Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Friday, January 30, 2009

On Being a Paramedic

Ok...quick story and then I have something very special for you to read. My childhood friend Jeannie Berry.....moved from Florida to North Dakota when we were teenagers....and we lost track of each other....until a few years ago....we found each other again with the help of the internet. Anyways...she is a paramedic...and wrote an amazing saga about being a paramedic. I thought it was definitely worth sharing it with my readers so here it is:

Hi! The following is my story of working a declared emergency as a paramedic. It is also my new blog on myspace. Hope you get a picture of what it is like for all emergency workers when there is an emergency in your area. Take time to appreciate them all.

I have just finished working a 72 hour shift - most of which was during a time of a declared emergency due to a winter storm. I have to say it was very exciting, but almost scary, at times. The storm came in with ice first - LOTS of ice! Then we had snow, then slush, then ice... through it all, the roads were very slick and, at times, almost impassable. Trees were falling across roads - and on houses - power lines were coming down - yet people still had to get out in their cars to see what was going on. The result was.................... car accidents running out our ears! I would get a call for one and have more coming in before I even finished that one! My partner and I decided we needed to have the power of arrest in times like this. No one was supposed to be on the road anyway, but of course, the ones who think they are an exception and they can do anything because nothing is going to happen to them - they were the ones we were running to. There were so many joyriders going in the ditch and hitting each other and we had to go see if there were injuries and get a refusal - and here the truck is tied up and can't respond to another call that really needed us. We should have been able to arrest them right there! Well... we should have been able to do something! How about the power of citation?I was the only medic in the county for 60 hrs of it, so I was kept hopping! If I was on one of these calls where there was supposed to be injuries... Well, here is an example: I was on one of these calls waaaay out on a mountain and a call came in for a broken back. They had to send a basic crew out with the rescue squad to go up and get him. They got him packed up and tried to bring him down the way they went up and too many trees had fallen. It took them over an hour to find a way to get him down and to the truck. By then I was free of the accident scene and was waiting for them. If these "stupid" people had stayed home I would not have been at a joyriders accident and I would have been available to go up with the squad and get him.We drove over trees, through trees, under trees so low and ice laden that I think the truck even ducked to try to make it. Over power lines and under them so low that I actually felt the truck cringe when they scraped the top. We crawled along mud tracks with the rescue units cutting a way for us through the fallen trees. I was at an accident scene - again a joyrider - when a tree almost fell on me. Well, not real close - but close enough! It scared me. I refused to look up because if I was going to get hit, I didn't want to see it coming since there was nothing I could do about it anyway. I figured if God determined it was my time and He chose a tree to take me home, I just didn't want to know about it first.With no electric we had trouble finding fuel, food was hard to find... no lights or heat at the station (not that we really got to see it), our radios were out and I was the only one with a working cell phone so that was our contact with dispatch.I ended up with a 5 yr old who couldn't breathe and I had to be taken in by the rescue unit amphious vehicle, a diabetic emergency, 2 chest pains, a serious cardiac dysrhythmia, a broken back (fell 30 feet out of tree he was cutting limbs out of), a broken hip, abdominal pain (again taken in by rescue),... there was more - and the myriad of car accidents. You get the picture by now, I guess.I think if I had any doubts as to whether this was what I should be doing, I sure have none now. I am glad I was working during this time. I enjoyed every minute of it and to know I was there during a time of crisis is a feeling I can't explain.We don't get the recognition that fire and police get - and that is okay. I don't do it for recognition. The thing is... you may not hear much about us but if you need us - we are there! I am proud to be a paramedic!


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Jesus Loves Me This I Know

I am struggling right now....not with my faith....but with my dad's and aunt's illnesses. Yet, no matter how hard I try to struggle....I seem to struggle in vain. When I am perfectly content to wallow in despair....Jesus seems to pick me up and dust me off and make me move again....and it happened this week too. I was having a good pity party on my way to Waverly on Sunday.....singing songs with the radio and just crying my heart out. God must have told Frank....because he preached a sermon on Sunday about following Jesus that nailed everyone of my toes....yet, from the sounded so easy...but, many times it isn't....especially for me. I am one of the hardheads.....but he did tell a story that I thought some of you could relate too so I am going to paraphrase it for you.

"There was a little girl who had a very large collection of dolls heaped on her bed. A guest in her room one day asked her, "Do you love your dolls?" Then with tender loving care she spread out the whole collection for the guest to inspect and admire. The guest asked her, "Which doll do you love the most?" The little girl hesitated, then said, "Promise not to laugh if I tell you?" The guest promised. She picked up a ragged doll with a broken nose, who hair was missing, and one arm and leg were missing. "This is the one." "Why?" the visitor asked. "Because if I don't love this one nobody else would."

How poignant is this is a story that screams out to us to love the ones in this world that no body else will love. Jesus calls us to reach out to the lonely, to the hungry, to the sick, to the ones in prison, to the disabled, to the forsaken, to the needy, to all the people who need to hear that someone does indeed love them.....and that somebody is Jesus. Wow...what a powerful thought. So, tonight when you sign off to go to bed....pray for the less fortunate....and pray for yourself that you can reach out to those who are them.....and exemplify Christian love. God Bless You All Real Good.

Six Random Things About Me

Leigh at Bloggeritaville posted a meme and instead of tagging people, she left it open for anyone who wanted to tell six random things about themselves. I wanted, so here it is. :)

The rules are quite simple. 1. Link to the person who tagged you.2. Post the rules on your blog.3. Write six random things about yourself and things that make you happy.4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.5. Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

1. I sing, and since the age of 6 have actually sung to two sitting American Presidents. When I was in the second grade our elementary school actually sang for President John F. Kennedy in West Palm Beach, FL. My junior year in high school I sang for President Richard M. Nixon.

2. In 1992 I was on a game show called Top Card. I actually won the first two days. I learned a valuable lesson....winning is not all it is cut out to be. Taxes on my prizes were killer.

