Wednesday, December 23, 2015

waiting is so very hard...

how many of us really like to wait?  i mean, let's face it... we do not like to wait at the doctor's office, in traffic, or even in the ever-so convenient drive thru, but we all have to.  it does not matter what you may be waiting on, chances are you don't like this season.  you could be waiting on a job, a clean bill of health, a child, a spouse, and so much more.  i have been really praying for God to help me do the wait well, but i promise you some days i do and some days i am a complete failure.

if you know me at all, you know my season of waiting is for a spouse and to be a mom.  two years ago for mother's day, my sweet and precious moma (i realize she taught me to spell that weird) gave me the sweetest card.  the words in this card meant more than she will ever know.  she talked about how sometimes in life things don't turn out as we planned, but that just because i wasn't technically a "mother," that did not mean i didn't mother every chance i got.  she had specific examples like the toddler room kiddos, my sister and cousins, to friends, and so many more.  it is true, i have felt since a very young age that i was called to be a mom.  i cannot tell you how much my heart longs for that, but until that time, i want to do the wait well.

there are very few people who read this, but for those that do or those that happen to see this, i hope it encourages your heart.

here are my ways of "attempting" to do the wait well...

1. surround yourself with encouraging friends and prayer warriors.  in all seriousness, i could write a small novel on this one, but it is truly the biggest blessing in my life.  no doubt, God's plan has made me single pretty much my entire adult life.  sometimes, i am truly embarrassed to say how long, but it is part of my story.  one thing that God has not held out on me though, for which i am so unbelievably thankful, is good friends.  now, i am not talking about just people to hang out with.  most of my friends go out of their way to love me so well.  this is not meant to only praise certain ones, but let me give you a few examples.  i had a good friend pray for me at a certain time every hour for a whole day.  all day long at work, i got emails of her prayers for me.  like really, how encouraging is that?  other friends simply send a text after a message at church, that says, was thinking of you today... they just know me so well and know that my heart needed to hear that.  just acknowledging that mother's day, family day at church, or another wedding, really may be hard for a single girl at 33.  i have a 2nd family in charlotte, that has taken me in and treats me like one of them.  i have dinner at their house on a weekly basis and just hang out for hours on end.  my love language is time, so the fact that they let me come over all the time and let me simply do life with them, means more than I could ever say.  they are truly the biggest blessing to me, and conveniently live 5 minutes from me:)  i have other friends that text in the middle of the night when they are up feeding their newborn, saying we prayed for you.  lastly, a lot of my friends, and i mean a lot, have littles... so they let me take them for fun adventures, to lunch, to games, etc.  yall, for real, my friends love me so very well.  i promise, i do not take that for granted, and i am so very thankful for each and everyone of you.

2. do things that make your heart happy and joyful.  for me, specifically, kids and their infectious joy make me so unbelievably happy.  i absolutely love being around kids, so i volunteer when i can.  i watch the toddlers at church every sunday, and it is by far one of my favorite hours of the week.  i feel so close to God when i am loving on these precious toddlers (is that even possible to say in the same sentence, "precious" toddlers, haha).  they are cute as they can be, wild as they can be, and so much fun when they start learning to talk!  another thing that makes me joyful is the country of haiti.  again, I could write a novel about Haiti.  this section is not to praise my good deeds or how much I volunteer, but I am telling yall Haiti makes my heart so happy.  I have been going now for about 5 years (crazy), and the people... I just can't... they are the highlight of every trip.  these families and people live in complete despair, but I promise you they are the most joyful.  one thing I have always taken away from these trips, is how thankful they are for what they have, not what they don't.  I mean, most of the people we meet in the villages, do not have running water, so they have to travel nearly 30 minutes one way for water.  we cannot even grasp this type of living here in America, but it is their harsh reality.  lastly, campCARE is the other place where I have found such happiness.  if you know me well, you know it is my absolute dream to go back to school to be a nurse or PA for pediatric oncology patients.  there are many factors as to why I have not taken the giant step and gone back, but mostly for financial are the questions that flood my mind (how will I go to school full time and not have a real income/salary?  do I really want to be in my mid-thirties in school to be a RN?  my prerequisites would have to be re-taken because I have been out of school too long, even though I have a BS in Biology.... and the list could go and on).  I have always found peace in knowing that God has provided so many ways for me to volunteer/serve/give back.  A few years ago, a friend told me about CampCARE.  it is a week long camp for kids that have cancer, have had cancer, and their siblings.  this camp is quite possibly my favorite week of the entire year.  I have been two years in a row, and I absolutely look forward to it so very much.  the friends I have gained and amazingly resilient kids I have met, are the biggest blessings in my life.  this is a week, where I get to do something small, but mostly have a blast with the most amazing kids.  all of these things, and so many more, help remind me that I don't need to focus on being single, but yet praise HIM that I have the opportunity to do all of these things.
3. stay close to Him and read the Word, lots.  i'll be the first to admit that I struggle sometimes to even pray for a husband or to be a mom, because I feel like a broken record.  I know God knows, and He gave me this desire, so why should I repeat myself over and over again.  I have come to realize that He wants to hear from me, wants to hear my prayers, and my desires, even though he already knows them.  He wants me to want to spend time in prayer with Him.  (one thing that has really helped me in my prayer life is my prayer board.  again, no praise to me at all, but seeing Him answer prayers that my family and friends have, is seriously such a great reminder).  I have found little devotions go a long way for me, so I love the First5 app, Jesus Today, Jesus Calling, and books on how faithful God is.  If you are struggling with the wait or timing of God's plan, please let me pray for you, grab a devotion, or join a bible study.  There are so many amazing ways God reminds us that He loves us, so dig in.

