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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ramblings from the Heart

I've never been a secure person, especially when I was younger. I might have looked sure of myself, but it was only a fa├žade. Behind it, I was scared to death. I put up a shield of protection and was very aloof. This shield and my fear kept me apart from others. I had difficulty making friends.

Part of my anxiety is that there is a part of my body that is different from anyone I've ever known. Because this difference was pointed out by school mates, "friends", and even in disgust by my paternal grandmother (as if it was something I had any control over), this only intensified my insecurity. It's exhausting living life trying to hide a part of your body.

I looked for attention in all the wrong ways. I felt shame and didn't like myself very much as a young adult.

As I got older, I focused on advancing in my career. I thought this is what I needed to help me to feel better about myself. I would puff up with all of my accomplishments and tried to find my worth in what I did, when I needed to find it in who I am.

It's only been in recent years that I've truly been able to understand my true worth is based on. It is not my job, the shape my body is in, how I dress or how my hair looks, who my friends are or how much money I have. My worth comes from my relationship with Christ.

I've learned that God loves me no matter what. I don't have to do anything to earn this love. I am His child and He loves me, and that will never change. When I sin (I am human - it's inevitable), He doesn't love the sin but still loves ME.

I've had a hard time accepting this because I haven't always felt lovable. I've made mistakes in the past and didn't understand how God could love me. I used to think He sat in constant judgment of me and rained down punishment for my past sins.

Instead, I'm learning that we worship a merciful God. A never changing God who I believe is GOOD, and I believe the promises that He has made to all of us.

1. He promises to supply every need we have.

This does not include the multiplicity of luxuries that we have come to think of as needs. We have to learn to be happy with what He provides, and allow Him to work in our lives and bless us with more if this is what He desires for us.

2. He promises that His grace is sufficient for us.

He has made provision for our salvation by His grace through faith. It is through obedient faith that we have access into the grace of God.

3. God promises that His children will not be overtaken with temptation.

He assures us a way of escape will be provided. No matter what situation you might be in, there will be a way out. Save yourself heartache and look for it. Put your relationship with God and what He wants for you above immediate gratification.

4. God has promised us victory over death.

He first resurrected Jesus by way of assuring our resurrection.

5. God has promised that all things work together for good to those who love and serve Him faithfully.

It may be difficult for us to see and understand how this is accomplished at times, for instance when I watch my mom suffer over the death of my dad, or how two of my friends are watching their grandchildren suffer with cancer. But only HE knows what lies ahead. We only see the here and now. He sees the big picture. He promised it, and He will deliver.

6. God has promised that those who believe in Jesus and are baptized for the forgiveness of sins will be saved.

Baptism is the outward expression of our inward transformation.

7. God has promised His people eternal life.

This life is only temporary. I believe our real home is in Heaven.

I'm 51 years old and I'm still a work in progress. My emotional self is learning to be submissive to the spiritual.

I'm still insecure, but not as much. I reach out to people more easily now. I try not to focus on what is wrong, but what is right within me. I still have bad moments but they don't last as long as they used to.

Being a Christ follower doesn't always make life easier. Bad stuff still happens. For me, at least, it makes the inconsistencies of life easier to handle when you put Him in charge. In the spirit of the season, I am thankful for this most of all.

O Lord, You are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for Your help.
Psalms 86:5

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Just call me Mimi

Brooks Harold Gillespie
9 pounds, 8 ounces
20 3/4 inches

Proud mommy and baby Brooks.
Isn't she gorgeous within hours of a C section?
Well, life since 9/23 hasn't been the same!
I feel like I'm in a constant state of flux, wanting to be at home with my husband yet wanting to be with my daughter and grandson, too. There is such a draw to be with them, but they are three hours away. He's six weeks old now and so far I've been maintaining an every 2-3 week schedule. I'm SO looking forward to being with them again tomorrow!
The past couple of weeks have been a little rough. We thought at first he just had gas, then reflux, but I believe now it's full blown colic. I hope the newest remedy he started yesterday will be effective. Ashley and JG are quite the parenting team, although their confidence wanes when Brooks is inconsolable. Between me, the in laws, my mom and my sister, they have lots of support around. Even so, I know Ashley prefers her mama, and I love that.
From what I understand, he's starting to smile and coo a lot. Until now, he's been such a serious little guy.  
Here are more pictures through the weeks:

Everyone thinks he looks just like his daddy, but I see his mommy in him, too.
Mimi to the rescue!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Waiting for Brooks

When a child is born, so are grandmothers  ~ Judith Levy

So, on Monday I will finally be a Gramma!

