|Posted by Mandy Young on January 22, 2019 at 11:55 PM||comments (1)|
|Posted by Mandy Young on December 27, 2018 at 2:05 PM||comments (0)|
A new year usually means new beginnings. We set goals for ourselves and try to become better people. And there is nothing wrong with that at all. But if you're like me it's pretty much the same goals year after year. Eat better, get in shape, lose that extra weight, actually be on time to work, be better about posting on my blog, travel more and the list goes on and on. We start full force but by the middle of January we tend to revert back to our old ways and then get so mad at ourselves because we couldn't meet our goals.
Two years ago I decided that I wasn't going to do the traditional New Years resolutions. Yes while I still wanted to do all of these things I felt like I needed something more than the same things I tell myself every year; I want to become more of the person that God wants me to be and less of the person that I want me to be. Not that God doesn't want me to try to be healthier; He does, I mean it is His temple after all. But I want to focus more on that being the person He made me to be. So instead of resolutions I started doing the word of the year. I start praying right after Christmas for God to lead me to a word that I should strive to be or that I need to be more of or better at.
Two years ago my word was SHINE. I wanted to shine for Him. Everyone that I came into contact with should be able to see Him through me. In everything (even in my knee replacement) I wanted to give Him glory for it all. Because really that's how it should be. In everything give thanks (good and bad). I wanted and still want to be the light on the hill or be His light in a dark place. I strive for that even today. So even though that was my word two years ago it has stuck with me and continues to be a part of my life.
Last year my word was INSPIRE. I have people come up to me a lot and tell me that I'm inspiring; but honestly I don't get it. When people say this to me it's usually when I'm living my every day life. I'm just living. It's when I'm doing things for myself but I guess that others maybe wouldn't do if they were in my situation. But to me I'm just getting things done. So even though I get told I'm inspiring I wanted to try to be more aware and inspire people in the right way and that's toward Jesus! When someone used to tell me that they've been inspired by me they want to know how I live my life or how I do the things that I do; in the past I've been known to just shrug it off and say I'm just living my life. But when inspire became my word I became more mindful of my answer and began to tell others that it's only through my faith (because honestly it is) and I'm just living my life the best way I know how. Before it seemed like I was taking all the glory when really it's not me at all. But now I'm giving glory where glory is deserved. And this I will continue to be answer. Pointing it all back to Him.
Which leads me to 2019....what will my word be? I'm not sure yet. I've been praying about it and asking God to point it out to me but it's not totally clear yet. A couple of words have come to mind and if God points one out more than the other or just slaps me in the face with one then that's what my word will be. I can't wait to see what He points out to me this week.
Do you do anything like this? What are your New Years resolutions? If you have a word of the year what is it and why?
|Posted by Mandy Young on December 20, 2018 at 11:05 AM||comments (0)|
Christmas Traditions are all around us! Every family seems to have their own. Whether it’s making gingerbread houses, baking Christmas cookies, going to the Pink Pig (if you live in Atlanta you know what I’m talking about), going to look at Christmas lights and this list could go on and on.
When my sister started dating my brother in law they started spending Christmas Eve with his family and Christmas Day with ours. Chad’s (my brother in law) family has always celebrated on Christmas Eve; which worked out nicely since we celebrate on Christmas Day.
So my family’s Christmas tradition is on Christmas Eve we all go to church together. My sister’s family attend the same church as my brother in laws entire family. So my parents and I always go there for Christmas Eve service that way we are all together. After church the Crawfords (my brother in laws family) go and have their Christmas together. But my parents and I split from the pack. The three of us venture out to find an open restaurant and then we leave our server a thank you note for working on a day that they might not want to and then inside the card we leave a Christmas blessing (aka: a generous tip). After our dinner my parents go back to our house where they continue to wrap gifts throughout the night (even though they swear every year they are never doing it again and will be done with wrapping early next year lol). I will have already had a bag packed and I will head back to my sister and brother in laws to spend the night with my three nieces. I help the girls get their milk, cookies and veggies ready for Santa and his reindeer! Then the girls and I head upstairs and watch a Christmas movie (usually a Muppet Christmas Carol- Alex and I always watched this on Christmas Eve growing up and I’m trying to keep the Christmas tradition going) and at some point fall asleep; excited to wake up the next morning.
Christmas morning is when my job really starts lol. I am in charge of keeping the girls upstairs until mommy and daddy are up and the grandparents get there! Everyone has to be downstairs before the girls can go down. So normally I keep them busy with another Christmas movie or the parade. Once everyone is there we come down and the girls get to open their gifts from Santa and mommy and daddy. After gifts are open we have Christmas breakfast; which is always yummy). Then it’s time to clean up (the room and ourselves) and then it just depends.
