Wait For It….

It’s getting close. Can you feel it. I’m sure your phone is blowing up with texts and calls. Every other commercial on TV, bashing this politician or that one. Telling you who you should vote for and why. I’m getting ready to go put my hip waiters on because it’s getting deep. On both sides. You can’t walk in either direction without stepping in it. Breathe, yes breathe, I am not here to try to convince you who to vote for. You get enough of that from everywhere else you look.

Calm down, stop beating your friends, family and even people you don’t know over the head because they don’t have the same political beliefs as you. We are all going to go vote and hopefully we will all handle it like adults. Lord a mercy I know that’s wishful thinking. You know what though? Our next president has already been decided. I wish I had the inside scoop and could fill you in but God and I are not tight like “that”. We talk but he’s not about letting me know the future. So unfair.

I know that can seem flippant and you can shrug that off but it’s very true. God is not going to be surprised on Election Day. He is not going to be sitting on his throne and look over at Peter and say “ huh, well I didn’t see that coming.” Yes, we all need to do our duty and vote and feel honored and proud that we live in a country where we are free to cast our votes. What we shouldn’t do is put our hope and faith and all we are in whatever man or woman is sitting in the White House or in congress all the way down to our Mayors and Chiefs of Police. They are people and they are fallible. I’m not saying anything new or shocking but we need to start getting behind the leaders who are elected. That doesn’t mean supporting everything that comes down the pike if it goes against what we stand for but this constant bashing and tearing down of people is just relentless. How do we expect our children to act any better if we as adults are acting like our children?

Our next President may not be who I vote for. He is still my President. I still live in the United States of America. There is all this talk of change in our country. How are we to change if we are losing friends over our political beliefs. I can’t be your friend or vice versa because we have different opinions. That just hurts my heart.

My reading today was in Psalm 104 and verse 24 jumped out to me. The whole Psalm is actually beautiful if you read it. Verse 24: How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all. – Think about that. How many are your works!!!! Too many to count. He made them all! Our knowledge is finite while his is infinite. We can’t even begin to comprehend all that he has done. God did give us the mind of Jesus Christ and he will provide us the wisdom we need in every situation if we will just listen. We can’t listen, when we’re arguing or being a keyboard warrior striking out and shooting our words as if they were tiny missiles. We need to learn to be still. We need to learn to seek him first. We need to learn to look on those around us with love. I write this to myself as well. I’m certainly not the poster child for always being calm and showing the love of Christ. I want to be better though. I want to be less like me and more like Jesus.

Like it or not Election Day will be here and there will be a winner and a loser. Be kind, Be still. It doesn’t matter if who you voted for is in office or not that doesn’t stop you from being kind or being still. We can all start the next four years with open dialogue. Not everyone will do this but if just a few take a hold of love it can spread. Use the mind that God gave you and listen for his wisdom. He will give you wisdom if you seek it because in his wisdom he has made all.

Below is a beautiful song. Please listen. It’s by Fernando Ortega. The Creation Song. If you read Psalm 104 and listen to the song it will make sense.

Earned Titles

A year has passed. How can that be? Somehow it feels as if the time got away from me and yet it also feels like this past year, since August 23rd 2019, has been the longest year of my life. My Dad has been gone a year today. As I sit in my room and look around I try to picture how we were all in here with my Dad. He was surrounded by so much family. He was so loved and I don’t think he ever realized just how much love his family had for him. How he had earned the title of Dad and PawPaw. The title of husband (Mom’s person). Those title’s aren’t given out free of charge. Just because you can be all of those things doesn’t mean you are.

My Dad was just that. My Dad. He loved me and my brother and sisters more than his life. He would have done anything for us. He loved his grandchildren and great grandchildren the same way. There is nothing any of us could have done that could cause my Dad to withdraw his love. His was unconditional. He was truly an example of my Heavenly Father. I know he earned the title of husband. He was my Mom’s person. Good times, bad times just ok times they stuck together. I never once ever remember feeling uncertain about my home life and the fear that one or the other might leave. I just knew they were there and that would not change. Don’t get me wrong, life in the Bailey household was not like the Brady Bunch but we always loved each other and it was always home. My parents have always been home no matter where they are.

I miss him just as much today as I did a year ago. Don’t let anyone tell you time heals all wounds. It does not. I may cry less today than I did a year ago, but I find myself missing him and wanting to share things with him only to remember I can’t. There are days that I laugh thinking of him and days that I cry. Then there are the days of anger. I feel like I was cheated. He should still be here. We had things to do, to talk about. We all thought he was going to be here for much longer after he got treatment and we got 3 months. 3 months to the day he was diagnosed and that was it. He should still be here. Sitting on my front porch, letting me push him around for walks outside and saying hello to everyone that he doesn’t know and greeting them with random names. Hi Chuck, Hi Steve, Hey Bob long time. Yes they would look at him like I must know that guy, and say hi because if I don’t, it’s rude. I guess that’s the thing. We don’t know. God chooses the time, the day, the place, the minute. He’s ready when he’s ready. Don’t waste your moments. You may not get them again.

I think my Dad is the first person that I’ve lost that has been that close to me. It’s certainly the first time I have ever had an urn in my home. My Dad has been sitting on my mantle for a year and it has been bothering me. He just sits up there. Kind of like a trinket or conversation piece. So, Wyatt hates when I start sentences out with so. So, I wanted to go to the beach this weekend. It just felt like a way to be close to my Dad. He and my Mom love the water. I took my Dad with me. Just stick with me guys. I know that sounds weird and creepy. I wanted to take my Dad to the ocean and just put him there in the surf. His little urn right there in the surf beside me. Listen, if I saw someone on the beach with a tiny urn before my Dad passed away my thought would have been, that’s creepy and personal so yeah. You just don’t understand until you’ve been inducted into the club. It’s not a club you want to be in and you can’t fully understand the actions or words of the people in the club until you are inducted. It was a little word from God to not judge people when you see them doing something you deem as weird. You don’t know what that person is going through. So yes I took him to the beach and I was glad I put him right there in the surf. I don’t like him sitting on the mantle so I’m going to plant a tree and bury him under the tree along with a bench to sit on. He loved to sit outside and that seems like a better place for him. For me really. I know he is pain free in heaven and all these things we go through after someone we love so deeply dies are how we deal with our pain and loss. I will enjoy sitting on that bench and thinking of my Dad.

I have really struggled this past year with the loss and it felt like someone just kept saying, “I think you need one more thing for you to work through.” Who hasn’t though. 2020 has come with a lot of challenges for almost everyone. I would like to think I am coming out the other side and seeing clearer. I look forward to my tree growing big enough for a bench and a garden stone. I can sit there and read a book or just enjoy the outdoors and think of all the ways my Dad earned the title Dad many times over.

May the Lord Bless you and Keep you. The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26.

My Dad used to pray this over all of us kids and this is what my garden stone will say.

God Doesn’t Waste

I love that God is never wasteful. Everything he does is purposeful and not by coincidence or accident. My pastor preached on planting seeds this weekend. Everything begins as a seed and nothing happens until that seed is planted. What I plant is what I will reap. I always reap in a different season than I sow. I must be patient and not give up. Each one of these points and many more was given in Pastor Chad Herndon’s sermon on Sunday 5/3/20 at New Song United Methodist Church. You can find his sermon if you are interested at newsongumc.org. This is not a plug for my church but I did not want to take credit for writing something that was not mine. God does not let anything go to waste. We just don’t always have our eyes set on him and we waste what he is trying to teach us.

