From Turtle to Butterfly

Posts Tagged ‘GOD

07-31-20 - LAST BUT NOT LEASTDay 31 of my birthMONTH celebration. Well, today is the last ‘official’ day of my birthMONTH celebration. My plan was to save the best for last, but since I missed a few days and still have a few others on my list I haven’t been able to share yet, it may not actually be my ‘last post’ like this. However, today IS the last day in my ‘official’ birth month, so I’m still sharing about this person today.

I met this person in my early teens and we have continued to stay in touch ever since. I really don’t even know where to begin sharing about what a difference this person has made in my life, but I’m gonna do my best to start at the beginning and go from there. As I said, we met when I was in my early teens. Our relationship then was tenuous but has grown oh so much over the years! This person has definitely made a difference in so many areas of my life!

I started writing this early this morning (around 4:00) but didn’t get to finish. Now here it is, 11:49 p.m., which means I probably won’t finish until after midnight, making it August 1st, but that’s okay, too.

This is probably the one that should be the easiest to share about and, yet, there is so much to share, it’s hard to get it condensed down. Truth is, I don’t want to condense it, but it is necessary that I do or it would be way too long for anyone to read.

This person has taught me about kindness, compassion, love, hope, forgiveness, God, humility, serving others and the list goes on and on. This person not only continues to teach me about these things, He was the absolute, only PERFECT living example of everything He taught.

His name is Jesus and oh, how I wish I had known earlier what it meant to have a relationship with Him. You see, I asked Him to come into my heart when I was in my early teens. I remember the church I was in and the person who was standing beside me before I walked down that aisle. But, even though I asked Him into my heart that day, it was many years ago and not much was taught in those days about having a relationship with Him. It was more like, okay, you’re a Christian now so here’s a list of things you do and a list of things you don’t do – no, I wasn’t actually given a list, it just seemed that way, as I look back on it.

Fast forward to July 2006, though, and that is when I actually began building a relationship with Jesus. I can remember it like it was yesterday, yet it’s been 14 years and so much growth has happened since then. Oh, how He has changed me, changed my heart and my whole outlook over the last 14 years. He continues to grow me, stretch me beyond anything I could ever imagine and……that comfort zone I used to live in? Please! It’s been so long since I lived there, I barely even remember it! I truly never want to live there again! Sure, it was nice and comfortable and I sort of knew what to expect, but nothing grew there. It was all stagnant and had no room for growth.

We are living in the days where we (especially Christians) could very well have to make some really tough choices. We can’t wait until it’s time to make that choice to decide what we will do. We have to choose NOW – TODAY – what we will do when faced with those choices. Y’ALL!!! It is NOT going to be easy! What we are currently living through is nothing compared to what it could become.

Are YOU ready to make the hard choices, if you have to? Do you know what you would do, if you had to choose between taking a vaccine and being able to shop for groceries or not take it and not be able to buy food for your family? These are the type of choices I am talking about.

I sincerely hope you are ready for what may be coming, but more than that, I pray you are ready for what is DEFINITELY coming one day (and I feel it is coming very soon) and that is the return of Jesus Christ of Nazareth! If you aren’t and would like to talk to someone about it, PLEASE feel free to message me – I certainly don’t have all the answers, but we can certainly search them out, together, in His Word!

Interesting note here before I end this – I don’t know how many of you reading this know my butterfly story from last year, but as I was typing today’s entry, my eyes glanced over at the calendar I keep on my desk. It’s a calendar I got from Thirty-One years ago and each month has one of the company’s core values listed on it. Two things I noticed about the one for July – it has butterflies on it (every month’s value has something different) and the core value for July was curious. I find those two things very interesting because last July (2019) is when my butterfly story happened and the core value curious is to remind me to seek new opportunities and new ways to expand my mind. What better way to expand my mind and seek those opportunities than by going deeper and deeper into His Word to find all He has for me there?

Are you on this journey with me? Would you like to be? If you’re not already on this journey, I truly hope you will message me so we can talk. I have so much more to share than I can fit here.

