Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Are we really just two short days away from rolling into next year? I can hardly believe it. This time last year so much was changing for the bad and for the good. Our friend, Cheryl had just passed away. The Red Door was about to open and we were all so lively and excited as we dreamt of what it would be and could be. I didn't expect it to end as soon as it has. I started my job with State Farm. My job has really been the ONLY consistency in 2008. I have learned a lot and it has been very much a blessing in every aspect. Wow, it doesn't seem like it's been a year at all. I can't believe how fast it has flown.

Here's to 2009...

I have no idea what to expect. Everytime I write a New Years Resolution, it is abolutely and completely interrupted in some way or another.

The only thing that I'm saying right now is that I really want to focus on being a better person this year, sacrificing my needs and wants for others, lending a hand when needed, offering an ear to someone who needs to talk and simply loving and accepting each and every person who walks into my life this year as well as the ones who are already in my life.

There is SO much I wish to change about myself and so much I want to do. However, I'm not focusing on the big picture right now as it could become entirely overwhelming. Little by little. Step by step.

I hope that this time next year I can say with confidence that I accomplished much this year by truly becoming less self centered and more aware of the needs of others. I also pray that I truly surrender my heart and soul to God again. I've come so far and realize that I am in need of a turn around.

2009...I'm ready for you :)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Couple of pictures...

Here are a few pictures from over the Holidays. I have TONS more but I always have a difficult time putting pictures on this thing. It takes me forever to organize them and they always seem to be spaced so far apart. Ugh. Does anyone know an easier way to do it? I prefer facebook's super fast and easy picture uploader! =) So, check there if you wish to see more!

Our Christmas cats, Pippin and Charlie.

The kitten and I

My gorgeous little (well, not so little anymore) sister, Hannah and I at a beautiful candle-lit Christmas wedding. I can't believe how grown up she is...she'll be 17 in a few months. It just seems unreal!

Friday, December 26, 2008

My Christmas.

I had an amazing Christmas! I hope all of you did as well!! I always get so sad the day after Christmas when no more Christmas songs are played on our "Christmas station". As annoying as some can be, I still like turning on my radio to hear songs like "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" and "Oh Holy Night". It just makes me happy.

I love Christmas. It's definitely my most favorite Holiday and I can't understand people who dislike it. The other day a man came in the office and I wished him a "Merry Christmas" as I did to everyone during the latter part of this month.

He responded with a gruff "I'm so ready for this Christmas cr*p to be over!"

I stared at him smiling and said "Well, it's what you make it and I hope that you really have a Merry Christmas!

He shot a smile back and said "Well, thank you very much" in a much kinder voice.

I think most people just see Christmas as a busy time of year making the shopping and traffic impossible and they miss out on what it's really all about. Some just choose to be Scrooges for no good reason (ugh I can't stand that!) and some simply don't have loved ones or close friends to spend it with thus causing them to feel alone.

This Christmas I was so thankful for all that I got as it was so much more than I even wanted or could have asked for. I was completely surprised at the amount of gifts my parents purchased for me and I loved every solitary thing. I am so blessed. However, I'm even more thankful for all that I have and not materialistic things but the huge blessings in my life such as a wonderful family, amazing friends, good health, a job, steady income, and my faith which has become dwindled lately. I have no good excuse as to why but I must remain honest with myself. My New Years resolution will be long this year but I must keep renewing and restoring my faith and relationship with God at the top. It is so important to me. I do not like what I have become lately, I'm not me. I'm withholding so much. So, here's to some needed change in my life.

We spent the day yesterday opening gifts, cooking and eating a huge and delicious breakfast, cooking a delicious lunch entailing turkey, honey baked ham, mashed potatoes, dressing, gravy, sweet potato soufle, broccoli and cheese caserole, green bean casserole, pepperoni rolls and dinner rolls. Needless to say it was a feast! We ate lunch with my Uncle, Aunt and little cousins and then we went to the movies. Going to the movies on Christmas day has kind of become a tradition for us. It's crazy how packed it is! We went and saw "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button". Very interesting movie. It was weird but I enjoyed it. It's very lengthy (3 hours) but it really gives you a neat perspective on the cycle of life, time and those you cherish. I actually got a lot out of it, surprisingly. I definitely recommend if you like weird movies and can sit still for that long :)

How was your Christmas? I hope you all had an incredible day! :)


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

I know my last post was a little gloomy and depressing, sorry. I know that I probably should not have written it this close to Christmas but with it being the one year Anniversary, I didn't think about it much.

