Category Archives: Personal
One day, several years ago, I saw or heard something that amused me. For whatever reason, I decided to post that funny on Facebook. Well, both of my kids went ballistic! “Daddy, NO! You are embarrassing us. Don’t you dare post something like that on Facebook!” Well, all that did was put fuel to my fire. I thought, “I’ll show them.” So, I started posting some silliness every day. It was just my way to bug my kids.
But after a while, it seemed to catch on. If I failed to post for a day, people would call or text or email saying, “Where’s my Shellyism today?” So, the journey began. Now for more than six years, I have been posting a funny to Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. (Yes, some of us still use Google Plus. All six of us enjoy it.)
I was often asked, “Why don’t you write a book – these are hilarious.” So, I finally decided to do just that! I have taken 365 posts and published them in one collection. The result is “Shellyisms”. My first book! (Bucket list item – CHECKED!) It is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions. http://www.amazon.com/author/shellyberryhill
I would love for you to check it out. If you like it, please leave a review on Amazon!
I am in the “internet industry (www.gawebservices.com)”, and therefore, I often embrace new trends and technologies rather quickly. Sometimes this helps me better service my customers, sometimes, I get burned!
The Iphone was an example of getting burned. Yes, I stood in line when the Iphone first came out and purchased one of the first. But AT&T does NOT work well in Hawkinsville so the experience was not good. Plus, all my friends and family were on Verizon, so my cell phone bill went through the roof! (Now that the Iphone is on Verizon – I have come back.)
With Facebook, I fought it. I have enough to do each day without being sucked into the mesmerizing facebook. I finally decided I wanted to look up Kenny Reach, my college roommate, so I got on facebook. I connected with Kenny in about 30 minutes – awesome! But yes, I have become addicted to Facebook. I love keeping up with family and friends and learning so much more about mere acquaintances than ever before. There are people now that I really really like, that honestly, I have probably never had a full 10 minute conversation with before. Facebook is now an integral part of my business and we daily help our clients master this beast!
But Twitter was my hold out. I kept saying, that I did not want to share with the world what I was doing every 5 minutes of the day. But I really had it backwards. I thought Twitter was supposed to be about ME. But Twitter truly became alive and relevant for me when I realized Twitter was about others! (Alot like life……).
You see, once I started “following” people with similar interests but broader world experiences, I began learning. As I follow Entrepreneurs that have been very successful, I have garnered ideas and suggestions that hopefully have made my company more successful. As I follow the tweets of Godly men and women, hopefully, their witness has helped to shape my life into a better representation of Christ. As I follow my friends and family, I am more aware of the everyday pains and feelings that they experience which hopefully, makes me a better friend.
I once read that the only difference between you NOW and you five years from now is… The books that you read and the people that you associate with… I believe that. And I am now using Twitter to “associate” with people that I want to become. People that have succeeded in areas of their life that are also important to me. While I originally thought of Twitter as a “bullhorn” for me, It has become a “stereo” of multiple personalities and traits that I aspire too become.
Yes, I tweet. @shellyb I want to contribute to this new found community that I find myself apart of. But it is not about being heard…. It’s about hearing….
Someone recently commented in a joking manner that they were not ready to die. Well, of course none of us really are. Valentine’s Day is a reminder of Love that we have yet not given. We have loved ones here and things left to accomplish. I have LOVE yet to share with Vonnie. I have love to yet be shared with my children. I have grand babies that have yet to be born that I want to spoil. I am still working on my second million dollars (I gave up on the first million). There are goals and dreams and bucket list items that I have not checked off yet. Of course, I am not ready to die.
But in reality, that comment got me to thinking. And actually, I am ready to die. At least in a way. You see, I am a Christian. I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ that I am certainly not ashamed to talk about. I gave my life over to Jesus long ago and it is due to this relationship with Him, that, well, yeah, I AM ready to die. For you see, to die simply means to move from this world into the next. The next world (heaven) is basically a place of no suffering, agape love, and the very eternal presence of Jesus! God loves me. And due to this love, He wants only my best. He wants me to be happy, joyous, and experience no pain and no suffering. That is what the next world will be like. And to be reunited with my loved ones that have gone on before! So why would I NOT want to be there?
Now, I know what some skeptics might be thinking: If God wanted that for you, He could do it here on Earth! Well, yes and no. God is all powerful and certainly He can do whatever He wishes. But let me explain….
