Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Giving Tuesday - Charities That We Support

The Big Man and I were talking tonight - as he lay in a hospital bed, after having knee replacement surgery today - we are blessed.  We are not wealthy, yet after 19 years of marriage and raising 6 children we are blessed beyond belief.

Over the years as our blessing have grown we have focused on giving back to the community. There are 3 charities that we support. We believe in these charities to the point, that if, we won the lottery these 3 charities would be the first to receive our support.

Blytheville First United Methodist Church
The church is our rock - it is only by the Grace of God that we are blessed. The church's mission     team works diligently to support local charities.
The Great River Charitable Clinic is a free health clinic that provided medical, dental, optometry and pharmacy to the residents of Mississippi County that do not have insurance. The clinic was opened in March of 2009 - the Big Man and I have been part of the volunteer team since the clinic opened.
For those of us that have access to healthcare we do not think about what it means to not have healthcare.  For the patients of the Great River Charitable Clinic - access is life changing or life saving.  The clinic is operated on grants and community donations - the patients do not pay for any part of their care.

The Blytheville Humane Society - A No Kill Shelter.  The Blytheville Humane society is very dear to our hearts.  The Big Man and I have 13 rescue babies - each have come from horrible situations - they come into to our life scared, untrusting, yet they want to be part of the pack, they want to be loved.  The Blytheville Humane Society takes in the unwanted, the scared, the unloved - with a core of volunteers and only community donations - they provide care for up to 100 animals at a time.  No animal will ever be euthanized - For some that doesn't sound like much. But, can you imagine being scared, wanting someone to love, and then a person shows up - puts a leash on you and walks you down the hall only to say goodbye. 

My Grandpuppies
Just like every person deserves access to healthcare - every animal deserves a safe life - all of this is part of God's Plan.  We live by the Golden Rule and  we support charities that support the Golden Rule.

As the holiday season approaches, please consider donating to a charity that has meaning to you.
Have A Great Week

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Another Monthly Roundup - Blessed Life

Living a blessed life does not leave me much time for blogging. As the leaves changed colors during this past month - moving us into a new season, my life has been filled with work, doctor visits, volunteer activities, class work and homework. 
I have been a fulltime student for the last 2 years - working towards earning a post Master's Certificate for Family Nurse Practitioner.   I will complete my education next month.  During this past month I accepted a position with a local Family Practice  I will be working with 2 adult providers and an awesome pediatrician.    It is hard to believe that I am almost there -  I should open my practice in February
Over the next month - I have to finish the class and apply for boards, while sharing my time with the Big Man who is having knee replacement surgery and the youngest son who will be having back surgery.  I know this sounds like an unmanageable amount of stress - but God has blessed me by opening a couple of doors that will allow me not have to work from the week of Thanksgiving till the end of February if needed - God is Good.
As I begin a new chapter in my life - I am reminded that every journey begins with the first step.
Stay tuned to see where my steps lead me.
~ Connie ~

Monday, October 07, 2013

Playing Catchup - The Month of September

Where has the time gone? I have not shared my life with you since August.  Wow ~ 
Let's see since August - Youngest son is recovering from his surgery. 
My Youngest Son
The Big Man has reached the point of needing knee replacements. 
The Big Man
The youngest daughter has decided on a destination wedding. 
The Youngest Daughter and her family
The middle grandson has started playing football. 
Me and the two of the grandsons - They are 12 and 13
We rescued 3 puppies from a tiny town in Northeast AR that has very little compassion for strays. 
Hallie, Gert and Jules
They are safe at a rescue, awaiting their forever homes.
Of course I am still working 40+ hours a week and finishing the last semester of the family nurse practitioner program (Only 73 days left - not that I am counts)
Hoping everyone's life is as blessed as ours.
P.S. I did get a couple of runs in - sorry to say I am back to more walking than running.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Things a Texan Loves About The Great State of Arkansas

I realized today that it has been several weeks since I shared my life. I had a few minutes today, so I decided to check in at Arkansas Women Bloggers.  I am consistently amazed at the dedication of the bloggers at Arkansas Women Bloggers – this great group never misses a beat.

It isn’t like I have been doing nothing, since my last post, I coordinated a community wide 9 day free health clinic, finished the last 40 hours of clinical time and a final in adult health.  Today my few minutes of down time is – while I sit in a hospital room with my son who had surgery today – I will post more later this week on his surgery. 

Now I want to participate in the “top ten things I love about Arkansas” –  I will always be a Texan by birth but I truly love the Great State of Arkansas.

