What Faith Can Do

Disclaimer:  This post is for ME!  I am writing because this is what I NEED to hear.  As I have stated before writing is my therapy and I am in desperate need of therapy right now so again, this post is for me!  Read it if you want, but keep in mind this isn’t about anyone but me.

FAITH….we all have it in something.  Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).  I have faith that morning will come each day.  I have faith that night will fall each night.  I have faith that good things can come out of bad circumstances and I have faith in a God that knows all, loves me in spite of myself, forgives me DAILY, came to this earth, was born of a virgin, remained sinless and then died on a cross to bare my sins so I could spend eternity in Heaven with Him one day.  The same God that died, rose again and now lives in Heaven preparing a place for me.  Faith….even if you don’t have the same faith I do….you have faith in something…….of course with that said; I wish everyone had the same faith in God that I do.  It makes me sad to think that there are many who don’t believe; but God gave us free will to either accept Him or reject Him.  I choose to accept and to hold tight to that faith no matter what life may throw my way.

I will be honest…..life hasn’t been easy for a very long time.  Nine years!  Don’t get me wrong…..I am blessed and we have had many, many great times over the last nine years but looking back I remember the heartache and sadness too.  My heart grieves each and every day due to circumstances out of my control (and I have stated MANY times that I am a control freak).  Not having that control is difficult for me and causes me, at times, to spiral downward.  Our circumstances over this last year…..September 23rd was a year since Hannah got sick; have been the most difficult.  We are homebound, which many of you know, and there are days where my walls close in on me.  Now, with this new homeschool journey (which I am trying really hard to do right and absolutely failed today) doesn’t add to my joy but more to my dismay and grief!  I know God doesn’t ask more of us than He will give us the grace and strength to do, but there are certainly times that I am wondering if He will give me enough.  He always does but even I, with a strong faith, question Him at times.  I know…..that is a no-no but I have never lied about being human and I will never paint a picture of me that isn’t true.  I fail miserably in many ways each day….just ask Dennis and Hannah….they will tell you; but it isn’t from lack of trying and wanting to do it all right.

Anyway, Hannah and I were desperately in the need of some FAITH, hope and direction today and I turned on iTunes and in my library is one of my favorite songs by Kutless…..it really spoke to me today and I thought maybe if someone else is having a difficult day, this might speak to their heart as well.  Here are the words (although I encourage you to listen to it on YouTube because the music is beautiful)!

Everybody falls sometimes
Gotta find the strength to rise
From the ashes
And make a new beginning

Anyone can feel the ache
You think it’s more than you can take
But you’re stronger
Stronger than you know

Don’t you give up now
The sun will soon be shining
You gotta face the clouds
To find the silver lining

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard
Impossible is not a word
It’s just a reason
For someone not to try

Everybody’s scared to death
When they decide to take that step
Out on the water
It’ll be alright

Life is so much more
Than what your eyes are seeing
You will find your way
If you keep believing

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

Overcome the odds
You don’t have a chance
(That’s what faith can do)
When the world says you can’t
It’ll tell you that you can

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do
That’s what faith can do

Even if you fall sometimes
You will have the strength to rise

I do love this song and sometimes it takes music to really speak to your heart.  This song did that for me today.  It encourages me to press on, hold onto my faith, know that this life and circumstances are not in vain and impossible is not a word to dwell on…..

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Until next time……..

Hannah Funnies And Playing Catch Up

I know most of my blog posts are usually serious and well, they can tend to be on the negative side of things because frankly that is how life has seemed to be the past year.  But, I try to remember to document some of the cute things that Hannah does, so this post is dedicated to Hannah and her funny personality and some of the things she has done or said lately.

No matter where we go lately, which is usually the doctor’s office or hospital Hannah waves at everybody she sees and yells, “hey people.”  The first time she did it, I laughed so hard as I have never heard her refer to others as “people.”  We were at the hospital yesterday for testing and sat in the lobby of Wolfson’s for HOURS and everyone that came in or walked by received a huge wave and “hey people” or “hey people, come here.”  HA!

