Monthly Archives: January 2016

Whoa…Did That Really Just Happen?


If you’ve been following me over the past month you know that I’ve had a pretty um…eventful?…month. On January 5th I decided to start writing on this blog again. What happened next is nothing short of a miracle. In four days I had over 6,000 hits and 1,600 people who signed up to receive emails from my blog. Four days. Since then the numbers have continued to climb and the response I have received has been absolutely astounding. ‘The Chair’ received 2,435 views in just one day! For a homemade blog written by a nobody, country girl who has no clue what she is doing…those numbers are CRAZY! I will never be able to say thank you enough to every one of you who chose to invite me and my craziness into your life. I know you had a choice and you still chose to stick with me. The tears are flowing just typing this…I truly am blown away and so very humbled.

Today I decided to return a phone call that I received two weeks ago. When I heard his voice on the answering machine I immediately thought…yeah, right. A publisher? Asking to speak to me? OK… So, I deleted it.

Then, I got at least one sometimes two e-mails a day from the same person over the past two weeks. All the while in the back of my mind I could hear God saying, “Call him back. Return the e-mail. Go for your dream. Just do it”. But, I didn’t. Every time I saw a new e-mail come through I immediately deleted it. The fact is I was terrified. Yes, I had shared some things with this publisher in the hopes of getting some kind of feedback. I had searched and searched the internet for a company that was Christian based and had a great reputation. But, that was about it. I don’t know one thing about Publishing…and honestly I just wanted to find out how it all worked and if there was a way to get my story out there.

Anyway, today I stared at the e-mail that came through and ran the test of “What Could Happen” in my mind. Finally, I decided that being a chicken would not get me where I wanted to be in life so I picked up the phone and called him back. After two hours of intense discussion (and lots of prayers!) I decided that I would just JUMP. So, that’s what I did. I jumped into a brand new world that I have no idea how to operate in, but I have an unbelievable sense of peace about and It. Is. CRAZY!

Turns out, I have a platform that apparently has the potential to be big. Gulp. Not only will they publish my book, they will market it for me, and he told me to be practicing my public speaking skills because I would be getting calls for that in the future as well. Yeah…I’m gonna need a brown bag to breathe into please….

All I know to say at this point is this: God can do AMAZING things if you just let Him. Two weeks after Greg died I sat down and wrote for 48 hours straight. What came out of that marathon writing session was a VERY raw, VERY emotionally charged, VERY sad story that I have since re-written six times. As this story has unfolded, I have been shown grace, mercy, and love beyond my wildest dreams. That’s God. Looking back I can see how He has lead me to each writing session and He has given me the words He wants me to say for each one. I can’t take any credit for any of this, all of the credit goes to God alone. The story that I have now is filled with lots of emotions, deep meaning, funny stories, romance, love, and hope.

My deepest desire is that through the telling of this story God gets the glory that He deserves. What He has done for me and my family over the years is mind-blowing and I could not be where I am today without His guidance in my life. This book is in the very beginning stages of editing, publishing, and cover design. I will be working with a whole team of people over the next couple of months to get the best version of my book out on the market as quickly as possible…. and by market I mean Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, Christian Bookstore Suppliers, American and International Author Trade shows, and all internet e-book markets….Yeah, I just re-read that for like the 200th time. I still can’t believe it!

In the meantime, I will continue to blog about my crazy life. Some days are great…and funny. Some days are sad…and terribly hard. My goal is to always just be real…and honest…and 100% me. Thank you for loving me and supporting me through your prayers and words of encouragement. I don’t know what God has in store, but I know that I am willing to jump into this new adventure and see! If you don’t listen to anything else I ever say, please listen to this: God wants to give you LIFE…and He wants you to live it ABUNDANTLY. The only way to do that is through Him alone, there is no other way. I am living proof of what God can do if you step back and let Him lead you.

Love to each and every one of you!


Hey, You…Yes, YOU…Read this!


If you know a young widow or widower and you care about them in the tiniest little bit…please read and share this article with them. It could very well change their life!

Today, I finished reading “I’m Grieving As Fast As I Can” by Linda Feinberg. This book is geared towards young widows and widowers. It is intended to help younger people cope and heal after the death of their spouses. By young, the author means anyone less than fifty. So, yeah that includes me…dang it. However, there are things that she (and I) point out that would be ever so helpful to those of you NOT in our unique group.

Let me just say that I found this book to be extremely helpful. In fact, I have created what I feel are the top 10 things that EVERYONE should know and understand about Young Widows and Widowers.

