The Best of Times...

...are now just in my memories. This is a picture of me and my Dad taken almost 8 months ago at my nephew's birthday party. It's hard to watch him deteriorate so quickly. A few of you have emailed asking about the latest news on him, so here goes...

Today he went to the Oncologist because one of his other doctors had suspected that the cancer had spread to either his liver or his bones. The good news is that both of those tests were negative...the bad news is that his PSA count is extremely high. He just completed 6 weeks of radiation and the Oncologist said that he felt it did little good. He thinks the cancer may have spread to the lymphnodes near the prostate. More tests have to be run to see if that indeed is the case. They have changed his medications to see if this will improve his condition.

To add to his list of "ailments" he has 2 herniated discs and cannot stand straight or for any length of time. The doctors are considering the best way to treat this problem, but temporarily have him on a pain patch and pain medication. Please continue to pray for wisdom for the doctors, strength for my mom and relief from pain for my Dad. I will continue to post updates.

Things that make you say...

There are many things that baffle me, puzzle me and just make me say "hmmmm." I'll share a few...

1. Why does Mr. Peanut wear a monocle? Does he only have one eye? Is he blind? Did he poke himself in the eye with that cane? And who wears spats anymore?

2. Why are objects in the mirror closer than they appear? Isn't driving dangerous enough without the tricky fun-house mirrors?

3. How come you can't get sesame seed buns in anything smaller than a 12 pack? You can get an 8 pack of regular buns, but I challenge you to find an 8 pack of sesame seed buns. What's up with that?

4. Why does the Hamburger Helper helping hand only have 4 fingers? How helpful is that? If he really wanted to be helpful, he'd have 6 or 8 on one hand.

5. Why do most lesbians look like men? Don't they hate men?

Well, those are just a few on a long list of things that make me say "hmmmmm..." Now let me hear some of yours!

You can catch more flies...

...with honey! I know you've probably heard that saying all your life, as have I. Although, I've never really practiced the concept. My nature (being Italian) is to come out swinging with both hands. I have never backed down, nor away from, any kind of confrontation. I'm sure that's not good for my health and it seems the older I get, the shorter my fuse gets, hence more stress, hence more headaches...etc.

Gary, on the other hand, is a master at letting things go. As I stated in a previous post, water off a duck's back! So, I decided I was going to test the concept. Without too many details, I've had a thorn in my side for several months now and was dealing with a situation that kept getting worse. The more I tried to fight it, the more it fed the beast!

"You can catch more flies with honey!" Gary kept saying to me. Alright, hon, I'll give it a shot and try it your way. Well, wouldn't you know...the beast is retreating and I think we might even have some semblance of a friendship blossoming.

Okay Gary, pay attention, you don't get this too were RIGHT!

...and I pay for this?

I just got back from the Doctor. I had a laundry list of things I wanted to talk with him about, the first being I'm turning 40 next month and I know there's nothing he can do to help that...but I feel like I'm falling apart.

Doc, about a week and a half ago I found a knot in my stomach and thought I ought to have it checked it serious? "No, I think it might just be a fatty deposit that has calcified. Keep an eye on it." And I pay for this? I don't need a doctor to tell me I have fatty deposits...I can see that in the mirror!!!

Doc, I have headaches every day and pop Excedrin Migraine pills like candy. "Stop taking the headache pills." And I pay for this? Are you serious? Yeah, so he informed me that a) taking too much over-the-counter medicines can cause bleeding ulcers; and b) that these pills aren't treating the headaches, they could be causing them. Hmmmm...doesn't make sense to me, but you're the professional!

He wrote 2 prescriptions...said to give him a month and he promised it would resolve my headache issues. Oh, and another more OTC medicines...period. So, I informed him that I probably wasn't going to be very happy with him the first couple of days, and my husband was probably going to be more unhappy with him...but I would trust him and give it a shot.

Oh yeah, one more piece of good news. "We want to see you in a month and get a complete physical." Sure thing Doc...I'll see if I can lose 50 pounds by then!

Drivin' me NUTS!

