Saturday, February 28, 2009

I'm Back

Well, back safe and sound at home. The retreat was great as are all Christian retreats. We left Jasper around 10:00 A.M. after waiting for a down pour to pass over. We got to Cullman and HAD to stop at the All Steak for lunch. If you have never been to All Steak, you should really make the effort to go. The food is absolutely wonderful and the visit is topped off by a basket of orange rolls that are to die for. Everyone from around these parts know about them. If you leave this restaurant hungry, it is your own fault.

After lunch we decided to stop in part of historic Cullman where there are some antique shops. However, before arriving there I spotted a fabric store. Trina knows the rest of that story without me going on. I browsed through that shop while the others were looking at the old stuff. I did find a piece of fabric that I just could not leave. I am into aprons and this piece is just too cute. It is a coffee theme. I guess I have enough stash to make at least twenty aprons. I have even toyed with the idea of making them to sell. After seeing the prices on some in Guntersville, I think I should consider it. I even have a name for them : Lillie Belle's Aprons. Lillian was my Mother's name and Belle was my Grandmother's middle name. I am thinking real hard.

When we arrived in Guntersville, we stopped off at a shop that has been there forever. Its name has changed, but other than that it is as always. There have a ground level floor that is packed with all kinds of things from fabric (didn't find anything this time) to novelty gifts, clothing for all ages and sizes, luggage, candies, cookies, you name it. But in the basement there is a lot of things, but they may be irregulars or close outs or out of season items. But the prices are super. I got Eddy a pair of Carhartt carpenter jeans for $17 which ain't bad!!
After I went back upstairs I happen to find Joe a pair of Haggar slacks that have the hidden stretch waistband and they were only $15.

We stopped off at McDonald's to get a small snack and something to drink before we went on to the state park. Dinner wasn't going to be until around 7:00. We got checked in and kind of just rested for a while. \\

When we got to the area where the meal and sessions were held, it looked like a big girls pajama party. You would not believe some of the things these ladies had on. It was hilarious. And the meal was so good. And the carrot cake for dessert was soooo good.

The theme of the retreat was: Designing Women, God's Way. Of course, you can guess that the TV show played a large part in it, with scenes complete with Julia, Suzanne, Charlene, the whole gang present.

The scripture verse was Psalm 139:14 - I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Just thing about that. We are made each made by God in His image and He had this all planned even before my body was formed in my mother's womb. How thrilling is that thought? God had my life planned before I was even born. I love Jeremiah 29:11 where God tells us that He knows the plans he has for us. That is such a comfort.

When the session was over we all went to our rooms. My roomie, Edna, and I crashed and almost did not get up in time for this morning sessions. For some reason, we failed to order a wake up call and had one of the other "girls" not knocked on our door, we might have still been asleep, but we put ourselves in to gear and made it with time to spare. Our breakfast buffet was a good old country breakfast and was so good. The speaker this morning told us about some of the things that might not have been part of our design plan like sickness, death or terrible accidents. She related a story about a friend of hers that never married until she was 42 and was hurt in an accident that left her paralized from the waist down. The young lady did not let it tear her down, but became stronger for it. She and Joni Tada Erickson have become friends and one of Joni's books, "Hope. . . the Best of Things" is dedicated to her. You see even though God has designed us, there is not promise that things will not come into our lives that will give us grief, pain and suffering, but He also designed us with the ability to overcome these obstacles, if we so choose to do so. This is a reminder to me that Satan is prowling around just waiting for us to use a mishap to blame God and then he will step in and take over. Our lives and hope for eternity can quickly become ruined.

We had some beautiful singing and prayers. Imagine what a chorus of God's loveliest creatures all lifting their voices in praise to him. It was incredible. As always I came home refreshed and ready to start serving Him for another week.

WOW. Snow possible tonight. Is there anything more scrambled up than Alabama weather? But ain't it wonderful.

Think I will go take a nice hot shower and put my pj's on. I have got to give my little four footed boys some lap time. And to say I am just the least bit tired would definitely be an understatement.

Everyone have a blessed Sunday and God bless.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Past my bedtime

Just a quick note before turning for the night. I will be gone until Saturday. A group of 7 other ladies and I are going to Guntersville State Park for a retreat. We will be leaving at 9:30 in the morning. I am really looking forward to it. I NEED SOME DOWN TIME.

This week has been a killer. We met on Tuesday for our ladies' class, but instead of a Bible study we cooked for hospice. We put up 100 plates plus we also ate lunch. We had dried butter beans with ham pieces cooked in them, cornbread, freezer slaw, sweet potato patties with butter and brown sugar, home made mac and cheese and dessert. We were dog tired when we finished. Then we had to come back about 2:00 Wednesday afternoon to prepare our final fellowship meal which was sphaghetti, salad, garlic toast, dessert and drinks. Then today was six month dental check. Then I had to embroider a blanket for my brother to take to his grandaughter's first birthday on Sunday. So it is now 10:30 and I am going to bed.

