to a "waiting" mode. To make a long story short, Mother had a lung function test and an Echogram on her heart which all confirmed that the surgery was indeed a must. So, they sent her home on Wednesday, Nov. 26th after a 9 day hospital stay with a scheduled surgery for Monday, Dec. 8th. Another week of waiting....
We are very thankful for Mother's cardiologist, Dr. Bhatt, who is a strong believer. He was very open and honest about Mother's health situation and readily admits that they will do all they can to "fix" her heart but ultimately she is in the hands of the Lord. What a comfort to know that your cardiologist has been praying and diligently seeking the Lord's help and wisdom regarding what measures to take in correcting your heart problems. It was truly a blessing to have him treat her.

Now on to Thanksgiving: After staying with Mother in the hospital for a week I had nothing bought with which to make our traditional Thanksgiving menu. So, Norman bought some filet mignon steaks, marinated and grilled them. I had some fresh turnip greens from Daddy's garden patch that I cooked down and we baked a some sweet potatoes. It was not your normal idea of a Thanksgiving dinner and it really felt odd not to get up and cook all day to fix the spread of food we normally have, but it was still good. Since we were not doing the "traditonal" things and because we were not sure of what was going to transpire with Mother, neither of the girls were there either. However, Andrea and Camryn did come over to watch the parade with us but they had made alternate plans for their Thanksgiving Day dinner.

Even though my plans for Thanksgiving were interrupted, I am very grateful for the time I did get to spend with Mother while she was in the hospital. (You see, I took the day shift from about 8:30 am-9:30 pm) and then Shelia came and stayed the night. I think I probably had the best end of the deal because the nurses were forever coming in at night and taking vital signs, weighing Mother or poking pills at her to take, which didn't allow for much sleep. I on the other hand had the pleasure of laughing and talking for hours on end with Mother, making memories I will forever hold dear in my heart. In the years to come when I think back on the Thanksgiving of 2008, although we didn't get to have the traditional time of dining with our family, I will always fondly remember the many hours I did get to spend with my Mother as we made the best of a scary situation.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

"Where've You Been..."

This song, by Kathy Mattea, is so touching...especially in light of the recent news I have gotten about my dear Mother-in-law. She is experiencing some dementia and is confused and agitated a lot of the time now. I think about the life she and Dad have shared and this song reminds me of them. Although, Dad was not a salesman, the sentiment expressed throughout this song rings true of their love for one another. Enjoy, but you may want to get a kleenex first. (Oh, and you will want to mute my music that plays automatically. )


Monday, October 27, 2008

Old Friends, after all of these years....

What a great weekend of visiting with some old friends. Norman and I headed down to Camp Victory near Carthage, AR on Saturday morning. We arrived just after the morning message had begun. Carl McAllistar, was the speaker for the weekend. He married Cindy Cottrrell, one of the girls from Marrable Hill whose family has been a part of the church and camp since it's beginning. Although we didn't get in on his first message of the weekend on Friday night, we were still able to gain much from Carl's messages.
As always at Camp Victory, there is plenty of time for sitting and visiting under the beaudart(not sure about the spelling for that...some call them "horse apples"), for catching up on all that has gone on over the years, for much laughter and lots of picture taking.
Here are some shots of our time there

Alex, Tim and Sarah Evans little boy, loved being up in the tree.

Here is a shot of Alex, and Oliver Primm...Seth's son..

And here is a shot of Oliver and his cousin Payton Primm...Scott's youngest daughter.

There was time for chatting...

for getting alone in the sun with a crossword puzzle...

for solving the world's problems...

for spending some quiet time for study....

And some time for a demonstration of new excercise moves.

For sharing in a laugh

for the telling of tall tales...

for the capturing of 8 legged, hairy spiders

for cozing up to the fire....

and for just enjoying the beauty of a place that has to be right up there next to heaven.

The memories,

the people,

and the lessons learned...

all hold a special place in my heart that I will forever cherish.

It was a beautiful weekend that was spent in a beautiful place wth some very beautiful people.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My Bedroom rearrangement...

For some time now I have wanted to get Norman a new desk that was more in line with the color scheme in my bedroom since that is where he has to work when he is at home. I have also wanted to rearrange my bedroom because it ha been the same way for many years. So, "I got a bee in my bonnet" one weekend and decided to move everything. Of course, as you will see from the pictures with this arrangement, it meant that the first thing you would see when you looked through doorway was Norman at his desk....the old, brown desk that he had in his home as a teenager. IT was time for a new one. So, I began looking and pricing pieces that I thought would go. I finally found a desk, hutch and lateral file cabinet on line and ordered it. Of course, it had to be put together...that is another story which I will not go into at this time. Anyway, this is what everything looks like now.

And from this angle--

And here are also a few pictures of Jacye doing what she loves to do while on my bed....look out the window for anything that moves so she can bark at it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A week of fun and productivity with my Mother!

