"Never Say Diet" WinnerS

Sorry I am just now posting this. I realized last night that I hadn't posted yet and then today has gotten crazy! BTW, for those of you who are Twilight fans, I finished reading Twilight for the second time. I have really never had the desire to read a book more than once, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one and picked up so many little things this time around that I missed the first time.

But I digress...

So, I only had one comment on the "Never Say Diet" book and I received one email. So, rather than draw ONE winner from two names, I'm going to give both ladies a book and journal.

CONGRATULATIONS to Allison and Teresa! I hope you enjoy these books. The book is easy to read and quite interesting and encouraging. I didn't get a chance to write in the journal, but anything that helps us stay accountable while living healthy has got to be good, right! Allison-I'll send your book same way as last time. Teresa-I'll get you your copy also along with your VERY BELATED birthday card and gift (YIKES!)

Thanks to both of you for your interest. Another blog review will be coming up in several weeks. Very apropos for our next holiday (Valentines). This one is "Intimate Issues: 21 Questions Christian Woman Ask About Sex"...oh yes...I said it. Questions about S-E-X. :) You know you ALL will be interested in this one. But more on this later...be watching for the post with the review to enter and win!



OK, so now for what's been going on with us.

Jenna had a pretty exciting weekend....

She's been working on this tooth for a while and was determined to pull it herself (you'll remember that the dentist pulled her first two). She wouldn't let either of us touch it and she was ultra emotional about it. Finally, Saturday morning, she was standing in the hallway while I was putting laundry in the dryer when she started screaming. Apparently, she'd basically closed her lips over her teeth and it just fell out on her tongue. I'm not sure that qualifies as pulling, but at least the tooth was out and that's all that mattered. She left a note for the Tooth Fairy asking for $10. She's didn't get that, but she got $5. But that's the end of the big bucks. She's got too many darn teeth left for $5 each!

As for Steve, he's doing well. I think I mentioned that our fundraising for his diabetic alert dog was almost done. Right before Christmas, we had $1,100 left to raise. For Christmas, rather than exchange Christmas presents, the Taylors surprised us with a rather large donation. We still owed about $700. Right before the burial, Steve's niece announced that her son's grandfather was donating $500. We were then down to needing $200 which we totally could pay ourselves. But then on Sunday, two of our close couple friends (I'm going to call them out here because I know at least one of them reads my blog!)...the Babbs and Heplers gave us a donation for guess how much?! $200! So we are done fundraising!!!! Steve leaves end of June to go train. I'll keep you posted.

Lots of excitement!

Lastly, many of you know that the church we have attended for the past 9 years (next week!) is starting a south campus right here in our neighborhood. They are looking for families to commit to start this campus and Steve and I have been praying about whether this was something God wanted us to do. I have really struggled with this decision because I love our church and even though south campus is still part of our church, I have grown to love the big-ness of the service and the people...and just everything. But then, I had to think that it wasn't a coincidence that God moved us where He did. And I want Jenna to at least have her church close by like I did when I was a young girl. Anyway, after Steve and I discussed it, we have decided we are committing ourselves to the South Campus Initiative. You can read more about this, here. Please pray for us as we start into this new journey. It is going to be hard for me because I'm not real big on change.

I guess that's about it. I'll leave you with this one last thing...my scripture for Beth Moore's LPM blog Memory Challenge is Ephesians 2:8-10 (which was Mary's favorite)...forgive the typos, this is by memory (and was harder than the first one).

"God saved you by His grace when you believed. You can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God's masterpiece (I totally LOVE that part!). He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so that we can do the good things He had planned for us long ago" Ephesians 2:8-10 NLT

Catching up with us...

Well, many of you are asking how we are doing. So, I'm updating the blog so you'll know! Not a WHOLE lot going on here, but enough. A week ago, we went back to work. It was no fun. It just seemed depressing to me. I think my friend Jamie said it best, it just feels wrong when the rest of the world is going on as normal, but you don't feel like you should. And that is exactly how it felt. I allowed the rest of last week to be a wash. I didn't get much accomplished at work (sorry boss!) and less at home. I didn't eat right, didn't exercise, blog or do much of anything productive. But this week, I committed to get back on the bandwagon of life. That's the way Mary would have wanted it.

