Georgia On My Mind

Have you ever thought if you moved to a different place where that would be? I have. Many times actually. I have fallen in love with Colorado and parts of Canada. The places that I fall in love with tend to be small town USA (or Canada). There is one place that if I didn’t live in Tennessee it would be Sandersville, GA.

In 2006 I met my best friend Jill, who is more like a sister to me. She grew up in Sandersville, but was living in Tennessee at the time. Her and her family are HUGE Georgia Bulldog fans, and with me being a HUGE Vanderbilt fan we struck a deal back in 2014. When Vanderbilt played Georgia in Athens we would go to Athens, and when Georgia came to Nashville her brother would come up for that game.

Jill moved back home to Sandersville two years ago. Two years ago Vanderbilt was playing in Athens, but Dustin and I went down early to see Jill’s new house. I instantly fell in love with Sandersville. Like I said I am a sucker for small town USA, and Sandersville was no different. They have the town square, people sitting on their front porches, and the Mayberry like feeling. The thing that sets Sandersville apart is Dairylane.

Dairylane looks like your normal old school hamburger place on the outside. When you get inside you almost don’t believe the prices that it costs for their food – I mean let’s be honest where else can you get a delicious burger for a dollar and some change?!?! You also get to see the jerseys of former players that grew up in the town that went onto play in college and the pros. The milkshakes are heavenly too.

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What I also love about Sandersville is that they are all about some football. Fridays are all about Friday night lights, and Saturdays everyone is wearing their game day attire. The next trip to Sandersville will be in two years. Until then I will be dreaming of cheeseburgers and milkshakes from the dairylane.

Servant Leader

Have you ever met a servant leader in real life? We are told in the Bible that we should emulate Christ, but do we actually ever see it in action out in the World? I can honestly say I have seen it firsthand. And her name was Gilda.

When I was a Freshman in high school I had a crush on a fella that was a Senior. He was the President for Key Club, and was looking for people to join for the next year. I had no idea what Key Club was, but hey when a cute guy asks if you want to be apart of something how do you say no to him? August rolls around and we have our first Key Club meeting. This is when I met Gilda. Gilda was our local Kiwanis Club sponsor. She would come periodically to meetings, and invite us to local events that happened in the area. My first event that I had signed up for was the pancake breakfast. And I loved it. I have never had that much fun serving other people breakfast.

My Junior year I decided to run for President of Key Club. I got it, and I got to spend more time with Gilda through this – luncheons, conferences out of town, meetings at school. She was a blast. Her personality and her laugh were contagious. My Senior year I stepped down as President since I played sports year round, and it was hard for me to get people involved in afternoon activities when I couldn’t even go myself. I was still present for the monthly meetings, and I never missed the pancake breakfast.

The summer after my Senior year my parents had what we like to call a “coming to Jesus” meeting. They told me I had til I turned 18 to find a job or I was getting kicked out of the house. Talk about a shot to the heart…I thought I was going to have a free ride all the way through college. I had no idea where to start so I went and talked with Gilda. Gilda worked at a tuxedo store as a manager, but she had connections all over. When I walked in I was in shorts and a t-shirt, and slightly looked like I hadn’t bathed in a week. I told her what the conversation was that I had with my parents, and she offered me a job on the spot. She also told me I had to dress up for this job.

This was a job that was a blessing from the Lord. I learned so many life lessons from her while I worked there. She taught me that handwritten thank you notes go a long way, and people appreciate them, that the customer isn’t always right, and that if you listen and try to connect with the customer you might become friends for a long time – and yes that last one happened more often then not.

Not only was she managing the tuxedo shop she had a program that she had come up with. That program was called Ambassadors and it consisted of about 20 teenage boys. She taught them how to tie a tie, how to set a table, that community service is a must, and then she also had a dance team. These guys would be able to earn points which would go to their tuxedo rental. At first you could see that the guys were all about getting tuxedos for free, and then they transitioned into loving the community service and hanging out with Gilda. Throughout the year I would go along with the community service projects because Gilda knew that I loved it. When it came time for the prom fashion shows when the boys would dance that was not my cup of tea, but Gilda had taught me how to be able to run the store by myself. She trusted me with that huge responsibility.

Throughout the years I worked on and off for her. She supported me when I started adding jobs that took away from working with her. I started working at Starbucks, and also a small company called Sport Seasons as well as helping her out occasionally. There was a lot of nights that I would be there with just her. We would talk about life, sports, you name it we talked about it. One night we sat down to take a breather from the busy day we had, and we were listening to the radio. They were doing one of those contests where you could win free tickets to a concert. The question was “if you were the opposite sex for the day, what would you do?” Her response: “I’d be gay. I like boys too much.” Somehow I talked her into calling the radio station to give them that answer because it made me laugh. She ended up winning the tickets, and we went to see Gwen Stefani.

