Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Praise the Lord, Oh My Soul

Thank You Party

Who’s invited:

Everyone who brought us meals…or meant to.

Everyone who prayed for us…or thought about it.

Everyone who sent cards or ones who had the idea but couldn’t find a card,

or stamp or….

Everyone who cared. That means YOU!!

Place: Our house, Michael and Debbi Rayl, 23 Chinquapin Trail, Fairview

Date/Time 5:30 p.m. Sunday July 13

What’s happening: Celebration and Thanksgiving which means food and fun.

We’ll supply the food, fajitas. You bring the fun. We have a large pasture so

there is room for outdoor games. If it rains between now and then we can

have a bonfire, also there are fireflies. Bring musical instruments if you play

and lawn chairs or a blanket. I would LOVE to have a drum circle so bring

drums of you have them. ( p.s. I need someone to lead it)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


A few weeks ago I got a call from Michael's little sister Susan. She lives in south Georgia with her husband Joe and a bulldog named Skeeter, and no, deet will not work on him. They and their two sons, Glenn And Jarrell, farm cotton, soybeans, wheat and peanuts. Every year they walk the tight rope prayin' for rain while the crops are growing and prayin' it won't when it time for harvest. Small farms are on the decline and have been for years but this ship is sailed by a very smart and savy captian and crew and they have done well.

Now, back to the phone call. Susan is a good talker so once the hey's were over she held the floor for about 30 minutes when she said, " Now I'm gone tell you why I called." I guessed that she wanted to talk about Allison since she was going to be working for her this summer. I was wrong. Here's what she said, " Me and Joe think you and Michael need to step away for awhile so I want you to find some place to go and we're gonna pay for it. I was completely shocked. It's a good that I was lying down when she said it.

Michael and I got busy finding someplace to go. We wanted to go to a place where we could rest and also see a bit of God's creativeness that we had not seen before. We found it and have just come home from a week on the coast of Maine. Oh my good golly Miss Molly!! It was beautiful. There is too much to tell. I'll have to show you a few pictures.

Here is a summation of the whole thing. God's love is extravagant.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Did you ever have something happen to you that was so sad that you were sure your heart would never recover? That maybe you would never laugh or be lighthearted again? Mama's cancer has made my heart heavy.

When Trevor laughs, it is innocent and care free. I smile and wonder if the wounded places in my heart will ever heal enough to laugh like that? Or maybe just be forgotten for for a minute. It happened that day on the mountain when I saw the iris garden. I was ready for it to happen again. I needed it to happen again. I said to God, " I just want to laugh, can I please just laugh."

We were on our way to Mobile to see Whitney in a play. We stopped at
Priesters Pecans, a shop kinda like Cracker Barrel but the main thing is the pecans. They even have free samples. I always go and look at the Life Is Good stuff and see if they have just the right shirt for me. Then I saw it, and my heart relaxed and I went to a sweet place of summer fun and belly laughs, of sunburned cheeks and swimsuit that I looked just fine in. A place where sleep came easy as I whispered secrets in the night to my best friend, my sister.

The shirt is blue, of course, and it has a stick figure of Jake jumping off a dock. All my young summers were spent near or in water. It was me. $25 for a T-shirt hurt my feelings a little so I left it there, but I thought about it several times over the weekend and every time I smiled all the way to my toes. On the way home we stopped at the same store again. The shirt was still there and the cotton
pickin' thing was still $25. I left it there again.

I kept thinking about that shirt and what I felt when I saw Jake sailing off that dock. My skinny, mischievous little Debbi, of way back then, smiled every time and suddenly I had an idea. Trevor and I had an art project the next day.

Now I see Jake every time I take a shower, or sometimes I go in there just to look. Maybe I should have painted "him" in a bikini.

Here is another thing that makes me smile. My hidden bag of
Oreos. So if I need just one after a meal or something like that, there is always one there. You might wonder how I keep it secret in a house of lots of people. We'll I can't tell you, cause then it wouldn't be a secret.

I'm gonna go now. I'm gonna go put some finishing touches on my art project. I think there needs to be some friendly rays on the sun, just like little Debbi used to draw when summers were long and fireflies were everywhere. When she played mermaid underwater at the lake and sometimes....she flew, like Jake.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Flower Beds

Hi everybody,

The weather here in the mountains  of North Carolina has just gotten warm enough to really get in the yard, so in case you've missed me, that's where I have been. I have been weeding flower beds, spreading mulch, fertilizing, pruning, and planting flowers that I brought home frome Daddy's He gave me zinnas, marigolds, mexican petunias, a trumpet flower and some other kind that I can't remember the name of. So far they are still alive. I have dirt under my fingernails and in my shoes and, the day Allison "helped" me, I had dirt ground in from head to toe. She thought that we should look like we had been working. We did.

I would love to send you pics of me in the dirt but there are some things  that need to remain a secret, like how I look one work days.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Free Again!!

I am cancer free!!

I promise to write more later. Right now I have to get out in the yard and do some diggin' in the dirt.

