Wednesday, May 30, 2018

My daddy's eulogy

We were so blessed to have our amazing friend/adopted son/buddy do the funeral for my daddy.  Ryan has always just been an incredible man of God & just someone who loves on people well.  He had come to see my dad in the hospital in the past & my dad just thought the world of Ryan & his family & especially those kiddos of his.  It just felt right having Ryan do the funeral & we are so blessed he was willing to do it for us.

But there was something in me that knew I needed to speak at dad's funeral.  I dont know what it was. I think because dad told me one time that he was so proud of me for speaking God's word to others & he felt like it would make his own Papaw proud (who was a Methodist minster himself)... so I just knew I had to say something.

What to say though? ... yeah....
I literally started writing ideas on what to say after we left the funeral home & made arrangements.  
But I ended up writing & tearing up... writing & then shredding.  I know I wrote about 10 different things. Nothing felt good enough. Nothing felt right.

I woke up the morning of the funeral at my mom's house & when she woke up, I said, "I'm sorry - I can't do it - I cant come up with anything"... my mom never expected me to be able to do it anyways & told me not to worry about it.  & so I drove to the funeral home feeling like I was just going to sit back & hear words spoken about my daddy.

& then I walked in the funeral home with 3 hours to the service... & I just grabbed a notebook & a pen & went into a room alone... & wrote...

& this is what I spoke at daddy's funeral.  Or at least what I THINK I said. ... I'm sure I added some things when I spoke - & reading back over this in the messy handwriting I was jotting down in emotional moments - I noticed a whole section I left out (I'll put that in red in case you were at the funeral & you think, "wait, did I blank out at that point" )...

I'm putting this here because I want it for memory sake... & I want to share a little bit about my daddy from my point of view - what the day felt like to me... to honor my dad.  I told everyone afterwards that I just did this to make my daddy proud.  It's all I've ever wanted in life.... so here we go....


Thank you for coming today to honor my dad. I know if you are here, you have loved my dad. & if you are here in support of myself or my brother, that is a result of who our father made us, so you also are here because you love my dad.

Please allow me some grace as I stand here & speak of him & know I'm going to stumble across some words & thoughts.

It's a strange & odd thing speaking at the funeral of the man who has loved me from the beginning of my life & helped shaped the person you are & have become.  In the hours & days that have passed since dad unexpectedly left us, I have felt at such a loss of words.  I suppose its because with dad in our lives, there was always something to talk about - laugh about - something to learn from him.  In all of this hurt & pain over the days, its moments like this where you want to call your father to help you make it through.

He was good with that - making me feel safe & protected.  When I was 6 years old, we took a family vacation to Florida & stopped in Sea World.  We went to watch a 3D movie - when 3D movies just started coming out & didnt know what to expect.  I sat in the chair & watched it, when all of a sudden, a huge snake leaped from the screen & scared me so much.  I started crying, truly feeling like I was being attacked by this snake.  But dad took my glasses off of me & put his arms around me  & held me in his lap.  He told me when it was safe to put the glasses back on.  I trusted him & his guidance in that & put the glasses back on, to finish watching the movie with all the fun scenes,  full of smiles.  Today, I wish I could feel my dad's arms around me & he would take these glasses off of my face that is reflecting a view that I never wanted to see in my life.

Dad never hid death from us.  All his years serving as a Baptist deacon in the church, I remember going with him to many funeral homes as he comforted others, or going to hospitals or people's homes, dad would always be there just being an ear for others or a shoulder to lean on.  Dad raised us in church - on a faith of who our Heavenly Father is & he has always assured us what it to come for those who accept Jesus as their Savior - & for that, I know where he is right now.

When I think of my father - so much comes to mind right now.  I know it will always be that way.  Sights & smells of things.  But for now, what I think of when I think of my dad:
He is all things cowboy... cowboy hats, boots, horses, westerns.
He is every trip to Tractor Supply & everything inside of the store.
He is Hershey bars & cashews & peanut shells laying on newspapers.
He is root beer or Big Red floats.
Dad is back road driving... Oh, how he was back road driving. He'd leave me car sick & green faced with every trip & he'd laugh about it every time.
Dad is trips to Dale (Indiana) to hear the same stories over & over & over & over again of his childhood.  Stories of his Papaw Beanblossom & his Nanya & Uncle Bill
He is Willie Nelson songs & Johnny Cash & every country song playing in the 70's.
Dad is every YouTube video of funny things & old gospel music. You know dad loved you if you got emails full of videos to watch that made no sense but knew it made him laugh.
He is phone calls asking me "Why dont you have a blog post up yet? Are you OK?"
He is a cheerleader on sidelines of basketball games & tennis matches rooting on his girls.
He is every horse you will see in a pasture.
He is wood making & the smell of hardware stores & the smell of lumber yards.
He is Mason fish on Saturday & the smell of onions the rest of the day.
He is the example of what makes a marriage work through all the good & bad times.

