Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Don't Blink....

I heard a country song several years ago by this title. It talks about a man looking back on his life and how fast it happens... One day he's 6 years old taking a nap and then he's getting married then just like that --"a hundred years comes faster than you think, don't blink". Now here's where I get dramatic because I blinked...
It seems like not that long ago I was a mom for the first time and here today I was college dorm shopping with my little bundle of joy and I was so over come with sadness.... I warned ya :)
I think back to myself being a child and all the memories I have. Summer vacations, family BBQs, weekend at grammas, etc. and the thought that Matthew's "childhood" and all his childhood memory making is essentially over. He starts a new chapter in life and he is so ready to launch forward and here I am wanting to clutch onto his pant legs and scream don't go! Stay here! I know this is not reality, and I know this is part of life, but as the days tick by I find myself getting more and more anxious, and my  stress level is off the charts. Our whole family is about to change and although it is inevitable I am continually having to stop and put myself in check. 
Times like this I just want my mom. After 10 years you would think the ache would subside but it hasn't .  I want to hear her reassuring voice and see her contagious smile. I want her to see what a great young man Matthew has become. I want her see my life and where The Lord has brought us. I want to go on summer vacations with her and have family BBQs and even send the kids over to spend the weekend at their grammas. My children don't have those memories with her. Trinity doesn't even remember her. How sad to me. Growing up family was so important to us, extended family included. I knew and had close relationships with all my grandparents, aunts and cousins. If we had nothing else, we had each other and a bunch of happy memories to cherish and I am thankful for that. 
It's hard to think that Matthew will be making all new memories without us. Life will go on, but for the time being it sure does stink.

If this post seems a bit ADHD, its because that's how my state of mind is at present. My thoughts are all over the place and my emotions are getting the best of me. Please pray for our family in the coming weeks. Many changes are coming as we say see ya later to our first born, start a new school curriculum, and prepare to head back to Croatia and move to a completely new area. I sure could use an extra heap of grace! 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Stop! .... the name of food,
before you break the scale...
Think it o-o-ver. ;)

Friday, May 3, 2013


What an awful word. What an awful responsibility. I was asked by Stacy's mom to speak at her funeral. How could I say no? I wanted to-- I really did. I wanted someone else's words to comfort me...and I did not want to have to think of what to say when my mind was so numb and my emotions so raw. I wanted to sit firmly planted in my chair and cry until the tears were dry. I was grieving and wanted to do so on my own terms. I am not a public speaker on my best day...nevermind my worst day. I don't ever have the right words to say. I am a much better listener. But it wasn't about me. I was the one closest to her and now I had to search for a way to bring a smile to all the tear stained faces that would be staring at me. I had to be brutally honest in a delicate situation. I had to share the hope that is within me because of Jesus Christ. I had to do this in a standing room only packed room of people. Some friends, some former enemies, some family, some strangers. My words and strength came from only one Lord and Savior. And here is what I said...

As you look back on phases of your life there are a few insignificant moments that become forever memories, as was a bang on my door over 20 years ago. There stood this girl whose name I heard over and over again. She said (in a typical Stacy voice) "I'm Stacy Coles and I'm looking for Andrea. Staring face-to-face I told her " I don't care who you are and Andrea's not here" as I shut the door in her face. There was another knock and when I opened it this time she was a little kinder and she asked, "well can I wait for her then?" Little did I know as I let her in that day it was the beginning of a beautiful lasting friendship.

Stacy had a heart as big as the ocean is deep. She tried to help out everyone she could, however she could. That was the kind of person she was. To know Stacy was to love her and sometimes not so much- Because there is no denying that she could be difficult and trying at times and wasn't the easiest person to get along with. In fact, she was the most stubborn person I have ever met in my life! But that is what made Stacy who she was and that is what love is- taking the best and the worst of someone and loving them anyway in spite of themselves, even when they are not very lovable. Yes, Stacy was a spitfire and if she felt you wronged her, there was a heavy price to pay! I'm sure everyone here has felt Stacy's wrath at one time or another. But it was that fire inside that made her fight for what was right. It was that fire that made her love with every ounce of her being. It was that fire that drove her to push on when it would've been so much easier to give up.

One thing is for absolute certain...she loved her daughter fiercely. She was so proud of you, Taylor. She loved you so so much. She always wanted the best for you. You were the very reason for every breath she took.

