My life changed dramatically and forever when I lost TJ.

I welcome you to follow along as I adjust to my "new normal".

It is not all puppies and ice cream but it is my life....real and honest.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

When Kind Words Are Spoken

This year instead of exchanging gifts, my girlfriends and I decided to adopt a family for Christmas. Once everyone was on board with this idea I called Project Help.

Project Help is a local organization that helps families with school aged children. A family that receives help is encouraged to give back through community service. I was introduced to this organization quite a few years ago when we were contacted by a friend whose family had received help and he asked TJ to put a crew together to frame a new building for Project Help and to please set the trusses on the building.....all for free of course. For those that don't know, TJ & I owned a crane service for 11 years and before that TJ was a framing superintendent for a local construction company. TJ, of course, was more than willing to help out.  He made phone calls and within 48 hours had a crew willing to do the work.  The day of the build we showed up with a full framing crew and one of our cranes.  TJ ran the crew and set the trusses.  In a matter of hours the building was up and dried in. The director was thrilled with the work that was done in such a short amount of time.

When I called Project Help last week I was told they had already adopted all their families out for Christmas. I was thrilled that all were taken care of but disappointed we did not have a family to adopt. I asked if there was another way we could help and was told they really needed hams and gifts for teenagers. It seems many do toy drives to help out but teens tend to be a forgotten group at Christmas. I had no idea what to buy for teens and she told me they prefer gift cards so they can pick out their own clothes. I was given names of several stores where teens like to shop.  I called the girls and it was unanimous.....hams and gift cards. We got together on a Sunday and were able to purchase 8 hams and over $400 in gift cards, most in $25 increments. After shopping we went for a nice lunch. Everyone was happy with what we did and agreed that next year we would do the same thing.

During one of my conversations with the lady at Project Help I mentioned that my husband had helped frame and set the trusses on the building they are in. She said, "Are you Sandy with Apache Crane!" I informed her that yes I was and she proceeded to sing the praises of TJ, even remembering his name. She told me how grateful she was for his help and all the guys he brought with him to work. She remembered how he smiled the whole time he was there working and actually seemed happy to be working for free on a Saturday. As she went on and on about that day and what a wonderful and generous man TJ was my eyes were filling with tears. I knew she didn't know that he had died and hearing her speak so highly of him was simply heartwarming. She ended by asking me "How is he doing?". I paused. I had a huge lump in my throat. I told her that he passed away 2 years ago. She gave her condolences and I changed the subject.

Listening to her talk about TJ was the best Christmas gift for me.  He only crossed paths with this woman one day and yet he left a lasting impression. Many friends will tell TJ stories and speak highly of him, but hearing her words about a brief encounter with him was the most precious gift ever.

So many of us tend to get caught up in the gift giving of Christmas and forget what truly matters.  This year, be kinder to one another and talk fondly of those we have lost and will not grace our holiday tables. Sometimes a kind word spoken can be the most wonderful gift of all.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Life Gets In The Way

Sometimes life just gets in the way of things. In my case it got in the way of my blogging. I have missed reading blogs and obviously I haven't written any in over a month. So, here is what has been happening over the last month.
  • My brother and his wife visited for a week in the beginning of November.  They, along with my sister and I drove to Tucson to spread my Mom's ashes (she passed July 28, 2010).  Mom always had a fascination with the Saguaro cactus we have in Arizona and years ago requested that her ashes be spread in the Saguaro National Park.
My brother Mark, my sister Alberta and my sister in-law Sandra

We spread Mom's ashes at the base of these two cacti

  • Just like last year I hosted Thanksgiving at my house for my friends.  We had a wonderful day and as usual the food was fantastic.
  • Through all this I have been working on the house again....finally. I have painted some walls and am in the process of refinishing my first piece of furniture. I plan to post some house pictures at a later date.
  • I have always been one of those people who put up their Christmas tree on Thanksgiving weekend.  I primarily do it that weekend because it is a long weekend and I have the time.  On Saturday after Thanksgiving I began getting my Christmas stuff out of the storage shed.  I have a HUGE artificial Christmas tree and as I was dragging it toward the house I slipped and fell. I caught myself stiff armed and I felt the pain shoot through my arm.  I thought I had just over extended my elbow and it made the rest of the day fairly painful to put up the holiday decorations. On Monday I found out I had a hairline wonder it hurt so darn bad! I chose not to have it cast and I am just being careful while it heals. As of today it has been over a week and it is still slightly swollen, I have limited mobility in my elbow and the pain keeps me awake at night.  It is getting better though.
  • I have a huge owl living in my yard. While he is a wonderful sight to see. I am concerned for Tater Tot. I think he just might be small enough that the owl is watching him as a potential meal. I now make sure I am outside at all times with Tater Tot. I caught this photo of him a couple of weeks ago. Please click on it to enlarge so you can better see him,
Watch out Tater! You are being watched!

And lastly, just to give you a smile, I want to share a very odd picture my sister took of Tater Tot while she was staying with me.  I know it is just the angle of the photo but when I see it I have to laugh and I hope you all get a chuckle out of it also!