Tired Heart

 

A dear friend of mine tagged me in this above picture on Facebook.  WOW….6 words that say so much.  I have felt like this more than once the past 12 years and this journey with Hannah.  But something else hit me as I read that; my heart is indeed tired but my heart is full as well.

I have said many times that this journey is not for the faint of heart.  I have said that I never imagined when we decided to start a family that this would be our journey.  It hurts watching your child suffer; a pain that I can not put into words.  It hurts the deepest part of your heart and soul and there are days where you can barely breathe.  The tears, the disappointment, the sadness, the grief…..it builds and tears you apart and yes, makes your heart, soul, mind and spirit so tired.  But, then I look at Hannah……in my eyes I see the most beautiful and precious little girl to ever walk on this planet (keep in mind I am being biased as I know you all think the same of your child or children).  HA!  I see beauty from ashes.  I see joy from sorrow.  I see hope from disappointment.  I see peace from grief.  I see the most beautiful smile and hear the most amazing laugh from the sadness when I look at her.

My heart is very tired, but God takes that weary and worn heart and gives it rest and strength in my darkest and most difficult days.  Sometimes that rest and strength He sends in the form of another person; a friend who has walked a similar journey and is willing to comfort you in yours.  I am thankful for those times and those friends.  Yesterday in the hospital He sent me 2 friends.  One who just dropped in to bring me coffee and hug my neck and the other in the form of my friend Jeannie who has walked her own difficult journey with her sweet Dana who also has Down Syndrome and Autism.  I don’t know that Jeannie knew just how tired my heart was yesterday and how I was on the verge of tears when she walked in but I know God sent her and I am thankful she listened to His still small voice to leave her own family and responsibilities to come minister to me in a very dark and tired time.

Hannah and Jeannie

All of this to say…..God knows and cares when your heart is tired.   He will comfort you and bring rest to your tired heart in His time.  Yes, my heart is tired and has been for a very long time but my God knows, He cares and He comforts.  If your heart is tired today, rest in Him.  Find comfort in His word, His people and His promises.  He never leaves us and never forsakes us and no matter how dark the day may seem, how bleak the future might look, how hard it is to take one more breath……He is there to give rest to your weary and tired heart.

Until next time………

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Wounded

Something really heavy on my heart lately and this morning old wounds resurfaced and I cannot get them out of my head.  There is actually so much swirling through my head that I can’t even begin to cover it all in a simple blog post, but I will try.

I don’t think any of us can honestly say that we have never been wounded at one point or another in our life.  Perhaps a family member or friend wounded your heart.  Perhaps a spouse (or ex-spouse).  Perhaps a job or the church is the cause of your wounds.  Whatever the case may be I believe at one time or another we have all had our hearts and souls wounded by someone or something and if you are fortunate enough to never have had this happen; I am sure one day you will.

Wounds have a way of scabbing over as time moves on but the funny thing about scabs is if you rip them off that wound can still be deep and can bleed.  I can recall several times in my life where I have been wounded by others words or actions.  I have been wounded by judgements of others especially who have no clue whatsoever what my life consists of.  I have been wounded by the church (ooh, shocker here…..I just admitted it).  But, it is true.  The thing about the church is this…..the church is made up of a bunch of people just like me…..all sinners.  Not everyone is going to get along.  Not everyone is going to like you, respect you, understand you and yes, many times in the church people sit there in judgement of you.

