Thursday, July 19, 2018

Cake on a stick, family & surprises {Thankful Thursday #180}

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This week I am Thankful For:

Cake Pops
OK - how have I never had a cake pop from Starbucks before? I decided to try one & my world has been changed - my eyes have been open to the amazing creation of cake on a stick.

Time with Timmie
I'm so grateful for the time we got to spend with my uncle before he passed at his house.  Me & Ricky, mom, Tony & his gang went out there on the 4th of July & had lunch over there & just got to talk to him one last time, going through pictures, telling stories.  Just so unbelievable he's gone.

The twins with Timmie's granddaughter

Thoughtful husband
I only drink sparkling seltzer water (& of course regular water) but when I run out of my cans of water, I get a little anxious.  So how cute was it when I ran out & I picked some up on the way home, only to find that Ricky knew I was out & stopped & picked me up 2 cases too. Ahhh..... so sweet.

Deaf dogs
I guess the only good thing about dogs getting older & loosing their hearing?  The 4th of July doesnt bother them anymore.  Zoe & Bruno are usually the most afraid dogs of anything noisy - like thunder & especially fireworks.  Both of them slept like a baby & never flinched one time with fireworks popping all around us.  .... Ernie? A whole other story. It was his first go at it though so I'm sure he thought the world was exploding.

Surprise Book
This came in the mail to me from a precious friend.  Such a surprise. It didnt have a note in it & I was like, Who in the world sent this?  It was funny because she had also sent me a card that said, "you'll be getting something in the mail soon from me" - but that card came the day after the book did, so I was clueless.  But it all got straightened out & I'm so thankful for my God family that is just always the best at encouraging me & praying for me.

4th of July celebration ... on the 7th
It was really nice to have everyone over to mom & dad's for the annual 4th of July celebration.  So grateful for laughs & distraction on what could have been a really sad day.

So not only did I get surprised by one friend earlier in the week, I got another surprise from my beautiful blog friend.Alexandra.  This bracelet is BEAUTIFUL!!!! & the words that came with it, even talks of "knit" together.... I seriously teared up. Those words hit my heart something fierce.  I have said it before & will continue saying it - I am so blessed to have the most incredible people in my world - people I have had my arms around to hug in real life & people that I have wrapped my heart around that I've never seen their face in person.  All of the relationships are special to me.  The blogging world is just an incredible place to meet the most amazing people. 

Oh mercy... these words get me every time

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, July 18, 2018


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I just binged the last season of Blackish. Man, that was a tough season where it dealt with a struggling marriage. Really tough.  But what a good show that is.  If you've never watched it, get on Hulu & binge away.

Sad. You have to know sad is an overwhelming emotion right now in my world.  Especially because today is my mom & dad's wedding anniversary.  It would have been 54 years of marriage for them.  Lift up a prayer for my momma if you think about it.


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I was on fire with this book & now at a stand still on reading.  Hoping to get it done by Friday before the big READATHON that starts Saturday morning!

Excited About

The READATHON!!!!! It kicks off on Saturday morning at midnight!!!!  I've got my books laid out & in the order I want to read them.  If you need me, I'll have my nose stuck in a book & coffee nearby.  Dont know what I'm talking about or want to join in?  Click HERE & join in.  I actually won a Still Me on audiobook from that last year. People really do win! :)  Plus, its just fun to play along throughout the day.  Keep an eye out for #24in48 on Twitter & Instagram

It's been warm but it hasn't felt like it did the past 2 weeks where it was SMOLDERING.  We're actually staying in the high 80's today the rest of the week (maybe I can do some of my readathon outside????) - but as we know, humidity is everything. UGH.   But its still not as bad as it has been this summer. 

Listening To
... well, I'll tell you what I'm NOT listening to - The Greatest Showman soundtrack. Want to know why?  It's stuck in my car's CD player.  We've tried everything to get it out - no luck. I can't listen to ANY CD in my car anymore now.  & yes, I get it - who listens to CD's in their car anymore. Me. That's who! Heck, my last car, I still listened to cassette tapes. I'm slow to change my ways.

