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Friday, April 21, 2017

Waiting Uncertain

Back in February, I posted about feeling a "nudge" regarding some possible changes in our future.

We are still waiting to learn exactly what this all means.

Waiting is hard.  And yet I am determined to wait for "Isaac", rather than take an Ishmael.

Oh, I'm tempted to question all right.  I battle daily, still out of control.

The mental warfare is tough.  Because in the natural?  This is impossible. 

I have a few choices:

1:  Continue to wait patiently, no matter what our circumstances look like.  Wait for Isaac.

2:  Give up, thinking we've heard wrong and somehow missed God in all of this.  

3:  Help God out a little, try to make this thing happen in my own strength, and make a big, fat, hairy mess of it all.  Birth an Ishmael.

In the Bible, there's a lot of waiting going on.  There is due season and appointed time.  And we're told to be hopeful, courageous, strong, patient......   

All hard things, when you want (and need) something so much.

There's a big difference between a *want* and *need*.  

And this basic need?  Is a giant, scary mountain.

A long time ago, an older couple told us, "It is far better to be a little behind God, and have Him waiting on you to catch up, then to be way out ahead of Him, and hoping He will clean up the mess."

God help us to wait, patiently.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Somebody's Hero - Precious Memories 21

She's somebody's hero 
A hero to her daughter in her wedding dress 
She gave her wings to leave the nest 
It hurts to let her baby go down the aisle 
 She walks right by 
Looks back into her mother's eyes 
And that smile lets her know 
She's somebody's hero 
 Thirty years have flown right past 
Her daughters' starin' at all the photographs 
Of her mother, and she wishes she could be like that 
Oh, but she already is 
 She's somebody's hero 
A hero to her mother in a rockin' chair 
She runs a brush through her silver hair 
The envy of the nursing home 
She drops by every afternoon 
Feeds her mama with a spoon 
And that smile lets her know 
Her mother's smile lets her know 
She's somebody's hero 
 Somebody’s Hero – Jamie O’Neal 

My mother was what I consider a true hero, yet only a very few ever knew who she was.

She never marketed herself on social media. She never had a blog, vlog, or a YouTube channel. She didn’t seek out “likes” or the approval of others. She didn’t need a following to feel good about herself. She quietly ministered to her family at home, out of the public eye. No rewards or accolades. 

She never traveled the world, waving her “social justice” flag for all to see. She wasn’t the type to “humblebrag.” She didn’t talk about herself, under the guise of false modesty or humility. She was never interviewed by the media, nor invited to appear as a guest speaker anywhere. She just quietly lived, and served others. In a world where it seems like many are determined to outshine others, she simply glowed.

I never once heard my mom complain about what she didn’t have. She taught me that “the best things in life, aren’t the things.” She had her priorities straight and knew what was important. She knew what mattered. She didn’t keep up with the Joneses and always seemed content to me. She taught me to hold my head up high and be confident. Not proud or haughty, mind you, but not to feel ashamed of what I didn’t have. She was secure enough not to covet what her friends had. She also didn’t judge them for what they didn’t have. I look back and am so thankful for the fact that my mom was not materialistic.

Our home was a home, not a shrine. You could say she was a minimalist, I suppose. In high school I had a friend who loved coming to my house. At her house (which was actually a mansion) she couldn’t sit on the leather sofa or touch the pretty Fabrege' Eggs, locked in large, ornate glass cases. She couldn’t relax really, in a mansion that resembled a museum. Hired hands took care of the pool, the laundry, and the lawn.

My house? You could put your feet right up on the couch, stretch out, and get cozy. Just mind your manners and take off your shoes first. Feel free to grab a blanket if you’re chilly.

My mom was clean, but not a neat freak. She enjoyed her home, but didn’t worship it. We lived there, and by that I mean we shared our life there. We made memories there. She didn’t try to keep up with the latest trends, fads, or styles. She didn’t compete with other women or try to impress others. Don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t unkempt by any means.

She took care of herself but didn’t obsess over the latest who was wearing what. She was just herself. Instead of fancy expensive perfume she usually smelled like baby powder and Downy. A clean soft smell, that to me you could never bottle and put a price on.

What you saw was what you got, take it or leave it.   Most people who met her, chose to take it. 

She was funny, infectious and a bit mischevious at times. My mother was also fiercely loyal. She and her next door neighbor were the best of friends for over 30 something years. In all my years growing up, I never once heard my mother utter a negative comment about her friend. No backstabbing, no gossip. She demonstrated true friendship and loyalty, which is hard to come by these days. I try to be that kind of friend, based on her example. It’s one of the many things I loved about her.