We will miss her. We will miss her voice. We will miss her texts -that sometimes made no sense! We will miss her smile and her laughter. We will miss the presence of her in our lives.
I may not see Stacy again this side of heaven, but I know I will see her again someday, because when she visited me in Texas 12 years ago she accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior...something I did 14 years ago...something you can do today.
Stacy called me on Christmas Eve and told me she loved me she told me she "gets it now" that she really gets it and that she finally understood God had a purpose for her life. She said her eyes were opened, wide opened. There was something different her voice that day. Looking back, I think she knew somehow.
For a Christian death isn't the end. It's the beginning. The beginning of eternity where our hearts will never have to feel the sting of death or cruelty of life again. I believe Stacy ultimate purpose may have been to gather all those near and dear to her heart together today to hear it now that Heaven is a real place. The place she is at this very moment.

I can only imagine when she opened her eyes in Glory what went through her mind. I can almost hear her saying " oh my gosh, did I die?!? And then she took that first step she so desperately missed. She can run and jump. She can do cartwheels.
Stacy impacted everyone who is in this room in one way or another. She was a daughter, a mother, a niece, a cousin, a friend. To me- she was my best friend. She was my confidant. She was my hero. She was the wind beneath my wings.

Death is not something we ever get over, we just somehow learn to get used to it.
We have to get used to the absence of someone who was so special in our lives.

I found a poem so very fitting and I can hear Stacy proclaiming loudly ....

When I come to the end of the road,
and the sun has set for me
I want no tears in a gloom filled room
why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little,but not for long
and not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love we once shared,
miss me -but let me go.

For this is a journey, we all must take
and each must go alone.
It's all part of the master plan,
a step on the road home.

When you're lonely and sick at heart,
go to the friends we know.
Laugh at the things we used to do,
miss me -but let me go.

I miss her so much.

Saturday, March 30, 2013


part 1

How can I even begin to gather my thoughts when it comes to the inevitable death of someone so close to me?
How can I learn to live life without the cheery phone calls on a daily basis?
How can I get over the guilt of the missed opportunities to convey my love and gratefulness to a person who knew me better than I know myself?
How can I ever visit "home" and not feel the massive void in my time that someone took so much of?
How can I say goodbye to someone who knows every detail about my life-past and present -and every dark secret that are off limits and hidden in the dusty corners of my mind and loves me just the same???

Stacy was my best friend since I was 14 years old. The first time we met, a serious chick fight almost went down and the remainder of the night was spent glaring at one another. The very next day we were inseparable and so began the tales of Traci and Stacy. I am not going to share many of them because taking a trip down memory lane does more harm than good to me. Remember I deal best with things by not dealing with them? I thought I would out grow that by now, but I haven't. Maybe as time goes on and pain begins to fade, I may share a funny story or two- but not now.

Boyfriends came and gone. Girlfriends came and gone. Tragedies came and gone. Police came and gone. Bruises came and gone. Bad times, good times, dark times and bright times all came and gone. Eventually babies came and stayed and being separated by more than 10 minute drive was the new norm. Through it all she was there. Always there with a balled up fist ready to take on the world for me... And quite a few times she did. Together we could conquer anything and anyone and she was the constant in my life when everything and everyone crumbled and left me broken and destroyed. She swept up the pieces more times than I care to admit. She prevented me from making decisions in my life that would have had catastrophic consequences. She would spin scenarios to help me see circumstances in a different light. She literally smacked sense into me when I was irrational. She cried with me and for me. She laughed with me and at me. She fought with me and for me. And although we had hardly anything in common- we were as close as two people could be.

As we grew up our lives went different directions. And within time the tables turned and tragedy came into her life. She was in a diving accident and paralyzed from the neck down. I became her constant. I cried for her and with her. I swept up the pieces more times than I can count. And I was the one encouraging her and helping her see life in a different light. I was now the rock she so desperately needed in an unfamiliar, devastating new life. We were as opposite as opposite could be yet were forever stitched at the heart. My mind can not even grasp the fact she is really gone....

About 16 years old

Taken on our last shopping trip together

Our very last picture...the last time I saw her.

Passport FAIL

Ok, so you know how some preachers get up to preach and they say "this message is for me".? Well this blog post is for me! (And anyone else interested in renewing their passport...)

