About Me

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I am a person who loves life and loves capturing it in pictures and recording it in many ways. I have been happily married for over 40 years to my wonderful husband Mike. We have raised 4 daughters, were foster parents for 11 years and are now raising 2 of our grandchildren. They are the love of our lives and the light in our eyes. At this time in our lives, we would expect to be planning for retirement, but instead we are planning for the future of these children. Starting over so to speak. At the ripe old age of 50, I found myself as a mom of a pre-schooler again so it's the second time around for us, thus my title. We attend church and teach Sunday School. Life is never dull, as you can imagine. Enjoy the pieces of our lives and allow this grandmother some bragging rights occasionally, ok very often.
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Saturday, February 27, 2016

From Mike

THE POWER OF THE CONNECTOR

This photo is of a house wire connector.  A very small electrical part, but very important.  It connects a wire to the power source (example: a wire going to a light switch from the power box). After you connect the two wires together the power can travel to the switch, there is no break to the power source.  Without power to the switch the lights will not turn on.





Gregg, a co-worker had a connector on his key change. When I asked him what it was for, Gregg stated that it reminded Him to stay connected to Christ every time He pulled his keys out of his pocket.

I thought that this was a great concept.  I started making connectors and sharing with others.  We live in a small town and at the fall festival my grandson gave away 75 connectors. The photo is of some of the police offices adding a connector to their key chains.



I would like to mail you a connector and a couple to share. Please send a request, including your mailing address to my email address (mikeb.2275@gmail.com).

Be Blessed,
Mike

From Cheryl~~
Recently, a friend from church told me every time he pulls out his keys and sees his connector he is reminded to pray for Mike. We have completed our first week of radiation. Only 6 more weeks to go. The chemo will continue as long as the radiation. He has not been sick but just very weak. Trying to get him to eat more. We so appreciate all the prayers and kindnesses extended to Mike and our family. We love you more than you will ever know.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Happy Anniversary

Mike began radiation treatments today. We will go daily for 7 weeks to Rome at the Harbin Clinic. After that and 2 more rounds of chemo we will see if the mass is shrinking. Mike is very weak but otherwise he is doing ok. He still has no appetite but that is normal. We know God is in control no matter what the outcome is, I just pray this works and he is with us all a LOT longer. On that note, today is our 41st wedding anniversary so I wrote a little story in case you were curious as to how we got here. It's a little long, so feel free to stop reading here if you'd like. 

"A Modern Day Love Story"
A little history of how we got to where we are today.....

