06.15.17 Lightheadedness…………..

Thursday, June 15, 2017 – If you’d like to skip past today’s blog post feel free to do so. It’s mostly my own documentation of the current medical issues we are dealing with.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had four medical tests to help determine why I continue to be lightheaded. Some people call this dizzy but the emergency room doctor explained to me back in May that dizzy is what a kid gets when he spins around. Lightheaded is what someone experiences without all the spinning around.

I describe it as having my vision close in on me, having to grab on to something to stop from passing out and hearing loud humming in my ears. Sometimes this is brief and sometimes it goes on for a couple of minutes. At first I just stopped doing anything, becoming quite the couch potato. I’ve learned to cope with it and not let it stop me from doing things as time has gone on. It happens every day and has been for quite a while, long before I wound up in the hospital with the bleeding ulcer.

I use to think it was because of one prescription that I take which is Invokanna that removes any sugar in my system through pee pee. Thinking that was the cause of the lightheadedness, and wanting the benefits of taking Invokanna, I thought I had to suck it up. I’ve been off of the Invokanna just to test if that was the cause since being in the hospital, and still the lightheadedness continues every day.

The first test was an MRI of my brain, second was a carotid artery ultrasound, then a holter monitor worn for 48 hours and finally yesterday an Echo Cardiogram. All of these were done at North Oaks Hospital. Wednesday, Roy and I met with Dr. Valdes to get the results of those test.

Seems that all the test showed NOTHING that would cause lightheadedness. I am thankful that my heart got checked out and I know that is fine. There was a little plaque build up in the carotid artery but nothing to worry about. So!

Since all this is good and my blood count is back to normal Dr. Valdes said he wants me to stop taking several of my prescriptions for the next 7 days to see if that causes any change to the lightheadedness. Some medicines I can’t just stop taking but those that I can stop, I am. Now that I know it’s not something having to do with my heart I am going to gradually start pushing myself physically harder and harder each day. All this cautious stuff needs to stop and I need to get back to being me!

So, from here we go next week to Dr. Booth’s surgical center to have another endoscopy and a colonoscopy. That will show how well the large bleeding ulcer and inflammation of esophagus have healed. I’ve been on Protonix for six weeks and have not taken Naproxin or Plavix for six weeks so I am hopeful that we’ll get a great report from that doctor!

We’re now aiming to leave Louisiana on Monday, June 26th!

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06.14.17 Happy Rocks, Smiley Rocks, Patriotic Rocks, Yes ROCKS ROCK ROCKS!!!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 – We have collected large, medium and small rocks from all around the United States and have them in our garden at our home base in Amite, Louisiana.

Recently I’ve been thinking how cool it would be to paint on some of those rocks with my grandchildren.  I decided to take a shot at it, before getting the kiddies involved, keeping in mind that I am a pretty pitiful painter.  Even when painting walls more paint winds up on me and my clothing than on the wall.  I don’t have artistic capabilities but I have a love to share positive messages with others. The key in my plan is to leave inspirational messages for others to find.  If it makes them giggle, smile or out right laugh I will have accomplished something that makes me happy!

I recently posted on Facebook that I was going to do this and asked guidance from my artist friends as to which paints they recommended.  One of my FB friends, Kelley O’Connor, tagged a friend of hers, Connie Meades Ferguson.  Apparently Connie has been doing this same thing for a while on a big scale. On her Facebook page called Montrose “Rocks”!  a lot of inspiration for rock paintings can be found! Click on the Montrose “Rocks”! link to be taken to her Facebook page.

“Spread happiness, love & inspiration through the simple gesture of painting rocks & “hiding” them throughout the community for people to find. This is a community-building group meant to inspire creativity in all ages & bring kids/families back together again in a world gone completely wild.” – Connie Ferguson

This is a link to a great video about Connie’s project!

 

Connie’s endeavor, and her guidance of what paint supplies to purchase, have inspired me and obviously many others as can be seen by all the rock photos posted on Facebook! When doing some Google research I’ve learned this is exploding all around the country!  What a beautiful way to unite our country!

I won’t be painting the largest of our rocks.  The medium ones have the name of the state they are from written on them already, though I will be adding some cute decorative art to some of those.  The ones I will focus on painting are the smaller ones, 2″ to 6″ in size.  I collect craft supplies for Madisyn and other children that come to play.  I have several colors of glitter and other paints in those boxes.  We purchased some clear, white, black and light pink spray paint and six paint pens.  Being as inexperienced and untalented as I am artistically I thought the paint pens would make the finished product come out better!

