Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Rambunctious Ryan......Our September Baby






September 3, 1975.......The day the lives of Jackie and Mike McComas changed forever.  I know every parent says  that when a child is born, and I also know that is true of every family, that first baby does change your life forever.  No one can describe that feeling, if you are not a parent you just don't know, and yes I include parents who adopt, they definitely experience that same feeling. There are things that come close but just don't hit the nail on the head, so to speak.  I will say this though, Ryan not only changed our lives but he changed the lives of many others along the way.  He was so tiny.  He only weighed 5 pounds at birth and then when he came home he only weighed 4 pounds 12 ounces.  He didn't get on the growth chart, well, I'm not sure he ever was really on the growth chart...just kidding.  He was a bundle of life and he seemed to be able to light up the faces of all those around him.  He went 100% all day long but when he laid his head down at night, he was out.

We lived in Stillwater until he was almost 3.  When I say Ryan learned to walk I really should say when he learned to run.  He never really walked anywhere and when we bought new shoes they had to run fast.  A very dear friend always referred to him as Rambunctious Ryan.  We moved to Beggs America for 10 months before we moved back to Caddo County. Within minuets of moving to Beggs he made friends of all the neighbor kids.  His favorite was a little girl who lived a couple of houses away.  We lived 6 months in Anadarko while we worked on our house at Oney.  Sunset circle was a great place for him, but that is where he learned you were supposed to knock before you went in to people's houses.  LOL  Ryan loved living at Oney.  He played baseball, basketball, rode horses and showed pigs.  He could drive a pickup with a clutch at 5 years old....he had to stand up to see over the wheel.  He loved his two sisters to the moon and back.  He made many life long friends while we lived out there.


We moved to Washita on 72 acres in July of 1985 and he started 4th Grade in Anadarko.  It was on that 72 acres where he really grew up.  He loved living on that 72 acres of trees.  He could get up and go hunt right on his own land.  He had two buddies that lived on the 80 acres that connected to us.  We were 7 miles from town and between the 2 families we had 6 children.  There were always more that 6 out there, but they had some great times.  Ryan played baseball, basketball, golf, tennis, football and of course his real love was for Wrestling.  In the summer he loved to swim and dive.  He became a lifeguard before he was 16.  He was strong as an oxen and never had an ounce of fat on that body.


When it came to school Ryan excelled there too.  I am quite sure he didn't have the highest IQ in the class, but he truly was one of the hardest working students.  I think that some felt it came very easy for him, but he did study at home pretty much every night.  Math was something that did come easier to him than it does to some, but he always wanted more.  I think his favorite thing was languages.  He could speak, and write Spanish fluently.  At WP he learned to speak German.  He even wanted to go into Intelligence.  He was also involved in many clubs.  He was active in Boy Scouts of America, 4-H, FBLA, Spanish Club, Student Council, and I'm sure I have left out others.  He went on trips with 4-H, FBLA, and church.  Ryan loved life and he probably worked too hard to try to get everyone to like him.  Most did, but he wanted everyone to.  He was a people pleaser.  He wanted to make you smile or laugh if at all possible.


Ryan had a way of making everyone feel like they were his best friend.  I am not sure how many best friends he had.  If someone did get mad at him they never stayed that way very long.  How could you.  He would just flash that smile at you and you would melt.  He made us all proud when he graduated and decided to go to Blair Academy in Blairstown, New Jersey in order to wrestle and prepare to go to West Point.  It was very ironic that he chose to go to West Point and was accepted.  He always played like he was a soldier growing up.  Only 1200 young people are selected in each class to attend West Point....about 25,000 apply each year.  It is what you call highly selective.  Senator David Boren was the political appointment that Ryan went to West Point under.


He wrestled at Blair Academy and also at West Point.  He placed 3rd at Prep School Nationals while at Blair and lettered his plebe year at West Point.  He decided not to wrestle his Yearling year at WP.  He played 135 pound and under football in full pads.  That is where he got his concussion that lead to having PTCS.  He was at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington DC.  While home from WP on leave, he was tragically killed in a car accident on January 14, 1997.  This is how I know The Rest of the Story.  This is when I began to understand the number lives he had touched.


