Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ordinary, Extraordinary Life!!!

It's very early morning here....4:03 a.m. to be exact.  I awoke around 3:15 a.m. hungry, which is extremely odd for me.  I cannot tell you the last time I was actually hungry.  It is a rare occurrence for me.  My tummy occasionally gets empty and I eat a little bit because my tummy aches when it's empty.  Thank you ulcer disease!  However, hunger is not something I am accustomed to feeling.  So, when I woke up hungry I was a bit confused.

I got up and ate, are you ready for this......sauerkraut with wieners left over from last evenings supper!  I know, most people eat sauerkraut with sausages, but Daddy can't eat sausage due to his own tummy issues and has always liked hot dogs sliced into his sauerkraut.  So, for supper last night, I made an old fashioned 'country supper' for him.  We had sauerkraut with wieners, green beans, stewed potatoes and crescent rolls.  We prefer cornbread, but he rarely eats it anymore because the cornmeal particles get under his dentures and irritate his mouth. So, crescent rolls it was.

Daddy ate until I thought he would pop!  It was such a simple meal and took minutes to prepare, yet you would have thought he was sitting down to a royal buffet!  I cannot tell you how good it made me feel that he seemed to enjoy his first meal with me so well!  He complimented me several times on how good everything was.  Well, except that I didn't have enough salt in the potatoes, of course. 

I use very, very little salt in my food.  I got accustomed to cooking without it when Terry was diagnosed with liver disease.  I can barely eat food prepared at my youngest sister's house because it tastes briny to me.  Also, most restaurant food seems too salty to me.  Poor Daddy, I had to scrounge to even find the salt shaker so he could add his own!  I had to keep saying to myself "Now, if I were Jake, where would I put the salt shaker"?!!!!

We ate our supper and I cleaned the kitchen.  Then we settled in for a little TV.  He had watched his nightly Wheel of Fortune broadcast while I cleaned the kitchen.  There are 2 programs which he hates to miss.....The Price Is Right and Wheel of Fortune!  Other than that, he likes his news at least 3 times a day and that's about it for his TV preferences.  I am learning quickly that, when he isn't interested in the TV, it's best that I not be interested either!  He prefers to talk to me when he isn't watching.  Of course, he doesn't say a word all day UNLESS I am watching TV!  I love it!

We were both tired from having made two trips to Jackson this week for his doctor's appointments, as well as shopping for new chairs and moving him.  So, by 10 p.m., we were both ready for bed! I guess that's why I woke up so early.  I'm not accustomed to getting settled in for the evening so early!  What's that old saying....early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise?  Well, I guess I now know why I'm neither healthy, wealthy nor wise, huh?!

It was such an ordinary, extraordinary day with such an ordinary, extraordinary ending to the day.  I LOVED IT! 

Precious Heavenly Father, thank you so very much for allowing me to have Daddy in my home and take care of him.  I am so blessed to have the opportunity and so thankful You have chosen to allow us to spend this time together.  My heart was so ready for this.  Thank you for loving me and giving me the desires of my heart.  In the Name Of Jesus.......AMEN.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A New Adventure!

Today is the day....the beginning of a new adventure for me and Daddy!  After going to visit the GI doctor in a few hours, Daddy will officially move in with me.  I am excited for the opportunity to care for him, to give back a small portion of all he has given me.  I am also a bit anxious.  I have some mighty big shoes to fill!  He has lived with both of my sisters and they have given him excellent care.  I only want to take care of him well and provide for his needs as best I can.  I am depending the the Lord for the strength to do that and I believe with my whole heart He will give me that strength.

I seem to do so much better when I am taking care of someone else.  Even my own doctor has said as much.  Although he did remind me that a large portion of caring for others is taking care of yourself!  I promised him I would do my best to do better at that on this go round than on the last!  He laughed and told me he intended to hold me to that!

I do have some health issues that must be addressed daily and have a new development to deal with on the horizon.  I'm not sure what that will entail, but then are we ever sure what life holds for us?  I cannot just sit idly by and let life pass me up while I cower in the corner and worry about what my tomorrows may hold.  That's a complete lack of faith and I refuse to walk a faithless path!  The Lord has been there for me at every turn all the years of my life.  I know He will not desert me now.