I dont know what dad is to you - you may know him from Henry Vogt working on machines - you may know him from installing windows - you may know him as a cowboy or through his love of horses - you may know him from serving or worshiping with him in church through the years.  You may have been blessed to call him cousin, uncle, brother, family, friend.  For our family, we had the honor of calling him dad, Papaw, husband.  But I know if you knew my dad, he touched you in some form of love.  That's how he did life after all - loving & serving others the best he could.  Always.

I keep thinking of my dad & what he would be telling us today.   He always had an attitude of just not worrying about things.  I have had some trials I've gone through recently with a surgery & my dad's response to every thing I worried about was, "it will work out - it will all be OK'.  That was how my dad viewed life.  He really did use the Bible's scriptures of not worrying about tomorrow because today has enough worries of its own.  Dad always reminded us that worrying wouldn't change anything that was happening. We'd make it through & it would all be just fine.  & I know that dad wouldn't want us to worry or be sad for what he is experiencing in this moment.  He would understand us being sad for this moment but he would not want us to be sad for him.

My dad's body is here... his spirit & soul is gone.  But I am reassured of all that life has shown me in lessons from dad & know he will be standing next to Jesus when I get there.

I just ask you to continue to lift up my family in your own prayers as we tackle this world without the firm foundation of my dad.   Pray for my brother - who became my dad's best friend these past few years - going on car rides wherever dad wanted to go, taking care of appointments together, piddling in barns with horses or garages with cars or working in yards & pastures.  I know my dad is so proud of the man & father my brother has become himself.

Pray for the twins, who totally completed my dad's world.  Dad's biggest fear in life was that he would pass away before they would really be able to remember him.  I truly believe he is so imprinted in their lives & on their heart now, it will be impossible for them to not remember who their Papaw is.  He will, after all, live on through them - through every tennis swing Sophia takes in her matches & in every visit to the barn or every grass cutting job Madi does.

Pray for my mom who has literally grown up with dad by her side.  They have tackled life together - everything thrown in their way - & life is not always kind.  It's full of joys & heartache - but they survived everything together.  Please continue to pray hard for my mom & to help her out anyway you possibly can. She's going to need everyone she can lean on in the time ahead.

& pray for me as I learn to face life without the unconditional love & support I always knew was there at any phone call or visit down the road from my daddy.

Today, we say goodbye to the most incredible man I've ever known.
Dad, we have been so blessed to have you for all the time we did.  We are grateful for all you have taught us & will cling desperately to all the amazing memories you leave in our hearts & our mind. Our lives are FOREVER changed because of you.

Dad left a note to mom that we found on Thursday (2 days before the funeral) He wrote: "Life has been a trip & we have been through a lot.  I still love you.  Take care of yourself & keep an eye on my girls.  I will miss you all.  Every time you see a white horse or see the numbers 444, you will know I got my eyes on you"

Dad, we love you... Tony & I will continue to take the values you have instilled in us & will continue on our own trip, trying to make you proud with every step we take... until we see you again.  

Monday, May 28, 2018

My daddy is gone....

I can't believe I am writing this post.

To say that I'm numb & in shock is an understatement.  My daddy has been gone for over a week at this point, & I still dont feel like this has really happened.

I'm still waiting to wake up for this nightmare.

I know so many of you have already heard the news & were just as shocked as we were.... & I feel like so many of you feel like you know my dad personally just because I've talked so much about him over the year.  My dad was just everyone's dad.... so I feel like I need to share a little bit of what happened just because I know everyone has been so concerned & questioned what happened.

Believe me - I'm still questioning it as well.

The first question we all have gotten was "was it something to do with his knee replacement surgery?"... well yes, & no... how's that for an answer.

Well, most of you know that he went into the hospital for his knee replacement on April 3rd.  Looking so forward to it so he could get back up on that horse & literally back in the saddle.  But nothing went smoothly with that.

He had some pain & more damage in his shin than they expected, so he was sent to rehab for a week to work on that new knee.... except he was back in the emergency room just 3 days later when his blood pressure was so low, he felt like he was going to pass out.  & while he was in the hospital, they found his leg that had the knee replacement had a blood clot in it - & some of that blood clot had broken off & was in his lung.... AND then he found out he had a blood infection from the surgery as well.... so he was sent home with a port in his arm where he had to go to the hospital nearest his home to get antibiotics shot in - some days, TWICE a day.  ... & he finished his last trip to the hospital for that just a week before he passed away....

so what happened?  In all this chaos that happened, doctors were constantly changing his blood thinners for those blood clots.  & they finally settled on a blood thinner called Eliquis.

& then we get to May 15....

Dad apparently had a headache all night long.  Mom said she got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night & he was sitting up on his computer because he just didnt feel good.

