Check them out friends! Like them and share them! Wahoo!
BIRTHDAY BLESSING 1: We had Matt Barrett here visiting for my pre-birthday! How amazing was that! He took a train from Seattle for his high school reunion then swung over to see us! We had a Dinner with Matt Barrett night while he was here. Several people came to spend time with him!
BIRTHDAY BLESSING 2: I woke up to finding these awesome trays assembled in my living room from my amazing hubby! They match the chest of drawers I picked out for Christmas. Fun
BIRTHDAY BLESSING 3: I received SO many wonderful Happy Birthday Messages on my Facebook Wall. I got a ton of wishes and comments. I appreciate them more than you can ever realize!
BIRTHDAY BLESSING 4: On my actual birthday, we didn’t really have plans since fell on a Thursday. Normally, we just go out to eat nearby, but I wanted to do something a little different. So, Wayne took me to the Denver Zoo Gift Shop then to Beau Jo’s for gluten free pizza!
On the way to the zoo, we were pulling out of the driveway when I saw the mail carrier. I asked Wayne to wait for him. It had just occurred to me that I hadn’t gotten even ONE birthday card yet.
I said, “Maybe there will be a birthday card in the mail.” Wayne got out and met the carrier, who only had 2 pieces of junk mail. He got back in the car and I said, “Well, I guess nobody sends out cards anymore. They just post ‘Happy Birthday’ on your Facebook Page!”
He kind of nodded then reached over to his side as he was driving and pulled out a card! I said, “OH!! So you have been snatching the cards and hording them!!” He laughed. So, I read who the card was from and read the card.
Then there was another and another and another!!! What? I kept asking, “More??” He just smiled. Eventually, I said, “This is obscene!!” Finally, I realized they had all gone to our post office box and knew Wayne was behind it! … Oh! And obviously now the whole world knows I turned FIFTY!!
So, I had my first Birthday Card Shower!! When we got home, Wayne counted 80 cards! That is incredible! And I got 7 more today.
Wowee everyone! I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to pick out a card, address it and send it to me! Many of you even added a special message!
I am so honored, humbled and encouraged by your gift of love! I can’t thank you all enough!! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!
PS) Sorry to send this in a bulk message. Facebook won’t allow me to send or post a lot of messages without shutting me down for spam. I hope I did not miss anyone!
NOTICE: I think I am going to have to file a complaint to the post office. I only found cash in one of the cards (thank you, Sean). If any of you sent a check or gift card, please let the post office know it was lost or stolen and re-send!.… Tee hee, just kidding!
BIRTHDAY BLESSING 5: Safari Stuff! In one of the cards was $50 from my good friend, Sean! So, I had $50 to spend at my very most favorite store at the Denver Zoo! One of the finds was this adorable Junior Zookeeper vest. Those of you who know me well, know I LOVE safari animals, clothes and jewelry. But of course, they only had it in kid sizes. So, just for fun, I put on an XXL and it fit! Yay!! I LOVE it!
On the way home, Wayne handed me a box from his brother and our sister in law. It had cards in it from everyone in the family! Wes, Melanie and all 4 boys! That was SO thoughtful! They had me laughing with sheer joy! It also had a long, incredible, personal from the heart letter from my dear SIL Melanie. It moved me beyond words. She is such an amazing woman who loves the Lord! I am SO blessed to have them in my life!!
When we got home, my sister called to wish me Happy Birthday. She had already sent a gift, but we have a custom of not opening it until the person calls. So, I open it and it is this AMAZING zebra bracelet!! It is silver and full of bling bling … so me!! I told her, “I was just at the zoo store and this is way cuter than anything they had there!!” I asked her where she got it and she said at her nail salon. LOL!! Go figure!! …. But if anyone can sniff out the perfect gift, it is my sister!
Of course, my mom had already ordered this super cute animal print maxi dress, complete with very cool necklace! Very special!
BIRTHDAY BLESSING 6: After the call from my sister, Wayne turned on the stereo and began to play 29 voice messages from friends and family! He evidently had sent out an email about showering me with cards and voice mails. He even had a special voice mail set up so I wouldn’t find the messages.
