A Day Can Change Your Life

March 8, 2016 . . . a day that changed my life. After 7 long, lonely months, I had to make a change. I received a phone call that told me the crew that was supposed to build the log cabin would be there on March 8. I had spent over 5 months just to get to this point, and I was bound and determined to complete the construction.

It took days before I could gather up enough courage to go out and see the construction start and be fulfilled. I got to the property after lunch time and introduced myself to Glen, the crew chief. I stayed for a few hours while watching the process of stacking logs start.

I met the four-man crew, Glen, Raymond, Charlie and a very handsome, but quiet man Roger. There was something about Roger that intrigued me and he was also very good-looking.

The second day I showed up, Roger wasn’t there. Glen’s son-in-law was there instead. I introduced myself to him and asked, “so are you taking Roger’s place?” He said no and that Roger would show up the next day.

Long story, short version . . . Roger and I were immediately attracted to each other. After my loss, I didn’t think that I could ever feel attracted to another man. I didn’t take my sunglasses off for weeks. I didn’t want Roger to know I was watching him. Needless to say, he was watching me too.

But destiny and God had a different path for me and Roger… we collided into a wonderful and roller-coaster-ride relationship. I had to build the cabin, sell my old house, take care of a blind rescue pup, try to explain to family and friends that I couldn’t fathom the thought of going back to work. We were drawn to each other in a God-wink moment.

Little did I know God’s plan for me. John was taken away too quickly, but he left me self-sufficient and confident. He made sure that I could fulfill our dream of building the log cabin.

In the process, I met a man who melted my heart. I believe that John hand-picked the man who would be perfect for me. They have so many similarities, it’s scary… and yet there are so many differences. But, I know John knew I couldn’t exist alone… he didn’t want me to be alone and unloved.

Thank you, God, for giving me the strength and fortitude to build the cabin.
Thank you, God, for bringing Roger into my life.
Thank you, God, for giving me another chance to love.
Thank you, Roger, for sticking by my side through thick and thin.
Thank you, Roger, for staying with me despite all of the obstacles.
I just give thanks…

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The Ugly Duckling

When I first embarked upon the project of remodeling Annette Boxx’s house, I didn’t realize that I was reliving the Ugly Duckling story. I relate our progress of the remodel as transforming an Ugly Duckling into a Bea-utiful Swan not realizing how true to the original story the journey has been.

To refresh those who are not familiar with the original story, here is my interpretation, and only my interpretation as it relates to my situation.

The original story tells of a mother duck who hatches several eggs. One of the little birds hatched as a homely creature compared to his other siblings. He was ridiculed and taunted both verbally and physically – bullying at its best in the duck world! He wandered from barnyard to barnyard just trying to find a safe place to feel accepted. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find acceptance.

But the duckling is persistent and finds a flock of migrating swans for which he longs to join. He realizes because he is too young to fly, he cannot keep up with the Bea-utiful swans. He is taken in by a sympathetic farmer. But once again, he is not part of the clan of noisy children and others around him. He finds solitude his only recourse which is a lonely experience.

When winter finally thaws into spring, he sees a flock of swans descend upon the lake. While he hasn’t found acceptance among other ducklings, he longs to be like the Bea-utiful swans he sees on the lake. He decides that it is better to take his chances with these Bea-utiful birds than to continue to live a life of ugliness and solitude. Shocked, he finds himself taken in and accepted by these Bea-utiful birds and can feel accepted into the flock. As he gazes into the lake, he now sees himself transformed and feels the confidence, acceptance and freedom to fly with the rest of his new-found family. He, too, is now Bea-utiful and magnificent Swan.

How does this relate to our situation and project? Our Ugly Duckling house was also miserable and neglected. He couldn’t find anyone to help him and felt ostracized from the houses surrounding him. All around him, the other owners took pride in their homes and kept them neat and clean. This Ugly Duckling house was miserable, dirty and so different from the rest of the neighborhood.

