Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Missing You, Paw

James Herbert "Paw" McDonald
Old Rattler
ca. 1957

When I was eight, my Paw McDonald was off work for a couple of weeks. Although that seemed strange to me, I was eight and didn't think a lot about it. To be honest, my eight year old brain could only wonder when Paw was going back to work so we could get our treats every afternoon! Then, the day came and Paw went back to work, but he went back on second shift. Daddy was also working second shift at a factory in town. Late in the night, long after I should have already been asleep, I kept hearing strange noises outside. That night was 43 years ago tonight.

I told Momma but she kept insisting it was just animals in the woods and that I should go back to bed and go to sleep. Finally, even Momma couldn't think of any more excuses. She also noticed that there was too much traffic on our country lane. Looking down the road to where Maw and Paw lived, she saw lots of lights. Knowing something must be wrong, she loaded all of us into the pickup in our jammies and headed down to Maw's house.

The McDonald Family

ca. 1942---The year they bought the farm where I grew up.

Ilene "Maw" and Herbert "Paw" McDonald

Horace and Van (Daddy) McDonald

A neighborhood man met us at the drive and told us Mr. Herbert had died. Mr. Herbert was my Paw McDonald. He had returned to work that day, worked his shift, come home and walked into the house, set his lunch box on the kitchen table and walked into the living room and fell dead in the floor at Maw's feet. The noises I had been hearing was Maw trying to call our for help. She had a telephone but couldn't remember any one's number at that moment. Neither we nor either of my uncles had telephones, but lived in 'hollering' distance.

My life changed forever that night. I was the first grandchild on both sides of my family and the first girl on Daddy's side. Maw and Paw had five sons, three of which had lived into adulthood. Paw spoiled me shamelessly. I was the apple of his eye and I knew it! If I wanted something, all I had to do was tell Paw. If it was humanly possible to be gotten, Paw would get it for me.

The McDonald Family

Christmas, 1953-1954

(While Daddy was in Germany with the Army)

Maw and Uncle Horace on back row

Uncle David and Paw on frong row

When we walked into their living room, Paw way lying on the sofa looking like he was sleeping. I thought that's what he was doing. I had never seen a dead person before. Momma shepherded us into the bedroom and put us back to bed. I lay there wondering why Maw was so upset and why Paw was sleeping on the sofa while Maw was so upset. Soon, Daddy and my uncles arrived home. I could hear them in the living room speaking quietly and sobbing. The only time I had ever seem my Daddy cry prior to that was when my baby sister was born dead a couple of years earlier.

I was confused. The morning finally came and we were carted off to my other grandparents for the day. There my Grandma and Grandpa treated us too kindly. My aunts wiped tears from their eyes as we walked in the door. Nothing made sense and it was making less and less sense. That night, we went to the funeral home for the visitation. We walked into a quiet room with sad music playing and there lay Paw in a pretty box with flowers everywhere. I didn't understand at all!

The McDonald Family

Late Summer, 1957-Tuscumbia, AL
Daddy, Momma, Uncle Horace, Paw, Maw and Uncle David

Daddy and my uncles walked forward with Maw, who was crying uncontrollably and almost couldn't walk. Daddy and my uncles cried as well, but more quietly. Then, Maw sat down and Daddy came back to where we were. He put his arm around Momma and she put her arm around him. Daddy took Charlotte's hand and Momma took Deb's and told me to walk between her and Daddy. We walked up to where Paw was lying.

I couldn't hold it in any longer. I looked up at Momma and asked why Paw was lying there like that. Momma explained to me that Paw had died last night and now he was in heaven with Jesus. I didn't know what to do or think. I reached up to touch his face and it was so cold! He didn't open his eyes. I talked to him and he still didn't open his eyes. I looked up at Daddy and asked him if Paw was with my sister. A tear rolled down his face and he said 'Yes'.

The Herbert McDonald Family

February, 1965

Paw, Uncle David, Uncle Horace, Daddy, and Maw

Then, I understood. Paw was gone and Paw wasn't coming back. I started to cry and buried my head between Momma and Daddy. They both held me and let me cry until I was able to stop. To tell you the truth, I don't really remember too much else about all that happened. I know we went to the church the next day for Paw's funeral. After the preacher was done, we walked behind the coffin to the cemetery where they had opened his grave. We watched silently as the preacher prayed one last prayer and the pall bearers lowered the coffin into the ground. Then, they each passed by and dropped their flowers into the grave.

