Thursday, June 22, 2017

being okay with not getting better

After almost four years of constant, nagging depression,
of crying out to the Lord for help,
of being under a doctor's care,
of seeing my once vibrant life get smaller and smaller,
of finding it harder and harder to keep trying,
I have decided that I need to be okay with not getting better.
I need to accept where God has placed me,
be thankful for who I am in Christ,
and do what I can to serve Him in many small ways
while waiting for the glories that await.

Yesterday I was confronted with this truth twice....
once in a quote on Facebook from John MacArthur,
and once in a chapter from the book of Ephesians by Martyn L. Jones
given to me by Bubba who mentors me through this abyss.
I will share both.

"Do you have the ability
to look beyond your present circumstances
 to the glorious realities awaiting you down the road?" 
John MacArthur
7:01 AM

"If we had but some small conception of the glory which awaits us, 
and to which we are going, 
it would transform our view of our life in this world 
and of the things that happen to us in this world."
Martyn Lloyd Jones
Handed to me at about 3:00 PM on the same day by my husband.

This was the truth I needed to hear yesterday.
God never fails to give me what I NEED.
I WANT to be done with depression forever.....
but I need to trust God in my current circumstances.

One day all of the troubles of this world will be lifted.
I will have shed all of my tears.
The weight of sin will be lifted 
and I will be free to be what He made me to be.
Until then...
well, chronic depression physically hurts,
it drains the life from you,
it takes away your joy.
Unless you've been there, there is no way you could possibly know.

I don't know who reads my blog...
I have been counseled to keep writing
 because it fosters thankfulness for all that God has given me.
 You can tell by reading that I am most richly blessed.
Writing this blog is one of my most favorite things.
just so you know....
"The joy of the Lord is my strength."

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

happy birthday amanda

You, my daughter, are the light of my life.
There is no one else like you.
You make me laugh out loud, sometimes hysterically.
You know all my secrets and love me anyway.
You bear with me,
you encourage me,
your love is felt deep in my heart.
You are and always have been a gift from God.

That smile on your face in the picture above is for Mark,
the man in the chair with the cat on his head.
He really wanted to be watching the golf  tournament,
but came to watch you open your presents instead.
That is love!

You guys came through Savannah twice to help us
while we were keeping Harry and Archie
while they were waiting for their brother Walt to get home.
The birthday party and the trip to the airport after the party
caused a level of excitement that was over the top.
Getting home at almost midnight, 
we all found it very hard to fall asleep.
What a happy day!!

During the party a rainbow appeared in the sky.
We all rushed out to see this beautiful symbol of God's promise to us.
We felt God's presence and love 
as the rest of our family was on the airplane
 speeding our loved ones home.

This was my gift to Amanda.
Soft pink sport shoes
wait for it,
When my eyes first landed on these shoes,
 they were shouting Amanda's name.
She loved them!!

Happy Birthday daughter of mine.
I love you!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

walter is home....

Last night at 10:45 the United plane landed that brought Walt home to us.
At the airport was gathered a large crowd of family and friends.
Pictured above are some of them.

The children were wild with excitement and good will.
The Werner family made this sign to welcome Walt home.
Almost everyone had worn their Walter Express T-shirts in solidarity.

Here they come up the concourse from the plane.
Family reunited!!

The family of seven together for the first time ever!

Thank you great God of heaven and earth
 for your watch care and protection over these people that I love so much. 
You are gracious! 
You are kind! 
There is no God but You who made heaven and earth.
You sustain life!
You choose!
You give life in the name of Your Son Jesus Christ!
Thank You!!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

happily ever after

We got home from Disney World yesterday afternoon.
The trip was a huge success.
We rode eleven rides,
ate two Dole Whips,
had Mickey Waffles at Captain Cook's Cafe,
saw two bunnies,
fed the wild turkeys from our hotel balcony,
rode the monorails,
wore ourselves out and went back for more.

Granddaddy and the boys rode Thunder Mountain Railroad,
(I don't do roller coasters).
We rode Peter Pan twice because we love the story so much,
and because in the ride we get to fly.
Archie and I rode the race cars and laughed our heads off.
I beat Harry in the Buzz Lightyear shooting Gallery,
but he wouldn't admit it.
The Jungle Cruise did not disappoint.
The People Mover is always a relaxing high point.
And...It's a Small World...Oh the joy of that slow boat through the all the nations.

