Ready or Not...

Here He comes.

We are prepared as we can be. We have plenty of water, canned goods, ice, gas, and diapers. It’ll be rough with two fourteen month olds without electricity and/or water if it comes to that. Fortunately we never lost water during Katrina thanks to a wonderful guy named Randy so hopefully he can do the same thing this time. I’d rather be without electricity than water.

The crowd at church this morning was slim. I know lots of people are on vacation. Our pastor and the senior adults are in the mountains. I guess others may have been getting ready for the storm.

The television is all Gustov, all the time. It is a powerful storm and apparently will be here earlier than the experts had predicted. We are looking at landfall in the morning now. It does seem as if everyone is better prepared this time. Katrina really taught us a lesson.

I hope and pray that everyone is safe during this storm. Once the clouds and rain set in I will lose my satellite connection, thus, no internet. I'll be back in touch as soon as possible.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”
2 Timothy 1:7


August 29, 2005

Anyone in southern and central Mississippi and Louisiana can tell you immediately what happened on that day. This is my Katrina story.

We had watched the news for several days. Katrina was building up to be a powerful storm, possibly a category five. So we expected things to be bad but not THAT bad. My daughter is the only one who had a real apprehension for the oncoming storm. She wanted to pack up some of her things from her room and store them away but we assured her there was no need, that things would be fine. We figured there would be some trees down and we’d lose power for a couple of days and then things would be back to normal.

My husband was scheduled for a heart catheterization at the Baptist that morning so we headed out before dark. Our daughter stayed with my sister who lived right beside us. We expected the interstate to be full of people headed north to escape the storm but it was eerily empty with only a very few head lighted vehicles visible in the darkness.

As we reached the hospital even it seemed unusually quiet for a Monday morning. The procedure went well and thankfully my husband had no blockages. While he was recovering, we could hear the wind outside the hospital, picking up. News footage was already showing the devastation as Katrina came ashore. I called home to see if the roads were safe enough for us to get back home. No was the answer.

When my husband was discharged we drove to my sister’s home in Madison. It amazed me how hard the wind blew, even knocking out their electricity, and this was eighty miles inland. Late that evening we received the dreaded phone call from home. We had seven trees down, one was on our house. Another was down on my mother’s home.

That was the longest night of my life. We woke up at daylight and headed home, or at least to what was left of our home.

The devastation was unreal. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what the coast must look like after such a tidal surge. Fortunately, good neighbors with chainsaws had cleared our little country road so we could drive to our house. Half of it was crushed by a huge oak. Trees were every where. Other than lost shingles and a turbine or two missing, us and my mother we the only ones who had severe structural damage. All of my family and animals were fine.

The following days are almost like a dream. No electricity, no outside communication, no gas. The oak tree had taken out only one end of our trailer so my husband and I stayed in the “good” end, which happened to be half of the den, the kitchen and our bedroom and bath. I figured it was just as miserable everywhere else without electricity and warm water so we might as well sleep in our own bed and take cold showers in our own tub. It was so odd seeing tree branches jutting through the living room. My daughter was lucky to have a friend who lived near the industrial area in town so they had electricity back on in a day. She spent several days with them in a cool home with hot water. The tree had got her room too so she was devastated over the loss of her things.

Our church became a local distribution center. Hot food was brought in from a nearby mission in town and several hundreds were served food and given supplies. Later, disaster relief teams from churches from Tennessee and North Carolina would come in for weeks to help with recovery. Praise the Lord for churches and Christians.

I think reality really set in when we got our electricity on six days later. The “camp” atmosphere was gone and we realized we had no home to go back to. But watching the news I realized just how fortunate we were. We had not lost our entire home like those along the coast. We dug and scraped and managed to get probably eighty percent of our belongings out. My husband even went to excessive lengths to dig out my daughters trophies that had embedded into the ceiling. Only one was broken.

Katrina rushed up our plans for the future. We knew we would one day remodel my parents home and live there. Since our home was a total loss, my mother bought a small trailer so we could go ahead and repair and remodel and move into the family home. We moved four times in the following year scrounging for places to rent, which wasn’t easy, while our home was remodeled.

