Thursday, August 1, 2019
We made a surprise trip to Wild Animal Safari, which is a local drive through petting zoo!
They have all kinds of animals (that drooled and spit all over my Jeep nicely), including Zebra, Wildebeest, Ostriches, Camels, Deer, Donkeys, Zonkeys (zebra/donkey mix), and more! They also have a walkabout area, where they house their big cats like Tigers, Lions, and even Ligers!
They let you feed most of the animals (obviously not the big cats) by hand, which was so fun. We screamed several times when the animals thought it would be a good idea of try to get into the car to get more food.
The temptation to grab up a white baby donkey, a couple baby goats, and a monkey were pretty hard! But we decided they would probably be taken care of better at the facility, so we let them keep them for now.
God gave us a little blessing as well. We noticed a goat was acting very distressed. It turned out she was giving birth! We stuck around to watch and another one was on the way! Twins!
We have spent so much time mourning lately, we have been lacking in the joy department. This brought us out of the gloom and into to the light. A day full of joy and laughter.
Monday, July 29, 2019
My sister and I worked tirelessly to make all the funeral arrangements. We even decided we would hold the funeral ourselves, instead of getting a pastor that didn't know her to hold it.
The day was supposed to be covered in thunderstorms, but God gave us a miracle and the clouds parted for our little graveside service.
The next blessing came in the form of guests. Mom was extremely shy, so making friends in her older years was very difficult. However, friends from her childhood and early married years showed up to pay their respects. It truly blessed me to see so many people having to stand because there weren't enough chairs.
The big event of the day was when I was chosen to give mom's eulogy. I have done plenty of public speaking, but never a eulogy. After a lot of thought, I decided that it needed to be funny. I was always able to make mom laugh, and felt this final act was necessary to give me closure as well as reflect a celebration of her life.
Here is what I had to say:
Family and friends, thank you for coming. It would have warmed mom’s heart to know each of you were here to celebrate the woman she was.When I decided I wanted to give a speech at her funeral, I did a little research. As an author, there is always a degree of pressure when it comes to writing – but when writing a eulogy, there are certain rules one must stick to.
Rule number one - keep in broad. Too many personal experiences will weigh down your speech.
Two - keep it brief. Studies show, people stop listening after three minutes.Three - keep it classy. Make it a dignified reflection of the person.
And four – keep it together. Composure and poise is key to your speech.
These are great things to keep in mind when writing a good eulogy. That being said, I will not be keeping to any of these rules today. While this may be a shock to some, it would be no surprise to mom. It took great pleasure in making her laugh, even in some of the more serious situations life threw at us.So, as a tribute, I am going to tell you what I wanted to write in the obituary – but April had the sense to sensor me.
Mom passed away peacefully in her sleep at Magnolia Square Nursing Home on July 24, 2019. It is believed she lost patience with the nurses and deciding to push the ‘Call Jesus’ button instead.She left behind a treasure trove of items to my sister and I, and we have absolutely no clue what to do with them. So, if you're looking for an extremely large bookcase that leans, a dusty, chipped, ceramic teapot collection, a slightly used microwave, or even a 1999 Buick with only 189,000 miles and a trunk full of 763 screwdrivers; let us know.
No, this is not an ad for a pawn shop, but a story of a great woman, mother, and grandmother.Mom was an avid artist, especially when it came to painting and working with ceramics. She could put brush to canvas and create beautiful paintings that seemed effortless. In fact, she had a case full of every color oil paint you could ever want. However, they had to be thrown out due to an artistic family of mice who decided to take up residency in the art case, and snack on the paints. They did leave behind an array of Prismacolor droppings that would likely be considered award-winning art on the modern-day market.
In addition to art, she loved making crafts. Hobby Lobby was probably her favorite store. However, after discovering her hidden closets of craft supplies, we quickly concluded that crafting and purchasing craft supplies were – in fact – two different hobbies of hers. Sadly, these hobbies have been inherited by both April and I; as we too, have hidden craft supply closets.Mom loved scary movies, especially the B-rated ones like The Blog, Jaws, and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. She was frequently found watching them while holding a blanket near her face (should the need arise to hide her eyes). She also found this a useful punishment for her children, whom she would force to watch said movies should we need a little discipline. To this day, April cannot look at a tomato without laughing, while I still have an unhealthy obsessed with Great White Sharks.
