Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Day 14- A Day of Love

I see you trying to be the StAr Jerry
The day Jerry discovered selfies was everything
So... as I've told Jerry many times before, this is MY blog. I update when I feel like writing, when I feel like I need to write or when I want to write. This is why I won't update everyday. This is my thing. I will ALWAYS write on anything new regarding my mom, that way specific prayers will be lifted up for her by name and cause.

She starts chemo this week. I can't imagine the emotions she has nor do I want to. I keep trying to give her some of my skinny clothes, but she won't take them. Pretty soon I'm going to stop offering and start praying I fit into them again!

She is feeling "great" (if that's even a word to use... and yes Jerry, I know she feels bad every day- but it's the best of the worst.... I will not bring your leaf blower back, help you cut the yard, have spend the night parties at your house or bring Oliver over anymore if you don't get out my grill- JK SHOUT OUT TO JERRY FOR FILLING UP MY CAR SATURDAY CUZ I AIN'T GOT NO JOB).

I had lunch with Diane Martin today. Mrs. Diane, I love you more and more and more with each phone call, text message conversation, lunch date and hugs at church. I'm almost positive her and Mrs. Bonnie are the ONLY TWO PEOPLE IN THE WORLD that will let me tell a whole "story" from start to finish without telling me to take a breath. I also think I'm crying because of that. No. I am now.

Cancer sucks (if I could figure out the trademark symbol on this macbook to put beside that phrase I would- me and Emily say it way more than we'd like).

Not having a job sucks.


I was packing up my wedding china yesterday, and Mrs. Edie Hudson came inside to pick up my mom. Well, as timing would have it- I just started the first phase of a full on Casey Meltdown. When Leslie has them, we call them "having a Varsity". I'll tell that story later because it's freaking awesomely hilarious. But, my mom was encouraging ME (ridic) that the perfect job is out there.

I get so discouraged. Jerry takes care of me in a lot of ways (BOUGHT MY CAR TAG LAST WEEK ALL BY MYSELF HOLLA). So much so, I DON'T KNOW HOW TO BE AN ADULT SOMETIMES AND BEING AN ADULT IS FREAKING HARD. But. Out of all the ways he's "hindered" my abilities as an adult, he's made me have a job since I was 14. That's worth more than knowing how to grocery shop (judgement free zone here). So, not having a job is wearing on my very soul. Having a job, doing a good job, and impressing my boss is important to me. My work ethic comes straight from him (sorry Patty I hate housework... I can't do the housewife thing- that's harder than adulting it everyday).

So. Back to Mrs. Edie and my meltdown. Patty is used to them. Everyone who knows me well enough is used to them. She's encouraging me, I'm packing up my gorgeous wedding china, she starts chemo tomorrow and my lip quivers. I'm frozen. I hold my breath. She turns the corner and immediately says- "oh my gosh are you about to have a meltdown?" It wasn't funny, but now it is. It always is after, because it's so matter of fact. Meltdown time, huh? I just nodded. SO SHE FEELS THE NEED TO HUG ME. Like when it's meltdown time, don't touch me. don't hug me. don't pet me. don't even look at me. Well, sweet Mrs. Edie didn't know this. She walks in the front door and is all "NOOOOO WHY YOU CRYING" Patty is just like-"oh she's about to have a meltdown. Ready to go?"

I'm laughing as I type this. Because meltdowns are so typical in our family sometimes they're hilarious. We aren't just private with the public, but with each other. So when a meltdown happens- IT HAPPENS. I always try to fix everything myself. I've never just been brought to my knees in prayer to seek God's help in all these issues.

She just hugs me so tight encourages me even more. Which is just so. gah. I can't even put into words what it was, but this was my devotion that morning...

"But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: You will lie down in torment." 
Isaiah 50:11

Beloved, never try to get out of a dark place except in God's timing and in His way. A time of trouble and darkness is meant to teach you lessons you desperately need. Premature deliverance may circumvent God's work of grace in your life. Commit the entire situation to Him, and be willing to abide in darkness knowing He is present. 

He has shown his presence through these ladies that I wish I would have gotten to known long before these unfortunate circumstances happened. I CAN'T DO IT ALONE. I WILL FAIL. That has been my recent prayer. I have a control problem. I'm selfish. I like to do things myself (except the stuff Jerry does for me of course... Lord please send me a man half as good as he is). The whole "let go and let God" is a tough one for me. But- I don't really feel like lying down in torment, so maybe I should rethink that.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Unlucky 13

Because that's how I feel at this exact moment. Un.Luck.Ey.

I know I'm not supposed to, but I can't help but wonder- if I had never gotten engaged, planned a short 8 month engagement for a March wedding, would my mom have gotten the hysterectomy like Dr. Odom suggested over Christmas? Would she have decided to go ahead and get the DNC, but instead proceeded with the hysterectomy when the abnormalities were found? OR JUST GET THE HYSTERECTOMY LIKE ORIGINALLY SUGGESTED? If so- would we be facing this battle? Tears are streaming down my face as I type this... just as they were when I asked her the same questions earlier this afternoon. "You can't think like that Casey. If God wanted me to have cancer I would have gotten cancer regardless".