He watched as new homes started building around him. Unfortunately, he didn’t have anyone to help him keep up with the “Joneses”, so he continued to deteriorate and stay ugly. “Why should I care if everyone else is improving and Bea-utifying if I can’t get help”, he cried.

Until one day, he met a couple who were willing and able to transform the situation. Reluctantly, he conceded and believed these people would change the scenery. This allowed him to fly into another phase of his life. The couple had vision and wanted to transform this Ugly Duckling house into a Bea-utiful swan.

That’s basically where my husband and I are in our Ugly Duckling Project. We acquired the house in June 2016 and are making Bea-utiful changes. While we still have several stages left to complete, it is already “molting” its ugly feathers. It has been both a personal and emotional challenge, but we can see the progress and future. This Ugly Duckling house is transforming into a Bea-utiful swan – but like the bird, it takes time and nurturing.

Thank you for those following our own Ugly Duckling story. It has been time-consuming and physically demanding (for “old” baby boomers) but also rewarding and personally fulfilling. Bea positive that this little house – although started out as an Ugly Duckling – is becoming a Bea-utiful swan. Stay tuned . . .

Bea-utifully Broken

“Beautifully broken” coined from a friend I had for a season.

Suffering a loss I never expected, she was there for me.

Beautifully broken, I managed to make it to the other side.

I completed a dream that I never thought I could achieve.

Beautifully broken, I met a man who gave me hope, made me feel like a woman again, made me feel loved again.

Beautifully broken — but unlike Humpty Dumpty — all my pieces have been put together again. My husband loves me despite my broken-ness and weaknesses, and he makes me feel alive again. God is Good and sometimes healing takes longer than you want and definitely longer than others want. Bea positive and you can achieve your dreams and desires.

“We Are That Bread”

Two years ago we lost a great friend, father, grandfather, brother and husband. I didn’t think it was possible to move on and push through the darkness, but I did. In fact, God was merciful and helped me find a new love and be able to write a new chapter and book for my life. In the meantime, I wanted to share an impactful message from JB.

On August 22, 2015 what would have been our 20th wedding anniversary was instead a Memorial Service. John’s son, Jeri, shared a short but very moving memory of his dad.

JB spent over 30 years of his life working for Publix Supermarkets. Even after retiring, he was always excited to walk through the grocery store looking for new items and shopping for groceries! It was heaven for me because I despise shopping and especially shopping for groceries!

A special memory from Jeri was working with his dad in the grocery store. On one particular day, they walked the bread aisle where his father taught him one of his greatest lessons. Walking through the bread aisle, JB noted that there was one loaf of bread left on the shelf. He told Jeri, “if there was one loaf of bread left in the aisle, you know you had enough. If there wasn’t any, you don’t know how many people went without.”

It’s taken two years for me to come to terms with this, but as Jeri said, “we are that bread.” Those of us who were fortunate to know JB realize what those four words mean. He left enough “bread on the shelf so that you know you had enough.” His smile, kindness, compassion, love, and especially his wit provided enough. We who had the opportunity to know him and love him are enough. On August 1, 2015, he had done enough. His job was done . . . he can rest in peace. All of us who knew JB for a few moments, days, months, years, know that “we are that bread”. We will continue his legacy and make sure “no one goes without.”

