Monday Matters

So much of the time, once Monday rolls around we get in a slump and aren’t excited about the day. That’s not me today though! I have so much to look forward to. I confided in you about some of my struggles in my previous post but although I struggle, I have hope.

This Monday morning I am excited about the day. For the first time in awhile, we meal prepped last night and I am stoked to share the recipes with you. Also today, a friend of mine and I are beginning our Advocare challenge. Today marks day 1 of the cleanse phase. Then tonight, my second season of Run for God begins. We participated in the program a few years ago but haven’t stuck to running. During the program last time I completed my very first full 5K run. Usually, I had just walked them. I felt like I was on top of the world and to be honest, was probably in the best shape of my life then. I’m ready to get that me back! It’s coming.

Now, for the meal prep last night. I made a delicious one pan dish that included chicken, green beans, and red potatoes. I also made vinegar cucumbers and clean deviled eggs. Just look at how delicious all of this looks! I will be sharing the recipes in separate posts.

Make it a marvelous Monday!
Hollie

Last Breath

The last few months Kasey’s sister has been spending almost everyday over at their grandmother’s house. They have slowly noticed signs of dementia and some days are good days, some days are not so good days. His sister was such an amazing caregiver. I cannot praise her enough for the amount of attention and care that she provided Ms. Juanita and I believe in my heart she did everything she physically could do for one of the most funniest and loving women I had come to know and love. We didn’t spend as much time with her as we should have but I will forever cherish the time that we did spend with her. I will never forget the day we took my grandmother with us to visit and they sat there for hours just chatting away as if they had known each other since birth. Each visit after that, she was always ask about my grandma and my grandma sure did think highly of Ms. Juanita as well. She’s been my prayer partner during the hours of what I’m about to share with you. 

I will go ahead an warn you, this will be long and might very well be full of typos and grammar issues but please forgive me for that now. I am going to do the best I can to remember all of the details and the reasoning for sharing this information is as a simple reminder to not take a day for granted. Something I have done way too many times. Life is precious and each day truly is a gift. 

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4

Yesterday morning we received the call that Kasey’s grandmother had called 911 thinking someone was breaking into her house, in all reality there wasn’t anyone there. When they arrived, her room was ransacked from herself trying to move furniture trying to barricade herself in there truly believing that someone was attempting to get in. She was speaking but her words were very mumbled. They asked if they could take her to the hospital to be evaluated to which she agreed. This was something huge for her because she hadn’t been to a doctor in over 40 years, simply because she didn’t trust them. Living through the Great Depression she was very stubborn and felt like she could do everything on her own with no one’s assistance. So doctor visits were nothing she was a part of.
She was in the ER yesterday for around 10-11 hours before getting placed into her own room. Kasey’s sister and dad spent the entire day with her and then Kasey went up there after work. While in the ER we were being told that she had pneumonia, fluid around her heart, a slight amount of dementia, and possible congestive heart failure. When Kasey was with her last night, she was alert and herself but still hard to understand speech wise. His sister said today that she got spunk when she saw Kasey, he sure does love his grandma and she him. Once she got placed into her room, she was able to get some sleep (something of which she rarely got at home because of the dementia that began taking over and her being paranoid). Last night before Kasey left the hospital they had told him they were going to give her a high dose of thyroid medication and an antibiotic and believed that her thyroid could possibly be the cause of the dementia and fluid around her heart. However, with how things were, it was a risk to try because if it wasn’t that, it could send her into cardiac arrest. That was a risk worth taking for a possible reward of answers and move in a positive direction.

This morning, the doctor’s report given to his sister was a good one. She had slept through the night and had made positive improvements. A couple hours after that initial ray of hope, we got devastating news. His sister arrived at the hospital and the doctors were now saying that there had been an abrupt change and she wasn’t going to make it much longer. Her thyroid had basically completely shut down and although surgery was an option, there had already been too much damage to her heart. She was considered as living in a coma state and they were going to bring in Hospice. We knew right away, that wasn’t looking good.

Kasey and I headed to the hospital as so did his other family members. When everyone who was coming had arrived, the PA came in letting us know that there wasn’t anything else that they could do. The surgery wouldn’t enhance or prolong her life and even then, she would have to be on the life support that she specially had requested to not be on. She was unable to breathe on her own and her body temperature wasn’t regulating on its own. From all of the trauma from the thyroid issues that went unchecked, her body had been under so much stress that she suffered a mild heart attack. The PA explained it as if our hearts were rubber bands and they can stretch out and then back in, her heart was so stiff, it wasn’t able to stretch out the way it’s meant to. It was time for the family, specifically Ms. Juanita’s children, to make one of the hardest decisions ever.