I've never felt more sure of my confidence in the Lord or more sure that I was doing what He wanted me to do.  I have known since my very early childhood that I have a caregivers heart.  God placed that heart within me because He had a mission for me.  Taking care of others seems to be my personal mission field and I have to say, I totally enjoy it.  From my earliest memory, I have wanted to be a nurse or a doctor.  I was never physically able to do that due to my own health problems.  However, as one of my nephews pointed out to me once, I've been doing it basically all of my life without the degree!  I'm good with that!

So, let the new adventure begin!  As that old song says "Many things about tomorrow I don't seem to understand; but I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand"!  So, on I go holding to the hand of Jesus and knowing He is leading me each step of the way and carrying me when I need to be carried! 

"By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that's not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.

There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!"

Romans 5: 1-5  (The Message)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Daddy

Father's Day Weekend

Again it is Father's Day.  Every year I struggle with knowing just what to buy for Daddy.  My sisters are no help, they're struggling right alongside me!  What do you give a man who has given his all to you since the day you were born?  How can you possibly BUY him anything that can begin to tell him how precious he is to you?

This year, we decided to make him a photo album of our years together.  We started with his childhood and worked our way forward to the present.  It was no easy task!  However, we managed to compress all those years into 20 pages of photos and memories.  We are so excited to give it to him!  I have no idea if he will like it or not, but we had a ball putting it together and remembering.  So, perhaps it's more a gift for us than for him?!  We'll find out in a few hours, I suppose!

Daddy was never the 'touchy-feely' type of Daddy.  He didn't play with us a lot or tell us he loved us often, but we always knew he did.  He worked hard every day of his life to provide for our family, working both in a factory and on the farm.  In the very early years of my life, he was not a Christian.  However, once he became a Christian, he was totally devoted to the Lord and to our church.  Our family was in church at least three times every week; no excuses allowed.

Over the years, he softened and is now a precious man who tells us he loves us often, almost every time I speak to him.  He hugs us and is gentle with us in a way he never was before.  Since Momma went home to be with Jesus, he has become much more dependant on us.  He worries that he's too much trouble on us and says so often.  The three of us just want to give back to him what he has given to us all of our, devotion, security and never-ending support.

Next week, he comes to live with me full time.  He's not terribly excited about it because it means leaving the house where he and Momma raised us.  However, he is so agreeable about it and has only said that he doesn't want to be trouble on me.  I have to admit that I'm just a little bit anxious about it.  I've never taken care of him full time before.  However, I know we will be fine.  He loves me and I love him and we'll make whatever adjustments need to be made in order to make it work.

I just want to honor him because he deserves it.  He has never thought it was too much trouble to give me what I needed, no matter what that was.  He stepped aside gracefully when I fell in love with Terry and was a supportive father-in-law.  He never inserted himself into our marriage or offered advice that wasn't first asked for.  Terry often said that he was so thankful to have had him as a father-in-law because he filled some of the gaps left within Terry from having grown up without his own father in his life.  Terry often went to Daddy for advice and was always so thankful he could do so.

So, today is Father's Day and again I am speechless.  I don't have words to express how much I love Daddy or how thankful I am that the Lord made me his daughter.  I am so beyond blessed to have him in my life.  The time will come when Jesus calls him home.  I'm so grateful the Lord let me have him for this long.  He is a blessing that will always exert influence in my life.  I will always love him and be thankful for all he has taught me.

I love you, Daddy.  Happy Father's Day!


Monday, June 14, 2010

Because You Loved Me

June 14, 1975
Our Wedding Day


For all those times you stood by me
For all the truth that you made me see
For all the joy you brought to my life
For all the wrong that you made right

For every dream you made come true
For all the love I found in you
I'll be forever thankful, baby

You're the one who held me up
Never let me fall
You're the one who saw me through
Through it all

You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn't speak
You were my eyes when I couldn't see
You saw the best there was in me

Lifted me up when I couldn't reach
You gave me faith 'cause you believed
I'm everything I am
Because you loved me, ooh, baby

You gave me wings and made me fly
You touched my hand I could touch the sky
I lost my faith, you gave it back to me
You said no star was out of reach

You stood by me and I stood tall
I had your love, I had it all
I'm grateful for each day you gave me

Maybe, I don't know that much
But I know this much is true
I was blessed because
I was loved by you

You gave me wings and made me fly
You touched my hand I could touch the sky
I lost my faith, you gave it back to me
You said no star was out of reach

