Saturday, December 30, 2006

Land of the Limberlost and Loblolly Marsh

Sounds like a made up story right from the start. But I promise that the story heretofore contained in the aft metioned post is 100% unaltered and entirely true based solely on my recollection from todays events that began at 5 a.m.. If you agree to read further in this post, you must subscribe to the terms and conditions as set forth by the people of the Land of the Limberlost. Just kidding the terms and conditions thingy sounded official though. But, the story is true. So today my father in law and I had to make a trip over into Indiana to pick up something. As we were driving we began seeing signs saying Land of the Limberlost and Loblolly Marsh. We left at 5:30 a.m. so at first I thought I must still be alseep and for some unknown reason to me, I was dreaming that I was playing the board game Candy Land and my character was lost in the Limberlost Forest. But then I realized that I couldn't be asleep because I was driving. Anyway as we got closer I had one of the most surreal moments I have experienced in quite a while. As we were driving along, we realized that we were in the heart of Amish country. There were buggies going down the road everywhere. These were the Amish of Geneva,Indiana. It was amazing to see. It was about 35 degrees out and everyone of them were travelling in their buggies. Then I saw something that I haven't ever seen in all my years of youth ministry. I saw about 15 or so teenage boys and girls awake at 7 a.m.. And not only were they awake but they were all going into the chicken house to work. Imagine that, teenagers in our country working at 7 a.m.. I know right now that some of you parents are wanting directions so that you can send your kids there for camp so that they can learn to do chores and not expect $100. It was probably one of the coolest experiences that I have had lately. I couldn't help but think that these people seemed so at peace with life. They were in no big hurry but yet they seemed purposeful with everything they did. Just going to town required them to get up, go to the barn and ready their buggy and then hitch up the horse and then head off to town.
One of the last things that I saw reminded me that in many ways the Amish are like us also. As we were heading out of town, I saw an Amish man teaching his daughter to drive. Many of you remember when your parents taught you to drive and all of the headaches with them screaming at you and telling you to watch out. Well just imagine if they had taught to drive when you were 8. That's right, as we were heading out of town there was a man teaching his 8 -10 year old daughter how to drive a buggy. It was awesome. And so ends my day in the Land of the Limberlost and Loblolly Marsh.

Friday, December 29, 2006


Ok, so Melissa and I have been having a debate this afternoon. Today, her and her mother went to the mall to get away for a couple of hours. While in the mall she paid a visit to my most unfavorite store(because of all the apricot smelling crap), Bath and Body Works. While she was in the store a man came in the store wearing a man bag/man pouch. He was all alone with a man bag buying apricot(or some other fruit that I have never seen) scented body wash. Sound sissy yet? Well, to top it off, he had a small dog (ala Paris Hilton) in his man pouch/bag. She then proceeded to tell me that that wasn't very sissy. I had to disagree. 1st, he was alone in Bath and Body Works. Ok, maybe he was buying a gift for his wife. I'll give some him some slack here. 2nd, he was wearing a man pouch. Not very cool when you're going to be shopping. I can cut a little slack here and say maybe he was a dork with no sense of fashion. 3rd, having a dog tucked away in your man pouch like you're a mama kangaroo and he's your little joey. Sissy sissy sissy sissy sissssssssssy. But here's the deal, I'm gonna let you decide. Under comments either enter, sissy or a bad case of judgment.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

My Winterfest Shirt

Holder will understand this. Looks like Meerkat Manor. Or maybe your winterfest shirts.

Week of Presents

This has been a great week for Isaac. He began opening gifts last Thursday and it continued through today. Having your birthday two days after Christmas allows you to really rack up on the gifts during the holiday season. It is still hard to believe that he is 9 years old today.
The last few days has been sort of reflective for Melissa and I. Last year, we all three spent Christmas Eve in the hospital with him experiencing fevers of 105-106. It is amazing and overwhelming all the things that have happened since his last birthday. He has had numerous surgeries, spent a week in ICU, spent 8 months in the hospital, received chemotherapy, and had a bone marrow transplant. Melissa and I were talking tonight and what continues to amaze us is despite have four lines coming out of his chest, having to wear a mask all the time, being unable to run and play, yet he never complains. He is grateful for everything. We are grateful for him. We are grateful for your prayers. We hope that you all experience an unbelieveable year in 2007.

