New Year……Live In The Moment

Why is it that at the end of every year we think things are going to be different as the year ends and a new one begins?  I get sucked in each year to the whole “putting the past year behind us, fresh start, new beginnings, new you, out with the old in with the new” crap.  But, here I am thinking and talking about it like it really matters that we are going from 2015 to 2016 and something magical is going to take place just because of that!  Is that cynical sounding or what?  HA!

After 43 years of “new years” I know that just because one year ends and another one begins it doesn’t change anything.  It is just a starting point for so many people (me included) that decide to try to change things and make improvements in your life; especially not wanting to repeat behaviors or mistakes from the previous year.  We try so hard to put our best foot forward in the new year; taking the bull by the horns, setting goals and fulfilling those said goals.  I do it every year…..make resolutions only to usually fall flat on my face after a couple of weeks.  I can say each year, that it is going to be different, but it isn’t.

The truth is none of us knows what the coming year holds for us.  You can look ahead and make plans and set goals only to realize that you will never achieve those goals because of circumstances out of your control.  That has been a lot of my problem the past few years.  I set some realistic goals but no matter how realistic, sadly, I have yet to fulfill any of them.  I am a planner and yet, because of Hannah and her health issues, planning is just not something I can do.  I truly have to live moment to moment and take it all one day at a time.  So, this year I am not going to set goals or make plans to achieve something big.  I am going to learn instead to live in the moment.  Take each day as it comes and learn to be thankful for this season.  I have failed miserably this past year on being thankful and content and I want to definitely work on that this year and just accept that my life is what it is and no planning, no dreams, no goals, no resolutions and the fact that the year is changing is going to change any of our circumstances.  The ONLY thing I can change is the way I look at my circumstances.

With that said, we do have a few BIG changes happening this year that we are looking forward to.  Along with those big changes will come a period of major stress but in the end it will be a good thing with definite new beginnings.

Life is messy, life is hard, life is busy, life is a struggle, life is…….a gift and we need to live each day moment by moment; relishing the good and the bad because let’s face it; none of us are guaranteed tomorrow.  So today, I plan on taking each challenge as they come and yes, even though they may get me down or make me sad I will do my best to find contentment in those times and just live through it, take deep breaths and be thankful that I have a life to live and not worry about tomorrow……just live in the moment.

Happy-New-Year-Images.

Until next time………

Advertisements

My Christmas Wish

This will most likely be my last post until the first of the year.  The main reason for that is I am just too weary to write.  Too weary and worn to do much of anything except what has to be done.  Possibly a little depressed and only focusing on the things and people who need my undivided attention.  Hannah is in a bad place again and just regressing more and more each day.  It is truly a daily rollercoaster ride.  She can be happy one minute and angry seconds later.  Then sad, then angry, then happy, then sad, then manic, then happy, then angry….well, you get the picture.  She is extremely aggressive and gets agitated very easily.  I made the comment the other day that I am raising a mountain lion instead of a child.  My heart is shattered and my spirit is worn.

I keep praying for a Christmas miracle…..a complete healing for Hannah.  I know God can take His mighty and merciful hand, reach down from Heaven and touch Hannah and heal her.  I know and I believe with all that I have HE CAN DO THAT!  I beg him daily and plead on my face and knees that He will.  So far, His answer has been wait……it could be no but I prefer to think He is asking me to just wait.  There is no one I love more on this planet than Hannah.  I love my husband and he and I have talked about this often.  The love you have for your spouse is a completely different love than you have for your child.  I didn’t know this kind of love existed until I had Hannah.  It is an aching, hurting love…..(hence the main reason I only had one child as I didn’t want to love like this again).  There is NOTHING I wouldn’t do for Hannah.  If I could take this from her, I would in a second!  I would take the pain, the sickness, the misery, the anger, sadness, anxiety…..I would take it all without hesitation!  It makes me think of the love God had for His only son, yet He allowed Jesus to be born of a virgin here on this earth for the sole purpose of dying a painful, horrific death for you and me.  If that isn’t love….the willingness to sacrifice your ONLY begotten son for sinful people in an evil world; then I don’t know what is.  I will be honest, there is no way in hell I would sacrifice Hannah for anyone!

