don’t leave us…

“I have learned that if you must leave a place that you
have lived in and loved and where all your yesteryears are buried deep,
leave it any way except a slow way, leave it the fastest way you can.
Never turn back and never believe that an hour you remember
is a better hour because it is dead.
Passed years seem safe ones, vanquished ones,
while the future lives in a cloud, formidable from a distance.”

Beryl Markham, West with the Night

Do you remember this commercial?
It was a commercial for Airtran

It was one of those laugh out loud type of commercials..
maybe because I was a parent and could only imagine what “that” was like…

Picture it…
you fly your elderly parents in for a week of family time—just
so they can meet their new twin grand babies.

Little do the unsuspecting grandparents know…
you have an ulterior motive.

You’ve booked a trip for you and your husband.

As soon as the grandparents ring the bell, so excited to meet their new grand babies,
you quickly hand each of them a baby.
Your father thanks you for flying them in as they are so excited to be
with you for the week.

HA!

Suddenly a taxi pulls up, your husband flies out of the house with bags in hand…
you turn to your parents, before hightailing it behind your husband, exclaiming
“we’ll call you when we land…”

“Land?!” your elderly father questions.

By now the taxi is speeding off as a shuffling grandfather trails sadly behind,
with baby in arms, imploring “DON”T LEAVE US WITH THE BABIES!!!!!”

Well, this past week seemed a little similar…
however, we were not blindsided.
We had been asked long time back and we had whole heartedly agreed.

We’d keep “the babies” for almost a week!

Thankfully we aren’t shuffling just quite yet and we were indeed
willing participants.

However…
two toddlers…one 3 and the other 2, for 5 days…at our ages…
well…we powered through it…and in the middle someplace,
we forged some great memories.

The Mayor is jumping in the pool all by herself and holding her breath.
All the while the Sheriff works on finding his comfort zone…preferring
driving a golf cart, or even a small back hoe as his own personal
mode of transportation.

Exhausted when it came time to say good-bye—reluctantly, we
whispered….don’t leave us…

I do hope one day they may remember the happy moments we shared…

Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do.
Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children.

Alex Haley

God’s mercy

“Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin.
All hope consists in confession.
In confession there is a chance for mercy.
Believe it firmly, do not doubt, do not hesitate,
never despair of the mercy of God.”

St. Isidore of Seville


(Southern summer evening sky /Julie Cook / 2021)

“When we are living in the world, we can easily take on the
mindset of a secular society. It is important for us to cultivate
in our lives, with great care,
God’s way of looking at things and life in general.
His Word guides us.”

Rev. Thomas J. Donaghy, p. 22
An Excerpt From
Inspirational Thoughts for Everyday

Incarnation

The fact that theology also considers the body should not astonish or
surprise anyone who is aware of the mystery and reality of the Incarnation.
Theology is that science whose subject is divinity.
Through the fact that the Word of God became flesh,
the body entered theology through the main door.

St. John Paul the Great


(bumble bee on sunflower / Julie Cook / 2021)

“Christ took upon himself this human form of ours.
He became Man even as we are men.
In his humanity and his lowliness we recognize our own form.
He has become like a man, so that men should be like him.
And in the Incarnation the whole human race recovers the dignity
of the image of God. Henceforth, any attack on the least of men
is an attack on Christ, who took the form of man,
and in his own Person restored the image of God in all that
bears a human form.
Through fellowship and communion with the incarnate Lord,
we recover our true humanity,
and at the same time we are delivered from that individualism
which is the consequence of sin, and retrieve our solidarity with
the whole human race. By being partakers of Christ incarnate,
we are partakers in the whole humanity which he bore.
We now know that we have been taken up and borne in the humanity
of Jesus, and therefore that new nature we now enjoy means
that we too must bear the sins and sorrows of others.
The incarnate Lord makes his followers the brothers of
all mankind.
The “philanthropy” of God (Titus 3:4) revealed in the Incarnation
is the ground of Christian love towards all on earth that bears
the name of man.
The form of Christ incarnate makes the Church into the Body of Christ.
All the sorrows of mankind fall upon that form,
and only through that form can they be borne.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Memorial Day 2021

“But freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.
We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream.
The only way they can inherit the freedom we have known is if
we fight for it, protect it,
defend it and then hand it to them with the well-thought
lessons of how they in their lifetime must do the same.
And if you and I don’t do this, then you and I may well spend
our sunset years telling our children and our children’s
children what it once was like in America when men were free.”

Ronald Reagan


(the mayor enjoying a face painting / 2021)

This new community that we now call home hosted a Memorial Day family
community pool party and cookout bash.

And so naturally we had our son and daughter-n-law bring up the Mayor
the Sheriff for the festivities.

There was great food, good music, face painting, balloons along with a much
cooler day than desired in order to spend one’s time in the pool
with the grandkids.
But we do what we must right?!

Last night I noted out loud how much I had enjoyed this year’s Memorial Day…
the other most memorable Memorial Day was the time when we went to Savannah
to scope out our son and at the time, future, daughter in law’s wedding.

This weekend was actually what I would call normal.
Meaning, I readily and unconsciously fell into a sense of what we call
normalcy…life as we once knew it to be.
There were no masks, no social distancing…no limitations…
only kids and parents enjoying a kick-off day to summer.
There were real visible smiles.

