Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Philippians, 4. 8

Sunday, July 29, 2007

God answers prayer.....

Summer, 1993....Boca Raton Florida....Hail Storm


Isn't it easier to have faith during a difficult circumstance when you think back to a time when God sustained you...when God met you at your need, when God worked all things together for good? We all have stories, testimonies...think about a time when you know, without any doubt that God intervened. Hopefully, you have more than one story...but I have one that I have told over and over...and think about often. And each time I do, my faith increases, is renewed.

It was 1993. Robin was going to graduate from High School. It was a big event. I planned a party and had invited many friends and out of town guests, including family. We had a very nice home in Boca...large enough to entertain a crowd. Just one problem....the party was to be in JUNE and our house was not air-conditioned. No problem, I thought...months in advance I started praying for "unseasonably cool weather"...I told EVERYONE that I was praying SPECIFICALLY for "unseasonably cool weather". The day finally arrived...it was the HOTTEST day of the summer. HOT HOT HOT....my neighbor across the street, Joy, called and said, " Oh, Sara, you can have your party at my house...we will all leave...I don't think your guests will be comfortable in your house...it SO HOT!". I said, " No, thank you....I am still praying for "unseasonably cool weather". She was beginning to think I was NUTS. The guests were to arrive around 3pm...At about 1pm I was starting to get nervous...faith wavering just a bit...Jason said, don't give up...just keep praying. He went out to play pool with my brother...At about 2 pm, I went into my prayer closet ( my bathroom) and cried out to the Lord...please Lord...not for me...for my guests....unseasonably cool weather....when I finished praying...I heard this "tapping" noise....I came out to see what it was.....to this day....I still get goosebumps just thinking about it....I looked out the window..and the "tapping" was HAIL STONES on the deck...it was HAIL STONES....I ran outside....my neighbor Joy and I were dancing in the street...I said, " GOD ANSWERED MY PRAYER".....the hail storm lasted for about 30 minutes...just long enough with the strong breeze to COMPLETELY COOL OFF MY HOUSE!
You know sometimes...when big things happen, and time goes by...you think...did that REALLY HAPPEN? Well a few years later, I was sitting in a Ladies Bible study...we were sharing stories like this and I shared my Hail Storm...and this woman, Margaret Ray....said, " I remember that day...I couldn't believe it....it was so unusual"...I didn't know this woman ....but I just smiled....and said, " that was God's answer to my prayer for "unseasonably cool weather".
Whenever I have trouble believing that God can answer prayer....I just think back to that Hot summer day in 1993 when God answered my prayer.
Do you have a hail storm story?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Where do you come from?

I'm adopted! For as long as I can remember I have known that I was "chosen". I was always made to feel very special. I always understood that the woman who gave me life was the vessel God used but Lucile Schumacher was "my mom". When someone learns that I'm adopted, one of the first questions they ask...Do you know your real parents? I smile and without hesitation I say, Yep...Jim and Lucile Schumacher. What makes a parent "real"? So many thoughts about this...so many years to ponder...
Two women...both with extremely difficult circumstances...first...a young single woman...in the 1950's...pregnant...second...a young married woman who learns she is sterile and cannot ever give birth. Imagine...the first woman made a very brave decision. She decided to have the baby, and give the baby up for adoption. Don't know much about her....just that she was 18....unwed...and of Protestant faith. I was born in Maple Knoll Hospital, home for unwed mothers. Do they even have those anymore? I imagine she had wonderful loving supportive parents...given her situation. The second woman...married...wanting a family....and now devastated by the news that she can never have a child of her own. But God was weaving a beautiful story ...and before the foundation of the world, He knew...He chose the perfect family for me. He couldn't have picked better parents. I cannot imagine any other life than the one I have had. And He even chose a brother for me...the perfect brother for me.
When I first read the scripture ....Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,Ephesians 1:4-6, I completely understood. I was adopted... TWICE!
Funny thing about being adopted...whenever I am asked for medical history...I put N/A....and I'm not really sure about my ancestry...people say I look like an American Indian...possible...the Miami Indian tribe was from around my hometown....some say I look Spanish...I could be...but what I know for certain...is that I am beloved, chosen and kept...I am a child of the King....And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.Romans 8:16-18.

