Monday, March 17, 2014

Daddy's Girl...

WOW! It has been a long time since I last updated this blog. In that time, sooo much has happened and changed in my life!! Some good. Some bad! And, some we won't discuss! LOL! One thing that has not changed is my desire and willingness to be a student of life. Always striving and desiring to learn new things, experience new paths. In doing so, I learn more about me and who I am. My "authentic self" as Oprah describes it. Every experience has opened my eyes to seeing more truths. I think some of them I already knew and either chose not to see or allowed opinions of others blind fold me to the truth. A good example of that would be my father. Allow me to take a moment to introduce you to the greatest man I almost never knew... my father. My parents divorced when I was very young. I think I was around 5. I have very few memories of them being married. My sister has none. One of the memories I have is also one of the first memories I have of life. I was young, maybe 3 or 4. I was sitting in my daddy's lap. I felt safe and loved. I have carried that memory and held it close to me all my life. There are very few people I've ever told about that memory. Not long after that, my world got turned upside down. My parents divorced and my dad started drinking. He became an alcoholic. He was an alcoholic the majority of my life growing up. I used to blame the alcohol for taking my daddy away. I don't know if that was easier to believe or just a cover up of the truth. It's been a long journey. But I can look back and see the truth now. He drank and used alcohol to hide his hurt of not being with his children. My sister and I were his whole world. I was told that he chose alcohol over us. I know now that was a lie. I was even told at the young age of 6 that he wasn't my father anyway. I grew up not knowing that truth. I suffered a lot of hidden pain all my life because of that. I was told and am often still told a lot of things as a means to keep me from my father. If my father would've been a different man, those lies would've succeeded in keeping me from him. So what was the truth? The truth was a man that would do and give his all for his kids. Tolerate an ex wife that put him down to his face, his children and everyone else? Yes he was that man. Become friends with his ex wife's new husband to stay in his kids lives? Yes he was that man too. The truth is a man that while using alcohol to hide his pain, still fought to stay in his kids lives. He walked through hell and suffered a great deal. Why? For the love of 2 girls...his 2 girls. In my early twenties, I went to my dad and asked him to take a DNA test so that I could finally know the truth. That's the only time I ever remember my dad raising his voice to me. He was mad. Worse, he was hurt. He had stopped drinking when I was 17. Even if he hadn't, alcohol couldn't have hid this one. I have never seen my father this hurt. I still haven't. He told me no. That was a first!!! I wasn't used to hearing my father tell me no. I expected him to do as he always had and do whatever I asked of him. Why should this time be any different? I didn't know it at the time. But I was about to learn it in a big way that would forever change my life and allow me to bury a demon that had chased me since I was 6. My father said, and I quote, "Hell no I won't go have a DNA test done. I don't need no damn DNA test to tell me that you're my daughter!!! You are my daughter like it or not. Your mom should've had her ass beat for letting someone tell you that you ain't." That day I learned the source of my dads deepest pain. I thought I suffered that pain alone. I never knew that my dad had suffered for years as well because of what was told to me. He blaimed himself for not protecting me from an adults cruel version of what was funny or not. For the first time in many many years, I saw my daddy, the man I remembered in that memory, the man whom I had been told and convinced did not exist. I made myself and him a promise that from that day forward, no one would ever take me from him again. Although he was remarried and I didn't much like his new wife, I refused to lose him again, even if that meant having a relationship with his wife. Today, I am closer than ever to my father. Closer than most people know. I'm thankful that I can see the whole big picture now. I see a man that never left me. A man that has loved me unconditionally. A man that walked through hell for me. A man that has suffered his own pain because of me. A man that has made me and my sister his greatest loves of his life. A man who would without question lay down his very life and give his last breath for me. He's not a rich man. Yet, he would give me his last dime. My happiness IS his happiness. When I hurt, he hurts. When I laugh, he laughs. When I cry, he cries. He has always been there regardless of the time of day for me no matter what I needed. He's the most giving, most caring, most loving, most forgiving, most patient and the funniest man I know. He's not the most educated man I know. Yet, he has been my most valuable teacher in life. From him, I have learned a lot of things. I learned to never give up. I learned to love without fail. I learned to forgive long before be asked for forgiveness. I learned to admit my faults and ask for forgiveness. I learned how to stand in the adversity and survive it, not fall victim to it. I learned that I mattered. My father may not be a king. But ask him, and you will learn that I am his princess. He's not perfect. But he is my DAD! And, I am his heart! I am the very breath he breathes. The one thing I never had to ask for nor did I ever need was his approval of me. Why? Because I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, I already had his approval no matter what I did. You can't search for what's not missing. I'm learning a lot lately about the need a of approval and acceptance of others. I'll post more on that later. I thought I would start at whose approval I needed most but never wanted for. You can't want for something you already have. I had his approval as soon as I took my first breath. Have I been the perfect daughter? No. I haven't. Has he been the perfect parent. No he hasn't. But, he's always been mine. And, I've always been his. In his eyes, I AM perfect just the way I am! He would not change one single hair on my head. I know this blog makes him sound to good to be real. But, trust me. He is very much real. Anyone who has ever known him, besides my mother, can and will tell you that this blog is 100% true. Anyone that has ever met him has loved and respected him. I don't know of anyone that doesn't like him. That's just who he is. Someday, I will stand at his grave and his tombstone will read, " My Father...the greatest man, mentor and teacher I ever knew."

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Just A Dream...

Growing up, I was like all the other girls and dreamt of meeting my Prince Charming and living happily ever after. I'm no longer that little girl. Today, I'm 41 years old. I grew up. But, my dream failed to grow with me. It remains the same. I still dream of Prince Charming. I can feel his breath. I can hear his whispers. I have his love. I know his touch. Yet, I cannot see his face. 

I still dream of having someone hold my hand as we walk and dance in the rain. Someone who kisses me like its their last. Someone who holds me too tight because they are afraid to let me go. Someone who listens to my every word as if it were my last. Someone that wipes away my every tear and laughs at every stupid joke I tell. Someone that will walk with me, kiss me, hold me and spend hours talking to me. 

My dream is fast becoming my nightmare. In my quest to find Mr. Right, I have been stepped on, walked on, put down, shamed, lied to, cheated on and used. I have even walked through the darkness in the valley of the shadow of death. I have my faced my fears. I have loved. I have lived. And, I have lost. Through it all, I never surrendered. 

I no longer believe in fairy tales or happily ever after. My forever died on April 05, 2011 at 7:48 pm. My heart was buried along with my happily ever after. It's taken me a long time to realize that Stacy kept his promise when he promised that he would love me and that we would be together forever. I realize now that he kept his promise. Only his forever ended before mine, leaving me here behind, alone and scared... 

Two and a half years later, I'm still insecure and scared. I'm scared of loving like that again and even more afraid of being hurt like that again. I've been fortunate to have had that love twice in my life. One ended in divorce after 15 good years of marriage. The other ended in death. To love that strong and deep  and have it returned was great. But, the hurt that followed was to much to bare. Although I am afraid to know and have that kind of love again, I'm glad I didn't miss the dance. I have no regrets. It's left me scared and insecure. Still, they remain very important verses in my life song...

Now, I'm ready for that next verse to be written. I want to dance in the rain again. I want to feel love again. I want to be held and kissed as you whisper sweet nothing's in my ear. I want to be your everything. I want butterflies in my stomach. I want to feel breathless. I need you to feel the same. I need you to understand when I tell you that I can't promise you tomorrow; yet trust me when I promise to love you past tomorrow. When I tell you that all I have to give is my last breath, accept it and cherish it because that's all I have; with that, I will have given you everything. I need my Prince Charming to hold me tight through the night because he knows that tomorrow may never come. 

Does a love like that still exist? Am I a hopeless romantic? Is my Prince Charming out there waiting? Or is it just a dream...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My Letter to God

Well here goes..... Hopefully, I won't back out of posting this. I am wayyyy out of my comfort zone!

Dear God,

You changed my plans and shifted the sands of my life again just as I was beginning to like what I saw. I don't understand your reasons. Even if you showed them to me, the hurt would be the same because I'm still here and Stacy is not. You showed me how everything could change in the blink of an eye when you took him home. I screamed until my voice was gone. Through tears, I watched as everything came tumbling down. I've asked you why countless times. Again, I don't understand it nor am I going to pretend to understand your reasons. Even if I knew your reasons, the pain would be the same. I feel like I'm quickly fading; here today and gone tomorrow.

This storm has forever changed who I am in you. I'm broken. I'm overwhelmed and holding the pieces of my heart. All I feel is the pain and loss. Everything feels so far away. I'm left alone and trying to find my way; trying to find a faith that's gone. I am lost again. I'm broken and helpless and that's where I'll start again.

