Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Divinely Inspired

This past Sunday, July 1, we had our July 4th church service at Crossgates Baptist and I found myself thinking about all the men and women who have lost their lives so that we could have the freedoms we have. Then, something else happened.......God reminded me of a very special phrase he spoke into my life shortly after Clint passed away. I was on my way to work one morning and tears were streaming down my face when God spoke to me and said, "Do not mourn the lives of those who have gone on before you; instead, mourn the lives of those who still suffer amongst you!"........It was such a powerful and profound idea for me to wrap my sad heart around.......but I did! I wrote down that phrase and taped it on my work station where I saw it all day long each and every day!! It helped me through many very difficult days.......and it still does! I have thought about what all God meant with that phrase and it has evolved some over the last year and a half since he spoke it to me. Initially, I took it to mean, don't waste precious time with your boys mourning a life you can't bring back.....instead find joy in helping those who suffer everyday around you........the poor, the helpless, anyone needing help out of a dark place or time in their life! But, Sunday in church, God revealed a new interpretation of that phrase to me in the context of all those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedoms! Our great and beautiful country was founded on biblical principles and on the undeniable existence of God our Father and Christ our savior!!! Our military has fought for the freedoms written into our constitution by men who believed in and worshipped God! So how does my phrase relate to that?......God does not want us to mourn the lives of those who sacrificed all for our freedoms! That would be a terrible dishonor to their memory and what they were fighting for! Instead, we are to mourn the ones alive and amongst us who suffer! And I can't think of anything that could cause more suffering than not knowing Christ as your personal savior! Those who suffer amongst us can be wealthy, beautiful, successful and seem to have it all.....but if they do not have a personal relationship with Christ, then they are suffering what will lead to an eternity of unimaginable suffering! I will be the first to admit that I am not an evangelist.......but I am called to be one as a child of God! I am called to live a life that will be an example of God's love to everyone around me! I am called to share my Faith openly and with enthusiasm to those who do not yet know Christ! And why wouldn't I? I have been given the most precious gift mankind has ever received! I have been forgiven of my sins and have been given the gift of eternity in the presence of our creator and our savior in Heaven! Do you all get that? Do you all understand that suffering that I am talking about? Do you understand the importance of ridding the world of that kind of suffering? That is a suffering that can be healed! I hope everyone who reads this will think and pray about what their part in ending that suffering is! I am certainly going to be praying for God to use me in this battle.....because I have been wounded many times on this battlefield of life......and with each scar I received, God was preparing me to be able to relate to someone else and their battles!!!! How can I as a Christian not share my salvation with those here who are still suffering? I hope you will all help me end it!!!! That is all I have for now.......so, until we meet again, love and blessings to all ...........Donna

Friday, May 25, 2012

Life's beautiful irony!!

Well once again it's been a few months since I added a post on here......but this morning I have so much spinning around in my head that I have to put some of it down. My last post about my overflowing love is on my mind again! Since my last post, I have met a wonderful man with a beautiful heart and have fallen in love with him (bless his heart.....pray for him!).......so that means I have an avenue to share some of that love right? Wrong!!!.....(and here it is folks, life's beautiful irony)..... Here's what I have found out about the unequivicable beauty of the design of our hearts!!! They are capable of producing more love than we can wrap our heads around!!!! All that love I spoke of in my previous post is still there and building.......AND, now that I have met someone else, the love I have for him is completely new!......it doesn't come from that pool of existing love.....it has it's own beautiful source!!! So that means I have even more now than I spoke of in my last post!!!!! WOW!!!!!!! I am a giving and compassionate person and I am always wanting to share all of this love! That's a good thing right?......well I think maybe I need to find new avenues for it! The people closest to me (my boys and my new love) are the ones who are on the receiving end of this explosion of love! They may like it.....they may not......I don't really know; but I suspect there are days they would argue that I pour too much love on them and Blake and Kyle would also probably say there are times when I don't pour enough on them! Ok, so I'm not perfect....yet......but I'm working on being a more balanced distributor of this love! Be patient with me please as I evolve! I have been spending some quality time with God lately and I have come to the realization that God wants me (us all really) to share this immense quantity of love that he's given me with the world! That is, after all what he designed us for! I can't even wrap my head around the love that He feels for us! But I do know that He wants us to share our love with everyone! I'm not yet sure in what capacity I am supposed to do this sharing but I am sure that God has something special in mind for me and I can't wait until He reveals it to me!! I have for years wanted to do some sort of missionary work but have never quite felt the tug at my heart saying this is it.....this is what I want you to do! I think the time is drawing very near for that tug and I do think it will be right here in the US, not abroad! I think there is so much darkness right here on our own front porch that can be pierced by the kind of love that God has blessed me with! For those of you that are praying people, pray with me and for me on this please! And for those of you who aren't praying people, I'll be praying for you :) To Tim, Blake and Kyle I ask that you let me know when I'm going overboard with love and when I'm not giving enough! You three are such a huge source of my love and I want you all to feel blessed by it not smothered by it! And to everyone else.........look out!!!! I could be spreading love in your direction soon!!!! :) Well, that's it for this morning......I have to go to work on this beautiful Friday morning! So, until next time my friends, love and blessings to all........................DONNA

