To die is gain…

​Today is a bittersweet day. 

Today a very sweet, funny, caring, loving friend is dancing with the angels. 

Today my friend of 38+ yrs, Linda Marrie Cheveallier, has looked in the eyes of her Savior. 

Oh the memories!!  Raising our daughters together; sharing joint custody of a friend’s 2 small kids while she attended boot camp; attending a kazillion church services; hours of prayer and small group meetings in my home; cooking; having parties; family get togethers; struggles and much more. Through our friendship,  I became even closer to one of her sisters, Kayline.  I can’t even begin to say how beyond thankful I am of that. 

Linda was big hearted and would do whatever she could to help anyone. Nothing was too small or large for her to contribute to.  She didn’t let too much bother her and was often referred to as ”Scarlett O’Hara ” from Gone with the Wind, because everything could wait and be done tomorrow!  Many, many years ago her next door neighbor had a garage sale. She knew I loved vintage leather suitcases and purchased one for me. Not only was it vintage,  but her neighbor was the librarian from my elementary through junior high school days.  Through the years and what seems like a thousand moves, the suitcase was always moved with me. She was tremendously thoughtful. 

Pearle Slatten 

Years ago, during one of our girlie get togethers at our fav Mexican restaurant, El Reparo, we discussed peri-menopausal symptoms she was having. I begged her to have a thorough checkup and a hysterectomy if necessary.  I know this is a controversial subject for some, but it changed my life, so I speak from experience. I can still remember the details like it was yesterday.  Over time I’d inquire about how her symptoms were and what treatment she had chosen. I’m not certain if a pap smear had been done, but I know a hysterectomy was never an option.

Years later she was diagnosed with advanced ovarian /abdominal cancer. Would a thorough checkup have discovered this? Would a hysterectomy performed years before have prevented this? We can never know for sure. Only God knows the length of our days. 

She fought valiantly through multiple surgeries, chemo, complications from diabetes, and more. Finally the doctors could do no more. Did we pray? Absolutely.  Accepting that death is indeed an answer to prayer is a hard pill to swallow, but we have to believe His infinite mercy is compassion in the finest measure. 

Anytime I thought of her poor prognosis it caused me to just cry without seconds notice. This was completely out of character for me. During my nursing career I’ve experienced hundreds of deaths. I’ve prayed with family members and over patients for God to show His mercy. Many times, death was an answer to prayer as death was kind by ending earthly suffering and misery. Out of character because Heaven is always in my view. Often I’d prayed prayers of salvation with my patients sometimes moments before death. Once I joined forces with a friend praying for a man in ICU who had such a debilitating stroke that all he could do was blink his eyes in agreement to prayer. His daughters literally broke down in tears when I shared the news. They had been concerned for many, many years over the state of his salvation. Again, out of character because coping with death is second nature to me. 

These crying spells continued for several, several weeks and one morning, while getting ready for work, I received a beautiful attitude adjustment.  Through the tears and prayers, the precious Holy Spirit enlightened my eyes and heart to see Linda would be accomplishing everything we believed in. I know that seems very simplistic for someone who claims to keep Heaven in their sights. All those years of praying, believing that Heaven is our reward and greatest accomplishment was going to happen for Linda. I immediately repented for being selfish. Yes selfish.  Selfish about losing a friend and even though we hadn’t seen each other for a few years, she was one of my dearest friends. Selfish about feeling forlorn that she’s the first of my ”sisters” that was leaving. Selfish and maybe even a gut-wrenching, fearful, reality check because we’re so close in age, my own death was iminent.  I became thankful. Thankful that we had amazing times through the good, bad & nightmarishly ugly. Yea, some events require inventing a new word!!! Thankful that through all the years, one constant remained…. seeing our Savior face to face was an ultimate desire. Thankful that my joyful friend was now laughing and finally enjoying immeasurable love, peace and eternal life.  

I pray grace, peace and comfort over Linda’s children, who recently lost their dad to cancer and sadly, a day or so after Linda’s death, also lost their step-mother. Praying for her husband; her family and most of all her sisters, Mary and Kayline. Our pack has lost a member, but I am convinced we will be together again. 

For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. –Philippians 1:21

Blessings,

g

Now serves as my end table!

Immigrant Children

As you may know, I’m from Texas.  I feel very strongly against our borders being flooded. Period. Many voice an opinion that this is not the “Christian”  thing to believe. There’s a huge disconnect in the belief that Christians shouldn’t feel this way. I love God & serve Him daily.  I choose as an act of my will to extend mercy, grace & unconditional love.  My bible has story after story of how God protected his people & commanded His leaders to wipe out entire nations to do so.  I’m not saying He should wipe out Mexico, Salvador, etc., so please don’t misinterpret that.  I am saying we should exercise wisdom to protect our own.