I am struggling this week. I don’t have any energy. I don’t feel good, I’ve had a migraine since last week that comes and goes. One day on and one day off. I’m just feeling uncomfortable in my skin. Should I blog? I don’t think I really have anything to say. I really never know what I’m going to type until I sit here in front of this keyboard. Who am I doing this for? I don’t really know. I keep questioning God as to what my purpose is. What do you have for me Lord? I feel a longing in my soul that I am meant for more. If you’ve read my last couple of blogs you know I’ve been reading Psalms and I’m still reading Psalms. -The land yields its harvest; God, our God, blesses us. Psalm 67:6 – That was part of the scripture I read today. Look at God not being wasteful. Leading me right back to Sunday and Pastor Chad and planting seeds. I want what I want and I want it now. I’m going to plant these seeds and by tomorrow or at the latest next week I’m going to be ready to harvest my crop. Well, we all know if you plant any type of vegetable or crop that’s laughable. God may choose to do that but most likely he is going to prepare you, bring you through the growing process. Let you be watered and let the Son shine down on you. Let you go through some thunderstorms and get whipped around a bit so your roots grow strong in the earth and the weeds don’t overcome you. Only God knows when your roots are strong enough to do what he needs you to do. Waiting patiently is not easy to do but waiting patiently and continuing to pursue God on a daily basis is hard for me. He’s not just going to drop something in my lap because I’ve waited quietly. He needs me to pursue him and get closer to him. I don’t know about anyone else but that is a struggle for me. There are so many distractions that can easily take place of talking to God. Watching TV, listening to Audible, sleeping, Social Media and the list goes on.

I used to question how in the world the Israelites could walk around in the desert for 40 years. I don’t question that anymore. Just think if they had TV or social media. They might still be walking. I think I’ve been walking around in the desert for about 45. I just keep circling that mountain. I do know this. I have not ever lost my faith. I may have wondered in the desert and circled the mountain but God has never walked away. He is always right where I left him. God is good and God is faithful. I know that with all the breath in my body. I need to stop trying to harvest what is not ready. I need to pursue God with a fever and make sure I am available. Make sure I am not wasting what he is trying to teach me or show me. Show up for church (on line) take time to talk to God every day, plug in where I can during the rest of this quarantine.

This has been a difficult time for all of us. Being quarantined, those of us who have addictions and are finding different ways to cope are struggling. If you’ve lost your job this is a very frightening time. If you’ve lost a loved one this is a time of mourning and it has to be done in such a lonely way. You can’t be surrounded by your friends and family. This time of uncertainty can either draw you closer or push you apart. This needs to be a time when we draw together and love those around us. As I was writing this, a song came on by Maren Morris. The Bones. It love what its saying. -When the bones are good, the rest don’t matter -yeah, the paint could peel, the glass could shatter -Let it rain ’cause you and I remain the same -When there ain’t a crack in the foundation -Baby, I know any storm we’re facing -Will blow right over while we stay put -The house don’t fall when the bones are good

If we have good bones, a good foundation, strong roots we can stay put. It might be uncomfortable. It might not be where you saw yourself. Plant your seeds, be patient and don’t give up. Remember you always reap what you sow in a different season. Make God your bones, your foundation, your roots and he’ll hold you up for the harvest. God is never wasteful so don’t waste his goodness.

Credit to Pastor Chad: Seed references from 5/3/20 Sermon

Fly To God

The world is still spinning and life is still happening. Whether it is happening very slow for you or hasn’t changed at all depends on where you are and what you do. Easter was just yesterday and I’m sure like most of you it felt very different this year. My in-laws did not come down. I did not see my son. I had sunrise service in my living room streaming on my TV instead of at Hollywood Cemetery. Which by the way is a beautiful service if you get the chance to join us hopefully next year. It overlooks the river and is led by several different churches one being New Song United Methodist which is where I attend. There are bag pipes playing. Communion is offered if you choose to partake and it’s just so meaningful. Sorry, got a little sidetracked but I look forward to it. I have to say sitting on my couch for sunrise service lost a little something. I looked at Wyatt and said, “Well, that was kind of a let down. But I think that’s my fault.”

It wasn’t the message or how it was delivered. Yes, we all want to get back to doing things like we were, such as going to church and being around people and not worrying if that person is closer than 6’. Did I miss the message though? Did I miss the big reveal? Did I forget the reason I should be overjoyed? All of the things that I do on Easter and leading up to it can be very meaningful and really touch my life but I can’t let those things overshadow or take place of the big surprise. The tomb is empty!! So, if I don’t go to sunrise service at Hollywood cemetery or have my usual meal with my usual people and this day doesn’t go as normal is it “just a let down?” Well, it shouldn’t be. Jesus didn’t forget to rise up out of the tomb! Easter should be a time of celebration. No matter what our circumstances are. I had a good day yesterday. I planted flowers and spent time with Wyatt and my Mom, but I must admit I didn’t feel very Eastery. (That’s a word, yes, it is.) Until today. Until I had time to reflect and think on yesterday and read in my bible this morning.

I’ve been reading Psalms for a while now and I never felt like I could get that much from it. It just seemed to be kind of boring. News Flash!!! God can speak to you from anywhere in his book. You just have to be open and ask him to let you have ears to hear and eyes to see. We are all so busy I think trying to get through this and get back to normal, which is understandable, that we may be missing God’s training. I’m not saying we should all embrace this and let this become our norm but while we are here let’s not run. Let’s see what God has for us. Psalm 55:6 Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. – Yes, oh wouldn’t we. Fly away from all of this and get back to life and get our children back to life and back to work. We need to work and pay bills and get out of this house. Oh, wouldn’t you be at rest then if you could fly away from all of this. But!!! In your escape where are you flying to? Alcohol, food, TV, pornography, drugs or are you just simply filling your time with anything and everything to escape from God? Instead of flying away we should be flying to God. There is a plan for each and everyone of us. You can learn from this time and let God teach you and give you the knowledge you need and the instruction you need to learn during this time. Or, you can fly and you can completely miss out on the knowledge and the instruction that he has for you. He has something greater for me and for you and he will reveal it to me and to you when we are ready. I can live in this and rejoice that the tomb is empty from my couch and get in a different mindset for the day. Let God speak to my heart and accept that where I am can still be used for God’s glory and trust that he is training me for something greater.

So, do I really want things to go back to normal after all is said and done. NO!! I don’t. I want to be better. I’m not sure how I want to be better but I just feel that back to normal is not where I want to be. Back to normal sounds complacent. God give me ears to hear and eyes to see, train me for something greater Lord and let me fly for you when the time is right.

Hope in 2020

We have certainly started off 2020 with a bang! Slowly but surely we are all coming under some type of lockdown. No dining out, no public entertainment, no gatherings of 10 or more people, schools are closed for the rest of the academic year and the list goes on. My family in Charlotte is on a shelter in place order. That’s spreading as the Corona virus spreads. The anxiety, fear, depression and just cabin fever can be overwhelming. There are so many issues to deal with on so many levels.

