Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Henderson sisters dinner

I grew up with these beautiful ladies in Henderson, TN, aka small town USA. We share so many memories of childhood, school, youth group and summer camp. We try to get together every month or so to catch up. It's wonderful to have such a fabulous group of supportive small town sisters to gather and do life with! 

I also know it would would make Judy, Ouida and Reba happy to see us together! 

Halls in Hawaii

In June of 2017 Josh accepted a job in Kona Hawaii with Big Island Electric. They had a couple of big contracts that they needed someone with Josh's abilities to get completed. Josh and Chassi thought this over and decided this would be a good adventure for their family. One of Josh's favorite movies (and tattoos) is "Joe vs the Volcano", so this seemed so appropriate.

They sold most of their possessions and flew across the ocean to settle in the little community of Waimea. Waimea is on the big island of Hawaii, just up the mountain from Kona. Hawaii is the largest and least populated of the islands and also has the least number of "mainlanders" - that's what Hawaiians call us. They have mountains, ranches and active volcano and of course many beaches. When Josh and Chassi are not at school, and the girls are not in school, they are out visiting ranches, hiking, swimming and exploring. 

Josh and Chassi have both expressed that this has been a big growth experience for all of them. It's definitely gotten them outside their comfort zone and helped them to stretch and grow as individuals and as a family. 

In December, we arranged with Josh to fly over and surprise Chassi and the girls. They had thought they would not have any visitors until spring, so they were definitely surprised. Josh had a work Christmas party at the Marriott, so he took the family there to spend the night at the resort. What they didn't know was that Bryan and I had landed and checked into the Hilton next door. We knocked on the door of their hotel room and as you can imagine there were lots of screams, hugs and tears. We had a fabulous trip and they were wonderful tour guides! 

Jenni and Alex stayed behind to work, but if Josh and Chassi stay much longer they plan to go visit too. Thank goodness for technology! 

2017 flew by!

Has it really been over a year since I blogged? 2017 brought precious time with family and friends full of laughs, a few tears and of course change. Change seems to be the only constant in the world these days.

I took a position in March of 2016 with a company that has a very important and noble mission to help and support patients through their last year of life. I had the privilege of working alongside some of the best palliative physicians, practitioners and support staff in the nation. It was a whirlwind year and along with my fabulous professional development team we on-boarded over 300 new employees, installed, activated and trained a new phone and documentation system, instituted monthly lunch and learns, and set up and offered continuing education for all employees. I have worked in very supportive high growth companies before and instituted these and additional programs, but this one brought with it some complicated challenges in culture. After a year I paused and evaluated the 14 hour workdays, weekend work and my stress level. One of my good friends reminded me of some great advice we hear every time we fly.

What great advice!

I took that advice and started networking in March of 2017. I am grateful to say that I landed a position (in April) with a great company on a team where I feel appreciated and supported every day!

Gotta love Google!

If you know me, you know how much I love Google! This video shows 2017 in google search. This gives me hope that people in this world are still curious, they want to help others and they are ready to move forward to make this world a better place. #makeadifference 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The family station wagon

How many of us grew up in the car in this episode?! Ours came from "Downtown Motor Company", otherwise known in my family as Granddaddy's car lot. If the sun hit the door just right you could see where it once said "Sisters of the...", because it used to belong to a convent.

Many wonderful memories were made on trips in that car!

Take a coffee break and watch: http://comediansincarsgettingcoffee.com/sarah-jessica-parker-a-little-hyper-aware

Friday, January 29, 2016

One of my favorite gifts of 2015

My lifetime friend Joyce is married to Tim, a brilliant cardiologist. Tim also happens to be a very talented photographer and he snapped this photo of Amber and me at Lisa's wedding a few years ago. A week or so before Christmas I received a framed copy in the mail and it now has a special spot in my living room.

Thank you Tim and Joyce for capturing this special moment/memory on film!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Message on a napkin

I was having a rough day, and then I found this in my purse. Morgan, my middlest grand-girl has the sweetest heart!

Last week we nailed down the date for our annual family vacation, and as you can tell they are a little excited.

Another sweet sign

One of the charity events that we always love attending each year is the Holiday Howler. This event is put on by the Brown Dog Foundation, and they use the funds raised to help families with their furbabies medical expenses. 

I had some money to donate in Amber's memory and gave part of it to this great charity, and a couple of weeks later I received an email titled this: 

For those of you who grew up in Henderson you'll remember Leo was the name one of Amber's favorite pets. Her beloved Weimaraner! 

In December Leo was also a sweet dog in California who has diabetes and he and his owners needed some help with his medical expenses. The donations from this year's Holiday Howler helped Leo get the lifesaving medications he needed. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Always in my heart

If you've read any of this blog, you know I am a believer in signs. I never know exactly where they come from (God, the universe, mother nature), but I enjoy them and they are comforting to me. 

A few days after Amber's death I realized I needed to get out of the house. The thing about grief I've found is that you just want to curl up in a ball to cry and sleep and if anyone would tell me to snap out of that, it was Amber. So I got up, got dressed and headed to wander some of our favorite second hand stores. We had several stores in Florence and Nashville that we always explored when we were together. These stores don't have "new" items so you never know what you might find, and that is why we loved them so.

I walked in the door and the first thing I saw was a rack of Christmas ornaments and the first one was this:

Of course I burst into tears and went back home. After a few days I went back and the ornament was still hanging there waiting for me, so I came home and put up a tree to remind me that Amber is with me this Christmas. The thing is, she will always be with me, because she's in my heart and that is where I will hold her close for all of my days. I know I will cry when I think of how much I will miss her, but I will also laugh when something triggers a wonderful memory and I am so thankful I have plenty of those to treasure. 

Friendships should be cherished

We camped, we rode bikes, we laid in the grass looked at stars and dreamed, we survived zits and bad haircuts, we went to concerts, we loved Wonder Woman, we double-dated, we saw Raiders of the Lost Ark 6 times, we debated who would marry Starsky and who would marry Hutch, we were terrified of Jaws and Jason, we loved high school football games, summer camp and singing about heaven, we studied (some), we ate a lot of chicken fingers and hot fudge cakes, we sang a lot of 80s songs, we were part of the 4 musketeers (Kim, Allison, Amber, Laura), we planned reunions, we got married, we became moms, we loved watching our children grow, we had surgeries, we changed each other's dressings, we snuck each other out of the house (before medically recommended), we both dealt with cancer on our own terms, we always supported each other's decisions, we cherished our friendship, we cruised, we danced on the beach in Mexico, we rode every coaster in Orlando, we laughed a lot, we cried some and we loved each other through the ups and downs of life. 

Thank you Amber - my life was better because you lived.