THE BABY

Posted on: July 30, 2020

07-30-20 - ME AND REX AND KITTY TOMDay 30 of my birthMONTH celebration. Only today and tomorrow left – oh wait! Except for the fact there were 5 days (4th, 5th and 23rd through 25th) that I didn’t get a chance to share, soooooo…I may just carry this over five days into August. I guess we’ll just wait and see how the Lord leads me on that 😊

Either way, here we are at day 30 of my birth month and I find it interesting that today would be the day I am sharing how this person has made a difference in my life. What makes it interesting that I’m sharing about this person today? I’ll fill in that part a little later.

I have known this person his entire life – literally! That’s right. I may not be able to tell you the year he was born because, well, y’all know about my memory – but I have definitely known him since the day he was born. You guessed it, I’m talking about my baby brother, Rex!

I already shared about my older brother and sister and I was wondering why I hadn’t shared about Rex, yet. Then, this morning, I knew it was the right time – what better day to share about my baby brother than on the day his oldest daughter was born, some (cough, cough, cough) years ago. Yep, today is the day his first child was born.

I really don’t even know where or how to begin sharing about Rex. I know we sure had our disagreements and arguments growing up and I’m sure there plenty of times I thought he was a pest! But, to be honest, I don’t remember (that memory thing again) much about those younger days. I do remember some things but what I remember the most is after we were both older. I remember thinking how we were alike in so many ways. Not exactly sure why, but I do remember having that thought.

Rex may be younger than me (only by a couple years or so), but he sure has made a difference in my life. First of all, he kept me from being the baby of the family, so there’s that – LOL We all know how the ‘babies’ of the family get picked on so much! In my eyes, Rex has always been one to go after what he wants, whether anyone else agrees with him or not. I’m not sure if he was always like that, but if not, I know he developed it at a very young age. I’m talking first day of first grade young age (Y’all can ask him about that story). I didn’t realize it then, but sitting here thinking back on it, I would say he taught me about bravery, even way back then.

In our adult years, he has become a true friend to me, as have my other siblings. I would say I guess that’s something that just happens as brothers and sisters get older, but I know that isn’t always true. That, however, is a story for another day. As adults, Rex has continued to teach me about bravery, without even realizing it. I watched him go through many things beginning in his young adult life on and, again, he was a model of bravery to me. He works hard and loves his family even harder. I’ve seen him face challenges head on and never buckle under. Oh, I’m sure he’s had his days when he didn’t feel it or think it, but he pressed on anyway and made it through. There have been many instances when I don’t know what I would have done, if it hadn’t been for my “baby” brother. He has seen me through a lot of tough times.

Not only has he taught me about bravery and loving fiercely, he is a great example of being firm, yet caring. In his career, those things really do need to go hand in hand and, I’m proud to say, they do in him.

Thank you for being such a great example to me, baby brother, of bravery, kindness and caring. You may not know or realize it, but you set the same example to many others every day and I am honored to call you my brother!

P.S. You know I have to give a shout out to your oldest here – especially since she’s been pretty much attached to you at the hip since she was born! She will always be a big Daddy’s girl, but I can understand that – you are a great Daddy! So, blessings to you, Leah, on your special day today! I love you, too! And, of course I had to include a picture of you and your Daddy 😊

07-30-20 - REX & LEAH

07-29-20 - AMBERDay 29 of my birthMONTH celebration. WOW! 29 days of praying and asking God to bring to my mind the people who have influenced or made an impact on my life in one way or another. To be honest, it’s like I shared with Him in our quiet time this morning, I truly did not realize there were so many! As He is bringing people and instances to my mind this month, I am realizing there are more than 31 – what a blessing! If you had asked me last month how many people had made a difference in my life, I probably wouldn’t have been able to tell you. Oh, I could have thought of a couple right off – just like I did when He gave me the idea to do this to celebrate my birthMONTH, but I couldn’t have listed 31 or more for sure!

I think that’s because when we are asked about people who have made a difference or had an impact on our life, we tend to think in ‘big’ ways. But God has shown me this month, just how people have made an impact on my life in many different little ways – or what we call ‘little’, that is. Truth is, sometimes the little things are more important and have an even greater impact than the things we call big!

Take today’s person, for instance, that I want to share about. This person has made a difference in my life in what some would call such a small way, yet this person is the one who helped me have courage and boldness to reach out when God moved us to a community, two years ago, where we knew absolutely no one! (Well, okay, my husband knew some people here, but they all live/lived behind the prison walls! LOL He is an Assistant Chaplain in the prison, for those who don’t know 😊)

Anywho – back to the person I want to share about. I met this person through Facebook. To be honest, I don’t even really know how I first came to know about her, even on Facebook. I’m thinking it must have been because of the wonderful bakery she has here. I think, maybe, I heard about the bakery and was checking it out on Facebook – anyway, for those who live here, I’m sure you know by now that I’m talking about Amber!

