And a year later…

I was on Facebook, thinking about all these things going around in my heart and head, and how I’d love to write them down. I thought about this blog, and how much I loved writing all the years I was a part of the Xanga world (a blog space that is no longer). I came over to my page, and it has been over a year since I have written here!! I thought, “Wonder if I should try writing again?” So, then I had to figure out how to sign in! It took a minute to even find the sign in page, and once I did, I had to try twice to get ‘er done because I wasn’t sure which password to try. I’m here now, and as usual, the blank page is a little daunting! And rather than try to capture all those swirling thoughts and emotions I referred to above, I think I’ll just write a little catch-up post!

The biggest change in my life since February, 2016 is that our 7th grandbaby was born! Her name is Talia Jeanne, and she lives in Michigan with her Mommy and Daddy, and her 3 older siblings. So Bill and I have 3 Texas Grands – Arulai, 10, Titus, 7, and Selah, 6 in two weeks. The remaining 4 are the Michigan Grands – Chloe Grace, 4 (5 in September), Levi, 3, Micah, 1 (2 in August), and baby Talia, born this past March. All of our Grands are our LIFE, and we see them all as much as time and distance allows!

Talia Jeanne collage

Beautiful Talia Jeanne

Talia Jeanne

Detroit Tigers Girl, Talia!

Swem Babies Memorial Day

Michigan Grands, May 2017

Swem Babies July 4

Swem Babies, July 4, 2017

Petty Grands

Sweet Texas Grands!!

Petty Grands 2

Petty Kids, June 2017

I hope I’ll come back and write before another grandbaby is born! Writing is something I love to do, whether I have an audience or not! But, at the least, I’ve caught my page up on these little loves of my life!!

God bless your day!

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Sacrifices of Joy

Bill and Nina 2016
My down attitude from my Lovey being away so much is making an undesirable impact on my grandkids. Last night while putting Arulai to bed, she told me that when she gets her purse, she’d like to give me the money she’s saved to help out so Papa wouldn’t have to be gone so much. This morning, Titus melted into a puddle on the ground as Papa was saying his goodbyes because there was no one to help build his Monster Jam track. (Selah is generally alright as long as she has Nonnie or Mommy.)
While talking to Arulai last night, I realized I was fostering discontentment in my grands (and in myself!). I began telling her that not only was the Lord using Papa’s job to provide for our family; the Lord is also doing other work in Papa’s heart, in my heart, even in their hearts. It’s not only about the money. It’s about trusting God. It’s about following His way joyfully. It’s about God working in the lives of His children, so that we can shine forth His beauty to others.
I had been saying some good words to the kids, to the public at large, but I hadn’t been receiving this whole work/travel related package as a love-gift from the Father. And my grands could see that!
Wanna know some benefits of this job? Besides the provision we’ve received, that is! One of the greatest benefits I’ve seen is my husband’s confidence returning. After the layoff almost 5 years ago, Bill has struggled in this area. He is more often lifting ME up nowadays than vice versa, as it had been for a good while! He is traveling, which he loves. He is coming across all different kinds of people, situations, climates, traffic laws…and handling every one with confidence (even when he doesn’t like it!). That is a huge blessing from the Lord – a gift to my sweet hubby.
Another benefit is for me. Now that Bill is gone quite a bit, and since being oft alone isn’t very easy for me, Nathanael and Emily have given me a bit of purpose in my weeks. I have the opportunity to be with them in their home every Wednesday – Thursday; a sleepover, the kids call it! I have loved being a part of their family IN THEIR HOME – seeing how they do life together! Officially, I have a “job.” Mostly, I’m just Nonnie with a schedule! But this has been a blessing to me, and is slowly building back some of the confidence I’ve lost as a natural result of the “empty nest.”
There is also a hidden benefit in being away from the one I love most on this earth, in that I am forced to turn to the One who loves me most through time and eternity. The Lord God never leaves me nor forsakes me. He is ever there to hear my prayers, encourage me through His Word, and provide for my every need while my Lovey is away. I also believe He is doing the same for my Lovey! These sacrifices of joy we are giving now are becoming joy overflowing!
I have asked the Lord to grow me spiritually this year – that I won’t be stagnant, but will actually be able to SEE the work being done by my Heavenly Father. He is answering that prayer, and giving me eyes to see. The burning of the dross is painful – sometimes the pain is a 2, and sometimes it’s a full 10! I pray I will not allow circumstances and feelings to blind me to God’s work in me and in my family. Thank you, Lord, for continuing to complete the work you began in me almost 50 years ago!
God bless your day!