Thank you all for your sweet comments.

I did want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!!

Today we're cooking up a storm and all sorts of really amazing smells are filling our home! I have TONS of presents to wrap and cleaning to do. My aunt, uncle and little cousins are coming to have Christmas dinner with us tomorrow! It should be a lot of fun.

It feels like Christmas, all except for one thing...it's 75 degrees outside... =( Blah. One thing I hate about Florida is the fact that we don't get real seasons! So, we have the a/c blasting just so we can have a fire and not roast to death. Blah Florida on Christmas! It's crazy because Monday morning it was 27 degrees and just 2 days later it's 75! What!?

Sometimes I wish I lived a little further north during the Holidays. I miss snow on Christmas but I love the beach in the summer. Too bad I can't have both. =/

Well, I hope you all have an amazing Christmas and that we all remember the real reason we celebrate this blessed Holiday season.

Much Love,

Monday, December 22, 2008

Last Christmas was a nightmare.

I've never written about this in my public blog, ever. Simply because I never wanted to revisit those cold, bitter and oh so dissatisfying memories. I have filled journal page after journal page of thoughts, prayers, anger, resentment, hurt and confusion from what happened this time last year, but never have I written publicly about it.

For some reason I feel okay and released to do so now.

December 1. We received a chilling phone call from a friend who uttered the words "Cheryl's missing".

"Missing? What do you mean, missing?"

"She's missing. No one has heard from her in two days. She never turned up to teach Sunday School and she didn't show up to work on Monday either."

"What? Are you sure?"

"Yes, I'm sure. Her car was located on the shoulder of highway 319 kind of far off the road near the woods and she is nowhere to be found. Her purse was in her car but her wallet was empty. Someone robbed her and someone took Cheryl."

As my mom conveyed this very disturbing conversation to me, I could not comprehend what was being said to me. Almost as if I dismissed it as some sick joke.

"Who would ever take Ms. Cheryl??? Why?"

I was entirely confused by the concept. My mind wouldn't let me register it as being true.


When I was about 8 years old, we relocated to Crawfordville, FL, a little suburb of Tallahassee, FL and began attending a Church in a town called Sopchoppy (we actually ended up moving to Sopchoppy later that year). This church eventually became our world. We made some of the best friends, created some of the most amazing memories and learned some extremely vital lessons while there. Among the people we connected with there, Ms. Cheryl became a key role model to ever enter my life around the age of 10. She began teaching a class for young girls and I, among many other girls my age were privileged to be in her class. She wasn't like the other teachers we had in the past. She really took pride in what she did and went above and beyond her role to lead us. We had countless sleepovers at her house while eating innumerable amounts of cookie dough and toaster strudels and then all 8 of us would pile in her king size water bed, giggling and such until the wee hours of the morning. She didn't mind when we said she had "gray highlights" and she took us on countless trips to town as we would stop at her in-home care patients homes along the way to help her visit and "tend" to them.

My sisters and I thought she was the coolest lady in the whole world as well as many of our other friends. I remember some weekends when mom would say "Girls, Ms. Cheryl is picking you up from school today and you're going to stay the night with her!" and the excitement would ensue. We knew we were in for a sleepless nights with lots of food, movies and possible front yard camp outs. One Friday in particular I remember her picking us up and informing us that we were going to be cheerleaders at her son's football birthday party. We excitedly got our costumes ready, pom poms and pony tails and proceeded to cheer for the "home team" in their backyard. We thought we were cool stuff.

She had 2 sons but never had any daughters. I suppose she would have loved to have a daughter by the way she acted with all of us girls. We loved her so much and she really loved us.

There was a time when I became very sick and was having lots of physical problems and she, being the great nurse that she was helped me through a very difficult time physically, emotionally and spiritually.

As we all approached our teen years, we stayed close to her. Her and her son Jake were the only people who helped us move from Sopchoppy to Pensacola and they, too eventually moved here so she could attend the Bible school my dad taught at. She lived about a half a mile away from us and the sleepovers continued as well as the fun times. Some of the girls would occasionally come over for a visit and we would all hang out at Ms. Cheryl's house as if nothing had ever changed.

