What is a racist?

This weekend LK had a couple of her dance friends over to play after dancing at the Main Street Festival. As they were playing together, GranGran made an inappropriate comment about one of LK’s friends. LK then said, “That is racist, please don’t say that about my friends.” One of the other little girls then says, “What is a racist?” It almost took my breath away. In a world where we are currently focused on the “black lives matter” movement, I had started to feel like we were going backwards in the race relations movement.

You see, I grew up in a very segregated area/time. Nobody really “claimed it”, but let me tell you, nothing stirred up a round of gossip like a white girl being seen around town with a black boy. Other races weren’t even part of the conversation because there weren’t any of those kind of folks in our parts. Hispanic workers hadn’t yet infiltrated the Western KY workforce when I was growing up. I don’t know that I saw an Indian (country, not reserve) until I was in college, and the only Asians I knew were 2 little girls adopted from China. We were very, very, White. And, ask anybody around you, they were proud of it. I still vividly remember after I had moved to Nashville, the first time an African American male asked me out on a date, I honestly didn’t know what to say. It was the first time I had to make a decision for myself what I felt about it. And, unfortunately, the thought went through my head of having to call my mom and tell her I went out on a date with someone that wasn’t white. And, I knew her response would be, “Honey, be careful, you know you’re setting yourself up to be unequally yoked.” You see, we like to twist the Bible around to justify our ignorance. My momma was one of the kindest, most gentle hearted women you would ever meet. She truly believed what had been taught her. I can assuredly tell you, that the Bible wasn’t talking about people with different skin color being unequally yoked…

One of the most beautiful things that happened in our family was my sister adopting a child from Guatemala. She for sure wasn’t white. And, we love her so very deeply. Because of her dark skin, and us being around her, I chose to educate my kids early on racism and ignorance they may encounter. I still remember the look on LK’s face as I was explaining, there was a difference in their skin color as they were differently nationalities. She kept comparing the skin on their arms and said, “What do you mean she isn’t white like me?” It was beautiful and scary all at the same time. All that is a long story to say even in my own personal family, things have come a long way. And, I felt it was necessary for my kids to know what racism was because they do have friends and family of many races. And, our livelihood depends on Hispanic labor. You want to talk about racism that is alive and well, start talking about all the Hispanics in our area. And, everyone automatically assumes they are illegal monsters here for the sole purpose of taking our jobs. I’ll stay off that soapbox for another day.

But, it isn’t uncommon for the kids in our area to not know what a racist is…. One thing about the area we live in is that we love well. We still live in a predominantly white area, but our kids look into the soul of another person instead of looking at their skin. Both of my kids “inner circle” of close friends include kids of multiple nationalities. So, yes, Black Lives Matter, but so do purple, green, yellow, white and brown. Contrary to what the news media is promoting, most of us aren’t raising little racist bigots. If my kid doesn’t like your kid, it is probably because your kid isn’t a very nice person. I would bet a limb on the fact it has absolutely nothing to do with the color of their skin. It’s a beautiful thing in the world we’re living in to have to explain to a child “What is a racist?” Not because you want them to be one, but because it isn’t even an issue in our daily lives.

Peace Offerings are of No Value

I can’t remember exactly when it was, but I want to say sometime before Christmas, I tried a Peace Offering with GranGran. She had requested a chocolate pie on a particularly bad day. I hadn’t been responding well, so I decided to make amends and bake a chocolate pie. She refused to eat it….. Today, I was laying down for a very rare nap and I am telling you as soon as I got horizontal GranGran yells, “Get your lazy ass up and fix me a fried peach pie.” I laid there for a minute in denial of being spoken to in such a way, and when she wouldn’t shut up, I got up. Every bone in my body wanted to stand on principal and refuse to make the pies. But, then you just get to the point that some battles just aren’t worth fighting…. And, let’s be honest, my “lazy fat ass” wouldn’t mind having a fried peach pie either…

So, I got up and cooked the peaches with some cinnamon and sugar to make a good pie filling. I’ll admit I cheated on the crust. Canned Pillsbury butter tastin’ biscuists make great fried pie crust. So, I just rolled them out with some flour, and heated up the Crisco. And, oh my goodness…. Fried Peach Pie goodness, sprinkle some powdered sugar on top, and you are almost in heaven.IMG_8626

I take GranGran her warm yummy goodness with some extra filling on the side, and she says, “I was just kidding, I don’t want a fried pie.” Y’all half of Franklin probably saw the puff of steam and green stuff that came out of the top of my head. My kitchen is a complete disaster, I missed a nap, and you think you ain’t eatin’ this pie. Honey, sit your butt right down and eat the freakin’ pie before I go to jail. You’ll be glad to know I won’t be calling to ask for bail money as she made the best choice and ate the pie.

