BLUE ALERT-Memphis Drivers 101 Blog

Ok. First. The Blue Alert in Effect on the signs over the interstate.  I asked my sister on the way to work, “What is that? I know what RED alert is…when you have to get to the bathroom fast, but Blue Alert?” Then, today, it says POLICE Blue Alert.  OHHHH…  Don’t worry, I see the news, it’s via Facebook, right?  This has nothing, NUTH-ING to do about the Memphis Police.  They are working hard to protect us. So let’s talk about whom they are protecting.


I have been driving from out east to downtown on and off for 25 years.  I have never experienced the traffic behaving as bad as they have been lately.  So, I thought I would throw a few tips out there since, you know, I can drive with my knee while eating and talking to my husband on the phone.

  1. When you DO see the police, PLEASE do NOT SLAM on your BRAKES! If you do, most likely, I’ll be running up your butt. The police have said they are there to pull over reckless drivers and those suspicious. I think slamming on your brakes while traffic is going 70 miles an hour is a big hint.  They might pull you over for a broken tail light, expired tags, or if you have a bumpa draggin.
  2. Bullies bully back. When you see TDOT in the distance with the flashing arrow to move into the next lane, don’t think I’m going to let you in when you speed ahead of me and get stuck at the TDOT truck. Uh, no. If you would like to merge, use your blinker. Remember, I’ve mentioned it before.  That stick on the side of your steering wheel.
  3. When you try to exit off 385 going WEST (towards downtown if you need to use google maps), the same thing applies as above. Don’t think speeding from the right lane and merging by pushing me over into the left lane will work.  I’m not Clark Griswold and I have not perfected driving under a semi.  Give me time. Once you get in your lane, you are the freeeee to cross three lanes at a very high rate of speed until you are stopped with the rest of the morning traffic and I’m sitting right next to you.
  4. Some of you might not get this, but as said on one of my tv shows – stay in your own lane! This bobbing and weaving is good for nighttime play when no one is on the interstate. Hannah would not approve and you would not receive a rose.

You probably won’t believe this. About six months ago I went to my neurosurgeon and told him that I had pain down my neck in between my shoulder blades.  It was so bad I could not life my arms to drive to work.  I had to have an MRI (which is expensive) for him to tell me it’s coming from between my shoulder blades and stress is a big factor. (hum, cloud above head, morning traffic?).

  1. So tip number 5, wear a Thermacare heat wrap on your neck or keep one in your purse or in your car for those days that you get stuck in traffic and you feel those pains of stress tense your muscles up your neck. It will not make for a fun rest of the day when your boss asks you, “Why can’t you lift your head?” Reply, “Don’t ask”.
  2. Don’t EVEN get me started about what you need to do when you see an ambulance or fire truck coming.  They have these things called sirens, but I understand your music is probably a little louder than their sirens so you don’t have time to move over.  That’s okay.

My friends – drive safe.  Be considerate of others.  Moreover, if you see my black Altima, it might be wise not to drive in front of me.  A friend of mine and I HAVE driven her volkswagen home while she used the clutch and steering wheel and I did the gas and geers.  I CAN drive.  I hope you found this amusing and funny as I meant it to be.MirrorJust saying…

Married or Single?

My sweet boy:

I have to tell you Buddy, your Aunt Donna and I saw Hamilton last week. Oh, it was something you would have loved! Almost as much as Wicked.  As Aunt Donna and I sat outside on a bench, I asked her, “What do you think Trey would be doing at 23?”  She had no idea. I think, as many “girl” friends as you had, you would have been married. We had a good laugh about that.  Well, look at all your male friends! They are just about all married!

Ms. Shawn (I know, you don’t know her, but you know Taylor), said something to me after the anniversary of your death.  She said I seem to be handling things with more strength.  She couldn’t put her finger on it.  I told her I knew.  I’ve allowed myself to grieve for you. I’m not letting anyone influence me anymore.

