Believer, we have crossed the Rubicon…so now chew on this

These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits
of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds;
you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die,
for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.
Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard;
hold it fast, and repent.
But if you do not wake up,
I will come like a thief, and you will not know at
what time I will come to you.

Rev 3:1-3


(the puff of a thistle /Julie Cook / 2021)

Excerpt from Erwin W. Lutzer’s book, We Will Not Be Silenced

The purpose of this book is not to inspire us to “take America back.”
We have neither the will nor the clout to reverse same-sex marriage laws
or to halt culture’s obsession with destroying sexual norms and
erasing our shared history.
It’s highly unlikely we will ever reverse the laws that restrict
religious freedom in the military or return public education
back to the control of the parents rather than school boards that
proudly adopt the most recent “sexually liberalized” curriculum.
We have crossed too may fault lines;
too many barriers have proven too weak to withstand media-driven
cultural streams that have flooded our nation.
The radicals know how to make themselves look good and
make Christians look bad.

I write not so much to reclaim the culture as to reclaim the church.

This book has several purposes.
Most importantly, I want to inspire the church to courageously
stand against the pressures of our culture that seek to compromise
our message and silence our witness.
This is not a time for us to hide behind our church walls,
but rather, to prepare ourselves and our families to stand bravely
against an ominous future the is already upon us.
We must interact with groups and individuals giving
“a reason for the hope” that is within us, and doing it with
“gentleness and respect” (1 Peter3:15)

I write this book for anyone who has a burden to
“strengthen what remains,” as Jesus told the church in Sardis (Rev.3:12)

I write this book so that families will know what their children
are facing in the public schools, colleges, and in the broader culture.

I write this book with the hope that we will remain strong,
and joyfully defend “the faith that was once for all
delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
We must separate the true from the false and the reality
from desire-driven delusions.

Most critically, this book is also a call to prayer accompanied
by deep repentance.
This is a Daniel moment when we call on God,
confessing our sins and the sins of our churches and nation.
We cannot more forward with words alone but with our deeds,
our resolve and a renewed dependence on God.
This book is intended to clarify the threats the church faces today,
but this information will be of no value apart from an
earnest desire to desperately seek God with accompanying
obedience and compassion.

Americans are spending $2.1 billion on the “mystical services market”
trying to find meaning by looking at themselves,
trying to hear a voice from the heavens that would give them
some hope and direction.
If we think we can fight against this deceived culture by winning
the war of ideas, we are mistaken,
The best ideas do not win very often in a culture obsessed with
empty utopian promises.

It’s vital for us to understand that behind the headlines is a
raging spiritual battle that can be confronted only by prayer
and repentance followed
by action in keeping with repentance.
Only then can we hope to be a powerful voice in this nation.
I am skeptical about our willingness to stand against the headwinds we face.
We are so much a part of our culture that it might be difficult
for us to know where to begin in our resolve to remain firm.
We are like a fish swimming in the ocean wondering where the water is.
Perhaps we have lost our capacity to despise sin, whether it be
our own or the sin prevalent in our culture.
***

***this was all written pre pandemic and pre election—
since that time, we now have a compounded situation—of racial tension,
of a border crisis, of a raging race theory contention, of pandemic fallout..
So now just multiply what the author is stating by 100 fold.

Stir up the waters

Matthew: I have a question though.
Jesus: Yes Matthew…
Matthew: Waiting 30 more minutes would not have mattered to that man,
why did you do that [heal him] on Shabbat?

Jesus: Sometimes you have to stir up the waters.”

The Chosen Season 2 Episode 4


(Jesus speaking to the man at the pool of Bethesda—“Do you want to be healed?”)

Have you seen it yet?
It’s finally out!!!
Season 2 of The Chosen is slowly beginning to air.
There are 4 episodes already waiting to be viewed.

I know that time is not always on my side when I want to
sit down to watch an episode—
yet when I can, I do so on my phone as I watch it on the app.
I imagine a larger screen might allow for a more powerful impact
but no matter, large or small, the emotional impact is pretty palpable.

Sometimes I’ll start an episode then have to stop part way through,
resuming at a later date as time allows.

It can be a bit choppy and disconnecting to the emotions
but this series seems to be able to coerce every ounce of emotion
out of one’s psyche no matter the viewing format or time allowed.
A small taste only whets a hearty appetite.

