Posted in Blessings, Pets

Zoey Bit Me and It is Okay!

My dog bit me this week….5 stitches on my pointer finger, which makes typing this blog a bit challenging,  My ‘i’ keeps coming out ‘u’ and my ‘l’ is coming out a ‘k.’ My ‘o’ is coming out as an ‘i’ and it’s druvung (driving) me crazy because I have to keep going back and correcting the letters!

My typing is tripping me up.  Much how my feelings were this week.  Happily feelings are temporal and change quickly; like Zoey going from a docile dog to a fierce animal biting me.

One moment I’m swinging on the porch swing, watching her walk stiffly around the yard.  She comes and sits in front of the swing and licks her back legs.  Thinking a bug might be biting her, I reached down and lifted her next to me on the seat.  Just a few seconds later, I’m holding my finger, with more blood than I care to remember, dripping from my hand.  In a split second, my calm dog had grabbed my finger inspecting her back, left leg, and pierced my skin with those sharp teeth that she’s flashed me many times when she felt fierce.  The older she gets, the more teeth I see.

Shiucjed (shocked) and Dusbekuef (Disbelief) that she actually bit me raced through my mind.  She’s growled and nipped through her thirteen years, but she’s never bitten me.  I actually said, “You bit me!”  (People with pets talk to them as if the are human).

Then I start FEELING the pain.  I cup my finger with my left hand try to figure out how to open the back door with the blood pouring out and the throbbing fingertip.  I’m afraid to look at the actual bite.  Grabbing several paper towels, I wrapped my finger and tried not to see the white paper turn red.  The floor shows my path with drops of blood and I don’t know why that bothers me, but I grabbed a dishcloth and wiped up my trail with my uninjured hand.

There’s more red than white wrapped around my finger, so I exchange the paper towels for fresh ones.  Less blood is coming out.  I feel less apprehensive, but I am feeling every heart beat in my finger.

Zoey’s been acting sad and laying down the last few days before the bite, and she hasn’t wanted to play ball, which is very un-Zoey like.  Her appetite has been poor too, and put that together with her stiff gate, I knew she needed to be checked out.  I called the vet, but they’re closed on Saturday.  First thing Monday morning…

I took a look at the actual bite, and decided I better go see a doctor.  I closed Zoey up in my bedroom and headed out to Hospitality ER.  It’s ridiculous, but now is when I get emotional and start crying.  I’m wiping my cheeks dry and giving myself a pep talk as I drive.  Inside, I can’t stop crying and I’m ushered into a room and the sweetest nurse and P.A. come in and start taking care of me.

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The bite

Why is it around people all the emotions come rolling to the forefront? Perhaps it’s because that’s the way God made us.  The comfort of another person who listens and gives words of encouragement that I’m doing fine, even if from a stranger, is so reassuring.

A half-hour later, I’m getting treatment.  A stinging numbing shot is administered.  My eyes stayed shut throughout the experience as the P.A. stitched me up and a doctor comes in to check them.  I have to say the vocabulary they used while discussing the stitching made me want to faint.  The word, ‘gaping’ should be used sparingly while the patient can hear.  I could feel myself sweating and my body heat was worse than any hot flash I have ever experienced.  As soon as he finished, I laid back on the bed and took deep breaths.

It was here that I felt like a baby.  I thought of Cameron and how many stitches his body had endured and I giggled out loud thinking I’d share my insane reaction with him over five measly stitches.

With a Seven-Up in my good hand, a t-shirt and a gift bag tucked under my arm, I’m back in the car.  That was the nicest experience I’ve ever had in an emergency room!  I may feel differently when I get a bill, but I left with a smile on my face.

Small normal things remind us that no situation is a permanent deterrent,  For example, On the way to Walgreens, I stopped at four garage sales although I didn’t have any cash on me.  One was a church friend’s home.  I found the cutest plates.  She let me shop without money.  (Yes, I did pay her later).

Finally made it to Walgreen’s to pick up antibiotics and bandages for myself and with advice from a friend, baby aspirin for Zoey to give her for pain.

Now days later.  Zoey is now taking NSAIDs for inflammation which has made a huge difference in her disposition.  We’re playing fetch again and she’s back to jumping!

This week, I went through my tenth wedding anniversary without John.  I tried to make plans with people without making it a big deal, but they fell through.  Which is where my feelings teetered back and forth and I felt sorry for myself.  I cried and let sorrow fill me for a while.

Sometimes, I walk stiffly with my feelings hidden like Zoey’s sore joints.  If I had asked friends right out to spend time with me to help me through the day,  I’m sure someone would have come forward, but I hid my need being outwardly dishonest while inflammation was causing me pain on the inside.  Like Zoey, I didn’t handle it well.

When I remember that spending time in God’s word is the NSAIDs that makes me stronger and reduces the inflammation, then I can jump and play fetch and have a happier disposition in knowing that this life is good.  When I don’t, then I hobble and lay about.  (Lessons learned from a dog).

Grief no longer shines brightly on me making me cringe from the overwhelming illumination of what I no longer have and the heart-brokenness that comes from being separated from John.  It comes on faintly like a small pin light and then fades out of sight until a memory rises or a date brings it back closer to shine on the “what ifs” and “what was” and the “might have beens.” My heart is continuing to heal.

My finger is healing.  I feel the twinges around the stitches as my skin is rebuilding itself, closing the gaps.  I am still covering it with a bandage pad to keep the stitches from catching on things and from having to see it.  Occasionally, I lose the bandage and I have to look at it, or I bump it on something and the pain is sharp reminding me of Zoey’s bite.  One day soon, the stitches will be removed and it will perform as a finger does.  I’m sure there will be a scar as a reminder of what once happened.

