A Paramedic’s New Year

Balloons, fireworks, nice glass of champagne, laughter, love and fun. New Year’s Eve parties are the highlight of the year for people of all ages. Everyone stays up late waiting for that final 10 second countdown when that shiny ball drops and the camera pans through crowds laughing and cheering…friends hugging…couples getting engaged…the list goes on….

Then there’s the paramedic. There are many others that could be squeezed into this story such as police and fireman but for this purpose, I want you to consider your local paramedic. The one stationed in your area for the night. You don’t know them and hopefully you have never seen them-but they are there. They have probably just cleared a call and are joking about getting to actually see the ball drop for the first time in five years…not because they slept through it the last five time but because they were out on the streets saving people who suffered the consequences of their decisions or worse-someone else’s.

I haven’t worked the last few new years since I am now a day shifter but oh how I have brought in the new year in the years prior. One year I ran a cardiac arrest of a woman in her late 90s who her husband tried to wake to see the ball drop but she was already gone. The next year I ran a drunk driver who rolled his car and took out a telephone pole yet he was so intoxicated that he didn’t realized how injured he was.  Another was a man who went out and hubg himself because he wanted his family to have a fresh year without him in it-first person his kids talked to that year was me and I had to tell them their dad was gone.There have been several more “first calls” or as they are labeled “2019-00001” but these are the two that stand out. The one thing I always remember is We never get to see that darn ball drop.

2018, in my county, presented our agency with somewhere around 36000 calls. You do the math. It’s ALOT.

So when you see a paramedic out at the gas station tomorrow (or any day) buy us a coffee-I guarantee we need it.

Be careful tonight and every night. We are ready to respond but we would rather know you are making good choices.

Remember that death stops for no one. Just because it is a holiday doesn’t stop death from knocking. We all meet with death eventually, dont rush it with stupidity.

Go into the new year thankful for family and health and the ability to be with your family on holidays. We don’t get that luxury most days.

We are on the streets to save you when life catches up to you. We work along side the best men and women in Police and Fire. We protect each other and we also want to go home . Watch for us. Slow down. Move over . Say hello. Say Happy New Year.

Be safe !

Eat Bray Love ❤

Why a barn?

It’s the story known to almost everyone. You don’t have to be Christian to know that the Nativity Scene on every church’s front lawn is symbolic of the birth of Christ…but why? If this woman was really pregnant with God’s Son, why would he not provide her a comfy room to give birth in surrounded by midwives? Why was she forced to give birth to the Holy One alone and scared and tired on a dirt floor….

I went to the barn tonight and in the cold and rain I observed the quiet -the peace. I stopped to listen to sounds that she would have heard: a donkey munching on hay, a chicken clucking, a kitten purring and calves suckling. It was so calming and serene.

And then to think of being nine months pregnant, traveling for miles on the back of the donkey to be ushered into a barn to give birth…

Initially it’s a shocking thought but look at the animals.

Animals are pure, they know no wrong. My animals have all come to me after a horrible start in life, yet they are trusting and forgiving. You can’t say that of most people.

Animals are all knowing. They have kind of sixth sense about them. Pappy, my donkey, just knows when the boys are around. They sense when children, innocence and goodness are around them. They just know.

There are videos and pictures all over the internet of cute momma animals cuddled up with different species and helping raise them…. I like to think this was a similar time.

So I think that God chose a manger in an innkeepers back yard because no human was pure enough to deliver His child. The purity of animals and the quietness of that old dirt barn had to have been a sight to behold.

So when you tell the story of the Nativity this year…consider the animals. Consider how excited they had to have been knowing that new life was being born. Maybe put the donkeys and sheep closer to the baby Jesus and the shepherds and wise men at the door…because, knowing my donkey, noone would get between him and that baby!

“O holy night, the stars are brightly shining….a thrill of hope, the weary world rejoiced , for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn…fall on your knees…oh hear the angels voices…oh night divine”

Step outside as the sun starts to dawn on Christmas morning. Feel the air. Hear the animals munching if you have them. Imagine the angels singing, imagine the snorts and kickers as the babe Jesus is introduced to the world-not from a castle adorned with midwives but from a simple stable surrounded by animals who kept him warm.