For the past 12 years I haven’t been in church much due to Hannah, her health and her issues; and the past 4 years due to her immune system, seizures and quite frankly the church I am a member of doesn’t have a place for her.  In the past 12 years I have been judged harshly…..even to the point where someone told me that my faith in God was weak because if I truly had faith I would be able to trust that He would keep Hannah well and that my only responsibility was to have her in God’s house every Sunday.  I called bull-crap on that and in all honesty that was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me and organized religion.  You see, I don’t need to be in church to have fellowship with God.   I don’t need to go to church to be a “good” Christian.  I don’t need to be inside the churches 4 walls to still go to Heaven.  I need to be faithful to God in the circumstances in which He gave me.  Those circumstances consist of a child who is medically fragile and the worst thing in the world for her are germs, getting sick and taking forever to get well if she gets sick resulting in a PANDAS flare which is nothing but pure hell on earth for MONTHS when that happens.  So, my faith in God is not reflective of my attendance to a church building.  My faith in God is reflective of the way I care for and put my daughter’s needs FIRST, above my own.  He gave me a child with special needs and special health issues…..HE KNOWS MY HEART and no one should stand in judgment of that; yet, for the past 12 years so many have.

Now, with that said, I have a lot of supportive and caring people who would never judge me and I am so thankful for them; but those wounds from the ones who have judged me never completely heal (or at least haven’t to this point).  When those scabs are ripped off it exposes the raw, ugly, emotion that I try so hard to hide.

My point of this blog post is this……you don’t know what someone is going through.  You don’t know the mountain that God has asked that person to climb; sometimes climbing it all alone.  You don’t know the heartache that runs so deep yet that person manages to smile through the pain; yet barely able to take each breath.  You don’t know the hurt that others have caused, the way they might have been judged and that the only longing someone might have is to have someone come alongside of them and walk the journey with them.  You don’t know the wounds that people carry from their childhood, teen years, early adulthood that has caused them to be bitter and jaded; yet instead of loving them and showing them Christ,  you judge and reject them causing that pain to be unbearable.

We all live with pain in our life……some people skate through life pretty easy (or so it seems) while others have pain that you and I cannot begin to fathom.  I do know this……I know that I have experienced enough wounds and hurt in my life that I don’t want to be the person that causes someone more hurt.  I want to be the person to come alongside and love someone, encourage someone and support someone through their pain….through their wounds…..through their heartaches.

DON’T JUST GO TO CHURCH BE THE CHURCH TO SOMEONE……BE THE JESUS THAT SOME PEOPLE NEVER SEE!

Perhaps you read this and think “oh she is just bitter.”  A long time ago I was; but now I just want to make a difference.  I don’t want to do to others what was done to me.  I want to show people Jesus not church attendance.  Please don’t think I am bashing the church either, I am not.  I pray for the day where I can take Hannah to church.  I am not sure what church that will, but I will find one that has a place for her and is accepting of her and her needs.  I do know this……Hannah and I have church every day in our home.  I read her Bible story to her every morning and we pray together and get this…..there is no judgment; only love, devotion, sacrifice and contentment.  The Bible says…..”where two or more are gathered I am there with them…..”

I know a lot of people who have walked away from the church but even more who have walked away from God and that is the saddest part.  You want to make a difference?  Be the hands and feet of Jesus to someone.  Step outside the church and go find someone who needs “the church” brought to them.  Oh the ministry is there if you are just willing to look outside the churches 4 walls.

Until next time……..

 

Whispers In Your Ear…….When God and Satan Collide

Has it ever happened to you?  That voice in your head that reminds you of your past mistakes or the what-could-have-been or tells you that you aren’t pretty enough, good enough or worthy enough?  That voice that is a reminder of all the things you wish were different?  That voice that always pops up when you are the most exhausted, worried or stressed?  That voice that breaks your heart into a million pieces….that my friends is the voice of Satan whispering in your ear.

He whispered in mine last night.  He showed me what life would be like if Hannah was well and was “typically developed.”  As I watched her fall asleep tears fell down my face.  Don’t get me wrong I LOVE that little girl with my whole being but sometimes, in my weakest and most fragile moments, the evil one whispers in my ear and makes things worse.  He told me that if Hannah was healthy she wouldn’t have gone through or continue to go through surgeries, procedures, many doctor appointments and using a plethora of medications.  He told me that she would be in school and be able to go to church.  He told me that at the age of 12 I wouldn’t be bathing her, brushing her teeth, wiping her hiney when she went potty (heck, I wouldn’t be sitting in the bathroom with her for hours each day).  He told me she would be falling asleep without me standing there, would want to leave the house, take family vacations, get pedicures, go shopping and do things for herself.  I had an image of a “typically developed” whole and healthy 12-year-old and my heart broke in a bazillion pieces and I cried out to God.

