Hello Again…

The last 5 years have proven to be game-changers in my little life. For years, I longed for something new to say when folks would ask, “What’s new with you?”

Nothing.  Nothing is new with me. I live in the same place. I work in the same place. I do the same things. Wonk wonk wonk.

Calling Bitter, party of of 1. Your table awaits you…

No…not really. I wasn’t bitter. Truly. I just really hated that question. Actually, I was rather content all in all.  As content as a 34 year-old single southern woman could be. I was independent and had a fulfilling life.

Just a little lonely here and there, I suppose…

I know you’ve noticed this game change on the blog. In 2011, I met Jason Tidwell, and my free time and emotional energy immediately dumped you in favor of this tall, good-looking Georgia boy. And I don’t regret it. 😉 Life has seasons, and I don’t have to be all the things to all the people in every season…I have finally made peace with that. For the longest time, I struggled with guilt over my lack of writing.  But, today, I see that the last 5 years have been full of life, the best of it, and I’m going to live that life today, live it well and enjoy it…and write about it when that time comes. The season to share will come again, I feel sure.

Believe me when I say, there is a lot of story to tell from 2011 to today…

One day, I’ll tell you all about how, just when I realized life would go on without Chad, I met a family that had lost a precious boy of their own.  And, through that loss, I met my husband…and grieved and grew with him right up to the altar, where we pledged to grieve and grow together before God until death do us part.

One day, I’ll tell you about how, with Jason, God ushered in a season of great joy, reminding me that there is life outside grief, and the sweetest and clearest of mornings truly do dawn after the darkest of nights.

One day, I’ll share with you that even the best of blessings come with great trial and sanctification. God just never misses an opportunity to make us more like Him.

One day, I’ll share how my heart and soul and mind have been full to the brim with new love, new blessing, new hope and, yes, new struggles. I’ll tell you about how I wrestle with change, even the best kind, and it has filled my world as I have fought to live and love well in my new life…as I fought my own humanity and embraced grace over and over and over again…

One day, Lord willing, I will hold our sweet baby in my arms, and let the love and wonder of God’s perfect plan and design wash over me. His timing is always perfection, and His ways are truly abundantly beyond all we could hope or imagine. Trusting Him is the very hardest and very best thing I have ever done.

One day, I look forward to sharing all those things.

But today, I am a little busy preparing for our next big change. Coming August 2016…

DSC_8451 copy (1)

Ephraim. For the Lord has indeed made me fruitful, in the land of my suffering.





UPDATE: Erin Phillips went to be with Jesus on Tuesday evening, July 21st, surrounded by those she loved. Her Celebration of Life will be on Saturday, August 1, at 11:00 am in the sanctuary of FBC Albemarle in Albemarle, NC.  Please hold the Phillips’ family tight in your prayers…

I should have written this post weeks ago.

The truth of the matter is that I don’t write well in turmoil, which this crazy world serves up generous portions of these days.

But, this, this hits too close to home…and I find it painful and confusing and frustrating. I have once begged for the life of a loved one before. I have gone to the end of myself in prayer and faith…His plans were different.


When I am asked to go there again…something inside me…it collapses…


Erin Phillips has been a force of nature since she entered the world in 1984…and we are all better to have known her. Her diagnosis was Cystic Fibrosis, and she personified the phrase fight for your life.

To call her colorful and full of life and wise and blunt and crazy and wonderful are all correct but far too small a summation.  She is genuine and loving and unapologetic and fierce and just flat larger than life.

Erin always pulls it out in the bottom of the 9th. Always.

She had a lung transplant seemingly days from death’s door three years ago, and her transplant story has been the stuff that dreams are made of…not a hitch, beautiful.  A wild and perfect ride, just like Erin.

She got an infection in her new lungs a few weeks ago. I, honestly, barely worried. It was bound to happen eventually…a small hitch in the road.

Erin always pulls it out.

It’s been more than 3 weeks now. Every day I check FB, email, search out what news I can…looking forward to the day I read her lungs are showing improvement…she is turning around….

The day has not come.

We have fasted and prayed. We have believed. She, her family, once did all this for us…

It looks as though His plans are different.

The doctors have told Erin’s family they can do no more, and the family has been called in. I sobbed as soon as I heard it because I HAVE BEEN RIGHT THERE AND IT IS AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL. I have laid beside a bed and waited for the Lord to take Home the beloved sibling you knew you’d grow old with and raise your children beside and spend Christmas and summer vacation with for the rest of your life.