Merry CHRISTmas


Respect in a disrespectful world

I avoid politics. They are by far one of my least favorite things. Dad, if you are reading this, you love politics enough to make up for the both of us 😜…

But in the light of President George HW Bush’s death, I feel there are somethings that need to be said…

From the time of George Washington, the time where democracy and structure were first introduced as the foundation of this great country-there has been disagreement. There have been people who loved the president and people who hated him. In the past, however, even the people who hated the president, respected him…they respected the country, the flag and they surely respected the military.

We live in a time now where respect is gone. No one cares what our forefathers fought for. Just take into account what our president’s job is. Think about the weight of responsibility that he has. Think about how literally every single decision he makes is being judge by the entire world. How he makes decisions for what he believes will benefit the larger population. I don’t care if you are Democrat or Republican. If you think the president is great or if you think he’s an idiot. And I’m not talking about our current one-I’m talking about every president that we have ever had.

Over the last week, I have read some amazing stories about President George HW Bush. He seemed to be loved by even the opposite parties. Then at his funeral-the picture that has been shared thousands of times- Senator Dole stood and saluted the deceased president. He had to have assistance but he still STOOD.

What happened to that generation? Now all we have is a generation so worried about getting offended and that if it doesn’t fit their agenda then it isn’t right. Since when does your opinion trump respect?

All I ask is for you to consider thinking. I get that you might not like or agree with our president …but until the end of his term…he is OUR president…democracy allowed for a majority vote and he won . Be thankful that we live in a democracy.

Look at the funeral this week. Pay tribute to a man that served in our military and as our president. Whether you liked him or not, he dedicated his life to help our country whether you agreed or not.

So…I challenge you to be like Senator Dole and salute. Don’t sacrifice respect to prove your point or your agenda. Don’t tread on the graves and the flag of people who have given the ultimate sacrifice …because in the end ……we are in this together and America is a great nation …

So. This holiday season…can we not all just respect differences and support our administration? Can we not support each other and have grown up discussions and debates instead of ignorant and childish protests?

I hope you accept this challenge and really think about what it means to be an American this Christmas season


Cold calf noses and missing you…

From as early as I can remember, I was on your heels. I would beg you to wake me up so I could go milk cows with you. It was magical. You were the right hand of God in my eyes. A tall, weathered man , with gentle hands and overalls. You always sucked in air between gritted teeth and a furrowed brow before commenting on anything. Lord knows I asked you plenty of questions. I know this because Wesley is my mini me and he wears me out with the why’s and how’s.

We would walk to the barn and I would carry the milking pail. You taught me to first go in through the feedroom and throw some feed into the bin where the heifer would be stocked. There was this cool little trap door that was right above the feed bin and it made the BEST hiding and seek spot. Then you would holler out “suuuuu cow! Sooie! Sooie!” The old girl would walk right in and we would put her calf up in the stall.

I still remember the first time I was successful in milking a cow. You let me sit on your right knee and placed your hand over mine and the milk hit the pail in two jets. Rhythmically as you altered right hand, left hand, right hand. We made butter from that pail and you made me a big milkshake once the milk was ready. It was so worth it.

When I got older, you taught me to mark the calender for when a new calf was due to be born. I watched that day come and go as the heifer was preparing to labor. The calf was too big and you just knew…so you webt to help. Me and grandma watched as you sat on the ground and repositioned the calf in the birth canal. You didn’t have much education but you knew how to turn a calf for it to slip on out and you showed me how to check for the position of the baby and make sure momma was progressing.

You taught me to love. You taught me that , even though I was a girl, I was a farm girl. I just got it.

You also taught me to say goodbye.

You taught me that ultimately , even though we love them, cows have a purpose…they are either beef or dairy so you have to live with that. God made them for a reason. Love them and give them a good life ……then let them fulfill their purpose.