BUT……then I came back to my reality and I looked at Hannah now asleep.  Her innocence, her dependence on me, her sweetness, her beauty, her ability to accept her life, her resilience and my heart broke all over again.  You see, after I allowed Satan to whisper in my ear God in His still small voice whispered “look at what you have, look at what I created, look at the gift you have been given, look at HER.  Yes, she isn’t whole and healthy nor is she “normal” by the world’s standards but she is courageous, she is strong, she is loving, she is precious and she is fearfully and wonderfully created by ME and I allowed you the honor and privilege of being her mom.”  Again, my heart broke……

Satan and God collided in my mind and heart last night and GOD WON!

I will be honest……I am weary and broken.  There are days I don’t know how to pray and I seem to repeat the same prayers over and over and over again; hoping that this time God will answer them the way I want them answered.  I know it doesn’t work that way but I keep praying……I keep pleading…..I keep begging for my little girl to be well.  Perhaps I won’t see that this side of Heaven but I keep pleading on her behalf, as does she.  She prays before each meal and before bed “help fevers go away, make Hannah better, Hannah back to school, Hannah back to church.”  She knows…..she still prays……she still has faith that He will heal her; so who am I to think anything differently.  Her strength and faith gives me strength and faith.  The faith of a child…….oh, how it puts me to shame.

Please continue praying for Hannah.  If you don’t mind, say a prayer for me and Dennis too.  I can’t speak for Dennis, but my heart, soul, mind and body are weary and worn.  I am so mentally and emotionally exhausted; but I know that God will give me the peace and perseverance I need to press on……thank you for standing in the gap for us…….

God wins…….always……. even in the battle for your thoughts.  Satan knows when you are weak and he manipulates that and he will do everything in his power to make you feel worse…..oh, but my friends, God is more powerful, all knowing and ALWAYS there; in our weakest He is made strong.  Cry out to Him and He alone will whisper in your ear in His still small voice that rids your thoughts of the evil one’s manipulations.

You are stronger than you know……..press on, don’t give up……TRUST HIM!

My world in one picture

Until next time……….

Worth Celebrating

I love celebrations, parties, get-togethers and just having happy and joyful reasons to celebrate and today is one of those days.  You see…..many, many years ago a little boy was born and that little boy grew up to be a fabulous man.  That man is my best friend, my husband, my baby’s daddy!  Today we celebrate Dennis!  He is one of my favorite people to celebrate because let’s be honest, he is a pretty great guy but he is more than that to me.  He is my confidant, my most loyal friend, my provider (financially) and let’s face it that is pretty important, especially the way I love to shop (HA).  He is the one I can take my frustrations out on and he still loves me.  He is the one who I can cry on his shoulder and when that shoulder is soaking wet, he will give me his other one.  He is my protector and defender and the one I trust most with my life and well-being.  I know he would lay his life down for me and for Hannah and that is a really big deal if you ask me.  He is a fabulous father and loves our Hannah more than life.  He has had to do so much more than most dad’s have to.  Even though Hannah is 12 years old, there is still a lot of things she can’t do for herself and Dennis is always willing to help her and me.  He doesn’t ever back down or try to pawn responsibilities off on me, because he knows he is capable and I am so thankful he is willing to do his fair share.  He gives me nights out even when he has worked all day and will come home, tag out with me and do all the nightly duties with Hannah.  Frankly, he does everything for bedtime with her if he is home.  From medications, potty time, brushing teeth, reading a book, prayers and bedtime.  She wants him to do those things and he willingly does it.  I have also seen him play Barbie’s more than once!  HA!