For years we went to the movies after opening gifts but when the girls were so young we stopped doing that although this year we are bringing this tradition back! I can’t wait! We already have our tickets for Mary Poppins!!! After the movies we will all head back to our house (including my grandparents and sometimes my aunts and cousin) and open up family gifts and have dinner. Now our Christmas dinner isn’t the traditional kind. Yes we do get a Honey Baked Ham and Turkey (small ones) but we make sandwiches and homemade soup! We go more low key then making a big hoopla and easy so everyone can enjoy! And that’s a Young family Christmas!
I wanna know about yours!! What’s your Christmas look like? What traditions do you have?
|Posted by Mandy Young on September 26, 2018 at 11:35 AM||comments (4)|
So about last night. Do you know those amazing videos on Facebook of the soilders coming home surprising their loved ones? You sit at your desk like a blubbering mess with your heart just so full of joy and appreciation that you just can't stand it? I know it's not just me....we all do it!
Well I got to be a part of that for real last night! A couple of years ago my family and I met Christian when he started working at our favorite mexican restaurant. He was the son of one of our favorite waitreses; which meant we instantly loved him. He was adorable, sweet, kind, good at his job and just a great kid all the way around. He graduated high school and tried to figure out what he wanted to do...go to college, enlist in the military or move up in the restaurant. He went back and forth about enlisting and the management position. He finally chose to move up in the company. He trained to be a manager and stayed home to be with his family and friends.
But something kept tugging at him and telling him to enlist. He finally went and talked to a recruiter and after some conversations enlisted in to the Army. He left for boot camp and graduated! When he got to come home for a visit my family and I got to see him before he was deployed to South Korea.
He has been in South Korea for the past year and was supposed to come home for a visit in October. He had been working with his sister to surprise his parents. His sister is opening a nail salon and had put together a little dinner to celebrate her new business and this way their parents would be there but not expect anything. Everything was in place. His parents were there, friends (some knew what was about to happen but others didn't) but his sister who is opening the nail salon was not. Their dad was getting restless and mad that his daughter who this dinner was supposed to be for and she wasn't even showing up to her own party. You see the party started at 8:30 but it was now 9:45 and nothing. Christian was having some problems at the airport and got delayed. By 10pm they finally arrived at the restaurant. Christian in his sandy colored camo Army uniform walked in and his dad took off running and jumped into his arms, his mom just started crying and ran to him and they all three embraced each other. Everyone was crying and cheering. It was really beautiful. I was able to get a tiny video but I was blocked by a wall so it's not very good. Luckily I can see it in my mind and play it over and over again but sadly for yall I just have these pictures to show you.
So thankful that he will be home for a few weeks before he reports back for duty. So proud of this kid. Love him so much!
|Posted by Mandy Young on March 30, 2016 at 1:10 AM||comments (2)|
Honestly no it doesn't bother me when children stare, it can bother me when adults stare. Let me explain.
I looooove kids reactions and then their parents reactions. It's one of my favorite things! Kids will all the sudden just stop, stare, do the look up/down, walk around me and then say to their parent HEY MOMMY that girl only has ONE leg!! I crack up because the parent usually goes in hush hush mode! Freaking out thinking that their kid has just offended me in some way, but I'm laughing. Normally if I see a child starting to stare or if I hear a child ask their parent I will turn to the child and talk to the child about it. This way I explain it to thid child and I am also showing the parent that I'm okay with it. Kids are awesome!! They will come up to me and ask me what happened to my leg. I have to sometimes be careful in answering that question because I dont want to freak them out and dont want them thinking it could happen to them. But once I have explained it they are like oh okay and then go about their way. Kids are so accepting and they are ready to move on after recieving an answer.
Adults are a different story. Dont get me wrong, I understand you don't see a one legged person walking around everyday (well enless you live in my house) so its different. We notice the differences in everything and everyone. Sometimes we see something that catches our eye and then our minds start to wonder and our thoughts take us 1,000 different places. We're not even really looking at the person because we are gazing into our thoughts but when that person looks at you they think you're staring, which you are but not really. But then there are times when people can't stop taking second and third looks. They want to know what happened or they are trying to figure out, do you only have one leg or is it just broken and I can't see their leg from this angle? Hey I get them all! I know that people stare at me ALL the time and I know it's not because of my super cute looks (haha) I know it's my leg and I'm fine with it. It just depends on how the look is given, but normally I'm okay with it. I would much rather someone asked me what happened for two reasons...1. I get to share the story that God has given me and tell them about how awesome He is! and 2. because once someone finds how why something happened then they stop staring.
But I just ask you to watch yourself when you stare at someone because you could cause them to have a complex. I'm completely secure with the way God has made me and I understand that people are just curious and interested. But not all people are like me where they are just getting used to their difference or they aren't as accepting of it, so just be careful
|Posted by Mandy Young on February 28, 2016 at 6:55 PM||comments (1)|
Before I answer this question I'll answer another question first that some of you might be asking yourself. What is a phantom pain? Well according to Wikipedia is "Phantom limb pain is the feeling of pain in an absent limb or a portion of a limb." It's basically when nerve endings have been cut and then they try to grow back together but they can't. Studies show that phantom pains are more frequent right after amputation and go away in most cases, but everyone is different.
