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Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

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Dear Louisa: Louisiana Writes...
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Louisiana Sandusky in Tennessee writes a very long, chatty letter to Kendra Williams' friend in California after Louisa has written a letter of encouragement to her.

Tuesday, the 21st of September, 2004, 10:16 A.M., C.S.T.~

Dear Louisa:

First of all, thank you for taking the time to write to me. I was on my computer at work, checking my emails, when I saw a letter from California. Thinking it was from my friend, Kendra Williams, I opened it up, and it was not from Kendra, but you, her friend. In any event, I am awfully glad you wrote; your words of encouragement couldn't have come at a more opportune time!

To tell you a bit about myself, I am married (13 years) to a wonderful man named Bill, and I was born 35 years ago in Louisiana. (Yep. Louisiana born IN Louisiana! LOL People like to make fun of me about that...) I was raised in a Cajun family, and I grew up speaking both English and Cajun French (both, of which, I speak today, depending on my mood! LOL). I have long, thick black hair and black eyes, and I have dark skin. My husband (he is Native American Indian) is dark, too, with black hair and dark skin, but his eyes are brown. He and I are total opposites: he is as tall as I am short, and we make quite a sight when we are together! He is nearly 7' tall, and me, I am tiny in height: I am just a hair past 4 1/2' tall! (I am exactly 4 feet, 7 1/2" tall!) Both my husband and myself are disabled; but we don't let our disabilities get us down. He has osteoarthritis, asthma, and high blood pressure, and chronic back troubles, plus he has bi-polar depression (controlled with medication; as long as he is on his pills, he is fine!), and I have osteoarthritis, chronic back troubles, and epilepsy. (My seizures are, I am happy to say, controlled with medication: I haven't had a seizure in over ten years. The last time I had a seizure, I was in an MRI having a test done. NOT good!) I also have sciatic pain. My husband walks on forearm crutches, but me, I use a cane; but if we have to do a lot of extra walking, both he and I use a scooter or a wheelchair.

As I said earlier, I have three older sisters (one--Georgia--died seven years ago in a plane crash; it was a very hard and difficult period for me), and one adopted younger sister; but my husband has eight brothers! YIKES! (AND he is a TWIN!) So we both come from larger families ourselves; it's no surprise or wonder that we ended up having a pratty large family ourselves! LOL (It must be in our genes! LOL)

Thank you for telling me about yourself, Jeff, and the kids, Ariel, Asia, and Adam! I bet they are all beautiful kids! I am sorry to learn that your oldest daughter is showing the signs of Becker's muscular dystrophy, and I am equally disenheartened to learn that you suffer from Becker's too. As you know, Jamee Nichelle Williams (no relation to Kendra, by the way! LOL) is my oldest daughter's child, and she has shown the beginnings of Becker's herself. She is falling more than usual, and she appears to have some weakness in her legs. They (meaning her mother, Lightning, and her daddy, Darnell) took her to the MDA clinic for further evaluation, and it appears that is exactly what she has. They are also waiting for some braces to be made. She was measured for braces and forearm crutches, and it breaks my heart because I already have a child (Johnny; he is 11 1/2) who has muscular dystrophy, and I have seen the devastation that MD can cause. Johnny has the severe, progressive type of MD (Duchenne's, which strikes boys primarily), and the devastation it has caused him has been nothing short of heartwrenching. Johnny went from a very active toddler to a prisoner in an electric wheelchair, unable to walk but for the shortest trips on his crutches; and heavy steel-and-leather braces encase his skinny, stick-thin legs. He is also starting to have problems with his breathing and his heart (he wears supplimental oxygen at times when he is having more trouble with his breathing than usual), and an ambulance has come to our house on his behalf several times. Doctors first diagnosed Johnny's MD when he was one and a half years, which is awful early for a child to be showing symptoms, but they figured he would die by the age of five. Well, as you can see, he did NOT die. He fooled the doctors; and now they are saying that he won't make it past the age of 13/14, but if I know my son, he will fight tooth and nail to stay alive, and I am betting on him that he will make it and live beyond that time! Johnny is a little fighter with an Olympic spirit about him, and he has blessed my life tremendously!