Looking at her sleeping beside me right now, I’m remembering her sweetness as a puppy and all the comfort she’s brought as a companion.  I will look back on this week briefly as a painful moment with her, but her cuteness, loyalty, unconditional love, and the joy she brings me far outweighs this small bite on my finger.

Thank you, Lord, for your many blessings.

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Posted in Blessings, Changes, Memory

To Cam on Your 27th Year

For Moms … Babies are precious.  Toddlers are cute.  Preteens are awkward.  Teenagers can be exasperating and fun.  College students are inspiring.  Young adults are humorous.  When the other side of mid-twenties roll around, we stop and take stock of how fast time is moving.  I want to say ‘Stop,’ but then I wouldn’t get to move forward and see all those other stages ahead that, I’m sure, will be equally wonderful!

Cam…. It’s hard to grasp that your twenty-seven today.  Looking backward,   I’ve enjoyed all the stages of your life.  Who knew so many years ago, that time would move so fast?  I know …   All those mom’s who’ve gone on before me!

I’m appreciative of the person you are now.  I miss seeing you.  So much to miss; a hug, sharing meals, teasing remarks, your quirky sense of humor, hanging out watching television and making comments, simple talks, and watching you putter around the house and play with the dog.  I miss that Cameron smile.

Today, I’m remembering and treasuring the precious moments of your childhood.   I’m smiling recalling the joy of your birth and the fun of you growing up.

Your love of Trains and Thomas.  Playing with Legos, Pokemon cards, and all night video games.  Being creative making movies, going to church, and band filling your days.  Your first girlfriends and heart breaks.  Your strength as you grieved your dad.  How much I missed you when you moved away to college, but loved hearing about all you learned as you moved into independence.  Incredible determination dealing with kidney failure and the transplant.  Your first apartment.

I am awed by your positive outlook on life.  I never doubted that you would and will succeed in whatever you set out to accomplish.

That being said, thank goodness for cell phones!  I’m so happy that you share with me your thoughts and the decisions you’re making.  I like hearing about your work and what you’re learning and doing.  I enjoy listening to your views on politics and what’s going on in the world.  Believe it or not, I do appreciate your opinion.  It makes me happy hearing about the small details of your days.  I like talking with you about what you’re making for dinner and how roommate living is going.  Descriptions of Zipps and his antics makes me smile.  I can picture him climbing and scrambling around your room being his cat self, slightly annoying.

I appreciate when I visit, you giving of your time and entertaining me around town.  Sitting with you in coffee shops and having dessert is a ‘sweet’ moment in time.  (pun intended)…. walking our legs off and being a good sport about directing me through subways.  I thank you for these sweet memories.

I am simply a proud mom and I love you!  Happy 27th year of celebrating your birth.

Our ‘traditional’ pose

 I know your dad is proud of you too!

Posted in Around town, Blessings, Walking

Cargill Long Park

Get up…get moving!  This is my fourth week of summer and with a little inspiration from a friend, I’ve started walking.  Day one walking, I planned on walking a couple of miles on a path near my apartment.  I have walked that park, I bet a hundred times over the last twenty-five years.  Today, however, I noticed something that made me walk the whole path.

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First time I noticed the spike

I had gone about a mile when I passed a pine tree with a spike embedded in it.  I’ve not noticed it before.  To me, it looked like a railroad spike.  That’s interesting because Cargill Long Park was built with a grant from Rail to Trails Conservancy.  It was the second one to be constructed in Texas at the time.  Old railroad beds are made into trails that can be accessed by foot or bikes.  According to Rails to Trails Conservancy, there are now 35 individual trails in Texas with thousands of miles of trails in the United States for people to explore.

Now, I’m not sure if the spike is a relic from long ago or if it was hammered in that tree sometime in the history of the trail.  However, it made me curious enough to do a bit of history digging.

The land was donated by the Cargill family back in the early 70’s, but before that around 1010, it was a railroad line that moved ore from Ore City to Longview, so that it could be shipped from Longview to other places.  World War I impacted the profitability, so it was used as a mail train for a bit before it stopped running.  Robert Cargill Sr. bought the land for the mineral rights sometime in the 1950’s.  There’s a newspaper article marking the fortieth anniversary of the trail if you’d like to read it and a few pictures and an article about the Port Bolivar Railroad.

As I walked the whole trail which is three miles, one way, I noticed the differences in the neighborhoods.  At the beginning of the north side of the trail where I start, the houses are new.  Some are even still under construction.  As I walk to the end of the trail, the houses change.  So too, does the upkeep of the trail.  I’m not sure if it’s because more people use the newer part, or no one is reporting the trail conditions.  It may be a bit of both along with budget restraints.

There is maintenance happening because three times, I’ve been passed by a City of Longview truck driving the trail and emptying the trash cans and cleaning the restrooms.

At the south side of the trail, where it ends, which is the older part of town, the houses are smaller and more run down.  The trail actually ends at the old armory at Teague Park.  Since the first time I walked this summer, I haven’t ventured passed the two-mile mark simply because of the decline of the trail and the growth of the grass and bushes beside the trails.  Makes me a bit uncomfortable because that part of the trail doesn’t have people walking and I feel more isolated.  Safety first is being proactive on keeping myself safe.

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Trash along the trail

Along the path, I notice the occasional liter, I pick it up and carry it until I can deposit it into a trashcan.  This isn’t new for me.  As strange as it sounds, I believe it’s a command of God to me to pick up trash.  I can’t even explain it.  When I see a piece of trash wherever I am.  Sometimes I think, “It’s a long way to a trashcan.”  But then, a small voice inside prompts me and I pick up the trash.

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.    James 4:17

I’m not OCD!  I’ve been picking up trash for a bit over a year now and I’m okay with it.  Before judging, think how beautiful our world would be if everyone picked up a bit of trash!

