My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Thursday, April 30, 2009

thankful thursday

I'm told that I have to take my birthday decorations down in my office today. Really? Why? I never want to let birthdays go…

It was a great birthday this year, despite having this icky cold. Last night it felt like I had been swallowing broken glass. I have that thing where you feel sort of sleepy/dizzy/out of body… runny nose… cough… but no, Jeanne, no fever. I don't think I'm a risk to public health at this point.

I got some great birthday surprises - roses from Ryan, dinner and a cake from Cody and Marquee, flowers from my friend Mary in Alabama, cupcakes and a gift bag of bath and body works stuff from my co-workers, a cake and flowers from one of our vendors, a Willow Tree figurine from my nieces…

Jim and Angie are fixing my laptop as my birthday gift! It should be ready on Monday… they had to get some parts in for it… but that's such a great gift for me! I miss my friends who live in my computer! I was looking at being without it for *at least* several more weeks OR not paying something I need to pay to be able to have it back. I'm so excited that it's being fixed.

I really, really, really just wanted to curl up in the bed yesterday - this time not from sadness but just because I feel horrible. I soldiered on… *pause to straighten my halo*… and went to church last night. It was worth it to be greeted by Abbie with her "Happy Birthday 41 year old!"… and Jamie and Sarabeth and even little Eli bouncing around with excitement over my birthday - or whatever they were excited about. Another lady in our church was celebrating her 40th yesterday… and my friend Michelle's little girl, Emma, was celebrating her ninth. (Emma is Eli's sister). The fellowship hall was decked out for Sherri's 40th and they sang to her… and then to Emma… and then to me… which was really sweet.

Austin's report card came in the mail yesterday. He was excited to have a "c" average. *eyeroll* But of course, those of you who have been with me for awhile will remember the end of Cody's 9th grade year - about three weeks before the school year ended we found out he was failing pretty much every subject and he had to scamper and scurry and I had to beg and plead for him to just pass. Not that he's not a bright kid. He was just mega-lazy. With Austin's study skills class and tutoring once a week he is pretty much unable to have uncompleted assignments. Austin tries to be lazy but it just doesn't work out for him.

Today is pay day. I got a small raise. My salary will still be heavily dependant on commissions. We haven't gotten the final word on the commission increase yet and I was hoping for that for this pay period. Times are still hard. I'm glad for every little bit, of course. Somehow it keeps working… I've had some stressful moments… my budget strategy has been "putting out fires"… but I'm hanging in there.

Austin wants to get a summer job and I appreciate his enthusiasm but the logistics of him working make me dizzy. He REALLY wants to work in this little toy shop in Helen. It's in the heart of the tourist area and they sell lots of cutesy little gimmicky things, magic tricks, novelty toys. He would REALLY be a good salesperson for this shop because he's so enthusiastic about the stuff they have. I'm not sure he has the people skills to work with the general public… especially the vacationing public (certainly a different perspective, wouldn't you say?) and the store is waaaay out of the way for me in the mornings/afternoons but… if he can get a job, I'll do what I can to make it work for us. He definitely needs the experience…

Our little office is limping along today. Shirley is out taking her mom and other elderly relatives to doctors appointments. Theresa didn't sleep last night so she's a zombie. Ginger has some major back pain. I've got this creeping crud. Duane is leaving at noon to go camping for the weekend. Kevin said we could all leave and he'd handle it. *eyeroll* Riiiiight!

Ok… thankful Thursday items for this week:
1. that my laptop is getting fixed
2. surviving my turbulent 40th year
3. flowers! Birthday cakes! Birthday presents! Birthday dinners!
4. "c" averages
5. tissues
6. my new white tea and ginger body lotion from bath and body works - it smells great!
7. my new office, my raise, possible increased bonus and all those things that bit by bit make my work life easier
8. Sammy the dog - Cody and Marquee's sweet little puppy
9. Stubby the 3legged cat - who had a great time playing with Sammy the dog Tuesday night. Well. Reverse that. Sammy had a great time doing what he THOUGHT was playing… Stubby was in attack cat mode, defending his territory. Stubby has learned to look forward to my morning bowl of cereal and has learned that if he waits patiently, that I will put the bowl down on the floor for him to have a little milk once I'm finished. This is a huge accomplishment. In the past his nosy little three legged self was trying to battle me for my breakfast. He finally has figured out that there's a much bigger payoff if he will wait.
I'm including, without permission, the devotion that my dad wrote yesterday. I didn't see it until today because - no email at home yet. Tissue alert! I'll close with this… love and hugs and happy Thursday!


Good Morning!

I had just gotten in bed about eleven o’clock on 04/28 and nestled down when Norma told me that it was time. I immediately told her she had to wait a week because my vacation wasn’t scheduled to start until the next Monday. She informed me that babies don’t wait on vacation schedules – and we were headed to Dekalb General Hospital right away. At 2:09 a.m. the next morning, Heather Nancine Gant came into this world – and both Mom and Dad were thrilled. Jim Jr. slept through it, under the watchful eye of Grandma Ward.

I was counting earlier – we have a lot of birthdays to celebrate in the Gant family. There are the five children; three spouses, one significant other, eleven (soon to be twelve) grandchildren and one great-grandchild. And that’s not counting my Mother, brother, sister and the other in-laws and outlaws.

God is so good to all of us. For me, Heather’s birthday is very special this year. In late September, it looked like we might not be able to celebrate it with her again. The call came on Friday evening – about 5:30. Mom and I held each other as we contemplated the unthinkable – that one of our precious ones might die. And ALL of our children and grandchildren are precious to us – each one. I cannot explain the pleasure I get with a “chew on you” or a “lady finger” snack with one of my grandchildren.

I cannot tell you how long the drive is from Atlanta to Jacksonville – it seemed like forever. And the whole weekend was difficult as we made the daily trip to the hospital. We had to return to Georgia before she was released – but God blessed Heather with brothers who step up to the plate when it is time. And He blessed her with two good close friends who came to her aid in a difficult situation. And now she is back in Georgia and thriving (according to her own accounts on her blog). I think - no, I know God has a lot to do with where she is today as opposed to where she was at this time last year. And I know she reads our Good Morning messages each day - and will probably be objecting to the spotlight – but for me, this birthday is special because she is here with us. So ---- HAPPY Birthday Heather!

Psalm 127
Unless the LORD Builds the House
A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon.
1Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.2It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest,eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.
3Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.4Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children[
a] of one’s youth.5Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.[b]
Psalm 127:4 Or sons
Psalm 127:5 Or They shall not be put to shame when they speak with their enemies in the gate


Mr. Jim

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

my birthday!

I have conquered the evil 40th year and am now proudly 41-derful years old! God is good, my friends!

Let me preface this entry by saying I have some kind of creeping crud illness that I would normally self-diagnose as flu but I don't want to send anyone off for their surgical masks before they read my infected blog. I have a sore throat, stuffy/runny nose, cough and feel really draggy. It's not swine flu. Not that serious... It might be guinea pig flu... or hamster flu... but nothing whole hog. Just enough to make me want to climb into bed and sleep for a month but I can't because...

It's my BIRTHDAY!!!!

Angie tells me I have lots and lots of facebook wishes. I can't access facebook so thank you... I look forward to seeing them one day when I have access to the internet. In the meantime, I have warm fuzzies thinking of the warm fuzzies...

I can access this blog... and I can get tweets...

My beloved laptop is in the capable hands of some kindly gentleman(men) who work for Truett McConnell College. Parts are ordered and repairs will be made and then I will be back online full time. Well, as usual. I still have to work full time.

My office is decked out in birthday decorations. It's a party! Duane is at a training class today but stopped by long enough to wish me a happy birthday. I got a lovely gift bag from the wonderful people I work with. And cupcakes!

I got roses yesterday from my oldest son - red, pink, white, yellow... they're beautiful. Austin thought it would be a great idea to "arrange" them for me.... I was a little aggravated that he did a butcher job on my roses but... well, that's life with Austin. Austin also said - while handing me the card - "these are from Ryan... and me... yeah, that's the ticket... "

Cody and Marquee came up yesterday afternoon and surprised me with a birthday dinner. They made spaghetti, garlic bread, salad... Marquee made a cake with the most amazing fudge icing... good stuff!

Purple Michael sent me a "mix tape" (cd) that came in the mail yesterday. I started listening to it on the way to work and got all misty.... *sigh*... I have had so many great loves in my life... I'm so greatful....

Sarabeth and Jamie called me at 7:15 this morning to sing "happy birthday"... and then I talked to both of them... they're so sweet. Tonight they're doing a presentation of their mission trip over spring break for their classes. Since my class ended last week, I'll be able to go in with them and listen to their presentation. I may need the surgical mask... oy...