The Bible tells us in John 16:33 –  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  You see, we aren’t promised an easy life.  We aren’t promised rainbows and flowers.  What we are promised is peace through the Lord and the assurance that He has overcome this evil, nasty, sick world and one day none of this will matter!  I cling to that this Christmas.  I cling to His promise in Deuteronomy 31:6 which says: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  I am so thankful for the promises and the assurances of His love for me no matter what life throws my way.

So, my Christmas wish is this:  A perfect healing for Hannah but if that doesn’t come I pray that whatever reason we are going through this that the Lord uses it for His glory…..for eternity.  That someone will come to know Him because they see His faithfulness, His mercy, His grace and His peace portrayed through Dennis and me.  It is not by our hand that we have been able to walk this difficult journey…..it is totally because of God’s hand and strength that He alone provides.  I guarantee you that if I was alone in this, without Christ, I would not be doing this……I would have given up a long time ago.  I am weak, but HE is strong!

My other Christmas wish is for each of you.  That no matter what you are going through or might go through in the future that you look to Christ for your strength and peace.  Don’t depend on yourself or others to meet a need that only Christ can meet.  He is there, always….through everything and you only need to call on Him.  I promise, He is the only one you can totally depend on in this life and you know what I have learned…..He is ALL you need!

I wish US all peace, love, health and happiness in 2016!  Merry Christmas and I will “see” you next year!

Blankinchip-19

 

IMG_4685

Until next time…………..

Pride……Learning to Swallow It

Pride……it can be a nasty thing.  It gets in the way of so much.  There is a difference between being proud and being prideful.  Being proud is not a bad thing.  I have friends and family members who are proud of their military service and they should be; I am proud of them.  I have friends and family members who are proud of their spouses and kids for accomplishments, which is great.  People should be proud of the things they or others accomplish but being prideful has no place in our lives.  Being prideful brings out arrogance and selfishness and can be devastating to you and those around you.

I have been full of pride.  Too prideful to ask for help.  Too prideful to admit defeat.  Too prideful to say I can’t do this alone.  For ten years I have been prideful and now I am learning to swallow it and ask for help.  I am learning that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness; it is a sign that you care more about what is going on in your life and caring for the issues at hand than how it makes you look or feel.  Pride is a lie you tell yourself.  Pride is something that you use to mask and cover up what is really going on.  Being prideful gets you no where and in all reality it puts you in such an isolated place that when you do finally need to swallow it and ask for help; you have even more difficulty reaching out and asking for that help than you would have if you had just done it to begin with.

I never ask for help.  I really never in my life have.  I have always been so independent (even to the extreme that if I had asked for help, I would have saved myself a lot of heartache years ago, but knowingly refused to ask for the fear of looking weak).  It takes everything I have to admit I am not capable.  Everything I have to admit I can’t do it alone and everything I have to pick up the phone and ask someone to come in and rescue me.  I don’t like being the victim; I would rather be the hero.  I don’t like receiving; I would much rather be the one giving.  So asking for help, is absolutely the worst thing for me to do…….I hate it; but it has come the time to do it.

I have had to reach out to a handful of people and ask for their assistance with Hannah.  I am with her 24/7 and handling her with her extreme aggression, anxiety and depression right now is really difficult especially in the evenings when it comes to bathing her, giving medications and the bedtime routine.  If Dennis is home, we have our routine down.  He does some of the things with her and I do the others.  When it is just me, it is extremely difficult.  I usually get it done and wind up injured and in tears once I get Hannah to bed.  Dennis has been working a lot lately in the evenings and that isn’t his fault since he is working to provide for our family, but it is hard.  I finally broke down and asked several people…..my mom, my sister-in-law, my 2nd mom Adrienne, Hannah’s therapist and my neighbor to help.  So, each evening Dennis is working I have a different person coming in just to be here in case Hannah gets aggressive.  Is it easy for me?  No!  I am a “do-it-myself” person but I have learned that sometimes you just can’t do it alone.  That lesson is nearly 44 years in the making.  See, God has used Hannah in so many ways to teach me important lessons.  This one…..swallowing my pride, has been one of the most difficult ones to learn!

Please continue to pray for us.  Life is hard.  This PANDAS flare that Hannah is in, plus her low iron issue and all the other issues she has going on has taken its toll on her, Dennis and me.  I want more for us; but right now that isn’t to be and we are just taking it one day at a time praying for a healing miracle for our sweet little girl who deserves to live her life happy, joyful and at peace!