She wanted to feel healthy for her half marathon she runs every year and my wedding- a wedding that didn't. even. last. Which makes me even more sick to my stomach and blame myself even more. I know, I know "Casey this isn't your fault. Casey you can't blame yourself. Casey stop making this all about you. blah blah blah" but like, how could I not? It was MY wedding she wanted to be healthy for? I took vows in front of our friends and family and to God and he threw them out the window. If she had gotten the hysterectomy, the cancer wouldn't have had the ovaries to attach and grow in. We even discussed pushing the wedding date back, but I was on the fence about it and he "didn't want to lose money" on deposits. So as quickly as it entered our minds, it left.

I know how narcissistic I sound.. blaming myself, the wedding, all about me and it being my fault, should have pushed the date back. Do ya'll even know how much I loathe the mirrors in the foyer? I HAVE TO STOP AND CHECK MYSELF OUT. IT'S A PROBLEM. I am narcissistic there.... not even ashamed, because I know I've been caught :/ Patty even will poke me when she catches me... oops. Wish I could say I was wanting to stay pretty for Jesus, but that's a lie and I don't feel like getting struck by lighting at the moment. Jerry has enough on his plate.

I do know somethings that I'm thankful for today. Emily texts me everyday and we tell each other what we are thankful for. The other day, it was a real diet coke and not a Kroger brand because I could afford one. Today, it's Brooke Mitchell, Edie Hudson and Nelda Moore.

Brooke shaved down Cooper and Elvis for us yesterday. If anyone knows anything about Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, ya'll know the sweeping is involved. I actually don't know who's more thankful- me or Jerry. BEING A HOUSEWIFE IS HARD YA'LL AND I DON'T KNOW IF I CAN DO IT.

The picture with Cooper on the right is actually Tucker. Brooke and Jonathan bought one of Cooper and Hallie's puppies a few years ago. SO NOW HE'S CLOSE BY FOR US TO SEE ON OCCASION. He looks exactly like Baxter.... I can't even stand it. I haven't been able to get a good picture of naked Elvis, but when I do, rest assured- it will be posted. Because it's hilarious.

Today, Mrs. Edie, Mrs. Nelda, my mom and me had a fun girls spa day. SO THANKFUL for ladies that love and cherish my mom to make her feel beautiful. Tuesday we are going to Amy Head for them to show her how to contour her cheekbones to help with the hollowness. The ladies at Amy Head are just simply amazing. They did my makeup for my wedding and have long since been our go to cosmetic place. It's so nice when you walk in the door and they know you by name. I adore those ladies. Plain and simple.

I also work part time for the Mississippi Braves and had the pleasure of seeing my 10th grade English teacher Mrs. Diane Carr. That was a fun and nice surprise. I will never tire of seeing our former church members from Summit. I grew up there. Throwback to that Olan Mills church directory style family portrait.

This picture needs no explanation- other than the reason of why I was so chunky on the night of my high school graduation-thanks senior year of high school and my discovery of beverages only to be consumed by those over 21. I love these two people so much it can't be put into words and never will.

As for my Biblical subliminal message, I leave you with this...

Baxter wanted to be filled with the word. Literally.... so he ate it


Monday, March 23, 2015

Day 12- Living Life on Good Friday


"The church has been so good to us, and we just so appreciate you and appreciate you recognizing our 10 year anniversary with you. It is OUR 10 year anniversary, because Patty has helped me so much and assisted me so often in the work that I do here as your pastor and I just appreciate her."

I get social anxiety sometimes when going to church, because I've been in the spotlight my whole life. I know I am not that important and think people notice me. Sometimes, I just want to hide. So since I got to the age where I could choose if I attended or not, I chose not. That's why a lot of you do not know me. So when Mrs. Diane Martin asked about us being there, the first words out of my mouth were "I'M NOT GOING ON STAGE. I CAN'T DO IT. I WILL NOT GO ON STAGE. THAT IS TOO MUCH!" She just laughed and said "OK OK no stage! Sit in the back and hide... We just want you there period!" I'm so glad I was able to tell the surprise to my mom, on the off chance she could be there. She fought HARD and got there. She is always proud of Jerry, but this was a special moment and she wasn't missing it.

I so badly wanted to say Patty was coming to church in my post yesterday! But, being private, we wanted to slip in and not cause a scene and take away from the service. I'm sure ya'll saw it, but the hope and light and joy in her eyes as she hugged each and every one of you was so amazing for me and my sister to witness. They love ya'll as much as ya'll love them.... AND ya'll love us :) I expected all the attention to be on Patty! Definitely not a lot of attention on me and my sister- because again, Wynndale doesn't know me like FBC Summit does, and that's my fault. But ya'll encouraged us with your words as well. For that, thank you... you don't even realize. 

