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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Cost Of Memories

Well Kenny and I sat for a few moments and gathered our thoughts and put together somewhat of an outline so we can get back on track with the story and began working backward, or none of this will make any sense. As I looked through those pictures and all those memories, memories I had blocked, because, like I had spoken in an earlier post, I think our body goes into a protective mode that only allows us to receive what we can handle at that the moment without your mind going so far you don't return. I think that can be true of bad  memories, but also of good ones as well. I think you can grieve the good times, the good things you have lost, and you really must guard yourself from living in a time warp, in a sense a mindset where you never really move on, but you NEVER want to forget those memories. They make up where you came from and who you are today. They also  make up who your children are, these trials don't define who we are, memories do, time spent together, the boys stepping up and protecting me because Kenny wasn't here, us pulling together and ripping up carpet, painting and making an unlivable house a home, Emma buying groceries and paying the kids fees at school, those are the things that define us, that define our family, the  things I don't ever want to forget. As America faces financial crisis and more and more families are  faced with the same issues we have just been through I hope I can be of some encouragement. That it is not easy, there are no easy answers, and  there are many nights of anger, I have to be honest and admit it and so will you, but if you put your energies and your "WHY IN THE HECK DIDN'T THIS THING PASS ME OVER!!!!", into an unfamiliar and rock hard kinda attitude, the kind that looks at the world through the eyes of a nine year old, eyes which don't see money, and $140.00 Nikes, and $800.00 game systems, nearly as clearly as they see Mom and Dad sitting and wathching them, hearing them laugh, smiling at their aweful knock-knock jokes, then you will find Hope. It is such an odd thing, the children never speak harshly, or bitter, when they speak of Tallahassee, or Kenny or our old business, or our old life and what they have lost. I guess it is we adults who could take some lessons from the kids. They just make fun, THEY JUST MAKE FUN where ever they are! Reminds me of a story when the boys were about maybe 6 and 3, I had layed down for a moment and they had emptied an entire case of Desanti bottled water down the hall and were butt naked running and sliding down our tongue-n-groove 1x6 wood floor hallway. The odd thing about memories is they seldom are seen looking back as they were as they happened. Kenny and I often talk about how the most cherished memories we have are the ones, which at the time they happened, were the most terrible and gut-wrenching. Memories of loss, yes they can be painful, but they bring much joy and pleasure after they are seasoned with a little time. We are "doers" in our age, it is what we have been born for, what we have been, rigoressly, trained for, however, could it be, that we have missed the "being" part of ourselves?  What if the most valued and sacred time we spent was every evening at the dinner table, or on the old backyard cushion just watching the lives of our children unfold, or helping an old man who is weak and poor and disoriented enjoy a dollar McDouble, while he hears the laughter of our little ones sitting about us.  We do not make our children the center of our world, first there is God, the best we know how, then there is Kenny and me, and, then, it is the children, but what they are, who they are, what they become, is not decided by their collection of things, but by their collection of "memories".  They will say,  "Mom tell the story of me and Wyatt sliding in the water."  They are either far wiser than we, or far simpler, yet, whatever it is, we need to learn from them!  With that said, there are some memories, that, I will assure you, there are no positive attachments, or lessons, I feel I can take from, maybe someday I will see them!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Protected My Heart While Overlooking Emmas

I am looking at a 20 X 40 black and white photo of Isabella curled up on her tummy black hair against a white slip covered sofa that just arrived from Shabby Chic 1 month earlier. I mention the sofa because I had hoped there would be no more lil ones! And it was washable! At least that is how I convinced Kenny into ordering it. Really, he couldn't have care less, he leaves that stuff up to me, smart man!! If you look closely you will she has two black eyes, it was not an easy delivery. What utter shock I was in when Dr John Ness told me I was pregnant with her. I had hoped for our 18th wedding anniversary a vintage Jeep, maybe a 79 Bronco (got it 7 years later under a bit different conditions!). but a baby!! Come on Kenny Dyer, what a dirty trick! It seemed we conceived her on our 18th wedding anniversary weekend. I called him because I am in tears and shock and he meets me for lunch. But, also, in the back of my mind, I knew the church we pastored would find the idea of us having another child almost repulsive or lack of good taste or poor judgement. I had been asked at least a dozen times, joking of course, when Kenny was going to "visit" the doctor?  Wyatt was  6, Coleman was 3. So we decide to hide it. So outwardly not spoken but on some unconscious level. Why? I do not know.  We didn't rely on the church for our livelihood or our necessities, and our bills didn't go to the secretary to get taken care of, our business covered our expenses , even our medical insurances we paid. They didn't treat us to dinners or send us on vacations, and we were just expected to never speak of any of it. We gave back more than we received, and the church was in very good financial standing with a good sum of money in the bank.  Why the embarrassment or shame, I don't know!  Our business would pay for this baby not them. I don't think it was a matter of finances, I think it was a matter of inconveniences. I think it was a matter of the "things", the carpet, the chairs, the tables, whatever, it might have been, their nice neat routine was of more value than, or so I felt, this baby I was carrying.  Emma kept Wyatt and Cole in the back room, so that they would not break or disturb anything or anyone, almost as if they did not exist. As soon as a service ended I would gather them, buckle them in, Kenny would visit, we would sit and wait.  We had many families come through, and many families leave, they would be frank with me and say they just did not feel like there kids were welcome. It was a stifled and stiff environment. There was no room or lead way for a child to be a child. With that said, I will say there was a wonderful woman my children fondly referred to as lil Pam. She had a heart after Gods when it comes to children, unfortunately she, at that time, was coming through a very difficult time in her life, a very, very awful divorce.  So my kids lost her. Also, a song leader named Pam who my children adored, she honored there B'days and Christmas and they loved her, including Emma. It pains me also because, at a very crucial time in Emma's life she was overlooked. It was an attitude, I think, that did the most damage to her spirit. Children are very intuitive, they read people very well, and they know when they are  wanted and when they are not. Kenny and I made it a policy to never speak ill, in front of the children, when it came to church business, because that is not the kind mental seed we want them to place in their minds when it comes to the greatest institution on earth, flawed as it may be.  She was a child and to breed bitterness in her would be a horrible character flaw on our part. But there was no need anyway, she knew. She has often spoke of writing a memoir of her perspective of what it is like to be a pastor's child, but in her case not the star child. If you are not church ed, most PK, that is a church term we use for preacher's kid,  are treated like royalty, honored on B-Day, paid special attention too, just treated like they are of importance not like an "alien" as Emma puts it. As we have faced these trials, Emma broke down, and it is very difficult for her to cry because she is very strong willed and determined child. I have seen her have teeth pulled, minor surgery, sprain a finger with no anesthetic and just suck it up. She is just a very proud, self determined "I will  make my own way" person. So as she sobbed, she said, "Mom you always told me unless I had a bended knee to God my life would never work out." She said, "That "place" she wouldn't even say the name,  for 7yrs, they treated Dad like crap, the best man I have ever known they treated me like I didn't exist, the boys like they were demons, other babies could have juice boxes, but not Bella, they threw a temper-tantrum when you had spent 4 days remodeling the office on your own time.  Dad has lost his business..................where has being on your knees got you? Where has being on his knees gotten him? At least if I am standing I can take the punch. I see so many of poor and shameless character, half the man as Dad, prosper, why mom tell me, why?" OK, now I am crying, even now again 3 yrs later, these pains still hurt. As I saw her broken and wounded, I didn't know what to say. I did not know she had felt the way she felt. I was blindsided. Once again, how had I missed it. I had guarded  my own heart from bitterness and had failed at protecting the one I would have laid my life down for. She was just a child and as I sat week by week, being fed the word of God and Him protecting me from becoming bitter,  she sat back in that nursery texting and talking to her friends, feeling more connected to them and more isolated from the church. Something about being in the presence of God, if you truly seek Him, your heart becomes soft and your strong will becomes weak, these issues at the church became small to me, but they were building in Emma.   Which brings me to another regret I have. We went to our board and wanted to bus the 2 young people we did have to a larger young group across town and out of pride our board said no, and I agreed, a decision, to this day, I regret. I should have stood up for Emma. She was my first responsibility NOT that board even if I had to drive her myself. She needed some positive influence in her life to help her with issues Kenny and were not able to connect with her on. She needed her peers, but in a positive light, a group of kids that would have helped her deal with adolescence in positive and constructive ways. I had 3 little ones and you just get overwhelmed. She had no affirmation when she was at church and certainly she got no positive influence at school. So I stand there looking at her like I am completely naked and stripped of everything and should take the blame for where she has been and what she has experienced.The healing would take on many forms of  attitudes, many relationships and many nights of tears and a long time to began to heal in both of us. I think God was teaching me that my allegiance was to Him not a institution or a group of people, I heard it said , There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America. And that is how I feel about the church. It is the life line to the world, but it is not perfect. I would not want to attach myself to anything else, or teach my children any other way. It is the hope for their lives. It is the hope for our life, even now with all the loss and all the pain, He is our hope. How God chooses to show himself to Emma will be in His time and His way. And Emma will determine when  God does present Himself to her whether she will accept His invition or not. I pray and stand on the promise that I have instill in her that she will  accept  the healing and freedom that comes along with knowing Him, but I cant make that decision for her.  I know it is a very unique dynamic seeing the people you love hurt, seeing your Dad, your Mom, but we have to come to better places in our  own lives as we bcomes adults or we allow bitterness to overcome our  life or we are  no better than the ones we despise.We were not perfect parents,  Emma was not a  perfect child, but we are a family, and  I love the motto.......we begin and we end with family........

