Thursday, September 12, 2019

Taking a break...

 ...I've got things to do and places to go!
 
I will try to give brief updates and may even get around to visit here and there.
As you might imagine, life is crazy right now and about to get even crazier!
 
Sunday is a landmark birthday and I will officially be "old".
 
Old??? Me???
NEVER!
 
Love y'all!
 








Monday, September 2, 2019

Whirlwind

Hello my friends...

Let me first start out with an apology.
I'm sorry for not replying back to comments on my last post and commenting on yours.
My procedure went as planned but left me feeling nauseous for days,
in fact, I'm still experiencing some of it as we speak.



See that thorn?
Yeah.

But...and this is a BIG BUT...
...that is really not quite all that's been happening around here.
You may remember at the end of my last post that I mentioned something about
 sharing some news that might be coming soon?


So amazingly, we put our house on the market just last Friday.

That is in three. days. ago. last Friday.

That would be Friday, August 30th last Friday.

There was an offer on the table by the end of the day after six showings.
The offer was for $2000 over asking price...yes, that's what I said.
Our realtor suggested to let it ride a bit to see what the next day's showings would bring.

So we spent most of the weekend away from home with fur babies in tow,
and on Saturday there were more showings scheduled throughout the day, 
still thinking there was not going to be a better offer out there...
I mean, how could it get any better, right?

Okay...so one more day to go and we were going to cancel anymore showings...
...and WOW...did that ever pay off.
Yesterday afternoon, yet another offer came in at $10,000 over the listed price!
Are you kidding me...I didn't know people did such crazy things!
It seems many people out there want to move to our fair city,
the booming little place it has become in the 27 years we have been here.
Our trusted realtor thought everything looked good and by 6PM last evening,
we were signing (and quite a bit of initialing) on the dotted line.
Our closing date is October 10 but will heading for the hills the weekend before.


Is God good or what?

As I am sitting here typing these words, the whole thing is just so surreal.
All I gotta say is, reality better kick in real soon 'cause we got LOTS to do in the next few weeks!
Tomorrow I will write up my resignation letter (after 26 years),
and will work through mid-September, taking vacation my last two weeks to pack.
Bittersweet, to be sure....but more sweet as I anticipate this dream starting to become a reality.


Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21

So as Hurricane Dorian swirls around in the Atlantic,
we are already experiencing our own kind of whirlwind here.
Oh...another good thing...we won't have to worry about hurricanes in Tennessee...
...only tornadoes. 😟

And speaking of hurricanes...
...I am praying for the safety of everyone, known and unknown,
who is in the path of this monster storm.
~May the Lord keep you safe under His wings.~

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Somewhere Over the Rainbow.....Bridge


Didn't we just do this?

Wednesdays sure do roll around quickly these last days of summer.
We are about to enter one of my favorite months, September,
the month I like to refer to as the Gateway to Autumn.
And it's almost my birthday and I feel greatly blessed to still be among the living...
...although I think I've aged about 10 years since my last one. πŸ˜’ 
~
It's also time for Terri's Wednesday Medley...


Terri has been just a tad preoccupied for the past couple of days.
She now has a brand new knee!
Sending much love and prayers to you, dear Terri!
May you have a quick and complete recovery, sweet friend.
By the way, if you feel as good as your Facebook photo looks like you do,
then praise the Lord!
~
There are no Medley questions today...
...it's up to us to share a bit about a beloved fur baby (or babies) that have passed on.
So today, August 28, is a day set aside to remember these beloved pets...
...or more specifically, passed over the Rainbow Bridge.

Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day - August 28

Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day - August 28

from the web
It's a comforting thought to believe this is what really happens when a pet dies, isn't it?
There are many thoughts and beliefs out there as whether we will see them again in heaven.
Since I am not a Bible scholar, I don't have a clear answer, only what I hope to be true.
We are told in the scriptures that heaven will be filled with all things wonderful.
There are many places online to search for answers on this topic but until we get there,
we will just have to wait and see, won't we?
I did, however, find this Q & A on the Billy Graham Evangelical Association site
and I really thought it answered the question well. 

