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.



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.


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Brent’s Birthday Tribute to Me

September 7, 2013 at 7:53 pm (Memories, Musings...)

I turned 54 today and celebrated it exactly the way I love to celebrate birthdays…  no big ta-da, just doing the things I love to do.

I slept in and enjoyed a delicious pot of coffee.  I worked on two painted pieces, one Millie piece I am calling “You’re A Masterpiece.”  I also took a long, refreshing shower and washed my growing hair.  I played my newly-tuned piano and worked on a few songs just to try and get my voice back into shape.  I then grilled hamburgers for supper and now darling DannyO and I are watching the NASCAR race and the Pirates’ game.  Both children and my son in law called to wish me a Happy Birthday.  DannyO got me two beautiful cards and some maple sugar candy and an iTunes card.  My real present is plane tickets to go and see Brent in Fort Lauderdale. 🙂  I am planning to go at the end of the month.

Anyway… I woke up and checked my emails and Facebook account and this was on my page.  I had trouble reading it because tears were running down my face, blurring my vision.  I found out a few years ago that Brent has been writing in a journal since he was 10 years old.  He actually hid those for all the years until he started using a computer.

Someday, with his permission, I’d love to read some of them; I think I would… perhaps it is best that I don’t!!

Just for the record, I’m not 27 🙂  I’m 27 x 2 !!

Mom’s 27th Birthday…

September 7, 2013 at 5:56am

Everyone has been through it… that moment when you say the prayer, “Lord, I know I’m as old as my parents when I was just coming into this world, and in your Father’s name, can you spare me the torture that I caused them for the next 27 years!”

Brent's Birthday Tribute-1

… yeah, I’m in that club and we have jackets, and lettermen!  If you read beyond this point, you’re either a family member or naive to the fact that, as boys, we both love our mothers and can’t quite wrap our heads around the concept of ‘don’t do that because…’

Brent's Birthday Tribute-2

Well… Mom… I’m here to tell you that all along, you were right!  I will go to my death bed saying that I had it all figured out, when in fact, I had no idea!  But I’m giving you Facebook credit, which in our day and time, means a lot (Pap would disagree… hand written is always better)! 

 But let me break this down (say aloud)… “I didn’t know that…”:

  1. … laughing at you when Dad wasn’t around to pull the belt would result in a solid, closed-fisted punch to the face.
  2. … mouthing off to you in front of Dad would almost result in a near accidental death, which would have been 100% my fault!
  3. … not cleaning my room would only result in you cleaning it, with a fantastic guilt trip to follow!
  4. … anytime I compared how everyone treated Amanda ‘better than me’ was immediately shot down whenever I actually talked to her, resulting in the following: … “Shut up, you’re Mom’s favorite!”
  5. … I would be your favorite (you’re so sweet mom…. must’ve been the chubby cheeks, and not the labor hours)!
  6. … whenever I was out late, you didn’t actually care about sleep, you only cared that I made it home in one piece (this one took a while).
  7. … the power of prayer was real!
  8. … being your son would bless me with so much!
  9. … something as special as you and Dad could ever exist!

Brent's Birthday Tribute-3

… Mom, you deserve the world and thankfully, Dad realized long ago that you were one heck of a gal and gave you everything you ever wanted!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!! 

Love, Bo

Brent's Birthday Tribute-4

… I know you’re laughing at my hair gel, ha!!!

That was the best gift he could have given me!!  I am going to post a birthday blog tomorrow… the years according to my DMV pictures!!

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Mazie Pearl ~ “She loved. More than anything else, she loved.”

July 23, 2013 at 9:12 pm (Memories)

I honor my Grammy today — she died on the 24th of July, 2009 — by compiling a few thoughts her children and grandchildren shared at her funeral.  I had the privilege to read them. We laughed and cried together that day.  She lived life to the fullest and loved unconditionally.  These are just fragments of the precious memories stored in our minds and shared. If I wrote them all down, this would be the longest blog post on record.  My sister said it best (she quoted a line from a song…) “She loved.  More than anything else, she loved.”

Grammy was a cheerleader!  She also played basketball.

Grammy was a cheerleader! She also played basketball.


The Savering Family

The Savering Family

“Grammy always used the same green/white striped box to wrap birthday presents in… once you opened the box, she wanted it back. She taught me how to tie my shoes by having me tie a shoelace around the arm of her wooden rocker.   We would read together almost everyday before school when I was still in elementary school.  She would read one half of the page, and I would read the other half.  Black Beauty, Where the Red Fern Grows.  You would often find random pics of babies/people on her picture wall that would have things written on them, like ‘this is what Eric looked like as a baby.’  Ruth and Billie Graham were also permanent fixtures on her picture well.  We called them Aunt Ruth and Uncle Billie.”

