Monday, March 10, 2014
As I told you in a previous post I would be sharing a variety of things in upcoming posts. As indicated the past year has been one of grief for Dwight and I. The loss of the shop and the friends and acquaintances made during the 17 months The Crafter’s Co-op was in operation has been very hard for me. And Dwight’s job loss was like a death for him. His job loss was a calculated act by a group of people with absolutely inexplicable motives to have so hijacked his stellar reputation. The sucker punches dealt Dwight by this group was absolutely heartbreaking. Thank goodness that our Lord can heal all wounds, as we both continue through our process of healing. We continually pray for all those that have so wounded us and because of that our healing has been steady in the process. You can not pray for those that have inflicted such harm AND not have the Lord ministering and healing all the recesses where the deep wounds of grief have settled.
Focusing on the joy that we shared and the good we did in the community for outreach ministries as well as the ministries within the shop has helped us keep our focus on the Lord and His plans for us. And even though we could not longer serve in Wylie, there are still many places where we have resumed serving in other towns and that has been a blessing and saving grace for us as well. We have done much ministry and charitable work our entire time here in Wylie, as our life together has been one of serving and that is something we can not give up, even if we can not do so in Wylie.
As we are driving on our treks out of Wylie, there is rarely a place that our eyes may fall that we do not see years of Dwight’s good work that Wylie has benefited from. Our fingerprints are all over this town and all the maligning can NOT erase the good and positive things we have done in our community. My fingerprints and footprints (in every creek in this area) have been scattered all over the community since I was a small child. And Dwight’s contributions have been greater than mine since he moved here in 1996. How can these people justify railroading you out of town---your own community that is YOUR home? Trust me it is very hard to have to give up and move under such circumstances. But neither of us can stay where we are no longer wanted, where we can not serve and work, so we will comply to the demands and take our leave and go, work, and serve in places where we have been known and always welcomed.
As we were searching (before all this happened) for a much larger space for The Crafter’s Co-op we had 17 places on our list of potential sites. The more we searched, we began to think that Wylie might not be in the Lord’s plan for The Crafter’s Co-op relocation. And now since everything happened as it did, we have come to realize that His plan was much larger and what has unfolded has been full of surprises that only the Lord could bring us. As hard as it has been, I am thankful that we stood fast and tried to be obedient in waiting as we prayed for His perfect will for our future. And of course we are continuing the same prayers to be in His will in all of this. Soon after I started My 57 Cents blogspot, opportunity knocked and I now have the chance to write about and feature many artists and crafters across Texas and beyond. I very much look forward to this future endeavor of showcasing incredible talents in and around Texas!
Also, it seems as if what happens in Wylie does NOT stay in Wylie as other towns and cities want what Wylie did not want. One town contacted us a couple of months after the shop closed with an incentive proposal to open a much larger retail store in their town on a major interstate highway and at a reduced rental rate—in fact for even less than what we were paying here in Wylie. Another city has talked to us about opening in their flourishing historic downtown and in that same city, one of the developers has offered us a building to bring artists and crafters that are funding ministries to their fair city—wanting the same concept we used in The Crafter’s Co-op here in Wylie. These are exciting opportunities that we are prayerfully considering and once we decide if and when we can relocate, we look forward to see how the Lord is going to use and grow this one!
We have been contacted by two other towns that have Trade Days to let us know that Trade Day vendors are welcomed in their towns in case some of our former crafters might be interested in a once a month venue. I posted about the Lavon 205 Trade Days and since then Third Monday Trade Days in McKinney contacted us too. In both cases, the owner/operators were familiar with the shop and the popularity of the concept and knew of our unfortunate closing of the shop.
It still saddens me that The Crafter’s Co-op as well as the Stained Glass Shop before us was not permitted to co-exist with Wylie’s Gallery. It was not enough to shut us down, but why be so vocal about Wylie NOT wanting The Crafter’s Co-op OR crafters in town? We found this out only after the debacle over the Wylie Trade Days efforts to get an extension for future Trade Days. It was very hurtful to think that months AFTER we closed that they were then saying that The Crafter’s Co-op along with Wylie’s Trade Days was “bringing trash into town”. It was a shock to think that THIS was being circulated about our incredible little shop and it was probably at least six months after we had closed! To this day, I would beg to differ with anyone saying this about The Crafter’s Co-op. It is such a hateful and shameful thing to say about the people that made up our little shop and the customers as well. There is not a single person that crossed that threshold that I would have ever spoken such hurtful things. Our shop was a bright spot in our little downtown and a huge blessing to Wylie. Wylie’s loss will definitely be another city’s gain and blessing. And whoever is spreading such hurtful things should know that such talk is only hurting Wylie’s reputation and their own more than they are hurting those being accused of bringing “trash into town”. The Crafter’s Co-op and Wylie Trade Days are GONE so why not give up the trash talk?
I would think it would be in Wylie’s best interest to embrace businesses such as The Crafter’s Co-op that are definitely family friendly and easily meld with the character and integrity of what Wylie has been. I also believe that those in town that are being so vocal and negative about what have been family friendly businesses here in Wylie, should be encouraged by others to keep their opinions to themselves since it certainly is not helping Wylie. The City needs to remember that the majority of citizens moving to this little town are doing so because it is a family oriented town. Those questionable businesses that Wylie has started seeking and offering back door deals are NOT the type of businesses that are going to be a draw for families when they consider family friendly towns to raise their children. The agenda of a handful of businesses and investors that are not citizens of Wylie should not be changing the face of this town and bringing such questionable businesses into a town such as Wylie. City management may consider this progressive and profitable and of course, they seem to think they know better what Wylie needs, but they certainly have stopped thinking of what is family friendly for Wylie. The question that the people of Wylie should be asking is “Why don’t they take their agenda to the towns and communities that they themselves live in?” And another question to pose is “Why is the Mayor and City of Wylie upper management so willing and quick to compromise the integrity of Wylie?”
Sunday, March 9, 2014
I still have friends asking me why I am posting about what happened to Dwight and I in the community at the hands of the City of Wylie management and some of their influential friends. I first spoke of my reasons in the October 6, 2013 Do It Anyway.
