My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

whiny wednesday... you're invited to a pity party

I'm really tired of summer. It's time for the seasons to change.

Today is my brother Bryan's birthday. On the way home yesterday I was calculating Bryan's age... letseeeee... born in 1978, which makes him ... hmmmm.... 33... but that would make me 43???

I have a theory that women don't necessarily lie about their age... they just forget.

Today is also my nephew Caleb's birthday. He's 7... and that means our Jamie doll will soon be 7 as they were born just a few months apart. I had such great hopes that they would be "best cousins" having been born so close together. I don't think they really even know each other. Occasionally Sarabeth, Jamie and myself will review "who are the people in our family" and I always mention Elizabeth, Caleb, Madie and Joshua... although they don't really know them. Which always makes me sad...

Anyways... it's been a physically trying week for me so far... it's just my reality, unfortunately, when I don't rest enough on the weekend, the pain is far worse during the week. Every now and then I need to get out with the three dimensional people which means every now and then I'm going to suffer a bit more. I'm battling a sore throat and earache as well... and if there were enough hours in the day for dealing with such things, I would make a doctor appointment to check those out. There just isn't time.

The plan is for Austin to go back to school today... I'll take him and pick him up. This is not a workable plan long term because it's waaaay out of the way and will burn quite a bit of gas and put me on the road much longer than I wanna be or feel like being BUT... hopefully he will be able to line up a ride home on Thursday and Friday with his friends who drive. As much as I hate putting him in the car with an inexperienced driver... my options are to either have him miss more school, have me miss more work or let him catch a ride. Single parenting is not for the faint of heart. The rules change when you're a single mom... you just do the best you can.

Watching the Atlanta news in the morning makes me glad I live 90 miles away from Atlanta. Not that there isn't any crime here... there just isn't MUCH.

It's Whiny Wednesday... I think I've whined enough without making a list today.... but... I'll give it a shot:

1. The cat pulled down my bedroom curtains... must be re-hung.
2. Austin didn't empty the dishwasher as requested last night.
3. Payday is tomorrow... (ok, that's a blessing not a whine... but it's owed out as soon as it comes in)
4. I'm tired and sick and in pain and the last thing in the world I want to do is drive all the way across the county twice today but ... there's no one to do it except me.
5. I don't get to see either of my relatives with birthdays today... I miss my brother and my little nephew.
6. I've still got to inventory and tag the clothes for the Super Consignment Sale in two weeks.
7. My head hurts. That information belongs with the earlier comment (#4) but I forgot to mention it back then.
8. Gosh I'm tired. And discouraged. And exhausted. And redundant.
9. I dreamed about Purple Michael last night which made me wake up missing him.
10. The cat formerly known as Lex and/or Lish, now more accurately named Trouble just came slinking out of the bathroom with a roll of toilet paper in his mouth. Apparently he was going to have a party...

Ok.... enough of that. Time to bring this pity party to an end and put on my big girl drawers and deal with it.

Hope you have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

newsday tuesday

Well... it's Tuesday which means I survived Monday... but just barely. I was in a lot of pain yesterday and we were busy busy busy at work. The day went by quickly and I came home completely exhausted. But it's done. Monday is over for this week.

Today is my sweet Cody's birthday - 21 years old. Long time blog readers and real life friends are shaking their heads, just like me, how could Cody be 21? Funny thing about kids... you feed them, water them, give them a little sunshine and ballpark dirt and they grow up before you know it. They had a little party for Cody over the weekend but I wasn't able to drive down for it. Bummed about that... but... it is my life for now.

Work. Sleep. Work. Sleep.

When I pulled up to the house yesterday Ellen was on her porch, Austin was on our porch and James was on his porch... it's like the whole building was outside watching for me to come home. Even Trouble (the cat formerly known as Lex-i-lish-us) was at my window meowing for me. It was kinda funny. I mean, they weren't REALLY waiting on me but it was still funny.

James' wife, Maribel, who is Columbian (and beautiful and incredibly kind) had made some kind of stew... they sent over a big bowl for mine and Austin's dinner. It was delicious! I love our neighbors.

Austin's foot is still very painful. I'm having a major logistical dilemma because he really needs to go back to school tomorrow and there is no way he can walk to the bus stop and back. I'm not sure he can navigate the halls at school either but at least that's indoors. I can easily take him to the bus stop but picking him up would require me to leave work at 4pm. Actually... a little before. AND since our office is shorthanded... if I leave early, it creates a burden for my co-workers. So my options are: keep my kid out of school... make my kid go to school and suffer walking home from the bus stop... or be the office deadbeat again/still.

Being a working mom means you always have to make these kind of decisions. You're always letting someone down. It's frustrating.

My belly is unsettled this morning. Gonna be a golden day!

I've got to do some additional research on Rick Perry.

I've found a lady who lives in our neighborhood who has some clothes to give away in my size, which, you may have noticed from the pictures from Saturday, my size has increased. I'm not thrilled about it... I definitely haven't "given up"... but I'm dealing with several medications that cause weight gain... and those are medications that... for now... I can't function without. If I leave even one dose of one drug out of my regimen, I am barely able to walk. It's not good. Weight gain makes my back hurt... missing meds makes my back hurt... it's a vicious cycle.

I love Stuart Varney. He's such a chipper fella.

As of midday yesterday Ryan's power was still out. He is in Zionsville, PA. They lost power, had a few trees down and had some basement flooding.

Why is prayer no longer acceptable in America? Seems like every day there's a new news story with some big hullaballou about people not being able to pray here or there. It's one thing to force someone to pray... but if people, as a group, determine that they want to anoint their gathering with a word of prayer, why is that such a big deal? Prayer is like Kegel exercises... I can do it without you even knowing it.

No, I'm not going to explain what Kegel exercises are. Look it up.

I've got to do more research about what foods help with inflammation and what foods aggravate it. I had a lot of tomatoes yesterday and I was at a whole new level of pain.

Have I mentioned that there is a three day weekend coming? I will probably mention it every day this week. Not that I don't love my job... and appreciate the fact that I have a job when so many don't... just that working is so painful. Nobody likes pain. Well. Maybe some people do but I'm not one of them.

I guess that's all the "news" for now. Hope you have an awesome Tuesday. Love and hugs!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Reasons to love Monday.

Oh joy, oh joy. It's Monday again. Time for us to rise above circumstances and find reasons to love Monday. Help me, will you?

1. Austin's foot never stopped bleeding... I took him to Urgent Care, they wouldn't accept our insurance so I had to call my dad in tears asking if he could cover the bill for us until we could file the claim. He did. I know there are a lot of people who don't have anyone to turn to and I don't take it for granted. My daddy takes good care of us... and so does my Heavenly Daddy. Austin will be ok... had to have the super surgical glue and some butterflies... the main thing is to keep him off it as much as possible and keep it clean. I love Monday because I don't have to wake Austin up today.

2. Next Monday is a day off... and I love Monday because this is the last REAL Monday I'll have until September 12th.

3. Since we went to the farm on Saturday... for the first time all Summer... (I know, shame on me) I have a bowl of tomatoes and basil waiting for me for lunch today. Mmmm! And I have some of Nadines fabulous quinoa salad as well... I'll be back to the farm this weekend. I forgot how much I loved it.

4. Payday is Thursday. Lord willing, it's going to be a bigger paycheck than usual because it's a longer pay period and so far, by the Grace of God, I haven't missed any work this month. There have been days... trust me... when I didn't think I was going to make it... but with us being shorthanded, I didn't want to put the burden on my co-workers. It's been a very hectic, very busy month. I love Monday because it's an opportunity for me to earn a living.

5. Speaking of work, one of the reasons I love Monday is that I have such great clients. I have clients who have become friends :waving to Angie: and friends who have become clients and some that I can't even remember which came first... but regardless... 99 percent of the people I deal with are a pleasure.

6. I love Monday because at the end of a long work day, I have a really cute apartment to come home to. I kept saying that I wanted a cabin in the woods but I realize that for now, it's better for me to have people nearby. This is a good neighborhood for us. Everyone says hello. Everyone keeps an eye out for you. Everyone is friendly and sociable. I need that.

7. I love Monday because each hot, summer Monday we get through gets us closer to fall and I can't WAIT for it to start growing cooler so that I can turn off the a/c, open the windows and enjoy the fresh mountain air.

8. I love Monday because it only comes once a week.

9. I love Monday because I have a full gas tank and I won't have to stop to fill up today.

SO... that's the list for this week... hope you have an awesome, happy, successful, positive, marvelous Monday!

Love and hugs!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

our busy weekend...

Gina visits with Tique - the Winery Cat...
Gina at Babyland General...
Me at Babyland...
Gina and Austin visit with an alpaca at Loganberry Heritage Farms
Austin pedals to make the goat feed go up on the roof...
Sisters united by chocolate...
Wondering what's happening in the nest this weekend? It has been eventful...

