Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Trick or treat

Got your candy ready? I went to BJ's last night (sort of like a Costco or Sam's Club) and discovered that other people have figured out my secret: the big bars are often cheaper than the fun-size. The candy section looked like a bomb hit it. I managed to get 3 boxes of Crunch bars and a box of Skittles. Bring it on, I say!

A few years ago I gave out gum--packs of Bubble Yum, Bubbilicious, and assorted dentist-sustaining fruity crap. I had so much left over, I boxed it up and sent it to Sahara. Now, of course, every time I see her in her braces, I cringe a little. They're all my fault!

I am not dressing up--but if Amy were, she'd surely be Sleeping Beauty.

Got to the hospital at 8 am, and started the day by getting blood drawn, vitals taken, and an IV put in place for her MRI, which was scheduled for 10:30. Finished all of that, then crossed the hospital to see the audiologist for followup testing. Her hearing is just fine, only a teeny bit of a dip in the high range of her left ear. Nothing to be concerned about, because she's done so well in tolerating the chemo so far.

Went down a few floors to the MRI department after the audiology testing. That is when I started feeling sick; I was so nervous. After a short wait we were called in, and the nurses gave both of us warm blankets (because that whole area is as cold as a meat locker). Sahara assumed her position on the table, and I took the chair. After they got the MRI started, and I was all warm in my blanket, I fell sound asleep, sitting up, right there in the room beside her. I have no idea how I slept like that...must have been sheer exhaustion. MRI's are NOT quiet...that machinery is very loud. LOL. An hour later, it was over, and Sahara and the radiologist were giggling about how I'd napped through the whole thing. :)

We had a break after that, so we had a quick lunch before seeing Dr. Wolff. He ended up being late because of some type of emergency, so it was nearly 2 pm before we were called back. He gave Sahara the biggest hug, and she was so glad to see him, too. It was comforting to see his face again. He spent nearly an hour and a half with us, going over everything, showing us her bloodwork for today (counts are starting to come up, thank God),reviewing what had been happening over the last two weeks, and finally, the results of the MRI. I held my breath as he brought the images up on his computer screen. None of it made much sense, until he brought up the first MRI image, then placed today's image beside it. The difference was striking. It appears that the front of the tumor has indeed begun to shrink; it is visibly changed from the first image. This is VERY good news. The tumor has some other changes showing as well, which are not as clear. There are some white areas that were not there before, but they could be necrotic tissue left as a result of the radiation treatments killing the cells. Worst case scenario, there could be some growth behind those white areas, but it isn't possible to tell right now. He wants to do another MRI on December 1st, to investigate it further. But for right now, we can breathe. I asked him, point blank, if we can consider today's visit to be a good one - and he said yes. :) So, that is a relief, and we can go back home with smiles on our faces!

We have so far to go, and will begin the next steps of the journey next week when outpatient chemo begins in Cape. This trip to Houston was such a hurdle, and it was emotionally draining for all of us. You just have to keep on praying, every single day, and that is what we will continue to do.

Dr. Wolff presented Sahara with a large, framed, signed certificate today, congratulating her on making it through her treatments at MD Anderson with such flying colors. You could just feel how proud he is of her...and his entire staff had signed it. Above his signature were the words: "You are my inspiration." He told her that he has hung her letter to him over his desk, and whenever he feels discouraged, he reads it, and it helps to keep him going. It was such a touching moment, but Sahara demanded that I not cry, so I was a big girl and held it together. LOL.

Thank you all for continuing to keep her in your thoughts and prayers. I know that it is helping Sahara to make progress in this battle. God is bigger than any of this, and every single day I tell myself that he doesn't put any doors in front of us that we cannot walk through.

We are looking so forward to coming back home tomorrow! This has been a fast trip, but adding the change to Daylight Savings Time did NOT help. LOL.

Take care everyone - we love you!


Saturday, October 28, 2006

country roads

Amy and Sahara headed off to Nashville today--for a bit of good shopping. Tomorrow morning, they'll fly to Houston, stop by MD Anderson to charm the infamous Dr. Wolff on Monday, and if all goes as planned, they'll fly to St. Louis on Tuesday.

The Show Me Center reports ticket sales are strong for the Rick Springfield benefit show. Check it out at www.showmecenter.biz. I'll be there--my second time to see Rick, and my first time in Missouri. I don't know who I'm more excited about meeting--Amy, Sahara, or Gramma Dooley. It should be a fun weekend.

