And so began the rest of her life

May 28, 2014 at 12:33 pm (Memories, Multiple Sclerosis, Trigeminal Neuralgia)

“One day she decided to listen. Really listen. Not to the noisy chatter of her mind that told her she couldn’t, but to the voice within her heart that knew she absolutely could. And so began the rest of her life.”

I cannot take credit for that quote — I just found it today and it spoke to me.

In my devotions today, Jeremiah 33:3 was the verse I studied. “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”

I have been really struggling lately, struggling with intense TN pain, with my weight, with the continued MS deficits, with my place in this world.  I am over half-way through my life and I spend most days just barely making it through, with pain being my battle.  I am my own worst enemy.  I have so many creative ideas, but no energy.  I wake up in pain, and then must medicate, which makes it impossible to really, truly function.

This past weekend, I tended both of my sets of grandparents’ graves.  I was blessed to know all four of them.

G&GSaveringGrave-2014

G&GGayGrave-2014

Grandma Amelia died when she was my age, 54, in November 1969, killed by a drunk driver.  I spent the summer of 1969 with her.  We spent lots of time in her garden.  She entered me in the Garden Show and my flower arrangement won first place!  I remember her as a strong woman — not afraid of any man, of anything.  If she wanted to do something, she just did it.  She told me there was nothing that I could not do.

Grandma and Grandpap Gay

Grandma and Grandpap Gay

 

Debbie, me, Susan and Grandma Amelia

Debbie, me, Susan and Grandma Amelia

Pappy Savering was a hard worker who spent lots of weekends fishing.  My first real memory involves him.  I had cut my chin on a plastic cup while in the bathtub.  Pappy held my head while Dr. Ebandjieff stitched my chin.  I remember seeing my Momma, sitting by a big Coke vending machine, with her head between her knees.  Pappy was very tall and handsome and could be intimidating, but his hands were gentle, that I remember.  He died in 1988 from a stroke.

Pappy and Grammy

Pappy and Grammy

At their 50th wedding anniversary party

At their 50th wedding anniversary party

Grandpap Gay lived until 1999, with terrible issues as a result of the accident that killed my Grandma.  He was a prayer warrior.  I used to go over to see him and, if it was a while since I had been there, he would say, “Did you lose the map?”  He had strong opinions.  I can just imagine that he and Grandma had some knock-down-drag-out fights!!

Grandpap and Molly

Grandpap and Molly

Grammy lived the longest, until 2009.  She prayed for me every day.  As my sister said, “she loved, more than anything, she loved!”  Grammy never had a bad thing to say about anyone. She would find positives in every situation.  She was very quick to tell you that “outer beauty” wasn’t as important as “inner beauty.”  She’d tell us that we were still in our “ugly duckling” stage.  She was the one who handed out nickels for us to put in the offering plate and could split a piece of gum into five pieces (it was usually very stale so it broke easily!).

Me and Grammy

Me and Grammy

Me and Grammy

Me and Grammy

I shared brief memories with you, but there are so many more!!  As I tended the graves, while I said hello to Grandpap and Pappy, I had conversations with Grandma and Grammy as I loosened the soil, removed the pansies from their temporary pots, dug some more and planted.  As I planted a purple-themed bed, because she would have liked that, I told Grandma Amelia that I missed her and that I wished that I had her strength.  I used many different colored pansies for Grammy, because she never saw a color she didn’t like!! I told Grammy that I missed her and that I wished that I had her sunny outlook.  I told both of them that I was looking forward to seeing them in heaven.  As I left each grave, I kissed their names, told them goodbye.

This morning, I found the quote, I remembered Grandma’s strength, Grammy’s positive outlook, and realized that I was listening to the wrong voices.  For reasons I do not know, the Lord still wants me here on earth.  I need to accept where I am, what I weigh, my physical limitations, my pain issues, in order to live my best life!!!

