Feeling Less, but I know I am so much More

**** this is not my normal laugh at what my kids did post. No this time, this one is about me****

Blah blah blah,

That’s how I’ve felt the last few days (okay weeks) This whole hysterectomy thing has really hit me hard in ways I did not expect.

Back in 2006 I had a procedure done where I was told it would be nearly impossible for me to get pregnant again. At the time I was trapped in an unhealthy, abusive marriage so I was fine with not being able to have anymore children. Bringing more children into that situation would not have been good for anyone. So I accepted my fate and moved on with life.

Fast forward a few years and I find myself divorced and personally struggling with not being enough for anyone. I had been told for years I was not smart enough, or pretty enough, and not worth being loved by anyone. In my mind I wondered who would want someone so unworthy like me? Would anyone ever be able to love me and all my brokenness?

Things slowly changed when I was reintroduced to Todd. In 2009 I was still struggling with my self worth but he made me see myself in ways I had never seen myself before. I was lovable and beautiful in my own ways. He loved me for who he saw me to be not the person I had been told for years I was.

After we were married I often wished I could give him a child of his own, I knew it was close to impossible but I held onto that ever so slim chance that one day it could happen. As we became foster parents and eventually adopted our five little loves the personal need disappeared. That was until I heard the words “complete hysterectomy” come out of my doctors mouth.

Those words played over and over in my mind on my four hour drive home a month ago. This phrase meant I would never have another child. That slim chance I had clinched to over our marriage was now gone. I felt the struggles of my old inner self, doubting myself worth. I would be less of a women, less of a person, I would not be whole. I would not be enough. It’s strange how things you have no control over mess with you on a deeper level.

I didn’t want to but I had surgery a few weeks ago. Those first few days after I don’t remember much, other than my mom coming into the room and asking my if I needed anything or asking me what cartoons the kids could watch (eight year old viruses a two year old. Got to find a middle ground) As I started to physically heal my emotions were all over the place. I caught myself thinking What will my husband think of this me? What if I can’t be the same me I was before surgery?

I could not do much of anything so it was the perfect time to dive into the Bible and spend some one on one time with my Lord. Page after page lead me to a story of someone who thought they to were not enough but God used them anyway. In His eyes we are enough. In fact we are more than enough when we seek His guidance and look to Him for our strength. My “inside parts” do not define who God wants me to be. They are not the only things that make me a woman and I am certainly not less of a woman now that they are gone.

Our society has, for lack of a better word, has brainwashed by setting a strong definition as to what a “woman” is. But that’s not ALL a woman is. We are strong, beautiful, independent, confident, caring, nurturing, and loving. Some of us have no children some of us have ten kids. So of us work outside the home some are stay at home wife’s/mom’s. Some of us run marathons while others prefer to dance. We are all different, yet we are all beautiful in the eyes of our Lord. He does not make mistakes He only makes masterpieces.

Do I feel different? Maybe a little. But I know I am still the same person I was. It’s kind of like a jigsaw puzzle. My grandmother use to always work on them. Sometimes we would run across a puzzle she had picked up at a yard sale or at Goodwill and she would have “extra” pieces. After she fixed the puzzle she would just throw the other pieces out because they were no longer needed. The puzzle was already beautiful. I no longer needed my “extra pieces”. God knew I would still be me.

Missing A Call

Tomorrow is my birthday. Over the last 41 years I have heard the story of my birth from different points of view, but by far one of my favorites is the way my grandmother tells it or should I say never lets me forget.

It was Easter Sunday. And like most God fearing Baptist women, my grandmother had went out and purchased a new dress to wear for the Easter services at church. In today’s society we buy new clothes at the drop of a hat and think nothing of it but back then money was tight. Buying new clothes from the department store was not done often. In fact my grandmother made most of the clothes the family wore, but once a year, on Easter, well now that was a special day and my grandmother had sought out and found the perfect Easter outfit. That Easter however God had bigger plans for her than showing of her new dress at church. Grandma, me and all my kiddos

The story goes she was getting ready when they called to let her know my mom was in labor. Not wanting to get the smell of the hospital on her new dress she quickly changed before coming down to the hospital to wait the arrival of little ol me. She never made it to church that Easter, instead she welcomed a new granddaughter into the world.

She had a sense of humor about her and as I went though my twenties and thirties she would call me on my birthday, to wish me happy birthday and to remind me that she didn’t get to wear that pretty new dress. The conversation was always short and sweet, she didn’t see the need to stay on the phone to long. But her calling made my day. Grandmas are special.