She taught me that a quantity of friends doesn’t automatically equate to high quality friends. Growing up, I didn’t realize how little we had, because my mom never pointed it out or grumbled. I didn’t grow up feeling like I was poor or missing out. Our home was chock full of contentment. We had a roof over our head, enough food to feel satisfied, good books, and each other. I didn’t know to wish for more. I wasn’t aware that I was missing out on anything. I thought digging up potatoes fresh out of the garden, was fun! I loved walking up to our garden and pulling softball size tomatoes warmed by the sun for dinner. No fancy steakhouse for us. Fresh vegetable dinners were the highlight of my summers.

The best things she gave me, weren’t the “things” at all. It was more a sense of being thankful and having gratitude. Satisfied with the simple. Secure in who I was. She made our time count. She also taught me that money doesn’t buy class or contentment. 

My mother worked for several multi-millionaires and would often come home, shaking her head about how they complained, bickered, and argued over nothing. “Big homes and fancy cars don’t make for happy.” she’d tell me.

I grew up in a home that wasn’t fancy at all. It wasn’t the nicest or the newest on the street. We only had one car, while many families had two.

And yet I still never heard her complain. 

We didn’t take fancy vacations. I never saw Disney World until I was 21 and went with a friend. I didn’t think to pout or whine over what we didn’t have, because I honestly had a pretty satisfying childhood. We spent the summers with my grandma, miserably hot and sticky, deep in the heat of the south.

I relished those trips. As a result of this meager, simple upbringing, I am somewhat of a minimalist today. I don’t need the newest, latest, or most expensive. I’m content to shop at the thrift store, and the finest of yard sales. I don’t yearn for stuff, or follow the fads and trends.

Oh don’t get me wrong, even with that strong foundation, I still grumble and complain sometimes. I have my days. There are things about my current situation that would greatly improve with more money coming in.

But what my mother gave me in the way of life lessons, has more value to me than any bank account I could ever own.

  *The Precious Memories posts you read here, are dedicated to my mother who battled Alzheimer's. I share snippets of our story, and some things I learned along the way.  

You can start reading our story from the beginning here:
Precious Memories 1 

You can read my last Precious Memories post here:
Name Calling - Precious Memories 20

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Name Calling - Precious Memories 20

You can't lose me
Bet your life

I am here and I will always be
Just a wish away
Wherever you go
No matter how far
My love is where you are
You won't be lost if you believe
You can't lose me

Momma use to say "Girl it won't be long
'Til it's time to go out on your own
Chase your dreams find your place in life
I know you'll do just fine"
When that day finally came
There were things she needed to 
But could not say
So I whispered softly as I wiped
The tears from Momma's eyes      
You Can’t Lose Me – Faith Hill

*Real names have been changed

I was crushed when she didn’t remember me.

I was in denial for the longest time, thinking it wouldn’t happen to me. The staff had gently tried to prepare me, but I brushed it off, thinking our bond was too strong for that. Science after all has proven it.

Based on a study from The Journal of Neuroscience, the relationship between daughters and their mothers is more profound than any other. "This association was significantly greater than mother-son, father-daughter, and father-son associations," said the researchers, who performed MRI scans on members of 35 healthy families.

Scientists found that women share a structure of the brain that regulates emotions, meaning mothers and daughters are more likely to relate to and understand one another's feelings than anyone else's.

Mom and I?   We had that.

I know everyone doesn’t experience this, though I wish they could. It always broke my heart a little, when facility staff would stop me in the hall and say, “I wish my mom and I were close like you two.”

Though our hearts were knit together, Alzheimer’s snuck in and unraveled the connections in her mind.  The first day I walked in, and realized she had no idea who I was, it felt like a deep searing knife driven straight through my middle.

I just stopped in my tracks. 

How can you forget your babies?  It was something I could not process.

The first time it happened, I walked in and said, “Hi Mom!”   She turned around and yelled loudly at me, “I’m Mabel!”   

Taken aback, it was then I realized, I had offended her by saying “Mom”

In her mind, she wasn’t a mom.  

She was Mabel.      And I was a complete stranger.

I crouched down in front of her wheelchair and gently said, “Hi Mabel.  I’m Stacy.  Nice to meet you.”  

I stared deeply into her eyes, willing her to remember.  She looked at me as if she had never seen me, a little puzzled, a bit hesitant. Clearly offended that I would be so dense, to not know her name.  It took her a bit to warm up to me.

I was dying inside.

I could not believe it.  We were here.  