I had a rough time one week and I talked to Papa K.  I just didn’t know what to do.  They lost Oreo, Trey. And he told me that just like Oreo will always be a part of them and they will miss him as they walk through life, so will be the same with you, but to a greater grief.  I will always walk through life with an amount of grief as a mother with you beside me.  It was like a light bulb went off.

How can I not grieve? I’ve thought about it a lot this week. I’ve been in the bed and tried to remember the feeling 23 years ago and how massive my belly was.  You kicked the fool out of me. Sometimes it really hurt. As with labor pains, so does death of the child.

God has put us at Living Hope and Trey, it has been such a blessing.  I met someone who lost their child many years ago. They were able to share with me that missing your baby just doesn’t go away and no one should ever tell you to get over it. I felt SO much better! It was like a weight was lifted. God has put many in our path.  Remember Ms. Anita and Ms. Janice?

Honey, I know you didn’t want us upset.  But on earth, we don’t have the ultimate joy you have in heaven even though we try.

Sometimes, things are pitch black, as if I’m looking down a dark tunnel.  I feel as if my heart will break and there is total emptiness.  But, the goodness of God fills my soul somehow.  I do ask Him why.

Why God are you still forgiving my anger?

Why God are you still loving me after crying with jealously of other parents?

A friend of mine posted this and it’s so true:

“We tend to stay away from mourning and dancing. Too afraid to cry, too shy to dance…we become narrow-minded complainers, avoiding pain and also true human joy…While we live in a world subject to the evil one, we belong to God. Let us mourn, and let us dance.” Henri Nouwen

Trey, I still mourn. But buddy, I do dance.  And I’m so thankful for the people in my life that are still willing to walk beside me and your daddy and mourn with us when we need it.  You know the 24’s take care of us! You know God understands.

I know you would be so proud of Collin.  He’s growing up and trying to find his way. He’s wanting that truck that you wanted to buy. So when he gets it, I know he’ll think of you.

I need to stop the tears and end this Happy Birthday.  Another year of healthy in heaven.  Please hug Jimdaddy for us.  We miss him so.  I know you were glad to see someone else to play basketball with!

Dad and I still cling to James 1:2-3 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”  We endure many trials and we continue to grow.

Love you Buddy.

Iphone 2017 1153


Charleston (A Travel Blog)

Before I left for Charleston, I asked many people about the city I was going to visit.  The first reaction I received was, “Oh, I love Charleston!” As much as I understand that now, it did not help me nail down restaurants, activities, beaches, etc. for things to do in Charleston.  Those that know me well, know that I go on a trip with a spreadsheet filled with activities and confirmation numbers.  I. did. not. have. a. spreadsheet.  Mistake.  So, I hope this helps my fellow travelers who will be visiting or re-visiting Charleston in the near future.  Remember, these are only my personal opinions.

How to Get Around Charleston

We already knew that the parking would be atrocious before we arrived.  We opted to pay for valet parking so that we could come and go (at $40 per day). The alternative would be paying $20 to come and go each time.  It all came worked out in the end.  There are parking garages near the water and the aquarium that charge $1 per hour or a certain amount per day.  These garages fill up fast. Check the hotel you are booking regarding their parking policy.  They are all different.

Where to Stay

Where you stay totally depends on what kind of trip you want to have.  Do you want to know about the history of Charleston? Then you need to stay in the historic district.  If you want to come and go and stay mainly at the beach, get a condo on the beach (Atlantic Ocean).

If you choose to stay in the historic district, do your research.  Know where the activities are that you want to do in proximity from your hotel.  As I was told when we were there, “Charleston is a walking city.” I was amazed at how patient the drivers were when it came time for us to cross the street. NOT like Memphis.

I would highly recommend the Mills House Grand Wyndam.  Many hotels in Charleston do not have pools, so I chose this hotel because it had a pool knowing that Collin, Jay and I would be at the pool at least several afternoons.  Our hotel was also located within walking distance to everything we wanted to do.