This week I got to spend some extended time with my Mother. Daddy was away with his nephews in Big Springs, TX dove hunting, so I went down to El Dorado last Sunday to get Mother. I didn't think it was a good idea for her to be at home alone, especially since she is legally blind. Although she can function well in her own home, I did not feel comfortable with her being there by herself. So, this gave us some extra time together. I did, however, have to work all week, but came home for lunch each day to have time with her. It was a fun week for both of us even though we didn't have a lot of time together. I took her to Camryn's dance studio on Monday. We went shopping for her some new clothes on Tuesday. Wednesday, Alison and Billie came over to eat lunch with us. I took her to our Kindergarten Program on Thursday night, and Friday, we went to see Andrea's house. It was a pretty busy week. She spent a lot of her time while I was at school sitting out on my patio enjoying the birds singing and letting Jacye run.

It is sobering when you think of how you take for granted the things that you do on a daily basis that are difficult for someone who has very limited eyesight. For instance: I go to the door numerous times per day, unlock the storm door (because I always keep it locked) and then let Jacye out to do her business. Monday when I left Mother at the house while I went to work, it never dawned on me that she did not know how to unlock my back storm door...you just have to slide the button down. Well, Jacye had let her know that she needed to go outside, so Mother was trying to get the door open. She had pushed the button in, but not down. Of course, if you know my dog, Jacye, she was jumping up and down like a yo-yo the whole time Mother was trying to get the door open all the while getting more and more frustrated. She finally gave up, saying to Jacye, "I just can't get it open!" Jacye, I guess realizing Mother's frustration, just went back to laying on the back of the couch. A little later my sister called to check on how Mother was doing and was able to talk her through how to get the door unlocked. When I came home for lunch we talked about it, but it dawned on me that if something had happened that Mother really needed to get out of the house, she would have been trapped, because she didn't know how to get the garage door open either. That morning I had put pieces of lime green paper on the microwave Quick minute and Start buttons so she could use the microwave and I later added my cell phone number in the speed dial on my phone and placed velcro to the appropriate buttons so she could call me if she needed anything. Although she is able to function very well for being legally blind, it was still a challenge for her to come into my world and make it. But being the independent, self-reliant woman she has always been, she made it just fine and we had a wonderful time together. I don't think she has ever come and stayed that long with me before, but it was a lot of fun.

I took her back home on Saturday and began the big project of ripping up the carpet in the master bedroom and cleaning up the mold and mildew that had taken over that room due to something faulty in the A/C (a window unit). What a job that was. I am sore in places that I didn't know had muscles. But we got it done...I pulled up all the tack board strips and all the hundreds of staples that were in the floor. The hardwood floors that were covered by the carpet were still in fairly good shape. I mopped and scrubbed them and added Mop & Glow to put somewhat of a glow and shine back. They really needed to be sanded and have a new polyurethane finish added but that will have to come at a later date. There is just so much you can do in a 24 hour period. I took her shopping before we got started on the project to get new bedspreads for the two beds she has. After we got everything cleaned and disinfected and all the new stuff added the rooms looked really good. She was very pleased and I was too...mainly because I was able to help her get rid of the yuck that was growing in there and because I was able once again to do a "make-over" project with her while Daddy was away hunting. Ü This is something we always did when I was a teenager when he was away for any length of time. You know, it is just so much easier to do those things when you don't have a man around who is saying, "It can't be done that way," or "It won't work," or ""What do you want to do that for? or "It is alright just as it is so why do you want to change it?" Those types of statements are just like waving a red flag at a bull when you say them to us Curtis Women! That just makes us more determined than ever to do it! Ü You should have seen this 56 year old woman and my 82 year old Mother pushing and pulling furniture around. When there is a will to make it happen...it does!

All in all it was a great week of fun and productivity! I am tired and sore today but very pleased with all we were able to accomplish.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mrs. G the bat killer...or Josephine the Plumber?

Hey, did you know I am a bat killer? LOL Yesterday a little first grade girl named Chloe, came out of the girls bathroom to tell me that there was a bat in there! I said, "A bat?" swinging my arms like I had a bat you use to hit a ball. She said, with big eyes, "No, the kind that flies." And she had several eyewitnesses to confirm her sighting...including a little boy. I asked him how he knew there was a bat in there since being a boy he should not even be in the girls bathroom. He avoided that issue, but he assured me he saw it too. Anyway, I sent them back to their classroom and went to check this out. I was feeling pretty positive that it was not really a bat and was definitely hoping that it wasn't since I didn't want the kids to see their principal acting like a crazy woman running down the hall, because I can't stand bats! However, the little boy was at least concerned about me because he asked me before going back to class what I was going to do if the bat got on me. I told him he didn't want to see that. Ü

