Sunday, January 1, 2012

Goodbye 2011 and Hello 2012!

It's hard to believe it's 2012! It seems like yesterday that we celebrated 2000 and were worried about Y2K and all the computers failing.

We had a wonderful Christmas with Casey, John and Kate coming down the day after -- and then having Christmas with all the Hatchers that night -- except Anna and Zach who couldn't make the trip from California (but they did come for Thanksgiving). Kate was so much fun watching her open her presents and get excited!

It's been a great year with a lot of travel for me! Stacy and I started out the year with a trip to Arizona to the BCS championship game between Auburn and Oregon (which Auburn won)! Got to see a bit of Arizona around Phoenix and enjoy a great, nail-biting game!

We initiated Stacy's new barn with Kate's second birthday party and MawMaw's 80th birthday party! It's been convenient for FFA parties too -- except for the Christmas party which we had in the house. Now that Stacy has heat out there, I may move him out when he gets a couch!

We celebrated Easter in Atlanta with Anna -- taking the grandmas too! So glad we did, because it turned out it was Anna's last year in Atlanta! Zach proposed on April 18, and they got married on July 30 -- in Cancun, Mexico! So we had a wonderful week's vacation at Excellence Riveria Mya and got them hitched in the process!

I went to Italy in June with Dottie, one of my BFFs from Germantown, and Vicente Cortez! That was a wonderful 10 days touring in one of my favorite countries -- and food!

And some of the shorter trips -- Casey and Kate going with me to conferences in Perdido and SanDestin -- the family spending Thanksgiving at Casey and John's new home in Hartselle! (And my boss was beginning to wonder if I would ever run out of leave time!)

Health-wise, it's been a challenging year with my fall at the wedding and having a concusion -- my mom's knee problems and surgery just before Christmas -- and my shoulder continues to hurt. But luckily my head's okay (as okay as it can get) -- Mom is mending -- and I have an appointment for my shoulder.

We have been truly blessed! And, as Bro. Chris said in church this morning, I'm excited to see how God will use me this next year! Happy New Year!

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Merry Christmas Season

The more things change, the more they stay the same! I've heard this all my life, and it's true.

When I got married and moved to Auburn, at first, and then to Camilla, Georgia, and then to Hartford -- there were many Christmases we couldn't make it to Memphis for Christmas -- especially when the girls were little and I wanted them to experience Santa at their own home.

Growing up outside of Memphis, we never traveled for Christmas. My dad's parents lived there in Memphis, and we just didn't travel then to my mom's home in Missouri. We always got to open our stockings and have Santa at home.

So I know how Casey feels wanting Kate to have the same experiences, and she should. Last year, we all went to Madison (including the grandmas) and stayed in a hotel (at least there was room at the inn, because it would have been cramped at Casey and John's small house!)

This year they're in their new house which has much more room, but we're staying here because my mom just had knee surgery and can't travel. So Casey, John and Kate will come down sometime after Christmas -- and Anna and Zach can't come because they just flew out for Thanksgiving.

So now we're entering a new phase of our lives. And I'm not complaining, but it's just different. This will be our first Christmas without at least one of the girls here. At first I was like, bah humbug! I'm getting a smaller tree and not decorating much.

But I'm not a bah humbug type of person. I love Christmas and the songs and the decorations and the movies on ABC Family! I love to turn out the lights at night and just look at the tree! It makes me happy and peaceful! I love turning in the drive coming home from work and seeing the porch lit up with the Christmas lights! And today I downloaded the Hershey song for my Blackberry ringtone! (All the guys at work cringe when it rings -- I love it!)

Several girls from work went to Christmas Reflections in DeFuniak Springs to tour their beautiful lights around the lake -- and then we had our "girls" Christmas party at Tipsy Easel in Dothan and painted, laughed and sang as we painted our funky vases!

So Stacy and I move on to another phase of our lives. We'll have brunch Christmas morning with my mom and Stacy's mom and Greg (at least I don't have to get up at 6 am!) We'll go to church and thank God for His precious gift of Jesus! Because that's what Christmas is -- a celebration of Christ. How can you not be joyful? Merry Christmas. As Tiny Tim said (and not the tiptoeing through the tulips Tiny Tim) -- God bless us all, every one!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What Not To Wear to a Beach Wedding!

My daughter Anna decided on a "destination wedding" -- which pretty much meant it was going to be on the beach and in a different place from where we lived. Now don't get me wrong, as the mother of the bride, it was fantastic because I only had a little bit to take for the wedding and the wedding planner at the resort pretty much did EVERYTHING! And I got to have a vacation in a nice tropical location just floating on the lazy river and drinking fruity drinks for a week!

Now here comes the "however" part! I'm under 5 feet -- I won't tell my weight but I like to call me "chunky" (some people use the un-PC term fat) -- and I have short very fine hair that doesn't hold curl or shape for very long, especially in very-humid climates.