I was there when she decided to open up her own shop, and work for herself. She worked countless hours getting everything set up. When she finally got everything in order she broke the news to her boss, and took me and another girl with her. The saying “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, was a motto she lived by. She would bend over backwards for you, and that made you want to bend over backwards for her as well.

It got time for me to get a “big girl” job, and Gilda knew it was coming. It was time for me to break away from her, except I didn’t. I still worked the community service events that I could, and we would get together and catch a Nashville Sounds baseball game. Bob, Gilda’s husband, was a big baseball fan and we would go catch a game together. When Dustin and I got serious, Gilda had to approve – which she did. She took Dustin in just like she took me in. We were her family.

The last time I saw Gilda was at a Nashville Sounds baseball game for her to let us know that she was retiring from the tuxedo business, but would still be doing her Ambassadors and Social Graces (she added girls a few years back to the program). She had sold to another local tuxedo business, but they were going to let her keep on doing her thing impacting teenagers lives. We had text back and forth about the baby, and also my obsession with nuns. (Side note: if you aren’t in awe by the work of a nun then there is something wrong with you…just sayin).

September 22, 2018 Gilda was driving home from an event and got hit in a head-on-collision by a young lady that had been drinking. It killed her instantly. It’s still hard to believe that she is no longer with us. Her death didn’t just impact her family, and those that she added to it, but it rocked the community as well. She was a no-judgment, always had an ear to listen to you, and if there was work to be done in the community she would be the first one there.

Here’s a few links to get a glimpse of what an impact she had on everyone she met:

The Tennesseean

Talk of the Town

I am so thankful that she came into my life 17 years ago. It will take time to heal, and fully comprehend that she is no longer with us on Earth. I am also upset that my son will never get to meet her, and have her spoil him. He will however know how great of a person she was and what an impact she left on the world.

 

 

Man’s Best Friend

Dustin and I have been married for a little over 2 years now. When we were dating I decided to “gift” him with a kitten. A friend of mine had found some strays, and was giving them away. I thought it would be a great surprise for him. Well wild cats and apartment living doesn’t mix. Eventually after a couple of months Meow came to live with Dustin’s parents.

In the country animals roam free, and Meow was no exception. The downfall is that there are a lot of other animals that roam free. Meow only made it two weeks in the country life. We aren’t sure if he had been eaten by a coyote or if he just ran away.

Fast forward to when we moved across the street from Dustin’s parents. We had talked about getting a dog, and we both said we didn’t want an inside dog because a) the hair and b) the bathroom issues. If we did an outside dog though we would need to do a fence. We both said what kind of dogs that we would like to have. At this point I can’t remember what Dustin said, I know that I had always wanted a great pyrenees. Great pyrenees are known for being herders, and being great with children. That is why I wanted one.

We also had to discuss the fact we are not home a whole lot. Between our love for traveling, and always going to sporting events it wouldn’t be fair for us to have a dog. Or so we thought.

Dustin periodically goes across the street to see how his family is doing, and hangs out with them. One day when he went over there there was a new addition. Her name was Gizmo. She had been abandoned by her previous owner who couldn’t take care of her anymore. Dustin’s stepdad decided to take her in. Gizmo and Dustin hit it off. She would hug him and love on him whenever he came over.

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One day I got a text from Dustin that said he wanted me to meet Gizmo, and if we hit it off he wanted to keep her. When I first met her she did the same thing to me, hugged me and loved all over me. I had hesitations about her coming to live with us. I am pregnant and due in January, and what I hear about small dogs is they get jealous of babies. But how excited Dustin was about her, and the fact that she is 9 years old and is house broken made me cave in. We got her when we got back from vacation.

It has been an exciting month and a half since we have had Gizmo. To be more accurate one should spell her name D-I-V-A because she is a diva. She has taken over the couch and the love seat in the living room, is an excellent vacuum cleaner when it comes to the kitchen, and has officially taken over my bed. She is our little shadow. She is not a fan of the computer, but is a big fan of the baby bump.

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I didn’t realize how alone I was in the afternoons when Dustin was gone until we got her. She keeps me company, and is also my little space heater (not that I need one right now). I pray that she will be able to make the adjustment when little man comes. Otherwise she is gonna have to go.

 

Throwing the Towel In

Sunday, September 23rd was like any other Sunday – or it should have been.

The plans starting out for the day was to get up, and go to church like normal. The only thing out of the ordinary that we were going to do was go to a friend’s house to watch the Titans play the Jags since they were in Jacksonville.

I had been talking to myself and Dustin that I needed to text his aunt to see if there was going to be a baby shower thrown for me or if we were going to invite everyone to the one my family was hosting. Well being the pregnant person that I am I kept forgetting to text her. We had discussed it that morning that I would text her, and well oddly enough I received a text message from her.