& then he called Tony & casually asked him to drive him to the ER.  I'll skip all the details of that trip because basically all hell broke loose on that ride.  My poor brother.  I just ache for what he witnessed & what he went through in this.... it ended up with him on the side of the road with an ambulance dragging my dad out of his car....

& on the ride, my brother said dad looked at him, grabbed his head & in a  'matter of fact' way said to him, "Tony, I'm dying".... & those were his last words....

When my brother got to the hospital, he was in touch with me asking me questions & trying to keep me informed.  & when Tony got there behind the ambulance, he was informed that dad wasn't breathing on his own & they put Tony in a room to wait for the doctor. You know its not a good sign when you get ushered to a room.

All this is happening & my mom has no idea that dad's even left home.... so I rush out of work to go get my mom & luckily, Ricky told me to get to the hospital & he'd go get mom.... & as I  walk in the room with my brother, the doctor comes in & gives us news that literally knocked the breath out me. I even looked at my sister in law & said, "What did he just say?"... & the doctor repeated the news.

Massive brain bleed. Bleeding in 70% of his brain.  0% chance of recovery. Fatal diagnosis. Currently on a ventilator. No cure. Nothing we can do.

The doctor was very straight forward, but also very kind in his delivery of the news. He let me & my brother go back.... & we still had to wait for my mom to come.  She had no idea what lay ahead of her coming in the doors of that hospital.

It really was like a nightmare was happening -this can't be real life.  This is stuff you see on TV or in a movie - This doesnt really happen.... but it was. Oh, how it was.

Seeing dad laying there, it was just the most surreal moment of my life.
& people showing up so quickly.  My aunts, my dad's only brother, cousins, friends... & Ricky pulling in with my mom.

The doctors telling my mom the news.... I cant even find words to express the torment that was.  My mom begging dad to wake up.... to not leave her.... my parents will be together over 54 years in July.  She doesnt know how to do life without him... & now we were in a position to make decisions that are impossible to make.

They moved dad up to the ICU while we took time to process all the news & the situaiton - & had so many doctors & nurses showing us his brain scans, telling us the same news over again.... fatal. no survival.  Not breathing. Brain damage.

This is my daddy laying there. The man that is always invincible to me. The man I expected to always be there forever. The man that had never been really 'sick'.  The man who just wanted to get back in his barn without pain & get that saddle on his horse.  ... how does this happen?

Well... I have no problem calling out the name of this blood thinner because we have since found out that this is something that can happen on Eliquis.... We have found out we actually know people who have family members on the same pill that this happened... & if you look online, you'll find many a law suit from people passing away of fatal brain bleeds from this medicine.


I can't even begin to explain that day in the hospital.  All of this started around 9:30am & people had sat in the waiting room all day long giving support & encouragement & lifting prayers.... & then it ended up with just a few of us around 10pm - midnight... & then it was just me, my mom, my brother & Ricky .... & the doctor came in & did more testing on dad, showing us that he had no reaction to anything that happened to him. Some of these examples almost seemed cruel to us... but it showed us that dad was truly gone & just breathing solely because of the ventilator.

In the end, my daddy went to be with Jesus around 4:55am on May 16.  It really was the most peaceful & easy passing I have ever witnessed in my life... & sadly, I've witnessed a few passings.  I know my daddy already had one foot in heaven the whole day & he had to be so relieved to let go of all the struggle & pain he had been in during that day... of the days before....

I still can't believe it though.

We had come home around 6am & slept for 2 hours & we were sitting in a funeral home by 1pm  the same day.... it's just crazy how fast everything goes in moments like that.

I still say that I watched my daddy take his last breath - we picked out his casket - & I saw him laying in it & watching them close it & see where his is laying in the ground... & it ALL still feels so unreal to me..

We survived the funeral.  & 'survived' feels like a very appropriate word.
So blessed to see so many people come out to support our family.  In so many ways.

I think my dad would have been proud of the funeral he had.  When we saw an Amish made wood casket, we knew this was what dad needed to be in.... we had a barn scene put in the back of the casket.  & when we had to pick out flowers for the top of it, I asked my brother if he thought his horse blanket would look good draped across it, almost like an American Flag. & then my brother said, Why dont we put his saddle on it as well... & it went from there.  We had his boots at the casket... his barn hat hanging on the corner of the casket... his dress hat & his rope hanging off the bottom of the casket... My dad would have loved every bit of that.  A cowboy till the end.....

Tony even put the reigns in dads hands
My brother did all of this himself.... my dad would have been so proud of what he did
... the funeral home even told us they were going to the take the design Tony came up with & will use it in the future themselves

& the one thing dad has ever talked about if he passed away - he wanted his horse to be there. To lead the way from the cemetery to his resting place.  This was something he just always had to happen.  Dad had even talked to one of his horse friends to see if he would do that if the day ever happeend & he agreed.... except that poor guy, he just had DOUBLE knee replacement & couldnt even stand. He even tried to make it but no one wanted him to mess up his work on his knees.  We truly thought it was't going to happen.  We had no way to get Cochese up to the cemetery.  Tony & I made phone calls & things just weren't coming together.

