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About Me

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I'm a Texan, born and raised. I love my God and my family (friends included as family!) My first novel was realeased December 23, 2014 and I've since finished writing my second manuscript and have begun my third. Being a successful writer has been a dream of mine for years, since I was little. I can't wait to see where God takes my first book and my future ones. I pray that it touches many hearts. For those of you who love suspense novels, good vs. evil, you may be interested!

Friday, December 5, 2014

New Member of The Family!!!



Well, a lot has happened within the past few weeks I haven't been able to blog. I've been pressing forward in school and finishing out the semester with strength of God to hold me up. Two jobs and school at the same time really take a toll on a person's body. I had to take off from Famous Dave's for a few weeks in order to get my Capstone Research paper done and ready for presentation on November 20th. All English majors have to present a researched, academic paper showing their knowledge of their major and I took The Murderer In My Family and expanded it, filling it with different research and how trauma not only effects the person undergoing cancer but to other family members as well. My focus revolved around that paper because it was a matter of passing or failing and, if I were to fail, I wouldn't graduate. But I passed!!! So I will be walking the stage December 12, 2014 at 3:00 pm to obtain my Bachelors of Art in English. I've made it! No more assignments due. My last day of class was Monday and so now all I will be going back for is my diploma! Praise God!

I've also been going through a trying time spiritually but am trusting God to pull me through, as He is always faithful to do. He is SO good to me.

So, my title of this post is what I'm now excited to present to you guys! About three weeks or so ago, I began looking for a dog so that when I move out I will have someone to keep me company when my cousin isn't at home due to being on call at work. I originally began seeking out a large dog and had actually taken a liking to Pit Bull Terriers. I've known two in my lifetime, both huge lovers and cuddle-bugs. Prior to my meeting them, I was afraid of this type of breed because of the bad rap they've been given for attacking people. I did some research on them to find out they are not all like that and their personality depends on how a person raises them. I searched up and down for a Pit Bull terrier in my area and couldn't find one. Not even one that I fell in love with or vice-versa. I went to a local shelter and took a look around on two different occasions. The first time I didn't really find a dog that blew my mind or that I fell in love with so I waited a couple weeks and went back to look. I found a small white poodle that was super sweet and enjoyed being held. I took a good interest in her but the shelter said she was on a seven day hold because her owner had passed away and they wanted to make sure relatives of the owner didn't want to take her home with them.

They told me to call back in seven days. A couple days later I decided to go check out our local humane society and I saw several that caught my eye and that I looked at but none made a connection with me. That day, our family went out of town for Thanksgiving. The 28th, Black Friday, marked the seventh day but I didn't call because I was out all day shopping. So I called the 29th to see if she was still there and, to my dismay, she'd been adopted THAT day. I'm glad she was adopted, but sad it wasn't me who adopted her. Even though I was a little down about it, I knew that God would bring me something better.

I prayed that God would bring me a dog that wasn't a puppy, wasn't destructive and hyper, one that only wanted to be cuddled and loved, one that didn't shed or didn't shed much, and one that wouldn't lick. I also thought it would be cute if the dog would make little grunting noises. I think it's so cute when they grunt sometimes. My grandparent's dog grunts when he's content and I love it.

On Monday, December 1, I went out to eat lunch with my family after my dad had a bone marrow biopsy. I asked my mom if she wanted to go look at dogs with me. I called the first shelter I'd gone to where I'd wanted to adopt the poodle but they didn't answer. I looked up their office hours and discovered they weren't open on Monday's. The second shelter crossed my mind and I almost didn't go but decided I should in case new dogs had been picked up, so I decided to go to the local human society again. As Mom and I walked outside looking at the different dog and puppies in cages, none of them really jumped out at me until I got to the cage F1. There were three small dogs about the same size but my eyes shot straight to this ADORABLE, PRECIOUS, ANGELIC little face that came trotting up to the gait whining for us to pet her. It's like a spot light was shining on her and in my heart I knew without even holding her or touching her that she was for me. It's like God was whispering, "This is the one, Brooke." She's a little terrier mix. I think she has Chihuahua in her. I wrote down the cage number and continued to look at others, with her still on my mind. I got to hold her first and I fell in love with her. I asked the worker at the shelter if there was any way to put her on hold and she said they could hold her for an hour so I told her to please do that while I looked at the other dogs on my list. None of the other dogs held a candle to the little terrier and so I told the lady that I wanted to adopt her.