I know many who are worried about their jobs and wondering if they will have a job to go back to. Worried about how they are going to pay the bills during this time if they have no income coming in. Small businesses are suffering and may close, large businesses are suffering, the economy is in a tail spin, I’m stuck at home with my children for how long? Ahhhhh! This most definitely is the end of the world. The apocalypse. I bet you are glad you decided to read this today. There are a lot of people who are really feeling this right now and then there are a lot of people who feel this is not that bad. Some feel the media is blowing this up, the government is trying to take over and take our guns and our freedoms. A lot of our young people feel invincible and have chosen to continue life as usual and nothing is going to hold them back. So where does that leave me? As I flip flop from minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day on this whole thing. I’m sure this is going to be over sooner than later. The CDC and WHO are just being overly cautious to protect us. Oh Lord, the CDC and the WHO don’t really have a handle on this thing at all. We are going to be in our houses for months on end and we are going to lose so many more people than we ever thought. I could literally end up sitting on a rock in my back yard like Gollum from Lord of the Rings. Sneaky little viruses. Wicked, tricksy. Your never going to stop. Your going to ravage the world. No, no, I’m not listening, not listening. You don’t have a cure and you’ll never have a cure. No, No. My trust is in the Lord. (If you haven’t seen The Lord of The Rings, that makes no sense at all).

So after all that gloom and doom where am I? What am I doing not to end up on a rock in my backyard speaking to myself in riddles with three strands of hair left? I come to the only place I can and should come to. My God, my rock, my fortress. I have bounced back and forth and some days are good and some days are really a struggle to get through. That’s human nature people. We are going to have those feelings, they are natural. It’s what you do with those feelings. I can’t let them consume me. Rocks are not very comfortable to sit on. When I am having those thoughts and feeling out of control I give it to God. I am praying for his peace to replace my fears and anxiety. When I am feeling peaceful and content I don’t stop talking to God. Well that’s not true. Sometimes I do because it’s easier to talk to God when we are in trouble than when we are doing good and walking down easy street. What I’m saying is don’t just run there in times of trouble, run to him in times of joy. He is with you through all of that. He is not a genie that just shows up when you need him to fix you. The Bible says count it all joy. All of it. That’s not easy and this is not an easy time for anyone. Especially if you have contracted this horrible virus or have lost a loved one. I can’t even begin to imagine your feelings at this time and I won’t pretend it’s just so easy to look up to God and say, I count it all joy. What is the purpose for my tragic loss? If I could put my hand on each and everyone of you and cry with you and pray with you I would. I wish I had all the answers, we all do, but I don’t. I do know that out of every tragedy and heartbreak God can be found “working for the good of those who love him.” Romans 8:28 and his name will be glorified and spread far and wide.

I want to say this before I wrap up. I was reading Psalms today. Psalm 42 and 43. It struck me that in both Psalms there were verses that were exactly the same. Psalm 42:5 Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God. For I will yet praise him. My Savior and my God. Psalm 43:5 Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God. For I will yet praise him. My Savior and my God. I think that sums it up pretty good. When you are down, depressed, upset, etc. what can you do? You can put your hope in God, you can praise him. He is your savior and your God. Without hope we have nothing. If you don’t know God as your savior it must be awful hard to have hope. Who or what are you putting your hope in? Man, science, objects false deity’s? If you want that hope and you want peace you need to know Jesus. All you need to have that and know Jesus is to accept him. To believe that he is the son of God. That he was sacrificed and died on the cross for your sins, and was raised from the dead 3 days later. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God. Your belief in him will save you. You can be filled with his peace and you will have eternal life as he prepares a place for you in his kingdom. No, everyday is not a cakewalk but that’s not what he’s promising. He’s promising you eternal life and a freedom here on earth that rests in our hope and belief in him.

I know that was a lot to read today but I guess I need to write more often. There was a lot trapped up in my brain. Thanks for sticking through it with me. I know I can ramble but there is a point in the end. Please stay safe and enjoy your families with the time that we have been given and be creative in how you spend your time and communicate with those you can’t visit with at this moment.

Guess What Day It Is?!

It’s almost the end of January. I feel like I am always waiting to get through something. Once I get over this hump then I can really start moving forward. If I were to title my life I think it would be, Over The Hump. Well, that would be fine if I actually ever got over the hump and saw the other side. I’m like the camel who walks around yelling, “Uh oh guess what day it is?!! It’s hump day!” It’s hump day every day. That commercial does crack me up, however I don’t want to be stuck on hump day.

I’m waiting to get through the holidays. Get through Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Those were all very hard to navigate without my Dad for the first time. They probably will be for the second and third time. I probably will never find that it’s easy and I’m not missing him during the holidays. Then my ex starts whispering to me. (My group leader referred to alcohol as an ex boyfriend and that is just what he is to me, my ex) You know what would make this easier? If you just had a drink. Just one. All you need is one to take that edge off. I can remember that feeling I would get when it hit my stomach and my head said, “Relax, don’t worry, you got this and you deserve this.” It never stops at one. I would drink until my head hit the pillow at night and maybe get up in the middle of the night if I was still thirsty. So, I have to have that conversation with myself that this will not take the edge off. My ex is a liar and there isn’t room for him in this relationship between God and I and my husband and I. Just one has severe consequences. So I think just get me through New Years and I will have gotten over a huge hump.

Then January is here and it’s my Mom’s birthday, well for some reason I need to get through that because that’s an occasion without my Dad. Well you know what, Valentines Day is coming up. That’s going to be hard for my Mom so I need to get her through that. Oh my goodness, St. Patricks Day is in March, geez I gotta get through that with everyone drinking green beer. Guess what day it is? It’s hump day!!! Meanwhile, I’m also putting on hold so many other things. Eating right, exercising, getting involved with outside interests etc. etc. etc. My Lord I can have a whole year of hump days. I don’t want to be that camel for the rest of my life.

I want to live purposely. I am so tired of never getting past the hump. What’s on the other side? Great and wonderful things! God is just waiting for me to crest that hill. He has magnificent joy and life fulfilled, I just have to follow him. Right now I have chosen to place the things of this world, the temporary pleasures as my God. You can only stay happy for short bursts of time when you do that. Have you ever read the 23rd Psalm? I mean like read it in the Bible. You may have heard it but to actually read and look at the words. Most of us have read or know by heart The Lords Pray, Our Father, Who art in heaven….. That is how Jesus told us we ought to pray. I read the 23rd Psalm today which I never have read the actual words. I have heard it said and heard my father say it many times. If you read and study the words it really can be very impactful.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23

I don’t need to be stuck. There’s no reason. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. My God is my protector and I will not lack for anything I need. He is my shepherd, he will guide me. He is my shepherd, he will care for me as my great physician. He is my shepherd, he is my savior. You can disect every line of this and see what certain words actually mean and this Psalm means hope. I want to live like that. I don’t want to live waiting because I will miss out on what is over the hill for me on this earth. I want to hear, “Well done my good and faithful servant!” when I see him in all his glory.

My goal is to stop waiting to get through. I am through. I am here and now. That does not mean that I will not hurt, grieve or struggle but I can do that in the moment and let God be my shepherd and guide me, heal me, care for me and I will trust him. I’m going to crest that hill and hump days can go back to just coming through with that camel, once a week.

The Baby

Change. It’s not easy. We all get into a comfortable routine where everything makes sense. This is how we do life. We have traditions that we have created with our own family. Wyatt and I were married and had to find a way to fit both of our families together for holidays and birthdays and family gatherings. Then we had JT and things became more centered around him and the dynamics change and we found what was comfortable for us. A way that we can fit both families together yet create our own traditions as well for just the three of us. Time marches on and you grow and people move away, people die, people go through ups and downs and if your family is anything like my family you fight. Yes there is fighting and hurt feelings sometimes but we seem to always find our way back to eachother because the one thing that doesn’t change is the love we have for each other.

