The Decade Tag 2.4.2020

Dear Lord, How many ways You give to challenge me, to testify of You, to encourage and share with others, to do things only You know why You send my way. It might seem trivial to some, but even in awards and tags Your purpose is still Yours. So when Charity of Confessions and Thoughts of a Reluctant Preacher’s Daughter nominated me for the The Decade Tag, I am somewhat bewildered to think over the last ten years, but know there have been so many blessings that far out weigh the loss and changes that You have used to make all things new… including the new creature in me, and Your renewing my mind in You! ❤The Decade TagThank you, Charity, for thinking of me with the Decade Tag. May the Lord bless you and your blog ministry! An honest and bold voice… for the Lord and for yourself. Honesty is a rare trait. I am blessed with your sweet fellowship! Me and God love you! ❤


To play along:

1- Please share a link to the creator of the tag- jesusluvsall.wordpress.com

2- Share some highlights for you over the past decade and if you want a few low points

3- Tag whoever you wish to.

4- Ask them some questions

5- Use any picture appropriate for such a tag.

As I have watched so many references and challenges going around on Facebook, WordPress, the doctor’s offices, physical therapy, on the news, and among family and friends, I have constantly found myself absolutely stumped to find a word to describe even 2019 as so many would question. When one individual asked waiting for an answer all I could think of after a long pause was… DONE. It wasn’t to be cynical. It was just simply being grateful for Your bringing me through so many things.
In trying to find a word or goal for the new year/new decade, YOU gave me the word when I became so ill in November that I was sick the whole month… CONVALESCE. You call a time out and tell me to come convalesce with You… to come away with You to nothing but rest, with my feet up, to heal and grow strong. And that is what You and I have been doing. You are setting the pace.

So when it came to looking back on the decade, I found I was always going back to 2000. It seems like it was just yesterday I was graduating with my second college degree when I finished my B.A. in English Literature, and was celebrating with my family. (You can see my son David looking on, a vision You have long used to remind me that I never know who is watching on what I do.). And I still feel like I have never gained the weight I have since then. My doctors can’t believe I was ever small, but I can’t believe I can be this big and live. I always struggle to breath past 135 (which is the lowest of my ideal eight for my height according to the doctors). I did not start to gain until I was 36 years old.

But then I began to lose the ability to be active , which I was very much. It was like my brain found it hard to comprehend that with all of the changes in our family, church, health, and so much more that only 10 years could sum it up. And yet it seemed like it was only yesterday. Especially the losses. But I know You have brought good! A lot of good! So with Your help in walking me through, I will find the praises You so rightly deserve!

Low points:
This picture of me and Irene was taken around the time of 2010. We were doing a late night run to the store, and was testing out my new cellphone camera. 2009.2Irene is now with Jesus. She lost a battle to stomach cancer in 2016, just one year after we lost mom. The list goes on and on. Since 2000 we have lost Gran, mom and dad, my brother Charlie, the rest of my dad’s sisters, my mom’s side only has one of the nine siblings of my grandmother left, and 1 sibling of my mom, and my stepdad Bobby and his sister are the only ones left of 10 siblings. We have lost so many church family, as well as family friends.
My greatest loss (because my family is safely with Jesus in their new bodies) has been my health. I have lost the ability to do too much. It has greatly robbed me of my strength, my spirit, my joy, and some day my hope. Each day I lose more, but through You I have so much gain… even in the loss!
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” – Philippians 1:21

Highs:
You have blessed me with so many people who loved and cared for me, and an abundance of those who still do! I am blessed more than many. Even in the losses, I have their memory with me… laughs, tears, fears, excitements, celebrations, and so many wonderful hugs! Some people have never experienced love, kindness, family, friends, and more importantly YOUR love and hugs. I am blessed beyond measure with Your whispers, Your kindnesses, Your sweet fellowships, Your only begotten Son, Your faithful Holy Spirit, and much more.
As for my health, I still have plenty to be thankful for. I am walking! I am tolerating standing better. I have been able to attend many bible studies and dinners with Keitha, Sarah, and many loving sisters in Christ!

