Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Wow! It's been so long since I have written but life gets so crazy and everything you want to do slips away and everything you don't want to do stares you in the face until you do it. I can't believe summer is almost over. Only 3 weeks left until we go back to school! I am so ready for it. This summer has been so crazy. The kids are hitting the pre-teen or full blown teenager stage with mouths, attitudes, eye rolling, whatever mode and just plain why me. So needless to say I am ready to go back to work with 2000 high school kids who don't belong to me. So let me get to the updates on everyone.

Steven is 14, heading to 8th grade at Sandy Springs Middle School. He loves playing drums, basketball, football, and talking to girls. I think if texting was a class he would have an A in it. Steven is still playing assistant drummer at church and loving every minute. This summer he has spent some time at my mom's working for a local auction, which is really good for him. The boy loves to make his own money. He has found a friend up there that will buy anything from him. I bought Steven this cheap MP3 player for 20 bucks he sold it to the boy for $50.00 then downloaded songs on it and the kid paid him 30 bucks. Steven should be a used car salesman. He can sell anything or trade anything. He has even begun to sell ice cream to the kids outside. One child wanted peanut butter ice cream, which we didn’t have, so my son takes a marker, writes peanut butter on a fudge pop and sells in to him for $1.00. I don’t know if I should be scared or happy that he is willing to earn his own money. One thing for sure, we have gone over everything he cannot sell: sisters, TV’s, computer, anything that belongs to his sisters, CD’s, DVD’s, the dog and the cars.

Jewel is 11, heading to 6th grade at Sandy Springs Middle School. She loves playing flute, singing, dancing and looking cute. She is determined to marry a Jonas Brother, just not sure which one. This summer she has enjoyed swimming and sleeping as late as she can. One day I left her to sleep until she woke on her own, which was 1:00. I think my most memorable moment with Jewel was when I took her to the Dr. to get her shots for 6th grade. Just the usual 4 booster and the elected one was the Gardisil for young women. After talking with the pediatrician about my concern we both thought it was a good thing to get for them. So that same night at church our Pastor asked if anyone had a praise report. Jewel’s hand goes up and tells him that she got 5 shots and she cried. Then all of a sudden she also announces in front of the whole congregation that she also got the Gardisil shot for females only. I fell on my knees. Not to pray but of embarrassment. All I can say is she is proud that we are taking precautions so that she will not get certain types of cancer.

Jessica is 11, also heading to 6th grade at Sandy Springs Middle School. She loves the clarinet, singing, dancing, and being silly. I believe she wants to marry a Jonas Brother too, but not quite sure. Her most memorable event this summer was starting the summer off with whooping cough. I thought that was a thing of the past but not for us. She proudly took her shots but warned us she would cry and she was not excited about getting them. Then she proceeded to talk the Dr.’s head off for the next 45 minutes with everything and anything. HMMMMM wonder were she got that ????? All 3 kids attended their first overnight camp ever. They were gone for 4 days and 5 nights and never once missed me. I was like, how dare that church camp have a lake with a trampoline in the middle, horses, pool, gym, Christian rock band every night, air conditioning and food. They were so excited and didn’t care I was home missing them like crazy.

Sage is 8, heading to 3rd grade at Camp Creek Elementary. She loves dancing, and singing. She would love to marry a Jonas Brother too. We have had her for 3 weeks this summer which has been really great. Really gives everyone a chance to enjoy her and let her see what craziness goes here while she is gone. She has done a lot of traveling with her family this summer. We were trying to figure out how many states she has been in this summer and I believe it was 5. She is with us now for 10 days and is fitting in just fine. We played Phase 10 last night with all the kids and Sage could be a real poker player. She already has the POKER FACE. So serious, and she wasn’t letting anyone get a peek at her cards. We asked if she needed any help from me or Dad and she said no I am good. It was too funny.

Gracie will be 3 in Sept. She loves tennis balls, her blanket, hanging out the car window and her Mommy. I really believe she’s ready for everyone to go back to school and work so she can have the house to herself. But then again, she wouldn’t be getting all those extra snacks the kids feed her. Cinnamon Toast Crunch seems to her favorite and the kids are so careless in dropping a few for her.

