Monday, December 31, 2018

The weekend I survived to another year

Well, it's something when you go into the weekend one age & come out of it another.

It was my birthday!
& usually, getting older is something that I'm like "ho-hum" about because, who likes getting older?
Me - that's who.

After this past year loosing so many people that we love, I see the value of each & every birthday.  I'll not complain about getting older at all. ... now, I may complain about the aches & pains of getting older, but not about "leveling up" to another age.

HELLO 47!!!! Nice to meet you... glad to make it!

... its fun because I started taking a picture of myself on my birthday ... which I love having. This is my 3rd year doing it - & wont it be fun to look back, say over 10 or 20 years of pics?

2017 Birthday

2016 Birthday

I had started it with Harvey Dent so I kind of like keeping him the constant in the pics.... sorry to my other dogs.  (I actually do have some other pics holding different dogs too) :)

I kicked off birthday weekend by getting my eyes checked & seeing that I am indeed getting older. My reading vision has gotten SO MUCH WORSE.  Good times.

But I was anxious to try contacts. I just am tired of putting glasses on & off ... & bifocals. I just can't y'all. I just cant adjust to them for anything.  So they tried me in a pair of bifocal contacts. Who knew those existed.

The eye people were trying to talk me step by step about putting them in since it was the first time I've ever tried it.... but I was like, ZIP, BOOM, BAM! I picked it right up, put in my eye & blinked & there they were.  They couldnt believe I hadn't done it before. I told them it was all the years of growing up with my best friend who had contacts. I used to watch her every morning put them in & I just knew I'd not have any issues with that. Touch an eye ball? No problem.

Now, granted, getting them out was another issue. & the weird thing, I could get my left eye out. BAM, BOOM, ZIP! ... right eye?  I kept saying, "Are you sure its in there????" - I couldnt get it out for the life of me.

All that work & I couldnt see. Well, I could, but everything looked fuzzy & hazy... so they said the bifocals ones wouldnt work.  So they kept trying me in different pairs.... & nothing just worked.
I just couldnt ever see clearly out of my left eye - which has an astigmatism in it - but not strong enough for a special contact, but enough to deter me from contacts. Of course it does.... geez.

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At least I tried.

& ordered some bifocals. HAHA.... with my vision insurance, it only cost me $55 so I'll give it a try. But $100 bet says I'll be back in Dollar Store readers in a month.

Saturday, I should have done so much. My laundry pile is at a level that is scary.  SCARY I tell ya.  I havent done laundry nearly since my surgery.  We have gates to keep Bruno from falling down steps & I have a hard time stepping over them since the surgery. So the pile keeps growing... & growing... & yeah, its terrifying.

But instead, I said, FORGET THAT LAUNDRY PILE - & I ended up having a lazy day of puzzle solving on a new puzzle I'm working on ... & Ricky & I made a trip to Home Depot to try & find new blinds.  That's what I wanted for my birthday. New wood blinds for my living room & kitchen.  & Ricky wont ever turn down a Home Depot trip.

Sunday - my birthday! YAHOO

& do you know, it's so funny because I woke straight up at 4:44.... I just laughed. I said, "Thanks dad for wishing me a Happy Birthday".... I know that's why I woke up. Even more a funny thing - I told Ricky about that later & he said, "Do you know I looked at my watch the exact same time & thought, "Hey Tom"... Yeah, Ricky was already up at 4:44 & was walking around the house. He gets up usually around 4am.  CRAZY, huh? ... but even more made me think my daddy was near on my birthday.

Since it was my pick on where to eat for the day, I said, Let's do breakfast... & you know where we were headed.


& we hit it right at the right time because we walked in & got a seat & it wasn't 10 minutes later, there was a HUGE wait.  Good birthday timing!!!

& good lighting sitting by the window

After we left there & Ricky let me choose where to go... so you KNOW I'm picking somewhere that has yarn or needles.  Do you know I didnt even up buying any yarn, but did get some needles... & ended up buying myself a pillow for my living room. It kinda calls my name, doesnt it?

& then we went to Target where I got to use my gift cards for some jeans & some Christmas stuff that was 70% ... so I ended up buying so much stuff... & didnt have to spend a dime. That's shopping I can dig!