Now let's talk about MY phantom pains. Do I get them? YES! Some I can deal with and some are so bad I can't even talk through them. It's so hard to describe to someone what they feel like because it's an awful pain but where you would think the pain would be (mine feel like they would be in my back upper thigh) but there is nothing there! And unlike most cases mine have gotten worse over the years. I didn't really get them that often when I was younger but now I get them almost weekly. I even had one a few years ago that lasted for 3 days. It was so painful I couldn't even sleep. There is a preventative medicine that you can take but I'm not getting them strong enough or often enough to get put on meds for it.
There are three things I can do to help when I get a phantom pain. 1. Just breathe. Sometimes the pain gets so bad I forget to breathe or I just want to hold my breath but that's not helpful. So kind of like having labor pain you just have to breathe through it. 2. I can shake my wound (my amputation site). Sounds weird I know but honestly sometimes it does help. 3. During the 3 day phantom pain I tried to find home remedies of how to get rid of one. I found this and even though I still think it's crazy it does work. A lot of the time a phantom pain is a mind game. My brain still thinks that my leg is there. So while having one I have to figure out if I had a leg where would this pain be coming from and then I have to act like I'm massaging the area of where that pain would be. YES I KNOW, it sounds crazy and I thought it was too but when you are desperate you're willing the try anything and honestly that normally does stop it or at least eases it.
So do you have any questions for me? I'd love to hear them!
|Posted by Mandy Young on February 24, 2016 at 3:25 PM||comments (1)|
So I have decided that I want to start answering the questions that I get asked all the time and I'm going to start answering them on my blog! So if you have a question send them my way!! So let's start!
Of course I had to answer this one first!!! I get asked this all the time!! I remember one time I was doing an interview on the radio and the dj asked me if I had a dumpster in my backyard just filled with left shoes, and while I got a kick out of his question I wished that my answer would be just as cleaver, but sadly it's not. The answer is.....I just throw them away! This is one reason you'll never see me buying expensive shoes. Anything over $25 is a lot for me to pay on shoes because I know I'm just throwing the other half a way and that's just money down the drain.
When I was younger there was a shoe store that I could go to and they would do one of two things. 1. They would just sell me one shoe half off or 2. They would sell me two rights at full price. Option number two always came in handy when buying tennis shoes because I would have one to wear when I played outside and the other was to keep clean and wear to school! But that store has gone out of business and I haven't found another store willing to make this awesome exchange with me. Until that day comes I'll keep buying cheap shoes.
Now there is a website (I have never been one it but have heard about) for amputees where you can find shoe partners. Other amputees who wear the same size shoe as you but the opposite leg. So I could find someone who has their left leg and I could take their rights and they could take my lefts. But I have such a wide foot and I have to try everything on, so I dont want to get shoes over the internet. But I really should look into it so someone could have my rights even if I dont want their lefts! I think I just talked myself into checking in to that.
Do you have any questions for me? It can be about anything...I'm an open book!
|Posted by Mandy Young on February 7, 2016 at 1:20 PM||comments (6)|
Can I tell you about one of the best weeks of my life? This past week I had the privilege of working for Premier Christian Cruises on their KLOVE Concert Cruise. I was given the opportunity to work for Premier a little over a year ago and this was my second time serving in hospitality on the KLOVE cruise. And let me tell you, I have nothing but rave reviews!
Premier offers chartered cruise experiences featuring celebrity entertainment, television personalities and musical talent. I have worked on four amazing cruises so far! The first was a KLOVE concert cruise featuring some of the most notable Christian bands and singers on the radio today, second was a Duck Dynasty cruise that hosted much of the family from their TV show, in November they had ‘Sailing with the Scotts’ which was hosted by Drew and Jonathan Scott from HGTV’s The Property Brothers. They also brought along several additional show hosts that held DIY and Q&A classes. They have all been so much fun but I think the one last week has topped them all for me!
There were about 15 Christian artists/bands that set sail with us on the KLOVE cruise. The musical line up included Matthew West, Mercy Me, Crowder, Skillet, Tenth Avenue North, Sidewalk Prophets, Chris Tomlin, Danny Gokey, Moriah Peters, and more! There was also an unbelievably talented painter, Jared Emerson, who is so amazing it’s crazy! Guys, google him, your minds will be blown!
The first night, Matthew West and Mercy Me were in concert and I pretty much cried the entire night. It's just amazing to be there with 5,000 other believers and listen to the crowd sing with their hands raised in the air. They aren't screaming to the band wanting to be noticed, they are praising the Lord and it's beautiful! Each night of the cruise there are two concerts in the main theater and one up on the Aqua Deck. During the day there are a ton of activities to take part in hosted either by MSC (the cruise line we sailed with) or through Premier.
