Thursday, November 16, 2017

Happy Harvest

This past Sunday my friend texted me to tell me he had just seen the buck I was to hunt this year and I needed to get there as soon as I could. I had originally planned a day off from work on Wednesday that week, but got in touch with my boss to change it to Monday, finished working some required OT work that Sunday night, got my hunting gear together and with absolutely zero sleep but my first buck in the back of my mind, I made the drive to the farm, arriving just in time for everyone there to start waking up. 

A little back story on my hunting career:  I have been hunting with this friend for going on three years.  I shoot handguns all the time but he's the one that taught me to shoot a rifle, and I was good at it. I hit everything I aimed at when we would practice. Of course that was without my nerves going crazy and the target moving. So while I have been on many hunts with him, they were rarely fruitful for me. I did get to see him take the biggest buck of his life, which was really exciting, and I shot a doe once but she required a second shot to die, so he took that one, too.

So once everyone was awake and ready to go, my friend and I jumped in his truck and headed off to the deer stand so we could be in before the sun came up. I was partly dreading the morning hunt because I knew it was going to go like every single morning hunt we'd ever been on together. I was going to be super grouchy for having to be up so early and he was going to be super impatient because of my grouchiness and we were going to have a real good loud-whisper fight as soon as we got in the stand. And true to our relationship, that's exactly what happened. We sat there in silence for a few minutes, took a few deep breaths, then got all set up.

The morning was proving to be a bad one for deer movement because of the high winds.  It was my first time hunting out of a tree stand rather than a box stand so the winds were miserable for us as well.  We eventually gave up on the morning and climbed down knowing we'd return for the afternoon when the winds were supposed to slow down.

After grabbing breakfast we went back to the cabin and since I had not been to bed yet, I went to sleep until he woke me up to tell me it was time to get ready to go again. As we pulled up to where we were going to walk to the stand, we sat in the truck for a few minutes while he reminded me of all the things he'd taught me thus far. I got extremely nervous but tried my best to hide it from him. I don't think it worked.

Another quick back story about why I would get so nervous even thinking about going: So I've already mentioned the doe I shot that didn't die. It was my first year. It was my first time shooting a gun at a moving target. It was a bad shot, a low shot. I blew her leg off but that was about it. He had to shoot her to kill her to keep her from suffering so long. The following year I shot at and completely missed two different deer. One of them I swear just looked at me for a minute after I shot like, "really? That's all ya got??" (He tells me when he checked afterwards that the scope was off but to this day I still think he's saying that to try to make me feel better.) In addition to that, I LOVE to hear him tell the stories of all the deer his daughters have harvested, the pride just pouring out. But I allowed that to put a lot of pressure on me, too.

Ok, back to the present. We make it to the deer stand and climb up and get all situated. Afternoon hunts have always been better for us together because my mood is in check and we can just be nicer to each other. I had the gun propped up on the rail and would practice looking through the scope and lining it up to something to practice taking aim. Then we sat back and watched and waited. Less than an hour after being in the stand I looked up and saw a buck coming out of the woods directly in front of me. I nudged my friend so he could look and tell me if it was the right deer. (Y'all, I'm starting to shake and my heart is starting to beat faster just reliving this moment to type it out!) He whispered for me to move my gun this point I still wasn't sure if this was the deer or if he was just having me practice looking at it through the scope. I look through and line up for a shot, take a quick look at my friend and see him plug his ears, then knew I had to take the shot. I got him back in the scope, following him as he walked, my friend made a call to stop him for a split second and I took a deep breath in then took the shot. Then I saw him scamper away. My shoulders dropped and I thought to myself, "I missed again." And I apparently said it out loud because I was quickly whispered at to "shut up and watch" and I looked back up just in time to see him fall over. My friend turned and grabbed ahold of me and I buried my face in his chest. He kept saying something over and over and I still have no idea what he was saying. (I imagine it was something like, "oh wow, you're the best hunter I've ever seen!") I was shaking, I couldn't catch my breath, I was crying...all from pure excitement and happiness. I had been trying for THREE years and it finally happened! Instead of me asking him to kill me a deer and bring me the meat, like I had so many times before, I had just done it myself. We waited in the stand for me to calm down so I could safely climb down. After probably 20 minutes he said, "let's go see what we got." We climbed down and walked over to where he lay. We walked up on him and my friend looked at the shot and said it was perfect he was just a big boy and took a little longer to fall over. I looked at the deer, whispered a quick "thank you" to God for this friend, this opportunity and this harvest, then went in for a closer look.
The next part was the best because we got to do a whole photo shoot! (Haha) My friend told me I was taking a picture with the deer no matter what so I better get on down there. He took a few with his camera and then took a bunch with mine.

