Save the Butter Tubs

I Didn't Expect These Flowers for Valentine's

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They say February is Love Month. Images come to mind of heart shaped boxes filled with yummy chocolates, pink and red flowers, cards with cupids, and romantic candlelight dinners.

That is not exactly the month I had. It was filled with love. It just looked differently.

On January 29, 2017 my 93 year-old grandmother fell and broke her femur at her hip. February rolled in while I was sitting at her bedside in a hospital five hours away from my Valentine. By the fourth we were saying our goodbyes as her kidneys couldn’t come back from all that she’d been through. It was a first for me. The first time I had lost anyone I was this close to. I’d lost loved ones before but I quickly learned that the more you know someone, the more you love someone, the more painful it is to say goodbye. Holding hands It was also the first time I had ever laid my hand on the chest of someone taking their final breath. Just days before that, it was the first time I’d ever been in a hospital room where the Rapid Response Team came flooding in ready with the Crash Cart. It was all happening so fast. My heart was breaking into a puzzle and now a piece would be forever missing. I am so thankful for each memory with my grandma. I am equally as thankful for my sister and the memories we made in that week alone.

Yes, February was Love Month! My love came in the form of holding the hand of the strongest woman I’d ever known while sitting with my sister, the second strongest woman I know. I felt love as my sister and I laughed about the pajama pants she brought me to wear for our hospital sleepover the night before my grandmother passed. One leg of the pants were smaller than the other…it was quite a scene. I wore them anyway and we laughed until we cried. Then we cried some more as our hearts filled with reality.

Love came in with my son and his wife, the next morning as my grandma decided to head home to be with her Forever Friend. The four of us counted the seconds between her breaths. She slipped off peacefully into a world where love never ends.

As my sister and I prepared her arrangements the next day, I had a feeling the funeral would be on Valentine’s Day. Sure enough, that is how it fell allowing enough time for family to arrive. I personally found it very fitting; After all, my grandmother had been one of my greatest loves. She taught me so much about life, love and legacy. I am so honored to be writing about it all in my upcoming book. I am of course saddened that she won’t be here to read it, but she lived it.

flowersThe flowers I received this year for Valentine's came when I got home between her passing and the funeral. My sweet husband and daughter had flowers waiting for me. Then of course on Valentine's the flowers were from loved ones, and a beautiful pink carnation casket spray, exactly what Grandma would have wanted. Jewelry this Valentine's was from Grandma as well. My sister, mom and cousin went through my grandmother's vintage jewelry the night before the visitation. I wore some of the pieces to both the visitation and the funeral. I could almost feel Grandma patting my face telling me how she loved the jewelry on me.

We were surprised with another gift of love when we received a phone call from the San Antonio Express News Paper. They wanted to do a feature story on my grandma. Priscilla Aguirre did an awesome job writing this article honoring my grandma.

Love continued to pour in through family and friends as we all said our final goodbyes. One man that worked with my grandma at the Elks Lodge years before, road his bicycle up to the visitation. Who does that? A man touched by my grandmother’s life, that’s who! Such love was felt from all whom attended her services, paid condolences and sent cards.

A sweet friend I call my Tyler grandma, (because we live by Tyler and she does, as well), gave me the sweetest gift. A pretty lace shawl in a gift bag covered with flowers. She said it was a bouquet of remembrance and that each time I wore it she hoped it brought sweet memories of my grandma. Love…that is love…

I am still numb, still grieving but know that as we Spring Forward (Daylight savings thing in Texas) now in March, that my grandma would want me to do the same…spring forward. She always believed that God had the solution to her problems long before she had the problems. I will do my best to spring forward. To get back to writing her book, writing here on my blog and on my hiking blog(we leave for a schedule trip Thursday!!!). I will continue to live as God has called me to knowing that would be exactly what she would have done.

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Big Fat Scary Dreams

There is nothing to writing. All you have to do is sit down at a typrwriter and bleed. I have a dream that scares me. My dream is bigger than me. It's bigger than my education. It's bigger than anything I've done before. Pursuing my dream is stretching me. I feel the tension. My words feel trapped in the thickness. Today, I am taking a deep breath and pushing myself further as I exhale.

Just like when we stretch our bodies, if we take a deep breath, we can stretch a bit further when we exhale. Try it. It's true. Exhaling is like letting go.

I am letting go of this vulnerable feeling. I am letting go of what you might think when you read this. I am letting go of the outcome. We can't control the outcome. What we can control changes and is limited. Today, I can control my actions, my reactions and my attitude. I am choosing to press on toward the goal; toward the calling on my heart.