The Name Game

Why do women change their names when they marry? It’s not that a husband has power over his new wife but on the unity of marriage. In the words of English jurist Henry de Bracton, a man and woman become “a single person, because they are one flesh and one blood.” By early 17th century, William Camden, an Englishman wrote, “women with us, at their marriage, pass into their husbands surnames and justly. For they are no longer twain (two) but one flesh.”
I recently remarried a wonderful man. It gives him great pleasure and pride to call me his wife, Mrs. Davis and vice versa For you ladies who have recently married, you will appreciate the red tape and hoops that need to be hurdled in order to change your name!
My new husband and I decided to make a day out of it. Once we had the certified license, off to the Social Security Administration! The clerk at the courthouse suggested the Winterhaven office, so that was our first stop. The line of people was out the door, probably 15 people deep. Inside every chair was occupied with more people.
As we approached the security guard, he looked at both of us and said, “get in line outside, and I’ll call you in when it’s your turn.” I tried to ask a question to which he replied, “I said get in line and I’ll call you.” I was incensed, and Roger wasn’t happy with his response either.
We stood outside for less than five minutes. No offense intended, but there was only one other person in line outside that spoke English. Roger couldn’t stand it any more and went back inside to talk to the less-than-friendly security guard. After a few minutes, he came back out with an application and said, “let’s go. It will be at least 3 hours before we can get in.” So we left and enjoyed the rest of our day.
I overheard several people say that they had made reservations, so I called the local SSA office to make an appointment. Unfortunately, name changes don’t warrant an appointment! Roger had the bright idea of getting to the SSA office 20 minutes early to get a better spot in line. I arrived on Thursday morning at 8:40, and I was number 51 in line!!
The security guard in Lakeland was just as pleasant as the one in Winterhaven. Since the office only seats 40 people, only the first 40 were allowed in the building. I struck up a conversation with a few people in line who told me to be prepared to wait at least 3 hours. I explained that I only wanted a name change so that I could get my driver’s license. Two ladies in line said I could get my driver’s license without a SSN name change, so off I went to the DMV.
It was about a 20 minute drive to the DMV. I walked in and spoke to a very pleasant young lady and explained what I wanted to do. Well, don’t you know the laws changed in 2010, and you must have your name changed on your SSN card! So another wasted trip, and I drove home. Oh, and you have to bring 5 documents along with the SSN card in order to get a new driver’s license.
On Friday, I decided to try again. This time, Roger dropped me off at the SSA office at 8:30 a.m. I managed to be in the top 40 in line! On this morning, we had a new “Barney Fife” in charge of security who only let 10 people in at a time. I was the cut-off point – aaarrrggghh!
Once inside, I had to sign in at a kiosk. I had to guess at answering the questions, and thankfully guessed right. “Barney Fife” walked around the office twirling his keys around his finger and feeling so powerful. I managed to stay calm and collected for the next 15 minutes. Finally, my number was called. Thankfully, I had a nice young man who processed my paperwork. He took my old SS card, gave me a receipt and said I should receive my new card in 10-14 business days. In the time it took me to process, Roger had just returned home and now had to come back and pick me up. I sat in the bus stop by myself waiting. I at least had the first step accomplished.
About a week later, I received my new SS card! Hallelujah! Now I have to endure the DMV, with my five documents, hope I have a good hair day and get my new driver’s license. Once that is completed, I will begin the process of changing the bank accounts, vehicle registration, utility bills, credit cards, insurance policies and anything else that my name is attached to! Wow . . . the list is exhausting when I think about it.
Why do I do it? Call me old-fashioned, traditional. I do it out of respect for my new husband. I do it because we are now one flesh, heart and soul. I do it out of complete love for my husband, my partner, my best friend, my life.

Thanksgiving Surprise

We pulled off the biggest surprise for my parents and nephew, Caleb.  When I spoke with my sister on Saturday, I confirmed that we would drive to AL for Thanksgiving.  She spilled the beans to her husband but didn’t tell Caleb.  We both decided that a 16 year old probably couldn’t keep a secret!

As we drove up on Monday, Beth called me and said, “I’m in a pickle”.  She revealed to me that mama and daddy were insistent on sending a Thanksgiving bouquet to our cabin.  She then said that her husband, Eric said “I’m out.”  When I shared with Roger, he too said “I’m with Eric.”  So both boys bowed out and left me and Beth to figure out the pickle.

Beth and I schemed up a plan for her to call me and pretend to order flowers that would not be delivered.  About an hour later, Beth called me back and said she called the florist and would have them delivered to mama and daddy’s house!  What a clever idea!

