Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Holidays from the Halls

Our holiday newsletter:

Well here we are again, another year has passed us by and it’s time for the annual newsletter. We hope this year has been kind to you and yours and that you have created some priceless memories with those you love. 
For the Hall family, this year has been full of highs and lows. In June, Laura celebrated her 3rd year as a cancer survivor, and for this we are very grateful. In July we lost a family member, Dan, to a tragic accident.  Dan leaves behind Deanna (Bryan’s sister), Lauren and Logan. Please keep them in your prayers as they learn to navigate life without their wonderful husband and father. This event reminded us once again how precious life can be, and how important it is to embrace and appreciate each other and every day we are given.

Here's a little about our lives this past year-
Bryan continues his day job with Verizon Wireless. The addition of the iphone to the VZW line up has kept things churning at work. During his spare time, Bryan continues to enjoy photography, cycling and music. He also has a strong attraction to any TV show containing shark wars, swamp people or mobsters.  

Laura changed jobs this past year and now spends her days training clinic and hospital staff how to use electronic medical records. Laura’s territory includes middle and west TN, which allows her to visit friends and family along the way. She also loves exploring antique and other eclectic shops on her journeys. This along with pinterest, inspires many craft projects!

 Josh and Chassi live in Franklin and are constantly on the run with their three little girls. Josh works for Gibson Guitar and continues to enjoy running. This year he completed the San Francisco Marathon and he continues to look for new and more difficult challenges. Chassi is a stay at home mom, and also watches children in their home. Chassi completed her first triathlon this year and plans to run the ½ marathon in April.  Josh and Chassi attend the Journey in Franklin and recently became “village” leaders at their church.

Anna Belle is 8 years old, in 2nd grade and is excelling academically. She is very independent, always curious and loves to read. Anna inherited her parent’s love of running and ran her first official race this year with a 9 minute mile. Anna has a big heart and is a wonderful big sister.

Morgan is almost 7, and in 1st grade. Morgan loves gymnastics and is flexible and very strong. Morgan walks (and dresses) to the beat of her own drum and is witty, silly, nurturing and many times mysterious. She is really beginning to enjoy school and is doing very well this year. Morgan is an amazing sister.
Emri is now 4 years old and keeps everyone on their toes. Emri has two speeds – full throttle and asleep.  Emri is full of spirit and loves to sing lyrics from Fry’s opera on Futurama. She loves to play house with Crackle (the dog), and tells him “Now I’ll be the mom, and you be the dog” – so far he is compliant. Emri completes the household by bringing lots of fun, craziness and laughter to the home. She adores her two big sisters!

Jenni is our very own Mary Poppins. Jenni spends her days as a nanny to a precious little one year old named Charlee Joy. Charlee’s parents work in the music industry and feel very blessed to have Jenni in their lives. www.jthodges.com  In her spare time, Jenni continues to enjoy music, photography, fashion and travel – in addition to being an awesome Aunt Jenni!

There have been many times this past year we have all stopped and said how much we look forward to the day when life slows down, but most days we just hang on and enjoy the ride.

We hope your year was wonderful and you will embrace this holiday season. We are grateful for each and every card, photo and newsletter we have and will receive. We are happy to be part of your lives and you matter to us! Family and friendship - this is the good stuff!

With love from us to you,
Bryan, Laura and Jenni
Josh, Chassi, Anna Belle, Morgan and Emri

Monday, December 12, 2011

Never miss a chance to say I love you...

I've talked to several friends and family members lately who have lost someone that is very precious to them this past year. The holiday season is a tough one when you are missing someone you love. My mom passed away right before Thanksgiving in 2000, and her birthday is December 27th. I always miss her even more during this season. She loved the holidays, and always made them a little brighter.

We are of course also missing Dan, my brother in law who died almost 5 months ago. This will be a tough holiday for Deanna, Logan and Lauren as well as everyone who's life he touched. I hope we can all help to make it a little easier for them.

As I write this, I know of at least three people who are fighting for their life against cancer and I know each day is a gift for them as well. I am inspired by their determination to live each day to the fullest and to let those around them know how much they mean. It inspires me to do the same, because in reality none of us have that guarantee of tomorrow.

Thank you God for today, and let our actions show your love to every person we encounter!

It's a Wonderful Life

We always enjoy attending the "Wonderful Life Foundation" event each December. This year the movie and party was moved to War Memorial. The event has grown so large, they have outgrown the Belcourt and hosting the after party in their home.

This year was the 8th year, and it included a silent auction this year and Jenni got a nice hair/facial package from Imagine and I got some beautiful red candle holders from Knobstoppers. There were some great items at the auction and I think this will become an annual addition to the event.

Last year they were able to provide help for 5 families and this year they plan to do even more. One thing I love about this foundation is that every penny raised goes directly to the families they help. The cost of showing of the movie, rental space and after party are all taken care of by sponsors.

If you didn't join us this year, plan to attend the 1st Saturday in December of 2012!

Nothing like a Daddy and his daughters

Wonderful friends, delicious treats!

I love it when the doorbell rings this time of year! It's either some gift I have ordered online, or a surprise from a fabulous friend. Our friends Joyce and Tim sent us these chocolate/caramel apple goodies and they are awesome!!

Redneck Holiday Party

My friends Mickey, Sandy and I hosted a "Redneck Holiday Party" last weekend. We decided to have a party that even cousin Eddie would love.

Jenni made us a perfect party playlist and we came up with some creative and delicious foods!

Pigs in a blanket in the shape of a wreath w/a fruit roll up bow, Sausage Balls, Chicken Biscuits, Hot Wings, Tater tots wrapped in bacon, Redneck Sushi, PB&J Sushi, Mac n' Cheese Tarts, Jalapeno Cheese Bread, Queso/chips, Roadkill cheeseball, Veggies, Fruit, Cookies galore, Mississippi Mud Brownies, Espresso Brownies, Mexican Wedding Cookies and a Moon Pie Christmas Tree!

We ended the evening with a "Dirty Santa" gift exchange. The most traded gifts of the night were a Ralphie bobble-head, and Santa Pants. A good time was had by all!

A day to give thanks

I have a wonderful family, and I married in to a wonderful family. We hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our house this year with my side of the family. It's always wonderful when we can all get together and share a meal and make precious memories.

I love my family!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Franklin Theater

Nothing like Cary on the big screen
The Franklin Theater has been restored and is open for business. They did a great job of restoration and they are showing some classic movies on the weekends and admission is only $5.00. The theater is also hosting live music and theater nights.

If you go, make sure you meet Henry - a wonderful man who introduces the movies and never forgets a face!

Lifetime friends

My work territory includes Lawrenceburg, TN. This also happens to be where Allison, one of my childhood friends lives. Amber, another childhood friend lives 20 minutes or so from Lawrenceburg. So...Amber met me in Lawrenceburg and we drove over to the school where Allison is a first grade teacher and surprised her! I wish I had taken a photo of her face when she saw us walk up to her door. She screamed and burst into tears. After much hugging, we headed to Dairy Queen for sundaes and to catch up.

Then I headed to Florence to Amber's house for a slumber party complete with delicious Mexican food and a scary movie. I love my lifetime friends!

Halloween 2011

Jenni and Thomas

 I didn't dress up this year, but Jenni was black widow, and Josh's girls were princesses. We spent the evening at the Spears annual Halloween chili night and trick or treating. Here's some photos!

Morgan, Anna and Emri

Sophie Spears

Elijha Spears


I am intrigued by the National Novel Writing Month. The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. It's supposed to get your creative juices flowing and you hopefully come out of it with a first draft at a piece of literature. The challenge is to write 1,700 words each day. I've been reading a book called "No plot, no problem" and they help you prepare for this challenge. Since today is day 1, I am not sure I will make it this year, but I wrote my 1700 words and we will see how tomorrow goes.

A post worth reading

Some of you remember my cousin Hayley from when I called you and said "turn on the TV, cousin Hayley is on Deal or no Deal!"

Hayley's post today is a great reminder that we should never let a day go by without telling those we love how much they mean to us: http://www.hayfarris.com/2011/10/so-this-one-time-i-died.html?showComment=1320155953972

Thank you for sharing this Hayley -We love you!

Dr. Whitworth visit

I had an appointment at Dr. Whitworth's office today (October 31st) and his nurse was dressed in a pink tutu and tiara - I forgot to get her photo, but it really helped me relax before the exam. I'm still having some transient nerve pain on my right side, but they say that is normal and should eventually get better. It's reassuring to know that these things happen to other people and are nothing to worry about.


Even Santa lent his support!

Komen Race for the Cure 2011

Team Fight like a girl - photo 1

This is my 4th Komen Race for the cure since my diagnosis, and evidently it was the biggest cancer walk Nashville has ever hosted. That first year was a blur, I had just finished my chemo and I walked purely on adrenaline and support from my friends. This year I really enjoyed walking and catching up with friends. When I see other ladies who are obviously in the middle of their treatment it certainly takes me back to those hard days.

I want to thank everyone who supported me during my surgery and treatment, and all the days since. Everyone should be lucky enough to have friends and family like you!

Team Fight like a girl - photo 2

Breast Cancer Awareness - it's everywhere

October is breast cancer awareness month and everywhere I look people are showing their support.
The Grand Ole Opry turned pink for one night, and the even the Titan stadium went from blue to pink in support of breast cancer.  

Thank you to everyone involved - the support is greatly appreciated!

Camping at Fall Creek Falls, Pikeville, TN

I thought as an adult I would not cave to peer pressure, but when my dinner club friends invited us camping, in October, I decided to join in. Camping is not bad, I've camped before. Anyone that knows me knows that I love fire - I love candles, bonfires and as a youngster I loved making burned paper pictures. The scenario even got better, the campsite had a bath-house, a plug for electricity and you could drive up to the campsite. It's the OCTOBER part that I didn't fully take into account.

So we set out to Fall Creek Falls family campground. Bryan actually went up on Friday night with some of the guys, and I followed on Saturday with Catherine. We had a large roomy tent, an air mattress and warm sleeping bags. We ate delicious burgers, tenderloin, veggies, smores, popcorn and cider. The guys played football, we tried out the swings and took a walk. We didn't take into account the COLD! I almost bought a heater to take with us. Had I done this, it would have been a much better night. Catherine and I almost froze, but we made it through the night and came out alive. There's another one to mark off the bucket list - camping in October!
If anyone wants to ask me to go camping - let's make it in the early fall or spring. Never again when it's 30 degrees outside!

Raising money for cancer research

I feel a bit guilty when people ask if I want them to donate to my Komen for the Cure team. I know the importance of getting those research dollars and I appreciate everyone who donates. The reason I feel a bit guilty is because there are other cancer's that don't get as much recognition and I have friends who have some of those other types of cancer.

If you want to donate to breast cancer research - do me a favor - give my team half of the amount you were planning to give and the give the remainder of your donation to Melanoma, Colon Cancer or another less popular cancer.

Bryan and I recently joined "Team Willett" for the Miles for Melanoma walk. This was the first annual walk and they had a good turnout, but it was small compared to Komen. We plan on making this an annual event and would love for you to join us. Amy Willett is a fabulous wife, mother and friend who is battling melanoma and I am sure she would be honored to have you donate in her honor.

Amber, my best friend is in remission from colon cancer. I don't even know if there is a colon cancer walk in Nashville, but I need to find out. I want to walk and raise funds for her too!

Let's support and pray for these researchers who are working hard on finding cures for these cancers!

A trip with friends...

Many times through the years when Bryan and I have been dining with our dinner club friends we've said, we should really take a trip together. We always have great intentions, sometimes we even pick the location, but actually making it happen is almost impossible.

Well...we finally made it happen! Bryan and I took a California vacation with our friends Abbey, Jamie and Catherine and it couldn't have gone more smoothly. Even with us all flying in to SFO with different arrival times, and creating an itinerary that kept us on the road a lot of the time we had a wonderful and relaxing time. I have posted pictures on my travel blog if you want to see glimpses of our adventures.

Friends are the most important part of your life. Treasure the tears, treasure the laughter, but most importantly, treasure the memories. - Dave Brenner

Dinner theater in Chattanooga?

Some of my girlfriends and I have been looking for fun outings to spend time together. One of my former supervisors in Chattanooga told me about the Vaudeville Cafe and Mystery Dinner Theater. They have a Saturday night show called the "Redneck/Italian Wedding". This sounded like such fun. Some of us had attended Tony and Tina's wedding in Chicago several years ago and it was hilarious and we all had a great time.
So we loaded up our cars and drove to Chattanooga for the evening. I'll have to admit, the best part was the drive there and back where we all caught up on each other's lives and laughed and commiserated about life's ups and downs. It was fabulous being together. I wasn't too impressed with the show or food. The show had some funny moments, but didn't hold a candle to the one we attended in Chicago where you are actually incorporated into the event.

Here's a photo of our group

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Dinner with friends at Snookums

I just realized I never published this post...

Every three weeks or so I go to west TN for work. I usually spend a day in Memphis and a day in Jackson. I always try to go by and see Kim at work in Jackson, but this time I got Amber to come up and meet us too. We had a delicious dinner at Snookum's Steakhouse with some high school friends - Stacy and Judy. What a wonderful night with great friends!

Amber, Laura, Kim, Stacy and Judy - Class of 83'

Race for the Cure - October 29th

This year's Race for the Cure will be October 29th in Maryland Farms. My friend and former boss Denise and I will be co-captains this year. This year I will be walking as a 3 year survivor and Denise will be walking as a 1 year survivor.
We were some of the lucky ones who caught our breast cancers early. Combining that, with some of the best doctors on this earth who guided each of us through successful surgeries and treatment, we are happy to announce that we are both cancer free! I don't think either of us could have done any of this without our fabulous network of supportive friends and family members.
We hope you will join team "Fight like a Girl" and walk with us on October 29th. If you can't be here in person, please send up a prayer and a good thought for those of us walking on that day.

Girls night out

I miss my former co-workers, they are wonderful women who got me through some intense days, and have remained great friends. We recently went out for pedicures, dinner and then decided to head downtown to have a little fun at the piano bar.

Everyone needs friends they can giggle with!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Birthday cookout

Bryan planned a cookout this year for my birthday. The weather was perfect and we had a great turnout. I didn't seem to get any photos of my friends, but I did get these cute photos of the grandgirls and they are pretty cute - so I thought I would share!

Happy 23rd birthday Jenni

Jenni's birthday got a little lost this year. Her birthday fell on the day after Dan's funeral and although we were all together none of us really felt like celebrating.

July is a busy birthday month for several family members and good friends. Happy Birthday Jenni, Mam'ma, Dee-Mama, Carolee, Joyce and Amber!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dan Cole - American Hero

We got a call Saturday night that you never want to get. My brother in law Dan had been killed in a flight accident. Dan has been a pilot and mechanic for the National Guard for about 20 years. Dan loved flying and knew his helicopters inside and out. Dan has served our country in Kosovo and Iraq. I guess when he came home from those tours we all just breathed a sigh of relief, but as we all know too well - there are no guarantees in this life.

Dan is a few years younger than me, but I've known him all my life. He grew up on Hill street in Henderson; I grew up on North.  Our lives, like so many in a small town were always intertwined. We went to school, summer camp and church together and our parent's are good friends. We used to laugh about how Bryan and Deanna went away to college to meet new people and broaden their horizons...and both ended up marrying "townies".

Dan was a great guy. He proudly loved and served his country, but he also loved and served his fellow man and God. Dan was a wonderful friend who always had a smile on his face and brought joy and laughter to all those around him. This has been so evident from all the notes and stories that people have written about Dan online and all the comments we have heard from his fellow soldiers.

Dan and Deanna have two beautiful children Lauren (12) and Logan (8). They adored their Daddy! On Saturday, Dan flew over their house and had Logan come out and wave up at him. This happened just a few hours before the accident. I know in years to come that memory will become even more precious to Logan.

Please keep Deanna, Lauren and Logan in your thoughts and prayers as they learn to live life without their precious husband and father. We all know Dan is in a great place and flying with the angels now, but we sure will miss him on this earth!

We love you Dan!


Ugh...I cracked a tooth. The tooth that is cracked has a very old filling in it - it's a 8 or 10 year old molar so the filling has probably been there for a long long time. I made a trip to the dentist to get the tooth fixed and my heart was pounding. I kept telling myself, you've survived surgeries and chemo - why are you letting a little dental work get you so nervous?!

Anyway, they ended up giving me some nitrous oxide to help me relax and whoa! I had forgotten how great that stuff was. They could have done anything to that tooth and I probably wouldn't have cared a bit. I told the nurse, I was going to suggest they have nitrous piped in to every chemo room in America!

4th of July/Canada Day

We attended a wonderful cookout to celebrate the 4th of July and Canada day at the McGrath home in Franklin. Sean is from Canada and Nikki is from America. The day was full of games, delicious food and American and Canadian music!

Happy Independence Day America! and Happy Canada day too!

Baby Dedication Day

Jenni is working as a nanny for an adorable baby girl named Charlee Joy. I went with Jenni to Charlee's dedication on Sunday and it was a beautiful spirit filled service at the Collie's home. What an amazing bunch of people! I am so thankful that Jenni has great people to work with. They seem to love her as much as she loves them.