3. I have hang glided.....ONCE. I thought I was going to die and promised God if he would help me land safely I would never do it again.

4. When I was 18 I wanted to be a powder puff demolition derby or funny car driver.

5. I love Christmas ornaments. I could look at them 365 days a year. I have actually collected them since I was young.

6. I surfed, on a long board, until I was 22 years old.

Like Leigh, I don't think I will tag anyone. If you should decide to take the challenge just let me know so I can pop in and read your thoughts. Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ode to Edna Rivers Duggar

I was part of the Sunbelt Writers Project during the summer of 1992. It seems like a bizzillion years ago....and I guess in the grand scheme of things it was. It has been 17 years. I was cleaning out a closet at school and found our complilation of writings. Several of mine made me smile....a couple made me laugh out loud....but the following one....left me feeling odd. I wrote about a lady in the cemetary, from the information on her tombstone....someone I never met....and yet...I hope someday someone will be able to speak so of me.

Edna Rivers Duggar


My life was like a book, each day a different page. The daily doings that I lived were my expressions found in my poetry and my canvas creations.

I met my husband in Auburn. We were both just starting out. We courted through our education, burning our candles at both ends. We married soon after graduation and began our life's journey together. I vowed to stay his wife until death....and death had the final say.

My life was so full of love and beauty that I couldn't keep it all inside so I started to write it all down and share it. A friend once read a poem I had written for my child. We sent it off to New York and a reluctant author I became. I put my whole life on canvas and page. I bared my sould for all to see.

At my death lives a legacy, left inside my friends, the book and the painting. They made my life full.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

True or False - It Does Not Matter, The Moral is the Lesson.

I am a school teacher and this year I had for the first time a child I just could not seem to love....or to be honest....even like. I was at my wits end by the end of the first week of school when I realized that for eighteen weeks I would have to share breathing space with this student. During the third week of school I got an email from a friend...I had recieved this one before....but as I began to read it....I realized that Jean Thompson and I had a lot in common. I snoped this story and did some other research on its validity....because I did not want to be Jean Thompson....I was perfectly content to not like this student.....and everywhere I looked the results were the same....the story was NOT was false....but was it? Sure, there may never have been a teacher named Jean Thompson....who had a Teddy Stoddard....but does that really make the story false? I am sure there are teachers all over the world who can compare themselves with Jean Thompson.....and I am sure there are students in every school that could have been Teddy Stoddard. I was living proof of that. After my students left that day....I too cried. I had judged someone unfairly.....oh I teach high school, so I did not get a bottle of this kids mom's perfume....and a broken bracelet....but I did learn a valuable lesson the day I truly read this story. I am a teacher of children. They don't all smell good, they don't all come from perfect homes, they don't all have a mom and dad at home with a warm supper waiting for them and parents to help them with their homework....BUT....they all have wonderful stories that God has provided them....and I can be the kind of teacher that makes them feel special......or I can be the one they never forget because I bruised their developing egos. I decided on that day....during the third week of school that I want to be the teacher who makes them feel special. I bowed my head in my room and asked God to open my heart to the students in my room....and let me love them as they were.....because He loves me....inspite of all my flaws. I want you to read the story today....and even if you are not a have an impact on people's lives whether you believe it or not. I urge you today....think before you act.

Jean Thompson stood in front of her fifth-grade class on the very first day of school in the fall and told the children a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at her pupils and said that she loved them all the same, that she would treat them all alike. That was impossible because there in front of her, slumped in his seat on the third row, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard. Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed he didn't play well with the other children, that his clothes were unkempt, that he constantly needed a bath, and that Teddy was unpleasant. It got to the point during the first few months that she would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then marking the F at the top of the paper biggest of all. Because Teddy was a sullen little boy, no one else seemed to enjoy him either.At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's records and put Teddy's off until last. When she opened his file, she was in for a surprise.His first-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright, inquisitive child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners - he is a joy to be around."His second-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent student well-liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle."His third-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy continues to work hard but his mother's death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best but his father doesn't show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken."Teddy's fourth-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class. He is tardy and could become a problem."
By now Mrs. Thompson realized the problem but Christmas was coming fast. It was all she could do, with the school play and all, until the day before the holidays began and she was suddenly forced to focus on Teddy Stoddard.Her children brought her presents, all in beautiful ribbon and bright paper, except for Teddy's, which was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper of a scissored grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle of perfume that was one-quarter full. She stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume behind her wrists.Teddy Stoddard stayed behind just long enough to say, "Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my mom used to."After the children left she cried for at least an hour.On that very day, she quit teaching reading, and writing, and speaking. Instead, she began to teach children. Jean Thompson paid particular attention to one they all called "Teddy."As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. On days there would be an important test, Mrs. Thompson would remember that cologne. By the end of the year he had become one of the smartest children in the class, and well, he had also become the "pet" of the teacher who had once vowed to love all of her children exactly the same.
A year later she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that of all the teachers he'd had in elementary school, she was his favorite.Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still his favorite teacher of all time. Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs.Thompson she was still his favorite teacher.Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still his favorite teacher but that now his name was a little longer. The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, M.D.
The story doesn't end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he'd met this girl and was to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering...well, if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the pew usually reserved for the mother of the groom.Guess what, she wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing, and I bet on that special day, Jean Thompson smelled just like... well, just like the way Teddy remembered his mother smelling on their last Christmas together.

THE MORAL: You never can tell what type of impact you may make on another's life by your actions or lack thereof. Consider this fact in your venture through life. Please think before you act. Things are not always as they appear to be.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Lunch Date Blouse GIVEAWAY!!!!

The Lunch Date Blouse GIVEAWAY!!!!

OMG have you got to check out this blog site. This girl makes some absolutely fantastic items....and this lunch date blouse is to die for. If you are a little different in your dress will love the boots too....and she got them at an estate that is my kind of shoe shopper!

