Bobby’s Heavenly 33rd Birthday – “Looking Back”

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Birthday in Heaven

Today, April 14, 2017, is Bobby’s Heavenly 33rd Birthday. Our only son. I miss him being here on earth. Heaven seems so far away. I can’t visit there. If I’d go, I’d have to stay. God’s not ready for me yet. 

My thoughts….

I – “The Hardest Day”

Bobby lost his life on May 31, 2013, trying to save others. He died a beloved hero.

Bobby loved his job as a firefighter. He knew the risks, and he went for it anyway. He always had a servants heart and he was a very hard worker. He survived 2 tours of duty in Iraq before coming home to become a firefighter. It seems unfair to have survived a war in a foreign land, and to come back home to be taken, in the end, by a deadly hotel fire. 

II – “Siblings”

Bobby was the only boy amongst our 3 girls (plus myself), and he always felt outnumbered. Well, he was! But if any one of his sisters ever really needed something, he was there for them. They might have knock down drag out fights, but when it counted most, he was there for them. 

Lauren was 10 years younger than Bobby. He thought she was SOOOO cute. He loved it when she said and did silly things. He got such a kick out of her. I would tell him not to laugh if she said a bad word, or got certain phrases wrong (ie. New York Yankers), but he could not help himself. He was only 10, and at 10 years old, I guess that was funny to him. The more I told him not to encourage her by laughing, the funnier it became to him. I get it. I too have a younger sibling. What goes around, comes around, so don’t make fun of your siblings. 🙂

Bobby had a close relationship with Liz.They were only 18 months apart. She would draw the line with him, and he knew not to cross it. He tried it – once. He never tried that again. When she “set a boundary”, she meant it, and he knew it. Their bedrooms shared a wall. At night, I would hear them knocking on the wall from one bedroom to the other. As it turned out, they were “talking in code”. They had a special code word for goodnight. So sweet. We still use that word today. 

As children, Bobby had sort of a love/hate relationship with Nicole. She was 6 years older than he. She had to babysit him a lot because I was a single mom and I couldn’t be everywhere at once. When he got upset with her, he would yell at her, “You’re not the boss of me!” He gave her a very hard time when she needed to correct him because, well, she wasn’t his mom. But when Nicole needed some money for college, he gave her all he had – $50. No one asked him to do that, he just did. It was his heart, and she was in it.

III – “Math Whiz”

Bobby knew the value of a dollar and he worked very hard at saving. He was the only one of the kids who was able to save his money. When the girls were broke (almost always), they visited the “Bank of Bobby.” He gladly gave them a lone, but only if a proper interest rate was negotiated in advance. 😉 Smart boy.

Bobby was good at math even as a little boy. As I’ve mentioned before, when he was 6 years old, and I was trying to divvy up lunch money in the morning for the 3 of them (amidst all of the chaos), he would quickly take charge of all the coins laid out on the bed, and divide them into thirds quicker than I could blink. He never had trouble with his “math facts”. Never.

IV – “Reconciliation” 

Even though Bobby struggled with different things and with us parents as many teens do, I always knew he loved me. He would slip notes under my bedroom door a lot of times to say “I’m sorry” for misbehaving, and to say that he loved me. I would tell him that I forgive him, and we’d work out what he could do differently next time. Although it was difficult at the time, I treasure those sweet notes now more than ever before. 

IV – “Goodnight Sweetheart

At bedtime, when Bobby was about 14, I would say goodnight to Bobby and send him off to bed. A few minutes later my bedroom door would crack open. There was Bobby with his head poked through the crack, smiling, and singing to me – “Goodnight  sweetheart, goodnight, wherever you arrrre!” He had a very good singing voice. I would say, “Goodnight”. A few minutes later, he was back – “Goodnight, sweetheart, goodnight, wherever you arrrrre!” Me: “Goodnight Bobby.” Just as I was falling off to sleep, he was back – “Goodnight sweetheart goodnight wherever you arrrrrre!” Me: “Goodnight Bobby! Go to bed!” Bobby: “Ok, goodnight. Love you.” Me: “Love you too Bobby.” ❤

V – “Looking Back”

I love looking back and seeing that picture in my mind of Bobby poking his head in my bedroom doorway and singing. I wish those would have been the days of “selfies”. I still remember what Bobby’s voice sounded like at 14. You know, that age where a teen boy’s voice gets crackly and deeper? That was it. It still makes me smile. It’s one of my favorite memories of him.

