Times With Papaw & His Timing

1986! I was ready to go to college for my sophomore year. But I had a serious dilemma. It all really started a year earlier though and I didn’t even know it at the time. It’s all in the past now. I’ve come to grips with it now. But it took a little while. And it broke my heart into tiny little pieces. I think it’s time to just start at the beginning and share the whole experience.

It begins with the relationship that I had with my paternal grandparents. While I never saw them do it I’m quite sure that they hung the moon in the sky every night and the sun in the sky every morning. My Mamaw and Papaw were as close to best friends that a girl could ever hope to have. I grew up spending a LOT of free time at their house. I was the first grandchild. In the end there were only four of us. Two girls and two boys. So we each got as much time as we wanted with them. We did everything together! They were the emergency contacts at my high school. I remember Papaw coming to pick me up when I was sick. We had a great time – just the two of us – even though I was sick. I remember the tickle fights between him, me and my cousin Derick. He liked to take us to the lake and out in the boat. He’d take us out to the edge of the lake and anchor the boat at an angle so Derick and I could get in the water even though we weren’t supposed to. I have a clear picture of him getting the boat ready in the driveway before we would take off to the lake. Wild horses couldn’t keep me away from their house on the weekends. Mamaw and I loved to watch TV together. I remember when the Loreal commercial tag line “Because I’m worth it” came out we would laugh and say that line along with them like we were worth a million bucks. Mamaw was the best cook in the world. We had all of our family meals at their house. My mom and my aunts would bring covered dishes but Mamaw cooked most of the meals. She canned everything that could be canned. Papaw used to love picking on her. She’d get so mad at him for it. But I could have stayed there forever – if only time could have stood still.

When it came time for me to go to college in 1985 I chose to go to a college in Nashville. I chose our denomination’s college, Free Will Baptist Bible College. The closer it came to time for me to leave in August, Papaw told me he didn’t want me to go away. I remember feeling like it was a sentimental emotional. Each time I saw him he would give me one of those big Papaw hugs and tell me again that he wanted me to stay closer to home. I tried to get him to understand that the Bible college was where I felt like I needed to be. He told me there were colleges closer to home that I could go to. I remember my family had Mamaw and Papaw up to the house for a “goodbye” dinner at some point right before I left for Nashville. One of my parents took a picture of me between the two of them. I’ve searched for years for that picture but I haven’t been able to find it yet. I’ll explain in a little bit why I want to find it so bad.

But the day came and I left. I spent my first semester at college. I had a great time. I was on my own. I studied. I made friends. I was on the drama team. I dated. It was just the perfect semester. When I came home for the holidays, I had a shocking surprise and not in a good way. During the time that I left for college and had that perfect semester my Papaw was gravely ill. When I came home I found him with an amputated leg and part of his lung gone. What in the world? What happened? The last time I saw him was the night that picture was taken and then I come home and see this with NO WORD as a warning or a hint as to what was going on. Everyone BUT ME knew he was sick. Everyone BUT ME knew he was having surgery right after I left for Nashville. Everyone BUT ME knew that he had a leg amputated. Everyone BUT ME!!!! I’ve had it explained to me a million times. And this was 28 years ago so I have forgiven my family members. But I will never forget it. How do you forget something like that? I want to cry just thinking about it now all these years later.

So that kind of brings me to the point in 1986. My Papaw was on death’s door. I knew that he was nearing the end of his life. I didn’t dare go so far away again a second time. So I applied to a college closer to home and had been accepted. I was one week away from having to go to college. My heart was telling me to go back to Nashville. But my head was saying NO WAY was I leaving him so near death in the hospital. Emotionally I was a wreck. I made some bad decisions during that period of time. I could see the timeline laid out ahead of me. Where would I be at college the following weekend? I had no idea. I decided that I would lay a fleece out before the Lord like Gideon did. On Sunday August 16, 1986 I told the Lord if I was meant to go to Cedarville (the college close to home) to help Papaw make a recovery in the week ahead. But if I was to go back to Nashville to college to let him live through his birthday, August 18, and die the next day. I put all of my faith in the Lord to reveal his will to me through that fleece. The Lord answered me. Papaw lived through his birthday and died at 2:00 a.m. on August 19, 1986. That was my answered prayer. He answered me in about as direct a way as he could. I was able to get back to Nashville in time to start my sophomore year at college.