Another thing Hannah does lately is if Dennis and I or Hannah’s teacher (God bless her because she comes to our home every Wednesday evening to work with Hannah) and I are talking and not paying attention to Hannah; Hannah will say, “no talking!”  Needless to say the first time she said that it got our attention.

Hannah is quite the negotiator.  She loves chips and cookies.  Now, granted because of her diet she RARELY gets either but every now and then we will splurge.  The other night we had taco soup with Fritos for dinner.  I let her have a few Fritos (which are my favorite chip ever) and after she ate them she asked, “one more chip?”  So, Dennis gave her one more chip.  She finished that one and said, “just one more chip please?”  HA!  That kept going on until I said, “no more chips.”  So, at that time she just grabbed the bag and got a handful before we could stop her, smiling the whole time, of course!  She is a quick little booger!

Hannah still has a lot of “emotional meltdowns” sometimes daily and she tries so hard to talk herself out of them.  Finally, towards the end of the meltdown she will say, “no more crying anymore.”  We just keep reaffirming that and eventually she will say “Hannah happy.”  I think she is trying to convince herself that she is happy and will keep saying it until she comes out of whatever it is that makes these meltdowns happen.  This just goes to prove that she doesn’t even know what causes them.

Hannah is LOVING doing schoolwork at home, which I am indeed grateful for.  I am still not cut out as teacher material…..trust me, you wouldn’t want your child receiving their academic education from me, but I digress.  Fortunately, right now Hannah’s favorite part of the day is doing schoolwork.  After we are all done, she will look at me and say, “more schoolwork!”  I will say, no we are done for today and she will say, “more math, more writing, more reading, more words.”  HA!  She LOVES learning and that makes me so happy.  I guess it could be worse….it could really be a fight to get her to cooperate and it is anything but a fight….the fight usually occurs when we are finished.  Of course, then she will look at me and say, “Miss Coppedge come here now.”  Miss Coppedge is her teacher from North Florida School of Special Education and Hannah and I BOTH look forward to Wednesday evenings when Miss Coppedge comes over!

Hannah has just recently gotten to the point around 6:30pm that she will say, “no night-night time.”  She has never said no to bedtime until the past 4-5 months.  Fortunately, that is all she does is say, “no night-night time,” and still goes willingly.   Thankfully, right now she is sleeping through the night again (12 straight hours)!  That is my saving grace.  I don’t know if we finally have her medications right or if it is the use of Young Living Essential Oils that we rub on her and diffuse at bedtime; but whatever it is, it is working and I am indeed grateful!

I know there is more, but my brain is absolutely fried after this week.  We spent 2 days in the hospital for testing and then another almost 5 hours on Friday.  So we spent today making up for the schoolwork we missed and I had to get my house cleaned as it was a ROYAL MESS; and if you know anything about me I cannot live with a messy, dirty home!  Plus, laundry had to be caught up and groceries had to be bought because our fridge was empty!  So, the couple of days that I have had this week (and especially today) have been used for “catch up.”  Dennis started nights tonight and has a crazy schedule the next 10 days, but I think I am finally caught up and I am praying next week is slow and easy!

Thought I would leave you with a picture of Hannah from her testing this week in the hospital…..this was for a 24-hour EEG and she was a champ!

All hooked up!

All hooked up!

 

All smiles after a good night sleep!  Fortunately, Hannah slept well.....me, not so much!  Don't go to the hospital thinking you will sleep!

All smiles after a good night sleep! Fortunately, Hannah slept well…..me, not so much! Don’t go to the hospital thinking you will sleep!

Until next time…………

Goodbye Great Expectations

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My thinking over the last 9 years and especially over the past year has been all wrong.  I have had great expectations from people that I should never have had.  Sometimes we all need a different perspective….a perspective from someone that really knows us, has an idea of what we have been through and a person that can really talk to us; giving us a perspective from an outsider looking in although they are in your circle.  Does that make any sense?  Yes, the perspective from a person in your inner circle that can “see” and understand what the outsider looking in sees or in my case, doesn’t see.

