Meet Tendai

This is the photo from Craigslist.

I’m beyond excited…First, let me begin by saying, yes, I named an inanimate object. Don’t judge. 😜

So, Monday at the VA, I saw a lady on a tiny scooter that looked neat. I’ve been in the market for a new one as mine is so big and heavy (it’s a Pride Go-Go), and on it’s last leg. I didn’t ask her what it was called, but was able to find an image of it on Google the next morning. There were no prices online, so I called the company that makes them (you can’t buy them anywhere else) and found out they are $2,500! 😳 I was thinking they would be $500 or so because there is nothing to them… Ha.

Well, the guy I spoke with suggested I check Craigslist, so yesterday morning after we hung up I did, and out of the Tampa Bay Area (4 counties) there was only 1 for sale, and it had just been posted 9 hours before I saw it! (God wink!)

I called the company to ask some questions and they looked up the seller by first name and location and confirmed it was 3 years old. It is the older model that has a drive belt and doesn’t reverse, but she said it is still a great scooter and the guy was selling it at a great price. So, I drove to Land O’ Lakes this afternoon to check it out and got it! I’m SO stoked to not have to put my scooter together and take it apart several times a day. I picked this up WHOLE and put it in the back of my car! It weighs only 35 lbs. total, compared to the 99.5 lbs. of my current scooter (of course it comes apart, but the heaviest piece is about 55 lbs.). The battery alone on my Pride Go-Go is 35 lbs.! I feel like I have even more mobility now! I’ll need to get used to backing it up manually, but over all I am pleased with how this all worked out, and how God orchestrated the whole thing.

The possibilities are endless with this thing!

So, back to the name. My dad always had a knack for new things. Motorcycles, Cessna planes, computer equipment, you name it. After his health really took a turn for the worst, he got into scooters. The scooter I currently have I purchased from him I believe in 2011 for $500. It was practically new, yet now, having gone through an accident with it in the car (that one was not my fault), it has gotten pretty banged up.  Those who have seen it can attest to that. Here’s a pic of it from Daddy’s blog when it was new:

Her name was Tambaa (and still is I suppose), which is Swahili for “walk slowly or crawl.” And that’s pretty much what she did (and still does), even after I replaced the batteries…

It saddens me that Daddy isn’t here to see Tendai, blog about her, and likely order one for himself. I know he would be just as excited as I am pouring over the videos and photos of this amazing contraption. However, like most of his scooters, I have a feeling he’d be blogging about the cons, as it does require caution while riding due to the 3 wheels. He probably wouldn’t like the fact that it doesn’t reverse (this older model), and that you have to hit the brakes when coming to a stop unlike the Go-Go that simply stops. But I think she will be a good fit for me.

To honor Daddy, and carry on my love for Africa, I decided to name her Tendai. I normally wouldn’t name the thing, but Daddy always did, so I did it for him. 😄 Tendai means “be thankful” in Shona. It’s a great reminder, as I truly do have so much to be thankful for, including coming across this scooter.

The inventor of the TravelScoot and a friend showing more options for the scooter.

If you want to check out Daddy’s posts on his scooters to see why I wanted to name mine, click here:  Daddy’s Scooters

Daddy on Silverado several years back . . .

Daddy on Silverado several years back . . .

We both had annual passes to Busch Gardens Africa in Tampa, and loved visiting there often together. In fact, that is where my hubby proposed to me. 😊 I used to go by myself with my Canon AE-1 film camera that Daddy had given me years ago and shoot rolls of film of the wildlife. We used to go to Budweiser Beer School each time we visited and get a certificate, lol. I remember how sad it was when they tore down the brewery and got rid of the Hospitality House. It just didn’t seem the same, and Daddy was disappointed with the changes. In fact I was stationed in Bahrain when he told me Busch Gardens was being sold to Inbev, and there was rumor that the amusement part and wildlife would be taken away, as they weren’t interested in that. I cried. Thank goodness that hasn’t happened.

Daddy and I on the Skyride at BG years ago.

Daddy and I on the Skyride at BG years ago.

Here is a video I made today driving Tendai for the first time after buying her. When I say, “brand new,” I mean that it’s new to me. 😉 I have also included a short video showing the Travelscoot in action. I’m excited! People travel all over the world on this thing, including the Holy Land, which I have wanted to do but didn’t think I could manage it with Tambaa. Oh, and I ordered the red pouch that you see in the other pictures. 😉

Check out this short video showing how you can put it in a car in one piece, or fold it up (watch until the end):

You Know Me

I cling to this song now more than ever. So much has been happening, and I felt this urge to play my guitar (which I am still learning). I pulled up this song my Stephanie Frizzell Gretzinger. I played it to the best of my ability, stretching my fingers to play a Bm. After going through it a couple of times, I wanted to listen to it. I pulled it up on YouTube. I’ve always loved this song. It got me through the recovery from my last surgery.

