What can I say? We just got home from a late dinner and I got on the computer to check out my friends and could hardly get through each blog for the tears streaming down my face! You guys are so special and each blog meant so much to me! It was like having my best girlfriends here with me to help me celebrate. On the way home, I was telling Gary how much I missed all my friends in Atlanta and how the girls used to get together for lunch or a girls night out to celebrate a special occasion...or just for no reason at all! Then, to come home and find a birthday card from all my blogger buddies (I was wondering why I had two cards from Dianne...but she always finds the greatest cards and sometimes will send more than one because she can't decide! I love it!) and then reading everyone's blog...just overwhelmed me! Thank you all so much...I love and miss you, my dear friends!

Today was a busy day working at the school---it was kinda nice to keep my mind off "the day". I had lunch with my friend, Jackie at our favorite place (Panera Bread) and she gave me a beautiful silver charm for my charm bracelet with a cross and the word "Faith" on it, knowing everything we've been going through with my Dad, and how I was feeling about my birthday, and some other things...it just meant so much to me and several times through lunch I had to fight back tears because of her kind and tender heart and gentle spirit. We have really bonded over the past few years (both of our kids are in marching band--her daughter is Color Guard captain) and we've been able to spend alot of time together and work closely together. What a special friend...Jackie, I love you and thank you for a great lunch today. Our visits together are never long enough. Then it was back to work, but I had the most beautiful purple roses waiting on me when I returned to the school from my sweet hubby!

Tonight we had a late dinner at Carraba's with Zack and his girlfriend, Sara Beth. It was alot of fun and we had a great time and didn't realize how late it was! See pictures below...woah, the flash was too close and too bright! Oh well...hides the wrinkles, maybe? All in all, it was a good day and I think I can settle in to this new "chapter" in my life. I'm loved, semi-healthy and have great friends and family...what more could a girl ask for?!

Teetering on the Edge...

...and I'm not ready to jump!

My "Whatcha Wanna Know Wednesday" is that I am teetering on the edge of the big 4-0 and I'm not ready to take that leap. I can't even say the word... "foooorrrr" ... "ffffooorrrtt" ... I can't make my mouth form that word without my lips quivering and tears welling up in my eyes. I'm not ready to be that age. I like checking the box on paperwork that says "35 - 39". I am not ready to move up a box. No! I can't do it! I refuse to check the "40-44" box.

I didn't have this much trouble turning 30. I liked my 30's...I loved my 30's...great things happened in my thirties. It's such a great decade in life, they even made a show about it. "Thirtysomething"...I loved that show. The other number seemed so far away and sounded so old. Think about it, more than half my life is over. When you're...that number...it seems you should have it all together. I have always heard it's harder to lose weight, your metabolism slows almost to a hault, look for symptoms of peri-menopause... I remember turning 39 and thinking, "okay, I've got a year to lose weight". WHERE DID THAT YEAR GO? No weight lost yet. Do you realize in 9 more years I'll be on the verge of turning 50?! I can't even catch my breath at the thought of it.

My friend, Liz, invited me to lunch today at one of my favorite places and when I showed up, she had a whole group of friends and co-workers there to surprise me. She's so sweet. She's been lecturing me on the alternative to turning...that number. I know she's right...it will just take a while to get used to saying it..."ffforrrttt..." ...nope, still not ready. So, tomorrow is the big day. I'll be working at the school all day helping out in the office (hopefully will take my mind off the day!) and am going to lunch with my friend, Jackie. She's beautiful, she's fit, and she's in her...okay, I won't say in case she reads this! No, I will say, she should be proud! She's in her 50's and she looks absolutely fabulous! So, maybe she will inspire me that there is hope for me yet.

Off to enjoy my final evening of being 39.......and holding.

All Points Bulletin...A.P.B.

Where in the World is Red Ranger? Last seen fighting workmen disguised as Mexicans (cause we all know that real Mexicans are the hardest workers!)...fighting for truth of square footage, justice of the thin tile and the American dollar! Known to have started a new job on Monday preparing Americans for the inevitable with the armory of life insurance. Went missing in the blogging world 7 days ago... last seen wearing red tights, white Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader boots and a red helmet!

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words...

