Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Toll

If there is one thing I have learned over the last 6 years it is this, grief is exhausting. I know I have talked about grief before, but since my Mother passed I have just been dealing with so much of it. I am not sure how most people feel, but the following has been my experience. 

Some days I find it hard to simply get out of bed and get dressed. These waves of fatigue wash over me, often for no particular reason. Eventually I allow my mind to "go there" to that place when all of life changed in an instant. Try as I might, I can never erase that moment in time. Why?  Because that was the moment part of my heart left me. I felt it. I felt what it was like to have part of myself die and from that point forward I just struggle

I did a little research and discovered that doctors now recognize grief as "real" -- the overwhelming fatigue is part of a daily tug-of-war we have. Part of us has died. It's impossible to explain to others, only those who have shared the same experiences can understand. We can sympathize with others, but until we have experienced what they have we can never really know what they are going through. I remember around 8 years ago I knew a young woman who had a miscarriage. My heart broke for her and I was sad, but I had no idea what she was going through, now I do.  In fact I know that pain 3 times over.  Up until this past December when I would hear of someone's mother passing away, I was sad and heartbroken for them, but now I know what it was truly like for them. I am there, I understand, I can sympathize with them.  All that being said this post is not about knowing how others feel or "walking a mile in their shoes", it is simply about what grief has done to me. 

Grief has turned me into a new person, a woman that I no longer recognize in the mirror. 

I have been changed physically.

I can see those new little wrinkles that have appeared on my face. I can see the lost, forlorn look in my eyes. I can see that somewhere there is still that optimistic, wide eyed little girl I used to be, but I can't seem to bring her back. Don't get me wrong there are times when she there. It may be laughing with the kids, creating something new with my youngest, date night with my hubby or just talking with my oldest. In those times I can forget the hurt, sorrow and heartache I feel. The only problem is those times do not last. Eventually the old me is gone, and the new one reappears. 

I have also been changed mentally. 

My thought processes are not the same. It takes me longer to get my thoughts together and at times I lose complete train of thought and disappear into my memories. I have more trouble concentrating on getting through the day. To say that I sometimes suffer from complete brain shutdown would be a true statement.  I often find myself staring off into space, not day dreaming, just shutdown from it all. 

Ways to overcome these changes:

There are a couple of things I have discovered to help with my mental changes. The first is that the routine, mundane things of daily life can help. You don't need a lot of brain power while folding laundry or washing dishes, so I tend to let it rest during those times. I relish in the simple little things that the day holds. It is then I can allow my brain the time it needs to continue healing. I have also found that creativity helps my brain to rest. I am sure that sounds funny, but instead of being shutdown to everything, it is just shut down to the world around me and I am able to focus all my thinking on the task at hand. I may be blogging, brainstorming for my novel that I want to write, or even helping the kids with projects. My youngest daughter loves to create worlds for her dolls, so I spend a lot of time helping her with her creative plans. 

The only things I have found to counter effect the physical changes are: exercise,plenty of rest, and good nutrition, all of which we should be doing for ourselves anyway. Also, a little facial pampering will not hurt. I don't really know if any of that stuff makes a difference in the long run, but I do know that if it makes you feel good to pamper your skin, then do it. 

Ultimately the only things we can really do during our grief journey is look after ourselves. We know how much our body can take and when we have met our limits.  I will benefit us all to step back from our daily lives, if only for a few minutes and take that break. If for you that means doing yoga, reading in quiet or even hiding in the closet eating chocolate (yes I have done that), then do it.  After all we can only take care of our families by first taking care of ourselves. 

"That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?"

Thursday, January 12, 2017


That word just seems to carry a bad meaning. It makes a lot of people angry and leaves a bad taste in their mouths, but I am here to tell you that those people are wrong. Submission is not a bad thing. It is not something that real men use as a means of getting their way.  

