Pre and Post Divorce


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I have noticed a pattern in life. Whenever a traumatic event occurs, it becomes a marker in time.  When we lost our home in a house fire in 2004, my thoughts afterward became altered according to whether something had occurred before the fire, or afterward. Also, I would be cooking and look for an item and then recall the item was pre-house fire, that sort of thing.  The same thing happened after the death of my mother-in-law and then two years later when my father-in-law also passed away.  The traumatic events have impacted me in such a way as to permanently affect my thought patterns on everything in life.

Now I am in the midst of another traumatic event which I would like to think I am nearing the end of actually.  In May 2012, my husband and I separated and thus began the closing of a chapter in my life I never thought would end…marriage.  I had prayed for over 11 years, every day, for God to help me to be a Proverbs 31 kind of wife. For the most part, I felt this prayer was daily answered in spite of my short comings since I am only human.  With the separation, my purpose in life was pulled out from under me like a rug.  For over a year, I grieved the loss of my marriage and I felt hopeless in spite of overwhelming support from family, friends and God. However, as with all traumatic events, there comes a time when one simply must come out on the other side and continue with their life. I am entering the home stretch of the divorce. Papers will be signed any day now to finalize it after a nearly two long year separation.  I have to reevaluate what my purpose in life is and my challenge is to not let this traumatic event pull me down, but instead continue to live a purpose-driven life with many fulfilling goals both short-term and long-term.  I look forward to what the future holds. I am ready for the post side of this divorce because I have lived in limbo far too long waiting for the divorce to be finalized.

Having looked back at the impact the fire had on my life, then the tragic deaths of my in-laws, the last thing I wanted to go through next was divorce. God has been so faithful in helping me through the separation and I know He will be with me post-divorce as well as I begin a new chapter in life on my own, but I’m not alone really. I have such a great support system of family and friends and I am so very blessed!  I can do this!

Little Tidbits of My Life!

The Lion in my house


As many of you who often read my blog know, I have indoor cats. One of my cats is a ragdoll cat named Buster. He has long hair and is hot ALL the time. He lays around on the stone in front of the fireplace or just hangs out on top of the air vents when the air conditioner is on. For awhile he has needed to be shaved. I have been very leery of this idea because one of my best friends and neighbor as a child had a chow who…well I guess you would call it…went into shock from the grooming and never was the same afterwards.

Well Buster, he is pitiful. He grooms himself constantly and leaves what looks like big cottonballs literally all over the house. I had to buy a special vacuum (the Bissell pet hair vacuum) just because of him. He often gets sick from the hairballs and he thinks I am the ENEMY when I give him hairball medicine, but it HAS to be done to keep him from choking….and I feel so helpless when he is trying to get rid of one…nothing I can do but just hope he doesnt get it on my carpet…seriously, it is scary to see a cat gagging and choking all the time.

On my facebook page this week, one of my friends had posted a pic of her mother’s Himalayan cat who looked a lot like my Buster, but was a lot lighter. When I asked her about the cat, I found out that the cat is shaved twice a year and she was lighter because it was her undercoat! She said the grooming changed this particular cat’s personality for the better because she felt so much better. She became more sociable and just LOVED the haircut. She gave me the info for the veterinary clinic who shaves her. I decided to make Buster an appointment.

That is the background for my story today. I want to tell this as a life lesson because Buster’s actions to the entire preparation process really hit me as how we act as God’s children a lot of times.

The instructions I was given seemed simple enough…no food after 6 pm and no water after 10 pm. Make sure Buster is at the clinic between 7 am and 8:30 am and pick him up any time after 3:30 pm. because he would have to be sedated for the procedure. He also needed his shots (just a side note…but he got those while sedated, so no trauma there!)

Of course everything looks simple written down, but for a cat like Buster, putting his food bowl up at 6 pm was a MAJOR EVENT! I feed Buster and Sassy with an automatic feeder, so they just take a nibble here and there, but mostly in the evening and night, then go to bed and do not usually eat again until suppertime because I also give them treats at designated times.  No sweat, not much to do… Put their automatic feeder in the large container that we keep the bag of cat food in…the water is in our master bathroom, so at 10 pm just close the door and we are all set!