Sahara's still not feeling great--but maybe a couple days of Texas sunshine will be just what she needs. Home's always the best medicine--but adjusting to blustery winds when you've been basking in the warm weather can take some time.

If you've emailed me over the past week, please be patient--I'm catching up on my replies this weekend. Amy appreciates all the support--and says KEEP PRAYING. So get on it, people.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

You give me fever

Hello, faithful Sahara fans,

Well, things are going absolutely crazy around here. News of the Rickshow is spreading far and wide. I hope as many of you as possible are able to attend! Sahara is so excited she can't hardly stand it. We are going to have a blast! I know people from coast to coast who are planning to make the trip, and we are so honored to have them here. There are some really cool things to do in Cape during the holiday season, which will be in full swing when Rick comes to town!

Sahara has been feeling quite crappy the last few days. I think all of the excitement and activity, combined with our freaky cold weather, kinda took their collective toll on her. She is doing much, MUCH better tonight and seems to actually have an appetite (gasp) again. We are so relieved. When Sahara is sick, and QUIET, I absolutely hate that silence. When she goes back to being sassy, silly and her laughter fills the house, I know things are going to be all right. :)

Take care and have a great day!


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Souper Sunday

Happy Sunday... there's pea soup on the stove (first of the season!) and roses in full bloom, 10 days before November. Mother Nature seems confused. But I'll take it.

I haven't been lucky enough to see the CNN story on Rick's benefit for Sahara. Did anyone tape it? If someone records it digitally and loads it on Youtube or Google videos, I'll add the link--or if anyone sees the story on CNN.com, let me know.

For those of you just joining us, welcome. I'm pamela, a writer from NY who helps Sahara and her mom Amy, tell their story. Sahara writes in orange, Amy writes in green, and I write in black. Shannon is Amy's husband and Sahara's dad, and he has yet to blog. Must be a chick thing.

Hello, everybody!

So, it's official, Rick is coming to Cape Girardeau!! We are so honored that he is doing a show here for Sahara. She's bouncing off the walls, because she has always wanted him to play the Show Me Center. It is going to be such a great time! Rick and his management apparently have a lot of goodies in the works, and it sounds like we are going to have one heck of a party. If you haven't seen a Rick show before, then you are in for a treat. If you are a veteran like we are, you already know what a blast you will have. Come on out to Cape on December 8th - we will do our best to show you a fantastic time in our town! (I really think we need to get Gramma Dooley up on stage, don't y'all? SHE ROCKS!!!)

Sahara has had a very nice, relaxing week, getting stronger each day. That last round of chemo was a tough one, but she is recovering well. Her blood counts still looked good when she got checked on Monday. It is so wonderful to be able to get her lab work done at St. Francis, and to see those MD Anderson logos on the walls showing that they are affiliated. What a blessing to be able to get this done at home!

She's spent most of her time resting, playing with her cats and dog, and catching up on some movies. Tonight, her girlfriend Madison is sleeping over. I made chocolate chip cookies, and they are in the basement snacking, watching tv, and laughing. It sounds so good to hear them having fun!

It was a gorgeous day here - bright sun, a million colors in the trees, the sights and sounds of a great fall weekend. I love this time of year. I'll say it one more time...there is NO place like home!!!

Have a blessed Sunday and enjoy some good times with your family!


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Why can't I find a woman like that?

Our media darling is doing well, thank you. Oh, she's tired, but given her social schedule and frequent news appearances, is that any wonder? She is so happy to be home--among friends she knows and those she hasn't met yet.

I am sporting a cool new orange swirl bracelet, thanks to Gramma Dooley, whose rules sound fine to me. But then again, anyone who offers "anything you want" for breakfast, especially when I'm ravenous, goes right to the top of my list.

Now, some of you have heard the rumors--and the local paper broke the story earlier this week. Here's the official information, straight from the Show Me Center:

Rick Springfield will come to Cape Girardeau to perform a concert on Friday, Dec. 8, 2006. The show will start at 8:00 pm at the Show Me Center.

Many activities are being planned for the occasion. There will be a limited number of VIP tickets available. These tickets will include a pre-show reception with Rick Springfield, a photo and autograph opportunity, hors d'oeuvres, and opportunities to bid on donated auction items.

Rick Springfield is donating his time and talent fee. The Show Me Center is donating the facility, rental fees and staff time. All net ticket revenue after staffing, production and transportation costs will be donated to "Help For Hoops" to help defray medical expenses.

Tickets are expected to go on sale, Friday, October 27 at normal Show Me Center and Ticketmaster outlets. Ticket prices are $35 & $25.

