Thursday, May 23, 2019

Survival, small town living & a good horse brother! {Thankful Thursday #222}

This week I am Thankful For:
(05-13-19 to 05-19/19)

Baby OK
So I was out walking with my friend at a school track & got a phone call from my mom's neighbor. I held my breath because for him to call me, something had to be wrong.  I picked up the phone & he tells me, the miniature horse, Baby, is in his front yard - OUT OF THE FENCED AREA!!!! I couldnt get ahold of my brother - so called Ricky who got over there quick - I also got in touch with my mom who took out of the house.... & long story short.... WHEW - they were able to get Baby back in the barn.  We found a piece of the fence was down & we had no idea. She just walked right through it.  So much here to be thankful for!!!!  So awful to think of what COULD happen.  Just glad Baby is back home & OK

I told you - Baby sits in my mom's lap...
this was when we got her home... she was tired & REALLY needed a seat

So glad Cochese was freaking out too when Baby got out. His neighing is what got the neighbor's attention to look out & see her loose.  Good job Big Brother Cochese!!!!

Image may contain: cloud, sky, horse, tree, outdoor and nature

Cards & Messages
I am so thankful for all the cards sent my way & text & messages sent to me on the 1 year anniversary of dad's passing.... I read some of them to my mom as well so she could feel your love.

No photo description available.
A card from the Head Pastor of our church

Family Time to remember Dad
I mentioned this in Monday's post... but I really am glad we had more laughs than tears on the anniversary.  I know dad would have loved to be in the center of all the laughter & stories we told..... & I feel like he was in some way.

The view from our dinner with family... I looked out & said, "Say hi to dad everyone"

Beautiful day off
When we took off for the hard weekend, it turned out to be perfect weather - sunny & warm, but not hot.  It was just lovely.  Time to sit outside & enjoy the beautiful air & blue skies & pollen filled breeze ;)

Steven Curtis Chapman
Always love seeing my favorite singer.  Loved our seats too.  I picked these because I knew they were on the end & had leg room in front.  Plus, it wasn't TOO close. The front row, their knees were literally TOUCHING the stage & they had to look up the entire time.  I'm glad I got 5 rows back... it was perfect.

Parade Fun
It still is all the talk around our town on how cute & fun & lovely the local parade was.  I'd really love to see it grow & grow. That would be something fun to look forward to each year... or even every few years.

Lazy Sunday
There's not many Sundays where I just lay on the couch & dont do anything after church.... I really soaked up the "nothingness" of the day before going back to work.
"The Nothing"... giving me vibes from The Never Ending Story... who remembers that?

So tell me what good things are happening in your life

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Monday, May 20, 2019

The weekend my husband ended up in a parade?

What a weekend....

We made it - we survived the one year anniversary of dad's passing.

I will say, I'm so glad I took the 2 days off of work on Thursday & Friday. It was good to relax, spend time with family, get lost in some Netflix, read a little, love on the dogs a lot, just take some me time.

Honestly, I have not taken a day off for a 'just because' day off in over a year... so to say it was needed is beyond an understatement.  & I even steered clear of blog land those 2 days, so if I missed something going on big in your life I need to know about - tell me - give me a nudge in my comments like "Go check out Friday's post"... I hate when I miss big announcement from my blog buddies.

So how did we get through... with a lot of laughter & memory sharing & of course, ice cream cake.

Mom picked this one because it looked like a sunflower - & those were my dad's all time favorite flowers.  & he loved ice cream cake.  It always drove me nuts because that was his birthday cake choice every year & I am not an ice cream fan.  But I like sorbet... I know - I'm weird. This is not the only issue I'm weird about.  ... but I ate a big ole piece of ice cream cake for my daddy.

The whole time I was eating it, I was like, This is horrible - this is making me sick - why am I eating this.  & me & my sister in law started laughing because she felt the same way.  The things you do for the ones you love.

But we did go out & enjoyed dinner together....even though it doesnt look like it here.

How are all these camera hiding people my people???? HOW????  At least one of the twins feels me here....

& I guess the other one just wanted a picture all to herself when she got my phone.

You gotta love teenagers
I have to say, I felt such a RELIEF getting to the anniversary date.  Like we have SURVIVED.

& I think I expected it to be so awful of a day in my head, I was glad that instead, it was just a normal day.  Yes, it was full of memories of last year... but I think we all did ok.

A HUGE thank you to so many of you that text me, send a message, send cards.... again, I totally know its the love & support of the people in our lives that carry us through these hard times.

We also had the Steven Curtis Chapman concert on the anniversary date of dad's passing.... & that was such a joy to my heart to go see my favorite singer.

I will say, he sings the song Cinderella about enjoying the dance with his daughters before they grow up & are gone too soon..... & he plays the video in the background as he sings it where he's dancing with the his little girl, then the teenager version of his little girl (who in the video, that young lady is now his daughter in law) & then the last grown up version is really his oldest daughter who got married.....watching that video, & having my emotions totally on high for my dad, it took on a whole new meaning for me - the daughter on the other side of this song.... & I was just so thankful that I had my dad in all the stages of my life. The little girl, the teenager, & the biggest day of my life, my wedding.