I treat all mankind with dignity & respect & strongly believe children should never be used as tools for personal or political gain. This is not Christian, or humanitarian, but political. My governor has been soliciting the POTUS to come see for himself. His trip to Texas is to attend a fundraiser, not assess the situation. Really?? A local Mayor is up for re-election.  He’s in the spotlight for the wrong reasons by offering shelters for immigrants without following procedures. Sound familiar?  Protecting humans should come from the right heart motive, not personal gain.

I’m completely against flooding our cities with people who aren’t doing so as a direct result from a natural disaster.  This disaster  is man-made & self-inflicted.  This will be like a cancer destroying our nation.  Actually this is an internal terrorist attack where we’ll be sleeping with the enemy.  Every country has border control. If you don’t believe it, ask  Andrew Tahmooressi,  our Marine who, for some strange, odd, reason, can’t be released from a Mexican prison.  Our borders should never be respected differently.
Why do I have such a strong opinion about this?  Let’s look at just a few of the reasons!
We have families (some are my friends) in Texas who are unemployed, children who don’t eat unless they eat at school & take back packs containing food home for dinner. Here’s a quote from Hunger Busters:
Over 137,000 (87%) of the children attending Dallas schools rely on school-subsidized breakfast and/or lunch as their only resource for food. All too often, these children go without dinner. Many of them have nothing to eat from school lunch one day until school breakfast the next.
At our recent National Social Services Convention, David Beckmann,  President of bread for the world, informed us about the numerous programs that have been cut from the national budget. Many, if not most, of these affect children & senior citizens.  This validates the previous quote & should enlighten us on the dire needs in our own neighborhoods.  While our economy is improving  & Texas is stronger than most, why add the strain?  I won’t go into detail as to why these children are going home hungry or why people are unemployed.  I will express my resistance to opening borders when we can’t provide for our own.
Again, this is an internal, political blow & other states, Florida & California,  are experiencing the same. California protested sending 3 busloads back. Those immigrants were put on planes & sent to Houston?   Now the government is sending armed government agents to fight the California protesters.  Really?  Our own people are being targeted?  Is it me, or shouldn’t we be focusing our attention & resources on the root source?
The old saying,  “Charity begins at home” should be applied.  Our US government shut down this past year & I had friends hanging in the balance.  Our US is on the brink of bankruptcy & many cities have already declared it. We have trillions of dollars in debt owed to other nations. Despite Obamacare, millions aren’t receiving medical treatment. Our veterans are denied well deserved benefits.  Human trafficking is rampant.  In all these things, what happens?  We open our borders.  I’m not a rocket scientist or an economist brain child, but I can see how this is pouring salt on an open wound.  Well….maybe salt is too mild as salt can actually cure. Acid on an open wound would be more descriptive.
tx border fenceWhat makes this even worse is the fact that other countries, who have vowed to destroy America, are flying to Mexico to cross the border because…..they can.  This leads me to the to believe this was the conspiracy all along. Innocent children & adults are being caught in the crossfire or are considered collateral damage.  After all….if history serves us correctly, the past several political outbursts have been smoke & mirrors to disguise what is actually happening. Create a diversion & the American people will get their hair on fire &  panties in such a wad, they’ll never acknowledge what is really happening.  Not anymore.  We have put our big girl panties on & are dealing with it.  Sorry guys…..you catch my drift!
Enough is enough!!!  Stop shipping exhausted, malnourished, diseased humans from city to city knowing they won’t qualify to stay here.  A recent Dallas newscast reported that they’ll soon be deported. Why expose them, weaken our defenses, turn citizen against citizen only to send them back?  Contact your congressman, senator, governor & let your voice be heard.  Posting your beliefs on social media is one thing & is powerful. Nothing compares to vocally reaching out & helping our officials realize we are not sheep, but  humans whose heart beats for our great nation.  This also affirms & cheers them on for valiantly fighting  on our behalf.  We voted them in & should continue to support them.
Questions???  Where are the resources coming from that are being wasted on such propaganda?  How did they miraculously find billions of dollars in our budget?  Seriously?? Where could these funds be reallocated?  I know!!!   They’re cutting welfare programs & people who are knowingly abusing the system are being forced into employment? What are some questions you may have?
You may read this & only visualize an angry, bitter, racist behind a keyboard.  On the contrary, my heart is so very proud of my Hispanic, Brazilian, Indian, etc. friends who are now bona-fide Americans.  Many of them share my same concerns or are even more vocal!  They came to my America-land of the free because of the brave.  They did so to obtain freedom from tyranny or to offer a better opportunity for their families.  They did their due diligence, counted the cost & obtained citizenship.  To the best my knowledge, NONE of them receive free government benefits.  They are proud to wave the American flag.  I salute, love & respect them immensely.
In summary… I am a Christian. I am vehemently against open borders.  I am for taking care of Americans who need a hand up, not a hand out.
God Bless America,
g

Miles of Freedom

I love ending the week on such a completely positive, uplifting & encouraging note!

