A Heavenly Birthday

Granny Bridesmaid granny Rose Mardi Gras

Today would have been your 84th birthday if you were still here on earth with us.  They say that time heals.  Maybe it does.  I still just feel emptiness in my heart.  I don’t think there’s a day that goes by that I don’t think about you.  I miss the days when I could pick up the phone and say, “hey granny” and hear your voice on the other end reply, “hey bébé”.

I’m going to admit something here that haunts me everyday.  It’s three simply words that continue to mull over in my mind…I didn’t call.  You died in the midst of my mom’s tragedy.  You were sick.  I didn’t want you to know about mom because you would get upset and worry making your sickness all that much worse.  So, what did I do?  I didn’t call. I didn’t call because I wouldn’t know what to say when you asked about mom and dad. I didn’t call because I didn’t want you to get upset.  In my heart, I thought I was doing the right thing.  I know now that I was wrong.  So what if you asked me about mom.  I should have called.  You needed to hear my voice in the midst of all that you were going through. For that, I am eternally sorry.

I love you with all my heart and miss you like crazy. Happy heavenly birthday, Granny!

PS – My deepest apologies for the heavy post.  You can read the “One Year” tribute post HERE that is a bit on the brighter side.

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What Shall It Be?

nell and dee skipping kauai

What does a person need – really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in – and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all – in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade.

The years thunder by, the dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.

Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life? ”

― Sterling Hayden

House or Home

Grannys Ring
cooking with grannyMS Welcomes You20140324-195403.jpg
My grandmother’s wedding ring. It signifies a 56 year successful marriage. I never get tired of looking at it. I wear it proudly and think of her every single day.

This weekend has been a bit tough emotionally. I found out that my grandparents house, the place where I grew up, is being sold (my grandmother passed away one year ago this month).  I know it’s just a structure; just a building and I shouldn’t care, right? Well I do. I can’t help it. My entire childhood is wrapped up in that structure; on that property.  My baby footprints are stamped in the foundation.

We went on vacation March of 2014 to visit Granny (you can read post HERE). Little did I know at the time, that would be the last time I would set foot in that house.  It was the last time my Granny was well and able to live in the house by herself.  She cooked and cooked and cooked.  She was in here true element.

It’s so hard to think that I’ll never set foot in that house again, but maybe that’s for the best. I thought that I might want to go back and see it one last time,  but being in that house without Granny means that it is just a structure. It is just a building because my Granny is what made the house my home.

I miss her.

One Year

Rose and Earl George at TableRose Mardi GrasRose and First New Car Rose and Glen Granny Recent

One year ago today, I lost one of the most influential and monumental women in my life; my Granny.  This amazing lady was not just a grandmother to me, she was a second mother.  I was her girl; her “baby girl” to be specific.  She called me this every single time we talked.  You see, she had three boys, but always wanted a girl. Then I came along. This changed her world. I was special to her.  My Granny loved me with a special kind of love that I’ve never experienced anywhere else and never will again.  I could do no wrong in her eyes.  We had such a special bond and it was irreplaceable.  I had the special privilege of growing up next door to her and lived there my entire childhood.  I spent just as much time at her house (or more) than I did my own.  Her favorite story to tell was the day I “ran away” to her house with a paper bag filled with one pair of underwear, one shirt and one shoe.  I think it made her feel so special that I wanted to be at her house rather than at my own.

My Granny taught me what hard work looks like by working in seafood factories, sewing factories and even working in my grandparents own seafood business where my Gramps caught blue crabs and she picked them to sell to restaurants.  She taught me to never give up.  My Granny did this manual, difficult work up until the day she got sick (and even afterwards at times).  She taught me what true marriage looks like.  Granny was married to my Gramps for 56 years.  I will never forget the one line of advice that she gave me at her kitchen table (that’s where all the good conversations happened).  She said that a successful marriage is made up of two things; compromise and selflessness.  If you can do these two things, your marriage will last forever and she was right.  My Granny taught me what true sacrifice looks like.  She gave absolutely everything for her family.  She never went to the doctor or took care of herself in order to focus on everyone else.  Granny served her husband and took care of him and the entire family.  She was the glue that held everything together at home.

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of my Granny and miss her dearly. There is a hole and emptiness that will never be filled but I do have the memories, joy and the incredible influence that she had on my life. She will truly live on forever in my heart.

2015 :: A Not So Sad Goodbye

Sunset on 2015

Goodbye 2015! You were a quite a crappy year; probably the crappiest yet. But if I’m completely honest with myself, in looking back, in between all the tragedy and hardships were major milestones, joy and miracles. We have my mom with us on this earth. I have an amazing husband that loves me fiercely. We have two extremely amazing and successful children. We are gaining a new family member and overall our family is closer than it ever has been. Looking through the 2015 window of hard times is a future 2016 full of life, new beginnings, hope, love and family. So, what I guess I’m saying is thank you. Thank you for the tough times that has brought forth more blessing than I could even imagine. Bring on 2016! It’s going to be the best year yet!

Happy New Year to you all!

A Christmas Celebration

I first want to acknowledge that it has been quite a while since I’ve posted here.  As you all can probably understand, this season has been quite busy.  But more importantly, I’ve been spending time focusing on the things that truly matter most; my family and the multitudes of blessings in my life.