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Proverbs 31 devotionals.  They have just been speaking to my soul lately even more than usual. Isn't it funny how sometimes, you feel like things are written JUST for you?

Favorite Quote

Monday, July 16, 2018

The weekend we said goodbye to ANOTHER family member....

Another funeral.

These are not fun weekends recently.

Having to say goodbye to yet another member of our family.... it's just a lot lately.

Friday, I left work & headed straight to the funeral home. I wish I could have taken time off to be there all day but with all the medical stuff on TOP of all the tragedy in my family, I couldnt take another day off.  So 4:30 came & I got to the funeral home as soon as I could.  And got there right when my brother got there with my mom too.

It just all felt surreal to see dad's brother there.  Like this has all been a cruel joke between brothers or something.

The hours flew in the short time we were there, seeing familiar faces & giving hugs & love & before we knew it, it was time to head home.

It was an early wake up call for us on Saturday to get ready & get back over to the funeral Saturday morning.

The service was just so Timmie. He had talked about what he wanted & planned so much of it himself & you could see the touches he had wanted.

His wife's family is such a talented bunch of people with the most amazing gift of music.... so a few of them came to sing some of the songs Timmie had picked out.  Which really poked my heart because one of them was the song they had played at my grandmother's funeral & another song was the song I had picked out for my grandfather's funeral (Timmie's mom & dad)  It just all seemed to be a full circle, family connection sort of moment. I know that's why Timmie chose those songs.

& there were a few preachers that spoke & a family friend of Timmie's & then his daughters. Oh man... that was tough to hear.  But they told me that since I spoke at dad's funeral, Timmie wanted them to talk at his.  & they gave me a "Thanks Becky" for that too - HAHA. Sorry girls.  But they did an incredible job of honoring their daddy. Spoke so beautifully about him & how much they love him.

After the funeral, it was time for a long ride.... Timmie was to be buried in the country where his wife's family is at , in a little country cemetery down a back road.  It all is just perfectly Timmie.

I ended up riding with my brother & one of the twins on the way & the time really went fast & we just had a really good time talking & chatting & making our way. Who knew me & my brother could be in close quarters that long & not kill each other?  Good to know! LOL

It was HOT! I mean, HOOOOTTTTT!!!! The temp was 98 degrees & we had to wait for everyone to make it down from Louisville - an hour & 40 minute trip.... so everyone tried to scatter in the shade until the last pall bearer arrived.

Only my brother standing in the sun with someone talking.

This little one gave no cares that it was smoldering out. She was just about chasing butterflies & looking at the bugs that got under the tulle of her dress.  She made the day so much brighter for people's broken hearts.

Timmie's youngest grand daughter

Luckily, the little church at the side of the cemetery was open & we could go in there & use the bathroom & soak up some of the AC.  It was the cutest little church I have seen.  I can just imagine all the old fashion hymns played  every Sunday in this place.

The last one arrived & my aunt's brother spoke a few words about Timmie & why he was being laid to rest there & it really did end his service beautifully when everyone sang Amazing Grace one last time together.

Tony & I walked across the cemetery to my aunt's brother's home - he does monuments & we looked a bit for some ideas for dad's.  We also were in love with his little shed he had on his property. I took a pic because I now want one of these for a She-Shed.  Let's see if that happens.

All our family got together after the service to have some dinner before the drive home & we were wanted to go to somewhere local - get a feel of the small country atmosphere.  & you KNOW you're in the country when the special of the night was WILD GAME... which included rabbit & frog legs & quail. MMMMMM ....mmmmmm .... HAHA!

I was happy with my veggie plate.... & the sweet potato casserole that was COVERED in brown sugar. OH MY GOODNESS! So delicious. Country places know how to cook, don't they? May not know about calories or heart healthy food - but hey - when in Rome.

My brother & niece & I headed home & didnt end up getting home till around 8pm... it was a long day to say the least.  But I wouldnt have missed it for the world to say goodbye to my only uncle on my dad's side.