So, today I am listening… remembering my sweet grandparents’ advice, waiting for the Lord to reveal the “great and mighty things” I do not know.  Above all, I am hearing only the voice that tells me what I CAN do… and so begins the rest of my life.

Permalink 3 Comments

Three Subjects, Starting with Tuesday-Shoesday

May 20, 2014 at 3:13 pm (Jewelry, Musings..., Shoes, Social Anxiety, Trigeminal Neuralgia)

Subject #1

“Life is not waiting for the storm to pass.  It’s about learning to dance in the rain!!” I know this statement is figurative, but it can be taken literally too!  In the middle of March, it was raining buckets.  I had a neurologist appointment in Altoona.  Of course, it figures, all of the handicapped spots were taken!!  Now, I am not pointing fingers at anyone, but I do know that when it rains, anyone who has a placard, even though they don’t need it on that particular day, is more likely than not to use the HP. I needed my rollater.  It is nearly impossible to manage a rollator AND an umbrella.  I parked WAAAAAYYYY far away from the entrance.  By the time my feet, in slow speed, made it to the entrance, I was soaked through to my undies!!  {{Sigh}}

It was at that point that I decided to buy a pair of rain boots.  I already have a pretty rain-resistant coat.  Since I am not going fishing, just getting from point A to point B, it will suffice.  It is pink.  I looked at many styles and colors of boots, but the yellow ones made me happy 🙂 .  So… Rain, give it your best shot!!!  I am ready for you!!! (Plus, I will look stylish dodging rain drops!)

My Awesome Rainboots!!

My Awesome Rainboots!!

Subject #2

Weekday 12 of no daytime television.  I am on a roll!  This morning I went to the high school (Subject #3), came home, took a nap, planted my herbs, took another nap, am blogging and plan to start supper soon.  Last week I finished a bracelet for my sweet niece, Kristi Brinklie (Really!!  Her last name is Olsavsky). She liked it.  I am very happy with the finished product.  I used one of my wire-worked hearts.

Jewelry-5

Subject #3

MelodyeJoy – 2  Social Anxiety (SA) – 0

I have spoken about my struggle with social anxiety.  I am working so hard to “behave my way” through it.

Last week, my friend Michelle and her group, New Journey, were singing at EBC.  I really wanted to hear them.  I waffled throughout the week.  On Thursday, I made it Facebook official.  I was going!!  I ran one errand before heading to the church.  I started panicking when I hit the Elton Road exit.  I kept driving… I parked… I pulled out my rollator… Michelle’s sweet hubby, the V man, met me at the door with a big hug.  I am so glad I went to hear them.  They blessed my heart.

Some of you know that I was the accompanist for the Central Cambria School District for 12 years until 2009.  What was later diagnosed as trigeminal neuralgia, made it necessary for me to “retire.”  I have not been back to a concert, at first, because I was so very sad that I had to stop doing something I loved.  Then this stupid SA reared its ugly head rendering me helpless to even attempt to go.  Two weeks ago I texted Paul, (the director and a wonderful friend) and asked if I could attend the double-period rehearsal the day of the concert. He said yes and to text him Monday to remind him to tell the office I was coming… Monday… every time I started to text, I couldn’t.  I promise you this is a real feeling.  Unless it has happened to you, it will make no sense at all to you!!

Finally, I figured he was home from school and couldn’t tell the office I was coming so I texted him, apologizing for not texting earlier, but not telling him the whys of it.  His answer to me was “No worries!!  It will be chaos but I would love to see you!!”

I set my alarm for 7:15 a.m. and, fortifying myself with coffee, dressing to the “nines” with my new Toms and my favorite Isaac Mizrahi scarf (and my goodwill jeans), I went to the school.  I spent two hours listening to wonderful music and talking to two of my favorite friends, Paul and Tom (Tom now accompanies the choirs). Again, I am so happy I went!!

