Sunday, November 13, 2011

"Bent But Not Broken"

Recently God has placed a little four word phrase continuously upon my heart! It's a rarity, I know, especially at my age, when they say" the mind is the first to go"....yet He did! The phrase first came to me as I was relaxing on my swing one day. I was assessing the latest damage it had received from the most recent storm. As I scanned the cover, I noticed that the bar that runs through it was bent, as well as, it has several tears in the cover. It looks pretty beaten up. Storm after Storm has raced across our quiet countryside neighborhood, toppling this little "safe haven" that I call MY SWING, trying its best to break it...though it continues to stand strong! The Swings' ability to still provide me with a place that I can read and relax, take a nap, spend quiet time with the Lord, and be shaded me from the heat of the day, continues to work the same. Then it came...the revelation from the swing is like many people I know...Bent But Not Broken! So many of my "Dear Friends" have had to endure many storms recently...maybe you are even in the midst of one yourself right now, yet , "YOU ARE STILL STANDING!" You may be Bent, Bruised, and Battered by the storm, but you are NOT BROKEN! Praise be to God! He provides for us, exactly what we need with each new day. His Grace is Sufficient.

My swing took on a new meaning for me at that I began to ponder this new little phrase in my head and heart! I recalled all the times in my life in which I was "BENT"! In each and every storm God was present. Though, I'll admit there were times when I may have questioned His presence. Although, I knew just the same that He was indeed There! I can assure you, that He is right beside you in the middle of your storm, as well. Don't give up, keep praying, keep doing what you know is right in the sight of the Lord. Cast your cares upon Him and let Him give you rest through your storm!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Summer Days 2-4

Day 2: Well, I try...I really do, but sometimes I am just not in a position to be able to get to a computer. So let me recap the last few days in one lump sum! Friday, the 2nd...I started my day off doing my 2 mile run/walk (as I call it), took Mom to Walmart (her favorite place)...I feel bad for her...she has Shingles and hasn't gotten out of the house much. I do think she is starting to feel somewhat better though. It apparently is a long healing process....Washed and packed clothes....My husband and I went to the mountains of NC to visit a very special friend and her daughter. Actually, Leah is my former sister-in-law....when she divorced Brett's step-brother...we got her in the settlement. She is the closest thing to a sister I have ever had...although never having had a sister...not sure what that would be....but sounds good anyway. We are truly sisters in Christ though. Spent a lot of time on my swing reading and writing on my blog. We left for Arden around's about a 3.5 hr trip (including all the stops). We always have a great time with Leah and Anna....So that was my day in a nut shell.

Day 3: Today was a very busy day. As always started with me doing my run/walk....Leah's community is mostly up hill, so I got quite a work out this day. We spent the morning hours running errands. Went to Sam's...I love that place. They had some dresses that I wanted to look at for our trip to Hawaii and ended up getting two of them....My family thought I was kooky when I tried them on in the store over my clothes...well, how else will I know if they fit. Sam's does not have a dressing room for trying on clothing.

The last time we went Sam's Anna and I came across these incredibly soft plush blankets for sale...I made a silly remark to Anna about them...she got the biggest kick out of it became a little joke between us. Anna is my 14year old niece...and will be entering the 9th grade next year. We have a lot of fun together...just being silly. I loved teasing Anna about the blankets and made her walk around Sam's  with our hands stuck inside the blanket, we looked like we were wearing a giant hand muff. Wouldn't have been so strange to see...if it hadn't been 90 degrees out! We had fun though.

After Sam's we went to eat lunch at a sweet 'lil restaurant in Asheville called the Blue Sky Cafe. It was of a if you are ever in the Asheville sure to stop by there for a meal!

After lunch we had to do it...yes...that's right...we HAD to go to Walmart....Leah hates grocery shopping (maybe as much as me). That was always her (beloved) Chris's job. He loved Walmart and shopping...come to think of it...Chris just LOVED!!! So Anna and I decided that we would take on the groceries, to give her a break. So while Anna and I shopped...she and Brett ran the Sam's purchases back to the house and then came back and got us. But first Leah had to search for containers...very large she could begin organizing her garage (which was one reason we were there). Finally, after all carts were full we headed home to tackle the garage, but not before we could get in some Chonda Pierce. Brett needed a nap and the girls rested and watched some Chonda...she cracks us up.