Kids lined up to get their faces painted.
Adults stood in line to ‘build’ their burgers and hotdogs.
Balloons were shaped into animals.
Ice cream was plentiful.
The sun peeked in and out from behind the clouds.

And whereas our family celebrated like many American families celebrated
this opening weekend of a new summer…celebrating with cookouts and dips
in the pool…the real meaning of this day has not been lost on my heart.

Years ago when I was teaching, our high school usually had graduation on
the Friday night of the Memorial day weekend.
We’d then start our post-planning on Monday…the official day for Memorial Day.
The nation was observing Memorial Day while our faculty was busy closing
out the school year.

We had a football coach, a man who I still consider myself very fortunate
for having had the opportunity of calling colleague, who was a former
Army officer.

I can remember this ball coach standing up to address the entire staff
on that somewhat fateful Monday morning following graduation…
that Memorial Day morning that we, as a school system, was gathered
together working verses celebrating.

He offered a blistering admonishment.

Many of us had groused at not being able to spend the day
being with our families to help usher in summer…
however this football coach, this former Army Officer and West Point
graduate, took his colleagues and administration to task.

He reminded us why we really should not be at work this particular day.

That our being at work was rather a slap in the face of every armed
service member who had ever served our Nation.

What was wrong that we could not pause for a single day
in order to simply say thank you….

Suddenly it seemed as if the air left the room.
It was a struggle to breath the heaviness that hung in the room.

There was a sense of guilt racing through the room.

Whereas the teachers felt badly for simply wanting to be off with their families
to enjoy a day of cookouts and swimming…I could only imagine that our
administration team was really feeling a sense of oppressive guilt.

Needless to say, for as long as I continued working at the school, we
never worked another Memorial Day.

My daughter in law sent me this lovely reminder of where our thoughts
should actually be on Memorial Day….

John Guy writes:
“What God did at Pearl Harbor that day is interesting and I never knew
this little bit of history.

Tour boats ferry people out to the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii
every thirty minutes. We just missed a ferry and had to wait thirty minutes.
I went into a small gift shop to kill time.

In the gift shop, I purchased a small book entitled,
“Reflections on Pearl Harbor” by Admiral Chester Nimitz.

Sunday, December 7th, 1941— Admiral Chester Nimitz was attending a
concert in Washington, DC. He was paged and told there was a
phone call for him. When he answered the phone,
it was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the phone.

He told Admiral Nimitz that he (Nimitz) would now be the
Commander of the Pacific Fleet.
Admiral Nimitz flew to Hawaii to assume command of the Pacific Fleet.
He landed at Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1941.
There was such a spirit of despair, dejection and defeat–
you would have thought the Japanese had already won the war.

On Christmas Day, 1941, Adm. Nimitz was given a boat tour of
the destruction wrought on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese.
Big sunken battleships and navy vessels cluttered the waters
everywhere you looked. As the tour boat returned to dock,
the young helmsman of the boat asked,
“Well Admiral, what do you think after seeing all this destruction?”

Admiral Nimitz’s reply shocked everyone within the sound of his voice.
Admiral Nimitz said, “The Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes
an attack force could ever make, or God was taking care of America.
Which do you think it was?”

Shocked and surprised, the young helmsman asked,
“What do mean by saying the Japanese made the three biggest mistakes
an attack force ever made?

Nimitz explained:

Mistake number one:

The Japanese attacked on Sunday morning.
Nine out of every ten crewmen of those ships were ashore on leave.
If those same ships had been lured to sea and been sunk–
we would have lost 38,000 men instead of 3,800.

Mistake number two:

When the Japanese saw all those battleships lined in a row,
they got so carried away sinking those battleships,
they never once bombed our dry docks opposite those ships.
If they had destroyed our dry docks,
we would have had to tow every one of those ships to America to be repaired.
As it is now, the ships are in shallow water and can be raised.
One tug can pull them over to the dry docks,
and we can have them repaired and at sea by the time we could have
towed them to America.
And I already have crews ashore anxious to man those ships.

Mistake number three: Every drop of fuel in the Pacific theater
of war is in top of the ground storage tanks five miles away over that hill.
One attack plane could have strafed those tanks and destroyed our fuel supply.

That’s why I say the Japanese made three of the biggest
mistakes an attack force could make or, God was taking care of America.

I’ve never forgotten what I read in that little book.
It is still an inspiration as I reflect upon it.
In jest, I might suggest that because Admiral Nimitz was a Texan,
born and raised in Fredericksburg, Texas — he was a born optimist.

But any way you look at it —
Admiral Nimitz was able to see a silver lining in a situation
and circumstance where everyone else saw only despair and defeatism.

President Roosevelt had chosen the right man for the right job.
We desperately needed a leader that could see silver lining
in the midst of the clouds of dejection, despair and defeat.

There is a reason that our national motto is, IN GOD WE TRUST.

Why have we forgotten? PRAY FOR OUR COUNTRY! IN GOD WE TRUST.”

I want to go look for America

Nothing can illustrate these observations more forcibly,
than a recollection of the happy conjuncture of times and
circumstances, under which our Republic assumed its rank
among the Nations;
The foundation of our Empire was not laid in the gloomy age
of Ignorance and Superstition,
but at an Epoch when the rights of mankind were better understood
and more clearly defined, than at any former period,
the researches of the human mind, after social happiness,
have been carried to a great extent, the Treasures of knowledge,
acquired by the labours of Philosophers,
Sages and Legislatures, through a long succession of years,
are laid open for our use, and their collected wisdom may be happily
applied in the Establishment of our forms of Government;
the free cultivation of Letters, the unbounded extension of Commerce,
the progressive refinement of Manners, the growing liberality
of sentiment… have had a meliorating influence on mankind
and increased the blessings of Society.
At this auspicious period, the United States came into existence
as a Nation, and if their Citizens should not be completely
free and happy, the fault will be entirely their own.