At the time of Bobby’s serenades, in a very rowdy household (4 teens and a blended family), all I wanted him to do was go to bed so I could get some sleep for another rowdy day. But look now, how special it is, that God left me with some of the best memories of him ever. There are more, but this is all for now.

VI – “Love You Forever”

Now I say to Bobby, “Goodnight, sweetheart, goodnight, wherever you arrrrre!” 🎶 

Happy Birthday in Heaven my sweet boy.  🚒 💙🇺🇸 Sadness over the loss of you is here to stay, but my memories of you will never go away.

“Karma, My Cajun Heritage, and the Chip Confession”

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So, it must be a gift left to me from my Cajun heritage or something that I can eat just about anywhere; be it in a chair, at a table, on a bed, standing up, in the car, and am fine with it.

Harold, on the other hand NEEDS a table. We (“I”) always have a laugh when we are not at the table, as he struggles to get everything together without spilling food on himself, the couch, the floor, etc. He tolerates it, but it frustrates him to no end. By now, it’s just the joke of all jokes between us.

Last night, after a long day at work, we ended up eating some awesome sandwiches and chips in our hotel bed. So, we’re talking about the day and enjoying our food, when all of a sudden Harold’s bag of chips “leaked” a whole bunch of itty bitty chip crumbs on his side of the sheets.

Harold (like this was the first time it ever happened) gets totally frustrated at the sight of this mess on his side of the bed. But then, lo and behold, he just keeps eating! It’s hysterical to me that he just accepts it this time and keeps eating with that mess on his side of the bed (knowing that he is going to have to lie down in that later LOL). He MUST have been super tired.

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Soon enough, he gets up, gennntly lifts the sheets so he can swipe the chips off (still leaving a few remnants behind). Of course I’m laughing hysterically on the inside at this “deja vu”.

A few minutes later Harold decides to go get some yummy coffee from the coffee bar downstairs to go with our “Dulce du Leche” cheesecake (that I had bought earlier) for dessert.

While he was gone, it hit me. I thought, “How funny would it be to get some of those chip crumbs and sneak them ‘under’ the sheets on his side.” And so I did.

Later, when we were going to bed, he pulled back the covers and he could not believe that the chips had gotten all the way under the covers. He patiently cleaned it up again. I was dying on the inside trying to keep a straight face. He asked if I did it, and I denied the whole thing. This was fun! I tricked Harold! Yessss!

This morning he says with surprise, “You know, I thought that all of those chip crumbs might wake me up during the night, but I didn’t feel a thing!” I didn’t say a word.

A couple of hours later, I couldn’t stand it any longer. I made my confession. “Confession!” “What?” “Confession! I did it! I put the chips there! I did it and I can’t keep the secret anymore!” Harold laughs kind of like it’s funny and kind of like it’s not. [And, now he doesn’t trust me anymore.] 😦

But guess what woke ME up during the night?? CHIPS! On MY side of the bed!! (yawn)

The joke was on ME in the end!

My first and last “joke”. Ha. Ha.

“Heeeeere chippy chippy!” 🙂

 

 

Did You Know???

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Why Sugar Is So Harmful

Did you know sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine and linked to the deaths of almost 600,000 Americans a year? It’s true.

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One recent study found that Oreo cookies, of all things, were actually MORE addictive than both cocaine and heroin.

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No wonder people have such a hard time saying “no” to sugary snack foods. They’re designed to stimulate certain parts of your brain and create addictive behavior.