He works hard, always has, even prior to us having Hannah.  He wanted a big family (yes, he wanted more than one child, but I knew I could only handle one).  He would have handled more so much better than me.  But, he sacrificed that big family because I just couldn’t do it again.  He is my strength when I am weak.  I had a  little emotional breakdown the other day on the phone with him and he was calm, cool and collected and was able to “talk me down.”  He is financially smart and I am so thankful for that.  I am so thankful that he decided at the start of our marriage that we would live on his income and save mine.  That wisdom has enabled me to stay home with our sweet Hannah since she was born.  He sacrifices so much and really gets so little in return.  There are days he gets home from work and eats cereal (like twice this week) because I either have not had time to cook or had a bad day with Hannah.  There have been nights he has come home and scrambled him an egg because there was nothing prepared and yet, he never complains.  On the flip side there have been days when I have made spaghetti (his least favorite thing) and he has eaten it without complaining (even though I know he wants to spit it out).  He never makes me feel like I am not enough and always acknowledges my hard work and effort in taking care of our home and Hannah.

I could go on and on and on but let’s suffice it to say that I would be lost without him and he deserves to be celebrated today and every day.

Happy Birthday Dennis!  We love you so much…..forever and always!

Dennis wearing his favorite t-shirt!

 

Proving to the world he doesn’t “hate” cats!  Handing Cecil to my dad!

 

Here is more proof he doesn’t hate them….Simon (my parents cat).  Simon LOVES Dennis!  HA!

 

One of my favorite pictures! Pure love!

 

My love!

 

An oldie but goodie!

 

 

 

Until next time……..

 

LONG Overdue Update

Hey there blogging world…..I haven’t disappeared, although it might seem as if I have.  I haven’t had the chance to blog like I used to as time gets away from me and I haven’t been good at setting aside time to just sit down and do what I love to do; which is write.

I set the time aside this morning to give you a quick update on Hannah.  I have had so many people ask about her and I do keep Facebook pretty up-to-date but so many of those who have asked don’t have Facebook so this update is for each of you.  Plus, this update is way more detailed than I take time to do on Facebook.

It has been a whirlwind the past few months.  Let me start by saying that Vasayo has been a life-changer for Hannah since May.  As you might recall we started using the Sleep product that Vasayo offers and it has completely taken Hannah’s insomnia away.  She is falling asleep fast and sleeping all night long; which is a miracle for us as the past 4 years she has dealt with horrific insomnia and I am so very thankful for Vasayo Sleep!  So, for those wondering if the Sleep product is still working….YES, it is working beautifully for her.  I will NEVER run out of Sleep by Vasayo at my house!  HA!

We have, however been dealing with some new type health issues and we are still trying to figure out if the issues are Endocrine, Neurological and/or Cardiovascular in nature. The testing we have done so far has been inconclusive, so there are more procedures and testing heading into the next few weeks (it always seems to happen during the holidays for Hannah).  Anyway, our Cardiologist is working on possibly placing a loop monitor in Hannah’s chest to look for rhythm issues.  He sent us home with a 30-day heart monitor but after the 2nd day Hannah learned how to disconnect it and would not leave it on.  So, that obviously didn’t work for her.  The only other option is to place a monitor in her chest which would be done surgically.  I hate that for her but we need to know if she is having any arrhythmia’s.   If she is, it will be very important that we fix it.  Our Endocrinologist has ordered what they call a ACTH stimulation test.  This is a test for her adrenals.  Your adrenals are very important in your body dealing appropriately with stress and Hannah’s life is full of stress/sickness, etc.  She had “adrenal fatigue” a few years ago due to all the steroids she was on so he thought it important to test her adrenals again since she is having these new significant health concerns.  I love that his thought process is “better safe than sorry” and willing to do what needs to be done to check things out.

