Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Photo Slew

Occasionally I’ll find myself with a whole slew of uncategorized pictures that don’t fit into any particular post and yet I still love them and would like to post them somewhere. At some point. Hopefully.

And so today is the day when I gather all those poor, forlorn, lonely photos together and promise them a post of their own. Because there’s nothing worse than a bunch of depressed pictures, slogging around in my computer, bemoaning their fate, wearing tiny, matching “Woe R Us,” t-shirts and just otherwise causing dissension among the ranks of my otherwise happy picture family.

So in order to maintain pictorial peace, here ya go . . .

Nathan took these two pictures shortly after he had gotten home from Florida. We’d had Steve’s birthday dinner earlier in the evening and then, after cleaning up, all of us collapsed in the living room for an hour, just to talk. And snooze. And be incredibly, extremely lazy.

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Before we sat down, however, I had told Nathan that I could “take him down.” He responded by saying, “Okay, Mom. Hit me as hard as you can.” And every time I’d punch him in the arm, he’d just laugh. Maniacally. As though my little feather light punches were the most amusing things he’d encountered in quite some time.

Sigh. I guess I won’t be starring in any action movies anytime soon.


Nathan sitting down with Snowy for a man-to-man talk. I mean after all, they’re both College Dudes, right?


Of course whenever Nathan’s home, the time always comes for the obligatory brother/sister pose where I tell Nathan, “Now don’t make funny faces.”

You can see how well that works.


You can also see that Snowy is very much invested in the proceedings.


Finally. A normal face. (And a still snoozing canine.)


Okay, I promise I will not keep on mentioning my surgical drains forever and ever, but I just couldn’t keep myself from sharing this picture because it still amazes me that I had FOUR of these babies snaking out of various holes in my skin after surgery. FOUR, I tell you! Four drains that had to emptied and analyzed and stowed away under clothing in a manner that didn’t make it evident that I was wearing four drains. Which, I have to say, is impossible to do. I mean, how does one go about hiding large plastic bulbs emerging all willy nilly from one’s body?

One doesn’t.

I’m so happy to have The Drain Chapter over and done with!


Alrighty, then. Bouncing off to yet another subject (dogs, drains, punching—what next?) this photograph illustrates my husband’s well-developed, well defined and incredibly competent fixing skills. We’ve had two wicker laundry baskets in the family for many years now and quite frankly, I’ve become rather attached to them. Sadly, the handle on this particular basket fell off. I mean just Fell. Off. No warning, no two-week notice, no nothin’.

Steve pondered the situation for a short while and then, creatively utilizing wire and electrical tape, re-attached said handle to said basket. Maybe he should have been a surgeon instead of a pastor? He’s a great fixer of stuff!


I wrote yesterday that Nathan left for Florida yesterday morning. He called us at about 9 pm to let us know he had safely arrived. Since you already know pretty well the family he left behind (us!), I thought I’d show you a picture of the family he arrived at. They take really, really good care of him. (Thanks, Hawleys!)

And speaking of the Hawleys, someone had left a comment asking how Meagan was doing after her jaw surgery. She’s not all the way back to 100%, but is doing much better and is enjoying eating REAL food after several weeks on a liquid diet.

nate and hawleys

And finally, here is The Lovely Daughter of the Smith Home, reading some poems she was assigned to write in school. Although I’ll be posting one or two of the poems on her her website soon, let me just say right here that Steve, Nathan and I were incredibly impressed by the depth of her writing.

This was the last evening before Nathan left so it was extra special to gather together in the living room by lamp light and spend a few peaceful moments listening to poetry written and read by a miracle child.


Sweet times.

Friday, May 28, 2010


(Note: Just this morning, Sheri, my dear friend (and Meagan's mom), posted a new blog entry that made me smile and also made me nod my head in sympathy and great understanding. Click here to read it!)

And now on to my post . . .

One short hour ago, Nathan got into his car and pointed its hood south toward Florida. Toward away from home. Toward, no longer in North Carolina.