Our family is just getting smaller by the minute it seems....

Sunday, I just wanted to stay in bed as long as possible.  & I actually did that for awhile with heating pads & ice packs all over my body. I truly think I'm falling apart.  Slowly & painfully.....

& then I uploaded pics of the funeral & started editing them.

I know some people may think that's sort of strange.... but my uncle was a photographer. I think he would have wanted it & loved it.  He also loved to document things (like someone I know... ahem, ahem....) & I know he really loved the picture I had taken at his own dad's funeral of his casket. He actually printed it out & had the print of it on his shelf at home.  & I had asked his daughter & wife if it was something they wanted me to do - & understood if it wasn't something they wanted captured. They did want me to & honestly, I wish I had someone do it for me for my dad's funeral.  It's a moment in your life that you remember so clearly anyways.

But Sunday just seemed to be laid back - or at least I tried to make it as laid back as I could.

I spent most of the day under a back massage contraption & was excited that Baby Ballroom just released a Season 2 on Netflix.  I love that show!  I feel like the guy & his wife on there are SNL skit characters. Seriously.  But that show was the highlight of my Sunday....

So we PRESS ON to a new week.... praying it goes smoother & kinder to our family.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Brothers...together again

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I know today is supposed to be Thankful Thursday.... but we've just had another loss in our family that I just have to stop & talk about.

My dad's only brother passed away on Tuesday.

After nearly 4 years of fighting pancreatic cancer, he finally is at rest & peace & his body is completely healed.

I just can't believe it. I never would have dreamed that my dad & my uncle - brothers - would pass away within 8 weeks of each other.

Growing up, my uncle Timmie was the "wild child" - the rebel of the family.  I mean, he had hair down to his butt, rode a motorcycle & sported some tattoos.  & all that made him super cool to me & my brother.

I can remember spending the night at my grandmothers & he'd come in late & I'd love to sit & just watch him make something to eat.  I know I was the pesky little niece that wouldnt go away.  There's a picture of me sitting on his lap when I'm probably about 6 in my grandmother's kitchen that I loved. I wish I could find that picture.  It's the height of the 70's & he's got that long flowing rebel black hair.

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When Timmie was introducing his girlfriend to the family... the beginning of a love story

It's funny because he & my dad, brothers, always just seemed so different in life.  But I look at my brother & myself & see such polar opposites as well - but you always know that your sibling is there for you & supports you & loves you no matter what.

My dad was always so worried about Timmie when he got this cancer diagnosis... & when dad was in the hospital over the past few years, Timmie found a way to make it up to sit with him as well.

One of the last visits they had together, they had talked about what each of them wanted at their funerals.  One brother trying to top each other. It had become a funny kind of game.... & somehow it's all become a nightmare of a reality.

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When Timmie was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, it was a shock.  We had lived through a loss of this same kind of cancer with my grandmother - their mother.  It took her down in 2 weeks. That was devastating in itself.  But Timmie is a Wood.  Wood men dont give in easily... & Timmie didn't.

He fought this battle with such strength.  He would leave his chemo treatments every week with his wife & they'd travel somewhere & wait for the sickness to pass & then adventure out.

Timmie was all about adventure.  Being the cool uncle, I saw that about him.  He loved everything snakes & Indians. Looking for arrow heads on his hikes.  Hiking was a huge passion of his in his adult years.  In his younger years, he was all about sharks & sailing on his sailboat & water skiing & learning the newest skiing tricks - which did involve a lot of standing on people's shoulders.

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This trail, he told me, in the Smokies was his favorite one to hike every time

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Making it up to this high elevation even during his chemo treatments

He was also so talented.  He always was an artist & with my brother having that same skill in his blood, the two of them would talk about drawings & pencils & charcoals & paints & technique.  Timmie also had such an artist flair with his lettering. He used to do so much calligraphy growing up.  He even told me recently that he loved that I was taking up that skill.