Roger and I finally made it to Prattville after a nerve-wracking drive.  We checked into the hotel and rested for a bit.  Around 5:00 p.m. AL time, I texted my sister and told her we were on our way.  As we drove up the driveway, I could see my mom standing at the sink and Beth in the kitchen with her.  We walked to the back door and rang the doorbell .

Meantime, my sister kept asking my mother, “are you expecting anyone tonight?” to which my mom replied, “no”.  Beth said, “are you sure?”  She and my mom walked through the laundry room to the back door.  My mom looked at us and said “it’s Bea and Roger!  I can’t believe it!”  My father was standing at the end of the hallway.  My mom hugged me and Roger and fought back tears while my father was absolutely dumfounded.

We walked into the kitchen where Beth gave me the biggest hug that I had missed for over 16 months.  My father hugged me and fought back his own tears.  Eric gave me another hug as I watched Caleb walk through the living room.  Caleb grabbed me and said, “it’s so good to see you Aunt Bea”.

As Beth and Eric completed dinner preparation, my mom said, “now our family is complete again.”  We had a delicious wonderful dinner and spent quality time with my family that evening.  It was the first time that all of us sat around the kitchen table and visited.  I along with Roger, Beth and Eric pulled off the biggest surprise of all.

Now, today is Thanksgiving.  What greater time to express thanks for family than today.  It will probably be the best Thanksgiving we’ve had in years.  I hope everyone reading this will take time to give thanks for your family and friends.  While today is a national day for Thanksgiving, Bea thankful every day for your family and friends.

[BB1]o

The Reunion

What is life all about?  Family and friends and love.  If you don’t have them, you have nothing.  So what happens when you feel like you’ve lost all of them?  You get in a hole that you can’t dig out of, or can you?  I was there and didn’t think I would ever see light or life again.

When you’ve lost a loved one, you’ve watched them die in front you, how do you recover?  You think you have family, friends, people who will help you dig out.  You probably do but you don’t think so at the time when you’re devastated and in deep despair.  The grief is so deep that you can’t think straight . . . or let me be blunt . . . you can’t think at all.  You just want everything to go away.

Your family is your blood and yet, they don’t understand what you’re going through because they haven’t experienced the loss and grief that you have.  They try to comfort you but there is no comfort.  They try to express words to help you but they only make things worse.  The hole gets deeper and darker with each passing day.

And yet, at the end of the dark tunnel, your family sticks with you.  They never stop loving you, and they never give up on you.  While they can’t help you through the grief, they pray and hope and never stop loving you.  They never lose faith that you will snap out of it.

That’s what happened to me.  After 9 long, lonely months, I finally saw light.  It came in the form of a new love . . . not one that I was looking for.  It was so sudden and so profound that it was scary and unexpected.  But it was the little spark that I needed.

After a couple of weeks, I accidentally pocket dialed my sister.  I almost hung up and then she answered.  She was so ecstatic to hear from me.  She even told me that she hoped for facebook posts to know that I was ok.  It was the best phone call I had after so many months of silence.  She told me that my parents were coming to visit for Mother’s Day, would I come?  I wasn’t ready to speak to them, let alone see them.

Roger, my light, convinced me to call my mother on Mother’s Day.  I was so apprehensive, but I did.  It was the most healing moment.  I will never forget the call.  I called my sister’s cell phone, and she told my mom that “someone wants to talk to you.”  My mom asked, “is it  Bea?”  It was the only thing she wanted for Mother’s Day.  It was a short conversation but worth the few minutes.

Three weeks ago, my new fiancé called my father to let him know he had bought a ring for me.  A week later, my parents drove down to meet Roger.  It was the first time that I saw them in 15 months.  So ironic that a new relationship, new love, new home was the catalyst for the reunion.  It was so overwhelming and yet the moment I needed.  I had to feel the love and comfort that only parents can give a child.

The reunion was just another step in my long journey.  I have someone who loves me for me . . . for all my faults and foibles and dark moments.  But most of all, I have my family who never left my side . . . never gave up hope . . . never gave up on me.  Bea Positive that life is worth living . . . life is all about love . . . all about family.

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