Monday, December 28, 2009


Tomorrow is Sarah's 27th birthday - wow! I'm getting old! But then I suppose she is too! Here we are at the end of another year and what a wild roller coaster ride this past year has been. As I reflect on the past 27 years, it hasn't all been a bed of roses, but we have been so very blessed.

We had a very stressful, emergency and complicated birth with Matt in April of 1981. Matt was 3 1/2 weeks overdue, weighed 9 lbs 10 oz, was 23 inches long, his first AP GAR score was 3, he had the worst case of meconium the pediatrician had ever seen (and he was nearly 100 yrs. old), he wasn't breathing at birth, and had a mucus plug in his throat, which actually ended up probably saving his life because it prevented him from aspirating the meconium. (a God-thing) He stayed isolated for 3 days where we were unable to even touch him. I had lost so much blood during the emergency c-section, I didn't have the strength to see him anyway. We were told he may have brain damage/learning disabilities due to his lack of oxygen before they got the mucus plug out, but Praise God for miracles - he is normal, (well...depending on your definition of normal) healthy and almost too intelligent for his own good! ;-)

So, needless to say, we were certainly looking forward to a "normal", uneventful birth experience this time around. Back in the day, few of us dinosaurs chose to know what we were having ahead of time. We already knew "when" because this birth was a scheduled c-section, so we wanted the "what" to be a surprise. What a joy it was to deliver a perfect little girl on Dec. 29, 1982! Two days later, the pediatrician walked in while I was nursing her and told us she had stopped breathing during the night and the nurses had to "jostle" her to start her up again. They would be "testing" to see what the deal was. Looong story short, we stayed in the hospital with her for over a week before being sent home with a monitor and instructions to keep her elevated to at least 40 degrees, sitting in her infant seat. Ever seen a newborn try to sleep sitting up for the first 6 months? It is not pretty, nor is it restful for child or parent. She had a "reflux" problem and could choke to death - what every parent wants to be responsible for. We dealt with it the best we could.

After 6 difficult and scary months, we were finally able to let her sleep normally - still keeping her on Mylanta for the reflux problems. God was faithful and saw us through those difficult days, just as HE continues to be faithful to us...blessing us in so many ways!

And we are with such a happy, bubbly, fun, forever smiling, crazy, loving and maybe a tad "high-maintenance" beautiful young woman! ha ha

Sarah is such a joy. She and I are like best friends instead of mother/daughter. In her teens, we had a few minor bumps, but we truly have had a super relationship forever! I am truly grateful and blessed to have a daughter like Sarah. She is like a breath of fresh air, or sunlight on a cloudy day... Children are drawn to her like a magnet and adults love to hang with her too because of her sunny spirit and infectious zest for life!

So, on this special day that always seems to get lost in the shuffle of Christmas - HAPPY BIRTHDAY SARAH!! You are deeply loved!!

I can't wait for you to have this baby!! You are going to be such a great Mommy! You will finally be able to "grasp" that special love for a child that people talk about, but that you can't fully understand until you experience parenthood for yourself. Your Dad and I thank the LORD for you and for Matt - our two special loves!

May GOD richly bless you and Stuart as you begin this new and exciting journey! Hope these bring back as many beautiful memories for you as they do for me! HAPPY 27th BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!

I love you,

(please don't forget to PAUSE the Playlist music at the bottom of the page)

Thursday, December 24, 2009


It's that time again! Wow...time has gotten away from me and now the best day in the world is upon us - CHRISTMAS - the day of our Savior's birth!

We are so grateful for the goodness of God - in the miracle of Sarah's pregnancy and for our second grandson on the way, via Matt and Susan!

We faithfully continue to pray for your miracles too!


Monday, December 7, 2009

Up In The Attic

How many of you remember Amy Grant's "A Christmas Album"? It was one of my favorite Christmas albums of all time. Two songs stood out above all the rest - "Tennessee Christmas" and "Heirlooms". Matt and Sarah grew up listening to that album every year as we decorated the tree...just one of our die hard family traditions!

Now let's be many of you have cried as you listened to "Heirlooms"? I can still remember listening to it, trying to imagine what that must feel like - to be up in the attic, going through boxes of old things from generations past. I could "feel" the emotions it must resurrect, even though I never had an attic and had not experienced that activity myself.