God created me (and you) for basically two reasons: For worship and for fellowship. God’s very nature is one that must be worshiped. Not because He needs it or probably even desires it, but it simply must be. One who is total love, total power, total mercy, total Justice, total sovereignty, simply MUST be worshiped. It can’t be helped. That is one of the reasons that we were created – to Worship Him! And since that is our PURPOSE, we can never be truly fulfilled, truly happy, truly content, truly at peace, until we are abiding in the purpose that we have been created. So to Worship Him, well, it’s good for us also!
And God also created us for fellowship. He loves us and that love demands a response. We love Him back. We love Him because He first loved us. But He wants our love to be given freely to Him, by our choice. That is why He gave us Free Will. Free Will gives US the OPTION to choose to love Him or not. It’s not true love unless we CHOOSE to love Him. The only way to CHOOSE is to have an OPTION. So God had to allow EVIL in the world in order for there to be an OPTION. We can choose love or we can choose hate. We can choose good (God) or we can choose evil.
It’s that Free Will that opens the door for bad things here on earth. With our free will we CHOOSE not to follow God’s commands and therefore we must live with the consequences. God tells us to treat our body like a temple. Yet, we fill it up with processed foods, poisons, and then wonder why we get sick. We blame God for our own choices. We ignore the Spirit’s gentle pushings in one direction and go another. And then we blame God when the road that we pick is not the best choice for us. So yeah, this world has problems, but they are problems that OUR pride, OUR sin, and OUR choices have brought about. It’s really not fair to blame God for that. So life here can’t really be the perfection that Heaven is.
God is a JUST God. He has to be. He is perfect. An unjust God would not be perfect. Since He is just, then good must be rewarded (fellowship with Him) and evil (sin) must be punished (no fellowship with him). He is perfect. Therefore Heaven is perfect, for He cannot reside in Sin. But if I, being imperfect, died, I could not go to His presence because I would “corrupt” the place. It would no longer be perfect.
But God desires fellowship with us, yet, we are all going to sin because we are not perfect. And we can’t be perfect because we are not God. WOW! What a dilemma. God created us for fellowship, but in order demonstrate our love to him, we must make a choice. And since we are not perfect, eventually we will always choose sin, which means we cannot abide in his presence. And He knew this would happen when He created us.
Now some would argue, that He could just forgive us and that’s that. Well, no. Again, He is a Just God. Justice demands a price. Plato once philosophized that “Deity may can forgive sin, but I see not how.” See, Plato understood. While God can forgive, still Justice must prevail. Again, God knew this dilemma when He created us. So what is the answer? Spoiler alert: The answer (as always) is Jesus.
Before the foundation of the world (before He even created the world), He had a plan to resolve this problem. God Himself, (the creator), would enter His creation as a man (Jesus). He would live a perfect life. Then when Justice demanded a price be paid for my sin, HE would offer to pay that price. Only HE could do that. You could not do that for me because you have your own sins that need to be paid for. You can’t pay for mine when you need to worry about your own. But Jesus was sinless. He could offer to pay for mine. So Justice was served on the cross. Jesus paid the price for my sin. Mohammed could not do that for me. Buddha could not do that for me. Even my family could not do that for me. Only Jesus – 100% man, yet 100% perfect (God)!
Isn’t that awesome!! He took my sin and covered me with HIS righteousness. So when God looks down from heaven at me, He does not see a worthless sinner. He sees His Son’s perfection. His Son’s righteousness. Not because of ANYTHING that I have done, but because of what HE has done. Justice has been served and fellowship restored!
So the God that loves me. The God that created me for fellowship with Him, made a way (Jesus) to reconcile me and Him together. There is no other way! He loves me and wants only the best for me. So yeah, I can’t wait to abide 100%, forever, in that fellowship without my own sinfulness getting in the way. That’s what death is. And as great as things CAN be here – family, friends, joys, successes, triumphs – Heaven will only be better. To be able to see Him clearly, to abide with Him, to love him without ME getting in the way. WOW! Yeah, I can’t wait. I am NOT afraid to die!
And the exciting thing is that God is eager to be with me also! Can you imagine that? So, He could just take me home to Him at anytime and it would make us both happy. So why doesn’t He? Well, I think it is because He also loves everyone else that He created as well. And not everyone has put their faith in Jesus. So He is leaving me here (and other Christians here) for a while longer with the instructions that we are to tell the others about Him. If we tell them, then they also can reside forever with Him and enjoy that same fellowship. It’s OUR job to tell them. He could tell them, but then wouldn’t that violate the free will? I mean, because if He urged us, could that be resisted? (Okay, I am getting into Calvinism vs. Armenianism arguments here – beyond the scope of this post).
My point is this: If you are a Christian, Heaven will be wonderful and I can’t wait to experience that LOVE and that perfection and that AWESOMENESS without my own sinfulness getting in the way. I am ready! BUT, first, God has given us (if you are a Christian) a job to complete. We must tell others about Him.
