Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Our baby girl turns 36 years old in a few days! She spent her first Thanksgiving in a foster-care home because the juvenile court judge was on vacation and couldn't sign the papers for her release to be adopted by us. This picture was taken the day we got to bring her to our home - she was three weeks old. She was so tired when we remembered to take a picture of this momentous day. She would tell you that she had had a rough day! You see I was against pacifiers in those days; so as we left the courthouse after picking her up, I popped that Binky right out of her mouth and threw it in the trash - an act I lived to regret. I thought I knew everything about being a mother as we already had a 4-year old son. We had a very cranky baby for a few days until she found her thumb. And, did she ever find her thumb - she sucked that thumb for years!!
Can you tell she had orthodontia in her future? Look at those teeth and that cross-bite. Poor thing, she had to endure 10 years of braces because her mother thought she knew everything.

She was such a good kid - so easygoing and happy. She loved going to school, even though school work was a struggle for her. After several years in school, a learning disability was finally diagnosed. That didn't make learning any easier; however, it just gave us a definition.

She thought of school as a social occasion and excelled in all of the extra-curricular things. She played drums in the band, was captain of the flag corps, captain of a state championship gymnastic team, and worked really hard at the school work to keep her grades acceptable to participate in the fun stuff.

She was very, very social!! Oh, yes, she also spent a lot of time at the orthodontist.

She finally got those braces off in her Senior year in time to also be a beauty queen!

We couldn't convince her to try college, so she went right to work in retail. With her charm and sociability, she could sell anyone anything.

She fell in love and got married.

She had a baby - our first grandchild - adorable Caitlin!

I told you she was social - she was calling the world to tell them about this bundle of joy.

In a few months, she was pregnant again; but lost the baby in the fifth month. That was a very difficult time for her.

In 2001, she was having an ultrasound to diagnose a painful kidney stone; and in addition to the kidney stone, they found a baby lurking in there! She was finally blessed with another child. Because of the risk to the baby, they couldn't blast the stone. So, she endured that kidney stone for the entire pregnancy, working full time standing on her feet. She said she was glad to have her epidural to relieve that kidney stone pain for a little while during labor!!!

Look what she had - little, cutie Wyatt.

On the phone again to tell the world. And, they were finally able to blast that stone.

Little did she know that her biggest challenge was ahead. She had always suffered from migraine headaches; but in April 2006 she started having a different type of headache. The doctor diagnosed it as a sinus headache, but within a week she was in an ambulance on her way to the big city hospital with a brain tumor the size of a lemon. She started having seizures and went into all-night surgery. It was the worst type of news - a glioblastoma, stage four cancer.

They gave her 14 months to live, but after she could talk she told them that was not acceptable. She had a 4 year old and a 9 year old to raise!

Talk about a bad hair day!

She was in the hospital for 1 month; 2 weeks of that in ICU.
She learned to talk again and walk again; she began 7 weeks of radiation and 7 months of chemo.

Even though the treatments were horrendous for her, she was glad to be home.

So, now she is 29 months out of brain surgery and still going. A year ago, she wanted to drive again as she had been seizure-free for one year, but the doctor said he didn't know - he never had a patient live that long to want to drive again. We had her go out with a policeman friend to check her out, and she also passed that hurtle with flying colors. She will probably never be able to work again because of some short-term memory loss and lack of stamina; but her marriage survived, she is able to take care of her kids, and she is her usual, bubbly, social self.

She just had another MRI and it was clear once again. Let me tell you - this is one courageous, fighting-for-her-life woman!! She is an inspiration to anyone struggling with a life-threatening illness. I'm proud to call her our daughter. Happy Birthday, Jenni - and may you have many more and more and more and ------------.

I will be celebrating my birthday in a few days, too. It is my big 70! How blessed am I! After everything Jenni has been through, we certainly don't question God's plan for us, nor do we forget to pray and offer our thanks for our blessings.

To God be the glory as we begin this Thanksgiving season.



Lynne said...

Happy Birthday to you early... wow !!! ..girl certainly have a guardian angel among you..I was so touched by the courageous fight your daughter as well as the rest of your family have put forth. Continued prayers for all you..Your daughter is so fortunate to have been adopted by you..hugs and hugs ~lynne~

Ma'dame French said...

HAppy Birthday and many many more~~~she's a survivor there's no doubt about that!!! What a girl I like her already;) French

laurie said...

What a wonderful story of amazing courage and determination. She is such a pretty young woman with beautiful children. Thank you for sharing her story. It has touched me and will touch many others. Happy Birthday to the two of you! (I was an adopted child, and I am so grateful for the parents who raised me. I know she is also). laurie

Chari said...

Hi Sally...

What an awe inspiring post about your daughter Jenni...Happy Birthday Jenni!!! Hope that it's the best one ever!!!

Well my friend, I want to wish you Happy Birthday also...even though it's a few days early! Have any special plans?

Warmest wishes...Chari (Happytodesign)
PS...my youngest daughter is a Jenni too!!!

nikkicrumpet said...

