I’m Not Living Past 92

What if I told you that when Popaw was around 87, he predicted that he would die at age 92, would you believe me? It’s true. He did. One thing to note about my grandfather he was a very practical and logical thinker.

One day while visiting him at his house he made the following statement. ”Well, the way I see it I won’t live past 92.” Of course, inquiring minds have to know the reason behind the statement. So, I asked, ”Popaw, why do you think you’ll die at 92?”

”My grandfather and great grandfather both died at 92. I suppose if my Dad had not killed himself at 85, he would’ve lived that long too.”

So, at age 90, he suffered a massive heart attack, we should not have been surprised that he made a full recovery. Albeit, he was not happy he had been resuscitated. However, he was happy when he got well enough to leave the skilled care nursing facility and return home assisted living facility. Read here

Then at age 91 1/2, he became deathly ill, and literally stopped breathing at one point, wound up in Hospice Care for a period of time and then graduated out because he was doing so well. Again, we should not have been surprised. He wasn’t because he would frequently say, “Well, I’m ready to go but God’s not ready for me.”

He turned 92 on October 14, 2018. He had ongoing issues but overall remained relatively healthy. Until around the first of January. Mom and I both noticed he wasn’t going down to eat dinner with his friends as much. He would often say that he had little to no energy.

Several times he wound up in the ER dehydrated and eventually ended up back under the umbrella of Hospice Care. But on the morning of April 17, 2019, when I received the call from the Hospice nurse telling me he had a stroke and essentially spelling out for me that based on her observations he was likely in the final stages, I had no doubt that this time would be his time. And it was, on April 23, 2019, at age 92 1/2 my grandfather passed peacefully from this life and into his heavenly home.

Sometimes I wonder if God gave Popaw the foreknowledge to know that by year 92, he would have his place ready? One of the questions I failed to ask! Or was it just his logical, practical mindset that led him to believe that he would die at 92?

Here’s what I know! Regardless of if he knew for certain or he was just making an educated guess, I believe it’s what drove him to do his very best with the time he had left. I also believe it gave him the will to keep going when he would miss Mamaw. Often times he would say to me, “Honey, I miss Colleen more and more every day and I can hardly wait to see her again.”

Sometimes, I do think that God may have given him a little foretaste and foreknowledge of what was to come for him and you want to know why, because my Popaw was a man who not only talked of God, he walked with God.

He always said the best decision he ever made in his life was to give his heart to God and the second best decision was marrying Colleen!

The best decision I made was spending time with him.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

A true story.

February 4, 2018, Terry and I loaded up and moved from the mountains of Hendersonville, NC to the Foothills of Landrum, SC. We moved primarily based on cost.

I fought the move. You’d have thought it would be the other way around, considering Terry was moving from his hometown and I was moving back within 8 miles of where I grew up.

There were determining factors of the fight:

  • I was afraid. (That is a story for another time.)
  • I don’t like to change. We had already been through so much with Ned’s death. I didn’t want more.
  • I really didn’t like that God was asking me to go. I knew it was the right move for us to make but I just couldn’t believe He was actually asking us to trust and go.

So, I came reluctantly and with a foul attitude.

Within the first ten days of our move, Popaw fell extremely ill and due to the move, I ended up in Hendersonville 9/10 of the time.

I kept asking God, ”Why?”

He kept saying, ”Wait.”

I cried out to Him. I cried to Terry. I bemoaned to a few of my friends. I just couldn’t shake the desire to go back home to Hendersonville.

Last fall, my Bible Study girls did ”The Armor of God” by Priscilla Shirer. In the very first week, she had us do a little exercise that truly resonated in my heart. She had us write down in a circle the most difficult person, most pressing problem and/or overwhelming circumstance. Then on the line beside the circle, we were instructed to write the words, not the real problem. This fight that was going on inside of me was not a fight against flesh and blood but a fight against the world forces of darkness, and spiritual forces in the heavenly realm. (Ephesians 6:12)

While I was beginning to understand that the real enemy was the devil himself, my heart still ached and longed to go back home. But instead of talking about it as much and crying to others, I began to spend more time crying out to God. In that time, I also wrote on a prayer card a very specific prayer.

• God, either help us sell our house and return to Hendersonville or overwhelm me with your peace here.

I prayed this prayer every day. As began to pray, I noticed my stress of being here in Landrum lessened. My heart still longed for Hendersonville, but I began to enjoy what I had here.