Buy Buy Baby, Babies R Us, TJ Maxx, Ross and WalMart have benefitted greatly from this status change.

Ashley and JG have been married for seven years, so we've been waiting a while for this.

His name is Brooks. We've seen him on 3D ultrasound so we have an idea of his little face, but I'm so anxious to see what/who he really looks like. And we're all anxious to know how much he weighs. Ashley jokingly says there's likely a betting pool between the doctor, midwife, and sonographer since he's been estimated at everything between 6.9 lbs. - 10 lbs. I think it will be toward the 10.

I fully expect him to be a little chunk just like his mama was.

I'm excited about seeing my daughter and son in law become parents. It took Ashley's maternal instincts a while to kick in, while JG has wanted to be a daddy since year one of their marriage. They are both going to be awesome. I have enjoyed watching my daughter blossom into the nurturer I knew she would be, and I love hearing her call her baby boy "buddy".

Ashley is having a C-section. This has been expected all along so it was no surprise.
She is small boned, and her pelvis is much too narrow to birth even an average sized baby. A couple of her friends have had them so she's been getting lots of advice.

I told her when I was in labor with her and on my way to the hospital, it occurred to me that I hadn't given much thought about HOW they were going to get her out of me! I must have had pregnancy brain and never really focused on how the baby would actually get here. And in 1982, there just wasn't as much information as there is now so other than what my mom told me, I didn't have much to go on. I was SCARED! (And btw, I had her naturally with NO drugs! GO me!)

Well, Ashley has reached that point now and is starting to get nervous. The one thing about it being a C-section is that I won't be in there with her. JG has a weak stomach, so I hope he'll be able to remain upright :) I know there will be lots of tears (and not just from the baby!)

I'll be staying with her for at least a week after she gets home, and I know those are going to be the best days ever. We live three hours away so I won't be able to be with her constantly after that. We'll be doing a lot of Facetime on our iPhones, but I'm sure we'll both be back and forth a lot.

Life as we know it is going to change. I'm ready!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Believing a Lie

Don't believe the lie that YOU can't make a difference - Perry Noble

For almost a year, I volunteered in our church office working with the production crew. I was responsible for inputting the words to the songs to be projected on the big screens every Sunday morning, and I loved it. I was able to hang out with a lot of the really young and creative people there and it made me feel good to contribute with the gifts God has blessed me with.

But, there was always that voice in the back of my head that said I wasn't needed and wasn't appreciated. Even at the age of 51, I still fall victim to Satan and his tricks. I was believing the lie. This made it easy for me to back off when my dad died, and I told them I just wasn't going to be available regularly anymore in order to do this.

This wasn't all together true. There was a three-week period of time that I was wrapped up in helping my mom, but lately it's been more sporadic and something I can schedule. It should still allow me to do something I love for my church. But, I was afraid to ask if they wanted me back.

I know in my heart and head that if I put these things in God's hands, He will take care of it. As it turns out, the person who was supposed to take my place never showed, and a busy production employee was handling the task. When I finally got the nerve to ask about it, I was told they would "love" me to come back.

I've just felt all along that this volunteer assignment was for me. At my former church was where I first learned about production. I had hoped it would lead to an opportunity at NewSpring (my current church) and it did. And as much as I loved doing it, I still became discouraged. I think they understood when my dad died that it threw me into a tailspin. But still, that wasn't 100% of the reason.

I'm thankful to be back to my Tuesday volunteer routine, and I pray that I can learn from this experience and not listen to the negative whispers of the enemy. I know if I persevere, God can use me in more ways than one to accomplish His purposes through this.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Summer of Change

I wrote my last post in June but somehow missed publishing it. So much has happened since then. When I wrote it, I had no idea that just 10 short days later my father would pass away.

It was June 13, 2013. My dad had been sick for the past couple of years with COPD and emphysema, but no one in my family expected it to end his life so quickly. It was such a strange turn of events. He was healthy enough to help my mom through her back surgeries in late 2012 and early 2013, although it stressed his system a lot. And then, a new heart doctor thought he had a right heart valve leak that was exacerbating his breathing issues, and he put him on a new medication for that. Unfortunately, it was the wrong diagnosis and the wrong type of medication, and it ended up sending him to the hospital for a week in April. After that, he got better for a very short period and then started going We knew he was sick, but we just couldn't accept to what extent. He passed away after struggling to breathe while getting up that morning. It has been devastating for my family, especially my mom, but God is merciful in not allowing him to suffer any longer.