sorry about the looks ridiculous on me but he made me wear it.
This was one of the most exciting and fulfilling moments I've had so far in my life. I am so grateful to God and to my friend for this moment and I will never ever forget the way I felt this day. I can take that deer and feed myself and my family and friends and that makes me so proud. I'm still on a high and absolutely can't wait until the next time.

Friends that hunt together stick together..


Friday, April 28, 2017

The Wild Unknown

Disclaimer:  This tiny little post took me almost a week to write.

I'm drawing a blank. I spent some time in the woods this morning just kinda doing some soul searching and peace seeking and had so many thoughts that I wanted to put down on paper and now I sit at my computer and can't think of where to even start. As I posted at the very beginning of this year, I had a trying 2016. It was a tough, tough year and I suffered feelings I've never felt before. I swore this year was going to be better, and it has. OH it has been better. Then March came along. I lost my dog, who was my very best friend, companion and adventure partner for 14 years. I lost my home....and this wasn't all bad! Let me just clear that up real quick:  <I had decided that when it came time for my lease to be up I wasn't going to renew it. I went ahead and let my landlord know so they could have plenty of time to make a decision on where they wanted to go from there. They decided they were going to sell the house and we both agreed mutually to end the lease early. So it's not like I was kicked out or anything like that...please don't think that! My landlord was nothing but the very best.> But with the loss of Gracie and the loss of my cute little home on Dee Road I feel like I've lost a lot of my identity. My sweet, sweet brother has graciously opened his home to me while I take my time deciding where I want to be and finding a home that I love that I can buy this time. So that's where I find myself, at the brand new age of 38 years old. The age where I should have everything figured out. The age where I should have a home of my own and a family of my own. I'm homeless, husbandless, childless and petless. I'm breaking all the rules here. Sometimes (a lot of times lately) I feel lost or like I'm changing into a whole different person. Thanks to my situation, my faith has grown stronger than ever, yet I haven't been to church in months. These days I find God more on the outside than inside a building, and that's OK. I thank Him that my faith has grown, because I literally have no idea where I'm going.  No idea what's going to happen. No idea where I'll end up or in what kind of situation.  No idea who'll be there when I get there. SCARY, right?! But exciting? YES! I've had to really work to get my mind right about everything. It's tough being such an independent adult and all of a sudden having to depend on others so much, even if just for a short time. But I have a bit of an adventurer's heart, so trekking into this "wild unknown," although scary, kinda excites me. There are sure to be bumps along the way, and I pray that the bumps I've already experienced have made me a stronger person and have prepared me for what's to come. The journey may be tough, but I know with God walking right beside me the destination is going to be amazing and I CAN'T WAIT to get there! Join me, will you?  Follow me along on what's sure to be a crazy, tragic, almost magic, awful, beautiful journey. (Thanks for the words, Darryl Worley.) Here goes nothin!


Monday, March 27, 2017

Gracie Lou, March 3, 2003 - March 9, 2017

I don't know why we don't have funerals for dogs.  Seems it might help with the healing of losing one.  If you're not a dog person I know this sounds completely insane to you.  But me, I'm a dog person.  I've had dogs my whole life.  In fact, I don't ever remember a time my family didn't have one.  But this dog...she was special...