I want people to know too that what was meant for our harm, God is using for our good. This is something that we need to be able to tell, as it is a huge praise to God for all He has done and continuing to do. I would be remiss in not sharing this testimony of every detail of all He has done if for no other reason than an encouragement for others during such dark, dark times. Our prayer is that we will soon be able to share of the past year’s mercy and grace that the Lord has showered us with and the incredible way He has worked through things and the plans He has for us. We can not thank Him enough nor can we think as big as He does! Truly what was meant for our harm, He has used for good for us and others.
There are people that have absolutely been ruined by these same people that continue doing this over and over for their own selfish reasons, NOT for the good of the community of the City of Wylie. And because of what has been done and the huge liability that the City of Wylie has been placed, they go to great lengths to discredit those they wrong in their attempts NOT to get caught. We have even been told recently that Mindy has shared with some on the council that “she has influence with other cities in their hiring and firing”. Since Dwight’s forced departure, he has continued attending classes and meetings to keep his certifications and State licenses current. In every single meeting, once it is discovered that Dwight is now consulting and no longer with the City of Wylie, the barrier comes down and they openly discuss many stories they have collectively known for years now of the City of Wylie’s mistreatment, abuse and misuse of their employees. Their revolving door history especially with their Building Officials is believed to be the worst in the State of Texas with upwards of 12-14 in the past 20 years. This is not just our opinion, this is coming from professionals across the State of Texas. We know that the City of Wylie has been blackballing Dwight and others in the past and this too is illegal. And because of this, people are leery in telling of their newfound jobs for chance of Mindy, Jeff and Eric continuing their slanderous tales and the retribution of others that have been involved in helping them. It is hard to understand WHY they keep on trying to hurt us and other people over and over—is this really that much fun for them? Do they feel that they are untouchable? If nothing else, do they not wonder how the Lord is viewing all these terrible things they are doing to others?
Early on in the first months of our debacle, we were contacted and told that there was already a Federal investigation going on in Wylie. NOTHING was shared with us regarding such investigations and we did not know then nor now exactly what was being “investigated” or even if in fact the call was legitimate. We know that the shop was bugged and can only surmise that was done to find out IF we knew anything…but we have not a clue what they were searching for and what we were supposed to know. As of yet we still do not know who was bugging the shop as there were many involved in what happened to us and that is something yet to be revealed to us. We are hoping that one of those involved will come forward and reveal the truth rather than continue to be on the list of accomplices.
I was recently reminded that we are safer with people knowing what has been done to us and who has threatened us. I also was reminded Federal investigations into other cities (Dallas was the example given) that nothing is disclosed until investigations are complete and DONE. Maybe this is the case here in Wylie, but maybe not. But no matter the case, we know that the Lord is in control of it all and IS using it for our good. He will not let good, decent people continually get hurt at the hands of these people without them having to answer for what they have done--if to no one but HIM. And what I have yet to share is the number of good people in the community that have been used as pawns in this as they continually create their stories and therefore are slandering these innocent people as well. And we also have been told that there are six known employees on their hit list (a few of these are near retirement) and any one of them could be in jeopardy. And for those that continue rebuking those of us that have been so wronged and rallying with the perpetrators, I pray that you will come to realize that you are only heaping judgement on yourself and it is so not your fight. Believe me, these people are not kind and sweet innocents, but as dangerous as anyone with murder in their heart.
Even though this is NOT a subject that is in any way positive in nature or content and it is definitely depressing for me to even broach the subject, but IF I can prevent it happening to one more person, it will be worth it. I also believe that people deserve to have their family and friends know that this is NOT a problem that was created by them, but by those that wanted to get rid of them for NO fault of their own. If there truly had been grounds for firing employees and running people out of businesses, then the truth would have been told rather than all the construed lies and outlandish stories. And what is unreal is that they must be getting off script as they are saying the same things repeatedly about so many people. If this collective group of maligned former employees got together these people would go down so fast and the City of Wylie would be owned by these very people that they have slandered beyond belief.
And to the people in the community that I considered friends that are so blatant in their mistreatment of those of us so undeserving of your rebuke, just know that when you are no longer useful to these people or you throw any kind of wrench in the works of their selfish agendas, YOU too could easily be sacrificed. And you too could be on a list of casualties of others before that have too late come to regret their assistance in helping them carry out their very ugly missions. This is not just some made up drama that I am sharing, this is a matter of historical record and it just keeps on happening over and over.
I have always championed for those wronged. Family and friends will tell you that I was a kind and sweet child yet would always rally to defend others if I believed them maligned. Probably my earliest recollection was when I was about eight years old and my sister was a baby. I was fierce in my love for Cindy and spent most of my waking moments with her those first months after her birth. Once school was out for the summer, Mother and Daddy would coax me to go and play outside with my friends. I loved to skate and one day I took Cindy outside in her stroller and decided to skate as I pushed her down the sidewalk. As I was skating and pushing her, a boy on our street who was a known bully came riding his bicycle towards us with a broad smile on his face. I was one of the very few children on our block that he had not mistreated and I had no reason to think he was going to do anything mean. As he got to us he jumped off of his bicycle, threw it down and proceeded to grab the stroller from my grip. Of all things, he then pushed the stroller into the street. Before I knew it, a panic swelled within me and the next thing I knew, I had tap danced all over the wheels of his bicycle breaking the spokes of his wheels. In one moment I had destroyed his bike, had my baby sister and the stroller in hand and sent the bully home crying with his bigger bullying brother and sister, consoling him and giving me looks that would have normally cleared the entire neighborhood of any children for days—or at least until his mother had exercised her wrath on the other mothers in the neighborhood for a child to dare do anything retaliatory to her son who was older and much bigger than I was. Nothing ever happened and of course, I never did anything of that nature again, but I have continued trying to rescue the wayward strollers that the bullies in life so carelessly push into harm’s way. It is not that I am mean spirited, quite the opposite is true of me. I just believe that the wronged should have someone on their side, someone encouraging them against the bullies in life. Amazing but true, it seems through such times, the wronged are pretty much in it by themselves, and it becomes a time of painful discoveries of who really are their friends and those that are only there for the good times in life.
Well, the Primary Election is behind us and it was great working and seeing so many in the community come and exercise their right to cast their votes. Your voice and every vote always matters. The last hours of Election Day with long lines and standing room only were encouraging and I only wish that the days of Early Voting had seen such numbers.
