Friday, January 3, 2014

Dear Friends,

It’s been a really long time since I’ve sent out an email to all of you.  I have so much to talk with you about so just put your feet up.

The last long email I sent was in November 2012….over a year ago.  I didn’t realize it had been that long until a friend reminded me of it this week.  That email was entitled “Change” and I could easily have chosen that same title for this one.  So I just thought I would bring you up to date with my world.

In looking back over my 2012 email, I realized I left out one of the very special things which happened that year.  My son, Ray moved back to North Carolina after having lived in Alaska for 5  years.  I hadn’t seen him since 2009 when he came home for his Dad’s funeral.  He arrived in Charlotte in July and moved in with TJ and Amy until he could get on his feet.  Due to a lot of things going on at the time, I didn’t get to see him until I went to TJ’s for Thanksgiving.  Needless to say, it was one of my best Thanksgivings ever!!

I started working for my new boss in December 2012 and worked 3 days a week – usually Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  Those were pretty good days to work since it gave me a long weekend every week!  I really liked working with Rob.  He was very different from Melvin….he came in every day at 9:00.  It took some getting used to having a boss in the office all day.  But I got along fine with him.  He’s a very smart man, very laid-back, friendly and easy to work with.  He taught me a lot about computer bookkeeping and I really struggled with some of it.  I was used to doing bookkeeping the old fashioned way– handwritten, double entry books.  I really still prefer to use those but I adjusted.  I’m pretty sure he felt like throwing me out the door often, but he’d just shake his head and explain it one more time.  The original plan was for me to just work through tax time, but Rob decided to keep me on.  This was great for me.  I really couldn’t afford to totally retire and if I had to work I would rather keep on doing the same kind of work.  I also had the opportunity to work with his wife, MaryBeth, at her business at the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island.  She operated a sandwich shop.  It was hard work…really hard work.  When you’re used to sitting behind a desk all day and then have to stand on your feet all day….it’s hard.  And I also made the mistake of wearing shoes like I wear to work…not tennis shoes.  I really paid for that mistake….my feet and legs were killing me by the time I got home.  I think I worked for her 7 different times and one Saturday, I had the shop by myself.  I could handle everything except the ice cream machine.  It was soft-serve and I was supposed to kinda swirl it in the cone….I never mastered it.  I gave everyone their money’s worth of ice cream but they sure weren’t pretty cones.

The owner of my lot in Manns Harbor, Dick Mann, passed away this year and I was very anxious over what would happen….would I have to more….would my lot rent increase so that it would be a hard-ship for me…..etc.  When everything was settled, my property went to the daughter who lived away from Dare County…out near Raleigh I think.  I was told she definitely would not want a ‘mobile home’ on the lot.  I anxiously waited and waited to hear from her.  Finally, she called me and she was so nice (something I had also been told not to expect).  We had a long talk about the property.  She did not ask me to leave and she did not raise my rent.  Thank you Lord.  I still haven’t had the chance to meet her, but she was certainly kind and gracious to me.

I continued to work at my church – a job I really loved to do. I mentioned in my 2011 email how I wish I could open doors so my present pastor, Charles and his wife Candi could stay in Dare County.  Well, that didn’t happen and they made the decision in September to leave the church.  It really broke my heart cause in addition to being my Pastor and his wife, they were my friends and Candi was like my younger sister.  I missed them so much.  I know they were doing what they thought was the best thing and I guess ultimately I guess it was. We stay in touch and visit as often as we can.   Steve Vohs filled in as interim pastor the later part of 2012 while we  were looking for a new Pastor.  In December 2012, our prayers were answered.  Scott Baxley and his family answered the call; moved to Dare County in January into a rental home they could stay in through February. He knew he had to have a secular job in order to supplement the income from the church but no doors had been opened in the job field.  This was a family of 8 so they definitely took a step of faith by coming to Dare County.  They have been such a blessing to us.  And I guess the greatest blessing was for me.  Their oldest daughter, Caitlyn, plays the piano…something I’ve prayed about for many years.  And, she plays beautifully…it’s like the music just runs out of her fingertips.  God is still blessing RIBC.

