Saturday, January 24, 2009

Snow Days

This past week was a 3-day work week for me, which I absolutely loved! We were out on Monday for MLK, Jr. holiday...but then it snowed, which kept us out of school on Tuesday as well. I just gotta say, that it was wonderful! I accomplished close to nothing at all. Well, except the previous Friday when we were also called out of school due the the sub-zero temperatures. On that day, I did get my bed made, 3 or 4 loads of laundry done, the dishwasher ran, emptied, reloaded, ran, and emptied again. I also got 8 tubs of Christmas decorations sitting around my house hauled out and put up in the attic. Aside from that, I got the Christmas tree completely disassembled and bundled by branch size, re-boxed and ready to go to the attic. Then on Sunday, the red bows and garland came down off the front porch railing. Rusty got out and got the icicle lights down. So, of course, it snowed on Monday! LOL! I love it when it snows and the icicle lights are still up on the's just so pretty! At any rate, following Sunday, I pretty much got nothing else accomplished whatsoever, but I honestly don't think I care. It was great just to hang around the house, cook, eat, and lounge. I very rarely get to do that. I just gotta say that I love snow days! I hope we get a bunch more this winter! I really don't like the global warming effect and that our winters are so "snow-less" anymore. :(

Snow days are the greatest and to me they are like a little added blessing from God saying, "Here, I know you need more time for this so here you go." Or..."Here, I want you to just slow down and here's a day for doing just that."

Like I said, I love snow days!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Well, He Finally Did It!!

My precious husband, after being a blog-follower for several years now, has finally bit the bullet and begun a blog. It frightens me to some degree, I must admit. Why? You may be wondering. Why would he at the old fart age of 52 take this leap and begin blogging? Well, that is due primarily to the influence the youngins we hang around with have over him. I would say he caved into "peer pressure", but honestly if they are 20-30 years younger than him, are they really his peers??? I think not! So peer pressure is not necessarily the correct term for it, but the fact is that he caved. So thanks a heck of a lot Bobby, Denira, Deena, and Allie!! Oh, and let's not forget the ever innocent influence of those whose blogs he reads whom he may or may not have ever even met...Perry Noble, Kem Meyer, Gary Lamb, Jeff Calloway...yeah thank you all a lot as well!! :)

Okay, so that addresses the question as to why he would go and do such a thing. And for those of you who may have been wondering why it frightens me to any degree at all...well, let's just suffice it to say that my husband, in his aged-wisdom, has quite a different spin on things than most...and now, thanks to technology, far many more are going to have access to his rather unusual pearls of wisdom.

No, honestly, that doesn't frighten me at all. He is quite talented at writing and being creative and expressive as he writes. And because he is typically so level-headed, and very rarely swayed one way or the other by sheer emotion, many have been known to seek out his opinion on various topics.

I guess then, that my fear may actually be that he will be better at it than am I, or that the fight for the computer will never end now that he's blogging! Oh, well!!!

One thing's for certain, should you wander by his blog, you will most likely find it unique and interesting, if not flat out right entertaining! So should you want to make that visit, you can click on the link for "Light the Darkness" and find yourself there! Enjoy.

And, babe, I'm proud of you! Resist that old fart aging thing as long as you can!! :)

Loving Life!

Just wanted to say that the past few days (week and a half, actually) have been totally wonderful! I've enjoyed being off from school and not even so much as darkening the door of the elementary school where I teach since Saturday, Dec. 20! For folks who know me, that's unfathomable!!! All that will change tomorrow, but not for the reason you may think. I'm hooked on scrap-booking and tomorrow, while the hubby (and anyone else he chooses to invite over for the big-screen access) lay around the living room and watch football, I'm headed over to the school to set up for a 3-day scrap-booking adventure!!! I have so many friends who are into this and it is such a wonderful girl-bonding activity! We get to be together, eat girl food, look at and oooh and aaah over each other's pics and then share our handiwork! I cannot wait!! Many of us got new toys that make our craft easier and so we'll also oooh and aaah over that while we share the addiction of scrapping!

