Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy Holidays!

The holidays have been festive and fun for our family. We went caroling with friends, spent time baking cookies for Santa, and enjoyed spending time with family and friends. We celebrated the birth of our Savior by going to the Christmas Eve candle light service at church. Then we came home and Joseph informed us he'd like to start a new Christmas tradition by opening just one present on Christmas Eve! We decided to give it a try and the kids were delighted with their gifts! Grandmama and Grandaddy Greenwood spent the night. Our kids were happy about that! The children laid out their cookies and milk for Santa. Santa ate up all the cookies and in his rush, accidentally left a beautiful gold button behind! Joseph found it Christmas morning. It still had a red thread from Santa's suit! Joseph carried it around in his pocket for the next 2 days. We went to my parent's house the day after Christmas where Joseph and Abby played with their cousins Ashby and Anna Caroline. They had so much fun! We hated for the holiday to end.
Joseph clowning around with Cousin Ashby!

Abby posing with Cousin Anna Caroline and her new puppy Lizzy!

Spreading Christmas Cheer by caroling for the neighbors!

Carolers warming their toes by the fire!

The Florence Morning News printed an update on Joseph in Sunday's paper (12-28-08). Jamie Durant (writer) and Rebecca Ducker (photographer) did a great job of capturing Joseph's personality. They came out while we were baking Christmas cookies to see Joseph. Joseph and Abby had fun with them! Click on the link below to read the article:
This year'sChristmas a healthier, happier one for boy with heart transplant SCNow

Now we are looking forward to New Year's Eve. We are having some friends over to ring in the new year! We are hoping that 2009 will be peaceful and uneventful! Please say a prayer for our donor family. We hope they had some sort of peace in their hearts during the holidays as they are missing their heavenly angel.

Until next time... Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

Saturday, December 20, 2008

"Why Can't We Eat It, Mommy?"

My response-- "Because it's just too pretty to eat!"

Rachel (our fabulous babysitter) spent some time with Joseph and Abby making a Gingerbread house. She had it all over her by the time they were finished. Abby is all about immediate gratification and wanted to chew it all up the minute it was complete! So far, it is still standing. The kids are out of school for Christmas and we're heading to our first Christmas celebration today! They are so excited!

Please continue to pray for our donor family. This must be such a hard time for their family. We are thinking of them and are so grateful for their gift to us. We're not taking a minute of our time with Jospeh for granted. He was so cute yesterday. He finally learned how to ride his bike without training wheels. He was so proud of himself. He was riding up and down our street! What a big boy he is becoming. He makes us so proud. His attitude toward life is certainly contagious! What a miracle he is.

We have two little boys who remain at the top of our prayer list:
Bayler Teal
Kole Miller
We know the feeling of fighting for your child's life...we pray for peace for them, hope, strength, and courage to fight the battles they are in.

Also, we have a little heart buddy who just received his new heart/gift of life a few weeks ago. He is out of the hospital and recovering nicely from his transplant. His name is Will Threadgill...could you pray for him as well? He's doing great, but we all know what a long road transplant recovery can be.

We wish you a merry Christmas!
Until next time...
Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Priceless Gift

If you live near Florence or Myrtle Beach, consider joining us for a blood drive. It is a gift that will save someon's life and it won't cost you a thing! Check out our local tv station's profile on Joseph. Let's just say, Joseph feels great. It's pretty obvious based on the elf he has dancing around me during the entire interview with TV 15. :) Let's just say I had a HARD time concentrating on the message I was trying to get across to viewers!

Blood donations save lives : News : WPDE

Friday, December 12, 2008

Calvary Christmas Pageant

Our church held the most beautiful Christmas pageant I have ever seen. It was called "The Jesus Story". It spanned the birth of Christ and went through his crucifixion and resurrection. The little ones performed the first part of the pageant in "A Shepherd's Story", which covered the birth of Christ. These small children helped deliver a big and powerful message.

Joseph and Abby had a wonderful time participating!