I guess the biggest change happened in July.  I seriously began talking about leaving Dare County.  It was a hard decision for me; quite bittersweet.  I knew I could  not afford to live in Dare County…it was getting harder and harder all the time.  My home was getting in pretty bad shape; quite frankly I didn’t know if it would survive another hurricane season.  I really wanted to be closer to my boys.  In July, my computer crashed and I thought I had lost everything on it.  I was devastated. So in early August I made a trip to Albemarle for 2 reasons….get TJ to PLEASE fix my computer and to look for a home.   Thankfully he was able to reinstall everything but 8 files – which we think were pictures.  While TJ was working on my computer, I decided to ride around and look for some rental places.  I seriously think I was driving him crazy.  I found several things and made note of addresses and contact numbers.  The next day we picked Hannah up from school and drove to a  rental facility where the rent is based on your income.  I have drawn a total blank what that place is called (maybe I really do need to be there).  Anyway, we drove around it; it was very nice but I kept feeling sadder and sadder.  TJ was talking to the woman on the phone about the rental, what was included, etc.  After he hung up he looked at me and said “Mom, I’m not ready for you to live here”.  Thank you Lord.  I wasn’t ready to live there either.  It was nice but everyone I saw was either in a wheelchair or using a walker.  And I ain’t there yet!!  Later that same day I found a home.  Or rather a friend of ours found it for me.  She was coming back from Concord and decided to take a different way home that day.  The rental sign had just been put out and it said “Senior Home for Rent”.  Here we go again.  But Paige gave us the information and I came by the next day to check it out.  I fell in love with it right away.  It is a small house on the property of the owner – I guess you could call it a garage apartment. She wanted to rent to an older person and I absolutely fit that category.  It’s just the right size for me.  TJ came back the next day and looked at it and he fell in love with it too.  It’s about 3 minutes from downtown and the malls and about 7 minutes from his house. On August 15, I signed the lease and went home to begin the process of moving. 

Now came the hard, really hard job, of telling my family, friends and work clients that I was moving.  I was so touched by how many of my clients came by the office to say goodbye to me and tell me how much they were going to miss me.  It was such a nice feeling to know how many of my clients had turned into friends.  Telling my sisters was hard.  They are 10 and 15 years older than me and both have health problems.  To make it even harder, my oldest sister’s husband had passed away in July and my other sister was facing some pretty serious medical situations.  But, both of them were very understanding.  Now came the hardest part….leaving my church.  I truly believe that is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.  They gave me a wonderful going away party my last week there.  There were tears and smiles.  There was sadness and happiness.  I miss my church family…a lot.

On September 13 (which happened to be a Friday) Ray and some friends and I started loading up the U-Haul.  We finished up on Saturday and headed out.  We arrived at Albemarle the middle of the afternoon and I’ve never been sorry.  Well,  there were a few days I second-guessed myself.  And I think that was because TJ had to leave to go to Michigan the day after I moved and was gone for 2 weeks.  Ray lived a little over 2 hours from me so it wasn’t like I could see him every day.  But things leveled out.  I live in a really safe neighborhood, mostly people my age and older.  Haley and I are able to walk a lot.  The hardest thing about that is some of it is always uphill.  Some days I don’t know who is panting the hardest but at least my tongue isn’t dragging on the ground. 

In October I started working for Rob again remotely.  Now I really love that kind of work.  I can work in my pajamas…can’t get much nicer than that.  We’ve talked about my going back to Manteo during tax time and working for a couple of weeks at the time but we haven’t finalized anything yet.  I really enjoy working remotely and wish we could just keep doing it that way.  I am looking into doing some volunteer work for the Humane Society – just to get out of the house a few days now and then.  I am willing to work any day but Thursday – that is the day the animals, which need to be, are put down.  I don’t want to be there for that. I often go over to TJ’s if he is working on something in his shop I can help with.  We did refinish a buffet his dad and I got many years ago.  It had not been taken very good care of but with a lot of elbow grease, it looks like new.  I have it here in my house. 