To me, it’s much more pleasant to walk a trail than to walk on a treadmill.  The sights, sounds, and smells are interesting and sometimes entertaining. Yesterday, for example, I met six ladies in their late forties from Taiwan who were visiting a friend that married an American.  They were walking in flat sandals and carrying their purses. (That’s a big hint that they aren’t regulars on the trail).  I caught up with them on the last quarter of mile, so I slowed to visit with them.  They were walking in two groups of three.  Only one spoke English well and she wasn’t in the group I slowed to walk with.  However, we did manage to communicate.  It was a sweet half mile walk.

Several times, I’ve caught a young group mostly men and some women running with the Marine recruiters.  Potential recruits or official recruits, I’m unsure about, but love listening to them recite whatever is called out by the lead runner.  They also stop and do crunches and burpees.  They are entertaining and can be heard coming from a distance.

Smells….some wonderful like fresh mowed grass (which I can smell before I hear the lawnmower), or  a passing male runner that smells of strong deodorant, or fragrant flowers that is passed on by the breeze.  Not so great smells….stagnent water, sweaty bodies passing, an over perfumed woman, and a possible dead animal.  Either wonderful or stinky, they do make an impression as I walk.

Passing dogs being walked are nice to stop for a quick pet and people bicycling by sends a quick breeze by.  Get out and enjoy a trail in the early morning before the heat overtakes and makes a person turn into a wet washrag or wait until the sun is almost setting, but then beware of mosquitos.  The point…enjoy God’s beautiful creations!

Posted in Blessings, Changes

My Friend, Sally

 

Sally, one of my sweet teaching partners and friend, is taking off to travel with her hubby, Joe.  I don’t mean simply for the summer, but she is saying adios to teaching.  It’s a heart-wrenching change for me, but I’m so happy that she gets to make so many new memories with him.

God must have been smiling on me the day I was placed with her.  Her previous partner of one year, Jane, took a job at Region 7 Service Center and my partner, Shay, was changing to a lead teacher position.  I can’t say it was chance that we were paired together as a team because I don’t believe in fate.

God gave her to me as a gift when I needed lifted and blessed.  John had just passed away the December before and we were partnered in May for the next school year.  I know that God put her in my life when I needed to be pointed Northward.  She’s lifted me when I felt low and helped me let go of trivial matters that hinder my growth as God’s child.

From the beginning we clicked.  There was no awkward moments of classroom management or styles of teaching.  It was as if we were made from the same mold.  I do think her mold is a bit more perfect than mine.  We’ve spent eight years together and I’m going to miss spending my work days with her.

Our first year, we giggled over our students making paper mache bugs, and sat out in our lawn chairs at recess while the kids had a fun day filling water balloons and then letting them fly in an epic water war.  I loved those sweet May days when testing was over and playtime kicked in at the end of the year.

The next year, Cynthia was added to our partnership and we’ve simply grown together.  Over the years we’ve shared students and life together.  Conversations weave from work to our lives and families and back to students without a separation.  We’ve giggled, cried, lifted each other, given each other space when needed, and hugged.  I know their families and they know mine because we share our hearts.

I estimate that we’ve shared almost 5oo students between us during these eight years.  I’m smiling thinking of those lock-ins that keep getting shorter as time passed.  Those first few when we actually stayed overnight, slept on the floor, watched movies, and made breakfast.  My favorite memories are watching them run around the building yelling at the top of their lungs, the infamous trashcan races, Nerf gun wars, and playing outside with flashlights.

She’ll be missed not only by Cynthia and myself, but by the staff.  I know she’s touched more than my life.  She’s leaving a hole throughout the Fourth Grade group.


What have I learned from Sally?

She’s taught me to appreciate good shoes.  (LOL!)  With her, I learned a bit of shoe fashion!  I’ve gone from boyish shoes to heels and painted toe nails.  Never will I buy cheap shoes over quality.  Shopping for shoes with her is a joy because she’ll buy the shoes that I never would even think of purchasing.  She loves color and heels!

Tactfulness and positivity are two important traits to bring to parent conferences.  She always finds the right way to make a parent feel better about their child’s educational gaps and she looks for traits to love and appreciate in the student.

Diction is important.  We should all learn to speak our consonants!  It doesn’t hurt that she has that perfect diction.  All her consonants are used and a ‘t’ pronunciation is never replaced with a ‘d’ sound.    A ‘cabinet’ is a ‘cupboard’ and a ‘garage’ is a ‘gar-age.’  Boy… can she replace our Texas twang with odd sounding vowels!  I love to get the kids to ask questions where she’ll have to use these words and she goes along like a champ.  My favorite question from a student to her since she’s from Scotland is, “Where’d you learn to speak American?”  It still makes me smile!

Making our students realize their worth is the most important part of teaching.  I think what I’ll miss most about not teaching with her is her heart towards her students.  She makes them feel special and spreads her love of writing over them like fairy dust.  I’ve seen her correct their manners in loving ways and they remember the etiquette, but she also encourages them and instills a love of writing when at the beginning of the year, they didn’t think of themselves as authors.

A small dose of guilt can improve behavior.  She does know how to tilt on the guilt just enough that intrinsically the students will rethink their behavior.  Sometimes, it doesn’t even require discipline for them to correct their conduct because they regret their actions.  That is a talent that she excels in and I wish I knew how to do better.

Tidiness and organization make a teacher’s life easier.  She is neat to a fault and loves her organization.  If I could be one-fourth as organized as her than my Math group wouldn’t be afraid to trust me with their originals.  : )

To let the trivial things not consume me because in the scheme of this life they don’t matter.   Giving them to God is the best action there is.  Working with people small hurtful incidents happen.  It’s how I react that makes a difference in the outcome.  I try to remember to lift it up and let it go.