Sam is doing great and liking his job at ZC Sterling. I think it’s the first job he hasn’t complained about since I have known him. He is supposed to be working on his book this summer but it’s hard when he has a wife that can’t go to sleep unless he is rubbing her butt. Then the kids have gotten us hooked on WEBKINZ. If you have children, never ever buy them one. It’s a stuffed animal of your choice and comes with a code that lets you go online and play games, feed it, and buy it a house to decorate. You can have a garden and even take it to school. It is so fun and it’s really educational for the young ones. Then Sam hooked me on Facebook and the games on there. Farkle is our latest craze. Between reading, keeping up with the Braves, Webkinz, Facebook, and loving me everyday life is a little busy for him.

I am great, loving life, God, my family, my wonderful husband. What more could I ask for? I am looking forward to returning to work in a few weeks. I still love working for school system in the cafeteria. This year is going to be a little strange in the afternoons. The twins don’t get out of school till 4 and I get out at 2. What will I ever do with my free time? I know! ENJOY PEACE AND QUIET!!!!! I hope everyone is doing well. You guys need to get busy and write back. Let me know how life is treating you? I miss all of you guys. Keep us in your prayers and we will do the same.

Love you all
Darlene and Sam
And Da Bunch

Monday, July 06, 2009


Wow! I can't believe it's been four months since I have written on my blog. As many of you know my mama had throat cancer and I was spending a lot of time in Maggie Valley taking care of her. Thank God, she is doing so much better. It was an uphill battle for several months but now I think she is finally reaching the end. She has lost a lot of weight and still isn't eating much. My puppy eats more in an hour than she does all day. Yesterday she drank a Carnation instant breakfast and that was all she had the entire day. Her taste buds are still really burned from the radiation. The doctor said they will never be the same but she should feel better in a few months. Thank you to all who sent up prayers, special thoughts, e-mails, phone calls--we really appreciate all of your support.

Summer is here and we are having a blast! Steven, Jewel, and Jessica spent a week at church camp in Commerece, Georgia. What a blast they had. There was a lake, pool, horses, slip 'n slide, gym, and evening services every day with a Christian Rock Band called Julian Drive. Of course Steven loved the band, being the drummer he is.

One night while the kids were gone, Sam and I were at Taco Bell when I got a text message from my friend and camp leader Lynn. She said Steven was in the altar raising his hands and crying out to God. Right there in Taco Bell, burrito in hand, the tears started flowing and I was thanking God that my 14 year old son was in an altar calling on God for guidance and strength. I know that there will be a lot of battles Steven will go through in his life and he may stray away from God, but what thrills me is to know that the seed has been planted. God's love will never leave you no matter how hard you try to ignore it. God's love grows in our lives daily. I am just thankful that we are able to bring our children up to know God. I am not one of those people who try to shove God down your throat. I will stand and tell the world I LOVE MY SAVIOUR!! I will share my testimony to anyone who is willing to listen. But as Joshua 24:15 says, "as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." I can't make my kids serve God but I can pray, plant the seed, and make my home a God fearing home.

Now we are in Maggie Valley. I bet you guys get tired of hearing about Maggie Valley, but if you ever come here you will know why we visit all the time (my parents are here). My Pop is having a small surgery tomorrow for his pacemaker--hopefully just changing the batteries and he can come home the same day. But if it's the leads then he will spend the night. So if you will, say a prayer for us; we would appreciate it. We are also here to do a little work this time. We are staining my parents' deck and their neighbors' deck. It's not a bad job. The kids help and we have music and little breaks. It's a nice family time. Sam, I am sure, is so upset because he had to go back home and work this week. I know he would have loved to help stain the decks. Not to worry, my sweet loving husband: I am sure the honey-do list I left you at home will keep you busy till I get back. I know I am the most thoughtful wife in the whole world.

Back home next week to get ready for our third week with Sage for the summer. It's nice when we get Sage for a week at a time. We try to cram a lot into her two day visit every other weekend. When you get her for a week it's nice just to spend time with her doing normal things like watching a movie together, or playing games, or just watching her play with the other kids outside. But I have to keep reminding myself that she is only 8, the twins are 11 and Steven 14 so they can fix their own breakfast and lunch or get something to drink without my help. Sage is 8 and needs a little help. One morning she stayed in the bedroom watching cartoons and about 11:00 she came out and I said, "did you have breakfast" and she was like, "ummmmm NO." I felt terrible cause everyone else did their own thing for breakfast and here she was watching tv and playing. So now Jewel is her breakfast buddy and Jessica is her lunch buddy and of course at dinnertime we are all buddies. But as a buddy every time you get something you must ask Sage if she wants something. HMMMMM that might not be a good idea though...Jewel thinks an ice pop is a breakfast item.