***Side note: Honestly, when Jerry said Patty would be in the foyer to see everyone, I knew that would be crowded chaos and germ infested close quarters for everyone! I was just making sure Jerry knew where I thought it best for her to be set up because of how much easier it would be for me and Leslie to be beside her in case she needed anything, and because I'm usually right***

I also loved getting to see some of my "friends". I don't know if they know it, but Diane Martin and Edie Hudson are my new best friends. Like I said, I may not be theirs, but they're mine ;) Also, facebook has allowed me to put so many faces to names! It's been wonderful!

Like Jesus lived on Thursday of his crucifixion week, he spent it surrounded by friends and those filled with love and affection for one another. That is how we all felt yesterday. I could live like that every day- (words of affirmation is my love language, thanks Gary Chapman for that book.. I can't deny anymore that I love words of praise and material gifts, making me look bad.)

Unfortunately, a day like that isn't reality. 

"Most of the time and most of life is lived under the agony, the accusation and the abandonment of a Good Friday. That's life. Because life is difficult. You don't have people always telling you how great you are, surrounding you and telling you they love you, applauding you for what you are doing. So often our lives are lived like Jesus lived his life on Good Friday." 
Jerry Smith

Even in the midst of persecution, mockery, torture, abandonment- Jesus forgave. He obeyed God. He loved his persecutors and forgave those who mocked him. He made sure his mother would be taken care of. He still thought of others while he sacrificed himself to save the world. I wish I could do that ON MY BEST DAY. Because a lot of days I'm in, you guessed it, Casey Land. Sometimes, I just don't like people. That's ok. But that would mean I'm not living as Christ has called me to live. Ballgame. Gotta destroy Casey Land :/

Because when we all get to heaven (MY FAVORITE SONG TO REQUEST DURING OUR 5th SUNDAY SING-A-LONG AT BETHEL BAPTIST CHURCH. My 4 year old self would stand up on the pew and raise my hand as high as I could to request a song I didn't fully grasp the meaning of until later. Still a favorite hymn of mine today), I want to be told "Good job my well and faithful servant"

I loved Jerry's messaged yesterday. It's so relatable at any time in your life. If you are having a day like Jesus had on Good Friday, don't falter. Continue to be faithful and obedient, God has not forgotten you and you will receive his blessings for doing so. I've had a lot of "Good" Fridays lately. It's hard to stay faithful and obedient... I'm also stubborn and think I'm smarter than I actually am. My two things to stay faithful and obedient on would be to stay faithful with a constant prayer time and staying obedient by truly believing God has his reasons for the things he allows to happen. As hard as it may be, we are called to Accept it. Stay faithful. Stay obedient. Spend time in his word. Pray that he will be glorified in it all.

"At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen."

2 Timothy 4:16-18

If we find ourselves always living on a Good Friday remember- 


Patty goes back to the doctor tomorrow to find out what her treatment plan will be. It's a little nerve racking for us all- and it's caused a lot of her closet to be off limits to me. Hopefully we will be able to know tomorrow and not have to wait much longer.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Day 11- Take Me To Church

Yes, that was a pop culture reference in my title. No, I don't really know what the song is about- I just like it?

I'm supposed to be getting ready for church (oops). But I wanted to share this quick post about my devotion this morning... and also, thumbs up to those that wake up super early every morning to do your devotion and talk to Jesus. IT'S FREAKING HARD. I'd rather listen to KLove and sing at the top of my lungs to Big Daddy Weave and call that devotion. Sure, it's worship- but it ain't reading the word. Let's be honest... but if you won't tell, I won't.

This made me ponder (Stephanie Stewart Byrd) and come full circle of understanding-

Don't steal tomorrow from God's hands. Give Him time to speak to you and reveal His will. He is never late- learn to wait.

He never shows up late; He knows just what is best;
Fret not yourself in vain; until He comes just REST.

For an impatient, anxiety ridden, stressed out, right here right (Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka reference) type of person- not to reflect on my parents parenting skills, by the way- THAT'S HARD. BEING PATIENT IS HARD. I've rushed a lot of things that I ended up regretting later. If I had just waited on the Lord, his timing would have been perfect and I would have saved a lot of heartache and cleaning up a lot of messes. Also, the more time I rush, the less time I have to spend with Patty- if it's God's will.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose"

Romans 8:28

A verse so simple and so worn out from being repeated over and over for comfort. I often get angry at cliches, but I finally get this verse and believe it. We may never know (this side of heaven) why God allowed my beautiful, compassionate, friend to all, wonderful, spiritually influential, Christ like example, enviously healthy mother to contract Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer. Cancer sucks (as me and Emily often say). But I do pray that God will be glorified in her disease. I do know all things work for good, according to HIS purpose (not ours, remember). My mother seeks the Lord and loves him with all her heart (more than me or the cavaliers!) and because of that love she unfalteringly has for God, the Bible assures us (or reassures us when we start to get discouraged) God works for her (never lacking in sympathy as I've previously posted about) good and for some reason, this is what purpose he has called for her. She's been rattled. We've all been rattled. But I'm so joyful in things we've forgotten about and we are not bitter or angry at God. The more I study these scriptures, the easier it is for me to not be angry. God loves me. God loves you. God loves Patty Louise Sutherland Smith (like all those 4 names Patty?) He blessed her with a husband who is up for the challenge and has given her to strength to fight. GOSH I LOVE MY PARENTS THEY'RE SO AWESOME.

