Large Family Happenings

Honoring My Lady and My Best Friend

Honoring My Lady and My Best Friend

Honoring My Lady and My Best Friend

Today, I am Honoring My Lady and My Best Friend. Every time I see this picture, my goodness this Lady is GORGEOUS in red! That was my favorite color on her. She is smiling because it was her 81st birthday and her “boyfriend,” aka Big Daddy, was taking her on a fish date. I was the third wheel because all best friends are great third wheels.

How She Loved Bart

She loved him so much. Even during a very trying time in our marriage, where she could have just said: “Leave him,” but she did not say that. What she did was carry my weary body into her home, place her beautiful hand on my hand and the other on my head, and prayed.

Then, she picked up the phone and called a trusted and amazing human. She briefly (and discreetly) said a few things and then hung up the phone. As she looked up at me with tears in her eyes and a smile on her face, she said: “It is going to be okay.”

In Time

It was, but during that “it time” part, she held me accountable in my words and actions. She also had another man work with Bart. Together, they walked with us through the mud. Our marriage is stronger because of the prayers and the advice that we received.

I miss her so much that I physically ache. Everyone should have a Ms. Jo. I mean everyone. Someone strong, not afraid to speak her mind, and loves so completely. I never doubted that she loved me. She never doubted that I loved her.

I Wish We Had More Time

We had little time, ten years maybe, not long enough. It is as simple as that. What started as me admiring grace and beauty (and her voice) moved onto noticing her beautifully crooked finger. Then it matriculated into me timidly requesting her to be my mentor. Quickly, followed by me sitting on her porch and squalling. I cried so bad that she said we were making the neighbors talk, and for the love of all to get in the house.

Next, it moved to me helping out here and there. Going to lunch and running errands. Lastly, it moved more into caregiving and sitting with my Lady. Many nights of me making supper and us eating it together while watching Jag. Cleaning. Oh my goodness, I cleaned things out. We looked at her billions of pictures, and I soaked up all her memories.

Find a Mentor

Talk to your church and see if you can set up a mentor/mentee program. It is so worth every moment! “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” Titus 2:3-5).

You will not regret it. I miss you, Lady. More than I can even describe. My best friend, person, mentor, accountability partner, teacher. I am so excited to see you again! Until we see each other again, in heaven, I love your face off!

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2 Years Have Passed

2 Years Have Passed

2 Years Have Passed

Welp, 2 Years Have Passed since my beautiful Lady saw Jesus (and Jerome) face to face.  Somedays, it feels like an eternity.  Then, there are days that the stinging pain is fresh.

Grief is a beast.

I have never been one that has been okay with the loss.  Like never have I been okay in the history of ever.  Never.  I try to be all mature and stoic.  Then, that moment when I am alone, it hits.

Overwhelming sadness and tears.  When I am alone, I can let my guard down and just mourn.  Boo says that I can’t cry because that would be like Superman with a broken arm.  It isn’t the norm and, to him, it isn’t okay.  He does not like to see me upset at all.

Frankly, none of my kids do and when I do get emotional, Big Daddy buys me something LOL.  I guess that is their way of “fixing” the giant hole in my heart that she left.  In a creepy way, I drive by her house.  I’m sickened with how they have let the yard go.  One day, there were mattresses on her front lawn.

Freaking.  Mattresses.

She would have NEVER allowed that.  Honestly, she would have strapped those things on my back like a pack mule and I would have hauled them out.  Or, in her fashion, she’d call her ‘boyfriend’ (Big Daddy) to come and get them.  In his true fashion, he would hop at her command.

Oh, she had a hold on him.  I loved how she loved him.  One day, she called me, in a panic.  I thought something was wrong.  She says get over there and I stop everything and go.  That was our thing.

Walked in on a Disturbed Lady

She was standing in the kitchen when I flew in and this was the conversation that we had:

L:  Look what was on my front porch and back porch!

**Holds up 2 baggies that had a letter and a mint in each baggie.  I get the baggie and pull out the letter.  It was an invitation to the KKK.**

Me:  Josephine…what on earth!  Did you hear anyone?

L:  No but I don’t have a gun anymore either so what am I supposed to do?  They must have seen your kids out here working in the yard.  Those **insert dirty words**.

Me:  What would you like me to do?

L:  Take that filth home with you.  Get it out of my house.

Me:  Yes, Ma’am.

L:  When are you bringing supper?

Me:  When I get it fixed.

L:  Are you eating with me?

Me:  I always do!

L:  Are the mints safe to eat or are they tainted with hate?

Me:  I vote tainted with hate.

