Sacrifices, Respect, Compassion

If this doesn't make you stop and think, you need to read Tom Brokhaw’s book, “The Greatest Generation”. We gather our families in our homes and cellphones come out after the meal. We don’t visit each other and Sundays in the foyer don’t count. Our military men and women are dying to keep us free while people are killing each other in America because they feel they don’t have what they deserve. BLM? I don’t care what color you are. ALL humans are important. ~ copied, but edited to share my heart.
                  *   *   *   *
I talked with a man today, an 80+ year old man. I asked him if there was anything I could get him while the Corona virus was gripping America. He smiled, looked away and said, “Let me tell you what I need ... paused ... I need to believe, at some point, this country my generation fought for ...  paused ... I need to believe this nation we handed safely to our children and their children ...  paused ... I need to know this generation will quit being a bunch of sissies. That they respect what they've been given! That they've earned what others sacrificed for."

I wasn't sure where the conversation was going or if it was going anywhere at all. So, I sat there quietly, waiting. Listening.

"You know, I was a little boy during WWII. Those were scary days. We didn't know if we were going to be speaking English, German or Japanese by the end of the war. There was no certainty, no guarantees like Americans enjoy today.”

“And no home went without sacrifice or loss. Every house, up and down every street, had someone in harm's way. Maybe their Daddy was a soldier, maybe their son was a sailor, maybe it was an uncle. Sometimes it was the whole damn family - fathers, sons, and uncles.”

“Having someone you love, sent off to war . . . it wasn't less frightening than it is today. It was scary as Hell. If anything, it was more frightening. We didn't have battlefront news. Didn’t have email or cellphones. You sent them off and you hoped and you prayed. May not hear from them for months. Sometimes a mother was getting her son's letters the same day Dad was comforting her over his death.”

“And we sacrificed. You couldn't buy things. Everything was rationed. Families were allowed so much milk per month, so much bread, toilet paper. EVERYTHING was restricted for the war effort. And what you weren't using, what you didn't need, things you threw away, they were saved and sorted for the war effort. My generation was the original recycling movement in America.”

“We had viruses back then, serious viruses. Polio, measles, and such. It was nothing to walk to school and pass a house or two that was quarantined. We didn't shut down our schools. We didn't shut down our churches and cities. We carried on, without masks, without hand sanitizer. And you know what? We persevered. We overcame. We didn't attack our President, we came together. We rallied around the flag for the war. Thick or thin, we were in it to win. We would lose more boys in an hour of combat than we lose in entire wars today."

He looked away again. Maybe, I saw a tear in the corner of his eye. He continued, “Today's young people don't know sacrifice. They think sacrifice is not having the latest phone or new clothes every season. They don’t respect old people. In my generation, we looked out for our elders. We helped out with single moms whose husbands were either at war or dead from the war.”

“It's shameful the way many parents spoil their children. Children NEED shelter, basic clothing, medical care, a basic education and food. Anything else is a ‘WANT’ they should work to earn. It’ll teach them to behave with respect and appreciation. So, no, I don't need anything. I appreciate your offer but, I know I've been through worse things than this virus.”

“But, maybe I should be asking you, ‘what can I do to help you’? Do you have enough soda to get through this? Enough steak? Will you be able to survive with 113+ channels on your TV?"

I smiled, fighting back a tear of my own . . . humbled by a man in his 80's. All I could do was thank him for the history lesson, leave my number for any emergency and leave with my ego firmly deflated.

I talked to a man today. A real man. An American man from an era long gone and forgotten. We will never understand the sacrifices. We will never fully earn their sacrifices. But we should work harder to learn about them, learn from them, respect them.

Satan Creates Chaos, God Is the Finisher

The morning of April 6 was heavy with dew and dawn was waking up. My beloved sat up on the edge of our bed, saying he needed to visit the bathroom. A few minutes later I thought he actually pulled a cabinet off the wall! Rushing in, I almost stumbled over him, crouched on knees and arms. Asking quickly what happened, I noticed he wasn't looking at me, nor responding. Asking if he was hurt, he turned slightly and said something but it was slurred and I had no idea what he said. I admit I thought he was teasing me and threatened to call 911 if he didn't get up and talk to me. When he didn't I ran to my phone, dialing as I got back to him. While talking to the dispatcher, I watched in pure amazement as large bubbles of water popped out, from every pore on his back. Starting at the top and going clear to the waistband of his underwear, it appeared someone was typing rows and rows of water bubbles. Touching it, I told the dispatcher he was non-responsive and was now covered in a cold sweat. She assured me the EMS team were already on their way.