Will post next week and let you know how the retreat turned out.

Have a blessed week end and God bless.

Monday, February 16, 2009

An Honest Scrap Award? Who me?

Well here goes. Don't know how far back I will have to go, but I will give it the old college try.

1. When I was very young, my "thing" - security blanket type thing- was to suck my bottom lip and at the same time rub on my navel. Does that sound weird? It sure must have looked weird.
2. Also, when I was young, but a bit older than in #1 above, I kind of lived a fantasy life. I would build playhouses out of pine straw. If you have ever lived in the country and I mean COUNTRY, you probably know what I am talking about. The pine straw was used to make "walls" between little pine saplings and then you set up housekeeping. It helped if you had someone else playing with you.
3. When I was in a bit older and would be helping Mamma with the dishes at night, rather than talk to each other, I would always sing. This was my way of entertaining her, I guess. Most of the songs were hymns from church or maybe whatever was the latest hit on the radio.
4. Would you believe eleven years old and finding out that Santa wasn't real? I was heart broken. Christmas never had that same magic about it after that. Did I mention that we lived in a very rural area and did not have TV until I was in 6th or 7th grade.
5. I never had a date in high school that the guy asked me. The only dates I had were for the proms and of course, if you were not asked by someone else, you could invite someone yourself. I did and they were one date dates. Popular I was not.
6. I feel in love with Joe three times. Once in fifth grade and he was in 10th grade and would save me a seat on the bus. Then in the spring of 1961 when he was home on leave from the Army before he went to Greenland. He was the ONLY guy that I would have given up the thought of going to college and marrying on the spot. Unfortunately, that did not happen. Then in 1967 when he was home of leave again, we met up and dated while he was here. Before he left for Vietnam, we were engaged and exactly 53 weeks later we were married. Guess the third time is the charm.
7. The night before my Dad died, we had a big argument and I never told him I was sorry. That tormented me so badly that I went from a size 16 on the day of his funeral on August 15, 1963 to a size 10 in November. I was existing on about 2-3 hours of sleep a night, because when I went to sleep I was having terrible dreams about him and things that had actually happened years before. That was the first time in my life that I had ever had to take anything for nerves.
8. My Dad was an alcoholic and had I stayed in Huntsville much longer I probably would have fallen in his tracks. Don't get me wrong, I loved my Dad very much and I have since learned that alcoholism in a disease and that the tendency is there if you are a child of one. Thank God, I came home and have stayed away from it for the most part since then.
9. Becky, my most favorite and bestest friend in high school, did the old Indian trick of becoming blood sisters. We actually pricked our fingers and then pressed them together, blending our blood. I don't see or hear from her much anymore, but if we were together for a few minutes, we would be right back in high school.
10. I once was a real cry baby. Really, I would cry when our football team lost the game or I would cry when they won the game. I would cry when one of my siblings would get a spanking. I would cry when one of the had to have a shot by the doctor when he came to our house. Did you know that doctors used to actually come visit you at home? I cried when I was very happy or when I was just a little sad. I didn't need a big reason to cry. I just cried. I'm not that way now. Well, not quite that bad.

Now, you know all my little hidden secrets. Sorry my life isn't any more exciting, but as I said from the beginning, I grew up in the rural south where we were poor, but we didn't know it, because everybody else was too. We always had food on the table, a roof over our head and clothes to wear even if Grandmother had made them from feed sacks. We were happy and very contented. I would not trade it for any other way of growing up.

Thanks Karen for the award.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What a week -- and there is still some left!!

Sunday was a great day (always is to me). Worship services were awesome and then lunch with some of our friends. That night there was a Valentine Banquet at the church building for all ages. The teens helped look after the younger ones while the adults had dinner. The teens ate later. The dinner was nice and the entertainment was great. Our emcee is a former radio announcer and talk show host locally who now teaches at the local community college. He is a hoot. Anyway, it was a most pleasant evening.

Then Monday, Joe and I headed to Birmingham bright and early. We did our round of thrift shops. That is so much fun. I have put together a rather nice looking outfit for less than $10.00, not including shoes. That is the one thing I don't even look at. I get several name brand items and sometimes even get new things with the hang tags still attached. Then after that we had lunch at a Cracker Barrel (Thanks Trina for the gift card.) and then it was off to the VA hospital for Joe's visit with the urologist. For the first time ever he wanted me to go back with him. I thought it rather odd that he even wanted me to go over there, but didn't think much about that. Anyway, he has a prostate biopsy scheduled for March 17 - the first available. Seems his PSA level had jumped from a 3 last year to a 7.5 this year. For some reason our primary care doc had not run a PSA or else it just showed up at his regular yearly VA check up. VA does his diabetic, vision and eye care along with a yearly check up. The young doctor (and I mean YOUNG) said it is wise to have it checked even if it turns out to be only an infection or inflammation. So that was Monday.

