About me...

Pop the lid on my Mason Jar and meet my family. Jim {Jimma} and I have four kids, Creston (Ashley), Jami (Matt), Brandon and Chance. Our grandkids, Cade, Kirby, Eisley, Beck and Reed bring us more joy than any Mason Jar could ever hold. I am counting my blessings over and over and thanking God for His amazing love and grace.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Missing Piece

It has been a very stressful and overwhelming week.  Some more health concerns have come up with Jim, and coping or should I say “trying to cope” as I watch him experience relentless pain is wearing me down.  On top of that, Mom was moved to an assisted living facility on Wednesday.  I’ve spent the better part of Friday, Saturday and Sunday sorting through her belongings, something that’s been very emotional for me.

Looking at the different things Mom has collected over the year and making decisions on what to get rid of, left me with a sense of loss.   It made me think about how possessions that mean so much to us is just “stuff” that one day will be tossed aside or belong to someone else, and that person will never know the value that our belonging held to us.  I thought about  how fleeting life is, how the things are that we collect and treasure are temporary, and that they are nothing more than “stuff” that holds no value when it comes to eternity.

On Saturday, we worked on moving some of the furniture out of her house.  After the bed was moved out of the spare bedroom, I couldn't help but smile when I saw three puzzles under the bed.  Mom loves to put puzzles together and had started putting them on bulletin boards when she finished them.  Apparently she had someone slide them under the bed for her.   One of the puzzles was one that we thought actually came missing a piece.  The day I gave it to Mom we opened it up and put all the pieces on her kitchen table.   She always works the border to the puzzle first, then fills in the pieces.  I helped with the border, but we couldn't find one of the top pieces.  We sorted through the remaining pieces as we worked the puzzle, but never could find it.  As the puzzle neared completion it was obvious there was a missing piece.  I searched everywhere for the piece to no avail.  I even wrote down the information on the puzzle box with the intention of contacting the company to see if other people had reported a piece missing.  Somehow it fell on the back burner and I forgot all about the missing piece until Saturday.

The puzzle with the piece still missing brought back memories of putting the puzzle together and being disappointed that we weren’t able to put in the last piece.   It was one of Mom’s favorite puzzles and the picture was such a unique picture I had even thought about framing it.   After the bed was moved out of her room, I walked around picking up things and sorting through them.  That’s when I noticed a puzzle piece on the floor where her bed used to be.  Picking it up my first thought was that  there was no way this was the piece I had search so diligently for.   Not just because it was in her bedroom, but how could it have ended up under her bed?  Amazingly enough, it was the missing piece and I believe finding it was one of those moments in life I call a “God thing”.  It was truly an emotional moment for me as I felt like He was saying, “Molly, I’ve got this situation with your Mom covered, just as I have with every other aspect of your life.  Trust me as I put the pieces of the puzzle together”  Not only does He see all, He knows all and is putting the pieces together of life’s puzzle in ways I can’t imagine.  As always I need to place more trust in Him and His plan for my life, a lesson if faith that I am continually learning.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A New Perspective

It all caved in Monday night!  It’s the first time I’ve seen my husband really down about his pain and the first pity party he has thrown. And boy let me tell you, did he ever throw a good one.  Tears stung my eyes as I listened to him.  Other than a breakdown a few weeks ago, I feel like I’ve been coping better than how I typically cope, but watching him tonight brought on the tears.

Jim was struggling with cutting up his food and getting it to his mouth., when he dropped a piece of meat on the floor.  That did it.  I could see the aggravation as he pushed his plate aside.  Instead of keeping my big mouth shut, I thought I could make it all better with my “there are people who would trade places in a heartbeat, think how blessed we are” speech, which didn’t fly with him.  Wrong speech and even worse, wrong time to say it.  I got an earful as he struggled to get out of the chair and headed upstairs.  I went right to my office and cried out to God about how weary we both are of this relentless pain and how much we need some relief and hope.

