Sunday, May 20, 2018

Memories of a life lived: I Cannot Deny

I was going to be evicted from my home. I had already sent my son to live with his dad, because I knew that soon I would be out on the streets with no job, and had no way of knowing where his next meal was going to come from. It broke my heart. It sent me into the deepest depression I had ever experienced in my life.

Nearly two weeks after I sent my son away, I met a man in our apartment complex, through the urging of a well-meaning neighbor who was trying to play "match-maker".

I had an attitude when I met him. As she left us alone, I looked at him and said, "I guess you want to hear my whole life story now?" He was still looking at the door after she left. He shrugged, nonchalant and said, "I guess that would be a good place to start."

So, I did. I spent ten hours, into the wee hours of the morning talking. He listened. He wasn't bored. He listened with interest. I started from my first memories and told him the good, the bad, and the ugly about myself.

I didn't know this man. I certainly didn't want another relationship. Bad relationships just caused me to give up my heart. My baby boy. My heart was broken in a million pieces. I didn't care. I probably would never see him again.

Two days later, I found myself at his home again, upon his invitation to watch "Stargate" with him. We watched every episode available. It was a treat.

As I was leaving, he was flipping a coin in hand. Later, he told me he was thinking, "Should I or shouldn't I? Why not...What could I lose?"

He was telling me he'd see me later. I told him, "Sure, if I'm not evicted by then..." He knew my story.

He stopped me and said, "Why don't you move in with me. I'll help you pay up your rent, get out from under it, and you can stay here and just....take a break. You need a break. Life is too heavy for you right now. You need to rest. Then, when you feel up to it again, you can go find a job and get back on your feet."

It was nearly a year later when he got a job as a truck driver and left me to take care of his business at home while he stayed gone for weeks at a time. One week when he came home for a break, we were discussing things. I was reminded of a story from the Bible and I told him, "You know, there is this man in the Bible who went through something similiar..." it was an innocent conversation. I was trying to be encouraging.

He listened with interest. He even commented. He was not a believer. But, he had a story of his own about a past that could have left him destitute. He was a recovering crack addict who lived on the streets until he decided to turn his life around. He went to police academy, got off the drugs, and even though he didn't become a cop, he made a living driving a wrecker and hauling off cars to be impounded.

It was then I found out he was the one who towed away my car on Christmas Eve the year before...just when things were turning bad.

Part of me wanted to shake my fists at him. But I listened. I forgave. After all, look where I was, considering where I could have been.

He then told me that a street preacher had prophesied to him that he was destined to become a preacher. He doubted that sincerely. God wasn't his thing.

I told him of the time I found myself pregnant again for the second time out of wedlock, and watched a preacher on TV with Cerebral Palsy who shouted at the TV as if he was talking to me alone and said, "My name is David. I have Cerebral Palsy. What's YOUR problem?"

We laughed. He made the statement, "I'm glad you aren't a Christian." That hit me like a ton of bricks. Was this the impression I gave him? No. That was ALL WRONG. I had to fix this.

I calmly told him, "Oh, but I am."

"Do what?"

"I AM a Christian."

"No, you are not."

"Yes, I am."

"If you were a Christian, you'd be preaching at me everytime I walk in the door and tell me how I'm going to hell, especially after what I just told you."

I asked him if that is what he really thought Jesus would do. I told him the story of how Jesus didn't condemn the woman who committed adultery. I told him how Jesus forgave with his dying breath.

He said, "But you don't really believe that God can do ANYTHING, do you? That miracles really exist?"

It was as if I was listening to God ask me, "Are you going to deny me as Peter did, Shonda?"

After what seemed like a forever moment of silence, I -- with a low voice -- heard myself say, "I....cannot....deny....the power of my God."

He looked at me like I was crazy for a moment. Then I told him, "Look, I am not going to tell you what to believe. That isn't my job as a Christian. But, I will tell you what I believe. I will even tell you why I believe it and what God has done for ME. But, it's YOUR choice. I will say this, I could be out on the streets right now. God used you to protect His child. I cannot deny the power of a God who can even use the unbeliever to do His will."

A year and a half later, during which time we had several other conversations about God and Christianity, in which he listened, and never ridiculed my beliefs, although at times he questioned why I believed as I did, he came on off the road.