We even bought a new Christmas tree.  One Ricky has been wanting since he saw it at the beginning of the season. But it was $400 & we're not about to pay $400.... but the lights are super cool on it & they just had the display left so we snagged it up.  That was fun to drive with a put together tree in the back of the truck.

We also stopped to pick up a birthday treat... which made me a little sad. My daddy always was famous for making me a birthday cake or pie or anything sweet.  It tugged my heart that this birthday would be missing that love from him.  .... so Ricky made sure I had a sweet treat.

Ricky got me this candle too - he said he was going to get 29 & figured this worked just as good :)  Good man

& then of course, you have to stop at Starbucks on your birthday!!!!

It was so funny because they wrote HAPPY BIRTHDAY on my cup so when they called my name, the barista YELLED, HAPPY BIRTHDAY REBECCA! & everyone turned & looked. It was so cute. Made me smile big smiles.

When we got home, Ricky gave me one of my most special birthday gifts ever....

He had gotten me a new Large Print Bible. I love my Life Application Bible but with my eyes getting so bad, I have trouble reading the small print. So I got a Large Print bible & love it, but miss the Life Application Study part Ricky ordered me this Large Print Life Application one.  It's MASSIVE.... all that large print adds up I guess.

Look at how big it is - over 2.5 inches wide... & its so heavy. A pure upper body workout in itself. Get yourself in shape PHYSICALLY & SPIRITUALLY with this baby!!!

But the most special part of it... he had it engraved. Isn't that so precious?

I had to laugh though because he has always called me his Sweet Young Wife ... I told him, I guess a birthday present for 47 years old, you just kinda HAVE to take out the "young", huh?

But this will definitely be something that I treasure for years.  & love Ricky is the one who gave it to me.

& we survived.  That seems to be the theme of the year, doesnt it?

Speaking of which.... I'm praying 2019 holds a new theme.  One that isn't full of such loss & pain & sadness & heartache & stress.... everything I'm so over with 2018.  I need more than "survived"....

So sending positive thoughts & hopes & prayers for well as all of you for 2019!!!


Thursday, December 27, 2018

Back at it, NJ shout out & celebrating my love & Jesus birthday {Thankful Thursday #201}

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This is the last one of the year.  Whew... what a year it has been... but still, lots to be thankful for.

I just reached my 1000 things for the year.  1000 things to be grateful for.  That's saying something with the year I've had.  I always say, I started this after I did the gratitiude jar... where you put something in to be thankful for & then you pull it out on New Years Eve & look back over  your year & see the blessings you've had.

I took it up a notch & label these posts & I just go back & reread them on New Years Eve now... & its so much more fun when there's pictures, right? ... but yeah, I'll really need to look back over this year & remind myself, in the loss of my dad, & so many loved ones, & the 3 surgeries I've had to had & the pain I've endured.... there is always good.

So let's finish off this year....

This week I am Thankful for:

Made it back to work
It helps that I really like my job & enjoy my coworkers, but I'm also a person of habit. While being at home is nice, it just throws me off not being on a regular schedule. So while it was tough the first two days back (I worked last Thursday & Friday), I was glad to be back.

Long weekend
.... saying all that, it was wonderful to go back for 2 days & then get a 4 day weekend & then just have to work for 3 days. It's been really helpful easing back into the work schedule.

Early Birthday card
This precious lady, Christina, is just the most caring thing. She has sent me so many cards the past few weeks with my surgery, with the holidays & then an early one for my birthday.  What a fun surprise.  I especially love her Christmas card with her fur-baby's picture in it. I love your all's fur babies.  Seriously.

HSM appreciation
So sweet to feel appreciated - & when I got a card from the incredible HSM ministry team with a coffee drink on them, how do you not feel loved?  They are seriously the most amazing people & SHINE JESUS & do the work of the Lord every single day.  I'm so honored to know these people.

Vincent Christmas
I know how lucky I am to love my in-laws like I do.  They are just FUN people to be around, with good caring hearts to them.