I knew I needed to find the right verses or devotion to read, so I picked up my prayer journal to see what verses I had wrote down.  Nothing there that seemed to apply to what I needed.  And then I saw “the book”.  The book I bought at a yard sale given by friends of a lady who had died from breast cancer, to help raise money for the bills she left behind.  The first time I started reading the book, I saw a yellow sheet of paper with a prayer list wrote on it.  Reading her prayer list I was struck by how similar we write out our prayers and felt like there was an unknown reason why I picked that specific book to purchase.  A third of the way through the book, I felt like it just wasn’t speaking to me.  I lost interest, put it aside to give away and started another book.

Tonight I was drawn back to the book and flipped through to find where I left off.  Instead, I ended up in on a chapter that I had previously read, only this time it spoke to me and I realized it was exactly what I needed to read!  God had led me to a chapter that had everything in it to calm me, bring me peace and give me a whole new perspective about the bigger picture.

I always write in my prayer journal verses and passages from books I read when it’s something that feeds my soul.  Monday night I was literally writing entire pages out of the book.  Here is a summary of some key points that I read:

***God’s will doesn’t always go in a straight line, like we want it to.  From point A to point B we won’t see a clear connection, the pattern in what is happening or understand the plan.  God’s plan is way bigger than our plan.  Not only is He concerned with our needs, He is concerned with the corporate need as well.  How awesome is that?  The plot lines of our stories weave together to form His master plan.  He knows the beginning from the end and operates accordingly.  His plan may not follow our logic and it may go against what we believe it should, but It’s His plan and it’s the right plan.  He may not move according to our schedule (boy have I learned that one), but He is right on time for what is best, and He has our ultimate goal in His mind!  Wow, hanging on to that statement alone has already made a difference in helping me cope!

***God’s ways are not our ways, but His character is dependable!  When we can’t see the end of the story, we can trust the storyteller.  No matter what you are going through, remind yourself that God loves you passionately and only wants the best for you.  God’s timing rarely coincides with our timing and while He’s never late, he’s rarely early and that’s why we need to trust His schedule as well as His character. Jesus was four days too late to heal Lazarus, but He was right on time for a resurrection.! When you think He is too late, trust in His timing.  The most important part might be yet to come.

Needless to say, I went to bed Monday night feeling more at peace, with a little more faith and a greater understanding of God’s plan.  Tuesday morning I woke up early and went for my morning walk feeling refreshed.  A little way into my walk I reached in my pocket and hit the panic button!  Yes, after everything I had read the night before, I panicked!.  Sometimes I struggle with hypoglycemia, so I always have a piece of candy in my pocket when I walk, only this time the candy wasn’t in my pocket.  I turned around and headed  back to our house.  I finished the walk with no problems, went upstairs to take a shower and found a piece of candy in my back pocket.  I had wore the shorts briefly a few days earlier, put the candy in my back pocket and forgot all about it.

My first thought finding the candy was that without knowing it, I had protection in my back pocket the entire walk. Right away I related the experience to God.  Even at times when we’re not aware of it, His protection and love has us covered.  He knows every detail of what Jim and I are going through and it’s all going according to His perfect plan.  Not just for our lives, but for the lives of others as well,  in ways we cannot begin to fathom.  Trusting in His character and His timing will help bring us peace when the storms of life crash around us!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

From my journal...

June 1, 2012

“Have you ever wanted to quit?”  The words stung as I felt tears welling up in my eyes.  Yes, there had been many times I wanted to quit, but the very person asking me the question was the reason why I didn’t.  My husband’s question was open and honest and brought the reality of his situation out in the open.  He’s ready to quit the doctor’s appointments, quit the nerve blocking shots that aren’t working, and throw in the towel with his health issues.

Jim’s question made me realize just how severe his pain his, just how weary he is from the chronic pain that travels his body, the pain that has debilitated him to the point that even walking is a struggle for him.  Something so simple as opening a jar is almost impossible for him to do.  The simplest of things that one is accustomed to doing, have become a challenge for Jim.  Nights are restless and racked with pain.  He tosses and turns, and cries out with agony all night long.  Daylight brings no relief.  He can only stand or sit for short periods of time before he has to lay down.  The pain is crippling, has been going on way too long and we are both losing hope of it getting better.

