Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Probability of a White Christmas!

 Christmas season is in full swing!
I had to laugh when I came across this because when you have grown up in Florida all your life, this pretty much sums it up. In fact, the State of Florida should be 0%. Where the heck does that 5% come from?? Nevertheless, this Florida girl will hold hope to that 5% or less, ha!
Holidays feel and look a little different here in the Sunshine State. Safe to say that 99% of the time you'll find us in flip flops on CHRISTMAS DAY.
Traditions are different here. I don't have memories that come with snowy places where you're bundling up to go play out in the snow. We really need no fire place going to keep us warm. And seriously, when it hits 50 degrees here we call that COLD, lol! I don't know anything different.
I used to be jealous of those places that get snow and their White Christmas.... And if I'm being honest, I'm kind of still am. A part of me always felt like I was being deprived of those fun memories that can be made. We're the land of palm trees and I'm learning that I live in a wonderful place. (HELLO, Mickey???)  Florida has so much to offer. I don't think I could ever leave a place where basically anywhere in the State of Florida you are within easy access to the coast and the Florida beaches.
It's a great place.
I think Santa thinks so too :)
So chime in. Where are you from? Do you get your White Christmas???

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Disney fun.

One of the greatest gifts this blog has given me are the wonderful friendships I have made.
I truly am blessed to have found Courtney through the blog world and she has become one of my dearest friends. One of the great things is Courtney and her family make frequent trips to Disney and it's right in my neck of the woods.
I never got around to blogging about our visit a couple of weeks ago and wanted to document it. The Friday she came in she invited me to join her family. That night she set up a boat ride around Disney to see the light show on the water and to see the Christmas fireworks show over Cinderella's castle. I don't care how old you are, Disney will never lose it's magic and it always makes me feel like a little kid again. I think I take for granted all the wonderful perks the Orlando area has to offer. I love this place I call home! It was a great time. I just adore Courtney and her sweet family and kiddos.
Courtney's daughter and I on the boat. The two Lauren's :)
Gorgeous Fireworks.

Another picture of sweet Lauren and I at the end of the night.
Soooo blessed by Courtney's friendship!!!

Didn't get a picture of Courtney's cute son Connor and her husband and other family :(
It was such a fun night. Thanks for inviting me Courtney. Come back SOON!!! 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Family dynamics.

Family dynamics, it’s an interesting thing.

Holidays are all about friends and family and family togetherness and it kind of makes you reflect.

When you’re born, you don’t get to pick and choose your family. You’re born and you just hope you fall into a good one, ha!! I kid.

Absolutely no family is perfect, despite what TV portrays half the time.

On my Mom’s side it's not big at all. She’s the only child. And there’s my granny and my grandpa has passed away.

On my Dad’s side there’s my grandma (my grandpa passed away when I was a baby), two aunts, and two cousins. It was a huge tug of war in my heart but eventually I decided that I needed to cut ties where my Dad’s family was concerned, except with my cousin who I grew up with and we're best friends. My relationship with this side is pretty much non-existent, including with my Dad. It’s just a toxic group of people. They are negative and have no sense of what family is truly all about.  I just couldn’t surround myself with that anymore. I love them because they are my family and God calls us to love, but it doesn’t mean you have to like them. There’s a major difference.

It really saddens me that it is the way it is. But I’ve come to learn that family runs so much deeper than just blood.

Every year, like clockwork, around Christmas that card with the check comes in from my dad and it’s just simply signed “Love, Dad.” I replace that with “Hi, I don’t talk to you the other 364 days out of the year, but here’s your check.” If only he knew that it wasn’t his money I wanted, but just simply some measure, just a teeny tiny fraction of what you would call a relationship.
Anyway, going on a tangent here, lol.
I know nothing about any of this surprises God. I’ve learned that I’m truly blessed in so many incredible ways with my wonderful Mom, great sister and brother and the amazing sister-in-law and nieces he gave me. Not to mention the incredible family he gave us when my Mom married Larry and will remain long after his passing earlier this year.
As I celebrated Thanksgiving with my family, the people I do life with on a daily basis, the people who live up to the word, I’m so so thankful. Again, major fail on the picture taking but here is what I did get over Thanksgiving. Good looking group if I do say so myself!! :)
My gorgeous mom and I.
My sister, granny, mom, and I heading to my brother's house for Thanksgiving.
My adorable niece.
My mom and brother.
I'm a blessed and lucky girl!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm a lover of all things Christmas, don't get me wrong. But it makes my heart sad that Christmas has become so much about the almighty dollar that Thanksgiving tends to get overlooked. It's actually my favorite holiday. The simplicity I love, there's no hustle and bustle. It's about good food, family, and taking the time to slow down and reflect on all that we have to be thankful for.
Tomorrow as I'm surrounded by my family my heart will be so full. We will be spending it with my brother's family at his house out in the country. The peace and quiet I so love out there. Hopefully I can sneak away for even just a few minutes to take some time to be still in the quiet, where the country can meet my thankful heart and I can just reflect on all that's good in my life, be in the moment, and soak up the time with my family.
Wherever you're at tomorrow, hopefully you can take the time to do the same.
So much to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!
Be back next week.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My testimony.

