Sunday, March 29, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Sam came home on an apnea monitor. His brain was immature and the system that regulated his breathing and his heart beat didn't really work like it should. Most baby who have apnea have it only when they are asleep. Not Sam, he'd have an apnea while he was wide awake. I went for months in total terror. I was afraid to leave him for a second. If I was home alone with him, I'd take him and his machine with me to the bathroom. It was a tough way to live.
He then developed reflux. Alot of babies have reflux and they spit up all over the place. Not Sam, he'd reflux and then aspirate it into his lungs. On April 27, 2004 we almost lost him because of this awful reflux. I'd picked Steve up from school, rented a movie and got pizza so we could "relax" together. I gave Sam his reflux medicine in a little apple juice as recommended by the doctor. We had just turned the movie on, and I heard Sam make a weird noise. I picked him up out of his swing as the apnea monitor went off. He had totally quit breathing and was turning blue. Steve quickly dialed 911 as I began doing CPR on Sam. He didn't respond so I ran out of the house to our yard and began screaming. Luckily it was right around 5pm so most of our neighbors were home and they came running. Several tried CPR on Sam and got no results. He just kept getting bluer and bluer. It was awful. Then one of our friends, Troy, came running and grabbed Sam put him on the ground and worked on him so hard. He got air into Sam but he wasn't really responding. The fire and rescue truck arrived and took over. Sam was stabilized and sent to Lakeland Regional. In the ambulance he quit breathing again and was suctioned with some help from me. All the EMS workers were young and acted as afraid as I was, that was not very reassuring. When we got to the hospital, one of our pastors from Victory was there. I was so relieved to be at the hospital and to have someone with me that I promptly began throwing up on his shoes. Ever since then I always felt like he kept me at arm's length:) Poor guy! Jon got there and rode the helicopter with Sam to Tampa General where he was kept for several days. Sam actually had no bad after effects of this episode, in fact, it made the doctors take his reflux much more seriously and we were sent home with a suction machine and oxygen. I, on the other hand, had Post Traumatic Stress! No kidding. For several years I could barely talk about what had happened that day and I dreamed about it on several occasions. That was so frightening!
He continued having episodes like this for about the first year none were as bad, but there were times that we literally were suctioning him with one hand and had the phone in the other hand to call 911. Then he'd start breathing...
Of course we were dealing with his eyes through all of this. He had his first cornea transplant on 4/21/04. He was only 6 weeks old from his real due date. At that time, Sam was the youngest person to have a corneal transplant. Due to his eyes being abnormally small, he was also the smallest eye ever to have a transplant. His right eye was done first and he had a cornea from a 21 yr old male, motorcycle driver. That's all the info we were given on the donor. It caused us to weep to think someone cared enough to allow his organs to be donated. We were allowed to write a letter to the family through the Lion's Club. We couldn't give any details except for the fact that their unselfish gift, gave our baby some sight.
We began the eyedrop routine that we carry on today. His drops are given to control his eye pressure, and to keep his eye from trying to reject the transplants (and the implants that he now has). They also fight infection. Over the years we have had some changes to the prescriptions, but they have essentially remained about the same.
In August of 2004, his left eye was transplanted. This cornea came from a 31 yr old male, motorcycle rider. Again we were thankfully to the family that made this unselfish donation. We wrote another letter. Unfortunately this eye did not do as well. He began rejecting it with in a month. Actually we were at Olive Garden for my birthday and I was holding Sam and noticed that his left eye had a brown tint to it. The next day we were in Miami and the doctor confirmed what I had saw. They fought the rejection hard. His eyedrop schedule went to every 10 minutes that he was awake. He also had several steroid shots put directly into the cornea but it didn't work. Right before his first Christmas, the doctor told us to quit putting eye drops into that eye. It had totally rejected. What happened is a white film containing blood vessels grew over his left eye. He probably could see light through it like you would a solid white shower curtain. My heart was broken as we had tried so hard to save his little bit of sight in that eye. I just cried and cried about his eye.
One thing you have to understand, a cloudy cornea is not Sam's only vision problem. He has very low vision in his eyes. so to have a clear cornea does not give hims 20/20. Maybe 20/200... but with a cloudy cornea, there's nothing but light sensations. Every little bit of sight counts so much for him!!!!
