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Textbook Patient…

Were the words to describe daddy today. He showed up and showed off in every session. He walked with two types of walkers as well as a cane. The cane was quickly taken away from him because he wasn’t using it. The PT walked behind him with a light grasp of the gait belt as daddy walked on his own making laps around the hallways. The PT and dad compared golfer tans. They both look like they have been dipped upside down in chocolate, as my Irish friend Ruth stated when she saw daddy’s white feet and brown legs. ūüôā

In occupational therapy he showed how he could easily dress himself, put his shoes on, take the shoes off, etc. The OT trained me on transferring dad to and from the bed to the wheelchair and the PT trained me on how to move him with his walker to and from. The PT truly believes he will be walking this weekend. WooHoo!

“Life happens between an inhale and an exhale!”

Brianna Z. Nevada – Dove Chocolate wrapper

This quote reminds me of the quickness of life as represented by dad’s current situation AND the men and women in gray scrubs that come in daily to make him inhale and exhale. ūüôā His condition is improving so they are not coming as frequently. As stated above, he is a textbook patient.

TaylorStrong Team

Life is happening very differently than we planned. This weekend the plans were to celebrate mom’s 80th birthday with family. Mom and I were going to walk the Fayetteville Half Marathon on Saturday and then celebrate with the others upon our finish. My family will still join me in NWA on Friday. (I have missed them and will be so thankful to have my support team around me…Mike, Chase, and future daughter-in-love, Erin)

Though the original plans have been altered due to life happening. It is okay. Mom is okay with it because daddy is alive and well. He is moving slower than normal and not quite 100%, but he will be. Mom is determined to still walk the half marathon on Saturday. Mom wants to trudge on. She has trained and we will conquer the Fayetteville Half Marathon as a team. She is not a quitter! The #taylorstrong Team is together again. We will walk for mom and we will walk for dad. What a day it will be!

Improvements are happening one mailbox at a time. We are hoping for a full recovery and watching it happen daily. We give God the glory and look to Him for our strength and guidance. We are joyful, hopeful, patient, and faithful while lifting up our prayers to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (One of the sweetest times of day is our nightly prayers asking for complete healing for daddy!)

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer!

Romans 12:12

Fun memory….

As I was sitting in traffic this station wagon sat beside me. I had to snap a photo because it brought back so many memories from our childhood. Oh, the stories our brown paneled station wagon could tell.

True love stories never have endings.

~Richard Bach

#blessed #taylorstrong

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Day 2 – Work out the stuff…

Today was a good day. It started early with a blood draw at 4:45 a.m. and then back to sleep. 6:30 was the wake-up call to get ready for physical therapy at 7:15. He worked out first and then ate breakfast. He was able to nap a bit…which is good because nights have been long, very long. Occupational Therapy was next on the schedule, followed by Speech Therapy and lunch. After lunch dad had a chance to nap and visit with mom and Jasmine until more physical therapy at 3:00.

“You are not broken, sick is easier to fix.”

Anthony, PTA

While working with Physical Therapy this afternoon Anthony, dad’s PTA, stated, “You are not broken, sick is easier to fix.” He reassured dad that their goal was to return dad to his normal life. And if you know my dad, his normal life is not that of an average 82 year old. He teaches Health and Wellness, Walking, and Golf at a local community college. He delivers medicines to shut-ins for a local pharmacy and considers it one of his many ministries for Christ. So, no, not your average 82 year old.

His goals for dad were repeated throughout the day with every team member he worked with…from the nurse tech, Agnes to all of his therapists, his nurse, and his doctors. They all see a very independent, strong man who can and will make it home as good as new. We are thrilled with the team God orchestrated and gathered around dad. We are blessed.

Dad started the day with “I feel 150% better than yesterday.” If he keeps that percentage up we will jump into the future and be as good as new very soon!

God is so good. He continues to show up through your prayers, devotionals, flowers, and well-wishes. He will receive the glory for this in the end!

Mom and I are hanging in there. We are a tad bit tired but it is all worth every hour of sleep missed. Pray for a good night of rest for dad tonight. That is the most needed thing now.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

1 Peter 5.7

Dad has used this quote recently –

Work through the stuff…

or something like this…

So, that is what we are doing, working through the stuff.

#blessed

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Deja Vu…Round 2!

Hi! It has been a while since I had the time to sit down and write.  I have had plenty of things to talk about over the last year and a half but none compared to my current reality.