It’s Christmas Eve and I find myself really struggling to find my place. Everything about my life has changed. I’ll be honest, I really don’t like it and earlier I felt like having a little pity party for myself. So many things have changed at one time. Can we not do this step by step? Change is hard enough. Why God can we not ease into all these things? Even if the change is positive it can still be an adjustment because it’s different. You are introducing something new into your life and figuring out how to make it fit.

I feel like everything hit at once. My Dad passed away, JT moved out, my Mom moved in, JT started dating someone serious (which as a Mom can be hard to become the #2 when you’ve been the #1 in your son’s life for 18 years) and then here comes the holidays. Nothing about Christmas Eve, nothing about this Christmas season has been the same. Now obviously not all of these are bad or negative changes. My Mom moving in is a good thing but is still a change for her and Wyatt and I. JT finding someone is a good thing and I like her so that’s a plus. It’s just a lot of changes. It means doing things differently like sharing JT with another family when he has been all mine. It means not getting to ride around and look at lights with my Dad. It means not getting to exchange Christmas presents with my Dad. It means for the first time in 18 years JT won’t be here when I wake up in the morning. Like I said, change is hard and as much as you want to try to force it to stay the same sometimes you just have no control. Life happens and we must figure out how to reshape ourselves into the new mold.

As I sat tonight crying off and on having my private little pity party I thought about the Christmas Eve service I had gone to earlier and the message. Today is about the baby. The baby Jesus. It’s not about watching Christmas Vacation and eating KFC. Side note, KFC closed early and I was not able to get my chicken which is a Christmas eve tradition we do every year. Just so you know, I cried. Back to the matter at hand. Today is not about me and my pity party because my traditions are changing. The baby Jesus. He’s what I should be concentrating on and if anybody should have had a pity party it would have been Mary and Joseph. Can you imagine. Mary the virgin is pregnant and Joseph still decided to marry her and then they trek off with Mary pregnant as can be on a donkey and can’t find a place to stop except a stable for her to give birth in. Jesus is put in a manger. We like to romanticize this scene and make the stable all clean and tidy but I bet that stable was, well a stable. Dirty, smelly, animals around making noise, scratchy straw. I don’t think it was as pleasant as we like to picture it in our books and plays. That, is some change for ya. 9 months before I think she was probably just living as everone else and then an Angel visits her and boom, the changes just kept on coming. I’ll bet Mary and Joseph could have had a pity party or two and maybe they did but with God’s help they reshaped themselves to fit the new mold.

So as I think about all these changes, yes I am sad. I do miss doing things the way I have done them for the past 18 years. I do miss my Dad being here for the 44 Christmas’ before this. If it means doing things differently then I guess it’s time to create new memories and new traditions, like joining my Mother and Father in-law and going to the Christmas Eve service together. Wyatt and I visiting our neighbor last night and sitting and talking with her and making a promise to myself to visit more often. Maybe we’ll eat Popeye’s chicken on Christmas Eve. (I don’t know guys, KFC is my go to. Popeye’s had to step in and it wasn’t KFC). We will have to play Christmas morning by ear and just find our place in it together until JT and Kaitlyn get here. All I know is even in this time of change and the ups and downs I can be so very thankful that 1. I am not pregnant and on a donkey and 2. God was willing to put on human flesh and walk among us and then be crucified for my sins and yours so that we may have eternal life. That is something that can never and will never change. Merry Christmas Everyone. I hope you all enjoy your families today and remember it’s about the baby today.

Struggle To Marvel

It is a struggle. I’m trying to act like it’s not but my heart just isn’t all the way in it. I’m ready for January to be here but I’m not sure a new year will be any easier. Getting through the holidays when you have lost someone is hard. It’s hard enough just doing life on a daily basis. We all have struggles we wake up to every day. Pain in one form or another has me debating whether to put my feet on the floor each morning when I open my eyes. Dealing with the physical pain is enough to make me want to shut down and then my brain kicks in and tells me all kinds of lies to make my struggle even harder. Near the top of the list of coping skills is pulling the covers over my head and not facing the day. I won’t think about that today. I’ll think about it tomorrow, after all tomorrow is another day my dear Scarlett.

I found myself on Thanksgiving wanting to fast forward to the end of the day. It just seemed like a chore. My Dad was not there and you could feel it. There was just that certain something that was missing. I keep trying to think about his pain and how thankful I am that he is not in pain anymore. It’s very hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that he is in Heaven. That may sound weird. I know that’s where he’s at but that’s something we talk about. That’s where we are going to go when we die if we believe in Jesus Christ. If we have accepted him as our Savior. It all seems so very far away. Death seems so far away. For me at least. I know some people have experienced loss all to often and you truly don’t understand that feeling until you experience it yourself. We talk of dying or what will happen when we die, to our possessions, to our bodies, to our loved ones and what it will be like in Heaven. It’s such a different conversation when someone so close to you dies and their physical body is not here with you anymore. It is just so amazing and grand for my mind to grasp that my Dad has moved from his physical body on this earth and is now in the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!! He is in HEAVEN!!! Maybe that doesn’t strike you the same way but it has me in complete and utter awe. When I think about my Dad that way I can’t help but smile. I can even laugh out loud because I am overcome by the joy he must be experiencing. Sometimes I cry being overwhelmed by the feeling that comes over my whole being of pure happiness. Happiness doesn’t even describe it. I don’t actually think there is a word that can describe what I feel when I think of what my Dad is experiencing up there in Heaven with God. Whoa! Electrifying!!!

It’s here on earth where I miss him. I miss him being here for the traditions our family has created. I miss him being here to complete us. He is our leader. Our Big Giant Head. (Third Rock From The Sun joke) He is our touchstone in our family. I don’t think January is going to make things any better. I don’t think you ever get over losing someone you love. I think you learn how to live better with it. There is no magic time frame that will make this not hurt. There will always be a hole where my Dad should be. It’s a bitter sweet hole filled with the longing of wanting him here but the knowledge of knowing where he is and that I will see him again.

During this Holiday season I get it now. It’s like a club. Not a club you want to be part of. When people would post on social media or speak about missing someone they had lost and how hard these times are my thought was, “Awww that’s sad, so sorry for your loss.” Moving on now. You can’t understand how that person truly feels until you are in the club. It’s ok. I thought I got it. I thought I understood how sad that must be. I pray you are not in the club this Christmas but if you are I pray you laugh at the memories and good times you shared, marvel at the mystery of the Heaven they are experiencing and most of all, top on your list, share Jesus with those around you so they too can be certain of where they are going and you’ll be able to marvel at the mystery of Heaven that each one of you will experience.

Filling Hearts

This weekend was amazing. You are never quite aware of how a disease such as cancer can change a personor a family until you are the person or the family that it changes. We have breast cancer awareness month and there is a fundraiser or foundation for this and for that. Alzheimers, injured veterans, families of fallen police men and women, St. Judes. I mean the list for the places you can put your money to help fund organizations or to help find a cure could probably make it’s own book. If you are not affected by any of them you can never fully understand. You can have a heart to want to do something and believe me that is what we need. People with hearts to want to do something to help others in need and to reach out and give. I have a heart and a passion for several organizations that don’t personally affect me but now I have an understanding on a deeper level that I will never fully understand the gravity of their situation and that makes me want to be more compassionate, more giving, more caring and more precise in my prayer life.