If I have known you for any length of time, and I have NOT told you of my Savior, I apologize. I would love to introduce you to Him. Since you were created for Worship and for Fellowship, if you are NOT abiding in those purposes, you will never be happy or fulfilled here on earth or in the hereafter. You can be. You can be full of peace here and now as well as the hereafter. Being full of peace does not mean that troubles won’t occur. Remember, we live in a fallen, sinful world and there are consequences. However, He promises to be with us through those troubles. He promises to love us. He promises to love YOU! Just ask Him to be your Savior. Ask Him to forgive you and to take your sins upon Him and to put His righteousness upon you. That’s really all there is to it. Call me, email me, whatever, and I would love to tell you how – step by step!
Many of you may know me through my job or through family connections or through other social interactions. And I take pride in those connections. I love my job, I love my family, I love my friends. Many of you only know me through my silly postings on social media. But those things are SOOO secondary. First and foremost, I am a Christian. I am not perfect and I often fail to demonstrate that reality. I often fail to live a life that reflects positively on Jesus. But He forgives me and I ask you to do the same. I want everyone to know, that I AM A CHRISTIAN and I AM NOT AFRAID to die. For as Paul said, “to be absent from the body is to be present with Christ!”
If you would like to explore these topics in more detail, I would love to invite you to attend my Sunday School class at Broad Street Baptist Church, in Hawkinsville, GA. I teach every Sunday at 9:45 am. Just come in the back door, and our classroom is the second door to your left. We have 15 to 30 people each Sunday. Men, Women, Singles, Couples, Young and Old. You will fit in and feel welcome there – I promise. It’s a great group of imperfect sinners, just like me and you. Yet, we are all striving to learn more about our creator, for to KNOW Him is to LOVE Him. Come learn to KNOW Him better with us! If you’ll text me – 478-230-3538, I’ll meet you at the back door and walk you to the class!
Kyle just got accepted into ArmStrong University. He will be starting this summer, majoring in Biology. So, my boy graduates next week and then a few weeks later will be moving to College in Savannah. WOW! Son, I am really proud of you and know you will do awesome!
Mom passed away very peaceably tonight at 9pm surrounded by her family and her pets. The last words I got to tell her, our normal routine, “Good night, I love you, I’ll see you in the morning”.
The arrangements will be visitation on Saturday at 1:00pm till 2:30pm in the social hall of First Baptist Church, Hawkinsville. Funeral to immediately follow at FBC Sanctuary at 3pm. Graveside services will follow at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Cochran, Ga. Dr. Kelly Pritchett, Jr. and Dr. Don McClung will officiate.
We appreciate all of your prayers and support over the last few difficult months. I may have just lost my mom, but mom is now reunited with hers. And her husband, father, brother and many other loved ones. And most importantly, she is rejoicing with her Lord, Jesus Christ.
The Good News is that Mom is coming back home to Hawkinsville today. Taylor Regional had done a CT scan in August on mom’s head after she had an almost fainting spell at the library. Once the neurologist looked at that CT scan and compared it with the one that they had just done (where he found the 2″ by 3″ brain tumor), he was able to tell us much more information. He could not locate the tumor in August. Maybe just a hint on the earlier scan. It is that fast growing. It is a very aggressive, almost always malignant form of tumor.
Mom has been almost totally unresponsive since Friday. Saturday, she mumbled some and a few times we could hear her saying her ABCs or counting to ten. Sunday and Monday, she pretty much slept. She will occasionally tighten her grip on our hands, but has only opened her eyes a couple of times. Once yesterday, the nurses were moving her around and she started yelling out in obvious pain. I grabbed her hand and kept telling her that I was there, she responded back several times with OKAY, OKAY. I told her pain medicine was coming and she said, “Thank you.” (Polite to the end). Other than that, we can’t really get any response. We will ASK her to tighten her grip but get no response.
Due to the aggressiveness and the doctor’s continual watch over mom since Friday, he revised his life expectancy estimates. While they hesitate to say much, (Doctors hate being wrong), he did shorten his expectation considerably. We have called in Hospice and the joint consensus (between us, Hospice, and the Neurologist) is that mom probably only has a few days, to maybe a couple of weeks left here with us. But only God knows His timing.
So, we are bringing her back home today! Hospice will help with the nursing, pain management, and other necessary things. But mom will be able to be home with family and her dog and cat! Although pretty non-responsive, I think she will know when her dog “Fetch” lays beside her!
