Friday, September 18, 2015

The Post I've Been Trying to Write for a Year

One year ago this morning, I woke up to a text that said, "I'm OK. It's not me." A couple of years earlier after a local officer was shot and I couldn't reach Chris, he agreed to text me if there were any incidents over night to let me know he was OK.  I didn't know what had happened when I woke up on September 18th last year but I knew it wasn't good if I was getting that text. I immediately started scanning Twitter for any news of what might be going on. And then I found it: a car had been swept away in the flood waters overnight and the driver was missing. Based on the location of the incident, I knew his shift had been involved in the search. I just wasn't sure how they were being effected by this.

I finally got Chris on the phone about an hour later and what I heard wasn't good. He couldn't tell me what was going on but he was upset. All I was able to get out of him was someone he knew was not OK. The news finally broke on my way to work that the car that had been swept away belong to one of the sheriff's deputies on Chris's shift. As soon as they said her, I knew who it was. Chris had been telling me stories about Hollis, the deputy who had joined the shift right after the new year. More than 36 hours after she went in the water, the body of Jessica Hollis was recovered from Lake Austin.

The next week passed in a blur. There were meetings and memorials. There was the funeral that was attended by law enforcement all over the state. There were tears, lots of them, from grown men who were broken from searching the woods for their partner in the wee hours of the morning. I just remember feeling an ache that I didn't understand. I had never met this person but her death was effecting my family so profoundly. All I wanted to do was hold my husband and my son tight and pray that I never had to experience this again.

One thing that has stuck with me since the funeral is the words of another spouse from the shift, "It is hard not to put yourself in that tent."

The last year has been especially hard for law enforcement. Many claims of police brutally and the militarization of police. Law enforcement being accused of failing to do their job to serve and protect. Officers being targeted simply for wearing a uniform and doing their jobs. I would never ask my husband to quit doing a job he loves but that doesn't mean I don't worry about him or fear for his safety. I don't want to be Mrs. Goforth. I don't want to have other deputies walk Jackson to school on his first day because his dad can't be there. At the end of the day, I just want my husband to come home safe.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Aunt Carol

Carol was my mom's only sister, younger by two years, and as different from my mom as she could possibly be.  The two drove each other crazy but they would do anything for each other. I was named after her and planned to use my middle name for a little girl if I ever had one. 

We lost Carol early Friday morning. 

When I was home last April, we knew something was wrong. We were visiting the college my mom, Carol, and I all attended and she was just out of sorts. By June, we had an answer: ALS. This was devastating news to hear especially since my family had dealt with Alzheimer's in my grandmother for nearly 20 years until she died in 2008. We had no idea how long she would survive or what obstacles we would face. My mom and my uncle stepped to start caring for Carol. They were by her side when she passed. 

My aunt spent most of her career as a school teacher.  She also graduated from seminary and worked as a children's pastor for several years. She was married for a short period of time before I was born. She was a loyal supporter of Judson College. She was more than an aunt to my brothers and me. She cried tears of joy when she watched me walk across the stage at Judson to get my degree. She loved my Jackson. She could always be counted on for a card or a phone call though those were fewer and further between over the last year. She would listen and give advice when I needed it. Sometimes we thought she was a little off her rocker but she just had a different way of doing things.

This weekend has been full of family, friends, and food. A lot of love has been shared and a lot of tears. Carol will be missed by many people but I know my family will feel her absence most of all. Rest in peace, Aunt Carol. You have earned your crown and you aren't hurting now. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Valentine's Day

On his way out the door tonight, Chris apologized for having to work all weekend since that meant we couldn't do anything special for Valentine's Day. I'll admit I'm actually a little bummed about it this year. I'm not really sure why since we aren't normally ones to do anything big for Valentine's Day. I think Chris has had to work every Valentine's Day since we got together so we usually recognize the day but celebrate later. Besides I always hate how hard it is to go to a nice dinner that night because you either need a reservation or have to wait two hours. Our fancy Valentine's dinner is always the Heart Baker pizza from Papa Murphy's (I'm a sucker for a heart shaped pizza). So I don't understand my melancholy this year. I guess the holiday being on Saturday and knowing we could have taken the boys to the Y for Kids' Night makes me sad that we can't actually do anything. Instead we have a play date with a daycare friend and hopefully the boys will cooperate so I can have a semi-relaxing day. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Meet Clay

One thing I don't normally do on this blog is prompt myself or goods that I am trying to sell or anything like.  However, the time has come for a little shameless self promotion of sorts.

I would like you to meet Clay. 

Clay is my big brother (the younger of the two big brothers) and he is participating in the HEB Slimdown Showdown this year. 