Most importantly, she has been an example of growing in her relationship with God.  I’ve seen her trust in Him more and follow where He leads.  Her prayer journal and daily devotions have inspired me in my growth with my savior.  Thanks Sally for being my Christian sister.

I think what I’ll miss most is simply spending eight hours a day with Sally, five days a week.  She offers encouragement and adds humor to my life.  She greets me with a smile and a cheery ‘Good morning’ and often a hug and there is not a better way to start the day.   I love standing in the doorway smiling and chatting with one another as we begin our school day and being able to pop over to her room for a quick conversation or a silly wise crack!



Sally,

Thankfully, when you’re not traveling we will gather for breakfast or coffee and definitely shopping or nails.  I’ll pop over to your house for a cup of tea, words of wisdom, belly laughs, and conversation both serious and frivolous.

I love you my beautifully, honest friend.  I’m so incredibly happy to be not only a part of your life at work, but also in our life outside of work.  You’ve shown me a sister’s love and a friend’s devotion.  I’m truly glad that you stepped into my life those wonderful eight years past and am looking forward to whatever the future holds as we continue our friendship.

With love,  Becky

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A cup of tea would be lovely!

 

If you know and love Sally like I do, add a comment of some of your favorite quotes of hers or a funny story.

Posted in Blessings, Memory

Happy Birthday, Cam!

Cam,

There are so many tiny moments that I have engraved in my memory of you growing up. Tiny moments printed on my mind.

Just thinking of these times melts my mom’s heart and makes me cry and smile at the same time.  I know your dad would be so proud of you!

It’s these precious moments that I wish I could bring back and experience them all again.

Your small hand reaching out to curl around my finger.

Watching your beautiful blues eyes watching me while you were feeding.

Seeing your first teeth emerge.

Watching you sleep.

Discovering you can sit up alone.

Watching your dad rock you in the recliner.

Pulling you in a wagon behind us.

Small legs toddling around the yard exploring.

Reading you stories at bedtime.

You obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine or any other train.

Waiting for trains to come through the train station.

Watching you play in the flowers instead of watching the baseball in the outfield.

Playing with papa and eating small cups of marshmallows and treats at Grannie’s house.

Driving you around trying to get you to sleep.

Singing Christmas songs by the tree.

Holding hands when walking to the car.

Playing with you in the bath tub.

Listening to your dad make up stories for you at bedtime.

Sliding down the hill on a box on a rare snowfall.

Watching you and your dad play video games.

Birthdays with cookie cakes.

Watching you be silly with friends and so very proud of how loyal you are to them.

Midnight runs to get Harry Potter Books when they were released.

Watching you find your strengths.

Waving out the back window in the truck.

Riding the trains together.

The joy of you and your dad riding roller coasters at Six Flags.

Watching you discover cooking and enjoying it.

Watching you become a child of God and grow in your faith.

TV’s and computers strung all over the house with boys attached to each one.

Going to Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings Movie premiers.

Watching you march at football games.

In the car with you when you learned to drive.

Enjoying your laughter.

Watching you perform in plays.

You and your dad making Zoey chase her tail.

Making movies in the backyard.

Waiting on me at Chick-fil-a and cow moments.

Seeing you discover girls and start to date.

Watching you give your testimony on the streets of New York City.

Grieving with you as you said ‘goodbye’ to your dad.

Rising to the challenges far beyond your years.

Driving away from you, trying not to cry, because you were so excited about going off to college.

Listening to your opinions even when we don’t agree.

Watching you mowing the yard with your head phones on.

Talking to you on the phone and so happy when you are talkative.

Trying on hats in Canada.

Enjoying traveling with you and sharing conversations.

Appreciating your sense of humor.

Loving your positive personality.

Watching your bravery and courage through hospital stays.

Listening to your future plans.

Seeing you develop your gifts.

Getting hugs from you.

Laughing with you!

Taking pictures in our ‘traditional’ pose.

As you continue to grow into the man that you are becoming, I am so happy that God chose me to be your mom.

I Love you….and I’m so proud of you!

Posted in Blessings, Changes, Fun Events, Girl Thoughts!

Thank You….Thank You Very Much …

Lip curl and sexy smile included …

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Saturday, I went to an Elvis tribute.  You know . . . one of those shows that carry you down nostalgia roads. . . where memories flashback to where you were when you heard a song.  “We’re caught in a trap . . . I can’t walk out . .  because I love you too much baby.”  Haven’t heard that song in years, but I can instantly recall every word of it as it’s being played and faint memories of myself growing up hearing it, including the hairbrush as a microphone singing in a mirror.  Fess up!  We all did that! 

We went from the 50’s to the 70’s in a few hours.  There’s no way all the Elvis songs could be covered, but the signature, “Love Me Tender” was there!  The three Elvis tribute artists were talented and did a wonderful job of making us feel that Elvis did indeed  . . . live again

I didn’t buy a ticket for the show, I volunteered my time as an usher in order to see it.  It was my first time to try that.  I met at 6:00.  When I walked into the lobby, I was happy to see a familiar face from church choir.  I met some sweet people, three from church, two from Hallsville, and some students from LeTourneau.  In all, there were about fifteen of us.

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Not very flattering

With my ‘official vest & tag’ I was partnered with two ‘veteran’ lady ushers, who were to show me what I needed to learn.  I’m thinking they were in their late 70’s or early 80’s.  I got one of them to take my picture!  

At the ‘lower balcony’ I was given a quick lesson on seating and how to read the ticket.  It was an easy task.  I had fun greeting, taking their tickets, and pointing the way to the restrooms.  The audience I met were in the age range that might have actually seen the ‘real’ Elvis.