The short version:  On November 1st my dad slipped and fell on his back steps due to ice.  He hit his head and cut his hand.  Due to the fact he needed stitches, mom took him to the ER.  They admitted him for precautionary reasons because he has a mechanical heart valve and defibrillator and had been feeling nauseous.  They determined all was well with his heart and he was experiencing a virus of some kind.   They kept him one night and sent him home.

Once he was home and as the week progressed, he worsened.¬† Mom took him to his hospital follow-up doctor’s appointment and they sent him to the ER.¬† He was taken by ambulance to a neurological ICU because they discovered a subdural hematoma.¬† This was the information that led me to purchase a plane ticket and fly to northwest Arkansas. We had been down this road in 2013 with mom and who knew what this road would look like.¬† I had to go.¬† So on mom’s 80th birthday, I flew to Arkansas to be there for her and dad.¬† I got to give her a birthday hug on her birthday. ūüôā¬† She is doing good.¬† It is a stressful time and thankfully she has the perfect little service dog to help her through. Jasmine is at it again.

Upon arrival at the hospital, the Lord answered one of the many prayers he will continue to answer.¬† The subdural hematoma was small and would heal on its on – NO surgery. Woo hoo!¬† They also found he had a version of pneumonia called Legionnaires Disease.¬† This is treatable with antibiotics.¬† So the treatment plan started along with evaluation from physical therapy and occupational therapy in the ICU.¬† After these evals, it was determined dad would be transferred to an inpatient rehabilitation facility.¬† This is where this week begins…

Arkansas will be my home this week.¬† Dad was transferred to an inpatient rehabilitation facility yesterday.¬† Great news…happened sooner than expected.¬† He is still confused and is very weak. I am staying at the facility because he wants to get up whenever he wants and he is not supposed to…he is an independent person.¬† ūüôā¬† The nights are challenging due to his confusion but we are in this¬†together.¬† I keep reminding him this is a marathon and not a sprint and I have a little experience in that department.

Today he started the day at 7:15 with breakfast.  OT came around 8:30 evaluated him and helped him with getting ready until 9:50.  He rested until 10:30 when PT showed up.  They worked with him 45 minutes followed by Dr. visit, caseworker visit, lunch, orientation meeting, and Speech Therapy.  Needless to say, speech therapy was not the best because he was so tired. He came back to the room and slept for a while. Yay!  

We had several Godwinks – first, the Dr. was amazing. He spent 30 minutes assuring us that this is a team effort. He will spend time today communicating with Drs. from the hospital and his team to make the best treatment plan for dad.¬†¬†He will get all meds figured out.¬† He reassured us the confusion is normal with a brain bleed…as have all others treating him. The brain is trying to heal and has been damaged. It can cause confusion.¬†¬†¬†He has asked a second doctor here to be a second set of eyes.¬†¬†

They seem to have a great team. I am pleased.  The doctor ended with an amazing prayer and then gave us a mini sermon like dad does.  It brought tears to my eyes.

Daddy has had a busy, busy day but he still found time to read his Bible.  This is the hope we have Рthat he will continue to be true to who he is in all things.  We are claiming that word ALL once again.  

Romans 8.28 – All things together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose….ALL THINGS!

 

Godwink number two will be blogged about at a later time.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support and prayers. Each one is being felt.  Our specific requests now are:

– His confusion lessens quickly and goes away altogether – he has a cognitive test this afternoon

РHis balance and strength return

– He does not try to get out of bed at night on his own :/

– Sleep at night

– Pneumonia clears up and does not worsen

– No complications from being off his blood thinner due to the brain bleed. –¬† He will be off for a couple of weeks until cleared by the neurosurgeon.¬† (He has a mechanical heart valve and has to be on it for life.)

Thank you for joining me as we traverse this De Javu Journey Round #2!

#blessed

 

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Miles…

 

Isaiah 45.11-12

This is what the¬†Lord¬†says‚ÄĒ
    the Holy One of Israel and your Creator:
“Do you question what I do for my children?
    Do you give me orders about the work of my hands?
I am the one who made the earth
    and created people to live on it.
With my hands I stretched out the heavens.
    All the stars are at my command.

This morning I sit with a precious black kitten in my lap.  Meet Miles.  He decided to walk into our lives last week. He was a Godsend from above!IMG_2745

I received a text, along with this video, from Mike on Tuesday saying, “Your hope may have come true!”

 

How could anyone turn this sweet little thing away?¬† I text him back and said, ‘Can we keep him, please?’ As you can see, the answer was yes.¬† We both fell in love!

 

Miles is now the newest addition to the Newsom Farm.  He is truly a gift from God.  Why?