I know you feel my hurt and pain. I know you still hear me when I call your name. I know underneath all this pain and suffering that I am resting safely in the palms of your hands. I don't know where you're taking me. I'm trying to hold on tight to you and my faith; trying to just follow you, because it's out of my hands and out of my control. I'm learning to let go and let YOU lead me through this. There's too many things I don't understand. Therefore, I'm giving into your will. Please show me where to go and help me follow your lead. I am yours regardless of the clouds that loom above because you are so much greater than the pain. I know that you have gathered me in the arms of your grace. I'm learning again that I am not alone.

I know I have let you down time after time. Yet, you never gave up on me. Who am I to give up on you now? You didn't give up on me when I was at my worst. You kept your faith in me. And, now, I'll keep my faith in you. You offered up your last breath to bring me closer to you. Forever, my life is yours. I'm beginning to feel your presence here with me again. I surrender to your love and grace. You are everything I need. It's in your loving arms that I find comfort and healing.

Lord, my greatest regret is that it took losing Stacy to bring me running humbly back to the foot of your cross and down on my knees; broken. Now, here I am. You brought me here for a reason. Reveal your reasons to me. And, give me the strength to make it through somehow. Re-light that fire in my soul and make me whole again.

You promised us that there would be beauty in the fall. I have faith that out of these ashes, beauty will rise, because in brokenness comes beauty.

It's very hard for me to turn this page of my life. The chapter with Stacy has came to an abrupt end. I know that my next chapter with Stacy will be written in Heaven and will know no end....only life eternal. That will be when my sun shines through the rain.

Lord, I ask that you please keep me on my knees. I ask that you turn this pain and sorrow into my greatest testimony. Help me to use it to glorify you. I was born with the black stain of sin. I have been washed in the red blood of Christ. And, I'll die as pure and white as the winter snow. I pray that everyone comes to you, on bended knees, like a child, seeking your forgiveness, your grace, your mercy, your love and your gift of salvation. I pray they do so before finding them self on their knees in pain and sorrow like me. I have faith that you will heal these wounds and use them to glorify you.


**UPDATE...I wrote this letter about a month after Stacy died. I didn't have the courage or the strength to post it at that time. During this time, God has revealed a few of his reasons to me. First, my daughter, Morgan, accepted Christ as her Savior. I am so happy that she made that decision. She will be baptized in a few weeks. I know Stacy will watch with pride from Heaven and rejoice in her baptism with me. Second, a very close and dear friend of mine, whom has been my closest friend for over 25 years has made the decision to turn his life around and get off the drugs. I watch him daily struggle with his recovery. He is determined to do it and is successfully doing so. I feel blessed that God is allowing me to witness such great life transformations in 2 of the people that I love most in this world. I am so proud of them and love them both dearly. I cry tears of joy for them; and, tears of sadness because Stacy isn't here to see it as well. It was his life and his death that brought on these life decisions. To Stacy: You are still the first person I think of when I wake up each morning and the last one I think of before going to bed each night. I still miss you as much today as I did the day you went home to Heaven. The pain is the same and will never go away. Nothing in my life will ever be the same without you. But, I'm learning to "Never Surrender". I miss you and I love you!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Learning to Breathe

It's been 2 very long hard weeks now since I lost Stacy. I still cry myself to sleep every night, telling myself that tomorrow is a new day and will hopefully be better. I wake up each morning and cry a little more at the realization that he's not here. Instead of getting easier, the days seem to be getting longer and harder.

Everyone keeps asking me if I'm doing ok. How am I supposed to answer that honestly? I always respond with the usual, "I'm doing alright." What else am I supposed to say? Should I tell them the truth and create an awkward moment by responding with, "No, I'm not doing ok. But, thanks for asking,"? Instead, I put a smile on my face and tell the expected lie, "I'm ok."

The truth is: I open my eyes, I see Stacy. I close my eyes, I see Stacy. I sleep, I dream of Stacy. I open my ears, I hear Stacy. I listen to my heart, I feel Stacy. Being able to still feel so connected to Stacy is a blessing. On the other hand, it all hurts too; because it is a reminder that he is no longer here. I miss him like crazy. I miss his laugh. I miss his smile. I miss him aggravating the crap out of me. I miss the stories he told. I miss the laughs we shared. I even miss the tears we cried together. I miss the all night conversations we had. I miss EVERYTHING about him.

I miss the pillow fight we had in Tunica the weekend before. We beat the crap out of each other and laughed until we hurt because of it. The Tuesday before all of this happened, I was very upset about a personal problem. I snuck out of my house in the middle of the night and went over to Stacy's. I didn't have to say a word. He already knew. He just put his arm around me and said, "Come on, you need to get some sleep." He comforted me and made me feel better in a way that only Stacy could do. I slept like a baby and got the rest I desperately needed. I was worried that I would over sleep and be late getting the girls to school. Stacy said, "Don't worry about it. I'll take care of it." So, he stayed awake all night to let me sleep and make sure I woke up in time to get the girls to school. Every time I went somewhere, even from his house to mine, he always called to make sure I made it home ok. Now, I pull in my driveway, I pick up my phone, and still expect him to call and say, "Did you get home ok? Do you need anything?" It didn't matter how far or near I traveled, he always called to make sure I was ok. I still wake up every night at 2 am expecting him to call. He called every night to say good night. Then, would laugh before he got off the phone and say, "Well....good morning. I'll talk to you in a little while." I could write a novel, telling stories about Stacy. We shared so many laughs and good times. I feel so blessed because I have memories to last a life time with him. Not even death can take those memories from me.

How am I really doing? Well, to tell you the truth, I feel like an empty shell just going through the motions. It's hard. It sucks. But, I keep on going, because I know that's what Stacy would want me to do. I try to stay as busy as possible, because it's during the quite times when I miss him the most. I write a letter to him every night before I go to bed. I'm scared. I feel lost and alone. I spend my days trying to learn how to just breathe. I go from crying and sad, to mad at the world, to feeling hopeless.

I know God tests our faith. I have always held on strong to my faith and passed every test. In times of trials and troubles, I always drew closer to God. My fear is that this is the one test that I can't pass. I feel angry because He took Stacy. Everyone says that's a normal part of grieving. But, it scares me. I'm fighting hard to hold on to that faith. I remind myself daily that by holding on to Jesus, I'll be able to be with Stacy again someday. I think I have played the song "Homesick" by MercyMe a thousand times. I pray for God to give me the strength to get through this somehow.

My reason for posting this isn't to gain sympathy or anything like that. I want this post to remind everyone how important it is not to take life for granted. Tell those that you love just how much you love them and what they mean to you. Treasure every moment you have with them. Don't spend it arguing and fighting. If you need to apologize or make amends with someone, do it now. None of us are promised tomorrow. We are only guaranteed this moment right now. Tomorrow may never come. Stacy and I had many tomorrow's planned. Those tomorrow's no longer exist. Spend each day living as though it was your last and let nothing go unsaid. You never know when you will spend your days like me and learning to just breathe!

To all of my family and friends, both old and new... Please know that I love you each and every one! To anyone that I've ever wronged in any way, I am truly sorry. Hurting you was never my intention. I beg of your forgiveness.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


As most of you know by now, Jason and I have separated. We have not been getting along for sometime now. It's not his fault; nor is it mine. We are just 2 different people with different ideas and whose lives are taking different directions. I think Jason said it best when he said, "We started out our lives together in love. And, now that love has evolved into something else." We made the mistake that too many married couples often make. We made our lives, our kids, our finances, etc. our priority instead of our marriage. Over time, this caused a lot of conflicts. Those conflicts continued to build and led us to where we are today....Separated. We mutually agreed that this was an unhealthy environment to continue to raise our kids in and to continue our marriage in. It was suffocating and making both of us miserable. We are working this out in our own way. Although the process of getting through this is proving to be very hard emotionally, our methods are working at this point. We are committed to making the best out of a very difficult situation for the betterment of ourselves, each other, and most importantly, our girls. Regardless of the outcome, our goal is to provide and obtain peace and happiness for ourselves and our girls so that we all can have the best possible life intended for us. Jason and I will always love each other and will remain the best of friends and parents that we can possibly be, regardless of what the future may hold and the path it may take.

Many of you have been very supportive of both Jason and me. We thank you for that. However, there are a few that have tried to create drama where there is none. Please stop looking for more than what is there. Please stop trying to lay the blame on either myself or Jason. We aren't blaming each other. So, why should you? What gives you the right to intervene and say whose fault this is? It's simple. It's both of our faults and we both know it and have accepted it. Please stop with the negative comments and accusations. Your words and your actions are not hurting myself or Jason. We could care less really what you say or what you think. But, those words and actions can come back and hurt our children. Neither of us will ever tolerate that. If you really are or ever were our true friends, then, please mind your own business and let us work this out for ourselves. Instead focus on your own lives and problems. I'm sorry for saying that as forceful as I did. But, some of the comments that have gotten back to me are infuriating me. You're saying things that simply are NOT true and doing so just to cause drama. Both mine and Jason's biggest goal in this is to protect our children, our families and each other. And, we will do so even if it costs us a few to do it! Neither of us will tolerate any negative comments about the other or this delicate situation we are in. I'm not writing this about or to everyone, just the very select few that have made these comments and you know who you are.