As I was getting ready for bed this evening I realized I won’t be getting my call tomorrow. And that makes my heart sad. I miss her so much. But as I think back over the many things we shared the story of the day I was born makes me smile. We shared so many wonderful memories together. I was blessed to have her for 41 years my children had her in their lives. She taught me to love the Lord, to love my family, to enjoy game shows and candy. She taught me to quilt and she tried to teach me to cook (some things just can’t be done) She may not have got to wear that pretty new dress 42 years ago, but I bet you anything she is rocking an amazing dress just for me this year. And I’m sure she’s looking down laughing saying something like, Looky here baby girl isn’t it beautiful? I finally got to wear it.

Yes, yes you did grandma.

Grandma I’m sure your dress is gorgeous and I know you’re rocking those new angel wings. I know you can’t call me tomorrow but I know you’ll be with me. Let me fell your presence as only you can. Going though life without you these last few months has been hard, I miss you everyday. I will be looking for your sign to me tomorrow, I know if anyone can get a message from heaven to earth it will be you. Continue to guide me until I see you again. Love you ❤️

Grieving a Foster Child

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I looked over at the empty crib and tears ran down my face. I need to take it down but my heart is just not ready. Being a foster mom hurts sometimes.

We loaded up the van this morning and headed off to church, daddy T and I both had this empty feeling we were forgetting something. But we were not, you are no longer here. Being foster parents brings sadness sometimes.

As I washed up last weeks laundry I ran across your favorite outfit and I lost it. Tears ran down my face and all daddy T could do was hold me and tell me everything would be alright. But he too had tears in his eyes. Being a foster parents is painful sometimes.

The kids have looked for you since you left, Wild Man does not understand why you are not here and keeps saying Momma go get Baby P bring her home please. I force a smile and tell him you are so happy at your new home and that I’m sure you are doing just fine. But my mind races and wonders if you are ok and if you are safe. Being a foster mom makes one worry sometimes.

I found myself wide awake at 2 am, that was our one on one time. I wonder if you were awake and thinking to yourself where is she? Why is she not singing to me? Why is she not holding me? Again I find the tears rolling down my face. I grab your favorite blanket, I’ve not washed it yet so it still smells like you, and I cry myself to sleep. Foster care is not easy sometimes.

In all our years of fostering we have had to say goodbye to many little loved. You my little love have been to hardest to let go. God blesses us not once but twice to be part of your story. We know that reunification or placement with a family member is always the priority, but when you came back to us we could not help but dream. I allowed myself to see you as part of our forever family. I allowed my mind to dream of first days of school and dances and family outings. I allowed myself to go where no foster parent mind should ever go. I saw our future and you were in it. This journey can be cruel sometimes.

So I didn’t see it coming. As I sat there in the courtroom listening to the judge I heard words I did not want to hear. I was not prepared for the change of events. I went in thinking you would be here forever and left with an hour to pack all your things for you to leave. Being a foster parent is heart wrenching sometimes.

But that’s how this goes. The system is not perfect and I pray those that do not know you those that have never held you those that do not love you like I do I hope they have made the decision God would have made. I pray He looks after you and keeps you safe. I pray He gives you comfort and that you feel Him near you. I pray you will always know how much we love you.

If we would not have stepped out in faith and followed Gods plan for us we would have never met you. We would have never seen your smiling face. We would have never held you or seen you crawl. We would have never falling in love with you. Being a foster parent is beautiful sometimes.

We will grieve for you and we will miss you. We will find things through the house over the next few weeks (maybe months) that will remind us of you. It will be painful but also such a blessing. For these things will remind us of YOU. A smile will cross my face and I will get to dream of you again. And that will make me happy. Foster parenting can be a blessing sometimes.

If we open our home again to the next little one who needs us, we are not replacing you. You could never be replaced. We are just answering Gods call to help one more. But that decision has not been made; for now we will just take time to heal from losing you.

Fostering is not for the weak but in our weak moments God gives us comfort and strength to carry us through. Thank you Jesus for allowing us to be part of her life over the last six months. Thank you for allowing us to see her smile and hear her laugh. But mostly thank you God for being You. Thank you for allowing us to be your hands and feet. To You oh Lord be the glory.

What Happened to Peace on Earth?

Like many of you, my heart hurts for those that lost loved ones or were injured in the horrific event that happened in Vegas.  I would love to say I’m shocked that someone could do something so cold to anyone let alone complete strangers but the sad truth is shootings like this are becoming part of our normal.  That my friends is scary. 