With each episode, I am miraculously transported to a different
time and space.
It is as though I am there, one of the players perched on the
periphery of something greater than that which is held down
by gravity…

In episode 4 of season 2 Jesus asks a man whose legs have been paralyzed
for nearly 38 years, nearly his entire life,
if he wants to be healed.

He has spent the majority of his life laying by a pool
that purportedly had healing powers.
A pool that was considered to be pagan.
Meaning, not a place an observant Jew would seek out.
Yet what we know as humans, desperate times require desperate needs.

Now I imagine that most all folks who suffer from a traumatic bodily injury or
impediment want to be healed.
They want to be made whole.
To walk, talk, see, hear, feel, breathe, live…
Just like those who suffer from internal impediments.

Think addiction, think obsession, think anger, think jealousy,
think envy, think ego, think pride, think weight, think resentment,
think anything that stands between you and the Savior of Peace.

There are visible traumas and there are internal traumas.
And yet it seems that those internal illnesses are the more
sinister.

The hidden tends to eat at us more so than the obvious.

And so Jesus asks us…He asks you and He asks me,
do we want to be healed?

Well the obvious answer would be yes.
However we human beings tend to be more complicated than that.

We tend to cling to our hinderances.
We tend to embrace the impediments as they become
a calling card and a label—they become our identity…we allow them to define us.
It, whatever the ailment is, is woven into who we are.

We say that we want to be healed.
We claim that we want to be free of the chains
of our paralyzing traumas— yet we are actually reluctant
to let them go.
We make excuses.
We stammer.
We are more or less codependent upon our own ills.

And we should note that this is not always some sort of conscious dependency– it’s just that the letting go is often much harder than we could ever imagine.

So the question remains, do you want to be healed???

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool,
in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades.
In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed.
One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there
a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?”
The sick man answered him,
“Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water
is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.”
Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.”
And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.

Now that day was the Sabbath.
So the Jews
said to the man who had been healed,
“It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.”
But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me,
‘Take up your bed, and walk.’”  They asked him,
“Who is the man who said to you,
‘Take up your bed and walk’?”
Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was,
for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place.
Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him,
“See, you are well!
Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.”
The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus
who had healed him.
And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because
he was doing these things on the Sabbath.
But Jesus answered them,
“My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

offering and occupy

“Occupy your mind with good thoughts,
or the enemy will fill them with bad ones.
Unoccupied, they cannot be.”

St. Thomas More

The Lord is inviting you to come and gaze into His eyes of mercy.
He’s offering you hope for a fresh start.
Oh, I pray that the eyes of your heart would be enlightened,
and that the darkness of shame would be chased away.
Shame keeps your eyes cast down.
But God is cupping your face in His hands and calling you to look up.

Lisa Brenninkmeyer
from her book Be Still: A Daily Devotional

Mercy and the peace-filled heart

Giving God the first minutes of your day will pay dividends later.
I promise you, He will multiply your time.
You’ll get more done and have a peaceful heart while doing it.

Lisa Brenninkmeyer
from her book Be Still: A Daily Devotional


(thistle / Julie Cook / 2021)

“Tell souls not to place within their own hearts obstacles to My mercy,
which so greatly wants to act within them.
My mercy works in all those hearts which open their doors to it.
Both the sinner and the righteous person have need of My mercy.
Conversion, as well as perseverance, is a grace of My mercy.
Let souls who are striving for perfection particularly adore My mercy,
because the abundance of graces which I grant them flows from My mercy.
I desire that these souls distinguish themselves by boundless trust
in My mercy. I myself will attend to the sanctification of such souls.
I will provide them with everything they will need to attain sanctity.
The graces of My mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only,
and that is-trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive.
Souls that trust boundlessly are a great comfort to Me,
because I pour all the treasures of My graces into them.
I rejoice that they ask for much,
because it is My desire to give much, very much.
On the other hand, I am sad when souls ask for little,
when they narrow their hearts.”

Jesus to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul p. 560
An Excerpt From
Divine Mercy in My Soul, p. 560

The journey…RUN!

My entire conversion was less of a journey to a foreign place,
and more of a discovery of my long-lost home.