Q: Will there be animals in heaven?

A: God has a special reason and place for each of His created beings. Animals, too, have a purpose in God’s creation. Man, as the highest order of creation, has been given dominion over the animal kingdom (Genesis 1:26-28).

We believe that animals were intended for man’s enjoyment and use. The Bible itself does not indicate that there is life after death for animals. It may be that God’s purpose for animals is fulfilled on this earth. However, if animals would make us happier in heaven, surely there will be a place for them there.

Some Bible interpreters have called attention to Isaiah’s description of the peace of God’s future kingdom where he says that “the wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox” (Isaiah 65:25). Heaven will lack nothing that is good and that will bring glory to God.
 ~
So animals, in general, most likely will be there...but will we see or recognize our pets?
Only our Creator knows the answer to that question.
Although it's a comforting thought to believe that we will see our beloved pets in heaven,
I also know that if that is not going to happen, I won't be sad.

"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Revelation 21:4
~
Over the years, we have lost several pets, be it by old age or getting hit by a car.
The latter is a most heartbreaking experience.

Our sweet boy, Hunter
But it was when we lost our precious Hunter in 2015, that was most devastating.
It was quite sudden and completely unexpected,
the night before we were to fly to Florida for a vacation.


I wrote about it on my blog and you can read about it here if you like.
~
So now that I'm all sad and everything, I will say goodbye for now.
Oh...I almost forgot...by the time some of you may be reading this post,
I'll be taking one of the best naps (via Propofol) that you could ever have....short but v-e-r-y relaxing.
I am getting my new and improved, long-lasting (so they say) stent this morning.
That's the plan anyway...but y'all know how my plans go. 😏
More excitement is on the horizon but I will share about that later...
...hmm...I wonder what it could be.....???

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

A High Flying Medley

 Hello and Happy Wednesday!

I hope your week is going great so far.
It seems the summer is flying by (pun intended)...but you know me,
I'm always ready for fall to appear!
In the meantime, we have been enjoying an abundance of beautiful butterflies.
How about in your neck of the woods?



Also, this summer we've been feeding a few neighborhood feral kitties.
They are so tame and act as though they live here (I guess they kinda do)...
...still not getting close enough to pet...but almost!



Isn't he a handsome boy?



Here's Mama and two of her three babies.
The other one hangs out on my next door neighbor's back deck most of the time.



Isn't it odd that one looks Siamese?


And this little one keeps hanging on to Mama, sharp little teeth and all.
I really want to catch the mama to take her for spaying but haven't done so yet.
Not sure what to do about the babies ...it's what you call a darling dilemma.
~
So much is going on here...more about that later.
But since it's Wednesday, it's also time for...


Terri asks the questions on her blog and we answer them on ours.
This week on August 23 is the day set aside to celebrate National Ride the Wind Day.
Hmmmm.....who knew?
 
National Ride the Wind Day August 23
 
 
1.  Tell us about the first airplane ride you took and do you like to fly?

I think I was about seven years old when I took my first ride in an airplane. My brother who lived in South Carolina and his buddy flew up to Ohio for the weekend in a small Piper Cub. I had stayed home from school that day because I hadn't felt well that morning but after I learned that my biggest brother had offered to take me on a plane ride, I got to feeling better really quick! It took some coaxing Mom a bit to let me go but she finally allowed it. I really felt like I was special because all my other siblings were at school and missed out. It was amazing and from then on, I was a fan of flying. After the weekend was over and my brother and his buddy were ready to fly home, they offered my sis, Barb, and I another ride before heading to school that Monday morning. He told Mom that we'd be flying right over our house and to be looking for us. I'll never forget that image...looking down and seeing Mom standing out in the yard waving to us with one hand and holding her comb in the other. She always wore her hair in a neat little bun, covered by her white prayer covering...never wore it down since it hung way down past her waist. She must have heard the sound of the plane and ran out of the house with her hair flowing, just in time to see us fly by!

2.  Have you ever gone hang gliding and was it on the beach with boat power, or from a mountain with only the wind and your body?
Never hang gliding but the closest I have gotten to it was when I actually flew a glider (pilot on board, of course.)