On the ride home...
one little boy was so tired 
that when we got almost home
 he asked if we were still at Disney World.
It was still living and breathing in his head.

An all time favorite is Pirates of the Caribbean.
The boys got new swords.
Harry is so good he fights with his weak (left) hand.
Archie and I, well we don't measure up.
But we keep trying.

Magic is there all over the place.
You get to be children again.
"Happily Ever After"

*Our friend Sarah Kate invited the boys over today to play.
She has five children of her own.
What a fine thing to do for this Grammy and Granddaddy.
I got All of the clothes washed and took a little nap.
Bubba got his "stuff" done too.
This is grace and mercy dear friend.
It is being like Jesus.
Thank You!!!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

road trip

Starting week three with the two short guys.
They are happy, healthy, and full of fun.
Tomorrow we embark on an adventure....
as if every day wasn't one.
We are taking them to Disney World,
They are beyond excited,
full of plans,
ready to go.
And thankfully,
I do not have to answer the question,
"When are we leaving for Disney?"
We decided on the movies they'll watch on the trip in the car.
I have Disney songs for them to listen to,
Archie has his Mickey Ears
and they both have their autograph books and pens.
Archie has his sleeping bag because he doesn't want to sleep in the bed with Harry.
I have them mostly packed...
there's a lot to remember.
Now I just hope that we all stay well,
and the two grandparents can be infused with extra energy,
and yes patience,
and that the thundershowers that are predicted will be brief.

Norman the cat will stay here and hold down the fort.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

a picture worth a thousand words

This picture...
these boys!
Been at the beach all afternoon.
A little sunburned.
Just wolfed down some good food at Long Horn.
All of Grammy's decorative pillows on the floor.

Amanda is standing in front of them giving some kind of instructions.
They seem to be paying attention.
They do not seem to be impressed with what she is saying.

Archie looks mildly distressed.
Jake seems to be astonished.
Eli has relaxed to the point of being semi-catatonic.
Harry is showing a spark of interest.

The rest of the evening consisted of...
extremely small ice cream sundaes and
2 episodes of Star Wars Rebels before bed.

The Cleland boys hit the bed and went out like lights.
The Hollingsworth children took a little longer to settle.
The adults were not far behind.

Grammy Life
Salt Life
It makes you like that!!

Friday, June 9, 2017

more helpers came

Amanda and Mark stopped by last night on their way to Virginia
to spend some time with Mark's parents.
They left early this morning
with all of the boys
in the picture.
They ate breakfast at Chick - Fil - A,
Spent the rest of the morning at Oatland Island,
and spent the afternoon at Tybee doing the beach and the pool.
They did all of this while Bubba and I rested at home.
This act of kindness was much appreciated,

We just got back from dinner at Long Horn.
We had a big, noisy, fun, and delicious meal together to end our day.
They will travel on in the morning
without Norman the cat
who is staying here.
Now we have two nine year old boys and a black cat.

It's a zoo here....
I love it!


Thursday, June 8, 2017

the orphanage

This picture was taken at the orphanage.
The crib next to Erika was Walt's.
Harry, Archie, and I were able to talk with Walt this morning on facetime.
What a joy!!
He is warming up to his family.
God is good ALL the time.

I am trying to teach Harry how to play checkers.
He is doing well...
anticipating his next move in the picture.
To the right, watching our game is Puck the Penguin.
To the left is his handmade sword.
He whittled a very sharp point with his pocket knife,
and taped it together with duct tape.
This is the life of a Grammy.
None of the grands can beat me at checkers......yet!
Harry and I have been watching Peter Pan.
We both wish we could fly.
We will one day I'm sure!

This is my truth,
my reality,
my prayer.
When everything else is swirling around me....
the chaos of this world,
the children and their constant wants and needs,
my thoughts that try to derail me,
the frailties of my body,
I have Jesus!
My constant prayer is that His peace will rule in my heart.
When He rules your heart everything is okay!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

a couple of shout outs...

Fourteen years ago on June 7th, 2003,
we put on a wedding. ❤
Amanda married Mark and the rest is history.
Pulling this wedding together was one of the most fun events of my life.
It was a fairy tale and a dream come true.
Happy Anniversary you two!
Love you both and those two great boys that we call our grandsons!

