geanniegray.com

a blog about life with diabetes, depression & dysfunction & how to manage them with HOPE!

Category: friends


so gone so long


Sheez!!  I have missed writing so much!!  It’s been crazy around here, of course.  I began having physical therapy on my neck and shoulders, as I’ve mentioned before, but they also started occupational therapy on my hands.  Or rather, my right hand, which has been going numb a LOT!  At first, because there was some initial pain too, I figured I just needed to sign up to have carpal tunnel surgery on this hand too, but my doctor (my general practitioner) was SO against it!  She was telling me how it only worked about half the time, etc. etc.  Which was surprising to me since when I had it done in my left hand, it was like a miracle!!  Took care of all my problems in that hand!  But then, talking to others who have had CT surgery done, they’ve had bad experiences.

As of now, the pain is much decreased and the numbness isn’t as constant so I’m trying to get by without seeing an orthopedic doctor.  I think a lot of the pain I had at first was arthritis.  The weather was horribly rainy then and while a lot of times, the rain doesn’t seem to affect me at all, this time, it really did and I had aches in joints I’d for

gotten all about.  UGH!

So anyhow, they keep you busy running to therapy umpteen times a week.  Thank God it’s not too far from the house!

As for other doin’s… Tommy and I both went to Cincy to see the kids on the weekend of June 4th.  Since I had an appointment with my endo in Lexington on Monday afternoon, we just stayed Sunday night too and stopped for the appointment on the way home.  So we left here on Friday afternoon.  I was able to leave Max with a friend, thankfully, so we loaded up our bikes, the kids’ life jackets and ours and as little luggage as we could get by with, their two camping chairs we thought they’d forgotten (they meant to leave them!) and a small cooler with drinks and snacks ALLLLL into our Challenger!

Yes, I said the Challenger!  Ha ha ha!!  We checked to be sure we could even get our bikes in there first and surprisingly, with the front wheels off and the back seats folded down, we were able to get both of them in without too much trouble.

We DO have an older bike hauler, but it takes a hitch reciever and Tommy’s not been willing to cut into the body and stick one of those ugly things in between the two chrome-tipped exhausts.  I can’t say I blame him one bit.  If we get to where we’re riding a lot, maybe…but right now?  Nope.  Ruby is too sharp to mess up like that!  Ha ha!

 

We had an amazing time while we were visiting Corey and Melissa.  Most of the time it’s rushed.  We don’t have much time to be there so we have squeezed a ton of sight-seeing and visiting into them.  This time, we just took it easy and had a couple things planned.  We did those and then just fiddled around the rest of the time.  We rode the Little Miami River trail which was awesome.  It’s a rails-to-trails trail and so it was mostly flat.  We rode up to what’s called The Old Powder Factory where they used to make ammunition.  It, um…it blew up, so now what’s left of the buidling, which is substantial, is abandoned and it’s a cool place to see.  There are white and turquoise tile decoration up on the towers of red brick and it’s all by itself almost in the middle of nowhere, so it’s an eery sort of place.  Very cool.  The ride was just wonderful since it was mostly shaded and follows the river.  We started in historic Loveland, which is such a quaint, beautiful area of town.  Little shops and tons of people just out milling around, either riding or running/walking the trail, or working at the shops, some playing music, some sitting around the park-like area just snoozing or playing games.  It was SO fun!  And it really got Tommy and me both back on a cycling kick, which thrills me to no end!

In fact, we actually have 76 miles under our belts in a week’s time! (3 more rides after the one in Ohio)  WOW!  I am so shocked that we were able to accomplish this!! That I was able to accomplish it!  I can’t describe how good it felt to be back on the bikes with the wind blowing past us, seeing turkey, deer, rabbits, foxes and horses….oh, and of course, cows as we rode down our familiar country roads.  We even got to ride with some folks from our cycling club, so it was fun catching up with them, assuring them that, no, we hadn’t died, we just got busy.  Cycling has been one of the only hobbies that Tommy and I both really enjoy that we can do together.  It’s good for our health and our relationship.  You can’t beat that with a stick!

While we were with the kids, we also went to the Cincinnati Zoo and to a couple of bike and outdoor shops, out to a few neat places to eat and to several places scoping out the best place for them to put in their kayaks.  Yeah, Corey and Mel just bought kayaks, so they will have a busy summer for sure!

The weekend before, Memorial Day weekend, Corey and Melissa came down to Kentucky for a few days, so we were busy then too.  We went to a friend’s family farm a couple of times where they often camp out and enjoyed the campfire, cooking and company.

Friends and folks who know my eldest and his wife often ask me how I’ve done with their move to Ohio and I have to tell them it’s been a bit easier than I thought it would.  I thought sure I would just die without them here but in all honesty?  We see them more now than we did when they lived right next door.  It seems absence really does make the heart grow fonder and the people take a lot less for granted!

And so this past weekend, I have been serving on an Emmaus weekend!  Since our Emmaus community has not had access to the Christian camp we have used for the past several years, we hadn’t been able to host a walk, but a generous church offered their campus to us (actually it’s where the first few walks were held when our community was brand new!) and so I’ve had a spiritually refreshing, physically exhausting weekend!  It was really wonderful and I’m still basking in the glow of the heavy presence of God we had all weekend.

Since waking up this morning, though, my face is swollen, my sinuses are all gobbed up and my head is pounding like someone’s playing drum on it with a hammer, so I’m going to treat my aching self for awhile…see if I can get my bones to stop protesting and settle in with my Bible for a bit.  As usual, I’ve come away from the weekend convicted of the lack of time I spent with my sweet Savior, so I’m getting back to it and sighing with relief that my God is big on second, third, fiftieth chances.

He is just SO good!

Be blessed today and go bless someone else!  mwah!

 

 

changes!


Yes, there are some changes around the blog.  I realized pretty quickly that I made a huge mistake with the domain name choice I’d made…  I had no clue there was a book out there called “My Life in Dog Years”!  I’ve used that phrase or analogy for decades to describe what it’s like living with diabetes.  It’s like living in dog years!  You feel seven years for every one you actually live!

Sheesh.  Then my techie kid chimes in with “Mom, people probably think your site is about dogs..”  That never even dawned on me!!  Argh!

So, I changed my domain name.  I tried to choose one I could keep and/or use even when/if I ever publish a book.  Obviously, it won’t be titled My Life in Dog Years!!  Hopefully this way, no matter what the title eventually is, I can use this website.

I think I’ve finally got a decent start on the book.  I have about 8,000 words so far.  I’ve decided to write it as a memoir.  I just can’t seem to separate my life into categories and write only about diabetes or depression (they are like siamese twins, ya know?) or just my marriage stuff.  Everything is linked and I couldn’t figure out how to write about one single topic without needing to explain a ton of other stuff.

What I need now are some proofreaders!  I’d love to have a few people who are willing to read what I have, or at any point in the process,   I have some people in mind that I want to ask.  Some with knowledge of books and what makes a good read, some with technical knowledge to help with places that I am hard to understand.  Others with a little more knowledge of the story to tell me if what I’ve written is accurate or sensitive enough while remaining true.

I’ve been told this is what I need the most.  Readers to help during the writing process who would be willing to help out in exchange for an acknowledgment in the book.

I am so tired right now.  There has been a ton of stuff going on with both mine and Tommy’s health, but I’ll save all that for a later post.

Blessings!


thrilled and stunned


Guys, I’m all excited.  We have been talking about trading vehicles for awhile now.  I’m not really a “car girl”, but I do appreciate a well-designed car that commands your attention without being flashy or gaudy.  I have been pretty in love with a Dodge Challenger since they went back to the more traditional body style.  So when the topic came up, I let Tommy know that I really liked the looks of the Challengers.  To my surprise, he began looking for one.

While we looked both on the road and online, we realized that neither of us had ever even driven one and didn’t know if we’d even like how the car handled and stuff.  So a couple weeks ago, when I was in Lexington for a doctor appointment, we drove through a lot up there and ended up driving a Challenger to my appointments and were still in the pressure cooker at 10 pm that night.  Yeah, we’re those people who can’t make a decision and finally, when we at last escape the salesman’s grip, will tell you we’ll get back with you after we think about it some more.