I don't claim to be an expert, and goodness my friends can tell you that I have some absolutely awful days.  Some days I handle things better than others, but some days the latest pregnancy announcement is enough to send me over the edge.  usually a good cry, you know like the ugly cry, will do a girl some good.  I wish this was not part of my story, and I wish my friends did not have to hear about it all the time, but God love them, they do.  I cannot tell you how important #1 is.  it is truly how I get through this crazy thing called life. 

I pray as the holidays are here, that if you are single that you will be reminded that you are so very LOVED.  I pray if you are struggling with the wait (for whatever it is), that you will be encouraged that His Will is always better than our plans. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

My Heart is Still There...

So, as many of you know, I just returned from my 6th trip to Haiti.  To say that I have completely fallen in love with this country, would be an understatement.  I remember back to my very first trip, and how I was in so much shock, that I was actually looking forward to getting back.  I think I needed time to process, but now, I am never ready to come back.

A lot of my trips, I have returned with a theme or reminder that God has revealed. This time, I think there were a few, but one of the biggest was "break my heart for what breaks yours."  There is always the resounding reminder that these are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and we are all the same in His eyes.  I absolutely love that while walking through the village, you see people doing laundry, washing dishes, or taking a bath.  While it may look different in the states, these are still hard working people.  I love the chance to get to help, although I know we don't do it nearly as good as they do.  For example, while in Minoterie this past week, Suzanne and I offered to help wash clothes with two younger girls.  I jokingly had the translater ask them if they were going to rewash the clothes we were doing, and their response was laughter and "oui."  We all starting laughing, because we knew we were not doing it like they were. They scrub every detail of the clothes and they really are more clean than what some of our machines in the states do. 

So, many of you have probably heard me talk about the Kerleys.  They are one of the biggest blessings in my life, but what you may not know is that I really got to know them on my June 2013 Haiti trip.  On that trip, we served in Leveque all week, and sweet Hannah (or HB) fell in love with this sweet little girl Segline.  Every single day, HB would carry Segline around and she would fall asleep on her.  It was the truly sweetest thing.  Lynn and Hannah were on this trip, so they were most excited about heading to Leveque, because it holds a special place in their hearts (well all of ours).  So, as soon as we got done with the tour of the school, we walked up to the playground.  (Sidenote:: Last February when I went to Leveque, I did not see Segline, only her sister Sashu).  I was praying that sweet little Segline would be there, and guess what... SHE WAS.  This little girl comes running up to HB, and Hannah looks down and then Lynn realizes it is her.  I have it on video, sweet, sweet moment.   Hannah got to hold her the whole time we were there, which was so precious.  You should have seen the smiles, heard the giggles, and experienced the joy in that moment; I know I will never forget it:)

Feb 2015
June 2013

So thankful for her and that we got to serve in Haiti for a week together:)

This trip started out different, as many of our team members nearly dropped out for one reason of another.  We had so many examples of how Satan tried to get people to stay home and not serve God in this beautiful country, but in the end the six of us that made it there knew God had won - and always does.  Our first village day didn't start out the way it was supposed to.  On a typical Monday morning at MOH, you are getting ready for either a village day or work day.  Campus was busy that morning, but not with people getting ready to leave.  We were all called to the roof top for a meeting.  They told us that there was a public transportation strike in Haiti that day.  While private vehicles were still allowed to pass the protests, they did not want to jeopardize Mission of Hope's reputation in the villages, so they decided to keep us there.  They said the protests were cival, where kids were actually playing soccer in the streets, but they just wanted to respect what the Haitians were doing.  Gas prices everywhere else had dropped significantly (I think back home it was around 2.00 before we left.)  Unfortunately, in Haiti, it was nearly $5/gallon.  The Haitian government was keeping the difference, so they needed to take a stand.  A lot of us were pretty bummed at first that we would not be leaving campus, but in the end God knew what He was doing.  Many of us had been super stressed and busy before leaving for this trip; we needed REST.  That day turned out to be such a gift to many of us.  For the first time in months, I was able to sit and be still and God knew I needed that.  I laid in my enu (hammock) and journaled, studied, listened to praise music, and soaked up every minute of the beautiful weather Haiti was having that week.  I cannot even tell you how peaceful that day was.  We felt as though we had come to Haiti to do for others, but really God wanted to do for us.  He is REALLY that good, all the time:)
you know you love someone when you share an enu with them:)

