Today is just one of those emotional days, I guess…  
I haven’t experienced any triggers (songs, smells, or seeing the kind of car she used to drive). I even woke up and worked out at the park this morning, which normally working out keeps breakdowns like these at bay. I was just driving down the highway and was overcome with emotion. Missing Mom. Wanting to call her and ask her where she thinks I should go to school. Wanting her to call me and tell me she misses me and wants me to spend the night so she can make gluten free French toast for me.  
It’s days like today that I have to remind myself that it’s okay to cry. It’s okay to want to be alone or to ask for company or support.  
I want to encourage you to feel whatever emotions you’re experiencing. Allow yourself to be angry or sad or whatever it is. Allow your mind, body and spirit to be present. Don’t bury them. Let them come to the surface and overflow.  
Cry if you need to.  

Scream into a pillow if you need to.  

Be overenthusiastic about whatever is making you happy right now.  

Let the negative feelings run their course, and move forward.  

Let the happy back in.  Let it fill you.  Find those moments to be happy and positive.  And share them with those around you.  

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So, I’m not usually a fan of fruit with my poultry…  It’s always seemed so weird…

Once, I made a traditional German dish that consisted of pork chops, apples and raisins, and that totally blew my mind and made me actually like pork chops.  So when I found several various recipes for “Hawaiian chicken” yesterday, I decided to give it a go!

I’m currently crockpotting this delicious smelling dish at my office, so if I end up not liking it, there are like 7 other people I can pawn it off on.  They like it when I feed them.

INGREDIENTS:
4 pounds of chicken
(Aldi had some gorgeous boneless, skinless thighs, so I got that)
20oz crushed pineapple (canned is fine)
1 teaspoon-ish of cinnamon
1/3 cup-ish of honey

I prefer to use the crockpot liners (I know, Rebecca….you hate cooking in plastic), but I was out and Aldi was out so I just sprayed some of Z&K’s Pam into a ziploc bag when I went to check on their dogs during my lunch break.  I also dumped some of her honey and cinnamon into another ziploc bag….but figured I needed some more honey and picked up a jar of it at Aldi when I went for the pineapple and chicken.

So, line your crockpot OR grease it up….whatever you prefer, dump the chicken in (cut up if you prefer) and top it with the entire can of pineapples, cinnamon and honey!  I ended up going a little nuts here with the honey…  Remember how I said I didn’t think I put enough in the bag at Z&K’s?   Yeah, I ended up getting caught up in conversation with some of my coworkers and squeezed about half of the brand new jar of honey over the chicken…oops…  Anyone need Diabetes?

INSTRUCTIONS:
Cook on high for 2-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
(Time varies depending on how frozen the chicken is.)
((Speaking of freezing, this could totally be frozen ahead of time!))

I used my pink handled office scissors to cut up the chicken, and while it meant I only had to wash them and my hands, it took longer to cut the partially frozen chicken thighs with the scissors than it would if I would have just cut it.  “But you’re at work!  Certainly you don’t have alternative means!”  Yeah, actually, I keep a knife and a cutting board here in the office, but was feeling pretty lazy.

The aroma is divine right now and it’s been cooking on high for about two hours.

Hopefully, it’s good.  Otherwise, I just spent <$12 to stay in the good graces of my coworkers.

Mom wanted us to take a trip to “someplace beautiful and warm” together to scatter her ashes.

Anyone who knows me and my sisters knows that asking us to spend time alone together is like asking a teenager to give you his Xbox.  It won’t happen without a fight.

After Mom passed, we planned our first trip for the weekend of June 10th and decided to go to Key West.

I had decided a long time ago that I wanted to take Momma to every place listed in her favorite song “Kokomo” before she died.  She got too sick too fast for me to make this dream a reality, so I’ve let my sisters in on my plan and they want to participate.

Being the ultra-planner that I am, I started Googling and Pinteresting this morning and found some stuff that’s worth sharing.