Our stops this year were Montego Bay, Jamaica and Grand Cayman. I'm not going to lie I built Jamaica up a little too much in my head. Now don't get me wrong, the beach was beautiful, but the surrounding areas and getting there was a little scary. There were 19 in our group and yes we were using the buddy system as though we were back in elementary school. We had to wait over an hour for the first bus to take us from our boat to our first stop, shopping; but not before we almost wrecked 3 times because of crazy drivers! Some stayed to shop while 15 of us waited another hour to get on another bus to take us to the beach. Once we finally got to the beach about 7 of us were starving because we hadn't eaten in 2 hours (it’s pretty well known that you eat ALL the time on a cruise and you become quiet use to it) so our group went to this little place right on the beach to grab a bite, but it took us 2 hours to get our food so by the time we finished we were barely able to dip our toes in the water and rush back, only to wait an hour to catch the last shuttle to take us back to the ship! So now our joke is when someone asks us what we did in Jamaica we just say we had lunch. Luckily it was an awesome group and even though it wasn't our favorite adventure, we were already laughing about it before we even got back to the ship.
So do you want to hear about the most epic day ever?!?! Let me tell you about our day in Grand Cayman. One of my awesome cruise coworkers had gone to Grand Cayman for Christmas with her family, so she decided to plan excursions for us! During her trip, she and her family rented a boat and had their own little excursion and since they had so much fun she had taken the company’s information home with her. 22 of us voyaged out on this highly recommended excursion and boy are we happy we did! None of us really knew what we were going to do but we were all up for whatever adventure headed our way!
The water was so blue .... the kind you only see in pictures and just know it had to be photo shopped! Well this wasn’t photo shopped, I saw it with my own eyes. Our first stop wasn't planned but quiet abrupt when one of us (I won’t name names) dropped his phone in the water and our tour guides took an early swim trying to find it. But it worked out nicely because they decided to stop there for us to go conch diving. We put on our snorkel gear and headed out in to the picturesque waters. The girls snorkeled around to find them, and the guys swam down to get them. I felt like my dream of becoming Ariel was finally coming true when I put my fin on! One of the guys handed me a conch shell (we needed 10-15) and I was going to swim back to the boat to hand it over to our guide. I have one hand in the air holding the shell (praying the creature inside wouldn't try to escape while I swam) while my other arm and one foot were trying to swim against the current.... the struggle was real y’all! I had no idea that being a mermaid was so hard; it's not as glamorous as Disney makes it look! Oh and not only did we get our conch shell quota, our friends phone was found during the dive too!
Our second stop was snorkeling and feeding fish, but first our guides showed us how to clean a conch shell and what lives inside. Not gonna lie, it was pretty gross. Snorkeling and feeding the fish was a lot of fun. Although I kept letting salt water sneak in my snorkle because I couldn't stop smiling from the awesomeness around me!
For our next stop we were taken to a sand bar where sting rays swim around you. These are wild sting rays but they are fed every day and around people so they are totally used to people. They were HUGE and kept coming up and rubbing up against us like they were cats. We got to hold one, give it kisses and then it gave us a back rub. I even got to feed one! As they would swim around all I could think of was Steve Irwin and how he died and with the way they were swimming around me I was scared I was going to lose my balance and fall on one so I was always on high alert...who am I kidding? We all were.
Next stop, they took us to find star fish. The water wasn't up high enough for me to get out (I need at least waist high water to be able to balance without crutches) but my friends would bring them over to the boat so I could see and touch them.
Our last stop was to an island where we docked the boat and had lunch. Our guides had taken the conch meat from the shells we dove for earlier and made us fresh ceviche; oh my word it was so good! We also had fish, bbq chicken, rice, coconut bread and salad with fresh garlic vinaigrette dressing! Hands down the best meal any of us had the entire time we were gone. Everyone in our group agreed it was the "BEST DAY EVER" - an experience of a life time. So if you are ever in Grand Cayman check out Captain Marvin's, it's totally worth it!
I love working the KLOVE cruise! I get to meet so many people (and this year there were a ton of Green Bay Packer fans) and make new friends and the concerts are amazing! I'm already excited for next year and I'm freaking out a little that I have to wait 11 months for that to happen! The lineup for next year is amazing too! The Newsboys, For King and Country, Steven Curtis Chapman, Crowder, Jeremy Camp, Rend Collective, Big Daddy Weave, Building 429, Josh Wilson, Francesca Battistelli, Natalie Grant, Matt Maher, Blanca and Finding Normal!!!! Oh my word it's going to be amazing! The stops next year will be Nassau and Amber Cove, Dominican Republic!! Don’t wait, book your cabin now! You can pay in full or they have awesome payment plans. (klovecruise.com)
If you want an incredible vacation that's centered around the Lord, you need to try a KLOVE cruise! You will be blessed! Amazing people, fantastic ports, unbelievable entertainment and a whole lot of fun!