I left Johnny, ran to the front door, unlocked it, noting that a fire truck and an EMS truck were parked with lights flashing and two men were loping across our yard. I led them to Johnny, explaining what had occurred. Once they got to the bathroom, I backed up to our bed, watching. The man I termed to be a leader began asking me questions about Johnny's current state of health, any issues, etc while I watched the opposite man sticking Johnny's finger. He reported blood sugar was fine and began taking his blood pressure. I then heard him say, very low and quietly, "BP is extremely low". He began hooking John to an EKG machine, which immediately sounded like fireworks. At this time, I noticed there were two men with a cot standing in our room. When had they come in?! The 'leader' stood up, pulled me back away from the bathroom, told the three men, "Get him up. We've got to go!" He took me by the shoulders and said gently, "Mrs. Hood, your husband is having a heart attack. We are going to Baptist South. You cannot go with us but you can follow us. Do you have someone you can call?" I nodded, he turned and I realized Johnny was gone. By the time I found my phone, and called a daughter, I realized I'd been holding my breath and this wasn't a dream.

For those of you that have experienced this, my prayers are with you. Johnny's always been the picture of health. However, the last few years of retirement we both have not lived what I now know as a 'heart healthy life'. We ate what we wanted, sleep when and as long as we wanted and exercise? What's that?! Sound familiar?

By the time we got to the hospital and parked - couldn't go in due to the COVID-19 virus rules - Johnny was already in surgery. His LAD (large artery behind the heart) was occluded and a stent was placed after cleaning the artery. There was a "troublesome area" in front of his heart but it was decided to let his body rest in CVCU overnight and Tuesday before tackling the large artery in front of his heart. Wednesday morning found our youngest daughter and me parked once more in the parking lot waiting on a phone call. It came with good news, praise God. A stent had been placed after cleaning the artery and a smaller artery had been cleaned and a stent placed there as well. He was resting and "should go home Friday". With a prayer of thanksgiving we headed home, where I had another 'ugly' cry. This time I was relieved but saddened that I could not be with him.

Picking him up to go home, he looked just as he had the day before our world shifted. Color was good, and he was happy to be going home. I began listening to everything a daughter, an RN, told me what to expect and what we needed to do to avoid another attack. I also hit Google and read everything I could from the Mayo Clinic and the American Heart Association. Where I had felt overwhelmed while he was gone, I now feel a sense of calm and peace. It is going to be a good change for both of us and he has the prayers of family and friends. I'll always be grateful. It wasn't Johnny's time to leave his earthly body that early Monday morning.

He is recovering well, slowly but well. As John Denver said in a song, "Some days are diamonds, some days are gold". And that's about how it goes. Each day is a step forward, though some days are filled with more sleep and sometimes he's a bit edgy and irritable. All things I was warned of, as his body heals itself. I told him today April had become an 'almost' unfavorite month for me. April 6, his massive heart attack and April 21, my 77 Day Sleep Anniversary. However, it's also the birthday month of my twin brothers and a daughter, so it's a good month. We all are able to celebrate together. Well, maybe next year when COVID-19 has been put to bed!

God is good. Always. Had Johnny not recovered, I realized while he was in the hospital, that there were still so many blessings and I had so much to be thankful for. He's always near and I truly felt His comfort and peace, even drying my eyes after crying, I remembered His Word that tells us He bottles our tears. Can you imagine how awesome that is?!

Now? We take it one day at a time. We are eating a heart healthy diet and though, because of COVID, he cannot begin Cardiac Rehab, he will once they open again. For now, he makes laps slowly around the inside of our home. He has more good days than blah days and being able to see our grands that live here in town has been a huge blessing. He gets to FaceTime our oldest babygirl and her family, our middle daughter comes when she can, and our youngest lives here and has been so good to pick up groceries and medications for us. We are truly blessed.

But you know? I was still kind of glad to wake up and today is May 1! A brand new month. This year, Jan-April has held it's own heartbreak each month so I'm praying the rest of this year is filled with better health, a lot of laughter and even more love than before.
Have a nice evening and sleep well, sweet Readers. God be with you and yours~

Short Sleeves, Then Coats!

That's the South for you!
Especially the Central Southern part.
Yes! I love rainy days!
And I'd love snow before Spring,
but don't think that's going to happen.
We hit the 50's and 60's on too many days.
But my dream would be below!
I have always loved cardinals.
Especially during Winter.
How's your Winter been?!

It's Cold In the South!

Everything about it!
Especially the snow.
Oh, the quietness of snow.
This is from my board on Pinterest and is
a most favorite mantle! Love vintage mantles.
Don't you know His creatures love the cooler 
weather after the hot, hot, humid Summer in the South!
I'd frolic and prance, too. In fact, at my age I still 
join the grandbabies in making Snow Angels~
Get out the snuggly blankets and throws
and get the hot chocolate bar ready!
It's alllllmost Winter! (Dancing font)

It's Almost Autumn!