I don't have all the answers. I don't have to. I just have to trust the one whom does and do the next right thing. My next right thing this morning was this post. Now, the next right thing is to complete a short ebook and get it published this week!

That’s a big fat scary dream…I almost deleted it. What if I don’t get it finished? What if I don’t get it published by the end of the week? Oh, but what if I do? What if I do and it inspires just one person? Either way, it has to come out. The dream has to come out. If it dies within me, a part of me dies. I can’t afford that. I need to be fully alive! Even if it means accomplishing my dream and not one person reads it. I did my part. I followed through.

[Tweet theme="tweet-box-normal-blue"]The dream has to come out. If it dies within me, a part of me dies. I can’t afford that. I need to be fully alive!BH[/Tweet] If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I do have a bigger dream. Yes, I have a dream of publishing a best selling book, Save the Butter Tubs. Ultimately, my dream is even bigger than that. I have so many books inside my head, it’s no wonder I can’t think straight. This week, I will begin to leak those thoughts to the public; My most vulnerable thoughts. My heart will be cut open and I will share. I will take the risk because I believe you are worth it. I will take the risk because I have to. I will purge my words. I will give away a precious part of my soul that I have hoarded for so long.

Fully living is vulnerable and raw. It’s risky. It’s rewarding.

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It's a Themed Party!

I love themed parties! Maybe it stems from one of my former jobs. I was once an event planner for a major hotel chain on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas. It was a fun job! I loved helping people plan and theme their events. I carried that over with my children's birthday parties. One year we had a Fear Factor theme complete with live worms. When we moved to East Texas almost nine years ago, we had a garden party for my daughter. All the children decorated clay pots and signed one large for her, then we planted flowers in them. Decorating the pots served as an activity and the finished product as the party favor. For the past several years, I have themed my years. Most people make New Year Resolutions. I came across, My One Word and loved the idea. Basically, it's like setting a theme for your year. Here are my themes over the last six years:

2012 Worthy 2013 Enough 2014 Uncaged 2015 Covered 2016 Metamorphosis 2017 Clear and Sincere

My Two Words for 2017, Clear and Sincere!

Yes, this year I have two words. I probably would have chosen "clarity" but, while visiting my 93 year old grandmother she spoke "clear and sincere" over me. I told her I was focusing full-time on "her" book. She told me to be clear and sincere so that people will understand it. Those words pierced my heart. For years, I have been struggling with clarity regarding this project. The book is finally taking shape and will be published this year. I can't wait to see her face when she is holding a copy.

Save the Butter Tubs is a joint venture born out of my grandmother's revelation in the middle of the night. In  2010, I was visiting my grandmother. We had a routine in the mornings where I would bring in her paper, while she got her coffee. Then we would chat about how we slept, and the day ahead.  This particular morning, I could tell something was different about her.  She had a childlike expression and almost bursting with excitement, she told me that she woke in the middle of the night, sat straight up in her bed and had a revelation that I was to write a book about all the good in her life.

She handed me a tattered notebook where she had already jotted down some thoughts, “A memory of one person’s pilgrimage (foot steps) through life, memories of my journey of a very full life.” As I read those words, I felt honored, and humbled as if I was touching a piece of precious history…I was. That was the beginning of a new journey for me. I wasn't sure when I agreed that day how any of this would turn out and to be honest, I'm still not. I just know that I can't let it go; That God used my grandmother to confirm the calling he placed on my life five years before. A calling that I avoided because I didn't think I was worthy or enough. I was caged by fear until I accepted God's promise to be my refuge and that His faithfulness would be my armor and protection. (Psalm 91:4).

2016 proved to be a year of metamorphosis, and boy, did I need God like never before! I went from being a full-time college student, to thirty days on bed rest, to a full-time writer. I was headed in a completely different direction until I found myself sick with Lyme Disease. Thankfully, after thirty-one days, I was healed. It's funny that a bug caused my metamorphosis, since it is a term most people use to describe a butterfly changing from a "bug" to a beautiful fluttering creature.

I challenge you, even if you have already made your resolutions (maybe, even already failed at them) to theme your year! Decide what kind of party you want it to be, and then throw yourself a party! I will have a physical party this year, the theme, launching my clear and sincere book, Save the Butter Tubs. Consider yourself invited! Of course, there will be more details to come as things unfold. Stay tuned. The book will be a life changer for those that read it!

Tell me below in the comments your One Word. I'd loved to hear what party you have planned for 2017!