"The Passion of the Christ" was playing in theaters. Our "tradition" at that time was to buy a season of Stargate and some pizza rolls and enjoy time with that, then go out on the town at least one night, then, go see a movie we haven't seen and eat in a restaurant together we haven't been to before. I wanted to see the Passion on that particular date.

So we did. It was ... AWSOME. I found myself flinching every time the whip ripped off my Lord's skin. I found myself Crying as he looked on them with love when they spat in his face. I found myself bawling when mother Mary ran after her baby when he fell down (reminded of my own baby boy at the time...and how I missed him so) and how she was watching that baby, who would always be HER baby boy, die a horrific death on the cross.

When the movie was over, no one said a word. It was quiet as we all filed out of the theater. He walked beside me, speechless. As we approached the car he stopped me. He said,

"I didn't understand. Now I do."

He became a trainer for his company. He bought a Bible and a DVD of that movie, and he began witnessing for Jesus.

My mission with him was accomplished...and my journey had just begun.

Abundantly Blessed

My apartment is clean. There is still a lot I have to move...but next weekend I'll have all that taken care of. Hopefully.

Yesterday, when I was visiting with the owners of the home I am moving into (my precious adopted family), I was offered a lawn mower for a really low price. I was given a bunch of Christmas lights, a living room chair, and some pictures to hang on the wall.

God is so good to me.

Let me lay this out:

I quit my job at Denny's (because I got tired of being told to make bricks while not being given the straw to do it to speak. And, the bullies were annoying). I had 2 months saved up in my checking account for bills.

My friend, former classmate and distant cousin, Tracy Smith, urged me to apply for a job at Telford Prison. So, what did I have to lose? I did. And, I got accepted into the academy for training.

I had no insurance. No retirement plan. No life insurance. Nothing to leave my children. This job gives me all of that!

Then, the landlord at my apartment complex, right about this time, sold the property. My bills were being raised. I was now going to have to pay water and electric, and was told I had to ask permission to have visitors, and was not allowed certain activities of which I was accustomed to in my own home.

I was going to work at a prison. I did not want to live in one.

I was considering moving to another apartment closer to New Boston where I would be working when my friend Rosa's (who lives in Fayetteville) husband became ill, and her parents decided they wanted to move closer to her to help her out. (But, I suspect it's more like they just want to be closer to their daughter. Their son, and Rosa's brother, whom they were caring for, recently passed away and left them with an empty nest).

The Trailer they live in needs work, and I wasn't looking forward to doing the repairs...but my job certainly made it possible. God gave me a nudge and I said, why not? I asked if my mom would co-sign for me to get a loan. She refused. So, I applied for the loan to take up the payments anyway, knowing that should I be approved, it would help me out by getting me closer to my job, and it would help my friend (and extended family) out with their need to be closer to each other. It was a win win.

I waited and prayed, not really expecting to be approved. God blessed me. I was approved. And, the payments are right about what I am already paying on my apartment. Affordability is not an issue! I became more excited!

But, I now have to leave my apartment by June 1st, and I don't have the down payment to accept the loan. Then, God stepped in, again. I find out that I am to get a bonus check that is going to cover everything 30 days after graduation from the Academy! And having to wait for the check is not an issue, because the owners of the trailer are waiting for an apartment to become available where they are moving to!

My friends and classmates have been so supportive in all this. Many of them have asked if I need anything for my new home. Just as I was considering all this, God stepped in again. The owners of the trailer I am going to buy have offered to leave behind the stove, refrigerator, washer, dryer, a big dresser, a living room chair, curtains and pictures to hang on the wall, and Christmas lights for the holidays, and they even offered to sell me their lawn-mower really cheap. They said they couldn't take it with them. They wouldn't need it.

And, my dogs have a ready made dog pen complete with a dog house outside the back door, should I be able to get them back with me after having to give them up in order to have a place to live, because the apartments I live at did not allow pets.

My job offers me Health, Life, dental, vision, retirement, and disability -- long and short-term insurance, with enough pay to afford everything I have been blessed with by God.

In the meanwhile, as I said, I have to be out of my apartment by June 1st, because I refuse to sign a lease that will bind me for a year. It will probably be August before I can move into my new home. So...

The same week I quit my former job, I had helped some friends move into a new apartment, because they were living on the streets, and disabled, and needed a place to rest that they could call home and secure themselves.

When I found that I was going to be without a home of my own for about 2 months during this transition, I asked my mother if she would help me out by letting me sleep at her house for this period until I could get it squared. She refused. So, I did the only thing I could do.

