Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

Well, this is one different Christmas Eve for me. I think this is the first time ever that I have been sitting at home on Christmas Eve. Our family has always been in Blairsville in years past, but not this year. With the girls having work schedules this holiday season, it is hard getting everybody in sync with days off. We already celebrated our family Christmas by going down to Byron to Haley's house this past Sunday. She and Austin cooked a lovely dinner on Sunday night, and we opened presents and had fabulous family time! We needed to do something different this year, and this was a great plan. I have always felt that Christmas should be celebrated when the entire family can be together - no matter what day it is.

My girls and I will be heading up to Blairsville on Saturday to celebrate Christmas with my parents and my sister's family on Sunday. There is nothing that compares to going "home" for Christmas. My mom has already started cooking, and she feeds us SO well! I can't wait for the feast! : ) But, the most important thing is that we will all be there together. What a blessing that will be!

This is the first time to see my family since the decision was made to end my marriage. They have been amazingly supportive. There are no words to describe how much I appreciate my parents and my sister's family. Without their love and support, I could not get through each day. My fear is that I will melt like a snow man when I see them. I have tried hard to hold back the tears, but I am afraid the flood gates may open!

I was reading a Joyce Meyer book the other night, and I was reminded that Paul did not pray for people to be spared trials or troubles. Instead, he prayed for people to see what God has already done. He also prayed that they would be able to endure whatever they encountered, they would live in the power of the Spirit, they would be steadfast, and they would be walking testimonies of God's grace.

This is my prayer for myself. Since losing a job, our family business, our home, and my marriage, all in one year, I think it is a bit late to be spared trials and troubles. But, in the midst of my trials and troubles, I see what God has already done. And, God is giving me the strength to endure and hold on. And, through God's grace, my troubles are becoming my testimony. Even though I may not understand the purpose of everything happening, I believe wholeheartedly that God has a purpose. Shattered dreams are never random.

I wish all of my friends and family a very Merry Christmas! And, on a random note, I heard on the radio today that only 44 percent of 10 year olds know that Christmas is the birthday of Jesus Christ. Wow! That means that the families of 56 percent of these kids do not know the true meaning of Christmas. My Christmas prayer is for these kids to come to know Jesus on Christmas Day.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Protect What You Already Own

I have been one of the worst bloggers ever this year! My posts have been very sporadic and few and far between. I guess the condition of my blogging reflects the condition of my life right now. Disheartened and disappointed are two words that immediately come to mind. I keep thinking of an Amy Grant song that she wrote while going through her divorce:

I give you my heart broken and bruised
But still beating strong and wanting to trust you

etc. etc.

I will be faithful
Help me be strong
'Cause you will protect what you already own
You still protect what you already own

I am trusting God right now to protect what He already owns.

More to come later! Hopefully, I will do better! : )

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My Little Family

I have always enjoyed seeing little people stuck on vehicle windows which represent the family that owns the car. Apparently, I oohed and aahed so much over these little people, that my girls picked up the hint and surprised me with a set this past Christmas. I was SO excited when I saw them! I couldn't wait to put them on my van!

You can see that the Daddy has tools and is wearing a tool belt (just like our daddy), and the Mommy is carrying a shopping bag (which is something this mommy loves to do!), the first girl child is holding an apple and a book which represents a teacher (Haley is majoring in education), the second girl is wearing a whistle which represents coaching and refereeing (Hannah does both), and the third girl is dressed like a soccer player (Hadrian is actively playing soccer), and then the sweet little cat represents our family pet, Scooter.

Well, this past weekend, our van was at Disney World in Orlando. We had to laugh at how amused people were with our little family. No matter where we went, foreign people would walk by our van and carry on conversations while pointing and looking at us. (By us, I mean our family stuck on the car). Of course, we had no idea what they were saying, but it was obvious they were chatting about our little family. The entire weekend, people were continually talking about us! Have people never seen these before? I am not sure what was so amusing, but it became amusing to us that people were so amused! I felt like we had a marked car!

One day, Hadrian and I were literally run down by a car at a redlight in Snellville. This lady was frantically yelling and waving at us! I finally rolled down my window only to find out that she wanted to know where we found our little people! Good grief! I thought something was terribly wrong for her to be so determined to get our attention! Well, we yelled at her that they were purchased "on line" just as the light changed and we all had to take off. Hadrian and I got a kick out of that.