You stood by me and I stood tall
I had your love, I had it all
I'm grateful for each day you gave me

Maybe, I don't know that much
But I know this much is true
I was blessed because
I was loved by you

You were always there for me,
The tender wind that carried me
The light in the dark shining your love into my life
You've been my inspiration
Through the lies you were the truth
My world is a better place because of you

I'm everything I am
Because you loved me.
                              Lyrics by:  Diane Warren

Mother's Day 2008
Our Last Mother's Day Together

We both changed a lot over the years together, some changes for the better and some for the worse, but one thing remained constant.....our love and commitment for and to each other and our Lord.  I am forever a better person because I knew Terry's love and devotion.  I'd like to think the same was true for him, that I made him a better person as well.  He often told me I helped him become the man he knew God wanted him to be.  If I did, it's only because his love rescued me in so many more ways than perhaps even he ever knew.

Today would have been our 35th anniversary.  I will love and miss him every day for the remainder of my life.  I so anxiously await the day when I see him again in heaven.  First, I want to see my Jesus; then, I want to see my Terry!  What joy awaits eternity with both my Savior and those who loved me so dearly here!  It's true what that old song says, "I've got more to go to heaven for than I had yesterday"!!!!

I love you my precious Terry.  I have for so long I can no longer remember what it was like not to love you and I will continue to do so for all eternity.

"And said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother
and be united to his wife,
 and the two will become one flesh'?
 So they are no longer two, but one.
Therefore what God has joined together,
 let man not separate."

Matthew 19: 5-6  (NIV)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Letting Go and Moving On

The 'men' in my life!
Caleb, Jake, Jared and Adam
Easter 2010

Well, today I think I have just come as close as I ever will to experiencing the pain a Mom must feel when her baby leaves home.  My nephew, Jake, started moving out of my house today.  He is moving back with his parents until he can find a place so as to make room for me to move Daddy in.  It is so bittersweet.

Jake has always been close to me.  He was born in October, 1985 and our first child, Ben, would have been born in July, 1985 had he lived.  So, Jake has always held a sort of special place in my heart because he is the age my oldest child would have been.  We, well mostly I, talk for hours sometimes.  He works the 2nd shift in a quality control lab in a local industry and gets home about midnight.  He usually comes in, grabs a snack and sits with me in the living room and we chat for a while until he's ready to settle down and sleep.  I will miss those midnight chats!

He is also my fashion advisor, and I his.  On Sunday mornings we run from room to room saying "Hey, what do you think about this?" or "Does this match?"!!!!  I told him that I fear Papaw Mac won't be as astute a fashion advisor as is he!

Jake moved into our house shortly after we moved out in 2006 and has been here since.  When I moved back home earlier this year, I knew he would be moving out at some point, but I have sure gotten accustomed to his presence.  I have been so thankful to be back at home that I really haven't done anything to 'move' myself back in except bring my stuff and stay.  Now that he's taken his things from the walls and tables, it just looks so bare!  I'll have to get busy decorating now or I'll feel like I'm living in a hotel!

Transition used to be so easy for me.  I'm not sure if it's that I'm getting older or the fact that I've been through so much transition over the last few years, but it is really hard now.  I think this must the kind of blues mothers feel when their children start to leave the nest. 

Jake is such an excellent human being and has so many dreams and plans.  I love watching him continually growing and changing into the man I know God meant him to be.  It was so much fun having him here with me for these few months.  It is a time I will treasure for all my days.

Katie, my 'blond bombshell'
Mission Trip,Kenya, Africa

I have been privileged, since Terry's death, to live with each of Charlotte and Ricky's children for at least a few weeks and Debra's son lived with us for a couple of years before Terry's accident.  Even though we were not blessed to have our children live, we have been blessed to have wonderful relationships with our niece and nephews.  And now, the new generation is coming along and they seem to love me as much as I love them!  I cannot express with words how blessed I know I am!

And so, life goes on.....isn't it precious to see God working in our lives on a minute-by-minute basis?

"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven..."

Ecclesiastes 3: 1

Monday, June 7, 2010

Who was/is Riley?????

I have no idea who Riley was, but Momma was always asking me "Do you think you're living the life of Riley around here"?!

