Author Archives: Debbie Hamilton Carson

About Debbie Hamilton Carson

Single Mom, Three Amazing Grown Kids, Disciple of Jesus Christ, Educator, Lifelong Learner. Because of MS, I'm mostly homebound, but, by God's Grace, my boundaries are wide open! My circumstances could have kept me somewhat isolated, yet, as a 'people person', the world wide web (ie. facebook, email, blog, CBC Online) has allowed me to develop & maintain relationships with many amazing people and I continue to grow & learn as a person & a child of God. As in the prayer of Jabez, God has expanded my boundaries! "Jabez called out to the God of Israel, “If only you would greatly bless me and expand my territory! May your hand be with me! Keep me from harm so I might not endure pain!” God answered his prayer." I Chronicles 4:10 NET Bible This blog is an avenue for me to share my life and the ways God has affected it by His Design.. Scripture says "Write this down for the next generation so people not yet born will praise GOD:" Psalm 102:18-22(The Message) ♥

Lifechanging Fall 1985 ~ Broken, Restored, Loved ~

Standard

My Mom ~ Mary Ann Hamilton


Chapter 1

Preceding the events of that fall, in October, 1983, my mother was hospitalized with severe abdominal pain. The doctor decided it was caused by her gall bladder and scheduled her for surgery to have it removed. However, after he got her open the gall bladder was fine, but, he saw what he believed was cancer on the liver and pancreas. He took a biopsy on the liver and closed. He told us he believed it was pancreatic cancer that had spread and she probably only had a few months to live! We were stunned but spread the word and prayers from all of our family and friends began in earnest! An oncologist examined the biopsy results and told us it was breast cancer! My mother had had a mammogram the year before and a doctor’s manual exam 2 months before! The oncologist examined her and found a tiny tumor by her nipple and performed a lumpectomy. We already knew it had spread to her liver, but, now they ran a comprehensive scan. The great news, an answer to prayer, was that nothing was ever found on her pancreas, but, it had spread to her lungs & bones. However, the doctor told us she had a 90% chance of beating it. Chemotherapy began and in time successfully arrested it and she had been doing great! In May, 1984 my parents and my dad’s sister & her husband, my Aunt Daisy & Uncle Bill, took a wonderful vacation to Hawaii. At Christmas that year her hair had grown back and they had a special catered Christmas party.

Unfortunately, by the end of January, 1985 it had spread to her brain. However, radiation arrested the growth of that tumor. Sadly, her symptoms persisted and it was discovered it had spread to the meninges of her brain. This was the one area that didn’t respond to treatment. During the last 4 months of her life, she had been confused and increasingly agitated and her eyes looked so tortured. This was especially hard for me as when I looked in the mirror, I would see ‘her’ eyes. I had begun praying and speaking Philippians 4:7 to her that “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard (her) heart and (her) mind in Christ Jesus.”

I was blessed that the last time I spent time with her, I could see she ‘was’ at peace because her eyes, ‘the windows of your soul’, were crystal clear and peaceful. She was sitting by the window of her hospital room looking out at a sunny day and Viney, the special nurse’s aide who cared for her for the last 6 months of her life, was feeding her ice cream. I took over feeding her and told her that her eyes looked so beautiful. Viney said she thought my eyes looked like hers and my mom nodded in agreement. That was an incredible comfort. The next day she went to sleep and continued sleeping for the next 3 days.

On Saturday morning, November 9, 1985, my dad called to tell me he had decided to take a break and ride down to Stockdale to see my Grandparents. My husband, Carl, left to do some programming for a friend’s office and I got a burst of energy to clean my house. Viney called and told me she was trying to reach my Dad. Although she didn’t work on Saturdays, she felt compelled to check on my Mom and from experience she knew her breathing indicated she did not have long to live and she knew my Dad would want to be there. I called my Grandparents and found out that my Dad had a sense he needed to get back to the hospital and had already headed back to town. About 20 minutes later, Daddy called to tell me that my Mom had passed away. My Dad told me he had stopped to help a family putting their elderly mother in the car to take her home. By the time he got upstairs and walked into her room, she was looking up as if she was seeing a bright light and then she passed away.

