Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Well, here I am again... I have not updated this blog since 2011.   I don't know where the time has gone.

It's been five months since Mom passed away.... I cannot believe how things have changed.   As I look back at old blog posts, I realize just HOW MUCH my life has CHANGED.  My mom was my best friend (other than Dennis, of course!) and I feel lost without her... we did EVERYTHING together.   The past year has been rough, getting the diagnosis a year ago, going through several cycles of chemo, watching my mom get weak and sick, then finally, getting to the point that we knew things were not going to get any better, knowing she would leave us soon.

Sunday morning, Oct. 20, 2013, Mom went home to be with the Lord... her body finally died that day, although I felt like I had lost her awhile before that.    My heart is still heavy five months later, but I am getting there... it just takes time.   I know that you never really get over losing someone - you always miss them, and it's something you don't "get over" - you just learn to live with it, you get used to them not being around anymore.  The pain subsides with time and things don't always feel so bad... it DOES get better.   I have had a couple people tell me "it never gets any better" or "it never gets any easier" - I disagree with that.   My father has been gone for 20 years - and even though I still miss him, I know that it gets better, because when he died, it devastated me, and over time, that got better.  I now am to the point where I can think of him and laugh and smile..... I know that I will get that way with Mom.. it just takes time.   My parents raised me to be strong, and I will not let them down.  I know they are together again, reunited, in a beautiful, much better place, in the presence of God.... I know that one day, I will join them and be reunited with them... I look forward to that glorious day, when I am reunited with them and others I love who have already gone, and we are God's presence forever.  Who would NOT look forward to that?

I thank God every day for my husband, my other family, and friends... NO ONE can take the place of your parents, and it's hard to become an orphan, at any age.. but I am so very blessed.. I have so many wonderful people in my life who care about me and love me, and I am not alone.  It has been a rough journey this past year, and picking up the pieces and going on proves to be a challenge some days... but I know I am up to that task.  When people ask me, "how are you?" it's difficult to answer sometimes... I often say, "it depends on when you are asking."   But I can say that I AM okay... I'm not GREAT yet... that will take time... But some days I am GOOD.. and I'm always OKAY.  And I will take that for now.   It's a start.   But there are days that instead of crying now, I catch myself humming - and find that I have a smile on my face.   This life is a beautiful, precious gift from God... and I know that Mom would be the FIRST to say "get on with your life and get back to living."    So I try to go ahead and let myself have a good cry when I need one, then I get back to the process of getting on with life.  

God is with me... He walks beside me through this journey.. and on those days when I feel that I just cannot walk, He carries me.   He will not leave me.. He will not abandon me.  He put certain people in my life because He knew I would need them.  And He has blessed me greatly.

Yes... I am going to be GREAT one day soon!   I'm inching my way toward that every day.  And I AM OKAY!

Will try to make a conscious effort to update this more regularly now!   Something I need to get back to doing!

Happy Spring!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Wow, talk about a whirlwind week! I am in serious SERIOUS need of some DOWN time for a bit - that seems scarce these days though!

My mom's birthday was yesterday, Aug. 9 - in the past week, we took TWO little trips for her birthday. On 8/3 and 8/4, we went to Jacksonville and Savannah, just the two of us - left early Wed. morning, 8/3 and got to Jacksonville in early afternoon, went to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery and did a tour and tasting, then checked into our hotel, and headed out that evening for the Orange Park Dog Track - enjoyed a prime rib buffet and several dog races - we used to do that when we visited relatives in the Tampa Bay area and have not been to the dog track for several years.

We spent the night in Jacksonville, then after breakfast on Thursday, we headed to Savannah, boarded the Diamond Cruise casino boat for a five-hour casino cruise, then got back at 5:00 p.m. and headed home. Got back LATE on Thurs night, extremely tired! But had a great time. Mom and I travel together and do trips together a lot, and we always have a great time. Fortunately, I took Friday off because by the time I returned home late Thursday night I was sick - not sure if I picked up a bug or what, but I took it easy all day on Friday, even having to beg off attending a cooking class with some friends of ours that night so I could take it easy.