We’ve had one heck of a week besides the little pie incident. We found out on Tuesday that Gran’s pinky toe is so infected that it has moved to the bone and probably needs to be amputated. Problem with that plan is, her heart is in no shape for surgery. The podiatrist is consulting with the cardiologist, and we’ll go back in 3 weeks to see which is the lesser of 2 evils- surgery or bone infection. My original plan in life was to go to medical school. Let me just tell you that there are 2 things that made me realize that wasn’t a good plan for my life- I hate feet, and I don’t much care for old people. I didn’t see anyway to make it through medical school and residency without dealing with alot of both…. So, when we were with the podiatrist on Tuesday he wanted to show and explain to me why he was saying her toe needed to be amputated. I tried to tell him 3 times I didn’t need to see, I fully understood, and I completely trusted his medical opinion. He stuck her nasty, old, infected foot straight up in my face. You could SMELL the infection. And, let me just say I will likely never eat a Sonic hamburger again. Because, the one I had just eaten 15 minutes before came back to haunt me.

We left the doctor’s office with a surgical boot. Let’s just say I’ve heard “I really have to wear one of a kind shoes on each foot?” no less than 32,679 times this week. Gran wants her fancy pointy toe shoes. She doesn’t realize these shoes are the devil that caused her foot problems in the first place. The preferred shoes are now in the trash, a surgical boot on one foot, and her granny SAS loafers on the other foot. Not happy!

So, we muddle on. Daily I wonder, and she wonders why God has left her on this Earth to suffer so. She is tramped in a physically and mentally failing body. She knows just enough to know she is miserable. And, honestly, she is driving me crazy. I can’t remember jack crap these days. I didn’t know dementia was contagious, but apparently it is. But, I know God’s plan is good and perfect, and I’m fairly certain His purpose for her on this Earth at this point is to teach me a few lessons in grace and patience that I have refused to learn so far in my life.

365 Days

Today is day 365 of Grandma living with us. Saying one year seems small for some reason. This adventure isn’t taken in giant lumps of time like years, it’s taken by day by day, and often minute by minute. There are days I feel like I deserve some sort of “You Did It” trophy, but I’m not one that’s big on participation trophies, and I am certainly not winning 1st place in any care giving contest, so forget the trophy and just give me a drink. Trust me, participation in this journey alone deserves a drink….

Here’s the highlight reel of our first year on this journey:

~Poop in the floor, lots and lots of poop in the floor, as it at least once a week. I have no idea why I didn’t think to plan for this. Oh yeah, because if I had thought about poop in my floor, THIS would not be happening.

~My routine, and my “me” time went to hell in a hand basket. I didn’t realize how good I had manipulated my routine and my stellar ability to carve out time for massages and me time until this past year. This is probably goal number 1 for the next year, get those back.

~Four stays in the hospital. I don’t know if she should have been in the hospital more before, or if she is truly getting physically worse. 3 heart attacks, broken ribs and vertebrae, and and internal GI bleed. And, I say once again, this woman has more lives than a cat.

~Misbehaving at restaurants. We’re pretty much to the point if we are eating out, Grandma just can’t go. She fusses and cusses, she throws food, she eats off other people’s plates, it’s just not pretty.

~Dementia has progressed, getting a little worse each day.

All in all, we have good days and bad days. Hard days and easy days. Right now if you asked me if I would do it all again knowing what I know now, I’d probably hesitate a little before answering. But honestly, I would have to. There are certain things in life we just do because we don’t have another choice. You own up to the responsibility before you and you just do the next right thing. Yes, it is hard as hell. Yes, I am absolutely going to loose my mind soon. But, it is just what we have to do. And, that I do not regret one bit.

As we enter the next year of this journey, I just ask that you pray for us. Pray for strength and endurance. Especially pray for my kids. I wish I could take that hardship off of them. I know it eats away at them on certain days. But, I also know the lessons they are learning along this journey are some of the most valuable lessons they will ever learn in life. Pray that I will keep my complaints and eye rolling to my self. My attitude isn’t exactly amazing. I know that is surprising to many of you, but the further down this road I walk, the worse my attitude gets. I have lots of “life isn’t fair moments”. I often feel trapped in my circumstances. But, I know God has me walking this road for a reason and only for a season. And, for now we carry on.




Where have the days gone?

When my kids were “itty bittys”, I would always ask, “How in the world can the days be soooooo long and yet the years so short? I’m kinda reliving those moments right now. Several people have asked when I was going to post another blog, and I just didn’t know. Honestly, I have about 15 half written blog posts going. There have been so many things going on that I wanted to share, but for whatever reason time has escaped me, or I have simply felt like God was saying, “not that, not now”.  The days have been so long lately and I can’t seem to find my bed soon enough, yet the weeks have flown by in a blink.

I don’t even really know how to explain my days of late. I will say, I have constantly asked myself why am I so freaking tired, all the freaking time!?!?! It doesn’t matter how much I sleep, I can’t get enough “rest.” Unfortunately, there is a medical element in that for me. Long story, but hopefully test results on Monday will show that is heading in the right direction. But, a big part of that is just that I am always “on” always gauging. Gauging my kids academic progress, gauging their social development, gauging their behavior, gauging their Spiritual situation… I am always gauging Grandmother, are her feet swollen, is her memory worse, where did those bruises come from, is she having mini stokes, is she sleeping too much, is she sleeping too little, is her glucose level too high? Gauging my work- what do I need to do for my current clients, what do I need to do to generate new clients, what do I need to do to make myself better. You get the point, even at rest I am not resting…. And, it has worn me slap out. There is not a day on my calendar in the foreseeable future that I don’t have a “dot”, which means I have something going on every day….