A serious and heartfelt thank you to the Harrell family at our church,
They kept Harry and Archie for us today
so that Bubba and I could have a little break.
Keeping two little boys for almost three weeks is a lot for old folks like us.
Your offer of this kindness was so much appreciated.
I have done pretty much nothing today except rest and read and,
 of course, wash the never ending stack of dirty clothes.

Weddings and grandchildren...
When one happens the other usually follows.
Thankful for ALL of God's blessings!

Monday, June 5, 2017

God's gift to us....Walter Bookman Cleland

We offer up Thanksgiving for this child.
God chose Walt for amazing is that!
David and Erika and Lucy picked him up from the orphanage yesterday (our time).
He is sad and confused but all of that will get better in time.
His little world has changed drastically.
Granddaddy and I met him early this morning via facetime....
so did Arch and Harry.
We were all thrilled and excited.

This thought is from David.
He has been reading Heaven for Children by Randy Alcorn
every night to his children. 
He likened Walt's experience coming to his new family
to our thoughts of going to heaven.
All he knows in his little two year old mind is the orphanage.
He has no idea what joy awaits him when he comes home.
That's like us.
All we know is this sinful world...
we cannot even fathom or imagine what awaits us when we go home to heaven.

Walt's sadness will soon turn to joy.
Same with us!

Get home fast little boy!
Grammy is looking forward to
 holding you close, 
kissing those cheeks, 
seeing your precious face for the first time.
Until then we will all be praying for you!!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

what's in your purse?

I just left my three boys and ran down to get a pedicure.
Glancing through a magazine,
I saw that they have a feature every month...
What's In Your Purse?
I decided.."that's my blog for tonight,
I'll do a funny one for a change."
Besides, I don't really know
what's in my purse.
So, I came home and dumped it out on my bed.
This is what I found.

1.  My green leather Kate Spade wallet that I have used for at least twenty years.
2.  Two one dollar bills.
3. My "My Panera" card.
4.  My "Kroger Plus" card to get my cheap gasoline. 
5.  My I Phone 7.
6.  My glasses case that Lucy made for me.
7.  Two pair of red and black framed reading glasses.
8.  A bottle of water.
9.  A Tootsie Roll Pop...been in there forever.
10.  The keys to my 2005 Honda Odyssey which I hope never dies on me because I love it.
11.  Two colors of my "Essie" nail polish for impromptu pedicures like today....
Pink Diamond & Status Symbol.
I chose pink diamond.
12.  Easter Egg Swedish Fish left over from Easter.
13.  Dental floss...cannot be without!
14. Hair clips
15 Neosporin and some Barbie band aides.
16.  And last but not least,
my Chanel lipstick ~ Lip Glow,
the one and only best ever never wear anything else!

Okay....Bubba just left for the first night of his 55th high school reunion.
It's just me and Harry and Archie.
We are having a movie night tonight with ice cream sundaes.

*I wrote this last night but was too tired to finish and post.
@life with boys in the house
@tired grammy ~ just want to fall into bed and relax when I get them to bed.
@mornings are a time to "right my ship."
@pool today?

Wednesday, May 31, 2017


 My all-time favorite recent picture of Bubba and I.
This is a pencil sketch of us down at the ocean in Jupiter, Florida.
It captures who we are perfectly...
happy, blessed, and sill having fun.

Harry & Archie have been here two days.
We are still standing!
Having fun even.
Being the quintessential child at heart,
loving to play games and make believe,
I fit right in with the nine year old mindset.
Watched Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban last night with Harry.
We both hit the bed a little spooked.
He told me today that next time he watches it will be in the afternoon.
We had a rainy afternoon so we played several rounds of Ocean Bingo.
I suggested that we use real shells as our game pieces.
They loved it.

Harry LOVES to sit on our big, ole farm table.
I find him here so often,
What can I say?
He is our climber and he runs as fast as a cheetah,
I love him!
He makes me laugh and laugh.

David, Erika, and Lu are on their way to China as I write.
They ended up leaving from Dulles in DC rather than Chicago.
They got three seats together.
So many prayers have gone up today.
They will arrive in China sometime while we are sleeping.

