Everyday is an Adventure. Embrace it

Posts tagged ‘trust’

Funny How Things Just Hit You

As I sat drinking my beloved coffee this morning, I rummaged through a year’s worth of pictures so the before/after photographs could be posted of the house.  I am downright excited to publish a post of gratitude and rightfully thank everyone that has blessed our family over the last year.

As I was reviewing the first 1,000 photos or so, I was flat-out excited! Creating a folder to move the photos into and ensuring they were in the right order was not bothersome at this point. After an hour had passed, I had successfully completed my first pot of coffee.  I was amazed that I took so many pictures & had parsed through several thousand at this point. Going into my third hour, I was mentally exhausted. I was becoming frustrated at myself for taking so many pictures of everything under the sun. I questioned myself even, “why did I snap that?” “Did I think that was funny, cool, or that I’d never see it again?” “What is that?” I caught myself being upset with myself for clogging up my computer with pictures of random stuff when it hit me.

It is defined by: Wow, I’ve had a great year! I’m not including the boys or their feelings in this either. They may see the last year in a different way. Since they have become strange creatures others call teenagers, I can no longer speak for their feelings really. Would you allow me, gentle reader, to share this with you?

Please do not think me boasting or giving gratitude to anyone other than God! I have honestly had a great year of healing without even noticing I was. I mean, I’ve noticed sort of, but I took each day and placed it in its own little boxed adventure and hadn’t lined all the boxes up together to see the whole picture.

Over the last year: I went from thinking I was moving on with my life and realizing I hadn’t moved an inch

– to mourning the loss of my husband again

– to recovering from a nasty concussion (PCS)

– to beginning the heart wrenching work on the house

– to moving away from home

– to leaving state several times and seeing new places

– to meeting new people

– to realizing I had fallen in love again

– to watching the boys grow closer to each other and healing (PTSD & grief)

– to taking our first ever family vacation

– to learning a new trade (kind of)

– to definitely learning new skills

– to learning to open up and share myself with someone again

– to renewing my faith

– to really learning forgiveness (PTSD)

– to letting go of the anger (PTSD & grief)

– to helping a few friends along the way

– to meeting some cool people in other countries (you know who you are…Paul)

– to being a Mom again instead of working too many hours each week

– to bringing another child into our family

– to finally agreeing to “let it go” and just be.

And I documented all of this through my pictures. There are thousands of magical pictures with time stamps and GPS locations to remind me just how far I have come and how unquestionably blessed I have been and still am.

I am happy that I was side tracked while trying to locate all the photos of the house for you. I apologize that you must continue to wait too, cause I’m only good for one post per day per blog.

🙂 May God bless you

We moved back home!!

It’s been a while since I have written anything and for that, I apologize.  I do have some fabulous news though…we moved back home on October 31st!

The boys were a tad perturbed that they didn’t get to keep their Halloween plans made with friends, but we needed every available body to help lift, carry, and unpack.

We moved practically everything on that day/night. Afterwards, I went back to the rental property we were residing in and cleaned it up. That didn’t take long though – just a few hours. We left it looking far better (and a lot more clean) than when we moved into it 🙂

If you have followed the blog for a while, maybe you remember the house flooding? (It’s okay if you forgot, you can catch up if you read here.)

Maybe you remember the house sliding off its foundation almost a year later? (No problem if you forgot. You can catch up if you read here or here for details.)

I stopped writing about the house in February 2012 (I think) because I didn’t want the house to become the entire focus of this blog. And I decided that I would write once we were moved back into the house. I didn’t know that it would be the last day in October that would happen though.

I am going to do a reveal post soon and show some before and after photos so I can publicly thank everyone that helped us during this time in our lives. The project started the last week in December 2011 and was completed Oct 31, 2012. I am filled with joy to be back home again and I hope your hearts are touched with the story I reveal soon 🙂

 

Give me some feedback :)

My little Sissy is growing up :’-(

There’s a big world out there, full of opportunity. There are no limits. You’re past doesn’t dictate who you will be. Grasp the future. Love can conquer all things. Never lose your sense of gratitude. Never forget from whence your help comes. Hold firmly your Faith & never let go. Smile 🙂

My little Sissy Nikki Lea is growing up.

I am so proud of her, the mother she has become, her career, her awesome husband, and the beautiful lady that she is.