So we're dealing with all of this and also we had no money! Of course I had to quit my job to take care of Sam. Our main savings were gone in a few months. I applied for different government benefits for Sam but we were turned down for everything. At the time we were leasing a beautiful home in north Lakeland that I really wanted to buy. Jon began to realize we would have to move long before I accepted it. He brought up the subject to me and it really upset me, but what else would we do? Thankfully Jon's parents had set up a small trust for us that we were able to use. Jon had the idea of buying a trailer and putting it on the prison's property as they have a park for their employees. That way we'd have no monthly house payment. I was not thrilled with the idea but what could we do at this point? So in between numerous hospital stays for Sam, we began looking for a trailer. It was not any fun, we wanted a good used one. What I think of a a good used trailer and what the ads in the paper think are two different things. My father in law was helping us look and he is good at getting unbelievable bargains but his idea of what we could live in and mine were not the same to say the least. It was a stressful time. I think if I had it to do over, I'd handled the whole process a lot different!!! I had a very sick child to deal with did not need the stress of looking at crazy, roach ridden trailers!
Finally I found one that was nice and in our price range. We bought it and had it moved to the prison then we waited and waited for all the county certifications to be done. That turned into weeks. Our lease ran out as we were waiting. so we stayed with my brother in law and sister in law who graciously kept us and our pets. (If I ever win the lottery, I'm buying them a brand new home!!) Finally everything was supposed to be hooked up and county certified. We had to go to Miami for his second transplant in August and we were told when we got back at the end of the week, we could stay at the trailer. So we drove from Miami to Polk City. Everything worked but the a/c. Obviously we couldn't spend the night in a trailer in August without a/c. So I go out to see if maybe something could just be plug in. I did something and was knocked on my butt!! It was a wonder I wasn't killed. Thankfully we have a friend who has an a/c business and he came and finished hooking it up that night. He told me to stay away from he a/c!!
Soon after we moved into the prison trailer park, we were hit with two hurricanes. The second one knocked off power for over a week to our area and phone service for more than a month. That was a trip. During the hurricanes, we'd stay in the prison's administrative area (outside the fence). While we had no power, we still would sleep up there in offices. The prison has it own generator so we had a/c and electricity for all of Sam's machines. At that point he had three!
He was also going to physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy Vision therapy came to our house. All in all he was 7 therapy sessions a week. He also saw several specialists monthly, pulomologist, gasterologist, neurologist and cardiac. I was so busy taking him all over the place. we were in Miami several days monthly sometimes we had to do two trips in a month. I'm telling you no one could pay me a million dollars to live through 2004.
Also right after we moved into the trailer, I was coming home from taking Steve to school and Sam to physical therapy and the inmates were doing our yard. As I was getting out of the car with Sam, one of the inmates said hi to me. Well I knew him from my probation days and he had an electric hedge trimmer in his hands. thankfully he didn't carry any grudges!!!
It was a rough time (seems like I say that alot!) but God brought us through it. In my next posts, I will write about some of the miracles that happened to us during this time.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Anyhow I just couldn't see us going there on a monthly basis as we were told we'd have to do for years. Oh well, I got over it! Now there's nothing like the relief I feel driving up to the front of BP knowing whatever is going on with his eyes is going to be taken care of!! I've even gone on my own with the kids. It's amazing what you can adapt to when you have to!!
So when Sam was 4 weeks old, we brought him home with an apnea monitor. He was about 4 and 1/2 pounds. Little did we know the "adventure" that was ahead for us. God gave me a Samuel who changed my life!
Saturday, March 21, 2009
In my opinion, my son Sam who will probably participate in the Special Olympics one day, has more character in his little tiny toe that Obama will ever have.
I can't believe the president of the United States, the leader of the free world would publicly say something so derogatory. It shows what is in his heart. We have a long 3 years and 9 months to go!!
If you are interested in writing a letter regarding this comment please do. Google Sarah Palin and read how she slams Obama for this remark!!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I really didn't mention in my last post the role I believe the devil has in suffering.
First I don't believe God brings anything bad on people. Sometimes when people fail to follow God's laws something bad may happen to them but it is a consequence of their actions, not God's judgement. For example, a person gets drunk and goes down the highway at 100 miles an hour and wraps the car around a telephone pole. Who's fault is that? At the funeral you will hear folks saying it was so sad that God took that person. Gimme a break! That wasn't God's doing!