The family respected her wishes knowing that although it’s easy for us to want and be selfish by keeping her here longer with help from life support, that would’ve been no way for her to live. About 30-40 minutes after the doctors removed the ventilator and after one of her sons told her thank you for being the best mom and that if she’s ready then we all are ready and we love her so much, she took her last breath and peacefully passed in her sleep while we all surrounded her. That was the first time I had ever witnessed someone leaving their earthly body and I cannot begin to explain the emotions that you experience. The hardest part for me was to see how quickly she became pale, it was almost instant. I am so thankful that she will no longer fear the thoughts dementia placed in her mind and I will forever cherish the time that she welcomed Laekyn and myself as one of her own for the last 4 years. She was a wonderful woman and I just appreciate your prayers for his family in the upcoming days and weeks. Again, I cannot brag on how strong Nickie (Kasey’s sister) has been throughout this process. I will forever remember her putting Chapstick on Ms. Juanita’s lips while she took her final breaths so that her lips wouldn’t be so chapped from the ventilator. Talk about a strong woman, his sister has really been his grandmother’s caregiver in such a selfless way, I am so amazed by her throughout this whole process and I know she probably feels a heavy heart as if she didn’t do enough but boy could that not be more wrong. She did way beyond and everything in her physical power, I am praying extra prayers for her comfort. The days she has made ritual for months are completely turned upside down and there is no way that will be a smooth and easy transistion. If you’re reading this – we love you, Nickie!

On a side note of everything that took place within the last 36 hours, this gave me chills. Kasey’s dad told him yesterday that months ago Ms. Juanita had asked them to handle her funeral arrangements. She already had the expenses saved and she just wanted them to go ahead and have everything taken care of. Chilling enough, the appointment that was made months ago was this morning, hours before she would take her last breath. It’s almost as if she already knew, gives me chills.

I know that this was a lot of information but I wanted to share it with each of you as a reminder of how quickly something can change and how quickly someone can be taken away from us. One minute everything seems positive and the next minute, it takes a negative turn. Just hug those you love extra tight and if you haven’t spoken to or seen your loved ones in awhile, make that phone call or go visit. You never know when the good Lord will call them home.

Ms. Juanita, we love you and pray you’re up there talking with grandpa and Jenny with Sparky back on your lap. In the words of Laekyn tonight during prayer: “I pray that Ms. Juanita is having a fun time in Heaven, please Lord let her visit Kasey in his mind and let him know she is okay.” I’m a puddle!! 😭 We miss you and look forward to the day we see you again. Rest in peace beautiful angel. 

Living and Active Challenge


Okay y’all, I’m so excited to share with you this new challenge that I’m going to be a part of starting this Monday, October 5th. It’s the living and active challenge by Clare Smith. For those of you who are not familiar with who that is, she is a fitness instructor who loves Jesus. I have been following her on Instagram for quite some time now and just subscribed to her blog. This is the fourth annual living and active challenge but the first year I’ve decided to participate.

Here are the goals during the 5 week challenge:

  • Physical Challenge – Exercise (with your routine or Clare’s) 4 days a week for the 5 weeks we are in it. (25 minutes is minimum time)
  • Spiritual Challenge – Memorize the new weekly verse/Soul Food (as well as maintaining prior weeks) and do the key challenge.
  • Accountability – Facebook group, Twitter, Instagram, and Periscope. Clare will be checking in and it’s our opportunity to ask questions, share information/moments, etc.

I know what you all are wondering, what’s the cost? Guess what, there is no cost. This 5 week challenge is FREE! Head over to her blog to read more and if you would like to have all of the information that will be available in one place, she has a new training guide for purchase that goes along with the challenge but is not mandatory. I am one of those who likes to have everything in one place and that’s easy to access so I have purchased one for myself but definitely don’t feel obligated. You can be a part of this challenge without a penny! OH!! and there are prizes, too. That’s right, there are 3 different grand prize packages with some awesome stuff.

Access her blog by clicking here.
Find more information on the grand prize packages here.
More detail about the challenge itself can be found here!

I hope you’ll join in, challenge starts in t-minus 2 days!

God is SO good!

