Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Prayers for my brother, again, please

Tomorrow my brother is undergoing the 4th major surgery on his hip since last May.  He had a hip replacement done in May, by June he realized something wasn't right.  He had a major staph infection.  They opened him up, drained more infectious gunk than you would believe from the hip area (4 liters!), took out part of the prostheses, cleaned the area, put the prostheses back in, and sent him home with antibiotics by iv for 6 weeks.  He was off the antibiotics (off and on) till January.  The infection would not go away.  So, they opened him back up, took out the entire prostheses, and put an antibiotic filled "dummy" hip spacer in its place.  He went home with another 6 weeks of antibiotic by iv.  The past couple of weeks he's been off the antibiotics to see what would happen.  The blood work doesn't look good, but the fluid they drained from his hip last week did look ok.  So, tomorrow, they are going back in.  They will take tissue samples and run tests on them while he is in the operating room.  If they look good, he will wake up with a new hip prostheses.  If it doesn't look good, he will wake up with another "dummy" hip spacer and will go home to another 6 weeks of antibiotic by iv and facing yet another surgery.  He does not think the infection is gone because his hip is hurting again like it did when all this started.  So, please pray that the tissue samples are clear of infection and that this is the last surgery he will have to have.  Thanks

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It's going to be a sad day

My father-in-law's dog, Honey, a beautiful boxer, is so very sick and old.  My father-in-law loves this dog so much.  Since my mother-in-law died, Honey has been his 24/7 companion, well, actually she was his and her companion for so many years.  She was the delight of my mother-in-law's last few years!!!!!  She used to slip her bites of food, let her do anything she wanted, etc.....then she'd say, "She's only a dog once."
Honey has been really slipping for the past few months.  We have noticed a considerable difference in her every day.  Last night, we went over to watch the Lady Vols lose to Notre Dame ( BoooooHoooooo).  Honey was just laying there, breathing with that short, little, fast breath that is the indicator, I've learned, that a person's (or dog's) life is coming to an end.  She had that glazed look in her eyes, too.  The saddest thing was to see her try to stand up and not be able to raise her hips off the floor.  She hasn't eaten for a few days.  My father-in-law got her up and took her outside, but it took him and my husband both to get her back inside.  He took her out this morning and she couldn't stand up long enough to pee.  I think he has come to the conclusion that her time has come.  He's going to call the vet this morning to make an appointment to have her put down.  He always said he wouldn't do this, but watching her suffer is more than he can stand to see.
He is going to bury her in her dog lot, next to the rose bush that someone sent when my mother-in-law died exactly 11 months ago, today.  Marie will be so happy to see her Honey again!
So, please be thinking about and praying for my father-in-law today.  It's going to be a hard one.
This has been a rough year for our families, with my mother-in-law and my mother both dying, and our 19 1/2 year old cat, Vanilla,  and now, Honey.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Still Off Track, Or Maybe, Just Going A Different Direction

For right now, I don't "feel like" getting inside my mother's head.  I can't do it anyway, so for now, I'm going to go a different direction.  It's not like I haven't been off the track anyway.  So, today I want to share a prayer that I found in one of my grandmother's journals.  It was written by my Aunt Cissy.  She was in several clubs, etc..., and I have a feeling she wrote this to be prayed at the beginning or end of a meeting.  It is titled:

A Prayer For the Middle-Aged

Lord, thou knowest better than I would know myself that I am growing older and that some day I shall be old.  Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.  Release me from craving to straighten out everybody's affairs.  Make me thoughtful but not moody, helpful but not bossy.  With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but thou knowest, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end.

Keep my mind free from recital of endless details, give me wings to get at the point. Seal my lips on my aches and pains.  They are increasing, and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by.  I dare not ask for grace to enjoy the tales of others' pains, but help me to endure with patience.

I dare not ask for improved memory, but for growing humility, and a lessening of cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memory of others.  Teach me the glorious lesson that, occasionally, I may be mistaken.  Keep me reasonably sweet - - I do not want to be a saint - - some of them are so hard to live with, but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil.

Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people.  And give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

I have read about Pay it Forward a couple of times and liked the idea. When I read Sherry's post at Blessings From Our Nest I decided I would sign up and give it a try. 
This is how it works. 
 The first five people who leave a comment on this post will receive a gift  handmade by me for you. 
There is an important catch, First you must create a post explaining Pay it Forward 2011.
Then for the best part, make and send a gift to the first five visitors who comment on your post and who agree to do the same. 
Don't worry you don't have to send these gifts out tomorrow, your gifts from the heart will take a little time. Also, your gift doesn't have to be elaborate or difficult to make.  It could be as simple as a bookmark or whatever you feel like and have time to make.
 This should be a fun way to make new friends and share your creativity. 
Pay it Forward is about friendship and sharing.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sadness Is A State of Mind

Sadness Is A State of Mind

Sadness is a state of mind
And of body and soul, I find.