Well, here is the rest of the story.   In 2016 we lost TJ, the precious English kitty.

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On November 13, 2017, we lost Daisy.  She was the young one. Our Calico is 18 years old and when her buddy Daisy died, she was sad.  As were we.  Over the last couple of months, she has cried and moaned off and on.  I wanted another kitty to help her (and me.)  Mike was not too keen on getting another one.  After having three in the house, he was ready to just have one.

Listening to Cleo grieve was tough.  We finally decided a female kitten would be a good distraction for her.   A plan was made for me to go to an animal shelter and rescue one over my spring break, which is this week.  I was super excited.

BUT then, God provided and Miles waltzed into our lives with his bowlegged back legs and his golden eyes. There was one problem, he was a MALE.  Oh well, once we brought him inside his big personality took over and he rescued himself by finding us.

1 Timothy 6.17b

but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

He is our new companion…my new workout buddy…Mike’s couch buddy! Cleo is still not too sure about her new friend but she is getting there.¬† I know I will have photos of them loving on each other soon. ūüôā

God is so good.¬† Jesse ‘Miles’ is a ‘gift/blessing’ from God…we have no idea how many ‘miles’ he had to walk to find us but he will go many, many miles with us into the future. (Jesse –¬† means “gift”.)¬† Thanking God for our gift from above.

Romans 8.28

 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.

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Time to tell a story…

Today my heart is rested.¬† Two to three weeks ago when I attempted to start this blog, the word after ‘today my heart is’, would have been heavy.¬† Now that I am removed from that two to three week period, I can truly say my heart is at rest.

The last time I finished a blog I was embarking on a new adventure.¬† A journey God brought me to after preparing me for a very long time.¬† At that¬†time, I thought I had an idea of what I was in for…but I had NO idea. The principalship is a job like NO other.

264 days ago my life changed(and Mike’s.)¬† Changed for the better.¬† It has been easy at times and hard at times.¬† The biggest challenge for me is to find rest and recovery in the midst of chaos.¬† I guess it is a good thing that my nickname has always been ‘queen of chaos’…that must mean I have this. ūüėȬ† Most days I do feel like it but there are others I don’t.

Why am I writing this? Well, God wants us to tell our stories.  I was reminded again today in my devotional of this very fact.  We need to share the ups, the downs, and the got me arounds.  God has definitely pulled me up the mountains, pulled me through the downs, and led me around the chaos with awesomeness being on the other side.

God reminded me when I first started the actual school year, when teachers, students, and parents were finally in the building, that He had me. Citizen Way’s song Bulletproof was playing on my way to school and I knew that would be my song for the year.

Some words from Bulletproof:
No fear no doubt can shoot me down
I got my armor now
No fear no doubt gonna shoot me down
Down, down, down, down
Down, down, down, down

Now I’m bulletproof because of You 
Because of You
And now I’m bulletproof because of You 
Because of You

Your Love made a way
Now I’m not afraid
No matter what the world may say or what they do
I am bulletproof because of You, 
Because of You

 I know You got this whole thing under control
My soul is untouchable because
You’ve already won me
My victory is not in this flesh and bone
It’s in the cross and I know
Nobody’s taking it from me

 I don’t have to fear no more, worry no more
I don’t have to fear no more, worry no more
I don’t have to fear no more, worry no more
I don’t have to fear no more, worry no more

He spoke to me with these words.  He led the way to this job and He would get me through AND He has.  264 days have gone by and I can honestly say, I LOVE my job.  It is the hardest thing I have ever done Рbut I LOVE my job.

He has been there every step of the way.  He has been by our side as we are still creating a new normal.  One where we falter at times and one where we rejoice at times.  The hours are long but the reward is great.

God always knows how to lift us up when we need it most.¬† The day two to three weeks ago that I started this blog entry was probably one of the toughest I had had.¬† I got in my car and drove home as usual.¬† As I drove home there was a message lingering on my car for me…but I didn’t see it.¬† It wasn’t until the next day that I noticed it after going for a jog. (Something I am trying so desperately to get back at…the new normal caused me to let it slip away.)

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As I read it, tears came to my eyes.¬† I had an angel blessing me.¬† Someone took the time to leave me a message I so needed to read.¬† God used this person in a mighty way that weekend.¬† Thank you to whoever you are…I hope you are reading this. ūüôā

Rest and recovery – I know the importance of it in my running life…we can keep pushing and pushing but we will never be on our best game unless we REST and recover.¬† God is showing me a mighty work.¬† He is allowing others to speak to me.¬† He is allowing me to fall and learn from those lessons as well as succeed and be pleased with the decisions.¬† God is so good.

