escape, Uncategorized

The Armstrong Saga Continues

So the Armstrong saga continues. Today I sit here in our recliner, right leg propped up and iced down while watching Alabama beat Ole Miss. Yes, I am recovering from partial knee replacement…..and just so you know, it’s no joke. I had unrealistic expectations of walking unassisted and already returning to my regular routine. No. The bandage is off, I can see the approximate four inch incision with pieces of tape on each end mocking me. The knee is still pretty stiff and I haven’t achieved a 90 degree knee bend yet. My right hip is complaining, so while I ice down the knee, I heating pad the hip😳😭.

I have discovered a few things about myself: I am not a patient patient. Not necessarily with others, but with my own progress. I really expected to be moving more freely at this point (9 days in). I do not handle pain meds very well. I tend to get weepy and depressed. Not a good combo with my lack of patience with myself. And I have an amazing family who takes care of me and puts up with my issues (I hope), and great friends who sacrifice in their own lives to help us out! Shout out to Keith Bradley and his mad a/c skills and servant heart. And a special shout out to my dear friend of 37 years, Dottie Hartley, who stayed with me the night before surgery and got up at 3:45am to get ready to get me to surgery by 5:00am because Lynn was already in Springhill taking chemo. Speaking of Lynn, I love this man. Even though he’s in the first week after chemo, he’s been taking care of me, amazing. I do so much better when he’s babying me and holding my hand.Our lives are crazy, but the love of our family and friends is stronger!! I’ve said this repeatedly over the last few months, and I still shout it loudly, God is sovereign, God is faithful and He will walk us through this season.


I Cried Yesterday…..

I cried yesterday. If you know me, you know I don’t do that a lot. It came out of nowhere. Completely unexpected. I have fought back the tears for a month….trying to be positive, encouraging and strong. Strong for Lynn, strong for my girls and strong for me. One word from my friend, which I can’t even recall what that word was right now, and the tears welled up and spilled down my cheeks. She quickly closed the door to her office and pulled a chair up next to me and took my hand in hers. She let me cry and try to get out the words that I had been pushing back for some time. She listened and held my hand tightly in hers, then gently rubbing it between her hands, it was comforting and personal and needed. Then she began to softly speak truth to me. I felt the flood of emotion begin to relax and recede. I felt my spirit fill with peace and my heart stopped aching. I knew everything she said was truth and was whispered to me in love. I felt myself breathing normally and I knew I was going to be okay. I trust God, but that doesn’t mean I won’t have to deal with fear. I don’t have to be strong all the time. I believe in His sovereignty and I know that He walks with us through whatever is part of His plan for our lives. We are not alone. We might not “see” Him, but He is with us in the hug of a friend, He is in the sweet whispers of encouragement, He is in the contagious laughter of my girls when they are together, He is in the warm meal brought to my door, He is in the beautiful sunset that takes away your breath, He is in the smile of my precious man-cub, He is in the quiet as I sit with my sweet husband finally sleeping quietly in His recliner, He is in the kindness of a friend riding by to see if our grass needs cutting, He is in the warm laughter of dear friends as we share breakfast, He is in the words of a song at the right moment, He is in the profound words of Psalm 46 as it reminds me that He has already won the battle and He is with me.

friends, Life, People

Two Days Two Friends….

Last week I took some much needed time off from work, just two days, but they were two wonderful days spent with two sweet friends. The first day was spent with my friend who was in town from North Carolina. She moved away eight years ago, but we have continued to keep in touch. We’ve attended the weddings of each of our oldest children, and she has entered a new phase of life with the birth of two grandchildren over the last three years. We enjoyed a private viewing of a movie we both wanted to see (private viewing = no one else in the theatre!) and lunch at a fru-fru place (as my husband refers to places that serve soup and special sandwiches and play mood music while you eat), but the best part was hanging out at my house with our feet up, Starbucks in hand and hours of catching up. We talked of what the Lord has been and is doing in our lives. We shared hopes and dreams for our children and for ourselves. It was such a nice relaxing day.