I think I'll hear that song totally different now.

(Here's the video if you've never seen it)

Saturday was super fun in our little town when Greenville had a parade to celebrate its bicentennial.
Of course, once again, we all though of my dad. He was ALL ABOUT a little town parade.  Our whole life, every September, we had to drive up to his home town of Dale, Indiana & watch their little town parade. It was tradition.

So when our own little town had a parade - we all said the same thing.... dad would have loved it so much. Heck, I know my daddy & he would have asked if he could ride his horse in it - GUARANTEE IT!!!!

This would have been my dad's favorite part by far!!!
This was my favorite animal
... look at his front legs... dont they look like a man running? haha

But it was super fun because being in a little town, there were so many familiar faces in the parade that we knew.... one of them was my youth kiddo walking with cheerleaders, saw the awesome ladies in our hair salon....

....saw one of my past bride's parents, saw another bride's grand father driving an old truck (which by the way, we took a picture of him dancing at the reception at her wedding that is STILL one of our all time favorite dancing pictures)

... & of course, we were there to root on our 'heart church' that was in the parade with the float "Jesus is our Super Hero"... LOVE THAT... & yes, I've learned to call GCC my "Heart Church"... because spending 15 years there & having so many people there that I still consider my church family - & the way they opened up the church for my family when my dad passed - & having the pastors of this church as my own FRAMILY - yes, it may not be the place I go to every Sunday to worship, or where I serve at - but I do still consider it my church.  Always holds a special place in my heart - so yep, my "heart church"... anyways - so happy to wave at all my church family on that float.

The best part of the parade for me is to see my husband showing me how awesome he is - as usual.

Our neighbors were driving their tractors in the parade.  I was looking down the road in my long range lens & saw them coming... & then, next thing I see, they're stopped in the road.  & then I look through my camera lens again & see one of our neighbors jumping off his tractor & pushing the tractor his wife was on to the side.  I saw what was happening & looked over at Ricky & said, "No one is helping them".... & then my awesome hubby does this.....

Look at him go!!! haha ... Now you need to know - Ricky HATES attention - HATES it more than taxes - that's saying something.  So for him to run down the middle of an empty road on a parade route?  That would be some people's version of public speaking - a small idea of a total nightmare.

But what's so funny to me is he said he could hear people yelling "HEY RICKY" as he was running. I told him he should have at least given a parade wave.  ... I think he just wanted to crawl under a rock... or at least a tractor.

In the end, all was good. Neighbors back on the tractor & finished the parade in true Greenville fashion.

I hope our town does this more often.  & that it grows each year.  I can't believe there wasn't a marching band in there somewhere!  Next year, I'll walk down the road with my Spotify if they need me too... playing Steven Curtis Chapman #obvs

Sunday, we had HSM & I was super excited to see our former HSM worship leader in there - he's gone on to be the Lead Worship Pastor for our campus - he's AMAZING!!! So I soaked in his energy with all our High School students... because their energy goes up with him there.

We had the cutest conversation in our group too when one of our girls told us about her first date the night before.  It was so beyond precious, I could hardly stand it.  I told her she was making me feel those butterflies in my stomach from young love.  These stories just make leading in HSM so much fun.  Makes you feel like a kid again in your own way.

The rest of my Sunday was literally on my couch binging the rest of Season 1 of Lucifer - after I finished watching all of Season 1 of Legacies.  It felt good to just relax the Sunday away....

Time to gear up.  Being off 2 days at work, I know I'll only have a few HUNDRED emails to go through... & we're back to MOVING DAY again this Friday, where we move back down to our new location #supersmall #cramusallin #cantbreath #makethebestofitanyways ....I needed the relaxing day before this week.

So how was your weekend?

Does your town have a little parade?

Have you ever listened to Steven Curtis Chapman or saw him in concert?

Does your family hate picture taking too?

Thursday, May 16, 2019

A very hard & emotional Thankful Thursday....#221

This is it... the day

One year.

One year without my daddy.

This is the day I really DONT want to be Thankful.
This is the day that feels like we are coming to the finish line of some sorts in a long marathon -
 as strange as that seems.

I really fought with myself on what do to about my Thankful Thursday post.
But the one thing I stand on a soap box about is that you can ALWAYS find God working in ALL things.  There are blessings in the small things that mean a lot.

So today,  on this day where I'm reliving every moment of last year - & feeling lost & sad & heartbroken ... I'm trying to shift my focus to the positive.
Maybe not find the "good"... but find some sort of blessings have have happened in the events of my daddy leaving this world.

This may not be a long post... but that its a post at all means something to me.

So today, I'll try & find the blessings ...

.... deep breath.... 
this is gonna be a tough one

Image may contain: 2 people, including Rebecca Jo Vincent, people smiling

This year I am Thankful For:

I'll never forget the nurses that took care of us that day in the hospital.  That helped us make hard decisions.  That took care of us while they also took precious care of my daddy.  I'll never forget the nurse that came up from the ER, who was with us when they delivered the news... & she came up to the ICU to see us after her shift was over.  Hugged us all & cried with us.  She told me later -when I had to go back for my 2nd ER surgery & she was MY nurse - she remembered me!!! - she had said she makes it a point to not get connected strongly with patients because it just gets too hard.... but she said there was just something about our family.  The way my mother was lost without my dad - the way she begged him to wake up - the way me & my brother handled the situation - the way our family & friends surrounded one another - she said we just stuck to her heart & it broke for us. 
 It really was the nurses that were angels that day.