This year is only 8 weeks from being over! Wow! I have survived thus far and will continue to survive…there is a finish line ahead.¬† This year is all about slow and steady wins the race.¬† I want to thank everyone for their prayers and their encouragement.¬† The prayers have been felt daily.¬† God has shown up every day in a miraculous way.¬† He has provided God winks to show me He is there and He is still leading.

Where He leads I will follow…

God will show me the path of life. (Psalm 16:11)

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not lack. (Psalm 23:1)

God will instruct me and teach me in the way I should go. He will guide me with His eye. (Psalm 32:8)

My steps are ordered by the Lord. (Psalm 37:23)

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)

I trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. In all my ways I acknowledge Him and He directs my paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

I shall hear a word behind me, saying, ‚ÄúThis is the way, walk in it,‚ÄĚ whenever I turn to the right or the left. (Isaiah 30:21)

Thus says the Lord, my Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‚ÄúI am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go.‚ÄĚ (Isaiah 48:17)

The Lord will guide me continually. (Isaiah 58:11)

I desire to do God’s will so I shall know whether it is from God. (John 7:17)

I follow Jesus so I shall not walk in darkness, but I have the light of life. (John 8:12)

I hear Jesus’ voice and He calls me by name and leads me out. Jesus goes before me and I follow him, for I know his voice. I will by no means follow a stranger. (John 10:3-5)

The Spirit of truth has come and He is guiding me into all truth. He will tell me things to come. (John 16:13)

I am led by the Spirit of God for I am a son of God. (Romans 8:14)

It is God Who works in me both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)

I let the peace of God rule in my heart. (Colossians 3:15)

I will stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. (Colossians 4:12)

The God of peace will make me complete in every good work to do His will, working in me what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 13:21)

 

Rest and Recovery are great things when God provides Heaven on earth for a home:

 

Grateful and humbled He loves me enough to provide in ALL ways and in ALL circumstances.  God is good all the time!

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Conversations around the dinner table…

‚ÄúFor I know the plans I have for you,‚ÄĚ declares the Lord, ‚Äúplans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.‚ÄĚ

Jeremiah 29:11

Forty years ago God planted a seed around the dinner table when I was eight years old. ¬†This was when my mom was appointed as the principal of a K-3 school in my hometown of Arkadelphia, Arkansas and the dinner table conversations started. ¬†During mom’s principalship, my dad started his doctorate in education as well. ¬†He was working on the collegiate level but wanted to move to the K-12 ranks. ¬†After he completed his doctorate we had two principals in the family.

Throughout my elementary, middle, and high school days I had a front row seat to the the highs and lows of an elementary school, a junior high, a high school, and an alternative high school.  I remember asking my parents repeatedly to not talk shop at the dinner table.  But, these conversations prepped my heart and brain so long ago.  At this time a seed was planted, unbeknownst to me.

This is where my training began so very long ago…Training for what? — to be a school teacher, a school counselor, and now a school principal!

As of June 26, 2017 the seed God planted forty years ago is now going to have the chance to bloom. He has been feeding and fertilizing it for a very long time. ¬†I have tried to kill it more than once. ¬†I am a runner…literally…but figuratively I have tried to run from the principalship for many years. ¬†It finally caught up with me and I am so glad it did!

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

Proverbs 22.6

Mom and dad led by example all of those years. ¬†I followed their footsteps into education as a teacher. ¬†Once I received my masters in school counseling I decided to keep going and get my administrative certification. ¬†Then I remembered all of those conversations…and I said never mind. ¬†That was over 15 years ago.

Fast forward to the 2007-2008 school year and my move to Dayton, Tennessee. ¬†For those of you who do not know — I moved to Tennessee without a job. ¬†I had NO doubt that God was leading me here to be closer to Mike. ¬†(This is another God story….) ¬†But God had a job waiting on me at Dayton City School. ¬†He literally put it in my lap at a luncheon a month after I moved to Tennessee. ¬†(I can see I will have to write a prequel to finish this story.) ¬†The 2016-2017 school year completed my tenth year at Dayton City School — the job He had waiting on me.