After the show started, we found some seats and enjoyed the show.  It was as entertaining to watch some of the audience members watching the show as it was to watch the performance itself.  I noticed one older lady sitting with her husband, singing along with every song, clapping, and being animated.  I think it was probably a good thing that the few seats beside them were empty.  I smiled watching her joy of the performers.  

As audience members, we went expecting to be entertained.  The tickets were a bit pricey in my opinion, but since ‘The King’ of Rock N Roll is dead, impersonators are as close as we’ll get to a live concert of Elvis.  They’re professional impersonators for entertainment, but how often do we feel the need to be impersonators in real life?  

I myself, feel like I’m an impersonator sometimes.  I smile when I am feeling blue.  In my mind, I tell myself to fake it until it feels real and it does work most of the time.  

There are all kinds of issues in our lives.  Who we share them with depends on our types of personality and how much we trust the other people.   I’ve noticed, some people are very open in sharing all the intimate going ons in their life.  While others are more careful about what they share.  

In real life, I’m a bit more closed up when talking to people.  I tend to share with people who I know won’t gossip about my life. (Not that I have interesting things to be talked about)!  I share feelings and situations with people that generally care about me.  I’ll show my weaknesses to these people.  Friends that will hold me in a hug and lift me up in prayer.  I don’t feel judged as a person lacking, but as a person with all the foibles that comes with humanity.  

My care group is my safe haven.  My shelter when I’m feeling blown off course.  My support group that is there to listen and love me.  They let me into their lives too.  These Christian couples who have taken me in.  The funny thing about this care group is that I don’t even attend their church.  

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My life is better because of these ladies

It is indeed a group that shows Godly love to one another.  I’m not deeming them perfect because they aren’t.  They are people who struggle with living in this world too.  However, they are an entity of people who come together to shine God’s light on others in our group, and outward to their children and people in their life.  I love that we can listen to one another, share some tears and laughter, and pray for each other.  I look forward to the Sunday nights of fellowship.

Tonight, I didn’t feel like an impersonator of Becky, but my real self.  I was able to share my doubts and my fears and the insecurities that go along with change and for that I am thankful.   

So to the people in my care group;  Thank you….Thank you very much!  I’m trying to add the sexy lip curl, but it just comes off as a lop-sided smile.  

It’s so nice to have a group for support, but if you don’t remember God is with you no matter what issues you are facing.  The real King is alive!  You simply have to reach out and embrace His love and His acceptance.  Ask Him for help and in His timing, it’ll come.  I believe God sends people in our lives to be His ambassadors and show love.  Reading His word and prayer will bring Him more personally into each of our lives.    

His love is unconditional.

 


Posted in Blessings, Changes, Writing

My Mind is Whirling

My mind says to write, but I’m not sure what’s going to come from these fingers that are typing.  Things are whirling in my mind, so it might be a hodgepodge.

Today, I’m thankful for so many things.

  • For being a teacher, where I get to work with lovely ten year old children.  Today, we had brownies for a birthday girl that is a teacher’s dream student.  Where else do we get to sing birthday songs with “ChaChaCha” and hand clapping and end with applause?  Only with children!
  • For a friend who knows that going out to dinner is the perfect distractor.
  • For a boss with a sense of humor and diplomacy.  
  • For a friend who volunteers do my ‘Honey Do List’ this weekend.
  • For Christian music and the perfect song that speaks to me when needed.
  • For the gift of a smile and God’s peace.

I’ve failed doing the ‘right’ thing so many times.  Sometimes, I put my foot in my mouth and can’t articulate what my heart means to say.  Some people you meet and it’s like instant camaraderie.  You wonder how you managed to live without them in your life.  Other times, when meeting a new person, it’s hard to find common ground.  I don’t know what makes that ‘spark.’  If I did, I would patent it and make a fortune!  It takes work to become friends, but that doesn’t make them any less valuable than the instantaneous friends.  It just takes longer to find common ground.  It takes bonding, shared experiences, and positivity.  

I constantly have to remind myself that I am not at the center of other peoples’ lives, only my own.  I have to reign myself in and remember that God gave me my life to put Him first.  

 

The ability to laugh at ourselves and see the bright side of a life is a gift that redeems itself in the joy that it brings to us and others.  It lightens our heart.  It changes our perspective on the world or at least our tiny part of it.  It is a universal language.  

Oh Lord, for the gift of laughter, I give thanks.  Let my laugh bounce off walls and lift hearts.  Don’t let me take myself too seriously when it’s not needed.  Let me remember to be kind in all circumstances.  Remind me that I am Your Representative.

My mind is whirling about other things.

 

I feel rattled when my life undergoes a change.  I’m one of those people if I could freeze time in a certain spot . . . I would.  I know that is ridiculous because if change didn’t happen, I wouldn’t grow as a person.  I’m not talking about small changes, but large ones.  I’m pretty flexible with daily changes, but I get breathless thinking about the biggies!

 

These are my large changes that are looming ahead and I’m concentrating on taking breaths.

  • Selling my home of fifteen years.
  • Deciding where to move.
  • Going through things to determine what I keep and what goes.
  • The hundred decisions that go along with the sale and the move.

I’m tired of changes and I’d like to bury my head in the sand.  I’d like to fly away and let whatever happens…happen.  

 

Trust me, I’ve gone through so many changes these last seven years that I think, “How could changing living places throw me for such a loop?’  I’ve gone from a wife to a widowed, from a child in the house to an empty nest, from a double income to a single income.  

 

Recently, I told a friend, “I need someone to just tell me what to do.”  She answered the way I knew she would.  “Only you can decide that.”  I’m thankful that I’m being prayed over.  I’m thankful that God knows what’s ahead of me.  I only wish that I had the GPS and the destination planned out in advance.  Where’s that voice that tells me where to turn, how many miles ahead, how long it’ll take to get there?  Where’s the unemotional, calming voice that tells me that I’ve arrived at my destination?