It's funny the things you start to notice and sometimes begin to miss when you move to a different area. When we moved here a little over 6 years ago from Georgia, it seemed like it was one big cow pasture. All the neighborhoods had no trees and hence, no squirrels. I kept saying to Gary, "why are there no squirrels in Alabama?" Not that it was keeping me up at night or anything... but I just thought it was odd that there was not ONE squirrel to be found! Well, after 3 years of living in a newer neighborhood, we were outgrowing our home and needed more room. We started searching different areas of town and realized that we could get much more house if we searched in the older areas. We immediately fell in love with this part of town because it reminded us so much of "home"....trees everywhere, dogwoods, azaleas...just beautiful! We found a house built in the 70's that had been almost completely remodeled. It's got a 20' wall of windows in the Great Room and we are surrounded by trees (not good for the pool...but that's another story!) After we moved in, it was so nice to sit in the Great Room and watch all the squirrels jump from tree to tree---we felt like we were at a cabin in the mountains. Finally! There are squirrels in Alabama!

Three and a half years later I'm wondering what it was I was missing about those pesky rodents! They dig in my flowers, leave their half-eaten nut shells all over our deck and I believe it's a contest between them to see who can beam me in the head the most with acorns from our back door to the car! It's true...I see them high-fiving each other like those squirrels on the Geicko commercials when they actually hit me with an acorn! They're drivin' me nuts! Our common-law married hippies that live next door would tell us we've invaded their space ...learn to live in peace with nature!

Yeah, yeah...go hug a tree and get outta my yard!

Separated at birth?

So, I still haven't been to see the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie, but anytime I see Orlando Bloom on any talk show or movie, it reminds me so much of my younger brother, Rodney. Not only do they look alike, they have the same mannerisms too. I don't have the best picture of him (had to enlarge a very small photo), but here's what I've got...check it out...

Whistling...Skipping...and Chasing Butterflies!

Yes, this is the world my husband lives in. The birds are always singing, the flowers are all in bloom and the most beautiful butterflies float by to say hello. He is always happy go-lucky...nothing bothers him...everything rolls off him like water off a duck's back. Trust me, I'm not making fun, I wish I could live in that world with him! Sometimes it drives me crazy that he doesn't get his feathers ruffled about anything and that he's so laid back, but if truth be told, it's one of the reasons I fell in love with him. He is my compass, my level. He's what keeps me going in the right direction and from going over the edge. They say "opposites attract" and we are definite opposites in every sense, but it's a good balance and a great partnership. He always makes me laugh and loves me more than I deserve. So hon, pick a flower for me, whistle a tune and chase those butterflies!

Man in the Mirror

This is my Dad. He is merely a reflection of the man he used to be. I wonder what he sees when he looks in the mirror. I wonder who he sees when he looks in the mirror. Does he see the "tough guy" Italian boxer he used to be? Does he see the officer that served in the Army and the Navy? Does he see the missionary that selflessly gave of his life to serve on the mission field in Brazil? Does he still see the preacher that said he will only retire the day he dies? Could it be that he sees the invalid whose body is giving out only second to his mind that dementia is stealing from him every day? I wonder, as he looks at himself in the mirror, which one of these men is staring back at him?

You see, my 79 year old father had a stroke several years ago, suffers with prostate cancer, diabetes and dementia. I believe the physical things would be easier to handle, it’s the mental that breaks my heart. He often speaks of his days in the military, and can recall names of those he fought and triumphed over in the boxing ring, but tell him of a family vacation, a special occasion, something as simple as what he just had for dinner and there is nothing but emptiness. Emptiness in the eyes that used to twinkle with mischief. Emptiness in the eyes that could change just as quickly from anger to love and forgiveness as the direction of the wind. My dad has always been the "go to" guy when it came to questions about the Bible. He could recall and quote more Scripture than anyone I’ve ever known. How could it be that all of that is lost? Is it not hidden in his heart? I choose to believe it is locked away in some corner of his mind in which he no longer has the key. For to me, he is still my Dad, the tough Italian boxer, the selfless missionary, the "go to" guy. Even though he is empty, those things live on in his children. Thank you, Dad, I love you.

Who do we see when we look in the mirror? Do we see a reflection of our Heavenly Father? Or is the image staring back filled with self-centeredness and pride? Do we mirror our Father’s example by practicing the Fruits of the Spirit? Sometimes I wonder what my Heavenly Father thinks when He looks at my reflection. I am so thankful His eyes are filled with unconditional love and immeasurable grace. Lord, help me to reflect You to a lost world. Let me be Your hands and feet.