Friends and family gathered at my parent’s house. The special friends who come to comfort and care for you at such a time are worth their weight in gold and they mean everything to you. One cousin immediately asked me if I was mad at God for not answering my prayers and healing my mother. I said, “He did heal her! She’s not sick anymore!” I’m so thankful God gave me those words at that moment. What a comfort it was to be surrounded by the loving company of close friends. It felt so comfortable, as if my mom was just in another room visiting with friends. It was especially nice to be free of the worry and anguish we had endured when we were so constantly aware of her suffering.

Our son, John, was only 3 years old and I was 26 weeks pregnant at the time. Everyone kept commenting on how big I was and speculating that maybe I was going to have twins. Even a family friend, Julie Pfeiffer, who had given birth to twins told me people were always telling her they wondered if they were having twins. But, she said they really didn’t know how big you get with twins! However, she said I ‘was’ big for only 6½ months!

We decided to have the funeral Monday afternoon, on Veteran’s Day when people would likely be able to come. I was scheduled for my monthly OB visit that morning. I decided to keep the appointment since the funeral was not until 1:00 pm that afternoon, so I could touch base with the doctor. When the doctor examined me, he told me that I had grown 10 centimeters in a month instead of the usual 4 centimeters! He told me that he didn’t think I was having twins but that the baby had probably just had a growth spurt. However, he said we needed to do a sonogram to see what was going on. At that time sonograms were not routine and I had never had one before. He told me that we didn’t need to do it this week as he knew I had a lot going on. But, we were anxious to know what was going on, so an appointment was set up for Thursday.

We had a lovely service for my Mother that afternoon at St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church with Reverend John Platte. It was a blessing to have someone speaking who knew Mom. He had christened my son, John, and performed my brother’s wedding ceremony. He had visited our homes and had warmly welcomed her & Daddy in church when she asked him to bring her when she was able to come. He had also visited her so faithfully after she was hospitalized. We went through the rest of the week wondering if perhaps the Lord was going to ease our grief by blessing us with twins.

Chapter 2

Three Days later, we had the sonogram in Dr. Paine’s office and the first thing we learned was that we were not having twins. However, the doctor told us that the baby had a growth on his/her tailbone and he wanted me to have a high-resolution sonogram with a specialist at the hospital to get more information. He said he was concerned about the baby’s ability to move his/her legs but emphasized this was not cancer.

An hour later we went to the hospital next door for this sonogram. It was uncomfortable because it was a lengthy process and the specialist pressed down firmly, all over my abdomen, in order to get the best views of the baby. The Specialist told us the baby was a girl and told us her brain and heart looked perfect and the organs in her abdomen appeared to be functioning well in utero. She didn’t give us much more information and told us Dr. Paine would be calling me after he received the report on the sonogram. As we were leaving the lab I made the comment, “She didn’t say anything about the baby’s lungs.”

My Dad was already back at work and anxiously waiting to hear from us, so, we drove over to his office to tell him what we had learned. We were dreading to tell him something was wrong, just days after we had buried my mother. In the office with all his salesmen, we just told them it wasn’t twins but a baby girl which he was thrilled to hear, since we already had a little son. Then we took him to lunch and after we ate we told him what the doctor had told us. We tried to stay positive, especially after all the family had been through, and stressed it was not cancer. We told him we would hear more from the doctor later that evening. I was feeling sick, from all the pressure on my uterus during the sonogram, and came home to rest and wait to hear from the doctor. My emotions and body were exhausted.

The doctor called me that evening and told me they were familiar with this type of large benign tumor that was almost as large as the baby. He said the tumor was a teratoma which has every type of tissue as a baby. He said it was attached at the tailbone and he had every reason to be optimistic that it could be safely removed after the baby was born. He said I also had excessive amniotic fluid and this combined with the tumor made me full term ‘size’ at 27 weeks and, as a result, I would have to be watched very closely for premature labor and would have to have a c-section delivery. All our other family and friends were anxiously waiting to hear if we were having twins. We didn’t want to talk about everything, at this point, as I still had 13 weeks to go, so we decided to just tell everyone that it was a baby girl. I knew I could not hold it together calling all these people and Carl kindly made all the calls, so I could rest. It was a hard day for both of us.

Saturday morning I got in the shower to get ready to go pick up the sympathy notes so I could begin thanking people for all the flowers, food and remembrances. However, when I was showering, the mucous plug came out! I panicked because when John was born, my water broke 45 minutes after this happened! I rushed to tell Carl and call the doctor. Dr. Paine was not on call but the ‘high-risk’ doctor in the practice was and he told me to come to the hospital immediately. Then the phone rang and it was my Dad and I didn’t want to worry him, at this point, so I told him we were ‘taking it easy’! We called my brother, John, and his wife, Tami, and asked them if they could meet us at the hospital so they could take care of 3 year old, John Warren.