Where to Eat

Here again, do your research.  We did eat at Poogan’s Porch by recommendation and I have to say it was my favorite.  It also was across from our hotel.  We also ate at Fleets Landing over the water, and it was nice, and reasonable.  Don’t think you are going to find a McDonald’s within walking distance because you won’t.  Collin found a Subway a block down from our hotel and it was nice on those days that we were just dog-tired. We made the mistake of eating at Bubba Gump’s. Don’t eat at chain restaurants on vacation. Our favorite breakfast was at Toast, which was also just a block or two down from our hotel.  The biscuits were the size of softballs! We even went back for dinner one night and enjoyed it.

What to Do

Where do I begin? Let me just start with our week, what we did, and how I might or might not have changed it.

Fort Sumter – You cannot go to Charleston and NOT go to Fort Sumter.  Even if you are not a history buff, the patriotism will overwhelm you.  The fact that I was on this small Fort where the Civil War began which led to so much history of America blew me away.  It is approximately $25-$30 per person which includes the ferry to and from the fort.  Check the internet for coupons.  Note: This is not a guided tour but you will learn about Fort Sumter on the ferry.

Visit a beach – With many recommendations, we went to Kiawah Beach.  They have a public beach and you can rent chairs and an umbrella.  The breeze was so nice and the water is much warmer than the Gulf.  It’s not the Gulf water, by any means, nor is it the Destin sand, but it’s a different kind of enjoyment.  You don’t have to dig your feet into the sand and kill your legs to walk five feet.  The sand is very hard and nice for sitting as the tide rolls in.  We saw many riding bikes.  It reminded me of something I would see on the beaches up north.  The facilities were VERY nice.  They had outside showers and changing rooms.  They also had a place where you could get ice cream and cold drinks.

Take in the City Market – This is just a couple of blocks from the Mills House Grand Wyndam and is about four long blocks of what amounts to be a supped up flea market.  But it’s all things Charleston and anything you would want to buy and take home at a good price. I went more than once!

Rainbow Row – You hear about Rainbow Row and you see pictures of houses and you can’t imagine exactly what people are talking about.  Cecelia and I had looked at Christmas ornaments before doing all our walking and after seeing Rainbow Row, there was no doubt what our Christmas ornament would be to take home from Charleston.  Yes, all it is are several houses in a row painted bright colors.  But we took the time (as suggested) to walk the alleyways before getting to the street and look at the window boxes and the lovely way the homes are situated.  It is very quaint.

Magnolia Plantation – I’m not going to lie and tell you that I was blown away by driving up a long road and the trees opened up to a large, white-columned home.  Many of the plantations today do not look that way.  Yes, I was disappointed, but only a smidge.  We were reminded that the Civil War burned the majority of the plantations in Charleston and they had to rebuild.  After they rebuilt, a hurricane destroyed the homes again.  The artifacts in the homes are all that is left.  The stories of the families were very intriguing from the Civil War to present day.  Yes, I would suggest a plantation.

The Pineapple Fountain – I’m not going to spoil it for you and tell you why the pineapple is so important to Charleston.  Many of you may already know.  I saw pineapples everywhere on Charleston souvenirs and when I was told the history, it just stuck. No pun intended! The fountain is beautiful and we went twice.

King Street – The street is much like the Magnificient Mile in Chicago with its high end shops and boutiques (except you have palmetto trees – not palm trees).  Don’t think you can’t buy anything on King Street.  I got a pair of Sperry’s half off! Venture out and look for the sales.  Plus, the street is beautiful with its store fronts.  If you wait later in the afternoon, it will get very crowded.

Tanger Outlet – Oh yes we did.  Collin was with us.  Enough said.