People dread turning 40... I embraced it... not realizing that 40 would be the most difficult and yet the most transformational year of my life. God is faithful. He has provided everything I've needed along the way and given me a sense of wonder - and a sense of humor! - that I might never have developed otherwise. My prayer is that my 41st year is far less eventful, traumatic, dramatic and difficult - but that I still continue to grow in wisdom and strength and continually lean on the Lord. I want to lean on Him as completely in times of plenty and joy as I have had to in times of desperation. That will be, for me, real growth.

time to earn a living... love and hugs, y'all!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

good things

I got the most amazing letter from Purple Michael yesterday... best gift I can ever remember receiving.... and I've gotten some doozies. I'll post the poem he included in this entry at the bottom.

Also got an amazing and sweet card/letter from my grandmother. She's 85 and she just lost a close relative, her sweetheart and her best friend all in the space of a month. Yet, she is incredibly upbeat and positive. I'll treasure that card forever!

And this... cryptic yet interesting comment from my mama...
mawmaw said...
be aware of the day before your birthday, good things might happen
April 28, 2009 5:43 AM

Hmmmm... that could be exciting.
Austin is really sick. I'm sick too but not as bad... sore throat, runny nose, fever. Last night I felt all flu-ey and wiped out but this morning I'm ok. I left Austin home so i'm planning to cut work a little short to get back and assess to see if we need to get him to a doctor.

Written on my hand today "all things" for two reasons:
I can do all things thru Christ who strengthens me
All things work together for good for those that love the Lord and are called according to his purpose.

I am placing my hope today in "all things".

And now for my poem...a few Easters ago, I had silver bands engraved for Purple Michael, my kids and myself that said, "CHARM" and wrote an essay about how before he entered our lives we were char (Cody, Heather, Austin, Ryan) - burned, used up, worthless - but when he entered our lives, we became a magical group... CHARM'ed. (Cody, Heather, Austin, Ryan and Michael). So the word "charm" is a precious word between Michael and I... so this poem is perfect!

Author: Thomas Moore
Believe me, if all those endearing young charms,
Which I gaze on so fondly to-day
Were to change by to-morrow, and fleet in my arms,
Like fairy-gifts fading away,
Thou wouldst still be adored, as this moment thou art,
Let thy loveliness fade as it will,
And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart
Would entwine itself verdantly still.
It is not while beauty and youth are thine own,
And they cheeks unprofaned by a tear,
That the fervor and faith of a soul can be known,
To which time will but make thee more dear;
No, the heart that has truly loved never forgets,
But as truly loves on to the close,
As the sun-flower turns on her god, when he sets,
The same look which she turned when he rose.

Have a great day, y'all!

Monday, April 27, 2009


I'm a google celebrity… according to the fabulous Robert Drake,

And in other news, if you type 'tightening' and 'corset' in to google, your blog heads the list.

That's pretty hard core! Austin always tells people that my blog is in the top ten. Well. I mean… Stellan's blog and Bring the Rain and Living Proof Ministries and about a million other blogs are more popular. I'm just there. Maybe Austin meant "top ten embarassing things my mom does to me".

Not even one hour in this morning and I've already handled two claims. Good times.

My back is KILLING me! I did something to it Saturday… by the time I went grocery shopping Saturday afternoon I could barely walk. I think something is pinched because I'm having these crazy pains down my left leg. Getting old. I also have major sinus stuff going on so I'm less than 100% today… but I'm at work. That's my accomplishment for the day!

It's my friend A.T's birthday today! Happy Birthday T!!!

Austin and I did some major cruising through the mountains this weekend. I wanted him to see how close we are to some really amazing sites. We're about thirty minutes (give or take a bit) from the Appalachian Trail. He didn't really understand what the big deal was but then we went to the Walasiyi trail store and he could see all the paraphenalia and old retired hiking boots and different products and he started putting it together. Check out the store… some beautiful views from this place. We really don't take advantage of the fact that we're minutes away from some of the most scenic places in the state of Georgia.

Austin's favorite "scenic" view, however, was Goat on the roof. Seriously. Check them out at . It cost me a little driving time and 50 cents for him to feed the goats and he talked about it all the day. We also went to Tallulah Gorge and the small little mountain towns around and up that way. We stopped in a half dozen little antique stores and general stores. Austin loves all that stuff but we have a hard time with the "see with your eyes and not with your fingers" concept. We went in one antique store and wandered around in what seemed dim lighting. There was a lady asleep on the front porch with a book in her lap… she was in a rocking chair… we didn't bother her, it seemed appropriate for the day, to be napping in the warm spring air. As we were leaving the store the owner came in and turned on the lights and apologized profusely. His girlfriend was supposed to have opened the store - but she was asleep on the front porch. I thought it was funny… the poor guy was steamed…. We left before they got into it. She didn't cost him any sales - we weren't buying anyways.

I don't think I've blogged yet about my car drama. Oy. I went and had a nice little car picnic at Piedmont College in a remote area of the baseball field parking lot and when it was time to go back to the office my car wouldn't start. It was that "one more thing" that sent me over the edge. God bless Theresa, our new employee, I called the office and she came right away to pick me up. I was bawling… and she was so sweet… such a mother hen… "we can fix this…". I boohoo'ed for about an hour before we got ahold of Ginger's husband. He went with me to check the car out - it was the battery - and it just needed jumping off. He said I need to budget for a new one soon, the one I have is original to the car - which is five years old and has *almost* 100,000 miles on it. God has been good.

I had done so much crying about the car Friday afternoon that I was all red faced and blotchy and puffy. I looked a pitiful mess. Purple Michael always says I look pretty when I cry but I think he's just being nice. At any rate… Duane and I finally chatted about salary - had my six month review - with me looking all sad and pitiful - Friday afternoon. Duane said some nice things, which made me feel better. When he hired me I was quite a wild card, more than he knew at the time. He knew I had moved around quite a bit over the previous two years - really, between October 2006 and October 2008 I worked for 4 different agents! He knew that I had been working only part-time with Kathy and that I had a spotty attendance record. Honestly, I couldn't tell him anything more than that it was my intention to do better… be more stable… put down roots… I couldn't tell him then what I had been through and I had no idea of how well I would handle things. But now… six months in, we both know that I'm far stronger than I had thought. And he knows more about what made me sketchy back then… and why it's not a factor now. It looks like there will be an improvement in my earnings, although I don't yet know to what degree. Again, I will say that God has been good. I have seen so many "loaves and fishes" miracles lately… things that last beyond what seems possible… tires…gas… food… energy… Resources that appear from nowhere and last beyond comprehension. And a teenage son that eats like a goat - as in, will eat anything I fix without complaining. He's just as happy to have a bowl of cereal for dinner as a steak. That's a blessing in itself!

Ok.. Time to focus and sell! I miss my facebook friends! Hope you have a great week! Love and hugs!

Friday, April 24, 2009

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

The sun is shining. We're expecting warm weather all weekend. It will be a great time to head to the mountains to explore for a bit. I just walked out to take some trash outside and there was a little bird sitting on the street sign… so very Disney! This can be such an idyllic place. I hope I never lose my sense of wonder and excitement at the world around me.

I saw a lizard yesterday and laughed… it reminded me of Florida…. Seemed like I could never make it from the car to the condo without encountering some slithering beast.

Here I can't make it home without coming across some sort of roadkill. Yesterday evening it was something - I couldn't quite figure out what - that was belly up on the side of the road with all four paws STRAIGHT up in the air. I know dead animals aren't funny but the position of that animal just cracked me up! Just like last Sunday - there was a little bambi on the side of the road with it's neck broken. His head was completely cocked back underneath of him. It reminded me of "in case of emergency, put your head between your knees… and kiss your butt goodbye".
Sorry to make light of roadkill. It's just everywhere around here. More wildlife by the square yard, I imagine.

I also thought it was pretty funny when I passed a bank yesterday with a sign out front advertising an upcoming customer appreciation day. Free tomato plants for everyone. I realized that Austin is really assimilating when he said, "are you going to stop and get one?" He likes the little hanging bag dealie that they keep advertising on tv. We walked through the gardening section of the Ingles last weekend. Austin wanted to take all these poor homeless plants home with us. "Why son? Why would you want to condemn a plant to death?". I can't grow anything.

Yesterday I was driving home from work with my window down and I heard a little thud like a rock hitting the edge of the car door… then I felt something land on my right hand and looked down expecting to see a pebble or something… it was a bee… a big bee… that was either dead or knocked unconscious. I didn't wait to find out, I shook him off. And laughed.

That's my Disney nature environment here - roadkill and dead bumblebees.