Throughout my tenure are Dayton City School God has been preparing me for this new position. Over the last ten years I have been able to work as the school counselor and physical education teacher. Each of these roles has allowed me to get to know the entire faculty and staff. ¬†What a blessing this journey has turned out to be…

Over the last couple of years I have had a couple of angels. Friends who saw the potential God put in me to be a leader. ¬†They continue to urge me to pursue my administration certificate. Remember — I am a runner. At first I said NO! ūüôā ¬†Then I thought more about it and with a little more prompting decided to go for it. ¬†At this point I interviewed with a graduate program in a different county. ¬†Needless to say, it was not the right one. I left the interview feeling very discouraged. ¬†This is when my running instincts kicked in and I said to myself — “I told you so! I am not going to be a principal.” ¬†God had other plans.

The next school year God really started to nudge me again.  The tapping was harder this time.  The godincidences continued to pop up when people would say things to me at different times without knowing others had said it.  Then the tapping became a knock I could not ignore.

He replied, ‚ÄúBlessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.‚ÄĚ

Luke 11.28

This time I had to listen and I should have listened before but it was not the right time — God’s time. ¬†My next step was to contact the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in the Fall of 2015. ¬†The interview was a breath of fresh air and I knew that UTC was where I need to be and where God wanted me. I started school in January 2016. ¬†The seed was growing.

In April 2016 our school was looking for a new principal due to the fact our current one was retiring. ¬†I interviewed hoping to take the assistant job if it came open. This did not happen. ¬†It was not time. Our school hired two great principals and we started the 2016-2017 school year with new leadership. ¬†During this time, I worked hard and earned my post masters certificate in school leadership in May of 2017. ¬†My schooling provided me with some amazing opportunities to feel God’s hand and know I was on the right track — His track for my life.

Not knowing what God had in store I chose to be still and wait. ¬†During this time I had a conversation with a colleague that I will never forget. This colleague approached me and asked me to make sure I stayed at Dayton City School once I finished my certificate. ¬†I responded with “I don’t want to go anywhere and I know God is the god of the impossible but I don’t see either principal leaving — this is both of their first years.” ¬†Little did I know that our PreK-3rd grade principal would resign on June 5. ¬†(Though she wasn’t with us long — she will be missed. ¬†She decided she wanted to teach again.) ¬†The door that had been closed was now reopening. ¬†God’s perfect timing!

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8.28 

To sum it all up — the seed God planted forty years ago is now about to bloom. ¬†I interviewed and accepted the job on Monday. ¬†I started working immediately. ¬†God is so very good. ¬†He knew I need extra time and extra work to be ready for this position to which He has called me. ¬†All of the pruning along the way will make me a better leader. There is NO doubt in my mind that God orchestrated this long ago. ¬†He was waiting on His timing….perfect timing to bring this journey, traced by His mighty hand into bloom.

I am beyond excited to continue what He has started and let Him be my strength. ¬†God is good all the time and all the time God is good. ¬†He gave me the best mentors a principal could have in the form of my mom and dad forty-eight years ago. ¬†The training they started in the form of dinner table conversations will now take root in a different form — I will put it into action with God’s power and strength.

And how could I fail to mention the amazing support of my amazing husband who is the main reason I moved here??? Tomorrow we will have been married nine years and he has been right next to me through the home stretch. He supported me through the hard days/nights of graduate school. I am blessed beyond measure to have him support all I do 100%.  We are a great team!

“The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; This is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will extol Him.”

Exodus 15.2

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Elation at the finish line…

boston1

 

As I wake up to Good Friday, Facebook so kindly and gently reminds me of the significance of this weekend. ¬†Scrolling through the ‘On This Day’ memories my emotions are all over the place. ¬†Funny how that happens! ¬†Embedded within the memories is this verse: John 14. 27: ¬†Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

God is so good.  He knows that my heart is troubled as the memories of Boston 2013 flood back into my mind but He also knows He provides the ultimate peace for these times. What a picture that provides for me on this РGood Friday.

This picture is a true visual of His unshakeable love for us.  Sadness prevailed as His son was crucified and died for our sins on Good Friday РBUT РSunday was coming.  Do not let your hearts be troubles and do not be afraid!!!   Why? Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you! I do not give you as the world gives you!  HE is GOD! He offers more than this world could ever give РETERNITY!

As I relive the memories and the emotions coming flooding back РI have to remember I have an unshakeable God who will give me peace through all things.  The world cannot and will not take me down because HE died to bring me up!

What an amazing journey God has gifted me with and allowed me to live through.  His never-ending love and peace carried me through as He does daily.  My Boston story from beginning to end has too many happy moments to even count.  It has scary and sad moments sprinkled through with joy and elation at the finish line.  He allowed me to experience emotions Рand still does Рthat bring me back to Him.  That point to the fact that SUNDAY is coming! Through the death and resurrection of His son Jesus Christ Рwe are made whole again! We have nothing to fear! The day we thought was so very bad brings us to the joy and elation at the finish line!