Dinner time came, we grilled hamburgers and hot dogs (we must give credit where credit is due...Brett grilled)....Anna and I made the Della's Beans (our favorite), Leah, well, she opened the container of potato salad. Dinner was scrumptious....nothing like grilled hamburgers and hot dogs!

Then, the time came to start on the garage! We had the sell pile, keep pile, trash pile, and the I don't know pile...made good progress, but after several hours decided to call it quits for the night...tomorrow was another day and we would finish then. So, we ended the evening with a game of Apples to Apples, with Leah winning of course. After Anna was tucked into bed we decided to attempt to watch a documentary on the Galapagos Islands....I say attempted because I don't think Leah and I got very far with it...finally Brett suggested we just go to sleep and start all over again tomorrow....and we did!!!

It had been a long, but very productive day!

Day 4-  Worship time at Biltmore Baptist Church....I feel like this BBC is my church away from church, home away from home. Not only is Pastor Bruce Frank an amazing and annointed man of God...he is also friends with my Pastor, from The Summit; JD Greear. They are similar in their teaching, therefore, I always feel right at home when I am Worshipping at BBC. I have also come to know and love many of the wonderful folks in Leah's Sunday School Class. Leah and I teased one Sunday that they should just Skype me into their class on Sunday's. It was, as usual, a fabulous day at Church.

After, several back and forth discussions on where to eat for lunch, we settled on Papas and Beer (another great restaurant). Brett had not been there yet, though I knew it was a favorite of Chris and Leah's and thought it might be difficult to go...but Leah assured me it was OK. She had already been there several times. It just happened to be the last place that I ate with Chris. The Sunday, prior to his death, he and Leah took me there. They loved Papas and Beer and wanted me to experience it for myself. After going, I understood why it was one of their favorites.

We didn't wait too long to tackle the rest of the garage though, once we got home. There was much to do. It was a much needed task to be done, but it wasn't without emotions. I felt at times as though I was invading Chris's privacy...Leah got angry at times...that he would leave her to take on the monumental task without him. Grief is so painful, on so many different levels. There were times we would laugh at the items we found...remembering Chris. Then, there were those times we just shook our heads in disbelief at the thought of his not being with us here on this earth any longer. And the day didn't go by without any tears being we all thought about how much we missed him in our own ways. Knowing that we will see him again someday gives us all hope that this isn't the end!!! We all look forward to that one more than Leah though.

Soon it was time to head Brett and I packed the car...gave Leah and Anna one last hug and on the road again we traveled. It's always so difficult to leave them. But they know we aren't far away. we look forward to seeing them again soon. We arrived home about 9:30pm. Mom was waiting up for us, as usual...she misses her family terribly when we aren't there. With the Shingles she wasn't able to travel this time...maybe on the next trip. To bed we would be a new day tomorrow and much to be accomplished. Goodnight All!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Summer Days #1

I can't believe the countdown is on...the 1st day is done. What did I do? Literally nothing....but according to my sweet husband that's least for a few days...then I must start making a list and be somewhat productive. I just can't sit around and do nothing all summer...can I?

I did wake up to the sweet voice of my grandson calling his Mimi. I love that! After getting him up, changed, and putting on his favorite kiddie shows, I made him his favorite...pancakes and strawberry milk. After breakfast we played more hockey and football...this kid loves sports. Anything that has to do with a ball and he is there! I made sure all clothes and blankets were I did a 'lil load of laundry....don't want to send him away with anything dirty. What kind of Mimi would I be if I let him leave like that!!! Then it was time to go to Ms. Amy's...the young lady that cares for him during the day, while his Mom is at work. He kissed and loved on Nanny (my Mom)...whom Ryan absolutely adores and off to the car we went. We had a sweet drive to Amy's...talking all the way. Ryan is a talker...then it happened....I got him in the house....loved on him...he headed for his 'lil friends....while I was chatting with Amy....he walked over and grabbed my leg...I bent down to give him one last kiss and tell him one more time that I loved him...and it came. The tears...he began to cry...holding his arms out for me to take him with me. I could feel it in my throat. That big lump, so what did I do...I ran...yep, I did....I couldn't stand it...and couldn't let him see me crying. So I said a quick goodbye to Amy and jumped in the car...while I watched her to try to console my sweet boy. All the while I was sobbing. Cried all the home...That's how my first day of summer vacation blubbering. I sure hope this doesn't happen every time we have a sleep over. My heart can't take it.