This post may not mean anything to anyone other than she and I, but since this blog was started to satisfy her desire for me to document adventures, it doesn’t bother me at all 😉

Nikki Lea, I love you & Casey (and the babies of course!)

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Your family is beautiful and so are you!

Southern Prospective – soap box time!

Recently, I’ve been engaged in conversations about the “north & south”.  I don’t like this subject, but will politely answer & comment. Well…it starts off politely anyway.  What makes these conversations intense is usually the opinions that are thrown into the mix. Very few people can carry on a conversation on the subject of differences of northern and southern people and produce only facts.

I’m from Tennessee – born & bred. I (like other people) am proud to be from the south. I would never say the south is the best, the end all-be all, or even the most preferred place to live, but it’s home. I love it here, even though I can’t breathe through my nose for the mass amounts of pollen and my car is constantly covered in a yellow film. Even though we have high taxes and very few people correctly pronounce most of the English language. I still love it!!

East TN has become a melting pot of people from all over. Many folks from the western and northern states have moved here as well as people from other countries.  I’d venture to guess that the population is half native and half  “visitors”. Many native folks here have never been too far from home and are not able to travel or are afraid to leave these mountains. I personally haven’t travelled much, but I’ve been out of the state a few times. I’ve been very blessed to have met, worked with, and made friends a great deal of folks from all over the world while right here in Knoxville.

So, back to the “north & south” conversations…I commonly hear that:

  • Southern people are backwards.           Hmm, I try to visualize this so I don’t take offense.

I can honestly reply that I’ve never seen a southerner with their head screwed on backwards. They usually walk in a forward moving motion and many have not only been successful in life, but have led this country as presidents, congressmen, and senators.

  • Southern people are close minded.        Really? …all southerners?? I am open to discovering why we are close minded. My rebuttal is that there are closed minded people everywhere, not just in the south. Some people here are incorrectly labeled as close minded because they are hesitant to repeat mistakes. What just happened there? Did I just present an open mind?
  • Southern people speak funny.           People from all over the world speak with different dialects and there are places where you will hear a very think southern draw. Southern draws vary also. The southern draw of a Texan will vary from a Tennessean, just as a Georgia draw will vary from a Carolina draw.  Don’t at make us special?
  • Southern people are uneducated.         This may be true with a passing generation of miners, farmers, and people that physically worked their fingers to the bone from youth through adulthood many years past, but school is not an option in the South. But somehow, we have several of the best schools in the country according to the president of the US. Besides, if we are so uneducated, why did you move your whole family here? You must be a bad parent if you truly thought that and enrolled your children in our schools!!
  • Southern people are racist/prejudice.        There are racist people everywhere, not just in the south. Not everyone in the south is a racist.  I’m not!! Racism is not just white against black or black against white. People are prejudice in all forms everywhere on this planet! People that claim to be above reproach on the subject, accepting all people are prejudice in some form. Okay…I’ll admit. I have one prejudice: People from Ohio driving their RV through TN, changing lanes on the main Interstates right on top of other drivers, without looking or signally burn me up! But that’s pretty much it 🙂 I don’t dislike people from Ohio and actually have Ohio on my bucket list. One day, I’m going there with MY RV and I dare any of them to say anything or blow their horns, hee hee…not!

Rich against Poor

Sinners against Saints

Poor against Rich

Saints against Sinners

Baptist against Methodist 

Methodist against Baptist

Women against Men

Men against Women

Believer against Believer

Geeks against Goth

Skaters against Nerds

White against Mexicans

Mexicans against Whites

Black against Whites

White against Black

 Republican against Democrats

Democrats against Republicans

Non Alcoholics against Alcoholics

Drug addicts against the World

Lower Management against Upper Management

Upper Management against Lower Management

Customer Service against the Customers

Customers against the Stock Clerks

People against Mosquitoes – They just want to suck your blood 😦

Northern drivers against Southern Roadways

Southern drivers against more than 5 lanes of traffic

There are so many prejudices that they cannot all be listed. People harbor prejudices against one another for countless reasons and because a prejudice is chalked up to “opinion” it’s acceptable in some circles to have those opinions. That doesn’t make it right though. Let’s move on now.

