Around the Dinner Table

We try and have dinner together, all of us, every night. Mostly we talk about our days and banter with toddlers.

I have missed a few nights due to being out of town and spending time at the hospital.

Tonight, my brother is in town and we gathered around the table. Conversation consisted mostly of hospital talk.

Mom is in the hospital

Our cousin Debbie is in the hospital

It was light hearted talk until I spoke of walking in and out of the ICU

It is necessary to check in with the attendant before walking into the ICU. You must give the patients name, the room number and your relationship to the patient

Beulah Locke

Room 117

Daughter

As I enter the ICU each day numerous times, I walk the halls all the way back to room 117

It’s impossible not to see the people who are in the rooms. The very sick people. The people with tubes and wires keeping them alive. The people who are unconscious and torn up from accidents. The people who are behind a glass partition due to isolation. It’s impossible not see the woman who sits outside the glass partition because she can’t be with the one she loves but needs to be close.

It’s impossible not to see the man on a big round machine that our recent nurse described as the last thing that they can do for someone.

It’s impossible not to hear the man next door to moms room who has had a brain injury.

I walk into my mothers room where she is most definitely sick. She is in pain and just wants to come home but knows she can’t yet. She is feeling well enough to crack a few jokes and called me a smart ass today for being sassy.

She will get better.

The others?

I don’t know. I don’t know if they will get better and my heart breaks just a little every day when I walk in the halls and a little more in the evening when I walk back out.

Each and every person has a story

Most, I assume have families that love them and just want them to get better.

My heart is heavy for those people.

Tonight, at the dinner table I cried a little for the people whose room I walk by every day as I told the story of how Mom is doing.

Jack listened.

He said “BB, are they boys or girls, the sick people?”

“I don’t know buddy “ I replied

“We should pray for them like we prayed for Nana.”

“Yes Jack, that’s exactly what we should do”

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The After Vacation

I started this fantastic post about the wonderful weekend Steve and I had.

We flew to Asheville NC for a pre-anniversary weekend. I rented the cutest this cabin in the mountains with a spectacular view

The car rental people must have thought we were lacking in class and gave us a super fancy pants car to drive around in

We ate at a hippie breakfast joint, enjoyed a fabulous day at the Biltmore Estate (did I take pictures……..yeah I did)

We slept in

We ate

We enjoyed ourselves immensely

And then we got a call Sunday morning

Mom is really sick. Should we call the ambulance? Of course call the ambulance. I’ll be home as soon as I can

How does one feel when they are a 10 hour car ride away from their loved ones?

Our flight wasn’t for 24 hours. Immediately a call is made to the airlines. Please can we get on a plane today?

Do you have people that will stand in your place when you are physically unable to be there?

I’m not very good at asking and this time, I didn’t have to ask. It was done for me and while I worried from the airplane, especially when they said they were going to de-Ice the plane, I knew Mom was in good hands.

Medically she was cared for

Emotionally she was cared for

Until I could get on an airplane

Travel from the airport and be at moms side

She is a sick lady and it’s hard to watch her suffer

They kicked me out at 8pm and I went home

It had been a really long day. I had some dinner, took a shower and went to bed

At 10:30, the hospital called and said Mom was going in for surgery. I immediately got dressed and headed to the hospital.

I’m scared

I’m so tired

I walk to the ICU surgical waiting room to wait

There are 3 other people waiting in the room with me. Everyone is on their phones passing the time. It’s 11:45 pm

The Dr comes in to speak to the family

There was a gunshot wound and the bullet hit a young mans spine. While he will live, he will never walk again

I’m the only other person in the room besides who the Dr. is speaking to.

Pray Charma

It’s not about you at this moment and your fears. It’s not about you but it about this family who has received devastating news.

While this family’s life will never be the same, I take their picture so I can remember them. Remember them when a worship song comes on that brings back tonight in my mind.

Through it all

Through it all

My eyes are on you

And it is well.

With me

It is now 12:27am on Monday morning

Now I sit and wait

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The Healer

Has anyone spoken to you and they say something that stops you immediately?

