2020 – A time to reflect

2020. What a year for all of us. As I sit here each night and reflect upon what seems to be somehow the longest yet the fastest year so far, I can’t help but think about all that has happened around the world, in our country, and even in my own life. I think about the losses that so many have had to grieve due to COVID 19 and the grief that I’ve been through in losing some of the most loved people I knew, though none of them lost their lives to COVID 19. I think about the losses that the country felt and how they impacted change for the better. I think about Kobe Bryant and RGB. I think about George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. I think about our police officers and how many of them just try to truly protect and serve us.

Trying to process this year has been hard. Though through all the loss, I have hope. I see the progress that our country has made and certain wins show us that we are finally headed in the right direction. Our country is coming together to fight for change and while we are still so very far away from where we should be in 2020, we are at least moving forward.

I think about my family. I think about myself. I think about how at the beginning of this year I was going through one of the hardest mental breaks of my life, though many didn’t know. I think about how this virus shaped 2020 and I appreciate that it’s given me time to truly become one with my thoughts and really take a deep look inside. I think about how Keenan and I have had a chance to become closer and really spend some amazing quality time with each other. That’s when I start to feel grateful and fortunate, and then I start to feel terribly guilty that I’ve been so lucky this year while so many people around me aren’t as fortunate.

I think about the holidays. I think about how different they are this year and how filled with fear I have been of spreading a potentially deadly virus rather than the magic that usually fills me so full of love and happiness. I think about how thankful I am that members of my community still put up lights and Christmas decorations to bring some sense of joy and normalcy to this otherwise chaotic year. My heart gets warm and fuzzy with each holiday card I receive in the mail from my loved ones. I’m so grateful for the little things that I normally don’t stop and think twice about. On one hand I’m scared to death of passing on this virus to my family, and on the other hand I’m just so glad I’m fortunate to be able to spend the holidays with them all. The struggle is real.

I could complain about how much this year sucked, but what good would it do? It won’t solve anything and it certainly won’t make me feel better. So instead I choose joy.

Like many of you, I want so badly to say that 2021 will be better, but I also know that come January 1st, 2021 all the pain and issues we are dealing with today aren’t going to magically disappear. So as we all fight our own battles and adjust our expectations of what we thought life would look like in 2020 or 2021, I urge you all to take a moment and be truly grateful. Think of all that you have rather than what this year has taken from you. Think of the good that 2020 has brought you; maybe that’s more time to read your favorite books, listen to your favorite songs, spend time with treasured loved ones, or maybe focus on other goals. Let’s be thankful for what we’ve been given and try to focus on the happiness that 2020 brought us, rather than the sheer misery that accompanied it.

Let’s hug our loved ones a little tighter each time we see them. Let’s call our bestfriends at the most random times just to hear their sweet voices telling us that they love us too. Let’s throw frisbees outside with the kids next door just because we can. Let’s express gratitude that we are healthy and choose joy over despair.

Until next time, let your light shine bright.
Happy holidays, friends.

Thanksgiving 2018 – Be Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American readers. Before I head off to spend some time with my family, I wanted to take a few minutes to just reflect on a few the things I’m thankful for this year.

I’m thankful for another year with my best friend, Jenilee.
Many of you know that she’s been fighting hard to live with 2 nasty brain tumors. Every message, every phone call, and every visit I get is truly something to be thankful for. She’s been my closest friend for half of my life and I’m so glad she’s around to keep listening to my crazy life stories. I’m also very thankful for her husband, Kenn. He has been the best soul anyone could hope for in a situation like this. 2 beautiful souls that I love dearly and I can’t imagine life without. Jen isn’t just a friend, she’s my sister. She’s family.

Here we are after moving into our first apartment together back in 2005!
What a journey this has been.

I’m thankful for my Grandmom.
Grandmom Grace will be 89 years old next month. I call her each morning on my way to work and we talk about all kinds of things. Some of my favorite topics are remembering my memories as a child and listening to her memories growing up in a very different world. I enjoy hearing about how her card games go or who was wearing what to church on Sunday morning. She also gives me the traffic report on the regular. I know there will come a day where I’ll have to drive to work without talking to her, but for now, I’m so thankful that we can talk about anything we want to.

I’m thankful for my husband.
This year he was able to lose over 100 pounds. He’s focusing on losing weight and getting healthier. We’ve been working on our communication and I feel like our relationship has grown so much. I’m so proud of him. I just asked him what he’s thankful for this year and his response was, “A job. Even though it’s boring, it’s a job.”
Touché, honey.

I thankful for my friends and family, without their amazing generosity and kind actions and words, my life would be much less fulfilling than it is. There are some people who just go out of their way to make me feel loved and to them, I’m forever grateful. I love these sweet souls so much. Each day spent with them is a great day.

I’m thankful for my job and the amazing people I work with.

I’m thankful for music. Everything about music makes me happy.

But most importantly, I’m thankful for having the chance to gain my health back. I realize that a year ago, I was well on my way to an early grave. I was being selfish by killing myself with food. I was hiding myself from people I care about and I had become a complete hermit who hated to leave my house. I was so close to death, that many days, that’s all I thought about. It’s crazy what a year of change can do for one’s health, body, and mind.

I’m thankful for so much. This list would be so long if I kept going, but I have to go get ready to spend the day with a small part of my huge family. I’m most excited about Grandmom’s punkin pie! *drool*

Stay tuned for another FAQ – I’m going to answer your questions about weight loss surgery. You guys have been sending me lots of questions! Keep em coming!!

Eat lots, stay safe, and nap hard!