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"My LOVE Maker"

Have you ever wondered where "love" comes from? I KNOW it's a gift from God........he designed us as loving beings; capable of feeling an infinite amount of love! But, where in us is it "made"? We always refer to our hearts as our "love" center; the place we hold everything and everyone we cherish. From macaroni, fried chicken, our first pets, our favorite movie, the best book we ever read to all the special people in our lives, we say they hold a special place in our hearts! So, is that where our love is made?

I wonder this because I have an over abundance of love! When you love someone, you give away your love to them and they give you theirs in return (hopefully). But what happens when you love someone and they die? You don't stop loving them! You keep creating love with every memory, every mention of their name, every photograph looked at. And this love keeps growing and building up with nowhere to go!

So, what do you do with that love that's still being made for that person? The first thought that comes to mind is to give it to the other people you love right? But it isn't their love.......it was made for someone else, and it won't fit anyone else! You don't want to store it up because it was made to give away! But how do you do it? How do you take this perfect gift created in yourself and by design to only fit one other person like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle and give it away?

This is what I want the answer to! I don't want to stop it, I just want to know what to do with this overflow of love! For me lately, as a creative person, it is coming out in my writing and photography and other creative vessels. Is that what I'm supposed to be doing with it? It feels different than giving it to the person it was created for. My writing and photography can't give me love back! So is it a waste to give away bits of my love, pieces of a perfectly designed jigsaw puzzle to something it wasn't designed for?

If I do give it away in these little fragments, will I eventually run out? Will my "love maker" quit making love to give away with no return? That's a scary thought! Will it morph itself into love for someone else; and if so, does that change it's value any........like a regifted Christmas present? If I ever fall in love again, will it be an equivalent love? A better love? Will I always compare it to a love I've been making for over 15 years? Will it interfere with my future like that? Surely a love so true wouldn't do that right?!?

So, back to my earlier question.........what do I do with all this love I've been storing up? If only I could figure a way to package it up and make it valuable to others! To reshape the puzzle piece that was made for someone else and shape it to fit another person! To find someone who is worthy of receiving and appreciative of receiving a love that has been overflowing in my life now for 17 months.

Well, there you have it folks............the question I have been pondering lately! Anyone who has an answer for me, feel free to share! I guess that's all for now........................so, until next time, love and blessings to all......................DONNA!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Sweetest Steps!

Throughout our lives, we take countless steps! Some of them lead us into beautiful situations while other steps carry us through tragedy! I think though that they are all sweet steps because they are the steps that create the pathways we follow through our own memories.

I started thinking about my own sweet steps recently, and what follows are descriptions of some of those sweet steps.

The first steps I remember having an impact on my life were at a church when I was a little girl.....I was the flower girl in a wedding......my moms wedding to her second husband Jimmy! Those steps ushered in many changes in my life and brought me two younger sisters, Mandy and Cindy (whom I adore). They were just the beginning of the steps that carried me through the years that molded and shaped my personality into what it is today............shy, curious, funny, imaginative, friendly, warm, scared........I could go on, but those of you who know me well will understand the impact those years had on my life and the reasons I am so different than all of my sisters.

Then in March of 1982, I took some steps that would change the lives of everyone in my family........I ran away from home! Without going into too many details, I will say that I lived in an abusive and terribly unhappy environment! Then on one cold, late winter night, I believed my only chance to stay alive and have any sort of life would be for me to run away! My feet carried me several miles that night and endured a lot to secure my freedom. They stood in a fire ant bed behind a tree while I hid from passing cars; they carried me as I was chased and bitten on the ankle by a dog; they stood terrified as I broke into a church bus to try to escape the cold and get some rest; and finally my feet carried me to a friends door where I worked up the courage around 3am to ring the doorbell. My friend's parents (a doctor and nurse who both worked with my mom) took me in and let me sleep in a warm beautiful bed; then woke me to what I'm sure was the best breakfast I had ever had (because it wasn't shrouded in fear of what the day would bring)! Then her parents shattered me by telling me they had to take me back home! And they did! Those steps back into my house were some of the scariest and most shaky steps I've ever taken even to this day!