For now though I have no room for pride in my life……instead I choose to swallow it, ask for help when needed and appreciate the fact that others are willing to help.

Until next time………..

It’s Okay…..Not To Be Okay

I had my dear friend Donna gently remind me today that it is truly okay not to be okay.  In a world where we want everyone to think we have it all together and have no problems or struggles admitting to not being okay is difficult.  I admit…..I am not okay.  Life is hard.  Marriage is hard.  Caregiving is REALLY hard.  Being everything to everyone else is hard because the #1 thing you don’t do is take care of you.  I forget to eat.  I don’t make time to exercise.  I don’t get out and have “me” time.  I don’t have a hobby.  I don’t do anything except what absolutely has to get done.  My house is not decorated for Christmas and I have no desire or motivation to do it.  We have a little tree that I put on the Living Room floor on Sunday and I only have that because a dear friend of mine in Nashville sent it to me last year when I took down our big tree and Hannah had a meltdown of tears.  She sent me that little tree (it took all of 5 seconds to put up on Sunday) to help Hannah throughout the year.  That tree has turned out to be my biggest blessing this Christmas Season as Hannah actually smiled when she saw it.

As Dennis told me today....."size doesn't matter!" HA!

As Dennis told me today…..”size doesn’t matter!” HA!

I am not okay, but I will be.  I am struggling, but it isn’t forever.  I am sad, but one day joy will return.  I am anxious, but soon I will be at peace.  How you might ask?  Because I know who holds my future.  I know my eternity is sealed.  I know that nothing that happens here on earth is going to matter one day.  I am assured that nothing and no one can separate me from the love of Jesus and that even through the valley and difficult times; He is right there leading me, guiding me and giving me everything I need to carry on.  Life sucks…..let’s just be blunt.  Life is not fun and in all honesty I truly miss LIVING, but this journey we are on has a purpose; one I do not understand but I am willing to trust my Lord because He does understand and He knows the reason.  He knows I am not okay.  I cannot hide that from Him, even though I wouldn’t even try.  No one knows my heart, my thoughts or my feelings like He does.  I truly don’t share everything; even though you probably think I do.  I keep lots and lots bottled up inside but God knows.  He also knows my limits and He will give me just the right amount of grace and strength that I need so I don’t go over the edge….not completely anyway!  HA!

It is okay, to not be okay.  It is okay not to be happy and joyful all the time.  It is okay to be sad.  It is okay to grieve and struggle.  It is okay to cry.  Cry for a moment then press on.  I saw this the other day and it spoke volumes to me:

677a0c0cf78e32b7b5d114ecab5290b9

If anyone out there is struggling, please know you are not alone.  You have a Heavenly Father who loves you so much and He will never leave you….He will always be there even when you are at your lowest.  Call out to Him…..He will give you what you need; you only need to ask.

This is not the life I want and I tell the Lord that daily.  I beg and plead with Him to change our circumstances and heal Hannah.  But…..you know what?  At this time His answer has been no.  Perhaps it is just wait and soon He will answer with a YES, but until then I have learned it is truly okay not to be okay and I am learning that some days all you can do is take baby steps……one day none of this will matter as there will be no more sickness, no more pain, no more tears, sadness or death.  What a day that will be…..until then, I will rest in Him and acknowledge I am not always okay.

Until next time………..

Are You There God?

I will be honest, the past two weeks have been hell.  The 3 months and 13 days of having my sweet, loving, happy little girl back have become a distant memory already.  It feels almost as if a cruel joke has been played on me…..having the “old” Hannah back and then ripping her away and changing her literally overnight into an aggressive, sad, angry, ticking time bomb.  I have the scars (physical and emotional) to prove it.  Here we are at what is supposed to be the “happiest time of the year” and I am so broken and so very sad.  I don’t even have a tree up, no decorations, presents are purchased but they are jammed in a closet and I have no motivation to wrap them.  It doesn’t feel like Christmas and in all honesty, I would rather forget it is.  I know that is the epitome of “bah-humbug,” but I’m just not feeling it this year.