Other than speaking to her at the bakery and through Facebook, I’ve not really been around her or spent time with her; but, Amber is the first person from this town who made me feel welcome before I even actually arrived. As I said earlier, I somehow found her on Facebook and talked to her through messenger before we actually moved here. She absolutely made me feel like I was a long-lost friend or something and told me to be sure to come see her at the bakery and introduce myself (and hubby) when we got here. She showed me kindness and acceptance with absolutely no judgment of any kind.

Over the two years and four months since we’ve been here, I’ve seen her go through a lot of changes in her own life – personal and business – and I’ve seen her keep the same attitude, no matter what. She is a person that loves life and loves people and wants to see her community – our community – get back to the way it was in its ‘glory days’, as people around here call them. She wants to see improvement and growth and to see people flourish!

She has shown me, through her actions, what it means to have a heart for your community and the people in it. Through her actions, she is a constant reminder to me of how I need to treat others – with respect, love, care and concern, whether I agree with everything they say/do or not.

Amber is a special lady who, I believe, is destined for bigger and greater things in God’s timing and she will always have a special place in my heart as my first Union Springs friend – the one who welcomed me before she ever even knew me – and that was HUGE in my life! She gave me courage to reach out when I arrived in a new place and made it seem not so hard to start a new life in a new place with new friends. Thank you, Amber, I will be forever grateful God allowed our paths to cross and that I get to call you friend 😊

P.S. Had to ‘borrow’ one of your pics from Facebook – hope you don’t mind 😊

P.P.S. For anyone who might be interested, sadly for us, she has her ‘little’ bakery up for sale because she is feeling a call to new and different things, so if you’ve ever wanted to do anything like that, check it out here – this could be just the opportunity you’ve been looking for 😉

07-28-20 - ADRIANEDay 28 of my birthMONTH celebration. It’s hard to believe I’ve known this lady for ten years already (or is it 9? I don’t really remember) and, then again, it seems I’ve known her my entire life. She came into my life at just the right time – isn’t it amazing how God does things like that for us? I actually met her through my daughter, who met her first. You see, when my daughter moved to Auburn to complete her college degree, my Father knew she was going to need a very special person to look out for her and keep an eye on her. So, He sent Adriane to be a ‘second Mom’ to my baby girl and I’m sure He did it just for me 😉

Adriane made a huge difference in my life all those years ago and she has come to be such a dear, sweet friend that I don’t know what I’d do without her. How did she make such a huge difference in my life? Let me just share a little bit with you….

My baby girl had moved three hours away from me and, it didn’t matter that she was in her twenties – she was (and is) still my baby girl and I wanted to be sure she was taken care of properly! LOL Not long after Jessica moved to Auburn, the Lord introduced her to Adriane. Adriane invited Jessica to visit their church, so she did and she and Adriane became good friends.

This made my Mama heart so happy because Adriane has two children of her own (including a daughter named Jessica) and I knew she would watch out for my baby girl for me. Adriane became like a second Mom to my Jessica and they attended the same church for quite a while.

Adriane made a huge difference in my life because I knew she was watching out for my baby girl and that means a lot to a Mama! As the years went by, however, Adriane made a difference in my life in other ways, too. She is a great friend who is always willing to listen, no matter how long it’s been since you’ve talked. She is sincere and she loves our Father the same way I do! Adriane has helped me grow in my own faith in many different ways. She also made a huge difference in my life because of the difference she made in my baby girl’s life! The way she watched out for her and was always there for her when I couldn’t be – I will never, ever forget that!

Time marches on, things change, we all get busy with our own lives and we don’t always have time to spend with the friends we love. I am really glad we made it a point to have a “girls day” a couple of years ago, when my Jessica was expecting her baby girl. That was a fun day!

Now, we may go for weeks or months without really seeing or talking to each other (except through Facebook), but I know, if I need Adriane for anything, all I have to do is call, text or message her and she’s there!

