Prayers for Cash…

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Prayers for my cousins little boy, who is once again fighting for his life in a Houston hospital. This time it’s cancer. Two years ago he had a heart transplant at only four years old. We already know what a fighter he is and will be. 

“Sometimes, real superheroes live in the hearts of small children fighting big battles”

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VBS 2017 

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Wrapped up another fun filled week of VBS with our three sweet girls and their four cousins! It was an amazing week and I loved getting to have so much time with my nieces and nephew! This was Aub’s first year to volunteer for VBS since she’s going into seventh grade this year and she really enjoyed it. 

Celebrated our son’s 21st birthday tonight and our grandbabies are spending the night at Maw-Maw & Paw-Paw’s. A perfect way to end a perfect week!

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My daddy, one year later…

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I’ve really struggled with this one. For an entire year I couldn’t find it in me to blog about the horrible motorcycle accident that nearly took my daddy’s life ironicly on my mother in law’s birthday last year on September 18, 2015, and did tragically take the life of his dear friend and fellow patriot guard rider while escorting a fallen soldier. It’s a phone call no daughter ever expects to receive. While we were receiving the news that he was in an accident, another family was receiving the God awful news that we could have received the same night. I think that’s where my struggle came in. I love blogging. It helps me get feelings out that I sometimes don’t even realize I’m bottling up. Still I knowingly bottled these feelings up for 366 days and I know now as I type this, I still won’t put into writing all of the thoughts I have. Yet there are things I do need to say. For my daddy, my sister and I, his grandchildren, and so many other people that genuinely love this amazing man that is my dad. When the accident happened we didn’t find out for many hours. His phone was locked. Two fellow marines that stayed by his side in that hospital waiting to be able to use his finger print to unlock his phone to call me. The emergency card I had put in his wallet had gone unseen. These kind men didn’t budge though. When they finally did get through to my phone my ringer was somehow off and I missed the call. An hour later I looked down and saw something that made me loose my breath. A typed out message of the voicemail that had been left. Telling me it was an emergency. I was 600 miles away from my dad. I felt a million miles away. When I got to him the next day I never left his side. For 10 days I slept in his icu room with him. Refusing to leave his side for more than the few minutes it took to grab food from downstairs or get cleaned up after they got him as comfortable as possible at night. I updated Facebook diligently, trying my best to keep everyone that cared updated, and yet keeping my main focus on him where it belonged. I can’t really bring myself to look at the Facebook “on this day” memories right now because it’s days that were some of the hardest I had ever experienced, even more so the worst our daddy had ever endured. I so wanted to take away his pain. Switch places with him even. My heart ached for the family that was having to make funeral arrangements as doctor’s were telling us he wasn’t out of the woods and still may not survive. I had to call my husband and tell him to bring our babies to see their Paw-Paw. I had to call my son and let him FaceTime him for what could have been their last. It was all so very awful, I can’t even dive into all of the little details in full. The details that stay in my mind. The ones that make me so thankful for every single day I’m blessed to still hear his voice. I never did share all of the photos from the hospital or of the accident scene. I don’t ever intend to beyond the few select photos I’ll share in this blog. 

This is the first post I shared asking for prayers.

Thankfully it turned out his back wasn’t broken. It was a knicked vertebrae. The broken ribs were 13 some in multiple places. I chose this picture because it had been taken just weeks before when he finally made it to Sturgis. He was beyond thrilled and had just got his new trike. We went down to see him off and celebrate his 62nd birthday a little early. It was an exciting time for him. Now I was using it to tell everyone he was in a trauma icu fighting for his life. 

This is the last photo someone took of him literally within hours of the accident riding his bike. My Nana was riding next to him and snapped it. There are no words to describe how thankful I was to have this as I sat by his side in that hospital praying to God endlessly that he would pull through. 

The next two photos are the ones that are some of the hardest for me to share. It’s a very harsh reality of how close we truly came to loosing him.

His bike was impaled on a guard rail after he was thrown from his bike 20-30 feet in the air according to witnesses. It’s a miracle his injuries weren’t far worse. It’s a miracle he survived according to the trauma doctors. 

This is the first photo I took of him before he was even alert enough to know I was there. This is far from the worst we saw in that room. During those days I watched the strongest man I have ever known go through the worst days of his life. He truly had to fight to survive. I’m so thankful he never gave up. I’m also thankful for the constant flow of people that visited and checked on him daily.

While I prepared to drive my daddy with all of those broken ribs and arm the hour and a half home in rush hour traffic with my husband and our children I was both elated and terrified. So scared I would do something to cause him more pain or harm. Thankfully he was able to sleep through most of that drive. 