Gracie Lou was born on March 3, 2003, in Brownsville, TN.  She was a birthday gift for me and the very first dog I ever picked out on my own.  She was the very first dog I ever had as an adult, that was just MY dog.

When I went to see the litter of puppies I didn't know how in the world I was going to choose one.  There were like 10 of them and they were all so cute, but they all looked just alike.  I knew I wanted a chocolate and I knew I wanted a girl.  That narrowed it down to about 6.  I sat down in the grass and they all climbed all over me and kissed all over me, it was so much fun!  When they got bored of me they climbed off of me and started playing and wrestling together.  But there was one little girl that didn't leave my side from the time I sat down.  Even when I stood up she would follow me everywhere I walked.  So I guess you can kinda say I didn't choose Gracie, Gracie chose me. 

She was the best dog from the start.  She potty trained and learned simple commands quickly.  Everywhere we went she made friends.  She had lots of roommates through the years, a few stepdads that she loved so much, and 22 of her very own children.  Yes, 22.  She had 2 litters of puppies, 11 each.  She was such a good mama, but that was my least favorite part of our time together.  ;)  Even with all the friends and people she loved, it was always still just me and her. We were a team. She was my constant, my best friend.  The only one I could always count on 100%.  Dogs are so stinkin loyal.  I could go outside to the mailbox and when I came back in she would greet me like I'd been gone a week.  She could tell when I was sad, when I was mad, when I was in pain...and she always tried to fix it.

Gracie loved the outdoors, no matter the weather.  She loved going to the lake and getting on the boat, she loved going hiking with me, she loved roaming around in the woods.  She even kinda liked playing in the snow after she would get used to it. 
She was in pretty great health most of her life, until last year when we found out she had pancreatitis. Still, it was easily controlled so she owned it.  The older she got the more surprised the dr would be about how healthy she was and how great of shape she was in for her age.  She LOVED going to the vet and they were always so happy to see her come in!  At 14 years old, if it weren't for all the gray hair, you'd never know she was a senior dog...and you DEFINITELY couldn't tell her that!  She was still running and jumping, chasing birds and squirrels (and sometimes even catching them).  She just still had so much life in her.  Don't get me wrong, though, she loved her naps!

On March 9th of this year, just 6 days after we celebrated her 14th birthday, tragedy ensued.  She found her way out of my gate and was hit by a car not far from my house.  That accident was just too much for her old body and she didn't make it through.  My little sister found her and some of the staff from the animal clinic we used assisted in picking her up.  That was one of the hardest days of my entire life.  It's been a couple of weeks and it's getting better, but sometimes I forget.  Sometimes I still think I need to run home and feed her or expect her to be at the door when I come home.  I know she's in a better place and I can't wait to get there and see her again.  I still hold on to a little bit of guilt for letting the accident happen.  I just pray that I gave her the very best life I could while she was here.  I pray she never doubted how much I loved her, because I never doubted how much she loved me.

So yeah, if somebody can affect my life that strongly, she totally deserves to be honored.  She was perfect.  She was the best dog, and that's not just her mama talkin.  Everybody thought she was the best dog.  She lived her life just like Jesus, so now I'm gonna strive to live my life just like Gracie.