  • People from the South are Hillbillies.       Well, we do live in the mountains and hills. I don’t care anymore, call us hillbilly if it makes your life better 🙂
  • Southerners are stubborn.        Isn’t that true everywhere you go? Surely this does not only apply to southerners.
  • People in the South walk around shirtless and barefoot.         Try to walk on asphalt barefoot and tell me how your feet feel. Kind of hot huh? Now, take off your shoes and walk on grass. Nice and cool huh? If you don’t leave your yard, why do you need shoes? Men do work with their shirts off, but don’t men in warmer climates do this? I saw people at the beach that were barefoot and shirtless. I even saw women that were topless and barefoot!  A person must wear shirt and shoes when in public though 🙂
  • Southern men spit.        Northern men do too!
  • Southern women need to be rescued.          Really? You’ve watched waaaay too many daytime talk shows. There are women everywhere that dream of  being “rescued in life”, not just in the South. There are also a great deal of women everywhere, not just in the south, that are hard-working and  independent, raising their family! They wouldn’t dream of being rescued.
  • Southern people are rude.          This one blows me away, seriously.  Why do people come from all over to be in the heart of our “southern hospitality” if we are so rude? Why did people in the north and western states label us with “southern hospitality?” Why did they start saying that?  Who coined that phrase? 
  • Southern women lie.         I’m pretty sure women and men every where lie. Not all women lie. I am sorry that you have that opinion. It’s sad.
  • Southern men don’t take responsibility for their children, stick around to raise them, or pay child support.              I searched on-line and discovered the 9 states that have the largest percentages of deadbeat dads with the largest arrears are: Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Out of these 9 states, only 2 of those are southern states. Click here for the case study analysis.
There are more statements about southern people I have heard lately.  I’ve not spoken to just one westerner or northerner.  Sadly, I have spoken to many. I don’t bring the subject up, but somehow, it always ends up being brought into a conversation.
My thoughts are: People will always judge others by their own standards. If their opinions are that low of others, their opinions of themselves must be pretty low also.  It’s sad 😦
No matter where you are from, have you had a short positive or negative experience you can share about people from the northern, western, or southern states? Personally, I have had wonderful experiences in every state I’ve ventured into 🙂 People have great hearts everywhere I’ve been and I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting new people 🙂

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Brother’s Love (a PTSD check-in)

A brother’s love is a strong, sensitive, and unfailing.

While we were on vacation earlier this week, I saw so much evidence of my boys’ healing.  I noticed some changes in their interactions with one another over the last few weeks as we took in a new family addition. It is nice to see them bonding once more instead of being arch enemies with each other 🙂
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On vacation, we went to a small non-commercialized island where we had the beach practically to ourselves. This of course meant we also had the ocean to ourselves for the most part as well. Before the trip, both boys had concerns about safety. Neither could swim and were worried that I may not be able to save them.  They worried about the heat, the sand, the frogs,…practically everything. I think they were afraid of a new experience, but knew I was not going to leave them home – they were going to see the ocean, like it or not!
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On day 1 we drove all day and each of us crashed on our prospective beds at the hotel late at night.

On day 2 we drove the short distance to the beach and they faced their fears. Nick coaxed them out into the water as he laid down a few ocean rules. He showed them how to get past the breaks, not to worry about the sand, what brushed against their feet, and showed them the tranquility of body surfing the gentle waves. I was truly amazed. They did it – with no reservations. They went straight into the water, conquered that fear. Later that day, I watched my oldest son write in the sand to his daddy. I guess he was showing dad that he hadn’t forgotten him. Then, he wrote to his girlfriend (his name and hers in a heart) multiple times! It was sweet. I had a few minor concerns about their PTSD flaring up on this trip and wondered if they would reach out to my deceased husband. My concerns were confirmed, but not anything to worry about yet. image

On day 3 they experienced the beach again, this time with stronger waves. We drove about an hour and 45 minutes to Ocean City Maryland. We went to the beach and the boys were awarded the opportunity to witness commercialization. They experienced mass traffic, city culture, saw what they thought were hot bodies (very little bathing suits and a lot of skin), odd people, live musicians, men and women flirting among the masses, and much more turbulent waters of the ocean.  We spent about three hours on the beach and in the ocean before we toured the boardwalk. The waves were crashing into the beach, the wind was stronger and people were elbow to elbow. The boys approached the water apprehensively. Nick went with them, but warned them about the undertow currents and told them how to make it back to shore if sucked out to sea. image

I could see the fear written on their faces and I knew that I would run out there and save them if I could. They feared losing each other as much as they had feared losing their daddy. They feared losing me and were relieved that I stayed on the shore line this day. I stayed with the towels and our belongings. The honesty factor flew out the window when we left our favorite island on Chincoteague. This was wild, crazy, and chaotic. image