I asked how I could ensure that no one would adopt her before me and she said I would have to go ahead and pay then, otherwise she could only be held for one hour then she's free game for anyone. So I slapped the money down and as they were putting a red ribbon around her neck to ID that she'd been adopted, two gentlemen walked in and said they were looking at her and had fallen in love with her. Had I been any later, I wouldn't have gotten her.

This precious little angel was EVERYTHING I prayed for. Everything. Complete with cute grunting noises. She was picked up the same day I decided to go look at the humane society and she was picked up RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET from the shelter! No collar, no tags. She had to stay at the shelter for five days in case someone called, frantic because they lost her. After five days, anyone adopting could take their babies home but a 30 day hold was required in case the owner still called. Should that happen even after adoption, whatever expenses were spent on the dog would have to be fully re-compensated to the adopter. However, as of two days ago, the 30 day hold was lifted and only the five day hold at the shelter was left as permanent. So, as of Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 7:00 pm, after their doors locked for the night, my baby was officially mine. No one had called to claim her. I went to see her every day as I waited in anticipation to pick her up and take her home. The more I saw her, the more my heart fell for her.

In just two days of visiting her, she knew who I was and, when other people would walk in, she would hide behind my legs under the chair then resurface once they left, wanting me to pet her and hold her. All she wants is lovin' and to snuggle. She eats, sleeps, and cuddles. That dog hasn't barked once. I'm amazed at how God worked it out so perfectly. His timing is SO perfect! And to top it all off, the last day she was on hold and could have been euthanized, a lady called, asking if she was still there because she was interested in adopting her and the shelter told her she'd been adopted by yours truly! So several people wanted her but I was BLESSED and got her just in the nick of time. And this falls according to my life verse, Romans 8:28- "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose." 

This has God's hand written all over it. She is a doll, a bright spot in my life already. I've named her Nellie and her nick names are Nellie-Bean, Nel-Nel, and Nellie Cuddle-Bug/ Snuggle-Bug.

Here are some pictures of my baby!
Nellie 











Christmas Jacket and Booties


   Her Collar for everyday

Her Christmas collar with tag


Her bed and blanky


Her Christmas collar and bed



I ordered her this exact tag and on the back will have her name and my number


Nellie is scheduled for her shots and spaying today. She's probably under the knife as I type. I get to go pick her up around 4 today. Poor thing will be very out of it and sore. I have her bed ready for her when I pick her up to take her home where she'll be loved the rest of her life. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Protected NOW UP FOR SALE!



Alright, guys, it's finally available--The Protected: The Unseen Realm is now up for sale on Tate Publishing! 

December 23, 2014 is my official release date for when online stores such as Amazon, ebook, Barnes & Noble, etc. can order my book to sell. The Protected: The Unseen Realm is not guaranteed to be sold in stores unless there are enough sales on the web and the demand for the book is high. So, please help spread the word! 

The link to order my book on Tate's website is here:

  
I will also order a few books and have a few drawings for a free book. Whoever is interested, please either leave comments, a message, or email. I'd prefer to be emailed with your first and last name along with a form of valid/preferred contact where I may reach you should your name be drawn. I won't have the books until another three weeks or so. I will keep you updated on that and when they are expected to arrive.

Thanks so  much for following my blog! And thank you for helping spread the word! 

Blessings to you all!

~Brooke-Lauren


Monday, September 29, 2014

APPROVAL FORM SIGNED!!!




 BIG NEWS!!! I have just signed the approval form in order for them to send my manuscript to print and prep it for distribution! Pre-orders are available on Tatepublishing.com 

I will update when I know when the book will hit different stores!

Thanks, so much, guys for reading my blogs and keeping up with my updates for The Protected: The Unseen Realm!

I very much look forward to God touching many hearts through the gift of writing He's given me! He is SO good!

 


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What Are You Waiting For?


Written by Brooke-Lauren Montgomery

Do you have something you're holding onto that you want to let go? Do you have a dream you want to go for but you're afraid? Do you want to take the leap with the one you love but fear has you bound? 
Do you want to change this? If so, can I ask you a question?

What are you waiting for?