The kitchen never changed... except that the wall on the right filled up with pictures of people who looked like us -- to clarify, they were not pictures of us, but they looked like us!  :-)

The kitchen never changed… except that the wall on the right filled up with pictures of people who looked like us — to clarify, they were not pictures of us, but they looked like us! 🙂

Grammy's house was always full -- this was HYBA

Grammy’s house was always full — this was HYBA

“I have so many memories of Grammy, she was such an integral part of my life and the cloth of which I have been cut.  In her house were treasures of the past: a clock that chimed on every hour, an upstairs full of things in cubbyholes that I was given glimpses into now and again when I had a ‘need.’ The stale goodies were always split 20 ways like the loaves and fishes to be enough for everyone.  When I got older and would drive and visit her, she would listen to my problems and always say, ‘It will be OTAY.’  She would give me a full arm butt smack as I left.”

Sunday morning church -- whoever was there, went!

Sunday morning church — whoever was there, went!

“Grammy was always so patient and kind, I remember her sweet kisses on my forehead.  She would say that I was Grammy’s girl and always made me feel special.”

Grammy at Goodwill

Grammy at Goodwill

“I remember sitting with her in church and she would hand us dimes, nickels, or even pennies to put in the offering plate.  She would split a piece of gum up in as many pieces as there were grandchildren sitting with her and we each got a sliver.  When I was 14 or so I was singing in church and really messed up the song.  I went to the car and laid in the back seat until church was over.  After church Grammy said, ‘No one would ever know you made that mistake!’ If she knew… everyone knew!!”

The expanding family

The expanding family

“We used to sit for hours on her porch swing and just talk, and watch the birds come to her bird feeder.  She used to play board games with me all of the time.  We loved to play monopoly for days and days and kept it on the card table in the living room.  We played checkers at the table as we drank our sugar laden brown tea and I ate my toast that she made me and cut into 5 thin strips. “

And yet, more grandchildren

And yet, more grandchildren

“She was my best friend in high school. I visited her as much as I could. I didn’t fit in at school, and she would tell me that I was just in the ugly duckling stage and would someday grow to be a beautiful swan.  I would ask her about every year if I had hit the beautiful swan stage yet, and she would say, “Not yet, but you’re getting close!”  She would sit with me around the red-checker tablecloth donned kitchen table, pushing crumbs together with her index fingers as she talked. I find myself cleaning the table like this nowadays…”

Grammy assuming the "football stance pose" to get a good picture.  She usually cut our heads off!

Grammy assuming the “football stance pose” to get a good picture. She usually cut our heads off!

“It was a treat to have Carnation Instant Breakfast at Grammy’s house, since we didn’t buy it at ours.  One always had to remember to use only half of a package to make it last longer.  It was at Gram’s house that I learned to like the taste of Phillip’s Milk of Magnesia… it tasted like chalk!!  Grammy kept it cold in the door of the refrigerator.  I remember wanting to eat some even if I wasn’t sick!”

Sassy :-)

Sassy 🙂

“Going to visit Grammy was always such a fun adventure. I remember… rummaging through the toy box in the front room, reading the same Archie comic books and Mad Magazines over and over and over again, playing Mouse Trap and going to Camp Keystone with the cousins, eating Cheerios out of silver, scratchy bowls, being a bit afraid of the basement except when the uncles were all down there playing pool, swinging on the porch swing, feeling the icy cold air hit me when I sneaked up the attic steps to peek into the small closets, and listening to the adults laugh when I was supposed to be sleeping on the living room floor – especially when Aunt Betty Jo and Uncle Rick were there.  I also remember Grammy’s special way of giving comfort.  One time Aunt Bonnie gave me a home perm which, I am sorry to say, turned out very frizzy and wild.   Grammy tried to make me feel better by saying “your hair really doesn’t look too good, but you have such a pretty face.”  It truly was a joy and privilege to be one of Grammy’s grandchildren.”

Pappy and Grammy -- he was the love of her life!

Pappy and Grammy — he was the love of her life!

“Going to Grammy’s was always a treat, and I loved lunch time.  She ALWAYS made me Cream of Mushroom soup and butter toast, which she cut in 4 squares.  I remember when Brent was really sick as a baby and I went to stay overnight with Grammy and Pappy.  I slept on the couch but woke up frightened late at night.  She quietly hushed me then took station in Pappy’s chair.  She slept there the rest of the night.  Oo… Grammy always made me tea.  And I loved how she always said my name “Mandy.”