This is the "bird" I flew. You can tell how long ago this was by the quality of the photo.
Here I am, curly perm and all, getting situated in the cockpit.
Right from the get-go, he had me at the controls...even let me release the rope from the tow plane. I flew it the for most of the flight but let him take over when it was time to land on that one little skinny landing gear in the middle of the plane. It was as close to being a bird as I'll ever get...the only sound to be heard was of the wind rustling against the plane...no motor, no nothing.
 
Jim and tiny little Aaron watching from below. My...how men's fashions have changed...thank the Lord!
There is a sad ending to this story, unfortunately. The pilot of the glider who had been flying for over 25 years, crashed only a few weeks later and was killed. I'm really not sure what the details were of the accident...so very sad.

 
3.  Have you ever gone kite flying and with whom?
My first memory of kite flying was with my brothers and sisters in the vacant lot beside our house. One year, my brother Doug made a HUGE kite, probably six feet tall, from plastic dry cleaning bags and a wooden frame with a long tail. He flew it from a heavy duty fishing pole and that thing went up so high it all but disappeared into the sky. One day the line broke and it took days to locate it after it fell to the earth...about a mile away in a farmer's field...LOL! Of course later on in life, what kind of parents would we have been if we hadn't gotten kites for our boys to fly at the beach??

4. Experimental aircraft is quite popular as a hobby where Terri lives. Have you or anyone you know ever constructed a flying machine and did you ride in it?
No and no. That's where I draw the line.

5. Another big hobby around Lakeland is Radio Controlled Airplanes. Have you ever seen them flying or tried your hand at it?

I have never flown them myself but my boys have played around with them a time or two. To my recollection, they never had one of their own. Our grandson Parker, however, has built a drone from a kit and the aerial photography from it's camera is pretty amazing.

Please tell us something about your week.
It has been a busy and very productive few days around the Ray house. Adam flew in (speaking of flying) and combined a business trip to Raleigh with a work weekend to help out with some of the projects around our house. Combine all the Ray men together, including the big, strong grandsons and together they knocked out a TON of work, inside and outside! Remember all of those painting projects I have been trying to get finished for the past year? They are DONE! Adam is a whiz with the paint brush! To top that off, we had a realtor come out to give some advice and listing information. We were pleasantly surprised when he gave us a ballpark figure as to what it should list for and also that he'd be surprised if it didn't sell within a couple of weeks after it is listed. It looks like it may possibly be on the market by sometime in September. I'm still trying to wrap my brain around it all....BUT...it is ALL in God's hands. Every. Single. Detail.

So that's all for now...
hoping y'all have a blessed week!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Wearisome


Yeah, that'd be me.

I've been searching for just the right word and I think I found it.

Wearisome...the state of being weary.

I haven't had the drive to do too much of anything for the past week or so...
although some might say I should be jumping for joy.

But I'm not.

Why wouldn't I not be after my doctor told me last week that I won't be having surgery?
I mean, normally, those are good words to hear, right?

It's too dangerous, they say.

The stricture (narrowing in bile duct) is not in a good place to repair surgically,
but only as last resort, they say.

Once the surgery is done, there's no going back, they say.



So for the past two months I have been psyching myself into the reality of a major,
very invasive surgery to finally get it behind me.
Although I'm relieved that I won't have to spend a couple of months recovering,
the reason why I won't be has sent me down a path that I wasn't quite contemplating.
It seems that now I will be getting another stent placed that is supposed to last up to year.
 We'll see if this will be happening on a regular basis.



Why the change in plan all of a sudden?
I have said ever since I began this journey in January, that I implicitly trust my doctors.

And I still do.

But with everything that is in me, I am determined to trust God more.



Long story short, after a meeting of the minds, my doctors seemed to be in agreement
that it was best to maintain me with stents as long as possible.
I am really very thankful that my doctors wouldn't rush me into a dangerous surgery.

I am scheduled to have the new stent placed at the end of this month.
Our goal is that it lasts a year and will then either be left out and see how I do
or it will be exchanged for a new one.