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Let The Bitterness Begin And Hopefully Let It Go

Wyatt had been telling me for several weeks his knee had been hurting, and I had just brushed it off as being either growing pains or maybe something he had done at PE. Well, this particular day he came home and he was limping and it was hurting pretty bad.. Well panic didn't began to build it went straight to full blown anxiety. I had started these horrible bouts of anxiety the night I was awoken to find out Emma was arrested, (I will continue the rest of her story very soon). My intention is to spend tomorrow, making an outline so I can stay on track so all this makes coherent sense. So Emma's conclusion is coming, I promise!! But one thing, if any, I am good at is, I can be cool and collected under pressure. Not so good now, it seems, after going through these stressers. Somehow I think, like I said in an earier post, it has chemically altered my system., but until then, I still had a handle on things. I had worked around my Moms, sunned in the yard, and prepared a beautiful dinner, greeted the kids when they departed the bus.  After we cleaned up from dinner and did homework and I was sitting on the back porch looking out at the creek and the majestic mountains.  It was one of those very low moments in my life, and to add pain to injury Kenny would also wound me even more, out of his own fears and anxieties. As I sat weeping what the kids didn't know was I had called every Doctor in the book to try and get Wyatt and appointment and without insurance, and at that time we did not have the children on Medcaid, no one would see him without payment up front, and I knew there would be x-rays also. I felt so completely hopeless. Wyatt came and sat with me and I wiped my tears and looked away and started making small talk and he said, "Mom I had the coach look at my knee he is kinda like a Doctor, cus I know we don't have the money to go see a Doctor." I said , "Wyatt when did you do that?" He said, "A couple weeks ago." I know I have used this phrase now several times, but I just don't have a better one, I died a thousand deaths at that moment. He had been hurting for ALMOST a month. When he pulled his pants up it was  black & blue and swollen. I could not speak, if I could have mi micked a 2 year old child and crawled down to the floor and pulled my knees to my chest, hid my face, and bawled I would have done it. If  Kenny had been near I would have crawled in his arm and let the emotion drain until I could feel no more. I could not bear the pain in my heart, it was like bricks on my chest, it was like immense failure, it was like sadness, it was horrible desperation, I do not know how my physical body and the balance of how everything works could not get out of kilter after such high levels of emotions and anxiety. I know it was not life or death but it was an accumulation of the past year and half of my children needing the basics and me not being able to give it to them. As I wrapped his knee, assuring him we would see a doctor tomorrow I thought to myself God just let this evening end so I can call Kenny and in our private moments on the phone we can console each other. As Isabella drifted off to sleep I called Kenny and told him the story and said what are we going to do? Well lets just say, he died a thousand deaths as well, 500 miles away, but did so in the recesses of his heart.  He struck out at me and it crushed me. He said, "Angie" in a very firm not very sympathetic voice, "What do you want me to do?" Really, just masking his own breakdown, that was just on the verge of erupting. But I couldn't read that through the phone. All I could hear was an attack and no support. Did  he say, "WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO?" Well, I will tell you one thing you can do, Kenny you can get your stuff ( not the word I used in my mind)together and get me my life back. Don't put me in these situations. Don't make me drive my Mother's car at 43 yrs of age. Don't make me face Wyatt hiding an injury because he knows we don't have the money.Why am I facing all this alone. All the ugly starting coming out. All the mud slinging.Why am I going to have to face the doctor with no insurance and money? What are "YOU" suppose to do about it? Are you kidding me? Little did I know that was a dark and desperate night for Kenny he had struck out in deep deep anguish and hurt before thinking and these things, these types of emotions are so much harder for men. Because they are our protectors, they are our buffers, and he was not here to take the brunt force of what I was facing. We were not coming together as a couple in a physical way, either, which can bring you to higher places without even speaking. The moments when you are weak and  you need the other one, it is these moments you connect on a level that words are just  not adequate enough. We had even lost that. God I have been stripped of everything. In Tallahassee lay a man feeling the same exact way. I feel the sadness even as I think about it now. But I did not know all that, all I knew was I felt abandoned by him. And instead of giving him the grace that God so often gives us, the grace I have spoken about, the grace upon grace that God gives us, my horns and daggers came out. I realized I had alot of questions and resentment toward Kenny that he and I would have to work through, God would have to work through me,  before this was over. We all deal with loss in different ways, death of a child, a parent, a home, even a life style choice for a child. I have had several friends who had children who have came out. One friend is from a Christian background and one is not. I think they both share a few common griefs in this process of coming to terms with this life, of this child that they carried, nurtured and wanted to have a full, complete life. Anything out of the normal or ordinary in or out of the church is going to be a very hard , difficult road for both of these boys. People, as a whole, are not kind hearted, they are cruel and unjust. The loss of natural grandchildren, something very important to a woman. The strain these kinds of issues put on the parents marriage can be huge on siblings as well as extended family members. My heart breaks for them and I sincerely pray for their sons and their families. The religious beliefs may separate these moms but the grieving is ALL the same. Just like my grieving for Wyatt, these moments bring us together and make us human.  Even my anger and hostility at Kenny, makes me who I am. How I address and handle those feelings will define who I become.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Decision To Go Ahead Of Kenny

The man form Comcast arrived at the door I heard Wyatt get up and quickly join me, then get in front of me, and if you know Wyatt that is very much out of character for him. So, I stood and I heard him in a firm  voice say to the technician that he would take him to the boxes, not to worry his Mom with it. He had just turned 12. My heart sank and the tears filled my eyes and I knew that the children knew we had not hidden it as well as we had thought. At this point the Denali had been turned back in, but Kenny still had his truck and the boat and most of our other things. So I assumed they hadn't really noticed. How Wrong I was!. As I went to my room and curled up in a fetal position and cried out the familiar cry to God what are we going to do, You are our only hope, but somehow, by now, it was only words. But as I sit here I know the beauty of who God is, even though I may have been weak and doubted it, as  my cries went up He heard them and it caused Him great pain. When Kenny got home, I had such a nasty attitude. I thought privately, maybe if He had studied a little less and maybe put a little more into the business or maybe this or maybe that, just questioning everything as we all do, because now my heart was not broke  for me, but now it broke for Wyatt, for my kids. The real ugly was really fixin to show its head. As I made my way around the house knowing the Denali and the cable boxes were just the beginning, I knew we had to address this. So we thought me and the kids would come and live with my Mom for one school year and let everything either go back and shut down or pick up and get back on track. So we began to pray, and long story short, the Friday before the kids started school we headed for North Carolina. That Monday we registered the kids for school. I remember sitting in church that Sunday morning and seeing a couple thinking God I have served you my whole life and here I sit after 24 years of marriage and not by choice I am 500 miles away from my husband, why have you abandon me.  I felt so alone, I have had my own home for 24 years, my things are not with me, my life is in a mess. People greet me and ask me, "What brought you to North Carolina?" What the-heck am I suppose to say? A simpler life, relocating? Me and the kids drove home and for the first time in, I can't even remember-maybe never, we're driving home from church without Kenny. Then I hear from our pulpits the stupid sayings, "I wont participate in this recession!"  I hate all those stupid little whatever you call um, I hate to tell you it was not by choice, I'll tell you that. It is so strange how our new theology uses pithy little sayings to try and enthuse people rather than join in their suffering. I could have said it all day, and I don't think it would have changed anything. But, what a statement like that does is it crushes the individual's very soul, those that are going through difficult times, and they may have no control over the situation they are going through. They sit there week after week feeling like a failure and they began to question there faith and eventually God. WHAT We need to hear IS...something almost unfamiliar in modern church gatherings, yet something which is at the very heart of What and Who God is.  This theme flows through the Bible and is so central to understanding God, but it is left at the altar of "charisma".  What is it that God is looking for?  Does the Being Who created all that exists thrill Himself with our gain in Wisdom?  Is He longing for us to understand His brilliance?  Is He concerned with our acqusition of land and goods?  What often suprises people is what so touches God, deep inside, is something that He goes searching for throughout the human experience.  It is scattered throughout the text of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures, yet it goes somthing like this, "What is it God requires from you? It is a broken and a contrite spirit!"  What consumes God's attention is when He sees someone in the most wretched of conditions, it is there that He resides, perhaps because when we are broken we are as He was when His Son was broken by humanity, perhaps it is because when we are broken we lay aside our proud spirit and turn toward Him, hang our heads, and whisper His name, but what a marvelous idea-God is not searching for our goodness He is searching for our Broken-ness. Not the one who didn't participate in the recession,  but the one who was broken and reaches out to the  broken. The rumors begin, instead of support and love you get accusations and, almost, taunting.  "Kenny and Angie have divorced", all kinds of stuff, it really didn't matter, because when you are in these times you lose a measure of concern about the conjectures and judgements, none-the-less,  Emma and my Brother were ready to fight!  That we were divorcing was the leading, and frankly, the most reasonable, calculation.  Finally I ran  into someone who was a leader, of sorts,  in our church history, and, bluntly, he asked how we were and I  said,  "Me and Kenny are fine, just the  business is defunct, home in foreclosure, and me and the kids are in North Carolina, Kenny is still here wrapping things up."  Well he could not get out of chick-fil-A fast enough. It was funny because those rumors of divorce seemed to quiet after that. Those first few months were very difficult ones, being apart, adjusting to a new home, the kids in new schools, a new environment, lots of changes, but God had so many surprises in store for the kids in North Carolina that could have never been anticipated. I see that now, looking back, I see His divine hand in every step it took to get here. Another scripture in Vacation Bible school, I learned as a child, said God directs the path of the people He loves. It is so easy to testify to when your life is going along nice and smooth, but it a different testimony when things are dark and despairing, and you question the very principle of God's love for me? So much has happened in these mountains that has  been good. I have just enough time to share at least one of the ways God has smiled on us since we have been here. Actually Coleman has his 5th grade party today at 1:00! Coleman started 4th grade at Riverbend, us sensing from the previous 2 years he had been struggling in reading. Cole had an extraordinary memory, we would read a small children's book to him a couple of times and he would memorize it and fool us into thinking he was actually reading it. In Florida they had tried for 2 yrs to figure out what his learning issues were and just could not do it. He was too hard to read.  So by the 3rd month here in NC, Mrs. Ross, his new teacher came to me and said, " Mrs. Dyer, Jesse" which is what they call him, "is reading on a 2nd month second grade level. We have to do something now. We cannot wait for the IEP (IEP an evaluation and help system for children in NC) or the team to assemble it is imperative that we move now, so I am going to, with your permission, start tutoring Jesse TODAY! And I will speak to a teacher we have just gotten this year her is named Holly Cable."  Mrs. Holly, we came to know, was an expert in certain children disorders. I left her so burdened for Coleman. We had faced somewhat of a dilemma at the first of the year with Coleman about his hair. We were coming into a very different culture and Mrs Ross, out of concern for him, thought we should consider cutting his hair. We were new to the mountain community and she knew we were outsiders.  You see Coleman is the middle child and the only thing he truly owned was his long hair! Everything  in a family our size is either borrowed , handed down, used or passed around so his hair was unique to him.  So Kenny and I decided not to make him cut it. This would later turn out to be a profound decision.   Ms Holly  phoned  me and, after a few weeks of evaluation, said that Jesse was one of the brightest children she had ever tested, and she would, if we would agree, on her own time, tutor Jesse, Mon-Thur, 3-4 at no charge. Kenny still remembers the call from this wonderful and unique woman.  He was still in Tallahassee and when he answered the phone she introduced herself he was in shock.  She asked if it would be alright if she spent an hour a day with Jesse.  Kenny thanked her but said there was no way we could afford someone with her expertise, (we couldn't afford someone with the expertise of a goat farmer). What she said next will forever remain in the recesses of our minds, she said, "I will not accept money, I want to do this on my own time."  It was remarkable that she always called Cole her "angel" I am certain it was the other way around.  The will be much more to this story, however I will tell you that 1 1/2 years later he is reading at two grade levels ahead instead of two behind, and reading is his worst subject!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