Our Heavenly Father,  I ask for strength and wisdom for decision making.  I ask for You to guide me and a clear, open mind to hear Your voice when You speak.  I pray for peace that only You can give.  I thank You for my health that allows me to do whatever I need to do.  I thank You for the friends that you place in my life for encouragement and help.

 

The whirling continues.

  • I worry about making monthly bills. (I’m sure I’m not in that boat alone). Oddly, this isn’t the one that makes my stomach knotted.  Thank you God.
  • I’m apprehensive if my summer plans will go as I wish and if it does; who’ll take care of Zoey and Pippin. (I know Sally, the details will take care of themselves . . .if it is to be).  
  • Will God ever place another person in my life to marry?  Is something I think of often.  
 

Believe me, I don’t brood over worries.  Yes, I do think on them, but I try not to be distressed over them.  As I’m writing this, on the radio I hear… (Perfect song, just when I’m thinking about things) 

by Phil Wickham

Safe

You will be safe in His arms 

You will be safe in His arms 

‘Cause the hands that hold the world are holding your heart 

This is the promise He made 

He will be with You always 

When everything is falling apart 

You will be safe in His arms 

 

 

If that isn’t enough, Philippians 4:6-7

 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 
 

I’m sure my thoughts will continue to whirl: sometimes slowly like a wind spinner on a still summer day or occasionally non-stop like one on a stormy spring day.  

You know, a wind spinner is beautiful to watch as it twirls.  Maybe I’ll appreciate that God has given me the ability to think on all these things.  

 
Yep, my mind yearned to write; my hands obliged and I’ve spilled some of my heart on this page.  
Posted in Blessings, Inspiration

Individual Pieces Make Beautiful Wholes

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My five piggies!

My second one is slightly longer than the big one and the last one is a little curved!  I’m talking about my toes!  Right now they could use a little work and some polish.  They tend to sweat and sometimes they have a foul odor if encased in shoes without ventilation for too long.  That’s why I like open toe shoes.  My toes can’t do anything talented.  I have a friend that can pinch with hers, but the best mine can do is to tippy-toe.

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Resting legs

My feet are attached to dainty ankles.  My Great-Grannie used to tell me that I had Thoroughbred ankles.  When I was younger, I’d picture horse hooves attached to them.  I took the description as a compliment and I’m sure that’s the way she meant it.

Up from my ankles are my calves.  They’re not very muscular.  In fact, I would like to have more developed calf muscles.  (I just looked up the official name; Gastrocnemius Muscles).  I’m sure I could do calf raises, but I’m not that dedicated to exercise, so I’ll just keep my small calves.

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Simply knees

Above my calves are my knees.  Inspecting these two knobs, I find calluses on each one.  My left one has a small scar from a bus wreck.  It happened when I was in eighth grade.  I had spent the night with a friend.  We were on the way to school when our bus didn’t take the curve, but ended up in a pasture after going through a fence.  Christine and I were riding in the back seat, then we went airborne, and hit the seat back on the way down.  The bus driver was our English teacher and he kept everyone calm.  The small scar is simply a reminder of an unusual event in my life.  My knees joints are in great shape and for that I’m thankful.

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Freckled thighs

Going up beyond my knees is the area I’m most self-conscious of;  My thighs.  They have some jiggle and stretch marks.  I have a tiny amount of cellulite, but not enough that is unsightly.

What bothers me is the proportion of my thighs to my calves.  Did you see that Disney movie, Fantasia?  Remember the dancing hippos?  That’s what I imagine I look like from the back.  Skinny calves, bigger thighs, and a wider posterior.  Yep…. the hippo with a tutu!

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Legs that have seen 5 decades

When I break my legs into sections, I can be very critical.  Would it surprise you to know that I think my legs are my prettiest body part as a whole?  They’re the only part of my body that hasn’t succumbed to the effects of gravity.  I like the way I look in shorts.  Not only do I think my legs are attractive, I depend on their strength to hold me up and I expect them to do whatever I need them to do without giving it a second thought.

What’s the point of all these descriptions?  If we’re too critical of small things, we can’t appreciate the beauty of the whole.

I consider myself an optimist at least 90% of the time.  I try not to whine over situations that can’t be changed.  Sometimes work or a period of time can change the outcome, but there are times when no matter what happens, the situation remains the same.  If the situation is a negative one, then I look to find a positive aspect of it.  God is amazing and faithful.  He is with me constantly.  I don’t doubt His love for me, so why would I not find joy in the situations that I am given.   Serenity is a gift from God.

I know I have some annoying habits that can get on nerves.  My laugh is loud and carries.  I can’t seem to get anywhere on time.  I haven’t been gifted with mercy and my tongue gets control of my manners and sarcasm slips out.  I interrupt people constantly to talk about myself or what I’m thinking about.  I could keep digging for other negative traits.  Heck, there are some I don’t even want to admit to myself, but these are issues I’m working on.  You might think that I’m unhappy with myself, but I’m not.  I love the person that I am.  I love the way that God is shaping me to become the person that I will be in the future.

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Remember

There are redeeming qualities to all people.  Sure, personality quirks can sometimes be annoying.  However, look at the person as a whole and look beyond the strangeness of their parts and see a person that God created.  If you have to deal with the public or people in any form then you understand that sometimes everyone has a bad day or week where shadows seem to cover them.  Wait a while, and the sunshine will illuminate the best in them.

As I’m getting ready to start a new classroom of students, meeting the parents, and working with other staff members, I’m sure I’ll run across times where I’ll feel out of energy and look at the ‘small individual pieces’ instead of the whole.  If I forget to stay positive, I know that I have friends that will lift me up, just as I will do the same to them.  God blesses us with friendships and people who nudge us in the right direction.   My friend, Sally, would say, “Let it go” meaning give it to God.  I love the accountability of friendships.