**See ya'll at church- please no autographs. Jerry will get jealous.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Day 10- Praying My Way Into Full Faith

THIS IS IT YA'LL. (I'm going to start posting a hyperlink somewhere in my posts that will take you directly to Jerry's sermon archive. You will be able to recognize it by the different text color.. or I might just tell you)

I struggle with prayer. If God's will shall be done regardless, if he's already written our life story, the ending, WHY DOES HE CALL ME TO PRAY FOR SOMETHING THAT HE'S ALREADY DECIDED TO DO?!

"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." 

Romans 8:26
"Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!" 

Psalm 4:1

{If only, we need to be praying to receive help in our weakness and allow the Lord to give us relief when in distress. We may not think he hears us, but he totally does.}

I have struggled with that for YEARS. Until recently.... it clicked. I have had many Biblical discussion with 3 of my best friends over the
years... Emily Nunnelee Thompson is the one who has shed light on so much for me (please don't hurt me for saying your name again, but you deserve prayer too). We don't pray for our will to be done, we pray for God's will to become our will. She has told me that as many times as I can remember. She doesn't like it when I tell her this, but I look up to her in so many different ways... friendship, how to treat others, how to handle tough situations, how to gracefully handle the happy situations, how to make a friend- even though she has more than enough "everyone could use one more friend"- how to react to things period and most importantly how to show the love of Christ to others through her daily life. I am so PROUD to call her my best friend. She was my matron of honor, and I was a bridezilla to the max, but she never faltered, calmed me down and reminded me "it's going to be fine!" I hope everyone has an Emily, because I ain't releasin' her from my clutches ANY time soon. Her husband is in seminary in Washington, DC and it's been tough having her so far away.... good news though... HE GRADUATES IN MAY AND THEY'RE MOVING BACK TO MISSISSIPPI.
Emily has recently gone through struggles of her own, her dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor last June. Shortly after his diagnosis she was thrilled to announce her pregnancy with a sweet baby boy- Mack. He is due in April. Sadly, Mr. Alan passed away in February. She has been such a strong pillar as she's processing her own struggles of dealing with his death and yet she's still managing to help me cope with my mom's cancer. She's an example of a selfless Christian lady and a true reflection of Christ. Her parents raised a magnificent Christian human being that I am fortunate enough and even more thankful to have the privilege to call her my best friend.

Tori Gaskin is over here with me right now and we are doing our devotion together... well she's trying to study and I keep talking... but that's her word against mine. We just got into a discussion regarding prayer, because I don't understand why I have to pray. Maybe that's me being bitter... who are we kidding? Maybe nothing- IT IS BECAUSE I'M BITTER. We just spent the last 15 minutes compiling a list of reasons why we are called to pray... here they are:

"The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth." 

Psalm 145:18 

Because it is supposed to be as easy as breathing, there's no excuse why we shouldn't (which we need oxygen to live, so prayer=life):
  • To overcome demonic barriers (Satan is all up in my grill constantly) 
  • To strengthen OTHERS spiritually 
  • To act out our faith in Christ 
  • To remain in the Father's will for our lives 
  • To act out God's will here on Earth 
"And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him." 

1 John 5:14-15

Sometimes God delays his answer in our requests to him for our own benefit in order for us to remain faithful and persistent in prayer. You don't only go to God in prayer when you want something to go your way, a special request granted, to pass a test or your parents to buy you a new car. You also don't only go to him when bad things are happening, someone is sick, you are laid off from your job or a relationship is destroyed. Doesn't mean I don't want my mom to be healed, but I have to consistently walk with the Lord in prayer.... praying at all times- during the good and the bad- which can hard. You wither want to pray when it's good (or not pray at all because it's good) or pray for the Lord to assist you in a difficult time and then it's all "thanks for the help God, it was real, catch ya next time I need you" like no. Just. No. Spending time in prayer will strengthen our relationship in Christ and I believe give us some insight on how to pray so that we can act out God's will here on here and remain in his will.

If we lack to consistently pray for both the good and the bad and only when hard times hit:
  • It demonstrates a lack of faith in God 
  • It demonstrates a lack of faith in God's word 
  • It demonstrates a lack of trust in God 
  • It demonstrates a lack of trust in God's word 
  • It makes us more susceptible to demonic influences 
  • It allows us to stray from the Father's will that he has for our lives 
"Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints," 

Ephesians 6:18

Now that me and Tori have thoroughly exhausted our discussion on the complicated subject of prayer, she is dragging me away to clean.... which should have begun over 2 hours ago. OOPS.