I have to admit that I have asked God several times over the past 2 weeks if He had forgotten us.  I have looked up to Heaven in tears and asked why and I have begged and pleaded with Him to take this and change it or at least make something good come from it.  At this point He hasn’t answered……I know sometimes His answer is “wait,” and I am really trying but I am so broken and so torn and so very sad.  I want to celebrate this time of year.  I want to take Hannah to see Santa.  I want to go to Christmas parties and do all the fun things that families get to do; but we can’t take her anywhere…….

I started yesterday really questioning God and I even spoke out loud that I wondered if He was still there.  I spoke it out of sadness and frustration because I know with all I have in me that He is there.  So, I started looking around and I found Him.  I didn’t find Him standing there physically but I found Him in other ways:

  • A text from my dearest friend Tammy that said, “I want  you to know that I love you.”
  • Our dear friends (and Hannah’s Godparents), Frank and Melanie, who drove an hour to keep Hannah for us last night so we could attend a wedding and a Christmas dinner.
  • A gift and card in the mail for Hannah (a new Barbie) from her sweet Great Aunt Ann in North Carolina.
  • A hug and shoulder from my sweet friend Susan at the wedding last night who showered me with the sweetest love and compassion.
  • People asking about Hannah, with love and concern.
  • My neighbor Nina offering to come sit with me next week in the evenings while Dennis is working to just be here in case I have problems with Hannah.
  • A Facebook Message from my friend Danette in Atlanta telling me she was praying for me and quoting  2 Corinthians 4:8-12:
    8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
  • A time of laughter with my brother’s Homicide co-workers last night at their Christmas party that allowed me a few hours to forget about my reality!  They made me an honorary Homicide Team 1 partner (my dream of being a detective finally came true).  HA!
  • 6 days with my lifelong dearest friends last week which I needed desperately.  They love Hannah like she is their own and even witnessed some of the aggression.  They loved on me, prayed with me, made me laugh and helped with Hannah to give me a break.  They allowed us to just come in their home and practically take over.  I had the chance to catch up with the entire family and I cried knowing God instrumented our friendships 35+ years ago knowing that they would always be there through thick and thin with arms wide open ready to see me through anything.
  • Having the opportunity to see my friend Donna (who I met at CCI when her son Andrew and Hannah were training to get their companion dogs).  We hadn’t seen each other in 2 1/2 years and God orchestrated that happening knowing I needed her outlook on life.  If there is anyone I admire, it is Donna.  She is a single mom, with a precious daughter and a son with spina-bifida.  Donna is graduating nursing school next week and has done it all alone for years.  She laughs at life and has more joy and humor in her pinky finger than I have in my whole body.  She loves Jesus but is also the most authentic person I know.
  • Waking up this morning to 2 more Facebook Messages checking on me.
  • Daily texts messages with pictures of Henny attached from Henny’s Puppy Raisers.  My favorite moments of the day!
  • Dennis receiving a text from one of my 2nd moms Adrienne telling him to bring a cooler bag to church as she has lunch for us today.
  • A sweet gift in the mail for Hannah yesterday from Jennifer; someone who I knew years ago…..a little token of love from an unsuspecting friend.
  • Sweet comments and messages on Facebook as I pleaded for prayer for Hannah and us a few days ago.  Comments I wish I could respond to individually because they were so heartfelt.
  • A Pediatrician, Dr. Kim who responded to my many text messages last week in love.  A Pediatrician who is baffled by this flare as much as we are but who is determined to stick with us and help us through it.  She has reached out to other doctors for us and has squeezed us in her busy schedule this week so she could look at Hannah herself and see what she can do.  A doctor who truly isn’t just a pediatrician to us, but our friend……my angel sent by God.

I could keep going and sharing more…..but, as I look at each of these things I see God.  He is there but in the form of cards, messages, friendships, doctors, gifts, food, hugs, text messages and laughter.  He is in all of those things I just needed to step back and look for Him.  It doesn’t “fix” our problems and in all honesty I am still sad but it helps to know that we aren’t forgotten…..that He is there and reveals Himself in our daily lives.  Yes, I want answers and a cure but at this time at least I know I am not forgotten and He is there…..for now that will keep me going.

My friend Donna and me.....so very grateful for this time we had together!

My friend Donna and me…..so very grateful for this time we had together!

 

My lifelong, best, most loyal friend Tammy.....no time, no distance, no circumstances ever get in the way....we always pick up right where we left off!