During all the festivities, I was able to use my new camera to take a few photos that I felt came out very well. Don't worry...nothing morbid in these...

All of what we have been through has been very hard. We've all shed tears. Lots of them. But this will serve to only make us stronger. I believe that. I truly do. And I think it has changed us. Changed Steve and I as a couple. Changed the Taylors as a family. At least I hope it has. I hope that something in Mary's life changed us for the better.

Now that things have settled down a bit, I have lots more coherent thoughts. Let me relay in more detail the story of Mary's final moments as I've been told...then I'll move on to other things...

On Wednesday night, about 11:30pm we received the call that hopsice had visited (due to other issues) and given Mary about 24 hours. Steve went first and called me after being there about 15 minutes to say I should get Jenna up and come say what I needed to say while she was still with us.

I did and arrived shortly after midnight (I really can't remember when). The family was gathered around the bed. Mary was slightly coherent with her eyes open a little when she was spoken to. They announced our arrival and she hugged Jenna and stated "There's my baby girl, Jenna Grace"...for those that know me, know I refer to JG as my baby girl ALL the time. And now you know where I got that. :)

Anyway, Mary hugged me and told me she loved me. I told her I loved her too and asked her when she got to heaven would she find my Mom and tell her I love her. And she said, "I will. I certainly will". Anyway, the night wore on with almost all the family there. There are 4 Taylor kids, plus their siblings and each of their children. As the night work on, we caught sleep where we could. In the morning, Steve and I took Jenna to school and headed back. All day long, we waited...the only family member missing was my niece who had moved to California almost a year earlier. She had a flight out that Thursday morning to arrive in the evening. Her plan was to come here for a few months to help with Mary's care. Unfortunately, due to fog, she missed her flight and had to be rescheduled for a flight (with about 3-4 layovers) that would not arrive until 10:30pm on Thursday night.

After a full day and night of off and on sleep and being on an emotional roller coaster, Steve, Jenna, Micah and I went to spend the night at my sisters house which was close by. In the meantime, my sister in law picked up my niece from the airport. They arrived back at the house and announced her arrival. Mind you, Mary had been sporadically breathing and not conscious for almost 18 hours at this point. When they announced that the last family member had arrived, Mary opened her eyes and saw my niece. It was at that time she drew a breath and then there was no more.

Now...does that leave you with chill bumps???

OK...now for the update on the Taylors...


"Never Say Diet"

I've recently embarked on reading the book "Never Say Diet" by Chantel Hobbs. At first, I wasn't all that excited about reading a book about losing weight. I mean, I do Weight Watchers and now have signed up to participate in the 1/2 marathon, so I didn't really think I would enjoy reading this book.

However, I was surprised at how encouraged I was by Chantel's words. Her philosophy is similar to Weight Watchers in that you cannot "diet" and lose weight for the long term. These healthy changes have to be a new way of life. And exercise is an integral part of changing over to a healthy lifestyle.

Her story is one of perserverance and success. I drew so much motivation from it!

After years of failed diet attempts, Chantel discovered the missing ingredient to permanent weight loss: to change your life, you first have to change the way you think. She developed a balanced plan for exercise and nutrition and lost two hundred pounds. Yes, that is 200 pounds! Makes me feel better about having to lose my 50!

In "Never Say Diet", Chantel provides everything readers need to lose weight for good, including:
  • Simple, step-by-step workout routines that fit into a normal weekday schedule
  • A realistic approach to nutrition that helps people break their bondage to food.
  • Strategies for staying motivated when life takes unexpected turns.
  • Keys to dealing with discouragement by relying on God’s strength
  • The secret to moving beyond past failures and getting over old excuses

Chantel helps readers make the five commitments that are necessary for changing their lives.