Second, the devil yes I believe in a real devil, comes to steal, kill and destroy. His aim is to cause as much suffering on this earth as possible. He wants to influence your life in a negative way. I believe that between the sinfulness of man, the influence of the devil, and the fact we live in a fallen world, is the answer to why life is like it is.
I don't believe every bad thing is a direct attack of the devil but is indirectly influenced by the devil. For example, last year I had a car wreck, it was pretty bad. I hit a young girl's car going 55 mph. She was in the wrong for pulling out in front of me. I later found out she had been told not to cross across the highway like she did but rather turn and go to the light on the next corner. Her disobedience to her family caused the wreck. So in a sense her disobedience caused the whole problem. Where does disobedience come from? Not God. So what was the root of this situation?
Another example is my son Sam. Sam has numerous birth defects including blindness. How do I deal with that situation and theology? I believe Sam was "fearfully and wonderfully made"by God who is the giver of life. I believe his deformations came as a result of the fall, not from sin on his parents part, not from God not paying attention or being mean to us and not from a direct attack of the devil. We live in a fallen world and sometimes chromosomes don't go where they are supposed to go. I'm looking forward to the redemption of our bodies and the day my son can see clearly and speak to me! If I have to wait a few decades that's ok. Life is short, eternity is long! What is this life span is the light of eternity? Just a mere blink of the eye!
So I hope I've made clear my position. I don't believe in any way that God puts suffering on us but that He knows what is ahead in our lives, prepares us and walks with us through whatever comes our way. I also do not believe that God puts things on non believers. I believe He can use situations to draw people to Him but He is not the creator of bad situations. Most of the time we can create enough problems on our own!
Everyone wants to know where was God on 9/11. He was there. He did not put in those evil men's heads the plans to fly planes into buildings. He did not conceive that terrible plan. Just as He doe not cause a cancer to grow in a person. We live in a fallen world. That decision was already made by Adan and Eve. We can learn to trust God in situations. He is not going to protect us from everything in the sense we will live some perfect life in Utopia where nothing bad can touch us. But He will walk with us through everything if we trust Him.
Although I went through my time of wrestling with God over the death of my babies, I get frustrated with people who blame God for everything but don't have any relationship with Him to begin with! You hear on the news when things happen. If a drunk driver kills an innocent family, there's always someone who questions why God let this happen. Put the blame where it should go. On the person who caused the wreck, the industry that sold the alcohol and the devil who influences people to yield to their sinful nature!
Everyone is willing to blame God for the hard times but where were they when life was good? Were they serving God or themselves? Most of the time they didn't give God a passing thought until something bad happens and then they blame God for it. I've seen that countless times and it frustrates me.
I just wanted to add this to my last post so you can understand where I'm coming from.
My absolute favorite story in the Bible is Shadrach Meshach and Abendogo. As they are facing the fiery furnace they say "Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us but even if He doesn't, we're not going to serve your gods." That's real faith. God did deliver them but first they went into the fiery furnace. Sometimes we go into the fiery furnace of life but God can be in there with us just like He was with them.
In Hebrews 11, the great chapter on faith recounts so many of the great people of the Bible and how God wrought miracles for them. But even in that chapter the Bible speaks of those who were persecuted tormented and killed, who received a good testimony but did not receive the promise. I'm so glad God put chapters like that in the Bible. He rated those folks as highly as He did Moses and Abraham!
Do we serve God for what He can do for us or for who He is? I've met many people who have been disillusioned when life got rough and they went through the same doubts and confusions that I did but decided not to serve God. I know quite a few from my Bible school days who are no longer serving God. For the most part, these folks grew up in church but when life really hit them, their faith couldn't stand the test. I think I know the reason why that happened. Wrong expectations of God that they were taught.
God does work miracles but we live in a fallen natural world. God himself set the world into motion. God does not step into our circumstances every time and do a miracle for us. If He did, there would be no more death or disease. That would be nice but that's not reality. If He did miracles every time we asked like some kind of genie or heavenly grandfather, then that would not be the God of the Bible and God does not lie.