After being under the weather ALL weekend, all FOUR of us (Dennis and my stepdad joined us for this one) left early Monday morning and went up to Cherokee, NC. We got to Harrah's Casino and Hotel in time for lunch at Paula Deen's Kitchen, and then spent some time playing in the casino for awhile. All of us did the slots except Dennis who spent a little time at the blackjack table. Monday night we went to see the outdoor Native American passion play, Unto These Hills - unfortunately the last bit of it got rained out but we saw MOST of it and it was a pretty good show. We have vowed to try to return and see it again in its entirety, perhaps next year.

We headed back to the casino late that night and played until almost midnight, spent the night at the hotel, then after a couple hours in the casino on Tuesday morning and an early lunch again at Paula Deen's Kitchen, we checked out and went to Asheville, stopping at the Farmer's Market, then on home.

So Mom's birthday was celebrated in good style this year with TWO little getaways and a fun time was had by all. Fortunately, by today (Wednesday) I am feeling much better and over whatever I had, I think... I had to travel to Manning, SC today for work and then back to Lexington for an afternoon hearing, and now a busy day on Thursday with a Facebook seminar for my GNO group, AFTER an early morning breakfast meeting with one of my networking groups. I have gotten so busy lately I've had to cancel some plans I've made with friends because my schedule has just gone haywire and I'm having WAY too much on my plate - but I guess it's good to keep busy sometimes.

I'm seriously in need of some major down time though - I'm looking ahead to 2 weeks off starting 8/29 and going through 9/9. Part of that two weeks will be spent doing some things I need to do at home and part of that time will be spent at the beach. The waves are calling.... I can hardly wait to answer!

I am sticking to my promise to WRITE more and spend more time on this blog.. so I'm off to a great start!

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Year Later - Almost!

It's been almost another YEAR since I have updated this blog! I don't know why I have not done so in the past 11 months - why I've gotten SO out of the habit of updating this thing that I go months or close to a year without doing it.. just living life, I guess - and being busy and not thinking about it much! I am going to try to make a REAL effort from now on to update this thing weekly - part of my promise to myself to actually WRITE again, and what better way to start than by doing this blog regularly?

I have been thinking a LOT lately about my life. I just passed the one-year anniversary of my last surgery on July 2. Hard to believe it's been over a year now. I am doing well and have gotten back to my normal life with work, all my activities, and getting TOO busy again! But it's great.. it means my life has returned to normal, which is what I wanted for such a long time. I can remember many days lying in my room after my 2009 surgery, knowing that there was still something that wasn't right, knowing that I was facing another surgery STILL, even after having FOUR of them, and wishing that I could have the ONE thing I seemed not to be able to achieve - to get my LIFE back and be without health issues - and at this moment in time, that is exactly what I am - free of it all. I may have other problems at some point, but right now I am doing well - the best gift I could have ever asked God to bestow upon me!

God has blessed me with so many wonderful things - and I don't mean material things - I mean the things that REALLY count - I have wonderful family, an awesome husband who has stuck by me through every unpleasant thing I've been through with all my difficulties and has NEVER once complained - AND tons of fantastic friends! My Girls Night Out group has grown in the past year to a size that I never could have imagined - and I have met so many wonderful ladies that have become wonderful friends, that I feel blessed over and over again. I have some of the best friends in the world - friends that I can just be myself with. That's one thing I've learned a lot about in the past year or two - that there is a HUGE difference between people you KNOW and people who are your friends.

Your friends are there for you when you need them and you don't even have to ask.. they are just THERE. You can be YOU with them, you don't have to pretend, you don't have to hide your feelings. You can say what you want and they understand. That's something that's been a real eye-opener for me. I've KNOWN lots of people over the years and some I thought were friends.. but when a person won't even let you speak your mind and say what is on it and tell them what you think without punishing you in some way for it, crawling down your throat or making you feel like somehow you are wrong, that person is NOT your friend.