There were over 1000 people at his funeral.  West Point sent Dr. Robert Smith, Ryan's adopted family father, to give us his certificate of Graduation with the class of 1999.  At the memorial service they had for Ryan at West Point several of his friends spoke.  His roommate sang and another close friend spoke and referred to a song that Billy Dean sang entitled Once In a While.  If you've never heard it you should listen to it.  My heart was broken, but also full to know that his friends felt that way about him.  I know that Ryan truly was a gift from God.  He only lived a short 21 years but he accomplished more in that time than many do in twice that time.  There were people who named their children after him and many more who sent letters, called and came to visit us just to tell us how much he meant to them.


His dad and I really did our best to instill the values we had been raised with, but it's hard to take credit for the man he turned out to be, I really do think God sent him to us.  He was here for a reason and I'm very sure that he accomplished what he was here for.  Even though it has been almost 18 years, I think that maybe he is still having an impact on those who knew him.  I still have people tell me things he did that had an influence on their lives.  I miss him every day but I also know that he is with the Father and I know I would never ask him to come back.  I do wish I could see him, the song One More Day pretty much sums up how I feel.  What most parents who have lost a child wouldn't do to just have one more day with their child.  I take comfort  in knowing that I will be reunited with Ryan one day and in knowing that he is in a much better place.  I am just thankful that God picked me to be his mom. It's hard to believe it's been 18 years since we celebrated his 21st birthday, which would turn out to be his last birthday here with us.  He would be 39 years old this year.  That's hard to even imagine.  He will be forever 21 to us.  So today all that I can do is wish Rambunctious Ryan Happy Birthday in Heaven!!!! 


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Prayers for Angie.....She is a Warrior!!!!!

On Thursday morning August 14, 2014 our family woke up to the news that Angie, my nephew Brian's wife, was in ICU at Baptist Integris Hospital in Oklahoma City.  She was literally on death's door.  The doctors just really didn't think she had a chance to make it.  There were so many questions; How did she contract Bacterial Spinal Meningitis? She's young, healthy and active.  She works as a nutritionist at the very hospital she's now fighting for her life in.

I felt very helpless.....What could I do to help.......I gave great thought before I  turned to Social Media...... but I decided to get on FB and ask all my friends to please pray for this dear, sweet person.  I asked for prayers for the doctors to find the right medicine to treat Angie.  I knew that all things are possible with God.  I knew he hears all prayers. Not long after I posted for prayers, people started commenting, promising to pray for Angie.

Then I got a private message from another dear, sweet person....Alison Francis Whitney.  She ask me to read an article she had sent to me.  She then ask if it would be ok for her to go talk to Angie's husband about a DNA test that her company could run which in turn could help identify the bacteria that had caused this infection in Angie.  Alison dropped what she was doing, contacted her partner and they were off to the hospital in OKC.  I won't go in to details but Alison talked to Angie's family & her doctors.  She called her boss and he drove Angie's samples to the lab in Lubbock, Texas.

Friday morning within 20 minutes of each other the news came in from the tests in Lubbock & the tests that the ER doctor at the Yukon Ingetris Hospital had run.  That doctor was really on top of things by recognizing Angie's Symptoms as Spinal Meningitis and transferring her to the main hospital in OKC.  The doctors then knew that the bacteria was Strep A Bacterial Meningitis.  It is my understanding that only 6 other people have been diagnosed with this exact illness, none of which survived.  The doctors were treating her with a broad spectrum antibiotic, and they found out that this particular drug had not been effective on the other 6 cases.  They needed a more specific medication.  They could now do this, because they knew what they were fighting.  They changed the medications and Angie began to improve ever so slowly at first.

