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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Fluff Ball From Heaven

I got such a sweet text from my daughter this morning. Just in case you are feeling like God doesn't see you, let this reassure you that he most certainly does.

"So last night I got home from Bible study into the dark house,  I set my keys down and told Bella I would be back to feed her after I changed into my jamjams.  When I came out to feed Bella I noticed her right eye was red and swollen shut.  It looked so painful and it absolutely broke my heart, but she just wanted her dinner.  I set her plate down and as she ate I laid hands on her and prayed over her.  When she finished she turned around and her eye was completely healed and open!  I’m so grateful to God!  Not only does He love and care for me, but He also loves and cares for his creatures.  He knows that this little fluff ball has been with me for eight years and some of those years were very difficult.  She has been with me through some of the worst times of my life.  Times when I was severely depressed she would be the only thing I would get out of bed for.  Times when I was so lonely and felt so far from home, she was with me comforting me.  God knows how much she means to me and how much I love her.  I’m so incredibly grateful to Him. I just wanted to share what Jesus did last night for my sweet Bella, He is so good!"

Matthew 6:26
"Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? "
I think that speaks volumes to how God feels about us.
Yes, God sees you. He sees your tears and he cares
about the fluff balls you have in your life. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

In the Still of the Night

The house is quiet. Dad is tucked safely in his bed, sleeping after an exhausting day of doctors and tests. The last 2 1/2 weeks have been a whirlwind of unexpected events. He had a major heart attack while mowing his neighbor's lawn and required a triple bypass. From the emergency room staff to the floor nurses, he has amazed everyone he has come in contact with. He doesn't look like he is 82, and he certainly doesn't act 82. He is fun to be around, he still works and of course there is his love of mowing.... A gene I did not inherit. He has beat all odds. They told him he would be in ICU for up to 3 days, he was moved to a regular room 24 hours after his surgery. He was told he would be in the hospital for weeks, but was moved into rehab the week after his surgery. They told him he would be in rehab much longer than a week and exactly 2 weeks from the day of his surgery, I brought him home.

A few weeks ago I was in Houston training. My supervisor and I was talking when the subject of my Dad came up. She leaned back in her chair and said..... "Wow! You completely light up when you talk about your Dad." I nodded. "This is what I've always said about my Dad.... He is the closest thing to a saint that you will ever meet this side of heaven." Those aren't just words, that's the honest to God truth. He has a kindness about him that is genuine to the core. He encourages and  affirms everyone around him. He isn't just a good guy, he is a GREAT guy. If you don't believe me ask anyone who knows him. He has taught me to be positive. He is a man of God. He has been a living example of having a good work ethic regardless of what you're doing.

During the day while I'm sorting his medication and hovering over him like a hen, I don't think about how things could have turned out. But in the still of the night my mind wonders to the "What If's" and I am overcome by emotion. Every day I have him is one more day that I am truly blessed. So I'll dry these tears and be thankful for every single breath.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Got a Little Dirt on My Bo......

It was surprisingly nice out tonight. This afternoon it was hotter than heck, but when I stepped out of the house for a walk, there was a cool breeze. I'm trying to get my mojo back after a few months of being MIA as far as walking is concerned. Since December my stress level has been over the top, but things have settled down and I'm in need of the peaceful easy feeling walking outdoors provides. Since Oklahoma summers are not for the faint of heart and I am definitely faint of heart when it comes to heat, I tried the gym. I just hate the treadmill. I've tried listening to music, watching movies on my phone, and reading, but about 20 minutes into it I'm thinking of excuses to call it quits.  A friend told me about the perfect trail that meanders around a pond. The trail is long enough to keep me from getting bored. Tonight was almost perfect. It was dark, I had the place to myself, there was a cool breeze and I was jamming to "Dirt on My Boots" by Jon Pardi. I noticed dark clouds rolling in on my last lap and lightening in the distance..... "I think I can make it." I told myself. I was walking at a good clip when I, in pure Jackie-esque style, tripped, not on anything other than my own two feet... It's a special talent I have.... If it was a spiritual gift, I'd be loaded. In slow motion, yet very quickly, my face raced toward the pavement.... "This is going to hurt." I told myself. It's amazing how many thoughts can run through your mind at once.... "Dive for the grass... It will hurt less. Try to break the fall with your hands without breaking your wrist..... Rolling at the same time of impact might prevent a major injury." My hands hit the pavement as I half skidded, half rolled toward the grass. As soon as I felt the impact on my hands, I put my shoulder down.... You know trying to spread the whole impact as to effect as many areas of my body possible. Why be sore in one place when I could be sore all over? While doing the stop, drop, and roll routine, I was also juggling my precious phone, because heaven knows the face can't take many more cracks before it denigrates in a cloud of glass. I may have looked like a baseball player sliding into home plate except without the applause and accolades generally lavished upon such go-getters. But more than likely I just looked like a grown woman flailing all over the place in a ridiculous attempt to "Do no harm".  A quick glance around assured me that I was indeed the only one to witness my less than graceful fall which is only slightly better than a fall from grace (although I've had my share of those too). I slowly picked myself up and brushed the dirt off as Jon Parti sang.... "I might have a little dirt on my boots, but I'm taken you uptown tonight." Perfect.  What a perfect song for a face plant. You just can't plan perfect puns like that. As I dig the asphalt out of the palm of my hand all I can think is.... "This is going to hurt in the morning." 