The fish tank

So I mentioned in one of my posts that Santa had picked up a fish aquarium for Isaac. I was reading the directions on setting it up and I came across direction #5. This is actually what it said. It read "#5 Be sure not to keep the tank too heated. Otherwise, it will have a fishy smell that smells fishy". I thought to myself, could there be a fishy smell that smells different from fishy? Could there actually exist a fishy smell that smells like cat spray? Or could there be a fishy smell that smells like elephant poop? Anyways, you get the point. Now every morning I'm going to be sniffing the tank to make sure there is no fishy smell that smells fishy.

Monday, December 25, 2006

A visit from Santa

Isaac awoke this morning to find that Santa had paid him a night time visit with lots of toys and surprises. He told us last night that he thought Santa would remember him because of all the surgeries and stuff that he had this past year.
Something funny happened last night about 1 a.m.. Well, it wasn't funny but it was. About 1 a.m. a fire rescue squad came down our street going to the retirement home just a 100 yard away. The funny thing was that it didn't have it's sirens going but it did have it's red light flashing. Isaac was still awake in the bed when it went by and we were able attribute the flashing red light to Rudolph. The timing could not have been better. Isaac left Santa a note, cookie cake and his favorite Coca Cola. We have told Isaac that Santa gets tired of drinking milk at all the other houses and really wants Coca Cola.
In other news, Isaac is in the Greenville News today. Have a great Christmas.
P.S. we are supposed to get some snow tonight. I know all of our southern friends are jealous.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Isaac in the News

Isaac's article has been posted on this morning. It is under the headline "Christ is born in the suffering and compassion of children". I believe it will appear in the actual paper tommorow with pictures.

Twas the night before the night before Christmas

Twas the night before the old big fat jolly guy breaks into my house to bring some presents or something like that. I can't remember the rest of the poem, something about playing a game of mouse trap, take a nap, sit a while in Santa's lap etc etc.
Today has been a super busy but fun day as well. We had some guests from First Baptist Church in Florence,KY and as well as Woodlawn Baptist Church in Baton Rouge Lousianna drop off some more gifts for Isaac's Christmas Train Project. After that, Isaac had his own 30 minute photo shoot. A lady from the Cincinnati Enquirer stopped in to take tons of photos for the Greenville News back home. He enjoyed all the attention and had a blast while he was getting his pictures taken. He will be in the Christmas Day Edition of the Greenville News. Still no word on what section. We'll post it as soon as we know.
Next it was time for Santa's Elves to head out for a few last stocking stuffers.(We ended up with a fish aquarium. I've been trying to get that to fit in the stocking for hours now and for some reason the felt lining keeps leaking water.) Thankfully, Santa was very diligent in his planning this year and there are no presents that have "some assembly required", which actually translates "daddy's frustration and bad language sold seperately". So for all of you other Santa's helpers out there, I will be with you in spirit tommorow night. Nah I'm lying. While you're throwing tools across the garage or saying bad words to Mattel in your living room, I will be sound asleep.
After we went out shopping we stopped by The Ronald McDonald House to drop off one final load of gifts from the Christmas Train Project.
When we got home Isaac was here waiting to go see Christmas Lights. This week someone told us about the Mason Light Display. It is the actual light show that was featured on the Today Show, CBS News, and is being used in a beer commercial this year. You can check it out on youtube. Search for Christmas Lights Gone Wild. The guy had to close it down last year due to all of the traffic in his neighborhood and this year they have built two replicas of the front of his house at a local park and it features an awesome light show. We waited in our car for 1 1/2 hours just to get to drive up to it and it was definately worth the wait. Isaac sat the entire time with his mouth wide open grinning and wondering how he synchronized the lights to the music. It is well worth the ride over to Mason, if you're in the Cincinnati area.
We got back from the lights around 11:30 p.m. and Santa's elves still had to go to the basement to wrap presents while Isaac was asleep. Actually my mom and Melissa wrapped the presents. I just held the tape. I am good at that part. Wrapping to me is tying off the top of the Wal Mart bag or possibly even double bagging the gift if I want to keep it a surprise.
Well, it's 1 a.m and I'm going to bed.