One of my favorite things to do is walk and run...especially when I am upset or that's just what I did...2 miles of walking, running, and praying. I love the peacefulness of being outdoors and just hearing the rustling of the trees and the sweet sounds of nature...seems to quiet my spirit down.

That's basically all I did my first day....although I did manage to mop the floor. I don't know why, but I always feel that if the kitchen floor is mopped, then the house is clean. My Mom says that as long as her  bed is made then she has that feeling of cleanliness. Although I know perfectly well that the rest of the house is a mess and needs tending to desperately...I know a little quirky. What has to be cleaned for you to have that feeling???

Reading is one of my summer enjoyments. I don't have the time to read alot during the school I catch up over the summer. I love sitting out on my swing reading and spent a lot of time doing that yesterday...along with beginning this new summer blog adventure. Often times I will actually fall asleep. No one can quite understand how I can sleep outside in 90* weather, but I can. Again I think it's the peacefulness of the outdoors. I live out in the country and have cows for it is usually very quiet except for the noises of Mother Nature.

I played a little on the computer, spent time watching a movie with Mom. She is 75 years old...lives with my husband and I. At the moment she has Shingles and is in a lot of pain. I even managed to convince her to sit out on the swing for a few get some fresh air. She has been cooped up in the house for a week. Pray she gets well soon...we have heard Shingles can last a while. That thought isn't real appealing to her.

Due to the heat we (Mom and I) decided we wanted Salads from I called my husband and he agreed...while standing in line my surprise... he walked in...said he saw my car outside the restaurant and decided to stop in to see if I needed any help...see I told you he was sweet. We thoroughly enjoyed the cools refreshing salads.

While Brett worked outside planting and mowing the grass...I hung out more with Mom. We watched some of the 2nd game of the NBA playoffs between the Heat and the Mavericks. Being from Miami you would think I would be cheering for the Heat...but I am not. Actually the only one from the family cheering for the Heat is my Mom. We like to give her a hard time.

I had a sweet phone conversation with Leah....long story, but she was my sister-in-law at one time...we got her in the divorce. Almost 3 years ago she remarried and just recently her husband went home to be with the has been very difficult and I was checking on her. Brett and I are actually heading her way this evening for the weekend. I can't wait.

Well, that's my first day in a nutshell..nothing very exciting. We'll see what today brings.
Happy Summertime!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

69 Days of Summer

I don't know when summer begins for you...but mine starts with the end of a school year. Yesterday...the envelopes were stuffed, the boxes were packed, chairs and desks were stacked, boards were cleaned and cums were filled...the halls were empty and quiet of rambunctious there were just the sounds of teachers reminiscing over the year...the good, the bad, and the ugly.

On Wednesday, May 31st, at approximately "SUMMER" vacation officially began. It doesn't start on June 21st and end on Sept. 22nd, like the traditional calendars tell summer begins when that last box is checked off on that check off list and the principal says, "You're Free To Go"! Woohooo...Yes, I'm done!!! 69 days of summer, that's what I summer will end on August 8th....because on the 9th, I head back to school to start a whole new year, with a whole new group of students. But until then, I have 69 glorious days of rest and relaxation....9 of those will be spent in Maui, Hawaii, with the most wonderful man ever, my husband of 28 years!!!

So, let the fun begin...and it did...I began my summer vacation having a sleep over with my 3yr old grandson, Ryan. We had the best time...We played hockey, basketball, football, bowling, baseball, went for a walk, read books, did puzzles, watched movies, laughed and snuggled! Our times spent together are even more precious to me now, than ever before. You see, Ryan and his mom (my daughter), lived with my husband and I for almost 3 years (most of Ryan's life). They just recently moved out and it's been very difficult for me. I miss them terribly. Now, I shower them in prayer and anxiously look forward to when I can visit with them again....which never comes soon enough for me. Knowing that God has them in the palm of His Hands gives me a peace that passes all understanding.

As I said earlier, my summer began with the ending of a school year....what constitutes the beginning of your summer??? Any special plans? Would love to hear about your exciting adventures!


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Texting vs. Talking

Have you ever felt that God just won't let a subject go in your mind...well, that's how I feel about Texting and Talking. Why was it again that God created man...oh, that's right, so He could have a PERSONAL relationship with us...He wanted to be able to communicate with us personally...not text us.