When I arrived at the hospital, I was placed in labor & delivery and the doctor put me on terbutaline to stop my labor. I had not started dilating, but, I was having contractions. Late that night, I started having severe chest pains. Sunday this continued and it was determined I had gone into pneumonia. We decided to call my Dad and tell him what was happening. He came to the hospital and said the most memorable thing.

He said, “It’s as if your Mom is our guardian angel and when she got up to heaven she could see what was happening and she went straight to ‘the Head Man’ and said, “We’ve got to do something and we’ve got to do something now!!!”

On Monday morning, November 18, 1985, when Dr. Paine was back on duty, he told me my system couldn’t handle the terbutaline and he would have to take me off of it and check me at the end of the day. He said he was not ‘writing this baby off’, but sometimes ‘nature knows best’. A Neo-natal nurse came in and told me that a 27-week baby had a 90% chance of survival, so not to give up hope. At the end of the day, I was dilated 3 cm, so, Dr. Paine scheduled an emergency c-section.
I told Dr. Paine I wanted to be awake and he said an epidural was better anyway because of the pneumonia. He performed the c-section. A Neonatalogist was present. I could hear the Neo-natal doctor saying he couldn’t get the tube down. They told me they were taking the baby for an x-ray. The x-ray showed that the baby had no lungs. Her esophagus came down and ended which is why the doctor couldn’t get the tube down to ventilate her. There was nothing they could do for her.

They asked us if we wanted her to be baptized and in faith and a desire to validate her presence on the earth we said yes. We had always planned to name a girl, Ann Marie, so Carl asked me if I wanted to name her ‘Ann Marie.’ I said, “No, there was no way I could lose Mary Ann (my mother) and Ann Marie ten days apart! I told Carl that my mother told me once that she had wanted to name me Catherine, so, “Let’s name her Catherine.”

She ‘lived’ or at least her tiny heart kept beating for 2 hours due to the oxygenation of her blood from my placenta. They tried to take me to see her but I was still in the recovery room after the c-section. They tried to roll me over to see her but the gurney wouldn’t fit through the door to the Neo-natal nursery. I was only able to look at her from 15 feet across the room from her little NICU Isolette. But the sweet nurses dressed her in a little gown and took a Polaroid picture of her for me to cherish, along with her birth certificate with her tiny footprints.


The next day I slept all day and I have no memory of that day. Carl slept in a chair in my room and he woke up to see me sitting up and he ‘heard’ ‘my half’ of a conversation with my mother! It scared him, but, I believe the Lord allowed her to come and comfort me somewhere between time and eternity. I was very sick and I often wonder if I experienced a small taste of heaven during that time as I healed. Valium was one of the drugs they gave me to slow down labor and I’ve heard it can cause retrograde amnesia. Makes me wonder what happened that I just don’t remember.

Since I was recovering from surgery, pneumonia and the complications of the pregnancy we decided to have a memorial service for Baby Catherine in the Methodist Hospital chapel and Carl, his parents and my Dad had a small graveside service with a tiny white coffin at Mission Park South Cemetery where my mother and both of my uncles were buried. We placed an engraved Bronze heart as the grave marker in Babyland right next to the San Antonio River on the southside.


Ironically, this was just downstream from where I had lived as a child. Our property near San Jose Mission on Symphony Lane backed up to the river (really more of a creek than a river at that point) and we fished in it and rode horses on it when I was in 1st – 3rd grades. It was a happy time for me then and it has always given me great peace that she’s buried there next to that peaceful stream of my childhood, not far from my mother’s grave.


In another evidence of God’s ‘Amazing Grace’, after I got home from the hospital, I learned that my sweet neighbor and friend, Paula, who lived 4 doors away on my street, although, I knew she was a nurse, was in fact a Neo-Natal nurse who worked in the same Neo-natal Intensive Care Nursery with the nurses who cared for Catherine! She wasn’t on duty that night, but, was able to share information and reassurance directly from the same nurses. When I cried because I didn’t get to hold her, she told me that ‘(I) held Catherine in my womb closer than anyone could and she was perfectly healthy and safe while she was there.’ My Mother had ordered some things for Christmas before she passed and evidently she had an intuition that my baby was a girl as one gift that arrived after she passed, was a china baby doll! Apparently, She anticipated a granddaughter and now Catherine is in heaven with her!


