Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gratitude is the best attitude

I read recently where if the only prayer you said in your whole life was "thank you" it would suffice.

I have been saying "thank you" alot lately and in part it is because of a "homework" assignment our interim pastor gave us at the beginning of the month. He challenged us at the end of each day in November, to journal three things that we give thanks. He also challenged us to write a note of thanks to someone ....either on this earth now or even someone in our life that may have already passed. Seal the envelope and give it to that person at an appropriate time. If the letter is to someone that was important in your life that may no longer be with you, tuck the letter away for safe keeping.

I have each day, so far, written down the things that I give thanks. It sounds like acknowledging three things each day would be so easy but try it and I think you will see that on some days it is challenging. On some days it seems like I have struggled to give thanks for one thing much less three. I have found myself focusing on the negative of the day instead of the positive good things. However in doing this exercise I was reminded that I should not take so much for granted. I should give thanks each day for a roof over my head, a job, a wonderful husband, beautiful children and grandchildren, amazing family and friends, and the list goes on and on. I have reminded myself that some days it things as simple as your car cranking that I should give thanks. A new light fixture in our kitchen, a nap (something I rarely do), having a printer at work that is hooked up and working. You see what I am saying. Simple things but yet things I give thanks!

Thanksgiving should not be locked into one day of the year. I want to show and give thanks each day. So as our family gathers on Thanksgiving day, we will our hearts of gratitude....we have had an incredibly emotional year for so many reasons. We have experienced miracles of all sorts....not just the birth of babies but the rebirth of hope. God has been so good! Thank you God. Thank you! I love you!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Witness to yet more miracles in our family!

Surprising and welcome event....event to be considered divine...highly improbable or extraordinary event...marvel, wonder, amazing. All of these are phrases or terms that describe what a miracle is. Through the years, our family has experienced miracles and just within the past few weeks we have been witness to even more! God has a plan. God knows best. God is faithful. We have marveled at His plan!

Recently our nephew and his wife have been proceeding with the process of adoption. They knew in their hearts they wanted children and they were trusting God to provide them with a child. They have an amazing story to share and I want them to be the ones to tell it. I will say however they have a beautiful son named Reid Mallard Thompson. His story is one of a miracle. Welcome sweet boy.

Then on Friday evening text messages started, phone calls came, more text messages, more phone calls. Only drawback no one was finishing a conversation! When I finally did get someone to complete the conversation we learned that our niece was in labor at 30 weeks and was just before delivering. After stopping to pray, I tried to focus on getting to Charleston to be a part of the births. In the meantime I had flashbacks to the day Heather delivered Morgan Kate. When I did, I knew we were facing another situation where babies were going to be born way to soon. Babies were going to have to fight for their lives. Parents were going to experience the roller coast ride of the NICU. Parents were going to have to leave the hospital without their babies. And the list went on and on in my head. Luckily I did arrive in time to hear the news of the birth of twin girls! Again another miracle for our fact two.

In the midst of all of this, I stopped to think of my sister. With the addition of these three sweet babies, a grandmother had been born. She has becomes the grandmother to three in record breaking time :) I know the source of strength she was to me during Morgan Kate's NICU days. I recall the trips home from the hospital that we talked the whole ride home. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could count on her to be there, to listen and to offer comfort any time of the day or night. I also know beyond a shadow of a doubt, I will be there for her now. I will try to be her source of strength and comfort. And one day down the road, she and I will look back on these challenging days and laugh. All the while knowing that we were there for each other. And when I think about that day...the day where we will be laughing about all of this, I envision that we will be loving on our grands and talking about how truly blessed we are!

God bless you Reid, Abigail and Addison!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Phrases=some I like some not so much

As I took Morgan Kate back to her mommy today all I could think of is a phrase my father in law used to say. His quote was about grandchildren. He would say that is was grand to see them come and grand to see them go. I used to chuckle when he said that. At that time I was the parent and he was the grandparent. I wasn't laughing today. I am always glad to see our grandchildren come and so so sad to see them go. Especially today!

I had Morgan Kate for two whole nights at our house. I say I had her to myself because Loitton was working therefore I had tons of one on one time with her. I get so excited about her visits that I start planning in advance on what we will do while she is here. This time was no exception. Thursday we went and bought a movie so she and I could curl up on the sofa and watch the movie and eat popcorn. We also bought a play dough set (breakfast version) and made lots of waffles, bacon, and triangle things that we didn't know what to call (haha) Friday we went to visit Mama Jean, have lunch, Morgan Kate got a little piano lesson in from MJ, she napped like a champ, she helped me plant flowers, we took her out for dinner and cuddled more on Friday evening. I hated to see the night end because I knew Saturday morning would bring things to an end. I returned her to her mommy and daddy...she was ready to see them. But this was only an end for this visit.