Here they are:

  1. The biggest problem at the one year mark for most young widows and widowers is: They have not met even one other young widow or widower during this entire year. Words like “Isolated” and “Alone” described how they felt reaching that first anniversary milestone.
  2. The anger felt by the widows and widowers is worsened by the loss of relationships with friends and family members after the death of their spouse. Just pick up the phone…or text…or Facebook…or send a carrier pigeon…whatever. It’s really not that hard to keep your relationships alive.
  3. It’s a danged-if-you-do and danged-if-you-don’t situation the entire first year for the widow or widower.
  4. Friends and family members mistakenly believe that it is OK to give you their unsolicited opinions and/or advise on every aspect of your life…and then get angry if you don’t take it. See number 3.
  5. Everything in your life has changed. There is not one aspect of your life that remains intact, whole, or untouched by the loss of your spouse. Not one. 
  6. You are lonely no matter how many people you are around. The void left by your spouse can not be filled by interacting with friends, family members, co-workers, children, or new acquaintances. You only had one spouse and he/she cannot come back. However, this does not mean that being around people is a bad thing. See number 3.
  7. It matters how your spouse died. It also matters how you feel about the way your spouse died.
  8. You may not ever be able to throw your spouse’s toothbrush away…and that’s OK.
  9. Never assume that when a young widow or widower is ready to socialize that they are ready to date. Socializing and Dating are two separate things.
  10. You are different than you were before your spouse died. A large part of who you were died with your spouse. Now you have to create a new you. Regardless if you want to or not, you don’t get a choice. And, not getting a choice stinks.

I’m sitting at the 4 month mark and I can wholeheartedly agree with all ten of these points. Of course, there are numerous other points that are just as valid as the ones listed. I was very impressed to know that the things I have experienced and been hurt by are common among other people in my shoes. It helps to know that there is a very clear difference between young widows and widowers verses older ones. Almost every book I’ve read up to this point is directed at people sixty and above. I’m only 37…

So, one of the most distinct differences that I immediately noticed in this book was the fact that almost all young widows and widowers feel robbed or cheated out of their lives. They didn’t get to spend twenty plus years with their spouses. They didn’t get to fulfill lifelong dreams or participate in the milestones that older people got to enjoy. They aren’t settled into retirement or assisted living environments.  Their children aren’t grown, married, or living on their own. Some may not have even had the chance to start a family yet. Younger people don’t have the same needs, desires, or financial abilities that older people often have later in life.

The differences don’t stop there. The divorce rate in America is at a solid fifty percent. Unhappy marriages and divorces are the norm. People move in and out of relationships with ease these days. Finding single people between the ages of 18 and 50 who have had multiple long-term relationships and/or marriages is not hard to do in our society. But, unlike divorced people…young widows and widowers didn’t get to decide that they would rather do life on their own. They don’t get every other weekend visitations, or holidays, or time to themselves. They don’t have child support checks. They don’t have practice, errand, or homework helpers. They don’t get extra sick days or the option of someone else missing work when a child is sick. The co-pays  and bills don’t go down just because your spouse died. (I realize that many single parents don’t get those things either, but sometimes they do).

Young widows and widowers are a unique group of people. In larger areas there are support groups, meetings, and social events specifically targeted towards these individuals. Grief counseling and private therapy are also available. Regardless of the number of opportunities out there, the fact remains that most young widows and widowers rarely choose to participate in any of these events. The easy answer for someone on the “outside” is for those of us on the “inside” to jump back into life…get out there and find someone new. We shouldn’t waste our life mourning the loss of our spouses. We are young…there’s plenty of fish in the sea…and life has to go on don’tcha know?!

Please hear me when I say this…if you are a young widow or widower like me…take your time. Don’t let anyone tell you what you “need” to do with your life. Don’t buy into the opinion (of those who have no earthly idea what you are going through)that you need to “just go on with your life”. There is no “go on” with your life, because the life you had is already gone.

The only thing you can do is “start again”. The most important thing to remember is that YOU must choose to start again every…single…day. Decide everyday to just start over. That’s what I’m doing…and that’s what Mrs. Feinberg encourages us to do as well. We wake up everyday to a new beginning. We must choose to start again and create a new life for US…not for those around us or even for our children… WE must choose to start again for ME, MYSELF, AND I. There is power in realizing that you do get to make that choice everyday, even though you didn’t have a choice about being here in the first place. The fact is that you are here now. And, today is a real fine place to start…again.

Chainsaws and Walls


Today I have decided to share a story that I wrote in October, 2012. I clearly remember sitting on our bed and writing this story that night. Greg came to bed when I was about half way finished. He asked me what I was writing…and why I was laughing so much! I apologized and told him that I would be finished soon and tried to hurry so he could go to sleep. He never read any of the things I wrote himself, but he would occasionally listen to me read them out loud. It’s safe… and fair to say that my husband was not a reader, but he did enjoy the stories I could recall from my childhood.

So without further a’due…I present to you a true story that I like to call ‘Chainsaws and Walls’:

“Picture it, Ethelsville…1980 something. We sat huddled in the corner, not really sure what or where we were supposed to go. Screams were coming from every direction. Kids. Adults. It really didn’t matter. Everyone there was screaming for pretty much the same reason.

