Wednesday, November 30, 2005

God Works Through the Net

I had a rather interesting day yesterday. After my posting I went on to read a couple of other blogs. One, in particular, was an update page for Gordy and Debbie Schmidt. Gordy is in the hospital in Tampa after experiencing a brain bleed. I could not help but post. My heart went out to them and their desparate need.

Not long after that I got an email from JLGlass, the site's owner saying how surprised Deb and Gordy would be to know I had stumbled into their lives and was praying with them and for them. I hadn't really expected a reply, so it was great to hear from someone firsthand.

Then, later that night, as I got on to do a little bit of work, I noticed another email. This time it was from more friends of the Schmidts, Diane Viere, thanking me for praying for her dear lifelong friends. She described them to me, and this made them all the more real to me. One line in her email really struck home. "To be known by God is...eternal." I cried when I read her email.

I started this blog because I had been laid off of work. I decided to pursue my dream of being a writer. I knew it would not bring in a decent living, but it gave me something to dream about, and hope for, and do while I was searching for employment. Several of the jobs I have applied for have asked for writing samples. To keep in practice, I blog. And sit and wait for rejections or acceptances for my submissions. For an entire month I have submitted works to magazines and publishers. I haven't heard anything. But that doesn't stop me. I have read that it may take months to receive answers. Needless to say, I find myself getting discouraged.

But yesterday was a red-letter day. God reminded me that I am not alone in this life. That there are others who need desperately my prayers. There are those that are fighting for their lives. There are those who sit where I once sat, feeling the same things I once felt. They needed to hear from me.

I was 22 when my father's illness struck him. His was a rare neurological state brought on by brain trauma. Who knows which trauma it was. My father had been in several vehicle accidents, twice breaking his neck. God was merciful both times. He was never paralyzed from it. Nevertheless, his illness came on suddenly. He seizured for 20 minutes before they could get him to a hospital. He stayed in intensive care for 10 days. My mom brought him home and cared for him for five years. I wish I could say it had a happy ending, but he passed away at 51. But God was with us through it all. Every moment. We were strengthened by the prayers of people with faith. So I know what it is to feel those prayers.

Some day I am going to write a memoir of sorts. My mom passed away in 2001 from her second bout of breast cancer at the age of 61. She is my inspiration. She was a godly woman. She was a true servant. I miss her so much. Her story would take many pages to tell. Her philosophy during her illness was to pray for the best and let God have the rest. She did not fear dying. She worried about those she was leaving behind. I remember her telling everyone she came in contact with what a peace she had about it all. What a woman. What a God!

So you see, Diane, I am no stranger to hospitals, illness, trials, and heartache. At one point during my mother's illness, my mom was in Jackson General and my mother-in-law was in Vanderbilt hospital at the same time. Both were on chemo. My mother-in-law died of leukemia in 1998. I look back at that year and know that it was the grace of God that kept me going. And he will keep Debbie and Gordy going too.

We just have to keep the faith. I'm so glad I blog. Smiles.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Of Trees 'n Things

The day after Thanksgiving we put up our Christmas tree. I finally decided to invest in one of those pre-lit ones. It is so much easier and faster. My son wanted to decorate all by himself. I could hardly contain myself as he put all the little ornaments in a tidy little group in the front. I encouraged him to spread them out and vary them. Watching him was the joy of my day. His eyes danced at the sight of his creation. He raced to the CD player and put on his Christmas CD. What a beautiful thing childlike enthusiasm is--unspoiled by commercialism and greed. At least so far.

Yes, he has asked for every toy he has seen on Saturday morning cartoons. But when asked which ones he really wants, he just shrugs and says, "Whatever Santa brings me." I know it won't always be this way. But it is nice to know Santa still has options, at least this year.