 

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I Am Resolved

There’s an old hymn that I grew up singing and loving. I hope you will read the words to this song, and if you know the tune, sing along!

I am Resolved

I hear a lot about resolutions this time of year, and much of what I hear is the many reasons that folks don’t believe in them. Because of my nature, I have to say that I am not against those who are against resolutions; however, also because of my nature, I have to say that I am not one of those folks!

In June of 2015, I felt that I was at a crisis point in my health, mostly due to my obesity. (I know, obesity is a very strong word, and so many of you gracious friends and family would never have used this word for me. Perhaps a little chubby, or maybe fluffy. But never OBESE. But even at my height and saying I have a “large frame,” I was at the very least 85 lbs overweight! That is OBESE!)

So, anyway, back to my crisis point. I knew that I needed help in my weight loss journey, and we simply couldn’t afford for me to go somewhere for this help. I began praying. I asked the Lord to help me. I knew that he wasn’t going to simply take the pounds off, nor was he going to take away all temptations from in front of me. I didn’t know HOW he was going to help me, but I knew that I was doomed to obesity without his help!

I gathered all I needed to get back on a diet plan I had used successfully 15 years ago, and prayed. A LOT! And I was surprised at the way God answered those prayers. Rather than doing any of the things above, what God did was to fill my heart and mind with RESOLVE. I felt RESOLVED to eat the right foods; RESOLVED to drink my copious amounts of water; and RESOLVED to withstand all the temptations that were around me!

I didn’t conjure up that RESOLVE; I know that it came from the Lord! When Bill ate his Bluebell icecream every evening, it seriously did not bother me. When I visited Pamela and her family for an extended stay, I encouraged them to eat what they normally would, and they did. I was truly not bothered by the desserts or those wonderful breads and cinnamon rolls because the RESOLVE the Lord gave me held! (It was so funny to sit at the table with different foods than the rest of the family had at times. Chloe’s constant refrain was, “Nonnie, what you having?” She especially loved to share Nonnie’s boiled shrimp! She did NOT want to share Nonnie’s boiled okra!)

From June through November, I determined to stay focused – again, with RESOLVE that came from the Lord. I allowed myself Thanksgiving Day, and a few days during Christmas, for some cheat days. I am so grateful that I never gained any weight during those 2 months (I have lost 44 pounds to date), and even more grateful that the Lord continued to answer my prayers!

As we come to this new year, I have renewed my prayers to the Lord for his help in my weight loss journey; I have also expanded those prayers to other areas of my life. If – as in the words of the song above – I were resolved no longer to linger in the world’s delights, and dwell on higher, nobler things; if I were resolved to leave my sin and strife, and go to the Saviour, who has the Words of life, and is faithful and true each day; if I heeded his words, do what he wills; if I were resolved to be taught by the Bible, led by the Spirit? How would that impact my life? How would my life impact others for Christ?

 I pray the Lord will give me the same RESOLVE he has given for this weight loss, to every area of my life; that I may glorify Him, and be well pleasing to Him!!

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…the voice of thanksgiving

Psalm 26: 7 …that I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works. Continue reading

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Mother’s Day, and it’s progression in my life

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All Grown Up and Saving China…

This post if from Dannye Reigh’s 2013 trip to China. She is returning to China in two and a half weeks, for the same purpose, but for a shorter time! God has already begun to supply her needs there a “GoFundMe” site: http://www.gofundme.com/kks5mo
Please be in prayer for our girl! Her last trip had some very painful aspects to it, but Dannye is excited to go back to see the children and her dear friend, Melodie!
Thank you for your prayers!!

pettybunch

If you’ve never seen the Disney movie “Mulan,” you don’t know what you’ve missed! I’d probably not have let my kids watch it when they were little – too much Hindu “ancestors” stuff to have to explain to a little one for me (Mulan’s Mom: I should have prayed to the ancestors for luck. Grandmother: How lucky can they be? They’re dead!)- but since it came out in 1998when my kids weren’t really kids, we’ve loved watching it! We quote it constantly, especially Mushu, voiced by Eddie Murphy:

“You know, we have to work on your people skills.”

“Man, you are one lucky bug.”