She loved Jesus with all of her heart. She was a true disciple as well as a discipler. While she was extremely fun and let us get away with a lot, she was very solid about one thing- God. She stood true and firm upon values and taught us to love and respect ourselves and always put God first in our lives.

She was a nurse for many, many years and was amazing at it. I remember her taking time on her weekends when she was off duty to check on her patients because she had such a huge heart. They all loved her. I honestly never met anyone who didn't love Ms. Cheryl.

She went on to do medical missions work in various countries and loved every second of it. She could rough it and she had a genuine love, care and compassion for people.

She was really a one-of-a-kind type of person. I looked up to her immensely as did my sisters and all of our friends who knew her. She was so loveable. She could be stern, but only when she knew we were harming ourselves. We knew what she meant because she did it in love.

Regretfully, as I grew older and she moved back to Crawfordville we kind of lost contact with her. Our lives changed completely within the span of a year and we lost contact with a lot of very dear people. I hate this part about life. I hate that this happens, but it does. The crazy thing is, you know how much you loved that person and how much they loved you that even though time and distance put a gap between you, nothing really ever changed. Ms. Cheryl never changed. She was faithful and she was a fervent follower and pursuer of Jesus. She lived her entire life based on that and that alone. God was undoubtedly the center. I always admired that about her. She was not easily swayed. Her feet were firmly planted.

This Article was written just 5 days after she went missing.

:Fast Forward:

December 6- Still no trace of Ms. Cheryl. "How can this be happening?"

The entire month of December 2007 is kind of all a blur. We hardly celebrated Christmas as we were communting back and forth from Pensacola to Crawfordville to praticipate in foot searches, to be with close friends who knew and loved Cheryl as well as Jake, her son who was always like a big brother to us and simply because we just could not celebrate anything or be happy when all of this was occuring. It was completely devastating and so surreal. I cried myself to sleep every night at the horrible thoughts that would invade my mind and I cried out to God to please prove Himself to me and let her be okay. I just couldn't understand why He would let something such as this happen to someone so amazing, who loved Him so much and who lived her life in complete surrender to His will. It didn't make any sense.

I wanted to punch people who would say "God has a plan for all of this". That phrase literally made me want to throw up.

"How could God have a plan for someone to go missing who obviously had been robbed and abducted? How could God have a plan for a Mother of two fairly young sons and a grandmother of two baby girls to just be ripped out of their lives in such a terrible manner?"

I'm sorry but I REFUSE to believe that Cheryl's abduction and death was ever a part of God's plan. I could be wrong but I just refuse to believe that God would ever let something so utterly awful happen to someone like Ms. Cheryl or anyone for that matter.

I'm not going to go into much detail simply because the details are very disturbing and gruesome and I honestly wish I didn't even have to know them. It was by far the worst tragedy I have ever had to witness of someone who was close to me, ever.

Her body was eventually located and unidentifiable. It actually took them a while to confirm it was her.

My heart sank when we received this news. It was apparent that it was going to be her but I still had that glimmer of hope and it was quenched completely.

"No, that can't be her. They did not do that to her! Only a monster could go to those lengths and do something so inhumane. Dear God."

Anger welled up within me at the thought. I wanted that person tortured forever. I hated him. How could anyone to that to our Ms. Cheryl?

I still am admittedly bitter about it to this day. Honestly, It would be so hard to forgive that man for what he did and not only to dear Ms. Cheryl but also a young girl by the name of Meredith Emerson as well as many other victims he preyed upon. He is evil, inhuman, despicable and completely vile.

I know my words are harsh but you really have no idea...

December 26, 2007 marks one year from the day of her funeral. Yes, her funeral was the day after Christmas. Her family's holidays will forever carry a tragic memory and will forever change the way they view it because someone evil took their mother and grandmother's life before her time. Now, there is a void and a constant reminder. It sickens me.

I hate it. I hate the truth. I hate knowing the gruesome details and I hate remembering it.

I'm trying right now to focus on remembering her life and the lovely person that she was. I will never ever forget the impact and difference she made in my life and everyone she ever came in contact with.

Should you wish to read more about her...

http://www.wctv.tv/home/headlines/12873987.html - My dad is quoted and mentioned in this article as he was a keynote speaker at her funeral (Keith Collins). As well as the article below.


This time of year does hold chilling memories and feelings for me. I can't help but think about it from time to time and I guess with it being the one year anniversary I felt some closure to write about it, though it was extremely difficult for me to do so. I will never ever understand why it happened, ever. It will never make an ounce of sense to me.

