Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thankful Friends (UPDATED)

Each day I've been posting a different "What are you thankful for" question on Facebook. Here are the replies so far. I love how diverse my friends are!

Thankful for Nature

Rainy nights, afternoons, mornings....its alluring...;)
Landscape with big hills and waterfalls, island beach with a rock cave and and a waterfall. And all of those with a beautiful woman to compliment the scenery!!!
Quiet, cool, foggy, Smoky Mountain mornings where you can hear the acorns falling from the trees and hear the birds and squirrels playing (all enjoyed from a hot tub of course)!
Have to love that vitamin D...and Mt Rainier
Sunset on the beach. I need a vacation and a hurricane!!
I am thankful for my fur babies.
I love the way the trees turn yellow and red and orange during the fall. Our God is such a wonderful "artist" :)
The buttercups when they first peek through the snow. It is pure GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The sandy beach.
I love fall and spring. It reminds me of the crucifixion and resurrection. It's God's constant reminder that He has better things in store for us.......and there the most beautiful times of the year.
It's neat how the Crucifixion seems to have seeped its way into everything. He was slain before the foundation of the world. It's like the world always knew what was going to happen and always remembers. I look forward to that moment when Spring begins...and it will never end. God bless you all.
Trees just after they get really dark in color in the summer. Still new, but rich and seeing the wind blowing in the them.
I love animals. Going to the zoo makes me happy for a week. I also love my two "wild" animals. I`m so thankful for their companionship.
I love a perfect fall day. We only get a couple each year and I always look forward to them.

Thankful for Places
My bed and the BEACH!
I love going to the barn and sitting on the hay and smelling all the critters down there.
Disney World! No matter what kind of day I'm having, it always makes me smile.
I couldn't live without a place in God's heart. Gotta get & keep my name in the Book of Life (sorry if too deep).
I have to say that the shower is my fave...i can relax, rejuvenate, think, sing, etc.
Mom's House, we still kick off our shoes and splash in puddles, play hide and seek, or curl up and watch a movie with worries!
My room
The beach (if it's an off day) or the pool!
In the loving embracing arms of my wife.
My bed
The bath
My recliner @ home.
At the school I work at. I know it sounds weird, but that's where I feel needed the most.I also love my job:)
I am thankful for our home and love being there.
When I was teaching, I was thankful for my classroom. It brought me a lot of stress, but it was also very fulfilling. I spent as much time there as I did at home, so it became special to me.
I'm thankful for my childhood home and that I ...can still visit there (even though I kind of hope for not much longer)
I'm thankful for the home I have with my husband and child. My big honking tub :)
I love a clean toilet when I really need one. Don't act like you don't get there and say, "Oh, thank you, Jesus" too.

Thankful for "Stuff"
I'm thankful for my Xanax!!!!!!!
Who wouldn't be thankful for chicken?
Modern appliances. (especially DVRs)
I'm thankful for electricity
I am thankful from my friends! I use them everyday, enjoy them AND they make life MUCH easier! Oh- and alcohol ;) for all the reasons listed above ;)
Indoor plumbing.....
The thought of doing a research paper without a computer (like I always had to do in the old days) is scary. And if I had to function in the kitchen without my microwave - oh brother.
Cell phone - always in contact with those I love and care about.
I'm thankful for! It links us all together!!
ANTIDEPRESSANTS!!!!! Oh...was it obvious I'm a teacher?
My car! Gets me to and from work and allows me to take care of my son and husband.
My phone! Wherever I am, I can take pictures and video of Amelia to share. It keeps me connected to everyone through text and Facebook (people actually TALK on their phone? When I was nursing those first few weeks after Amelia was born, my phone kept me company (and awake!) at night.

Thankful for Events
The birth of my children and grandchildren :) The most wonderful days of my life!!!
The decision to come to tennessee. Patrick and my lives are so much better. We are both happier because of it.
The day I was baptized, the day I got married and the adoptions of my boys. Happiest days of my life.
My salvation is the event for which I am most thankful. Second in line is my marriage and motherhood, both of which came together in one neat package!!!
Birth of my sons
I've got a weird answer: (VERY WEIRD!) I can honestly say that I am thankful for having had breast cancer. Through this experience, I was awakened to many "truths" to which I had been ignorant. I learned more lessons through this event than... any other event in my life. I learned who my true friends are, what truly matters in life, and the significance of our individual existences on this planet. I learned that I can endure more than I ever knew that I could, that I am loved far more than I ever thought I was, and what it means to really fight for people that you love.
The day God put my angel in my arms. She has changed me in more ways than one, but the biggest is slowing me down to see the beauty of this world through a child's eyes.
I'm thankful for the day I met my husband!!! I would not be where I am today if it wasn't for him!!
I'm thankful for the moment when Bryan Maness entered my life! Don't really want to know how it would've turned out otherwise!
Well of course I'm thankful for the day I was saved. And I am thankful for meeting and getting married to Lynn.
I'm thankful for the day I met my husband and for the day our daughter was born.