[Circular to the States, 8 June 1783 – Writings 26:484–89]”
George Washington, Writings


(Bald eagle in flight over the James River/ Parks Rountrey)

Is it just me???

I suddenly have a great desire to hop in the car and take off.

Taking off into the great unknown.
I want to go off on some grand American adventure.

I want to go find America.

Maybe it’s due to the fact that this nation of ours has been shut down
for basically a year and a half…and in many parts,
she is still shut down.

Maybe it’s because this nation of ours is now at
some surreal war with itself…

I want to see for myself if we are still out there…is this great nation
I’ve always known, still out there…alive and well?

Or has she become a mere ghost of herself?

Many years ago, when our son was little, we decided to take him on
our small version of the great American family vacation.

Sadly we all know how such family vacations often play out.
The parents are typically enthralled while the kids are usually bored
to tears.

And that’s pretty much how it played out for us.
The pictures of smiling parents with a smug kid in tow.

However we wanted our son to see things we knew that were the wonders of
this great nation of ours.
Wonders such as the Grand Canyon, the rugged coast of Maine,
Yellowstone and Old Faithful, the Great Salt lake,
the lands of the American western Indians,
true free spirited roaming buffalo, the settlements of Jamestown,
The Outer Banks and Blackbeard, the painted desert, the petrified forest,
the Grand Tetons, the Snake River, the raw lands of Alaska,
the endless corn fields of Nebraska, the Rocky Mountains…
So we got in the car over the course of several summers and drove..
and in some cases, we flew then drove.

We wanted our son to see parts of this nation other than his own
home in Georgia.

During those formative years, we took him to the west,
the southwest, the north, the northwest, the northeast, the southeast,
while traversing the middle of this great land.

I suspect as parents, we might have enjoyed these trips more than our
preteen son but in the end, we knew he needed to see our country outside
of his own narrow world—all because one day, he would appreciate that
he had seen all these things…he would have a reference point when
thinking about this country as his home.

I know that not all kids have such opportunities…
nor do all adults…
But getting in a car and driving just seemed to make sense.
He probably would have been happier to just spend time at the beach..
but there was just so much we wanted him to experience.

We did what we could as his parents to expose him
to as much of this country as possible—because we wanted him
to see America.
We wanted him to see what our forefathers knew was worth fighting for.
Why a Revolution was fought, why a Civil war ensued, why we have sent young men and women to various wars all in order to preserve this somewhat “perfect union”.

And perhaps to understand this current struggle with our past.

In my little bio on the “About” page of this blog I mention
that I enjoy traveling.
“I also possess a tremendous passion for travel as I feel traveling
helps to make an extremely large and diverse world a little friendlier–
as it calls for understanding and empathy which are results of spending time
in someone else’s “world”—
as all of us on this planet share a very similar human history and relationship—
the things that make us more alike than different are those ties that bind
together rather than separate…”

Spending time in someone else’s world…
Isn’t that what makes those little connections with others?
We begin to see others not as different but as more alike.
Connections that allow us to understand one another??

Yet today sadly, I know that we can’t just hop in the car and take off.
Not today, not now.

Gas prices are on the rise, the pandemic still holds some states
as prisoners while others are being liberated.
And despite being vaccinated, masks are still required,
social distancing is still a thing and freedom of movement
is actually not so free…it is limited at best.

Throw in a mass influx of illegal immigrants and the notion of safety,
in some of our border states, becomes a serious issue.

Add in the continued violence from Marxists and Anarchist groups
such as Antifa and BLM overflowing in many or our Nation’s major cities..
and so visiting some of our major cities is not even an option.

So hopping in a car while hitting the wide open highways,
in order to go see America, is simply now a pipe dream…

However I wonder…if I did get to go out and see this America of mine,
I wonder what exactly I would find…

Most likely a rewritten history of a nation’s past along with
a now very uncertain future.

Is this land really your land and my land…

Satan and the fears and anxiety he produces…are liars

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark;
the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”

Plato


(courtesy the web)

Fear seems to have been a running thread throughout most of our lives
these past oh so many months.

We have fretted, been filled with dread, fear and anxiety over politics,
over anarchists, over Marxism, over wokeism (yes, I just made that a word),
over Covid and over the darkness that just seems to be enveloping all of us
both figuratively as well as literally.

There is fear felt by parents whose children are sick…
Fear felt by families whose loved ones serve in our military,
Fear felt for our first responders and law enforcement…

The list is lengthy and our fear has been palpable.

Yet Believers know from whence fear comes…it comes from the father of Lies.
And so because of this, we know that fear is indeed a liar.

I bring this all up because my friend Stephanie, whose police officer husband
is still in the hospital recovering from a gunshot wound to the head and subsequent
wreck of his patrol car, spoke very candidly today
(yesterday when you read this) regarding her being fearful.

Stephanie has had a roller coaster of fear since she first received
that initial call that Rob had been shot in the line of duty.

The initial fear was losing Rob—would he survive.

