Daily Prompt: In Good Faith: A brother’s wish

Describe a memory or encounter in which you considered your faith, religion, spirituality — or lack of — for the first time.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us FAITH.

During a shift at my first job, I admitted a man to my unit that was in bad shape.  I discovered his admission was at the request of his Hospice,  for pain management. Being a new graduate nurse, you get crazy assignments and tough cases as learning experiences.

I completed the proper paperwork, gave the patient medications his doctor ordered, did what I could to help the family and make them comfortable. I gave the report to my charge nurse and then; started rounds on my other assigned patients.

The supervisor met me in the hallway to tell me of a status change for my new patient. When I returned to his room, I met a representative from his Hospice and he introduced me to the family gathered to say good-bye. My new patient’s diagnosis was End Stage Pancreatic Cancer and his last wishes were to be admitted to Room 434 at the Regional Hospital, where his wife passed away. She died, in 1984, in the same room where he laid dying now.

The Hospice nurse explained his wishes a little better. When his time was close, he requested to be admitted to the hospital for pain management. For about two hours, I played private-duty nurse to his family for whatever need may arise. I tenderly cared for their family member and provided pain management, as ordered, to keep him as comfortable as my capable hands could.

It did not take long for the signs that God was calling him home to show up. His respiration’s were becoming shallow and his heart rate slowing. When the end was upon us, our patient’s brother stepped forward and stated. ” I’d give anything, to see him sit up in bed and take one more breath.”

As in slow motion, my patient slowly, sat up in bed and drew in a long exacerbated breath, fell back on his pillow and was gone. Everyone just looked around the room in amazement. The Good Lord swept in and took him off to be with his wife.

As I watched the family leaving and listened to their stories of this man’s life, I imagined he and his wife walking, hand-in hand, down a beautiful street in heaven.

My faith has always been strong. When it falters just a little, I think back to the 39 years of patients I have cared for and the many unexplained things I have seen. I have no doubt in my mind, there is a God and he is with us always! This story is about my first spiritual encounter. I will never forget the feeling in that room. I left the room full of faith and longing. I get goosebumps, just thinking of that night.

A Trip to Pizza Hut with my Young Niece and Nephews

Our Niece and twin Nephews: they are now in their 30's

Our Niece and twin Nephews: they are now in their 30’s

Once upon a hot Summer’s day, I was babysitting for my oldest sister. She and her husband seldom got time to themselves with twin boys and a daughter 15 months younger. I lived in town and got to spend a lot of time with the kids as they grew up.

Long-time/former Pizza Hut logo (1967–1999). M...

My sister used to tell people she found my first husband for me, so she would have a babysitter close by. She expected us to last a little longer than we did, I guess. Sorry, sis, that match just was not meant to be. I found my soul-mate, when her babies were in college starting their own lives. My soul-mate has just assimilated right into the family. Everyone is crazy about him!

At a birthday party before

At a birthday party

Back to the kids and Pizza Hut. We took them out to have supper at Pizza Hut (the only Pizza Place in town). The small town we lived in stuck in the 19th Century, could be hard to live in. Not a lot of change and if you advocated for a change, you were an outsider. Hey, the Pizza was great!

My niece and I sat on one side of the booth and my ex and the boys sat on the other side. When we had the kids, it was a constant men versus women battle, The topic of this dinner was quite interesting.

Pizza Hut Meat Lover's pizz

Pizza Hut Meat Lover’s pizza (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not sure exactly how the conversation started, but my niece (standing in her bench seat with her hands on her hips) told the boys that “women didn’t have to eat out, because we could cook at home”. One of her brother’s was a care-free little guy and didn’t care about anything. The other little guy was where she got her response. He was the sweet little twin, that was smart as a whip the minute he started talking. There are times today that I have to ask him to repeat things on my level.

He stood up on the bench at the table, looked at my ex and his brother to get their attention. He then turned to my niece and I then proudly  stated, “Well, we are men. We don’t have to eat out all the time. We can make sandwiches!”

Just Write: Loss

Loss comes in many forms, when you least expect it.
It can mean anything from a loved one to body process, like speech. Loss hurts.

My brain tumor has left my voice weak and I have a lot of trouble speaking. When I have something to say, I feel like I am pushing words out and I can be loud.  I cannot help it. I truly cannot help it, nothing hurts more than having people talk over you.

One thing I have learned since becoming disabled, is people are rude. No one has respect for anyone. What has happened to civility?

