Before the wonderful Trinity Mother’s photos, I want to wish a very Happy Mother’s Day to my mama, Jo (Josie Mae) Blum Traylor who is Heaven with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! I miss you every day sweet mama! Josie Mae taught Harriett and I how to be mothers through the life she lived. I am so thankful for that.
We may not be together in our church this Mother’s Day 2020 but I hope you feel the closeness between our Trinity Baptist Church family members and their mothers in the photos below. Young mothers, old mothers, and all in between!
These pictures below were originally published Wednesday, May 16, 2018 and were shared during Sunday morning’s Worship Service on May 13, 2018. So many church members participated and sent in their treasured photos of their Mom or their children/grandchildren with their Mom/Grandmother.
Thanks to everyone that participated! We have a wonderful church family and I love seeing our extended family through these photos!
Monday, July 9, 2018 – I wrote a nice long blog post to document, for me, recent doctors appointments that happened and didn’t happen. I need that level of detail to help me remember these things. I’ve decided all this doesn’t really need to be public (I know, I decide this after years of telling everything!) so below is the very brief version of the nice long blog post!
Yes I did make an appointment to see Dr. Mortesia Shamsnia, the doctor I swore I’d never go to again a couple of years ago. After making the appointment for May 22nd and receiving the “new patient” packet (because it had been so long since I’d seen him that I had to fill out a new patient packet), I received an odd phone call. I was totally flabbergasted when a young lady called to say that Dr. Shamsnia was no longer with Advanced Neurodiagnostics in Metairie and hadn’t been since February of this year. The clinic’s website is still active at http://www.adneuro.com/physicians.html if you’d like to check it out. He’s just not with them though the website says he is. He is now associated with Tulane Medical Center. To see him I have to get a referral (long story) which I don’t feel like doing. For now, no appointment, no new improved MRI. So no I didn’t see Dr. Shamnia and who knows if I ever will again!
First doctor I did see is Dr. Valdes. Saw him last week and my a1c is down to 7.4. He made some changes to my diabetic medicine to help push it on down to the goal of 7.0.
Second doctor I did see is Dr. Blessey. Since we no longer have Dora (our motorhome) available to go to Tennessee and stay for a while like Roy did while he recovered we made a decision. I decided to look for a local doctor who does partial knee replacements. The pain in my knee is worse than it has ever been mostly because of the activity lately getting the motor home ready to rent, moving into our house and getting everything in the house set up as much as possible. A friend recommended Dr. Peter Blessey with Ochsner in Covington. Roy and I went to see him and really liked him. He does a similar type partial knee replacement as Dr. Schrader does and the surgery is done outpatient! Surgery is scheduled for July 31st. We have a class scheduled on July 13th with them that will discuss my surgery and aftercare plans as well as go over my medical history and medications.
Third doctor is one Roy saw. The long awaited visit with Dr. Pulin Shah at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans was on June 6. He said he could do the lens replacement and do the asteroid hyalosis removal. But he, just like Dr. Creed, wanted Roy to get and wear glasses for a while to see if that could correct some of the problems without doing surgery. Of course, Roy has hardly worn the bifocals we bought after Dr. Creeds recommendation, and who knows if he will wear the monovision glasses if we bought them. Roy still has trouble seeing but it’s up to him and no one can make him wear the glasses. We really liked Dr. Shah and his office door was so cool I had to take a photo of it!
I now have a terrible toothache which I’m living on pain medicine for until I see the dentist this afternoon. More fun!
That’s enough medical stuff! Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!
Trust me when I say God knows what he’s doing. Even if you’re confused and you don’t know how you’re going to move forward or where you’re going to go, he will always open a new door for you. An unexpected door. A door that could lead you to a kind of happiness you never imagined. A door that puts an end to the hard days.
Trust me when I say God doesn’t take things away without giving you something better. God knows when something has served its purpose even if you can’t see it. God knows when things should end even if you’re not ready.
God is planning what’s next for you because he knows that you need a change. He knows that he’s taking you to a better destination or guiding you to a more fulfilling life.
Trust me when I say God hears your prayers. He’s listening to you and he’s giving you exactly what you want but in his own way. Maybe his way is different from yours but his way is always the right way. When you ask for happiness and you find yourself drifting away from the people you love, he’s telling you that these are not the people to surround yourself with because they drain you. When you ask for peace and you lose your job, he’s telling you that your future is better somewhere else. When you ask for love and he gives you heartbreak, he’s telling you that you need to make a better choice. He’s telling you you’re loving the wrong people. He’s always answering your questions, you just need to trust his answers.