The next few months were rough. Some unspeakable moments, or rather too personal to share. Hard goodbyes when I had to leave him and come back to Texas after not leaving his side for three weeks. Going back down a few weeks later to bring him to his friend’s funeral. Watching him in so much pain, yet determined to hold a flag in honor of such an incredible man. Later having his surgery on his shoulder. Taking him back to Texas with us to take care of him through more of his recovery. Slowly but surely his strength grew. He was allowed to go back to work. Yet the pain, an endless reminder of that horrible night will forever be with him. Both physically and mentally. This last year has given us many things. I’ve been able to spend more time with him over this last year than I ever have in the years since I moved to Texas from New Orleans. Granted we’ve always tried to see each other as often as we could, but this last year has been different. We have made sure to spend as much time together as possible and what I’m about to share next are all of the blessings I can hardly count. This is my daddy. This is the man that never gives up. This is the man that is a marine, a patriot guard rider, a dad, a paw-paw, a great Paw-Paw, a father in law, a brother, an uncle, and friend to so many. This is only some of the cherished memories we have made over the last year. The man that through endless pain continues to make as many memories as he possibly can.

He was able to be here for Halloween. My husband pushed him around the neighborhood in a wheel chair so he could watch his grand daughters trick or treat. We took him to a local air show. Some days he was up to walking his grandbabies home from school with me. He had time with Gina. Was here for Thanksgiving and loved being able to visit with the soldiers we welcome into our home each year. We celebrated a late Thanksgiving with Gina’s family in Houston. Weren’t able to spend Christmas together due to recovery from his surgery. But were able to spend Mardi Gras with him. 

He was able to meet his Great Granddaughter, Adelina, at his oldest grandson’s wedding. We took him to the drive in. Had many silly father/daughter moments. He dyed Easter eggs with the girls and got to watch them discover their easter basket the next morning. We went back home for the Irish Italian Islenos parade with him. 

He was able to watch Betty walk across the stage. Spent lots of time with both my sister and I. Had time with his two grandsons that live close by. Was able to go to the Veteran’s day programs at Aub & Mad’s schools. I was able to surprise him and send him to Houston for a Father’s Day getaway, little did he know Aub would be making the trip back with him from New Orleans and we would be meeting him there too for a weekend of fun with family friends. 

He’s had tons of bonding time with his son in law, that let’s be honest is his son as far as he’s concerned. He taught Aub some tricks he learned from diving all his life with his Dad on how to hold her breath longer while swimming. Matt & I took him to see his first street punk show, Noi!se. Surprisingly enough, he really enjoyed it! He’s done what he loved most, devoting as much time as he could to the Patriot Guard Riders. We made a few trips to Austin and he even got to put a coin on Chris Kyle’s grave. 

He was able to swing his grandbabies and swim in a river with them. At midnight on his 63rd birthday while pretending to stay up with him to watch Law & Order I surprised him with a German chocolate cupcake. He didn’t see it coming, because only he and I were awake. He got to see his grand daughters head off to their first day of sixth grade, second grade, and pre-k. He got tons of hugs from his grandchildren. Him and I explored various antique shops in New Braunfels & Gruene or took in a movie while the girls were in school. He was able to greet Bitty as she got off of her school bus. I really shocked him one day as he was about to take a nap and I told him let’s go to a shooting range with my friends. And somehow he survived multiple trips to Schlitterbahn this summer.

Most importantly, I was able to bake him the butter almond cake he wanted. Cook him the pork chop, buttered rice, & peas that reminded him of his mama. And watch our little girls swarm around him to blow out his candles for his 63rd birthday! 

My dad is an incredible man. Full of love and compassion. Over the last year he has endured some horrible moments, but oh so many good ones. I thank God for every last one of these memories we were able to make. And I pray for the family that no longer has memories to be made with the gentleman that lost his life that tragic night, doing what he too loved. Honoring a soldier along side his fellow patriot guard riders. 

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Isaiah 41:10

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“The things you take for granted, somebody else is praying for. Be thankful.”

This quote speaks volumes to me, especially at this moment in my life. I am always thankful for my life and forever counting my blessings through all of my trials and tribulations. Even in my darkest hour I am capable of reminding myself that there is someone else in this world that would happily trade shoes with me. I don’t like to allow myself to have self pity. I know everything that comes my way was sent by God and even if I don’t understand it, it’s happening for a reason.

