Sunday, November 24, 2013

Farewell Thank You

The time has come.

The season has ended.

This will be my final blog entry.

God has let me know it's time.

In doing so I want to also acknowledge this holiday season of Thanksgiving.

I want to pay a tribute of thanksgiving to my parents.  I am now 59 years old and my life has had a lot, really a lot of "seasons" --- all of which they have stood behind me, walked in front of me and held my hand as they journeyed beside me.

From childhood --- dinner around our kitchen table there on the farm --- we could sit there for a couple of hours.  Eating wasn't the most important thing -- it was the laughing and talking and sharing and just being family!  Those dinners molded and changed my life.

From discipline --- I know I wasn't the easiest child to rear.  Being the oldest of 4 kids and the only girl -- no matter what I always knew I had parents who loved me and a home to come home to.  Those constants were God's special blessings to me.

From love --- raising 4 kids on  a farmer's income had to be rough --- but I never knew when those rough times were.  Christmas always had us opening piles of presents from under the tree and the wrapping paper strewn from one end of the 40 foot long family room to the other was just part of the fun.  My parents always loved one another, no matter how tough it must have been at times.  I remember seeing them embrace and kiss one another in front of the kitchen sink one night and it is a scene that has stayed with me and sustained me through the years!

From faith --- we weren't given the "choice" of attending church on Sunday mornings!  And for that I am thankful.  We were all given a Christian education through the 8th grade and that education molded me in ways I don't even know or realize now.  What I do know is that insisting we have that foundation to build our lives upon was -- and is -- priceless and life long!

From fun --- vacations to the Smoky Mountains for years on end --- the vacation to Florida that carries stories that will last longer than our lifetime -- always together as a family -- always fun and always filled with love.

From the really tough times; nearly losing my youngest daughter at birth, divorce after nearly 22 years of marriage, moving all over the place, remarriage and continued problems and stumbling blocks and twists and turns of life ---- my parents have always been there for me and with me.

For Monty -- for accepting him (broken parts and all) and giving him the family he always dreamed of -- he calls my mom "mom" and does it with such love!

Even when Monty and I said we were quitting our jobs and leaving our home and going south to help people rebuild their lives and homes following hurricane Katrina --- feeling in their hearts that we wouldn't be able to survive -- but never once putting those thoughts into words --- even when we stayed in the south for 3 years and then headed to the deeper south state of Texas for another 2 years --- they supported us.  They even came and visited us a couple of times --- and even though they left in wonder and amazement and not really understanding --- they still supported us.

So as we approach this Thanksgiving season and I look forward to spending that special day with my parents, all 3 of my brothers, 2 of my children, my grandchildren, my nieces and nephews --- our family all together around that kitchen table --- the laughter will be deafening at times, the food will be enough to feed 5 more families, the house filled with so much love it will be leaking out any crack or crevice in that house that was built in 1868 --- I know I am the most blessed woman in this world!

And all because of my parents, the examples they have set for all of us, for their friends, for their church family, for the homeless that my mom fed for over 20 years and for those whose lives have been touched by them -- that we aren't even aware of! 

The saying goes that a strand of 2 can be broken pretty easily but a strand of 3 -- with God as the center -- is impossible to break.  God has been the center of my parents lives which in turn has been the center of my life --- and for that --- there are NO words to express my thanks!

They may be 80 and 82 years "young" but I look forward to the upcoming years as I know God has amazing plans for both of them --- which means amazing plans for me and my brothers!

WOW!   It's going to be a great Thanksgiving!

And WOW --- God is so good!

Thank you Mom and Daddy! 

Yes, this is my final blog.  This season is over and I look forward to the next!
May God bless all of you and my you have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!

For the last time . . .                                             Susan and Monty

Friday, November 15, 2013

49 Years Later = REST!!!!!

When I finally made the appointment for him and found out the results I think I was the only one that was not surprised.  But this morning did surprise me!

Monty hasn't had one night of real restful sleep in . . . probably since he was born!

And last night . . . night one!!!!!

He finally got the machine!!  He stopped by the shop after work and after a 90 minute lesson in how to use it and getting it all set up he was home.

And sadly, he now has a really nasty cold and when he came in the door after 6.30pm he was more than dragging.  His voice was raspy and he was exhausted from just trying to work through the cold both outside and inside of him.

All he could manage to do was get the machine out of the bag and turn over the information booklet to me.  I admit I didn't feel up to reading all of it either so we just went with the professionals set up and left all the rest of the info on the table.

Usually Monty stays up longer than me.  We've found that if I get to sleep first atleast I stand a chance of getting a bit of sleep before he comes in and starts snoring, flipping and flopping and breathing and not breathing . . .

Last night we both went to bed at the same time.  He hooked up the headgear and I really should have taken a picture for you to see.  If we both hadn't felt so bad it would've been funny.