I'm sure that come Monday I'll be stressed to the max that I did not go to school and do any planning or prepping for the return of students...but if so, I'll deal with that when it comes. Right now, I'm just loving God, loving my family, loving being with my friends, loving the break and Loving LIFE!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008


So yesterday I made the journey to Middle Tennessee to visit with the gals in my family. I guess you could say that I have a large family. My twin sister, Fay, and I were babies 5 and 6. We had a brother, Jimmy, who was 19 when we were born. Sadly, he is now deceased. We also had a brother, Johnny, who was 16 when we were born. Then there was our eldest sister, Sybil, who was 6, and Connie, our middle sister, who was 3. All have grown and married and have kids of their own. Jimmy, the oldest, married my sister-in-love, Freida, and they became parents all before I turned 2 years old. Their daughter, Pam, has always been more like a sister than a niece. At any rate, my beloved sister, Sybil, is moving to Her husband had taken a job there many months ago, but she remained behind in Huntsville to finish out her career, and stay with the house and get it ready to go on the market. She also was staying fairly close by because her younger son, Greg, is in college at Trevecca in Nashville, plus the family was only a couple of hours away.

To say that she was there for me during my cancer battle is very much an understatement. We had the greatest distance between her home and mine--4 hours. Yet, Syb traveled the miles and the hours on numerous occasions just because that is what sisters do. She and Fay came and about worked themselves into the ground helping me deep clean prior to my surgery. Then they rotated out and came and stayed following my surgery. That's what sisters do. They held me when I cried and encouraged me with compliments of my strength and how impressed they were that my faith was keeping me together. That, too, is what sisters do.

Before the last round of chemo rolled around, during one of my 'down' moments, I was very emotional and on the phone with Syb. She offered to hang up, load up, and come to me. ...that's what sisters do. I didn't let her but during that conversation she asked me when my last round was scheduled and if I had a favorite place around here that I liked to go. I told her that my favorite place is the beach, but no, there's not any around here. The weekend of my last chemo, Syb came to be here to celebrate with us. But while I was away, she and Allie turned my living room into a beach scene complete with sand, wading pool full of water, inflatable whales and beach ball, beach chairs, umbrella, towels, buckets and shovels, etc. I don't know if that's what all sisters do, but that's what Sybil did. She also burned a DVD slide show of various beach scenes and Beach Boys music. Arriving home, I found Sybil and my Allie in shorts and tee's with sunglasses on and ready to sit on "the beach"! I love my family!

Some months later, I was sooo blessed and honored to have Sybil with me at "my" beach, Litchfield, SC. Although we've been vacationing there for 20 years or so, this is the first year that Sybil made the trip and joined us. What a blessing!

Anyway, yesterday I traveled to Middle Tennessee to see her and to bid her farewell before she moves to Tampa to re-join her family. I'm going to miss her. (another understatement!!) Sybil was the closest thing to a "mom" that I had while I fought my battle. And letting her go knowing that our visits with one another are now likely going to be limited to 2-3 per year as opposed to our monthly visits is a new and excruciating heartfelt pain. But it is necessary, and I know this. You see, Sybil's husband, Dave, does not know Jesus. And though my family has prayed for him for years, he is still distant from God. We (the sisters) are convinced that should she (Sybil) choose to stay in Huntsville where she is closer to us, David will likely never come to know God. We are all in agreement that family is your first mission field. And we are all in agreement that we want David with us in eternity. So painful as it may be, we are letting go, and sending her to her family, undergirding her with prayers, love, and well-wishes...because...broken-hearted or not, that's what sisters do.

I love you, Sybil, and I'm going to miss you greatly!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Praying for Pastors

This morning, I woke to come and check my e-mail because I knew I should be receiving a list of prayer items from my Pastor, which I did. And I was quick to send it on out to our prayer team who I lovingly refer to as "The Ridge Warriors". These folks are folks from all over East and Middle Tennessee as well as one from Ohio. In mailing things out to them, I added the following notes because these are my true and honest beliefs:

"I wanted to add my own "umph" behind Pastor's requests. Several years (okay, many years) back when I came to understand that my spiritual gift was intercession, and that my passion is servant-hearted pastors, it completely clicked with me as to why. I recalled all my growing up days in our home. My dad was a little Bible-thumpin' bi-vocational pastor. But aside from being pastor to other folks, he was just daddy to me. I lived under his roof. I knew his faults. I knew his struggles and frustrations. I knew his weaknesses. I knew he was "just a man" who was serving to the best of his abilities.