1974: Boy crazy 16 year old girl sees blond haired blue eyed hunk for the first time and is instantly hooked. Boy doesn't speak to her because boy is dating someone else and doesn't want to be unfaithful. But boy DID whistle at girl. (this did NOT sit well w/girl) Boy meant whistle to be a compliment but girl interpreted whistle as: (does he think he's God's gift to women, he can just whistle and I will come??) 
Girls takes family vacation to Mexico. When she returns, boy has ditched said girlfriend and is ready to move forward. Girl is on cloud nine.
First place boy takes girl is to his church, while in parking lot, boy mentions ex-girlfriend attends same church. Girl immediately turns and heads back to car. Boy talks her into going inside.
Second real date, boys asks girl to marry him. Girl asks “Are you serious”? Lucky for girl he was. Boy did construction work w/his dad. A building fell on his dad and boy escaped unhurt. Girl begged boy to get out of construction work. Boy agreed. Boy's dad recovered nicely.
1975 Feb- Boy asks girl's mother if she will sign for girl to get married when girl graduates in June because she will still be 17. Girls mother says she will think about it. Girls mother agrees to sign papers immediately IF girl promises to finish school. Girl readily agrees. Yep yep yep. Girl on cloud nine again. On Feb 22nd, boy and girl get married and plan to live happily ever after. Boy has to sign girl's report card for the rest of her senior year. Girl embarrassed. 
1976 April – Boy and girl become parents for the first time. Lori Grace is born and they are instantly in love with her. All of girls dreams have come true, she is a wife and a mother. Boy and girl are so happy!
July – Boy and girl lose precious baby girl to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Words cannot express how devastated boy and girl are.
Girl gets a job to help get over loss of baby. Boy working 3 part time jobs, having trouble finding a full time position. Girl's employer notices boy helping girl at work and offers to send him to appraisal school for Crawford & Company and company car is a perk. Boy and girl are over the moon excited. 
1978 Boy and girl buy first home in Austell, Georgia and have another daughter. Penny Lynn. Life is good.
1980 Boy gets transferred to Dalton, Georgia where another daughter is born. Amy Renee. Boy works for Crawford and Company and girl gets a job there as secretary. God is good. 
1982 Boy and girl move back to Lithia Springs. Life goes on, boy and girl work and raise family.
1986 Boy and girl sign contract on house. Girl goes to doctor, surprise surprise, girl is expecting! Boy tells girl she can have house OR baby but not both. Boy gives in and girl gets BOTH. November brings another daughter Paige Marie . Life is crazy.
1990 Boy and girl buy bigger house to accommodate children. Boy plays softball a LOT. Girl not too happy. Boy gets broken leg playing softball. Boy out of work for awhile. Boy heals nicely and life goes on. Boy tells girl he wants them to be foster parents. Girl says no way. 
1991 Boy finally talks girl into becoming foster parents. Girl is less than thrilled. Girl thinks she is busy enough with her own kids. Boy doesn't agree and thinks they can be a blessing to other children who are needing love and a place to stay. Girl falls instantly in love with these children that enter their home. God is good. Boy and girl very happy but very TIRED.
1993 Boy and girl transfer to Tampa, Florida with USAA. While there, girl gets job at USAA in policy service. Girl gets PAID to talk on the phone. Girl is VERY happy. 
1997 Boy and girl really missing family and friends and move back to Georgia. Boy and girl find house within 5 miles of previous home. Boy builds apt in home for girls mother to move into. Boy is so sweet to mother in law.
1998 Boy and girl resume foster parenting. Boy and girl have scare with boy's health but God is good and girl is happy boy will be around awhile. 
2000 Boy and girl become grandparents for the first time. (Where did the time go?) If boy and girl thought they loved their children, they had NO IDEA how much they could love grandchildren. Girl discovers scrap-booking and is instantly addicted. Girl LOVES taking pictures of Kayleigh Madissen.
2001 Boy and girl adopt one of their foster children (a 14 year old GIRL) who has been a part of their family for the past 4 years. Autumn LeeAnn . One week after adoption is final, boy and girl get custody of granddaughter. Here we go again, now boy and girl have a 14 year old and a 16 month old. 
2004 Boy and girl welcome first grandSON weighing in at 4 lbs. Owen Michael Grega He is a little early but starts plumping up in no time. Girl still scrap-booking.
2005 Boy and girl welcome another grandson into the family. Boy and girl get custody of grandson McKane Michael. Boy and girl so happy they FINALLY got a boy!! Girl still taking pics.
2006 Boy buys a spot in campground in Centre, AL on Lake Weiss. Boy and girl now LOVE to go to the lake. Boy and girl and grandchildren go every weekend they can get away. Lots of photo ops.....girl very happy. 
2008 Boy and girl welcome another grandson. Ellis Bean (yes that's his real name) is Owen's little brother. They get to come to the lake with boy and girl quite often. Boy, girl and all the kids are happy cruising the lake. Girl still taking pics and scrap-booking.
2009 Boy and girl raising grandchildren, working, going to the lake.
2010 Girl moves to Centre, Alabama with children and boy comes over every weekend. The schools and town are smaller. Better place to raise children.
2011 Boy buys girl a new camera for Christmas so she can take even better pics. Boy is still so sweet!
2012 Boy and girl welcome another grandson, Ashtain Mykel, born in January. And another grandson in July, Tristen Dean. Girl now has a million pictures to scrapbook. She will never get caught up. 
2013 Life is good living in Alabama, girl working as substitute teacher and helping out with arts & crafts at the elementary school. Very involved in church in Alabama. Life iLife pretty much the same as 2013, girl missing boy a lot but feel this is best for children. 
2014 Welcomed grandchild number 7, Michael Mateo, born in Guatemala. Life is great but girl missing boy a lot. 
2015 Great news, boy gets to move to Alabama and work from home. Boy and girl together again and very happy. 
 2016 January Boy very sick, cancer found in liver, Boy and girl are devastated at this news. But they know God is in control. Many many prayers going up for boy and his family. Boy is humbled by the outpouring of love and support. Boy started chemo and hoping for the best.
February Boy and girl celebrated anniversary of 41 years.  Girl still on cloud nine and can't believe how lucky she is. Girl thought she loved boy when she married him but now girl knows what true love is. Boy still sick but girl plans to do everything Doctor says to make boy well. Boy and girl plan living on happily ever after as long as  God allows! 
To be continued.....