“God is fully love…what He does is ultimately loving whether we can presently understand or not.” –  Angie Smith

I don’t even know what I am trying to say except pray for the Phillips family…this family that is precious to us, our community, our family of families inside a magical little town we all love to hate and hate to love called Albemarle, NC. What they are being asked to do is beyond what can be done in human strength. Pray the strength and peace and comfort of God over our loved ones.

Pray for Erin.

Pray the prayer that never fails…His perfect will be done.

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

Erin the Fierce



He Knows…

My sweet friend, Jeanne, came across an article I had written over the holidays for the Local Church Connection in middle Georgia today and reminded me of it…I went back and re-read it myself and, wow, I needed the reminder today.

Jeanne is a godly woman…a blessing to all who know and love her. God used her today to minister to me…with my very own words.

I find myself in the midst of a season of both great blessing and great challenge…He knows…

The beauty is God has so profoundly used this time to show me the woman that I want to be…and the woman I don’t want to be, the woman I can so easily be if I entertain my flesh and my selfishness, invite anger or bitterness or unforgiveness into my heart. He has shown me the struggle and shown me the dangers and pitfalls, and He has enticed me with dreams beyond anything I dare to hope for or imagine…because I know me…

I need Him.

Here’s the thing: I want to be so much more than I can be.  At the end of my life, I want to look back and know that I have loved my people well…no, not just my people, ALL people. I want to inspire and encourage. I want to speak the Truth of Christ and His Word, not with judgement or ugliness or defensiveness as I am so often prone to do, but speak it with graciousness and kindness and love. I want to let people know I was once someone I did not like very much…but Jesus changed all that. He made me better than I am, and I want my life to inspire them to Seek Him. And here lately with all the anger and discord in our world, I want to treat all people with honor, despite differences, and fight for common ground…while representing my Savior well. I want to have a peaceable spirit and a huge heart, I want to love well and forgive without question. I want to treat people better than my flesh tells me they deserve…I want to treat them better than they treat me…

I want His legacy. I want the riches I leave behind to be love, joy, peace, kindness, patience, self-control, goodness, and gentleness…

Y’all. I know who I am without Jesus. I’m so pathetic and selfish and NONE OF THE ABOVE things.

I can ONLY screw this up.  It’s the truth.



He Knows…He knows my day to day, He knows the paths He has chosen for me and the world I live in, He knows the victories I will claim and the mistakes I will make, and what I will learn from every one.

Most importantly…

He knows my heart, and what I treasure there.

Let it be Him. In every day and in every way, on the mountains and in the valleys and in every choice I make…let it be Him.

He knows me, and He knows and I know my only shot at being my very best me, finding the joy and contentment I so desire, being a blessing to ALL my people…is Him.

I. Cannot. Do. This.

I need Him.

Every day that I wake and every choice that I make…I NEED HIM.

He knows…

He Knows

I was shopping a few weeks ago with my best friend and my mother-in-law and, although I can’t remember the specific topic of the conversation, I can remember saying something along these lines:  “Every single day is full of joy, and every single day has hardship.  It’s what we choose to focus on that tells our story.”

Maybe that isn’t news to you, but in my heart and spirit, I took note.  It has burned inside of me since it left my mouth, and these words I write are just as much for m as they are for you.  Life is more than one event after the other.  It’s just not that simple.  At any moment in your day, you are dealing with countless experiences… home issues, work issues, spiritual issues, extended family issues, emotional issues, health issues…shall I go on?  I could.  I could go on and on and on.

Life is not one experience, nor is it simply one experience right after the other.  Life is hundreds and thousands and millions of experiences that happen simultaneously day in and day out.  Some of those experiences are completely wonderful, and some are completely tragic….but most fall somewhere in between.  Some experiences are annoying and some are a blessing.  Some are wearisome and some are rejuvenating.  Some are edifying and some tear you apart.  Some break your heart and some heal it.  Some are mundane and some are life-altering.  Some are worth mentioning and some aren’t.  Some make you smile…and some make you cry.

But the experiences aren’t the real story, are they?  It’s what you do with them that matters.  Because the truth is that life moves forward whether you give it permission to or not….and experiences come and go.  As they do, they have an affect us…and there, my friends, there is the rub. 

There is the choice.

The older I get, the more inspired I am to be a certain kind of woman.  I want to be intentionally joyful and encouraging.  I want to exercise my talents and enjoy my people.  I want to take care of myself and build a happy home.  I want to not just live for what is right in front of me, but live for the someday.

It’s easier said than done.