When you are told that your father has been diagnosed with a Glioblastoma Multiforme, a rapidly growing brain tumor, your kind of left looking at the person telling you confused and saying, “I don’t understand?” That’s not something that actually happens to people I know. That happens in the movies or you hear people talk about someone they know that had a brain tumor but not my Dad. It’s just all so unreal. It still is. I’m not sure why. There is nothing about my Dad or my family that would make us immune from this type of thing. My parents are just going to grow old together and pass away on the front porch in their rocking chairs holding hands. Change of plans. Now I have to learn all these medical terms and statistics and be constantly disappointed. Every time I think we are going two steps forward we are actually falling three steps back. People are now coming out of the wood work telling you that they have a family member that passed from this cancer or someone they know that was close to them. I never really even heard much about this particular cancer but it’s everywhere. There is no cure. There are cases of individuals living with it for 15 years but they are much younger and very few and far between. Best case scenario is to slow down the rapid growth and give you more time. It’s heinous and wretched to watch someone go through as I can imagine all terminal illnesses are.

Let me get to this past weekend and why it was so amazing. As I’m sure many people are like me and they go through life and may donate to certain things or have causes that are close to their heart but then get clothes lined when these things affect those closest to us. Richmond held it’s 2nd annual RVA Brain Tumor 5K. I have never been apart of something like that. I have never participated in an anything K, marathon, walkathon or raising money for a cause like this. This was amazing. Our team – PawPaw’s Pride (we called my Dad PawPaw when he became a grandfather) set a goal to raise $1,000.00. We raised $1,995.00!! That is amazing and I want to thank all of you who made that possible. The National Brain Tumor Society set out to raise $175,000.00 and we collectively raised $272,221.55!! How awesome is that. Wouldn’t it be amazing to find a cure so when our children grow up they may not have to go through what we have. Their children may not have to watch them suffer with this disease and many others. I’m not saying all of these things so you all will jump on the bandwagon and be avid supporters of the National Brain Tumor Society. I certainly think that would be amazing and we would love to add to our team of walkers next year. The more the merrier. Let’s make PawPaw’s Pride the #1 Team in Richmond!!!! I say all this to tell you be passionate.

You don’t have to wait to be affected by something horrible. You don’t have to wait for someone to die or to be horribly injured or fighting for their lives or any number of issues we have going on in this world. This disease has changed me and I will never be the same and I will be a part of the National Brain Tumor Society and RVA 5K every year now. That’s just my world though. It’s easy to stop there and not venture outside of my world and what affects me. I have other things I am passionate about and want to help make a change in. Sometimes we either don’t know how, or we don’t want to step out of our comfort zone, we put it off and say “I’m going to donate to them, I need to set that up. Next month. I’ll get that done.” We can always turn that channel as well because those commercials make us sad, uncomfortable and we just don’t need to watch that. God calls us to do these things. To reach out. To step out of our comfort zones. How else will people see the love of God. – What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself , if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:14-17 – “Do not neglect to do good and to share wht you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Hebrews 13:16 – “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” 1John 3:17

What does your heart urge you to do? Where does your heart urge you to go? It’s not all about writing a check and sending money. Your time means so much. I have a heart for the homeless in our community. Well then I need to be spending time reaching out to our homeless. Serving, donating, plugging in where God wants me to be. I have other things on my heart that I feel I should be doing. No, you are right. We can’t do them all. We can’t save the world by ourselves but together everyone can make a difference. Ask God to show you where you are supposed to be. I promise he will show you.

The amazing thing that happens is, in the process of giving of yourself you are blessed. You are fullfilled. You think you are the one serving, helping and making someones day brighter. You are, you certainly are, but you will walk away being more served by the ones you are serving, being more loved by the ones you are loving, making meaningful deep relationships, and being so filled with God’s love you feel like you just might bust.

So as I move forward through this process. From receiving my Dad’s diagnosis to functioning and working through the grief and understanding his death I continue to learn. Nothing happens good or bad that there isn’t a way to glorify God. I may not always do such a bang up job and make the right choices but he’s working with me and he’s holding my hand every day. I love my family so much and our bond has done nothing but gotten stronger since May 23rd. Walking in the 5K this weekend was exhilierating, a great way to remember my Dad, a wonderful way to strengthen my family, and an awesome way to bring awareness and raise money to find a cure for this disease. We walked it this year. Well, some of us are in better shape and ran. I walked it this year. Next year I’m going to run it. If you know me that will be quite an accomplishment. Don’t wait for tradgedy, start filling hearts with love.

Conversations With God

I have really been struggling since I wrote my last blog. I think I’ve said it before. I’m a planner. Usually I have some sort of an outline in my head as to what I’m going to write about. Now I will tell you, each time I’ve sat down to write with an outline or general idea in my head, God has taken me in a different direction. The difference is, I had an idea. I had an outline of some sort. I felt confident in sitting down because there was something there. Not lately. It’s like a black hole. It’s blank. I have nothing. I feel like a deer caught in the headlights.

I keep jotting down little thoughts and ideas in my notebook that pop into my brain. Lord knows if I don’t write it down, it’s gone in the next five minutes. Then I start to question myself. Maybe that’s all you have. Maybe you were just supposed to get on here write a handful of times and then move along. Well, maybe that’s true. How am I supposed to know? Where’s my burning bush? Can’t you just give me a word God? Well, that’s the thing. It was pointed out to me the other night in my recovery group that I just need to let it happen. I am listening to the voices of defeat and not even giving God a chance. This oh so wise person said, “You have got to stop trying to plan out everything. You can plan a lot of things but you are going to have to just let God move through you and stop trying to put him on a schedule.” Not planning is along the same lines as going to your job/school naked. Yeah, hermit status for the rest of my life. I want to feel confident before I step out and do anything. I want to feel like what I put forth is going to be met with acceptance and understanding and not get egg on my face or wow did I really say that.

It’s so funny because I used to think I was so confident back when I was drinking. I could talk to anyone, life of the party, dancing on the tables and sometimes the bar. What a false sense of confidence alcohol gives us and oh what it makes us step out and do. Talk about egg on your face or wow did I really say that or do that. We are more afraid of showing our true selves and being real with eachother than we are of being absolute idiots and making a fool of ourselves. That can just be chalked up to, oh, she just had to much to drink. Well that’s not the real me. I am more than that. Why are we so afraid for people to see us? We are afraid they just might not like what they see. It’s like the filters on Snapchat. Ya’ll better stop using those all the time and take some real pictures of yourself. Someone is going to see you in person and not know who you are. I needed to take that filter off. I needed to be me because it got to a point where I didn’t even know me. I had to start finding out who I was again and just where it was that I decided that I didn’t love myself enough.

So I took the advice and picked up my computer today. WITHOUT AN OUTLINE! WITHOUT A PLAN! She was right. That wise person in my recovery group. God knows what I need when I need it. Just like all the other times I have written. I may have felt confident but It was God laying on my heart what needed to be said. It is God writing this today. I just placed my fingers on the keys and started typing. The words just flow and you know what it’s like? It’s really like I’m letting you all in on a conversation that God is having with me. He likes to wait to reveal things to me until I’m typing here. Maybe he thinks someone else might need to hear something similar. My confidence needs to be in God. Not in how well I think I can write about a certain topic, or just how many ideas I have come up with.