Season of Headbands
I am so glad that if I was going to be laid up for 2 weeks, I was able to make a little something for my family.  & I love that everyone loved them. How cute is everyone in their headbands?

All different colors - all unique - for each uniquely beautiful lady here!

New Jersey in da house!
I know so many of you know the beautiful Sierra & I was so shocked to see a package in the mail from her with the most beautifully lettered Christmas card... & then a New Jersey Starbucks mug! YAHOOO!!!  My collection is still ever growing. I really do need to get a picture of all my mugs together. I seriously look at them all the time & think of everyone who took the time to send these to me & I just am so full of warmth in my heart & feel so incredibly blessed to know you all.

Remembrance Tree
Yes, I talked about this yesterday.... but so thankful that someone opened up their tree for others to come together to give honor to those no longer with us.

My Love's birthday
My Christmas Eve birthday boy.  I am so grateful for the creation that God made in him - his caring & selfless heart - the man that he is. So thankful for another year of life for him.

He had his first cake pop ... & love them as much as I do!

Survived Christmas
Got through this first one without my daddy.  We did it.  We made it. We survived. Together.

My coworker was so amazing at getting all these pillows made for my family. She made me 5 pillows & every time she'd bring one in for me, I just wanted to run home & give them to my family - but had to wait to Christmas. So I'm so glad my coworker made these beautiful keepsakes & I'm even more grateful I was able to finally share them with everyone.

Warmer Holiday weekend
I know most people want a White Christmas.... I'll take a holiday weekend in the 50's any day!  All that running around? I dont want to freeze my face off every time I get out of the car & have to load & unload packages. I loved the sun was out & it was cool, but not freezing.  Sorry snow lovers.

Advent Study
While being laid up the past few weeks, & for the season, I have loved going through my Daily Grace bible study - Waiting for Advent. It was just a good time when you get forced to slow down to really dig into God's word & focus on what the season is really about.

What are you thankful for this week?

... or go bigger - what's something that stood out to you as the biggest blessing of 2018?

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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

We survived Christmas....


My family dreaded this holiday.  The one my dad loved more than anything.
Christmas was just my dad's favorite.  He was like a big kid. Loved giving gifts... the cornier the better.  & he loved getting gifts & his face was always like a little boy when he's rip off the paper. Didnt matter what was inside - he just loved ripping into a present.

To say his presence was missed this year is an understatement.  But we survived.
With heavy hearts - & a healing bum, we survived.

& of course, there was some smiles & joy & laughs. It wasn't all a ho-hum depressing thing.  You know there is always good in things.... especially in a holiday that celebrates the most incredible thing there is - the birth of Jesus.

Of course, it's a long weekend so there was a lot jammed in.... so let's dig in... & I promise I'll keep it short - or shorter than I know I could do. :)

Saturday, we did our Vincent Christmas. Which totally threw me off because tradition is we do it the Sunday before Christmas.... but with it being so close to Christmas, it was scooted back a day - & then the whole day, I thought it was Sunday. Messed with my brain.

But it was so much fun being with these people.  Playing games & laughing & catching up with one another.  We played some Win, Lose or Draw & then did the 2nd annual Family Feud.  That game is fun when you really have a big family & you do have 5 people on each team.  I got to play Steve Harvey.  Minus the shoulder pad suits & mustache. 

The best part of the day was we were all so super comfy.  Someone came up with the idea to do Christmas in PJs.... a jammie party.  It was funny because Ricky & I were like "is this a joke?"... we were convinced we would wear jammies & get over there & everyone else have on clothes & laugh at us. haha... but nope, everyone commited.  & why not? Who wouldnt want to do a family get together in jammies?

... even though, I gotta admit - it felt super funny driving in jammies in the car & houseshoes.

& Ricky went prepared. He had on jeans & a shirt underneath his onesie just in case it was a joke. haha. Me? I didnt care. A joke? Good one - I'm still comfy.

Sunday, Ricky & I went to church for the Christmas service a day early because he had to work on Monday & wasn't sure he'd be out of work before the service times.  It was such a beautiful service & I get teary every time Silent Night is sung in church with the glow of lights beaming all around.