2017 – Thanks for the memories

As this year comes to an end, I want to take a moment to reflect on how grateful I am for what I have gained this year. I want to start with the way I celebrated the very beginning of 2017. I went with Jenilee, Jamie, and Elisabeth to one of my favorite islands in the US. We visited South Padre Island and made some pretty amazing memories!

2017 started out pretty darn amazing. My family grew a bit as well! I got a new brother, some new nephews and a niece. I’ve never seen my sister so happy. It’s hard to believe that tomorrow is their one year anniversary!

February was fun. Keenan got a new car and learned that going down to the stop light for a left turn out of our neighborhood is really the best way to go. I spent some time at the coffee shop listening to some pretty kickass music.

March was jam-packed with memories.  I had a blast at Sinatra Night. One thing that stands out about that night is this little old man who just couldn’t stop dancing. He had a lesson to teach me that day – Never stop doing what makes you happy. I still think of that old man and the pure joy on his face as he danced the night away. I got to love on 2 of my many favorite pups. Keenan and I celebrated 2 years of marriage. We hung out down at the river with the in-loves and went to San Antonio on a search for some charcoal soap. March was an exhausting and heartbreaking month of loss but there was also much love, passion, and fun.

April and May were just ordinary months. I had the pleasure of watching a dear friend turn another year older. I turned another year older as well. So far 30 hasn’t been my best year. Dinner at Ferraris was wonderful. I got to see my nephew Jax celebrate his birthday. Come to find out, they moved into a house that’s just a few blocks over from the house that built me. Naturally, I had to drive by the old place to see if it was exactly how I remembered it. (Spoiler Alert – It wasn’t.) I also enjoyed lots more live music.

Open Mic Night is easily one of my most favorite days of the week. Easter dinner with my dad’s side of the family was a refreshing break as well. One of the most memorable days of the entire year was the Miranda Lambert concert. I was REALLY looking forward to that day, but it ended up not going exactly as planned. My momma and I still got to spend lots of time together though, so I guess it wasn’t a total waste of a day! (To read about that day, click here!)

The Alice in Wonderland ballet brought many memories. That was the highlight of May, for sure.

June and July were full of ups and downs. Nonnie spilled a pot of boiling beans all over her and spent several weeks in the hospital. Hurricane Harvey didn’t want us to go on vacation so we went to the river instead.

Jenilee started chemo to put an end to this brain tumor that’s been giving her hell for a while. Keenan finally got his CPA certificate in the mail. Chompers and I bonded in a whole new way and now she’s basically my favorite puppy ever.

I got to spend time with my dad on Father’s Day and see my Grandmom too. I survived a vegan diet. My mom and Nonnie moved out to the country with my sister. Syra, my Nonnie’s puppy dog passed away. It was a chaotic few months, but then things started to look up.

August & September… Um, let’s just jump to seeing the Beauty & The Beast ballet with some pretty amazing friends. That and the fact that Jenilee’s tumor was shrinking was just about the only good parts of these 2 months. I was SUPER excited to see that my Nonnie had made it to her 77th birthday! The in-loves came to visit too. I love seeing them.

 

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October was pretty boring. Nothing much happening around here that month.
November was a rough one. We lost my dear Nonnie on the 17th. Jenilee was up to 5 chemo treatments! I was well on my way to start the process to my gastric sleeve surgery.

My sister and mother helped me with a maternity shoot for Meg. (Yes, that’s my sister’s dog’s name. No, I’m not joking.) Meggers finally had those precious puppies! They came as a welcome distraction from all the other terrible things that were going on around me. I did my civic duty and voted as well and enjoyed a delicious Thanksgiving meal with my dad and his side of the family.

December. We had my Nonnie’s “Celebration Of Life” to kick off this month. Keenan got sleeved on the 11th. I went to the Nutcracker ballet and it was easily the most magical night of the year. All 4 Christmas gatherings were completed before New Year’s Eve. (Guys, this never happens.) It was wonderful! Jen completed one type of chemotherapy and will be starting a new type next week.

All in all, 2017 provided me with lots of love, loss, passion, friends, & family. I’m grateful for the people who have stuck beside me through this roller coaster of a year. Here’s to hoping 2018 will be able to top this one off.

Happy New Years guys!
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Holiday Ramblings

Well hello, you beautiful soul, you! It’s Christmas Eve and I’m finally getting around to writing that blog post I wanted to write about 3 weeks ago. Better late than never, right? 1st order of business is to say to everyone I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season. So far so good over here, but I gotta admit that it’s super hard to get into all the festivities since I have no tiny ones to share the magic with.

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2nd order of business is to answer the question that I get asked about 11 times a day. “How is your husband doing after his surgery?”
As most of you are aware, Keenan had the laparoscopic sleeve performed on December 11th. Tomorrow will be 2 full weeks with his new sleeve and he is doing very well. I wanted to thank everyone for all the well wishes and good vibes. He’s healing great and he has no complaints about anything other than a runny nose that lets him know when he’s full and a few weird pains that indicate that a muscle is healing. He’s started eating soft and mushy foods as of Friday. It’s still weirding me out to see him eating from a tiny plate, but I’m super proud of how serious he has taken it so far!

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3rd order of business – It was lovely spending time with everyone today. I’ve got 2 out of 5 Christmas gatherings completed. I still can’t even believe Christmas day is in 8 minutes! I swear New Years Day was only was only 4 months ago… Where has this year gone? Crazy. I’m going to crawl into bed for the night. I hope you all have a very merry Christmas. If there’s spare time before bed, I’ll continue this then.

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Lots of hugs and love and stuff!
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