Well, guess what? I still don't have an old attic, but I have boxes of things from generations past in a big closet upstairs...things I discovered, memories I wanted to hang onto, treasures I kept after my parents passed away. The song is very true - "some bringing laughter, some bringing tears." My dad passed away in January 2007 and my mother passed away in June 2008...not so long ago. But, I already go into that closet ever so often and pull things out of the boxes - now understanding the song in a way I never did before. I even have an article of clothing belonging to each of them in separate Ziploc bags. I open them up once in a while just to breathe in their "smell". That's always a "some bringing tears" moment. Finding the head of a hammer with a broken, splintered, hint of a handle left is a "some bringing laughter" Daddy's insistence that every little thing must be saved in case there was somehow a dire need for it in the future. (everyone needs at least one broken hammer at some point in their lives)

A few weeks ago, I was in "that mood" and I spent a little time in that closet, going through some things. I ran across an old VHS tape. Whoa...memories! In 1996, I purchased a CD called Sisters: Songs of Friendship, Joy & Encouragement for Women. It was a collection of songs by various artists, celebrating and embracing women, friendships, and relationships. On it was a song by Bonnie Keen/Tori Taff, "These Are the Women We Come From", which I immediately fell in love with. It was prefaced by a beautiful monologue, "Quilting", by Amy Gaither-Hayes. These two pieces really touched my heart and my wheels began turning. "Living pictures" began forming in my mind, which is what I've always done when I hear music...I create in my mind a story or video, if you will, to go along with it. Mother's Day was approaching, and I knew in my heart that God had given me these two incredible pieces for a reason. I met with our church's audio/visual tech, Todd Sanders, (one of the kindest, most talented men I know...and father of one of the girls in my vocal group) and asked if he would be interested in helping me put this together. We boldly went where neither one of us had ever gone before. After many hours of contacting all artists involved to obtain permission to use their material, and using clips of a Civil War re-enactment video, this video tribute to the "women we come from" was born. It was particularly a tribute to the mothers of my women's vocal group, Voices of Praise. We had so much fun doing this! Todd had a little studio behind his office, so we were able to pre-record the song. Then we loaded up and took a boom box with us to Petit Jean State Park, where we taped the video with no audio, but singing with our boom box. I'm sure visitors to the park thought we were nuts. Todd then put it all together in his studio. He is a true genius, as this was way less than "music video" technology. He did a fantastic job! Thank you Todd! It was such a great surprise to our mothers, as we had kept it all very secret.

Anyway, back to the closet - now I am sitting here, holding my mother's copy in my hands...powerful emotions rising up! Since VHS tapes are nearly obsolete now, I had this transferred to a DVD. (thank you Tommy May) To make this share-able, (is that a word?) I had to convert it to yet another mode - thus the less than perfect quality of this video. You can't imagine the memories this brings up. First of all, to be able to pay tribute to the "women we came from", especially now that so many of them have gone on to be with the Lord. I can hardly believe this was 13 years ago!

This is not to boast or brag over. We are really not great vocalists...well, the first one is! (Remember, this was for our own Mommies) I just wanted to share with you something deeply moving to me - I guess because the holiday season is kind of a bittersweet time for me now, with both of my parents gone.

But, it is also a very special Christmas this year because God has truly given us a miracle in Sarah's pregnancy! Praise God for He is faithful! And with Matt and Susan expecting too, it is quite an emotional season for us all! Please know that those of you out there who are still waiting for your "miracle" - my prayers go faithfully with you! God will be faithful to you too, in His time and in His will. Do not give up hope! And when you are hurting and feeling hopeless -reach deep down inside...Hopefully it will draw you nearer to God and to the "women YOU come from."

(don't forget to pause the playlist music at the bottom of the page and after you click on the video, pause it to let it download just a few minutes...its just not the same with all the stopping, and skipping, etc.)


Thank you Lord, for the strong, wonderful, amazing women I came from! I have been truly blessed! Mother, I love you and miss you so very much!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

Passing of Time

Just having a little fun tonight with pictures....