L:  Shame, I love those mints.  See you soon.  Love you.

Me:  I love you more.

L:  That is not possible.

My Heart

So, now, recounting that…I’m going to have to go and cry now.  I’m alone, licked the cheese off a 1/2 a bag of Doritos, no one will see me…it’s all good.

Lady…until I see you again.  We are gonna make some Poke Salad, Cornbread, and fry some fish.  Plus, as a bonus, I can finally meet your Jerome.

I love your face off and I miss you every single day.

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Reflecting on a Moment I Won’t Soon Forget

Reflecting on a Moment I Won't Soon Forget

Reflecting on a Moment I Won’t Soon Forget

Reflecting on a Moment I Won’t Soon Forget.  This past Sunday, Big Daddy and I decided that we would go to church with my mama.  See, her Sunday School Class (the Empty Nesters), as collected money the past 2 Christmases and donated it to our fund for Louisville.  We put ALL donated money in a plastic money bag and we have marked it Lville.  We use this for gas, to and from, snacks, food, and hotel stays.  I made last year’s donation stretch quite a bit…almost until the end of the year.  This year, they surprised us and did it again.  We are so humbled and grateful.

Saying Thank You

My days are short and busy, so getting to the store to buy a thank you card seemed like an impossible task…also…I just didn’t know if I could find one that could do justice in expressing ourselves.  These people had never met us.  They have never met my son, they just know what my parents tell them and it is hard for our parents to understand the ins and outs of this life-altering thing that Hunter has.  I thought it would be best to personally go, introduce them to Hunter and the rest of my family and answer some questions, as well as, thanking them.

Donnie

We got there and their SS teacher, Donnie, stepped out in the hall.  When my crew walked in (everyone but my oldest daughter), the look of surprise on my daddy’s face and my Martha’s……that was a good moment.  After being introduced to everyone and them, so graciously feeding my kids LOL…I looked over and there stood my daddy.  With the fellas, drinking his coffee.  See, the thing is that, growing up my dad came for holidays, and if one of us girls sang.  That was it.  I never knew him to go to SS, he would slip in for those brief moments in a big church and then he would leave as quickly as he could.

Realization

In my adult life…I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen him in a church (except for weddings).  My mom faithfully has always gone…dragging her kids behind her 🙂  I was overwhelmed with the sight of him standing there.  He wasn’t there because he was forced.  Amazingly, he was there because he wanted to be there.  Surrounded by men and women, of God, who love him.  He CHOSE to go.  He drives by himself.

It is cold outside…like bitterly cold and since his medical issues (stroke 2 yrs ago and quadruple bypass earlier this year), he can hardly handle the cold.  Yet, there he stood.  With that grin on his face….taking it all in.  He has been in church since God shook him to the core about 11 years ago.  At that time, he fell in love with my mama again.  Also, he fell in love with God again.  His SS teacher is a retired cop, he knows the things my daddy has gone through.  He can sympathize and empathize.  They are like a little match made in heaven.

Jesus

I am in awe of the goodness of Jesus.  I’m blessed to have parents who love each other.  I saw my daddy….in a Sunday school class….because he *wanted* to be there.  My heart.  My parents have stood in front of me protecting me from the world, besides me as I made tough decisions, and behind me to hold me up when I start to fall.  They have done anything that I’ve asked of them and then some.  I can never repay them.

My rainbow is growing 🙂

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My Oak My Mama

My Oak My MamaWhen I think of an oak tree

My Oak My Mama

I think of being little and standing next to the giant oak tree in our yard.  It was *so* big around that I could not wrap my arms around it.

I remember looking up at it and seeing it touch the clouds.  The *giant* limbs standing firm in the wind, while the little limbs sway back and forth.

I can still see the beautiful leaves that protect me from the sun.  I also vividly remember the life living on and around it.  The ants and critters crawling up the massive trunk of this tree.

Then, when I look down, I am standing on the roots.  These roots are so big, that they are bulging out of the ground.  I can follow the roots from the base of the tree, for as far as they reach.

There are many days, I stood in awe of the beauty of this massive living thing that God created.

This mighty tree may bend, but it never breaks.

Our oak tree provides shade in the summer.  It loses its leaves in the fall…..old things pass away.  By the leaves dying….it allows the sun to shine through the branches and provide heat on a cold day.  In the spring, new life forms and it begins again.

The circles of life in this tree.

My favorite tree.

A tree of strength, honor, and consistency.  An oak tree to lean on in hard times.  This oak tree simply brings me joy at just the sight of it or the rustle of the leaves.