We had some testing done yesterday in Gainesville and then met with her Neurologist.  After seeing her test results and physically seeing Hannah he decided it would be in her best interest to have further Neurological testing done (PRAISE THE LORD).  Y’all, this is a huge answer to prayer.  So, most likely the 2nd or 3rd week of November Hannah will be admitted into UF Shands Gainesville to have tests done on her brain.  Another praise is we have been trying to get into see a Rheumatologist at UF Shands and after speaking with our Neurologist yesterday he agreed to talk to the Rheumatologist there (she isn’t taking more patients at this time), but he agreed with Hannah’s daily fevers, her already several autoimmune diseases and low immune system that it would be a very good idea to get in to see Dr. Elder.  So, I am praying specifically that he can make that happen for us.

Our sweet former nurse from Carithers, Katharine (who now works for Shands) came to visit us in the hotel and brought Hannah a new Belle Doll. Hannah was so happy and this mama was too!

 

Sitting waiting to have an EEG…..that is a forced smile….she was so full of anxiety.

 

During the EEG, once she realized there was no ouchies or boo-boos involved.

So, as you can see, we have been really busy and I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t feeling the stress and pressure right now of dealing with a medically complex and fragile child.  I laid in bed last night (like I do every night) and I cried out to God.  Twelve years of being a caregiver is weighing heavy on me.  I LOVE my little girl with ALL I have and I will do this for the rest of my life BUT…..I feel it.  I have learned not to worry and fret as much because I do know that nothing will happen that God doesn’t already know about and that He is always with us and going before us and in all reality there is absolutely NOTHING I can do to change anything; but the stress I feel on a daily basis is real.  I have never dealt with anxiety in my life like I do now.  I am so uptight and riddled with anxiety when it comes to protecting Hannah (especially from germs).  Her getting sick is detrimental and the stress I put on myself to keep her well and doing everything in my power to keep her well takes its toll on me.  I know that might sound stupid, but no one understands unless you are the primary caregiver of someone who is sick.  When Hannah is sick, it is me that is taking care of her.  When she is sick, she flares horrible (thanks to PANDAS), which is horrific and a “typical” duration of sickness for Hannah is about 3-4 times longer than most.  The worst thing I do is take her to doctor visit after doctor visit; because let’s face it….where do sick people go?  To the doctor of course!  Traveling with Hannah is no fun either.  She is not a fan of getting in the car and her anxiety spikes and until you are in the car heading home….that is when she relaxes and does better.  Going to Gainesville the other day she was riddled with anxiety.  The hotel stay, the testing, the visit with our Neurologist…..she really struggled.  Thankfully my mom took off work and went with me as it really is a 2-person job handling Hannah out-of-town.  My mom commented as we were heading home…..”she is so happy now.”  Yep….she knew the doctor visit, hotel stay, hospital testing was over.  She was a different child as we drove home knowing that the bad stuff was behind her.  It is truly heartbreaking that she gets so stressed out and has such high anxiety as a child.  Her anxiety causes some behavioral issues but very significant tics and extreme OCD to the point she is very difficult to handle alone; then the tears…..oh the tears!  So, again very thankful my mom was able to travel with me since Dennis couldn’t.

I guess that is the latest update on Hannah.  Your prayers, as always are so very much appreciated.  So  many of you have walked this journey and prayed for us on this journey since before Hannah was born.  Thank you for sticking with us and carrying us through with your prayers.  I have somewhat accepted the fact that this roller coaster ride of health issues could be our life but it won’t keep me from trying and researching and begging doctors to help us help Hannah.  God bless each of you.

The sweetest picture…..photo credit to our amazing babysitter Lyndsay!

Until next time……..

 

Ramblings Of An Angry White Woman

I am disgusted…..disgusted by people’s hearts and the hatred, evilness, corruption, dishonor, disloyalty and the disrespect of so many Americans.

