The Fulfillment Series

The Fulfillment Series

Thursday, December 21, 2017

So This Is Christmas...

Hey y'all!! Deek and I have been crazy busy, so the blog is a little lacking. I got a last minute, end-of-the-year editing project, and I'm been heads down focusing on that amidst the normal Christmas fray. Meanwhile, Deek has bee busy editing my still nameless Molly and Ryder story!

But I'm happy to report that we are completely done with our Christmas shopping (and came in *under* budget--YAY Dave Ramsey)! So, now we can relax and enjoy the holiday festivities until the Big Day arrives.

We went on a holiday lights tour and had a blast!

This will be my first Christmas without PaPa, and I must admit, I'm having trouble getting into the jolliness of the season. See, not only is PaPa gone but things are changing because of it. Our annual family Christmas Day gathering will be no more. Thanksgiving and Easter will be at someone else's house, if they continue at all. All these traditions which so defined my childhood, my life, are slipping away. I've always partially defined myself by the big ole, loving Southern family I come from. Without spending time with them at every holiday, a big part of me is changing, forever altered. I know I'll still see them, but it will be different. I'm usually one who can roll with change pretty well, but I'm having trouble adjusting to this particular one.

Add about a hundred more people, and that's my family...

I hope and pray that the generation before me (my mom's generation) will keep the family gatherings and traditions alive. I'm thankful to my Aunt Tammy and my I-don't-even-know-what-level cousin Marion for offering their homes to ensure the family celebrates Christmas Eve together as we always have. They're stepping up, and I'm beyond grateful that not everything died alongside PaPa. He would be proud of his baby girl for keeping the family together at Christmas. So, a big PaPa thumbs-up to Tammy! <3

Isn't my aunt purty? And my PaPa...oh my PaPa...

Deek and I set aside a budget for Christmas adventures, and we've been enjoying that random sprinkling of fun inside the holiday bustle. We've been keeping up regular traditions and adding news ones as we find them. This is wonderful time of year for traditions, and we're big on that! :)

We miss Portland, so we're trying to get a downtown experience in the South.
It's so not the same, but it'll do for now.

Deek and I got coffee and had a walking Christmas lights date!

Got to sit on the Big Man's lap and make my Christmas wish.
I asked him to keep my whole big family together for the holidays, and he said he'd do his best!
Thanks, Santa!

My hubster surprised me with a lunch date.
I LOVE spending time with this amazing man, y'all!

And we've been checking out Christmas lights at all the local "best spots."

We saw some that have been featured on TV!

Even Shakespeare got in on the lights action!

I don't know if I'll post again before Christmas, or even the week after Christmas since Deek has the whole week off (SQUEE), but I wish you and yours the happiest of holidays!! If you lost someone precious this year, I feel your pain and sorrow. I really and truly do. But gather those you still have into your arms and squeeze them extra tight. Because when you strip away the tinsel, lights, and gifts, Christmas is about family and love. So love on that family of yours with all your might.

And I'll be over here loving on mine. My parents, my Mema, my immediate family, my big ole extended family, and my beloved, beloved Deek! Despite the pain of losing PaPa, I know I'm epically blessed to have my family and Deek's family so full and present in our lives. And that joy will glow inside me--past the pain, past the hustle and bustle--forever!

This man, y'all. This amazing, astounding, out-of-this-world man!
No matter what's going on, we always find a way to laugh.
I love you, my Deek. Now and #always!

Until next time...Happiest of Holidays from our family to yours! 

Monday, December 4, 2017

The First Birthday Without PaPa

Today would have been PaPa's 85th birthday. It's weird because he always said he'd never make it to 85, and he didn't. But I always thought he would. To me, he was invincible. He could do anything--move mountains, climb skyscrapers, anything. He was my PaPa, and I, his Babydoll, adored him.

It's been almost five months since he passed, and I still can't utter his name without choking up. I still can't stand to look at pictures because it still hurts too much. Even though I know he's not coming back, I find myself gazing at "his" chair in his office and at his house and wishing he'd just magically appear there. In fact, I get a little ruffled under the feathers if someone sits there because it's PaPa's chair.

Deek and I were talking recently about when people die and how the people left here are keepers of their memories. And I cried wondering when my generation and the one after me--those who experienced the greatness of PaPa--are gone, who will remember him? I don't want the wonderfulness that is him to fade. And Deek told me that every time I show love, mercy, gratefulness, and generosity, I'm spreading PaPa's spirit to the world. They may not remember him personally, but he'll still leave his mark when I'm kind because he was and someone else is kind because I was. In that same way, PaPa himself spread the light and love of his parents and grandparents to me even though I never knew them.

It's not the same, but it's something. It's a way for me to keep PaPa's memory alive past him, past me, past the generation behind me. I'll tell a few more jokes. Try to live in the present more rather than focus on the future. I'll hug my people every time I see them. I'll pursue my passions and dreams with more gusto. I'll put my nose to the grindstone and work even harder. I'll do my best to show the traits I learned from PaPa, and in doing so, you'll know him a little too. And maybe after I share joke, you'll tell it at a get together, and when people laugh, PaPa will be there. And someone else will tell that same joke, and the cycle continues. Man, PaPa did love a joke. I can still hear his laughter in my head and in my heart.

PaPa had five wonderful brothers and a lovely sister. I can still see each one of their faces and hear their voices in my mind. They understood the meaning of family, and they taught it to all of their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. I don't want any of them to fade. So, I'm going to post a picture and list all their names so there's a record. And when you see them, I want you to think of your own family--your mother, your brother, your wife, your child--and I want you do something today that shows them you love them. And when you do, these seven people will be there, smiling and laughing because family was everything to them.

Top row, left to right: Stacy, Ed, Harold
Bottom row, left to right: Darwin (PaPa), Wendell, John (aka: Bunky), and Eldred

I love you, PaPa. I miss you, and I always will. I know they say "time heals all wounds" and all that, but I don't think I'll ever really get over losing you. I will, however, do my best to make you proud and keep your spirit alive now and in the future.

Happy Birthday!