‘Footprints Experience’

I remember how unexplainedly joyful I felt in the first few weeks after I got home from the hospital. It was Paula, who took me to a Bible Study the day after I got home from the hospital and I was eager to testify how I felt the Lord had saved my life and how I had never felt more loved by Him! I knew it was the Joy of the Lord, but, I remember reading the poem ‘Footprints’ with new eyes and realizing immediately that was why I felt joyful! Jesus was carrying me ‘through’ this. It’s not that I didn’t grieve the losses of my Mother and my Baby, Catherine, intensely at times, but the Father is so faithful and in the hardest times I learned more about His Grace than any other time.

After I got home I read endlessly about prenatal development and I discovered that a baby’s lungs develop at 11 weeks. I read that if something interrupts the development at a certain point that it doesn’t go back and make up for it later. I remembered having the flu and a fever at that point in my pregnancy and was convinced that is what must have happened. When I went to the doctor for a follow-up I told Dr. Paine about this and he explained something to me. He told me that lungs need ‘space’ and ‘nutrition’ to develop and the tumor interfered in both ways. I remembered my comment that they had not said anything about the baby’s lungs after the sonogram. Was that something in my intuition that sensed there was something wrong with her lungs? I asked the doctor why they didn’t know from the sonogram. He told me that in utero the lungs are fluid filled so they are not visible.

I asked the doctor if my severe chest pains were caused by the pneumonia and he told me I was suffering from severe cardiac insufficiency caused by the stress of the pregnancy and with the terbutaline, my body was working overtime trying to stop the labor that really needed to proceed. Clearly, my life was threatened by what was taking place. Then he shared something with me that showed me just how much the Lord was protecting me and guiding the circumstances.

He told me that every obstetrician fears delivering ‘half’ a baby. He said, if we had not learned of the tumor and the necessity of the c-section, I would have gone into labor, as I did, and as labor progressed the baby would have gotten stuck in the birth canal. Unable to see what was wrong, they would have watched the baby die in the birth canal. The doctor would have been forced to cut the cervix in order to save my life ‘if’ he had even been able to save me! It made me realize that it was the Lord that prompted me to keep my appointment the morning of the funeral. It would have been all too easy to decide to re-schedule my appointment in the middle of the overwhelming grief of losing my Mom! Whatsmore, it was God’s perfect plan that I proceed with the sonogram only 2 days before I went into labor. The doctor had even suggested we could wait to do the sonogram till the next week! However, in God’s economy, it was necessary for it to happen exactly as it did. He made sure the doctors knew exactly what they needed to know exactly when they needed to know!

As time has passed I see God’s protection and plan even more clearly. If it hadn’t happened just that way, as sad as it was, I never would have been able to have more children if I had even survived at all! But 13 months later I gave birth to Christopher Damon and 4 years later I gave birth to Ann Marie.

Dr. Paine changed his practice too. When I was pregnant with my firstborn, John, I never had a sonogram as they weren’t common. However, after my situation he began routinely scheduling a sonogram for all his patients at 12 weeks of pregnancy. I’m grateful to God that Dr. Paine was present for all 4 of my deliveries!

I learned I can trust God even in the middle of tragedy and heartache because He can see further down the road and He truly does have our well-being and blessing in mind!

Dr. Mark Paine, with John, Chris & Ann Marie

Advertisements

Truly Amazing Grace

Standard

Have you noticed how easy it can be to appear to ‘have it all together’ on Facebook? 🙂 I know my family can attest to the fact that I surely do not walk through life with smiles, scriptures & inspirational quotes and affirmations rolling off my tongue! That’s one reason I appreciate the Apostle Paul so much, especially in The Message translation! Second Corinthians 12:9-11 puts it all into perspective for me and confirms that it’s God’s Grace, undeserved favor given freely due to Christ’s Redemption, that deserves all the Attention & Glory not me for even 1 second!