Why?  Experiences.

Experiences distract and occupy, they control and dictate.  Experiences crowd our days, and it becomes hard to tell the meaningful experiences from all of the experiences that might seem important right this minute…but don’t amount to anything in the long run.  I can be inspired to be this certain kind of woman…but unless I learn how to take control over the experiences I am handed, there is no hope of being the woman that I dream to be.

What will we do with the experiences, friends?

I am more and more convinced that we are separated by this: those of us that choose to fight for the strength and fortitude to uncover ways to grow and cultivate thankfulness and joy day by day and experience by experience, and those of us who cannot seem to let go of the stresses and obligations and difficulties of the day…and the past experiences that have left us wounded and battered and bitter and scared.

It’s our choice.

Where does our mind rest?  I‘m asking myself this as well as you.  Does it rest in a state of gratitude, or does it rest in fear, or bitterness, or resentment?  What dictates us?  One of them has control over you every single day.  Will it be gratitude, or will it be fear?

The truth is this: We, in our quest for ease and perfection in life, have a very difficult time embracing that the very experience that left you the most battered and the most broken may be the very experience that leads you to the greatest experience and blessing of your life.

Just ask Jesus.

Jesus was a real man, with a real life and real experiences.  He had a choice, just like you and I do as to how He would handle them and He, thankfully, chose obedience to His Father.  I’m so thankful He wasn’t too bitter or resentful over my sins to hang on a cross and save me.  I’m so glad he didn’t let his fear of dying stop Him from His destiny…to save me, and give me eternal life with Him.

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”  – 1 Peter 4:12-13

This is my heart song.  This is the cry of my innermost parts.  Beloved…embrace every single experience that life hands you.  The blessings and the trials.  There is a purpose and a plan beyond anything you could ever hope or imagine…

He has promised…His glory will be revealed.

Will we trust that, embrace that?  Our decision to those questions will tell our life story.  That is what will determine whether I am indeed a joyful and encouraging woman, or get to exercise my talents and enjoy my people the way God intended, or take care of myself and build a happy home…or not just live for what is right in front of me, but live for the someday. 

I don’t want to just get the laundry done and the house clean and be on time to work.  I don’t want to focus only on the experiences that demand my attention day in and day out.

I want to live for the dreams of my someday…

What will I do with my experiences?

I read a book a few years ago by Beth Moore and, in it, was an unforgettable quote by Beth’s daughter, Melissa Moore, that I think of so often…

“He knows it’s scary to be us.” 

Those words struck me and they have stayed with me.  He knows, friends.  He knows our experiences can be tough.  He knows that sometimes just opening the mailbox or picking up the phone is the scariest thing we will do all day.  He knows that prayer lists are long and good news seems hard to come by.  He knows that even in the time of greatest blessing at work, home may be in shambles.  And He knows that even when all seems perfect, we sometimes lay in bed at night and worry over what will come next…

He knows.

Jesus is the answer.

He will give us the peace, the wisdom, the faith, and the strength to find the joy and keep the faith and realize dreams we never knew we had until we looked to Him in our hardest moments.  He will uncover our passions and talents in the midst of our trials and heartbreak and even fear if we look to Him.  Just ask.  He will reveal Himself in unimaginable ways on days you can’t seem to find your way home.  He will give you the sweetest dreams in the middle of your worst nightmares.  He will carry you and lift you high when the world has forgotten you and left you lonely and afraid. 

Look to Him.

Even if you can’t seem to find Him, even if you can’t feel Him…He is with you.

He knows. 

So keep your chin up and find the silver linings in the dark clouds of your days.  Cultivate an intentional lifestyle of thankfulness.  Pray redemption over your heartaches, and forgiveness and blessing over those who have wronged you.  Be kind and gracious and love those around you, the ones God has given you, love them well.  Work…work…to find gratefulness for today and all you’ve been given, and don’t worry over what is next, but keep your focus on Who holds the future…you don’t know what is next, but rest assured…

He knows.



Sadie B

Sadie Brynn Sullivan

Born to Alex and Pamela Sullivan

April 3, 2015

7 pounds, 19 inches

I have been remiss.

This little nugget of pure bliss is almost 2 weeks old, and this is the first you are hearing of her.  Sure, I posted on Facebook, Insta, and Twitter…but I have done the blog all kinds of wrong…

And I apologize.

I do.



Meet Sadie B…

Marti and Sadie 2

I’m about to get REAL dramatic.  I’m in that place.  So hold on….

