Cindy and Me

Cindy is my youngest sister. She is exactly 5 1/2 years younger than I am. She was so cute when she was born; her sweet, cherub-like cheeks were so lovable and pinchable.

Being all those years apart, we really didn’t spend time together until Cindy was about four years old. She had spent the first two years of her life in and out of the hospital. Still, Cathy and I loved her. As Cindy grew up, we had plenty of time to play.

One thing that our mom and our grandma loved to do was take us to the shore where Cindy liked to bury me in the sand. We built sandcastles with motes, using our brightly-colored, plastic buckets and shovels. We collected seashells and found some beautiful shells, fully intact. We even found some seashells with their little critters still alive within their homes. At the time, we thought they were gross, and all of kids let them be. Of course, no trip to the shore would be complete without a few dips in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

We would have “school” in our garage. Dad and Mom had a large chalkboard with a small table and matching chairs in our school area, which was near the rear of the garage. In the winter, Mom or Dad would light the very large kerosene heater, which we knew not to touch, to keep us warm. It quickly warmed the entire garage. I would use dittos (when was the last you heard that word?) covered in a plastic film, so we could use them again and again. Some were Mathematics, others were Language Arts. All of them were fun! Cindy, especially, seemed to enjoy them.

Times weren’t always joyful. Cindy was being bullied by the several kids at her bus stop. When I heard they were going hurt Cindy, my baby sister, I decided to walk with her to her bus stop. They attacked us just as we walked up. I was able to get a few kicks and punches before I had to cover Cindy. I literally threw myself over her body and tried to cover her little head with my hands. The attacks kept coming. That is, until the blessed bus showed up. Then, the kids scattered for the school bus and I took Cindy home.

Cindy and I went to the shore mid-winter. It was kind of spooky, with only the local residents, not the summer tourists. We walked on the boardwalk, which had most of the many stores, games, and rides shut down until the following Memorial Day. We were excited to see that our favorite pizza place was open all year! We got a few slices of pepperoni pizza, and plain, and then we decided to drive around town and see what the locals experience.

We happened upon a bowling alley and decided to bowl a few games. Cindy was a lot better than I was at hitting down those pins. Needless to say, she beat me in all three games. I was happy seeing Cindy enjoy herself.

From there, we were in search of a restaurant for dinner. We found a quaint, little diner with great platters of food. Fully satiated, we headed home.

I really love my baby sister, Cindy.

John 15:13 – Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (KJV)

Cathy and Me

Cathy and I always found ourselves in trouble. Being my sister, only 18 months younger, we were each other’s best friend. We loved to build forts out of the living room cushions and some very sturdy blankets. We even had dinner in our “secret” space. That was, of course, until we spilled our delicious bowl of spaghetti and homemade meatballs. It ended up as a stringy mess of sauce and meatballs. Cathy and I said together, “Oh, no,” as Mom and Dad came rushing in. Needless to say, that was the end of our fort-building for awhile.

Next up, we almost got kidnapped. Yes, you read that correctly. We were visiting our sweet, loving grandmother and we were allowed to walk to Heritage’s store for some treats. On our way back, four men dressed in black trench coats, of all things typical, and pulled their car right to the curb where we were. One of the men in the backseat, held the door open, and demanded we get into their beat-up Cadillac.

At that point, I screamed, “Cathy, RUN!” We ran as fast as our legs would carry us. As I was in the lead, I kept looking back to make sure that my little sister was still behind me. During the first time I looked back, I also noticed that the Caddy was gone. We ran all way back to grandma’s house. There we told our mom and our grandma.

Another time, we were driving, actually Mom was driving, when Cathy opened her door and was hanging on for dear life. I reached over her and happened to look down as I stretched to reach the door handle, and saw the road racing under us. By that time, Mom saw what had happened. With all my strength, I pulled the door shut. Then Mom was able to stop the car and check on us.