Other than that, it's all now a blur to me. Years and my own youth have left little more to remember. Except the grief, the absolute sadness that overtook our house after that. Daddy was always so sad and Maw cried almost every time we were with her. I cried myself to sleep for months afterwards. Eventually though, life returned to normal; except for Maw. It took at least a couple of years for Maw to begin to be herself again.

We would go to the cemetery and Maw would cry every time for the remainder of her life. She would walk up to the monument and gently stroke his name and through tears say "Herbert, I love you now more than I did then and I miss you more now than I did then." I never understood that.

My Paw McDonald

Maw, I understand now. Paw, I love you more now than I did then and I miss you more now than I did then. And, Terry, I love you now more than I did then and I miss you now more than I did then.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Favorite Family Foto Friday

Well, I'm running late today! I almost forgot it was Favorite Family Foto Friday! I have had a busy week and was exhausted last evening. I went to bed without giving a second thought to putting up a post for today! Then, I got up this morning and just purely did not remember it was Friday. So, I'm late, but I hope you'll enjoy my post anyway!

Be sure to drop in on Deborah at Pictures, Pots, Pens and see others who are participating in Favorite Family Foto Friday.

Susie Atkinson
ca. 1900

This week I want to introduce you to my great, grand aunt, Susan Evaline Atkinson or simply Aunt Susie, as I have always know her.

Aunt Susie was born on August 21, 1886 in McNairy Co., TN, the seventh child of James David and Elizabeth Rachel 'Jane' Smith-Atkinson. The above foto was taken about 1900, making her 13-14 years of age at that time. By this time, her family had moved into Hardeman County, TN, where Aunt Susie spent the remainder of her life.

Aunt Susie
ca. 1905

By this time, Aunt Susie was about 18-19 years old and was within months of getting married. This is a crop from a family gathering foto make shortly after the marriage of Aunt Susie's sister, Nellie, to Earnest Newland, who are my great-grandparents.

Aunt Susie and Uncle Joe
ca. 1915

Susan Evaline Atkinson married Joseph Evard Morphis on February 4, 1906 in Hardeman County, TN. Aunt Susie and Uncle Joe had one of those marriages we all dream about. They were totally devoted to each other. Although Aunt Susie was barren, both loved children and were wonderful surrogate parents for Nellie's children after Nellie's death in 1918.

Maw McDonald told so many stories of the wonderful times spent with Aunt Susie and Uncle Joe. Both were devout Christians and helped to make sure Nellie's children were introduced to the Gospel at early ages. My own Daddy remembers Aunt Susie well and speaks so fondly of memories of her. He told me about how she was the first person to ever read the Bible with him or pray with him. Because of Aunt Susie's influence on his life, he now is a wonderful Christian man who has raised a family of children who love the Lord and seek to serve Him.

Uncle Joe died much too soon on September 27, 1932 at their home near Pocahontas in Hardeman County, TN. He suffered much and would not give up to dying until Maw McDonald's brother, Melvin, had promised him he would make sure Aunt Susie was cared for until the Lord called her home.

Aunt Susie Atkinson-Morphis
ca. 1950

Melvin kept his promise and lived with Aunt Susie and took care of her until she went to meet her Lord on March 22, 1952. After Aunt Susie went home, Melvin moved to a neighboring county for work, where he met and married for the first time at age 45.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wednesday Poetry Corner

I am joining Donna at By His Grace Alone again this week for Wednesday Poetry Corner. I am so out of practice at writing, but have found I still enjoy it. I hope you will drop in on Donna and join us in this meme each week. Below is my submission for this week.


I watched a squirrel playing among the trees today.
I was so consumed by his playful abandon.
I laughed as he scampered about from tree to tree,
Worrying not about who was looking or what was about.

I watched for a long while and began to think
This little squirrel is so abandoned in his task.
He's not worried about anything -
Just moving from one step to the next.

The longer I watched the more I enjoyed what I saw.
I laughed out loud at some of his antics while he played.
I thought this must be what God feels like when He watches me,
When I trust Him completely and let myself be free.