Then, there's also a "Personal Fitness Trainer" companion to the book. It allows readers to have Chantel show up each week to inspire, encourage, and energize them on the journey to a healthy life that centers on body, mind, and spirit. This fitness guide helps readers set new weight-loss goals and create an exercise schedule that works in the midst of life’s constant demands. Readers will be inspired with Scripture, and they will welcome Chantel’s healthy eating plan with simple, energy-and-nutrition-packed recipes. Weekly checklists and personal evaluations direct readers in reaching their goals. Plus, Chantel’s personal and entertaining stories provide the motivation needed to get through even the most frustrating days.

Chantel's approach to getting healthy (and losing weight in the process) incorporates scripture without preaching which was a plus for me. I do believe God cares about everything we do in life and He desires for us to take the best care of this body He's given us.

I hope you will read this book. And if you are interested, I have a copy of both the "Never Say Diet" and the "Personal Fitness Trainer" to give away. If you are interested, leave me a comment or send me an email (sandras_junk@charter.net). If more than one person is interested, I will put all the names into a drawing and the winner will get the set. I'll draw one week from today on Friday, January 23.


For my Scrapbooking Friends

I know money is tight for everyone, but you still need some time away. The next scrapbook retreat I'm attending is in March and there is room for more. Here is an excerpt from the email my Creative Memories consultant, Terre, sent today. Remember: You do NOT have to be a Creative Memories devotee to come...digital scrapbookers welcome (Carrie!)

We only have 13 confirmed for the March retreat. I need ALL fees by the end of January. I will have to cancel rooms or even the weekend if we do not have at least 20 to attend, so get on the phone and call your scrappin' buddies. If you know of groups that scrapbook, pass this email along to them. IF YOU ARE EVEN THINKING ABOUT ATTENDING, PLEASE LET ME KNOW! Here are the details again:
*Gift bag
*Your lodge room for 3 nights
*Crop room for 4 days, Thursday, Mar 5 (available at 3pm) through Sunday. Mar 8 (usually around 4pm)
*A yummy lunch and dinner for Friday and Saturday
*You will be able to schedule a massage on Saturday (at extra cost to you)
*TIME TO CROP & FUN 24/7! All our lodge rooms at Henry Horton are in the same building as our crop room so jammies and houseshoes are a must!
Thursday through Sunday fee is $230
Friday through Sunday fee is $190
Let me hear from YOU!

If you are interested, please email me or leave me a comment on this post and I'll send you Terre's contact information.



We just received word that visitation will be Saturday at Woodbine Funeral home (in Nashville) from 2pm-8pm. The service will be Sunday at 3pm at Liberty Baptist Church (Bill pastors there) with visitation starting 1 hour before (so, at 2pm). The burial will be a private, family only burial at Woodlawn Cemetary at some point on Monday.

Steve, John, Deanne, David and Bill will go to the funeral home today at 1pm to make final arrangements for the service. We'll be with the family again most of the next several days.

For those that are interested in such things, the obituary will appear in the paper tomorrow morning.

A special note...they said that when our last family member arrived last night from CA, she went in to speak with Mary and Mary actually opened her eyes. I don't believe Mary spoke, but after the goodbyes were said, she closed her eyes and passed away a few minutes later. And to think now that Mary, who spent most of her life telling others about what to expect in heaven, is sitting at the feet of her Lord and Savior...well...that to me, is awesome. If you are reading this and you don't know where you are going after you leave this life, trust me when I tell you, you can KNOW. If you have questions about how to have eternal life after this one, please call or email me. I know of no better way to honor Mary and what her life stood for than to help another achieve what she has today.

And to each of you...we appreciate your thoughts and prayers more than you know.

Mary Taylor

Just wanted to let all my blog readers know that Mary passed away last night around 11:30pm. We had gone to my sister's house nearby to sleep and were not with her when she passed. The only missing family member, an adult grandchild who had been living in CA arrived by plane last night about 10:30. Once she got to the house, Mary was ready to go and slipped into eternity having said goodbye to each and every member of her family.

We are very sad and exhausted. I don't know arrangements yet, but will post them here when I find out.

We appreciate your prayers and thoughts during this difficult time of loss for us.


No news is...no news...

Thank you for all the well wishes and prayers for the Taylor family. It's 7:12pm right now and we are still waiting. Mary is slowly declining, but she could remain like she is for many more hours and even days.