So just to recap the tale before I proceed, Sgt. Rob Holloway was
responding to an all call for backup in the wee hours of Monday morning
April 12th.
The car that the Georgia State Patrol, The Carroll County Sheriff’s Dept.
and the Carrollton City Police force were responding to, was traveling in
speeds exceeding 100 mph and the young men in the car were firing on
the officers.
Sgt. Holloway was shot in the head, lost control of his vehicle, and crashed.

He was life flighted to Atlanta’s Grady trauma Hospital, underwent surgery
to remove part of his right frontal lobe while parts of the bullet
remain embedded in his brain.

Rob has made tremendous strides and has since been transferred to Atlanta’s
Shepherd Clinic.

However…

Rob has been running a fever now for several days…a fever that does not
seem to be subsiding despite treatments.
He has been placed on potent antibiotics as meningitis is now suspected.

He has been transferred back to the ICU.

Stephanie, my former colleague, has been dutiful to keep a journal
on CaringBridge. A wonderful platform for those who want to share
the updates of loved ones who are struggling with a battle of health.

From the CaringBridge site:

From the launch of the very first CaringBridge site,
we’ve been working toward a single vision:
a world where no one goes through a health journey alone.
In order to turn this vision into reality,
we’ve made it our mission to build bridges of
care and communication providing love and support
on a health journey.

I think it is cathartic for Stephanie to write and reach out to the folks
in her and Rob’s world.
However, I suspect that world is growing wider with each post.

I also think it is cathartic for those of us who read her posts.
Stephanie is probably not aware that she is currently being a strong
witness for what faith in Jesus Christ is all about.

She is honest with her feelings yet so steadfast in her conviction.
She is humorous as well as insightful.
I have been richly blessed by simply reading her daily posts.

Even when she is fearful, she knows from whence her help, her calm,
her peace, comes…

Here is Stephanie’s latest post:

Hello friends,

Today has been an eventful day at the Shepherd All-Inclusive Resort.
Rob ran a fever all last night.
Neither his medications to reduce the fever nor the cooling blanket
helped the fever decrease.
So, we started the day with a fresh round of bloodwork and another CT scan –
all before breakfast.
They changed medications and after the CT scan,
his fever dropped below 100 for the first time since 1:00 a.m.
Thank you, Lord!

Robbie stayed pretty groggy all day and slept a lot,
but the fever never returned.
This afternoon, his neurologist, his doctor at Shepherd,
and an infectious disease doctor came to visit our room.
Even though it is too soon to tell if bacteria grew in his spinal fluid
from his lumbar puncture yesterday,
his white blood cell count was elevated indicating he may have meningitis
(an infection of the brain or spinal cord).
Because there are still bullet fragments in his brain,
he has been at high risk for infection since his injury.
The good news is that the CT scan and blood work are all still normal.
There were also no brain abscesses found near the bullet or
bone fragments in his brain.
This is great news because meningitis can be treated with antibiotics,
and a brain abscess would require surgery and antibiotics.
Another positive behind all of this is that his medical team
started him on the right antibiotics on Sunday
since they suspected infection over the weekend.
The infectious disease doctor increased his dosage and said
that he would probably be on them for 7-14 days.
He said it usually takes longer to notice a difference and requires
a longer medication duration because the infection is in his
spinal fluid.

But wait, there’s more.
As a precautionary measure,
we have moved back to ICU at Shepherd until the antibiotics start
positively impacting Rob’s symptoms.
Robbie was thrilled to have a “new hotel room,” and really quite
pleased with the move.
He is resting peacefully now, and I probably will be soon, too.
I think moving to ICU is a good thing as well for now.
At Shepherd, the ICU nurse to patient ratio is 1:2,
and his vitals will be monitored continuously all night long.
Also, migraines, fever, and confusion are all symptoms of
this type of infection, and so hopefully these antibiotics will
greatly change all of the issues Robbie has been experiencing
so we can get back to training and visiting people in the garden.

I’ll admit that this morning I was a little afraid,
but the Spirit quickly reminded me that fear is a liar
(2 Timothy 1:7),
and verses about fear kept running through my mind.
I was quickly renewed to what I know to be true –
God has us in the palm of his hands (Isaiah 41:10, 13).
No weapon formed against us will prosper (Isaiah 54:17).
So, I started praying and had peace (Psalm 34:4).
My prayer now that meningitis and all forms of infection
have to leave his body and his entire demeanor, vitals,
and physical state are all so greatly improved in the morning
that we can move back to our normal room tomorrow.
We love you and greatly appreciate all your prayers and support.
Have an amazing night.

Love,
🙂 Steph

Psalm 31:14-15
Philippians 4:6-7

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7

Happy Mother’s Day to my son…now that’s a switch

“A mother is the truest friend we have,
when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us;
when adversity takes the place of prosperity;
when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us,
still will she cling to us,
and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels
to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace
to return to our hearts.”

Washington Irving


(“mom” with her two lambs…The Mayor and The Sheriff / Greg Cook /2021)

Okay..
so I’ve said it before..there were three primary women who
were integral in making me into the person I am today…

First there was my birth mother (and NO I do not subscribe to this
latest woke nonsense and crap of “birthing person”…total BS!!)

