Sunday, September 10, 2017

Tragedy Brings Unity



Sharing my thoughts...

After Hurricane Harvey had already hit Houston and Irma was already out there brewing up with the then possibility of hitting us on the east coast, I was riding home one night after working thinking of all the devestation in Texas. Last year at this time I was getting back from a trip to the flooded area of Denham Springs area of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I saw what the aftermath post storm was about firsthand. It wasn't a hurricane that hit the area. Simply lots of rain. It's indescribable the feeling you have seeing everyone's lifetime on the sidewalk for trash pick up.

Our newsfeed and timelines have been flooded with videos, photos, and stories of people coming together and helping their neighbors out in their times of crisis. Risking their own lives to save the life of someone they have never met before and may never see again. They aren't getting paid for their time to help another person. They aren't doing it for the glory or the praise. They are doing everything they do to help in any way they are needed. People leaving the safety and security of their own homes, leaving their own families behind, to go do whatever is needed for them to do to lift the burdens of strangers.

Also in the news lately, we have seen a lot of division among our country. A lot of fighting. A lot of discord.

As a forty something year old woman, it breaks my heart to see so much negative happenings going on in America. My thoughts went back to the day America put all of its differences aside and we became a nation who pulled together to help others on that tragic day of September 11th. The news proved then we could come together as a UNITED States to help our fellow Americans not based on any circumstances.

I can take you back to the exact location on Highway 441 where I looked up at God and simply said "Why is it taking another tragedy that rocked our nation like September 11th did to bring us back to being a United States of America again?" Why does it take a tragedy of this magnitude to make us put down our differences and reach out our hands to help our fellow neighbor?

And no, I am not saying God did this for this purpose. I'm not bringing religion or politics into this as a debate. It's just sad it takes an event of this caliber for us to put our differences aside. To be there to help our fellow man!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Just Get The Bottle Of Water

Instinct to Me.... "Go ahead and get a bottle of water to take along for the ride."

Me to Instinct.... "I just put an ice cold can of A&W Root Beer in my truck I just opened. Do you really think I want water?! I don't want the water and really probably won't even drink it because I don't even like plain water."

Instinct to Me... "Just get the bottle of water."

Me to Instinct... "Well, it is not like it will go sour. Whatever...." Rolls eyes. Huff and puffs like a four year old. Opens refrigerator and gets the bottle of water.
___________________________________________

Yes, it is time to openly admit I can carry on full conversations with myself. I debate myself. We disagree on things a lot. I usually second guess what my gut instinct says to me. But yet, I have learned to give in and listen to that still small voice because usually "it" knows more than I do. Guess you could say listening and obeying comes easier with getting older... or maybe even wiser. If I would have listened more frequently over the years, looking back over my 41 years, I think many things in my life would have happened very differently. 

The morning of July 6, 2017, I had to take a road trip out of town to meet with a potential client about her upcoming event. We met to look at the venue and discuss the different types of balloon and other decor she wanted to have at her special event. (ps.... If you are just stumbling across my blog as a stranger who doesn't know a thing about me... First of all welcome and thanks for stopping by. I am a Certified Balloon Artist who owns a formal wear shop who also does event planning and decorating.)

I needed to get a "visual" of the floor plan down on paper so I could see if what she had in mind for me to create would work in the space of the building. Plus I wanted to meet her in person instead of phone calls and Facebook messages. I guess you can say I am still a little old fashioned in my business ways. All this new technology and social media makes it less personal. I would rather have a face-to-face meeting or a phone conversation.

I came in and worked at the shop til about 12:15. I printed out all 32 pages of the ideas she had and some I had prepared as well so we could compare notes. These were placed in a binder on the corner of my counter so I would "not" forget them. I am still working on my "forgetter" instinct by the way... Went to the back room and decided to grab an ice cold A&W Root Beer out of the fridge. I wrote a note to place on the front door of the shop explaining why I was temporarily out of the shop. Walked right by the important binder. Grabbed the note to place on the door. Put the note on the door. Locked the door. Got into my truck. Realized I had left the binder inside. Got out of truck. Went back inside. Grabbed binder. Realized since no one would be at the shop, I might as well bump the thermostat up so it would not be running all day long with no one here. So to the back of the shop I went, one more time.

I need to pause the story so I can brag on myself a minute because I am proud of me and my major accomplishment! If you know me, you know I am (was) a Coca-Cola addict. Every single time you saw me with something in my hand there's a 99.9% chance it was a 20 oz Coca-Cola bottle. The other .1% of the time was sweet tea. I do not really like bottle water. I can drink tap from my faucet at home from my deep well in the country. Unflavored, bottled water is just nasty. I guess it is an acquired taste because no two bottled brands of water tastes the same. I decided twelve days ago to cut off the Cokes. Plain and simple. Cold turkey. No looking back. I also kicked my morning cup of coffee habit out the window the same morning. I have been replacing the Cokes with Country Time Lemonade, sweet tea, Gatorade, and A&W Root Beer. Amazingly, I have done very well with this abrupt change. Back to the story...