It all started earlier that morning, when Mama looked over at the wall. “You know Johnny; I really would like to take that wall out. And, I would love to add a picture window right here. It would make it feel so open. What do you think?” Well, Daddy being the man he was, just looked at the wall and said, “I think that would look good.” And, as soon as he finished eating he went out to the barn. Mama told us to get our “stuff up” (that’s code for clean this mess up…we are about to do something!!). She walked over to the yellow telephone hanging on the wall and called Weezy. “Hey, he’s gonna do it!!! Yes, he’s gone out to the barn right now!! Hurry up, come on I need you to look at this and tell me what you think. OK, OK. I know. It’s fine…just hurry up. He will be back in just a minute!!” Whap…she hung that phone up and turned around so fast we didn’t know what to do. “Hurry up girls…we’ve got to get this stuff cleaned up. Daddy’s going to work on our house!!”

Our house was a 100 year old “fixer upper” made of tongue in-grooved wood floors, walls, ceilings, windows, and doors. The ceilings were 12 foot tall in every room and we had to hang blankets over the windows in the winter to keep the “heat” in. We also hung blankets over doorways and blocked off sections of the house during the coldest part of the year. However, it was now mid-summer and Mama wanted everything “open”. So, we hurried and put our plates in the sink and quickly changed our clothes. We ran around like the president was coming…because Mama was excited! A few minutes later the front door opened and there came Weezy, JoLynne, Jacklyn, and Jed. My two sisters and I were so excited…because Mama was excited and now our cousins were here…and Daddy had went to the barn!!

One thing about cousins…in the 80’s…in rural Alabama…on a red dirt road…that everyone should know… is they love getting together to play. It got old playing with just your sisters…but add 3 cousins to the mix and it was heaven on Earth!! Anyway, on this day we really didn’t get to play that much. Just after the cousins got there, here came Daddy. And. The. Chainsaw. When he came into the kitchen…carrying that monster looking saw, we all looked at each other like “What is going to happen?”. Daddy stopped at the bar and said, “OK, what do you want?”. Mama started looking and pointing, and asking Weezie if we should do it this way…or that way…and how it all would look. The phone rang…it was Me-Maw. She was coming down here. The five of us little kids were running and playing and talking and really we were not paying much attention to anything. But we should have been.

“Knock – Knock!!” Me-Maw was here!! And Daddy Jack was with her!! This must be big!! “Knock-Knock!!”…it was Mr. Dye…and Mrs. Judy…and Mrs. Betty…and Lance…and Aunt Nannie…and Zackery…and Lucas!! Yay…it’s a party day!! Well, the amount of talking going on in that little room off the kitchen was overwhelming. So, all of the kids went outside, but with all the adults in the house…and Daddy’s chainsaw inside too…we just had to know what was going on. We all went back into the little room and we sat down on the floor under the window. Daddy was nodding, and saying “OK, yeah…OK”. So, we waited. What was he going to do? Everyone was nodding and talking and really, you couldn’t hear a thing anybody was actually saying…but still we waited.

Whah, whah WIINNNNN, whiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnn…the chainsaw roared to life and before any of us kids knew what was happening…Daddy started cutting the wall!! He just picked up the chainsaw and started cutting THE WALL!! Mama was yelling…”Yeah, CUT THAT PART OUT!”, and Daddy Jack was yelling…”JOHNNY, CUT IT RIGHT HERE!”. Me-Maw was standing by Mrs. Betty and they were nodding. Mr. Dye was just looking…with that look of his. The next thing we knew the WHOLE WALL FELL DOWN!! Yes, it fell down. THE. WHOLE. WALL.

Well, we started screaming, and the adults started screaming, and Daddy just kept cutting!! WWWHHHHIIIIIINNNNNN, WHHHH, WHIIINNNN, WHIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN. He cut the wall into pieces…and walked over it. Then he turned and started cutting the other wall!! WHHIIINNNNN, WHA, WHIIINNNNN, on and on the chainsaw went until finally the sawdust was so thick Mama said we all had to go outside. I mean, the SAWDUST WAS SO THICK WE HAD TO GO OUTSIDE! For little kids, this was unbelievable! Daddy had just cut out 3 walls of our house. What was he going to do….cut the whole house down? Where were we going to live? Why were there red bandannas being tied around Daddy and Daddy Jack’s faces? Why were they tearing our house up? I thought they were happy. Everyone seemed happy. But, Daddy had just cut our house up with a chainsaw. The sawdust was so thick we had to go outside to breath. What is Sam Hill was going on in this place?!!

As we ran for our lives out of that house, we all looked at each other like, “what just happened”. JoLynne said, “Uncle Johnny just cut that wall down!” and Jacklyn said, “Maybe ya’ll won’t have a house anymore”, and Tracy said, “Daddy just cut down that wall!!” and I said, “Did you see Daddy, he just cut down our walls?” We didn’t know what was going on. We ran around to the front of the house and up onto the porch. The chainsaw still roared. What was next? We didn’t have a clue.