Friends / Family on THAT day
I'll still never figure out how fast some of our friends & family got to the hospital when we got the news about dad.  Honestly - I had just gotten to the hospital myself when friends were already in the waiting room.  Family was already being ushered in.  When dad got taken to the ICU after we found there was nothing we could do, the waiting room there was already full of people who rushed to support us & love on us & help us.  & while we stayed in the ICU 99% of that day, our friends & family sat in that waiting room, asking to do something to help - bringing food in, drinks in, checking on us, lifting prayers, giving hugs. Surrounding us with love. I am eternally grateful.

I still am so thankful how my daddy's funeral turned out.  We still say that we dont know what or if you can see anything from heaven, but man, I hope dad got some sort of glimpse of it - because he would be one proud cowboy.  Between his wood casket & his saddle on top & his sunflowers flowing over top ... & of course, his baby boy, his horse, leading the way to his eternal resting spot.  I know dad could not have wanted more for his last hurrah out of this world.

I'm still also amazed & grateful for the strangers that got Cochese to the funeral. I know I talked about that so many times, but how it all fell through to get the horse there & then everyone sharing our need on Facebook... & strangers actually stepping up & doing SO MUCH for us that day.  I honestly think about them all the time & just lift up a prayer of gratitude for their sweet kindness to us.

Funeral visitors
For some reason, after the funeral, I got so upset about the people who didn't come to my dad's funeral - or visit us at the funeral home.  Some of the ones who didnt show really hurt me.  Broke my heart. I felt like we, or my dad, should have meant more to some people who could have taken the time to come give last respects.  I'm not proud to say that.  & it really made me angry at times weeks after the funeral.  Now, I understand life is busy - Heck, I know some people didnt even find out till too late - & I get now that I am taking anger out of my loss on  others.. 

But now I stop & remembered ALL the people that did take the time to drive up to a little town in Indiana & give us a hug, sit & talk with us, let us know they were sorry.  Some people came a pretty big distance too... for just a few hours... but they did it for us.  People we haven't seen in years showed up.... people from my last church that I hadn't prayed with in the longest time were next to me lifting us up to God.... people who didnt even know us but knew my dad still came, just to give "Red" one last goodbye.  That's what I focus on now. & am so beyond grateful for each & every person we talked to, hugged on, loved on, spoke to, comforted us, sent flowers, , took care of us... all of it.  If any of these things were you.... PLEASE know how grateful we are for your love those 2 hard days at the funeral.  Its every single person who stood next to us that kept us from falling.

My goodness... for all the people  who didn't live close by, all the cards we received - I just cant put into words.  I still have my box I bought just to hold them.  Who knew that the mail could hold little pieces of heaven in them?  Because its words of kindness & love that I would open up & tears would drip down on them & I could just feel the hugs & love from all the distances they came from.

I still say its the craziest thing ever that my dad always told his brother who was fighting his battle with pancreatic cancer, that he would get to heaven before him.  HOW & WHY this came out of my dad's mouth? I'll never know.... but when my dad's brother ended up passing away just about 10 weeks later, I have to say, I feel like God knew my dad wouldnt have been able to see his baby brother leave this world.  I really think it would have just broke my dad.  So I really do feel like in my heart, God knew my dad needed to be there in Heaven to welcome his brother home.  I just see it in my mind.  .... I told Ricky just the other day, I sure hope my uncle told dad all about his funeral & they just laughed & laughed about it.  "Yep Tommie, your horse was really there!"

Image may contain: 2 people, including Tim Wood, people standing, hat and outdoor

Pictures & videos
I think I aggravate everyone with all the pictures I take.  I've always done it my whole life.  I've had a photographer's soul in me since the days of developing film & Kodak booths were a the thing. & man, I'm so grateful for all the pictures I have of my dad the past few years.  They come up in my Timehop & they make me smile. Instantly bring back memories of that day & what were doing. I can almost hear his laugh.... which makes me even more thankful for videos we have of him.  & it does hurt a little that we dont have more videos.  I'm always the picture person & I wish wish wish I had more videos where I see him moving, see that walk, hear that voice, especially that chuckle.  It hurts sometimes to see it, but man, some days I just CRAVE to hear that voice ... "Bec"... oh man... why didnt I save all those voice mails?.... but I'll just keep flipping through all the years of pictures - watching my daddy with that bright red hair when I got married - to the growing of white shooting out of that beard while he became a grand parent.  It's watching his life over & over again... all from a single click.

& side note - for your own life - PLEASE take more pictures. & if you are one of those people that hate being in front of a camera - do it for those you love. They truly are priceless treasures!