I want to know about your most awesome vacation! Have you been on a KLOVE cruise? A Premier Cruise? Tell me your stories!
|Posted by Mandy Young on August 21, 2015 at 10:25 AM||comments (1)|
Y’all I can’t even tell you how excited I am about this coming weekend! If you follow me on social media you might have seen that I am now a volunteer with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and this weekend I will be throwing my first wish reveal party! I will explain all of that next weekend after I throw the party so be on the lookout for that next week. I realized in all of this that in the past I’ve talked about how I was a “wish” child but I’ve never really told you what I wished for.
For those of you who don’t know exactly what a wish foundation does, let me explain. Wish foundations are geared to making terminally/seriously ill children’s dream come true. So if the child wants to be a cowboy, they will give him authentic cowboy clothes, roping and riding lessons all at an amazing dude ranch. If a little girl wants to meet her favorite Disney princess she’ll get to go to Disney World (or Disney Land or maybe a Disney Cruise) where she’ll meet her fairytale best friend along with other princesses she may have dreamed to meet. Or maybe a teenager wants to go on a shopping spree, the foundation makes it happen. Really in the mind of a child the options are endless.
When I was 9 years old (when I lost my leg) I was approached by a wish foundation about having my wish granted. And at 9 years old most girls are dreaming of being a princess or playing on a beach somewhere…but there was only one thing that I wanted and it had nothing to do with any of that. There was only one thing that my little heart would jump with excitement over - hands down I wanted to meet New Kids On The Block. Just a little side note: When I lost my leg and I was in a coma for two weeks (no one knowing if I would ever wake up) my parents played my NKOTB tapes over and over in my ICU room hoping that would wake me from my slumber. I was even moved to a larger ICU room at one point because of all the NKOTB paraphernalia that filled my room. That’s right, I was a super fan!
The day had finally arrived that I was going to meet the boys that held my heart. I was most excited to meet Jonathan Knight. He was the one that I would take markers and draw hearts around his head. Every girl I knew was totally head over hills for Donnie; but not me. My heart pitter patted for Jonathan but following close in second was Joey. The wish foundation put my family up in a hotel where we got ready for the concert. My sister and I dressed in our 90’s best….white tank tops, jean skirts, Keds with bright, neon socks, a hat & suspenders that were covered in NKOTB buttons! We were decked out and ready to go! At first we were supposed to go backstage before the concert for our meet and greet and then enjoy the concert. But the guys never showed up and we were told they were running late so we would meet them afterwards. We went to our seats and screamed our little hearts out, danced, sang and I’m sure being the fan girl that I am I cried a little too from all the excitement. Right before the encore we were escorted backstage to fulfill my dream. But again the boys were a no show. We were then told to go to the hotel where the guys were staying and they would meet us there. Once again a no show. My 9 year old heart was completely broken. All my little preteen heart wanted was to meet the guys I loved so much. But it was not meant to be. Even though the concert was awesome, my dream had been shattered.
A couple of weeks later my mom got a call from someone at the hospital where I had been an inpatient for months when I had my leg amputated. Mom came to my room and said there was someone at the hospital that wanted to meet me and that we needed to get ready and go. Being the medical mystery that I am, doctors are the only people that ever want to meet me so in my head I’m thinking I’m going to meet a new doctor. We get to the hospital and for some reason we were waiting in a hallway. Being very comfortable in hospitals (since growing up they were more like a first home than a second) my sister, cousin and I were playing around just waiting for this doctor. All of the sudden this large group of people round the corner; the sea parts and standing in front of me is Mike Seaver (aka Kirk Cameron, but I didn’t know his real name then I just knew him from Growing Pains so his name was Mike to me). I was in shock. It wasn’t a doctor that wanted to meet me it was Kirk. Come to find out the wish foundation that had tried to make my wish come true had also brought Kirk to the hospital to meet the kids in the hospital. They told him about me and what had happened and he asked if I could come back to the hospital and meet him. They called my parents and told them what was going on but my parents didn’t tell me who wanted to meet me just in case another NKOTB moment was about to happen. They didn’t want to put my fragile little heart through that again. But not this time…he was there….standing right in front of me and even though he tried to talk to me no words could come out of my mouth. He didn’t mind he stood there and took pictures with me.
You wanna know what’s awesome about this meeting? 25 years later we are still friends with the Cameron family. After meeting him at the hospital that day, his mom invited us to come to California to see tapings of Growing Pains and Full House (his sister Candace played DJ Tanner on Full House and will be starring in the new Fuller House reclaiming her role as DJ for Netflix, Jan 2016).
My family was then invited to spend a week with Kirk and his family at Camp Firefly, a camp he created for critically ill children in 1990 where he chooses 5 children from the hundreds he meets at children’s hospitals across the country each year to basically go on the most wonderful vacation imaginable. After that week, our families became close and today, the Cameron family is like my own - I love the entire family so much!