The next morning, we all woke up hoping we would get to go out, but quickly learned the strike was still going on.  It was not as intense on Day 2, but school was still canceled.  We were told we definitely could not make it to our sponsored village, but that we could visit another one.  So, we loaded the buses and headed to Minoterie.  I had been to this village once before, and I was excited to go back.  We arrived there and immediately started visiting with families the village champions pointed us to.  The very first house we approached there was a woman, her baby, and a young boy, Vildelson.  Eventually the dad came up, so our team was visiting and talking to them through our translators.  We found out that sweet Videlson had lost his mom that morning.  She literally passed away that morning.  To say that our hearts broke for this sweet 11 year old, would be an understatement.  Ashley, one of my dearest friends, immediately bonded with him.  We ended up having to leave for lunch, but were coming back afterwards.  When we got back, they dropped us off at a huge open field of gravel and dirt.  There were already kids playing, so we were excited to play with them.  Ashley felt God tugging at her heart, so she went back to get Videlson, to see if he wanted to play.  He ended up joining us, and Ashley was able to get him to smile a few times.  It was one of the sweetest moments watching him play like a kid and hopefully for a few minutes not being sad about the events of the morning.  We took a jump rope, and it was great to watch the girls jump and count how long they did.  Hannah and I painted some of the kids nails, and it was nice to just be around so many of the sweet kids in this village.  About 30 minutes before we were about to leave, a dad stopped by and was holding his precious little boy, Wilkie.  By the way, Wilkie was only 4 months old.  I saw this baby, and as you can imagine, had to go hold him.  He was the cutest thing I have ever seen.  The.cutest.  I got to hold him for about 15 minutes, and I was in Heaven.  Hannah got lots of great pics, and then she got to hold him as well.  Between the two of us, I am pretty certain we wanted to take him back with us, like for real.  Enjoy the pictures:)  That night we went to church, and even though some of the songs were in Creole, they played songs we all knew in English.  There is just something about worship music and how close I feel to God when it is playing.  I honestly imagine Heaven being similar to worship night at MOH.  The Haitians are singing in creole, while the North Americans are singing in English.  It is just a sweet, sweet sound.

the most precious baby ever.

Ashley and Videlson

Sweet Lynn and friends in Minoterie:)

The next day, we woke up and the strike was over.  I found out that I was going to get to see my sponsor child, Brina.  I was super excited to see her again, as last year, she was a little hesitant of the whole situation.  I had been praying that she would be a little more relaxed and comfortable, but knew that God had it all worked out.  So, before heading out to our painting project for the day, we went down to MOH school so Guy and I could meet our sponsor kids.  I don't think I ever got around to blogging about my experience last February, so bare with me.  Last year, right before we went to Haiti, I got a call telling me that the little girl I sponsored (Ruthcine) was no longer attending school, so they needed to change my sponsor child.  I was a little bummed, because I had already purchased Ruthcine some things and wanted to meet her, but I just had to trust.  The school assured me that Brina needed sponsorship and that if Ruthcine ever enrolled in school again, I could sponsor her as well.  With the sponsorships, we pay 80% and the family is expected to pay about 20%.  Unfortunately, when the family cannot pay that, the child has to drop out of school.  At MOH, they want to give the parents some type of ownership, so they pay what they can.  Brina was 3 years old, and I knew it would be hard for her to understand who I was, but I love little kids, so I was ready.  When they brought her down the side walk, she looked terrified.  They said that it was probably overwhelming seeing a group of white people sitting down in front of the church for someone so little.  I had the translator with me, and gave her a few things I had taken with me.  One of the things in particular, was a pair of pink ruffle leggings.  She saw those and immediately picked them up.  Brooke, the sponsorship coordinator, told her that we could put them on her.  We did, and then Brooke asked her to pose.  It was the most precious thing ever.  So, back to this year.  I have sent her a few letters throughout this past year, but truly did not know if she would remember me.  As they turned the corner at the sidewalk, she remembered and actually ran towards me.  That moment was so special to me.  To think that a sponsorship of 35 dollars a month, one meeting, a few letters, in a year and this sweet little tiny thing remembered me.  I was elated.  I had a backpack of things for her this year, and when we handed it to her, the translator said, " she remembers you gave her the pink pants."  I.cannot.even.  I got to hang out with her for a good ten minutes.  She even gave me a kiss on the cheek.  This was one of the highlights for me, on this trip.  I hope, more than anything, that sweet Brina knows she is loved and prayed for often.
Sweet Brina in Feb 2014