Austin has apparently been under an IEP for too long at school. The ninth graders went on a trip to Washington DC. His school is ONLY 9th grade so that took a big chunk of the school. Austin moved here after the sign up and deposit deadline had passed and … honestly… I couldn't have afforded the trip anyways. Our pastor's daughter Abbie, and her friend Mary (our deacon's daughter) both are at the 9th Grade Academy with Austin and both have downs syndrome. I missed Abbie on Wednesday night and asked Austin where she was. He said, "she has already left for DC. She and Mary have an ACCOMODATION on their IEP that prevents them from riding the bus with the other kids on the field trip so they left earlier". I cracked up! He knows way too much about "accomodations" and "IEPs". Abbie and Mary are so sweet together. I'm glad they have one another…

We've done so well on our no spending diet. I'm really proud of us. Last night we had grilled cheese sandwiches and roasted chickpeas for dinner. I've really stretched a dollar farther than I ever imagined possible! There are still some tough budgeting decisions ahead of me but I'm encouraged. The trick is to stay on the no spending diet even when we have a little cash on hand so that we're living cheaper. Last Saturday our splurges were boiled peanuts and a carrot raisin muffin from the German bakery. This Saturday I'm going to plan to take a little picnic into the mountains. I want to take Austin to Blood Mountain. It was a special place for his dad and I… I'd like him to get the connection. It will be a great weekend to walk in the woods… which is free! I've also been doing a good job of brown-bagging, carrying leftovers for lunch and I actually REALLY like it better, not having to try to figure out what I want to eat at lunch time. Today I'm having an egg salad sandwich with mango on the side. It's a perfect day for a car picnic.

Better get back on track… been marketing pretty hard today and needed to take a break from rejection, voice mail and hang ups. *laugh* Hope you have a great weekend! Love and hugs!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

skidamarink a link a dink

Linky-dinky day for you… I haven't taken you guys on a linking expedition lately. Here are some that I enjoy:

Charming local inn -

My news fix -

You know I'm a home-teamer - - There are seriously some great calculators and tips on there!

Thought about getting the laptop repaired here hoping that being small town, local, etc that their price would be better but their estimate was higher than Geek Squad. Que Sera!

I also looked at this place - but it makes me a little nervous to just put my precious laptop in the mail.

Ultimately - it's not a financial priority. I'm going to Jim and Angie's this weekend to catch up on email and facebook. Otherwise, I'll just keep doing my sharpie drawings to entertain myself in the evenings and will follow what I can from the office on blogs and will enjoy the twitter text updates that I get. I gave away a ton of sharpie pictures last night at church. Some of my long time blog readers have been recipients of my previous artistic endeavors.

I never watch things when they're new/current. I've been flipping the channel whenever Friends ends every night instead of watching House of Payne. Then the other day I was distracted and just let it keep playing and there was my goofy friend Jamie Moore… playing a Richard Simmons sort of character… so I started watching and now I love the show!

Need info about your drivers license or tag in Georgia? Try This is a good resource for caring for trees on your property and advice for clearing trees after a storm. After Georgia's drought - followed by a wet and windy season - there are a lot of trees coming down on homes, cars, streets, etc. This website was recommended on the local radio station and it looks interesting.

Is it a full moon? Seems like I'm coming across all kinds of crazy today.

I'm still loving Mamma Mia the musical. We listen to an "oldies" station at work and everytime an old ABBA song comes on, I'm doing office karaoke. I have the CD in my car and it pairs nicely with bright sunshine and with windows rolled down and singing at the top of your lungs.

Although, unfortunately, the pollen is ridiculous right now. My eyes feel like they're full of gravel. They're so puffy you'd think I had an all night cry. Jamie complained of a sore throat last night so Angie put her through the Aunt Heather "Jamie's getting sick" test. I can always tell by her eyes. Her eyes were bright and shiny last night, full of giggles, if you can imagine giggly eyes… Jamie has sort of a cocker spaniel joy about her. I took one look at her and she grinned and I said, "you're not sick!" I shared her spoon at dinner so I hope she's not, anyways! Although, I seem to have build up a tolerance to her illnesses, if you'll remember her bout with the flu back at the beginning of March.

Have I mentioned the "new" girl here at work? She worked here before and then basically had to quit due to some medical issues. She's much better and was able to come back to work. Duane had some reservations about our "alpha female" personalities possibly being in conflict but I quite enjoy her. She's got a strong faith and she's a good listener. We connected right off the bat and I am glad to have her around.

Our office environment is currently very thumbs up. There are definitely worse ways to make a living. I'm loving my new *private* office with the big window and pretty blue flowers outside… I'll post some pictures whenever I get a chance.

My boss' sweet wife gave me a new conditioner to try on my hair - expensive stuff. The result - still - no matter what I try, no matter what it costs, my garnier fructisse always works best and it's cheap. I use the cream when my hair is curly and the oil when it's straight and it does just fine for about $4 a bottle.

I know that it's spring time because my winter stockings are all starting to wear out and get holes in them. I don't wear "pantyhose" because they run too easily. I wear tights. They look better (I think) and last longer. I've had six pair of tights to last me since I got here - so six months worth of wearing four days a week, plus Sundays. That's a pretty good bargain.

My power bill is lower now. We've gotten the power bill down to below $50 a month, which I think is great, considering our place is total electric.

I've been brown bagging to work all week due to my "no spending diet". I forgot this morning. Gonna hit the dollar menu. I've been eating nutrigrain bars for breakfast. I bought a case of them from Costco back in February... living off the bounty of the pantry... but they don't keep me that full... so I have to eat a decent lunch. Grilled cheese is on the menu for dinner. Austin doesn't complain. We had a good dinner at church last night - ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, salad, biscuit and some of that awesome sweet tea.

Ok. That's enough for now. Have a great Thursday! Love and hugs!


Robert - it's "Sautee Nacoochee". Takes some getting used to. Austin no longer snickers at the word, "Nacoochee". I think he's getting used to being here.

Church last night was awesome. It was the last night for our Breaking Free bible study. I tripped up on all kinds of frustration trying to get there.... tried to go to Gainesville to cash a check and couldn't find the bank... so I had driven an hour and a half for nothing.... got home and the dish network was out and the phone was out. It took me about five minutes to realize that they needed to be paid. I scraped together enough and paid that... wondering what else we might miss out on because of that expense but... I'm either at work or church or home. When I'm home, my only entertainment is the internet or tv. The laptop's kaput for now so it's just tv. I paid it. Traffic around the town square was completely blocked as they were hanging new traffic lights... dozens of little frustrations like that... but God's grace is greater. Usually I would have curled up in a little ball and not bothered... but I'm glad I went. My hen party bible study was awesome. Just awesome.

Time to start work already... will be in touch later... love and hugs!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

a little more

A few more things - quickly - I'm on my lunch break but it's about to end!

The guy who had the kidney transplant is doing well. It was Theresa's BIL who was donating the kidney - I had it backwards - but all are well.

Stellan is reportedly doing well.

Child support came. Not what it should be... hopefully I'll stay aggravated long enough to follow through with child support recovery. He's been shorting it by about $150 a month and I'm supposed to just "deal". I want to be compassionate but my creditors are not. Ultimately - he's going to have to figure out a way to pay what he owes. I'm far past being the bitter ex-wife. But geez. Participate, already. Austin eats UH-lot!

I meant for this to be a short and positive post. Really. The sun is shining. Back to work now.

another quickie

It's a beautiful spring day... just wanted to check in and say hello before I start work...

Nothing new really to report. I'm doing pretty good. Been doing lots of sharpie drawings since I don't have the laptop in my lap all evening.

My birthday is in one week! Woohoo! I can't wait to be... 41...

I remember when my friend A.T. and I were 14. She was arguing with her mom about something and her mom said something to the effect that her numbers were reversed... she was 41 and we were 14 so she knew better. A.T. might remember the exact context better than me... but it stuck with me. A.T. will be 41 next Monday, I'll be 41 on Wednesday. We made it, Miss Anne! Of course now Miss Anne is... 68? So I guess she still knows more than us...

I am MISSING my cyber world so much! It feels like another divorce. anyone got a computer they want to loan/sell cheap? No? Oh well. It looks to be another month before the budget will allow me to fix/replace mine and get back online at home. Even then... it's probably going to come down to wisdom teeth or computer.

But... still... life is good... I've been feeling pretty good... been cooking a lot to save money... work has been slow/boring. I met with a father of triplets yesterday about some life insurance for himself. Other than that... no pending sales. Gotta jump in there today and try to make it happen... love and hugs, y'all!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

learning to lean

I'm working therefore I should not be blogging...

I just wanted to menti0n a few *quick* things.

If you're not praying for Stellan, please do so... he's in surgery today...

My co-worker Theresa's brother in law is having a kidney transplant today in Jacksonville. Of all places. She is tearful... but faithful... lift up their family as the day will be long and the outcome is uncertain.

God brings us to and brings us through so many times of trial. If you haven't seen my comments from yesterday... go check 'em now. the fabulous Mr. Drake quoted a beautiful passage from Psalms... along with his incredible words of wisdom. Have I told you lately that I love you?

In the - literally sixty seconds - since I started typing this entry I received an email from my sister Angie and a phone call from my friend Michelle (hello! blast from the past!). God is faithful.

Child support has not come. There has been no child support the entire month of April. I called the childrens' father last night and he was dismissive and insulted and said he was doing the best he could... and said the check is in the mail. I do not know... but I know that God provides and in the time of waiting for God to provide and wondering how He will provide, we grow stronger, just as the fabulous Mr. Drake said in his comment yesterday. (go read it, already!)

Back to work... time to make the donuts... er... sell the insurance! love and hugs, y'all!