That's what I know. That's what Amy knows. To answer the questions:

  1. I cannot get you backstage passes.
  2. I cannot get you into Rick's hotel room.
  3. Thank you, but no, he won't need to stay at your house.
  4. No, I can't get you tickets before the official sale starts.
  5. Yes, I'm sure he'll sing Jessie's Girl.
  6. No, you cannot touch his tushie.
  7. No, even if you donate a million dollars.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I could have danced all night

Hello, everyone!!!

There are not enough adjectives in the English language to describe how wonderful our homecoming weekend has been. Our friends, our family, our community...what an amazing outpouring of love for our family. We are so grateful and humbled by all we have experienced - and Sahara loved every minute of it!

Saturday night was the "Love2Sahara" benefit at the Elks lodge. WOW! From the moment we arrived, we knew it was going to be a great night. We were met in the parking lot by the Southeast Lady Redhawks basketball team! Sahara's mouth just fell open when she saw them and Coach BJ and Coach Pace waiting for her. They are the most phenomenal group of people, and we cannot wait for the season to start!! Thanks for coming to share this night with us!

The parking lot was jammed with cars; I knew the place was going to be packed. When we walked in, it took my breath away. The decorations, the food, the people...it was absolutely beautiful! Sahara was in for a long night, and she was more than ready to see all of her friends and everyone who came out to support her.

Eternal gratitude to Alison Morningstar, Bill and Angie Tegel, St. Francis Hospital, O'Charley's, the Elks, my coworkers from Southeast Missouri State, ALL of the donors of the fantastic auction items...you just wouldn't believe the amount of things we had up for bids. We had TONS of food - thank you Tom and Julia! You all put on one heck of a party and we had so much fun! Sahara really did dance all night, finally tiring out about 11:30. She had the greatest time! Thanks to EVERYONE who attended, worked so hard to make it happen, bid on the items, and shared the night with us. We will never forget you all.

I really thought Gramma Dooley was going to bid 'til the end for that Rick Springfield signed guitar...LOL...she really had a gleam in her eye!!! If you haven't met Frances Dooley, then you are missing out, because she is one of the most energetic, driven, spiritually-powered women I've ever met. Can you believe it...she's sold 2000 bracelets, and with her winnings from the 50/50 drawing, she's ordering more! How in the world did we get so blessed as to have people like this come into our lives????? WOW!!!

Somehow we were on time for church this morning...that was tough! LOL. Sahara received a standing ovation from the congregation (hey, I rhymed), and was grinning from ear to ear. We have such a great and faithful church family, and we are so lucky to have each and every member praying for Sahara's recovery.

This afternoon was the "Hope for Hoops" benefit at Capaha Park. Let me tell you, it was TOUGH finding a parking place! It was a perfect fall day...nice and cool, and I really enjoyed the clouds. It was great sweatshirt weather, and a super day to be at the park. The bands were fantastic! If you're in our area, be sure to check them out...The Mike Renick Band went on first, then The Intention. Both of them rocked the place. Sahara and all of her friends (tons of them!) ran onto the stage when The Intention played "Jessie's Girl." It was priceless. The turnout was unbelievable! We even made the local tv news tonight!

A million thanks to the wonderwomen who were in charge of today's festivities: Jennifer Hecht and Tracy Haggerty. I have no idea how they pulled this off. Both of them area teachers, with kids, working full time and raising their families, and somehow (just like the folks involved with Saturday night's benefit) they accomplished huge things. Special thanks to everyone who sold concessions and t-shirts, who volunteered and helped in any way, to Tina and Emily Hagan for selling the wildly popular items from their business, Little Helpers, to the bands, to everyone who came out to share it with us!

We live in the greatest community - I am so proud to be a resident of Cape. Our people, our teachers, our schools, our churches, our businesses...all have been so supportive of our family since our journey began in July. I want each and every person to know how much we appreciate the time and effort spent on our behalf. It truly helps to know that we have the prayers of literally thousands of people going up each day. And anyone who saw Sahara this weekend can attest to the fact that those prayers are WORKING! Thank you for giving us the best "welcome home" that a family could ever receive.


Amy, Shannon and Sahara :)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Kibbles and bits

They're home. I'm well. Life is grand. Salad is back on the produce shelves. I missed it. I think I ate salad, joyfully, every night this week.

Some snippets from Amy's latest email. She'll update the blog when she has a free moment--but since this is homecoming weekend and benefit weekend, too, there may not be many free moments. And that, my friends, is what I call a blessing.