Well Happy Birthday Jenni...what a tough lady she is. I can see why you're so proud of her and her beautiful kids. AMAZING...what an inspiration she is to everyone!

Carrie said...

Yes, Happy birthday, Jenni...may god grant you many more happy birthday's with your loveely family!

Bo said...

Wow Sally, what a valiant fight your sweet Jenni has put up and she is now a victor not a victim. Happy, happy birthday to her and to you too on 70! ;-) Bo

the pleasures of homemaking said...

Wow! What a story...I'm in tears...what wonderful and courageous girl you have! Happy Birthday to her, may she have many more and Happy Birthday to you as well!


Smilingsal said...

Let me take some of your guilt away about that pacifier. They SAY that breast-fed babies don't suck their thumbs, and that babies would are allowed pacifiers don't such their thumbs, but they are WRONG! My daughter was breast fed, given the pacifier, which she pushed out of her mouth and stuck her thumb in! Some are just born to be thumb suckers.

You have every right to be a proud mama.

Scooterblu's Whimsy~Rhonda said...

Happy Birthday to you and your lovely daughter! She sounds like a remarkable and amazing woman...and very strong! :) ~Rhonda

brettinsky said...

Happy Birthday-what a survivor! I teared up just reading the story! She is definitely an inspiration!

Happy To Be said...

Happy Birthday Jenn...whay a beautiful story about your daughter Sally...what a brave youn lady she is...how proud of her you must be...thanks for sharing..and for coming by...hugs and smiles Gloria

Shelia said...

Oh, Sally, what a heart warming and encourageing story about Jenni!Praise God that she's going strong and she is made of tough stuff! Beautiful children and a beautiful daughter - Happy Birthday, Jenni!
And an early Hapapy Birthday to you, dear friend!
Be a sweetie,
Shelia :)

onlymehere said...

I am so moved by this story.....I have am in awe at her courage and fighting spirit. What a blessing to have adopted her and loved her and watched her overcome the obstacles put in her way. She must be one incredible woman and you have every right to be proud of her. May she have many more birthdays. Happy birthday Jenni! :)

onlymehere said...

Ooops, make that "I am in awe" not "I have in awe." Brain freeze I guess from the snow outside!

Picket said...

Happy Birthday Jenni!!!! Oh sweet Lord I praise you for touching that sweet child and bringing her up from the jaws of death..ohhhh girl I am rejoicing with you aboutyour beautiful daughter...may God do a recreative miracle in her and with each passing day may she grow stronger and every cell and fiber of her being be renewed! Beautiful post girl...just beautiful!

mishebe said...

What a fantastic story. I wish her nothing but the best. I think it is all in the attitude sometimes. "She still has alot of socializing to do." lol mishelle

Chari said...

Hi Sally!

Just stopping back by to let you know that I have a little something for you over at my place (a friendship award)!

So how are you doing today, my friend? Sure hope that you're having a wonderful day...

Warmest wishes...Chari (Happytodesign)

Rue said...

Happy Happy Birthday Jenni!! Thank God for miracles!!!!

Happy Birthday to you too sweet Sally :)


Susie Q said...

Happy, happy birthday to a real hero. She is something special but you already knew that didn't you Mom? : )
She is beautiful and brave and a real fighter. I woud want her on MY side if I was in a fight!

May this year be one filled with joy and laughter for her, for ALL of you! here's to many, many more happy birthdays!!

God Bless you all...

Love and hugs,

imjacobsmom said...

Wish Jenni a Happy Birthday from me! , She is such an inspiration! What a loving tribute to a beautiful daughter with two sweet kids. ~ Robyn

Shelia said...

Oh, Dear One!! I need you to be a Bathroom Diva! You would love it and all of Blogland would love you for doing it! Think about it really hard and if you just can't go snap somewhere, you can snap in your own bathroom!
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Anonymous said...

Your family is Blessed and is a Blessing to the rest of us. Happy Birthday to you both and Thank You for sharing.

Laurie - Decorating Fanatic said...

Oh Sally, I was crying by the end of this post. What a wonderful, courageous daughter you have. She has that fighting spirit and knew she has to be here for her children. What an inspiring story! Happy Birthday to you both and God Bless. ~ Laurie

Katie said...

What a courageous gal your daughter is! That must have been a very difficult time for you too, good gracious! Happy Birthday!

Kim @ Manning Family Tree said...

Wow! What an inspiring story. My Mom had a brain tumor removed about 3 years ago but lucky for us it was not cancerous. Hopefully your daughter will live many more years. So has certainly beat the odds.


No daughter could ask for a more beautiful tribute. God will see you through. I hope she continues to do well. I am sure you are very proud.

Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us.


~SHANNON~ said...

WOW. What a beautiful story. What a beautiful life. God Bless all of you. Thanks for sharing:)

Vivienne said...

What an amazing, moving post! I posted today about a friend with cancer, in honor of Paint the Town Purple.

Those who fight, those who suport them, those who pray for them... it all makes a difference!
I pray for her continued good health.