So here's my advice if you find yourself in a similar situation!

First -- buy a wig! Seriously, girls -- it's the only answer. I'm the only one in all the photos whose hair is sticking up (and not in a cool funky way) and being blown around! I live in the deep south -- I know humidity intimately! I bought the firmest hairspray and the toughest hair products to keep my hair in place. Honest, it actually looked pretty good when I started out. Then I walked outside! And the wind was blowing! And I hadn't even gotten to the beach yet! I really, really would have bought a wig for the ceremony if I had half a mind to think of it beforehand!

Second -- buy a one-piece dress that doesn't have "whispy" layers! I thought this would work for my figure and size -- a beautiful turquoise (nice beachy color) -- in a nice chiffon (would be cool and not heavy) -- and the layers would help hide some of my "jiggly parts"! I still love the dress -- and the color was perfect. But the minute I walked onto the beach, all those thin (it was lined) whispy parts started blowing over my head and all over the place! I spent the whole time trying to get the flippy part off my head! In the photos, the skirt is blowing between my legs and I look like the "flying nun"!

If I had it to do over, I would buy a one-piece sleeveless or cap-sleeve dress with some fitting through the middle in a heavier fabric like crepe. Anna the bride's dress was a crepe, and her dress just blew perfect in the breeze. However, the chiffon dried faster when I slipped and fell in the rain trying to run to the reception and was almost dry by the time I got to the hospital! (See previous blog!)

And last, but not least -- wear flip flops. Even if you're a munchkin like me and the mother of the groom is a lanky 5' 7", you'll be more comfortable and can walk much better in the sand. And they make such cute sparkly ones these days.

So take the advice from one who's been there. The wedding was beautiful and I wouldn't change a thing-- except a wig, fitted dress and flip-flops!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My Kinky Brain

Before I write about Anna and Zach's beautiful wedding at Excellence Riviera Cancun, I just have to blog about my "Mexican emergency room" experience! At least I made it to the wedding . . .

And the wedding was beautiful! The rain held off until after the ceremony on the beach. Anna glowed as a bride, and Zach's father Patrick officiated the ceremony beautifully. It was truly a God-blessed time, and we so enjoyed spending time with our new "Cali-bama" family in the days up to the wedding and after!

While Casey (and her husband/assistant John) made photos after the ceremony, we hosted a cocktail reception on one of the piers that jutted into the water. Anna and Zach made it there just before dark clouds came up and it looked like it would downpour any minute. So we all headed for the reception in the main building.

We had just made it to the outdoor dining area called "The Grill" when it began to rain in earnest. It was just Zach and Anna, maid-of-honor Jenna, and Stacy and I there -- and it didn't look like the rain was going to let up any time soon. Zach's sister-in-law Emily brought an umbrella to the newlyweds to head on to their reception as we waited for it to let up.

Impatient me thought I could make a run for it (the wind on the beach had pretty much blown my hair to pieces anyway) -- so I took off my shoes and took a step out onto the walkway. Huge mistake! About the time I took the step, I thought to myself, "Don't do this, Cary. It's very slippery when wet and barefoot!" (I had almost slipped by the pool on the wet concrete a couple of days before.)

Too late -- my foot slipped out and back I went -- falling on my back on the concrete in the rain, my head bouncing as I fell! I don't think it knocked me out, but I remember looking up into Stacy's panic-stricken face and saying I thought I was okay. Then I heard someone yell, "Is there a doctor in the house?" (I thought that only happened in movies!)

A man who said he was a doctor in New York came up and had me wiggle toes and hands and repeat the date. They determined I had most of my faculties, so they sat me up into a chair and he had me perform some tricks to make sure I wasn't dazed. I remember my hands were tingly, but I hadn't start to hurt yet except on my shoulders. And Stacy asked him if he really was a doctor, and the man said, "No, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night!" I laughed -- it really was funny -- but Stacy didn't think so much! But he really was, and I wish I could have found him the next day and thanked him -- so wherever you are out there "Doctor from New York" -- thank you for helping me!

Then someone arrived with a wheelchair and rolled me into the main building saying they wanted the resort doctor who lived on the property to check me out. I felt so bad -- I knew Anna and my mom would be so worried -- and I didn't want to ruin Anna's wedding for my stupid mistake! So the resort doctor checked me -- and I repeated my tricks of knowing my name and the date -- then said it would be best if I went to the emergency room and had a cat scan. I really didn't want to leave -- but in the back of my fuzzy brain I kept remembering the actress that had a ski accident in Canada and refused treatment and died. I knew it would really mess up the wedding if I died on Anna's wedding day (plus I really didn't want to go yet, God, but I'm ready when He wants to take me, you know)!