Trust me when I say God is looking out for you. It may not be easy to see at times and it might be impossible to understand why things happen the way they do but one thing I know for sure is that God won’t leave you alone in the dark. He will guide you. He will inspire you. He will rearrange things in your life so you can change your life.
Trust me when I say God wants you to count on him. He wants you to learn that people are unpredictable and they change their minds every second. He wants you to know that nothing in life is secure or complete. He wants you to know that there will be times when you’ll just have to count on your faith instead of your logic. He wants you to go through enough problems so you can have enough wisdom to know that he’s the only constant in this life and he’s the only one who can truly heal you.
Trust me when I say God always has a plan for you and that plan always includes what’s best for you.
Saturday, July 7, 2018 – On any given day, Andrew Lumish arrives at a historic Tampa-area cemetery without fanfare or attention. He’s there to carefully restore veteran’s gravestones blackened by the elements and decades of neglect.
Cemeteries across the country will show you a similar scene—thousands of long-forgotten monuments belonging to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
But Lumish, a cleaning company owner, aims to refurbish the memories – and the gravestones – of America’s heroes whose time-worn tombstones have started falling apart.
Lumish said he stumbled upon a Tampa cemetery five years ago to photograph some gravestones, but what he saw that day would change his life.
“So many veteran’s monuments…were in really poor condition and it was upsetting to me,” he said. “I didn’t want for them to be forgotten…I started to research how to properly restore monuments.”
His preparation is always the same, even after 1,500 completed restorations.
He is given permission to restore a monument from cemetery staff or a descendant, charges no fee for his services and brings all his own equipment—a few 5-gallon water containers, some microfiber towels and an assortment of over 12 brushes ranging in shape and size.
Recent, he was restoring the gravestone of Milton H. Phelps, a U.S. Army Private First Class in World War II who died in 1973 at the age of 67.
“Each one tells a story…our subject right here is originally from New York state,” says Lumish, as he methodically sprays the stone while scrubbing away mold and mildew so deeply permeated that each swirl of his brush creates a wave of green muck.
He rinses the stone with water to check his progress and sprays it again with something called D/2 biological solution, which Lumish said is the only product used to clean monuments in national cemeteries.
Lumish said in a typical eight-hour day, he can complete the first cleaning phase of four to five monuments.
“A monument restoration has to be done by hand, you cannot use a pressure washer…so a monument will take minimally two months to restore and some take in excess of a year,” he said. “I won’t reveal a restoration until it’s reached its pinnacle and peak and it’s ready to be shown.”
This is the first of many visits he will make to Phelps’ burial site over the coming months, and each time, he will learn more about each veteran’s personal story.
“It’s very important to me,” he said. “It’s become a mission of sorts.”
Joe Caltagirone, caretaker of the L’Unione Italiana cemetery, where Lumish has completed several restorations, said his work means a lot to the families of the deceased veterans.
“He is treating the individual veterans as if they were members of his family,” Caltagirone said. “Words can’t express how much we appreciate that.”
Lumish’s mission doesn’t end once the gravestones are clean. He takes before-and-after photos and posts them to his Facebook page and website, titled with his nickname “The Good Cemeterian,” along with a short biography so his thousands of followers can celebrate their life.
“You find these things that are unbeknownst to anyone when you walk by or drive by a stone in a cemetery…it represents a life that we should respect and remember because we learn so much,” Lumish said.
He and his assistant, Jen Armbruster, use numerous genealogical websites and old newspaper articles to tell the story of the person behind the name.
“The individuals that we honor didn’t consider themselves heroes, they didn’t toot their own horn or pat themselves on the back—we’re doing it now…we don’t only talk about their service, we talk about their lives, from the day they were born until their last day on earth,” he said. “We are delving into that person’s life so that we can respectfully tell what that person went through…I don’t want anyone to be forgotten.”
One of those Lumish wants everyone to remember is his friend, 12-year U.S. Air Force veteran Chris Scala, who took his own life in 2013 after battling post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
“We honor the past, but I also always honor him,” he said. “I always think of him.”
Lumish’s dedication to Scala and others is getting nationwide attention—hundreds of new “Good Cemeterians” across the country are joining his cause. He plans on providing them with starter cleaning kits to use in their own local cemeteries.