As I rounded the corner to turn the lights off after cutting the air off, I heard that still small voice speak up like she does when it knows of something ahead that you really don't know is about to unfold. So our debate of getting a simple bottle of water began. 

Instinct to Me.... "Go ahead and get a bottle of water to take along for the ride."

Me to Instinct.... "I just put an ice cold can of A&W Root Beer in my truck I just opened. Do you really think I want water?! I don't want the water and really probably won't even drink it because I don't even like plain water."

Instinct to Me... "Just get the bottle of water."

Me to Instinct... "Well, it is not like it will go sour. Whatever...." Rolls eyes. Huff and puffs like a four year old. Opens refrigerator and gets the bottle of water.

As I grabbed the bottled water, I took one with a little ice in it. I mean I was even rolling my eyes as I shut the door because I knew I did not have any lemonade mix so I would not be drinking it. Then I walked back up front. Grabbed the forgotten binder. Locked the door. Got in truck, Threw the cold bottle of water in the passenger seat. Then proudly took a gulp of my cold A&W as the road trip began.

You know you can't have a relevant conversation without talking about the weather. I live kinda in the middle of southeastern Georgia. It is July. It is summer. We are experiencing good ole hawttttt weather. Like a post I actually posted today of a meme I had found on a friend's page "Y'all pray for The South. Ain't nothin' wrong with it, it's just about 5 degrees shy of Satan's kitchen." That is a sermon all in itself. Today at 12:45 it was around 93 degrees BUT when you factor in the humidity of the south, the AccuWeather "RealFeel" temperature said it was 103 degrees.... I want to move to Alaska for other reasons besides rattle snakes. 

I am finally riding in this hot weather, with a bottle of cold water I won't drink and my A&W. I get a few miles out of town when I see a truck broken down on the side of the road. The hood is raised. As I am passing by, I noticed an old man who had to be in his late 70's standing beside the road in this unbearable heat. I am not one who notices the color of a person's skin. What I noticed was an old man who may or may not have a cell phone to call for help stranded in the hot sun in the 103 degree weather. I didn't know if he had help on the way or not, but I pulled off on a dirt road to text one of my law enforcement friends to see if he was on duty. Today was his day off. I explained the situation and told him I was going back to make sure the man was okay health wise and to let him use my phone if he needed it. I would have waited with him so he could sit in the cold air til help got there if he wanted me to.  That's just me. I saw a person who needed help and I acted on it.

After I got done with the texting, I laid my phone down. Put my truck in reverse. Looked to my left to do a traffic check. All clear. Looked out the passenger window to do a traffic check. All clear. But as soon as I glanced down at the passenger seat and saw that cold bottle of water, I'll admit I did tear up a whole bunch as I kinda exhaled back into my seat.  I then took the time to look up to heaven out of my driver window and verbally said "So I guess now I know why you made me get that coldest bottle of Dasani water out of the fridge. You knew this man would be out here and he needed this because of his circumstances. Thank you!"

I proceeded to check traffic again. Proudly pulled out onto the highway and backtracked to the old man. As I was getting closer to the vehicle is when I noticed the wheelchair in the back of the truck. The tailgate was not on the truck or either it was let down. When I saw the person coming from the other side, I noticed he had on different clothes and was about 20 years younger. I was like I know I saw an old man earlier,  guess I need glasses! That happens when you hit 40 by the way...

So as I pulled up and let the window down, I noticed the old man was sitting in the passenger seat now. Maybe I don't need glasses after all! I greeted what appeared to be the son of the gentleman. He was in his 50's. I asked if he had a phone to call help or did he need to use mine. He had already called for help and they were on the way. I asked if Papa was okay. Yes he was good. I asked I'd they needed anything. No ma'am, we are good til they get here. Then I reached over into the passenger seat and grabbed that bottle of water and basically said "Here this is for y'all." I offered it to him as I explained that it was a new bottle of cold water in hadn't even cracked the seal on it yet. He said "yes, I'll take that. Thank you and God bless you." I told him he was very welcome and hoped everything was okay.

He didn't know God and I had argued about that bottle of water. I didn't know I would be meeting a need of quenching someone else's thirst on the side of the road who had been standing out in the heat while his truck was broken down. But God did. God knows what is before us and what will be along our path. He looks after the sparrow and He looks after His own in the same ways. Even if He has to send a complete stranger along the way to supply the need. Sure I couldn't help with truck repairs, but I was able to provide a bottle of water. I know I have been stranded before on the side of the road with a flat tire, in the heat, and would have given anything for a bottle of water. 

I have always been one who says "trust your gut" or listen to "that still small voice". I truly believe it is God speaking to us and giving us guidance in our lives. All we have to do is trust in Him and obey. We would be surprised more often than not if we heeded to that voice how much better our lives would be. It is all about faith and trusting He will lead us and guide us along the path we call life. He will supply all of our needs no matter how great or how small.