We tried to go out & finish up our shopping that we needed for our Wood Christmas... & Ricky said, "Oh my gosh - this is the first time we've gone out Christmas shopping together this year"... its true. With my surgery & being down & out, it's just been a sad holiday all around.  Especially in the gift giving department.  I tried to hang with Ricky for awhile on Sunday, but about 2 hours out, I was in so much pain, I told him to keep shopping, I was going to sit in the car..... he let me sit for like 5 minutes & came running out & said he wasn't about to leave me in the car alone. So much for shopping.  We just headed home & relaxed. I never was so happy to get home in my life

Monday - Christmas Eve - my hubby's birthday!!!!  Poor guy had to work. I ended up getting up with him at 5am to see him off. I felt so bad for him working.  & I really had a lot to do so I didnt mind the early wake up call.

Wrapping at 6:00am ... & you can see little Bruno still sleeping in his kennel across from me

I ended up getting everything wrapped & then headed up to the cemetery to leave my daddy some Christmas flowers. 

Telling dad "Merry Christmas" driving out of the cemetery just about tore me up.  Luckily, Ricky had gotten off work a little early & he had called me right as I got in my car - so that helped me not have a total break down.

I took Ricky out to Outback for his birthday lunch/early dinner & then we made one last stop into Target to make sure we were good for the night & then we made a stop one the way home....

In our town, there is a tree that a lady has dedicated as a REMEMBRANCE TREE.  Her husband actually passed away not too long ago & he always wanted to use that tree for Christmas - but never did.  So she has set it for people to come put ornaments on it for those who have passed away. How special is that? There is a ceremony she does the Sunday after Thanksgiving - but its open to bring ornaments whenever you want.

We pulled up & she came out & talked to us about who had passed away & we told her about my daddy & my uncle (dad's brother).... she was just so kind & told us she checks the ornaments every day to make sure none have fallen.  She even has a box under the tree with hooks to be able to secure the ornaments on tighter & even showed us where people have brought spare ornaments with markers so others can just stop by & write on an ornament & hang one without having to stop & pick one up yourself. How cool is that?????

The ornaments are going to hang until the end of January - which is so nice to know I can go up & just look at them for a few more weeks.  We can always take the ornaments off by the end of January - but I may just get a new one every year for dad.

It really was humbling to see all the ornaments of loved ones lost.....grief is deep during the holidays, isn't it?  I love there's this place though that everyone can go to honor the ones they love that aren't next to us in body on Christmas Day.

Just one side of the tree!!! SO MANY ORNAMENTS!!!!!

See dad & Timmie's

Then it was time for our Wood Christmas.  & you know what - you could tell there was an elephant in the room - or rather NOT in the room - that emptiness.... but we all did good.  It's just good having 14 year old twins that are excited for the holiday.  Their excitement was contagious.  & mom did OK... of course, until I broke out the gifts of dad's shirts made for her & the twins.  I had gotten dad's favorite t-shirts he wore all the time & had made for the twins... & then had my mom's favorite blue flannel shirt - the one he actually is wearing in the rainbow picture that I have of dad - & had that turned into a pillow for mom.  We also had a handkerchief made for my brother & for my mom.  You know - I told my friend  that made these things - its going to be sad to get through the day anyways - might as well have a reason for happy tears. To feel dad close with us however we can.

The twins pillows
But we did enjoy the night together.... played some games, ate some pie, stuffed dogs in sweaters, watch Ricky try to learn how to use a Skateboard-mc-thingie-that's-not-a-skateboard. I'm not cool enough to know what its even called. & just waited to see if Ricky was going to bust his head.

Christmas morning.... I always like to get up before the sun rises & just sit in front of the tree. Everything is so calm & quiet. I sit in the dark for awhile.... & then I turned on a Christmas movie & made some coffee & watched the sun rise. My favorite part of Christmas Day.

We dont have anywhere to go on Christmas Day....

So it was just a day of watching Christmas movies (finally got The Christmas Chronicles in with Kurt Russell) & we worked on puzzles & opened gifts from one another & gave the dogs their presents.  It's also a day of multiple cups of coffee for me, naps for Ricky, & PJ's all day long.  Fa-la-la-la-la.