27 yrs of the purest love , The determined love, The shaken Love,The peaceful,

When I gave myself, I gave myself without reservation, I think the way God intended it to be. My father and I had a very unique relationship in that he had led a very hard  life.  Because of this he was overly protective.  He had instilled in me, at an early age (as well as Mother and my Granny) to save myself for my husband,  so when I found the one I would pledge my life to I was lucky not to carry with me all the damage and scars that so often go along with giving yourself casually to so many.  Let's not forget, I left my Father's home and went to  mine and Kenny's at the very old age of 18!! As I was titling this post I spoke of  "the purest love"  this is what I meant, love that had never been spoiled ,  no past pains, seen through eyes of purity, no malice, giving of oneself without reservation, and completely. And this came to be a beautiful and wonderful time in our 27 yrs, but it also made for a very high standard for when  that first hurt pierced that innocent heart. I am not saying, nor implying, that I am perfect, that is not what  this is about, I am talking about rising above what we feel and standing on what we believe and basing our lives on principle. When two people come together they come from very different places and, alot of times, what they value is based on those  two very diverse places. Something my Father was very good at was gift giving and remembering Anniversaries and B'Days. So this was my standard for which I based my premise on. What I had seen him do for my Mother. I was working at the bank and I was a young bride and as the day went on,  as I watched every delivery, every package, just knowing one was for me from Kenny, well to my disappointment and heartbreak, nothing came. I left hurt and angry, how could he forget, it is Valentines day, the day  for lovers, HOW could he forget. But at Kenny's house they  celebrated B'Days with a cake and that was it. He never saw his Dad bring his Mom flowers or give her cards, or, in general, ever recognize anything special in anyone's life. But I was wounded. The question was what was I gonna do with that hurt. That was  a very  light hearted story and I was younge, and I will not take the liberty to share intimate things we have gone through, but you get the jest of how love takes on different forms at different times in our lives...This is where the determined love comes in. Once that  pure love had experienced hurt, it became a whole different beast. It could go one of two ways. It could retaliate, or it could show love even though it had been wounded and it was hard to show at that moment.   The Bible speaks of this kind of love. A very dear friend of ours from college, James Vernon, gave us  a framed calligraphy of first Corinthians 13, as a wedding gift,  and it speaks of this kind of love, what so struck me was the analogy that Paul (Paul was a brilliant Jewish Rabbi or teacher who wrote much of the New Testament) used that if I  had enough faith (that means a deep trust in God's power) so that I could move a mountain, and trust me, as I look out at these mountains that would be a  vey impressive thing, but didn't have love, in the greek it says, "nothing am I if I don't have love", I just love that! The Determined love, goes back to ~ I will not live my life moment by moment minute by minute or I will end my life with nothing of value. I will live my life based on the committed love, the purest love, the determined love, the love I pledged my life to, May 26, 1984, even  when I have been wounded and even when I have been treated unfairly. How often we are hurt or treated unkindly by the people we have given our hearts to? He went on to say that  if out of my mouth I sound like an angel, yet in my heart you find no love, I sound like clanging instruments. So the outside can look pretty and sound pretty but the heart can be very dark. Kenny and I meet couples all the time, when after we leave, we  sense deep wounds that have festered and turned into bitterness. I have a beautiful, genuine, classy, loves deeply, gives herself completely, friend who, right now, as I was consoling her, has issues that have turned to deep anger and resentment ones that should be silly and childlike, that is, if they had not allowed the hurt to make them serious and wounding. We must not let these things take on a life of their own. We must, the moment we hear ourselves say, "Well  you hurt me so I will hurt you" stop and make a monumental decision, to forgive. Without forgiveness, our relationships have no hope. Love does not keep a record. Love forgives easily~The Shaken Love. Kenny wrote me a line that said, "I couldn't be more fortunate, God saw all my pitiable weaknesses  and He sent me a woman of such extraordinary heart to be able to love me through all of them". I say that because I  have also felt that same kind of weakness when he has had to be strong  I got pregnant 4 times in the first three years of our marriage and lost all four. My love for Kenny wasn't shaken, my love for myself was shaken, so at my weakest moment, when I felt I had nothing to offer, Kenny loved me though I was pushing him away. It was an anger I even held toward God for not being able to have a baby. It was a dark and shaky time for our mariage. I felt as though he would better off without me, if he could not have children with me. There were many moments of sadness when I would pray,  "I dont want to wake up tomorrow". Those moments, for a woman, are the moments you have no words to pray you just hope God can interpret your tears. The "Peaceful"?  Well, a baby girl was born and hope for our future. There is something about hope, no matter what your circumstances, your finances, the times you have been pushed under,  none of it matters if you have hope. And Emma Alexandra brought that to our life. That is why we dubbed her the "resurrection" child, because we where dead in spirit, and her being born in me brought life back to us, back to our life, back to our future......Paul said  we see through a mirror now but one day we will see clearly, and when we do we wont see in part but in full, and all will remain faith, hope and love  these three but the greast of these three is love..............

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How 6th Ave Began And Now It Ends

