Welcome to my blog. Thanks for coming! One day I hope my little piece of internet real estate will be home to lots of family photos, pictures of my scrapbook and card art, with some random thoughts and memories posted on a somewhat regular basis. Mostly my world is very predictable, but occasionally some excitement will find me, so visit often. Who knows what useful (or useless) information you may find here.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mr. Bennett

Getting married to Steve has been a wonderful dream come true. We celebrate our two-month wedding anniversary today, and tomorrow we leave for our honeymoon/vacation!  I love being married to him!!  However, a new name is taking a little getting used to. I’ve been Cathy Bennett, or CathyB since 1980. I love my new name, but quite frankly, I don’t have very many occasions that require me to give my name. I work from home in my jammies, minding my own business. Thankfully, my new husband isn’t demanding in that way, and I just haven’t gotten around to doing the legal stuff required to change it. I have the marriage certificate, so it’s just a matter of getting it done. I think I must first go to the DMV for new driver’s license. I probably have to take some kind of mail correspondence to prove my new address. Once I have my new photo ID, I suppose I can then go to the Social Security office, the HR department at work, (and get a new name badge), the pharmacy, call my insurance company, see my retirement plan administrator, call my mortgage company, my utility companies for The 409, and visit my bank to make the changes. And all the other places that I can’t even think of right now.

My license expires on my birthday in October, and cheapskate that I am, I plan on waiting until then to make the change.

I’m really thankful that Steve doesn’t have a problem with this. I usually pay my bills online, or in person if they are local.  He will occasionally take my payments for me, or pick up prescriptions, etc.

Ever the patient and understanding husband, I am sure he will be glad when my birthday rolls around and I get everything changed. He’s probably growing a little weary of hearing “Thank you, Mr. Bennett.”

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Broken Roads

Back in December, when I told Whitney that Steve and I were getting married and had chosen a date, she was so happy for us. After a hug and congratulations, she said “Okay, I’m singing at your wedding!!” Such a sweet and beautiful voice she has, and I was honored that she wanted to sing. A few days later, she asked me what song I wanted. At the time, I hadn’t given it too much thought, and nothing really seemed to be coming to mind. She suggested God Bless The Broken Road, a song by Rascal Flatts. She said, “Mom, it is the PERFECT song for you and Steve.” I looked it up on You Tube, and sure enough, it was the perfect song.


I set out on a narrow way many years ago
Hoping I would find true love along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
Wiped my brow and kept pushing through
I couldn't see how every sign pointed straight to you

Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were like Northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

I think about the years I spent just passing through
I'd like to have the time I lost and give it back to you
But you just smile and take my hand
You've been there you understand
It's all part of a grander plan that is coming true

Now I'm just rolling home
Into my lover's arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you


Steve and I both have traveled some broken roads along the way. We have each had our happy times, and things that we wouldn’t change, but there have been poor choices along those roads as well. Hearts have been broken, former spouses, friends and family have been hurt by some of those choices. In the deepest part of my soul, I believe that everything happens for a reason. While I wish I could take back every ounce of hurt that my choices have caused in the hearts of people I love, I do believe that God takes every piece of the broken road and heals us, and often times leads us to something better than we could have imagined. After a long and bumpy road full of potholes and train wrecks, I was resigned to the fact that having a relationship was simply not in the cards for me. Perhaps it was my punishment for poor choices in the past. I filled my life with my daughter, my grandchildren, my family, my closest friends, and my work. There truly wasn’t time for anything else. And I was happy. At times I would reflect on the broken shards of my life, seemingly scattered about without rhyme or reason. I would wonder how anything beautiful could ever be made from some of the messes I had made. So I shoved them back further and further into the recesses of my mind, where for the most part, they remained quietly in the shadows over the years.

Once Steve and I started dating, and found ourselves crazy in love, the broken pieces started making a little noise, and tried for all their worth to make me feel unworthy and inadequate. The jagged edges tried to pierce into the bubble of happiness that I had found, and tried to remind me that I totally suck at relationships, and that my chance at happily-ever-after had ended long ago. It was frightening, and without DJ reminding me to “Just Breathe”, and without lots of prayer and counsel from a few close friends, I probably would have messed this one up too. And then there was the Sunday morning that I had a sacred epiphany…. And I was finally able to silence those ugly pieces of brokenness for good.

It is true, just like the song says. Every long lost dream, led me to where you are. Others who broke my heart, they were like Northern stars, pointing me on my way into your loving arms.

We’ve both said, just like the song: “I think about the years I spent just passing through. I'd like to have the time I lost and give it back to you.” But we know, also, like the song says, “It’s all part of the grander plan, that is coming true.” It was the perfect song for the perfect wedding.