The next steps having a huge impact on my life came a week after I ran away from home. They were steps I took one day at Oak Forest Elementary here in Jackson, Ms. I was in the library looking at all the wonderful books to choose from during the book fair when the principal called over the intercom for me to come to the office. I had no way of knowing at that moment and at the young age of 10 how drastically those steps to the office were going to change my life!!! You see, waiting in the office to talk to me were two social workers who had a bunch of questions about my home life and why I had run away. And as God had planned for me, those steps to the office that day are the steps that later that night would lead to my moms car and a long ride to Louisiana where I went to live with my dad. It was a terrifying experience because I didn't know him or my older sister Kimberly; and he now had another wife and two small children......my beautiful youngest sisters Kristen and Nicole!

Well, those were some of the foundational sweet steps in my early life. There have been so many more steps, like the ones from my first slow dance with Mike; my first time sneaking out and my first time skipping school.......well, I was a teenager!! Then we move on to the steps that led me to the podium to accept my diploma; my first steps out on my own at college, and my first job at Dairy Queen! I have taken steps down the isle at church to say a final farewell to my grandparents and have taken steps into my first apartment by myself in Springdale, AR. Then there are the steps I took out of my job at the bank in Little Rock that led me to move back home to DeRidder, LA in Jan 1995 where I would end up meeting my future husband, Clint!

So now we're up to some of the sweetest steps in my life..... My steps down the isle to marry my best friend in June 1996. It was a Saturday afternoon and there he was waiting amidst a small group of our closest friends and family who made up our wedding party. My Uncle David would be the one to marry us on that rainy afternoon. We then took steps out on our own as husband and wife. That's right, "my" sweet steps had turned into "our" sweet steps! I would definately say that the sweetest of steps are those you share with someone special!

Together Clint and I stepped into a hospital in Lake Charles, LA in May 1998 and welcomed our first son Blake into the world! We stepped into the hospital as a married couple and took some of the sweetest steps ever out of that hospital as a family! This is when your path of memories multiplies, because now the sweet steps of your family become your own sweet steps! As Blake stood on his own shaky legs and took his first steps, they became my own! Then we did it again! Clint and I stepped into a hospital in Flowood, MS on Jan 2, 2000 and welcomed our second son Kyle into our family! Yep, you guessed it; my path of memories just multiplied again by the sweet steps of Kyle! The next years were filled with multitudes of gloriously sweet steps, too numerous to mention.

Then in August 2007 I stepped into my surgeons office and heard the words, you have cancer! The next steps in my life would be both difficult and rewarding. Rewarding because I kept taking steps forward and was carried through the most difficult times on the sweet steps of my family!

It would not be too long before I would be taking more difficult steps and counting on my family to carry me again with theirs! It was Labor Day weekend 2010 and me, Clint, Blake and Kyle would share our last steps together out at Rocky Springs on the Natchez Trace. Just 2 1/2 days later, Clint would pass away in his sleep and take his first sweet steps in Heaven! But where did that leave us? Well, we took sweet steps into the funeral home to tell him goodbye and then as a gathering of close friends and family, we would take sweet steps together to the Cemetary to lay him to rest next to his grandfather Homer, his grandmother Carrie and his great grandmother Verla.

My steps since that terrible week have carried me on an emotional journey. I have found joy in watching my family experience their own sweet steps! I have been watching as all 4 of my younger sisters are raising toddlers and having all the fun that goes with it. I have revelled in their joy as their families are beginning to experience that widening of life's path and the multiplying steps that make life's journey so rewarding!

I started thinking to myself about which of the many sweet steps of my life would I list as the sweetest steps of all! And the steps that came immediately to my mind would probably surprise most! The sweetest of all my steps so far are from two life events! The first event being my most tragic. The steps I took into the funeral home on the day of Clint's funeral, to place a letter I had written him and pictures of the boys in his shirt pocket; and having my final moments alone with him to say goodbye are definately at the top of the sweetest steps I've taken. The other life event came from one of the most joyful moments! It was my nephew Cooper's first steps in October 2011! At only 18 months old, Cooper had already been through more than most people go through in an entire life! He had endured multiple surgeries and lengthy stays in the hospital........he had just endured a liver transplant in August after becoming severely ill as his own diseased liver began to rapidly and violently shutdown. And then on that sweet sweet day in October, after Kristen and Josh had made the very sweet steps of bringing Cooper home from Texas Chrildren's Hospital, Kristen sent me a video of my hero Cooper "ROCKY" (that was Clint's nickname for him because he said Cooper was a fighter) taking his first steps! It was a moment of laughter and tears! It was the sweetest steps of my life! Yes, they were my steps too because Cooper is part of my family; part of my widened path of beautiful memories! He is at the top of my list of sweetest steps!

I hope each and everyone who reads this will realize the beauty that happens with each of the steps in their life. Whether the steps are from those joyous moments or from the tragic moments, they are all sweet steps! They are the sweet steps that make our lives! Enjoy them all!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Planting my feet firmly in the sand!!!!!