Friday, December 22, 2006


Be sure to check out Isaac in The Greenville News on Christmas Day. They are planning on doing a feature story on him and the spirit of Christmas. From what we can tell it will be either in the main section or possibly in the Lifestyle section. The Cincinnati Enquirer is coming by the house tommorow to take pictures of Isaac to send to South Carolina for the story. If you are not in the upstate of South Carolina, you can check it out at As soon as we see what section it is in, I will post it on his web site and mine.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Life Lessons Learned 2006 Edition

This year has been a probably the toughest year we have ever faced. We have been on a roller coaster for a year and a half. To say stressful would be an understatement. But one thing that we have learned this year is to laugh. I f we hadn't learned to laugh we probably would have been institutionalized by now. And the cool thing is that Isaac has been the one that has taught us this lesson the best. Even after all he has been through this year he still has laughed and made us laugh. I remember when all of his hair fell out form the chemo except for this one little mohawk strip. He would sit and make faces and have his strip of hair looking all wild.
I remember the night that he was hooked up to several iv meds and he had to try and hurry to go poop. Well I got him there and just as he bent over, he erupted with projectile diahrea. It went up the wall and all over the floor. I got him cleaned up and back into the hospital bed and then I looked into the bathroom at the mess on the wall and floor. I was mad. Melissa was at the apartmment alseep and here I was cleaning up dook. Well I got geared up(two pair rubber gloves and a gown and face mask) and headed into the bathroom. I get on my knees in the floor and I hear him laughing so hard. I got madder. I thought he is in the bed laughing and Melissa is sleeping and I am cleaning up dook. Well after a few minutes of me gagging, Isaac began to laugh harder. After a while I thought, you know here he is fighting for his life and he finds it humorous that he just has had an accident and it splatted on the wall, and I am perfectly healthy and I am a mad. It made me think. I have to be able to laugh at situations. Being mad isn't going to help anything. So I started laughing to. There are tons of things we have learned to laugh at as a family like when I barked like a dog out loud in a Texas Roadhouse or how we try to make up different voices at the fast food drive thrus(my favorite is my 13 year old boy going through puberty while I order voice. Isaac and Melissa like that one too. Well actually Isaac likes it, Melissa tries to hide her face from the people working as she is embarrassed by our shenanigans.) or when I stood at the side of the road blowing bubbles at passing cars. Lighten up it's ok to laugh.
Tommorow I will share some more life lessons as well as a cool interview for the Greenville News.

Life is good

Life is good. Right now as I write, I am enjoying my favorite dessert on the planet while watching my second favorite movie.(My favorite movie of all time has to be Saving Private Ryan. The scene where a dying Tom Hanks looks up at Matt Damon as says to him "earn this". And then it flashes to him years later and he asks his wife to tell him he's lived a good life. I cried.) Enough with Private Ryan and back to my story. My mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year and I knew exactly what I wanted, a strawberry cake from NickHenrys in Powdersville. There are only two things I have missed from back home. I miss my recliner. I miss Zaxbys fries.(They don't have Zaxby's up here in the north. And third, I miss me some cake from Nickhenrys in Powdersville. Any kind from there will do but strawberry has got to be the best. If you're heading up 81 stop in some time and ask for the strawberry cake or the peanut butter cake or the chocolate cake. But anyways, while I was sitting here enjoying my cake I came across my second favorite movie of all time Claymation Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer. Life is Good. Hey Bryan, maybe you could use that for something. Life is Good