The truth is, the words don’t come over this little beauty.  Her arrival has overwhelmed me in so many ways.  She came on Good Friday, and my brain can’t even quite grasp the beauty of that. I am overwhelmed.  She is redemption and resurrection and victory.  She is Easter.  To  us, she is.  I am  overwhelmed with gratitude for the joy I see in my parents, my family, again…it has overwhelmed me.  It has overwhelmed me to literally close my eyes and picture Chad holding her, smiling at her, and the love I can literally see in his eyes.  It has overwhelmed me.  I am overwhelmed.  It has overwhelmed me to see her mama coo and and care over this precious gift, and what I always suspected is true…she was born to be a mother.  It is so true and apparent and beautiful, and she is beautiful doing it.  I never knew it was possible because I have always adored her, but I love Pamela about a million times more than I ever did for what she has given us and how she cares for this gift.  She is a natural and I’m so thankful that she is Sadie’s mama.  She will raise a beautiful, confident, capable, and gracious daughter.  I know this.  She may not yet, but I do.  It is what she is.

And I can’t even talk about Alex…my sweet Alex.  If I attempt to talk to you about what it does to me to see that little baby with a little baby of his own, of how God saw fit, nearly 32 years ago, to send our little family a “surprise” in the way of a nearly 11 pound bouncing baby boy…if I attempt to talk about this out loud I will come undone.  I am sure of it.  We always called him a “surprise,” but he was in no way a surprise to God.  He was planned. He was part of God’s plan for our family in such a priceless way, and all these years later, as I see the whole picture, or at least a bigger picture then we EVER could have seen or known in 1983…I am overwhelmed.  Overwhelmed at the goodness and sovereignty and the faithfulness of God.  He has a plan.  He does not forget our or forsake us.  He has a bigger plan than we can imagine…I fall at His feet.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”      – Jeremiah 29:11-13


Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,according to his power that is at work within us…” – Ephesians 3:20

But this…this…just watch…

I. Just. Can. NOT. EVEN.


Ephraim.  Ephraim!  Ephraim!!!

Marti & Sadie

Thank you, God, for Ephraim.

       “The second son he named Ephraim and said, ‘It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.'”             – Genesis 41:52

I told you I was feeling dramatic.


Forgive Me…It’s a Snow Day

I just walked my little dog Bear around the neighborhood and saw a guy shoveling snow in shorts.

This basically encompasses everything I love about the South.

So, it was supposed to snow 27 inches here last night, and it snowed 4. I’m not complaining, though, because this is perfection in my book. We get a restful and cozy snow day WITH POWER, and then life returns to normal. No muss, no fuss. Much like my beauty routine.

Speaking of beauty…

(How was that for a transition??? I know. Impressive. Not my first rodeo, kids.)

(Actually, I’ve never written anything that would actually qualify as a rodeo, so I take it all back.)

(Forgive me. It’s a snow day.)

Back to beauty…

(BTW..if you’re a man, the rest of this post will be nonsense to you. Proceed with caution.)

A few weeks ago I randomly saw this article on Facebook about eyelash mites…that’s right, friend. There are MITES in your EYELASHES. And, listen, just stop. I know we live and dwell with mites. I’m no novice about the mites. I know that  no matter how clean we are or strive to be, we have the mites, we sleep with the mites, we dwell with the mites. I get it. There is really no way around it, and I am one with that. BUT, I took special offense to the eyelash mites because, as it turns out, they’re munching my eyelashes.

Step back.

(Dramatic pause.)

My eyelashes aren’t what they used to be. They are shorter and thinner and some of them are way long and some are stupid short. It makes no sense. I thought this was simply just another step in this journey called aging.  I have nothing nice to say about aging, so I will say nothing at all. That’s what my mama taught me. But, when I saw this article…I knew I had nailed the true culprit.

Aging had been falsely accused.

Eyelash mites.


This article claimed that a drop of tea tree oil or lavender oil in your mascara would kill the mites and return your eyelashes to their former glory…


You know, everything you read on the internet is true.

I googled it a little more just to make sure all this eyelash mite talk was legit, saw that it had been a segment on an episode of The Doctors, proclaimed it as gospel, and commenced to dump half a bottle of teat tree oil in my mascara.  Or a couple of drops, whatever.

The internet told me that the oil suffocates the mites.

It must be true…

This is where the story takes an interesting turn because…GUESS WHAT?

It’s totally true. Totally. The results were astounding. It makes up for all the Pinterest lies and get skinny quick quacks.  It TOTALLY WORKED.  My eyelashes, within a couple of weeks, were like totally different eyelashes.  They are longer AND thicker, sans the latest miracle-claiming masacra.