I am better aware of my health, and I have an incredible team fighting for me and educating me in therapies and treatments. My body is Yours to do as You wish. I love You no matter what. And I know You love me no matter what! ❤
“But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.” 
– Philippians 1:22-24 KJV

And I am blessed with a wonderful gift in my son Anthoni. You have used him from day one to be a blessing and to teach me of Your love for me. He has had his own gains and losses this decade, and yet His love for You remains steadfast. I am grateful to witness the relationship between You two!46523528_10217102611735691_1941511546358202368_n


Charity’s Questions For Me:

1. What is the most important lesson you have learned in the past ten years?
I have no idea what will happen day to day, but I know that you are with us and care about every heartache, Life is pointless with out You!

2. Can you share a moment where you were laughing so hard you had tears in your eyes?
Yes, though my joy seems completely gone most days, you do surprise me sometimes. I came across this comedienne Jeanne Robertson telling about her husband “Left Brain.”  They are both from the North Carolina area. I started binge watching her comedy and could not stop laughing when listening to her “Don’t Snap an Elephant to a Tree.” I laughed so hard it hurt. 🙂

3. How many jobs have you had in the past ten years?
I am ashamed to say none. Since my back got worse in 2005, I have struggled just to be walking each day.

4. Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
If I make it past the grave, I fear being in a nursing home, bedridden, in severe pain. I fear a lot of what I have witnessed in the many deaths I have seen… some long drawn out and horribly painful, some just too graphic, and some just let go because of the inconvenience it was to care for them. I honestly don’t know. God knows that my greatest desire is to be with Him, so I will be excited to be home soon! However… whatever He wants, is what I want! My life and my body are His!
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” 
– 2 Corinthians 4:7 KJV

I choose to keep pressing forward, Lord! Whatever You want! 🙂

“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
– Philippians 3:14 KJV

I choose to tag:

Caz of Invisibly Me

Carol Anne of Therapy Bits

Maxine of Heaven’s Reef

Wendi of Simply Chronically Ill

Please don’t feel obligated to participate.
Just wanted you to know you are thought of.

Thank you, Charity, for thinking of me!
Your kindness is much appreciated!
Me and God love you!! ❤

Exposing What’s Within

gaillovesgodspoetry

A little girl sad and quiet
Leaned against the tree.
She has failed to save her friend
From a violent tragedy.
A life was lost and thrown away
To hide the sinner’s sin.
But God is watching everything
And exposes what’s within.
A hiker comes across the girl,
And can sense what is wrong.
Both the girls lost their fight
Against someone too strong.
The surviving girl is rescued,
And is evidence of the crime.
Justice is given to the man
Who is now serving time.

12.2.19 Monday
Written by Gail Brookshire
Inspiration: The loss of a friend

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For My Choir Buddy

Lord, Thank you for reminding me that I wanted to share with others as I dedicated a song to celebrate Sue Bailey’s passing.

Sue BaileySue Bailey

I couldn’t help but think about the song I’ve Got More To Go To Heaven For,
one because I always do when someone passes away that I love or am fond of ,
secondly because I’ve loved that song so much since I heard it in my teens that I am always singing it,
and lastly because of how incredibly fitting it is with the passing of my choir buddy.
I’ll always remember her joy, and am so excited about “the new angel in the choir, I want to hear sing.” ❤ She’s now one more of the many “friends awaiting when I walk through the gates. I’ve more to go heaven for than I had yesterday.”

I’ve Got More To Go To Heaven For
by The Inspirations

I’ve been on my way to heaven for a long, long time.
And many things have happened that’s clouded up my mind.
But I am more determined to walk the narrow way.
I’ve got more to go to heaven for than I had yesterday.

Chorus:
There’s a golden street to walk upon, a bell I’m gonna ring.
A brand new angel in the choir, I wanna hear her sing.
There’ll be a lot of friends awaiting when I walk thru the gates.
I’ve got more to go to heaven for than I had yesterday.

I’ve been thru lonesome valleys, I’ve climbed the highest hills.
I’ve known the joy of living in the center of God’s will.
I’ve watched the angels come and take my loved-ones home to stay.
I’ve got more to go to heaven for than I had yesterday.

Chorus:
There’s a golden street to walk upon, a bell I’m gonna ring.
A brand new angel in the choir, I wanna hear her sing.
There’ll be a lot of friends awaiting when I walk thru the gates.
I’ve got more to go to heaven for than I had yesterday.

Chorus:
There’s a golden street to walk upon, a bell I’m gonna ring.
A brand new angel in the choir, I wanna hear her sing.
There’ll be a lot of friends awaiting when I walk thru the gates.
I’ve got more to go to heaven for than I had yesterday.

