He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. ~ Psalm 147:3

Miss Abigail

Out of four grandkids and seven great-grandkids, there are only two girls; Grand-child, Brittany, and great-grandchild, Abigail. But that’s nothing compared to my grandmother who had ten boys before she finally had a girl; my aunt and lastly, my mother. And on my dad’s side of the family tree, I was the first girl in seventy-five years. So, yes, the female population is pretty scarce in our family, so we don’t mind spoiling the ones we were blessed to have.

My post today features photos of Abigail that I transformed into digital art.

Our Sweet Miracle Boy

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 123357725_3693694740642938_4345127814665421684_o.jpgThis is Micahia and this is his mother’s story she posted on Facebook on Nov. 13, 2020. With her permission, I share her story with you . . .

 

Today I wanted to share with you all the miracle of Micaiahs birth:


On Friday, October 30th everything started as usual. I got up for my morning relief but my pee was weird; it kept coming out in little gushes every time I stood up. I had a feeling something was off but I just continued the morning as usual. I drove Gideon to school, dropped off Abi and Phin, but something told me to get some advice. So I called a girlfriend who’s studied to be a doula and told her what was up. As I suspected she said my water was leaking and I needed to make plans.


Well, my plans were to ignore it because I had been booked to do makeup for a huge wedding party the next day and I couldn’t put this bride out like that. After another hour and another pad soaked through, I realized it really was time and this little guy was making his way 3 weeks early.


I called my bride, found her back-up makeup artist, and then called Brandon and said, “well I think you need to pack the hospital bag and come meet me, but first I need to vote.” I had to hit up 2 different voting locations because apparently I wasn’t registered in my county anymore. Crazy story y’all. This election couldn’t have been more difficult.


I finally got registered and the lovely folks at the poll place let me skip the line when they realized I was in labor. Then, Brandon and I were off to Labor and Delivery.


Up until this moment, I had extreme anxiety about delivery. I’ve had two natural births before but there was something about the uncertainty of being at a new hospital with a new doctor. We arrived at L&D and were met by the most amazing staff of nurses and midwives. They confirmed yes indeed I didn’t pee on the floor but my water was broken and I was 4cm dilated.


I knew we were in for a long day because I refused to be rushed with drugs to evacuate this sweet guy. I was given the rundown of all the things we would do worst-case scenario but was told to try getting labor started on its own.


Up to this point, I hadn’t had a single contraction. So I began walking, bouncing, and pumping and soon the contractions came. We were finally moved to our birthing suite around 3:00 pm where I continued pumping, bouncing, and walking. Around 5:00 pm, I felt a wave hit and I knew it was time to prepare mentally for the push. I labored with Brandon alone for a few hours; even ordered dinner hoping it would arrive before Micaiah.


At 7:00 pm, I told Brandon I needed the tub started because I was transitioning. The nurses asked, “Are you sure?” That’s a serious word to which I replied, “yes! Yes, I’m sure!


We did the tub thing with waves of contractions hitting my back but these ladies knew what they were doing and were beyond supportive giving me counter pressure and encouraging me the entire time. I did indeed scream for drugs to which they replied, “Nicci you can do this! You’ve done this before. You were made for this”.


Then came the vomit! Brandon decided to eat his General Tso’s before it got too cold and our sweet baby boy arrived and the aroma from his Tso’s filled the room making both me and our pregnant midwife nauseous!  After throwing up 3 times in the bathtub I yelled, “Get me out of here!”.


We tried a few more positions; squatting, sitting on the toilet, and then laying sideways on the bed with assistance.


Y’all that was the winner. After 20 minutes and 4 pushes that sweet boy was here. And I didn’t scream like the exorcism this time. Apparently, that doesn’t help.


Sweet Micaiah was born Oct. 30, 2020, at 10:03 pm weighing 6 lbs 3oz and 19” long. But the miracle is he was born with an extremely long umbilical cord that had a True Knot ( two knots ) and was completely white! True Knots only happen in 2% of pregnancies and normally if not caught leads to stillbirth due to the baby not receiving oxygen and nutrients. My sweet Micaiah would not have survived if he hadn’t come early. But praise the Lord my body knew and our sweet miracle baby is here!