On Friday Austin hung out with his girlfriend Charity after school.
Charity went to the high school football game but Austin didn't want to go - he hates football.
Austin got a new video game through his Gamefly rental service which we are using instead of Netflix.
My friend Gina came up from Atlanta and I gave her a tour of the "highlights" of Helen.
We went to North Georgia BBQ for lunch...
the Candy shop for a small little chocolate treat...
we went to Fred's Peanut Shack and sampled peach cider, muscadine cider, pork rinds, fried peanuts... Austin bought peanut brittle.
We went to Goats On The Roof and fed the goats who were... as it turns out... actually on the roof.
We went to Loganberry Heritage Farm for the Garlic Festival... sampled different garlics... bought some of Nadine's awesome quinoa salad, some tomatoes, basil and corn on the cob... petted alpacas... talked to the chickens and the cows and Organic Rose and Phillip and Cyndi and Jazminne... and walked TOO much.
We saw three deer cross the road but failed to get a picture of it.
We went to Babyland General so that Gina could witness the *magic* of a cabbage patch baby being born.
We went to Habersham Winery and did a wine tasting...
Austin went across the street to Jumping Goat Coffee Roasters and got a cup of coffee while Gina and I sat in a shady spot and chatted with some nice people who were visiting from South Carolina.
We came back to the house and chatted and visited with my fur babies and then Gina headed back south.
Alex came over to pick out a stuffed animal to spend the night with him.
Alex's mama came over to tell me not to let him come over because she can't chase him (she has emphysema).
Logan and Hillary came by to check out our new nest... and I got to see the "baby bump"... who will eventually become Iridessa Skye.
Logan, Hillary and Austin went to Walmart and for the first time I didn't have to suffer the chaos that results from Logan and Austin shopping together.
Logan came back to spend the night with Austin.
Austin cut his foot and I woke up to lots of blood. Ugh.
I was slapped with a migraine - unrelated to any of the above events.
I watched upteen hours of Hurricane Irene coverage.
We got child support.
I went grocery shopping.
I uploaded pictures from yesterday. Didn't take many - I'll snag some of Gina's once she posts them.
I ate baked goldfish for breakfast so I didn't get nauseated from taking meds to eliminate the migraine.
I'm making beef stew in the crockpot for dinner.
Ellen from upstairs said to send Austin up for her to check out his cut (once he wakes up).
He woke up... it's still pouring blood... debating going to urgent care. Ugh.

Friday, August 26, 2011

name change

It started when I realized I was almost out of business cards.

I thought... hmmm... if I'm going to get new cards, I might as well drop the Darby from my name.
On facebook and in my personal life, I use the name I was born with...
Professionally I've been hesitant because of my sales agreement and my license both being Darby.
But really... what spurred me to action was a mental image of the name "Darby" on my tombstone.
I was born Heather Nancine Gant and I want to die Heather Nancine Gant.
Not that it will be soon. But you never know.
SO yesterday I set the wheels in motion, talked to the Department of Insurance, found out what my company required... called the Clerk of Courts.
I can have the company name change fairly quickly.
The Department of Insurance takes a little longer.
The court filing fees are $207.50... which I don't have at the moment but I'm going to find it.
And then I have to run it in the paper for 4 weeks... in the legals... which will cost $80.
Very soon I will have gotten the darby out of my life completely.

In other news... there is a client who I bonded with... he's an older guy, very hard to understand due to the effects of a stroke and some parkinson's and the fact that he usually doesn't wear dentures. A Gator fan... loved Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow as much as I did... he called me "Gator Girl"...really loved and appreciated SEC football... we'd talk about it forever. He came in about a month and a half ago and told me he was going to have surgery for cancer... jaw, tongue, etc. It was going to be a very highly involved surgery - he would never be able to eat again... would spend two weeks at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta - then a few weeks relearning to take care of himself before he could come home. The surgery was July 18th. I told him I'd pray - I put the surgery date on my calendar and I have prayed for him since... but I told my co-worker when he left that day that I knew it was the last time I'd ever see him. One of his friends stopped by last week... he was still in ICU, infection, not doing well and seemed to be in a lot of pain. Yesterday my co-worker showed me his name in the paper... the obituaries. I immediately broke down. He didn't have any family... didn't have any money... but he mattered.

There are definitely clients that I dread to see coming... and clients that I enjoy so much that I can't believe I get paid to spend time with them. We have a lot of older clients and I enjoy them... and usually I'm very matter of fact about life and death. This guy... I'll miss him. Lord, let me be the kind of person that people miss when I'm gone.

I'm obsessing about Hurricane Irene. Risk management and all... I'm fascinated by weather. My kid is on his way up i-95 from Tampa to Pennsylvania... so I'm slightly worried about his safe travels... I'll feel better when he makes it home safe and sound. I worry about my brother and his significant other and their significant fur baby there in NYC. I always worry about human suffering. I'll be glued to the Weather Channel for the next three days.

My friend Gina from way back in the theatre days is coming up from Atlanta tomorrow to hang out here in the mountains with me. I'm hoping to show her some of the major highlights of my life here... check out the Garlic Festival at Loganberry Heritage Farm... do a wine tasting at Habersham Winery... go to the bakery... maybe even go to Babyland General. There's lots to see... although I typically avoid Helen because it's so congested. I need to spend time with the three dimensional people.... although I'd rather just stay in my nest... that's not always the best thing to do.

Austin is having girl trouble. Girls are just sketchy. Austin may be rebellious and a little odd at times but he's fairly steady... He doesn't understand why people say one thing and do something else. I told him not to get too hung up on any one girl. Not yet. They're still figuring out who they are and who they want to be when they grow up.

So glad it's Friday.

Hope you're all safe and sound.

Love and hugs!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Yesterday was a trying and emotional day for me. I didn't stay awake long enough to check but it sure feels like a full moon... it was pure lunacy.

I dealt with everything from a demanding client who told me he was coming at the end of the day today and expecting me to stay until he understood his bill...

then got a phone call from someone I dearly love and respect who wanted me to do more than I can do... and once again I got hit with the guilt about how limited I feel physically and how desperately lonely this situation has become for me and how much I feel like my life has slipped away and I can't find the strength to do anything that matters to me... no matter how much it matters to me... and I just don't have the words, articulate though I may be, to explain this to people... and even when I can explain it... it doesn't matter, truly, the fact is I am just not able to do what I want or need to do... and I hung up the phone wiping tears away...

just like I did when Cody asked me to come down for his birthday... and I can't explain to my kid that I love him but I'm not physically able to spend four hours driving over a weekend because I know it will render me unable to work the next full week... if I don't use my weekend to alleviate some of the pressure off my back, the pain is too much for me to work. And I have to work. There aren't enough of us on staff for me to not work. And there aren't enough of me here earning money to pay the bills if I don't work.

Three times this week I've had to say, "i'm sorry, I want to be there... but I physically can't be there" and even if people get it... I just feel so sorry that I'm not who people want me to be any more. I've spent more than a years salary on medical bills this year and it doesn't help... it doesn't fix me... I still have doctors look at me and shake their heads and basically say there's nothing they can do to make me not hurt... except take this pill or that pill or ... stop sitting for 8 hours a day... lose 50 pounds... but don't do any exercise other than swimming or under the guidance of physical therapy...

and so I boohoo'ed the whole way home from work, trying to figure out a way to do what I wanted/needed to do... despite the pain... trying to summon the courage to push through it...

and then the neighbors wanted to consult with me about a blow up between their child and mine at school... they were very kind and it wasn't accusatory or anything, it was just a "we have a problem and we need to work on it", which I appreciate. They understand Austin and they have a wisdom that I respect... I'm really growing to love these folks for how kind and well, neighborly, they have been to us. it was just more conflict and discussion than I wanted to deal with at the end of the day when I was already emotional.

And then, in the mail, I have a judgment against me for a credit card from Jacksonville that had a $500 balance, which, by the time I got settled and had the money to start repaying it, they had tacked on over a thousand dollars more in interest, which I disputed unsuccessfully... and now I have to pay over $2000 in interest and fees... which I am court ordered to repay at the rate of $100 a month - my savings in rent, fortunately/unfortunately, since the lightning strike...

And so I thought we were on our way to church, as Austin had a volunteer to bring him home (God bless Vanessa!) but then he decided he wasn't going to go unless Logan could go but then I'd have to drive all the way back to Cleveland AND I would need to stay long enough to take Logan home. I was struggling to even get there myself... and then Austin refused to go if Logan couldn't go because he said nobody else wanted to talk to him - other than grownups - which I doubt is true, entirely, but I understand that Logan is his security blanket.

and after all that drama... my stomach cramps came back and I was doubled over in pain... actually, came back is not the right term... reared up and geared up... and I debated calling 9-1-1 but decided to just take my meds and go to sleep.

but the cats were fighting and screeching and ... finally I went to sleep... after doing none of what I wanted to do. Again.