My family has been wonderful. My cousins, Donna and Sherri have both been to the hospital. Donna even spent one night for us. Cousins Jake & Rebecca have been there every chance they could. Kristen and Kyle have been incredible through all this. They try to remain tough around me, so that I don’t get upset. My in-laws came up last night and took us out to supper.
Vonnie has been super woman through all of this. She sings to mom and talks to her all the time. She spent last night with her at the hospital. She has helped me, cried with me, and comforted me throughout this ordeal.
I am holding up. It’s hard.
Every since I can remember, at whatever age a baby/child begins remembering things, at bedtime, me, mom, and dad always had the same little routine. We would say, “Goodnight. I love you. I’ll see you in the morning.” Even over the last several years that we have lived in the same house, we would always end the day with those words. So last night, as I said them to mom, and each night going forward as I say those words to her, I realize each time that it could be the last time I get to say them to her. It hurts, knowing that at some point, I will NOT see her in the morning. At least not here on earth. The only thing that gets me through is knowing that I WILL SEE HER AGAIN IN THE MORNING. Mom is heading to heaven to be with Jesus very soon, and her family that has gone on before will be there. I will eventually be doing the same. So, yes, I can truthfully tell her each night, “I will see you in the morning”!
Anyone reading these blog posts, I pray that you have the assurance of your afterlife. Our time on this earth is brief. You need to know that you know that you know – that you have a RELATIONSHIP with Jesus. Nothing else on this earth really matters. We were created for fellowship with Him and to glorify Him. That’s all that really matters!
Thank you to all of mom’s friends (and our friends) that have been reading these updates. They started out as simply a way to update a large group without having to tell the same story individually to each one that calls or texts. But they have turned out to be a sort of therapy for me. I guess it helps to put some things down on paper (computer). And your assurances, sympathies, and words of comfort on facebook, twitter, and comments on this blog have really helped. I especially appreciate those that have messaged me with stories from when mom taught you in school. (Larry Bennett, you probably DESERVED that spanking mom gave you in the 12th grade!).
Well, I need to get to Warner Robins to see about getting mom home, So, for today….. “Good night, I love you, I’ll see you in the morning……”
A very tough day. bottom line is that mom has ALOT going on. But the main issue is that they have found a 2″ x 3″ brain tumor. The tumor is terminal. it is very aggressive and best case is probably a 6 month time frame. However, the brain tumor is not her only issue.
She has a blood clot in her lungs. The blood clot cannot be treated because blood thinners would cause the tumor to be worse. She has an aneurism in her aorta. She has another tumor also somewhere in her abdomen. Also, within the last three days she has had a stroke. AND they have found evidence of a past heart attack which has weakened her heart.
Mom is a very sick lady. At this point, we are waiting on Social Services to come in to discuss Hospice and Comfort Care. Our goal is to get her home soon and keep her pain free. We are hoping she can get cognizant enough to actually talk with us. If not, we can deal with that too.
If the brain tumor continues, she may have a few months. If the clot or aneurism decide to misbehave, then she could leave us at anytime.
She is still at the Houston Medical Center. Social Services will arrive tomorrow to discuss Hospice and Comfort care.
This is hard, but God is in control. We would like her to regain enough cognitive ability to tell her bye, but our main prayer is that God be glorified in whatever happens.
On 10/10/14, Church Home Nursing Home called to let us know they had called an ambulance. The ambulance took mom to Houston Medical Center. Church Home indicated that mom was very non-responsive plus was aspirating on her oral medications.
Mom had been very unresponsive for several days. She would “maybe” open her eyes when we spoke to her and “maybe” utter a response to our questions. But that was about it.
We have watched her digression occur linearly for a few weeks now.
At Houston Medical, they did a few tests and put her in ICU. There we met a Neurologist that has jumped all over mom’s case. He has ordered multiple MRIs, CT scans, Sonagrams, etc. He has basically come back and told us this…
Mom’s left hemisphere of her brain is swollen. That swollenness has “pushed” into the right side, causing all the stroke like symptoms and damage. The stroke-like damage is probably permanent. The swelling, in his opinion thus far, could be caused by one of three things…
1. Some condition (the word he used probably had 145 letters, so I really did not catch it), that is causing the swelling. He put her on some steroids to reduce the swelling.
2. A Single Brain Tumor. (This is requiring many more tests to determine size, and to see if it would be treatable with either radiation or chemotherapy.)
3. Multiple Lesions in the brain. (Since mom had been a smoker for most of her adulthood, this is a very strong possibility. He is doing lung MRIs to determine if possibly she has had a cancer that moved from the lungs to the brain. This is the probably the worse case scenario, but also the most likely due to her smoking. But only the tests will tell).