I would like to introduce to you my Oak my Mama

Thank you, Mama

For loving me without abandon and giving me solid roots.

Thank you for being that big, sturdy branch, while I flopped around in the wind.

You led me to Christ through your faithfulness in your walk.

Also, for leading me back to Christ when I wandered off and got lost.

You have always loved my husband and my children.

Thankful that you have never judged but were consistent with your faithfulness.

For showing me love when I was unlovable.

You have taught me values and stood up for me.

Mama, you rescued me, rocked me, and baked with me.

For your fried chicken, mashed potatoes, macaroni & cheese, green beans & potatoes, and lima beans.

You, my Marth, have been a living, breathing example of a Proverbs 31 woman.

You, my sweet Martha…..are Oak Tree.

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Praying for our Children

Praying for our Children

Praying for Our Children

Take this month for your children.  This month, we will be Praying for our Children.  It is so needed in this day and age.  Kids are bombarded by so much more than I did when I was a child.  The closer we get to the Lord returning, the more trials they will encounter.

Week 1

1 SALVATION
Lord, I pray that my children would obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
2 Timothy 2:10

2 GOD’S GRACE
I pray that my children may grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 3:18

3 LOVE
Father, grant that my children would learn to live a life of love, through the Spirit who lives in them.
Ephesians 5:2

4 INTEGRITY
Lord, may integrity and uprightness protect my children because their hope is in you.
Psalm 25:21

5 SELF-CONTROL
Father, help my children not be like many others, but to be alert and self-controlled in all they do.
1 Thessalonians 5:6

6 LOVE FOR GOD’S WORD
Lord, may my children regard your Word as more precious than gold and sweeter than honey.
Psalm 19:10

7 JUSTICE
God, help my children to love justice as You do and act justly in all they do.
Psalm 11:7 & Micah 6:8

Week 2

8 MERCY
Oh Father, grant that my children would be full of mercy and compassion as you are Lord.
James 5:11

9 RESPECT
Lord, help my children to show proper respect to everyone, as Your Word commands.
1 Peter 2:17

10 SELF-ESTEEM
God, help my children develop strong self-esteem rooted in the realization that they are Your workmanship.
Ephesians 2:10

11 FAITHFULNESS
Let faithfulness never leave my children, but bind this virtue around their necks.
Proverbs 3:3

12 COURAGE
Lord, may my children always be strong and courageous in their character and their actions.
Deuteronomy 31:6

13 PURITY
Create in my children pure hearts, O God, and let that purity of heart be shown in their lives.
Psalm 51:10

14 KINDNESS
Father, I pray that my children would be kind to each other and to everyone else.
1 Thessalonians 5:15

Week 3

15 GENEROSITY
Lord, I pray my children would be rich in good deeds, generous, and willing to share.
1 Timothy 6:18

16 PEACE LOVING
Father God, help my children make every effort to do what leads to peace.
Romans 14:19

17 JOY
Heavenly Father, grant that my children would be filled with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 1:6

18 PERSEVERANCE
Lord, teach my children to persevere in all they do and help them run with perseverance the race set before them.
Hebrews 12:1

19 HUMILITY
God, please cultivate in my children the ability to show true humility toward all.
Titus 3:2

20 COMPASSION
Holy Father, I pray that You would clothe my children with the virtue of compassion.
Colossians 3:12

21 RESPONSIBILITY
Lord grant that my children would learn to be responsible, for each one should carry his own load.
Galatians 6:5

Week 4

22 CONTENTMENT
Father, teach my children the secret of being content in every situation, through Him who gives them strength.
Philippians 4:12-13

23 FAITH
Lord, help my children to fight the good fight of faith, taking hold of the eternal life to which they were called.
1 Timothy 6:12

24 A SERVANT’S HEART
God, help my children develop servants’ hearts, that they may serve wholeheartedly.
Ephesians 6:7

25 HOPE
God of hope, grant that my children may overflow with hope and hopefulness by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

26 PATIENCE
God, strengthen my children with all power, so that they may have great endurance and patience.
Galatians 5:22

27 PASSION FOR THE LORD
Lord, I pray my children’s souls would pant for you as the deer pants for streams of water.
Psalm 42:1

28 WISDOM
Father, I pray my children would ask and that you would generously give wisdom to them as you promise.
James 1:5

29 PRAYERFULNESS
I ask that my children would be committed to prayer, and not faint, lose heart or give up.
Luke 18:1

30 GRATITUDE
Lord, help my children to live lives that overflow with thankfulness, always giving thanks to You.
Ephesians 5:20

31 BOLDNESS
I pray that my children would fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel of Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 6:19

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