There is so much more I could share – LOTS more – but, I’m trying to keep these to just one page, so I guess I’ll have to save those stories for another day and time! Adriane has given me something that can’t be bought in a store anywhere – she has loved (and still loves) my baby girl as her own and that, my friends, is something you don’t find every day. It is a treasure that will be stored in my heart forever! Oh! Did I mention she is also one that God used to ‘nudge’ me to let Him give me the devotions for the year 2019? Yeah – she did that! Also, just look at her beautiful family…..

07-28-20 - ADRIANE AND FAMILY

FEARLESS

Posted on: July 27, 2020

07-27-20 - GRAMMY AND MYA - NEWBORNDay 27 of my birthMONTH celebration. I wanted to share about this person on the 13th of this month, but I needed to wait until I had shared about someone else first, so I decided to wait until today.

I haven’t known this person very long, but oh the difference she has made in my life! She has made me realize a love I never knew about before. Well, that isn’t entirely true. I’d heard a little bit about it, but I never experienced it for myself until I met her. Now I understand why no one ever really described it to me before – it’s really beyond description. I don’t think there are any words in the English language (or any other language) that could truly describe it. It’s something you have to experience to truly understand, I guess.

My baby girl’s baby girl – my granddaughter, Mya! Jessica had said for years she didn’t want to have any children. She had her reasons, I suppose, but then she met Anthony and they married. And the rest, as they say, is history – LOL

Anthony and Jessica welcomed Mya into their lives on August 13, 2018 and I am so glad Frank and I were able to be there for her arrival! (Frank actually got to be in the delivery room with them! He was one proud Paw Paw) That little girl had our hearts from the minute she made her entrance into this world – well, probably even before that, but definitely after! To see my daughter with her own little girl, well – as I said, it’s a feeling that just can’t be described – not by me, anyway. This tiny, little girl being held in her mother’s arms taught me about a new, different, exciting kind of love!

Watching her grow has taught me to remember to slow down and enjoy the things I have begun to take for granted and to remember to marvel at all the things around me that I just really didn’t see anymore. Oh, I knew they were there, I had just gotten to where I didn’t really notice them. Things like flowers, bushes and trees and butterflies (um, okay – maybe not butterflies cause that’s a whole other story) but you see what I mean. The things that bring wonderment and surprise to a child’s eyes that have become too familiar to adults for them to take notice.

07-27-20 - MYA - APRIL OF 2020

Mya has taught me to slow down, take a deep breath and appreciate God’s wonderful creation – all of it – right down to the tiny, crawling bug on the sidewalk or driveway. She has taught me to enjoy and appreciate life more. She is so full of energy and questions, even at her young age! She is eager to learn already and her Mom is doing such a terrific job of teaching her. Oh, that we adults could have some of the energy toddlers have! You know, I believe we could if we sincerely asked God for it! (Just a thought that popped in my head as I was typing this)

I’m sure there are many other things Mya has taught me in her short life that I’m not remembering right at this moment, but that’s okay. I am definitely very thankful for video calling! Even though they only live an hour away, it is still hard to make it to see them in person as often as we’d like, due to work and other obligations. So, video calling is the next best thing since we can at least “see” each other!

Oh! Another thing Mya is teaching me about – more like reminding me about – is to be fearless! That girl doesn’t seem to be afraid of much of anything! She loves to jump and climb and run and many other things. She is a great reminder to me that God calls me to be fearless in Him! He did not give me a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind! (II Timothy 1:7) Yep, I think this little girl is going to continue to have a huge impact on my life and, you never know, she just may be what I need to help me become fearless 😊

07-20-20 - WATSON AND JOSIEDay 20 of my birthMONTH celebration sort of goes hand-in-hand with yesterday’s. Today I celebrate my big brother, Watson! What an impact he has had on my life! Watson is the one who ‘seems’ to be so serious. I remember when we were growing up, it was a big deal if any of us could get Watson to crack a smile and, if we got him to actually LAUGH???? WHOA!!! THAT was almost cause for a celebration right there. However, truth of the matter is, while Watson is a pretty serious guy (like Daddy was), he also has a very dry sense of humor.

