Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Memphis 2014

New goal for 2015. 

Starting now. 

Scrapbook again. 

Even if it's digital. 

Get. It. Done. 


Saturday, December 27, 2014

A happy ending

When I was in college, and busy being a strong-willed girl (that's a nice way to describe me) she was my listening ear. 

I spent many nights at her house, a girl with no clue just trying to figure out who I was.  And she let me be me. 

When I met Scott, and just days later, we knew we wanted to get married, she was a fan of "us". 

When she got divorced, and moved to Birmingham, she became my running buddy.  I was all grown up :)

I'll never forget her words as I rounded the corner at the finish of my first 5k. She had run with me step for step and she said "finish strong!!!" And I did. 
She believed in me, when I doubted myself. 

Then when she met her "cowboy", I became a fan of "them". 

I'm so thankful for my mom's twin sister. She gets me. She's always been the "mom" that didn't nag me :)
And because she had only boys, (funny how I'm drawn to her) somehow I knew I was a daughter she never had. 

Tonight, she married her knight in shining armor, and I couldn't be any happier for her than I was tonight. 

God is so good! 

Friday, December 19, 2014


So. I got my first GrooveBook today. 

It's pretty great. 

The photos are time/date stamped at the top. Each photo is detachable. So you can choose multiple quantities if you need a duplicate. 

The shipping took longer than I expected but I'm obviously not in a hurry. I'm 6K+ photos behind. No. For real :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Pillsbury Ready to Bake™ Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ok....so, you are walking thru Publix, and you see this:
 Pillsbury Ready to Bake™ Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies

What do you do?

Yeah, you throw them in the buggy and hurry home :)
Ok...well, that's just what we did!

First of all. The smell.
They smell so minty and yum! when you take them out of the package.


We put them on the our Pampered Chef (can't live without) baking stone.

And then 12 minutes later....yum!
Now...we like our cookies a little bit medium-rare, and not crunchy.

Then, ready to serve!

And, I will admit, they are super cute on my Christmas dishes.

They were so yummy! The cookie was yum! Not too minty, and plenty of chocolate!

These will be on my "go-to" list for Christmas Parties!

And...to save a little $$ - Printable coupons available at www.ReadyPlanSave.com

“Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through Platefull Co-Op.”

Monday, December 15, 2014

There's power in a name- for 15 years

I read a post once by Beth Moore, and she spoke of the power in a name.
(I can't find the post, or I would be more than thrilled to link it)

So, she spoke of naming a child. And how many times your name will be spoken over the course of your lifetime.
How the name can bring power, and force, and it can draw a sense of peace, every time it is spoken in love.

I never gave it any thought.

Well, not to the power of his name.
The only thing I knew was that it would be a strong name. One that could stand on it's own. And not be shortened. No nick names. No pet names. Nothing.
Just one solid name.

That's the only requirement/thought I had.

Oh. but no!

Chapman Taylor Smith was named in the throws of the Operation Room, as I was strapped to the operating table, I am certain my C-section incision had not yet been closed.

He was about 1 second old.
We had determined that we would name him once we met him, and we loved him, and we "knew" him.
Yes, we were those parents.
Yes, we were just dumb enough to think that some baby-naming power would come over us in the St Vincent's hospital room, and we would miraculously have the all-perfect name for our child.

Gimme a break.
The nurse asked "do we have a name, Dad?" and Scott erupted with "Chapman Taylor Smith!!! Welcome to the world Chapman Taylor! We love you!"

As I nearly broke the restraints of the surgical equipment "THAT IS NOT HIS NAME!!! WE DON'T HAVE A NAME!!!"

Oh yes, indeed we did!
He was immediately Chapman.
His footprints were inked by the glorious black inkpad, and BAM! It's a boy!
Chapman Taylor Smith.
Named after a christian singer (Steven Curtis Chapman) and Scott's favorite guitar (a Taylor).

Oh yes! A powerful name :)

And within about 3 more seconds, he was my little Chappy!
And then later, in his toddler years, he was my little ChapChap!

And when I woke him up early in the morning to take his brother to school...it was Chappy-doodle doo!!!!

(and then in the 7th grade, on the first day of school, he decided to tell all of his teachers at the new school that his name was Jimmy. Oh yes, and they fell for it! Good grief!)