Mom went into a cleaners to pick up Dad’s shirt, leaving us in the car (when it was legal). Cathy decided, about age six, she wanted to drive our beaver car. You know, with the wooden paneling on the sides. Cathy was as happy as pie “driving” the car, pushing and pulling the knobs. That is until she touched the gear shifts and we slowly started moving backwards! I jumped into the front, nevermind that I had no idea what I was doing. I tried every knob I could, but I couldn’t stop the car. Just then, a Good Samaritan jumped in and stopped our beaver, just as Mom came running out.

As if that weren’t enough, our parents took us to the shore. Cathy and I loved to sit in the water and let the waves roll over our heads. However, a cross current pulled us out to where we couldn’t reach the sandy bottom. Cathy panicked and grabbed my head and pushed me under the water. I fought to surface, and when I did, I told Cathy to hold me around my neck. I could barely breathe, but I tried to swim us to shore. I was making headway when I saw my dad running towards us. We had reached the point where we could walk again, and Dad and the lifeguard reached us. Cathy and I never played that game again.

We had a lot of fun and troubles growing up, but I wouldn’t change my little sister for the world; after all, I love her!

1 John 4:18a – There is no fear in love; for perfect love casteth out fear… (KJV)

Faith-Filled Moms: When the World Stops Spinning

A reblog from Destined 4 the Dub. Very important information. Please read.

Destined 4 the Dub

In this week’s installment of Faith-Filled Moms, I welcome my Sorority Sister, Kimberly Love, as she shares the story of her daughter’s life-changing diagnosis. It is our prayer that her story would encourage those experiencing similar challenges due to an unexpected diagnosis, remembering that God has a plan for each of our lives.


Where do I start?

My daughter Kymani was a sophomore at North Carolina State Agricultural and Technical University, majoring in Marketing. She hit the ground running, participating in sales competitions around the country, studying abroad, and even earning a spot in NC A&T’s coveted Honors College.

I was so happy to have her home for the semester break. It was a week before Christmas, and Kymani had just returned from studying in Panama. After our lengthy separation, I looked forward to spending time with her over the next few weeks and celebrating the holidays. We were snuggling…

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Respond to your children with love

A post from the skeptic’s kaddish. Very interesting blog! .

The skeptic's kaddish

Respond to your children with love in their worst moments, their broken moments, their angry moments, their selfish moments, their lonely moments, their frustrated moments, their inconvenient moments; because it is in their most unlovable human moments that they most need to feel loved.

― L. R. Knost

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Life Before Diagnosis, Part 4

As I mentioned last week, I wanted to be just like my parents. Loving, caring, giving. So, on my 39th birthday, when I was still walking with a walker, my husband and I decided we would do 39 Random Acts of Kindness.

We started out by having lunch at Bertucci’s. There we picked a table where two men were sitting, enjoying their meal. When our waitress stopped by our table, I showed her the note I’d written earlier. It read, “We’d like to pay the bill for the two men diagonal from us. Please bring us their check and don’t tell them we’d paid for their meal.” They must have something to her, because she told them we paid. The men were so thankful. We also gave the two waitresses both 100% tips.

From there we went to Dunkin’ Donuts and bought a lot of hot chocolate, dozens of doughnuts, and several gift cards. We then stopped back home to pick up my children, to show them the happiness of giving. We also picked up a 50-pound bag of dog food from our garage, unopened. Our dog, Anderson, had just died of stomach cancer. I still miss that sweet black lab today.

Now for the next fun part! As this was February, and people were cold, our first stop was when we spotted men on roadwork, and we gave them hot chocolates and a dozen doughnuts. We gave each school a dozen. We donated the dog food to a no-kill animal shelter. We stopped with hot chocolate and gift cards to every school crossing guard and police officer we found. I walked up to our local fire department and gave them a dozen doughnuts. The children were actually the ones who donated the dog food, because I wanted them to participate, not just be observers.

Near the end, my daughter and I went into Wawa to buy the last few gift cards we needed. We handed out three gift cards to people in line behind us, then we were headed to my parents’ home. This was our last stop; we handed out Wawa gift cards to my parents, my sisters, and their husbands.