Favorite stretch of road in Arkansas: US 63 between Hardy AR and Mammoth Springs, AR.
Favorite time of year in Arkansas: October
Favorite place to eat fancy in Arkansas: Bistro 1121, Blytheville, AR.
Favorite place to eat casual in Arkansas: Olympia Steak House on the patio (Blytheville, AR).
Favorite place to get away in Arkansas: Mammoth Springs AR
Favorite place to walk in Arkansas: Craighead Forest, Jonesboro AR
Favorite thing that grows in Arkansas: Watermelon
Favorite place to swim in Arkansas: North Fork Lake
Favorite colorful expression or place name in Arkansas:  this one I have to think on this one…..
Favorite fair or festival in Arkansas: Blytheville Chili Cook-off

I can’t wait to see what everyone else says.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Weekly Round-up ~ Just Another Week in My Blessed Life

As I age, it seems like the weeks move by faster and faster, yet some task seem to keep going on forever.  How is that?  How can it be late July and only 5 months to Christmas and I still have 22 weeks left of the Nurse Practitioner program? 

Maybe it is true - time flies when you are having fun - and yes, my life is fun.  But time drags on when you are completing a task that isn't pleasant?  School isn't pleasant.
I am so anxious to have some time to be creative and tackle fun projects instead of school projects. This week I have been making plans for creative things I want to complete.  Below is a few of the projects I want to complete.
I want this for my dinning room table
I was blessed this weekend with 3 file cabinets like this one - I am going to use two in my craft studio.  I am going to paint one a cream color and use it in my dinning room.

While wasting time on eBay yesterday, I found these great vintage quilt blocks - lucky me bid on them and one.  I smile when I think about the time and skill that went into hand sewing each block. I plan to put them together, they will make a great quilt.
I hope each of you have time to nourish you creative side
~ Have a Great Week~
~ Connie ~

Monday, July 15, 2013

Weekly Round-up ~ 19 Years and Counting

Another week has come and gone - It amazes me when I sit down to share my life with you, how much life changes from day-to-day. 
The Big Man and I spent the 4th of July and our 19th Wedding Anniversary ill.  A horrible stomach bug consumed us for 14 days.  During that time we took turns caring for each other.  The spark or fireworks are still in our marriage - we depend on each other more today than every before.

We had time to talk about our life together - it does not seem like 19 years, unless you think about the milestones we have checked off.  The youngest son was 10 when we got married - now he is a grown man.  With the children we have experienced elementary school, middle school, high school, college (nursing, chiropractic medicine and collision repair), new jobs and the loss of jobs, marriage, divorce, and grandchildren.
As a couple we have survived working 12 hour shifts, one of us working  days and one of us working nights for 7 years.  We have started careers and ended careers.  We have ran for an elected office and won. We have experienced the loss of family members.  One of us (guess which one) has been in school for 15 years.
We have found a church home, worked together to assist the community with establishing a free health clinic, and opened our home to homeless animals. 
I have taken up running, scrapbooking and taught myself to knit. The Big Man has become a duck hunter, learned to eat sushi, and grown into a awesome handyman. We have trout fished, fished for red-snapper, hiked in the Smokey Mountains, & visited New Orleans.
Mammoth Springs, AR - Our Favorite Fishing Spot
Most importantly we are still Best Friends
Praying For Another 19 Years
~ Connie ~

Monday, July 08, 2013

Weekly Roundup ~ Sad and Blessed

It has been a few weeks sine I had time to share my thoughts - Life has been extremely busy, with work, school, more work, planning a community wide health clinic and keeping the free health clinic running.  There has been no time for sitting and thinking, or sharing my thoughts.
I have given up my part-time job.  No more teaching nursing online - I will miss the students, but I need the time.  Someone once said if something was easy -everyone would do it.  I truly believe that when it comes to running and becoming a nurse practitioner.  I had no clue 3 years ago, when a friend said "let's go back to school and be nurse practitioners"  how much time I was going to be spending reading about diseases and medications.  Just 5 more months  - staying focused.  I can do this.

As for running - just when I think I have a few minutes to add short runs to my schedule I get sick. The Big Man and I have had a stomach bug for 9 days - the only running in my world is to the bathroom.  To help me stay motivated about my running I signed up for a half marathon later in the year - not saying which one, just saying I did.  It is scary for me to admit I signed up for a half-marathon, what if I do not get to train, what if I do not finish, what if I fail...everyone will know.  Well it is out there - you all know, I signed up for a half marathon!

As I write this post, I am sitting here with a heavy heart - I young man who was special to me was murdered last night.  I can not help but wonder why? I know it is not our place to question, but I still sit here and wonder why?  This young man could have been my son. 

 By the grace of God I can only imagine the pain his family is experiencing.  I did realize today I can not tell my children enough how much I love them.  They are not perfect - but they are loves of my life. 