Tears like lava ran hot down my face. Just a couple of hours earlier, mom’s Hospice nurse told me that the loss of appetite, the dehydration, the lack of will, normally signifies the end is near. “But she’s not ‘that far gone’ I rebutted. She explained that they are typically called in when a person has less then 6 months to live. But I called them in, not because she was “that far gone,” but to provide her with more care (or so I thought). Daddy was under their care for 6 years . . . She explained that mom was admitted because they thought she had less than 6 months to live . . .

The call came this morning as I was in my prayer closet reading my “One Thousand Gifts” devotional. Ann Voskamp wrote of a friend who was dying, yet still had joy and grace. She still had eucharisteo. I thought of mom, and how I had been sharing the very concepts from this book with her. To no avail. Then my phone rang with the call. It was a testing of my spirit. Could I give thanks in this? She had fallen again during the night, and apparently the night nurse didn’t pass on the message. Mom told the nurse this morning that she had fallen during the night, a nurse helped her into bed, said to stay on her back in case she had broken something, and she would be back. She never came.

Lord, you have examined me
    and know all about me.
-Psalm 139:1

The night supervisor said the night nurse denied her falling. Hospice said she had fallen the 21st, and the story was similar to the one she was reporting this morning . . . I was there yesterday and she didn’t mention it. And why did no one call me on the 21st? Her mind isn’t “that far gone,” or is it? She cried about having been left on the toilet for two hours when a nurse said that she was going to be right back. My heart hurt. Why hadn’t she told me this?

She had a UTI awhile back that made her delusional. I found out yesterday her pneumonia has returned. She has lost a significant amount of weight. Seeing her lying in bed, pale and frail in a diaper is too much. I see flashbacks of my Uncle Chuck who died with Hospice when I was 9. Daddy went to the Hospice House in December, but I was away in Wisconsin when he departed this earth. A blessing in disguise.

Mommy and I last year on our mobility carts.

Mommy and I last year on our mobility carts.

She wanted some of her country-fried chicken that had just been delivered to her room for lunch, so I cut it up and cut the breading off, thankful that she wanted to eat. I fed her a bite after doing the “airplane” with the fork, and after a second she started crying. “It’s peppery,” she cried. “It burns my mouth.” She spit it out. I gave her some fruit, and she ate a little. My sister Janet proceeded to feed her while I stepped out to talk to the Hospice nurse in private.

She complimented my shirt, and I glanced down to see what I was wearing. Jesus Culture. She said she hasn’t seen them in person yet. She is a sister in Christ. She then told me that mom’s symptoms are normal for someone that is on their last leg of life—that I need to prepare to let go. I fought it. I argued. Then I broke down, torrents of tears bursting from behind the dam that I had so carefully built up around my heart.

“It’s a good thing you have your faith,” the nurse said.

“It’s the only thing that keeps me going,” I replied.

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She noticed that mom doesn’t have peace, and asked about her salvation. I assured her that she is saved, and mentioned that when I took her to counseling a few weeks beforehand she told my counselor that she wasn’t sure she would go to heaven. What?! My mom had been slain in the spirit, and spoken in tongues before I was born. She read her Bible daily and listened to worship music when I lived with her. How could she question her salvation? She was led through the prayer for peace of mind. But where is the peace?

Just a month ago she had a vision during the day while my sister was visiting of a circle that had a meadow, and in the meadow was my grandma, her mom, calling her name. “She wasn’t upset like that time I ran away,” mom said. “She was just calling my name, ‘Barbie, Barbie.'” I was at my pastor’s house when I got the call from my sister. I lost it. But wouldn’t that give her peace? Give me peace?

In the parking lot after visiting mom today I embraced my sister as she started to cry. I cried too, and began to release peace over her and pray for the Lord to give her supernatural strength. She prayed for me as well, and for mom. We held one another for quite sometime. She told me that she doesn’t know how anyone can not have faith to get through times like these. She hadn’t heard the conversation between the nurse and I earlier. I told her I don’t know. But mom has lost faith, and that’s half of the battle.

While playing the guitar I had the urge to write—to bleed on the screen of my computer. So here I am. Bleeding. Could it be that within one year I will lose both of my parents? Do I have what it takes to get get the back room cleared out and ready for Hospice to move mom in for her final days, weeks, months? Casey and I finally moved out of her house last November and got a place of our own. We were newlyweds. And caregivers. It was too much, especially with my disability. Can I take that on? Could I forgive myself if I didn’t?

Yet, what get’s me through this is knowing that He knows me. He knows my thoughts, my desires, my fears, my weaknesses. Nothing is hidden from His sight. Lord, You are God, and you don’t miss a thing. Still You know me. You memorize me. And for that I am thankful. ❤

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Preparing the Bride

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My groom and I.