Sunday, May 27, 2018

How Much Does Freedom Cost

I'll never forget the evening my daughter first asked what I thought about her joining the Navy. She had dropped by the house for a visit. We were talking about everything and nothing at all. The year before, she had made the decision not to go back to OSU even though she had been accepted into the Interior Design school. Her oldest brother had died a tragic death her sophomore year and she was struggling with the uncertainties of life. She got an apartment a few block from our home and had been working at a bank. A co-worker had a son who was in the Navy and after hearing her stories about his experience, Aja felt God leading her in a different direction.... "What would you say if I told you I was thinking of joining the Navy?" she asked... "I think it would be a great opportunity." I responded. "It will do one of two things... It will make you or break you." I think she was surprised by my response and had I known she would actually follow through with it, I might have been more hesitant. There sat my girlie girl with her perfectly coiffed hair and nails. "You know you'll be like Goldie Hawn in Private Benjamin don't you? I think you put me in the wrong place.... I signed up for the one that had the really nice condos." I laughed. I loved that movie. Little did I know that God would take her on the journey of a lifetime. I saw her pushed to her emotional, physical, and spiritual limits only to bounce back with tenacity. Her body was so broken by the time she graduated boot camp, She actually finished the most difficult 48 hours of boot camp with an untreated broken leg. It was over a year or longer before her feet and legs began to heal and she could walk without being in severe pain. I think even she was surprised by her determination to beat the odds. Upon 
graduating she was given a pre-commission on the USS DDG102 Sampson which was a huge honor for someone of her rank. She attended A school in San Diego and was trained as a Sonar Tech. After A school she went to Bath Maine to work on the Sampson as it was being built. She accompanied the ship back to it's home port once it was sea worthy and prepared for deployment. We had the privilege of being in San Diego to welcome her and the crew back to US soil. It took FORR-EVER for the ship to make it to dock once it was within eyesight. To hug her and touch her and to know she was home safe was the best feeling on earth. While we were visiting a memorial she said to me.... "You know Mom, I never understood how someone could believe in something so much that they were willing to lay down their life for it. But having been to all the different countries during deployment, I totally get it now. We live in the greatest nation on earth." As a Mom, I couldn't be more proud of her. The time she spent in the military wasn't an easy journey, but it is one she does not regret. I thank God every day that he brought her back home safe and sound. Many Mothers cannot say the same. How much does Freedom cost? IT COST EVERYTHING!! Not only does it cost everything, it is not something you can sit back and just take for granted. A sleeping nation can easily have their freedoms ripped right out from under them. Do I have a problem with water boarding terrorist?   Hmm, let me think about that.... No. I have pictures seared in my brain of my daughters mangled body after graduating boot camp. I have pictures of her red face and eyes swollen shut from being sprayed with military grade pepper spray. My heart sank when she described being put in a gas chamber. It's not a stretch to say their training is nothing less than torture. Do I think it's a smart move for our nation to be cognitive of individuals entering out country? I think it's a very smart move. It's not enough to be grateful, we must be actively taking steps to assure that our children and grandchildren have freedom in the future. I am proud to be an American, but I'm not sure all Americans appreciate what they have, understand how they got it, or are aware of how much what they have cost. It would be nice if this Memorial Day we took a collective moment from our political bickering to unite as a nation in a simple act of gratitude and acknowledgement that in the words of my daughter.... We live in the greatest nation on earth. It didn't come easy, just ask someone whose loved one made the ultimate sacrifice.... That's the cost of freedom.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Being a Part

I'm sitting here half asleep. The background music to my dreams is the sound of saws, the pounding of hammers, and the increasing hum of voices. This is how I have spent my evening the last couple of weeks as part of the cast in The Wizard of Oz. Prior to moving into the theatre, we rehearsed in churches and local businesses.... Pretty much any place we could find. When I menationd to my new boss the other day that I had rehearsals every weeknight, she gasped and said.... "Do they pay you?" She couldn't grasp why I would commit to something so intense without compensation. The reasons I started doing community theatre is convoluted at best. The reason I continue doing it is simple. It is an amazing feeling to bring a group of people together, many who have never met, and create something magical. Be it a comedy or a musical, it is an experience that builds a unique bond between others you would not normally meet. It is a process that on the outside may look simple, but behind the scenes, it is nothing short of a miracle considering all of the moving parts... Literally and figuratively. I may be in a bit of a daze from exhaustion as is every other member of the cast, but nonetheless,  i am excited for the curtains to rise Friday night. Yes, the monkeys will absolutely fly. The Witch make you shrink back into your chair, and Dorothy will melt your heart with her gentle spirit and songbird voice. Everyone from Toto, to the Munchkins will magically transport you to the land of Oz. If you blink you might miss my breakout performance as the fence that is caught up in the tornado, or you might not recognize me as an Ozian with Green eyes and wild hair. You will probably never see my name headlining a play, but that isn't the point in local theatre. The point is bringing together a hodgepodge of  hearts and creating something that is captivating and entertaining. "Build it and they will come." I assure you that if you do, you will not be disappointed, and who knows, you may just catch the bug yourself and next year you may be one of those of us on stage. It gives a whole new meaning of "having a part". Whether it's behind the scenes, building props, or helping Munchkins get dressed, everyone is needed and together we create the magic on stage. I'll have to warn your though.....  It's going to be an amazing show and you just might get blown away. Hold onto your seats... We hope to see you there. 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Reasoning with a Three Year Old