Since I am not out in the Wylie community working any longer, this gave me the opportunity to see many friends and acquaintances that I had not seen in awhile. As I visited with Pete and Sue Nicklas, I shared that I had known Sue longer than anyone in Wylie. At that revelation, Sue quickly said, “That’s because there is no one older than me in Wylie”. Of course everyone knows that is not true. Sue is not only “young” in body and soul, but also in her spirit. When I was first around Sue, I was two years old and she and my cousin Manya were school girls. Sue and I “shared” our cousin Manya, so I guess we are “cousins-in-law” if there is such a term. We were each perched on a limb of our family tree—not just on different limbs, but on different trees respectively. My Bootsie (Manya’s mother) was Daddy’s cousin and she kept me during the days from the time I was two until I started school. Manya and Sue were not only cousins on her dad’s side of the family, but they were best friends too. As a little girl, I suffered from “hero” worship as I adored Manya and Sue and I am sure I was not really a welcome ‘Musketeer’ in their BFF equation. However, I never remember them making me feel unwanted when they were together.
Now what is funny about this is when Sue first connected the dots of the little curly haired shadow of her past to the woman of today and how I fit into her life too. Sue’s last memory of me as one of the Musketeers was at Manya’s wedding. We played ‘Maid of Honor’ and ‘Flower Girl’ to Manya the Bride. And when Sue married Pete, he swept her off her feet to California where they lived for years. It was sometime in the 1990’s at a “Kay John’s Prayer Conference” that I first saw Sue again. And then when Dwight and I joined First Baptist Wylie in 2003, our lives once again crossed.
It was probably four years later, before the dots were connected for Sue. It was the night of the celebration of Manya and Dennis’ 50th Wedding Anniversary. There was a huge crowd and we were all visiting and reminiscing over the times and looking through the story of their life together in the pictures of their five children and the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They had the home movie playing that captured the moments of the wedding and all of us in the wedding party. As we sat having dinner, we watched the wedding procession and those in the wedding were asked to stand up and we were introduced to everyone that night. When Manya introduced me, that was Sue’s “moment of revelation”--I was the same little curly haired girl that she had known from years ago and yet she had NOT known me except for who I am today. And she did not know that who I am today is in part who she and Manya were to me all those years ago. In my “hero worship” what I liked about them, I tried to emulate.
A couple of years ago, Dwight and I were regularly going to Pete and Sue’s for Bible Study. At that time, Dwight picked up mannerisms and little nuances that Sue and I share. Yet they are not NEW, they go back for years, to the past of a tiny little girl wanting to be like the two “older” girls that she adored. I am glad that I picked them and My Bootsie (she is now home with the Lord) as role models for all three proved to be incredible women that have mentored to many throughout their lives. I pray that the Lord will continue to bless them and use them in their fruit bearing ways of mentoring to all the children in their lives—known and unknown, for we never know who is watching, listening and emulating us. And may this be food for thought to us all...let our ways be pleasing to Him so that those that should be following us are also pleasing Him in their walk.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
“The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre is the name given to the 1929 murder of seven mob associates as part of a Prohibition-era conflict between two powerful criminal gangs in Chicago: the South side Italian gang led by Al Capone and the North Side Irish gang led by Bugs Moran. Former members of the Egan’s Rats gang were also suspected of having played a significant role in the incident, assisting Capone.”
If you fast forward 85 years to Wylie, Texas 2014, we are living in the aftermath of yet another Valentine’s Day massacre that was deliberately planned and carried out by another powerful gang working along side other mob associates within the City of Wylie management. This present day massacre took place last Valentine’s Day 2013. As in the original massacre, those that carried out Wylie’s assassinations of character did so to advance their own career advancements and agendas. They created compelling yet completely fabricated stories as justification for the terrible things they do and have done to others and the 2013 was not an isolated incident. The same people have been doing this to their City employees and associates since 2001. They hide behind their positions and their titles, yet they strip the same from others by setting them up and then carrying out their own one-sided “investigations” among themselves and then exact their character assassinations leaving a wake of destruction in the lives of far too many. Year after year this continues to happen, yet done in such a way that everyone feels very much threatened and will mind the ‘P’s and Q’s”--polite words when talking and quietness to insure that nothing be said that could be considered objectionable by the City. Everyone wants to be able to find a job and live your life without the threat of retaliation IF you happen to say or do anything displeasing in any way to them. I am a 64 year old woman and have lots of friends and acquaintances in the community. It was like a prison sentence for me NOT to be able to be out in MY community because my talking to someone could be construed that I was saying something that could be someway objectionable by a group of people that had told complete lies and fabrications about me and my husband in the first place? This to me is completely illogical that such sanctions would be imposed upon anyone and by the ones heaping the wrongs on others, but it has been happening and it is shameful.
In previous posts I have shared that in this past year many former employees have come forward sharing the stories of their own set ups and those of others that they had known of in past years. What everyone seems to have in common are the lies, the officials and management team that set them up and the creations of false and damning scenarios and stories as “justification” to slaughter their targeted employees. The stress of such set-ups, lies and stories have resulted not just in their obvious job loss, but there have been many more tragic repercussions resulting for them all. The obvious loss of insurance is a major problem for most, but especially devastating for those of us undergoing treatments for dread diseases such as cancer, as our only options are to cease such treatments for without income and insurance such treatments are cost prohibitive. There have been major financial and property loss issues for many, an increase in stress related health issues, forced career changes, retirement plans greatly altered and compromised for many; some have even completely lost their retirement having received the ax right before they were fully vested. There have been marital and other relationship problems, even divorce and the tragic breakup of families; and sadly the suspected cause of one’s early death. And all of this because of greed and the mishandling by people in positions of authority that believe they do not have to answer to anyone and that their fabricated stories and lies will help them remain infallible. These people are known as “serial assassins” responsible for the character attacks on many good people, those that were good employees by all other accounts before the set-ups and those with stellar reputations prior to these senseless character assassinations. Some of those that have been hurt and had their lives changed forever have been two former City Managers, a Mayor, different Councilmen, a Director of Planning, Building Officials, a Parks Director, as well as assistants, associates and clerks in many City departments.
