Skipping Thanksgiving

This year's Thanksgiving week was totally different than past years. We found out about a week ago that my mom would have heart surgery in Rochester, MN on Monday the 19th. My sis and I quickly made plans to be there for the surgery and recovery. I had the oddest feelings while getting ready and leaving for the trip. While I was glad to be able to spend the time with my mom, I wasn't looking forward to the trip, nor was I looking forward to being away from Amelia and Bear. My flights to MN were uneventful and boring. You know that I'm a talker. No one wanted to talk. That was okay because I had an early flight of 6 a.m.  When I arrived at the airport at 5:15 Saturday morning, a huge line quickly formed behind me. I was about 6 people away from the desk. I only had to check in. I prided myself in the fact that I fit all my belonging for 3 days in my carry on. If you know me well and have traveled with me in the past, this was a huge feat! I only packed one pair of shoes. My running shoes, of course. :) There was only one attendant at the desk. I was getting antsy because I didn't know how long it would take for me to get through security and on to the plane. I decided not to worry too much because all those people had to be getting on my plane! I got my ticket, managed to get through security after being frisked because I had my cell phone in my back pocket. (Michelle and fam were right behind me and I was trying to alert her of the situation.) I took a quick look at my ticket, didn't buckle my shoes and quickly walked toward my gate. As I approached the gate (which I quickly noticed was deserted) I heard my name being called over the intercom! I had looked at the wrong number on my ticket! I looked at the seat number/letter! It was the only thing in bold print on my ticket. So at that point my heart drops and I start running (with shoes unbuckled) toward my gate! 5 minutes later I arrive...nearly a sweaty mess...at 6 a.m.! I board the packed plane and then wait 10 more minutes for all the people still in line! So, at that point, I was awake sans coffee!After a short layover in Chicago, I headed to MN with no problems.

We all met up in the airport and took the shuttle to the hotel and then on to the Mall of America.

I really can't find a photo to do it justice. There's no way to wrap your head around the size of this place! After walking almost all of the floors, I can say that the first floor has the best stores. The second had the teeny-bopper stores and third was mostly restaurants, while the fourth had fast food and a movie theater. So, that made it smaller to me. So if, for some reason, I ever go back...I'll stick with the first floor. :)

I was a little excited to go to the mall, but about half way through, my 4 a.m. wake up call was catching up with me. :( I was dragging. We were there all afternoon and into the night. Needless to say, I slept very good that night!

Hudson and I taking a break in a shoe store. I love this little man!

 My breakfast buddies! :)

The next day, we took a van to Rochester, which was about an hour and a half away from Minneapolis. 

We arrived and checked into our hotel. It was called The Aspen. It was so nice! It had a ski lodge theme.

This is the lobby. I spent about an hour down here one night waiting for my clothes to finish washing. :) Very cozy.

We all hunkered down in a big suite to watch the last NASCAR race of the season and eat pizza. It was a fun afternoon. Later that night, my mom got word that she was to be at the hospital (Saint Mary's) across the street at 5:45 a.m. After making a few phone calls and texting the info, she started feeling really bad. Her heart went into a-fib rhythm. Michelle and I decided to accompany my mom and Garry to the ER and Sammy stayed with their kids. It was a scary/funny thing. We zoomed downstairs, ran across the street and put my mom in a wheelchair. We followed all the red signs to the ER on the other side of the building. After just a few minutes, we were able to go back where they were trying to stabilize my mom. We stayed with her until they moved her to the ICU for the night. At that point, we didn't know if they would continue with the plan to do surgery. We were praying that her heart would go back into regular rhythm, so the surgery could take place as planned. 

Our prayers were answered. A simple thing as my mom sitting up on the side of the bed caused her heart to go back into rhythm. Weird! 

My sis and I headed to the hospital at 7 a.m. on Monday morning. We waited for the nurses to come and get our mom for surgery. Even though we knew it would be okay, it was an aweful feeling as we watched them wheel her away. A nurse met us in the hall and told us that she would call us several times during the surgery. At that point, we felt like it would be all day! We all settled into a waiting area and it wasn't long before the nurse called and told us she would be taking us to meet the surgeon. We met with him and he said everything went well. We were relieved! 

