Monday, February 23, 2015

A true love story!

The past eight years have been an interesting ride, but when I tell you I couldn't have done it without my better half, you better believe me!! God put him in my life at the exact moment that I needed him and he never left my side.

I was pretty broken (in more ways than one), when I hopped up on the bar stool at Willie Raes. It was a muggy hot night in July, with my sidekick Cindi by my side. We had been out walking and over to a MHS touchdown club meeting and decided to stop in for a drink. She was trying to cheer me up. Lloyd was there that night, sitting at the bar by himself. There were two empty stools beside him, so Cindi and I sat down. I had met Lloyd from the neighborhood and around town. I also knew his Mom, from the church and Cindi had gone to High School with him, so it wasn't like he was a complete stranger. After a few drinks, I went to the bathroom and that is when my sister decided to play matchmaker....not necessarily with Lloyd. She was asking if he knew ANYONE single that would ask me out- she was desperate for me!! Ha ha- anyone that knows the back story, knows why! Lloyd, said "no, he didn't know of anyone".
San Juan 2006-
My life has a plan!
Then next day while I was at work, I got a phone call from an unknown number. It was Lloyd asking me out! I wasn't sure I was ready, so the next week I made Cindi go with me to eat with him. Well needless to say, somewhere within those first couple of dates, we realized immediately that we were meant to be. I had spent my birthday on the beach just the month before, reading the book a Passion Test and contemplating my life and what would make me happy. I made a list of what I wanted and what I wanted to accomplish in life, I had a plan! It wasn't to find a guy in a bar and marry him within 7 months! It was to make sure I didn't "SETTLE". I was going to look for specific things in my next relationship and I wouldn't waste my time on someone that didn't possess those requirements.



When I met Lloyd, I know that he was what I wanted and with him I could accomplish all that was on my passion list. He made the cut, very quickly. He had the same background as me- grew up in Marietta, raised in the 1st Methodist Church, same ideas about life and family. He understood what my requirements were and they were totally in line with what he was looking for!  By October we were engaged, and February 24th we were married! Our two families had come together and everyone was happy!!
Our blended family! Cape San Blas 2/24/07
Very quickly my dreams started coming true! #1 on my list was to "make a home that my kids wanted to come home to and feel comfortable in" Lloyd took that challenge seriously in his remodel project of our house on Wright Street- everything I have asked for he has built and made into reality! To say he is the most talented person I know, is an understatement!
My kitchen island, cabinets, and door my husband built!
Together we added a #1.1 to my passion list- "to have a place where we can get away from it all, with our kids, grand kids and friends. That place is Towee! So there he is making our dreams come true in the form of a little cabin, a farm, 33 acres, great friends and good times! 
 Lloyd has also been my biggest support system for other dreams I had, even when it didn't involve him. I wanted to make a difference in some small way to women,  to step out of my box follow my dreams, and be a role model for my girls. I tried to accomplish some of those goals with the Pink Suitcase Sisters, Infinity Travel and raising money and awareness for Cancer. Going to training to be a flight attendant was defiantly stepping out of that box and following a dream that had a long time ago been forgotten. Every step I took with my endeavors Lloyd was there cheering me on.

Another top of my list item was to be with a man that my kids respected and could learn from- yes, he passes that test with flying colors! Bradley said it best the other day, "I have tried to explain Lloyd to people, but it is hard. I have never met a man that knows more about everything and can do anything."  He is pretty funny to go along with that! Here in his Egyptian tablecloth shirt and camos, JUST because Kristi and I are making them take a family picture!
Lloyd is my rock, my biggest cheerleader, my cook, my mechanic, my builder, my dryer fixer, my teacher, my gardener, my grits grinder, my love, my everything!