Happy Anniversary

Today is my 6th wedding anniversary....I know you are asking yourself six years?....someone your age should have a good 30+ under their belt. I could probably boast of that if I combined the total of two marriages. I was married almost 25 years the first time.....and to be honest...should have quit at 1....but didn't. I am from the old school where you stayed married til death do you part....and for some odd reason...neither of us seemed to give it up and I stayed until my youngest graduated from high school. Now, I am not saying Ronnie was not a good man....he was.....he just wasn't the man for me. He was not a family kind of guy....he was more interested in his stuff....and not so much in ours.....Frank, my current husband, is a truly great guy. He is not only my husband....but he is my friend. He listens to me, makes it right when things are wrong....holds me when I cry.....loves my kids (that is a big plus), but the biggest plus about Frank is....that he not only let....but insisted that my parents come to live with us when their health began to fail. Believe me....that is cause for a Super Hero award. My mom is not the easiest person in the world to deal with, yet Frank in and day out. If I had jewels I would give them all to him.....but I am sure God is watching from up above...and has started a bank account in his name.

Frank is the pastor at Waverly United Methodist not only is he my husband, my love, my friend....he is also my pastor. I am filled with such pride each Sunday as I sit in a pew on the second row and listen as he delivers the message. I love watching him study for Sunday. Last week before my dad went into the hospital for a minor surgical proceedure....I was actually electrified by him as he annointed my dad with oil and prayed over him. Wow...what a feeling!

Frank is fun to go places with....I love going shopping with him...and just holding his hand....because he holds my hand like I am a precious thing he does not want to lose. After six years....and past the age of 50 it amazes me daily.....we kiss each other good morning, good-bye, goodnight....say I love you multiple times daily....he calls me punkin.....and still makes my heart flutter when he reaches out for my hand. He is truly my soulmate and I love him dearly. I thank God each day for bringing him into my life. Today, January 26th....I am truly a blessed woman....and I feel special. Have a Happy Monday!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Kat Tale - The End - Or Is It?

...I stand amazed every time I look at the legs of my child. I saw them at their worst, and I now see them as they become the very best they can be. There is still a slight discoloration on her legs. The spots look like huge strawberry birthmarks. The skin itself is as soft as a baby's skin and as smooth as silk. The sun is still a major nemesis and we must watch the time of day that Kathryn is out in full sun exposure. This time next year I hope that all that will remain on her legs is just memories. But whatever remains I will not complain. My daughter is alive today and bears but a few scars of what could have been but wasn't thanks to the prayers and quick actions of so many.

Labor Day weekend Kathryn returned to the place of the accident. Three months had passed and she felt ready to face her fear of Wind Creek State Park, so she attended a church-wide picnic. She handled it with the grace and style that she has handled the whole ordeal with. I am proud of her. Throughout the whole experience, I witnessed a fourteen year old handle things that many adults would never be able to handle. I watched a child blossom into the full bloom of young womanhood....and I was amazed at the beauty and grace that she possessed. God definitely has been the author of this tale....because of his omniscience and his constant love......this story doesn't end.....only one chapter is over. This story is just beginning and if I know God....this story is bound to be a best seller. Rock on Kat!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Kat Tale 3

...We arrived at our designated time and Kathryn had taken her medication thirty minutes earlier. I didn't want her falling asleep in the car, or in the waiting room. I wouldn't have to worry because the medication would barely deaden the pain of what was to occur. The therapist led us into a curtain drawn room and had Kathryn slip into a hospital gown before slipping into the whirlpool. The whirlpool was barely warm, but the water stung Kathryn's legs as it aggitated around the wounds. Just as Kathryn was adjusting to the aggitating water, the therapist came in and began the debriedment process. Gently, Rona took a sterile bandage and began to remove the blistered skin and the burn ointment remnants. It was agonizing for Kathryn, and for me, as I held her and listened to her scream and cry. Once Rona had removed all of the loose skin she carefully dried Kathryn's legs and dressed the wounds. Exercise was important, but could not be too strenuous. Riding a bicycle for two minutes was the course of action recommended by the therapist. The days that followed were all filled with the same schedule: we woke; we waited to go to therapy; we drove to therapy; we had therapy; we picked up Kathryn's best friend, Jill, after therapy; we ate lunch at Burger King or McDonalds; we went home; we recouperated from the ordeal. Each day the therapist would undress the legs, check the burns carefully, debried during the whirlpool bath, redress, and send us home. The days became weeks and the schedule became a way of life. Our whole summer was centered around therapy and the avoidance of sunlight. Wal-Mart became our refuge. It was one of the few places that Kathryn could walk around and not get too tired.

After many days of whirlpool therapy, the head therapist checked the legs and decided that special stockings would be required to keep down the building of scar tissue. We would have to come back the next week to be measured because a special measuring kit was required. I hit my knees one more time and talked with the God who had become my best friend during this stressful time. Whatever His will was to be concerning the stockings would be alright with me, but I needed to make sure exactly what His will was.

The next week we returned and the therapist assistant was amazed at the marked difference in Kathryn's legs. There was very little raised scaring at all, even where the discoloration was most evident. She ran her hands over the legs again and again with amazement at the miracle she was experiencing. Kathryn and I winked at each other because we knew where this miracle came from. Too many prayers had been going up on her behalf for them to go unheard. Rona, the assistant, called the head therapist back from lunch to see the legs. Dr. Harrow was paged within the hospital to come and see the legs. Everyone was checking the legs and marveling at the improvement. Dr. Harrow was so impressed that he released us from therapy and decided that he wanted only to see us once more before school started. With this joyous news we walked happily out of the Physical Therapy Dept. and headed straight to Wal-Mart to share our good news with the employees who had come to be our friends during this ordeal.