There have been numerous things on my mind that have heavily weighed on my heart lately. Every one of them has fear hidden in them. I've had people stop talking to me for unknown reasons, people I cared about deeply. I've had struggles within myself, with who I am, with what I'm supposed to do with my life, and I've questioned why I was born. 

But I know this--I was born for a reason, whether I see it or not. And so were you. Psalm 139 1-18 incredibly says:  
"You have searched me, Lord,
    and You know me. 
 You know when I sit and when I rise;
    You perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
   You are familiar with all my ways. 
 Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely. 
 You hem me in behind and before,
    and You lay your hand upon me.
  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

 Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence? 
 If I go up to the heavens, You are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. 
 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
 even there Your hand will guide me,
    Your right hand will hold me fast. 
 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.
 For you created my inmost being;
  You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    Your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well. 
 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 
 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in Your book
    before one of them came to be. 
 How precious to me are Your thoughts,God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with You."
(Emphasis mine)

This passage brings tears to my eyes because I know that no matter how rejected, hurt, angry, sad, and lonely I feel, He's there and He'll never leave because He formed me in the womb. He knew me before He created me. He loves me so much that He knows the number or hairs on my head. He thinks good things about me and He's written all my days on earth in His book. Where I go, His right hand guides and protects me. He knows my thoughts before I think them and He's there when I wake and when I go to sleep. His thoughts to me are unfathomable and so numerous I cannot count them. 

He feels and thinks this way about you, too. You have a purpose. God wouldn't have created us so intricately if we each didn't have a purpose in this life. We may not see it now, but we will in time. 

God's given us dreams, aspirations, and goals. Sometimes we get afraid to go after what God has given us. "Afraid" is the evil key word. There is nothing good in fear. Trust me, I know because I've struggled with it immensely since I was in middle school and I'm 23 now. Do you know what Bible Study Teacher, Beth Moore, defines fear as? False Evidence Appearing Real.

Think you're not good enough? You're not adequate enough? Strong enough? Too hopeless, helpless, too far gone? No. You're not. That's what FEAR wants you to believe, so take a good look at the definition of fear. Repeat it to yourself as many times as you need to to ingrain it into your brain. 

If you have a few bumps or mountains along your journey to your dream, don't give up.

If you want the promotion at work, or you want to just improve your skills, go for it hard. If it takes asking questions and learning more, asking your boss how to improve, do it. And if your boss tells you you're interrupting their time off, or you're pushing their buttons, or they don't have time to talk to you like a manager should, show them that you will succeed. Don't let their careless words get to you. Push forward. Show them what you're made of.

If you want to publish that booklet of poems, a collection of short stories, or a novel, go for it. Submit your queries and search for agents. If you get rejection letter after rejection letter, keep pushing. Keep editing your work, keep improving and increase your tenacity because one day it will pay off. 

Keep practicing for the sport you want to go pro in. Bust your butt 110%. Even if you have bruises, don't stop. Show the coaches what you're made of. Whatever it takes to improve your skills, do it.

Do you want to make things right with a friend? Are you bothered by something you said to them a long time ago? Go apologize and ask them to forgive you. If they turn you away, keep your head up and know you did what you had to do. You did your part.

Have you been running from God? Has he been trying to woo you to Himself and you've pushed your arms out in resistance? Do you think He's not enough but deep down you know He is? Do you want to make things right? 

What are you waiting for?

Your passion was instilled inside of you for a reason. Don't let it go to waste! 

There's a song I recently heard that's my new favorite. It's called What Are You Waiting For by Nickelback. I encourage you to watch the video and read the lyrics by clicking the link below. If you already know it, go somewhere alone, listen to it and really let the words sink in. 

http://youtu.be/GNSpboIv02k 

Your efforts and your persistence will not be in vain. 

What are you waiting for?

You'll never know unless you try.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

We Will Never Forget




written by Brooke-Lauren Montgomery

September 11, 2001--a beautiful sunny morning for such a horrendous tragedy. On the morning of 9/11, I was sitting in my 5th grade English class listening to my teacher when, all of a sudden, another teacher from down the hall swiftly entered our classroom. He interrupted our lesson by whispering something into our teacher's ear. When she gasped, the whole class said, "What? What's the matter?" 

When the other teacher left, ours looked at us with a solemn face and said, "A plane flew into the World Trade Center." 