I have wondered why so many in positions that could stop these people have not come forward with the truth that they know as contrary to what is happening to good people. And I have also wondered how those that are participating “to secure their own jobs” believe that they are secure? First of all, how can you knowingly compromise your values and set others up? Do you honestly believe that they will not do the exact same thing to you once the stories of those wronged are finally exposed? Do you not know that those you have enabled to continue doing such things over and over will not hang you too once this is finally made public? Isn’t it common for snakes to attack and eat prey and even each other? In my life, I have tried to stand with the victims against such wrongs. No matter how heartbreaking it is for all of us to be the ones buried in all these assaults over the last ten years, I have said over and over, I would rather be on this end of the debacle than aligning myself with those placing so many in their coffins and continually hammering the nails in their attempt to contain those in the coffins. I could not live with myself knowing I had hurt even one person in this manner and certainly not the many they try to bury each year.
If you think I am just being dramatic, our drama was created and produced by at least four individuals that spin much drama around town. And the analogy of the coffin and nails was given me by Mayor Hogue (who is truly a Drama King) in the meeting that he called Dwight and I to in his church office at Cottonwood Church of Christ where he says he is Pastor. That day as he was telling us their made-up story that all would be told about Dwight and I to everyone, I kept saying “It is not true”. His reply to my denials was “Who are they going to believe…you or a Pastor?” He then added Pastor Kris Segrest of Wylie’s First Baptist Church to the mix saying “His was the final nail in Dwight’s coffin”.
We were absolutely shocked that our own pastor would align himself with this group and participate in something so contemptible to anyone in his flock. Since we were threatened to silence, it was literally months later before I asked what and why Kris did what he did to us, IF he actually did. It was then that we found out that Kris as well as at least one other pastor at First Baptist Wylie was also victimized in this. The “group” made sure that our own pastors were incriminated probably hoping that we would go around the community blaming Kris and helping to spread the made-up tale ourselves and in so doing maligning our own pastors. They probably thought our pastors would then help bury us. We did not do this, adhering to the “gag” in hopes of finding a job so we could stop the bleeding in our life. We had believed that the City of Wylie HR Director would honor the ‘Letter of Reference’ that Dwight was given for his job search and not blackball him in his search as we had been threatened. Of course shame on us for believing they would suddenly decide to take the ‘high and honorable road’, for there have been many doors closed once the reference was checked with the City. We knew they wanted us OUT OF TOWN for good because there was too many people really questioning the truth of what was being told about us around town. Thank goodness people that know us knew that what they were hearing made no sense that we would suddenly go rogue and start bullying people, doing such terrible and hurtful things as being told by this little “gang” and those they recruited to help spin and spread their stories.
We are certainly not sinless as no one is and we struggle daily against our sinful nature just like everyone does, but we both try our best to do no harm to others and minister to others as Christ would have us do. We certainly did NOT do what they accused either of us of doing. If you have not read other posts regarding just the mere surface of a very deep well we have been treading, you can read some of what this group has been doing to us and others. The posts in September through December relating to some of this are in “The Judge, The Henchman, and The Hangman”, “Are They Really Christians”, “What’s in Your Wallet”, “Do It Anyway”, “Blessings in His Time”, “C/O Straight Up, With Sugar, Coating or No C/O” and “Part Two…” and Part Three…” of the continuing C/O debacle. Unfortunately, with this group, Wylie has become a town of “the haves” and “have-nots”. It does not matter if your roots go back four generations in this community as mine do, for some of the town newbies and even non-residents are branding us and trying to cast us into the Lake of Fire and whatever their influence, Officials and Upper Management are having a joyful time helping them.
As in an earlier post “Do It Anyway”, I am posting about this hoping to STOP their continuing abuse of others. I am posting because so many have been shamed and victimized by people that are in positions of authority here in Wylie—those that we should be able to trust, those that we have voted into office and those that have placed blame on other innocent people to carry out their agendas. I also believe that those that have been destroyed by these people deserve redemption for they too have been blamed and wrongly charged as guilty by this group. They should know that others have been forced to wear “the token of our shame” like “the bale-fire of that scarlet letter blazing at the end of our path” here in Wylie and for NO wrongdoing of our own. All can continue to shun us, but we refuse to wear the ‘Scarlet Letter’ that this group has tried to brand us with and pray this group will be stopped so that no one else will fall victim. If they are finally stopped from hurting others, that will serve as redemption for us all—the prey of these hunters.
Many on council over the years have fallen victim to this same character assassination making them expendable by this group. Don’t even hint at challenging them for their positions, their views, or their agendas as they spread the innuendos and embellish stories that are malicious at best and all the while, they are treating you like their best friends making you think that they are the BEST. Their methods are orchestrated, used collectively, and it is very effective, for their target’s center has been hit and is down, before anyone can dial 911. The present council has been victim of the Mayor’s subterfuge by way of discrediting them, openly making fun of their positions which very much demeans and undermines them with the citizens, publicly talking and hinting at possible questionable behavior of council members while away on trips to Austin, etc. leaving citizens wondering what in the world happened on our taxpayer’s dime. And my goodness, it is said the Mayor has been whining around town about those of questionable character and feigning incredulous shock that anyone of such “questionable” character could even dare challenge ‘His Goodness, the Mayor”. I wonder if people are falling for his syrupy kiss-kisses as sincere and if they really believe that he is looking out for the best interests of you and me? There are former council members that will tell you that Wylie’s Mayor Hogue is the dirtiest campaigner they have ever seen—nothing is off limits and he can stoop as low as any venomous snake. Kind of scary when you see the real face behind the Mayor’s ‘Clinky the Clown’ facade and we are just a few of many that are seeing the dark and not so humorous side of our Mayor. Yes, he is a professional clown, but he has brought new meaning to the term “Killer Clown” and now I understand why some children are terribly frightened by clowns and we adults should take heed—all clowns are not equal and all clowns are not good and the same is true for Mayors. It is shameful that so many of our elected officials too have been victimized by our Mayor and Officials only because they hold (or have held) coveted positions (the same is true of many that have been booted in Wylie’s City Hall history) or happen to have businesses like The Crafter’s Co-op and the stained glass shop before us that are deemed too close for the Mayor’s and “Mini-Mayor’s comfort. The one that is called “Mini-Mayor” around town is believed by some to be the one pulling his political strings, as well as those of the City Manager and Assistant City Manager.
News of what is coming……..