August 15th, Kathryn and I sat in Dr. Harrow's office for our last visit. He carefully examined her legs. His gentile hands brushed over the discolored areas in amazement. "I expected her to heal, " he said, "but never this rapidly." We told him that we expected no less because God answers prayers and Kathryn is a personal witness to this fact. Our God is an Awesome God!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Kat Tale Part 2

...I tried and tried to get my mother, who was in Albany, GA for the weekend, but was unsuccessful. The mother in me wanted to be mothered....needed to be mothered. About six that night I caught them as they walked into their house. Small talk eluded me, so I dropped the bomb and heard the connection break between us as the hum of the line replaced our voices.

Prayers continued. People heard the news and came. Kathryn slept. With the help of the medication the weekend slid by with ease for her. She needed to rest because the hard part for her was just beginning. Sunday and Monday we returned to the ER for dressing and debriedment(removal of the dead skin). Sunday was hard for us all. We had to take turns being with her for support as the treatment process took place. I lasted no more than ten minutes, Ronnie lasted even less. My cousin, Amanda, who is a nurse, was a real blessing. On Monday I felt at peace, so I stayed in the treatment room the entire time they were dressing her legs. Tuesday we had to see our regular doctor. Dr. Harrow was quasi-optimistic as he touched, sniffed, and then dressed Kathryn's legs. A million questions ran through my mind. Would there be scars? Would they be grotesque scars? How long would her legs take to heal? Dr. Harrow finished his examination and turned to face me. His comments left me feeling hopelessly hopeful. In his calm, reassuring voice Dr. Harrow shot straight from the hip. "Karen and Kathryn, I won't lie to either of you, this is bad. There is a great deal of damage, but Kathryn is young and the young heal faster than someone older. There may be some scaring and there may not be. Hopefully the burned areas will fade, but it will take a long time. Kathryn is such a fair-skinned individual. She will have to be kept out of all sunlight for the rest of the summer and you will really have to watch her sun intake for a long time. Anytime she goes out into the heat, protextion will be a must. You are one lucky young lady, Kathryn. I know you don't see this now, but in time, you will definitely see how fortunate you are." Dr. Harrow felt that physical therapy was a definite plus, so he scheduled us for ten days of whirlpool therapy and wanted to see us at the end of the ten day period to decide a further course of action. We left the office quietly. Kathryn and I had wanted Dr. Harrow to tell us that this would be better soon, and we didn't exactly get what we wanted.

When we got home I called the Physical Therapist to make an appointment for our first visit. The Therapist told me to make sure that Kathryn was well medicated when we came because the treatments would be very painful at first. I would not understand the full impace of these words until the next afternoon when we showed up for our bath and dressing....

Monday, January 19, 2009

Take A Chance On Me.

I am a follower of a great website called the Happy Daisy. She is giving away gorgeous necklace. If you would like a chance to win this necklace please stop by her website at for a visit! You won't be sorry you took the time I promise you.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I Am Black Coffee - NOT!

I took a quiz today on what kind of coffee are you. I would venture to say it was wrong....I am not a huge coffee drinker. I drink it when I am in the mood, driving at night, or cold and then must lace it with whatever I can find to take the bitter taste away....YUCK! French Vanilla and Hazelnut are the creamers of choice.....BUT....according to the little quiz I took....I am black coffee because at my best, I am: low maintenance, friendly, and adaptable. At my worst, I am: cheap and angsty. I drink coffee when: I can get my hands on it, My caffeine addiction level: high. That last part is probably true....I start my day with a cold diet coke....not a cup of coffee. I don't see me as Black Coffee....I see me as a Caramel Machiato....from Starbucks. LOL. So, taking a swig of coffee from my cup Bill Buchannon made me....I salute you all this morning. Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Be Thou My Vision

One of my other favorite songs is an Irish one written by Dallen Forgaill entitled Be Thou My Vision. I love Irish music....I love the flute sound, I love the fiddle sound, I love all the celtic goodies they can pack into the song....and yes...Michael Flatley and River Dance rocks my world. I wish I could dance that way....with so much passion and emotion....but alas....I was given a voice....not rhythm. I dance like an orangutan who has had too much caffeine. Back to the subject at hand. Be Thou My another one of those minor chord songs I adore so much....but it goes ever so much deeper than that....the words of this song could be my prayer, my mantra, everything I believe....or want to believe about being a Christian. I am a teacher and within the confines of education....we are always looking for a vision.....or a mission statement. The words that follow....are my personal mission statement.....

"Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;

Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.

Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,

Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;

I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;

Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;

Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,

May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!

Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,

Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all."
Dal­lan For­gaill (translated from the Irish byMa­ry E. Byrne, Versified by El­ea­nor H. Hull)

As I sat here tonight and pondered these words and held them dear to my heart I decided to plug in my IPOD and listen to 4HIM's version of the song. I love it because they modulate between verses and three people sing is so powerful. There is nothing I love more than writing with music playing in my head....and in my heart. The power and majesty of the words come swelling forth....Be Thou My vision....O Lord of my heart. Thou my best thought by day and by night......waking or sleeping thy presence my light.....I have to can someone not believe in anyone....who is the best thought you have all day.....whether you are awake or asleep....we should all keep our eyes focused on Him.....the Ruler of all. Amen and amen. Next time you hear this song.....or do it in church....don't just listen to the tune....listen to the words.....and understand the depth. Praise the Lord....He is my true and forever.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Come, Ye Sinners

I am a weirdo for sure. When I was a child one of my favorite hymns was probably one of the most solemn in the whole Methodist hymnal. It contains minor chording...which to me is the mark of a good song. The hymn I am referring to is entitled, "Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy."