I didn’t interfere as they bonded together, encouraged each other “they could do it” and reassured each other that they’d be okay. I can’t express how hard it was as a mother to watch and not jump in there and erase all of their fears.image

They went into the ocean. Holding hands. Forming a chain of protection as they had vowed to save each other if the need arose. They stayed close to Nick in the water for comfort. Before long, my oldest was waaaaay out in the ocean on his boogie board. He was a natural. He took to the waves like a dolphin. My youngest was not far out though as he stood aside and watched his big brother adventure out into the deep. image

They had learned to swim and hadn’t realized it!! They had conquered a fear and were not aware. They were out there swimming with fish, crabs, jelly fish, sting rays, sand sharks, and lord only knows what else 🙂 image

From the side lines, I watched. From the side lines I was proud of them and couldn’t tell them. They’ve told me that they are fine if I just help them and not actually say “PTSD” or “Are you okay”. My Momdar (mom radar) is supposed to go off at just the right time in their minds to save them from their own thoughts. image

On day 4  we were back on Chincoteague Island and we went to the beach at Assateague Island. They were beginning to wear thin, tire down – like a tire going flat.  The hot sun, wind, and ocean water was beginning to take a toll of them. Irritable and grumpy, we promised them a break on day 5.  I saw more sand writing on day 4 to their daddy and they brought him up a time or two in conversation. No one cried, no one withdrew. They were healing nicely. image

On day 5  Nick rented a bike for my youngest son and Josh to ride around town. My youngest conquered another fear. He learned how to ride a bike! He rode that bike all over the town while Nick and I went to the beach. He conquered a fear of independence and being alone also. He was rather happy with himself that he rode as long and as far as he did on the Island. By car, the entire island can be crossed in less than 10 mins if you obey the speed limit of 25mph. It was very small. My oldest also conquered a fear of being alone in a new place. He didn’t tell me he was afraid with words, I read it on his face. He talked to his girlfriend all day (I’m guessing) as he walked around the island.  Both boys are still healing and growing on day 5 🙂
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On day 6 the boys didn’t want to go to the beach, they wanted bikes again. Nick rented bikes for them and they rode all day through the town. It was day 2 of a new-found freedom and they loved it! On this day all three boys had an argument blow out and they resolved it mostly on their own. Nick and I only had to intervene slightly. They were growing, bonding, learning each other and developing a new brotherly love (whether they realized it or not). image

On day 7 we went back to the beach one last time for shell collecting. They had all formed a new bond and were unaware of it. Each of them I saw talk to each other, interact with each other, and show concern in a new way. image

This vacation was a healing experience for them. Therapy could not have provided what this trip did.

Praise you Jesus for your Love, Grace, Peace, and Healing!!  🙂

Adventure in the Chincoteague Bay

While on the Island, a popular question asked by tourists is “what is there to do on this small island?”  The answer to this question literally cracked me up: Catch crabs! What? The good news is antibiotics or other medications are not needed if you catch crabs here. 🙂

On the bay side of the Island there are docks available for public use & a fishing license is not needed. Many forms of life thrive in the bay. There are crabs, birds, frogs, turtles, fish, billions of variations of snails, and much more.
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A couple of mornings/evenings Nick & I watched the fiddler crabs perform their mating dance rituals. These dances are composed of the male, with his one oversized claw, waving it wildly in the air. He pranced back & forth waving this club claw to show his manhood for the females delight. Once he’s caught the eye of that special female, he hopes she’ll pick him over the hundreds of other males dancing. Childish delight swallowed me & I asked playfully, “Could I take one home?”
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In Memorial Park on Chincoteague Island, fishing is bountiful and no license is required also. We bought a net, some raw chicken, a crab line and off to the park we went 🙂 This is where we went crabbing. While there, a boy came to us and asked us if we were trying to catch crabs just before the sun began to set. Nick answered him that we were & this young man wished us luck. He said he’d been trying to crab there for years & had not done well. He took his fishing pole and walked away from us along the small dock.
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Within 30 minutes, the dock began to clear out. The other fishers began to leave and take their catches with them. Some people were drinking beer, some people were sharing a moment with each other, and other people were teaching their kids how to crab or fish. Steadily, they all left the dock except the boy we met and his 2 friends.
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After dangling our chicken leg in the bay for a few minutes, the crabs started to swim by us. Even though daylight was leaving us, we could still see the crabs skimming the water nearby. We caught a few small crabs here and there.  It was peaceful and quiet. (Our boys did not go with us. They had other agendas for the evening. I think they were looking the island for girls.) There was one blue crab that we caught over and over again. We would admire him, take pictures, then send him back home to the ocean water in the bay. This little booger kept coming back to us. He was like an attention needy child wanting to be admired. Perhaps we flattered him? 🙂
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After all daylight had disappeared, the moonlight brought out the more unique and larger sea life. We saw a beautiful blue/green light in the water.  several times when bringing our net in, we had caught cute little jellyfish. They had no color when out of the water, but when the net was submerged again, the jellyfish began to light up. They were small and graceful. I was thankful I had not seen any of them while in the ocean. I knew they were out there, but not seeing them made the ocean water more enjoyable. I decided Jellyfish are show-offs. They wanted to be admired. The way they lit up for us, danced, and would not leave our area said it all…either that or they like chicken 🙂 image