In case you don’t understand what I mean by a ‘dry sense of humor’, here’s a description: If someone has a dry sense of humor it means that their jokes aren’t obviously funny. Their jokes can be clever but not something that would make you laugh easily and the jokes are told with no emotion. I’m not sure where he got his dry sense of humor from, but it sure can make life interesting. To this day, it still seems like it’s a big deal when anyone gets Watson to crack a smile or laugh out loud. He doesn’t get on social media much, but I’m fairly certain he doesn’t even use LOL much when he does hop on for a minute or two!

Because Watson has always seemed so serious and was/is so much like Daddy, it’s hard for me to really know how to talk to him, but one thing I know and have always known, if I ever need him for anything, he is there! Watson has always been like a rock to me – not the kind of Rock my Savior, Jesus, is, but a rock here on this earth. Maybe I’m not saying it correctly, but I hope y’all understand what I’m talking about. I didn’t realize it when I was younger, but as I grew older, I began to understand more about how much he cares for me – for all of his siblings and family, in general.

Watson has taught me to understand that just because one person doesn’t show their emotions as much as others might, doesn’t mean they don’t care. It just means they care on a different level. He has shown me, over the years, that he not only cares for me, but that he most likely cares on a deeper level than I can truly understand.

So, as you can see, Watson is the type of person that very rarely shows his emotions to very many people and that is why his Facebook post, this past Saturday, the one I shared with y’all yesterday, had me in tears! Because, even though I know how important family is to him and I know how much he cares for each of us, it’s easy to ‘forget’ sometimes, since it isn’t always on ‘display’ for all to see. Watson is one of those ‘quiet, caring’ people – you know – the strong, silent type 😉

By now you may be wondering how this is goes hand-in-hand with yesterday’s post, so let me fill you in on that part. Yesterday morning in my quiet time with Father, I was thanking Him for leading Watson to Daddy’s old tool box after FORTY years and that’s when it hit me – forty is a significant number in the Bible. So, Father led me on a search. I found that forty is a significant number for many different reasons – It designates important time periods, it is a period of testing, trial or probation, it also represents the generation of man and, did you know, forty different people wrote the Bible??? In a summary of one article I read, the author stated, “Of all the types and shadows of the Old Testament, none is as pervasive and important as the shadows revealed in the relationship between forty and the fulfillment of promises”.

Now, what does it mean that He led Watson to that toolbox after 40 years? I have no idea – He hasn’t shown me anything about that. But I like the thought that came to my mind this morning and maybe it was from the Holy Spirit – I don’t know – but I thought maybe, just maybe, in this case, it is a reward after Watson’s growth through all his trials and tests of the past 40 years – a gift, a promise (that Watson wasn’t even aware of) fulfilled because of his faithfulness.

Like I said, I honestly don’t know, but I do know it was not a ‘coincidence’ that Watson mentioned it had been about forty years. Oh – another thought that came to my mind: I’m fairly certain it won’t be long before Watson has that toolbox all cleaned up and shining, almost like new and that made me think of how he is like Jesus in that respect. Watson loves to take old things (that have been discarded by others as being useless), restore them to looking almost new again and useful for many more years to come. Isn’t that just what Jesus loves to do for us?

I love you, brother, and I’m proud of all you have accomplished in your life! If you see something you want to build, you figure out how; if you hear an instrument you want to play, you figure it out – I doubt there is anything you couldn’t do or learn, if you set your mind to doing or learning it. You definitely do our family – and our earthly father, as well as our Heavenly Father – proud!

In case you’re wondering about the picture I chose for this blog – that is one of my favorite pictures of Watson. It is him and Josie. She was a wonderful dog and he loved her like he loves all of us and his other animals – with his whole heart. Josie crossed over the rainbow bridge a few years ago, but this will always be one of my favorite pics 😊

 I don’t know if Watson will ever read this or not and, chances are, even if he does, he likely won’t comment on it – but maybe, just maybe, it will at least make one corner of his mouth curl up a bit like it does when he’s trying hard not to smile, but he just can’t help it.

07-17-20 - CAROLDay 17 of my birthMONTH celebration. Most of Day 17 is being spent in the car, leaving Myrtle Beach, South Carolina heading back toward home – well, Alabama, anyway. We’re going to stay near Birmingham tonight and tomorrow night because Frank has a funeral to officiate tomorrow afternoon. So, I have plenty of time to get today’s post written – now that I’ve finished my nap 😊 (Riding in the car just makes me sooooo sleepy – anyone else?)