People do not listen if you have a speech impediment. They automatically discount you as a person, the minute they realize you have a problem. They take what they think you are saying and go with that, even when they have it totally wrong.

It hurts worse when it is those close to you. The pain is worse when someone you love cuts you off mid-sentence without attempting to hear what you have to say. I actually fired someone for insubordinance when they made fun of my voice. It was at a time when Intruly needed the help, but I wasn’t putting up with that type of behavior.

I feel childish complaining. Barry had a stroke in 2011 and mom is in the beginning stages of dementia. In a house full of brain injuries and so many losses, do I have the right to be upset? When I need help with a phone call, should I be given flack or help with a call?

I am becoming used to being disabled, but this part is getting worse and I am struggling with how to handle my home situation!

We live a quiet life at home, not a lot of noise. Noise bothers all of us.

I’m 47 yesrs olf living like a 80 year old. Maybe it will help down the road.

Jill and Barry Baynes


Not sure this is an Urban Legend, but I found out it is true….the hard way!

Ever heard that if you stick a snapping turtle to a person, they will not let go until they hear thunder rumble? Well, let me tell you about a fishing trip when I was 2 years old. My sister Sandy was 4 years old when this occurred.

Pop caught a turtle and let Sandy play with it. For years, Dad had told us all these crazy stories about animals. One of those stories listed above. Mom and dad were not paying attention.Little Miss Sandy decided to try this tale out. When I turned around, quickly, Sandy stuck the turtle to my stomach, right at the top of my ribs.

That turtle latched on, Sandy screamed let it go and ran. I immediately started to bleed and I added to the screaming. Mom put her pole down and came to check on us. A storm was blowing up. At the moment mom reached me, there was a rumble of thunder and that crazy turtle let go and fell to the ground. Mom picked it up and threw it in the water. She yelled at Dad it was time to go. We packed up and headed home. I still have a scar today.

As you can tell, we had a little more freedom as children when we were younger!


Another story took place in our backyard. We had a little plastic pool in the backyard to splash around and cool off. Sandy decided she wanted to teach me how to swim. Mom said that was fine. Sandy and I filled the pool up and got in our swimsuits. Sandy’s idea of teaching me to swim was me on my stomach lying on the bottom of the pool with her sitting on my back. I’m just thankful mom checked on us before I drowned. Needless to say we were not allowed in the pool alone anymore. I still thought my big sister was the coolest thing on earth.

Daily Prompt: Say Your Name: Jill

Write about your first name: Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself?

Photographers, show us  YOU. See photo gallery after post! Thank you!!

Good, bad and ugly….this is me……I pester people taking bad pictures of them, so one has chosen to pay me back. He knows, payback will be coming. Of course, that I have changed a lot since getting sick. Please do not laugh too hard!

Not only do I take terrible pictures, but I have a group of nick names I have collected through the years: Jilligan(because I am clumsy…..Jilligan-Gilligan), silly Jilly, Jillene, Chicken Legs, and my old favorite: four-eyes.

I was named after absolutely no one and my parents didn’t think of middle names, when we were born. They wanted us to pick out our own. When we chose what we liked, we then went through the legal process to have our names changed. It was a learning experience and kinda cool!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Jill and Barry Baynes

Writing Through Cancer Daily Prompt for the week of May 12, 2013: “Mommy, It’s Your Happy Day”

Mommy, it’s your Happy day!

I plan to take this a different way. Motherhood is a previous gift from God. Anyone lucky enough to be blessed with such a privilege, should cherish every moment they are given. Growing up, the only things I wanted to do was fall in love and have a houseful of children. My first husband and I tried for years. We both suffered through 5 miscarriages and a physician told that us if we wanted children, we needed different spouses. Fortunately, our inability to have children was not the reason our marriage failed.

With a pregnancy, you start making plans, look forward to the future and then you realize the pregnancy is failing. It breaks your heart. After the fifth miscarriage, your heart feels like a dried up lump of clay. There is no way to describe the agony your body goes through mentally and physically. A miscarriage is a horrible thing to live through. Accepting that it doesn’t seem to be in the Good Lord‘s plan for you to become a mother or father is intense, but as Christians our pregnancies are in the hands of the Lord.  Our lives are part of God’s plan. He has a plan for us all. It is not our place to question that plan. Even though it is in the Lord’s Plan, you still go through a period of regret and doubting. It is not easy to hand everything over to the Lord without some grieving. You get past the emotions and find the strength to give it over to God and get on with your life. You do a lot of praying. Asking for Grace and Strength to get through the misery. You do get through it!  I did it five times and lived. So did my ex-husband. He has remarried and has a son. 