We waited for about another hour for them to settle her into the cardiac ICU and then we were able to go and see her. This is what I wasn't prepared for...she was still sedated, tubes and iv's everywhere. I was so emotional. I knew she was okay and the worst part was over, but I could tell there was a long road ahead.  We decided to let her rest and go to lunch and then we went back to the hotel to get some rest. Everyone else rested but me. I got on the phone with the airline and moved my return flight from the next day until Friday. I decided after seeing my mom that I really wanted to stay until she was more stable or released. Two hours later I had new flight plans. (My sis really wanted to stay as well, but it would have been too expensive for her to have changed flight plans.)

We returned to the icu to see my mom and sweet Garner wanted to go and see her. She was still resting and Garner put one of her Spiderman band-aids on my mom's hand. :) She is such a sweetheart. She was trying to wrap her little mind around what was going on. On Sunday afternoon, my mom told her she had a boo boo on her heart and the doctor was going to fix it. Garner kept gesturing with her hand and asking her why. She did so well with all the waiting, etc. 

Photo: So sweet watching Garner say " night night MawMaw" then she told the nurse to keep her safe. Oh my heart!

My mom stayed in the ICU for the remainder of Monday and got moved to a private room mid-day Tuesday. Michelle and fam went home about that time. 

After my mom got settled in her room, Garry and I set up camp there. We were glad we were able to be with her around the clock. It was truly amazing to see how she grew in strength each day. I couldn't believe that she would come home in the same week after seeing her post surgery! The body is an amazing mechanism. 

Garry began spending the night in the room on Tuesday and I would go back to the hotel each night and stay. We had moved to a smaller room on Tuesday. This was the first time I'd ever stayed in a hotel by myself. I asked myself it I was creeped out or if it was cool. I never felt scared, but it lost it's cool fast. It became a bit lonely. Tuesday night I entertained myself with a movie I'd never seen. It's called Safe House.  It was action packed. I would like to watch it one day with Bear. I was hoping it wouldn't keep me up because I watched it right up until I went to sell. No problems there. Every night I went to bed earlier than I do at home and I slept like a baby! I think the main reason was because I was just emotionally drained. I'd never experienced such a thing as this as an adult. When I was a child three grandparents passed away. Two had long illnesses, but it's different to experience something like this at an age where you absorb so much.  It was good for me, yet hard enough that I never wish to experience it again.

It was a really difficult decision to stay and not spend Thanksgiving with Bear and Amelia. For the past 13 years, Bear and I have gone to Alabama to spend Thanksgiving with his parents.  I knew it would be sad to "skip Thanksgiving", but I felt like this year was different and I needed to be with my mom. I didn't know if I wanted to stay more for me or them. Either way, I stayed.

Wednesday it was unseasonably warm in Rochester.  I decided to take a walk a few blocks away to a strip mall. I happened upon a consignment shop with tons of great clothes.  It is called All In Vogue.  I just realized they sell their clothes on their website. They sell designer jeans at great deals. They also have a liquidation room. A liquidation room in a consignment shop? Yes! I scored a pair of Gap jeans for 3.95! Crazy! That totally made my day! 

At this point in the trip I had worn every piece of clothing I had packed.  And, at this point, I was wishing I'd paid that precious $25 to check a larger bag so I would have more variety. Oh well! I had these new jeans and I wore them! 

Thursday was Thanksgiving. I knew it would be a bit depressing to be at the hospital and be away from Bear and Amelia.  It was a weird day, but I pushed through.  After a "lovely" lunch at the hospital, I headed out for a run along a paved trail a few blocks behind my hotel. It was really nice to breathe fresh air. I ran twice on treadmills earlier in the weeks. This was great! It really broke up my day. I believe I ran about 4 miles. 