Have you ever seen a mosaic vase? The artist starts with a pile of broken stones or glass. It looks like a mess, sitting on the workbench in disarray. Sharp and rough edges can cut the hands of one who might pick them up for a closer look. However, with a steady and experienced hand, the artist takes each individual piece of brokenness, and lovingly fashions a beautiful work of art. The rough edges are grouted to smoothness. Each stone is still visible, and represents a facet of a once greater object. But bound together and formed by the Master artist, all the parts become a whole. A new vessel, strong and stable, able to be filled, and to hold safely inside its walls whatever the owner chooses to place.

And so it is with the broken roads that Steve and I have traveled. All the pieces have been formed together into a thing of beauty that neither of us could have imagined. Each piece of broken stone or glass represents part of what makes us who we are. Some happy, some sad, some tragic. We are grateful to The Artist Who has brought us together, and for all our jumbled up, brokenness, has made us whole. Aristotle said it best: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

You may remember that yesterday, June 17, was the original date we chose for our wedding. Yesterday we celebrated our eight-week anniversary, and our decision to move the date up by two months. Today should have found us on the road to Myrtle Beach for our honeymoon. Little did we know, at the time we pushed the date ahead by two months, that Steve’s construction job wouldn’t be finished, and we would have had to postpone the honeymoon. All things work together for good. Everything happens for a reason. From a kidney stone to an incomplete construction job, the timing is perfect. This time NEXT week will find us basking in the sun, enjoying a honeymoon without the exhaustion from a wedding the night before. We will return home and resume our life… already settled in and with our daily routines established. We’ve had eight weeks to look forward to our trip.

We are so happy. And so blessed. Whitney chose the most perfect song ever. For God did truly bless the broken roads that lead us to each other.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Why do bad things happen to good people? This has long been a dilemma to mankind. Everyone I know has persevered through dark days, and at times has grown weary from bearing the cross(es) laid upon them. Mostly, we come out on the other side stronger for having born them. There’s a saying that goes like this: God will not lead you where His grace will not keep you. The Bible says it like this: My grace is sufficient. (2 Cor 12:9) Sometimes that belief helps. Sometimes it doesn’t. Suffering and perseverance pretty much sucks. Sometimes, once we get on the other side of it, we can see a reason or a purpose for it. Often, though, we can never reconcile it with any purpose at all, and the reasons may never be clear to us. Those trials are, I think, the hardest of all to bear.

My work is all about sick folks. I sit at a desk all day, and sometimes half the night, transcribing dictated voice files into documents. There are a lot of sick folks who come through the doors of our hospital. Most of them recover enough to leave through those same doors. But some of them don’t. It isn’t quite as difficult to understand when it’s an elderly person, or even someone with a chronic illness. However, it is tragic when someone dies unexpectedly, or as the result of an accident.

Most heartbreaking, though, are the cases of the children. Thankfully there aren’t many of those, since we are not a pediatric-specialty hospital, but occasionally there are children who are lost at our facility. Such a nightmare is unthinkable to me. I watched my dearest friends endure 37 days of neonatal intensive care for their premature daughter, only to lose her to a seemingly preventable staph infection. Then a few years later, they lost a son, also born months too soon. Such loving people with so much to give. Friends and family have struggled for years and years with this, trying to make sense of it. The fact remains there is, to our human minds and hearts, no sense to it at all. It is a pain that only a mother and father who have walked the same path can feel. Friends are there to help, support and grieve alongside them, each trying their best to empathize, but hoping they never have to feel the same pain. Years later, it is still painful and no more understood now than when it happened.

Because of the nature of my work, and perhaps also because of the above experience, I am drawn to stories involving health care, particularly those relating to babies or children. I recently heard the story of an infant sent to hospice care. An infant. The baby had suffered an anoxic brain injury at birth resulting in irreversible medical complications. Less than a year old at the time of referral, the baby was not expected to survive past another few weeks. When I hear a case like this, I think of Samantha and Joshua. Having witnessed the journey of my friends, I can only imagine the pain of the parents of this hospice baby. Parents who loved, cherished, and nursed their baby all those months, and then had to watch it slowly slip away. Wondering each day if every sweet little smile, or every goodnight kiss would be the last. What unthinkable agony.

Perspective. It is easier, perhaps, to think of Joshua and Samantha as sweet little cherubs in heaven, than what might have been their fate had they survived. As devastating as it was to lose them, perhaps it was the most merciful thing for everyone involved, though it is really difficult to entertain such a horrendous thought. However, there are worse things than death.