MRI’s for DUMMIES

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My MRI Experience

Thank you all very much for your prayers and encouragement. During the 2 hours of lying flat on my back, only able to move my head, I desperately tried to think of things to do to make the time pass.

In my mind, among the different things I tried, I wrote a blog, I created a FB group page, I thought of names for the page, made up an entire Zumba routine to the 8 count of the MRI machine, I prayed for people I knew, I prayed for sleep (which never came), I imagined how good it would feel to get out in the heat to defrost myself from being in this meat locker, and I practiced relaxation breathing. It was SO stinkin’ cold in there I actually PRAYED FOR HOT FLASHES! And then I counted sheep.

I even laughed (all by myself) about the time I told my husband to count sheep one night when he was having trouble sleeping. He said he couldn’t do it. I asked why, and he said because he didn’t know what to do with the sheep once they got over the fence. I said, “What do you mean you don’t know what to do with them?” He said, “I don’t know, the sheep kept piling up on the other side and it became such a big mess that it was stressing me out”!

My sheep just go over. They don’t land. They just go over. That’s it. They just go over.

So back to the procedure.

  1. Usually I only need meds if they put my ‘whole’ body in “feet first” (no idea why), so I didn’t ask the doctor for anything.
  2. I didn’t know it was going to last for 2 hours until I got there and freaked.
  3. Not 1 blanket available for me – she “just sent them all off with laundry guy”. What??
  4. She offered “A” sheet. One sheet. And she didn’t even know what to do with THAT one. I ended up using 5 sheets (placed on me by my own self btw) and still froze.
  5. I asked for a bolster to put under my knees to take the pressure off of my back. Oops! No bolsters. She clumsily tried to improvise by using some cold square plastic things that she found on a shelf. She was having so much trouble trying to rig it up, I had to help her figure it out (along with folding my own sheets to support my back), while ON my back.
  6. Lying on my back for 2 hours was hurting so bad. Then when I had so so much trouble getting up afterward (and she full well saw (and heard) me struggling), she never offered to help me in any way. She said, “Be careful – you’re high up!” Oh, really?? Wow. Yeah. Thanks for letting me know.
  7. Then she says, “Did you sleep”? No. I cannot sleep to the sound of a jackhammer while I’m freezing to death, I have to pee, and my back feels like it’s breaking.

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TIPS for MRI of the feet (learned the hard way):

  1. Dress like you are going to visit North Pole, AK. You can always remove clothes if you have too much, but you can’t make more clothes appear out of nowhere if you’re cold.
  2. When you drive up to the place and there are no cars out front – LEAVE.
  3. When you get inside and there is only 1 person in the whole place (who doesn’t seem the least bit confident) LEAVE
  4. If you stayed anyway, and they offer you reading material for the procedure, and the magazines weigh a pound a piece, AND there’s no light to read by anyway, – DECLINE – what’s the point.
  5. Don’t look at the clock because every time you do it will STILL say 1:30.
  6. Bring a hairbrush. The only thing you can move during the procedure is your head, which will insure a “rats nest” bigger than anything you can ever imagine.
  7. Since the table is not even as wide as you are, you will definitely need to find a way to keep your arms from falling off the table. May I suggest tucking your thumbs under your butt – that works. Or, wear a belt and tuck your hands just inside. That works until your bladder gets full, then go back to thumbs under the butt.
  8. IF you have bobby pins in your hair, which will likely be lying on the table when you get up (from all the head turning), grab them as fast as you can, or they will magically fly through the air and attach themselves to the inside of the MRI machine! (I’m not kidding). When  you get your bobby pins OUT of the machine, DON’T set them down again because they WILL fly right back into the machine and reattach themselves to the wall yet again – probably the most interesting thing about the whole procedure.

Your welcome.

My 61Birthday Surprise Party with Friends

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9/25/15 – A very good day 🙂

Soooooo……I have to tell y’all, I had my very FIRST Surprise Birthday Party EVER last night!!! My first real (and surprise) Birthday Party!! EVER!! Secretly, I had always dreamed of one (he had no idea)
, and Harold Green gave that to me yesterday. I am truly blessed.