Kind of the same as above... but I love the emails from my dad.  You know how people are behind a screen ... just look at this post for instance. It's where you can be more vulnerable - open - say things you probably wouldn't say to someone to their face.  My dad had really connected to the internet & loved emailing - & sending stupid YouTube videos - every day.  & LORDY- if I didnt have a blog post up by 10am, he was REALLY emailing me wondering where I was. If I was OK.  I have kept a lot of his emails that were really deep thoughts or words I wanted to remember.  I put them in a folder & go back & reread all his misspelled words. Dad was the worst speller... but man, it was him.  & when I read these emails, I just try to feel like he's just still on the other side of the screen, still saying these words... still waiting for that next blog post... & still checking in on me to see if I was ok for the day.

HAHA... always has been a family thing.  That number pops up everywhere.  But when dad passed away & we found that letter he had wrote years before & said when we see white horses or 444, it means he's near....& man, do we ever see it. I post all the time on IG where we see it - & its always at the funniest moments.  I love even more when I get texts or emails with a pic where others pop up seeing 444 & say, "Hi Rebecca's Dad"... that just brings a smile to my heart.  I just have to know his spirit is near somehow, some way in those moments.

Hope in Jesus
 I honestly dont know what I would do without my relationship with God during all of this loss & feeling the emptiness over the past year.  It's truly an emptiness that I know ONLY God can fill.  

YES - I can totally add onto this so many more things I'm grateful for over the past year during this - especially my husband, my mother, my brother & his family, my aunts & uncles, all my family, all the sweet friends... SO MANY PEOPLE... so many things.... I feel like I have tried to really do that over the year pointing out specific areas in these thankful posts.

But the Hope in Jesus... man, its just amazing how I've just been forced to LEAN into Him & His comfort ... grateful for the promises that the Bible gives us... for the comfort that my heart can find in knowing God is near me through every tear that has fallen.... so grateful that my daddy raised me to know who our Savior was & especially knowing that  my daddy believed & trusted in that too.  

The hope of a future together... the hope of a reunion... the hope of an eternal life with one another - with all of our loved ones ... & all of it with Jesus.

I could not be more thankful in my life for the earthly father I have had ... & beyond that, I am grateful he pointed me to my Heavenly Father to carry me & comfort me & love me while my daddy can't be here to do that.

I love you daddy... I will always be grateful for the 46 years I had with you. Knowing so many dont get that many years with their father.  Grateful for the priorities you have instilled in me, for the examples you showed me & the love you showered on me & the direction you have pointed me.... heaven bound.
 In the hardest of loss, I know I am blessed.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Looking back....

It's just been a crazy few weeks.

On my Timehop ever since the end of April, when it was my first emergency surgery, I've been looking back at the pictures from a year ago & thinking, "You had no idea what was ahead".... & then as I get past the surgery pictures.... it really has hit my emotions this past week.  Knowing that time was limited with my time with my daddy. 

He had no idea... but the countdown to the end of his life was on.
It's crazy to look back at that now.

It's choked me up & just been the most surreal thing to look back on.
"This is the last picture my dad posted on Facebook" (it was of me after my surgery)
"This is the last email I got from my dad"
"This was the last comment my dad made on my blog"
"This is the last time I saw him with his horse"
"This is what I looked like the last day I talked to dad"

... & then the 14th comes & its the one day I didn't talk to my dad.  I dont know why... I talked to my dad every single day.  Either on the phone, or through email - but I always had some contact with him... & for some reason - last May 14th, I didnt.

& May 15th, he was laying in a hospital unresponsive.

I dont know how or why some things work.
Did dad not feel good that day?
Why did he call other people he didn't typically talk to, but not call me?

So many questions go through my  mind....

& yet, here we are. One year later.

In true Wood fashion, we don't do anything normal or small.... & the 15th is the day my dad's body turned on him. The day we lost him - I always say the 15th was when his spirit left him.... & yet, his body gave out on the 16th, around 5am... so his death certificate says he passed away on the 16th, but to us, he left us on the 15th.... so I always say that my dad passed away on 2 days.  See, the Woods dont' do anything usual or ordinary.
The picture on the left... when we had to let go & say goodbye
The picture on the right was when we first got to see him after getting the news of the dire circumstances
You can see what the toll his body went through those 19 hours

Over the past few weeks, so much has been brought up to my mind - things I think about over & over - the things I can't shake some days. The things that replay over & over. The things that define grief to me.....

So todays post isn't cheery & rainbows & butterflies, but on the one year date where we lost dad, I'm just going to put them out there... call it therapy 101.... I call it reflecting in utter shock that I've gone around this world in a complete rotation, 365 days, without my daddy......

The Room
I always hear if you are ushered into a little room in a hospital, to be nervous. When I called my brother & told him I was at the hospital, he said to meet him at the room at the entrance. I walked in & it never clicked to me we were in THE "room".

It was all just crazy timing too because when I got to the hospital, I just told the receptionist, I'm there to see Tom Wood - & they let me go back. I didnt see my brother so I just walked around... unknowingly, I was standing right by dad's room & never looked in there. I'm so glad I didnt because I'm sure the sight of what was happening before knowing the circumstances that lay ahead  may have made me pass out.

But the even crazier thing was my brother said he just KNEW I was there. He said he told his wife, "Rebecca is here - I can feel it" & that's when I called him & told him I couldn't find him... & he met me at the room.