A week later and Angie is still with us.  She is much improved.  The fight is far from over and we know things can change but we choose to count on all the prayers and God to bring her through this.  There will probably be some neurological damage but we are praying that Angie can keep baffling the doctors and beat all the odds.

There are many people who have had a hand in Angie being able to keep fighting this battle..... The ER doctor at Yukon Integris Hospital, the great doctors, at least 7 of them, at the OKC Baptist Integris Hospital, the wonderful nurses and staff who have taken such excellent care of her and of course all the friends and family who have helped by calling, texting, coming by and most of all for the prayers.  So many people have prayed for Angie and we know God has heard and continues to hear those prayers.

We thank God that he has placed Angie in the right place at the right time so she can win this battle...Thank You God!!!!!

I myself can't thank Alison Whitney and the people she works with and for enough.  They made a special trip to Lubbock, stayed late to keep the lab open and went in on the weekend to read more tests.  They didn't ask anything in return.  They just wanted to help save Angie's life.  How can we ever repay that ..... Alison, I love you to the moon and back.  You have definitely reaffirmed my faith in humanity... People do care.

Thanks again to all of you who have been praying......Keep Praying for Angie.....Prayer works and you never know how it's going to be answered.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Amara Our Little Ladybug!

Amara was born in July just like her mama, her bop, her great grandma Maye, her great great Grandmother McComas and a few other relatives.  We have lots of July birthdays in the family.  She was almost born on my mother's birthday, just a couple of days before.  My mother did not get to meet Amara but I can tell you she would have love, love, loved this little Ladybug!  That we started calling her Ladybug when she was no bigger than a minute is ironic because there is no other symbol that fits her better.  She lights up a room when she comes in and she flits from one place to another.  She's never still and very seldom is she quiet.



She is tiny in many ways, but she is taller than 85% of the other kids her age.  You never know what she is going to say.  She loves roll play.  She is always the mother.  She likes to pretend she is talking on a cell phone, wonder who she has seen doing that.   She loves her purses.  Of course she used to go into my bedroom and pick the biggest, heaviest purse she could find and drag it out.  Now she has her own purses.  He Bop spoils her rotten.  He has even bought her, her own purple coach purse.  She is quite the little diva.

Amara 2 years old

He favorite activity to do is go with her mom and I to get our nails done.  She sits up there big as everything and puts her feet in the whirlpool, picks out a color and of course she wants flowers on her toes or poke a dots.  Then she isn't satisfied unless she gets her fingers done too.  She is very much a Girly, Girl like her mom.

Amara 2.5 years old


He favorite color is PINK.  She also likes purple, and orange and anything that sparkles.  She does not like to wear pants at all, she should have been born in the 50's when that's all we were allowed to wear.  She loves to wear dresses and the fuller the skirt the better and please put something that sparkles on it.  She also loves the tutu's.  She also likes to wear flip flops but if you can put a little glitter and heel on them that makes them better.  She talked her Bop into dress shoes with a small heel when she was 3.  He absolutely CAN NOT tell her no.

Amara 3 years old


Everywhere we go she is twirling around.  I'm sure that the adjectives I have used to describe Amara is the same ones others would use to describe their 5 year old girl too, but I have to tell you that we think this little girl is pretty special.  I just could not imagine our lives without her in them.  Oh, by the way, she hears everything and forget nothing.  I mean it.....she does not forget anything no matter how long it has been.  Well, except if you have told her to do something she does not want to.

Amara 4 years old


She loves to help clean, feed Tino, cook.  She really is quite a little helper.  She loves to dust....I hate to dust.  She also loves to help fold clothes and never complains when I ask her to take Tino out.  She likes to clean in the bathroom when you have not ask her to, so if she gets to quiet you better check to see where and what she is doing.



She likes anything princess.  She watches all the Princess movies, but then she also likes movies like Up and Despicable Me.  She can entertain herself most of the time, but she can also talk you into playing with her if you are not on guard.  Her favorite place to sit is on top of her Bop, Grand pa.





