Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Long Ago....And Not So Far Away....

I have heard it said that when we are facing certain death our "life flashes before our eyes." Wouldn't that be the coolest thing ever?

Can you imagine what it would be like to go back and replay certain parts of your past, just to see them again? Not so you could change them or make wrongs right or anything like that, but just to be able to see moments all over again.

Memories are strange things to say the least. Some are fleeting, some vivid. Most of our past holds no specific memory for us. That is probably a good thing.

I would love to go back to the moment I first saw Bobby, and our eyes met, and I felt that "feeling" down in the pit of my stomach.

Or back to when he and I had a newspaper route together before we got married. We would pack his car so full we would have to climb in through the windows. I always had a Dr. Pepper and some Spree's in my pockets. We played "Oldies" and made a game out of who could hit the driveways the most.

Then there was the night he proposed, how surreal it was, as he dropped to one knee there in the Harlequin Restaurant.

Just to be able to lie in bed and feel my child move beneath my ribs and wonder, "who is this life I carry?"

And then the incredible moment she made her appearance and I kissed her for the first time.

Or the crazy night I had my son, with his Dad 600 miles away, not even knowing he had a son yet.

If I could look back to their first steps, their first words, their first days of school, Denise's graduation.

I would even look back at the hard times, at the times I had to stand and fight for what I believed in, fight for my children, my family, my marriage. I would look back at the times I was broken, at the times I was desperate, to see how my continued faith held me up, or my lack of faith slowed me down.

And even though yesterday is forever written into the pages of my story, the story continues, unfinished for now. And I can close my eyes and see the day that I placed the pen into His hands and said "You are the Author and the Finisher of my faith."

40 years of memories, of victories, of failures, of happiness, and sadness, of hope and of hopelessness all contained in the binding of my story.

Oh to kiss the lips of my sweet babies again...I would if I could. I'd hold them in my arms and drink in the sweet smell of their skin. If I could....

But that was long ago.

And not so far away from today, if my Author chooses this route for the plot, I'll once again hold my babies, my babies' babies. Knowing what I know now...I'm going to absorb every moment, cling to every instant, and remember everything my mind can hold.

Someday when I'm at the feet of my Author, I will praise Him for my story, thank Him for my *Once upon a time* and Worship Him *Happily Ever After.*

Monday, May 28, 2007

Praise You In This Storm

We were able to spend Saturday and Sunday night in our motor home this weekend. It was so nice. Sometimes just lately I have forgotten what real *normal* feels like, but I was quickly reminded what my normal is like this morning....

At just before 6am my nephew called. I figured he was calling to tell me they were passing my way as they were leaving for Louisiana this morning. That wasn't the case....

He called to say something was wrong with my Mom, they thought she'd had a stroke. She couldn't talk, couldn't move, and they had called 911.

So I dressed and my daughter and I started the drive back, leaving Bobby and Ethan to get home with the motor home.

Jacob and I spoke again. He said they had trouble getting her to the stretcher since most house aren't made with that in mind. He said she kept saying over and over "my mama." Since she passed away in 1960 of a massive bleed in her brain, she was trying to tell everyone she was about to die just like her mama had (at the age of 39). She also managed make them understand that they needed to call me, my brother, and my Aunt.

I asked my nephew when he first called if they had checked her blood sugar, he didn't know. It was 20 and after some fluid she responded well. By the time I arrived she was acting much better and, in my mother's typical fashion, was worried that we had left camping too soon.

For a time this morning I thought it was all over. My world shifted on it's axis. I told my daughter if this was a stroke she had to understand that her precious "Granny" would probably not be able to pull out of it.

And to fill the silence only punctuated by our sniffles I turned on the radio. Casting Crowns was on...Isn't it funny how He always knows......

"Praise You In This Storm"

I was sure by now
That You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry
You raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

There He was....bringing peace, bringing strength, just when I needed it most.

I reached my mother's side. and when we were alone for a moment she began to cry. She said if my nephew hadn't heard her she doesn't know what would have happened. And I pressed my lips to the warm skin on her forehead, and said "He's always right on time, isn't He, Mama?"

Through her tears she said, "Oh, yes, He is, He is..."

My Precious Savior, my closest friend, Always You see me, Always You provide. I lift up Your name tonight. I praise You, for You are worthy of my praise....