That was her response when I complained about doing what I was told to do or perform my chores as required.  Sometimes I wonder if my life was really just a lot different from others?  I mean, we had chores every day in addition to those things Momma and/or Daddy would just come up with off hand.  We were expected to keep our own rooms clean, as well as help with the entire house, the yard, the garden AND the farm animals!  Imagine that!

We knew we had best do our homework or there would be consequences...I mean, REAL consequences like lost privileges, a real good 'talking to' or maybe even a lash or two with a limb or a belt.  And, oh my goodness, I would have never dreamed of talking back to my parents!  The ONE way to guarantee a whipping was to talk back.  No warnings, no 'talking to', no nothing....just get ready to feel that limb or belt wrapping around those bare legs!

I marvel that I had to work at my own home, do my chores, mow the grass, help in the garden, help with the farm animals when Daddy needed it, do my homework and do all with a respectful attitude toward my parents.  If not, I would be punished, more often than not with that limb or belt!  Gosh!  And I turned out pretty ok, I think!  How did that happen?  Am I not supposed to be scared for life by being 'hit' by my parents?  Shouldn't I have a wounded psyche from all that work and expectations?  How did I manage to grow up, dare I say it, normal?!

I am so weary of hearing whining parents complaining that they cannot control their children.  I get so frustrated hearing kids and teens complaining of being 'bored' while Moms and Dads complain of having too much to do.  I'll tell you one thing for sure, I knew better than to let my parents hear me say I was bored!  They would have found something for me to do very quickly!  And, they didn't mind making it my responsibility to help with household chores so everyone could sit down together after supper to watch a little TV before bedtime.

I don't know, I guess I'm just OLD.  I don't understand the way things are done in families these days.  We didn't have the perfect family, far from it.  But, we managed to grow up to be well adjusted women who love the Lord, our parents and our families so Momma and Daddy must have done something right.  Don't you think?!

A refusal to correct is a refusal to love;
love your children by disciplining them.

 Proverbs 13.24  (The Message)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

"I love you from my soul..."

Was watching the movie 'Madea's Family Reunion' on TV earlier.  Missed a good part of it, but still enjoyed what I did see.  At the end of movie, a couple are exchanging vows in a wedding ceremony.  The guy says to the girl "I love you past my head, beyond my heart and from my soul; that place where only you and God abide". 

I love that line!  It so aptly describes what it is like to love the person you know God created just for you.  It makes me so sad to hear people bandy about the phrase 'I love you' with so little understanding of what real love is all about.  I hear people all the time talking about "falling in love" or "falling out of love".  I have always said, if love is something you can 'fall into', you'd best be very careful or you're likely to 'fall out' of it as well!

How sad that we have demoted the most precious of all human connections to the status of something we 'fall' into or out of.  Jesus did not 'fall into' love with mankind.  He chose to love us in spite of ourselves!  In that same manner, we must choose to love those around us, whether that love is romantic love, friendly love, family love or that all-encompassing agape love with which Jesus loved us.  What joy we rob ourselves of by allowing the Deceiver to convince us that love is so easily attained or so frivolously thrown aside.

Just tonight, a young female cousin posted on Facebook that those around her not blood related she called 'family' and those blood related she called 'relatives'.  She has been taught by her misguided parents that, because her blood family does not always agree with them or give them what they want, they are no longer real family.  How sad!  Sad for the adults and extremely so for the teenagers being reared in that home.  How sad that they have cheapened 'family' to mean only those who agree with you and who give you what you want, when you want it.  Sad, and selfish.

It is in those times of disagreement and disapproval that we can often learn the most about and from each other.  But, only if we open ourselves to the teaching of the Holy Spirit.  When we become unteachable, we become withered and angry; bitter at everyone who doesn't give us what we want and always praise and/or agree with us.  If we remain teachable, we allow ourselves the  joy of learning from those with whom we do not agree and growing in patience, compassion and understanding.

No wonder politics are such a mess in this country.  If families can't get along, how do we expect strangers to do so?  We have lost the art of listening to divergent opinions without judging each other.  We no longer know how to compromise without name calling.  It must be our way or no way.  Don't get me wrong, there are places where we must take a stand and not budge.  When Christian morals and principles are involved, there is no room for compromise.  But how immature we are when we cannot stand our ground in love and not disintegrate into bickering and verbal stone throwing.

I love you from my soul.......I'm going to do my best to remember that one; I like it.  Dearest Lord Jesus, help to love each one in my path from my soul, from Your heart.