My lifelong, best, most loyal friend Tammy…..no time, no distance, no circumstances ever get in the way….we always pick up right where we left off!

 

Mike, Hannah and Boo (Michelle, but we have always called her Boo). The most giving, selfless, loving people you could ever meet. So thankful for them and the friendship we share! This was a really good moment with Hannah! She LOVES them!

Mike, Hannah and Boo (Michelle, but we have always called her Boo). The most giving, selfless, loving people you could ever meet. So thankful for them and the friendship we share! This was a really good moment with Hannah! She LOVES them!

Until next time……….

Practice What You Preach

DISCLAIMER:  Apparently after I wrote and published this post it came out that the story that has been trending for almost a week about Tim Tebow and Olivia Culpo was untrue.  So, for the negative things I said about Olivia in this post, I apologize.  I did say in the blog that the reason I was writing about it was because it was the #1 thing trending and Olivia “supposedly” dumped Tim…..so even I was unsure the story was completely true.  With that said, except for  my negativity towards Olivia I stand by what I wrote.  There is a double-standard in America and even though this story was not true Tim Tebow was criticized harshly because of his vow of celibacy.  I think if nothing else this false story got people talking and thinking….and that isn’t always a bad thing.  Yes, it was hurtful I am sure to the parties involved and their families and whoever started the rumor should be ashamed; but it did start communication about an issue that I believe is important.  I don’t care what your religious beliefs are and what you think is right or wrong.  What I am referring to is each person’s choice to have convictions and not be criticized for them.  I do think if abstinence was taught our country would have less unwanted pregnancies and STD’s, especially in our youth.  Tim Tebow is a role model and if nothing else this story brought a positive light to the man he is and if nothing else good comes from this perhaps it will help some young people out there deciding for themselves what is right for them.  With that said…..I did believe that the story had merit and I am not too proud to admit that I was wrong to believe everything I hear in the media but again……the issue at hand should be talked about more no matter what your religious or political preferences are.  Abstinence should be able to be discussed without criticism for those choosing to do it.  Peace!

We have all heard the saying “practice what you preach.”  I grew up hearing that and most of the time it was said because someone’s actions didn’t measure up to their talk.  There is usually a double-standard and it is frustrating, especially if it is someone you look up to and admire.  If we all want people to practice what they preach then WHY are we (not me but some people) condemning someone for doing just that?  Why would we not applaud someone for living the life they talk?  Walking the talk and talking the walk?  Shouldn’t that person be admired instead of condemned regardless of what that talk/walk is?

If you haven’t guessed I am talking about the #1 thing trending this week…..Tim Tebow and his breakup with former Miss Universe Olivia Culpo.  Now from all the media this has received, Olivia “supposedly” dumped Tim because he held his abstinence vow to the Lord and refused to have sex with her.  REALLY?  I mean, how dare he hold true to a vow?  How dare he refuse to sleep with his girlfriend because he wanted to honor a celibacy vow that he made to God?  Let me interject here with this too……Tim has never been silent on this issue.  Olivia KNEW about this vow before she entered in a relationship with him; why bother even getting into the relationship knowing that, unless your main goal was to make him break it?  The only thing I have gotten out of this whole media frenzy is that Olivia was the Delilah to Tim’s Sampson!  Fortunately for Tim, he was able to practice what he preached and not cave into the demands of a woman who most likely would have dumped him anyway once he lost his most valuable possession, his virginity.

This is what the whole story tells me, a 43-year-old woman who wished I had held on to my virginity…….

Good for Tim Tebow.  It shows that there is a man out there who holds true to vows.  He cares more about what God thinks than anyone or anything else.  He realizes his body is a temple and has decided to save himself for a woman who will love him and respect him; a woman who God has already chosen.  I have to say, there are very few men out there that can resist a woman who looks like Oliva Culpo…..I mean, have you seen her?  She is gorgeous, but I believe Tim is not as concerned with a woman’s outward appearance as he is with her inward appearance.  I can only speak for what I am assuming as I haven’t set down and had a heart to heart with Tim; but I am pretty sure that is an accurate statement.  Not that outward looks aren’t nice, I am sure Tim noticed them but he wasn’t fooled enough by them to let go of the vow he made to God.  For that I stand in even more admiration than I did before.