This lady was one of the first ones that came to my mind when I was thinking about who has impacted my life. I have known her for around eleven years now, I guess. WOW! I sure didn’t realize it had been that long. In a way, it seems I’ve known her all my life, but then again, it seems like I just met her not long ago. There have been a lot of changes in eleven years!

This lady is a great hostess and, in fact, that is actually how we met. Best I can remember (and we all know about THAT – LOL), she was the ‘hostess’ at the Connections Center when I first attended Grace Fellowship church. Carol Hochstetler is one of the most warm, welcoming ladies I have ever met in my entire life!

She just has this way of knowing exactly how to talk with others and make them feel welcome and make them feel like she’s been their friend for forever – at least that’s how she made me feel, anyway.

When I met Carol, it was at the very beginning of my long journey out of believing the lies the enemy had been telling me for years – the lies of shyness and not being wanted anywhere by anyone. How like the Father to put me right where He knew I needed to be to get a good start on this journey. Carol was just the one to be a huge help in continuing on my journey.

Carol has the knack of making people feel loved, wanted and cared for just by engaging them in conversation. She knows how to make others feel involved and feel a part of whatever is going on around her. No matter how busy she is, she always takes time to care for others.

Carol has had a few changes in her own life over the last year or so that has taken her down some paths I’m sure she would rather not have traveled. But, in usual Carol style, she has handled it all with grace and a smile on her face. I’m sure she has had her private moments of frustration and asking God her own questions – anyone would – but, to my knowledge, she has not shown that to anyone but Him and, my guess would be, her very closest friend(s).

I don’t get to see Carol as much anymore because I got married and began attending a different church, then we moved two and a half hours away, but I still think of her often and we pray for her and her husband, Jim, every day.

Carol, you will likely never know just how much you impacted my life and helped me through a very difficult time in my life, because I just really can’t find the words to describe it. One thing I do know, though, and that is our Heavenly Father knows exactly all that you’ve done and He has your reward waiting to give you one day. And His reward will be way better than any words I could ever say or anything I could ever give.

07-15-20 - ALICE AT PIANODay 15 of my birthMONTH celebration.  Day 15 is the day I was saving to share about someone very close to me. This woman has known me since the day I was born. In fact, from the way I understand it, she is the one responsible for naming me – although, I could have that mixed up, but I think I’m correct. This lady watched me grow from an infant to where I am today, has seen probably more than she cared to of me – especially in our younger days – and, yet, she has always been there for me any time I’ve ever needed or wanted her to be. In fact, she was the first person to ever share a room with me – there were good times and bad times, but I believe there were way more good times than bad.

My sister, Alice, has taught me a lot over the years. She blazed the trail for the rest of us ‘younguns’ because she is the oldest. She definitely loves to plan things and have things organized and I believe she is the one who taught a lot of those organizing skills to me. I am definitely thankful for that!

I may not be able to remember a lot about my childhood, but I do remember Alice being the one who took me to church any time I wanted to go with her. You see, she has a beautiful, God-given talent of making a piano sing and she has been a church pianist for as long as I can remember. My brother, Watson, could tell you the story about her getting her first piano, but I don’t remember it. I just thought we always had a piano, I guess. Anyway, Alice took piano lessons for a while and I’m sure they helped, but the way she plays the piano can’t be taught or learned by anyone. The way she plays is a gift God gave to her, a way for her to express her love for Him and a way for her to worship Him when words just won’t do.

I’m pretty sure she is the one who is responsible for me being saved as a teenager because the only reason I went to church was because she was playing the piano, so I rode with her. I do remember her telling me that, when I was very small, our entire family went to church together. Then something happened (I don’t know what) and we didn’t go anymore. Anyway, I’m just very glad she went and that she was willing to take me with her – more like let me “tag along”, if we’re being completely honest.

My sister has dealt with a lot in her life, including her husband moving to Heaven after they’d been married for only about 5 years. She had been his caretaker for quite a while before that and she went through a tough time for a while, but she came out stronger on the other side. She has always been an example to me of keeping the faith even when the going gets tough. She is stronger than she gives herself credit for and loved by so many people!

She has touched many lives not only just because of who she is in her faith, but also with her amazing talent for making a piano sing! I could not even begin to tell you the number of times she has blessed my own soul with her playing. When she plays, it’s as if the Lord is sitting right there beside her with a huge smile on His face, simply enjoying her worship of Him!