In hindsight, how long would it have been until they got something cold to drink had I not listened and obeyed and happened to have a bottle of water with me!
_______________________________________

Luke 12:24 
"Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest, they don't have storerooms or barns, but God feeds them. And you are worth much more than birds"

Psalm 107:9
"For He satisfies the thirsty"




Tuesday, September 13, 2016

An Exodus To Find A Hidden Treasure

Sometimes God has to take you 554 miles away from home to give you the answer to the prayers you have been praying for. Why?! I mean He could have easily done it at your home, your office, your commute to work, the gas station, the grocery store, and the many other stops along the way. Most of the time in our daily lives we are distracted by everything around us and we fail to miss the obvious signs. Adjusting the radio. Adjusting the air conditioner. Thinking about our to do list for the day. Answering the phone. Thing is, would you have stopped along the way and looked for it.

Since I was old enough to remember, I have known there is a calling on my life. Sometimes I think I have gotten really close to walking in it 100%. Other times, I have run just as far away from it as the east is from the west. Why? Yes, another “why”… I don’t feel qualified. I don’t feel like I measure up. I know I don’t know The Word as much as some folks. I don’t have a degree in Bible theology. Whereas most folks think us Southerners talk too slow, my speed is always wide open. What do you say you the microphone is in your hand? How do you know for sure what you are speaking is exactly what God wants you to say? What if you “miss” it? How do you know when you are ready? And the biggest question of them all, how in the world do you even begin to start a ministry? This has been open discussions between God and I a lot lately.

You know the more you run and fight it, the more miserable you wind up being. Guess it is time to take the mini blinds down and let you see a little more into my world and where I have been in the last few months.

It is not a secret. I have been pretty much single the past six years. Yes, I do date. I have gone out with some great gentlemen for supper and conversation. Since calling off my engagement November 19, 2010, I threw myself into work, volunteering, road trips, anything to occupy my mind so I would not allow myself to get back to the place of opening my heart to have it completely shattered into a quadrillionzillonmillion pieces. Yes, that is officially a word now! Basically, I have been alone every New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, birthday (that’s a holiday, right?!), Easter, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas. Every single one of these days is based on having family and a significant other around you to celebrate these days. I have an amazing family and group of friends… Don’t think I am throwing them under the bus. They are my greatest support system and they know how much I love and appreciate every single one of them.

July 4th, 2016… A day of celebration of Independence Day… Ironic isn’t it? Independence… Independent… Standing alone… Single… It is the highlight of every summer. Families are taking trips to the beach, mountains, river, or the lake. Lots of time spent together on the road trips. Friends were all gathering together for grilling and swimming in the back yard poolside. Thanks to social media, I was reminded I was single. Not going any specific place; but if I would have been, I would have been going alone since everyone else had plans. Usually it does not get to me and bother me as bad as it did this year. I had gotten myself into a funk.

As soon as I had gotten off work on Saturday, I headed home and went straight to bed. Sunday morning ritual, got up, got my coffee, brushed my teeth, showered, put on another set of pajamas, and back to bed I went. Mentally I had beaten myself up and was in a place I don’t allow myself to get to very often. It was a shady place. Even when I get to these places I would never do anything to cause self harm to me, you all have my word on that. You get to a place where you are tired of even trying. Sunday was a day of tossing and turning and tossing and turning some more. Then thankfully, it was night and I fell asleep. Then on Monday morning, it was the same as Sunday. The more I looked at Facebook, the more depressed I became. However, around 2:00 I mustered up enough of whatever I had left and decided I needed to get ready to do to the stadium for the fireworks. Got completely ready. Walked out onto the front porch, put key in the dead bolt, locked the dead bolt, sat there a few seconds, and then turned the key in the dead bolt back to the left. Less than a minute later, there I was back lying across the bed, and stayed there until it was time for work on Tuesday morning.

The person I had allowed myself to become is not the normal “Windi”. Most of you can vouch for me if you now me personally. I had slowly allowed myself to become this person I was not used to being. Honestly, I did not like who I had become. Sure I could put on the game face in every day life. Since the world has enough negative drama on social media, I dare didn’t share my mully grubbing to everyone. There is a lot more people in this world fighting greater battles just to stay alive.

At 40, I am no where near where I thought I would be in life. I bet if I could sit down and talk to my 18 year old self, even she would be shocked. Life has not played out like I thought it would. Have I mentioned single and 40?! I don’t have kids of my own; that is the two legged kids. I got my four legged fur babies. Okay, so God “why”. I mean I know I am very independent, but I would be nice to have a husband around to borrow his shoulders when life gets too heavy. I am far from Miss America, but I would like to think I am that “girl next door” kinda cute. Above all else, I know I have a heart of gold and that should count for something, right?!