I’m texting with a sweet friend the other day. We are chatting about my very sick family member. I shared the details and then she asked me “does she know her healer?”

I immediately responded yes, knowing that she meant Jesus.

I have pondered that question for a while and this month, this week, today……the day a new President takes office, are you speaking to the healer?

Jesus is not only the healer of bodies.

He is the healer of a nation

He is the healer of relationships

He is the healer of hearts

He is the healer of time

Today…..reach out to someone

Speak of your love and admiration to them. Share that they are thought of.

Stay away from the news

Read a book

Play with a child

Sit with the sunshine on your face

Thank our “healer” for His love and for the story that will unfold.

Our stories are written already. We are to obedient and wait for the page to turn.

Today, we are having a generator installed at our home The electricity has been off for a few hours and I sit in the sweet solitude and thank my healer for you

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1095 days

You left 1095 days ago and every year in December since 2017 I get nostalgic.

Around the first of the month, I get a little sad.

I miss you

We all do

While the days and months are easier, December is still hard.

2020 has been weird. You would be so weary of this quarantine nonsense. You would roll your eyes and make all kinds of noises allowing everyone to know your disgust with the whole dang thing.

Today, as I put away Christmas decorations, I began to think of some of my friends who have had to say goodbye to someone close to them this year.

At the same time, I thought that you might be spending time with them! They were your friends too and I smiled a little just thinking about it.

When Robby busted through those gates, wirey little thing that he was, I could just seeing him whopping and hollering like he used to for his favorite sports team. I bet you hollered right beside him as you welcomed him in.

I bet you hugged Pat Ball just like you used to when you stepped into the church each and every Sunday. I hope she talked about me just a little. I miss that old girl a bunch.

Sy had the biggest smile when he got there didn’t he? He probably had on his cute hat and he patted you great big on your back when you met up. Give him a great big hug from me. Ok?

Just last week, Suzy showed up in Heaven. Christi is so sad and misses her something fierce but I bet she might be comforted knowing that she’s with you, Aunt Evelyn and Uncle Dick. (I wish I had a photo ❤️)

I bet you are in the welcoming committee. You, Billy, Buford, Al and all your other old croanies. Sitting next to your old cars, playing some honky tonk and shooting the breeze. Are you still kicking butt at dominoes? Kate thinks she wins down here 🙄

Be super sweet to my friends who are new there. Their families are sad and the holidays are extra hard. You were always good at making people smile.

Moms doing fine. The family is growing again and another little boy will learn about Papa PeeWee soon.

We are all taking good care of one another. Don’t you worry.

I’ll meet you at the gate.

Love,

Your baby girl

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Looking Outward

Tuesday morning I got a text from my friend Shannon. It said:

I have to tell you my story later. I was being ungrateful today

A little while later, she called me. I am in bed with the crud and feeling pretty inward.

The fever

The cough

The aches and pains

Ugh ……. poor me

Her story starts as she was getting out of her warm bed this morning, extra early because of a sunrise breakfast being put on to honor the employees at Interfaith Emergency Services.

She was grumbling about leaving so dang early

She was mad that it is cold and it’s freaking sunrise

She was frustrated and just a little inward

Shannon was meeting up with another employee at the thrift store so they could drive together. Upon entering the parking lot, she noticed a man sleeping on the porch.

She says to me “I’m sure he’s thinking I’m going to throw him off the porch, because that’s what happens to the homeless when they camp out in front of a business.”

Instead, I walked into the store, I grabbed the warmest coat I could find, some dry socks and some extra things I thought that might keep him warm during this cold snap in Florida.

She continues to talk as we both tear up. “I’m so grateful for a place to work that gives me the opportunity to give people basic needs.”

Shannon’s morning started off inward and a little sad but as she reached outward, saw the needs of others, stepped in with her abilities, her day was profoundly improved.

I am so thankful for friends who want to share their lives with me

It’s not all about the great things

It’s not all about the bad times

It’s about life and how we can be better

Together

How are you looking outward today, this week and as we enter into 2021?