I put on some food in the crock pot so we'd have dinner but didnt have to make a big mess. 

Made me some tortilla soup for the first time - DELISH!!!!

& of course, we ate lots of sugar... because Christmas.

Deep breath.  We made it.

We still do have 2 more Christmases to go - but glad the main events are over.  I felt like its a hurdle we all got over.

& we're one step closer to getting this nightmare of a year behind us.

Speaking of nightmare & "behind".... wish me luck. I'm back at work... AND I have a follow up with the surgeon this morning to see how everything is looking.  Praying it all is OK & the pain I'm in is still normal.  I do know, talking with people who have had this - its like a 3 month process of healing.  & I'm at 3 weeks... which is crazy to think.... but I'm anxious to see what the doc has to say.

I'm NOT looking forward to stepping on the scale the day after Christmas though. That's just cruel.

So how was your Christmas?

What was your favorite moment of the holiday?

Have you ever heard of a Remembrance Tree before?

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Just blessing beyond blessing... {Thankful Thursday #200}

Made it through another week... & a lot to be thankful for.

Yes, I'm still in pain.... but making it through. Just trying to tell myself that its going to get better. Because it is, right? It's just gotta.

Just a quick update.... I did go to the doctor to look at the spot that hurt to see if its an abscess. Of course, I know they can't really TELL unless its about ready to rupture - but the doctor did not think it was an abscess - but she gave me antibiotics just in case to try & steer it off.  - which I think is weird, because abscesses dont go away fully with antibiotics. They only go away if they are drained.

Yes, I am an abscess pro & savant. Thanks 2018.

I did take the antibiotics - which made me sicker than a dog (just what I wanted to deal with) - & the pain is still there.

So I'm just trying to ignore it - & live with it - & wait to see if it blows into something bigger or if it goes away.  Heck, I'm used to this sort of living.  It's what I've been doing since April. I was just hoping the surgery would be the end of it.  Guess life had other things in mind..... but I keep PRESSING ON.  All you can do, right?

I do go back to the doctor on the 26th for another check up to see how the incision is healing & how this spot looks... so we'll see.

Moving onto the thankfulness! - because there has been a lot the past 2 weeks.
I always say, in the worst of times, there's always something to be thankful for - & I've definitely had blessings poured over me..... so let's just check some out

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Clear colonoscopy
I am just so glad that was something I didnt have to worry about. No polyps, nothing to give any worries about. WHEW!!!!

My Brother
For Ricky to take off for my surgery & the day after, he wasn't able to drive me to my colonoscopy. My brother stepped in & was able to take me & even offered to stay to take me home (Ricky was able to leave work early to get me home) - but I am so thankful my brother, who has so much on his plate already, took the time to make sure I was taken care of.  Stepping up to the big brother duties, even after all these years.

Clear mammogram & PAP 
I had all that taken care of a few days before my colonoscopy just to make sure everything was OK - especially because they found a spot in my breast 2 years ago & they keep an eye on it - but everything came back good on both!!! I dont even have to go back for the 6 month check up on my breast but can wait a year. That's such a fresh breath of relief.

Still so glad they were able to do the full procedure & not do the seton with another surgery down the road.

Care Packages
OK... I just wanted to cry. I think I may have actually. The day after my surgery - we get 2 packages on our front porch.  The PRECIOUS - ADORABLE - THOUGHTFUL - SWEET - CARING Audrey Louise had sent me 2 boxes. One from Amazon Pantry - full of snacks & treats & a case of vegetarian soup!  Ricky was digging in immediately in the snacks.  ... & not only did she think of me & the hubs, but my fur babies. She had sent them a box of treats & toys & bones to chew on.... I'm telling you - I have never been so speechless.  I never have thought about sending Amazon Pantry packages to someone who is stuck in the house for awhile - but what a genius idea!!!!!  Thank you so much Audrey!!!    I just want to hug her so tight, it takes her breath away.  She's truly an angel!  The joy of the Lord shines through this one y'all!!!