Here is the thing…..Olivia Culpo….YOU screwed up!  Here you had a man who would have been in it for the long haul.  A man of honor, a man of value, a man who knows how to honor a commitment.  Let’s not even begin to talk about his looks…..HELLO people…..I am a 43-year-old woman and the dude is HOT!  Don’t get offended…..Dennis knows I think that and he is good with it!  I mean, he has a thing for Carrie Underwood.  The bottom line is this……Tim Tebow has set the bar high and I pray that he will be able to stand tall and strong.  He has faced many hurdles and yet, the Lord has taken care of him because He has honored Him in everything.  Temptation will be thrown his way (Olivia Culpo) and so far Tim has been able to withstand.  Could he fail, absolutely and would the media and tons of people have a field day with that, oh you better believe it!  People love to hate Tim because of what he stands for and they would LOVE nothing more than to see him fail.

So, here is what I am going to do.  I am going to pray for Tim.  I am going to pray that he is able to stay strong when faced with temptation and I am going to pray that God sends him just the right girl in His timing.  I am going to pray that Tim doesn’t care what the naysayers say and realize that people are watching and there are probably many young boys and girls out there who are going to follow him in this way.

If we were all honest…..wouldn’t we want ALL of our children to make some of these same choices that Tim Tebow has made.  Even those of you that hate him, wouldn’t you love to know your children wouldn’t have to worry about sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancy and having to deal with the emotional scars of numerous sexual partners?  Really, if you are being honest, even if you disagree with his stance on abstinence….from a medical standpoint, wouldn’t you have to agree it is the best thing to do?  One of my biggest regrets in life is losing my virginity…..yes, I just outed myself but I don’t care.  If I could rewind the hands of time, I would take that back and hold onto it like it was my most prized and valuable possession…..IT IS!  You young men and ladies out there that still have your virginity….hold on to it.  Don’t give it away to the first person that promises not to hurt you.  Don’t give it away thinking you have found your one true love.  I can guarantee you that you will regret it!

Didn’t mean to turn this blog post into a sermon……the thing is this:  Tim Tebow should be respected for his decision to abstain.  Agree or disagree, it is his decision and instead of being bashed for honoring his decision, he should be respected.  Bottom line is he is saving himself a lot of heartache AND he is being a true role model for those young people everywhere who are looking up to him.  Heck, from this 43-year old married mother, he is my hero.  If Hannah were to ever marry one day, I pray that her future husband has followed the same path that Tim Tebow has……not necessarily the fame and fortune, but the heart for God, the heart for people and the heart for the lost.

Tim, I don’t know if you will see this but you do have a TON of support.  People who admire you, look up to you and truly respect your decisions!  Nothing is more important than your relationship with the Lord……no woman is worth breaking the commitment you made to Him!  Hindsight 20/20 I would have made the same commitment and kept it!

Keep on pressing on Tim…..you are doing good!

Ummmmmm, can you say eye-candy? Olivia Culpo, you seriously messed up! THIS would have been worth the wait!

Until next time………

 

House Hunting……Stapp Style

So……I just feel the need to let you all know that old people are crazy!  We have had a wild few weeks in our family and I thought I would share what it has been like to house hunt with my parents.  It has been quite the adventure…..a laughable one!

Mom and dad have been talking about downsizing for quite sometime.  Well…..mom has, dad finally came around after my brother (who I will refer to as “Lord Tracy” in this blog post) convinced him it was time to get a smaller home with no yard.  Right now mom and dad have a HUGE house on an acre and a half and dad is (for lack of a better word)….OLD and doesn’t need to be working in the yard like he does.  Yes, he could hire someone but that would take him coming off of his wallet and the cheap skate that he is, isn’t doing that!  Plus, he and mom both still work and they don’t need to be spending their free time with house and yard work.  So, Lord Tracy convinced dad that it was time.