Paul writes,”Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

“My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”

Sometimes I feel helpless, embarrassed and depressed. But then I read God’s Living Word and I realize I really can ‘count it all joy’ because God the Father, Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit have this! When Jesus walked on the earth, wholly man and wholly God, He said, ” Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 11:33 Then I read in Revelations, also written by the Apostle John, about the new heaven, the new earth and the new Jerusalem where I read “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.[p] 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelations 21:3-4. Over and over in Revelations Jesus said, “Look! I am coming soon!” Revelation 22:7,12 so my hope and expectations are renewed! This fallen world is difficult, but it isn’t over yet because we are promised an amazing future! But you should never lose sight of this fact, dear friends, that time is not the same with the Lord as it is with us—to him a day may be a thousand years, and a thousand years only a day. It is not that he is dilatory about keeping his own promise as some men seem to think; the fact is that he is very patient towards you. He has no wish that any man should be destroyed. He wishes that all men should come to repent. 2 Peter 3:9 (J.B.Phillips) We trust You with the timing, Lord, but, Maranatha, Come Lord, Jesus!

Thirty Years of Technology in Retrospect

Standard

20151212_223304
December 12, 2016 was my son, Chris’s, 30th birthday. As I looked at this picture of him as a newborn, I realized some parallels about what has happened in his life over the years and especially how much technology has changed in 30 years.

Chris, you were a special blessing when you arrived in our family 30 years ago, only 13 months after we lost Momaw and baby Catherine. I took this picture of you when you were only a few weeks old to include in your birth announcements and I realized something! The outfit you are wearing is the first thing I ever ordered from home! I had seen it on an ad from Dillard’s we had received in the mail. I found the phone number on the ad,   ordered it over the phone and received it in the mail. In 1986 that was the quickest way to get it as I recovered from a c-section and couldn’t yet drive and had no guarantee I could find the right size in the store! At that time the main way to order things was to obtain the Sears/JC Penney’s Catalog look through it, choose your items, fill out the order form with the exact item # and mail in your order or go to the store and turn it in. Then you would get it in the mail or arrange to pick it up at the store when it was available, which was the fastest way to get it!

Now when you were born, we were on the cutting edge of technology because since we actually had 2 personal computers at home! We even made your birth announcement on the computer, bought blue paper and printed it on our dot matrix printer! As you know your dad had a degree in Math, Computer Science & Systems Design and his job, using a personal computer, was such a new concept one of his projects was introducing personal computers to the Executives at Fox Photo to use in their own offices and develop a network to expand their use throughout the National Headquarters! Not only that, he had to find appropriate software for the various functions and considerations as to what adaptations needed to be made for the various business functions. It also had to be determined which information from existing mainframes needed to be transferred to the personal computer network being developed.   After lots of analysis, meetings, necessary requisitions, software & licenses had to be purchased and necessary installations had been done, lots of data entry had to be done. After all that, in order to share information at the beginning, reports had to be printed out and hard copy had to be carried to other offices. In order to develop a network and streamline communication,  your dad had to run cables in the walls and ceilings to the offices all over the building and between other floors so they would be connected. But to share information with other offices all over the country, he had to fly there and do the same kind of process at each site as was necessary for other functions in the company. Talk about a slow tedious process and I’m sure I over simplified it substantially due to my own limited knowledge of the technology!

How amazing that 30 years later both you and John are working in the Computer Science field too and you are adding to your Associates degree to earn your own B.S. in Math & Computer Science! New technologies and the internet have completely opened up communication literally via the World Wide Web! Even not all that long ago we had cables run all over the house between our personal computers and our router and needed to be connected to our internet provider. Wireless routers and wi-fi have completely changed that and cellular phones have even replaced the need for a landline

So when I ordered you that blue velour outfit for your birth announcements, landline telephone was the fastest form of communication, but now although most homes have computers connected to the World Wide Web, cellular telephones are wireless and have become tiny computers connected to the internet, most forms of communication and with us wherever we go!


Chris, it’s been special watching you grow and change these last 30 years! It’s even more special to anticipate what’s to come! I love you with all my heart, Mom

What is Repentance?

Standard

REPENTANCE


As a brand new Christian in the mid-70s, I couldn’t get enough of the Bible, Church sermons, Fellowship gatherings & Christian books. There was so much to learn and understand! When I first learned about the meaning of repentance I loved James Taylor’s music. “Fire & Rain” was a favorite song and to this day when I hear that song I’m reminded of repentance. This one line says “…When the cold wind blows it’ll turn your head around”. That’s what I believe God does when we are resisting the changes we need to make. He allows “the cold wind” to blow until we accept that we need to repent and change direction… Also Known As “it’ll turn your head around! “.