A final is my mom’s 68th birthday. She looks great, so I’m sure she won’t mind me telling her age...she should be proud! We surprised her today with lunch, flowers, a cake, gifts, balloons, just to shower her with love and wish her a Happy Birthday. She has had to transition from wife to caregiver, a daunting task, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. She is tired. She doesn’t have time for herself or her needs, she is nurse to my Dad around the clock. Pray for her if you think about it. Just breathe her name (Marilyn) a few times a day and ask the Holy Spirit to give her strength, patience, guidance and wisdom. Mom, I love you. Thanks for all you do for our family and for taking care of Dad. Happy Birthday!

"You have not seen anything yet, master!"

I've been dogged by my blogger buddies over my lack of interest in the Space program. I have to say, my interest in the space program does not go beyond "I Dream of Jeannie" ...that's right folks! Read it and weep for me. Now, I'll be the first to admit there's something quite appealing about a man in uniform, whether military, astronaut, fireman, etc., but that's where it ends. Space walks, space station, the NASA control center, going to the moon, orbiting the earth...although those are all wonderful and incredible things in the area of space exploration, yawn, yawn, it's just something that does not interest me. I've been to the Kennedy Space Center when Zack was little and it was fun and I would go again, I just am not interested enough to stay glued to the NASA channel 24-7. Now, give me TV Land and a marathon of "I Dream of Jeannie" and I'll sit there all day and watch Major Nelson, Roger Healy, Dr. Bellows, Jeannie and throw in an episode or two with Jeannie's evil sister! I love it!

So, one thing led to another at dinner (over the best spaghetti in the world if I may say so myself), and Gary and I started talking about our favorite tv shows from when we were growing up. Before I knew it we were both singing the theme to "Petticoat Junction" and cracking ourselves up. That led to Green Acres, the Patridge Family and so on.......

Tell me some of your favorites.....Oh, I gotta go!!! They're replaying the shuttle landing for the FIVE HUNDRETH TIME TODAY!!!

WARNING! May cause excessive drowsiness!

I've been having headaches, pretty much every day for about the past month and a half. I pop Excedrin Migraine pills like candy and will occasionally throw in a Tylenol or Advil here and there. Yes, I know I need to go to the me the lectures, please! So, last night I decided to take Tylenol Nighttime Sinus---now that's some powerful stuff. I was asleep in no time and didn't give my headache a second thought. After a great night's sleep, I rolled over and rubbed my eyes and looked at the clock...WHAT??? 5 minutes 'till 12:00??? NOON??? Yeah, I slept right thru the alarm and right thru church. I hated it too, cause Gary was leading worship today (our M.O.M. is out of town) not to mention we have an awesome preacher! Oh well, at least my headache was gone.

Speaking of excessive cats are absolutely, positively good for nothing! They don't do anything but eat, poop, and when they get still, they fall out like they are exhausted! The orange cat is Aubbie, he's the neglected middle child, and the grey cat is Zoe, she's the spoiled brat--the baby. Just thought I'd share a few photos for those of you that might like cats...I've learned that people either love them or hate them...there is no in-between.


Yeah, that Foreigner song has been playing in my head all day today. I attribute it to a conversation Gary and I had earlier this morning about what qualifies as an emergency.

Webster defines it as:
1 : an unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for immediate action
2 : an urgent need for assistance or relief

According to Dave Ramsey (yeah, Gary's been reading the book and I hear I'm next), we should have an "emergency fund". So, I say..."what qualifies as an emergency?" Gary says an emergency would be our water heater giving out like it did last week. Hmmmm...I say an emergency is the root-rot I have going on with my hair color right now...he doesn't agree. In my book, my hair is calling for immediate action and is in need of assistance and according to Webster's, I've got them BOTH covered!!!

What do you think? Weigh in my sistas and help me convince Gary my hair situation IS an emergency!

Now there's something you don't see everyday!