When you say the word submission most people think of the dictionary definition:submissionthe state of being obedient : the act of accepting the authority or control of someone else

To them it symbolizes being under someones control, not having any say so in your own life.  Of being under someone else's boot heel, of being enslaved.  They think of women that are beating and tormented by their spouses. It makes them think of days when women could not get an education or work.  Some people even think about the old term, "Keeping them barefoot and pregnant", so they can't leave or won't leave, but I see the word differently. 

When I think of submission I don't see the worldly view, but the biblical one.  The scriptures do not define the word submission as a mindless obedience to a husband’s every wish or demand. Instead, submission is a deep,personal commitment to someone else. It is making the choice to work with your mate in a way that promotes oneness. In Genesis 1:26, the Bible tells us that:  A married couple becomes one flesh. That simply means they must work as a team and continuous arguing and fighting will work against them being in unity. There will be times when the wife, will not agree with the husbands decision but she must follow his lead. God has placed him in her life as the head. Of course there will be times, such as abuse, that it is best for the husband or wife not to remain in the relationship.   

God designed marriage to be a relationship in which love is giving and received. It was designed to be a partnership in which the husband and wife serve each other. It was designed in a way the husbands and wives would love and sacrifice for one another, but in different ways. Husband are to love their wives by protecting, providing for, cherishing and serving them.  

Wives are to submit to their husbands out of respect and love. The husband and the wife are each given many opportunities to show the love of Christ to one another, but that it is not always an easy thing to do. Marriage is a wonderful reflection of Gods redeeming work in our lives. If we follow biblical principle, marriage can be a wonderful example of Christlike love and submission. 

Christ loves the church, his bride, and is her Savior. Christ gave His life for the church.In Ephesians 5:25 and 28 the Bible tells us the the husband is to the love his wife as Christ loved the church. His love should be nurturing and sacrificial.  A man should love his wife in the same way that he loves his own body
We can see it clearly writing in Ephesians 5:22, the amount of devotion that the husband must have to love his wife, is the equal amount the wife must have to submit to her husband. 

"That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?"

Friday, January 6, 2017

My Best Friend

For the last 40 years I have had this friend. She is not just any friend, she is absolutely my best friend. When I was a little girl she was my favorite person in the whole world.  I loved to see her coming to my Grandmother's house. As I got older our relationship changed and things just weren't the same.  I got married and had a daughter of my own and our relationship would took another turn.  It would happen that things went back to what they had been when I was just a little girl. I guess you could say it did a 180 and then a 180 again. Some of y'all may have figured out that this friend I speak of is my mother.

Let me start off telling you just a little bit about this woman I call not only my mother, but my friend.
My Mama grew up in  a small town in North Carolina. She had 4 sisters and one brother.

She married at 16 and had my two brothers by the time she was 19 and then I was born when she was 25.

She spent her whole life working in a textile mill and then when it shut down she was finally able to get her high school diploma. She sacrificed every year for me and my brothers. She always made sure we got a summer vacation, Christmas and my brothers got to go to Boy Scout camp.

 It meant taking money from her check each week, but she always made the ends meet.  For the last 28 years of her life she took care of my physically disabled brother and never regretted it a day of that time. She was a perfect example of the Proverbs 31:10-31 woman.



In April 2015 my mother was diagnosed with Cancer. We were told it was bile duct cancer that had made it's way to the outer area of her liver.  I did a little research and discovered that it is a very rare type of cancer and the survival rate is less than 10%.  She started chemo treatments and we tried our best to be positive. The cancers growth was stopped, but it didn't ever really start to shrink. In October 2016 we were told the cancer had spread to multiple areas in her body, but she decided to try more aggressive treatments. After just two treatments it was obvious that the chemo was doing more harm than good. On November 31st she made the decision to have no more treatments, on December 2 she moved into a Hospice facility.

On December 4th at 8 am as I sat talking with her and holding her hand she passed away.

No one will ever know, unless they have been there, how thankful I am that I was with her.  She tried to speak to me right before hand, but was unable too.  My last words to her were, "Mama I'm right here, I'm not going anywhere, I love you."

I miss her so very much. There are times when it still just doesn't seem real, like she has only gone away on a trip and will be coming home any moment. There are still so many things I need to talk to her about, so many things I need her for and so many things we wanted to do together.  