Monday, April 20, 2009

laptop / money / turning 41

The laptop seems to be really down for the count this time. It's been revived 3-4 times before when I thought we were done for but I don't think it's gonna happen for us this time. It may be a month or so before I can get it repaired/replaced. In the meantime… I can post here but can't read email or get on facebook. It bothered me *only slightly* over the weekend. I've spent a lot of time coloring with my sharpie markers. I've made a ton of bookmarks.

I'm in my new office now with a door and window and everything. Haven't had our "green stuff" conversation yet. That was supposed to be Friday but didn't happen. I trust God's timing….

And I'm praying that child support shows up. Usually I get it every two weeks and it's been three weeks. This is the worst possible time for him to sketch out on me again. But it's also about that time again… he sketches out every couple of months "not getting any work" or whatever excuse he has. I guess he still hasn't figured out that his kid eats even if his dad doesn't work. Every time this happens I decide I'm going to go through child support recovery to collect on the many many thousands of dollars he owes me from all his "sketchy times" over the years. And then he pays and I get too busy to deal with it. I can guarantee you that even though it's been three weeks since he last paid that he'll pay two weeks worth of child support… that's how it always works with him.

We're nickel and diming our way through to next payday. I just get up every morning and ask that God provide "our daily bread". So far, so good! It's requiring careful planning but honestly, if I could learn to spend as carefully all the time, we'd be better off. Like with Kelli and her "no spending diet". I'm just trying to make good use of my resources.

I made a great casserole Saturday night - penne pasta, ground beef, ro-tel tomatoes, red and orange peppers and american cheese. This was stuff I had on hand. It made enough for 2 1/2 meals for us… and we ate until we were stuffed!

Today I have pintos in the crockpot and we'll have cornbread with 'em! Oddly, my child loves beans with fresh onion. He's easy. I bought a case of nutrigrain bars and a case of instant oatmeal back in February and we're able to use that for breakfast. I'm doing either leftovers or pb&j for lunch. I'm sorta proud of myself for being resourceful.

Interesting conversation with Barry via text Saturday night. I haven't really talked about him much lately because the situation is pretty much … as it has been forever… in a holding pattern. We were talking about my birthday - whether or not we could get together. (my birthday is on the 29th!) I'm not holding my breath.

I've had great birthdays over the past few years. Purple Michael and I took that fabulous bed and breakfast weekend for my 37th birthday… which still ranks among my most favorite trips in my whole life! Then there was Michael and the trip to Boston for my 38th birthday… and even though my other two birthdays with Michael were scaled down from the initial "bait and switch" of that weekend… Michael was always incredibly generous with me on birthdays. I'm grateful for those times with him.

I'm also grateful to be in a place now where I remember the pain/frustration much less and remember the good times more often. That can be tricky… that white hot anger kept me from missing him. Remembering good stuff makes me regret that we couldn't get the rest of it right. I would rather miss him than hate him. It's easier for me to forgive and feel an occasional sting than it is to remain bitter and angry.

Austin and I were talking about numbers in the bible and the fact that 40 is the number of testing/trial/tribulation. Whenever you see 40 - you know the people are "going through". Think about it - 40 years in the wilderness for the Israelites. Noah in the ark for 40 days. Jesus being tempted for 40 days.

So it was with 40 for me… it was a time of trial. I'm glad to be turning 41. I hope I'm past that time of trial. Not that bad things will never happen to me again - we should all be so lucky, right? I was praying about someone special and sort of whining before the Lord out of fear / uncertainty / hesitancy and God spoke so clearly to my heart and said, "I'll never let you be hurt like that again". Ok… let me clarify a bit… if I trust God and stay within His will for my life and don't try to put cart before horse and if I use what I've learned from the past three years.

Better post this and get my nose back to the grindstone. I need to sell something in the worst way! Love and hugs, y'all!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

praying for Stellan

This will show you both the power of prayer and the reach of the internet...

Stellan is a baby who has a heart defect. His mother's blog is another tear-jerker...

people have been sending in "praying for Stellan" pictures from all over the world... check out the link

thankful thursday

How do I convince Stubby that "the boy" likes him WAAAAY mre than me and that he should be rubbing his nub on him and not me?

Remember the odd knee pain I mentioned last weekend? Today I remembered why my knee was hurting... my desk is not a desk, it's two tables put together and last week I slammed my knee into the leg of the table... I remembered this when I did it again today!

I have a sore throat.

End of complaints... because today has been another really awesome day.

I just talked to Angie... they're on their way to Myrtle Beach. Our youth group went to Myrtle Beach every summer and it was such a great time. Jim takes his youth group there too... and he has to go to some training or something or other. I'm taking care of Princess the cat while they're gone... which means I run by their house and dump cat food and water in her bowls. Princess is incredibly anti-social. She gets excited about seeing me since I feed her.

Sarabeth gave a presentation at school yesterday about their mission trip to Brunswick, GA over spring break. They worked at a mission that helps sailors (I think... sorry, I haven't seen the presentation). Sarabeth did great... which is huge for her because she's really shy. But she had a couple of meltdowns last night. It was like the stress of it all got to her. I SOOOOO get that! I'm not the least bit shy but I definitely feel sapped after dealing with people and being social. I have to balance social time with nest time. Bless her sweet little heart...

I mentioned that there are some things changing in our office. It's sort of like pulling back the layers of an onion... looking at the threads in a colorful tapestry... bit by bit things fall into place in ways that we can't begin to comprehend. Ginger will be moving into the desk in the lobby where she can assist with payments, routing customers to the other agents and doing lots of other administrative things that she enjoys and excels at. I will be moving into an office where I can concentrate more on marketing and sales and doing things that I'm trained to do... and that will *hopefully* increase my commissions. Ginger is really excited because she doesn't enjoy sales. (I've been there, God has really helped me become more bold and confident in sales and I'm completely in a different place there than I was a year ago!) I'm really excited because constantly being distracted by taking payments and interruptions while I was on the phone trying to market... and being interrupted as people came into the lobby made it HARD for me. I'm relieved. She's relieved. Everyone is happy and people are in the roles that they're best at in our office. I think that's very God.

Tomorrow we're gonna talk about some of the other stuff. The green stuff. Praying that goes well... really, at this point, anything will help... my salary is not my validation. I don't expect to become rich doing what I do. I just want to pay my bills and not have to be worried that the lights will be cut off or that the repo man will pick my car up while I sleep. I just want to make enough money to honor the debts I have and to support myself and my kid.

I think they don't even need to do the last few weeks of American Idol. The biggest standout this season is Adam Lambert. I think he's just amazing... I don't always like his arrangements but I love his voice. And he's a cutie patootie! I know there are other people on the show but they seem like such amateurs in comparison.

Purple Michael got a job doing a summer theatre program. They're doing Kiss Me Kate. I'm so excited for him! I can't tell you how badly I want to just pick up and move to Chicago to do this show with him... if Michael's doing a show... I should be there by his side.... we're a team... except... I have to stay here and be a responsible adult and keep my day job.

It's time for TMZ! I love it!

Hope you have a great Thankful Thursday! love and hugs!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

lots of good stuff

Why is it that every time I sit down to type a blog entry, the first thing that pops into my head is, "wow, what a day!".

Isaiah 52 rocks. More about that in a minute.

Today was payday. I took care of some things that were really hanging heavy over my head. I'm broke until next payday *grin*... but I'm not stressed. Today.

My wisdom teeth will be taken out on June 4th. One was bad enough that the health insurance will cover it. The other three are covered under dental insurance. Even though I have an insurance license, I don't quite understand how that all works. All I know is that *fortunately* my health insurance will cover the sedation and all that stuff which is really expensive... so my out of pocket isn't too bad. I will need to bank some comp time between now and then so I'm not missing out on income.

The real problem is not the day to day expenses for me. It's the fact that I don't make enough money to pay my bills and have anything left over for anything the least little bit beyond. There's no savings. No credit cards. No retirement. That's what gets stressful. When the money is gone, it's really gone.

BTW... thanks for the offer of a "Save Heather" fundraiser, Robert. I have visions of my smiling face scotch taped to a mason jar on the counter of a seven-eleven store *laugh*... I think the real issue is not ME and my constant budgetary shortfall, it's ALL the single moms/underpaid/working poor around us. Seriously. If anything, I would support anything that helps the working poor. People who just need a hand up, not a hand out. I am good at what I do. I work hard. I am just underpaid. I fall in between... I make too much money to qualify for any "handouts" but I don't make enough money to get by. It's frustrating.

But I did have a great chat with Duane last night about the stress situation... and we talked again this morning... he's going to change our bonus structure so that I'm getting bonus for more of the stuff I do... and our office structure is going to change a bit so that I'll be able to do more agent stuff and less receptionist stuff... and we're going to sit down on Friday and talk about my base salary. The thing is... I don't WANT a handout... I want to be paid what I'm worth. I'm good at what I do, I'm well trained, I'm a valuable employee. Duane reiterated that to me today, which was nice. And seriously, anything helps.