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My finish line on earth cannot and will not ever compare to the finish line in heaven!
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Romans 10.9-10
9 If you declare with your mouth, ‚ÄúJesus is Lord,‚ÄĚ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

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I hate wet socks!

What do wet socks have to do with CHRISTmas? Well, a lot in our world. ūüôā ¬†God used a single wet sock to start the trail of details that showed us He is with us and cares about the small details of our lives! ūüôā

It all started this morning before we were about to do our small Christmas. ¬†Cleo – our calico kitty – played the part of the kids. ¬†She started pawing at our door when she thought it was time for us to mosey out of bed. We abided. ¬†Once up, we needed coffee. ¬†Our simple routine kicked into gear. ¬†Mike made the coffee and I threw Christmas cinnamon rolls in the oven. ¬†It was at this point I decided we needed festive Christmas music. My wireless speaker was in the¬†the garage in my car. ¬†So off to the garage I trot so we can open presents. ¬†Mike is so excited. He can’t wait for me to open my gifts. ¬†ūüôā

This is when the story really started Р I stepped in water that had pooled from the rain off the car and hence the wet sock.  Something had to be done!  The sock came off and I walked back inside headed for the bedroom to get another sock.  I hate WET socks!

Mike stopped me and would not let me get another sock. ¬†I argued I need a sock – one foot is bare and cold. ¬†No! He wanted me to sit down and open one of my presents. So I humored him – so I could get my sock! As I ripped the paper I notice one of my old shoe boxes…hmmmm. ¬†Then to my surprise I found a new pair of house shoes…with SOFT material! (I am a texture person – so I LOVE the fuzzy stuff!)

The wet sock opened the door for this perfect gift! Mike noticed I am always in socks or flip flops and didn’t have any house shoes! Love it! (But, inside I was a little curious why he was so excited about this gift – because he didn’t know I was going to have a wet sock! But, God did!)

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My new feet warmers – I already have great leg warmers!

So, now that I was thinking…hmmmmm…that is the gift he is so excited about – he grabs another one. ¬†As he tries to hand it to me I run outside to take a photo of the sunrise. (Photography is the one thing I LOVE – and wish I made more time for it.) ¬†Mike is curious about what I am doing – but he figures it out! (Because I run outside and take photos – A LOT!)

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In I come and he hands me the gift. ¬†I soon find out that this is the one he is so excited about! ¬†This gift is small but heavy. As I am holding it I am thinking “it is really small but I bet he¬†added weight to the box.” ūüėČ ¬†Ripping the paper open I see a Nikon box. ¬†I say “Is this a camera?…No, this isn’t a camera….Is this really a camera?…Noooo…this can’t be a camera!” ¬†But guess what? It was a CAMERA! God is that good. ¬†He paved the way yet again for a PERFECT open door to my next gift. I had just stepped outside to take a picture with my phone and now I am opening a camera that my phone can’t hold a candle to….wow!

Needless to say – I LOVE IT and I am soooo excited to get busy taking photographs!!!! (Those will come soon – we are making some adjustments to the new purchase!)

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Not the camera – just a representation of THE camera!

Now it was Mike’s turn to open a gift. ¬†But, he was so excited about my camera he wanted to research more on it. ¬†I stopped him. He only had one more gift. ¬†He persisted in doing research.¬† I said – stop, open this gift. ¬†So, he did. ūüôā And God once again had paved the way – it was a photo I took years ago of the old barn put on a canvas.

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So in God’s amazing fashion He showed us how He truly cares about the details. ¬†On this day we celebrate Jesus’s birth – a detail that created eternity for us all – He shows up in the simple things. ¬†He does it daily but most of the time we forget to look for Him.

Mike and I looked at each other as he opened the canvas and were in awe of how God had made His presence known in our simple Christmas at home Рjust the two of us.  He confirmed that the ultimate present of His son was a detail we will forever be grateful.

This season has proven to many that life is short and we only have one to live.  God sent Jesus on this day thousands of years ago to save us Рa small, yet eternal detail we can not ignore.  All we have to do is add the detail of belief!

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.  

John 3.16

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved

Romans 10:9

With all of this being said – I hope you have some wet sock moments where you are able to see the hand of God in every detail of your life! He is there. He cares. He wants to be a detail in your life – He will if only you believe!

Merry CHRISTmas!  Trish

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The Return…

This past weekend marked the return. ¬†The return to what? Well, a couple of things…a return to where my running days started many moons ago and the return to where running helped heal my soul. ¬†Though, to¬†be honest – the return to my running roots was not the first thing on my mind – it was the return to reclaim the trails that healed my heart that surfaced first.