As a child, I never had even 1 birthday party. My mom (and I love my mom) would go get a prepackaged cake from the grocery store. She’d come home, plop it on the table and say, “There’s your birthday”, and leave the room.

Last night’s celebration was the REAL DEAL (as you can tell by the clothes I was wearing, and my crappy hair) LOL! I laughed so much while I was there that I feel like I have a “hangover” this morning – a sober one of course wink emoticon

It was also a very healing experience at the same time. It was so awesome to feel the love of everyone there for me, loving on me, just for being me! 💗

Thank you Harold Green for always treating me like a princess. You really know how to celebrate me with such generosity, kindness, and love. I love you so much!

Ok – Here’s living proof of my FIRST Birthday Party with friends! (Surprise!!)

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Jane Perkins Nilsson Courtney Green Billy Free Harold Green Tina Adams Randy Adams Ximena Suarez Donna Lee Lozano

P.S. They spelled my name wrong, and I was so excited for the party, I never noticed!

I wish ALL of my friends could have been there, but I found out afterwards that there were only a certain amount of seats available. heart emoticon heart emoticon heart emoticon I missed you though!

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My Encounter with an Angel

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HEBREWS 13:2

“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”

Not all angels reside in Heaven. Some walk the earth just like YOU.

I know this because…..

As I was on my way back up from the lowest point in my life two years ago, I slowly began to notice that something “different” was happening to me. As I fought my way through some very dark days (and still do sometimes), I began to receive help from people I did not know. I mean like people on the phone with the electric company, people in Hobby Lobby, people at HEB, people on social media, friends of friends of friends….and the list goes on forever.

I would like to share the most recent encounters with you today. This just happened to me a few days ago.

My husband was headed out of town on a business trip. But due to car trouble with HIS car, he ended up taking MY car at the last minute, as so not to miss his flight. He kindly scheduled a driver to pick me up later that day to go pick up my car at the airport. This was NOT my ideal scenario by any means.

You see, since my son died tragically and so publicly 2 years ago, I have become very untrusting (and, ok, scared) of people I do not know sometimes. I get no warning usually; it just happens.

I was trying to be brave that I was about to drive an hour away with a perfect stranger in an unfamiliar vehicle. I was overcome with anxiety. “Should I bring my puppy? Should I not bring my puppy? I really hope this isn’t going to be a bad experience.” I really needed some kind of hand holding, but there was no hand to hold.

As the Lord would have it, I ‘couldn’t’ bring my puppy because I wanted to go by the hospital out by the airport to see a dear friend.

I could feel the anxiety creeping in as my heart beat faster and faster. “I can do this. I can do this. It will be ok.” I saw a nice shiny black car drive up. I took a deep breath, and I walked outside.

I want you to know that standing there beside the car stood the sweetest looking little elderly man. He was dressed so nice in a white long sleeved shirt with a tie, nice dress pants and shoes. I took one look at him and I was completely at ease.

The drive started out with the usual formalities, and directions of course. I told the driver where I needed to go, and he made it clear several times that he was not allowed to go into the parking garage. But, he said, “I’ll drop you where you can take an elevator to the garage.” I was fine with that, and we drove on toward the airport.

I pulled out my phone because I thought, “I don’t know this man. Good thing I brought my phone! I’ll just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.” I had NO plans of a conversation – at all. I was just relieved that the driver was dressed nice and seemed harmless.  🙂

I can see now that God must have been smiling and saying, “Ha! She thinks she’s going to play on her phone!”

Looking back, I don’t remember my phone AT ALL. Heck, I don’t even remember the trip! I don’t remember the sound of traffic, sounds from the car, or anything around us. All I remember was the conversation, and more importantly, the kindness and compassion of the sweet elderly driver, and how his eyes welled up with tears every now and then. I have no idea how the conversation even began; but it did.

As things go with “God moments” it’s so powerful at the time, then when I try to recall it, it’s kind of like a dream.