A family member let me know that he was going to relocate and his cottage house, down town, was going  up for sale. We, at the time, were living about 10 miles out of town in a very small house, and, although small, I had decorated and poured my heart and soul into it and we loved it very much. So we made arrangements and started the process. It was one of those homes that was two blocks from the hospital and centrally located  to everything, Florida State University being one of them. Go Seminoles!!! So our intention was for me to go in, work my magic, live in for 3-5 yr and make enough money to buy property and build and be debt free so we could devote our time to things we felt of value. We were pastoring a small church and decided to return most of the money given to us as long as we could make do with our business income. So we moved in, put our other property up for sale, and ten months later we were still making double payments and, suddenly, the market started to decline (The commercial construction market as well as the housing market) We just had NO earthly idea how far it would decline before the fat lady sang. Thank God our old property did sell and that did relieve some of the pressure, but the amount of work we needed to keep us afloat and the families of the men who helped us, just wasn't there anymore. There was no option, except to pay the men for labor and materials, pay our own material bills and give no thought to our personal belongings, which created  even a bigger card debt. Work shifted and, as the profit margins
fell, Kenny knew it was his obligation to step aside and give more of the work directly to the small group of men who had so much skill and ability, however, that meant we would have to recede. We were not, too,
afraid, however, because the television program started and we knew there would soon be enough speaking engagements for us to bridge the gap, it now seems a frightful miscalculation! I find myself reliving these pains because we received a package, around June of 2009, addressed to Mr.& Mrs. Kenneth Edward Dyer. I knew in my heart it was in reference to our house, my home, the one we have, long since, left behind.. This coming up Aug will be the summer 2 yrs ago my Mom came to Tallahassee loaded me and the kids up and brought us to North Carolina. I cant believe it has been over 1 1/2 years. As I sit here I am  45 years old and I feel as though I am 60 and going in the reverse. All I have left is what I could load on a trailer, a trailer we borrowed from one of the  men a trailer we use to own! A house full of stuff with no permanent place to put it. If I can't pay my landlord next month my things will be donated to some second hand store. They are of no value to anyone  but me.  I read the paper, see the news and there are thousands of families in situations just like mine, I use to give my "amens" and "oh I feel your pain and I'm for you," but in honesty I had no earthly idea what those folks where going through., I had no premise to base it on. And you don't always have to have experienced  something to be empathetic but I think for me a light bulb went off when I saw those papers. As Kenny and I sat outside shelling beans and he was "flirting" with me, watching the kids play, (we had cut bamboo early in the day, because my Mom was going to make the kids tepees) so Coleman was sawing his and Bella was using hers for a baton, I thought ,God if we were asked to leave today, leave all my "stuff" and just take our clothes, ALL that I hold valuable in this world (the people I love) would fit in that 79 Bronco. You don't have to own a home to have an investment in it, you can cut greenery from your yard and put it jars on your table and in your bathrooms as a way of service to your home. Take an afternoon and leave the house as it is, it will be there when you return and don't text or talk on the phone and just watch your kids play in the yard, or watch something "they" want to watch. We have NO entertainment money so we had started planning our meal menus together and the kids pick one meal out of the week and then they prepare it. These things are huge to them and they create the home, not the deed of the property.  We Americans sacrificed our families a generation ago, the old-fashioned idea of Mom staying at home, even though it meant fewer "things", was
shamed by the intellectual community, so we pawned our children off to daycare and nannies.  Now, we have a lot more stuff, marriages which have disintegrated, a new and mutated form of self-centeredness, and
we have made any form of values a point of disdain!  The only casualties in this "New Society" are the little creatures(as the scientist call them) who mill about us having our DNA (because they, according to the scientific community, are nothing more than genetic off-shoots).  It was always of interest to me that a society built on the idea
there is no God would be like (even though we have a pristine model in the form of the Old Soviet Union)
well, we are privileged to see it firsthand.  None-the-less, we can return, there is a greater value in our desperate times than we may be aware of.  One thing I am amazed at is the way our children have, yet,
to be driven into a dark, deep depression! They laugh, they play, they sing, all they really need is their parents. As long as we keep our spirits up they seem to be as happy and fulfilled as if we still lived in that beautiful little house at 1014 E. 6th Ave.  No, all Is Not Lost!!! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bathing Under The Water Hose

As I turn the hot water on I had a flash back to the moment of horror when I stepped into the shower on 6th Ave and it was freezing cold! I adjusted the nozzle and readjusted and then... started screaming for Kenny and of course he took every opportunity to "join" me in the shower, of course to help me! What we didn't know was we had just ran out of gas. Our power was on but our hot water ran off of city gas and at this time we were living off of coupons of buy get one free. I sat on the floor of the tub and cried and said God what else, now not even a hot bath. Even those on state aid get a hot bath, so I sat and felt pity for myself and got up and went and laid in bed and thought God I can't do this anymore. I am done I can not go on. The children and I had already came to North Carolina and it was summer, we had scrapped enough money together to get to Tallahassee, my Dad had put the new, and third motor in the Bronco (the one which came
with the truck had blown, then an old NC mechanic installed a used one and it blew on his test drive) and we had an extraordinary string of events which gave us just enough money to get to Tallahassee, headed to New Port Richey, Fl. to pick her up. We where going to Tallahassee!! We loaded up and headed to what we remembered as home, and to where Kenny was. What you have to know is, it was not home as we had known it, we had no furniture there but mine and kennys bed, our flat screen over the fireplace, and the boys' bunk beds. Emma's apartment size frig and her microwave. From the outside Kenny had kept the yards and it looked so nice and manicured when I pulled up my heart leaped and then I felt darkness fill my soul as I realized the truth. Kenny greeted us and reached out and held me as I buried my face in his neck I felt as if i could melt into his flesh I felt weak and spent and old and used and utterly out of sorts. I felt as though we had both faced an army of giants' but I had faced them with no down time , no reprieve, but I had to maintain a balance for the children, because they were with me and they drew strength from me. They looked to me for security, and I hate to say it, but I resented Kenny for that. As I stood there catching my composure I felt equally angry for feeling "all" those things, because I had never been a weak person. I felt angry and weak. As I entered my home, the home I had painted every inch of, it's bare walls and bare floors Kenny had cleaned and dusted, trying to ease the pain he knew I would face, which I truly appreciated. I prayed, "God please help me not ruin what time we will have together by being a boiling pot of emotion and help me have a good attitude while we are here." As I laid there thinking I considered one positive is that we do have air conditioning and, remember, this is Florida. All the struggles of that month and I could take a month and tell you of the miraculous way that monies and food and entertainment appeared on our doorstep, but I don't have the time, however I will share the hot water story. After I ask forgiveness for my bad attitude, collected myself, and came out of the bedroom, we went to the park then shared a "buy a big mac get one free" and a 99 cent sundae, we where hot and sweaty and I asked, "How would yall like to get in your bathing suits and take the water hose and wet Dad and Mom?! Well what do you think?" They had a blast and it was the hit until we left, almost a week later. Later that night, as the kids watched tv, I said, "Kenny I need to wash my hair but I am a little afraid to go outside in the dark by myself, would you like to go outside and bath with me?" Well, running out of gas was the best thing that ever happened to Kenny Dyer!!!" You know we had alot of days living on the edge with no food, no gas, almost no lights, but we never failed to have closeness as the kids made their palettes on the floor and Kenny and I reconnected in the back yard under the water hose. Ironically, Dad had not finished the Bronco and we were not able to go down and pick it up. Our money was gone and we
were nearly insane with worry, just at that time we had a highly unusual and extraordinary turn of events. We had about $25.00 and no sign of work coming when we had a call and by the next day we had over $1,000.00 and
it was just enough to get us back to NC, and have a little to hold us for another two weeks, and, of course, as is somewhat obvious, we did, indeed, not die!! The point is, our attitude made all the difference and when we allowed God to change it, we all had a much closer, and much, much happier, time together.

A Whisper From The Mountains

Mom runs out of the house in a panic toward the road, if she had given it any thought she would have known right where I was. I was just making my way up the back steps to my Granny's back door as my Grandpa scooped me up, "Poop deck!" (a nick-name from my Grandpa) I am thrilled, I giggled with joy! As he would start to drink, he would pick up his old guitar and
begin to sing. It was then he would yell out, "Poop-deck, come sing with Grandpaw!" Mom was, surely, relieved with my safety. My grandparents had a special attachment to me, because, one; we lived 2 houses down and, two; there was a dynamic in my own home of secrecy and deceit. We always seem to cater to, or pay the extra attention to, the child who needs us the most, as with my Mother. I also had very black hair, just like my grandfather, and I loved the biter greens of the gardens, as he did, and would sit for hours and listens to him sing and just loved his very being as he did mine. And every chance I got I would slip away and go straight to his house! He not only bought me my first Easter dress, but, also, the very first bike I got he made payments on and bought, which was a HUGE sacrifice, partially because, he and my Grandmother still had children at home. The day of his funeral they had to remove me because I wanted to be in the casket with him, I had a deep love for him. And that love, as well, for my Granny continued through the years. In these early years my Granny told my Mother she had a premonition my destiny would be to help and serve others. I must have been 5 or 6 when, at a traveling fair, I came upon a trainer beating an elephant, as I was passing going to the next ride. I had skipped ahead of Mom and don't remember exactly where Dad was. As he raised his hand to strike again something in me did not care about my own safety or how small I was all I cared about was how helpless and defenceless and trapped that elephant was! I ran and stood between them and bowed up and said "Don't you hit him again!" Well, the man was not so happy and, let's just say, he quickly asked me to move, which was when my father suddenly appeared, a talent of his, HE DID not LIKE his tone with me; it turned bad quickly! Another talent of his-don't mess with little girl or there will be trouble. I have never been able to stand by and see the person in the room who is alone or trapped or is odd or looks different be picked on or humiliated or not be befriended. It is just not in my nature. I felt a draw to humanity from a small age and it continued throughout my life and up until I met and married Kenny. Everything we did we based on that premise. So here I am 45 yrs old, in one of the most remote parts of country (the mountains and hollows of western North Carolina), a small town, hardly more than a village, no larger city within 40 miles, hardly any cell signal, and with the stigma of an outsider. God how have I found myself here? How effective can I be? I have no voice. I have fallen off the face of the earth. Who can I serve. My very nature is of no good. I invite people to dinner, a free meal, I serve you, we visit, coffee, dessert! (I promise it was not a Amway party!!) Can't even get people to show up. It baffles me? Have you ever questioned your given talents and skills? We all have them. We all recognize them if we look for them. Do you see them but question sometimes God, "how will I ever use them?" I reflect on that Denali and I said I would explain why that truck meant so much more than just a truck. It was means by which alot of people who had NO ONE got to the doctor, social services, immigrations, grocery store, a meal at our house, church. I remember, as we detailed it to return it, I thought we may be broke, but we still have our dignity, I thought about those people and how they would make their way around town. We would be alright, because, no matter what we lost, Kenny and I could fit in just about in any situation, these people fit in no where. It made me sad. So today I am grateful for the these mountains and isolation and I am grateful for my voice, because I am able to share my story and use what God has called me to do and that is serve.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin and Homemade Mac & Cheese when I feel like PB & J