RIP Ms. Cheryl. You will forever be remembered and cherished in our hearts. You gave me a perspective about so many things and I will always strive to live a life consecrated unto the Lord because of the example you set before me. I am forever grateful for the time I was able to know you and glean from you. I am so glad that God placed you in our lives.

One thing resonates in my mind when I recollect all that happened...

"God can take what the enemy has used to cause evil and turn it around for good. " (Gen.50:20)

Yes, God can turn the very devices of the enemy into weapons of victory.

As I think back to that dismal month I can honestly say that as SO many people remembered and talked about Cheryl, it all centered around her lifestyle; pure, honest, compassionate, modest, loving, generous, selfless, loyal and faithful. I believe that many people were touched by her persona and devotion and I pray that the fruit of the many seeds she planted come to fruition.

The Bucket List.

Stole this from Candi's blog. I found it to be interesting!

The Bucket List

Hit forward and place an (x) by all the things you've done and remove the (x) from the ones you have not. Then send it to your friends (including me). This is for your entire life!

(x) Been to Europe
( ) Been on a cruise
( ) Gone on a blind date
(x) Skipped school
(x) Watched someone die
( ) Been to Canada
(x) Been to Mexico
(x) Been to Florida
(x) Been on a plane
(x) Been lost
( ) Been on the opposite side of the country
(x) Gone to Washington , DC
( ) Been to Vegas
( ) Climbed a lighthouse
(x) Swam in the ocean
(x) Rolled in the snow
(x) Cried yourself to sleep
(x ) Seen the Cherry Blossoms in Washington , D.C.
(x) Played cops and robbers
( ) Been present in a confrontation where guns were pulled
() Been in a knock down drag out fight
() Flown a plane
( ) Owned a boat
( ) Watched grandchildren grow
(x) Recently colored with crayons
( ) Been to the Kentucky Derby
( ) Been to Key West
( ) Been to a rodeo
(x) Sang Karaoke
(x) Paid for a meal with coins only
(x) Done something you told yourself you wouldn't
(x) Made prank phone calls
(x) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose
(x) Caught a snowflake on your tongue
(x) Danced in the rain
(x ) Written a letter to Santa Claus
() Been kissed under the mistletoe
(x) Had a near death experience
() Watched the sunrise with someone
( ) Seen the green flash at sunset
(X) Blown bubbles
(x) Gone ice-skating
(x) Owned a convertible
( ) Been in an outside hot tub when it was snowing
1. Any nickname? Bamber, Amby, Bam, Ber, Ladybug, Ambercita etc
2. Mother's name ? Darla Collins
3. Body Piercing ? Jut the ears.
4. How much do you love your job? I love it, really.
5. Birthplace? Tallahassee, FL
6. Been to Hawaii ? Not yet but want to someday
7. Ever been to Africa ? No but I would love to go there also
8. Ever eaten just cookies for dinner? Hmm, yes I have =/
9. Ever been on TV? Yes
10. Ever steal any traffic sign? No, I have never done that
11. Ever been in a car accident? Not while I was driving
12. Drive a 2-door or 4-door vehicle ? 4-door
13. Favorite number? I don't have one
14. Favorite movie ? I ahve way too many but I LOVE The Holiday, so cute!
15. Favorite holiday ? Christmas
16. Favorite dessert? Cheesecake
18. Favorite food? Mediterranean food (yummmm), Italian and Sushi
19. Favorite day of the week ? Friday
20. Favorite brand of body wash ? Bath and Body works, warm vanilla sugar
21. Favorite smell? Envy me, by gucci, Men's Dolce and Gabana cologne, the smell of freshly cut grass in spring and summer and mom's homemade pumpkin bread baking
22. How do you relax? Read
23. How do you see yourself in 10 years? I don't know. Maybe married with a kid or two. We'll see.
TAG! You're IT!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Lately I feel dry, withered, wearisome, reserved and all of those other words that are synonymous.

I've gone through "dry spells" before but I believe this has been a record long state in which I have lingered. I'm not satisfied in Him anymore, nor do I feel a sense of purpose or direction. It's almost as if a haze has settled, completely blurring everything which is in front of me and I'm blindly gliding.

No aspiration or motivation.