Fearless Grammy -- on DannyO's snowmobile

Fearless Grammy — on DannyO’s snowmobile

“Let us not forget the rotating wardrobe of funky polyester pantsuits that were so Grammy!!  I remember the one time I heard a cuss word (well sorta 🙂 )come out of Gram’s mouth.  She was so mad at me because I was mouthing off about something or complaining about something and she all of a sudden yelled, ‘Tough titty said the kitty when the milk ran dry!!!’ and I was shocked speechless…titty was the worst word I ever heard Grammy say in my entire life.”

Grammy and Bonnie

Grammy and Bonnie

“She gave the best kisses (kind of soft).  And she never said an unkind word about anybody.  She was concerned about all the neighbors, and was always running something to the Johnson’s, or down the hill to her friend (was it Margaret, I can’t remember).  She loved all animals.  You could say anything, and she would still love you.  She was as faithful to Sunday church as Papap was to fishing.  She loved Papap very much, even when he was grumpy.  She never forgot a birthday.  You never knew what was in the package, but whatever it was, was wrapped in unconditional love.”

“I remember going to Grammy’s before the prom when I was a sophomore.  She said I looked ‘hot!’”

Grumpy farmer picture!

Grumpy farmer picture!

“Grammy loved all of us as individuals.  In her mind, we could do no wrong.  What a precious saint she is.  I always knew she loved me no matter what.  Even in my ugly duckling stage :). If you ever felt no one was in your corner, don’t be mistaken, Grammy prayed for us all.  I remember walking into her house and catching her praying.  She had her hands folded with her head resting on them.  Her mouth would be moving to the words of her prayer and her old worn bible would be laid open. She has prayed each of us through situations when we didn’t even realize it.”

Me (Melodye) and Grammy -- I loved her so much

Me (Melodye) and Grammy — I loved her so much

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For This Child I prayed.

March 25, 2011 at 10:40 am (Memories)

29 years ago, at 9:54 a.m., the little girl of my heart was born.  She weighed 6 pounds.  I had an easy labor.  My water broke at 10:00 p.m.  My Momma came over and told me not to take a bath (I don’t know why I remember that) 🙂   DannyO (who was riding to Mine #78 with buddies) rushed home.  They hit a skunk.   I only had to push for 2 hours or so.  I broke all the capillaries on my neck and face.

Precious Amanda and her Daddy

We named her Amanda Joy.  She truly given us a lifetime of JOY.  She was a fussy baby.  People would come to visit us and then leave because they couldn’t talk over her screaming.  I couldn’t soothe her, but her Daddy could.  He’d hoist her on to his shoulder, her belly on his shoulder blade and walk and walk and walk.

Enjoying Cake at Meme's

Amanda and Brent

We were singing at the time.  Esther, Aunt Lorraine or Jo would watch her.  She joined us on stage when she was 3.  When she was 5, we had an open sing at Pike.  When it was her time to sing, she stood on the bench and announced loudly for all to hear, “I’m not singing until I’m seven!”  I said, “Okay.”  And that was that!

I have posted many pictures on my FB profile so her friends can see them.  However, some of my favorites are of her singing as a young adult.

Amanda's senior recital

Singing at Libby's wedding

I spent hours and hours making this Rainbow bright costume

Me and Amanda

Amanda Joy Olsavsky ~~ for this child I prayed.

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Happy Birthday To Me

September 7, 2009 at 8:40 pm (Memories)

I am 50 years old today.  It is very hard to wrap my brain around that fact — that I am well beyond the half-way point of my life here on earth.  I am still waiting for the Lord to reveal my next chapter.  I have a few ideas rattling around, but want to be very purposeful (one of Amanda’s favorite words) as I move forward.  Above all else, I want to hear “Well done, faithful servant.” when I meet Jesus face-to-face.


Me at Age 1

Me at Age 1

Sue and Me

Sue and Me

Second Grace

Second or Third Grade




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Hello Again!

August 6, 2009 at 8:42 pm (Memories, Musings...)

I realized today that I have neglected my blog for nearly the past month.  There is absolutely no good reason for the neglect…  except that I’m practicing just “being.”

We’ve established that my OCD can rule my life.  Lists are the thread running through the fabric of my life.  But, I’m trying to change old habits.  It isn’t easy, but I’m learning to let things just sit and rest.