 
I could not have gone through cancer with out him by my side! I know he was hurting for me so bad inside, but he hid it, so he could provide me with the strength I needed from him. He didn't care that I lost my hair or my breast, in fact he still contends to this day that I am prettiest without hair! No other man would have been able to offer me the support and love that he did through that time! No one else could have made me laugh as they shaved my head! Looking back on the pictures of the two of us during that time, I can see his pain and his love so clearly. I saw it when all was said and done and I spoke at the Making Strides Walk and he was standing there crying....I had to look away! There is never a doubt that he loves me! 
Thank you for the security that you instill in my life EVERY day!!
Shaving my hair on Black Friday
Last day of chemo and Valentines Day

Making Strides Walk, after my speech
We have so many blessings in our life and so many more memories to make! Happy Anniversary to my better half!! I love you with all my heart and soul! 
The first grand boy!!

Homer pointing at his baby cousins

The first Grand Girl!

Baby blessings galore

Red Rider BB gun tradition with Papa

My 3 boys- my heart!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015

As I sit here sending out my text messages to some of my special peeps, I realize what this year is to us! Two years ago I was in the middle of chemo and freaking out about cancer. Last year I was recouping from my second shoulder surgery, hoping that it was going to work and wondering if I could go back to the job I loved. THIS YEAR 2015- I find myself healthy (except for this ear infection) and back at work- for a new company, Southwest. I am doing what I love. I have become a "double" Grand Mom this year. We are so blessed and they are precious.

It is also the year that me and all my "way back girlfriends" turn 50. That just blows me away! It seems like only yesterday that me and Kelley would sit and talk in high school about how we wanted to get a convertible Mercedes for our 50th birthday- so stupid but the Mercedes we wanted back then was a current model, not a new futuristic one....not so stupid now, I would still rather have an old classic, than a new one!

 Priorities also change as we get older also, or is it just because I had the cancer scare? Mercedes don't really matter, spending as much time with my love ones and "living" is the most important. (Doesn't mean I wouldn't jump up and down for a convertible) but doing things and making memories with the ones I love is the most important. Last year I gave a journal to Lloyd for Christmas and it has stuff I wanted us to do- my New Years resolution is to start marking off those pages and living life. 50 is an important year and I am so glad I made it here!!

A toast to all my girls turning 50 this year- embrace it and start living it!! To my husband that puts up with me, thanks you are the best, I love ya! To my kids, y'all need to hold tight to those babies, they grow up really quickly! I love y'all!! Happy New Years to all my friends and love ones!








Sunday, November 16, 2014

Thankful- Thanksgiving 2014

2014- Wow what a year and how very thankful I am this Thanksgiving season!!
I might get deep and emotional in this post, so stop ready here if that offends you.

Today I saw my third grandchild being born. This one was extra special because from the time my first born little girl Kristi, was in this world- all I could imagine, was her one day becoming a mother. When I went through the cancer, all I could think of was not being here to live out that dream. Today that milestone was met with open arms. To be there for Peyton's birth and to be standing alongside her sister as she helped to deliver this baby, was incredible. That room was so filled with love- We were all present, Krisit"s sister and best friend Brittany, Me, her dad, her mother-in-love and Bradley, the love of her life. To see this miracle and to experience this love is the most humbling experience.
If anyone says they don't believe in God, they have never been brought to their knees asked and begged for a positive outcome or a miracle, and been given that, AND more! There is no way someone can watch the miracle of childbirth (that is truly the only way to describe it) and not believe it is not guided by God's hand. This morning we saw the presence of God, love, and miracles. For that my life is blessed and my request fulfilled to be here for that birth. How could I be thankful for more?
BUT I AM!!
Not only was I able to be around for Peyton's birth, but God blessed me with Brittany's surprise, Baby Kinsley. I have to say....probably because I am her grandmom, but there is not a better, more precious baby girl, than that one born 4 months (to the day) before Peyton! That little girl holds my heart and
 I am so thankful for her. 16 is now my lucky number!!
7/16/2014 "Baby Girl" Kinsley Carter Howell and 11/16/2014 "P Daddy" Peyton West Horne
Brittany came up with both of the nicknames. The stress of Kinsley's birth and the prayers that were answered on that one- is just another slap in the face that God is real and I have so much to be thankful for!
The third little guy in my Grand Mom trilogy is Homer. What a little man!! He lights up my world- and because God put Lloyd in my life and he is an amazing man, I got my bonus son- Jim who in turn gave me our first grandson Homer- born on our Anniversary. And of course behind any awesome man, is an awesome mother- so there is Janet, my daughter-in-love. I am so thankful to have a son, finally and for that son to be such an awesome, different, child of mine!! I am so thankful for having that little family in our life.
Then other thing that is truly a blessing and I am SO thankful for, is my health. There was a time that I thought this stupid shoulder would never be healed. Or that Stupid Cancer would beat me. This year has proved it different! I healed from my second shoulder surgery and I went back to work!!! YES, I was able to return to a job I love and I am now turning a page and moving on to Southwest and starting a whole new chapter in that novel. (Stay tuned folks!!)
Lastly, all of this would not be possible without the amazing man I have standing by my side. Lloyd was truly a gift from God. He appeared at a low point in my life, he showed me unconditional love, he nursed me back to health through shoulder surgeries and cancer, he cooked for me and encouraged me, and he always supported my crazy dream of being a flight attendant. I know I could never be thankful for all the above things without him standing by my side!!
I am blessed and I am thankful! Thankful to God for all he has given me. There is so much more to mention, but right now: after being up all night birthing a baby, I am too tired to go into detail= I will list just a few.
I am Thankful for:
My Mom- and the time I am still able to spend with her.
My Sister- who I couldn't do without
My Amazing Friends- you all know who you are!!