Yesterday I got started by spraying several rocks and today I painted designs on some of them!!  Now that I’ve started I see I need some additional colors.  How can I paint anything patriotic with just white, light blue and light pink.  No, gotta be red, white and blue! Can’t paint a decent Southeastern or LSU rock with the limited colors I have.

My plan is to not only leave painted rocks around places we visit, but to place them throughout my gardens at home and in the gardens of those I love.

I’m not ready to photograph any of my rocks yet but here are just few of the ones on the “Montrose Rocks” Facebook page.

   You never know what you’re going to get when you open a blog post from Dora and the Explorers!  If this rock painting sounds like something you might be interested in I recommend going to Connie’s Facebook page and reading how she recommends you do it, including what type paint to use!

I may create my own Facebook page for myself and others to post their painted rock photos on!  If you do get into this please send me a photo of your rocks to rosalyn@selu.edu!  We will see how this develops as time goes on!   I’d love any feedback ya’ll can give me on this.  Do you already paint rocks and leave them for people to find?  Do you paint them for your own or others gardens?  I love using stickers, glitter and other creative items.  If you use some of those I would love to learn more! Also if you have rocks that you’d like me to take a stab at painting something on (something extremely simple) please get them to me and I’ll be happy to do that!

I just had a thought…… Christmas rocks for the garden!!!!!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

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06.11.17 I’ve never been a member of a church that…………………

Sunday, June 11, 2017 – Yes, I’ve never been a member of a church that called a new pastor.  The church I grew up in, Lakeview Baptist Church in New Orleans had its pastor, Rev. J. Richard Randels, before we joined.  The church we joined in Hammond, Trinity, had just called Dr. Randy Davis when we joined. So this was a first for me and I’m sure happy about how it all turned out!

The process that a Southern Baptist church goes through to call its own pastors is unique and I will be writing about that in a future blog post.  A lot of denominations have their pastors chosen for them.  We do not do that.  Through God’s guidance and much prayer following God’s will, and a huge amount of work by a Pastor Search Committee, we call our own pastor to our local church.

That is for another day, but today is all about the new Senior Pastor that Trinity Baptist Church in Pumpkin Center, Louisiana (technically its Hammond, Louisiana) just voted on this morning! I couldn’t write about this before now because our new pastor is currently the pastor at another Louisiana church. It wouldn’t be fair for the members of that church to find out about him leaving through my blog.  When we were told at the end of our Worship Service this morning that the votes were counted and that he’d been contacted, I knew I could make it public!  So you see, Yes I can keep a secret! Good thing it wasn’t any longer than a week!

So now for the big announcement.  Our new pastor is Bro. Avery Dixon!  His family includes his wife Misty, son Aiden and daughter Mia!

Last Sunday this amazing family spent the day at our church.  Bro. Avery preached, Mia (the young daughter) sang, we sang joyful music Worshiping our Lord, we all ate together and then we spent two hours of question and answer time.

For a 38 year old young man he and Misty handled the questions posed to them very well.  His beliefs are all directly tied to what the Bible says and that is my heart’s desire for a pastor who will shepherd our flock at Trinity.

Each church family was sent a packet of information about Bro. Avery the week before.  Of course you know I did as much Googling as I could before he even showed up!  I don’t even have words to express the amazing Worship Service we had last Sunday.  Our own Cindy Shelton introduced Bro. Avery and Mia to the congregation.

Young Mia’s voice was pitch perfect as she shared her confident love for our Lord with us. She sang “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us”, acapella.  I don’t know how her dad preached after that!

Bro. Avery’s sermon from Lamentations spoke straight to my heart.

Bro. Avery earned his Masters of Divinity at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans. He has served as Pastor at Hope Church in nearby Waldheim, Louisiana, for the last 8 years. He is an Expository preacher which means he presents the meaning and intent of a biblical text, providing commentary and examples to make the passage clear and understandable.  An expositor cares little if his audience says, “What a great sermon” or “What an entertaining speaker.” What he truly wants them to say is, “Now I know what that passage means,” or “I better understand who God is and what He requires of me.”

As always. dinner on the grounds was delicious and we got to visit with so many of our great Trinity friends.

Bro. Avery and Mrs. Misty Dixon

The question and answer time was well attended and a lot of thoughtful questions were raised.  After hearing their answers I was quite reassured that this young man and his family were indeed led to us by God to serve at Trinity!