What brought about this morning’s question was my concerns about Jim’s health.  Lately he had been drinking what I consider to be excessive amounts of Mountain Dew.  I’m concerned about the effects this is having on his kidneys especially knowing he is diabetic.  I want him fighting for his health, doing everything he can to preserve it.  His way of looking at the situation is that there is so little he can enjoy in life, giving up  Mountain Dew is not an option.  His point is valid and after years of not understanding, I finally get it!  The most loving thing I can do is let go and keep quiet about what I think he should or should not be doing to be healthy.

In our early morning conversation, I told Jim how much I love him, need him and I don't think I could make it without him.   He looked at me and asked, “Why?  There are times I can’t even take the garbage out.”   Even though I have seen it, he has never openly expressed how much it bothers him that there is so little he can do when it comes to helping me with everyday chores. I can’t imagine how this makes him feel, but there is no comparing what he can’t do with what really matters, and why I need him so much.  The emotional support he gives me, trumps all other problems.  I lean on it, cling to it, hold it dear to my heart and can’t imagine life without it!

Jim is my soul mate, the positive to my negative.  He can take anything I’m going through, put it in a better light and give me ways to cope that I never would have thought of.  The icing on the cake is that he is the most quick witted person I’ve ever met and can bring humor into the most crappy of circumstances. His humor has rescued me from many a dark mood!  Even through all the pain, it is rare that I spend time with Jim that he does not have me smiling and laughing.  I don’t think it can get any better than that!   As I shared with him this morning, my prayer is that God takes me first, or takes me with him, but doesn't leave me without him.  Yes, I love him that much and more!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

On January 19 I had thyroid surgery and wrote this draft a week later about my experience. I had forgotten about it until I came across it yesterday. Even though it's four months later, I feel the message is worth sharing. Enjoy!

“Does anyone have anything they want to share?” my friend Christy asked as we gathered around for prayer time before the clinic got started. I didn’t say a word and she looked right at me and said, “Molly?” I knew I needed to share what was going on in my life, but didn’t really want to. I don’t like things that draw attention to me when I’m going down a bumpy road in life, yet it is during those times that I need the prayers and support of my friends. I looked at the circle of ladies holding hands and shared my situation. I told them about my thyroid surgery scheduled the next morning and then shared with them that I have a needle phobia. Every since chemotherapy I have an aversion to needles and seriously struggle when I have labs drawn or an IV started. At that Christy bowed her head and prayed for the clinic, for the volunteers and for my surgery to go well with painless needles.

Painless needles? Seriously? I thought how could that happen. At that point there was a little sarcasm in my thoughts. I guess I’ll just walk in tomorrow and they’ll say, “Oh, there’s been an new invention and we now have painless needless.” Oh how I wish that would be true, but I’m sure if it had happened, it would have been all over the news. This is so typical of my thinking - painless needles would be a new invention, so that was one prayer that wouldn’t be answered.

Thursday morning the nurse came in to start the IV and I thought it would be best to lay it all out for her about my issues and said to her, “Please, no fishing with the needle.” It so happened that my nurse doesn’t like needles or IV’s and assured me that she doesn’t fish, and if she can’t get it the first time, she finds someone that can. The IV went in with little effort or pain and I thought, “Wow, that wasn’t that bad after all.” For some reason, I felt a need to send Jami a text telling her the IV was in. She sent me a text right back, “I specifically prayed for the IV, so glad it’s in.” That prayer was answered, but I still had more needle sticks to go.

Since I can’t take morphine, the anesthesiologist ordered Dilaudid for pain after surgery. I don’t know if it was the combination of coming out of anesthesia with the Dilaudid, but I couldn’t stay awake and felt like I was fading in and out of consciousness for the first eight hours or so. I remember a nurse coming in and telling me she had to take some blood to check my calcium level and thinking, “Oh no, here goes a needle stick.” Next thing I knew it was several hours later and I noticed the band-aid from the stick, but couldn’t remember any pain from the stick. Painless needle sticks? It still hadn’t sank in at this time.