*I was given permission to use names and photos

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There are Kind People

I have the crud

Currently if you get the sniffles, a sore throat, a stomach ache or anything in between it’s COVID

Normally, a little fever and a cough would mean crawl into bed with some soup and ibuprofen for a couple of day’s and all is well.

COVID has made us scared and I don’t like it at all

Our home is full of vulnerable people. Mom is of an age that would be detrimental if she contracted COVID. Courtney is pregnant and I don’t know any research on women and unborn babies. We have two small children. While I know they are not in a dangerous bracket, I will not take chances. Men need to work, book clubs are cancelled, coffee hour is postponed and so on and so on.

This morning, Steve drove me to a clinic that provides rapid testing. I would have just drove through CVS but it’s CHRISTMAS WEEK PEOPLE. I needed to know if I had COVID and would be quarantined though the next two weeks. I am mad just thinking about it.

I spent 1 1/2 hours outside standing in line, in the cold, with a fever. I spent 4 hours huddled in a waiting room, wrapped up in Steves oversized coat, wearing two masks and dodging stares every time I coughed.

All this to say

I do not have COVID

I do not have influenza (have you had that q-tip shoved all the way to your brain?)

I have the crud

When I was standing in line outside, I’m sure I looked pathetic and a little ridiculous trying to stay warm. When the line proceeded closer to the door, a woman, who I watched as she read her Bible while standing in line, turns around to me and said “it’s obvious you are very sick, would you please take my place in line?” I immediately teared up and tried to diminish my sickness. She would not take my no and wished me a Merry Christmas and immediately fell in behind me in line. She handed me literature and I promised to read it

As I neared the door, another woman said the same thing and let me be the next to go through the door into the warmth. I might have cried for a good 5 minutes.

While today sucked

There are no other words that would describe it. I am not harboring a sickness that could harm my people. I will be ok in a couple days. I will not miss Christmas Eve service at church. I’ll be able to enjoy Christmas morning.

While things are rough. So many people are suffering and this Christmas might not look like the others…….there are some kind people and I hope I can follow in those two ladies footsteps as soon as the crud is gone

For now, all I have is this beauty of a photo AFTER I found out I was COVID free.

Merry Christmas week

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What to Write…..

I spoke to a friend on the phone recently. Not text but an actual voice conversation. I’m guilty of texting A LOT.

It’s easier

I can say what needs to be said and move on

So guilty of checking off the box

This friend, I’ll call her Esther, said “write a blog post.” You always say what others are thinking and don’t know how to say it. I responded “I don’t have anything to say.” Quiet or unresponsive has never been something that I would be known for. Loud, opinionated, obnoxious. Those are more my style.

After we chatted for a while, we hung up and I went on with my day. I think I was painting shutters. Really cute, handmade shutters that Steve wanted to hang up that night so I really needed to get them done. Now our guests will not blinded by the sunlight.

I wanted them to match the sweet shutters in the same room built by my sweet daddy and myself before he changed his address to heaven almost 3 years ago.

As I painted, my conversation with Esther rattled around in my brain. I stewed about for a while and then turned on a podcast to listen to.

I just couldn’t concentrate. So I put down my paintbrush and said a prayer.

“What do you want me to do God? I’m feeling a little wonky these days and I don’t like it. Not even a little bit. I don’t want to feel inward. Help me to know what to do.”

Do you know what he said?

Call Dee.

My sweet friend and second Momma Ms. Dee. Her daughter died a couple of weeks ago unexpectedly and I hadn’t spoken to her. I was scared I wouldn’t know what to say. It hurts like crazy when you lose someone you love. It’s lonely and scary. It’s heartbreaking and sometimes people don’t want to talk. They would rather be left alone. I didn’t want to be a bother.

I called her. Not a text. Not a message through Mom.

When she answered all she said was “I’m so glad to hear your sweet voice. I miss you.” I apologized for not calling sooner and I told her I was afraid I wouldn’t know what to say. she said “you know exactly what to say. You loved your Daddy like I loved my girl.”

We cried together

We laughed together

I’m still not sure everything we talked about but she knows I love her and she loves me back.