Details are simply tiny pieces, but when put together, they form a story. Everyone has a story to tell.  Some stories don’t weigh much, but other stories are heavy.  Our stories help shape us to become the people that we are today. Choose to rise up… be joyful… laugh… be optimistic… appreciate life.

Find the beauty of your legs.

Posted in Blessings, Inspiration

Happiness is ‘Peanuts’ and Memories

For the last few days, the song Happiness from Charlie Brown has been circling around inside my head.  I hummed it while getting ready for bed last niScreen shot 2016-06-14 at 10.29.10 PMght and cooking dinner today.

It’s really not a mystery why.  I’m using the Peanuts Gang in my classroom for decorations.  I hadn’t planned on using them, but someone gave me the decorations at the end of last year, and when I started pulling posters out of the closet at school, they caught my attention.  Up on the wall they went!

 

Happiness is two kinds of ice cream
Finding your skate key
Telling the time

The ice cream line is one that I remember singing from Music class when I was in 4th grade.  I have a great love for ice cream!  Maybe that’s why I remember that line so well.

I don’t usually eat ice cream at home, but while I’m ‘away’ on trips, I try to eat it at least one time and usually more than once!  Peanut butter, any type of nuts, and chocolate are a few of the ingredients I adore perched on the top of a waffle cone.  I think eating ice cream tastes the best licking it directly from the cone

Skating . . . balance, I don’t have that!  One time, we bought in-line skates thinking we’d actually use them.  I tried, but hanging on the kitchen cabinets while trying to stay upright is not called skating!  I think Cam and John skated some, but overall, I think we wasted money.

My first wristwatch had a Mickey Mouse figure.  His hands went around as the hands on the clock.  I don’t recall having trouble learning to tell time.  Since then, I’ve had two Goofy watches.  Some items just have sweet memories attached.

Now, time is passing way too quickly.  I’d love to be able to re-live precious days, but that isn’t possible, so I try to embrace my life here and now, find joy and make new memories.

Happiness is learning to whistle,
Tying a shoe
For the very first time.

Memories . . .  of my mom whistling songs while I was growing up.  Man! She could whistle the melody as beautiful as an instrument.   I loved listening to her.

Memories . . . of teaching Cameron to tie his shoes.  I preferred buying him Velcro shoes because I didn’t have to keep telling him to tie shoes.  As a teacher, I still find myself telling kids to, “Tie your shoes.” Do you remembering learning to tie?  I barely can, but I remember trying to teach my youngest brother, David.

And happiness is playing the drum,
In your own school band.
And happiness is walking hand in hand.

Band memories  . . .  not as a student, but as a parent.  Cam started band in fifth grade at Hudson Pep and then we moved to Hallsville in sixth grade and band continued.  I worked in the concession stand at school for six years as a dutiful band parent.   Heck, I didn’t even know the rules of football until Cameron’s freshman year.  I learned them.  We went to football games because of the band.

 

I can say that now that I appreciate football, but watching the band march is still a highlight of the game.   John and I only chaperoned the bus once when Cam was in Jr. High.  One long ride back and forth to Six Flags was enough.  The senior band cruise was difficult for me because John died only three months before.  We had planned on going together, but one of Cameron’s friend’s mom stepped in his place.  I was emotional, but I’m glad that I went.  It was a good trip with sweet memories attached.

Walking holding hands . . . with John.  Holding Cameron’s hand when he was little.  John and I swinging him between us while we walked and laughing . . . all three of us.  Cam and I holding John’s hand as he went to meet our heavenly Father.

Happiness is five different crayons,
Knowing a secret,
Climbing a tree.

Crayons . . . ugh!  Usually crayons need picked up off the classroom floor!  Why can kids not put the colors back in the crayon box?

Secrets . . . yes, I can keep one, but I’d rather share it!

Climbing a tree was never anything I was good at because I don’t enjoy heights and I have no upper body strength to pull myself up.

Happiness is finding a nickel,
Catching a firefly,
Setting him free.

Nickels . . . I like finding money.  When Cam and John were home, I’d find money in the washer or dryer.  I usually kept it if it was one dollar bills.  I just thought of it as being paid to do laundry!  Now, if I find money in the washer, I know it was mine anyway.  Remember the joy of catching fireflies when you were little?  I do.  At my Great-Grannie’s house we’d run around and catch them.  It seemed like there were hundreds out in her yard at a time.  We’d take them inside in a mason jar, watching them flicker on and off in the dark.  I don’t think they were often set free.  Sometimes, I’m sure they died during the night.  I still enjoy watching the fireflies flicker in the backyard in the darkness.

And happiness is being alone every now and then.
And happiness is those who sing with you.

Being alone?  I know some people enjoy the break from their family.  Once I did too, however, now I’d like to spend time with people.  I have enough alone time.  God has graced me with the sweetest people to be my friends.  Alone time is greatly over-rated.

Singing . . .  one of my great joys.  I don’t have a great voice, but I do love belting out songs in my car while driving or while I’m home.  Music speaks to my soul.  Once I actually heard my voice on a video and it almost put me off singing in church…Almost, but I just can’t make myself stop.  I do, however, try not to stand behind anyone directly when I sing!  : )

Happiness is morning and evening,
Daytime and nighttime too.
Happiness is anyone and anything at all
That’s loved by you.

I believe that being positive is a choice and a gift.  How can I not be?  God has shown Himself to be gracious in all phases of my life.  My strength and hope is in Him.

Thankful that I get to enjoy this impressive creation that our heavenly Father created for us.  Glad that I’m aware and appreciate the joys of this world and that I have a positive outlook.

Love . . .  the greatest gift and showered over me in abundance.