Several people in the classroom gasped. But I didn't because I didn't even know what the World Trade Center was. I was only 9 and I didn't know to be afraid. I didn't know what a terrorist was, either, until I got home after school and saw a replay of the tragic events and my mom explained it to me.

I knew throughout the day something wasn't right, that this was a HUGE deal. People seemed quiet and morose. When my mom picked me up from school, she seemed panicked. She kept saying, "We've got to go get gas. We've got to go get gas." And I'm still thinking, why?? 

And I asked her why. She said something about terrorists and I still didn't get it. Couldn't comprehend. But she was freaking me out because she was frantic. 

The gas station was packed. Everyone else had the same idea. People were scared. 


When I got home, my dad had it on Fox News where replays of that morning were showing. Seeing planes fly into two tall buildings was scary. And even though it was, I still couldn't wrap my mind around just how tremendous of a tragedy it was for America. When I was 9, I didn't fear. 

It wasn't until I became an adolescent that I began to understand the major impact 9/11 had on America and just how terrifying that day was for Americans. Those poor families who lost loved ones in the planes, the World Trade Center, and the Pentagon, firemen who lost their lives in the line of duty. It's terribly sad. 

As I got a little older, I watched a show about 9/11 with dramatizations with the actual recordings of those who lost their lives in the attack. Betty Ong, a stewardess on flight 11, stayed on the phone with air control, letting them know what was going on. She sounded so calm. She remained on the line up until the plane struck one of the towers.
I saw photos of people in Manhattan running for their lives as the thick clouds of gray ashes and debris chased them. People who knew they didn't want to be burned alive were jumping from the towers, deciding it would be better to fall to their death than sear in flames.
I heard a couple of recordings of passengers who called their family to tell them they loved them one last time. One man was so distraught and in shock he introduced himself to his own family on the answering machine before telling them goodbye and he loved them. 

America needs our prayers more than ever. Please keep the families of lost loved ones in the attack in your thoughts and prayers today. Pray for our nation, that we may continue to keep strict surveillance on all areas where terrorism may be a threat.  

When I see these reminders every year of what those terrorist bastards did to our nation, I fume with anger. My heart frowns and it cries for those who had their lives stripped from them with such brutality. My chest grows heavy with the weight of sadness for the relatives of lost loved ones. 

And now, thirteen years later, America still remembers. 
She'll never forget. 

And neither will I.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

New Job!!!!!!!!



Hellur guys! (Suppose to sound like Madea saying Hello...and if you don't know who Madea is...Bing it and watch the movies. You won't regret it!) 

So I'm writing today about a new job I've started. Within the past few months I've really been struggling with fear, some days more overwhelming than others, and have been dealing with a little bit of bitterness and hurt as well. 

There have been things coming at me from all directions, begging for my attention that aren't good. Overall, I'm a strong person, but there are times where I'm weak.

I'm growing closer to God so that I don't stray down the wrong path because, believe it or not, it's quite easy to do. Even when a child of God drifts from Him, He never leaves, never forgets us, and never ignores our cries. 
He never left, but we did. My great aunt told me that when we drift and come back, God says, "I missed you while you were gone." It makes me smile because it's so good to know He never left. He was there the whole time while I was off doing my own thing. I mean, I don't smile at the negative things I've done, but the fact that God's Love is so Perfect and True, so genuine, that He never leaves, no matter if we walk away, blows my mind. 
And I'm not saying that we can do what we want, stray and rest assured He'll never leave us because He said so. That act would be playing with fire and, in a way, testing God. Neither ends well.

As I've been praying and going through my inner struggles, I've come to realize that I need to let go. I have before and it was SO beautiful, but then I took it back, sadly. And now I'm wanting to get rid of it again and for good. 

I work every week day from 8 to 5. And although I stay busy, my mind still has plenty of time to think. Guess what happens when I get home and having nothing to do? Yep, you guessed it...this analytical mind begins to think, think, think. If I think too much on a negative situation, it only leads to disappointment, extreme disappointment, sadness, anger, resentment, and bitterness--none of which I want anything to do with. 

So in order to cease my endless thinking, I put in applications to different businesses hoping to land an evening job. I put in so many applications, I lost count and can't remember everywhere I applied. 