My Boys
My Ditty and her fellow
My Blondie
The King and his Mini Me
Each of them have grown into unique individuals. They are good people who know what it means to work hard. They understand the importance of giving and living life to its fullest.
 My heart is sad - but thankful for the blessings I have.
~ Connie ~

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Working With The Humane Society

This has been another crazy week, work,  adult health clinical, the free health clinic, and the humane society pet adoption day. Exhausted but bless is how I describe my life. 
Because my life is crazy with school I usually do not attend pet adoptions days - I also do not attend because I cry and want to bring home the dogs that are not chosen.  This week the Big Man and I decided to help out - it was an emotional day, but this time in a good way. 

“Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever” (author unknown).
The Blytheville Humane Society changed the life of 5 dogs and 2 cats on Saturday. 
A group of dedicated humane society volunteers took several dogs and cats to Petco in Jonesboro (60 miles away).  The humane society’s participation in adoption days at Petco will assist the humane society in becoming eligible for Petco Foundation grants and gives the animals an opportunity to show their personalities to the public.
On Saturday the world changed not only for the animals but also for the loving families that opted to adopt a shelter dog. 
Sinbad a sweet young adult, Cairn terrier/Shih Tzu Mix whose owner surrender him because, they no longer wanted a dog, found a home.  His family had spent the morning looking for a dog, they decided to stop by Petco just to see if any of the local rescue groups where at the store.  It was love at first sight, Sinbad was taking it easy in a volunteers lap when his new family spotted him.  He immediately perked his ears and almost smiled.   
Harmony, a terrier/pug mix had been previously adopted and was a very good girl.  Sadly, one of the children in the house was allergic to dog dander and Harmony was returned to the humane society.  Harmony spotted her forever Dad the minute he sat down with the dogs, she could not get in his lap fast enough – she left walking tall on her new leash.
Caleb, a young shy chiweenie (dachshund / Chihuahua mix) who was found starved & abandoned in a storage facility, picked his new family while the family was playing with the other dogs.  As the volunteers watched a young family play with the dogs, Caleb sat in the corner watching the family. The minute the lap of the child in the family was empty, Caleb sprinted across the space and jumped in the child’s lap, as if to say, yep you are my forever family. 
Courtney, a Chihuahua/Fox Terrier Mix found her forever home. She went home with a young lady who was all smiles as they left, the volunteers wonder if Courtney’s little feet will ever touch the ground.

Isabelle a very sweet 2 year old who is  great with kids and other dogs, was the last dog on Saturday to get her forever home.  Remember Caleb the chiweenie that picked out his family, the family had really thought Isabelle was the dog they wanted, but Caleb won.  The family felt they might know the perfect home for Isabelle, a grandparent’s home.  Before they left with Caleb they sent their grandparents a picture of Isabelle.  As the day came to an end the volunteer started backing up to bring those who did not find their forever homes back to the shelter – Isabelle was placed in a vehicle and started home. The young family came rushing back to the store for Isabelle, the grandparents thought she was perfect and wanted to be her forever home.  The volunteers could not have worked faster – they called the volunteer driving Isabelle to the shelter, she turned around and drove back to Jonesboro.
The volunteers will do anything to help an animal find a forever home.  After a few tears were shed, Isabelle left headed to her forever home. 
The packing up to go home continued slowly, because during the time the volunteers were waiting on Isabelle to return, a very sweet lady found her forever cat.  Suki, Siamese cat who had been in the shelter for over a year.    
Saturday was an emotional day for the volunteers and the animals, but in the end, life was changed for 5 lucky dogs, 2 cats, 7 special families who opened their homes to a shelter pet and for me - I realize I can not save them all - but I can make a difference.
~  Connie ~

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Weekly Wrap-up Victoria's Story

The Blytheville Humane Society can’t be everything to every homeless animal, but Saturday afternoon, the group worked together to be the one thing a starving homeless Mastiff mix, named Victoria needed.
 Susie Brooks got a call from Humane Society Member, Denise Johnson, she had found a very thin large brindle color dog on the side of the road just off the Victoria exit.  The dog had been there at least two days - we assumed whoever had dumped her on the side of the road had left her food, water, and a crate. 

 By luck, the shelter had an open pen, Susie asked Denise to bring the dog to the shelter. 

Victoria, even though she was starving, wasn’t ready to go with Denise.  A young couple stopped and tried to help.  Together they were able to get a leash on Victoria, but Victoria still wasn’t ready to get in a vehicle. 

