Tag Archives: friends

“Finding the Good” Part 1

27 Nov

I know you’re all itching to know how my Thanksgiving went, but I’d like to share something else first…

My senior year in high school marked the beginning of my negative feelings toward this holiday. Prior to this year, Thanksgiving was easily my favorite time of year. This particular year, though, a terrible accident happened and it made me look at Thanksgiving with sadness. A well-loved former high school alum was killed in a car accident, forever altering my view of my carefree, little world.

Sara was an exemplary person, one who many of our small town’s youth looked up to. Her death was tragic for everyone who had the pleasure of knowing her. You can read more about her here.

Then, my senior year in college, I heard word of another accident. I’ll never forget. It was the day I had to give my thesis proposal to my peers and professors. My nerves were already elevated, but when I got word of the wreck there was only one thought in my mind and it had nothing to do with the success of my paper. Would my cousin live? Is he going to make it?

His friend (and mine) had already died instantly in the crash-

More heartache felt like more than I could bear. More than I wanted my family to bear. Still, he passed away on Thanksgiving Day.

Trey was 25 when he died. Younger than I am now. It still seems so wrong. But some place deep inside me, I know God is in control of us. I trust in Him. That’s all I can do. Trey’s sister (Laura Lefler Herzog) wrote this about him. I hope you’ll read it because her words say far more than I could ever write and she encapsulates the beauty of Thanksgiving:

Last Thanksgiving, my life changed forever.

My younger brother and only sibling, Trey, was in a very serious car accident and after several days in the hospital he died from his injuries. It was Thanksgiving Day.

There is no doubt that Thanksgiving, and life in general, will never be the same for those that loved Trey, but I believe the timing of his death was significant. It forced us to approach even our darkest day with a spirit of gratitude.

Trey and I both worked for Senator Lamar Alexander for years, and you can’t work or even be around Sen. Alexander for very long without hearing him quote his friend Alex Haley who said, “Find the good and praise it.”

For me, part of “the good” came when we learned that Trey would die the same way he lived, by loving and giving. I like to say that Trey, more than anyone else I know, tried to live his life according to our Lord’s commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. As a natural extension of his generous spirit he had chosen to be an organ and tissue donor and because of his loving choice at least five people were given new life: two single mothers in their 40s, a 56-year-old mother of two who had been married for 28 years, a 36-year-old gentleman who enjoyed fishing (one of Trey’s favorite pastimes), and a 62-year-old physician and father of four who had been on the transplant list for two years.

My family has learned a lot about organ donation in the year since Trey’s death. In particular, we’ve experienced firsthand that while marking “yes” to organ donation is critical, it’s just as important to share your wishes with family members. As the Tennessee Donor Services Web site states: “A discussion with family now will mean a life-affirming decision later.”

According to Tennessee Donor Services (TDS), Trey renewed his driver’s license at a kiosk in Nashville on May 14, 2007, and marked “yes” to organ and tissue donation. His girlfriend, Jane, also recalled a conversation with Trey just a few weeks before his death indicating his wish to donate “everything.” She remembers him saying, “I’ll be with the Big Guy. Give it all.” As we sat in the hospital waiting room, I struggled with the decision to donate his eyes. It seemed so invasive. But they were not my eyes to give. They were Trey’s, he didn’t need them in heaven, and he had made it very clear to “give it all.”

Many people find talk of organ donation uncomfortable and maybe even morbid. And many people believe organ donation is a good thing, but just put off doing something about it for another day. According to TDS, a survey conducted by the National Coalition on Donation found that 91 percent of respondents support donation, and yet 29 percent have taken no action to indicate their wishes via their driver’s license, donor card, living will, or by simply telling their family. That was me. I’m embarrassed to say that I signed my driver’s license the day that Trey died. I’m so thankful that my responsible brother was not part of that 29 percent like I was.

Because of his decision to be an organ donor, Trey’s story became a resurrection story. Out of death and despair came new life, and our Thanksgiving became an Easter. Through our tears we rejoiced knowing that five families had gotten a call on Thanksgiving Day with news that their loved one would be receiving a life-giving organ. What an incredible Thanksgiving for them!

True story: On my mother’s birthday last March she was having dinner with my stepfather at a restaurant in their hometown, 250 miles from the site of Trey’s hospitalization, when a gentleman approached her and thanked her for the very special gift her son had given him. It was the 62-year-old physician and the keeper of one of Trey’s kidneys. The gift – the good – had come full circle.

Because of his example, I’m a donor now, too.

Every year, around this time especially, my thoughts are with these three individuals who have shown me so much.

There was plenty of good to be found this year. I’ll be sure to share all that with you next time I write. Thanks for listening.


Mrs. K


Food Festival

14 Nov

Hello, world.

In the midst of cries, diapers, recording All American Muslim, 19 Kids and Counting, Sister Wives and The Walking Dead, and giving little man a bath I found some time to come back to my blog. This weekend has been rough at times, but fun, too. Captain J is rarely home these days as he is working hard and sometimes isn’t able to come home from “the field”. I have parented alone most days the past few weeks and boy, is it tiring! I have enjoyed my snuggles with Baby K, though and it’s refreshing to be so aware of the connection we have. I love being a mom.