She has a personality like no other.  The expressions on her face are priceless.  She charms those around her to get her way.  She can get JJ to do anything for her.  When we went to White Water last week she had complete strangers carrying her tube to the top of the slide for her.  I wish mother could have met her.  When she smiles I see my mother smiling back at me.  She definitely got my mother's smile.



Well I guess this a pretty good description of our little lady bug.  She starts Kindergarten in a week and I'm pretty sure she's going to flit right in to that classroom and keep her teacher on her toes.



Love you Amara!

Amara's 5th Birthday!




Friday, July 26, 2013

Life's A Dance: Amanda....Light of our Life!

Life's A Dance: Amanda....Light of our Life!: Oh my, where do I even begin to describe my baby.  She is one in a million is an understatement.  If you take Mike and I's families and ...

Amanda....Light of our Life!

Oh my, where do I even begin to describe my baby.  She is one in a million is an understatement.  If you take Mike and I's families and melt them together, you get Amanda.  We always laughed and said that she was born with her hands on her hips giving everyone in the house orders.  You see she was born on a Sunday in the hot summer of July 1981.  Mike and I were pretty sure that we wanted to have three children, but we really didn't have the third one planned to come only 16 months after her sister.  As my husband would say, God has a sense of humor.  He knew we needed Amanda to make our family complete.

Amanda as a Senior in high school.


Amanda was always competitive.....she wants to be the best at whatever she does.  She might get that from her dad.  If you have ever played volley ball with him, you know this.  She will work her hardest so that she can be better than everyone else, no matter what it is.  She wants to be a better cook than me, she wants to win at any game she plays, she wants to make highest grade in the class, even today she is one of the youngest supervisors in her area, maybe even the youngest.

She has a heart as big as Texas.  She has always been for the underdog.  She is always wanting to help others.  She worked hard to help those who have problems.  She read books about kids with cancer when she was in school.  She wanted to counsel kids who have terminal illnesses.  It was really no surprise when she majored in Sociology in college.  Now she is a supervisor in DHS and works with Family Services.  Most people think she is tough, but on the inside she is about as soft as they come.  She might be more like her dad than me.  She gets that toughness from him and the bleeding heart from me.

She loves to have fun.  This probably comes from my mother.  Amanda spent lots of time with my mom when she was little.  Mom would let Amanda have friends over to spend the night and they would cook, build houses with quilts in the living room and they even talked her in to buying hair color at Wal-Mart and the girls colored each others hair.  I think they were about 12 or so.  Mom even took her on some bus trips with her.  They made plans to go to Disney World one summer and the two of them were kind enough to allow Krista and I to tag along.  We had a good time.

She is very much an individualist too.  This was easy to see by the sports she chose to participate in.  Her favorite sport turned out to be tennis.  She also played golf, basketball, and softball....but tennis was her love.  I think it was because she could do her own thing and the final responsibility ended up on her.  She did play doubles some, but she liked playing singles the most.  She was also yearbook editor, President of her class several years, top candy sales person in 4-H, officer in many different clubs.  She was a natural leader, or boss.  She gets that from her dad too.  As I write this maybe she IS more like her dad than me.

The trait that she possesses that is most like me is her tender heart.  Because she puts on a persona of being tough, most people don't realize that you can hurt her feelings.  She will be upset for a while and then she gets over it and is always willing to forgive.  Everyone thought she was a Tom Boy, but in truth she is our Girly, Girl.  She has always loved to dress up, put on makeup and wear high heels and fancy dresses, oh yes and have long painted fingernails.

I thank God often because he gave us Amanda.  She has always kept our lives lively.  She is beautiful inside and out.  Gotta Love Her!!!!!

Amanda with her children on Easter 2013.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

JJ's Hawaii Vacation 2012



I can't believe that I have not written about this before.  I guess I just didn't ever find the time to sit down and write about it.  But  here goes.

Last June we waited for JJ to play his game on Thursday night in Oklahoma City and then we drove to Gainsville, Texas to spend the night because we were flying out early Friday morning from Dallas to Maui.  We made it to the DFW airport very early....we just did not find the cheap place to park the car.