When people ask where I come from...I usually answer Cincinnati...but now you know "the rest of the story"....so ....where do you come from?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Have you ever had a collection? Most of us have. I remember collecting Trading Cards as a youngster. Everyone had trading cards. I had a shoebox full of the most beautiful cards. I collected Troll dolls...some of you may remember them. They had funny hair and were naked. They were about 2 inches tall. I remember Paula Bealafeld and I took them to school and we could prop our desks open with tiny pencils ( like the golf pencils) and our little trolls could stand there and we could see them but the teacher couldn't. I think I was in 5th grade.

I collected whales for the longest time and then miniature baskets. Hannah has some of the baskets now in her doll house...Each summer we go up to spend time in North Carolina with our dear friends the Turners and the Spradlings. Linda and I usually go to the Antique Shops...After my mom died, I inherited a mixing bowl...nothing fancy...just an "SV" item ( that's my brother's term - Sentimental Value) ...anyway....the bowl was one my mom used for years. She had gotten it for a wedding present in 1946. During one of my trips to NC, Linda and I found a cup and saucer of the same pattern. Then I started noticing all kinds of items in the same pattern. I made a few purchases...just because....and have them displayed in our dining room...I just love collections...Robin's great grandmother collected ceramic shoes. I have a pair....and she has a pair. In the antique shops you see many different collections...some were probably added to for years and years and cherished by the collector and now they are in a shop awaiting a buyer....spoons...salt and pepper shakers...you name it...but this summer I saw the WILDEST COLLECTION EVER.....

Wizard of Oz stuff. Julie's (my sister in law) neighbor and her husband are Wizard of Oz collectors. If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn't have believed it. Hannah was with me. This gal has EVERYTHING (except an hour glass). She has the Wicked Witch, Munchkins, Ruby slippers. Her ENTIRE house is Wall to Wall OZ. She has cookie jars, puppets, stuffed animals, music boxes....It is really impossible to describe. I will try to add one photo...where is your treasure? Hopefully you are collecting heavenly treasures...those that will last forever...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Special Needs

One of my favorite memories and movies was The Miracle Worker with Patty Duke as Helen Keller. I remember going with my mom...one of the few times we went to a movie together. We shared kleenex and were so moved by the story. I have watched that movie many times since. The life of Helen Keller...talk about an "overcomer". I was so pleased when Hannah chose to study and showcase her life for a school project. I remember being in North Carolina, it was a November visit. I was standing in Stan's lab and had called my brother to wish him a Happy Thanksgiving. He told me, "Alex is blind." Honestly, I didn't have any idea what to say, I was stunned. I felt like someone had punched me and I lost my breath. Immediately a verse came to mind, In everything give thanks...and I thought HOW? That was almost 12 years ago...and one thing I have learned...there are many kinds of blindness. It has not been difficult to give thanks for Alexandra, who is beautifully and wonderfully made and perfect in God's eyes. He who sees everything from before the foundation of the world created her. When I found Exodus 4:11, I found comfort. It is amazing to me, and I am ashamed to admit, that before Alex was born, I didn't really notice people with Special Needs. Funny, but now, I am so aware. Delta has a CRO's ( Complaint Resolution Officials)...and I am one. CRO's are called when a service failure occurs with a special needs passenger. Having Alex in my life has helped me be a better CRO.
I listen better, I empathize and I am more patient.
Each week I will share more about why I am thankful for Alex and how she has been a blessing to me and my family...until then...what do you see?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Race is on

You can't go back...

