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That Moment…..

When you have had a good day.  You have worshiped Jesus with like minded believers.  You have snuggled with your family, taken a good nap, got sugars from an amazing 3 yr old warrior…..and then, like an iron skillet to the face……it hits.

A wave of depression.

A wave of failure.

A wave of insecurities.

A wave of realities.

A wave of irrational thinking.

A wave of tears.

My Lady always fussed at me because of my “stoic” facade.  She would always tell me, especially when she asked that I recount the moment when she had her stroke and the year or so afterward, because I would fight back those tears.  She would hold my hand and just tell me to release my emotions….that it was cleansing to my soul and that there is no shame or judgement if I cried.

So I cried.

And she would hold my hand…hand me tissue…and then ask me to repeat the story.

We went through that routine about once a week until she got really sick…and then she stopped asking.  I cried every single time.  There was not a moment that I did not break down into tears.

When my Lady died….my person died….my confidante….my friend and what seemed like my only friend.  I could jot over to her house in 3 minutes…..and be fulfilled and ready to tackle the world.  I had a chair.  I had space.  I loved her ice cubes.  I would crunch and she would advise.  I would lay my head in her hands and know that I was loved, understood and prayed over.  I had no one to cry too.  I had no one that I could confide it.  I had lost my person.

Psalm 56:8 says You keep track of all my sorrows.  You have collected all my tears in your bottle.  You have recorded each one in your book.”  How humbling is that that my Jesus (and your Jesus) collects ALL our tears in a bottle and He records them.  There is not one tear that He misses.  That humbles my heart.

I am still stoic, to a point…my mama always said she knows that I’m stuffing stuffing stuffing down my emotions until there is one little thing that breaks me and then WHAM I am letting it ALL out.

I texted her, late one night and all it said was “I love you, mama.”  That was it.  Nothing fancy, nothing indicating anything was wrong…just a simple statement.  No more did I hit send and the phone was ringing….I rarely call her “mama” unless something is wrong and she is so tuned into me that she knows that she needs to diffuse, listen, encourage, pray and sometimes let me cry.  She’s good like that.  There are times when I just need her.  I need her love.  I need her support.  I need her to listen.  I need her to let me cry and then I need her to tell me to go and wash my face.  I cannot or do not want to imagine my life without her and the unconditional love that she supplies me every single day.

Today was a good day.  We had an excellent service.  We came home and all was well…until it wasn’t.  I had that wave roll over me and I sat, in my room, unable to breathe.  I felt my tears welling up and I just pushed them down until I just couldn’t anymore.

Big Daddy came up and we laid down and I talked….he patted.  I cried……he patted harder.  I snotted……he patted even harder.  I just told him how I felt like such a failure, as a wife, mom, sister, daughter, friend….how alone I felt.  How I was 1/2 way to 80 and I have wasted my life.  He, in his sweet self, informed me that I was *more* then 1/2 way to 80, that I was almost 1/2 way to 90.  Good pep talk, Big Daddy….good….that comment made me cry even harder.

Then it all came bursting out like the water of a broken dam.  What would I do if he died and he left me all alone?  Why did I start watching a movie that I knew scared me and now I’m afraid spiders are in my bed?  Why doesn’t he love me?  Does he hate me?  Do my kids hate me?  I’m worthless.  I’m useless.  I have accomplished nothing in life.

Pity Party:  Party of 1 please….your table is ready.

There is Truth that I MUST remember…..

What does Jesus say about me?  In Psalm 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  If I want to get REALLY technical…I can throw it back to Genesis 1:27 with “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”  I was created in the image of God.  He created me to look like Him!  

How crazy is that?

So, knowing that….why do I have these waves?  I don’t know why I get in these funks.  Maybe it is still working through the grief I feel, but then again, my Lady just recently went home….and these waves have come for as long as I can remember.

It is that battlefield of the mind…..satan has wreaked havoc on my emotions and mind.  I have felt the closeness of Jesus all day long and then BAM….out of left field comes a wave of blech.

I am so incredibly thankful for my husband.  He is a steadfast rock to my shifting emotional sand.  I am thankful for new beginnings.  I’m thankful for what Jesus did on the cross for me.  I am thankful for Truths.

Tomorrow is a new day full of new beginnings.

We all have the same 24 hrs in a day.  Will you allow satan to have a foothold in your thoughts or will you choose to capture your thoughts with the Truths of Jesus?


Our Goodbyes…..

Me:  I love your face off, Lady.

Lady:  I love you too.

Me:  I love you more.

Lady:  I don’t see how that is possible.