It's always fun taking a "photo journey" down memory lane. I was going through old files today on my computer and found some pictures from vacations we took with my parents two and three years ago, pictures from birthday celebrations, Father's Day, Zack's baseball games, etc. Then I decided to go look for the box of our wedding photos. I was remembering the special part my Dad played in the ceremony. How important it was for me to have him there, to have him participate. You see, he walked me down the aisle the "first" time and conducted the ceremony and I'll never forget the sheepish grin and twinkle in his eye when he said "obey" in the vows. But this time, it was different. Zack walked me down the aisle and my Dad conducted part of the ceremony and our dear friend, Larry Lawrence, conducted the other half. I remember what a special day that was---I was marrying my best friend surrounded by our closest friends and family. Standing right there before us was my father---the cornerstone of our family, the man who could make me laugh 'till we both were crying, the man who could make me so angry we both would be shouting like the true Italians we are, the man who would give you the shirt off his back and every bit of money in his pocket. It was so important for me, for us, to have my father's blessings and he poured it out beyond measure. I knew he was so happy for me and Gary and that this was what he had dreamed for his daughter...true happiness and unconditional love. Those memories of him looking on as we said our vows will forever be etched in my mind.

When I look at these photos, it seems like a lifetime ago. He seemed so healthy and full of life, and yet it's only been 6 short years. There are so many things I wish... I wish I would have taken more time to spend with him when his mind was clear. I wish I hadn't rebelled so against his authority when I was younger. I wish he would have taken better care of himself, so this sickness wouldn't be robbing us and our family of precious time together. I wish he could remember the things that mean so much to us. I wish he were well enough to see his firstborn grandson conduct the marching band. I know his heart would swell with pride. I wish I had more pictures of him teaching Zack to swing the bat, throw the football, shoot pool. I wish he knew how much I love him...I wish I would have told him more.

He is currently at a Rehab Center in Jonesboro. Mom said he had a pretty good day today... at least it was better than yesterday when he fell trying to get out of the wheelchair. He is eating small portions, soft foods only and still does not have the strength to walk on his own. We don't know how long he will be in the Rehab Center, but pray that his therapy sessions will go well and he will be able to go home soon.

Finally, looking back at pictures from our wedding day, I had to post this one of our dear friend, Julie (Miss Jankinaround!). It is precious and makes me laugh every time I look at it. Those were such fun times...we miss you and love you!

Whatcha Wanna Know Wednesday!

Is it Wednesday again already? Gee, whiz...time flies when you're flat on your back staring at the ceiling because there's nothing good on t.v. all day...

So, I decided to write about all the jobs I've had. I've changed "careers" so many times and I don't really know why. I don't know if I get bored, or catch a whim, or haven't found my true passion yet. Oprah always talks about doing what you love... then it's not a "job" it becomes getting paid to live out your dream. I'm still not sure what that is. Maybe I'll figure it out when I grow up!

My first job in High School was at the Atlanta Braves Front Office (I've already blogged a little about that). Then in my early 20's I was the Assistant Manager at the 5-7-9 shop at Southlake Mall. I then went on to be a Dental Assistant for 3 years. I was good at it, but I just got tired and grossed out looking in people's mouths. I completely switched gears and worked as a Chem Tech (chemical technician -- applied hair color, did perms, etc.) at Hair Fitness Center in Riverdale and then on to Permanent Solutions in Riverdale and Fayetteville. That's when my back problems started. I guess being on my feet 8-10 hours a day and leaning over shampoo bowls wore my back out! In the evenings I was attending The Art Institue of Atlanta majoring in Interior Design. Sidenote: my sister paid for my college! Isn't that awesome?! She knew I had always been interested in Interior Design and she signed me up and paid for it and then called me and said, "Guess what? You start class on Thursday!" After College, I went on to work at the new Expo Design Center near Perimeter Mall. After working there almost a year, I grew tired of the hour commute to work and then another hour home. Zack was young and I felt like I was missing out on so much. Then my good friend, Tanya, told me about an opening at the church (FBC/J) and I applied, interviewed and got the job as Publications Director. I worked at the church for 4 years then went on to be Administrative Assistant at South Metro Baptist Association for a year before moving to Alabama. Once here, I did desktop publishing and graphic design from home. I also worked part time with a friend doing inventories. His company is called Asset Verification and we would inventory churches, businesses, homes, for insurance purposes. I also worked part time at my Chiropractor's office...how convenient was that?! I was doing flyers and marketing materials for a Realtor friend who suggested I take the real estate course. So, I did and got my license and have been in real estate for 3 years now. In the Spring I took the Broker's course and examination and got my Broker's license too. I enjoy real estate, when I busy! I love listing homes, showing homes, working with buyers and sellers, but I hate the "cold calling" aspect of procuring business. Plus, the market is very unpredictable ---it's hot and cold and you just have to go with the flow! Here lately, I've been spending all my time at the school working on Band Booster things. I'm finding that I love to be involved in things that are important to my child.