 

 

Easier Said Than Done

I’m Sorry.

Two little words.

So hard to prove

America is Crying

Before COVID-19, shopping and eating out used to be a fun thing. We didn’t have to rush around before the stores closed, or wonder how many empty shelves we would find once we got there. We weren’t afraid to cough or sneeze in public or even rub shoulders with our fellow humans.

Strange how swiftly things can change within a short period of time . . . 

The once upon a time buzzing restaurant was a ghost town of empty tables spaced twenty miles apart and rows of empty, sad-looking booths. Even the music lacked its normal vim and vigor.

It was Friday, the day we set aside each week to spend with my husband’s uncle and aunt. We look forward to our time together and laughing at the darnedest things, like the jacked-up prices on the menu, the cold bowl of soup the waitress served, and coffee with a meaner kick than a raging bull. But the dirty plate the waitress put on the table? Not so funny.

The last time we ate there we had the privilege of drinking from real glasses and eating with real tableware, so I wasn’t expecting plastic cups, knives, and forks. Feeling slightly irritated, considering the cost of an arm and a leg to eat there, I was tempted to ask where the ants and checkered table cloth were.

But the thing that really got my blood boiling was walking into the restroom.

I cleaned toilets for a living, on my hands and knees, agonizing over every speck of dirt and grime in every nook and cranny, cleaning and scrubbing around the commodes and baseboards till every stinking germ was gone. Everyday. Five days a week. For fourteen long, agonizing years. I was the Queen of clean. When germs saw me coming, they dropped dead on the spot!

So, you can imagine my disgust when toilets in every stall hadn’t been flushed, one of which was totally clogged with who knows what. Toilet lids were splattered with pee, toilet bowls and baseboards were filthy black, and there was hardly any toilet paper anywhere. I’ve been in cleaner outhouses! But wait! There was a cleaning spray bottle hanging on the handicap door and a dirty cleaning rag laying on the nasty floor.

Feeling like I’d just waded through an underground sewer, I washed and dried my hands, hurried out the door, and headed straight toward the young masked man propped lazily against the desk. Not wanting to butt him too violently into the here and now, I pulled in my horns, and politely asked, “Did someone forget to clean the ladies room?”

With everyone so up in arms about COVID-19 and wearing masks for protection, you’d think restaurants would be more diligent about keeping their restrooms clean! It seems that, when the mask goes on, common sense gets smothered to death; like eating out for instance. No one can eat with a mask over their mouth, so what happens to the germs then? Are they frozen because you wore a mask to the table? Are they in suspended animation? Or do they just curl up and take a little nap somewhere?

In my little pea brain, this mask thing is as ludicrous as taking a bath in a cesspool. And the more I read and understand, the more I realize there is a whole lot more to this pandemic than meets the eye. It’s a political ploy to induce panic and fear in the American people and I refuse to play the game. I refuse to cave in to a government that no longer operates for the good of the American people. A government that has turned its back on God. A government that murders innocent lives, cheats, lies and steals for its own personal gain, and wallows in the lap of luxury at the expense of the American people. A government that protects criminals and punishes victims. A government that sits back and allows cities and homes and businesses to be vandalized and burned to the ground.

In all my 74 years, I never ever thought our nation could be brought down as low as it is today. I never imagined this mighty tower of freedom and justice disintegrating right before my eyes. I love my country and it rips my heart out seeing it ravaged by a greedy, power-hungry democracy gone mad. My only comfort is knowing that God is still in control and that one day, every knee will bow before Him and every tongue will confess that He is God!

If God doesn’t intervene and the American people don’t soon wake up, America as we once knew her will be gone forever. No more freedom. No more justice. No place to run.

I’m Just an Old Soul

I love old, rusty abandoned trucks overgrown with weeds and wildflowers.

I love weathered, broken fences, rusty, galvanized buckets, cast iron pots and pans, and vintage bowls.

I love dirt roads, streams in the woods, bullfrogs and tadpoles.

I love fireflies, and salamanders and a swing hanging from a tree limb.

I love classical music.

I love joking and cutting up.

I love plain and simple people.

I love honesty and truth.