So this morning I wake up and am stuffed up and congested and short of breath and the stomach cramps are there - milder - but still - and I am going to get my glam on... do the best I can to pull myself together and go to work... until "as long as it takes" to make this guy understand his billing.

Because that's just how I roll these days. Work. Sleep. And pretty much nothing else.

And now... with that lengthy continuation from Whiny Wednesday... it's time for me to change to my Thankful Thursday attitude:

1. I'm thankful for a job. Many days it feels like too much for me physically... but I love what I do and I love the people I meet.

2. Yesterday I had two different clients ... wait... actually... I had four different clients! who told me how much they enjoyed working with me and how much they appreciate me. So... four "yays" and one "nay" is actually a pretty good day.

3. I'm so grateful that we do have good neighbors... that Austin is accepted here... that it's more than just a transitional home, as many apartment dwellers look at it... it's a home, a real neighborhood, with people who know each other and care about each other and care about the relationships they have with their neighbor.

4. I'm grateful for people who love me enough to say, "I know you hurt but I miss you and want to see you". Because it's not easy to convince me, not easy to overcome my objections. It would be easier for them not to push me... it's nice to be loved.

5. I'm grateful that God moved us from where we were to where we are. I can see now how important it was for me to be in a place that allowed more give in my budget.... so that every little interruption in income, every addition in obligation wouldn't be devastating.

6. I'm grateful for my little car being paid off... for it's awesome gas mileage...

7. I'm grateful for two little furry cuddle kitties who like to perch on either side of me, as close at they can get.

8. I'm grateful for the beauty all around me... not just in the natural beauty of this place, but the beautiful souls that surround me and encourage me and catch me when I fall.

And... I'm even grateful for the rebellious nearly grown kid that I've had to attempt to wake up - FOUR TIMES this morning so far. He's dragging. I'm dragging. But we're still moving...

God is good.
Have a great Thursday y'all...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My Least Favorite Things

I am so glad it's Whiny Wednesday because I have a list all ready to go! Sometimes this blog just writes itself... You know how Oprah has(had) her My Favorite Things show once a year and gave everything she featured to her audience. I imagine that was UH-lot of fun! Well, this is my LEAST favorite things blog entry and I promise I will NOT give you what I talk about today.

1. Pharmaceuticals. Hate them. Don't want to take them. They make me gain weight and don't give me the one hundred percent completely back to normal recovery I want. BUMMER!

2. Cat litter. Two cats - 1 litter box - no matter how often we change it completely, no matter what litter we use... inevitably there's gonna be a smell. OoooOOo that smell... can't you smell that smell?

3. The little subscription cards that come inside magazines. I've bought your magazine already. Leave me alone.

4. Mean people. Continuing from yesterday's theme. There is one girl in school in particular that treats Austin like something she dragged in from the pasture on her boot... and what's worse... she treats Austin's girlfriend unkindly because of her association with Austin... how I wish I could go back in time and be nicer. I wasn't out and out mean but there were a lot of people I just flat out ignored... or failed to intervene when others were being mean. And I know of at least two of our high school classmates who committed suicide, in part because of how they were treated in high school.

5. Being gimpy. I hate it. I hate when I go to pick something up and realize I can't. I hate that I don't feel like jumping in my car and going on a road trip. I hate that every step is painful most days. I hate that I'm so exhausted by pain that I limp in the door at the end of the day and that my kid is stuck here because I'm too tired to drive. Not fair.

6. Being shorthanded at work. It's taking a toll on the three of us... mentally, physically... I had a miserable headache yesterday that went from my temples all the way down my spine. I was popping ibuprofen like m&m's and I couldn't get rid of it. It made me fuzzy... made the simplest tasks much more difficult and I have no doubt that I made mistakes... yet... there was no way I could leave. We were just too busy. We still have the same production goals, the same number of customers, same responsibilities (plus some)... we just have two fewer people than we did last year.

7. Summer heat. ENOUGH already. I was hoping for a brush of the outer bands of Irene to bring us some good soaking rains and temporary cooling. .

8. Political rhetoric. Who do you believe? How can you tell? Who has the time to sort through it all? Certainly not your average working American voter. The unemployed and under-employed might. Not this girl. I try to catch the last ten minutes of The Five on Fox every evening. I try to catch snippets of a variety of different perspectives throughout the day but still... too many lies, too much misleading information, too much racism (that cuts both ways) and we have 15 more months of it.

9. Dizziness, headaches, aching hands and feet, hip pain, spine pain, muscle spasms, chest congestion, muscle weakness, exhaustion... I'm dealing with at least four of these at any given moment. I told you I wasn't going to share from my least favorite things list... aren't you glad? Who wants any of that junk? Not me. Not me at all. Had enough. Been there, bought the t-shirt. I want to be whole and strong and not be Aunt No-Show and Mommy No-Show and Less Productive Worker and Home-churched... all the titles I'm wearing because of the turn my life has taken. I hate it.

10. Selfishness. Lack of compassion. Inability to see beyond yourself. Myself. In a world filled with suffering... Lord, make my focus less on what I can't do, but more on what I CAN do. Help me to look beyond my own challenges and see those who are hurting, those I can encourage, those I could help. Let me use what I have learned to help others. Burden my heart Lord for those less capable, less fortunate, the unloved and the lonely. Let me see their pain and let me meet them there... and lift them up... just as I am continually lifted up.

What's bugging you today?
Hope your troubles are few and your victories are many!
Love and hugs, y'all!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Newsday tuesday... finding common ground

I've been thinking about mean people a lot lately. It's inevitable that I would come across them... being in a customer service type position that brings me in touch with the general public. And... being very open and vulnerable in sharing my thoughts over the internet... and just, in general, living and breathing in a world filled with discord.

Someone I love very much is being treated unkindly by someone in their every day life. It makes me angry... there's no sense in it.

In fact... I find very little use for confrontation... as there are very few people who are skilled at constructive confrontation. People tend to resort to name calling and meanness instead of giving feedback that will allow room for necessary change. See... if you put someone's character on the defensive they will be so busy defending *WHO THEY ARE* that they won't be able to understand the fault you're finding in *WHAT THEY DO*.

Phrases like, "the tea party can go to hell"... for instance... does that really bring our nation closer together? Does that help resolve any political differences? I think it just makes each side hold more firmly to their beliefs and REFUSE to listen to each other. If you attack someone's character, they're not going to listen to your perspective.

I spoke with a client yesterday who is struggling financially. Part of my job is to call people who are in danger of losing their insurance coverage due to non-payment. I'm good at it because I know - all too well - what it's like to be on the other side of that phone call. I'm compassionate and at times, encouraging. Yesterday was such a time... a woman, like me, single mom with three kids, working two jobs, unable to make ends meet... trying to take care of her disabled sister... and I knew she was discouraged. I shared some of my personal story with her... and she shared with me... and ultimately, although both of us had been through trying times, we were able to encourage one another.

If I had stayed on my high horse of professional licensed insurance agent she would have left feeling embarassed that her credit card was declined... and I suppose, to some degree, I should remain removed from such situations... but I saw the tears forming in her eyes and I knew how she felt! And I told her I knew how she felt... and I shared with her a time or two that I had stood in a check out line doing mental arithmetic trying to determine if I needed to put something back. I met her where she was... financially challenged... discouraged... and sought to bring her up to where, by the grace of God, I am right now (at the moment, always subject to change).

This blog is like that, or at least I hope it is. If I share my open, honest and vulnerable heart with you, right or wrong, if I am willing to be transparent... you may see yourself in my words. You might disagree with some of my politics or my faith... but sooner or later... you're going to see character traits or experiences or feelings that you can identify with. We'll find ourselves on common ground. And once we're on common ground, we can have a civilized discussion in a non-threatening way about the things that we disagree about... the things that make us different.

This same lady is teaching a Sunday School class of "misfits"... a few kids with Asperger's... a kid with paranoid schizophrenia... a gay teenager... these are all kids who haven't been able to find a place in the church where they feel accepted. What an amazing and compassionate thing for her to do! She brought all these kids who were feeling unwelcome in the church for their differences... and she gave them a common ground where they could meet... and although their issues are all different... they have a common disappointment of not feeling accepted. Probably, to her credit, the most wonderful thing she's doing with this group is not attempting to criticize or change them... she just shows them the love of Christ.

Whether you are a believer in Christ or think Christianity is a bunch of hooey... it's impossible to escape the reality that "you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar"... and without a doubt, I know that my child feels accepted at our church because of the abundance of kindness that he - and I - have both been shown. We're willing to listen to what the church has to say because the church has not attacked us for who we are or what we do... it has kindly, lovingly, modeled a more excellent way.

It's something to think about... you're never going to shout anyone down from their position... but you might be able to speak softly so that they incline their ear to hear what you have to say.