I felt like I was on the, “This is Your Life” show! I couldn’t believe what people were saying and to hear their voices wishing me happy birthday, encouraging me and sharing their love for me was such an extraordinary, moving gift.
Thank you to ALL who picked up the phone and poured out their hearts to me! I am so taken back and honored beyond words. THANK YOU!!
BIRTHDAY BLESSING 7: Several weeks ago, I had gone to Hobby Lobby (where we seemed to have gotten most of our home safari décor). They had this Lion and Lamb on sale that I have had my eye on for over a year. I looked at the price tag and couldn’t justify it, so I walked out. I told Wayne about it, but NEVER thought he would remember the conversation, let alone go in there and find it on a vague description! But low and behold, when we got home it was sitting in my window! I cried and leaped onto it like a child and began to weep.
Above our fireplace is a large tapestry of a lion and lamb. It says, “I will both lie down in peace and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8.
The lion and the lamb lying down together is actually a juxtaposition of two Scriptures, in Isaiah. It is also a symbol of “The Millennium.”
I am so thankful for my family who made it possible for me to spend the weekend in their home for Thanksgiving. The weekend was filled with being surrounded by my amazing nephews and I was loving it!!
I enjoyed every moment of the kids running around, playing, wrestling and most of all for their giving and caring hearts! It was incredible to be there with my sister, brother in law, their kids and Wayne’s mom (Karen). I have not been there for a long time, because they had some remodeling done and it took a while for all the new paints and carpets to out-gas.
What’s more, they came and stayed at our house for two days after Christmas. And, we were able to spend Christmas Eve Day with Wayne’s dad, mom (Eloise) and more family. Yay!
On Mother’s Day, Wayne and I picked up some Texas Roadhouse “to go” and took it to my mom’s to enjoy. Then, we took her for a short drive. She hasn’t been out of the house for many months, except to go to doctor appointments or the hospital.
Her car tire was low, so we stopped to get air then parked at Sonic Drive-In for some desserts. This particular store has a great view of the green plains, trees and rolling hills. Quite enjoyable!
When we got ready to go, the car wouldn’t start. Wayne got the waitress to try to jump start it, but the battery was totally dead. No go. Wayne called our friends, Jamie and Ginger and Jamie came right over. The two of them went to the store, got a new battery and replaced it.
OK so the tire (which turned out to have a nail and Wayne had to go get it repaired) and the battery were a big bummer. We could have sat and wallowed in the fact that he had to do all this work and we had to sit in the car for a long time. But instead, I would like to point out some things we are thankful for and a big surprise blessing!
First of course, we were oh so grateful to still be able to spend the day with my mom. She has been battling lung cancer for over a year. To make matters worse, my brother unexpectedly passed away last December. It has been a horrific 5 months for us and this was her first Mother’s Day without him. Thankfully, just a few days before Mother’s Day, we found out that the very large mass in her lungs had gone down. It isn’t gone, but it has shrunk. What a great Mother’s Day gift!
Second, we are thankful that the tire didn’t blow and the battery didn’t die with my mom trying to drive the car (she hasn’t driven since last December). Third, Jamie was home and happy to rescue us! Thank you, Jamie and Ginger! You are the BEST!
Last, but not least, I was a part of a really neat thing that happened just before we left. When I got out of the car to hug Jamie, I notice my shoe was untied. I bent over right behind the car to tie it and there was something shiny on the ground. At first, I was thinking it was a can top. But I leaned over and it was a little, silver ring! I picked it up and it appeared to have 3 little diamonds in it. I knew someone was really missing this ring!
So, I went inside the store and asked for the manager. I told him that I had found a ring and that someone must be dearly missing it and asked him to put it in a safe place until someone comes to claim it. Just then, an employee overheard and yelled, “I think that is my ring!” She had been standing about 10 feet behind the manager and ran up to us, so the manager hid the ring in his hand.
I asked if she could describe it. She said, “It is Sterling Silver, has one large flower in the middle and two little flowers on each side with tiny diamonds.” She continued, “My mom gave it to me. I lost it and I have been SO upset! I couldn’t find it anywhere!” The manager said, “Well, that’s a pretty accurate description!” then he looked at me as if to ask, “Should I give it to her?”