Perspective. Whenever my work day revolves around sick children brought to our facility, I am ever so thankful for my own healthy child, and my healthy grandchildren. One facet of my work involves genetics, and some days I find myself weeping. It is a bitter reminder that the health and development of a healthy child is only one tiny chromosome deletion or variant away from every parent’s nightmare. Today my work involves children with neurological issues. It is days like this that make my job difficult. We become more detached to the normal, routine patients with reflux, gallbladder attacks, and pneumonia. Not so easy with the children. I guess it is the Mom, Greemaw thing, wherein I identify on a deeper level with the peds patients. Sometimes I will Google a particular illness with which I'm not familiar.  And then I wish I hadn't. Yet I am grateful to have even a small part in the provision of their care, behind the scenes though it may be. And though they will never see me, or know that I am doing it, I pray for the children and their parents. Perhaps in some way it will help them. I know it helps me keep things in perspective as to just how blessed I have been.

Perspective. Whatever cross we bear is no less difficult to bear just because someone else got a worse deal than we did. But still, it is good to acknowledge that there are indeed those who do have it worse. And no matter how bad it sucks, it just is what it is. Hopefully we can wake up each morning, and realize that no matter how bad things are, things could always be worse. And hopefully we trust that God’s grace is sufficient to carry us through yet another day.

Say a prayer today for sick children, premature babies, and the parents who care for them. And then sometimes must bear the hardest cross of all, and let them go. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I Ride My Bike, I Roller Skate, Don't Drive No Car

“I’ve got a brand new pair of roller skates, you’ve got a brand new key. I think that we should get together and try them out, you see.” Does that bring back memories to you like it does to me?

That was a silly song popular the summer before I entered 7th grade. (And now it’s stuck in my head all day. Sorry if it happens to you too!) It wasn’t a particularly favorite song of mine, but the lyrics and tune were quite catchy. What I did like about it was that it made riding a bike pretty cool, and the “person” in the song was probably about the same age as we were that hot summer of 1970. We rode our bikes everywhere. And like the song says, we didn’t go too fast, but we went pretty far. All over Statham, to be exact. The dirt sidewalks laden with centuries-old tree roots were a favorite obstacle course. We’d bounce along, expertly avoiding the roots, or if we felt really brave, we would drive over them, bouncing around like popcorn kernels in a pan of hot oil. The cemetery behind the Baptist Church had one fancy plot that was paved into the shape of an oval, with a cross-like shape inside. We could have joined a circus act, so precise were our patterns and dare-devilishness on this “track”. (Of note, no one was buried there at the time. It would have been disrespectful [and super creepy] to ride there if there had been.) At that time, the streets in Statham were paved, but not with asphalt. I don’t know what it was called, but it was an irregular, gravel-type material, with uneven rocks. I remember this vividly, because the tips of my toes were always getting scraped, and sometimes I’d lose chunks of my big toes to the offending street surface. (Shoes? I never wore shoes in the summertime unless I was going exploring in the woods!!) We knew who lived in every house up and down Broad Street, and even the names of their pets. We’d go as far east as just beyond Miss Nobie’s house, where Broad Street officially ended for us. Our travels west would take us as far as my house. We didn’t often venture further than that, because of the monster hill just beyond my house. And besides, there wasn’t much of interest past that point anyway, just some cows and chicken houses. No need in huffing and puffing up that hill anyway. So back and forth we’d go, up and down the street. Down a few side streets sometimes, but never in the alleys. Everyone knows that bad things happen in the alleyways, and we pretty much stayed clear of those.

Every now and then, we’d spot some cute boys standing out by their cars along the street. We’d try to be so cool and ride our bikes by them with great sophistication, and pretend that they looked at us with the same googly-eyes with which we looked at them. If perchance they actually DID look at us, or catch us looking at them, we’d nearly faint and almost fall off our bikes. (How funny is it that decades later, I have ended up married to one of those cute boys!!)

At some point in our day, we would ride over and visit Mr. Whitlock, owner of “the store” in Statham. We spent many of our pennies and nickels in the candy aisle of his establishment. Banana “Kits” was my favorite candy. The peanut butter ones were pretty good too. He knew us all by name, and better than that, he knew our moms and dads by name too. He had a bubble gum machine with a hand-lettered sign that said “REAL Cigarette Lighters”. Now, none of us smoked cigarettes, but we sure wanted to get us one of those REAL cigarette lighters!! But alas, it was not to be. And to this day, I never heard of anyone who ever got one.