This year you left. I was not ready. You knew the boys were getting a moo cow of their own. You told me to get a Jersey because they were just gentle animals. I told you the day before you died that i needed help with them. I needed someone to teach the boys what you taught be but then you left.

We brought two pretty heifer calves home Saturday. They are both out of a Jersey bull. One has a jersey mom and one a Holstein mom. They are fine animals. You would like them. The boys have your ways. Connor went up to them like he had fed a cow every day of his life. I guess you we’re holding his hand.

Wesley says that you would like them. I think you helped me pick them out because they sure are pretty.

Tonight, I put the boys to bed and fed them alone. Usually Wesley helps but he crashed early. It was so quiet. I heard an owl but nothing else. I fed both girls and just loved on them. I felt you there with me which propelled me to write this letter.

I hope you are proud of our choices in calves. The boys are going to make you so proud. Wesley misses his “big Papaw” and God only knows how much I miss you.

I know you, mom, David’s dad , grandma and grandma Mary are going on and on about how big the boys are and how cute the calves are. Their noses are so cold, wet and cute.

I miss you.

You were suppose to be here for this.

I’m pretty lucky to have the angels I have.


Thankful for the bad

I am a believer in the fact that everything happens for a reason- every mishap, every stumble, every devastation.

As our earthly clock ticks, we encounter events that ultimately lead us to the end. How we reach and embrace those events can change out lives in tiny or drastic ways either for the bad or the good….

I grew up in a Christian home surrounded by the promise of eternal life-Filled with the promise of God’s love and peace. When you grow up believing in a loving and forgiving God, it is hard to grasp when bad things happen….but the thing is ….there’s a reason .

If I had not been married to a complete jerk who, at one point, tried to kill me….who made me leave school because he believed women shouldn’t be smarter than men….then I would have never taken my EMT basic class. If I had never taken my EMT class I wouldn’t be applying to PA school this year or teaching classes at Gaston College.

Now I have my Bachelors in EMS as a paramedic. Most days are fun and rewarding but some are rough. Some make you yell at God and as WHY???

The thing is, we might not know why he lets children die or newly weds become widows….but that will be determined in their path. The reason we run those calls though, they make us better . They sharpen our skills abd make us learn so we can be better for the next patient. We loose one so we can win ten.

Today I’m thankful for that.

I am thankful for every tear I have cried because it means I survived.

I am a wife, a mom, a medic.

God’s plans are huge and they might not be the same as mine but I know they will be wonderful.

So step back and look at the puzzle that is your life. Ask what if. What if the bad hadn’t happened? Would you have the same job, house, wife, husband, kids? What has changed due to tragedy. Embrace it because you can’t change it.

There is always a reason.


Eat . Bray. Love

Christmas Magic…

So the man in the big red suit who drives a big sleigh pulled by reindeer through the sky MIGHT not be real…but Christmas magic is.

To me, Christmas Magic is that butterfly feeling in your gut you get the first day that Hobby Lobby lays out their Christmas spread or the day you start seeing all of the husband’s, standing on ladders, stringing up lights while their wives supervise from below. It’s easy to get drawn away from the pure joy of the season and get caught up in shopping and wrapping gifts. We spend SO much money on gifts every year . People panic because they can’t buy their child the “IT” toy for the year that cost who knows how much money. They save all year and put things on lay away just to be paying off the price tag for the next six months . It’s madness. It is insanity. I challenge you to ask- where is the magic in that?

The very reason we give presents, or even the reason we have a Christmas, is because God gave us the PERFECT gift all those years ago in the form of his child, Jesus. This child was not wrapped in gold, but rather swaddling clothes/rags. He was in a barn not a upscale hotel. Wise men brought him oils of every kind but the shepherds brought lowly sheep.

Think of the magic in the air that night. Think of the magic as they saw that star and started their journey. I can Just imagine their excitement as they knew they were getting ready to see the gift that they had been waiting for !

This is the kind of excitement we need to embrace. We need to find a way to instill in our kids an excitement and thankfulness for whatever they receive. Then maybe the magic will return. What would happen if we gave our children a way to be together like board games, movies, family trips etc… Instead of video games and PlayStations.