In the end, we had done 39 Random Acts of Kindness. To finish off the evening, we ordered yummy-delicious pizza.

Hebrews 13:2 – Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (KJV)

Life Before Diagnosis, Part 3

I had a beautiful childhood, which included my two sisters and never-divorced Dad and Mom. My parents were loving, giving people, and, as I grew up, I wanted to be just like them. They were fabulous roll models. They gave generously to the people in their lives, sometimes to their own detriment. Every Christmas was magical. We would begin our celebration with a trip to Philadelphia, starting with a train ride to Philly. From the train, we would have lunch in the Gallery, which was essentially an underground mall. Then, we would go to Wanamaker’s for their seasonal Christmas light show. It had singing, along with lighted Santa’s train, ballerinas, snowflakes, nutcrackers, bears, candy canes, snowmen, and much more! We never missed it. “We” included my grandmother, my aunt, Mom, my cousin, and me and my two sisters.

After the light show, we went to the Children’s floor. In there, we kids could ride a “train” they had across the top of the room! Then, we went to a production of “A Christmas Carol.” It was a walk-through exhibit, complete with cobblestone flooring. We then returned to the Gallery to have dinner. Before we left for the train, Mom bought ooey-gooey, cinnamon buns, which we ate at home.

Dad and Mom made Christmastime even more jovial. We baked tons of Christmas cookies, in several varieties. Also, we made tiny cherry cheesecakes that were super yummy. Christmas day was the best! Before we were allowed downstairs, Dad would go down and set the mood. He turned on the tree and turned on he radio station with all-day Christmas music. When we were allowed down, our eyes exploded when we saw the plethora of presents for each person.

Like I said earlier, I wanted be like my parents. My dad was a drafting/CAD teacher and my mom was a Certified Medical Assistant. I first tried drafting because it was offered in my middle school. I also took two years of it in high school. Then Mom started taking me to work with her. I fell in love with the medical field, and became a CMA myself.

I also wanted to be charitable, but that’s a story for next week!

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2: 11 (KJV)

Life Before ALS, Continued

Mike and I decided to plant an organic garden in our side yard. We started out small; only blueberry and blackberry bushes and jalepenos. How I loved the spicy burn of jalepenos in salads and sandwiches! However, before I got one taste of them, the wild rabbits in our yard ate them. I was so disappointed, when I should have rejoiced because God allowed me to plant a garden in the first place. In the end, only the blackberry bush survived. Apparently, the rabbits weren’t interested in blackberries.

And did the bush survive! It grew to an enormous size, spreading along the side of our house. After the ambush of the rabbits vs. the jalepenos, we had put up a tall fence around our garden. At that point, I started having difficulty raising myself back up. I thought it was because of my weight, which was over 300 pounds. Since I couldn’t work in the garden any longer, we took down the fencing. It allowed the blackberry bush to grow larger.

I never thought to pray over our garden, So, it’s no wonder that it failed; the garden never had God’s blessings upon it.

Life Before ALS

Before I was diagnosed with ALS, I was suffering from PTSD and Dissociation due to my first marriage. In spite of that, I went to college in Florida to start a new career. When the children and I moved back up north, I continued my education, working two jobs, and caring for my children, with my parents’ unselfish, loving help.

After two years, I earned an A.S. in education, and transferred from community college to a university. I changed my major a few times, until I found my passion. I went from teaching high school, to teaching physical education, to English with a minor in journalism. I had finally found my niche.

In the meantime, I met and married a great man, whom I met in our church’s choir. He was a godly man, which I loved about him. I was certainly blessed by having him in my life. The children were experiencing blessings too, but I don’t think they realized it then. My husband was a good, good person, and I still love him.

After we were married, I still had one semester left at the university. Then I graduated with a B.A. in English language and literature. I had dropped the minor in journalism because I had difficulty walking and could no longer drive. The day I gave up driving was a very scary day. My right foot had kept giving out and my left foot was already useless. God was with me, and He brought me home safely to my children and to my husband.

Joshua 1:9b – Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. (KJV)