I know my brother & my uncle were always the match growing up, even resembling one another in Tony's younger years, but I made my come back in the past few years with my love of photography.  I know that spark was lit by Timmie as I grew up. He always had a camera in his hand.  At every Christmas, we knew Timmie was going to bring in a tripod & lighting equipment & we'd see pop of flashes all night long.

One of the pics he took with all the grandkids & our grandparents
Please note my brother really does exist & this may be the only picture you'll see of him :)

He took that love of photography on his hikes & caught the most incredible shots capturing beautiful moments.

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One of his pictures
& yep... that's a fish in those claws
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But I know for Timmie - the most beautiful moments were with his family.  He loved his wife more than anything in this world.  Followed up by his daughters... & then grandchildren.  To see Timmie as a grandfather was always funny to me seeing him come from the motorcycle riding, trouble making days.  Love will do that to someone.

I ache for his family - because sadly, we know what that loss feels like with loosing dad.  It's hollow - empty - unreal & devastating.  If you are a praying person, please lift up his wife Debora & his daughters Jasmine & Shannon.

So we'll be headed to another funeral home with our family tomorrow & another funeral to follow... another goodbye.... & praying God will be merciful & give us a little breather soon.

I just keep seeing Timmie rushing up to the hospital when he got the news about dad.  Poor guy left his own chemo treatment to sit, literally for HOURS, next to his brother. He even had to leave because he didnt have his pain medicine & then things took a turn for dad & Timmie & his family rushed back to sit for MORE hours.  He'd just sit next to dad & he'd rub dad's chest.  & when Timmie left that night, he talked to us reminding us we were all going to be in this place in the future.  Knocking at the door of heaven.

& at the graveside of dad's funeral, Timmie was the last person to say goodbye to dad before they closed his casket & he once again rub dad's chest & he said, "Bye Bubbers"... broke my heart.  The bond of brothers.

Timmie knew he was going to be passing soon & we talked about where he was going.  I think those near 4 years of battling this disease gave him a new relationship with God.  It drew him closer to the One he knew would help him through it all & Timmie knew he wanted to be whole & with loved ones again. I know where Timmie is at right now.... & I told Timmie to be sure to punch my dad for me for leaving so fast without saying goodbye.  He promised me he would.
Brothers can get away with stuff like that.

So until we're all together again.... we just keep Pressing on.

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I have fought the good fight .... I have finished the race... 
I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Show Me Your Books - July 2018

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That time again....
& since I didnt get to join in last month, there's an longer post.
More books means more to love

Far From the Tree
**** / 4 stars - Really liked it

Quick Summary: 3 adopted siblings come together in their teenager years to try & learn a little more about their past

I saw this one going around & it was available in the library so I picked it up. It's a super fast read & switches POV between the 3 siblings that each have very different lives & where they each ended up.
I enjoyed the bond the siblings forged with one another & where their hunt for their past leads them.  It felt like it was wrapped up with a bow & I felt like it was a complete ending.

Read if you enjoy stories about adoption or siblings or a story from different views that all come together in the end.  Young Adult Novel

"Dont you get it? That's what happens when you love someone! They're brave when you can't be! I can be brave -- for you, for both of us!"

35297461The Last To Let Go
*** / 3 stars

Quick Summary: A mother murders her husband after years of abuse & the kids have to adjust to life without their parents.

This was a easy, but difficult book to read.  The subject was tough, but it was easy to fall into the stories of the kids lives & see how they were adjusting to a mother who was in prison for killing a father that they grew up watching being abusive to them all their whole lives.  We follow the middle daughter, Brooke, mainly through the year & see how she grows as she's changed schools & finds a little more about herself.  Obviously, this has some emotional tugs in it, but it was a surprising fast read to be 366 pages long.

Read if you enjoy stories of people surviving life situations & finding out more about who they truly are inside.  Triggers if abuse stories bother you.

"You are born alone.  You die alone. The value of the space in between is trust & love"

32571395One of Us is Lying
**** / 4 Stars - Really Liked It

Quick Summary:  5 kids go into detention together & 1 dies.  What happened in that room?