Wanna hear the God part of the story? For my 30th birthday my parents gave me a plane ticket to LA! I was so excited! Then I opened Candace’s (Cameron Bure) gift and it was NKOTB/BSB tickets for the L.A. show for when I was going to be there! The night of the concert we danced, cried and sang our hearts out. And after the show we went backstage. As our group walked down the hallway, the first person I see was none other than Jonathan Knight. All of the sudden I was 9 years old again. My eyes filled with tears, I mean come on, I had been waiting 21 years for this moment. He ran up to Candace and Andrea (who you might know better as Kimmy Gibbler from Full House) and gave them hugs. Then they went around our circle introducing everyone. We also met Donnie and Joey (but never Danny or Jordan). But during that night it hit me. If my wish would have come true 21 years before, all it would have been was handshakes, hugs and some pictures and it would have been over. But because that night never happened and we met Kirk and the Camerons, my wish was coming true with who else but a Cameron! As hard as it was to understand when I was 9, it now all made sense, it was all in God’s timing. My eyes filled with tears again figuring out the connection and how awesome God is! And I’m sure you’re wondering, did I tell Jonathan, Joey or Donnie about my wish and my broken heart at 9 years old? The answer is no. It wasn’t the time or place; I was just thankful that it was happening then.
But let’s rewind back 25 years again and let me finish the rest of that story. Since my wish was never technically granted (Kirk’s mom was responsible for bringing us to LA) another wish foundation heard about me and they offered to grant me a wish. As we filled out the paperwork, we saw three blanks on the questionnaire where you write down what your 3 top wishes are. (Honestly I don’t remember what all three of them were now I just remember what I got.) But once we filled out the paperwork I had no idea what or when I was going to have my wish revealed to me. One day I had gone to school and my mom was going to check me out early because it was Jump Rope for Heart day. A school fund raiser where you had to get sponsors and jump rope your heart out. Well I couldn’t do that, I had just lost my leg and I could barely walk on crutches at this point so since I was going to be sitting on the sidelines mom said she would check me out early. Once we were home like any 9 year old does, I walked in the living room dropped my book bag and headed for the couch. As I start to sit down mom asked me to get my book bag and take it to my room. Being the precious sweet and obedient child I am, I did as my mother asked. I opened the door to my room and I froze. There was a TV camera, reporter, and a fairy Godmother standing there waiting on me and capturing my reaction to my new fantasy bedroom! When I left that morning my room was neon wicker furniture, a day bed, posters of New Kids all over my walls and stuffed animals hanging in a net shelf in the corner of the room. My dream room was completely different, it was for a big girl. There was a canopy bed with a porcelain doll propped on the pillows. A dresser with a desk attached. On the desk was a computer (and this was before people had computers in their house, especially not in their bedrooms). Plus my favorite part a TV/VCR combo…in my room! The colors were mostly white with light pink and soft blue accents. Seriously I was in so much shock you could have knocked me over with a feather. The reporter kept trying to talk to me but like the Mike Seaver experience nothing would come out. I was just trying to take it all in. I still have the wand the Fairy Godmother gave me that day. It has a silver glitter star on top of a white stick. When our house fire happened last year and it was clean out day. There was a dumpster outside underneath my bedroom window. The firemen busted out the window to my room so they could get inside to put out the fire. So when the cleanout crew came in they would just get an arm load and throw in out the window to fall in the dumpster. One day I walked over to the dumpster just to see all of my belongings destroyed inside. But lying on the ground, all by itself, was my magic wand. I grabbed it, cleaned the soot off of it and displayed it in my hotel room.
So if you’re keeping count, I kind of got two/three wishes; it just took 21 years and God intervening for the first wish to happen. Although I do believe it was God’s plan all along, I just had to wait out His timing. Oh how true that is in every aspect of my life. God’s timing is always perfect.
|Posted by Mandy Young on August 5, 2015 at 1:15 PM||comments (1)|
One year ago today, my dad and I were outside unpacking my car of things I didn’t need so that I could fit my luggage and merchandise in that I was taking with me to North Carolina where I had a speaking engagement. All of the sudden my mom (who had just gotten out of the hospital from having both of her diseased kidneys removed) wobbled to the door, barely able to stand, telling us she could hear an alarm but couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. As Dad hurried inside he could hear the faint alarm and followed it’s sound, but didn’t realize what it was until he reached the door to the stairwell that went up to my room. He opened the door and now the alarm was blaring and black smoke filled the air and rushed downstairs. He ran up the stairs through the smoke to see what was happening and found my entire room full of thick, black smoke and my bed engulfed in flames! He ran back down the stairs yelling to mom that our house was on fire to get outside. I was still in the driveway, not having a clue what was going on and I heard my parents calling for our dog and my mom yelled, “Mandy call 911! The house is on fire!” I was in shock...I didn't know what to do and was in disbelief and wondered if I heard her correctly. She yelled it again! Mandy, call 911 our house is on fire!