I was especially glad to learn that you are a Christian. How long have you been a Christian? I have only been a Christian for a few years; I first accepted Jesus Christ into my heart as my Lord and Saviour when Johnny and Ronee' were both seven (four and a half years ago), when we had gone to a play, "Heaven's Gates and Hell's Flames", and it made such an impact on us. Bill and I went to the altar, where we accepted Christ, and our kids followed in the weeks to come; and now we are (virtually) a Christian family. Still, a few of my kids haven't made the commitment to serve Jesus, but I am forever hopeful that they will make this all-important decision and come to the Lord. I am not going to give up praying for them; that would be stupid to do so!

I was raised Roman Catholic, as were my parents and four older sisters; we lived in a primarily Catholic neighborhood, and it was a comfort; but then I saw a preacher on television talking about "becoming saved", and I am like, "Saved. Saved from WHAT?", and I began to have questions. I had those questions running through my head all these years; but then Johnny and Ronee', who were going to Sunday school with a friend, decided that they needed Jesus in their lives, so they accepted Jesus into their hearts, and they became saved. Immediately, I knew something was different about my kids, and I began to wonder all the more. They invited me to this play at their friends' church, Christ Community Assembly of God (which is now our church home!), and..the rest is history! :)

The Lord has done a lot of wonderous Miracles in our lives (too many to count!), but it seems that since we started serving Him, the Miracles have been especially plentiful. He has spared our kids' lives more than once, saving them from certain death or further damage; and He has brought more kids into our family unit; and He has also blessed us financially, and we have really never done without because somehow He always provided (and still does!). Now we are very active at CCA of G, and we are established members of a dynamic and ever-growing church. We have a super pastoral team, led by the senior pastor, Bruce Bilkey, and he is one of the best pastors we have ever heard! He tells it like it is, and he doesn't mince a thing; and when he preaches, people LISTEN. We also have a wonderful Praise and Worship Team, and the King's Kids (children's choir) is one of the best children's choirs we have ever heard! (I am happy to say that several of my kids are in the choir, and they always have the best time!) My husband and I are both involved in the Adult Praise and Worship Team, and we are also members of the Prayer Warriors prayer group. We pray for our church, our pastors, and our church body, and it is amazing to see God's provisions being met! He has done wonders for all of us, and I am honored to be a part of all of the action going on at church!

Sorry for going off like that, but I wanted to let you know just how miraculous our lives have been ever since Jesus came into the picture! Life is indeed astonishing a lot of the time! :)

As crazy as it sounds, we did adopt 50 kids. WHY, I have no idea, but I now think it is a GOD thing. We lost our three biological children (if they were still alive, they would be teenagers now; my youngest would be in junior high; the other two, both boys, would both be in high school!), and it was devastating. God knew that we wanted a family of our own; and for a while it looked like that Bill and myself would remain childless and miserable throughout our remaining adult lives; but then He brought a little German-born, tow-headed angel named Johnny into our lives; and shortly after, a little raven-haired Cajun beauty named Ronee', who was the same age as Johnny; and both soon came to be our first-adopted children. We now had two little ones to be responsible for, and it was a challenge because the boy was so tiny and helpless, and his "sister" was also tiny; but she had serious respiratory crises that threatened to take her life. It was like walking on eggshells with two tiny babies who demanded our time and care, and we were afraid that one of them (Ronee') wouldn't live long. She was always going to the hospital for her breathing, and we soon became familiar to the doctors and nurses there. They began to get sick whenever they saw us, it was that bad! It was like, "Oh, no..not THEM again!!" Soon we became very familiar with oxygen equipment, the signs of "air hunger", the unnerving sounds of gasping, strident breathing, and ambulance runs; and it was all very frightening. I began to worry about little Johnny because it seemed that Ronee' was taking away the needed attention from him, and I was worried that he may start to feel neglected!

I am glad to say that Ronee' has outgrown MOST of her breathing problems, but she still has allergies and does have an occasional spell with her asthma once in a while. Still, she isn't spending as much time in the hospital, and for that I am VERY glad! She has blossomed into a beautiful young pre-teen with a gifted mind and singing voice; and she is blessing people with her testimony and her singing talents. Johnny is a typical little boy, with a keen interest in video or computer games, and he also loves school, something he did not a few years back because of ongoing learning problems. He also has problems with his sight and hearing, but he has triumphed over them, and he is a living, talking little Miracle!

