Treasures from the Cedar Chest: First Anniversary Card

On our first anniversary, my mom gave us a card. I remember at the time, the sentiment didn’t make a lot of sense to me. 19 years later, I understand the sentiment completely

 

FullSizeRender

 

After 19 years of marriage, we have built a bridge together. We have overcome so much together and achieved more than could be imagined. I think many people on the day we got married, thought we wouldn’t make it.

A nineteen and twenty year old, working at Disneyland on minimum wage. Both from broken homes, living with Marty’s dad. All we really had was our love, family and friends.

19 years later, we built a bridge over death, sickness, financial woes, parenting two kids, a crazy dog, moving first 300 miles and then 3000 miles away from our family. Friends and family have come and gone, here we are still standing together.

We are now at an interesting place, on the cusp of middle age with an almost 18 year old and fifteen year old. Lately our talk is more of traveling in a few years when the kids are grown, what the kids are going to do with their lives, tough talks about aging dogs and the future ahead.

We know there are tough times to come, we will face them together as a team, like we always have and we look forward to the good times to come. Someday being in laws and grandparents are high on the list of things we look forward to someday.

Teamwork, fierce determination, hard work together have built the bridge. I saved this card for 18 years and it finally makes sense.

19 years, I’ve been married as long as I was old at the time of our wedding. Half of my life, pretty amazing feeling. Thankful to have had a wonderful partner along the way. Happy 19th anniversary Marty!


A Nerve Wracking Place: Transplant Update 2015

We scheduled Marty’s annual visit with UT transplant center a few weeks ago. Also scheduling the dreaded visit to his nephrologist as well.  We put that one off because our past history with the nephrologist visits are usually laden with bad news. Of course, things have changed since his transplant but still the memories remain.

After being rescheduled two weeks straight due to snow and ice, we finally made our way twenty minutes down the road to the University of Tennessee medical center. It never gets old that we can drive twenty minutes to see his medical team. After years of driving 300 miles one way to Stanford, it is nice to stay in our own city for medical care.

We arrive to an office full of elderly people, they stare at us and wonder why young people are in the office? if they only knew our story, I think we should have t-shirts made for these visits. I think the older people would be amazed. It’s tough sitting in the nephrologist office, usually you’re seeing really sick people suffering. It brings feelings of unease and fear. On the drive down, we got a little snappy with each other, it was nerves and we knew it.

Once led to the examining room, Marty sits in a chair right under a sign for Peritoneal dialysis. We look at it and Marty says, I don’t even want to think about that right now. If you want to know our lives for two years, read this blog.

Our new nephrologist is night and day from our last doctor. Our last nephrologist was a great doctor with no bedside manner, who mumbled and grumbled. This doctor smiles,and friendly, he was thrilled with Marty’s numbers and we got a good report. He said Marty’s kidney is working wonderfully and he is hopeful for a good long time with the kidney.

After the appointment ended, we had to wait for some papers. I sit down next to a man in the waiting room. He made small talk and I said, ”This is kind of a nerve wracking and stressful place, isn’t it?” and he said,” Why? I’m not sure what you mean by that? ” and I just looked at him. He must have not been there for renal failure if he had no clue why I would say that. You wonder why I share our story? because of people like him….

As we were walking out of the office,  immediately we both let out a sigh of relief and relax a bit. We can keep enjoying life and living dialysis free, while we had no reason to think anything was wrong, it is always in the back of our mind. Everyday we are thankful for the gift of life.

Four years and going strong! Thanks Jerry and Debbie for giving us this precious gift.


Two Years

Two years ago today, we left California behind and drove across country to our new life. We had no clue the challenges we faced and the blessings to come. We just knew we had to go and find out what awaited us on the other side of the country.

Starting over is never easy, we have done it twice in the last nineteen years. You leave behind your family, friends and support system. Jumping out of the safety net you create around yourself is tough.

Exploring new cultures and areas is fun. We have loved learning the southern culture, becoming Vol fans and making good southern friends.  If we had never come here, we would never have met some wonderful friends who have expanded our world and become our new safety net.

Marty and I both love our new jobs. Definitely the right decision for both of us career wise to move here and we are now very close to being debt free. The cost of living in TN is so much less than California and we’re close to making the same income.

It’s time for Marty’s yearly transplant checkup. It is nice driving 25 minutes down the road instead of driving 3hrs and 300 miles each way to see a transplant doctor.

Elizabeth has made new friends and this journey has grown her a lot as a person. She has faced some tough battles that have been hard on all of us. We are proud of the progress she has made and excited for things to come.