Natural remedy for the WIN!

I’m basically a holistic beauty expert.

You’re welcome.  BTW…they have tea tree oil in the vitamin section at CVS.



It’s also an excellent acne spot treatment and basic wound cleanser.

Somebody stop me.

What can I say?  It’s a snow day.  😉

The next time it snows, I’ll tell you all about how coconut oil is better than any under eye cream you will ever buy…

Try and contain your excitement.

Sadie B. and a Birthday

Weekend before last, I helped to hostess a baby shower for my sister-in-law, Pamela.  She and my brother, Alex, are having a baby.  A little baby girl.


Sadie Brynn Sullivan.

Sadie B.

Sadie Sullivan.

Her name alliterates and I cannot tell you the joy that brings me.

I could already eat her up…

She’ll be here the first of April, not long now.  The shower went beautifully and, as I was driving home afterwards, I was a little weepy.  I’ve been excited about the baby, but the closer it gets the more real it becomes.  I wonder, what color hair will she have?  What about her eyes?  What will her interests be and what will tug at her heart?  What will she call me?  Will she be a priss pot or a tomboy?  What subjects will she love in school?  What will bring her joy or make her angry?

I could go on…

No matter what the answers to those questions are…she will be perfectly perfect.

I pray for her.  I pray she loves Jesus and is rooted in Him, and His unconditional love for her.  I pray the assurance of that love keeps her confidant and strong and humble.  I pray for her heart and what influences her.  I pray she makes good choices and is protected from evil at every turn.  I pray she is kind and gracious.  I pray she honors her mom and dad.  I pray she finds her passion and calling and makes it a career that she adores.  I pray God’s perfect will finds her in each of her days.  Every single one…

I could go on…

But, I suppose, what truly gets to me about this coming little one, what makes me weep…yes, because I’m crying now…is the hard realization that she will never know Chad.  Her Uncle Chad who would have no doubt stolen her heart.

Today is Chad’s birthday.  He would be 41.  A baby-faced 41, but 41.  And today, we are facing the beginning of a whole new generation…and they will never know him.  I can’t escape the thought…

It’s true that grief never really ends.  This realization about Sadie is just another step in the process.  I faced it when I married Jason…spending the rest of my life with a man who never met the beloved brother whose journey changed me…changed my heart…whose life and death and journey made me a better person, love Jesus more, trust Him beyond what I can see, and prepared me to be the wife I strive to be every day.

They never met, yet the road I was placed on at my brother’s death led me directly to my husband.  They are inseparable in my mind and heart in a way that I can’t explain…  

And Sadie…Sadie carries our blood, Chad’s blood…she is the personification of God’s faithfulness and healing and the truth that He really is faithful and joy does indeed comes in the morning…life really does continue even after your heart has been shattered.  She and her Uncle Chad are connected in our hearts to the very core of us…yet they will never meet.

This side of Heaven anyway.

She doesn’t have to do a thing.  She carries no burden.  Her very existence is proof of God’s love and faithfulness.

I am so anxious to inhale a long, deep breath of the joy her arrival will bring…


And Happy Birthday, bub. Your life changed mine, and I will celebrate they day you were born until the day I die…


Nonsense for Your New Year

It’s the New Year…again.

It surprises me daily that somehow I have morphed into an adult. What madness is this? There is this (large) part of me that believes I’ll soon wake up from this dream and my dad will be kissing my forehead and telling me to “hop up for school,” as he leaves for work.

Am I the only one? It all goes too fast…

New Year after New Year.  I remember like it was yesterday thinking it was so cool that it was 1985. I think I rang in 1985 with Sarah Lampkins and Libby Wyrick at Libby’s house drinking shirley temples (virgin, of course, because I was 8, for the love). I felt as though I had truly arrived because Libby was almost a middle-schooler and basically a woman.


I can’t do the math. I can’t face it. Don’t make me.

Also, middle-schoolers are basically INFANTS.

In other troubling news, I am now apparently a Taylor Swift fan. Her new album pushed me to the edge, but this sent me straight over.

It’s a world gone mad.

I wish I had her number. She’s seems like such a lovely and humble young lady. I’d love to chat with her about a few things SUCHAS healthy boundaries in dating relationships.

I learned the hard way.

But, alas, that is another story for another New Year.

Eons and eons from now.