God did create a world in the beginning with no sickness or death. Man chose to sin and that brought sickness and death into the world. God gave man the free will to chose and man chose to sin. We pay the price today for what happened but God is creating a new heaven and earth where there will be no more sickness and death. That sounds harsh that you and me have to deal with sickness and death because of someone else choice doesn't it? We know actions have consequences and the consequences of Adam's and Eve's disobedience is far reaching. But we have a choice today to trust God through our short lifetime and then know an eternity that is free from all sickness and death.
I have had times when God has graciously intervened in my life and times He has given me the grace to go through the problem without a miracle of deliverance. I've learned to trust God with the outcome. Trusting God is a difficult place to get to but it's wonderful when you can reach that place knowing your life is secure in His hands. There are examples throughout the Old and New Testament for us to follow.
So my theology is a simple one of trusting God through life. there will be trouble and hard times but God will see me through. We live in a fallen world where we are bound by the laws of nature. I still believe in miracles but I trust God whether I have the outcome I want or not. It is a peaceful way to live. I do have the hope of eternity. This faith has brought me through the last few years with our little Sam.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
We were shocked to say the least! I had a sonogram at 9 weeks and the tech said "There's baby A and there's baby B" Wow twins! What more could we ask for? As excited as we were, I felt something was not right about the pregnancy. I only shared that with a couple of people and of course their response to me was to encourage me everything was going to be alright. But I feel God was preparing me in a gentle way for what was going to happen.
At 20 weeks I had the AFP test and the test indicated that one of the babies had spinal bifida. I had not felt much movement at all, which had concerned me. We went through genetic counseling and I was scheduled for an in depth ultrasound at Beth Israel Hospital on the upper East side. That morning as we left home, I was afraid of what the test would show. I remember I drunk a large glass of OJ to try and feel movement but felt nothing.
As the tech did the sonogram, we had a large screen to watch it on. As soon as she located the first baby, I just began saying "the baby is dead". She quickly located the other baby who was also dead and without saying a word, ran to get the doctor. Jon (ever positive) was trying to calm me down. When the doctor returned, he confirmed that both of the babies were dead.
That morning we had driven into Manhattan, thank goodness we didn't have to take the train home. However as we drove down the streets of NYC, all I could see was baby strollers and pregnant women. We wept all the way home. I remember we just laid on the bed and cried for a long time when we got home. It was an awful day.
At that time we had a HMO and it took a few days for them to decide what to do as I was so far along. I was offered the choice of delivering the babies or having them surgically removed in a procedure similar to an abortion. I chose to have them removed. Due to the gestational age and the fact they were deceased, I was sent to a doctor who specializes in abortions. As you can imagine, I was not happy about that and told everyone! Here I wanted my babies so much and I was going to have to deal with someone who took life daily from other babies. It was a rough time. The doctor was an incredibly sweet man. We actually got close to him and he shared things with us about his life and family. We discussed the fact he does abortions for a living. His explanation was he felt he was helping women caught in no win situations. I believe he really felt he was trying to do good by helping others. We never condemned him and he was so incredibly open with us that it was unreal. By the way, I'm not talking about some doctor on the backstreets of Brooklyn. This guy had an office next to where the Trump Towers were being built. He was a very rich and successful man. It was just weird how we three connected and shared with each other. He wanted info on Teen Challenge and we gave him a box of "The Cross and Switchblade" I believe even in the hard time we were going through, God still used us to reach someone who was hurting.
The planning and everything took some time. When I finally went into the hospital the babies had been dead for more than a week. There were some concerns medically. Emotionally I was so fragile, I can't even believe I survived.
When I get really afraid and upset, I draw into myself. The night before I went into the hospital to have them removed, I walked the streets of Brooklyn alone talking to the babies. I was so sad, even remembering that night after so many years has me weeping now. It was cold dark and windy but I wanted them to know how much I loved them and wanted them. Even after knowing one of my little guys had spinal bifiida, I still wanted them. I couldn't stand the thought that they would be taken out of my womb by force. We had so many dreams for our little family and knowing they weren't going to be a part of it just broke my heart. As long as I live, I will never forget that walk. It was a dark night of the soul.