Every year we go through his old toys and sack up the best ones. Not the broken ones. Not the ragged ones. The best ones. And take them to the Salvation Army. I am trying to teach him that there are children less fortunate, and that it is better to give than receive. He sometimes is a bit sad at losing some of his toys. But he always gets to choose which ones. And sometimes he will say, "Mom, I bet those boys are really enjoying my Hulk Hands." Or something like that. And I tell him, "Of course they are. They are taking really good care of them."

In a way I miss the good old days of tromping out to the field to chop down a live tree. The smell cannot be duplicated. There was just something extra special about bringing it in and fighting to get it stabilized. It was worth all the scratches on your arms. I imagine us getting a live tree had more to do with us being broke than anything. But it makes for fond memories at least.

We also made paper snowflakes the day after Thanksgiving to put in the windows. I learned how to make those many years ago. It was fun teaching my little boy how to do it. And I think he has gotten addicted to it. I am still cleaning up little jibbles of paper out of the living room floor. It was a great lesson in how each one is unique and beautiful in its own right. And so are we. So are we.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Teenage Mayor?

I have my reservations about a teenage mayor. Have you seen Michael Sessions? He's from a town in Michigan. He got voted in as a write-in and won by 2 votes. He's been on Letterman already. I suppose the town banded together and decided to do this historic thing for publicity's sake. I just wonder who, exactly, will be running the town.

Can you imagine what would transpire if a city disaster like New Orleans took place? He has absolutely no real world experience. And his first real job is mayor? Give me a break. The things people will do to get noticed.

Yes, you have to admire the guts it took to run against a 51-year-old incumbent. They say he ran his campaign on $700 dollars. Wouldn't it be nice if all our politicians would be that frugal?

I guess it's not as farfetched as it sounds. There were two kings in the Bible that reigned at a tender age, and they weren't even teenagers yet. One was Josiah. I will have to look the other up. Good topic for today's Bible lesson, I suppose.

Friday, November 18, 2005

My Gift

Six years ago today I lay in a hospital bed with a fetal monitor strapped to my belly, an IV in my arm pushing Pitocin, a blood pressure cuff strapped to my other arm, and a nurse's hand up my vagina saying, "Poop a watermelon." I know, I know that part sounds hilarious now. But all I could think of at that moment was if giving birth was like pooping, I was severely constipated.

After 14 hours of labor, 6 hours of that pushing and straining to get my "watermelon" out, the kind doctor suggested forceps. I was adamently opposed. I did not want my poor baby's face to be all smashed and bruised. But the doctor won out. And still, my "watermelon" refused to budge. He tried the suction thingie with no better results.

Finally, in desperation I screamed. "Get him out, now!" which seemed to garner much better results. Within twenty minutes I was prepped and in surgery. Within 15 more minutes, my bundle of joy had arrived. He was no watermelon. He was my gorgeous 8 lb. 2 oz. baby boy. I got to kiss his little forehead before they put me out to staple me up. My husband got to carry him to the nursery and give him his first bottle. To this day when my husband and I argue, guess who is on his side? That's right. My baby bonded first with his Daddy. The one with the formula always wins.

Later on after arriving home I finally got to review the video. I got to see the parts I missed while I was in the Twilight Zone. There never was a Papa more proud. And that child sucked down 2 oz. before you could blink an eye. Yep, no doubt about who is father and mother are.

I got to see everyone's reaction on the tape. I'm still a little jealous that everyone was gone by the time I got to my room at 10:30 that night. But I'm so glad someone had the forethought to tape it. My grandmother held my tiny son in her arms. She looked at him so sweetly. And she prayed over this blessed new life.
My husbands' family took turns burping and cradling. My sister sucked the mucous out of his mouth with a bulb like a pro. And finally, my mom got to hold him. She had been ever so patient, knowing she would be at the hospital when everyone else had left. I never will forget how proud she was. She had waited a long time to become a grandma. Both my sisters had been married 9 years and produced no offspring. I felt justified that this was payback for both of them marrying the same year, leaving me at home and single. There is a God. Laugh.