Thankful for Abilities and Freedoms
I am very thankful that I can go to church and worship my Savior without fear of being hurt or killed. I am thankful that I can worship in a beautiful building without having to hide in dark places. I am thankful for the ability to be able to go to work everyday and do my job. I am thankful that my back surgery was a success, so that I can continue doing my job every day. I am thankful that I have the ability to be able to physically do all the things that I enjoy doing.
I am thankful that I can go to Hartland Place on Monday nights to share the gospel with the teen girls. I am thankful that my husband is able to go each week to share the gospel with the teen guys.
My freedom. The ability to love who I want and live where I want
Being able to love you and John...a very long time...for only five dolla' ;)
Freedom to worship our risen Savoir Jesus Christ! And all of the reasons our great troops are defending our freedom.
I am thankful for my abilitu to multi-task!
I'm thankful for the ability to think independently....
I'm thankful for every day I'm granted.
I am thankful for freedom of Religion. I think many of this take this for granted!
Thankful for the ability to live and life after
The ability to see my child's face and hear her laugh.

Thankful for PEOPLE
Thankful for my healthy children and for the love of family and friends.

I'm thankful for a loving husband, two wonderful and healthy children, and a family who is there for me through thick and thin.
I am thankful for you and my other precious friends. I am so thankful for a Christian Mom that prays for our family without ceasing. I don't know what I would do without her many, many prayers for me and for my family.
I am thankful for my wonderful family.They are are my strenth when I am weak through God. I am thankful that I have a Christian Mother and Father who lead all of our family to Christ and is the best mother of five girls one could ever hope to have.
Grace Peper. I'm a better wife and mother because of her.

It was a random meeting on Bourbon St. in which I met a man that allowed me to examine myself and helped me learned lessons that have made me a better young woman. I'm a spoiled brat and sometimes focus on how a person can support me financially. I'm so thankful for having someone that can support me emotionally, spiritually and intellectually.
I'm most thankful for my hubby...he is the only person in the world that has never let me down, who loves me unconditionally, and who has earned my trust completely. He's the best person I know and I'm thankful that he puts up with me everyday!!

I'm thankful to have my Judy granny. She supports me and my parents whenever and through whatever. My second year of college she had a tumor on her brain that was removed. When I found out about it, the surgery and treatment was already taking place. I thought about leaving and she told me that if I left school I would kill her. She is my best friend, my rock, my backbone...she's my Judy granny.
I am so thankful for my son. He has brought a love and joy into my life that I never thought possible.
One person that I am thankful for is my son, John. He has always made me so proud, He has accomplished so much in his life. We have been through some tough times together He is always there if I need someone to talk to. He is a good listoner. He has a calm quite strength. He looks for the good in everyone.I most thankful he gave me Amber and Amelia!!!!!!
I'm thankful for my brother, TroyII. He really is one of the best people in the world. I'm so glad to have him in my life!!
My Granny... she taught by example. She had so much faith- in God, in people. She had a HUGE heart. Yeah, for sure my Granny.
I'm thankful for my Daddy. He took on the task of raising 2 lttle girls by himself.Tried to cook, fix our hair and dress us. I can still see him polishing our "saddle oxfords" burning poptarts or oatmeal! My Daddy is and always will be my hero. He's the only man in my life that has never disappointed me. Can't wait to see him tomorrow.
My daughter Harley. I love her dearly and she's a true blessing from the lord since I was told I couldn't have kids. I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for her.
My sister, Paige. She's strong and sweet, loyal and loving, patient and persistent. We may have lost our mom, but when you put the two of us together we are the best of Mom. I love and respect her, and thank God for the blessing of a sister.
I'm thankful that I had my aunt Jo Ann in my life. She died 5 years ago, and I still miss her every day. She was the bravest, kindest, most amazing person I've ever met and she loved me unconditionally. She ran into a burning house to save her family, and spent the last 5 years of her life in pain because of it, but never became bitter or angry. I regret so much that she's not here to see my kids grow, but I'm thankful I had her for the first 26 years of my life.
I'm thankful for everyone and pray for my enemies, they keep me on my toes. However without our Lord and His sacrifices and His mercy we could never know any blessings. So I'll say Him and everyone else falls into place.