First and foremost I am a Christian.  I love Jesus and in the Bible He tells me that He created ALL of us (red, yellow, black and white) and He loves us.  He created us for a purpose.  He formed us in our mother’s womb and we are precious in His sight.  Your skin color doesn’t make him love you any more or any less.  He doesn’t see or care how much money you have in the bank, what kind of home you live in or what kind of car you drive.  He doesn’t give a rats behind what religion you are (all He cares about is that you know that He was born of a virgin, was sinless but was willing to die for your sins and rose again to build a place for you in Heaven; if you just accept His gift of eternal life).

Second, I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, friend……I love my husband and daughter and my extended family with all I have.  I even have differences of opinion with MANY of them (political, spiritual and other things) but we can agree to disagree and still love each other.  I am teaching my daughter to love people.  To respect those in authority over us (the way I was taught to do).  I was taught and I am teaching my daughter that you respect and honor your leaders…..the President, teachers, police officers, etc. You might not agree with everything they do or say but you RESPECT THE POSITION OF WHICH THEY HOLD!  I am teaching my daughter not to look at gender, race, social or economic status but instead to look at PEOPLE!  I honestly DO NOT care if you are black, white, asian or hispanic…..I will treat you with kindness, love and respect and I expect the same from you.  I don’t care if you are gay or straight.  I will treat you with the love of Jesus and kindness always.  I don’t care if you are rich, poor, young or old……your age and status in life doesn’t mean a thing to me……I just see a person that God loves and I am commanded to love you too.  That is what the Bible tells me to do.  Even if you don’t believe in the God I serve, I will still love you….I might pray extra hard for you to see the one true God but I will still love you with the love of Jesus.

Third, I am an AMERICAN.  I love my country.  I bleed red, white and blue and I will ALWAYS stand in respect when I hear our National Anthem and I will salute the flag out of my love for my country and the men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for me and the freedoms I enjoy daily.  I have the right to vote and I do!  I have the right to carry a gun and I do!  I have the right of free speech (hence what I am doing right now).  I have the right to freedom of religion.  I have the right to come and go wherever I want, whenever I want as long as I obey the law.  I have many rights all given to me (and I want you to hear this part)…..THESE RIGHTS ARE ALL GIVEN TO ME BECAUSE OF THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO HAVE FOUGHT AND DIED TO MAKE IT POSSIBLE.  OUR FREEDOMS THAT WE TAKE FOR GRANTED CAME AT A PRICE.  A PRICE OF DEATH TO SO MANY PEOPLE!  Mothers, fathers, siblings, children, aunts, uncles and grandparents lost loved ones because they willingly died and continue to die for your freedom.  Let that sink in!  I hear our National anthem and the songs of each military branch and I weep because I am so grateful and indebted to the men and women who are still willing to fight for me today!  Are YOU willing to do that?  One of my regrets in life is that I didn’t join the Air Force after high school.  I should have.  I should have gone and been willing to sacrifice it all for my fellow Americans.  But, I was not brave enough or courageous enough then…..I would be now and if it weren’t for Hannah I might just do it.  Are you willing to make the sacrifice?  If not, then show the honor and respect to those who are willing and are doing it!

Today, and this week so far I have literally had a broken and angry heart over what I have seen and read.  Yes, did those NFL players have the right to protest?  Absolutely, it is in fact their freedom of speech that they are enacting but have they thought first about what they are protesting and second are they not at all concerned about the way in which they are doing it?  I mean, there are peaceful ways to protest without disrespecting our military, our flag and our country!  I will never understand their reasoning behind their “performance” and the statement they have made to me a woman who loves her country and respects her President and the office he holds.  Our country enables EVERYONE the same freedoms.  I do not see oppression!  I am sorry if that offends you but I do not see it!  We all have the same opportunities in life.  Now, there is no way I could be an NFL player.  One, because the last I checked they discriminated against you if you are a woman (hmmmmmmm) and second, I can’t play the dang game.  I can’t run, throw or catch a football.  It takes talent and skill that I don’t possess.  I am not smart enough to be a brain surgeon or an attorney.  I am not athletic enough to be an aerobics instructor or a PE coach.  God gave me, just like he gave each and everyone He created our own unique gifts and talents.  It is up to you to know what those are and use them.  Don’t blame others who seem to have more than you.  Don’t blame others who seem more “privileged.”  Go out and do what God called you to do.  We aren’t all going to be rich or famous.  Some people might have to work 2-3 jobs to make ends meet.  Some of our dreams and hopes might be squashed due to circumstances out of our control but take what has been handed to you and work hard and make lemonade out of your lemons.  Life is not always fair, but it is the life we have been given.  Make the most of it, stop blaming everyone for your problems or lack of opportunities.  Take responsibility for your own life and actions.  Love people.  Respect people (especially those in authority).  Love Jesus!  Take a  minute to step back and re-evaluate your life, your choices and what you are going to do next.  Stop blaming everyone else for your troubles and be humble and kind always.