She was checking in on me to see how I was doing. She likes to do this periodically. In return I checked in on her – her and her husband have had a time with cancer. The last time I had talked to her about it she said her doctor told her that his patients only have two outcomes: 1) they get better or 2) they die. Her and her husband have done neither. She let me know that the SUPER expensive medicine she had been taking for the past year hadn’t worked. Her numbers had come back higher than they should have, and she also was anemic now. The game plan was to go to the dr the next week, and figure out a new plan of action.

We go ahead and go to church. When we arrived we are given the bulletin with all the news that is going on in the congregation. I skim through it, and see if there is anything that pertains to me or people that I might know. We aren’t “members” there, but we visit there pretty frequently so I like to see the opportunities that they have coming up. Church starts and Dustin points out something to me in. One of his buddies from high school, his dad had his bladder cancer come back. This was bad news number 2 for the day.

Leaving church Dustin and I are just goofing off and talking on the way to our friends house. When we arrived I pulled my phone out, and saw I had missed a call from a friend. I thought it was odd because this is not a friend I talk to on the phone we just text normally. I called her back, but it went straight to voicemail. I sent her a text to make sure that she meant to call me. Roughly ten minutes later she called me back. I will never forget this call. She asked me what I was doing, and told me that I should be away from people when she told me what she had to tell me. I walked to a back room. She told me from the beginning it was bad, and the first thing I could think was our friend Gilda’s husband has had a heart attack or something along those lines. Those were not the words she spoke to me. She said, “Gilda has been killed in a head-on collision.” It took a minute for the words that she spoke to process through my brain. It felt as if I had been stabbed in the heart with those words. I lost all control of my emotions.

I am thankful that we were at a friends house so they could distract me from the news that was just given to me. We finished watching the game. I have no idea what happened in that game I just know the Titans won. And it was not pretty. We left and came home. When we arrived home I finally got on Facebook which I knew was going to be bad. It was. I don’t think I have cried that hard. Ever. After about an hour of sobbing I was able to get words together to make a post. To write the post it took another 30 minutes. It was rough.

Earlier in the day I told my mom the news already about Gilda, and she told me about someone else we knew had been moved out of CCU to a regular room because they couldn’t do anything else for him. Shortly after I had posted about Gilda I got a text from my mom saying that Joe had passed away. I had just seen Joe last month, and was talking and cutting up with him. It was one of the best conversations that I had had with him. When I had gotten that text saying he had passed I officially had thrown the towel in on the day. I couldn’t emotionally take it anymore.

First Trimester Woes

Let me tell ya something – I LOVE FOOD. I am a fat kid at heart, and I am not picky. Well that was until I got pregnant.

Thank goodness we went on the cruise before we got pregnant. While on the cruise I ate approximately 3000 calories a day if not more. Every day I would have a burger (or 3) from Guy’s Burger Joint. These are hands down the best I have ever had except for In-N-Out. Then for dinner I would have what you normally can’t get or that you may be too afraid to try, and it would end up being about 5 plates of food. That was the last of the “real” food for awhile.

May started out normal. Well minus the fact that I wanted grilled onions. It was about a 3 week phase I went through. We ended up going to watch the Vanderbilt baseball team play MTSU one night, and they had a stand that was grilling sausage and hot dogs. You could also get them loaded with peppers and onions. I was salivating  over the smell of the onions, so I had to get me some. When I got back to my seat with just grilled onions the people around us wanted to know what I had because it smelled so good. Those good people were gracious enough not to judge me, and my pregnant cravings at that moment.

Then comes June and July. These months were full of surprises in the food realm. I only wanted to eat xtra cheddar goldfish, shredded cheese on tortillas, fries, and plain cheeseburgers. The thought of eating anything else made me sick. I also couldn’t handle the smell of food. Which meant that I didn’t cook food anymore. We ate out all the time, and by we I just mean Dustin. The good news about not eating at the house meant we didn’t have any dishes to do, but if we did that was out of the question for me as well.

Thank goodness I am off of that terrible diet. I am starting to add a little more food to my list of things to eat. Steak is still not on that list of things that I like, but I am hoping that it will come back before too long. I can’t complain because I didn’t really have morning sickness, or any other hard times that other people have talked about having. The only time I would get it would be in the evenings, and 90% of that happened when I needed to make a stop on the way home. I have an hour plus commute home in the evenings, and I guess my body didn’t like that I was not getting home in a timely manner. Pregnancy truly is a journey, and those journeys are not all the same.