I really got swept up in this one & devoured it in 2 days.  The mystery of it held my attention, watching each of the characters evolve really made me root for each of them & I just really appreciated seeing how everyone handled their truth come to light they were trying so hard to hide.  Lesson there for everyone really.  But I was just anxious to see how it was all going to end.

I had some surprises in the book that made me gasp, I wasn't 100% on the mystery of it & I really liked how it all ended, so this was a really good win for me.

I'm always someone who likes different POV as well & this would switch between the 4 surviving Detention kids.  & in my mind, I totally pegged this as a Breakfast Club meets Riverdale meets Dateline Mystery.  I'm glad I was able to get this fast at the library

Read if you enjoy mystery, loved The Breakfast Club or really love Riverdale.

"I guess we're almost friends now, or as friendly as you can get when you're not 100% sure the other person isn't framing you for murder"

39670018Arrogant Devil
*** / 3 Stars - Liked It

Quick Summary:  Meredith leaves her husband in the middle of the night & finds herself as a housekeeper on a ranch in Texas for the arrogant owner.

This is my 2nd R.S. Gray book & I enjoyed this one as well. I liked the first one a little better (The Belle & the Beau), just because I felt like this one could have dug a little deeper about the man Meredith was running from, but I'm taking it that this author is more about the sex appeal of characters instead of the depth of characters in a way.  I did enjoy the characters of this book though & especially the grandmother, Edith. She makes me think of all things Texas & cowboy living.

This book came at the right time for me to just have a simple, easy, light read where I didnt have  to really think too hard in digesting the story

Read if you like easy beach read & some blushy romance books, or if you enjoy all things sexy cowboys & Texas loving dreaming.

"There's something about a man capable of such strength choosing tenderness instead"

27362503It Ends With Us
***** / 5 stars - It was amazing

Quick Summary:  A girl opens her dream floral shop while meeting the a handsome neurosurgeon who sweeps her off her feet - only to discover a side of him she has seen before in her father & she sees a lot of her past come to life when she finds the boy she first fell in love with.

I am late to the game on this one - but so glad I made it at all. This book was so powerful & held me completely in the story of Lily & Ryle & Atlas. I didnt read what the book was actually about before I dove in & seeing the story discuss so well domestic abuse & the situations women can find themselves in.... it was all very powerful.  I was so invested in the characters - rooting them on, telling them to find bravery, telling them to get help, rooting them on for happily ever afters - & not even sure how that looked for each character.  I was hooked all the way through this book though. & really happy with the ending of it & even more moved reading the epilogue by the author on why she wrote it.

Read if you enjoy books about overcoming or stories of women empowerment or even stories on first loves.  Steer clear if abuse is a trigger for you.

"Maybe love isn't something that comes full circle. It just ebbs & flows, in & out, just like the people in our lives"

18090093100 Days of Real Food
**** / 4 stars Really Liked It

Quick Summary:  name says it all

I've been following this ladies blog & Instagram page for awhile & always interested in her book - & its been on sale on Kindle for $1.99 for awhile so had to snag it up.  It's TOTALLY worth $1.99!!!!

It's full of tips & tricks to change your eating over to a healthier REAL food diet, not full of processed junk.  & its not a book for plant based eating - it involves a lot of meat. Actually, I dont think I can use any of the DINNER recipes unless I change them myself for my lifestyle.

But the book is FULL of great tips & tricks to help you in the journey to healthier eating - & I especially love the weekly challenges to help EASE you into this lifestyle.

What I didn't like about it could be why most women would like it - it just had a lot of sections dedicated to making these changes for your kids & getting kids involved. For me, that was mute so I just skimmed past it.  But I think a lot of moms would appreciate this part of the book.

For $1.99 - you really can't beat it - especially for the dessert recipes!

Read if you enjoy someone's story on getting healthy & love good cookbooks

Making small changes towards a real-food diet is far greater than making none at all.

What book are you reading right now?

Ever read any of these?

Linking up with Steph & Jana 
Click pic to join in with all the other book lovers this month!
Life According to Steph

Monday, July 09, 2018

The weekend I missed dad the most so far.....