Keep them safe Lord.....
and, thanks so much!!

One last thing...
I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that somebody is praying for me.

Monday, May 29, 2017

across the top of the world

The bunk beds are ready,
their bathroom is clean.
I splurged on some toothpaste
and bought them some things.

The beach and the pool are calling our names,
the pantry is stocked with all sorts of goodies.
Movies and Lego's,
new markers and drawing pads,
a trip down to Disney!!
Everything we could think of to show them a good time!
It's time to parent our grand kids for a while!!

David and Erika leave in the morning.
They are going to China to pick up Walt.
Harry & Archie are staying with us,
Gus will be with his grandparents in North Carolina,
and Lucy is off to China.
She has a passport and will get it stamped!
We are all so excited.
the time has finally come.
The high chair at our table will be in use once again.

Lots to ask of our God right now.
We need patience and guidance, safety and health.
That all will go well,
the time will pass swiftly,
no homesickness at all for this little family
going their separate ways.

Yes they will fly over the top of the world.
The trip from Chicago to Beijing will take thirteen hours....
then a six hour train ride to where Walt resides.
And yes...they will go to the Great Wall of China.

Godspeed to our loves....
see you at the airport in a couple of weeks
 so that we can meet and love on our seventh grand baby....
Little Walter Bookman Cleland.

Blessed beyond measure!!

Friday, May 26, 2017

a little glance away

"So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, 
and he slept; 
then He took one of his ribs, and closed the flesh at that place.
And the Lord God fashioned into a woman
 the rib which He had taken from the man,
and brought her to the man.
And the man said,
'This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; 
she shall be called Woman 
because she was taken out of Man.' "

"For this cause 
a man shall leave his father and his mother, 
and shall cleave to his wife: 
and they shall become one flesh."
Genesis 2: 21-24

God ordained.
A covenant between a man, a woman, and God Himself.
A promise to remain true...
to let nothing or no one intrude into this mysterious union.
A vow taken before God and witnesses.
A trust not to be broken.
Note the unbroken circle of the symbols ~ the rings. 
a beautiful union that brings forth life.
Two like-minded souls brought together until death does them part.
A life filled with blessings and sorrows,
sustained by the power of God that raised Jesus Christ from the dead.

God's word tells us from beginning to end that believers have an adversary.
His name is satan.
He is evil,
he is a destroyer,
he is opposed to God.
He lies to us and tries to convince us that God's way is burdensome.
Sometimes he approaches us as an angel of light.

A little glance away.
How many Christian marriages have been destroyed by satan's whisper...
"Looking with longing at this person who is not your spouse is okay...
you need a little change up, 
more fun in your life,
something different and exciting."

You start out by saying to yourself,
"I still love my husband/wife, but this other person
looks so good,
makes me feel so good....
what harm can possibly come from a little glance away?
Before you know what hit you,
you can think of nothing else.
You become discontent,
consumed with lust,
wanting more and more of this thing that only brings despair.
You think if you are not with this person in a physical sense that you are okay.
That is a lie!
If you are thinking lustful thoughts of anyone besides your spouse
you are committing adultery.

Oh Christian brother or sister....
Maybe this has happened to you.
Maybe you are filled with despair, depression, hopelessness.
Maybe you think you are unfit, unsaved, tarnished beyond repair.

Good news!
We have a Savior....
 Jesus Christ who deals in grace, mercy, and forgiveness.
He died so that we could be brought back into a right relationship with God the Father.
He died so that we could be forgiven and made holy and fit for His Kingdom.
He died so that when we make mistakes there is....

The Bible give us hope.
If you are a Christian the Holy Spirit WILL convict your heart.
You will recognize your sin.
You will desire to repent, to turn from.
God will help you.
You will suffer,
It will be for righteousness sake.
 It will be worth all of the pain you will endure.
God's forgiveness covers all sin.

To Christian men and women young or old who are married...
No one is immune.
This can happen to anyone,
innocently maybe (the angel of light thing),
but then you are hooked.
God knows what's best!
Leave and cleave!
Keep your marriage as God intended.
Do not glance away not even for a moment!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

weather related

A friend and the manager of  our condo property
sent us these pictures this morning
of a tornado over the water in front of our unit.
Nature's fury is so awe inspiring.