Now let us fast forward to August 2016. From August 12 – August 22, 2016, in only ten days, there were 20 Louisiana parishes (counties as we call them in Georgia) that experienced an overabundance of rainfall from a storms that seems to just “sit there”. Some locations received as much as 20 inches of rain in that time frame. Rivers flowed out of their banks. The flooding has gone on record (I read somewhere) to have been the “worst US natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy in 2012.” The prolonged rain led to total disaster for some families and business owners who lost e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g……… Everything they had ever worked for. Pictures. Clothing.  Approximately 146,000 homes full of memories. Gone.

I, like most of the world, watched the news and social media to see this disaster unfolding along with the aftermath of the victims it left behind. I have always said we are one tragic event in our lives which changes everything as we knew it 5 minutes before. I lost my Daddy to cancer on 08/16/2008. In March of 2009, my Mom’s home caught on fire. She didn’t lose the house as the fire miraculously never made it out of the bathroom, but everything was smutted up. So I know and understand loss.

One of my friends had shared a post and it got me to thinking. One of those heart string pulling kind of posts. I am on the local Advisory Board for The Salvation Army. This post had shared what efforts volunteers with The Salvation Army were doing to help out from all over the country. I decided then, I was going to do something to help in some way out there. Since Labor Day weekend was only a couple of weeks away, I decided I was not going to be sitting myself at home alone repeating the schedule as I followed July 4th. I refused to sit all cooped up at home. I talked with family and friends, most importantly God, and decided I would collect donations from those who wanted to donate and deliver them to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Salvation Army distribution center there was also lost in the flood which meant all supplies they would have had for the victims was also lost. After phone calls and text messages were sent, I made my announcement to Facebook on Thursday, only nine days prior to me loading up and heading west. Donations were hygiene products, shampoo, deodorant, baby diapers and wipes, food, cleaning supplies, dog and cat food, water, food, and other items. By the time we loaded the last item on Saturday, September 3, the 6’ x 12’ U-Haul trailer was about 80% loaded!!! I think my friends and family are pretty amazing!!!

I had a few friends and family wanting to go with me on the trip. I knew in my heart I needed this alone time with God. I needed to be by myself to sort out whatever it was going on in my life. I had gotten to the place where I was overwhelmed. This was the perfect opportunity to go help someone else in need as well as helping myself. I love a good road trip. Anywhere, USA, always sounds like a good destination spot. I needed to do this trip for me to get me away from the hustle and the bustle. No computer. Limited cell phone. Some K-Love blaring out the speakers. Time for me to allow God to work on me without any distractions.  

I left Coffee County with a heavy load (physically and mentally) around 7:00 p.m. on Saturday. I made it to the Cortana Mall, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, around 9:00 a.m. Sunday morning. The crew there unloaded the trailer and then I was off to find a hotel since I had spent that much time in the vehicle and had been up for 36+ hours. The Salvation Army was set up in an empty Macy’s building in the Cortana Mall. The whole mall was vacant so I am pretty sure it was also a flood location that had been cleaned before they set up.

After everything was unloaded, it was time to drop the U-Haul and find a place to get some sleep. As I was leaving the mall area, you could see families that had set up tents to sleep there. Some were sleeping in their vehicles. Some even found shelter under the bus stop booth. As I was pulling out, I noticed a pile of what I thought was “trash”. As I got closer, I could tell it was a book of some sort. So I slowed down and realized it was a Bible that was open. Part of me was ready to jump out and get it right then, the other part of me thought it may have belonged to some of the residents there. I wound up not stopping to pick it up. The rest of the night it crossed my mind a couple of times and I decided I was going to go back and pick it up if it was still there the next day. I mean what if where it was opened to was something I needed to read?

I had forgotten to unload a box of baby formula and milk on the first trip to the donation site. Monday morning I headed back up to deliver and with a made up mind if the Bible was still there, I was going to be getting it. I pulled up to the side door and handed the security guard the box. Explained where it was from. Then out to the parking lot I went in search of my treasure. Sure enough it was there. I could tell it was pretty waterlogged from either the flood or the thunderstorm which passed thru the night before. Nevertheless, I proudly picked it up and placed it in the back seat of my truck on a plastic bag. I did not stop to read where it was open to or anything at the time as it was too wet and smelled of mildew. The grass under where had been, was a bright neon green color. It had been there a while.

It wasn’t until Wednesday night after I returned home that I settled down to read the Scriptures of where the Bible was opened. That is when I had an ah-ha moment. Matthew 7:7-8 is subtitled “Effective Prayer”, it is written in red, as Jesus said Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. This takes me back to the place I was when I was asking all of those questions in paragraph two of this blog. I have been asking. I have been seeking. I have been knocking on heaven’s door a lot lately. The answer to my prayers was like a hidden treasure lying out on that grass.

The Bible was opened to Exodus 4. I always think about Exodus as Moses always travelling around. Already, I knew God was on point since I love to ramble as much as I can!!! Merriam-Webster's definition of "exodus" is "The Biblical book of Exodus describes the departure of the Israelites from Egypt, so it's no surprise that the word has come to refer more generally to any mass departure. The word itself was adopted into English (via Latin) from Greek Exodus, which literally means "the road out." The Greek word was formed by combining the  prefix ex- and hodos, meaning "road" or "way." 