Then in late March, Terry got the itch. He always gets the itch. It’s rare that he stays in one place too long. ” Let’s put that house on the market and see what happens” I was haphazardly reluctant and cautiously excited, all at the same time. We’ve been there. Done that.

So, we placed a ”For Sale” sign in our front yard. We had calls and a few showings. Nothings substantially sound, until one lady came. She loved the house and left saying, ”I think this is the one for me.”

Terry was excited. I thought I was too. Then it happened, suddenly I began to feel sad. I love my house. I love our quaint neighborhood and more importantly our neighbors. I began to pray, ”God, if this is what you want, allow. It to happen.”

On Thursday, she called to say she was going to purchase the house across the street and be our neighbor. She wanted a brand new house. I was not sad. I was relieved.

Then, I got my act together and decided to list on Zillow. This proved a huge success. We had a few other showings and then an offer. The offer was ridiculously low. We went back and forth most of the day. When I realized they weren’t willing to pay the price we wanted, Terry and I agreed to take the house off the market, at least for a while.

I need to interject here to say, we could have easily taken their offer. We would have made money. However, the consideration being offered would not have been good for our neighbors and the price valuation of our neighborhood. Sometimes, it’s not about what you can put in your pocket. You have to consider others.

I am so excited we are going to stay. God has done what I began asking of Him, almost a year ago.

Is there something that is troubling your heart? If so, realize that it’s probably the enemy trying to weave and work his craftiness. Cry out to God. Be open and honest with him. Ask specifically. Pray without ceasing. Do what He tells you to do. Walk in obedience to Him. He will make your joy complete.

Made for More Than This

Do you ever sit back and think, ”I was made for more than this?” It’s happened to me on more than one occasion. However, as God began transforming this rebel heart, I remember distinctly having this thought permeate my mind for weeks.

It all began when I was twenty barefoot and pregnant. We’d moved to the Bremerton, Washington. I was alone. Oh, I had a few friends but they had decided to live in base housing. We chose townhome living.

After a week of being there, I decided to look in the phone book for a list of nearby churches. Considering I didn’t know anything about the area, I reasonably set out the day before to find the location of the church I wanted to attend.

Fortunately, it wasn’t far from our townhome. It was a small church with a down-home country feel. One of those little white churches in the Wildwood but this was more like the little white church in the evergreens. I can’t even recall the name.

The next day, I readied myself and went. I had no expectations. I just desired a sense of community and hoped I’d find it there. Little did I know that I would discover far more than the community.

From the moment I entered until the time of my departure, I felt welcomed, loved and accepted. This unique community of believers would provide the backbone for teaching me how to love and accept unconditionally.

During this time, I began to realize that Christianity is far more than religion. It’s based on a relationship with Jesus. These people truly loved and devoted themselves to Jesus and each other. The Bible was their moral compass and from that, they did not waver.

I loved these people and they truly loved me. For the first time in my life, I could really be me. No pretense, no undue expectations, no condemnation, just love in its purest and most rare form.

I wish I could tell you that my rebel heart was totally transformed. It wasn’t but God began showing me through the love and devotion of these precious people that I was made for much more than the path I was headed down.

As I reflect on this experience, I am reminded of how God relentlessly pursued me. He loved me back to himself. He used this small church and its people in an unfamiliar place to teach me how to love and accept others and more importantly to love and accept myself. It’s called grace and mercy.

A Glorious Day

As I sit waiting for the dryer to stop, my mind has drifted into another time and place. Well, technically the place is practically the same and maybe that’s why my mind has escaped the reality of the present and drifted into the past.

I remember vividly as if it happened yesterday, and yet it was at least 15 years ago, possibly more. I know for certain I journaled it. I’m just not certain where that journal is right now, but when I find it, I’ll post it

It began like all mornings. Terry and I up before the crack of dawn or the rooster’s crow. In order to get him off to work by 6:30 am and get the 4 kids up and ready and out to door by 7:15 Besides being a necessity to rise early, some days those few stolen moments were the quietest of my day. I treasured them. I longed for them. I needed them.

For weeks leading up to this day, I had been struggling with the kids ns their attitudes. One thing to note, I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s worth mentioning again. I do not have compliant, non-opinionated, willfully obedient children. They all have strong personalities. I remember journaling about the difficulty I was having with discipline. I felt as though one or all four head-butted everything I asked them to do. Most times, they would concede because I was far more stubborn and bull headed but not without a fight.