I told her my phone was inside and she yelled to dad to grab a phone and they ran out the door (well she wobbled). While mom called 911, Dad told me that it was my room that was on fire and my bed was in flames. Still in shock and disbelief, I turned to look at the side of the house where my bedroom window was and smoke was pouring out of the air conditioning unit. The fire department arrived very quickly, but it felt like it took forever. We were standing in our driveway, mostly in shock, not knowing what to do when one of the firemen yelled, “is everyone out of the house?” We shouted yes! Another said to mom, “mam your house is burning, it’s not safe here, please go across the street.” Dad and I helped her and Bailey, our 16 year old dog, across the street and then dad moved our cars.
We waited outside for hours as they put the fire out and checked for hot spots. There were 5 fire trucks, the fire chief’s car and 4 police cars from what I remember. As neighbors and friends heard what was happening, many came to our side.
I paced our neighbor’s drive way thinking, how did this happen? What did I lose? Could anything be saved? How was I going to get to NC to speak for the two events I had booked for the next day? Do I cancel or do I go? Thoughts were racing through my mind. Five hours passed and finally after standing out in the Georgia heat and humidity in early August, with mosquitoes eating me alive, the fire chief came to talk to us. After he realized it was my room where the fire started, he wanted to discuss the possibilities of what could have started it with me. He asked me numerous questions like where was I when it started and if I had started smoking and caused the fire it was time to confess, crazy stuff like that! I said, sir I don’t smoke, I was outside and I haven’t been upstairs all day and he left.
As the firemen came out they began to take off their suits and helmets and that’s when I realized I knew one of them. I rushed across the street to him and asked, “how bad is it?" He turned to look at me and I could tell he was surprised I was there and said "Mandy, was that your room?" I shook my head yes and his face dropped. He shook his head and said, “Mandy, it doesn't look good". My stomach sank.
Soon after the rescue teams left and gave us the ok, mom, dad and I entered the house to see the damage. It smelled as though someone was burning food on 5 charcoal grills and the smoke was trapped inside. We soon found out that while the fire didn’t reach downstairs, the smoke got into the heating and air system and spread throughout the house and water was pouring out of ceilings and some had fallen in. The stairs leading up to my room were sopping wet and the walls were covered in black soot with water streaks from the fire hose. As I reached the top of my stairs, I turned to see that my entire room looked the exact same as the stairwell. Night was starting to fall and the room was dark since there was no electricity but from what I could see pictures were blown from one side of the room to the other, the far right corner of my room was burned from where the fire started and everything in its way had melted or disappeared. My suitcase that was lying underneath the window and was filled with clothes for my speaking events was destroyed along with everything inside. Both closets that once held my clothes were now filled with empty wire hangers, ashes and threads of their remains. My bed, my beautiful, most comfortable bed in the world, was gone. I looked around and realized, it was all gone. The only possessions I had left was the navy blue sun dress I had on and my flip flop. Later I remembered that thankfully my purse and phone were downstairs, but everything else I owned was gone.
I walked back downstairs and told my parents I needed to book a flight to NC for early the next morning and two of my girlfriends who were still at the house loaded me into a car and we went on a shopping frenzy for essentials and a few select pieces of clothing so I could still go on my trip. At this point I think I was still in shock and running on pure adrenaline. I kept thinking if I stay here there is nothing I can do...but if I go to NC I can work for God and let Him tell my story; that's where He needs me to be tomorrow. My parents thought it was important that I go too, so the plans were laid.
I remember being in Target, I grabbed two dresses, a pair of pajamas, a suitcase, a shoe and then I would be like okay girls I'm done. Then one would say "ummm Mandy don't you need underwear?" I would be like, "OH yeah I'm gonna need that! Okay now I'm done." Then the other would say, “Ummm Mandy don't you need a hair dryer? Shampoo? Soap? And I'd be like " OOOH yeah I'm gonna need that too!" I really don't know what I would have done without my girlfriends that night and them being my brain. With their help I was able to get everything I needed. We came back to the "fire house" and they helped me pack and book my flight. That night I stayed with friends who offered to take me to the airport early the next morning. My parents were able to reach our insurance agent, who happened to be on vacation, and he guided them as to what to do. They checked into a hotel.
The entire night I texted with my mom while lying on my friend’s couch. I couldn't sleep and neither could she. Thoughts flooded my brain and kept me awake, plus I was scared I was going to oversleep and miss my flight, so I think I got an hour of sleep the entire night.