Brina in 2015
After child sponsorship visits, we went to Source Matelas, and painted a house.  On our ride out there, I was sitting on the water cooler in the canter.  I was sitting beside a sweet elderly couple, and started talking to them.  The husband's name was Max.  He was probably in his late 70's, early 80's.  I found out that it was his first time in Haiti, but his wife, Nancy's 7th.  They were sharing stories with me about their life, etc.  Max reminded so much of my grandfather.  He looked very similar, and even had a funny personality just like Pop.  I had on sunglasses, and I am so thankful I did.  I completely lost it.  While I knew my grandfather was going to pass away, it doesn't mean that I don't miss him.  You think you are doing okay dealing with your grief, and then in the middle of Haiti on a canter, it just hit me... My grandfather was gone from this earth.  I could not stop the tears.  It was like God wanted to give me a little dose of Pop in the country I love most.  I had to have a moment to regroup.  I truly enjoyed getting to know him, and was thankful by the end of the week that sweet Max was in Haiti at the same time as us.  When we got back to MOH campus later that day, Lynn told him that he reminded me of my grandfather that had recently passed, Max's response... "Wow, what an honor."  Don't worry I lost it again, but quickly gathered myself.  Another little blessing in disguise. 

We painted two homes that day; I played with kids at the second house, as we had "too many cooks in the kitchen."  I was happy to sit with kids on my lap and sing Jesus Loves Me:)  At the end of the day, we took the brushes down to the water source and were cleaning them.  A little boy came and sat beside HB and started helping her.  After the brushes were clean, he took his fingers, and started trying to get the paint off of HB's arm.  Sometimes it is hard for me to put things into words; this is one of those moments.  After she stood up, he bent down and strapped her shoes.  Here we are, in their country, thinking we came to serve them, and they serve us.
On Thursday, we had plans to go to the village that morning and do community health lessons with families and in the afternoon we were going to pamper the kitchen staff ladies.  We went out to Source Matelas that morning, and used glitter to show germs to the kids and how easily they spread.  We then showed them how to was their hands and get the "germs" or glitter off.  We even played Shake It Off by T.Swift for added affect:)  They just shake their hands dry, no towels needed:)  It was such a cute lesson and the kids all loved it.  We also showed them how to brush their teeth.  We had a chance to ask about their families and their health.  We collected data for MOH, who is trying to map coordinates and identify ways to help families in need. 
When we got back to the campus, we were ready to pamper the kitchen staff ladies:)  Brandi, the intern, told us multiple times how excited they were.  Unfortunately, it was one of the busiest days, so they did not have a whole lot of time to sit and relax.  We were all working on different ladies to help get all of them finished, because they were busy preparing the fried chicken for that night.  We only had one translator, so he was busy.  We would ask them all if they were married, had kids, what they liked to cook, and what we could pray for.  Wouldn't you know the first lady I get was the only one not married out of all of them.  When I asked if she was married or had kids, the answer was no.  I had the translator ask if she wanted to be.  She replied, "Oui" (yes).  Her face lite up and she smiled so bright.  I had the translator, Jeffney, tell her that I too am not married and do not have kids, and I want to be.  She smiled so big at me; like there is someone like me!  I love how this happens so often to me, and I am honored that I got the opportunity to pray for my sweet sister in Christ, Sofnia.  I gave her a big hug, and still think of her often. 
HB and Suzanne praying with a kitchen staff lady:)
I could write for hours upon hours about my trip, my love for Haiti, and so much more, but I am trying to wrap up, so that some of you will actually read to the bottom.  I will share my last story.  Upon our return, we have been cleaning my grandparents house.  I knew in my heart that no one else could have my grandmother's sewing stuff, so I asked if I could have it.  My uncle, aunt, and mom were happy for me to have it.  I started sewing lessons two weeks ago.  After the first lesson, the teacher simply recommended that it might be easier for me to learn on a machine that is newer.  At first the thought of not using Mom's was upsetting, but I prayed about it.  After I got home that night, I was talking to Paige and we thought of Mission of Hope:: Three Cords.  So, I had a sewing machine my grandmother got for me in 2007, but it is very hard to learn on, and then hers that was purchased in 2007.  I decided the next morning I would email MOH to see if they could use them.  Well, Brittany, who is on staff, responded and said that it was the biggest answer to prayers.  SAY WHAT??  I couldn't believe it.  I then emailed my mother and asked for her blessing.  I was having a hard enough time processing that I would give these two machines away, so I needed my Moma to say it was ok.  I just kept reminding myself that Mom would love that her machines are helping others that mean so much to me.  She never got to see my joy of Haiti, but I know she would be so proud.  Of course, my mother responded and said I had her blessing.  It was such a sweet moment and reminded me that God always provides.  I love that my grandmother's sewing machines will help the sweet ladies of Three Cords.
Thank you to everyone for the prayers for this trip.  I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you all encouraging me to go back, to ask about my trips, and simply letting me talk about it for hours!  I am heading back in July, and truly cannot wait:)
Our Team:: Feb 2015