Anyway, this one particular morning. I was journaling and pouring my heart out to God. I was sitting in my room with tear-stained eyes because I just didn’t think I could handle it anymore.

As I’m wiping away the tears, I hear the creaks in the wooden staircase, indicating that someone was coming upstairs. As I pull myself together, Matthew peers into the doorway, ran into the room and bounces on my lap, in a single bound. Yep, like Super Matt. He wrapped his arms around me and looked out the bedroom window. He looks at me and glances back to the window exclaiming, ”My what a glorious day!” Turning my head, I peer through the window and saw it too. A magnificent sunrise beginning to spread across the dark sky.

Yes, indeed a glorious day unfolding before me, I just needed the eyes of my child to remind me.

As I continue to ponder that day, I am reminded of how many times I cried out to God and He brought me peace and joy and reminders of his goodness through the lives of my children.

Do you know when we cry out to God in earnest plea, He turns his ear, and hears and answers the deepest cry of our heart?

In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me, turn your ear to me and save me. Psalm 71:2

The key to this verse is recognizing the righteousness of God and believing that He alone has the power to rescue, deliver and save. Oh friend, don’t keep drowning in your sorrow. Cry out to Him. He will gladly come to your rescue, maybe in the form of a child.

Tattoos and Grandchildren

I’d planned to share a different story, maybe next time or not at all. This is the story I am suppose to share with you on the eve of Ned’s birthday.

This picture is the last time he stood between his grandchildren. Little did we know but 21 days after I took this picture, God would call him home.

About two weeks before this picture was taken Ned had been in the hospital and Amy made her “big announcement”. She was getting another tattoo.

Ned’s primary response was directed towards me and Terry, “I can’t believe y’all would let her go and do such a stupid thing and mark herself with a tattoo.”

Terry gently reminded him that Amy was 19 and could make her own decisions and also reminded him that she had worked all summer, “If she wants to spend her hard earned money on a tattoo, let her. It’s her money. I’m not paying for it.”

Ned huffed and frowned. His standard response to anything he didn’t like.

I popped in and said, “I know you don’t like tattoos but at least let her tell you about it. She’s put a lot of thought into it and designed it herself.”

She carefully described the tattoo and its meaning. She told him he had inspired her to draw it. (I’ll share a picture and story at the end). Suffice to say, she had us all in tears and I looked over and saw a tear gently roll down Neds cheek.

His response was something to the effect, “That’s a great sentiment but I still hate tattoos and think they’re stupid!”

No more was mentioned, until the day after she got her tattoo. It was on a Wednesday because he was in the ER. He was miserable and in a lot of pain. They finally got him settled and I said, “Amy got that tattoo.”

He snarled

I pulled out my phone and said, “Look! It even has your signature.”

He glanced and said “I’ve never signed anything “Nitro”. That is not my signature.”

I explained that the tattoo artist took the letters from his signature to make the name Nitro. In fact, the artist was so gifted he was able to turn an “a” in Neds handwriting to an “o” since there was not “o” in his name.

He still didn’t buy it and wanted to argue but I changed the subject to keep him from getting excited.

The first time he saw the tattoo up close and personal was on October 8 when this picture was taken.

He only looked at the tattoo once and said, “I still hate tattoos and I think people who put them on their bodies are stupid.”

We tried passionately to no avail to get him to let us take a picture of him and Amy with her tattoo. He adamantly refused to look at her tattoo. Saying, “Now, Kelly I’ve already told you that I think people who have tattoos are stupid and you don’t want me to think my granddaughter is stupid do you?”

Our best efforts failed; however, as I look back at this picture I am reminded again of how much effort it took him to stand for those photos that day. I am reminded of how strong he was in his fight against the lung cancer. I am reminded of how determined he was to keep on living. More than that, I am reminded of the genuine and real love he had for his grandchildren. They were the spark in his eye and the spring in his step. There is nothing he wouldn’t do for any of them. All they had to do was call and he was there. Always.

The tattoo and it’s story:

Hello all,

Here is a little something I figured I would share with everyone following this page.

Don’t knock it until you read about it. I designed it myself.

Triangle- Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

My papaw Ned believes in the divine purpose for his life, and trust the Lord through it all.

Daisy- April’s birth month flower, and my Papaw’s birth month.