I learned a lesson from that tiny squirrel today;
A lesson of life that I can remember, I pray.
I don't have to worry about the things I choose,
God is taking care of me and that's all I need.

Diane Chandler
June 23, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Take Me Back Tuesday

It's time again for Take Me Back Tuesday. This weekly meme is hosted by Kari at A Giveaway Addicted Mommy. Drop by and pay Kari and visit and check out Mr. Linky for other TMBT posts.

The McDonald Family
Christmas, 1994

This picture was taken at Daddy and Momma's house on Christmas evening, 1994. Someone had a tripod and a camera with a timer and we posed as a family. This picture is priceless to now. We are: (back row L-R)~Debra, Dwade, Daddy, Adam, Katie, Momma, Charlotte, Me, Ricky and Terry; the cute fellas on the front row are (L-R)~ Jared, Caleb and Jacob.

As soon as we had done our dinner and opened our gifts, we loaded into our cars and headed to the hospital to visit with Maw McDonald. It was Momma's turn to relieve my Aunt Marie and sit with Maw. We had a wonderful visit with Maw and headed back home. On the way, Caleb said to me "Aunt Di, Maw is gonna live with the angels". I told him that yes, someday Maw would live with the angels. He said "No, now, I saw the angels. They're gonna take Maw to heaven with them".

On the 18th of January, 1995, the angels came for Maw and she went to heaven to live with the angels. I have never forgotten what that innocent little boy saw that night that all of the 'grown ups' couldn't see. The Bible does say a little child shall lead them........

Thanks for stopping by today. I so much enjoy sharing my pictures with all of you. My life is so much about the past at this point. It will move forward when the time is right and I'll be able to live for the day and even anticipate the future, but not yet.

Don't forget to drop in on Kari and check out Mr. Linky! Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Did You Know? A Tale of Two Stories...

Al "Scarface" Capone


" Easy Eddie"

Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago. Capone wasn't known for anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder.

Capone had a lawyer nicknamed "Easy Eddie." He was Capone's lawyer for a good reason...Eddie was very good! In fact, Eddie's skill at legal maneuvering, kept Big Al out of jail for a long time.

To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the pay big, but Eddie got special dividends, as well. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago City block.

Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocity that went on around him.

Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had clothes, cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object.

And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong. Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was.

Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things he couldn't give his son; he couldn't pass on a good name or a good example.

One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Easy Eddie wanted to right the wrongs he had done.

He decided he would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al "Scarface" Capone, clean up his tarnished name, and offer his son some semblance of integrity. To do this, he would have to testify against The Mob, but he knew that the cost would be great. So, he testified.

Within the year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago street. But in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer, at the greatest price he could ever pay. Police removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious medallion, and a poem clipped from a magazine.

The poem read:

"The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour.
Now is the only time you own. Live, love, toil with a will.
Place no faith in time. For the clock may soon be still."


Butch O'Hare

World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O'Hare.

He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific.

One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank.
He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship.

His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet.

As he was returning to the mother ship, he saw something that turned His blood cold; a squadron of Japanese aircraft was speeding its way toward the American fleet.

The American fighters were gone on a sortie, and the fleet was all but defenseless. He couldn't reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger. There was only one thing to do, he must somehow divert them from the fleet.

Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation Of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber's blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was finally spent.

Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible rendering them unfit to fly.

Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction.

Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier.

Upon arrival, he reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch's daring attempt to protect his fleet. He had, in fact, destroyed five enemy aircraft.

This took place on February 20, 1942 , and for that action Butch became the Navy's first Ace of W.W.II, and the first Naval Aviator to win the Congressional Medal of Honor.

A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. His home town would not allow the memory of this WW II hero to fade, and today O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man.

So, the next time you find yourself at O'Hare International, give some thought to visiting Butch's memorial displaying his statue and his Medal of Honor. It's located between Terminals 1 and 2.


Butch O'Hare was "Easy Eddie's" son.

"Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."

Isiah 55: 7-9 (NIV)

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!


This is my Daddy. It was taken at the restaurant just last evening.
Daddy has been a wonderful 'father', although I could never refer to him by that name!
He has worked hard all of our lives to provide for us and has loved us unconditionally.

This is my brother-in-love, Dwade, with my sister Debra and their son, Adam.This pic is a few years old. It's dad gummed HARD to get a good picture of these two together!