Rainbow Promise

Standard


RAINBOW_PROMISEWhen I was in 1st grade I was enrolled in St. Paul’s Lutheran school. I don’t remember a lot but I remember I loved the daily Bible stories. I remember the Noah’s Ark story and how God placed the rainbow in the sky after the flood as a sign. After school that day I remember riding in our car and seeing a rainbow in the sky. I told my mother that God gave us rainbows after the rain as a sign that He would never cause another flood on the earth again. I can still remember the look on my mother’s face and after a few seconds she told me that wasn’t true. Even at age 6, I was so sure of what I believed. Recently I was thinking back on that wondering why she said that. Now I realize I misspoke. The rainbow wasn’t a sign there would never be another flood. It was a sign of God’s promise to never cover the earth with a flood again. I think I understood the difference back then, I just didn’t communicate it correctly.

Amazing how, ‘as a child’, faith in God and His unfailing love was born in a classroom during a teacher’s Bible lesson. It was during a moment at that same school that I distinctly sensed God calling me to be a teacher. I remember, clearly, sitting in the multi-purpose room, where we had lunch and also watched movies. We had just finished watching a movie and I had a strong desire to become a teacher fill my heart. I never said anything about it to anyone but there was a strong, burning desire in my heart when I thought about being in the classroom. I didn’t realize what it was until many years later in my 30’s in a Bible study. We were discussing the ‘calling’ of Paul after he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus and others shared their calling. It was then I sensed God’s spirit speaking to my heart and realized the significance of that moment.

In high school I was focused on preparing me for the future. I got involved in U.I.L. contests in Ready Writing, Persuasive Speaking and News Writing. In my senior year I began focusing on my love of English. Thinking about scholarships to college, I discovered if a student qualified to compete in the U.I.L. state competition you automatically qualified to apply for a Ewing Halsell Endowment. I began preparing for Poetry Interpretation working with Ms. Kathy McHenry. I chose a poem in each of the 3 categories. Ms. McHenry worked with me to prepare and arranged for me to practice in front of different classes. I loved 2 of the poems and finally settled on a poem in category 3. I enjoyed poetry and was excited to compete. I won first place in both the District and Regional contests with my two favorite poems. With my least favorite poem I placed 3rd out of 4 but I had met the requirement to apply for the scholarship and was awarded it toward tuition at The University of Texas at Austin.

I decided to major in English and minor in Speech and Poetry Interpretation to become certified to teach in high school. However, the Lord had a better plan. I kept taking classes even during the summer at S.A.C. when I was home and kept having contacts with Elementary age students and realized I had better rapport with that age group. In the last semester of my sophomore year in Austin, I heard that the, under construction, U.T.S.A. (The University of Texas at San Antonio) was opening to juniors in January. I applied to U.T.S.A. to transfer in January and got ready to move home to San Antonio. The biggest change was I was changing my major to Elementary Education and because U.T.S.A. didn’t have a Speech department yet, I examined my transcript to determine which subject for a second teaching field would allow me to graduate soonest. Although I had been an English major, all my coursework so far had fulfilled basic requirements and none of my 12 hours of upper division Speech would even transfer. The subject that plugged in best was History so it became my minor. The burning in my heart was stronger. I wanted to teach more than ever. So, motivated by my strong desire, even with the extra credits, I finished my degree in three years and began teaching at age 21.

Angels Watching Over You

Standard

I know dressing up in costumes and getting candy is fun for kids (and grown-ups!). I used to let my kids dress up and go trick or treating when they were growing up. My favorites were church-sponsored with a Noah’s Ark theme and when the kids were older the church had food and games and a video with Carman’s ‘The Champion’ focusing on the final spiritual battle between Jesus and satan. I have read so much and heard so many speakers in the Christian community about child sacrifices on Halloween etc which makes it very difficult to appreciate Halloween. One of the most eye-opening messages I heard on K-Love was an interview with a self-described former ‘priestess’ in the church of satan. She described how she was searching for a child to sacrifice at the Halloween ceremony. She told of a little girl she had focused on, but, every time she got near her she felt a force shoving her away! After, she became a Christian she learned that the little girl was part of a Christian family and they prayed for her protection daily. She believes it was angels who protected that child!

After my divorce I had to go back to work as a teacher and for the first 4 years I was blessed to teach at the same school my children attended so we came and went to school together each day. However, when our situation changed the hardest part was when I couldn’t pick them up and they were in 3 different schools. The boys took the bus to and fro and my daughter walked home alone. During Halloween week after hearing that interview it was even more painful and I prayed constantly for her safety and got home as soon as I could! God was faithful though, as neighbors picking up their own children gave her rides and welcomed her into their homes until her brothers and I could get home!