I asked the owners to let me go ahead and store my stuff at the trailer in their back unused bedroom so I wouldn't lose it all. They agreed.

Then, I asked my friends if they would let me stay with them, and I would help them out with their rent in exchange until I could move into my new home. They agreed.

Finally, I asked if I could go ahead and use my new address so I could get all my accounts set up and be able to get my mail since I won't have this address to use anymore. They agreed.

I've had a few glitches, like the day when I had to bust out my window because I locked my keys and phone in the car and I didn't want to lose my job being late, or not showing up. But God has even been with me in those. He may very well have saved me from having a wreck that morning when a truck caught fire on interstate. Perhaps if I hadn't been dealing with that, I could have been right beside the truck when it blew on my way to work.

I have a great job, a new home, and really great friends now, because of the goodness and blessings of my God.

What am I going to be blessed with next? (I almost feel afraid to ask...)

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Gabriel's Letter to a Corrections Officer

This week is Corrections Officer Appreciation Week. In honor of it, the Texas Baptist Men's Convention brought us a big lunch today. They gave away free Bibles to anyone who wanted one (I already have two, so I didn't take one), and, they gave out cards to each of us from children who wrote to us to show their support.

Me, I got this one. And, it really touched my heart. I don't know who Gabriel is, so I thought I would respond to him here:

Dear Gabriel,

On behalf of all of us in the Corrections Department here at Telford Prison, I work with some real heroes in my field, and they deserve all the praise they can get. I want to say thank you for your love and support. Your letter touched me. I don't know what happened to your dog, but I am going to assume that maybe he is here, with us at Telford now.

If that is the case, then that makes you, and Duke, heroes, too!

You see, we train the dogs that work for us to do amazing things; like, use their nose to sniff out stuff that the bad guys aren't supposed to have. If the bad guys had things they aren't supposed to have, it would not be very safe for your neighborhood. But, that isn't all they do.

Sometimes the dogs that live here are used to help find little girls and boys who are lost in the woods. Why, not too long ago, I heard of a dog who helped find a 3-year-old little girl who had wondered away from her mommy and was missing for 3 days. Her momma sure did thank that dog when he brought her home!

Heroes always think about making other people safer. That is why you are a hero, because you let us use Duke, even though you miss him. And, Duke is a hero because he has special abilities that might one day save your life. Without Duke, a lot of people would not sleep well at night because they would worry about their safety.

Maybe one day, when you grow up, you can come help train the dogs at Telford Prison. I'm sure that would really make you feel better about where Duke is now. I pray that one day you will get to see him again.

And, I praise God for heroes like you who love and support us in our work!

Thank you,

A Telford Corrections Officer.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

My week in Review: I can do all things through Christ

Monday, April 30, 2018


First, I got gassed and pepper sprayed. Then, I got a loan for my new home!

It will still be a while before I can get things started for the transition (I have until August 26 to take the loan), because I have to come up with the down-payment, and the current owners have to be able to move out.

In the meanwhile, I spoke to my friends who I helped get their apartment recently, and they are willing to let me stay there until I can get it worked out. I offered to pay them. And, it's a LOT cheaper than getting a motel.

Everything is working out great, in spite of those who wish to see me fail.

I'm so thankful that God sees something in me that others do not.

I'm going to TRY to get SOME sleep tonight. (I'm so excited).

Thank You, Lord, for directing my steps. Thank You for all of the great opportunities that you have presented me with. Thank You for loving me enough to teach me hard lessons, and for forgiving me when I mess up -- and blessing me in spite of everything.

I love You, Lord. Even when I have nothing, because I know who I am. Thank you for blessing me with everything!

In Jesus's Holy Name,


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

It's been a rough day. Very rough. Physically. LOL

We learned some defense tactical moves in class today. Oh, Lord, but I need work! I am sore all over right now. Not sure I can cut the contact drills. NOT looking forward to it.

One of my classmates said I was doing great. I sure don't feel like it.

STill giving it all I got, though.

On the upside, I think I may have found someone who will help me move. I have to get in touch with him about it first, though. If not, I'll be looking for someone with a pick up truck who can help me in a few weeks.

On a sad note...


My beloved elementary school principal, Mr. Robert Eitel (Redwater Elementary) went home to be with the Lord, today. Mr. Eitel was a very special person. I would be hard-pressed to find another school official who exuded as much faith, patience, and encouragement toward the students under his care.