I , also, have remarried. I managed to find my place in this world. I met my soul mate in 2001. We were married three years later. I love him more everyday. I don’t know what I would do without him. He makes me want to be a better person. We have both done things that neither of us ever thought we would do. I made an attempt at being a step-mother ( I gave up when my step-son made it clear, he wanted nothing to do with me). Barry is learning to love my mother.

Her health was failing and she did not need to be living in the situation she was, so we packed her up and moved her in with us. The situation is actually working.  I did not think it would. As mom ages, she is learning the art of compromise. It has tickled her pink, to have Barry start calling her “Mom“.

Barry put’s on a Mother’s Day show every year. He says “I was a wonderful mother. ” When Barry and I married, we discussed children. He asked if I was okay with not having a child. He said he was ready to focus on home and retiring. I was good with that. Our health issues haven’t allowed us to do everything we wanted, but we still enjoy each and everyday. We now have a beloved family pet boxer, named Maggie. She thinks she is human. In a sense, I’m mothering our family pooch.

Barry’s mom passed away a few months before he proposed. I was lucky enough to spend a little time with her. She was a sweet, wonderful woman. I know where her son gets it from.We did agree on one thing. We started to make the same statement at the same time once. That statement was, “He sure does have the best-looking legs around!” She turned and looked at me oddly and said, “I knew I liked you!” When Barry got in the car to find us giggling, he wanted to know if he should be worried.  His mom looked at me and smiled. We didn’t say a word. Barry started the car and headed to the restaurant. 

My mom is a character. I told Barry stories before he met her. He later told me it found my stories hard to believe, until mom started letting the true Betty out in front of him. Mom is a doll and a beautiful woman. She is the perfect work the room character. As long as things are going her way, she is fine. I love her to pieces and look like I could be her twin. I will do anything in the world for her, when I can. Mom living with us has been great. I’m getting to know mom better than I ever have.

Her health is declining and I am trying to help her deal with or understand the changes her body is going through. She is actually listening to me and learning about her illness. Telling my mother the truth about things she does Isn’t easy. I’m getting better at it and she is taking it better.  She has not taken my illness well. I’ve had to ask her to change certain behaviors to help me deal with my health. 

My sister’s and I got our families together and took her out for lunch on Mother’s Day. Barry and I treated her to a new haircut. She really looks great. Sandy has taken her on a trip to North Carolina; to see her grandson graduate from college.I hope she is enjoying herself. She deserve’ it. She is my mom’s.

my momma

my momma

Post Lumpectomy Unexpected Infection

Wednesday morning, I woke up feeling fine. I had a banana and sat down with a cup of hot decaf to walk my voice up. Barry was going to the hospital for blood work and bringing breakfast home with him. I crawled up in my favorite chair and got comfy under a blanket. While waiting for Bear to get home, I started to feel horrible. I got up, went back to bed and crawled under all the covers. 

Bear got home and pulled the thermometer out. Other than feeling like a truck had run me over, I felt good. My temperature was headed over 100° at that time. I was a bit dizzy and nauseated, but just extremely cold. I stayed folded up in the covers and rested. My temperature slowly climbed to 102°.

Barry called the breast surgeon‘s office and spoke with the nurse practitioner. She suggested I be seen by a doctor. My family doctor was closer than the breast center, so we called Dr. R.. She saw me at 3:30pm. After a bit of a work-up, she decided it was the incision under my arm. She sent me on my way with orders to rest, take my antibiotics, drink lots of fluids and see breast surgeon as soon as possible.

My private nurse, Barry, is watching me like a hawk. We saw the breast surgeon today. They agreed with my PCP on the diagnosis. They took a good look at the incision; pulled a loose suture out and the pain under my arm went immediately away. I was instructed to use the arm as much as possible, to avoid further fluid build-up. Of course, I was told not to over-do it. More drinking was encouraged and I’m to get the fever gone before my next surgery on the 28th. They want to get my margins clean and me free of breast cancer. I’m ready to be still for a bit. My running legs are getting tired. My chauffeur is starting to show a little wear. I can’t drive at the moment. My poor Bear catching all the driving duties.

My Infamous School Teacher: Mrs. C.

Another mom story, every word I am about to write is true. I saw every minute. 

In the eleventh grade, I became sick. I missed a lot of school and ended up having major surgery. I was on the homebound program for school for months as I healed after the surgery. I loved books and I was bored silly. Having schoolwork to do was a blessing. Your mother and a tv can be entertaining for only so long at age 16.