My second day away from my desk was spent with my dearest friend of thirty-two and a half years. It’s even hard for me to say that number, because it seems like only yesterday that we were young women spending every opportunity at the beach. That second day was a throwback to the early years of our friendship as we loaded up two beach chairs and set off to our beautiful Gulf Coast. However this time, we included an umbrella and nixed the bathing suits. This beach trip was all about soaking up the sound of waves pounding on white sand, seagulls heckling the beach lovers in hopes of a morsel of food and just relaxing. I guess as you get older, you learn to enjoy life differently. I no longer care that much about achieving a beautiful tan, but am more interested in letting the atmosphere revive my weary soul.

The day was heavenly….well except for the moment of car sickness my sweet friend experienced. A quick pull over and a wet rag helped relieve this affliction that has annoyed her for as long as I can remember. I laughed, not at her, mind you, but thinking of the times thirty years ago when we had to do the same thing on our way to the beach! We sat on the beach in our rolled up jeans and t-shirts under our umbrella, toes in the sand, bottled water and snacks in hand for two hours. We talked about life and children and life and memories and dreams and world peace. It was a windy and cloudy day with the threat of rain looming in the distance. I am sure the other people on the beach around us wondered about the two ladies under the umbrella in rolled up jeans…. It was such a great day. The kind of day that needs to happen more often. We are aging and time is slipping by.

Today she sent me the sweetest email, reminding me of why I treasure her friendship. I could almost see her at her desk with tears streaming down her face (she is the mushy one) as she read the devotional about The Miracle of Friendship. It was a devotional written for the two of us. Not really. It was written for every treasured friendship that we all share. Friendship is a gift from God. A chance to share an intimate relationship with someone who will walk with you through the hard times of life, hold your hand and cry with you over difficult circumstances, the loss of your mother, or just life in general.

In 2 Samuel 1:26b, David says of Jonathan, ” … Your friendship was a miracle-wonder, love far exceeding anything I’ve known — or ever hope to know,” (MSG).

David valued friendship.  Especially the friendship with Jonathan.  His forever friend who had his back no matter what.    These two friends I spent two days with are those kind of friendships.  One friendship has stood the test of a life time and will be strong till the end.  The other is a long distance friendship now, but we both know that we are prayer warriors that will go to their knees in battle if needed.

Friendships cemented with the common bond of a faith in the one true living God, is definitely a miracle-wonder, with love that far exceeds anything this side of heaven that we have known, or ever hope to know.


If you say it out loud…..

A very long time ago…I had a friend who told me “If you say it out loud, it will happen.”  I don’t know if that is true or not.  I’ve been known to say “Speak it into being…”  And I don’t know if that is possible either.  But I’m hoping, if I say what has me all anxious and excited, that these two thoughts could be true and it would become reality.  But here goes….my friend, Summer, who I have known for 22 1/2 years but have never met face to face, have decided to write a book about our friendship.  The circumstances put in place by God to even initiate our friendship are unique.  I have followed her via snail mail, email and now texting over three continents.  We have laughed together, cried together, rescued each other and encouraged each other through having babies, overcoming marriage struggles, lifting each other up in prayer and supporting each other through whatever life event overwhelms us.  We have raised 5 girls between us and understand the ache we each have to see these girls God has put in our care to become amazing women of God passionate about changing the world.  Yes, we are kindred spirits.  We somehow always know exactly the right moment to write a note, send a card, or make a phone call to the other.  We each have some sense of when the other is at a low point and needs to be lifted up.  We do not judge.  We only love and encourage.  And we have never stood in each other’s presence and hugged and cried at the miracle God gave each of us in this friendship nearly 23 years ago.  I hope the journey we share in this book will give those who think God isn’t listening a new hope and faith knowing that He is always listening.