Friday, January 2, 2015

2014 wrap up

so this is my wrap up from my goals of 2014.  major improvement i needed, but i am blessed and thankful for this life.

1. go on a fun vacation, a trip for fun, somewhere for relaxation - well, i didn't go somewhere new, but i did go to florida with my mom for a long weekend away!

2. lose 25 pounds, lofty goal, but i need to be healthy, as i am not getting younger - yikes, i did not succeed, but i am starting a program on the 5th of january and it should kick start weight loss

3. exercise more. quite simple; just do it. - yes, carolina sweat has provided lots of new experiences and enlighten yoga with lynn, has been wonderful:)

4. learn to sew. stop saying it, learn and do. - dang, i am so bad with this one.

5. bad habit i need to break, no technology in my bedroom. - yeah... a work in progress

6. quiet time in the morning, which means wake up earlier. um... no, not good at getting up before 5:30 for bootcamp/exercise

7. go zip lining. still on the bucket list

8. spend more time with my grandfather. - oh man, i am so glad i did spend the time i did with him, because we lost him on 12/13/14.

9. be more intentional. -this is by far my biggest resolution for 2015

10. make my bed daily, as clean as i am, this is the one thing i do not do, ha (my mother raised me better) - yes, i HAVE improved

11. eat more veggies! -better start, haha

12. save more, budget better. - getting there.

13. HUGE GOAL:: try as hard as i can to stop buying clothes, i am doing a bible study and counted how many article of clothing and accessories i have, let's just say i cannot even type the number. it has to stop. - yeah, this is so unbelievably hard for me.

14. purge stuff, they aren't going with me when i leave this place. - i have been a lot better this year!

15. focus on growing in my relationship with God:: Being STILL. Trusting in HIS plan. - this is still a work in progress.

16. surprise people more, it is fun:) - yes and yes

17. drink more water. yes

18. go hiking, just that simple -still have not done this enough

19. read more, always a goal. - this was just dumb,

20. read my Bible more. don't give up, be intentional about quiet time. - it comes and goes in waves

21. go somewhere that i haven't been before. a new place. - nope:(

22. stop drinking coke again, we all know it has always been my vice. i stopped for a good two years, i can do it again. I CAN DO IT!!! - i did god for a while, but i need to get better at saying no.

23. look into going to Uganda, really God is stirring this in my heart. but truthfully, i want to go where He has called me. - didn't happen this year, but leading haiti trips:)

24. look into getting a dog. i go back and forth, but i think it would be nice to have a companion. i think i want to do rescue, and not a puppy, so it will be housebroken/trained. - well... so far NO has won out, but maybe just maybe

25. focus more at work, really strive to do better. last year wasn't my best in my role, so i want to really exceed expectations. i am so blessed to work for a great company. - i think i improved significantly this year

26. take adult gymnastics, really i want to do this. - still want to do this!!!

27. try a hot yoga class or yoga in general. - i absolutely love it, cannot wait to get back:)

28. would love to find a cheap way to do barre classes, I LOVED pure barre, but it was outrageously expensive. if anyone sees a living social or groupon, holla at this girl! - still too expensive:(

29. write in my journal more and blog more often. - UMMMM... NO

30. start a jar full of memories, praises, answered prayers, etc for 2014 and read on December 31, 2014 to reflect on the year

31. to live this year not letting my singleness define me, but by loving others and encouraging others who are single. this road gets lonely at times, but God has blessed me. i want to be a blessing and encouragement to others. -this is by far one of the hardest things, but i tried and feel at times i was successful and at times, i failed miserably. 

32. cook more, eat out less often. - haha.  yeah it is a struggle.  for real.