I am thankful for my husband's stepfather. He is so good to my mother in law and loves our family so much. I'm so glad she's happy. He has been so good to my husband and to me and we are so blessed that God gave him to our family.
There are way too many people including family and friends that have impacted my life in so many and diverse ways so would be hard pressed to pick one. I'm thankful for all of them past, present and future.
Although only married for two years, Michael, my husband, has opened my eyes to an entirely new world, and, for that, I am so grateful. I may have never had my little angel, Grey, if I hadn't so loved and enjoyed being with Michael, and known what a fantastic father he would be. What incredible blessings they are!
I'm thankful for my husband Matthew. We've only been married for 5 years, but we've been through alot. My nervous breakdown was the lowest point, but he really helped me keep grounded to life and feel safe. I will never forget that he is always by my side wherever and whenever I need him. He makes me feel strong and confident which is exactly what every one should have.
Mr. Cox! He and his wife use to write the article called Silver Linings in the Independent. He always said that I touched their lives, but he will never know how much he touched my life. When I was little his wife found out she had diabetes and they found out I had it and we would talk every time he came in the store. They moved here b/c of Freed and took me in as like one of their own since they never had kids. He is ONE of the few as I got older kept me straight with God!
Mr. Ed Brown was a teacher I had in elementary school. In the little school I attended, we had no tv, no radio, and believe it or not, no telephone. I don't know what would have happened if there had been a huge emergency of some kind! I am... thankful that he taught us to learn with both eyes and both ears wide experiment with words, and to use our strengths to overcome our weaknesses. He made certain that we, despite our limited resources, kept up with the world around us, that we were nurtured, that we were prepared. One of my most vivid memories was the day that John Glenn orbited the earth: Feb. 20, 1962. With no other resource, Mr. Brown herded us out into the parking lot where his car and Mrs. Griffin's car (the only 2 teachers at the school) were parked; we formed a circle around his 1959 Chevrolet BelAire, he opened all 4 doors, and turned on the radio so that we could hear the broadcast of this historic event. Mr. Brown wasn't afraid to take risks for the sake of our learning; he was a pioneer in the field of education, and he had a very strong role in making me who I am today.
I'm thankful for Mama G because you were there and are there now during a crucial time in my life. Things just seemed so confusing then and I just hated living and being me. But getting to see you everyday gave me hope that maybe that day wasnt so bad. You supported me, helped me with my studies, got me, my actual cap and gown. You even came all the way back to memphis to see me walk across a stage I didn't think I would. God knew I needed help and He sent you. I'm thankful for you everyday because you helped me learn how to love Jasmine and try to make myself better. I'm thankful that you have a daughter that you can pass your loving spirit to. She will learn to care about the person for who they are and not what they don't have. She is a blessing .

This last one was shared with me via private message, but she told me I was free to share it. I've read it a half dozen times now and still cry.

I am thankful for Gladys Emerson Moore, my mama. In my eyes and many more, she was the most precious woman God ever created. I know everyone thinks their mama is the best but, I KNOW mine was. She was born in Dumus, Arkansas on February 20,1913. Her mother died when my mother was nine, leaving her the oldest of several siblings. Due to hard times back then, my mama witnessed the loss of two of her siblings. One feel into an old wood burning stove and died from infection from the burns; another had pneumonia and died. I asked mama why they didn't take them to the doctor. She said, "Honey, by the time we would have gotten them there it would have been too late."

Mama then became a mother figure to her three other siblings. The family moved to Tennessee to be closer to my Granddad's family. Mama went to school through the 6th grade. She met and married my dad when she was 16. They had 2 girls and 3 boys. Mama was very intelligent, and she helped each one of us with our homework. What I didn't realise when I was a child is that SHE was doing her homework as well.
Mama was always a caregiver. She took her wife and motherly duties very seriously. She took care of her dad, her mother-in-law, her husband, and her brother until their deaths. Then on January 10, 1991, I had to tell her that one of her own children had died. He had committed the unthinkable, taking his own life in Lakeside. He was a hoot and had taught Ag classes for 24 years in Dyersburg. He had a beautiful wife and daughter, a beautiful home, and 2 farms. However, he got into a state of depression and couldn't get out. I thought his death would kill my mama, but she was strong. Two years later, in 1993, I had to tell her about another brother. He was the oldest son and died of a massage heart attack at the age of 56. I also thought this would kill her but again, she held onto her faith in God.
My mother lived alone until she was 90. I had always promised her I wouldn't put her in a nursing as long as I was physically able to care for her. On March 31st, after her birthday, I had back surgery. My sister made the decision to put her in the nursing home. That's where I eventually held her in my arms to draw her last breath on August 17, 2004. I held her until Jesus took her hand. I know she had a joyous reunion with all the loved ones that had gone on before her. Her last brother died 2 weeks ago. He was 94!! I hope I have those longivity genes.
I loved my mama.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Those Who Must Not Be Named