Obviously, this is not something that I haven't experience before, nor is it something uncommon to go through. However, it gets old and it hinders. It hinders my relationship with God, family, friends and it makes me complacent. That word that I loathe so much, yet have sucuumbed to without much hesitancy.

Self satisfied. Not something I am proud of. Not something I wish to be.

I'm aware that my not being involved in a church or "body of believers" has most likely contributed to this feeling ultimately leading to me being disconnected. I feel completely disconnected, yet I am "okay" with it. I am not okay with being okay about that.

I recently wrote a post about change. My feelings toward it, my opposition and dislike toward it, yet somehow I think that some change could be just what I need. I say this with much reluctance.

I have no idea what that entails. I have not the slightest clue as to where I should begin. I just feel really far and I don't like it.

I don't know if God stopped speaking or if I just stopped listening.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Party and an Unexpected Gift

We had our annual Christmas Party last night. It was quite a scene to behold. There had to have been more than 70 people squished into our not-so-huge home. It was a lot of fun and we had been preparing for days! The house looked amazing! Mom had it all decked out in lights, beautifully lit candles and decorations galore. We also made basically every type of party h'dourves, cookie, christmas candy, and truffle you could possibly imagine. The selection was beyond belief and was very pretty and decorative as well. It was a success!

We ALL (as in all 50-70 of us) went caroling through our neighborhood last night (something we are attempting to make tradition as this was our second year to do so). Our neighbors thoroughly enjoy it, well the majority of them at least. We were rejected by a few, sadly. Where is the Christmas spirit people?!

Sidenote: If you line your home in lights and have a light up frosty and reindeer in your front yard then you are simply ushering carolers to your door, so it isn't very nice to slam the door in our sweet faces because you, my friend gave a false impression. Thank you and Merry Christmas anyway.

The majority of attendees I didn't really know all too well and it was kind of funny to feel like a stranger in my own house but really cool to meet new people!

We also played the infamous white elephant/dirty santa game. You know, the one where you steal presents from people. It got a bit hasty at one point. I simply observed the hysteria of people actually fighting over sparklers and lotto tickets. Too funny.

Much, much later in the night a few of us adjourned to the couches all comfy and snuggly and watched Enchanted. It's obviously not a Christmas movie but it was amazing. I laughed so hard. If you haven't seen it, you must! I got a kick out of it. Really. Then again, it may have been because it was 12:00 am and I was watching it with extremely hilarious people, so I'm sure that contributed much to my enjoyment.

All in all, it was a lovely night, spent with lovely people.

I am beyond exhaustion today, though. I think it was 2:45 am when I actually fell asleep only to be woken up by the sound of my screaming alarm clock just 3 short hours later. I'm halfway through the day and I haven't collapsed...yet. I don't do well when I havn't had at least 6 hours of sleep. I'm awake but my brain is not functioning properly.

On another note, today a little unexpected surprise arrived for me at the office. A policyholder came in to thank me for my assistance on a claim that she had made. She stated that she was so pleased with our service and willingness to drop all that we were doing to assist her. She gave both Amy and I a card. Upon opening it up, two 5 dollar bills fell out. (We're actually not supposed to take money from customers, ever. However, she had already left when I opened ot and we can't very well send it back. So, I suppose it can slide this once.) She wrote the sweetest note within a Christmas card and one line read...

"I wanted to thank you for being so kind and helpful last Friday. Some people would say it was your job, you dropped everything you were doing to help me. I say it was the sweet spirit within you."

That, my friends is why I love my job. I know I may complain about someone cussing me out over the phone or in person because they got a rate increase (obviously out of my control), their billing got screwed up somehow or their insurance was cancelled because they failed to pay their premium, have had too many accidents and/or tickets or whatever other reason you can imagine. However, for every ten of those mean people there is one like this dear lady who totally and completely made my year and made it all worth it. It's amazing to feel appreciated.

To those of you who didn't catch my previous post, you just might have been tagged in it! :) If not, then feel free to do it anyway!

Much love!

I'm it!

Candi tagged me! I haven't been tagged in a while and I always feel special when someone tags me. =)

Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.

2. Share 7 random and/or weird facts about you.

3. Tag 7 random people at the end, and include links to their blog

So, I'm supposed to list 7 random facts about myself. This shouldn't be too difficult...