Together, Jason and I will get through this. We are committed to making the best life for our children and ourselves, regardless of the outcome. Jason and I are going about this in a positive manner. What we need is your prayers, support, encouragement, and your friendship. What we don't need is the negativity that a few are trying to bring. Although our lives are currently separated, we aren't dividing our families and friends. You all will always be OUR family and OUR friends. We love and thank you all for all that you are and all that you bring to our lives, both together and as individuals.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Will Survive...

Do you ever feel like a fish out of water? Like life just won't let you breathe? Like something is suffocating you? Lately, that's how I feel. I feel like I can't breathe. I feel depressed and on edge. I have too much on my plate right now. My plate seriously needs to go on a diet.

My life has turned into an emotional roller coaster. I have moved back home. I am loving that. I am very happy with the move I have made. Being close to my mother, my step father, my sister and my nieces has brought so much happiness and comfort back into my life. The girls are adjusting well to their new home and their new schools. I have reconnected with some very old and dear friends. All of which, I love. I can see clearly why God led me back home. He new that I was going to need to be surrounded by these people very soon. Only, I didn't know that at the time. I do now.

In the last 2 weeks, life as I have known it for the past 16 years was turned upside down. A very tough and difficult decision had to be made. This decision was the right one to make. The end result will definitely prove to be better for myself and my family. It has been a big relief to have finally made the right decision regarding this matter. However, the process or the steps to reach the desired end result are pure hell. I sat down and told my girls something that I never thought I would ever have to tell them. I watched as tears flowed from Abbey's eyes. And, I watched Morgan cover it all up with a joke. Why did this hand have to be dealt to them? Why couldn't I protect them from this? Why did it have to be dealt to me? Why does life deal us such large and hurtful setbacks?

I have become severely depressed because of this. I am on edge and my nerves are gone. Those closest to me are feeling the affects of this. Last night, I got mad at my best friend for the stupidest of reasons. I have cried to the point that my well of tears has run dry. Then, just when I think I can't shed anymore, another one falls. I am trying my best to be strong for my children and my family. I am trying not to let too many people see this raw, emotional, and very vulnerable side of me. My protective walls that were once in place, have crumbled.

Many of you keep asking, "What is wrong?" or "What is going on?" While I greatly appreciate your care and concern, please don't ask me those things. I cannot tell you what is going on in my life right now. It is a very personal and private matter. So, please don't ask. I most likely won't tell you. The answers that you will receive will be "Nothing," or, "I am fine." There are a very few people that I have trusted enough and are close enough to me that know what the situation is. There are a few of you that I will be contacting and telling you what is going on. But, let me come to you with it when I am ready. Please don't ask me if there is anything you can do for me. Instead, pray for me. When you see me, hug me. These actions will let me know those things without you having to say a word. And, it's those actions that I am needing most. Don't be surprised if I start crying on you when I do come to you. What I need most is your support while getting through this.

I know, like everything in life, that this time too shall pass. I know that I will one day look back on this time as growing pains that I had to go through to reach a better point in my life. However, it's going to take time. I'll take each day as it comes. I'll walk each step while holding on tight to the support system that I have built around me. I'll pray. And, I will survive because I AM a survivor. I'm not a victim. Nor will I ever be a victim of life's circumstances. We make our own choices and choose our own paths in life. It's called freewill. Therefore, I am not a victim of the circumstances. Instead, I WILL be a survivor from them. I led myself to these waters and I will swim my way out of them. I'll find the air that I need to breathe. Just please be patient with me and be there for me when I call on you.

To my close circle of support......Thank you for all of your love and your support. I know that I can be a bit hard to handle these days. For that, I'm sorry. Thank you for calling, emailing, chatting or dropping by to check on me. Thank you for giving me your shoulder to cry on and your ear to listen. Thank you for making me smile when all I want to do is cry. Stop worrying so much about me though. This fish will find my way back in the water, I promise.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hello Summer...

Who says you can't go home? Not me! Because I have decided that's exactly where I'm going. My heart and soul is longing to go back home; "Back where I come from."

It's been a while since I last updated this blog. A lot has happened and more is to come. My photography business is going great and I'm loving every minute of it! I love being able to capture peoples memories through my lens. I LOVE my job. Abbey completed the 7th grade and made the honor roll in doing so. I'm so proud of that kid. She is such a good kid. How did I ever get so lucky??? Morgan and I completed our 1st year of homeschooling with much success. She is doing great. She really dug her heels in and has worked hard this year. Again, I'm so proud of her too. I am so blessed to have 2 such AWESOME children!!! The biggest change in our lives will shock a few when you read this. But, Jason and I have decided to sell our house and move back closer to my family. We have considered that option before. But, the timing never felt right. This time it's different. The timing feels perfect. It is a move that I am greatly anticipating and can't get here soon enough!

We kicked off our summer vacation this past weekend by celebrating Memorial weekend. It was an awesome weekend. The girls and I spent our weekend on the lake with friends and family. We swam, we ate, we played, we laughed and I even got to catch up with an old friend or 2. That was a lot of fun. The girls even learned a new trick or two. One of which almost gave Julie and I a heart attack. LOL. Taylor, Morgan and Hannah jumped off the top of the house boat for the first time. Why? Morgan said because Stacy said they could. Thanks Stacy! It was funny though. Of course, Taylor being the daredevil of the group, she jumped first. Then, Morgan got brave. She would take off running then come to a screeching halt at the edge. Then do it all over again. She did this several times before finally going over board. She popped back up out of the water laughing and yelling, "that was awesome. It was like I was froze in the air. It hurt a little. But, I'm gonna do it again." And, back up the ladder she went. It was cute. Hannah was the last to jump. Hannah sat patiently on top of the house boat for about an hour while waiting to get the nerve to do it. When she did finally jump, she jumped good. She definitely won for the furthest distance jumped. They jumped over and over and over again. Abbey decided she was going to stay safely down in the water swimming with Blake, Stacy's nephew. Can't say that I blame her for that one! Sunday proved to be just as exciting. While I took a little break from the lake to do a little house hunting, Julie and Johnny took all 4 girls back to the lake; where they swam and paddled across the lake. I later joined them back on the lake for some more fun. The girls wanted to go fishing. They made their own poles out of sticks, fishing string and worms. They sat on the dock for hours fishing with their little poles. Taylor actually caught one with hers. We let it go. She proved that you can never take the country out of the girl. LOL. I got a little bored and fell asleep on the dock. Abbey and Julie took advantage of that and took a few pictures of me sleeping on the dock. I almost rolled in the lake as I was waking up. Ooops. I guess I fell asleep to close to the edge! Thankfully, I didn't fall in the lake again this weekend! Only my shoe fell in this time. We wrapped up our weekend with the girls, Blake and Stacy catching lightning bugs. It was a really fun and relaxing weekend.

Spending the weekend with such great friends and family felt like home to me. This weekend was my proof that you really can go home.

HELLO SUMMER! We have MISSED you!!! Soooo glad you're back!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Christian Ideology A Myth???

Growing up in Luttrell, TN, we were taught a few basic beliefs in life. We were taught to believe in God; to love our family; to love our neighbors; obey the law; and to cheer on TN football. Church and God was not an option. It was a priority; the center of our lives. This could easily be seen through our morning prayers at school (yes, we still prayed in school), Summer Revival's, Bible School, Wednesday night GA's and RA's at Cedar Ford Baptist Church, and church services. Our days began and ended with prayer. My question, today, is whatever happened to those beliefs? If you go back to Luttrell, they are still there. However, drive just 10 miles from downtown Luttrell, across the county line into Knox County, it's lost. Did the good citizen's of Knox County forget those principles of life? No, they didn't. That lies solely at the feet of Knox Counties school officials and what they are choosing and allowing to be taught to OUR students.

A science book being used to teach Honor's Biology, in Knox County High Schools, is stating that Christian Ideology is a myth! Don't believe me??? Demand to see a copy of that text book and look on page 319. There, you will find those words written and spelled out in black and white. Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't text books supposed to teach facts? If not, why do we send our kids to school to learn them? I was APPALLED by this. What has happened to a school system that at one time was held in high regards as being one of the best in East TN? When did we start allowing such things to be taught to our innocent children?