Saturday, May 26, 2007

How Many of Me
LogoThere are
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Coming Full Circle

I know most of you know about my work situation. It has been a struggle for me, and on top of the other things I have been facing in my life, it came close to being the straw==and I came close to being the camel's back.

I left my job as a day shift Charge Nurse on Women's Health Services to work for the State of Georgia. I felt at that time that I needed to work more for the Lord, I needed to be there every Sunday service. And I did.

After a time I found a position back at the hospital as a Case Manager. This was like coming back home for me.

And things were good, for a time. But my honesty, I feel, was my downfall. And things turned sour. For the first time in my life that I can recall, I was told I had a bad attitude.

I thought about it, and I guess I did. The whole situation made me sour. That's when I knew it was time to go back to what I became a nurse for in the first place.

So I am excitedly looking toward June. Many good things are on the way.

My sister will be here today. She is going to stay with Dad and Mom and look after them giving me a chance to catch up on my life.

I have a week off for Legacy camp. I can hardly wait. My wonderful husband will haul our motorhome over and I will spend the whole week in service after service.....Now that's what I'm talkin' bout!!!

And the Wednesday after my children and I return with refreshed outlooks I will start back as a Labor and Delivery nurse, working night shift.

I have given it much thought and prayer. I won't take the time to give you the details of how the Lord directed my steps back, but He orchestrated each one. I will actually have more time to do His work. I will have to miss every other Thursday night service and every other Sunday night service, but that should be it!!

Before when I worked this way I was able to teach Ladies Bible Studies and do visitation and door knocking. Now I barely have time to keep my clothes washed up.

I will miss my time at night with my family. But I will have so much other time with them. I can have a meal cooked for them when they all come home, and keep my house picked up better. Plus, and most importantly, I will have more time for prayer and study that I do now. I did so good before, and my time now has been so rushed and cut down.

I feel like a dark cloud is rolling out of my life. You think it would be a bad thing to some to find themselves right back where they started at, but I feel like I have just come full circle and found myself again.......

Have a blessed day!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

All The Kings Horses......

Have you ever thought about Humpty Dumpty? Seriously....

Humpty Dumpty was an egg, or so I have always been lead to believe. He was an egg that elevated himself to a perch on a wall, and from that wall he fell off, irreparable broken as he landed. The nursery rhyme mentions nothing about what happens after *all* the kings horses and *all* the kings men were unable to mend his brokenness either. The only thing that is chronicled for all time is the fall and the aftermath of desolation for poor Humpty.

Since he was an egg, it stands to reason that the possibility was there for him to ==hatch==. From inside of him, new life could have sprung forth, if he hadn't ventured into what can only be thought of as forbidden territory for one so fragile as an egg.

But in the aftermath any possibility of fulfilling destiny as an egg is forever dashed there upon the rocks. And we'll never know if someone came along to sweep up the pieces, all we know about, all he is remembered for is the falling and the breaking.

To be fair, it is also never mentioned exactly "how" he got up there. We don't know if he was placed there by someone's hand, or if he somehow managed to hoist himself up to that wall. And we'll never know the reason he was there.

The only thing we remember is that he fell, he was broken, and no one could fix him.

I have watched my parents age...I have watch their bodies rebel against them, watched their gaits change, their thoughts change, their bodies change.

My parents were so in love back in the day. And I thank God that love has sustained them for close to 50 years.

I would that I could give them back the joy of being young, feeling like life is worth living, obstacles are made to overcome, but I can't do that.

I have had to watch as my parents have *tumbled* into their 60's. Now they live in broken bodies, irreparable from the damage of the *fall*. And like the King's Men I have scrambled about trying in vain to put back the pieces. But I can't put them back together again....

To have been an egg, and have the sole purpose of bringing forth life, and to see all that promise broken around you must be bitter to the soul.

But I don't want them to be remembered simply for the state they are in now....No, No, No, I want them to be remembered for everything, not just the "fall" of their lives, but also the springs, and the summers, and even how they survived the winters....

Lord, You alone can heal brokenness. You alone can reshape and remake a life. You know every broken piece. I pray You will pass this way, and bring peace, hope, joy, and the glue of the Holy Ghost to put the pieces "back together again."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

No One Said It Would Be Easy

When I was going to nursing school, things were pretty tough for us. We made many sacrifices so that I could finish knowing that in the end all the sacrifices would be worth the result.