Anyway, I went in the bathroom... (let me add an important side note here...a ceiling tile, just inside the door, had been removed that morning because our maintenance man was trying to find the source of a pool of water in the doorway). Now, back to my story...I went inside to look for the "bat" and found that there was a large spiderweb that was covered in dust hanging from the ceiling. It did in fact look like a bat that was flying due to the breeze from the fan they had blowing in an attempt to dry up the water. I smiled and went to get Chloe to have her confirm that what I saw was what she had seen. She cautiously walked into the bathroom and looked up in the ceiling, pointed to it and said, "Yes, see it's a bat!" I assured her it was a spiderweb but she was not convinced. So, I went to get a broom and then proceeded to rake it down and show it to her. And there you have it...I am Mrs. G, the bat slayer! I thought that would put an end to the "bat in the bathroom" rumor, but the rumormill was still rumbling today. Mrs. Simmoms, whose office is right near the bathrooms, was called on to assure a little 4 year old girl that there were indeed no bats in the bathroom!

There seems to always be something going on that has to do with the bathroom. This morning one of my teachers called up to the main office in a panic because a commode in the boys bathroom downstairs was, as the little kindergartener said, "over reflowing." So, Josephine the plummer, alias Mrs. G, grabbed her tools and a plunger and headed down to take care of it. Somehow in my masters program they failed to inform me that these type activities would be part of my duties as a principal. If they had, I might have re-thought the whole process. Nah...not really!
Oh the joys of being a principal who deals with first grade students who can see flying bats in fuzzy spider webs and "over reflowing" toilets. I wonder what tomorrow will hold?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

School's about to start...

Gosh, it has been almost a month since my last post. Not much has been happening other than I am back to work and busy getting ready for another year of school. It is kind of a love/hate event. I really hate having to give up my relaxed summer schedule of doing what I want when I want to, for the days of having to be at school by about 7:15 AM and not getting to leave until 3:30 PM. I know, I know, you folks that have to do this all the time are saying, whaaa, whaaa, whaaa. But my summer time off is one of the perks of being in education. However, I do love it when the teachers come up and start decorating the halls and their classrooms. It just starts my blood to pumping with excitement for what the year will bring.

I must admit that as I get older the beginnings and endings of the school year seem to all run together. Just about the time you get a year started and running well, it is time to end it and begin to plan for the next one. It is a great profession, especially Christian Education, because you not only get to impart factual knowledge to the students but more importantly...you get the privilege of sharing Jesus with them. What an awesome opportunity we have on a daily basis to touch the future for the Lord through the seeds we sow in these kids lives. So, I said all that to say, I was not ready to get back in the swing of things but now that I am...I am very excited to see what the Lord is going to do in the lives of the students He has brought our way.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Branson Vacation...the rest of the story

The internet at the condo was on-again-off-again, so I didn't get to finish posting the rest of the events from our vacation. So, here is "the rest of the story"....
We decided to spend Thursday by the pool again and then have a cookout on the lake. So, Norman got the fire going and Andrea, Camryn and I brought the hamburgers and hotdogs and all the fixin's down to the picnic area. We enjoyed the serenity of the area while others enjoyed boating and skiing on the lake. Camryn and her Papaw spent a while trying their hands at skipping rocks on the lake while I tended to the cooking and Andrea watched and enjoyed the peacefulness. After we ate our burgers and dogs, Andrea demonstrated the art of making S'mores. Camryn was not too sure about this, but finally got the hang of it.
Here are some pictures of the cookout:

Finding rocks to skip

Papaw shows his skills at skipping rocks

The "cook" checks on the meat

Chowin' down...(Camryn did not like the flies)

Andrea shows Camryn how to brown her marshmellow

Then Camryn tries her hand at it..

To quote Camryn, "WOW!!!! Now that is a flaming marshmellow!"

Next you put it together...

Then you eat it!!!

Friday, we had to be down at the Convention Center by 7 AM because Camryn's group was the first routine of the day. It was quite difficult to get all these little 4-6 years olds up and going at this hour of the morning. That is why I am not getting any smiles or poses out of Camryn in her
"Ice, Ice, Baby" costume. They did this dance at 8 and then had to be ready for their "Chapel of Love" routine by 8:30. Once those two dances were done she was finished for the day.

Their group got an Elite Gold 1st in their age category and 6th overall. The MC was talking to them asking them what they wanted to be when they grew up.

The "Chapel of Love" dance also scored Elite Gold 1st place points but got 3rd overall in the 8 an under category. We left after awards to eat lunch and then went back to watch the rest of our large groups compete.

And this is called, Dance Competiton Wipe-out! Camryn had danced in the back of the room most of the afternoon with her friends while the other groups from Ms. Karen's did their routines.

All in all it was a fun and relaxing week. We enjoyed the time off and loved getting to watch our kids perform. We look forward to next year and all that it holds.