Hope everyone is doing well.....Rake, we miss your updates. Are you playing on Facebook now?

Till next time...

Monday, March 02, 2009

Update on mama

Hello everyone! I hope this letter finds everyone healthy and blessed. I surely know that my family is truly blessed this week. I wanted to give you an update on Mama's surgery--just a recap on what started our journey of the week. About a month ago Mama was diagnosed with carcinoma cancer in her throat, which turned out to be a very dangerous and fast spreading cancer. What started out as strep throat led into six months of different antibiotics then finally a referral to the ENT. Dr. Wenzel did a couple of biopsies only to find a cancerous tumor on her left tonsil.

On Tuesday the 24th we arrived at the hospital at 5:30 a.m. for a tonsillectomy and a neck dissection. We had so many people praying from churches all over the country that we were very confident that God was going to see us through this trial. We had churches on their knees in North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arizona, California, and I know several other states as well. They took her right in for surgery prep and by 7:30 she was in the operating room. The doctor had warned us to expect about five or six hours of surgery time.

The first call came at 9:30 to let us know the tonsil was out and everything in the throat area looked good and her voice box showed no sign of cancer.

The second call came at 11:30. The neck dissection was still going on. A lot of work had to be done on the neck so it would be a little longer.

The third call came at 12:30. The surgery was over and the doctor felt it was a great success. He removed seven lymph nodes and sent them to the pathologist for more testing. While still in surgery Dr. Wenzel called the oncologist and both agreed with the margins and removal of seven lymph nodes. Along with 5 weeks of radiation her recovery outcome was looking really great. Thank you Jesus for your wonderful healing.

Once we got to her room she arrived a few minutes later. As soon as she saw us the tears started. We even had the nurses crying. One nurse said, "I don't know if I can do this patient; it's only been 2 minutes and I am an emotional wreck!" What a wonderful group of nurses we had. They kept us informed on everything and anything. By Day Two Mama was missing her dog so much that I brought her to the hospital so Mama could go to the window and watch her play outside. As I was returning to the hospital I got a phone call that said Mama had became very dizzy and had to be put back to bed. Bring the dog to her room, WHAT?????????? Yes, the head nurse said, as long as she was a small dog we could bring her in the room. Sherry (my sister) met me in the parking lot and covered the dog up with my sweater and off we go in the elevator. 7th floor, room 711, one dog that brought Mama so much happiness and yes, more tears. Lil Girl and Mama played for 20 minutes. They both were so happy to see each other.

Friday they finally let Mama come home. She is still in a lot of pain from the neck dissection. She is having some trouble swallowing but all in all she is on the road to a full recovery. Everyone here is tired even though all we do is watch her sleep and jump every time she moans. We even cry every time she opens her eyes because we realize this could have turned out so differently for us.

So with a full blessed heart I ask each of you to reach out today by phone, e-mail, or in person to your mom, father, wife, children or that special person in your life and let them know you love them with all your heart. Because for the last month I have been scared to death that I was about to lose the greatest woman I have ever known.

To my Mother and My Best Friend: I love you with all my heart and soul. You have always been there for me. You've taught me right from wrong. Most of all, though, you taught me to respect, love and care for those close to my heart. I pray to God that I can be a great example to my family like you have been to us. Words will never be able to explain what my heart holds for you. I love you never seems enough when it comes to you. I hope that my children love me the way I love you. Thank you for being so strong for us. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for being you, the greatest woman I will ever know. I love my Mama!!!!!!

Y'all knew good and well I was going to get all sappy and teary eyed before the letter was over. Thank you for all your prayers, thoughts and well wishes . Cancer is hard to deal with by itself but with wonderful family and friends like you, it was made a lot easier.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Welcome Home Michael Thorne

Michael at age 1

Michael now

What a blessing my family received this past Saturday. My brother's oldest son got in touch with our family after 23 years of hoping, praying, crying for his return to our family. Michael was born when I was in the 8th grade, first grandchild born to our family and we spoiled him rotten. I still can remember the day he was born and the cute crew cut hair he had. If I wasn't there when he was born I would have sworn someone shaved his head like a military cut.