After showering, I met new friends down in our hotel lobby and we had a Thanksgiving dinner! My sis and Sammy introduced me to a couple that was there because their six month old daughter was having heart surgery.  She is a twin and her brother, Aidan was there.  I got to hold him for a few minutes one day. He is a sweetie.  I never got the opportunity to meet Ava Grace, but I heard a lot about her. Here is her blog, if you want to check it out. Her parents are super sweet! 

I got to sit across the table from Christina's dad at dinner. We covered many subjects in the hour or so that we chatted over dinner. You could tell I hadn't talked to many people that week. :)  He is an expert on the Native Americans. It was an interesting conversation.

Friday was my last day and I spent the morning at the hospital. It was a chilly 18 degrees! Yikes! I don't think I've ever experienced that cold before! I can honestly say that I could live without experiencing it again! 

Right after lunchtime, my mom was released from the hospital. Amazing! I had to say what I thought was goodbye until Memphis because I had to catch the van back to the airport.  Garry wheeled my mom over to the hotel lobby right before I boarded the van! I had to snap a "welcome home" pic!

Photo: They're baaaack!!!

I was so glad to see her smiling and I knew she was glad to be released from "jail". :)

I had a good conversation with the van driver on the way to the airport. I was the only passenger! Haha! 
We discovered that we both shared a love for running! He isn't able to run anymore, but told me about the Minneapolis/St. Paul Marathon. He talked about how beautiful the run is as it goes from one city to the next. 

In no time I was at the airport and ready to get home! I was so looking forward to sleeping in my own bed.  When I arrived at the Charlotte airport, I immediately noticed the rocking chairs in the waiting areas. I knew it! I had arrived on Southern soil. :)  After dinner, I headed to my terminal.  I thought our flight would never get to leave. We waited, it seemed like forever, to take our turn to taxi onto the runway.  I'm too nervous to sleep on the plane, so I just sat in the dark, waiting for the landing.  It finally came! I couldn't wait for Kelly to pick me up! I'm so thankful for this sweet friend! 

It felt super weird to come home and be here by myself for almost a day. I got a lot done, but was ready to see Bear and Amelia. Saturday afternoon they got home.  It was a great reunion! 

This was definitely a different Thanksgiving and though I skipped the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, I didn't skip the opportunity to give Thanks and be Thankful for all the ways the Lord has blessed me.


A Protein Packed Snack & A Request

A Snack


  • melt the chocolate in the microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes, stirring half way
  • slice the banana in about two inch pieces
  • spread a dab of almond butter onto each banana slice
  • drizzle the melted chocolate on each piece
  • cover the dish with plastic wrap and freeze for about an hour   

(i placed the pieces in a corning ware dish, but next time i'll put wax paper down first. it was a bit difficult to separate them from the dish.)

Let's just say.. these didn't make it to my post-workout...Amelia and I devoured all of them after dinner tonight! :)

A Request

My mom will be having heart surgery this coming Monday at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. We learned of this news this afternoon. She has been there for testing this week. We are all a bit nervous about it, but do have a peace that she will be ok and that she is in the Lord's hands. I would like to ask that you pray for her as she has the surgery and that the doctors and nurses are able to do their work to the best for her. A few family members and I will be traveling there on Saturday morning and will return on Tuesday evening. We also ask for prayer for safe travel. I will be updating everyone on Facebook. Thanks so much!


Golden Cauliflower Soup and Not Your Mama's Oatmeal

I've had many days, lately, where I am hungry, but nothing in the house looks good to eat.  I found a couple of things that were really yummy and I want to share them with you.

I decided to hurry and make soup with a head of cauliflower that I had laying around in my fridge. I made a recipe called Golden Cauliflower Soup. It was fairly simple, but took some prep work. I did this during the kid's nap time. Here are a few photos of the steps....

First, I chopped a head of cauliflower.

Then, chopped one onion and two large carrots.

Then, after simmering carrots and onion in melted coconut oil, I added the other veggies. They cooked for about 30 minutes.
The next step was to add the mixture to a blender and blend it all together. It was a very simple recipe to follow. The extra special thing was that Amelia loved it! 
In regular fashion, I don't have a pic of the finished product. I was too hungry. Ha! Here is a pic from the source.