When I was growing up I never felt unsafe. I would walk to the little general store up the road from my house just to buy a candy bar and a soda.  My parents didn’t have to worry, they knew I would be fine and would return safe. I never worried about going to the mall, movie theater, a concert, or church. Those type of places where safe places where people could enjoy the company of others and share a few laughs or sing a few hallelujah’s and know everything would be fine. Now….now I won’t lie I do worry.  I worry for my husband, I worry for my kids, I worry for my future grandchildren, I worry for America. We are still the land of the free but I am afraid many of us (myself included) are not so brave right now. We are scared. Really really scared. 

I remember in the days following 9/11 how united we were and how we stood together. In the middle of complete terror unity and love grow.  It makes me sad….no not sad angry and hurt that in just over sixteen years we have forgotten those days. Until tragedy like Vegas, Pulse, or the countless school shootings happen. Why must such horrible things happen for us to unite as a nation?

I blame the news stations and social media sites.  Since 9/11 it seems all we see or all we hear about is the bad.  The mass shootings the attacks and the suicide bombers make up most of the evening news. In order to keep their ratings up they shove these gruesome images in our faces over and over.  This morning on one local channel there was an hour and 45 minutes played of personal videos taken from the shooting in Vegas.  The sound of the gun shots echoed and the screams of the people were deafening.  It was to painful to watch yet I did until my daughter came in. The line of people standing to give blood to help those victims received not even 2 minutes. (The death of Tom Petty had a 10 minute segment)

My seven year old walked in the living room while our tv was on the station and asked What happened this time momma?  It’s become such a normal part of our society that the large loss of life did not scare her. She knew something bad happened but something bad “always” happens.  How scary it that?? Or am I the only one that thinks this way?  Do you not remember how scared we were on 9/11?? These shootings and other attacks are the same thing. And they are happening more and more often. Has our society grown accustom to the violence so much so that we are okay with it?  Seriously we need to wake the hell up people. 


On Sunday here, a man was pulled over for speeding. He was going 55 in a 30.  It should have been an easy stop.  However inside his car the police found 900 plus rounds of ammo, multiple firearms (all loaded), and other weapons.  I don’t want to think what he would have done if the cops had not pulled him over.  That was less than twenty miles from my home.  What has happened to us as a nation?

We are so easily offended by everything nowadays. I was having lunch with my oldest son last week when we overheard two women talking about how they were glad they were that their boys refused to stand for the National Anthem, because they never liked that song anyways.  Seriously?!?! I about lost it in the middle of Taco Bell.  

I agree with what Jason Aldean said following the shooting:

“At the end of the day we arent Democrats or Republicans, Whites or Blacks, Men or Women. We are all humans and we are all Americans and its time to start acting like it and stand together as ONE! That is the only way we will ever get this Country to be better than it has ever been, but we have a long way to go and we have to start now. “

 I pray we come together and that we stay together. I ask Jesus to comfort those that have lost loved ones and to heal our nation. I pray that we have seen the worst and that better safer days lay ahead for all of us.  I pray that one day we truly our One Nation Under God. And that we will not live in fear anymore. 

Grandparents 

It was Sunday afternoon and I found myself reminiscing of a simpler time.  I find myself thinking back to a time where I had no bills to pay, no worries or no fears.  Back to a time where my weekends were spent with my cousins on my grandparents farm chasing chickens or swimming in the creek (when my parents allowed us) or pretending to be the cast off of the Dukes of Hazzard.   Those were the days

I was blessed in many ways growing up.  One of the greatest blessings by far was having both sets of my grandparents while growing up.  I was also fortunate to have a set of great-grandparents that I had the pleasure of getting to know and love.  Not many people can say that.   This post it in honor of all of my grandparents.  

I will start with my dad’s parents.  My papaw L and Mamaw S.  I can’t think of any week in my childhood that these two were not involved somehow.  They lived up the holler (up the road for you city folk) from us.  My brother and I spend the days with them while my parents worked and after we started school my papaw would pick us up after school until my parents got home.  We spent our days playing games of Canasta, that’s actually how I figured out how to count, or working in the garden, running wild in the open fields and eating gooseberries and rhubarb off the creek bank.  Back then we could ride in the back of papaw’s old black Ford to the store(no seatbelt required) where he would give us a dollar to spend on whatever we liked. Usually I got a can of Dr Pepper and a candy bar and still had a few cents left over.  When we would return we would help him carry the groceries up the steps and into the kitchen were my mamaw patiently waited.  She always made sure to have something on the table for dinner when my parents arrived to pick us up, a few of my favorites: her steak and gravy and her homemade chili.