This little angel is ready to fly!
We hope you and your family take time this year to celebrate the real reason for the season...Jesus Christ! What a wonderful gift God has given us . . .
"Jesus humbled himself to come to earth and be born into the humblest of circumstances so we could know the heavenly Father who sent him in the first place. There is only one thing we can give him in return for this act of love and generosity, and that's our hearts." -James Stuart Bell

Merry Christmas,
Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Joseph Goes to High School

I just couldn't resist sharing this. Joseph has a wonderful babysitter named Rachel. We pick her up once a week and she talks about her AP Biology lab. Every week Joseph inquires about what they dissected that particular week...brains, eyeballs, etc. Then he asks, "Have you dissected a heart yet?" She replies, "No, not yet!" Well, Rachel being the super kind, wonderful girl she is secretly got permission from her teacher and principal to let Joseph come in and watch as they dissected a deer heart! Can you imagine? So... Joseph went to high school and got suited up in an apron, gloves, and safety goggles and became lab partners with Rachel and Megan (Megan, by the way, has had several heart surgeries herself). I thought he might chicken out. But, once we walked inside and met the teacher and the class he did great! We saw all the different parts and he pieced together the parts of a model heart they had in the room. Once we were finished Joseph got to look through a microscope and take Rachel's blood pressure. He's had lots of practice with those BP gauges. He informed the teacher he had his own stethoscope. :) He enjoyed it so much. He really enjoyed afterwards because Rachel bought him a soda and let him wear her sunglasses as she drove us around to our car. He was one cool dude in the back seat! :) Thank you West Florence High for allowing Joseph to become a Knight for a day!

We're counting down to our Christmas vacation! Only 8 days to go! Joseph feels great these days and doesn't go back to Cath Lab until Jan. 9th! We are waiting for Santa to bring us an elf! Joseph and Abby wrote to him and are hoping Santa will grant their request for an elf to come to our house and visit with us until Christmas!

Until next time...
Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Christmas Countdown Begins

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So...the Christmas countdown begins. Joseph started about a week ago asking, "Mommy, how many more days 'til Christmas?" I told him we can't countdown Christmas until after we celebrate Thanksgiving. (That's just my own personal rule.) Well, we've done that now, so the Christmas countdown has begun! It's time to go pick out our tree and start decking the halls! We are so excited about the season! Our church is performing "The Jesus Story" on Dec. 7Th. Joseph will be a shepherd and Abby will be an angel. I truly want them to understand the real meaning of Christmas. It's just hard when the retail world blasts commercials for toys 24/7. I also want them to understand the importance of "giving" when they are so fixated on what they will be "receiving"! So, we will go into the season trying to explain it all in terms they can understand! Our hand bell choir in my church will perform Christmas songs on Dec. 14Th, but my favorite part of Christmas is the candlelight service on Christmas Eve.

We had our annual Greenwood BBQ yesterday. All the cousins played together so nicely! They came from Atlanta and Kentucky to be with us. It was so good to see everyone. A day like that makes me sit quietly and appreciate the fact that Joseph is still with us and that he is so very healthy and full of energy! Sometimes I feel like we need to pinch ourselves and ask if it was all just a dream. But, reality sets in. For example, on Monday he has to have labs drawn. He's so brave about it though. He just knows it's part of his life and he accepts it! We're so proud of him and how he has handled the cards he's been dealt. We'd like to thank our donor family for another Thanksgiving with our little super hero! Please say a special prayer for them this holiday season. We know our joy comes with great sadness for them.

Thanks for checking in!
Until next time...
Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here's our little pilgrim girl in her first Thanksgiving play.

We had a great Thanksgiving with our family. Sixteen of us gathered at my house for an absolutely beautiful day! It was chilly outside and very sunny. The kids played in the back yard most of the day. Thanksgiving just might be my favorite holiday. One thing our family has learned from our experience is to appreciate each and every day. Thank you for continuing to check in on us and for your continuous prayers. We are forever grateful. Hope you had a great holiday!
Until next time...
Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fall, Field trips, and Friendship

We've really been enjoying the fall weather. Abby and Joseph have been on many field trips and have been enjoying new friends at school .

Abby enjoyed a field trip with her 4K class to the fire station! It brought back memories for me because when we moved to Florence 3 years ago, that was the first field trip Joseph's 4K class went on. I was fortunate enough to go with him too. He was so excited! The fireman even slid down the pole for the boys and girls! That was Abby's favorite part of the tour!