I've been disappointed many times in my life, hurt by people that I thought were friends - and that never feels good. But it's also taught me SO much - and it's taught me what friendship really is. and what it is NOT. And I've also come to learn that without the pain of being hurt we also wouldn't appreciate the joys that we experience in this life nearly as much, would we? When I think about people who have treated me badly, not been understanding about something I was dealing with, and those who actually deserted me when I was sick and recuperating and never once inquired about me - people I thought were my friends - instead now of licking my wounds, like I've done in the past, I smile at the thought that for every person like THAT that has hurt me, God has brought into my life another who has loved and appreciated me for ME. And THAT is a blessed gift!

Some people are going to disappoint you. That's a cold, hard reality of life that we can't escape until the day we die. BUT there are so many wonderful, good people and wonderful, good things in life, they more than make up for those that hurt. Over time, I've learned that sometimes you just have to shake the dust off and move on - accept the fact that sometimes people are just jerks. But there are so many good people out there - focus on that!

ENOUGH with that though! Life has been treating me quite well, really - and I've kept busy - I have dropped a number of things in my life that were becoming toxic and not really good for me - and have replaced those activities with new things that have brought me much pleasure and joy. My Girls Night Out group is 9 and a half years old now - so hard to believe! Coming up in just a few months on our 10th birthday - and it's such a special thing in my life.. Who would have thought when I started this almost ten years ago that it would grow into what it has? Not just the NUMBER of people that are part of it now but the people themselves - awesome friends! I'm also looking forward to starting a new book club with a few friends and have resumed doing some volunteer work with local theaters, as well as my usual volunteer activities with Palmetto Health Foundation and a couple other things that keep me busy.

I have become a "professional networker" in a manner of speaking - all these networking groups have kept me busy and I've made the best friends in them. One of the best things about GNO and the networking groups is that they are filled with women who aren't interested in pettiness, drama and all the nonsense that some women like to get caught up in - but instead, they are interested in helping and supporting one another! After all, isn't that what we SHOULD be doing?

It's hot as HELL right now - over 100 degrees for about 3 days in a row - too hot to want to do much of anything - so as we speak, I am sitting here typing away and updating this blog rather than going out on a Friday night! But that's okay too - sometimes you just have to say "forget it" and stay home on a Friday night and refresh yourself and rejuvenate.

My husband of over 14 years, Dennis, the love of my life and my best friend, just turned 50 recently. 50 is a milestone. I've teased him a lot about it and he has accepted the teasing good-naturedly..but he is what keeps me grounded so much of the time and makes me stop and think. Sometimes I can't see the forest for the trees, and he helps me remember to look for that. Sometimes I get all caught up in something that I think is SO important, and he reminds me that it really isn't. Thank God in every relationship, there's always somebody who's level-headed - in our marriage, I'm the hotheaded one and he's the level-headed one. I'm definitely the emotional one and Dennis is the logical one. it works well for us!

I PROMISE I will get back to writing and posting on this blog and will try to be sure to do so weekly. And maybe post some more updated pictures when I have them.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Wow, I realized this week that I have not updated the blog again for awhile.. a couple months, actually... this has been QUITE a summer, had a lot going on, so updating the blog has just NOT been on my mind!

I had my surgery on Friday, July 2... the week leading up to it was hellish... I endured a couple of not-too-pleasant tests, some lab work, needle sticks, prepping for a pre-op colonoscopy (FUN- NOT!) and not being able to eat real food for 2 days leading up to surgery. When the day of surgery actually arrived, I had to get up at 4:00 a.m. and leave home at 5:00 a.m. to be at the hospital at 5:30. I was sure glad the day had finally arrived - it was almost over!

My surgery went well, I only stayed in the hospital six days this time - that's my shortest hospital stay so far, out of the five times I've been in there. By the time I came home, I was basically pain-free, except a few occasional twinges. Within a week, I drove my car, although the first time I tried, it did wipe me out! Driving is harder - and more physical - than I realized!

So here we are in August. I have not yet gone back to work, because of lifting restrictions and being concerned about hauling around my work equipment too soon. I have a ten-day trip to the beach coming up on 8/31, so I'm waiting until I return from the beach, then I'm going back to work. I've really actually been enjoying my time off, having lunch with friends and lunch with my mom, going out with a few friends, doing a little shopping, going mall walking, and even taking a couple of day trips. The summer has flown by, with my surgery and recuperation and all - it's hard to believe that it's past the middle of August and it's back-to-school time already!