I took piano lessons for a few years myself and, when absolutely needed, I can manage to stumble through a few hymns to help out, but I have never had her ability. That’s not what the Lord chose to bless me with and that’s okay. He blesses each of us in different ways. I am just very thankful He blessed me to be her sister.

Alice, I could never truly share just exactly what you mean to me and how you have impacted my life in such a beautiful way because there just are no words to express how I feel. I was blessed with the best big sister anyone could ever have! I still remember the time you let me ‘tag along’ with you and one of your friends and we were going through the old tunnel in Mobile – back in the days when they had someone in there reminding people to turn off their lights, etc – and your friend hollered out the window at him. I don’t remember what she said, where we were going or why I was with y’all – I just remember that I have a sister who has always allowed me to be part of her life in one way or another. I love you more than I could ever tell you and I know you have earned an extra star (or jewel or whatever) for your crown just for putting up with me!

Thank you for being such a wonderful example to me and for taking me to church all those years. We had some really good times – especially when we had our quartet – was it called Heaven Fair? I don’t remember, but we definitely had good times – all because you didn’t mind little sister tagging along. I love you!

MOM AND MEDay 14 of my birthMONTH celebration. Day 14 is my actual birthday and oh, what a day it has been already! But I’m not here to tell you about that. I’m here to share about someone who had an impact on my life, as I have been doing for the past 13 days.

I should have started working on today’s entry long ago because I know it is going to be a hard one to write. Without this woman I would not even be here – my Mom! She chose to carry me for 9 months, give birth to me and love me. She loved her entire family – her husband, as well as her children. She (and Daddy, of course) had four children – girl, boy, girl (that one was me 😉) and boy

Mom and Dad raised us with lots of love and discipline. Neither of them had the greatest of childhoods and they both wanted better for their children – don’t we all? Anyway, I guess as far as I can remember (and we all know how well that works – lol), Mom pretty much always had a job. But here’s the other thing I remember about that – it didn’t matter that she had to get up earlier than she should have had to, she always had a big breakfast prepared for us. She would prepare scrambled eggs, bacon and toast and I believe she did this every morning, Monday through Friday, because she wanted us start the day with a good breakfast. We won’t even talk about the weekend breakfast spreads! Mom was definitely a good caretaker of her family.

Mom never blinked an eye about disciplining us either, though. If we were doing something we weren’t supposed to be doing, she would not hesitate to spank us. She didn’t say, “Wait til your father gets home” She didn’t beat us or mistreat us, but she definitely did what she had to do to keep us in line. Then, when Daddy would get home, she would tell him and he would get us again. Even after we started school, if we got in trouble at school, we weren’t off the hook – we would get it again from Mama or Daddy (or both) at home.

Mom and Dad both taught us a good work ethic, but I guess I was always more impressed with Mom’s efforts to go the extra mile by getting up early so she could prepare a good, hearty breakfast for her crew before they had to head off into their day.

Mom always put others before herself. That’s just the way she was. She loved making other people happy and/or putting a smile on their face. She didn’t much like it when others did things for her – I think it made her uncomfortable to be on the receiving end. She loved to cook and/or bake things for others, too. It really made her happy when someone enjoyed something she made. Many people were on the receiving end of her amazing Cream Cheese pound cakes, scrumptious suppers or Sunday afternoon lunches.

We never see ourselves as others see us (or as Christ sees us, but that’s another post – lol) and Mom was no different. According to her, she didn’t really have many friends. One thing I am most happy about is how God showed her how wrong she was about that. When Mom was diagnosed with lung cancer and got to where she didn’t feel like going much, she was amazed at the number of people who would come by her house to visit! I am so thankful that God allowed Mom to see for herself just a small sampling of how many lives she had touched with love over the years!

Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” and He definitely granted my Mom the desire of her heart. She always said she prayed that God would take her home quickly – in her sleep or something – because she didn’t want to be a burden on anyone. Now, Mom would have never been a burden to any of us, but God pretty much let her go home in exactly the way she wanted. She went to bed on a Saturday night and never really woke up again. She moved to Heaven the following Sunday evening. That was a little over two years ago now, yet it seems like it was just yesterday and some days it seems like I forget and think she is still there at her house, waiting for me to call her. But then reality hits and I realize I can’t call her anymore. It’s true my Mom’s body died, but my Mom’s soul did not die. The minute she took her last breath here, she took her first breath in Heaven.