I didn’t learn to ride a bike as early as most kids do. My friends were a year or so ahead of me in that regard. I wanted to do it so badly, but was deathly afraid of crashing. My cousins Sharon and Jeff used to come down every summer for two weeks. The summer before I learned to ride, they brought their bikes. I was torn. I wanted to try. They begged me to try. But I was just too chicken. I was jealous because they would ride all around the yard, and like a pitiful little puppy, I would run along behind them, pretending I was having as much fun as they were. Inside I was heartbroken, and angry at myself for being too afraid to try. For some reason that year, Sharon left her bike at Mama Nay’s house when she returned home to the big city. I would go outside and stare at the bike, lift up the kickstand and walk along beside it, pretending that I could ride. On the rare occasion that a car would come down the road, I made sure that I was walking along beside the bike, happy to think that whoever was in the car would look at me and think “Wow! That girl can ride a bike!” How sad. As vividly as I remember all the bike rides, I’m a little cloudy on the day that I actually did it for the first time. I do remember it was an ugly, old-fashioned, blue bike. It was my dad who ran along behind me, holding onto the back of the bike to keep me from falling, and then finally let go when it seemed like I had the hang of it. I remember thinking that it wasn’t so hard after all. I was so proud! A rite of passage never felt so good. It wasn’t long before I was coasting down Mulberry Street saying “Look, Ma, no hands!!” And then I’d hit one of those stupid rocks, and go tumbling into the ditch. Oh yes, there were many crashes on the bike, and many sudden stops resulting in bruises in places that should never be bruised. Once as I was coasting down the street with no hands, I looked at my handlebars and there sat a praying mantis. Perhaps he was praying for my safety, but it had the opposite effect. Somehow I jumped off the bike while it was in motion, screaming at the top of my lungs. My poor mom thought I was badly injured. Once she was sure I was okay, she threatened to whoop me good for scaring her half to death. Moms are prone to do that, you know.

I remember that I loved riding the bike, but I hated the bike. It was so old-fogey. All my friends were riding the newfangled “banana bikes” with the sleek seats and high-rise handlebars. And I’m still on Old Blue with the wire basket and battery-operated headlight. (Very similar to the picture above, only with an ugly headlight jutting out about 6" on the front looking for all the world like something off the Batmobile.) I longed for a new bike with all my heart. One Sunday afternoon, my brother and I spent the afternoon with Mama Nay and Daddy Bill while Mom and Dad went out riding around. When they returned, they called us out to the car, and made a big production of opening up the trunk to reveal brand new bikes for both of us!!! I almost had a heart attack right on the spot!! I got my snazzy new banana bike with the white wicker basket on front (and no stupid battery-operated headlight). It was hot pink, had a white seat with flowers on it. AND it had pom-poms on the high-rise handlebars. I was speechless. I couldn’t believe that we both had new bikes. I couldn’t wait to show it off to my friends. I don’t expect a teenager with a brand new car could have been more excited than I was with my new bike!!

I would love to know how many miles we logged on the streets of our little town. We all wore out two or three bikes over the years, and would celebrate whenever someone got a new one. We would decorate the wheels with brightly-colored beads that would slide up and down the spokes with every turn of the wheel. Sometimes we’d take playing cards and fasten them on the fork with clothespins. We sounded like a pack of Harleys cruising up and down Broad Street.

Back in those days, the school at Statham went 1st through 8th grade. We always had two classes for each grade. We stayed in the same room all day, and had the same teacher all day. Always female. But as we prepared to enter the 7th grade, we were excited to learn that we would have different teachers throughout the day, and some of them would be MEN!! We were really moving up in the world!! A few weeks before school started, Bobbie Jean and I rode our bikes down to the school house. We went inside to check out the classrooms, and see if we could scope out the new teachers. We went into one of the converted-auditorium classrooms, where we met Mr. Austin. We learned that we would be in his homeroom. He teased us about riding our bikes, and told us we reminded him of the I-Ride-My-Bike,-I-Roller-Skate,-Don’t-Drive-No-Car song. We dutifully informed him that bikes were the preferred mode of transportation for upcoming 7th graders, and we were proud of it. But after that, the bike song was kind of our theme song.

What a different world we live in today. I cherish my memories of growing up in Statham, and bike riding is one of my favorites. Every trip down Bike Memory Lane always takes me to that 7th grade classroom, meeting my first male teacher, and I hear that silly song again.

You don’t see much of that any more, even in small towns like ours. Cars travel much too fast, and parents are not willing to let their kids ride bikes outside the safety of their yards at home. It was a simpler time, when we burned more calories than we consumed. Vitamin D deficiency was unheard of back then, as we spent every summer day that wasn’t raining playing outside. We used our imaginations to entertain us, not electronic gadgets. We helped our parents in the yard and in the garden, we picked up twigs to start a fire for the charcoal grill. We cleaned our rooms (well, sometimes…), and took out the garbage. We played in the sandbox with our siblings. We swam at the pool. We played outside in the yard with hula hoops, and built forts in the woods.

But most of all, we rode our bikes.