From the moment I dropped my purse by the door, Levi offered one of  his two make believe guns fashioned from limbs of a tree.... "You wanna play wiz me Lolli?" He asked. "Of course I do."  I exclaimed!"  "We got a lot of competition." He told me. "We are going to sneak up on bad guys.".... We began our hunt for the bad guys and around and around the table we went. This was before Mom and Dad had left for the hospital to see Baby Girl. If I ran around the table looking for bad guys once, I ran around it a 100 times. We climbed make believe steps, we went up a make believe elevator, and climbed through make believe holes in the ceiling. We patrolled the house like our lives depended on it. We read books, played with star wars men until he rubbed his tummy and informed me his tummy really needed a snack. We sat for a quick lunch and then he was up and ready to roll again. "Levi, you need to give Pops a kiss cause it's nap time. His face quickly fell into a pout that could crush the hearts of kings....."But I don't need a nap." he said.... "Oh, I beg to differ with you little one, I can tell by the way you're batting your eyes, that they are ready for a nap." "But I don't like naps." He whined... "You don't like naps! I love naps. Look Pops has already started on his... Explain to me exactly what you dislike about naps." I asked..... "He splayed his hand against his chest and said with complete conviction .... "I don't need naps, I'm getting to be a big boy, and look, my eyes are being still."  As he held them as wide open as he possibly could." Okay Levi." I said,  "If that is the truth I need you to explain one thing to me."... "What?"  He asked."  "Okay, you say you are too big for naps, but Pops is way bigger than you, and he still needs naps. And Lolli is way bigger than you, and I still love my naps. If that is true for LolliPops, then how is it possible that you, being much smaller than we are, don't need a nap?" There was a long silent pause, as if he was trying to find a rebuttal to the logic of my question. Then he kind of shrugged his shoulder like he knew this was one battle he wasn't going to win. "Go give Pops a goodnap kiss and all three of us will take our naps, then get up and play some more." Without fuss, or muss, he kissed Pops goodnap and I carried him to his bed. He snuggled right under the covers and said.... "lolli, will you tell me a story?" "I sure will" I said as I sat beside his crib. I spun a tale with dramatic flare that's usually saved for the stage. When I finished the story, I wished him sweet dreams and quietly shut the door. Not another peep was heard from him as he fell fast asleep. As if on cue, Pops and I took our nap as well, wishing it was a daily part of our routine. It's funny that some of the most precious moments in a parent or grandparents life are those sweet moments of tucking them in and whispering "Sweet Dreams". It may be true you can't argue with a three year old, but sometimes logic works wonders, or maybe I just got lucky. But lucky isn't all I got, I also got a nap, so it was a win, win situation.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Facing Your Fears, The Best of Both

Exactly 8 years ago New Year’s Day, I had a freak accident which  resulted in a TBI. Although the accident was terrifying for my family and friends who saw it happen. The most difficult part for me was the recovery. For months, or to some extent years, I felt disconnected not only from myself, but also from those around me. While I tried to pretend everything was normal, things most certainly were not. I had lost myself and the journey to finding myself was a long lonely road. Having been plagued with a fear of trying new things all my life, I was suddenly not afraid of anything. In a way it was a blessing because fear is crippling. During my recovery, the trepidation I usually felt when faced with something different, wasn't there. This wasn’t necessarily healthy. During that time, I'd try anything. I'm surprised I didn't join a traveling circus. I did things I would have never thought of doing before the injury. As I began to recover, the fear slowly return, although not as severe.  The last couple of month of 2017 was a difficult time for my family. My husband and dad both faced health issues, some of which were scary. I had/have work stresses that were and new peppered with anxiety. At the end of December, I decided to try something totally out of my comfort zone. At first, my family thought it wasn't a good time. My thought was maybe a challenge is just what I need to take my mind off things I can’t control. Having made the decision, it is very apparent that I am no longer living in the “Wonderland” of no worries. I have battled the decision with the conversation sounding like this.

"You can't do this!… You need to do this… You don’t belong!… This will be a great experience… You are a fish out of water!… It will be fine."

This is the first time I’ve had this much trepidation since the TBI. I liked it much better when those nagging little doubts were silent and I floated past my insecurities into unknown territory without a care in the world. Apparently, I had come to appreciate certain aspects of my “Alice in Wonderland” mentality. My husband calls me Jac 2.0. The “Alice in Wonderland” side was fearless and fun loving. She was an up for anything kind of gal. Who would have thought there was a “good side” to having a TBI. I start 2018 hoping I can face my fears, conquer them, and come out better on the other side. Maybe it will be the best of both worlds.