Well, I love my little family stuck on my car. So, if you see us driving down the road, just honk and wave! We may not realize who you are, but we will realize that you know who we are by our little family stuck on our car! : )

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Task at Hand

Wow, it has been over 5 months since my last blog! I just haven't felt like posting nor have I had much to say. I have been very focused on the task at hand. For the past months, I have been cleaning out about twenty years of clutter and memories. It is amazing how much stuff we have collected between Bryan, me, three girls, and our various pets. I think that I was so busy with family activities through the years, that I just didn't deal with things when I should have. I would put if off by sticking things in the attic or the basement until a better day came along to deal with it! Well, I have had 4+ months to clean out my home. I have gone through everything. I have taken loads to Goodwill, I have sold things, and I have thrown away a boat load of stuff. And, I have accumulated a trailer load of things to have a gigantic yard sale! Several loads of treasures have gone to that special storage unit in Blairsville called "mom and dad's house."

All the while I have been cleaning out our house, Bryan has had a business to clean out. He has taken an unbelievable number of "loads" to Blairsville to store at his mother's house and his own very special storage unit called "Mike's Barn." Bryan's family has worked their tails off helping him clean out the shop and move truckloads of equipment. Well, after nonstop work by the both of us, we are finally "officially" moved. Bryan is done with the business, and I am done with the house. We walked through our completely empty house late yesterday afternoon, and I must say that it was sad. I am so relieved that the moving is finally over - the chore has been an overwhelming process! But, the emotions have hit me over the past few days. All I have to do is think about my house, and the tears flow. I have been consumed with sadness.

While people tell me that a house is just a house, I am well aware that a house is simply a "thing." I know that I shouldn't worry about such trivial things in life. But, this house was my home. Bryan and I bought the spot for our house and held the property for several years before we ever started building "our" house. This gave us plenty of time to dream about it, have house plans drawn, and anticipate the day we could finally start building. Well, that day finally came, and Bryan worked during the day, and built the house at night and on the weekends. It was a whole family project. Everyone was involved. Bryan's sister, Lisa, laid our tile. She and Coot came down and helped us. Bryan's mother helped in so many ways, but her main contribution was our landscaping. She landscaped our yard, and it honestly looked like it should have been photographed for Southern Living magazine. My family helped out in too many ways to count. What amazing support we had! The house has been touched by everyone in our families! And, I couldn't go into any room without seeing Bryan's special touches. He built all of the windows to put into the house he built. I loved our house - it was perfect and it was in the perfect neighborhood. Even our home address was perfect! Our house number was 410 - the same as Bryan's birthday (4/10/60).

Well, as you read in my last post, our hut has been on fire - the business loss and ultimately the loss of our home. I have tried to stay positive and keep smiling over the past year when things ultimately "hit" the fan. God has a plan. If nothing else, I have learned how incredibly blessed I am. I knew it, but now, I REALLY know it!

I have a sister who knocked on my door and handed one of my kids an envelope with money in it. Joy has no idea that I literally did not know how we were going to eat that week. Or, I get to WalMart and find a hundred dollar bill in my purse - just after I visited her house. Joy's husband, Gary, has kept our cars running for us - saving us hundreds of dollars in repairs. My dear mother has spent entire Sunday's cooking fried chicken, baking cakes, and everything else imaginable. She would send it to us so that we would be fed for days. (And fed deliciously, I might add!) And, she just has a knack for knowing when I need grocery money. She goes without things so that my family is taken care of. And, my poor dad, from his hospital bed at home, will always hand me money just so I have a "little" running money in my purse. And, how amazing is it that my sister and my mom felt the need to fund school clothes for Hadrian. We all know that she is a diva who must be well dressed! Hadrian was really touched that they were concerned about her having new clothes.

Yes, our hut has been on fire. Our home was auctioned off today, but a house is just a thing. The fire has summoned the Grace of God to show us that we have family who loves us and supports us. So, how could I feel any more blessed?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

When Your Hut's On Fire

Our family and most of our friends know what my family has been through over the past year and a half. Bryan lost his business of about twenty years that he had put his sweat and blood into. This was very hurtful for him to have to "let go" employees that were loyal and faithful, and just good people. And, to be honest, they were family to Bryan. He has told me a couple of times that going to his shop and seeing the empty building almost makes him cry. He always thought that HE would decide when it was time to close the doors. But, the economy and the death of the building business decided for him that it was time to close the doors. So, we have had to accept this and try to move forward.

One day I was scanning through Craigs List and I ran across an interesting post in the "wanted" category. A gentleman had posted that he wanted anyone who was struggling with losing their material possessions to contact him. He just felt a need to share his story. He said he had never posted anything like this before, and I have never seen it since (even though I haven't really been looking for it). I thought "oh, great, this must surely be some kind of perverted weirdo, right?" But, I sent him an email and told him briefly about what was going on with my family, and he responded back with his story of loss. He (Mr. Dagel) was very encouraging and told us to walk away from it as quickly as possible and to get refocused on what God has planned for us. And, he sent me this little story that I have read several times over the past months when I needed to be reminded that God is in control.