I know everyone isn’t as blessed as we were – we had a Mom that truly loved and cared for us. I know how blessed I was to have the Mom I had and to have had her for as many years as I did. I will be forever thankful for all the things she taught me and for the way she loved and cared about me and so many others. To be honest, as much as I love my Mom, I find myself these days being so very thankful she isn’t here to see all that is beginning to happen in this crazy world around us. I know I will see her again, one day, and that gives me great comfort.

Do y’all know what I would really love to have for my birthday? If my Mom touched your life in any way or you have a special story involving her or a special memory of her, I would love for you to share it here in a comment. What a wonderful birthday present that would be for me!

MOM

07-09-20 - SUMMERDay 9 of my birthMONTH celebration – this one may surprise y’all! As I was driving to work yesterday morning, I was already wondering who I would share about today, when two words came to me – my summer. Oh! Okay – I knew who it would be. But then, just as quickly as those two words came to me, I realized it would actually be a two-in-one deal so I wasn’t sure that title would be completely fitting. And, immediately, the other two words were given to me – of dawn. So, now I had the title – all I have to do this morning is share about these two wonderful people in my life. By the way, it’s only a five-minute drive to work, just to give you an idea of how quickly things can come to my brain! LOL

In September 2017 I took a part-time job. I just wanted to make a little extra money and get out of the house for a few hours each day, so I became a Home Instructor for HIPPY Escambia. (For those who don’t know, HIPPY stands for Home Instruction for Parents of Pre-school Youngsters) Home Instructors take lessons to teach the parent each week and the parent, in turn, teaches those lessons to their preschooler. During your first year as a Home Instructor, you are required to have at least one child you work with so you can experience what the parents are doing with their own children.

Well, I didn’t know many people with a 3-year old, so I was scrambling to come up with someone’s child I could work with. Then I thought of someone. I didn’t really know these people extremely well, but they were part of We Care (the organization my husband works under) so we had a little bit of a connection. I approached the Mom, Dawn, and asked her if she would mind me working with her daughter, Summer, and she said that would be fine.

So, it began. I wasn’t sure how things would go because I wasn’t used to being around small children and I certainly wasn’t used to working with them. However, Summer was the sweetest little girl! She made it so easy. She was an eager learner and she really enjoyed our time together, especially the ‘games’ we got to play! I remember being at their house one morning to work on our lessons for that week and it began to rain. Then, it began to storm – not bad, but there was thunder and lightning. That’s the day I discovered Summer was afraid of thunder.

Here’s where it gets interesting folks! Remember when I shared about my fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Mason? This just shows you how you never know how many lives one person can touch, including lives they would never, ever meet, going from generation to generation. Because Mrs. Mason had taught us that song about thunder, I was able to find it on You Tube and play it for Summer! That song helped her not to be afraid of thunder anymore! Later, her Mom told me that Summer would listen to that song over and over (on her Mom’s phone).

You may not think you can learn much from a 3-year old or that a 3-year old could have an impact on your life, but I’m here to tell you both are definitely possible! Because I was allowed the privilege and honor of working with Summer, she taught me a few things: 1) Doing something new might be a little scary, but it can lead to wonderful times and memories, too; 2) It’s amazing how Mrs. Mason continues to touch lives today, although I imagine she is probably not even living anymore and 3) in choosing to step out of my comfort zone, yet again, I not only had a great time working with Summer, I also got to know her Mom better and gained a great friend!

It’s hard to believe that was almost three years ago! When I was working with Summer, she had a baby brother who was cute as he could be. She had older siblings, too, but I didn’t get to see them much because they were in school. Now, there’s a baby sister in their family who isn’t even a year old yet – but getting close to it.

Their family moved back to Virginia earlier this year so I won’t be able to see them when we go ‘home’ to visit now, but maybe we’ll get to go see them in Virginia some time.

I will be forever grateful to Dawn for allowing me to work with Summer and come into their home once a week for thirty-something weeks and ‘invade’ their space. It was a fun time and a learning time – not just for Summer, but for me. That little girl (who is growing up fast) will always have a special place in my heart! The picture I’ve shared is one I had to take for one of our HIPPY projects – isn’t she the cutest thing??


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