Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. Also welcome to JULY!!!! Our Lilies are blooming now... So gorgeous!!! Here is one of my many favorites! Meet DIZZY.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Life's Changes

Mark --in the Smoky Mountains
Dear Friends,  how are you today?  I know that most of you remember my sad news  in August of 2017.   Son Mark's  wife  died suddenly.   Mark and Debbie had been together for 2 years  --but had only been married for about 2 months when her Bi-Polar condition which she had battled for years,  WON the war!  

Her death was listed as a suicide --but Mark thinks that she had been doing so well the past couple of years that she decided to get off of her medications.  Of course,  neither Mark, nor Debbie's four daughters, nor her friends had any idea that she wasn't taking her meds....   In the end,  when Mark was out of the house,  Debbie took WAY too many meds and over-dosed....

There is so much most of us do not know about mental illness.   Mark learned a lot during their relationship --but he learned MUCH more after her death...   Nobody likes to take those powerful medications.  Even I HATE taking my A Fib meds because all medications have side effects...  I'd love to get off of those drugs --but I know that I CANNOT.  

Debbie and Mark had been so happy together.  Her daughters and friends have always said that she was the happiest with Mark than she had been her whole life.  All of us in the family loved her and her vivacious personality.  Mark thought that he had found a partner for life ---and then she was GONE.

WELL---this post is not about Debbie --but is about MARK,  and what has happened since that horrible day in August, 2017.   Mark grieved hard (VERY HARD) for several months --and I was SO worried about him.   BUT--he finally took a step toward living....

Even though he had a fabulous job in Texas,  Mark decided that he was ready to come 'home'---back to Tennessee.  That was a huge decision for him.  But--he knew that he needed family, and a new place with fewer memories.

SO--in APRIL 2018,  he and brother Bert moved to Maryville,  Tennessee.   Since then,  there have been a few hiccups --but overall,  he has done well.  His job in the Home Building industry  (where he had done so well in Texas) didn't work out.   BUT--he got his 'dream' job as General Manager of the Pour House (sports bar selling craft beer) in Knoxville.

Mark (and Bert) both love the Smoky Mountains.... SO---they spend every spare minute they can hiking in Smokies.   That THRILLS me so much since I also love the Smokies and have hiked to many of the same places in past --where they are hiking now.   I'm re-living that JOY through them.

Mark's picture showing one of their hiking trails in the Smokies

One of Mark's photos in Cades Cove in the Smokies

Photo taken in Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains
To make the joy of hiking and riding in the mountains even better,  Mark bought a shiny little red Jeep!!!

Mark and brother Bert (who have so much in common) enjoy being together  when they hike,  go to games --or just enjoy a meal with us!!!!

Besides hiking in the Smokies,  Mark (and Bert) have enjoyed going to both the Tennessee Vols  Football and now the Basketball games.  By the way,  our Vols Basketball team is doing GREAT so far this year!!!!!!

"Pappa" Mark and Vivi

In January of 2018,  Mark's granddaughter,  Vivian Lee, was born.   That's another blessing --not just to Mark but also to all of us in the family.  

Diana and Mark
Between the new job,  the love of the Smoky Mountains, and being closer to family ---Mark has done really well... AND   2019  looks great so far also.  His best friend and Sweetheart from Texas,  Diana,  is moving to Tennessee in February to be with Mark.

a 2nd Granddaughter is coming!!!
Then in MAY of 2019,  Mark's daughter Brooke is expecting another little girl  (Veronica). How awesome is that!!!

Mark brought Diana to Tennessee in the Fall to see if she liked it...  She DID.
I am so happy for Mark and Diana,  and especially happy that I see the joy and SMILE back in Mark's face.  

YES---life can be hard for any of us.  BUT--when life does throw those tragedies in our face,  we either choose to sit around and let it consume us --or we find the strength to move on with our lives.   There is ALWAYS joy to be found if we keep the right attitude and be willing to search for that JOY.

I hope you enjoyed reading about Mark and what is going on in his life now.