I had a birth, or rather biological, mother who gave me up for adoption in 1959.
Next I had an adopting mother who came along in 1960.
(and no AOC, planned parenthood does not help out in that area contrary
to your foolish line of thinking)

My adopted mom did the long haul hard work.
She went through diapers, terrible twos, potty training…and Lord knows
and bless her heart, adolescence.

Yet sadly, she left me in 1996 when cancer marked her name.

Lastly I had an adopted godmother who came along in 1974—she picked up the
spiritual pieces…working meticulously until her death several years ago.
And let me just say, if you don’t have that kind of person in your life…
find her–a Christian mother who will guide you…

Throw in my two grandmothers (adopted) and I had some great ground work.

I, in turn, became a mom in 1988 to our only son Brenton.
We were going to name him Collin after my godpoppa, but
the name Brenton spoke to my husband…and after an arduous birth,
the nurse turned to me and asked me what was to be the name of this
new son of ours and all I could muster
was…”ask my husband what he wants…”
and so Brenton was his name-o….

As life would have its way, we discovered that we were actually very
fortunate to be able to have just the one child.

So let’s just fast forward to today…our 32 year old son being dad to
both the Mayor and the Sheriff.

I must say that I have absolutely marveled over how our son
has grown into the role of being both father
and dad.

And so just maybe…. this should be more of a father’s day post…
but since this is my day, mother’s day…I’m going to focus
on what makes me a mom…
and that would be our son and now our grandkids.

Recently, our son took off a day from work in order to
spend the entire day with his 2 year old son, aka the Sheriff.

It was the Sheriff’s 2nd birthday and since birthday number 1 was
during the height of lockdown pandemic, our son wanted to make certain
that birthday number two was special.

It matters not that the Sheriff probably won’t ever recall birthday
number two.
What matters is that the tales will transcend time that his dad said
“no” to work just so he could spend time with his young son.

Now that is what I call putting one’s priorities into place!

I am a firm believer that we grow our children…
We nurture them, care for them, feed them, clean them, clothe them,
teach them, instruct them, defend them…
Our sons need fathers.
Our daughters need fathers.

And I dare you to argue with me otherwise.
So don’t mess with mama bears….just saying

I know not all family situations are ideal…
mothers must be fathers and fathers must be mothers…
But our kids need balance.

They need both female nurturing and they need strong male guidance.

Call me old fashioned, call me out of touch, but I’ll tell you one thing…
balance…male and female…it works!!

So happy mother’s day to all the moms and dads…
as well as to grandparents…along with the aunts and uncles
and to all those godparents out there filling
that spiritual role!

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old,
he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6

Updates on our LEO–one heartbeat at a time….


(Sgt. Rob Holloway’s officer code, 229)

LEO–Law Enforcement Officer.

I wanted to offer an update on Sgt. Rob Holloway, the husband of my
longtime colleague and friend Stephanie.

If you’ve read my posts as of late, you will recall that Rob was a
Carrollton City (west Georgia) police officer who was shot in the head
while responding to a county-wide call for assistance during a shooting
and high speed chase in the wee hours
of a Monday morning three weeks ago.

Rob was shot in the head by the fleeing suspects, and subsequently crashed
his patrol car into a utility pole.

The bullet remains lodged in his brain while the surgeons had no choice
but to remove part of the right lobe of his brain.

Rob spent two weeks in Atlanta’s Grady Trauma unit and was recently
transferred to Atlanta’s Piedmont Shepherd Spinal Hospital for rehab.

One thing I will always remember about my years of working with
Stephanie was her enthusiasm and positive high spirit.

Stephanie is much younger than I am, yet she taught my son when he
was in high school and assisted me when we implemented a food pantry
for our at risk kids.

It seems that both Grady’s trauma center and the Shepherd’s Spinal Rehab
have each played important roles in the lives of several of our school’s
extended family.

A few years back our beloved basketball coach was involved in a near
fatal bicycle accident.
He was life flighted to Grady and eventually transferred to Shepherd.

We all read his wife’s daily journal postings regarding his progress
on Caringbridge.

And now once again our Carrollton City School System,
along with extended friends and family, are reading the progress
of another member of our city’s family as they struggle to
survive a life threatening injury.

I am including the last three posts offered by Stephanie regarding
her husband Rob’s progress.

In a word, it is “miraculous.”

Stephanie references our school system’s superintendent Dr. Mark Albertus.
When I was still teaching, Dr. Albertus was my last principal.
He was promoted to superintendent following my retirement.

Mark is a former military officer and father of 4.
I considered myself fortunate for having him as my “final” principal.

The last two principals, out of a total of 8, were truly men of God.

Stephanie references a book that Mark had his school’s leadership team
read.
It is a book that she is now reading to Rob.

I am amazed by both Rob and Stephanie.

Their faith is so very tangible.

While this nation reels over so much drama as it works its way
to outright socialism…while groups such as Antifa and
Black Lives Matters vie for supremacy as a weak and truly
weak minded president struggles to find a way to lead a waywardly
lost nation—the lives of our first responders are in grave
jeopardy.

Please take the time to read Stephanie’s latest three postings.
Find joy and hope–just as I have…

May 5, 2021
Journal Entry by Stephanie Holloway — May 5, 2021
Hey friends!

Wow!
What a wonderful day!
Rob woke up around 7:00 a.m. ready to get started marking things off of his list.
He started the day by taking a shower with his occupational therapist and a tech.
The tech was able to help him walk from the bed to the shower
and sit on a shower bench.
The therapist helped him shower, wash his hair, and get dressed.
Then the tech helped him walk all the way back to his chair.
It was miraculous!