A nurse came in the middle of the night and apologized for disturbing me. She said that my calcium levels had to be checked again, and she would be drawing blood. I cringed in anticipation of the pain and she looked up and down my arm. She held the arm and proceeded to do the most pain FREE needle stick I have EVER had done in my life! I was in awe and said, “Jayne, that is the first time I have ever had blood drawn that it didn’t hurt.” She looked at me and said, “All my patients say that to me.”

Painless needle sticks? Yes, a prayer for painless needle sticks was answered in ways I never would have thought possible, teaching me a new way to pray - more specifically for what I need and to never underestimate the creative ways God can answer our prayers.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Finding Blessings

This past Sunday’s message was about understanding God’s blessings in our lives. Jim and I have been through many trials and heartaches through the years. It took a while, but something happened to me one day that changed my life and made me realize an attitude of gratitude is the essence of finding peace for the storms that life brings.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer December 22, 1995, had a mastectomy, and started aggressive chemotherapy a couple weeks later. Finally in August of 1996, my oncologist gave the approval for me to begin the first step of breast reconstruction. I was super excited, knowing this was the beginning of getting back to “normal” for me and the final stage of reconstruction would be done before my one year anniversary!

I went in for phrase one of reconstruction and a couple of days later, I began to experience pain in the calf of my left leg. The pain got worse and several times I had Jim massage the area, thinking it would help. By the time I went for my one week follow-up visit, the pain was so bad I could barely walk. The surgeon sent me to a vascular surgeon and he immediately sent me to the hospital. Long story short... I had a blood clot in the calf of my leg. If it broke loose, it could cause a pulmonary embolism which more often than not, is fatal! The surgeon, nurses and everyone involved in my care were shocked when they learned we had been massaging the area where the clot was, greatly increasing the changes of it breaking loose and going straight to my lung.

The next day the surgeon came in and explained my course of treatment, a week in the hospital with lots of needle sticks (something I absolutely hate), six months of taking the blood thinner, Coumadin, and of course, no elective surgery. Bottom line, final phrase of my reconstruction was on hold. My plans to have all this completed within a year from diagnosis just went out the door. In other words, MY PLANS were just not going according to MY Plan!

To add insult to injury, I was missing Brandon and Chance’s first day of school. It might seem trivial to some, but to me it was a huge deal not being there to walk them to the bust stop, or be home when they came in from school, something I had looked forward to with all four of my kids.

So what do you do when you’re been through so much, thought you were at the end of a trying time, and things just took a downhill turn? I threw myself a big pity party and the more I thought about it the madder I got. I had been through enough and now this??? I stewed in my anger and cried and cried some more. And then, for lack of a better term, I felt like God slapped me in the face, as I heard a still small voice say, “Molly, you’ve yet to thank me that you’re alive!” And then it hit me. My focus was on everything I didn’t like about the situation, not giving the first thought as to how blessed I was! Not only had I beaten breast cancer, but I had just survived a life threatening situation, one that could easily have taken my life. And, because I had survived, Brandon and Chance knew they had a mom that would be back home soon. I started thanking God for every blessing that I could think of, and as I did my heart felt like a huge boulder had been lifted off. The more I thanked Him, the more aware I became of how blessed I was, and my problems became smaller and smaller in size.

That day in the hospital was a turning point for me. I started looking back and finding blessings in situations that I once saw as hopeless. It prepared me as the future brought more heartaches and trials into my life. Some deep wounds took me places I never thought I could go as I learned forgiveness, unconditional love, and tolerance. Even Jim’s battle with cancer brought me a renewed and deeper love for him than ever before! Though it all, I’ve come to realize that there has been a blessing from everything that I have gone through. More often than not, it’s been after the storm that I have found them and it’s with amazement as I see how God worked it all for my good. One of my favorite things Pastor Aaron said on Sunday is that God’s blessings on our lives are in perfect timing for our life. Looking back, I couldn’t agree more!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

An old letter...

Recently I have been going through old documents on my computer and found some really funny things that I had forgotten about. Some of them are too cute not to share. The first one I'm posting is a letter that Jim and I wrote together in June of 2005, when he was going through chemo. Jim has always teased our kids about buying him a Little Rascal and we thought it would be the perfect time to send them a letter about Little Rascals. Enjoy!