The next day October 30, 1996, I checked into St Luke Roosevelt. The same hospital that I had checked out on October 30, 1995 with my little Steve. The procedure was done and I was in recovery and I started to hemorrhage. I bled profusely for hours. As fast as they could give me a transfusion, I would bleed it out. This went on for hours Every trauma doctor was brought in but to no avail. No one was really telling Jon much but my nurse who just happened to go to Times Square Church told him to call everyone he knew to have them pray for me. Sometime in the afternoon, I began not being able to see but I could still talk and hear. I kept begging them not to let me die. I had Jon show them pictures of Steve. I told them I had to live to raise him. The nurses told me later, they would have to walk out of the room as they would start crying. No one really gave me much of a chance of survival at that point. (we learned all of that later) What happened to me is called DIC -it has a big long name- but it basically means your blood loses the ability to clot it can happen in a childbirth situation or if you've had a great trauma. I was told it is 99% fatal. One nurse told me she had never in over 25 years of nursing met someone who had survived it. Late in the afternoon, Jon came in he could only come in for a few minutes at a time. There had been a change, I was worse. Jon described me as having a "death dew" on my face. He got that from an old church hymn. He described me as unbelievably pale with a sheen on my face. At that point he dropped to his knees and began praying and rebuking death. Within the next few minutes there was a complete turn around and within the hour I was given hospital jello to eat. I did stay in the hospital for a few days in ICU but God intervened in my life.
My father in law had come to be with us and it was a good thing he did! He kept Steve during this time. Steve had just turned 1 year old and of course he was still in diapers. Well when I got home, Steve was happy and playing with his PaPa, but when I went to change him, I found the diaper was on backwards. We did laugh about that! Papa admitted that Steve's diapers were the first he'd ever changed!
I was a wreck physically and emotionally when I came home. My belly was bruised in colors I'd never seen from all of the compressing. I was weak from the blood loss. That same month, the whole of New York City had a scare from tainted blood products. My hospital had reportedly got some tainted blood. Well I was given so much blood and blood products we are very concerned. I spoke with my doctor about the issue and I was told, I would not have lived out the afternoon without the transfusions. My blood was traced and all had come from the New Jersey blood bank which was reassuring but I still had to have HIV testing done at 3, 6 and 9 months. That was nerve wracking to say the least and added to my mental state.
A few days after I came home, I got a package in the mail from the funeral home. It was the twins' ashes. I was alone and I just sat and held them bawling. Here I was holding my twins and instead of smelling the sweet baby mil smell, I smelled smoke. It was awful, we had no idea, that they would just UPS them to us and were totally unprepared!
Around this time, there was many changes going on in both ministries we were involved in. We were contacted and asked to move to New Jersey and help start a Teen Challenge with a minister friend that Jon had known for years. Jon had already been doing a weekly outreach in Newark so it seemed like it was a natural progression. I was incapable of making any decisions so I told Jon whatever he wanted to do...So we moved in February 1997 to NJ. Wow what a mistake!
The gift of discernment (or some may call the gift of suspicion) is something that I have very strongly. Jon and I have discussed it in depth and have come to the conclusion that some of it is God given and some is just plain "street smarts". Jon does not have it as strong as I do. He has a gift of mercy and compassion and no one ever has accused me of having that gift! That's why we work so good together now. Years ago we didn't work together very well (more on that later...)
At that point in our lives, the only thing getting me out of bed was Steve. He was the only happiness in my life. I was so emotionally fragile, I wasn't paying any attention to anything in life. Just kinda going with the flow...
So we got moved over and soon I realized something was not kosher! Although Jon had known this guy for years, we did not know he had had some issues and had been disciplined by our denomination. He had successfully completed what was asked of him and was restored back to ministry. Evidently he was still dealing with some stuff in his life. Needless to say, that man is out of the ministry today and unfortunately fell back into drugs and has lost his family. We just knew something was not right and we were not comfortable being involved. It was one of those situations where you might not have much proof but you know something is rotten in Denmark. So in July'97, I called my father in law one morning and told him I had to come home. I was hysterical on the phone and basically said I was coming home whether Jon did or not. I don't think I made a lots of sense that morning but he was on one of the next flights to NJ and helped us move home. I think he thought I was losing it which I was!
As you can see, my father in law has been with us an many major occasions of our lives. He has quite a few health problems right now and is in his 80's but I just have to say I could not have had a better father in law! He's been better to me than my own family ever was and I appreciate him.