As I pound my pork roast and get it ready to stuff, sometimes I think, "why do I even bother". Peanut butter and jelly would be so much easier, and peanut butter is a protein and jelly is a fruit, right? I keep the table set with flowers, that who, really, ever sees? We always use my dishware, not paper or plastic, but why?  I try to whistle or sing, an attitude I learned from my wonderful Mother who had also seen displayed by her Mother.  I am trying to hide my fears.  Maybe the kids won't sense my real anxiety. As I pound the pork I realize I am pounding a little too hard, are my hippie friends right? You don't know how many of my, lets just say "liberal",  I affectionately call them hippie  women friends have picked at and made fun of me for years for doing these things, and this afternoon I am second guessing myself, but don't we all? I fix these elaborate meals night after night as some form of "Calgon take me away", do you remember those commercials? Somehow, if I have everything in order, nice and neat, the kids schedule, the dogs bathed, Kenny and my relationship "attended" to, it will make this chaos make sense. Which, in reality, will make no difference. I have had a day of immense loneliness and dispare, even while sitting in my home church. As I headed for church and locked the door behind me, as if I was locking the door to my 6th avenue home and would return to nap,  Kenny's truck would be in the drive, the boat in its spot, and my Denali in the driveway, somehow forgetting we are in a very desperate situation. I had so craved, in my heart, a glance, a smile, any acknowledgment from someone at my church that said "I see you", "I am here", "I am praying for you", "I feel your pain", "your are of value". I don't know, when you get in these situations your perception of things gets so screwed up, and I will tell you I doubt myself almost daily. Our Church here is fairly large and the greatest class I had ever taken in a church, and I have taken many, was at this church.  It was a chaplaincy class developed by the Billy Graham Association. It put into an organized form what had been my nature my entire life.  We talked about he homeless, the broken, the families in trauma, and how we can serve them, it was custom made for Me!  I had been to many classes, many services, many prayer gatherings, yet, today, it was as if not a soul recognized me, not even on a superficial level.  Certainly, it was more my depression than anything else, but it made me remember that Church should never elevate programs over people.  Old time Churches had little money, little technology, little property, yet they lived by the creed, that "loving" people was the sum total of what God is, and, thereby, what the Church should be. It is at the basis for what people always have needed, and always will. Preachers that could barely read was the mouth piece of God. Today we have the most educated men we have ever had and somehow we lack. I made a new commitment, yeah another one, that I would always be sure to search for the people about me who seem disconnected, lonely, or deeply sad and make sure they sense my compassion for them.  I did come to the realization, in spite of the conflict, I still have a responsibility to myself and family, we may be in hard times, but we have not been stripped of everything we have known. We can maintain some form of normalcy in our life, and for centuries hasn't that been what women have done? They have been the strength that has held societies, cultures and communities together, forever, my Mother and her Mother (my granny) and the untold Mothers before us, and not under the best of circumstance. So, if they can do it I can. If I can do anything, I can do whatever it takes to be whatever I have to be for the loves of my life.  It still doesn't change a lot about the way I feel, but life should be more about decisions than feelings.  This sad feeling in Church did, however, remind me of another such
time, it was near the end of 2007. Kenny was presiding over the funeral of a man we deeply admired and
respected, Mr. Norman  Munyon. and at that funeral we were to met a woman who would be the connection, or the link, to what, I would come to feel, would be our demise.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Angie, he whispered my name

"Angie", he whispered my name, and suddenly I could hardly stand, I was dizzy, "You have to drive Wyatt to school."  Kenny had scheduled to ride to Asheville with Emma,well, number one; we didn't have the gas for the beast, and two; he HAD to take care of some business regarding our company back home, Aesthetic Engineering Koncepts, Inc. I was very sensitive over this matter, already, because I get very attached to things, not for the reasons you might think, but for reasons I will explain in a moment. How Kenny came to our business name, almost 15 yrs ago, is it is a acronym. A is for Angela E is for Emma, and K for Kenny, and I always get attached to anything that is close to home, and it has nothing to do with financial issues, so this was a difficult day for me.  Kenny was going to address one of the last things relating to Aesthetic Engineering Koncepts. A few more loose ends and the business was no more. Back to my attachment of things, that business represented our family, our legacy. I have seen Kenny pull out one of our company checks, too many times to recall ,and slip them into a needy hand. It had been a part of sending Bibles and missionaries around the world. It had bought  missionary families, not an ordinary meal like they had been accustomed to, but a meal of real expense to show our appreciation for the sacrifices their families had made. So, no, not just Kenny, I had invested, not by working  but by the honoring of not having Kenny at home and  by being in the background and making things work so he would be more efficient. Also by giving of our monies. A part of Bible history comes to mind, God said pay a man a fair wage. The cries of the men, whose money you have held back,  come up to Me, because they don't have enough to live on. So we always made sure to pay more than the market price. And we always had extremely skilled, loyal, and devoted men, who, also, became like family.This business was an extension of our family. See you don't live your life at church then  live your life at home but then in your business live another way. The old platitude of "Business is Business", which is used to justify deception and greed is dreadful.  It is ironic we are here now, that is, with no "honor" left. The principles you believe in should apply to all areas of your life and we tried, as best we knew how, to display this through our business. So this is why these "things" meant so much to me. I will explain the significance of the Denali at a later time as well. Back to the whisper of my name. The reason I became dizzy and felt this horrid darkness come over me was that I had heard the exact same whisper before. I was awoken March 7, 2008 at 2:17 am with the whisper of my name. "Angie, we have to go get Emma's car." I came to, immediately, not necessarily alarmed. She had just texted me a few hours earlier (a system she and I used). She would text, every so often, and I would go back to sleep not even a mild interruption. So I assumed she was broke down. As I stood, he said, "No she has been arrested." Emma has been arrested.?..... I don't know how, I am not a skilled enough writer to display the emotion I felt at the time, nor even at this moment as I relive it by trying to tell the story.  As I pulled on a pair of Kenny jeans from the floor and slipped on a hoodie we rode to the campus in silence and in shock. Emma had a studio apartment above the garage and we hadn't heard her come and leave again.  I know for sure what we Both were thinking, but most likely it was,  "God what had we missed." I KNOW, at least, what I was thinking, "God what had "I" missed." By the way I have asked Emma permission to use this story and she said yes. She did say she, at this time, does not want to read my blog, maybe someday, but not at this time. As we arrived at Florida State University we saw the lights flashing and Emmas Audi  the trunk open, her beach towel hanging half out, all her doors open, her pink flip flop air freshener hanging from the mirror, one of her flip flops laying beside the back door, and the floorboard covered in clothes. My eyes took me to a Police car pulling away with the child we had dubbed our "Resurrection" child, the  child who came after losing four, the child who should not exist,  being taken to the county jail. As I folded her stuff and placed it back in her car, as if it really mattered, and pulled away I looked around , it looked like her, it smelled like her, it felt like her,  the only thing missing was her. We got home and I sat in her car staring up at her at room and thought I had better call my Mom. The officer had told us Emma refused to give him our number..She said she would rather face the punishment alone than to hurt us in the way she knew it going to hurt us. So once she was out of sight he called us and gave us the option to get her car instead of impounding it. We were grateful.  Emma also declined bail. She said she would not cost us any money. She knew to do right but had made her own decision, she also knew we would not spend one penny on legal help under these conditions.  He said (the officer) I could be at her hearing at 7:oo the next morning. So I called Mom and she headed to Tallahassee to watch the children so I could be at Emmas hearing the next morning. As I sat there I am ashamed to say I had the thought that had I not had other children the pain in my heart was so great that I did not want to live. My own convictions would not and could not allow us to post bail for a child that knew better , but saying that, it did not relieve the ache in my arms to a hold her and tell her we would get through this. As I arrived for her hearing I realized God put so many people in the situations in  Emmas  life, as well as beginning a healing in my own life, but I will stay on track and not share all the details at this time. But as to how God got ME through, you don't appear in person anymore you appear via camera. When he announced  her name Emma Alexandra Dyer (her surname Dyer, given name Emma Alexandra) I remembered how Kenny and I took great consideration in naming our children. Emma being "servant to mankind" as well as 4th generation family female name, Alexandra is derivative of Alexander the Great which is "great leader".  As the judge said this name I died a thousand deaths, and the snot started running, and the whys and the whys and the whys........ God You said train them up in Your ways and when they are old they will not depart from them. This seems like a pretty big departure. As she focused and caught a glimpse of me she said, " Mr judge I don't want my Mom here she has raised me right and she should not be here please Mom don't cry>"  I stand ..interrupt Emma, "I love you!" He says," Ms Dyer don't make admissions!"  "But I did it I am 18 and I have never seen my parents drink and I did it."  "Ms. Dyer Ms DYER!!" He is now standing. "My parents taught me not to lie!" I shouted,  "Emma I'm proud of you!!! "Mom I love you!"  "Mrs DYER, Ms DYER. QUIET!!! QUIET!!!" He looked around the room, it is packed, so he chooses his words carefully, "Could you come up here Mrs Dyer? Ms. Dyer I am going to talk to your Mom and I will get back to you in a moment."   Emma is GONE (the video feed was cut). He told  me to talk to the District Attorney who would be prosecuting Emma for drunk driving (one of  four felonies she was charged with) which at this time I did not know she had denied council. Then he said,  "Mrs. Dyer, by the way, it is quite refreshing to see a young person take responsibility for their actions. I wish you and Emma the best." So I spoke to the attorney and, unbelievably, they released her on her own recognisance. God was working, even then, in Emma. But even more in me. You see from that morning on I began to have crippling bouts of panic and fear attacks. As Kenny and I signed Emma out and I felt her in my arms and smelled the familiar smell of her hair I said, "Thank you God that she had not been killed herself or killed someone else." But I sensed a little bit of her strong spirit saying "well my friends do it all the time and get away with it"  and knew that God still had alot of work left to do in this situation. I also knew in my heart, she would pay the fees, represent herself, show up for court days but I would face the bad attitudes, the "this sucks why did I get caught" rants and I had my own questions of how my daughter wound up here in the first place. So on an inward level my attitude was just as bad, I just hid it better. And we were yet to know how this would turn out and it would take it's toll on our relationship as well. Mine and kennys.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Standing on the Mountain looking in