Anyone else still celebrating the 4th of July this weekend?

We did... my parents neighbors have a big celebration every 4th & they had a family wedding so instead of actually doing it on the 4th, they moved it to the weekend so they could have all the family with the wedding over as a reception type thing.  GO USA!  Even a few days late.

But the weekend started off on Friday when I had to stop at Starbucks once again for another Happy Hour. I hope this is a every Friday thing because its nice getting two drinks for the price of one - especially when you stop there anyways on your way home on Friday.

Me & mom had to drive up to the funeral home where dad was at to take care of things & it was just like seeing some family when we walked in again. They were just the nicest people there & one of the funeral directors is in his early 20's & just the cutest little guy.  He just always wanted to make sure mom was taken care of & he was once again so good to her taking care of her when we walked in the door.

We ended up walking to their monument store to start looking at headstones.  Not a fun Friday night.... but it's something we got to start doing.

& while we were up that way, we stopped by to say hello to dad.

We stopped for some grocery shopping on the way home - Friday night grocery shopping is becoming our regular routine & again, I'm not upset at all that the little local grocery store is pretty much empty on Friday evenings.

Saturday, I woke up AGAIN at 5:30am UGH!  I hate getting up early on weekends. 2nd in a row now.  This one wasn't as horrible as last weekend though because Ricky had to go to work & I got to spend some time with him before he took off.

Plus, it just felt like HEAVEN outside.  I dont know what happened to our horrible, humid, hot summer weather, but we had a reprieve for a day.  It was actually - dare I say - CHILLY in the morning.  It gave me some energy.  I ended up cleaning the house for a few hours & then had to take advantage of sitting outside reading while it was nice.

With surgeries & feeling bad, & heat & humidity, its something I've missed this summer.

Ricky got home & he got to work on the yard while it was nice & I ended up staying out reading my book (I did my work early... that's what I kept telling him) ... & then I went to get mom to go get some snacks for everyone coming over to her house for the fireworks.

So, if you've been around here for awhile, you know that dad does his usual tradition of painting his horse for the 4th of July.  It's just what he's always done.... & people just sort of expect it at this point.  What are we to do this year just a month & a half after he's passed away.... well, luckily my brother is an artist so he could pull it off.  He went over earlier in the morning & painted Cochese for this year. 

& it turned out great, didn't it?

I love the tradition was continued.

& it was just strange not having dad there.  The 4th is just like some sort of holiday for us where we know we're getting together & we watch the fireworks & just have a good time together.

My brother asked me if I minded if he invited a friend since it was going to be a little strange without dad.  I told him I didnt mind at all. & next thing I know, he has like 20 people coming over.  CELEBRATE! ... I had invited our friends to come over because my dad had been wanting to show Emerson his horses for so long.  That was something my friends said after dad passed away that they hated they never came over.  You always think "We'll do it later"... & then some times, "later" isn't able to happen.  So sad really.... I was so glad they got to come over for the 4th.  To spend time with them & to show Emerson the horses. I know my dad was watching down on the whole day & just smiling. 

I think this was the biggest thing so far that I really felt the loss of him.

Not even Father's Day was as tough as this was... I think because I hid as much as I could for Father's Day. This was IN the moment ... & man, it hurt.  Big time.

So in the end, it was really nice that there was a lot of people there to talk too & laugh with.

& the fireworks, once again, did not disappoint.

Nothing like a front row seat.

I ended up getting home about 11:30.... & getting up at 5:30 - I was beat & ready for bed.

Sunday, I got to sleep in.... till 6:30am - UGHHHHHH... what is the deal?

But I did take it easy all day Sunday.  I finished up my book & just basically did a Soprano's binge. Now in Season 2....

& felt the heat come back in. Sigh. I'm glad we had one good day... & good timing of it falling on a 4th of July celebration... on the 7th.

Pressing on to the next week that lays ahead!!!

Were fireworks still going off around you?

Any tips on buying headstones?

Tell my brother how awesome the horse ended up this year :)