Mother’s Day

I know, I know…I haven’t been writing a lot lately. Going back to work has taken a huge chunk of my blogging time. When I am home it is time for the family and short blips on FB, Twitter and Instagram. This blog has been swirling around in my head for a long time. Finally putting it on paper.

My mom stayed home briefly during my formative years. She was always a working mom, teaching pre-school while my sister and I were in pre-school, working at a tire re-treading company and finally Disneyland. She worked hard to help provide for us.

Her sister was a hard working corporate secretary. I always remember my aunt working hard M-F at her job.

My Gramie took care of my siblings and my cousins during the week. She worked at home so her daughters could have careers. Gramie was our stay at home mom.


My Grandma Brown was a hard worker. She worked for Alpha Beta grocery company until I was in high school. I always thought it was odd that she worked at night, I remember everyday she laid down for a nap before work. She worked hard to provide for her family and was a dedicated employee.

I totally understand why she worked at night now, guess who works the same shift for the same reasons as she did? Thougth she has been gone almost ten years, I feel closer to her than ever working at night.

My Aunt Patty is a hard worker, I really hope someday she can retired and enjoy her family. Never seen a harder worker.

Aunt Donna is a hard worker, working hard to provide for her family.

I grew up thinking I would always be a working mom. I never dreamed of being a stay at home mom, the women in my family worked aside from my Aunt Alison. Staying home was a privilege that I only thought would be a pipe dream.

My Aunt Maggie and I had kids around the same time. Both working mom’s until around 2005 when we both became stay at home mom’s. A rare thing in our family, we quickly learned staying at home is just as hard as being a working mom. It is a privilege but it is hard work that you just don’t get paid for except in hugs and kisses. It is a rewarding job and I am so thankful for the seven years I was able to stay at home.

It was during my time as a stay at home mom that Marty got sick. We were faced with thoughts of the future that may not include him. One of things that ate at us during his time sick was what I would do if he didn’t make it? It was his great desire that as soon as he was well, that I start making a career for myself.

That was one of the reasons we moved to Tennessee, so I could have an opportunity to have a career to support myself if I ever needed. So I have gone back to being a working mom trying to juggle it all. I am thankful for the job that I am in and the opportunities it holds for me.

I see my cousins working hard as mom’s too. All of them except one are working mom’s taking after their mom’s and grandma too.

When I was nine years old, I became an aunt which I truly consider my first role as a mom. I got the chance to help raise my nephew Christopher. I took him to school, helped him do his homework, watched him after school and for a long time helped my mom fill the role of mom for him.

Then I became a baby sitter to Kevin and Caiti F., getting to help take care of them as babies. I loved them like my own.

I always wanted to be a mom, it was a dream come true when I had my own children Conner and Elizabeth. I will never forget the first time my Grandma Brown reminded me, my life was not about myself anymore.

Being a mom in whatever role requires putting yourself aside and giving focus to people who need you the most. Being a mom is not easy, working or non working. You have people depending on you to show them the way and guide them. Somedays you feel like you’re failing miserably and other days you feel like you’re winning.

I am thankful for all the women in my life that showed me the way. So many different women I have learned from, I am thankful for all of them in my life.

So for all the mom’s out there, whatever that role may look like for you, I wish you the happiest of Mother’s days.

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Happy 15th birthday E!

Today my baby turns 15, where does time go? Seems like just yesterday we were anxiously awaiting her birthday. So many people were thrilled that day because she shares a birthday with quite a few people in our life.

The last year has been a tough year for Elizabeth. Getting braces turned out to be rough and a long battle ensued. She also has learned to let go of her life in California and embrace life in Tennessee, something we learned together.

She has a wonderful new best friend Miranda, she is a talented baker with amazing skills in the kitchen. She is thoughtful and a girl of grace, she really has a deep faith.

The most exciting thing for this momma, is finally we share something in common. She is an anglophile too!!! Oh how I waited for the day to have something in common with her! Of course, her’s is all about Doctor Who and Sherlock.

Now we talk about the future and where she is going, it’s not about stuffed animals and AWANA anymore. It’s fun to see her going to bridal showers and weddings for youth group leaders and slowly merging from childhood into the adult world.

Happy birthday E, we are so proud of you!

A look back to the baby days!

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Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Elizabeth turns 10Create your own slideshow - Powered by SmileboxThis free slideshow design customized with Smilebox

Goodbye Max

Today with great sadness, we put Max to sleep. He is a social media legend, famous around the world. His legend and stories will live on forever. Our family had a real live version of Snoopy, he was our owner and he knew it.

He could be a real jerk, doing what he pleased. He hasn’t been himself for months and we decided it was time for him. Our head said one thing and our heart said another.

I have written over on Max’s blog sharing two last classic Max stories, don’t worry, there is a laugh in there.

In Loving Memory of MaxCito Burrito Man Old Man Manno Timms 03/30/01-04/02/15:


If you would like to make a donation in memory of Max, please donate to the Young-Williams animal center who provided excellent end of life care for him today:

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




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.


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.


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.


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)

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.


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.


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!

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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.