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2016 Highlights

I'm the worst blogger in the history of blogging.  It's the last week of 2016 and I thought I'd jump on here a write a quick note...then I realized I haven't posted anything since this time last year.  Oops.
So let's talk about 2016.  WOOOOOO, Y'ALL!  This year has SUUUUUUUUCKED!  I can easily and honestly say it's been the hardest year I can remember.  SO...I'm going to use this post to highlight for you some of the good things that happened this year and then share my plan to make 2017 better.  K? Here we go..
Ok, I have started typing and then deleting 5 times already.  I'm trying to keep things positive 'cause I can't stand a crybaby, but y'all, this was a really, really tough year!  Not that nothing good happened, it did.  But it just seemed that the bad outweighed the good.  The stress outweighed the peace.  Every time it would seem things were starting to look up something would knock me right back on my ass. I tried to sit here and pinpoint one great, wonderful thing that happened each month that I could tell you about, complete with smiley pictures and everything and I just couldn't do it.  When I start to feel like this I just have to take a minute and count my blessings, y'all, so that's what I'm going to do.  I am so blessed.  I have the absolute best family a girl could ask for.  I have the coolest dog on the planet.  I have the cutest house you've ever seen.  I have fun friends.  I have a great job.  I, along with the people I love, are for the most part pretty healthy.  I've gotten to do some pretty cool traveling.  My freezer is full.  I serve a mighty and awesome God.  I am so, so blessed.  I know I am better off than a whole lot of people. Yes, this year has been hard, but I do believe it's made me stronger.  I've definitely learned a lot.  Now I'm going to take what 2016 has taught me and make 2017 better.  Blessins and Lessons, y'all.  Blessins and Lessons.
This week I've started cleaning up to get ready for the new year, to start fresh.  Cleaning up my house.  Cleaning up my car.  Cleaning up my mind, my body, my spirit, my soul.  Cleaning up the people that I don't think were meant to crossover into 2017 with me.  I'm optimistic.  (Y'all know...that whole "new year, new me" BS..) We are not completely in control of how things go, but we do have some control.  I didn't do a very good job this year but the strength I've built and the lessons I've learned are going to help me do a better job next.   (Maybe I'll even do a better job keeping up with this blog.)
So welcome, 2017!  Raise a glass, y'all.  Or hell, raise the whole bottle, 'cause we deserve it.  Happy New Year!  Go to hell, LSU and 2016!  #hottytoddy

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Netflix and Chill

Earlier this year I met this guy (we'll call him "netflix and chill" for reasons you're about to read) that I was pretty excited about.  We met at a party and immediately hit it off. His best friend is a good friend of mine and he's also pretty good friends with my best friend's husband.  Honestly, I'm surprised it took as long as it did for us to meet.  At this party we hung out together the entire night. He even stayed behind when his best friend went home so we could keep hanging out. When the party ended I ended up taking him home.  I know what you're thinking.  NO, nothing happened.  It was totally innocent.  And when I say nothing happened, I mean nothing.  He didn't even ask for my phone number.  He hit me with a, "well we seem to have a lot of mutual friends so I'm sure we'll see each other again."  And that was it.  Now this seems to be the shit that happens to me all the time, so driving home I didn't give it much more thought than a shrug and an "oh well."

Now let's fast forward about 6 weeks.  Yes, SIX weeks.  I'm out with friends one night and get a text from a number I don't recognize.  It was Netflix and Chill!  I was kinda giddy and excited to hear from him.  He got my number from my best friend's husband and we talked through text for a few hours that night.

In the beginning he played it exactly by the book.  I'd hear from him every other day or so through text, then he would call and we'd talk on the phone for hours, then we finally decided to get together as a group with our friends.  We had a fun night out and he walked me to my car, hugged me goodnight and we left.  He called me that night to make sure I made it home safely and we ended up talking another three hours or so on the phone.  Things were going so well!

Now, I was really adamant about NOT inviting him to my house to hang out, even if we were having a get-together, until we had been out on a date first.  I didn't want him to get too comfortable hanging out at the house and it all of a sudden turn into a friend thing.  (Story of my life.)  BUT, my girlfriends talked me into having him over for one of our Friday night get-togethers, so I did.  It wasn't so bad.  Everyone hung out pretty late and he was the last one to leave.  He kissed me that night and mentioned going to dinner one night that next week.  Perfect!