But we are settled now. I consider us blessed. I know there are so many who still live in FEMA trailers and still don’t have a home to go to.

It just totally amazes me how this storm changed so many lives. Not just the loss of physical property but the emotional and mental anguish that came with it. I think, now if we were still in that trailer we wouldn’t have room for the two extra little girls we now have in the house. Others left the only place they had ever known as home and moved hundreds of miles away. Churches were affected by the loss of members, even pastors. Schools and ball teams were affected. Who knows who may have had a championship team “if” the athletes hadn’t moved away. Or who would have had a losing season if the evacuees hadn’t moved in. Or who would still be living if only they’d got out sooner. Or who may have died without a stranger’s help.

It’s like the butterfly effect. We’ll never know what would have been without Katrina.

I hope I never see another Katrina in my lifetime but odds are, I will.


Watching Gustav

I’m one of those weird weather fanatics that used to get excited about hurricanes. “USED” to. Katrina crushed all that. Now I get scared rather than excited.

No, I never wanted to see a category 4 or 5 hurricane come ashore. Just a good ol’ tropical storm, blowing in the cool breezes, flapping the stop signs (they always show a stop sign on the news), the bumper to bumper northward bound traffic on the interstate, and the usually much needed rain that would take out the Mississippi humidity. It was just some kind of feeling I can’t describe. Other weather fanatics can tell you exactly what I’m talking about.

But Katrina replaced that feeling with fear. No more excitement, just apprehension and worry. I don’t ever want to go through that again. Never.

So now we are keeping a close watch on Gustav. Even though we have no idea where or what he will do, folks around here are already getting prepared. Water, cash, gas, ice, coolers, gas, batteries, canned goods, more gas, generators, even more gas. Yes, people remember sitting in the gas lines for hours after Katrina, if you were lucky enough to find a service station that had gas. Oh the simple things we take for granted.

Right now it’s just a wait and see scenario. I will be praying.

Vaccinate or Not?

There is a big controversy today over children’s vaccinations. When my daughter was small I didn’t think twice about having her vaccinated. And I’d cry as hard as she did watching those needles going into that little leg. I knew I was doing this for her good and never did waver, not one bit. Plus vaccinations were and still are mandatory in this state.

Today, that little bit of hesitation is in the back of my mind when I take my grandchildren for shots. What if something does happen? I’ll be to blame. I know there is no hard evidence indicating that vaccinations are harmful but these articles and people have put that little bit of doubt and worry on my mind. Am I the only one who worries about this or do you? For now we’ll trust our pediatrician and the other experts and we’ll keep getting the vaccines. And I’ll cry with my grandbabies too.


New State Song

“Mississippi You’re On My Mind” is a truly, beautiful song with the most fitting lyrics. I think it should be voted in as our new state song. I know that will never happen though since Jesse Winchester was in Canada dodging the draft when he wrote these lyrics. But anyway, does anyone even know the tune much less the lyrics to “Go Mississippi”, our current state song?

I think I see a wagon rutted road
With the weeds growing tall between the tracks
And along one side runs a rusty barbed wire fence
And beyond that sits an old tar paper shack

Mississippi you're on my mind
Mississippi you're on my mind
Oh, Mississippi you're on my mind

I think I hear a noisy old John Deere
In a field specked with dirty cotton lint
And below the field runs a shady little creek
And there you'll find the cool green leaves of mint

Mississippi you're on my mind
Mississippi you're on my mind
Oh, Mississippi you're on my mind

I think I smell the honeysuckle vine
The heavy sweetness like to make me sick
And the dogs, my God, they're hungry all the time
And the snakes are sleeping where the weeds are thick

Mississippi you're on my mind
Mississippi you're on my mind
Oh, Mississippi you're on my mind

I think I feel an angry oven heat
The Southern Sun just blazes in the sky
In the dusty weeds a fat grasshopper jumps
I want to make it to that creek before I fry

Mississippi you're on my mind
Mississippi you're on my mind
Oh, Mississippi you're on my mind


We Thought You'd Be Here By Now

I’ve had a song on my mind lately. I guess because I have been thinking about someone who is struggling with infertility problems. I can sympathize with them. My husband and I went through the same thing. After six years of marriage we decided we were ready for a baby. No problem getting pregnant but I lost the baby at twelve weeks. We waited the recommended time given by our doctor and tried again. This time it took much longer to get pregnant. We lost another baby. Start all over again. This time I could not get pregnant. We went through the doctor visits, temperature charts, medication, even tried an old wives tale (which actually may be what worked). During this time all intimacy is gone. It becomes a mission, a goal…a chore.