The first verse and chorus are what always seem to touch my heart the most because when I am at the bottom of the barrel of despair they seem to come lilting through my mind until I find myself singing them fervently....and out loud. The verse and chorus go:

"Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and pow’r.
I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
Oh, there are ten thousand charms."
Are these not the most powerful words you have ever heard? Can you believe what you have just heard? If we come to does not matter if we are sick, poor, weak, needy, sore, wounded, pitiful....He is standing there, calling to save us....and still...there are so many of us out there who do not rise and go to Him. What are you waiting for? I am not saying life gets easier....but it certainly does get a lot more secure. You know from past blogs what I am up against with my father....and believe me....I could not do this without God on my side. I am a big ole daddy's girl....and if I had to face this alone....I would just as soon stick my head in a hole and let life pass me by. But I don't have to. Matthew 11;28 tells us to "Come to me, all you who are troubled and weighted down with care, and I will give you rest." On this cold and very sad Friday night.....I am going to take my God up on this and let Him carry my load. God bless you all tonight. K

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Kat Tale Part I

Ok, while I am on my woeful journey I thought I would share another story I wrote about my daughter....It happened one Memorial Day Weekend. I have actually got this one in the works for I am going to do it in parts. Todays the beginning of a long road back. Sit back and relax. You are in for a long haul.

The telephone rang in the car and Dale answered it, "Ronnie, it's Eric, for you," he called out in his thick New Jersey accent. I felt a cold chill grab at my heart. Ronnie came in with a twisted look on his face and told me to get my purse and go for a ride with him. I did as I was told. I knew better than to argue. His face told me that this was not going to be a pleasure ride. The car flew past the familiar and I finally asked the question I did not want the answer to. "How bad is it?" My shakey voice was deliberate, yet emotion-filled and then he replied, "there was an explosion." "Are they alive?" My husbands response to my question caused me to grasp for my next breaths...."I don't know."

I closed my eyes as we crossed the river bridge and began praying for strength, grace, and a miracle. We squealed into the Emergency Room parking lot and my son Eric, met me, held me, and told me to be strong. I was confused yet drew strength from my son's arms and tears. I entered the ER Treatment Room and felt my knees buckle when confronted by the sight and smell that met me. My youngest daughter, Kathryn, had taken the full impact of the explosion. My child, my heart, lay face down on an emergency room table and her legs......her beautiful legs grotesquely stared at me as I entered the door. The smell of burnt flesh and hair penetrated my brain and the nurse softly shoved me past the legs to the face of a terrified little girl. I had seen this face before when storms had awakened her in the middle of the night and she would seek refuge in the comfort of our bed. I smiled a watery smile into the eyes of this being that I had brought into this world nearly fourteen years ago. She knew it was bad. I knew it was bad. We knew we would have to trust each other.

Leaning down close to her ear I whispered an emotional, "I love you Munchkin" and then the nurse told me I would have to leave so they could work. Outside, in the hallway I searched for my son, his fiancee, my niece, and the two of her friends that were on the boat with Kathryn. They were all hurt. Ugly blisters and angry red patches popped up everywhere and terror filled each little face. We all clung together and waited for news of Kathryn. My pain-filled prayers went up with every breath I took and finally a pleasant numbness clouded my mind.

Everyone I knew was out of town for Memorial Day and I needed prayer power fast, so mustering up what little sanity I had left I called my deacon, David Patterson. The conversation between us was short, and incoherent on my part, yet relieved that prayers had begun, I hung up the reciever. David called the pastor after we ended our call, and both men raced against time to get to the ER.

The nurse came out and told me that Kathryn was asking for me and I could go in and be with her, but I had to be strong. I entered the putrid smelling room once again, rushed straight to Kathryn's head, and began praying over her silently. She reached out and grabbed my hand. I brushed twigs from her hair with my hands. The nurse and doctor worked on. We both grieved in silence.

The nurse and doctor told us what we could expect, equipped us with bandages, medication, and ointments, and with wrapped legs, sent us home with orders to return the next morning. The next 16 hours would be critical for us all, but especially for Kathryn. She would have to be completely bed-bound for the next sixteen hours or swelling could set in and cause the healing process to be hindered. "She might not walk again." the last words the doctor said to me would play over and over in my head all night long.

Rev. Stoner and David helped us transport the six injured ones home. Food and medications were picked up by church members who appeared out of nowhere. The congregation of Wayside Baptist definitely showed us the definition of stewardship and Christian love. People popped in and out all evening and five of the six relived the tale several times, called out-of-state parents, and cried. We all cried - outwardly. Kathryn, bless her heart, slept. Her crying was done in the form of moans that escaped from her morphine-induced nightmares.

Stay tuned for Part II

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Big C

Today I sat in a doctor's office at the Cancer Center with my parents and heard the big C used. I felt my knees become jelly. I wanted to do like I did as a child and hold my hands over my ears and hum loudly....til the doctor talking was quiet....but that did not happen. Instead I found myself writing down everything he said so I would know. I had to know. My father has cancer! He has a tumor on his right lung. They are going to put gold markers (fiducial markers) in his lung so they can track the mass. He will be going through chemotherapy and radiation for at least five weeks. We have done the radiation thing before when he had prostate cancer three years ago....It was not a big deal....the worst thing that happened....was he looked like he had been laying in the sun tooooo long. I mixed up a special lotion concoction to make the skin not itch as much. It worked....prostate cancer was a breeze. This round involves the other word....chemo. That word sends chills up and down my spine. Chemo....loss of hair, loss of appetite, loss of energy. Chemo....the big green monster....the cancer killer. I have to saddens me that my father has to do this....I am lucky though that he has such a good doctor....and has such a strong walk with God. He has the Great Physician....and a great physician....on his side. What more can I ask for? I sit here at my computer right now and know that whatever the outcome of this God will be with us all as we face this challenge. I am proud of myself at the moment. I just talked with my daughter about my dad's appointment....and neither of us cried like banshees......I am so glad to have such a great shoulder to lean on. Thank you God for your blessings on me......and bless you all today!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

