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

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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.

Little Things That Make Life Sweet…


As I was writing my blog entry yesterday, I did not realize that the PERFECT poem by Estelle Waite Hoover was on my calendar just waiting for me to read it and to feel blessed all over again. Lately, the LITTLE THINGS, do not seem so little to me. The little things feel pretty important and are big things in my life, the things I most look forward to…

Little tidbits of my life,

Teresa

"Beaches" Inspiration for New Quilt


Beaches

Beaches

Beaches Painting

The painting above was my mother-in-law Freda’s painting and is now mine. The bed is full size if that gives you an idea of how large the painting is.

As you know if you have kept up with my blog, my husband’s mother passed away the day after Christmas. Her absolute favorite vacation spot was the beach. She had planned a trip with my hubby, my father-in-law and myself to go to Orange Beach for the weekend of New Years because I had never gotten to go to the beach with her. However, due to the injury she received to her shoulder on December 10, we had to cancel our vacation plans. Instead, she had to schedule torn rotator cuff repair surgery. Complications after the surgery led to her death combined with her sleep apnea problems. We never even got to say goodbye. It was all quite sudden AND shocking. Even today as I type this it is hard to comprehend she passed away almost 6 months ago. I miss her every single day.

Freda had started redecorating the master bedroom and bathroom of her house in the past couple years with the beach scene in mind. Her bathroom is beautiful and she already finished renovating it, but she had never finished the bedroom.

Freda did, however purchase a painting to go in her room once it was finished. With that in mind, I had secretly purchased some toile machine embroidery designs of seashells thinking I would surprise her and make her a quilt to match her beautiful painting. I had made her a quilt before (the one featured in my banner is the quilt I made her), but this one was going to be extra special because of the beach theme.

Due to my health issues and also because of the things going on in both our lives, neither of us ever got our projects started. The BEACHES painting (pictured at beginning of blog entry) is my inspiration to make a quilt in memory of my dear mother-in-law. I want to hang the painting above the bed and use the quilt on the bed.

Can you see my silly cat Pumpkin in the picture? She literally jumped up there just because I got out the camera! I could NOT get her to move, so I figured it made for a cuter pic, anyway. She LOVES the camera.

I am truly inspired when I look at the Beaches picture. Something about it calms me and brings me peace and reminds me where my mother-in-law now is, safe in the arms of Jesus.

Beach and Seashell project supplies

Beach and Seashell project supplies

seashells

Seashells

I had also bought some seashells one Christmas for Freda to use in decorating once she finished this room. At first, I thought about doing a shadow box with them, but after a trip to Walmart, I was inspired by these plates I found. I have posted pics here of the project supplies above and below, but keep in mind I plan to do something to make it look quite different as the final outcome. I will also post pics of the final project when completed.

My idea is to paint the outer border of each plate a hint of blue, then gradually fade between the blue to a white, then back to the tan…not sure yet, but I will definitely tape off a square for the center, then put real sand in the middle for texture AND looks on top of a glue base to anchor it into place. I will then glue three seashells on each plate. I originally purchased two plates, but now that I have laid out all the shells, I realized I need one more plate. I will put these on the side wall by the bed in the beach themed bedroom.

First Seashell plate collage

First Seashell plate collage

Second Seashell plate collage

Second Seashell plate collage

Third Seashell Collage

Third Seashell plate collage

I put the remaining seashells in two bowls to be displayed on a bookcase. I am SO LOOKING FORWARD to being able to make this quilt. I pray I can!!!

I looked at shadow boxes online for beach themes and they are about $170 each! CRAZY when it is so simple to come up with a design as an original. I am so glad I decided to go with my own idea. I think I like the plate idea better, anyway.

The curtains in this room are tan and have the huge wide open circle rivets and chrome colored curtain rod, so will match quite well with the breezy look of a beach themed room.

I now pray that my health will be restored enough that I can START and COMPLETE this beach quilt task soon. Feel free to pray this on my behalf, as well.

MRI RESULTS UPDATE

I had an MRI this week on my back because I am in such pain between shoulder blades and throughout ribs that just lifting my purse brings great distress. It also brings laughs because my father-in-law or hubby now carries it around for me! BUT this is not what I want. I want to be able to carry my purse myself.

The internist had told me I would get one of two possible outcomes from MRI. He said either I would have a bulging disk which would mean injections and likely inevitably surgery OR if normal MRI, then fibromyalgia flareup would be the culprit and nothing really to be done other than what is currently being done, I could continue with chiropractic care and meds. I have been going to a chiropractor because of the falls I had over the past few months that jarred my back. He has not been able to work on my mid-back area in weeks due to the severity of my pain.

When I went to the chiropractor today, we decided to call the doctor’s office to see if the results were back yet. I was not able to get the results, so he just worked on my neck. However, the nurse called me late this evening and told me the MRI is normal, but my doctor is on vacation and cannot sign off on it to send to my chiropractor until next week. I can still unofficially let him know, though. With the results of the MRI being normal, now I am faced with a dilemma of wondering if getting chiropractic care is actually causing the flareups, or if I should tough it out and continue to let him try to adjust my back. My chiropractor is conservative in his approach and only does what he thinks I can handle. It is just a fine line and if crossed makes for a bad week. I am in no better shape now that he has stopped adjusting me, so I am just in a “pickle”.

Maybe I should sit out a “donation jar” for prayer (instead of money!). Prayer please! Prayer please! Poor sickly one needing prayer! I would say I’d work for prayer, but I’m disabled. lol I’m just useless except I can pray for you, too, so I’m NOT REALLY USELESS!

I hope you are NOT in back pain and are having a much better day physically than I am! God is always good and I know there is a reason for this dilemma.