In conclusion, this is how we summed up today's lesson at the kitchen table,

<<Prayer increases our faith, our trust in him, gives us confidence that He is who He says he is and because Christ prayed we should strive to be in his likeness.>> 

"Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”" 

Luke 11:1

~~~I mean, I know I want to be like Jesus. So my recent prayer has been for him to teach me to pray. As Jerry would say, "simple as that"~~~

601.278.4849 (text)

<------Special thanks to my guest co-writer today, Tori Gaskin. Her words of wisdom are unmatched to mine alone.

Still Frat Stars over 50 #LifeGoals

Couples that volunteer together, stay together
This guy's sermon archive is here

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Day 9- It Is What It Is

It's such a beautiful day as I sit on the back porch reading my daily devotion out loud with my mom. This is not something we have done in the past... if ever really. As we sit here and discuss the devotion in depth and the meaning of the verses and try to understand and dissect the definitions of every line... Jerry interrupts my questions, half hypothetical, and audible thinking and says "No. Just stop. The more we try to dissect the why of every difficulty, the greater the confusion. Sometimes we just need to embrace the fact that 'it is what it is' and we need to allow those sufferings to impact our life for the good in order to bring glory to God and or bring us closer to him."

NO I’m not surprised God has presented us with this difficult journey (I mean, maybe a little... I live in Casey Land), but Patty has ALWAYS told me God doesn't promise lives as Christians would be easy. {Somewhat unfortunately as I'm still semi bitter} we are called to be thankful IN the sufferings (still hard for me to swallow) that my mom, or anyone, is having to experience. God is never lacking in sympathy, therefore God will give her strength to make it through- constantly. When we feel the most forsaken and lonely, God is still near. He is in the darkest cloud, and God never abandons us.
As I have sat here and talked in circles with Courtney and my dad, all sufferings allow us to rejoice in the fact that it will bring us closer to God to help us realize the enlarged capacity that we are capable of knowing him deeper.... if we allow it though. The idea is that it will enable us to conform to his likeness, which we should consider the ultimate privilege- I just now finally was able to wrap my brain around that- and rejoice IN (not for) the fact that we are experiencing sufferings as Christ Jesus experienced. As a Christian, that should be our highest aim- to conform to the likeness of Christ. THAT is a privilege. THAT is a suffering worth experiencing, if it conforms us to his likeness.

We also discussed how one person's suffering may not be another. Just because you don't have cancer, doesn't mean you aren't suffering. Her struggle is her health. I was laid off from my job on Monday. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a focus in Public Relations. It's been a year this week that I have been unsteadily employed. It's exhausting. It's confidence shattering. It's constant feelings of worthlessness. It's angering. I'm either over qualified, or my age prevents me from getting a chance to prove how hard of a worker I am. Jerry has made me have a job since I was 15. Consistently. So this is just earth shattering to me that I am having such a hard time.

Divorce and then unemployed and then my mom has cancer? THAT IS NOT FAIR DUDE. It seems I've been desperately searching for a full time job since I was forced to resign last March. My employers gave me a resign or be fired ultimatum a few days after I returned back to work from my honeymoon. How's that hit for your first week of marriage?

Starting off your marriage with a financial hardship is like you not hearing the gun go off at the beginning of the race. You're already behind before the race has even started. God wasn't in that marriage or any of the steps leading up to it. Sure we had extremely nice, brand new appliances and furniture, but what does that even mean when you can't come to the Lord in prayer together as husband and wife? Nothing. It was too much for him to handle and decided he didn't love me anymore. That totally sucked dude. Not even gonna lie. Like a bullet to the heart.

With the help of one of my closest and wisest friends, Emily Nunnelee Thompson, I have recently come to the realization that God can allow my divorce to transform me and change my life for his glory- that is, again, if I allow him to- which I've had a difficult time letting go and allowing him to do so. Picked up on the control issues I can posses at times? However, it wasn't until my mom's cancer diagnosis that I sat and actually had Bible study with my parents tonight. I now have regular Biblical discussions with several of my friends. I don't want that ever to go away.

I don't deserve The Lord's capacity for sympathy because those were my poor choices of marrying someone I was not 100% sure was a follower of Christ and living in sin through partying, disrespecting my parents and just not caring to be the person they raised me to be, but I know my mom does and it is so much greater than our sympathy for one another. It's so encouraging to know that he will never make our hearts hard, insensitive but instead instill in us affection, tenderness and truthfulness. Patty had all those characteristics before cancer. I can only imagine how the Lord will work in her to blossom those beautiful attributes he's blessed her with already.

This is a deeper post that usual. I was really convicted today after taking with my parents and then again with Courtney. JUST DONT UNDERSTAND SO MANY THINGS, but that's because of my lack of a strong relationship with my walk with the Lord.

<--------I feel awkward and self conscious about 9 times out of 10. -------------> Jenna Dickerson reminded me today, "don't stop writing... you never know how God is using your words to reach someone you may never know this side of heaven... you are worthy because HE made you worthy and for you to continue sharing your thoughts and unknowingly you encourage others and me every day."