Suddenly, I felt my guard come down completely. One of us started a conversation. I remember telling a few funny stories about the kids, and us laughing. The driver seemed like a serious guy at first, but the next thing you know, HE was laughing. In fact, it was the kind of laugh where you lean toward the steering wheel laughing and then sit back again. I remember being surprised by such a serious looking man laughing like that.

Keep in mind that we have 4 children, but I must have only told the driver stories about Bobby from when he was little. Bobby was quite a little character. He kept me on my toes more than our girls ever did.

The driver seemed very interested and invested in the conversation and the stories. I remember being surprised by that. He would respond sometimes and sometimes remain quiet. One time, after a really good laugh out of the both of us, the driver said, “What is Bobby doing now?” My heart skipped a beat. I didn’t know what to say. The mood in the car had been so light, fun, and lively. How could I talk about death now? How could I?

I don’t stutter, but I sort of stuttered and said, “He-ee he died. The driver slumped in his seat a little. I distinctly saw pain in his face and tears well up in his eyes. He said that he was so sorry to hear that (several times). I asked him if he remembered the fire where 4 of the firefighters died, and he said that he did. He said he watched the whole thing on TV.

I told him that I too watched the whole thing on TV, but I never knew that it was my son dying in that fire as I watched. I told the driver that I found out when Bobby’s face flashed up on the TV screen with the word “deceased” next to his picture. As I spoke, I was not upset, just very calm. I remember thinking, “This is good, I’m not feeling bad, I’m ok, this is good that I’m still ok.”

I noticed that the driver was still tearing up. He was sad and pained, but, surprisingly, I was not. I was good. I told him that I had been down a very dark road where I found myself not wanting to live either, but I’m ok now. I told him calmly that I still have a meltdown or two every once in a while (which is to be expected), but I’m much better now.

I asked him where he was from. He said, “Iran.” I thought, “Oh no! I just told him how Bobby had made 2 tours of duty in Iraq!” I was hoping that it was ok that I had shared that.

I asked the driver about his job. Then, he opened up to me that he’s been driving for 30 years. He shared with me that his wife is very sick and disabled, and his insurance is very bad. He said that the insurance has them going in circles, and he can hardly afford to live on just one income. He told me (with tears in his eyes) that this was very hard on him because there is nothing he can do for her. I felt so bad for him. He was very sad. He was so sincere about his pain. I asked her name and told him that I would pray for her. He thanked me. And I did.

After all this while of talking back and forth, I guess he could not get Bobby (and what happened to him) off of his mind. He began to tell me another story of his. This one was about a young boy (the same age as his children) who was best friends with his kids. Over the years, the young boy had become a familiar face at their home. He was quite fond of the young boy.

The driver became very upset and visibly angry when he mentioned the young boy’s father. It turns out that the young man’s father had a lot of guns and knives and none of them were locked up. So my driver always warned his children to be careful when they were over there because the guns were not in a safe place.

One day, the young boy and his family moved away. My driver’s daughter kept up with the young man for years, as they were best friends. One day his daughter called and said that something terrible happened. She said the young boy ended up being shot to death by one of his friends while they were playing with the father’s guns. I told him how sorry I was to hear of this. It was very sad, and I could really feel his pain – just the shock of it all.

Then my driver got unusually animated and said how angry he was still “to this day about it”. He still had tears in his eyes. I understood. I shared with him about how I often have to practice Radical Acceptance, and about how I have dealt with those feelings of hatred and anger. I told him that now I know that holding on to hatred, bitterness, and unforgiveness is like drinking poison expecting the other person to die. At that moment, it looked as if he had had a “lightbulb moment.” I noticed that his intense anger quickly dissipated.

I told him that I seriously blamed God at first for Bobby’s death, but I don’t blame Him or anymore. I told him about my realizing that I don’t know why it happened, and I don’t need to know why anymore. I know I will see him again because I am saved and so was Bobby. While I was saying that about being saved, the Holy Spirit told me, “That’s a seed. It’s ok just to leave it there.”