I digress.

Oh yes, that's right! A good strong name! The stand alone kind! :)

What in the world! I am a hot-mess of a mother!

And this kid! He owns the power of the name.
I don't think there could be another Chappy! Not one of his strength, and confidence, and colorful spirit, and light-heartedness!

He's one of a kind!

And I pray that as his name is called (whatever version of Chapman Taylor Smith that is)---I pray that with each day, he owns it just a little bit more, and by the end of his days, he is a Mighty Warrior for the sweet Lord above that gave him to us for a season!

I love this kiddo to bits!

Chappy Birthday (see what I did there!)

He hashtagged Oprah Winfrey. Who does that?!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Grief + friendship = today

There's a place where grief and friendship meet.
In that place, lots of people put lots of "things" away.
And you love hard.
Today is that day.
As you see the streets lined with cars, and a church filled with people.
There is love. And there is grace.
That place is hard. And no one wants to ever be there.
But it exists.
And God is present.
And it reminds me to be a friend.
Above everything else. Just be a friend.

Dena Mosley will be greatly missed in our school, in our community, and in our hearts.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


I remember, so clearly, waking up the morning after Kendall died. 

As my eyes could barely open, I told Scott "I had the *worst* nightmare"

He quietly replied "I had it too."

I walked into the kitchen, and the place was covered with signs of community. Napkins, paper plates, and tons of snacks for the littles. 

Our community loved us so well during those days.

We felt God so real, because everyone loved us so strong.  

I have that same heavy feeling this morning for sweet Matt Mosley and his family. 

May we all wrap them up, and love them strong. So they can find God during their grief. 

He is there. I am confident. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

If your heart is broken...

Today, when I picked up Chappy from school, he said "mom, what's wrong?"

My eyes were very tear-filled, as I told him the sad news. Once of his teachers, also the mother of one of his classmates, passed away, unexpectedly.

My heart is broken, and he could tell it.

He said "oh, it gets worse. One of the girls in my homeroom committed suicide this weekend."

She's in the 9th grade.

How could her heart be hurting this bad?
Why did she feel that this was her best option?

How will the family of this mother make it without her?
Her husband adored her. Why? Why?

So many questions. So much grief.

Today, at the end of the day, I am glad that I was there to pick up my Chappy. And that we could share that moment of grief, within questions.

I only know this one thing:
"If your heart is broken, you’ll find GOD right there; if your spirit is crushed, He’ll help you catch your breath." --Psalms 34:18

His ways are higher.
But today feels sad and low.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Chex mix

Chex Mix?
Would you like to make some Mexican Chex Mix?

Why, of course I would!
I received this box of yummies just before Thanksgiving, and decided to give it a try, and let the family be my Taste Testers.

They did not argue :)
And...as a bonus....check this out...the cereals are all Gluten Free! And when I tell you, they are good...what I mean is....the box lasted about 2 days, after I finished making the Chex Mix! Yum!
This was pretty much a mix, melt and eat kind-of recipe and those...are my favorite :)
I think from cover to cover, it took me maybe 15 minutes.

The reason for the "Mexican" name is the little hint of Cinnamon in the mix...but we later tried it with adding peanut butter morsels, and skipping the cinnamon, and that was yum-o!

Here's the recipe....if you make it, be sure to come back and let me know you did!

For more Chex Mix recipes...check these out: http://chexpartymix.com/recipes/

Typically, there are a few printable coupons here, and a quick trip to Publix and you will be set!

“Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through Platefull Co-Op.”

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Captain D's New Look

So, in our continued effort to eat healthier, and to remove some of the "trash food" from our lives, one of those things that we eat almost NONE of, is Fried Food.

That being said, it really does limit the choices on Fast Food.

Needless to say, I was pretty excited to hear about the "D's New Look"---and I had no idea what it was, so I looked a little further.

Captain D's has jumped on board, with a healthier initiative, and they have rolled out a few new menu items that are TOPS on our list!

ShrimpSkewerandBeef =  Surf & Turf

Kids Grilled Fish Tenders-Salad

I wish this Grilled Fish Kids Meal had been an option when my kids were little. They LOVE "baked" fish, so they would have loved this!

I LOVE these new options, and I love Captain D's for jumping on board with this!
Check out more of their grilled menu here.