It all started several months ago when my running angels decided to run a half marathon in Missouri.  Why Missouri? One of them has a sister who was running her first half marathon and she wanted to be there to support and encourage her.

Proverbs 27.17

As iron sharpens iron,so a friend sharpens a friend.

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A girl’s trip was in order. ¬†We were all excited. Then, I checked my graduate school calendar¬†and realized I couldn’t go…I had class. ¬†Bummer! Needing the accountability, I knew I still wanted to train with them so I looked for a half marathon on another weekend. ¬†The¬†Fayetteville Hero Half Marathon(FHHM) in Fayetteville, Arkansas fit the bill. It was the weekend after my friends’ half AND it was over my fall break. ¬†This meant traveling to my parents and enjoying quality time with them along with the run. Yay! ¬†I registered and started training.

The FHHM is a run to honor the fallen heroes of 9/11 and the local heroes that are our first responders today. ¬†Throughout the weeks and months before the FHHM would post inspirational messages on their Instagram and Facebook pages. ¬† One day they posted a message asking who our¬†hero was and why. ¬†They were going to draw from those who posted and give away one free entry. Well, I won. ūüôā This made the run even sweeter. ¬†Here was my entry:

As you can read, my hero is my mom.  Life changed for all of us that year in 2013.  We learned how to run new roads and tackle new challenges.  As one of her caregivers for 2 1/2 months, I needed respite. I took to the roads of Northwest Arkansas to scream, pray, cry and recover from the emotional roller coaster ride I was on watching my mom, my hero, struggle so.  These roads were my caregivers and I was coming back to reclaim them and thank them.  That was my goal.

Mom made it¬†through 2013 like the hero she is. She hasn’t stopped since. God blessed our family by allowing mom to keep on keeping on. What a true blessing!!!

The day before the race, dad, Mike, and I went to pick up my race packet in Fayetteville. This weekend just happened to be the Arkansas Razorback’s SEC home opener against Alabama. ¬†(I have to admit this was an incentive to come to Arkansas over fall break as well.) ¬†We decided to head to Fayetteville and do a little reminiscing along the way. ¬†Dad wanted me to drive by the house we lived in for a short time while I was 14-15 years old. ¬†We lived in Fayetteville during my freshman year in high school. ¬†Daddy was finishing his doctorate in Education at the University of Arkansas during this time.

As we drove the roads to the house, images¬†came to my head of that first running day! I can see it like it was yesterday. ¬†I am not sure how many of us can remember the first day we stepped out on the roads…but I am so thankful I can. ¬†It hadn’t hit me until this drive. This is where God started my running journey. ¬†This is where He started writing the story that would include – Wheel of Fortune…Boston Qualifying attempts, failures and successes…Run for God Bible studies…Running Angels…Finding out who I am with and without Him…Respite runs…and I could go on and on! ¬†We were RETURNing to where it all started.

God does have a masterplan. He knows what He is doing even when we don’t see it.

Isaiah 46.10

I make known the end from the beginning,
    from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‚ÄėMy purpose will stand,
    and I will do all that I please.’

He knew that over 32 years later I would be running the FHHM, reclaiming the roads by winning¬†my age group…setting a half marathon PR…coming in as¬†7th overall woman – and that I would look back at where I started…at this mailbox! ¬†img_3999

(This is the where the Mailbox Story/Poem originated…and where the name for my blog came from.)

The Mailbox Story

‚ÄúJust make it to the next mailbox,‚ÄĚ a mom and dad would say

As they and their daughter were out running one day.

Both, knowing another mailbox lay ahead,

as she was ready to call it quits,

would push her to persevere instead.

With every mailbox successfully passed

She made the victory lap to home at last.

To this day the message is still very clear…

Struggles will come and go, as the mailboxes came and went

But in the end, the prize will be held dear for the endurance that was spent.

‚ÄúJust make it to the next mailbox,‚ÄĚ they would say.
What is your mailbox today?

Jeremiah 29.11-13

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

God story started an amazing story at this mailbox on this day so many years ago. He sees our potential before we do and uses His children to carry out His plan for His glory.  He continues to show me through the ups and the downs of life He is God and He is the God of the impossible!