So then we had to decide who was going with me. I tried to get Stacy to stay because we were the hosts of the reception, but he said he was going and John (son-in-law) stood in the did duty for us! (Thanks so much, John. Everyone said you did an excellent job!) So Casey said she would go -- and Joanna (McLaney Berry), Anna's best friend from high school and one of the bridesmaids said she would go since she's an RN. (Thanks to her husband, Jason, also for letting her leave you alone at the reception!) Then they called a taxi (we were about 30 miles from Cancun) and we loaded up for the ride (after waiting for boxes of food the resort was fixing for my escorts).

We arrived at the hospital, and they loaded me into another wheelchair and rolled me through a door to the emergency room. As Stacy was explaining why we were there (and we had a note from the resort doctor), they would only allow one person in the "examination" (and I use that term loosely) room and poor Joanna was elected to go with me!

So I'm still in my turquoise wedding garb, soaking wet with silver flip-flops on my feet -- and I get up on the bed but can't lay down comfortably because of the huge lump on the back of my head -- so I sat cross-legged on the bed (thank goodness the skirt was kind of flowy to cover my legs and a thinner chiffon material so it began to dry some). They didn't seem to be real busy for a Saturday night -- but it was still early around 8 p.m. But there was someone in the next room, and a lady kept coming out of it and peeking at the "strange American lady" in the next room all dressed up like she was going to a wedding or something!

A young man in a lab coat came in -- didn't know if he was a doctor or nurse or what. You know how in the hospital or doctor's office they have a clip-board with questions to check off? Well, this guy had a little slip of plain paper torn out of a pad and folded to write down my answers to the questions I could barely understand! Never took my blood pressure or temperature. Never checked my eyesight or reflexes. Then we waited -- and waited. So he comes back and says they want to do a cat scan, and a different guy comes to get me and takes me to another room for my scan. The place was very clean, but looked like an older building -- but the scanner appeared to be pretty new (like I'd know!) and I had my scan and then back to the exam room!

And we waited some more. Then a man came in who apparently was a "specialist" -- Joanna could understand him better than I could -- and I told him that she was a nurse. Evidently he was a neuro-surgeon! He enjoyed showing off for Joanna and took her down to show her my cat scan. He asked if I had seen my scan, and I said, "No, does it show I don't have any brains in there?" and he said something about my "kinky brain"! I hope he was making a joke -- I laughed some anyway!

He said they wanted to keep me 24 hours for observation. I remember looking back at Joanna in panic (I was NOT staying in that hospital overnight if I could help it!) She explained about the wedding and that we would like to get back to the reception -- so he says with his heavy Mexican accent, "No problem!" With a tilt of his head and grin, he said, "You just sign paper and you leave!" Because by this time everything in my body was beginning to hurt, I asked him about taking something for the pain and said all I had was Ibupropin. He said, "Yes, Ibupropin good." (I was thinking something a little stronger!) So I looked back at Joanna, and we said maybe something a little stronger? He said, "I write you prescription!" So he writes something out on a large piece of paper. Before he left, he said, "You tell everyone at American emergency room you just see doctor. In Mexico you see 'specialist'!" When Joanna looked at the prescription -- and from what Mexican we could decipher -- Joanna said it was the same thing as Ibupropin! Brother -- let's just get the heck out of here!

Stacy and Casey were in the waiting room on the other side of the counter we came in through -- so we had to go outside and walk down the sidewalk and in through another door to get to them. Stacy was paying my bill -- they didn't accept my PEHIP insurance -- of 12,000 pesos (about $1,000)! He asked about where we could get the prescription filled, and the guy behind the counter replied, "I don't know. Ask your cab driver." (It's even better if you say it with Mexican accent.) At least the cab driver was still outside with the cab waiting on us! I just said, "GET ME OUT OF HERE NOW!"

By the time we get back to the resort (about 3 hours later), the DJ is winding up -- but Stacy got to have his father-daughter dance and then they played "Tonight's Gonna Be A Good Night" -- I really wanted to dance to that but didn't want to shake up my already-kinky-brain --and finished up with a big "Waaaarrrrrr Eagle!" (After all, Anna and Zach met at Auburn!) And I got to have some wedding cake the next morning at the brunch and it was delicious! But all through the night Stacy would wake up and shake me to see if I was okay -- and one time I felt him reach over and check my pulse to see if I was still alive! I shook my hand and told him to leave me alone (in so many words!)

Now I've been checked by PrimeCare who said the can scan was actually very good quality, and had an MRI today just to make sure my "kinky brain" is still intact. I feel a little better each day, but it's still hard to get comfortable laying down! But I am so thankful to God for blessing me that I wasn't hurt any worse -- and for everyone praying for me, especially Zach's brother Josh who prayed with us before going to the hospital -- and that everyone had a wonderful time on this destination wedding week and we got to become close friends with what we're now calling our "Cali-bama" family (Zach's family lives in LaQuinta, California)! And as they say . . . "All's well that ends well!"