Graduation-2004

Tom, Me and Paul Graduation-2004

PaulTomMe-2

Paul, Tom and Me One of our themed concerts (I re-made my sweatshirt)

I am feeling more confident that I can win this social anxiety battle!!

 

 

 

 

Permalink 1 Comment

“Here Comes Everything I Need”

May 16, 2014 at 2:58 pm (Anniversaries, Musings...)

Fair warning… lots of pictures!!!  How can you celebrate 34 years without pictures!!

Happy 34th Anniversary to darling DannyO and me!

We were dating in this picture. No digital "do-overs!"

We were dating in this picture. No digital “do-overs!”

Wow!!  34 years!! That’s something to celebrate in this day and age.  We were married on a Friday night, May 16, 1980.  Our best friends, Buck and Mary, John and Janet stood in for us. My Grammy and Momma and Daddy came.  We spent our “honeymoon” on the Christian Diplomat bus, as we already had booked dates to sing Saturday night and Sunday.  Reverend Jenkins married us at a church in Ebensburg.  I won’t go into the details why we weren’t married at Pike, but let me just say, times were different than they are today 🙂

Danny, me, Momma and Daddy

Danny, me, Momma and Daddy

Me and Grammy

Me and Grammy

TBT-3

Just Married!

Just Married!

Danny worked in the coal mines and I worked at the Domestic Relations office in the courthouse.  We rented a tiny one-bedroom apartment on Margaret St in Ebensburg for $185.00 a month, including utilities!!  Our landlords, the Griffiths, became real friends to us. To get to their washer and our dryer (yes, they let us use their washing machine), I had to go outside and around to the basement.  Within a week, I was knocking on their door, (with their permission) walking through the connecting door to do laundry.  Often, I would hear Danny’s F-150 and knew he was home, but then I would hear the door to the Griffith’s house open.  I’d hear him playing with Misty, their miniature collie.  When supper was ready, I’d call down and he’d come up and we’d share a meal in our tiny kitchen.  We bought the kitchen table and chairs.  We were given the couch and end tables and coffee table.  The couch wasn’t in great shape so I bought a throw for it, which had to be adjusted each and every time someone sat on it.  We also had a black and white television, which, of course, didn’t have a remote!  The Griffiths had an extra bedroom set.  We cuddled on a borrowed bed.  I did purchase some beautiful yellow curtains for the kitchen.  When Danny worked 4-12 or hoot owl, I felt safe.

In love!!

In love!!

As I am writing this, memories are flooding back to me.  I won’t write them all down because this would be a novel, not a blog post.  Someday I will write the story of how we met. 🙂

We met in November 1979, so we were still learning about each other the day we got married.  I will tell you that we had some outside conflict the first year we were married.  We faced it head on together, giving each other strength, standing shoulder to shoulder.

Daddy and Amanda taking a wee nap.

Daddy and Amanda taking a wee nap.

Two years later, March 25, 1982 our precious daughter, Amanda, was born.  By then, we were living in a trailer on a piece of property across the road from my Mom and Dad.  The winter of 1982, Bobby Jo  moved the trailer across the road, up a 1/4 mile lane, turned it around in the back field and settled it on the two acres Dad and Mom so graciously gave to us (we actually paid them $1.00 so we wouldn’t have to pay inheritance tax).  Our ground was one big hill and the front of the trailer was cribbed up very high to level it.  It was warm and cozy and we settled in with our little family of three.

Amanda "helping" her Dad

Amanda “helping” her Dad

In 1984, we had enough money saved to start building our house.  Danny would work in the mines, come home, grab a bite to eat and walk 30 feet to the house.  Amanda loved to go over and “help” her Daddy.  On December 8, 1985, sweet baby Brent was born.  We moved into the house in 1986, although none of the trim work was done and we still walked on sub flooring.  But… it was ours and we were debt free.

