fog, love, birthdays, ramblings…

+ I ran across this post the other day – wow.
What a phenomenal challenge, definitely something I plan to take part in.

+ We didn’t make it to the pumpkin patch on Sunday. High temperatures + rain kept us away – so we’re hoping to make it happen soon. Truthfully it wouldn’t feel like a pumpkin patch without cooler weather – or is that just me?

+ This weekend went by in a blur. I pulled down some Halloween decorations – started on a few projects, took some pictures (forgot to upload them), and hung out with some friends.

+ Did I mention i’m in the middle of a Harry Potter marathon? Yeah we finished movie #5 last night.

+  Honestly, i’m just not fully present this morning. I’m way behind on blog reading-commenting-responding to emails, I have lots on my mind, and i’m just bleh. Typical Monday morning. Here’s to hoping this day turns around – it’s all about our attitudes right?
. . .
Today is my dad’s 55th birthday!! I can’t believe it’s already been 11 years since he passed away – time passes too quickly. Happy Birthday Daddy!

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September 17 – a memory you would love to relive.

a memory you would love to relive… {there are so many}

The air in the house was stifling.
July was bleeding into August with a fiery haze.
Windows were open, ceiling fans cranked high, glasses of iced water littered the kitchen table.
I walked into the den to find my father laying on the ground in his shorts with his arms splayed out, a stack of cds leaning at his feet, listening to some classic rock.
What are you doing dad?
He patted the carpet next to him. I laid down, splayed my arms out, and listened to the guitar solos with him. Do you know who the bassist in this band is? he asked. He always asked this; or the drummer, guitarist, lead singer. It was a running game – if we guessed right he would buy us a SoBe at our next gas station visit. I don’t know…i replied. He laughed and explained the guys talent and what the background of the band was.
At some point in this conversation my brother had walked into the room and laid down opposite of me with his head butting up against mine. The three of us laid there for a song more when mom walked in.
I wondered where y’all went, i should have known we would take a music break.
We were supposed to be cleaning.
She laid down with us and listened to the music.
There we were, a family, listening to music, building faint memories.

. . .

Dang it all, Jennifer won again. She always won…i think she was cheating. It was summer time and we were at our family beach house for the week. Sand still wedged in between my toes even though the sun had set long before. My cousins surrounded our table with decks of cards sprawled out in front of us. Another round? Jonathan asked. It was already after 1am and past a few of our bedtimes; but this is what we did during the summer – got sunburned, played rummy, ate too many bags of chips, went ghost crab hunting, played bingo, and built memories. We heard one of our parents slip out of their room and stand in front of us, Do y’all know what time it is? ….just one more game! Someone has to beat jennifer! The score sheet showed that she was a solid 50 points ahead of all of us. I looked around the table, jennifer, jonathan, jason, jade, ty, and bo, and a friend or two scattered throughout. This was so fun, staying up late – playing cards – getting frustrated – laughing. My hand closed around my sweet tea glass, condensation dripping between my fingers, i need a refill, anyone else? Everyone else needed a refill, as always … grandma’s sweet tea was just too good.

. . .
joining jenni today for her blogtember challenge.

{etsy crushes link-up tomorrow}
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September 10…Life Changing Moment.