The wonder pill that I thought had put me on the road to being pain free... well, notsomuch. Yesterday was a relapse of sorts... by mid afternoon I couldn't straighten up. Again. It's discouraging. I had some other discouraging news yesterday... a policy I sold didn't come back at the price I quoted... that always bums me out. It was a busy day and I was exhausted by the time I got home. Austin fixed pork chops on the grill for dinner... I fixed rice for me and cheesy noodles with broccoli for him... and was asleep before 8.

God, give me the strength for another day... and give me the compassion to see the person, not the problem... and to show them enough love that they are willing to hear my words. May we all face the world with fewer accusations and more kindness...

Have a good day, y'all.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Reasons to Love Monday... home sweet home

It's here again... and I have to tell you.... I'm ready for a three day weekend. Fortunately we have one on the horizon... two weeks from now I'll be writing a "reasons to love Monday - holiday edition"... But for now, it's just a regular old RTLM... here goes:

1. We are not having staff meeting this morning. Not that I don't LOVE staff meetings... I just don't love being at work early on Monday. That's all. Thirty minutes more weekend!

2. I believe this new drug I'm on is working better than anything we've tried so far. It may be the combination of drugs is finally right. I don't know. I'm feeling stronger and the pain is better. I hate to jinx it but this may be the ticket. I'm still on a lower dose because they ease you into it to minimize the side effects... and last week the side effects were painful abdominal cramps. I've figured out that if I stay very well hydrated I don't get the cramps. Once the cramps eased up, I realized my back (and hands and feet) weren't hurting as bad. It's expensive... but... it's not narcotic and it doesn't make me feel like i have medicine head... and it helps. If you want to look it up (or use it) it's called savella.

3. Our house looks so much better... there are still boxes in my room that have to be sorted through and a few in Austin's closet ... but the main living areas of the house look great and it feels like home. It actually feels more like home than the duplex ever did. I just need a pink Christmas tree to complete the look...

4. I've felt stronger over the past week or so and have therefore had better production numbers at work. I'm not financially motivated but I am competitive. I like to win. I feel like I'm winning again.

5. Fall and all that it entails are right around the corner... it won't be many more Mondays until I can break out the cute boots and tights...

6. With every day that passes we're that much closer to the College Football season! Go Gators!

7. Austin was so cooperative this weekend. I'm so thankful for his help in getting the house in order... his help with the cooking... his cooperation with shopping. It makes a huge difference.

8. With Austin's help and some financial blessings we were able to have a real grocery shopping trip. I had been shopping for a day or two at a time and that's taxing on me. Having a fully stocked pantry and full stocked fridge makes it feel more like home.

9. We had been calling the new kitty every name in the book. His tag says, "Lex" but Austin called him Little Sh*t or LS for short. I called him Lish - for Lexilicious - so I was still incorporating Austin's name. This is a really big deal to Austin. He gets crazy offended if you call a cat other than the name he gives it. Yesterday I was cuddling the kitty and said, "you are so much trouble!" and Austin said, "that's it! his name should be trouble" and so it is. He's a doll baby... so curious... a little hunter... There will never be a cat that takes Bitty's place in my heart but this baby - Trouble - comes close.

10. When I moved here from Jacksonville, my sweet friend Amy, aka Vicky Lynn, gave me the contents of her mother's kitchen - her mother had recently passed away and her stuff was in boxes in Amy's garage. To my delight, her mother had a teapot collection... which is awesome because I collect teacups... I decided yesterday to set the table with a collection that had almost the full set... it's in the picture above. I need some placemats for it but as it is, it's really precious and it feels so much like home!

So that's the list for this week... five long work days stretch before me and I know that inevitably there will be pain, there will be struggle, there will be obstacles and there will be frustration but at the end of the day... I can come home and enjoy this beautiful place that God has provided for us.

Have a great week, y'all! Love and hugs!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

what's on your label?

My cute kid...

If you haven't read yesterday's comments, you should. I so dearly love an intelligent counterpoint. Though our politics have always been vastly different, I have found that I could learn so much from Mr. Drake... as he has always listened to and respected my point of view. I would hold our friendship up as an example of what we need in America. He makes it easier to see things from a different vantage point.

Or, as we say around here: you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. He has never changed my mind but he has, on many occasions, made me dig deeper into my heart, soul and psyche to gain a better grasp on what I believe.

I agree that we need to have more than one source for information. Every morning I watch an hour of the local news, an hour of Fox and Friends and an hour of the Today show. During the day I check Fox News, CNN and the Drudge Report. I also consult my Higher Power asking for wisdom and discernment.

There are precious few people in my life with whom I really discuss politics because it is such a deeply personal thing. There are a lot of issues that I intentionally avoid... those that I'm on the fence over, those that I'm not as well informed as I would want to be, those that would be hurtful to people I care about if I made a bold statement one way or another. There's so much I don't know, so much I'm uninformed about, so many questions I can't answer for myself that I wouldn't dare try to answer for anyone else.

The undeniable truth is that our country is broken... our world is broken... there is more human suffering out there than I can begin to wrap my mind around. We are deeply divided as a human race and as a nation. And no matter who we elect, there is only one answer, one solution that I believe is guaranteed to work: Jesus. "In this world you will have trouble but take heart, I HAVE overcome the world" (paraphrased by Heather) When people don't like the answer to the question, they keep searching for another answer... and so we end up where we are today... with lots of seekers and very few people who know true peace.

Austin shared with me that someone in our community labeled our friend and youth pastor (who is also Austin's mentor through the Catalyst class) as a "Jesus Freak"... Austin was offended that someone would call Jamie that... I was impressed! What an impact to have on your community, to be so outspoken for the cause of Christ that you're called a Jesus Freak! The truth is that more people need to speak up for what they believe in without fear - or without caring - what label it causes them to receive. We need to be willing to be labeled.

My prayer is that if I were accused of being a follower of Christ that there would be enough evidence to convict me.

My prayer is that when I reach of crossroads that calls for a courageous answer, that I would be meek but not weak.

My prayer is that I would be respectable and respectful.

My prayer is that I extend the same kind of love toward others of all different codes and creeds and lifestyles and politics that Jesus showed when He walked the earth. May I be allowed to see them through the eyes of Jesus, through the compassion of Christ.

My prayer is to live my live in such a way that if anyone says anything bad about me, nobody else would believe it.

My prayer is that I would not be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. I may not understand it all... I may not be able to speak with authority on all theological points but no matter what evidence for or against it, it is life to me.

My faith sustains me. My church supports me. My God has never left me, no matter what I have done.

And like I always say... if I get to the end of my life and find there is nothing more, I will still have had a better life for having believed.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Heather in Wonderland...

Still musing about yesterday's post. As my dear friend Mark pointed out, people of all races are dependent on government assistance. I didn't mean to sound like I just see it all in black and white. My perspective for that blog entry was that slavery has persisted all these years in different forms. Initially it was through poverty and segregation... now it is through government assistance. It grieves my heart to know that so many are unable to escape those chains that bind... when so many have fought so hard for freedom.

The other point that I don't think I established well, having been sleep deprived and against a deadline (having to leave for work)... was that many of the groups who blindly support the Democratic Party as the lesser of evils... are not getting what was promised to them... Why aren't more people asking what have they done for me lately? Is your life better today because of any legislation that has been passed under this administration? Is there anyone reading my blog who can tell me their life is better because of the stimulus packages that were passed? Is anyone's life better because the debt ceiling was raised? Those without health insurance still don't have it... and those who were barely able to afford health insurance are having an even harder time affording it as insurance companies are forced to adjust premiums in anticipation of being forced to accept all comers, regardless of their condition.

It would be like only buying auto insurance after you have an accident. The insurance company couldn't possibly pay claims if they only received premium when there was already a loss. It's absurd to expect private businesses to be obligated to situations where they cannot possibly profit, therefore the only health insurance available will be through the government. I'm not a financial genius - and as one reader rudely pointed out last week, I am "uneducated" - but I have enough common sense to know that any business that can't make a profit can't continue to do business. Do the math... you're going to pay in, say, $3000 annually in premiums once you've already been diagnosed with - let's just use me for example - I've had... oh, I don't know... maybe $30,000 in health care costs this year. What company can stay in business paying out ten times the amount they take in? And that's a modest example. Who subsidizes these insurance companies to keep them in business?

*deep breath* It just grieves me to see how divided we are as a nation. I had a fairly well informed lady in my office yesterday who expressed the perspective that the Republicans opposed raising the debt ceiling because they are racist and want Obama to fail. Personally, I am offended by that. If a white person disagrees with a black person's politics, how does that make the leap to racism? Isn't that racist against the white person... to demote them to being incapable of having a legitimate argument against the process and procedures and politics that has nothing to do with race? There again, just put the chains back on... because you have failed to judge someone based on the content of their character... but because of the color of their skin.

