Living Life

Jesus, Me, and the Kitchen Table

A Short Poem

Life Lessons

In pain we learn to identify with the hurting;
In loss we learn to see through the eyes of those who are searching;.

In lack we learn to be humble. 

In all of this let us help one another.  

Life’s so busy! 

But wait…

Do you see that one? Reach out with compassion.

 All of these are our life lessons. 

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My Testimony Part 2 – Losing Dad

dad and me

In my earlier blog post “My Testimony” I shared how I was adopted when I was 3 weeks old and how I came to the Lord. Now I’d like to share some more of my story. I think I basically left off which my dad passing away my last year in college. He had been having problems breathing or getting short of breath for awhile. The doctor put him on some fluid pills. I don’t know if they ever told him what was wrong or not. If they did, he did not tell me. But he had Congestive heart Failure. I remember the day I got the phone call I had returned back to my dorm room from studying for finals at the library. A message on my answering machine from dad’s ex-wife Shirley said to give her a call. I knew that it was about dad — and I knew it wasn’t going to be good news. Something just told me. So when I called her, the tone of her voice confirmed it. She came over to meet me and told me that he had died of a heart attack while playing his guitar at a birthday party. That was interesting, because one of the way he wanted to go, was playing his guitar.
The next week was crazy. I had nothing to do with planning the funeral. It was all done by his biological daughter. I had not talked to her. By time I arrived in Normangee where dad lived, his place had been cleaned out. Some of the antique speakers with beautiful cloth coverings had been torn. Someone had gone in looking for hidden money. I think the bed mattress was also torn. That was kind of strange, I thought, since had JUST died. Also during that week I had to get moved out of the dorm. I moved to Bryan with dad’s daughter and her family.

The summer turned out to be the summer from Hades. I was taking chemistry at the local junior college and it wasn’t easy, but I made a “B.” Since it is a “freshman flunk out course” at my university, I had put it off until my senior year. I am most assured I would have failed it had I taken it at SFA! But during that summer we had to do the probate of dad’s Will. Dad had always told me that when he died, there was a certificate of deposit in the lock box under the bed that would mature upon his death. At that time, the executor of the estate, Eva, would give me $1,000 a year each year for 10 years. Dad was a man of his word. One thing he could not stand was a liar. So imagine my surprise when we got to the probate and I found out that the money was not there – or supposedly it wasn’t there. And to top that off, the lawyer told me he did not represent me, that he represented the estate. So there i was. Nineteen years old, still in college, fatherless, motherless, and with a feeling that something was very wrong with how the estate was being handled.
I had no idea what to do. I did the only thing I knew… ask advice from the church ladies who were older and with whom I was very close. They advised me to get a lawyer and find out what was happening. So I agreed to go meet with the attorney they had located for me. At that meeting, he told me that he would take the case, but warned me that pursuing it would probably mean I’d be estranged from my family. Keep in mind, I had no other family. I did NOT like that idea, but I did not know what else to do. I really needed the money, although it was not that much at once. I was encouraged to go forth with it because it is what dad would want – and that he would be rolling in his grave if he knew what was happening. So I went forth with it.
I really don’t know what happened as far as what the lawyer did with the lawyer of the estate or Eva. All I know is that one day the lawyer called to tell me that he had won the case and after his fees were taken out, I was going to receive $7,000. By this time, I was back in college in Nacogdoches. I needed a car badly because it was time for me to begin my practicum hours. I needed to be able to drive to the sites to do my observations and teaching. So the settlement came at an opportune time and I was able to get my first car – a teal green Ford Escort. This car was a blessing. Dad had talked about buying me a car when I reached this point in my education. So, in a way, he did!

Within a year or so I decided what I had done was wrong and I wanted to make amends with my family. I’ve always been quick to forgive others for their wrongs. I sent a letter to my sister (dad’s daughter) asking her to forgive me, that I realized I was wrong. I’m sure whatever I said sounded very weak, even though it was most sincere. I can’t tell you in words how badly I wanted to be reunited with my family. People told me things like, “It’s their loss, not yours.” and asked me why I’d even want to be with them after the way they did me, etc. But I had read in the Bible where it was wrong to sue your neighbor. And I was truly repentant. But as my attorney had warned me, so it was I think they read my first letter, but subsequent letters and our wedding invitation were returned to me, unopened.