We are NOT spontaneous purchasers of automobiles!  The Lexington dealership didn’t really have exactly the color or trim package we wanted, but we found one we really liked and were considering our options.  Like I said, we were up there late while they pressed us to make a deal.  I will say all the salespeople we talked to were nice and we have definitely dealt with MUCH pushier ones in the past, but they were in full-on let’s-make-a-deal mode for sure!

We just couldn’t do it though.  I mean, after all this was the very first time we’d driven one and the first ones we’d even looked at.  We really needed to give it some more time and research.  Casey was adamant that we not buy a new car.  And he was right.  I didn’t want to buy new either and we sorta felt like we weren’t exactly since we were looking at the 2016s in October!  That’s how we bought the truck, but it had been a rental so it was considered used/fleet and we bought it at the end of its model year too.

So Casey kept sending us links to other Challengers, all the while saying that we shouldn’t get a 2-door vehicle.  When we asked why, he said because it would be hard once there were grandbabies.  I’m like, “Do you have something to tell us or are you just yanking my chain?”  He assured me there were no babies on the way as far as he and Taylor were concerned.  So I said, “When you hand me a grandbaby, I’ll figure out a way to haul it.  In the meantime, I like this car!”  My kids think I’m not smart, I guess…thought they could hint about a baby and I’d buy what they wanted me to (which is a four-door Jeep!)  but nope, I’m not falling for it.  Granted, I have been known to insinuate that there could be a prize for the first ones to give us a grandbaby, but so far, that hasn’t worked either.

We came across a new 2015 Challenger in Hazard, about 50 miles east of us.  Tommy called about it, we looked at the photos and researched its worth.  He and Casey have been crazy getting ready for Jeep Jamboree coming up this weekend.  They’d been bummed to find out they were put on a waiting list for tickets, but then, since they are local to the event, they can go as guides after helping clear the trails the past two weekends.  So yay, but it’s the entire weekend, which they start on Thursday (wha?) so it wasn’t going to leave a lot of time to look into this if we didn’t hurry and we’d already lost one sweet deal by waiting.

 

We decided to drive over there and look at it last night.  It was dusk by the time we got there, and we hadn’t told the salesman for sure we were coming, so the car was parked behind some others and was super-dirty, but we took it for a drive and fell in love.  It drove and rode smoother than the ones we’d driven in Lexington, plus it had all of the options we wanted (except for one that they said they’d throw in) and an upgraded leather package.   Since it was a year old already, they wanted to make a deal.  They offered us above book value for our truck and threw in factory remote start and navigation activation, which came to almost a thousand dollars.  We really appreciated the way they did business too.  There was no game-playing and “let me go ask my manager”, or “I don’t think he’ll let me do that without some money down”, whatever.  They told us what they could do, we told them what we wanted and a compromise was struck.  We drove Ruby home last night.  Exhausted and giddy, we took her up to show Casey and Taylor (Corey and Melissa were still at church) by that time, it was after 11 pm.  Once we finally left there, we then came home and spent several hours flipping our mattress, vacuuming it and the entire bed, putting on the new hypoallergenic covers and pillows, throwing away all the other stuff and making the bed before we could finally go to sleep.  And then I stayed low for several hours.

Needless to say, I’m really tired today, but it’s been good.  I think I’m still improving slightly.  Had one really bad coughing bout, but once it subsided, I’ve been okay.  I slept a little bit.  Tommy took the car to check on getting a ceramic coating put on and also having the windows tinted.  We need to keep that sun off Ruby’s nice red interior, so they were able to do the tint today.  I’m going in a bit to pick her up.

These photos do not do her justice.  This is SUCH a fine car, you guys!  We’ve never owned anything so nice with so many bells and whistles, nor so much attitude.  😉  Did you see the red interior?

These definitely don’t do justice.  I was honestly afraid the red interior would be the deal-breaker for me until I saw them in real life.  They are much nicer than they look in the pictures.  And the ride…smooth as silk.  We just absolutely love this car!!  We’re sorta dazed right now because we weren’t really planning to buy, but the deal just fell into place, the dealership gave us everything we wanted and without any arm twisting.  It was the easiest car purchase we’ve ever made, that’s for certain!  Our payment could have been much less than what we had been paying previously, but we opted to keep it about the same and finance for less time.  Apparently, in all the debating I’ve had to do with Tommy over the reasons we can’t have a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon (price being the very biggest one!) he has fallen in love with my car as well.  Once Casey got in it and drove  her around, he’s pretty smitten too.  I KNEW the reason he was so against this is that he didn’t want his mom to have a cooler car than him!!  Ha ha ha!

Expect a few more pictures as I get better ones in the next few days.  We are SO thankful to have something we’ve actually wanted.  We’re so used to getting just what we can ‘get by’ with because what we want or sometimes really need, is too expensive…this is a very huge blessing and a nice surprise.  I guess this will be considered my early birthday present.  Just wait and see what Tommy does by the time it rolls around.  HA HA HA!

Before I go, let me share a group text with you between me and two of my friends…

G: We’ve been looking to trade our truck & mama want this!  (includes link for the car)  Does it scream midlife crisis as much as I think it does?  Yes?  Mama doesn’t care…

Friend 1: Nice!

Friend 2: Remember if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

G: ‘zackly!  Mama oughta look hawt when she goes to the Walmarts, am I right?

F2: Hey if you got it flaunt it

G:  LOL..or drive something that looks like u might have it…BAHAHA!  The kids r all like u don’t need that for when u have grandkids, as if I’m gonna order them online or something.  I’m like, u provide the babies & we’ll take care of something to haul them in.  Idk y the kids r so against me getting this car. Does is scream ML crisis louder than I think?  Maybe they’ll be embarrassed?

F1: Probably.  It would embarrass them.

G:  Idk y.  It’s not like I’m getting a boob job!

F2: Oh, thanks.  Now I’m picturing you with a boob job, 3G.  I needed that laugh!

F1:  LOLOLOL!

G:  Ur welcome.  :p

I will leave you with some pix of Ruby after her tint job…is that like a boob job for cars, I wonder?  Hmm…

I hope none of you pass out from all this hotness….


I swear I’m not really a slacker!


Okay, well, maybe I am SOMEtimes, but not with the blog.  My life has just been crazy lately, y’all!

Besides beginning treatment with my new chiropractor-friend from Emmaus, (an hour + drive each way!) I went camping in The Gorge with some of my kiddos this past weekend.  Observe:

Here's li'l Abdab, my adopted daughter (she's my DIL Melissa's sister. :) ) with Corey & Mel's dog, Timber, sitting in literally the coolest place in the forest! (the air blowing out of that crevass was just like a/c!

Here’s li’l Ab-dab, my adopted daughter (she’s my DIL Melissa’s sister. 🙂 ) with Corey & Mel’s dog, Timber, sitting in literally the coolest place in the forest! (the air blowing out of that crevasse was just like a/c!

My eldest kids are all into rock climbing.  I have no clue where they would get such a crazy affection, but they have it bad.  They’ve gone from rock gyms to climbing outdoors in the real world (where there are no mats on the floor, guys!) and even worse, my baby boy does “lead” climbing which is when they go up a route where there is no rope, only anchors, and they attach the rope as they climb so that the other climbers can then “top rope”, which a tons safer because they are secured with the rope that anchors to the top and is controlled by a belayer.  Just trust me, I was not really thrilled to hear that Corey was doing lead climbing now!

Here's my big baby boy. As you can see, he's not wearing the helmet his mama bought him for his birthday. *huff* I'm up on another section of rock snapping this pic, so you can't tell how far up he actually is.

A mother’s pride in her child’s accomplishments is often mingled with a terrifying fear for their safety.  The strength of her faith in God’s hand on them often determines which emotion wins.  ~Geannie

We really love going to Red River Gorge, despite the hour + drive.  Honestly, we know we’re blessed to have such an awesome natural wonder so near our home!  It’s a rock climber’s dream and people from all over the country (& even other countries!) come here for the climbing.

Some of us, however, are just there to lazy around…

Max and Tommy, just hanging out, watching all the action high above...

Max and Tommy, just hanging out, watching all the action high above…

Make note of the area underneath the hammock, if you will, for reference in a later story…Yes, it’s every bit as hard and sloped and dangerous as it looks.

Tommy may not have been the only one who “lazied”… after the all-natural a/c, this was my favorite part:

Always with the doggies... :)

Always with the doggies… 🙂

My little Max was always up for an adventure, but he also was no fool about taking advantage of the natural air conditioning available!  Neither was I, obviously!

My li'l cutie, always nearby, keeping track of Mama.

My li’l cutie, always nearby, keeping track of Mama.

I thought I was going to get by without having to worry about the Hubs getting himself killed, but nope.  He had to give it a try too…

Poor guy, knowing he has added many pounds to his frame since the last time he tried this, he gives it a go anyhow...

Poor guy, knowing he has added many pounds to his frame since the last time he tried this, he gives it a go anyhow…

Thankfully, he made it back down using the rope and not natural gravity after realizing it just wasn’t gonna happen.  He got farther than I thought he might.  Ha..farther than I would have!  Abby made it to the top of this route, classified as a 5.9 (don’t ask me, but they said this was impressive)!  She was worn out afterward, which is to be expected, but I was really proud of the little stinker!  She’s lots braver than me!

The poor dogs got worn out considerably sooner.  You’d have thought they were the ones climbing rock walls…but I guess it’s not really much fun tromping around the woods in a fur coat, huh?

Poor Max...

Poor Max… “I’m over this, you guys.”

The Gorge has some very awesome eating establishments, too.  Even though we had packed food to prepare at camp, we ended up at SkyBridge more than once.  It’s the closest to the campground we were at and not only has awesome food, but a great atmosphere.  You just don’t know what to expect from those guys at SkyBridge…

Here's Abby, after asking if she could please have some extra sour cream...the guy came out, plopped this on the table and ran off. We had to take the spoon away from her or she'd have eaten the entire thing like a bowl of ice cream!

Here’s Abby, after asking if she could please have some extra sour cream…the guy came out, plopped this on the table and ran off. We had to take the spoon away from her or she’d have eaten the entire thing like a bowl of ice cream!

Here’s only a portion of the aftermath of one of our trips to SkyBridge:

Red River Gorge is also the location of the Ale8one bottling facility! It's the only place you can order Ale8 or get it from a soda fountain or reliably find it in vending machines! We love it, obviously! :)

Red River Gorge is also the location of the Ale8one bottling facility! It’s the only place you can order Ale8 in restaurants or get it from a soda fountain or reliably find it in vending machines! We love it, obviously! 🙂

We camped at Koomer Ridge campground and it has become our favorite.  Abby and Austin had to leave Saturday night and then Corey and Melissa left early Sunday morning, so that left Tommy, Max and myself all on our own the rest of the day.

I'm not sure if Max was resting/relieved to be left on his own or depressed about Timber being gone...

I’m not sure if Max was resting/relieved to be left on his own or depressed about Timber being gone…

Dad cooking over the fire & Max, waiting to see if he drops a morsel

Dad cooking over the fire & Max, waiting to see if he drops a morsel

Ready for the service to start! ( http://thecreekchurch.com )

Ready for the service to start! ( http://thecreekchurch.com )

 

 

 

Tommy and I had a super-relaxed morning, just slowly packing up while cooking ourselves a monstrous breakfast and waiting to watch our church service stream live.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This gets as many stares on the campgrounds as a nerdy guy sporting some model on his arm at the bar! ;)

This gets as many stares on the campgrounds as a nerdy guy sporting some model on his arm at the bar! 😉

 

Can’t let you go without a shot of the great cast iron setup we have…some of the cookware is Corey’s, but Tommy made the stand, which also doubles as a free-standing tripod, on his forge.

 

 

 

Most of The Gorge, or “The Red” as the climbers refer to it, is located within Daniel Boone National Forest and the area just abounds in natural beauty and all manner of outdoor adventures.  Natural Bridge State Park is another awesome attraction as well as things like Nada Tunnel and the Gladie Welcome Center.

So, referring back to the rough terrain located underneath the hammock that was hung while we were out with the climbers… we moved it from the location in the photo to another place, steeper and with more jutting rocks underneath.  Tommy insisted I sit in it since there was no glorious air conditioning rock-crack at the next place.  I did and was enjoying watching the kids when he comes over and proceeds to wriggle his big ol’ self up in the thing with me!

I immediately started protesting, telling him he was going to “break the trees”, only it wasn’t the trees I should have worried about.  I was really NOT happy that he’d got in there and would have gotten out if it hadn’t been such a physical challenge, but I was thinking about the easiest way to get up out of the thing when PING… I heard the odd noise and immediately felt the hammock move beneath me and BAM we hit the ground, right on top of those big rocks sticking out of the ground and proceeded to slide down the steep slope.

ARGH!  Yes, really, I could have clobbered Tommy right then.  He still has a red welt on his back and I’m still nursing the bruises.  Then I had to explain that all to my chiropractor the next day.  Sheesh!

You’re welcome.  It seems everyone got a good laugh from that one.  sigh

Other “injuries” sustained include my poor foot…I’m making this a small photo in black and white in the hopes of not grossing anyone out, but my right foot has always had this big callous of a thing that always has a shallow split.  But when I walked up the steep grades with my Chacos (which have a rough inner sole) I ended up with it splitting further, so much so it began to hurt.
Tommy, also in his Chacos all weekend, but only because he forgot his boots, ended up with terribly swollen feet.  Maybe it’s just old age?

Anyhow, I’m really not slacking…I’m just busy adventuring and being battered by nature.  Hahahaha!!

Til next time!

Blessings,

G~


I’m a slacker (or hypo?)


ADDENDUM:  I had this all ready to go Tuesday, feeling SO guilty for not having posted SOMEthing already when Chrome locked up on me.  (for some reason, it hates when I try to load a “featured image”  argh!)  so I fiddled with trying to get it to work until I gave up.  I’ve had major neck/shoulder pain for months & now that’s worse (plus this morning, my left jaw is killing me?!?!) so I went to lie down with an ice pack hoping to ease the pain some.  I ended up falling asleep and waking to the phone ringing.  It was Tommy & he’d apparently called a few times already.  He kept saying, “Go check your sugar!”  I kept saying, “It’s too cold!” but I finally realized I must have been really low (I was in the freezing stage after sweating so  much the sheets were wet!) So I tested:  35.  Sheesh!  Anyhow, I never got around to posting this yesterday… Argh!  #stupiddiabetes )

Seriously!  I completely missed posting anything this past “frankly friday”!  In my defense, it has been cray-ZEE around here.

Tommy and I are both serving Emmaus walks this month.  He just got back Sunday evening.   We are now a one-vehicle family until he gets this other truck fixed, so I took him down to camp Thursday afternoon.  It was hotter than blue blazes and I was sweating like a racehorse, but they needed some help, so I stayed and assisted doing what I could.

I had been given the “community laptop” a week or so earlier by the lady who usually keeps it since she’s moving out of town and told to give it to the director of the women’s walk.  It never dawned on me that they would need it for the men’s walk too.  Heh.  So, there I stood like a doofus with them asking me where it was.  “Hey, I was told to give it to her!  That’s what I planned to do!… NEXT week!”  LOL!  So, I needed to drive the 30 miles back home to get that computer and bring back.

Which was fine, but I didn’t plan on not getting to head out til after 10:30 that night!!  I will be serving as the prayer team coordinator, which I’ve done before, so it’s not a huge deal, but our daughter-in-law Taylor has been asked to be dining room coordinator, and she’s never even served on the dining room team before, so she’s a little stressed.  Anyhow, I’ve been DR Coord many times so I’ve been trying to help her with tips and ideas.  That position requires decorating the dining room for each meal and moving the tables into the various formations Emmaus uses.  That most often means borrowing decor from anyone who might be willing to loan what you need.  After doing this so many times, a few times at the last minute, I’ve gotten to where I try to do the most with the least amount of stuff possible.  It’s a lot of on-your-feet, hurry-hurry-wait-hurry sort of stuff.  All day, every day!  You also serve the meals and help clean the tables, so it can feel like you never get to sit down.  It’s fun, the decorating can be a blast, but it is definitely physical and tiring!

So anyway, I had told Taylor I’d pick up some of the stuff from a lady there at camp so she wouldn’t have to make the trip.  Once I got to her house, she got a visitor, someone I also knew but not very well.  As I sat there, watching it get darker and darker outside while they chatted about stuff I wasn’t in the loop on, I started thinking about how late it was going to be getting back with that laptop.

The new dining hall (with chapel attached in back) completed 2013

LOL… so finally, company left and I loaded the box into the truck, drove straight home where all the dogs were waiting to be fed, the chickens to be watered, eggs to be gathered and then there was Max, who was nasty and needed a bath before he’d be fit to be in the house!

Once I got Max bathed and dried, I fixed myself a bite to eat.  It was now a little after 11 pm.  I contemplated just waiting to take the laptop early the next morning, but decided I did NOT want to get up at 6 am and drive down there and straight back (OR get caught down there doing something or other!  LOL)  so I loaded Max and the computer and took off.

Everyone seemed to have turned in already, so I left the laptop in the dark Agape room and headed straight back home.  Tommy called me about the time I got back to the interstate, floored that I’d already come and gone.  I didn’t want to wander around the men’s camp looking for him, and it was so late, I thought maybe he’d gone to bed.  Anyhow, by the time I got home the second time, it was about 11:45 or so.

I collapsed on the couch and thought, “I should sleep really good.” only… I couldn’t fall asleep.  I wasn’t even feeling a little sleepy.  SHEESH!

This happens to me all the time.  There’s something about Tommy being gone that keeps me from sleeping.  It’s not really that I’m afraid or that I hear every little noise, whatever… I just can’t rest.  Maybe it’s from all the years he worked construction and when I’d finally go to bed after getting too tired to wait up, just about the time I’d fall asleep, he’d get home and wake me up showering and getting into bed.  Then it would take me another hour to fall back to sleep.  Maybe I just got used to that??  I dunno, but whatever it is, I can’t sleep when he’s gone, so it was after 3 am before I finally crawled into bed and slept.

inside the new chapel

The next morning (er, afternoon?) I woke up just in time to realize I would miss the hair appointment I’d made.  ARGH!  I need my hair cut in THE worst way!  I called my stylist, who is also an Emmaus friend and she informs me that she was getting ready to call me because she was worried.  sigh  I explained and apologized.  She didn’t have another opening til Wednesday, so I’m still having to put up with this horrible hair!

I felt kinda crampy and my neck/shoulder has been a lot worse lately, so I didn’t get much accomplished other than a little laundry and a few dishes.  I worked on lists and schedules for the prayer team and later I went up to Taylor’s to help paint some decor she’d bought for camp.  I sat and visited with her and Casey while they ate supper, too so that was nice.

I rested a little better that night, but it was after midnight before I could fall asleep.  Saturday was busy since our eldest son, Corey, was going to be singing at camp that night for dinner and during special service.  I wanted to catch a ride with someone but wasn’t able to, so I ended up driving back home around 10 pm by myself again.  Ugh.

Sunday, I had to go serve at church for the early service, so when I got done there, after service, I drove through Wendy’s and got a bite to eat and headed on home.  I ate my food and flopped back into bed.  By now, the cramping was pretty constant so I didn’t feel much good at all.  I slept til about 2 pm when I got up and started getting ready to head back to camp for closing.

By the time I had checked on the things and talked to the people I needed to in prep for the next weekend, and we stopped for supper, it was about 8 pm by the time we got home and Tommy was exhausted and ready to hit the hay.  And so, we did.  LOL!

beautiful sunset behind the bell tower

I woke up around 11 pm, got up and took my night meds and went back to bed.  Tommy might have got up once to use the bathroom, but otherwise, he slept til time to get up for work the next morning.

So now I’m working to get the rest of my stuff prepared for the weekend (which will begin Thursday) and help Taylor finish the rest of her stuff for dining room.  I still have to pack my clothes and stuff, but think I’ll wait til I get back from my hair appointment tomorrow.  I also have to stop by the store and pick up some things I’ll need down at camp.

beautiful area on the grounds…

Right now, I’m trying to get some focus, some ‘stress-relief’, some ‘stop worrying’… ha.  I always love working at camp.  It’s such a beautiful place and working with other Jesus-loving people is always a great refresher for my soul.  Seeing God move in people’s lives is a great blessing too!

Now I need to go post the link to the 72-hour prayer vigil again.  I still have lots of spaces to fill before Thursday!  If you’d like to help by taking a 30-minute prayer slot, please use THIS LINK!  And THANK YOU!

 


you are not your past


Have you heard that before?  Maybe you heard something like this: “Don’t look back at your past, you’re not going that way” or “You can’t have a brighter future if you keep living in the past.”

That’s not just an inspirational thought some dude had to use in motivational speeches.  It’s biblical.  Isaiah wrote this jewel that God said to Jacob, the father of the nation of Israel:

Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  
~Isaiah 43:18-19 ESV
Don't answer when your past comes calling.  It has nothing new to say.
I’m thinking about this because of a young friend I have.  He’s been “around” our family for years now, since he was in grade school.  He’s in his 20’s now and doing pretty good with a steady job.  He lives in the next town over, and he works full time, so he’s not here often.  Not nearly as much as he used to be, but occasionally, he’ll send me a message that often begins with Hey mama.  That’s what he calls me.  I love that he can feel that I’m here for him whenever.  I have fretted about and prayed over this boy for years.  Sometimes he gets way off track and worries me to death, but all I can do is pray.  And the Lord has pulled him back every time.  If I was actually his mom, I’d be a lot more proactive in trying to help him.  But with the distance and of course, his own family, it’s hard for me to do that…but I often wish I could really “mother” him, ya know?
I have this whole don’t-let-your-past-dictate-your-future thing on my mind because as best I can tell, my boy really has an issue with this.  I’ve known it for years.  He seems to feel he doesn’t measure up.  Even though he’s made a profession of faith and at one time was very faithful to be in church, he’s long since fallen away from that.  When things get really hairy in his life, that seems to be when he remembers that and I’ll get that inevitable hey mama message from him.
He’s a very closed individual, too, which makes it even harder to help him.  He often won’t tell me exactly what’s going on or he won’t tell me the whole story.  I have to guess or assume and just pray the best I know how.  He knows I will be here and I think he knows I’m not going to scold him or whatever.  I don’t understand why he won’t open up to me other than he just finds it extremely hard.
You can't read the next chapter if you keep re-reading the last one.
I can understand that, actually.  I used to be that way.  Now, most of the time, I feel as if I over-share.  Ha.  Or as if I have entrusted the wrong person with my very private, inner struggles.  Actually, I’m quite certain I’ve done that on more occasions that I care to think about, but once it’s done, you can’t undo it, so I try not to fret about that.
I’ve come to understand the value of unloading stuff by talking it out.  I’ve had professional folk to do that with a couple times, but end up feeling as if I’m wasting my money after awhile.  I mean, there’s only so much they can do unless you have like, major traumas that you’ve buried or something.  As a kid, I used to write.  I had NO close friends and no family that I could share with, so I wrote all that was on my heart.  I didn’t really know how to pray and unload all that stuff and somehow, it helped to transfer it from my head to paper.  At one time, I had several notebooks full of my thoughts.  Like a diary, but not very chronological.   Once my mother found them, and read them, when I was in high school, I stopped doing that completely and promptly burned all the notebooks I had.  For too many years after that, I had no real outlet for my feelings.  It’s just not good for a person to keep all those things bottled up inside, just as it’s not good to continuously talk about them if there is no positive feedback or forward-moving results.
And so, that’s where I am with my boy.  He’s worried about a health issue now and beginning to see that he hasn’t been really leading the best life he could or the kind of life he knows that he should.  But he insists on keeping everything close to the vest and won’t let anyone in completely.  It’s just frustrating to know someone needs to confide but just can’t bring themselves to do it.  *sigh*
If we hold onto the past, we are essentially building tall walls around ourselves.  We limit where we can go and what we can do within the confines of our past selves, our past way of life.
I know a lot of people, most are good friends, who were addicts in the past.  They do such a great work in sharing their testimony with others so they can see there is hope for change.  That they can break the chains of the addiction and become the person they want to be.  So these people do talk about their pasts.  Often, actually!  But they merely relate them so others can see how far they’ve come.
I guess that’s the difference between ‘living in the past’ and ‘growing out of it’.   In most cases, you would be hard-pressed to pick these people out as former addicts.  They neither look nor act anything at all like they did in their pasts.  It’s as if they are talking about another person entirely instead of themselves.  You look at them, healthy and happy and working for the good of others and think, “How could you be the same person you are describing to me?!”  But they are.  And that’s the power of recovery, especially recovery that comes through Jesus.  A recovery that comes through finding a true relationship with Christ heals more than your addictions.  It heals your mind and your spirit as well.  It’s a more complete healing instead of just taking away your drug or alcohol abuse.
You can't have a better tomorrow if you're still thinking about yesterday.
All this rambling and pondering to say this to anyone who might be struggling to leave the past behind them…it is a biblical principle!  I’ll leave you with a few more examples:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  
~2 Corinthians 5:17
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  
~Colossians 1:13-14
…But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
~Philippians 3:13-14
How do you let go of the past?  How do  you help others to let go?  What is your best advice for someone who struggles to let go or who is helping someone who can’t let go?
Blessings!
G~


paying it forward: when someone you know is touched by type 1 diabetes


So this has happened before.  Not often, really, but it happens.  Someone you know or another part of your family gets hit with the Diabeast and comes to you for advice.

The first time this happened, I was still pretty young and a younger cousin of mine was diagnosed when she was three.  Several years later, after I was in high school, her mom would call me every so often asking about something or other, just trying to understand her daughter a little better.

The next time, I was married and trying to care for a toddler and a baby.  One of my very best friends from high school was on vacation with her parents and her sister and nieces when one of them got terribly sick, was taken to the ER where the diagnosis was made.  All this took place while they were about 12 hours from home.  I think, in this instance, my friend wanted more comfort than advice from me.  I didn’t realize it then.  I felt like an awful failure because I was at a loss for what to tell her.  But I think it was more that she wanted reassurance that it would all be okay, that her little niece wasn’t dying and they would all learn to cope with diabetes and it would become much less mysterious soon.

Last week, it was a friend of mine from our Emmaus community whose 10-year-old daughter, K, was diagnosed.  I actually know this lady’s mother better but have spent time with this young mom, M, several times and knew her well enough to reach out first.

Her husband posted a picture of K on Facebook saying something about this being “the first of many pokes for this little girl.”  Somehow, I just knew it had to be diabetes.  I messaged M privately to tell her I didn’t KNOW what was going on, but I suspected what it was, and that she could contact me anytime if she needed.

I know you're not a D-parent, but before my child's diagnosis, I wasn't either.

She soon messaged back saying the doctors were telling her they “suspected” type 1 since K’s fasting blood sugar was over 250.  I tried to comfort her the best I could, but to prepare her for the inevitable.  I told her unless it was something off the wall that I didn’t know about, that the diagnosis was likely to be type 1 diabetes.

You don’t know how I second-guessed myself about that.  But I didn’t see any use in delaying the fact that was eventually going to hit her.  I figured I should start preparing her.  I’ve sent messages a few time since they released K, sent some photos of my CGM and my pump site with my cool Grifgrips and some neat memes about how awesome type 1s are and how we can do anything except make insulin.  Ha.  I can do anything (except make insulin!)

It really seems like M and K are both doing really great with the diagnosis and learning this new way of life.  I’m so thankful for that!  I began by trying to tell M things that K should know, only…most of it wasn’t really applicable to her yet or she wasn’t able to understand them until she’d had more experience with T1D.  Then I thought I’d try to tell M things to watch out for or learn, etc. but then I thought, “Who am I to try and tell her that stuff.  I am not the mother of a diabetic!”  But… I AM a mom, so I can see things from both sides of this a little better, I think.

Here are things I would say to each of them:

it will get easier, I promise

To Mom:

Don’t be scared.   (okay, I KNOW you’re scared, but please try not to let your child see the panic I know you must be feeling.  they need to know mom & dad can handle this.  if you cry a little, that’s okay, but don’t break down into a puddle of moans and flying snot.  your child NEEDS YOU to be STRONG!  you can have that crying fit in private or in the presence of their dad or your own mom, anyone but your newly diagnosed child.  thank you!)

Don’t freak out at all the information they may throw at you in the next couple days in the hospital.  You have time to learn it and you WILL learn it.  Trust me.

As much as is possible, let your T1D child tend to their own business.  What I mean is, this is THEIR disease, not yours.  As much as you’d probably love to take it away, you can’t so let them learn to manage it as much as and as soon as they are willing or able.  The sooner they learn it is up to them how good they feel, the sooner they can hold the reigns and manage their now-fuller-than-‘normal’ life.  If they seem content to let you handle it all, begin suggesting they do things themselves: count the carbs in this snack, draw up the insulin for injection, use the alcohol pad on the spot you want your shot, etc.  Don’t let them give the reigns to you.  DO NOT DO IT.  You’ll thank me for this later.  Both of you.

Don’t let people tell you about “cures” in front of your child.  Stop them MID-SENTENCE.  Explain to them that this is NOT the same as “the kind” of diabetes they are talking about.  Chances are, they won’t understand.  That’s okay.  It doesn’t matter if they never understand as long as they get it that any cure they’ve heard about will not get rid of your child’s diabetes.  If you have to, tell them “Please don’t talk about any ‘cure’ you’ve heard about in front of my child.  It can be upsetting if they think this will work and it doesn’t.  Thank you for trying to help, but it does more harm than good at this point.”  On your side of things, educate your child as much as possible!  Don’t make their whole life about diabetes, but do talk casually about any fad or ‘remedy’ you may hear of.  The likelihood is high that they may even come home from school with ideas for a cure from classmates or even teachers.

Give your T1D a break.  Don’t be “mad” when a fingerstick comes back high and you know it’s because your child has sneaked something extra to eat or they’ve indulged in a sweet at school or a friend’s house.  I know you’re probably not mad, you’re worried and you may not even say anything, but do not let it show that you’re upset.  As a child diagnosed in the 70’s with T1D, I was scolded and chided by every doctor we saw.  My mom never knew what my day-to-day tests were at all unless I was sick (keep in mind, I started out testing urine, not blood!) but any time it was a certain level of “high”, I could feel the disapproval, whether it was intended or not.  I’d catch a certain look or hear a certain tone and that’s a lot for a child to shoulder feeling as if they are bad or disappointing just because they ate the other half of that cookie earlier.  Instead say, “Oops!  What should we do to get that back down?” and let them help figure it out.  If you can tell their sugar is high, say, “Uh oh.  Did you eat something extra or did you forget to bolus?  It’s okay, you’ll do better next time, but what should we do to take care of this?  What symptoms are you having?”  Let them realize that it’s serious.  I’m not saying blow it off, but don’t make each and every time a big production.  Realize that sometimes, no matter what we do, our sugar will do something crazy.  Sometimes we get tired of trying.  Help us get past this bump and get back on track.  Be aware of when this hits your child.  It can be a sign of depression so the sooner you talk about it, help THEM talk about it, the sooner they’ll feel better.  Be your child’s loudest cheerleader.

To the new T1D child:

It’s okay to be scared.  Learning that your life just changed so much is hard.  It’s scary to hear that you have a disease and will have it for the rest of your life.  It is OKAY to be scared, but don’t forget that you are also brave.  There are literally millions of kids out there who have been doing all this insulin and testing stuff for a long time.  They’re happy, healthy and can do anything other kids do.  This is NOT the end of your life.  It’s just a different version.  You can make it great!

You can do this.  It won’t be easy, at least not all the time.  And there will some times that it’s just ridiculously hard, but you can do it.  It’s my belief that the strongest of us are chosen to have T1D.  I don’t know why there has to be diabetes or why you and I have to have it.  For some reason we may never know, diabetes had to exist.  Only strong people can handle living life with diabetes.  You may not feel like a strong person, but apparently you are because you have T1D.  Don’t ever forget that.

It’s okay to get tired.  You’re going to have days when you just don’t feel like you can give one more shot, do one more fingerstick or count one more carb.  That’s just part of living with The Diabeast.  Sometimes we get tired.  It’s a lot to do day in and day out, all the stuff that we do to keep from getting sick.  No wonder we get tired sometimes.  When you feel like this, tell someone who loves you, “Hey, I am sick of being a diabetic.  I don’t want to do anything diabetic today.  I just don’t want to.  Can you help me?”  Hopefully this someone will be your parent, who can remind you of all the reasons WHY you have to do ‘the diabetic things’ and how many people love you and would be sad to see you get sick.  And you WILL get sick if you just throw your arms up and walk away from diabetes.  It doesn’t stay where you left it.  It comes with you and makes you extremely ill.  You could end up in the hospital or even die if you get so tired you just quit without telling anyone.  So while it’s okay to get tired, it’s not okay to quit.  Getting tired is normal.  Quitting is giving up.  Don’t be a quitter!  Go talk to someone who will encourage you!  Pray, read your Bible or something else that makes you happy but let someone know you’re feeling down.  That’s important.

Reach out to others who know what it’s like.  No matter how much your parents or siblings love you, they probably don’t have type 1 and they will never know what it’s like to live with it.  There are just some things they won’t be able to “get” because they never lived it.  Find someone who DOES get it.  It can be from an online community (there are TONS out there!  some especially for kids!) Let your parent help you find a place you can talk about diabetes and not have to explain every detail to them.  It could be an adult who was diagnosed with T1D when they were little like you.  You don’t have to be best friends with just T1Ds, but you need some in your life to just hear you out and know that they understand.

Don’t let diabetes limit you.  I don’t know what you wanted to become before you got T1D, but don’t let it change now.  You know, that if we try hard, keep ourselves healthy and manage diabetes well, we can become ANYthing we want, right?  You are not disabled.  Even if you eventually “qualified” as disabled because of diabetes, that doesn’t mean you are UNable.  It just means you have to try harder, be a little more cautious and plan a little more to do whatever you want to do.

Here are just a few famous T1Ds who didn’t let diabetes stand in their way:

Nick Jonas-T1DJean SmartBret MichaelsNicole JohnsonGary Hall Jr.

Of course, most everyone knows Nick Jonas has type 1 diabetes these days.  That’s because he’s been very bold about sharing that information.  Way to go, Nick!  Next is Jean Smart.  She is an amazing actress who was one of my favorites on Designing Women and later on 24.  Bret Michaels, who is a multi-talented performer beginning with the band, Poison.  Nicole Johnson, who was crowned Miss America in 1999.  Gary Hall Jr. competed and won gold swimming in the Olympics.

Do these people look or sound like quitters?  Nope.  And neither are you!

These are just a few of the things I’d say to someone newly diagnosed with type 1 and to their parents.

What would you add?  What questions would you have?  Let’s have ’em!

Blessings,

G~


friends + internet = YAY!


So, with our youngest kids (my baby son and his wife) in Haiti still, we celebrated Father’s Day with our eldest and his wife.  We met up after church and rode up to Lexington with them to eat at Tommy’s favorite steak house in the whole world.  (sarcasm)  We don’t have a Texas Roadhouse and if we did, the two of us would founder on their fried pickles and become land-locked orcas with high cholesterol and all the trimmings.

He goes for the steak, but I go for those pickles. Of all the places I’ve eaten fried pickles before, TR’s are definitely the best.  I dunno why, but chips are always preferable to wedges and the more crisp/less oily, the better.  Texas Roadhouse’s seem to always be just right.  That may be because we don’t get to go very often?  And that’s okay.  They are really the highlight of a visit and one of the few “treats” we both absolutely love!  I have to be in the mood for steak, so a lot of the time, I just get a grilled chicken salad, which is also yummy and makes me a stellar person with diabetes, too, right?  cough, sputter   I need all the make-up points I can get after I eat what’s coming before that salad!

ANYhow, so we went up there and got seated almost immediately when there was a larger party in front of us who were told there would be an hour wait!  So like a nice, dutiful diabetical person, I test my sugar.  It’s fine, I bolus to cover the too-much rolls with cinnamon butter and those fried pickles I’m fixin’ to have.  I lay my meter to the side against the ‘wall’ because I’m sitting on the inside of the booth.  I remember thinking to myself,

  “I won’t possibly forget it since my phone is right there beside it.”

my trusty pinky-purple bag that holds my dia-info-giver: my Bayer Next USB meter

Mm-hmm.  Famous last words.

Yeah, this morning, I was frantic searching for that thing.  I looked everywhere I usually test here in the house…nothing.  I emptied my purse to see if it was hiding in there…nope.  I finally texted my daughter-in-law to ask if she could check their truck when she got a chance!  Then, I just sucked it up and called the restaurant.

siiiigh  “Oh, yeah and it’s got these little blue and pink and yellow um…plastic things in it?”  (lancets)  the lady said after I described the case to her.  Yep, that’s it.

Man, I was SO mad at myself!  Gah!  I am going to have to make a trip up there in about a week and a half for an endo appointment and to have to drive up there just for that was maddening to me.  Argh!!

aw, crap!

She asks me to spell my name and tells me she has tagged it for me and it will be there waiting.  I explained to her that it may be a few days before I can make it up there.  She then informs me that they have stuff that’s been there for two years, expounding, “We never clean this stuff out, so don’t worry.  It will be here when you come.”

I ended the call not sure whether that was comforting or disturbing news.  But at least I could stop searching for the thing.

I was SO mad at myself for walking off and leaving the meter on the table that I posted on ReachOut (an amazing new app for diabetics!) and then on Facebook too.  A friend messaged me to say I should post an “SOS”, as she called it, to see if any of my friends were in the area who could pick it up.  Brilliant!  And so I did and soon I got a response from a lady I know from our homeschooling days.  I haven’t seen her in ages, but she was going to be up there this evening.  So we are going to drive up to her town tonight to get it.  I found out why I probably haven’t seen her…she moved!!  Sheesh!  That puts us driving about 30 miles away instead of 80 one way!  Yes!

So…I’m embarrassed that I got so angry, but I guess I figure after all these years, I ought to not do things like that.  Oh well…honestly, I guess I was a bit silly about it and it wasn’t that big a deal since I have probably only done that about 3 times in all these decades.

All is well in the end.  We got there before she was home and spent a little time catching up with her husband and then a short chat with her bringing each other up to speed on how unbelievably much our kids had grown and we were off.  It was late and Tommy was already getting sleepy.

We grabbed a quick bite at a drive-thru and he ended up pulling over about 8 miles into the trip to let me drive.  That’s okay.  I don’t mind driving on a clear night.

We’re still alive, after all.

So…how often do YOU do this sort of thing and how does it make you feel?

Blessings,

G~


fun times camping with friends


phew!  We made it back alive from our camping trip to Virginia over the weekend.  We went with two other couples from our LIFE group to ride the Virginia Creeper Trail and man, we had such a blast!

fun riding down the VA Creeper Trail with friends!

here we are getting ready to head out…

First of all, the weather forecast was for like 70% rain the entire weekend.  God had better plans though.  We got there Friday evening with NO rain and were set up and settled in before the little bit of rain came.  Next morning, we had clear skies for preparing breakfast and the entire ride!  What an amazing blessing that was!

we made it to the end!