Inspired by the outpouring of support for his work, he created “The Good Cemeterian Historial Preservation Project,” a non-profit raising money for gold star families and veterans suffering from PTSD.
At the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ national convention in Kansas City, Mo. later this month, Lumish will be honored with a National Citizenship Award.
“Personally, I’ve learned a lot through these restorations and telling these stories…I learn every single day and unless you’re learning every single day, you’re not living,” he said. “So, I’m going to live this life, however long it’s going to be, and leave it a better place than I came into it. That’s my goal.”
Allie Raffa is a multimedia reporter for Fox News based in Tampa.
Sunday, May 20, 2018 – Several days ago we picked up our granddaughter Madisyn to go see two of our other granddaughters dance revue. They were so adorable and we really enjoyed seeing what the girls had learned. Madisyn enjoyed being with her cousins and even danced around on the stage with her girl cousins after the revue.
We recently learned that a couple, friends of our oldest son and his wife, are also friends with two young couples we know that moved from Louisiana to Texas. Such a small world we live in! Alanna was our student worker at Southeastern and married Matt, a young man from our home church. They now live in Texas and through their children made friends with Christina and her husband. When we walked into the dance revue there was Christina and her children sitting with our family! She and I took a photo together after the revue while we were getting reacquainted.
Mother’s Day was a wonderful day and I’ll write about that in a separate blog post.
The monthly doctor visit to have my A1C checked went pretty well. In case you haven’t been following us here lately, our orthopedic doctor in Tennessee won’t do my partial knee replacement until my A1C is down to 7.0. It’s not perfect yet or down all the way to 7.0 but Dr. Valdes is very pleased with me being down to 7.6. A few months ago it was up to 10.2, three months ago 9.1, then 8.1, then 8.1 again and now 7.6! I also lost 9 more pounds this past month. That is what happens when you only eat three small meals a day with as little carbs as possible. I aim for 30 carbs per meal but can have 45.
I wrote a paragraph here yesterday about something and then my computer shut down because it was unplugged and the battery wore out. I didn’t remember what I wrote when it happened and still don’t. This is part of the frustration that comes with having dementia. I do, write or say something and then almost immediately don’t remember what I did, wrote or said.
Further on in my writing here I remembered what I forgot I had written so I’ll add it here. After seeing Dr. Valdes and getting the A1C result I called Dr. Schrader, the Tennessee orthopedic doctor, to plead my case for having the knee replacement done with my A1C being 7.6. They said to ask Dr. Valdes to fax the results to him for his consideration. It was late Friday so I will not know until next week what the decision is.
We had a busy day Saturday. Our only grandson had his last baseball game of the year early yesterday in Baton Rouge at Istrouma Baptist Church. They have a really nice set up there where at least 8 games can be played at the same time. It’s qui te a big church league with lots of happy little boys and girls playing ball! We got to play with two of our granddaughters while our grandson played ball. He got on base twice and was very attentive to the action going on on the field. I was very impressed that such a young boy was so focused on the game. We got a big smile and hug from him when he came off the field after the game. The league had its end of the year event after the games and we were able to attend that as well. At our oldest son’s request, there are no photos of the grandchildren.
From Baton Rouge we went to Hammond to Camping World. We always purchase our outside fabric covered rocking chairs there. Two of them have started coming apart at the seams and on one the arm rest collapsed. I know we are not small people but they are rated to hold 300 pounds so it was a defective product. We usually buy a warranty when we think we need it and thankfully we had it on all three. We replaced two of them with this rocker that we hope will look nice on the front porch of our house when we move in!
This is our local Dixie RV and Camping World. If an RVer has never visited a Camping World they haven’t lived yet! So many RVing ideas all throughout the store. This is their busy time of year so this was where we had to park far away from the door. We’re usually parked right up by the door at other times of the year.
From there we went on to the Hammond Park Flyers Club field on Fagan Drive where Roy and his flying buddies fly their planes and drones. Roy’s cousin Chris pulled up shortly after we did and cranked up his music to play the Beach Boys. Oh how cool and fun that was listening to lots of oldies and rockin out to the music while the guys and gals flew their planes. It was terribly, terribly, terribly, hot out there in the 1 pm sun and Louisiana heat. Even in the shade it was sweltering. We stayed a couple of hours and were quite drained by the heat by the time we left.
Chip and Misty let us go to their house in Ponchatoula and recover from the heat before our next event. It was wonderfully cool and their nice huge new sofa gave Roy and I plenty of space to lay down and cool off. they have new furniture and we helped break it in!