He was a handsome, cool dude

So, the past seven weeks have been spent helping my mom continuously with everything from changing names on accounts to balancing her checkbook to encouraging her daily and allowing her to grieve. All in all, she is doing much better this week. I am thankful for our faith, and knowing that God is with her (and me!) every step of the way.

Then, on July 27, we returned home from an overnight trip to my mom's and couldn't find my 16 year old kitty, Mason. He ended up being stuck in the litter box because he couldn't move his back legs. It was a Saturday evening, so we had to take him to the emergency vet. We were told that he "threw a clot" (evidently something older kitties do) and they could fix him but it would likely happen again and we needed to consider his quality of life. Going to the vet has always been a traumatic experience for him and we didn't want him to suffer any longer. My husband and I had an hour or so waiting for the vet to discuss our options, and we thought it best to let him go. We had the opportunity to spend time with him and tell him what a good boy he was and how much we loved him. They gave him a shot to relax him and we stayed with him throughout the procedure. There were many tears. That little guy had been with me through so many life changes and it was hard to imagine what life would be like without him. But, we knew he'd been in pain with arthritis and mild kidney failure and it wouldn't have been fair to make him suffer anymore just for our sakes. We had him cremated alone, and now have his ashes. The emergency vet was wonderful and compassionate, and they also made paw prints in clay for us.

Rest in peace, my angel kitty

We had no idea that Mason's absence would have such an effect on our 11-year-old kitty, Maddy. She and Mason had not been close for quite some time. Mason was crotchety as he got older, and Maddy was always too spunky for him. They ignored each other for the most part for the past several years. But there was obviously a stronger bond than I realized, as Maddy is now grieving him terribly. It took her about 5-6 days to realize he was really gone, and then she started to get sick. I took her to the vet yesterday to make sure it wasn't anything physical and they did blood work, treated her for dehydration, and wormed her just in case she had a parasite since she had, to put it nicely, bowel issues and has been making a mess with it around the house for the past few days. As it turns out, the blood work came back normal and it's just the grieving process that she's going through. I wish there was more I could do for her other than love on her and then give her space when she wants it. She did finally eat this morning but is still very withdrawn. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.

Miss Boo sleeping on my desk

It is my hope that the rest of this summer will be non-eventful. We have a much needed long weekend trip to the beach coming up, and our first grandbaby will be here soon after in Sept. A season of joy and calm in my favorite time of the year, fall, would be ideal, but I know I'm not in control. I just continue to pray for patience and trust as God shapes us into who He wants us to be.

Reminiscing and projecting

Originally written June 3, 2013 but not posted...

I find myself lately thinking a lot about the past and when I was raising my daughter alone. They were hard days mostly, but I loved it, too, especially as she got older.

I listen to Pandora radio while I'm working, and a lot of the songs she used to listen to as a teenager often come across my playlist. I can see her getting ready for school in the morning, music blaring, and hearing her singing along to Madonna and The Dixie Chicks (this was in the 90s, y'all). My sweet girl.

She's pregnant now and expecting my first grandbaby, a boy whose name is Brooks. She's been married for almost seven years, so we've waited a long time for him! The thought of what it will be like to see her and JG as parents, and the thought of Chuck and I being grandparents fills me with joy...and makes me want to be closer to them.

We live three hours away - and it's not an easy drive having to go through Atlanta traffic to get to them. An ideal location for them would be farther north, closer to both sets of grandparents. And I don't think either of them disagree, even as much as JG loves his job. He's a golf course superintendent in a very nice golf community and, aside from the very hot, dry summers, he's got a great job. But, the prospect of moving closer to his family, I think, makes him happy, as well as having Ashley closer to me. It might be worth looking for some other greens to tend to.

And Ashley's job is very stressful, and I think it's not something that is going to mean as much when there's a little one to take care of. It would be nice to get her away from the anger and frustration she experiences daily.

Our children may grow older and create lives for themselves, but for me anyway, there is always that draw to be with her. I know God has us here for a reason, and I have to trust that He will make things work for all of us.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Rite of Passage

Last year I turned 50. There are certain things that come with this 'tender' age, one being a colonoscopy screening.