 Above, a printable for you!

Ahhhhh ~ I so love Autumn

 I'd remove the swag, but that's me ;)

Grist Mill in the Cove ~
Cades Cove, my favorite spot
Are you getting ready for Autumn?!

Yep, It's Summertime ~

I am not a Summer person,
preferring the cold and snow
of Winter or the cool breezes
of early Spring and late Fall.
But Summer?
No. Nope. Nada. Not an iota.

But for those that are {smiley face font!}
here is THE LINK to my Pinterest board for Summer
and look at the board, Father's Day, for cute ideas!
It happens to be THIS Sunday!

Welcome, Sweet Spring

"Faith is the confidence that what we hope for
will actually happen; it gives us assurance
about things we cannot see."
Hebrews 1:11
I remember these days
and my heart smiles~
This is not my tiered stand
but I'm using the ideas from 
Pinterest to recreate it! 
Do all things with love. Be kind.
You never know what's behind the smile. 
"Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Nam never is, but always to be blest.
The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come."
~ Alexander Pope
An Essay On Man

I Am Such a Winter Gal!

i love the virgin beauty it brings
the way it cloaks harsh edges
and cardinals stand out
oh, i love cardinals
i am loving our days of cold

It's Almost Winter!

December and January. My favorite months.
Cooler temps. Hibernation.
Hot chocolate and a fire in the fireplace.
Cozy nights under a quilt.
And wishes for a snowy Winter. 
An idea I plan to do this year.
I have had intentions each year.
But this year? I'm doing it!

And Charlie Brown.
Oh, how we love Charlie Brown.
Have a beautiful and blessed December.

Ah, Autumn ~

sweaters, hot cocoa,
snuggling in my cloud
cooler weather!!! yay!!
ah, autumn, you hold part
of my heart, the other half
belongs to winter, my dear.
and it's on it's way!
so snuggle in,
grab a good movie, or book
and let's wrap ourselves in throws
and the coolness of autumn ~

Hello, Summer!

 Remember these days?
Driving forever to get to the sand
that stuck to everything!
But who cared??
We were going to the beach!
Someone always got a jelly fish sting
and someone always got sunburned
and we all slept piled in the back seat
on the way back home.
But oh, the joys of those days!
Thanks, mom and day.
We didn't have a pond
but I bet some of you did.
And we all had a dog.
Summertime in the South.
Watermelon eaten in a rain shower
fresh veggies and cornbread
no school until after Labor Day!
Now my style is inclined to this
A lazy day in the shade
Lots of pillows
A book, or two
Huge glass of sweet tea
with lots of ice
and retirement ~
Life is good.

What is My Calling Now, God??

I struggled on my calling after a divorce. There were feelings of letting God down as a good wife along with all the hurtful thoughts Satan throws at a hurting heart. With a three year old depending on me, I headed to a different state and a new job.

Having a blind date a month later, at a Sunday night worship service, led to a growing love with a man where my heart felt safe. Knowing God was as important to him as he was to me, our relationship deepened and led to very short courtship. Again, God works in mysterious ways. Within just months of our marriage, my beloved grandmother was diagnosed with stomach cancer and I was able to help my mother with 24 hour care. Isn't it amazing that He knows what's coming when we still feel Life is just nicely rolling along?

Fast forward and I began trying to get pregnant, which had always been difficult. Earlier, I had turned in an application to teach thinking if I made my requirements too particular they'd never call. "Man plans, and God chuckles". They called. And I got pregnant. I received a call to teach a second grade class at a local elementary school. I didn’t want to teach. I wanted a baby. However, an early miscarriage took place and in August 1986, I began teaching a small group of children. With each passing year I fell deeper and deeper in love with the blessing God had given. For twenty years I taught second grade with a great staff, with those that became best friends. I loved my calling and where God had definitely led me.

April 21, 2006. A scheduled outpatient procedure with a Dr we’d yet to meet. They simply had an opening and we were to meet him prior to the procedure. Never met him. And Life as we knew it changed. God allowed Satan to create anger, chaos and horrid mistakes within that procedure room which resulted in my death. Then God stepped into this chaos and order was restored. What followed was resuscitation from a Dr called up from ER, as the Dr in charge had charged out of the room in anger, and the next 77 days in an ICU room. I became a very, very sick patient. Five days after the mistakes made by a doctor, who clearly was dealing with issues of his own, my body began a hard fought battle with ARDS from lungs that collapsed during the procedure. I died twice more during the days my precious family and friends lived through on the wings of prayers of thousands. (Years later we were still meeting people, who when they heard my name, told how they and their church had prayed for me. For us.)  I began a long 18 month recovery upon returning home July 1, our 23rd wedding anniversary. 