My heart was broken and it still is when I sit down and think this all the way through. But I try to remember all the good times. It seems to mend the broken pieces. Twenty Seven years ago today the Lord took the best Papaw a girl could ever ask for. I hope he’s been enjoying him up there. One day I’m gonna join him again and we can continue all of our fun times. And he’s be walking on two legs again and have two complete lungs to laugh with.

I discovered why the Lord was sending me back to Nashville. I had begun a relationship with a guy the second half of my freshman year. While feelings were building for this guy in Nashville, my concern and emotions for my Papaw overshadowed the potential boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. But in some way, where I would go to college my sophomore year would determine the future of this relationship and I am convinced this is part of what God was working out during this experience with my Papaw. As it turned out, I married this guy – now 26 years later, we still reminisce about grandparents.

The whole family together for Christmas

The whole family together for Christmas – 1985

 

 

Look Out London Here I Come

We are actually in the air for leg one of our trip to London today. We fly into Charlotte and then leave from there tonight and fly into London. Words cannot express how excited I am. I have been so excited for a year to make this trip. I was hopeful that I could get my Fibro aching body in good enough shape to meet the schedule. And here I am!

Last June I knew I was going to have to make some physical changes so that I could be in better condition. That’s when I started losing weight and exercising. I knew there would be a lot of walking involved. At that time I knew there was no way I could meet the challenge of keeping up with everyone. Because I sold Advocare I ordered the 24 Day Challenge and worked toward eating a more nutritionally balanced set of meals. As it turned out I have now lost a total of 60 pounds and I can walk with the best of them. However, what I’ve learned in the last two months is that while I thought I was getting healthier for London I was actually getting my body ready for cancer. But either way I’m set. When we get back from London next Sunday I will resume chemo. I’m good to go either way.

I know this blog is short and sweet. But I only bought 30 minutes of wifi on the plane and it’s just about up. But I just wanted to pop  in and tell you how thrilled I was to be meeting the goal that I’ve been working toward for so long. LOOK OUT, LONDON, HERE I COME!!!!

Crazy Love

This afternoon we got back from our quick spring break weekend get away. Because for once our kids are in two different schools their breaks are at different times. This past week was Lauren’s spring break. Michael’s spring break is this coming weekend. So we took this past weekend to go to an indoor waterpark we have never been to before. It is Great Wolf Lodge next door to Kings Island in Mason Ohio. Even though I grew up in Ohio and went to Kings Island a lot. We just spent the weekend and we had such a great time. We laughed and played and ran around. We just had such an amazing weekend like we didn’t have a care in the world.

 

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I wish I had taken more pictures actually. But mostly I just enjoyed my family. But I have a few pictures to share.The kids just had a wonderful time together. There weren’t any arguments. That was wonderful. Seems being in college away from each other has really mellowed them out to the point that they actually like each other now. I knew it would eventually but it was a long time coming.

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Saturday we went to the indoor watermark. That was really cool. There were pools and slides and rafts galore. I enjoyed the family slide where all four of us could ride together. I wish now I had walked around and taken more pictures of the pools and slides. I know it’s a little hard to see in this picture. Ron and the kids would go again late at night after I got in bed to watch TV.

 

 

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The end of the day brought some tired pups at night. There was a couch. But an argument developed and it ended up with both of them in the bed next to us. Cracked me up. How I love them!!!

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They just piled up wherever they were and stole my heart no matter what they were doing. Lauren was tweeting, of course. Michael was playing his game on his phone. I had just come in the room from shopping in the gift shop. Ron was working on his schoolwork. We were just hanging out. And they were just piled there stealing my heart! It was a crazy kind of love!!
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Yep that’s my family! We had a great time! I want to take advantage of every second we have together. They are amazing and I am crazy about them!!!

 

18 Finally Shows It’s Head Around Here

 

Eighteen years ago on February 24, 1995 Lauren Ashleigh Hunter was finally allowed to be born following a difficult two months of pregnancy. I was overjoyed on so many levels. I was happy because our family had grown to four – albeit unexpectantly. I was very happy that I had been able to carry her to term. And I was relieved that my labor with her was considerably shorter than it was with her brother, which was 27 hours.

Allow me to explain some of that so that you will understand the depth of my relief. It took us quite a while, a year and a half, and the beginning of fertility treatments to get pregnant with Michael. We went through a lot emotionally to get pregnant with him. Even while pregnant with him I began spotting and was scared out of my mind and after having experience a miscarriage before all of this started I immediately put myself on bed rest even though my doctor was not worried and said it was normal to spot. After my first experience of a miscarriage I wasn’t taking any chances. I spent a week in bed. I took extra good care of myself. After Michael was born in November I felt much relief and enjoyed my baby. I started on birth control and settled into the routine of being a mother. When Michael was six months old and I was still on my birth control pills Lauren showed up on the little stick from the pharmacy. That simple! That unexpectedly! Just BOOM there she was! Nobody was trying!