When Frank Peretti’s novel, “This Present Darkness”, came out, I rarely read fiction so I wasn’t interested in reading it. However, on one of my many visits to the ‘The Shepherd’s Shoppe’, I overheard someone commenting on the display for the book and the lady behind the cash register said, “It makes you think about what happens when you pray and what happens when you don’t!” That touched my heart and I bought it and read it. My experience about that day already made me wary of going beyond walking distance on that day, but, reading this book gave me a new perspective. She was absolutely right! My prayer today is that the Father will Cover all those out and about, with protection and Ministering Angels! To God Be the Glory!

Praise to the Nurses!

Standard
My Mom ~ Mary Ann Hamilton

My Mom ~ Mary Ann Hamilton

Did you hear about what Joy Behar said about Nurses on the View? I heard about this several times, but I heard about it backwards first, when Joy made some clearly half-hearted, flimsy, facsimile of an apology on the air. Then I heard more about it when Dr. Oz interviewed Miss Colorado, Kelley Johnson, on his show. He even highlighted the value of nurses with an audience of nurses, including the nurses he works along side of in and out of cardiac surgery. Then he made it a point to announce he was adding a nurse to his show! However, today when I read this letter in response, I learned the full story. Kateri Allard articulates her response in such a gracious, intelligent manner she deserves a standing ovation.

An Open Letter to Joy Behar – According to Katari

Why did I have such an emotional response to the letter about nurses? My Mother, Mary Ann Hamilton was a nurse. She wanted to go to college after high school. However, her father refused to let her even talk about it. That same father, she told me, only told her he loved her once, on her wedding day when at age 19 she married my Daddy, Damon Hamilton. I was born 11 1/2 months later. By the time she was 22 she had 2 kids and spent the next 16 years being a devoted, full time wife and mother.

However, she never lost the dream of college. When I turned 16 she started college. By the time I started college she was in Nursing school at the U.T. Health Science center. I was in college at U.T. Austin. When she couldn’t find a book in San Antonio, I would find it in Austin and check it out and bring it home for her. By the time she was a junior, I had transferred to U.T.S.A. On weekends I would use the ‘fancy’ electric typewriter I got for high school graduation and put my 2 years of high school typing class to good use, typing her 90 page research papers as she wrote them long hand. She graduated at age 40 with her B.S. in Nursing with honors and we all watched her get her diploma as the first person in the family to go to college.

After working so hard to get her degree, she was eager to work. She worked swing shifts for 2 years at the V.A. Hospital. She worked 1 year at St. Benedict’s Hospice and 1 year with the Metropolitan Health District with prenatal and well baby clinics. Then she went to work for the Visiting Nurse’s Association with United Way. She had so many amazing experiences in those 7 years and touched so many lives.. It seemed that she knew her time was limited, as in October, 1983, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and in November, 1985 she went to heaven. Never-the-Less, I will always have the highest regard for Nurses. Nurses are often portrayed as ministering angels and I agree they are definitely very special ministers.

Memories on 9/11 ~ Where Was God?

Standard

Living By His Design

RAINBOW_EMERGES_ONEWORLD_TRADE
I had just dropped off my daughter, Ann Marie, age 12, at Tejeda Middle School. I came home and sat down to watch the Today show. Matt Lauer & Katie Couric were reporting that a plane had hit the North tower and were pondering ‘live’ as so many did that it was probably a small plane and an accident. I, like so many, was riveted to the screen. As we watched the smoke and flames in horror and shock we saw the 2nd plane fly into the South tower! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing as the events unfolded and became more and more horrifying. The only time I left the living room watching all that was happening was to attend my water aerobics class at Healthlink. Usually we had music on as the physical therapist guided us through the class but that day she had the television on…

View original post 1,591 more words

God Works All Things Together For Our Good!