By the end of that day, Daddy had cut out 3 main walls and one picture window. In their places were cased openings allowing us to move from the bedrooms to the kitchen without going in a circle, a hall closet, a new door for the bathroom, and a perfect square to chase each other around…right in the middle of the house. It all worked out well. And truly, the only lasting effects we felt were the taste of sawdust we learned to like…because sawdust it seems has the magical ability to penetrate everything. Months after the walls were gone, we were still eating sawdust. How it got into the cabinets…and stayed there after multiple washing’s…I have no idea. We ate sawdust, wore sawdust in our clothes, and vacuumed sawdust up from the carpet until we moved out of the house in 1991.

It’s funny now, how many times Mama would have an idea and Daddy would pull out his chainsaw, or some other tool and make it happen. He has never used blueprints, scaled drawings, or expensive machinery to make or change things. Using the gifts God gave him and the inspiration of his wife…he has always just gotten the job done. How the house never fell in on top of us, I will never know.”

This past weekend my sister and brother-in-law were talking about redoing the cabinets in their kitchen. It just so happens that the house they live in is the same house we moved into after the we sold the old house described above. And, it also just so happens that Mama wanted to remodel the kitchen in the ‘new’ house one day too. Can you guess what Daddy used to cut out the cabinet so the refrigerator could fit into a new place…yep! We all laughed as we looked at that chainsaw mark he left on that cabinet. Some things will never change!



“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. ~ Jeremiah 29:11

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” ~ Proverbs 19:21

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” ~ Ephesians 2:10

We all make plans don’t we? We map out trips… or college career paths… or the menu for the week. Then, we go about the work necessary to make the plans come together like we want them to. In our minds, once we make the plans that’s it. There is no further discussion about what the actual plan itself will be. From that point on we only focus on the things necessary to make our plans happen. Right?

I’ve been guilty of doing this too. January is always a time of goal setting and plan making for me. I’ve made plans and went to great lengths to make sure they happened…only 99% of the time they never do come to fruition.  I can remember Greg and I talking about our five year goals last January. That discussion is so clear in my head today. We had made some big goals and we had planned to reach several milestones…together. And that’s what I have struggled with so much lately. There is no ‘together’ anymore. There isn’t a family plan or dreams that we want to reach together. All those plans and ideas we talked about are only memories now.

This month I have asked myself what goals and plans I have for the year 2016. Just being able to ask myself this is HUGE. Please realize how huge this is…for anyone who is drowning in grief. Just the mere fact that any of us are willing to admit that plans still do exist is enormous. You need to get that…completely, totally, and fully. Why? Because it influences what you do or don’t say to a person who is grieving. Guard your TONGUE and be extremely cautious with your words. They can’t be taken back…and they won’t be easily forgotten.

Anyway, setting new goals and making new plans for the girls and myself has taken on a whole new meaning this year. Greg and I always prayed for God’s will to be done in our lives, but I don’t know if we really entrusted the actual plans to Him. I guess we were kinda selfish about what WE wanted. We asked God to bless the plans WE made, but did we ask God what HIS plans for us were? No, I can honestly say we didn’t. We just went with what we felt was right and hoped that it worked out.

So much for that kind of thinking! This year I can see that it doesn’t matter what kind of plans we make for ourselves…if we don’t ask God what His plans are for our lives it doesn’t matter. I never saw me sitting here without Greg this time last year. I never entertained the thought that the plans Greg and I made would be shattered to pieces that day in September. I also never saw me writing so freely for all of the world to see.

This whole writing thing is from God. I am just as surprised as everyone else by the words I read on my screen after I sit down and start typing. I am equally blown away by how much He is speaking to me through the words He is giving me to say. I stand in awe of His goodness and mercy…and I am terrified. I don’t know what dreams are inside of me. I don’t know where God is taking me and I don’t know what His plans are for me. The only thing I am absolutely certain of is this: He knows the plans He has for me. Jeremiah 29:11 promises me that the Lord has plans laid out just for me. Ephesians 2:10 tells me that He had those plans made before I was ever formed in my mother’s womb. Guess what? That’s awesome!

Allowing myself to write…seeking out the time to write…and then hitting the Publish button is forcing me to step out of my comfort zone. I pray that God uses me to fulfill His plans and by doing so I will find hope and a future that will be exactly what God wanted when he created me. I won’t even lie…I still do not understand why I had to give Greg up. The soul searing sadness I feel daily almost makes my knees buckle at times. I can’t see how any of this could possibly be for my good, but His word tells me that His ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts. I have to be content with that knowledge. I also have to be brave…and patient…and obedient. None of which is easy!

I am sure that God will let me know what I need to know when the time comes. For now, I am just willing to let him lead me where He wants me to go. I don’t have a plan. I don’t know nor do I foresee where He will take this new adventure. All I can do is trust Him and do what He has called me to do with the gifts He has given me. We are all called to this purpose. I hope you will join me in asking God what His plans are for your life this year. It’s a crazy wild ride, but the peace that comes with just doing what He wants us to do is worth facing every fear we must face to get here. Trust me…if I can do it…so can you!