It is a process to get to know myself. I have hidden away for quite a few years. I am learning through my conversations with God. I didn’t even realize until tonight that he was showing up in real time and having class with me each time I wrote.The more I remove the filters and remember and find that girl inside, the more I like her. The more I’m not ashamed. I may have done some shameful things but that does not define me. I am more than that. If I could just see myself as God sees me. Whoa!!!! Watch her go. Now that’s a Wonder Woman.

The Rock

Do you ever go to church and think, are you spying on me? Did God tell you directly to write that sermon for me? I almost felt a little paranoid this past Sunday. I was beginning to wonder if my Pastor hacked into my home security camera’s. I mean the worship music, the sermon everything it couldn’t have been more spot on. I haven’t been in a while with everything that has gone on. That’s no excuse. There is no good excuse. That is all the more reason to go and make time for church and to hear the word of God and be loved on. Sometimes we are so quick to be so lazy on the things that we need and are so good for us and are so quick to pick up the things that can do us so much harm. So I made it back this past Sunday and I do know that my Pastor did not hack into my home security system but he sure did preach. It was for me, and I’m sure others but God sure did give me ears to hear on Sunday. Now let’s do this!!!

I leave church and I always feel like when I leave its like a football huddle. We all have our heads together, we are all given the plays, we’re hyped up, ready to conquer, we have our arms around eachother in a great big circle kind of doing a little jumpy dance, the Pastor yells break and we all jump up and yell, GO TEAM!!! That usually makes for a great Sunday. There is usually good food on Sunday, Football (I happen to know that God is a Steelers Fan, he does have a Terrible Towel). But seriously, church just feeds your mind, body and soul. It always helps me get a handle on my week and I can sit down and break out my super planner and schedule for the next day. Each night I sit down and write out individual things I need to accomplish for the next day. I mean right down to when I’m going to eat breakfast. Don’t judge. So here’s the thing. I have a couple of things that I let steal time from me.

Like so many others I suffer from migraine headaches and I have for 20+ years. I think I have been on every medication out there and I continually try new things that come out on the market. I wake up on a regular basis with a migraine headache so that throws my whole day off. A lot of times it can take my whole day from me. Sometimes several days from me. I also suffer from depression which has a really good relationship with these stolen days. It’s very hard to suffer from a migraine and be down a day or two or more. I can send myself into a spiraling hole of depression. The struggle is real and it all takes place in my head.

It has gotten much better. There was a time quite a few years ago that I could not function. I could do the bare minimum. Which was take my son to school and pick him up. I think I managed to function just enough to get through the day. It really all came to a head when I decided I didn’t want to be here anymore. I thought Wyatt would be better off without the stress of me in his life. He would not have to continually worry about me. I know JT felt like a caretaker and that was no way for a child to feel about his mother. He should be a kid. He should be with friends, having fun not worrying about whether I was going to be ok. I just wanted them to stop worrying about me and I just wanted to stop hurting every single day. So I decided to stop hurting and take a bunch of prescription sleeping pills and attempted to cut my wrist. I was so tired by the time I tried to cut myself that all I managed to do was scratch myself. Wyatt was at home and he was working in the garage and kept coming in because he felt that something was wrong and I finally told him what I did. He took me to the emergency room and I was admitted to St. Mary’s Mental Health Ward. I spent almost a week there, they changed up my meds, I was released and began counseling.

There are a couple of things that are important to me to point out about that time in my life. 1: Prior to this happening I had changed Dr.’s and he had changed my depression medication. I had called him for a month. I had made 4 phone calls and told him I did not feel right. There was something wrong with these meds and I did not feel like myself and was feeling even more depressed than I was before I started taking them. Each time I was told “Just give it some time, they will get better.” The last time I called I was told, “Dr. —– can not help you. You are going to have to find someone else. You need to see another Dr.” 2. The first thing I said to Wyatt when I got to the car that day when leaving St. Mary’s “I’m so glad to be out. The first thing I want to do is go home, have a cigarette and a glass of wine.” It is very important for everyone to understand this. I am positive there was something wrong with my depression meds. I’m not saying it was the total cause of why I did what I did. It is very important that when you start taking something new that is supposed to alter your brain chemistry you let people around you know. That you Dr. is attentive and listens to your concerns. You know your body best. My Dr. was negligent in my opinion. He should have brought me back in. Those little warnings on the commercial or in fine print on the leaflet can and do happen. Pay close attention to your loved ones who are on these depression meds. It was also important to me to get back to self medicating myself with alcohol as soon as I got out but Wyatt and I weren’t identifying that as the problem. It was the depression. I’m pretty sure alcohol doesn’t mix with those meds.

I am so beyond thankful God brought me through that. I didn’t want to die. My family would not be better off without me. God has things for me to do! I wish I could say that I turned everything around from there but you might know by now I think I know better. I know that is a whole lot to take in and maybe more than you want to know. I feel like a lot of times as Christians we feel we are not supposed to talk about those kinds of things. We don’t suffer with depression, we don’t do things like try to commit suicide. We don’t smoke, we’re not alcoholics and we certainly don’t get committed. We’re all happy. We have Jesus!! Can you tell me where that group of Christians is because I’ld like to make sure I steer clear. I’m not sure of anywhere in the Bible where Jesus said if you believe in me life will be one big walk in the park. In fact just the opposite. – Remember what I told you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me they will persecute you also. John 15:20 – In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 2 Timothy 3:12 – strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. Acts 14:22.

As believers we are going to have hardships that we come under, some more than others. Some of our own making and some not. No matter if from our own making or from God it’s what we do with it. How we get through it. Illnesses that can keep us down. Depression that can take over our minds and bodies mentally and physically. Substance Abuse that is slowly robbing us of everything we hold dear. A lost job threatening your financial situation. A bad marriage, a violent spouse and you don’t know where to turn. An out of control child and you feel like you are held hostage in your own home. Gossip spread about you that has no merit to it what so ever yet it is ruining your reputation. Compulsive lying and you don’t know how to stop. Death, expected or unexpected. There are so many trials we will go through while we are here on earth and each one that belongs to us can feel like climbing Mt. Everest. I can certainly say I have not done a great job approaching some of my mountains I have come up against. My initial reaction has not been to immediately turn to God. That’s our flesh. That’s the world. If you are in this world and of this world you have a lot of options. Drink your problems away partying with friends, complain, blame, send your problem away, violence, denial, look to false Gods. None of those will bring you peace. If you are in this world but not of it you have one place to go. Jesus. You have to face the truth. That’s not always very easy. I am certainly learning that. I’ve tried for so many years to ignore Jesus and use the ways of the world and it finally came crashing down. What I feel starting to form under my feet is that rock.

I’m building my house upon the rock. It’s going to take a while but that’s ok. No strong house was ever built in a day and you have to make sure your foundation is good and solid. I’ve got a lot of construction ahead and I’m sure storms are going to come and delay my work. I just need to know that this house will always have need for repairs and additions. She’s going to keep on standing but occasionally when those hurricanes rip through a shingle or two or three or even a deck is going to need replaced.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had it’s foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mind and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27

Big Wheel

This is hard for me to sit down and write. Looking back there is a word that comes up a lot in my writing. You may have noticed. FEAR!!!! I started writing in May in the hopes that it would help me face my fear. I felt God wanted me to share my story. My story of coming to sobriety. Finally admitting that I needed to get sober. The struggles, the victories, the pain, the joy and well just every day life. I never realized it would help me so much when I sat down and started pecking away on the keyboard. You all were such an encouragement to me as well and I hope I could do the same for someone out there. If you read any of my postings you know my Dad was diagnosed with brain cancer so my writing took a different turn, which was fine, it was what I needed and what my family needed I think.