Standard

JOHN_NOV30_2015

August 1st is a very special day for our family! Last year on August 1st my cherished, first born son, John, overcame a life-threatening event! He had made a strong character decision to quit drinking a week earlier. Since then he had been very sick and thinking it was withdrawal, he was determined to fight his way through it at home, although, when he shared about it on Facebook, he was encouraged to go to the hospital. I didn’t realize what he was going through until a family friend called about helping us get a backyard project done and asked if John could help him. When John had told me he was going to rehab at home, I thought he meant he was going to work on projects around the house! When he explained he was in bed with fever & chills and was delirious I was alarmed! When I asked him if he should go to the ER, he told me he was trying to wait until Friday when a paycheck would be deposited into his account!  However, he was getting worse, as he was unable to keep anything down and was constantly thirsty. Moms can’t stand to see their children sick so I kept searching the web and told him ginger would help settle his stomach. So he got some gingerale and kept drinking that, which seemed to make him worse!  After his sister lost her temper at him for drinking some of her bottled water, he finally felt so much worse that he had a friend take him to the ER at 10:30 pm on the 31st. They began running tests. Immediately they said he was dehydrated and hooked him up to IV fluids while they were waiting for more test results. We thought he must have been throwing up what he drank. The shocking thing was when at 1:00 AM we were told that his bloodwork showed that he had Diabetes and was suffering from the life-threatening complication of Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and if he had waited another hour he would not have survived! Knowing what we now know about Diabetes and DKA, we know it was a miracle that he didn’t die during the 10 days before he went to the ER! Not only that, but, he was diagnosed with insulin dependent Type 1 Diabetes, not the more common Type 2. Most people with Type 1 are diagnosed as a child or teenager. John was diagnosed at age 32 which makes us wonder how long he was diabetic. Clearly God protected him for years.

In Romans 8:28 when the Bible says “….ALL things work together for GOOD to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”, God really means it!  John went to the ER earlier because of the angry exchange with his sister, but, God used that to save John’s life! Also, the gingerale I suggested to ‘settle’ his upset stomach was the worst possible thing for him! But, God even used that to make him go to the ER sooner than he was planning. After 2 days in ICU & 1 in a private room he was given an orientation as to how to administer insulin.  Before he left the hospital the Diabetes Educator gave him the contact information for a Type 1 drug trial that was starting soon. I shared what was happening with my close friend, Carol, who is a nurse. In another amazing fact, I learned that her father was diabetic, so she knew exactly what we needed to know before we even realized it! She took me to the hospital to visit John and when he was released the next day, knowing I can’t drive and he was still recovering, took him shopping and bought the tester and supplies we didn’t even understand he needed. Also, Carol teaches at The University of Texas Health Science Center, School of Nursing, so if she hadn’t been on her summer break, her usual schedule is so intense she wouldn’t have had the time to help us! Once again God had the right person at the right place & time! But God knew all this 7 years before, when through the Community Bible Church website, Carol came to my house for a Beth Moore Bible Study. Even then God was working things together for our good!

Within a couple of weeks, John found out he qualified for the drug trial starting immediately! He had been looking for another job & working in a part-time job with no health insurance since being laid off 8 months earlier. However, while he was recovering, he was contacted by a former associate about a much better job even than the one from which he had been laid off. He was hired with full benefits! Jehovah Jireh continued to provide for his vital medical needs. In the interim, between his hospitalization and when the benefits for his new job took effect, the drug trial provided for all his insulin, supplies, treatment & and even money for transportation!  It’s a good time to Thank God for John’s life! ALL things may not be the way we want, but, our amazing Father in Heaven sees more than we can and He can even use our mistakes. El Shaddai, the All Sufficient One, can & will bring a better outcome than we can even imagine. It’s been a hard fight for John adjusting and dealing with this, but I’m so grateful he is still here! I Love You, John!

When You Look Back

Standard

href=”https://deblivingbyhisdesign.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/hindsight2020.jpg”>HINDSIGHT2020

That is so true! I have noticed that most of the events I write about on my blog happened years ago! The beautiful part of the story wasn’t clear for decades! On this date in 1985 I was reeling from the loss of my Mother 10 days earlier, when my daughter Catherine was born only to die two hours later. I’m gaining more insight about how “we know that God causes EVERYTHING to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 I can’t believe 29 years have passed since then. Only today I realized if we had stuck to our original plan of 2 children and if I had died and/or Catherine had lived, I never would have given birth to Chris and Ann Marie. That would have been an immeasurable loss to countless people, including big brother, John! God had blessings after the tragedy of losing my Mother and Baby Catherine that were filled with love and promise and I will always be the mother of 4. The whole story can be read here:
https://deblivingbyhisdesign.wordpress.com/2010/11/18/lifechanging-fall-1985-broken-restored-loved/