Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Direct Encounter of Sorts

She came bounding up to our team in Atlanta.   Petite and grinning.   Her name was Stacy
and she worked for 410 Bridge.    What struck me most about her that day, aside from
her warm spirit  (obvious right away) was that she had packed for a trip to Africa
in one small carry on bag!!

Me with Stacy Williams, Mobilization Manager for 410 Bridge.

I still have no idea how she did it!   But while she was obviously
traveling light to Kenya, she had the biggest Bible I've ever seen in her arms!   The
essentials. Her small carry on.    And the word.   This woman that  I would travel with and
grow to love  over the next ten days obviously made a priority out of having God's word
with her.

I have to tell you.

I've lived out many years of my life with only a passing interest in God's word.  

For many years.    It was something I "thought" I should do, but not something I wanted,
 necessarily, to do.  Any  reading of the Bible that I did was strictly "hit or miss."   I didn't
see my Bible as really  "relevant" in my life.  It was old.      It was history.  It did hold
wisdom, but it didn't have anything really to do with my day to day life.   Not really.

Well, that was true until I had a direct encounter of sorts.

The first time it happened, I had just started my sophomore year of college at USC.  
I was homesick.   I was in a long distance relationship (with Scott.)    I was unhappy
with  my "latest" major.   Yeah.   Going from  the very different fields of commercial art
to criminal justice in the span of a few months is not an  indication that you have real
direction in your life.   I had come to USC only because I  wanted to major in Art.
Now that I had changed from Art to something else,  what the heck  was I still there for?  
I was about three  or four weeks into the semester looking for a way out.

Surprisingly, my passing interest in my faith did include a Bible.     My desperation led me
to open it one morning while I was struggling with the decision  to make a change.    It
certainly wasn't something I did very often, but that day I remember feeling like I had to
have an answer.    As it I opened my bible, this is exactly what I read:

"...Now swallow your pride: 
go and beg to have your name erased.
Don't put if off; do it now!
Don't rest until you do.
Save yourself like a gazelle escaping from a hunter,
like a bird fleeing from a net..."   Proverbs 6: 3-5.

Are you kidding me?!?    Yes.    That's exactly the passage I turned to as I was literally
begging God for an answer to my situation.

So, what did I do?

Man.    I sprung out of my dorm room like I had wings!     I didn't stop to call my mom.
I didn't stop to talk to Scott.    I didn't even discuss it with my roommate.     I went to the
appropriate office on campus and officially "withdrew" from college.    When the deed
was done, only then did I call my mom to tell her to come and pick me up.   Before the
sun went down that day,  I had moved all of my things into her car and headed for home.

That whole experience showed me something at a young age.    God responds when we
seek Him. He also showed me that His word is..... Relevant to what I'm facing.    I have
to tell you.    There's hardly a morning that I get up and spend time reading my bible that
He doesn't speak directly to a situation that I'm facing.

It doesn't matter what book of the Bible I'm reading.   New Testament.    Old Testament.
It speaks to me.  It's relevant.   It gives me hope, encouragement and life.

"People are like grass;
their beauty is like a flower in the field.
The grass withers and the flower fades.
But the word of the Lord remains forever."

1 Peter 1:  24-25.

(And.....p.s.  not wanting to be a proponent of quitting school, I transferred to Clemson
the following semester, graduated & married my sweetie...and the rest as they still
being written...)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Legal or Not: 30 Years Today!

August 21, 1982 - me & that young man above were married in a little Baptist Church where I grew up - by...of all things....a female Methodist minister!    Ha!  (Some in my family said it wasn't really legal!)  It should be no surprise that we beat the odds - and 30 years later, we're still married.....still good friends......and I still adore him.

With our kids married or off at school -  the focus in our home has once again returned to "just us." It's pretty cool that we're okay with that.     We started out 30 years ago in love - and today, we still are...

In honor of our anniversary, here's some of the  reasons I'm thankful for my sweet man:

The big one!   I'm thankful you love Jesus.

He  brought us together all those years ago & keeps our love growing.   Simple and true.

I'm thankful for your patience.

Plenty of examples of this, but one of the more critical ones in our story came just before college.  I was doubting the wisdom of only dating just one guy.   Yeah.  My head was turned by a "player" lifeguard who showed me momentary attention.  I broke up with you for the summer.   You felt I was worth waiting on, and you did. At the end of the summer, the lifeguard had long since moved onto someone else and you were there waiting for me.   VERRY lucky me.

I'm thankful for your friendship.

We'd rather be with each other, than anyone else one.  You're my best friend - and when we're apart....well, I don't like being apart...let's leave it at that!

I'm thankful you do the shopping at Wal-Mart.

It doesn't matter if others judge.  In this house, I cut the grass.  You venture into the bottomless retail pit called Wal-Mart to retrieve groceries every week.   It works for us!

I'm thankful that you always offer me the last of your last french fries at Chic-Fil-A.

Even if I say "...oh, you finish them..." we both know I don't mean it -- and you wait with a smile while I go in for the last one.

I'm thankful you cry so easily.

It's an usual and tender trait to see a man cry as easily as you...but very sweet.

I'm thankful that you put up with my cats.

"love me, love my cats."   I told you that many years ago.   You understood - and, for the most part, you have.