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July 4th with Kate!

I'm catching up on the blogging today so adding Italy below and our weekend with Casey, John and Kate now! We met them at their new home construction in Hartsele Sat. on the way up. The house is really taking shape and they were almost finished with the roof that day. I was a little nervous trying to keep up with Kate since the front door isn't in and it's quite a drop -- then upstairs there are no rails yet! But it's going to be a beautiful home and I know they will so enjoy it!

Kate is growing up so fast! She's potty trained now and so we had to bribe her to be good in Target with the promise of new panties! She got some Toy Story and Hello Kitty ones. Had one melt-down when we tried to try on some shoes to see what size she wore, but she wasn't having any of that!

Sunday, I kept Kate at home while the others went to the house to finish laying the liner underneath. I still think I had the easy job! As long as I did what Kate wanted, she was an angel! We went to Casey's boss' July 4th picnic that night and it was a lot of fun -- and lots of good food! I fell over in my chair trying to pick up Kate's shoes -- which provided some entertainment for everyone there! (I was sitting on an incline, that's all I'm going to say!)

Then on Monday we drove over to a shopping area to park and watch the fireworks. I think we were all more impressed than Kate! She just wanted to climb on the back of the truck and "dance"! She's a mess -- and we loved getting to spend time with her!

Grand Tour of Italy

What can I say about my trip to Italy except . . . FANTASTIC! I think it's probably my favorite country I've ever visited so far. I love the scenery -- I love the history -- I love the art -- and the people are all so pleasant and easy to talk to! Most know at least some English and our tour guide Barbara taught us several phrases (and hand gestures!)

We flew first to Frankfurt, Germany, then on to Milan where we met with our bus and other tour participants from Georgia and Colorado! Our first city to tour was Venice -- which I loved -- and we took a gondola ride through the canals! I can't write about everything we saw, but my photos are up on our "10 Days in Italia" Facebook page -- and our itinerary is below:

Grand Tour of Italy:

  • Day 1 -- Fly overnight to Italy
  • Day 2 -- Milan • Venice
  • Day 3 -- Venice
  • Days 4-5 -- Florence
  • Day 6 -- Assisi
  • Day 7 -- Pompeii • Sorrento region
  • Day 8 -- Sorrento • Rome
  • Day 9 -- Rome
  • Day 10 -- Depart for home

I actually had fun being the Tour Leader for our group and I'm thinking about doing a trip in 2012 with EF. You can see all their tours available on the EF website.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


So many times through my life, I feel like I take a step forward -- and then two steps back. Maybe it's the devil working against me; maybe it's just a fact of life and the trials I have to face to grow in my faith and trust in the Lord. For the past couple of years, I've struggled through my church experience. Not my faith -- I know God is always there with me and I trust Him completely.

But I've struggled with some people's authenticity and sincerity. It's disheartened me to the idea of "organized religion." While I've always scoffed at people who wouldn't go to church because of hyprocracy, I now find myself questioning a set of rules and "religion" as opposed to "faith." Because they are two different things.

On my recent trip to Italy, we visited many beautiful churches (or cathedrals) -- and it seems that the Catholic church in particular was in completition to see who could build the biggest and most beautiful church. I've wondered, "Does God really care if His altar is really covered in gold when there are people starving in the world?"

The entire heirchy of the Catholic church is about power. The power of the Pope over the Christian world -- the power of individual Bishops and Cardinals -- the power of priests and confession -- people making rules for people they considered beneath them.

When all Jesus said was, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." It's that simple -- we confess our sins and ask the Lord into our hearts and follow Him.

I do understand the necessity of rules for an orderly life. Without some type of rules, the world would be chaos. But when we get so bogged down in rules that we miss the big picture, we're defeating the purpose.

How many times has government become a quagmire because of rules and no common sense -- countries fight each other -- good people are harrassed or denied needs while lazy people who know how to work the system take advantage? Lawyers get murderers off for technicalities.

And so I took two steps back tonight at church while we possibly have let the best person to lead and life up our church go. I have felt joy in my church and my faith again this past month as we have come together once more as one church -- traditional and contemporary working together rather than separate. I have felt the Spirit move in our church -- and especially in my heart. I've wanted to cry with joy -- and now I cry with sadness.

Tonight I was so inspired to have Josh lead our church and see how God is working in his life! I was so looking forward to voting Bro. Chris in as our pastor. But it all got bogged down in rules. And once again I feel disheartened and depressed -- and I feel the devil pulling at the church.

And why? Rules. Men's rules. Men's power. Not trusting God's leadership. I just feel sad. Again.