I had taken a two year Medical Leave but three of my five specialists diagnosed me with PTSD and could not, in good conscience, give their approval that I be allowed to return to my classroom, citing my health issues rendering me incapable of being an effective teacher. My principle, one of my dearest friends, concurred. It broke my heart. It was 'my calling' and 
left me in a dark place of “where do I belong, God?!”  Anger that he allowed it was tempered with the blessings that came with the accident. Blessings we couldn’t ignore. But still I struggled to find ‘my place’ in the world.

Our children had their own families. My health kept me from jobs and volunteer work I yearned to do. Years of counseling helped with the PTSD, but brought to the surface events I'd tried hard to forget. Crimes against women I was told not to speak of, though I was the victim. Subjects we shy from and, sadly, creates feelings of isolation. With counseling, I moved from victim to survivor. It then reaches a point you have to use what you’ve learned and let Him lead. My prayers went from “Why, God” to “What now?!”

Thankfully, God never gives up on us. He brings those into our life with the wisdom to lead us to where he wants us to go. It’s still been a roller coaster the last 12 years, with health issues and wanting to go where I felt led. Only to find He had other plans. Friends I loved that left. Friends that came into this ‘new normal’ bringing their knowledge, their love, their
friendship. I remain amazed at how God works to show himself to us.

I never question anymore. I’ve come to know and love the Holy Spirit as I never had before. I’ve thrived with the immeasurable help and love of the Lion of Judah. A God that never left. Was always near. Forgiving. Second chances. Waiting for me to realize I only need to allow him to lead me where he wanted me to go. Friends that pray with me and over me.

With me, an oldest child that was used to being in control, he had his hands full. But he never let me go. And I am eternally grateful for the last 12 years and its blessings. April remains a month of remembrance, some days of hibernation and crying in the arms of a man that understands, realizing I lost years of teaching in a classroom that had become my home away from home with children that became beautiful pieces of my heart. Dear friends I saw each day. But God had other plans and Life goes on. My counselor asked once, if knowing everything I now know, would I go through it again. My answer? A quick "Yes!" For His blessings upon us and our family and friends that walked through this journey with us are infinite. And still occurring.

My time in heaven when I died in that procedure room is another story. A beautiful one that gets me thru the rough times. You'll find it up on the left side bar, a '77 Day Sleep'. There is a heaven. There is a thin line between reality and eternity. There is a mighty and loving God.

PS~take that, Satan!

Spring Is Here~But Winter Hasn't Left!

 oh i love old trucks
and petals scattered
under my feet
 like doTerra oils? we do
and i love these combos!
right click, save to computer, and print out
for a sweet Spring quote to frame ~
Happy Spring, dear friends ~

It's Almost Spring! Brrrr

oh, to be spending time walking this street
and taking in the smells of the flowers
and homemakers. or! to live here for
just a bit and soak in the local flavor~
a tablescape for you to recreate.
i love the birds and blues~
a free printable for spring~
an easy vignette for your home,
and mine!
it's still winter in our nation
and even the south, tho we
aren't getting the snow. i love snow.
but spring? it's on its' way.

Winter In the South

i love winter. won't make any bones about it. it's a time of rest. reflection. hot chocolate and a fire in the fireplace. a time to slow down. soft talks at night. soup and crusty bread. endless cups of coffee with various creamers for the holidays. it's my favorite time of the year. always has been.
cardinals. my favorite bird. especially the males with their colorful red in a white world with green hollies in bloom. they remind, and i know not why, of being messengers. they turn up to make one smile. they seem to know when you need to see them. could they be sent to make us remember better times, loved ones no longer here, eternity that will be filled with peace. watch for them. they come when they sense a need. truly. as do dragonflies. but that's another story.
walking on a bridge in a snowy wonderland. romantic. i wonder how many engagements have taken place here? how many have expressed love here? how quiet the snow makes our world. it blankets out loudness, animals settle in to hibernate and sleep. daily outside noise vanishes. all lies dormant. beautifully so.
 i know not where this is other than a street my heart takes me to in my dreams. belgium? rome? paris, oslo? i pray that he will show me these places in my dreams once this life is over and there's beauty i still haven't seen. i wonder, do the people who walk these streets wish to walk the streets here? hmmm ~ 
 sadness. so much sadness. 84 deaths and counting just in our state alone. from flu and flu related illnesses. death is no respecter of persons. we've lost family, friends and oh, we've lost our young. those that die with our dreams. this year has been a terrible one with this illness that takes us to such sickness.
our youngest and her family. just prior to going to look at the christmas lights in the town, suburbs and various areas that still love to decorate and set out luminaries. i miss that as our current home is in a suburb that doesn't but oh, we've lived where they do. and it's not only beautiful but brings us back to the heart of christmas with the lighting of a candle. a star.

~ from The Letter Writer ~

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