As I was reading, when I got to verses 10 – 12, I had the realization of why I had made the trip all the way out there. It wasn’t just for the donations delivered to the victims who were in desperate need of them. I needed to get out there to find the Bible I found. Exodus 4:10-12 reads 

10 Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”

11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind?Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”



I guess it doesn’t get any plainer than that. As I read it, I got the heart racing, chill bumps, and eyes filled with tears emotions going on. I knew then and there God had placed the Bible there for little, big ole me!

Do I know what the next step is or where to go from here? I don’t have a clue. I just know to trust in The One who will open the door when the time is right.

If you look around to torn out page, wrapping the rest of the Bible, as you will see in the picture, it is Proverbs 3:5-6 ….
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,  and he will make your paths straight.”




Just to ease all the speculation as to my Facebook post as I made a bland post and some took it as a “man” I had found out there. To a degree I did find “The Man” and His Word. So for now, you all are still stuck with me in Coffee County.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Isaiah 61:3 - After the Storm

Was in a writing mode this morning and was up way toooo early. 

I am using this particular Scripture as a basis in a project I have been working on for quite a while now. I have made up my mind it is time to buckle down and get it completed. Guess you can say this is an excerpt from the project. 

Isaiah 61:3 
"and provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,the oil of joy instead of mourning,and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor."

God gives us back our beauty (inside and out), our joy, and our praise after we have had to deal with times of ashes, mourning, and despair. We have to go thru hurt and things in life we sometimes just don't understand. Times we think life is being totally unfair to us. Sometimes these situations make us take our eyes off of where we know we are supposed to be going and the work we are supposed to be doing... 

Life is not going to always be easy, but there is the promise in this Scripture knowing God will restore us back with the good things He has for us. Everything we lost, the times we felt like we didn't measure up, when we seemed to be grasping for straws... God has a turn around time for your life... Just keep trusting Him and know He is leading you upon the path He has laid out for your life. Even though the storms are raging around you or you may even be in the eye of the storm, the storm always has an ending. The loud thunder boomers stop rolling. The lightning stops striking. The gusty winds stop blowing. The rain stops falling. The clouds part. The Son still shines after the rain. 

Kinda reminds me of the saying "Good things come to those who wait." I am seeing this is a few areas of my life. Don't give up too soon, you could miss the blessing waiting for you just ahead. Over the past few weeks, I have had a little inspiration. This picture I took on 07/24/2016 is just a little reminder of the bigger picture of the way God works areas out in our lives so that He gets the glory. 


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Spilled Waffle Fries

A week ago exactly today ( on 01/27/16 ) I was driving into work listening to my daily dose of Easton Corbin as I was awaiting confirmation of my meet and greet acceptance. For those of you familiar with our little ole town of  Broxton, Georgia, I was on Highway 268 in front of the Unites States Post Office. Didn't have anything on my mind at all. Not worried about the day. Just nothing, which is weird for me I know!!! 

Then I heard that still soft voice say "Oh, that You would bless me indeed and expand my territory," also known as The Prayer of Jabez. 

1 Chronicles 4:9-10New King James Version (NKJV) (www.biblegateway.com reference)
Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” 10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested.

As I was turning under the red light on to 441, I began to thank God for everything He has blessed me with. My health. My family. My friends. My "Windi's Bridal Boutique". My "Carried Away Creations." My gifts. My talents. My passions. My purpose. My relationship with Him. The doors He has opened. The doors He has also shut. My almost 40 years of this life and everything about it. The person I am.

Then I got to thinking about the territory part of it all. Everyone knows I love a good road trip and love to burn up the roads when I get a chance. I thought about all the cities from where my customers are from who come buy dresses or rent tux. Then I thought about all the places I have been with my balloon decor and all the places in between: 
* Hampton, Georgia
* Charlotte, N.C.
* Jacksonville, FL
* Fitzgerald, Georgia
* Alma, Georgia
* Valdosta, Georgia
* Blackshear, Georgia
* Tifton, Georgia
* Cordele, Georgia 

Then you think about all the people I have worked with. Speedway Children's Charities, Atlanta Motor Speedway, NASCAR Driver Kasey Kahne, Racing 2 Cure, Xfinity Driver Joey Gase, WQIK 99.1 with Dustin Lynch, Jimmy Wayne, Tri-County CASA, CCAGCC, etc. 

When you sit down and look at it on a map, that is territory I thought I would never get a chance to expand to. Locations I would never dream of working at and organizations I never knew I could have dreamed of working with. God opened up some amazing doors for me in the past five years!!! I began to just pray and thank Him for all the things He has done in my life. I am blessed in so many ways. Like Mr. JD Lankford once commented on my post "you are blessed to be a blessing." I want to be able to bless others. To help others who have given up. To show them all they have to do is try. One small step at the time.

