Tag: friends


the indomitable human heart


It’s been crazy around here since my last post.  It took a lot out of me to write about losing my sweet puppy-boy, Max.  But the point of that post was that God can heal any disease, any injury, even a broken heart.

I also told you that I needed to find another little fuzzy to fill the void left by Max’s death.  Tommy and I had been looking at all sorts of rescue and adoption sites for Shih-Tzu mixes and at our local shelters.  We found a possible one in Georgia and we would have gone through with it had it worked out.  As it was, the adoption people have not yet contacted us about our application and God orchestrated a different plan in the meantime.

A local friend of ours messaged me one night a few days after my post was published.  She said she had a little Shih-Tzu mix puppy that she needed to rehome.  This friend has seven children, the five youngest she is still homeschooling!  She said she’d thought the kids would have more time to spend with the puppy, but their busy schedules had not afforded it much time.  She loved the pup but could see it was suffering from neglect (emotionally, that is) when it had to beg for attention from the kids.  As you can imagine, all those children, plus homeschooling, each child with extra-curricular activities and a husband with his own business is a lot for a mom and it came to the point she realized she needed to find a new home for their little pup.

She had already asked a few other friends since she didn’t want to put it in a rescue situation, so she hesitantly messaged me that night to see if Tommy and I might possibly consider taking her.

We went to pick her up the next morning. (ha!) It just seemed like another situation God had worked out in advance.  She is young enough, like we wanted and now we would know about her background instead of unsure of how she was treated.  We know she was well-loved and taken care of.

And now we have little Silvey, an 18-month old Shi-poo (Shih-Tzu/Poodle mix).  The past week has been an adventure to be sure, but Silvey (short for Silverbells Piddlepie  -haha!) settled in amazingly well.  We even took her to Knoxville with us the day after we brought her home and she did excellent.

She’s so different from Max, it made me tear up a bit as we drove down the highway, thinking about how he used to cuddle up in my lap but Silvey wanted to sit independently on the center console.  The next couple of days, though, she became more cuddly as she adjusted to feeling at home with us.  She gets along great with Samson, our chocolate lab, and seems each day to feel more and more at ease.

 

I have not posted anything on Facebook or Instagram about having her to avoid having my friend’s younger kids see it and feel sad about having to part with her, but soon, I’ll share some photos on there.  Right now, she is needing to visit the groomer and so I will wait until she’s got a new hairdo to post pix.

For now, I’m trying desperately to get a video up here for you guys of Silvey fussing at the bad doggie in the mirror of our bedroom.  She’s been mad at that dog all day long and the weirdest thing is, she has seen that mirror before today.  Goofball!  Ha ha ha!

In other news, today is Tommy’s fifty-first birthday.  I’m gonna attempt to make a gluten-free chocolate cake for him.  With all his allergies, it’s so hard to find things he can eat.  If we find a restaurant where he can eat, there are never any wheat-free desserts on the menu, so I’m fixing this cake for him.  I sure hope it comes out right!

Our Ohio kids (ha!) are coming down tomorrow evening to be here for Tommy’s birthday and we have a girls’ breakfast planned for Saturday morning since the boys are squeezing in a bachelor-party/camping-trip thing.  I’m looking forward to that!

Beyond that, life is pretty normal.  I’m still struggling with low energy despite the fact that I’m taking B-12 injections at home each week.  We haven’t got to ride bikes this week due to rain and a severely neglected yard (we had to rake the entire thing the grass was so tall and thick!).  Maybe we will get to go this weekend, though.  I start missing it so much if we don’t get to go.

I need to get back to editing what I have written of my book.  Editor Elaine has informed me that she is almost ready to send chapter two to me with suggestions and a rewrite along with her notes on my rewrite of chapter one!  I can’t believe how productive it makes me feel to have her notes to work with!  I am SO thankful she is helping me like this!

I’m off to get you a video… You’ll see why I needed this little stinker…she makes me laugh the way Max did but at an entirely different personality.

The heart is never too broken.  Our hearts are indomitable, always rebounding, when God makes the repairs.

Thanks for hanging with me!

Be blessed!
HERE YOU GO!! VIDEOS!

 


relief and confirmation


Hey y’all. I finally bit the bullet. Um… it just occurred to me that maybe I say things like that a little too often here and you are probably expecting some big revelation when it’s not really such a big deal. Am I wrong to think that? Ha ha … It sure seemed like a bullet to me, at least, but okay, I’ll try to watch about doing that.