My Mama was an amazing woman. She was a giver her entire life and often got taking advantage of due to her strong compassion. She was a victim of domestic violence early on in her marriage, and most of her life was never easy. I am grateful that the Lord didn't allow her to suffer and gave her the easy passing I had prayed he would.

In the year before her death God allowed her to travel with us on three separate vacations: the beach, our southern road trip and New York City for my 40th birthday. She had never been able to travel with us like that and I believe God gave us that extra time to make so many precious memories with her.  

Goodbye to my mother and my best friend. Until we meet again at the great reunion in the sky you will be forever missed and loved.

My mother and Mammy to my girls, Brenda.
12/1950 to 12/2016
The best friend I have ever known
Dipping here toes in the Mississippi River
June 2016 

"That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?"


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Bucket List Project 2016: A Review

So last year, since I was turning 40, I decided to work on my bucket list. My goal was to check off one item a month for all of 2016. I wanted to make the year one that I would look back on and never be able to forget and trust me I will never forget 2016.

 Some months I did more than one and some months I didn't do any.  The last three months of the year were very difficult for me personally and for our family, (I will be writing about that in another post), but I thought I would just let my readers know that I made it. As of yesterday I had crossed 12 items off my bucket list. I have been blogging every three months about my adventures and I know some of you have been reading along. I just want to take a few minutes to review all the things I have done and talk a little about what I hope to do.

1. Antiquing: I finally got the chance to go antique shopping with my husband. We spent the whole morning together going from antique shop to antique shop.

2. Seeing a Broadway musical: Even though it wasn't on Broadway, it was still so exciting to get to see Wicked with my daughter for her 16th birthday.

3. I got to take a Bob Ross painting class with my youngest daughter. We had so much fun. Our finished product might not be perfect, but it is perfectly us.

4.The spontaneous road trip. In March we decided to flip a coin and let chance decide what we would do. It took us to the North Carolina coast and Cape Hatteras. We had a wonderful little get away.

5.On our way back home from the coast my husband drove an hour out of the way so I could visit North Carolina's oldest town, Bath. I have always wanted to visit and he helped make that happen.

6. In May I was able to cross off taking part in a color run. I am looking forward to the opportunity of participating in another one this year.

7.  I also wrote my very first book using an internet publishing site. https://www.wattpad.com/myworks/68051540-the-journey

8. For our anniversary my husband took me to an indoor shooting range.  I had the best time. There is just something about the feel of that gun in your hand and shooting that target. It makes you feel protected and powerful.

9.The unplanned road trip: In June we embarked on a 8 day/9 state road trip. We went across the southern part of the United States visiting different places we had never been and revisiting some we had already seen. It was most definitely out of my comfort zone not having a hotel until about 30 minutes before we stopped, but still lots of fun. I got to visit four states I had never been to and got to put my feet in the Mississippi river.  It was amazing!!!

10.Statue of Liberty: In August my husband paid for a trip to NYC to see Lady Liberty. I admit it, I cried. It was something I had dreamed of since I was a child.

11. Street vendor hot dog:While in NYC I finally got the opportunity to eat a hot dog off a street vendor. In fact I did it twice that week. The first one was for me only and the second I shared with my Mama. She had always wanted to try one too. I had no idea it would be the  last vacation we would ever take together, but how thankful  I am that she was there to share the experience with me.

12. Lastly I finally got my photography portfolio created.  It is not full, but the fact that I started it crosses it off my list. I hope to add a lot more pictures to it in the years to come.

I have several things in the works for this year and am seriously considering continuing on with this blog series.  The truth is having all these adventures in writing has helped me to be able to remember all the little details I would have forgotten.  I completely understand why people often kept journals in the past.  It might have been just daily, routine things or great adventures, but having everything written down helped prevent them from forgetting all the wonders they had seen and the times they had. Perhaps we should all start keeping a daily journal. Who knows what the future generations could learn from us.

Happy New Year! 

"That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?"