Nick called to me, “Chrissy!  You have to come see this!!” He was standing over near teenage boys. They had caught something very large. Through teamwork, they managed to bring the large thing across the water line of the dock and they were coming straight at me. I looked over. It was a gorgeous sting ray! Her underside was white and her top was a deep brown color. Her tail whipped and swung from side to side. The boy’s rod was bent under the weight of such a large creature. They handed the pole from one boy to another as they made their way across the dock to the boat landing. She was too heavy to pull straight up out of the water.  Once she was docked, one boy stood on her tail/barb while the other boy gently removed the fishing hook from her back. They turned her over, checking to make sure she was okay and poured water from the bay into her breathing holes. We snapped some pictures and touched her. Then the sweet boy petted her and encouraged her back into the water safely.  I asked the boy his name: Jess.
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“Jess, you did a great job with  that beautiful sting ray!!”, I bragged.
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Shortly after the stingray had been released, the boys were all calling out to me. “Hey, Hey lady. Wanna see?” They brought me an eel to admire that they caught on their line. It looked like a huge slimy earthworm snake thingy.  I took pictures and gave them another pat on the back. We ended our crabbing adventure not long after that. image

It was a wonderful bay adventure!

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I swear, we are not inbred!

Well, it appears as though my grand baby has been playing on my phone and possibly erased the largest part of this post. Excuse me a moment while I re-type it…

I swear, we are not inbred. Don’t listen to that kid!

Yesterday for Easter, the boys & I went to visit family. My oldest son wanted to introduce his girlfriend to his sisters, so we took her along with us. On the long trip, I heard him explaining to her several of the people she’d meet. This is how we became inbred in one very short conversation, hosted by a 15 yr old boy!

Just to set the genealogy straight, the boys have 4 sisters. 2 of which they are very close to & 2 that they do not see very much. On Easter we went to visit the 2 youngest girls (Audrey and Ashley) at their mom’s house (Vick – but the boys call her Bebe). Bebe has another daughter (Sheri – called She-she).

Sister Audrey’s Family: Audrey, Justin (boy friend) , Eli, Anikan, Mara

Sister Ashley’s Family: Ashley, Emmie, and Miles

Loving Friend Sheri’s Family: Sheri, Justin (boy friend), Triston

Dad’s Ex-wife Vicki’s Family: Vicki, David, Audrey, Ashley, Sheri

Loving Friend Deb (who is Vicki’s sister) Family: Deb and Allie

Now that this is laid out about as simple as I can, here is what my 15 yr old son told his girl friend. I placed a star next to the incorrect statements:

You’re gonna meet all 3 of my sisters. There’s Audrey, Ashley, and *She-she. Audrey lives with my *brother in law* Justin and they have a lot of kids. They have Eli, Mara, and Anny. Then there’s Ashley. She has Miles and Emmie. My other sister, *She-she is married to *my cousin Justin and *their kid is Triston. Their mom is my *aunt Bebe and she is married to my cousin David. Then there’s my *aunt Deb and her daughter Allie, *my cousin. Oh yeah, we are *part black, so if you’re racist, that’s not good.

And you don’t want to mess with me cause they all love me and would be very mad at you.

No one will see the humor in this that our family did, I am sure. But we laughed and laughed over this dissertation of our genealogy.

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