When I got back to my room, they let me hold him. I never knew what joy a baby could bring. True, I felt like I had been through combat. My body was bruised and sore and exhausted. All I wanted to do was sleep for hours on end--and watch this little bundle of joy. I would keep waking up and saying, "Ain't he pretty, Mama."
He had the most beautiful head of hair. That was the biggest surprise. Was it worth all that laboring and pain and nine months of throwing up, losing 40 lbs, having 27 staples, and breaking out from the anesthesia? You bet it was.

You know what? Even though six years have passed and my beautiful boy is now in kindergarten, I feel as if I were back in that room, marvelling at God's blessed creation all over again. It's his birthday today. But I got the best gift. Happy Birthday, Son. May God Bless your life in countless ways. I love you with all my heart.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Christmas Buffett???

Today, just out of curiosity, I did a search on Warren Buffett--one of America's most wealthy. In particular I was searching for Berkshire Hathaway holdings, of which there are many. Did you know that Mr. Buffett could build an entire home using only materials from the companies he owns? He has manufactured home factories, carpet factories, paint companies, steel warehouses, and insurance companies to insure it all. Now there's a catch, ladies.

I sat here in a daze as I read his listings. How does one begin to buy up America? He must be a financial genius. Wouldn't you love to have that on your resume. "Acquaintances recount his uncanny ability to calculate columns of numbers off the top of his head - a feat Warren still amazes business colleagues with today."( I sure could use him on my weekly trek to Wal-Mart.

Think of all the fun he has at Christmas. If I had that kind of wealth, I would spend the entire holiday season looking for ways to spread holiday cheer. But then again, it doesn't take a billion dollars to do that. Just a bit of time, love, and tenderness. I'm sure Mr. Buffett donates to his share of charities. I just wonder how sexy he looks in a Santa suit.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Wicked weather rolled through Henry County this afternoon leaving some people homeless not very far from us. It seems the tornados have gotten particularly dangerous in the last decade. Maybe it's the technology we have to predict them and follow them that makes us more aware of them.

My son was sick all night, so he was home from school. We hid in the laundry room with Maggie, my little weather dog. She had scratched on the door a full 20 minutes before it hit. We prayed that God would keep everyone safe. Inside I was secretly glad that he was home with me. The schools were under lockdown. Some kids in Stewart County did not get home until after dark.

Our power went out, and the telephones as well. We had no way of knowing if the storm was truly over and what damage had ocurred. Finally when the power returned we saw that some homes a couple of miles from us had been obliterated. Several went to the hospital, but no fatalities that we have heard yet. I was so thankful we were all ok.

My family lives in Jackson, Tennessee where a major F5 hit a couple of years ago destroying downtown and many other sections of the city. It was no surprise that my sister called me to make sure we had weathered the storm. They know the power of nature. They know when the weatherman says to take cover to not delay.

It is heartbreaking to see the families that have lost all. There, but for the grace of God, go I. Yes, we have much to give thanks for...

Monday, November 14, 2005

Tragedy in Pennsylvania

I saw on Yahoo News this morning where an 18-year-old has shot the parents of his 14-year-old girlfriend and taken flight with her to parts unknown. How frightening to think that two parents lost their lives because they insisted on a curfew for their barely-a-teenager daughter. What was the boy thinking? Now he will either be a fugitive the rest of his days, or more likely, a prisoner. Who knows what will become of the girl. It is still up in the air as to whether she was abducted or participated willingly.

I think I know my child. I want to say he would never gun down two adults. I want to say that I have taught him that violence is never the answer. However, it is difficult to determine how much of what I am teaching him is sticking with him at his impressionable age of nearly six. I pray over him every night that God would keep him safe in his surroundings, that he would be a good child, obedient and loving. I know there are things out there in this world that will influence him. Will their influences overshadow that of mine and his dad's?

I'm sure that girl's parents never dreamed they would face the wrong end of a gun--especially for just doing the right thing and being concerned parents. Could it have been prevented? Were there predictors? Was there something they could have done differently? I doubt it. And that is the scarey part--knowing you are doing all you can, and that all you can do may not, in the end, be enough.