A couple of years ago we used the Hilton Garden Inn in Dallas for our Tues nite business meetings. Me & my besties usually hosted the door, so we were there early. We had the honor & privilege of working with a man named Richard. He always went above & beyond to make sure we had everything we needed to have a perfect meeting.

Everyone has a story if you just take the time to listen. His story was amazing & we couldn’t wait to see how God used his ill-fate, talents & abilities to help others. Today Glenda told me about his website & I’m in awe of the faithfulness of God.

Please read his testimony of being wrongfully accused & spending 15 years in a Texas prison.  Going in at age 19 & leaving at age 34 meant he spent the formative years of his life incarcerated. He did use that time to obtain an education which he furthered once released.

During our weekly visits, we recognized there were seeds of greatness in him knowing he would definitely pay it forward by helping others.  The thing I appreciate most was that he never represented a victim mentality nor was he an angry man with an entitlement mentality.  Never!   He had a servant’s heart & put others first.  He was tested even after being exonerated, but……his dream & passion for others consumed him.  How inspiring to see how he followed his dream not only in offering others a hand up, but sowing into the community.  He kept his eyes focused on the prize & an attitude of resilience. After all…..attitude is the difference maker!

ImageIt truly makes me ponder how many other people I know who allow a simple obstacle prevent them from cultivating the gifts & talents God has placed in them.  How many am I allowing to lay dormant? We may not be behind bars, but who or what are we allowing to hold us captive & steal our future?  What measure of guilt & condemnation are we allowing to take up residence in our minds developing self sabotage & even more limiting beliefs?  In the past 2 days I’ve been challenged to really set some things in motion & this completely sealed the deal!  I think it’s self-evaluation time!  How about YOU???

You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.-Genesis 50:20

Blessings,

g

Your definition of success

I surround myself with forward thinking, like minded people. The word success is regularly used in multiple conversations, articles I read or thoughts I contemplate. Many times, some may ponder what success looks like to them. I came across this & it beautifully parallels the law of sowing & reaping while perfectly embracing the philosophy of being “others focused.”

My hope is for it to actively stir your soul!
Blessings,
g

Catherine Pulsifer

What is success?

To some it is money; to others it is position; yet to others, it is power. We all have different thoughts on what constitutes a successful person. And, at different times in our lives you may find that success will have a different meaning.

In developing your own definition of success, think of others and how you can help them.

If success means money to you, then donate money to a worthwhile charity.

If success means a position of status, then share your knowledge with others.

If success means power to you, then use that to advance worthwhile causes.

If success means happiness to you, then work at a job you love.
All to often, we get caught up in all the things we want, and forget to give back to the world. Our society seems to place more value on how much we have rather than how much we give.

What a different world it would be if society placed more value on how much we gave! If success was defined as helping others our world would be a changed world.

The words of wisdom said by Martin Luther King, Jr., sums up our thought:

“We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries
or the size of our automobile rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to humanity.”

The wisdom of Mr. King’s words are ones that we all need to remember as we climb the ladder of success.

Tyler Perry Says We Need To Celebrate Single Mothers, Not Criticize

I love this man!  This is a cry of my heart for every single mother.  Schedules are crazy, kids have a million things that have to be done at one time & it’s up to us, one person, to do it.  I know & appreciate that there are just as many amazing men who do this every day. I  salute you & while the movie is about single mothers, please know you are valued just as much!

Can’t wait to see this movie!  Please read what Tyler has to say about it!

Blessings,

g

Tyler Perry Says We Need To Celebrate Single Mothers, Not Criticize.

tyler perry single moms club pic

Parasitic Relationships

Today is a very special day for one of my closest friends.  Her marriage of 24 years ended & her divorce became final today.  As an advocate against divorce, what I’m about to say is the exact opposite, but I have to confess….I don’t know who’s happier, me or her.  Well….I know that answer, but you can tell I’m beyond stoked!   I’ve known & worked closely with her since October 2005.  She is naive is some ways, doesn’t attempt any of the things I do when it comes to DIY stuff, isn’t extremely internet savvy, reads daily devotions, but won’t attend church, wouldn’t stand up to talk to a crowd if her life depended on it, will procrastinate until I’m driven crazy & hates to veer out of her normal comfort zones.  She is, however, one of the kindest, sensitive, loyal, most committed mother, cat lover & human I know.