What we missed

  • We did not make it to Sullivan’s Island.  It was on my mind’s list of things to do, but there just was not time.  If you cannot make it to the beach, Sullivan’s Island is a great alternative in Charleston.  Just remember, you’re not in Destin anymore Dorothy.
  • We did not venture out in the car and ride around the historic district.  I don’t know that we could have with the streets being so many different ways.  It is very confusing.
  • I would have liked to have seen more churches.  We did see a lot, I just did not photograph them.  They are back to back with gravestones dating back to the 1800’s.
  • I would have liked to have done a ghost tour.  To be honest, after being out in the heat all day, we were exhausted by 6 p.m. and usually hit our room to watch television.  And it’s an hour ahead in Charleston.  I had to stay up till 9 to what most shows!
  • Lastly, and most importantly, we did not do a carriage tour.  The Charlestonians are upset regarding the treatment of the horses in the heat.  I witnessed these horses pulling a carriage of up to 16 people in 90 plus degree heat with their bodies heaving to breathe.  I won’t go into further details about what else has happened in Charleston, but the animal lover in me wanted to support the local Charlestonians in their fight and not add to the dollars of tourism.

I hope I have given you some good information and that you will make plans to visit Charleston. I think we take for granted such beautiful and historic cities right in our own backyard.

Remember, like I told Collin, travelling is our hobby.  We save, research, and make wise choices before we travel.  You can do this too! Don’t let memories pass you by.  I’ll treasure this trip with my boys and mother-in-law for the rest of my life.

Oh, and taking a firefighter/paramedic with you might come in handy! You never know!

Next trip, Nashville for the Tampa Bay/Titans football game for a long weekend in October.  Then we cruise the Caribbean with two couples in May 2020! Secret – plan ahead!Rainbow Row


It’s Just Another Mother’s Day

Another holiday. Another Mother’s Day. This is for all the mothers whose children have gone before us. As Danny Thomas said, “No child should die in the dawn of life.”

We mourn on this day. We are sad and want to hold our children that are not here. But it doesn’t take away from the love we have for our other children.

Don’t be mistaken. If you are a mother who has lost your only child, my child was as irreplaceable in my lonely heart as yours. I can’t bring Trey back and he would not want to come back from God’s presence. Memories of Trey haunt me. I long for his voice, his hugs, his laughter.

I’ve said many times, the biggest fear a mother has is that their child will be forgotten. I believe sometimes the children left behind are loved so fiercely, it’s hard to let them fly.

About two weeks ago, a longtime friend put me in touch with another mother who lost her son seven years ago. She is also a blogger. We talked how we were walking through a dry spell at this time and blogging was not coming as natural. As we talked more, it became apparent that our stories dealing with the death of our child and the child left behind is very similar. Too similar. God places people in your life for a reason.

In church this morning during the greeting, a lady behind me asked if Collin was my son. I said yes and introduced him to her. She said she had lost her son. I told her I had also lost my son. We immediately felt connected. She said she had followed our journey. “Oh your Trey’s mother!” And my heart sank. Yes. I told her thank you and turned around. Before church was over, she passed me her email address. I smiled. Another club member.

As sad as today may be, I was still able to enjoy being with my 88 year old mother and my mother-in-law. These are two wonderful women who have shaped my life and helped my walk in Christ be what it is today. They miss their boy too.

God, thank you for today. You brought other mothers into my life who are hurting like me. God bless you all. As our pastor, Gib Gibson is preaching about rest. It is totally biblical to rest. So mothers, rest. Rest in the fact you are not alone, you are loved by me, by your sweet child, and most of all, an almighty, sovereign God.

‭“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭34:18‬

February Brings Cancer Again

He knew. Jay. His neck just didn’t feel right to him. So Monday he made the call to West Clinic. Dr. Tauer said get him in on Friday and scan him.

Many times during the week his words were, “I don’t like this.” My thought was if I could take it from you just like I wanted to take it from Trey, I would.

February again. It comes every year. The time of year that memories of suffering and pain begin to flood my mind. They never cease. It’s like a reel to reel movie that keeps playing in my head and won’t shut off – but pain keeps adding to the movie.

Today, as Jay and I sat at West Clinic, my mind went back to the old location. The first day when Trey walked in Dr. Tauer’s office, he asked Trey if he was ready to fight this. Trey said let’s go.