1. I am ocd about the interior condition and odor of my car. I change my air freshener every week and I vacuum it frequently. I love it when people get in my car and say "wow, your car is so clean and it smells good!". I guess it might be because it's the first "nice" vehicle I've ever owned and the first car that I have purchased myself so I take pride in it and want it to be immaculate!

2. When my sister and I were little, my mom had our hair cut short and I hated it. Every time we went to the salon, I would cry the entire way there and the entire way home. I absolutely hated getting my hair cut, especially short. So when ash and I would play "house" in our playroom downstairs we would take our stretchy black pants and pull them over our heads and pretend that we had gorgeous, flowing raven locks of hair. One day we were completely consumed with our game and in walked a guy who had been staying with us. He, of course laughed, poked fun and called us "nuns". I was absolutely horrified and embarrassed. (I got embarrassed really easily, still do) and alas that was the last time I ever wore a pair of black stretchy pants on my head. Haha

3. For those of you who are not aware of this already, I was bit by a copperhead snake at the age of 2 1/2 and nearly died. (I believe this is a repeat, sorry). I've also had many other random and freak encounters with odd animals, such as opossums. All crazy stories.

4. I can quote Anne of Green Gables and Little Women backwards and forwards. You don't ever want to watch those movies with me because I will annoy you to no end.

5. Never would I publicly demean anyone, ever. I absolutely hate it when people do that to me and I hate watching it happen to others. However, if you demean or belittle me publicly I hold a secret grudge and it's very difficult for me to get over it although I usually do eventually. Public demeaning is a huge "no no". I also tend to take things too personally, which is something I've had to overcome in the last year due to my work environment. I'm still working on that though. It can be a monster at times and I feel inferior way too often when it creeps up on me.

6. I'm easily pleased. It really doesn't take much to make me happy. It's the little things that make my life so great, such as coffee and conversations with my mom, e-mailing my dad during the day, going home after work to a home cooked meal, family and good friends and reading. I love stuff like that. Some of my greatest memories are home lived.

7. My family is overly dramatic and high strung. I think I lean more toward being like my dad as far as "laid back" goes, although I do have the tendancy to be dramatic when necessary. For the most part, I'm very "go with the flow". I'm very conservative in thought, opinions, beliefs, dress and style. A lot of my friends and sister's friends like to call this "old fashioned and boring". However, I am completely content with it. I'm open minded as well, but not too much. I think that being too open minded can be just as harmful, if not more than being closed minded.

There you have it my friends. I have sucessfully completed my task of being tagged and enjoyed it as well!

So, it is now my turn to nominate 7 of you to execute this task and continue the tagging force!

I choose LuLu, Andrea, Mrs.Leah.Maria, Lindsey, Sarah, Karen and Shanny

Hope you're all having a splendid day! =)

Monday, December 15, 2008

I'm not a chameleon, yet I have to be.

Change is happening all around me. For one who is not fond of change, it sure is frequent.

I never do good during change. I find myself grasping every tiny bit of familiarity that I can cling to. In my mind I refuse to accept reality and pretend that it will all be the same, always. No matter how much I liked or disliked certain aspects of something, I was comfortable with that stability, even when unstable. Does that even make sense?

It's like clockwork. Every year something drastically changes in our lives. Every.single.year. Not the type of change that you adjust to quite comfortably and quickly. Really big changes. Whether it be exciting or completely devastating. I'm aware that life is always, always changing and it's all about moving on, adapting, searching and striving to do more and be more but is it wrong to want to just stay right where you are?

Maybe I get too comfortable. That could be my problem. I get much too comfortable with things I don't even necessarily like sometimes. I like routine. I get stuck in a rut and I'm okay with it. Not good, my friends.

So, I am completely unaware of what might possibly unfold over the next few months but things could definitely be changing drastically (as if they weren't already). I've known for some time the probablity of my Dad inheriting an agency in Knoxville, TN and while I know it would be an amazing, once in a lifetime opportunity that he has worked so hard for, I can't help but shove it far into the back of my mind and dismiss it as a silly "perhaps".

"As if we'd actually leave Pensacola."