I will be sharing much on the Mini-Mayor in upcoming posts, as there is much the citizens of Wylie need to know about who the strings are being pulled for and who is controlling much of what is happening in town and unfortunately not for the betterment of Wylie, but personal, selfish agendas.
And we are finally moving Mother home this coming Monday—Praise the Lord! I am working on getting the house set up again and even bought her some new furniture that I hope she likes. I am creating a happy and peaceful place for her once again. Rehab has been very hard for her and she is so ready to be home where things will be more serene for her once again.
This week being one year since the “bough broke and it all came tumbling down” has us looking back on all the amazing things the Lord has done for us through it all. The waiting has been hard, but we have been expectantly looking each day fully in the face wondering if THIS is the day when we get the answers that will define the rest of our days? All things are finally coming together and there is so much to be thankful for! We continue to pray each day for all those hurt before us and for the protection of those still in their midst at City Hall and especially those that have harmed so many—praying that the Lord will convict them of their wrongdoings at the expense of so many undeserving of the grief and pain they have caused and inflicted on so many over the years.
And with Mom moving home I will have a little more time to post and I have tons to share with you all. I will finally be able to get back on a schedule with more time for work and time to get back to our plans to downsize. I am really excited about downsizing too as it will enable us to focus more on less!
I promised back in September that when we finally had some answers about what happened last year and it was believed we were safe to share details, I would let you all know how it worked out. There has not been a day since we opened The Crafter’s Co-op that I ever doubted that it was exactly what we were supposed to be doing even through this past year after we had to close it down. Everything we did was done with the intent to help others during the economic downturn (never our intent to make us money), but for those that needed a little extra income and those needing a place to showcase their arts to support their own ministries or ministries of their choice. I found myself over and over questioning why the Lord allowed such circumstances that made it impossible for us to keep our ministry open and the avenue for the 28 ministries within our little shop. But even as I questioned Him, I knew He would work it out in His time. Dwight and I have come to KNOW the importance of waiting upon the Lord to provide and the knowing part has always been a given and the easy part, BUT it is the obediently waiting that is hard…trying NOT to get ahead of Him.
This has been a year of grieving for me as I have grieved the loss of the shop and all the friends made through the shop as well as most of what our life has been here in Wylie. This loss has been like a death in the family as we have lost so much AND we recognize it will never be the same. I have always been happy in Wylie and have loved living here. Because of my happiness and love for Wylie, I recognize that you can not lose all that we have lost and not grieve. So we have grieved our losses with arms open wide to welcome the new life that is sure to come. Knowing it is all in His plan makes it easier for me to put the life of Wylie to rest knowing that final closure will take us to the place He wants us to be. It is already an incredible testimony of how the Lord has taken what was meant for our harm and He is using for good—and there is no way I could have ever dreamed how this would eventually turn out. He answers prayers and is always good in all things!
To be continued………
Saturday, January 25, 2014
In 2002, I met Sherry who has become a very good friend of mine. She and her husband showed up at a garage sale at our home. They had recently lost their son and I had sent a casserole through mutual friends for the family gathering. They came to the garage sale to thank me for the casserole and condolences we had extended to them. Dwight was inside having donuts and coffee with some good friends from church who were soon to relocate to Washington, D.C. I stuck my head inside to tell Dwight of our “new friends’ that had come to the garage sale. Mike and Charlotte offered to watch the garage sale so that our “new friends” could join us for coffee and donuts.
We visited with our grieving friends and extended a dinner invitation for that evening. That day our new friendship was born. Over these 13 years, we have shared lots of fun as well as heartbreaks. Sherry’s husband also worked at the City of Wylie and some years ago was very much a casualty of management like so many others that were set-up through no wrong of their own, but for the City of Wylie’s management team’s own purposes. As with so many of these former employees, we did not find out “the rest of the story” of his circumstances until after Dwight’s debacle happened.
About five years ago, Sherry and I discovered we had something very much in common and most unusual. Her mother had passed away and she was sharing some things that had happened at the family visitation and the funeral. She told me that one of her small granddaughters had written a note of her feelings of the loss for her great-grandmother. She had written “You will be mist”….an endearing note from a young child made even more special at the misspelling of ‘missed’. Sherry said that the day of the funeral as they were at the graveside, a fine mist enveloped them and there was a feeling as if her mother indeed was all around them in the mist. She had brought a memorial bulletin and we had already discovered that the family visitation was held at the same funeral home in Rockwall where we had Daddy’s visitation in 1997.
Some time later as I was reading the memorial bulletin, I discovered our most unusual commonality that we shared. Sherry’s mother and my dad not only shared the same date of death, but they also shared the same birth date, each some years apart. So each year, I not only think of Daddy on those dates, I also think of Sherry and her mom. We have celebrated our parents and their birthdays over lunch together when our calendars fall in sync on January 26th. We choose to celebrate the day with joy and thankfulness and today, I shall celebrate what would be Daddy’s 90th birthday and count my many blessings. Thank you, Lord!
Eccl. 7:1 A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of one’s birth NKJV
In my last post, I mentioned my mother’s accident Thanksgiving weekend. She is still in Rehab making very slow progress as she heals from the physical injuries and struggles to regain physical strength. Neither of us would have authored this difficult chapter as she has come to the pool of Bethesda in this life struggle. I thought I was better equipped to help her through the healing, but I find I am miserably inadequate and there is not a moment when I am with her now that I am not having to lean on the Lord and calling for His help constantly. Unfortunately, I am physically unable to meet Mother’s daily needs like before. If I was able and my wishes for her came true, she would be back home again working on her puzzles, providing armchair refereeing for the Cowboys and Rangers, making her famous fudge and pralines, doing her seasonal decorating, on the phone bragging about her awesome grandsons, visiting with family and friends, reading her Dallas Morning News each day as well as her Bible and devotionals, planning the next family gathering, cleaning house (she loves to clean), and cooking to her heart’s content. Unfortunately, neither of us can do what we used to—the spring is a little sprung for both of these chicks!