My other brother-in-love, Ricky, who is my sister Charlotte's husband.
Here he is with his granddaughter, Allyson.
This picture was also taken just last evening at the restaurant.

The hunky guy in this photo is my one and only nephew-in-love, Brian.
Brian is my only niece, Katie's, hubby and the father of these two
wonderful kiddos, Jaden and Alix Joy.
This picture was taken this month when Brian ran a Triathlon in their hometown.

This handsome fella is my oldest nephew, Adam.
Like me, Adam doesn't have living children, but he has a precious baby awaiting him in heaven.

Jared is my second oldest nephew and this lovely lady is his daughter, Allyson.
This was taken a couple of months ago.
Jared loves this baby to pieces and she loves her Daddy!

As you all know by know, this wonderful man is my late hubby, Terry.
Terry is spending his very first Father's Day in heaven with our babies this year!
Happy Father's Day baby! Enjoy our children and tell them Momma will be there before you know it!

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads in my life and to all of the Daddies everywhere!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Angry and Whining

I went for a drive during the wee hours of the night last evening. I was restless and couldn't seem to find peace at home. I found myself driving around my county just wandering from one area to the next. Then, I realized that, without even knowing, I had been driving to the places Terry and I had spent time together.

Grief is such a strange partner. Just when I think I'm getting a grip on it, something comes up that completely upsets everything I thought I knew. I drove and cried and laughed and listened to music. I parked in front of the houses we had lived in; I'm surprised I didn't get arrested! I sat crying and laughing and remembering the years together.

I drove until I was weary, but still just didn't want to go home alone. I hate being alone! Even when Terry was so sick, when I came home from running errands, he would always awaken with a smile on his face and a tender touch. He always wanted to know about my errands and wanted to help me in some way. He most often could not help, but it didn't stop him from wanting to.

Even if he was too tired to stay awake, he would be awake long enough for me to feel welcomed and loved back in my home. Now, when I come home, there's only that awful emptiness awaiting me. No one welcomes me or needs me here. While driving around earlier, I thought that I was out in the middle of the night doing who-know-what at who-knows-where and no one really wanted to know. I have never felt so alone in my life.

I have never understood women or men who went straight into another relationship as soon as their spouse passed away. I still don't think I could do that, but I have to say, I so much better understand why someone might do it. I know I have family and friends who love me, but they all have families and busy lives. They don't want their telephone ringing at 2 a.m. with some crying and whining female on the other end of the line.

I remind myself that I am never really alone. The Lord is always with me and always cares about me and has a plan for my life. I must tell you though, that is small consolation when it's the middle of the night and the one you have shared your life with is no longer there...and never will be there again. And, please don't tell me I'll see him again. I know that; but it won't be here as my husband and it won't be now! I want to see him here and now! And, I can't.

I don't want to be brave or spiritual tonight/this morning. I don't want to understand and be of good cheer. I want my husband back with me! And he never will be! I'm angry. Not at God, not at my husband, just angry for the sake of being angry. If you don't understand that, don't worry, you will someday, I'm so very sorry to say.

I can't close on a happy note this time. I'm not happy this morning. I'm lonely and angry and sick. If that disappoints you, please know that I'm so sorry. I don't want to disappoint anyone, but I'm a real human being. And real human beings have bad days and bad emotions and even use bad language sometimes. I'm not super spiritual, just forgiven and washed by the blood of the Lamb.

I know you all are probably so tired of reading about my grief. Believe me when I say I'm tired of having to write about it too. Unfortunately for us all, it's still here and it's still real and I don't think it's going to be going away any time soon. If you've made it this far, bless your heart, you're a brave soul. I wish I were a better person, a stronger person, but I'm not. This is me, warts and all.....the good and the ugly.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Favorite Family Foto Friday

Thank you for joining me once again for Favorite Family Foto Friday. This weekly meme is hosted by Deborah over at Pictures, Pots, Pens. Be sure to drop in on Deborah and check out her submission, as well as check out others who are posting in today's meme.

Ollie D. Atkinson
circa 1900

The picture above is of my Great Grand Aunt Ollie Atkinson. Ollie was the youngest child of David James and Elizabeth Rachel "Jane" Smith-Atkinson. She was born on April 1, 1889 in Tippah County, MS. That would make her about 11 or 12 when the picture was taken.