In my home, we are trying to get back to Christmas Magic. I refuse to raise children who are entitled and spoiled and separated from reality by being in front of a screen all of the time.

Pretty much everyone knows what the boys are getting for Christmas-a two month old Jersey heifer calf 😬. This is a gift that will get them outside and working hard. They will bottle feed her then wean her . They will help take care of her and one day ….raise her calf. As a family- we are going to Arizona to visit family. THAT is magic. The boys meeting their great grandparents will be MAGIC.

Yes…there will still be some toys but they will not be in excess. If you are a family member you can look forward to something handmade by the boys and something crafty from me.

I challenge you.

I challenge you to step back and enjoy.

I challenge you to look at the tree and relish decorating it.

I challenge you to buy matching Pjs and binge watch Christmas movies on a pallet in front of the fire

I challenge you to be PRESENT and to not just buy presents.

I challenge you to put your phone down. Leave it in a basket and talk to your family. Play a board game with your kids. LOVE.

I challenge you to help someone. Spread the magic. Give a present to the homeless. Take toys to a Foster child. Foster or adopt a shelter pet.

Spread Christmas Magic.


Eat *Bray*Love

Mommy, why won’t God share?

I learned about loss early. My mom died one month before my 8th birthday from a brain aneurysm. I was told that God needed more nurses in heaven to take care of all of the babies. I kind of got it, I guess. She was a woman of God who made sure I knew that heaven was an amazing place. She also made sure I knew that my baby brother was up there waiting to meet me one day. Then she died…

I was playing at the barn when my Dad told me to come on because we had to go talk to preacher Lowry about Mom…I giggled in excited glee because with my childhood faith I told him that it’s ok, I prayed and God is going to make her all better .

As I got older it was so hard to trust God. I mean, why would he take a 31 year old labor nurse with a 7 year old daughter? She missed my prom, my wedding and the birth of my boys. God I needed her! I’ve sat at her grave and cried as I’ve went through horrible peaks and valleys that I just needed her.

Her best friends-women she went to nursing school with- attended my births. I talk to her friends and colleagues routinely. I am in touch with the organization that handled her organ donation….

….then I realize …. she is still here….God hasn’t forgotten me…he still lets my mom hold my hand….but I’m 29 years old. It took a while to not be angry.

Now I have two boys. Connor doesn’t know any better but Wesley does. He is so tender hearted and smart and observant. My Papaw was his favorite person and his name sake. I knew before he was born that he would be stubborn like his grandfather.

Papaw taught me so much. He taught me the joy of the farm and the love for animals-as well as their functionality. His stories would go on forever and he hugged the best. The day before he died, we went to his bedside and I told him about the calf we were getting and how he had to teach Wesley because I don’t know what to do and he laughed at me and squeezed my hand. It was the last time he was awake and I will always remember that laugh. He hugged the boys and kissed them .

Then God took him home and now Wesley asks to go to papaws house and papaw isn’t there and it’s just not right. He has cried the last two nights because Papaw is in heaven and he wants to go there.

We also lost our german Shepherd in June. She got very sick and we had to put her down

Wesley petted her as she went to sleep.

Tonight we went on the porch and felt the wind which is Papaw wrapping his arms around us. The rain drops had to be Justice playing in a sprinkler on God’s front yard because she LOVED water. We ran out in the rain and felt the cold drizzle and the bitter wind. We shouted “Love yous” into the sky.

We laid down to sleep and started our prayers….

“God, why are you not sharing papaw and Justice with me?”

My heart has shattered in a million pieces tonight. His innocence and tender heart are broken and he just loves. He loves everyone and everything and Lord knows he loved his papaw and his dog.

So Tonight….I am typing this as tears fall on my phone. It’s so much easier when we can brush the pain under a rug. Tonight I wish God did have visiting hours….

One day though…one day….Im going to prop my feet up on a porch swing with papaw and grandma and momma. All of my dogs and horses and cats and critters will play in the pasture and I can tell them how much I missed them while we were apart.

One day.