When the doctor cleared me to return to school, I was thrilled. My first day back at school was a train wreck. Most of my classes went wonderfully. Then came Mrs. C.. The minute class started, she announced that there was a quiz over yesterday’s material and everyone would be expected to take part. She called my name out and said, “Yes, even you Miss Jill. Your days of special treatment end today.” I objected, because I had not been given yesterday’s assignment. She sent me to the office to see the principal.

I went to the office and called my mother and told the receptionist what happened; who went running to the principal, while I waited for mom. Mr. C. the principal, walked up to me and started begging me to call off mom, he said he’d handle the problem. He repeated the same thing continuously until my mother walked through the door. Poor Mr. C. had already survived my mom with my older sister, so he knew what she wad capable of.

Mom asked me to show her to the classroom. Mr. C. behind us every step of the way, calmly asking mom to come to his office. Mom kept walking. When we got to the classroom, Mrs. C. acted shocked and told her to get out. his Mom backed Mrs. C. into the corner of the classroom. She started yelling at her that she was never to treat her daughter like that again. “Picking on her in front of the class and not sending correct assignments home was cruel”. She turned and looked at the principal and told him if he didn’t handle the problem, she would with the board of education.

Mom backed away from my teacher and started to leave the room. She turned and told me to gather my things, I was going home. The classroom was laughing hysterically. As she walked by the principal, she asked him to sign me out and we went home. One day in high school I will never forget.


Growing Up in the Shadows, Part 2



My sister’s and I are now adults. There have been many changes. Once, Sandy and I were close, but I have become much closer to Kristie as we grew up.

Sandy married early and started a family early. She and her husband, Dennis, have twin boys and a girl. All but one are out on their own with their families started. Derrek is the hold out, he is looking for his perfect mate. I have no doubt he will find her eventually.

Someone Dennis worked with, introduced me to my first husband. I was head-over-hills in love. We were married and I moved to Madison, Ga., lovely little town. I discovered while in Madison, I missed Kristie terribly. Twelve years later I was divorced and living back in my childhood home.

While Sandy and I were doing the marriage thing in Madison, Kristie got stuck dealing with mom and dad as they filed for divorce. For years, mom firmly stated, the minute Kristie was out of high school she was leaving.

Two weeks, to date of Kristie’s graduation, mom packed up and left. I felt so bad. She had been threatening for years, I guess I never thought she’d. Mom was really good with acting on her present tense threats, not her future threats. She generally forgot what she had threatened.

I was proud of Kristie, she dealt with the mess at home, started school, helped daddy through finding an apartment and moved in with him. Pop is a pack rat and living with him was not easy. Kristie made a forever friend at school and her home became Kristie’s second home. It was good to see her happy for a change.

Mom met and married her second husband sometime in this period. Just thinking of my mother on a date is scary, but actually getting married. When we would call to talk to her, he would claim he did not know her. Things really did not get better.

We found out somethings from his past, that made Sandy and her husband refuse to let mom see their kids until she divorced him. This only made mom mad. Mom went to Sandy’s one day and flattened all her car tires.

She proceeded to The Office of the Department of Family and Children’s Services. She reported to a case worker that Sandy and Dennis were mentally abusing their children by not letting them see their grandmother.

What mom didn’t realize was that she was talking to a close friend of mine. My husband being in Law Enforcement, she called him the minute mom left her office. She told my ex that my sisters and I needed to go to the courthouse to have mom committed for incompetence. The sad thing is, back then, neither Sandy, Kristie or I had the nerve to do it. We knew what we’d have to deal with when they let her out!

Not long after that, Kristie met her husband. They were married and starting a family early. Kristie and I found out we were pregnant at the same time, about a months difference. I miscarried for the fifth time and Kristie delivered Jonny. He is like my child.

This pregnancy was the end of my marriage. My husbands attitude changed and it started to effect our marriage. It wasn’t long after that we filed for divorce.

Sandy stayed busy with her happy home and wonderful kids. It used to aggravate me beyond means for my mother to drive past my home, to Sandy’s. She would then call me and say “get out here to see me,” even as an adult, my mother put me in the shadows because I didn’t have grandchildren.

Sandy has worked hard and has a beautiful family to be proud of. Kristie has done the same. She has two beautiful boys she is busy raising. They have both done incredible jobs being moms.  I spent these years focusing on my career and working. I’ve done a great job spoiling their kids rotten. Thanks to Julie-bug, I can start spoiling the second generation.