When Your Hut's On Fire

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him. Every day, he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements and to store his few possessions. One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames with smoke rolling up to the sky. He felt the worst had happened, and everything was lost. He was stunned with disbelief, grief, and anger. He cried out, "God! How could you do this to me?" Early the next day, he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching the island. It had come to rescue him! "How did you know I was here?" asked the weary man of his 20 rescuers. "We saw your smoke signal," they replied.

The Moral of This Story: It is easy to get discouraged when things are going bad, but we shouldn't lose heart because God is at work in our lives - even in the midst of our pain and suffering. Remember that the next time your little hut seems to be burning to the ground, it just may be a smoke signal that summons the Grace of God.

You never know who feels as if their hut is on fire today.

I will probably post more later about Mr. Dagel's words of wisdom.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Time Change

The time change has been an adjustment this week. Isn't there something wrong with dropping your kids off at school when there is a big gigantic moon in the sky? The full moon has been beautiful, but it feels like the middle of the night when Hadrian goes to school in the mornings. She gets to school at 7 a.m. (if we are doing really well) - usually a few minutes later. It has been kind of funny watching the kids go into the school building this week. Most of them are literally sprinting so they won't be late. I think a lot of people might be having a hard time adjusting to the dark mornings!

Speaking of school and Hadrian, I must share about a wonderful award that Hadrian received last week. She was picked by the staff at Grayson High School to be the Sophomore Ram of the Month for February. I was pretty impressed since there are 861 sophomores to pick from! They pick 8 kids during the year - one for each month from September through April.

One of the reasons Hadrian was honored is because she made it to the state level of competition for the Governors Honors Program. We were so surprised that she made it past the regional level for GHP becasue there are SO many kids from Gwinnett County! One hundred kids were chosen to be interviewed at the state level, and they are picking only 14 of those kids in Hadrian's subject area of Business Management. Apparently, it is a big deal to advance this far as a Sophomore. Juniors are usually chosen for these slots. Hadrian has not heard if she made it through to the summer GHP program, but we are not really expecting it because she is just a 10th grader. But, we still are very, very, proud of our little princess!

There was an award ceremony at the school which I attended. I had to lie to Hadrian about why she was staying after school because they want the kids to be surprised. And, boy was she! She had no idea what was going on! And, now her picture will be plastered on the wall in the foyer of the school for her Respected Ram Award! : ) How embarrassing, huh?

One other note: Our Grayson Lady Rams varsity soccer team is undefeated this season! That may change after next week due to facing our two toughest opponents, but we are enjoying the season so far! Hadrian has been playing very well.

Speaking of proud, I have to mention how proud I am of Haley and Hannah and how hard they are working in school. They both are SO tired and SO ready to finish the semester, but they keep pushing forward! Hannah had spring break last week, and Haley has spring break this week. Maybe the short breaks will be enough for them to make it the rest of the way!

Well, I better go to bed since I have to wake up in the middle of the night to drive Hadrian in the morning! : )

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Rejoining the Living

Today is the first day in over three weeks that I have actually eaten food without being in severe pain or getting sick! Thank you, Jesus! Bryan brought me breakfast in bed this morning. He made me a pancake and a slice of bacon in hopes that I could actually eat today. It was delicious and I ate every bite. And, then I ate some pasta for dinner. Maybe I am finally getting better. This has been a very long three weeks - the sickest I have ever been with my Crohn's Disease. But, I know people have been praying for me to feel better, and today has been a turning point. Thank you very much for caring! I honestly feel like I have just rejoined the living.

I have had no cokes during this time - maybe it would be a good time to give these up permanently. : ( And, I have learned to like gatorade. I never drank it before I was sick, but I have had it every day since. I think it has saved me.

And, today was the most wonderful snow day! We just sat and watched the beautiful snow fall. The snow flakes were as big as goose feathers! This was the perfect snow. Fluffy and gorgeous, but gone in a day! I love to see one snow fall each winter, and then I am ready to move on to spring. I am thankful for the enjoyment my family received today from having snow! Haley even had snow all the way down in Warner Robins! She was so excited! But, Hannah totally missed it because she is in Florida for spring break. She is probably not really caring that she missed the snow since she is on the beach.

Today was a great day - feeling better and snow all in the same day. And, we had movie night at home tonight. Bryan, Hadrian, and I watched the Holiday. This was the first time we have seen it, and we enjoyed it.