Made it home safe and sound, and it feels soooo good. Some friends and family decorated our yard for Halloween, (including a scarecrow hanging off the basketball goal that screams, "GET AWAYYYYYY!"), pumpkins and witches and mums, there was a giant welcome home sign on the garage door, and Sahara's girlfriends must have some sort of radar, because they were here within 30 min. of us getting home. LOL. S was so excited that she forgot to put a hat on...I bet her bald head was the talk of the town tonight.

I hope that being home will help her to heal. She has her cats and dog again, and their medicine is already working to help her feel better. :)

It's really cold here - what a shock to the system. I think it's like 35 degrees outside, and we have the heat on in the house. And yesterday we were hot in Houston. LOL.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

You can ring my bell

Well, Sahara rang the heck out of the bell in the radiation oncology department this morning! It's hard to believe that we are beginning to see a bit of closure, even though the road ahead of us is very long. I cried, took photos of her, and was very proud. She is such a precious girl.

She's been tired the last couple of days, mostly resting and napping. I bet she will perk up tomorrow, though. The chemo will end during the night, and she'll just be receiving hydration in her IV after that. So far, she has been very resilient and snaps back quickly after the chemo is finished. Plus, no radiation in the morning!

We will be flying home bright and early on Friday. I'm sure we will both be wiped out by the time we get home, but the thought of being HOME is what is keeping us so motivated!

Can't wait to see many of you at the benefits this weekend - we are going to have so much fun! Hopefully Sahara will feel like spending a good amount of time at both of them. And surely the weather will hold for Sunday!!! Keep that faith!!!

Special thanks to everyone involved with the benefits...we are simply astounded by your incredible efforts in making them happen. The blessings in our lives just keep multiplying every day. We love you all!!! Can't wait to see you!!!

With much love,

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Homeward bound

Monday was just fine. Sahara was up at 7:30 am after sleeping fairly well Sunday night. She had radiation at 8:30, then we went back to our room. We talked, walked, watched tv (loved that Hannah Montana marathon), ate, and even played bingo tonight. She didn't even nap today!

She really enjoyed talking to some of her friends on the phone and IM today. (I miss you guys, too!)

I think she's done for the night...looks like she's sleeping soundly right now. She went to sleep very happy because...drumroll please...Dr. Wolff came in this evening and gave us the green light to come home on Friday!!! Her counts are holding up well, she's tolerating the chemo like a champ, and she's even gained weight. YEAH!!!!!

Last night she wrote Dr. Wolff a note, and she gave it to him this evening. She wrote it with her right hand (she couldn't even hold a pen when we arrived here on August 1). It said, "Thanks, Dr. Wolff, 4 giving me my life back. Love, Sahara." The look on his face was priceless.

I don't have flights booked yet for Friday, but that will be my task for Tuesday. I can almost smell the fall leaves in Cape Girardeau...and taste Diebold's apple cider...home has never sounded so GREAT!!!!

We're on our way, baby!!!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Kiss me, you fool

Since I'm playing catch-up for the weekend, here's Amy's Monday update. Happy Columbus Day!

Rhonda Hunt, a photographer from Arkansas, took these photos (and the Rickshot I just posted). Although how hard could it be--her subjects are all adorable.

The dogs are from PAWS, an animal rescue organization here in Houston. The big dog is Katie, who was very charming, and HUGE! The little chihuahua is Louie, who was equally charming, and very cute in his Harley t-shirt. LOL. Sahara had SO much fun playing with them. :)

Today is going smoothly; no sickness, thank God! She threw up once yesterday morning, but slept it off, apparently. She's been fine since yesterday afternoon. She's even gained weight in the last week. I was told today that she's the very first pediatric patient here that has gained weight during radiation. Wooo HOOO!!!

For all the girls I've loved before

Quit clicking refresh--we're back! J and I spent the weekend in Rhode Island, exploring Newport mostly, slurping chowdah, and staring out at the ocean, a glorious navy blue. It was a sunny, beautiful weekend. We ate an a wonderful little outdoor cafe on the wharf for lunch, then hit a clam shack for dinner that was so greasy, we felt coated when we left.

Drove home today and am feeling much better. I saw my doc again Saturday morning and finally got some meds to reduce the inflammation in my lungs, and that did the trick.

Of course, my weekend wasn't half as much fun as that of Amy and Sahara. Not that I'm supposed to talk about it! Let's just say that SOMEBODY was a princess for the weekend, and somebody else in this photo was a perfect prince.