Monday, December 15, 2014

To the BEST Pop, We Love You

For those of you who do not know, I have had the privilege and honor of calling Ken Saine, my grandfather, or POP for the last 32 years. 
When people pass away, you always get the joy of hearing others share stories and memories of the person.  This has definitely been true over the past few days.  Quite a few things stick out in my mind, when I think of Pop, but I’m going to try my best to honor the amazing husband, father, grandfather, veteran, co-worker, and firefighter that he was.  Pop was dedicated and loyal to so many things including his Navy Ship and their Reunion, to the Boger City Volunteer Fire Department, his dry cleaning business and the customers, and being a family man.  Anyone who knows Pop, would tell you he had a great way of sharing old stories and making you laugh.  His mind was sharp, he was passionate, and he was a hard-worker.  He was so very proud of his grandchildren, but he was so thrilled when he got promoted to Great-Grandfather.  Something he said the other day, has resonated with me… He told someone this past week that he really hopes John Austin remembers him.  John Austin is not quite two, but I can promise you his children and grandchildren will remind John Austin of what a great man Pop was. 
He loved so many things, but one of the things to always stand out to me was how well he loved my grandmother.  They had so much fun together and truly were best friends.  She has been gone for 5 years, but he never wavered in his love for her.  They enjoyed beach music and shagging and I am pretty sure he taught all of his granddaughters how to shag.  They even showed us the dances in the kitchen.  They played golf, traveled, and enjoyed “the program.”  Not sure who made who watch the Young and the Restless, but Pop even watched it after Mom passed away.  This past Thanksgiving, I was driving him back home and he said, you know sometimes I will be sleeping and wake up and realize I was dreaming about her.  He said, “I think she has been gone for five years, but I still miss her.”  Luckily I had on sunglasses, and he couldn’t see that I was crying.  One thing is for sure, I want a love like theirs. 
He loved his kids and like any good dad taught them many different things.  My aunt Paula said one, time he tried to teach her how to drive a stick shift, and she got really upset and ended up choking the car in the middle of the road and ran inside the house.  He didn’t yell at her, he just got out and finished driving the car to the driveway.  Moma said he taught her how to ride a bike, and she was so scared he was going to let go, and kept yelling please don’t let me go, don’t let go… but little did she know he had already let go.  Moma also said that she took his car when she was 16 and had a wreck.  She was so scared he was going to be so mad at her because she was not where she told them she would be, but no… he just towed the car out of that creek.  Paula reminded Moma that he was only mad about the battery that turned over in the trunk and spilled battery acid on his fishing pole. 
Pop was the type of man that would help others, without asking for praise or acknowledgement.  Beth and Nicole lived beside my grandparents for many years.  Pop was the type of man that would run outside in his shorts and shotgun to scare off whoever was knocking on Beth’s door late at night.  As Beth said, I am sure Pop scared the mess out of him, so he took off.  He also mowed their grass many times; again helping her out, but really I am pretty sure he hated looking at grass that needed mowing, so he just did it.  Another neighbor of his mentioned a time when he told Pop he was going to start riding his bike, but first he needed a new cushioned bike seat.  The next morning, his neighbor got up and of course Pop (who would never take credit for it) had put a brand new cushioned bike seat in his carport. 
He really enjoyed giving back by being an active member of the USS Salisbury Sound Association and even served as the president for a while.  He looked forward to the reunion every year; it was definitely a highlight for Mom and Pop.  They visited so many places in the US on these reunion trips, and we all loved hearing his stories of how he got to reconnect with his Navy buddies.  He loved showing us pictures of the trip and telling us all about their adventures.  On one of the last reunion trips they were able to take, to Reno, they also celebrated their wedding anniversary.  I wish I could have been there to see this, but according to Pop, he had a dozen roses delivered to her at the reunion and the dance floor cleared when the DJ announced it was their anniversary.  My grandparents took the dance floor and my grandfather loved that moment.  He said, “She always was the best dancer.”  I’d like to imagine that Heaven’s gates created a similar scenario and he again was shagging to beach music with his beloved bride.