For those of you who are Texans, HEB is a Texas grocery store chain that is based out of San Antonio. Each year they host the Slimdown Showdown as a way to prompt healthy living in the new year.  The contestants are put through a Fit Camp at the start of the program and given tools to help them be more physically active and eat healthier. They are asked to blog about their experience through the contest and talk about how their habits are changing and how the program is helping them.

That is where you come in. Clay needs people to check out his blog. To comment. To share it on social media. To do all those fun things people ask you do when they are participating in a contest.

Here is a link to Clay's Contestant Profile:

Here is a link to his first blog post:

If you are from Texas, register to be a part of the community challenge and try to lose weight along with the contestants. I am excited to see what will come out of this for my brother and for the rest of us as we follow long in his journey.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Old School TV

Tell us a *memory* of  watching a specific tv show/movie during your childhood.

My favorite TV memory from my childhood was watching the movies they made a television event. You know back before VCRs and DVDs when Mary Poppins and Wizard of Oz came one once per year.  It was a special occasion. My mom would get TV dinners (that had to be cooked in the oven because we didn't have a microwave then) and we got to eat in the family room in front of the TV. This was a rare treat since I grew up in a house where family dinners were a nightly thing. We all sat at the table and ate together. The one that stands out the most was the year they showed (or I should say tried to show) King Kong in 3D. They sent the 3D glasses out in the local newspaper so everyone would have them for the movie. However, the 3D didn't really work so we ended up ditching the glasses and just watching movie without. But it was so much fun to have nights with my family in front of the TV all watching the same thing and making a night of it. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015


The number 1 thing on my 2015 to do list was buy a new house. We have been in a rental since we sold our house in 2013. While there is nothing wrong with our current living situation, this house always felt temporary. The house met our needs when we had three weeks to move but now more than a year and a half later, I can see the faults in it.  Chris finally agreed with me around Christmas after looking at a picture I took of the Christmas tree where he declared, "This is not our house."  Since then, he has been a man on a mission to find "our house." 

We started the house hunt at the beginning of January. For three weeks, we spent hours touring houses and attending open houses.  We found houses we liked only to have them go under contract before we could see them or put in an offer ourselves. I was printing novels from the MLS and making notes like crazy. Our preapproval was in process. Everything was heading down the path to home ownership.  We just had to find the house.

Last Saturday we had an appointment with our realtor to take a second look at a house we both really liked. Chris would have made an offer at our first viewing. I wasn't sold then but the more I thought about it, I really started to imagine the house as our's. It had a great yard and was in a fantastic neighborhood with amenities galore. The kitchen was newly upgraded and it had all the space I was looking for.  But I just couldn't say yes.  We left the house to go see a new neighborhood that had a few inventory homes I was interested in.  I figured we would look at them and then head back to the office to write up the offer on the other house.

All along I had said we weren't interested in a new house because we didn't have time to wait for one to be built nor the money to put down up front.  An inventory home was a nice idea because it would be ready sooner but we wouldn't get to pick out the features that we wanted.  Imagine my shock last weekend when we sat down with the sales agent to run the numbers and it turned out to be way more affordable then we expected to build a house of our own. I had told Chris on the way to the new neighborhood they would really have to impress me to change my mind on the house. Well, they succeeded. 

After much thought and prayer and a chance to sleep on it, we went back on Sunday to sign on the dotted line.  
Some time between June and August, this plot of dirt and rocks will be our new house.  I'm still. In shock at this is really happening but, boy, are we excited!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My Past Self

What’s something about you today that would totally shock 10 year old you? Why the change?

     At career day in 5th grade, ten year old me dressed up in a hot pink unitard and stated that I wanted to be a dance teacher and open my own dance studio. Ten year old me would be shocked that I don't dance anymore.  Mom put me in dance at age 5 because I need an activity to get my energy out. For the next 12 years, Gale's Studio of Dance was my second home. I would do dance camp in the summers. I would do my homework in the dressing room between classes. It was my life until high school. In high school, I started to branch out and get involved in school activities.  I was in band, a cheerleader, on dance team, and in clubs.  I also started to realize that I wasn't as good of a dancer as others around me and the idea of making dance my life wasn't realistic.  I quit dance half way through my junior year in high school. I was recovering from the chicken pox and I had just found out I made the Azalea Trail Court for the next year. I just didn't have time for it anymore and my teacher resented the fact that doesn't wasn't my sole focus any longer. I dusted off my pointe shoes my Freshman year in college and took Ballet for my PE credits. By then I knew it wasn't my career but I still enjoyed it. Since then, I have danced in a few shows at the University of Mobile and did two years as a Can Can dancer for Wild West Night for the Fort Hood Officers' Wives Club. But extra age, extra weight, and lack of consistent training have taken a toll on my body. I just don't have the stamina for it anymore.  I missing dancing but I'm not sure dancing misses me.