When you get older

I have always wondered what happens to people when they get old that causes them to just start talking out loud to themselves when they're in public. If you are old, I'm not trying to offend you. But heck, you're the one that is old. That's not my fault. So tonight I went to an auction hunting for some deals to put on ebay. As soon as the auction began, I noticed that an older gentleman behind me was talking out loud. At first I thought he was talking to someone beside him. He continued to get louder until finally I couldn't hear the auctioneer because of him talking. I finallly turned around to see who he was talking to and sure enough no one else was there. He was talking to himself trying to convince himself to bid on different items. And then once he bought a few items, he had an argument with himself over whether or not he already had one like the one he just bought. I left the auction and came back to the house and decided to mess around out in the garage. I had been outside about 10 minutes when Melissa walks out and asks who I'm outside talking to. Right then it hit me, I had been standing in the garage talking to myself over what project I was gonna work on. Crap, that old peopleotitus must be contagious.

That's about all I have for today. Join me next time for "The lessons I've learned this past year". Same bat time, same bat channel.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Weird Moments

Have you ever experienced one of those weird moments where you found yourself laughing out loud at something that no one else thought was funny? Well, today we took Isaac to see Charlotte's Web at the movie theater. We try to go to the noon showing because there is usually only about 5 -10 people in the movies and that works out good since he can't be around crowds still. The movie starts out with the momma pig having 11 piglets. Well the problem is that the momma pig only has 10 teats.(just a quick sidenote... the scene from Meet the Parents just ran through my mind as I'm writing this and I'm laughing right now. "Can you milk me Greg?") Ok, back to the story. The dad picks up the runt and picks up and axe and starts to go kill the piglet. The little girl says no I won't let you kill it. Here is where I busted out laughing because in the very next scene as soon it fades in, it shows the mom cooking bacon. Something about this struck me funny. After I let out a couple of loud bursts of laughter, I realized that some of the 5 or so kids in there were about to cry. Probably not the right moment to laugh. Overall though it was a good kids movie. Try not to laugh at the bacon or when the dad uses the word teat, even though in your mind now you will see Robert De Niro at the dinner table.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Weekend

This past weekend has been good for Isaac. We got to rest some after a busy week with the train project. Some friends were in town and Isaac had a chance to see someone different other than Melissa and me. Yesterday, he got a chance to do something every kid would want to do. He was invited to the CSX Corporate Christmas Party here in Cincinnati. They set it up where he could go to it an hour before everyone else arrived. He still can't be in crowds so it was awesome for them to let him in before all their employees and families got there. He got to tour the train car shop where they repair box cars. We had the chance to go inside a real train engine and caboose. He had a million questions for all the workers there. Special thanks to Chris Stevens for setting that up for him.

Today, we went to the toy store and let him pick out his birthday presents. Isaac will be 9 years old next Wednesday. That's hard to believe. Man, I feel old. But not as old as a few of my friends that have kids in high school. Now those people must realllllly feel old. LOL.

We hope to have some video from the train project in a a week or so. We're trying to figure out a way to put it on the internet for everyone to see. I'll let you know when we figure out how we're going to do that.

Several of you sent me emails saying you enjoyed the Elf Yourself. Here is another one some of you may have already seen this one but this can be pretty funny too.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

You Name the Caption

I have decided that each Sunday I will be posting a picture and you name the caption. The only rules are that you must keep it kinda clean. This week's picture was given to me by Bryan Holder.

Excercise Anyone?

So today I did something that I have not done for quite some time. But first let me give you some background. Before we came to Cincinnati, I had developed a morning excercise routine. I would get up at 5:45 a..m and go cycling for 12 miles and then come home and shower and go to work. Needless to say my routine got broken up about 13 months ago when we arrived here for Isaac's bone marrow transplant. My new routine was a little different. It mainly consisted of sitting in a hospital room, eating, and sleeping and eating and sleeping and sitting some more.