I'm feeling pretty good - and SO incredibly blessed... It's such a tremendous relief to have the surgery behind me and be doing pretty well... for the first time in several years, since my difficulties began, I feel REALLY great (for the most part, except for an occasional bad day) and am finally looking forward to getting back to my normal life without another surgery looming ahead of me.

So I'm headed to the beach on August 31 for 10 or 11 days... when I return home, it's back to work, hopefully for a couple weeks starting SLOWLY, to readjust to the working routine. I actually DID have a transcript request from a client this week for a transcript of a short preliminary hearing in bond court that I did four months ago, so I had to dig that out and do the transcript of it and send it in.. so I actually got a LITTLE taste of working again before going back officially.

I feel so incredibly blessed to have my health back, and to have such wonderful friends that have shown so much concern for me.. and my wonderful family! I'm looking forward to a relaxing beach vacation for several days, then getting back into the work routine... then in October, we are headed to the mountains for a week - Pigeon Forge, Cherokee and Bryson City. So excited to go up there, it'll be awesome.

We're coming up on my favorite time of year - fall. SO many fun things that go on in the fall - the Greek Festival, the State Fair.. cooler weather... and of COURSE, Gamecock football - Go Gamecocks!

Will try not to wait too long before I update my blog again. Thanks, everyone, for your support this summer during my surgery and recuperation... I think I'm on the mend now! Until next time!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The countdown begins!

Well, I'm just a few days away from "the big day" - Surgery Day! Amazingly, at this point, I'm not really feeling nervous... a little anxious, perhaps - but not really nervous... of course, if you ask me on Thursday night if I'm nervous, it may be a different story... I just think that my docs have been SO positive about everything being very fixable, and it hasn't sounded like it would be the ordeal I've been through before, so I'm not feeling quite so nervous about it... Mostly, just want it OVER with.. almost GLAD that it's staring me in the face now, because in just a few days, I'll have it BEHIND me finally, and can start recuperating and getting back to normal!

I'm not one that likes to have my normal life interrupted, so I'm just ready to get on with this thing and have it DONE. I've got places to go, people to see, things to do, etc., etc., so I need to get on with it, get this thing done, and get over it.

This past week was a good one... I finished up the work I had outstanding, so now I have my desk cleared. I went out of work again this week for surgery, until after I've recuperated.. so I have the next couple days free to just do "whatever." Last Wednesday we had a gathering of friends at Blue in the Vista - to celebrate Dennis' birthday, and a chance to see a few friends before heading to the hospital. On Thursday night, my Girls Night Out group - about 18 of us - gathered for the monthly Ladies Night at Capital City Club - a great time was had by all.

I had planned on joining a couple friends this coming Monday night at Mo-Mo's Bistro - but alas, have been "grounded" now... I caught what appeared to be a bit of a bug this weekend, a slight fever and some stomach discomfort... feeling okay now but "grounded" for fear of getting out in crowds and catching anything right before surgery.. that would be disastrous, because it would mean postponing the surgery - and I do NOT want that! I want it over with!

But it was wonderful to see some friends last week and have a good time. Now I just have to pack a bag for the hospital, and then get through a couple of rather grueling days of pre-op tests - some x-rays and a colonoscopy (fun, fun!) on Wed. and Thursday.. then home Thursday after that is over, to rest up for surgery on Friday... I honestly dread Wednesday.. and Thursday morning... more than the surgery itself. Uncomfortable tests are NO fun... and the PREP for the tests is ughhh. But once all that's over with then I just have to get through the surgery on Friday... and hopefully by lunchtime on Friday that will be over, I'll be in my room resting... and hopefully by Friday night will be propped up watching TV.

I appreciate the prayers, thoughts and good wishes that have come my way from so many wonderful friends... It's ALMOST over.. and soon I will be getting back to my normal life.. I will have some catching up to do the end of the summer... I look forward to getting out by the pool a little bit and heading to the beach at the end of the summer, and hopefully making up for the stuff I have NOT been able to do so far.