Mrs. Cindy Shelton opening the Question and Answer time. This sweet lady is everything I want to be when I finish growing up!
Even the younger church members had questions!

It will be a few weeks before he starts his new position at Trinity.  We may be well along our journey down Route 66 by that time.  We will be watching via Live Stream as this young couple settles in at Trinity. I am looking forward to seeing where God takes Trinity Baptist Church now that Bro. Avery will be joining us.  He’s young enough to be my our oldest son’s age! yet quite mature in his beliefs and knowledge.

Before closing I want to say MUCH THANKS to Bro. Derek Wall who has filled in as our Pastor after Bro. Bob Adams needed to step down due to health issues.  Bro. Derek has been our Minister of Youth and Education for several years and will go back to that position when Bro. Avery arrives and settles in!  Thank you for being willing to step up and take us on, Bro. Derek!!

I cannot say enough about the kindness, compassion, genuine love for our church, and guidance that Bro. Bob Adams, our Transitional Pastor, showed to us during his time at Trinity.  He led us, the members, to understand the process and to be prepared to welcome a new shepherd which is what we consider our Pastor to be.  He guided the Pastor Search Committee while they were doing their work and is in full agreement that Bro. Avery Dixon is the pastor God’s chosen to lead Trinity Baptist Church forward doing His Will.

This next thank you may be last but it is certainly not least.  May God bless each of you greatly for your service to our church.  So many hours of hard work goes into the work of a Pastor Search Committtee.  Our committee was comprised of Ms. Cindy Shelton, Ms. Megan Wild, Mr. Doug Williamson, Mr. Philip Bankston and Mr. David Thompson.  They are all individually exceptional Christians and collectively they’ve outdone themselves in their work serving our church.  Thank you so much guys for being strong Christians and allowing God to guide you in all you did for us!

Welcome to the Trinity Baptist Church family, Avery, Misty, Aiden and Mia!

I leave ya’ll with several photos I took that Sunday of our church members through all the day’s activities.

Mr. Gene Traylor
Mr. Doug Williamson
Mr. Mike Whisenhunt, our sound guru
Mr. Bill and Mrs. Sylvia Sims
Evynn, Caroline and Sean
Larry, Annette, Blanche, and Wanda Forest
I couldn’t pass this one up. Ms. Emily and Ms. Louise just a sharing world matters together!
Sometimes glare just gets in the way of a great photo. Ms. Emily, Ms. Louise, Ms. Octavia and Ms. Hubsch!
Ms Grace and Mr. Charlie Turk
Charles and Marie Robbins
The one and only Spot and Leanna Traylor
Just a little part of the Martin family!

I am hopeful to have some answers about the cause of my lightheadedness this week!  One more test, an Echocardiogram and then a doctor visit for all the results!! The following week is the endoscopy and colonoscopy, oh my!!  And hopefully, that will wrap up all this health mess so we can get busy on Route 66!!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

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06.06.17 Southern Women

Southern women are unique and deserve for others around the country to learn about us.  I am proudly a Southern woman, raised by a strong Southern woman.  Even my faith is Christian Southern Baptist!!  It is a way we were raised, morals we were taught, manners we had instilled every day and examples we learned from all around us.  I smile often when we are home in Louisiana at all the Southern things I see and hear that we do not see at all in other parts of the United States.  We are blessed in the South for our heritage and all it brings with it! Southern men are unique as well but today’s article by Allison Glock is all Southern Woman!

Southern women are different. That is a fact. It is not posturing, or hyperbole, or marketing. (See: all those song lyrics about California girls and their undeniable cuteness.) Southern women, unlike women from Boston or Des Moines or Albuquerque, are leashed to history. For better or worse, we are forever entangled in and infused by a miasma of mercy and cruelty, order and chaos, cornpone and cornball, a potent mix that leaves us wise, morbid, good-humored, God-fearing, outspoken and immutable. Like the Irish, with better teeth.

To be born a Southern woman is to be made aware of your distinctiveness. And with it, the rules. The expectations. These vary some, but all follow the same basic template, which is, fundamentally, no matter what the circumstance, Southern women make the effort. Which is why even the girls in the trailer parks paint their nails. And why overstressed working moms still bake three dozen homemade cookies for the school fund-raiser. And why you will never see Reese Witherspoon wearing sweatpants. Or Oprah take a nap.