The last few days have been a flurry of activity! We have had so much fun, it seemed for a bit as if we were on a Ricktrip just hanging out and doing our normal stuff.

Rick got to town on Thursday afternoon. He and the entire band came to the RMDH. I was so completely impressed that they all came with him. They visited with the kids and their parents for about an hour. We had the best time. It was such a great day.

Friday morning, got up and ran back to MD Anderson to get her radiation treatment, then went to soundcheck a little later, where we met several of the incredible fans that have been so kind to us. Everyone was very cool and genuinely sweet.

Got ready to go to the show after that. Sahara looked SO cute, in her surfer clothes and a sparkly white beanie. She and Aaron ended up on stage. (They brought a van full of kids and several adults from the RMDH to the show.) Rick smashed a guitar at one point, and gave the remains to Aaron, who was completely in awe of the whole thing. It was PRECIOUS to see the look on his little face!!! The show was fantastic as always, and everyone had a wonderful time.

Sahara stayed up late both nights and never even acted tired. She never ceases to amaze me. She was just so HAPPY. It was great. We said goodbye to the guys this morning--she cried and cried when they left. They are such a cool group of guys and we love them all.

Finally got her into a room at the hospital about 3 this afternoon. She's been on hydration ever since, and they will start the chemo at 3 am. I hope this round goes smoothly. As long as they keep the Zofran dripping, she should be okay.

She gained three pounds this week! I am so happy. All of that pizza is paying off. LOL. I brought some food with us, because she's so bored with hospital food. Since we arrived, she has eaten four (yes, four) PB & J sandwiches, and four containers of milk. Amazing. Sometimes she eats like a piglet. LOL.

Tonight we've just been watching tv (what a treat to have tv in the room). She dozed off about 9, and has been sleeping soundly ever since. I hope she sleeps through the chemo setup.

So, for now, we will be sitting in the room and waiting for it to be over. Just a few more days!!! Hope you have a great week...keep us in your prayers!


Friday, October 06, 2006


Sahara's kicking her tumor's lumpy butt, but I feel like celebrating, too. I can breathe through my nose again! I actually slept last night, from 12:30 to 6:30. I couldn't stop grinning at work today. I'm not 100% yet, but I feel so much better.

Amy mentioned we may be quiet for a few days; not to worry. J and I are zipping up to New England for the long weekend, unless I have a bad night. At any rate, she and Sahara will probably be too excited to float down to earth and blog, after tonight's Rickshow.

I updated the Help for Hoops page today, so if you're looking for new options, take a peek. And if you're waiting for bracelets from Gramma Dooley, she's out in the street waiting for the UPS truck to deliver the second batch.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The countdown

Hi, everyone!

It's been a really quiet week around here. Sahara's doing fine - no sickness (woo hoo!), just dealing with some fatigue from the radiation, but otherwise doing so well. Today we started packing up some things in our room. What a great feeling that was! I normally hate packing, but knowing that we are getting closer and closer to going home makes it almost fun. LOL.

We are looking forward to seeing Rick on Friday night. He's playing less than half an hour away from where we are staying! It's all Sahara's been talking about for days. I'm sure she will find the energy to enjoy it and have a blast. :)

Saturday morning she gets admitted to the hospital for her last big round of chemo...five days of it. We are hoping and praying that it goes smoothly, and that her counts stay good - so we can finally go home. Not sure exactly when that will be, and I don't have flights booked yet. Things can change so quickly. But we are going to do our very best to be home to make at least an appearance at the benefits. We just can't hardly wait!!!

My posts might be sporadic the next few days. We are going to be really busy, and our dear blogmistress will be taking a much-deserved vacation. She burns the candle at both ends 24/7 - another woman who really needs her own cape, like Gramma Dooley. LOL.

But rest assured, things are going well here, and we continue to pray that Sahara is going to beat this thing. She is certainly moving in the right direction with the passing of every day! God is GREAT!

Take care!


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Great expectations

Greetings from Plagueville. I finished my antibiotics Sunday night, but those six Japanese men living in my chest and humming in dissonant harmony apparently have settled in for the long haul. I went back to my doctor today, who heard them and laughed, which made me laugh, which made them wheeze and hum louder.

At any rate, it was good to laugh, and it was good to see him. Like Sahara's Dr. Wolff, I am blessed with a doctor who actually cares, who actually listens, and is, by all accounts, a human being. Best of all, he lets me be a human being.

Which isn't always easy in this world. As women, we're expected to bear it all, keep a graceful attitude, and put others above ourselves at all costs. And that, my friends, isn't always a good thing. That's not to add an air of doom and gloom to the blog, but rather to simply say that all of us can think, say, and feel things that aren't perfect.