What do we do then? Just sit back and let the world take our children? No, parents, we must fight for them as if their lives depended on it, because they do. And not only that, but OUR lives depend on it. Think about it.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Sunday in the South

Sundays in the South usually revolve around family. Most decent folk attend the church of their choice here in the Bible belt. For some it is a means to assuage our guilt from the weekend's activities. For others it is a social gathering, a time to fellowship with neighbors and community. For many of us it is family tradition; our roots go deep in the local church. And still, there are a few of us left who attend church as a true act of worship and thanksgiving to God for his blessings. At some point in my life, all these reasons were true. It depended on the stage of life I was in at the moment.

Most Sunday afternoons revolve around big family dinners and naps or recreation. I remember, as a child, going to Granny's house every Sunday. Her table would be overflowing with homecooked goodness. My cousins would all be there, as well as my uncles and aunts. It was an extended family gathering. Without fail, there was fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, and sweet tea. And the blessing was said before the meal.

There is a bit of sadness that we have lost that somewhere down the line. Families don't always grow up and stay in the same town. They don't always attend the home church. They don't always keep up with the cousins. Grandparents grow elderly and pass away. Some of our traditions fall by the way. And I think it is a shame that my son will not have those memories. What will he have?

At the very least I want him to have memories of the three of us spending Sundays together--enjoying each other as a family. I want him to have a solid foundation in faith and God. I want him to know the Bible stories I was taught as a child. I want him to cherish the hymns of the church. I want him to be able to pass them down to his children someday. Times and seasons may change. But God will never change. And that big black Book--that Book that has meant so much to so many through the ages, that roadmap of life, has not changed, nor will change in the ages to come. When my son grows up and Sunday rolls around, I want him to know where his Book is...and take it with him to the house of God. That's my mother's cry. Is it yours?

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Saturday Mornings at Our House

Another Saturday home with my son. Who knew having wrestling matches and building clubhouses could be so much fun? Still, I can feel that I'm forty. All I want to do is get my housecleaning done and put my feet up. Yet, they are only little once.

He wants me to play Finding Nemo with him. Next it will be Monopoly, Jr., Candyland, Operation, and on and on and so forth, until he has depleted his supply. This is the problem with only children. Sure, they mature faster, having only adults to converse with, but do they really learn to relate to their peers in a way that they should? I was so proud of him. We went out with some friends last night to eat at Cracker Barrell. He was such the little gentleman. Of course I credit this to my threatening him within an inch of his life before we ever got in the car.
Still, it was nice to have a meal out with another couple, and not have to discipline him all night.

Here in the South, many children spend the weekend with their grandparents. I wish it could be that way with my son. He has one grandparent locally who doesn't get out much anymore. He has the beginnings of Alzheimer's. We take my son to visit him regularly. I still fear the day will come when we will visit and be strangers to him. I lived through something of that nature with my father. It is not something I wish for my husband to have to endure. Three of my grandparents are still living, and I try to glean as much as possible from them before their candles burn out. I think we as a society tend to discard our elderly instead of giving them the honor their lives deserve. Some day we will be old. Will my son still want to spend time with me then? I smile as I think of him, and realize he's waiting. Maybe today he will let me win. Smile.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Seriously though...

You have to admire a profession where you can get a job without ever submitting a formal resume-- based on the merits of your labor, whether recognized or not. True, it is much more difficult to catch an editor's eye without that coveted agent. But it can be done. Give me that challenge my soul says. If I am to claw my way to the top of the slushpile, let it be because I have bitten my nails to the quick, spent countless sleepless nights weaving plots and characters into tidy packages that I will ultimately hug to my breast and kiss goodbye with the morning sun. Whatever it is that I gain from this soul bleeding, let it be worth the price I have to pay. There is no fame locked away in nightstand drawers or on the backs of overdue bills. We are only failures if we do not try.