I have a lot of time on my hands.  I’ve done more crocheting since September than I have in the last 3 years.  I take lots of pictures and spend a lot of time on the computer.  I organize my office space and reorganize it just about every week or so.  But, I’m happy.  Ray has moved a little closer to me – about an hour away.  Things are going well for him and TJ and Amy. 

The only thing I am lacking is a church and I believe I have found one.  I’ve been visiting Sweet Home Baptist Church since early October.  It’s reminds me very much of RIBC.  The Pastor is preaching out of the right Bible and preaching the right things.  They have beautiful music – 5 piano players and so many talented singers.  The services are always a blessing.  I feel right at  home there.  So, I guess this Sunday, January 5, I will take the first step to joining with them.  Please pray for me about this.  I want to be able to serve my Lord. 

And now, I guess I’m down to what I would like to see happen in this coming year.  I believe there are so many things wrong with this world and the only thing which will fix it is God.  More and more this country is going ‘to hell in a hand basket’.  So many things which used to be kept somewhat private are now totally in the open and it breaks my heart.  Killings, diseases, wars, financial disasters…..on and on.  And the only thing I know to do is pray.  2 Chronicles 7:14 is the answer but so many people just don’t see it.

So, my friends, I guess I will bring this long email to a close.  I hope I can stay in contact with everyone better than I have been.  I miss hearing from some of you and hope we can strengthen the cyberspace contact.  I hope all of you have an absolutely awesome (had to do it Marie) 2014.  I hope it is filled with lots of good things and an abundance of God’s blessings.

Till next time,
Brenda


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Change

It's Wednesday, November 14, 2012.  I just woke up from a much needed nap and now I am wide awake. Of course I would be wide awake...it's almost bedtime.  This has been a stressful day.  I had a phone conversation with a good friend, which ended in an argument.  My headache kicked in shortly after that and I still have it.  There are a lot of things on my mind tonight and I think I will share some of them with you, my friends.

I don't like change.  I realize some changes are good and can, in the end, be a blessing.  Some are not so great.  In the last couple of months, I've thought a lot about some of the changes in my life.  In April 1966 I had to deal with a change which rocked my world.  My Daddy died...I was only 17.  I never, ever expected to loose my Daddy so early in my life.  I couldn't get along with my Mama and we made each other miserable.  But we both got beyond that hard time in our lives.

Other changes came along; graduation, marriage, divorce, moving to the Outer Banks, marriage (again), children. In 1994 within three months of each other my Mama died and TJ and Ray lost their Granddaddy Jordan .  We all struggled with those changes in our lives. Then I was blessed with a granddaughter and a few years later a grandson.

TJ moved away from home to Greenville.  Boy, I really missed him.  Ray and I continued to live together until he moved to Alaska in 2008. My baby...all those many miles away from me. Then I was home by myself.

I've never minded living by myself. I have a full life.  I love to do a lot of things and quite truthfully, I hardly ever get lonesome.  I love working for and at my Church; something I never really had the time to do until a couple of years ago.

Now, I am getting ready to experience maybe one of the biggest changes in my life.  This change might be difficult for me, considering I am 64 years old. I have worked for someone, other than my parents, since I was 16. In that time I have had four full time employers and two part-time employers.  I had the two part-time jobs while I was working for my present employer.  I have worked for Melvin since 1974 - 38 years and 10 months.  I love my job and consider myself to be truly blessed in that respect.  I look forward to going to work on Monday morning, even during tax time.  This particular change has been in the works for a few months but for several reasons, I wasn't able to share it with everyone.  Effective December 1, I will have a new boss!! Melvin has sold his business. We officially notified all our clients today.  I've met the new owner and his wife and really like both of them.  I will be working part-time through next tax season, probably until the end of April and maybe some more after that.   I've never had a part-time as my main employment.  I'm not sure how it will work out.  I am so used to getting up and going to work.  One more change is taking place in January....I will be drawing Social Security.  I'm not sure how I feel about that either.  Just thinking about it makes me feel old...er.