Today, as I looked over at Jay he asked me if I was okay. Yes. I’m okay. But I saw the look in his eyes as he said again, “I don’t like this.”

Dr. Tauer walked in our patient room in a purple pullover. Yes, purple. I had to remark, of course, he had Trey’s color on. After hugs and handshakes, he said familiar words, “Well, the cancer is back in your neck.” I felt Jay slump.

We discussed how Jay is lucky that it is just localized in his neck, but there is one place at the base of his scar on his neck that they could not determine on the scan what it is. Dr. Tauer said Dr. Fleming, the surgeon, would be able to tell since he did the previous surgery.

We made a plan for Jay to see Dr. Fleming on Monday with probable surgery, possible radiation or the chemo pill, all of which is just up in the air until he sees Fleming and Fleming and Tauer talk. Dr. Tauer joked and told Jay he has to stop this. Then, on a more serious note, he asked about Collin and the rest of the family. I spoke up, was honest about the time of year, Collin, and other things going on in our lives. He said we have had enough. We agreed. I thought, from your lips to God’s ears!!

We don’t know what exactly Monday will bring, but we know we will handle it together as we have handled everything else – and Jay’s cancer journey for the last 23 plus years.

As we walked out the doors of West Clinic, Jay asked me again, “Are you okay?” I responded, “Yeh, I’m okay. You?” Jay said, “Yeh, it just stinks.”

Yes honey. Cancer does stink. Penning a line from one of my favorite movies:

“For twenty-three years I’ve been dying to tell you what I thought of you! And now…well, being a Christian woman, I can’t say it!” Auntie Em from The Wizard of Oz

We appreciate your prayers as we continue this path. I have bladder surgery on February 15 and Collin has his regular check-up at St. Jude on the 18th.

One thing we do know, God is good and always good in times of trouble. On this we can rely.

#cancer #Godisgood #WestClinic #pray

Today I Made A Choice

It might seem trite or not a big deal to most, but this morning I made the choice to get out of bed. Satan had told me to stay in bed, I can skip church, it doesn’t matter, and I need the rest.

I told Jay as he left for work that I wasn’t going to church, but he really didn’t know why. I woke up again right before my alarm and thought to myself how I didn’t want to battle with Collin about going to church or wallow because I was going alone. Then I realized, it wasn’t about either. It was more about my own depressive state.

I got out of bed. Honestly, I wore the same leggings I slept in. I put on a tunic and put a beanie on my head and left the house for Living Hope.

I don’t want to assume that God rewarded me for getting out of bed. But, I came home with little reminder nuggets of wisdom that I would not have received if I had stayed in bed.

*I am enough.

*He saved me and He is faithful.

*He loves me just as I am.

*God provides the right people at the right time to restore your faith in things you question about your children.

*We can rest in his Almighty sufficiency.

So today, as friends asked me how I was, I responded, “I got out of bed today.” They do not know my struggles nor do I know theirs, but I did share some so they could pray.

Satan wants us to believe that we do not matter to others and we are not good enough for His worship. This is SO not true. It was hard to worship today but, by the end of the service, I did not want to leave and I wanted to keep singing and just worshiping as we sang how God deserves all glory.

Today, I got out of bed. I give God the glory. He is sufficient and I am enough.

Memories Moving Into Gratefulness

As I sat down to mail my Christmas cards this year, I debated about writing a Christmas letter.  I went straight to my file and pulled out years and years of letters from 1998 forward.  I joked with Jay that our house might seem unorganized, but I know where everything is located! Just like my desk at work.

I did not get around to writing the letter like I had hoped for many reasons.  This week in the mail Jay and I received the sweetest letter from Jamie (James) and Kelly Lott.  It took me down memory lane of when Jay and I were their age, just beginning a family, and just beginning our Christmas letters.  Even though their letter was filled with such joy and promise of a bright future, I could not help but let the tears slowing roll down my face as I recalled the last Christmas letter I wrote which was in 2011, Trey’s last Christmas.