On November 8, 1911, Ollie married John Thomas Garrett in Tippah Co., MS. Mr. Garrett was born on May 5, 1873 in Mississippi. John and Ollie had one daughter, Orilla, who was born in late 1912 in Tippah County, MS. John had been married prior to Ollie and had two sons from the previous marriage, Charley born about 1902, and Hubert born about 1907. I do not know what caused the death of John's first wife. I do remember hearing that Ollie loved the boys as her own and made no difference between the boys and her own daughter.

I know very little about Ollie other than mere numerical facts. I can vaguely remember Maw McDonald speaking of "Aunt Ollie", but have no specific memories of things she said.

Ollie died at the young age of 32 on November 11, 1921 in Mississippi. I have had little success in tracing her daughter or stepsons, or of finding death information on John Garrett. I am suspicious that they may have traveled west with other family members after Ollie's death. Time will tell!

Thanks again for stopping by. Be sure to stop by and check out other Favorite Family Foto Friday submissions at Pictures, Pots, Pens. Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Posting and Pouting......

I have decided to make this post to tell each of you how much I appreciate your support on my blog. When I started this, I had no idea anyone would find anything I had to say in the least worth reading. You all are such a blessing to me!

I am so far behind on visiting your blogs. I have tried to read and comment as often as I could. I just seem to be getting more and more behind. As you all know, losing my husband has left a large hole in my heart. Dealing with the grief has been at times both overwhelming and totally debilitating to me.

While dealing with my grief, I am also dealing with a chronic illness that is getting more and more out of control. I have idiopathic gastroparesis with chronic intestinal psuedo-obstruction. All of those words simply mean that my vagus nerve does not deliver the necessary electrical impulses to my stomach or intestinal muscles to make them work correctly.

Food does not move through my digestive system in a timely manner. There are no known cures for this ailment. However, there are treatment options available. In October, 2004, I had a gastric stimulator implanted with leads attached to my vagus nerve in the abdominal area. It works somewhat like a heart pacemaker in that it delivers the electrical stimulation needed to help my stomach empty into my intestinal tract and then on into my colon and out of my body.

I have suffered with severe alternating constipation and diarrhea for most of my life. The stimulator has made it less troublesome, but it is not a cure. Episodic constipation can result in no bowel movements for 2 weeks or more. Conversely, I have episodes of diarrhea so bad that the food goes quite literally straight through me. I eat and then go immediately to the bathroom to empty.

My original stimulator quit working in the fall of 2006 and was replaced in December, 2006. That stimulator stopped working sometime before last Thanksgiving. Because my husband was so sick and I could not be away for surgery, I opted to just live with it and do the best I could. After Terry went home in January, I scheduled an appointment with my doctor at Vanderbilt in Nashville.

He tested me and, surely enough, the stimulator was completely dead. After an ordeal with Medicare, I was finally able to get on the surgery schedule, but not until July 10. In the meantime, my body is quickly reverting to the old patterns. Constipation is an everyday problem, with bowel movements now coming only about weekly, if then. I am nauseated 24/7 and throw up 15-20 times daily.

I am losing weight, which in and of itself is not a bad thing, it's just the method that's bad! My blood count is now low and I am trying to avoid having to go in for blood prior to surgery. I have ruptured two blood vessels in my stomach due to excessive vomiting. My body cannot manufacture red blood cells quickly enough due to what my body perceived as mal-nutrition. I am also having other symptoms of mal-nutrition even though I continue to be overweight.

I have said all that to say this, I am sorry I haven't been around to visit as often as I should. I miss the visits. I enjoy each of the blogs I visit so very much and I enjoy each of you who write them. You have all become such wonderful new friends! Please just be patient with me and pray for me. As soon as I can get the stimulator replaced on July 10, I expect to begin to feel better almost immediately and be back to myself again.

So, if I don't come around and comment, it's not because I don't enjoy you and your blog, it is simply because I'm just too sick sometimes to be able to sit and read. I find myself more and more needing to just lie quietly and/or sleep. I will be back, Lord willing!!!!

Wednesday Poetry Corner

Thank you for dropping in to join me for Wednesday Poetry Corner. This weekly meme is hosted by Donna at By His Grace Alone. Please drop in on Donna to read her entry and to find links to others who have made entires, as well.