They had a Thanksgiving Festival at Joseph's school. The 4th graders and parent volunteers reenacted the first Thanksgiving. They reconstructed the pilgrim village, the Mayflower, and the Indian village. Joseph loved exploring these villages with his classmates.

Abby's field trip to the fairgrounds was fun and exciting. She is hugging her new friend, Izzie, in this picture. It was freezing cold on this trip, so I'm not sure if they were hugging for friendship's sake or if they were trying to stay warm!
Joseph's field trip to Lynches River County Park was a cold day as well! Here is a picture of him taking his turn crossing the swinging bridge.

We had to say goodbye to one friend though. Laurie, one of our favorite Cath Lab nurses moved away! This is Joseph with Laurie on her very last day! Thank you for all you have done for Joseph and our family. You are one of the reasons Joseph has always looked forward to Cath Lab! We will miss you, Laurie!

We are all looking forward to our Thanksgiving break! We plan to spend lots of quality time with's the one time of year we get to see everyone on both sides of our family! We are having Thanksgiving dinner with my family and Stephen's parents. Then on the Saturday after Thanksgiving we will have our annual Greenwood BBQ. We are bringing dessert and the kids have already helped me bake the chocolate chip cookies! They've eaten half the batch so I think we will have to go back the drawing board! Oh was fun and delicious! :) We hope your family has a fun and festive holiday! We, as always, are thankful for many, many things, but most of all for our donor family who will allow us another holiday season with our special little boy who loves, laughs, and lives life to the fullest. Please say a prayer for them that they can get through this holiday season with peace in their hearts that only God can bring after losing a child. Please pray for the other sick children who face uncertainty and their families who are praying for a miracle.

I have a specific prayer request tonight also. Please pray for my friend Hayley's dad. His name is Flynn McCutcheon. He is in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at McLeod facing his own battle with heart disease. He's been Joseph's heart buddy ever since Joseph was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy over 2 years ago . They have been on similar meds, both had pacemakers, and basically have had a lot in common with this illness. He always goes out of his way to check on Joseph and talk to him about his experience. He truly understood how Joseph felt and could explain it to me because Joseph was too young to really express it himself when it all started. He's a good man and is loved dearly by his family. So, say an extra special prayer that the good docs can figure out a good plan of action in helping him.

Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving! Thanks for checking in!

Until next time...
Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

Friday, November 7, 2008

Election Day Blues

Well, I bet you're thinking I'm talking about the results of the election. But no...I'm talking about Abby. Stephen and I were taking turns going to the polls. Abby went running after Stephen on his way out to tell him, "Wait up Daddy, I want to go on the boat!" Stephen asked her what in the world she was talking about! She said she wanted to go with him when we took turns boating. She was very disappointed when he informed her we were taking turns "voting" not "boating." :)

We had our first parent watch day at KFA to see the little ones dance. They were completely adorable! Here's Abby in her first tutu!

Joseph's doing great. We have an appointment today to get their flu shots. I'm going to have two hysterical kids in my car this afternoon. Wish us luck.

We have a very important prayer request. A precious little Florence boy who is 4 years old, Kole Miller, is battling a very rare and serious brain stem tumor. His family is at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis seeking treatment. They need our prayers in a big way. His Caring Bridge site is They sure could use your support.

Thanks for checking in! Until next time...

Angela, Stephen, Joseph, and Abigail

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fun on the Farm

Joseph and Cousin Owen had fun on the farm today! Stephen and Michael took the boys to the great outdoors on a beautiful Sunday afternoon! Can you believe their grandaddy found a wild boar? It just looks cute to me...not so wild!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween!

This message is brought to you by Ben Ten (Joseph), Sleeping Beauty (Abby), A Chinese princess (Ansley), and Princess Ladybug (Emily)! How cute are these trick-or-treaters?!

50 Glorious Years

My parents just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary...we had 116 of our closest family and friends join us at their home with the blue grass band playing right there on the back porch! It was a wonderful day! Here is a cute picture of some of our kids at the hoe-down having a toe tappin', knee slappin' good time!

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Celebration of Life

Joseph attended his first "Celebration of Life" picnic with the great folks from MUSC Transplant Center. We met another child who had a transplant a couple of years ago. She looked great! We had so much fun Joseph started to cry when it was time to leave. I had to say, "okay, 5 more minutes." I just couldn't help myself.