I am the first to admit, I love the newest gadgets and gizmos. And I do text...but, I am limited to how much I can text and when I am with friends and family....I put the phone away! I have come to realize recently, though, that some of those gizmos and gadgets have become idols to many and at times depersonalize relationships.

I don't know about you, but I believe that good communication between two people is the key to a relationship! Whether friends, family, or marriages. Talking with one another...not texting is the key. I wonder how many relationships would survive based on texting only. I mean truly close marriages and "best" friend type relationships. Aquaintances could survive problem...but I believe if you want a deeper relationship with a human being you have to talk and not text.

When texting (aim'ing, facebooking, my spacing, tweeting...whatever you want to call it) first began, I can remember it being, in large, mostly young age sudents, but now I see more and more older (30+) people hooked on it. So often when I go out to a restaurant I inevitably see families engaged in texting on phones instead of communicating with those that are right there next to them. And I am not just talking about the children...parents are just as bad! Sometimes in my opinion....Worse! That saddens me. How can relationships grow and deepen if you never talk with one another.

Again...I'll admit I love technology and I think there are many advantages to it...but I am also beginning to see many disadvantages, as well. I don't know, call me "old fashioned", but when I am visiting with a friend or family member I want to visit and spend time with them...growing, nurturing, and deepening my relationship with them! Not sitting around focusing on my cell phone. That to me is just plain and simple...rudeness. But then again, I am just a plain and simple person!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

There's Always "HOPE"

Several years ago a friend of mine came to me and said she had this great idea for us...that great idea was to do a Half-Marathon. Now at that time in my life I wasn't doing a lot of exercising...I did enjoy walking though. So the silly person that I was said, "I am all for it....sounds like fun." Little did I know. It was a lot of fun, it was also a very good learning experience. I had only walked four times prior to the event. need a little more training than that to do a half marathon. When it was all over...I felt like I had been on a horse for a week...every part of my body was sore. Even parts I didn't know I had. That was in Feb. 2008, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We had the best time and laugh a lot about it now....especially the story of trying to keep up with the 84 yr. old who could hardly move...but eventually we were able to pass him. Since that marathon I have completed a total of 3 and am signed up to do a 4th in September 2010, in Virginia Beach.

It was my second marathon that I would like to share about. This was in September 2008, in Virginia Beach. This time Debbie convinced all her children to do the marathon with us. She has 3 kids. Christin, who was in college at the time, Hope, also in college, and Kenyon, a cross country runner in high school.

Christin and Kenyon's plan was to run the half marathon together. Keeping at a 10 minute mile. At the 10 mile marker Christin was going to "release" Kenyon to do the last 3.1 miles by himself. Hope was going to walk a mile and run 2 miles, while Debbie and I were going to primarily walk and every now and again do a short sprint.

Sounded like a great plan to me. Except when Kenyon and Christin got to the 9 mile marker...Christin told Kenyon that unless she slowed her pace down she wouldn't be able to finish the race, therefore he needed to just go on at his own pace with out her, which is what he did. They both came in within there original goal time.

Hope was a different story. To give you a little background on Hope. She had severely broken her ankle several years earlier playing high school basketball. She realized during training for this marathon that her ankle could give her some problems, but she didn't think it would be too difficult. At the 9 mile marker...she passed by my family and they noticed she was walking and limping...she looked over at my family and asked that they call her Dad and to tell him to be waiting at the finish line with some ice, you see Hope could no longer feel her had become so swollen. As Debbie and I passed my family, we were not far behind Hope, they filled us in on how everyone was doing. Debbie got concerned about see, Debbie had encouraged Hope to walk with us...but Hope thought we would be too slow and didn't want to do that. So as we passed Debbie's husband...we asked how Hope was and he said she was still going and refused to stop. When Hope had reached her Dad about the 11 Mile Marker, he had encouraged her to stop, telling her that she may be doing permanent damage to her ankle, since she could no longer feel it. Hope's response to her Dad is the whole point of my story and still today, as I think of what she said, I realize that we should never give up or quit, because we don't know how close we are to that finish line. Hope looked at her Dad and said, "I didn't come this far to quit. I only have 2 more miles and I am going to finish this race." And she did. Through the pain...she continued to limp on until she saw that finish line and when Debbie and I completed our race...only 5 minutes behind Hope...we found her sitting on the side waiting for ice. Hope didn't give up...she didn't quit. How many of us do that when the going gets tough? If only we would hang in there and keep going until we complete the race. God never said it would be easy, but He did say we need to persevere and finish the Race!!! You may only be a mile or 2 from the finish line, but if you quit you will never know. Lean on God for your strength...He will never let you down. Keep running the race!!! There is always HOPE!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Pink Tip Nails!