An Asian with a southern accent! Gary and I just finished watching Henry Cho on Comedy Central. His show "Henry Cho -- What's that clickin' noise?" is absolutely hilarious! Maybe we're a little behind the times...well, I'm sure we are cause we live in Alabama, but this was the first time I've seen this comedian and he was very funny and CLEAN! I believe his DVD is being released July 18th...check him out if you get a minute!

High-Tech Redneck

My husband decided to separate "church" stuff and "personal" stuff on his blog. He's the Orchestra Director at East Memorial Baptist Church and has a blog site for it, but wanted to do a more personal one to stay in touch with out-of-town friends, etc. I love him...he's my redneck hubby, who is definately a "Mr. Fix It" around here, a die-hard Braves fan (yeah, he and Zack eat, sleep and breathe the Braves during baseball drives me crazy!), a pretty good cook WHEN he cooks, and head-honcho (at least we like to fool him into thinking that!)....

So, stop on by his new blog site and "sit and talk for a spell"....

One man's trash... another man's treasure! Gary and I are exhausted! We've been going from room to room, cleaning out "stuff" we don't need, and some things we've never even used to try to get ready for a yard sale. We've filled almost one side of our guest room already and still have many more rooms and closets to go. We really have some good stuff...a whole set of Mikasa china that I've never used, some kitchen appliances that were wedding gifts that we've never used (I won't name specifics in case any of you out there gave them to us! Yikes!), tons of Disney videos (sing-a-longs), ninja turtles videos, old game systems, Christmas dishes, mugs and glasses, stemmed drinking glasses, some fun outdoor entertaining plates and cups, a foos-ball table, and the list goes on and on. I really don't have the time nor the desire to do the Ebay thing. A few things would be fine, but this is entirely too much stuff. If any of you are interested in anything, let me know and I'll give you more info on what we have.

It's amazing how much "junk" we accumulate over the years and never even use. We are a very wasteful society when so many are in such need. And then there's my "pack rat" husband who keeps saying "are you sure you want to sell that?"..."do we really need to throw that away?" Arrghh! Serenity Now!!!

I blinked and now he's driving!

It seems that way, at least. It was only yesterday that I was watching him learn to roller skate on the driveway, get excited over Mickey and Goofy at a parade at Walt Disney World, play with Legos, pretend to shave with a toy shaving set in the tub. It was only yesterday that tears were streaming down my face as he went off to his first day of school. It was only last night that we put his first tooth under the pillow for a Blockbuster gift card (yeah, times have changed since the tooth fairy visited me!), and packed his Barney suitcase for his first sleep-over. He was just learning to drive his new, red motorized jeep around the yard. Now, I see him pull out of the driveway in his own "real" car. Where has the time gone? I certainly have not gotten any older! It's not possible that I have a 16 year old and I'm on the verge of turning 40. My baby has grown up into a fine young man. He's been a great student, he's accomplished many goals he's set out to accomplish, he just made Drum Major for our school's marching band. He has shown maturity and responsibility beyond his years. I am thankful for that...but I want the cuddle bug back! I want the toddler that couldn't wait to jump on my bed early on a Saturday morning to see what new adventures the day was going to hold for us. But, I guess it's an ongoing adventure. Around each corner lies another "milestone" in his life and in mine. Happy Birthday Zack...I love you and am so proud to be your mom!

Putting on the brakes...and learning to "wait"

I have to admit that I am a control freak. Yes, that's the first step...admitting it. When a situation arises, I want to take the "bull by the horns" and take control. I want a plan of action and an immediate resolution. The Lord has been chipping away this ugliness of pride. I'm learning that the control freak in me is nothing but pride. The "no one can do it better", "I've got the answer", "move outta my way and let ME handle this situation"...I'm not good at putting on the brakes and waiting on God.

Today's "In Touch" devotional (Charles Stanley) socked me in the gut. I thought I would share it for my new blogger friends that may need to pump the brakes as well...

The Requirements of Waiting
Psalm 27

Waiting on the Lord sounds easy. After all, we only have to pray and listen for His answer, right? The truth is that believers who desperately want to see a need met often find the process nearly unbearable. The next time God tells you to wait, remember these four requirements for keeping a steady vigil until He says, “Now go forward.” Believers must have faith, trusting in God even without knowing when or how He will resolve a situation.