Then as I continue in on my way to work I am wearing out the CD scan button as I hit 9, 6 , 10, 9, 6, 10, and repeat. I listen to those songs in that order every morning.

I checked my email periodically throughout the day as I always do. When finally I got the news I was going to be meeting and greeting with Easton Corbin on Saturday night in Jacksonville!!! Woohooo!!!! This should be a breeze. I mean, I have met all kinds of folks and have finally gotten over the whole teenage girl giddy stage.... soooooo I thought... Yeah, I will keep you waiting on those details for a few.

Then Friday (01/29/16) I got the call from Mr. Scott Fillmore of Speedway Children's Charities at Atlanta Motor Speedway. I serve on the Associate Board and I volunteer up there as much as I can being I live three hours away. I have been volunteering since 2012 by going up and decorating for events with my balloon decor. Passing the red buckets during races. The call was to tell me I had been nominated as the 2015 BUSTER DICKERSON SERVICE AWARD as the Volunteer of the Year!!! I will be sharing more about that this week as I want it to have it's own little story too!!! But if you are watching the 02/28/16 race, watch the stage around 12:15 - 12:30 as I will be on the NASCAR stage receiving my award in front of NASCAR NATION... It may or may not be on TV, but DVR it just in case ;) See nation is all about a territory too, just saying... 

Needless to say, Friday night was a night filled with so much excitement with the news and the anticipation of the concert I watched the popcorn ceiling until 3:00ish a.m. and was back up at 7:00 a.m. Started to get ready for the concert that afternoon at the shop and I started getting those nerves and butterflies in my stomach... You know the whole red faced flushed look. My red hair and fair skin always tells on me when I get overly excited!!! Then at 3:00 p.m. I was Jacksonville, Florida, bound.

Having skipped lunch, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to eat. Yes guys, even when us girls are alone, we are just as indecisive!!! I just knew I needed to eat something before I got to the concert so I wouldn't be drained. I could go to McDonald's, get chicken nuggets. I could go to Sonic for a cherry limeade. I could wait until I got to Folkston... Ahhh, wait, there is Chick-Fil-A!!! As I am pulling around the front of the restaurant, I see there is this young homeless guy with his dog underneath the umbrella covered tables out front. He had his backpack. His pup with a leash. A gallon of water. A milkshake. And a few other belongings. As I was driving around to the drive thru I had decided he would have a warm meal too! 

I thought the same things as I have always thought with my previous encounters with the other two homeless men. Does his family even know he is alive? Where is he from? How long has he been in this type of lifestyle? Why does he not think he deserves a roof over his head? (I will place the link to the other two blog posts at the bottom of this story so you can read those later.) 

I could have talked myself out of buying him a meal for the two minutes it took me to get to the drive thru screen. I even thought to myself "I spent $7 on fake fingernails just to look all dressed up for the concert. I can surely spend more than that on a man's food." So I got to the window and placed the two orders even upsized his. When I got to the window, I told the clerk I needed a second bag. He looked at me kinda strangely. So I told him I was buying the meal for the guy out front as I choked back the tears and was glad I had on sunglasses to hide my eyes welling up. He smiled and said "that is so nice of you." 

They wound up putting both orders in the same bag. So I asked for the bag. He was like you just told me and I already forgot as he apologized. I thanked him and pulled up a little so I could separate the food myself. Got it transferred complete with napkins and a straw. Moved just right in my seat and dumped his whole bag in my floorboard. Yup, the waffle fries were spilled everywhere. I took his sandwich out and cleaned them up by placing them back in the bag. Then I thought, what am I going to do now? Since I dumped his out, I could just give him the sandwich and the drink. But that was never an option. I simply pulled my nuggets out of the bag and put the rest of his meal in with my fries.

Then I pulled up to where he was at. When I stopped with the windows down, his dog started wagging his tail so I knew I was safe to approach. The guy looked to be in his twenties. Had his earphones in so he didn't really hear me when I spoke to him at first. So as my heart grew heavier and the tears were starting to get really big, I grabbed for the door handle and opened my door with his next meal. I walked up to him and he smiled. I told him I had gotten his supper for him and I told him God bless you, that was all I could say because I was about to cry a river right there. He had a tattoo on his neck. His eyes were the purest crystal blue. You could tell it had been a while since he had taken a bath or even gotten a hair cut. He thanked me politely with a soft spoken voice and told me I didn't have to this. Oh sir, but you don't know, yes I had to. I told him good bye as he was getting the food out of the bag and he told me "God bless you." I wanted to say "He did when I saw you sitting here." Got back in my truck. Got far enough away to snap a picture of my blessing that afternoon!!! I pretty much cried all the way to Jacksonville. I needed him to cross my path. He was my Matthew 25 blessing Saturday.... And one of my favorite scriptures....