Another way my grandfather served and gave back was through his 50 plus years of serving as a Volunteer Firefighter and even retired Chief.  He was even President of the Board of Directors that aided in building the new station.  He put countless hours into this position and helping with the financing, but he was so proud once the building was completed.  He would gladly take any of us on a tour.  The other day, Louis Fletcher said, your grandfather was such a special man.  He said, “I’ll never forget the first day I met your grandfather… it was 1979.  He hopped in his first fire truck, and Pop said, “I’m Ken.  Who are you?  He impacted so many at the fire department.
Many of you know that Mom and Pop ran Boger City Dry Cleaners with Bob Keener.  Even though he retired many years ago, he would still talk about the customers they traded with.  Obviously they took very good care of their clothes, and moma said they never did laundry… Mom and Pop did it and magically it would just appear back in their closest pressed and ready to go.  I can speak from personal experience, as in college my laundry got stolen from the laundry room.  I must have told my grandmother about it, and so she said, “well you just bring home your laundry and we will take care of it.”  Every time I made that trip from Chapel Hill to Lincolnton, I brought my laundry and on Sunday when I was leaving to go back to school, they would hand me all my clothes pressed and hanging on hangers.  I even had ironed pajamas, not many college students could say this.  This was a skill they had, and they never once complained.  I know this was just one of the many ways they showed me how much they loved me.  Pop tried to teach me to iron, several times, but I’ll never do it as good as him or spray enough starchJ
Lastly, Pop made a lot of people laugh.  My aunt Paula told me about a trip she took with Mom and Pop.  Mom did not want to go on a particular ride, as it was too high, but Pop and Paula were riding. Paula said he looked at her and said, “You might as well ride it, because you won’t want to be here if something happens to us.”  So, as you can imagine, she got on.  He knew what he was doing.  This past Monday night, I decided to take the night shift.  Randy came by earlier in the day and reminded Pop what day it was and that Monday Night Football would be on.  Pop had Paula set up the remote to change it easily to MNF.  I got him to bed about 7:55pm, and he looked up at me and said, “What time is it?”  I told him 8, not thinking, and he said, “Oh, well I need to go back to the couch, MNF is on. “  SO, back to the living room we go… he laid on the couch and shut his eyes.  About an hour later, he sat up and said, “You may not think I am watching this, but I am listening.”  I started laughing and told him he had been doing that for 20 years.  On Saturdays, Pop enjoyed going out to lunch with his family.  A few months ago, Pop had his cane and we were walking out of lunch at BBQ King, and he was not moving very fast.  He said, “I’m going at top speed, don’t you know?”  I loved his humor even in the little things.
During his battle with cancer, he always made friends with the nurses.  He especially loved the “cute ones,” as he called them.  He had such a great attitude despite the fact that cancer continued to rear it’s ugly head.  I took him to some of his chemo appointments, and I rarely heard him complain.  As long as you took him to J&S or the Chinese place, he was a happy man!  Well, that is, if you got him back to his house, so he could take his nap on the couch in a timely fashion.  When Pop was ready for that nap, not much could get in his way.  We especially want to take this time to thank all the people who brought food, he visited Pop, who took him to treatments, and helped out in whatever way during his last few months.  We want to especially thank the Hospice of Lincoln County for their love and support during his final days.  Lastly, we want to thank Shelia at Dr. Prinz’ office, who was a God send to his family during these past few months.
There are not enough words I could say about what a great Pop he was, but every time I look at my wooden clock or bank box,  pull out a gold coin, see a piece of pottery he loved, or even see a Nascar race, the Panther’s game, or golf on TV,  I will be reminded of him.  Not to mention, every time I go to the mall, I will definitely think of him (and mom too).  That man, loved to shop and he definitely passed it on to me.  I can promise you if there were pants on sale at Belk, he was there as soon as he saw the sale.  Not to mention, how he would find things at local flea markets for his kids and grandkids.  You just never knew what he might find and think was good for you!  I am so thankful that every Sunday of my childhood and even to this day, that Sunday afternoons at mom and pop’s watching the race or the football game was a tradition.  I know we have so many memories of all of us piling in their living room, eating sweet treats, drinking coffee, and taking naps.  While most of his grandkids do not live in Lincolnton, I know it was a highlight for him to see us when we could visit.  He was so proud of every single one of us.  I am so thankful for the memories, and that he knew we loved him so much.  I am so thankful that he is in Heaven with Jesus and mom.  Dance all you want to now, Pop.  WE LOVE YOU and WE WILL MISS YOU, SO VERY MUCH.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