Anyway, some friends of ours are in town(The Holders) and so today after taking a trip into the city, Bryan(that is Bryan next to the Nutcracker persony thing) and I decided to have a go at it in basketball. It was a warm day (about 65 degrees). Let me just say that I have parts of me hurting that I didn't know that I had. My vertical jump could have been measured metricly. I'm talking centimeters. Actually, I don't really think what I did classified as a jump but most likely it was an extended skip. As I write this my legs are aching, my arms are rubbery, I feel about 25 years older and to think we only played to the letter e in Horse.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Thoughts from Yesterday

Ok time for a quick recap for all of our new guests. Our son Isaac is 8 years old. He was born with a rare disease that required a liver transplant at age 3 and then subsequent complications from that meant that he needed a bone marrow transplant this past year at age 8. When we began talking about what he wanted for Christmas back in October, he suprised us both. He came to us and told us he wanted to sell some of his key chains that he had made so that he could buy presents for the kids in the hospital. Keep in mind he is 8. When I was 8, I wanted everything to be about me. But he has experienced more than my wife and I will ever experience. He has spent two Christmases in the hospital and he said that he knew what that was like and he wanted to make kids happy. Fast forward. We put on his website that he was wanting to give presents to some kids in the hospital. We had set a lofty of goal of providing presents for the 14 kids in the Bone Marrow Transplant unit.
The presents began arriving in early November and pretty soon we raised our goal to provide presents for the BMT and HEMOC departments(about 40-50 kids). Then December came and the presents began pouring in. We would receive 10, 12, 15, and even 17 boxes of gifts each day. Two weeks ago we realized that people had gotten on board with Isaac's project and we would be giving presents to the entire Children's Hospital(several hundred kids). Still more presents arrived and when all was said and done, Isaac was able to provide presents to the hundreds of kids in Children's Hospital, Shriner's Childrens, and enough for all of the families staying at the Ronald McDonald house in Cincinnati. What had started as an 8 year old's dream to put smiles on the faces of 14 had ended with hundreds of smiles on the faces of many beautiful children.
The day was filled with smiles. There were times that the joy of the kids receiving the gifts would make your heart break. We laughed, we smiled, and we cried. Thank you so much to everyone who sent have given gifts, money, and your time to make Isaac's Dream come true. Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support during this past year. It has been almost 13 months since we have been home. Isaac continues to improve. Pray that his blood counts continue to come up and hopefully we can go home soon.

Article on Isaac

Isaac is on the main page online of today. Click on the link "Powdersville boy spreading hospital cheer". It is under the latest updates section.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Last Post for Today

Ok so we've had a long day and I will blog more about our experience tommorrow as well as add some more pics from the Isaac Christmas Train Project. Thanks for stopping by and I'll see you tommorrow. Sammy

Still even more pics from the big Day

Even More PIcs from the Big Day

More Pics from the big day

The Big Day

What an amazing day. The big event went off without a hitch. Thanks to all of your support, Isaac was able to give out between $15,000-$20,000 worth of gifts to all the hundreds of kids at Children's Hospital in Cincinnati, Shriner's Children's Hospital of Cincinnati, and the Ronald McDonald House of Cincinnati. It was awesome to see all the kids excited about the gifts that they had received. What started as a an 8 year olds dream to give presents to 14 kids on the BMT ended with hundreds of smiling faces. Thank you for your support.

Elf Yourself

This is pretty funny if you have pics of someone else. It reminds me of the dance of the Three Amigos. Check it out at .

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Ready for The Big Delivery

Today we put the finishing touches of Isaac's Christmas Train Project. All of the presents have been moved to the garage for loading. Tommorrow, I will be getting a U Haul Box and we have several people lined up to help us load and unload. Here are some pics of Isaac and all of the toys.


So this afternoon we decided to move all of the boxes of toys up from the basement and into the garage so that it would be easier to load on Thursday. 5 hours later, I am almost finished. I took a break to post some more pics. Here are some pics of Isaac opening the boxes.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Mad Skills

My wife says that I have some mad train building skills. LOL. Just Kidding. Here are some construction pics of the train that Isaac will deliver the presents in on Thursday. He will sit down inside with presents and pass them out as we head down each hall.