My submission for this week is below.

Until He Comes For Me

Alone and lonely, it seems my lot these days
Always empty, always afraid.

Ever aware of God's goodness and grace
Never too far from His shining face.

How can it be that my life is thus;
I never planned for this curse.

Where did I overlook this part of life;
How could I have known I would no longer be his wife?

It seemed I was prepared for all to come,
I spent months praying and learning from some.

Yet nothing could have helped me understand
How lost I would feel when he last touched my hand.

My head knows he's better to be with our Lord,
But my heart doesn't yet feel the same accord.

I know it will all come to me as days progress;
I'll once again be able to feel happiness.

For now I'm lonely, and thus it seems
This is my life, the end of my dreams.

I wait for Jesus and long for His face to see,
For with He and my husband is where I long be.

So I will live while the time prolongs
Until Jesus comes to take me home.

I'll choose happiness and content to be,
Serving my Lord until He comes for me.

Diane Chandler
June 16, 2009

Thank you Donna, for hosting this meme. I haven't written poetry in a very long time and am more than just a bit rusty! I am enjoying the challenge of getting into it again.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Take Me Back Tuesday

It's time again for Take Me Back Tuesday! Please drop in on Kari at A Giveaway Addicted Mommy to see others who are participating. The premise of the weekly meme is to have an opportunity to post some of those old photographs as you scan them into your computer files.

My submission for this week isn't that old, but it is such a great summer fun shot that I couldn't resist!

This shot was taken at Holiday World in Santa Claus, IN in the summer of 2006. This is my niece Katie with her family, my nephew-in-love Brian and the kiddos, Alix Joy and Jaden. This is just the Kiddie Coaster because Jaden wasn't big enough to ride the 'Big Roller Coaster' yet! He didn't enjoy the whole roller coaster experience so much, but you can see the excitement in Alix' face and just hear the squeals of joy!

These beautiful people belong to my sister Charlotte and my brother-in-love Ricky. They try to take a trip about once a year and take along as many of their family as they can gather together. On this trip, their whole family was along.....Ricky, Charlotte, Katie and her family, Jared, Jake and Caleb.

I hope you enjoyed my submission for this week. Be sure to stop over at A Giveaway Addicted Mommy and check out others. Have a great week!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Happy Anniversary in Heaven

Mr. & Mrs. Terry E. Chandler
June 14, 1975
On this date in 1975 Terry and I were married. We had been engaged for just over 13 months, and had been dating for over 2 years. The past 34 years have been full of every emotion you could imagine, but the most prevalent and prominent has been love, pure and abiding love.
Terry & Di
August 4, 1974
I loved him then, but had no idea how much more I would come to love him as the years passed.

Terry & Di
June 14, 1975
The happiest day of my life up until that point.

The Newlyweds!
Christmas, 1975
At my parent's house.

Christmas Eve, 1976
Over a year together and we're happier than ever!
This is at Daddy and Momma's house.

November, 1978
Professional portraits we had made for our family for Christmas
Me and my 'Farrah' hair!
We're heavier now, but still absolutely and totally in love with each other!
June, 1995
Our 20th Anniversary Party.
One of my very best friends in the world got married the day after Terry and I. We had grown up together and our families were close. Her Mom and sisters got together with Momma and my sisters and planned a 20th Anniversary Party for us. It was wonderful!

Summer, 1996
Family Vacation in Alabama
My entire family took a family vacation to northern Alabama. It was a short trip, only 3 days, but we had a total blast! This picture was taken on a lake shore where we stopped to picnic for lunch on the way home.

March 23, 1997
On the occasion of my parent's 4oth Anniversary.
My parents renewed their vows on their 40th anniversary. My sisters and I and our hubbies were the 'wedding party', my niece was a Jr. Bridesmaid and my oldest nephew was a Jr. Groomsman. The two middle nephews were ushers and my youngest nephew was the Ring Bearer. Oh, and Katie sang a solo, Steven Curtis Chapman's "I Will Be Here"!

Christmas Day, 1998
At Daddy and Momma's house.

Christmas Eve, 2000
At the home of Terry's Mom and Step Dad.
This was our first Christmas after Terry's accident. It was such a joyful Christmas because he had come so very close to dying that year!
We're old and fat now, but still so totally and completely in love!