There’s the saying that you can’t have a testimony without tests.
Everyone has a story. If you’re reading this, you have a path that has lead you to where you are today. You have a story. No one’s testimony is greater or smaller than another’s. It’s YOUR story, uniquely yours.
In just looking back at my life, I’m amazed at the faithfulness of God that he's shown in my 28 years.
June 11, 1984, I was born. I was perfectly healthy except when I was born the doctor’s noticed that I had a swollen foot. Just so happened my pediatrician had just been to a conference about Turner Syndrome and he thought this might be what I have (what are the odds?). I was tested and what do you know...that's what I had. You can read more about Turner Syndrome here. There are many, many symptoms due to Turner’s so a lot of my younger years involved a lot of endocrinologist appts. Another symptom is hearing loss.  So I have hearing loss in both ears and have had lots of ear surgeries even into adulthood.  Also, due to Turner’s they say I can’t have kids. But I know God has the final say. But if having kids of my own is not God’s plan for me, I know there are other ways to build a family someday and that is the desire of my heart.  With all my health issues I always felt like there was something wrong with me, that I wasn’t normal like all the other girls. I realized though that this is all a part of my story. A story beautifully written for me and things could be so much worse, so I count my blessings every day.
My parents divorced when I was only a baby. My relationship with my real father is pretty non-existent and has really taken its toll on a lot of other areas of my life.  With girls, that relationship with your father is so vitally important. I’ve had to work through a lot of feelings of rejection and my feelings of self-worth. I’ve finally come to terms and thankful that my hope can be found in my heavenly father.
My Mom remarried after my Dad. She married a wonderful man who loved my brother and me as his own. In that marriage my sister was born. And when my sister was only a baby and I was 7, he passed away in a boating accident. We were out on the water for a day of boating. I was in the water and the boat was drifting further and further away from me. I was panicking and he jumped in to get me. He got in the water to help me and he never came back up. Still to this day don’t know exactly what happened.
It was a very hard time for our family and we couldn’t understand how something like this could happen. I didn’t always grow up in a Christian home, so we didn’t have the hope of Jesus to pull us through this time. We didn’t understand about God’s plan in the good and hard times.
My Mom was a single Mom for many years raising three kids. My brother and mom had a very rocky relationship. Following Scott’s passing for many years my brother had so much built up anger that he just didn’t know how to deal with. He went through a rebellious stage, didn’t want to follow rules and wanted to live life his own way. He moved out of our house when I was in middle school and moved in with our Grandma (my dad’s Mom). Honestly, it was the best thing for him, my mom, and our family because their relationship would not be what it is today. It’s an amazing one and now my brother has a wife and two beautiful kids of his own.
My mom remarried again in 1998 and in 2005 due to circumstances which I will not get into, that marriage ended and our church turned their back on us. We were devastated and our world was rocked and we had lost a whole family and church family. God had for many years been in the picture at this point and it’s only by his grace that we got through this time.
As you can see, the area of my life in the father department has not always been an easy one. But God more than made up for it with my amazingly exceptional mother. She is not perfect and we were not perfect, but she’s always loved us fiercely and was always the best mother she could be.
My Mom then met Larry in 2009 and shortly thereafter they were married. We all knew this was it. She had found her forever and they would grow old together. We finally had found a real father. Not only was he a father but a great friend. We were a blended family and finally we gained a real family and had no clue the extent to which we’d be forever bonded. My Mom and Larry only had a short 2.5 years together before he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer which would take him a few short weeks later. The time between Larry’s diagnosis and the time he passed will be forever etched in my heart. It’s not about quantity but quality and he left a huge impact on my life and the void in my heart will be forever there with him gone.  I can whole heartedly say that I got my father here on earth.
So that leads us to now. I'm sure there are alot of inbetween moments I'm missing... but these are clear ways God has revealed himself in my life and so beautifully written my story. I don’t know what the rest of my/our testimony holds. The bible says you will have trials and tribulations, but take heart because he has overcome the world. There will be many great moments I’m sure, and not so great moments. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on all the things we’re grateful for and I guess today I’m grateful for my testimony and for the testimony of my family.
If you’ve been a reader of this blog, you might already know some of this, but if you’re new, this is my story. I’m thankful that each and every thing I have had to go through, that we have had to go through, and still yet to go through, is a chance to grow, deepen my faith, and lean on God just a little bit more. We are resiliant!
I know people can look back and remember the exact day they asked Jesus to come into their heart. As horrible as this sounds, I can’t. All I know is there was a day when I looked back on everything and thought there has to be a God. There’s no way I could have come out the other side if there wasn’t.
From that moment, he persude me, and I’m so glad he did!

Monday, November 19, 2012

The weekend.