I love talking and listening.

I love sitting outside in the dark.

I love hearing it rain.

I love mountains and hills and valleys.

I love God, the Great Creator of all the things that I love.

 

Family is everything to me. But, the family I grew up in was just a tad screwed up. Okay, a lot.

My dad was a man of fewer than a few words. He rarely got involved in my life and preferred to be left alone. Completely. Don’t talk, don’t cause a ruckus, just sit and be quiet . . . in another room, or better yet, in another house.

My mom was stuck in the twilight zone of her abusive childhood and jerked me in there with her. She yelled a lot, picked her fingers till they bled, and consumed me with her fears and anxieties and worries and sorrow and pain. I was not the perpetrator of her abuse, yet I felt responsible and powerless to fix it. So I sacrificed my stubborn will on the altar of compliance to calm the raging beast within her. But, the inner, strong-willed child refused to die. Thus began a never-ending battle of the wills, a constant fight against her power and control over every corner of my life.

Two of my brothers escaped the madness through substance abuse, the youngest of which spent the majority of his life either in prison or homeless and living on the streets. He traded his wife and kids for the thrills and chills of crime. When his kids grew up, they walked down the same wayward path.

My older brother, whom I never met, suffered severe brain damage caused by encephalitis and was institutionalized when he was three. And my oldest brother drifted here and there, searching for his special place in this world. He was the oldest son of my mother’s first marriage. When my mom married my dad, he didn’t want a snotty-nosed five-year-old so they left him crying under his grandmother’s bed and moved to another state nine-hundred miles away. Till the day he died, he was searching for love in all the wrong places.

My sister ran away from home when she was fifteen, got pregnant, then got married at the ripe old age of sixteen. When her husband died at the age of forty-one, she found solace in the bottle. After finally admitting she had a serious problem, she went to rehab, joined AA, and turned her life around. Sadly, she died of breast cancer at the age of fifty-seven.

Me? I didn’t do drugs or alcohol. I was picky about who I dated and was squeaky clean when I got married. I was nineteen. Still wet behind the ears. Naive as a kitten. I believed in God. Went to church, and tried to live a good, clean Christian life in spite of my short-lived, abusive marriage. In spite of being a single mom at the age of twenty-one and barely making ends meet. In spite of sickness and hospital stays. Even in spite of my X-husband’s constant slurs and put-downs and his lack of parenting skills and child support.

I was sugar and spice, and everything nice, a pillar of strength and unshakable faith . . . as happy as a circus clown. That’s what I pretended to be on the outside because that’s what everyone wanted me to be and heaven forbid I be anything less. And no one cared what I really felt anyway, so it was easier to live a lie than to let people see the ugly, naked truth.

And the ugly, naked truth is, on the inside, I was an erupting volcano of hurt and anger and boiling rage. A prisoner, bound in chains and living among the tombs of fear and hopelessness, striking out against God and the world and my parents and my siblings and everyone who should have been there for me but never were. On the inside, I was a river of knowledge of how I was supposed to live but as dry as a desert about how to do it.

Then one day, I snapped and I fell to my knees before God. That’s when I saw Him clearly for the first time; when I felt His love and mercy and forgiveness as He washed my sinful heart clean. He changed my wayward direction and put me on the heavenly path leading to my eternal home in heaven where I will be completely free at last.  

When you allow God into your life, He blesses and restores it. He makes it better than you can ever imagine. Although my immediate family relationships never improved, and all but one sibling is dead, God has blessed me through my second marriage and his family. And He continues blessing me through my son and his beautiful, growing family. We have each other’s backs. We love and encourage one another. We allow each other the freedom to be our crazy selves without judgment and ridicule. We don’t bicker and fight. We laugh and have fun. We talk and we listen. We are the family I always wanted growing up. The family I needed to help me grow strong and healthy and to be what God created me to be.

Family is important to God, too. That’s why Satan works so hard to rip it to shreds, beginning with Adam and Eve in the garden. Weaken the family and we weaken the world. Stir up anger and resentment in the family and we stir up anger and resentment in the world. Someone has to stop the insanity, the deadly sinful disease from spreading from generation to generation. Someone has to stand up and say, “Enough!”