And if you haven't joined the D's club, you should! Some of this great info, straight to your inbox!
Sign up here!

And, while you are at it, go "like" them on Facebook!

And let me know if you stop in your nearest Captain D's, to check out D's New Look!

Friday, October 17, 2014


1/4 cupOatmeal 
1 blueberry yogurt muffin 

4 bottles of Dasani. 
1 spoonful of peanut butter. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014


Today, didn't go as planned. 

Woke up hurting. 
As if I had done 1,000 crunches. 
Painful to just walk to the kitchen. 

Very discouraging. 

1/4 cup of oatmeal. 
1 piece of salmon

1 bottle of water. 
Going to bed, still hurting. 


Saturday, October 11, 2014

A blogpost about boobies!

The truth is, it's been a long week. 
Hubby working out of town, Chappy full of activities, and just life in general. 

Chap had a friend over to spend the night, Charming rolled in late, and we tucked in for the night shortly after. 

My alarm clock buzzed at 7am. And I was still sleepy. It was raining just a little, and the skies were extra cloudy. 

So I hit the snooze. 

It went off again, and I looked at Scott and said "to run or not to run"----he grumbled "you'll be glad you did. Go do it, mom"

So I stayed just another minute, and almost rolled back into my warm, comfy spot, and then I thought 

"There's probably a mother, daughter, sister out there that only *wishes* she could get outta bed this morning"

One in 7 women diagnosed with breast cancer. 
My mom. Nope. 
Sister. Nope. 
Grandmother. Nope. 
Aunt. Nope. 
Cousin. Nope. 
Best friend. Nope. 
My odds aren't good here. 

So I got up. 
And Raced for the Cure. 
With 12,000 people that got outta bed this morning. 
For something bigger than themselves. 

I'm glad I did. 
It's a race that I run each year. 
And every year, I'm so glad I went. 

It's powerful, in and of itself. 

Friday, October 10, 2014


5 miles
1 blueberry yogurt muffin

3 fig newtons

6 bottles of Dasani

1 piece baked salmon

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Kara's letter to Brittany- but more than that....

Simply incredible.
Her letter to Brittany (choosing to end her own terminal life)
(read it here, it's powerful. It's worth your time.)

(Screenshot from Kara's blog)

I really should share her blogpost, EVERY single day.
Or you should just go subscribe to it.
It's something that I stop, and read, in a quiet moment, whenever I find that moment.
I don't delete it from my inbox until I've read it. Everyday.

Her words are powerful.
Her end is near.
And her love for Jesus is so strong, I want it.

Today, this:
"But God is the keeper and protector of my reputation. This a conversation that is important. The grace will be present for us to walk into this hard conversation."


No workout.
Protein shake 

Blueberry yogurt muffin

1/2 Chicken breast/tortilla 

8 bottles of Dasani

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


4 miles
Protein shake 

Blueberry yogurt muffin

1/2 Chicken breast/tortilla 

6 bottles of Dasani

Friday, September 19, 2014

Smore Sensation?! Thank you Pillsbury :)

Cookies. Yes. Cookies.

These little beauties just jumped in my buggy.

I know. I know. I couldn't help it.

So, we did a "trial run" with the first pack. S'more Sensation.

I almost chose the Melts Molten Fudge Cake filled cookies, but...the S'mores won!

And let's just say that Chappy gave it a two thumbs up.

So, they are super easy.
Like cookies...but better.

Pop them in the over, and then ice them.

Hey...I never said the "icing" had to be pretty :)

He ate them right out of the oven, and then had the leftovers the next day.

He said he preferred them warm & gooey :)

And then, even better...they are a Box Tops product...so we were giving to a good cause :)

“Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through Platefull Co-Op.”

Friday, September 12, 2014

Don't judge me by my cute shoes

As I sit in a doctor's office, I can't help but notice all of these other ladies' cute shoes. 

Some are wedges, some are flats, some are tattered. 

And then I think "I wonder if those are indicative of who they are. Who I am?" 

And then I think...probably not. 

The lady to my left is bald. 
The lady in front of me has her hubby with her. She looks like a baby herself. Very obviously having her first. So cute. So young. So much ahead. 