Melvin is not a hands-on or look-over-your-shoulder employer.  Most days he doesn't come in until late in the afternoon and some days not at all. As long as my work is done I can pretty much do what I want to just as long as I am in the office.  I watch movies, play games on the computer, read and sometimes even crochet.  I've always considered being able to do those things one of the perks of my job.  I can  take days off pretty much when I want to.  I don't know how things are going to be with Rob.  I don't know if he is going to be an employer who expects me to be busy all the time.  If so, that will be hard.  Sometimes I really don't have anything to do. I'll just have to wait and see.

I am ready to step-out on this new pathway in my life.  I've always loved a challenge and I plan to do the very best I can do to make this change in my life a good one.

I said earlier I don't like change but there is one change I am really looking forward to.  I really hope I can totally quit work sometime in 2013 and move out closer to my boys.  I am still relatively healthy and want to be closer to them while I am still able to do things with and for them.  That will be a great change.




Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011

Hey friends and family,

I just woke up from a nap I was trying so hard not to take.  I only slept for an hour so maybe it won’t disrupt my night’s sleep too much.   I had already decided I was going to sleep either on the couch or in my recliner.  Lately, my back has been really bothering me when I sleep in the bed.  It’s either a sign of old age or I need a new mattress.  Oh, well.

I had a good day today; met some friends for breakfast at TL’s, then we worked at the Church most of the day “un-decorating” it; went to the grocery store and then came home and cooked a ham and made a pot of vegetable soup. Nice day, all in all.  I doubt very seriously I will see the end of 2011 tonight.  It isn’t as important as it used to be to sit up and see the ball drop or whatever else happens at midnight.

I remember some of the New Year’s parties of the past.  Thankfully, I never was a drinking person, but I did attend some good parties.  I remember one in particular – 12/31/68.  My mother-in-law made me a beautiful red dress trimmed in gold braid and my husband and I went to a formal Jaycee party.  We had such a good time that night; probably one of the best times we had together.  I remember some not quite so fondly but I guess all of them led me to where I am tonight.

I think back over 2011.  It was a strange year in a lot of ways.  There were a lot of natural disasters – earthquakes, floods, hurricanes.  We even had an earthquake that was felt over most of the eastern seaboard…I missed it.  I never felt a thing.  Hurricane Irene struck North Carolina the last weekend in August and some parts of Dare County will never be the same.  A new inlet was opened on the Southern beaches and as a result a new bridge had to be built…maybe a temporary thing….maybe not.  Several families have left that portion of the beach with no intention of returning.  Family businesses which have been in business for more years than I have been on this wonderful earth will never reopen again.  Stumpy Point village was forever changed but I really have to applaud that little village and its inhabitants.  They have persevered and seem to be rebuilding their lives and getting back to normal.  Or what passes for normal after such devastation.  My niece and her husband watched the water rise in Windsor and came so close to losing their livelihood for the second time due to water  Thankfully I came through the storm pretty much unscathed.  My home suffered only minor damage and I am truly thankful for that.  The water was higher in Manteo than ever recorded before.  When I saw some of the pictures on the computer while I was staying at my sister’s, I could not believe how high it was.  It was almost two feet high in my office.  My office building is probably one of the oldest buildings in Manteo and has its own unique charm.  Now-post Irene-it’s just a sad little building.  It would only take a little work and a little money to repair it, but my boss doesn’t seem to be interested.  I got it as clean as I could but quite frankly, I am ashamed of it.  I just deal with it – probably won’t have too many more years there anyway.