[X] FOOD BOWL TAKEN AWAY

Well at first Buster attempted the loving approach. He jumped up on the back of my recliner and just leaned his whole 18 lb body over on my head and purred, purred, purred. He did this literally for about 30 minutes. I feed them in the den, about 10 feet from my recliner. There is a little sink, refrigerator and bar in that area that is “their” domain. Sassy (gray tabby) just quietly sat on the edge of the bar, patiently waiting. I think she knew that I have never withheld food for very long, so she was just simply not too worried about it, just waiting. She is a wise and patient kitty. 

After Buster attempted the loving approach of nuzzling my head for 30 minutes or so, he finally gave up and huffed VERY LOUDLY and jumped down, then raced down the hall in a tantrum. He acted much like a very angry and spoiled child. He is a vocal cat, so he was fussing the whole time.

When he jumped down, it scared Sassy, so she ran, too. This was a bad idea because he took his frustrations out on her. I could hear them wrestling (they are both declawed on the front, so their fighting is usually pretty harmless) and Sassy started whining. This meant Buster was really mad because usually he does not get the best of Sassy. I told Buster to leave her alone. This got his attention long enough for Sassy to go hide. She is only about 8 lb soaking wet.

[X] Water Taken Away

Bedtime was pretty much a repeat of loving/anger/loving/anger. When I went to bed, Buster immediately jumped up beside me. I have a king size bed and Buster sleeps on the corner. Most of the time he starts out at the foot of the bed on top of the covers, and then by early morning, he is laying beside my head on the corner. I even lay a blanket out there for him. Well this night he went straight to his blanket purring and loving. He wanted a treat. I always give them a treat just before bedtime. When he realized I was not going to get up and get a treat, he huffed VERY LOUDLY AGAIN and then took a GIANT LEAP clear across the king size bed to the floor, never touching the end of the bed, and started chasing Sassy again. She finally got away and hid under the bed. He will not go under the bed, so she was safe there.

FINALLY, I fell asleep, so I have no idea what he did during my sleep.

I got up at 6 am and Buster was laying beside me asleep. I quickly got a bag of cat treats and although I felt guilty about it, I pretended to throw a treat into the cat carrier. He ran in and I closed the door. Then I got ready to go to town.  The ride to the vet that morning made me think of what I heard called Chinese water torture when I was in elementary school. I do not know if it is true. I think it is where just a drip of water falls intermittently nonstop for hours and drives one insane? I did not call it that to offend anyone reading this that may be Chinese. That is simply the name I heard it was called…ANYWAY, the noise Buster made all the way to town was like that…just an intermittent tone that sounded like a meow of the word “no” every few seconds. No matter what I did, he would not stop. He did not know what was going on. He was hungry and thirsty and MAD, MAD, MAD! SO he wanted to torture me.

I dropped him off and I filled out the necessary paperwork. when I looked in to the front of the cage to tell him bye, he curled himself up in a ball as far away as possible to really make me feel guilty for leaving him. Just seconds before, he had been at the front of the cage looking at the vet tech, so I know this was done “just for me”.

Several hours passed and I was back that evening ready to pick Buster up. I was so ready for him. I had thought about him ALL DAY. I was excited and nervous all at the same time. They brought him in to me and he looked like a lion! He was SO CUTE! He looked like he’d lost about 10 lbs, too! I was SHOCKED! Everyone there just kept gushing over how cute he looked. They left his mane and the hair on his feet and end of his tail. He is just adorable! SO I sat in the back seat and put a big towel in my lap and let him out of the carrier for most of the ride since he was still groggy. FORTUNATELY, he was glad to see me and let me hold him. He enjoyed watching the traffic on the interstate.

Sure enough, he HAS been like a different cat. He has never been a cat to sit in the den all evening or in my lap or even to let me pet him much. BUT now he curls up on the blanket right beside me on the couch and stays in the living room all evening. He LOVES for his back to be rubbed where the hair was shaved. He purrs every time I touch him (in a good way, does not run off). I have not seen him fight with Sassy even ONE time since he has been home. It has been 4 days now! His whole demeanor has changed. He did not hold a grudge toward me. He still follows me around the house like he used to. I have always called him my Butler, but now that he looks like a lion, I hate to give him a servant’s role! HAHA. In the summary below I will refer to myself as master only to make the lesson clear.