To All The Single Ladies


This post is dedicated to every single mom or woman out there. To every one of you who, like me have to figure out how to live life alone. It doesn’t matter if you are widowed, divorced, or never married…this post is for you!

Does anyone ever get frustrated? Like scream at the wall, throw a complete fit, walk around and kick stuff frustrated? I do! There are so many things that Greg did that made my life so much easier. And I miss him more every day! You may not miss the man that no longer lives in your house…or maybe you do. Either way it doesn’t change the fact that there’s not a man there anymore. And, honey this is a man’s world whether any of us want to believe it or not…that’s a fact.

I’m sure many of you…like me…just wish that life would be good again. Right? Like, just good not filled with drama or constant frustration. There were plenty of times that Greg and I would get mad at each other and fuss. Everyone does…nobody goes through marriage without fussing. But, as a whole our life was really good. I did not want him to die. I’m sure that other women wish their husbands wouldn’t have died either. Or left…or gave up. Or maybe you are still waiting to find Mr. Right. It doesn’t matter why you are alone…the fact still remains that life is not easy for single women and especially not for moms.

The amount of responsibility that a woman has to shoulder when she is alone…if she has children…is staggering. It is so hard not to just blow up at people who treat you like you don’t have a brain in your head. It is so hard to remain calm, cool, and collected when you can’t get the dang toilet unstopped after your child filled it up with toilet paper. It is so freaking HARD to get the laundry washed, dried, and folded (yeah, they make baskets and chairs for a reason…am I right?). It is so unbelievably hard to keep from throwing things at your children when you have asked them 7,000 times to pick up the dad-gum clothes and toys out of the floor. And, why in the world do they have to wear three shirts if they never left home today? REALLY? Who’s job do they think it is to wash all that mess?

Thankfully, I have a huge support system. I couldn’t make it without every person who is there for me on a daily basis. There are several who just go above and beyond. I appreciate it and so do my children…but it doesn’t erase the fact that life is just hard all of the time. Every day. Every hour. Every minute. It’s just one hard thing after another after another…with no end in sight. It. Is. Exhausting.

So, to all of you women out there who bravely get up everyday and keep going…YAY for You!! You are awesome…and strong…and powerful…and determined…and smart…and beautiful…and courageous…and encouraging…and you are winning the game of life by not giving up. No matter what brought you to this place…you beat the odds. You are still in the fight. You can do this…all of it!! You are the true rock stars and you deserve a flippin’ medal for doing what you do every, single day!!

Tonight, put a smile on your pretty little face, step over the clothes lying all over the floor, and fix you something warm filled with carbs and dripping with chocolate. Go take yourself a nice hot shower, put on your warmest (most comfortable) pj’s, and hit play on your favorite Pandora station. It is your night to put your feet up for a little while. YOU deserve it…YOU have MORE than earned it…and who cares if anything gets done in your house tonight. YOU MADE IT THROUGH THIS DAY IN ONCE PIECE!! YOU DID NOT KILL ANYONE!! YOUR CHILDREN ARE STILL GLAD TO CALL YOU MOM!! And, THAT sweet sisters is definitely something to celebrate!! Spoons in the air girls…We Made It Through Another Day!

Another First…


We were greeted early this morning by Mar Mar, Jimbo, and Aunt Cathy. We had plans to work in the barn today, but they had to go see sweet Libby play some b-ball first. They just stopped by to drop some things off and make sure we didn’t waste any daylight!! After they left the girls and I ran to Jack’s in our pj’s (don’t judge!) and got a gravy biscuit. Jack’s gravy biscuits are pretty much a staple on Saturday and/or Sunday mornings around here…almost every time we hit the drive-thru in our pj’s. Yes, we are those people!

After we had our breakfast the girls helped me straighten up in the house. They played in their bedroom and watched War Room for the 9,875th time. (It really is wonderful!) The guys who are installing our heating and cooling units in the house were here working today as well. Around noon Mar Mar and Jimbo came back and we started working outside. Linnie had taken up with the H/C guys and they let her ‘help’ them under the house. She asked 7,000 questions and they seemed to enjoy answering them. She was always in Greg’s footsteps no matter what he was working on, so I was glad the guys didn’t seem to mind her ‘helping’ them. Maggie got her fishing pole out and talked Jimbo into fixing it up for her so she could go fishing. He was more than happy to help her set it up and I think he really wished he was fishing too instead of working!

We hung shelves in the barn; moved the majority of the shop stuff out of the shop into the barn; and tore down the turkey pen. Later, we rode the golf cart down to the pond. When we got back from the pond, the H/C guys were finishing up. They got all of the system in and the only thing we need now is the power company to hook up the power to the house! That’s progress!!!