I started wearing my ‘caregiving’ hat in 1981 at the age of 32. At that time, because of my father’s health, he sold his practice and retired. For a year, I worked side by side with him in his clinic as we transitioned the clinic from his care to the new physician’s care. It was a bittersweet time, as Daddy very much loved his patients, staff and his profession and I believe he was genuinely loved and appreciated by those honored to know him. The parting was very difficult for him, for it was not because he wanted to retire, but physically he had to retire. I had moved back to Dallas from Austin when he made the decision to sell his practice. He was only 57 years old and was dealing with a variety of health issues. He had never taken a ‘sick day’ in his entire career. After his first trip to the family farm after retiring, he went fishing and afterwards told me, “I never thought I would live to fish again”. That was his first indication of just how bad he had been feeling, as he was never one to complain, always positive with a smile on his face and any concerns and priorities were for the well-being of others.
For the next five years, he took things a little slower and developed some new hobbies other than fishing, which he had always loved. In 1986, his health took a turn for the worse and my visits became more regular, often daily. After work, I would go out to the house to check on Mother and Daddy, visit, help him with computer work and other things either might need help with at the time. In 1989, due to Daddy’s health the decision was made to close the antique shop that we had opened in 1981. I then started a business out of my home, a claims filing service for doctor’s offices. I believed that eventually with Daddy’s caregiving needs I would want to be available 24/7 and working from home would be a must. He had always taken such good care of everyone, always seeing to the needs of all the elders in both his and Mother’s family and we wanted to do no less for him. From the beginning, we chose to care for him at home rather than moving him into a care facility.
In 1992, I sold my house and moved in with Mother and Daddy as his needs became more urgent. In late 1994, Daddy became bedridden until his death in 1997. His was a long and incredibly sad battle as he lost a little of himself each day and our goodbyes were more difficult with each passing day. He was the best patient, never complaining or fussing, as he seemed to know that through it all, we very much loved him (there were times when we did not know if he recognized us) and he knew that we were trying to help him. He faced each day with such amazing grace as if he were awaiting the sanctification of his new and healed body that he would once again have in Heaven. I pray that if I am faced with the same type of suffering that I too can face each day with the grace of such love and worship.
The year after Daddy died, Mother began addressing her own health needs. In caring for Daddy, she would not give in to her own needs for fear of not being able to be at his side each and every day. Since 1997, Mother has been through major surgeries and her own loss of self. At 85, she has been described by medical professionals as the most determined and independent patient they have ever seen. She is independent to a fault in that she can not do what she insists on doing for herself. She will not easily accept assistance from those that are actually trained to help with such needs. It is not that she is trying to be difficult; hers is a determination NOT to lose the ability to do what she believes she is capable of doing for herself. If you don’t use it, you lose it and that is what fuels her determination. The medical staff is in awe of her spirit and tenacity. With her head injury, she is back in the days of shopping for us as children, panicking that she will be late picking us up from school and a momma bear fighting anyone she thinks is keeping her from her motherly duties. It has been eight weeks of battle that this caregiver has NOT ever faced in my 33 years of caregiving—more than half of my life, so you would think I know a little more than what I believe I did learn in kindergarten. With each battle, I have to call out for His wisdom and strength for this weary battle that wages. It is absolutely heartbreaking and completely mentally and physically draining.
As I write this, it is from my perspective of my experiences. Cindy, my sister is a dutiful daughter and sister with obligations to her wonderful family. My nephews, Jed and Matt never knew their doting Paw Paw when he was well. With the needs of a growing family and living four hours away, it has been difficult for Cindy to come and help as much as she would like. I know being away during difficult times such as this is a heart-tug-of-war for her as well as for my nephews. They lost all their grandparents except for Mother when they were very young. They have all been more than supportive and always huge blessings to us no matter if they are here or four hours away. Cindy’s husband Randy has always been supportive when Cindy has come even for days at a time. Having lost both of his parents, Randy understands how difficult this is for us. And certainly NOT last or least, I absolutely could not do all this now without the help and support that Dwight gives us all. Sometimes he is the only calming factor in Mom’s equation. It may be his voice, it may be his kindness, it may be his unconditional acceptance, or that she knows she can always depend on Dwight to be there to help her and in her own way she shows Dwight her love, appreciation, and thankfulness. I know she sees Dwight as a godly man, and I hope she is seeing the love of Jesus for her in Dwight as well as in me.
All this has brought us to a new stage in life where we recognize more and more the need to downsize. In working on Mother’s house now, we are downsizing her for the third time since 1991. At that time, Mother and Daddy were moving from Lucas to Rowlett and going from approximately 5,400 to about 3,900 square feet. In 2003, Mother downsized once again as we moved her from Rowlett to her smaller 2,300 square foot home (approximate) in Wylie. In addition to her home, she has three storage units at an offsite location that requires purging as well. In dealing with all this for Mother, Dwight and I have recognized that we too have a huge need to downsize. With our home and offsite storage (The Crafter’s Co-op millwork, supplies, etc.) we are looking to downsize from approximately 3,000 square feet. It will be wonderful to be free from the bondage of STUFF! So if any of you reading this, would like some trash or treasures, we have lots of both that we will be sending to new homes.
I am sure we all find our parents to be very interesting people. Mine were from very different backgrounds, yet at the same time very much the same. They loved their families and loved their children, wanting the very best for us all. The best life lessons I learned were taught by their example of living their lives to be the very best they could be for us. They taught me about faith, integrity, honesty, appreciation for life, love for family and friends, and most of what I value to the very core of my being. I learned some lessons that were hard, but even those were tempered with great love and kindness. At 85 years old, Mother is still teaching me a lot. The Lord is still using her each and every day where she is right now. She feels useless as she struggles in Rehab, yet those that are around her and are assisting her with therapy, see an incredible little lady. Yes, they are learning something from her each day as did we all learn from Daddy in his last years that probably seemed very desolate to him. What we now see as heartbreaking for them is another chapter that unfolds in all of our lives, just a different time and place, but still we are to be thankful and rejoice in it all.
Missy Buchanan wrote the following when her mother was living in the same Independent Living facility where Dwight’s mother was living and it seems very relevant with Mother’s state of circumstances at this time.
“NOT THE END OF THE STORY”
They say every good story must have a beginning, a middle, and an end.
I suppose that is true for novels and fairy tales too.
For my own story, the beginning and middle were written years ago, but not the final chapters.
So far, it’s been an interesting story with twists and turns in the plot.
And if I look carefully, I see evidence of your faithfulness written on every page.