Conner is thriving, he loves his new role in our city and is working hard toward his future career. He has made great new friends.

We have faced things not working out as planned and some things turning out better than planned.

Homesickness has been hard for the kids and I. We miss our good friends and family we haven’t seen in two years. New babies have been born, that we have never met and we have missed out on a lot back in California

We have been able to see our family here and meet the new babies here. We have been together for big family events and it is nice being with our family here. We have also made some wonderful friends whom we cannot imagine our life without.

We are thankful we made this choice. We took a leap of faith and grew our wings on the way down. The future looks very bright.


A Beautiful Story of a Beautiful Miracle

“I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him.” 1 Samuel 1:27

Four years ago, Marty and I were living at Stanford after his transplant. We fondly look back on those days of our little apartment that we lived in for one month. One of my cousins brought my kids up to see us, a seven hour drive from the LA area.  During that visit, on this little balcony, a journey of prayer was began after a deep conversation.

balcony

My cousin shared that her deepest desire was to become a mom. She was okay with where her life was but she wanted to be a mom, more than anything. So I told her, ”let’s pray about it.”

I told her the story of my dear friend, who was a single mom with a son and how happy they were together. I encouraged her in her desire and really deeply felt this was God’s will.

One night during this journey, I had a dream where I saw a round headed, baby boy with dark hair. I told her, I had a dream, I saw your baby and he is a boy. She laughed at me and didn’t believe me at all.

For the next two years, we prayed together for God to bless her with a baby. There were so many tear filled conversations. Discouragement and trials ensued, the day I left California, we sat on the floor of our aunt’s living room, deeply devastated at very bad news.

One morning, the phone rang in TN. It was her on the other end…….she was pregnant!! Our prayers had been answered. The tears of joy that ensued were something I would never forget. Our prayers had been heard.

A couple of weeks later, she told our family the news. They said, ”You better call your cousin Julie and tell her..” She told them, ”She already knows.” as nobody knew the journey we had been through together.

I told her it was a boy, she didn’t believe me. 9 mos later she gave birth to a beautiful boy with a round head and dark hair. He is such a miracle,  a blessing, a beautiful story of faith, courage, hope and miracles.

He turns one today, I was telling my cousin last night that two years ago, this didn’t seem possible and now it has happened. This morning I told her, I had to write this story down to encourage others and share her journey in the most private/public way possible.  Funny how our miracles are tied together by major dates in our lives.  So thankful to have walked through this journey with her and been allowed to share her burden. Truly one of the most meaningful experiences of my life.

Happy 1st birthday to the miracle boy and his momma!

 

A/N: I asked permission to share this story to encourage others who are praying for miracles and facing trials.

 


Goodbye 2014

Every year, I reflect on where I have come from and where I am going in 2015. 2014 wasn’t my favorite year but it wasn’t the worst year. Really hoping for a productive 2015 more on that in a minute. 2014 has been a productive year, filled with learning curves and an uphill climb.

2014 was about learning for our family. Our good friend Tammy wrote us a message on her blackboard before we left California. It said, ”Bloom Where You’re Planted” and that is what this year has been about.

Struggling with letting go of close friendships far away and learning to lean on friends nearby. Learning to build a new safety net of friends here in K-town. For Elizabeth, she made some really great new friends this year. I learned to let people in and share more about my life with those around me. For most of the year, I sat quietly facing forward in my desk not talking to anyone. I am the quiet, shy girl at work.

Conner excelled and achieved more than we ever imagined in 9 months. Worked hard and accomplished so much.

Marty is always happiest where the kids and I are.

My favorite part of the year was the friends we saw! I love having company and I think we have had more company in this house than any other before. We’ve had many visitors this year. I can safely say the thing I am looking most forward to in 2015 is seeing more friends and family, where will we go and who will we see?

We have some big goals for next year and we hope to accomplish them. We hope to see you next year and wish you health, happiness, peace and joy in 201!

 

 


Merry Christmas 2014

I sit looking at a box of Christmas cards…that never got sent out last year and I had high aspirations of sending them out this year. They still may get out but they won’t include our traditional Christmas letter. Paper Christmas letters are a thing of the past for us, they live on the blog now with the rest of the Timms family’s lives.

Christmas came so fast, this year flew by and now we’re staring 2015 down the barrel. 2014 has been a year of adjustment and growth for our family. We’ve all grown personally and together as a family, learning to live in a completely new place. The newness wore off this year and the settling began in earnest.

I will fill you in on the happenings for each Timms. Each year I find some new order, this year I will go alphabetically.