I dont know what made me do it, but I posted on Facebook our situation ... & man... . people stepped up.  In such an incredible way.  People were contacting me & I was sending them to Tony (my mom & I were on the way to the funeral home to prepare for the funeral).... but perfect strangers, all offering their time, their trailers, their compassion for our family.  I am so thankful for all the people that shared my post & everyone who tagged all the people they could think of.  It was literally HUNDREDS of people that were involved in this... in just an hours time.  I honestly was overwhelmed by it all.

& in the end, a young couple ended up making my dad's dream come true.  They came & got Cochese & even cleaned him up & prepared him & had him exactly where he needed to be as we pulled up behind dad on his final ride.

We had to laugh too when the man had red hair & a beard just like my dad....

They had Cochese so perfect with my dad's favorite dress boots sitting in the stirrups....

& Cochese led the way for my daddy....

Someone told us that horses grieve ... & Cochese had been looking for dad.  He always looked up to the porch & waited for my dad's whistle.... & we had heard that if animals see the person laying there, they can see that they are gone & they wont grieve as hard.  So the amazing people at the funeral home told us they are animal people & they understood.... so at the cemetery, after the last prayer, they were so gracious enough to let Cochese see his daddy.

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It was just the craziest experience to witness.  Cochese was nervous - as you can imagine with people everywhere - in a different environment... but Tony walked up to him & said, "Let's go see daddy" & Cochese immediately calmed down... & walked toward the casket.  He got a littler nervous by the tent overhead but then he saw dad & walked right up to the casket.  He looked right down at dad too .... & then smelled all around dad... & then blew his hair with his nose twice... & then just simply backed away as calm as anything.

Cochese has been with my dad for nearly 20 years... he needed to say goodbye just as we all did.

We are so thankful that he was able too....

I was so glad I had the opportunity to speak at my daddy's funeral too to say goodbye.  Of course, now that its over, there's 100 things I wish I would have said or added in - & truth be told, I'm not even sure what I said at his funeral.  I'm just glad I made it through.... & believe me, I'm sure my blog will be full of things that come to mind & things I wish I would have said ...

One of the biggest surprises for me was after the funeral.  My sweet friends at our church we used to go to was so gracious to open up their church for all our family & friends to come over for dinner.  Mom & I were the last ones to get there & after getting her in & making sure our family was there & eating & everyone was OK, my friend Chasity whispered to me, "your MSM Girls are here - they wanted to serve you & your family".... & I turn around & see my girls all standing there behind the food line, literally serving my family. I was so overwhelmed at how precious these girls are.  I spoke with one of their mommas later & she said, "This was their idea - they needed to do something for you in this moment"... I prayed with them thanking God for their sweet hearts & reminded them that its times like this where THEY were the hands & feet of Jesus, that they made a difference in God's kingdom.

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My girls hugging me...
You see my dad's cowboy hat on my head.... & I actually wore my daddy's cowboy boots too

Then I found out that my Joyster Sisters made the food that my family ate.  I'm telling you - my overwhelmed meter was just bursting through the roof.

& its still being blown out with all the cards & messages & baskets & calls, all the long drives & visits to the funeral home & hugs given & prayers lifted, & flowers sent & just all the love that has been given to all of us.  I cant even begin to say thank you to everyone who has reached out to us in some shape & form.... we are truly appreciative of every gesture of love shown to us.

& again, I still sit here & still feel like it's all so unreal - so unbelievable.

Life will never be the same.

I've already sat at my desk at work & cried because there was a thunderstorm that popped up... thunderstorms was a thing for me & dad.  Dad used to take me out & sit, covered up, in the mdidle of storms - we'd LOVE to look for funnel clouds & he is the one who made me fasicated with tornados.  When the storm hit, I was just waiting for a text or email from dad asking me if I was watching the storm - its what he did with EVERY storm that came through... & there was no call. No text. No email. 

I just cant even grasp what life is going to be like without my daddy.  Without his calls to check to see how my day was.  To bring over Hershey pies when I'm having a rough time.  Not getting phone calls to tell me to turn the TV over on a certain channel & watch what he was watching... or to ask me if I watched the funny video he sent to my email about a dog or a horse or someone falling....To not get a phone call if I dont have a blog post up by 9am because "something must be wrong" if I didnt have a post up....

something is most definitely wrong now dad...

Needless to say, my life has changed... my blog wont be the same for awhile either....

Right now, I'm just sitting in the attitude of "I dont care"... numbness ... overwhelming numbness..... I dont care about small things in life... I dont care about make up or what my hair looks like... I dont even care that I'm still in pain from my surgery & still expecting to have to go back in for another surgery from more abscess... I just dont care about much right now....