Even though I knew it was coming, I’m never really prepared for the Actual Moment. The Actual Leaving. The Actual Being Gone. The Actual Absence of the Actual College Dude.

Before he left though, Steve made sure to get some work out of him. (And Nathan got some “work salary” out of Steve so it “worked” out pretty well!) Yesterday they spent about seven hours installing our automatic garage door opener.


And speaking of Nathan and working, he got word a couple days ago that the job he was banking on in Florida didn’t come through. He had impeccable references and a great interview but they told him that his application had gotten in a little later than everyone else’s and by the time they got to it, the positions were filled.

So that means that Nathan has had two “sure thing” jobs fall through in the last couple of months and now he’s really behind, trying to land a job in Florida when most college students have already started working. It’s been sort of a bummer, but he’s kept a good attitude about it. (He’s looking in the Lakeland/Winter Haven area if anyone knows of anything.)

Last night, as Steve and Nathan were out in the garage finishing up their job, one of our wonderful church members pulled into the driveway with this bag for Nathan full of good advice and good goodies. Don’t you love the name? “The Front Seat Bag.”

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This morning when he came downstairs (wearing the t-shirt from the Front Seat Bag), I fixed him breakfast since it would be my last chance to cook for him for many months. (Sniff.)


This is the look he gets on his face if anyone threatens to take his food away. Don’t even think about it!


Before Sarah left for school, a hug ensued. (Sniff.)


And a brother/sister pose.


And then it was time to pack the car. Obviously Nathan didn’t wear all these clothes while he was here; he’s just using his car as a “second home” while he’s transitioning between dorm living and his summer accommodations. (He’ll be staying with Meagan’s sister and brother-in-law over the summer.)


He had to unpack a few things in order to re-pack and he needed someone to hold onto his ties for a minute.


Guess who was elected as the Tie Tree?IMG_4611

While Nathan was packing, Snowy nonchalantly strolled outside thinking, “Hmm. Nathan has some snacks in the Front Seat Bag. I wonder if I can just sneak into the car and stow away without anyone noticing.”


Looking for a spot to hide between the suitcases.


Double checking to see if anyone is noticing his surreptitious movements.


Oh drat. Noticed. Removed. Held captive. (Sigh.)


In case you’re wondering what the well dressed College Dude wears to travel, the answer is: a t-shirt, basketball shorts and flip flops. I must say I’m just slightly jealous of men who can get dressed in about twenty-five seconds. Maybe my new, post-surgical look should be basketball shorts and flip flops. Ya think?


The last hug. (I’m not crying yet.)


Watching him back out of the driveway. This is when I cried.


I think Ill just spend the day gazing fondly at this picture of my sandals next to his.

Mementos of a special time. With an extra special son. (Sniff)


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Nathan Edition

I’m sorry to have to report that a certain visit from a certain young man is quickly coming to an end.

Nathan will head back to Florida on Friday morning, leaving behind many happy memories and wonderful sprinkles of Nathanism. I can’t tell you how lovely it’s been having the four of us back together for a couple weeks, especially in the aftermath of my surgery and recovery. Having Nathan’s goofy, wacky, loving presence back in my life has been good medicine.

I know that whenever he comes home after a long absence, I always take endless pictures of things around the house that officially announce his presence. Usually, it’s keys.


This time around, however, I got a picture of his Bible (which he got on his 18th birthday from Steve and me) lying on the coffee table.


Another picture of Nathan Stuff; I especially love this one.


As you can probably tell, Nathan did some some yard work while he was here, pulling weeds, spreading mulch, and other miscellaneous yard type duties. Nothing quite like having our own Yard Man! (Or should I say, Yard Dude?)

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Of course, his presence in our lives also meant that a lot more food was consumed than normal. During a recent (rare) meal out, Nathan ordered TWO appetizers for his meal—boneless chicken wings and mozzarella sticks. I was astonished at how much food that child can put away! (He’s either smelling the food or praying over it—I’m not quite sure.)


Here’s Nathan with his entire family—the three people who will miss him most dreadfully when he goes.