As soon as we walked in & Tony told me, the doctor told us to wait here (why didnt I see red flags????), the doctor ended up walking in the other entrance to the room & delivered the news to us that dad would not be waking up & his brain was 75% full of blood.... then mumble mumble mumble... everything else was just sort of mumbled to me. Enough so, that I looked at my sister in law & said, "What did he just say?" - like she could talk clearer.... the doctor then repeated everything word for word what he just said previously.

.... people talk about moments in your life that stand out in a memory as a moment that changes your life.... this was that moment....

Now, every time I'm in a hospital, I look for these "little rooms" everywhere. & let me tell you, being in the ER a few more times after dad has passed away - with my own surgery & taking mom there, I pass that room on the corner every time & just want to throw up.

The Dress
I had left my house on the 15th at the usual time - 6:50am.  Got the text from my brother they were going to the ER around 9:50am... got to the hospital & stayed there till 6:30am on the 16th.  I still can remember how tired I was driving home, in pure shock of what just happened & also just numb.  I honestly thought I was going to fall asleep behind that wheel, in the car alone. Ricky was driving his car behind me & had me on the phone to keep me & himself awake.... but man, what a long drive.  A country road is long anyways on a good day - but on a night morning like that?

When I walked into the house, I literally just shed my clothes.  I wanted the smell of that hospital off of me. I wanted to just lay down.... & I threw my dress in the bottom of my closet & threw on a robe & instantly fell asleep.

Do you know... we are at 1 year & that dress is still in the bottom of my closet.

I just can't touch it. I haven't moved it - I've thrown things on top if it & have picked those up - but I just cant touch that dress.  I've thought about getting it up & dry cleaning it & using it for a celebration of some sort - even thought about wearing it to the Steven Curtis Chapman concert tomorrow night.... but I just can't.

I love that dress too... but the memory of it now & what it represents to me...

I'm not sure what to do there.... leave it? Have someone pick it up for me?
I dont know how to handle this one...

It honestly freaks me out & blows my mind that my dad passed away around 5am & we were sitting in a funeral home making decisions at 12pm.   7 hours later.... on 2 hours sleep.... making these huge decisions.  It just gives me such anxiety thinking about it.  Even more so - I think, my dad was alive 24 hours ago & we're sitting in the funeral home picking out his casket.  There has nothing that has been so surreal to me.  Planning how you want to handle such a big event - & you do it in such a rush.  I mean, look how long it takes to plan a wedding & that's basically a few hour event.  A funeral?  That's what they're clothed in forever. That's what they lay in forever. It's where their body rests forever.  & let's make this decisions quicker than I make my grocery list. 

I think we handled it incredibly well... people STILL talk to me about how beautiful the service was & the way we did dad's funeral.... but man, the pressure. The thinking if it could have been better if we were able to even get a good night's sleep.

No Tears
People ask me all the time how did I speak at my father's funeral.... but I felt like I had to - & I dont know if I was just "Misison minded" because I didn't cry... at my father's funeral.  I'm not even sure I really cried during the whole day before at the funeral home.  I think I was so shocked, I honestly COULDNT cry.  I've always had thoughts on what it would be like when/if my dad passed away & I just envisioned I would be inconsolable ... & yet, I stood up in front of people & spoke.  I was the one who comforted others, hugging them telling them it would be OK. 

I always thought when I saw my dad laying there for the first time in that casket, I wouldnt be able to handle it.  What happened?  I helped my mom fix his hair, helped organize flowers, helped get everything ready for the opening to visitors.... get the job done, make sure everything is just right, work, work, work.

I think I've always been a kind of person that when tragedy happens, I'm the tough one. I am the one who feels like I need to hold it together for everyone. I'm the one who wants to help in these situations.  I seriously entertained being a church chaplain at one time in my life because I felt like it was a gift God has given me. 

Which is kind of crazy because I'm typically the one who freaks out over small things & gets anxiety about simple issues & emotion?  I'm crying over Sarah McLachlan commercials .... but my own father's funeral?  It still just blows my mind the way my mind handled it. I still struggle with emotion when it comes to his passing.  Crying in front of anyone about it? No... but let me drive down the road & have some sort of memory of dad & I'll bawl my eyes out till I can't breath.  Being alone & think of him or run across his picture? I feel like someone has punched me in the gut & I literally can't breath.  But if someone is there or someone asks me about him .... that "I'm good - I can handle this" emotion comes back into play.

It makes me even feel bad. Like an awful daughter.  I mean, I couldnt even breath from crying at my best friend's funeral... ... & when our dogs passed away?  Forget it, I couldnt move out of my bed for a week....

In my mind, I just feel like it's the living out of the scripture of leaning into God for HIS strength & not my own. I have to feel like this was God's protection of my heart in all this.... no other way I could have made it through.