I do care about making sure my momma is doing OK
I do care about making sure my brother knows we can handle this together
I do care about my daddy's horses & making sure they know they are still loved.

It's funny how everything that you think is important in life can all turn on a dime & you find that priorities can shift in a blink of an eye.....

I have to just close by saying that I have walked through that horrible day at the hospital & days following ONLY by the grace of God.  By knowing that He is near.  I have cried out to God in screams, in tears, in pleading & begs of healing, & prayers for peace.... but in all of this, I dont question God or His plan.  I know God is near... & I have felt all the prayers lifted for us.

& I do find solace in knowing that my daddy raised me in church & knowing Jesus & knowing that this life is not our home.  Dad always talked about being in heaven with Jesus... & his Papaw Beanblossom... & the moment that the doctor checked dad's heart & told us it had stopped beating & he was gone, I looked at my mom & said, "Can you even imagine what he's seeing right now?"... because I know Jesus was standing there for my daddy to run into His arms & hearing the words, "Well done, good & faithful servant"... I know that above anything else....

& I told my daddy before he took that last breath that he better be standing next to Jesus when I get there.

My dad always - ALWAYS - told me, "No one is getting out of this world alive Bec - you gotta know where your going"... I know where my daddy is at in this moment. I dont know what he's seeing or experiencing - or even who he's talking to - or even if he's riding his childhood horses - or even telling his own Papaw how much he loved being a Papaw himself.... but I know that my dad has no pain now. His knees are healed.  His hips aren't aching.  He has no need for blood thinners or cares about blood clots... He is whole...

& I do know he'll be standing right next to Jesus on the day I get there as well....

Monday, May 14, 2018

The weekend that we celebrated mom's ... in between naps....

I dont think I have ever wanted or needed or looked forward to a weekend more in my life than this past weekend.

It was a tough week last week going back to work & it has just exhausted me..... so that was my plan for the weekend - SLEEP. Rest. Recover.

Anyone know if anesthesia can stick with you for nearly 2 weeks?  I will say, I'm super sensitive to medicines anyways so it wouldn't surprise me - but it honestly is like I'm drugged still. I sit down for 10 minutes & I'm asleep. 

Saturday, I literally slept for 10 hours... & then took 3 naps in the day.  True story.  It's like I can't sleep enough.

So this was basically my view all day Saturday....

Alternating between reading & knitting... knitting & reading.... & a catch up on Grey's Anatomy.... what an exciting Saturday.  Actually, it was pure perfection to me.  I'm actually kinda sad it's over & counting down to next Saturday.

.... except next Saturday, I'll be setting my alarm for 4am so I can watch the Royal Wedding - YAHOOO!!! But I plan on a few naps Saturday afternoon.

The surprise of my day though was when I had a text from my sweet friend Chasity where she & Ryan & my Grand Buddies dropped me off a Mother's Day gift.  How precious is that?  They just touch my heart in such a special way.

Sunday, I made myself get up & get back to church. I've missed my MSM girls so much & so glad to see their sweet faces.

They actually made me laugh so hard, it literally hurt.  They were asking me about things & I was telling them how great Ricky had been during all of this chaos & how marriage is a challenge at times & you want to make sure you pick a good husband to stand by you in sickness & health & in good times  &bad..... & one of the girls looked at me with the most serious face & said, "I can't even get a guy to text me back".... I literally laughed about that all day long.  Middle school hearts - how precious are they?

A card a MSM'er wrote for his mom for Mother's Day & left it behind
.... how stinkin' cute is this?  I love middle schoolers

I got home after church just in time to.... you guessed it.... take another 10 minute nap.  Geez, am I Rip Van Winkle at this point? I think its possible.

But then I went over to see my Momma for Mother's Day.  I'm telling you - my whole family is just falling apart at this point.  My poor mom had to go to the ER this past Thursday because of blood pressure issues & they said she's had a mild stroke.... but sent her home with no sort of reference & a blood pressure that was still in the 220's.... makes sense?  Yeah, in today's medical guidelines, anything goes.  

& yeah, for the record, me, my brother, my dad & now my mom have all been in the hospital within the past 30 days.


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But mom is still not feeling great.  Still in so much pain & still struggling with her face being paralyzed & her sight recovering.  

So I just enjoyed sitting on the front porch with my momma just chatting the afternoon away.  

Got some more rows in sitting & chatting

I hope everyone had a wonderful mother's day.... however you MOM. & yes, I used MOM has a verb. I think that works.  I know people MOM in so many different ways - I know I have in the past years  & I know others do it as well - with their own birth children, their adopted children, their blended family's children, for fur children, for children that aren't even their own but they invest in.... lots of ways to MOM.  I hope you were celebrated or you even celebrated yourself.  TREAT YO SELF!  I actually bought a brownie from a bakery on the way home from church to do just that for myself.  & it was the best brownie I've ever had.  