NO. Jenna encourages me everyday. She influences me without even realizing it. Basically all she has to do is tell me I'm awesome and we're good... but she truly is a Godly woman. Who loves chickens.

I'm so #blessed to have so many Godly, influential friends that have stuck by me and unceasingly prayed that I fervently seek God's will for my life. I never had a clue.      --------------------------------------------------->

*Let us never forget, my parents are outdoors people* :)-------->

Also, if you want to catch up on Jerry's sermons, you can click here and it will take you to his sermon archive.

601.278.4849 (text any time)

Sunday, March 15, 2015



I wish I knew who made what, because I would personally thank you for that item. I can't play favorites so I won't mention my favorites (potato salad and deviled eggs), but everything was phenomenal. Me and Courtney went to visit Patty tonight and left not being able to move. After requesting Jerry allow us to leave with a doggie bag, I finally wore him down and took some home. JK Patty pulled rank... and gave us more toilet paper.

She was able to eat a lot of that amazing food. I brought Oliver with us for her to see (much to Jerry's dismay, because he specifically told me not to bring Oliver... again Patty trumps Jerry when I texted her to ask if I could bring him. He claims Oliver disrupts "his" dogs and the dynamic of the house which causes chaos).
<------Does this look like chaos ensued during our visit? I didn't think so. That's Cooper- the love of Patty's life. We call him "Special" because he's so.... special. Genius, right?

I was able to read her some of ya'll's sweet comments, and she was so thankful that I was receiving encouraging words, as well.

We then continued to play beauty parlor. When I was around 3-4, I was obsessed with playing with Patty's hair. She got a free head massage from my chubby toddler hands and I got to feel important and play with Patty's hair like the diva I was (or still am, that picture is for you Kristyn Boyd). Win. Win.

After getting to see my mom tonight, I also am getting to see my "pretend grandmother" tomorrow. MRS. BONNIE IS COMING TO SEE ME AND WILL BE HERE AT 1:30 P.M. No, I'm not counting the hours. If anyone doesn't know already, I lived with Mrs. Bonnie and Mr. Bubba during my senior year of high school at Parklane, so I could graduate with my friends. Bonnie and Bubba are ranked up there with Patty and Jerry. I rarely make a decision without consulting one of them. After learning of my mom's cancer, Bonnie is who I called and cried to. When Patty and Jerry don't know what to do with me, Bonnie is who they call. Poor Bonnie. She all up in the Smith family... hope she doesn't mind, because we aren't going anywhere. Needless to say, I can't wait for tomorrow and I am just praying so hard that Patty feels ok enough to be able to spend a short amount of time with us. WE HAVE SO MUCH TO TALK ABOUT. THEY ARE MY TWO BEST FRIENDS.

It's so crazy to get so excited about something so simple. I assume everyone will be here forever and no one will ever get sick. A month ago it would have been no big deal if Mrs. Bonnie came up to Jackson. We would have eaten lunch, caught up and I try to map out a weekend to come to McComb to stay with them. In this instance, I called her crying and begging her to come see me as soon as she could. Without skipping a beat to ask why- She said what is your work schedule, I told her 9-1, and she said ok I can be there by 1:30 on Monday or Tuesday. I couldn't wait until Tuesday, so she's coming tomorrow.

I'm afraid. I'm not strong enough in my walk with Christ to take to my knees in prayer, but I am strong enough to know I need to talk to Mrs. Bonnie.
"Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob... I will make you into a threshing sledge, new and sharp, with many teeth." Isaiah 41:14-15
I don't know about the many teeth, but I am partial to the new and sharp threshing sledge. I want a sword and a cape so bad... that would just make my life. But.. back to Jesus. I recognize I'm the worm here and I pray that I was selected for this journey to bring God glory, not take away from it. Because I know he can lift earth's saddest failure up to heaven's glory. 
"Follow Me, and I will make you..."
Make you speak My words with power,
Make you vessels of My mercy,
Make you helpful every hour.

"Follow Me, and I will make you..."
Make you what you cannot be-
Make you loving, trustful, godly
Make you even just like Me.

This was my prayer tonight. I had no idea my words were being read by as many people as they are... I'm slightly embarrassed but ridiculously humbled at the response. My dad is the one who people listen to for spiritual guidance. I am NOT THAT. I just.. write. Knowing my words are being read by a few more people than I realized, I'm praying my words will be spoken with God's power, they will be vessels of his mercy and allow me to be helpful every hour. I pray God will make me what I cannot be in order to be that for my mom, make me loving towards her, a person for her to trust and confide in, a godly reminder that he has not forsaken us and overall to be more like Christ.

I'll finish tonight with this picture of my parents camping.. their favorite thing to do together #relationshipgoals

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Day 7- God Has Secrets

As I sit here with a heavy heart, I look down beside the bed and I see this....
The Sweet Life of Oliver
 After I smile and roll my eyes at his carefree, ridiculously relaxed sleeping position (#cavposing is the correct term for this pose on his Instagram account- this is a judgement free blog so, yes, I created an Instagram account for Oliver in order to connect with other cavalier owners and lovers across the world. 900+ followers and counting #lifegoals) I think, how easy is his life? I'm actually jealous of my dog. Not even ashamed by that realization or the fact that I openly admitted it to ya'll. There is never any uncertainty in any aspect of his spoiled life. He has nothing to fear because I will always be there to take care of him. The only time he is forced to be patient is when I'm scooping his breakfast into his bowl and the torture during the walk from the food bin to the bathroom is unbearable. That's the extent of his worries.