The school board now has a "review board" in place to debate whether or not to ban this text book from our schools. Let me say to all the Mr. and Mrs. Stupids involved in this decision, I'm taking this decision out of your hands and deciding for myself what my children will be taught. I took my youngest child out of your school system because you failed to teach her the basic reading skills. If this text book isn't banned, you can add one more lost child to that list as my oldest child will NOT be allowed to attend your schools either. If we, as parents, allow them to use this one text book, they WILL bring in others like it; and, it WILL become mainstream teachings in our classrooms. That's just not ok with me. Yet, people ask why the Homeschooling movement is on such a rapid rise. Only one word comes to mind with that.....DUH!!!

Did you know that this same school system allows teachers to use profanity in front of our kids now??? No, I am definitely not saying all teachers do. But, I know of one teacher in Karns High School that still has a job after using very profane language while teaching her students. To quote her exact words, "G-- Damn it!" These aren't words I allow my children to use or allow to be said around my children, regardless of their ages. This same teacher also said to her students that she just didn't believe that an old, white haired, bearded man could have possibly created the world and life in just 7 days. That wasn't in Honor's Biology class. That was in Junior English class. My question is, "Where is the relevance to English in that statement? Did I also mention that this same teacher brings into the classroom and tries to force her political opinions onto those innocent minds by debating and discussing such topics as President Obama and pro-abortion??? Complaints have been filed against this teacher. Yet, nothing has been done. She is still allowed to teach at Karns. My point in telling that is that this line of thinking is well on it's way to becoming main stream in our public classrooms. Again, that's just not ok with me.

This same school system banned prayer, the use of the word Christmas, and anything of a religious nature within its school doors. Their claim was that it was offensive to non-Christians. Ummm.....excuse me!!! But, is that text book and the words spoken by that teacher NOT offensive to me and my beliefs? Where's my rights under the First Amendment? Why do you care so much about what offends one group as opposed to the other group? Have you forgotten that you live IN THE BIBLE BELT? Did you forget that this country that we love so dearly was founded on our fore fathers beliefs in God? Where do you think the phrase, "One nation, under God...." came from? Possibly out of FACTUAL History books.

By believing in God, the ONE and ONLY TRUE GOD, I also believe in the existence of Heaven and Hell. And, I can personally tell you that I WILL iceskate across Hell before these educated, know it all, idiots over Knox County's School system are ever allowed to teach my children such nonsense. I am counting down the days until I can move back to a public school system that still believes in God.

I'll wrap this up as I sing a country song titled, "I pray for you." Being the Christian that I am, I will be praying for you, your soul, and especially for God to protect our children's minds and hearts from what you are trying to teach them. Being the human and the mother that I am, I'll also be praying for those same text books to fall off the shelves onto your heads in hopes of knocking some sense into them.

I'm asking all of you that have or will have children in Knox County Schools to please write, email, fax, or call your School Board Representative and put a stop to this!

Monday, March 22, 2010


Over the past few days, I have been asked to weigh in with my opinion on the current Health Care Reform Bill. Let me start by saying that this blog neither confirms nor denies my stance on this bill. I refuse to get into such a debate. What is this blog about? The disheartening fall out from it. I am very disappointed with many things that I have been witness too; both through spoken words and actions taken.

I have saw long term friendships fall apart because of opposing views on this subject. Really? Is it worth it? Is having a strong opposing opinion worth losing a life long friend over? Me? I choose the relationships in my life over the bull shit happenings in Washington. Yeah, what goes on in Washington does have an affect on myself and my family. But, in the end, the relationships in my life have a much larger affect on me and therefore are given a much greater importance on my list of priorities. Those I have control over. I don't have control over Washington bureaucracies. So, if defending my opinion on political matters is going to cost me a relationship I treasure, well, I'm sorry, we'll just have to agree to disagree and leave it there as that is a price to high for me to pay.

The most disheartening part of this that I have been witness to is the racism. What is this? Pre 1960's? I am not saying that I am pro or anti Obama. But, I AM anti racism. I have saw posts on facebook, words spoken from those around me, posts and replies on the internet, and even media personalities say that this was passed because he was black. They say that Obama was elected because he was black. Here's an idea..... How about we debate the issues at hand and not racism? Want to know why racism still exists today? Look no further than what's coming out of your own mouths in front of our children. Our children learn from us. They learn from our words, our actions and our teachings. Our children are blank slates in which we write on. Our beliefs WILL become theirs. So, choose your words wisely when speaking in their presence. I'm sure many will interpret this paragraph as me being pro Obama. It's not. I'm not satisfied with his job performance at this moment. However, my dissatisfaction comes not from his skin color or his background nor him as a man. It comes from me not agreeing with the job he is doing.

The most shocking of all of this and one which I am appalled with, is that I have heard most of this spoken from my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. For those participants in this, do you REALLY think that this is a type of behavior or that these are words that Christ would approve of??? My teachings tell me NO they aren't. Let's go back to adopting and applying the WWJD principle in our lives.

What is my opinion on this health care bill? I can see both sides of the argument. I both agree and disagree with many aspects of this bill. And, I am choosing to leave my opinion with that.

I apologize if this blog has stepped on any toes or hurt someone's feelings. That was not my intention for posting this. I'm just tired of hearing the negativity in the debate. If you want to debate it, then do so positively and with an open mind for hearing the other side of the debate. You might surprise yourself with what you will learn by doing so. Most importantly, debate only the issues and don't bring slanderous words and actions into it. Debate intelligently and not with ignorance.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Homeschooling Update....

I know it's been awhile since I last updated everyone on Morgan's and my homeschooling adventures. So, here ya go.

Morgan and I took some time off over the holidays from schooling. It was a much needed break for both of us. Morgan is continuing to progress. She is doing great. She is also starting to do some of her work independently. I couldn't be more proud of her desires to do that.

I have been concerned that maybe she wasn't progressing as fast as I thought she needed to. And, thought perhaps there was more that I could do to help her progress faster. After a ton of research and interviews at different establishments, Jason and I have decided to get her some one on one additional tutoring at Huntington Learning Center. My hope is that the combination of the work I am doing with her here at home along with the tutoring they will provide, that we can get her where she needs to be much sooner with her Reading.

Morgan went to Huntington today for evaluations. When I went back to pick her up, Carol, the lady evaluating her, sat down with me to discuss how everything to discuss where they believed Morgan to be and what they could do for her. Of course, I had a ton of questions. What's new? lol. She said that Morgan was doing an excellent job with the testing. (Let me back up for a second. I told her upon our initial visit about Morgan's lack of self esteem when it comes to doing her school work.) Today, she told me that she saw exactly what I was telling her. She and Morgan discussed this. I had also told her that I would prefer to be able to put Morgan back in school next year, most likely private school. We also discussed that further today as well. Her opinion after talking with Morgan and working with her this morning, was that I made the right decision in bringing her home. She told me that she had NEVER advised a parent to homeschool their child. But, based off her initial assessment of Morgan, that she felt it would be in Morgan's best interest to be kept home with me another year until she goes to Middle School. She said that Morgan was a very bright and intelligent child. And, that it saddened her to know and see the results of Morgan being in school thus far. I know that a lot of you will not agree with that.

I have many family and friends that are public school teachers. I am not discrediting them at all. They are all wonderful people and wonderful teachers. But, Morgan is proof that one form of education is not suitable for ALL children. Kids are different. They learn differently. What works for one, might not always work for the other. I will refrain from stating my opinion on our public school systems. My opinion is a very biased opinion. And, it is one rooted in bitterness with how our public school has handled this situation with my child. I will say that the problems are not our teachers or our staff. They all do a wonderful job. It is with our school system itself. Enough said about that or I'll get on a soap box with it.

Where are we now??? I have a meeting Monday with Huntington to discuss Morgan's evaluation results. At that time, they will tell me where she is at currently and lay out the tutoring course they will take with her. In the mean time, she and I will continue to do our school work here at home. Only, she will also be going to Hunnington 2 days a week for work there. Jason and I both feel very much at peace with the path we have chosen for her at this time.

I am starting now to look ahead at the next school year. It's still undecided at this point. There are two options that we are looking into. A lot of that decision will depend on where Morgan is at with Reading and her confidence levels next August. Option 1 is to enroll her in Grace Christian Academy. If we choose to do that, Abbey will most likely be switched from public to private school as well. Abbey will be allowed to voice her opinion on that. She does great in public school. I have no problems with her there. So, it will mainly be her decision to switch. Option 2 will be to enroll Morgan in a co-op program with a local church school here. In that program, she will attend school 3 days a week and will be taught at home, by me, the other 2 days a week. At this time, we are looking more heavily at the second option as I feel that doing a program such as that would also help to get her re-adjusted to attending school on a regular basis again. This would also prepare her to start Middle School the following year.