Well let me just say, I believe I am STILL waiting on that dinner outing to happen.  His idea of date night is........Netflix and chill.  Or HBO and chill.  Or On Demand and chill.  And not the Netflix and chill you see all over the internet and in Urban Dictionary.  I mean like literally takeout for dinner and movies on the couch.  Every.Saturday.Night.  For the five months we saw each other (I know, I can't believe I let it go on that long.) that is what we did.  Oh, and he LOVED documentaries.  So our nights would consist of eating dinner while we started a documentary, me falling asleep on the couch shortly after, then waking up to see credits rolling and him asleep on the other side of the couch. We'd wake up long enough to move to the bedroom and start another movie/show on netflix (no I'm not kidding) and then fall right back asleep.  Seriously y'all, he even got me an Amazon Fire TV Stick for my birthday so we could have netflix in my room.  I can't make this stuff up.

Please don't get me wrong, some of the best times I've had with guys has been chilling at the house and just enjoying each other's company.  But in that 5 months I promise we didn't go out more than 5 times.  I mean, can we NOT order pizza or Chef Shuttle tonight?  Can you at least take me to a drive through and buy me a frosty?  Let's live a little, am I right??

Needless to say I let this one go.  I do still hear from him from time to time.  Often, actually.  In fact, he wants to hang out this weekend but I don't know.  I'm feeling adventurous and that doesn't include my couch and TV.

Seriously, ladies.  I'm about to go against all the advice your mama ever gave you.  If you're still in your 20s, just settle.  Find a man and settle.  Because it doesn't get any easier in your 30s.  Haha ok, ok.  I'm just kidding.  Don't you dare settle for anything less than you deserve.  Clearly I haven't because at this very moment I'm Hunting Channel and chilling....all by myself.  ;)

Talk soon,


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

That One Time I Online Dated

Online Dating.  I know so many people that have tried it and lots that have actually been successful at it.  Frankly, the whole idea of it kinda gives me anxiety.  BUT, the man pool in Memphis seems to be slim pickins these days, so my only two single friends and I decided that we were going to try it out. 

I sat and painfully answered all those dumb questions that help you find your "matches," wrote a little about myself, uploaded some pictures, and boom.  Done.  I immediately started getting messages on there from all kinds of boys and I thought, "YES!  Boys love me!"  I chatted back and forth with a few guys that were harder to talk to than my living room wall, saw more pictures of penises than I've seen in my entire life, and kinda started talking to one guy that seemed like he might be ok...all in the first 2 hours. I kept chatting back and forth with this one guy through the site until he finally thought we should exchange phone numbers and text instead of message through the site.  So that's what we did.  After getting about 641644614516 more pictures of penises, I decided my time on an online dating site was over.  I lasted a whole 48 hours but thought, maybe something will still come of this normal-seeming guy, and if so I can still kind of believe in online dating.

The guy (we'll call him Mike) and I kept talking through text for a few days before he asked if he could call me.  Whoa!  Slow down there, Mikey!  He called, we talked, it was good.  He eventually asked me out for a drink so I agreed to meet him.  After all, it seemed to be going well so far.  I had already learned enough about him to at least think he was interesting.  So I met him at my local watering hole, where I was sure to know plenty of people.  He looked nothing like his pictures, but was still not a bad looking guy.  We sat at the bar and got through all the awkward "nice to see you in person" crap and I thought, ok.  This isn't so bad.  And then it happened.  Within 20 minutes of sitting there at the bar chatting, and with tons of people around, he started attacking my face with his tongue.  Just out of nowhere.  I SAID SLOW DOWN THERE, MIKEY!  Like I literally had to physically push him away from me.  Luckily, we both had other SEPARATE plans that evening.  I set it up that way on purpose in case he sucked and thank God I did because he did.  My other plans happened to be on the patio of the bar I was already at, so I just stepped outside and joined my friends, who were already laughing hysterically at me but told me I should give it one more shot.  That's when the bartender walked out and very sternly said, "No, she will not be giving that guy another shot."  Within about 30 minutes I got a text from Mike that said, "I already miss you."  Um, I'm sorry, what? 