Thanksgiving 2014 has given me all the blessings I could ask for!! It goes down in the history books for me!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

September 11, never forget

I can't help but think about the events of 9/11, not just because I am now a flight attendant; but because at this moment I am staring at Boston's Logan Airport,  from my hotel. This is where some of the monsters boarded planes with the sole purpose of killing Americans.


I know tomorrow my heart will hurt for the 25 flight attendants killed and their families. I will remember how they were the front line of this attack and how brave and calm they were in the face of this evil. I know I joke about my job and passing the pretzels, but I also take it seriously. I take security and safety seriously.  My heart will hurt for ALL the victims of this attack.

I also know that the threat of another attack is high right now. We, as flight attendants need to be alert and aware of our surroundings. We also need to stand up for our safety and make sure that TSA and DHS are requiring the proper identification for passengers boarding planes. We need to continue the fight to keep knives off the plane. Most of all we need to be alert to odd behavior and security breaches of any kind.

Every year at this time we remember the brutal attacks made on this day in 2001, but we need to remember EVERY day! We need to remember how easily, how calculated and how ruthless these attacks were! Take time to watch some of the broadcast again, or listen to Bety Ong make her phone call. Take a moment to reflect, again. Please never forget. There were so many heroes that day, starting with the flight attendants, and ending with the fire fighters, God bless them all! ..............
8:46
9/11/01


Sunday, August 24, 2014

August 24th- Cancerversary

Today even though I surrounded myself with my love ones and woke up with two of my kids here with their babies, I still woke and had this panicky feeling. Something was off and just not right. I had no clue what it was until I looked at my phone to check my flight schedule. Today was Doom Day, Today was the anniversary of my cancer diagnosis. Lloyd prefers me not to even bring up that day or that anniversary, but it sneaks up on me and takes my breathe, without even knowing. I have spent the past couple of months focusing on work and the girls and their pregnancies, but today the C word came back to haunt me and grab my breathe and sit on my chest. I can't escape the date, I can't not think about it and yes, I think about the fact that I am cancer-free, but it also panics me to remember August 24, 2012.
That day I found out that within a minute, life changes. Life can turn black in an instant. So, it can't be ignored, so let's toast the day my life changed. Cancer, you suck, I beat your ass and I became a new person because of you- now get the hell out of my thoughts I have living to do, here's to all the August 25th's!! Tomorrow is another day and I have too much to be thankful for-