Today, my prayers are consumed with Mason as he continues to try up find his place, and balancing life, studies, and just college in general.  I find myself praying more. 
Yet, I have a friend with her daughter at college. She's struggling too. With chemo. And adding treatments to her schedule. 
And another friend, well...she never got to pray for her son in college. He died too soon. 

All 3 of our struggles are real. We all wear cute shoes. 

Scott's been working out of town. A lot. 
Like A.L.O.T!!
It changes the dynamics of our at-home life. And makes my role a little more challenging. 
But I have another friend, her hubby is unemployed. Not by choice. 
And another, hers is stationed overseas.  Defending our country. 
And another, she will never kiss him goodnight again. He died too soon. 
And another, he decided the grass was greener. 

All of our struggles are real. 
We all wear cute shoes. 

As much as I want to be a runner, I'm just not. 
Not right now. I'm a walker. And until they figure out what's going on. I'm just gonna be a walker. Period. But I'm thankful for the walking. 
I have a friend training for a marathon, and getting the miles in are hard. But she wants it. Bad. I love seeing her posts as she train. She presses on. Days are hard. Miles are long. 
And another friend that some days is just thankful to get out of bed. Walking is certainly not even an option. 

All of our struggles are real. 
We all wear cute shoes. 

So as I sit here consumed with my own life, I try not to discount the struggles of my friends. 
Your marriage, your work situation, your cancer, your pregnancy, your miscarriage, your divorce, or your dreadful migraine. 

All of our struggles are real. In our own lives. 

But I guess it's important that we notice when our sister is hurting. Better yet, that we just check in and say hi. She shouldn't have to ask. Just know that I care. I'm an ear, if you feel like sharing.  
Even if she has on cute shoes, in disguise. 

I won't judge you by your cute shoes, if you don't judge me by mine.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

New music from Train

So....I just received the award "Best Mom EVER!"

Ok, ok. There was no trophy, no OSCAR, no TV show host to present it to me...but Chap squeezed me like I was a big husky football player, and exclaimed it in the kitchen.

that counts for something, right?

Ok....so, the new album from Train: Bulletproof Picasso will be released later this month, and I got my hands on a fresh copy, BEFORE it hit the stores.

That's like a gold mine, to my musically inclined child.

So, he says mom..." does it have Angel in Blue jeans"
me: "yes"
him: "does it have give it all"
me: "yes"
him: "mom, don't tease"

I mean, had I known this would hold so much value, I really could've gotten some work done outta the kid, first :)

So, we gave it a listen, and it does NOT disappoint!

I am already a fan of Train, but this, just keeps it going!

We've already loaded on the ipod, the iphone and the laptop. The kid is in Train heaven!!!

You can pre-order a copy here:
  * iTunes: http://smarturl.it/bulletproofpicasso
  * Amazon: http://smarturl.it/bulletproofpicassoAM

I participated in the Train Bulletproof Picasso album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided a free album to review but all opinions are my own. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Fiber One Streusel Bars

Ok, so, I was sent a fun little care package from Fiber One, with a few new products, that are now available at Publix.

My boys had a good time doing the taste test with the cookies.
The Chocolate Chunk won the "quickest to disappear"  :)


So, then we tried the Streusel Bars.
Hey, no kidding. These things are good!

I like the Strawberry just fine, but I like the Blueberry, even better!
Pick up a box of these. They are good!


Visit www.everydaysaver.com/F1NewItems to clip and print your coupons. Coupons available while supplies last.

Save $0.75 off one Fiber One Streusel Bar
Save $0.75 off one Fiber Soft-Baked Cookies
And make sure to check out all the Fiber One Options, available at Publix®.

For more info, check out the Ready Plan Save site, before your next trip to Publix®.

And, let me know if you try them! I would be interested to see which one is your fave!

“Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through Platefull Co-Op.”

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Open Hands. Overflowing Hearts.

Have you "liked" this page?

If not, will you?

Seriously. A child's life depends on it!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Food -not love - makes the world go 'round


Right now, it's a word that has a different meaning than before.

I can truly empathize with people that have dietary restrictions, or severe allergies, or any sort of limitations.

It's a constant thought, yet a constant avoidance.

Everything revolves around food.
Mother's Day, Father's Day, Christmas, birthday, friendly get together, lunch meetings.


What can I eat there? What have I already had today?