First of all….this blog.  I’m so glad I found it….  Like, beyond thankful.  Hollywood makes spreading ashes look so easy when it’s done in movies, but, in reality, they stick to your hands, can get in your eyes and get stuck in lip gloss… apparently.

Here’s a link to everything I’ve Pinned so far.  I need to take a break before I get all emotional at my desk.

Talk soon.  😉

Alright, ya’ll.  I finally did it.  I have amazing friends who support my gluten intolerance and encouraged me to make a gumbo.  I did some research, compared different recipes, but ultimately relied on what I remember of my family’s recipe.  It was delicious and they all raved about it, so I figured I’d do the world a favor and share the recipe.  😉  (Mainly because the loan officer I’m working with asked me to send it to her and once I realized how much work it took to type it all out, I figured I’d post it here for my future reference…lol)

So, you’re welcome.

Read the rest of this entry »

We have been watching Mom for changes in her disease. Since she’s on Hospice, she can’t undergo testing or anything, so we can really only rely on what she tells us, what we intuitively pick up on, and changes in her behavior.

Over the last couple weeks, Mom has started with intense focal headaches…signs that the cancer Read the rest of this entry »

The hardest part is watching her cry out of fear and knowing you can’t shed your own tears with her because she needs you to be strong. 

The day before Thanksgiving, Mom decided to go on hospice. They didn’t think she would make it out of the hospital, but she’s been home for about a month. We take turns caring for her. 

Most days her tears are from happiness. She said last week she didn’t know being happy could feel this good. Today, she got short of breath and scared. I don’t know what she fears and I’m too scared to ask her. I’m sure it’s a fear of the unknown. 

I turned on her oxygen compressor, handed her the cannula and held her hands as she looked into my eyes and let her tears overflow her own and shed down her face. 

It breaks my heart. 

I want nothing more than for this to be over for her. I hate seeing her in pain, and that’s pretty much all she feels now. Constantly. 

  

Christmas 2015

Every year Thanksgiving looks different, and this year is no exception. This year, it’s just another day. This year, it’s one more day Mom is spending in the hospital. This year, it’s catered by Cracker Barrel via a dear, long time family friend. This year, it’s the day after Mom officially stopped pursuing cancer treatment and chose to allow High Point Hospice to make her final days as comfortable as possible.  
This year, it could be sad, but like every other day I’ve chosen happiness, thankfulness, transparency, and strength.  
That doesn’t mean that I am stoic and cold; completely the opposite. I have learned that there is strength in feeling the emotions that come in (oftentimes unexpected) waves, expressing them however necessary and moving forward with a level head.  
Over the last couple of weeks, Chris Tomlin’s song “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) has been on repeat in my heart. I finally downloaded it today and listened to it over and over as I drove into work. I needed time to cry, to let God speak to my spirit, replenish my strength and patch the cracks in my heart that come from being overtired and simply dealing with the daily struggles that come with this journey. I have learned that there is significant power in appreciating the hard times and emotions, because it makes the good ones feel so much better and makes the smile you see on my face and the eruption of laughter you hear so very genuine.
Through all of this, I have been blown away by all of the amazing people who have shown up and shown epic love for me and my family. The offers of fulfilling wants, needs, and promises to pick up the phone any time day or night have been nothing short of a reminder, in the midst of one more transition, that I am loved, blessed and fortunate beyond measure.
I would like to challenge you to also choose happiness and thankfulness, regardless of your belief system and regardless of what life may throw your way. Remember that there is always someone out there who has it worse than you do. Remember that sometimes you need to cut negativity out of your life and refocus your energy on the positive. Remember to use your hands and words to spread hugs, love and kindness to all, but especially to those you hold dear. Remember that tomorrow is not promised. Remember to be thankful for what today looks like because, if tomorrow comes, it could look far better or way worse than today.  
And finally, remember that I love you. And Jesus loves you, too.
xoxoxo