We had one car for most of that time. When you have one car and something goes wrong with it, you are in a predicament. We knew we were going to have to put the car in the shop and we really could not afford to be without it. So we found a really cheap car and we "limped"our other car to a shop so we could spend more money we just didn't have in hopes we would be back up and running.

On the way back from dropping it off the *cheap* car would not go over 35 MPH. It sputtered and schemed and lurched making the 20 minute drive last forever. At one point tears started to run down my face as I was thinking "what next."

To make me feel better, my poor well-meaning husband pushed in a tape and reached over to hold my hand.

The song that played was called "No One Said It Would Be Easy." My tears turned to sobs. He turned the song off.

I can smile at this story now, but that seemed, at the time, to be a hopeless situation.

I was almost finished with nursing school when that happened. And I did finish, with the same car I started with, the *cheap* car had long since died. I passed my boards and got a job. And I prayed, "Lord, let this car make it till I can start working."

It died right after my first paycheck. We were able to go and get another car without doing sacrificing something important, like food or lights :-) .......

Today I face another struggle in the long line of struggles I have faced since that day in the *cheap* car. But that day comes so vividly back to my mind. I was a young woman then, in my late 20's. I could see the end of what I was facing, the proverbial "light at the end of the tunnel."

When I was little I made a habit out of falling asleep in my parents' bed each night while my mother read. I'd wake up each morning and I'd be lying in my own bed next to my sister. I just could not, in my young mind, figure out how I made it there night after night.

So one night I decided to find out. I *pretended* to sleep. And before long, I felt strong arms lift me into the air. I peeped through my *sleeping* eyes into the face of my father as he carried me to bed.

Now more than anything I would that I could be that little girl being carried by my Daddy as I peacefully slept. But that is no longer a possibility.

Now I depend on You Lord, on Your strength to carry me through. No one said it would be easy, but Your Word says that when I'm weak that's when You're strong. In my sorrow, in my despair, in my sadness, when the world would say I'm finished, defeated, You step in and carry me to a place of rest so I can stand and fight again.

No, no one said it would be easy, and at this point in my life, I wouldn't believe them if they did. But just when hopeless thinks it has won...HOPE steps into the scene...and I rise above my problems, carried by the strength of His arms.

Carry me today, Lord. Carry me through.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Do as I say....and as I do....

I spent the day at the Court House, attempting to do my civic duty. After numerous hours and almost completing the book I've been wanting to read, I was discharged without ever making it to the "second level."

There was a variety of humanity crammed into that room. By the time I drifted in, it was standing room only. So I stood, for over 2 hours.

As did some elderly women, and elderly men, and a man who was crippled...

And from my lofty post I saw many healthy, able-bodied men who never offered their seats.

Where did all the gentlemen go, I wondered, out loud. And I thought of my husband and I knew without a doubt that he would have been out of his chair, and standing on his feet rather than sitting knowing someone else may NEED to sit.

Then I thought of my son, and I knew without a doubt that he would also be out of his chair, in a second, standing on his feet.

I wondered what the children of today have been taught, or not taught, since most of the children coming up today have basically raised themselves. (Yes, I really said that)

Then one of the girls I work with sent me an advertisement from Australia. And it was so vivid, and so heartbreaking, and I wanted to share.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Learning By Example

I am privileged to have been raised in a loving home where I was taught most of what has made me who I am today. Growing up, we did not attend church as my children have, but my parents taught us right and wrong and for that I am thankful.

Now, here I am, a 40 year old woman (why not tell my age, there is definitely no hiding it). I can remember vividly being small enough to look up into the towering faces of my parents. Those years seem so long ago, yet they also seem like yesterday. But those yesterdays are gone now. That little girl is gone too, but I still find myself looking up to my parents for who they are.

It is never easy watching yourself age once you PASS a certain age and the changes in your body and your health and your stamina become glaringly apparent. And I may be free in sharing my age, but I won't divulge these changes, so don't even go there.

Back in 1995 I finished nursing school and the possibilities were endless. But after discussion my family and I decided to move here where my parents are. It was a good choice, one I have thanked God for again and again.

One of the reasons I am most thankful is that I had the opportunity to become close to my grandparents, my *Papa* in particular.

Born November 18, 1918 my grandfather was raised as most were in the Deep South during that time period. He had at best a third grade education, but that didn't deter him. Well liked and deeply respected people still talk of him often, even though he has been gone for almost 9 years.