If I've had 2 things, then I've reached my limit.

Or, what is later today, that I might want to "eat" (and I use that term lightly) at that event.

Example: If I had oatmeal for breakfast, and my beloved blueberry muffin (just 1. heaven forbid 2.) for lunch, then I can't have dinner.
So, if I'm going to be away from home, or in a social setting and pretend to try to find something comfortable, then I can't eat lunch or breakfast, so I have to go with a protein shake or a spoonful of peanut butter for one of these.

It's ridiculous.

It's a mind game.

It's wearing me out.

In conclusion, I had the muffin for breakfast, red grapes and a bite of turkey for lunch, so it's me and Jif for dinner!

Cheers :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Funny isn't always strong

It truly was a sad day in our pop-culture world, as the news began to break with the death of Robin Williams.

I have to think it will be one of those "I remember where I was when I heard the news" kind of moments in my life.

He was Mork. He was Oh Captain, My Captain, he was Mrs. Doubtfire, he was my favorite Genie, my Popeye, he was my Goooooood Morning Vietnammmmm!

He was so many funny roles in my life.

No, I didn't know him.
Yes, I still grieve the loss.

No, he didn't know me.
Yes, he still has a place of memories in my heart.

But, you know what struck me this morning, as I woke, and truly, it was the first thing on my mind...obviously, he had no idea.

His laughter filled so many with joy.
His comedic role took a hurt away from so many.

But, obviously he struggled inside himself.

Depression and suicide are both so very real.
And it hurts my heart to know that there is a place so dark, that you can't escape, and see the joy and smile that you put on someone else's face.

Not even for a brief moment.
For that moment...there was nothing happy enough, nothing strong enough, nothing funny enough.

It's truly so heartbreaking.

And, if I am honest with myself, I know I've been there. Maybe not *that* deep. Or maybe not *that* low. And truly, not *that* dark.

But I've been there. Somedays, it would seem easier to setup camp there.

You just never know what someone else is battling, struggling with, or thinking about.

Kind words are important.
Checking on your friends is important.
Not dismissing other people, is important.
Sharing the love of Jesus is important.

Smiles don't always equal happiness.
Public appearances don't always equal joy.
You can buy a lot of "things" but you can't buy enough to fill an empty, dark space.
Kindness is important.

Funny isn't always strong.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Big G breakfast at Publix

In my quest to try a few new things, I was THRILLED when I received a box full of new General Mills products to take for a test drive!
The new Gluten Free Chex Oatmeal made me happy.
I know. Oatmeal? Made me happy?
Yes...yes it did!!!

Looking to take advantage of the summer season by kicking off a smarter eating routine? Let General Mills and Big G cereals help with two new tasty breakfast options – Cheerios Protein and Chex Gluten Free Oatmeal!

Available in two delicious flavors – Oats & Honey and Cinnamon Almond – new Cheerios Protein offers your family that long-lasting energy needed to start your day with a taste and crunch your family will love.

New Chex Gluten Free Oatmeal is the perfect way to get your day started! With flavors such as Apple Cinnamon, Maple Brown Sugar and Original there are a variety of ways to enjoy a warm gluten free breakfast. There are no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Like Chex cereal it’s made with simple ingredients and made for you.

Cheerios Boxes

Look for great savings on these Big G items starting July 26 at Publix!

In-Store Savings

Offers available in-store from 7/26 – 8/15, available at Publix. Look for more details in the Back to School grocery flyer.

Save $2 off crayons, markers, pens or pencils when you buy any 1 Chex Gluten Free Oatmeal.
Save $2 when you buy any 1 Cheerios 10.9oz or larger AND any 1 100% Florida Orange Juice 59oz or larger. This sale includes both new flavors of Cheerios Protein.
Printable Coupons

Visit www.ReadyPlanSave.com to clip and print your coupons. Available while supplies last.

July: $1/2 Select Cheerios
August: $1/2 Cheerios Franchise
- Publix.com | Also, find Publix on Facebook

“Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through Platefull Co-Op.”

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Our final journey

And so it begins....

Tomorrow, he begins our final journey thru the halls of Pell City High School.

It's a very surreal feeling, to take this photo.
As I can almost envision the same shot, 3 years from now, as he begins the final year.