Flowers to me have always represented the beauty in life, as well as the delicacy of life.

“Nitro”- my Papaw’s nickname for being a stubborn, strong, yet caring man. This is in his handwriting.

My Nitro has been battling lung cancer, as you all know, for a while now. He is still believing in the purpose, and beauty of the life he has been given. I have seen strength in him in a way that I have never seen before.

He is my inspiration to continue to push through the hard times, and always be strong.

Thank you to everyone who has supported, and prayed for my grandparents through all of this.

Amy Yarborough

My friend Bob

Has there ever been a time in your life when you were just thankful to be in the right place at the right time to meet someone incredible?

That’s exactly how I feel about my friend Bob. Let me tell you how I met Bob.

I first met Bob back in 1993, when I worked for Woodform Cabinetry. During my year working for Greg and Bryant, I enjoyed the privilege of meeting a lot of fine folks. Bob was one of them. Bob also happens to be Greg’s dad.

After working there almost a year, I left full time work for part time so I could be with my children.

Then, in 2007, as God would weave and work, He led me back to Woodform Cabinetry. Again, I reconnected with Bob. He would come by the office, sometimes to visit Greg. Sometimes to collect kindling or sometimes just to come chat with me. In fact, whatever reason he found to come by, he always found time to pull up a chair and talk to me. Most of the time as he was leaving he would thank me for listening to him.

He was always curious about Ryan and Matthew because, he too, had served in the Marines. He always took opportunities to tell me what he heard about GE and ask if they were true. He was always concerned and curious because he retired from GE. Bob always loved to tell me stories about his life, his family and in particularly, his boys. My was he a proud Dad and granddad, for that matter.

As time went on Bobs health declined and he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. He kept going but eventually had to give up driving. When that happened, he wasn’t able to come visit the shop as often. Occasionally, he would come by when Mrs. Ann would take him for a haircut. However, he would still call. In fact there were times he would call to have me look up something for him on the computer or he would call just to chat. I would say, “Do you want to talk to Greg?”

He would respond, “No. Just tell him I called.”

Bob was a gentle and kind hearted man, a true servant and 100% reliable. The kind who would stand by his word. The type you could count on.

On Wednesday evening, February 21, God called my friend Bob to his Heavenly Home.

As I was looking for his obituary, I came across this article about my friend Bob. Read here. These are a few of the stories he shared with me. As you can clearly see from the article, my friend Bob was a very unique and special man. He will be dearly missed by his family and friends. I feel truly humbled and blessed to be able to call Bob my friend.

Detours, Circles and Destinations….

We began our day early. Breakfast followed by plans to go see The Natural Bridge See here. We set out on our adventure. Got directions from Siri and followed her route. We were less than 20 minutes away, or so we were told and according to the directive signs along the highway. Siri told us to take a right and Terry missed it. So we turned around at the Pink Cadillac Diner. Followed Siri’s directions and traveled rural streets until we supposedly reached our destination. It was not our destination and much to our dismay we needed to backtrack to the Pink Cadillac Diner to find our way.

Our out of the way mileage was approximately 15 miles, but on rural roads in Virginia, you don’t travel fast. We even came upon a cow out of his fence, walking beside our car.. We finally, after 30 minutes, possibly a little more, of going in a circle, found our destination. It was cloudy and rainy, not pouring rain, but more than a light mist. Inside we talked with the lady at the ticket counter. She told us the cost was $8.00 pp and the walk, if we completed it all was about 2 miles total. Terry looked at me and said, ” You don’t want to do this, do you? It’s raining,”

We had come this far and made a circle to get here. “Yes, I want to go. Besides, I have an umbrella. I’m not bothered by the rain”.

The lady at the ticket counter smiled at me as if to say, “I can see you’re going to have your way today.”

“Besides, you have a raincoat in the car”. I argued.

Reluctantly, he handed the $16 over and went to the car to get his raincoat.

Thus our journey began.

To our surprise and amazement, the more we walked the less it rained. As we neared the cavern, on the other side of the bridge, it began to clear. In fact, by the time we reached the crossover to the Lost River, the sun began to poke its way through the clouds. It turned out to be a perfect day for our visit.

Sometimes in life we have detours and feel like we run in circles. When we finally get to our destination, we may be weary or conditions aren’t as we had hoped. However, we can’t allow the detours or conditions to keep us from moving forward because we may miss the blessing.