Just like this whole amnesty thing... it doesn't matter if the people coming across the borders illegally are Mexican or Canadian or ... Syrian for that matter... not controlling who is able to enter into your country in this era of terrorism is foolish. We are at war. I guess it's easy to forget that since the attacks within our borders have been minimal but there are millions of people who see Americans as infidels and want us to die. Are we that naive, ten years after 9-11 to believe that we should just throw open the borders and let nameless, anonymous people enter? We are practically molesting people before they board a plane ... but it's unconstitutional to put a law on the books that says that illegal aliens are... illegal..... and therefore should be sent back to their place of origin?

I just feel like Alice in Wonderland... things just keep getting curiouser and curiouser and I feel sometimes like the people with common sense are being maligned for daring to stand up and say, "wait a minute... this is not right!"... But if you disagree with Obama, you're racist. If you want illegal aliens deported, you're racist. If the government wants to spend irresponsibly you're supposed to just open your wallet and let them take and take and take because to speak up is to oppress the poor, which is therefore... racist.

The point of all this is that our American culture is broken. The post World War II generation worked hard, lived within their means and saved whatever they could. My generation has obligated themselves to debt - both personally and nationally - that they can't possibly repay. We believe in freedom of speech, yet those who speak out for anything in opposition to the Democratic agenda are maligned and labeled. We bend over backwards to achieve political correctness but mock Christian values. Put a nativity scene in a town square and you'll find out who has freedom in this country and who doesn't.

I have always had a tolerance for people whose politics and perspective might be different from my own. Sometimes, though, I just watch the things that are going on, the persecution that Christians face, the persecution of hard working Americans, the persecution of anyone who dares to voice opposition to Obama... and it grieves me. I have personally been attacked for my opinions, very recently and it just reinforces my perspective that we aren't free... and that those who consider themselves liberal are in many ways the least tolerant of all.

Anyways... so that's my soapbox for the day... all this before dawn!

Austin stayed up late last night and finished unpacking the living room and kitchen and I am so delighted at the outcome... it looks like a home. I still have a few projects to work on... and we are definitely filling the pantry this weekend...

Gonna grab a shower and set out on a major food run before the rest of the county wakes up.

Love, hugs, peace...

Friday, August 19, 2011


40 acres and a mule.

A chicken in every pot.

I have been musing over the concept of Government Assistance since yesterday... and a lot last night as I couldn't sleep...

In my opinion, we have raised a culture of people on the take, who are unable to provide for themselves, who look to the government as the answer to their every problem. And as the number of people dependent on Uncle Sam for their livelihood grows... their voting power grows... and they continue to elect people who will continue the handouts.

I've talked about this before... the fact that I believe in giving people a hand up not a hand out.
If you give a man a fish, he eats for a meal. If you teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.

I'm obviously a fiscal conservative... I think people should be empowered to do for themselves. I think when people do for themselves, their self-esteem grows... And to be honest... if I was a second or third or fourth generation of a family on welfare, I would be less inclined to push through the pain to go to work every day. Instead... I come from a family that works hard and takes care of their obligations and contributes to society.

I watched a documentary on Lincoln last night and was surprised to hear them make the assertion that Lincoln believed that slavery was wrong but didn't believe the slaves were equal to whites. That offends me.

Yet, I believe our current welfare system is a modern day form of slavery... keeping generations of black people dependent on handouts, unable to provide for their family. I believe that many of those who continue to pass laws that continue handouts or increase handouts do so because they don't believe that people are able to take care of themselves.

Has anyone asked why Obama's "listening tour" didn't take him to any black neighborhoods? I mean, if he wants to hear what average Americans have to say about the job crisis, why didn't he go to some of the hardest hit communities like Detroit?

And I wonder how warmly he's being received in Martha's Vineyard by the rich people he has made out to be villains.

Anyways... it's Friday. I didn't sleep much last night. My body is worn out... but we have a washer and dryer now so it feels like home.

I figured out yesterday that if I would stay hydrated the stomach cramps wouldn't bother me as much. It really helped.

Austin is refusing to go to school today. He made it seven days in a row...

I'm too tired to fight him.

In twelve more hours, Lord willing, I'll be back in the nest. Happy Friday, y'all.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

thankful for my community... thankful thursday...

Today is trash day. I'm thankful for that... it's also the day I clean out my refrigerator. For some reason the furry creatures in my house are fascinated with the corn on the cob I put in the trash. It was past it's prime.

Austin is really enjoying his Economics class. I'm thankful for that too... it's a class he has to pass in order to graduate. Every day he tells me about something else he learns in class. He's also taking U.S. History for the second time. He passed the End of Course Test but failed the class... so although he proved he knew the material, he didn't complete enough course work to pass. Hard lesson for him. His other classes are Study Skills and Catalyst Christian Learning Center.

He has Senior Pictures today. He will only agree to doing one pose - the absolutely necessary one for the yearbook. I'm slightly anxious that he will ditch the whole process. He has to stay after school for about an hour before the photo. I'm meeting him there but I can't leave early enough to get to the school and walk him through the process. I started to but... this is silly, he's a senior for goodness sakes... he needs to be able to figure out where to go. He wants to be grown and is aggravated that I haven't let him start driving but there are still these things where he is completely behind appropriate behavior.

Yesterday I was thinking about how far we've come... I picked this place to come to when we left Jacksonville because I wanted Austin to have a sense of community. He gets on the bus with "Miss Nessa" and rides to school where he has two classes with people who know him well and want the best for him... (the other two I don't know yet)... he has a youth pastor who is deeply involved in his life, who Austin has no hesitation about contacting when he needs something. I grew up in a good church and we were close to our youth pastors but it would have never occurred for me to call any of them for any reason.

When Austin was a tiny little boy we went to Tara Baptist in Jonesboro. Pastor Ron was a sweet man who loved little kids... one day when Austin was about three Pastor Ron said, "Hello Austin!" and Austin said, "Pastor Ron neckerized me!" (recognized) It's so important to him, always has been, that people know who he is. I picked up some change for the office last week while Austin was with me... just drove up to the drive thru, said, "Hi! I'm Heather" told them where I worked and got handed an envelope. Austin was so impressed... he said, "could anybody do that?" I said, "no... I had an errant nickel that was hitchhiking in the last deposit and they had spoken to me about it... I told them when I'd come by to pick it up"... but still, it's a small town thing.

We moved here because it was important to me for him to have a sense of community... a village, of sorts, to help me raise this child. It was important then because we were both healing from such deep emotional hurts... and it's important now because of my physical pain that is so limiting for me. I realized yesterday that I had accomplished exactly what I set out to do... pretty amazing, if you think about it.

We know our neighbors, we know the people who own - or at least work in - a lot of the businesses we go to. I recognize some of my clients just by seeing their car. There is a great sense of community here and I'm thankful for it, but even more, I'm thankful that it's still new enough to us that we don't take it for granted.

Jim and Jamie moved in the dryer on Tuesday and there's still a power supply that has to be put on. Jamie intended to do it yesterday but it has been a busy week for our church as we have had six families that have had a death in the family. Because our church acts like a church should and ministers to people in their time of need... there wasn't time yesterday to finish up the hook up on my dryer. There were grieving people to feed and minister to... and honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way. The same compassion that helped us get settled in and made sure we had the things we need... takes care of others in their time of need. That's what a community does.

And... if I had bought a dryer... it would have been this weekend at the earliest before it would have been set up and ready to go... so we're still way ahead of schedule and ahead of budget to boot!

I'm still struggling to adjust to the new medication they put me on a week ago. It's a gradual dosage, I started with 12.5 mg a day and over the course of two weeks I'm supposed to be working up to 100 mg a day. Apparently the side effects will gradually disappear as your body adjusts. I hate it. My stomach starts cramping about two hours after I take the medication and doesn't stop for the rest of the day. Rough stuff. Makes me want to quit every pill I'm taking and find herbal alternatives. I hate this stuff and I hate the way it makes me feel but even one missed dose of the pharmaceutical cocktail I'm on makes every step pure agony... I have such a love/hate relationship with modern medicine. I'm grateful for insurance but I hate having to need this. I just want a reprieve. Seven months...

I think that's about all there is to talk about this morning... if I think of something else, I'll come back and add it. Hope you have a great day!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

make it a joyful Whiny Wednesday

I really should check my personal email more often... if you email me and I don't respond... please don't take it personally. I just forget.

Child support came yesterday morning, right on time.

Austin has gone to school five days in a row. That may not seem like a big deal but... trust me, this kid had no interest in going to school last year. 169 days to go... and counting.

He wants to make sure he can go to the Homecoming dance with Charity... that's his motivation right now. Whatever it takes.

I think my hen party gets started back tonight... I'm so out of the loop that I am not sure. I want to be able to go. I want something more to my life than working and being exhausted from working. This week I've come home both days with such horrible tummy cramps that I can barely stand... love new meds....