We flew to LAX first, not only did we change planes, but we changed airlines.  This meant that we had to go out and come through security again.  We almost missed our plane but, the plane was not only delayed but grounded and we had to get off one plane and on to another plane.  We hijacked the next flight.  I'm not sure what happened to the people on that flight.  I guess they got them another plane.

JJ was so excited when we finally got to Maui, even if it was several hours late.  He loved flying.  We got our car and drove straight to our Condo which is right across from the Ocean.  You can see the pool and the ocean from our balcony on the top floor.  We were in Maui almost 2 full weeks.  JJ got to swim every day in the pool and pretty much every day in the ocean.

The pool from our condo

View of the ocean from our condo

JJ on the lanai


One of the first places we took him to was Big Beach aka Makena Beach.  He loved to boogie board.





We took him on a boat to go snorkeling.  He loved it and again he found a very pretty young woman to flirt with.  We snorkeled a couple of places.  He loved the boat.











He also learned to surf.  He had a very pretty girl for his instructor.  He got up the very first time he tried.  She was a great instructor and he was also a very good student.










We took him to a Luau in Wailea.  He made friends with a beautiful girl who was on her honeymoon.  That boy is going to charm the ladies some day.




 


We took JJ to the Maui Ocean center which has an aquarium.  There is a tunnel to walk through where you have fish all around you.  JJ really enjoyed watching the workers diving in the large aquarium with the fish.






Wailuku is home of the Iao Valley.  This is where some great battles took place.  It is considered a sacred place to the Hawaiians.  The needle was a good place for a look out.  The Ioa Needle is very often surrounded by clouds.  This is one of the wettest places on the island.

  






One part of the island that many people do not go to is the far Northwest end.  There is a place called Nakalele Blowhole.  There are times when the water spits up hundreds of feet in the air.  It is dangerous to get too close to it as it can suck you back into the ocean.  Many people hike down to the bottom, but we just watched its beauty from a safe distance.  We drove the back way to get there and there are some spectacular views.


Kahakuloa Head is 636 feet tall.

This is Nakalele Blowhole
JJ just taking in the view of the ocean


King Kamehameha Day is celebrated every year on each island.  On Maui they have a parade in his honor in Lahaina.  There are ladies on horses that are dressed up and each of the Islands is a different color.  It is right on Front Street which is right next to the ocean.  We enjoying going to this if we are there on the right Saturday in June.  As luck would have it we were there for the right Saturday.








After the parade we were hungry and since Lahaina is always so busy we decided to drive on north to the Plantation Golf Course to eat.  It is at Kapalua.  Golf Digest calls it the best golf course on Maui












  No trip to Maui is complete without at least one trip to Cheeseburgers In Paradise.  We took JJ to the one in Wailea at the Shops of Wailea.





We also went to the top of Haleakala Volcano.  He saw the state flower which is the Silver Sword.  We also saw a NaNa the state bird that day.  It was very cold and very windy up there.  JJ was shivering.  The crater is 21 miles in diameter.  the summit is 10,032 feet above sea level.  It is a really neat place.





We found a new place to eat this time.  It is a really, really good Italian place.  It was right on the beach between Makena and Wailea.  










After a great dinner we were driving back to the condo and this is what we saw....so we had to stop for a picture.




We went to a working pineapple plantation.  There is a tram that takes you around.  Lot's of plants and fruit trees here to look at.  It was a fun day.  JJ drank coconut water.  









On Tuesdays you can go down by the pool and learn how to make a lei to take home.  JJ and I decided to go for it.  Bop stayed in the room to rest.  It was almost time to go home.  JJ made one for Bop too.



And then as all things do....it was time for our vacation in paradise to come to an end.  We flew home the next day.  We made some wonderful memories.  I hope JJ remembers this trip forever.  I know I will and I'm sure Bop will too.

Last meal in paradise...Burger King at the Airport.