When my father was a boy, my grandfather was a sharecropper. He was a good farmer, I am told. I have vague memories of those days on the farm as I was probably 3 when they moved to town. He then took a job making cabinets for Fleetwood Homes, and the evidence of his handiwork is still visible in the offices where his cabinets still hang.

In the years before he passed away he was a bailiff at the county courthouse. I saw him in action one day when I was called for jury duty. I was duly impressed by his presence. He worked the day he died a few months shy of his 81st birthday and just a day before his 65th wedding anniversary celebration.

He may not have been a scholar or had a PhD, but he had more intelligence than most people I know. And he had heart. He was a good father, a good grandfather.

When we moved to Georgia and were able to come here to visit more often, my grandparents had begun to have health problems. Right after we moved here in 1995, Papa had a heart attack and was sent to another hospital to have Bypass surgery. He wasn't as sharp as that young man of the past, but that didn't make him less of a man.

My father was 49 years old when they moved back here. Still strong and tall he soon became a force in this small town. He wielded the published word like a sword and took on many foes. My father is not an uneducated man, but neither does he hold a degree, unless they give you one for experience. He is well versed and well read.

I had the chance to watch my father as his parents, particularly his father, began to have more and more problems. He became their helper, their chauffeur, and in some instances their caretaker. He held them in a place of honor. Sure, my father was more educated than my grandfather, and he was a successful business man, but my father never treated my Papa like he was inferior to him, but always like he was his superior.

That respect and love that I saw during those years taught me so much. And a few weeks back my father was down and he said to me he wished he would have died last August after his heart surgery. He said by now we would have forgotten about him just like everyone had forgotten Papa.

I told him "Oh, Daddy, I have NEVER forgotten my Papa." How could I? I can still hear my Papa's voice in my heart, hear his laughter, feel his love.

I sit here tonight looking toward the future, toward the voids that will be in my life when my parents are not here. So much has happened lately that I cannot help but think about it.

I pray that I have taught my children well. I know several months ago I was so tired. My daughter said to me she was worried and that I needed to rest. I remember telling her then that right now, my parents needed me, and since I wasn't promised tomorrow with them, I would be there today.

Now I look across the kitchen toward the chair my father sits slumped down in as his dialysis machine clicks on. Then I glance back toward the empty spot my mother usually sits in and think of her lying in the hospital. And I think of her crying before I left tonight, and the words my father said when I arrived here, that she told him she was ready to go on, that she could keep going with the pain.

And then I think of myself and the changes time has brought to my life. And the years to come.

Should the time come that I need my children as my parents need me now, what example have I given them? I know I need to be thinner and eat better and everything else that goes with that. Will they hold it against me if someday it catches up with me? Will they talk down to me, or treat me like a child? Or will they look into my eyes and see their Mom, see the person I am today still lingering there, knowing that my youth is gone, but still wanting to be sharp and strong and sure? Will they see me as a burden, or will they feel blessed for every moment they have with me?

Because I have learned that whatever way death chooses to come, whether slow or swift, it still comes, it just doesn't matter how. But what does matter is that after death has come and we are left behind to wait our turn we know that we loved, we know that we respected, we know that we honored.

My father did all of this and more with his father.

I've learned from the best.

Friday, May 11, 2007

A Brand New Day

Today is a brand new day
The Lord has made
I will rejoice and be glad

I have no words to describe how I feel in my heart tonight. Yesterday seems so dark, today I see the sun shining in my life.

I have been thinking about great love tonight. What is great love, you ask? I'll try to tell you if I can.

Great love is that love that wraps itself around your heart and squeezes it with emotion. It's more than a feeling, it's a sense of being completed, of being made whole.

Great love survives the trials of life only to become greater love.

You're thinking "what in the world?" (this is a Georgia phrase, if you don't understand then you're out of luck) Yesterday was the unveiling of the new and improved Ms. *DOOM & GLOOM*. I'll tell you what happened, the morning came, revealing once again hope can always overcome hopelessness.

Today at lunch I walked into my Mom's room in ICU expecting to see that frail creature that has taken the place of my mother. Much to my surprise and delight, there lay my Mama. My Mama that has been missing for so long. I looked into the eyes of my Mama. I heard the laughter of my Mama. I saw her, felt her touch, and it healed my brokeness with the virtue of love.

As I returned to work, my heart was lighter.