Thankfully there was no damage.
I think I would have had to commit Bubba if there had been.
Our trek back from Hurricane Matthew 
is still a work in progress with the insurance company.

We decided to go to Pearl's for dinner last evening.
Kind of a "just the two of us" celebration
of his birthday.
Pearl's is one of our favorites.
It is all windows overlooking a tidal creek and marsh.
Yesterday the creek was full because of high tide.
Bubba got crab stuffed flounder and I chose shrimp and crab au gratin.
Just after we got our food the storm descended in all of its glory.
What a sight to see the wind and rain running up the creek.
At some point, all of the cell phones in the restaurant
sounded forth with an ear splitting tornado warning.
It was kind of funny and kind of scary.
We all chose to stay, though.
It was the right thing to do!

I just want to say...
they have these little hush puppies,
fresh out of the fryer,
that taste like donuts,
served with honey butter,
that are to die for.

We stayed for those and so much more.
Thankfully we were spared.

I love storms!
I love storms with a view!
I love storms when I am home cleaning our home.
I got some of all of that these last two days!


Sunday, May 21, 2017

the sweet may birthdays...

Jake turned twelve.
Granddaddy is now 73.
What a joy to have a big, fun birthday weekend.

Grandaddy got a shout out for being the 
world's best Grandpa.
He Is the best!

Jake wanted a Star Wars Rebel birthday party.
I made my famous Coca Cola cake.
Bubba got to pick the dessert.
Amanda and I got up early yesterday morning to get it made.
It was delicious.

The party game was this BB8 pinata.
The kids get to whack at it until it bursts open
and lots of money falls out.

Lining up to take the first try to bring the goodies in BB8 down.

Jake first then youngest to oldest.

Lucy knocked it off of it's perch so Amanda had to help
get BB8's loot emptied to the ground.
everybody got six dollars.

I just love this picture!
These kids have such a good time together.
Thank you Lord for these past few days.

Friday, May 19, 2017

the start of something wonderful

Jake turns 12.
Granddaddy turns 73.
Big birthday weekend starts today!!
All the grandkids at Get Air.....
jumping to their heart's content.
Jake says his birthday has gotten off to a great start!

Just now we celebrated with the family at
La Parilla Mexican Restaurant.
Jake got treated to a real Mexican birthday celebration
 complete with a sombrero,
singing and clapping,
and a delicious desert to share with everyone.

I love birthdays!
Always so much fun!
More tomorrow!

Happy Birthday Jake & Grandaddy!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

beach dreaming

Lucy and I were at the condo pool Friday evening last.
This shrimp boat was anchored just steps from the beach.
 I'm always looking for the perfect picture
so I took this shot.....
so much going on here.
The days work over, the shrimpers were hauling in their nets.
The sea birds were hovering, looking for scraps.
The dolphins were playing close by.
I am never disappointed at Tybee Island.
So much much to see and hear.

Someone asked me today....
What would you like to do with the rest of your life?
My answer?
The beach.... I want to live so close to the ocean
that I can see it, smell it, hear it.....
every day and night and day.
Somewhere where it is never too cold,
somewhere that I can walk on the sand daily
and take a dip in the salty water,
riding some waves
and floating to my hearts content,

I want a really comfortable chair 
down close to where the waves break.
Lots and lots of really good books to read.
A small beach town 
where nothing I need is more than a few miles away.
A grocery 
with lots of fresh veggies and fruit reachable on my bike.
A porch where I can watch the sun rise and drink some coffee.
Comfy shorts and a drawer full of 100% cotton white J Crew T-shirts.
No shoes, but tiny little Crocs with barely there straps.
Some very simple swim suits 
and the best sunscreen money can buy.
I would have my quirky long skirts and funky tops
for those rare times when I go out on the town.

I would praise and worship God every single day,
all day long and into the night.
I would read His word.
I would tell everyone I meet about our Savior
 and what He has done for all of us.

I would hope to find a little church 
nestled in the sand dunes 
with views of the ocean 
with a preacher man that would preach the truth boldly 
in a way I can understand.
That church would be a place where I could serve others.

And when I come to die,
I know it will be a joyous time,
because all of the pain and suffering will be over
and I will be escorted by my angels into the presence of my Lord
to worship and praise Him and enjoy Him forever!