AndMulan’s Grandmother:

“Who spit in her bean curd?”

“Great. She brings home a sword. If you ask me, she should’ve brought home a man.”

Now that my Dannye Reigh is actually going on a trip to China, I feel a bit like Mushu – ”My…

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My Friend Joe-Joe

Much of this post is from one I wrote in 2007. I’ve just brought it up to date a little.

When I was 16 years old, I met a man who would become one of my best friends. His name was Joe, but we all called him Joe-Joe.

Joe Brister

Joe-Joe was not from one of the better-off families in town; he’d probably never been to church except for weddings or funerals; he didn’t finish high school, in fact, Joe Joe couldn’t even read. When I met Joe, he was 24 years old. He was a very simple-minded person, didn’t think too much, didn’t want to. He was working as a ranch hand on the ranch across the road from our home. He didn’t have his own vehicle, but drove a ranch truck. I have hauled many a bale of hay with Joe Joe. Well, I drove the truck (I was a little too girly to pick up & throw bales of hay!) while Joe, Dave and Jeanne threw & stacked the bales.

I became closer to Joe Joe through my boyfriend, Billy. They were good friends, both coming from longtime Montgomery families. Joe’s brother owned a local beer joint which Billy frequented. I was not allowed there, although I’ll admit I’ve been more than once. (You young people don’t die of shock – when I walked in the door, Billy’s friends would holler “Watch your language, Nina’s here! They took care of me like a china doll.) Joe and I were the only ones who didn’t drink alcohol, me because of my upbringing and convictions, Joe because he’d seen what alcohol had done to his father and brothers.

Joe was always there for me. Whether I was dating someone or not (it was mostly “not” for me, I was not popular) Joe was there to take me places, ride horses, visit with my folks, whatever I wanted to do. “Joe-Joe, I need a Coke!” was a familiar request Joe heard, to which he never failed to comply.

When I was about 19, I dated another fella (this part of my life is where you learn from my mistakes, not from my example. This is history, and as my Daddy so aptly used to put it, you can’t change history!). We all ran around together, Jeanne and Mike (now her husband), David (my brother), Joe-Joe, David (my boyfriend) and me. In our small town, a night out usually meant driving around on logging roads, hanging out in one of the 2 gas station parking lots, or, on very special occasions, we’d go to Conroe. My boyfriend turned out to be a jerk (they often do!) and the night I discovered his duplicity was one of the most horrible of my life. But Joe-Joe was there, trying to protect me from the truth, staying with me through the pain and tears – he would have gladly hurt David if I’d have let him!

When I was around 20 years old, before I met Bill Petty (the most wonderful man in the world!), I asked Joe-Joe to promise me something. After the guy-troubles I’d had, I had a fear of being an old maid, so I said, “Joe, if neither of us are married by the time I’m 25 and you’re 32, promise me you’ll marry me!” Joe promised. Joe-Joe was fun, he was loyal, but I never loved him in that way. He was my security, though, and he let me use him as such.

Then, I met Bill and we got married. About a year later, Joe also got married, but 2 children later his marriage ended. You see, Joe Joe had begun drinking shortly before I met Bill. I never thought he would, but he did. His marriage died and Joe began to slide down the slippery slope of alcoholism: joblessness, instability, & disability. For years, Joe Joe spent his hours at charity hospitals (emphysema/COPD), beer joints, and visiting his dear sister. I only rarely saw him in passing on the back roads of Montgomery.

I got to see Joe at his daughter’s wedding in 2007. He was thrilled to see me, as I was him. He was still the same old Joe-Joe, simple, loving, laughing at everything – he talks so fast and quiet, you can’t understand half of what he says, but he just laughs at his own jokes and goes on! But alcohol had taken its toll on his mind and his body.  He was as touched as every father is to see his daughter get married.

Lindsey And Josh 10-14-06 631

Last week, Joe-Joe had an accident. He fell and hit his head and was Life-flighted to a hospital.  He never came home.

I am so heartbroken. Joe-Joe was my friend. And though I’ve not seen him in a very long time, I think I will miss him, because I will feel the absence of his friendship. There will be no service for Joe-Joe, whether by his wishes or not, I don’t know. I had to write tonight, though, just to tell the world that my friend died, and I will miss him.

Goodbye, Joe-Joe. You were a good friend.

Goodbye, Joe-Joe. You were a good friend.

 

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