Right now I am facing one of those scary trials and tribulations and know I have to take it head on. After what I was pretty certain would be a rather simple appointment with a specialist yesterday, I left that office feeling down right terrified. Even worse, my husband sat in the waiting room with our nine year old. So I did what any mama would do. I sent my husband a text and told him we would have to talk about my diagnosis at home because I didn’t want to frighten our daughter. It’s hard enough that I have to understand this situation, I don’t want it on her shoulders just yet. We dropped off my five new prescriptions and came home. It wasn’t easy for me to have to tell this man that loves me in ways I still tell myself I can’t possibly deserve what we will be up against if this diagnosis is correct. And once again he reminded me that we will get through anything together just like we always do. Thankfully I know all too well that he means it and I too believe with him by my side I can get through anything. I’m so blessed to be married to someone that loves me unconditionally and will forever be by my side. It wasn’t any easier telling my parents. Especially knowing how I would feel if the shoe had been on the other foot.

Last night I read up on the information the specialist gave me to better understand my situation. I cried an awful lot and when that didn’t help I prayed. I’m opting to not share my diagnosis publicly until I’ve had all of the test and procedures done to fully confirm her diagnosis. Which mean I will have to deal with a few weeks of uncertainty and quite honestly feeling like my life is in limbo.

A few years ago my dad was falsely diagnosed with stage four throat and lung cancer. It was a scary time to say the least. But the diagnosis was wrong, thanks be to God. As I go through these next couple weeks of anxiously waiting results I’m praying that I too have been misdiagnosed and it is something far less serious.

In the mean time I will continue to go on with my life. I will cherish these last few weeks of summer with our lil monsters. I will look forward to the arrival of out of town guest. I will look forward to more fun summer plans with our lil monsters and my love. I’ll do my best to not live in fear as I continue to choose my faith to guide me through this unknown. I realize this blog is rather vague to most outside of the handful of people we’ve confided in. But this is how I’m choosing to cope. I needed to get my thoughts out, hence the blog, but also need some privacy until I’m sure this diagnosis is right. And more than anything I could use the extra prayers.20140805-113923-41963800.jpg

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The week after VBS and more…

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We’re slowly getting back to our daily routine after a fab week spent with our Goddaughter and another fun week of VBS. It seems to be becoming a summer tradition for our lil ladies, our Goddaughter, Aryie, and our niece, Brylee! This year we brought a school friend of Aub’s along as well. The girls could hardly wait for vacation bible school since school let out. And quite honesty neither could I. It’s a happy flashback into my childhood when Maw-Maw would bring me and one of my fave cousins each summer. I can still remember running up to her with every picture I had made and to tell her everything I had learned much like these little dolls do now. I loved being able to bring them each morning and getting to listen to six little girls sing all of the new Christian songs they had learned (of course Bitty loved singing along with the big kiddos) on the way back to our house each day for another play date. It’s Always so much fun to be able to watch these little lovelies bond and I will never pass up a chance to hear all of those little giggles. Of course Maw-Maw was an amazing help in keeping a house full of little gals happy as I had continued to battle a migraine. I’m so thankful to her for helping me make sure they still had fun days regardless of how I felt. No way was I going to ruin their much anticipated special week. And as usual Maw-Maw’s are pretty awesome at saving the day!

It’s kind of hard to believe this summer is more than half way over and our monsters will be starting school before we know it. Our life has changed an awful lot as of late, both in happy and a few uncertain ways. I’ve continued to take a bit of a break from blogging to take in all of these changes that are going on and to enjoy these summer days with our monsters. Even as life shifts in unexpected ways I can’t help but to continue to count my blessings and love our little family with all of my might. I am somehow reminded daily of the incredible people we so graciously have in our lives and their unfailing way of always letting us know they are there. We have lots of interesting and exciting things coming up in our future. Sometimes things can be out of our control and let’s face it not always turn out the way we want it to be. But we choose to hold on to our faith and know that God’s plan is always bigger than our understanding. And with my Hubster always by my side I anxiously look forward to what’s to come.20140731-001441-881749.jpg

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Luke 6:27

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I literally have NOTHING to say about the latest round of nonsense. People can choose to believe what they will. The ones that matter know us well enough to know better or themselves have had run ins with the same person. We will continue to hold on to our faith, our family, our friends, and the rest means nothing to us. I meant what I said a week ago in this blog, and that’s as far as I will go into this mess. As my husband said “it is what it is”. We will consider the source and continue to do what is necessary to protect our family. So much so that I will never even bother reading the latest slander and only ask that no one relay said nonsense to me. I truly could care less. Life is far too precious to keep going backwards and we have a much brighter future ahead of us. And that is all of the time I will waste on this old beat down topic again.20140520-224123-81683999.jpg

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Amen!