Thanksgiving, 2006
At Daddy's house.

This was the first Thanksgiving after Momma went home. Also in this shot are my nephew-in-love, Brian, and my nephew, Jake.

Mother's Day, 2008
This is one of the last pictures I have of the two of us together.
My family had gathered at our house for Mother's Day. Terry wasn't feeling well and was beginning to be very sick, but still had his sense of humor and that glint of 'devilment' in his eyes! Oh, how I miss that! We were in love until his last breath and now that love lives in eternity. How truly blessed I am to have been loved by this precious man!

You will note that there was a large gap in the photo dates. I have pictures from those years, but haven't gotten them scanned into my computer yet. Also, the pictures from years are sometimes very sad. It was our 'baby years', the years of trying to have children and of losing three babies in miscarriage. They were, without a doubt, the most difficult years of our marriage. However, we worked through all of the pain and clung to each other even more tightly.

Although I am extremely sad and lonely today, I am also so incredibly blessed and joyful to have loved and been loved so completely. It was and is the love of a lifetime.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wednesday Poetry Corner

Today I am participating in a brand new meme! I am so excited to join Donna at By His Grace Alone for Wednesday Poetry Corner. Drop by to visit Donna to find others participating, as well.

The object of the weekly WPC is for each of us to post original poetry penned by our own hands, or to post poetry we enjoy penned by others. My late husband, Terry, penned my offering for today.

Terry was a 'south paw', so you might find it difficult to read his handwriting. Just to be sure, I have translated it below. (No offense intended to others who may be 'lefties' as well!!) This was tucked into two red roses. The occasion was Valentine's Day, 1974, our very first Valentine's Day together. This was BEFORE he asked me to marry him. He had such a romantic soul!

To Di
Our love is like these roses,
Together we shall grow and be beautiful,
Apart we shall slowly die.
Love, Terry

In keeping with the ideas of poetry, love and romance, I would like to say HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to my niece, Katie, and my nephew-in-love, Brian. Brian and Katie were married on June 10, 2000; today is their 9th anniversary! I love you guys and I pray you have many, many more wonderful years together!

Mr. & Mrs. Brian K. Eppers
June 10, 2000

Ahhhhhh, young love!!!!

Brian and Katie cut the Groom's Cake.
It was toooo cute, a picture of Brian as a little boy!!!!

I hope you have enjoyed my first Wednesday Poetry Corner post. Be sure to drop by and tell Donna how much you appreciate her hosting this meme. Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Take Me Back Tuesday

Welcome once again to Take Me Back Tuesday
Please go by and visit with Kari and see other submissions for this week's meme.

Me and my wonderful hubby, Terry
Christmas Night, 2006

This picture was taken at Daddy's house on Christmas night of 2006. This was our first Christmas without Momma. You might notice that we both look a bit somber and our eyes are a bit red around the edges. It was an emotional evening for all of us and not quite as happy as Christmas' past.

The year had been a difficult one for our family. Terry had been medically dead in February due to septicemia. We were told he would not and could not live. God had other plans! Praise the Lord!

Momma had gone home to be with Jesus on April 20 after an extended battle with renal failure. Terry had been diagnosed with End Stage Live Disease in July due to damage from the septicemia. My mother-in-law had fallen in August and fractured six vertebra in her spine, causing Terry and I to have to move in with her in order to care for her. My middle sister, Charlotte, had almost died in September due to sepsis caused by a procedure to remove a kidney stone.

To top off all of that, one of my niece's best friends had gone home to be with Jesus on Christmas Eve. She died after a long battle with breast cancer and left behind a husband and two beautiful little boys.

Daddy was so sick and the doctor wasn't very hopeful about his prognosis. He told us Daddy was simply grieving himself to death. He continued to live alone, but had decided to move in with Charlotte and did so just a couple of days after Christmas.

So, Christmas was a subdued occasion for us in 2006. We were so thankful to be together, but so aware of all we had lost during the year. When I look back now, I realize how very blessed we were because Daddy found the strength in the Lord to make peace with Momma's passing and the Lord lengthened Terry's life by another 2 years. I am so thankful the Lord always knows what lies ahead and has a plan for our lives.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)