Awkward Wife of the Year

The hubs and I decided that we were ready to have a child. I randomly approached him one day, and started talking about when he thought would be a good time for us to start trying to get pregnant. We both agreed on April for two very different reasons. His was because it would be January when the child come, and my busy time of the year would be over at work. Mine was Titans football regular season would be over, and Vanderbilt’s men’s basketball SEC play would be starting up, but not until the middle of January. We can see where our priorities were.

We love a good cruise so we decided to take one in April before their “busy” season started. It was tons of fun as usual to get away from the real world, and not hear the negativity that is always present every single day. We also had the best waiter for our dinners who talked to us about what true sacrifice was. He was from the Caribbean, and worked on a cruise ship 8 months out of the year. His wife stayed at home. She was a nurse and took care of their children. Michael made sure to tell us about how life and marriage are supposed to work.

When we got back home Dustin told me that we were pregnant. I told him there was no way, no one gets pregnant on their first try. For a month we went back and forth, and I told him how crazy he was. I will be the first to admit that I LOVE trying to prove Dustin wrong. So when the day came that I was able to take a pregnancy test I went and got one.

It was a Wednesday night. Both of us will never forget how this went down. There are two tests that come in a box. I took the first one, and waited. It was a faint cross. I didn’t believe it so I took the other one. And once again another faint cross appeared. I was in disbelief. This wasn’t supposed to happen, this NEVER happens. I go into the living room were Dustin is sitting on the couch, and I sit next to him. I told him I needed to talk to him – normally when I say these words it is never a good thing. He said OK…. I didn’t exactly say words – I just handed him both tests. He looked at them, and said kinda shocked “You’re pregnant?” My response was not that great, “I guess so”.

Previously I had been thinking about when we did get pregnant how I would tell Dustin. On Pinterest there is all these cute ways to announce to your spouse that you are pregnant, and I wanted to do something similar. But in my stupor I couldn’t think straight, and just ran straight to him. I still didn’t think it was true so the next morning I got another test and took it at work. This time it was the one that says the words pregnant or not pregnant. Well that sealed the deal, in big bold letters it said PREGNANT.

We still get a big laugh about how awkward I was in telling him that we were expecting. When we talk about the baby this conversation almost always comes up. The good news is too that there will be more of these moments that happen in my life. 🙂

Specialists aka the Doctors

When you have a significant life change in your health you try to find the right people to help you get answers. Well let me tell ya something, that is easier said then done.

When we started out in the hospital I was assigned a neurologist. You think at a hospital they would have the best of the best….well that wasn’t the case for me. He ordered me to be on 3000mg of Keppra a day. Seizure medicine is made to slow your brain down, and being on 3000mg a day my brain was going about as fast as a turtle runs. When I went to my first appointment at his office we noticed that everyone had this look on their face of not being able to register what was going on and people were falling asleep – a true sign of being on way too much medication. After that first visit I never went back.

I was referred to a primary care dr (the one that ran the entire blood panel on me), and he referred me to a new neurologist to see if he could help get things going in the right direction. When I met with Chris (the neurologist) he was in shock I was on as much Keppra as I was. He quickly knocked me down to 300mg a day. This was a game changer. I could carry on a conversation with someone instead of it being a one sided conversation where I just stared at them. Chris was able to give some insight to my seizures, but there is so little research that there wasn’t much more he could give me.

Last year I became a regular with the hospital. I ended up having a seizure in February, March, May, and October. In April I ended up with a kidney stone which is also something that is common with someone that has epilepsy. The seizure that was in October actually happened on a cruise ship. (Side note: if you ever get sick on a cruise ship those people treat you like you are royalty.) When I went into the hospital for the seizure in May the people in the ER actually said “oh I remember you”. Not what you really want to be known for. When all of these were happening that is when the drs started to believe that I had catamenial seizures. It was a fantastic day to know we were all on the same page…finally!

There had also been talk about my thyroid being out of whack, and helping wreck havoc on my health. My sister had told me about a dr that her mother-in-law was going to for her thyroid, and how much she enjoyed going to him. So I went to see him to see if my thyroid was also another cause of the seizures. Come to find out I only had a few nodules, but it wasn’t anything to worry about. We ended up talking a little bit longer, and he referred me to a new gynecologist.

Let me tell you, I hit the lottery when it came to this gynecologist. I got to meet her in January, and when I told her I had catamenial seizures she said the magical words I had longed to hear, “I know all about those. I have 5 or 6 patients that have those same types of seizures.” I could have hugged her (and I’m not a hugger). She was the one that told me that everyone has a seizure threshold, and when my hormones decide to go a little haywire I slip under that threshold and it produces a seizure. Due to her knowing the side of hormones she has been very helpful, and has answered every crazy question I have had when it comes to pregnancy and seizures. She has been a true blessing.

I have been to countless doctors to get answers, and I have finally gotten to my core group of doctors that I trust. I still don’t have a primary care doctor, but the doctors that I do have take really good care of me.