And to close, here are a few vintage picture of Nathan, just to give me even more reason to get all sniffly and weepy over his soon departure. (As I’ve stated before, I will only post these types of family pictures if you solemnly promise you will not laugh at the different permutations of my hair style.)

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I’ve never posted this one before and, even though Nathan isn’t prominently featured, the picture still made me smile. I’m not quite sure where this particular outhouse was, but we sure were having a good time with it! (My mom is between Steve and me, then it’s Randy and Debbie, and then Steve’s parents.)

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Nathan with his late Grandpa Campbell. The two of them were best buddies.

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This was taken when all three Hawley sisters and Nathan were part of a musical production at the church Steve used to pastor in Smithfield. Nathan and Meagan weren’t dating at that time; he was just friends with all of them.

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Nathan is about the same age (14) as Sarah is right now. This was taken while Sarah was in treatment and she and I were gone a lot. Nathan had a lot to cope with that year—sister diagnosed with cancer; mom and sister at the hospital most of the time, new school, change in lifestyle, new church, etc. Steve and I are so proud of the way he made it through a very tough time.


And so ends the Nathan Edition. Hope you enjoyed it!

nate collage

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Snowy and Saline. And Happy News.

One thing that quickly becomes obvious after a person moves to Manteo is that there are pickup trucks everywhere. And not just empty pickup trucks. No, these trucks all have dogs in the backs of them.

And not just any old dogs. No, sirree, these are huntin’ dawgs. They are usually at least seventy pounds and they always stride purposefully back and forth in the beds of the trucks, looking out conscientiously at the passing scenery, trying to do their Official Designated Dawg Job and scent a deer or a duck, even while they’re smack dab in the middle of town.

Of course, as pastors, our family wants to try our best to become a part of the culture and relate to the people of Manteo; however, we seem to be unable to locate any pickup trucks on our premises. Or any huntin’ dawgs, for that matter.

All we have is a sedan. And a mini van. And a dog. A fluffy, white dog.

Sedans and fluffy dogs just don’t cut it when you’re in Huntin’ Dawg territory.

But this week, all that changed because Steve borrowed a pickup truck from a church member so that he and Nathan could do some hauling around of some unnamed stuff. (Whatever “stuff” it is that men have a propensity to haul around when they get near pickups.)

And so I got the idea. The Great Idea. The “This Will Make Us Official Manteo-ers” Idea. I got the idea of getting a picture of our very own dog in the back of our very own (borrowed) truck.

And here he is. Here is the Smith Family Huntin’ Dawg.

Ferocious. Focused. Alert. Ready to track down a 300-hundred pound bear through untamed woods and bring it to the ground with one vicious swipe of his massive (fluffy) paw.


And here is our dawg, licking his chops at the very thought of fresh bear meat. Cooked over an open camp fire. Consumed with all the other dawgs in Manteo.

Snowy is so pleased to finally get to join the Brotherhood of the Huntin’ Dawgs.


Then Snowy looks down and suddenly thinks, “Oh wait. What am I doing here? In a truck? A truck, of all things? I ain’t no huntin’ dawg! I’m a puffy, precocious, precious pet! I don’t want to face off with a grizzly bear. I want my mama!”


Mom? Brother? Anyone? Helloooo?


Whew. Saved from the truck. Saved from bein’ a huntin’ dawg. Saved from large (non fluffy) grizzlies. That was a close call!

Thanks, brother.


And in other lovely news, here is the view from the Great Saline Fill of yesterday.

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Big needles.


And a table on which to lie while the needles are applied.


Just thought I’d share.


Two more things before I close:

Thing one:

The house is Smithfield is being closed on, even while we speak! Yay!

Thing two:

We got Sarah’s urine results back last night. Anything under twelve is normal and Sarah is at THREE!!!

When she was diagnosed, those same tests came back at four hundred, which tells you the massive amount of Neuroblastoma she had in her body at that time.

So we had a lot of happy rejoicing to do last night. Hurray and hallelujah!