Is Real Estate my passion? Hmmmm...some days it is...some days I hate it. I guess that's true with any job. I just don't want to look back on my life in 20 years and say I just "worked" and I didn't live out my dreams or my passion. What is that, you say? I'm not real sure. I love children. I've always wanted to adopt. I think I would be a happy mama just staying home and raising kids! But then the flip side of that is that I enjoy our "freedom" and just don't know that I could start over again with raising little ones. Right now I'm just clinging to the few years we have left with Zack at home. Then we'd like to head to the beach, somewhere on the west side of Florida and both sell real estate.

So, there's my "work history" in a nutshell and probably not in order --- but you can see that I've "tinkered" in alot of things and haven't really "settled in" to any of them! I know some people that have been in the same job for 20 years and I admire that, but can't envision that for myself. Call it restless, dissatisfied, an adventurer, or just need therapy...you decide!


So, my posts are starting to look like Debbie Downer from SNL! Sad!!! I'm going to try to write something positive. I went to the Chiropractor today (Gary had to take the day off and drive me) and I'm feeling a little better. I've battled back problems for about 11 years now, but have been encouraged because I haven't had any serious problems for two years. I went through about 6 weeks of Disc Decompression Therapy two years ago and have been pain free pretty much until now. DDT is basically traction and it works wonders! I started the DDT again this morning. It takes several visits to really start feeling better...but I'm on my way!

The latest on my father is that he is still at Henry Medical Center. He is starting to eat a little bit, but is still in alot of pain. The Social Worker at the hospital is trying to find a Therapy Center with a bed available for him to go to for several days once he leaves the hospital. This will help him re-gain some strength before he goes home.

Well, that's about as long as I can sit! Back to bed with my ice pack and electrodes!

When it rains...it pours

Just a quick update...I was getting ready to leave to come to Atlanta yesterday and when I got the suitcase out of the closet, my back went out. Those of you that have known me, know that I have two bulging discs in my lower back and went it goes...I'm down for the count. It has been two years since I've had any back trouble and the minute I'm getting ready to go, bam. I cannot begin to tell you how frustrated I have been the past 24 hours. I've been flat on my back with electrodes on and ice packs. I can't get in to see my Chiropractor for traction until Monday. It is completely debilitating. Why now, Lord?

My Dad was discharged from Southern Regional yesterday around 5:00 p.m. WRONGFULLY! Many problems last night (I can't sit here long enough to go into it) and about 11:30 p.m. my mom had to call 911 and now he is at Henry General. Please continue to pray for him and for my mom. Also pray that my back will heal quickly so I can get to Atlanta to see him.

Is it well with my soul?

As I sit here and type this blog...Zack is on the computer listening to a Drum & Bugle Corp Band play "It Is Well"...I can't hold back the tears any longer, the floodgates are open. My Dad's test this morning came back "normal" which you might say, "good!"...but the Doctors all said that if the test on his stomach/intestines came back normal, that the problems he is having most likely are from the spread of the cancer. They confirmed for my mom that the cat scan showed the cancer had spread to the lymphnodes. They also said the cancer is probably causing all the pain in his spine and abdomen. When she asked "what do we do now?" they told her to just take it one day at a time...the focus is going to be getting him to keep food down right now, before he can leave the hospital. Then, they'll discuss treatment for the cancer.

I have such mixed emotions. I cannot imagine being without one of my parents, but then I hate to see my Dad suffering so. Where is that peace like a river---I need it to tend to my soul right now...my sorrow and emotions are waves that overwhelm me. "Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, even so, it is well with my soul".