Our hard work (okay…sorry for the pun…I know this is a family blog but I just HAD to throw that in!) did pay off though. We were blessed with a daughter. Our baby is now a senior in high school.

I don’t know why the Lord allows some people to have children and others do not. He promised Abraham and Sarah a child and they laughed at him because of their old age. As always, he came through on that promise. I can only offer prayers and hope to those who are dealing with this.

“Thought You’d Be Here” was written by Wes King during the time he and his wife were struggling with infertility issues. They went on to have twins and another child.

We thought you'd be here by now,
your mother and I.
We're praying through our tears
that somehow
We might hear your sweet cry

Have we waited too long?
It's getting harder to be strong.
Is there something we've done wrong?

But if you like dancing,
I'll make it rain rhythm and rhyme
and melodies, child.
And if you like dreaming,
Your mother will make your imagination run wild.
Somehow, we thought you'd be here by now.

We have a room just for you upstairs.
It's right down the hall.
So, we'll be close should you ever get scared.
We'll come when you call.
It's a room full of stories
Waiting to be told
Longing to behold.

And if you like laughing,
I'll plant you a circus of smiles
and ferris wheels, dear
And if you like living,
Your mother will fly you to worlds both far and near.

I never knew silence could make so deaf.
I never knew that I could miss someone I've never met.
Miss someone I haven't met yet.

We'll be waiting.

Random Thoughts

The days are getting shorter. I have to turn on my headlights now when I leave in the mornings.

The “smell” of high school football is in the air!!!

Every stray animal that some inhumane person dumps comes to my house.

Putting on make up (pretending that is) with your granddaughters is so much fun! Listening to fourteen month old twins talk to each other is even more fun. Dibadibadiba. Lowdylowdy. Papaw. Papaw.

I’m disappointed the frozen Sasquatch turned out to be a fake.

Can you be pro-life and vote democrat?

Where’s Mike McKenzie when you need him?

I’m still fascinated with people’s fascination over multiples.

Will 24 ever make it back on television?

Blogger is not user friendly.

Why is gas .25¢ per gallon cheaper in the neighboring town just 16 miles away?


The Funniest Thing I've Heard Lately

As told by a friend by a friend.

A student spells her name: L-a

So how would you pronounce that? Come on, give it a shot.

My response was Lă ā.

Not even close.

Try…Lă dăsh' ă.


Seriously. All I can say is what a creative mom.


See. Spitz is still the best...


Olympic Thoughts...

Why isn’t football an Olympic sport? We have basketball, baseball, trampoline…WHAT??? I can’t believe trampoline is a SPORT.

And I KNOW the male gymnasts are super athletes with bulging muscles but they just look so prissy to me. At least do away with the little salute thingy at the beginning and end of the routines.

Brittney Reese…you go girl! Will she get the gold on Friday night? We’ll see.

I watched something briefly the other night…a kind of cross between soccer and basketball. But they use their hands, not feet, and they carry the ball, not dribble. What was that?

Why do the female beach volleyball players play almost naked but the men wear long shorts and shirts?

Sure, Michael Phelps has eight gold medals compared to Mark Spitz’s seven, but Spitz is still the best looking swimmer of all time.

I can’t wait for the winter games so I can watch curling.


Good Luck Patrick!

Patrick Sutton, a friend and classmate of my daughter, will be leaving in a few days for South Africa to compete in a world championship power lifting competition. Patrick is a 17 year old senior at Lawrence County High School.

Patrick holds the state high school 4A 220 weight class record of 640 pounds and the bench press record of 430. He also holds the total record of 1,495 pounds. He plans to try to squat 733 pounds during the competition to break the world record. Currently he is ranked third in the world in total weight at 1,598 pounds and is ranked number one nationally.

