"A Great Hotel"

Today I visited my grandmother in the nursing home. 

She has always been a big part of what was good in my life. I have always been amazed at how she has seemed to known all of us in a special way and am thankful for the many hours she spent talking to Lord about what was going on in our lives. She was keenly aware of what others needed and often was the one to provide a meal or a new dress on just the right day. 

Memaw is 92 years old. She fell while trying to get to the bathroom and as a result of her fall and her other health issues she had gone to live at the Mesa Springs nursing home in Abilene Texas.  After a series of falls over the Thanksgiving holiday, my mother had to take her to the emergency room. They ran a series of tests and took many x-rays. She saw many doctors and endured much pain.

To hear her tell it... she spent the day in Dallas working with my mom. She fired the "clients" as they would not cooperate with her agenda. She instructed the doctors that she must get on the road by four o'clock if she wanted to be home before dark and get dinner together.   She even apologized at the end of the day for her complaints and told my mother that she really did enjoy spending the day in Dallas with her.

Lately her mind has settled in different moments of her past and she has trouble knowing exactly where she is and whom she is with.  Sometimes she is in Whitney (where she grew up) or she is looking for her husband at dinner even though he passed away many years ago. The inner struggle she experiences keeps her longing to go home and at the same time grateful for the excellent care she is receiving. 

When I walked down the long hallway on my to her room tonight, I did not really know what to expect. As I passed the days trash being hauled away and the other elderly looking for a friendly face, I began to nervously anticipate how she would respond to my arrival. She was so excited to see my faced. I hugged and kissed her. She held my hand and we talked about her pajamas. I had to explain to her every so often where she got them. My sister Kimberly hung scripture on the wall. We pretended that it was perfectly normal for us to discuss whether or not she should try to go to the bathroom and she told me that the food here was good. She said it was not anything she or I would fix and in fact she wasn't really sure what any of it was, but she said it was good and "every bit of it was free".  I was filled with so much emotion at the sight of her frail body and her blatant vulnerability.  

And then she looked me straight in eye as if her mind was perfectly clear. She squeezed my hand and said, "Sara - I am glad to see you doing so good. For a while you weren't and I was worried for you. You were sort of sick I guess. But now I can see you are just perfect...I am glad to know that." 

How did she know?


I kissed her goodnight and she said, "Overall, it's a great hotel!"



The Farmer

My husband grew up on the farm amongst the cows, pigs, bugs, horses, chickens, cats and dogs. His childhood experiences include sleeping with a pig in his bed, stretching a chicken to death (age 3 - I will have to tell you the whole story sometime), birthing a calf, riding three hours in a small car with a squealing pig, picking up cow poop and throwing it like a snowball, swimming in "tank water" (I don't really think it is water), holding the "shit pole" and much, much more!

As for my childhood animal experiences...I think we owned a dog once.

Although my husband is not a farmer, he is actually a school administrator; his farming background serves as a lens that he filters everything else through. I try to remember this when he wears his muddy boots on the living room rug:). You know what they say... you can take the boy out of the farm but you can't take the farm out of the boy. So even though he puts on a coat and bowtie most days and spends his time trying to improve the quality of education offered to underprivileged teenagers in Oak Cliff, I still always think of him as a farmer.

The part I love the most is his drive for excellence. He never seems to be slowed down by the amount of hard work or time a meaningful project will take, he just keeps reaching for the excellence that will make a difference in the end. I know he gets this from his early days on the farm.

Every year he goes to different classes at his schools and reads Dr. Seuss. However, he goes about it in a way that I would never have thought of! This year he actually rode through Oak Cliff on his motorcycle dressed like Cat and the Hat. I drove over to Oak Cliff to watch the parade down Jefferson Street and to document the event. This picture tells more about my husband than I ever could. I am grateful for his perspective and what it brings to our home.



We had a wonderful time over the Thanksgiving holiday. I am thankful for safe travel, wellness, family, time with my husband and a few treasured moments with my Memaw whom I have learned much from.

Check out this video on my brother's blog. It speaks for itself!