It's a little hard on the heart, if I am being honest.

This kid.....

my sweet little cutie faced child.
I could eat his cheeks with a spoon.

Still today I could.
I love this kid more than words.

I love his "colorful" personality. I love that he not only marches to his own drum, he's on the drumline of that choir by himself.

He's never been a kid of favorites or cliques, per se.

He's not always on the invite list, and he's way cool with that. Quick to dismiss why it's best he wasn't invited.

He's a hugger. Man oh man is he a hugger.
He's just a tender heart.

When I think of him growing up and leaving "the nest" my heart aches. Literally, the lump in the throat.
He's my "sing at the top of our lungs in the car" kid. He's my "cut-up in the grocery store" kid. He's my "mom, I'm sorry you don't feel so great" kid.

He towers over me these days, and he leans down to hug me.
I love that.

I could go on and on!

It's bittersweet, as I send him off, to the cruel world that High School can be.
But I know that he's pretty strong in and of himself, and his faith, and who he is.

Much more than I could say at his age.

So, here we go! I'm holding on tight...I know this one might just be a bumpy, colorful, spirit-filled ride!

And I can't wait to enjoy every second!!!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

To Infinity and Beyond....

I often tell my children, aside from being a mother....this is what I was called to do. My purpose, if you will.
I do recognize that I am not an expert, and I do recognize that I make mistakes, but one thing I know for sure, my heart is full of my "job".

Some days, my job is the most Magical job on Earth!
And then there are times, that my heart becomes so invested, I wish I could stop the clock.

That moment came, when I got a facebook message from Ollie's step-mother.

Let me step back for a moment:
It's funny how God brings things full circle sometimes.
You see, I have been following Ollie's story, because he is very near and dear to my friends Christen and Kayla.

Ollie is a cute little guy. Full of fun and spunk.
And everytime they mentioned him, it was a story...something Ollie did.

Imagine the depth of my heart-sink, when Jenni messaged me to say "Ollie has been placed on Hospice, and he wants nothing more than a trip to Walt Disney World. Can you help us?"

Oh, please. Can I help you? I want to go with you, and carry your pain, so that you can only have sweet moments.

YES! I would be MORE than honored.

So, we began scurrying a few details together, and working out the logistics.
By the end of the day, I had spoken with Dad, Grandmother, Aunts and then moved on to Guest Services at Walt Disney World, Concierge Relations and more.

A few days later....
I went to visit Ollie and his dad, Anthony, and Jenni.
Ollie asked me to show him on the Magic Kingdom map just exactly where he could meet Buzz Lightyear....And I did!

I brought a few fun prizes for him and one was a "swirly straw" with Buzz on it. With his lips stained from his red drink, He asked me to replace his boring hospital straw with the exciting swirly one....and I did.

He asked me to tell him a little bit more about the park, and how far he would have to go, and I did.
He knew he might tire easily, but he knew of a few things that were on his 'must-do' list ;)

In that moment, it was just me and that cute little guy, and he wasn't a child with Cancer, he was a child with a dream. A dream of Magical Moments just ahead!

I dreamed it with him.

Within just a few days, they were on their journey.
You can read Meredith's blogpost here.

I will not take credit for the VIP Tour Guide, as someone graciously purchased that for Ollie and his family, and I know it made every single moment even more intimate and endearing.

And so here we are today:

 (Rob, Christen, me and Charming, post-memorial: we may or may not have puffy eyes)

I went to Ollie's Memorial yesterday.
Christen and I were going together, and in his sweet fashion, my Charming didn't think twice when I told him we were going, he said "then I will go too"

He knew his support was needed, although I insisted it wasn't.

They spoke of his moments at Walt Disney World, they spoke of his heart to serve others, they spoke of his kind spirit, and they spoke of their grief.

My heart ached for them.
My tears flowed for them.

I could only wish that a mother and father would never have to experience this pain. The depth of this pain hurts me, to even try to imagine.

They offered up ways to help, by donating to the following organizations:

Please consider donating in Ollie's Memory or in Kayla's honor.  I know their families would be thankful to have your help in the search of a cure for childhood cancer.