Lord, I still don’t know how the last few paragraphs will unfold.
I’m not sure when I will draw my last breath.
But I do know for certain, the story won’t end there.
Your promise of eternal life gives real meaning to the fairy-tale ending: “And they lived happily ever after."
John 5:3-9 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for a moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in the condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. NKJV
Monday, December 23, 2013
Since my mother’s accident over Thanksgiving weekend, I have reflected a lot on the love, security, and comfort that defined home to me. I was in my 30’s before I realized that ours was not a “Beaver Cleaver” home…but what we had was probably a lot more normal. Yesterday was my parent’s 66th Wedding Anniversary and today is Roots Day. I did not remind Mother of their anniversary, as it would have made her increasingly sad, as it seems these last 16 years she has missed Daddy more than the year before and she so yearns to be with him once again. With Mother now in rehab, our Christmas will be different this year. My sister and youngest nephew came in to see Mother and bring their gifts for our exchange. My sister gifted Mother and I with prints of old family photographs. When I opened them, I cried, but we have been crying a lot since Mother’s accident. Dwight and I were talking about being thankful that Cindy and Matt got to see Mother on Friday, for it was a good day for her and unfortunately her difficult days are becoming more frequent.
Family gatherings, old photographs, sharing childhood stories and those of our ancestors all help us discover our roots and learn of the things that have made us who we are today. I believe that finding our roots gives us a sense of belonging that we may not even realize we were missing. In 1982, my parents vacationed in Colorado for the first time. As a young boy, my dad had lived in Colorado and during that vacation, he had gone in search of his childhood home. Upon returning home to Texas, they showed us incredible photos of Colorado tourist spots where they had captured the Lord’s glory in its finest. There were also pictures of Daddy’s childhood home against the backdrop of a distant range of mountains and they were captivating as well. These pictures that seized my attention revealed a small and very plain little house that no longer had a roof, was void of its windows and one wall laid in ruins. This was the home that MY grandfather had built for his family—my grandmother and his three little boys.
Soon after seeing these pictures of their 1982 trip, I came up with a plan to move Daddy’s home from Colorado to our family farm in Texas and presented my plan to him. Being realistic, Daddy told me of all the cons to offset all the pros of my plan. Of course, it was his money that I was using in “the plan” estimates and it just did not seem as enticing and practical to him as it did to me. I certainly did not have the $100,000 plus dollars it would have cost to buy the home from the current owners, and for the cost of dismantling, moving and rebuilding the house, so the idea was quashed.
My husband grew up vacationing in Colorado during the summers, as his mother too had lived in Colorado as a young girl. In 2001, she wanted to take another trip and asked us to go along. As the trip began, I was very excited with the prospect of finding my dad’s home which was what I wanted more than anything on the trip. The first night we stopped in Raton, New Mexico where Dwight’s parents stayed in an RV park and we stayed at the Best Western. Early the next morning we checked out and went to the RV Park to start the journey to Colorado Springs. They had decided they wanted to stay and rest a while longer and urged us to go and to find my dad’s home. Our trip was to be a three week vacation, and I had thought we would search for Daddy’s home at the end of the trip instead of the beginning, but instead we headed out that morning looking for the little house. I began praying as soon as we left, knowing that I was going to be terribly disappointed IF we did not find the little house, as that had become the main focus of planning for me…to find Daddy’s home. The longer we drove, the more I prayed as it was not long into that journey that I realized, it was going to be like “looking for a needle in a haystack”. And the more I talked to the Lord, the more I talked of concession, realizing that I just did not have enough information (just a few pictures from the 1982 trip) for anyone to direct us to Daddy’s home in the vast wilderness of His Colorado Plains. My dad had died in 1997 and Mom could only tell me what she remembered of their search 19 years before “if you can find the school house, you can find your Daddy’s house which is a mile or more from the schoolhouse”. As I viewed the Plains I kept thinking that I certainly never recalled seeing pictures or of studying THIS Colorado in school. What I saw of the Colorado Plains made west Texas look heavily populated. It was definitely going to take the Lord’s intervention and guidance to find Daddy’s little home in the vast and barren lands we were traveling. .
Two hours into our drive, we came to a fork in the road and the first little town called Walt’s Crossing. As I remember, we had not seen any cars, houses, or cattle since leaving Trinidad, Colorado. I had believed we had to be going the wrong way, not believing that anyone could have lived and survived in the wilderness of this land. Walt’s Crossing had a home which was also an art gallery. When we went inside, the folks were as excited to see us as we were to see them. We asked if we were on the right road that would take us to Pritchett, Colorado. They were puzzled why we were looking for Pritchett. I showed them my pictures and they knew nothing of the home or schoolhouse, but said to stay on the same road for the next 70 miles and once we got into town to stop at the Post Office or General Store for assistance.
As we entered town, we found the Post Office with ease. Pritchett was as much a ghost town as those seen in the old Westerns shown on television. I certainly was not surprised after our three hour drive through the Plains. The woman working at the Post Office had only been in the area for a couple of years and knew nothing about the home or the schoolhouse. She sent us to the General Store—the only other business open in town. The General Store served as a bar and diner as well. The lone woman working took our hamburger orders as I viewed the meager grocery supplies. It was obvious that Pritchett was not home to many folks or they were definitely due a big delivery to stock the bare shelves. When she brought our burgers, she asked what we were doing in town. I pulled out my pictures feeling a little foolish in asking as I believed it was pointless to ask anyone else if the Postmaster did not know where the old schoolhouse could be found. Once our multi talented friend at the General Store looked at the pictures, she told us something like “I not only sell, sack and shelve groceries, tend bar, cook, serve and bottle wash, I ALSO mow for the county and know exactly where this home is!” She then went on to tell us that there were only two such structures remaining in the Colorado Plains and this was one of them. Once we finished lunch, she directed us to the Co-Op to get gas and gave directions to Daddy’s home. I was too excited to take time to get gas first, so we proceeded in search of Daddy’s home. No luck. We headed back to the Co-Op and as we were gassing up, we talked to the man running the Co-op. He was a local and actually remembered the family name and thought he remembered my dad and his older brother. He went inside and called the owners of the ranch and told Joyce that I was searching for my dad’s home. She invited us out, gave us directions and we were soon on the road in my quest to find our family roots and incredible blessings from the Lord.