There are SO MANY LIFE LESSONS in this story of Buster. Buster did not know WHY his master was treating him this way. Buster tried many approaches to get his master to do things Buster’s way instead of his master’s way. Buster did not consider that the master knew best and was looking out for his good. Buster did not know how much better his life was going to be once the master’s plan was carried out. Buster fought and fought against the master’s plan. Buster’s anger hurt his master as his master had to show tough love and go against Buster’s wishes for his own good. It is too bad he did not enjoy the time with his master, that he did not simply be patient like Sassy. Buster put so much unneeded stress upon himself by NOT trusting his master. He also hurt those around him in the process (Sassy). But now look at how happy he is! He is cool, calm, his belly is full and he has all the water he could ever want…plus now he can enjoy closeness with us, which he could not do before because he was just simply too hot to sit with us! THE MASTER KNOWS BEST! TRUST THE MASTER!

Why do we so often want to do things OUR way instead of God’s way…why as Christians can we not see that God’s Plan is that we trust Him so much that our Will becomes the SAME as His will? My cat helped me really see just how much I have to learn about keeping with God’s Will and not following a different path. HE is not the enemy, so why in the world do we so often treat HIM like HE is? The song “Trust and obey, there is no other way”…sounds easy, but is so hard….oh but that sweet peace and joy we will find if we trust and obey our Lord! He DOES know best! His ways are not our ways, but HE is teaching us and guiding us….we must LISTEN and NOT RUN THE OTHER WAY, do not be a fickle Christian…be steadfast…it is all part of the process of maturing as a Christian.

I love this pic because he looks mad, but it is just because he has ice blue eyes. It is so hard to get a pic of his eyes! If I put it on the red eye reduction setting, he blinks, so instead I get a pic like this! He’s a cutie, though! He’s a gift from God and I am thankful for him!

I hope you enjoyed this little tidbit from my life!

Dogwood in Bloom


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Our little dogwood in the front yard is blooming again. This used to be my father-in-law’s place and when I see a dogwood, I am happy and sad at the same time. I am happy because the flowers were my father-in-law’s favorite. I’m also sad because it makes me miss him even more thinking about how excited he used to get when this season was here so he could see his favorite tree and flower in bloom.

My father-in-law and I became close friends after my mother-in-law passed away. At the time I was not driving because I had not been put on arthritis injections yet and did not discover the strength yet that they gave my joints. He drove me anywhere I needed to go and he enjoyed this task. I am now thankful I did not know about the injections yet because I would have likely missed out on becoming true friends with my father-in-law if I had been on the injections and more independent at the time.

When the dogwoods started blooming, we took back roads just to see more of them on our way to town. My father-in-law transplanted a near perfect little dogwood from our wooded property to our yard and it is also a gorgeous little dogwood, but smaller than the one pictured above. When my weeping cherry tree died he talked for months of getting me a pink dogwood to replace it. We never got that pink dogwood but I think I will get one in memory of him to grow in all its beauty in the yard he took such good care of for so many years.

My father-in-law was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2012 and sent home under Hospice care. We set his hospice bed up and from the window of that room I often walked to it and looked at this dogwood. Each day I told him the progress of the blooms because I wanted so bad for it to bloom for him. I remember it bloomed the last week before he passed away on April 15th last year. While we cared for him, I spent some of my time on the front porch in a rocking chair wishing he could see that tree one more time.

The good news in all this is the dogwood bloom has always carried with it the story of Jesus our Savior.

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Although this is a legend, the message behind it of Jesus is what is the truth and important.

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My father-in-law became a Christian while in the hospital just three and a half weeks before he passed away. I imagine him now no more in pain from the cancer and its effects, no longer mourning his wife, now reunited with her and his parents…and with our miscarried baby, his grandchild he never even got to know a thing about here on earth. Heaven holds many wonders but the best is our Lord, I can only imagine the moment he beheld his Savior, the one who cares for us more than anyone ever has and ever will, our Creator and His Son. Oh just imagine the love that emulated over him during that initial encounter and evermore, a place of no more sorrow, no more tears, no more dying.