What did you do for Mother's Day?

Do you love naps on the weekend?

You going to watch the Royal Wedding next weekend?

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Still Thankful....

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Just wanted to drop in & just post a quick thing to remind everyone that I am indeed blessed & thankful.  I've just not had the time at home at night to do any blog posts.

It's been a rough go getting back to work 1 week post-op - but you do what you have to do.... & when I get home, I have  a lot to do for my recovery. A lot of sitz baths & a lot of resting & let me tell you - I'm BEAT when I get home.  So needless to say, I haven't felt like pulling out the computer & blogging when I get home.

So a detailed Thankful post is coming - because in the worst moments of life, you really do find a lot more to be thankful for. You are grateful for little things like never before - words, hugs, calm moments... so I have a long list to get together.  Just haven't done it yet.

So I'll eventually get back to regular blogging - hopefully.

Keep those prayers going for me, will you - on that complete & total healing? I go back to the doctor next week for a follow up & hoping I get an report of everything looking good.  & that will be the highlight of my Thankful list coming soon!!!!

Thank you all again for your sweet encouragement!
Here's to always looking for the good in all circumstance!!!

(I'll add a link up in case anyone still wants to join in with me this Thursday)

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

One Sentence a Day - April 2018

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Not that we're getting way into May now or anything... geez.
April totally didnt end like I expected... but anyways - here's my month, One Sentence a Day...

1.  Love celebrating Easter & our Risen King at church & then some family time. #HeIsRisen

2.  I got to take my first full day off work to stay home & watch Ernie who is having a hard time with recovering of his neutering. #poorbaby

3.  Taking another day off to take my daddy to the hospital for his knee replacement surgery!!!

4.  Poor dad thought he was going to come home but is now in so much pain & looking into going to a rehab facility. #worsepainever #hiswordsnotmine

5.  Being off for 2 days has me all confused what day is it at work. #FastWeek

6. Dad made it to his rehab facility.  #LetTheHealingBegin

7.  How is it still snowing? #IThoughtItWasSpring

8.  Went with my MSM girls to see I Can Only Imagine & loved spending the afternoon with them. #tearjerker

9.  It was probably the quietest Monday I've ever had at work that it made me walk around to check everyone was OK. #orAtLeastAwake

10.  How is it still freezing but yet my allergies are also kicking me in the face? #WhatSeasonIsIt?

11.  We found outselves at the vet with Ms. Zoe when we got home & saw her bed covered in blood & her back side just dripping blood.  #ShesGoingToBeFine #Wepray #PrayWithUs

12.  Hallelujah, we just had a day that actually felt like Spring! #FINALLLLLY

13.  This was NOT a bad luck day for us when it was a beautiful & warm 80 degrees & my daddy got to come home from rehab with his knee! #heswalking

14. Finally finally FINALLY got to watch The Greatest Showman. #WhyDidIWaitSoLong

15. Finished our study we were in with our Joysters & headed to have dinner with our baby girl who is home from a week. #babygirlasin29yearsold

16.  How is it snowing & freezing cold again? #IsSpringAvoidingUs?

17. My husband is the best when he picked me up some coffee creamer on the way home from work #heknowsitsbestIhavemycoffee

18. Took a long route to have Lunch with my Love since it was a gorgeous day. #Warmedupforaday

19.  Dad is back in the ER & then admitted to the ICU after a blood clot is discovered in his leg #alwayssomething

20.  Found a cute new little coffee shop that I can walk to at lunch #PleaseandThankyouLouisville

21.  Thunder Over Louisville which means its DERBY TIME around these parts #best2weeksinLouisville

22. Time to already start doing tick checks when we pulled 3 of them off Ricky from one day of working in the woods. #HesATickMagnet

23. One of my youth kiddos got me totally hooked on the show Reign & I got hooked by watching the first 4 episodes. #ImTotallyGonnaLoveThis

24.  One more dinner with our girl before she heads back home. #ByeLindsay

25.  First time every celebrated with Administration & Professional Day  #lovemyjob

26.  Hair day #Coverthatgray

27.  Headed to the ER in so much pain. #SentHomeStillinPain

28.  Did nothing but lay in bed all day #FeelHorrible

29.  Back to the ER & after more tests, sent into surgery #scaredtodeath

30.  ...& another night in the hospital #PleaseHeal

What a month.....

& bonus - here's 1 second a day video for the month

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Show me your books - May 2018

A good month with 2 really good books this month.
One making its way in my all time favorites list actually....
The reading continues...

Image result for knit by god's hands book

18293427The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
***** / 5 Stars - IT WAS AMAZING

Quick Summary: A grumpy widower  owns a book store & we follow his life & meet all the people that change & open up his world.

Oh my goodness.  I dont think I could love a book more. Truly.