Sweet baby Brent

Sweet baby Brent

Sweet Baby Brent

Sweet Baby Brent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1987, Dan’s mine closed permanently.  Because we had no debt, he was able to attend Penn Tech in Pittsburgh.  He went to school four days a week, and worked for Jerry Varner Friday and Saturday.  He and Amanda studied at the kitchen table together.  I had to go back to work.  I began by working for Kelly Services — my paycheck was $144.00 a week – net!! Amanda was in school.   Janice watched Brent a few days a week.  Ann also watched them in the summer.  My Momma graciously watched them one day a week.  On Friday’s, after putting Amanda on the bus, Danny would head out to Varner’s with Brent in tow.  Brent had his big wheel and loved to ride the ramp between the two horse barns.  Brent called him “Jerdy Farmer.”

Probably taken at a concert.

Probably taken at a concert.

Taken at the Crown American Building opening

Taken at the Crown American Building opening

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Danny graduated in December 1989 with an associates degree in electronics.  By this time, I had been working at Crown American for two years.  He immediately found a job.  In December 1989, I had a pain behind my eye.  By February of 1990, my legs stopped working.  I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

I will not go through the next 24 years in this post except to say that DannyO was my rock. We worked as a team parenting Amanda and Brent.  He held my hand when I was afraid, held my head when I was vomiting uncontrollably from vertigo.  He came home early from a fishing trip when I had a seizure and ended up at the bottom of our stairs in a puddle of urine.  Amanda found me — what a scary situation for her!

Back in the 1990’s, solumedrol was the main treatment for MS exacerbations.  They required a 7-day hospital stay and I had 3 to 4 treatments each year.  When I went to the Cleveland Clinic for more extensive testing, DannyO, without complaint, took personal days off to make the drive with me.

The kids visiting me in the hospital

The kids visiting me in the hospital

The Deetscreeks, Bud and Ernie (or “Bert and Ernie” as Brent called them) put the finishing touches on our home, including the hardwood flooring and the deck.

Fast forward to today.  I remember the year we bought each other the same anniversary card.  One year, we each forgot… and remembered a few days later on the same day!!

A "selfie"

A “selfie”

Has it been all fun and games??  No!  Have we every considered divorce?? No!  As I would often say, “murder, yes, divorce, no!”  We had some rough years while we were in our 30’s.  Looking back, we were so stressed, the kids were growing, I was sick, we had, it seemed, never enough money. But, back then, we could “float” checks.  That is why I still balance our checkbook to the penny!! When the balance hovers around $20.00, you’d better be sure you know exactly everything that has been debited from the account.  We pushed through, working to communicate, learning how to disagree without saying hurtful things.  We used to have knock-down, drag-out fights.  We’ve learned that some words, once spoken, are so hurtful that irrevocable damage is done.  We don’t say those words any more. There really is an art to fighting!!

:-D I love this picture!

😀 I love this picture!

Thanksgiving (I don't remember the year)

Thanksgiving (I don’t remember the year)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My sisters will tell you that my DannyO has made me laugh more.  I was the oldest, serious sister.  My children will tell you that their Dad is the hardest working person they know.  So much, that when he finally sits down in the recliner, he is out like a light within five minutes, remote in hand!!

At Kari and Brad's wedding

At Kari and Brad’s wedding

Me and Darling DannyO at Amanda's Wedding

Me and Darling DannyO at Amanda’s Wedding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I fell in love with Daniel Gregory because he was funny, cute, drove a nice truck and treated me like I was his found treasure.  I now know that love, while real, wasn’t the sustaining love needed to live in the real world.

I love Danny now with every fiber of my being because he is the kindest, most faithful, hardest working person I know.  And he still loves me, with everything that goes along with loving me.  I love him more every day.  I also have learned to say those words early and often each day.  Saying “I love you” goes great with breakfast, typed as a text, said when he is so weary at the end of a long day, but he has to go out into the dark and cold on yet another call.

At The beach!!

At The beach!!