Yesterday, a dear friend of mine, while doing my hair (thank the Lord for Godly friends that are hairdressers); imparted some wisdom to me.  She did it lovingly with empathy and understanding but it truly made me think about the expectations I have placed on people; especially family, friends and the church.  We were talking and I was just down and really, really tired and I told her; “no one gets it…..no one understands.”  She said, “Tamara, I am going to share something with you that I heard a long time ago…..NO ONE, unless they have walked in your exact shoes will EVER get it.  They cannot understand.  Even if they try really hard, they will just never understand what your life is like.”  WOW!  I think, in my mind I have just expected people to understand what my life is like.  I have made comments before that you shouldn’t judge people if you haven’t walked in their shoes (and just for the record, you shouldn’t judge them even if you have walked in their shoes) and I guess I shouldn’t expect anyone to really understand unless they have walked in my shoes.  I have placed these expectations on people (especially certain people), and I never should have.

There are days that I cannot even begin to talk about what is going on with Hannah.  There are days that I cannot put into words what it is like, how she is, what the doctors are saying (because it changes so often), or how I really am and feel.  There are days that I can’t talk to anyone; even those that try to understand; and yes I do believe I have quite a few people in my life that TRY really hard to understand; although they just cannot.  I feel like I am running around in circles repeating myself constantly and I just can’t continue to say the same things over and over and over again and still feel like no one “gets it.”  The truth is, thanks for the words of wisdom from my sweet friend Julie…..no one ever will.  No matter how much I talk, no matter how much I explain, no matter how much I write……no one will ever completely understand and I need to take the burden off people to understand and realize in my own heart and mind that is just how it is going to be.  As much as I yearn for someone to just absolutely “get it,” I don’t think that will ever happen.  I have friends that have and are walking the Down Syndrome journey, so they get that part.  I have friends that are dealing with a child with special needs, so they get that.  I have friends that are dealing with heart issues with their child and other health issues; so they understand that aspect.  But, the point is NO ONE understands ALL this journey entails.

I have said many times that I feel like I am alone on an island by myself and the truth of the matter is…..I am!  This is an island that I don’t even comprehend sometimes.  I am wading through it step by step and minute by minute; but even I hit that brick wall of not understanding it all.  So, why should I expect anyone else to understand either?  I shouldn’t……and for that I am sorry.  I am saying goodbye to those great expectations from others…..I shouldn’t have ever thought that someone would truly get it unless they have walked through it.  I am taking that pressure off of others….friends and family and I am letting go of the resentment that I have felt for so long that no one understands.  It truly is no one’s fault…..I don’t understand what it is like to have a “typically developed child” or a healthy child.  I cannot possibly fathom what it is like to have multiple children or work full-time while raising a family or even more a single mom doing it all alone!  So, goodbye great expectations from others and hello to just continuing to trust that the Lord is all I need to get through minute by minute and day by day.  He is the ONLY one that understands completely and I will trust that He will give me the continued strength, grace, wisdom, mercy and peace that I need to get through it all.

Never Assume, Never Expect, Just Hope……..

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Until next time………

So It Begins

Homeschooling……our journey began this week and I have a newfound respect for teachers.  Lesson planning is for the BIRDS!  Oh.my.goodness how in the word do teachers get anything done other than lesson planning?  It seriously took me 3 hours to plan two days worth of lessons!  NO LIE!  Of course, I am trying to be like a real school so I am also including extra curricular-type lessons in there as well and I about lost my ever-loving mind just planning the first 2 days.  HA!  It got a little easier though and I was able to do all my lessons for the month of September after that in just a couple of hours.  But, goodness…..the work it takes to just prepare and don’t even get me started on what it means to actually teach!  How in the world do people do this for a living in a classroom full of kids that aren’t theirs?  I have quickly realized (in just a few short days) that it is a good thing that I did not go into teaching for a living as it wouldn’t have been the career for me; but I HIGHLY applaud those that did choose teaching as their career…..KUDDOS to you all!  You have a heart and calling that God did not give me.