After his shower, he was served breakfast in the room.
Today, we had his usual – scrambled eggs, grits with cream cheese, and yogurt.
While I was mixing the cream cheese in his grits,
he started eating the eggs all by himself.
He was almost finished with them by the time I was able to finish the grits.
🙂
He ate almost all of his breakfast and fed himself.
All of his medications have been converted to a pill form so
‘that he can take everything orally.
He is doing that well, too.

After breakfast, Robbie went to recreational therapy,
speech therapy, and then physical therapy.
Once he got back to the room after physical therapy,
he was weighed to see if we could take out the feeding tube.
He gained two pounds, and since all his blood work and vitals are still good,
the feeding tube was removed!!!
Praise God!
The process was quick and a little uncomfortable,
but he took it like a champ.
Then, he was ready for his lunch.
His speech therapist brought him another sampler plate,
and Robbie was able to eat two slices of London broil, pasta, a bowl of fruit,
and his frosty.
He said it was delicious and was so grateful he is able
to eat a regular meal.
The speech therapist is going to see how he does tonight and tomorrow,
and if all is well, he will be moved up to the next level on his diet.
No more shredded, mushy meals!

After his lunch, he had about an hour break before his neuropsychological evaluation.
So, we reclined his chair and he took a little power nap.
He worked with the neuropsychologist and was able to recall about 75%
of the information that she shared with him.
This is a great starting place.
When she brought him back to the room, he was ready for
a real nap in his bed.
He napped for a couple of hours while I worked a little.

When he woke up, it was almost time for dinner.
We were able to get him out of the bed without using the lift
and we were also able to mark two things off his goal list:
(1) removing the feeding tube and
(2) not being required to sleep with with the mitts of shame.
It felt really good to strike those two things off his list.
Once dinner arrived, we learned that his speech therapist and his dietician
had permitted him to have regular foods.
He was served tortilla-crusted tilapia and macaroni and cheese.
I tried one bite of each, and they were both delicious.
He enjoyed dinner, and then we were able to mark something else off his list:
(3) eating real food instead of pureed.

Dr. Albertus (our school superintendent) purchases the district leadership team
a book every summer that we read and study together.
Last year, he gave us the book, Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven.
The lessons discussed in each chapter are very fitting
for many situations in life.
Dr. Albertus said he asks his children to read it during their senior year,
so I had Grady read it with me last summer.
It’s an incredible book and a very easy read.
If you have not read it, I strongly recommend it.
Anyway, the book discusses overcoming obstacles within the context
of Navy Seal training, but the author applies the lessons
he learned to other situations in life.
I felt it was very applicable to what Robbie is experiencing right now,
so I started reading it to him this morning.
We got through the first chapter, and he loved it.
Tonight after dinner, he wanted to continue reading it.
Like a good teacher, I checked for understanding before I started
the second chapter this evening.
He remembered a lot of the details from the first chapter,
so I was very excited and quickly began reading the second chapter.
I was about halfway finished with the second chapter when he said,
“Steph, I’m sorry but I’m ready for bed.”
So, his tech and I got him settled into bed.
His nurse gave him his evening medications,
and he is sleeping soundly beside me.
He did ask me and his nurse to make sure he was up tomorrow
for “his training.”

Robbie’s medical team is meeting tomorrow after lunch.
My prayer is that they have enough information
collected with his evaluations to give us some idea of a timeline
of our stay at Shepherd.
I do not want to leave here until Robbie is ready physically,
mentally, psychologically, etc.,
but I desperately hope we can be home before Grady’s birthday and graduation.
Grady will turn 18 on May 26th, and he will graduate with honors on May 28th.
So, if you would like to help me pray for Rob to be well
enough to be home for Grady’s birthday,
I would greatly appreciate your help.
Also, please help me pray for Rob to have the strength,
willpower, and endurance to accomplish his goals.
I cannot wait to tell you what goal we cross off his list tomorrow.
Until then, may God richly bless you and your family.

Love,
🙂 Steph

May 6, 2021
Journal Entry by Stephanie Holloway — 23 hours ago
Hey friends!

Today was so amazing!
There are several things we were able to check off of Robbie’s goal list today.
But, I will not get too ahead of myself.
Let me start from the beginning.

Last night was the first night Robbie was able to sleep
without the feeding tube and mitts.
Every night before, his nurses came into our room every three hours
and rotated him from laying on his left side, laying on his back,
and laying on his right side.
Last night, every time the nurses would rotate him,
he would roll over another way.
This is great news because now they may not have to turn him any longer.
They will just check to make sure he is not staying
in the same position all night long.

We both slept really well and woke up refreshed and ready for the day.
Robbie freaked out a little thinking he had overslept
and I had let him miss therapy.
If you have traveled anywhere with me,
I make a schedule for every day.
I do not want to waste a minute,
and so I plan out my entire trip.
My family makes fun of me.
So, can you believe he would think I would let him oversleep?
As if!
Lol! 🙂

When his breakfast was served, we were surprised to find bacon
accompanying his scrambled eggs, grits, and yogurt.
I make a picture of his meal before and after he eats
to share with his dietician and his speech therapist.
They are tracking his food and liquid intake to make sure
he is eating and drinking enough.
Before I could take the “before” photo of his breakfast,
he grabbed a piece of bacon and had the entire thing in his mouth!
Needless to say, he ate well for breakfast even if my before picture
did not capture the entire meal.
After he ate breakfast, we read Chapter 2 of Make Your Bed,
and the lesson for this chapter was so timely
for our current living situation.
We were both in tears when we finished it.