Wedding 1972

Trying Out My Wig for the church
Christmas Play 2009

Me in 10 Years!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

Well, another Thanksgiving has come and gone for the Millsap family. We cooked, we ate, we played, we looked at my tadpoles and cleaned their tank, we cleaned dishes, we celebrated my birthday, the guys had to go out and pull a calf after know, the usual Thanksgiving activities. For those who don't know what "pull a calf" is - the cow is trying to have her calf, but either it is too big, turned backwards, or has some other difficulty and must require assistance. It is not a pretty situation - messy, smelly...not something you like to do just after a huge meal. It often ends with the calf having already died and needs to be pulled to save the cow. Such was the case today, but hopefully they were able to save the mama. So, thanks to Matt and Stuart for helping Rick with that unpleasant task.

Even with that unfortunate event, we still had a good day and have so much to be thankful for. First and foremost, Rick and I are blessed with each other, 2 wonderful children (Matt and Sarah), a beautiful, sweet daughter-in-law (Susan), a loving, kind son-in-law (Stuart...affectionately known as "Stubert" or "Stuball"), 2 darling grandchildren (Natalie-4 and Parker-2, both Matt's and Susan's) and 3 wild and crazy Yorkies (Buddy-ours, and Spanky & Scrappy-Sarah's and Stuart's). And, as if this wasn't enough, Susan is expecting another baby in May and Sarah is expecting hers and Stuart's first in July!!!!! Yes, 2 more grandchildren on the way!! God has blessed Matt and Susan with another child and God has answered our prayers in giving us a miracle with Sarah's pregnancy! She is almost 8 weeks along, which is still very early, but we feel at peace that this is going to be "His chosen time" for Sarah and Stuart. God's grace and faithfulness have seen Sarah and Stuart through some very difficult trials. He has matured them and nurtured their spiritual walk with Him, and He has found favor with them. We are trusting in His timing and His will. She is not posting much right now because she is experiencing much nausea and fatigue, which did put a little damper on her festivities today, but she was a trooper - no complaints. She has waited for this day to come for so long, she is taking the nausea and fatigue in stride. Hopefully this will soon pass and she will be up and running at her usual non-stop speed!

All of your prayers have sustained them, encouraged them, and carried them through - we are all eternally grateful and humbled that you have traveled this journey with them/us. Words can hardly express the gratitude in our hearts! Thank you all - faithful prayer warriors!

Can you imagine what this summer is going to be like??? Can you imagine what our family get
togethers will be like with 6 adults, 2 toddlers, 2 babies, 3 dogs! Oh my goodness! Praise God and give me some energy!

The only thing that could have made the day more complete was to have the "Pledger's" (my side) here. This is the first year ever that my family has gone their separate ways for Thanksgiving. Last year was our very first Thanksgiving without both of our parents, so we all felt that deep desire and need to carry on, so to speak, and have our usual Thanksgiving celebration together - feeling that somehow Mother and Daddy would want us to. It was bittersweet, but we needed to do it...wanted to do find comfort and closure I guess. Though it felt sort of empty and strange this year, it seems the time has come that as our own families continue to grow, it is harder and harder to schedule holidays where we can all be together. However, we have vowed that at least once a year, we will set aside a designated time that my 2 brothers, their kids & families, and mine will all gather to spend time sharing, remembering, celebrating and rejoicing in all that our parents gave us and made us through their love and their lives. I miss them every single day...sometimes more than I can fathom.

So, I thank you, Father, for my beautiful parents!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Happy Birthday to me,
I've passed 53,
Beware of the big ones
See what they do to me!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Naomi Carroll

I don't know if you have ever heard of Naomi Carroll or not. For a long time, she only had one single out - "Enjoy the Journey", which is one of my all time favorite songs. It is deeply personal to me because it is a song that greatly ministered to my mother and to me during her final weeks of battling head/neck cancer. We heard it together for the first time just 6 weeks before she passed away, when Jonathan Martin (of The Martins) gave a free concert at our church on a Sunday night in May of 08. Apparently another church had cancelled out, so he had an opening in our area. He contacted our church and offered to come, free of charge. (that was a God thing) Mother really wanted to go, so I took her and we spent the evening together - listening to Jonathan's testimony and to his wonderful voice singing these beautiful worship songs, savoring each and every moment, as we each silently knew this would be among our last memories together. Jonathan began to share a story about his family and some of the difficult things they had encountered with one of his young twin boys...a journey that they never expected, but had been blessed by nonetheless. He then sang "Enjoy the Journey", and it immediately touched us both very deeply. It became our "comfort" song during the darkest of days. I still listen to it almost every day. Once you hear it, you will understand why.

