Friday, April 27, 2012

Last year at this time we were getting out of town...leaving for Knoxville where we felt safer from the storms that were coming. In a few hours there would be 70 plus people dead in our region. The following people were lost in the vicinity of our house.

1.  Jo Ann Darnell, 77, 4607 Clonts Road
2. Adam Carroll, 17, 4607 Clonts Road
3. Joshua Poe, 31, 4607 Clonts Road
4. Brenda Prescott, 56, 4607 Clonts Road
5. Mary Raper, 60, 11720 Bates Road
6. Bobby Raper, 63, 11720 Bates Road
7. Donald Christian, 70, 11704 Bates Road
8. Dorothy Christian, 62, 11704 Bates Road
9. Chelsea Black, 16; Cherokee Valley Road
10. Cody Black, 21; Cherokee Valley Road
12. Pamela Black, 46; Cherokee Valley Road
13. Christopher Black, 47; Cherokee Valley Road
14.  Holly Readus, 26; CherokeeValley Road
15. Robert Jones, 47; Cherokee Valley Road
16. Jack Estep, 61; Cherokee Valley Road
17. Rhea McClannahan, 86; Cherokee Valley Road

Monday, April 23, 2012

April 27 is the one year anniversary of the tornado. I received a postcard in the mail saying that one of my neighbors, Bill Hullender, is holding a weekend of celebration and rememberance at his farm. Friday night is a memorial service in one of his barns, where a memorial for those who died will be unveiled, and Saturday is the celebration with free food, music, etc for all the neighbors, first responders, and volunteers. I CAN'T WAIT! Something tells me this is going to be something special and meaningful for the community and I'm so glad he's taken the lead on this. I mean, it's in a barn. What more do you need to hear?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Today I'm thankful that the "good" kids at school always seem to gravitate towards each other. Note Miss Lydia with the flower in her hair, who made the high school dance team for next year :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I received some pretty fabrics from my friend Dayna as a graduation present today. they fit my windows perfectly.
Lydia and Daisy Picture Love

This probably deserves it's own post, but I think it's awesome how I was laid off a year and a half ago and somehow, without planning it this way, I am starting a job on the very last day I am eligible for unemployment. For the past year and a half I have earned credits towards my AA degree I will have this summer,  and the nursing program which is the ultimate goal, while being able to spend so much more time with Lydia. To have the CNA program wrap up right as my unemployment was ending, then to land a job immediately (really close to home) was something I couldn't have arranged on my own.

My Life is Sooooo Glamorous

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Easter Truth

You saw my pretty Easter pictures right? Looks like we had a great day by all accounts, and it WAS good in the long run. It just didn't start that way. First, on a day when people who don't normally go to church, go to church....Lydia and I (who usually go to church) did NOT go to church. You got that? We did watch it online though. In an effort to do something special I suggested a picnic, but we jumped the gun and were at the park with footlongs by 10:30. I was so anxious to get out of my filthy house that we fled without looking at the time. We sat in the wet grass by the river and swatted nats and smooshed ants and force fed ourselves meat sandwiches. I complained that Lydia got too dressed up. She complained that I complained. Finally I gave up, so the first part of the day was the lost portion of our Easter.

warm mayo and onions. mmm mmm mmm!!!

I should've heeded this warning...just didn't realize it was metaphorical.

So I headed aimlessly downtown, where Lydia spotted that the fountains were running, thus beginning the redemption of our day.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cutting Back

I don't like to make sacrifices financially. Of course, I can't have everything I want because it's not monetarily possible, but I have to admit that even when I'm facing rough financial times I very rarely cut back on things like eating out, buying beauty products, or reducing the amount of electricity we use. Lately though, the stress of being less than fiscally responsible is taking it's toll. I think I've finally gotten to the point where I'd rather do without something and instead be able to pay my electric bill without heavy negotiations with the power company. This has led me to some serious considerations about what needs to go for awhile.

1.) Coffee. I can drink cheap coffee and forgo those Keurig K-Cups I love so much.  I've convinced myself that travel mugs make my coffee taste like plastic or metal, but in reality this is probably just rationalization for that cup of Dunkin' Doughnuts on my way to school.