With that said…..Hannah did really well and LOVES to do school work.  We actually did more than I had planned to do the first day because she wanted to “do more school work,” so we kept on going!  Thankful for her willingness to let me “teach” (and I use that word lightly) her.  She was even patient with me as I read the instructions on how to teach each lesson correctly.  Thank the Lord for teacher instructions or I would be like…..”here do this worksheet” and be done with it!

Between homeschooling and several doctor appointments this week, it is all I had time for.  I did grab quick moments for dishes, vacuuming and laundry but instead of completing each task when I started; I would stop, start, stop, start, stop and finally finish said tasks hours later!  HA!  Oh well…..thus is our new life and we will adjust.  I think it will get easier but we just have to “warm up” to this new routine.  Oh, and did I mention that I am now getting up at 6am to workout again?  UGH…..I was tired of seeing my once toned body look like that of an 80-year old lady (no offense to any 80+ year old ladies out there but at 42 years old; it just wasn’t pretty)…..so, working out in the mornings has become part of this new routine and frankly, it SUCKS!  But, it has to be done.  Dennis has been getting up at 5am to workout and then he wakes me up at 6am so I can workout and get a shower before Hannah wakes up.  I.am.so.sore and I told Dennis this morning that I didn’t realize how out of shape I was.  Prior to Hannah getting sick last September I went to the gym 3-4 times a week and would get really good workouts in.  After not working out for over a year…..oh my…..I am so out of shape!  After 5 minutes on the elliptical I thought I was seriously going to die!  But, that too will improve over time.  Exercise is a great stress reliever and I should have been doing it daily this past year but I allowed my lack of motivation to get in the way.  Now I will pay the price until I build my stamina back up.

We did get a few more answers at the doctor appointments that we had this week but until we have more definitive answers I am not going to share what we have learned.  There are some things we have suspected for sometime and are now being looked into more seriously.  If you would, keep Hannah in your prayers for some tests that she is having done next week.  We will be admitted in the hospital on Monday for a 24-hour stay to have these tests run.

I hope Dr. Kim doesn’t mind but I wanted to share a picture of her and Hannah from this week.  Dr. Kim is not only a wonderful doctor; but she is a dear friend.  I am so grateful to have her as Hannah’s Pediatrician.  I call her my Angel from God!  This lady here is one of the Godliest, kindest, most caring, loving and knowledgeable women I know.  She is family to us and we thank the Lord for her each and everyday!

Hannah and Dr. Kim!  These 2 love each other!  So thankful for our sweet doctor!

Hannah and Dr. Kim! These 2 love each other! So thankful for our sweet doctor!

I might not be blogging as much as usual until I get the hang of our new schedule; but I will be back every chance I get!

Until next time……….

When You Just Don’t Fit In

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This is a difficult post to admit.  But, in my wanting to be authentic and transparent in hopes that someone else might be going through this and helping them feel that they aren’t alone; I am writing it.  Let me be clear first…..I am fine.  God has taken me to a place in this 9 year journey that I am okay with the way things are.  I have learned to be content with HIM alone, but in that I still have moments of sadness.  Sadness of not fitting in with the people, places and events that I used to.  I get lonely, let’s be honest…..even with my faith, this can be a lonely existence. I have used the phrase “out of sight, out of mind” quite often in describing this journey.  It is no particular person’s fault; it is just the way it is.  But, I have also realized in this journey that SO much changes including your relationships with others, the places  you don’t belong anymore and the things that you can’t do.  So, what do you do when you just don’t fit in?