Yesterday, a friend and I headed off to the food festival here in town. Louisiana food with all its spices and glory was abundant. They even cooked up a gator!

I pulled up to the event with a massive jogging stroller packed into a compact German car. After finally dragging it out of the tiny backseat, I struggled forever trying to get it unfolded. Husbands are good for figuring out folded up strollers. My own hubby wasn’t there, though because he had to work. Thankfully, I saw someone else I knew and her husband helped us figure it out. Shortly after it was unfolded, I took my eye off of it to go get Baby K and it slammed into my car. I just knew it was going to be one of those days.

Except it wasn’t.

It was a good day.

The food festival was quite popular among the residents in our tiny little town. The streets were blocked off to make room for tons of good food, sidewalk chalk fun, and music! The line meandered around the tents set up and ready to serve and the food wasn’t all that was hot. Try as I might, I can’t make fall weather here. Every morning, I dress Baby K and myself in pants and long sleeve shirts only to quickly realize that it’s not quite time for them here. Some people were dressed in coats (Coats!?!) in the 70-80 degree weather while others donned shorts and flip flops.

After tasting the food, my friend, her daughter, K Baby, and I went to our favorite only local hangout for some coffee. I ordered a hot chocolate. The girl working asked me if I wanted it hot. Hmm.

It takes all kinds.

That statement pretty much sums up the festival, too. A good time was had by all, though. 😉

Happy Birthday.

7 Nov

One year ago today I was celebrating with some of the coolest people I know. Twenty six years ago today my mom was in a lot of pain trying to bring me into this world. God bless her. This place just wouldn’t be as cool without me in it 😉

Yes, it’s my birthday. Another year older. I think I’ll stop having birthdays this year. I’m going to hold steady at 26 for about fifty more years.

My cake already looks like a firework display.

So much has happened since my sweet friends in AK surprised me with a cake and a guitar hero get together. We have moved twice. We found out I was pregnant, had the sweet bundle of joy, and are now parents of an almost three month old. Life is a beautiful thing and I’m thankful for each birthday I get. I’m excited to see what else God has in store for me in the following year.


5 Oct

May I start by thanking you? Thank you oh so much to all of you who read my last post and commented, texted, sent emails, or facebooked me with encouragement on the matter. It warms my heart to hear that you all care about what’s going on in our little world and it reminds me that I’m not alone. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

I promised some happy things, didn’t I?

How ’bout I tell you about our quick weekend in Home Sweet Tennessee?

We hopped in the car on Wednesday and set out on Baby K’s first ever roadtrip. We had a 12 hour drive ahead of us and that’s not counting stopping to feed/burp/change little man along the way. I was pretty sure we dropped our marbles somewhere when we set out on this adventure, but Baby K was such a little gentleman. He is a good little traveler. His grumpy moments were few and far between on our drive. In fact, his daddy was much more irritated than he was.

Captain J was in a poopy mood. At one point, I asked him if he needed me to help drive. His response? Without even the slightest tilt of his head, he said, “That’d be a death sentence.” Still trying to lighten the mood, I told him I would sing to him to keep him awake if he’d like. For some reason, he declined that, too. What’s up with my boys not adoring my singing voice? Earlier today Baby K puked after I sang him a song. I digress.

Anyway, we eventually pulled into my parents’ house in my small, sleepy little East TN town at around six in the morning. Our arrival coincided with my step-dad leaving for work, my brother getting up for school, and my mom anxiously waiting to get her hands on her newest grandson. Within an hour, they looked like this:

I’m so glad they’ve had some precious moments to bond.

Yaya had to go pick up another cute grandson of hers to take him to preschool so Baby K and I hung out while Daddy slept. We posed…

and made funny faces…

and had a grand ole time! It felt so good to be home and finally be able to show off my little bundle of joy to friends and family who hadn’t met him yet. While we were in town, we went to my former high school’s football game. My sweet boy must be athletic–he caught his first football!

Just before the game, Baby K was overloaded with a host of new (and old) admirers. He met his extended family and my very best friends. Here is my little man with his great-grandmother, aka “Mimi”:

Perhaps he got spoiled with all that attention and that’s why he has been acting totally insane the last couple of days?!

Anyway, we had a ball. We visited “JuJu and Pap” at their boat. We hung out with “Lolly and Pop” at their yacht club party. We I ate at Carl’s a lot. And by the end of the weekend, we decided it just wasn’t enough. Captain J started to re-think his whole military career, but that is another post for another time…

We drove home with a blanket of sadness over us. It’s hard to drive 12 ish hours in the opposite direction of the ones you love when you know you won’t be returning for awhile.

The good news was that we only crossed the Mississippi once on the way back…

I can’t say that’s true for the way there. SOMEbody made a few wrong turns. I won’t mention any names, but it might be the one who claims to be “a master of land navigation”. Maybe.

Anyway, all went well so long as the paci was firmly in place-

and our little Louisiana town never looked so good as it did when we pulled in our driveway. “Home” at last.