So, while none of this can be remotely considered good news, we are happy that at least we are getting answers. Due to the steroids (I am guessing), she has already been MUCH more responsive than we have seen in weeks. She is “somewhat” talking with us somewhat coherently.
She is now getting more CT’s and MRI’s and we await finding out further information. I will keep our family’s friends posted via this forum……
Thank you for your continued prayers and support.
Mom has many friends. I get lots of calls asking how she is doing. I appreciate that. However, I suppose I need to do a better job of keeping her (and my) friends updated on mom’s condition.
First a recap: A few weeks ago, mom suffered a major stroke. Her left side and her vision were impacted. We spent two weeks at the Coliseum Stroke Rehab Center, but then the Coliseum contacted us and said they felt that their rehab was doing more harm than good. They asked us for the names of three sub-acute rehab centers. We gave them three based on our knowledge and the recommendations of some friends. Pinewood Manor (Hawkinsville), Summer Hill (Perry), and Church Home Care (Perry). After calling all the centers, Church Home Care and Rehab http://churchhomerehab.com/ in Perry had the only opening.
Mom was transferred there on September 11. While our hopes and prayers remain that mom will get at least partially mobile again, to the point that we can bring her home to care for her, we are also trying to be very realistic. Church Home Care is both a sub-acute rehab and a long-term nursing home.
10/03/14 Update: I go and visit mom every day. I leave Hawkinsville as soon as I get off work and go straight to Perry. There I am able to feed her supper each day. Then I visit for an hour or so and make my way back home. Mom is on Pureed food due to swallowing issues related to the stroke. Mom has little to no use of her left side. Her speech is now often slurred as well. Her vision is really bad. If you sit on her right side, she can usually see you. If you get on her left, she has no idea you are even in the room.
Mentally, mom comes and goes. Her short term memory is really bad right now. People can visit, and by the time I get there each day, she has forgotten they came to visit. However, ask her about something from a year ago, and she can tell you more details than I can.
I ask mom daily if she feels good, “Yes, I’ve had a good day.” is her usual answer. Are they treating you good here? “Yes, they are so nice”. Are you happy? “Yes, I’ve had a good day”. How did Therapy go today? “I worked hard today”. Are you getting better, “I think I’m getting a little better each day”. So at least she seems pretty content.
She asks every day about her dog, Fetch. In fact, she asks about Fetch before she asks about me or Vonnie. But that’s okay. I’ve taken Fetch once to see her, I’ve got to do that again soon.
Bottom line is that she is doing okay. She is not yet getting better, but she seems as content as one can expect. Just keep her in your prayers.
Me: I’ve also had many of you ask how I am doing. Well, it’s been tough. I am an only child, so the decisions and bulk of the issues fall to me. But’s that’s okay. I am surrounded by an incredible support group. Vonnie has been by my side (and mom’s side) this entire journey. She has been incredible. My children visit mom and encourage me. My cousin Donna has been incredible. She visits mom often and is always available on a day that I am out of town and can’t visit. She has been such a blessing. My cousin Sherry and my cousins Rebecca and Jake have also been great!
The support from the community and churches (mine and mom’s) has also been overwelming. From email, to cards, to flowers, to visits, to facebook posts, I know you care and I appreciate every one of you.
My philosophy through all of this is this: I am praying for mom’s healing. I am praying as David did when his son was sick. In 2 Samuel 16-22, David prays and asks God to heal. But the boy dies. Then look what happened. (Verses paraphrased and shortened).
20 David got up off the floor. He went into the Lord’s tent and worshiped.
21 His officials said, “What are you doing? You went without eating and cried for your son while he was alive! But now that he’s dead, you’re up and eating.”
22 David answered: While he was still alive, I went without food and cried because there was still hope. I said to myself, “Who knows? Maybe the Lord will have pity on me and let the child live.” 23 But now that he’s dead, why should I go without eating? I can’t bring him back! Someday I will join him in death, but he can’t return to me.
I want God to heal mom, but God knows better than me. He also promised that ALL things work together for good for those that love God and are the called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28). So if God does heal mom, then may He get the glory. If God does not heal mom, I will still worship him and give all Glory to God. Whatever happens, it is my prayer that God be glorified. That is our purpose on earth.
So, yeah, it’s tough. It’s the hardest thing I have ever been through. Dad’s death was tough, but it was brief. This is lingering and is tiring. I have new respect for the care-givers of this world. But God is good and I am just going through things that many of you either have or will go through. How people do it without knowing God is in control, I don’t know.
But I am good. Taking one day at a time. Please continue to pray for mom.