Till we see each other again…….I love your face off, Lady……….

Faithie Josephine Sledd Cox

July 13, 1934 – October 1, 2017

Forever my mentor.  Forever my best friend.  Forever my person.


What the Heck Just Happened?



This is my Lady… Josephine…..Ms. Jo…….Faithie……….she is my person.  She is my mentor.  She is one of my most favorite people who ever walked the Earth.

My Lady is not well.  She has a lot going on, medically.  She has had to be placed in a nursing home because we, as her family, cannot keep up with all her needs at home anymore.  It has broken my heart.

She is beginning to go in and out of lucidness.  I know she knows me because when she seems me walking down the hall, she smiles and waves.  She knows I am someone that she loves.  For a while there, I was Ramona….whoever Ramona is…I don’t know.  She knows my husband’s name is Bart.  She says that his name is Bart and he is her boyfriend and she loves him.  All of this is true LOL

The other day, I went to visit my sweet Lady and her son and daughter in law were there. We sat outside, getting some fresh air.  She waved at me when I walked up to her.  I came up, and I kissed her on the cheek and I asked her if she knew who I was, today.  She just smiled, never said my name, but she said she knew me.

After a bit, I got up in her space again…..she was wearing the same shirt she has on in the picture above.  It is my favorite shirt on her.  I told her that and then I said “oh, Lady, I love you so much.  You are my favorite.”  She came too, patted my cheeks and said “oh, Brandi, I love you.  What would I do without you.”  My heart nearly exploded.

She was not lucid there for a little bit after that.

Then, the strangest thing happened.  This young man pulled up and he walked behind her patting her shoulders.  She turned to see who was touching her and then she began speaking FLUENT French.  Now, bear in mind, she lived in France when her boys were young.  He spoke French back to her. Then he would ask her something in French and she would answer him in FLUENT German.  This went on for quite a while.  They began discussing quadratic equations and the periodic table. She never missed a beat.

She.  Never.  Missed.  A. Beat.  People.

I asked her son if she knew German.  He said no.  I called and asked her granddaughter if she knew German.  She said no.  I asked the gentleman if she was speaking it correctly because she does not know that language….he said every answer was appropriate and correct.

I am shocked.

Seriously………she thinks the year is 1917 (17 years BEFORE she was born).  She thinks my name is Ramona and my husband is her boyfriend….yet she speaks 2 languages and can dissect equations like nobody’s business.

This Lady…………..oh…………….how I love her.

Let Me Get This Straight

This is a convo that I had, the other day, with my 13 year old son.

Me:  D, did you take the dogs out?

D:  No.

Me:  Did you feed and water the dogs and cats?

D:  No.

**it was after lunch at this point….chores are usually done by 9 am**

Me:  Can you name me each of the major wars from as far back as you can remember, in order?

D:  Rattles them off PERFECTLY beginning in the year 1754 with the French and Indian War.

Me:  Can you tell me who was involved in each of these wars?

D:  Rattles the names off PERFECTLY.

Me:  How is it you can remember these details, but you cannot remember the same chores you have had for 7 years?

D:  I like wars.  I do not like chores.

Touche’ little fella.  Touche’.

The beauty of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder.


Happy 55th Anniversary Martha & Pop

So thankful the Lord saw fit to give me (your favorite child), you as parents.  You are both such an example of perseverance, love, dedication, and faithfulness.  Your faith is Jesus and your love for Him shows most (LOL) all of the time.  I am blessed and I’m so thankful that you stopped having children after you reached perfection (again, me)….sorry you had to endure Shane, Kim and Tera before you were granted greatness.  We won’t tell them they are “special” cause that just isn’t right.  We all know the truth….I’m getting off topic.  I love you two!  From:  Your Favorite Daughter (Brandi in case you forgot)…


Pretty babies….all of 16 & 18


Stud. Muffin.


Oh, Droopy!!!


Homemade haircuts and outfits. Tera had just been beat cause she was not cooperating LOL


This pictures cracks me up. Daddy’s belt…’s hair Bwahahaha


The epitome of the 70s wrapped up in one photo.


One of my favorite pictures of Martha and Pop!

The Beauty in a Bonfire

When I was a child, my Granny and Grandaddy would have weenie roasts at their house. Our whole family would be there.  My grandparents had 5 children and from those 5 children, there were 14 grandchildren.  All of us would show up….then there were always extras.  My sister and I were very close to 2 of our cousins…we are all stair stepped in ages.  Tera, Amy, Ty, and me and we were our own little force to be reckoned with.