Tuesday was my weekly ladies' Bible class and get together with my "sisters." We are doing Wednesday night fellowship meals during February so of course we had to plan for that. Some of the others went grocery shopping after lunch. I had to get my monthly blood check for my anemia. No Procrit shot this month and have not had one since October - YEA! Finally I got home around 5:00.

Wednesday we woke to a blustery, stormy looking day, but fortunately nothing ever happened except for high winds. I had chicken to cook to take to the building for our meals. We were having chicken casserole and several of us take the chicken home to cook to save time. Then I made a batch of brownies to take for dessert. By then it was time to get ready and go see Eddy. I left there and picked up one of the girls that doesn't drive and got to the building by 2:00. We began putting the casseroles together and getting the green beans on to cook. We made eight casseroles. After we fed the church folk we packed the remainder of the food into freezer boxes that two of our hospice units get for the patients and/or caregivers. This is a ministry we have been doing since 2005 and has been a very rewarding thing. We also prepared nine meals and delivered to people that were sick at home. My life pretty much centers around my church and I wouldn't want it any other way.

It is finally Thursday and I don't know if there are enough hours today to do what NEEDS to be done. Guess I will do what I can and let the rest wait its turn. So far no one has complained, that being Joe. He has food to eat and clean clothes to wear so he doesn't worry much about the rest. Our house isn't all that bad, mostly just cluttered. But that bothers me.

I guess I had better get off here and get busy. But where do I begin? Guess it will be the buttonholes a lady asked me to make for her. And the washer just went off and I have some calls to make. One is to cancel my mission trip to Mexico that I was to leave for on March 13, but I will not go since Joe's biopsy is on the following Tuesday. I know it is a simple procedure and not much is involved as far as pre-op is concerned, but I will not go off. I know they will understand. I still hate to make the call since I had to cancel last year. Oh well, I hope I can go in June.

Have a blessed, sunny day.

Friday, February 6, 2009

It's Friday

Today is my play day at the hospital. At least that is what I call it. Actually it is my volunteer day at the gift shop, but I LOVE it so much that I consider it play. I still feel my Mom near me when I walk those halls that she once walked.

And getting to go to the nursery is an added bonus. Those little precious ones are so cute and so perfect. I love George Strait's new song,"Today I Saw God." What else can you see when you see that newborn. It is perfect, knows no wrong, and sees only good. How I wish some of the parents would see it the same way. I try to tell each of them that and since Walker Baptist is a faith-based hospital I can talk about God without fear of getting whacked with a law suit.

Today is a beautiful day, still cold, but due to warm up. The sun is out in all its glory and I can take cold when it is like that.

Guess I had better get my tail up and get ready. My shift awaits. Until the next chapter in my most exciting (???) life, Adios, me amigas.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

2008 - What a year

I know we should not be glad a part of our life is over, but 2008 was not exactly what I would call a banner year. I think we were under Murphy's law most of it. You know, if it can go wrong, it will. It all started in February when Joe was admitted to the hospital with what turned out to be a diseased gall bladder, no stones, just a bad organ. What would normally take only a couple of days in the hospital turned into eight. Before the blame gall bladder could be removed (laproscoptically) they had to pump him full of antibiotics to get some of the infection down. Finally, we got home and two weeks later he had to go in for a post-op visit with his regular doc. While there Joe asked him to check a spot on his leg. Guess what!! Back to the hospital and emergency surgery on Saturday morning for a staph infection. Then if that wasn't enough he came home with 7 day a week home health care. That went on for the first week. Then his nurse had the doctor order a wound vac thingy and she only had to come 3 times a week, but that went on for six weeks. Finally, we were over all the diseases and infections.

Then summer began and things were not much better. As anyone who knows us probably know that we have a son that is bipolar and as are about 75% of all bipolar people, he is also an addict. And if you have never had or have never known of anyone that has this terrible disease, you have no idea what a life it can produce and believe me it is not good. Anyway, he totally lost it this year and around the latter part of July, for reasons too long to go into, he was incarcerated in Tuscaloosa for 50 days and then went to Montgomery for some treatments. All was going well there until a misunderstanding resulted in him and four other men being discharged early. He was back here for two days and has since been in Walker County jail. There again that is much too long to go into the details. And believe me when I tell you that Walker County jail has to be the most terrible place in all 67 counties. But I will not go into that either. A jail of this sort is definitely not where a person with bipolar (or anything else) needs to be. It appears we may be making progress to get him out shortly. Oh, did I mention that the legal system moves at the speed of a dead turtle? And that is on a good day.