Q: Describe a distinct moment when your life took a turn…{i have 2}

It was really hot for the middle of July – like really hot.
Mom was at work, my brother and cousin Jade were at the neighborhood pool behind my house. I was sitting in the lazy boy recliner with the tv on eating a big ol’ bowl of ice cream…something I was not supposed to be doing. I heart the front door open – crap mom is home early – I stashed my bowl beside the recliner where it couldn’t be seen, I really didn’t want a lecture. I heard two sets of heels, my mom walked into the den followed by my aunt darlene. “Amy, where are Bo & Jade?” …uhhh down at the pool? i answered. “Go get them please”. I thought i was in more trouble than just sneaking ice cream. what have I done now? I thought as I walked down to the pool.
I got Bo & Jade to come back up to the house – they kept asking me what was happening…I didn’t know, I couldn’t answer. When we got back to the house, Aunt Darlene held jades hand and pulled her to the living room – mom took me and Bo back to her & my fathers room. At this point my parents had been separated for a small season – trying to work some things out together while needing some space to do it, it was a complicated situation. Mom sat down on her bed and put her head in her hands, she took a few deep breathes. I remember her sitting up straighter – looking back now I could only imagine her trying to gain some courage and strengthen her spine to deliver the news. We sat in front of her, Indian style, and just looked at each other. What was going on? Mom took our hands in hers and said “You know I love you…you know Jesus loves you…and you know your daddy loved you…” I was only 13 at the time but I was old enough to pick up on that one small letter…that ‘d’ that changed a word from present to past tense.
She said loved not love.
“Your daddy has gone to be with Jesus – he is in Jesus’ arms.” I remember Bo busted out in to tears; at 9 years old not fully understanding what that meant, but knowing enough to know that Jesus is in Heaven…and that is where Dad must be too now. I sat there for a minute just looking at my mom – stunned, not fully understanding…not really wanting to understand. Does this mean I’m fatherless? Where is my dad? He just wanted to see me a few days ago…but I wanted to hang out with my girlfriends.
The tears came slowly.
I was 13 years old – less than a month from starting high school – and I was now without a father.
Mom had been sick for over 6 months now.
I hated cancer – leukemia.
The summer and fall had consisted of hospital visits, phone calls, and a brief season where she was home for two weeks. I was living with my aunt & uncle some days/weeks and others I was living at home – too anxiety ridden to be away from what was comfortable to me, what was my normal. My grandmother (mom’s mom) stayed with my mom every. single. day while she was in the hospital and my grandfather stayed with me most nights (some other family members/friends stayed other nights). Some nights I remember going to sleep to the sound of an empty house…hearing my own heart beat…wondering what was next. The night before I was at youth group. We prayed for my mom. All of my friends and youth leaders surrounded me, laying their hands on me, prayed for me, my family, my mother. At one point my friend Niki said, “God, if Mrs. Donna is meant to be with you…then that’s ok, she can go be with you.” I remember being furious with Niki, how could she say that…that was like wishing my mom to die. My friend Andrew prayed something similar…I was still angry.
That night I was laying in bed, my next door neighbor aunt Gayle was staying with me that night (my brother had been living with my aunt and uncle), and I prayed to God. I finally understood what He had been pressing on my heart. You see, I was down to one parent – my mom – she was in the hospital for my 16th birthday, promising a “blowout 17th” for the next year. She still heckled me to clean my room…and do dishes, and learn how to cook something other than mac and cheese from a box. She still talked to me about Jesus and asked how school was going – how was I doing with my grades – all while she was confined to a hospital bed.
At this point mom had been in a coma in the ICU for about a month…I hadn’t seen her. I had the choice, but my family warned me that she didn’t look like herself. She had put on a lot of water weight (my mom was a petit 5’3 115lb woman), her eyes had gone from brown to blue, she had lost her hair a long time ago…my mother wasn’t herself. So I didn’t go, I didn’t want to see her like that at age 16.
As I was thinking about all of that, I whispered some words to Jesus.
Jesus…I’m ok if you take my mom.
I don’t want her to be in pain anymore, if she will be better with you in Heaven – then I’m ok with it, I won’t like it, I’ll miss her….I really want her to stay with me and Bo…but I’ll be ok.
I fell asleep.
Hands were on my shoulders, my body was slowly being shaken awake, “Amy, wake up”.
My eyelids peeled open, my bedside table lamp was on.
My grandmother was sitting at my side. As my eyes adjusted I looked around my room – Aunt Darlene, Aunt Diane, Aunt Debbie, grandma…my Aunt Darlenes eyes gave it away; she had the same eyes when she walked in with my mother to tell me my father had passed away. My grandmother opened her mouth, “Amy, your mother went to be with Jesus, she is in Jesus’ arms…” I remember becoming fascinated with the popcorn ceiling in my room. “Mom, do you think she heard us?” …one of my aunts said.  “I’m an orphan?” I said out-loud. They all started crying – I started crying. Where is Bo? does he know yet? They told me he was at my aunts house – still sleeping – it was 3am and they were trying to let him sleep some more but they wanted me to know, to wake up. I went out into the den where my grandfather was sobbing, my aunt gayle and uncle dave were crying, my moms boyfriend was there in pieces. I remember going back to my room, sitting on my bed, and being silent for a long time – thinking I’m only 16, what do I do now? I remember 530am rolling around and my friend Ashlee calling to see if was running late or on time since I was her and kaylees ride to school. I told her I wasn’t going – she asked why – because my mom died. She started crying – asking if I wanted her to come over, no, not right now…but thank you. They came over later as did many other friends and family. I won’t go into detail today about when we told my brother later that morning – but that was almost as hard as hearing I was parentless.

Tragedy happens.
Joy happens.
You learn from both.
I’ve learned from both.
I miss my parents – every. single. day.
Some days are easier than others – some days harder than others.
I find solace in the fact that God knows more than I do.
His plans are greater than my own.
And glory was brought to Him through their passings…people heard the Gospel through their lives.
Jesus was preached.
I’m sure people were saved – or put on the road to salvation.
I’ve trusted in God through all of this – I will continue to trust in Him.

Joining jenni today for her blogtember challenge.

Frankly Friday…v15

 What is Frankly Friday? 

Let’s define Frankly shall we…

frankly |ˈfra ng klē|adverbin an open, honest, and direct manner
. . .
I want this to be a way for all of us to be open, raw, and transparent with not only each other…but with ourselves. I think we put a lot of stock into the “fear” of what others may think of us…into the “fear” of really putting what’s on your heart out there in case someone decides to tear you down.
I’m over the fear & you should be too.
So let’s write…whether it’s about a situation you’re struggling through, a victory you’ve made, a memory that you can’t let go of…anything as long as it’s honest.
. . .