We've attempted to leave numerous times, putting our house on the market, making plans, home shopping to actually moving to another state for a mere 6 months to realize that we were definitely NOT supposed to be there. It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out. However, we had purchased a home there, attempted to settle there and all the while our home of 8 years sat empty and unsold of which we only dreamt of moving back into. The day we moved back into our home in Pensacola was one of the happiest days of my life. You have no idea. As crazy as it seems, the home we had moved into for those 6 months of being out of Pensacola was a dreamhouse, ginormous, gorgeous, it was like something out of a magazine. It was an amazing house. It had everything my mom ever wanted in a kitchen, an elevator, endless amounts of space and storage- it was simply divine. However, it was not home. Our hearts were not there. We were so very unhappy. The house could not make us happy nor could it give us what we wanted. I feel like I spent that year of my life packing and unpacking as we had done it 4 times over the course fo 6 months. However, when we heard the news that we were moving back home-back into our house, I couldn't wait to get packing! My heart was in Pensacola and I couldn't wait for us to be reunited!

Now, if you saw where I lived you might laugh at me. It's not a huge town. It's not all that glamorous. It's just a regular sized town down along the gulf coast. I will admit that we do have the most beautiful beaches in the U.S. No doubt. Sugar white sand and blue/green water make up our beaches. I've spent many sweet summers along these beaches. I know where all the hot spots are, good little hole in the wall restaurants are and how to get practically anywhere and everywhere. I could find my way around this town with my eyes closed. I love it here, really and truly. And though we've gone through an innumerable amount of changes, disappointments and heartaches here, it is still my home.

I'm desperately trying to imagine moving on and starting fresh and new but each and every time I do, that hard lump appears in my throat and tears begin to surface reminding me that it will be extremely difficult. I want to be excited, I really do.

I, of course have the option of staying here but honestly the only thing I would be staying for would be my job, which I really do love. But again, I think it may be a comfort thing. I can't imagine my family leaving me. I know I'm a big girl and all but I'm close with them and as annoying as they can be at times, I just can't imagine it.

It would be one thing if I were the one moving away from home because I would always have the comfort of coming back home, you know?

I'm rambling, I know.

I just needed to vent a little. I'm a professional at bottling up and being introverted and sometimes writing is the perfect outlet for such.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Red Door (RIP)

Oh loves.

An emotional week it has been. The beloved Red Door Venue closed. Our last show was last night and I didn't think I'd be as upset as I was.

It's pretty crazy how much things can change over the course of a year, how many people come in and out of your life and how much you learn.

My mom is one of the most amazing people I know. I could never do all that she has done. She has always poured out her life for others. She has always worked her tail off and has never gotten a penny for it, any of it. She truly is a mom to so many but I am so glad that she is my real mom. I'm so unbelievably blessed. She has spent COUNTLESS hours cleaning, taking out trash, cooking, sweeping up cigarettes, attempting to break up fights, loving on kids, praying with kids, crying with kids, counting money, paying for kids who didn't have money to go to shows, listening and putting up with that awful hardcore music and having people sleep all over our house just because she couldn't bear the thought of bands sleeping in their vans. She really does have the biggest and best heart I know and I really hope I am like her. She's incredible. Running a venue is a very difficult task, you have no idea!

I love you mom.

It's a sad time for all of us. It's always sad to see something that you love come to an end. I can't wait to see what door God opens up next!

I hope you're all having a Merry Christmas. Sorry I have slacked majorly in the blogging arena. There has just been so much going on lately that I really have not had the time to write!

Much love.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Thought I'd share this...

It's so sad how Christmas has become so commercialized. It's completely ridiculous how so many people get "offended" by the word "Christmas" or anything to do with Jesus when that is the very reason we even celebrate this holiday.

*Twas the month before Christmas*
*When all through our land,*
*Not a Christian was praying*
*Nor taking a stand.*
*See the PC Police had taken away,*
*The reason for Christmas - no one could say.*
*The children were told by their schools not to sing,*
*About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.*
*It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say*
*December 25th is just a " Holiday ".*

*Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit*
*Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!*
*CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-pod*
*Something was changing, something quite odd! *
*Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa*
*In hopes to sell books by Franken and Fonda.*
*As Targets were hanging their trees upside down*
*At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.*
*At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears*
*You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.*

*Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-is-ty*
*Are words that were used to intimidate me.*
*Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen*
*On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton !*
*At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter*
*To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.*
*And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith*
*Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace*

*The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded*
*The reason for the season, stopped before it started.*
*So as you celebrate "Winter Break" under your "Dream Tree"*
*Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.*
*Choose your words carefully, choose what you say*
Not Happy Holiday !*

I know it's kind of cheesy but it's so true. This morning I was watching the news and they were covering a story about an elementary school in North Carolina. A parent was "offended" by a Rudolph song and pageant because of the word "Christmas". Thus the school completely rearranged the entire pagaent because of the complaint as to not offend anyone. Are you kidding me? It's absolutely mind boggling to me.