Related image

Cans Popping
.... I dont think I ever told this story... but me & my mom laugh about it.
On the way to the funeral home the day of my dad's funeral, I had a case of sparkling water in the back of my car.  It wasn't hot - it wasn't cold.  It was just a cool morning, cloudy, nothing special about the weather.  All of a sudden, a can of my sparkling water explodes in the back of my car.  Scared us both to death.  Next thing - another can.  Now, the drive from our house to the funeral home is about a 30 minute drive & do you know, the ENTIRE drive up, a can would explode.... when we pulled into the parking lot, one last can exploded.  I got out & opened up the hatch of my car & that was it  - every single can had exploded. HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN?  I mean, if I've ever had a can explode in my car, its because it was hot, or extremely cold.  & then, its usually ONE can .... not the entire case.. & it wasn't even like the cans were distorted from a pressure of any sort. It was the craziest thing. I'm glad my mom was in the car with me to attest that it happened.  We both said it was just dad poking us to let us know he was near on this day we were so lost without him.

Royal Wedding
So we had found a note my dad had written before (We estimated it was years before because he referenced the twins being little) but he had said when he left this world, for us to keep an eye out for white horses & the number 444 & for us to know he was near..... OK, so on the morning of his funeral, it was the royal wedding of Harry & Meagan.  I am that person who got up to watch Princess Di's wedding when I was little. I watched William & Kate's wedding... so I was used to going witout sleep in the week dad passed away so got up early to watch this wedding.  & didn't think anything of it - until someone who knew about my dad's note said, "You know your dad just gave you his first sign, right"... what in the world? ... she said, "All morning long, I just kept thinking, look - there's white horses everywhere.... & 4 of them driving the bride & groom... on the day of his funeral"....

Image result for harry meghan wedding horse carriage

I didnt even think about it... but that's pretty cool, isn't it?

You know, its weird to hit that one year mark.  I mean, I know none of us are making it out of this world alive (dad used to tell me that ALL THE TIME) but you just dont really think its going to happen. You never focus on it.  & it did indeed happen to us.  In a blink of an eye.... & it still feels unreal.

I still have those moments of thinking he's a phone call away.  Ricky wanted to call him when he watch a western movie the other day & thought, Oh, wait.  When we found some old slides with pictures of dad with his grandparents, I instantly thought, "Dad is going to be so excited to see these pictures".  Dad's presence is still so much around.... & yet, I still can't believe he's not.

I'm hoping as we get past this year mark, I start focusing more on the fun memories ... the good memories... instead of focusing from the moment I was rushing to the hospital, up to the pain of knowing we've 'survived' one year without him....

Grief is just a funny thing... the way it makes you feel... the memories it brings to mind....
& I know that every year, I'll still think back on where we were  - how it played out - how unbelievable it was ... & I'm sure that pain will always be there & the emptiness that is our life without my daddy.  But I'm also praying that it gets a smidgen easier too.

You are missed dad.... our world just isn't the same without you.... never will be....
We are doing our best though.  Trying to find the joy in a day like you always did.  You definitely taught us that.... live for today, love forever.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Show us your books (May 2019)

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Last month was not a very good book month for me - this one made up for it.
3 really good books... & a new favorite.
I'm totally here for Nevermoor & the entire series!!! 

I have to say, all my books I have this month?  All books that I have seen recommendations for - this is why I love this community of readers that link up with Show Us Your Books!  Thanks so much Steph & Jana for hosting!!!!

***** / LOVED IT!!!!!

Quick Summary:  A cursed child, Morrigan Crow, is rescued before her demise on her 11th birthday by a ginger haired man who takes her to the land of Nevermoor where she has to compete to become a member of the Wondrous Society.

OK... I've seen this one floating around a bit with the recommendation that if you love Harry Potter, you'll love this one. ALL THE YES!!!!!!!!!!! - I cant say that enough myself.  I dont know how this book isn't getting all the raving & following behind it.

It's full of magic, of charm, of relationship, of the classic good vs. evil - a story of growing up & learning who you are & who you will become... all wrapped up in a magical place.

I was drawing comparisons throughout the book between this & Harry Potter - even the characters... Jupitor North is my new Dumbledore... the Magnificat is totally my new Hagrid... Morrigan is the new Harry with Jack & Hawthorne the new Ron & Hermione ...

I got this one from the library & I loved it so much, I'm ordering the hardback copy for my library & ordering the 2nd one so I already have it... I am absolutely in love with this story.

In the end: I ADORE this book so much & so glad to have a book that gives me all the Harry Potter feels!!!

"The point is - as far as the Society is concerned - if you are not honest, & determined, & brave, then it doesn't matter how talented you are"


How to Walk Away
**** / Loved It

Quick Summary:  Maggie's life is changed after an accident & she has to work hard with her family & her physical therapist to try & find a new purpose in her world.

I've seen so many people talking about this & I had no idea what the story was even about.  & to show you how clueless I am, it wasn't till I was through the first chapter & closed the book that I saw there's a plane on the cover - NEVER saw it before. I only focused on the flowers... which after reading this book, says something.

I found this book to be real & inspiring. Full of motivation. I loved the relationships in it - it didn't feel too romance-y, just enough - & I love the family dynamic - want Kitty as my own sister. I just really thought it was a easy, nice, thoughtful read.  Full of encouragement for when life gets flipped upside down & all your plans you thought you'd had, didn't work out like you envisioned.