Conner~ this year we have seen him turn into a man before our eyes. He turned 17, started learning to drive, got a job and completed an intense academy. We have seen his future take shape and started planning the steps to get him to that future. Next year will be the last year of high school and we are looking forward to all that comes with that.

PhotoGrid_1419220904195

Elizabeth~ Life has dramatically improved this year for E. After moving and losing all her friends, she has started making friends and settling into life in Knoxville. She has made some nice new friends and found a good mentor. She loves baking and has decided she wants to pursue that someday as a career. The biggest change has been her recent addition of braces. She is growing into a beautiful young lady.

PhotoGrid_1419221508394

Julie~ This year has been about work. Settling in to my new job for most of the year and this latter half of the year, getting a promotion and learning a new role. I must admit, I suffered some terrible bouts of homesickness this year. It is hard being on the other side of the country from your friends and family. I moved to Knoxville not wanting to make friends because I truly need another friend like I need a hole in the head. I had a few friends here before the move and that was good enough. I have been making more friends during my recent transition at work. It was also nice to be visited by several friends this year as well as my mom, aunt and uncle this summer. ( ps I chopped off all my hair, that is another change)
PhotoGrid_1419223169181

Marty~ is thriving in TN. He loves his new job working with kids and it is just such a transformation. He also has a second job working at a outdoor store during his school breaks. He has enjoyed having time off during holidays and summer breaks. He runs the kids to and fro in the evenings to all of their activities. They have fun together. He is also enjoying being healthy and insulin free, still so thankful three years later for the gift of transplant.

PhotoGrid_1419222809342

Max~is 14 years old going on two. He is enjoying his old age by terrorizing his family everyday with his demands and wishes. He is crotchy at times and demanding. We will all admit, somedays lately he has been throughly enjoyable. He has been content a few days here and there. He is happy with his Twitter fan club, he has achieved some world domination.As the years pass, we know our time with him is precious.

Oscar~ is happy go lucky, fat and lazy. He appreciates having a nice family. He celebrated his 7th anniversary with us this year. He is probably one of the best dogs we have ever had.

PhotoGrid_1419223455529

We enjoyed a family trip to see my cousin Ben married in June as well as a trip to Chattanooga in May to see the Us Pro Cycling race. We are looking forward to traveling more next year.

Thanks to everyone who came to visit this year. Thanks to the friends and family who kept us going, praying for us and encouraging us as we settled in. Thanks to the new friends we’ve made along the way that have helped us out settling in.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas,
The TN Timms!

2014-12-21 23.48.06


One Word and #spreadhappiness

My friend Dot started a hashtag on Twitter #spreadhappiness, a few months ago. She wanted to bring joy to her followers/friends and tell them something nice. It has a ripple effect, a few weeks later our friend Naomi used the hashtag to the do the same. This year, I was reading my calendar at work and saw that September 12th was the National Day of Encouragement.  The day after my birthday which was perfect, I took all the love poured on me the day before and passed it around.

I wrote my co-workers hand written notes, I tweeted my followers, emailed good friends, texted friends and just spread love. It had a ripple effect and I hope next year it will catch on but that we will see more use of Dot’s hashtag as well.

There is so much negative in the world, life is hard and people are dealing with really tough things. Many of you know, my life has been far from easy but I have never lost my optimism, hope and deep abiding faith. Spreading that joy,love and hope is my personal mission in life.

I tell Marty and the kids, ” I love you many times a day”. After losing several close friends, I make a constant habit of telling my friends that I love them, on a regular basis.

One word can make a huge difference, telling someone what they mean to you or how you see them can encourage. Words and love fill people up, its the gas that keeps people going. So here is my challenge, use #spreadhappiness and tell people what they mean to you this Christmas season. Holidays can be hard for people including myself. Bringing joy can really make a difference to someone during this season.

 

Do the one word challenge, ask people to describe you in one word and give them a word back that describes them.

You often wonder, how do people view me or perceive me? For me, I am a transparent person, what you see is what you get. I know exactly who I am and what I stand for, I think those around me do as well.

Recently, I have made many new friends at work, being new in an area where you have no connection or roots, people don’t know where you come from or what you’re about. That’s why I love having a blog, I can give them my card and tell them, ”read my blog” you will know me quickly or by adding them on FB which can be like coming to a giant Brown family party at times. New friends can see your family and old friends talk to you and about you, they will know quickly who you are.

This has made me think of the one word challenge. So I am asking my friends, family, followers, and tweeps to join in this holiday season. #spreadhappiness and love. It can make a difference.