If all I see is darkness and gloom
and sadness in my life, it will consume.

So, when things just aren't right
I must look around and seek the light.

It is all around me every day,
Even in just a smile that comes my way.

I need to let the warmth of love come in
And fill my heart to let happiness win.

Without happiness there cannot be success.
I sometimes forget this, I must confess.

I will try harder to remember this
When things don't go as I wish.

JR  March 2011

After finishing my grandmother's journals, I felt very sad.  I'm glad I've had the opportunity to read them, but it saddened me to realize how lonesome she was the last couple of years of her life.  We were all too busy to see it.  I could have spent more time with her.  I'm not going to beat myself up over it, because I didn't know.  I hope this will help me to see that sadness in other people's eyes, and perhaps I can bring a little joy to them with a smile, an extra "hello", a note, a card, a phone call, or a visit.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I Have Strayed

I haven't kept this blog on the right vein, or at least not on the vein I intended when I started it.  Of course, things changed drastically when Mother died.  BUT, I have been reading my grandmother's journals and it has taken me way back to when Mother was a young mother and wife.  I think I will try to get in her head, just a little bit, from way back then.
A little background info:
My mother had a college degree in Zoology from the University of Tennessee.  She went to Atlanta  for training at Grady Hospital in lab technology.  That is where she met my dad.  He had been off to "war".  Actually, he quit high school to join the Merchant Marine's.  He wasn't able to get into one of the three big branches of the military due to a heart condition he had since birth.  His big brothers had joined up though, and I guess he thought he should, too.  It's hard for me to imagine that my grandparents let him quit high school to join the war effort, but that was a different time.  He never did finish high school.

Mother and Daddy met on a blind date.  I don't know a lot of details, but I did find a letter that Mother's best friend from home wrote to her.  Mother had saved a whole box of these letters, but when I found them they were very mildewed.  I only read one, and then decided that what they wrote to each other wasn't my business, so since they were in such bad shape anyway, I threw them away.  Sometimes I wish I had read the rest, but..........  Anyway, in that letter, Mother's friend said something like, "If you don't tell me more about this tall, dark, and handsome man you met, I'm going to go crazy."  Daddy really was a tall, dark, and handsome man!  He and his brothers all were.  His mom had some Cherokee Indian in her ancestry.  You could see that gorgeousness in him.  In this letter, Mother's friend also makes mention of Mother going to meet his parents.

Like I said, I know little about this period.  Mother didn't talk about it much.
They married in 1946 in an afternoon service at the church where I am a member now.  This is the church where my great grandparents went.  Anyway, the friend, who wrote the letters, and her husband (one of Mother's lifelong friends, too) hosted a reception for them at their tiny little house!
My grandmother made Mother's dress.  I still have it.  It is short and has a detachable peplum.  The fabric is yellowed now, so I really don't know if it was white or off white.  My grandmother also made, by hand, not machine, a beautiful gown and robe for Mother.  My parents went on a honeymoon in the Cherokee National Forest.  They stayed in a friend's cabin.
My dad worked for my grandfather, who owned a hardware/farmer's supply store in town.  He must have had "issues" with my grandfather.  He worked at various other jobs when we were little.  I don't know all those details, either.  My grandmother mentions that,  "R___ worked his last last day at the store today.  O____was sick in body and mind over it."  So, like I said, I don't know what happened.  I do know that my grandfather was a demanding person and perhaps he didn't like "something" about my dad's work habits.  I don't know, this is speculation.
My sister was born within the first year of their marriage.  Mother almost died from toxemia.  She was rushed to a hospital about 60 miles away.  She had convulsions, etc....  My sister was born 2 months early by C-Section.  She was tiny.  However, she was able to leave the hospital before my mother was.  Mother was told that she shouldn't have any more children.  I don't know if birth control methods were just about non-existent was the reason that she had my brother three years later or not.  He was also born by C-Section at the same hospital where my sister was born.  Mother was in better health when he was born, however, and she actually recovered more quickly than she did with my sister.  The doctors tied Mother's tubes when he was born.
SOoooooooooooooooo, 18 months later when Mother fainted in a department store,  she was taken to the same hospital where my sister and brother were born.  It was then that she learned she was 5 months pregnant with ME!  Uh....... back then, they only tied the tubes.  They didn't cut, tie, and cauterize them as they do now.  But, Mother always said I was her BONUS BABY.  She had the least trouble with my birth of either of the others, even though she did have another C-Section.
I always thought that I was the cause of the stress, etc.... that caused my parents break-up.  Of course, I know that wasn't the case, but really, it made sense to me when I was a kid.  I was the third, and unexpected child, born when Daddy was not settled in a job.  So, doesn't it make sense that my birth is what shook up their marriage.  Our house wasn't really big enough for 3 kids, only 2.  No one ever said anything to me to make me feel this way, but until I was an adult, I thought that I was the cause of their problems.  I still have to stop and tell myself that this wasn't true.  First of all, I had nothing to do with the fact that I was born.  I think, they were having issues long before I came along, etc.........  All of the sensible explanations in the world didn't make me feel any better, though.  I never verbalized how I thought to Mother.  I just felt guilty.