So...where does that leave us...and our plans for the future?
Right where it always has...right where God leads us.
Right now we are planning (there's that word again) to get the house on the market by fall.
We feel it's time to forge ahead unless we hit another roadblock.
I will continue to be under my Duke doctor's care until (if) we get settled in TN.
Even after that, possibly, for a little while at least.



But the long and short of it comes down to this...I have asked my Father for a miracle.
It's as simple as that.

But no matter what happens, I plan to go along my merry way.
This wearisome business is for the birds...and I think a week of it has been enough!



So tomorrow is another day and the beginning of a brand new week...
...and the beginning of a brand new attitude. πŸ˜‰

Until next time....

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

A Parks & Recreation Medley

Hello and happy Wednesday!

Another week has come and gone in a matter of no time it seems.
When you see Halloween candy in the Dollar General, you know the year is quickly waning.
Who wants to buy Halloween candy in July anyway??
But just in case you do, you can find some in our local DG!
~
So it's Wednesday and also time for another...


...with our friend from Florida, Terri.

Today it's all about...

WORLD RANGER DAY – July 31

World Ranger Day - July 31

On July 31st, World Ranger Day honors the dedication, and crucial work rangers do every day around the globe.  The day offers an opportunity to show support to rangers for the services they provide. Every day, their unwavering commitment protects our national parks, wildlife, and forested heritage.

Click on the link and head on over to the Medley to find out more about these special folks.
They certainly deserve a day of their own to be celebrated.
Just copy and paste her questions to your blog and plug in your answers.

***************************
1.  Is there a National Park near where you live?

Well, that depends on how you define "near". We live smack dab in the middle of North Carolina...the mountains, including the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains, are only a few hours to the west of us...

One of the cool tunnels in the Smokies near Pigeon Forge, TN.
A scene from a Smoky Mountain overlook near Gatlinburg, TN.
...and the National Seashore, including the Wright Brothers Memorial and Cape Hatteras are a few hours to the east.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, NC
2.  How many National Parks and which ones have you visited?  Is there one you would really like to visit?

Over the years I've visited several National Parks that are included in the states of NC, TN, KY, VA...that's all I can remember at least. When we had our cabin in Virginia, we were only about three miles off the Blue Ridge Parkway and traveled it often...one of my favorite places. Visiting some of the national parks out west are definitely on my bucket list, specifically, Yellowstone.

Somewhere along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
A view of the Blue Ridge Mountains from Fancy Gap, VA.

3.  The Park Rangers are protectors of the environment, of the wildlife, and visitors in the parks.  Is there someone (human) in your life who you count on as a protector or are you someone's protector?

When I think of someone who is my protector, my first thought would be Jim, my hubby. But what could he really protect me from? A burglar or a thief? A hurricane or a tornado? Although he would try to do everything he could possibly do as a human, he may or may not succeed. As a mother, I went through most of my life playing the role of protector...I mean don't we all? There is that natural instinct that kicks in when we have our children...we become like that lioness protecting her cubs don't we? Even when our kids are grown, it's hard to let that go! That's why my answer would ultimately be, I have to rely on my Lord to be my protector in all of His supernatural power.

4.  Have you ever had an up-close-and-personal experience with a wild animal that you can tell us about?


So this just happened a couple of days ago. I was about to close the front door around dusk (thus the bad photo quality) and out the corner of my eye, I noticed something and at first just thought it was one of the feral cats we feed regularly. Well, this "kitty" was wearing a mask, and it was stealing...therefor, I shall call him or her Bandit...or Banditina. He/she was very nonchalant about the whole experience. 🐾🐾🐾  Here are some examples of my other close encounters with wildlife...


Sometimes they call me "The Bird Whisperer"...


...other times, "The Butterfly Whisper"...




...sneaking up on an armadillo in Adam's back yard
and turkeys in his front yard, on Thanksgiving Day no less...

 

...Momma and Poppa Goose and unborn goslings...
  

...and these two........oh wait.......how'd this picture get in here???