2015, oh the insanity. I have been reading posts all week with New Year’s meditations and pontifications.  This time of year unleashes all the thoughts of all the bloggers in all the land. Me? I make no promises, and therefore no resolutions nor declarations nor, lo, even one deep thought by Marti Tidwell. Nope. I’m simply not qualified. I mean, I would love to believe that it may be possible that I could make a resolution or commit to a 2015 theme word or phrase and not forget it by January 10th…but, I know me. I have the attention span of a lightning bug.

(You think I’m kidding and I wish I was).

Some people…mainly people by the name of Jason that live with me…may get a tad frustrated at my inability to recall basic information.

And by “basic information,” I mean what happened recently.

And by “recently,” I mean yesterday.

“Marti, pay attention.  It’s free.”

Well paying attention may be free, smarty britches, but recalling said information is not.

Which is why resolutions and declarations and other New Year’s what-not is…how can I say…not my Best Yes, Lysa Terkeurst.

I would love to believe that this year, The Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Fifteen, would be the year that I finally unscrambled my brain. THIS YEAR….this year I could find time to work, write, relax enough to stay sane-ish, keep my home beautiful and clean, serve and love my husband perfectly, get back into a size 6, AND do every single home DIY project and crock pot meal I have ever pinned.

Maybe this year life could look a little less likely juggling plates and more like a Jedi mind game I play on the world.

(insert deep sigh)

But I know me. I’ve known me a whole lotta New Years.


This year…I’m just gonna do my best to be my best. And if I fail, Jesus loves me anyway. I’ll get up tomorrow, put a smile on my face, and try again.

Ephraim, y’all.

Hugs. And Happy New Year…

He Always Parks in the Back…

I have such a fetish for dot dot dots.  Have you noticed?

I am a big believer in the dramatic pause and, well, it’s the closest I can get to a dramatic pause using a keyboard.

Last Thursday, I made a day trip to Charleston because the hospital where my dad works was throwing him a surprise birthday party.

I know, right?  PRESH.

I’m telling you, if you ever want to find you way into my heart forever and ever, love my Daddy…he’s that special to me.  I believe he’s the best Daddy that God ever made.  Period the end.  He should give seminars on raising girls. There was the perfect level of unconditional love, discipline, and spoiling…

It’s a delicate balance, let’s be honest.

And then, God saw fit to give me Randy Tidwell as a father-in-law, and MY CUP RUNNETH OVER, PEOPLE.  I have the best of the best, and I don’t take it for granted for one minute.

I should repost this on Father’s Day.

ANYWAY, back to my original thought.

I drove up to the hospital with fear and trepidation because, 1) my dad’s office overlooks the parking lot and 2) well, #1.  I immediately started looking for his truck, because I didn’t want to park beside him, and when I saw it…a big grin came across my face and memories washed over me.

He parks in the back.  In the way back.

My dad’s profession is Hospital Administrator.  Well, that’s what they called it in the 80’s.  Now, it’s President or CEO or something more impressive.  I think Hospital Administrator is the best title, as it’s an accurate descriptor of what he actually does….he is in charge of administering the day to day operations of the hospital, and all the drama that implies.  He started in small community hospitals, then in the mid 90’s moved to executive management of a large healthcare network out of Charlotte…but has chosen to close out his career doing something he had never done before, building a community hospital from the ground up.  He moved to Mt. Pleasant, SC in 2008 to do just that and today, 7 years later, it is built, staffed, accredited, and profitable.

He’s good at adminstrating hospitals. I tell him it’s his spiritual gift. 😉

Yes, I suppose I am bragging…which is something you will never ever ever hear him do.  I am proud that a little fella that came from a preaching father with an 8th grade education out of Flat Rock, KY made his way, found his gift, worked his tail off, and became successful because of his own hard work and God’s grace.  Yes, I am proud.  And because he worked so hard…I didn’t have to, just to state the obvious.  My father paid off his college loans at 38…and because of his hard work, his 3 children never had any.

But you will NEVER hear him brag, never find a hint of pride in him.  He will thank “the good Lord for all our blessings.”

He parks in the back.  In the way back.

When I drove up to the hospital and saw his truck, there in the way back…it reminded me that his success has come from humility and hard work and the grace of God.  My dad’s success is not monetary…it’s in children that admire him, a wife that adores and respects him, and employees that want to work hard for him.

My whole life, I’ve heard the comments that I heard over and over on Thursday at his party…that surprised him stunned, by the way…. “Your dad is so wonderful to work for.” “Your dad is such an amazing man.” “We are so fortunate to have your dad.” “Your dad is so down-to-earth.” “You have the best dad ever.”