Rob’s morning was full of therapy,
so I worked from about 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
At 11:00 a.m., I was on the phone speaking with a member of our family,
and the door opened, and Robbie was standing there!
I almost fell out of my chair.
He walked from the therapy room all the way to our hospital room.
He had his therapist there with him and supporting him,
but it was him! Standing!
Walking!
He was exhausted by the time he returned to the room,
so his therapist helped me get him settled into bed,
and he slept until his lunch arrived.
But, wow! I
t took my breath away.
How great is our God!!!

Robbie was scheduled to have therapy again after lunch,
but his therapist invited me to join them for his physical therapy session.
She wanted to train me to help him walk so that I could help him in our room.
This was the highlight of my day!
I got to watch him walk with her, and she taught me how to do it as well.
We also traded in his big wheelchair for a smaller one that he can use
all by himself for longer distances.
After that, he continued therapy until around 3:00 p.m. while I worked.

His amazing nurse joined us when Rob returned to our room
to let us know she had the order to remove his staples
and take out his mid-line IV thingie in his arm.
I walked away while she did all that because I didn’t want
to faint and have to receive medical attention as well.
Lol!
Afterward, I was able to help him stand from his chair,
walk to the restroom, use the restroom standing like a man
(sorry I know that is gross, but it’s a big deal right now),
and then walk back to his bed for a nap.
What a victory!
That’s three more things off of his goal list!

After all of that excitement,
he enjoyed a nap until they brought his dinner.
He enjoyed his dinner, and then we decided to go to the garden again.
The weather was perfect, the garden was not crowded,
and we enjoyed every minute. We were able to sit together
and talk for a while, and then he wanted to call some of our family.
We lost track of time and the nurses had to come to
get us to go back inside.
Lol!

By the time we got back up to the room,
Robbie was ready for a bed bath and his night medications.
His tech helped me get him in bed, and his nurse administered his meds.
They were doing shift change though,
so I volunteered to bathe him and get him settled.
I love taking care of him. He takes such good care of me.
So, it did not take long for him to doze off, and he’s sleeping soundly
beside me now and looking forward to another miraculous day tomorrow.

Someone asked me how we stay so positive when this
road is so very difficult.
I want to be real with you.
There have been times where I have been terrified
of losing him or his condition worsening.
Every day has not been on the mountain top like today.
BUT, the answer to that question is simple and found in some scripture
that I’d like to share with you to digest this evening.
The pastor that married us had a verse he would quote often.
Philippians 4:8 reads,
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest,
whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue,
and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Even in the darkest moments of the last few weeks,
I could hear Brother David repeating these words.
It is easy to dwell on the negative and let fear consume you.
But, fear is the absence of faith and is not of God.
You have the power to change your thoughts and your words.
There is so much power in thinking and speaking positively.
So, we choose to focus on the positive and to fill our minds
and our speech with His Word.
We celebrate every victory, and we will not let fear or doubt cloud our minds.
When we are discouraged or afraid, we quote scripture.
It gives us peace and hope, and we focus on the end of this journey –
not the present.
We also have a huge support system and when I need a boost,
God always puts us on the mind of someone who will send me a text
or a Facebook message at that very moment when I need it.
There are a ton of things in our lives right now that are true,
honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report,
virtuous, and worthy of praise – we think on these things,
and I share these things with you.
So, if you are discouraged or afraid,
if you have had a rough day or even a string of rough days,
fix your mind on the things described in Philippians 4:8.
Cast your cares upon Him (1 Peter 5:7).
Your Father in Heaven loves you (John 3:16),
and we love you, too.

Thank you for walking this journey with us.
Your comments bless me so much, and one day,
Robbie will read this journal and your comments will bless him, too.
Until then, I’m trusting in his complete restoration and a graduation
day at Shepherd before Grady’s graduation day at CHS.
Have an amazing evening and a wonderful Friday.

Love,
🙂 Steph

May 7, 2021

Happy Friday, Friends!

I hope you all had a wonderful day today.

Our day was full of happy moments.

Rob and I both slept really well, and then we woke up and ate breakfast together today.

I ran downstairs to the cafeteria while he was still sleeping and picked up the same breakfast he had.  When I got back upstairs, I had a table set up for us both to have breakfast together.

We were able to get him dressed, transition him from his bed to the chair at the table,

and eat breakfast like normal.  He blessed the meal, fed himself while I ate,

and other than the location, it seemed like a normal meal together.

After breakfast, Robbie wanted to call and talk to my parents.

It’s the first time he has really spoken with both of them since his injury, and it was a tear-filled, joyous call.  After that, he had a morning full of therapy.

He worked on word puzzles with his speech therapist, played a card matching game

with his occupational therapist, and worked on sitting and standing without assistance and without using his hands for balance with his physical therapist.

When he got back to our room after his therapy today, he told me he spent the whole morning dominating card games and working on squats.  He was laughing and joking with the therapists,

and even laughed and joked with his doctor about his glasses.

By the time he returned to the room, he was exhausted and ready for a nap.

During Rob’s afternoon therapy sessions, the “games” his therapists used to help

test the limits of his memory and processing abilities frustrated him.