One of my nieces and her husband celebrated their 25th. wedding anniversary with a surprise party.  Not many marriages make it to 25 years anymore.  Congratulations Gail and Jeff.  A couple in my Church celebrated their 60th. wedding anniversary.  That was a milestone absolutely worth celebrating-congratulations Stafford and Jean. New babies were born, some special friends passed away and the world just kept on spinning.  Just a few weeks ago, my first grade school teacher, Mrs. Bertha Barnacasle passed away – she was 104 years old and until just a month or so before she died, she lived by herself and was pretty much self-sustaining.  I would love to be so blessed.

I still have special friends fighting for the good ole USA overseas  and I would love to see them come home for good – Melissa Sizer and Clayton Holliday.  Clayton, an Army Ranger,  was able to come home this summer for a few weeks for the birth of his second child.  He has a wonderful wife and two beautiful boys.  Melissa is a medic, taking care of our soldiers.  I’ve never met her; she is Ray’s special friend.  She has a son also and I know he misses her very much.  I’m ready for all our troops to come home.  They’ve been in the Middle East long enough…way longer than they should have been…and it’s time to get them home.

I read a post on Facebook a little while ago written by a young womanI refuse to complain about how "awful" 2011 was......yes, it had its hard times, BUT: God blessed me with a wonderful job, I got to see my beautiful daughter's first birthday, and I got to watch God's healing power as he took all the cancer out of my dad's body---and allowed him to walk me down the aisle. 2011 was another year of blessings.  Her comments really put a lot of things in the proper prospective.  I had some health problems in 2011, but none of them were very serious.  Some of them were a little scary when they happened but God saw me through all of them. Thankfully I think I am finally on top of the vertigo that has troubled me for many years.  I’m still fighting the spider bites I got while cleaning up the office after Irene.  So I still have sporadic times of frenzied itching. 

One of the highlights of this year was the homecoming of the Dickens family.  Joel and Cynthia along with their children, Morgan, Aydan, Daniella and Abigail, are missionaries in Brazil.  They arrived in Brazil  in April 2005.  Their daughter, Abigail, was born over there in 2006.  I was blessed to visit them in May 2006.  Having them home has been great.  They’ve been able to stay with me several times while visiting Churches to share their experiences in the mission field and to raise more support.  I can only imagine how thrilled Cynthia’s parents were to see them when they came through the airport.  You see, they had not seen them since they left – almost 6 six years ago.  They had never seen their granddaughter, Abigail, except in pictures or when talking to her on the computer.  I know their hearts must have been so full of love and happiness.  They will be leaving in July to head back home ‘cause now Brazil is their home.  They love their people there and even though they are enjoying their time here in the states with their families and friends…they miss their people.

I wonder what 2012 has in store for me.  I pray God will still bless with me with good health.  I pray the economy will turn around and people will be able to turn their financial lives around.  I would like to be able to see Ray again.  It’s been 3 ½ years since I’ve seen him and I miss him a lot.  He seems to be doing well and I think he still likes living in Alaska.  I know he gets homesick and I think he will move somewhere in the lower states when Melissa returns from her tour of duty.  I’ve prayed for God to send someone to Ray who will love him and want to spend her life with him and I think Melissa may be the one.  TJ and his family are doing well.  His teenage daughter, Hannah, went to live with them in August.  I know her Mom and family, here in Manteo, miss her a lot but I am really glad TJ is having the opportunity to be a full-time Dad.  He loves Hannah a lot and really enjoys having her live with them.  There have been a few trials, as there are in all families, but this is a special time for TJ.