Kristie had been married a few months when I got divorced. I moved back into my childhood bedroom and attempted to get my life together. Jonathan was the light of my life. When he was old enough, I took him everywhere.

His bottle was my alarm clock every morning, he would beat me in the head saying “Gege” until I got up. He towers over me know. We had such special times together when he was younger. I wish I was able to do the same things with Marek, the little man of the family. I miss the old me, but the new me gets better every day.

I had several jobs until I found the place I loved. I was still in that profession when I was forced to retire due to the brain tumor.

This position required me to train people and do a lot of one-on-one speaking with families and corporate officials. I have been brought out of my shell. Taking care of myself wasn’t easy, but I learned I could do it alone.

Not long after starting this position, I met Barry. Little did I know, I had just met the love of my life. Barry was the man I would spend the rest of my life with. He was sweet, handsome, funny and such s gentlemen.

Our one quirk, is his son, Frank, hates me. I have done everything I know to do for that child and he still hates every inch of ground I walk on.

Our health issues started with Barry, but his had been under control, with medications, for years. The hospital trips started with me and the brain tumor, then the thyroid cancer, then it switched to Barry’s heart valve, back to my gallbladder and knee scope; next came Barry’s stroke and my breast cancer. We’re gonna stop there for now. I don’t want to give any body parts ideas…we’re running out!

Coping with a Rare Disease and What It Can Do to Those You Love

If you have followed my blog at all, you are aware that my family and I have been through the wringer over the past several years.

Barry‘s stroke was a huge surprise. He is alive and kicking today, thanks to modern medicine and the quick responses of the local EMS, emergency room and Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Ga.

Our journey started over four years ago when I was found to have a brain tumor pressing into my mid-brain that needed removing  quickly. If you don’t know much about the brain, your vital function are regulated in the mid-brain.

Long story short, the brain tumor was just a symptom of a genetic disorder called Cowden Syndrome. It truly isn’t a big deal to check. The trick is to stay vigilant and organized with check-ups and diagnostic testing. If you don’t something can sneak up on you and bite you in the honey.

Cowden Syndrome is a mutation of the PTEN gene. It makes you body unable to stop formation of certain types of tumors. The tumors that develop are  benign or cancerous. They can also appear quickly.

I have already been through three episodes of issues from Cowden Syndrome and survived each without major issue. I am about to tackle the fourth. We were lucky to catch this one early, like one other. Hopefully this will be a breeze like a few others.

I can now state that I am not only a Thyroid Cancer Survivor, I will soon be able ta add breast cancer Survivor to that list. I am not sure I like making a list of the cancers I have survived, but I’m glad I’m still here.

As long as I follow-up with my list of 20+ doctors monthly as they ask, I can keep these issues under control without adding another cancer to the list.

Since my condition is rare, I have joined a research study on Cowden out of the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Hopefully this research can help someone else breeze through this mess of a disease. Currently, 1 in 200,000 thousand people diagnosed yearly.

Barry has been my rock. Even after the stroke. He’s hanging in with me. We take care of each other. My mother has been with us almost a year. Her health is declining a bit. Barry and I take care of her issues, as they come up. Mom is having trouble dealing with giving up her independence and she isn’t taking it very well.

Our local friends called and came around for a while, but have slowly disappeared from the picture. It really hurt Barry’s feelings to start with, but he has since realized that people have trouble dealing with change and they don’t know how to handle our illnesses.

What has hurt the most for me, is the change in my older sister’s attitude toward me. I called to tell her I have breast cancer, she stated she was speechless and I have not heard a word from her since.

After I had brain surgery, her attitude changed because of my communication problems. We used to talk at least once a week. Now that I am healthier, her attitude has not changed. I love her dearly and will do anything in the world for her. She is my sister, that will never change.

When I attempt to discuss it with her, she denies everything. I miss what we had. Barry thinks her attitude change is because of him, I tell him continuously that Sandy isn’t like that. My younger sister and I are closer than ever.

My mom does her best to deal with my illness. She starts to cry every time she is around me and looks at me as if it is the last time she will ever see me. I talk with her and ask her to help me get through life. I told her I need her strength, not her tears. She’s getting better. My nieces and nephews all treat me the same.

Barry and I have found a church home. Mom goes with us. The church has welcomed us as if we had gone there for years. They offer many areas of ministry that gives us many choices to volunteer and get involved. We all enjoy Victory Baptist Church in Loganville, Ga.