At least I am getting inspirational ideas again, which is a very good thing indeed!

UPDATE Year 2015

This is the finished quilt on display at a local quilt show earlier this year…

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Little tidbits of my life,

Teresa

Reflections


Three Sisters

Teresa, Lavonda and Tina

God has blessed me with two amazing sisters, Tina and Lavonda. I love them both so very dearly. With my mother just losing one of her sisters, it has made me want to hold on to my sisters even more. I think this is a normal response in times of grief, but I hope that we do not lose this lesson. We are close, my sisters and I. I have a special relationship with each one, but very different at the same time. This is how God made us women (and men, too), though. We are each unique, yet have so much commonground.

For Mother’s Day this year, my two sisters bought my parents tickets for a train ride. If you are fairly local, I have included the link here for the beautiful trip from Ettowah, TN to Copper Hill, TN, then lunch and return.

http://www.tvrail.com/hiwassee/schedule.php

On this trip, my oldest sister Tina took along her camera. She is an amateur photographer, but a VERY GOOD amateur photographer. She captured one of the most amazing pictures I have ever seen while on the train. I was captivated as soon as I saw it and had a special project in mind immediately. I asked her to send me the picture on my computer in high resolution so I could have an 8 x 10 made of it. In true BIG SIS fashion, though, that evening as I was at my parents’ house, there was my 8 x 10 waiting for me! THANK YOU TINA!

Lavonda in REFLECTION

My mother was taking me to an appointment the day after my sister had surprised me with the picture, so we decided to go to Hobby Lobby. I wanted to find a picture frame that was simply a mirror, but to no avail. I finally found a black picture frame that is very shiny and knew that with some embellishments, it would work just right. SO OFF TO THE JEWELRY AISLE WE WENT…which led to a trip to the scrapbooking aisle…and finally after a much longer trip than anticipated, I felt I had everything I needed, and my mother and I were TUCKERED OUT! Did I mention everything I got for the project was 50% off???

The next day, I laid my project out after cutting out the letters from the scrapbooking items for my frame and the jewels for the jewelry pendants. I wrote an email to my oldest sister Tina and sent her pics of my project and ideas. I had the word REFLECTIONS on the frame, but was not sure where to place it. Tina is a great one for opinions. She wrote back and said she thinks I should add 1 Corinthians 13:12 and then she wrote the following words in her email:

Reflection
The world is a looking glass and gives back to every woman the reflection of her own face.

Is that not beautiful? SO this meant ANOTHER TRIP to Hobby Lobby because I did not have enough letters to add the verse to the picture, but knew immediately that she was correct. I had also accidently bought BRADS the first visit, so on this visit, I bought self adhesive gemstones instead and did not use the brads at all.

The following are the products I used for my project (plus a picture frame large enough for an 8 x 10 picture)…I think I used 3 packs of the letters and 3 packs of the clear gemstones, as well as one pack of multicolored gemstones. I included a picture of the jewels I made from 4 plain circle mirror pendants with the colored gemstones, but I have still not decided if I will use them at all.

REFLECTIONS project products

I finished the project last night in about an hour! I did not add the jewels as I had intended originally. (Excuse the smudges, I guess I should have cleaned it with windex before taking the final picture of the picture!)

REFLECTIONS of Lavonda

The mantle is not the final place for the picture. I just wanted to get a picture of it without the flash on it. I plan to hang this picture on the wall and I think I will decide after I get it in place whether I should glue the multicolored jewels to the picture. I like it just like this.

REFLECTIONS on mantle

I Corinithians 13:12

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. New International Version

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. English Standard Version

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. King James Version

My very first entry was about my Aunt Marie!


Aunt Marie with the Guardian Angel picture

Well, homestead bloggers have been going through the process of an upgrade all weekend. As a result, we were not sure if our blogs were lost, in limbo, etc. Tonight my blogs were here. For this, I am thankful. However, they were not categorized. As it turns out this turned out to be a blessing, too.

As I went through each entry and set up the categories, I just realized that the very first blog entry I ever posted in February 2008 included pictures of the angel quilt my mother and I had made for her sister Marie that I have mentioned in my last two entries. My Aunt Marie passed away after a battle with Stage IV Inflammatory Breast Cancer last friday. She had a massive stroke approximately three years ago and this had weakened her body, making it difficult for her to withstand the chemo treatments.

My aunt lived every day in preparation for Gloryland, so I know she would tell us not to weep in sorrow for her, but to rejoice in the full GLORY OF THE LORD she is now beholding. She has always loved to collect angel figurines, but now she is rejoicing WITH the angels and PRAISING HER SAVIOR!

Please pray for the Morris family especially this week during their worst time of grief. God can bring about joy even in sorrow and He often has unexpected blessings in store when we least expect it. I pray He will pour His love, Comfort, Healing and Blessings upon the family. She has two beautiful daughters still here, with many grandchildren and great grandchildren. I pray they see glimpses of their mother in their children and grandchildren and that it gives them great comfort in the coming years. My uncle especially will need prayer to keep Him strong. I know God’s strength is more than enough when ours fails, though. My mother and her remaining two sisters and brother would also appreciate your prayers, as well as our large extended family. She truly touched each and every one of our hearts with memories we will always cherish until we meet again.

This is the link to my very first blog entry here at the homesteader group in February 2008.

https://stitchesbyteresa.wordpress.com/2008/02/19/memories/

I just want to thank my Lord for giving me an aunt who lived and served Him and whose very life and every story in it is a testimony of God’s goodness, mercy and love. He has her now with Him and I am so VERY humbled and thankful that I will also be with Him one day in Gloryland for He has prepared a place for all His children. He knows us each and every one, even the very hairs on our head. Amen