I am already thinking about our next visit. Morgan Kate - you light up my life and I love you BIG!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Heather Hardison Callahan - my rock!

You had my heart from August 16, 1980 at 11:16 am

You are one of the best parts of me

You are a true blessing to me and all that know you

You are all I ever thought you would be and more!

Your maturity is beyond your years

Being a mother is not always an easy task, yet you do it proudly

You are an independent woman

You are an amazing mom!

You are compassionate and caring...strong and sensitive....devoted and dependable

You are a wife, a sister, a granddaughter, an aunt, a cousin, a niece, friend and teacher.

You are our sweet daughter.

I am so proud of you and love you beyond words.

Celebrate your day...August 16...celebrate you! I surely do. God made my life better when he blessed me with you. Happy Birthday Skeeta!

Monday, July 11, 2011

For the record

We left Orangeburg Friday morning, took our time going to Charleston, arrived, and had a little time to kill before check in. We walked through the market and browsed. Loitton is not a fan of shopping but he indulged me. If you have not seen the market since they started the renovations you are in for a treat. Or at least if you think like me. Loitton on the other hand did not like the renovations. Thought it took away the history. Any way check in time arrived. We chose the Andrew Pinckney Inn for our destination. What an great choice we made (it came highly recommended by Heather and Travis). Upon arrival, we went to our room. We were greeted by chilled champagne, chocolates and a note from the Inn. S.w.e.e.t! We relaxed a little, cooled off from the Charleson heat and made our dinner selection. We opted to go easy and relaxing...California Dreaming. We always like to sit outside, grab a few appetizers, and people and boat watch. It was so ironic that as we sat there we both looked up almost simultaneously and realized that we were sitting in view of the Round Holiday Inn. That was the place we stayed the first night we were married. Boy have we come a long way...hehe.

Saturday was a full day. We started by enjoying breakfast on the roof top of our Inn. Fun time except trying to drink a cup of coffee in 200 degree weather with 1000% humidity is challenging. Next we visited Folly Beach. The vacation capital of the world and a special love for us. Loitton indulged me with a little more shopping late that afternoon. Later in the evening we decided to eat at the Crabhouse. As we arrive there, a horrific thunderstorm with lots of lightning comes up. Loitton is kind enough to pull me up straight to the door. He, on the other hand, had to park the car and run in the pouring rain. About the time he is almost was at the restaurant a bolt of lightning strikes and he truly thought he had met his maker. Thank goodness he was ok! Again, we are greeted by the nicest servers who make our meal experience so enjoyable. As we look out over the Wappoo Cut we think of all the good times we have shared there with family members. Again another reminder of how special our time together has been. Our evening was topped off by ice cream in the Market and lots of conversations about the 35 years we have experienced. Fun! Fun! Fun!

On Sunday it was time to return to reality. I begged to stay but reality won out. But for the record, the weekend was a blast and the past 35 years have been too. Can't wait to see what the next 35 years hold for us.

Thanks Heather, Trav, and MK for keeping "Gracie girl". Maybe next time she won't be homesick :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

The weekend is here!

After much anticipation the weekend is here. Not just any weekend, but the weekend we celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. I can't even decide what all we want to do with our special get away weekend but whatever it is I'll be with the one I love, the one who is my best whether it be hanging out at the beach, sipping on a marquarita, or just talking I know it will be fun.

We have selected the Andrew Pinkney Inn as our destination spot. It came highly recommended by Heather and Travis who stayed there last year while celebrating their anniversary.

So as we head out ....I want to wish Heather and Travis a very Happy Anniversary. They celebrate 6 years of marriage tomorrow. In my opinion (which is definately biased) they have what it takes to see many, many, many more happy years together. I love you both and wish God's continued blessings on your marriage.

Oh and Happy Anniversary to the love of my life, Loitton! Can't wait the next 35!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Are you up for another 35???

Our wedding was many years ago....but the celebration continues to this day! 35 years ago I was looking forward to July 10 with so much excitement and anticpation. Much like I am looking forward to July 10 this year. I don't think I can summarize 35 years of marriage and another five years of dating prior to that. I did sit down with Loitton this week and asked him what he would consider the high moments as well as the low moments of our marriage. We try to do that every few years. It is always interesting to see what "new things" make our list and also the ones that have been and always will be on that list.