Love to all!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Another Weekend Over - A Little Closer to "The Big Day"

Well, another weekend has ended... the past week was fairly uneventful... worked a little, was on call a couple days, got some more transcripts done and sent into my office. Last Monday night, June 7, was my monthly Girls Night Out gathering.. this month, we went to Hennessey's downtown.. an awesome place... we had the biggest group we've had in a LONG time. I was excited to see so many newcomers attending - and a few ladies I haven't seen for awhile.

I made some comments in the past week to a few people about just how much this Girls Night Out means to me... I started the group myself about seven years ago with just a small handful of friends. It started out as something very different.. but has grown incredibly. Friends started inviting other friends, and so on ... now newcomers join us every month. Friends invite friends.. then THOSE friends invite other friends... ad infinitum. We get together and have the BEST time. I have made so many incredible friends myself through this group, just from others in the group inviting friends of theirs that I did not already know. It's been such an incredible blessing in my life.. I'm so glad I started this... and it's been such a smashing success. There are some awesome ladies in the group I would not have ever met or otherwise known, if it had not been for this. I look forward to our gatherings every month.

The rest of the week was pretty quiet... worked a couple days, on call a couple days... A couple of things I had planned for the week sort of fell through.. I had intended to go to Corked to the De Vine Divas wine tasting on Wed. night, then to the movies with a couple friends to see Sex and the City - but that fell through at the last minute, due to some conflicts... we will try again soon and if we can't get together to see it before my surgery, we'll have a gathering later on when it comes out on DVD and watch it then. A couple other things that I had planned to do this past week in the evenings fell through too, and I ended up changing a few plans around. The weekend has been pretty quiet - yard work for Dennis, a little house work for me... it was just WAY too hot this weekend to get out and do much of anything.

Every day that passes brings me closer to my "big day" - July 2 and surgery again. I have a lot of mixed feelings - I'm not at all looking forward to all this. On June 30 and July 1, two days in a row, leading up to the surgery, I have to have some tests/procedures done pre-op that my doctor wants me to have done. So starting July 30, I'm not going to have a very good time... that will be a rough week, ending with my surgery early in the morning on 7/2. BUT at least it will be over then, and I'll be on the road to recovery! So I'm not looking forward to going through all this but looking forward to getting my surgery over with and being better and getting back to my normal life once again... getting rid of these symptoms and this recurring infection and feeling GREAT again. That will be awesome.

In the meantime, for the next almost 3 weeks, I just plan to spend time with my family, see several friends, do a little more work, and get myself ready for the big day. My last day of availability for work is 6/22.. I have told my office I can't work any more after that date until my recuperation period is over... I will have to catch up some transcript work before I go in the hospital and do a few other things, so I need to be off after that date... I AM looking forward to celebrating Dennis' birthday - first next Sunday, which is his actual birthday, with lunch and the State Museum (hopefully) and then dinner out somewhere. Then on 6/23, with several friends in the Vista. That will be a fun time, a great chance to celebrate with friends, and see a few people before I'm out of commission for a few weeks again. Got a lot to "cram" into the next 3 weeks! Or 2 and a half, really. But I think I'm up to that challenge!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Time to Update Again! Finally!

I just checked my blog - been thinking lately that it's been a long LONG time since I updated it... and I realized today that it's been exactly ONE year since I updated it! June 6 of 2009... wow! I sure never intended to go that long!

A lot has happened in the past year. Last August, I became very sick and found myself in the emergency room one Sunday morning, deathly ill... by that afternoon, I was in the OR - for SEVEN hours! Almost two weeks in the hospital... whew! by the grace of God and lots of prayers from family and friends, I made it through that ordeal!

As "luck" would have it, I find myself facing another surgery now - in just under four weeks - due to a complication that arose from last summer's surgery and has not healed on its own during these many months... so I'm going back in the OR on Friday, July 2 to have it repaired. Many have wondered what my problem is, precisely, and why I need another surgery.. seems I developed a fistula as a complication from last summer's surgery... and it's causing some uncomfortable and painful symptoms.. most of the time I'm pretty good, but I do have not-so-good days when the symptoms flare up. The doctors like to give these things at least six months from the outset of the problem, number one, to see if it will heal on its own, and number two, to make sure everything is healed and in good shape from the last surgery. So when I go in the hospital on 7/2, it will be 11 months exactly since my surgery.