Unless you're wearing another person's shoes, you can't begin to know what's driving his or her moods and outbursts. Think of the sunniest woman you know. Odds are, even she cracks sometimes. And if she's you, climb down off the silly pedestal. Let yourself eat too much chocolate cake. Say what you mean. Forgive yourself.

You're only human.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Skip to my Lou

Our final Monday of outpatient chemo in Houston is finished. Sahara made it through just fine, just a bit more tired and subdued today. We seem to have the anti-nausea medication sequence down pat. So far, no sickness! Thank God!

Today I watched in amazement during her visit with Dr. Wolff. She can now move both of her eyes all the way to the right!!! Where there had been zero movement before, she can now move them! Still can't do that to the left yet, but what a miracle. We are definitely moving in the right direction.

She was in rare form, too, absolutely leaving Dr. Wolff speechless and cracking up, when he turned around and saw that she was wearing some Billy Bob teeth. LOLOL. He'd never seen those before and got a huge kick out of them. And yes, I took pictures. Tee hee. He really loves Sahara...I've never seen a doctor with so much interest, compassion and pure hope for his patients. Wow.

This afternoon she did something I hadn't seen in so long I can't remember - she skipped. All the way down the hall at the RMDH. I was speechless. Her coordination is improving each and every day.

We're beating this thing - one day at a time! God is truly good.

Take care!


Sunday, October 01, 2006

A vitamin sea of orange

I'm still coughing up little green men. Whole armies of them. But I'm holding on. If I cough up an orange bracelet, then I'll officially be scared.

Yes, I know there are some new benefits to post, and I'll get them up one evening this week. But for now, I've got a date with a big red Nyquil bottle.

It's been such a nice, low-key day, that it's almost too boring to post anything! We slept in until about 9 am, had breakfast, and hung out at the house for a while. Sahara started getting hungry again about noon, so we ventured out into town. We went to the Saltgrass Steakhouse and had a great meal...I can't wait until she gets weighed tomorrow, because she has been eating so well. Surely she will have gained a couple of pounds! I hope so. We walked through a couple of shops in the adjacent plaza, then headed back to our temporary home.

Sahara's been hanging out with some really great kids here. They have a nice gameroom with a pool table, video games, a big screen tv, a jukebox...lots of fun things to do. There's usually always someone to play with. :)

Back to the hospital for radiation and chemo bright and early in the morning. Mondays are the toughest days, because it's non-stop until about 1 pm. I'm sure she'll be tired

We are really getting excited about the benefits, and we just can't hardly wait to get home. I'm looking forward to seeing the sea of orange!!! Yeah!!!!!!

Have a great week, everyone!


You're a butterfly

Hi, everyone!

We had a downright-near perfect day today...sunshine, not too hot, shopping, Chinese food...ahhhhhhh. Sahara and I had an absolutely WONDERFUL time. I rented a car (sweet freedom!), and we made our way to the Galleria, Houston's shopping Mecca. It was crowded, crazy, and pure fun.

We shopped for about an hour, then Sahara said she'd really like some chicken teriyaki. Found a little place to eat called the Magic Wok (although I saw no magic OR wok), which had very tasty food and huge portions. We were both glad we stopped there. Afterward we went to the arcade and spent a few bucks on games, which yielded enough tickets for some candy at the redemption counter. Woo hoo. She had a blast, though, so it was definitely worth it! Shopped a while longer, found a couple of cute items, then headed back to the RMDH. We had so much fun, just hanging out like we used to do on any given Saturday. Sahara looked SO great today - she has truly bounced back in a way I can't even believe myself. She gets so many compliments on the cute beanies she wears, and I know that helps her feel better about herself. I can honestly say this day was FUN...I never thought we'd have such an enjoyable day here. YEAH!!!

Spent the rest of the afternoon and evening snacking and chatting with some of our sweet friends from here at the house. We are really going to miss some of these folks. And bless them, some will be here for 2 years or longer. Keep them in your prayers - this house is full of people who are struggling with realities that are very harsh.

Gramma Dooley - we really must get you a cape, because you are obviously Superwoman, posing as a mild-mannered government teacher. LOL. We love and appreciate you! And that goes for everyone else who is praying, thinking about, and working for this wonderful girl of ours. THANK YOU!!!

I hope you all have a blessed Sunday, and that you will worship as you please, spend time with your families, and keep praying for our miracle.

With love,