It's crazy, absolutely crazy.

Well, I hope you're all having a MERRY CHRISTMAS so far!

Friday, December 5, 2008

She's gone country... ??

I've recently discovered a new found love for another country singer/artist. Bear in my mind that I am not a huge country music fan. However, I do like to tune in every once in a while as I feel that so many country songs have so much sentiment to them. I'm a southern girl, yes but my taste in music lies more in acoustic and ecletic genres. I can appreciate almost any type of music though, really.

Now as far as country goes, I'm extremely picky. A few of my favorites are Keith Urban, Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood, and Rascal Flatts. As you can tell, the majority of my selection have more of a pop feel to their music. I'm not a huge fan of the "twang" in country music as well as the songs about "drinkin' beer with the dudes, takin my dog out fishin' by the crick' or cheatin' on my woman". Um, no thank you. They annoy me to no end. However, I do love the country songs that tell a sweet story of love and/or loss. I love the songs that give personal depth to the person who wrote them. I love the songs that make me cry or feel all warm inside. I love those type of country songs. They just make me feel good.

So, the other night I downloaded both of Taylor Swift's cd's from itunes. I had heard two of her songs before and thought that they were cute but I had no idea that I would fall in love with most all of her music. Well, I did. And that is all I have been listening to for the last 3 days.

I'm such a girl and her girly, sweet songs just make me feel like I'm 15 again. I love it. I love her sweet voice and she really is an amazing songwriter. I also like the fact that she plays an instrument, writes most all of her songs as well as sings. I have an admiration and deep respect for multi-talented artists and songwriters. She's also gorgeous.

There is this one song called "The Best Day" on her newest album "Fearless" and it's all about her parents. She talks about her life with them and basically thanks them for giving her the best days. I cried when I heard it. It's just so sweet.

Okay, I need to stop obsessing over Taylor Swift now. But her hair is incredible. The end.

P.S. Her Christmas music is great as well! (Thanks Karen!) ;)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Meet the newest addition to the Collins Household...

What a cutie, right? (The kitten, not me..haha)

This lil guy was found very troubled and stuck in a ditch. My sisters friend "rescued" him in hopes of keeping him until she approached her mom and was sorely disappointed by her response. So, Ali brought him to our house in a kennel and left him on our front porch as directed by my mom. (My mom knew that if she were forced to confront the kitten that it would be very difficult not to keep him). Therefore his kennel was left outside. I, of course was not aware and heard yelps and cries from outside my window and could not resist picking him up and bringing him in from the cold! So, I brought him in. Of course we all fell in love with his sweet disposition and playful little cute self. My dad was adamant that we would take him to an animal shelter the very next day. Dad eventually went to the store and bought a collar, kitten chow and toys :) So, needless to say, we're keeping the lil tike.

We've named him Pippin. Well okay, my dad named him Pippin. (Although I did throw out the suggestion).

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


A blogging slump?!

It's nearly been a week since I last posted. How dreadful. I am having major withdrawls!

So, I hope you all had a tremendous Thanksgiving which I see that you certainly did by reading all of your blogs! :)

I did as well. It was wonderful. The food was phenominal, the family was loud and obnoxious, the nap was luxurious, dessert was divine and the shopping on Black Friday was quite successful! Mom, Dad, Mema and I were the only ones who managed to go ALL day long and it was so much fun! I loved spending time with them and laughing at my crazy Dad who is absolutely hilarious and makes me laugh at everything! I purchased a few gifts for family but I have SO much more shopping to do, it's insane!

I cannot believe that Christmas is in 23 days! It's amazing how as a kid 23 days seems like an eternity but as you get older it just zooms by! I do not want these 23 days to zoom by. I want to savor the season and soak it all in. I want to go ice skating at the Wharf, go Christmas Caroling at our annual Christmas Party, go see the gorgeous lights at Bellingrath Gardens, and so much more! I just hope that this month doesn't pass by too quickly!

It was SO nice to have 4 days off of work. Too nice. It went by super fast though. Always does, huh?

Well I have a lot more to write and pictures to post of a sweet new addition to our family but I will have to post them later!

Hope you're all doing well!!