Jennifer Fulwiler
from her book Something other than God


(ode to a white picket fence’s blooms /Julie Cook / 2021)

“But you, ‘a chosen generation’,
weak things of the world, who have forsaken all things,
so that you may follow the Lord, go after him, and confound the strong;
go after him, you beautiful feet,
and shine in the firmament so that the heavens may declare his glory…
Shine over the whole earth, and let the day,
brightened by the sun, utter unto day speech of wisdom,
and let the night, shining with the moon,
declare to the night the word of knowledge…
Run into every place,
O you holy fires, you beautiful fires!
You are the light of the world, and you are not put under a measure.
He to whom you have held fast has been exalted, and he has exalted you.
Run forth, and make it known to all nations.”

Saint Augustine, p.318-19
An Excerpt From
The Confessions of Saint Augustine

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

The Mayor and the storm

“There is peace even in the storm”
Vincent van Gogh


(the Mayor knows no fear at the park / Julie Cook / 2021)

The Mayor has stayed on for a few days following the Sheriff’s big birthday
celebration…so a trip to the park was in order.

Sadly, the weather has taken a turn for the nasty worst…
thunderstorms, flash floods and tornado warnings have been on tap for most of today.
and I fear much the same remains in the forecast for tomorrow as well.

Time to get creative with a three year old who is stuck inside during
bad weather!

Meanwhile, our back yard is now a raging river…
time to batten down the hatches!!


(back yard stormy weather / Julie Cook / 2021)


(back yard stormy weather / Julie Cook / 2021)


(the flood waters wash away the pine straw / Julie Cook / 2021)

Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the Lord your God goes with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6

old made new

The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become –
because He made us.
He invented us.
He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be…
It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality,
that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.”

C.S. Lewis


(a green chameleon perches amongst the shrubs / Julie Cook / 2021)

At our previous home, we always had a small menagerie of critters that
called our home and yard, their home and yard…

This new house is no different–it’s just that some of the residents are,
well, different.

A post regarding these new residents will be a post for another day….
for today’s thoughts come from my having spotted a chameleon who was
in the process of literally losing his or her skin—
sloughing off the old for the new.


(a chameleon shedding / Julie Cook / 2021)

Maybe I knew this little fact about lizards shedding…
maybe I’d forgotten…
I certainly knew it about snakes and cicadas shedding…
but I’d never given much thoughts about lizards doing the same.

We have a group of skinks and chameleons who call our back patio theirs.
As in they were here before us.

The chameleons gravitate from green to brown depending on their
whims…or more aptly…depending on where they opt to traverse or
spend their time.. be it on the furniture or in the bushes.

Amazing how God gave such creatures the gift of change depending
upon their circumstance.

So imagine my surprise, or more aptly my shock, when I went to sit down
on a chair situated on the patio, and suddenly spied two chameleons chasing
one another on the chair…with one of the two looking pretty rough.
As in a bad hair, or make that skin, day,

Upon closer inspection, I realized the smaller of the two lizards was
shedding its winter coat, readying itself for a glorious spring and summer.
As well as hoping to look its best in order to snag a would be mate.

I think we humans feel much the same following our winter
hibernations…especially this year…
This past year having been a full length marathon hibernation…
Meaning it’s past time to let go of the old and become fresh and new.

I really like Mr. Lewis’s thoughts offered at the start of this post–
the thought that God invented all the different persons we are to become
throughout our lifetime–both good and bad actually.

I’ve never quite thought of it like that before.

Life without knowing our true nature as a child of God can
leave us quite dull and heavy.
And so as we advance in our relationship with the triune God,
we shed and shed….we shed off our old worn-out selves
as each shedding gives way to a newer creature…
allowing us to become lighter and much more fresh.

The shedding isn’t pretty to watch and is rather uncomfortable
to endure— think itchy and irritating and even perhaps
somewhat embarrassing…but the shedding, as unsightly as it is,
is necessary none the less.

And so during each season of our lives, as we gravitate to and closer
to our oneness with the One who gave Himself up on our behalf—
our God, Creator and Savior has seen us both before and after each of these
sloughing-off of layers.
Always loving us before, during and after we emerge into
our true and intended likeness of God’s original intention
for us, His created…

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live,
but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh
I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20