Coleman came in green eyes shining ,god I love those green eyes,, the only one of my four children with green eyes.! He had scored a 98 in science on his EOG (this is a statewide achievement test for NC). "Well" he said, "Mom that has to be the highest in the country!" I didn't have the heart to correct him. His optimism, that anything is possible, inspired me! My father was the absolute best at that!  He had the ability to make you believe and dream just about anything. And he had the abilities and talents to do just about all of them . There were just so many other issues in his life so I will not get into them out of respect and deep deep love for him, maybe at a later time with his permission. I remember the day Kenny and I drove off the campus of Southeastern Bible College of the Assemblies of God! Wow that's a mouth full! We were packed, locked & loaded, and ready to fire.? Me sitting in the middle of his Ford truck, hand on his knee, his arm around my neck, we also had that shine in our eyes and optimism in our hearts. I look out over these mountains, as I drink my black coffee, in awe of the majesty of the Maker and how small I am sitting here.I never tire nor fail to be taken back by its "wow" factor, even after all the time I have lived here. I tell the locals I count it an honor to live in such an aesthetically pleasing place. As I think of the naivety,  hopes, dreams, optimism, however you want to word it,  I think of my soul at this moment and things that have crept in over the past 3 yrs,the good the bad and the ugly. Every gamut of emotions.. If I were asked where I would have seen myself today I certainly would have been right there on  6th avenue, pontoon boat parked out front, tending to my life. Probably changing the wall color in my living room, dragging home a drunk from the lake, and through this whole process I won't lie we have  asked ourselves, we have asked each other, "What do you think we have done?" And believe me others have had no problem offering there "God lead advice." When the educated ones, who thought they were so smart  and witty asked Jesus, "Well what has  this blind man's parents done, they must have done something to cause him to be blind?" Jesus said, "No they have done nothing, he has done nothing, his blindness is for a moment of glory for God". As we started seeing  our life unfold it was not due to gambling, adultery, mismanagement, it unfolded while we were attending church week by week and praying week by week. "God we need you." "God you are our only hope". None-the-less, we saw nothing change, only digress and get worse. If you remember, I made the statement in an earlier post I was determined that my children would see me in a positive light. Well, as I thought about what to write I really felt this post was meant for the church goer who prays and prays and it seems, outwardly, nothing changes. As I was trying to make sense of "....loss equals punishments" which is not the words of Jesus, I realized all eyes are on us. Those 3 yrs as we were being consumed with loss our banker who was seeing me daily and encouraging ME, imagine THAT a numbers guy encouraging someone who owed him money!!! A Banker, our men, our children, the people we went to church with.The Young kids at Starbucks, too many  relationships and connections to  name, we had been called to show character and integrity in a time when it was not EASY! We would have to live what we have devoted our entire lives to believing, even though around us there was no evidence of it getting better. But isn't that true of alot of things in life. I am committed to my husband, my kids, my parents, my church, my girlfriends, yet there are times when I don't see much good or excitement or a big payday, but I value those relationships, it is the core of who I am, so I am in it for the long haul, whether I feel like it or not. Today, so often, our pulpits preach money and the Cleavers, when so often it is  the Dyers. Crisis comes in all forms, that is what binds us together, not the details. We have to guard from becoming angry at God and the church and find a place of  connecting with people again on a level of sincerely and honesty. A hard  and lonely lesson we have learned. I think, honestly, it is out of fear, maybe they think it will cost them something, something financially. We would have been thrilled with a cup of coffee. I received a very sad text it said , "I have never had much, have never expected much ,never wanted much, but when your little bit you have crumbles.. COME ..ON..", I had no words, nothing to say except God is faithful. God doesn't always work things out the way we want Him to or He would be no more than a magic genie. God's ways are not always our ways but He is always faithful. All that sounds so noble and honorable and I am very glad that I was able to keep my self composed, but in the recesses of my heart a battle of great conflict was going on, it was not noble nor honorable.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Authentic Perspective

There are three things I am deeply devoted to, God, my family and this country. I posted a picture on fb of me standing next to,( in my opinion, remember this is my blog) the best ever former President George Walker Bush. As I stand there on someones else's dime, the dream of my lifetime, I have to think how deceptive  a picture or image can be. You see this reception was 500.00 per ticket and the "Forum" we had attended that week was an additional 1000.00. So, you could say we "looked" the part. But their was also a measure of hypocrisy. May I also say that ole' Texas boy didn't disappoint!!  He was funny, witty, warm, charming and bigger than life, as I had imagined he would be, cowboy boots and all! And, no, he wasn't drunk; actually a joke he used about himself.  This is one of the things I love about him, his ability to laugh at himself! As I look at that picture I have to  laugh; as I mingled with those folk from the upper class, the  aristocracy, it dawned on me I had fooled them. I am very good at looking the part. You see if one woman asked me every woman there asked me, "Oh my, where did you get that coat? Prada, Ralph :Lauren spring collection?" I had purchased that coat at a Goodwill on the way to the Forum. So as I stood there smiling, my secrets went deeper than that London fog jacket. Then I thought backward some months, as I layed awake, dreading the next morning, knowing I had to put my children on as assisted lunch, I cried out, "God, why and how am I going to have any legitimacy? I cannot change who I am, where I came from, or throw away my things. Yet I am no better than the others who find themselves in these situations."  But this is not what this is about. This was about me finding my skin, my place in all this. God meeting with me. "God you have got to give me peace or I cannot face this. And I can tell you it was not a matter of pride. I could not stress and scrape daily for their lunch needs anymore. And I would willingly be humiliated and degraded for them. "God if I show up looking like I look they will assume I am a fraud, If I go "staged", looking different than  who I am, I am a fraud. Please help me! I am so conflicted and torn." As I tossed and turned and morning came, it came to me that the unadulterated truth would be the absolute best. So I got dressed, as if I were meeting Friends for lunch, and sat down and told that state worker our story, the truth. She stood up, came round the other side of her desk, and sat  knee to knee with me, and held my hand, and said it was done. If their was anything I needed just call her. She was the HEAD of the entire county. The lady I was to see had called in sick. God had smiled on me that day. So from that day forth I realized I would be who I am, which is why I dress, everyday, the way I do, not for show, or appointments, or Kenny, but because I love to. I will maintain my dignity and my uniqueness even though my circumstances may not support it. I had developed these traits and characteristics long before I came here and I will take them with me when I leave. I have made connections with  social service workers that, to this day, have become very dear friends of mine, despite the fact that I didnt convert or become something I am not. That seems to be the thing they love the most about me. They have been one more foundational stone layed in holding up our family by this great nation that I proudly call my own. Wyatt and I were riding alone one day and he was staring out the window and he said,  "Mom  this is a great country", I said,  "Yes son it is", then he said, "Mom a kid's dad can lose his business and this country will buy that kid's lunch". I had to focus and keep looking out the window and hold my composure because I was so moved. Instead of shame and embarrassed it was pride and thankfulness. We get so tangled up in our own pride and  what we think we are owed sometimes we lose sight of how fortunate and blessed we are. He came home one day speaking of an instrument he needed and instantly my stomach went into knots and before I spoke I thought Angie think before you speak, so I said "Wyatt do they rent instruments?" He said' "Oh don't worry Mom I told Mr. Teague that we had fallen on hard times and we would have to borrow one."  I said, "Wyatt. Did you ask him this in private?" He said, "Well, no, no big deal mom every family has problems!" Well there you go, once again outta the mouth of a babe! So as I took that word of wisdom from my 13 year old son I realized who I am is not based on the amount on my debit card, my value lies in my children, how I serve my family, the class with which I carry myself, the compassion I extend to others, the way I open my home and  make it loving and warm, that is who I am, not that London Fog jacket or even that $1000.00 ticket, but who I am on the inside and how that displays itself through the people I love and the ones who come in contact with me. So I remembered that strange moment when the highly educated scribe (a highly educated linguist) asked Jesus the most earnest and prevalent question of all the Jewish Academies, and, according to my husband, there were
over 400 in Jerusalem alone (the 2 greatest Hillel's and Gamaliel's) "What is The Greatest commandment?"  If Jesus was the highest authority on such issues, His response was very, very important.  He said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength." Then he expanded and said, "The second is like the first, Love your neighbor as you love yourself."  That is very interesting, however I am convinced that in the Church in our generation, as it has been in most, we obey neither of these two.  We have good thoughts about people, we wish them well, we even take time to breathe a prayer for them, sometimes consistently,
but loving our neighbor as ourself is one we cannot, truly, fathom.  It means things we don't really want to consider.  Do we pray for the promotion so we advance or do we pray equally, and with sincerity, for our co-worker?  I will relate to you, it happens, almost, never.  What is even just as fascinating is considering that God loved us in a way that brought Him extraordinary pain, in essence, He loved others at His own expense!  A lifetime well spent would be one seeking these two grand moral themes, whether we ever gained or lost anything else. Finally, there is country.  It is a terrible time we live in when bitterness toward our nation is common and approved.  However, what democracy is about, at least American democracy, is a government built on the premise of equality.  The preamble says, since we all were created equal, and there is the underpinning.  If we were created, there is, by nature of creation, an inherent equality amongst mankind.  Our government went beyond and tried to establish just enough government to keep the peace and protect the citizens and then stay well away from the individual.  That means the remainder of our lives is at our freedom and disposal.  We can travel where we wish, follow the vocation we wish, marry the man or woman we wish, and experience a freedom untouched by the powers at be.  Any other form of government has been, at best, a far second, and at worst a tyrannical and despotic nightmare.  Abraham Lincoln once said, "I like to see a man proud of the place (the land) in which he lives.  I like to see a man live so that his place (the land) will be proud of him."  Well, there it is, (1)God, (2)We begin and end with family, (3)Love for country.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Embarassed but I am jealeous