My sweet mother was such a remarkable woman with an unbelievable will to live, more moxie than most of us put together, a wicked sense of humor, an amazing outlook during her journey, and more courage than most of us could only hope for. She was such an inspiration to me! I pray that I can become only half the woman she was. I will forever listen to this song with the memories of her courage and strength...courage and strength that I know runs through my veins...and Sarah's veins.

So anyway, after the concert, I began searching for the lyrics to "Enjoy the Journey" and discovered that Naomi Carroll had written the song and had a recording of it. discovery of Naomi Carroll!

I've tried every way in the world to add this song to my Playlist, but I can't get it on here. I'm sure there is a way, but I haven't figured it out yet.

In the meantime, I will do this the "old school" way. I'm going to send you to Naomi's My Space. Naomi has come out with a new CD, "Becoming." I love all the songs, but especially the title song, "Becoming." (duh) I can relate so much to the words in this song! Enjoy the Journey and Becoming actually go together so well, as we all are changed by the journeys we go through. I can't help but think of all of you out there too...who have been on, gone through, or are in the middle of your own journey. What/who will you become as you face and go through your journey? How will God use you? What will you learn? Will you become bitter, numb, afraid...or will you become more like HIM?

Here you go. Please listen to both "Enjoy the Journey" and "Becoming" that order. I hope they both minister to your heart as much as they have, do and always will mine.

Lord, help me "become".

p.s. If you get her new CD, "Enjoy the Journey" is on there, but it is a re-mix version, which is good too, but personally, I like the original better. Itunes has the original Single.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dogs, Dogs, Dogs!

We (Sarah and I) have a tradition around here...dressing the dogs for Halloween. Do we take them anywhere? No. Do we have Trick or Treaters coming to my house? No. (we live on a ranch 10 miles outside of town) So, why would we dress our dogs up for Halloween? Because they're just so darn cute and we can take pictures of them!!! Well, ok...we take pictures of them all the time anyway, but this is just special fun.

Laugh and make fun if you must. But, at least admit that they really are cute!

I marvel at how attached to our pets we become. I grew up always having a outside dog. When Rick and I married, (back in Kindergarten - I covered that in one of my first posts) he set his foot down and said, "No inside pets...ever." True to his word, we've had many outside dogs, but never an "insider". Matt and Sarah grew up with several outdoor Golden Retrievers -Einstein, Edison, Buffy and Spike. They were wonderful, loving dogs. Spike is the only one still alive and he has gone to live with my dear friend Karla. After Buffy died, Rick and I didn't spend the time with Spike that he deserved and he was terribly lonely. So God sent my dear friend Karla and her husband Charlie, to adopt him, where he roams their farm with other dogs. Now he has friends to play with! I still get to see him and he is a very happy boy!

Back when Sarah was in college and decided to move out on her own, we/she thought it would be a good idea to get her a dog for companionship...easing her into the "living alone" phase. So, along came an adorable little Yorkie named Spanky. Rick was pretty adamant that Spanky would spend little time inside our house. After all, he was Sarah's dog, not ours. Little did we know, he would steal our hearts and we would soon become Grandma and Grandpa to Spanky. (not even my "real" grandchildren can get away with names for me that even refer to an "old" person)

After Sarah and Stuart got married and prepared to move to Northwest Arkansas, Rick discovered he was REALLY going to miss Spanky. He even teasingly offered to buy Sarah a new dog if she would give us Spanky. Yes, this is the man who would NEVER have an inside pet. And thus...this is how we ended up with a Yorkie of our own, Buddy. It is also how Sarah and Stuart ended up with Scrappy. Moving to NW Arkansas far away from Grandma and Grandpa would be traumatizing enough for Spanky, so he HAD to have a friend to ease the pain! (Scrappy and Buddy are half-brothers) So, now you know the story of why we have 3 Yorkies running around inside all the time.