After a couple of calls and text messages the Big Man and I got in the truck and headed out to help, with lunch meat we were able to coax and kind of shove Victoria in the crate.  After loading Victoria, I survived the area, thinking to myself, thank goodness whoever dumped her at the least left water, food, and a crate.
I believe Mississippi County has a big heart, standing on the side of the road Saturday afternoon, my beliefs were confirmed.  A man stopped, he got out of the care with a hot pizza and thermos of ice water for Victoria. This man travels that road every day, he had noticed Victoria on Thursday and fed her what he had in the car. He had feed her again on Friday, even went back to his house and made her a couple of peanut butter sandwiches. He told us that he had seen other people stop and fed her.  He was worried about her, he called 3 agencies in the county trying to get help, but was told each time that they could not help. He had even tried to coax Victoria to get in his car, but she wasn’t ready to give up her corner.  When he could not get her in the car, he had gone home and gotten a crate and blanket so that Victoria would have shelter in case it rained. 
The one concern the man had when we said we were with the Humane Society, was Victoria being euthanized. We quickly assured him, the Blytheville Humane Society is a no-kill shelter, and Victoria will be safe till we can find her a for-ever home. 

We will never know how Victoria got to the side of the road or why she did not jump at the chance to get in a vehicle with all the kind people who stopped and offered her help.

What we do know is, that in all situations there are unseen plans and good people do exist.  Too often we dwell or focus on the bad and we could do that in Victoria’s case.  Instead we are focusing on the good – thank to everyone who not only saw one of God’s helpless creatures on the side of the road, but who also offered her a helping hand.  It is the big hearts of Blytheville and Mississippi County that makes it possible for the volunteers of the Humane Society to care for the Victoria’s in our little corner of the world. 

~ Just another day in a blessed life~

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Life is Fragile

Today did not start as expected - it started with me standing by a friend as his wife left this life.  It is in those moments when I see how fragile life is, that I remember tomorrow is not promised.
Sitting here tonight with my four-legged babies, I started thinking about how quickly life changes.  My friend had been married for 35 years.  Like me, he is a nurse, he said to me - I have done this 1000 times for others, it is harder on this side (he was referring to being the family).  He is right, it is hard, it is also hard  to be a nurse and know that when God calls someone home, there is nothing we can do to ease the pain the family experiences. 
As I stood with my friend this morning, with my heart breaking for him, I realized that The Big Man would be devastated if I left him and I would be lost without the Big Man.
Tonight - I wonder how will my life be measured ?
In the end - there are more questions than answers. 
Remember to say what needs to be said -  Love like tomorrow doesn't exist - 
 Make sure your moments take your breath away.
Life is fragile
~ Connie ~

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Finding Peace

As usual - it has been a week. 
My mother use to say there is "no peace for the wicked" - I really don't think I am wicked, and I certainly hope no-one thinks I am wicked, but there has been no peace (will maybe just a little) at my house this week.
My washing machine decided to get sick last Sunday night - the repair man came out but she needs a transplant so we are on a waiting list - for a new drum.  Hopefully she will be well by this coming Thursday.
My car decided it didn't want the washing machine to have all the attention - so she let a wheel-bearing go out. Luckily, we have an awesome mechanic who got her fixed quickly.  But, it meant a trip to the Chevrolet / Cadillac dealership where the Big Man decided he needed a new truck.
  Look what the Big Man got - A New Shiny Red Truck
Oh, but we were supposed to pick the truck up on Friday afternoon, instead we made an emergency run to the veterinarian's  office.
Gidget found a water moccasin that did not belong in our backyard. With the Big Man telling her he had it under control - she decided he still needed assistance in killing the snake, so she grabbed it.  Her heroics ended up with three bites from the snake. Luckily the Big Man was home and I was only 5 minutes away  - a shot of antibiotics and steroids along with antibiotics and steroids at home - have the girl ready to tackle the next snake.
I did get a couple of days of yoga in this week.
I got to do a little sewing
A cushion for the bench in the sunroom
A new pillow for the four-legged babies in the sunroom
So, I have had a busy week (nothing new for me) but I have also found time to do the things I enjoy and to recognize Peace is focusing on life as it should be rather than as I want it to be.
I hope everyone has a great week
~ Connie ~

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up -Luke 12:48

Wow - it has been 2 weeks since I posted - it is hard to believe how fast time moves.  The last time I posted I shared our loss with you - I have to say I am still missing that boy, Saturday I found myself sitting on the deck with the other little dogs - crying.  Then I realized, I am crying for me - not for him. As a dear friend responded on my blog - he knew he was loved, he is running free on streets of gold - I have to move on.

Work this week has been crazy - I am still juggling a full time job, a part-time job, grad school and all of my volunteer activities. 
All I can say - to unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more (Luke 12:48).
I am excited to tell you, I think I might be a vegetarian.  It has been 4 weeks since I ate a piece of meat (red, white or other).  I do not miss it. Actually I feel really good.  I am trying to find time to start running - Am I the only one who wishes the day was 28 hours log - yes, 4 more hours would give me time to run, sew, or scrapbook ~ awe, the things I miss.
Hoping Everyone Has A Great Week