and if you get a chance...DON'T! My high school alumni is very active...unusual for a high school, but my school was unique. They have something called "Coming Home". They will contact the owner of your childhood home and arrange for you to Go Back and see the home where you grew up. My parents built the home I grew up in and lived there for over 45 years. After they sold it to the daughter of the next door neighbor...my mom and I decided to Go Back. What a mistake...the house was SO DIFFERENT...not just cosmetically, but this gal decided to take out windows and replace them with walls...she had a completely different idea about decorating...she painted beautiful beechwood cabinets with white paint...she covered really neat "retro" tiles with linoleum in the bathoom ( and did an amateur job at that)....
The home Robin grew up in and we lived in for 25 years was torn down recently. The other day I was thinking about all of the beautiful things Jason built in and around that house....and thought of the Martina McBride song...."build it anyway...." the beautiful pergula, the deck, the bonsai garden that he built off the kitchen that honored my mom...the built in bookcases, the french doors he installed....the false wall with the window in the living room. My kitchen island...I really miss that butcher block top.
Here we are in Tallahassee....new beginnings....new projects...Jason decided ( highly motivated by a desire to save money and switch homeowner's insurance companies) to finish our deck.
I am so excited. He is moving right along and it is going to be wonderful.
More to follow

Monday, July 16, 2007

One of my Favorite Books

When Robin introduced this "blog" idea, I had NO IDEA how much I would enjoy it. A unique avenue to journal...to allow others to view your thoughts and even respond. At first glance, I recorded "Recipe Books" as my favorite books, but having had time to reflect....I'd like to add...a Mother's Day gift...given to me by my husband in 1989. Its THE HYMNAL for Worship and Celebration.

I remember begging my parents for a piano. My grandmother was an accomplished pianist. My mother and her sisters were all very musical. I continued to plead and after agreeing to take piano lessons, my parents purchased a beautiful piano. I never really stuck with it long enough, something I regret...but I did learn to read music. In Jr. High and High School I joined the Choir. I was even successful in tryouts for Triple Trio my Junior and Senior Years. I have sung in Church choirs and sing along with the radio in my car daily. All that to say...I love music.
But I never realized how dear my Hymnal was until a few years ago. Jason was having a very low time...and we used to sing hymns to feel better. The verse.. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,Ephesians 5:18-20 was the best medicine.

I know that music ministries in churches can sometimes cause division. Everyone has a different idea about what music is best. But I can tell you, for me, there is nothing like a good old fashioned hymn. Listen...

All the Way My Savior Leads me....What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy, Who thru life has been my guide?
Heav'nly peace, divinist comfort, Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know whate'er be fall me, Jesus doeth all things well.

or...can you hear this?

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art-
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Hear my cry Oh Lord, attend to my prayer
from the ends of the earth I will cry unto you
when my heart is overwhelmed
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Psalm 61

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Great American Ballpark

I cannot think of anything I love more than a PRETZEL at the Ballpark. The Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati is a "must" if you are visiting. I grew up with the REDS and experienced the BIG RED MACHINE in the '70's. Anyone half interested in Baseball will remember them...Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan..to name a few. Each year we attend at least one game. The park is easy to get to....parking is a breeze, there are no bad seats...unless it rains and you're in a field box seat up close...we've done that, too. What I love most is the view of the Ohio River and the FIREWORKS that explode after every HOME RUN and after every WIN...and if you plan it right, like we did this year...there is a FIREWORKS NIGHT...and you get the added treat of a 30 minute FULL display after the game. I am already looking forward to my next Cincy visit and a big hot pretzel.

A Picture is worth a thousand words...

Hannah and Alex in Cincinnati...July, 2007

Friday, July 13, 2007


After more than 50 years of living in this world, here is what I've learned...

Time passes.
Life happens.
Distance separates.
Children grow up.
Jobs come and go.
Love waxes and wanes.
Men don't do what they're supposed to do.
Hearts break.
Parents die.
Colleagues forget favors.
Careers end. BUT.........
Sisters are there, no matter how much time and how many miles are betweenyou. A girl friend is never farther away than needing her can reach. When youhave to walk that lonesome valley and you have to walk it by yourself,the women in your life will be on the valley's rim, cheering you on,praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on your behalf, and waitingwith open arms at the valley's end. Sometimes, they will even break the rules and walk beside you. Or come in and carry you out. Girlfriends, daughters, granddaughters, daughters-in-law, sisters,sisters-in-law, Mothers, Grandmothers, aunties, nieces, cousins, andextended family, all bless our life! The world wouldn't be the same without women, and neither would I. When we began this adventure called womanhood, we had no idea of theincredible joys or sorrows that lay ahead. Nor did we know how much we would need each other. Every day, we need each other still.