A few days went by and I received a couple of nibbles, but no huge bites where I reeled in. The top three places I wanted to work for were Famous Dave's (BBQ Restaurant), Hastings, or Khol's. Famous Dave's has an awesome atmosphere and their decor is amazing! Their food is to die for, too, so I immediately wanted to apply there. Hastings is one of my favorite stores. I love books and movies and I figured I would enjoy working there. I love their atmosphere, too. Khol's is one of my VERY favorite clothing stores. It's right below Forever 21 and, if we had a Forever 21 where I live, I'd have applied there in a New York minute. Khol's always has awesome deals going and I figured if I worked there I'd get even more awesome deals! 

So I waited as patiently as I could after submitting my applications. When I didn't hear back from Famous Dave's a week after I submitted my application, I called to make sure they received it. A girl told me the manager was in a meeting and that she'd call me back once she got out. Well, days go by and I haven't heard from her. Then days turn into weeks and still, nothing from no company I submitted an application to. 

A week an a half ago, I literally came to terms with the fact I wasn't supposed to have a second job. I said, "God, you know what you're doing. And you know what's best for me. I may not have been able to handle a second job. And that's okay. I trust You." 

Two days later, I'm at work and a co-worker tells me line one is for me. I picked up the phone expecting it to be my mom or a customer. Instead, I hear, "Hi, this is _____, and I'm the manager at Famous Dave's." The manager ends up asking me to come in for an interview. And I'm surprised. I was totally not expecting that at all!

Two days after that, I go in for my interview. I pull into the parking lot and kill the engine. I said, "Okay, God. I want Your Will in this. You know whether or not this is a good idea for me to take on. So if You want this, I want it. If You don't , I don't. I'm trusting You." Then I got out of the car and headed inside. I was super nervous, mainly because people make me nervous. I'm cautious and wasn't really knowing what to expect. I'm guided, along with another interviewee, to the back of the restaurant outside where the manager is speaking with employees. Everyone seemed super friendly. They were joking and laughing, having fun and it helped me relax significantly. 

When it comes time for me to be interviewed, I'm still nervous  but not as much. She asked me a few short questions and then offered me the job happily. I was stunned. Shocked. I was wondering if I heard correctly.

I've never had any experience in the restaurant industry. At all. When I left, I was beaming inside and out. I was so ecstatic! 
Got my uniform and schedule Sunday and started my first training day Monday evening. It was so awesome! It's so much to learn and remember, but I had a blast! Most people probably think waiting on tables is easy, but really it's not. A waiter/waitress is assigned a whole section to themselves. They're constantly going back and forth, checking on tables, putting in orders, cleaning, refilling glasses, etc. It's a fast paced job, and I feel like that's what I need right now.

I know that working here will help bring me out of my shell and I've been praying that people will see God through me. I want God to work through me to help others. I look forward to it very much!




Everyone at Famous Dave's is SO nice and helpful. It's been a blessing!

God is good!!!
 

Friday, September 5, 2014

THE PROTECTED: THE UNSEEN REALM UPDATE!!!!



Beyond excited right now! My LAST proof is on its way in hard copy format to my house and once I look it over, I will sign the approval form and my manuscript will be sent to print!!!!!

PRAISE GOD!!!!


WHOOP WHOOP!!!! :3

I will continue to update on the progress!!!!

~In Beautiful Rememberance~

Written by Brooke-Lauren Montgomery

Her name is Mary Newland and she's my great grandmother. The beautiful young woman in the polka-dot dress, holding my great uncle and my grandmother, was one of the strongest women I've ever known. She was selfless, always willing to help with a happy heart, and loved everybody. 

I wish I could be half the woman she was and this is why:

At age nineteen, she accepted God's call in her life. I'll never forget what she told me while we sat at the counter in her house as we were having one of our many deep discussions. When God called her into the ministry, she said, "Oh, God, I'm not qualified to do Your work", to which He responded, "I don't call the qualified, but I qualify the called", and since that day, she lived to share Him with others. Anywhere and everywhere. At the grocery store, outside on the lawn, letters to inmates in prison when she was involved in the Prison Ministry, and always in her beauty shop. Mary's Beauty Shop opened when my grandmother was tiny. Maw Maw (what I called my great-grandmother), used her gift as a beautician to bring glory to God. 
 Below is a picture of Maw Maw with my biological great grandfather holding my grandmother.