They have two adorable kitties, Milo and Lilly who came to visit us while we were resting. Actually I should say they visited Roy. I let them out of their room and loved on them but they went to lay by Roy! He didn’t seem to mind that! Milo has the dark ears and Lilly has the light ears. They are precious!
Once we recovered we went to meet Chip and Misty at their church, The Harbor’s, church wide crawfish boil. A thousand pounds of crawfish along with potatoes and corn were served and served and served. The temperatures were much nicer under the huge white tent with fans blowing and oh what a wonderful smell all that crawfish gave off!!! We were given a nice size tray piled with crawfish corn and potatoes, not the small bowl in the picture! Delicious!!!!! They have a wonderful church family and we enjoyed visiting with several of their meembers. New friends of Chip and Misty’s, their precious baby and little son were there. Oddly the baby took a look at me and burst into screams…..!! I did visit with the baby later and got precious smiles. There was another couple that Roy and I got to spend some time getting to know, Pedro and Louise. They are around our age and we really enjoyed visiting with them after we had all eaten as much crawfish as we could hold. Well Roy went on to eat two more trays after we ate but that’s Roy. This was our first time having crawfish this season and we loved it! Before we left we got to visit with their Pastor Marvin who knows us through our blog and being Chip’s parents. He’s a great preacher of God’s Word and a special pastor for Chip and Misty.
That ended our long Saturday. I was so wiped out by all the fun it would have been very easy to fall asleep on the way home. Knowing Roy had to stay awake to drive I kept my eye lids open to be his backseat driver that I am so good at!
I’m sharing this photo so my sister Harriett can see how well the gerber daisy plant she gave me is doing! it is so pretty, thanks sis!! The Ivy you gave me for inside is doing really well and seems happy here! The begonias are taking longer getting settled but they are starting to grow!
This turned into a long one. We’re hopeful that this coming weeks takes us no where away from home! The last few days my brain has been fairly mushy with all we’ve been doing. I don’t feel as creative as I like to be and am enjoying sleeping a lot. I’m going to try writing about things the day they happen so I remember more of it. I shared one of our blogs on RVillage and one of the members told me “I just have to say (after reading your ‘first decision’) there is something about your writing style that makes me feel that you are a very dear longtime friend.” That made me feel like I can still do this and that makes me happy!
Here’s Madisyn after her awards event at school. with Chip and Misty End of third grade and on to fourth! A friend made her the cute shirt in the second picture and the bow to go with it. It says “Third grade is so last year…. 4th grade here I come!!!”
We just heard from our renters that they have found a new place to move to. We will be able to move our things (what little there is!!) into the house on June 4th. That’s two weeks and we have a lot to do between now and then!
God, as always is so good to Roy and I and blesses us abundantly each and every day. Whether it’s a lesson we need to learn or a measure of His grace that I don’t deserve, or a reward for something positive, it’s all part of Him growing us into what he wants us to be.
Happy Birthday in Heaven to my mama Josie Mae Cochran Blum Traylor. She would have been 98 today. I know she’s happier in Heaven than she ever was on earth though she made so many of us happy just by her presence. She definitely left her mark on many. She told the children to stop when they were running in church. She believed and shared with others that you do not wear shorts to church. She loved our new sanctuary and was so determined that it not be stained by spilled drinks that she “encouraged” everyone not to bring anything to eat or drink in church. She’d let you know if your dress was a bit short to be wearing in the choir.
While those things use to embarrass me I see now that she was so very right. Harriett and I would talk about that embarrassment, but we loved her anyway! God’s house, that we worship Him, in should be considered Holy while still being a place where joy and love abounds. We can be a rowdy bunch at Trinity and that’s part of why I love it there! I sometimes have to bring a bottle of water into the sanctuary for morning Worship to help with my asthma and coughing. Since she was very strict about that I find myself asking her forgiveness before I enter the sanctuary. She was truly a hoot and quite a character all the while such a loyal, forgiving mother and grandmother.
I miss her all the time. When something new happens my thoughts always go first to wanting to share with mama though it’s been over 10 years since she went to live with God. When God says my time here is over I know she will be waiting there with God to meet me in Heaven. What a peace I find in that.
I didn’t mean to write all this when I first wished her Happy Birthday in the first sentence above. Words spill out of my heart sometimes and land here. Thank you for indulging me when that happens.