The cool/God part of that is that last Thursday night when Angie and I sat and talked at North Georgia BBQ and I just boohoo'ed and had a complete emotional breakdown... one thing we agreed to pray about was that Duane would increase my salary. It ain't done yet... but it looks positive. I'll tell ya... having a sister (not sister in law, she's a real sister to me) who will let you get all sobby and snotty and pray with you specifically .. that's a huge blessing.

Having a boss who asks sincerely, "what can I do to help your stress?" and responds when you answer. That's a huge blessing.

I wrote on my hand today, "Isaiah 52:2"... the cool/God part of that... this woman came into my office this afternoon - a divine appointment - and she shared a little of what she has been going through: heartbreaking divorce, financial struggle, issues with her teenager - seriously, how did she end up at MY desk? And she asked what the reference on my hand meant. I told her that was my verse for the day. Here's what it says:

Shake off your dust;
rise up, sit enthroned, O Jerusalem.
Free yourself from the chains on your neck,
O captive Daughter of Zion.

Good stuff, right? Let me give you the Heather translation:

Get your pouty butt out of bed. Realize who you are - get on your throne, Princess! Realize that you're not a prisoner.

She said, "Oh! That's MY verse for the day! I think God meant for you to share that with me!" She had just come from the courthouse where she had been dealing with a child custody issue. I gave her the index card that I wrote the verse on. She asked me to sign and date it for her.... like an artist.... *grin*... my handwriting is pretty cool... and I used a pretty blue marker.... but the real work of art is how God weaves these kind of experiences into our lives. And that warm, fuzzy feeling wouldn't have happened if I hadn't had a time of trial... and if she hadn't had a time of trial... how many things happen so that we will know that He is God?

Austin is cooking dinner - french fries. We're skipping church tonight because my class isn't meeting - my leader is at the Tea Party in Atlanta. And it was spaghetti night. God bless the sweet ladies who fix our Wednesday night meals. I just really don't care for the spaghetti. I'm not sure french fries are a more nutritious option... I'll fix something else to go with it.

Anyways... I share my down in the dumps moments with you so that I can share the good stuff too. Today was lots of good stuff. Love and hugs, y'all.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

its gonna be ok....

Is it still Monday?

No. Really. It's ok. My facebook status is, "It's gonna be ok". That's more wishful thinking than knowledge at this point but...

I think I freaked everyone out with my phrase from Rich Mullins' song... Hold Me Jesus... it's a beautiful song. It's been released by Big Daddy Weave.... a Christian group that I really like.

I went to the oral surgeon today. The short version of his diagnosis is stress. If I can stop being stressed, I will stop clenching my jaw and the pain will stop. Surgically, he can't do anything to allieviate stress. He said at this point that surgery will just add to my stress and if I'm still stressed, it won't completely solve the problem. He offered a psych referral and valium.

Ok. That's not entirely true. He wants to take out my wisdom teeth because that is part of the problem and they should have been taken out twenty years ago. He said twenty five years ago but I don't know anyone who had their wisdom teeth out at fifteen. At least not when I was that age. They may do it that young now. At any rate... I was having babies at twenty and not able to afford time off of work. Oh. Sort of like being forty!

His office is checking to see how much of the cost my health insurance will cover. If I can afford it and can manage to afford a day or two off of work, I'll have my wisdom teeth out. They sure haven't made me any wiser! The valium was actually my pre-surgery medication. I ended up not taking it for two reasons: 1. I would have used it before surgery. I just would have. 2. They charge a flat ten dollar fee to fill prescriptions. I got burned on that deal before when I paid twenty dollars for two prescriptions that - when I got them refilled at my pharmacy up here under my insurance - only cost me 94 cents. Seriously. That's some hefty mark up! He prescribed TWO pills... two valium... and they wanted to charge me ten dollars for those two pills. I refused. They said that since they had already filled the prescription that they were mine, whether or not I took them and I would owe for them. I told them there was no way I was paying ten dollars for two pills that likely would cost me pennies... they said they wouldn't make my appointment for surgery until I settled that account. So I guess I'll be finding a new oral surgeon before I get my wisdom teeth out.

Why am I stressed again? Oh yeah. Things like that. I think that when you're already in pain and already stressed out and when you don't have good coping skills that every little aggravation like that sends you over the edge. I cried the whole 45 minutes home. It didn't help anything.

I tried to make payment arrangements on a bill that I'm behind on. I was not successful. I'm trying. The lady on the other end of the phone was sweet... and kind... and actually encouraging... she was a Christian... she said, "Honey, don't give up, God is still working in your life...." but her supervisor demanded more money than I could pay. I could hear her trying... and I had prayed for someone compassionate so... it just is what it is. I can't do anything to change it at this point. I have to wait until I get paid on Thursday to settle up.

Child support better not be late this time!

As frustrated as I get with my little irritations and inconveniences... they are temporary. I mean... it's stressful now but ultimately it will be ok. I will be ok. I still have a job. I still am healthy enough to work. I have a job. I have great kids... two of 'em with great girls... I have some amazing, beautiful nieces that are the daughters I never had... I have incredible friends...

And now I have a discipline issue with a teenage boy... *ugh*

Love and hugs, y'all....

Monday, April 13, 2009

i've got my words back

Words are coming back. Maybe that only makes sense in my head. I have been in such a "blue" place lately that I haven't even been able to think. I have just been blah. Void. Empty. I've done a good job (I think) of going through the motions. I got up and went to work every day. I missed church one Sunday... but otherwise, I did the things I had to do. Maybe just the bare minimum. This is what it was like in those last few months with Michael... time passed. I got up. I went to work. I came home. I went to bed. Anything else was asking too much.

Over the past week I haven't even wanted to talk on the phone. Ok... I know I rarely EVER want to talk on the phone. Those who get me on the phone should know that it requires an enormous amount of effort on my part. I hate the phone. I have to chat it up and be friendly and charming all day long and when I am not being paid to be friendly and charming, I don't want to have to do it. I mean... it may seem effortless... but it's not. But there is one person I genuinely adore talking to on the phone and I have avoided their calls this past week. I even declined a conversation with Purple Michael this weekend. But he knows. He gets it. He knows what it's like to just not have the energy to speak. Or the wit or creativity. It shouldn't be that hard but sometimes it is.

That continuous stream of consciousness was so that I can say... I'm feeling better. Less numb. Less overwhelmed. Less frustrated/moody/sad/whatever... there are still some things that are troubling me.... I'm still feeling a little bit of "woe is me"... "what's the point?"... "will it ever end"... but I'm able to articulate those feelings now. I found my words again. The real fear for me begins when I am unable to feel without tears... or when I am unable to feel at all. That happens sometimes. By the grace of God, that doesn't happen often but it does. So if I seem distant, rude, less than entertaining... if I seem like a slacker... if I seem like I don't respond / answer / comment / participate... if you think I don't care... if it seems like my blog entries are boring or scarce... please know that it's not you, it's me. Please know that there are times that the words are gone.

Austin spent the day with the youth group on some outing. Sadly, I don't even know exactly where they went or what they are doing. He needed to be at the church at 7:45 - but since I had staff meeting this morning, I dropped him off at Bubba's at 7:15... I am supposed to pick him up around 8pm.... I checked deep enough to find out the time parameters and whether or not he needed money. I'll be there to pick him up. It was just something that I knew Bubba was handling and therefore I didn't need to add it to my stress list.

Work was busy and stressful. I'm really discouraged at work right now. Part of it is pride... part of it is frustration... I'm still stuck out in the lobby, and in a way it's a compliment in that Duane wants me to be the friendly face people see when they come through the door. Sometimes it makes me feel like I'm back at "start"... back to being a receptionist... after seven years at my job, being licensed in two states, knowing more than just about anybody else in the office... I mean, it's sometimes ridiculous when I have to leave the "receptionist desk" to go answer questions for people in big cozy offices. That's a completely selfish perspective but it's how I feel. I'm not feeling the whole job satisfaction thing. I'm not making near the money I made before. Even when I sell stuff, the commission just isn't making the difference. I'm working hard... working Saturdays... trying to be positive and appreciative ... yes, I know that I'm lucky to have a job. I don't know where i'd be WITHOUT my job... but it still sucks that one bad relationship set me back so far in my career. It's just wrong.

And in that whole ... lack of job satisfaction / not being able to pay my bills on what I make / feeling like I've lost ground careerwise because of "one bad relationship"... it makes it really frustrating to put so much time and energy into work that I don't have time or energy for anything. else. in. life. I'm definitely having some quality of life issues! And that takes me back around to feeling overwhelmed and frustrated and trapped... what do I do? I'm trained to do what I'm trained to do... I'm living life on a bare bones budget... there's no room to cut corners, there ARE no corners... I'm praying that things don't get cut off or repo'ed or turned over to creditors... I'm praying to be able to pay doctor bills and keep my head above water and all along, I'm a bit bitter that I'm in the position I'm in... again, because of ONE BAD RELATIONSHIP. It's like it all heads back to that one grave mistake. Not in marrying Michael, that wasn't the mistake. The mistake was that FIRST date. Second date. The date after the first time he showed me what he's really made of. The date after the first time he made me cry. The date after the first time he told me my kids' cat was a deal breaker. The date after his kid was a brat and he let him be. The date after Michael punched my kid. It's not just about regrets... it's not about moving on... it's about the constant prison of consequences for allowing him access to my heart and life. It's about the prison of being afraid to ever give anyone else that kind of access. It's about the prison of having my skills and abilities taken for granted, not being appropriately compensated and not. having. the option to do anything else.