I guess you’d have to realize how big things seem to me, or perhaps rather, how big I make them in my mind! gasp I know, you can’t imagine that I’d so such a thing, right? more belly laughing

Okay, so this bullet involves the book I’m working on.

It still feels really weird to refer to “my book” as if it’s a real, actual thing. I’ve spent so many years with it just rolling around as an abstract in my brain that it is going to take getting used to thinking of it as something tangible.

I’ve spoken to many people, at least ‘many’ when I consider this blog or online conversations, about the fact that I’m writing a book, but as of yet, I had never let anyone read it. Oh, not because I didn’t want input or some insight on how it was going, but the fact that I was just scared witless!

I very much wanted SOMEone to read it for me, to see if it really was as rambly as it seemed to me or if it was confusing the way I explained things or if it was even interesting enough to bother with. But I didn’t really know of anyone I felt even halfway comfortable asking to read it.

The last time I served on an Emmaus team, I had the honor of serving in the conference room with the lady who was lay director of my own walk! I hadn’t seen her much in some time so it was great to have a bit of time before the weekend began while the pilgrims were still arriving to just chat and catch up.

In our chatting, I learned that she was working on writing a book herself! I was so excited to hear this. For the past couple of years, she’s been dealing with some medical issues as well. Specifically, a loss of her vision. I won’t go into the details here, but it’s a random, not-very-understood condition where there is loss of blood flow to her optic nerves. It doesn’t just make her ‘unable to see’, but it does all sorts of crazy things to her vision making it hard to balance, walk or view things properly since most of the time her field of vision is blocked in different areas.

So yeah, this essentially-blind woman is writing a book. How, you ask? Well, obviously, she had to retire from her job when all this vision trouble began. It was a job she really loved and apparently, all the people there loved her a lot too. One of the people from her old job ran into her some time after she left and as they talked, her book idea came up. She told him she had not worked on it because it had gotten so much harder to do so with her vision issues and her computer was older and not very reliable. He told her if she would promise to write this book, he’d buy her a new laptop and the software that makes it possible for the vision-impaired to use a computer with more ease.

She promised, laughingly I think, and says she then forgot about it. A few months later, another person from her old job called to see if she was going to be home. She said she would, wondering why he needed to know. He then informed her that the unlikely benefactor who’d promised her the items had brought them in and wanted him to come over and set it all up for her!

Isn’t God amazing like that? So yeah, my friend is now working away on her book and when we spoke, we talked about how nice it would be to have a fellow writer to encourage us. That was about two months ago and I haven’t worked a lot on my book lately, but I have mostly been “polishing” and trying to proof it and make sure things are readable and “followable”, that I’m not too rambly or scattered.

I had been thinking about asking my friend if she would mind reading what I have thus far and giving me her opinions, but then I’d think, “She probably doesn’t have time” or “It might be too hard for her to read that much” even though I knew she had software that would read to her and even though she had already been the most encouraging person for keeping at it.

Finally, I just did it. I emailed to ask how she was doing and if she could possibly read for me or if she would even be interested. She responded with an enthusiastic YES and so I sent it to her later that evening.

And then I waited.

I tried not to let myself fret about it too much, but then a whole week went by and no word from her. My mind went crazy thinking, “It must be awful!” and “She was probably shocked… or bored to death” and “I bet she hates it and is trying to figure out how to tactfully tell me it’s a waste of time.”

I finally couldn’t stand it, so I emailed to see how she was doing again. She’d been fighting a horrible bronchial infection during that first email reply so I asked if she was recovered from that and if she had got to read any of my stuff.

She replied almost immediately and told me she had not realized I had sent it to her already! #ohmygoodness I told her how I was fretting that she must have hated it and she said she’d been thinking that I had chickened out and decided not to send it.

How funny.

Anyway, she must have started reading it right then. She emailed again and said she finished the first part and was “hooked”.

A bit later, she emailed again to say she’d read through the fourth chapter and needed to take a break but she loved it and thought it was definitely something other women could relate to and the things in it would resound with many others.

You can’t imagine how relieved I was to read that!Ionut Comanici

I figure she is enough removed from the whole thing to be objective, ya know? I’d thought about letting my daughter-in-law read it but then thought that she was just too close to it all and so I thought of another friend who is a librarian and voracious reader, but I felt uncomfortable asking her since we haven’t been that close for quite some time. I was afraid it would be an imposition. I may ask her now that my friend has given me some confidence that it is actually of some interest.