I think I'm going to just change my expectations... go for twenty minutes... half an hour... whatever I can do and leave when I need to. I feel like so many people have given up on me... forgotten me... written me off... and maybe they should. I definitely am not finding strength to do much more than what I have to do to keep a roof over our heads.

Asleep before 8 last night... awake at 3am.

I have a dryer! Jim and Jamie moved it in yesterday afternoon. The power cord wasn't long enough so we have to get a new one... but it's there. I'll be doing laundry soon.

Austin is so ready for us to have a major grocery run... he's been doing deep thinking about what he wants to get. We definitely need to stockpile.

Did you ever watch Electric Company on tv? Did you know Morgan Freeman was the cool black guy with the mega-fro on that show? I think that's why his voice is so soothing... he's a part of so many people's childhood. We watched Sesame Street, Mister Rodgers, Electric Company... Romper Room...

Two sips of coffee and the tummy cramps start again. Did I mention I have a headache this morning? It IS whiny Wednesday, after all....

Although... I've been thinking a lot about how bitter Christians turn people from God. There are a few in my orbit... two who were particularly unpleasant yesterday to me... who made me want to say, "forget about my feelings... do you think there's anything about your attitude that makes anybody want to be a part of anything you are a part of?" The joy of the Lord is my strength.

I'm not saying Christians never have a bad day. Obviously. I just think we have an obligation to have a good response to a bad day.

Even when you hurt from the top of your head to the soles of your feet. Like I do right now. I have a headache, my eyes are itching and burning, I'm sick to my stomach, my lower abdomen is cramping, my tailbone is aching, my ears hurt, my left heel hurts with every step. I'm really a crazy ball of pain... but I don't have the right to take that out on anybody... it doesn't give me the right to be rude or demanding...

In fact... I refuse to descend into bitterness... I didn't earn a Mean Card that I get to play whenever I feel like trying to make someone else suffer just because I'm suffering. Making someone else feel bad won't make me feel better... but oddly... making someone feel good DOES make me feel better.

Go forth and spread joy...

Have a Wonderful Wednesday, y'all.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

newsday tuesday

It's time to catch up on all the news from the nest and around the world...

Today two of my brothers and their respective spouses celebrate their wedding anniversaries... Michael and Mechelle celebrate fifteen years (I think) and David and Katherine celebrate nine years. I love all my brothers... being the only girl made me sort of junior mommy in the house for my younger brothers and Bubba and I were best friends growing up. However... Michael and David are the two brothers that I haven't seen in years... where Bubba and Bryan keep closer tabs on me and vice versa.

We've been in our new nest for a month now. Other than the massive National Geographic worthy cockroach that I did battle with last week, I love this new place. This place just feels like home to me. I still have some unpacking/sorting work to do but... I'll get there.

The child support embargo continues. Not a word from the paternal parent.

Payday for me today although it's going to be a little delayed due to some mandatory meeting that D has to attend. I had a slight moment of disappointment as I was one hundred percent determined to go plunk down my money for a dryer on my lunch break today and get delivery scheduled ASAP. I told D that this must mean that I wasn't supposed to buy that dryer then. I was honestly thinking that it would go on sale later in the week or something...

Well... yesterday afternoon Bubba emailed me to let me know that our Youth Pastor's in-laws DO in fact have a dryer for us and they will deliver it TODAY! Coincidence? I don't think so! So the money I was going to use for a dryer can go to car maintenance... I think it's time for new brakes and it's definitely time for a tune up... i just have to work out the logistics of leaving the car and picking it up and not having to spend a day at the repair shop.

Austin has attended school four days in a row... 17o to go. We can do it!

The new miracle drug that was supposed to make me feel better is killing my digestive system. I try to avoid subjects that include TMI (too much information) so as to spare those who know me in real life so they don't think about my bathroom habits every time they see me... HOWEVER... this stuff is giving me abdominal cramps so intense that for a couple of hours yesterday I couldn't stand up straight. I'm told if I can just hang on thru the first couple of weeks, it will get better. I'm running out of options with Western Medicine and am desperate to alleviate some of this pain I've been living with... I won't trade pain for pain, though. It's counter-productive.

I'm aggravated that Obama spent 2.2 million dollars for armored buses so he could be Campaigner in Chief. He needs a bus tour to know what "real" Americans want? It's jobs. J-O-B-S. Not "shovel-ready" temporary government jobs... it's real American business owners with real confidence in the economy who are not afraid to bring someone on staff... able to expand their business... not fearful of pending legislative changes that will cripple them such as Obamacare. Why is this so difficult?

My budget is easy to balance: you pay the bills with the biggest impact on your life first... whatever is going to get taken away or turned off, that's what you pay. Next, you pay the things that you owe. After that, you have discretionary funds for things like... oh, I dont know... a 2.2 million dollar bus...

Anyways... thinking happy thoughts today... gonna play a few games before I have to wake Austin. Hope you have a great day... what's new in your life?

Love and hugs?

Monday, August 15, 2011

seeing beyond circumstances... Reasons to Love Monday

Sometimes I wake up and feel like there are so many broken hearts and broken lives in the world... I wish I could just go sit beside a quiet stream and talk to God... surely He can heal them? Surely He can help them? Sometimes I wish I could go to each and every person and hug them and let them know that they aren't alone.

It's like knowing a secret... and feeling a responsibility to share what I can. I guess that's the whole Evangelical perspective. I think sometimes I gloss over or fail to absorb the thought that many - so many - will suffer - at least according to what I believe - after their life is over. I can't see that far. But I can see the people who are suffering now and I want them to know peace that passes understanding. I want them to be able to see God's hand in their life, even when things seem so dark and desperate.

That's the short sightedness of suffering... we see the pain that is present now and don't understand the healing that it's bringing in the long run. We don't understand how our light and momentary troubles - even those that go on for years, in the scope of eternity are really light and momentary - they're bringing about a result that is far better than what we could have imagined.

Sometimes I feel like I need to list the circumstances in my life that seemed like tragedy but worked out for glory... but I'll just focus on the most recent and that's going to be our Reasons to Love Monday... who can say that having their house catch on fire is a GOOD thing? I don't know that I can... but I can say it was a GOD thing...

1. We have a place that's cheaper, making my budget easier to deal with, easier to balance.
2. We got away from people that were a negative influence on austin
3. We moved into a real community, people who care about each other and help each other
4. We were able to (with the help of insurance) get Austin a better bed, a better tv, the game system he really wanted...
5. All our stuff was cleaned and moved FOR US, something I could never have arranged or afforded.
6. Austin ended up with a longer bus ride but an awesome bus driver who I know and trust. That way he can't complain (as he frequently would) that his bus driver didn't like him. I know that Vanessa LOVES Austin and that her intentions are for his good.
7. There are no kids knocking on my door in the middle of the night, no way for Austin to sneak out to hang out with friends I don't approve of. No way he can walk to town from here. There is Mama Ellen looking down from her perch (porch) who is not hesitant to call Austin out on any errant behavior. There is James next door for him to chat with... and Alex next door who adores and idolizes Austin.
8. Our view is beautiful and relaxing. My commute takes me right toward the mountains in the afternoon. "I lift my eyes unto the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of Heaven and earth"... I feel so much peace, knowing that HE set the mountains in place and that same power is the force that holds my life together.
9. My room - my nest - is much bigger and brighter and less cave like.
10. We have been so blessed by people who sent encouragement, financial blessings, little gifts, prepared meals, hauled away trash, hung shelves, took care of my kid and my cats... I know a love that I never would have known existed in my life had there never been a fire.
11. When pressed for an answer in the midst of trial, I said, "God has a plan"... my little niece Jamie heard that and REPEATED that later to her dad and then got to see God bring that to pass. Even if no other blessings came thru this situation, knowing that HER faith was strengthened at six years old because she saw God at work in my life... that gives me chills. Live your faith out loud. People are watching.
12. I almost forgot about our awesome cabin staycation that came because of the fire!

Time for me to wrap this up and post. I hope whatever trial you're facing right now, that you can boldly state, "God has a plan" and boldly move forward with expectation... watching not for the things that serve to frustrate, discourage and depress you, but instead LOOK for blessings, list the good that comes through your heartache. Even when you can't change your circumstances, you can change your response to them.

Please pray for my childhood friend Susan who lost her husband yesterday. He was in his mid-forties and although he had some health problems - high blood pressure and diabetes - his loss was totally unexpected.

Please remember my friend Jennifer whose Aunt Pat disappeared a few weeks ago. She just... disappeared. Pray for their family, for strength as this time of not knowing drags on.

I have a good friend who is building a brand new life for herself and her kids and the road gets lonely at times. Pray for her comfort, that she will not feel lonely. Actually, I have two friends that are in that situation. Maybe more.