After the guys left we manned the shop vacs and brooms. We got almost the whole inside of the house vacuumed out (we tripped a breaker with our extension cords!) and cleaned up before dark. It really seems like we are moving right along. The next big thing is to start hanging wood!! Yippee!!!

The girls played on the trampoline off and on all day. Right at dark they insisted that everyone come and watch their “show”. It was so cute. They had choreographed a routine complete with music. They even made popcorn and set up chairs so we could relax while they performed. And, they made a killing in tips from the audience! LOL! As we were walking into the trailer Linnie proclaimed, “This has been the BEST day EVER!”

And that was it…the first time since before September 20th that either one of my girls had:

                      1. Wanted to stay home all day on a Saturday

                      2. Played together all day without fussing, crying, or yelling at each other

                      3. Proclaimed a day at home “the best day ever”

Several well-meaning people have suggested since Greg died that we should sell our place and move. They saw the struggle we had even being here at home. It was much easier to just load up and leave every time we had any down time. Being here caused physical pain for all three of us. Greg’s love language was quality time and he wanted us with him if he was not working at the FD (we always went to see him or helped him when he was working on tile jobs). It didn’t matter if we were at home or out doing something fun…he just wanted us to be together. So, the reality of him not being with us at all has caused us a lot of heart-ache and pain when we were home alone without him.

The girls went to the farm the week after Christmas for five days and never once asked to go home. They didn’t even call me except once on New Year’s Eve. (Mama Maggie had to find out just what I was doing since they were partying without me at the farm.) Who could blame them for not wanting to go home? It was easier to stay where the memories didn’t constantly exist and they had fun rather than go home and face the reality of their lives without their Daddy. Seeing them enjoying a day at home today was so good for my heart. I have worried and prayed MANY prayers for all of us to be able to heal. Linnie’s proclamation tonight confirmed that we are making progress. Life won’t ever be the same, but at least we are all able to stay at home on a Saturday and enjoy it. This was a very happy first and more than welcome at the Hubbert casa today!



Try, Try Again


“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
    we were like those who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
    and we are filled with joy.

Restore our fortunes, Lord,
    like streams in the Negev.
Those who sow with tears
    will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
    carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
    carrying sheaves with them.” ~ Psalm 126

Well, I didn’t get the news I wanted to hear today. I got disappointed and my feelings got hurt for a minute. I even got angry at myself for even trying to do something that I had never done before. I mean, who am I to think that I could actually successfully do something that I had never attempted to do before in my life? Realistically speaking, it was just crazy to even think I had a chance in the first place. Right?

I’m sure I am not the only person who talks so negatively to themselves when something doesn’t go our way…am I? Surely someone else gives themselves down the road for attempting something way outside their comfort zone…right? I can’t be the only one who calls myself all kinds of names and tells myself all kinds of not nice things about trying something different when it doesn’t go my way in the end. Words like “failure, looser, crazy, stupid, incompetent, never, and why” float through my brain in rapid succession every time I think about it.

Earlier this week I saw a writing competition sponsored by a Christian Publishing company. On a whim, I jumped and entered it. I was scared out of my mind, but I had convinced myself that I had a chance to win…only I didn’t win. I had put myself out there and opened the door for criticism and it backfired. I was embarrassed and mad at myself for even trying. Then, I heard God say, “But, you did try”.

Yeah buddy…that’s gonna make me feel so much better there Lord! I’m sorry, but it sure does not make me feel even remotely better. I asked God why that was such a big deal. Sure, I tried to write a story that was good enough to publish. I stayed up late and got up early working on it. I did my best to impress the judges. And, I still got disappointed. So, why should I feel better just because I tried? I would prefer to sit over here and have a little pity party and climb back into the hole that has become my life, thank you very much. Then, I heard it again, “But, you did try”.

Finally, it hit me. Yes, I did try. Yes, I did work really hard on something that I was proud to put out there for other people to see and even judge. Yes, I did do something that scared me and pushed me way outside my comfort zone. Yes, I overcame my fear of rejection for a few hours and ignored the negative voices in my head. Yes, I let myself dream again. Yes, I allowed a lot of possibilities for my future dance around in my mind. Yes, I let go of my fears and just jumped to see where I would go. I did all of those things because I had tried.

Disappointment and failed attempts at doing something new have prevented me from dreaming like I once did when I was young. I have learned that I have to be realistic and I have to just get by in life, because that’s what all adults do…right? We just work to pay bills and give our kids money. Isn’t that how it works when you are an adult? We don’t have time to dream or even attempt to set new goals for ourselves because we are to busy trying to give our kids a chance to reach their dreams. Our dreams died long ago…or at least most of mine have at this point. I mean, look at my life right now. My dream of growing old with someone I loved died in September. Every dream I ever had or saw myself achieving involved my husband and my girls. They were the focus…the important piece of my life’s puzzle…not me. I would be happy as long as they were happy. Anything else was gravy.

Well, God showed me today that its not OK to push my dreams away. He had prepared me to accept “not this time” as a possibility early this morning. I honestly did not know if I could handle another disappointment in my life right now, and I told Him that very thing. Guess what? I can. Psalm 126 tells me that one day, my mouth will be filled with laughter and my tongue with joy. He will restore my fortunes and my tears will reap songs of joy. I will make it and I will see my dreams come true…one day. But, for today it’s just good that I tried. My dear friend told me that as long as I am leaning forward, I’m going in the right direction…even if my feet aren’t moving. I just have to keep leaning forward. It’s not easy…or fun…or even something I want to do most of the time…but one day it will be worth it if I don’t ever lean back. One day.

I guess I’m just stuck in the land of disappointment for now. I am strong enough to take it. I won’t curl up and die because I got disappointed yet again. I will choose not to be bitter…again. I will continue to open my mind to the possibility of dreaming…again. I will fight the realist part of me that says, “You have too much responsibility on your shoulders to even let yourself think about anything you want. You have to just do what you’ve always done, because that’s your job in life. Just get by”.  Only, that’s not what I want to do. I don’t want to give up on myself and just get by.

I want to live. Really, really live. I want those moments that take my breath away. I want a racing heart and tension filled muscles as I attempt to try something new and exciting. I want to conquer my fears and enjoy the ride. I want more out of this life than the limited experiences that I only let myself have if my kids are the ones doing the dreaming. I want more. I expect more. I deserve more. I can have more…as long as I don’t give up. We all can. Today taught me that I just have to pick myself up and try again…so I will.

Old Souls Unite!


By now it is probably way more than obvious that I like LOVE old stuff. It doesn’t matter if it’s an old friend, an old movie, an old story, old music, or old junk. I love it! Some of the things other people see as flaws are what makes me love something (or someone!) even more. I don’t really know when I fell in love with old stuff, but I can remember reading about the settlers in early elementary and loving everything about their lives. And, you know I believe I also had a tendency to elbow people out of the way so I could play The Oregon Trail in Mrs. Jackson’s room a time or two! LOL!

I remember wondering what it was like to leave everything familiar to set off across those plans in a wagon. I’m convinced that I could have been a settler in a previous life. I’ve read literally hundreds of books set in that time period. Movies based in the old days draw me like a moth to a flame. Greg and I were both like that and it’s one of the reasons we loved each other so much. We understand the value of things that are hard to get. So, you can just imagine how thrilled I was to find every interior door for my house at a vintage salvage place today! It was amazing!! I have traveled to a lot of places and I have visited a lot of salvage shops…but I have never seen a place that had so many doors!!

The Vintage Station located in Bessemer, Alabama is a true treasure! Located literally right next to the railroad tracks in an old train depository, this diamond in the rough has a little bit of everything! From doors, hardware, antiques, lumber, and hand-crafted tables the list of jewels a person can find here goes on and on. The people who work there are extremely friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. I was super impressed that when I said I needed 15 doors the guys helping me didn’t fall out! They just asked what sizes I needed and went to work helping my dear old friend Ginger and me pick out doors that we liked. The atmosphere was happy and easy going. They even have a sweet little pot-belly pig named Porkchop that didn’t mind helping scope out the best doors as well!

Overall, this was a great day. I was blown away at the fact that every door I needed was here in the size I needed them to be in! That is just a miracle and even more confirmation that I am doing the right thing by choosing to be different! Greg and I had planned this house for years and we had discussed literally every single detail numerous times. My biggest problem is remembering exactly what he said on a few things, but most of it I am remembering easily. Like these doors, he would have been beside himself that not only did I save a ton of money; I found exactly what we thought we wouldn’t be able to find! Finding the lights at Christmas and now the doors I am convinced more than ever that God cares about the small things in life. He enjoys watching us smile and I am sure he was tickled for me today.

My house will not be your average house. It will be filled with unique and different things from the past. Even the things that are brand new will have a vintage flare. Even our girls are choosing old and vintage themes for their bedrooms. I gave them free reign in their rooms and I have been so impressed with how meticulous and focused they have been on getting the look they want…and both have chosen vintage themes. They are totally different, but they are old looking and I am super proud that they seem to truly appreciate old stuff as much as Greg and I did do. I can’t wait to fill this whole house up with all of our antique treasures that we have hoarded and tucked away for years. Stay tuned for house updates in the next few weeks. Things are really coming together at the moment and I could not be more pleased. Let the construction continue!

A Leap of Faith


“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” ~ Hebrews 11:1

“For we live by faith, not by sight.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:7

“We do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.” ~ Hebrews 10:39

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10

How do you make decisions? Do you make out a pros/cons list? Do you consult several people and discuss your options over coffee? What drives your decision making process? I’m curious because I feel like my process is probably not ‘normal’. Looking back on all of the major decisions I have made in my life today, I have suddenly seen a pattern! Isn’t it weird how patterns surround us and we are not even aware that they are there? Yeah, I think this is pretty neat stuff.