I was talking with a friend not long ago about studying in Ruth. I could totally relate to what she was saying. We both felt like Ruth 1:20-21 applied directly to us: “Don’t call me Naomi (or Misty). Call me Bitter. The Strong One has dealt me a bitter blow.” And then in Ruth 2:6, “She went into the field and worked steadily from morning ’til now… Right now I feel I am stuck in Ruth Chapters 1 &2. Bitter at times, working the field, experiencing favor in many ways, but waiting for chapter 3 to come. Here is what I do know, my God is faithful. I have to share these’s words from my friend’s blog (www.beyondyogatn.com) ….

True to form, I used my mess to be the message for the November Fall Retreat. I opened with “The Valley of Dry Bones” from Ezekiel 37:11: “Our bones are dried up, our hope is gone, there is nothing left for us.” The gift of pruning was in the 13th verse, “When {not if} I open your graves and bring you up from them, I will put my Spirit in you and you will live…” But {be} encouraged. The valley was not the end of the message, because He is a grave-opening, bone-digging-up kind of Jesus.”
‘Did I even believe my own teaching?’
I closed the retreat with 1 Kings 17:1-7 “The Brook Dried Up”. “Sometime later, the brook dried up…” Below is the closing reading from the entire weekend:
“If you are here and you have been resting by a dried up brook or walking through the valley of dried up bones, God says to you He is not punishing you, but rather He is preparing you for greater things (Jeremiah 29:11). God was teaching Elijah, and perhaps, teaching us. I brought you by the brook to teach you to depend on Me and Me alone. Settle down! (Isaiah 30:15 MSG) And even though the brook is dry, I am never dry! I am a grave-robbing, water-walking God who reigns over every situation you will ever find yourself in. In fact, do not give up by the brook. Hold your head up, because God may {be} about to blow your mind. Just one chapter later, Elijah was not dry anymore (1 Kings 18). He was calling down fire, wiping out 900 prophets of Baal and Asherah, and out-running chariots (1 Kings 18). So rest in that! What can God do in your next chapter?”

Don’t get me wrong, I know how very blessed I am. But, there are days this life is just hard. And unfortunately, I often waller in my hard  and my bitter. Forgetting what God has promised. He is enough. He wants us to so richly abide in Him that we rest our dried up bones in Him…..

We went to KY over Spring Break because our dishwasher leaked Super Bowl Sunday and ruined my hardwood floors. Which meant, all the furniture in the downstairs of my house had to be moved out, old floors ripped up, and new floors put down. In typical fashion, I decided if we were going that far, we might as well do a total refresh on our 10 year old house. I love God’s sense of humor. I prayed for my refrigerator or dishwasher to leak for 3 years. Our carpet downstairs was nasty and needed to be replaced. We had several neighbors have issues and get new floors compliments of their home owner’s insurance. As would be par for our course, ours didn’t leak, so I replaced our carpet last April. Go figure, shortly after we do that, we can get new floors. So, yes, I ripped up carpet that was less than a year old to install hardwood…..

As the remodel is going down, me, Two Kids, A Dog, and Grandma went to KY. Jeff stayed home to work on the house. Still not sure who got the best deal. Grandma stayed with her sisters while the kids and I stayed with my dad and step mom. I quit calling to check in on Grandma, because I kept getting bad reports. And, her stay got cut short, because her sister just couldn’t handle her anymore. She had some pretty bad shenanigans that I won’t share here. But, let’s just say it’s a miracle she survived the week without being dropped off at the nursing home. And, of course on the way home Grandma asked if we could make some time soon to go to KY to visit her family. Two hours from leaving, she didn’t have a clue that she had been.

What are Grandma’s shenanigans these days? Well, it seems her bowel movements are her source of physical aggression these days. Dementia patients often act out physically when they get frustrated. Grandma isn’t strong enough for that, so she poops. No joke. If she is upset, she’ll use her poop to convey a message. One instance was her pooping in my bedroom floor because I let the toilet paper run out in her bedroom. Not even kidding. It was everywhere. I’ll spare you the details, but it was seven kinds of awful. I almost lost my marbles that day…. Jeff came home that night and put a keyed lock on our bedroom door. No more busting up in my bedroom in the middle of the night or pooping in my floor during the day. I am just going to share TMI, if this wasn’t already. Do you know how much I wish I could poop on command. It would simplify my days greatly, because those movements NEVER come at the most convenient time.

I will say that I have a super awesome story of God’s faithfulness coming. The story is a work in progress and one of the active participants is working on a guest blog post to share. But, if you don’t believe God is in the miracle and blessing business, you’ll just have to check this post out soon.