I dont think I even really understood what the book was going to be about but the story just rolled out so beautifully.  Following A.J. in his life & seeing how his world changed through the years.

I dont know if its because it involved a bookstore & the quotes & ideas centered around how amazing books are - but I just wrote down quote after quote from this book in my Reading Journal.

It's such a fast read & I just loved all the characters.  There were moments that I gasped from shock, laughed at personalities & had my heart broken at how cruel life can be to the characters I grew to love in a short time.

This is honestly my favorite book of the year I've read so far & could be in my all time top favorites.  It's just that good to me.

Read if you loved The Man Called Ove.

"A place is not really a place without a bookstore"

25817531What She Knew
** / 2 Stars (It was OK)

Quick Summary: A mom let's her son run ahead of her in the woods & ends up missing. Who does she trust now? & a Detective is letting this case affect him in a deep way as he tries to live up to the standards of his detective father

I've heard a lot about this book, but it just didn't hit it for me.  I was intrigued to find out the answer to the mystery of missing Ben - but it just felt like a really long book for no reason - a lot of drawn out stories & words just for fun (Its over 500 pages long) & some of the story lines, I just didn't get.

Example - the dialogue shifts from the mom of the story, to the detective, to the counselor of the detective.  Which that in itself is strange.  What a random character - mainly because I dont see what was so traumatic for the detective.  Except, a remembrance of his father that I thought would be a big story & just sort of never talked about again.  Stupid stuff like that made me really not like the book.

Even a friendship with the mom & her best friend got totally ruined when something she kept secret for years came out... which if, you're best friends, you'd forgive & move on.

This book just sort of irked me. The more I talk about it, the more I may want to take my rating down another star. I'd better quit while its ahead.

Just not for me.

Read if you enjoy a mystery & dont mind drawn out dialogue & different shifts of point of view

"I marveled at how the mundane activities that life demanded still needed to be done, even while the worst was happening."

35791968Still Me
***** / 5 Stars - It was Amazing

Quick Summary:  We follow Louisa as she's moved to New York to become an assistant to a couple & finds her footing at being away from everyone she loves back home in England & finding out who she really is & what she wants in life.

So I loved the first book - adored the movie - & then totally hated the 2nd book. Felt like it didn't connect & didnt really have the same spirit of Louisa Clark that the first book had. This one?  TOTALLY makes up for that 2nd book mess. This one totally screams Louisa & her sweet personality of caring for others - all the while in the Big Apple making a new life for herself as she LIVES BOLDLY... (I just choked up a little hearing Will's voice).  I truly adored this book & loved all the new characters we meet - I now need a dog named Dean Martin - & really loved seeing old characters we love.  Its funny, sweet, heart tugging, full of relationship drama, & so much love in so many ways.  I really am glad this book happened.

Read if you loved Me Before You & rooted so much for Louisa Clark

"I thought about how you're shaped so much by the people who surround you, & how careful you have to be in choosing them for this exact reason, & then I thought, despite all that, in the end maybe you have to lose them all in order to truly find yourself" 

27161156Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family & Culture in Crisis
2 Stars / Its OK

Quick Summary:  The story of a man who grew up in Kentucky & how he saw his family & his community.

I keep seeing the reviews of this & people saying they get now why Trump was elected. I'm reading it the whole time like, "What are people seeing that I'm not seeing?"... I just didnt get it like an earth moving book like others. Mainly because I honestly saw my own family in this book. Reading stories of Mamaw & Papaw, it literally sounded like my own Mamaw & Papaw. There's even a line where Mamaw used the GD word talking about how much she believed in Jesus - which, honest to goodness - my own grandmother did herself. LOL ... So reading this, it may have felt shocking to some people, but it just felt like someone in my own family probably wrote this book. Seriously -I looked it up to see if it was someone in my family.

Read if you apparently are shocked at Kentucky upbringing... don't if you've lived it & know what its like.

"There is nothing lower than the poor stealing from the poor. It's hard enough as it is. We sure as hell don't need to make it even harder on each other"

Life According to Steph

Friday, May 04, 2018

So this past week has been a pain in the butt..... literally

Sooooo yeahhhh.... the past week has been a little upside down.  To say the least.

I know so many of you have seen I was in the hospital  ... & sent the sweetest & most encouraging words to me & uplifted prayers. I so appreciate each & every one of them. Truly. Dearly.

& I know I havent said a lot anywhere on what's happened because it's all still sort of confusing to me what happened - all I know is I'm sitting here with two open draining incisions in my body ... so there's that.

I'll warn you before we get started too - this is all honest, in your face for some of you that may get embarrassed easily, & while I'm not going to be graphic, it's still going to seem like it's all stupid - which I really think it is.

Only me... that's all I keep saying... Only me.

So, it all started with a sneeze.  & yes, let's stop there & note that all of this, the ER trips, hospital stay, rushed into surgery, healing & pain.... all due to a sneeze. Welcome to my life.