I would have taken a picture of my Amazon Pantry box - but Ricky dove into it faster than I could get a pic

Mug & love
My sister in Christ, Kelly - she just has the most giving spirit to her.  She had her daughter drop me off a bag & I was so excited when I saw another Starbucks mug in there - from Maine - where she just returned.  The collection still grows!!! But not only was there a mug, but some homemade banana bread - which I basically devoured myself & then a gift card to the grocery.  Y'all - I realize over & over again that I just dont have the mind to think of these things. How USEFUL was that!  Especially when I can order groceries from the bed & just have Ricky pick them up in the Click-List way?  Thank you Kelly for keeping us fed during my down time!!!!  I LOVE YOU!

HSM squad
My girls... they are just the most precious thing to me. On surgery day, they each text me scripture of encouragement & reminders to NOT FEAR.  I read them over & over again until they took me back to surgery. & then they sent me a basket full of things to keep me comfortable while I was home.  My favorite thing in the basket? They got a journal & they each wrote a note to me in the front pages of it.  This journal is going to be one of my prized possessions! ... I am so thankful for Rachel - my partner - who drove the basket out & is just loving on the girls so well while I've been out. I just miss them all so much & cant wait to hug all these sweet girls!!!

Sunday delivery
Our Nashville gang surprised me with a delivery too - all the snacks!!! All the HEALTHY snacks!  It was funny because our door bell rang on a Sunday & Ricky was shocked they delivered it on a Sunday - but what a fun surprise that was! & so thoughtful.  I just love my Nashville gang.  My belly really loved them too :)

My work
OK - are you sick of hearing it yet? How much I love my job? ... I am just blown away how amazing my coworkers & work is.  They had sent me flowers & I got so many cards from coworkers with the kindest words of encouragement & well wishes.  I am so blessed to be surrounded by incredible people.

This pic doesnt show the beautiful white huge flowers in it - but I was looking at the ribbon when I took this
... & also on pain pills :)

Every night - every single night - Ricky would bring the mail in & I would get a card from someone - sending me well wishes, prayers, encouragement. It just truly lifted my spirits like nothing ever before.  I AM SO BLESSED!!!!.... & then a few Starbucks card came by way & I just know you all get me :) haha.... I cant wait to make the trips back to Starbucks. Has anyone checked? Is their stock dropping with me being out of commission? HAHA ... Thank you so much Jen & Tanya!!!! ... & thank you to EVERYONE who sent me the cards.  I have saved them all & just read them over & over again.

Able to make the funeral
So this is so heart breaking.... but I am thankful for it.  Some of you may have seen, that one of our friends passed away last week.  Totally unexpected.  She had a heart attack. Gone - at the age of 49.  I just can't believe it.  She was in my wedding - & I was her matron of honor.  She actually was standing next to me when Ricky proposed to me.  Me, Ricky, Tammy & her husband Tony - we spent so many years doing everything together. The holidays, vacation, phone calls every night.  We were so close.  Time takes its toll & we didnt stay as close when Ricky & I moved to Indiana - but Ricky always stayed in touch with Tony (they've been close friends for so long - they were each others best men at both weddings too) ....& now, Tammy is gone. I just can't believe it. I still hear her voice in my head. Keep seeing all the fun times together.  ... but her funeral was Tuesday & I am just glad that I am off work so I was able to attend. It was the first time I put on make up or even got dressed in something other than sweats in the past 2 weeks.  & it was tough. But I am so glad I was able to be there. Just to hug Tony & her sweet kids.  Please pray for them.  Her kids are in their 20's.... I told Ricky that I'm still devastated at loosing my daddy - but I see I had 46 years with him - & here's these 2 kids who only had their momma for such a short time.  Heart breaking.

My hubby
I honestly dont know what I would have done the past 2 weeks without him.  Heck, I dont know what I'd do with every day without him - but to have him take care of me the past 2 weeks has been just indescribable.  I cant even wrap into words all he has done... but I am just thankful this is the man I married. The one who took the vows, "in sickness & health - for better & worse - for richer & poorer" & has really applied them.  & probably my favorite thing of all - every morning before he'd leave for work, he'd come in & kiss my forehead since I didnt have to get up.  Truly, my Prince Charming.

What are you Thankful for this week as we head into the holidays?

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