What can you do to help??? By continuing to pray and support us as we continue through this journey. Also, please keep the feedback coming. I really appreciate it all. Your feedback will often help me see things that I might have over looked or see things in a different light all together. We cannot thank you all enough for all of your prayers, support, encouragement and feedback.

For the first time since starting this journey, I feel at complete peace with where we are at in this and the directions that it is taking. I think Jason will agree with that one as well. We are both very thankful and feel very blessed with the opportunities that have been given to us to make this all possible.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Happy New Year's

Time to ring in a New Year. Only this year, we will ring in a new DECADE! What's one to do with that??? Party like it's 1999 of course. And, we did just that!

We have a tradition with some friends on New Year's. We all get together for finger foods, drinks, and lots of memories and laughs. We watch the ball drop, count down and toast in the New Year. With 11 adults and 12 kids, it was sure to be a good time. And, a good time it was.

We all shared a lot of laughs, told a lot of stories, most of which were probably true. Beer spewed, coke spilled, food ate to the point that we were stuffed, and we still laughed some more about it all. The kids had their sparkling apple cider in their "kids" wine glasses, courtesy of Tonya. They loved that!

I am so blessed to have such great friends to carry on these traditions with. The biggest blessing this New Year's was that David and Linda was able to join us in the celebration.

As midnight approached, we topped off, or refilled, our champagne glasses. We counted down from 10 while watching the ball drop. Then, we raised our glasses and toasted the New Year and great friends. All of the kids thought it was great to go around the room toasting everyone's wine glasses. We were more than happy to oblige. And, of course, the night wouldn't have been complete without a phone call from Stacy that had us ROTFL.

We woke up New Year's Day singing, "I gotta a little crazy last night." We had a great time. I am so thankful for all my great friends and the times we share together. We laugh together; we cry together; we share our lives together; and, sometimes, we get a little crazy together. I love you each and every one for all that you are and all that you bring to my life. Happy New Year's!

Out With The Old and In With The New......

A look back at 2009.........

2009 was full of it's ups and downs. The year started me off on a path of self discovery. And, what a path it was. I let go of a lot of old stresses that were dragging me down. I reconnected with many old friends through the joys of Facebook. I strengthened already existing relationships in my life. I, walked away from a few that were bringing me down. I, also, met many new friends, a few of which will be life long friends. Each of these relationships took me on a wild ride. A couple had their ups and downs. Most were worked out. Some are still to be determined. And, one, I'm still trying to work and find my way through. Either way, it has been a ride that I have enjoyed greatly and will always hold close to my heart, even the ones I've let go of.

There's an old proverbial saying, "When God closes one door, he always opens another one." I have always believed in that ancient old proverb. 2009, once again proved it to be true. There were many doors closed and many more opened. One door, in particular, closed at the end of 2009. And, with it, a new one opened. I have been very sad by the closing of the one. Yet, very excited by the opening of the other. Do I sound bi-polar saying that??? lol. I guess that is just some of life's constant struggles we find ourselves in. What doesn't kill us, makes us stronger, right???

I think 2009 will go down in my history as the year that I finally came into my own. I will treasure 2009 always.
I have let go of many things. And, I took on and tackled a lot of new ones. I was also made aware a lot of who I am. And, I have to say, I like the person I see staring back at me in that mirror.

A look ahead at 2010.....

2009 was my year of self discovery. 2010 will be the year I relax and enjoy the person I have become. Because of my heart condition, there were so many things that I have let go of over the years from fear. Guess what??? I'm no longer afraid of those limitations. I re-discovered my addiction to an adrenaline rush in 2009. I'm not going to spend this new decade worried about the "what-ifs." Instead, I'm choosing to jump back into life and let my feet land where ever they may. I already started doing so in 2009.

So, what are MY plans for the upcoming year....... Well....... There are many!

1. Plans are in the making to take a girlie cruise with a few of my closest friends at the end of February. Can't wait for that one. Fun in the sun, on a boat, sipping margaritas with no husbands or kids for a week. I mean honestly, does it get any better than that??? Mexico.....Here WE come!

2. As with every year, I will be making several trips to one of my favorite cities, Nashville. Looking very much forward to doing so. I always have a blast when I go there. This upcoming year will be no exception. I just might throw in a few extra trips there this year if time permits.

3. I have several trips planned to do my most favorite activity in life, and that's digging my toes in some sand while sitting by an ocean. Hell, I may even pick up a surf board this year. I will also be parasailing this year when I go, with a water proof camera, of course.

4. I'll be spending a lot of the time in the mountains hiking, hiking, and oh.....did I mention hiking?!?!. I plan on doing some over night hikes and off the trail hikes this year. Yippee! I think I may even learn to go rock climbing and repelling with a couple of those hikes. My goal with the hikes in 2010 is to prepare myself to do the 26 + mile round trip hike up to Mt. LeConte in the Spring of 2011.

5. I plan on learning to snow board this year. Something I have wanted to do for a long time but fear held me back from doing so. Not this year. I'll go down that mountain much faster than I could ever walk down it.

6. I'll spend lots of time with family and friends enjoying those relationships.

7. I am planning on taking a couple of photography excursions. And, y'all know, I WILL enjoy that! One of which, will take me snow mobiling next winter. Jason isn't too thrilled with that, but has agreed to let me do so anyway.

8. I think the most important thing I will do this year is to continue to make me the priority. I found in 2009 that the more I take care of myself, the better I am at taking care of others. Before, I always put me last on my list of priorities. I, now, see the errors in that. I will accomplish this by just simply relaxing and enjoying life and being me; becoming more as one with God, nature and myself.

In summary, my one resolution for this year will be to turn my world upside down and say what a ride it was.

Christmas in the Heart of Dixie.....

Christmas was a very busy holiday for us. It was also a very difficult holiday. This was the first Christmas after having lost Roy. I'm not going to go into that. Instead, I'm just going to talk about how we spent our Christmas in Dixie....

We kicked off the Christmas season with our annual trip to pick out and buy our Christmas tree. The girls and Holly were excited about that. After getting the tree home, we spent the weekend decorating it. Yes, I said weekend! Y'all know me and my OCD tendancies, especially at Christmas. I had to make sure that all 2000 lights were placed perfectly on this 7 ft. Frasier Fir. Of course, I, then, had to strategically place all of my "special ornaments." All the while, the girls anxiously awaited to hang the rest of the ornaments with Jason saying, "Be patient. You know your mother." lol. I finally finished and turned the ornaments over to the girls. The tree was completed with Jason placing the angel on top as he does every year. It was once again, our perfect Christmas tree. We loved it. We turned off all of the lights and turned the tree on for the first time this season. It light the room with a warm glow.

Logan, Cici and Maddie came into town from San Antonio, TX to spend the holiday with us. We met them and Adam over at Nana's to celebrate Christmas. Nana fixed our traditional lasagna and CHEESECAKE! Christmas would not be Christmas without Nana's cheesecake! Maddie loved the lasagna. She wore it well. Abbey and Morgan loved carrying her around and playing with her. She is walking and talking now. She is just way tooo cute! Of course, with the boys, you never know what is going to happen when they get together. It's always very entertaining to say the least. This time was no exception. As they do every year, they sent Josh a picture message showing him what he was missing out on with Nana's cheese cake. And ended with me trying to take pictures of the 3 of them and Jason receiving a cup check. Only those 3.

The Garrison Family Christmas was held at Aunt Nancy's club house this year. Marshall was able to bring Thelma for a short time. It was a nice trip out for her. She enjoyed being there and we were all thrilled that she was able to join us even for a little while. However, she tires easily, and wasn't able to stay very long. When Marshall left with her to go back to Autumn Care, a sadness fell over the room. Her presence was missed by everyone the rest of the night. We all still enjoyed it and each other. We were very thankful that she was able to attend for the short time that she did, and wished she could have stayed longer.

Jason and I can never make it through a Christmas holiday without a marathon wrapping session. This year was no exception. Once again, we sat in the floor wrapping, wrapping and wrapping some more. A few hours later, we put away all of the gift wrapping stuff. After the mess was cleaned up, with the tree lights glowing and Christmas music playing, we had our annual Christmas by the tree dance.

Christmas Eve day was a busy day. Lots of cooking and prep work to do before going to Mom's. Once that is done, the girls and I bake and decorate Santa cookies. We also have an annual tradition that is very dear to our hearts. It's always the first thing the girls ask about when Christmas comes around. We bake a Happy Birthday cake for Jesus.

Then, we were off to Mom's to celebrate Christmas with her and Mike. We had more food than we new what to do with. Mom says every holiday that she isn't doing that much next time because it doesn't all get ate. And, with each new holiday, she cooks even more than the last time. lol. She doesn't get any complaints as we all LOVE her cooking. Plus, we have enough leftovers to do us through to New Year's. We opened presents and sat around talking. Mom came up with a new game for us to play. We all had a big laugh at that one.