Once I became a teenager and the “Jaws” marathons stopped working as punishment, mom was at a loss as to what to do with me. I remember her saying “I hope you have a child just like you someday!” Obviously, this was not meant to be a compliment. Sadly, mom had not considered that when I had that child, I would still be living with her! Jokes on you mom. However, she retaliated by moving in with me and my family last summer for several months. Well played, mom; well played.Though all three of us have led busy lives, Mom, April, and I, tried to get together when we could. Case in point, when April and I took her out for sushi one Mother’s Day. While apprehensive, she tried it and actually started to enjoy it. She even tried some of the more exotic ones that included eel! However, we didn’t realize just how adventurous she was until she yelped and said “Wow, that one was a bit spicy.” My sister and I looked around confused, as we never ordered anything spicy. Suddenly, I yelled out, “Where’s the wasabi?” Mom had mistaken the large glob of wasabi as an avocado roll. She took it like a champ though, only drinking a few swallows of water before moving on.
Once she moved to Springfield, she spent a large part of her time volunteering at local charities like Crosslines, Boys and Girls Town, and Convoy of Hope. It meant a lot to her to be able to help those in need. Even after she became unable to volunteer due to her health, she supported various charities with small financial donations through the mail. This became apparent by the stacks of “fan mail” she received from those charities. If she’d had a penny for every “complimentary” return address label she received from St. Jude, she would have retired a rich woman.If what I’ve said has shown you anything, it is that mom had a wonderful sense of humor. She loved to laugh, and thanks to the antics of her children and grandchildren, she had the opportunity to laugh a lot. This is something we have all thankfully inherited from her.
So, in closing I will leave with the words mom said to me often when I spoke to her about my pain and problems. “This too shall pass. It may pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass.”
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Mom has developed large tumors in her abdomen. While they are non-cancerous, they are growing and inoperable due to her weak heart. My sister, wanting to spare our vacation, carried this knowledge until we returned.
After much discussion with mom, while she's still lucid and making her own discussions, she has decided to go into hospice. She wants to be kept out of pain as much as possible.
A year ago I held her hand as she endured a risky bypass. Today I hold her hand to say goodbye.
Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Being from Missouri, you can imagine we don't exactly get a lot of beach time. We're smack dab in the middle of the United States after all. I hadn't been to a beach in eighteen years. My children had never been to the beach.
I was concerned their fear of underwater creepy crawlies, and swimming teeth would scare them from enjoying the waves. How wrong I was!
The moment the first wave washed over their little toes, they were hooked. I actually kept having to
Then, at night, we would order pizza and sit in our room, or out on the balcony, and listen to the ocean.
One funny incident included the regret of feeding the sea gulls from our balcony. They got so comfortable with us, they stole the pizza right out of my son's hands! We had a good laugh, and he grabbed another slice.
Somewhere in Corpus Christi, there is a very fat sea gull who has an uncontrollable craving for pizza sauce!
Sunday, June 16, 2019
Sea World has options if you're willing to pay. Including a meet and greet with the beluga whales!
I adorable beluga's. They are seriously my favorite whale. So when I found out we could do this, I was ecstatic!
We were allowed to go behind the scenes and talk with the trainers. They explained a lot of things about the whale (like the babies are actually grey and don't turn white until they are about five years old).
This beautiful girl was adorable and would sing and blow 'raspberries' for you.
The water was extremely cold, as these are artic whales. It was rather refreshing given that it was so darn hot and humid in San Antonio!
I cried a little when I finally got to love on her (she blew a raspberry for me!).
The other whales were a bit jealous that they weren't getting attention, and squeaked like crazy through the whole encounter. But it was music to my ears.
Obviously, we saw much more than just the beluga whales. We were fortunate enough to catch both the Orca show, and the seal/otter show. It was almost more fun watching my kids react to the excitement, as it was watching the shows!
More updates to come as the trip continues!
Thursday, June 13, 2019
The trip has already started out a bit sad, as our oldest (who is seventeen) got a job and couldn't take the time off of work (though she didn't seem too broken up about not having to sit in the back with her siblings for the eleven hour trip). But we were determined to still have a good time.
So off to Texas we go!
It helps that we have so much family in Texas. It has made the stay much more enjoyable (as well as cheaper!). That's more money to spend on fun things, like the Zoo, and Sea World, and of course, our beach hotel!
More updates to come as our adventure continues.
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
So, to celebrate the fifth anniversary of my debut series, I have given the book covers a facelift, the Interiors reformatted, and even spiced up the synopsis.
You can actually get book one, The Bed Wife, free on eBook right now!
Additionally, with the help of a fantastic narrator, they are now available on Audible!
You can find The Bed Wife, The Heir, and The Queen (the entire series) narrated by the amazing David Maxwell. It's the perfect time to get it before you head off to the gym or the beach!
There will be more to follow, including a giveaway to get your free audible copies of these books, so keep an eye out here as well as on my Facebook page!