Peanuts
BY CHARLES M. SCHULZ

A Funny Reflection:

John loved to play practical jokes on me.  Sometimes, it would be a story that I’d fall for (Yes, I’m still that gullible) and sometimes, he would jump out and scare me.  Whenever that happened, he’d say, “I’ll really hold the ball for you this time.”

Lyrics by Clare Gesner


Posted in Blessings, Changes

Let It Go & Lift It Up

Ever have one of those conversations that replays in your mind?  Wish you could have added something different that would change the direction of the conversation and the outcome?  Sometimes, they are recent conversations and sometimes, they are conversations that took place long ago.

Often they aren’t conversations, but actions.  Actions that you’ve done or actions that have been done to you.  I know through my own life, I’ve been on both sides.  I wish sometimes that I could relive parts of my life and do them better.  Arguments or accusations that I would take back.  Hurtful actions that were done to me.  Times that I acted indifferent to situations or didn’t follow through on thoughts.  I don’t think that there isn’t anyone who wouldn’t like to have a do over on certain situations.  

Our history and people in our lives have molded our personality and our outlook toward many things.  Situations have inhibited us or freed us up to go forward.  Life is constantly moving and growing us.  I know I’m different because of the people that have come and gone in my life.  People whose life has intertwined with mine.

I am a better person for each individual that touched and influenced me.  God’s love has been so evident in so many different conversations and actions.

I’ll even give credit to the teacher that I student taught with because I learned how I never wanted to be as an instructor.  

My friends, who daily, display God’s love in the form of friendship, sisterly and brotherly love, and acceptance.  Laughter and compassion abounds in their counsel and I call myself blessed because of them in my life.  They stepped in and filled the hole left by John.

My great Grannie that showed me the beauty of God’s love through her positive words, her walk with God, work ethic, and laughter.  Her willingness to see the best in people made an enormous impact on me as I grew into adulthood.

John influenced me more than any person I’ve ever known with his strength, love, and sense of humor.  He strived to be a good husband, a great dad, and a mentor to church youth.  His family showered their love on me and thinking about them makes me smile.

Cameron influences me with tenacity and his positive attitude toward all that has been given to him in his young life.  He constantly reminds me of the blessings that I’ve been given in the form of a son.

Recognizing God as my strength has brought me peace and joy.  He is my true comforter.

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Illustrated by D. Nevins

This month at church, our sermons have been over Joseph.  I wonder if he ever replayed conversations or actions with his brothers, his dad, or any of the people he met in Egypt and wished he could have changed anything?  He was human, so I bet he thought about it.  

The beautiful blessings Joseph received was because of his faith in God.  He lived and worked for God despite the circumstances of his life.  He didn’t whine and talk endlessly of how good he had it with his dad or while living in Potiphar’s house.  According to his brothers, he did give them reasons to dislike him.  Did he do it out of pride or enthusiasm because he was a favorite?  It really doesn’t matter because God had already written his history.  God knew every low and high that he was going to experience.  Joseph accepted his situations and was blessed because he loved God.  The book of Joseph is about God’s sovereignty, not about Joseph’s difficult life.  

Many are the plans in a person’s heart,

but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)

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Today, I don’t think there isn’t a person that hasn’t heard that song from Frozen, ‘Let It Go.’   There have been parodies made and once the song is heard, forever circles in the brain.


Let it go, let it go

 And I’ll rise like the break of dawn

Let it go, let it go

That perfect girl is gone

Here I stand

In the light of day

Let the storm rage on

I love this part….

It’s funny how some distance

Makes everything seem small

And the fears that once controlled me

Can’t get to me at all

Whatever, the situation….sing “Let it go, let it go…”   What if there was a better way?

What we should be saying is, “God take this.  I’m giving it to you.”  Now I’m Letting it go!

I went to a ladies retreat a few years back where we lifted our hands together, palms cupped up, and then parted our hands and brought our hands back down.  It was a reminder to “Give our situation to God, and then don’t continue to worry about things”  because He handles whatever problem seems too large to us.  

Screen shot 2016-05-19 at 6.06.00 PMMy friend, Sally and I, still do that gesture to each other whenever we need reminded to let things go.  Whether, it is work related or in our personal life.  It makes me smile and stops the complaining or worrying.  I can’t change how people see me or interpret what I do or say.  I have no control over others.  I can’t change my past.  I can only hope that I do better in the future.  

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.                                        Romans 8:28 (NIV)

Haven’t you ever thought a person was one way when you didn’t really know them, but after you’ve been around them for a while, you have a totally different perspective?  I have also been on both sides of this with my friends, Kimber and Robbi.  One thought I was rude and I thought the other was scary.  Now both thoughts make me laugh because I can’t imagine not knowing these two terrific friends.  Because I work with these two, thankfully, we’ve had years to get to know what we are really like as people.   Spending time with one another, we get to learn each others’ hearts.

Which brings me to my next thought.  When we interact with people briefly, do they see our true heart?  I know it’s been said a thousand times, but do they see Jesus in me?  Hopefully, I am His reflection.  Sadly, I know that sometimes when situations don’t go my way, that too reflects, but not Jesus.  Right now, I’m picturing moments that I regret.  I could have been more pleasant, patient, and kind.  There’s no changing that past either.

 Luckily, God gives me many moments to show how a Christian acts both with people briefly and long term.  In my moments with family, friends, students, coworkers, and strangers; I hope to shine with His light.  I’m sure that I’ll replay conversations and actions and wish that I had handled myself differently.  I’m just as sure that God is using me for the good of His purpose.  I have to keep putting Him first and die to myself, which, as a human I struggle to do this everyday.  I often fail, but sometimes, I am successful.  

Each day….. I’m lifting it up.  I’m giving my failures and successes to God.

I’m letting it go and finding joy…..