I admit I figured he would get uncomfortable in it and toss it aside during the night.  I did hear him up a couple of times and when I looked, he had it all back on as it should be.  (The long tube isn't quite long enough to reach to the bathroom)    :)

This morning, when the alarm went off --- he was talking to me BEFORE he got out of bed!  Now understand that he sets an alarm for 2 hours before he needs to be at work.  He takes the first hour and just sits in a daze, coffee in hand, watching TV and waiting to get awake.  So this morning -- to be talking to me --- while still in bed with the head gear on ------ I wasn't even ready to talk!!!!  And you that know me know that doesn't happen  (but I am still quite a bit under the weather)    :)

He said he was awake and ready to go.  He was up, made his own coffee, gathered all the trash from the house (and didn't forget to take it out) and was ready to go within the first hour!!!!

I've always said I believe in miracles and this morning I was blessed to witness another one!

Monty's life is about to change in ways he has no idea!  He's not had real rest in forever.  And now?  I am anxious to see the changes!  He was this ready to go this morning when I figured he wouldn't even go to work because of feeling so bad!

God is so good!  This has been another "journey" in watching God's hands and God's timing and being so thankful for both!

He already says he'll use this machine all the time ---- even when he naps!  I think he won't need the 4 and 5 hour "naps" on the weekends anymore!!!!!!!!

Until next time . . . maybe I will also get some real sleep!                     Susan

Monday, November 11, 2013

1 . . 2 . . 3 . . = 4

This week has gotten off to a rather rough start.

I knew yesterday I didn't feel well and thought it was just a cold.

This morning I knew something was way off, very wrong.

I did go in and drive my morning bus route but shouldn't have.  Each hour had me feeling worse.

Immediately after my route I headed to the local walk in clinic and yep -- doc's words were, "you're a very sick lady!"  Surprise!

A sinus infection has combined with bronchitis and pneumonia!

So it's off work for the next couple of days and 4 different medications to juggle!

Scripture says I'm already healed so let's get it going!

Until next time . . . I will miss my bus kids!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!                          Susan

Saturday, November 09, 2013

It's not by accident . . .

This week has had a couple of Mondays in it.

School was in session on Monday, closed Tuesday (national election day - with or without elections) and then back to school Wednesday.  It felt like starting the week twice.

But . . . it did allow me time to go to Bible study on Tuesday.  My schedule has just been so tight lately and I have really missed attending weekly.  This time my dear, sweet friend Bev picked me up and it was another amazing morning.  The young son of our assistant pastors had a Word for us, individually.

As he called up each person, one by one, I didn't think he would call me up.  He doesn't know me all that well and I just hadn't even thought about it.  I guess I didn't realize that God does know me!

As he called my name I wondered what I would be hearing.  After all, this kid is a kid!  But again, I forgot that the voice might be from a kid -- but the Words behind it would be God's!  It's tough when our human side is so human!

He told me "it's not by accident that you are driving a school bus!"  He told me how I was planting seeds into each of these children and even though I felt they couldn't understand me because I don't speak their foreign language - God was the one doing the interpreting and they totally understand me!

He then talked about how the seeds I am planting in them are going all over the world.  Some of my bus kids have already left and returned to their home countries, China, Turkey and Korea.  And another is just awaiting final travel plans before returning to Taiwan.  I hadn't thought about that and it shed some new light on things for me.

I admit that many times I have wondered why I am driving a school bus!  Let's face it, it's not been one of the things on my "bucket list" and really not something I ever even thought about!  And I have indeed felt like "why am I here doing this?"

But after Tuesday morning -- I now feel differently and thank God for using this young man to speak His Words to me!

I knew I had really missed going to Bible study.  I had missed seeing my friends.  But what I found is that I had missed hearing from God a lot more!!!!!

Keep your listening ears open because God has a way of using those whom we least expect to speak His Word to us!

Until next time . . . thank you Samuel for being obedient and not only hearing from God but obeying!  You changed my thought process for sure!                                              Susan

Thursday, October 31, 2013

She's Just That Special

I don't even remember when I first met her.  I had heard about her over the years, Monty's mother spoke very highly of her and considered her a dear and trusted friend.

I do know that when we came back from Texas she was going to have hip replacement surgery.  I decided to go and see her in the hospital and while I was there I prayed for her.  We talked and talked as if we'd known one another for years.

While I was visiting her one day the nurse came in the door with all sorts of protective clothing and such and "announced" that she had caught this bacteria "thing" and that anyone coming to visit must cover themselves with all this gown, mask and gloves "attire".  There I sat (not covered) and when I told the nurse I didn't need any of that (I knew God was protecting me as He's the one that sent me there in the first place) the nurse just smiled and then proceeded to answer the many questions I had. 

The very first thing my friend asked me was "does this mean you won't pray for me now?"  Not only did I assure her that I would -- I did -- and kissed her forehead before I left!

I also remember going to visit with her while she was in rehabilitation therapy and how we would laugh as we visited!  Her spirit of wanting to be completely healed was contagious!  Her laughter even more!  She had the nurses and other patients laughing and we all know that THAT is the best kind of medicine!

After she was released from all her therapy and such she decided she was going to "visit" our church.  She was a life long member of another church but due to some circumstances !!  she wanted to try someplace new. 