After arriving home, we tucked the girls into their beds with visions of sugar plumbs dancing in their heads. Jason and I, hosted Santa once again. We helped him place the presents under the tree and offered him milk and cookies.

Oh Christmas Morning!!! The girls woke us up at 3:00 am with much excitement. We tried to persuade them into going back to bed and sleeping another hour or 2. It didn't happen. So, we hopped out of bed and followed them to the tree where we opened presents. The girls were so excited and happy with all of their gifts. Thankfully, they let us take a nap. It was much needed. Once we got up for the 2nd time, we cooked breakfast and had our traditional birthday cake for dessert.

Later we went to Felicia's mom's for lunch. Once again, we ate too much. It was all very YUMMY and worth it though. We laughed and had a great time there too. After leaving there, we went to the nursing home to spend Christmas with Marshall, Jennie, and Thelma. Thelma was so happy to have all of us with her there on Christmas. I actually think her face was lit brighter than the Christmas tree. That, for me, was the best Christmas gift this year.

The next day, we went to my Dad's and celebrated Christmas with him and Sarah. Of course with Dad, nothing is ever boring. He is always the life of the party. This year was no different. So, naturally, we had a good time. I love having a father that brings so much humor to life! That's always a gift.

If you are tired after reading this blog, then you can imagine how tired we were after all of the celebrations. It was a good Christmas. And a very peaceful one. Now it's time to celebrate the New Year. I'll post those updates in the next blog. I'll also update this one with pictures in a day or too. I hope everyone had a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Monday, November 30, 2009

How Do You Say Goodbye........

It is through many tears, and great sadness that I write this blog.

When I was 6 years old, my mother remarried. I didn't know at that time the impact that would have on my life. Those "I Do's" would forever change my life. She didn't just marry anybody. She married a man that I would come to know as one of the greatest men I ever knew. Roy, a marine, was always larger than life and indestructable in my eyes. He could do no wrong. His patience, his love, and his guidance are the reasons I am who I am today. Without him, I wouldn't be me. He took my sister and I in and loved us as his own. They later divorced when I was 19. But, for Julie and I, we were still his babies and would always continue to be so. For 32 years, we have been the light of his life. And, now I will have to say goodbye to one of the greatest men I ever knew in the next few days. How do you say goodbye to someone who meant so much to you? How do you say goodbye to the man that would sit and rub my head for hours when I didn't feel well? How do you say goodbye to the man who taught me to ride a bike, who drove me to school every morning, who cheered me on from every ball game, who picked me up when I fell? How do you say goodbye to the man who held me while I cried, who tickled me until I couldn't breathe, who laughed at every corny joke I ever made? How do you say goodbye to the man that told me that boys weren't good enough for me? He even told a few of them that, including Jason. lol. How do you say goodbye to the man who taught me the values and morals that I hold so close to me today? How do you say goodbye to the one person who I always knew was there for me? How do you say goodbye to my inspiration? Some of the greatest years of my life and some of my fondest memories were spent with this man as his daughter. How do I let go of that?

For 32 years, he has held me, loved me and comforted me when I was sad and in pain. Unfortunately, this is a pain that he can't protect me from. I've never felt so alone as I do right now. I'll go visit him in the morning. I know before I go, that this will most likely be the last time I see him alive. How will I say goodbye??? What I'd give to hear his voice one last time; even if it was to ground me for breaking curfew AGAIN!

I thank God everyday for blessing me with two great Father's. I couldn't have asked for more. In a few days, I will lose one of them. How will I say goodbye? Losing a parent has got to be the hardest thing to ever lose. They aren't supposed to ever leave us. They are supposed to live forever. How do you say goodbye???


When I think of you, the song, 'Because You Loved Me,' by, Celine Dion comes to mind. You truly did give me wings that made me fly. In a few days, you will be the wind that carries those wings. You will become my angel, patiently loving me and guiding me from Heaven. I am so blessed for each and every day I got to spend with you. You did make my world a better place. I know that someday I will see you again. It is through the strength and courage that you have given me through the years that I will go on. Your voice will always speak loudest to me. I really am everything I am Because YOU Loved Me!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Saying Nothing At All.....

"Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers. Remember when you're talkin' to the man upstairs, that just because he may not answer doesn't mean he don't care. Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers." Lyrics taken from the song Unanswered Prayers by Garth Brooks.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the unanswered prayers I have prayed. Sometimes, I hear God the loudest when He doesn't answer. Much like my own children, I have learned through the years that if I want the girls to really hear me, all I have to do is to say nothing at all. Alison Kraus sang it best when she sang 'When You Say Nothing At All.' The first verse of that song says it all. "It's amazing how you can speak right to my heart. Without saying a word you can light up the dark. Try as I may I could never explain, what I hear when you don't say a thing." That is especially true with me. Most often, I hear more of what you're saying when you say nothing at all. It's amazing what you can hear with unspoken words. When God goes silent and speaks to me through unanswered prayers, that typically brings about a revelation of things; forcing me to see things more clearly. Most of the time, I can better see what His plans are for my life. I can see what direction relationships in my life need to take, which ones I need to build or work on, and which ones I need to let go of. I may not always like what I see or hear. But, I know in my heart it is always what is best.

Today, I am thankful for unanswered prayers. I am thankful for the revelations they bring. I am thankful for God blessing me with the ability to hear not only words with my ears, but also the ability to hear the unspoken words with my heart. I am thankful that God blessed me with a love of writing, through which I find much solitude. I am thankful that God has granted me the strength to publish this post, exposing some raw emotions and thoughts within me. I am thankful for my many friends and family, who have cared enough to ask "what's wrong," and listened when I told them. I am thankful for those same family and friends that listened with their hearts when I said nothing at all.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Few Things I'm Thankful For..................

"Bring me joy, bring me peace. Bring the chance to be free. Bring me anything that brings You glory. And I know there'll be days when this life brings me pain. But, if that's what it takes to praise you Jesus, bring the rain…." Lyrics taken from Bring The Rain, by: Mercy Me

What does that quote have to do with Thanksgiving? For most, it probably doesn't; for me it has a lot to do with the things I am thankful for this year. Read on to find out why this chorus means so much to me. WARNING!!! This is going to be a long blog. I have a lot to be thankful for. And, you know me, I can be as long winded as a Baptist Preacher on Sunday Mornings at times.

What am I thankful for this year? I'm thankful for the rain that came my way in 2008. Sometimes, we need to walk through a storm to reach happier times. 2008 was my year of storms. It seemed like everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. My stress level was at an all time high. Then, I was admitted to the hospital for a couple of days over problems I was having with my heart. My cardiologist lectured me about the amount of stress in my life. There's nothing that can bring you to your knees quicker than lying in a hospital bed, hooked up to heart monitors, and worrying about your kids being ok. I wasn't thinking about being thankful for that moment at the time. That was almost a year ago. Today, I'm very thankful for that thunderstorm coming into my life. That thunderstorm put the "I back in my LIFE." Through this, I learned to give up some of the control and stress that had me burdened. I came undone. Lol After that happened, I began keeping a prayer and gratitude journal. I promised myself that I would force myself to go beyond the surface level gratitude's, and learn to appreciate the small, and often unseen, things in my life. Now, I wake up each morning with a thankful spirit; thankful for breathing the air; thankful for the opportunity to walk through another day of this life that God has blessed me with. I go to bed each night thankful for a new day and all the joys and blessings it may hold. This was one of many times in my life that I have called on God to answer a prayer. I'm very thankful that He always does.

I'm thankful for my husband, Jason, without whom this journey wouldn't have been made possible. I am thankful for the sacrifices he has made, his devotion and support, and his willingness to take over things to relieve the stress on me. For that, I will be forever grateful.

I'm thankful for Abbey. Her heart, her caring and loving spirit, and her courage never ceases to amaze me. She is my inspiration. I can only aspire to be as faithful to Christ as she is. I can only hope to find the love for others that she has. I can only wish to own an ounce of the courage she has. I'm thankful for the decision she made to give her life to Christ. I'm thankful that I could play a part in that. I'm thankful that God allowed me to be her mother and trusted me to raise her in His glory. Abbey inspires me to be a better me. I look at her and see in her the person I would like to be. I'm thankful for the young lady that she has become.

I'm thankful for Morgan. I'm thankful that she pushes me outside of that proverbial box at times and forces me to live life to the fullest. She experiences such an overwhelming joy just to live life in the moment. I'm thankful that she has/is taught/teaching me to do the same. I'm thankful for her laughter. It's contagious. I can only hope to live a life filled with that kind of raw, carefree, joy. I'm thankful that she is nearing making the decision to give her life to Christ . I'm thankful, that I'm getting to be a part of that and experience it with her. I'm thankful that God has trusted me to be her mother as well. I'm thankful for the closeness that I have rediscovered with her while homeschooling her. I'm thankful for her innocence. She, too, is an inspiration to me. I'm thankful for the sweet, innocent, fun loving, child she is. I can't wait to see what else God has planned in both of their lives.