Again. I'm finding words... as long as I'm talking, you don't have to worry about me. When I stop talking, that's when it's hitting too deep for me to be able to function. So far, I'm functioning.

Tomorrow I go back to see the Oral Surgeon. Hopefully he'll have some miracle cure short of surgery to make this ear/jaw pain go away. Being in pain makes everything else seem so much more oppressive. It wears you down and wears you out. I don't want to be "that person" with the chronic pain issues... I'm too young for that! The really sad thing is that I'm excited about going to the doctor just because it means leaving work early. I SSSOOOO need a vacation!

Ok... time to hit save and get ready to go get Austin... Monday is almost over!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sarabeth and Jamie in their Easter dresses

This morning we got up early and went to the Sunrise service at church. It was cold! It's been a long time since I went to an easter service that wasn't Catholic. I couldn't help but think about those last three Easters with Michael. Holidays always bring memories... but being at church for the early service... and then having breakfast at church... was nice. I waited with Ciara, who keeps the kids in the nursery during praise team practice, until time for Sunday School and got some great pictures of the girls... and cuddles from my friend Michelle's baby Elizabeth and my friend Cindy's daughter Christy. I get lots of baby girl love around here!
Sunday School was good... then we had a packed out worship service. I had a hard time saving Jim and Angie's place! It was a great service... all day I've had a bad headache and have just sort of powered through it... it's Easter, you know? Couldn't hibernate from the world today. Austin is back home and is his same messy and goofy self.... I'm nesting tonight and then... back on the hamster wheel tomorrow... hope you had a blessed Easter! love and hugs!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

my day so far

So far today I have....

woke up at 6:30
watched the news
caught up on email
started a load of laundry
got dressed
stopped by McDonalds for a medium nonfat hazelnut latte (it's not quite starbucks but it will do)
went to Walmart for pantyhose, toilet paper and Austin's easter basket stuff
bought myself a new pack of sharpies (always cheers me up)
bought Krispy Kreme donuts for Austin's breakfast in the morning from a Pastor who was raising money for his church. Is it tax deductible?
went to the office
had my usual fruit and yogurt for breakfast
calculated my hours and realized that if I worked more than 2 hours I would be over my "limit" for this pay period
turned on the phones and unlocked the front door but didn't put the "agent on duty" sign in the yard (not feeling that ambitious)
talked to a guy whose car got impounded for no insurance
met with a lady who wants to buy four life insurance policies (say a prayer, that's good bonus money!)
met with a couple who needed to review their auto and homeowner's insurance
helped a guy who had two cars damaged by hail last night
talked again with the guy whose car is impounded - the owner of the car moved back to Laos before they signed the title over to him, explained what he needed to do (basically, he's out of luck until Monday)
realized I had exceeded my two hours
left the office
went to the Amish bakery for multi-grain bread, dinner rolls and a treat for Austin
(it almost sounds like I'm excited to have him back home, doesn't it?)
found the LAST parking spot at Ingles and grabbed the LAST shopping cart
bought essentials for the week (meat, milk, frozen dinners)
waited in line for twenty minutes while the three fat ladies in front of me bought $500 worth of groceries, most of it with food stamps (I'm not bitter but geez... I'm working six days a week and barely getting by)
loaded groceries in car
realized my left knee is tender
got home
unloaded groceries
remembered we need cat litter
carried a load of trash to the dumpster
checked the mail - nothing good
went back to the little walmart knockoff store and bought cat litter
came home and discovered that Austin has been just pouring new litter on top of old litter
discovered that there is a pile of litter three inches thick around the litterbox
swept up most of it
tried to vacuum the rest
burned up the motor in my vacuum cleaner
swept up what I could
added "buy a new vacuum" to the list of things I need to do and can't afford
gathered dirty dishes from around the house
put fresh litter box together for the cat
changed his food and water
loaded dishwasher
cleaned out fridge
discovered soured load of towels in dryer, took them out
took out load I washed this morning from washer and put in dryer
put load of sour towels in the washer to wash again
discovered I had washed a shoe in the load of wash this morning
put together Austin's easter basket and hid it
checked email and facebook again
emptied trash can in my bathroom
debated cooking lunch
decided to do blog entry instead

It's 1pm. Ask me why I'm tired all the time. I would love to have another bill-paying, kid-minding, chore-doing adult in the house.

Friday, April 10, 2009

all day Friday

(started at work this morning....)

Friday burnout. Can't focus on work… just want to focus on the weather. We're having crazy storms this morning. My ear is KILLING me… and I'm here at work mostly staring out the big storefront windows watching the skies grow darker and darker. The radio is playing, "She's a bad mamma jamma". What does that mean, exactly? I wish we could get the Christian station here. We can really only pick up two stations - country or oldies. We do the oldies. They also play the Braves games. I missed watching the Braves while I was in Florida. Now I miss watching Sportscenter with Bobby. That kid never developed a healthy appreciation for cartoons - it was always sports. I'm hoping that he and his dad are having a good time together this Easter weekend. I asked if I could send Bobby a basket and Michael asked that I not… so that he can "move on". Funny how the words "move on" translate in my head as "forget you ever existed". How unfair for everyone…. Poor kid has lost too many people in his life… but I guess it's inconvenient for him to remember a step-mother that his father would like to forget.

Did I tell you guys about the worm farmers who came into my office yesterday? This blog sometimes writes itself. Two gay men who are going from interior design to worm farming. This is not a joke. I've never written a farm policy before so I did a bit of research. You can add an endorsement to your farm policy that includes sperm and frozen embryos of animals that you're breeding. I had no idea.

I have a friend who says, "Like I said…" all the time, before every sentence. Even if she hasn't said anything yet. It's a nervous little habit. It's endearing.

There is a girl starting work with us on Monday who has worked for Duane before. She had a chronic illness that is now under control and she is well enough to work full time again. Duane debated over whether or not to rehire her since we're both - as he so delicately put it - "alpha females". I think we'll do fine. I like people with strong personalities. Sometimes too much for my own good - that may be why there's always drama in my life. Come to think of it, though, I really haven't had much drama lately. There are the same stressful things that everyone deals with - trying to pay bills and stay afloat, not having enough time to do everything I want to do, having to work too much and play too little, things that break and kids that don't mind. I don't really consider that drama, though, that's just life. Drama would be having major conflict in your life. I just don't. Maybe it's the meds. Ha!

Anyways… this new/old girl reminds me of my friend Amy at my uncle's office. Strong personality, straightforward, tell it like it is… I'm looking forward to getting to know her. I think we'll have a good time together. I hope so, anyways, I don't know that I have the strength for drama any more. I shared with her a little bit last week about what brought me here. I know that sometimes I seem sort of out of context… all of a sudden I'm this girl with a strange past… at least here… I'm a stranger… I wasn't born and raised here. Everyone who lives here was either born here or has a story of why they came. People don't just "happen by".

Last night while I was waiting with Jim and Angie, the couple I was sitting with tried to tell me about a new restaurant that had just opened up. The guy said, "it's in that place that… so and so's used to be"… and his wife scolded him, "she hasn't been here but just six months… she doesn't know what used to be where". That's part of my problem with directions. Everyone gives directions by landmarks. I don't know enough history to know where stuff was.

There is this guy who walks back and forth in front of our office all day. Kinda weird. I mean - he doesn't just pace or stalk or anything but we're obviously in the path of wherever he is going. At first he used to look in the window but I guess me staring back at him made him uncomfortable so he doesn't look now.

Taco Bell for lunch. Big mistake. It always seems like a good idea - but then I end up dropping something on myself… and I end up feeling icky the rest of the afternoon.

We had pea sized hail for a few minutes. I doubt that it was enough to cause any damage but… you never know. I've done more hail damage claims in the last year than the rest of my time put together. Of course, part of that time was in Florida and the weather is just different there. It's rained all day so far… I keep checking the radar… looks like we'll have a break for the next few hours. The worst of it is over Nashville right now (it's currently 2:10pm eastern).

I've been writing this entry all day. I'm just so worn out by the time I get home in the evening that all my creativity has dissipated. Or never existed? I don't know… all I want to do this week is sleep… I can't even drag myself out of bed in the morning and that's really unusual for me. I am usually up with the chickens. Of course… I'm not going to sleep at 9pm like I used to in Jax either.

I'm home now... 7:16pm... tornado warnings, green sky, hard rain and bad thunderstorms. I imagine that things are going to be a bit busier at work tomorrow than I had anticipated. I have two appointments scheduled back to back, both could take awhile... which means it will be hard to help folks with claims...