I’m waiting though, to see what she tells me after reading it all. It is mostly chronological so she has yet to get to the more “dramatic” or sensitive parts.

We shall see.

Oh, this friend recently published her first-ever blog post and it’s inspiring! She explains about her vision problems and how she is dealing with all this change in her life. You will be glad you read it, so please visit her:

Restricted Vision : Unburdened Sight (don’t you love that title?!)

 


i’m not dead…but sometimes it’s hard to be sure


Pardon the drama up there, but I’m feelin’ pretty raunchy today.  Not sure what’s up really.  I’m achy and my sinuses are not very happy.  I feel like I have been awake for a week straight.  (but I promise you, I haven’t)  I’ve slept almost all day and nope, I didn’t stay up last night.  I was in bed around 11pm which is pretty normal for me.  I slept fairly sound in spite of my Dex alerting that I was “high” for several hours.  Max never got me up, so I probably slept better than on some nights.

I just have no clue why I’m so worn out and feeling so cuh-rappy other than my night of waiting for a high blood sugar to resolve!

The worst of it lasted for about 4 hours last night.  I bolused for and ate a small bowl of cereal (Rice Chex–yay!) with unsweetened vanilla almond milk earlier in the evening.  Later, I crashed, so I ate another yummy bowl.  (seriously, it had been a few years since I’d indulged in cereal!  it’s one of my faves!)  Slowly, my sugar rose to a good level…and just kept going.

going high on CGM

This isn’t mine.  I didn’t snap it because I hate seeing a jagged line.

Don’t you hate it when your sugar is going up and all you can do is watch…and wait for the insulin to kick in?  Ugh!  I didn’t want to crash myself again, so I tried to refrain from rage-bolusing.  keep calm & don't rage-bolusSo it wasn’t until much later that again, I went low.  Not really crashing, but just gradually getting lower until finally. my alert went off that I was below 60.  I’m sure most of that was due to it being the time of morning I am normally dropping lower slowly like that.

I got up and ate some peanut butter crackers and drank a little juice.  I was so worn out though I just fell back into bed.  I had taken my thyroid medicine a few hours earlier when Tommy went to work and I got up to fix his breakfast.  And now, finally I have taken the rest of my meds, but I just feel so YUCKY!

I’ve been taking my thyroid meds with some vitamin C powder.  Why?  I read that it helps with absorption.  I’m not sure yet if it’s worth the 8 carbs I have to bolus for the powder, but we’ll see when I go back to the endo.  It’d be great if I could get on a lower dose of Synthroid for sure!  Right now, I’m taking 175mcg and 200mcg alternately.  Fun.  (not)

The reason my head feels so crappy is possibly because Friday I met Tommy for lunch at Taco Bell where I got my usual Mexican Pizza combo.  I really should have stopped after the pizza since I was feeling pretty full already, but I didn’t want to waste the tacos that came with it and Tommy was telling me I hadn’t eaten enough (like he knows? argh)  So I ate part of the taco, which had sour cream on it.  I stopped eating when I hit the sour cream, or at least I thought I did.   I knew I’d gotten a little of it, but a teeny bit hadn’t been bothering me.

But oh, boy!  Saturday morning I was a wreck!  I had to drag out the netti pot, I was so stopped up.  And we had planned to go with Corey and Mel to this thing in Bowling Green that day.  It was an attempt to break the Guinness World record for most people simultaneously hanging in hammocks.  I know, kinda weird, but it sounded fun and we originally thought the rest of the kids were going, but a couple of them along with Casey and Tay decided to go to King’s Island instead!  hmph!  Taylor’s birthday was Friday.  I’d been trying all week to get up with her to give a gift to her, but we didn’t get to do that til Sunday because the child has been gone somewhere with somebody every single night/day.  The King’s Island trip was part of her birthday, so we went without them and ended up being a party of 7.

guys in hammocks

the fellas, from bottom to top: there’s the Hubby, Nibs, Cootie & StankyLaigs up top. 🙂

 

Mel & Maddie

The gals… Bottom to top: Mel & Maddie

We had a good time.  We almost melted in the heat, but it was okay since none of us actually died.  heh  We didn’t break the record.  The event just wasn’t organized very well and that may have been part of it.  We fell almost 200 people short, but they did raise over a thousand dollars for their animal shelter.  I guess it was worth it.  Ha!

Geannie's hammocking legs

Me…trying to swing & get some heat-relief. My SHINS are sweating, people! ACK!

all hands on deck, a helping hand... ha, ha, ha, ha!

I call this one “The helping hands of friendship”… HA! When your long-legged buddy isn’t quite tall enough to triple-hang, you improvise.

See?  In spite of the 100-degree heat, we had fun.  Who couldn’t laugh with this buncha nuts?!

And Mama had a good line most all day, too!  YAY!

good Dex line in 100-degree heat!

Lookin’ good, Dex!

And almost all of us were really cool…  Ha, ha, ha!

Chacos!

Chacos! Our family is really a #chaconation unto itself. We can’t have #summerfun without our #chacos!

So yeah, I have been either busy with stuff or just feeling raunchy or dealing with another issue that I’ll cover in another post and I completely flaked out on last week’s frankly friday.  Sorry, guys.  Heh.  Like there were any of you out there waiting with baited breath, right?  Ha, ha, ha!!

Finally, I’m rocking a fairly steady line hovering in the 140-range.  Thank God!  I hate rollercoaster days!

my roller coaster Dex line over the past 24 hours

This one IS mine. Ugh. Go away, roller coaster!! I need some steady in my life right now! #diabeticprobs

Blessings, y’all!

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~


update on the latest “brand new”…


Just wanted to pop on really quick and share that we are really LOVING these new groups. (if you don’t know what “groups” I’m talking about, click “new groups” and find out!)  We’ve had our first meeting at church and it was just great.
The staff worked withRead More »


another brand new thang…


Lately, my husband and I have had a longing for community. For a group of closer friends who we could share with and encourage and who could encourage us. At our church, the staff has been struggling a bit withRead More »


taking on the taboo


I’ve had a couple of discussions about it in the past couple days. I saw several posts and vlogs about it lately. I know many people who suffer with, from and through it. Heaven knows I have dealt with it enough myself.

So let’s just discuss it. I feel like maybe I’m supposed to speak about it.

Maybe you’ve figured out by now I’m talking about depression. Sadly, even in the 21st century, it’s still a taboo subject. It’s still cause for shame or at least embarrassment in America.

depressed2

I’ve shared here and other places online about my own struggles with depression. I have had discussions publicly and via private message with people about it.

[DISCLAIMER: I’m not dispensing clinical advice to you or recommending you do a particular thing. I am just sharing MY experiences, MY “what works for me”, MY findings while researching the problem. You do what’s best for you, seek professional advice first and BE WELL!]

My motives are pretty simple and very straightforward. I think it’s important for people to be aware of depression…of the signs and symptoms, of the treatments, of the facts that there are many of us who suffer with it and how it would surprise you to find out how many of your friends, family and acquaintances are living with it right now.

First let’s look at what depression actually is and what it isn’t. What I have is referred to as “clinical depression” and it’s what many of the folks who have reached out to me also deal with.

    [NOTE: Please make use of the many links I have put in this post. (the first one is in the previous paragraph!) If you don’t live with depression yourself, at least be educated enough to understand and help those around you who are living with it. I guarantee you there are more than you’d think.]

Clinical depression is that “black cloud” that sticks with you. It’s a “sadness” that you can’t explain or shake. I find that the best way to explain it to those who don’t understand is that I KNOW without a doubt I have MUCH to be thankful for,
I K-N-O-W it. But I can’t make myself be happy. And it’s not that I’m overtly sad or anxious. It’s just an indescribable inertness, if you will. A complete lack of energy, or perhaps an inability, to feel joy.

Depression

If you read all through the link for clinical (or major) depression (and I urge you to!) then you’ll see it lists the symptoms and then states “when it’s not caused by a medical condition or medication” and that’s where I depart from the medical book, as I usually do. (ha) I DO have medical conditions that can cause those symptoms. I even have a chronic disease which makes me much more susceptible to being depressed. (diabetes, to name just one) so I don’t fit “neatly” into a particular diagnosis. Lots of us don’t and that’s okay as long as you have a medical professional who can deal with that.

There are currently several types of depression recognized by the medical community. Some of these you’ve probably heard of, like “clinical depression”, “major depression”, “postpartum depression”, even PMS has its own depression called “Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder”! That last link will take you to webmd.com’s list of these with links to more info on each of them. I’m not sure how valid some of these are, but perhaps medicine is just trying to give a name to the things we deal with all the time but never know what to call it. (for instance, on the list is “situational depression”…who on this earth hasn’t experienced that before? I’m not sure the emotions tied to various temporary events deserves a medical diagnosis, but that’s fodder for another post, right?–HA!)