“I just WANT to work hard and do my best for him.”

I know the feeling.

He parks in the back, puts himself last, and others first.  His fellow man is to be honored and respected and served, even when he has authority over them…

He parks in the back.

Thank you, all of you, for the enormous response to the cry for prayer from my mom last Friday, Dad’s birthday.  My mother was able to attend the surprise party and hang in there really well, I think attributed to so many prayers on her behalf.  She is feeble, but her sass and spunk still show themselves.  I was happy for the people Daddy works with to be able to get a glimpse of her.  So thank you, thank you for all those prayers.  It was truly overwhelming and such an encouragement to my mom and dad both.  My dad has moved my mom home to Albemarle, because he feels she is most comfortable and happy in their home there, and likes to be close to her children… especially with sweet Sadie B. due in April to Alex and Pamela.  As a result, Daddy is commuting every week to Charleston…which I know is tiresome, but he does it out of love and support for his bride.

Here are a few pics from the event…



IMG_2489 IMG_2488 IMG_2486 IMG_2485IMG_2493


Thank you, Mt. Pleasant Hospital.  He loves you, too. 😉

Some dear friends of my parent’s, the Kimreys, approached me last week about the possibility of a time of community prayer surrounding my folk’s home on Bellamy Circle in Albemarle.  My dad was so receptive and appreciative and humbled.  A time has been set for next Monday, December 22, at 5:30pm.

If you are in the Albemarle area, and could spare an hour of your time, we would be beyond thankful for you…

I’m sure you have gathered from my last 2 posts, my parents mean the world to me.  The world needs more parents like them.  My brother, Pamela, and Jason and I thank you for standing with us in the gap for them, and pleading with the Father on behalf of them…

Merry Christmas…tis the season for miracles. 😉


My Mom…

My mother was a stay-at-home mom.

Next you’re probably expecting me to say that we were her world, but we weren’t. And I am thankful for that.

My mother raised us in love and admonition and creativity and independence and strength and courage and forgiveness and NO WHINING ALLOWED…and Jesus.

Jesus. He bears repeating.

But we were not her world. She loved to tell us that.  She was ALWAYS there, beyond faithful to her calling as a mother..but we were never her world.

I hope I can be as strong if I become a mother…to have the perspective and strength to remember that your children are with you for maybe 20 years, but your husband is with you, day in and out, for the rest of your life. My father was her favored one. She raised her children to leave her, and for that I am thankful. I am a better woman today for it. It is one of the many many things I learned from my mother…

She was full of life and fire and the Spirit, well-versed in the Word and ready to speak Truth. She can make a home inviting and lovely. She was a gifted teacher and singer, a beautiful woman, an honoring and respectful wife and a dynamite mother.  Not friend…mother. She taught me, by example, to be a strong and confident woman of the Word.

A dang fine mother, a child of the King, and an enemy of the enemy. Mary Sullivan.

More than a decade ago, my mother made a trip to the dentist to fix an old temporary crown.  A couple of weeks later, she had a toothache in that same tooth…

That is still with her today. Ten year later…

After dozens of doctors and medications..the best orofacial pain specialist in the nation…there is no help. There are some answers, but no fix. My father has spent untold thousands trying to find anything…ANYTHING…that could ease her pain. The final word?

A neurological malfunction, for which there is no remedy. No hope.

Hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year…no hope.

At first, there was sympathy. Then, whispers, as folks struggled to understand. Today, she is basically secluded aside from family. She is on such an army of medications to simply be semi-functional that she can make no plans, make no friends, do any of the things she dearly loves to do and be the mom she desperately wants to be. She struggles to even go out to dinner…

My father said, just last night, “She leads a horrible, horrible life.”  Sadness and resignation dripped from his words…his voice has haunted me ever since. Unexplained and chronic pain is a horrible destiny, as your life is constant struggle and sympathies wain thin. Two weeks ago, I held her in bed, sobbing and wailing and holding her face, until she finally…finally…succummbed to sleep.

Everyone has an opinion, they blame it on my brother’s death or on her own mind. Maybe once I thought that, too. But…what does it matter? She can’t fix it…

No hope.

We don’t understand what it’s like to be her. We have not walked in her shoes, felt her pain, endured her loneliness and despair. And she is not the only one…there are so many with similar struggles.

I am probably the hardest on her. I get frustrated…I want my mom back.