Ephesians 3.20

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…

God blessed me with incredible parents – the best anyone could ask for…in my opinion! We continued our trip down memory lane once I picked up my race packet. ¬†We headed¬†to the U of A to find daddy’s name in the sidewalk. ¬†The U of A has a unique tradition called the Senior Walk. ¬†Each graduating class since 1905 has had their names engraved in the sidewalks that stretch across the campus. ¬†It is a sight to see. ¬†We were off to find dad’s name and we did. We were returning once again…

The picture on the bottom¬†right¬†was Mike’s idea. It represents so much. ¬†I am in my dad’s shadow – he has cast a large one for us to follow. ¬†He has taught us(along with mom), the importance of loving the Lord first. ¬†They have paved the path for us in regards to education as well. They both are the reason I am continuing my education – which will wrap up on May 5, 2017…my wonderful husband’s birthday! I could probably write a whole blog using these photos…;)

The return to Northwest Arkansas has brought me full circle in several ways. ¬†God continues to go before and plan the way. ¬†He is out there with us every single day. ¬†Through the mountains and the valleys….like on the FHHM course….we will struggle but there will be a highlight along the way! ¬†The struggles will make us stronger. ¬†The highs will make us want to come back for more!

The¬†journey through the half marathon race¬†allowed me to reclaim the trails and renew the love for running that started so many years ago. ¬†It also allowed me to rejoice over those God has given me to be by my side through this journey. ¬†My pick-me-up during a tough or 3 tough spots on the race course was my dear husband who runs marathons of¬†his own to find me as I run the races. ¬†He pushes me and encourages me with his presence and his words. ¬†This weekend of returning helped me see how precious he is to me and how he fits in my story so well – only God could do that! ¬†God knew I would need him in my life to keep on keeping on! ūüėČ

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Deuteronomy 31.8

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

God will never leave us and He goes before us. This weekend of returns will forever be etched in my heart. It is a story of God’s faithfulness to one of His own who in no way deserves the mercy and grace He has given. ¬†God is so very good. ¬†He is helping us write our story before we ever get to the next mailbox. ¬†He wants us to continue to persevere and make it through to the other side – He is waiting – His glory and story to be displayed.

Hebrews 12.1-3

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross,scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

RACE PHOTOS

1:46:19 ~ 1st in age group ~ 7th overall woman

 

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Chattanooga Heroes Run…Freedom is NOT free!

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Today is the one year anniversary of the shooting deaths of 5 fallen heroes in Chattanooga, Tennessee –¬†Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, Sgt. Carson Holmquist, Lance Cpl. Squire K. Wells and Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Randall Smith. ¬†Our hometown hero – Dennis Pedigo was injured on this day one year ago.¬†The Erlanger Hospital Trauma Services sponsored the Chattanooga Heroes Run to commemorate the day that forever changed the lives of so many – showing us that Freedom is NOT free. ¬†We are seeing this day in and day out with the events of our world. Once again, Freedom is NOT free! ¬†Lives are lost and lives are changed daily in the fight for freedom!

The Chattanooga Heroes Run was phenomenal. Kudos to all who came together to make it happen. ¬†What a day! First, I got to be there with friends – running friends, CrossFit friends and people I have known forever. ¬†(I have been in the Chattanooga area longer than any other place I have lived!) We all came together for a common cause and reclaimed Chattanooga¬†streets….like in Boston in 2014.

As we ran we were able to thank countless police officers, fire fighters, EMTs, and the families of the fallen. ¬†They were spread out along¬†the 5 mile course. ¬†One mile for each fallen hero. Moving along the course I was reminded mile after mile that these families made the ultimate sacrifice – they lost someone willing to die for our freedoms. ¬†1300+ of us ran or walked by these families today – strangers to them – but their loved ones died for us. ¬†Wow! How powerful is that? They died protecting the great country’s freedoms.

After running Boston 2013 and experiencing the Boston bombings my life was forever changed as well. ¬†Events like these are never easy because you realize some of that freedom has been taken away. ¬†As I run…I think about safety things I have never thought of before – I wonder about the what-ifs – I second guess my decision to be in a large crowd! THEN, those feelings¬†change when you see the genuine love and care that the others who are taking part, show to one another – strangers in the crowd. ¬† There are more of us than them!

We need to remember LOVE!

1 Corinthians 13.4-8

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…
God gives us love! His unconditional love we can all experience.  I have no idea how I would do life without His hope and love.  He is what gives hope in the evil times we live.  He made the ultimate sacrifice we can have eternal life where there is NO evil.
John 3.16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Love was very present today in the Chattanooga Heroes Run.  It was truly an honor to run and regain Chattanooga streets! #noogastrong

 

Isaiah 40.31

…but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

#eternalhope

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