So I have to share with you guys the blessings that the Lord placed on my family last week in the most unexpected ways. It all began when we were on our way to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We were headed up Black Mountain and my dad’s radiator blew. To make a long story short we were stranded on the side of the highway for a good 4+ hours. My dad’s best friend drove a good 2+ hours to bring us his truck and him and my dad swapped out the radiator. They swapped out the trucks so that we were pulling the RV with his friend’s truck and then his friend was going to drive my dad’s truck back home. The blessing in disguise was that while we were sitting on the side of the highway, ambulances passed by and there was a huge wreck up ahead. If we hadn’t been stranded, that very well could have been us. Think what you want, but I believe that the radiator going out was God’s way of protecting us from the wreck up ahead.

If that isn’t enough to give you chills, check out what happened literally about 30 miles from the campground we were staying at. Only around 30 minutes to go, we took a turn and a tire on the RV blew (see picture below). Here we are on the side of the road, late at night, no one around. My dad calls around to different roadside assistance places and the quotes began at around $500-$700. Next couple calls got the total down to anywhere from $325-$445. My younger sister posted a status on Facebook requesting prayer considering this was our second time on the way to where we were going that we were stopped in our tracks and found ourselves on the side of the road. No lie, not even 5 minutes later a gentlemen pulls up checking on us. He said he lived right down from where we were pulled off at and that he has a spare for his RV. He was going to go pick it up and see if it fit my dad’s RV. Praise the Lord, it fit like a glove! We were back on our way and my dad got his tire fixed while we were there that week so we could get back the tire to the gentleman who helped us. Talk about a blessing, I will never forget how the Lord showed himself in those circumstances!

  

Good Fortune

I am not a fan of Chinese or Asian cuisine but boy are my mini and man, they love it. Nothing against it, just not one of my acquired tastes I don’t guess. Today, when I wanted a place called Newk’s, mini me wanted the new Tin Tin buffet in our area. Pulled a good mom move and went there despite not enjoying that style of food. I do have to say, it was cleaner than most Asian buffets I have been to in the past and there was more of a selection for us non-Chinese loving customers. I did enjoy the hibachi grill. Ate a ginormous plate of grilled brocolli, mini corn, green peppers, and water chestnuts. Can’t complain, had a better experience there than other places in the past. Oh’ and the fruit was fresh and delicious! 

Onto the point of this post.. My fortune cookie was perfect for me and where I am currently in life. It was such a good reminder that in order to succeed you’re going to have to take risks and do things that aren’t necessarily easy. You’re going to have to sacrifice and take chances and in the end, the reward is far greater than you could’ve imagined. Most of all, don’t be afraid to step out in faith when you feel that you can’t. There’s a ton of opportunity out in this world, don’t be afraid to seize it. Xo!

  

With Tear Filled Eyes..

My sweet kitty Madison “Maddie” had gotten back to herself after her antibiotic treatment in February. I want to thank all of you who expressed concern and prayed for my sweet cat Maddie when she developed a respiratory infection back in February. Your prayers were answered and they meant the world to me. Now, my prayer was answered, just not as soon as I had imagined it would be.

She was eating, drinking, and being herself. I no longer had the worries and concerns over her health and I enjoyed her presence as I worked and she sat next to me on a pull out tray from my desk. She was getting older you see, and her muscles had deteriated. Her body began to get smaller but her heart was still so large. Her cuddles were constant and a huge part of my daily routine. I’d walk in the door and she’d be right there to greet me. She was the one thing that had been constant for the last 17 years in my life. She had gone through all of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Yet, she loved me unconditionally. When she’d lie down, she moved a little slower but it never stopped her from jumping up in my lap. When I wanted to cry, I didn’t grab a pillow. I scooped up my sweet fur baby and she would lick my tears when I was upset. My sweet cat would be a my comforter like no other. Despite her getting older, she still had a spunk about her. If you rubbed her tummy where she didn’t want to be rubbed she’d let you know with a quick friendly nip. In the middle of last week, I really noticed a change.

She started to get her cold like symptoms again and just laid around. She appeared to be so tired yet she’d still come around. She’d still cuddle with me and eat up her food and water. I started giving her antibiotics again to treat the cold bothering her. A couple days later as I worked, I just got this feeling down deep in my gut. I even reached out and told a best friend, I don’t think Maddie is going to make it much longer. Her strides were shorter, her bones seemed weaker. Although she was eating and drinking, she just seemed worn out. How in just two days can that change so drastically? How can my sweet girl not look naturally? She was laying on my desk as she normally would. I began to sob and cry out to Jesus. The words I prayed were:

“Dear God, only you can heal my sweet girl. Please Lord, I am putting it all in your hands. Please make the situation to where I don’t have to make any difficult decision. In your precious name I pray, Amen.”