Let me say that I don’t want to “push” depression and make it like so many things these days, cool or in any way desirable or something to be envied. That doesn’t make much sense I guess, but stick with me while I try to explain… Like so many things in our society, people try to put labels on various people and behaviors. Sometimes to make them ‘hip’ or whatever, sometimes to make them seem acceptable. (first thing that comes to mind is how ADD became a buzz-diagnosis so quickly and then, even though it can be a genuine problem for some people, it soon became the go-to excuse for not doing your work, not being dependable or responsible, etc., etc.) I don’t want to do that here. Depression is serious. It can be life-threatening at its worst, debilitating or at its very best, it can make living feel like a burden. So it’s not something to be trifled with in any way. I guess I just don’t want to come across as if I’m just tossing the word around and diminish the real significance of the disease.

Okay, so here, I want to share with you a video by a pastor I’ve met a time or two that I really admire. For one, he’s now an avid cyclist. (Seriously, the man’s a beast on a bike!) For two, he’s an honest-to-goodness Bible-believing man of God who isn’t afraid to speak truth. For three, he’s a loving husband and father and he also suffers from depression. I already like him, but after he posted this video on Facebook, I admired him even more. See for yourself as someone with a position of leadership and somewhat notoriety goes very public with how he struggled with and then overcame the monster that is depression: Pastor Greg Locke on Overcoming Depression

As you might guess, one of the reasons I so love this video is that he says cycling helped with his depression. Of course, not everyone can jump into this the way he did. Since I’ve been watching him for years now, I can tell you that he first got “into” bike riding when he went to the Goodwill and got a bike to ride in a charity ride. From there, apparently, he was hooked. He has since done a 3,000+ mile ride (IN TEN, that’s 10, one-zero, T-E-N DAYS!!) to the Pacific shore and also the Tour Divide, an unsupported mountain bike ride from Canada to Mexico! He’s a beast, I tell you!

I don’t foresee myself ever doing such amazing bike rides, and that’s okay. I have impressed myself enough with the longer rides I have been able to do. I’m just happy to be getting out and being active because before cycling, I was pretty much a couch potato. A long day of errands was about as much activity as this ol’ gal ever got! So, praise God that I have this activity to get me moving and inching toward better health!

Okay, back to the topic at hand. I hope you watched Greg’s video. Part of what was SO encouraging to me was the discovery that someone who seemed so alive, so interactive, so “with it” would have a problem with depression. It was like LIFE-GIVING to realize that he KNEW what it felt like, knew how it felt when someone says to you, “Just snap out of it. Just trust the Lord. Just read your Bible more.” When it was all you could do just to get out of bed in the morning, IF you even did that!

And I guess that’s the most important thing I want to do with this post. I want YOU to know that *I* KNOW. If you never meet another soul who understands depression, know this… you’ve stumbled across this minuscule spot on the web, this unknown web address to this post because God wanted you to know that you are not alone. Let’s face it, that’s the only way you’d have ended up here! Ha!

Maybe, if you happen to know me in real-life or you’ve read other posts here, maybe you never imagined that I have depression. Once you start being open about it, researching and talking to others, you will find that many of us who suffer from chronic clinical depression can be the funniest, goofiest, seemingly-up-beatest (Ha!) people you know. Here’s the thing.. it’s easy to fake it for a few hours. At least most of the time. So don’t assume that someone who’s always cracking jokes and smiling could never understand depression. Often, it’s a way to cope. That doesn’t mean we’re not genuinely funny or goofy, it’s just that that part of us isn’t the strongest during the dark-cloud times and so we relish our time of being able to laugh and make others laugh, because once that’s over, the cloud is back. At least that’s how depression is for me.

Y’know, you’d think that for those of us who cope that way, since it does feel so much better to be with a few people laughing it up we would seek that out, but in reality it finally becomes too hard. It gets to be too much effort to drag myself out to be with people, to even want to be with people. The devil and my own dark place will start to tell me no one really wants to be with me. They will just wonder what’s wrong with me…why am I so pale, why don’t I have any makeup on, why am I not talking as much, etc. Then there’s the whole monologue that goes, “You’d need to shower and fix your hair. You don’t have the energy for that. It’ll be too hard to smile enough or to ‘be your usual self’ and they’ll know something’s wrong. They will think you’re weird or sick or they’ll just wish you hadn’t come. What if it gets too hard to try and you burst out in tears. You can’t let them see you cry, and you’ll probably cry. No, just stay home. It’s easier that way.”