Rewind about 6 months ago- we were getting ready to leave Croatia for furlough and I had long since noticed all my passport pages were almost filled with stamps. I kept telling myself to go get more pages, but I counted where the border patrol people could possibly squeeze a stamp if they had to and I had about 7 spots left (if they looked real hard) and so I did what I do best...I procrastinated. We leave Croatia and I make it through all the checkpoints and acquire a few more of those lovely stamps all the while telling myself I need more pages! Well of course now I am safely in America and have a whole year before I plan on leaving the country again and I have several months until I need new pages to obtain my new visa sticker so I waited.

2 months of living it up in Wal-mart and Chili's and those pages are nagging thought. Oh, but with Christmas coming and all the traveling...I will wait a few more weeks. I got time.
So Christmas comes and goes and a few days following we head to Orlando for vacation till jan 3 and you know offices and such are closed for the holidays so as soon as I get back its going in the mail! Without fail I am mailing my passport the day I get back from vacation.

Screeeeeeeeeech! Hold up, what do you mean my BFF of 21 years is about to die? (Another post I am working on for another day). So off I fly to NJ to say my final goodbyes and that passport I was supposed to take care of months ago is still neglected and I am starting to run out of time. As soon as I get back from NJ that passport HAS to go in the mail. Well no excuses just severe depression and a move from the east coast to Texas has got my brain sort of on cruise control. Ya know where you wake up and brush your teeth and eat because that's your routine, but clearly your mind is in lala land? Yep- guilty.

Ok so now it's February. I'm in Texas. I'm better (for the most part) and I get my act together (or so I thought!) and get busy on my passport. Well for like $20 extra I can get a whole new passport because my present one, I, not only look like a dude with half his eyebrows, I also look like a truck hit me head-on. Totally not kidding.
I fill out the paperwork to renew( even though its not expired), I get the 2 pictures required, I get the money order and input everything in a large envelope and mail it. Now, let me pause to point out some major wrongs... besides my ultra bad characteristic flaw of procrastination...

1. Never try to renew your passport while forgetting to enclose your current one. This leads to MAJOR delays! Current processing times 3-4 weeks. Not so if you DO NOT include your current undamaged all filled-up one. :/

2. Never try to renew your passport when you are in a time crunch WITHOUT expediting the service. Current processing time 3-4. That's plenty of time, right?! Please see #1. Now please see #3.

3. Never try to renew your passport during the months of Feb. and March. Wanna know why? First time spring breakers headed to Mexico in the coming months are applying for a passport now too! Current processing time is now 4-6 weeks ( before you factor in the mess you've created seen in #1 & #2!!)

4. Never rely on the online system to give you your updated status! For 3 weeks my application info could not be found. Then one day I checked and it was processing and entering the final stages. After 5 or 6 days, I check status again. Guess what? My application info can not be found!! What?!
Are you kidding me? So I call someone. Sit on hold for like EVER... Then I'm told if I was in the system and now I am not its because my passport is "in transit". Apparently not the case after all.

5. Never try to renew your passport while on furlough and have a pressing issue with your visa application ESPECIALLY with #'s 1,2 AND 3 against you as well!!!!!!

Alas the passport saga is over(almost). It finally came (in about 7-8 weeks). It is safely on its way to Croatia to have another year of approval stamped inside (yay!). It has caused some serious frustration, plenty of tears and I couldn't tell you how many heated arguments with me and the Mr.
Oh and the new picture that replaced the hideous dude-looks-like-a-lady one? Yeah, well now it's here comes honey boo-boo's mama!!

The one good thing that came out of all this?? Hmmmm... I'll have to think about that! :)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Fortune Cookie

Ok- I guess it's time to get busy. Even the Chinese think so :)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Ok, I know HATE is a strong word. I also know you are not supposed to hate anything, but I stand firm on my pure disdain of my scale. Yes, it is the little box of demonic numbers that sit on my bathroom floor that has got me all in a tizzy. I find myself always coming back to rant on food or to psych myself up for exercise or to detail another painfully boring diet. Wanna know why? Because it consumes me and takes up my life and I am so sick of it! It is the first thing on my mind in the morning. It is in my thoughts ALL . DAY . LONG and it the last thing I think about as I attempt to drift off to dreamland, where no doubt, visions of sugarplums (and ice cream) are dancing about!
I diet, I exercise, I lose. I eat, I gain. I diet, I lose. I eat, I gain. And so goes the days in the week...the weeks in the month...the months in the year. Time passes, seasons change but you know what remains the same? THE STINKIN SCALE!
Now, if you will excuse me and my outburst, I must go chomp on some carrot sticks!