The dogwood represents so much to me now and I just felt inspired to share this morning how its symbolism has touched our lives.

Little Tidbits of Teresa’s Life

My little Morgan Mae


Posted on July 8, 2011

I attended the Spring Social at my mother’s church in May 2011. I had NO IDEA that one of the topics they would talk about was aborted or miscarried babies. One of the speakers told of a wonderful place in Chattanooga that has a wall where people associated with aborted babies by abortion can order a plaque in memory of a child that was aborted…doesnt have to be mother, can be anyone in family…BUT they ALSO have bricks for the garden area in memory of miscarried babies. It is called the National Memorial for the Unborn.

While I was sitting there hearing the ladies tell their many stories of healing and also closure, I kept thinking about the time I had a positive pregnancy stick in Spring of 2002. We had only been married since Nov 2001, still young’uns.

This beautiful Spring day in 2002 was best and worst day of my life. I went through all the emotions of one who just found out she was pregnant. I did the test at WORK! I was so shocked that it was positive that I ran out of the stall…had the sense to pull up my pants first…and asked another lady who happened to be in there if I was imagining there were two lines because the second line was faint. She verified there were DEFINITELY two blue lines. We got the kit and verified this meant positive, EVEN if the second line was faint, it said it right there on the box. I cried and told her when I was 15 I had an ovarian cyst and was scheduled to have a partial hysterectomy, but miraculously the cyst was gone when the doctors went in to do the surgery. I was told at the time that I would likely have to have some type of procedure to help me if I ever wanted to conceive (I assume he meant IVF, etc., I was too young to discuss at the time). I was in shock from the pregnancy test, but had been sick and had all symptoms, which is why I took the test in the first place. I knew I could only be a month or two along because I hadn’t missed a period, but wasn’t heavy at last period, either so I could have been wrong as to how far along I would be at this point. The point is I WAS PREGNANT!!! The lady was as nervous as I was…keep in mind I worked for a lawyer at a bank and this lady in the restroom that day was one of the VP’s of the whole bank. It was funny that a mere administrative assistant was sharing her pee stick w/a VP! ANYWAY, my boss was not in yet and I was a wreck. This kind lady told me I needed to go to the doctor and she would take the heat because I would be no use until I went to my doctor. I hugged her and left.

I had not seen this doctor for very long. I knew practically nothing about her EXCEPT she could see me right away, a gynecologist. She did another urine test and this was at least a full hour later. It was negative. She came in the room and said “Thank God you are NOT pregnant!” Then she lit into me about not scheduling “preconception counseling” with her before my husband and I tried to conceive! I was so upset and taken aback! I had just finished telling my husband we were pregnant and this lady is telling me it is a blessing we are not!!! She rambled and I tuned her out. I got up and went to the waiting room to leave. I had been too stunned to tell the doctor what I thought of her. I was in SHOCK. I recall the waiting room receptionist had been excited for me and asked me “well are you okay?” I burst into tears and told her NO and that she worked for a VERY MEAN WOMAN. I told her what happened and not to ever expect me back there again. I left.

I sat in my car in the parking lot crying as I had never cried before. I still felt pregnant. I was still so sick I had to hold my head in my hands for the spinning. I called my husband and he said to call our family doctor. This was a good idea. My family doctor had known my family before I was ever born. I called and he agreed to see me right away. By this time it was getting later in the day. He decided to do a blood test. He came in the room with tears in his eyes and told me it was negative. He was so brokenhearted to have to tell me this. I had already told him what my day had been like and he had told me it was not normal to get false positives, only false negatives and that the lady gynecologist had taken the test with urine that was not first of the day, so is common to get false negative early in pregnancy. This is why he decided to do the bloodtest.

I called my husband again and had to tell him the worst news imaginable was confirmed. He was at work all this time and a wreck. He was just getting used to the idea that he was a dad and then I had to tell him he was not a dad. He asked me not to tell him if I do another HPT again, just to wait until the doctor confirms it because he could not take it, especially while working. I agreed and I told him I could not either!

Well the next day, I had one of the worst periods I had ever had. I truly believe I miscarried regardless of any of the tests. I had no way of confirming it, though since they had ruled out pregnancy.