People toss around the term "phobia" these days to describe anything they fear or often just dislike. Kind of the same way people will claim to be allergic to a food just to avoid admitting that they flat out don't want to eat it. (I have actually considered this with pickles). I'm pretty much scared of everything, but I do my best to overcome it and have a (somewhat) normal life. I have always been scared to fly, but I've managed to fly a few times now unmedicated and I didn't freak out. It's probably unhealthy how much I worry about being in a car accident, but I still get in the car each day. I absolutely hate being home alone at night and hate going outside by myself in the dark, but I can be alone now without turning into a paranoid freak who jumps every time the ice maker dumps some ice. I obsess over breaking a bone and only half watch any sporting even where such an injury might occur. I won't sleep with the closet door open or with my feet exposed. I'm scared of clowns and dolls and creepy masks. Come to think of it, there aren't many things I'm NOT scared of in the right situation. But I wouldn't call these fears "phobias." No, I'm just a total pansy chicken little girl.

I do have one legitimate phobia, though. It's one of the most well-known and one that many people share with me to a degree. I am an arachnophobe.

With the exception of people who study spiders or consider them pets (*cough*freak*cough*), I'm pretty confident in saying that no one particularly likes spiders. Most people seem to be generally icked out by them, with the best case scenario being rather unaffected by them. No one wants spiders in their house, crawling around on their belongings. My feelings toward spiders go far past dislike, though, and into the realm of pure, unadulterated hatred.

I loathe spiders. Big ones, little ones, black ones, brown ones, hairy ones. There is nothing about them that interests or fascinates me in the least bit. And not only do I hate them, but I am also terrified of them. And with good reason. See, this is not some illogical, unexplained fear.

It all started when I was a little girl, maybe about five. There was a six-foot corner shelf in my bedroom on which I put my menagerie of stuffed animals. I had so many plush toys that they spilled off of the shelf and onto the floor on a regular basis, forming a moat of artificial fur between me and the shelf. One day I went to the critter corner and picked up one of my favorite bears from the overflow pile in the floor. Suddenly everything on the floor turned black and wiggly. The carpet pulsed with life. I don't think I screamed; I was so scared that I froze and (for one of the only times in my life) found myself unable to make a sound. I dropped the bear and ran to find my mother, my verbal skills returning in a torrent of screams, sobs and broken sentences. I told her my room was covered in spiders. My mother was alarmed but stayed relatively calm. Since I've always had a tendency to be rather, um, theatrical, she decided to check things out for herself. I wasn't exaggerating. Turns out the Octomom equivalent of the spider world had birthed her bastard brood in my pile of stuffed animals. There were literally hundreds of baby spiders. Mom had to call someone in to bomb my room and everything was taken out and washed. Needless to say, I was terrified to sleep in there for the longest time. Anytime I needed something from my room, I would run in and grab it and make a dash for the door. Up until that point, I had what I would consider a normal fear of spiders, just like any other kid my age. After the infestation, the fear had blossomed into something ugly. I was on the constant lookout for spiders. Under chairs, my bed, toilet seats, in my shoes--anywhere could be harboring one of the demon bugs. I have never once put on a piece of clothing that has been in the floor. Why? One time I picked up a pile of dirty towels and there was a spider underneath (I also hate to pick up piles of clothes now, too). If my quilt falls in the floor at night, I get up and shake it violently before I put it back on the bed. I will not put a pair of shoes on until they've been checked for spiders. This is a job I used to force on others but have finally been able to do on my own. It's also why I wear flipflops almost year round.

I don't like to see pictures of spiders. I don't like spiders at the zoo. I don't want to hear stories about other people's encounters with spiders. Anything that remotely resembles a spider--another bug, an oily spot on the ground, a half eaten Oreo -- automatically puts me on guard.

I know I sound totally off my rocker, but there's more to the story than just the childhood infestation. There have been other...incidences.