Before they married, husband had a child & baby mama drama.  Although her grandfather tried to warn her, she loved him & accepted his son. During the marriage, he was unfaithful & this produced another child & yes… another baby mama. My friend is precious & attempted to honor her wedding vows regardless of husband’s infidelity.  They had 2 kids of their own & oops…another one happened.  She worked 3 jobs during her pregnancy to provide for her family.  This is acceptable right?  I mean husband worked one job, paid all his money to baby mama’s for child support & expected to be completely taken care of with designer clothing, new vehicles, toys, etc.  Wait…I had a lapse of sanity for a moment, because in no lifetime is this acceptable.

When things became unbearable they separated.  [Enter humor] While living with his mother, husband got a taste of being responsible for himself. They attempted to reunite & make the marriage work so he moved back home. This is a great option if you’re not dating someone else in the process. During this time, he wrecked his truck & of course he got a brand new one.  She paid the note, so why not right?  It’s OK that she drove the hooptie with no A/C in Texas heat.  The kids are young, they’ll survive.  NOT!  Finally the day came.  July 2013 was the most memorable month for me ever.  Wait….this isn’t about me, but I was rejoicing believe me!

Friend began “going out” with a friend she’d known most of her life.  He had 3 baby mama’s, 7 kids & lived in a garage loft type room at his parents.  Before you judge that she obviously has a problem, stop.  In 20 years of mentoring single women/men, I’ve seen this cyclic behavior pattern a million times.  Remember when I described comfort zone above?  It was just a friend with a history of leaving broken hearts all over town & kids he’ll never contribute in raising.  For 6 years I used to read during my 45 minute lunch break.  I didn’t gossip with anyone, didn’t socialize or even sit in the dining room.  This was my time to invest in my mind through books.  Friend had a bestie that shared lunch with her.  Bestie left & now friend & I began to have lunch together.  I could have been extremely selfish, self-absorbed & genuinely not bothered by what was going on in her life.  Except…..she’s my friend.  I’ve heard every event that has taken place for the past 2 years.  I’ve heard every event that has taken place for the past 2 years.  I’ve heard every event….no this isn’t a typo.  I have literally heard events, repetitively, for the past 2 years.  If you know me, you know this rubs against every fiber of my being. Why did I listen?  She has no one to mentor her in relationships.  I am not the most sensitive, patient, polished, or kind person when it comes to advice sometimes, but I am thankful to say we have worked through many situations, other relationships & she is so much stronger because of it.  Yes it was an extreme sacrifice sometimes, but to see her today is like there is nothing better.  The reward is worth the investment.

My judgmental attitude overruled my best nature sometimes & I would call husband a parasite.  Then lifetime friend became a parasite too.  Having a 25 year background in nursing, I am familiar with what a parasite is. Not only what they are, but what havoc they can wreak on the lives of people or hosts.  While praying for her to have courage & emotional stability today to face the judge, I actually began entertaining what a parasite truly does.  I then had to look up the definition & description.  Looking at pictures grossed me out completely.  I can’t imagine enabling that type of behavior!  Here it is:

parasiteParasite : a person who receives support, advantage, or the like, from another or others without giving any or proper return, as one who lives on the hospitality of others.

Parasitism is a non-mutual symbiotic relationship between species,  where one species, the parasite, benefits at the expense of the other, the host.  Unlike predators,  parasites do not kill their host and will often live in or on their host for an extended period of time. Parasites show a high degree of  specialization, and reproduce  at a faster rate than their hosts. Parasites increase their fitness by exploiting hosts for resources necessary for their survival, e.g. food, water, heat, habitat, and transmission.

Parasitism can take the form of isolated  “cheating”  or exploitation among more generalized mutualistic  interactions. For example, broad classes of plants or fungi exchange carbon and nutrients in common mutualistic mycorrhizal relationships; however, some plant species known as myco-heterotrophs  “cheat” by taking carbon from a fungus rather than donating it.

Synonyms –  sycophant, toady, leech, sponge, hanger-on.

I was surprised at how this identifies to husband & lifetime friend.  How quaint that leech was my other descriptive word.  How many people do you know can be labeled as this?  How many people do you know who are drawn to these types of people?  Before we go further, please understand that co-dependent, manipulative, self-absorbed, ruthless, parasitic behavior patterns are not gender specific.

You can’t change what you tolerate & often we tolerate situations, husbands, wives, lovers, & friends just because we lack the courage to do anything else.  The best thing you can do for someone who lacks the confidence to walk away from these parasitic relationships is to be a friend.  Listen, offer advice & most of all validate their good qualities while constantly & continually building belief that they are much more valuable than this. Please, direct them to a community DivorceCare Group immediately.

Today is a new day in the life of my friend.  I know it wasn’t an easy path to follow, yet there is such a release & relief.  If you read this & think I’ve been stalking you because this is your story, please know there is hope & a cure for tolerating someone, a parasite,  who is literally sucking the life right out of you.

Blessings,

g