Yes, I’ve got more to go to heaven for than I had yesterday.

I also think of her with the poem You allowed me to write on July 25th… Alas, I’m Home. She had actually passed on July 2nd, but I was a little hard hit with her passing at first that even though I was happy for her it was too hard to write at first. But I knew from Your loving whisper that I wanted to write this post especially for her. She is the new angel in the choir, and praise Your Holy name dearest Sue can easily say, “Alas, I’m home.” You have welcomed Your bride home.

Alas, I’m Home
written by Gail Brookshire

Alas in sight, I see
A home prepared for me.
Cloudless skies and stormless days.
Enjoying a view with a heavenly haze.
The voice of God clear and strong
Conducting His choir with angelic song.
Crystal seas glisten bright.
Streets of gold reflect His Light.
Familiar faces soon appear.
Some were souls once so dear.
Dearer more, now they are
Always a part of my heart.
Dearest yet, my Sweet Jesus Christ!
Waiting to welcome home His bride.
Friends for life, death, and resurrection.
He is my Greatest expectation.
Alas I’m in His Holy presence,
Basking in His Holy essence.

7.25.19 Thursday
Written by Gail Brookshire

Rachel & Leah Bible Study: Night 6 of 6

RLLBS.2019.19What a beautiful and hypnotic day You gave on this day that would be our last night of the ladies bible study we have been doing for the last 6 weeks.

Rachel & Leah: What Two Sisters Teach Us About Combating Comparison.
Written by Nicki Koziarz.

Our last week is
Truth Six: Let the success of others encourage you not discourage you.IMG_20190324_153610And the supporting verse to combat this comparison is 2 Corinthians 10:12 KJV
“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”
How incredibly wise we would be to realize it is so futile and foolish to compare ourselves to those who are commending themselves. We should be more concerned with what You testify of us.

I was blessed with time to arrive early, and I was looking forward to some time to do some of my puzzle book. However, Your warm sun, Your bright day, and Your gentle breeze continuously playing with my hair was far too much for me! 😉 I was out like a light with those windows down, and it felt so nice.

It would be a nightmare ( or I guess daymare) that would wake me up. I found myself saying so frantically, “OH NO!” I quickly checked the time and figured I better go in before I fall asleep again. Marilyn was walking the parking lot, and happened to be near my left window. She playfully said she thought she was going to have to wake me up.

On the way in, I got to say hey and get a Keitha hug. Then I went to get my badge,6.2

my prayer card for my new request, my ticket for door prizes,6.4and then found my seat at the table.

I was wearing my Ready Wraps on my calves. It had been a rough day at PT. The Lord blessed me with determined and caring physical therapists, but the compression equipment we attempted to use on my legs just wasn’t working. It’s not designed for lymphedema patients, and my lymphedema specialist says I’m a very small case. I can’t tell You how long it has been since I was called small.

We’re trying to use my Ready Wraps at home to prevent having to use the more extreme measures like a year and a half ago (pictured above). With all all of this strenuous and exhausting physical day, my soul is ready for a fresh drink at the well of living water.

I am actually more saddened about it being our last night of Rachel and Leah. I had made connections this time from trusting You in being more open and more honest. It feels like I have done nothing but whine about my health, yet my sisters in Christ are so loving and supportive to call it sharing, and assuring me of their prayers. I can definitely tell You have had so many praying for me… in this study… in the blogging community… among church family… and so many others. Thank You, Lord!

Ellen comes to sit on my left and we begin to fellowship, then Latricia on my right. These have been two of the dear friends You have blessed me with. At one point Keitha brings me my badge! :O In getting the picture for my blogging family, I forgot to put the badge ON! 😉

We begin discussions as we do door prizes and snacks. Keitha lets us know she has exciting news to tells us. Nicki Koziarz (the author of this study) will be visiting Keitha’s church in June! They are all so excited. It is pretty cool at the idea of meeting the person we’ve been watching on the videos. Especially since she was sharing with us in the videos that her mom was in the process of passing while we were studying. By this last night, she had let us know her mom passed. Unfortunately, many of us had gone through the same misfortune, and some are in the process of it still coming to pass.

How timely, that You would have this happen in her life about the same time Rachel would be passing in the material. We’re all left to wonder our own opinions on how Rachel’s passing affected everyone. But we all can come to the same conclusion… life is not always fair. Honestly it’s just a reminder to never expect life to be fair. Instead, we are to be thankful for everything and everyone, and every second we have with them.