We made it! YAY!!

By the time we got back to the campground, Tommy decided to unload his bike and ride from the general store in the campground to our site while the rest of us made a stop at the store.  Hope needed a long-sleeved t-shirt and I just went in for the heck of it while her hubby and the other couple stayed in the vehicle.

Ryan/Gilligan riding his bike!

Our driver, Beardy Gilligan, rides a bike!

There were problems getting the register to take her card so it took a lot longer to get checked out than it should have.  That’s when the thunder began to roll and before I could make up my mind to go on out to the truck and leave Hope behind (ha ha!) it came a torrential downpour!

I ended up running on out to the truck in the rain so I could tell the others about the hold up.  sigh  We finally got out of there and made it back to the site, but the rain hadn’t let up at all!  I jumped out and ran to the two canopies we had set up over the picnic tables only to find a huge water “balloon” hanging down in one of the canopy tops.  I hurried to get the water out, which sent a buttload of it down my arms and front, soaking me with COLD water.

Hope and Polo test the sausage...

Puppy-mom checks the breakfast meats while Gilligan’s fiance supervises….

I was gritty and tired from the ride and now I was freezing on top of it.  Ugh!  I had no clue where Tommy had got to… I knew he’d had time to get back there before the rain started but there was no sign of him.  I spotted his bike parked over behind our tent, so I knew he was around there somewhere.

I decided he must be in the shower because he surely had heard us arrive if he was in the tent.  After a good 45 minutes of the rest of us trying to move things out of the rain and rig up tarps as walls to keep more rain out, Tommy finally showed up looking all bewildered.  He’d been asleep in the tent the whole time.  What a turd!  ha ha

So much fun camping with some of our LIFE group!

a candid shot of our camping buds…from L-R: Bow-Chicka-Wow-Wow, PuppyMom, Puppy, Gilligan, Gilligan’s Fiance  

The rain let up a little and finally stopped so we could do supper and get showered and settled in our tents before the rain began again.   We had checked the forecast and saw that we were due for a possible 2-hour window of clear skies before more rain came through.

We had a blast sitting around, acting completely goofy and laughing loudly that evening.

goofing off at camp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were behind the tarp walls which shielded us from the rest of the campground, which was pretty packed.  I can just imagine the looks people were probably throwing our way as we discussed how all that grilled meat was bad for our “LSD cholesterol”

bacon on the campfire...YES!and one of the guys kept saying “bow-chicka-wow-wow” in response to everything.   Yes, we checked to be sure he understood what that meant.  He said he did, but that it was so fun to say…  BAHAHAHA!  We really had a great time together.  It had been a long time since I’ve laughed so much with anyone other than our kids.

Tommy and I needed a new tent and of course, put off looking for one til the last minute.  I found a great Big Agnus tent that I would be able to actually stand up in (my main priority for a tent) and it was marked way down, but the REI in Knoxville didn’t have it in stock.  I tried to talk him into just taking our old tent and ordering the Big Agnus, but nooOOOooo… he didn’t want to do that.  He kept saying he wanted me to be happy with it, but I knew what he really wanted was a light-weight tent he could backpack with.  sigh  We ended up going to the local outdoor store and looking for one.  We bought one that was way tinier than the Big Aggie and no where near tall enough for even a munchkin to stand up in.  sigh  It’s a really well-made one, though and super-light so at least it should last till we die.  It better last that long for what we paid for it!  We also bought a couple of sleeping pads because there was no way a full-sized air mattress was going to fit in that thing.  I was appalled at the thoughts of spending that much money for these things, but apparently, that’s what they cost, and they should last forever more…so we bit the bullet on them.

new tent

I didn’t get a good pic of the tent, but here is a shot of it in comparison to Tommy’s bike…and an idea of how much it rained (note the trench that was cut from under our tent across in front of his bike…see the silt washed up on the tire? it absolutely poured!)

 

So, the tent, even though it’s much smaller than I would have liked, did keep us dry during all that rain.  After the last time we camped in our old tent (which I also cannot stand in!) and it poured rain at least as bad as this time, and we woke up with our air mattress surrounded by a couple inches of water,

me and the hubby, staying dry in the new tent

staying dry (but not standing up) in our new tent! 😉

that bodes very well for this tent!

And I have to say, the pads were much more comfy than I had imagined they would be.  However, using those squishy hammock pillows is NOT a good idea.  We need to find some foam ones for next time.

This was the first time we had ever gone camping with anyone besides our kids and it was a lot of fun.  I hope we can do this again with the rest of our LIFE group next time.  We also want to take our four kiddos to do the Creeper Trail soon too.  Hopefully, we will have figured out a way to let Max go with us next time too…got to find a sturdy way to “haul” him on the bike!  🙂

God was really merciful to us with the weather and just gave us all a wonderful time of fun and fellowship.  We can’t wait to do another trip soon!!


mind. blown.


First, Tommy came home Saturday night excited that a friend of his, the man’s family at least, were going to go to church with us!  I don’t really know any of them other than to wave, but knew there was a lot of addiction and just ‘life-struggle’ in the family.  They really need Jesus!  So we’ve just always tried to be lights, just living for Jesus in front of them, ya know?

It’s sad when people get so beaten down by life, the disappointments, the abandonment, the betrayal of it that they become hardened to the idea that love exists anywhere anymore.

living for jesus
Especially when you present some “ancient guy” Who’s supposed to love everybody the same and besides that…“didn’t he die already?”  sigh

So yeah, by the time we were getting ready for bed though, the mom texted Tommy through his friend’s number saying that she was “just going to take everyone to my church”, but thanks for the invitation.  I could tell it upset Tommy. He said that the reason they had come out (as Tommy was in his truck getting ready to leave — he had taken some auto stuff over there for the guy to paint) to ask about church was that the young teen boy, the mom’s son, I think, “has questions and wants to go to church.”  The son was just there for spring break, he normally lives with his dad.  I have no clue what sort of relationship there is other than that.

We knew they had never gone to church in all the years we’ve known them so I’m not sure what church she was calling ‘hers’, but then again, Tommy said they were both (the mom & dad) pretty buzzed by the time he left.  He said they’d started on the beers soon as he got there and, the best he knew, that was the regular evening routine.  I don’t know, but anyway, he figured that was part of the text and still said he would come pick them up, that they should go see what it was like at our church and we were sure they’d really like it.

There was no response after that.

We got up earlier than usual the next morning because Tommy had decided we’d go over there anyway and maybe if, by chance, they were up getting ready, they’d just go with us or if not, we could get them to go.

We were ready to get in the truck when he realized that he had forgotten to put Samson up.  Samson, (look in my photos down there to the left) is our big, cuddly, laid-back chocolate lab.  We’ve had him since he was just a few weeks old.  We learned pretty early on that he has no sense of direction after him following another dog off a couple different times and us getting a call that he was 4-5 miles away somewhere.  Bless his little heart.

So we have always kept him on an underground fence.  He’s been on it so long now that he knows exactly where the boundaries are and he will not cross.  I mean, seriously!  I tried to get him to walk down to Corey’s with me a couple weeks ago.  I took his collar off, walked across and he just sat there, quivering.  I called and I begged, but he wouldn’t budge.  I even tried to sorta push him across but he would have none of it!

Samson has a dog house inside a chain link dog run and that’s where he goes at night.  By this time, it is habit and normally, if Tommy dawdles later that Sams thinks he should, or he’s just hungry, he’ll bark and let us know he’s ready to go to bed!  Ha ha.

Tommy had worked all day Saturday in the shop with both his dad and Casey and then after taking the stuff to be painted out there and talking to his friend awhile, it was later than usual for him to come in.  He’d stopped and picked up some supper for himself and sat in the recliner to eat.  I didn’t realize he hadn’t put Sam up so when he was soon snoring loudly, I just let him sleep and went on to bed.  He seems to sleep a little better sitting up like that and can be hard to wake up, so when he’s sleeping soundly like that, I just let him sleep there.