 My mom and my grand baby, Kinsley

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Lucky One at 49

After dodging a cancer bullet, EVERY birthday is special and you appreciate each one that passes. This year is a real special one for me. The one thing that I was worried about missing when I heard I had cancer, was not being able to see Kristi and Brittany have children. Well this birthday I am anxiously awaiting Brittany's first child and then low and behold, Kristi got pregnant too! I was with them both this week and my heart fills with more joy than I could EVER imagine, when I see them and their big ole bellies!!
I normally celebrate my birthday the whole month of June, but between worrying about Kinsley and working, I haven't had time to reflect too much on it until today. That's not to say that when life settles down a bit, that I won't pull out that Birthday "card" and use it somewhere down the road.
Last week seemed like the gopher game at the fair, every time I seem to have one thing figured out, up jumps another gopher. I have to remember that I just have to trust in God and let him hold the hammer and take care of everything....and he did!
My life is so blessed right now! I am back at work doing what I love, I am getting ready to meet my two precious babies, I am married to the most supportive husband, I have the BEST friends and family a girl could ask for, I still have my mama with me, and I am healthy!
There is not another single thing I could ask for on this 49th Birthday!!! This year is going to be the best!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Back...Up up in the air

This weekend, I did something that, for the past two years I didn't think I would be able to do.....I returned to the air! My shoulder had been injured so bad, I didn't think it would ever not hurt. Then, came the breast cancer! The dream I had in 2010, when I put on those wings, felt like it was going to be short lived.

I had dreamed of flying since I was a little girl. I thought it was so cool that my dad built planes. My other friends had more money and their dads were Dr's or lawyers, but that didn't hold a candle to the fact he worked at Lockheed. I was more impressed with his job. Every time I heard the C5-A come screeching across the sky and rattling the windows, I would run outside to look. I still to this day, lift my head every time a plane from Dobbins is flying over my house. The highlight of my childhood was when the Blue Angles were in town and Missy and I would climb on top of my roof to watch them. They felt so close we would duck down when they got near. One year my brother took us to the base to watch them and I felt like I had died and gone to heaven!

 I didn't know anything about commercial flying, so I can't say the dream was to be a flight attendant...just to fly. I struggled to find out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I thought briefly about the armed services, but I was scrawny and didn't think I could make it through one day of boot camp, since I loathed to run!! I thought about teaching, but since I hate math, as much as running, I didn't think I was qualified to teach a 1st grader anything!! As I got in high school and the thought of traveling to far away places, intrigued me, I thought being a flight attendant would be cool. I would wear a uniform, like the military, tell people what to do, like a teacher and get to fly- like I wanted to do.

Several times during my life, the opportunity came up to apply with the airlines, but it was never the right time. Until 2010- April 28th, I graduated from 4 weeks of training with the greatest group of people!



After two shoulder surgeries, countless hours of physical therapy, two breast cancer surgeries, 8 chemo treatments, and a week of re-training- I pinned my wings back on Friday and took to the skies!
My first trip was with one of my favorite classmates, Hillary and Ashlee (some random crazy girl we had never met, who is now our bff).  We had awesome layovers in Washington DC and Raleigh, my stomach hurts from all the laughing!



Being a flight attendant is something that is not for everyone. You have to be able to adapt and be flexible. Tuesday was my day off, but we had a mechanical problem and couldn't get home Monday night. Most people would not be able to handle that uncertainty. You also have to have a personality to change someones attitude around, even when they are totally pissed off at you or a situation. I have to say, I love what I do. It is not something that takes alot of brain power- (getting the head count is by far the hardest thing for me. Ha ha) but it takes alot of personality, adaptability and mental fortitude. Plus, we are able to rescue and save your butts in a moments notice.

We are trained as, teachers, nurses, paramedics, boat captains (I hope to never have to use that skill), police officers, waitresses, counselors, hotel connoisseurs, etc. I am so happy to be back up in the air and I thank my husband for being supportive of this career and my family for being understanding when I miss Easter, or Christmas or other important events. I am truely blessed with my life and I thank God for it everyday!!