The Pirate, The Monster and Chiquita Banana
Again? Scrappy and Spanky




Windy Day BuddyBuddy and Me (lovin' the boots)Pretty Spanky

Spanky and Sarah

Friday, October 30, 2009

Sunshine/Fall Festival/The Twilight Zone

Wednesday was the first day in quite some time without rain. Actually, it was a beautiful day. Knowing Thursday and Friday were expected to bring more rain, Buddy and I took advantage of the nice break and rode all over the "saturated" ranch, taking in the Fall beauty and fresh air.

What is this???? The sun is trying to shine????

It was a very peaceful afternoon...until I had to rush around to get ready for our church Fall Festival. The theme was cartoon characters. I was working the Cake Walk with the "Three Stooges", so I decided to be the Mad Scientist from the episode where he was looking for a brain. That is, until Stuart informed Sarah that he needed a costume. So, Stuart became the Mad Scientist and I quickly threw together the "Femme Fatale" the Stooges were always fighting over. However, as you can see, I think I ended up looking like Bonnie without Clyde.
(cue the music)
"You are traveling to a land that is different, bizarre, unexplainable...a place between science and
theory. It is a wondrous land whose boundaries lie between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. You are moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You are about to enter...The Twilight Zone."

As promised, Thursday indeed brought more rain and this is when the journey into"The Twilight Zone" began. This valley we live in is famous for brutal, straight line, west much so, we have trees that have forever leaned/grown eastward from the relentless pounding of the west winds. Strangely, I took this picture less than a week ago.We fight a constant battle of "staking down" all the trees around the house to keep them upright. Some of the trees have been staked for 3 years. This land is also famous for "dry" lightning strikes and has often been called - Tornado Alley. We've witnessed some very strange weather situations up here, and Thursday rated right up there at the top!

The early morning began as a drizzly, rainy old day...mild wind out of the west, where the radar indicated the front to be coming from. Mid-morning from out of nowhere, a furious "east" wind blew up, lasted less than a minute, then stopped dead still - as suddenly as it had begun.

VOILA! We had a straight tree for about 30 minutes!
This incredible battle of the East vs. West winds and rain lasted most of the afternoon. Dark, swirling clouds were moving in from both directions...colliding and mingling, threatening to create severe weather any minute. The torrential downpours would blow from the east, then suddenly switch and blow from the west. My poor trees were so confused! So was I! Words really can't describe what the weather was like - it was just so bizarre. Several times the water in the pool looked like a swirling mass of confusion...unable to determine which way to flow.

There were brief periods of quiet, with no rain, which gave me opportunities throughout the day and evening to waste water out of the overflowing pool and scoop out gallons of leaves. The skimmer baskets were full of leaves, frogs, moles and one giant tarantula! Sarah was here when we discovered that evil creature! He was saturated and we thought perhaps half-drowned, so we put him in a "critter box" I keep on hand, just for these special moments.
This morning he was Mr. Cranky Pants. So,I let him go.
As of today, we are inching our way toward breaking the 1882 rainfall record in a one year period. If my Dad was still alive he would find this fascinating, as he was the ultimate "weather guru." If you wanted to know what to expect of the weather - he would always know. He could out predict even the best of weathermen and meteorologists all across the state. Sarah used to be a "storm chicken" and would always call her Grandad for advice on whether or not to expect severe weather. Truth be told, I think she wishes she could still consult with him. He was known to frequently contradict the weathermen. Weather Forecast: Severe thunderstorms, at times very heavy winds and damaging hail. Sarah calls - "Grandad, will there be bad storms tonight?" Grandad - "'s going to miss us. We might get a little rain and some wind, but nothing severe." He was right 98% of the time. Daddy was quite fascinated by the weather. He was also one of those I'll-stand-outside-and-watch-the-tornado-go-by kind of men. I have to admit, I am my father's daughter. I do the same thing. Yesterday was pretty freaky and I enjoyed every minute of watching the weirdness unfold...wishing Daddy was here to watch it with me.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Well, I don't what it has done elsewhere in the country, but here in our part of Arkansas it has rained..and rained..and rained..and rained. I am gathering supplies for an ark. Mine shall be called Sanni's Ark and only the animals and humans of my choosing shall be aboard. There will be no spiders. There will be no grumpy or irritable people allowed. You see, I can pick and choose, because God didn't tell me to build one. This was my rules. I'm still working out all the details, but until then, I enjoyed the 20 minutes of sunshine late this afternoon after the rain. And while I didn't see a rainbow, I did see this...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Old song, but great message. I love this video! It shames me every time I hear the song.