This has been one of the most difficult things for me over the last 9 years.  The feeling of friendships and family relationships that have fallen to the wayside.  The inability to go to church and the times you have, you realize you just don’t fit in anymore.  Most people cannot fathom what my life is like and in turn, I cannot fathom what their lives are like.  I understand it is a 2-way street.  I don’t know what it is like to have a typically-developed child or more than one child.  I don’t understand the life of a mom that works outside the home or the single-mom that does it all alone.  I understand the life of a wife with no kids but I am not in that place anymore.  Just like those women cannot understand my life.  It is difficult to put yourself in the shoes of someone you really have nothing in common with and to keep up with people “outside your circle” is difficult not only on them but on you as well.  So, no blame here…..it is just the way it is.

The difference, I guess for me is the fact that I can’t be very social.  I don’t get out of our home except to run necessary errands (Publix and Target) and the few and far between nights out with a friend.  It is extremely difficult for me to even get on the phone throughout the day because of Hannah.  Trust me on that…..it is never fun to be on the phone with her around!  So, it is a lonely existence.  I get accused a lot of being on Facebook all the time…..now, why ANYONE has a problem with me always being on Facebook is beyond me but to address the issue…..it is my only link to the outside world!  It is the way I communicate; Facebook and texting is pretty much it for me.  So, if I post too much, like too much or comment too much…..that is why!  It astounds me that people have an issue with that; but alas, they do.

There is so much I would LOVE to do in my life but I am on a journey chosen by God that keeps me from doing the things I would LOVE to do for ME.  That is the key phrase though…..”I would love to do for me.”  I have learned this life isn’t about ME.  It is about doing what God has called me to do and that is to be the best wife and mom I can be.  I will admit…..I am failing at both quite often; but it isn’t from lack of trying.  Here I have gotten off the subject so I will digress and get back on track now…..this is just how my mind works!  HA!

I don’t fit in anywhere……that is a difficult thing to say, but it is true.  I told Dennis the other night that I feel as if I am alone on an island (just without the yummy drinks with umbrellas and all the good stuff; more like shipwrecked, ha).  I miss the sense of community.  I miss the friendships.  I miss the socialization and I miss the fun!  But, it is what it is.  I have also been accused of not asking for help in the past.  The thing is, I have, at times asked for help and for the most part the people I ask are too busy and can’t.  So, when you get rejected by people, when you honestly need help, you get to the point that you don’t ask anymore.  I don’t hold ill will, because people are busy.  They have their own lives and responsibilities.  I can’t blame anyone for that but let’s not be mistaken that at times, I have asked and have been denied.  So, again…..what do you do when you don’t fit in anywhere?

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You pray, you read God’s Word, you sing praise and worship songs (that part Hannah really enjoys).  You learn to accept your journey.  Now, accepting and embracing are two totally different things.  In all honesty, there are parts of my journey that I have accepted but have not totally embraced as of yet and that is okay.  Complete contentment is the goal but sometimes it takes time……it takes tears…..it takes work.  It is okay to not “embrace” it all…..working towards that is what matters.  You learn to be okay with just you and God!  That, to me is the biggest piece of the puzzle.  Learning to be content just talking to Him.  The great thing about that is you can tell God ANYTHING; even your deepest darkest secrets, because the fact is, He already knows and He isn’t going to EVER, EVER, EVER break your confidence!  Isn’t that amazing?!?  The one person in your life that will never gossip!  Whoo-hoo, that is the best part!  So, yes, I pray more now than I have ever prayed in my life……isn’t that what God wants from us?  Fellowship with Him…..this journey has led me to that; so if not fitting in has brought me to a place where I have fellowship with my Lord and Savior; I would say it is worth it all.