I remember grandaddy sitting in the carport, hand churning homemade ice cream for the evening.  Our bonfire was as big as a house and we’d have chairs and logs to sit on. We would laugh and eat till we puked.  Oh….those sweet sweet memories.

My heart has been aching for my granny.  I don’t know why…but just to hear her voice and play a game of Scrabble.  Juicy Fruit gum.  Fried chicken that was fried in grease and a stick of butter for good measure.  Sneaking a bowl of ice cream and then her giggling asking me to make her a bowl.  Stale cheese puffs.  Okra burnt beyond reason….that is the only kind of okra we eat.  Rides in the back of the tractor.  Riding in the back of the truck to our uncles house.  Playing in the woods.  So.  Many.  Memories.

We have not had a weenie roast since my granny passed away, 11 years ago and it is high time to get that going again.  I brought this up to my mom and she said pick a date.  We chose Labor Day because my sister, from Georgia, had the time off and could come.  Also, on Sept. 9, my parents will celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary.  It is a great month of celebration, especially since my daddy’s quadruple bypass surgery earlier in the year.

Here is the results of our brand spanking new tradition!


Happy 83rd Birthday to My Lady


This is my FAVORITE picture of My Lady.  It was taken 2 years ago after she made a miraculous recovery from her TIAs and her stroke.  She is wearing my absolutely favorite shirt that she owns.  I love her in the color red.

My Lady captured my heart so many years ago.  Her presence is one that demands acknowledgement, in my opinion.  She is tall, regal, beautiful, honest, and she has a smile that lights up any dark spots.  Little did I know that underneath all those worldly attributes was a deep love for her Jesus, her hero (Jerome), her children, her grandchildren, her church, and her community.  She knows everyone and who is related to whom and how to get to, not only their childhood homes, but to every home every person has ever lived in and what job that they held.

She is a master cook of things like Poke Salad, Cornbread, white beans and ham…she knows everything to know about everything in the kitchen and how it relates to health.  She has taught me how to love more deeply.  How to sacrifice without complaining.  How to make decisions when I am confused.  She has held my head in her hands as I have cried over my marriage, my children, and my family.  She prays for me faithfully.  I cannot fully put into words what she means to me and how she has affected me and my life.

I am better for knowing her and being loved by her.  She is my dearest friend, mentor, and confidante.  I wish her circumstances, today, were different than what they are, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she *feels* the love and prayers from everyone around her.

Happy Birthday, my Lady……………

My Lady…Go Big or Go Home

Flashing back to June 2, 2017…I went to check on my Lady and when I got to her house, she was no where to be found.  I walked around, gathered laundry, straightened her house and then called her son and granddaughter to see where she might be.  I knew she had not felt well, what I didn’t know was that she had gotten significantly worse since I was there a few days earlier.

While I was on the phone with her youngest son, her granddaughter was walking in the door with her.  My Lady’s belly was huge, tight…her legs were so swollen.  She could hardly breathe and all she wanted to do was to lay down in her bed.  She rarely does this when I am there.  We got her in the bed and I spoke with her granddaughter.  The doctor’s thought that she needed her gallbladder taken out, so they had scheduled an appointment for the following morning to consult with a surgeon.  However, upon more discussion, it was decided that if they happened to keep her, she needed to be at a hospital that her neurologist was in because of her stroke a couple of years ago.  So, her son took her to the ER and I was going to run to a baseball game for one of my kids and then head to the hospital to spend the night.

Once at the hospital…we realized how severe this was.  Doctors were coming in right and left and they were throwing out terms like “cirrhosis of the liver, kidney disease, congestive heart failure, UTI…”  We must have looked like we were from a different planet cause we were not prepared for all of that.  UTI, sure…she has those a lot.  The rest, we had NO CLUE on.  We were constantly asked how we didn’t know and who her doctor was.  We kindly told all the professionals that she is always at the doctor and no one had even begun to mention any of these things…only that she needed her gallbladder removed.

Little could be done because she is on a blood thinner and that had to be out of her system for 5 days before any invasion testing could be done.  Lots of tests, lots of sharing her info, lots of little sleep and being watchful ended up with one of the doctors saying call the family in.  It was one of those moments that seems like the person talking is talking in slow motion and that all you see are their lips moving but you hear no words coming out of their mouths.  I stayed with her until that following Monday.  We took turns sitting with her and watching her.  It was a struggle for her to breathe because of the 2 gallons of fluid on her belly…she had little energy…and she was simply tired.