Amanda's Wedding 2012

Amanda’s Wedding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Beach!!

The Beach!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above all, I know that there is one person in this whole universe who has my back, is willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with me and, when necessary, pick me up and carry me.

The card I got for him this year says…

“I love looking for you in a crowded place, spotting you at last, catching your eye, seeing you smile, watching you walk my way… In that moment, every other thought drops away.”

“All I’m thinking is, here he is.  Here comes everything I need.”

Christmas party 2013

Christmas party 2013

Permalink 2 Comments

Little Changes… Can Make a BIG Difference

May 11, 2014 at 1:50 pm (Jewelry, Musings...)

I am an empty-nester hermit whose darling hubby works long hours and I am okay with that!!  I’ve written before about my battles with MS, TN and social anxiety.  This latest battle,and a victory if I’m being honest, will make a big difference in my life.

Last week, my blogger friend, Tab, announced that she and her family would have an “unplugged, screen-free” week. (Tab, I miss you and will be glad when you are back).  That got me thinking… I have the television on during the day just for noise.  However, I’ve developed a bad habit, especially when I’m not feeling well. I fritter away good hours just watching mindless television (any Law and Order series and {{Yikes}} shopping channels).

Follow my logical thinking. If I only have a few good hours each day and I spend them watching television, I am not only wasting time, but I am not being a good steward of the days the Lord has given me.

So… I did my own version of “unplugged, screen-free.”  I did not turn the television on until 4:00 p.m. for Judge Judy.  I am usually preparing supper at that time and reasoned it was the natural line of demarcation for me.

What a difference it made!!  My week was filled with fabulous music, wonderful books and some real serious hours of creativity!!!

Instead of watching the Today Show as I drank my coffee and ate my greek yogurt, I opened my Bible, read some verses and spent time in prayer.  Instead of sitting and watching Live with Kelly & Michael, I did one load of laundry each day and spent 30 minutes in my kitchen, cleaning, sorting and organizing.  By the time Ellen came on, I was in my art studio, working on a Dooney & Burke inspired tote and bending wire and stringing beads.

Noon is the usual time my body starts falling apart. Instead of turning on the noon news or Law & Order, I had a good Paleo snack and closed my eyes for 20 minutes or so.  One of the days was very rough and I stayed lying down for a few hours, but I had my iPod set to shuffle and I enjoyed wonderful music as I dozed.  Two days, as the weather was beautiful, I took my walking stick for a walk through the back fields, came home and took a shower before starting supper.

Even as I write this, DannyO is at a call and, instead of watching TV, I am listening to music.

The week went so well that I am going to continue my version of  “unplugged – screen-free!”  Thanks Tab!!!

These are the projects I worked on this week…

The lining for my tote

The lining for my tote

Jewelry-1

A bracelet I designed for my Momma for Mother’s Day.

Jewelry-3

Earrings — these are pretty cool!!

Jewelry-4

“Marissa.” These are aptly named for my son’s girlfriend. They are a new design and I hope she likes them 🙂

This coming week, I hope to deep clean my bathroom and laundry room in those 30 minutes each morning.  Of course, if the Pirates are playing or there is a NASCAR race on, I may have to re-negotiate with myself.  I hope to finish my tote and work on a water color that I’ve had prepped for a few weeks.  I will also blog more because I am not squandering precious time.

 

 

 

Permalink 4 Comments

Tuesday-Shoesday

May 6, 2014 at 5:22 pm (Shoes)

I  bought my very first pair of Toms!!  I wanted the pink glittery ones, but felt that might be a bit too much of… everything.  I followed my cousin, Sara’s advice and ordered them 1/2 size smaller.  They are beautiful!!  I cannot wait to wear them!!

Perfectly pink

Perfectly pink

For real Toms!

For real Toms!

Side view -- love the soles!

Side view — love the soles!

Shoes make me smile!!

Shoes make me smile!!

Permalink 3 Comments