We will be coming in town mid-afternoon tomorrow. I need to be at the hospital with my Dad and I need to allow my Mom to get some rest. Please continue to pray and I will post updates as I can.

Another Update...

I'm sure you all couldn't sleep last night anxiously awaiting my "Whatcha Wanna Know Wednesday!" Blog (ha ha) ...but I decided to postpone what I was going to write about for another Wednesday.

My Dad had a rough night last night. My Mom went home around 10:00 p.m. to try to get some rest and had a call from the hospital at 3:30 a.m. telling her she needed to get back up to the hospital to settle my Dad down. Apparently he had taken out his I.V. five times, along with his heart monitor and kept trying to get up and the nurses finally had to put him in restraints. Mom said he was very agitated when she got up to the hospital and he has not slept (nor has she) all day. She asked the Doctor today if they could give him something to help him sleep tonight and they said no, because of all the other medications he is on.

They are putting him under at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow for the Doctor to run a scope down his throat and see what's going on in his stomach. The Doctor also said that if that report comes back "normal", he's afraid his problems are from the prostate cancer that has spread so dramatically. My Dad just recently finished 6 weeks of radiation and his PSA count was 16. Now his PSA count is 44.

My mom is going to stay up at the hospital tonight. Please pray that both he and my mom will be able to get some sleep. I will keep you posted...thanks for your prayers.


My mom just called and said they ran tests on my Dad about 10:00 p.m. (Atlanta time) and they discovered he has Diverticulitis. They are going to admit him and treat with antibiotics, probably through the I.V. as he still is not able to keep anything down. Mom said they've had him on an I.V. of fluids and his color is already looking better.

Thank you, my dear, dear friends for your encouraging words and prayers. I was overwhelmed with emotion by the comments left and I love each of you and thank you for your support and friendship.

Please pray, my friends

I just received a call from my Mom that my Dad is in the E.R. at Southern Regional. I knew things were not sounding good when she told me last week that he has not been eating or drinking anything. Today was the 10th day of not being able to keep anything down. When the nurse came this afternoon, she was alarmed at how pale my Dad was and said he needed to get to the hospital. She called his Doctor and they made the arrangements. Mom said they are getting ready to give him an I.V. of fluids and she will let me know what they say after the doctor sees him. So we wait...and we pray.

I just had to post this picture. It's usually on my dresser and one of my favorite pictures of me and my Dad. He always tells me that when I was born he said "Finally! A dark hair, dark-eyed girl!" I love him...and miss him.

Exercising on a Saturday Morning...

It always amazes me as I flip channels early on Saturday morning how many infomercials there are! All promising to "drop a dress size in 10 days" ..."6 weeks to a total body makeover"... "younger, firmer you in 14 days" ... it's easy to get sucked in and be drawn to calling in the "next 11 minutes" to get the special deal!

I have to admit, that is one area of my life in which I am suffering. I start out strong, with good intentions, but then the drive and motivation begins to fade and I have trouble with the "stick-to-itiveness"...

But the area I am lacking in the most is exercising my faith. This really should be the easiest, since it requires no physical exertion whatsoever. But I find that the mind and negative thoughts are the hardest to get control over. The Bible is full of promises and full of examples of where the Lord has blessed those that have put their complete faith in Him. Why is it so hard for us to believe that even today, the Lord will fulfill His promises to us? Look at Job, how he lost everything, his family, his health, all of his belongings, and yet his faith never wavered and the Lord delivered him. Look at Abraham, being willing to offer up his son as a sacrifice, never wavering, never questioning the Lord...he had complete faith that the Lord would either provide a way of escape or raise his son from the dead...and the Lord delivered a ram as a sacrifice, instead of Abraham's son, Isaac. I just don't know that I could pass that test of commitment and faith. Could I offer up my only son as a sacrifice to God? Even now, I have to shake my head that I don't believe I could go through with it. But isn't everything God's anyway? My son doesn't belong to me, he is the Lord's and God has entrusted me with his care.

So, as we go through the various trials and valleys of life, why is it so hard to exercise our faith in the Lord to deliver us? He has promised He would, and yet, we think we can take matters into our own hands and solve the problems ourselves. If we remain steadfast, never wavering in our faith, He will reward us.