I knew on Tuesday that her oldest son was coming in town and some of her grandchildren and great grandchildren were flying in (what a legacy this woman has and she is SO well loved by her family).  I decided that I would not come to the hospital that day because I wanted to be respectful of her family and their precious time together.  I played catch up around here and ran some errands.

Nothing out of the ordinary……………….


I got a call………………….

From Pity Party to Birthday Party

So, the other day, I posted Enough is Enough on my blog.  I was in the pit and whining.

Things are still falling apart, but the Lord has been gracious enough to show me the true meaning of life.


Love one another.

Love thy neighbor.

Care for the orphans and the widows.




Today, we celebrated my Lady’s 81st birthday!  I am SO thankful that the Lord saw fit to bring us together in what started out as a mentor/mentee relationship.  It has turned into so much more.  The love this woman has for me, for my husband, for my children…what a blessing.

Last month, I was frightened, sad, humbled, and honored to walk with my Lady down a scary health path.  She came to my house, early one morning, bringing me a beautiful American flag.  She left after a lovely visit.  She called me later and was confused, not sounding right, and tired.  I hung up the phone and I was preparing to go to her and check on her when I received another call, from her granddaughter’s fiance’.  My Lady was in the ER and I needed to get there.

While I was talking with her, on the phone, she was in the process of having her first stroke.  I stayed by her side for 48 hrs.  I never closed my eyes.  We talked, cried, laughed, remembered, and I listened and I soaked up every single bit of her.  During that time, I was blessed to be holding her hand, listening to her love story with “her Jerome” as she had her second stroke.  My heart sank, but I knew that she loved me and she loved her family and she loved her Jesus.

We are on the other side of that traumatic event.  She is still tired and her vision isn’t great, but she is home and doing well and today is her BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I came over earlier in the day, just to hug her neck and to see what she needed from the store.  We had another fantastic visit.  Our plans were for my family to head over, with supper in hand, and occupy her evening.  We had fried chicken, hashbrown casserole, green bean casserole, squash casserole, rolls, baked beans, and salad.  We had cupcakes too!  My kids made her a birthday sign, my daughter drew her a picture, and we all had cards for her.  We ate, laughed, sang, and ended the night with all my kids surrounding her at her table and playing with an activities booklet.  It was wonderful.

She is my Lady.

Oh, how I love her.

DSCN6901  DSCN6909  DSCN6914   DSCN6921

Our Story: Ms. Jo and Me

Our Story of one girl who had the courage to ask and one wonderful Lady who had the courage to say YES!

Mentoring….something that has peaked my interest for a long time.  I never knew where to begin, so I just pushed that thought on the back burner.  I am too busy, I have too many kids, life gets in the way, I’m too screwed up, no one will understand me, and I’m closed off emotionally.  All these thoughts filtered through my mind.

When my family and I decided to start looking for a new church, I went into it looking to fly under the radar.  I’m loud.  I’m outspoken.  I can be misunderstood easily and I certainly didn’t get along well with pastors.  We found a church and one of the very first people I saw, sitting in the pew, was a TALL, white haired woman who looked to be in her 70s.  Her presence was commanding.  She was faithful to attend morning, evening and Wednesday night services.  I could hear her sing above anyone.  One could almost read her story in her wrinkles.  I was captivated.  I watched her for about 2 years.  I never spoke to her.  I would hear people say “someday, you need to ask Ms. Jo about her love story.”  From that moment, I was determined to ask her…but fear of rejection would pound in my head and I would not ever ask.

One year, we were doing a type of “trunk or treat” for Halloween.  The ladies of the church transformed our fellowship hall and our downstairs children area in a giant Candyland game.  I went to help out and to bring my children.  As we walked downstairs, I saw this tall precious woman sitting in a rocking chair and the children would come and sit out her feet and listen to her tell the story of how much Jesus loves them.  I went in, without my children (they were in another area) and I sat at her feet and I was captivated by her ability to quietly and strongly tell this story.  There was not one child who didn’t have their eyes on her.  I sat, right by her, entranced by this woman.  When the children left, I asked her if someday, she would share her love story with me.  This smile that could light a thousand Christmas trees flashed across her face.  She simply replied with “my Jerome.”  You could feel that love that she had for him.  She told me that she would be glad to tell me, sometime.

