Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Go Gold!

It's that time of year again. That one month when the world turns gold. No not really. Chances are you won't even realize what this month represents. If your family or your friends haven't been touched by it you probably won't know. At the rate it's going and attacking kids though one day soon you may know it. I still freeze in my tracks when I think back to that day. The first day I heard those words and I fell to the floor. I can see the doctor standing there. I saw his mouth moving but I couldn't hear anything he said after, Michala has stage 4 cancer. What? How? Why? That day is a blur but so very real and still so vivid to me. I hope that you don't know this world. I hope that your closest friends aren't "C" friends. I hope that you don't know the sickest sick as you watch your child endure yet another chemotherapy treatment. I hope that you haven't been to Camp Sunshine. I hope that you have not been to Lighthouse or Blue Skies. I hope that you haven't been called a "Quiet Hero" at the biggest most uplifting event to raise a staggering amount of money for CURE. I hope that you have not had to say "see you later" to your child because of cancer. Well chances are you are reading this and it's true. To my "C" friends I love you! I couldn't have made this journey without you. To my friends who are walking this journey right now my prayers are with you often as my heart breaks. To my precious friends who have the memory of all this without your sweet one to hold onto - I'm so sorry for your heartbreak. You are in my prayers daily my friends. If you made it this far will you please consider going gold to raise awareness for Childhood Cancer?

Walking with Julie

Julie ain't waiting on nobody 😂. She would be behind Michala and I and when we turned around she would turn around and be in front of us. I could have written a book just on the few hours we were together. She is a trip. When we passed a bench she would sit and say she was going to watch for Marlee Anne to come out of class. Most of you know I despise exercise. Well I decided while Marlee Anne is in class Michala and I would walk. The first day was a challenge but yesterday we walked a mile. I know that's not really a lot for most people but for me it was equal to a half marathon. In all honesty I didn't love it. However, I was proud I didn't give up and sit down with Julie cause it was really tempting. I even got up this morning and rode the bike for 4 miles. It's a start right?! It's all those prayers from friends encouraging me on this new lifestyle journey.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Abe's impact on his sister.

I often struggle with understanding the world, why things happen and what was the purpose. Please bear with me as I work through some heart thoughts. 

When Abe was transferred from his birth hospital to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta  one of Mike's dear friends met us there. Mike asked him why this happened. He told Mike that maybe this wasn't about Abe but about Marlee Anne. He went on to explain how maybe God sent Abe here to change, direct and impact Marlee Anne's life. To this day I haven't forgotten his words. 

Over the years lots of people said I bet she will be a nurse. I didn't think she would because taking care of your siblings' medical needs and being in the hospital all the time is something totally different. However whichever direction God leads her in I support. The more she shares about her desire to be a nurse I'm thinking maybe that's it. My mom always wanted to be a nurse so maybe Marlee Anne will do what her Granmama always wanted to do. 

Fast forward 9 years later to yesterday when Marlee Anne took her first college Anatomy and Physiology class. She was so excited. She constantly asked mommie did you know this. Mommie did you know this. She even quizzed dad when he got home. As she was asking me questions I was taken back to that day in the hospital as Mike's friend shared his thoughts as we struggled to find peace and understanding. I had to choke back tears, as a smile came across my face, while thanking God for that little boy and his mighty impact on his sister's life for 6 years. 

Monday, November 07, 2016

Two years

FB asked what's on my mind. Some thoughts only a mom whose child has died would understand and not run away. Before Abe and Mary Elizabeth left I couldn't begin to imagine. I thought I could. I tried for my mom and my friends whose children had passed away but those thoughts and feelings didn't come close to the intense pain and emptiness. All day I have gasped for air trying to fill my lungs with air so the pain wouldn't be so unbearable. When my friend says just breathe, all you have to do at this moment is breathe and she knows just how hard it is to do that. One of the things that CHOA did for us on that day two years ago was a mold of Mary Elizabeth's hand. Tonight seemed like a good time to finally open that box and see her little hand. Even as I try to type this the feelings are just too much. To see her hand, to touch it and remember just how little it was and how tiny her fingers were. That brought up many feelings, lots of tears and so many precious memories. I didn't do this gracefully or beautifully today but my sweet girl would have smiled only because that was just her spirit. Physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally exhausted. I gave it all I had today my beautiful Mary Elizabeth for you. Your life was celebrated and you are missed. 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Triumph vs loss