I'm thankful for my family. Your consistent love and support encourages me and lifts me up. I'm thankful to each of you for the unconditional love you all have given me through the years. I'm thankful that you all believed in me, even when I didn't. I couldn't ask for a better family than you all. Thank you.

I'm thankful for my friends, both old and new. Each of you has brought so much into my life. You've laughed with me; you've cried with me; you've stood by me. Words cannot explain how truly thankful I am to have you in my life. Your love and your friendship mean a great deal to me. Thank you.

I'm thankful for my church family at Providence. I'm thankful to have Chad as a pastor that teaches me, encourages me and leads me. I'm thankful for the spiritual influence our church family has in our lives. I'm thankful that God led us to where we need to be.

I'm thankful for each and every day of 2009. Each day has brought so many blessings into my life; especially the last 8 months. Old friends that I had lost contact with, have been made new again. New friends have entered my life and brought so much joy and happiness into it. I have developed deep life long relationships with these new friendships. I look forward to seeing and experiencing each new phase and direction it takes. I'm thankful that my relationships with ALL of my family and friends have deepened this year. I'm very thankful to God for blessing me abundantly with so many wonderful people in my life. I treasure each and every one of you.

I'm thankful for 2010 and the blessings it will bring. It's already revealing some of the things to come. I can't wait!

I'm thankful for God. I'm thankful for my salvation. I'm thankful for every breath He has given me. I'm thankful for all of the blessings that He has so richly bestowed upon me. I'm thankful that whenever I call His name, He is there. I'm thankful for all the answered prayers. I'm thankful that He has kept me close in His loving arms. I'm thankful that my life is in His hands. I'm thankful for the rain He has brought at times, and for holding my hand and leading me through the storms. I'm thankful for the comfort, peace, joy, love and forgiveness that He gives to me freely. I will forever live in Him.

In conclusion, I will live each day with Thanksgiving in my heart. I will have a thankful spirit. I will continue to be thankful for everything in my life. These were only a few of the things that I am thankful for. I'll never have enough time to list them all. Everyday is Thanksgiving for me. I may not eat turkey and dressing with all of the helpings daily (probably a good thing); but, I will continue to always be forever thankful.

**I failed to add that I am very thankful for my health and my great team of doctors. My heart is doing much better since then. My cardiologist threatened to fire me as a patient if I continue to do so well. And…. I'll be very thankful when he does. Lol.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Good Times.......

"If we live good lives, the times are also good. As we are, such are the times." 
Saint Augustine

A trip to the mountains, lots of pictures, loud music, dancing, and one almost speeding ticket made for a very fun filled weekend. Our weekend was anything but boring! After getting the car packed with all of the luggage, and receiving a much anticipated phone call or two, we hit the road. I had one teenager, one pre-teen, and one 9 year old in the car. The levels of excitement were at an all time high. I don't know which was louder, them or the radio blaring Def Leppard. I was very relieved when Felicia joined us in the car. Finally, another pair of adult hands. Lol. We were running a tad late. Running behind plus my natural lead food equaled an almost speeding ticket. I got LUCKY! Thankfully, the highway patrolman was making a turn and didn't have his radar available. We spent the next 20 or so miles with him pacing me. I have never been so happy to see the N.C. border! Whew! Dodged that one. We made it to Maggie Valley, N.C. just in time and without a ticket. Thankfully, my phone rang again and offered much needed relief from the tension of being paced like that. Lol

Mom met us in Maggie Valley to watch the girls dance. She loves watching them. I think she could sit for hours and do nothing but watch them dance. She HAS! The girls did great! They competed in their first ever acapella solo. Acapella is danced with no music. The judges turn around and they are judged based solely on sound. I was very impressed with how well they did. Morgan forgot her step at the end. Her reaction was hysterical as you can see in the video. All of the dance teams and dancers did really well this weekend. WAY TO GO!!! We also received some AWESOME news while we were there. We have a new little dancer to the studio. Brayden Scott Cassidy was born! Congrats Scott and Missy!

I couldn't leave Maggie Valley without "paying" my respects to the Indian Reservation in Cherokee via Harrah's Casino. Mom had to come home Saturday. She already had a room at Harrah's. So, she gave us her room for the night. That was fun. Courtney spent the night texting us from the jacuzzi tub. Silly girl! Of course, I took advantage of being there and went down stairs to support the local Cherokee economy. I "played" my part in that. Thankfully, some luck was sent my way. I managed to break even. That doesn't happen too often. All in all, a good night ;-)

Our adventures began again bright and early the next morning with breakfast in the hotel; where we lost Courtney's inhaler. Thankfully, we found it. We loaded up the car and headed over the mountain; stopping along the way to take some pictures of the beautiful fall foliage. I was having problems getting good shots out of the car window. I improvised by standing out of the sunroof. Got some great shots, strange looks, and almost hit in the head by an eagle. But, well worth it. The stupid things I do to get a good picture. DOH!!! We stopped off at Clingman's Dome. We attempted to walk up Clingman's Dome. Unfortunately, Courtney was ill with a sinus and upper respiratory infection and got dizzy on the way up. So, we turned around and headed back down. Maybe next time. Hopefully, she will get better soon. Our next adventure led us to Cades Cove. It was BEAUTIFUL! God must be really creative to create something that beautiful. We were AMAZED!!! Nature at it's finest. I took lots more pictures and found a new hiking trail. It took us almost 5 HOURS to make the 11 mile loop. Still, very much worth it. Felicia and I finally made it back to the house with 3 exhausted girls around 8:00 pm. All in all, it was a tiring, busy, exciting, fun, and adventurous weekend. Now, I get to spend the week looking forward to hiking that new trail I found next Saturday. YIPPEEEEEE!!!!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

End of September Updates

September brought us lots of new experiences and excitement. As I told you in my last blog, we started school with Morgan. That has been a real experience. It's came with its own highs and lows. For the most part, things have been going really great. We are starting to see some improvements with her. There have been hurdles we've had to cross. Morgan's favorite subjects are the Language Arts. I am very pleased with that. I have found a way to incorporate reading and reading strategies into all of her subjects. Shhhh.... Don't tell her that. She doesn't realize it lol. Our biggest struggle is Math. Math is typically an argument as soon as the books are opened. She hates it. Too be honest, so do I. I finally admitted defeat and accepted that the Math curriculum wasn't working for us. I ordered a new curriculum the other day. This one is more computer based and has fun games built into the lessons to further her understanding of the Math concepts. I'm hoping this new program will work much better for us. Overall, we are really enjoying it. I don't think she's ever going to want to go back to school. She IS! lol. Jason is also getting very actively involved in helping me teach her when he is home. He's even enjoying it as well. Friday, we had a bunch of errands to run. I started school with Morgan while he was busy. Then, he took over her lessons by himself while I got ready to leave. I was very proud of both of them! I only got called back to the dining room twice to help out! Good job Jason! One of my biggest concerns with teaching Morgan was how I would manage to get everything else done that needed to be done and still teach her. I've, since, learned to teach English while folding laundry, Science while doing dishes, and I've even learned to do my exercises while teaching her. Morgan thinks that's funny. lol. That is Math isn't it? "Morgan if I do 15 reps of arm curls and 3 sets, how many have I done in all?" No, don't worry, I haven't really asked her that. Thank you all for all of your encouragement!

Abbey is really enjoying her 7th grade year. She has turned into such a sweet and beautiful young lady. I couldn't be more proud of her, of both of them. Her teacher, Ms. Harris, pulled her aside and invited her to be a part of TSA (Technology Students Association) She is very excited about this. She chose 3 areas of study in the program; photography, website design, and criminal science. She is loving it. She has also become very active in her small group at church. She loves going to her leader's, Amanda, house every week to study and worship. She brought home her first mid term reports 2 weeks ago. She got all A's and 1 B. WAY TO GO ABBEY! She loves going on the computer and keeping a check on her grades. On the boyfriend issue......SHE BROKE UP WITH HIM! YAY! Can you tell I'm excited about that????

In other news, the dreaded flu bug has came to visit. Abbey was out of school sick with the flu most of last week. I thought that it was limited to Abbey. After she was healthy and back in school, neither Morgan nor I were showing any symptoms of having it. I thought we had escaped it. No such luck. It has now hit me as well. I'm hoping it skips Morgan and Jason.