I guess I should tell you why I call my brother “Lord Tracy.”  You see, my brother is the perfect child.  Always has been and always will be.  I, on the other hand gave my parents a fit and kinda still do in a way.  I am their stress and Lord Tracy is the golden child!  HA!  I am good with it!  I promise I am joking about all of this, but it is fun to harass my brother.  I have been calling him “Lord Tracy” for quite sometime and I think he is beginning to like it!  I now have to bow in his presence.  My parents have told me 1,001 times how wise Lord Tracy is and how everything that rolls off of his tongue is sheer truth, wisdom and knowledge (picture me gagging now).  They told me…..”when Tracy talks, we listen, because he knows something about everything.”  Okay, it really made me nauseous!  LOL!  Hence, the reason I call him “Lord Tracy” now; he is wise beyond his years and full of useful information in their opinion……I prefer to think of it as “full of crappola.”

Okay, back to house hunting, Stapp style.  So, once mom and dad were ready we set out looking for a place they could agree on.  Mom wanted a high-rise either downtown or near downtown.  Dad wanted a townhouse or condo as far away as he could get from downtown.  Oh, and he wanted no HOA or Association fees….REALLY???  That made us laugh!  Mom agreed to look in the Fernandina/Yulee/Amelia Island area to appease dad.  But, for the price dad had in mind on what he wanted to spend, he couldn’t have afforded an apartment on the wrong side of the tracks.  He is so stinkin’ cheap!

I went with them on the Thursday night the week before Thanksgiving to look in Fernandina.  They looked at Townhouses and a few upstair units (with no elevator) and I quickly shot each of them down for several reasons.  Number one, they don’t need stairs….they are old people and the last thing we need is a phone call that they have fallen and can’t get up!  Number two, each place they looked out was not just downsizing, it was downgrading and there was NO WAY I was allowing my mother to downgrade!  Of course, it was quite comical listening to  mom and dad as they did the walk through.  “Oh Jerry, this kitchen is so cute.  I just love the ceiling fans, I wonder if they come with the place.”  “Pat, this carpet is ugly and the color on the wall is too.”  “Oh Jerry, look a cute little half bath, it is so adorable.”  “Pat, this bedroom is too small, it won’t hold my gun safe…..oooooo, look Pat the tub has jets in it.”  I could go on and on and on, but you get the drift.  So, after looking that night in Fernandina, dad decided he would be willing to look elsewhere and also realized that he had to come off of his wallet a little more too.

Weekend before last, I was out-of-town and so my brother and sister-in-law went with them this time.  That was a good thing because I told my brother I couldn’t go again….they wore me out!  So, I am out-of-town and my brother (Lord Tracy) keeps texting me…..”dad just used the bathroom in the condo we are looking at…OMG.”  Then he texted me, “we haven’t even walked in this unit yet and dad is asking if he can make an offer tonight.”  WHAT?!?  Then he sends me a picture of dad sitting on the sofa in the condo they are looking at talking on the phone.  I am dying laughing!  Then he tells me that dad followed a lady out of one of the buildings and talked to her the whole way asking about the complex and telling her what a nice car she drives.  I was laughing so hard just picturing that lady thinking “I hope this man isn’t my new neighbor.”  Seriously, house hunting with Pat and Jerry was quite interesting to say the least.

Dad making himself comfortable in some strangers living room talking on the phone.

Dad making himself comfortable in some strangers living room talking on the phone.

The good news is, they made an offer on the last condo they saw and a few days later it was accepted.  Lord Tracy and I were both thrilled  because if truth be known neither of us wanted to shop with them anymore.  Mom didn’t quite get her downtown high-rise but it is very close to downtown, all on one floor and there is an elevator in the building.  Dad is still in the county, which he didn’t want, but he realized he needed to suck it up for mom.  They are in a great location and convenient to shopping, church, work and restaurants.  In fact, so close to Publix mom could walk if she wanted to.  I think they made a great choice.  Dad is stressing over paying HOA and Association fees but pretty much wherever you live in Jacksonville, that comes along with the territory; except where their home is now.  So, he is accepting the fact that it is part of life, like paying taxes !

My dad called this the "visiting area" of the condo instead of the Living Room. My sweet sis-in-law in the background ready to shoot herself, I think! LOL!

My dad called this the “visiting area” of the condo instead of the Living Room. My sweet sis-in-law in the background ready to shoot herself, I think! LOL!

My parents should be in their new condo by the middle of January and they are both excited about this new journey.  Lord Tracy and I are just happy that it was as quick of a process as it was……they might have had to pay us to get us to go house hunting with them again.  Welcome to condo ownership mom and dad…..I know you will enjoy this new journey!  So happy for you both!

Until next time……….