In the words of Forrest Gump……

Until next time……….

What Hurricane Irma Taught Me

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of one thing compounding on top of other things; what we didn’t expect was to have Hurricane Irma on top of us wreaking havoc even a week before she got here.  That was one crazy storm.  She shifted directions more times than Hannah changes socks in a day (and that is a lot people….a whole lot).  I won’t even try to go over with you all the different changes in direction that stupid Hurricane did, but needless to say about a week prior people (including me) started to panic slightly and preparations were made to get ready just in case we got hit.

We got hit pretty hard and in all honesty I don’t care to ride another one out.  Moments  (especially between the hours of 2am-4:30am) on Monday morning were pretty scary for me.  You could hear the rain hit the windows and the wind howling through the trees.  We were at my brother’s house (which was safer than our house due to all of our tree coverage) but it was still scary.  Dennis was working and Hannah kept saying “rain scary mama, rain scary.”  Needless to say, little sleep occurred that night.  The next day I waited to hear from Dennis when he got off work, as he was heading straight to our home to assess the damage.  Fortunately for us, we had no damage to our home.  We did have a few small trees down, TONS of debris and limbs but we were so blessed as none of our big trees were uprooted.  Our flooding was not as severe as many areas of town and that was a blessing as well.  Some of our neighbors didn’t fare as well though.  A tornado touched down in our neighborhood Monday morning at 4am and ripped through several of our neighbors yards and one neighbor had 3 huge trees uprooted and landed on their home.  Fortunately, no one was hurt.  Our whole neighborhood looked like a war zone though.  We had no power, no cable, no internet, no phone service and we were told it would be 7-10 days for restoration so Hannah, Dennis and I packed up and headed to my parents where we spent 2 nights until we heard from our neighbors that our power had been restored.  We came home Thursday and began the clean-up process.  First up, our refrigerator!  Eeewwwwww!  Dennis had made sure he got to the house several times to run our generator for our freezers so at least we kept all of that food but the fridge just had to be cleaned out and we had to start over.  But, compared to what it could have been that loss was minimal.

It has been a LONG week but Irma taught me a few things and I thought I would share those things with you now (since I can blog again as we just got our internet back today):