I'm about to be cliche and use the term #blessed for a minute... but how Oliver is #blessed to have me (I don't even care how that makes me look because it's true. He's spoiled and I don't even care) I've been #blessed to have certain people in my life in the exact moment I needed them. 

My Aunt Pam has been the biggest blessing. We have always been a close family, but recently she has been a shoulder to cry on and an ear to chatter away to, as well as talk me through things to better understand what's going on. I have a whole new respect and love for her. She is the calm in my storm and a gentle reminder that not everything is as it seems. I can 100% say I'm closer to her because of these last two weeks than I have been my whole life. 

Disclaimer: She may kill me for this photo, but I don't even care because she's adorable

Tori Gaskin is a true servant of God. Unfortunately, like myself, she recently went through a divorce. God put her in my life at the exact moment I needed her. We were able to relate to each other in a way others fell short, because we understood the pain. I hate that we share that experience, but I'm so thankful I have her. I asked her if she had a devotion book I could borrow and to bring it when she picked me up for the gym (the child is a beast and has me on an insane weight lifting plan... at least she's an accountability partner). She walks into my house with a bag, and apologizes it wasn't wrapped- Sherry your daughter is so proper- she went to the Christian bookstore and bought me my own devotional,
a journal (for "private blogs" and prayers), 

a Max Lucado daily calendar titled "You Will Get Through This" with every day verses for my desk at work

A Westie for Waffle
and... wait for it....my favorite... book marks with puppies on them.
A Cavalier for Oliver

#cavitude #divabud

Courtney Welborn is my roommate, or I should say I'm hers. She so unselfishly and graciously invited me to live with her (fa free pwease and thank yew) while I'm getting back on my feet after my divorce and then losing my job (divorces are expensive ya'll). She has fed me, sheltered me and my ill behaved dog and constantly encourages me that God has not forsaken me....Not through my divorce, not through losing my job and now, not through my mom's cancer diagnosis. Sadly, this is another friend I have to share in this cancer journey. However, her journey was a positive one. Her mom was diagnosed with leukemia and has been in remission for the last 13 years. Oh, and she loves Oliver- which is really hard to do because he's such a diva.

L.B. Cowman wrote, "In the pathway of faith we come to learn that the Lord's thoughts are not our thoughts, nor His ways our ways. Both in the physical and spiritual realm, great pressure means great power! Although circumstances may bring us into the place of death, that need not spell disaster- for if we trust in the Lord and wait patiently, that simply provides the occasion for the display of His almighty power."
"Remember his marvelous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgements of his mouth" Psalm 105: 5

I am struggling with remembering all my blessings because I'm focusing on this dark cloud descending on my life and my family. God's hidden secrets that we are called not to fear, but be content and accept things I don't understand is like asking me not to pet a puppy I see walking by. Waiting patiently for him to reveal the "treasures of the unknown and the riches of the glory" of the mystery that is my mom's cancer diagnosis is like asking me not to eat pizza sitting in front of me. Those that know me know how much I love pizza and puppies.

This other verse really got me angry this morning, "Do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ" 1 Peter 4:12-13.

Uhhhh no I do not find it a privilege to have my mom diagnosed with cancer. Yes I am surprised something so strange is happening.. it's like if I ate junk food all the time and got super fat- I wouldn't be surprised I was fat.. that wouldn't be strange to happen, it'd be expected because I eat terrible. Cancer isn't something you expect and it's not a privilege you pray to have, but if so, pray that God will be glorified because you were selected for this.

I am desperately searching to feel the presence of God near me. I know the Bible says he is most near when I feel forsaken and lonely. However, It's like preaching to the choir. I know the correct answer, but it doesn't mean I practice what I preach.

Patty is getting up and about more. She has her puppies and her iPad of games. She is eating impressive amounts, but is in so much pain. She's legit about timing when to take her pain medicine. I'd be all "I CAN'T WAIT ANOTHER HOUR GIVE IT TO ME NOW". But she is so strong. We talked about all kinds of stuff last night- she is my best friend and it's been hard that I haven't had her to tell things to as she's been groggy. As I was leaving, in true Patty fashion, she couldn't resist getting up to pack me a bag of groceries from their pantry. I call it "Shopping in Patty's Pantry" because I can't afford to turn down free food! Or toilet paper.. she always sends me home with toilet paper. It's the simple things in life you don't think about, am I right?

I've said it every post, but thank you for every kind word of encouragement sent to me. I know ya'll are praying for my mom, but for you to tell me you are specifically praying for me as well- well, you are doing more than you realize for me.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


PATTY WENT HOME LAST NIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't know how many more exclamation points I can fit in there without seeming obnoxious. Me, Aunt Pam and Cousin Ashley just happened to be in there when Dr. Seago stopped by. He was asking her how she was feeling blah blah who painted her nails (of course I took credit for that one, they look awesome) and then slipped in there "doesn't look like you have much stuff to pack up to go home", and we all kind of paused... Patty was processing, Jerry had gone to get coffee and I was the only one who actually caught it and said, "wait, SHE CAN GO HOME TODAY?!" and then Patty goes, "WHAT?! I CAN GO HOME!?" Dr. Seago starts laughing at our reaction and responds with, "I mean unless you like being woken up by all the nurses and doctors all night?" To which Patty instructs my youngest sister Leslie to "CALL DAD WE ARE GOING HOME". I must admit, seeing my mom so happy broke me down and I couldn't hold back my tears. It's crazy how the smallest thing, such as sleeping in your own bed, can bring such joy in a time of difficulty. The only thing about this is, I may have to give Baxter (our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel) back to her :/ and that IS something I'm willing to negotiate on.