Mike and I texted back and forth a couple of more days but I just let that one fade as quickly as possible.  Until the awesome, wonderful, perfect night I ran into him while I was out listening to a friend's band play.  He started texting me from the same room and I freaked out a little bit.  Thankfully I was with one of my best guy friends and was able to play that in my favor.  After ignoring all 57 of his texts from the same room, I never heard from good ol' Mikey again.  And I never tried online dating again.

Side note:  My only two single friends that I mentioned in the beginning are now both in relationships.  And NOT from online dating.  So here I still sit:  Jessica, party of 1. 

Til next time,

Monday, May 25, 2015

Happy Memorial Day and My Long Weekend Without Social Media

First of all, Happy Memorial Day! Take some time to remember those that have laid down their lives for this country! 

Long weekends are always fun, right?  I decided I'd use this long Memorial Day weekend to detox myself from all things social media.  I don't exactly consider myself to be addicted at an unhealthy level, but with smart phones allowing us to have facebook, twitter, instagram, etc. at the tip of our fingers, it's really easy to let social media take away from relaxing alone time or time with the people we love.  So that was my challenge to myself.  Nothing crazy, just 4 full days without checking social media.  I took all the apps off my phone so I wouldn't even see a notification.  I have to say, it hasn't been bad!

Since Friday was a half day, my boss let us all work from home.  So at noon on Friday I logged off of my work computer and decided it was play time.

It was such a pretty day, so I got some swing time in with these three crazies!  Y'all know I love my niece and nephew monkeys, so being outside with them without the distraction of facebook or instagram notifications dinging on my phone every 2 minutes was just so much fun!

Later in the evening I met my mom, uncle, sister, and niece for dinner.  Usually at family meals I try to keep my phone put away anyways, but of course that doesn't always happen.  It was nice to be able to sit at dinner with them and actually talk and just be with each other.

(Not to mention being able to enjoy my niece's chocolate pudding dessert.)

Saturday was another beautiful day.  I got up, got a little workout in, went shopping, and spent some time outside.  Later Saturday night my man friend came over and we had our usual Saturday date night of takeout and movies.  Again, just spending time together without checking my phone every few minutes was so enjoyable.  (He's not on any social media, so it's never an issue for him.)  Side note:  we used Chef Shuttle for the first time on Saturday night.  Excellent.

Sunday started out really nice weather wise.  I went over to my crazy friend Ellen's house.  She and her husband have an annual Memorial Day lunch cookout/pool party.

The food was excellent and the company even better.  And any time you can pull one of the guys away from the swimming pool basketball game to take a picture of all the girls, you know you're doing good.

I left the pool party early to head over to my bestie's house to cookout dinner with her and her husband.

I used this cookout as an opportunity to pop open a bottle of wine from the new Delta Blues Winery here in town.  It was given to me for my birthday and I'm just now getting to try it.  Not bad! My man friend came over there a little later and we cooked hamburgers and hot dogs and just hung out. After finishing the entire bottle having a couple of glasses of wine we figured it was probably time to call it a night.  It ended up being a longer one that I had planned.

That brings us to today.  I was invited to do a couple of different things today with a couple of different groups of friends and I wish I could have done it all!  I'm not as young as I used to be and it takes me a little longer to recover from a fun night these days!  I did get a chance to check out the new Sprouts Farmers Market in Cordova and I CANNOT WAIT until the one in Germantown opens!
My time away from social media has not been near as difficult as I thought it might be.  Now, we all know I'm way too much of a social butterfly and way too nosy to stay off forever, so I will jump back on there tomorrow to catch up on everybody's lives and see what all I've missed.  But I have to admit, it has been such an enjoyable weekend being with the people I love...I mean actually BEING with them.

How was your Memorial Day weekend?