58 Years With the Same Man.

My parents will soon be celebrating their 58th wedding anniversary. I am the only living product of this example of longevity and I have looked at them many times and wondered how they did it. My first marriage lasted over 20 years.....only because I could not stand the thought of failing.....and then one day I snapped and could not take it anymore....and there I was....47 and single again. I ventured out once more and married Frank.....I adore him and he is a good man (my parents have lived with us since 2005.....he is not just a good man....he is a saint in the making.) Yet, I cannot imagine being married to the same person.....for 58 years. I sat down with my parents one night and asked them what it was that they did that made marriage work for them and they gave me a lot of suggestions. My parents have always been had an intimate relationship with each other.....of course you don't want to hear that about your parents....but my mom went on to say that it had to be both sexual and emotional...and they always found ways to spark a little passion in life and for each another. They never went to bed angry.....they always would find a way to forgive each other. Now mind was usually my dad doing the forgiving most of the mom is a pistol ball....and my dad is one of the most laid back people in the world. He is a delight to be around. She on the other hand....can be a handful....she is fiery at times. Once my parents ended a fuss....and forgave each other....they forgot it....truly forgot it. I have never heard them throw something up from their pasts.....I have always thought that was amazing.
They have always shared a spirit of commitment...The neat thing is that they not only love one another, they also like one another. He is her best friend. All throughout my life I have witnessed them having fun with each other.....(like dancing to the Teaberry Shuffle at the mall....mortifying for me as a 13 year old....but sweet now that I am a 50 something._ They have always been there to be a comfort to each other....I don't know how they would have made it through the death of my brother without it...they are such encouragers, and always seemed to know how to affirm each others faith, dreams, career. My mother never really worked when I was a child....she was always able to be independent....when she wanted something extra....she would get a job. They have always respected each others space and I find that my mother is a bit smothering where my dad is concerned.....but he takes it in drives me nuts! When I was growing up....they parented together.....I could never pull something off on one...because they were a team. They dealt with crisises in our lives matter how painful....they just handled them. I grew up wanting to marry a man just like my dad.....sad to say....they don't make them like that anymore. Frank is the closest thing I have found. My mom and dad loved each other for who they were, what they were, and how they were....and never tried to change the other one....(that one is a tough one for me....I would have been in their fighting for change all along....that is the radical in me I guess.) The best thing my parents do is still hold is the sweetest see old couples holding hands. I love to hold Frank's hands....Frank has reassuring hands....his hands are so powerful....hands in general fascinate me(that and babies feet).....I hope when I have old hands....Frank is still holding on to them.....I hope I learned something from the ancients.....and know how to make a marriage least 50 years.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Mark of a True Friend

"A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words." - unknown

In my life I have many degrees of friends. I have friends who have passed through my life during some high school, college, raising kids, Boy Scouts, sports, etc... and I have had friends who have only been my friends a short while....yet it seems like they have always been there. I have a friend that I have known for over 40 years and we only see each other about once a year....yet when we are is like no time has passed. We pick right up where we left off. She is like a comfortable shoe...and I know (and hope she does too) that no matter what happens....she is as close as a phone. I have work friends, church friends, music friends, singing friends, they come in all sizes and shapes.....but they are my friends and that is what makes them special to me.

At work, I have friends that I sing for, have coffee with, hug when they need it, blog with, and run around with. I read books they recommend, I drink coffee they suggest, I eat sugar cookies and tea cakes they make, I love these guys. They are good friends.

I have friends at church that I attend Sunday School with, raised children with, shared hurts and joys with, sing with, attend Bible Studies with (some of them know so much about me....that if they ever became not my friend I would have to kill them....just kidding). I have a special group I even did Beth Moore's Breaking Free with and shared stuff....I didn't even know myself. I have some friends there who know that if anything ever happens to Frank....they are to NEVER let me get married again.....and they will follow through....I know this. I also know I can call many of any time of the night or day....and they will pray for me....hold me however they can. There is a very special group....called the Praise Band....that is a group of friends that are almost like family.....we have been together for ten years and there is a bond there that is so very strong. I love them all. Rhonda and Rita are my special friends. I feel like family with both of them. I know they will pray for me....and that they love me....and I them....Rhonda's mom died Jan. 2nd....and her one request of us at the hospital was to bring her mom back....if I could have....I would have moved heaven and earth to do that for her....THAT is what a friend see....I do know Rhonda's song....and while she is hurting....I will keep singing it for her.....til she can sing it on her own.

I have friends from my days in Florida. I still stay in contact with them....and am close....yet know we are different....because we have walked different paths. It is ok....and they are still friends....just a different kind.

I have several friends that I love like family. One of them I refer to as my sister from another mother....she grew up as a military brat....I was a native Floridian....but the commonalities in our lives are interesting. I actually kind of favor her a strange sort of way. She is my soulmate for sure. I have two singing partners I love like of them is family....she is my first cousin....but more like my sister.....we have a history.....her dad...and my brother died the same she and her sisters became my siblings....and my dad....filled in the void for her missing father. Rebecca....just fit right into my life. She is a dear sweet person and I have loved sharing paths with her for the past several years. I can't imagine life without these people in it.

My daughter Kathryn is my friend. I can't imagine life without her in it. She can make my darkest day seem like a dream. Music is important in our of my biggest kicks is to be listening to the radio and call her when the song "The Mighty Quinn" comes on.....just as it gets to the part...."but when Quinn the Eskimo gets here everybody's gonna jump for joy." We both will giggle like school girls....tell each other we love the other....and the conversation to me....that is the mark of a true friend.....someone you can be idiotic with. I have made many trips with Kat and her husband Brian and remember every detail....they were awesome trips....and was a key element. When I lose my song.....Kat knows exactly where I left off....and if she doesn't....if it is a Whitney Houston song....Brian has my back. Talk about lucky to not only love your child....but like her too!