I had to go in and talk with a family about nursing home placement for an elderly lady. As I walked into the room she smiled at me from her bed full of pillow from home. Beside her sat her daughter, eyes red from tears, brow furrowed, etched with pain. I opened the discussion by asking them about their plans after discharge since we had been told they wanted to use a nursing home in Macon.

The daughter wiped her eyes and stated "We're going home. I'm taking care of her."

My eyes filled with tears as I held that soft old hand, curled by age. I looked into the red eyes of the daughter and said, "I understand."

As soon as I could get back, I was standing there, looking into the warm eyes of my mother, drinking in her laughter, basking in the sunshine of her smile.

Oh, I know yesterday some thought I was down for the count. They don't understand the power of great love. They don't understand its worth.

But I do, I do.

Now I'm looking toward tomorrow, after all....*tomorrow is another day*
(I know, pretty cheezy, but I couldn't resist)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

While I Was *NOT* Sleeping

I know it's late,
I know I'm weary....


Today was a very long day. Very long. But I did learn some things today. I know you are just waiting with baited breath for me to tell you, so here goes nothing......

I have learned that:
1. I have a lot to learn.
2. I have a lot to learn.
3. There are things that I don't understand.
4. I always have to depend on God.
5. No matter what, He has to be first.
6. No matter what, my family comes next.
7. I have a lot to learn.
8. The saying "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer" still turns my stomach.
9. Life works better with prayer.
10. Life only works with Him.
11. I have a lot to learn.
12. Sometimes the answer is the most obvious thing.
13. Sometimes the most obvious thing is not the answer.
14. I have a lot to learn.
15. Through it all I've *learned* to depend upon His word.
16. He'll never leave me NOR forsake me.
17 In my weakness He IS my strength.
18. I hope I learn.

So today happened. It happened to me. And I'm tired from crying, but if I lay down and go to sleep then tomorrow comes, and I'm just not ready yet. I'm just not ready.

Lord help me to KNOW Your ways. Just help me.....

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


Our hearts speak
Even when our voices are silent
Our eyes call out
To the world around
Our souls cry out
Even when we whisper
Our voices are the sounds of our lives

Oh what does my voice say
What does the world hear from me
In the silence of despair
Can the voice of my spirit be heard?

I want to shout it to the lonely
I want to sing it to the lost
I want my voice to ring above
The voices of the world

I hear the voices of the hurting
I hear the desperate moans of pain
Oh let my prayers reach to You Lord
As my heart speaks
As my soul cries out
As my praise for You
As my love for You
Overcomes the voice of this world
And clears the air
So I may hear
Your Voice.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Through the Fire

Have you ever thought about those 3 Hebrews, the faith and the courage they had to stand in the face of adversity and say, "I will not" ? Oh I have faced many things, and it encourages me to know that when they made it through that fiery furnace their clothes were not singed, neither were the hairs on their heads, BUT those bonds that had imprisoned them were gone. *I feel a shoutin' coming on!*

The things of this world may try to hold me, may try to destroy me, but when I come through the fire of this present trial, you won't even be able to smell the smoke!

I was so down this morning, dreading facing my fiery furnace, then the Lord came down and joined me. And right there in my kitchen the bonds began to break.

Pastor sang this Wednesday night at the Big Church. What an awesome message from my awesome God to me today.

* * * “Through the Fire”

Many times I’ve questioned certain circumstances and things I could not understand.

And many times in trials weakness blurs my vision,

That’s when my frustration seems to get so out of hand.

Oh, but it’s then I am reminded that, I’ve never been forsaken.

No, I’ve never had to stand one test alone.

That’s when I look at all the victories and the Spirit rises up in me,

As through the fire my weakness is made strong.
- - - - -

He never promised that the cross would not get heavy, or the hill would not be hard to climb.

He never offers our victories without fighting, but He said help will always come in time.

Just remember when you’re standing in the valley of decision and the adversary says “give in.”

Just hold on, our Lord will show up, and He will take you through the fire again.
- - - - -

I know that in myself I would surely perish, but if I trust the mighty hand of God,

He’ll chill the flames again, again because,
- - - - -

He never promised that the cross would not get heavy, or the hill would not be hard to climb.

He never offers our victories without fighting, but He said help will always come in time.

Just remember when you’re standing in the valley of decision and the adversary says “give in.”

Just hold on, our Lord will show up, and He will take you through the fire again.

Just hold on, our Lord will show up!

And He will take you through the fire again!