The C Word

T-Cell Lymphoma.
That's the diagnosis that our close family friend received today.
He is 17.

He was rushed to the ER last night in severe pain, and they found a mass in his chest that is larger than a softball.  It was pressing on his lung and heart.  "Like a rock on a balloon", his left lung couldn't inflate properly.  I can't imagine how much he hurt.  

He's pitiful.  Can barely talk, but still reached his hand out for Shelbie and managed to talk to her, and later, ask his family where she was when we were downstairs getting dinner.

Obviously his mother is shocked and worried.  Her life changed in an instant.  His prognosis is good; it's one of those "if you must get cancer, this is the one you want to get" situations.  He'll be in the ICU for at least two weeks.

But....it's CANCER.  He's 17.  He will have to go through radiation.  He will lose his hair.
It certainly makes you remember what's TRULY important in life.   A lesson many of us need sometimes.  

Prayers, thoughts, voodoo, whatever.....totally appreciated. 


Southern Comfort Zone

My home is now in the woods.

Far back in the woods.....

.....right smack in the middle of nowhere.

it's incredibly peaceful, comforting, quiet....

and beautiful.

{Mackenzie loves it.}

It's my Southern Comfort Zone.

{Linking up with Unknown Mami
for Sundays in my City.}

Unknown Mami



A few years ago, when I worked at The Other Hospital, I had a friend named Matt.  He was a nurse on my unit.  He was funny, friendly, and incredibly nice.  Shortly after he started, I made a comment about being cold (it's a hospital, I was always cold) and he offered me his jacket.  We were both married, and he wasn't flirting; just a simple but sweet gesture that I still remember years later.

A few months before I left The Other Hospital, Matt received tragic news.  His brother had died in a car accident.  Matt is young, in his late twenties; his brother was around the same age.  Matt was out of work for a short time and when he came back, he was very quiet - understandably.  He stayed in his nursing alcove and had very little interaction with anyone except for his patients.  We all understood and gave him his space.

But the old Matt never returned.  He would occasionally smile again, but it was the kind of smile that didn't make it to his eyes.  He never cracked jokes, and rarely reacted when someone else did.  His grief was palpable; it sort of hung in the air around him.  It was heartbreaking.

Today, I saw Matt for the first time since I left The Other Hospital.  He was at "My" Hospital, visiting someone who was a patient there.  And he smiled when he saw me, and stopped and chatted with me for several minutes.  He was pleasant and kind.  But still, over two years later, that haunted look is still in his eyes.  I don't think Matt will ever recover from the loss of his brother.

There's no other love like the love for a brother.  
There's no other love like the love from a brother.  
~Terri Guillemets


And now my mother is facing the loss of a sibling - again.  My mother is one of five children.  She is the youngest girl, and second to youngest child.  But there are only three children left.  My mother's baby brother died several years ago, as did one of her sisters.  The three sisters left were very close.  For many years, they went to gospel singings together at least twice a year; sharing a hotel room and enjoying sister time.

The oldest sister has been sick for several years; emphysema/COPD, chronic bronchitis, etc. (a lifelong smoker).  She is also one of the sweetest, kindest people you could ever want to meet.

And now, at the age of 78, my aunt has taken a dramatic turn for the worse.  She's in an ICU, being kept alive until all of her children can gather to say goodbye.  My mother will head up to see her tomorrow (she's in another town about four hours away).

My mother has already lost two siblings; and now, barring some miracle, she will lose a third.

Another loss that one just never fully recovers from.

Our brothers and sisters are there with us 
from the dawn of our personal stories 
to the inevitable dusk.  
~Susan Scarf Merrell


Dog Days Weekend

My boyfriend Hunter became a big brother and a grandfather, 
all on the same day. 
Here are the new little bundles of joy: 

This is the baby brother, Toby, a toy Australian Shepherd.

Photo by Elayna, isn't it wonderful?

8 week old, 2.5 pound ball of fur.
And here's the grandson, Bo.
so sweet when he's sleeping.....

this pup was found as a stray but is a
pit bulldog assumed to be around 10-12 weeks old.
We puppy- sat both dogs on Friday, and Bo on Saturday.  
Which caused us to have puppy fever.  
Which led to Hunter buying ME a dog on Sunday.  

She is a one year old Chiweenie.

She is also sweet when she is sleeping.

And a little grouchy when woken up....kinda like me.

Name undetermined because we were originally told SHE was a HE.
'Nother story for another day.