Joyce met us as we pulled into their drive. She took us out to the barn to meet Eddie, her husband. I showed them the pictures and they explained when they bought the property, they built their own house literally around the old schoolhouse. Through the back barn doors, Eddie pointed to Daddy’s house---way in the distance. He gave us a crow bar to use in turning over rocks as the Plains are a prolific rattlesnake habitat. They told us that we could take our time and have anything from the house that we wanted. I was glad we were in Dwight’s pickup as I definitely wanted rock from the house.
For three hours, we walked around the house and the land. I can not explain the incredible and overpowering feelings I experienced at the home site. The home stood near a cliff above the deep canyons and I SAW the beauty amid the barrenness. My grandfather had quarried the rock from the stone canyons below and had hauled the rocks up out of those deep canyons. Many of the rocks actually had the signs of the pick he had used in cutting the stone. I could count the numerous strikes just by the pick marks on the many rocks as I intently gazed at the stone walls of the home…the fruit of his hard labor. The house was a small one room home with a dirt floor, yet he had to have labored very hard to build the home for his young family. To load and haul the large rocks from the canyons would have been a difficult feat as well. As we went through every inch of the house, Dwight pointed out that what made the difference in Granddaddy’s house was that he had made mortar and used it instead of mud that would wash away. And he had taken barbed wire and used it like modern day rebar is used in strengthening structures to withstand the elements and storms. He had to have been as wise as my dad as the small home had at that time withstood almost 80 years of the harsh elements of the Colorado Plains. We later realized that the same was true of the schoolhouse which was probably the second “remaining structure” we had been told about. Inside the house, Granddaddy had taken strips of wood and embedded them into the rocks creating pegboards. I imagined the boys using them to hang their little clothes and other items such as Grandmother’s pots and pans. As I peered out each of the openings where the windows and doors had been, I wanted to capture what they saw as they looked at the vistas outside their little home. When we walked outside, I picked handfuls of the native flowers that looked like yellow baby’s breath growing wild across the land. I was seeing this all at summer’s end, but I also tried to imagine what it was like for them in the fall, winter and spring and a wellspring of love flowed within me as I imagined the hard daily life of my dear family in the barrenness of the Colorado Plains. It was a life that eventually brought them to Texas in 1934 when my dad was ten years old.
Wanting to thank Eddie and Joyce when we left Daddy’s home, we headed back to their house. As we pulled up in front of their home, we saw their dog, a Rin Tin Tin look alike and she was nursing a litter of kittens. What a surprising yet delightful and sweet sight to see! They wanted us to come in to meet Eddie’s mother as he had called her and she had come to share her own memories of those times during the 1920’s and 1930’s. They gave us a tour of the home and we actually sat in the old schoolhouse which was the large den area of their home. I was shown the area of the room where there was an elevated floor which served as a “stage” for the school. They used it for plays, choir practice and other school programs. After acquainting me with the school, Joyce presented me with a packet and explained with the purchase of the ranch, the school was included as well as all the records going back to the beginning of the school. She had been appointed the County Historian and therefore had all the records dating back to when my family lived there. She had spent her time searching the records while we were out at the home site. She made copies of pictures of the students, of which my father and his older brother had not been identified and she was now able to “name” them. She gave me copies of the teacher's contracts, my dad’s report cards and other miscellaneous data that she thought would be of interest to me. I was so incredibly overwhelmed and thankful to have received all that she found and was so kind to share with me. I could not have been happier if I had found a treasure chest of gold.
That magical day has been one of the most memorable days I have spent with my family, even though I was the only one there, I felt they were ALL with me in spirit and the love I have for them was felt as strongly that day as if they were all right there with me. As we drove away from the ranch, I gazed back upon Daddy’s little home in the distance until it was merely a dot on the Colorado horizon. I felt a mixture of emotions, a sadness as I knew that I had seen Daddy’s childhood home for the first and last time, yet at the same time I felt so incredibly happy because I had found such treasures and would carry those memories in my heart for the rest of my life.
The rest of our vacation was incredible too and so full of the Lord’s surprises and blessings. That very night we checked in to the Garden of the Gods Motel in Colorado Springs. We had gotten ready for bed and were both deep in some good reads. As I was ready to go to sleep, I got up to look out the window to see if we could see Dwight's truck from the room and was absolutely shocked to see it was SNOWING! It had been warm that day in Raton and Pritchett too. The next morning we awoke to view the most incredible winter wonderland! We got dressed and immediately started driving through the mountain passes taking tons of pictures and enjoyed sights I had never seen! After days of glorious snow, it warmed up and the snow melted, leaving a variety of hues that only the Lord can paint. I told Dwight over and over that I knew “the Lord did this just for me since I have so wanted to see the beauty of Colorado”. In less than three weeks, it looked like we were there for three seasons---summer, fall, and winter. God is good and all the time!
Several weeks later on our return from Colorado, we were several hours away from home when I had a memory of the year my grandmother gave all the grandkids quilts for Christmas. She made Sunbonnet Sue quilts for the girls and a Fisher Boy quilt for my brother. She had finished all the quilts except for mine. Instead she gave me a quilt from her collection. I was disappointed, yet would have never let it show, not wanting to hurt or upset my Grandmother. Since it was an old quilt, I carefully wrapped and stored it away. It had been stored for years, as I had never used it as it was fragile and I was afraid I would ruin it. As we were driving, I suddenly thought of the long forgotten quilt and believed it to be a friendship quilt. I got so excited as I told Dwight that was the only place the family had ever moved away from and I believed it was a Friendship Quilt and IF I remembered correctly, it had to be from Pritchett when they moved to Texas. When we got home, the first thing I did was search and find that quilt and YES! It was from 1934 and women from Pritchett embroidered their names on the various flower blocks. Once I got the school records out, I had the student’s names and their mother’s names. I realized then that my Grandmother knew me better than I knew myself. She could not have given me a gift that I would treasure more—a piece of our family heritage that the Lord Himself has written. Thank you to my Dad and his family and thank you always to the Lord in all things and in all ways, for He is in it all!
I would like to urge you to discover your own vistas and the undiscovered roots of your heritage as it will be an incredible life changing experience and probably full of many blessings such as these have been for me. Moments such as these are so good and to be cherished for the love of our awesome families.