Hello from the Peach Tree State of Georgia!
This is Donna Sue Oliver writing. Hope this finds y'all well and reasonably happy! I have been busy, what with teaching, raising our brood, and caring for the house. Seems I have very little free time for myself. I hope you understand why I haven't written in so long.
Kent (he's my husband) is already back at work, getting the kids ready for a brand-new football season and getting things ready for another school year, where he teaches biology at Smyrna Senior High School. I don't see him excepting in the evenings when he comes home (and that is not when they have scrimmage or a football game; on those days he doesn't get home until 11:00-11:45).
The kids are all growing like weeds. Our baby, Sugar Lyne'e', isn't so little any more: she is six years old now and will be starting kindergarten!! She has really grown into a beautiful, smart little girl!
Bethlehem, one of our oldest children, has finally adapted to the loss of her legs and using crutches or a wheelchair for mobility. She lost her legs due to an rare and overwhelming bacterial infection several years back; it was a very bad time for all of us. We thought that she was going to die. God intervened in this situation, and brought her back, healthier and stronger than ever before. She has to live without her legs and move on. Not so easy, but she is making it with His help!
M'Bute' has officially been diagnosed as having bi-polar disorder. She has an extreme case. When she is down, she is really down, and this is when she turns violent or suicidal. She is 13 now, but has already tried to kill herself three times (at the ages of nine, 11, and 12). M'Bute' sees a mental health counselor regularly, so she can help manage her feelings, and she is on a strict regimen of medication. If she doesn't take them, she will have to be placed into a home for emotionally disturbed children.
Carson, who has Down's, had to have heart surgery again a few months back; he is still recovering. Patty, his sister (she also has Down's, but isn't as affected as her brother), also had open heart surgery, but hers wasn't as extensive. It was scary, those dark, uncertain days. They are both doing great! :)
Ishmael and Josiah have beth won awards for athleticism; that's not bad, considering that Ishmael is paralyzed and in a wheelchair due to polio! They are thinking of continuing athletics when they enter college in a few years. They are both that talented at what they do, and they love playing sports of all kinds.
Marisa has AIDS now, but she is getting drugs to keep the worst of the symptoms at bay. She still has to be careful during flu/cold season and around people who are sick or coughing. Seems that she can pick up any bug since her own immune system is so bad. Marisa is a very happy little girl who is our resident monkey: she climbs all over the place, and nothing really stops her from having fun. She is also our champion smiler.
We feel bad that Marisa has AIDS, but we can understand why. Her mother had it and probably passed it on to her daughter when she was born; it was bound to happen. So far, she hasn't had to go into the hospital, but whenever she has a cough or a sniffle, we are terrified, and we bundle her to the doctor's, just to make sure that she is okay.
So far it has been the case. We just have to be so careful with her.
Hopefully there will continue to be advances in treatment for AIDS, so Marisa (and thousands of people just like her) can lead longer, happier, more normal lives. This is one of our deepest prayers.
Dixon has passed his "hitting-and-biting" stage. He has turned into a quiet, shy little boy with soft, curling brown hair and huge brown eyes. He uses prosthetic limbs and crutches too, just like his big sister, Bethlehem, and he is one of our noisier family members: you can hear Dixon all over!! LOL
As for Iona, our oldest, she is engaged to be married. She is marrying a banker from Atlanta, and the wedding is slated for November of this year. The wedding will be held in our backyard, and we expect a good turnout of people. The whole family will be in the wedding, and after they get married, they plan on taking a cruise to Alaska for two weeks.
So that is the update. I hope you enjoyed getting to know what has been up in our lives. There's been some sad news, but there's been much more in the way of good news, so it all balances out. Hopefully the good news will continue to outweigh the bad. All we can do is pray and trust in God to get us through the not-so-nice times and praise Him with thanksgiving during times of joy and blessings!
I have to run now: have to pick Iona from work; she works at Dollar Tree, where she is a cashier. I will write in here again soon; until later, this is Donna Oliver saying so long! God bless you always!
~Love, your friend in Georgia, Donna Sue. :)