For my mother, being Southern means handwritten thank-you notes, using a rhino horn’s worth of salt in every recipe, and spending a minimum of twenty minutes a day in front of her makeup mirror so she can examine her beauty in “office,” “outdoor,” and “evening” illumination. It also means never leaving the house with wet hair. Not even in the case of fire. Because wet hair is low-rent. It shows you don’t care, and not caring is not something Southern women do, at least when it comes to our hair.

Southern women can say more with a cut of their eyes than a whole debate club’s worth of speeches.

This is less about vanity than self-respect, a crucial distinction often lost on non-Southerners. When a Southern woman fusses over her appearance, it does not reflect insecurity, narcissism, or some arrested form of antifeminism that holds back the sisterhood. Southern women are postfeminism. The whole issue is a nonstarter, seeing as Southern women are smart enough to recognize what works—Spanx, Aqua Net—and wise to the allocation of effort. Why pretend the world is something it isn’t? Better to focus on what you can control (drying your hair) and make the best of what you have. Side note: Southern women do not capitalize on their looks to snag men, though that often results. The reason we Southern women take care of ourselves is because, simply, Southern women are caretakers.

An example: I have lived in the North off and on for fifteen years. In all that time, only once did another woman prepare me a home-cooked meal (and she was from Florida). I recently visited Tennessee for one week and was fed by no fewer than three women, one of whom baked homemade cupcakes in two different flavors because she remembered I loved them.

Southern women are willing to give, be it time, hugs, or advice about that layabout down the road. Southern women listen and we talk and we laugh without apology. We are seldom shocked. Not really. Sex in the City may have been revolutionary for the rest of America, but not for Southern women. Of course we bond and adore each other, and talk about all topics savory and otherwise. That’s what being a woman means.

In Terms of Endearment, a dying Debra Winger visits a friend in New York and is immediately bewildered by the alternately indifferent and aggressive way the women relate to each other.

“Why do they act like that?” Winger asks a friend, genuinely confused. Why indeed.

Southern women see no point in the hard way. Life is hard enough. So we add a little sugar to the sour. Which is not to suggest Southern women are disingenuous cream puffs. Quite the opposite. When you are born into a history as loaded as the South’s, when you carry in your bones the incontrovertible knowledge of man’s violence and limitations, daring to stay sweet is about the most radical thing you can do.

Southern women are also a proud lot. In any setting, at home or abroad, Southern women declare themselves. Leading with geography is not something that other ladies do. You do not hear “That’s just how we roll in Napa.”  Or “Well, you know what they say about us Wyoming girls…” You may hear “I’m from Jersey,” but that’s more of a threat than a howdy.

There are other defining attributes, some more quantifiable than others. Southern women know how to bake a funeral casserole and why you should. Southern women know how to make other women feel pretty. Southern women like men and allow them to stay men. Southern women are not afraid to dance. Southern women know you can’t outrun your past, that manners count, and that your mother deserves a phone call every Sunday. Southern women can say more with a cut of their eyes than a whole debate club’s worth of speeches.

Which brings us to what can only be called: the Baby Thing.

Southern women love babies. We love them so much we grab their chubby thighs and pretend to eat them alive. This is not the case in the North or the West or the middle bit.

I grew up, like all Southern girls, babysitting as soon as I was old enough to tie my own shoes. I was raised to understand that taking care of children was as natural and inevitable as sneezing, that when we were infants, somebody looked after us, and thus we should clutch hands and complete the circle without any fuss. I was also taught that your children are not supposed to be your best friends. Southern women do not spend a lick of time worrying about whether or not their kids are mad at them. They are too busy telling them “No” and “Because I said so,” which might explain why there are rarely any Southern kids acting a fool and running wild around the Cracker Barrel.

I have two daughters, Dixie and Matilda, and when we go down South, they are surrounded with love from the moment we cross the Mason-Dixon. Elderly men tip their hats. Cashiers tell them they are beautiful. To be a girl these days is more fraught than ever. But growing up among Southern women sure makes it easier.

Which is why we are moving back home. I want my children to know they belong to something bigger than themselves. That they are unique, but they are not alone. That there is continuity where they come from. Comfort too. That there are rules worth following and expectations worth trying to meet, even if you fail. If nothing else, I want them to know how to make biscuits. And to not feel bad about eating a whole heaping plate of them.

Because before I know it, my girls will be grown. And they will be Southern women too. And that, I believe, will have made all the difference.

Southern Women, By Allison Glock – http://gardenandgun.com/feature/southern-women/

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