Wednesday, December 31, 2014


At 2am this morning, we slept through the 35th anniversary of  Bobby's wreck.

I was reminded again this holiday season of what a horrific time that was for his family.

We deal with the daily grind stuff that is now routine and "normal" to us and unthinkable to others and the occasional bumps in the road.

His family? They went through horrors that I would not wish on anyone - That am phone call, the ER doctor's blunt "He is alive, but will never walk again.", the medical mistakes, the emotional roller coasters. I cannot imagine my senior year of high school being disrupted by a sibling's accident. I cannot fathom at the age of 12 watching the older brother who constantly picked at me and called me "his little monkey" go through heart-wrenching experiences (This Christmas she talked about the moment she was informed his traction devise actually went through his head). I simply cannot comprehend how hard it was to be the younger brother (who is very different from his older brother) and suddenly feel the weight of expectations that had previously been placed on both brothers, to be the older sister married and not living close by.

We often talk about the fact that many people in his condition wind up in nursing homes because families either cannot (financially or physically) look after them, how many feel or are simply abandoned. Our situation is different. Bobby's current physical condition is a direct result of the consistent and wonderful care-giving from his family. His parents who tag-teamed EVERY SINGLE DAY for 20+years; his siblings who stepped up to the plate and helped out (and still do in emergency situations...along with their spouses) are one of the main reasons why his health is as good as it now.

Unlike some SCI families, we neither mourn nor celebrate this day. It's just a day that was and is - one of those defining moments that forever marks a life as before/after.

But I will say this: the Bryan family was tried with fire...and they're still shining.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Do ya love me?

In an ultimate test of love, my husband sat through TWO nights of High School Musical (one and two) for his 14 year old music loving niece. I couldn't decide which was funnier: her reciting all the lines and singing all the songs, or her 13 year-old brother rolling his eyes and grimacing every few minutes. I had more fun watching the two of them than (intercepted by Bobby's bizarre expressions while watching his niece) I did watching the movies. Though I have to admit the funniest face award went to Bobby when she informed him that she "might" be able to part with her copy of HSM3 which was "the absolutely best ever" and mail it to him once she returned home,  as long as he promised to immediately watch it and return it to the post office (back to her) the next day.

And thankfully, for several years now we have at Smithfield's Chicken-N-BBQ for his nephew's birthday. I think it's safe to say the Chuckie Cheese days are officially over. :)

Christmas decor is all put away. The last December birthday has been celebrated.

And tomorrow. Well, I'll talk about tomorrow tomorrow.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

ever changing

The holidays are always that circular mixture of joy and sorrow. Joy because we have a respite from the "normalicy" of life; of seeing loved ones we don't encounter often; of reminders of why we live and believe - of who we are.  Sorrow because we're reminded of those no longer with us; of seeing time literally pass before our eyes; the reminder of how our barren lives are so very different from everyone else; and the ever present struggle of expectations.

We've laughed a lot this week. From phone calls hearing excitement on the other end to seeing family pictures on Facebook to seeing the shock that an almost 60 year old uncle knew what a "groupie" was (I didn't!) AND had actually seen the movie Mockingjay, we've made a lot of memories this year.

My in-laws were sharing last night how they were shocked the other day to realize someone they thought was incredibly old when they got married was actually the age they are now. And I totally understand that sentiment. It startles and scares and excites me to realize my child-bearing days will in a few years be something of the past. It makes me sad to realize we are "aged out" of the adoption parameters. I realize now my grandparents weren't all that strange when they looked at modern gadgets unimpressed, shrugged, and had simply no desire in it.

This world is ever changing as it spins onward. And yet, as I listened to new songs proclaiming age old truths this morning in church, I was comforted by how some things have never changed in this ever changing world.

Emmanuel - no matter how it is sung or preached, He's still with me. :)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Sunday, December 21, 2014

new Christmas decor

Growing up, one of my many favorite Christmas memories was helping my grandparents decorate their gumdrop tree.  PawPaw would go out into the woods, and come back with what he called a "thorn bush".  It didn't have real thorns on it, but the sticks on the end of each branch were pointed and thick.  He would put it in a dish, pour rocks around it to hold it up, and we'd put gumdrops all over the end of the branches. I thought it was beautiful. And throughout the day, people who liked gumdrops would pull them off and eat them.