When I was seven months pregnant with her I went into premature labor. I went into the hospital. I spent 10 days hooked up to magnesium to stop the contractions. In the beginning they had given me injections to boost the growth of her lungs in case she had to be born early. Those were some massive needles. I do remember those! And I remember every time they tried to wean me off the magnesium the contractions would start up again. I was depressed, terribly miserable and I was really wanting them to take her. But in actuality she was where she was supposed to be. Once they let me out of the hospital they put me on bed rest until a certain date. After that date she was allowed to be born so I was ready to get up and get going. And we walked and walked and walked for days and nothing happened. That little booger stayed where she was. Her actual due date was March 5. But my February 24 they were concerned with her weight because of the shots they had given me in the hospital. They were also concerned about how much more she would gain in that last week. So, they put me in on the 24th and induced me.

Holy moly! I was glad when all of that was over and done. But when I looked at her she was so beautiful. She was having a few problems breathing a first so they gave her a puff of oxygen. That girl has had the scream of the banshees ever since. You could hear her anywhere and everywhere. I’ve always said if anyone ever kidnapped her in a cart at the store they would return her as soon as she started crying.

She has been totally independent from an early age. She preferred to put herself to sleep at 7:00 every night. We lived in the church parsonage and had to have our children’s ministry meet in the parsonage so Lauren could go to sleep in her bed at 7:00 or everyone was miserable. She’s always wanted to know the “why” behind everything. She’s never been the kind of child you could parent with “because I said so”.  That’s totally unacceptable. She has always been and always will be a handful. That’s not an easy child to parent but you can be sure one day it will serve her well. And she has always worked hard to understand what she is learning. You can’t just tell her 2+2=4. You have to explain WHY it equals 4. She doesn’t take anything for granted. She must research and understand something for herself.

I can see how all the parts of her have come together to make the Lauren that we know. I couldn’t be more proud of her. She has stretched me more than anyone else in the world. I’m so thankful that God chose me to be her mother even though there were times that I was throwing my hands up yelling “WHY ME”!! I am truly the most blessed mother to have ever been chosen. It was choppy from the beginning but maybe that was my warm-up for what was to come. I now have an 18 year old young woman who I couldn’t be prouder of. I wouldn’t have traded her in for anyone anywhere.

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Lauren Ashleigh Hunter – February 24, 1995 – 8 lbs 5 oz – 20 1/2 inches long

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Happy Birthday, Lauren!

 

Pajama Bottoms, Sweat Pants and Size 7 Shoes

Well I have had great results with my weight loss results. It’s been amazing actually. I’ve never actually lost this much weight. I’m seeing a lot of things changing before. If you have never read my blog to know how I’ve been working on my weight loss challenge I have been using the Advocare 24 Day Challenge and our Trim Line products. You can follow the link provided there if you are interested in the process. But the entire process began last June 3, 2012 with 232 pounds. This morning I stepped on the scales at my doctor’s office and I weighed 192 pounds. That is amazing! But the best part is THAT’S NOT WHERE I’M STOPPING!! I set small goals for myself. I find small goals easier for me to reach. So my current goal is to get to 180. Now that the weather is warming up I can start walking again that will make my day.

We have a new Goodwill in my part of town. A challenge I never thought about in losing weight was that my feet were going to shrink. I currently have an entire closet full of size 8W shoes. All of them are too big at this point. So I primarily went there to purchase shoes – which I was highly successful at doing. I found some fabulous items. Then I decided to look through the sale racks lined through the middle of the store and I racked up there too. I really don’t think it’s possible for me to go into a store and not come out with something to make me happy.

Interestingly enough most of what I found were items for the kids – all of which were on the sale rack. There was a rack full of pajama bottom and sweat pants. Lauren’s roommate wears sweats all the time. So, I bought all of us a couple pair of PJ bottoms and/or sweats for .99/each. Let’s just say it was my day for Goodwill!

I tried to post pictures of a couple of the items I bought here but for some reason I couldn’t get them to post so I took that to mean it’s no big deal and you will just take my word for it all! That’s pretty much it, isn’t it? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Did I mention I’ve lost 40 pounds? Let’s end with that one!