 St Baldrick's Foundation
Children's Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation
American Childhood Cancer Organization

And so, as we left there yesterday, we were all a little somber, and we went to dinner and we talked about Cancer and we talked about other things.
But as I went to bed last night, I prayed that God would comfort their blank stare today.
That God would pick their feet up, when their burden is so heavy they can't take their own step.

And, in truth, I thanked God for my job.
And for the reminder yesterday, as I imagine they looked out into that sea of people, knowing they probably saw no one, because their eyes were blurred with tears.... I wasn't their travel planner. I was their friend.
And my job isn't a job, as some may see it. My job is an investment in the lives of other families.
Everyone doesn't choose me to help them. And that's ok. God sends the perfect families at the perfect moment. I need them and they need me.

Oh what did I do to deserve such a blessing.
I am ever thankful today.

So, cheers to sweet Ollie! I hope he is singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" with the Heavenly choir...

To Infinity and Beyond!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Sweet. Salty. Or Cheddar?

I was invited to do a little taste test of the new Chex Mix Popped!

It was a fun little adventure. 
When these goodies arrived, I knew my guys would love it. 
So, we dig right in.

The first is Sweet & Salty. 

The next is White Cheddar

I think of the two, we all 4 agreed we liked the Sweet & Salty best. 
It was a pleasant mix of both! 

And, this would be a hit in the Fall for the dozens of tailgate parties. 
Grab a bag, and everyone's happy!!

Sweet. Salty.

Follow them on facebook, for more details on this fun new item!

Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through Platefull Co-Op, however, the fun little taste test, and the real-life thoughts are my own :)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

How do you brave your pain?

My friend Jennifer shared this blog with me, and it has taken a hold of my heart.

Her post today, just broke me.

I have been speaking with my friend Christen today, about decisions, and future, and questions, and reality.
And about God's will.

And why He chooses to heal some, and not others.

And, I have a funeral to attend Saturday, of a sweet 7-year-old, that God chose to bring Home early. He just couldn't win the battle of cancer. And that's NOT fair.

So, then, I finally take the time this afternoon to read this post "Tears in my popcorn"

and honestly, I think if I had read it this morning, or read it yesterday, maybe it would not have had the same effect.

But it got me.

First the phrase "but if I do fly away"

I am not sure why, but it jumped off of the page at me.
And it came out so strong.

But if I do.
Oh, such strong words for a mother to have to yield to her daughter.

And then she poses this question:
"How do you brave your pain? How do you struggle to live near to your pain honestly? Does living well mean faking at happiness when you are inwardly breaking? What would sharing your pain look like? Do you feel the pressure of hiding how you are feeling? How can you live honestly today? How can you let the tears fall in your popcorn?"

Just letting that sink in.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

No is not a valid response.

You know, that friend. 
The one that you hardly see. 
But you know they are on your team. 

The one that you just love. And they get you. 

Yeah. That's my friend Mandy. 

We haven't had one conversation about the whole "can't eat a dang thing without feeling like in being tortured" ordeal. 

And today, she texts to check in. 
Cause she's better than I am about that. 

And here ya go. 

I left the dr office last week so frustrated. And quite angry. 
At their lack of concern. 

And then this. 

I love her. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Be a runner?

Today and yesterday, gorgeous, unusual July temps. 

All I want is to be a runner. 
But the truth...I got nothing. 
Yesterday in bed all day, so nauseous. 
Today...I've felt great! But there's no running going on here. 

Very soon. 


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The pile of junk

See that pile. 

See that pile of clothes right there. 
No wait. It's jeans, shoes, and extension cord, and a tote bag. 

It greeted me in my bedroom tonight. Just where I left it. 

My small group same over tonight. 
And we shared, laughed, cried, and solved all of life's problems. 
Well, for the moment, anyways. 

And I realized when they left, this pile of junk was plainly visible to anyone that walked by my room. 

But you know what. They don't care. They don't judge. 
They love the real me. 

In our conversation tonight, one of the girls said, in speaking of her life where it sits today...
"But people are gonna judge, and they don't know the real story"

And I wish I had said to her:

Oh but, they are going to do that anyways. 
Your only hope is in Jesus, and your joy for the day is in the ones that love you. 
The ones that love the real, true, sometimes broken you. 

And those talking, they will have a new topic of conversation tomorrow. 

So just like that pile of junk on the floor in my room...move along. Nothing to see here. 

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