Dear Friend,

Imagine giving your ailing friend the mobility that he has lost due to his failing health. You have within you the ability to make this man MOBILE again! Yes, once again, your friend can cruise through the peaceful woods bringing him the tranquility he so desires. Picture this: One hour after daylight a dust cloud coming down the dirt road. In the midst of that gigantic cloud is “One Happy Hunter” - Your Friend! Yes, there he is astride his camouflaged Little Rascal with a 10-point buck strapped across the front of that POWERFUL vehicle. What more could one guy ask for. It doesn’t get any better than this, but wait, IT DOES!

Not only would this give him the mobility in the woods, it would also enhance his life in other ways. Your gift could help relieve the financial burden his illness has brought upon his devoted wife. With the additional purchase of the “Pull Along” your friend could earn extra income by transporting his fellow chemotherapy patients back and forth to their vehicles in the parking lot. The shuttle service provided by him would not only give him a job, but also a purpose in life.

Hold on - there’s still more! Let’s don’t leave out the most important feature of the Little Rascal. Your friend will be able to take his grandchildren to the library, the park and most important, the “Dollar General” on his Little Rascal. Think of the smiles and joy you will be bringing not only to your friend, but to his grandchildren as well! With our “add on ice chest,” your friend will have the capability to sell ice cream and/or snow cones from his Little Rascal. The possibilities are endless and just go on and on! You can have the satisfaction of knowing that you made it all possible through your generous gift of a Little Rascal with a “Pull Along.”

In closing, be aware that many people call their scooters “Little Rascals” believing they have an authentic Little Rascal. There’s only one “Little Rascal” and it is only available through us. Don’t be fooled by imitators, we are the #1 scooter company! Call us today and we’ll rush you a free brochure about our fantastic scooter. Our motto is “Don’t scoot with the rest, scoot with the best!” We, as well as your friend, eagerly wait for your phone call to put this dream into motion. As a courtesy to your friend, we have all of his information in our data base. All you need is his code: JIMMA


Mike Blossom, President
Little Rascal Corporation

P.S. Pickup the phone now and call toll-free 1-800-JIM4FREEDOM. If you place your order before September 17, 2005, you will get an “add on ice-chest” absolutely free!*

*does not include shipping and handling or any other charges that may apply!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Psalm 91

We talked to Chance Friday night for a few minutes, then got an email from him telling us that he would be calling early Saturday morning. Saturday morning came and went without a phone call. After talking to him Friday night and reading the email, we put 2 and 2 together and realized that he was out on a mission and apparently things were worse than anticipated. I had prayed for him off and on, but as the hours came and went without a word from him, I set down and spent some time reading Psalm 91 and the other Bible verses I use to pray for protection over him. I kept saying that no weapon formed against him would prosper and telling God that I was standing on His promises to protect Chance.

I woke up several times during the night, each time saying a prayer for Chance’s safety and the safety of the guys with him. At 7:17 Sunday morning Chance’s girlfriend, Kellie sent me this text, “He’s OK!” Those two words brought a flood of relief to my soul and I texted her back, “Praise God!”

A little later Chance called. What started out as a two hour mission around midnight Friday lasted through early Sunday morning. It turned out to be a major battle in Afghanistan, ending with 33 insurgents killed and no injuries for our guys. Of his three deployments and the many missions Chance has been on, this was probably the most intense battle he has been in.

Most interesting is the text that Kellie sent me later Sunday afternoon. Every day since Chance deployed, she googles the number of days he has left, picks a random fact about that number and emails him the fact. Something so simple, yet something he looks forward to getting every day when he can check his emails. Kellie’s text was to let me know that on Saturday, Chance had 91 days left and she chose Pslam 91 for his random fact. Not so random, when you think about it. One of the most dangerous missions Chance went on, happened to be on day 91 and his girlfriend chose Psalm 91 for his fact, now even knowing what he was going through. That in itself was confirmation that God’s protection is over Chance and I need to trust Him more and let go of my fears. It never fails to amaze me how God sends us subtle messages to get His point across.