When I lived in Memphis, John and I were outside our apartment one day and saw something in the grass. John thought it was an injured bird so I (being the animal lover I am) ran across the yard in my bare feet to take a closer look. BIG mistake. It wasn't a bird. It was an em-effing TARANTULA. Now, you might be thinking, "This girl is seriously freaked out by spiders, so it probably was just a normal spider and she overreacted." Nope, it was a tarantula. A big, hairy, soul-devouring tarantula. John confirmed it after I went tearing back across the yard screaming profanities in four languages. We assumed it was some one's "pet" that escaped. John decided it would be best to catch the hell beast. At first I was adamantly against this until I realized that if he didn't catch it, then it would be free to sneak into my apartment and attempt to spoon with me. I told him he could catch it but threatened to call a divorce lawyer if he brought it inside the apartment. He caught the spider and then promptly left for work. I called our friend Caesar the maintenance man, hoping he'd dispose of the creature. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Cesar, I need you to come over here. We caught a tarantula.
Caesar: (laughing) Really? Me: No, seriously, man. You have to come and get rid of this thing before it escapes and eats me.
Caesar: (laughing) I'll be over when I get a chance.
Me: I love you, man, but I swear, if that spider gets out before you get here, I will set you on fire.
Caesar: (STILL laughing) Alright, alright, on my way.\

Caesar arrived at my apartment about a half hour later to find me staring at the spider's box/prison as if it were going to get up and tapdance. He walked over to the box and casually flipped the top open. Within about four milliseconds, he was six feet from the box, cursing in Spanglish.

"That's a tarantula in there!"
"No shit! I told you! Put the lid on before it escapes!"

Caesar admitted that he just assumed I was exaggerating about the spider since I'm a woman. I would have been offended, but I was too damned freaked out to be a feminist at the moment.

Caesar took the spider with him. He even got it a special spider box. Then one day he accidentally left it in the car when it was hot and the spider had a heat stroke and died.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha...oh, sorry...

So now I had been through an infestation and an encounter with a monster spider. I was scarred, completely convinced that there could be another monster arachnid lurking outside, just waiting to jump on my face and eat my eyeballs.

I wish I could say my story ended there, but it doesn't. The worst is yet to come.

Flash forward about a year. We were still living in Memphis. John and I were going on a trip, and my mom had come to drive us to the airport so we wouldn't have to pay to park our car. We'd gotten everything loaded, and I was making my last walk though to see if we have forgotten anything. I kept feeling something tickle my cheek around my ear. Thinking it was a piece of my hair, I kept pushing it back. Around the third time I did this, I glanced at my hand. For just a moment, I totally froze. There on my had sat a not very tiny brown spider. The spider had been in the hood of my sweatshirt and had crawled out into my hair and onto my face. It only took maybe a second before I unfroze... and became utterly and dangerously unhinged. In an effort to get the spider off of me, I flung my arm out hard enough to damn near dislocate my shoulder and began screaming like I was being set on fire. My mother ran into the room, half expecting to find me disemboweled. There she found me thrashing around frantically. It was like Flashdance if Jennifer Beals had been cracked out on PCP. Within seconds, I was literally stripped down to my underwear, waving my hair around in my own version of Headbangers Ball. It took both mom and John to calm me down enough to explain what initiated my fit. I finally began my descent back to Earth once mom checked me over and swore there were no more spiders on my body or in my hair. John asked me what happened to the spider that was on me. I had no idea, of course. The last I knew it was flying across the room.

I got redressed (with a non-hoodie sweatshirt this time) and we headed to the airport. I've never admitted it until now, but I obsessed over that spider the entire trip. I wondered if it was in my bed, waiting for me to get home or if it had crawled into my closet to find another article of clothing to inhabit. I actually dreaded returning home because I knew that spider was somewhere waiting for me.

I honestly think I do have a phobia. In the time it's taken me to write this, I've had at least a half dozen "crawling" sensations on my legs. I've checked the ceiling above me twice. I pulled my feet up underneath me so they aren't exposed to whatever may be hiding underneath the sofa. Just thinking about spiders gets me totally worked up. This isn't an illogical fear, though. I may act illogical at times, but I think I'm totally justified in how I feel about those evil little creepy crawlers.

I support spider genocide. There, I said it. It's a terrible thing to wish the death of an entire species, but I am perfectly okay with it. Even the little tiny baby spiders. Kill 'em all.

Okay, that was rather dark and creepy of me to say. Here's a joke to lighten the mood:

What did one spider say to the other spider?

Nothing because I flattened their little spider asses with a phone book!

The end.