I feel like I’m rambling on and I still don’t feel like I have a lot to say but if you get that nudge to do something, call someone, get someone something……… do it

You won’t be sorry

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Chosen Family

As we watched a television show last week, a phrase was used……… chosen family. They spoke of people, no one that shares your DNA, not blood relatives not even a distant 4th cousin. It means people that are close like sisters, families that bond together through heartache or happiness, those that you share your inter-most feelings with. The people who are like family.

As we sat around the Thanksgiving table today, we spoke of gratefulness. I shared my thankfulness for our family. It’s easy to take advantage of the people we can always count on. The ones that share our roof and those that come each and every time they can. The ones that cook meals when it’s their turn, who babysit as often as they can, the ones who will stay home when the dishwasher repairman comes or will help carry a piece of furniture that weighs 1000 pounds up three flights of stairs.

But chosen family is sometimes overlooked. They will scoop leaves and brush the pool when we go out of town, they will call for prayer because they know I will drop immediately and pray for them and I can do the same. They will bring toilet paper when Dad died and we had so many people staying with us there was not enough of me to go around. They leave things on our porch because they know it would bring a smile. They randomly send a meme or a token of love. These tokens of love do not go unnoticed. So many things…..sometimes just a hug (before stupid COVID)

This year has been hard. It has been so different and we have had to make compromises. But as we round the corner into the holidays and today we think about all the things we are thankful for….I’m so thankful for the people whom share my DNA but my chosen family , you know who you are, I can’t really express my love.

It’s just too big.

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The Beauty Or the Crack

Steve and I have been working on a long overdue project this week.

It’s going to be fantastic, but sometimes things don’t go as planned

I bought this old stained glass window from a friend a few years ago. It has been moved and displayed with never a definite plan in mind. Finally, it was going to get a permanent home and it would be perfect

As I cleaned and scraped and prepared the window, one of the panes cracked.

I cried!!! This antique, fantastic piece of art is ruined. I called the glass shop and they don’t do soldering . What do I do?

Plan B?

I don’t have one!

Then I started thinking……we live in a 1903 home that has endured so many years of history, abuse and life as we put her back together. Me, as a human, has screwed up some many times and I have many many cracks.

So I asked Steve “do you want me to find something else to replace it?” He said “nope.”

Some people in my life will come into our home and immediately point out the crack. That’s ok. They see it, it’s not a lie. But I choose to embrace the crack. Just like me.

If you notice the broken pane, maybe look to the immediate next pane and see the beauty.

Happy Saturday

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The Poke

Do you ever feel a poke? A finger slightly poking you on your shoulder (not really poking!) a nudge in your brain telling you to do something? If you follow Jesus, we would say it’s the Holy Spirit. If you don’t follow Jesus, maybe it’s your conscious, maybe it’s your Mom whispering in your ear (not really whispering).

You get it!?

The other day, I was texting with a friend. I wanted to get my facts straight before connecting with a new friend from our Coffee Hour group. (You should totally come to Coffee Hour!) This new friend was missed and I wanted to tell her. It was a poke earlier in the day. The poke said “Don’t forget Charma, people like to be missed. How do they know, if you don’t tell them.”

It’s so easy to get swirly in the day. We all have full lives. It seems as if the days go faster. There’s never enough time. However there is time to scroll socials, there’s time for that favorite TV show or to watch 14 episodes on Netflix.

I’m guilty!!

Sometimes the poke gets pushed to the side. Sometimes it gets forgotten. However I believe in the poke. I believe it’s important to listen to that nudge.

Sometimes I receive someone else’s poke. I got a text Saturday morning. It was kind, it was comforting, it was sweet and it made me cry a little. We often wonder if we are doing the right thing. If we are a good friend, a confidant, a capable employee, a supportive family member.

When I’m doubting myself, often I get a sweet message or confirmation that I’m doing something right.

The poke is factual. It’s a real thing. I will continue to be careful not to avoid those little reminders, that tapping on my shoulder (not really tapping!) the nudge………

It’s not hard

Try it today.

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