The entire Taylor clan is here and that gives all of us much comfort. Several times we have thought the end was near and each time she's rallied and kept on going.

Right now, most of us are going on nearly 48 hours with little to no sleep, so I am unsure what tonight will bring.

I will update you when I can. Until then, thank you from all of the Taylors for your thoughts and prayers.

Anyone out there?

I'm pretty sure no one out there in blog-land is awake at this hour. But I'm feeling the need to blog. We were just awakened by a call...not THE call, but the call that preceeds THE call.

Steve's mom is not doing well and they've called the family together. Which posed the question to us of what to do? "They" (who is "they" anyway...hopsice?) say she's got maybe 24 hours. Maybe a little more or a little less. So, what do you do? I have a 7 year old asleep in the next bedroom. I'm torn because I feel I need to be with my husband at this time, but do I put my child through this agony of waiting?????

We took a few minutes to mull over our options. I could call my family friend, Rachel and ask her to watch Jenna for the rest of the night, but then the burden falls on her and her family to care for Jenna, whether that be going to school in the morning etc. Not to mention waking them up at the crack of dawn...not even dawn really...

Anyway, we decided that since it didn't seem absolutely imminent (within the next hour or two) that Steve would go alone. When the morning comes, I will get Jenna to school and then go be with the family. But even this does not seem right. I feel I should be with the family during these dark hours. I need to be with my soul mate. But here I am...torn between being a mother and a wife. I just pray that I can get there in time in the morning...

I will keep you all posted and know, beyond what any words can adequately express, that I appreciate your prayers for us right now.


I can't believe she did it...

I'm off work today since Jenna doesn't go back to school until tomorrow. One of the things on our agenda is for us to go and get hair cuts. For me, I just needed my bangs trimmed, but for Jenna, she needed a couple inches taken off the back to get rid of dead ends and even it up.

However, this is what we left with...

To give a little background, Jenna has had long hair since she was old enough for it to grow long. We had talked extensively about giving her hair to Locks of Love when she decided to cut it. But she hasn't been ready. That is, until we walked into Great Clips this morning for our "trims". There was another little girl there doing Locks of Love and I think Jenna saw that it wasn't going to be super short, so she decided to do it.

I'm so proud of her and she is absolutely giddy about it. I never thought she'd look as pretty with shorter hair, but now, I think she looks just as lovely! Of course, I hadn't had any reason to take my Canon with me, but luckily, I still had my little Olympus in my purse. Otherwise, I'd have had to go home and come back later! Here are some shots from both...


Resolutions? Not for me...

I used to make new years' resolutions.

But last year, I decided why bother? I never kept all of them...well, I really never kept any of them to be honest. Last year, I decided to make several life changes. This year, I have a couple of goals to go along with my life changes (which incidently, aren't over once the year is done).

This year, my goals are:

1) To read the Bible through again (using my Chronological Bible which I HIGHLY recommend).
2) To participate in AND FINISH the Music City 1/2 Marathon
3) To take part in the Beth Moore Siesta challenge for 2009 and memorize two scriptures a month (see below for more on this)
4) To pay off Steve's hip!
5) To spend more time with our parents.

To elaborate on each of the above (because I'm sure everyone else is as interested in me as I am!)

1) Last year my friend Leigh Ann (whose blog link is to the right of this post) recommended the Chronological Bible. It's a "read-the-Bible-through-in-a-year" Bible and I was skeptical that it was any easier to get through that the others I've used in the past. But I bought it anyway and got it in the New Living Translation to help in understanding. Well, I can't sing it's praises enough. This Bible puts scripture in order that it happened (or is thought to have happened) which really tied things together for me. I can't tell you the number of times that scripture literally came alive for me as I read because I understood it all in context. If you have never read the Bible all the way through, I highly recommend you get this. You aren't that far behind and you can really start it anytime of the year.