However, to catch you up on the last month of my life, I’m going to make a list 🙂

  1.  Made Pagach (Slovak potato bread) for the first time ever.
  2. Sang a solo at Emmanuel’s Traditional Service ~~ the first time in 6 years that I’ve sung a solo (I had to purchase an accompaniment CD, all I had were cassettes) 🙂
  3. Took a painting seminar — a rooster-fruit trunk.  I am not finished with it, but have been diligently working on it.  It’s beautiful!
  4. Lost 2 pounds (Yay!)
  5. Used my elliptical for 20 out of 30 days (Yay!)
  6. Discovered some really cool verses in Hebrews 12 — texted my darling son to read them also!
  7. Went to hear The Clarks in Somerset with Danny O, Doug and Kimmy.  The Clarks were fabulous!  I downloaded their song, “Cigarette” on my Ipod.
  8. Went to hear The Johnstown Rockers with Danny O, Dave and Shelly.  They were good this time (the last time they weren’t).
  9. Went to see the Pittsburgh Pirates with Danny O, Dave and Shelly — THEY WON!
  10. Went to see a NASCAR race at Pocono Raceway — it was rained out.  Spent 3 hours getting out of the parking lot.  The next time we are going to do some serious tailgating and get a motel so we don’t have to spend 7 hours on the road after a race.  (Thanks, Kayla for the tickets!)
  11. Planned the music for my darling Grammy’s funeral — it was an honor.  She was 92 years old and LOVED Jesus.  I know I will see her again someday!
Grammy 1937 -- her senior year

Grammy 1937 -- her senior year

Grammy and me :-)

Grammy and me 🙂

Whew!!  No wonder I’m so tired!  I guess I need to work a little harder at just “being!”

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Amelia ~~ Amanda

April 20, 2009 at 1:13 pm (Memories, Musings...)

I think the resemblance is remarkable!!


My Grandma, Amelia (Bombach) Gay

My daughter, Amanda Joy

My daughter, Amanda Joy

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Claude Hopper

December 2, 2008 at 6:20 pm (Memories, Musings...)

My sisters and I have been singing since we were we little.  We had a singing group called The Christian Diplomats.  We sang as a group from 1979 until about 1986 or so.  Then life got in the way 🙂


John Lythgoe, Deb, Me, Sue, Mom, Dad~~Me, Mom, Heather, Sue, Dad

When we sang, there was a group called “The Hopper Brothers And Connie.”  Now they are just called “The Hoppers.”  The bass singer’s (and Connie’s husband, I think) name was Claude and he had the most beautiful smile.  He smiled the whole time he sang, the whole time he greeted people… quite frankly we never saw him without the smile. 

I can’t remember how our phrase originated, but I suppose it was during a time we were singing and were crabby.  Someone said, “Just Claude Hopper it.”  That was our cue to smile 🙂

“Claude Hopper” as the expression morphed to become, has filtered through my life.  Most of you who know me well will have heard me say, “Claude Hopper,” as I paste on a smile.

Today, Paul Seymour and I were scurrying though the day, dealing with hyper kids and concerts in two weeks.  At 2:07 p.m. as I wearily trudged back to rehearsal, Paul looked at me and said, “Claude Hopper!”  My smile was already forming!!!

So, with no disrespect to Claude Hopper, actually with great respect for that beautiful smile, when you are feeling like you don’t want to smile, just think…  “Claude Hopper!”  🙂

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Love In Every Stitch

November 25, 2008 at 6:54 pm (Memories, Sewing Projects)

It is never my intention to embarass my children so I have never released (nor have I taken) naked pictures of them as babies.  I think I have pictures with strategically-placed towels, but…  I want them to talk to me. 

However, I will at times post pictures that they may remember or they may wish they DIDN’T remember! 

Halloween was never a big deal at our house as far as decorating went, but I always went all out when it came to their costumes for the Jackson Township Halloween Parade.  My two favorite costumes probably took over 100 hours of sewing labor on my part.  What Amanda and Brent never realized was just how much love was sewed into each costume.  I still have both in my attic.  Every time I declutter, I pause at the boxes…

"Rainbow Bright"

"Rainbow Bright"

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle"

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle"

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Amanda and An Die Musik

November 9, 2008 at 1:42 pm (Memories)

Yesterday, Danny, Brent, Kayla and I drove to Baltimore to see Amanda in concert with Sandy Asirvatham.  We had a long ride, but it was worth it to hear my darling daughter sing.  Until she left for college (Towson), I heard her sing on a regular basis.  I miss that.  I still get nervous for her and help her to hit the high notes and breathe correctly from my seat in the audience!!  I’m sure that makes a difference to her 🙂

I found some pictures documenting her singing and thought I’d share them with you!

Amanda at age 2... upstaging us all!

Amanda at age 2... upstaging us all!

My sister, Heather, me, my Dad and Amanda -- 1996 or 1997

My sister, Heather, me, my Dad and Amanda -- 1996 or 1997



Josh Stock and Amanda "Hymnsong" 2000

Josh Stock and Amanda "Hymnsong" 2000

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