I wish I could just snap my fingers and heal some of my friends and family.  Both my sisters are struggling with health problems now; both in pain and I wish I could make it better for them.  I have a friend, Jerry, who has been dealing with chronic pain for a long while and I wish I could just speak it away. Joyce, a special friend of mine, also has chronic pain.  She is in her 80’s and to make matters worse, when we were trying to evacuate during Irene, she took a tumble and broke 10 ribs.  Not such an easy thing for anybody, but especially someone 80+.  I have several friends who are struggling financially and I wish I had the money to take away those cares.  I wish I could provide a home for my Pastor and his wife and open an employment door for her so they could be with us all the time.  I wish I could take away world hunger and famine.  I wish I could end all the wars and the world be peaceful…no one getting killed or maimed.  I wish I could discover a cure for cancer, so one of my friends, Tim, wouldn’t have to worry if his was coming back. I wish I could stop child abuse and find happy, healthy homes for all the children who don’t have one.   I wish I could stop the bullying that goes on, especially among teenagers.  I wish I could impress upon young teenage girls to not get pregnant, since some of them make this a choice.  I wish I could close all the nursing homes and put those “old people” in loving homes.  I wish…….a lot of things.  But we all know, I can’t do anything about any of the things I’ve mentioned.  I can only pray about it and trust God to take care of it.  

So, my friends, 2011 is almost at an end.  I hope 2012 brings all of you special blessings.   I pray it will be your best year ever.  May it be filled with love, peace, joy and an abundance of God’s blessings.  May we all find the time to slow down and enjoy all the wonderful blessings God puts in our way every day. Some of you I’ve never met, yet I feel like I know you.  I have shared laughs and tears, joy and sorrow all through the modern technology of the wonderful world of cyberspace.  I’ve rekindled old friendships and made new ones.  I’ve shared some of my deepest thoughts and then, sometimes, some of my silliest.  And so far, I haven’t lost a friend.  I love all of you wonderful people.

Happy New Year from my house to yours.  God bless you.

Brenda
boutlaw@carolinaregion.com


Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Different Christmas Poem

The embers glowed softly and in their dim light I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight. My wife was asleep, her head on my chest; my daughter beside me, angelic in rest. Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white, transforming the yard to a winter delight. The sparkling lights in the tree, I believe, completed the magic that was Christmas Eve. My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep, secure and surrounded by love I would sleep in perfect contentment, or so it would seem. So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud and it wasn't too near. But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear. Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know, then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow. My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear and I crept to the door just to see who was near. Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night, a lone figure stood - his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled some twenty years old. Perhaps a Marine, huddled there in the cold. Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled, standing watch over me and my wife and my child. "What are you doing?" I asked without fear. "Come in this moment, it's freezing out here! Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve. You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve."

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts...to the window that danced with a warm fire's light. Then he sighed and he said, "It's really all right. I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."

"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line that separates you from the darkest of times. No one had to ask or beg or implore me. I'm proud to stand here like my father's before me. My Gramps died at Pearl on a day in December." Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas Gram always remembers. My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam and now it is my turn and so, here I am. I've not seen my own son in more than a while. But my wife sends me pictures; he's sure got her smile."

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag the red, white and blue...an American flag. "I can live through the cold and the being alone, away from my family, my house and my home. I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet. I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat. I can carry the weight of killing another or lay down my life with my sister and brother who stand at the front against any and all to ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."

"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright. Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do..at the least give you money" I asked, "or prepare you a feast? It seems all too little for all that you've done for being away from your wife and your son." Then his eyes welled a tear that held no regret..."Just tell us you love us and never forget to fight for our rights back at home while we're gone; to stand your own watch, no matter how long. For when we come home, either standing or dead, to know you remember we fought and we bled is payment enough and with that we will trust that we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

At this time of year...really all year long...we need to remember our US service men and women and our Police officers and Firefighters who lay their lives on the line for us every single day. Remember their families who also sacrifice.
Remember their families who also sacrifice.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

FW: Fw: Christmas shopping?

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high
gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods --
merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This
year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine
concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift
giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes
there is!

It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in
a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?
Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates
from your local American hair salon or barber?

Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some
health improvement.

Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned
detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a
book of gift certificates.

Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plunking down
the Benjamin's on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift
receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or
driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.

There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift
certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about
a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this
isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting your home town
Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.

How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or
motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?

Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a
local cleaning lady for a day.

My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is
struggling to get his repair business up and running.

OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin
their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery
and beautiful wooden boxes.

Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave
your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at
your hometown theatre.

Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese
lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about
fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to
burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.

You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that
China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about
US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow
their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our
communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine.
THIS is the new American Christmas tradition.
Forward this to everyone on your mailing list -- post it to discussion
groups -- throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section in
your city -- send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations,
and TV news departments. This is a revolution of caring about each other,
and isn't that what Christmas is about?





 

FW: SOON TO BE GONE


SOON TO BE GONE
By Capt. Steven Ellison, MD
A MILITARY DOCTOR


This should be required reading in every school and college in our country.
This Captain, an Army doctor, deserves a medal himself for putting this together. If you choose not to pass it on, fine, but I think you will want to, after you read it.






I am a doctor specializing in the Emergency Departments of the only two military Level One-Trauma Centers, both in San Antonio , TX and they care for civilian Emergencies as well as military personnel.
San Antonio has the largest military retiree population in the world living here. As a military doctor, I work long hours and the pay is less than glamorous. One tends to become jaded by the long hours, lack of sleep, food, family contact and the endless parade of human suffering passing before you. The arrival of another ambulance does not mean more pay, only more work. Most often, it is a victim from a motor vehicle crash.



Often it is a person of dubious character who has been shot or stabbed. With our large military retiree population, it is often a nursing home patient. Even with my enlisted service and minimal combat experience in Panama , I have caught myself groaning when the ambulance brought in yet another sick, elderly person from one of the local retirement centers that cater to military retirees. I had not stopped to think of what citizens of this age group represented.




I saw 'Saving Private Ryan.'
I was touched deeply. Not so much by the carnage, but by the sacrifices of so many. I was touched most by the scene of the elderly survivor at the graveside, asking his wife if he'd been a good man. I realized that I had seen these same men and women coming through my Emergency Dept.. and had not realized what magnificent sacrifices they had made. The things they did for me and everyone else that has lived on this planet since the end of that conflict are priceless.



Situation permitting, I now try to ask my patients about their experiences. They would never bring up the subject without the inquiry. I have been privileged to an amazing array of experiences, recounted in the brief minutes allowed in an Emergency Dept encounter. These experiences have revealed the incredible individuals I have had the honor of serving in a medical capacity, many on their last admission to the hospital.




There was a frail, elderly woman who reassured my young enlisted medic, trying to start an IV line in her arm.
She remained calm and poised, despite her illness and the multiple needle-sticks into her fragile veins. She was what we call a 'hard stick.' As the medic made another attempt, I noticed a number tattooed across her forearm. I touched it with one finger and looked into her eyes. She simply said, ' Auschwitz .' Many of later generations would have loudly and openly berated the young medic in his many attempts. How different was the response from this person who had seen unspeakable suffering.




Also, there was this long retired Colonel, who as a young officer had parachuted from his burning plane over a Pacific Island held by the Japanese.
Now an octogenarian, he had a minor cut on his head from a fall at his home where he lived alone. His CT scan and suturing had been delayed until after midnight by the usual parade of high priority ambulance patients. Still spry for his age, he asked to use the phone to call a taxi, to take him home, then he realized his ambulance had brought him without his wallet. He asked if he could use the phone to make a long distance call to his daughter who lived 7 miles away. With great pride we told him that he could not, as he'd done enough for his country and the least we could do was get him a taxi home, even if we had to pay for it ourselves. My only regret was that my shift wouldn't end for several hours, and I couldn't drive him myself.




I was there the night M/Sgt Roy Benavidez came through the Emergency Dept. for the last time.
He was very sick. I was not the doctor taking care of him, but I walked to his bedside and took his hand. I said nothing. He was so sick; he didn't know I was there. I had read his Congressional Medal of Honor citation and wanted to shake his hand. He died a few days later.



The gentleman who served with Merrill's Marauders,



the survivor of the Bataan Death March,


the survivor of Omaha Beach ,



the 101 year old World War I veteran.


The former POW held in frozen North Korea


The former Special Forces medic - now with non-operable liver cancer


the former Viet Nam Corps Commander..


I may still groan when yet another ambulance comes in, but now I am much more aware of what an honor it is to serve these particular men and women.


I have seen a Congress who would turn their back on these individuals who've sacrificed so much to protect our liberty. I see later generations that seem to be totally engrossed in abusing these same liberties, won with such sacrifice



It has become my personal endeavor to make the nurses and young enlisted medics aware of these amazing individuals when I encounter them in our Emergency Dept. Their response to these particular citizens has made me think that perhaps all is not lost in the next generation.



My experiences have solidified my belief that we are losing an incredible generation, and this nation knows not what it is losing. We should all remember that we must 'Earn this.'




Written By CAPT. Stephen R. Ellison, M.D. US Army
My own personal note: If it were not for these faithful, loyal, strong persons, there would not be a United States of America.
I ask that you pray for these aging and dying service members. I also think every American citizen
should read this. So, if you agree, send it on.




Friday, November 4, 2011

what a beautiful morning.

Good morning everyone.  I know you must think I am crazy considering what I put as the subject of this email.  If your weather is like my weather, I would not generally describe it as a beautiful morning. But let me tell you a little story and you’ll see where I am coming from.

 

It all started Sunday morning shortly after I got up.  I had a very bad pain in my right shoulder – around on my back in what I call the shoulder muscle.  I still had it Monday and Tuesday and by Wednesday it was pretty much a constant pain.  I had decided I probably has bursitis.  Now I know I’m not a doctor, but the internet is a great thing and I had all the symptoms.  At Church Wednesday night I wiggled and squirmed, trying to find a comfortable position.  If a child had been sitting beside me doing all that moving, I’m pretty sure I would have told him/her to “sit still”.  Finally I sat with the corner of the pew pushing into the muscle and for some reason that eased it off a little.

 

First thing Thursday morning I went to the doctor.  Four hours later….yep….four hours….I find that maybe it’s spurs or arthritis.  Not what I wanted to hear.  But the doctor wants the radiologist to read the x-rays and give a professional opinion.  I respect that because I would rather the doctor not be second-guessing what might be wrong. So it will probably be Monday before I hear anything. She gave me some pain medication.  I came back to work and I hate to admit I didn’t get a thing done. But it hurt so bad, I just wanted to crawl in a hole and die!! I picked up the prescription after work, went home and took one of the pills right away.  Then I curled up in my recliner and waited for it to start to work.  It never did away with the pain but made it tolerable.  I took another before I went to bed and finally got a good night’s rest. 

 

I told you all that to tell you why it’s a beautiful morning.  When I opened my back door to go to my car, I saw the most beautiful sight.  There was a rainbow stretching from one side of the sky to the other.  The sky had been very dark when I had let Haley out a little earlier.  I stepped back in the house, picked up my camera (which always stays on my kitchen table) and took some pictures.  Then as I headed down my road to US 64 I noticed that it was either a double rainbow or a reflection of the first rainbow.  I don’t know which, but it was beautiful.  I stopped on the side of the road just before I got on the bridge to take more pictures.  I just couldn’t help but think of how magnificent God’s creations are.  Who can put a rainbow in the sky…God.  Why can’t everyone just get that through their heads? I am sure there are some scientists that will explain it all away- gases, or some such thing.  But I choose to believe God put it there this morning just to brighten my day. And it really worked. 

 

So, that’s why I say “what a beautiful morning”.  I know the sun isn’t shining brightly but I saw God’s promise that He would never destroy the world again with water.  It just brought to mind all the other promises He has made.   

 

I hope you can open the pictures.  The first two are taken from my back porch.  The last one is taken at the foot of the Manns Harbor Bridge looking North.  I hope you can see the second rainbow in that picture.  It’s very faint and to the right.

 

Have a great day everyone. 

 

 

 

Brenda

boutlaw@carolinaregion.com