Feeling like you don’t belong anywhere or with anyone is difficult, but I truly believe it would be way more difficult if I didn’t have Christ.  What anyone does without Him is beyond me.  I lean on my faith, hope and trust in the Lord to get me through so much.  He has never failed me yet.  No matter how discouraged I get, no matter how difficult the day may seem…..I know He is there and will always be.  Then, one day…..that trumpet will sound and life here won’t matter anymore……

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Until next time………

Out Of My Comfort Zone; Embarking On A New Journey

God sure has a way of taking you completely out of your comfort zone and He, I think, enjoys doing that to me quite often.  Nine years ago, I became a mom and that was one title I thought I would never have.  I have been very honest in my blog and I have said several times that motherhood was not something I ever really wanted for myself.  Of course, I never took into consideration that fatherhood might be something my husband might want.  I never wanted kids; but I know it was mainly due to my own selfishness.  I liked just taking care of me.  I didn’t want or need to take care of anyone else; but God took me out of my comfort zone and put the desire in my heart after 4 years of marriage to do just that and become a mom.  Then, 17 weeks into my pregnancy, He, once again, took me out of my comfort zone when we found out that Hannah was going to have multiple heart defects and a chromosome abnormality.  I thought that was the hard part!  HA!  She was born and the last 9 years have been many new journeys out of my comfort zone.

Here I am, once again, heading completely out of my comfort zone, even though “comfortable” is not a word I would use to describe this past year, and embarking on a journey I SWORE I would NEVER do.  See, never say never!  The moment you do is the moment you will do exactly what you said you wouldn’t….wish I could learn that lesson.  Maybe one day!

We have tried and Hannah’s school has tried desperately for Hannah to stay enrolled in school this year and it just isn’t happening.  Hannah just can’t get there and there is no hospital/homebound program with her school.  Our days truly don’t begin until 10am mainly due to her tummy issues and emotional distress.  We just can’t seem to make it happen.  We never know from day-to-day how Hannah will be emotionally and how her anxiety and OCD will be.  She is extremely anxious and cannot be away from me right now unless she is with Dennis.  So, leaving her at school is not an option; not to mention her weakened immune system and contact with germs.

Homeschooling is not what I had in my hopes, plans and dreams to do.  Quite frankly, I am dreading this but I have no choice.  I am not a teacher.  I don’t know how to make a child learn.  I love my alone time and free time and in all honesty….I MISS IT MORE THAN I CAN TELL YOU.  Okay, pity party over, for now!  Just feeling so out of my element, scared and worried that I will do more damage than good with this teaching thing.  But, it is where we are now.  It isn’t for lack of trying to NOT have to do this; but we are out of choices.  I admire all of those moms out there that CHOOSE to homeschool their children.  I think it is a wonderful thing; but a choice that they have made.  In our case, we are out of choices and this is the ONLY thing we have left to do.  That ultimately is why it is weighing so heavy on me.  I am just so out of my league here!

So, here we go…..taking a step into an unknown and very scary world….that of ME teaching a child!  Oh dear Lord…..I don’t know what He is thinking!  I already feel like  I have failed and we haven’t even started yet!  HA!  Wish I had tons of money with nothing else to do with it as I would certainly HIRE a teacher; wouldn’t that be nice!?

If you think about it and feel so inclined, please pray for us as we embark on this new journey……Lord knows we are going to need all the prayers we can get.  Prayers of strength, perseverance and SANITY!

These pictures were taken last year before Hannah got really sick…..hopefully it will go this smoothly when we do this full-time!

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Until next time……..

Never Forget

I know that when most people hear September 11th, our minds and hearts go back to that dreadful day 13 years ago.  I remember where I was, what I was doing and how absolutely heartbroken I felt.  Dennis and I had just gotten back from our honeymoon 2 days prior and I had returned to work on September 11, 2001.  I was at my desk when everyone started telling us to turn on the televisions.  At that time, Dennis hadn’t returned back to work yet and called me saying that it appeared a plane had crashed into the twin towers in New York City.  That whole day at work we all crowded around our televisions and computers watching the terror unfold.  Today, as we have each year, we remember those that died from the worst terror attack our country has ever seen.  We pray for their families and we pray that never happens again.

