THE HOLIDAY SEASON

This holiday season was wonderful in so many ways.

I think part of its wonder was that I decided to do some things differently.

A short time ago, I broke of a relationship with a man whom I have dated on and off for ten years. I did it with a touch of sadness, not the rage I had experienced in former times of separation.

I knew it was the right thing to do, because the moment I did it, I felt as if I had been freed from a cage.

He wasn’t an evil person, in any way, but I just didn’t see that we could make it work. This time as I think about our relationship I thank God for the blessings that He bestowed upon me through this man. He has been such a blessing in so many ways but just not in all of the ways I need.

So being that I was not committed or married to a man I attended a single’s Christmas party. I didn’t leave early like I do at most parties. I stayed to the end. We played Cards against Humanity and it was a hoot.

I also attended my Bible Study Christmas dinner. It was such a wonderful gathering. I had not seen those folks for several months and it was a delight to see them and fellowship with them. We played a game after dinner called “what if”. It was the most hilarious game I have ever played and only took some scraps of paper and some pens or pencils to play.

The week before Christmas I caught the flu from a patient. That bug wiped me out. Then the day after I caught the flu I went in for surgery to get hardware removed from my collar-bone.

By the time Christmas Eve came around I didn’t know how I was going to pull off the dinner. I had invited a dear friend for dinner and my daughter and son were home. I didn’t go all out like I normally do. I instead searched the internet for a quick and easy desert that I could add to the menu. I found the most wonderful skillet apple pie recipe. It was easy and delish. Just what I needed to round out the meal.

My dear friend was such a delight to have over. He was full of compliments for my decor and my food. I was so glad he agreed to come over. It was such a pleasant experience for all of us.

Then yesterday my daughter took me to see the Magnolia Market in Waco. That was on my bucket list. I had to hold back the tears several times during the day because I was just overwhelmed with gratitude for the special day. The silos that Chip and Joanna have transformed are amazing.

I would suggest that anyone who goes to the Silos stop by and get a cupcake from the bakery. They are yummy! Such a special and wonderful place to visit.

I got some wonderful gifts also. The man who I broke up with before Christmas is still a generous friend and he made my Christmas special with some cashmere sweaters. Then my son went shopping for a purse and a new wallet for me and with the help of my daughter nailed a perfect purse and wallet.

I hope to cherish these memories of this holiday season. There were so many times I stopped to thank God. Yet I didn’t thank him as much for the presents as I did for the people who are in my life.

STEALING DURING CHRISTMAS

Last night I went to a Christmas Bunco party at the clubhouse in my neighborhood. This morning I had to go in for surgery and I had to be there at 5:30 am. When I was getting ready to leave I could not find my purse.

I remember having it in my car before the bunco party and it was too late to check for it when I got home. Yet, this morning there was no purse in my car. I am upset that someone took my purse. They didn’t used my credit cards so I think they may have been after my identity and some other items in my purse.

Thank God the hospital let me register for my surgery without proper ID or I would have not had my surgery done.

So being that I am a blogger I have decided to write the schmuck who stole my purse a letter about what Christmas is all about.

That Applebee’s card that you found in my purse. Well, that was for my Mother and Father. They are 87 and 90 years old. My mother has never liked to cook even though she is amazing when she cooks. She complains all of the time about how much pain she is in and how tired she is. I bought her that gift card so that she could go out to eat on me. Last time I had done that she said it was an extravagant gift. It was only 30$ but to her that is extravagant. I wonder what it will mean to you.

The Petsmart card that was in there for 25$… Well, that was for my son. He got a puppy this year. It was a rescue dog. I mean a REAL rescue dog. A friend of his found the puppy abandoned on the side of the road. I bought him that gift card to help him feed the dog. He is studying engineering at Louisiana Tech and lives on a very limited budget. I try to help him out wherever I can. I was hoping to help him feed his dog this Christmas. Don’t worry the dog still has a stocking with toys, just not the gift card for food.

My driver’s license will be replaced tomorrow. I will put an alert on it in case you are trying to steal my identity. I will also notify my bank regarding my mortgage, title and bank account. MY bankers love me so they will protect me.

Yet when I think about today. I remain grateful. The hospital knew me from before and did not need my identity information to perform the surgery. You may think that having surgery is something I could have done anytime. I want to let you know how wrong you are. I needed it done today because of the fact that I have already paid $6,000.00 out of pocket. Now the insurance company must cover the cost. I skim the top of the poverty line in my wages so that amount of money is a lot for me to pay out of my shallow pockets. You could have cost me thousands of dollars but due to God’s grace I was spared.

I am so thankful that Dr. Nathan Williams and Methodist Southlake hospital accepted me because they trusted me. The operation was to take hardware out of my right clavicle. I had been having pain in my right arm and shoulder. Although the surgery was done in the early morning it is 6 pm now and I don’t have a twinge of pain.

I thank God that I have no pain because the pain meds at the pharmacy are controlled meds and without a driver’s license I can not get them. So what you meant for harm God meant for good.

I have had members in my church praying for this surgery. They are awesome prayer warriors.

I got to spend some time today with a former boyfriend. He was kind enough to get up at 3:30 AM to drive from Dallas to my home and then he drove me through intense fog to the hospital. After I had registered we sat on the couch in the waiting area and regaled each other with stories that emitted laughter. I enjoyed our hospital “date” more than most dates I have had.

MY dear friend from church, Lori, drove me back home. It was so nice seeing her and her daughter, Abby. We caught up on our lives and I became aware that I needed to continue to pray for her brother-in-law, Mark. We talked about our church and how much we love Vibrant church. I told her how much I appreciated her. But I did more than that. I had made some broccoli cheddar soup and chicken veggie noodle soup and gave her some of that as a gift of gratitude. In addition, some candy bar fudge and rice krispie treats were packed in her gift bag.

I know you probably think you ruined my day. To be honest, bad things leave a trail. I will make sure your trail is followed and you are caught. I will file a police report, alert authorities and I will be protected by God.

Even though this day did not start out well. I have decided to end it with gratitude. For that is the Spirit of Christmas and you didn’t steal that from me.

Merry Christmas, schmuck, and I hope you have a New Year where you will learn that giving is much better than stealing. By the way, I would like my purse back.

CRAZY CAT LADY

I have a bit of a reputation as a crazy cat lady. I really don’t have many cats anymore but if you ask me,”Do I love cats?” I would tell you I am crazy about them. So I guess I am a crazy cat lady.

I love all animals though. Most dogs absolutely think I am the best, the minute they see me. Many of my patients in home health have dogs and the majority of them get so excited when they see me. I bring treats along for the dogs that reside with my patients. But some of them are actually more excited about me than the treats.

I have been bit a couple of times on the ankles by Chihuahua’s. I don’t know why that breed doesn’t like me but I think they can probably read my mind. I always think they look like overgrown rats. May be why they bite me.

Although I love dogs, I have only had two dogs in my life which were perfect. Cats, on the other hand, don’t know how to be anything but perfect. They don’t slobber all over when they eat, they cover their poop and they are amazing cuddle bunnies.

So today after I got home from work, I decided I wanted to relax with my cats and watch a movie. I checked Netflix and found a movie called “A Street Cat named Bob.” I turned it on thinking I would be mildly amused. Instead I was mesmerized by the acting, which was superb, and the story which was captivating.

My cats were hilarious. My oldest female had her eyes glued to the set watching the handsome orange alley cat on screen. The male cats snoozed through the whole movie.

I was so touched by the movie I shed tears at the end and that rarely happens. I would recommend watching the movie when you have a night with no distractions because it deserves that kind of attention.

Jason Bowen is the man whom the story is about. If you can’t watch the movie I would encourage you to buy his book by the same name.

It would make a wonderful Christmas gift for absolutely anyone!

PRAYER TEAM

I am on the prayer team at my church. I didn’t realize that I was supposed to be there last Sunday. I had a very busy weekend with events and parties to attend and I skipped church.

It wasn’t till sometime during the week that I noticed the email notification about the prayer team. I felt horrible.

But it was more than just missing an opportunity to serve. I missed going to church. It was like I had chosen to skip the most important and fun part of my week. Not good.

