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.

U2 on a beautiful day - July 2nd, 2011

U2 came to Nashville and put on an amazing show at Vandy Stadium. We had great seats and loved every minute of it!

Anniversary - 28 years!

Bryan and I celebrated our 28th anniversary while on vacation. We snuck away from the group and headed to Grayton Beach for a date night. The Red Bar was packed with vacationers so we chose to eat at Shorty's Topside Grill across the street and had delicious dinner of Steak, Shrimp and Crab. After dinner we took a short walk on the beach in the moonlight. (and I tried to snap our photo in the dark)

Family Vacation 2011

We just returned from our annual family vacation. This year we went back to Santa Rosa Beach in Florida. We rented a beautiful beach house, if you need a place to stay I highly recommend it. It's just a short walk across the street to the beach and the subdivision has a couple of pools, one located right behind our house. This is our second time to rent "Beyond the Sea" and the owners are wonderful to work with.
We spent our days rotating between the pool and the beach, and the evenings watching movies, going to plays, having picnics, taking walks, riding bikes and just generally relaxing and having fun.

I love good news!

Amber got her scan results and her body remains free of cancer! I just can't stop smiling about this news. Just a few months ago the diagnosis and prognosis she was given were hard to take in. Amber has always been one of the healthiest and strongest women I know and to find my friend had advanced disease was heartbreaking. The doctors will continue to scan her every 3 months and keep a very close eye on her.

Through all of her chemo treatments, surgeries and tests, Amber has remained positive and resolved to make the best of whatever happens. She has a strong faith and strong will and both are very inspiring to me and all those who love her.

So...if you see me smiling - it's because my best friend is doing great!

Expresso Brownies - Yum!

Jenni made these incredible brownies and I just had to share the recipe!


Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons espresso powder
1 (19.8-ounce) box brownie mix (recommended: Duncan Hines)
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Whisk 1/3 cup of water, oil, eggs, and 2 tablespoons espresso powder in a large bowl to blend. Add the brownie mix. Stir until well blended. Stir in the chocolate chips. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 35 minutes. Cool completely.

Meanwhile, dissolve the remaining 2 teaspoons of espresso powder in the remaining 2 tablespoons of water in a medium bowl. Whisk in the vanilla. Add the powdered sugar and butter and whisk until smooth. Pour the glaze over the brownies. Refrigerate until the glaze is set. Cut into bite-size pieces. Arrange the brownies on a platter and serve.