I discussed it with Jay and we both realized that by 2011, Facebook had become so popular that there would had been no reason to write letters.  I think he was trying to make me feel better that I did not continue a time-honored tradition.  I think of all the memories between 2011 to date that I have not recorded in letters.  I have never been one to journal, like my sister.  I have made up my mind to go year by year and try to make up for what I have lost.

“The past beats inside me like a second heart.” John Banville

Memories are important. I think our memory serves as a very important anchor. They are a way to measure our life thus far – that we are able to call personal experiences our very own, simply because we can remember them and they feel real in recollection.  I am so grateful our God protects us from things that He does not want us to remember.  I am sure you have had experiences that you would rather not remember.  I think back to Trey’s celebration and AGAIN I am so thankful that God has taken away all the sad memories from that day and left me with memories of the rainbow at the end of the day and Jay dancing in the rain with our girls. (You’ll always be our girls.)

Gratitude – “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” Eckhart Tolle

One thing I remember about my letters is how I categorized them, much like we categorize our memories in our mind; i.e. family, vacations, jobs, children, and future.  I would always talk about what God was teaching our children and what they were experiencing; I would give thanks for our year and time with our family; and, resolve to walk the following year closer to Christ.  As I look back, I am so grateful that Jay and I had the mindset to focus our family around Christ-centered activities.  Yes, we hustled and bustled, just like the young families do today.  I do not think Collin remembers that I did at one time cook dinner!

“Gratitude and attitude are not challenges; they are choices.” Robert Braathe

In 2012, we recorded Trey’s testimony video which is attached to this page on the “About The Erwin Family.” I mentioned in the video about Trey wanting to be a preacher.  I am so grateful I have this in print in my 2005 Christmas letter.  This is exactly why these letters are important.  I knew he had said it.  I wish Trey were alive so I could prove to him that when he was 9 years old he told me he wanted to be a preacher.  Lord, hold him tight.

“I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” Ps. 9:1

In reading the letters, it brought back so many memories of friendships formed, basketball and football games, yelling from the stands with parents (or at parents, friendly, of course), church trips, family vacations, school friends, and the many, many school functions and meetings.  I remember an incident with both Trey and Collin at Collierville Middle School with the same teacher.  They both stood up for themselves and did not succumb to bullying and I am grateful for the character of my children.  Believe it or not, between the lines, that was in one of the letters.

Yes, I’m taking into 2019 a grateful heart for what God has bestowed upon me and my family.  Memories to hold tight, lessons to live by, and a positive ripple effect to take into the future created by so many people.  So, thank you Jamie and Kelly.  Thank you for stirring in me a desire to revisit Christmas letters, relationships, and the importance of cataloging memories and a grateful heart.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thess. 5:18


30 Years Unplanned

img_2668Climbing the ladder.

That is exactly where I was 30 years ago.  I was working at Union Planters National Bank where I had been for 5 years.  They had graciously paid my tuition to State Tech were I earned an Associate’s Degree in Banking and Finance.  I had my life planned out.  I was going to work my way up the ladder.  But, for some reason, I kept finding myself hitting dead ends.

I was moved from department to department.  I was promised one promotion after another.  I even had a position created for me because they did not want to see me leave.  I worked with the best people.  I even worked with a man named Jerry Erwin.  Yes, my future father-in-law (which I did not know at the time).

In the summer of 1988 at age 23, my mother said to me, if you do not stop living the way you are living, you will need to find another place to live.  Well, talking about ruffling feathers.  I wasn’t doing anything wrong except struggling to find my independence.  A couple of days later, my mother said to me that she had prayed about it and told me that I could stay at home.  I didn’t know what had changed.  She just said she had prayed.


Gradually, Union Planters was finding less and less work for me to do.  I was not happy in my job and my spiritual life was in the tank.  My personal life wasn’t too bad because I was juggling three relationships – none of which were Jay.  Until one day, my sister called me at work in late October 1988 and said that her friend had to quit her job at a law firm and she thought I would be perfect.  It was a small office and only two attorneys.  I jumped at the opportunity.