Four years later after many attempts through fertility drugs, surgeries to clear up endometriosis, lupron shots and keeping up with my ovulation EVERY SINGLE MONTH with a kit, I had finally had to have a hysterectomy. Two weeks after the hysterectomy, I went in for my pathology results. I should mention I now have the most wonderful doctor ever for a gynecologist and he and his staff are definitely an answer to my prayer after that awful woman…well Dr. Griggs looked at me and his first words were “when were you pregnant, Teresa?”. I told him I had not had any children. He asked me when I had miscarried. I then with a relieved expression on my face told him of my ordeal. He told me that he believed wholeheartedly I was correct, that I did miscarry. He then told me that my pathology results showed that I had a disease in the wall of my uterus that only pregnant women can get. It is similar to endometriosis and occurs as the wall stretches from pregnancy. He said I would be the only woman in history that he has ever heard of to get it without ever being pregnant and he highly doubts statistically that is the case.

This is when I told him I knew my little Morgan is waiting for me in heaven and I will be reunited with her one day. He was astonished that I was not upset or bothered by his news. I think he is always perplexed by me, though. I told him I am a christian and I believe God took my baby on with Him (and I also believe my baby is a she, cannot explain why, I just know that). I also told him that my good friend in high school’s mother passed away a few years ago and her last words on earth as she stretched her arms out toward the ceiling were “oh, its my baby!”. My friend was perplexed, but his dad just had a smile on his face. He explained that they had lost a child after their firstborn. They had never told the next two children because it was too painful to talk about. That child was the first thing God let her see as she went to Heaven.

WELL so after this dinner at my mom’s church, I talked to my husband about the memorial garden, then I contacted one of the speakers from mom’s church who works at the memorial garden. I ordered a brick in memory of our Morgan Mae Smith.

We placed the brick in the garden today. We found a serene spot by a beautiful pond and it just felt like the right place to me.

This has helped give me a bit of closure and validation somehow that others will see her name, too. I don’t know that it really matters, but have certainly been looking forward to seeing it on the brick. The gardens are very peaceful. They also have a little chapel and you can have a service if you’d like, but I chose not to since it has been 9 years now. I figured just the two of us going that first time to place the brick will be ideal. Inside the chapel is a wall of plaques dedicated to names of aborted babies where mothers or family members have found a way to come to terms with this decision and get forgiveness, closure, a way to let the baby know they are wanted afterall. The pictures below are taken inside the chapel.

My sister just published her first book!!!


If you are a pet lover, you will love the book my oldest sister Tina just published! This was her FIRST BOOK PUBLISHED! I am so proud of her! She is a professor at a local college and lives with her husband in Ooltewah, TN.

Warning! You’ll need to get some tissues if you read this one…it made me LAUGH and CRY and LAUGH some more and CRY some more…lol…I could NOT put it down until I had read the entire little book! (I proofread her manuscript before she published it). I know she’s my sister and I am partial, but I LOVED this little book!

Here is the link to the amazon page to order the eBook My Wedding Present by Tina R. Cannon…it is only available in electronic form. If you do not have a kindle, you can use the software Kindle for PC to read eBooks. Amazon also has apps for iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and android. Just go to the page for the book and then look in the right column for the free download.

My 37th Birthday Dinner


WOW I had a fun day!

I got all gussied up today in preparation for my 37th birthday dinner at my sis Lavonda’s house. Homemade pizza and two different kinds of trifles for dessert were underway while I was still sleeping!

Ready to go!

When I arrived, preparations to get the pizza dough spread were well underway, so I decided to blog the pizzas.

First, my oldest sis Tina is seen here trying to make an action shot of spreading on hot sausage over pepperoni. Later garlic was added to one side along with a few different cheeses. Additionally, onions were also added to the other half as well as all other toppings mentioned. This pizza was WONDERFUL. Low fat cheeses were used and my sis Tina used a napkin and literally wiped each pepperoni as she went. She is the sis who was recently in the hospital with pancreatitis. I believe the sausage was turkey sausage.

Next, my mother was diligently working on a barbeque chicken pizza. I did not ever get around to trying this one as there were so many options. It smelled wonderful, though and only 4 pieces were left when all was over.