I'm thankful that you're such a good dad.

No job more important than making your girls feel loved, valued and adored.  Perfect score on all counts.   Kate & Taylor couldn't have had a better dad than you.   Period.

I'm thankful that you get the automatic coffee maker ready to go every night so wonderful, hot coffee will be waiting on me EARLY the next morning.

Yep.  I'm up a full hour before you, so this is a selfless act - and I really appreciate it!

I'm thankful  that you always tell me I'm beautiful

And hard as it is for me to believe, you always seem to mean it.

I'm thankful that we always hold hands, no matter where we go.

Grabbing my hand is one of the most natural things for you to do.  I love that.

I'm thankful that even when I do something really lame, your first response is ALWAYS to say "'s fine, don't worry about it.."

That grace has been extended to me many times - and it's always appreciated.

I'm thankful that although it would be much easier for you in many, many ways  if I didn't travel to Kenya, you always support me going.

You've described it as having someone take your heart to the other side of the world, but you've never tried to discourage me from going.   That's pretty big, because I fully plan to keep going until my wheelchair won't roll through the African plains any longer :)

I'm thankful that we still talk on the phone several times every day.

Sometimes just to see how the day is going or just to check in and say hello.

 I'm thankful  that you've never once put your foot down when i've brought home "another" rescue animal without a home.

Okay, you have recently said "no more cats" - but that's only been very recently.


I'm thankful that as I was going through my diagnosis of cancer, you went through it with me.

I don't even know another husband and wife that have both had cancer.  How unusual is that?  We even had  to do cancer, together!  Geez!   But having been down that road yourself three years before me, you were better prepared to help me - and did.

I'm thankful that you always do what's best for your family.

I know that many times you've done for us what might not have been best for you, personally.   You always put your family first.

I'm thankful that  you're made such an impact with your life and touched so many people.

And you have no idea how many people that would be.

I'm thankful that you make me laugh - really hard.

That pig snorting, out of control laugh that only you can inspire!

I'm thankful that you'll watch HGTV & Say Yes to the Dress  with me.

There's no pride here.   Pure selflessness.

Finally, I'm just very thankful that we've had all these years together.

I'm one very blessed person to have lived my life with you!

Happy Anniversary, Scottie ♥   

Friday, August 17, 2012

Mama Therapy

It was a little bit easier this time.     Taylor leaving.   Headed back to college to start her
sophomore year.    This time last year, it was a totally different story.  

After Scott & I moved her in at Anderson University, we drove home.    Went inside the house.
The place where that kid lived and grew up for the last 18 years.    We went in her
room.   Sat on her bed.    And bawled our eyes out.

Yep.    It took weeks to begin feeling "normal" again.   The new normal anyway.   It's the
strangest thing.   Raising these children of ours.   Investing all of our love, our  hearts, our
prayers, our energy, our time and yes, our money!   Only to see them grow up and  move away.

Is that the way it's suppose to be?    It is.

Last year, after we blew our noses and straightened up, we started looking around
at Taylor's room -- and then spent the next two hours cleaning it from top to bottom.

That's the part that was the same today.

When we got home from moving her in again,   I did clean.  It must be some form of mama therapy.

We came to realize over this last year, that there was life B.C. (before children) and there
would be life A.C.  (after children.)     It'll be fine.     She's happy.    I'm happy.    I love you Boo.

Inside her dorm at AU, this is a contented face!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What's That Smell??

I believe that our lives leave a "smell" behind.   Noticeable to those around us.    Yeah.     A smell.  That's
how I visualize it.

At work today, we threw a small going away luncheon for one of my co-workers - Mr. Pat.

Honestly.  He's one of the most extraoridinary people I know.    He is definitely in my top ten of the kindest people I've ever met.    Ever.      I've worked with Mr. Pat for 11 years.    I've only seen gentleness, humility and integrity from this man.  Mr. Pat is "retiring" in another week and moving away to Ohio to be closer to family.  And, he is leaving a "smell" behind.    A very pleasant smell.   I'm certain it will linger for a very long time.

He's poured his life out on others with incredible kindness and goodness. Bus driver and custodian.  He's gone about doing a very humble job of driving our day care bus, cleaning the classrooms at the close of business,  taking out the trash,  trimming our shrubs,  pulling weeds,  changing light bulbs and cleaning up after us for all these years.    

He's not a man of wealth or advanced education or "worldly success."   He may never have a building named after him.    When he leaves Greenwood later this month, there may be no coverage of his departure in the local paper.    No street may ever bear his name.   That's what is so great about his life!    

He's leaving his mark where it counts most.   On people's lives.   I love that!

I've heard it said that children are the truest judge of people.    If that's accurate, the children in Mr. Pat's life are a only a testament to what I have seen.     They absolutely adore him.     He's been more than their bus driver.   They "see" him, as only children can.   They see his character.    His patience.   His gentleness.  His heart.

So, here's the lesson I took away from Mr. Pat today.    I'm very sad that he won't be part of my day to day life any longer, but I also learned a valuable truth from the way he's lived his life.     I'm becoming more and more attentive to the smell I'm leaving in this world.   And, I can tell you this.   Mr. Pat has completely set the bar for me.