I put this off for a while. After all, who wants to voluntarily subject themselves to such a personally invasive procedure? Because my issues stem from a lazy bowel, the aging process and perimenopause have only intensified my symptoms. Most insurance now covers colonoscopies as preventive care and my insurance covers it 100%. I had no excuse.

So, after being sick with the flu back in December, my body determined for me that it was time for this. After finding a great gastroenterology doctor back in January, the procedure was scheduled for today, February 28.

So, I'm here to tell you that I SURVIVED, and the process wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I want to share my experience in hope that this post will help anyone who has also put this off out of fear or embarrassment.


1) Start preparing yourself the week of the procedure, not just the day before. The day of the prep you will be on a clear liquid diet. AT LEAST one day before then, limit yourself to light foods high in protein such as yogurt and eggs. This will help sustain you and keep you from having as much to expel, which will make the experience much easier.

2) Shop for prep day items ahead of time. I bought mango and peach jello, apple juice, Gatorade, ginger ale, popsicles, hard candy, and Lipton dry chicken soup mix. Of course, I didn't need all of this - but since I was so limited in what I could have, I wanted a variety. I bought the chicken soup mix instead of just chicken bouillon because the flavor is much better, and then just strained the noodles out. I sipped this in the morning along with eating jello, and then again at lunch. And in the middle of the afternoon, I ate hard candy to keep my blood sugar up. By the evening I was drinking the prep mix and didn't want to eat much of anything during that.

Yes, you will be hungry but not painfully so. I'm the kind of person who usually grazes most of the day so I didn't think I would do well. But I just kept my mind focused on the goal - a clean scan - and prayed for strength.

3) The hardest part for me was the liquid prep mix. My doctor prescribed MoviPrep. Some doctors prescribe a large bottle of Miralax mixed with a gallon of Gatorade. The MoviPrep is a prescription and is a low volume prep, meaning you only have to drink two liters over several hours. And no, it doesn't taste good. It reminded me of lemon scented kitchen cleaner. I tried mixing in dry orange drink mix, but it seemed to intensify the flavor instead of mask it, so with the second batch I left it plain. What helped me was to drink the mixture with a straw as far back in my throat as I could put it and then take a large drink and not breathe in, which kept me from tasting it so much. Then I would "chase" that drink with some flavored sparkling water. It was directed that I drink 8 oz. every 30 minutes until the first liter was gone, then wait an hour or so to start the next liter, and again 8 oz. every 30 minutes. In between the 30-minute intervals, I ate hard candy (Lifesavers and Werthers hard caramels). I was instructed to start the prep at 5 p.m., and I was really afraid that starting so late that I was going to be up all night. Instead, I was finished by 11 p.m. and was able to sleep uninterrupted for the most part.

Do try to schedule your procedure for early in the morning. I was lucky enough to be the first one of the day and arrived at the hospital at 7 a.m. By 7:45, they had me prepped in the outpatient area with an IV in my hand. By 8:10, they were starting the procedure and I was OUT, snoozing and pleasantly dreaming. The next thing I knew, I was waking up to my husband's smiling face about 30 minutes later. And I've never been more relieved in my life than when the doctor told me that all was well. After drinking some Sprite and recovering for about 30 minutes, I was up and dressed and out the door.

And the happiness I felt when it was all over - priceless! We stopped at McDonald's for a southern chicken biscuit and then later for lunch, my sweet hub went to one of our favorite restaurants and got me a caprese sandwich and homemade potato chips. And as you can imagine, the food never tasted better.

So here I sit on the same day, a little tired but so relieved and happy that I don't have to repeat the process for five years. And next time, I won't be afraid because I'll know exactly what to expect. Having the peace of mind of knowing the issues I've had are not because of disease has freed me to plan ahead for my future, which includes my first grandbaby this fall!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Dear IAW...

It was five years ago today that you opened.

It was 2 1/2 difficult years and 200k + later that you closed.

It's time to say goodbye for good. You've occupied my mind for too long, making me feel guilty about your failure. I'm tired of beating up the person I was back then. I need to move on.

I admit it - I was part of the problem. I hated you from the first month that you were open. You were not what I expected and I wanted out. You were mainly my husband's idea and I became angry at him too for how he pushed you on me.

The concept of you was exciting for a little while. There was a part of me that wanted to be the person who could successfully own and run you. I wanted to be more outgoing and involved in our community, even though that's not really my personality. I thought in so many ways that all of my life I had failed at being who I was and maybe if I changed, I would be happier and I would feel better about myself.

The possibility of you failing and how that would make me feel never entered my mind.