So, his physical therapist suggested we all go to the garden for her session and walk around the garden.

I loved that idea and jumped on the opportunity to participate in therapy with Robbie.

The weather was perfect in the garden, and there were several people enjoying the fresh air today with us.

His physical therapist parked his chair at the base of the ramp entering the garden and asked Robbie to go ahead and stand up.  She walked behind him providing support using his gait belt while I walked beside him holding his hand. 

His therapist would designate a target (bench, flower pot, etc) and ask Robbie to walk to it.  We would walk to the target area, rest a moment, and then stand back up and continue. 

We walked around the entire garden holding hands together.  It was so wonderful.  When we got back to the chair and ramp entering the building, Robbie did not want to sit down just yet. 

So, his therapist suggested they “try the steps.”  Rob said ok, and off they went. 

He walked up three steps into the building like he had been working on climbing steps all week. 

It happened so fast that I almost missed the video opportunity! 

Once we got back into the building, Rob wanted to walk all the way to the room. 

So, while he and his therapist walked together, I pushed the wheelchair. 

We walked around to the Shepherd Building elevators, rode up to the 2nd floor,

and walked all the way to our room.  By the time we got there, ‘

Robbie was exhausted and ready for a nap.  His spirit was triumphant though,

and he was smiling as he fell asleep.

While Robbie napped, I met with one of his therapists and we discussed his injury in great detail.

Rob has an acquired brain injury to the right hemisphere of his brain.

This injury causes him to have trouble with attention, perception, memory, and a loss of mobility on the left side of his body.   In the paperwork she shared with me, the right side of the brain also is in charge of “visual awareness, imagination, emotions, spatial abilities, face recognition, music awareness, 3D forms, interpreting social cues, left-hand control, and some math estimations and comparisons.  We discussed how this could impact his daily life; however, he has really been doing well in most of these areas this week.  We also discussed ways I can help him work to improve these areas and ways I could help keep him safe with deficits in these areas as we transition home.  While she believes we are still weeks away from going home, she did say that every brain injury is different and that it is still too early to even estimate a date we might get to go home.  So, I took this opportunity to remind her of the dates of Grady’s birthday and graduation ceremony.  She said that Robbie reminds all of them daily that he cannot miss these dates. She promised me that his team is keeping Grady’s week in mind when they plan. But, she also said Rob’s health and wellbeing will determine when he leaves Shepherd.

Robbie started waking up from his nap as I returned to his room.  I ran down to the cafeteria to get my food, picked up his meal tray, and we ate together again like normal.  After dinner, Robbie spoke with his mom for a little while and with Grady.  Then, he decided he wanted to sit in the big comfy chair in our room for a while because “his butt was going numb” in his chair.  So, I helped him move into the chair and put my feet beside him in the chair.  Then, he started rubbing my feet for a while while we talked about the day.   Before his injury, we would sit like this in the man cave and he would rub my feet the same way.  Right now, I’m enjoying the opportunity to take care of him, but it was so nice to slip back into our pre-April 12th routine.

After a while, he was tired and ready to get back in bed.  I helped him take a bed bath, changed his sheets and clothes, and helped him settle in bed.  His nurse came in and administered his evening medications, and he has been sleeping soundly for a while now.

I hope you all have a wonderful evening, and I’ll update you again on his progress tomorrow.   Luke 1:37

Love,
🙂 Steph

fruits of our labors…

A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought.
There is visible labor and there is invisible labor.

Victor Hugo


(the Mayor, future chef / Julie Cook / 2021)

So the Mayor was hanging out in the new woobooville office for a few days…
She made the executive decision that there was a need
to hone her culinary skills…

The Mayor is honing her culinary skills…one pudding box at a time.

It’s all about a learning experience.

The correct milk, cream, espresso powder, bourbon vanilla extract,
copper pot, whisk, temperature…
And watch that fire…

Now let’s imagine our founding fathers…their learning experience…imagine
the work they poured into what it took to make a democracy.

Imagine the honing of that framework…all the considerations , the focus, the primary goal,
the direction, the hope…

The labor.

The work.
The pain.
The sacrifice.
The uncomfortable growing pains.

The danger, the concern, the risks.

Almost 250 years in the works.

Crumbling now before our very eyes.

I worry for the future– our future…
The future of the Mayor and the Sheriff.

We’ll talk about this more tomorrow…
Today, we just need to find more whipped cream…

Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor,
doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have
something to share with anyone in need.

Ephesians 4:28

who says 2 is terrible

“Having a two year old is like having a blender without a lid”
Jerry Seinfeld


(Somebody is going to wake up to a yard sign of celebration)

They say two is terrible…but turning one during a pandemic, which meant
no party or family gathering, might have been worse.

Yet what matters most today, is that you are here…
happy and healthy and all ready for turning number two…

And that first missing party is, well, all yours this year.
Plus it’s something you don’t have to share with “sister”—
because it is all yours–your day, your birthday.
but allowing her a piece of cake might be nice.

From those scary first day’s in a neonatal unit ’til today—you have been our
joy and indeed our hope. And if the truth be told, I think ‘sister’
wouldn’t have life any other way than sharing it with her “Je”

So Happy Birthday to our little man—
and get ready—your party is coming Saturday!!!!

And remember…never put all your eggs in one basket…

Do not conform to the pattern of this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good,
pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:2