I had a friend call and say her husband said the oddest thing to her. He blurted out he was jealous of their kids. Then his face got red and he turned and left the room. She said she stood there with their 7 mth old on her hip, her breast still wet from nursing, dumbfounded! What do you mean, Jealous of the kids! Her first instinct as a woman, as a mother, was to go after him and say baby what is wrong, what are you talking about, but as she stood there tired and her mind racing with the million and one things she had to do and then  she glanced  in the mirror and saw her appearance was unkept, her body soft from having "his" children, roots that needed coloring, clothes that needed updating, her softness, her loving nature, her kindness toward him suddenly turned into Beelzebub ()Biblical term Satan's senior devil! We met for coffee and she drug her lil brew of yuggins into the coffee shop and I thought "Thank you Jesus" because I was left to just one at home. So I came looking all cute and Isabella dressed and looking cute as well! Shame on me!!! I know! In honesty,  I went out, embraced her, helped her unload, and we began to back track through what had been the last 10 yrs and 4 children. Mind you, as the children cleared out the coffee shop for us and as she wept  I reflected myself. We use to tease that the Tallahassee Democrat was going to read ....local  TV personality was caught cheating. See I think women and men alike use the word "busy" when I think the correct word is "environment". We had 4 kids, a  Commercial Construction Company, a full time Pastorate and a weekly  television Program.  And at the time Kenny was learning Greek. So,  yes we were busy, but our environment, my environment especially, was not conducive to being Kennys  "girlfriend" for the day, as I called myself. What we would do is, sometimes a couple times a month, rent a hotel for the morning or if time permitting the day. We would meet there, check in, and then leave the same day. As we would exit, holding hands, laughing looking refreshed and in love you can imagine what they were thinking. It was so forbidden and exciting! And as a women it completely changed my surrounding and it gave Kenny my undivided attention. My softness of body, or uncolored hair, or out dated clothes seemed so much better in the confines of that hotel room. And wow, what a sweet and soft and gentle spirit I would get out of Tom, AKA Kenny, with a little bit of "petting". I say "petting" when he says I am not paying enough attention to him, "Awwe, am I not petting you enough!"  Evil I know! lol! As I consoled her I had to be honest with her, that is if I was truly her friend and loved her and if I believed what I stood for, which is the fullness of what our lives as women should be. And here is what I think. What I have observed in the church and outside the church. We meet our men and they are the center of what we do. In the back of our minds we dress for them, we care what they think,  Kenny says, "Woman, why don't you laugh at what I say anymore? You use to laugh at everything I said!"  We consider what they like to eat, watch movies they prefer we watch sports.and cant get enough of each other. And lets not forget ladies the physical attention we gave them. Then life happens and, in our defense, we go into a different mode, which is a wonderful and beautiful mode, but a different mode, Mom. And our Husband, our "boyfriend" our "lovers" become, well, somewhere in the background. And I just bluntly said, "You  better be glad he was able to tell you because what he really is saying is ..... I miss you, I need you. And I would be willing to do anything to get you back." It is an odd dynamic because a man loves his child and to resent something you love is a very hard  thing to deal with. But that child has, in essence, taken your body, your breast, your time, your emotions, just about every ounce of you. Men need that physical affection from the woman in their life on such a deeper level than merely physically. Their strength comes from the  relationship they have with the woman in their life and when that is threatened it effects everything. When Kenny and I meet couples and they are very critical and abrasive toward each other it is always a very good sign that their is trouble in those areas. And it is usually not very long we hear they are separated. A couple can face crisis, loss of a home, death of a child even past affairs if they nurture and put their relationship above all others. And never allow bitterness to creep in.  As she sat their quiet her baby asleep in my arms tears in her eyes I knew her husband adored her which made it even that much more my responsibility to be as honest as I could be,it wasn't about her hair her cloths her soft body, it was about him wanting to be close to her. I have a cousin who was feeling less than attractive in her sweats, slightly heavier body and her husband said, I wont name her .... "you turn me on when you bend over to get the biscuits outta that oven!!" Men are not concerned with all the things we are concerned with as women, they just want to feel like they still have that "girlfriend" Well to end the story, I told her to be his "girlfriend" for one week. Just one week. OMG OMG OMG. Yes I said that 3 times. She never touched another dinner dish, scheduled another hair appointment, loves her soft body, finds love notes in her outdated  cloths...... Trust me we will address the men another blog ; //

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

One more program.

I got a text Coleman was sick so we headed to the school to pick him up worried in the back of both of our minds I am certain we are getting low on gas. So out of sheer necessity  we decide to checkout Isabella also so we dont have to drive the monster AKA Bronco back to get her. We are budgeting every drop of gas. I spoke by text to a cousin of mine who was so discourage in the same situation, and I had no words of magic no secret equations, all I could tell her was I love her and I would be praying for her. See she is where we where almost 3 years ago, still holding tight to a home, a boat, a life, a city where her children where born and raised. A life I can't even remember at times. Back to the Bronco. I saw a yooung man at church yesturday I call my Angel from the Lord. It was a freezing cold winter night. My Bronco had been acting up for months and Wyat had been jumping it almost everytime we drove it. It would spit and sputter down the road, I would be so afraid so to hide my anxiety we would sing at the top of our lungs to try and mask the fear and poor performance of the truck.  We had been to Walmart and we were loaded! The kids were chatting and kenny was trying to console me on the phone from Florida. The anxiety he must have been feeling. We had made it off the interstate and had coasted into a Pilot gas/truck stop. Wyatt, bless  his heart, he and I got out so the little ones would not hear and said Mom I will find a man and ask if he thinks it needs water or that stuff that looks like mountain dew. I said son we need to pray. He said yes mom just when we are on the precipice of disaster God saves us. My military son!! He came out speaking like a General! At that moment my Angel from the Lord showed up. His given name is Matthew. My feet were  lead and my heart and soul were even heavier. I cant even imagine how Kenny must have felt being 500 miles away and helpless.  As I glanced in that Bronco at Cole and Bella laughing and cutting up standing their Wyatt and I freezing  I felt anger well up in me like nothing I had ever felt. It was ugly, it was dark, it was evil. I WAS BITTER. My pity for Kenny soon turned to anger why didnt he fight harder for our business. Why didnt he fight harder for our life. I came back to reality when Matthew cast his warm smile at me and said, "Whats the problem?" He had owned several Broncos and he filled the radiator and we got it started and made it home!  As Isabella jumped in the truck today she handed me a note and i just started laughing. I said no way! I was shaking my head. Kenny said, What? I said ANOTHER program! We have had programs at the kids schools it seems like a couple times a week. We have two at the elementary and one at the middle school. Here is the problem. These programs are extremely important to our children for us to be at,  BUT what about the folks that just dont have the means by which to go? God how have we found ourselves here? How have we been abandoned? Or so it feels. God give me a good attitude TODAY,  meet my need TODAY.  Rainy day, corn chowder for dinner. Lots of laundry and still looking for some reason or purpose or sanity to this....... day to day dangling by a thin tread over a clif....that has become our life.

It wounds God to see us hurt

I was so troubled last night I tossed and turned most of the night. I had met someone I had an instant connection with, that is on a friendship level. She is funny, smart, pretty, quick whit ted and GENUINE (a  rare quality these days). I had felt there was some sadness or conflict, I am not sure how to even word it. None the less,  when I woke I ask Kenny to pray with me for my friend and we went about our morning business. When I would tell my kids the principles of the Bible I would tell that them God had lay ed these foundational laws out, these rules, only for our benefit. Certainly, He didn't need them, He doesn't get any joy out of  enforcing them. He just want us to have full and complete lives. And this basic and simple child like analogy sooooo applies to God hating divorce. In divorce the word "amicable" is such a funny word to me. I can guarantee you their is always  one who has been crushed under the weigh of that divorce.  I have a nephew who is 35, and bless his heart, to this day he says his parents' divorce, forever, changed him. He never got over it. As an adult he understands it, but the pain of loss never goes away. As I see the struggles our families are facing and the outside influences on the family are of no support. Our colleges and Universities are saying the Bible is old and antiquated. The "Intellectual" class has abandoned all such sentiments. We say loving someone is a deep "feeling"( how unintellectual) and when the "feeling" diminishes, well move on! You can only trust your "feeling", and what feels good. Let me just warn you, don't raise your children with this kind of philosophy. When we make connection on a physical level (sexual) that penetrates the soul and binds people in the soul of them.  If that bond is broken or treated as casual, then it leaves wounds that last a lifetime.  These pains may lie buried, yet they remain and often resurface when we find the true love of our life, but then those intimate moments, that God meant for just two individuals to share, are scarred.  As I reflect on the past 3 yrs and the times I would feel bitterness creep in toward my own husband, or God, I would have to apply these time-honored and profound Biblical  principles to my life. When I would feel abandoned by the church leadership (Pastors) whom we had been friends with for years I had to say God Your are bigger than these men.  Bigger than our organization (the Church) that I had loved my whole life. I had a commitment to my faith, my husband, and church even though at times I did not "feel" like it. The central nature of God, however, is forgiveness, before anything else. God hates sin because it inflicts deep wounds, wounds, however,  that He alone can repair! My feelings, now, change
from hour to hour and minute to minute, if I allow my life to be moved along by feeling I will never experience anything worthwhile.  The most horrid and difficult people I have ever dealt with, in or out of the Church, have been people who live by emotion and not commitment and principle.  What I can, also, say is that  I have experienced, and needed, more of God's forgiveness in the past three years than I ever imagined I might

Monday, May 16, 2011

Side Effects.