31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy[c] angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’



I may not have thousands in the bank. I may not have a mansion on 100,000 acres. But I am blessed in so many other ways that are things money can't buy. I have a God that loves me and always takes care of me. I am simply thankful for where I am in my life at the moment.

So, I guess I need to say a special "thank you" to Easton Corbin and his management for my meet and greet approval. Had I not gotten the chance at the road trip, I would have never happened across this guy. He might not have gotten any supper that night. I would not have been able to pay it forward. Thank you Easton!!!!

Oh, and as far as the concert.... The Swon Brothers, Easton Corbin, and Carrie Underwood were AMAZING!!!!! As far as the meet and greet went, my mind was in a hundred places. I was as nervous as a 13 year old girl. All giddy and nervous. I kinda stumbled my way thru... So, I can officially say I think I ruined that meet and greet opportunity. I bombed it completely!!! I was so embarrassed afterwards. Mainly because I have some other big, crazy idea in the works, and I hope to get a second chance to not fall flat on my face again!!! ;) Stayyyy tuned!!!

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You never know when God want to put someone in your path so you can bless them... Even if you're on a road trip heading to Jacksonville, Florida to go see @eastoncorbin @carrieunderwood @swonbrothers in ‪#‎concert‬. If you look closely in my side view mirror you'll see the ‪#‎homeless‬ man and his dog. I didn't want to get a picture close up for fear of embarrassing him. When I gave him his food and told him God bless him he looked up and smiled. His eyes were the brightest blue. He thanked me very politely with a soft voice. So if any of my pictures tonight look as if I've been crying, that's my current situation at the moment. We are all blessed to be a blessing. And this guy was my blessing today! The right place at the right time !‪#‎eastoncorbin‬ ‪#‎carrieunderwood‬ ‪#‎country‬ ‪#‎countrymusic‬ had it not been for the Easton Corbin meet and greet I would not have gotten this opportunity! (original Instagram post)




1st Encounter in 2011

2nd Encounter in 2013



Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Why Do I.... Well Just Maybe.....


Why do I share my story?
 
Why do I want to be a possible light in someone else’s dark place?
 
Why do I want to be looking at this side of a computer screen hoping the person on the other side reading what I have typed gets that little bit of encouragement they need to help them through a situation?

As I shrug my shoulders…. I have a lot of “maybe” answers….
 
Maybe it is because I have been at that same place of being numb, my brain so clouded, I could not think straight. Not from drugs or alcohol. From the person who broke my spirit and led me to believe I was useless and worthless.

Maybe it is because I have realized my value and I finally got myself pulled back together. I worked on my broken pieces daily to become the person I lost and yet found her again.

Maybe it is because I needed to be inspired in those lowest points of my life. No matter where I turned, how many inspirations quotes I Googled, how many Facebook pages I scrolled through, how many Instagram memes I liked, I could never find the inspiration I needed. No one was able to help me out of my dark corners.

Maybe it is because I need to share my inspiration to someone who might see what I have to share to show them life does get better. I may be the only positive they see.

Maybe it is because I have walked in those shoes personally and I can relate to the pain, the tears, the hurt; the feeling of abandonment, uselessness, worthlessness.

Maybe it is because I needed to be the person God used to show someone else there is hope beyond your current circumstances. Things do get better. It may not be overnight, or instantly, like we want them due to our lack of patience. Even when the load is heavy and you are barely making it, God is there with you carry the weight. When you are at your lowest and feel alone, He is right there waiting with His arms open wide.

Maybe it is because I got my fight back this morning… My purpose back… My fire back… when I opened my eyes. I know it is time to make a difference even if it is in the life of one person. I need to be their reason to pick up the pieces and move forward!!!

Monday, October 26, 2015

There's More To Life

Going thru the Facebook memories today, this was a post I has written in 2012. Three years later, I have seen where I have taken my own advice and took those chances even though I was scared out of my mind. It is humbling to see what you can do when you have God in your corner and just enough gumption to try one time.

"There IS more to life than being so crippled by your fears and other things that seemingly hold you back. Fear of failure. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of rejection. Hearing you can't accomplish this or that. There is a great big world out there with lots of amazing things waiting on you to find them. It takes getting out of your comfort zone and taking a chance. The odds may seem to be against you may seem big, but remember you have GOD inside of you that make you bigger!!! God is your biggest cheerleader and He wants nothing but good for you... You are His and He wants nothing less than HIS best for you!!!  Just remember when it seems like the whole world may be against you, you have The One who holds this whole world in His hands!!"

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Bumble Bee or Guardian Angel

Bumble bee or Guardian angel... They both have wings so they are pretty much the same thing. 

The picture that probably stalled me long enough to save my life  from a head on collision on the way to work this morning....

I had carried my niece to school & went back home to do a few things around the house. On my way to work I stopped to take a few pictures of the pretty purple flowers in the ditch. Then I noticed a caterpillar and got more pics. Got in my truck, glanced back, & saw the bumble bee. I jumped out again and watched the bee that God had sent to keep me there a little longer.