This has been a long road. Thanks for traveling with me.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I Have Loved You

Last week I was " just not right". I knew I needed a walk up the mountain to challenge my body and lift my spirits. Besides, I knew where there were wild iris blooming. They bloom in a secret hiding place every year. I walked up kinda dragging my heart behind me. I passed my mother-in-laws house, went off Chinquapin Trail and onto a little used path the goes right on up the mountain . I crossed the stream getting my toes just a little bit wet. I didn't even care.Up the path a ways a tree had fallen across the path. I crawled over it and walked on. I was on a quest for wild iris' and Jesus.

I got to the place where the iris bed is. It is a wild bed planted by the One who plants all woodland beds. It wasn't there. I walked onward and upward because, even without the flowers, God speaks peace to me in this wood. As I walked I cried out, "My password to all my accounts is soaring (now clearly I have to change it). My heart has now soared in a very long time. Please, speak truth to me."

Immediately a voice inside my heart said, "I have loved you with an everlasting love."

My response was. " I know that but...."

That was as far as I got because at that second my gaze dropped and there was a whole garden of wild iris.

He really does

I am speechless,

and soaring!

Thursday, May 1, 2008
















Jesus I am resting, resting,

In the joy of what thou art.

I am finding out he greatness

Of thy loving heart.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Finally updated

Let’s see now. Where shall I begin? Okay, I think I’ll tell you about the beginning, race through the middle then slow down again near what is the end so far. Let’s see how that works.

Trevor and I headed to Florida to visit Mama and Daddy plus both my sisters for what has become an annual spring sojourn. Somehow I just have to be in Keystone Heights at that time of year. Trevor drove a lot of the way and he didn’t even scare me….much. Danita knew that I wanted to go to the beach so, she and (her) Michael got us all a room on the beach at Jekkyll Island, Georgia. The idea was great, killed two birds with one stone. Got to the beach and didn’t have to drive all the way in one day. Who knew a cold front was coming. I sure was glad that I grabbed a flannel shirt.

Our room was right on the beach with a great view of whitecaps and sea oats blown over by the wind.

We ate at a seafood place right on the water. It only had seating outside, but we were warmed with the excitement of seeing each other again, the sun was still up and the hostess said we could light the gas heater and move it near out table, so we stayed. After we ordered we asked someone to light he heater, only it wouldn’t, it was out of gas. Ooops. Michael got a picnic blanket out of the trunk and chivalrously gave it to Danita and me. We wrapped our legs and scooched closer together.

Laughing, talking and ever on the lookout for some other way to get warmer we noticed, on a cart nearby, a bunch of candles, kinda barrel shaped like one sees on patio tables. Again, Michael, ever at the ready to aide damsels in distress, gathered up a bunch of them and put them on the table. The waitress brought a lighter and soon we were warming up over our own personal heaters. As the sun dropped so did the temp. Then suddenly our food came out and we forgot everything except the taste of fresh steamed crab. Mmmmmm. To top it all off, on the way back to the hotel, we got ice cream!

Next day Danita and I went one way and the boys (Trevor and Danita’s Michael) went another. Funny thing was we kept being at the same place at the same time, same restaurant, same gas station, it was weird. Finally they headed to the Clay County Fair and Danita and I headed to Mama’s. Daddy was in Idaho for a few days. She had steak for us for dinner. What a great Mama.

I really did walk right back into the door through which I have gone in and out my whole life,sometimes slamming it,and spent the rest of the week doing all the things I’d wanted to do, reliving old memories and making more. The time was full of laughing and eating, kayaking, raking under the oaks, weeding flower beds, walking, watching Jeopardy, visiting Mrs. Bailey, working on a jigsaw puzzle, playing cribbage, going to church, getting a massage from my sister Donna,washing dishes side by side and much more. All with my wonderful family. I am a very rich woman.

Friday, April 18, 2008


I had my last chemo today!!!!

I have more to tell but for now, thanks for everything. More on that later too.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Going home

Tomorrow, Monday, Trevor and I are heading to Florida. He will be in the drivers seat logging in his highway miles and I will be sitting next to him logging in prayer time. Actually he is a good driver and I sure do need his help. We will be meeting Danita at the beach somewhere north of Jacksonville. Don't you wish you were coming? On Tuesday we will head on to Keystone Heights, to the house Mama and Daddy moved into when I was four years old. That was a long time ago and that is all you need to know...okay...49 years ago. Mama and Daddy still live there and both my sisters live in the area. I am so excited!! I am looking forward to being in my home where all the memories are and making more. I am looking forward to sitting next to Mama in church, and I can't wait to hear her laugh. I am looking forward to holding Daddy's hand while he shows me his garden, maybe going fishing, walking the field road with my sister, looking at the stars and having a weenie roast. I can't wait to help Mama in the kitchen and wash dishes with her, by hand. I am looking forward to watching Daddy's garden grow while I sit next to him on the swing in the shade and listen to him tell stories, like the one where he put a snake in Mrs.Peevie's strawberry basket. The whippin' he got was worth it, he says, and I believe him cause he still giggles every time he tells it. I'm going home tomorrow and I can hardly wait.

p.s. the front door in the photo is the same front door I'll be walking in tomorrow.
p.s. some more- I am the middle sister, that is to say the middle sized sister.