I must have wowed them with my long brown hair, black plaid suit with satin purple blouse, and black stilettos.  I got the job immediately.  November 1, 1988, I began my career in the legal field with Henrich and Jetton.  Yes, 30 years go.  Everything I had worked for, dreamed about, and gone to school for I threw out the window and pursued the legal field.

During my ten years at Henrich and Jetton, I received several certifications and I have a lengthy resume from serving on local and state legal association boards.

I don’t want to let it pass that my first date with Jay was December 10, 1988.  In the early years, his dad and I had plenty to talk about when he would come on from work before he retired.  But I knew I had done the right thing by leaving Union Planters and banking in the past.

On March 1, 1999, and very pregnant with Collin, Burch, Porter & Johnson hired me to continue to work in the estate planning and divorce field.  I had many friends at Burch, Porter & Johnson at the time and the fit with Joe Duncan just seemed right.  Even though I was told – “You better not work for him.” Almost 20 years later, I am so glad I didn’t listen to them! I work for a christian, compassionate, loving, praying man – and yes, he IS an attorney! He has mellowed, trust me.  There are many jokes about THAT!


I have watched God move in the most amazing ways over the last 30 years.  I have befriended many divorce clients and felt that God has used me to be their “light at the end of the tunnel” when they have felt they could not go on.  Since I have experienced the deepest groanings with death, I have been able to share with my divorce clients that divorce does mimic death.  There is grief.  There is mourning.  There is change.

This also applies to estate planning.  When appropriate, many have such a hard time deciding life-ending decisions.  I truly believe God opens the door for me to mention Trey and his peace at the end of his life.  The client usually always know who Trey is and our story.  God is so good to give me the prompting to share our story.


Listen to God. Be ready for change. You might have that piece of paper, but that might not be where God wants you.  I never thought that I would be at this same desk 20 years later trying to keep the same man organized (and a few others – Charlie Newman and Scott Crosby – whom I love dearly).  I never thought I would experience the loss of my first boss, Ernie Jetton, who taught me so much in 10 years.  Then there is Ed Mullikin.  We shared an office.  “Ed, what’s a NTBF!” “ED! GREG COTTON CALLED YOU AGAIN!” And that’s where my journey began.  November 1, 1988…30 years ago.

Always be ready for a journey.  Your life is a journey.

(P.S. Can you tell I have a migraine in this picture? Ugh. – with Joe Duncan)

Depression and Suicide

img_2685Random conversations.  Facebook messenger.  Email.  Text.  Coincidental meetings. All females with the same issue…loneliness. Many with depression.  We are all the same age and all in the same phase of life.

Out of those conversations came these remarks:

“I go home and just go straight to bed.”

“I go home and just go to my corner of the couch.”

“I never go out with friends because I don’t have any.”

“I sit and watch television by myself.”

“I’m in bed when I go home, just me and my glass of wine.”

“…and since I don’t work, I don’t even have work girlfriends.”

“Maybe we should start a no friends girlfriends club!”

“I feel like social media leads to a lot of depression.”

I’d like to pick it up with the last remark.  We smile and waive, laugh at puppy pictures, “likes” on baby pictures, “love” on scripture pictures or postings, all the while using social media as our backup friend.  Yet we are the people posting the puppy pictures, babies, and even pictures with our husbands that are either never home or never in the same room. I don’t think society allows us to deal with reality because our character will be judged.  Personally, I have never cared.  Oh, I lie.  I do care or I wouldn’t have dealt with depression since age 18.  But, here I am.

According to USA Today, “The suicide rate for white children and teens between 10 and 17 was up 70% between 2006 and 2016, the latest data analysis available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although black children and teens kill themselves less often than white youth do, the rate of increase was higher — 77%.”