Both parents were very young when he was born so he spent a lot of time at our house. Everyone spoiled him rotten. Since I was not the best one to help clean house with mama I always got to take Michael outside to play. It was my duty as a loving Aunt to push this little boy around the yard in the stroller or play in the pool with him. I was a teenager who hated housework, of course I will take care of my nephew. He was the love of our family. Everything in our house revolved around Michael.

When he was two his parents spilt and a custody battle began. My mom had custody for a while then his mom had it and back and forth until he was three at which time his mom was awarded full custody and left for N.Y. We still had visitation but when Christmas came and my brother went to N.Y. to get him, they had moved away and no forwarding address was given. Later we found out he might have been in California.

The next several years were very, very devastating to my family. Life went on but the memory of Michael Thorne was in every heart of everyone in our family. Pictures remained up and we talked about him so that all the new additions to our family knew he was/is part of our family forever. Often we looked him up on the internet or called his family for information but found out nothing until this past Saturday.

We had just returned home from Maggie Valley when I got the call that Michael had called my brother and was on the phone with my mama. Immediately I called mama and all I heard was Darlene and then there was a lot of crying on both sides. All the kids thought something terrible had happened. For the next several hours I sat in front of the computer with a cell phone on each ear: one to my mama in Maggie Valley and one to my sister in Fayetteville, who happened to be at my brothers waiting on pictures of Michael to come in e-mail. Needless to say we are still celebrating and thanking God for answering our prayers.

I spoke with Michael that night. I didn't have a clue what to say I was just overwhelmed that I was actually talking to him. He is living in California with his wife and a son, Michael Lee, and is expecting his second child any day now. Steven is hoping for the 10th so the new baby can share his birthday. We are hoping he can visit after the baby is born since his in-laws actually live in North Carolina, of all places. If not my mom and brother are planning a trip out there ASAP!!!!! What an amazing way to start the NEW YEAR!

So Michael, welcome home my nephew and we love you so much.

Till next time GOD IS LOVE!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I am back with lots of juicy gossip......

OMG! It's been so long since I have written. We have been so busy with the Christmas program at our church since October that there has been no time to write. Sam is going to write about our singing debut. The kids all had great parts in the Christmas play called A Jamaican Christmas. Steven had leading role as a wannabe pirate. Jewel was the one who hated everything dirty and even came out on stage spraying air freshener and constantly washing her hands with sanitizer. Jessica was the new kid in Jamaica. Sage was one of the islander children who got the best line in the play according to all the kids: "My mask was of a wise mon." All three girls had a singing solo in the play and did a wonderful job. Lots of supporters were there. Thank you Grandmama, Grandaddy, Uncle Bill, Aunt Liz, Mia, Jackson and Priscilla (from my work). It was a fun night for all.

Then off we went to Fayetteville North Carolina to spend Christmas with my family. OMG! We travel to Maggie Valley, N.C. every other weekend and it only takes us about three hours. When we go what we call "all the way home" it takes more than six hours. We were some tired folks Sunday night when we got back home to Georgia. But what a wonderful time we had with my brother Edward and his wife Emily. Thank you for letting us stay with you guys. We got to spend Christmas Eve with my grandmother or GRANNY (she hates when I call her that). Granny is half deaf and we love to tease her and have fun with her. She is a great sport. Then my cousin Melissa was there. The twins call her PRETTY WOMAN. Needless to say Sam got to see what the real Darlene was like. A lot of clowning around, old stories, and some tears from laughing so hard. It is always nice to go back home and see family. After five days we were off to South Carolina for a day so the kids could spend time with their dad. He was working a lot over the holiday and had just one day to spend but we took advantage and Sam and I stayed in a hotel while the kids got to have a sleepover with their Dad. Sam, Gracie and I got a hotel and had some quite time.