Abbey attended her first UT football game. I had bought tickets for Jason and I. Unfortunately, work called and he was unable to go. Abbey had always wanted to go to one. So, I thought, why not take her. I have this extra ticket now. We dressed up in all of our orange and headed to the stadium to watch the UT - Ohio game. She LOVED it! She said that was the only way to watch football! Said it was like watching football on the biggest HD, flat screen T.V. ever. lol. When UT scored the first time, she went nuts! She loved hearing the band play Rocky Top every time. The crowd doing the wave really excited her. She cannot wait to go back again. Jason and I are discussing getting 4 season passes next year so they both can go with us to the home games.

On the sports front, the softball season is almost over. This will be there last week of regular season games. Tournaments start next week. Both girls have played exceptionally well all season. Abbey's team is ranked 1st in their age division so far. We have had a little mishap this season. Abbey has been suffering from a knee injury. Her doctor has advised bracing her knee when she plays ball and dances for now. If that doesn't work, he will refer her over to TN Sports Medicine for further consult. I'm hoping the brace does the trick. The girls will also compete in their last dance competition in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, October, 23-25th. Wish them luck. The indoor season of soccer for Morgan will also be starting again soon. She can't wait! She loves indoor soccer. Go figure. It's very fast paced. Perfect for Morgan.

Happy October everyone!!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Morgan's First Day of School

After dropping Abbey and Kaitlin off at school, Morgan and I came home to start our first day of homeschooling. We had our ups and downs from the start. Morgan wanted to do Math first. So, we started with that. She wanted to take her sweet little time. She came up with every excuse in the book to get out of it. She was hungry, had to go to the bathroom, needed a break.... After butting heads over that, we finally got to work. Then, she asked to use a calculator because her teacher's at school had allowed her too. I was mean and said no. That'll be a habit that we WILL be breaking. During this time, the same old questions popped into my head, "Can I really do this? What am I thinking?" We did survive our first day of Math. The rest of our day went pretty smoothly. I even learned a few things about bats with her during Science. The best part of the day was during English, our 2nd subject. I was teaching Morgan subjects and predicates. When I saw her grasp ahold of that and actually KNOW what I taught her, I was so proud. Then, I thought, "Maybe, I can do this." This happened again with the rest of our subjects. Overall, we had a great first day. Morgan even told me that I was a good teacher although a little strict. Morgan loved doing school in her pajama's.

Today was our second day of school. It went much smoother than yesterday. We didn't butt heads this morning. We started a little later. And, we had a few distractions to deal with today. Daddy was home. That was a bit challenging. But, we over came it. He even got involved in "our school" and enjoyed it as well. As most of you know, the reason we chose to homeschool Morgan is because of issues she has in Reading. Today, she had to take a comprehension test over the material that we read and studied yesterday. She aced it! I was soooo proud of her. My thoughts today have gone from maybe to "I CAN DO THIS!" She and I both really enjoyed our second day of school and are looking forward to the days ahead. Thank you for all of your encouragement and having confidence in me when I often lacked it in myself!

In other news, the girls danced in their first National Competition in Nashville this past weekend. Unfortunately, work called; and, Jason was unable to go with us. On the plus side, my mom was able to step in and go with us to lend a helping hand. Thank you MOM! Hannah went with us as well. The girls were very excited to have their grandmother with us to watch them dance. All of the girls danced very well. I am proud of them all! We had a great time. We were all very tired when we got back home. I think we slept for 2 days, well not quiet. Although, I could have. I think I logged 10 miles on my flip flops this weekend. If you've ever stayed at the Opryland Hotel, you know exactly what I'm talking about. lol. No need to exercise this weekend. I got plenty of power walking in. lol. Our next competition will be in Maggie Valley, NC, October 23-25. The girls will also be dancing at a big tailgaiting party hosted by UT Alumni during the UT vs. Ohio game on September 26. We are very excited about that.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Abbey's 1st Day of 7th Grade

The alarm clock going off at 7:00 am officially started the new school year. Abbey excitedly jumped out of bed, ready to go! She couldn't wait to get there. She wanted me to have her there by 7:45. School doesn't start to 8:30! Excited much? She couldn't wait to start her first day of school. Me, I was ready for another day of summer vacation. No such luck! We woke Morgan up. She whined, saying, "But, I don't wanna go to school." She argued about it. She was obviously arguing with herself in her sleep. She finally woke up and said, "Oh yeah, I don't start school today." She jumped up out of bed at that point. LOL. We dropped Abbey off at school at 8:15. She wouldn't let me walk her in and take pictures. "I'm in 7th grade now Mom. I'm not a baby," she said. Broke my heart. She's IS NOT supposed to be that old! I reluctantly gave in and stayed behind. She looked so grown up walking in. Morgan asked me what time Abbey got out of school. When I told her, she wanted to know if we could pick her up early. She, then, argued with me when I explained that we couldn't do that. She demanded to know why not. This coming from the child that thinks her sister is a bossy pain in the butt most of the time. It will be interesting to see how she does her first full day without her sister. We finally went back to get her at 11:30. Abbey came bouncing out of the school. She loved her first day and couldn't wait to tell us all about it! She said she had homework. I thought that was odd for the first day of school. She didn't care. She was excited to have homework. She's definitely not mine or Jason's child. LOL She was very excited about seeing all of her school friends. She said that when she walked into Mrs. Harris's class that she said to Abbey, "Well there's a Fritts if I ever saw one." Abbey thought that was funny! In Mr. Watson's class, he told the kids that he had been teaching school for 30 years and asked if he had taught any of their parents or siblings, if so to raise their hands. He, then, looked at Abbey and said, "Not you Ms. Fritts. I had both your dad and your uncle." Abbey thought that was embarrassing but funny. Of course, she couldn't go a full day without getting into a little bit of trouble. Not really. But, Lynn had to remind her that he was Coach Allen at school. It was funny. She did say that she was glad the day was over with. Why? Because she wanted to hurry up, go home and go to bed so she could start her first full day of school tomorrow! I had to explain that she couldn't go to bed at noon and sleep until 7:00 the next morning. Goofy girl. We are so blessed to have a child that love's school and education the way she does. It excites me to see her so excited about school. I hope she stays that way forever!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Saying Goodbye....

Saying goodbye is always hard to do, especially to something you love so much. Yes, I'm talking about summer. Summer will be coming to an end for us officially on Monday with the start of a new school year. We have had a great summer filled with lots of memories. We hate to see it end. We will miss you summer. We will miss the pool, the beach, staying up late and sleeping in, playing with friends, etc... On the plus side, whenever you say goodbye to one thing, you say hello to something new. That something new, for us, will be the start of new school year and all the exciting activities we have planned for fall.

First, Abbey will start the 7th grade on Monday. She is very excited. She has Mr. Watson and Lynn Allen as 2 of her teachers. She is sooooooo happy about that. I'm kinda sad, though. Where has the time gone? It seems like yesterday she walked through the kindergarten doors. Now, my baby, is 12 and starting the 7th grade!!! I need to find away to reverse time! With any luck, she will let me pretend that she is still little, for just a few minutes, and walk her into school on Monday. Camera in hand of course. lol.

While on the subject of school, I'll take a minute to update you on our homeschool adventures with Morgan. After months or research and prayer, I have finally chosen the curriculum that she and I will be using. And, I finally have our lesson planner complete. That is a huge monkey off my shoulders. We have officially withdrawn her from school and enrolled her in a homeschooling program. We have decided to postpone her start date until after Labor Day. This will give us a couple of weeks to get Abbey settled into a new school year. Then, Morgan and I will hit the books and the road occasionally. We have a few field trips already planned out. You all know me with planning EVERYTHING! lol. We are very excited to get started. Morgan gleams with excitement every time UPS pulls in our driveway with a new delivery. She knows it's her school stuff. I'm so relieved that she is this excited about it. I, too, am getting excited now. I'll keep you updated on our progress. Please keep us in your prayers as we go through this journey in our lives.

Next week is also the official start of softball and soccer season. Time to put the gear back on. Time to say goodbye to home cooked meals; and, hello to McDonalds, Wendy's, Subway, etc... Gotta love the sports schedule. As soon as I get their ball schedules, I will email them out for everyone to come help us cheer them on again.

The girls have National Dance Competitions on September 5th in Nashville. Good luck to all of the Step Above Dancers. While in Nashville, we will also be taking the time to visit several friends of ours there. We can't wait for that! They will also be competing in October in Maggie Valley, NC. That will officially end this years travel part of dance until February.

Also, in October, Jason and I will be going to the Caribbean for a week. It will be very nice to get away from our hectic schedules and just relax!

Saving the best for last, fall is also the time of year we say HELLO to TN football. Yep, "It's almost football time in Tennessee." Is there a greater time of year to be in Knoxville than that? NOPE! Time for big screen tvs, football parties, chili, tailgating, home games at Neyland Stadium, and of course......ORANGE everywhere! GO VOLS! The air even smells orange in the fall. The countdown has begun!

So...... Goodbye Summer! Until we meet again next year............we will miss you!