And faith cannot function without humility. We must submit to the Lord with the recognition that there is nothing we can do except pause until further instructions come. Believers are far safer in this voluntarily helpless condition than in trying to figure out their own solution.

As soon as we begin to manipulate our circumstances—which is a demonstration of prideful reliance on self— we subvert the Master’s plan. The moment we realize that we could save ourselves pain or stress through some action that is not of God, we need patience, which is not an inborn trait. It is a decision to remain calm and quiet in a difficult situation. We will never make the choice to exercise patience unless we have courage. Friends and colleagues will freely offer advice about our situation. We must bravely wait when others say it is time to move. Fear of criticism is often the catalyst for believers to get out of God’s will.

Praying when we would rather be doing is hard. But we must be ready to hold steady faithfully, humbly, patiently, and courageously when God says, “Wait.”

I will lift up my eyes to the hills...

where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip--he who watches over you will not slumber; Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you--the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm--he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121

The Holy Spirit touched me in a mighty way today. I share an office with 2 other real estate agents at work, one is a dear friend of mine and the other is a "new" friend, who is also a minister. Following sales meeting this morning, we went to our office and my minister friend sat down and rolled his chair up to mine and grabbed my hands and said he could tell something was not right with me and he just wanted to lift me up in prayer. What a powerful moment as the Lord used this man's spirit of discernment to give me a fresh word from Him. As the tears flowed, I felt the warmth of the Holy Spirit reminding me that He watches over me and everything was going to be okay. Thank you, Lord for reminding me of this powerful truth.

I know we all go through various trials and sometimes we feel like we're right in the middle of the fire, or in the valley with no mountaintop in Psalm 121, memorize it, claim it and go forth with the assurance that the Lord will watch over you both now and forevermore.

The animals are lining up...two by two!

Well, our great room is currently flooded! Saturday evening I went downstairs to get something out of the laundry room and when my feet hit the bottom of the stairs...splash! At first, I thought my spoiled little brat kitty Zoe had decided to show me "who's boss", but then when Gary came down the other set of steps, same thing---flooded. So, we listened and heard water running behind the wall where our hot water heater is. Yes, you read right. The homeowner that lived here before us had sheetrocked in the area where the door used to be to access the hot water heater and he just put a small grill in the wall for ventilation. Several cuts and holes in the wall later, we found the shut-off valve for the water and the gas and proceeded to connect a water hose to drain the hot water heater. The shop vac wasn't quite doing the trick Saturday night, so Sunday Gary rented a steam cleaner. We used it all day and the carpet is still soggy----guess the 50 gallons had pretty much escaped before we discovered it. The plumber just left with our old hot water heater in search of a new one. Apparently it's a "special kind" (of course! We're the "worst case senario" poster children) and it's more expensive than regular ones. Interesting side note--the hot water heater was original to the house, 1973. Wow! She gave us a good run...guess I can't complain too much. So, I'm looking forward to a nice hot shower...going on 2 days now...does Febreeze work on body odor? ;-) Hope you're having a good day out there.

A Week in Paradise!

We just recently returned from Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands. This was a dream trip that we have been planning for a long time. I'm going to try to link the photos...

Pictures from Turks and Caicos


Show Me State...of Mind

Well, I never thought of myself to be one of "those" blogger people. I would always think, "who has time for this?"...but I found myself checking blogs of my friends, my hubby, my music minister, and so on and so on....and I thought, "well, I have time to read other blogs, why not start my own?" I don't consider myself a writer, so don't come here looking for anything profound. This will just be my outlet...sometimes to vent, maybe some "Deep Thoughts" occasionally, but mostly just a glimpse into my everyday life.

The title, well, for those of you that know me, it pretty well sums up my personality. I tend to question things alot, I don't believe in things easily. I have to see it for myself, study it myself, prove it to myself. Get the picture? A good friend of mine would always kid me by asking if I was from Missouri. I'm not really sure why I'm that way. I tend to distrust, I expect to be let down, and my glass is usually half empty. Wow! Debbie Downer! I really am a fun person to hang out with...I think...anyone out there care to comment? Okay, enough for now before this starts sounding like a personal ad!

Feel free to stop by anytime...cause I'll be checking you out too!
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