There was a lot I learned during the time that my Dad was sick. I learned how much I love my family and just how special each one of them is. I learned how God is deliberate in giving each one of us unique gifts. When we use these gifts to serve the people around us you can see God, you can be fullfilled with God, you can hear God and there is no room for fear. I learned just how many people my Dad touched, how many people came to know the love of Christ because of my Father. I learned and gained so many amazing things during that time and was just awestruck at all the people that surrounded us. I miss my Dad greatly but as someone who sent me a message the other day said, “Let’s plan to meet at your Dad’s house by the street made of gold.” Isn’t that fantastic! This person and I have never met and don’t know if we will meet in this lifetime but we already have a future meeting set at my Dads house.

So, those are all wonderful things but I also learned that I have done myself a disservice by keeping myself isolated. Instead of learning coping strategies these last two years I have just kept myself in safe places that I can control. I feel the need to be transparent since I started this blog talking about my sobriety. My 2 year sobriety date would have been August 1, 2019. Well, I fell short of that. That’s really hard to say. In my first blog I had mentioned that it was time to step out. I was keeping myself closed up. I was sober but my coping skill was to keep myself from any situation in which I could be tempted or might be harmful to me. I just didn’t see the downfall in that plan. I mean I had done such a great job so far in controlling everything in my life. I could control my surroundings until I die so, this should not be a problem. This is the part whereGod says,” I thought you understood? Your not in control. We’re not doing it that way so I’m going to have to give you a push. If you didn’t learn any coping strategies, well now, who’s fault is that? Time to get out and do life.” (I put that in quotations because I really think that’s what he said as he was shaking his head) I could have made this easier but I seem to have an aversion to that. It wasn’t even alcohol that tripped me up. It usually isn’t your drug/substance of choice that gets you.

As an addict you know the exact moment the wheel in your head starts turning. I was sitting in the Dr.s office with my Mom and Dad. The Dr. asked if my Dad was having any pain and he said no. He said NO!! The Dr. said,” well, I’m going to prescribe you some pain meds so you have them on hand.” Big Wheel Keep On Turning……..Rollin…. Those pills sat there for three weeks. 60 pills. It wasn’t constantly rolling at first. It was slow but then it was creeping and slowly started to pick up a little speed. There was the fleeting thought to throw the switch and put this train on a different track. I could have said something to my Mom and had her put them away. I did not do that. I had stayed at my Mom’s for a week and it was really hard. My Dad was so weak and he really could not get up and down out of the wheelchair or bed by himself and that Friday my sister came in town and I was tired. I was heading home and she was taking over. Can you hear it? Can you hear the rationalization? Can you hear the excuses I’m making? Yes, I gave myself permission. I deserved it. He wasn’t using those pills. He wasn’t in pain, I deserved to check out. It wasn’t alcohol! I just need to be numb for a while and not think. So, that’s what I did. I checked out.

When I checked back in so did the guilt and that voice that says, “Are you kidding? You took your Dad’s pain pills? He has Cancer? What a loser? I knew you would screw this up. Wyatt’s never going to trust you. Everyone in your family is going to hate you. What kind of a person….? Well you might as well just be depressed. You suck at life.” I fought that battle in my head for over a week. It was torture. Meanwhile my Dad was put in the hospital and things progressed and a few weeks went by, decisions were made and he and Mom were moving into my house. I thought long and hard and knew that I could not have them move into my house without telling Wyatt and my Mom what I had done. Believe me I had thought about throwing my hands in the air and saying “What?! I don’t know what happened to those pills. That’s crazy. They just disappeared.” I knew that ultimately if he was coming to my house he was eventually going to be in pain and would need even stronger pain medication and I needed to be held accountable. I wanted to be there for my Dad and take care of him. I did not want to spiral down and end up in a really dark place. I needed to be there for my Mom. Wyatt and I put a lot of hard work into loving this marriage right where it needs to be and we will not stop! I will not sacrifice my relationship with my son. So, I sat down with them and was honest about what I had done. As hard as that was there is something about telling the truth. Yes, the saying is true, “The truth shall set you free.” There is nothing like the truth. You are lighter. There is no more hiding. You know where you stand. Others can either choose whether to forgive you or not. It may take some time to build trust back but you can. You just have to be willing to put the time in. If they love you they will forgive you. If you love them you will earn trust back and you won’t repeat that behavior over and over. I’m so thankful that I have a forgiving family. I’m so thankful I had a forgiving Dad. He helped me understand just how much more my Father in heaven loves and forgives me.

This has been quite a year for me so far. Quite a year for my whole family. I think we would all like for the rest of 2019 to be without incident. I could go for that. It’s time for me to get out and do life. It’s time for me to follow my Dads example and spread the word. I need to get that Big wheel turnin for Jesus. I want to be sitting here a year from now and saying, “I know the exact moment when that wheel started turning in my head and God was going to change my life!!” Big Wheel Keep On Turnin, Proudly for Jesus I’m burnin, Rollin, Rollin…..

Facing Fear

Where were you? Do you remember? I’ve heard most people liken it to knowing where they were when President Kennedy was shot. Where were you when you heard or saw the first report of something happening at the World Trade Center? Did you tune in at the very beginning when it was some type of explosion and no one knew how it happened? Did you tune in as the second plane hit and gasp in sheer terror? I think for the majority of us we know exactly where we were.

I was at home with a 6 month old baby living in Lafayette, Indiana. Wyatt was getting ready to walk out the door for work and JT and I had just finished breakfast. I think that was one of the most terrifying days of my life. I remember being in my living room after putting JT down from a nap and being so overcome with fear. I had no family near. All of my family lived in Virginia and North Carolina and I just felt so very far away from everyone that I loved in that moment. The only thing I could do was hit the floor on my knees and cry out to God and pray. I wept and prayed and buried my face in the floor and just cried to God for the people in the buildings, the first responders, for the people in the planes, the Pentagon, the plane that crashed in the field. I prayed for so many things that morning. That was the first day of many that I was glued to my TV crying and praying and hoping.

Our country changed forever that day. We have so many different tragedies that befall us and can give us a spirit of fear. Shootings and natural disasters, the fate of our government gives some people a spirit of fear. More terrorist attacks. You name it, there is a lot of things we could fear from the time we get up in the morning to the time we lay our head down at night. Well that is if you sleep. Maybe you are so afraid you have a hard time sleeping. I could just stay in my house for the rest of my life if I let fear overtake me. There is one thing that kept coming through during that time back in 2001. God did not give us a spirit of fear. – For God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 We are not to walk around afraid or stay closed up somewhere so nothing happens to us. God created us to share his love with those around us. We can’t do that if we are afraid.

I always remember that scripture on this day every year. God did not give me a spirit of fear, in short. I think for a long time I thought I had that under control. I’m not afraid. I walk with courage and power and love. I was mistaken. I had a lot of liquid courage. I used Vodka to give me courage. I was lying to myself. I was so afraid. I did have a spirit of fear. I certainly wouldn’t compare my walk to those who have experienced the type of terrifying tragedies that I mentioned above. I was still fearful. Fearful that something would happen to me or my family. Fearful that I couldn’t raise this little baby boy to be better than me. Fearful that he would be just like me. Fearful that I wasn’t a good wife. Fearful to go out in public. Fearful of me. Fearful of who I am as a person and not letting anyone know who I really am. That was my biggest fear of them all. I conquered my fear. All it took was alcohol. That conquered a multitude of fears. Really it just turned me into a drunk. Then I was just afraid that someone would find out how much I was drinking and how often. ‘Round the mountain we go. I thought I was conquering my fear when I stopped drinking. I really just found another way to hide and I’m ready to face this fear head on.