I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6Wwe wander over to our favorite fruit stand, to a table laden with discounted fruit labeled “seconds.” A wiry woman says, “These are here because they have some kind of trouble..”
I look at her and say with a half-grin. “Don’t we all?”
My husband and I have bought these peaches before and we know what she means. There might be a bruise from a hand landing on unrelenting ground. There could be a tiny hold where a bug helped itself to dinner. I glance at the cousins of these peaches sitting on other tables inside the little stand. They are beautiful and unblemished as they proudly in their buckets waiting to be taken home by folks who will not settle for anything less. I think if I were a peach I’d rather be on the “seconds” table where the messy is allowed.
We choose our imperfect peaches and cart them home with anticipation. I set one on a small cream-colored plate and split it right down the side with a silver knife. I bring the piece to my mouth and take a bite. It’s an explosion of sweet and tart and summer.
I look at it and whisper right to its skin, “Who would have thought you have that in you?” Then I think about how this rings true to life. Because we all have parts of our hearts or stories what we think don’t measure up. We call them unworthy and less than and we put them to the side. But the longer I’ve walked this spinning earth, the more I find those are the places where the glory and the beauty are likely to show up and shout, “Surprise!” I had assumed “seconds” meant “not first, not best.” Maybe it just means “worth a second look.”
As you go about your day, look into the eyes of the cashier or the barista or the mailman and say hi. Learn their name. Give them a “second look” and a smile that says, “You matter.”
Wednesday, May 16, 2018 – Below is the updated 2018 photo presentation shared during Sunday morning’s Worship Service on May 13, 2018. So many church members participated and sent in their treasured photos of their Mom or their children/grandchildren with their Mom/Grandmother.
Trinity members, feel free to save whatever ones you want by right clicking and selecting Save Image As. What you will get is any photo on that slide and the caption. If you don’t have a way to crop out what you don’t want from the slide, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, tell me which slide and picture and I’ll crop it for you and email it to you.
Thanks to everyone that participated! We have a wonderful church family and I love seeing our extended family through these photos!
I can’t wait to see all the photos that are sent in for Father’s Day. Trinity members, start sending those to me now! The father’s day photos will be limited to 5 photos per father and the deadline is June 4th.
Dedicated to our Mothers and their Mothers before them.
God looked down on Adam in his planned paradise and said, “I need a nurturer.” So God made a mother.
God said, “I need someone who feels deeply and loves fiercely, whose tears flow just as abundantly as their laughter, whose heart is as warm as their ability to guide and set limits is strong. I need someone whose influence on those that they nurture is eternal.” So God made a mother.
God said “I need someone who can hear a sneeze through closed doors, in the middle of the night, 3 bedrooms away while daddy snores next to her, who could kiss the ‘boo boos’, scare away the monsters under the bed, clean up the middle-of-the-night accidents, and live off of 4 hours of interrupted sleep. So God made a Mother.
God said, “ I need someone who can ride the roller-coaster of anxiety, hope, fear, and pride with an outward appearance of calm assurance as she sends her child off to his first day of school. I need someone who will buy the school supplies, drive for the field trips, help study for the history tests, fill out the permission forms, clap from the back row of the spring musical, and help coach a sport she’s never played. I need someone to teach a child to tie her shoes, make new friends, handle disappointments, shop for a prom dress, and drive a stick shift. And when that child is 18, I need someone to ride that roller coaster of anxiety, hope, fear, and pride again as she sends her child away to college with the same calm confident outside exterior.” So God made a mother.
God said, “I need someone who is willing to jump in a car and drive children to school, soccer games, and piano lessons on a daily basis. I need someone who can run to the grocery store twice in a day, because someone forgot to add something to the list. I need someone who can take the animals to the vet, drop off the dry cleaning and pick up prescriptions and still make sure dinner in on the table for the family to eat.” So God created a Mother.
“Somebody who realizes that children need to be allowed to grow, gain confidence in themselves and be encouraged to be independent individuals and accept the path they choose. Somebody who realizes that their job is one where the better they are the more surely they won’t be needed in the long run. “
“Somebody whose breath will be taken away when they visit their first newborn grandchild in the hospital and their daughter looks at them with loving eyes and says “I hope I can be the kind of mom you are, mom.” So God made a mother.
*Inspired by Paul Harvey’s 1978 ‘So God Made a Farmer’ Speech – Ram Trucks Super Bowl ad.