Now for the fun, how would you describe me in one word? tell me and I will give you a word back. I am not big on Facebook copy and paste posts. I ignore them because they annoy me, that is not what this is at all. This is simply writing on people’s walls, texting them, emailing, tweeting and telling them what they mean to you.


From the Bottom of My Heart

Thank you for reading and following along with my blog adventures. NaBloPoMo did me in this year, it truly was a challenge in self discipline. I do have to thank Conner and Elizabeth for helping me a couple of days and reminding me to blog.

The part I love the most about blogging is the comments. I know people read my blog.. a lot of you read but there are not too many of you that comment. I have loved each and every comment, they truly make me happy and I love the interaction.

I appreciate you letting me blow up your timeline and still reading. Thank you for helping me make it through.

Also, I am so thankful for all the texts, tweets, comments, phone calls regarding mom. I am a big believer in telling my friends I love you often and I love all of you who kept me lifted up during the last few trying days.

At this point, I want to say this will be my last NaBloPoMo but I know that next year I will want to do it again. I will be blogging here and there until then.


One More Day

This NaBloPoMo has been the longest ever and I am really wondering why I did this? Thankfully tomorrow is the last day.

Mom went home from the hospital today before she did though, I got a call from her that my youngest cousin Randon went to see her. He works in the hospital and stopped by, he chatted with her after explaining who he was. You see, he is my cousin on my Dad’s side and my parents are divorced, Randon is the same age as my son Conner. So she doesn’t know him well and hasn’t seen him in a few years.

He called me and left a voicemail, I was so deeply touched by this gesture. It was so nice to know someone looked in on her and checked up. What a nice young man and I am so proud of him. His parents should be proud too.

As I was putting lights on the tree today with Conner. He started fussing about the way they were laying. It was a proud moment another Betty Brown in training. My Dad asked, ”Is this some rule that you, your aunts and cousin’s have about decorating the tree today?” I said to him,” When we were little, you should have called us Betty Brown’s in training. We get it from her.”

Happy mom is home, happy the house is decorated and happy that tomorrow NaBloPoMo is ending.


The Longest Day

Yesterday started out amazing, cooking with the kids in the kitchen and having a wonderful dinner as a family. We watched The Macy’s parade together and just had a wonderful day.

My cousin Brianne called me, we talked and then I talked to my Dad too. I thought it was strange my mom didn’t call in the morning during The Macy’s parade. I called her in the afternoon and got no answer, I wasn’t too concerned since I knew my nephew Chris was visiting from Oregon.

Finally I got a hold of mom after our dinner. She said she had just taken their dinner out of the oven but that she wasn’t feeling well. She then said, ” I may have Chris take me to the hospital because my heart is having palpitations again.” Last summer she had a similar incident and needed medication to slow her heart rate. I let her go and she said she would keep me posted.

Later I noticed several missed calls in a row from her phone after my phone which is permanently on silent started ringing aloud. It was my nephew Chris calling to let me know that after my mom and I hung up, she clutched her chest and turned white. She had a mild heart attack due to Super Ventricular Tachycardia. I was floored….she was really sick when we were talking and I didn’t know.

My nephew has two little ones and couldn’t stay with her. I was so upset my mom was alone in the hospital and I started trying to find someone to go sit with her.  I even called my ex brother in law.

My aunt in Colorado was sick in bed playing telephone operator forwarding messages between people. Our family is fractured and it is never more evident when something happens with our parents. Of course, this is nothing I can fix…believe me I have tried. So Aunt Nette took it on and communicated for us.

It did get my nephew and I talking again, we hadn’t in a few years and I had been missing him greatly. That was a good thing.

Mom’s heart tests showed her heart is healthy and fine. They think medicine can treat her issue, though thankfully another echocardiagram led them to finding blood clots in her lungs. With this finding they think it is related to her Lupus. She hasn’t had organs affected by Lupus before this episode.

It’s hard being far away from my parents knowing they both have health issues. Mom’s heart attack now means both parents have had heart attacks.  Definitely causes you to think about the future.  It also brought back memories of being a little girl and seeing mom take off running down the street as my Grandma crossed the street to watch me, my mom’s dad suffered a massive heart attack at about the same age as my mom. Heart disease is hereditary and I have it on both sides.

I had to work today, that was good to keep my mind off everything. I got yelled at by a few angry people.

So thankful for my tribe, friends, and family looking out for me. I always know when I need prayer that I can immediately call upon my tribe and they will be there. I didn’t cry and was strong because I was being lifted by those who love me. God was with my mom yesterday in so many ways and we’re both thankful for the love and support.