I can't think of anyone who has a bad thing to say about him.

I was privileged to have him as my principal.

See you when I get there, Mr. Eitel!

Prayers go out for his wife, Judy (former High school math and typing teacher), and two sons (and former schoolmates) Jeff and Scott, and all the rest of their family and friends.

Wednesday, May 2, 20l8

Today is one of those "The devil is gonna get you today" days.

Praise GOD that MY God is bigger than anything he can throw at me, though!!!!!!!!

First, I was not very confident about doing Defense Tactics again. But, I went on and did my best -- and wasn't too bad. Still need work...but that is the whole idea -- to find out where I am and what I need to work on. Way more confident now...

Then, I went to Burger King after work, only to find out that my debit card had no money on it. Come to find out, someone got into my Paypal account and tried to steal about $200 from me. I am in the process of putting a stop to that, and have disputed it at the Bank.

Finally, after receiving my paycheck, going to the bank, disputing Paypal, and getting gas, I tried to drive away only to find out there was a flat on my passenger rear tire. I ran over something that was lodged in my tires. It was now 5:15 PM and I didn't have any idea of who to call for help, had no spare and no jack. (Yep, I will be investing in jack, crowbar and tire soon)

I finally called Daniel's Used Tires. They don't make housecalls. But, I explained to them who I was, that I had just started my new job and could not miss a day without dire consequences. Did not want to miss due to having a flat tire. They were so very kind and came and helped me out. It cost me $105 dollars, but it could have been a WHOLE LOT WORSE.

I could have not had a way to work tomorrow, lost my job. Lost my new home. Lost any chance of ever seeing my babydogs again...pretty much lost EVERYTHING -- including my apartment.

Thank you, Daniel's Used Tires for helping me out! I know you didn't have to, and you will be blessed for this! You literally saved my life!

Thank YOU Lord, for watching over me, AGAIN!

So, in spite of being "beat up", mugged, and having a flat today....I'm SOOOO blessed!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

It is my opinion that depressed people should go and try to do something for someone else when they feel depressed. Helping other miserable people not to feel miserable sure makes me feel better when I get that way.

It also makes me see more clearly the blessings I have been given.

Today wasn't a bad day, even though it was raining cats and dogs and I had to wear my rain gear just to go into Wal-mart to get more quarters for laundry (I spent what I had yesterday digging for cash to pay the tire guys so I wouldn't have to withdraw more from my bank account)

I forgot to take my rain gear into work with me, so by the time I got to my car at the end of the day, I was already soaked.

Note to self: Rain gear only works if you use it.

Tomorrow is Friday. It will mark my third week at the Academy. Graduation is getting closer!

If you want to come see me graduate, I would love to see you! Especially since my own mom isn't going to be there. She left me a me message today telling me that should I have any problems, I should "Call your daddy" (What did I tell you, Hmmm? LOL) After all, it is obvious she doesn't want to see me succeed.

I think I proved yesterday that I don't need to call either of them. I'm a big girl. And, should I get desperate, I do have friends who actually love me. I don't need for my mom to be proud of me. God is. He has already proven it. That is all that matters.

I'll let ya'll know the exact date when I get it confirmed.

Ya'll have a great night. Gotta finish washing my uniform. (I have to get my other one resized, so I can't leave mine with the laundry at work...)

Friday, May 4, 2018

It is the most wonderful, rainy day.

I have learned not to stress over what is to come, because God takes care of the future.

Jesus said it best, "Think not about what tomorrow may bring. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."

That doesn't mean we don't prepare for the worst, it just means that we don't live expecting the worst. We prepare for it because anything could happen at a moment's notice, but we don't dread it because it MIGHT happen.

Anyway, i'm sure ya'll are wondering what I am trying to say.

I got a phone call last night from the owners of the house I am buying. They have decided to leave behind the stove, refrigerator, washer, dryer, a dresser and some curtains.

You have NO idea what a load that is off of my back (and my checkbook!) God has gone and done it again!

Just when I think I can't get much more blessed. Just when I think He is done, He shows out again!

And, to top it off, TODAY IS FRIDAY!

That means I made it through my 3rd week at the Academy. I am HALFWAY THERE! WOOHOO!

BTW: Graduation is May 25 at 3:00 PM at the Bowie County Courthouse in New Boston. If you decide to come see me graduate, you need to be there before 2:45 PM or you may not get in.