After being in that hospital room, it also hit me that my mom has cancer. We've had a rocky relationship over the past few months because of my poor decisions. My Aunt Pam has been so much more than a family member. She has served as therapist, words of wisdom, advice, suggest actions, teacher, interpreter for all the cancer jargon and most importantly a shoulder for me to cry on... because on the way home yesterday it was go time with the tears. This is her sister and she needs to let it all out too, but she silently let me chatter on and on and finally, when it hit me, she held me in her arms and let me sob.

This is going to be a long journey, and I'm terrified. I get more terrified by the day. She's my best friend and I have SO MANY THINGS to ask her, just in case. Like- who's going to tell me I look fat in my dress? Or that my hair is too blonde? Teach me how to make lefsa (my family is Norwegian and we make lefsa every so often, it's a flat potato bread that is like a pancake but super thin... IT'S AMAZING), CHANGE A DIAPER because Lord knows kids aren't in my future for A VERY LONG TIME, when I have a question about the dog- she is who i call- if not I'd be at the ER Vet once a week. I heavily rely on her for every life question and direction. Jerry has always taken care of me and my mom, so I have her to giggle with when we frustrate Jerry because we don't know how to do something "just let me do it and ya'll sit over there girls". We don't complain and just let him take over ;)

Patty is such a fighter and I hope I have many years to ask her all of the questions mentioned above. Even though I talk way too much and too fast, I'll need years to try and ask her 53 years worth of information stored in her brain.

Update from Jerry this morning:

We got home about 7 PM Wednesday night and had a fairly restful night's sleep.  We will spend today resting and trying to absorb everything that has happened in the last two weeks. We will also be trying to adjust to being at home without nurses, doctors , etc.

Keep us in your prayers and we will let you know if we need anything once we figure out how this " being home" is going to work out.

Some of you know that Emily Nunnelee Thompson is my best friend... that sounds so 2nd grade, but she really is. I've never had a friend like her (thanks Delta Gamma for bringing us together #DG4LYFE). Emily has recently lost her father, Congressman Alan Nunnelee to brain cancer. So recent, his funeral was held at the beginning of February. It's so unfortunate that we are having to go through this terrible circumstance together. It's so easy to ask "why", but if you do, you'll drive yourself crazy. Their encouraging verse was:
"16 Rejoice evermore. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18
Time and time again Emily would come back with visiting her dad and share with me her dad's joy and peace and her mom's support and strength, and always to be. thankful. It's hard to be thankful when you are struck with something like cancer. Debilitating cancer. But their family never ceased in staying thankful for all the many blessings God has bestowed upon them.

My family has chosen to remain faithful. You could also say "acceptance". Though that's a tough one for me to swallow. Acceptance of God's plan, his will for our lives and to continue to follow him in all circumstances. We also have to continue our efforts in remaining faithful to his plan. I am having a hard time with this still. I don't really want to remain faithful, at times. I want to get angry that my mom is in PRISTINE shape, hasn't eaten a bite of meat in almost 4 years, takes a shot of apple cider vinegar in her green juice smoothie every day to do something (she spits out so many health words I can't even begin to remember them all, so forgive me for not knowing the correct term here) to the lining of her stomach to prevent cancer cells from growing (ironic), runs like a maniac and is in better shape than my 27 year old junk food eating, wine drinking self. Cancer doesn't even run in our family!

However, as we continually talk about US remaining faithful to HIM, I HAVE TO REMEMBER that HE remains faithful to US. I feel so helpless and alone during this time and this verse was my quiet time this morning and it brought me to tears...

Psalm 146

Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
I will praise the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.
He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them—
    he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
    and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
    the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
    the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the foreigner
    and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
    but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
10 The Lord reigns forever,
    your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord.
Me and Emily were discussing our struggles and what important things to remember during this time during our morning chat. First and foremost, we have come to the conclusion that we could be preachers. Second and more important, if we openly fall before the cross and beg for help we will receive it. I am not strong enough to do this on my own, but God is. I cannot handle this all by myself, but God can.

As you can see below, me and Ashley found Jesus in the last place we wanted to be in... St. Dominic's Cancer Center. I like to think Jesus doesn't mind when we make light of a difficult situation :)

His Eye Is On The Sparrow
Since it's Thursday, let's throw it back to Sandi Patty circa 1980's style with a classic hymn.