Well Terri, you did say "wild" and you also said "animals"...
...so they do fit the description. πŸ˜‰

5.  It is certainly an honor to show value to this profession by giving them a day of remembrance.  What is another profession that you like to see honored by a "day" of their own?

Well, there probably already is a day to honor them since there seems to be a day to honor just about everyone or everything, but I think the Human Society and/or Animal Rescue organizations deserve a day of honor for doing all they can to save the lives of unwanted animals. Like I said, there is surely a day set aside for them already...at least I hope so.

6.  On this last day of July, please tell us something about your week so far.

Sunday was this guy's birthday and he had to work. This picture of him is from several years ago and he hasn't changed at all (well, not much).


He hasn't gotten his birthday pie yet because we only have one more bag of black raspberries left in the freezer....and we can't get them around here. Looks like we will be making a trip to VA and to the Amish store which usually sells them (frozen). He said to hold off on the pie, which has never happened in the 43 years we've been married! He said he'd settle for one of Aaron's homemade cherry cheesecakes. I guess I better break the news to Aaron!

Other than that, it's been pretty much business as usual this week...well, except for that raccoon incident. I do have appointments on Friday for a follow-up CT, labs (haven't they gotten enough blood yet??) and with the "Big Dog" doctor to discuss surgery plans. At this point I just want to get it over with and move forward with my life! Being in a holding pattern is not much fun...BUT I do know that the Lord's timing is perfect!


Enjoy the rest of your week, my friends!
Until next time....


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

A Makeover and a Medley

Hello my friends.....yes, I'm still kickin'!

I can't believe it's been since before July 4th that I have posted anything.
I don't really know why...I mean nothing earth shattering has happened to speak of.
Do you ever just get that way... and blogging almost becomes sort of a burden?
And steroid withdrawal didn't help matters either... the struggle is real, folks!

My excuse last week was that I took a week of "staycation".
All week long I was busy working on projects that I had been putting off for months and months needed done around the house...from early in the day until late in the afternoon.
Needless to say, the old gray blonde mare, she ain't what she used to be...
...at least until I am able to get my mojo back!
I actually surprised myself by not falling off the step-stool as many times as I was up and down it!
There's still lots to do, mind you, but getting that tiny master bathroom redo accomplished
was a big check mark off my list.

So before I get to the Medley questions,
I'll give you a little peek at my teenie-weenie bathroom makeover.
There are no before pictures but believe me when I tell you it was quite a transformation.




I used the same wallpaper (yes, I said wallpaper) that I papered our bedroom with
a couple of years ago....and you do realize that wallpaper is making a comeback, right?

It never really went out of style in my world, at least.
Anyway, unless I wanted to put up all new sheetrock, wallpaper was pretty much a necessity.
Whoever built and decorated this house back in 1985,
chose to put wallpaper in nearly every room...right on top of raw sheetrock...
...no sizing, no primer, nothing but raw sheetrock...and it and the wallpaper became one...
...impossible to remove without ripping layers of the that white chalky stuff.
So I have basically been re-papering the walls as long as we have lived here,
adhering any new paper to the original, irremovable paper!

The paper I replaced was a dark-ish, marble-ish, textured-ish looking paper.
WOW...what a difference this made in brightening up that tiny bathroom!
And I do mean tiny...another question mark as to why a master bathroom would be this small!
But if the room had been any larger, I may have actually died redecorating it! 😩

So now let's get on over to the Medley...


This week it's all about family...cousins, aunt & uncles to be precise.
So just copy and paste the questions from Terri's blog to yours...
...and well, you know what to do after that


1.  What can you tell us about your cousins, please, or someone who is close like a cousin?

Coming from a family the size of mine (8 kids) and since both of my parents also came from large families, I had so many cousins I couldn't keep track of all of them. Also, many of them lived quite a distance away from us, therefore we didn't see each other very often growing up and many of were not close. Oh yes, there were family reunions on both sides but it was really hard to keep track of that many people when you're a little girl.

Some of my older siblings among some of the cousins. I can't identify some of the cousins...lol!
My older siblings have a much better recollection of who everyone was and closer relationships as well. Since I was one of the younger ones, most my cousins were quite a bit older than me and I wasn't really super close to any of them. Of course I have many people in my life that are not actually "blood" family that I love dearly but comparing them to a cousin would be doing them an injustice since I didn't really have that experience.

