Welcome to the Hallelujah House!

The Meaning Behind Hallelujah House:

I knew the theme of our new blog would be preparation of the heart, health, home, and harvest, but originally the working title was A Prepped Up Life. I didn’t have peace about that title. I felt most would see it as a prepping blog not one that focused on the Father and how He wants us to live an abundant life by being prepared.

One afternoon in route to pick up my kids from school, I prayed about it. I asked God what He wanted the new blog to be titled. I felt like it should be another “H” word. As the traffic came to a stop on I-4, two women I barely knew came to mind. One named Lori, I’d met at a writer’s conference. After a pitch session with an agent, and his response to my book was “who cares?” Lori and I had ice cream together. I shared my story with her, my sister’s cancer, my friend’s cancer, and then my own diagnosis. I was only four weeks out of surgery and the pain from my double-mastectomy still lingered. Several times as I unfolded the story little by little Lori exclaimed, “Hallelujah!” Her exclamations of praise made me miss the joy I’d lost through experiencing cancer three times in a row. It also made me see the Hallelujahs in the sadness.

That night, Lori prayed for me in her room and thrust a note towards me the next morning. Scribbled on notebook paper, her note stated my story is a gift and will be read by many. God would provide the path for publication not to worry, just bring it forward. She wrote, “You are precious to Him. He sees you and has so much to come for your good and His glory.” I’ve kept that note on my bulletin board behind my desk as a reminder.

Another woman I met at a prayer dinner. Our dear friend Ed was diagnosed with bladder cancer recently, so we gathered for dinner and healing prayer. After praying over Ed, the group placed me in the center of the circle. This woman stepped up and pushed everyone out of the way, stating “I’m going to pray over this one.” She placed her hand on my abdomen and prayed God to remove any and all infirmities. She prayed God would return my joy and help me to dance and play the tambourine in my house like Miriam in the Bible. Her prayer was a song of praise. This woman also used the word “Hallelujah” many times in our conversation over dinner. I noticed it.

I wanted what both these women had. I wanted my House—my scared-up body from three major surgeries back to back—to shout Hallelujah again.

That afternoon in grid-lock traffic, after remembering those two Hallelujah women He’d strategically placed in my life to pray over me, I asked Him, “Hallelujah? You want the blog to be called Hallelujah?” Immediately, this song, “Raising Hallelujah” poured out of the radio, and the words “Hallelujah House” came to mind. “Hallelujah House?” Instantly, I knew that was what the blog was going to be called. I had a peace about it. No one would mistake this for prepping. My heart’s desire is for this blog to be an outpouring of love to women by helping to make their lives a bit easier.  This website will provide content that will help you contemplate the majesty of the great Creator, prepare a healthy cookie for your kiddos but also look at ways to prepare your home for a future financial crisis. These are just some of the topics that will be covered. We will also be providing more video content.

Also, I’d like to open this blog up to other writers. I want to build a community of abiding women who feel they have something to offer the readers on the subject of preparing. If you are one of those feel free to submit your ideas and writing samples to tadams22@me.com.

I hope you will subscribe to this new endeavor by email and join me as we raise a Hallelujah in the house.

“After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God.” Revelations 19:1 English Standard Version.

In the production of this video, I’d like to express my appreciation to cousin Matt Hodge for all the aerial videos,  cousin Tony Sciacca for technical support, and my son Nick Adams for the ground videos and teaching his momma how to piece together a video…thank you son!

Raise a Hallelujah by Bethel Music. Written by Jake Stevens, Jonathan David Helser, Melissa Helser, and Molly Skaggs. Acoustic version sung by William Morrison.

Half-Naked and Picking Weeds

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When I was a little girl we had this huge garden running alongside our house on Mockingbird Lane. Mornings and evenings when the heat was bearable we’d pull the weeds and collect our bounty in baskets. I can still feel the prickle of the cucumber stems and smell the pungent scent from plucking the tomato off the vine.

            My sister, Tricia and I labored in our underwear. The sun-browned our bodies to the color of mahogany and we’d moon Granny our bright white bottoms because she’d laugh so hard tears spilled out of her eyes. We didn’t have air conditioning in our home until I was almost a teenager. Daddy clutched the coins and feared a high electric bill. In case you’re unaware, summers in the Tidewater area of Virginia can get extremely hot and sticky.

            We didn’t have a microwave either. Momma feared her children would glow in the dark from the radiation. She was a purist when it came to feeding her brood. Most of our food was homemade for she didn’t like preservatives. While Tricia and I raided our cousin’s house for the Pop Tarts. No amount of begging in the grocery aisle would make my Momma cave.

            “That’s junk!” she’d said. “Do you want your poop to turn green? I’ll bake you a banana bread instead.”

            Momma was a firm believer in the color brown, brown eggs, brown bread, brown cereal, brown poop. She was obsessed with us having a good BM (Bowel Movement) every day. This obsession peaked in her wheat germ phase. As I sat guarding my mashed potatoes like a dog over a bone, and hoping Daddy would hurry up… for all things good and decent in this world… and say the blessed blessing so I could get in a few bites before she came around with that jar of brown granules…splat! It was too late, my potatoes were healthy-matized brown.