Right after I finished that prayer, my sweet girl sat up and walked in between my keyboard and I. She looked me in the eyes and licked my hand. Then she laid down next to my arm. Before I signed off work, I made sure she still ate and she gobbled up the wet food that I had on her plate. That Friday afternoon my daughter and I had to leave because she was going to be participating in her first pageant. When we walked out that door, nothing could prepare me for what I’d return home to.

The night went on, we celebrated my daughter’s first pageant experience and we parted ways. She was staying with her dad that night so it was just Kasey and I on our way home. I said to him on the car ride home “I sure hope my Maddie is feeling better when we get home.” Then, I walked in the door.

Towards the living room I went and saw her lying on the floor. My stomach sank and I rushed to turn on the light. There was no sign of breathing as I fell to the floor and wept. My dear sweet Maddie had taken her last breath. I couldn’t believe my eyes and I kept waiting for the nightmare to end. It wasn’t a nightmare but reality, I lost my best friend. The one who was always there my daughter’s entire life, who shared the last 17 years of mine. My sweet fur baby, I miss you so much. My heart aches and my home will never be the same. The night she passed I had a dream. In my dream when we opened the box we placed her body in, she was breathing again and sat up when we pet her soft fur. Oh how I wish it were true, but I woke up to the sad realization that it isn’t.

She lived a long and great life, I’m so thankful for those memories. Nothing can replace the love that she gave to me though. I have caught myself getting ready to call out her name. I even glanced down last night and swore she was standing at my feet. She wasn’t but I cannot wait for the day she will be. When I go through those gates and she greets me looking just as healthy and happy as I remember. The upcoming days will be tough and I know I’ll have those breakdown moments but I am so thankful for the years I was able to share with her. She was my companion and I will never forget her. You see, my prayer was answered. She knew it was her time and she was tired. Her coming to me on my desk was her way of letting me know she was okay and that she loves me. I believe this with my whole heart. She waited until we were gone to make it easier on us and sure enough, the decision was not on me. Thank you Lord for my answered prayer.

I love you Maddie, we all do. We miss you so very much. Thank you for the love you showed us and I sure how you know how much you were and still are loved. I’ll see you again on the rainbow bridge, my friend.

RIP Madison “Maddie” 1998-2015

I’m so excited..

..for the journey that I’ve committed myself to for many days, months, and years to come. I’d love for you to take this journey with me. What journey you ask? The journey to a better ME!

I’m officially a Momsanity sister!! I cannot wait to gain the friendships (“sisterhoods”),  knowledge, healthier lifestyle, and deepen my relationship with Christ right along fellow believers. Right along with others who share my same struggles that I do, who face similar challenges, and who are supportive and want to be supported. 

If you haven’t heard of the Momsanity sisterhood I invite you to go to their website(s) Momsanity and Momsanity Sisterhood, take a look to see if you’d be interested in becoming a Momsanity sister. If you already are or decide to join please comment below. 

It’s going to be a fun and challenging experience that I know my body physically, mentally, and emotionally, will thank me for later. It’s about time I do something to benefit myself, what about you?

Xo!

You are..

..handpicked by God
..chosen
..worthy
..loved beyond measure
..enough

You are a one-of-a-kind original. Do you ever feel like you’re undeserving of His love? Like you aren’t good enough? Sure, we all do. Truth is, we are right. We fail Him every single day in some way, shape, or form. You know what’s amazing though, He loves us anyway. So many times I recall feeling like I was never going to be good enough, feeling like there was no way that I could measure up. Boy was I wrong. Despite the fact that I am not and won’t ever be perfect, I was created in His image. That alone is a promise. A promise that my life has already been paid for. It’s my responsibility and yours to try our hardest every day to live like Jesus, love like Jesus, and to help build His kingdom.

He never promised it would be easy. As a matter of fact, even Jesus’ followers went through the most trying and difficult times as He tells us through His word. Faith. One simple word will make our days so much better. As mentioned, it won’t be easy at all times but in the end, it WILL be worth it. Have faith in Him and He will make your paths straight.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV