Monthly Archives: January 2016

She’s So Gullible

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Gullible. Sounds romantic right? That’s exactly the word every woman wants to hear the man she loves say is his favorite thing about her…she’s so gullible. Webster defines gullible as: “easily fooled or cheated; especially : quick to believe something that is not true”. Well, for me its the word Greg chose to describe me and it was (in his own words) his favorite part about me. Yeah, it just oozes love and passion doesn’t it?

Well, in 1999 I guess you could say I was very gullible…and naive….and young. I didn’t have a whole lot of life experience and I trusted people very easily. I continue to be a trusting person today, but I am much more experienced and have a whole lot more life under my belt than I did when I was twenty. I don’t fall for things as easily as I once did. Except where my doting husband was concerned! Let me tell you about our honeymoon. Before you get too far ahead of yourself I’ll go ahead and inform you that this story is hilarious and completely ‘PG’ rated!

About two months before we were supposed to get married, Greg and I had a very brief conversation about where we might go for a honeymoon. We talked about the mountains or the beach. It totally did not matter to me, I was just looking forward to being with him and I didn’t care where we went. Like most brides-to-be, at this point I was knee deep in wedding planning and I just figured he would decide where we would go. Anywhere truly was fine with me!

So, about two weeks before our wedding we were sitting in our little red door apartment one night (that’s another whole story for another time!).  I remember him lying on our bed just relaxing and I was standing in the kitchen area (it was a one room apartment…like a 12×12 room with a bathroom!) working on some flowers that we were going to use in the wedding. We were just talking and I was completely consumed with the task at hand. I remember asking him if he had made any reservations anywhere for our honeymoon. I knew most places were booked and it just hit me at that moment that I didn’t know where we were going!

He cleared his throat and said, “Yeah, I’ve got them made. Do you want to know where we are going?”. Well, of course I wanted to know! He told me to come over beside the bed (it was the only thing to sit on in the whole place. We did not have one chair in that room!) and he would tell me. I put my flowers down and flew over there as quick as I could. He said, “Well, I got to thinking. I really don’t want to go to the beach. It’s so hot and there are too many people. And, I really don’t want to go to the mountains because its not cold. So, I thought we might just stay here”.

My heart went from pounding in excitement to a slow thud. “I was like…here? You want to stay here for a week? In this room. For a whole week. You just want to stay here? Really? Well, OK if that’s what you really want to do that’s what we will do. We could ride somewhere during the day and just come back here at night. That’s good. We will have fun and we won’t be stressed about work. We will just go do some fun stuff around here and that’s good with me.”

He looked at me like I had lost my mind! I remember thinking…well you are the one who planned this so I will be happy with whatever you planned. Then, he just burst out laughing!! I was so confused! He said, “No Doll, we are not going to stay here. I’ve got reservations made in Cancun.” I was so excited! I jumped into his arms and hugged his neck. Then, I looked straight in his face and said, “I’m so excited!! Where is Cancun?”.

I will never forget the look of total shock on his face! I honest to goodness had no earthly idea where Cancun was, how you got there, or if it was hot or cold! I mean I honest to goodness had no idea! Well, he was rolling laughing at me! He said, “It’s in Cannn-ccoooonnn, MEXICOOOOO”. I was like “Oh wow! We are going to Mexico for our honeymoon? REALLY?! REALLY?!” He laughed some more and said, “Yes. We fly out of Atlanta and we are staying in an all inclusive resort in Cancun for seven days.” My jaw hit the floor! I couldn’t believe it and I couldn’t wait to get on that airplane!!

On This Day 17 Years Ago

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“This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.” ~1 John 5:2

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” ~1 Peter 4:8

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34

Right about this time (7:30ish) exactly 17 years ago I was working at a local restaurant. We were busy that night and people were running around everywhere trying to get orders ready and out to the customers. I needed to refill the sweet tea so I ran to the back to get more when I crashed into him. We locked eyes and I lost my breath. The look he gave me at that moment spoke volumes. I looked down and said, “Sorry. I just need to get some tea right quick”. I started to turn away from him and that’s when he caught my arm and said, “Look at me”. So I did. Then he said, “Do we need to talk about this?”. As I looked at the reddish-brown tile floor and tried to still my racing heart I decided that this was my one chance so I looked him straight in the eye and said, “Yes”. Then, I turned to get the tea and walked away.

Two hours later when the place was quiet and clean he asked me to sit down. We were sitting in the front booth across from one another and you could have cut the tension with a knife. I remember sitting there thinking, “What is he going to say?”. For what seemed like thirty minutes, but was actually more like thirty seconds neither one of us said a word. Then, he asked me again to look at him. This time when I looked at his piercing hazel eyes I couldn’t look away. We sat there and just looked at each other. Then, in his deep voice he said “What is happening between us?”. That was the exact moment that I fell head over heels in love with him.

We sat in that booth for six hours and talked like we had never talked before. There was nothing we couldn’t talk about and the time flew by for both of us. We laughed and talked that whole time. I had never had a conversation like that in my life. He was facing the clock that hung on the wall above the ice machine and at 3:45 a.m. he said, “We really need to go. The morning shift will be here soon.” I remember thinking “huh? morning shift? We just sat down! Surely it’s not that late!” But, it was. We had discussed a lot of things during those six hours, but the one thing we both hated was that we knew in a couple of hours we would break two people’s hearts because we knew we had found the person we were meant to find and it was not those other two people.

Realizing that we were jumping off of a huge cliff together was exciting and very scary at the same time. When we left that restaurant that morning, I knew that I would never be the same. One conversation and I had fallen head over heels in love with a man who was eight years older than me. And, I knew that he had fallen head over heels in love with me too.

It was Saturday, January 9th, 1999. My life, my plans, my ideas about my future all changed that night. I went from being in a long term relationship with a really good guy to being head over heels in love with a man that I barely knew. Yet, I felt like I had known him my whole life.  People say there is no such thing as love at first sight. I’m here to tell you that oh yes there is! Nothing about our relationship was ‘normal’. From that day forward we were together all of the time. We could not get enough of each other…we worked together and we spent every available minute together away from work.

Three months later he took me to the campground at my home church one night. We were sitting under the Arbor talking (we never ran out of things to talk about!) and he asked me what I thought it would be like to get married down here at the campground. I told him I thought it would be so pretty. The old Arbor was over a hundred years old and had been a very special place for me my whole life. I just knew a wedding would be gorgeous under this old wooden structure! Then, before I knew what was happening he got down on his knee and asked me if I would marry him under it one day. It was so sweet!! I remember grabbing his neck and jumping into his arms… and then I screamed! A car was coming down the little road to the campground and I was terrified! Cars don’t just go down there unless they are up to no good that time of year (unless the people inside are getting engaged!).

We waited for the car to leave and then we jumped into his truck where I finally got to see my ring for the first time! It was the darkest night ever and we had no lights so I had it on my finger for a while before I ever laid eyes on it! When I saw it for the first time I was blown away at how perfect it was for me. The tear shaped diamond was set into a simple gold band. It was beautiful and I loved it immediately. He had picked it out himself and I knew that I would never take it off. To this day the only time I’ve taken it off of my finger was to play in a volleyball tournament and when I was at the end of my pregnancies and it wouldn’t fit my finger anymore. As soon as I could, it went back on my hand and has been there ever since.

On Friday, July 9, 1999 I wore it on my right hand as he placed my wedding band on my left hand. When I slide my diamond onto the finger with my gold band I knew that those rings would be with me for the rest of my life.

Exactly six months to the day of that first real conversation I married the love of my life. It seems so weird that now I am sitting here 17 years later with our two girls tucked into our bed without him. What we discovered that winter night was that God really does make soul mates. We were equally shocked to know that we each had the same feelings for one another. We couldn’t believe that we had so much in common and could just sit and talk for six straight hours and never even realize that that much time had passed. We had several, several nights like that over the years. We could start talking and before we realized it six or sometimes seven hours had passed by and we had no idea where it went.

I am so very thankful that I got to have that kind of love. I understand that most people never know what its like to love someone on this level. I have learned how to listen to people and it doesn’t take but just a few seconds for me to know if they have experienced it or not. The ones who have are few and far between. Our road was not easy and we had our fair share of hard times. We had to learn how to make our love last through all of the hard things that tried to tear us apart over the years. And, trust me there were many times we wanted to give up. God had better plans though. Just like this diamond on my finger, he used the pressures of life to make us into something beautiful in the end.

I will never forget what we had. It changed me that night in the restaurant and I have never been the same again. It would be so easy to get mad at God for taking him so soon. I spent a lot of time last week asking God the hard questions. I wanted to know why we had to go through so many bad times in our marriage. I wanted to know why after all we had faced and overcome together he would take him so soon. I wanted to know why I was being forced to live out the rest of my time here on Earth without the one person I loved more than myself. I just did not understand. Then, in a still, small voice I heard God say, “Because I want you to love me more”.

And, that opened my eyes to what God really wants from all of us. He wants us to love him more…more than anyone or anything in this world. We have to be willing to say that no matter what, we love God more. I will confess that I don’t know if I really did love God more than Greg. That’s shameful to admit, but I truly don’t think I did! God made me see that He loved me enough to give me a love like no other. He gave me a life filled with precious memories and good times. He brought two broken people together and made them into something He could use for His purposes and His kingdom. He forgave us when we made huge mistakes. He rebuilt us when we broke ourselves. And, he loved us through all of the good times and the bad.

There is a poem called “Footprints in the Sand” that reminds me of where I am right now. I have looked back and all I see are one set of footprints in the sand. Jesus carried us through some very difficult days. We could never have done it without him. I look forward to going to heaven one day. I am eager to get there and see all of the people I love there waiting on me. I want to be with Greg throughout eternity. But, God has shown me that I have to be eager to see him FIRST. That is my new mission: To love God first in all things, because He first loved me.

Love never has to end. It is there and it can grow if you let it. Greg and I let our love start to grow on this night 17 years ago. I hope that for anyone who reads this you will decide to let love grow in your life as well. Make a choice to love the people in your life with your whole heart today. Go out of your way to show them how much they mean to you. Love is not a feeling…it’s an action. Decide today that you will put action behind your words and see what God can do! It’s amazing I promise! There is nothing better than knowing that my husband died a happy man. His days here were numbered before he was born. God knew how long he wanted Greg to be here and there is nothing anyone could have done to change when he was going to leave. I constantly have to remind myself that God has a plan and it is for my good. I trust that God will use our story for his honor and glory. Our marriage was not perfect by any means, but we chose to love each other until death do us part. And, we did. There is no greater feeling than knowing we gave it all we had while we had it.

Now, I have to give God all I have from this point forward. He has carried me through hard times before, I know He is carrying me now. I don’t have to like it or understand it, but I do have to love God first above everything else. We all do…and if we trust Him, he will make something beautiful out of our brokenness.

“We love because He first loved us”~ 1 John 4:10

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” ~1 John 4:10

“For this is My command, that ye love one another as I have loved you”~ John 15:12

I Did It!!

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Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” ~ Deuteronomy 31:6

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” ~ Philippians 4:13

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Yesterday…I went to the gym. I’ll just wait right here for a second while that sinks in for you.

OK, now that you’ve had a second to read that I’ll say it again. Yesterday…I WENT TO THE GYM!! Why would I celebrate this astronomically huge achievement you say? Because for me it was a GIGANTIC step forward!

Working out and being physically fit has been a large part of who both Greg and I have always been. He loved football, basketball, and lifting weights. I loved volleyball, basketball, and softball. We both earned college scholarships to play sports. Although turning his football scholarship down was one of his biggest regrets in life. I had no clue how my life would be forever impacted by my volleyball scholarship. My coach, Sandra Holliman has been one of the biggest blessings in my life! She still gives me encouragement and support on a nearly daily basis. I could not make it without her, that’s a fact.