We were right here, though I had hoped and prayed this part wouldn’t happen.  So now I had to navigate interactions with someone who looked and sounded like my mom, but I couldn’t just walk up and hug her or touch her. 

I cannot put into words a pain so deep.  The cord was being severed between us.

I didn’t want to scare her, so I began introducing myself to her from this visit onward.   It was awful.  I cried all the way home, every single time. 

I was losing her little by little, though physically she was with me.  I had never felt so alone.  I missed my mom so very much.

Growing up, I knew I was in trouble when all three of my names were called out….  “Stacy Renee Burgess, get in here!”  

If all three names were called in succession, there was usually a good chance that I was about to get scolded. 

What I wouldn’t have given just then to be in trouble one more time, so I could hear her call out my name.

  *The Precious Memories posts you read here, are dedicated to my mother who battled Alzheimer's. I share snippets of our story, and some things I learned along the way.  

You can start reading our story from the beginning here:
Precious Memories 1 

You can read my last Precious Memories post here:
Remember - Precious Memories 19

Friday, March 17, 2017

A Path Of Peace

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

International Delight One Touch Latte Was NOT A Delight!

After finding this creamer at my local store, I was ready for a classy coffee experience.

Having left the big city behind a few years ago, life as a country girl has brought some changes. Mainly, not much in the way of  fancy-schmancy coffee houses.

I've been missing some froth in my life and was hoping to liven up my morning java.

I was anxious to try this and see if I would get the same frothy goodness as the video was showing.


This is nothing more than flavored whipped cream in a can, people.   And expensive too!

If you want whipped cream, just go buy some.  Save yourself the time and hassle.  This was a MESS.

I followed the instructions and it still did not come out at all like the video.   The can sputtered and spewed what looked like Silly String.

It was not fluffy, frothy or foamy.

It was not a delight.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Snow by Kathryn Hewitt

How do you know, at fifteen, what love and affection really mean?

Ruth learned all too soon that love is commitment, and affection has a price. But who will ultimately make the commitment, and who will pay the price?

 At fifteen, Ruth thought she had her life planned out. That is until she met Luke, a charming new cadet from the local military school. After entering into a seemingly harmless teenage romance, Luke's possessive attitude and subtle remarks begin to undermine Ruth's confidence, sending her into an emotional tailspin.

A beautiful young girl is suddenly lost in a grown-up world, trying desperately to hang on to a love she thought would last forever. Shattered dreams and hopeless tears become the bricks that build walls around Ruth; yet just below her broken heart, a beautiful vessel is being formed.

Join Ruth on her wedding day, five years later, as her childhood friend helps her journey back to face the demons of her past.

Cafe Lily's Review:

This has been on my  "to read" list for a long time.   While it is not the most well-written book I have ever read, it carries an important message.  Snow is based on a true story, and so that immediately captured my interest.  I did think that the parts where Ruth is going back and forth in her mind between past and present, became a bit excessive and distracting.

Having said that, I believe the message is far more important than the mechanics in this case, and for that reason I recommend this book.

Kathryn Hewitt said two things in an author interview, that readers should keep in mind when reading Snow.....

Why she felt inspired to write this book............
I became pregnant at fifteen. My mom was determined that I didn’t become a statistic, so I continued my education and went on to college while raising my son. At the time of my pregnancy and when he was an infant, it was extremely difficult and on more than one occasion I thought I couldn’t do it, but I did. I want other girls, who find themselves with unwanted or unplanned pregnancies, to know that they can do it, too.

The message she hopes to convey..............
God is listening. When people are in a crisis, they cry out to God, whether they are believers or not. I want every person who reads this book to know that God is there. He hears us and He does care. Sometimes our circumstances don’t turn out the way we want them to, but God sees the bigger picture and everything works out for the good of those who love Him. Miracles do happen when we pray. There is Hope in every situation.


Saturday, March 11, 2017

We're Out Of Control!

This morning, when I logged into Pinterest, one of my suggested pins was what you see above.

Yes, God.  I hear you, loud and clear.

Because right before that popped up I was playing the "How will we be able to ___________?" game.

You know, the one that starts right after God speaks to you and confirms that indeed, change is coming.  

It's time to be brave, step out, and flex that faith muscle.  

I'm not talking about confusing faith with foolishness, but a simple child-like trusting that what God has spoken, He is going to manifest.   

Because He is the only one who can.

In the natural?    I am Abraham.  

I have no idea specifically what we are doing here, just a general direction in which we need to start walking.

Being out of control, is very freeing.   I can't mess this up, because God's got it.