This durn cat is glued to me... every time the thunder sounds he jumps out of his fur. Scaredy cat!

I wanted to do some deep introspective post on the meaning of Good Friday but I'm really only doing that surface thinking thing today. I'm feeling peaceful... there's an issue that has been sort of hanging over me but I'm not stressed out about it today... whatever will be... feeling protected and loved... God is good. Gonna hit "save" before I lose internet or power... have a great evening. Love and hugs, y'all!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

same stuff, different day

Wow. What a day! I think I'm starting my blog entries like that an awful lot lately...

The weather was gorgeous. It's surreal to go from snow to sunshine in two days... but that's Georgia for you!

I had a car picnic for lunch... a burger king kids meal with apple slices and apple juice.

After work I went to North Georgia BBQ with Jim, Angie and the girls. North Georgia BBQ is basically a little bbq shack with some picnic tables outside in Helen. Warm weather means that we can get bbq! I got there a little ahead of Jim and Angie but (of course) there was a couple there that I knew from church so I just sat and chatted with them while I waited. Then we just joined this couple...

One of the great things about being a "full-time aunt" instead of just a holiday/birthday aunt is the little routines we develop. Sarabeth always shares my meal at N Ga BBQ... she eats the garlic bread and the fries, I eat the meat and the cole slaw... as soon as I sat down she came over to take her place by my plate.

Jim went on to church for the Maundy Thursday service. They didn't have child care so Angie had planned not to go. Angie and I just sat there and soaked up the springtime sunshine... and caught up a bit... I'm so blessed to have a sister. That may not make sense to most of you but being the only girl out of five kids... I never really had that "sister" relationship. It's also great to watch the girls and their silly sister relationship... they're so sweet!

I gave the girls their big castle rug that mawmaw bought them... and sent home with me last weekend.... Sarabeth was amazed by it... Jamie was distracted by having to go potty.

I can't even remember what this post was supposed to be about. I'm chasing rabbits tonight, for sure. I had a hard time getting out of bed this morning... better get on to bed so I don't have trouble tomorrow too.

Sorry for the boring post... love and hugs, y'all!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

my happy Wednesday

I couldn't do it every day but I do love my "leave work early" Wednesdays! The flip side is that I have to work on Saturday but... eh.... it's ok. I left work today and the sun was shining and everything was in bloom and colorful... I picked up some mushy veggies from the Cottage House... a little "meat and three" home cooking place... I picked up a loaf of bread from the Amish bakery... I came home, straightened up just a tiny little bit and then changed into my pjs. I'm in my nest with the *thankfully* still functioning laptop... my bible... my remote... my new Good Housekeeping magazine. God is good.

I'm watching old episodes of Jon and Kate. The kids are so cute but there's so much dysfunction that I never really noticed before. Reality tv is the modern day freak show. I don't mean that Jon and Kate are freaks... I just mean that we have this fascination with things that are out of the ordinary.

I know that I'm the dealer of a lot of "internet crack" and that I have gotten my long time blog readers hooked on a lot of cyber-addictions... but I have to say that I'm enjoying the twitter thing. At first I didn't really get it... it's better now. I have my "tweets" going straight to my cellphone now... which is cool. I hate to talk on the phone but I enjoy texts. Especially when the work day gets long and tedious...

I do have Whitney to keep me company during the workday, even though she's in Jacksonville. We bounce marketing ideas off of each other... ask each other questions... brag on our little successes... and just in general keep up with each other. I miss her! There's not much I miss about Jacksonville but I do miss Whitney!

I made the mistake of going into Austin's room this afternoon. I thought for one BRIEF second about cleaning it and then thought... why put myself through that stress? It will wait for him. We really do need to do a deep spring cleaning here.... but not today. I'm having one... more.... day... to rest. This is my "stay-cation" since I can't take a vacation... I'm chillin' out... ignoring the phone... ignoring the mess... having a break.

Hope you're all safe and happy and feelin' the love...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Do you hear that sound? *sigh* It's peace. I miss Austin. I promise, I do. Ok, the truth is that I have never been the kind of mom who mourns for her kids when they're away. I don't need to talk to them every day. I don't worry about them. The only exception to that is when I left Cody behind and moved to Jacksonville... but that was different... I didn't know that everything would be ok.... I didn't know anything would ever be ok in my life again. A week here and there... it's good. It's healthy. From the minute your babies are born you have to start preparing for the day they will leave the nest. So I miss Austin... the last one in my nest... but I'm enjoying a break.

His stupid cat, on the other hand, may not survive. My "inspirational thought for the day that gets written on the back of my hand" has been "CAT" for the past two days. I have to remember to feed Stubby the 3legged Wondercat and also Princess, Angie's completely unsociable cat. Princess comes with a disclaimer from Jamie, "don't touch her, she doesn't like people". However, Princess has learned that when I get to her house, her bowl gets filled. She welcomes me and it almost sounded like she was purring today. I still don't touch her. Stubby, on the other hand, is my siamese twin. Ick.

We had snow flurries all day. I love that - since I'm such a southern girl - that falling snow still makes me giggle like a sixth grade girl passing a note. The snow didn't accumulate at all and it never snowed very hard but it was SNOW! In April!

My ear/jaw pain has been off the charts today... coming in waves that take my breath away. I see the doctor next Tuesday. Meanwhile I'm sorta halfway doing the things that are supposed to make it hurt less but ... I've also sorta halfway given up on it.

Max on TMZ - the blonde one that I think is so cute - just made a comment that he is "no good at insurance". They were talking about how kids of sports stars usually grow up to be good at sports. Apparently he has a parent who sells insurance. *sigh* That endears him to me even more...

Such interesting characters come through my office. We had an article on the company website today that talked about how people in corporate America are getting themselves into trouble with facebook and twitter... so maybe I shouldn't share my "interesting client" stories. But I will. Last week I quoted insurance for an elderly man who was illiterate. It broke my heart. He needed to take the quote home to show his wife and I tried to make sure he understood it all. How? How in the world are there people living around us who are illiterate? Today I visited with a man whose son is a missionary to China. The son is coming home for a few months and needed a car - and insurance.

Time for American Idol... love and hugs, y'all!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Bring the Rain or snow?

There is a beautiful song that has been posted on Angie Smith's blog with a new and incredibly powerful message. Because the song is from Selah's cd that will not be released until August, Angie only has permission to post the song until Tuesday, April 7th.

Tomorrow is the first anniversary of the day that Audrey Caroline was born and died. Many of you have followed Angie's story with me... so you can appreciate how beautiful this song must be to her.

I don't know what the copyright limitations are so I'm not posting all the lyrics as I normally would but here's a precious line from the song...

But when anything that’s shattered
Is laid before the Lord
Just watch and see
It will not be

Today I talked to an old friend (ok, she's not THAT old... we're the same age... what I mean is that I've known her a long time). She has been through a situation very similar to what I went through... down to the strange text... looking at the verizon bill and realizing that something isn't right... having her husband bring his girlfriend around the family. The difference is that her marriage lasted 21 years and she had three children with this guy. I cannot. Really can. not. imagine the heartache. People tell me all the time that I am strong. I think the strong ones are the ones who don't overdose because their husband tells them he doesn't love them. I think the strong ones are the ones who keep going and stay put and make a normal life for their kids. I ran. I fled. I bailed. I quit. It was one year of marriage for me. God bless the women who lose the love they shared for a lifetime. I can't imagine that kind of pain.

I'm not blue today. I'm just uniquely aware of pain around me. Feeling empathy. Knowing what it means to feel shattered. And also knowing the amazing strength that comes from surviving to put the pieces back together!

Today was another crazy Monday at work. I don't know what it is. I'm glad we have a lot of work, a lot of clients, I'm glad that there is stuff to do... but my head is spinning. My house, however, is blissfully quiet! I'm going to bed early tonight but tomorrow I have to actually do things like take out the trash and hang up my clean laundry and wash dishes. Not tonight. Tonight I'll nest.

Have you guys checked out my son Ryan's blog yet? It's sorta edgy so I haven't exactly pimped him... he writes honestly, just like I do... and sometimes I cringe at the "we were so trashed" sort of things. I'm also reading the blog of a certain young lady who has captured Booboo's heart. I'm posting both links here because I know my blogger babes/mother hens will enjoy these blogs like I do. I'm still waiting for Joshy to update his blog since returning from his honeymoon. I'm posting his link too. If you stop by one of these blogs, tell 'em I sent ya!

They're predicting snow for us tonight. I refuse to believe it. It is bitterly cold outside. Not Minnesota cold. But cold for April in Georgia. The wind is howling!