Later last night, I read a post from my friend, Grant. He began a blog about his journey as a vegan. It has been really inspiring for me. He posts lots of yummy recipes. Breakfast has become a hard meal for me to desire to eat. I was on a serious egg eating kick for about a year and for some reason I haven't wanted them consistently for the past few months. This oatmeal recipe looked good, so I tried it this morning. It was great! I followed his recipe and added my own twist.

1/2 cup oatmeal, I used quick cooking oats
about 1/4 cup raw vanilla protein powder, I used Garden of Life
about 1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup blueberries
half a banana
a couple splashes of maple syrup

I simply mixed all this in a bowl and nuked it for about 1 1/2 minutes.

It was fantastic! I will be making this again! This is the pic of the finished product. I know, it looks like garbage, but it is great!


Bertie the Bird and a Fun Filled Weekend

This weekend has been filled with a bunch of fun and quality time with sweet friends and family! Friday night I spent time with my ole high school buddies at Chrystal's house. We had a spa/mexican food night. Jess brought a foot bath and we each brought beauty products to trade. After enjoying dinner and taking turns pampering our tootsies, we Skyped with Laura and called Christy and got to all have a great time catching up together. I love technology! It was so awesome to be able to hear everyone's voices. It's wonderful that across the miles and through the years, we can remain friends. That is so neat how the Lord knits our hearts together. Jess snapped this pick of us "all together".

Next up was my long run with two buddies I haven't run with before. We met at Patriot Lake at Shelby Farms and headed across Walnut Grove toward the Germantown Greenway. The weather was beautiful and there were lots of people out for a run. We even saw two deer running along side our trail. I love when that happens. We ran for about two hours. We aren't sure exactly how far we went, but I'm pretty sure it was a little under 10 miles. We had a great time catching up/getting to know each other. I'm thankful to have met these ladies who are "farther down the road than me" through my church. I look forward to running with them in the near future.

After that, I headed to a sweet family's home to babysit their son, Cannon, while they attended a precious family member's memorial service. I just love this little boy and his family. I have the privilege of watching him on a regular basis. (He makes me wish for a boy for us, in the future. :)  Bear and Amelia met me and we all had a great time together. Here is a pic of Cannon from last week at the playground.

Then after heading home to get ready, I made the road trip to Atoka to attend my friend, Missy's baby shower. It was worth the drive! :) My sis and I enjoyed good food and fellowship as we watched her open many gifts. Here's a pic of my ole running buddy and I. I can't wait to meet her sweet baby girl in January!

Sunday, we went to church and had lunch at SkiMo's with our Sunday school class. It was great! Many hadn't been there yet, so they got to experience a great local place.

After a little bit of chill time at home, I ran to Kroger and got a few things. I had a great idea! I decided to cook a whole bird! I thought, what do I have to lose? Well, I had about $5 invested, so that was about it! I just followed the directions...oiled her up..(I affectionately named her Bertie)..put her on a make shift roasting pan, i e, broiler pan and popped her in the oven at 350 for an hour and forty five minutes.

Meanwhile, Bear stayed home to tend to the bird and Amelia and I walked over to our neighbor's first birthday party. We had a great time catching up with neighbors we seldom get to see. (By the way, we have an awesome group of neighbors in our 'hood! There are so many sweet Christian families surrounding us. Such a blessing!) Here are a couple of pics of the festivities.

                                               Amelia got a butterfly painted on her face. :)

Singing "Happy Birthday" to Etienne.

So back to Bertie...When we got home she was just sitting on the stove, cooling off. After a bit, I pulled her apart and...ok, I've got to stop referring to the bird as a girl...it was so simple to do this. I just refrigerated the meat and we can eat it all week. We saved a few bucks by cooking it ourselves and had a neat experience!

Finally, this coming week is a big one...My mom will be flying to Minnesota to Mayo Clinic tomorrow. She will be having testing done to determine if she will be having heart surgery in the near future. We covet your prayers as we walk through this with her. 

Thanks for reading, folks! I hope you had a great weekend!

The season opener is tomorrow night and I'll be there! Woot!