Today,  I got to thinking back on several key decisions that I have made over the years. All of these decisions have had a huge impact on the direction my life has taken. Like, the time I decided to try to walk on the Volleyball team at Bevill after working for a year after high school. I drove to Fayette, talked to the coach, drove back to Columbus and quit both of my jobs. Within a week I had moved from an apartment with my cousin to the dorms with my sister. Boom!

When I graduated from Alabama and had applied at every school system around except for Winfied, Greg walked in one day and said, “What about Winfield?” I immediately replied, “There’s no way I could get hired at Winfield.”. He said, “I don’t see why not”. So, I got dressed; drove to Winfield; dropped off my application; and before I got to the red light Becky called. Within thirty minutes she was showing me my classroom. Boom! Boom!

When I got my Master’s degree the adviser I was talking to on the phone asked me to decide if I wanted to specialize in Multiple Disabilities or Behavior. Without thinking I said, “Behavior”. Now, I am a Behavior Interventionist…something that didn’t even exist five years ago. Boom! Boom! Boom!

I could literally list hundreds of other decisions that I have made on the spur of the moment that have lead me to this place in my life. Any decision that I have pondered, worried over, or developed a pros/cons list for has always turned out terrible. Some folks might say that I just take a leap of faith…and maybe that’s right. I’m not really sure. The one constant thing that I have always done is whisper a prayer for guidance as I make quick life changing decisions. And, God has always been right there every time. That doesn’t mean that the decisions I made were easy to follow through with though!

For instance, the week after my first two-a-day practices at Bevill, I had to sit on my rear and pull myself up the stairs with my arms because my legs were to sore to walk. The classroom Becky showed me was literally packed from one side to the other with “stuff” that I had to clean out (for over a week!) and get rid of before I could even begin to setup my new classroom. Working as a Behavior Interventionist has caused me to worry, stress, cry, and get furious more times that I could even count.

My road has not been easy, but it has been driven by quick decisions. Most every time I made one of those decisions, I had a conversation with someone just before the decision was made. I remembered some of those conversations today. Which made me stop dead in my tracks when I realized that I had a conversation yesterday that spurred me to make a huge decision today. That’s how God speaks sometimes. He uses the people in our lives to reveal His will for us, just like He uses the Bible to teach us how to follow Him. God speaks to us in many ways, we just have to stop and listen! Time will tell if this quick decision will be life changing for me, but I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that it just might! I’m taking another leap of faith and I honestly can’t wait to see what God has planned next!

Life is short. Time is precious. People are important. I hope that if this new thing works out, I will be able to set the bar even higher for what my story could do for God’s kingdom. Am I terrified? You better believe it! Am I unsure? Absolutely! Am I willing to try even if I fail? Yes I am. I have been reassured today that God loves me and wants me to shoot for the stars, so that is exactly what I’m doing! It is my sincerest hope that you will shoot for the stars with your dreams too! Find that idea, dream, or goal that you buried years ago. Pray about it and ask God to open the doors that He would have open just for you. Then, shoot for the stars! If I can do it at this point in my life…so can you!  I see a huge potential for some very exciting stuff to start happening soon! Stay tuned!

Oh…and don’t try to figure out what I’m up to. Don’t make up any ideas about what it might be. Just pray that God’s plans are revealed in His own time. That’s what I’m doing!






Roll Tide Bama Nation! Tonight is the big night and I for one am looking forward to number 16!! I have mixed feelings about Dabo Swinney though. He is such a good guy and being from the U of A originally is a big deal. I still hope Alabama gets that title though!

Bama games are such a big deal in my family. People go crazy preparing, cooking, and decorating for the games. I have an uncle that even named his game watching pad “The Process” in honor of Coach Saban! The Process is totally awesome and I’m sure it is loud over there tonight!

The girls and I are headed out to watch the game with some friends. I usually only watch Alabama Football in the comfort of my own home. It’s multi-faceted really. Remember, I’m the one screaming and jumping up and down on the couch! Greg always preferred to watch it at home and I always cooked chili or taco soup to eat. For the past 16 years that’s how we did it. We watched at home, ate good food, I screamed, he sat quietly in his chair, and it was all good.

I realize that I’m now in a new season of life. I looked back on my life today and saw two boxes. One box was filled with my childhood. The other was filled with my marriage. I’m standing in front of a box that is empty. I don’t know what will be put into this new box, but I know that I have to start filling it up with something. What better way than an Alabama National Championship Game?

So, here’s to a great football game! I have a feeling that the number 16 is significant. I look forward to a huge win and to starting this new season of life today.  We won’t eat chili or soup tonight. We won’t be watching at home in our pj’s. We will be with good friends and we will make a new memory to put into this new box. I can just hear Greg say, “Way to go, Em” and that makes me happy. The only problem I have is that we have successfully created two monsters who love Alabama football as much as their parents…I hope my friends will still love us when this game is over! Roll Tide Ya’ll!!