I have some emails and some comments to answer but I'm brain dead tonight.... gonna curl up in the nest and zzzzzzzzzz.
Love and hugs, y'all!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

my great weekend - so far

Power cord #3 has crapped out on me but miraculously, power cord #2 is working again. I don't understand it but can't afford to fix things now. Anyone who wants to donate to the "Repair Heather's Laptop" fund are welcome to. I was ready to drop it off at the Geek Squad yesterday and all of a sudden their promise of $50 same day repair ballooned to $159 and three weeks. Thanks but no thanks. I'll just have to leave work early one day this week to go see the local guy and take my chances there.

Incidentally, there is also a "catch Heather's car payment up" fund and a "buy new tires" fund. *laugh* I'm stretched thin financially but God is good. I'm staying afloat although I may not be building the best credit rating, I'm hanging in there!

I have discovered (after six months, yes, I'm a slow learner) that my DISH network includes Sirius radio. I have been alternating between Broadway show musicals and Christian pop. Good times! My tv is pre-programmed to take me to the shows I want to watch. At 6pm TCM is playing one of my all time favorite movies - the original "Yours, Mine and Ours" starring Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda. If you haven't seen it, you MUST! It's adorable!

I skipped church this morning. Jim and Angie and Austin are all out of town. I just wanted to sleep until I couldn't sleep any more for once. I slept until 9am. It felt amazing! I had bought coffee yesterday (after being out for over a month) and an Atlanta Journal Sunday paper (early edition) and some of those incredible cinnamon twists at Publix so I had breakfast in bed with my newspaper. Indulgent, yes, but why not? Once in a blue moon...

Yesterday was just a wonderful day. Austin and I headed south to take him to mawmaw and pop's for a week. We stopped at Oodles of Noodles, this little restaurant that we discovered that serves (guess what?) all kinds of noodle dishes. They do asian (I had pad thai) and italian (he had shrimp scampi). We went to the Christian book store and I bought two books... one is on bible customs and curiousities - which is really interesting and makes the bible make more sense.

Once I dumped my kid on my parents... I went into my old hometown and just soaked up some of the old sites... the wisteria is in bloom so I visited all my favorite wisteria patches. I paid a bill. Went to the thrift store and bought two pairs of capris, two new dresses, four new shirts - all for $21! I spent quite awhile in the thrift store but it's great think time for me.

As I left the thrift store I got a call from Cory... he had too much to do to hang out with me but offered to meet me for a few minutes.... we spent those few minutes shopping at Walmart! We spend hours on the phone every day so it was kinda weird to be live and in person but you know... if you enjoy the person, even the mundane is fun.

I headed back to the hills but stopped off at the last Publix before leaving civilization and stocked up with a few of my favorites... then drove thru Chickfila for dinner (and a salad for lunch today!) I had a great time just singing along to the radio and having some time of uninterrupted thought and meditation and prayer. Really... a very good day!

Barry gave me a half-hearted "maybe" about coming up to visit today. He also said he'd let me know when he got off work yesterday so we could hang out for a bit and I haven't heard from him yet. It's just how it works with him. I'm not the least bit concerned. God brings the right people into my life at the right time and I'm more than happy. God is good.

I'm not sure how much this craptop will cooperate... but I have the twitter thing posted to my blog so you can get those updates. I haven't been able to figure out how to get tweets on my cellphone or how to update the facebook status from my cell... but there's at least a way that you'll know I'm still alive! I'm looking forward to a peaceful week - even if I'm not off work.

have a beautiful Sunday! love and hugs, y'all!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

teenager for sale

The phone is ringing and I'm not answering it so if it's you, I'm sorry.

People are getting on my nerves today. Ok. Not all people. But enough people that I am done with people for the day. Email me. Oh. I have a couple of emails that I haven't responded to. I will. Later. Right now I'm just grumpy.

I am so sick of Austin not doing his chores. So sick. Today I screamed myself hoarse at him. I'm not really a screamer. Usually when I'm angry I speak soft and slow thru clenched teeth. Austin has had the same chore expectations since the day we moved in here. He has YET to have completed them before I get home. What's worse... when I come home and get on to him about his chores he gets mad at ME for fussing at him. I'm so done. I feel like I traded one prison for another. I'm not a slave driver. His chores essentially consist of him cleaning up behind himself. Horrible things like... not throwing his clothes and shoes in the middle of my living room.... Yes, I'm a mean mother. Today I told him that if his chores were done when I got home that we'd order pizza. They weren't done. We aren't ordering pizza. He asked if we could order once he finished his chores. That wasn't the offer... if his chores were DONE when I got home. He just doesn't get the whole concept of following directions. When he got ugly with me about his no pizza punishment I told him he could spend his spring break at home learning how to do chores.

Now. Seriously. I am not really interested in keeping him here during spring break. He wants to see his dad - who he hasn't seen since Thanksgiving since his dad stood him up on Christmas. He wants to visit with mawmaw and pop. I want/need a break. I went from the hospital to the stress of finding a job and a home to the stress of being in the midst of being a single, full-time working mom. I haven't had the opportunity to catch my breath. I've dealt with a series of illnesses for the past year that have been unrelenting. I. need. a. break. But I also need something that will get his attention.

So now... he's in his room pouting. Not cleaning, not trying to earn grace... just having a good old fashioned tantrum. That's ok. You can't out-tantrum me!

Whatever happened to thankful Thursday? Hmmm... let me see what I can work up... it was another crazy busy day at work. I sold a life policy... it's about $50 worth of commission... not huge but it's $50 I didn't have before. If I could sell one policy like that a day, I would actually be able to pay all my bills in the same month I incurred them. What a novel idea!

I really wanted pizza for dinner. That whole thing, "this hurts me more than it hurts you..." sometimes holds true.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

random wednesday

If you feed a goat grass seed he will fertilize your yard.

Goat poop is pellets, not piles. The seed mixes with the poop and grows a nice lawn. And then the goat can trim it for you. That's the ultimate in recycling!

Deer poop is also pellets.

I learned this in Bible Study tonight. I love my Bible Study girls! It's the best hen party around.

We talk about more than just poop. But our conversations do turn toward goats an awful lot.

I really feel like a city girl in there.

Watching the American Idol results show.

I mailed my signed divorce papers back to Duval County today.

I went to the post office in Cleveland to mail them. When I came out there were some beautiful tulips. I bent down to get a good angle for the shot and I remembered some other tulips... in Boston... my birthday three years ago... when Michael and I were in the "honeymoon" phase of our relationship and he was still my Prince Charming and I was still Cinderella. There was a beautiful patch of tulips and I knelt to get a good shot... and he took a picture of me taking a picture of the tulips. I think it was his favorite picture of me. I don't have that picture any more or I would share it...
But as I knelt to capture the perfect tulip shot I remembered that other time... and I laughed. God has such a perfect way of bringing things full circle.
April 1, 2006 was our first date. April 1, 2009 I answered his petition for divorce.
Duane notorized my paperwork for me... he asked, "is this an emotional thing?" Because he's such a guy's guy... but he's smart enough to realize that girls are emotional about such things... and he's compassionate enough to realize that it might not be the happiest of moments for me. I answered honestly, "no, I'm past the emotion. this is just the paperwork".
It really was. Just paperwork.
My heart of hearts knew that the big joke was on me, three years ago. I'm sad for what we put ourselves through. I'm sad that it couldn't be fixed... but...
I watched Jamie walk into the fellowship hall tonight and watched her search the room... and when she made eye contact with me her face lit up and she started skipping over to see me.
Of course, I should mention that Jamie being Jamie, she got distracted over by the salad bar and I didn't get my "squeeze" until after dinner... but Sarabeth came right over with hugs... and I got to have dinner with Bubba and Angie and Abbie and Ciara and Natalie...
My friend Natalie is leaving tomorrow for Switzerland.
My brother Bryan and his girlfriend Candice leave tomorrow for Paris.
Bubba, Angie and the girls are going on a camping/mission trip next week.
Austin will be with my parents for Spring Break.
It's gonna be lonely here in these hills. I thought about taking a road trip somewhere but then I thought... hmmm... staying home... I'm gonna enjoy myself. After all, I have to work next week... no spring break for me...
Our church is compiling a book of people who have experienced answered prayer.
We're invited to write an essay telling about a time where we are certain God answered our prayers... my challenge... how do I tell my story in a way that is suitable for all audiences? I would have to leave out a lot... and my conviction is that I can only tell my story when/if I can tell it in a way that doesn't slander Michael. As I was praying about how to approach this... I felt in my heart that the answer is to write the essay and then let Michael read it. If it doesn't make him feel uncomfortable, then it would be ok to share. Isn't that the real demonstration of a changed life, letting go of my dogged determination to tell everything I know everywhere I go regardless of how it impacts others in my world? How could I write something that is intended to glorify God if it hurts someone else? Anyone else.
Ryan reconnected with an old friend while he was here over the last week. It's a girl who he knew in elementary school. Way back in 5th grade I would tell him, "Marie sure is a cutie...." "I think you should like Marie...." and finally... they went out. He's smitten. I think she is too. Does it make me a stalker mom if I'm reading her blog? She worries that by reading her blog I'll think she's crazy...
Little does she know, right?
Ryan's mom loves crazy.
Have a great evening. Love and hugs, y'all!