In the end: I closed this book loving this family, rooting for Maggie & Ian & just a smile on my face.  Love a book that I didnt know I was going to enjoy so much.

"Because that's all we can do:  carry the sorry when we have to, & absolutely savor the joy when we can.  Life is always, always both."


The Book of Essie
***1/2 / Like it

Quick Summary: A preacher & his family share their life on a reality TV show (much like the Duggars) but what secrets are behind the scenes & what happens when their youngest daughter takes things in her own hands.

This book is all sorts of disturbing.  But the kind that held me tight to see how it would all play out.

It's told from 3 different point of views - Essie, the daughter of the family - Liberty Bell, the reporter who has her own life changing situation that revolved around her family - & Roarke, the young man who gets swept into the story to help Essie.

You will think of the Duggars throughout this whole book... especially in light of their family dramas that took their show off the air

In the end:  This one held me in for the long haul. I ended up sitting up one night till I finished it because I had to find out how it was going to end.  Powerful messages all tucked throughout the 3 points of view.
Be warned: this book can hold some triggers for some.

"It's men who trust they will suffer no consequences for their actions, while women suffer no matter what they do"



And Still She Laughs

Quick Summary:  Kate Merrick lost her daughter after a battle with cancer & the book is her journey on suffering & loss & relating it to what the Bible says about it.

Obviously, this one is a tough heart tugger.  I read it, still dealing with the loss of my daddy & need all the inspiration I can get from scripture in these times.  Kate definitely gave me some nuggets to hold onto - but I feel like this book is geared more toward a specific loss - one being the loss of a child.  But it does still speak in a little bit of a more general loss.

It's really quick too - Just at 224 pages... & its got moments of real life in it that will make you smile. My favorite take away? "It's just poop" - there's a whole chapter on that phrase.. .& I'll start using it myself now.

In the end: Great reminders of people in the Bible who also dealt with suffering & heart ache & the biggest reminder that God is near in it all. A book totally good for the soul in a hard time.

“Setting aside the fear of the future sets us free—and in it we realize we never had control in the first place.” 

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Life According to Steph

Monday, May 13, 2019

The weekend that went from a fail to a win....


Man, it was really cool around here this weekend.  Its mid-May & our highs were in the mid 60's.  I'm not complaining though. I'd rather it be super cool, rather than the humid heat of summer early in.  It just felt so funny to wear sweaters & long sleeves during Mother's Day.

Here's how the weekend went....


*Went after work to pick up my car after FOUR days of it being in the shop.... when it was only going to take one. Yeah. YEAHHHH.  Just problem after problem.  I'm still not completely happy with my service. REALLY not happy with the way one of the employees talked to me over the past 4 days.  Rudeness is just beyond me. I dont get people that deal in customer service & then have zero tact for CUSTOMER SERVICE.  Basically calling a customer a liar isn't good service, just in case someone wasn't aware of that. Geez. 

* Ricky & I drove my car to see how it was functioning & decided to pick up some dinner. #FAIL ... we ran to Chillburger because we were told that they now have veggie burgers. I was NOT happy.  AT ALL.  First of all, the price of this stuff is cray-cray.  The burger alone is $9.50 & then you have to pay for your side.  An order of onion rings is $4.50... So you're paying $14.00 for a burger & Fries.  Needless to say, it cost over $30.00 for the two of us when you add in drinks. THATS CRAZY!!! ... & the worst part - it tasted AWFUL.  When I can't eat a veggie burger, something is really wrong.  To top it off, we ate outside because the place was freezing inside. They had the air cranking & it was only 63 degrees outside.  We went outside thinking it would be warmer... but Ricky literally was shaking the whole time.eating.  I was OK because I didnt want to eat anything (BLEH) so I was able to wrap myself up with my arms. 

Friday was just a fail.....


*I got up early to head out to watch my niece in a tennis tournament.  She seriously impresses me SO MUCH in how far she's come with her tennis skills.  She won every game she played & got a 1st place trophy in the end.  It chokes me up big time though because my dad would be SO INCREDIBLY PROUD to see the player she's become. (My dad played in high school & he & my mom used to play doubles - tennis has always been a sport in our family)  But she is so fun to watch now.... her coach even came to talk to my SIL & was saying that if she continues her training over the summer, she very well expects her to make the varsity team next year in her freshman year of High School.  I can't wait to continue to watch her improve & keep that eye on the US Open one day!!! (Can you even imagine????)

* I enjoyed having a camera back in my hands. I've not done pictures since my world basically imploded last May & through the whole year... a year without me picking up my camera with any intent?  It's been tough to my soul. I've felt like I've lot a little bit of who I am with that.  So I was glad to bring my camera to capture some moments for my niece.

* The best part of my day was spending time with my other niece & my sister in law.  I literally laughed so hard the entire day that I had no eye make up left from tears.  Me & my niece were playing games all day long with a pen & paper ... hangman, a drawing challenge, dots & square game (whatever its called)... we just had the best time in between matches.

* Started Dead to Me on Netflix.... totally hooked - binged it straight through!