While I was out of town, I got a picture text of a pink bible from a friend and she asked me if it was mine. I told her it was. She said that a guy working at our house that she is friends with had taken a picture and posted it on Facebook. He also described how my room looked, how everything was a complete loss until he walked over to my now burned desk and sitting on top of the ash, soot and water, completely unharmed, dry and undisturbed, was my Bible. Hanging right above the desk I had a large, wrought iron cross. In his picture, the cross itself was not there (it landed 10 feet away during the fire) but instead was an imprint of the cross created by smoke and soot on the wall. I still get chills thinking about it. And that's when it hit me. God's got His hands ALL over this - so I can't be mad. I can't be upset about it when I know God's at work.
After a couple of days of investigating, it was discovered that a faulty IPhone charger (the Apple cord that came with my phone) that was bent, not broken, not frayed or showing wires, just bent, caused the fire. It sparked and a spark hit my pillow on my bed, which caught on fire and the rest is history. And this is where I beg you……If you have a bent or frayed charging cord, PLEASE get rid of it! If you have tape keeping it together, that’s dangerous too! Please throw it away! It's worth the cost for a new one! I do not want you to have to go through what we have. My mom asked the fire investigator if he had ever seen this before and he said they get calls every single day for the same thing! Please learn from this – if your cord is questionable, throw it away!
I'm not going share all of the past 11 ½ months. Yes - we were out of our home for 11 ½ months! Honestly, so much happened, it's simply too much for one post! Let me just say this…we were told in the first week of the aftermath of the fire, this would be a 4 to 8 week job and we would be back in our home. It took 11 ½ months for us to move back in and it still isn't finished! My parents have worked themselves like crazy completing work the contractors were paid to do. And in the last month, we have had to hire an inspector, a contractor, an electrician, and a plumber to come out and finish or correct issues caused by the restoration company we hired. So please, check out your contractor completely. Ask for references, licenses, permits, etc.! Although our contractor came highly recommended, he disappointed many people. The damage done to our property, the work left undone, the bad quality of workmanship, is crazy – but I really can’t say anything more due to some potential legal issues. But I will say this, what has gotten us through this experience is our faith in God and a whole LOT of prayers!
That’s enough about the bad, let me tell you some good things that have happened! The hotel that my parents went to that first night, became our home (which I call the home-tel) for the next 11 ½ months. The question we are asked the most is why didn't you get an apartment or a rental house during those months. And the answer is, when the fire happened my mom had just gotten home from the hospital from having major surgery and my parents asked the insurance rep if we could stay in the hotel for a few days to regroup and get a time frame on the reconstruction. Those few days turned into a few weeks at which point we were told it would only be a few more weeks to possibly a month and we would be home and my parents couldn’t see finding an apartment, renting furniture, etc. for a few weeks. So we stayed. And every few weeks the same thing happened. You’ll be in by Thanksgiving! By Christmas! By the first of the year! By the 3rd week of January! And on and on!
At some point we stopped thinking about leaving and made the hotel our home. The staff became part of the family. We treated our rooms like our home. I’m sure you’re thinking of course you didn’t want to leave you had daily housekeeping. But to tell you the truth it was our home so we cleaned our own rooms , cleaned our bathrooms, changed our sheets and did our own laundry. So I’m pretty sure we were housekeepings favorite guests!
And during the months we spent there we continued living our lives! Alex and I put together a Lovin Life 5k, we celebrated Alex and Chad's 30th birthdays, celebrated mom’s, dad’s, my two nieces and my birthdays, we went to Disney World (thanks to a kind friend ), decorated our hotel rooms for Christmas, I was an extra on the TV show The Originals, worked as a hostess on the KLOVE cruise, I took classes and became a volunteer with the Make-A-Wish foundation, , I traveled to some pretty cool places sharing my life’s story and testimony, flew to VA to see Natasha Bure be crowned the Apple Blossom Queen and met some amazing people, got a whole round of acid shots for my knee, I had a pink stripe put in my hair (twice), Alex had emergency surgery, I flew to Washington DC and was in the hospital for 3 days, I went on an awesome girls getaway with some blogging friends , mom was in the hospital twice, we took a family beach trip, we reunited with old friends and made new ones and the list goes on and on. You see what I did there? I could have gone to an angry, bitter place because talking about the process of the rebuild takes me down an ugly road. Instead I chose to look at all the fun and awesome things that came out of the last year while we weren't in our house. And too, what good would it have done for us to be bitter, complain, or wish for something different? We know that everything is in God’s timing and for His purpose – we are simply here to watch His plan unfold!
I will be posting pictures soon of my new room and all the changes that my parents did downstairs too! It's really coming together nicely and I can't wait to show you. My family and I are going to have an open house/house warming to let those who have been on this journey with us to come and see the house. Which means that I won't be posting pictures until after the reveal - sorry!
Thank you for your love, caring, thoughts, cards, calls, visits, gifts, help and prayers over the last year. Thank you just doesn’t seem big enough! We are still in the depths of putting the house together, paper work and negotiations. So if I could ask, please keep us in your prayers! Thank you for going along this journey with us, we couldn't have gotten through it without you
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD,
"Plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future."