Well, we managed to get through the holidays best as we could. Of course, it just isn't the same when any of the family isn't around. Thanksgiving was spent eating out, just the two of us. We spent Vest Christmas in Hartselle as we have for several years. When Trina married John, we got a bargain in that we got another family. John's family is so wonderful to include us every year. It really means a lot to us. They feel like "real" family. But as far as Christmas day, we stayed home and once again ate out together. Then just as we thought we were seeing the end of '08 Joe has one last doctor's visit. Do you want to guess what the doctor told him? Yeah. Back to the hospital. It seems he had blood clots on his lung. So for New Years Eve, he drank his IV and the pups and I sat up until 2009 got here and then bedded down. He got out on the 4th or 5th. Then on the 19th he had to go to Princeton for an arteriogram and wound up having a stent put in so he spent another night in the hospital. For a man that had only been in the hospital once in his life (1955 for an appendectomy) he has made up for lost time. This was his fifth stay in about the last two years. I sure hope he has caught up.

2009 is here and I am most definitely looking for better times. I am going to try to get more organized, especially my sewing room. And I have got to stop buying more sewing projects until I get caught up. I have heard that God will not take you until you get all your projects completed. If that is the case, I will be here A LOOOOOG TIME.

We had our first fellowship meal at church for this year. We will have three more. This is something we have been doing for several years. I don't know why we do it this time of the year, but it seems to work well. Lasagna was on the menu tonight and it was good. Next week is chicken casserole. Yummy.

Have a good Thursday people.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Big Letter H

I have been tagged to list some things that begin with the letter "H" that is important to me. I think that is what it is supposed to be. The internet gremlins are at my computer again and I can not get into my daughter's blog to get the exact rules. I have been known to break the rules or change them in my life time. Yea!! I finally got the little gremlin out and found the right number of things to list. Sorry, my blog will not be as cute as others, but I am not into this as much as others. Guess I could be if I just took the time to do it. Oh well, he goes. And absolutely no laughing at this little round old lady's list.

1. Heaven -What good would life here be if there wasn't Heaven to look forward to? I read a thing the other day. Actually, my son sent it to me. It said, "What if I do and it isn't? (Nothing is lost.) What if I don't and it is? (All is lost.)

2. Hubby - My Joe is my life. We have had some rough roads over the last 40 years, but I wouldn't , couldn't think of spending my life without him. I guess your first love is always the best. I mean your first TRUE love. There were others I thought I loved, but no. They were not the real thing.

3. Hunlin - Gothcha on that one, didn't I? Unless you speak Pennsylvania Dutch or you read a lot of Wanda Brumstetter or Beverly Lewis books you would never guess that means "Dog." I do read those ladies' books and my dogs are my bestest friends. My Gizmo left me last October and I still miss him so much. I find myself (and Joe too) calling one of the other pups Gizmo. He will always be the #1 pup in our lives. But Mule and Dingo are stepping up and letting us spoil them.

4. Happiness - This is something that is not always possible, but if only we had constant happiness maybe our lives wouldn't be so mixed up sometimes. But God nowhere in the Bible promises us happiness. I realize that the sad times, the bad times. the mad times are all part of being here.

5. Home - This is the place you can always come back to when everything else and everybody else turns on you. I don't mean a building known as a house. I mean that place where you are welcome and loved regardless of the situation you are in. This is usually the place where special people live like parents.

6. Health - This is something we all take for granted until it begins to go on you. Why do we wait until then to begin to practice healthy lviing? Don't know, but sure wish I had paid closer attention when I was younger. Joe and I are in reasonably good health, but as we are getting older there are some things that just do not work like they once did. Thank goodness we are still around to have "problems."

Gee, this letter isn't as easy as it looked.

7. Honor of country, ancestors and most importantly (at least to me) God. Our country is what it is today (freedom, opportunity, rights that other nations only dream of) because our ancestors had faith in God that He would provide them with a safe place to live and worship. He has done His part. We should do ours.

8. Hair - Do not laugh. I thought of this because I am a regular contributor to St. Jude's Research Hospital and I receive a calendar every year. When I turn the pages and see the pictures of all the kids suffering from that dreaded disease, they are always smiling, but not a strand of hair to be found. I also receive a small photo each month with a short bio of the child. They, too, are smiling and bald. Such courage.

9. Hope - Don't we all hope for things? Hope is another one of those things that helps us get through the long days especially when those days are beset with many problems. As the song says, "You gotta have high hopes."

10. Hands - I have realized in the last few years how important my hands are. You would be at the mercy of others without the use of them. I have a fair amount of arthritis. No, arthritis isn't fair, but it happens to a lot of people. I am thankful that it is only my hands that are affected and they still do what I need them to do. That is the key to arthy - keep those joints moving.

Well, Trina, I have blogged. I know these things are not the best, but they are the things that came to mind. Enjoy and critique.