My papaw L and his old Ford
My baby girls 1st Year pictures. With my mamaw S in the heart

 She gave me a love/hate relationship with scary movies.  She absolutely loved to watch them but hated to watch them alone so I would stay up with her and not sleep for nights after words fearing Freddy really was going to get me.   I find it funny that my children love scary stuff and I can’t bring myself to watch anything scarier than what plays on Disney Junior at Halloween time.  If they only knew what I went through lol.  My papaw was one of a kind.  Strong and brave.  He gave me a love for the outdoors and helped me shot my first gun. I lost them both before I was sixteen.  But our bond will last my lifetime.

Both of my grandfathers served our country in WWII. Papaw L was and Army man while my Papaw W was a Navy man.  To see the way these high paid athletes are disrespecting our flag, our national anthem and country makes me sick. I know both of them would be shaking their heads. They were proud to be Americans and proud to have served their country.  Their love for our freedom has flowed throughout the generations that followed them.  

My papaw W and mamaw B lived about an hour away from us.  We spend our weekends there with our countless cousins on my moms side.  On Saturday nights the men played cards while the lady’s chatted in the living room or watched us kids run around outside. And on Sunday morning mamaw B made sure we all made it to church. My papaw W and mamaw B gave me a love for the Bible early on in life.  Some of my favorite times with papaw were our Bible talkes after I was a young adult.  I remember going camping and fishing on the river.  And with the arrival of spring it meant it was time to dig ramps (kind of like a wild onion) for the annual ramp dinner. My family was not rich but I never weren’t, we were blessed with something much more valuable than money.After my dad’s parents passed away and my moms parents moved to town we spent more time at their house. My mamaw B’s mom, Great Grandma W, moved in with them.  Most of my memories of her come from this time.  Great Grandma W was a firecracker.  She could preach the Word of God and tell the funniest jokes. She and mamaw quilted many blankets and made many Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls for us as we grow up.  Their house was had food one the table, you never knew who would stop by to share a meal. 

Papaw W giving my husband some parenting advice

My oldest daughter and son have the privilege of getting to spend time with them often.  My son when he was old enough got to go on the annual hunting trip with my dad, my papaw W, and my uncle. These three men helped shape him into the young man he is today. Those hunting trips are something he will treasure forever. My daughter was my papaw’s football buddy.  Not many families have five generation photos but we were blessed to be able several of them.  My beautiful Great Grandma went to be with Jesus when she was 102.   Just a few years ago I lost my papaw W.  He was at the hunting camp with my dad, son and uncle.  He passed away doing what he loved to do.  My heart still aches. 
Our first 5 generation picture, the day I brought my oldest daughter home from the hospital. Our first stop Mamaw B’s house
My mom, Great Grandma, mamaw, me, Sis and bub. Look how tiny their are ❤️
Mamaw B, me and all of my kiddos ❤️.

A few weeks ago I was able to make a trip make home, while there I made sure to stop by and see me beautiful mamaw B.  That trip she remembered me and we shared some good laughs at my brothers experience, sorry bub. 

Mamaw telling me a story about my brother.

She’s all I have left and I hate being hours away.  I hate that life happens and I can’t just pick up and go let I did when I was younger.  I hate being an adult. How I wish I could turn back time to when I was 14 or 15 and still have them all with me. I am very Thankful to still have her. 

I hope I have made them proud. I hope as they look down from heaven they say, “See that girl right there well that’s my granddaughter.”  I hope I have turned out half a well as they had hoped.  There’s not a day that goes by I don’t smell something or see something that reminds me of at least one of them.  Both of my adopted daughters are named in someway to honor my mamaw S and mamaw B.  My oldest was named in honor of my great grandma W.  I hope that they carry the names given to them with their heads held high knowing just how special they are. I pray they too become strong independent women as those they are named after.  I pray that all my children know just how blessed our family is.  For even though my little loves are too young to remember on their own they will know who their Great grandparents and Great Great Grandma was through the stories I share.  Oh how I miss you all so….

And mamaw B I will be back to see you soon, until then your Baby girl loves you keep those nurses on their toes ❤️
From our beautiful chaos to yours be sure to tell those you love just how much they mean to you.  Cherish the moments for a lifetime.