An amazing aspect of Patrick’s story is something he never brings up himself. He has severe asthma. He had to lug a breathing machine with him during elementary school. He usually spent recess inside to avoid asthma attacks.

And if asthma wasn’t a big enough obstacle, Patrick was diagnosed with Scheuermann's disease in the ninth grade. This is Wikipedia’s definition of this disease:

Scheuermann's disease is considered a form of juvenile osteochondrosis of the spine. It is found mostly in teenagers and presents a significantly worse deformity than postural kyphosis. Patients suffering with Scheuermann’s kyphosis cannot consciously correct their posture. The apex of their curve, located in the thoracic vertebrae, is quite rigid. The sufferer may feel pain at this apex, which can be aggravated by physical activity and by long periods of standing or sitting.

Patrick doesn’t let his disabilities get him down though. He has a tremendous work ethic according to all his coaches. And all his friends say he is an all around nice, good guy. He’s an honor roll student, plays defensive tackle for the football team, and is a competitive cheerleader.

We’ll be rooting for you Patrick! Best of luck.


The White Lie Cake

Alice was to bake a cake for the Baptist church ladies group but forgot to do it until the last minute. She remembered the morning of the bake sale and after rummaging through cabinets, found an angel food cake mix & quickly made it while drying her hair, dressing, & helping her son pack for scout camp.

When Alice took the cake from the oven, the center had dropped flat and the cake was horribly disfigured. She thought, 'Oh dear, there is no time to bake another cake'. This cake was important to Alice because she did so want to fit in at her new church and in her new community of friends.

So, being inventive, she looked around the house for something to build up the center of the cake. Alice found it in the bathroom - a roll of toilet paper. She plunked it in and covered it with icing. Not only did the finished product look beautiful, it looked perfect.

Before she left the house to drop the cake by the church and head for work, Alice woke her daughter Amanda and gave her some money and specific instructions to be at the bake sale the moment it opened at 9:30 and to buy the cake and bring it home.

When Amanda arrived at the sale, she found the attractive, perfect cake had already been sold. She grabbed her cell phone and called her mom. Alice was horrified. She was beside herself. Everyone would know! What would they think? She would be ostracized, talked about, and ridiculed!

All night, Alice lay awake in bed thinking about people pointing fingers at her and talking about her behind her back. The next day, Alice promised herself she would try not to think about the cake and would attend the fancy luncheon/bridal shower at the home of a fellow church member and try to have a good time. Alice did not want to attend because the hostess was a snob who more than once had looked down her nose at Alice because she was a single parent and not from the founding families of the area but having already RSVP'd, she couldn't think of a believable excuse to stay home.

The meal was elegant, the company was definitely upper crust old South and, to Alice 's horror, the cake in question was presented for dessert! Alice felt the blood drain from her body when she saw the cake. She started out of her chair to tell the hostess all about it, but before she could get to her feet, the mayor's wife said, 'What a beautiful cake!' Alice still stunned, sat back in her chair when she heard the hostess (who was a prominent church member) say, 'Thank you, I baked it myself.'

Alice smiled and thought to herself, 'God is good.'

Have you ever told a white lie?


It's Done!

My annual check up and mammogram are over. Actually it’s been three years since I’ve been. And that time was a “have to”, a requirement before my gastric bypass surgery. Which this was better than the five year wait before that one.

There’s nothing fun about a pelvic exam. It is the most embarrassing and mortifying experience I’ve ever been through. I’d rather have all my teeth drilled and filled rather than have that exam. The mammogram, not any better. I won’t even go there.

And did these doctors just wake up one day and say “hey, I want to be a gynecologist. That’ll be a real fun job”? Mike Rowe should definitely do an episode on this. Unclogging a sewer or making fertilize out of cow dung can’t be any worse than a gynecologist.

But seriously, I know it’s for my own good. I’m gonna do my best to make it an annual event. I know I should. I’ll do it for my husband, my daughter and my granddaughters. I’ll do in honor of my friends who have fought cancer…and won. And for my daddy, who fought cancer and lost. And I’ll do it for myself too.


How Long?