Marlee Anne is truly a very kind soul. She rarely smarts off, talks back or is short with us. Today it happened twice. I assumed it was because once again our weekend was packed full and I thought she was tired. We have an understanding in our home that when one of us is struggling with missing Mary Elizabeth and Abe we will give each other grace. Tonight once we got home Marlee Anne asked me if she could read something to me. My heart broke. Not only because her heart was hurting but more importantly because I missed it. I didn't ask why she snapped at me twice. I didn't stop to see what was going on or ask her. I didn't take the time to give her grace just because. For that my sweet Marlee Anne I am so very sorry. These are the words she read to me that she had written. 

Triumph vs. Loss
A letter to those that have "lost someone". When someone we love passes away it may seem like a loss but it's really a triumph. You may ask, how can it be a triumph when we miss them so much that it hurts? It was their time to go home. They did everything God planned for them to do, they smiled the biggest smiles, and they taught others so many valuable life lessons. We will always have those precious memories and we will forever have their stories to tell. Right now I know they are in the arms of our Heavenly Father. I can't even imagine their homecoming and how they feel in their heavenly bodies. When they entered those golden gates God counted it as a triumph. In this pain it is so easy to count them passing away as a loss rather than a triumph. The truth is God conquered death so no person that passes away is lost. It will forever be a triumph that our loved ones are in the arms of the Lord. 

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
2 Timothy 4:7-8

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Happy 30 years!

Happy 30 wonderful, crazy, tough, long, challenging, loving, laughing, God filled and prayerful years. Besides the day I gave my life to Christ and asked Jesus into my heart this is the single most important day in my life. Everyday I am reminded that God knows best. Each day hasn't been easy and it hasn't been a bed of roses all beautiful and perfect but I wouldn't trade these 30 years. Being married to this man has helped mold me into the person God intended for me to be. Still a lot of molding to be done but I know that as that happens my best friend, my rock will be by my side. What a loving, patient and caring provider he is for our family. Thankful that when I want to give up, am mad at God and want to walk away he gently reminds me of 1 Corinthians 13 in the way he lives his life and loves others. He has definitely fulfilled the "in sickness" part of our vows lately. Thanks Mike for spending 30 years married to me!

First Six Flags ride

My first ride ever at Six Flags was the Dahlonega Mine Train. One Saturday morning my daddy woke me up and said let's go. You see when my daddy said let's go I went, no questions asked because it was time riding in the truck with my daddy. I was sitting up high in the truck seeing the world and being treated like a princess. He surprised me with my first trip to Six Flags. That was the first ride and I remember the feeling well. I had no idea what it would be like but it didn't matter cause my daddy said let's do it and he was going to be with me. I miss him but I'm incredibly thankful for wonderful memories to cling to. Im thankful for the memory as well as the reminder that when my Heavenly Father says let's go I should go without hesitation because I know He is right there with me. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Leadville Marathon was brutal.

Mike ran the Leadville Marathon last year and wrote this. I wanted to make sure I had it somewhere to keep. 