Only a few short months ago, that conversation played routinely in my head. I stopped going to the get-togethers with some of the most dear friends I have. I’m sure they knew something was up, but I couldn’t bring myself to just say, “Hey guys? I’m hurting. I’m in a bad spot. Nothing physical, no one in my family is terminal or has died, I just feel like crud and I can’t smile anymore. Pray for me. Tolerate me if I come around– encourage me to come around because it’s entirely too easy to convince myself not to!!”

I finally just had to come clean with them. Some of the reasons were deeply personal, so it was hard to even speak them out loud. Secrets in my marriage that were decades old, but they had contributed hugely to the massive black hole I was in and at that time, I had decided to confront and seek help for that and it had stirred up all kinds of ugly. It was HARD to tell my closest friends where I was and how bad I was hurting. They still probably don’t entirely understand, but at least they have an idea now and when I say that I’m feeling “dark” and need some prayer, they are on it. They don’t hesitate to check on me and encourage me, to ask questions which are not comfortable, not convenient to ask.

So I guess my next suggestion or bit of advice for you is this…get, find or make yourself some good friends. At least one. They don’t have to be people you talk to every day or even every week. It doesn’t have to be the person you do everything with (when you DO go do something)… It just needs to be someone you can count on to see through your hiding, your coping methods. Someone who will confront you when you have slipped into dark mode.
don't give up
One last thing, there’s something even more taboo than depression and that’s suicide and having suicidal thoughts during a deeply depressed cycle. I won’t lie to you. I have been there. I’ve said before, I’m thankful to have my faith in God because I truly believe that’s the only thing that kept me from attempting to end myself years ago when the idea came to me often.

I now know that a permanent solution to a temporary problem is never the answer. It took growing in my faith and becoming solidly convinced that I am worth something to God and even when I feel I’m not worth anything to anyone, not even myself, I have to trust that God’s got a purpose for me being here. A lot of the lies I tell myself are that my family would be better off, my husband could find someone without my problems, who he wouldn’t have to worry about or care for, take to countless doctors or wake from a dead sleep to feed through a low blood sugar, who wasn’t so self-doubting that I paralyze myself and need him to make the simplest decisions… I think my kids could live without wondering if their mother is crazy, without her words that come out so carelessly unintentionally causing pain to them and the ones they love. Even when those quite loud thoughts are going through my mind every single day repeatedly, I can remind myself that God has a purpose. I don’t have to know what it is because He does. I just have to trust Him.
suicide
That kinda takes the pressure off me. *ha* So if you don’t know Jesus, I urge you to learn about Him and trust Him with your life. He will keep you safe if you will just trust Him. He’s the best friend and ally against depression I can recommend to you. He may not choose to deliver you out of the dark hole, but He will be with you in it and make you strong enough to endure it.

Hebrews 13:5“…for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.””


rain – – bleh!


So, SO much rain. It rained all last week, flooding a couple times, actually and I haven’t gotten to ride at all!

I am feeling so pathetic! I need to ride! Here’s hoping for a chance in the next couple days!

I finally got the yard mowed today. It was in desperate need after going without all last week and then all the rain.

Tonight, instead of going for the group ride I went out to visit with the ladies in my reunion group. We hadn’t gotten together in months and months! It was nice and on Saturday, the one lady is having a fish fry, so there’s that to look forward to.

Wednesday, there’s a big shindig to celebrate our town becoming a TrailTown, which is a big ol’ deal and such a great thing for us! After that, I have an appointment to get a long-overdue haircut.

Thursday is our next planned group ride with some of the older and newer riders and they go at an easy, ride-at-your-own pace that I like. They don’t mind if I stop a million times to check my sugar and stuff which is really nice.

Maybe I can ride with the other group tomorrow night too…they go at a bit faster pace, but I may go anyway. Or maybe Hubby and I can go Wednesday night.

I dunno, but have mercy, I have a busy week ahead and hope, Lord willing, (and I’m sure He is…that’s me, layin’ it off on Him *shame*) I will get some accomplished on this house too.

Blessings to all!