Not original...but isn't this the truth?

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Ya know those big puffy clouds? Ever stare at the sky and imagine? You can see all sorts of things if you look really hard. What about lying on the floor and imagining your room upside down?
I used to do that...I thought it would be so funny to have to step over a 3 inch wall to get in and out of rooms. In my new house, with the vaulted ceilings, when I imagine my upside down house...I realize I would slide down into the room. Growing up before computers and less TV, I did a lot of pretending...we were challenged to use our imaginations. The yards in my neighborhood were tremendous. My best friend, Ann, and I used to rake leaves...we'd spend hours arranging the piles to form walls and rooms. An aerial view would have revealed an elaborate floor plan. We would design HUGE homes and then play in them all afternoon. We left openings for doors and windows. It was such fun.
My cousin and I used to play a game we made up called " Old Fashioned". I just loved that game. All I can remember is we were in the pioneer days. We would drag out mom's pots and pretend we were cooking on the fire. The two concrete steps that led from our dining room to the patio became our stove. And we played Annie Oakley. The chairs and the couch became the huge rocks you see out west....we would gallup around the house on our make believe horses.
I don't even like horses....but you couldn't be a real cowgirl without a horse.
Tell me...what have you imagined?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Well done is better than well said. I totally agree. I was listening to Ann Curry this morning on the TODAY Show. She was interviewing a woman who wrote a book about women...unfortunately I cannot remember the title....maybe one of you "younger minds" was also in tune and can....anyway...they were talking about how women feel so unappreciated...we give give give and are conditioned to give and yet we feel like no one really appreciates our efforts. Our husbands think they are off the hook because they say they love us...but what we ( well maybe it's just me ) really want is for them to SHOW THEIR LOVE by "DOING" something to help us.

I remember Gary Chapmans Five Love Languages study...have you ever done that in your church? It was so clear to me - even before the study - that you showme that you love me when you do for me...He writes...

Acts of Service
Sometimes simple chores around the house can be an undeniable expression of love. Even simple things like laundry and taking out the trash require some form of planning, time, effort, and energy. Just as Jesus demonstrated when he washed the feet of his disciples, doing humble chores can be a very powerful expression of love and devotion to your mate.
It is important to do these acts of service out of love and not obligation. A mate who does chores and helps out around the house out of guilt or fear will inevitably not be speaking a language of love, but a language of resentment. It’s important to perform these acts out of the kindness of your heart.
Demonstrating the acts of service can mean stepping out of the stereotypes. Acts of service require both mates to humble themselves into doing some chores and services that aren’t usually expected from their gender. However, these little sacrifices will mean the world to your mate, and will ensure a happy relationship.

Benjamin Franklin had it right in my book....I'd like to say..." A Hundred HUGS is better than a thousand I love yous".

Back to work

Hard to believe it's already July 11 and I'm back to work this afternoon. Up early, trying to savor every moment before I slip back into the "routine". Summers are difficult in Tallahassee for an airline employee...afternoon thunderstorms always cause delays and at times the rolling delays cause cancellations. Imagine planning your yearly vacation...maybe you have 2 weeks a year...you save, you plan, you pack, you anticipate all the fun for you and your family...and then you arrive at the airport to discover your flight is delayed, you're going to miss your connection...you won't make the cruise...there are no other flights available until tomorrow...your kids are crying...you are frustrated...angry...what can you do???? You ask to speak to a supervisor...that's where I come in...starting to understand the difficulty of my job? Customer Service...you either love it or you don't. It's easiest when you enjoy what you do...it's easiest when you're honest...I always begin with a sincere apology...I avoid saying, I understand ( even when I do )...but it is stressful. It helps to know that the Lord is in control of all that comes my way. He prepares the way...and I always pray as I approach any situation, knowing that this is my ministry, not just my job.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Weight Loss Tips!

Tempted to nibble while sitting in front of the tube? Try these tricks instead:

Find a healthier habit. Keep your hands busy while watching by knitting or crocheting.