I sometimes look back and wonder if he had anyone other than my mom in his corner praying and interceding for him.

Anyways, as my Spiritual Gifts Assessment panned out, I was sorely disappointed at that time that prayer/intercession emerged as my "top" gift. I kept thinking to myself, "But anybody can pray!! And everybody ought to pray!" Then we assessed passions and I realized that my heart breaks for pastors who are in the trenches slaving away and who are seemingly under attack, taking a step forward and sliding back 3. (side note: Not long after I realized that, I read for the first time Frank Peretti's This Present Darkness. If you've not read it, it's a great read! If you have read it, you can imagine how that stoked my torch!!) It was from having read this book that I gave up my wrestle with God and said, "Ok! I get it! I will submit to prayer for my pastor(s) for all my days…and will sacrifice sleep if need be, I will sacrifice food, whatever You want me to sacrifice and I will pray."

Well, in all honesty, because of my health issues the past year and this battle with cancer, my prayers (facing the facts here) had turned "inward" to a great extent. I (and my family) topped my own prayer list and sometimes consumed it. I still prayed for my pastor(s) by name. But I know that I was not in full blown intercession for them.

Here and now is where all that changes. I guess what I'm doing in essence is confessing to you all, my fellow prayer warriors, and throwing in the "Woe is me" towel, and proclaiming that "she's back!"

So here is where I'm stepping up and leading in this warrior front the way that I believe I'm supposed to. As lead intercessor for Pastor Bobby and Ridge Community Church, I'm going to ask you all to cut 'n paste and print out Pastor's list above, (don't bother with all my ramblings on down here) and keep it in your wallet, taped to your computer monitor, on your refrigerator, your dashboard, your bathroom mirror…anywhere that you know that you will see it everyday and each time you do, please offer up prayer over it again.

BUT, I'm going to take it a step further. I'm going to ask you to at least twice in the next week, set aside a time and place and take a different posture in prayer…literally. If you typically pray sitting, then I'm going to ask you to take time to stand, or kneel, or fall prostrate, and pray. That may seem whack to you, but I guess that honestly doesn't bother me if it seems that way. :) I believe I'm supposed to ask it of you anyways.

We are only 10-11 weeks away from our 4 pre-launch services and I know I need to step it up in my prayer efforts for things coming together, for Pastor Bobby's strength, perseverance, and vision, and for the entire team.

Now, a couple final thoughts and I'll let you get to printing out Bobby's items:

1--How to say this? Uhm…most of our leadership team came together some what beat up and battered. We are a rag-tag little army at best. So in the items above where I *, I'm asking that you pray for us all. That we will be renewed, restored and that our hearts will pound wildly and passionately again for serving, and that we will serve whole-heartedly and enthusiastically in our mission to search and rescue. I believe we are the vessels by which God wants to take this city, and build His kingdom!

2--At one point during my learning journey about prayer and intercession, God drew me to Exodus 17. There I read the story of Aaron and Hur who stood with Moses on top of the hill while Joshua and the children of Israel battled the army of Amalek below. Whenever Moses kept his hands and the staff of God raised, Joshua was winning in battle. But when Moses grew tired and lowered his hands, the Amalekites would have the winning advantage. Noticing this, Aaron and Hur brought over a large stone for Moses to sit on and they held up his hands, one on each side. So his hands remained steady until the sun went down and Joshua defeated Amalek and its army in battle. We as intercessors are the modern day Aaron's and Hur's. We are to pray and undergird our pastors so that they can keep the posture God wants them to hold that the battle might be won.

Those are my true thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. Thank you for joining me in prayer!!"

So there you have it! And if you are the praying sort, I'll ask you to join us in prayer, too!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Getting Over It!!