p.s. Don't forget to pause the music at the bottom of the sounds really bad all mixed together. ;-)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Be Still and Know

Before After
(I know.....but spiders terrify me! It was above my back door. It might have dropped on my head when I went outside and caused me to have heart failure. Besides, I didn't do it, Rick did.) Angry Snapping Turtle Dewy Web in the Grass Tadpole Close-up Tadpole Town Hall Meeting Fire Ant Hill Number 7 ,000,000,000
*These pesky monsters are overtaking pastures, fields and yards all over the state. It is a constant battle to keep them out of the yard. The number of ant mounds in the pastures are un-countable. They are next to impossible to get rid of. Why two of these little hellions marched onto Noah's ark is beyond me. If you've never seen fire ants in glad. They are fierce, fast, furious, and they sting like ****! (you may interpret that however you wish)

May I Help You?
Music Director Mantis Purple-Tinged Grass Droplets Brahma's Like Togetherness This Took Real Talent (it's perfectly centered under the fence!) Wow...its been a zoo around here lately. The last few weeks have been some of those times where I've had to MAKE myself BE STILL. Believe me, when I don't make that time, I do not function well. Ask my family. Life just sometimes takes over and everything is going on super-warp speed, then BAM! The wall appears out of nowhere and when I hit it, it is with a force that knocks me down. I'm wondering what the heck is going on and then it occurs to me - I am not spending time "listening" - being still before Him.

Roaming on the ranch with my sweet dog, Buddy, camera in hand, breathing in the beauty and fresh air is only one way that I "listen". Nothing calms my spirit and clears my head like being reminded of how awesome and powerful my Creator is. I never grow bored or tired of seeing all that God has created and granted me the privilege of enjoying.

Just today, Buddy and I were lazily cruising around the ranch in my mule, when I noticed little black squiggly things in the overflowing brook of one of the pastures. Tadpoles! Polliwogs! I've been watching for them all summer! It's been so strange...I have not seen a single tadpole all summer. Usually they are everywhere and I've never seen them this late in the year before. You see, one of my favorite summer projects is to "grow frogs". It is fascinating to watch the transformation from tadpole to frog. (and now you're saying to yourself, "This poor woman obviously has no life.") Quite the opposite my friends. This is my life and I happen to love it! I am blessed to be able to enjoy a new adventure every day! Last year when I grew frogs, they were like my children. I was so proud of them - "Look! Lieutenant Dan has new legs!" He was the first to hop off to explore the new world out there. Forrest and Jen-nay were the last to hop away. It was truly fascinating. Meet the family from last summer...
Lt. Dan's New LegsJen-nay, Forrest, Forrest Jr., Bubba and Lt. Dan
Trust me, if you've never done this, you are missing an amazing nature experience. I've done the whole "ant farm" thing, watched a caterpillar transform into a cannot replace these experiences. Ask my children. They have done these things too, as science experiments in school. I like to think that these small moments of their childhood have left lasting impressions on them to not get so caught up in today's world of electronics and technology. Our world is in technology overload and these beautiful experiences are being missed by our younger generations. I'm all for texting, twittering, video games, Guitar Hero, Wii, etc., but I find myself more and more, observing people who do this obsessively and wondering how they can possibly function or hold down a job. When do they find time for their families? For friends? For work? For God? I know I'm a dinosaur, but young are missing out on the simpler things in life! Your mind is going in so many different directions, trust me, your brain and body are going to rebel at some point. I blog and I Facebook periodically. I even text now and then, but I have promised myself that I will NOT get caught up in twittering. I really don't care if Suzy is going through Starbucks' drive-thru for a French Vanilla Mocha Chocolata Ya Ya... Please hold me accountable. Should I ever get caught twittering - get me some help.

I encourage you to stop, look, and listen to the world around you. Hopefully, you will hear
and then,
God's voice encouraging you to spend more time with Him, realizing that He created the beauty and wonder around you for your pleasure. He loves you like that, you know?