Pray for my strength this week... I've worked 3 weeks straight without a break (i think?) and my body is not bouncing back. I'm in a good bit of pain this morning and the week stretches before me, long and overwhelming with lots of extra responsibility tossed in, lots of things I need to do and I just feel drained. Pray that I find strength beyond my own.

I pray for all of you, that you would be encouraged and hopeful and that God's blessings will be poured out on you, regardless of circumstance and that you will see Him now... and know Him so that you we can spend eternity together!
Love and hugs, y'all!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

our weekend

I snagged this picture from my mom's facebook... this is Pop with his buddy Oscar on the left and his great-grand-puppy Sammy on the right. Sammy belongs to Cody and Marquee. Oscar was supposed to be Sammy's "brother" but he ended up as Pop's dog instead. Who could help but love those sweet faces?

Bubba came yesterday and hung curtains, my doll shelf and was going to hang the coat rack but wants to brace it on another piece of wood so that it will be able to hold a few heavy coats. That little bit of progress made me less compelled to unpack boxes... the doll shelf never got hung at the last place we lived so just having that done makes me feel light years ahead of our previous state of "settled". As long as I'm making progress... and come to think of it... some of the boxes I haven't unpacked never got unpacked in my last few moves... so they may just need to go on a closet shelf somewhere anyways.

Austin was in a bizarre frame of mind yesterday. I'm blaming the "back to school" adjustment period. He was alternately really sweet and cooperative... and defiant and moody. I actually lost track at one point when he came out of his room. I couldn't remember which side of the coin we were on... I just waited for him to start talking. He's an odd one, that kid.

His senior portrait appointment is set for Thursday afternoon. Nothing beats short notice, right? Of course... if they had our correct address I would have had it a few days earlier. They encouraged the kids to bring "props"... I explained to Austin this meant something that might signify his high school years... like an athlete might have a football... he said, "how about a bong?" Half of you laughed and half of you cringed. I landed at some sick crossroads of the two. I said, "did you say your BIBLE? Yes, that's a very good idea".

He's planning to go to the Homecoming Dance with his girlfriend and she has planned his outfit... which he described as "black khakis and a black button up shirt"... I said, "khaki is a color... " He meant black dress pants but I guess the only dress pants he's ever really owned were khakis so he thought that was what they were called. Sort of like "jello" and "kleenex"... or is that a colloquialism? Do people outside of the south refer to tissues as kleenex? Do people outside of Georgia refer to sodas as "coke" regardless of the color or flavor of soda? Is it "gelatin" regardless of the brand?

Lish the cat continues to be absolutely terrified of Austin. at the very hint of his doorknob turning, Lish turns tail and hides under the bed. He tried to bribe him with fresh catnip yesterday but Lish was having none of it. on the flip side... Lish seems to think he's my siamese twin. He stays glued to my side... he even sat beside me last night to watch Marley and Me. He was scared during the barking parts and cuddled closer to me. He's also scared by the sound of car horns. That's another odd one.

I had waited all this time to see Marley and Me and it was worth the wait. What a sweet movie! I won't recap because I don't want to spoil it... if you haven't seen it, check it out!

Austin seems to be really settled into the neighborhood... I had no idea how "neighborly" he could be. I am friendly but ... I'm not exactly the kind of person hanging out over the gossip fence. Not that we have any fences... Austin is always sitting on James and Maribel's patio next door.... chatting back and forth with Ellen above us... he came in with a plant cutting with instructions of how to start roots in water and then transfer. She's the one who gave him the catnip, which we refer to as "Kitty Crack" because Stubby goes into what can only be described as a moment of pure ecstasy when he smells it.

Child support is late... which is a bummer because I really need to make a grocery trip for a week while Austin is around to go with me. It's so hard for me to come home, pick him up and head back out... I'm too tired to shop after work and can't pick up much by myself. We've done well throughout the move... I managed to handle all the deposits and downpayments and replacements and have all my bills paid, I think (there's a question about whether or not the satellite is bundled with the internet provider, one billed separately and one billed for both and I paid the bill that had both)... with my income + insurance + some financial blessings. I'm really proud of that... and feel very blessed to have been able to. I feel the tide turning for us financially.

I may stretch the budget a little bit for the second half of the month by buying a dryer but it's an absolute necessity. I wasn't counting on stretching minus child support... so hopefully he'll come through. You just never know. We picked up enough stuff to get us through the next couple of days but I didn't have the budge in my budget to handle a full week. Argh.

At any rate... slighly under 22 hours left of my weekend... gonna get back to doing nothing...
Love and hugs, y'all!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

the "f" word... it's not what you think

First light of day... I love looking out my windows to see the light peeking between the branches of the trees outside.

Forest green right outside the window is a great compliment to my brown and sage bedding.
Fall foliage... there's already the slight hint of leaves beginning to to turn. I can't wait!
Fran Drescher... her new show, Happily Divorced, is hilarious.
Fox News... I'll be keeping a close watch on the Straw Poll in Iowa, although I think its a little premature.
Favorites... I could back a Perry/Palin ticket. Stop making that
Family... my two older boys plus my adopted son Joshy are in the wilds of Pennsylvania together this weekend. I'm so proud of the bond my boys have with each other.
Far away... I wish they weren't so far from Austin, and from me.
Florida... Ryan's headed there to work for the next month or so... in Tampa... just as far away, unfortunately.
Fortunately... it's Saturday and I have
Free time... for the next 48 hours... love my weekends! I desperately needed to recharge.
Frazzled... physically... emotionally I'm
Fine... isn't that what people say when they want to avoid details? "I'm fine, how are you?" and you just
Fake it. I've been doing a lot of that. I mean, I tell Y'ALL how I
feel... but if anyone in real life asks, 99% of the time I say, "I'm fine". I'd rather
Forget that my life took this detour... this was not what I had planned for my
Future. And at times, this road is lonely but I know I have been blessed with
Friends... Stacia stopped by to see me last night but I was already sort of
fuzzy... close to bedtime. The best friends are the ones who meet you where you are. Have you noticed that?
Frontierville. Those are my weekend plans.
Farmaceuticals. Ok. I cheated on that one. I know it's spelled "pharmaceuticals" and I have developed such a strong love/hate relationship with them. I'm on a new medication that HAS to be taken twice a day. Up until this point I have resisted daytime meds. I don't want to be the least bit altered at work. However... the cold, harsh reality was thrust upon me in the past week that when I'm in pain, I'm altered. Sadly, any medication that is going to help my pain level is going to have to be maintained in my blood stream. I had to stop
fighting reality. My plan was to tough it out during the day and then
fall apart in the evenings. The problem is that the things that are wrong with me require more than a part time
fix. It's no
fun having to
finally admit that I have
fibromyalgia. It's a dirty word. I didn't want to say it, I didn't want to own and I sure don't want to live with it. That's the real
"f" word.

Friday, August 12, 2011

bits and pieces... subtitled: all that remains

I went to bed early again last night. Not AS early but early still. Makes me wonder what the heck Ben Franklin was talking about when he said, "early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise". I'm missing out on at least two of those. Maybe all three.

Newt Gingrich is a waste of press. I've also got first hand knowledge via someone who had business interactions with him that he is a jerk. Not that I would go around repeating gossip or anything... I just don't think he's a guy I could respect or elect.

Austin's attitude was horrible yesterday morning but he was in a much better frame of mind last night. He even brought me some ribs that the neighbors were cooking. He was all a-twitter in a gossipy sort of way about something that went down in the neighborhood the night before... it seems that one young son had a pocket knife which another young son got cut on... mama of the injured boy approached father of the knife owner to discuss and it blew up. I hear that police were called and it was QUITE the dramatic episode.

I, of course, slept through it.

My official opinion is that little boys shouldn't have pocketknives but... that's just me.

I was feeling quite overwhelmed and stressed out yesterday morning but I'm feeling slightly less overwhelmed today. It's just been a long six-eight weeks of moving drama on top of a long 7 months of pain and medical drama. I had a moment of mini-meltdown yesterday morning where I realized that everywhere I turn there are people sucking the life out of me (slight exaggeration, of course) and there is no one refilling the tank or taking care of me. Yes, it was a bit of a pity party.

And then I had an epiphany where I realized that my refills are spiritual... and that I have been too exhausted to refill the tank properly. Being "homechurched" does leave a lot of empty spaces in your soul. Not to extend the pity party but the truth is... there's really nobody for me to dump on. Except y'all... and for the most part, y'all don't respond. You're like my imaginary friends. Except for the times that y'all send me emails and comments and cards and letters and starbucks gift cards... I guess the point is that there is no designated dumpee but there are dozens of people in my life who do little things that make a big difference.

I always feel a little bit lonelier when someone close to me disappoints me or fails to "man up". I'm guilty of that too... failing to step up to the plate for people... although the desire of my heart is to be there for the people I love in their moment of need. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. It truly is. So the people I love who are basically collateral exposures - in other words - if I don't go where they are, I don't see or hear from them - well, in this season of discomfort and exhaustion, I'm distanced from them.

