Friday, July 27, 2012

The Child Bride and the "Craddle" Robber

40 years is something to crow about!

It slipped up on me without fanfare this week. I knew it was coming, but only this week I just really, actually realized that on Sunday I will have been married for forty years.  

Forty years, for crying out loud. Nearly a lifetime. Where did the years go?

At the tender age of eighteen, I was practically a child bride on that sweltering day in July of 1972. My groom was twenty-three. It seemed fitting that he played softball for a college recreational team dubbed "The Craddle Robbers."

Yes, I know. They meant to write Cradle, but being the serious young intellectuals they were, the guys had some team shirts printed up and played their games with Craddle proudly emblazoned on their chests. They never knew.

July 29, 1972
Armed with that college education, my husband earned a living first at the local ammunition plant, then as a builder. I embarked enthusiastically first upon homemaking, then motherhood. Together we built a home, both symbolically and literally. Our modest log home was built by Aaron in the evenings and weekends after long days at work. I sanded, stained, painted, and filled our new little house with our belongings and five children.

Somewhere before the house was finished, God began a new kind of building. Before we actually moved out of our 10 by 50 foot, lavender and white trailer house, Aaron and I gave our lives to Christ.

In 1982, God called me to homeschool our children. What a looney, amazing, blessed decision!  In the beginning I confess I was tiffed at God for putting something so hard on me when I had enough to do just getting through a day with a big family. It didn't take long, though, before I was hooked on phonics and learning with my own children as I grew up with them.

This HAS to be the nineties.  Look at those clothes.

Aaron supported me through twenty-four years of homeschooling, graduating all five children by 2006.

Our eldest daughter's wedding in 1995

We spent our honeymoon in July of 1972 in Canada. Ironically, we never returned to Canada until July of 1997, when our middle son, Kevin, suffered a spinal cord injury in Lethbridge and was airlifted to Calgary.

Twenty-five years of marriage, 1997.  Photo courtesy Saborah Studios

We spent our twenty-fifth anniversary at Kevin's bedside. My only request of God to celebrate our anniversary was for Kevin to be well enough to be released from intensive care to begin rehab. This God graciously granted. Kevin was transferred to the rehab hospital July 28th. Late on the evening of July 29th, Aaron and I ate lukewarm Chinese food with some friends at a Chinese place as the servers vacuumed and cleaned tables around us and waited for us to finish so they could close. 

The family gathered in 2006 for the graduation of our youngest daughter, Grace from homeschool
It was also at the rehab hospital I met our first granddaughter, Rebekah. She was born in Brazil the month before Kevin's accident. They flew up to the states as soon as they could, and we held Bekah for the first time at the nurses' station outside Kevin's room.

Thankfully, Vanessa's birth in 2000 was a much happier occasion. She was also born in Brazil, though, so she was older before Aaron and I got to meet her.

In 2008, our eldest son married a wonderful young woman named Rachel. She has been a joy and blessing!

The family together in 2010

 The fifteen years since that awful silver anniversary have been amazingly short. They have been filled with the worst kind of heartache and the best kind of God's comfort as we walk through a long night together and await the dawn.

There has been much loss. But I realize that there has been much greater gain. The smaller and weaker we have felt, the more we have leaned on the power and grace of our God. He has brought us through places I can't even talk about, much less could have conquered on my own.

There is no one I would have rather walked through this world with than my wonderful "craddle" robber. He has been my protector, deep love, and friend for all these years. Here's to the next forty!

Our favorite place is the coast. Any coast.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Profiles in Courage: Molly the Pony

Molly the Pony
Molly was one of the many animals displaced by the wrath of hurricane Katrina in 2005. She was taken in by Kaye Harris, but she suffered an added tragedy when another displaced animal, a pit bull, mauled her on her jaw, abdomen, and legs. The right leg was the worst. She received emergency treatment and most of her injuries healed. But the right leg could not be saved. Kaye Harris' veterinarian recommended Kaye put Molly down.

But Kaye had watched Molly adapt to the dead leg as she healed from the other wounds. She already knew how to walk, lie down, and get up using three legs. Her tenacity moved Kaye. Like New Orleans, Molly was a survivor. Kaye appealed to the veterinarian to help Molly get a prosthesis for her right leg. 

They found help at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Rustin Moore was skeptical but was swayed when he met Molly and saw her will to live. Molly came to be one of the few horses to overcome the challenges of amputation and live with a prosthesis.                       

Molly the Pony

As Molly recovered and adapted to her prosthesis, it occurred to Kaye that Molly was a Katrina comeback story.  She was a bit of good news and inspiration to a region that had suffered much loss. Kaye began taking Molly to hospitals and granted media interviews to tell Molly's story. Since then, Molly has become an ambassador for amputees and an encouragement to those suffering from disabilities.

Molly is now the mascot for Kids and Ponies Foundation. You can read more about Molly and the Kids and Ponies Foundation by visiting

Today Molly travels to encourage others with disabilities.

Molly the Pony
Molly also helps others understand disabilities better.

Molly is featured in these books.

Photos courtesy Kaye Harris