2.  Do you still see your cousins and will you contact them on National Cousins Day?

I can't remember when I last saw one of my cousins...isn't that sad? Of course many of them still live up in Ohio and the family reunions of yesteryear just don't happen much if at all anymore...but when they do, I am rarely able to attend. When the aunts and uncles who were their parents passed on (which they just about all have), many of the cousins didn't keep the reunions as a priority. I have reconnected with a couple of my cousins on Facebook and even found an older cousin who I never knew until she stumbled upon my blog a few years ago. You can read about it here.

My long lost cousin, Sharon.

3.  Terri had a favorite aunt and uncle she will tell us about.  How about you?

Out of all my aunts and uncles, I did have had a few favorites. Among them was my Aunt Clara, one my mom's sisters and I have written about her on my other blog. She and Uncle Bud lived out in the country but pretty close to us. Their children were probably the closest in age to me and my siblings and we visited each other often. I loved visiting them at their old farm house with the wrap-around porch and the cow pasture across the road.
My sweet Aunt Clara who lived to be 103 years old!
4.  Did/does your family have reunions and can you tell us about them?

All throughout my childhood and beyond, family reunions were something I always looked forward to year after year. They were held every summer, always on a Sunday, at the same park in Troy, Ohio. This particular reunion was started by my mother's parents and was always known as the Davis Reunion. I don't remember any of my grandparents on either side but I do know they had LOTS of kids! The Davises had seven, each of the seven went on to have that many and more of their own. That gives you just a hint of how large these reunions were at one point.


My mom and five of my siblings at one of the Billheimer reunions.
My dad's family (the Billheimers) also had an annual reunion that I remember attending a few times but we were closer with Mom's side of the family. All of the Davis children are gone now and so are some of their children. Things change. For the past several years, my siblings have tried to keep up with our own reunion. We were unable to meet last year and of course we lost our dear oldest brother in 2017. We had a different kind of reunion that year...bittersweet as it was. Nothing has been planned for this year due to one reason or another but hopefully we can all get together in 2020!

5.  If you have children, are they enjoying relationships with their cousins, aunts, uncles?

Oh, they absolutely are! Our grandchildren range in age from 20 down to 10 and I can't remember a time when they weren't absolutely thrilled to be in each other's company, no matter what age they were. The older boys have always loved visiting the Tennessee Bunch...they LOVE their Uncle Adam...and Adam's two are always thrilled to see what "toys" their Uncle Aaron is tinkering with at any given time. The older ones even especially enjoy visiting the great aunts and uncles in Ohio and have frequently made those trips with us as well. And thanks to Facebook, my own two boys are probably closer to many of their aunts, uncles and cousins in Ohio and other states that they would not have had otherwise! So now, I shall bore you with some photos of my favorite group of cousins...

Cousins...when it was just the boys.

Cousins...and then there were four...finally, a girl!
Cousins just wanna have fun.
Cousins chowing down on some good grub and Parker's trademark silly face...lol!
Cousins chillin' in the pool.
Cousins with a moose.
Cousins/Uncle Adam group hunt.
The gang's all here!
6. Tell us something random about your week.
So I am back to work this week after my aforementioned staycation and it has been good to get back into my regular routine once again. To make things even better, the blood test results from last week's visit to my hematologist are coming back (there are a few still out) and so far, everything looks good. I think she took a dozen vials from me ...no kidding. Since the first of the year when everything started to go haywire, my blood platelets had been dropping like flies... BUT...these tests revealed that they are on their way back up! It's comforting to know that I won't bleed to death when I have my upcoming surgery! Also, we are currently experiencing a nice break from the heat after a dozen days of 90+ temps...a few days were nearly 100 degrees! It was in the 70s earlier today and is in the 60s as I am writing this. I am savoring every moment, as short-lived as it will be. Fall, I am ready for you!

*****

So that's it for me this week.
May your days be blessed until we "meet" again!
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