Most of the time I don't worry about it. You can't make people want to be where you are, especially if your current location includes a lot of work and a lot of sleep and not much anything else. Who wants to be part of THAT? Blah. And a lot of people who don't have to be good to me are good to me *just because* which gives me strength beyond what you could possibly imagine... and it mostly smooths over any rough edges left behind from those who didn't fill in the gaps as one would hope.

It's Friday, right? With us being short handed at work... I'm working harder, missing less work, starting a few minutes early, cutting my lunch short by a few minutes... and it's wearing me out. And of course, for the past six/eight/ever how many it has been weekends in a row, I've been in transition, finding a new place, moving into a new place, settling into the new place, making adjustments in our lifestyle because of the new place, feathering the nest... and I've got to tell you... I'm exhausted, both mentally and physically. But everywhere I turn, there's something or someone demanding more out of me and... I just don't know how much longer I can keep up this pace.

I'm determined to buy a dryer in the next four days. This last load of wash on the drying rack is stiff and mildewed. It's just one of those necessities... and I think that will help me feel less discombobulated.

Time to wake the vampire.... no grumps from him today. That's a blessing!

Hope you all have a fabulous Friday! I'm going to push thru this day and then - I plan to not move for the next 60 hours or so.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

thankful thursday, what the cute doctor said

I don't know if it feels like "Thursday already" or "only Thursday?" I just know that I'm exhausted.

Austin's first day at school was... long. That's all I know. He was pretty much sacked out when I got home a little after 5pm. He got up long enough to eat the subway sandwich I brought him. He was rattling around in the middle of the night so... He's still adjusting that vampire schedule.

My visit to the pain doctor was... disappointing. I've never had an illness before that doctors haven't said would get better or at least stay the same. When I described the pain that had spread to my hands and feet and the other joints that are tender, the nice, good looking doctor whose name I always forget said, "that's about what we expected". I said, "DO SOMETHING!!!" Isn't that why you go to the doctor? To get better? They gave me a new medication to try - the last one available to cover my specific symptoms. They ordered a sleep study to make sure I'm not having episodes of tachycardia while I sleep.

Every time I go to the doctor, I ask what my official diagnosis is... we've ruled out several things such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, etc. Dr. Cutie said yesterday that they consider me to have degenerative/arthritic changes to my spine, degenerative discs and fibromyalgia. I said, "I thought we were steering away from a fibro diagnosis?" and he said, "at this point, there are just so many things that fit under the fibro diagnosis that we have to proceed with treating you as if that's what you have". I said, "does that mean you basically stop treating me or stop looking for a way to fix things?" He didn't say "yes" but what he said was that they feel like, at this point, that there's no way to completely eliminate all of my symptoms and that we have to proceed with the expectation of managing my pain, not necessarily eliminating it.

I never thought that at the tender young age of 43 I'd be seeing doctors just to manage my symptoms, not to make me well. You really just never know what your life holds in store.

And I have a nasty cough that has developed over the past twelve hours. I've had pneumonia the past two years in August... hope we're not heading in that direction... but I'm wheezing... so there's something brewing.

I was asleep before 8pm last night.... crashed and burned... just completely wiped out.

So... what else is new?

I keep calculating my budget... as long as I don't miss any work this pay period, I'll be able to afford a new dryer. I'm hanging tough with the hopes of replacing that dryer rack.

I got a sweet letter in the mail from Laurie with a starbucks gift card! Woohoo! Treated myself to a trente iced green tea yesterday with a tiny little treat. I had Ingles salad bar along with it... best lunch I've had taste wise and health wise all week. We had Subway for dinner, as I mentioned, because Austin was craving a tuna sandwich with lots of banana peppers. My odd child.

I got a text from Cody yesterday saying, "did you cry this morning?" First day of school... I always cry. The answer is, "yes". I did. Not for long, though because Maribel from next door asked if I'd come over and watch little Sophie (who was sleeping) while they took Alex to his first day of kindergarten. She actually asked if I'd listen for her... but I have yet to hear any noise from their side of the building and Sophie is so meek and quiet, I knew I wouldn't hear her. I just sat on their patio and read a book.

Our little corner of Sautee is so quiet ... all of Sautee is quiet but especially here, off the beaten path, off the paved road... it's really quiet. But there are also a lot of woods surrounding us so a little child could easily wander off and never be seen again. Or a person with nefarious intentions could wander in and snag a sleeping child.

It's thankful Thursday so I better switch from attitude to gratitude... here goes:

1. I'm thankful for Rusty the dog who greets me after work most days... when he sees my car he starts wagging his tail and comes to the drivers side of the car for me to give him a "good dog, hey buddy"...

2. I'm thankful for the jingle bells from little kitties who come running when I open my door and say, "where's my yubs? where's mama's kitty cats?" The furry friends are always glad to see me.

3. I'm thankful for Miss Cleo... the big, rolly polly dog who comes down whenever Ellen from upstairs stops by to chat. And the grey cat (whose name I forget) who comes by to say hello when I'm outside. Lots of friendly furry neighbors.

4. I'm thankful that we haven't seen any bears yet.

5. I'm thankful that summer is speeding by and autumn will soon be here so I can open wide these big windows and switch the a/c off and enjoy the fresh air.

6. I'm thankful that Austin made it thru the first day of school. 173 to go. I hope.

7. I'm thankful for every single day that I'm able to work. I have so many fears about not being able to work... sometimes it's hard... but I love what I do and I want to do as much as I can for as long as I can.

8. I'm thankful for Cute Doctors. Even if they don't make me feel better.

Hope you all have a great Thursday and that you work to find "gratitude instead of attitude".

Love and hugs, y'all.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My last baby starts his last year of school today. I hope. I mean, he's definitely going to school. I just hope he's able to stay on track this year and graduate. Hoping and praying he pulls it off.

I had a hard time yesterday figuring out where and when his bus picks up. I called the school and they didn't know. They told me to have him walk to the nearest highway and wait to flag down a bus. That seemed a little... oh... I don't know... disorganized/country/ridiculous.

I kept calling the transportation center and finally got a live person and she told me Austin's bus driver is Vanessa, who we both know and adore... so that's a relief. The picture at the top of this entry Jessie, Angie, me and Vanessa at the Holly Theater in Dahlonega after seeing Grease last Summer.

Austin's "caseholder" Ms. Broadwell is determined to get him through this year and then get him into a vocational training program of some sorts. In a way, he is blessed because his differences give him some additional assistance with finding a job.

I'm determined to get him licensed to drive and get him responsible enough behind the wheel that I don't have to fear for his life every time he leaves the house.... and so that the times that I'm really not physically able to drive, he can. It scares me to death to think of... he still is so disorganized and unrealistic.

Yesterday - at 1:45pm - he called to ask me to bring Subway home for dinner. I was busy. Really busy. I told him I didn't plan to stop on the way home and he started on his "there's nothing in this house to eat" meltdown. And it's true... I'm not trying to sport a buffet so that anything that comes to mind is available... but there are plenty of options for meals that he likes to eat and are easy to make. Just because he wants something that happens to NOT be in the house... not my problem. Sometimes you have to adjust your wants to match what you can have. If it was up to me we'd have tomato sandwiches or pb sandwiches or cereal for dinner every night. Why not?

My friend Cyndi brought me these awesome raw pumpkin chips last year and I loved them so much that I ordered a case of them... delivery expected this week! My appetite is bizarre. Anything that takes an inordinate amount of time to prepare or involves a lot of chopping... I can't do. My hands ache so bad... I have a hard time gripping a knife.

Today is a follow up with the pain doctor. No doubt I'll leave with another grab bag full of meds that will screw my body up even more and cause me to gain weight and not help the pain at all. That's a Debbie Downer perspective but I'm just so frustrated with the process. Seven months of pain with no relief. I'd almost like to take a vacation from the pain: check into a hospital and have them pump me full of propofol or horse tranquilizer or whatever will not kill me but would let me be pain free for a couple of hours... a day... of course, it would be even better if I could just pay someone to take the pain for a couple of hours while I run off and do all the things I don't feel like doing any more... I want to check out of this skin for a little while... lay this burden down.

Here I go getting emotional about things... first day of school... how my life has changed... knowing that when my boys grow up, they also go away... knowing that although there are a lot of people who love me, once Austin's grown, I'll be on my own.

Well, that's your whiny Wednesday, folks. Pray for my boy, if you would. Pray that he understands how important this last year of high school is. Pray that he doesn't have any conflicts with people at school. Pray that he has a strong desire to excell and succeed. Ask protection for him... and pray that he knows the Lord in a new and fresh way this year.

Pray for his mommy as she struggles to let him go...

Happy Whiny Wednesday, y'all!