2.) Contrary to what I've told myself, turning off lights and fans before leaving the house is not really that much of a buzz kill.

3.) Generic beauty products are ok even for Lydia (gasp).

4.) It's ok to just have basic, local cable channels.

5.) I can't continue to eat out. It's ridiculous and probably drains most of my money.

6.) I may not like the clothes I have now, but I don't need more especially when half my life is spent in scrubs.

So now that I've told you these things, I fully expect you to call me on it if you see a Starbucks cup in any of my photos.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Congratulations Graduate

Graduate...That would be me :)

Lydia deserves this certificate as much as I do. She was patient and never complained about her mom being gone to classes in the evening.

My graduation present from Lydia


I TOLD Lydia not to make faces in these pictures, but she couldn't resist.

Could anything be MORE stereotypically Tennesseean?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

This picture from iCarly just makes me laugh every time the introduction to the show plays. Spencer is my favorite.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Community Supported Agriculture

I am seriously considering joining a CSA this year. If you're not familiar with a CSA program, the idea is that you pay a fee upfront to a local farm (or farms) and are provided with a box of fresh produce every week. Its a little risky because you pay a lump sum up front, and don't ever know what you'll get from week to week. Factors like draught, storms, etc can impact the types and quantities of vegetables that you'll get. Making the investment in local, organic farmers and in return being forced to try new vegetables and figure out new ways of cooking the old ones sounds like a win-win to me. Does anyone have experience with this?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Dear Connie,

Thinking of you as I do quite often, but especially in April. This time each year is the only time I ever think of you and feel sadness. The other 11 months...well...I remember Brent. I remember that one of my dearest friends lost her son so unexpectedly. The fact is stored in a shallow area of my consciousness, always close enough to the surface to never, ever forget. April is for a different kind of remembering though, because in April I remember the day. I remember hearing your voice on the other end of the phone, uttering words that a mother shouldn't have to say about her child, and this memory imprints itself deeply enough upon my heart that I again vow to myself, "I will not forget him. I will not forget her pain."....and I don't.

Even in the short amount of time I've spent with you since April of 2006, I have seen beauty grow into the cracks and crevices of pain that used to be gaping holes, and maybe to you they're still gaping holes, at least at times. When I was there last spring, your laughter and smile meant more to me than they used to. Even when you belted out the words to that ridiculous country music song in the car and I thought my ears would bleed, it still made my heart happy. This was because I know that YOUR laughter and YOUR song can only come from a place inside you that our creator poured himself into. Who would God be if he wasn't all up in our pain? I know he does all things well, but what's more fascinating than the way he weaves himself into our pain, somehow sewing us up with more of Himself than was there when we THOUGHT we were whole?

So, dear Connie, I will not forget Brent. I will not forget your loss. I will not forget your beauty. I will not forget poop and rocks. I will not forget your family, but especially not in April.

With all my love - Jennifer
I will however try to forget how I looked with bangs

Sunday, April 1, 2012

This is what Lydia is up to for her Spring Break.

My Favorite Things...From Around the House

Quilted Throw - Gift from Mom
This owl oil warmer from Bath and Body Works and this historically clothed Native American baby from a thrift store in Alabama. Historical accuracy of this outfit is up for debate, but it's cute. By the way, what's wrong with this picture?
Potholders - Gifts from Mom again
Daisy Mae - Wondering what I'm doing.
Flea Market Kitchen Timer
Lazy Kittie
Vintage Luggage and Coleman Lantern from a flea market
Lamp - Marshalls


This is my sister-in-laws brother Michael holding my nephew. Michael was seriously injured in Afghanistan last week. Your prayers for his family would be appreciated.
I got to take some pictures of him and his brother at my brother's wedding in Illinois last year. I was surprised he smiled. I don't know why. I guess because military guys are always serious looking in pictures.
Please pray for his wife, mother, kids, and the rest of this family. Apparently a fellow soldier of his died that day.