The Leadville Marathon was brutal.
No doubt about it, I truly bit off more than I could handle, way more than I could handle. I will say in my defense I did not leave the course until the cutoff. With that said, I had a truly great time. Disappointed sure, but I had a great experience. The scenery was spectacular. Running past abandoned mines with their scree fields and down remote trails was amazing. This marathon was more than advertised, it was either straight up or straight down. What really was difficult for me was the trails were covered in baseball and softball sized rock- no pea gravel. Mentally draining, I don't know how many times I had to catch myself. The rocks were so tough that they blew out my jel- cell on my shoes. Sorry New Balance you are not tougher than Leadville.
Mosquito Pass was my breaking point. The highest point on the course 13,200'. By the time I got close to the summit I could not quit coughing to the point I could not take in air. I was struggling. I was hacking as if I had pneumonia. Forward progress was by baby steps. Every time I took a step with my left foot I said Abe and every time I took a step with my right foot I said Mary. Maybe that's what triggered a very kind woman to turn me around and help me to the aid station and a visit to the paramedics. By this time I had a headache as well. Everything checked out okay, except for my pride which we all know comes before the fall. The trail up Mosquito Pass is serious stuff. Marlee Anne and I have found out the hard way that one slip could be fatal on some of the "easy trails" we have hiked in Boulder. People were running up and down Mosquito Pass - crazy stuff. Super athletes. Another indicator of the remoteness of the race course was that  I had to hike down  2 1/2 miles to get a ride down off the mountain after my visit to the ambulance. So physically, I could not make it to the finish line and by the time I reached the next  aid station I had missed the cutoff time.I am wondering now if I could have finished even if I had all day and not the 8 1/2 hours allowed by the race. Prior to the race I logged 40 to 60 miles a week and it was still not enough training.I am a little disappointed that I didn't finish. I feel old. You know what,I am old. 
Anyway here is why I tried the Leadville Marathon. Since the events of last year I have struggled with having a quite time with no distractions to readjust my life without my little man and my sunshine. Work, moving to Colorado, lobbying for HB-1,local politics, work, commuting to Colorado, repainting the entire interior of the house, did I mention work. My life has been a blur.
Maybe that was good, maybe not. Our Pastor in Colorado several months ago had asked us to meditate on God for just ten minutes per day and I faithfully fulfilled that goal, however it never failed  that I could not make it ten minutes focusing on God without the world creeping into my thoughts. I am ashamed. I needed some true alone time to remember my children.Enter Leadville- I knew I would be without phone, Internet and out in the wilderness, but more importantly I would be under physical stress and my thoughts would be simple. Left foot- Abe, right foot - Mary, and so it went all 16.1 miles. A lot of tears were left on the trails of Leadville. A lot of great memories recalled and relived. In the end no medal, but I got more than my money's worth- Thank you Leadville.
Would I do it again. Absolutely Not! I would encourage anyone to try it once. I promise, you will not be disappointed.
Special thanks to James and Emily Mills for my great race jersey. So many positive compliments.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Loving our neighbors

I wrote this on Sunday and since then several things have happened to make me realize why I needed this reminder. 

Marlee Anne shared a really good devotion with us the other day about loving our neighbors. It has been on my heart for several days and I want to share some recent thoughts. 

I don't get out in public too often, at least not everyday. It's probably a good thing because it hurts to see how we treat each other. My view of the world is often through Facebook which may be a very sad thing. I don't watch the news and only read the paper when articles are brought to my attention. Yes sometimes I like to live in the world where things don't seem as bad or sad as they really are. I try to avoid negative post on Facebook where people are constantly complaining and/or bashing others. 

So all that rambling to say we never know the battle someone is dealing with. Did they just have a loved one die? Did they just lose their job? Were they diagnosed with cancer? Are they dealing with depression? Maybe a chronic illness or chronic pain? Do they wonder where their next meal will come from or how they will take care of their family? Does it really matter? I mean what if they aren't battling with anything? What if they are just grumpy? Why does the way someone acts towards us, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, their religious beliefs, the church they go to, their political stance, the way they dress, whether they have tattoos or not, the car they drive, the motorcycle they ride, the way they wear their hair, their job or financial status matter to the way we treat them? 

You know the person that ran into you? Maybe they don't see well. You know the girl that hollered in public or came a little too close for your comfort? Well maybe she doesn't know not to do that. You know the lady that you helped that didn't say thank you? Maybe she had a lot on her mind. If you needed or expected a thank you maybe you did it for the wrong reason. You know the cashier or attendant that didn't smile? Did you smile at them? Maybe if they just thought someone cared. You know that person that keeps coming to your mind but they grate on your nerves or hurt your feelings ten years ago? Maybe you should call them. Yes I know life is busy and we are all in a hurry but at the end of the day what matters? What matters most? 

Did you show love? Did you care? The person on the other end, on the other side, what will they say? Will they say wow what a nice person? Will their day be changed and made better because you took a second from your busy schedule to say hey or smile at them? How are you loving your neighbor? 

Side note: this was more for me as I'm out in public more and want to be reminded to show Jesus.