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Every night when we sit down for dinner Aub & Mad say grace together. When we all say Amen, Bitty usually doesn’t say a word but claps, which at two years old is nothing short of precious. Tonight was the night she got it. She happily screamed “AMEN!” over and over through prayer. And when our whole family said Amen, she was beyond ecstatic to be able to say it with us.

What an absolute blessing these four lil monsters are! We are firm believers that children learn by actions. And while we may not have it all figured out in our day to day life faith is something we always strive to instill in them. Our kiddos are full of daily funny and sweet quotes that I enjoy sharing on my blog or Facebook so we will always be able to remember and out of hopes of brightening another’s day. I plan on making each of them a book full of all of these precious moments. Hearing Bitty say Amen for her first time will forever be one of my favorites. Nothing sweeter than the innocence of a child that gets to grow into her faith along with her family.

-Bitty, 2 years old, May 2014

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1 Peter 3:9 and a whole new realization

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Along with forgiveness, this has easily been one of the hardest parts of my faith to come to grips with. Sometimes it’s hard to bite your tongue when someone continues to viscously attack you. It’s no secret that we have dealt with a particular person like this for many years. Literally since the day I married my amazing husband. After tolerating the abuse for many years we finally decided things would never change, enough was enough. So we cut ties shortly after our daughter’s fourth birthday. Now that our children are old enough to understand the things that have been going on, it’s time we protect them from people we once called “family”. As our daughter’s fifth birthday quickly approaches it’s rather sad to have to admit that even without having a relationship any longer there is one particular person that still continues the viscous attacks almost daily, or so I hear. It used to bother me, especially when someone that once struggled with her weight until she has a drastic weight loss surgery now feels it’s okay to post cruel things online about our weight. While it has become a game to post such hateful things and then delete them, it still made it’s way to me after someone screen shot it and sent it to us. No denying that. That was possibly as low as one could stoop. Especially when said person has no idea what actually goes on in our personal life. Clearly I’ve had four surgeries over the last year, some for very serious reasons of which are none of her business or concern. I just will never understand how a “Christian” could be so hateful or vindictive? Anyway, I won’t go into that because that’s the entire point of this blog.

“Never retaliate when people say unkind things about you. Pay them back with a blessing…and God will bless you.” – 1 Peter 3:9

There it is. My biggest reason for no longer retaliating against another’s hatred. Let alone the fact that I’m so thankful our family no longer needs to value or tolerate her opinions or hatred towards us. Who cares what is thought about us by someone that doesn’t even hold a special place in our lives any longer? There is a big reason for it after all and this only validates our beliefs further. Thankfully at the advice of my husband as well as a few other caring folks in my life I have stopped reading her stabs months ago. Even upon hearing of her latest attempts to draw me into another cycle of the nonsense I have resisted temptation. I value my faith, my family, and let’s be honest my sanity far too much to allow a person that I have cut ties with for a very valid reason to have that control over me any longer. I figured out the forgiveness part months ago. I really struggled with it because I made myself believe that in doing so meant I had to have a relationship with said person again, that absolutely is never happening again, and is absolutely not the case. It took me really grasping my faith and God’s word to fully get it. I just needed to forgive. There is no further action or relationship required, thanks be to God.

So now I have moved on to this verse. (1 Peter 3:9) talk about God’s timing always being right. I needed it. And it came along right on time. What another thinks about me or in this case blatantly says about me all over the internet and quite possibly to anyone who will listen really doesn’t matter at all. What another thinks of me is none of my business! Wouldn’t I need to value said opinion to begin with? Does another’s opinion even define who I really am? Not a chance! Another’s view of me doesn’t define the person I truly am. Far more people have a completely opposite view of me after all. I don’t need to retaliate. I don’t need to give it any more thought. Thankfully that is a part of our lives that we no longer need to go back to and a part of our lives that no longer deserves a response. Instead I choose to pray for said person. That this person can finally move on without feeling the need to nearly a year later continue to take stabs at us. Move on and find a happy place, even a happy medium. I have no intention in responding to such hatred any longer. Instead I will continue to hold on to my faith and my family and will do so with as much grace as I possibly can.

I had originally intended to post this as a private blog. Then I realized this is nothing worth hiding. Especially as I typed it it reminded me of a situation that someone I love dearly is going through. While it’s a whole different situation it is a similar one that this one verse may very well help them cope with better. One persons hatred doesn’t deserve a response. Pray for them instead. No sense in stooping to another persons level and making yourself look equally as bad. Remember this one quote: “How you make others feel about themselves says a lot about YOU!”20140513-100441.jpg

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