2) I don't think this really needs an explanation. I'm determined to start and finish this race and hopefully in the meantime lose a little more weight. I lost almost 20 pounds in 2008 but have gained at least 5 of that back over the last several months. My training for the marathon was supposed to start tomorrow, but this evening, my neighbor, Aimee, called and asked if I was up for a walk. I was. So in the pouring rain (OK, it was more like a light mist, but after 30 minutes in it, it might as well have been pouring rain!), we walked our 1+mile through the neighborhood. YAY for me. YAY for us! Speaking of the marathon, Steve might be joining me. He's going to call the orthopedist tomorrow to see if it is feasible for him to walk the 1/2.

3) Follow the link above to read more about this. In a nutshell, Beth is challenging all her blog readers (affectionately dubbed "Siestas") to memorize 2 scriptures a month. One on the 1st and one on the 15th. I got 2 spiral bound index card sets. One for work and one to carry around with me. And here is the first scripture I chose to memorize (this is, by the way, by memory, so excuse any typos or errors if it's not exactly right...) "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength. You must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to the commands I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home, when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up." Deuteronomy 6:5-7 (NLT). I have promised to not allow myself to use any of the old excuses..."I can't memorize", "I don't have time"...anymore. I can do this and need to do this. Will you do it with me? I can guarantee if you will commit, it will change your life.

4) Between Steve's multiple kidney stone surgeries and hip replacement, we've run up quite the medical tab. I've been paying $50 a month per bill (doctor, orthopedist, hospital, anesthesiologist, physical therapy etc.) since about June. I paid the first one of these off (PT) last week and so I feel like I'm seeing an end in site. I want to pay these babies off and get some cash flowing in our budget again.

5) If you've read my previous posts, this will make sense to you. I know that most likely a year from now, the dynamics of my family (both Jetts and Taylors) will look drastically different. I want to try and make it a priority to find time to spend with each set of parents. Special note: Mary came home from the hospital yesterday afternoon. We went to see her today, but she was resting, so we didn't stay long. It's nice to see her home even though her home now resembles a hospital room. Pray for Bill (my father in law) and Deanne (my sister in law) as they become primary caregivers for Mary. Having gone down this life's path 16 years ago, I can tell you, it is one of the hardest jobs imaginable.

So those are my goals for 2009. I can tell you that I'm already behind in my devotional (Chronological Bible) reading. I took it to work on the 2nd to read during lunch (which I did NOT) and then I let them on Friday when I left (oops!), but like a good friend of mine says, "There's no condemnation!", so I just decided to use another Bible to get caught up.

OK, that's enough for today. I had a Diet Coke and Large Mocha Java Chiller (thanks Deanne and Johnny!) tonight with dinner, so chances of me going to bed soon are slim to none. I think I'll play a little guitar hero and then hit the sack. Thank goodness I'm off tomorrow! Last day before back to the grindstone!


Happy New Year!!!

Happy 2009!!!

Just a few quick things as it's nearly 12:30 am and I'm definitely ready for bed.

Mary is doing well. Her spirits are WAY high, considering. I saw her yesterday and outside of being in a hospital bed, you'd never know anything was wrong with her. She did have terrible headaches today and they are trying to manage the pain.

Today, was a milestone for me in a couple ways. First, I finished reading my chronological Bible which means in my 34 1/2 years of life, I have read the Bible through 2 times in a row. I'm ashamed to say that I've only done it twice, but I'm proud to say that I did it this year and plan to start over again tomorrow (or today, actually!)

Another milestone for me was that today, I signed up to participate in my first ever marathon. I'm going to be walking that Music City (1/2) Marathon! I have always wished I could do it, but never really got serious about it. HCA is paying a huge portion of the entry fee and getting TEAM HCA together. There are several people from my department doing it, so I'm going to do it too. I'm pretty excited and I am determined to train, start and finish.

Tonight, we spent New Year's Eve with the Millsaps for the second year in a row. I think this night might be my favorite because we eat, sit around and play games and laugh ourselves silly! I bought Guitar Hero (thanks for the recommendation Nancy and Chase!) this afternoon and we played that until just 3 or 4 minutes until 2009. How fun!

Well, I'm off to bed. Tomorrow should be a relaxing day.

I was hoping 2009 would be better than 2008 but it doesn't look like that is going to be true. Perhaps the second half of 2009 will be better. But the first day's been OK so far! :)