The majority of the world has never had a healthy family life. But we can all create one by loving our kids and doing everything within our power to make them feel loved and protected and safe from a world gone mad. We can teach them to spread their wings and fly. We can encourage their dreams rather than crushing them in our hands. We can teach them about God the right way rather than the twisted way we once perceived Him.

I loved my family. As messed up as it was, it wasn’t all bad. My parents were good people, they just didn’t know how to be good parents. They didn’t know how to teach their brood to fly so they broke their wings instead. Hopefully, though, as we get older we can forgive and move on with our lives. None of us are perfect parents. We just have to keep moving past our own junk and be the best parents and grandparents and great-grandparents we can be.

I’m in this parenting thing for the long haul, learning and growing as I go.


Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Colossians 3:21
Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

 

 

I used to think that God only loved me when I was good, that He only answered my prayers when I followed all the rules, that His standards were so lofty and steep that I couldn’t do anything but fail.

Then I think of a stupid sheep, always looking for greener pastures, always timid and afraid, always wandering away from the flock and getting injured or cast down and getting their fleece infected with parasites. I think of how they graze on inferior pastures that eventually cause sickness and death. Yet, the good shephard drops everything to find it.

That’s what God does for me and for you. He hunts us down, he binds up our wounds, He picks us up in His arms and carries us back home. No condemnation, no being grounded for a month, no shunning till we can straighten up and do better. None of that garbage that we receive from others when we screw up.

I am a stupid sheep. I wander and stray. I get lost. I get wounded. I get cast down. I don’t have sense enough to take care of myself. If the Good Shepard didn’t love me, He wouldn’t waste His time on me. He wouldn’t dry my tears. He wouldn’t cover my filthy nakedness with His mercy and grace. If He didn’t love me He’d let me die and rot in my sins.

So, we went to krispy Kreme last evening. They said to wear a mask. I said I can’t eat with a mask on. They said I wouldn’t get served unless I wore one. I said either serve us or not. They said not. So, we walked out.

I follow the rules. Jesus said to obey the laws of the land. But, He didn’t say I had to wear a mask to order a donut. That’s a stupid rule when I just have to take it back off to eat. Besides, it was so cold in there no germ could survive, anyway.

When rules make sense to me, I follow them. But, when they are biased and twisted way out of proportion and are actually causing more harm than good, I rock the boat. I make it thunder and lightning. I make it rain cats and dogs.

I know, I know. Wearing a mask is the new norm these days. Mask-wearers feel justified spitting in non-mask-wearers faces. They feel justified screaming insults and causing bodily harm to those who don’t think and feel as they do. Non-mask-wearers are the culprit for what ails mask-wearers and must be shot down.

Wearing a mask in public is no longer a choice but a requirement if you want to be treated like a “normal” human being in this abnormal world.

I’m not afraid of COVID-19. I’m not afraid of spreading it because I don’t have it. But, I am afraid. I’m afraid of losing my freedom. I’m afraid of getting shot or beat up while walking through the mall because I’m old or not the right color. I’m afraid of socialism. I’m afraid for my grand-kids and great grand-kids. I’m afraid of living in a country that curses God and places a crown on Satan’s head.

Wearing a mask doesn’t prevent the disease that’s sweeping across our nation.

Yes, COVID-19 is horrible. It’s turned our world upside-down. Going out in public is like walking into the twilight zone. People don’t even look like people anymore. When they smile, I can’t see it. When they talk, I can’t understand them. The whole going-out-in-public-thing is so depressing that I’d rather just stay home.

Maybe COVID-19 will end. Maybe it won’t. One thing for certain, it has changed our world forever.

My brain isn’t geared toward politics. I don’t like politics. I don’t trust politics. But, as I look around and see what is happening in our country and what our politicians are allowing to happen, I’m paying more attention. And what I’m seeing and hearing doesn’t take a political genius to know that our government wants to be king over our great nation. Woe to us if it succeeds. Shame on us if we allow it.

What does COVID-19 and wearing a mask have to do with it?

Everything. 

 

I felt really stressed this morning, so I shaved my head. I feel so much better now . . .