We have no secret recipe for a successful marriage. I am just grateful that whatever we have is working and I pray that God will bless us with at least another 35 years together :) For those of you who know Loitton I am sure this will come as no surprise to you. I have always wanted to "renew our vows" and buy a wedding dress that was just for me. When we got married, I wore my sister's dress because we got married within a year of each other and wanted to help my parents out with cost. However, I have felt like I would like a dress that I picked out and would always be mine. When I suggesed a vow renewal, Loitton did not hesitate. He told me that he said his vows in 1976 and they stuck and there was absolutely no need in repeating them. End of that discussion. I see his point but thought it would be fun :)

I do know over and over again when you ask people what is the best wedding advice they can give I hear two resoundings pieces of advice. Put God first in your marriage. Make time for each other. We have not always done it but we try to have a date night on a regular basis. We decided this year to celebrate our milestone anniversay by making time for ourselves. So as we approach our anniversary on Sunday, we are excited. We are almost as giddy as we were 35 years ago. We are going to make time for ourselves. We are going to enjoy good food, fellowship, talk about memories and relax. We are going to rest up....we want to be prepared for the next 35 years! I'm up for it and I think he is too.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Where is the time going?????

Each time I visit my daughter's blog, I am reminded of how long it has been since the last time I posted on my own. I can't believe it has been at least 3 months! Where the heck did the time go??

It got away from me because I was involved in wedding festivities for our oldest son. Many, many wonderful parties by many, many wonderful people. Then of course we had the big weekend of rehearsal party and wedding. A time that will be etched in my mind forever. I have always loved the song "What a wonderful world" but after Owens' wedding it is my favorite. My husband danced to it with our daughter Heather when she got married and Owens selected it for us to dance to. I honestly did not want the song to end!

I have also been enjoying some much needed family time. Not by choice, but my work week has been cut down to four days a week. At first I was really sad about that but what was I thinking! I love having Fridays off and getting some extra time to enjoy life with my family. The only time it really bothers me is every other week on pay day...haha Didn't take long for the cut in pay to be felt. However I am blessed to have a job in today's economy.

Wow - it is already almost the middle of June. June also means Father's Day weekend. That is now a bittersweet day for me. I reflect on the many, many fond memories of my daddy and yet 22 years later I miss him more and more. One of the greatest gifts God ever gave me was my daddy. He didn't tell me how to live....he lived it and let me watch. I learned so much from him. He was a big man... simply put a gentle giant. I have tried to never take for granted that my Heavenly Father gave me one of the most amazing earthly fathers. I love the saying that any man can be a father but it takes someone special to be a daddy...that pretty much says it all! Morgan were the best of the best. I love you and miss you dearly.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Things near and dear to my heart

Today, we celebrate the birthday of our grandson, Hunter. Off and on all day, I have thought back to the day he was born and the months prior to his birth. Hunter was another baby who threatened to come way too early and long before his due date. I honestly could not believe that we might be dealing with prematurity again. Luckily and by the grace of God, he was only born 5 weeks early but still such a scary time. As most of you know though our granddaughter was born 15 weeks too early and fought for her life.

I have learned so much with the birth of our grandchildren. I know you think with three children of my own, I should just about know most things but prematurity and complications of pregnancy is nothing I had ever experienced therefore knew so little.

Also with the birth of our grandchildren, I have become familiar with the March of Dimes and their role in helping babies. I never knew all the good things they do and the research that they are involved with. Again, a learning experience. I now know enough about them that I support their cause. I try to walk for babies, raise money for babies and in general raise awareness. Through organizations like this, babies are surviving and I want to be a part of that cause.

On April 9th, the Orangeburg March of Dimes will hold their walk. Our team, affectionately known as "Team Morgan Kate" will hopefully be out in full force. We had such a large group participate with us last year and we hope the number increases this year. Team shirts are available upon request and of course, we hope to raise lots of money. If you would like to contribute, please mail a check to me made out to March of Dimes or contact me and I will instruct you on making an online contribution.

I would like to offer a challenge. For every tshirt order placed, my husband and I will donate $1 to the March of Dimes up to $150.00. Maybe you could consider making a challenge like that. Could be alot of fun but most importantly, it is for a good cause.


Monday, February 21, 2011

The last one

If my calculation is accurate, there is 71 days until April 30, 2011! On that day, I will be in the midst of wedding celebrations for our middle child, Owens. It seems like it has been a long time coming but yet the time is slipping away so quickly. Even though he has not lived at home for years, he still feels like "he is mine" until he says I do.

He is the last of our three children to get married. I prefer to look at this as not losing a son but gaining a daughter.

I have always heard the saying "a son is a son until he takes a wife" and I just keep praying that his sweet future wife will share him with me for the rest of my life. Don't get me wrong, I know that is the way it is supposed to leave and cleave. But a part of me wants to hold on and cling....haha A part of me wants to always feel the closeness that Owens and I share. A part of me would just like for all of our children to move back home and we would all live under one roof. Can't believe I typed that because that might be a bit much.

Actually if I looked the world over I would not have been able to find someone who adores him and loves him any more than his future wife. What more could a mother want!

So as we continue to celebrate the upcoming wedding for Owens and Trenholm, I do reflect on all the years he was just mine. But I look forward to the years ahead that he will share his heart and life with another redhead....the future Mrs. Hardison.