Back to Sunday morning, we came out to leave and Tommy realized he hadn’t taken care of Sam the night before.  We called, expecting him to come running, but no Sam.  I walked around to the front porch, even though it’s unusual for him to stay out there unless it’s sunny, but nope.  Not there either.

lost pets

We only have a smidge over an acre here, so it’s not like he had a lot of other places to go.  So Tommy went out into the shop, calling Sam as he opened the office door.  No Sam in there either.  While he did that, I walked around behind the shop, which is about the only other place he could have been out of our sight.  I feared I might find him sick or injured because that’s the only reason he wouldn’t come when called, but he wasn’t there either.

Now we were completely flummoxed!  What in the world…?  Now there was only one other conclusion, but it didn’t quite add up either:  Samson had been stolen!!  We checked to make sure the fence was working: yep, it wasn’t off or alerting due to a broken wire.  All this time, we’re making all this noise in the shop, but it’s getting later and we were determined to try to get at least the young boy to go to church with us, so we reluctantly left.

As we drove away, I began a plea for Facebook friends, most of whom are great animal lovers and told them about our missing Samson.  Many of them have met Sam and love him too, because you just can’t really help but love the big galloot.  He’s such a gentle, easy-going fella and of course, he’s gorgeous too.

Samson

Samson

So people began sharing my status like crazy and posting to lost pets groups and commenting with sympathy and encouragement and prayers.

When we got to the house of Tommy’s friend, his sister-in-law was standing on the porch.  Tommy got out and talked with her.  Apparently, the mom had talked herself out of going.  And no, she wasn’t up preparing to go that her church either.  She said no one else was up so they couldn’t go.  Tommy told her we’d be back at 10:30 and we’d all go to the 11:15 service, then.  She agreed and we left.  It was about 9:15 at the time.

We drove over toward our house, on the other side of town, and started down the roads where we’d found Sam the other two times.  Nothing.  No sign of him.  As we got closer to our house, a dear friend, Shell, called me to ask what area we lived in…she was going to drive around looking for him too.  I could have cried.  What a precious thing to do!!  I told her there was no need for her to get out when she informed me she was already leaving her house!  Bless her heart!  She wasn’t about to go back, so I told  her a couple places he could have gone and off she went.

Seriously, guys?  I have some amazingly awesome friends, don’t I?  Makes me feel SO humble and thankful!  God’s blessed me so good!

We were still driving, getting closer to our house and decided we should go turn off the fence so that if Sam did somehow wander back home, he could go in without getting shocked.  None of that even seemed feasible still, but what else could we do.  We pulled up to the shop, where the control box is and Tommy informed me he was gonna use the bathroom while he was in there.  I said fine and began checking on the Facebook activity, updating people and thanking them for the shares and concern…I was absorbed in my task so when Tommy showed up with this incredulous look on his face outside the driver’s window, I had no clue what was up.

He opened the door and said, “Look!” and pointed across the yard toward Sam’s pen…and lo and behold, there was his big chocolate butt trotting around the yard as if nothing was amiss.  SERIOUSLY!?!?  “WHERE WAS HE?!” I asked in pure shock.

“In the mower room, “ Tommy said with this monotone voice, completely disparaged.  My mouth fell open then.  Let me explain, our shop is about 30 x 60 feet with two tall garage bays, then a small office with a “people door”, when you come out of the office into the shop, immediately to your left is a staircase to our storage area, another small work bay in front of you and if you walk around and under the stairs, there’s a bathroom and at the very back, two more rooms, one of which has a small garage door where we park our lawn mower.  It’s RIGHT BESIDE the bathroom.

I was just floored.  Why on earth hadn’t he barked at all??  I mean, the boogar had not made a single sound in all the time when Tommy called him from INSIDE the shop (it’ echo-y in there, people!) nor when he got a scoop of food out for him from the tote sitting right outside the mower room door…and he still hadn’t made a peep when Tommy came into the bathroom.  He just thought, even though the chance was slight that Sam would be in there, he’d just check to be sure… so when Sam jumped up and trotted over to him, tail a-waggin’, we were just baffled!

I had gotten out of the truck while Tommy was telling me all this and Sam came over just like normal.  I bent down to hug on and scold him.  I was in the process of calling Shell to tell her we’d found him.  It was a little hard to hear her well out in the wind, but she said something about “whoopin’ his butt” and next thing I knew, she had pulled in the driveway.

We laughed and talked a bit while she gave Sam another good scolding and hugs and then we all hurried off to church.

WHAT A MORNING!  I hurriedly got on Facebook to call off the search so people were commenting back and no one made too much fun of us for finding him in the stinkin’ shop.  HA HA HA!

This morning I posted this on Facebook:

  Here’s what Geannie learned this weekend:😀
1) always check all the rooms before pleading for FB help to find you dawg. 🐶💩
2) if you still can’t find him, ALWAYS plead on FB …those people rock!💪🏼👍🏼
3) Gentle persistence pays off when you are trying to engage people for Christ. 🙌🏼
4) A bunch of stuff about my brain that I didn’t know before (& am still chewing on! Thx, P Trev -> Trevor Barton
5) 2 months is probably too long to keep a kumquat in the fridge. 😖
(I made that last one up, but I betcha I’m right!) 😂

How funny!  I was so overwhelmed by the help and concern, especially from Shell.  She went above and beyond.  I just love my sweet friends!! (she’s an Emmaus friend, by the way…they totally rock!)

Okay, so back to the collecting of guests for church…

When we got back to Tommy’s friend’s house, no one was stirring that we could tell.  We were in the process of determining what we should do, go knock, go away…what? when someone opened the door and out came the sister-in-law with a car seat and behind her a cute little blonde-haired girl and the teenaged boy.  Praise God!

We had an amazing sermon!  This series is called What Lies Beneath and it’s about how if we aren’t emotionally healthy, we can’t really by spiritually healthy either.  Our lead pastor is super-blessed with the ability to apply Biblical truths to our lives today.  He went into this in-depth explanation of how our brains work… how the neurons created connections or paths each time we learn something new.
nerves-346928_1920

The more we do OR think about those things, the stronger the path becomes.  His point was that, just like how Paul says it in Romans 12:2…

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

We CAN change our lives, our thought patterns, our behaviors by changing how we think.  He phrased it “changing our minds” which, get this, is the definition of the word repent. (read down to ‘repentance’… if you look in newer dictionaries, it paints repentance as a feeling of sorrow or regret, but that’s not the original meaning!)   How amazing is it that all those centuries ago, Paul had it right.  He described the very process that our brains use to change how we live, how we act and how we think!

I was really blown away by how the Bible really does tell us that our regeneration, our renewal, our path to that ‘new self with the old self in the past’ after we’ve made Jesus the Lord of our lives really begins in our minds and WE must submit our minds to Christ!  It sounds so simple, but I really loved the way he explained how the brain works, how neutrons form paths and the more we concentrate on a task or thought or memory, the stronger that connection becomes.  So in the case of a bad thought pattern, the scripture 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 come into play:

 “4For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.”

THIS is how we change our lives!  By changing our minds.  Literally rewiring our minds by filling them with the Word of God and detemining to bend our will to His knowing that He loves us and wants only the best for us, no matter how it looks to our human eyes.  (that’s a whole ‘nother post about faith and trust, I believe. 🙂 )

I’m going to link the sermon series here because as of right now, they don’t have yesterday’s message uploaded, but when they do, you can get to that one here also.  Besides, you oughta listen the Week 1 anyhows.  🙂

What Lies Beneath – The Creek Church – Pastor Trevor Barton

Wow.  Such an energizing thought and I don’t know a soul who didn’t need that!  Don’t fall prey to your thought patterns, to a negative mindset, to naysaying friends who don’t encourage your faith.  Break free!  Start by locking up those unbeneficial thoughts and replacing them with the truth of God’s Word!!

Blessings

G~



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