This weekend I was slotted to work on the coffee team. Lately I have had some pretty severe back pain and hip pain. I didn’t know how I was going to do it. There is quite a bit of lifting involved in serving on that team.

I prayed about it and went to church. I couldn’t believe it. The moment I needed help, God produced a 12 year-old girl, Abby, who pitched right in. She swooped right in and out like an angel and helped me with whatever I needed. I finally realized she was the daughter of my friend, Lori. She is just like her mother, always eager and willing to help.

While setting up I talked with a fellow congregation member, Mark. His wife, Paula, had told me about the pain he is experiencing. He had cancer and had to take so much chemotherapy that it basically fried his nerves. She said his arms and legs feel like they are going through a revolving door of fire.

He had had a neurotransmitter block on a trial basis which had resolved his pain but it was just a trial. They had to take it out and wait for insurance to approve a permanent placement. I have been praying for this to happen ever since I learned about this. Today I found out it happened! So excited for him! Praying that it resolves the pain in his legs and hoping that the same can cure his arm pain.

So today we discussed our pain and I mentioned to him that I was having surgery again on the 20th of December. I have some metal I want removed from my right collar bone. The metal is beginning to bother me a lot and I am having upper right sided pain quite frequently. The metal has been in my body since I fractured my collar bone several years ago.

When they asked for people to come up and request prayer it didn’t even occur to me to ask for prayer. I know that Mark’s surgery is far more concerning than mine. Yet both him and Paula came to me after the service and asked to pray for me regarding my surgery. I was so touched.

To have been regarded in this manner, when I had totally been derelict in my duties last Sunday, was so humbling.
To have a church like this which is so loving and forgiving is truly like being a part of the body of Christ. So thankful for them!

 

DRAINAGE AND COMMUNICATION

I needed someone to put a drainage system in my backyard. I got three bids and decided on one company. I told the guy how I wanted it done and he did something different than what I wanted.

I overlooked that because I thought if it still worked, it would be all good. He was a hard worker and seemed to know what he was doing.

After he was done in my backyard there was still a problem. I kept calling him and he came out once or twice and the last time he came out was close to Thanksgiving. He turned off the water to my irrigation at that time.

Alright, I may be a bit OCD about watering my lawn and my gardens but if you had soaked as much money into your yard as I have in mine I imagine you may be too.

The reason why he turned off the irrigation was because I had a leak in my back yard. It was a puddle every morning near my rock ledge and rock steps that bordered my flower garden.

In the mean time, every thing else in my back and front yard was going brown. He said this was good because it was going dormant at the right time and the energy was being diverted into the root ball. I hope he is right because every tree in my front yard looks dead as a nail and if he is not right I will be upset next spring.

So he said he would call me a week after turning off the water to check and see if there was still a leak. I waited for the call. It didn’t come. So I texted him a picture of the puddle and a nice text message.  He didn’t call. So I called him and left a message. He didn’t call. So I set an appointment with his online scheduling for last Tuesday morning and he didn’t show up or call.

I started reading the reviews on his company and his lack of communication was a strong thread throughout all of his reviews. I thought just a moment about how to handle this and realized that he may not be good at communication but I am above par in written communication. So I posted a review on as many sites as I could and it wasn’t a favorable review.

Guess what? He called! He left a message. He said he had been on vacation and was not returning calls during his week of vacation. I guess I was supposed to know this by osmosis because this was the first time I heard this excuse. For the record, the text message I sent was sent the week before his supposed “vacation.”

He said my review could hurt his business and it would be really hard for him to come out to my home after reading that review.

Okay, like by this time I am scratching my head in awe at the gall of this man. He wasn’t coming out to my house to begin with and my review was reflective of his poor customer service.

Then he texted me that customers were texting and calling him about my review. I told him that did not surprise me because I was a professional writer.

This was really beginning to piss me off. He doesn’t communicate. I call him on his poor customer service and he tries to make me feel guilty?

So, I pondered a moment. I don’t like hurting someone else’s chance to make a living and he was a hard worker. Plus a verse in Ephesians came to my mind about only using words that can build someone up. (Sometimes I think I know the Bible way too good. lol)

I came to a compromise. I said I would pull down the reviews and give him one week to resolve the matter. If it was not resolved I would repost the reviews.