Goodbye weekend, hello Monday

2 Oct

As I’m stuffing down way old macaroni and chugging copious amounts of water, I’m reflecting on the whirlwind that was the past few days. In a somewhat last minute decision, Captain J and I decided to drive to Tennessee for the weekend. Clearly, we weren’t thinking.

I’m kidding, but really it was insane.

13 hours one way with a 7 week old

We survived and we had fun to boot! The weather was crisp and cool, a much needed reprieve for us. Baby K got to visit and meet more of his family. We got to watch my brother play a little football. We got to watch Alabama kick Florida’s butt on the football field. We got to hang out on boats with the fam. And believe it or not, we got to relax a little bit. It was nice.

And it was really nice to drive back into our sleepy little town here. We’re exhausted so I’ll have to share pictures from this weekend a little later.

If I don’t talk to you before– Have a great Monday!


Mrs. K


12 Sep

This is the ole ‘I didn’t do much this weekend but I’m going to tell you about it anyway‘ post. Ye be warned!

On Friday, Baby K and I met up with a friend and her daughter for coffee at a local joint. This town where we currently reside has slim pickin’s in the coffee department (read: every department) so imagine my utter joy at finding a place with a huge list of specialty coffees! I want to try every single fall inspired cup! Here are some photos from our little date:

(Whoa…that picture is too big)

(There…that’s better)

We had such a good time. It was nice to get out of the house and talk to another adult. Captain J just isn’t very good at girl talk. Aside from K getting milk drunk and puking all over my dress, we had a lovely outing. Ha!

On Saturday, we watched football until it was time to have dinner. We ate over at said friend’s house with her and her husband. Again, this was fun, too until Baby K screamed, “TAKE ME HOME!” which sounded more like “WAAAAAA AAAA AAAHHH!”

This young un has quite a set of lungs on him.

Finally, Sunday we were able to take Baby K to church. We had refrained from doing so up until this point because as my great grandmother used to say, “That’s a lot of fellowship to wash off your hands”. We were afraid that people would be touching him, breathing in his face, or (*gasp) wanting to hold him. I went prepared with hand sanitizer for the really persistant ones, but everyone was on their best behavior. They all welcomed him to church from a distance which made this new mommy very thankful. I really like that church.

Afterwards, we came home to watch some more football. Unfortunately, our pro team didn’t do so hot. It. got. ugly.

But at least we were cute in our gameday gear:

And now we’ve arrived at Monday. I’ve been cleaning the house, entirely sleep deprived all day. The highlight was when I heard the *honk honk of the mail lady and saw that my new cloth diapers had arrived. Woo hoo!

It’s weird what adults get excited about, huh?

We’ve had some other excitement around here, too. Yesterday the pups got to come inside for awhile and hang out with the baby because J had a situation outside to attend to. A poisonous water mockasin was lurking by the porch and we can’t have that, can we? Captain J took care of it (with a shotgun).

We also had a rather huge spider running around the hallway the other night. But after a double (ok, maybe tripple) tap, that sucker was history.

There’s lots of creepy, crawly things in Louisiana.

But we like it here.


What’s Up With Us Wednesday

31 Aug

It’s four o’clock pm and the second cup of coffee I’m sipping on is finally making me feel like a person again. Who knew motherhood was so tiring? Oh, wait…everyone and their sister knows that. Well, I’m really feeling it this week. It is days like these that I wish we were living a little closer to home. It sure would be nice to be able to take K Baby to the grandparents! 😉 If I had that option, I would do things like laundry and school work or perhaps I’d just sleep (I would never waste that opportunity by blogging).

I shouldn’t complain. Little man only woke up once last night to eat! It didn’t matter much, though because I still woke up wondering why he wasn’t waking up. Ha! Oh, the joys of motherhood.

I had to take him to the doctor today because he has some eye goop. Apparently, it’s not a big deal and with the help of some gel, he’ll be good to go in no time. If only I could figure out how to get it in his eye. I wish I could say this is the last of our hospital visits for awhile, but I have to return tomorrow. We should probably just rent out a room in the basement as much as we’re there.

Anyway, we started cloth diapering yesterday thanks to a pal I met here in Louisiana. She let me borrow the diapers she made for her daughter to see if we like doing it and if it’s something that will work for us. Yeah..you read that right…she made them. I was impressed, too. Domestic goddess. 🙂 Her first time sewing…EVER…and she made diapers. Brave woman. We like it so far.

I got a little love from Alaska yesterday when I checked the mail and found this waiting for us:

A bib for Baby K from a bloggy pal- Thanks, lady! My blog has allowed me contact with people all over the country and I’m happy to call you all friends. It means a lot that you all keep up with us which is why I’m writing to you right now, instead of writing a case study for class. It’s called priorities people…I got em!

And just for cuteness sake-

Now, I must run. Other priorities are calling my name (Read: my husband wants Ramen Noodles). I’ll be back before too long…hopefully with more interesting content. It’s just that my brain is barely functioning right now. Forgive me?