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For Better, For Worse

So I'm sitting here in the UT Medical Center's Vascular Center waiting with my husband, Ben.  This morning, he's having a central line (also called a Hickman catheter) surgically inserted into his chest.

Central lines are used for administering things like chemotherapy, or in Ben's case, IV hydration and nutrition.  Central lines are considered long-term placements and can be in place for weeks or months at a time.

Over the summer, Ben, with his doctor's permission, weaned off a very powerful pain medication he had been taking for years.  He was concerned with its safety and efficacy.  Ben's doctors supported his decision and gave him some short-term pharmaceutical help while he went through withdrawal.  Even with the help, Ben's withdrawal was horrible.  For the first 2 weeks, he marked off each day on a piece of paper, like someone on a deserted island might do to keep track of the days.  We stayed in near-constant prayer during that time.  Every small re…
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Devotional Diva's "Best Christmas Ever" Series Guest Post

I'm very proud to be featured in Devotional Diva's annual Christmas series.
This year, the theme is, "The Best Christmas Ever."I wrote about a life event that forever changed me. I hope you are uplifted as I share how God created beauty from ashes in my life.
I believe there is no wound or pain or deficiency or injustice that God cannot heal.
Merry Christmas to each and every one of you, from the bottom of my heart.
Click here to read.

At Least I Have a Glass!

I've long been a 'glass half-empty' kind of gal.  It's just how my brain is wired.  Science tells me that some of that pessimistic tendency is genetic, and some of it has to do with experiencing the childhood double-whammy trauma of poverty and the death of a parent. 

Science also tells me that the brain is 'elastic.' I can reteach myself to be more resilient, more joyful, more secure.  It's not an easy process, but it's achievable.

Thanksgiving is a special reminder for me.  A holiday that focuses on gratitude - with a bonus emphasis on togetherness - is great practice to think on more good things than bad, even for just one day!

Our holiday was pretty darn good.  My sister and brother-in-law drove down from Ohio to spend it with us.  We're not Thanksgiving food traditionalists.  My sister slow-cooked some pinto beans in the Crock Pot and made cornbread for her and Mom.  (I was responsible for ingredients, and somehow managed to forget the cornmea…

Been There, Done Fat

There is a picture of me, age 20, standing at the buffet table at my grandmother's house.  A family friend is in the foreground, dressed as Santa Claus, holding my young cousin on his lap.  They look happy, even jolly, as is expected at the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

I do not.  I look embarrassed because I am obese and the person taking the picture has captured me mid-bite.  It is Christmas Eve and the table is heavy with festive food of every sort - cheery green punch as bright as a jewel, meatballs simmering in a Crock Pot, fancy deli meats, breads, cookies, pies, chips, Chex mix, fudge - with nuts or without.  I believe I am indulging in a smear of cheeseball atop a cracker when the photo is snapped.

It is a veritable feast of Tiny Tim proportions.

I am dressed carefully for the occasion.  White t-shirt, jeans, blue button-down shirt worn open for some color contrast.  My jewelry is small and tasteful.  My hair is trendily cropped short, and I am doused in Clinique Happy…


Each time Ben and I walk around South Knoxville picking up garbage, we are inevitably asked, "Why are you doing that?"

"Because we just wanted to be good neighbors," we reply.

Usually, the person asking fails to disguise the note of incredulity in his or her voice.

"Huh," is a typical response.

We can almost see the wheels turning in their minds.  Why would you go out and pick up garbage that isn't yours?  I mean, especially if you aren't getting paid, or you haven't been forced into it by a court of law.  This is typically followed by a polite, "Well, thank you!" Some people watch us for a bit, while others walk quickly around us, fearful that we'll ask them to join our grouchy 2-man crew.

Ben and I decided to start picking up garbage in 2015.  We were renting a house in Vestal at the time, which is considered by most to be the roughest part of South Knoxville.  Litter was everywhere.  Convenience store detritus was more prevale…

A New Guest Post on Devotional Diva

More of my writing is featured today on Devotional Diva.  This post represents a particularly personal and humbling call to action for myself.  To understand the need for grace, you have to understand your own ugly, disgraceful brokenness.  As one pastor said, "Christianity is just one beggar telling the other beggar where they found the bread."

Click here to read:

Transitions (but not the good kind from Lenscrafters)

A coffee filter flower that Mom made and gifted to me
Many kind people ask me, "How's your mom doing?"

I usually answer, "Not great, but she's in a wonderful facility with wonderful caregivers so we're blessed."  That's the short answer and the truth.  It's not the complete answer, because the truth is often too long to report, and sometimes, I can tell that people aren't prepared for it or desire to hear it.
That's why I'm grateful to have this blog so that I can boldly write about my family's experiences.  One of the comments I hear most from readers, particularly Christian readers, is that you appreciate my candor, especially with difficult subjects. I want you to know that I appreciate your support of this blog, and I doubly appreciate the encouragement.  
I also want you to know that my candor is a deliberate choice.  I hope it is one that glorifies our God.  After my dad died, I often felt as though I couldn't just be a…