Okay. There’s a method to my madness. It may not work for you, but it works for me.

1. I don’t like long hair on me. As a kid, I pestered my mother to death to cut off my long, red hair. Kids made fun of me in school and yanked on my ponytail or pigtails till my head hurt.

2. Growing up I lived under the dictatorship of lofty rules and regulations; enslaved to the convictions of others and was rarely allowed to think and choose for myself. Unable to tame my wild, independent spirit, they tried breaking it with the hammer of guilt and shame.    

3. I was a slave to curling, teasing, perming, and burning my scalp with a curling iron. I’d spend hours fixing my hair only to brush it all out and do it again. And again.

4. After years of trying and failing to fit in, I became a hoarder of guilt and anger and rage and stuffed those feelings deep inside so no one would know my dirty little secrets. Then one day something happened; the straw that broke the camel’s back and I snapped and there was no place for all that garbage to go but out. Thankfully, Jesus was there with a big box of bandaids before I bled to death!

5. Like a snake shedding its skin, shaving my head is my proclamation of freedom and growth. I’ve outgrown my old skin of doing it someone else’s way, now I’m doing it my way regardless of what anyone thinks. I’m shedding my old skin and growing a new one just for me. I don’t care if I raise a few eyebrows when I enter a room or walk through the mall. I don’t care that people walk up to me and blatantly ask me if I’m sick. I just don’t care!

6. And last but not least, I can ride in the car with the windows down. I can look in the mirror and every little hair is right where it’s supposed to be. It doesn’t frizz, it doesn’t fall flat, it doesn’t move! Best of all, it’s my choice to shave my head. I’ve allowed too many people to bend and twist and pull me out of shape and it’s been a long, painful struggle to straighten it all back out. I’ve earned the right to live in peace in my own skin whether anyone likes it or not.

Conclusion:
A shaved head is not for everyone and I would never recommend doing it unless you really want to. It will grow back, but not as quickly as you shaved it off! 

2 Corinthians 4:16
Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

 

 

Punch Fear in the Face!

I was asked to share my testimony with the women in the church I attended. I was petrified just thinking about doing it.

I’d rather eat worms than be on center stage. My heart races, my hands sweat, my legs turn to spaghetti, and my brain turns to mush. I feel as if I’m cut open and being dissected like a poor little frog. But at least the poor little frog is dead!

Yet, I agreed. That’s what good Christians are supposed to do, right? Share what God has done and continues doing in their lives, right? In spite of the fear and anxiety, it causes, right?

Right. God will give me the words to say. He will help me through my fear.

So I did it. I stood behind the podium, unzipped my skin, and exposed every inch of my quivering heart.

When the service was over, I was overwhelmed with hugs and tears and I’m praying for you. Relief washed over me like a trickling stream. My knees stopped knocking. My heart forgave me. Everything was good.

Well, not everything.

One well-meaning soul came up to me and blurted, “I always knew something was wrong with you, now I know what!”

No, I didn’t blacken her eyes. I just considered the source and laughed it off. You can do that when you own up to who you are and stop pretending to be what people want you to be in spite of your fear and anxiety. In spite of what people think.

So, yes, I was scared to death that Sunday night standing in the limelight and every eye aiming at me. Just as I was scared to death every time I stood up to sing or play the piano or my accordion or speak. Sometimes just walking into a crowded room was so overwhelming that I wanted to run back out the door.

Social anxiety disorder has wrecked my entire life. I don’t know where it came from and why it latched onto me, I just know it’s a monster that binges on fear.

Fear is a ravaging beast that kills dreams. Fear is why people wear masks, why they become people-pleasers, why they can’t be true to themselves.

So, yes, I’m afraid. I’m very afraid. But I’m learning to be brave and strong enough to push through my fear. To own my weaknesses. To try and fail. To be vulnerable. To speak out. To fall and get back up again. And again. And again.

Fear is losing its death grip.

And I’m feeling good about that.

“Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine.” Isaiah 43:1 
 
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South Texas Watercolor Artist

Corpus Christi, Texas

THE POETIC SAGE

This site is dedicated to my amazing writing skills.

Straight from the Heart

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. ~ Psalm 147:3

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