When “THE ENEMY” Strikes….

“Baby, prepare yourself for Christmas, I’m going home.” These were the last words spoken from his lips directly to me. These would be the words I would repeat countless times under my breath for years to come.

Life was good with him. While so many people long for a relationship where trust and loyalty is the focus, we had that. He was always present and accounted for during my most important moments. Good times were better because he was there and bad times were short-lived because he was there.

He was a humble, kindhearted man who lived daily for God and his family. A hard-worker who never missed work (spiritual or physical). His belief in Christ and ability to spread the gospel was very impressive. He was a faithful steward who never allowed his current situations to prevent him from telling those he met about how great our God is.

He was full of life and had an infectious smile to match his character. In 2010, the enemy showed up and tried to claim him. He said God must not be done with him because he survived the attack. This life changing event allowed him to realize that his purpose was obviously not fulfilled. This man, obviously not ruffled by this attempt on his life, automatically walked from the depression of a hospital bed to his God bestowed season.

His love for his Creator intensified causing him to step out of this comfort zone and establish a branch Sabbath school for the federation he was president of. This new venture took the gospel to community members who were a great distance away from the SDA church he belonged to. Souls were being won for Christ and he was happy. I loved being around him during this period of his life.

Life seemed to be going just the way he wanted. He was doing well in his career and he was using his test as a testimony and witnessing countless sinners being saved. I was so proud of him and often wondered if I would ever find my spiritual niche.

It was early 2004 when the enemy decided to strike again….this time with a vengeance. Watching this man struggle to survive was so hard, but his unwavering faith was so inspiring. How can he be so devoted to his calling when he was dealing with the hardest aspect of his life? It was the hope that he had – pure optimism – that his heavenly Father’s will would be done in the end.

As the months passed, he deteriorated so much that it was uncanny. Although he was unable to work anymore, he remained in the soul-winning business. There was never a time that he wasn’t sharing God’s word or simply praising Him for blessings. His body was aching and he had been without sleep for months. Obviously, to me at least, he was preparing for his demise. He spoke of favorite songs and scriptures and what he wanted for his family.

The enemy was breaking this man down daily but God was in control. It was horrible watching this man whom I loved, cherished and respected fight for his breath, his life, his freedom from the enemy – the demon – this murderer.

On December 12, 2004 time stood still as the news came that this man had passed away. Just as he told me he would two days prior, he went to be with his Lord and Savior. He won and the enemy was defeated. He was no longer in pain, he was no longer struggling for breaths, he was no longer deprived of sleep and he was no longer fighting to survive. He was free and his frail body was now at rest. He left his mark in the world and now his purpose was fulfilled – his earthly task was accomplished.

death

The enemy – the demon – the murderer – CANCER!!

This man – missed and never to be forgotten – my friend – my confidant – my FATHER!!

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Until we meet again……..

MAY ANGELS MARK YOUR RESTING PLACE

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Waiting On The Weather – Valentine’s Day

I was raised in a place where the only feared elements of nature were thunderstorms and hurricanes. Any other forces of mother nature scare me – volcanoes, earthquakes, typhoons, tsunamis, tornadoes, floods, avalanches, etc. With that said, imagine me, the lady not fond of sudden change, waking up on Valentine’s Day and going about my morning routine like it’s business as usual. I was very excited since my second born and I had been up the night before making cards with candies for him to exchange with his classmates. My boys got dressed and left with my husband (who volunteered to drop them and give me a break). Great! I get to go back to bed, or so I thought. Just as I was about to take a snooze next to my infant daughter an alert came through to my phone – TORNADO WATCH. Perfect! Now what? I wanted to faint. My boys had just been dropped off at school and a tornado may be on its way.

Like I stated previously, I’m not used to having BOLOs put out for tornadoes. I am a “I have days before that hurricane hits” kind of lady. Now moving to Texas, although spontaneous, has afforded me numerous lessons on life, culture and perspective. However, having to watch my back because mother nature might send a tornado my way was not part of the plan. If I had taken the time to research this Lone Star State I may have stayed in the Sunshine State (who am I kidding, when God speaks I will listen).

I was in panic mode with many questions and very few answers. Should we get the kids from school without being asked to? Where should we hide? What should we keep close to us? The thoughts were endless in this over-sized head of mine. I was terrified – or so I thought. My husband, as chilled as can be, chimed in with, “It’s now a tornado warning baby!” At that point I thought, “This man thinks this is funny.” I couldn’t comprehend why he would play around with my emotions during the discovery of yet another fear (drowning tops the list – link to my post on that will be posted here – stay tuned). Of course I did not believe him and his “we need to take shelter” antics. Then, my alert sounded – ABC13 Houston sent me into distress and instantly made me feel like a hypertensive patient (high blood pressure runs in my family – thankfully I missed it – or did I?). My thoughts – JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL – a tornado was coming and I knew not what to do.

I prayed, silently, so my husband (who clearly was a bit too relaxed) and our babies wouldn’t deem me crazy for what I was about to do. I went into the “hers” master closet (after tossing storage bins so we could be cozy) with my infant daughter and toddler son, a diaper bag and my cell phone. My husband (oh how I love my better half), not the least bit concerned just stayed in the “his” closet (unofficial man cave) and shouted updates from the National Weather Service. He had no clue that we had already “sought shelter”. I sent a text to my oldest sister who lives nearby – no response. My thoughts – What are they doing? Are they in some underground shelter (now understood to be termed storm cellar – yes, I Googled it!)? How am I supposed to survive if she doesn’t respond with instructions?