I have already called another company and have them on standby if this guy doesn’t respond. His lack of professionalism is not my problem but having a job done incorrectly at this time is my problem.

I have learned something from this upsetting experience.

Posting well written reviews is an effective way to get people to respond and also to warn others about incompetent professionals.

PRIDE AND THANKFULNESS

Recently my brother went through a very difficult day. This was the day his wife was scheduled to move out some items from his house because she has decided to end the marriage. I was really worried about this and he was too.

I never thought the two emotions I would experience at the end of this day was pride and thankfulness. Yet, because of God, that was the reality of this day.

My brother’s wife had contacted him earlier and given him a two page long list of things which she wanted. She was considerate enough to give it to him in advance so that he could look it over.

Then she told him that there would be ten people who would come to help her move. All of the people were from the church where my brother attends. That was difficult to digest. The preacher was also coming. In addition to this she said the sheriff was going to be there also.

I don’t know what it is about my small home town but when there is drama it is a big drama and this was setting up to be a dramatic scene.

My brother asked that the amount of people who came be limited to six people. He didn’t want anything stolen. She agreed to this.

My mother looked over the list of things that she wanted and there was a verbal exchange between her and my sister-in-law over two items. These were items which were heirlooms and in this instance I think my mother had the right to demand that those items stay within the family.

So the day of the event happened and I kept my brother in my prayers.

That evening I called him while out on a walk, expecting the worst.

I asked him how it went. He said, “It went surprisingly good.”

He said that the only anger was between my mother and his wife over those two items.

He went on to say the hardest thing was that he still had feelings for his wife and still found her very attractive. She is the only woman he has ever loved so this is heart breaking for him.

During the time of moving her things out my sister-in-law did not cross the line into deceit. There were some things that he thought she would take but she had remembered that those were purchased before the marriage. She was honest in that regard and I am so proud of her for that. My brother had not remembered so she could have took advantage of him but she chose not to.

Where I am thankful that she was honest, I was so proud of how my brother reacted I could have busted open with pride. My brother chose to act with compassion, (So Christ like). He helped carry things out and tried to be as non-confrontational as possible. He offered to trade with her over some things in the future if she needed some items that she had not taken.

I was so happy to hear that it had went well. I told him I had been praying for him. He said “A lot of people had been praying for him and he thought that was the reason it went so well.”

To see the Holy Spirit work within a situation which could have turned so ugly work out for the good of everyone involved just filled me with pride and thankfulness. I believe because of the prayers of so many people God took this day from the devil and claimed it for himself. It is ironic that this event happened on the Sabbath.

The funny thing is the sheriff never showed up. You don’t really need law enforcement when God is present.

Praise God!

BURDEN BOUNDARIES

Those of you who follow this blog know that my brother’s wife left him several months ago. This was after thirty five years of marriage.

I loved her like a sister so this was a big blow to me. She was one of my closest friends. I still love her and I know my brother still loves her also.

Even though I love her, I love my brother so much more and to see him go through this heartbreak is very unsettling.

In the Bible it says that we should carry each other’s burden. Well that is all fine and good but I live in Texas and my brother lives in Nebraska. My arms are long but not that long!

I moped around my house for the first few weeks after she left, getting very little sleep. I still worked and kept up other obligations but this really was a hard thing to swallow.

My daughter and I had several conversations about this break up. She said that I shouldn’t let his impending divorce affect me so much.

Yet the Bible says I should carry his burden.

So how do I carry his burden?

Number one-I pray for him. When I know he is facing a hard day, I pray extra.

Number two-I call him and encourage him as much as I can.

Number three-I cook and bake yummy items and send them to him. He has gotten soup, cookies and other items from my kitchen. He is so thankful for them. My mother has him over for one meal a day too. He needs some fattening up so I am all about sending him food.

Number four- I give thanks to God for my brother and for seeing me through my divorce and other events which have been heartbreaking for me.

I think the most important thing I have learned is to step away when I need to, in order to preserve my own happiness.

I have recently ended a long term relationship with a man because he kept stealing my happiness and I am not about to let any other person steal that again.