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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.