Just as in physical exercise, we don't see immediate results, it's a day-by-day process and then the hard work will pay off. Lord, help me to day-by-day, exercise my faith in You, knowing that my spiritual reward awaits me...for You have promised it to be so.

Whatcha Wanna Know Wednesdays!

In an attempt to keep my posts somewhat interesting, I'm declaring Wednesdays as "Whatcha Wanna Know Wednesdays" on my blog. You know the, always wanted to know but were too afraid to ask kinda things, or interesting and sometimes not so interesting things about me.

Today's theme is Celebrity Sightings. I worked for the Atlanta Braves for 11 years. In that time I met several celebrity-type people and some I don't really consider celebrities. I worked with Hank Aaron in the front office way back in the early 80's. He was not one of my favorite people, although he is a legend in the baseball arena. I will spare you the details of why he wasn't one of my favorite people, so as not to "jade" those that adore him. I had the privilege of working with the dignitaries and celebrities that came in for the World Series and would pick them up and drop them off in a limo golf cart (that's a whole other story!). Drove around President and Mrs. Carter, Gov. Zell Miller, Charlie Sheen, Emilio Estevez, met Arnold "pump you up" now Governor Schwarzeneggar, and Rob Lowe. We also had the JazzFest in the old Fulton County Stadium where I got to meet several big groups of the 80's. Somewhat scary fact you don't know about me is that Rick James ("Super Freak") actually kissed me on the lips. Gross, I know! I even blessed out Charlie Sheen (in a kidding way) for sitting there and holding his cigarette over my baby, Zack, that was sleeping on the sofa in the office. Back in 1989 I won a trip to be on MTV's "Club MTV" over Spring Break. It was an all expense paid trip to Daytona Beach to be on the show. We all stayed in the Marriott and Colin Quinn got in the elevator and took a big bite off my ice cream cone. I was not happy! Same trip, met OJ Simpson--staying at the same hotel. I also saw Nicholas Cage at a casino in Atlantic City. One of my earliest sightings was in the 7th grade, I met Peaches & Herb (remember them?!) at the Atlanta Airport. Two summers ago we were in South Beach (Miami) eating at Johnny Rockets on the main drag and saw Shaq cruising down the strip. A few years ago in New York, I saw Gellman (from Regis & Kelly) at the airport and also had our pics taken with the Today show crew.

So, there you go...my "brush" with the rich and not so rich and famous. Tune in every Wednesday for "whatcha wanna know" Wednesdays where we'll have a new theme each week! This has been Celebrity Sightings...Kirksey..OUT!

First step...admitting it

Yes, I am a reality tv show junkie! I really don't have much time to watch television, but when I do, I choose to watch reality shows. Currently I am hooked on Treasure Hunters (Monday nights on NBC). I love this show! Each week is a new challenge of figuring out clues and destinations and codes....ahhhh, I love it! They are down to 3 teams and I am pulling for Team Air Force. First, I love the fact that they have all served our country...how can you not pull for the military, right? They just seem to be all around good people. They don't flip out, they keep their cool, they are very smart, they aren't cussing like the Southie Boys, and their favorite book is the Bible...can't go wrong there!

Zack, Gary and I are getting pretty good at figuring out the clues to their next destination and we think, "hmmm, we should be on this show!"....that is, until we see them running, and I mean sprinting to beat the other teams, and then we say "naaaahhhhh...only way we'd do that is if somebody bigger than us is chasing us!" So, there we sit in the comfort of our home, on our semi-comfortable couch, eating pound cake and strawberries with whip cream, living vicariously through Team Air Force! We're rootin' for ya!

Feeling Blue...

Today was the first day back to school. Zack is taking a 7:00 a.m. class, so he set his own alarm and was up and out the door with little assistance from me. He's even driving his own car to school now, so no more "Mommy" carpool. I'm not sure how that makes me feel. In one respect, I don't feel as needed. There are times when I long for the days of having to help him lay out his clothes, tie his little shoes and pack his bookbag. But then, this is the way it's supposed to be, right? You teach them, you train them, then they fly away on their own. I'm just not ready for him to fly yet. How can a mama bird be so heartless to kick her young out of the nest? Is that heartless or is it true love... I don't know, all I know is that I couldn't do it. My boys (Zack & Gary) are my world and without them around today, I am feeling blue...sad and lonely.