This Christmas was quite a bit better than last.  Let’s be honest, it wouldn’t have taken a whole lot of good things to be better than last year.  Last year was spent in a trauma ICU room with my mom fighting for her life.  I am happy to say that this Christmas wasn’t just a little bit better than last Christmas; it was leaps and bounds better than last year.  My mom’s amazing recovery resulting from miracle after miracle (see the one year update here) which meant that she was with us this Christmas celebrating the birth of Jesus, opening many presents and eating delicious food.  My daughter was home from college and we enjoyed some great family time with her and with my husband and with my son watching movies, shopping, opening presents, laughing and enjoying life.  And if that wasn’t enough, we had some very exciting Christmas news that was icing on the cake.  My brother proposed to his girlfriend!  I helped him pick out the ring weeks earlier.  He proposed on Christmas morning but my parents had no idea.  He surprised them on Christmas day with the proposal.  We absolutely love her and are beyond excited that she will be joining the family.  I am finally getting a sister!

So this Christmas was a celebration of life; recovered life, renewed life, and new life to come.  It was a Christmas of hopes and dreams and pure joy and happiness.  We are truly blessed!

Merry Christmas to you and yours during this wonderful season!

Nell and Steve RestaurantBanana with Bow Candelight Christmas Service Earl and Joanna  Nana and Papa on Boat Nana Many Presents Nana Papa Earl Bunny Ears Nell and Joanna Nell Dee Trey Restaurant Papa Hammock Papa Leezo  Papp Driving Boat Steve Fried TurkeTrey on the Boat

Scenes from the Weekend

Trey nana and papa Lunch with Dee Friday Night Lights Football Huddle Prayer Football Everglades Sunset Cup in the Sun Ray Cooking under the lights Coffee in the Hammock SwingBeachClouds

It was the first weekend in October and it is officially fall, I guess.  Living in south Florida gives fall a whole new meaning.  Let’s just say that this was the first weekend where the heat wasn’t scorching, the temps stayed in the mid 80’s and there was a great breeze.  This meant that we could actually stay outside without sweating.  It was amazing!  I was outside every chance I could get.  Here are a few pics from the weekend.

  1. An after game pic with Nana and Papa.  Look how long his legs are!
  2. Taco lunch with my college girl.
  3. Friday night lights.
  4. After game huddle.
  5. Everglades sunset at the football game.  Sunset was beautiful, getting eaten alive by bugs was not so nice.
  6. Sunrise and coffee.
  7. Family cookout.
  8. Coffee in a hammock swing may be the best way to start the day.
  9. The super moon brought clean waves.
  10. Sunny days and sun rays.

 

 

 

Scenes from the Weekend :: Celebrating 41

Wings are Served Steve Deep DiscussionSteve Laughng Hysterically    Nell Crab Legs Steve and Papa Watching GameNell and Nana Selfie Papa with Silly HatFull Moon before Eclipse Friday Night Lights  Dee Home Mom with crocheted Hand SockButterfly Boil Beginnings Backyard Work in Dress

 

The hubs turned 41 on the 27th.  In true Steve fashion, to celebrate, the decision was made to lay low, hang around the house with family and friends and cook his most favorite meals.  I am a busy body, always wanting to be on the go but I have to admit that the chill birthday weekend he planned was perfect. I had the best time and went into the new week nice and relaxed. Here are some of the pics from our weekend.

  1. Special homemade wings and some football watching.
  2. Good convo with he in-laws.
  3. LOVE this! A true belly laugh. This pic makes me smile every time I look at it.
  4. CRABS! Cooked my famous seafood boil.
  5. “Watching” football.
  6. Selfie with my favorite lady.
  7. Crochet experiment gone wrong.
  8. The blood moon before the eclipse.
  9. Friday night lights.  Trey’s team won 32-20!
  10. SHE CAME HOME TO VISIT! I miss her face so badly! (having grown kids is harder than I expected)
  11. The successful crochet sock for mom’s arm.
  12. Backyard butterfly. I call these the bumble bee butterflies.
  13. Seafood boil beginnings.
  14. Landscaping in a dress.  Why not?

College Girl Ceremony

Handley Family - White Coat Nell and Dee White Coat Dee with Nana and Papa Dee Walking In Dee and Nursing Friends

Our college girl was one of 100 chosen for the direct admit nursing program at her college. The college has a tradition of doing a white coat ceremony at the beginning of the nursing program to signify their commitment to nursing and an initiation into the program.  We absolutely could not be any more proud of our girl and the future that lies ahead for her.  Congrats, Dee!  We love you!

High School

Trey Permit First Highway Drive Trey First Day of School First Game Number 47 First Varsity Game
First Game Take a Knee

My not so little boy has made it to high school.  He practiced football and conditioned hard all summer in the 95 degree heat with 80% humidity to make the varsity team at a local private prep school.  I am proud to say that as a freshman, he is playing second string linebacker (#47).  This means Friday night lights for this family every week, and man, we are loving it.  He also got her permit and is driving.  I have to be totally honest and say that he’s already driving better than me but that’s really not saying too much (I’m not the best driver in the world).  He has signed up for some exciting, yet hard classes at his new school.  Classes are underway and he is tackling them head on.  We are beyond excited and thankful to God for the amazing opportunity that our son has at this new school.  The sky is the limit and we are beyond proud of is dedication, hard work and passion.  I have no doubt that he will go very far.  Football, driving, and a brand new school; it’s going to be a great year!