Creative title, huh?
I heart weekends so so much! It was one of those weekends I hated to see end. The Florida weather was just gorgeous and it was packed full of wonderful family time. If I've said it once, I've said it a million times... I am truly truly blessed with the family God gave me. Our family is not perfect, but would not trade it for anything in the world.
Got some good quality niece time in. My niece MacKenzie is two and developing such a fun personality and so FUN to be around.
As I said Friday, we had Thanksgiving Part 1 with Larry's Clan on Saturday. I wish I had gotten more pictures of this :(
Thanksgiving food is hands down my favorite food EVER!! LIKE EVER!!!
Nothing in this world makes me happier than a full house. For me a full house equals a full heart. I love when we're all together.
The end of all the festivities called for a glass of wine. Pink Moscato to be exact. Do yourself a favor, go out and get you some. BEST stuff ever and I'm not a huge wine drinker.

My pretty sis and niece.
My oldest niece Lexi and I being goofy.
Then to top off the weekend my Mom and I went to go see the new James Bond movie!!! Soooooo good. And that's coming from a person who could typically care less about these type of movies. My mom wanted me to go with her and she made the comment that if I'm going to get married to a husband some day that I better learn to like or at least endure these sort of movies...HA! I guess she's right, huh? But I was pleasantly surprised. I might just be a new James Bond fan and need to go back in the James Bond archives and watch the rest!! :)

It was a weekend I can safefully say was a GREAT one. Hope yours was too!!!!
And here's to a short work week and more family time coming up this week with Thanksgiving Part 2 for me. YAY!!! :)

Friday, November 16, 2012

The holidays.

We knew the time would come.

Back when my dad was diagnosed with brain cancer in January of this year and was only given a few weeks to live, and then passed away February 9th, we knew the year ahead would be full of alot of firsts without him.
Here we are going into the holiday season and we can already feel the void and an ache in our hearts for the person we miss so much. Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and our family knows we have so so much to be thankful for. Truly we do. The way God has gotten us through this first year without our dad can only come from his grace alone and for that we have alot to be thankful for.
We have spent most of us this year all grieving in our own ways. We've just been trying to  navigate and deal with our emotions following the passing of my Mom's husband and our amazing father.
This weekend we are having Thanksgiving with "Larry's Clan" as we have affectiontely named ourselves. For those of you who don't know, we are a blended family and have still remained very close. That was so so important to him and he expressed that desire so many times before he passed.  I'm looking forward to all of us being together, chowing down on good food, hopefully lots of laughing, sharing fond memories, and reflecting on this past year and giving thanks.
This was our last family picture after he was diagnosed. I remember that day so vividly. There was so much laughter during this time when we were just trying to enjoy the days we had left with him. It's hard to believe we're coming up on almost a year later.
Today, I'm so thankful for this amazing family God has given me! I'm thankful that as hard as this past year was and I will not be sad to see it go..... 
God still remained faithful. I'm so thankful.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Girl's night at the fair!

This past weekend my mom, sis, and I enjoyed a wonderful time at the fair. I have not been to a fair in FOREVER, so I felt like I was a little kid again!

One MAJOR observation is fair rides have soooooo changed over the years. Because one ride particular, I have burned the name of it out of my mind.... but let me just tell you I have never in my life wanted to get off a ride so bad. I may have been screaming the whole time, "Lord...if you just let me live, I promise I will do your work for the rest of my life." It was quite the entertainment for my sis though, lol! It was the longest ride of my life!!

Other than that, the fair was a complete blast. The pictures speak for themselves!

Me and my sis!

My beautiful Momma!

Who doesn't love skee ball???? :)

This ride dropped you! I may or may not have lost my stomach, ha!

View from the top of the Ferris Wheel.

There was a place where you could feed the animals. They were SO cute!!!

Not pictured {{GASP}} is the funnel cake we devoured in like two seconds flat. How can you possibly leave without having one of those? Also, didn't get a picture of the two fish I won, LOL! I had a coupon to come back and get them at the end of the night and forget to pick them up. Oh well, would have been dead the next day, right?? I just love EVERYTHING about the fair. It was such a fun, fun night. Love these women and it was just the girl's night we needed!! 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Can you keep a secret?


It's been awhile since this blog has been light-hearted.

Soooooooo, lets talk PLL.

This is my crack (not that I would know) these days!!

Holy addiction!!!!!!!!! This show is so flippin good!!

I've just recently been introduced to the crazy town of Rosewood and these Pretty Little Liars. Catching up with the seasons has TAKEN OVER my life! No joke. I've spent many of weekends having PLL marathons and not to mention envying the amazing fashion of these girls. Obsessed much????

So it's no secret now. Here is a TV junkie in ALL it's glory!!!!!

ABC Family. Tuesday nights. WATCH. And do yourself a favor and catch up before it comes back on January 8th. You'll thank me! I pinky promise!

It might possibly lean on the side of a being a teenie bopper show but I LOVE LOVE LOVE. Don't judge, ha!! But in my defense, it's an incredibly well-written show for ABC Family!!!

Any other PLL fans out there?????? :)

Happy Monday!!