Coming home was good in some ways. Jon got a position as a Chaplain for the Florida Dept of Corrections and I began working directly for the Florida Dept of Juvenile Justice as a probation officer. Steve got to be with his cousins and all of our friends' kids and he was happy as any 2 year old could be.
However a rift had begun between Jon and me. The roots of it started long before losing the twins but that loss took my away my foundation. It began growing larger and larger and it was only God's grace that saved me and our marriage. I'll share more in my next post.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Our first few years were good. Jon went back and finished SEC. I took a job as a juvenile probation officer with a contracted company, BAYS (Bay Area Youth Services). It was a great place to work right out of college. At that time, the director was a Christian and everyone in the office was SEC grads (except for an office worker who was a Jehovah Witness-that was an interesting combo!) We were all friends and had a good time working together. There wasn't alot of paperwork in those days. My starting salary was $14,700. I was so happy to be making the big bucks!
Just to let you know my crazy dog is still barking furiously at every car. We got up with her 3x last night but to no avail. Just when we'd get back to sleep, she'd start barking and running up and down the fence line at every vehicle that came by. By this morning she had almost lost her voice. But we were outside today working and she calmed down some and now she's having no problems with her bark! I'm calling a vet friend on Monday if she keeps this up to see if he'll put her on psychotropic meds!!
Friday, March 13, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
I made so many good friends at SEC that I remain friends with to this day. Some I may not see very often but when I do see them, it's like the years melt away. Although it is a bit disconcerting to run into someone and they are now middle aged! I'm on facebook and I have to admit there are times when I do a double take at some pictures. We're middle aged. It really hits when when we are on campus. Jon and I say how young the students look and they seem so much cooler than we were. Everyone walks around with their cell phones, Ipods, laptops..all we had were pay phones, stereos and what was a computer? Anyhow I love you Southeastern friends!
I grew up in a small town, Perry Florida. It's in the "Big Bend" area of North Florida. It was and still is quite isolated being 50 miles from Tallahassee and at least 25 miles from the nearest small town. I was actually born in Tallahassee almost on US 19 if the story is true. I was born into a very dysfunctional situation. My parents were in the process of separating/divorcing and I was the youngest of four "stair steps" My truck driving father also had several children from a previous marriage or relationship that lived in the "home" It was a very poor situation for a newborn to be in. My grandmother lived next door and she was probably a factor in the chaos that surrounded us. I was a sickly child which didn't help the situation much. At some point my mom began waitressing at the Walker Truck Stop where several of my female relatives worked. She let my great aunt Boots (that would be my grandmother's sister) start keeping me pretty much full time soon after I was born. Boot Mama (that is what I called her) was already 66 when she took me to raise. She was born in September of 1899.
I only have one memory of my father and it was when I was about 2 or so. My mother was living in a small trailer. I'm not sure if he was still living there or not. But she was sick and Boot Mama took her some food. He came into the trailer and had an argument with my mother. Looking back he was probably drunk. He pushed my sister Laura down and slammed out the door. Not a real Hallmark moment. When I was in college I had some weird thought to get in touch with him. He only lived in south Georgia. I actually sent him some pictures and a letter but never heard back from him. About 10 years ago I got a phone call from a lady who introduced herself as a younger half sister. She explained to me that "our father" had died from colon cancer and cirrus of the liver. She was contacting me to get me to sign over my right of any "inheritance". He had an old truck and a trailer. I told her she could definitely have my part! She then went on to tell me about him and the family in Georgia. Needless to say it was the typical poor rural Southerner lifestyle that can easily go on Jerry Springer. I have never heard from any of them again.
My mother soon left Perry herself taking with her my 2 brothers and 1 sister. She lived up and down the East coast, concentrating on cities where there were naval bases. I saw her about 4 times in my growing up years. Each time she was "married" to a different man. My poor siblings had a rough life. My mother is still alive and in poor health. Although she is only in her mid 60's she is on various meds and wheelchair bound. She lived a rough life and it shows. I have not seen her in about 20 years nor do I have the desire to do so. She wants to see my kids but I gave my oldest son the option and he did not want to meet her. She still lives in chaos and problems. When I do talk to her it's what I call a "Jerry Springer phone call". It is overwhelming to me.
My siblings have each had quite a bit of difficulty in their lives and I hold our parents responsible. I'm not going to share about them out of respect to what all they have gone through. I really don't have much of a relationship with them but do enjoy talking to them on the phone occasionally. One of my brothers hasn't been heard from in years by anyone and I just hope he is ok. Maybe life just got too much for him.