{prepare, this is heavy}
Yesterday was a haze…wanna know why?
It was 8 years since my mom passed away.
{ & It has been 10 years since my father passed away (this past July).}

If i’m honest…most days i’m not fully aware that i don’t have parents…i guess i’ve gotten used to it.
I had parents, and they were amazing and i miss them all of the time; but i’m used to this life now.
Over the last few years their ‘death days’ will come and go and i sometimes don’t even fully realize what the day is…other times i’m fully aware of what the day means.
Losing my father was absolutely horrible, losing my mother…it solidified the fact that i will forever and always have a completely different view on death than most people. It saddens me that when i hear of someone passing away that i’m not as stunned as most, that i completely shut off emotionally and process what needs to happen. I start going through a mental check-list of who needs to know, what needs to be done, how i can help, etc.
I rarely ever process…until i’m alone, sometimes even years later {which is completely unhealthy}.
I think after hearing that i was technically, an orphan, i had a moment of complete stupidity and shut down emotionally, and since then it seems to be a habit i have.
. . .
Last night i spent some time on the phone with my Aunt Di.
We talked about my mom and her time in the hospital {she had Leukemia} and the fact that
she was never, ever, afraid of dying.
Not for a single minute. The only thing that brought her real pain was the thought of leaving my brother  & myself. Her courage was undoubtedly from God and she lived each and every day with a purpose of being intentional and encouraging in her conversations with others.
She embodied love.
. . .
Frankly…there are days when i can talk about my mom for hours and not shed a single tear. Time definitely has been kind in helping to heal some of the raw emotion from losing her (and my father). Then there are other times where just the mention of her name, or a glimpse of her picture and i become weepy. At the moment i’m on the verge of both; i’m having a hard time unclamping my emotions to allow myself a minute to cry and miss what i no longer have.
Ah…tears right?
If i’m to be honest, which is what Frankly Friday is about.
My biggest fear is:
forgetting them.
I refuse to do it, i can’t. I want to be able to one day tell my children “this is who your grandparents were, and here are their stories” and tell them time after time after time.
I’ve already begun to forget the normal day-to-day things; like a weekday night with all four of us in the house. The sound of their voices, the way their eyes would crinkle when they laughed, the stories they shared….all of those are gone.
So, my Aunt & I have decided to help remember them…to remind myself, and my brother who my parents were. Orlando (my bro) and I were so young when they died (bo was 9 when dad died, and then 12 when mom died; i was 13 & 16) that we can’t expect to remember some of the important things.
. . .
So i guess my encouragement to you today: love those you have around you.
Hold them close, memorize the little things because they will not always be there.
Don’t fear, be courageous.
Miss you Mom & Dad…every minute within my heart.

{since it is Christmas time i thought i would share this older photo of them}.
. . .
Don’t forget to link up if you participated:

15DC | T-shirt Love

Day three of the 15 day challenge! 
Woot Woot..i’m being consistent! 

Life of Love

Tell about an article of clothing that you are deeply attached to…
. . .
This one was pretty easy once i actually thought about it.
I have this t-shirt (well a ton of t-shirts really) that is worn out, has holes in it, the design on the front is fading, and i wear it to sleep in all the time.
It is comfy, security, and it reminds me of so many things.


Was it what you were expecting? ha. 
Yes, that is a bulky huge guy with a thong’ish bathing suit and a sweat band with eye holes cut out, and oh yes a 6 pack.
Why do i love this shirt? 
Well, this was the gym my dad and his friend Pat used to run.
It’s been closed for well over 10 years (my father has actually been gone for 10 years this July!), but i still run into people wearing their F.A.T. t-shirts and it makes me smile.
I remember sitting in the gym, watching my dad train people. I remember smiling at the guests who knew my name, and taking people towels to the sauna room. I can vividly remember the little “play room” with the kids toys and a TV with a VHS player to keep us from going crazy. All good memories.
  Fun Fact: I actually have a scar on one of my toes from dropping a weight on it and busting it open, whoops.
I miss my dad, a lot, and i am so proud to be his daughter and to be getting on the path to a healthy lifestyle. I keep hearing his voice telling me “15 more reps Amy, keep running, don’t stop, it’s not pain, it’s stimulation” .
My dad knew what he was talking about. 🙂
. . .
I love meaningful clothing. I have a few sweatpants with the F.A.T. logo on them, i have some sweatshirts, i have random scarfs of my mom’s, etc etc.
While i know that the clothing doesn’t represent my dad (or mom), it represents a piece of the life they had lived.
My dad was ballin’. 


. . .
What about you?
Do you have certain articles of clothing that mean a lot to you?