Hashtags used anywhere but Twitter generally drive me crazy.  However for some reason this post seems to scream for them. #annoying

Today is my Friday.  For those of you who work a normal Monday - Friday week, this means that it's the last day I work before a few days off.  In my case, four days off.  #TGIW

I truly LOVE my new job but it is kicking my ass.  I am very grateful for these four days off!  #exhausted

I successfully resisted the temptation of Fried Chicken Wednesday today at the cafeteria of my hospital.  #willpower

When a patient is rapidly speaking to me in Spanish, I somehow magically remember bits and pieces from my high school Spanish classes.  #gracias

Today another tech said to a patient: "But your daughter said you LOVE Cream of Wheat." To which the patient replied with a completely straight face, "Well she is nuts."  #bahahaha

This weekend my best friend is having a bridal shower.  In December she will be getting married.  For the fourth time.  #shecraycray

Tomorrow Hunter's parents are getting an 8 week old toy Australian Shepherd puppy.  I can't wait to see him!  #puppybreath

OK time to go and watch the most hilarious show ever.  #duckdynasty

Love Duck Dynasty!!


Twists & Turns

Life is full of twists & turns. 

My life has changed in the past year in such a way
that I found myself out in the woods last night,
pitch dark, helping my boyfriend retrieve the hog that he had just shot.
Then holding its hooves while he cut it up.

My boyfriend is a hunter (and will heretofore be known as Hunter on my blog).  
Mostly deer, but if a hog shows up, it's on.
I'll be cooking Mr. Hog in the crockpot later this week.  
I have a kick-ass Pulled Hog recipe.  No joke.

(Now before you go all Hunting-is-Cruuueeelll on me, I used to feel the same way, until my VEGAN friend set me straight.  Providing you eat your kill, hunting is FAR more humane and eco-friendly than buying your meat at the supermarket.  Look up the treatment of animals bred for food and get back to me. Also - my man is a humane hunter.  Yes, there is such a thing.)

Anyway.  I've never been with a hunter before so I wasn't sure how I would cope with seeing the dead hog and watching the butchering process.  But I found it fascinating.  (Remember, I'm in the medical field.  It takes a LOT to gross me out.)  My main thing while following Hunter through the woods as he carried the dead hog was trying not to get blood on my shoes.  Because I am still a girl, after all.

Life's twists and turns are truly mind-boggling.

I sometimes feel like I'm just along for the ride, holding on as tightly as I can.

"If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans." ~ Van Zant

{All pics taken in a cypress grove on Hunter's land.} 


Because Chocolate, that's why.

Is there any better reason?

Chuao is giving America a chocolate makeover with their handcrafted, all-natural gourmet goodies, now available in select Target stores and specialty retailers nationwide. This is not your ordinary chocolate, my friends - they have flavors like Potato Chip (all natural potato chips crushed into milk chocolate) and MAPLE BACON!  HELLO!!!!

To celebrate, they're launching a Sweet Makeover sweepstakes and offering YOU the chance to win a $1,000 designer shopping spree on Shopbop.com, along with many other crave-worthy prizes! 

To enter, simply like Chuao’s Facebook page, where you can then enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win the $1,000 designer shopping spree.  And that's not all - check out these fabulous prizes they are giving away each week:

  • A one-year subscription to Birchbox ($120 value)
  • A Broscato Vibrastrait flat iron ($150 value)
  • Philosophy Miracle Worker Collection ($190 value)
  • Clarisonic Mia2 Skin Cleansing System ($150 value)
  • Gourmet Chuao chocolate ($180 value)
 So get on over there and get your entry in!  Good Luck!

(Comments closed here - get yourself HERE!!)

*I was not paid for this post, however I was sent some Chuao Chocolate Bars to sample and OMG!  YUMMY!!!  The potato chip milk chocolate is DELISH.


Quarter of a Century

Well helloooo, poor neglected blog!  
It's been a busy week, but I'm sliding in just in time to join in with Wordful Wednesday.

This weekend, my whole (local) family got together
 to celebrate my niece Heather's 25th birthday.

So I'm sharing some pictures from the festivities.

Make a wish!

Me & my beautiful youngest daughter, Elayna

Me and my beautiful oldest daughter, Shelbie

Elayna in front of a motorcycle.....

Tim on a motorcycle with Hayleigh.
Yes...my son has a motorcycle now.
That's pretty much all I have to say about that!

the birthday girl's baby girl!
Hayleigh is now 9 months old, crawling, pulling up and 'cruising', and saying words.
Her newest word is "Bye-Bye" accompanied by a backwards wave.

Visit these lovely ladies for more Wordful Wednesday posts!!

parenting BY dummies