  • FAMILY…..how important family is.  Dennis’ and my families all rode the storm out safely and I am incredibly thankful for that.  My brother and his family took us in for 2 nights and my parents took us in for 2 nights.  They fed us, gave us a clean, cool place to stay and that time with all of them was invaluable.  Games, laughter, HELP with Hannah (LOL) since Dennis worked the majority of the time.  I wasn’t alone, in a storm with a child who has many special needs.  I am thankful.  My family came through for me in my time of need.  So very blessed.
  • NEIGHBORS…..can I just tell you how wonderful our neighbors are for a second?  Offers of a place to stay.  Texting and lots of communication before, during and after the storm.  Help cleaning up our yard.  Offers of food and anything else we might need.  Amazing neighbors, amazing neighborhood, amazing friends……
  • Facebook Friends…..far and wide who care and checked in on me!  So thankful for you all!  Friends in other states who were so concerned and even offered Hannah and I places to stay (next time I am taking one of you up on your offer)!  Oh who will the lucky one be?!?  LOL!
  • Modern day conveniences…..let’s be honest I have never lived in a time where we didn’t have electricity but WOW…..life without it is so very hard.  I am quite convinced I wouldn’t survive in a world with no electricity.  We live in the “country” and we have a well and septic tank; which is good as we don’t pay for city water, but bad because when you lose electricity, you lose your water!  So no power means no water for us…..NOT GOOD, especially if you have to use the potty!  LOL!  Internet, Cable, Phones…..not necessarily “necessities” but in our day and age a day without those things is quite strange.  I did okay because I knew that it would come on eventually but we don’t get great cell reception at our home so my fear was if something happened it would be hard to get in touch with someone.  You feel totally cut off from the world.  In fact, just today I saw there are 3 more storms in the Atlantic….Jesus take the wheel and make those storms make a u-turn please!
  • Food…….if you want good food when in a hurricane, go to my brother’s house…..we dined on pork, ribs, chicken, mac-in-cheese, broccoli casserole, baked beans, chips and dip, cake…..well, let’s just say, none of us went hungry!
  • Working in the yard is not that bad……yes, after 16 years of marriage Dennis saw me work in the yard for the very first time (I am pretty sure he took a picture to document it).  I busted my booty yesterday (and feel it today) for 5 hours.  Then today, I washed my car…..who am I?
  • I love playing games…..Skipbo, Uno, Spades……had so much fun playing games.  I had forgotten there were games besides those on my iPad that you could play.  Time with family was awesome!
  • Sharknado is a hysterical movie that everyone should watch!  Yes, we watched it before we lost power on Sunday night…..so ridiculously funny.  Made you forget a hurricane was on the way and when it hit, I looked up for sharks!  LOL!
  • Always take a potty seat with you to other people’s homes…..when your 12-year-old child’s hiney is so tiny big people potty’s are not fun!  Important lesson learned here…….
  • Invest in a blow up mattress……thankful my sister-in-law had one.  I will be buying one soon!
  • Always have bottled water stashed in your home (2-3 cases).  If another storm comes through you won’t have to go to 24 different stores in search for some (thankful for my neighbor who found cases and bought me 3).
  • Always have a supply of non-perishable snacks…..
  • Keep your phones, computer and important things backed up so you don’t run around like a crazy woman doing it the day before the storm hits!
  • NEVER run out of Vasayo Sleep, Neuro, Core Essentials, Energy or Renew…..you will thank me for this!  Always have a back-up supply!
  • Hurricanes are scary, tornados are scary….I don’t want to go through another one….but you know what the most important lesson I learned was?  It was even though I was scared…..even though I didn’t know if I would have a home to go come back to…..I knew my God was bigger than any storm.  I knew that He would protect us and no matter what happened HE had a plan.  It boils down to FAITH…..my faith grew a little stronger….my hope got a little bigger and my strength and resilience, although tested, is stronger  than I thought.  I serve a loving, gracious, merciful God  who taught me that He is indeed bigger than any storm and reminded me that NO MATTER what trials or tribulations we have here on earth we have Heaven to look forward to for eternity.

A few pictures of our Hurricane Adventures……I didn’t take a lot of our yard…….just picture piles and piles and piles of limbs, debris and trees!  UGH!

Kissing daddy goodbye last Sunday night as he headed out to work. Aunt Ra-Ra read about 40 books to my girl, which made her very happy!

 

Hannah and Bam-Bam, my brother’s cat….he has 3 cats but Bam-Bam was the only one who tolerated Hannah well.

 

Night-night Bam-Bam!

 

Hannah and Simon (my parents cat).

 

Dad and Simon….very happy because we were gone! HA! My mom texted this picture to me to show me that dad and Simon were not really missing us! HA!

 

Our backyard……some of our mess, post-Irma

 

Until next time……..