I have a weakness and an appreciation for all of God's creations. I love nature. I love the outdoors. I love capturing nature in it's natural element. I will stop and take pictures on the side of the road at any given time. That's the benefits of living on Georgia dirt roads way out in the country.

After leaving the bumble bee and continuing with my route to work, I made it and turned right in the paved road. As my neighbors know, there is a series of sharp S curves before you reach where the old white house burned down. These are blind curves as well. I was still on the straight away before entering curve when I noticed this vehicle coming at me as it was coming out of last curve which is also a slight hill. I knew it looked a little too close to my side of the road so I slowed down. As she got out of the curve and on top of the incline she was completely in my lane. The only thing I could do was run completely off the road to save myself from being hit head on. The bumble bee kept me from being in those blind spots and most likely being hit head on or ran off the road at a higher rate of speed.

God goes before us. He knows what lies ahead of us. He is our protector and our guide. He guides our footsteps. And I will again say God has proven His word again by saying my travelling scripture Psalm 139:9-10. "If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast."

#God #psalm #protector #guide #nature

Friday, August 21, 2015

My Most Prized Possession



August 19, 2008... Today makes seven short years that the greatest man I ever knew, my precious Daddy left this temporary home called earth and gained his angel wings so he could watch over me and the rest of my family from those streets of gold. 

My hero... My first love... My Superman... 

One of the most valuable possessions in my life because to me the story behind it shows how priceless it is... if it's only to me. It appeared at a time when I needed it most. And if you are family and know how it got where it did when I found it, please don't change my story. I want to believe it was put there for a reason.

On Tuesday, August 19, 2008, I lost my Daddy to pneumonia and complications with cancer. It was not the cancer that took him. He had already beaten Stage 4 liver, lung, and bronchial cancer the year before. Was on the way to beating the brakes off brain cancer when the pneumonia set in and fluid was behind the cancer scar tissue where it couldn't be seen. That week was one of ups and downs. My mother's name is Faye. There was a tropical storm brewing and spinning off the Georgia coast that was named "Tropical Storm Fay". Of all the names they had to name it Faye, which to us was kind of comical.

On Wednesday, we went to Sim's Funeral Home to make the arrangements. Most of those, Daddy had already taken care of due to his first diagnosis the year before. Since Mom lived in Douglas and my brother out of town, I was the one who took the stake to mark the plot in the cemetery for the upcoming burial. I just needed to have it out there before Saturday morning. I had gone by the cemetery every day that week at some point during the day and just sat there dreading the events about to take place in a few short days. I sat bedside my Granny Doris & Papa Ott's tombstones everyday and talked to them. Talked to Daddy even though he wasn't out there yet. I sat on the very edge of Granny's headstone every time I went out there.

On early Friday morning, through the tears and the thunderstorms, I headed out there to put the stake in its proper place to get everything in order for the next morning. As I was walking up to the grave site, I noticed something different about my usual spot. The was something there waiting for me. As I got closer and realized what it was, as I picked it up, I completely lost it. I began crying uncontrollably as I had done many times that week. As I picked up the silver necklace with the silver heart charm on it, I knew it had been placed there just for me. The charm is a heart inside of a heart. To me that represents that no matter the time or the distance, Daddy will always be there with me inside my heart. It was comforting to know I had that assurance he knew what I was going thru and watching me from the heavens.

I bump into people around town who always tell me good stories about my Daddy. To hear how much everyone thought of him and respected him makes my heart swell with pride every single time. One thing's for very sure, he left an amazing legacy behind. Proud I got to call him my Daddy!

I have several other blog posts in storage I've been sitting on for several years. Like this one, it is hard to type through the tears. Thinking I may need to get the out and attempt to post them very soon.


I miss his smile, his laugh, his blue eyes, his boots walking across the wooden front porch when he was getting home from a long run, his Old Spice cologne, his green Speed Stick by Mennen deodorant smell fill the house as he was getting ready to leave out on another run, his green Irish Spring soap, his 2 liter Diet Pepsi in the fridge, just every thing about him.

He had a way of making every one around him feel like someone important. He never let you feel like less of a person no matter what your social or financial status. He saw everyone as an equal.

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I will be doing a separate blog soon on this song by Cole Swindell. I have a blog I wrote after my first visit back to the cemetery to visit Daddy's grave too. It is only two miles from my house. Until then, you need to watch the new video by Cole. This is an amazing testament of  raw emotion when you go back the first, the second, and even the trillionth time.... Amazing video!!!









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The other day a friend of mine who works at a radio station posted this song by Craig Campbell on his page. I was the one who needed to hear that song at that moment. It is called "Outskirts of Heaven." It reminds me so much of Daddy and exactly what I expect he's been doing up there for seven years. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.









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Three of my favorite things in one picture. 
My Daddy, an amazing south Georgia sunset, and a church steeple.
Perfectly timed photo.