I must talk about the EX's for a moment. Why do people just assume that because Andy is my ex-husband that Sam hates him. Or the same goes for Sam's ex girlfriend and the mother of his child. Am I supposed to not like her? The day I got my divorce the past was in the past and that is where I want it to stay. Sam finally got to meet Andy for the first time and you would be amazed how excited the kids are that Sam and Daddy got along. Yes, Sam knows the whole story of Andy's and my past but that is where it is. They talked, shook hands, and everything was fine. Steven was so surprised that they talked. He is still talking about it. As far as Sam's ex goes, I actually had a couple of chances to talk to her over the holidays and enjoyed our talks. Why have any hard feelings toward her. It's not about us, it's about Sage. Because there are children involved on both sides anger, hate, and dislike can't be part of our world. Because no matter what we are tied together for the rest of our lives because of our children. But everyone expects you to just hate an EX because they are an EX!!!! It's amazing how much pressure is put on children when there are ex's involved. My kids were always afraid to have their Dad meet Sam and now they are so excited that he did. Steven is already thinking maybe their dad can come to Georgia for a visit and go a Braves game. But remember, it's a visit, not to stay..........we are ex's for a reason........LOL!!!!!!

So on to fun stuff. Today was 75 cent day at the theater and we went to see Beverly Hills Chihuahua and it was so cute and funny. All the kids got $50.00 from Grandmama and Grandaddy plus college fund money and a gift card to Barnes and Noble. Uncle Bill and Aunt Liz came through with Walmart cards so of course we were off to shop after that. Our rule is the kids must spend a portion of their money on clothing or shoes then the rest on whatever they would like. Needless to say everyone was shopped out and ready to go home when I overheard a Sales Associate say we have to mark all these down to $1.00. Well of course I heard that from two aisles over and had to check it out. They were marking down these cool pj pants (they light up!) from $10.00 to $1.00 dollar. The shirts were marked down from $8.00 to $1.00. Yes! $1.00, 4 quarters, 10 dimes, 20 nickels, 100 pennies. If anyone knows me they know I love a bargain so off we went to search for pj's for the girls. Thank you Walmart! Mom and Dad I will send you a detailed list of what the kids all got. It was unbelievable.

It's official. I am back and will start posting more on the life of The Brady, Shirey, and Law Family. We are off to Maggie Valley after New Years for a couple of days. In case I don't get back, Happy New Year to all....................... Til next time, God is love.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mother-Daughter Banquet

Before the banquet

Our church had a mother-daughter banquet Saturday which turned out to be a great night for the entire family. The banquet was for prayer moms and their prayer daughters. My prayer daughter is a beautiful young teenager named Melissa. Over the next year it is my responsibility to pray, listen, guide and be there for Melissa. It's a great program to get all our women and young ladies involved with one another. Jewel's prayer mom is the pastor's wife Ms. Marilyn, Jessica's prayer mom is Ms. Bev, Sage's prayer mom is Ms. Debbie who is the wife of the pastor's son and also has a daughter Sage's age.

Most of these prayer moms send a little card to their prayer daughters saying I am thinking of you, or a small gift just to say I am here if you need me. Most give a word of encouragement every time they see them at church. It's not like we hover over them screaming religion in their ears. We're just letting them know someone else is thinking of them daily and cares about them.

So anyway, the evening started off with a few songs, and a couple of guest speakers. Our own Ms. Bev spoke of being a cancer survior three times, and is fighting another round of cancer, in her liver this time. What a powerful message she gave us. She encouraged us to stay strong in our faith and never give up. Then a guest speaker named Charlon shared with us her times as a Youth Pastor and how we need to keep our children close to God and in church.

As a mom of three kids I get so excited when I see my son on the platform playing drums, or my girls singing in front of the entire church. I have a 13 year son that can't wait to go back to church. I used to think it was because of friends. Recently though I asked him what the pastor talked about and he told me things I did not hear myself and he understood the message. The world is so crazy and has too many bad things to offer our children. I thank God daily that my children want to be at church. I thank God for the wonderful youth program that Alpharetta Church of God has. Thank you Lynn and Brad Anglin for giving so much of yourself to our children.

After our short program we were off to eat a wonderful dinner by candlelight in the fellowship hall. Then a few games and lots of gifts for our prayer daughters and door prizes for everyone. I have to tell you one game we played was to dress up one person in our group with materials given to you in a bag. After everyone taped, toilet papered, stuck, tied beads and cotton balls all over my neighbor Sabrina, she had to walk the runway. Needless to say Ms. Sabrina won the prize of most beautiful. All in all we had a great time. I can't wait till the next banquet.

Till next time GOD IS LOVE!