Did I mention that I go from 0 to 100 real quick? I was severely panicked. I took to WhatsApp Messenger to contact my other two sisters. I started to text – address, county, hiding location and even this picture

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you know, just in case. My heart was aching for my older boys. They were at school possibly about to experience their first tornado and I wasn’t there with them. Again…..my thoughts – Were they hiding as well? What procedures are in place at a time like this? Are they crying for me? I was confused and didn’t know what to do. Then a notification came from the district stating that due to the tornado warning everyone was asked to shelter in place. At first my brain was unable to process what that meant but I finally got it after reading it for the third time. It offered some level of relief knowing they too were doing something to stay safe, but I wanted my sons with me. We had been through so much as a family and I wanted to be there to protect them.

My oldest sister finally called (and had obviously been made aware of my current situation by the other two). She was overcome with laughter and told me where to go and what to carry in case I had to leave my apartment. Yes, I had thoughts (I think/overthink alottttttt) – How would I know when to leave? Wouldn’t that be like suicide to leave during the tornado? Where would I go – to her house, a hospital, a bunker of some sort? This was scary!  I took  my nice warm fleece blanket (I don’t know why but at the time it seemed like a necessity) and headed to my next hiding spot…my hallway, which is between mine and the kids’ bathrooms. Of course the babies were with me and I yelled for my husband to join us, which he did (we’re from the same place so this was new to him as well). So there we were, following instructions from a veteran Texan (20+ years under her belt) and hiding, waiting on this weather, this first tornado and what was to follow.

My sister stayed on the phone with me for a while (a long while) and was suggesting things that I should ensure was in my reach in the event I needed them. I decided to go and put all these items together and bring them to the hideout but then she laughed saying, “This storm is just about gone, you don’t need them now!” Seriously, the storm was gone. My thoughts- Did it damage anything outside? Wasn’t there supposed to be some sort of noise while it passed over us? Come to find out, our immediate area was spared (praises to the Heavenly Father). However, the tornado did touch down in towns such as Van Vleck, Stafford, Rosenburg, Wharton, Richmond, and Sweeny, TX (check out these videos uploaded to YouTube)

Although reports confirm that there were no fatalities, it could have been worse. I thank God for spared lives…material things can be replaced, but lives are irreplaceable.

Since my near heart attack over the unknown in regards to this particular tornado, I have done my research (again…thanks Google) and will ensure that my family members are not only well informed but also prepared for future storms that may decide to come our way. My darling sister suggested I download the app Weather Underground (which I immediately did) and use it to stay up to date on weather in my area. I came across an article on their site (https://www.wunderground.com/prepare/tornado) that explains the things I did not know before the storm. They also had a disaster supply kit (https://www.wunderground.com/prepare/disaster-supply-kit) that lists the essential items that you should have regardless of the type of storm you may be facing.

While we cannot prevent these naturally occurring storms, we can allow ourselves to be knowledgeable about the type of storms prevalent in our locations and prepare ourselves in the event we have to experience one.

Personally, I hope I never have to experience a tornado, but if I do, I am definitely an informed  resident now.

(Featured Image courtesy -Wikimedia Commons/NOAA)

It’s The Little Things

Yesterday started off with me being very agitated. I had almost no sleep and I was very miserable to say the least. After a prayer and an off key verse from “Order My Steps In Your Word”, I began to feel better.

As usual, my routine began – wake the boys, pack lunches and prepare for the early morning school run. We were a few minutes late leaving (perfectly normal for me) and while locking up my residence I noticed a little puppy was running in the parking lot as fast as his young legs would allow. His owner was right behind him with another little canine keeping up. The chase was on as this guy and his little companion ran as fast as they could to retrieve the runaway pup before he was struck by a vehicle.

My boys and I proceeded to our car thinking that little comedy show was over. As I opened my driver’s side door, the guy had stopped (for the fourth time) to ensure that this little pup was following him. I laughed and said, “you should probably pick him up and carry him” and as he bent down to scoop him that little excited ball of fur ran directly towards me and hopped into my car. He was the cutest little thing but in my mind I was saying, “no sir, not today!” I picked his little curious self up and said, “No buddy, this will not work.” I gently handed him over to his owner (who he was obviously not familiar with as yet) and told him again that it would probably be best if he carried him and he finally did just that.

The thing is, that brief encounter with that puppy was a bittersweet one for me. It caused me to reminisce about my little dog that I had to give away. It wasn’t what we as a family wanted to do, but it was the best decision for our little guy at the time. I adopted Chewy (short for Chewbacca)  from a young couple who apparently rescued him as well from an abusive situation. He was almost 6lbs (9lbs maximum weight) when I got him and our family nursed him back to health. Chewy is a Yorkshire Terrier/Miniature Pinscher mix. He was such a darling dog with the cutest little face and he was always good to us.

Chewy, like most little dogs, had his issues (and we had ours) so it was best for him to remain with a stable family during our transitional period. However, we decided against bringing him to be with us as it would really affect him. We are hopeful that someday soon we will be able to visit him since we know the family that has adopted him.

Sometimes, it’s the little things that takes a back to a time when everything was ok. The brief encounter with that little puppy was that moment for me. I really miss Chewy and although I will probably never be able to have him understand the reason I left him behind, I will always love him. Chewy will always be a member of our family, regardless of  the distance between us.20150926_144742