Speaking of feeling blue...where did that saying come from? And how come the color "blue" was the unfortunate one to be associated with sadness? Why don't we say, I'm feeling red today, or purple... oh well, that's another one for things that make you say "hmmmmm..."

Come On Over...

You know how it is when your house is a wreck and people will just pop in...but when your house is freshly cleaned, NO ONE drops by? Well now it's clean and we're not expecting any company anytime soon! I recently saw a Blogger Open House...not sure I want to put mine out there for total strangers, but thought I would at least invite my blogger buddies over...just for fun...a glimpse into my world...check out the photos...

This is the Great Room taken from the top floor overlook

This is the 2-story wall of windows...(I changed the nighttime picture, so you could see all the trees and the pool off in the distance!)

Kitchen...two different views

Dining Room

Master Bedroom...check out Sylvester!

Zack's Room...

My desk...where I blog...didn't quite make it around to cleaning off my desk or the rest of the office, that's why I'm not showing you the whole room! Plus, there's a guest room still cluttered with things for the yard sale we haven't had yet... and a laundry room (not very interesting!).

Now...post some photos of your place!

Yea! It's Saturday!

For those of you that hate cats, I'm sure you're getting pretty tired of seeing cat photos on our blogs, but for those of you that love cats...I HAD to share this photo! I caught my baby Zoe in a yawn last night and thought it was such a cute photo, I thought I would post it. It looks like she's laughing. Her mama just said something funny! Isn't she precious!?

So today is Saturday, what a busy week we've had. But today holds lots of housework, laundry and last-minute school supply shopping to do today. Would rather lay around like the cats and be lazy all day! Have a great one, my blogger buddies!

Back off, Girls!

...you gotta get past Mama first! Then I'm sure his Nana will be ready to tag-team it with me! Is this a handsome fella, or what?! We are so proud of Zack. He is the Drum Major for our High School's Marching Band (90+ members). He directed Band Camp last week and has been directing rehearsals this week. You should see him take charge of that band and read those drill charts! He knows where each and every band member should be standing at every point in every song. It amazes me. Gary and I watch him conduct and have to fight back the tears and swallow the huge lump in our throats! He really has shown true leadership this year and we couldn't be more proud! Thought I would share a few photos...

Too Good To Be True...

Well, you know me, Miss Glass Half Empty...I knew it was too good to be true! I've been on a new prescription and kicked my "Excedrin Migraine Pill Habit" for 7 days now...and I was pleasantly surprised that for 7 days I had been headache free.

But the 8th day got me! Yesterday afternoon I started with a headache and by dinner time it was a full blown migraine. By the time Gary got home from Orchestra rehearsal, all I could do was cry. I was determined not to take any OTC pills. I spent all night and even this morning throwing up (yeah, I know, too much information) but it finally subsided about 10:30 a.m. today. That was, by far, the worst migraine I've ever had. For those of you that have never experienced a migraine...be grateful. It is completely debilitating.

Thanks to my sweet hubby for rubbing my neck and head...'till at least he fell asleep! Okay, Doc, you've got 3 more weeks of this and then I'm back on the Excedrin kick!

Wonder Twin Powers...Activate!

Does anyone remember watching this cartoon? I used to love it. The Wonder Twins, it didn't matter what unfortunate situation they found themselves in, touch those rings together and shout "wonder twin powers activate! Form of..." and they would transform themselves into just the right thing to get themselves out of the bind they were in.

Sometimes I wish I could do that! It seems I tend to over-extend myself at times, volunteer for too many things, get in way above my head. There are days when at the end of my day, I lay my head down and think, "what did I accomplish today?" I started many tasks, didn't finish any of them and my "to do" list just got longer. Can I just say "Wonder Twin powers, activate! Form of...a dozen clones to help me finish the tasks!" Oh well, there's a much better answer to that. It brings me back to my favorite Psalm 121 -- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord! He has given us so many promises... My God shall supply all my need...and...He gives strength to the weary. Dear Lord, weary here!
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