She's been at our church ever since!!!!

Her past church did get a new minister a couple of years ago and she thought she'd to back.  She went a couple of Sundays and returned to worship with us and has stayed.

She and Pastor Dave have developed such a wonderful relationship and the love they have for each other is also contagious. 

She now attends a small group Bible study and one of her sons comes along with her.  She jokes that sometimes she doesn't hear everything due to her hearing aids --- but she doesn't miss a class!

This past Sunday she was baptized!!  Yes, she had been sprinkled when she was an infant and in her "speech" before being baptized she said that being sprinkled was for her parents.  Being immersed was now for her!  She thanked her family and friends for being there.  Her other son was not going to attend but in the end said he would do it for her because she had done so much for him!  He wasn't sorry he came!!!!

I've seen a lot of baptisms but this one . . . I saw God there!   As Monty and one of her sons helped her up the steps and into the baptism tank and Pastor Dave helped lift her leg --- Monty stepped up and assisted Pastor Dave in baptizing her.  As she went under you could already hear the praises going up!  The congregation also loves this friend of mine and seeing her do this, hearing why -- it was priceless!  As she came up, hair slicked back, a smile on her face that was bigger than I've ever seen another human have --- the angels were singing and God was smiling!  The cheers of excitement and joy rang out through the whole church and I wondered if she was just going to sit in there for awhile!  Monty had told her ahead of time that we would need to call the EPA to remove the water since it would be filled with so much sin! 

It was a glorious morning, a morning where --- as I watched Monty help in her baptism --- I saw healing take place that I cannot find the words for!  God was right there, fulfilling His plan in His perfect timing and I am so grateful and thankful and overjoyed! 

She may have gotten baptized but my prayers were also answered in a big way.  God showed me how much He is the author of my life and that He is always right next to me!

She's a wonderful and trusted and beloved friend of mine!  A gift from God to me!  A gift I didn't even know I needed!

Ms Judy Mc ---- thank you for being you!  Thank you for being my friend!  Thank you for being baptized and most of all --- thank you for listening to God and obeying Him!

I look forward to what He has in store for all of us!

Yep folks --- she's just that special!           

Until next time . . .                                                                                  Susan

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Friend is a word we all use -- a lot.

But I've been thinking about the span of friends I personally have and have had over the years.  There are more than I can even number.  Each one has blessed my life in specific ways and I have grown because of them.  There are those who have come and gone -- for many different reasons.

And then there are those who are the "constant" ones, there over the years, through thick and thin.  There aren't very many of these.

New friends are fun.  Getting to know each other, working past the newness and getting into the reality of who you are.  I have a few of these and treasure the adventures.

As the years continue moving forward I anxiously anticipate the friends that I haven't even met yet and the situations that will bring us together.  God directs each one with a purpose, a lesson to be learned.

BFF = best friends forever!  There is one special person who is my best friend, the one who is there for me when I'm a bit less than perky, the one who encourages me, the one who believes in me way more than I believe in myself, the one that I treasure more than words can say ---- my husband, Monty!

Throughout our 15 years we've been through more than most couples go through in 50 years.  But the key?  We've gotten through it!  "We" have been a cord of 3;  Monty, myself and God.  Without God we never would have met.  Without Him we never would have married.  Without Him we never would have made it through the tough times, the nearly impossible times.  Without Him . . .

I never want to live my life without Him -- or Monty!

Friends!  Best friends!  God's special gifts we tend to take for granted!  Today I just wanted to take a few minutes and hopefully jog your memories and feelings and hopefully help you realize the friends in your lives!   Let them know how special they are -- and thank God for each of them!

Until next time . . . Blessings,   Susan

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Over 31 times in 1 hour

I've known it for all of the over 15 years we've been married.  Now I am feeling guilty for not making the appointment sooner.  But help IS on the way -- and it will help both of us!

Monty had a sleep study done this past week.  I have known he stops breathing in his sleep, amid the snoring that I hope the neighbors don't hear and that sometimes drives me into the spare bedroom in the middle of the night.  But I had no idea!

After only 2 hours into the study the nurses came in and said he HAD to use the machine.  He had stopped breathing over 31 times in both the first and second hours!!!!!  They were shocked and got him set up quickly. 

After sleeping with the machine for about 5 hours he woke up on his own and said he thought he had just taken a "nap" and yet wondered why he was able to be awake enough to answer questions and even complete paperwork!  He had never felt that rested and was really surprised when he realized just how long he had actually slept!

We now await the doctors review of the complete test.  That could take a couple of weeks as the had so many wires and machines hooked up at the same time; checking heart and brain and who knows what else.  But there is NO question --- he WILL be getting a machine and this morning he told me he doesn't remember anticipating anything with this much excitement!

I think he will be a new man - literally!  And he may find he doesn't need some of the medications he takes!

So . . . we wait  . . . in anticipation of a real nights sleep . . . for both of us!

Until next time . . . God is SO good!  And He doesn't need to sleep!                      Susan