Last week our theme was Her Gain Is Not Your Loss and the verse was Romans 12:15
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.”  It seems so odd this week to be focusing on comparison when it feels like it’s also all about loss. You know what You’re doing, Lord. Isn’t that when we most judge and compare?? At funerals??

We also got news on our Nickey from our group who is fighting metastatic breast cancer. It’s not good, not good at all. Yet Nickey is determined to hang on to her faith regardless. Only You know, Lord, what Your plans for her are. It is our job to keep praying and having faith with her.

All of this comes at a time when our family will be reminded of so much loss. So many birthdays of loved ones gone home with You. And Mom and Gran’s birthdays both fall on Easter this year. The 24th will remind us of my granddad being gone. The end of the month will remind is of not having my baby brother anymore. He was 10 months younger than me, but was killed at 37 years old. And we have more than one friend signed into hospice who could pass before Easter does.

It’s amazing how many aspects of our lives are so deeply affected by comparison. It is a battle with our self, and the world we must live in and deal with, trusting our struggles will strengthen us. You strengthen us, even when we don’t feel like it or believe it. You carry us in our weaknesses. You are our strength.

We did the video and our prayer groups. Latricia and Marilyn were so sweet and patient enough to wait for me to return from the restroom to start. That was so touching. We did pray for our requests, and Marilyn even had a praise for her friend Etiska whose tests showed she did not have cancer after all! We kept our own prayer cards.

I then was able to get that Sprig of Joy fundraising can Keitha had mentioned before. (Having to wait for device to charge to get pic for the blog). There were many things I have forgotten or cannot remember well enough to mention… like our snacks… other announcements… and lots of deep discussion on our material.

I will miss the daily prayer and devotion, but I am still working on copying the bible by hand. I just went into 1 Samuel this week.

And, Lord, don’t let me forget about YOUR loss… or so it seemed like. YOUR pain was real in watching Your Son suffer. YOUR circumstances were not trivial. There was a reason. And for Rachel’s sake, for Nikki’s mom’s sake, and my mom, and grandmother, my granddad, my brother, and so many more, I am grateful.

We are grateful You’re agony conquered death. You’re pain conquered comparison. Your identity conquered ours. Your obedience conquered our disobedience. We’re sorry, Jesus. We dismiss or carelessly overlook Your suffering, Father, in watching what was happening to Your Son. How many times have we agonzied in watching our child suffer the loss of their innocence over something they did not do. How it must pain You to see it. May we never forget Your sacrifice.

Lately, I pray over these campers.6.6Help them to raise their funds, and have a blessed time.

 

Question of Identity

On a concrete slab
lies a question of identity.
Your family is called
and asked to come see.
Is that you on the table?
Have you O.D.’ed?
Have you caused the heart
of your family to bleed?
Is that you
there in the morgue?
Have you gone to live
with your Lord?
Only God knows
this very day
if that is you
that has gone away.

4-25-15
Written by Gail Brookshire
Inspiration: loss

Drowning of a Writer

I use to subtitle this Ode to Suicide… actually the original title itself was Ode to Suicide, but I made it a subtitle so no one would worry or try to take it from me. Now, I don’t think it is wise to have such a title because suicide itself is not beautiful.

gaillovesgodspoetry

Bubbles… accelerating to the surface. Pleading for my forgiveness, for my survival, my rescue. “HELP!” I’m crying from within the depth of the ocean. I’m losing my life. My will to fight is being taken from me. The strength of the almighty sea is too much for me. My body grows weak. I’m feeling numb. Every inch of my muscles are aching! Yet… all I can think about is fighting for my life. If only I had a little hero, or maybe a little support. If only I weren’t in so deep, but I’m in way over my head. As I struggle with every breath I have left in my body, I sink further and further, into my burial grounds. My new dwelling place, where my bones shall rot into tiny pieces of exhausted life. Soon, I will have nothing left. No warmth of loving. No tears of enjoyment… no…

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Happy Birthday, Charlie and Grandma Nellie

Happy Birthday, Charlie and Grandma Nellie! The Lord knows how much I love and miss you both! Thank You, Lord, for the assurance that I know they are safe and happy with You on their special day and every day! ❤

Grandma Nellie Mae was my Dad’s mom. We saw her sparingly, but she was nice. My dad didn’t really grow up with her either because he was just 5 when his dad died, and Nellie was suffering from mental illness and could not take care of him and his 14 siblings. So his older brother from the 1st marriage, who was 30 something years older, raised him. He struggled with bitterness toward her for a great while but was still glad to see her. It would not be till years later that we learned Charlie (my baby brother) was born on her birthday! She died while we were kids.