            “There! Now you’ll get a good cleaning out,” she’d said.

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            I can still picture Momma clad in a halter top and shorts standing by the hot stove. Her dark hair piled on top of her head, while her brown skin glistened from perspiration, cooking up dinner or canning the cucumbers. Without air conditioning, summer meal preparation was a true labor of love. It probably explains why Momma’s lost the joy of cooking today.

  I suppose my nostalgia stems from just returning from taking care of Momma after her surgery. Time has a way of turning the table. I was the one standing by the stove cooking the meals albeit in a nice cool kitchen.

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             I haven’t written in a while because I’ve gone through an extended season of illness. I had Influenza B, then strep invaded our home, after that a dear friend named Vanessa who’s been battling brain cancer took a turn for the worse, followed by my trip to Virginia to take care of my parents.

            Meanwhile these last two months, I’ve felt half-naked in the scorching heat picking through weeds while they keep popping up through the soil of my garden.

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            Speaking of gardens, we’ve entered the garden season at the farm. The land is plowed and planted. The families on the farm are pitching in, to weed and harvest. We are then going to learn to can the produce in an assembly-line fashion. I’m surprised I’m excited about this, and yes, for all those dirty minds out there, I wear clothes when I garden now. (Farm friends you can thank me later…Ha!) Our last attempt at gardening, we ended up with vegetables rotting on the vine, that eventually sank into the earth and fertilized the soil.

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            Lately, I’ve thought about times we feel like that, the times we feel God out of reach or not answering our prayers, the times we think He’s neglected us, left us drooping on the vine. If only we could peer into the future and see our rotten times just may be the fertilizer in someone else’s life, would we be more willing to allow ourselves to be bruised… to feel neglected? 

            I imagine Vanessa feels that way as she lies in her hospital bed suffering from seizures. There were times my sister Tricia felt as if God left her dangling on the vine during her battle with breast cancer, but her rotten part revived the heart soils of those around her.

 

            The older I get the more thankful I am for the rotten times. I hated my sister’s suffering, but it was through it my husband strengthened in his walk with God. It was through it, we all strengthened our faiths in a God who’s sovereign and holy. My sweet Tricia passed away in the winter of 2014.

            When vegetables rot on the vine, they not only fertilize the soil, but their seeds fall into the earth as well. After the vegetables have been long forgotten, a new shoot springs up from the earth. Lately, I’ve witnessed one of Tricia’s seeds in the green faith of Vanessa.

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( To be continued…)