I said, “OK, Cinderella, just like the glass slipper, let’s see if it fits. What finger did you wear it on?” She stuck out her hand and pointed to her right ring finger. He handed it to her and whoa-la! It was hers!
I said, “Give me a hug!” Then I told her, “Happy Mother’s Day! Cherish this ring and your mom, because moms aren’t around forever!” She replied with a huge smile and tears in her eyes, “I know! Thank you!” and I walked out.
Wow! I never would have found this ring and been able to personally return it to this young gal had the battery not died and stranded us there. This ring was nearly under my car and would have easily blown away or washed away next time they cleaned the lot. Thank you, Lord, that what we may otherwise thought of as nothing but a day of things going wrong, we were reminded that we were there for a reason … for many reasons. Thank you for the opportunity to bless others!
Last year, my husband Wayne met Russell Irwin an Artist from Missouri. They quickly became close friends, even though we live hundreds of miles away. Russell had shared his love for what he calls his Paper Mosaics. His most recent one, named Precious, is spectacular! Wayne saw it in person and Russell shared the inspiring video below about the creation of Precious.
Last weekend, Wayne was in Missouri speaking for the Invisible Disabilities Association, so Russell and his family hosted him to stay in their home. Russell handed Wayne a print of Precious, that was marked that it was one of only two (of this size and print). He told Wayne he wanted to give it to me as a gift. Later, he shared that he and his wife, Beth, had this printed especially for me after they heard of the death of my brother. They did not want to send it right away, but wanted to wait a few months. They had no idea at the time they would be seeing Wayne, so when they did, they knew it was the perfect time to give it to him.
Wayne did not tell me about the gift while he was gone. When he got home, he called me Precious then he began to play the video about this creation. I had seen it before, but was thrilled to watch it again. When the video was over, he handed me the print and told me the story.
My heart was SO moved that someone would value my life and all that I have been through, as to honor me with this incredible gift! Thank you, Russell and Beth! I am so moved and honored by your amazing love!
Be sure to watch this inspirational video! Purchase a copy of Precious and check out many other creations from Russell’s website!
Thank you all for your love, calls, cards, help and concern!! As many of you know, my mom has been battling lung cancer and other complications since January of 2011. She took a bad turn in September of 2011 and again after her treatments in October.
Last week, she was in the hospital again. Her BP skyrocketed and her heart rate was irregular. She collapsed and could not walk unassisted. They did a stress test and did not find the cause. They sent her home. She is still so weak, she can barely go from her bed to the bathroom. Today, she can’t even heat up her already prepared foods.
For the past 6 months I am finding I am being asked some of the same questions about her situation. So, I would like to answer some of them here.
Background: With my own illness and with IDA, as you can imagine, we are pretty well educated in the Medicare, Medicaid, Home Services Industry, Social Services, etc. Also, when I became ill, I had no insurance, no home, no hubby. I got my mom hooked up with Social Services many years ago and have been working with her Social Worker. I have also talked with Medicare, Medicaid and a specialist about a State Waiver for Home Care, Meals Services, Hospitals, Patient Advocates, Nursing and Home Services, Assisted Living, Attorneys and more. When she took a bad turn January of 2011, I stepped it up and then again last September.
TOP QUESTIONS People Have Been Asking:
1) Can’t she move in with you?
2) Can’t you get her home care?
3) Can’t she stay in a nursing home or assisted living?
4) So, what do we do?
5) How can people help?
Thank you all for your love, care and support for my amazing mom! She is an incredible lady and I hope that she can be showered with prayers and hugs in her very difficult time of battling lung cancer and losing her baby boy!!
My friend, Ann, called me about a week and a half ago and said she and her husband would like to meet us for dinner in a couple of months. How awesome! She said they discussed it and wanted to wait until the visiting and calls started slowing down for me. Sadly, they know the in’s and out’s of grief and loss, because their 17 year old son passed away 5 years ago in February. They are now grief counselors and know this is what is “normal.”
However, as I told her, she was the second call I got and I hadn’t had even ONE visitor since the day I found out my brother passed away. Now it is going on 6 weeks and I can still say the same thing.
My friend, Barb, who came over the day he passed was planning on coming, but she got sick. So, I am sure I will see her soon. Thank you, sweetie!!