Image result for dead to me netflix


* Went to HSM.  Numbers were a little lower with it being Mother's Day & the day after prom in our area.  But its always so good. There was a Senior High student who was super vulnerable sharing her story - but man, how powerful for students to see someone their own age open up & talk about how God has worked & moved in their life. 

* Celebrated Mother's Day.... Ricky went to spend time with his momma (Missed my in-laws!! Happy Mother Days Maggie!!! LOVE YOU) & I went to spend time with my momma.  I took over the horse duties for Ricky & cranked on music & really enjoyed spending time in the barn alone with the horses. When you can take your time & enjoy loving on the horses, I can see where my dad had a heart for it.....

But my brother had to go to work so it was another ladies night out for dinner.....

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We really had a great time celebrating

& bam... weekend over. Just like that.... always in a blink.

I'll give a heads up... this week is going to be a tough one.  This is the week. The dreaded week. 
The one year anniversary of my daddy passing.

It was actually Mother's Day last year - it was the last day I saw my daddy - talked to him.... Dont think that wasn't on my mind the entire day on Mother's Day this year....

Yep....this week will be a tough one... but we get through as always... Pressing on!!!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Friday Favorites

Image result for friday favorites knit by god's hand
Click pic for links

Favorite Bookmarks

Faux Leather Tassel Bookmarks

Favorite Shoes

Get them from ModCloth for $49 (available in sizes 5-11).

ok.. who didnt love Hello Kitty stuff as a kid?
So I kinda love these grown up version of that little face

Favorite Eco Friendly Bag

I love these bags that fold up into a tiny little thing you can put in your pocket.
Perfect to take into any store & save from using plastic

Favorite Royal Moment

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - MAY 8: (NEWS EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO COMMERCIAL USE. NO MERCHANDISING, ADVERTISING, SOUVENIRS, MEMORABILIA or COLOURABLY SIMILAR. NOT FOR USE AFTER FRIDAY JUNE 7, 2019, WITHOUT PRIOR WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM ROYAL COMMUNICATIONS AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE.) This photograph is provided to you strictly on condition that you will make no charge for the supply, release or publication of it and that these conditions and restrictions will apply (and that you will pass these on) to any organisation to whom you supply it. There shall be no commercial use whatsoever of the photographs (including by way of example only) any use in merchandising, advertising or any other non-news editorial use. The photograph must not be digitally enhanced, manipulated or modified in any manner or form and must include all of the individuals in the photograph when published. All other requests for use should be directed to the Buckingham Palace Press Office in writing.) Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex are joined by her mother, Doria Ragland, as they show their new son, born on Monday and named as Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, to the Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle on May 8, 2019 in Windsor, England.  (Photo by Chris Allerton/SussexRoyal via Getty Images)

I love his name is Archie!!
PLEASE let him be redheaded!!!
But I love this picture with Meagan's mom right there beaming at her grandson.
& how happy does the Queen look.

Favorite Running Shoes
True story, my mom bought me similar floral sneakers as a gift a few years ago, and I get compliments on them every time I wear them to this day. She went back a few days later to try and get herself a pair, and they were sold out. So, if you're on the fence, just get them so you both don't have any regret later. Get them from Nike for $140 (available in sizes 5-12 and in black and orange).

OK... these are little higher priced - $140.00
but ROSES!!!!

Favorite Pillow Case

I totally have to try this - I usuallly fall asleep with wet hair & this is brilliant
A Wet -Head Pillow case - its absorbent on one side!!!

Favorite Cleaning Product

Promising review: "This is the answer to a prayer! My mom suffered a stroke and no longer has the use of one arm, which makes tasks such as pouring laundry detergent very difficult! Now she just puts the cup on this holder and presses the button with her good hand! It's also fabulous at stopping the drips!" รข€”TilaraGet it from Amazon for $10.95.

Keep your detergent from making those dripping spots underneath!!!

Favorite Art Print

I want this in my little girls bedroom! LOVE!!!! She was beautiful sign | girls bedroom sign | modern farmhouse bedroom decor | distressed shabby chic plaque | wooden wall decor | farmhouse nursery decor | rustic decor | kids room art #ad #shabbychicbedroomsrustic #shabbychicbedroomsgirls #shabbychicdecorrustic #shabbychicdecorbedroom #decorativeplaques #moderndecoration #KidsBedroomDecor

A friend sent this to me & I love it!!!

Favorite Funnies

Afternoon Funny Meme Dump 36 Pics

Morning Funny Meme Dump 36 Pics

Afternoon Funny Meme Dump 35 Pics

Morning Funny Meme Dump 37 Pics

Morning Funny Meme Dump 35 Pics

Afternoon Funny Meme Dump 33 Pics

.... me on a Saturday when my Keurig starts brewing

GIPHY! ( March 27, 2019 at 03:32AM

... when I start singing Be Our Guest

GIPHY! ( May 6, 2019 at 07:49PM

... when someone tells me how incredibly humble they are

GIPHY! ( December 10, 2018 at 04:21PM

... the hubs reaction when I snap at him for not picking up his socks

GIPHY! ( February 13, 2019 at 07:09PM

... me at 4:30pm today

GIPHY! ( February 19, 2016 at 04:04PM

Happy Friday Y'all!!!