Below is a photo of Maw Maw with my grandmother and my great uncle:
 
Many customers often called her with prayer requests or just to talk about a tough time they were going through, and she would listen wholeheartedly. She would pray while listening and wait for God to speak words of wisdom to her that she may give them. So many people would walk away with hope because God used her to speak to the hurting. My family was included in the hurting whom, God through her, helped tremendously.
Not only did God use her to speak for Him, but she was so close and intimate with God that He always answered her prayers. 
When my mother was a toddler, she'd gotten into my grandmother's purse and found some pills while my grandmother made a quick trip into a store. She took them and when my grandmother came back to the car, my mom just fell over in the seat. Panicked, she called 9-1-1 after finding the pills she'd gotten into. She then called Maw Maw who prayed and also road with my mom in the ambulance, praying out loud in her heavenly language, not caring who was listening or watching. She kept my mom awake by lightly slapping her face. Her prayers saved my mom's life and she recovered fully after the doctors pumped her stomach. I know that without Maw Maw's prayers, I never would have been born. 
Below is a picture of Paw Paw, my mom, and Maw Maw.

 Below is Paw Paw, Mom, Maw Maw, and Grandma.

This photo below is my grandmother, my mom (inside grandma's tummy), and Maw Maw.
 
When I was just two, I fell and hit my head on the corner of the coffee table then was promptly rushed to the emergency room. Maw Maw, who had been mopping the kitchen floor at that time with no idea what had happened, suddenly got the urge to call my grandmother to ask if I was okay. When she did, my grandmother told her what happened and Maw Maw prayed for me. I'm perfectly fine today but carry a scar as a reminder. :)  
Maw Maw also used to watch me sometimes at home while my mom taught school and my dad was at work. She'd also clean for us. Below is a picture of one of those days.
 Below is a picture of Maw Maw and me during one of our Christmas get togethers. I think this was in 2004. I was 13.

When my dad went into major depression from his mom's death (whole story available on my post The Murderer In My Family), after he'd finally had enough, Maw Maw and our family placed hands on him and prayed, and he got healed that night from depression. 
Below is a picture from a Christmas get together in 2004.

When I was undergoing an overwhelming, terrifying spiritual warfare battle of the mind as an adolescent, Maw Maw was just a phone call away, always more than happy to pray for me. Even at 2:00 in the morning when thoughts that were not my own plagued my mind and wouldn't let me sleep, she was there and, each time she prayed, the thoughts would subside and I would sleep. 
Not only did God help my family and many others through Maw Maw, but He also carried her through a difficult time in her life when her husband (my biological great-grandfather) had an affair that led to a divorce. He had been called to be a preacher but he did not do it. He went the other way but she remained close to God and He carried her through that time and many others.
There are many more instances such as these where God was evident and showed brightly through her.  

This photo is the one we used for her funeral booklet. She was just 39 years old here.


People could trust her with whatever they chose to confide in her. 

Maw Maw was always in The Word. She used her Bible so much it began to fall apart and she made many notes in the margins. 

Maw Maw always made the BEST food. It was definitely what you'd call a finger licking, home cooking, meal. Paw Paw (my non-biological great grandfather whom she married later), could also cook wonderfully, too! Most of the time they'd cook a meal together then invite the whole family over for lunch. Each time we'd arrive and walk into the kitchen, I'd see a big bowl of fried potatoes in the middle of the table and, of course, I'd proceed to grin like a doofus because Maw Maw knew I loved fried potatoes. She was always sure to make some just for me. With my sister...she always knew to sit out a tub full of butter because my sister used to have a sick fascination/taste for butter and would literally eat it off the spoon! Yeah! My parents had to carefully monitor her. :3 Anything Maw Maw knew one of liked, she'd have it ready when we came over.

Below is three generations. Maw Maw on the right, my mother in the middle, and grandmother on the left. They getting things ready for a family get together.

Growing up, my parents frequently told my sister and me to spend as much time with Maw Maw and Paw Paw as we could because they were getting older and wouldn't be around much longer. Well, as a kid, you can't understand that. I mean, when a child sees what appears to be a relatively healthy individual, they don't think that person will die soon. As I grew older, I began to understand that more. The more I grew in my faith, the more I longed to have deep talks with Maw Maw because God had filled her with soooo much wisdom. So many times when we'd be talking, she'd suddenly grow serious, squint her eyes, point her finger and say, "Listen to me carefully because Maw Maw knows what she's talking about..." then proceed to give an important message that God gave her at that moment for me. Then the conversation would turn back to normal. The passion, how on fire she was for God, just blew me away.