Well, they say you can have a break down bio chemically, genetically, or through a traumatic situation. I don't think I have had what you would think of as typical break down. But I think I have had some alteration to my system. I went almost 14 days with no sleep and  was also having severe migraines. I just went through the change of life that brings on many physical as well as, lets just say, "mental" changes, and the tremendous amount of stress we have been under the past 3 year years I think has played a role as well. They put me on medication which I was very apprehensive about because I am not a big fan of prescription drugs. My symptoms were just too severe for me to deal with anymore, or so I thought. The side effects of this medicine may be worse. It has corrected my sleeping, hot flashes and migraines but I am completely spaced out!  I cannot spell, which I am hyper sensitive about! Kenny and I got married and I did not finish college. I am usually an excellent speller. I can't spell CAT!   I go to speak and cannot think of the word. Or I will blurt out and start talking when someone else is talking! It is insane! As if my life is not stressful enough. Well my husband, Tom (I call him that when his not being as understanding  or sensitive as I think he should be), sat me down and wanted to know what in the world was wrong with me. "Angie I will be talking to you and you just take off on something else. Or you start doing something and get up and start something else..Or your not petting me enough . Bla bla bla." Well Tom lets see we have no income, no cash reserve, no gas in the bronco, I am in menopause and I am on anti-seizure medication. Do you want to see my head spin around? And he gave me advice about my blog! When he was writing his book I made one comment and good Lord you would have thought I shot his Momma. So I sat in my chair and thought about all the Moms that face these difficult situations, but face them by themselves. And I thought God please give me the strenght to never lose the ability to have joy in whatever situation I find myself in. It reminded of Paul and how he described his situation, "His grace is sufficient for me for power is perfected in weakness. Gladly I will boast about my weakness so that the power of Christ may dwell in me." He wasn't dwelling on his situation I think he was rejoicing over his weakness and the fact that God's grace empowers him to reign victorious over those weaknesses. I think, as women, we led very secretive lives and by doing that we live very lonely and secluded lives. I know myself, I am far more effective when I am forced into a situation I am not comfortable with. If Gods grace was sufficient for a man who left his family, his home, was ship wrecked, imprisoned, stoned, and left for dead, I am confident His Grace can get me through the struggle ahead of us. My poor spelling, turrets, drifting off, lack of attention to my husband, side effects,head spinning, LOL, you get my point .........

The Yellow bird

Kenny slipped out of bed and closed the door quietly thinking I was asleep.As I lay there awake my attention was on a large ceramic urn that I had placed branches in and clipped these beautiful yellow song birds onto. They are so delicate and frail yet I see such a strength and confidence in them. It brought my mind to a very dark and low day in my life. We were about a year into this new chaos.Coleman had put his shoes on  that morning and they were way too tight. I felt my throat tighten my heart pound and anger build in my heart. I met Kenny for lunch and I don't think we had talked about anything of any importance and our  conversation had gotten very surface. Our fear had consumed us. And somehow by speaking those fears out loud to each other it validated them. So my outlet had become my Bible and fasting. And to my shame it had been years since I had fasted.  God has a way of bringing us back to places we need to be. I had prayed the same prayer over and over and had seen nothing change, only get worse. I had a lady who for years had helped me in the house and had became a dear friend. She was not from this country, she said, "Aunngie, u life is going down down down!" And she was right, that is, from all outwardly appearances. I left that restaurant and could not drive home and sit in my house and be prisoner to my own mind. So I went and sat in my Denali  and parked.  I thought God we have built our lives on your principles but we also have built our life on life insurances, 401 K, IRAs, Annuities, health insurances........ the list goes on and on. But sometimes you can do everything right and things still turn out bad. . It is just meant to be. The church doesn't like to speak of these things but trials are not a sign of punishment. I have been told by Church's that my story is not a feel good story with a happy ending. Well I disagree! We are intact as a family, Kenny and I will be married 27 yr the 26 of May, so I think that is a "feel" good story. It is not a get rich story, but it is a story of hope and the redeeming power of God's loves for us. Somehow in this life we have built our churches on the prosperity message saying come to God and everything will be perfect; NOT! What about  the family that sits on the pew week after week who the father is beating the "h..." outta the Mom?  Week after week she prays, week after week and nothing changes.. What does the prosperity message do to her soul.? So God today I ask you to meet my need, not tomorrow or the next, but today. I thought about the Saints who built theirs lives on the principles of the Bibles. Faith. I began to reflect on the miracles I had been taught as a little child and I had taught my children, and slowly my strenght began to come back to me. At that  moment a sparrow flew in and landed on my mirror on the door of my truck (my window was down) and in his mouth was a piece of tree bark that was dripping with tree sap..This was the most beautiful bird I had ever seen and he was Fat. He dropped the piece of bark and looked into my eyes and the words of Jesus resonated in my mind. Do not worry about your life what you will eat or drink or wear. The birds of  the air don't store away food , the heavenly Father feeds them. Who by worrying can add one day to their life. Another life altering moment, and from that day on, I still have that little piece of bark to remind me over the next two years as we face far more traumatic experiences than I had faced up until that point.  My mantra has been the simplest of prayers 1.Our Father who is in heaven Holy is Your name, 2.Your Kingdom live in my heart  3.Your will be done in my life 4 Meet my need for TODAY.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The relentless search

I came  down the stairs in our  converted 5100 sq ft barn home, noticing the unfinished floor loving every inch of it imperfections and idiosyncrasies. I sat in my chair with my Bible and my coffee and glanced over and saw a chair that brought an obsession I had hoped once we came through this I would
be able to leave behind. You see when I walked into this house I went into mental or visual overdrive. I am a OCD type person when it comes to color or images or decorating, also with scale and symmetry. And, yes, that can be a talent, but can also be a force that can drive your life! I remember Kenny had  to go somewhere for the weekend and when he got home  I had painted straight for 2 and half days. I had tunnel vision! It did not make for a very nice person! Well this house is a decorators  DREAM COME TRUE!!!! But the other 99% of  people who looked at it ran! As I walked thru the house and the property my adrenaline was at its max! I remember as we drove away Isabella said, "Mom that house was scary". And Wyatt said, "Mom you can make anything look good." Cole said, "Yes she does it all the time. No biggie." I  felt like superwoman, but also a little scared because I had no budget. "Budget" that's funny, Kenny has a saying, when I say something really outrageous, "Woman your funny", especially when I have a certain "tone",  well I was hearing that tone. Their was no budget, I didn't even have the deposit or the first months rent,  the light deposit, let alone cable or a landline. One of those defining moments. But my little mind had colors, light fixtures, sitting arrangements, who got what bedrooms and whose bathroom was whoms. Now remember Kenny was 5oo miles away. Ok back to the chair I see to my right. I had gotten a new black table. I had searched for weeks at our 6th Ave house. I wanted one that was BIG because I love to have people over for dinner. Gathering at someones house for dinner and sitting around the table and visiting. It was a heritage from my Granny, one of hospitality and self-sacrifice, and it was what I, absolutely Loved.  I had people over at least a couple nights a week if not more. This seems to be a lost art that is so wonderful about my Southern roots. So I had picked out all the chairs I needed one by one and needed only one more. But I could not find the one with the right scale. Saying all that I looked at that table and remembered all the hours we spent at that table laughing and loving people. The money I had spent shopping. I had spared no expense. It made no difference who the guest was.  The hours I had spent that day cooking and baking for our guests. Things no one saw. I loved it. I loved to find out what my guests loved to eat and surprise them with their favorite meal. Then I had another guest who hadn't come for a meal. This guest I found downtown, at the lake sleeping on a bottle, later I come to know as Mr Charlie. Then there was the Hungarians nun who had a genetic disorder that caused sores to rise all over her face and made her have to shave her head. She, too,  would become a part of our family. She would have no heat in the winter, live off less than 200.00 a month and get no social service help. Her life was dark and sad. Our home was life and a place of refuge to her. My table was set with my best dishes fresh flowers from my garden and we dressed for dinner for Ms Eve the same as if we we entertaining the Governor. Status didn't matter in our home. Many, many days at that table I had put together baskets of toiletries for my friends I had met at the lake (homeless friends). That table meant far more than a color or scale. So as I reflect on the mission I was on to find that chair I have to thank the Lord for the compassion He has given me for opening my home to the broken and less fortunate. My Granny for having a humble, but warm and loving, home that anyone felt welcome in. For serving people, a talent she had passed to me. A talent I loved. I met the Landlady the next day and she said, "Honey I cant explain it but your shear enthusiasm rented you this house. Where did you come from?!" She thought Georgia when I dropped the "yall" bomb. I said,              "Almost south Georgia, Tallahassee." And she said, "I will keep the utilities in my name until you can make other arrangement!" God is faithful at times when we are not even able to believe. I had not even told Kenny about the house the first day because it was so ridiculous to even consider. So 3 days later we moved our mattresses in the living room and me and the children began a healing that came through this house. And my OCD also began to heal LOL! More of that later to come....