Skip the tube. Instead, read a magazine or book (it’s hard to eat and read), take a walk or call a friend.

Portion out snacks. Make reasonable-sized portions, and have only one. Or, opt for a healthy snack, such as grapes or carrot sticks, if you're worried about keeping track.
Traveling this week with Hannah was reminiscent of our earlier days with Robin...funny how everyone in Cincinnati kept calling Hannah - Robin. I even caught myself doing it. Guess it seemed so natural...Jason, Sara and Robin...just the three of us. Hannah didn't seem to mind.

We had a nice visit with family. I was especially proud of Hannah and the way she communicated with Alex. Alex is my niece...my brother, Mark's daughter. She is 6 months younger than Hannah. She was born blind, she is hearing impaired and has CP. Alex has the most amazing women in her life, Courtney, Dar and Chris. They help Mark and Julie with Alex during the week. Julie has a chart on the refrigerator with all that should be accomplished in a day in the life of Alex. It is a comprehensive list including exercises to strengthen and tone muscles. Alex must be fed, lifted, changed, bathed. She must be assisted for all activities of daily living. Mark and Julie's home is equipped with an elevator, a lift, a large swing and anytime you are there you notice all of the evidence that someone very special lives there. Hannah recorded her voice for Alex, she sat on the floor and talked with her....she encouraged her to touch and hold toys that stimulate by touch. Over the past 11 years, I have tried to choose gifts that would smell, make noise, wiggle, have texture...concentrating on the other senses...and Hannah understood this. She held Alex's hands and pulled the wheelchair around the kitchen and said, " Let's dance, Alex." She swam with Alex and learned to blow bubbles under water. She massaged Alex and loved her. She was sensitive to all of Alex's special needs. I am so proud of Hannah and thankful for the time we shared in Cincinnati.

We had an uneventful flight home, even got to sit together. I am so thankful for Delta Air Lines.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Play by Play

Here's the news....

Barry Bonds hit a 2 run homer in the first inning...Things did not look good...and we were surrounded by geeky San Francisco fans...but in the 3rd or 4th inning...Zito did zippo...and walked in 2...TIE GAME!!! Then Conine brought a run in....But the BIG EXCITEMENT was when Phillips, with the bases loaded hit a GRAND SLAM, and Sara had on her RALLY GLASSES...watch for photos later...we won 7-3. Following the game we watched a FANTASTIC FIREWORKS DISPLAY...Hannah said they were so loud, you may have heard them in Florida. For my fans...I did get a pretzel and a Skyline Coney and still posted my 2 lb loss for week 1...
GO REDS!!!!!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Standby vs Confirmed

Hey Prayer Partners....we MADE IT!!! But not without incident. We started in Tallahassee and the flights were completely overbooked...so the veteran airline employee, at 3 am got on the computer to look for alternates and discovered NONSTOPS to CINCINNATI from Jacksonville.....2 hours away...no problem...National Rental Car.....the Standbys drove to Jacksonville. The first flight was a 1:30 PM departure....we get there...no problems...make it through security...Hannah was a selectee ( another blog)...got to the gate...at the LAST MINUTE, we were cleared from the standby list....boarded...in our seats...seat belts fastened...and then the dreaded PA Announcement, " Party of 3 Ackley...please collect your personal belongings and come to the front"....so now we had 4 hours to kill in the Jacksonville airport....Papa was NOT HAPPY....for those that know Jason...just picture it....(refer back to the "selectee" portion...use your imagination)....fortunately...when you have been around Delta for 29 years, you meet a few folks....and one of the folks I know works in the Crown Room...an exclusive membership club....we were invited in as her guests and that made our wait so much nicer. Free snacks, comfortable seating, a lounge...tv or not, nice magazines....Free snacks....nice bathrooms....away from the riff raff....now it's 5: 30 PM....next flight...we proceed to the gate area....WE MADE IT!!!
Hannah and I even got to sit together....
We dropped off Papa....went to Frisches for late dinner and then Wal-Mart for PJS for Hannah and then off to JULIES....more later