Ten years ago I found a lump in my neck...that led me on a 4 month journey...eventually, doctors realized that it was in my left thyroid. A needle biopsy was performed and results came back that all was doctor then gave me two choices...1. to have it biopsied every 6 months or 2. just have it removed. After some praying and counseling...I chose the latter, choice #2. Why...for 3reasons...#1 I thought the needle biopsy was the worst thing I had ever gone through (including having a baby). #2 I thought, what if they missed the spot that was cancerous...I would have to wait for another 6 months before they might find the cancer a chance to spread and #3 If there was something growing in my body that wasn't suppose to be there...I say...just take it out. And so when my doctor called me back I told him that I would feel more comfortable if he just removed the mass and he did! When I returned for my follow-up appointment a week after surgery the first words out of my doctor's mouth were " Well, you made the right decision." see after the pathology reports came back they found that, in fact, the mass was cancerous. Because I had caught it early and it was not a large area they did not recommend any other treatment...for that I was grateful...I say all of that to say this...I was at peace during that entire ordeal...I just trusted God and knew that He was in control and believed that everything would be OK.

But, What do you say to someone who says to you, "How many times can one person get cancer and not die." Right now in my life, I have 5 very God-fearing women who are in the battle!

#1. Heidi- was told on Wednesday (3/31) that for the 4th time...she probably has cancer. This is a woman who loves God with all of her heart...not just talks it out...but walks it out...went through an unbelievably difficult surgery and recovery a year ago and is still trying to recover from that episode...only to have had another procedure yesterday to determine if she now has breast cancer. When she asked me that question...I looked at her and with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, I said. "As many times as God wants you to." God can do anything...we just have to believe and stand on His Word. Our healing comes from Him!!! We can't give in or give up...we have to keep fighting the battle...Heidi is married with two young daughters.

#2. Christie- Six weeks ago had a hysterectomy...only to find out after the surgery that she has cancer...8 months prior to this she was diagnosed with TSS and became critically ill...praise the Lord she survived. She has an incredible faith and trust in God. Heidi has been a great inspiration to her. Christie is married with two children, as well.

#3. Cathi- She was her sister's main Care Giver. Her sister passed away about a 1 1/2ago from cancer. It was very difficult on the Cathi and her family...they were very wasn't long after the death of Cathi's sister that Cathi herself found out, she too, had cancer. The same cancer that eventually took the life of actress...Farrah Fawcette. Cathi is an amazingly strong woman. She loves the Lord with all of her heart and soul and praises Him through the storm. Cathi and I attend the same church and it does my heart good when I see her in the Choir singing. She is married with two daughters and just recently began Chemo again.

#4 Lynn- My best friend in high school emailed me a week ago to tell me that she was diagnosed with brain tumors and had spots in other areas as well. She is taking things one day at a time...currently, she is having radiation treatments 5 days a week. She believes all things happen for a reason and is in good spirits. She is married with two sons.

#5 Janice- Janice was diagnosed many years ago with what they thought was cervical cancer , they did surgery and chemo...recent;y she was back at the doctor with another surgery and chemo. She is in recovery. Janice is my Mentor... She is a Rock!!! I don't know what I would do without her. She and her husband John are very dear friends of ours and I know that anytime I am I need..I can always call her. She is filled with the wisdom of God!!!

I believe God is the ultimate physician and can do anything at anytime in any place. Why these women...Why Not? God has used these women in a mighty way, not only to Glorify Him, but to be an inspiration to others in His Name. Without Tests we have no Testimony...nor can our faith increase.

These women give us HOPE!. Hope to know that if they can do it , so can we!!!

Why Pink Tip Nails...When I found out about Heidi's battle last year the Lord prompted me to have my nails done and to have only the tips pink for her and all the women who are battling cancer...when she was in remission I could go back to any color. When I found out the other day that she was back in the battle I went and
had my nails done and had the pink tips done again. So this for for these 5 beautiful women and all those women battling cancer.

As God prompts you, I would ask that you lift these women up to the Lord and all those battling cancer. God can do anything and I know that He has these women in the palm of His Hands!!!

Thank You!