Another year or so went by and I got up the courage to always hug her neck when I saw her.  Her smile is so inviting and welcoming.  I knew, though she didn’t know me and my scars, that she loved me.  She loved me completely and unconditionally.  She was my peace.  She started correcting my words towards my children if she felt I was out of line.  She would talk to me about how I spoke to my husband, at times.  She is bold but never condemning.  There was a particular moment that I had been in the pit of depression for over a month.  I mustered up enough courage to go to Wednesday night ministry and I saw her come through the door.  I walked up to her and hugged her.  She asked me how I had been and I just looked at her, fighting back the tears, and said “I haven’t been well.  I’m struggling with depression and I can’t seem to shake it.”  She stood as straight as I had ever seen her and she said “well get over it.  You are loved by our Jesus, your family, and me.”  Her boldness took me back and I thought…well, she is right.  I am loved.  God is bigger than this depression.

That moment, I knew what I had been praying for so long, my prayers had been answered.  That next Sunday, I went to get my hug and I sat by her. Her sweet aged hands, with that one crooked index finger (I seriously love that crooked finger) held my hand and I put my head on her shoulder.  At that moment, there was no one else in the sanctuary.  It was like the Lord had blacked out all the chaos around me and allowed me to focus on her and me, at that particular time.  I leaned into her and I said “Ms. Jo, I have a question.  Would you consider being my mentor?”  She looked puzzled and she said “well, I don’t know what I have to offer you, but whatever I have, you can have.”  My thoughts started whirling and I know I looked like I could catch a thousand flies with my open mouth.  I just looked at her and said “seriously, have you met yourself?  How you love your Jerome, how you love your boys, your grandchildren, how you love the Lord…..I want that and I want you to teach me that.”  We agreed to set a date for that Thursday.  I was thrilled.

I showed up that first Thursday and we sat on her back porch.  I sat in the swing and she sat in her chair.  When I say she knew NOTHING about me, other than my name and my family’s name, I mean that.  The Lord drew our souls together.  She looked at me and said “how can I help you?”  In that moment, time stopped again.  In an uncontrollable moment, I started weeping.  I could not stop.  I rarely cry…I fight it, I suck it up.  I couldn’t even get a word out.  Then I heard her sweet voice say “well, for goodness sakes, let’s go in the house and work through this.”  She tells me, a lot, that I am “almost there but not quite yet.”  I wholeheartedly agree!  I am teachable and I am learning.

There was a day, recently, that my heart….was shattered.  Normally, I would fall into a depression and not get out of bed.  This time, my first thought was to get to my person!  I vaguely remember driving to her house and I knocked on the door.  She opened it and said “hey girl, how are you?”  I fell into her arms.  She wrapped her arms around me, not asking me any questions and she hugged me so tight that I not only felt her love, I felt Jesus’ love through her.  We made it to her table and I muttered out, through tears, what had happened.  I laid my head in her beautiful hands and she caught every single tear.  She made a phone call and after that, she put her sweet hand on my head and prayed for me and for my family.  She carried me through such a tough tough time.  She never judged, condemned, fussed out, bad mouthed anyone. She loved.  She prayed.  She encouraged.  There are not many people who would do that.

The love, the encouragement, the lessons, the simple joy of being in her presence, and her love story with “her Jerome” has been a staple in my life.  There isn’t many days that I don’t either speak with her or see her.  I run errands for her, we go to lunch, I take her suppers, she holds my hand, and she has the best ice cubes on the planet.  We run around town, we talk, we pray, she encourages, I have heard a thousand stories and I love each and every one of them.  I have learned how to love my husband, my husband LOVES her too!!!  My kids WILLINGLY do yardwork because in moments where we are resting, we all sit on the back porch and we just listen to her wisdom.  She exudes the Proverbs 31 woman and now she is the living example of the Titus 2 command.

The Lord knew I needed her and she needed me.  I’m blessed to help her in any way possible because I can never repay her for her love and graciousness she has shown me, my husband, and my children.  She will forever be a part of my heart and my family.  Oh, how I love that woman.  Oh, I am thankful that the Lord granted me the desires of my heart and brought forth the most precious mentor and friend a girl could ever have.  She’s my Lady.  She’s my person.

I encourage those who are curious about being a mentor or is in need of a mentor to pray for the Lord to meet those needs and to raise up those who can mentor.  You don’t have to be 80 to be a mentor.  You just need to have a willing spirit to vest in the lives of others.

I had a sweet sweet friend ask me to mentor her.  My first thought was “I have nothing to teach you.”  Sound familiar?  I went and spoke to my Lady…..she said that I am perfectly equipped to mentor this sweet friend.  What I have learned through the trials of my life, what I’m learning through my Lady, I have passed onto this sweet friend.  She still has a long way to go, but she is getting there!  What I learn from my Lady, I pass onto my friend.  My Lady prays for this friend, which is what it is all about.  Again, I am blessed.

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