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentines Day

We have had a wonderful few days. Mike had his first chemo appointment on Friday. He has had no side effects yet except for hiccups. He has been more active the last couple of days. Our daughter & grandsons visited yesterday & today he went to church. I think it really lifted his spirits.  He hasn't been able to attend in several weeks.
His brother & his wife came for lunch today. His appetite seems to be increasing.  I am so thankful for small things like an appetite and energy and hope. We appreciate all of your prayers.
Mike has decided against going to Cancer Centers of America for now. Maybe later he,said but we are going forward with treatments in Rome as originally planned. His pet scan came back with no cancer anywhere else in his body and we are so grateful for this news. Hopefully he will continue to improve. Specific prayer requests:
Bilirubin levels to drop
Chemo and radiation will work on mass
Hiccups to go away
Until next time

I love this man with all my heart!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Second Opinion

Today Mike had a PET scan to determine if there are any cancer cells anywhere else in his body. Very long and tiring appointment for Mike. The current plan is to begin radiation therapy on Feb 24th and to begin chemo with the one drug his body can tolerate on Friday of this week. The radiation will be for 7 weeks daily. With that being said, we are looking into getting a second opinion. Technically it will be the third opinion if you count Emory.
We should hear tomorrow how soon we can go for an evaluation. We have contacted he Cancer Centers of America in Newnan. We had some other options but felt like this was the best option for us based on the location. Please join us in praying for wisdom concerning these decisions. We want the best possible outcome for Mike. We will keep you updated as we move forward. We should have the results of the scan tomorrow afternoon. Until next time....

Monday, February 8, 2016

Emory Decision

We have not spoken with the Doctor personally but we did receive a message that Emory did not consider Mike to be a candidate for their liver transplant team. We are not sure why. We did visit with the radiation Doctor today and he will begin 7 weeks of daily radiation within 2 weeks. He will begin one of the chemo drugs on Friday. He cannot take the other drug at this time because of his bilirubin levels. We are still praying and believing that God is in control. Because we sure aren't. Specific prayer requests:
Chemo side effects are non existent or minimal.
Wisdom for the Dr's treating Mike
Nothing to show on the PET scan anywhere else in his body
Mike's appetite to increase
We thank you all for your prayers, even if we don't respond to each and every message we read them and are overwhelmed by all the love shown to us both. Until next time...


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Emory Results

We made it to our scheduled appointments at Emory today. The MRI went off without a hitch. Praise The Lord! We then met with the surgeon. He told us that there was no way they could operate since the cancer involved the bile ducts and was inside the liver. However, they do have a PROTOCOL that would involve a team of specialists agreeing to take Mike on as a patient, do chemo and radiation and then do a liver transplant. The surgeon seems to think  this might be Mike's best option. He will present  Mike's case on Friday. We should hear from him Friday or Monday at the latest. So our specific prayer requests are:
The bilirubin count continues to drop
The team approves Mike to be a patient
Mike's spirits
If he is approved, we need to pray the chemo and radiation work and he finds a viable liver.
That is a hard prayer to pray because it involves someone losing someone.
We just have to continue to trust God and know that He has Mike in His hands. Again we thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Until we have more news.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Heading to Emory

Here is the latest on Mr. Mike Blackwell. The surgeon in Atlanta would not ok starting radiation without seeing Mike. So we are off to Atlanta tomorrow. (Lord willing) He will have another MRI tomorrow and then an appointment with the surgeon at Emory. He is supposed to be a top surgeon in his field. There is a slight glitch with the insurance but we are praying hard it will all be worked out before we arrive for his appointment.
Mike has been going outside for the past few days for a little while. He has overdone it but it has been good emotionally for him to work on his "projects".
We have had  some meals brought by some awesome angels of mercy. Another angel is coming to take the kids to and from school. We are getting so spoiled.
We continue to covet your prayers for Mike. Please pray specifically for:
Insurance approval
Some answers or a treatment plan from the surgeon
Total healing for mind spirit and body
Words cannot express how much I love this man!!