So I grew up with my great aunt and her husband who I called Poppie. Her sister Ruby also lived with us. We had an old wooden frame house on the poorer side of town. Although back then most of Perry was poor. My aunts took me every service to the Church of God right down the street from our house. Back then it was a large interesting congregation and very Pentecostal. I'll have to share some funny stories about it some time.
We had quite a bit of land which was farmed and had chickens, pigs, cats, doge, ducks, rabbits etc. When I was only 2 Poppie died and my Uncle Mack (my great aunts brother) moved in with us soon after. I always adored my Uncle Mack, he was a father figure to me. Until I was 12 I was pretty happy. There were the animals, the farm, the huge grapevine that my uncle put a swing under for me so I could play and read on it. School was ok, I was in gifted classes always and found school work easy. I did get picked on quite a bit especially the older I got, wearing coke bottled glasses didn't help. I didn't really miss having parents. I felt loved.
Then my uncle got lung cancer and died in the summer of 1976. It was traumatic for me. Soon after my Boot Mama began a decline in her health. She was diagnosed with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's when I was in Jr. High. She died when I was a senior in high school. During my teenage years, I was unhappy. It was a rough time to say the least. Probably the only thing that kept me out of major trouble was the Lord!! My aunt Ruby had no desire to be the primary caretaker of an Alzheimer's patient and a teenage girl at the same time. She was a difficult person, with some mental issues. There were people in my life that helped to guide me. My best friend's mom Mrs. Harris was a rock as well as some pastors and their families.
Well I was sure not planning to remain in Perry and really felt God calling me to Bible College. I found out about Southeasten through a pastor's wife and really felt God was leading me there. I actually have a frozen picture in my mind of going to the mail box and getting out Southeasten's catalogue and feeling God speak to my heart saying to go there. I didn't even know where Lakeland Florida was! My family was not at all thrilled with the idea and fought me all the way. SEC is an Assembly of God college and that was a big factor against it in their minds. I was determined and did everything to make it happen, including picking peaches in Madison Florida with migrant workers to raise the money. No one helped me with the expenses but it was a good character building time. I look back on that time with fondness At the time it was rough but it really did build in me a self reliance and a reliance on God.
So I came to good old Southeatern fall of 1984. I always say SEC was my salvation in many ways. In my next post I will share about my years at SEC. However the content might not be suitable for young readers...just kidding! It was a blast!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
As I told you, my husband pastors a rural church. We live next door to the church in a parsonage. It's convenient with the children, especially Sam who is quite sure the service is over after the music stops. Anyhow, a few Wednesday nights ago, I took him home early. I heard one of our dogs barking in the backyard and a whole lot of hissing and spitting going on. I though our younger dog was bothering one of many cats we feed, so I rushed out to protect it. The backdoor opens out and the dog had the "cat" pinned against the wall. I went out the backdoor and came face to face with a very mad hissing possum! I'm not sure who was more surprised. I began yelling and jumped back inside. (I was quite worried about what I yelled...not quite sure what I said but it wasn't "praise the Lord"!) Well the ruckus continued...This is not something I learned to deal with at Bible College. There is no class on how to maintain order between your dog and a possibly rabid possum during a church service!! I thought possums were supposed to play dead! I went and got a guy from our church that made the mistake that night of sitting on the back pew. He came out and was trying to help and suggested I get my gun and shot the thing. Well I was pretty sure that that might just disrupt the service just a little bit. We finally got the crazy thing to run off and the dog to quiet down. (don't worry the dog has had his rabies shots!)
Then a few nights ago, Steve our oldest, came running out of his room yelling that there was a porcupine outside his window. I've lived in Florida most of my life and am pretty sure that there are no porcupines here. So we all go running out to investigate and there was the crazy possum again, this time fluffed up like a cat. The dog was messing with it and it was spitting and hissing. We got the dog's attention for a minute and the possum ran off, so did the dog. In a minute, it came back with a very dead looking possum that she wanted to drop at my feet. Needless to say, I did not want the possum dropped at my feet! Don't worry as soon as we got the dog in the house, the possum came back to life and ran up a tree. See my life is never dull!!!!