Several months ago, as she was undergoing yet another procedure with hopes that it could bring some relief, I saw her cry and hold her head high…and explain to the attending doctor the reason for the hope and strength she has shown after a decade of unrelenting pain…Jesus Christ.

She told him he needed Jesus as his personal Savior.

He listened.

Sometimes, I think she’s gone. Then, I see her…


I have something to ask of you…

This Friday, December 12th, is my sweet daddy’s birthday. May I ask each of you for…a gift, of sorts, for him? Would you set aside Friday as a day to pray for my mother? Would you consider skipping a meal or two, and fasting and praying for my mom? Would you open your mind and your heart, and feel for her, and approach the Throne of Grace for her, for my dad, for her sweet grandgirl on the way, for all of us? Not because you understand, but because she is a sister in Christ…

Would you plead with the Father for relief?

For hope?

Marti and Jason Wed-390

I would never be able to thank you enough…


Life Hacks and Lots O’ Nothing


It’s positively delicious.

I am my very best me in the Fall.

Fall clothes rule…ponchos and boots and scarves and warm and fuzzies.  It’s all the best.

I am so glad that the rest of the fashion world has caught up to me in my poncho craze.

Ponchos for President!

I have been wearing them for 3 years and now, suddenly, they are everywhere.

I’m so fashion forward.

To me, a poncho is everything chic and dramatic, yet comfy and pajama-like.  How could it possibly be any better?  A win-win for sure.  AND, in case you’re interested in purchasing a poncho for yourself or your lovely wife…Old Navy carries one of my fave lines and THEY ARE ON BIG SALE, y’all.


They come in several colors, and you can purchase yours here or here, and get 35% off today with the code CHEER.

Get you some.

I may or may not have all 4 colors offered, and I may or may not be either proud or appalled by that.

I haven’t decided.

BTW…I never buy anything from The Loft or The Gap (or its sister companies, Old Navy and Banana Republic) without at least 35% off, preferably 40-50%, and you shouldn’t either. Their stuff is on sale constantly.  Wait it out.  That full retail price is nothing but a jedi mind game, and you’re stronger than that.

You’re welcome.

Anyway, back to this delicious weather.  It makes me want pumpkin bread and coffee all day every day.  And, I swear to my time, if it turns out to be 80 degrees on Thanksgiving after all this wonderful cold weather, I’ll boycott.  I will.  I won’t cook a thing.  So that means my family won’t eat anything but a fried turkey and some coconut pie.

Really, they’d prob be okay with that.  I mean, I could go for some turkey and coconut pie right now.

Since this post has taken on a shallow and meaningless air, let’s just run with that.

Do you know about ebates?  Ok…I just signed up last week but, listen, THEY PAY YOU TO SHOP.  There are literally thousands of companies on their website and all you have to do is sign up, access the companies you want to shop through their website, and they pay you cash back.  CASH.  As in, they mail you a check.  What?!  I met a girl at a party last week that had made $400 back already this year.

Yes, please.

In the last week, I have already made almost $10 and all I did was buy coffee and office supplies and other stuff I already needed anyway.  AND I DIDN’T HAVE TO GO TO THE STORE, PEOPLE.

Ebates for President!

This smells like a real life hack to me.  I’ll keep you posted.  Maybe.  If I remember.  Probably not, then.

Oh!  And if you want a poncho, you can totally shop at Old Navy through ebates.com.


OK.  One last thing.  If you’re a do-gooder and you love jewelry, please check out Noonday Collection.  This jewelry is made overseas by women who suffer financially in impoverished countries, and have often been victimized by injustices they are powerless over.  This company allows these women to make jewelry and other accessories using their culture’s incredible artisan gifts, and then Noonday sells the goods in the States.  This work empowers these women to raise their children, send them to school, and better their families in countless ways.  And the stuff is GORGEOUS….

_CWP5829-s _CWP6357-s Armwarmers_Natural-l BR083CF-Woven-Wonders-Cuff-s EA105AU-Calypso-Earrings-s

That’s just a taste.  Check it out, girls.  And Christmas gifts!  Get it done.

It’s another win-win, people.  Do good while looking good…who can give me an amen?!

Noonday for President!

I had to do it.  Had to.

That’s all for today, I think.  Maybe I will share some more life hacks with you soon, because I have plenty.

Like coconut oil.  Don’t even get me started.  Best stuff for crows feet, EVAH.

Next time…the next time I decide to bore you to tears and agony with a post on nothing even remotely edifying, I will share my thoughts on coconut oil and Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar.  I have many.

Hug ya’ll.. 😉