Optimistic for better days this week . . .

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Big Flare Up

On Monday night, I had a wonderful visit with two of my old college friends. First friend, Camille, was one of my roommates at Berry College. Camille flew here from California to visit with her family for a week. She now lives in the wonderful state known for its earthquakes, wildfires, and celebrity governor. Her job took her to California a few years back. She is a consultant with a fancy smancy title that I can't remember. But, the bottom line is that she is smart enough to interpret IRS tax codes for pension plans. Can you imagine? Just the thoughts of trying to interpret and implement any kind of IRS tax laws would make me run far far away as fast as I could. But, she is a rare breed with a rare job. I think she should just move back to Georgia and hang a shingle (she has a law degree). Well, maybe someday. It was so good to hear that her family is doing well.

Second friend, Mary Clare, was one of the first people I met at Berry College. She and I lived in the clinic together before we were given permanent housing. We actually slept in hospital beds which probably were more comfortable than the beds we eventually ended up with in the dorms. Mary Clare went to law school with Camille for a year. But, she then decided that instead of becoming a lawyer herself she would just marry a lawyer. You probably do not want to know her husband being that he is a federal prosecutor. She and prosecutor hubby have four children that keep Mary Clare very busy. They live in Alpharetta, and it was great catching up on her family as well.

The three of us ate at PF Changs at the Mall of Georgia on an extremely cold night. It was yummy!

And, then the dreaded flare up. I just haven't felt that well all of 2009. I have been very tired, have had oozy eyes, and I have been having more tummy problems than usual. The signs were there that a big one was coming. By Thursday, I was so sick! I should have gone to the hospital, but I was determined to deal with this at home. My last flare up cost me about $4,000 for a night in the hospital emergency room. So, not this time! Thursday night was absolutely miserable. I can't remember when I have had so much pain, and I had the dreaded night sweats. Other people with Crohn's Disease talk about these, but I have not had the privilege of experiencing night sweats until Thursday. And, I hope I never have to experience night sweats again! Good grief! Well, I lived through the night, but I am still trying to recover. It is now Sunday night, and I still have not eaten any solid foods. It will probably take at least several more days to be able to eat. And, my stomach continues to hurt so badly! Even though Crohn's people always have tummy problems, major flare ups just randomly happen. I believe the last major flare up I had was about three years ago. And, my dear sweet mom actually stayed with me and took care of our family until the crisis passed. My poor family didn't have the luxury of my mom's help this go round.

Poor Hadrian needed to buy a suit for her state governor's honors interview on Saturday. She drove me to Kohl's Friday night. I sat in the car in my pajamas while this poor baby went in Kohl's with my credit card and bought her a new suit all by herself. She did a fantastic job! And, Bryan had to drive her to the interview on Saturday because I wasn't able to go. And, the girls and Bryan have totally fed themselves for the past several days. And, they are alive and doing well. : ) And, not to mention that I haven't been able to work or go places. But, hopefully, we will get back to normal soon. (At least my special evening at PF Changs wasn't ruined)!

Things can only go up from here!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Addition to One Brave Chick

If you choose to open this blog, you may have a problem seeing whole paragraphs. Well, just click on the last word that you see in each paragraph, and the rest of the paragraph will come up! Thanks!

One Brave Chick

I want to share about a blog that I am following. I added the blog to my list if anyone is interested in checking it out. The author of this blog is definitely "one brave chick!"

I can't even remember how I first learned of the Schultz family. But, I have followed this mom for several years on her Caring Bridge website. As I told you before, I follow/have followed several kids over the years on Caring Bridge sites. Well, mom Katie Schultz, has had to live through more than most of us could bear. Katie has buried two beautiful baby daughters! She has mothered through two illnesses that ultimately took two of her precious children.

Katie is a wonderful writer who has shared the ups and downs of her journey. I have always enjoyed reading her posts! Katie has now founded an organization called "One Brave Chick" with two of her friends who are also very brave chicks.

Truly inspiring!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Weary and Exhausted

This is the second weekend in a row that I have hardly been able to get out of bed. My Crohn's Disease is doing a number on me right now. It frustrates me but there is not a lot I can do about it. I have to remind myself sometimes that this is normal for me. When I am feeling really down and out, I usually go to some websites and read about others with Crohn's. It just reaffirms that I am not losing my mind and others are experiencing the same thing.


Your Crohn's Disease Will Combine With Stress to Give You Fatigue

When you combine Crohn's Disease and stress, you get periods of fatigue. All of us with the disease go through it. It is a very important issue in our lives. People with Crohn's Disease often feel a weariness and an exhaustion, especially when we have a flare up. But even when we don’t have a flare up, our body is still fighting a war against the disease. It is in combat and that combat takes a lot of energy.