A picture we have of her as a nurse looks so much like her daughter Beulah (our aunt) that sometimes there is a playful debate over whether it’s actually Nellie or Beulah.


Charlie was my baby brother. Yes I said was. We were 10 months apart. My mom literally had him 46 days before my first birthday. He was my 1st birthday present. 😉
Below is a picture on the left when he was just 3 years old at the state fair that used to come to our local Speedway but now comes to the Agriculture Center.
In the picture on the right I was barely 12 so Charlie is 11. He’s standing on the car getting ready to lunge and hug my mom. Nathan has a hold of his leg because they wrestled all the time. We had just moved to Hickory.

Below in the left picture Charlie is in the middle of cutting up with his friends. Charlie was blessed with a multitude of friends, a handful of close guy friends, but Homey (in blue) was Charlie’s best friend.
The picture below on the right shows where he loved to be… on a roof! He was a roofer like dad. He could carry 3 bundles of shingles up a roof, but it made my dad so uncomfortable. He preferred he only carry 2… lol. (So you know, most roofers struggle to carry 1 bundle.) Charlie was very strong, yet had a very tender heart.

He also had a dream to be in law enforcement. When he met his wife, she encouraged him to follow his dreams. They were divorced after his BLET (Basic Law Enforcement Training) graduation, but before he became a deputy. Here are a couple of pictures the day he got his uniform and handcuffs. He was so excited that he wanted to show off the uniform and use the handcuffs… which he did on my son Anthoni.

Charlie’s birthday is the hardest for me to mention because his loss has been the hardest for me. In 2007, my mom’s sister had died and we were at her viewing when they took us into a backroom of the funeral home to let us know that Charlie was shot and killed in my mom’s home. He was 37. It is so hard that I am writing this the day after his birthday. 30713429_10215427963030520_2759935727145344905_n (1)Sometimes it is too hard for me to talk about people I love and miss on their special days until afterwards, or not at all. It’s so personal, and I am horrible with dealing with my emotions. I have been even more shut off since Charlie’s death. Writing poetry is where I can do that because poetry allows for symbolic and vague meanings, yet allows a writer to express what they want to reluctantly say behind safe words. I learned to do that with writing at a very young age.
I miss Charlie so much it hurts more than I can say. It literally takes my breath if I think too much on it. It was such a cruel and senseless death. But as I leave you with more pictures of his smile and personality, I leave you with the same words that Christ left me.

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
– 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 KJV

My baby brother is in a much better place. I would never be so cruel as to bring him back to this cold and vile world just so I could hug him but then make him have to suffer the troubles of this world, know sickness and pain again, heartache, and to worry about him every time I hear of terrorism, airplane crashes, train derailments, or the rampant deaths from flu, and the never ending growing list of friends and family dying slow painful deaths of cancer and so many other illnesses that suck the life out of people.

And if there is anyone who understands the pain of my loss but the joy of Charlie’s gain it is my Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus not only felt the loss of his dear friend Lazarus who was resurrected, but Jesus also had a dearly beloved cousin who was needlessly murdered as a party favor for a seductress, because of the influence of a heartless woman, and because of a coward who could not control his lust, and was more concerned about being a laughing stock by those who witnessed pride get the better of a weak man. John the Baptist was decapitated and had his head served on a platter during a birthday party. No one paid for his crime… YET!
Christ will have his day of justice. And so will my brother. For now, John and Charlie, and even Jesus, are now at home with our heavenly Father. No one will ever harm them again! Nor make jokes of their deaths! And because Christ STILL chose to die for us regardless of His own grief and pain, I can pray for my enemies as well. That’s just ONE more of the tender acts of mercy and grace Jesus did because of how much He loves you and me!

PRAISE GOD FOR A SAVIOR WHO LOVES…
MORE THAN WE CAN EVER UNDERSTAND! ❤
THAT IS A BIRTHDAY PRESENT WORTH CELEBRATING!