I pray ya'll have as blessed a day as I am having, so you can feel how I feel!

(My daddy used to tell me, "rub my arm". When I did, he'd say, "See how I feel?")

Saturday, May 5, 2018

This morning I slept late, because I could.

Today, I have a lot of work to do. I'm going to start going through my things and packing to move. It's about that time, and I hate to rush.

9:45 AM CST. I've been listening to "Tier Talk" on YouTube as I've been packing clothes. Got 3 plastic Totes and 1 box of clothes, and 1 box of shoes, boots and sandals packed.

I've also stuffed 2 very large garbage bags full of clothes that I am going to take to Randy Sams' Homeless shelter.

Yeah...I had a LOT of clothes -- most of which I couldn't, wouldn't, or don't wear.

I'm fixing to go deliver them, and then get something to eat...somewhere. I gotta go to Walmart, too.

I was planning to get another box of large trash bags, but when I went to go through my shoes, I found a whole roll of trash bags I thought I'd lost. LOL

Still have other stuff I need to get though.

Not going to shop for groceries. Don't want to haul off a bunch of food, or for anything to go to waste.

Well, break's over. Time to go back to work.

2:15 PM. I just took everything in my closet (just about) to New Boston for storage in my soon-to-be new home. God bless Miss Betty and Buren Jones (the owners) who said I could do that so I wouldn't lose my stuff when I have to move out of this apartment on June 1st.

I'll take another car load next weekend. Still got a lot to pack. But, I got my work-out for the day!

Went to Wal-mart and bought a couple more totes, and some more things I need for work, and some snacks and food for a couple of days.

I'm tired now. Going to relax

I just changed my profile "about me" on Google +.

"A male friend of mine once described me as sweet, kind, generous, have the patience of a saint and the tenacity of a bulldog. I am intelligent, hard-working, honest, sincere, simple and low-maintenance.

I have had everything, and I have had nothing. I am blessed no matter what my circumstances are. I like to tell everyone, "I am blessed, no matter HOW I feel."

I have worked in fast food, and I have supervised people at a local hospital. I have picked up cans for a living, and I have been a housekeeper. Today, I am a web site designer and a Corrections Officer at a local State Prison.

I have had a full life with many experiences. I look forward to and make the most out of each and every one of them. I wouldn't trade the world for what I have been through.

I have gone from being homeless ten years ago, to owning my own home today.

With God all things are possible. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Me and God, well, we've proven that over and over again. "

9:30 PM. I wasted a lot of today (after packing and hauling boxes) by doing something I haven't done in a long, long time. Well, since September of last year. LOL

I played Sim City until 9:30 PM.

Figure it's time to go to bed now before I forget I have to get up at 4 AM Monday morning.


More packing tomorrow.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

I am blessed

Today I was going through my Facebook memories. Three years ago to day I posted this:

I love it when people want to put their two cents worth in about my life and say, "If you'd do this, or if you wouldn't do that..."

It amuses me. I look at them as if they are aliens, because what they suggest for me is so out of my world. I can't help but smile when they tell me, "You can't get there from here..." because I am already closer to "there" than they are, or they think I am.

"Maybe you shouldn't (do this or that)" when what I am doing is working just fine for me. A few little "kinks" and "swirls" now and then, but even that seems to be working for me.

When they tell me "You can't" I just say, "Watch me."

I am so blessed. I had one of those days that not only blessed me, but reminded me of how blessed I am even if I had not been blessed the way I was today. It's like everything is just falling into place. Even when there are "kinks" in my day, even those "kinks" work toward blessing me. I keep wondering, When is the bubble going to burst? Will it always be this way? How can I make sure it will?!

Am I the same person I was three years ago? It sure looks that way; except, I can't help but wonder what I would have posted about that day had I known where I would be today.

I am so blessed today. Even more than I was on that day. Or, am I? Each day is complete with it's own blessings. Each blessing is different, but just as profound.

I am blessed. Period.

On May 5, 2013 (5 years ago) I posted this:

When you start seeing every little thing as a blessing, THAT'S when you know you are truly blessed.

I am, without a doubt, still the same person.

Today I have a new job, a new home, and it is semi-furnished with what I need. God has directed my path and blessed me. Even now, I can't see how He could possibly bless me more -- but I know God. He'll find a way, if that is what He desires to do.