So today on this anniversary of 9/11 I want to take time to remember all the people that lost their lives, all the people that fought to save lives on this day. All the families that were affected by this senseless tragedy. This was just such a far reaching act of terroristic proportions that one can not name all those that were possibly affected. Lets pray for God to wrap them up today especially but every day in his peace and that they are drawn closer to him. Lets face our fears with a spirit of power and of love and of sound mind. – What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31

His Gift

It’s been a little over two weeks since my Dad passed. He passed away on August 23rd. I miss him very much but the funeral wasn’t as much of a funeral as it was a call to know the Lord. That’s exactly what my Dad would have wanted. Several people stood up to speak about him and how he had touched their lives and how God had come into their life through my Dad. There was laughter and there was tears. My Cousin Bryan spoke and my nephew Nick spoke. They led the service. They both did an amazing job. If you walked in there unsure of who God is and how much he loves you, you walked out knowing the truth. (If you were listening)

The Gospel was spoken on August 31, 2019 at 2:00 PM. It was a celebration of my Dads life and a dedication to the man he was. That was the overwhelming theme. I never heard my Dad or anyone that knew my Dad say he was afraid to talk about the Lord no matter where he was or who he was with. That was who he was and I hope is what everyone that walked out of there will remember about him. He loved Jesus. All you had to do was be listening and have your heart open that day and you could have received the greatest gift you will receive in a lifetime. The gift of Jesus. The gift of eternal life. The gift of being saved. Not by anything that you or I could do. Not by trying super hard or finally earning the right to have him give you that gift but by believing. God loves you as you are, where you are and you just have to accept him and know that he died for you on the cross and shed his blood for you as a sacrifice to wash you clean of your sins. He was buried and rose three days later and ascended into heaven where he sits at the right hand of God where you will see him and live there eternally when you die if you accept him. If you didn’t know that before you walked into Monaghan’s Funeral Home you should have known it when you left. That was my Dads parting gift to all that gathered there that day. I know seeds were planted and they will just need to be watered by the next gardener God puts in the path of those open hearts.

You don’t always get to see the seed you planted flourish in the spiritual world. Sometimes you might not even know that you actually planted a seed. I was so blessed that day to meet a man that I had heard about through the years. Winston Parker. I met him his wife and daughter. This man, if I have the story right, had asked my parents to come to church on many occasions when they were young and I think living the young fun life. I think it may have taken quite a few invites for them to finally go. This man was the reason my Dad accepted Christ. How amazing is that!!! What an awesome sight for him to see. That 50ish years ago he invited a couple to church and they finally came probably to get this guy off their back so he would leave them alone and this is what came of that. That makes me want to shout with joy! Through him Christ has been shared in countless places, throughout the world and will be shared down through generations to come. What a legacy for Winston and what a legacy for my Dad. It was an honor to meet him that day. I am so glad he was able to see the fruit of God’s good work working through him. So the lesson here is, never stop asking. Maybe that friend or couple or co-worker will come to church with you just to get you to stop asking. Maybe that’s all it will take.

What a life my Dad had and how blessed am I to be a part of it. To have been able to call him Dad. It wasn’t a walk in the park for him. He wasn’t a man without faults. There isn’t a man without faults but he did a great thing. He shared this great gift that is more valuable than all the riches in the world. Thank you Dad. You are still my hero. I will see you again and if there’s a DVD player in heaven we can watch The Storm of The Century if we can get God to make it snow. Maybe they have streaming up there. Haha, I’m sure there will be better things to do than watch movies.

My Dad, My Hero

Jesus Is Waiting

I am at a loss. I have been trying to blog since we came home from inpatient hospice on Monday. I have written and deleted I don’t know how many times. Nothing seems right for me to put on the page. I’m all over the place.

We were given such a gift from God on Monday. Dad woke up, is how I like to describe it. It’s called a rally. It’s very common for a person to have a rally as it gets closer to the time that they are going to pass. He was alert and he wanted to eat and we all got to spend some time with him. I think we all got to tell him things that we thought we weren’t going to get the chance to tell him. I had the chance to tell him I love him again. I had the chance to hear him tell me he loved me. I was able to hold his hand and look in his eyes and let him know how very much he means to me. What a good, good, father he is. I don’t want to let him go. Looking around the room at all the people that had gathered to spend a moment with him and love on him was overwhelming. There must have been close to 20 people in the room. A person isn’t surrounded by that many people if they did not touch all those lives in some special way. The room was lit up with laughter and love, tears of joy and tears of sadness. I went to bed that night feeling like I had been rushed from the bottom of Mt. Everest straight to the top in about 5 seconds. Cold wind rushing in my face, snow hitting me and standing on the top peak with the sun shining down on me warming every part of my being making me feel alive.

Only to wake up the next morning and find that he had gone back inside himself again. As fast as I had been whisked to the peak I had been dragged back down to the valley and the trip was exhausting. He was still somewhat responsive and could call us by name. We were still able to talk to him and understand if he was uncomfortable or in pain or not. He was still able to say I love you but that spark that had been lit the day before was slowly going out. Little by little he has traveled inward until he is unresponsive. We might get some sort of an answer every now and then when we talk to him and ask him questions but I believe he is battling now. He has many conversations, most of them we can’t decipher but he is talking to someone. The nurse explained so many things to us about the mind and the body and how they fight against eachother. His body is struggling and is tired and I think he is ready to rest but his mind still wants to stay and isn’t ready to quite let go. He is having hallucinations according to the nurse and I like to think he sees his Mom. Meemaw is sitting in her rocking chair chuckling and shaking all over and can’t wait to hug him and show him around. I’m so excited for him to go and sit and talk with Jesus. I know he is going to have all his quesions answered and I can just picture his face full of light and love and joy when he sees the Father. At the same time I want to be selfish and hold on to him. I know it is time. I don’t want him to suffer or be in pain or struggle to stay because he thinks we are not going to be ok. I have told him it’s ok. He can go. As much as I will miss him and mourn his loss I know I will see him again. That’s what makes death so bearable. I know he knows Jesus as his Lord and savior. I know Jesus as my Lord and savior. I know where he is going without the shadow of a doubt and I know where I am going. So I know we will be reunited. Death is not the end. It’s just the beginning. We are only on this earth for a short period of time. If there is one thing my Dad would want anyone to know who is reading this or who knew him it would be Jesus loves you. Jesus died for you. Jesus rose from the dead for you. You can have eternal life and live with him in eternity if you just believe and accept him as your lord and savior, admit you are a sinner (as we all are) and believe he died and rose from the dead and is the one true Son of the living God. He will wash you white as snow and you will be forgiven. You will have eternal life. So you see, earth is just a short journey and we should certainly live and love and spread the love of Jesus Christ while we are here. Death is where our real life begins. It’s where we are made whole again if we so choose and to live in peace for eternity or to be separated from God for all eternity. That is the true definition of hell.

So while I sit here today by my Dads bed and watch him labor to breathe and struggle with a foot in both worlds so to speak I pray that he will hear us and know that it is ok. I love him with all my heart but Jesus is waiting and I will see him in a short while where we can sit and talk just me and him on the steps.