Next, is a beef and italian sausage pizza with onions that my middle sis Lavonda, the hostess, was throwing together. These are her manicured nails in the next pic.

These are my two sisters and my sis Lavonda’s hubby Tim being silly.

This is my mom kicking dad out of the kitchen as he tends to stir folks up!

This is my mother and my brother-in-law (and host) Tim below.

My sis Tina suggested a few pics of me, so here are a very few pics of me:

In my sis’s Dining Room

In honor of Pizza, pose by Tuscan Painting

my hubby Jamey and myself

I said I think I’m getting crow’s feet for my 37th birthday…but it’s just because I laugh so much. I don’t think we will have to worry about my hubby getting crow’s feet! He refuses to smile, even for a pic! Maybe he should be tickled.

my oldest sis Tina and myself

My father-in-law James

My DAD

Mom’s Salad

Triple Berry Trifle

Irish Creme Trifle

Let me tell you a quick story. The day I got married, the best man asked my sister to be his lookout…to call him when my in-laws left the wedding. He planned to roll my father-in-law’s bass boat and needed to make sure he and his dad did not get caught. She did as instructed. WELL, once all was said and done, somehow, word got to my father-in-law that she made the call. SO I will be married for 9 years this November and my father-in-law has told her for 9 years that revenge is COMING. He got his revenge today. My sister makes sure it is known that she is a democrat, no doubt about it. SO my father-in-law and I discussed his revenge and I made an off-white pillow for him to give to her that said I (red satin heart) George W. Link can be found below (or click the picture) on my youtube page of her finding it laying on her bed and her surprise reaction. His card per his instructions read “Paybacks are hell”, but it was on a Disney’s Bambi background. I think the main reason he came to the dinner was for the pillow!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdAZ2z03Fa8

Lavonda and pillow “I HEART George W.”

my FIL James and my sis Lavonda

Gifts!

My sis Tina has already taken me shopping as I mentioned in a previous blog entry. On the trip, she told me she reads with an LED book light. I just cannot imagine a book light that lasts more than a book! Alas, I now own one, too! She gave me more presents! I love it and love this photo I took with it on!

LED Book light BIRTHDAY PRESENT FROM TINA

Tina also bought corn skewers for me. I thought I had written a funny story about my childhood involving corn skewers for corn on the cob, but I did not see it, so I guess I have another entry to write for that blog. Once I do, you will understand why my sis included them in my birthday presents bag this year.

Besides all the wonderful food, my sis Lavonda and brother-in-law Tim gave me this necklace. I had picked it out months ago at the Premier Jewelry party she hosted, but it is so much prettier in person!

I already blogged an entry that my parents gave me a food processor this week, but my dad brought me something he MADE for me! It is a foot rest that is a replica of the one his foot doctor sent him to buy for himself. He also padded and covered it for my comfort so I would not have to! Mom helped him, too. I LOVE IT! When I got home, I had a CAT SCAN done on it and the test result was normal so I can keep it. (see pics for explanation)

Buster and Ash doing CAT SCAN

Pumpkin doing CAT scan

I hope you have a blessed birthday this year just as I have! My birthday is still not even here! It is the 22nd!

Little tidbits of my life!

Teresa

Catawba (Catalpa) Trees


The following picture was taken June 2006 of my parents’ catawba (catalpa) tree.

This next picture was taken today. This is my dad standing under the tree as reference to just how huge this tree is!

This tree’s leaves serves as food for the catawba worm, also known as catalpa worm. This worm turns into a catalpa sphinx moth eventually. I was at my parents’ house today and happened to catch these worms chomping away at this beautiful tree. These worms are often used for fishing. I recall using them during one of the very first times I ever went fishing as a child. As you can see, the trees are pretty old.

I do not want to gross you out with pics of worms, but this one above looks different than most of the other worms. Most are black along their back, as in the next pic.

The next picture shows how the worms can strip a limb of the leaves.

ENOUGH WORMS? How about flowers and butterflies that were in my dad’s yard today instead?

(plus dad’s martin house!)

Rose of Sharon

Surprise Lilies

Fritillary butterfly on butterfly bush above and Painted Lady below

Hibiscus