It was Labor Day weekend and me and the boys were in Gulf Shores visiting Clint's brother and his family. It was supposed to be a weekend spent at the beach.............but Tropical Storm Lee put a huge dent in those plans. But then, on Sunday we had a break and the sun came out for a few hours.........Alright everyone, suit up! Time to hit the beach while we have a chance! The waves were huge and loud and the wind from TS Lee was still very strong! After a while of just being on the beach, enjoying the pure majesty of the ocean, I decided to play in the waves! It was AWESOME!!! And then, this one wave grabs me and sends me hurling toward the shore.........Wheeeeeeeeeeeee! is what was going through my mind; and with a smile firmly planted on my face, I rode in that wave for a few great moments before I was suddenly struck by the realization that I was powerless and completely at the mercy of the storm angered ocean! So I planted myself in the sand as I made it to the shore and thought to myself WOW! That was intense!.....................

Now fast forward to today.......There I was at work when all of a sudden, as if it's taken me these few weeks since Gulf Shores to figure this out,.........I realize I have been riding through life as a passenger on a wave with no control and no direction.........Just riding through life as though I had no real power myself! But that's not true.......... I do have power......... And it's time for me to plant my feet in the sand, as I did at the end of that fantastic wave, and take full charge of my life!!! Admittedly, I'm a little scared because it's been somewhat without risk to just sit in the passenger seat and watch life passing by. So now I will decide where life goes and hopefully with some divine navigation from above I will be able to live my life to the fullest and show my precious boys how to do the same! Clint would be so very proud, and I just know he was there with me riding that wave and saying........this is it Donna, time to plant your feet strong in the sand and from now on you pick the waves that will carry you on through life instead of letting them pick you!!!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I used to think "Widows" were old........!

So much has happened in my life since my last post in 2009!!! The most drastic change is that I am now a WIDOW!!!! I used to think "Widows" were old!........I now know that joining this club has no age requirement! There are very few requirements for this club!!......but the membership dues are unimaginable! There is no way to save for them and they are due upon joining! Being a widow is by far the hardest thing I have ever dealt with!!!! Many people will argue that being a parent is.....but I bet those parents aren't widows!!! Let's make it clear that there is a big difference between being a single parent and being a widowed parent! I'm not exactly sure the best way to put it into words, but there are only a couple of similarities! There is no visitation for my children......there is only the heartbreaking loss of their father!

I am having some difficulties understanding my new role as a widowed parent.....I have two boys who will have to survive on my limited knowledge of what it is to be a teenage boy. I pray for wisdom and guidance constantly! I wish for good role models to come forward in their lives........but let's face it, everyone has busy lives and who wants to take on someone else's struggles? I know they will be fine.....but it is a struggle that I can only handle minute by minute, issue by issue, day by day.

I know now that I am a stronger person than I ever believed I was.........but I am also incredibly lonely; and I have other issues of fear to deal with! I have only spent one night in my house since the night Clint passed away........you see he passed away in our living room and it is still very hard for me to be there knowing he will never be there again. I just last week finally picked up his dirty clothes off of our bathroom floor and threw away his personal toiletries (well most of them). It was awful!!! I cried ALOT!!!!! Just remembering that feeling right now has tears rolling down my face! I keep saying to everyone in my family that I am ready to be back in there.....but I keep putting it off over and over again! I do want to be back in there.......I'm just terrified of the emptiness that I will feel without him there to kiss and hug me goodnight! People have commented to me that they think I am strong and courageous.......but they are wrong! I am a scared child who is afraid of the boogeyman called loneliness!

I used to think "Widows" were old.........now I know that being a widow makes me feel like a lost child!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Free Falling to nowhere!

This last month has been a wild, hold on to your hat roller coaster ride full of a few ups and plenty of downs. Right now my family and I are in the midst of a free fall and I can see the bottom rising fast! We have gone from job interviews to job offers to resended offers to the frenzy of pure chaos.

Today was especially dark. We received an eviction notice for being two months past due on our rent plus this month, we are in danger of losing our car and the disconnect notice came from the electric company. I feel like a dart board and the world is casting darts at me. I don't know how many more darts I can take.

I know there are millions of people out there in the world who are far less fortunate than me, but it does little to ease the pressure on me right now. This morning, while taking the boys to school, I heard the song "Revelation" by Third Day....and this time I REALLY heard it. Lord, that is what I need.....I need a revelation.....I need you to show me what to do, because as the song says, "I haven't got a clue"!

Just as we saw a light at the end of the tunnel, the wind came along and blew the fragile flame of hope out. God please light it for us again!

Watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAinQO4niW0 and then find the song "He Will Carry Me" by Mark Schultz! I hope that Mark is right and that God will carry us even though we haven't lived the life Michael W. Smith sings about in the video.

I don't really want to say anything else right now....my head is spinning too fast to gather my thoughts in a productive way. I will just ask for everyones prayers!...................until we meet again.....................love and blessings to all.........................................Donna