We are losing too many of our young adults to suicide and asking why. Yet we can’t deal with our own depression and suicide issues.  It is very hard to help someone else when you cannot help yourself.  I get it.  It is the “walk in my shoes” syndrome. I’m there with you.

If you look at the symptoms in children and adults for depression according to Mayo Clinic, many of the symptoms are the same.  Symptoms such as:

  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities
  • Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide

You might ask, “What does this have to do with me in the bed when I come home?” A lot.  I look at my son and I wonder what he thinks of me.  Then I remember my mother on the couch my entire childhood and it all makes sense.  Depression.

What does God say?

I like what how the Message phrases Galatians 6:1-3:

“Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.” 

Stoop down and reach out!

How do we decrease the rate of suicide? How do we uplift the depressed? We share burdens.  Are you too good for that?

Even with Jesus, loneliness and depression is very difficult.  Satan is very powerful and he knows how to turn every thought against you.

There are moments of pure vulnerability and uncertainty no one sees but God during your loneliness.  You try to make sense of it all while nurturing raw wounds embedded deeply within your soul.  These wounds may be from many different sources such as death, a spouse, children, or even church.

I have tried to throw myself into scripture and prayer crying out to God.  I’ve tried to be around friends at work to forget the loneliness.

           The struggle is real.  It is real with depression and suicide. 

These are topics people do not like to talk about.  Just like you don’t talk about sex at church, or depression and suicide really.  Well, I will talk about it.

A friend of mine said while teaching bible study that sometimes we like to find our answers when we cry out to God in our darkness by opening up the Bible to a random page and just pointing to a verse.  We then believe that is the scripture the Holy Spirit sent to us as an answer to our problems.  As much as I would like to believe that God works that way in coping with depression, I’m not sure that is His intention.  He wants us to seek Him constantly – in and out of depression.

Do you just want to throw in the towel?

Some days.  I believe God does heal our wounds of depression.  I believe he binds up our beautiful mess with a proper healing.  I know He provides sweet conversation with friends of like mind.  Though they may be few, they MAY be all you need.  It is all in HIS timing.  It might be the day I see Him FACE TO FACE! I can only tell you with my experience, it can be debilitating after losing a child.  The most hurtful thing you can say to a mother is that it is time to get over it and move on.  Nope, nada, ain’t gonna happen. Not soon.  I’ll grieve, in some manner, with an amount of depression, (even a thought of suicide, maybe) for the rest of my life for my baby boy.  But my faith is NOT diminished! I know that God still holds me in his hands and I take comfort in the song that says… “It’s your breath in my lungs, so I lift up my praise, lift up my praise to you only”.

I’m still on the road…a long and winding road.

But be encouraged! Oh Jerusalem!

“But now take another look. I’m going to give this city a thorough renovation, working a true healing inside and out. I’m going to show them life whole, life brimming with blessings. I’ll restore everything that was lost to Judah and Jerusalem. I’ll build everything back as good as new. I’ll scrub them clean from the dirt they’ve done against me. I’ll forgive everything they’ve done wrong, forgive all their rebellions. And Jerusalem will be a center of joy and praise and glory for all the countries on earth. They’ll get reports on all the good I’m doing for her. They’ll be in awe of the blessings I am pouring on her.” Jer. 33:6-9

The Wrestler

Jay was a wrestler so he liked to wrestle with the boys. He had Trey pinned to get his phone. Parents do that just to irritate their kids, ya know.

I remember the laughter…just as if you had tickled him when he was five under his armpits. It became contagious.

Tears from laughter fell.

Tears fall from grief.

Wrestling. What do we wrestle with? I’m wrestling with migraines, depression, grief, a dying dog, and to be honest – God.

Where do you want us God?

Tears fall from frustration and stress.

Eight years ago they wrestled. Today, we are still wrestling.

So for me – my prayer today is from Psalms. “But You, O GOD, the Lord, deal kindly with me for Your name’s sake; Because Your lovingkindness is good, deliver me;”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭109:21‬C485D394-E1FA-4C03-A158-3F22CAD0A8EA