My life has a lot of music in the quote using friends and songs....seemed like a perfect fit for me. I have those kinds of friends. I am a fortunate one. I have people in my life....who will not let me stuggle alone...they will be there to pick up my pieces and sing my song back to me.....when I can't remember how it went.....that is friendship.....that is a blessing!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Death Through the Eyes of a Child.

I was eight years old when my brother died. He was five almost six. It is this time of year that seems to bring out memories of that period in my see he died January 5th.....10 days after Christmas......sixteen days before his sixth birthday. I learned at a very early age how death affects people....I am a victim of it. I actually suffer PTSS (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) because of it....even 54. Why?....well I believed it was my fault that he see....I got a bike for Christmas.....and had spent many hours burning up the roads in our neighborhood since Christmas Day.....but on that fateful Jan 5th....Dougie and I were playing in the backyard....he was swinging on a rope swing in the ficus tree....and I was attaching playing cards to the spokes of my bike...."Push me....please.....push me" he kept saying....and I would stop, push him again, and go back to the cards......when I finished I got on my bike to go ride with my BFF Carol. She had gotten a bike too....and lived two doors down.....pleading from the backyard....Dougie cried again...."Push me....Push me.....I hate you......I'm gonna tell." From my mouth came words I have wished a million times over I could take back....."Drop dead!"......Carol and I rode for a while....and then slipped back to my house through the backyard cut through.....just as we broke through the bushes....I saw Dougie....playing strange on the rope swing....and Chipper talking to my mom at our backdoor....and my mom's face contorting as she and my dad came running outside....somebody called the fire dept....they were there in was an ambulance....but it was too brother had accidentally hung himself on the rope swing....I was scared....and so was we ran back to her parents went somewhere....I did not know where....but when they came back....they did not have Dougie with them...and they were both very sad. Friends of my parents brought us food....and took me away to spend the night.....I did not understand it then....I thought I was being sent away....because of what I did.....the first viewing was in Florida.....and we were hidden behind a screen....I could hear people crying loudly on the other was frightening.....the second viewing and the funeral itself was in Alabama.....more people crying....more people taking me brother....was asleep in a box....and he was cold. I did not sleep for two days....I just knew that they would all find was my fault.....and they would send me away for I stayed silent. We returned home....a wounded family. My mom sat at the table all day.....and smoked and played solitaire. I returned to school and my dad to work...and the world went on.....I tried to become my fathers son. I fished with him....I did everything a son would do.....and tried to be the best at it. One day when we were fishing off the BeeLine....I began to cry....and told my dad it was my fault.....if I had just stayed in the yard....Dougie would be fishing with him right dad held me....and cried with me....and said...if that were the was his fault....he tied the knot. The relief that flooded me when I realized it was not my fault....was indescribable. I was innocent....I didn't do it. I grew up....became a Christian....and learned....about God.....growing a tree for His own son to die learned that death does not conquer us....because we are victorious through the blood of Christ.....yes, I still get a little mellow at this time of the year.....but I Savior lives....and he calls me to come....and He gives me rest. So tonight I say...."O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" (1 Cor.15:55)....Not here! Bless you tonight. K

Friday, January 9, 2009

Where Are You Going?

I love road trips. I have not been on a long one in a while, gas has been a bit high but I love them just the same. Did you know that the first paved road was seven and a half miles long and six feet wide and built in Egypt....It was made from slabs of I'll bet it would have made the same sound the road in Waverly, AL makes when you drive on know....duh duh, duh duh, duh duh, duh duh.....da duh duh duh duh duh duh duh.....I love to hear that puts a rhythm in my head that makes me feel good. Ok, so I love road trips....heck....I love trips period. I love packing.....and leaving.....but I also love coming home. All of my most favorite trips involve my daughter Kathryn. When she was about ten the family made a road trip to California....via Las Vegas.....what an experience. We went to Hoover Dam, walked up and down the strip at night and took in all the bright lights....Kat and I sang Viva Las Vegas.....and had a blast. When she was 15 the two of us took off right after the school year ended and headed up to Prince Edward Island.....just to see Lucy Maude Montgomery's house. Kat is a huge Anne of Green Gables fan.....and we had a great time....we stayed in Salem, MA.....and to be was probably the most uncomfortable stay we was there were people not at rest. I don't think I slept all the Seven Gables Inn across the street from the Salem Witch Trial Museum. I was glad when we pulled out of town. The next big one....occurred when Kat was 17. The two of us joined my cousin Amanda and her family and rode 9700 miles of road in 19 days. We had the best time ever. I can't begin to tell you how great this trip to the Pacific Northwest was. Kat graduated that next summer and her trips began to include others. I was sad for a while.....but then I discovered I could still the next thing I knew I was checking out Hawaii....and then England, Ireland, and Wales....and loving 2007 I took some students, my dear friend Mary, my good buddy Marian....and made some new good buddies....and I took Kat to Italy....what a trip....Venice and Florence rocked.....being with Kat and Mary rocked my world. I don't believe any other trip will compare. I love home....but I love seeing the world too....there is so much of it and so little time....I want life to be filled with adventures.....and explorations.....and when I draw my last breath....know that I have enjoyed it all. Happy Trails. K

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I Wish You Enough!

My pastor and friend Bill Etheridge wrote a small column in our Cornerstone this week and it inspired me to share it with you. I have included a copy of the story he shared because I think that it is a great way to start off a new year.

What is enough?