But really? Did this really happen? Did I really go through 6 weeks of utter despair without people around me?
I am not hinting for people to call me now. Frankly, I don’t even want to talk on the phone. Yet, it is strange that people weren’t even trying to call and at least talk to Wayne.
People don’t have to come up with the right words to make someone feel better. In fact, it is better to pass on the platitudes and just love someone and be there for them. Laugh with them and cry with them. “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” Romans 12:15. Have dinner together, watch a movie or play a game. These are the kinds of relationships I yearn to have with friends and family, not just in this time of need, but people I can share my life with for a very long time.
I realize that I not only have 24×7 horrific pain and limitations which keep me from being able to get out and about very much, but I also have the chemical sensitivities which also keeps others from being able to visit me. Nonetheless, I have written until I am blue that as long as someone uses fragrance free laundry detergent, I can provide shampoo, soap and deodorant for them to use before we meet if those are an issue. I have offered my medical scrubs and even my shower. There are usually ways around it. Still, I often go months without spending time with people.
These Scriptures keep running through my head, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:39-41 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Matthew 25:44-46
What is really nuts is that with all I have been through in the past 20 years, I have kept my “self-esteem” together pretty well. After all, I am a giving, caring, loving, funny, pretty smart, talented person (tee hee). But now I find myself wondering why I am not worth the trouble. I see people on Facebook talking about having dinner, visits, etc with other people, but they tell me they are too busy.
With being isolated for 20 years and the past 6 years being so extreme, I have asked myself if people would miss me if I were gone. Now, I am not talking about people being sad, because I am sure they would be lots of friends and family who would be sorry to hear I was gone. However, I am talking about people actually missing me in their lives, on their path to church, work, social settings or at home, because I never or rarely see them if I do see them at all.
On the other hand, I am missing my brother everywhere! There is a hole on the big, puffy green chair he loved, a hole on my driveway where his Trans Am rolled in, a hole on my couch where we ate the Texas Roadhouse dinner he drove 300 miles to bring me and a hole in my doorway where he would say, “Hey kiddo! I’m here! Give me a big hug!”
He was always there for me when my friends scattered. I hate that hole! It is everywhere! I just want to wake up from this nightmare and leap into his arms.
ADDITIONAL RELATED STORIES
Encourage a friend living with illness, pain, injury or disability. It’s not that hard! It just takes a simple phone call, note or visit, telling them we believe in them. It can make a huge difference in anyone’s life!
The other day the doorbell rang and it was the UPS guy! I was surprised to see him, because I hadn’t ordered anything. It wasn’t my birthday and it wasn’t Christmas. So, what in the world could it be?
When I unwrapped it, I began to scream with excitement and burst with joy! Was it an expensive necklace or airplane tickets to the Bahama’s? Was it a new shirt or nick knack?
Nope! It wasn’t anything like that! In fact, you will never guess what was in this bundle of thoughtfulness wrapped up in a box! In all truthfulness, it really didn’t matter what it was. Getting a package in the mail is all about the thought, the love and the time which shouts, “I care and I am thinking about you!” Wow! This really made my day … my week … my life!!
Do you know anyone who lives with chronic illness, pain, injury or some sort of disability? Send them a package, stop by for lunch or bring them some groceries next time you shop. You will MAKE their day and your gesture will let them know you are thinking of them, you care and you LOVE them!
“Ahhhh….. the little things in life that make me smile! And I’m counting them all!” ~Sherri Connell“Ahhhh….. the little things in life that make me smile! And I’m counting them all!” ~Sherri Connell
I received a very encouraging note from Stephanie Riggs! Stephanie has been an Award-Winning Journalist and News Anchor for 20+ years. She is also an author and amazing person!
Wayne had the privilege to meet her a few months ago and share my story. She wants to interview me on her radio show (as soon as I get up the nerve and get my brain to work for a few minutes).
Her show is called, Divine Calling with Stephanie Riggs and airs on KRKS 94.7 in Denver and online. Some past guests she has had are: Mercy Me, Jars of Clay, Pat Boone, Laura Hillenbrand and many more.
Thank you, Stephanie!
Check Out My Radio Interviews!
Sherri does not receive any royalties or compensation for radio interviews.