 Below is Paw Paw and Maw Maw


And ONLY my grandpa could get Maw Maw on a four wheeler! Lol.

In 2006, at the age of 81, Maw Maw had a stroke while having an operation on her shoulder. After that, she was never the same mentally. Her mind started slowly going down hill. We'd notice that she'd repeat something several times within a few minutes or she'd forget where she put something. I think at first we thought it was just her age showing but it turned out to be worse, a disease that completely breaks the hearts of all who see it progressing--Alzheimer's Disease. I know it was terrifying for Maw Maw, knowing something was wrong and feeling powerless to stop it as her memory kept slowly depleting. Eventually, she began to forget to clean the counter or the floor which was TOTALLY out of character for her. She was a germophobe! She'd call one of us by the wrong name or laugh and say things she never would have before. 

Four generations below, from left to right: My sister, me, Mom, Grandma, and Maw Maw in 2013.

As she worsened, my grandmother (her daughter) began to take care of her, staying over at their house. My non-biological great grandfather passed away in January 2011 and although Maw Maw expressed sorrow over his death, a couple weeks later, my grandfather asked her if she knew how long Lewis had been gone to which she answered, "Ten years". The thing about Alzheimer's is that it doesn't hurt the person who has it, but the loved ones who see it worsening. The Alzheimer's patient doesn't know any better once it gets to the last stages. 


About a year before Maw Maw passed, I was getting ready for something (I can't remember what now), but Maw Maw was sitting in the room with me while my mom went to go fix her some lunch. It was quiet between the two of us and I could see her staring at me out of the corner of my eye. By this time, Maw Maw didn't say much. And if she did, it didn't make sense or she'd say "yeah" to everything. So, when she spoke a completely understandable statement to me I was shocked. Not only shocked but what she said to me will remain with me to the day I die because it was the last coherent thing she said to me besides I love you before she passed. As I was running the straightener through my hair, she broke the silence and said, "You're beautiful." I turned and made eye contact with her and when I did, she said, "I've never seen one so beautiful." I couldn't believe it. My eyes grew teary and I thanked her. I don't think she knew how much that meant to me at that moment, especially when she hadn't really been saying things that made sense. It sounded so good to hear her sound normal and the fact that it was a complement on top of that, meant for me, made it that much more special.   

In April 2014, Maw Maw drastically took a turn for the worse, becoming bedridden and hardly eating at all. She eventually kept her eyes closed, appearing to sleep, but I'm sure it was just her body beginning to shut down. Our family knew it would be any time that she'd go Home. At one point, before she began to keep her eyes closed, my Mom was able to take a picture of her reaching out her hand as if praying or trying to touch something unseen. It was amazing.


In the week before she passed, I spent every day and night over there with her once I got off of work. 

Below: Maw Maw's hand in mine.



I would sit by her bed and read my Bible assignments aloud because I knew she could hear it. The night before she died, I brought my iPod dock and played Christian music. Before I played it, she'd been restless and coughing a lot. When I played it and sang a few songs for her, she quieted and rested more peacefully throughout the night. A couple times, she opened her eyes briefly before shutting them again. 

Friday, April 11, 2014 came quickly. I had decided on this day to go eat with a friend before going to the house to sit with Maw Maw. While we were eating, my mom texted me and told me to hurry because it would be soon. I was scared to death that I wouldn't be there to see her go. I was upset and praying God would let me make it before He took her. And He did. I got there approximately ten minutes before she drew her final breath and I was right there by her, holding her hand as she passed into Eternity. 


Although we cried for losing her, our tears also shone with joy because we knew her suffering was over and she was in her right mind again. She was present with The Lord and the happiest she ever was and ever would be.

My sister and I sang at her funeral. I will post the video later when I figure out how to download it on here. 

Maw Maw always told me that she was bottling up prayers for me and our family that would be answered in God's timing. And I believe her. 
 
Every once in a while, when I'm going through a difficult time, I'll think of Maw Maw and how much I miss picking up the phone to call her. Sometimes, I wouldn't even have to pick up the phone. She'd call me first, knowing something was bothering me. I miss it. I miss dearly. But I know that I'll see her soon and that she'll be waiting with a humungous smile on her beautiful face, ready to embrace me when I join her.