healthy living with a lot of accountability

why do i crave such unhealthy food, i mean, like if I don't have a skinny cow cookies and cream ice cream sandwich a day, it is just not a good day, ha.  so, at the beginning of this year, i made a commitment that i would lose 25 pounds.  i know that sounds like a lot, but i have a goal, that is well within my healthy weight range, so i am trying.

first up, i gave up cokes again.  oh how that pure sweet, carbonated, burns your throat drink is my absolute favorite, but i have learned that is hard for me to drink it in moderation, so it is GONE. 

secondly, i recommited to exercising 5-6 days per week, and i have been doing so much better.  so much so, that i have gained a little confidence... i am training for a 5K.  my friend ashley and i are taking a 6 week running class, oh yeah.  tonight was our first class and they gave us a one-mile timed test.  i was absolutely terrified, but i clocked in at 10:42.  i know there is room for improvement, major improvement actually, but i thought that was a great place to start.  so, ash and i are signing up for a 5K in 7 weeks, we got this!  my ultimate goal would be to do my company's half marathon next year in wrightsville beach.  lofty goal, but i think with a year's time, i can do it.  i am so beyond appreciative that i have ashley to hold me accountable. 

lastly, i tried to give up carbs and sugar.  let's face it, i am not trying to be the next spokesperson for paleo diet, so that was no fun and didn't last.  i challenged myself originally for 30 days, i lasted 21.  even at 21, it was limited carbs and sugar, ha.  so, a more realistic approach to this was weight watchers.  the best thing about WW is that you can still eat what you want, but it is in moderation and EVERYTHING counts.  so, i had my first week weigh in on wednesday and i lost 4 pounds. what what!  i am happy that i am making this a goal, and i am happy that i am taking baby steps towards my big goals.

my sweet and precious friend lynn is doing WW with me, so it is AWESOME to have accountability.  i told her, come december, the month of both of our birthdays, we are going to look like different people, hehe.  we are going out to celebrate our success this year.  we can do this.  she also gave me a groupon for a month's unlimited yoga, hot yoga here i come!  there is nothing like all that sweat. 

so, i am in a good place here! if anyone needs accountability, i'm happy to help encourage.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

weight watchers again

so, tomorrow i am starting weight watchers again.  i did a 21 day no sugar and no carbs challenge, it was so hard.  while i saw results, it is hard to keep that up.  i know WW works, and i have seen results, so i start this journey again.  i have a goal to lose 20 pounds.  i can do this.  i have accountability with friends, so i am excited about this. 

i have been working out with a friend, who is a personal trainer.  she is great at pushing me.  i have gotten so much stronger, and for that i am thankful.

i will try to update weekly:)

this is real...

sometimes we need silence.  sometimes we need friends in our season of life.  sometimes we need friends or parents who just listen, but do not offer any kind of advice.  well this is where i am....

i have said it many times, but i do not want being single at 31 to define me, but i am a 31 year old woman, whose greatest heart's desire is to be a wife and mom.  today, i think i reached my breaking point.  literally with pretty much all my groups of friends, i am the ONLY single one left.  i am about to attend a wedding, for a dear friend whom we prayed and prayed for an engagement::wedding.  i, genuinely am so excited to celebrate her day and be a bridesmaid, but along with that comes this isolating reality that in the 5 years i have known this group of girls, SO MUCH HAS CHANGED, but not with me.  one girl got married and just had her baby last week.  one girl is married and has a 5 month old.  one girl got married a few months back and told me today she is pregnant.  the bride, who is one of the most thoughtful and sweet friends has been praying that i would have a date for the wedding, but i will not.  today, i cried and cried.  i just don't understand why my God, who loves me more than i can even imagine, does not have it in His Will for me to meet someone, to get married, or to be a mom.

tonight, my single friends in charlotte helped a lot.  they are a blessing beyond words; however, i hate that they know my pain.  tonight my mom listened, without offering advice and that is what i needed.  tonight, a friend went with me to hot yoga, and that helped probably more than she will know.

i know i have to trust HIS plan and will for my life.  are we promised this will be easy, absolutely not.  do i need prayer to remember these things, absolutely.  i decided tonight that if i focus more on God's word, then i will stop having this pity party.  i read somewhere, that if you are having a pity party for yourself then you are focusing to much on yourself and not enough on God.  the verse that says, i need to decrease, so HE will INCREASE is so relevant tonight.  also, lately, i have been angry at God.  this scares me to type, but it is real.  everyone has their own struggles and season of waiting, but this is mine. 

what i try so very hard to do is to find ways to serve others.  i have been blessed with an amazing church family, with so many friends who have kids, so i get to love on them.  while this is not the path i would have chosen, it brings me joy to love on these precious kids, to take them out for special things to give their parents a break.  this has helped me.

the point of this post is for me to remember that this is real.  this is painful, but i always have hope.  i wish that we could find out what was going to happen, but that would not be living by faith. 

i have to trust that someone who loves me more than anyone ever can, has a greater plan.  HE LOVES ME.  he wants me to focus on him, to grow deeply in love with HIM. 

so, i have had my sad day, my day of anger, and my day of lots of tears.  tomorrow is a new day, and for that i am thankful. 

to all my single friends, i promise to boldly pray for you.  i want so badly for all of us to find someone.  please know that while you are a blessing to me, i pray that you will not be in this season much longer.  i pray that when you feel lonely or need someone to talk to, you will call me.  to my married friends, i am sure you have your struggles too, so i will pray for you, for your marriage to grow stronger.  to my friends who are new mommies, i will pray for you.  i will pray for sleep, for you.  what i cannot promise is that i will not have days like this again.  i hate that i cannot be sunshine and roses all the time, but this is real life, the good, bad, and ugly.

and on that note, i am going to bed.