But honestly, that's how it started.  Ricky & I were driving home from a dinner & I sneezed so hard, he grabbed his ears & screamed "MY EARS"... & I screamed at the same time "MY BUTT"... he laughed - I wasn't laughing. I could tell something got hurt, injured, pulled, SOMETHING, in the bottom of my rear. 

The next day it just got worse. It was so strange the feeling it was causing. I couldnt sit comfortably, I had a hard time walking, I just felt off.

I was supposed to go pick up my race packet for the half marathon on Friday & I couldnt even make it to the expo to pick it up because it hurt that bad to walk from my car to the front door of the fairgrounds.

I came home on Friday & tried to get comfortable.... except every minute, I was in more dire pain.

Finally, I told Ricky, we have to go to the ER.  & let me tell you - there's nothing more awkward than going to the front counter & Telling them you have a pain in your butt that is an emergency.

But after a CT Scan, they found out I had a hematoma in my back side.... a pile of blood was pooling in my bottom that was so painful.  They told me it should dissolve if I sit on heat & ice alternating & gave me an anti-inflammatory.  I honestly was in worse pain coming home than going & just didnt know how I was going to survive the weekend.

Saturday, all I did was lay in bed.  On my side. It was the only position I could stay in.  Pain medicines kept me knocked out most of the day anyways.

& then Sunday morning, about 7am I just couldnt move. Literally, couldnt move. I couldnt sit, I couldn't walk, I could BARELY lay... it was the worst pain I've ever been in in my life.

Ricky tried to help me get in the bath for some hot water, but it just left me to screaming & crying.

I couldnt even sit in the car.  Ricky had to open the back door & I had to fall on my side & pull myself in for the ride to the ER.

Once we got there, there was no one in the waiting room-  thank goodness - except it still took about 30 minutes for them to get me back.  All this time, I'm just shuffling up & down the hall - I would scream every time I would attempt to sit down & I couldnt even stand up straight. I know I looked like a crazed person. 

They finally got me back & did another CT Scan on me & found out that the hematoma had turned into an abscess.  & they got really concerned when my blood pressure & my heart rate was staying so high. My HR was staying around 142.... plus, I was carrying a fever reinforcing that infection was running through me.

Next thing I know, people are all around me.  Filling me with drugs, asking me questions, confirming when I last ate (Thank goodness I had no appetite & hadn't eaten anything for the past 2 days) & next thing I know, I'm getting wheeling off to surgery!!!!

I was scared to death....

but I'm glad in a way everything moved so fast because if I sat & worried about a surgery to happen the next day, I would have probably been even more nervous.

I woke up to find that I had so much infection, they had to put in two incisions on both sides of my bum..... & one side had so much in it that my surgeon wants that side to stay open as long as possible, so it has to be packed ... twice a day.  So it's been miserable ever since. 

& God bless Ricky. He's been doing all the work of changing the packing - even when I scream & cry with every wound change. 

One of the worst parts for me was that the surgeon said if the ER doctor told him I was there with a hematoma, he could have easily just drained it & left me with a little half inch scar & it would have been over with.  Simple.... that turned into the biggest mess.

It's been pure misery.

& the scary & horrible & terrifying thing of it all?  Having this issue, it leaves a 50%  chance of it causing a fistula - which ONLY gets fixed by another surgery.  50%!!!! That's freaking me out... & ALSO, there's a 60 to 70% chance another abscess can happen again since its in such a strange area.  They said that the bottom doesnt get much blood flow to heal like other parts of the body, so if it doesnt drain correctly, it will abscess again & we have to start from square one of this process.

I have literally been begging for prayers that this doesnt happen.... please pray for me.  I can't bear thinking of doing this all over again.

I actually go to the doctor this morning for a follow up for him to see how everything is draining. 
& I am still taking my antibiotics faithfully.  I havent missed one dose.  I want to knock this in the rear (no pun intended) & never have to think about this again.

... nor ever sneeze again.

I dont want to leave this on a debbie downer though.... I do have to say again how grateful I am for all the sweet people in my world.  All the concern & love given... all the prayers already lifted.... all the visits at the hospital & flowers brought ... & phone calls asking for anything....& of course, for my husband who has been the best person to take care of me in all of this.  He's been my rock this past week & I have to find some way to repay him for all the care & love he has lavished on me.

So praying friends.... continue to lift those prayers for me.

I'm hoping to get back to normal life soon. I miss normal life.  I'm terrified for my new job - which my manager has called me & has been so supportive & encouraging as well & telling me not to worry since she already knows how much of a worrier I am...but I do still worry.  I've been there 5 months & this happens. Geez.

Let's just hope that this is a done deal... the healing is happening.... correctly & fully & infection doesnt REAR its ugly head on me again (that pun was SOOO intended)

Here's to life... in all its adventures!

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