Well, it is taking a lot of energy alright! I have slept most of the weekend. And, not by choice. My joints hurt, my stomach hurts, and I can't stop the chills. Ugh!

I really want to be up doing things. Hadrian has wanted to go to the mall all weekend. But, she has totally given up on me! : ( The whole weekend has pretty much been a wash.

We are hoping for better days!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Follow Up

Just a follow up to my blog yesterday. I am deeply saddened to tell you that Marin passed away this morning. This girl has amazed and inspired me.

On her website:

Dear Family, Friends, and all those who love and cherish our little Marin,

Marin passed away this morning. She was asleep, comfortable and finally out of pain. We will all miss her deeply. I will update in a few hours with more details.

It is with all your support that we are able to make it through this. We read Marin every message that was sent and I'm sure she heard all your prayers.

Marin Rose Morrison 6-19-90 through 1-2-09

Nancy, Matt, Camie, and Michael

I will be setting up a non-profit called the Marin Morrison fund. It will be an annual award of heroism along with a scholarship.

Our wishes are to have a service here in Seattle and web-cast it then fly her body down to Southern California to rest on a hill over looking the ocean.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 is finally here!

2009! It is finally here! I think there are a lot of people ready to kiss 2008 goodbye. Our family is hoping 2009 is a year of positive change. We sometimes joked about how the year 2008 couldn't possibly get any worse. But, the realization is that things can always get worse! So, I am trying to focus on the positive things in our lives. And, when I sometimes slip back into my doom and gloom mode, I have to find a way to remind myself of all the blessings I truly have in my life.

I follow some Caring Bridge websites. These are websites of people (mainly kids) who are struggling daily with diseases and are in the fight of their lives. My kids know I always cry when one of these kids passes away. These amazing kids are such heroes. The strength these families show is nothing but miraculous. What could possibly be worse than watching your child suffer? Can you imagine the inner turmoil a parent must feel while watching their child leave this earth? No more suffering means losing your child. This has to be the hardest thing a person could ever live through.

One of the girls that I keep up with is Marin. I learned of her brain tumor several years ago while she was a student at Collins Hill High School. Her family moved to Washington state, but her friends and family keep up with her through her Caring Bridge site. She has suffered from a brain tumor for almost four years now. She was an awesome swimmer, and she actually got to participate in the Special Olympics in China just this past summer. I read this heartbreaking post made by her mother yesterday. Marin's time is almost up. I will copy and paste:

Our dear little Marin is still breathing yet slipping away slowly, hour by hour. Her pain medications have been over doubled in the last two days. She rarely opens her eyes yet when she does, she has looked at me with a lot of uncertainy and seems scared. I started thinking about Marin's journey she has had here on earth and what a glorious trip it has been and will be until the end. I then started thinking about the journey that she will have in heaven. Of course she is feeling scared. No one close to her has ever died. She feels she is going to be alone. I have been telling her about her relatives that have gone on to heaven and how they will be wating to meet her. I'm sure they have a lot of stories for her about when I was a little girl, etc.The best comfort I think I have given her is as always, Marin needs a goal or a job to do. I started thinking about what Marin's job in heaven could be, an the answer is obvious. Marin has always been Camie's guardian angel here on earth. Since Camie was a little girl, Marin looked out for her to make sure she was happy, safe, learning, etc. She always wanted the best for Camie and rejoiced in every accomplishment Camie received. Marin is going to be Camie's "coach" or guardian angel. Just like she has looked out for her here, Marin can guide Camie and coach her through her life journey. I talked with Marin about this and she instantly seemed to have more peace. Now she has her goal and work cut out for her. Marin is probably swimming the final race of her life and, as always, fighting really hard. Her strength is truely amazing, as any Olympian's strength would be.I ask for your prayers once again to give us, including all of you, strength to try to live as Marin has. With awesome strength, courage, hope, happiness, and pride.Happy New Year and remember to love those close to your heart.

My goodness! No problem in my life could ever compare to this! Things in life are that. . . just things. Losing a business, money, house, car, or any other worldly possession can never compare to the loss of a child.

My kids are healthy. Bryan and I are still kicking - which is good at our age. I still have my parents, my sister and her wonderful family, and extended family and friends. So, life is good. I just have to remind myself of that sometimes. I visit the Caring Bridge site about once a week to check in. I can't possibly do this and come away without feeling a little bit more grateful for what I have.

I am praying for Marin's family as they prepare for her journey to heaven.

And, I am praying for a better year for all in 2009.