Several years ago, while visiting Meadow Lights, they had tiny plastic versions of a gumdrop tree stand. I didn't buy one that night, and we went back later to get one, and they were sold out. The next year, we went early, and she said they were only able to get five and they sold the first day. I tried to find some online, but didn't have any luck (at least nothing in the price range I wanted to pay). 

This year I had the crazy idea that all these tree jewelry stands would work. So we bought the gumdrops while at Meadow store, and then began the search for the tree stands. Michael's tree were clearly jewelry stands or the leaves were too Halloweeny. So we went to Target. The aisle where the jewelry stands are was EMPTY. I was starting to think this was a lost cause, when I remembered that sometimes they moved jewelry boxes and stands to the end of the aisle.  They had one. It wasn't the one I had in mind, but it works:

And in the perfect craziness of southern weather, the day I was planning to be inside putting up my indoor nativity set, I planted the flower bulbs in white bag above. It was too nice of a day to not be outside, and that job really needed doing. So my large inside nativity set isn't up this year (but my bear and snowmen nativity sets are), but we do have trees. :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


I've often heard/read stories about people who started out as one extreme in their college days and ended up the opposite by the time their children were in college. I've never considered myself one to change core principles, and I don't have children so watching and teaching a maturing teen certainly doesn't enter into the fray.  Perhaps groups have changed their positions, so I'm really still the same and others have simply moved to more extreme positions. Whatever the reason, I find myself on the fence or somewhat over the fence on many political issues these days.

Topics like gun control, mental illnesses, police brutality, government overreach, public education, homeschooling - more and more I find that my views don't line up with people I know. And I'm okay with that, but what shocks me is how vitriolic people are when you dare to disagree with them on the smallest of points. It's almost as if our nation with its free speech principles is actually unable to handle free speech. Have we become so insecure in who we are that anyone who dares to slightly disagree with us is a hater or delusional?  Some days it seems we can't have a decent debate or conversation with anyone who thinks even the least bit different from our viewpoint.

I don't think you will ever see a book from stating how I became a liberal. No one will be more shocked than me if that happens! But if someone were to ask me today, I would probably classify myself as a moderate. And I never thought that would happen. And for the record, my liberal friends would still rank me as a right-wing conservative, but my right-wing conservative friends wouldn't classify me in their ranks if we ever had a heart-to-heart conversation.  That sentence makes me laugh a little. And I'm okay with that. I'm still who I've always been, though I like to think a little wiser.

It'll be interesting to look back in thirty years and see where my fence post stands in the ever-changing landscape of viewpoints.

Monday, December 8, 2014


My brain is always thinking of projects for the future - quilt patterns to make one day, a different way to decorate, something new I'd like to learn, etc.
My body is telling me - do it now.
Very contradictory messages.

The night before we headed to Alabama for Thanksgiving, I began having muscle pain in my thumb/wrist area. Not the stiffness I have in my knees, but muscle weakness (as in it I couldn't grasp anything with my thumb and it had little tingling and sharp pains). While there, and after a few nights of waking up in pain, we bought a thumb/wrist support splint, and that helps some. But the support means you basically can't bend your thumb, which eliminates a lot of activities.

After we returned home, I started taking some different vitamins (ones that are supposed to help joints). Today is only day three, but I've already noticed some difference. (Down side is I'm having headaches again, though that could be due to the change in weather.)

The craziness of all this is it makes me feel like I need to do as much as I can while I can because I fear one day my hands will be arthritic like Mom's are and it will hurt too bad to do activities like quilting and drawing. While attending a lecture at the history museum last month, I saw this quilt on display:

 So instead of marking things OFF my list, I'm adding to them.

 A close-up of the block...trying to figure out how it's assembled.

 I think I've almost got it figured out (piecing directions), but not necessarily the sizes of fabric needed to be cut.  Bobby says if I show him the picture, he can draw out the pattern. The scary thing is, he probably can. And he's never quilted.