I love music so I’ll probably blog about it quite often. I was raised on classic rock. ZZQ102. Absolutely no country music for this country girl even though I would listen to a little pop ever now and then. Some of my favorites artists were Crosby, Stills and Nash, Jethro Tull, Van Morrison, Neil Young (apart from C,S & N), The Doobie Brothers, Dan Fogelberg, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, just to name a few. Sure, I’m giving my age away but who cares.

Shortly after my daughter was born the Lord convicted me about my music preferences. The language and content of many of the songs, and I said many, not all mind you, had become lewd and inappropriate. The lax morals of our society had allowed the music to become that way. So I switched to AFR, the only contemporary Christian station available at the time, and have been listening ever since. At least now we have two options since KLOVE came along.

To me, a good song can stir the Spirit as well as a good sermon. A lot of times the song service sets the stage for the message that is to follow. My thirty five minute drive to and from work is part of my daily worship. That is my quiet time, alone, just me, the radio and the Lord.

There are several Christian artists that can write such wonderful stories and put them to music. Michael Card, Lenny LeBlanc, Chris Rice, Wes King.

After recently listening to a Focus on the Family broadcast about the end times and how the prophecies are being fulfilled, one of my all time favorite songs came to mind. As Christians, I’m sure we’ve all had this question pop into our mind at one time or another.

How long until You defend Your name and set the record right
And how far will You allow the human race to run and hide
And how much can You tolerate our weaknesses
Before You step into our sky blue and say "That’s quite enough!"
Am I naive to want a remedy for every bitter heart
Can I believe You hold an exclamation point for every question mark
And can I leave the timing of this universe in bigger hands
And may I be so bold to ask You to please hurry?
I hear that a God who’s good would never let the evil run so long
But I say it’s because You’re good You’re giving us more time, yeah
‘Cause I believe that You love to show us mercy
But when will You step into our sky blue
And say "That’s quite enough, and your time is up!"
Am I naive to want a remedy for every bitter heart
Can I believe You hold an exclamation point for every question mark
And can I leave the timing of this universe in bigger hands
And may I be so bold to ask You to please hurry?
Am I naive...
Can I believe...
And can I leave...in bigger hands
And may I be so bold to ask You, to ask You, to ask You
How long?
Naïve by Chris Rice


Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. John 14:6


The Lost Daughter

My brother-in-law met his oldest daughter for the first time this past week. She is 38 years old.

He fathered this child while on his way from Viet Nam during a stop over in San Francisco. I’m sure he’s not the only person coming home from war that this has happened to. The mother had let him know he had a daughter way back then but I don’t know why there was never any contact made. I don’t know if it was the distance or because he had later met and married my sister. I figure that part is personal so I haven’t asked that question. I’m sure the thought of having a daughter he’d never met was always in the back of his mind though.

Ever since she made contact, my b-i-l has been like an expectant father waiting for his new child to arrive. I think they talked by phone almost every day. She created a myspace page so the family could look at pictures and keep in touch that way. It is amazing how much she looks like her father and his family.

My sister and husband hosted a gathering Saturday night so everyone could meet the new family member. They both have large families so it was quite a few people there.

The daughter and her husband are very nice and have two sweet, well mannered children. I’m sure it was an unusual and emotional experience for all involved, meeting your family for the first time. I hope this will open a new chapter in their lives…and the ending will be a good one.



Here are a few of my quirks...

The open end of the pillow slip must face to the outside of the bed or else I can’t sleep.

The tv volume must be on an even number.

I brake for frogs.

I can touch my nose with my tongue.

I only take showers, not baths. I don’t feel clean bathing myself in the same water my butt has been in.

I don’t eat the tips of bananas because when I was little my aunt told me the tips had worms in them.

I have claustrophobia, acrophobia and arachnophobia.

I’m looking forward to menopause. No explanation needed.

I don’t eat buffets. I don’t like a bunch of strangers reaching all over my food.

I don’t use public toilets. I’ve trained myself to hold it until I get home.

I only recently found out the black plastic film is “visqueen” and not “bisqueen”.

I’ve flown once. I hated it. I will never do it again unless it’s a have to.

I hate sentences that end with a preposition but I’ve done it twice above already.

So now, what is your quirkiest quirk?