The Gene Pool

Since Tricia passed away, and my days are consumed with caring for Isabella, memories of our childhood, seem to find their way into my thoughts. A time when Brandon, Tricia, and I, thought we were invincible, and live at least until 100. As children, Tricia and I promised each other when our husbands died, we’d live out our days together. We weren’t planning on murdering them, it just never occurred they may outlive us.
I am convinced our family had more guardian angels than most. This is not a prideful statement, for we just required more to stay alive. Trouble came natural to us. In order to prove this, I must point to the providers of our genes.
Daddy liked to ride storms as a boy, just as he saw the storm clouds rolling in, he picked the tallest tree he could find and climbed to the top. He rode that thing until the storm passed. He said tropical storms provided the wildest ride.
“I climbed a cedar tree on Chestnut Street and landed on North.” He once told me, which should be the first line of his memoirs.
Momma slept with her Sally. She grabbed Sally when the neighbor’s chickens started eating her azalea bushes. Screaming, I wrapped my legs and arms around her thigh, begging her not to shoot those precious chickens. She stretched out her leg like a tripod, aimed, and shot. Those chickens were perfectly aligned and one bullet swiped the heads off both. This is no fabrication, it was a blood bath. Those chickens were bumping into each other with no heads, and blood was spurting everywhere.
“Well, that serves em right.” she said as she brushed past me.
I never looked cross at Momma again.
We loved to climb trees. Tricia climbed a tree once and got stuck at the top, and Brandon climbed up to get her unstuck. We each claimed a tree in our yard. Tricia’s was a small dogwood (the lame one because she didn’t’ want to get stuck again) Once, I climbed my tall tree. I told Brandon, “Go get Momma” for I was proud and wanted a reaction from that lady. The top of the tree swayed in the wind and I wrapped my legs and arms around it. Mom came out of the house and looked up.
“Tammy you are high! You be careful coming down now!” She said, before going back into the house.
I realized then, she was a woman of great faith.
One dog day of summer, my cousin Linda and I decided to bleach our hair and ride the Sows at the same time. We poured on the peroxide, and climbed over the hog fence.
Linda stood in the middle of those huge beasts, and clapped her hands and screamed.
“Suey… Suey… Suey!”
They ran straight towards me, and as the stampede approached I crouched and lunged for them. I didn’t gain many feet, but did gain a peculiar odor to go with my beautiful platinum highlights.
While we’re on hogs, Brandon showed hogs for the 4-H Club. When he stepped up to show his hog, a runaway ran out squealing and landed between his legs. (ouch) He rode that hog backwards holding onto to it’s rump around the ring.
The crowd went wild. Mom and Dad were so proud. They stood and clapped for him as if it deserved an encore. The judges gave him a little extra money in his envelop for the entertainment.
We loved animals. In the seventh grade, Coach Polk my Science teacher announced, “Tomorrow is small pet day, you can bring your small pets to class.”
Brandon, Tricia, and I looked for that snake for hours. Popped him in an old aquarium and gave him a name. Albert was a hit! I held him intertwined in my fingers, and each time I turned towards Coach Polk he jumped back. When he asked me how long he’d been my pet, I didn’t lie.
“About 18 hours, we found him around seven last night. He was in the wood pile under a log.”
“Weren’t your parents scared you’d find a poisonous one?”
I laughed for everyone knew what poisonous snakes looked like. Truth be told, it didn’t occur to us.
Speaking of pets, we had many. Momma brought home everything and made it a pet. She tried to catch a mouse in the churchyard one Sunday. She slipped off her sandals and ran through the grass chasing the thing, while the congregation cheered her on. She caught it. A minute later she screamed.
“The darn thing bit me!” she said. She decided that wouldn’t be a good pet.
Another time, she brought this unusual caterpillar into the house, and put it in a jar on her dresser. She wanted to look it up in the encyclopedia because she’d never seen this lime green variety. The caterpillar wanted to educate her himself. Let’s just say, her arm swelled terribly. She said that wasn’t a good pet either.
Trouble followed Tricia too. One day that trouble was a twister, it toppled a grain storage container (silo), before heading straight for Linda and Tricia, who decided it was a good idea to walk home in a storm. Tricia held onto her umbrella, and Linda held onto Tricia’s foot. Thank goodness Linda won that battle or Tricia could have landed in Oz.
I think we all enjoyed a good adrenaline rush, but Brandon became addicted in his twenties. He lived on a sail boat, flew planes, parachuted, scuba dived, etc, anything he could do to keep Momma on her knees, he did.
One Friday, he decided he was going to sail to Tangier Island and eat some crabs. He didn’t check the weather.
A North Eastern blew through.
There was still no word by Sunday morning, and Momma marched up during the altar call, and told the pastor what her son did .
That evening he came home. The waves were so high he had to tie himself to the boat, and vomited for two days. Needless to say, he didn’t eat any crabs.
On Brandon’s last parachute jump, he talked Thomas (Tricia’s husband) into going with him. A Navy Seal was on the plane and asked to go up another 1,000 feet. By the time they reached that height, it was getting dark. They jumped anyway. Brandon radioed down for the airport to turn on the landing lights, and the airport radioed back they wouldn’t work. Brandon and Thomas steered their parachutes as they were instructed from the ground to miss the electrical wires.
Later Thomas said, “Brandon’s crazy. He’s going to kill me.”
I say to Thomas there’s still time for that.
Another jump Brandon took without a parachute this time, was from the 58 Bypass bridge. This is the bridge in Suffolk to end all, if you know what I mean. The bottom of his feet turned black, he couldn’t walk for a week.
Under that bridge we had a rope swing. At night,we tied up the boats, climbed to the top, and swung from the bridge, as our bodies hit the surface of the Nandsemond, the water glowed with Phytoplankton.
We forgot about the glow of the Phytoplankton the same night we forgot our swim suits. Tricia, our friend Kim Standridge, and I decided to swim in our underwear. Thomas and our “brothers” (guys like brothers) stayed up on the boat, to give us our privacy. Thomas and Tricia were married soon after that.(wink)
My boyfriend at the time had a metal boat with a huge Johnson motor on the back, when you started it up, the bow rose up out of the water. We loaded that boat up with friends and water bombs, we’d slip into the swampy reeds and surprise attack the other boats.
Once my Dad came down to the wharf, I put him in that boat and told him to hold on.
“Okay girl, show me what you got.” he challenged.
I put that boat on it’s side left and right trying to dump Dad into the Nandsemond. I was disappointed he still had a good grip.
We grew up around boats. Dad always had one. One hot Sunday after church we went out towards the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. A lightning storm came through, I had my hand hanging over the side of the boat and there was a huge flash and a hot pain seared through my arm. My scream scared Daddy gray. He scooped me up and put me in the bedroom below. It wasn’t a direct hit, but the lightning bounced off a crab pot next to us and grounded itself in my arm. That didn’t feel too good.
I was scared of lightning for years after that. That’s why I chose to move to the lightning capital of the world. I faced my fears.
My husband would tell you before children, I often faced those fears in the closet. You see, I no longer thought I was invincible. I miss those carefree years, simply because my sister was in them. Isabella will never know her Aunt Tricia except through the stories.
I know my niece, nephews, and children believe they are indestructible too. I can see it by their trouble. We parents call each other to brag about what they’ve done. It starts with, “You won’t believe what (niece or nephews) did.” Of course, I pretend I can’t believe it, but I can…I’m not a bit surprised, just look at their gene pool.