As Thanksgiving rolls around, I'm forced to face some facts, for which I'm truly grateful. The fact is, my cancer battle is behind me! Woot!! Woot!! This time last year, I was less than a month diagnosed, and I was facing surgery on the Monday following Thanksgiving. It had been a whirlwind of doctors' appointments, tests, lab work, more tests, and on and on. It had also been a tremendous whirlwind of emotions!

With the 1 year anniversary of my diagnosis behind me, I can look back and truly appreciate life, family, friends, and especially my awesome God!! To say that the past year was one of the scariest times in my life is about as much of an understatement as saying the Atlantic is a cute little pond! However, my family and friends surrounded me, I was comforted by the prayers of many, and while the time seemed to creep at an agonizingly slow pace, it did still tick and we took it a day at a time.

In all of it, my daughter stood strong. It had to be difficult on her. It was her senior year in high school. We had always been close, but I think we found things in each other through this battle that gave us a new found respect for one another. She's stronger than I ever knew. And we are closer than ever!

I absolutely cannot say enough about my faithful husband, Rusty. Let me just say chemo sucks! There are things that folks just don't tell you. For example, for the first 48 hours following each chemo treatment, I peed red. Yep, that's right, red. And it was toxic. So everytime I went, I had to wipe the entire toilet down with a clorox wipe, put the lid down and flush, and wipe a gain and flush a second time. That doesn't sound so awful, but when you're weak as water, it's a task to stand there and wait for that tank to fill enough just to be able to flush again. I'm so glad that's over!

Another thing that you wouldn't otherwise know is that the chemo is not the worst of drugs. When you take chemo, you're hooked to an IV for somewhere between one - two hours. What happens after that is 4 days of strong meds! Most of them are anti-nausea, anti-reflux meds...and yes, we are grateful for those! However, there is one med, a steroid called "Decadron" that is far worse than chemo!! Decadron really sucks!! It causes paranoia, anxiety, fear, panic, stress, restlessness, and on and on and on! The truth is that on my first round of chemo, before we knew about the Decadron and the side effects I would have on it, I had suicidal thoughts. I trembled uncontrollably. But the worst was how it effected my mind. It was really, really difficult to just begin feeling like myself again and then realize my 2 weeks were up and I was headed back for more. Did I say that chemo sucks?

Then there is the fact that one of the chemo drugs, Taxotere, burned my hands and feet to the point that I lost several of my toenails and all my fingernails "lifted" from the nail beds. My hands burned and peeled and burned and peeled all through the final 4 rounds of chemo. And each time, they would swell and be so sore I could not hold an ink pen for grading papers or even begin to button my own clothes.

This is where the part about my wonderful husband comes in. Rusty stayed by my side night and day! When I had the surgery and was unable to lie flat in the bed to sleep, he slept sitting up in a recliner just like I did. He went to every single doctor's appointment that I had. He took notes, asked questions, filed insurance claims, fixed soup and crackers. He brought water and medicines (every 4 hours) for the four days following each of the 8 treatments. He did the laundry, the grocery shopping, the cooking! He made sure that all the forms that is the paper trail of a senior year for our daughter were completed and turned in. He made sure that her college application and her FASFA applications were submitted on time. He did it all!

When we said our vows 25 years ago we did not know what "for better or worse, in sickness and in health" could possibly hold in store for us. I am thankful that when he took the vow, he meant it.

Now, to sum this up, I say all that to say this. This year, when November 27, rolls around and we sit around the table to reflect upon the things we have to be grateful for, topping the list will be: my God who comforted me in the darkest and lonliest hours; my husband who stood faithfully by my side; my daughter who grew in strength and character; my friends and family who fixed meals, shaved their heads, dressed in pink, graded papers, cleaned my house, encouraged and supported; my medical team who guided me and cheered me on.

I am thankful for life. I am thankful for prayer. I am thankful for healing. I am thankful for peace. I am thankful for science and technology. I am thankful for returning strength. I am thankful for returning fingernails and toenails. I am thankful for hair regrowth...slower and thinner than I ever thought possible, but still, it's growing--and for that I'm thankful. I'm thankful for the appreciation my entire family has now for "family". That word means more to us than I could ever possibly explain! I'm thankful that last year is behind us. I am just so thankful to be getting over it!