Recently I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport. They had announced the departure. Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the mother said "I love you and I wish you enough." The daughter replied, "Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Mom." They kissed and the daughter left. The mother walked over to the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see she wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on her privacy but she welcomed me in by asking, "Did you ever say goodbye to someone knowing it would be forever?” "Yes, I have," I replied. "Forgive me for asking but why is this a forever goodbye?” "I am
old and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is – the next trip back will be for my funeral,” she said. "When you were saying goodbye, I heard you say 'I wish you enough.' May I ask what that means?" She began to smile. "That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone." She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail and she smiled even more. "When we said 'I wish you enough' we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them." Then turning toward me she shared the following as if she were reciting it from memory -- I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright. I wish you enough rain
to appreciate the sun more. I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive. I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger. I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting. I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess. I wish you
enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye. She then began to cry and walked away.
After I read this story I thought about all the times I have hugged a child goodbye, or my parents, and just assumed that I would see them again shortly....but will I? I am not guaranteed any time on this earth and I have had a good life to date. I always tell my loved ones I love them....because it might be the last time....but I think from now on I am going to wish them enough too. My dear friend Rhonda and her nephew Andy and their family experienced this on Jan. 2nd. I am sure when they told Mrs. Jean goodbye the last time they were with her....they had no clue....that it would truly be the last time.....ever. At the hospital Rita asked Rhonda if there was anything the three of us, Blue, Rita, and myself, could do for her.....her very heart wrenching response was, "bring my momma back." I felt my heart squeeze. I would have moved heaven and earth if I could have at that moment to do just that for them....but....somehow I know....that Mrs. Jean prepared them all with enough. She was that kind of woman. She never left you unloved, unhugged, or unpraised. She was something as the new year begins....I wish you enough in 2009. God bless you all!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Life 101: It Is What It Is.

My dear friend Jeannie sent me an email today titled my wish for you in 2009. I read it over and felt at peace. I truly believe in the words that came with the email and had to share them with you today.

"There comes a point in your life when you realize who matters, who never did, who won't anymore.. and who always will. So, don't worry about people from your past, there's a reason why they didn't make it to your future. Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle. Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference."

I teach high school and have come to understand the term that we all have baggage in our lives. No one ever walks away from baggage. Whatever happens in your carry with you forever. I am a living example of that. Decisions that I make and have made all were the results of the baggage I carry. Once hurt twice shy is true. I almost missed out on a good thing because I was afraid of being hurt again. Fortunately I realized the error of my decision before it was too late. I grew up with parents that adored each other and are still happily married after 58 years. I thought that is the way marriage was supposed to be....well....I found isn't. Not everyone gets the brass ring....or rides off into the sunset with the prince. I see kids and fellow collegues fighting battles every day....whether it be aging or sick parents, sickness themselves, children who have turned and walked away, abuse, it does not matter....I have come to see that we all have battles to fight.....and how we cope with them truly does make the difference. I can be depressed and sad....and become a negative talking person.....or I can chose to make life the best I can ......I personally....chose to let go....and let God. He can handle it. Have a good one!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Professional Development Day

Ok, today is January 5th. The most dreaded day in a teacher's is Professional Development Day. School teachers need 25 C.E.U.'s each year to keep their certification. Some people have a hard time getting the correct number of hours. The rest of us love to take online courses, and attend cool workshops and have a bizillion hours by January. I personally have over 100 right now and there are 5 months left in the school year for me to get more. Today I taught one on Conversational Spanish and then attended one on Wikis and Blogs. I went for fun, not necessarily for pain. Several of my friends attended workshops on CPR, AMSTI, School Safety and Asbergers Syndrome. I am glad I took the Blogging way out. I love Laura Gulledge and she is our presenter. She is energetic, fun, amusing, a true free thinker and so here I sit blogging in her Blogging workshop. How cool is that? I am looking around the classroom and wondering how many of these people have their own blogs. I can't imagine my life without one. I think the creation of the blog was the greatest thing since sliced bread. (That is a true Southern idiom for my northern readers.) Some people exercise to relieve stress....I blog. I just open my mind and let my thoughts flow.....and flow they do. Sometimes I try out sermon topics and other times I just sound off. Laura is talking now so I must go and be a student of the Wiki and the Blog....and for the next two hours blog my little heart out! Happy Monday! K

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Today you will find everyone asking you the same question, "what are your new year's resolutions?" So I decided to start of the New Year and my blog with some comments on what I am going to be resolved to do in 2009. Of course there is the tradtional resolutions to quit something you do that is bad for you, exercise more, lose weight (which is my personal challenge)....but whether you've resolved to do some things less and other things more, the new year is always a great chance to change old habit and create new ones. The new year also gives us a chance to reflect. It is a time to ask ourselves just how did 2008 treat us? What were our triumphs? What were our challenges? What did God do for us and through us? How do we want to be better in 2009? What do we want to do differently. The sad part about resolutions is that most of the time they are shortlived. We SAY...we are going to change a pattern of behavior....and for a few days, weeks, or even months....we may do just that....but by March....we are back to the old habits once again. That is where the change needs to come. We are human....we make mistakes, and we fall short more often than not.....when we hit the resolution pitfall....we need to get back up....dust ourselves off....and get back on track. We are not perfect...we need to quit trying to be....and bad mouthing ourselves when we aren't.

I began thinking about what I resolved in 2008....on this very day....and had to laugh. I resolved last year to make NO resolutions....that way I would not have to fear breaking them. It was a good point in logic....lousy commentary on life. I made NO resolutions last I had nothing to strive for....or be defeated challenge whatsoever....How lazy is that? I am sitting here in idiot! You are better than should have at least attempted a resolution.....but nope....I did not! I hang my head in shame. I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination....and there is always room for improvement in my where did I get off thinking I was like God?

2009 is my year of is my year of is my year of dreams. I love the new year is like becoming a Christian.....the slate is wiped clean....and you get to start over again...God takes the old man (who we were before)....and turns him into a new man (who we will be) here it is 2009....7:35 in the morning....and I have a chance to do some house cleaning. My resolution this to be a better person(my goal is) love others listen to others hurts, desires, wishes and wants, to turn on light bulbs in my students respect myself more....and to like myself if in the process of attempting these resolutions....I manage to drop a few pounds.....whooopeee!....but if I don' is ok. When 2009 is over I want to look at myself and like what I matter what the picture is. I wish you a Happy New Year.....and resolve to blog more. God Bless Us this year!