I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. -Isaiah 61:20

I remember my wedding day like it was yesterday. Well, it was only 2 years and 4 months ago… 🙂 I spent the entire day leading up to my wedding “becoming” the bride. I waxed, had my hair done, makeup done, got help dressing, help walking… I stood there on the boardwalk waiting for the climax of “Closer” by Stephanie Gretzinger to play so I could emerge from behind the sand dunes. It was a few minutes into the song, and the wedding had already started late, so people were probably wondering if I had jumped ship (no pun intended being that I’m a sailor). 😉

As I stood there behind my bridesmaids, my sisters, my friend, I remember thinking (and I believe saying), “I can’t believe this is happening.”

It was my third engagement.

Third planned wedding.

Third time invites had been sent.

Would anyone even come?

Thankfully, they did. And thankfully, I made it to my wedding and down the isle. 

But there were doubts.

There were fears.

My fiance was amazing. It wasn’t him. It was me.

How could someone with my track record of relationships (and engagements) be blessed with such a patient, loving, God fearing man? The rejection set in full swing.

Just like in the Garden of Eden.

It seemed too easy that Casey loved me REGARDLESS of my past. It had to be harder than that. He had told me early on that God told him he would marry me.   Really? Well, maybe not me specifically, but he told me God said he would marry someone with a lot of baggage to unpack…

And I had baggage.

He told me that after I texted him this photo: 

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It was confirmation to him. I was blown away. And scared…

Was he the “one”? I had had my heart broken so many times before, and thrown all my eggs into one basket so many times, only to have them crumbled on the floor, a rotten mess I was left to clean up. 

But he believed in me. He saw my identity in the Father, not the identity I had given myself. 

There is redemption.

Like the prodigal son who returns to the Father, we are welcomed by our Bridegroom, no matter what baggage we are carrying. He is ready and willing to help us unpack. And He will keep helping us do so until He returns for his spotless bride, the church— those who seek righteousness and desire to unpack that baggage so that He can fill us with His truth and love. 

It’s a beautiful thing.

I just returned last week from my brother-in-love’s wedding. He is my husband’s twin (fraternal), and he finally has a bride. I remember the newness of it all—and the pain of the unpacking—but as with wine, marriage gets sweeter with time. What a symbol marriage is: a representation of the covenant relationship we have with Papa. 

It’s a sweet surrender.

Mr. and Mrs. Corey Deg on their wedding day!

Mr. and Mrs. Corey Deg on their wedding day!

Crossroads

Biloxi Lighthouse in Mississippi during Cruisin’ the Coast 2015.

This is what the LORD says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.’ -Jeremiah 6:16a

I love this verse. It’s encouraging. It’s hopeful. However, if we don’t read the last part we will miss the point: “But you said, ‘We will not listen.'”  -Jeremiah 6:16b

Ouch. The LORD was talking to his people Israel, but isn’t the same true for our nation? God is wanting us to live a life of abundance, but instead we live selfishly, wanting to satisfy our cravings with the next thing that crosses our path. But God wants us to walk the ancient path, the good path. He loves us more than we could think or imagine. 💞

How can you relate to this verse in your own life?

Inspiration

Author's Rick Christensen and Kat Heckenbach present me with the Ronnie Scott Creative Writing Award at the 2015 Florida Inspirational Writer's Retreat.

Author’s Rick Christensen and Kat Heckenbach present me with the Ronnie Scott Creative Writing Award at the 2015 Florida Inspirational Writers Retreat.

Today was an AMAZING day of inspiration! I was blessed to receive a full scholarship (for the second year) to the Florida Inspirational Writers Retreat. We learned from some talented writers and editors, ate some delicious food, and got to do a little writing for a contest! I was in shock when Rick read my number as the second place winner (we went by numbers, so the judges didn’t know whose was whose). After a second I said, “wait, what?” as I flipped my notebook over to check and see if that was my number.

For the contest we had to have a setting, one or more characters, and a resolution, in 55 words or less. This is what I came up with:

A Small Reminder

Autumn leaves crunch beneath her boots as she approaches the gravesite. A sparrow darts to the ground from a nearby sycamore tree illuminated by the setting sun. Standing in front of her sister’s grave, she falls to her knees. The sparrow lands on the headstone and chirps as if to say, “God’s grace is sufficient.”

I threw it together in about 10 minutes, so certainly wasn’t expecting to win! What a surprise! I won this adorable clock to remind me to sit down and write! (Oh, how I needed this!) I also won a gift certificate for 250 full color custom designed business cards! Since I don’t have a book published yet, I will likely get some made for my blog. (Hey, it will sure beat the Vistaprint ones I am currently using.)

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Sometimes when we fall off track (like not blogging in over a month), we just need a little inspiration to get us back on the wagon (I’m on a cliche roll today)! I am so very thankful that I was able to attend this wonderful retreat, and meet so many beautiful people who, like myself, have a heart to share God’s love through words.

What inspires you and get’s your creativity flowing?