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September 11th also has another meaning for me…..but from many years earlier.  Twenty-four years ago today my dad almost met Jesus face-to-face.  I say almost as he stopped breathing twice on the operating table.  You see, my dad suffered a massive heart attack and after open-heart surgery the surgeon came out and spoke these words…..”You have a very sick man in there.  He shouldn’t be alive.  I don’t expect him to survive and if by some chance he does his heart will be so damaged that he will need a transplant.  I don’t expect him to live through the night.”  As an 18 year old those were the most difficult words I had ever heard.  I couldn’t imagine not having my dad there.  I couldn’t imagine one day getting married and him not walking me down the aisle.  I just couldn’t imagine life without my rock…..my dad!

Needless to say, my dad DID survive; in fact he has thrived!  He had NO heart damage and instead of being in the hospital for at least two months as the doctors had said….he was released after just 8 days!  He had a long recovery but he was alive and with no heart damage.  Of course, we teased him (and still do) that God had a meeting in Heaven and told everyone that He was going to call Jerry Stapp home and there was an uprising begging God not to!  So, God decided it was better to leave dad here on earth than to have a bunch of unhappy people in Heaven!  HA!  I am joking of course, but we had to let dad know that neither God, Heaven, nor the people already there was ready for the likes of him.

Having that happen made me appreciate my dad so much more than I ever did.  Dad will be the first to admit that he wasn’t around much when we were growing up.  He worked long, hard hours to provide so my mom could stay at home with us.  We didn’t have a lot growing up, but our needs were met and some of our wants; because his work ethic was so strong.  To this day, at the age of 74 my dad still works full-time.  He will never retire, but that is the way he wants it.  My dad is a man that loves the Lord, is a man of integrity, strong work ethic, solid character, full of personality and has NEVER met a stranger.  He is the most giving man I know and yet the cheapest at the same time….that is almost an oxymoron but it is the truth!  He has zero patience for ignorance or bad drivers; but after the last few times I have been in the car with him driving….he has indeed become one of those bad drivers!  (Sorry dad, it is true as I felt like we were going to meet Jesus together more than once the last time I rode with you).  He loves my mom more than life itself and loves his kids, even though he will be the first to tell you that he never wanted children.  He loves his grandkids, his friends and his church.  He is a strong man not only physically, but emotionally, mentally and spiritually as well.

It is funny there are times in every girls life that she needs her mom and there are times that she needs her dad.  I can think back to the 3 most critical times in my life that I needed my dad and seeing him those 3 times was the only thing that brought me comfort.  I don’t even know if I have ever told him this but I will share it now.  Hannah has had 3 open-heart surgeries and the only comfort I received from anyone…..the only person that made me feel like I could get through those times was my dad.  I cannot explain it; but seeing and feeling his strength, in turn, gave me strength.  He stood like a tower that could not be shaken.  He stood firm portraying peace in the storm and the strength of Christ.  Of course, I am not calling my dad Christ here but almost representing Him.  So, to me, during those extremely difficult and sometimes dark days……my dad was my strength; when no one else could be.

So, today I remember those that paid the ultimate sacrifice…..the innocent that died on that fateful day 13 years ago.  The families that were forever changed because of hate and terrorism.  But, I also remember this day 24 years ago…..the day I almost lost my dad; but God gave us a miracle and I am so glad that He did.

The one who loved cats before I did!  See I get it honestly!

The one who loved cats before I did! See I get it honestly!

 

Boompa and Hannah

Boompa and Hannah

 

The cat-lover even liked Henny....enough to let her on the sofa!

The cat-lover even liked Henny….enough to let her on the sofa!

 

Dad and one of his Christmas presents!  He loves Grumpy Cat....they have a lot in common!  LOL!

Dad and one of his Christmas presents! He loves Grumpy Cat….they have a lot in common! LOL!

 

Dad and his cat Simon having a serious conversation!  Yes, my dad talks to his cat daily!

Dad and his cat Simon having a serious conversation! Yes, my dad talks to his cat daily!

 

Dad and me at the Run for Their Lives 5K

Dad and me at the Run for Their Lives 5K

 

Until next time………