I had hoped this would heal on its own and I would not require surgery... but that didn't happen, so we'll deal with it and take care of it however we have to. I know I have a LOT of people thinking about me and praying for me - so I can't go wrong. I'll get this thing over with on 7/2, come home from the hospital after a few days, and spend the rest of the summer (6 to 8 weeks) recuperating comfortably at home - won't have to get out and carry my equipment around and travel around the state and work in the 100 degree heat! So I'd say that's good timing! By fall I should be great - good as new - and ready for football season!

SO much has happened in the last year since I updated this blog. I've made numerous changes in my life... I realize that last summer, my life (even before getting sick) had become toxic... I had a lot of things in it, a lot of commitments, obligations, demands on my time, and a lot of PEOPLE in it that were toxic - and not good for me. I got out of several things, got rid of several commitments, cut a few negative people loose, and have been much happier and at peace since then... How LIBERATING to get rid of so much "clutter" - I decided at the beginning of this year that 2010 was the year I do things for ME. and make time for MYSELF.

One of my favorite things in this world is my Girls Night Out group - which is the group I started a few years ago with a few friends.. and wow, how it's grown! I look forward to our outings every month - and spending time with my friends and just catching up... It's one of the best things I've ever done, starting that group. I've also gotten involved in a couple other groups that I've really enjoyed, and met some awesome people in the past year that I've been very happy to call my friends. I've also devoted much more time to spending with my husband and family, and just making time for myself, without tons of of commitments and demands on my time. For the first time in years, I've learned what it's like (again) to have free evenings, evenings at home, evenings that I can go out and just do what I want - OR stay home with a good book or a movie and cook dinner with my husband - instead of running to and fro to one thing or another. Wish I'd made these changes in my life sooner - but at least I've made them now!

Another huge change in the last year was church - Dennis and I spent 11 years in the Lutheran church, and although we liked our church, for years, there was a part of me that just wasn't fulfilled. I longed to go back to my religious roots, and return to the Episcopal church. I made the decision that that was precisely what I was going to do while I was lying in the hospital last summer. So once I came home and had recuperated for a little while, I wrote the necessary letters removing us from the membership rolls of our current church and placing us back on the rolls of the Episcopal church we left in 1998. Been back at my old church ever since, and feel like I've truly "come home."

I really feel, in the past year, that I've made a lot of changes in my life that have brought a sense of peace, contentment and happiness into my life. I have to say, I'm not at ALL looking forward to going in the hospital in 4 weeks and undergoing surgery again - but I'm sure looking forward to AFTER - and truly getting my life back and being free from these problems I've been having - and boy, am I going to celebrate once that's all done! I've already told Dennis we ARE taking some kind of vacation in the fall, going somewhere, just the two of us, and having a good time! I just have to start thinking on where I want to go!

We did manage to get to the beach in April for a few days - it was really nice, relaxing... and for Mother's Day weekend, Mom and I headed up to the NC mountains.. first to Asheville, where we spent the day before Mother's Day shopping.. then having dinner out.. then on Mother's Day, we headed to Cherokee, to the casino! We played the slots, I treated Mom to Mother's Day lunch at the hotel, and then we played the slots some more! On Monday, the day after, we went back to Asheville to the Farmer's Market, then headed home.... I think we just may make that an annual Mother's Day tradition!

In the next four weeks, I feel like I have a lot to "cram" in to my life - I'm trying to do a few things, see friends, see several people, before I got into the hospital, because I know I'll be out of commission for a little while. This coming week looks to be pretty busy - Girls Night Out on Monday, a wine/cheese party a friend is having on Tuesday, and an outing with a few friends Wed. night to a wine tasting and to see the Sex and the city movie! I'm also planning a pre-surgery get-together/birthday get-together for Dennis, with friends in a couple weeks - so busy busy! Lots to do in the next month!

Will try to be better about updating more regularly - I've actually missed doing it.. but one thing and another has happened in the past year and time just gets away from me before I realize it!

Now, onto the week ahead!