My driver, once again, apologized for Bobby’s death, and he said, “You have your girls?” I thought “sheesh!” I didn’t want to have to tell him that too because it only gets worse. “The girls haven’t spoken to me since Bobby’s death” I said, “and I don’t know why. I have asked each one, and they each said that they “don’t want to discuss it.” Although it pains me greatly, I have realized that I have to leave it there until they are ready to talk about it”.

I told him that I’m in a better place with it all now. It still hurts, but there is nothing I can do but accept it – It is what it is. I told him that I pray for them every day that God would soften their hearts towards me and mine towards them.

He looked in his rear view mirror (as he had been doing from time to time) and said, “That’s good. You have very strong faith – very strong.” Then he said, “Your children will COME back – 100% – 100%”. He said it several times throughout the conversation, as if to make sure it stuck with me.

It was at that moment, that I realized I was in a car with an angel. His conviction was so strong. I thought to myself, “I’m in a car with an angel!” “No wonder there is so much honesty, compassion, encouragement, tears that don’t hurt, talk of forgiveness, peace, acceptance, and on and on.” And on top of that, it went both ways. Somehow we were both able to encourage each other!

Sometimes in my life, looking back, I can see where I had experienced a God moment, or an encounter with an angel. But this time was different. I KNEW I was IN THE MIDDLE OF A GOD MOMENT! It was very surreal.

I didn’t remember feeling the pain I usually feel in my body on a daily basis now. I felt no anxiety, no hurt, no depression, no tears, no heartache, nothing bad at all. Truly, I felt like we were the only two “people” on the freeway. Were we even ON a freeway??

Even right now, as I type, I’m having a hard time just putting it all into words; but something very special was happening, and I was just soaking up every moment of it. Blessings were happening so much and so many, I can’t even write them all down, or this story would go on forever.

When we got to the airport, I gave him my credit card to get into the garage, and and asked him if his company was paying for him to leave the parking garage. He said, “No, but I may not need it.” So I told him that I would give him money in case he did. He tried to refuse. But I insisted one last time and he took it.

He said again, “But I might not need it.” So I finally said, “Well if you do, you’ll have it, and if you don’t, just buy your wife a treat!” He looked at me like “what”? We (actually) hugged good-bye. He said, “I’ll wait till you get in your car and start it before I leave”.

It was like a dad speaking to his daughter, and I was that daughter. Then it donned on me, “I DID have someone holding my hand.” Through this man that I did not even know, God sent the Holy Spirit to hold my hand.

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I had (have) a comforter. The Holy Spirit was in that car too. He gave me comfort, and He gave my driver comfort too. In one hour’s time, I could literally see the transformation in him happen.

John 14:26 – “But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

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The next time you “need some hand holding”, trust that God will send you too a Comforter as well.

But be alert always! You don’t know in what form it will come to you. Live each day with expectancy.

Rest assured – it WILL come.

Careening Through the Woods

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Today, I went to lunch and noticed 2 Fire Marshall’s inside of the restaurant. I wanted to introduce myself and thank them for their service. I was so nervous (being such an introvert and all), but I did it anyway. Go me!

I told them that I wanted to thank them very much for their service. I told them that Bobby was my son. They were very surprised, and so happy to meet me.

They were so warm and kind. They thanked me for introducing myself. They asked me how I was doing several times. They said they were so happy to meet me. After walking away, one of them even came back and asked me what I did for Mother’s Day. Wasn’t that sweet?

On the way home, I was thinking about our conversation when I realized that I did something for Mother’s Day that I’d never done in my LIFE, and it was actually something Bobby would have really really enjoyed.

I went careening through the woods on a Polaris UTV, smashing down small trees and big fallen branches.

woodsI was a human windshield as we were ducking and weaving under hanging branches; stopping every once in a while to check out streams, nature, cool rocks, and old stuff…..even an old house with bats!

Bobby would have loved it! – Especially the crazy driving part and smashing stuff up with big boy toys. 😉

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