I will stop here for today..........  I'll try to get into Mother's head during this period of her life in my next post.  I am not going to go back to reread this and make grammatical or typographical corrections, so please just overlook any you see.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Wonderful Day With Old Friends

Yesterday, I went with one of my junior high/high school/life long friends to visit another of our j.h./h.s./l.l. friends.  We visited, went to lunch, and shopped in some great shops.  I should have taken  my camera, but I didn't.  These are two friends who knew my mother, as I knew theirs.  We have many, many memories that we talked and talked and talked about.  What fun we had reminiscing. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Really Listen was the theme of our sermon at church today.  I am so guilty of not stopping to notice what's going on around me and in the lives of others.  I am also guilty of not seeing (looking) at the body language of those I love to see how they are really feeling, rather than just going with what they tell me.  Most of all, I am guilty of not REALLY listening to others.  One ear is always hearing something else, somewhere else.  I intend to do better!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

First, Fifth, Forever
Last month, I linked up to Coloradolady's Letter Writing Challenge.  As I love to get and send mail, this really isn't a challenge for me.  Please visit her site and watch the joy on the face of this man as he opens his birthday cards!
This month, I sent:
1. A note to my friend who has just recently found out she's going to be a grandmom soon.  I taught school with this lady for YEARS!  I taught her daughter who is giving her this grandchild. 
2.  A 100th Birthday card to Miss Lena, with whom I worked in a fabric store when I was a teenager.  She was such a great mentor to me.  I loved working with her.
3.  A note to my sweet, dear friend, who was also my mother's, aunts', grandmother's dear, sweet friend.  She sits right behind my husband at church where she always sat with her husband and beautiful little girls when we were growing up.  I'm reading my grandmother's journals from when I was a child.  This dear lady is on every other page.  She was always bringing a cake, or hosting the Women's Club, or the Circle Meeting, etc.....  She lives alone now, and has recently celebrated her 90th birthday, even though you wouldn't believe me if you could see her.  She is beautiful and doesn't look like she's out of her 60s!
4.  A note to another sweet lady from our church who is now in an assisted living facility.  She came to church with her son recently and told me how much she enjoyed my note from last month.  Seeing that smile on her face has encouraged me to send her cards and notes more often.  I used to go visit her mother when I was a teenager.  I baked Snickerdoodles to take to her.  Her daughter sings in the choir with me at church now.
5.  A note to my dear cousin, Malinda.  She is always doing the most thoughtful things for everyone!
6.  A Sympathy Card to my friend whose mother recently passed away.  Her mother and mine were roommates for a while at the nursing home.  Her mother taught school at the elementary school when I was a kid.  She was either 94 or 95  when she died.
7.  A Get Well greeting to my friend, who is also the church secretary.  She had shoulder surgery recently.  
8.  A Get Well greeting to yet another dear lady who goes to our church.  In reading my grandmother's journals I am learning about just how much these families are tied to mine from many decades ago.  This lady grew up down the street from where I grew up (and where my mom grew up).  She lives just a bit beyond there now.  She was in my mother-in-law's high school class.   She's not felt well for a couple of months now.  She's had a BAD COLD type illness and just can't seem to get over it. 
9.  A package to our oldest granddaughter who broke her thumb last week.  I sent her the popcorn sweater that I knitted for her.  I was going to wait until I finished her sister's sweater, but decided that she needed a pick-me-up now.  Her sister will understand.  I included a note.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Here is an inspiring poem that my grandmother, Honey, wrote.  Her real name was Beulah, but we called her Honey.  The oldest of the cousins thought that was her name because that's what our granddaddy called her.

When there's no breeze, row.
Bend to your oars and go.
Look up, not down
With never a frown
For the man with a smile
Wins the race worthwhile.
So, row, man, row.

I just heard a few minutes ago, that the lady who lived across the hall from my mom at the nursing home, died this morning.  Her daughter and I became very close while visiting our moms.  She had had a stroke and couldn't really move her body much, and could only speak very quietly.  But, she was so very sweet. Her children were very devoted to her.  The daughter I became close to was there every day.