After Johnny and Ronee' came 11 more kids, swelling our small family into a much larger one; and we were forced to move to much bigger quarters. We learned to adapt to the rigors and trappings of having more than two children, and we also learned about different cultures, languages, and traditions. Our newest children came from places like the United States, Canada, the Orient, and Europe; and at first, there were problems, but they soon adjusted into their new family, and we bonded; and now the children get along beautifully with one another (and us!) MOST of the time! (There ARE times where we think that they are going to kill one another, but I am glad to say that there has been no bloodshed or broken bodies! LOL)

Eventually, 11 children became 19, then 19 became 22, then so on until we reached fifty, with the newest children coming from Canada (Benjamin), Russia (Sergei), China (Megan and her twin sister, Michelle), and Africa (Kwame', who came to us from the country of Kenya). We also had two foster daughters for a time (last year; they stayed with us for several months) from Cambodia, but they now live with a family in Texas. We have kept in contact with both Hanh and her little sister, Linn, and they are now over, visiting us, along with their mother, Phoebe, and it is heartwarming to see at just how well the two girls are flourishing and growing! (The Pearsons will go back to their Texas home on Thursday; and we will probably shed some tears, but I will worry about that when that time comes.)

Regrettably, we probably won't adopt any more (as you know, raising kids nowadays is expensive!), but we will take more foster kids, in the hopes that they will find loving families too, just as little Linn Chan and Hanh Ly (now Pearson) have done.

But now, in addition to our growing brood, Bill and I are now the grandparents of FIVE beautiful grandkids (Daniel, Jamee, LeAndre', Tyreese, and Tyrone), and they all live with their mama and daddy in Colorado. They are all growing like weeds, and it seems like only yesterday when there was just little Jamee. Now she is going on seven, and she is just so darned smart! And her brother, LeAndre', is now learning to read, and the world to him is now a big, unending adventure! (He is four.) His little brother, Danny, is getting used to his "big brother" role, and he still isn't sure as to whether he likes his twin baby brothers. (Danny is two.) And then there are the babies, Tyrell and Tyreese, who are but a few months old, and both are absolutely adorable! Bill and myself both cherish our role as "Gran'maman" and "Gran'pa" very much, and we always enjoy showing off our grandbabies and talking about them! They are our world, and our children are also the lights of our lives! We live for our children, and we give them as much love and nurturing as they need; and they are all doing very well in life! GLORY!

Well, Louisa (I like your name! It's almost like MINE! LOL), I will let you go; it's about time I shut my yap and stop yammerin' like a durn fool! LOL I have gone on for far too long; I am supposed to be writing you a LETTER, NOT a durn EPIC! LOL Sorry about that, but if you knew me (as Kendra) does, you will find out that I am a regular chatterbox! LOL So, until I hear from you, Louisa, take care, and send us some pictures of your family! I would LOVE to see what y'all look like! In the meantime, I will send you an autographed copy of my book (yes, you read right: I am an AUTHOR!) that I wrote about my family, and I will send you some pictures of our family, so you can see what a family of our magnitude looks like! (We look like a VILLAGE! LOL) So be expecting some stuff next week in the post!

God bless you all most mightily, and keep on living your lives for Him!

In His Service,

Your new friend in Tennessee, Louisiana Mayrah Sandusky (Adoptive Mama to ~50~ Miracles from God!). :)








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Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen 9/21/2004
(((Karen)))
An excellent write as always I love this response to Louisana's letter
God Bless
Michelle~
Reviewed by OnepoetGem *the Poetic Rapper 9/21/2004
Great art work to go with your wonderful story Karen. They had this couple on tv not to long ago who adopted quite a few children with pproblems. Kind of reminds me of your story. l&p G
Reviewed by Tinka Boukes 9/21/2004
Nice Looong letter this time.....lol!!

Thanks for the reminders...I get a little lost at times...to much to remember!!

Love Tinka
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 9/21/2004
(((karen)))

wow, this is a long letter! enjoyed every last word of it--great write!

(((HUGS))) and love, karla. :)
Reviewed by Rebekah Rosie Lang 9/21/2004
Nice to know all the info,again.
Thanks so much! I needed this!
Gem of a write!
Becca
Reviewed by Susan Barton 9/21/2004
thanks for the recap!

sueb


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Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado



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