We made so many poor choices with you. Sometimes we hired the wrong people to help us. Sometimes we spent too much money on things that didn't matter. At our age we were experienced enough to know these things but still did them wrong. We didn't listen closely enough to God when He surely tried to guide us. There are so many things I would now do differently.

You cost us our retirement and a chunk of our personal monthly budget for a while. My heart knows that we need to trust that God will provide rather than depend upon a nest egg, but it's still a disappoinment.

But all in all isn't it most important that we learn from our experiences, especially the bad ones? And learn, we have. Mistakes with you have helped both of us many times in our work as we've moved forward. And I've learned that I can be happy being me rather than trying to change.

So, instead of feeling guilty or feeling I've failed, maybe I should be thankful for you. Thankful for the experience, thankful for the people we helped through you, and thankful that God delivered us from what could have been a much more messy resolution of you.

So, as an exercise in letting go, I write this farewell to you. I will not speak of you or allow the negative aspects of you to interfere with my thoughts anymore. Rest in peace, IAW.

Your not-so-loyal co-owner,


Friday, January 11, 2013

Workin' for a livin'

One of the things I hope to accomplish this year is to find some renewed satisfaction in my work. For the past eight years, I've worked from home as a medical transcriptionist, specifically radiology. For three years now, I've been on an account for a large, very busy hospital. The work never seems to end, and there never seem to be enough transcriptionists to keep the work current on the account. We have a one-hour turn around time (once the doc dictates the report, it must be transcribed and in the hospital system within the hour). This is stressful especially when there's more work than usual, and we (all the transcriptionists as a group) are constantly being barked at about how we are not keeping up or what we're screwing up. Nary a word is ever said if and when we actually do a good job.

This time last year, I was blessed to have the opportunity to reduce my work to part time hours. The company I am contracted with graciously allowed me to do this rather than put me on another account, so I took this gesture as a sign that I do a good job, that they do need me and want me to stay on the account.

Still, I'm the kind of person who thrives on praise. I don't necessarily need it to get the work done (obviously) but a pat on the back here and there or even a kind word never hurts. I would even appreciate some kind of report card, negative or positive, just to see how I'm producing overall but we are never provided with this. So, I've been wondering lately if there are better opportunities out there for me. After all, I have been doing this for a while. Since I'm such a fanatic about grammar and punctuation, I have thought that editing might be a next step up, too.

What I'm finding out in my search is that maybe being 'pigeon holed' into radiology hasn't been such a good thing.

When I was in transcription school 10 years ago, I learned all different types of transcription reports, medical terminology, English, grammar and punctuation. I was placed in radiology for my externship and just stuck with it through the years. There's a lot that I've forgotten when it comes to acute care, or general medicine.

So, rather than look for another job right now I've decided to refresh my skills and to also become registered and certified. So, I'm going to hit the books and start an online study course. I've become so complacent over the years, working from home and not having much professional interaction. I've lost confidence in myself and in my abilities to a certain extent. I love what I do for the most part and don't want to give it up. Hopefully this will revive me and renew my passion for my work.

It's exciting to have a new challenge to look forward to. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

"Do not cling to old ways as you step into a new year. Instead, seek My face with an open mind, knowing that your journey with Me involves being transformed by the renewing of your mind". (from Jesus Calling)

It's been the most relaxing of days. I got up to feed the kitties (who both have alarm clocks in their heads for 6:30 a.m., no matter what day it is) but then, I luxuriously went back to bed. I normally will not go back to sleep when I do this, but then woke again at 9:26. How unusual for me - but then again, we didn't go to sleep until 1:30 a.m. (I was trying to be a better sport about staying up to midnight and enjoying bringing in the New Year!) I awoke to find my hub staring at me and telling me about all the funny noises I was making in my sleep, which I thought was kind of sweet that he was observing me.

It's raining, so not much was planned for today and we didn't get out of our jammies until about 1. We lounged and played Words with Friends in front of the fireplace and watched The Price is Right. A perfect morning.

I then reluctantly went out in the rain to Publix to get ingredients for a nontraditional New Years dish, a Mexican chicken stew. Along with cornbread and freshly sliced avocado, it was a delicious midday meal on this chilly day.

With my hub still lounging and watching football (go, Gamecocks!) I called my mom to check on her and thankfully, she has had a good couple of days. All is right with the world for now.

So, with a thankful heart for all we have been blessed with in 2012, I wish everyone a happy and prosperous 2013!