We got married before Greg found out how big of a Alabama football fan I am! I remember him laughing his head off the first time we watched a game together. He told me that night that “he couldn’t have picked a more perfect woman to share his life with”. I laughed because I had just gone slap nuts over a great play and I couldn’t have cared less what anyone thought about how excited I was at that moment!

Over the years we learned how to read each other better during Bama games. I was the one yelling at the TV, calling the flags and refs all kinds of stupid, and jumping up and down on the couch. He was much more reserved…on the outside! He might pump his fist and say “Yeah!” if they did something extremely awesome, but those moments were rare. He would get so mad sometimes that it would take him hours to calm down after a bad game. He had to go outside and walk around or spend 20 minutes at his punching bag to get his anger out. I was fine within minutes of the clock hitting zero. Not him! One time he even grabbed one of his best friends hats and threw it into the fireplace when Auburn won the Iron Bowl. I don’t think he ever did give Colby a new hat…

But, as much as he loved football it never held a candle to weight lifting. He truly lived for the gym. He has owned a gym, competed (and won!) body building and power lifting competitions. He was a personal trainer and could answer literally any question imaginable when it came to making gains in the gym or cutting body fat. And it showed.

He admitted one day after he had his last set of heart stents that he was completely addicted to the rush he got from making gains in the gym. He loved it. Every time he went to the gym he was all business. It was get in, get his workout done, and get out. Only, that rarely happened. People were always asking him questions or wanting his advice on this or that. Early in our marriage I remember getting so irritated because he would spend so much time at the gym. We had to learn over the years how to incorporate our life so that we could have gym time and family time. It took about 12 years before we finally got it to a happy medium.

I was always fine with walking with my friends. I really didn’t know anything about weight lifting other than it made you better at sports. When I stopped playing team sports, I stopped lifting weights. He tried to get me to work out a lot in the early years, but I just wasn’t interested. It was slow and boring to me. Gimme a team sport and I could play all day. Put me in a gym and I’m bored out of my mind. So, I just really didn’t get why he loved it so much. Now, I do.

Staying healthy was always important to us, but we also like to eat. When you work out, you get to eat a lot more. I didn’t realize that for a long time. Yes, I am that naive sometimes! It amazes me too! LOL

The day Greg died we completed 3 rounds on his homemade cross fit course. He had stations set up all around our yard. One of them is still where we left it that day. I can’t move it yet.

He had made the decision to workout at the gym and at home about a year before he died. It was great for me because I just wanted to be with him and if we worked out at home nobody would “bother” us. It was pure selfishness on my part. I wanted his attention and I didn’t want to share it. Only, I didn’t have his attention…the workouts did. But, there wasn’t anybody talking to us when we were home. It was just family time since the girls did it with us.

The days we all went to the gym together were good days too. The girls love playing in the kid room and I enjoy the way this gym is set up. Greg would go to two of the gyms in town just so he could mix his workouts up. It didn’t take Dylan (his partner) long to catch the gym bug either. Every shift they were at the gym. Many calls were answered as they ran out the door to get into the fire truck!

We have so many memories there as well. If he was on duty, the girls and I would always stop by the gym to see him before we went home. They loved seeing him push heavy weights and would pound him with questions about why he was doing this or that. He was so patient with them and would tell them why he was doing this move a certain way. He couldn’t be in the gym without teaching somebody something.

Since his death, I haven’t been able to make myself workout at all. The last time I worked out…he died. The last time I gave it all I had…I lost my best friend. The last time I had sweat soaking my whole body from my own hard work was the day he left me. So, you can see where I might have major anxiety about working out again. The thought of even walking into the gym made me hyperventilate. It’s not because I don’t want to do what I know I need to do for my body. It’s the flood of memories that hit me when I even think about going. So, I just quit doing anything physical for three months. As a result I ended up with pneumonia.

I promised myself after I got over the pneumonia that I would get myself back into the gym and do what I needed to do to keep myself healthy for me and my girls. And for Greg. So, the week after Christmas I mustered up my courage and I took my still sick self down to the gym. I walked in. I got on the treadmill for exactly twenty minutes. I got off, walked out the door to my car, and burst into tears. Just being in that building was emotionally more than I could take. Everywhere I looked I saw him. Every machine he had touched. Every weight he had lifted. Every treadmill he had walked on. He had laughed, talked, sweated, and loved everything about this place. I just couldn’t stay in there.

That was the same week I hit rock bottom. Dylan had given me the straight up words that I needed to hear to turn myself in the right direction. That night I had cried for 5 straight hours after he left. I had to realize what Greg would have wanted me to do with the rest of my life. And, he would not have wanted me to keep going like I was at that point. I made up my mind that I would go on living and that I would do it in a healthy way.

It took me a week and a day to find the courage I needed to walk back into that gym door. Yesterday, I went to the gym. I changed my plan to a single plan instead of a family plan. I paid my money, signed my forms, and activated my key. Then, I went to work. When I left there I knew that I would be sore today…and I am! But, I also knew that I had conquered one of my biggest fears. I have a long way to go to get back into the shape I used to be in, but I will do it. I’m confident of that now. I don’t have to fear the memories I have of the gym or working out…I cherish them. This whole thing was a huge part of my life and I want the confidence that I once had physically as well as spiritually.

What Greg taught me is still with me. I can do this and I will…For me and for my girls. I know without a doubt that he would be proud of me for pushing past my fear and doing what I need to do in order to enjoy my life with or without him. So, if you see me at the gym crying my eyes out through a workout…please encourage me to do it again and again and again. I know it’s not going to be easy, but it will be worth it!

 

My Heart’s Supply

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“Those people who know they have great spiritual needs are happy, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to them” ~ Matthew 5:3

“I am very happy to brag about my weaknesses, then Christ’s power can live in me. For this reason I am happy when I have weaknesses, insults, hard times, sufferings, and all kinds of troubles for Christ; because when I am weak, then I am truly strong.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

What a crazy twenty-four hours this has been for me! I have literally been through every emotion there is…and maybe a few that no one even knew existed! I am so blown away by your responses to my story.

Last night I sat here in my chair (wink!) and tried to figure out what it was that resonated so much with all of you. If you could walk with me everyday you would see a very emotionally erratic person. I struggle to conquer my emotions most of the time. I retreat into my shell of a self around people. I shut people out…especially people who know me best because I do not want to face the rawness that my emotional instability causes. It’s painful! Who would want to face all of these emotions everyday? Not me!

I am a realist. I always have been. It’s very hard for me to do anything silly most of the time. I laugh and have fun, don’t get me wrong. But, I don’t really understand why Will Farrell movies are so hilarious. I don’t get why people are so obsessed with super heroes or Star Wars.  It’s just never really made sense to me at all. Don’t hate…I’m just telling you that I personally don’t get it. It’s OK if you do!

So, as a realist I am very hard on myself. I know that life is not always rainbows and sugar sunrises. I know that I am a difficult person to deal with if I have made up my mind on a certain subject. I don’t bend on issues that I feel are important. And I HATE being an emotional mess! I like being in control…there I said it! It’s part of who I am. God doesn’t make mistakes, so obviously He thinks I am good just the way He made me!

And, this is what I think makes my story so easy to relate to. I am just being who God made me to be. When I write, I just write what I see and its very real. When I tried to write a fictional story one time it made me so mad! I couldn’t do it! I tried over and over again to write a story that I imagined in my head. Finally, I gave up. The desire to write didn’t go away like that story did. It just got stronger as the years have gone by.

Yesterday, I realized that now I have the story God wants me to write. He wants me to just be me. I will warn you that I do not even know how my story will turn out. But, I can be sure of a few things:

1. I can choose Happiness, because I know I belong to Jesus.

2. I have Hope that this is not all there is. Life does’t end with death, it begins.

3. I am so very weak, but that weakness makes me Strong. I am not in this life alone. Even if it feels that way at the moment.

4. I can cry and pour my heart out to God through Prayer and He hears me.

5. Love lasts forever. Once you decide to truly love someone…no matter who it is (spouse, child, parent, friend, etc…) that love never goes away. It is always with you.

This journey I am on confirms all of those things. Seeing your responses yesterday confirms those things as well. I stand amazed as I look through the comments on Facebook. When I read them last night, I took time to look at each one of you who commented and I remembered how I knew you. I was taken back in time to who I was at each of those different points in my life. I was amazed at how happy it made me to look at each of you through your names and pictures on my computer screen and remember how we met or something we had done together. When I did that, I realized that life in itself is a journey. The people who are connected to me are important. I am who I am because I was touched by you. That is an awesome feeling!

Then, it hit me: Greg was a person that was important to me too! We shared more of our lives with each other than we did with anyone else, but I am blessed because I knew him. He helped me get to this point in my life and his impact will last for the rest of my life. I am still here. I won’t get to make any new memories with him, but I have a ton of them to cherish!

So, today I choose Happy. I choose to remember every detail…the good, the bad, and the ugly…and still choose to be happy. I had to make a choice about how I want to live from here on out. And I choose Happy. I want to make new friends and new memories. I know I can’t go through life without Jesus and be happy. I have to know and accept that spiritually I am weak. I can’t do this by myself. But, by choosing to rely not on myself and only on Christ I can be happy. The kingdom of heaven belongs to me because I am weak and He is strong.

When you see me, I hope you see happiness. Even though I feel broken and beat down. Even though I choose not to waste money on makeup that I just cry off. Even though I am too lazy to fix my hair, so I just slap on a hat. Even if I am at a place I did not choose to be in my life. Even though my heart is broken. I choose to be happy for me and for my girls. I want them to look back on their life and say, “My Mama taught me how to be Happy no matter what”. And that, my friends is as real as real gets.

 

 

 

The Chair

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It’s strange really. The things we attach ourselves to after a life altering event. In my case, it’s a chair and it has a story. A friend asked me what the story behind the chair was not long ago…so I guess now is as good a time as any to tell it.

Five years ago we moved into this tin mansion on a hill. We had already began to build our “cabin” on our land at the time. Our goal was to build the cabin and pay for it as we went. That way when we moved in, it would be totally paid for free and clear. It was important to Greg and I that we knew it would always be our home.

So, we moved our little family of four into a 22 year old, 14 x 70 foot two bedroom mobile home. We had down-sized big time and had sold most of our furniture. We did have a couch at the time, but not a recliner. Well, everyone knows a man wants a recliner right? Being tight with our money didn’t allow us to go buy a new one, even though Greg would have loved to have had a new one.

It just so happened that a friend of my Aunt Lisa’s was having a big yard sale and she had two matching red recliners for sale. I gave her a crisp one hundred dollar bill and bang…we had ourselves TWO new to us recliners!

We were happy to have those two chairs. They rocked, reclined, and the foot bar stayed up. It was awesome! The only problem we had was that the staples were coming out and the cushions were worn from where the previous owners had sat in them so much. Let’s just say they were less than comfortable if you were going to sit in them for a long period of time.

You can imagine how worn they were after we had them for five years. Pitiful. They were pitiful. One of them got so bad, that we just threw it away. Down to one recliner and you can guess who got to sit in it all the time…bingo. Greg took ownership and we all knew that was his chair.

After he died I had several people who stayed with me for about a month. Every person who sat in that recliner complained of how bad their back hurt and how they felt like they were sitting on bare wood…and they were. Greg and I had talked about going ahead and buying a new one. But, every time we just said let’s wait until we get the house finished before we buy anything. It made sense at the time. We just made do with what we had and he never complained about it. Not once.

Well, needless to say I really didn’t realize how bad the chair was until I began sitting in it for hours at a time. Two weeks after his funeral I was sitting there in his chair and I thought: “This is stupid. I’m sitting here in this pitiful chair hurting to my core. Every person who sits in this thing says its pitiful. Why am I keeping it?” That day I decided to go buy me a new one.

Not just any new one…a specific new one that I knew I loved before I ever bought it. This past June my grandmother was very sick. My sisters, mother, aunts, uncle, and cousins took turns staying with her for weeks in the hospital. When they sent her home with hospice we all stayed at her house with her for a week around the clock. Two nights before she died, my cousins and I picked spots to lie down in the living room. My spot was her recliner.

Me-Maw’s recliner was a brand new Lazy Boy that honestly felt like you were sitting on a cloud when you sat in it. This particular night I remember being so tired that I couldn’t hardly hold my eyes open. I laid that chair all the way back and I slept like a rock. That became my spot the next night too. We all talked about how comfortable the chair was and how we just couldn’t believe it would sleep so good. My Aunt Lisa knew it slept good because she had two just like it at her house. She said that she loved to sleep in hers sometimes too.

After Me-Maw’s funeral, each grandchild got to pick a piece of furniture that they wanted from her house. Naturally, I wanted the recliner right? Wrong. I wanted a bedroom suite for my girls…so my sister got the recliner. I had asked Greg if he wanted it….and I had gone on and on about how good it felt to sit in. He said that he wanted to pick out his own recliner. So, I didn’t ask for it. Typical man for ya, but I didn’t blame him for not wanting another used (although very little) recliner.

Since Greg had decided he didn’t want that chair he had chosen to keep the piece of crap one that we had until the house was finished. The day I decided I was going to buy me a new one I got up early, got dressed, and drove straight to Columbus. My mama and sister were with me. I walked straight in and told my friend Cathy that I wanted this recliner in the dark color.  I had it loaded and on the way back to Fayette in less than twenty minutes.

My friend Kyle unloaded it for me. When I sat down in it that first day, I knew I would love this chair for a long, long time. Those days were the “immobile days” for me. I’ve read a lot of books and they all said the same thing: I was in the shock phase of my grief. It was paralyzing. So, all I did for the majority of two months was sit in my chair. When my family finally let me stay by myself I started sleeping in my chair at night.

Sleeping in the bed I shared with him for 16 years just does not work for me anymore. I can’t do it. Now, I sleep in my chair every night and the girls sleep in our bed. For most of the last three months I have sat in my chair all day and slept in it all night. It has become my space. I don’t share it with just anybody. Partially because I’m always in it! But, it’s the only place on this land that he never sat. It’s the only thing that he never touched. It’s the only thing that he really, really wanted. I don’t know why something as simple as a new chair becomes the link from the old life to the new life, but for me it has.

Linnie has struggled with this new sleeping arrangement more than Maggie. She has always slept right up under me. She would start out in her bed and by one or two o’clock each morning she would be in our bed right next to me. I had gotten to where I never even knew she was there most of the time. It’s just how it was and that was ok. The problem now is she wants to come get in the chair with me. So, we had to have a little talk. I told her that I loved her dearly, but she could not sleep in my chair with me anymore. She wanted to know why I didn’t just come get back in the bed and snuggle with her. In an eight-year-old brain it doesn’t make sense why a grown-up would stop sleeping in their bed. I get that…So, we worked out a deal.

Now, instead of her coming into the living room and climbing into the chair with me at one or two o’clock each morning she comes in and gives me a kiss on the cheek and goes back to our bed. It’s the sweetest thing in the world! She needs that physical touch and I love how gently she leans down and kisses me. She doesn’t know that I’m always awake when she comes in. I like for her to think she’s being brave by coming in and going back by herself. It is a big step for her!

The only thing we have disagreed on is the blanket I use to cover up with each night. Both Maggie and Linnie thought they should be able to take this blanket…but they were soooooooooooooo wrong! The blanket I use every night came from Greg’s bed at the fire department. It doesn’t match a single thing in my house and I don’t care. It was his and now its mine.

I haven’t yet decided what I’m going to do in a couple of months when we move into the house. I know I’m not taking our bed with me. I may just move my chair into my bedroom and forget about a bed altogether. Who knows? The one thing I do know is that my chair has been good for me. It’s my link between the old and the new. It represents the lives that so heavily influenced my own that are now in Heaven. It is a reminder of sacrifice, selflessness, and delayed gratification. It is my place of physical comfort.

I sit here in my chair under his blanket and I can almost feel him holding me. It may not seem like much to anyone else, but to me its my lifeline. It is the first thing that I bought just for me. And it represents the newness of life as well as the old. I’m reasonably sure that when I’m ninety-three it will be worn slap out, but I’m telling you right now: NOBODY better not try to tell me to throw them away. My chair and this blanket will be with me for as long as I live. When I’m dead I don’t care what they do with them. But, until that day comes they are mine. And they are special.

Wow…

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I’ve decided to pick my blog back up. I started this blog four years ago and can I just say…Wow! I read my About Me page and cried. As my cursor hovered over the edit button I realized that I can’t change that page yet.

I sit here tonight in my home completely alone and I realize that reading the excitement I had in my voice at the beginning of this blog is just a memory. I remember the excitement I had when I wrote that page. Life was good, and happy, and whole.

Then Sunday, September 20, 2015 happened. On that day it all changed. Everything. My life, my dreams, my future. Loosing Greg that day has created a hole in my life that is so deep and so wide that I don’t know if it can ever be filled.

I’ve done a lot of grieving and thinking during the past few months. I’ve endured the first birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, family vacation, and New Years without him. I’ve consciously decided to keep living for our girls…and myself. I’ve dug down deep and tried to find the bottom of my hole so that I can try to stand back up. I think I reached the bottom last week. I’m very sure that I was relieved to know that there actually was a bottom somewhere. Once I hit the bottom the only emotion I had left was relief.

I could still breathe. I could still cry. I could still feel something. I could look at myself clearly for the first time in months. The relief that I felt in realizing that I was indeed still alive was wonderful…for like two seconds. Then, the facts came crashing down again and I realized that I wasn’t falling anymore. That was scary, because when I was falling I didn’t feel the weight of this burden. Now that my feet are under me, the weight is almost more than I can bear.

I’m in charge now. For the first time in my life I am completely 100 percent in charge of my life. I do not have to answer to anyone. I do not have to consider how someone else feels about decisions I make inside my home (other than my girls…and they don’t get to be in charge! Ha!). It’s my responsibility to pay all of the bills… and finish the house… and raise our girls.  I am 37 years old and for the first time I am literally on my own. Newsflash…this is NOT where I want to be!

I want my husband back. I want my life back. I want normal back! I want the past 108 days to just be a terrible dream. I want to wake up and see him grinning at me. I want to hold his hand and kiss his lips. I want to cook him supper and talk for an hour at the table about life. There are so many things  I really, really want; but I know now I can’t have again. Standing up on the rock bottom of your life is awful. And, it’s excruciatingly hard.

Deciding to start this particular blog again was a product of my decision to start living again. God has given me a story that He wants me to tell. Oddly, it started four years ago on this very page. Telling My Story Today is meant to help me. And you. I feel so strongly that God has called me to just write what’s happening each day that I can’t help but be a little amazed at how He has brought it all together. I’ve always wanted to write, but couldn’t find the story. Now I have one! I pray that when you read my honest words you will be able to see that I may be telling my story…but God is writing it. Wow!

This is no where near the story I thought I would tell on this blog. However, I know where my help comes from; it comes from the Lord. Every word written here is for a purpose. I don’t have eyes for worthless things anymore. I desperately want and need the life that God designed for me. I can’t say that I really like it at this point, but maybe one day I will. I invite you to read this story with me as time moves forward. If it is anything like the past 108 days…you might want to hang on! We are on one wild ride! Wow.