Saturday, December 9, 2006


So far Isaac has received over 1000 gifts to take to the hospital for the kids that will spend Christmas in the hospital. As of right now, we have enough gifts for all the kids at Children's Hospital of Cincinnati, Shriner's Children's Hospital in Cincinnati, and for all of the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Cincinnati,OH. It has been amazing to see the gifts pouring in from all over the country. He has received gifts from the east to the west coast as well as Canada. We have one amazing little boy. Hundreds of kids will have smiles on their faces because of one 8 year old kid who thinks more of others than himself. ( I am a little biased here but we are really proud of Isaac and his Christmas Train Project). For those of you who don't know about the project, be sure to check my links section and click on Isaac. The delivery date for the toys is this coming Thursday. Be sure to check back on this blog as I will be posting a lot of pictures throughout the week. His blog will only let us post 4 pictures at a time, but I can post more on here. Thanks to everyone for your tremendous response to one little boys dream.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Thanks German Heritage Nurse

Ok so today Isaac was at day hospital and he had a different nurse. This nurse is of German descent. As she was taking care of him and checking all the stuff today, she blurts out"are you leaving your shoes outside tonight?" Isaac doesn't know what to think and asks her why he would leave his shoes outside. She informs him that back in olden days kids in Germany would leave their shoes outside on this particular night and during the night Saint Nick would fill their shoes with candy. Well, nowadays she says that he fills kids shoes with toys. Isaac looks at Melissa and says "hey you think it might work?". So tonight the artist formerly known as Santa Claus will be morphing into his alter ego Saint Nick. Because if the dogs don't run off with the shoes, there better be toys in the morning. Actually, we didn't let him leave his shoes outside for fear that a dog might really run off with his shoes. So instead, he left his tennis shoes at the back door. I'm off to fill some shoes. Thanks German Heritage Nurse.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Merry Christmas to our friends at The Chapel

Isaac wanted to wish a very light filled Christmas to all our friends at The Chapel in Baton Rouge. As you can tell he enjoyed playing the role of evil minion. I wanna be in the light .......

Beer Sales at Clemson Football Games?

Ok, so most of you know that we are in Cincinnati, OH hanging out while our son Isaac recovers and gets better from his bone marrow transplant. Well since we have been in town, I have been wanting to go to a Bengals game. Well, Thursday night I got my chance when they played the Ravens. It was a cool experience for the most part. I did discover why they don't allow beer sales at the Clemson games. It all started about the first quarter. I was in a section of the stands referred to as Carson's Corner. There were about 1000 people in my section. Of those I would say roughly 999 were male ages 24-45. Of those 999 I would say there were about 998 drinking heavily. There was this one guy not drinking. Just kidding, I was probably one of only 10 or so that weren't. They were very friendly drunks. Not any macho kick your butt for looking at my woman types. Just all friendly drunks like Otis from Andy Griffith. It was about 40-45 degrees and pouring down rain. And yes I was one of only a handful with a poncho on. Well about 30 seconds from the end of the third quarter, it happened. All the men around me started chanting 4th Quarter, shirts off. They kept on and on. Finally, the 4th Quarter came and you guessed it, about 998 men pulled off their shirts. It was a weird experience. I felt like I was at a concert for the village people and they were about to start singing" you can hang out with all the boys, it's fun to stay at the YMCA". ( Just a side note, right now as some of you are reading this, you suddenly had the urge to raise your hands and start doing the letters.) But no the weird part was that these were not nascar dudes that weighed 400 pounds with back hair with the number 20 painted on their chest. These seemed like your typical banker or stock broker type guys. Fortunately, the rain began to pick up and after about 5 minutes they all put their shirts back on. Overall, other than the weird shirts off thing, the game was awesome and the Bengals won.