My sister’s daughter and I had been very close growing up. Even though I am her aunt, we were very close in age. And we were in the drill team together at school and went to church together. We played together on weekends and in the summers. I have very fond memories of playing Marco Polo and diving for pennies at the pool in the summer. However, one day I called to talk and found out that she was angry with me also. She was still going to college and living with her parents, so I thought that she basically had no choice but to see it their way. She told me I was a traitor to the family and she never wanted to speak to me again. Those words cut me to the bone and broke my heart. I guess it was then that I sort of gave up my hope of ever being reunited with them.
It is a long story which I won’t tell – but in recent times, through Facebook, the two of us have reconnected. I did not know it but she had been following my story since the car accident. She sent me pictures she had found of me and dad when I was growing up. I was o glad to have these memories. But I am delighted that she decided to friend me on FB and we can at least keep up with each other’s happenings. God is good! This is an answer to my prayer. I may never get to speak to my sister again, but that is in God’s hands. I’m also glad to be friends with my sister’s son-in-law on FB. I wonder if anyone ever mentions my name at family gatherings? I admit it is strange seeing pictures of their children and not knowing who they are really, having never met them.

The year that followed was rocky at first as I grieved for dad and the estrangement from my family. I will never forget the way that God provided “family” for me during that first year. The holidays are always hardest and i truly had nowhere to go. But my vision teacher from high school, Jeanne, invited me to come stay with them and celebrate Christmas. I took them u pin it and it was wonderful, just different. It was strange because my family was actually in the same town, Bryan. But of course I did not see them.

Things really started locking up at the start of 1998 when I got my first teaching job and met Richard. I’ll talk about the way we met in a future post. Stay turned!

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Why Does Everything Have to Be So Hard?

So here we are. Richard hurt his back a week ago.  And since he is my primary caregiver, this is a huge deal.  Being paraplegic, I have to be turned at least twice during the night not to mention help with dressing, and minimal help transferring in and out of my wheelchair.   God has been awesome to provide people to step in to help.  One of our neighbors walked across the street at 1 a.m. and again at 5 a.m. for several nights to turn me.  My friends have come in the mornings to help me dress.  Fortunately, Richard’s back is getting better (slowly).  He is now able to turn me at night.  Thank you Lord.  But I’m still needing help with dressing and transferring.  But now, my friend’s children have the viral stomach flu that is going around.  Not only that but Richard’s tummy hasn’t felt too good today either.  Putting all that aside…

Even little things are so hard to do.  LIke plugging in the Christmas tree, like buckling my seatbelt in the van, opening and closing doors, just sitting up! I always need to have one hand anchored on something so I don’t fall over forward.  I am thankful to move my arms and hands and to have that control. It could be much worse!!  Nonetheless, paralysis has made routine tasks either impossible or much more difficult than they should be.  

Without going into detail, I have to do a bowel program every other night.  This really interferes with my life because I have to be home every other night.  Because of the equipment I use that is too big to go in my van, I have to literally be home to do the bowel program.   That means no going to evening events (even if I could drive at night, now) if they fall on one of “those” nights.  It means I can’t go to conferences that are out of town. They are all too far away (Austin, San Antonio, etc). for me to get there, participate, and get home in time.  This freaks me out because that is part of my job as a consultant is to go to these kinds of training events and bring back information.  Tonight I could have gone to the Homeschool Mom’s Christmas party, but it’s one of “those” nights. Not to mention I’m pretty sure my wheelchair would never be ale to get into the house where it’s held each year.  

The family has decided it’s easier for them to come here for Christmas this year instead of us doing in Nacogdoches where we’ve always done it forever. I want to go “home” and see everyone.  Not all of them will come to Mt. Pleasant.  If I had the strength to drive there, it would be no big deal. But I don’t. 

I’ve honestly cried way more than I ever thought possible for one person.  I know our girls are with jesus in heaven and they are eternally blessed and everyday is one day closer to seeing them.  But Christmas, life, is just not the same without them.  It is bad enough to cope with all those emotions but then to have to constantly deal with this paralysis is sometimes more than I can bare, or at least think I can bare. 

The cry of my heart tonight is, “Why does it have to be so hard all the time?” I may very well never know the answer to that question.  Whether I ever do find out or not, I try to encourage myself with these verses….

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” – Isaiah 41:10

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” – John 14:27

“I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” – Psalm 16:8

AND FINALLY…

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

Lord,

You know all that goes through my mind.  You know all my worries, fears, hopes, and dreams.  You see all I go through on a daily basis.  You see how I sometimes question You, but never Your sovereignty. You know I don’t understand why all this has happened, but I won’t go there because I know that takes my mind down the wrong path.  Even though things are hard, i know there are people who have it much worse than we do.  More than that I know that You are ALWAYS here.  I know that You are for me, and so no one can stand against me.  You know that I believe in Your ability to heal me and that I know it is your will to heal.  Yet you know that I’m human and doubt. Lord, I believe, but please help my unbelief! I’m going to lean on your Word.  We will get through this! We will! 

Thanks for reading my rants… Some of my friends say I need to be more transparent, so here it is, LOL!  Hope these verses will encourage you in the areas of your life where you are asking, “why does it have to be so hard.”   God bless you all!

 

 

 

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