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Welcome! I invite you to join me on this journey we call Life. It's crazy, fun, silly, sad, happy, loony, dull, exciting, with great giveaways and reviews in between.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Endings

The sand ran out of the hour glass today. I got the message I had been both expecting and dreading. Two weeks after entering hospice care (and one week after the rest of us found out), my Grandma is gone. 

She passed quietly in her sleep sometime in the morning. We spent the afternoon with my grandpa, trying to gauge how well he was really doing because his words said he was fine, but his tears threatened to betray him several times. They were married for 64 years. He cared for her for the 27 years since she became paralyzed. Even as his own health faltered. Even as he battled esophageal cancer last year. We helped, but he never stopped doing what needed to be done for her. He has always been the stern authority type guy, not showing much emotion to the rest of us, but his world revolved around grandma.

My mom was telling me recently about the days in the hospital when grandma first became paralyzed. She had been there with grandma and grandpa had been gone, but when he got back, he went straight to the bedside and was talking to grandma, telling her "please don't leave me" and "I need you". It was such a tender moment that mom felt weird being in the same room even though these were her parents. They just had not shown those kind of emotions in front of others. Later when she asked her dad what they were going to do he simply said "Whatever it takes. What ever she wants, she'll get. Whatever it takes to give her a good quality of life." I will say he honored every syllable of those words. 

Through the years, he went to physical therapy sessions with her. He learned how to exercise her at home. He learned about medicines he had never heard of. He had a pool put in so she could do water therapy at home. When she could no longer get into the pool from her wheelchair, he had a lift built. He also had a lift built across their room so she could be lifted from the bed for showers and such. He dressed her. He fed her. He changed her diapers.

In the early days of her paralysis, when she could still use a walker, they didn't slowed down. They still went on trips. They even went on a missionary trip to the Ukraine. They liked basketball and attended not only the College games but were also supporters of the team from the local high school.

It has been a long, winding and wild road. There has been so much that has happened. And just like that, it is over. Time stopped. The last grain of sand slipped through the narrow neck of the hourglass. We knew it would happen. We just weren't prepared for it to be so soon.

Now we are left to grieve, get through all the formalities of death and prepare for that one last final goodbye.... 

Grandma, I do love you. I hope you're proud of all us. I hope you see that your daughter has your strength. I hope you see your son-in-law genuinely cared about you. I hope you see your grandkids, loved you for who you were, not what you had. I hope you see what great people your great grandkids are turning out to be.

I hope you are dancing.... 

Long Goodbyes....

It has been a week since We learned Grandma was on hospice. Her condition has ebbed and flowed. Some days she has been very alert and can speak mostly coherent and we can understand what she says. Other days she is back to mumbling and frustrated that we can make out her words.

She has congestive heart failure and had a stroke. She has been hallucinating, seeing people and things that aren't there. Sometimes she doesn't recognize us. The decline has been rapid.

It is hard to see anyone going through this. Doubly so when you can see or at least feel that there is a realization on her part that things done differently in the past could have made life a different experience. For me I have tried to put the past behind and focus on these present moments because I know they are few. 

It is sort of agonizing not knowing how long this goodbye will last. Each time I see her, she holds my hand and if she thinks I am letting go, she squeezes tighter, a silently begging of me to stay. And I do. We all do.

Today, I watched as morphine was ordered. It's to keep her comfortable and while I know this, it is also a reminder that time is slipping away from us. It's times like these that bring things into a little sharper focus. We never really know how much  time we have on this Earth. We  never know if we'll get the chance to tell people we love them again. We never know if we'll get to see them again. We make plans, look to the future, but we never truly know. 

I have pondered the difference between losing someone suddenly or waiting for the inevitable... I guess when someone is suddenly gone, there is shock and disbelief because it jars you out of your comfort zone bubble of schedules and planning. everything is upended suddenly and without warning. Just as quickly as it happened, there is the formalities of a funeral and then you have to get back to the bubble, the schedules and planning for things ahead. In a way we had that suddenness with grandma's diagnosis and quick decline. It was a little stunning to get that call. Our schedules have been altered and we hesitate to plan too far in advance. Getting another call is constantly in the back of my mind, even as I try to carry on with the daily things I need to do. Even as we expect the inevitable, we expect to get that call, there will still be an amount of shock and disbelief. And as much as we would like to think we are prepared for this, I don't think we are prepared for this....


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Learning To Say Goodbye...

There are many ways someone can leave. Sometimes you get the chance to say goodbye. Sometimes you don't. Saying goodbye doesn't get any easier with age. It is hard! I hate goodbyes. 

When my sister was leaving to live in another state, I cried like a little 'ol baby. It was before FB and the internet in general allowed us to connect and share so easily. I didn't know when I would get to see her again. 

Last week, I got the call that the time is nearing for my grandma to leave us. This kind of goodbye is even harder. It's permanent. It's forever. 

I won't lie and say we have been super close, because the fact is I didn't grow up with a doting grandmother spoiling me with goodies and hugs. Not that she would have if we lived closer. My dad was in the military when I was little and we moved around several times and when we finally settled, we were across the country from grandma and we only saw her occasionally when her and grandpa traveled and would stop and spend a few days or a week with us and the few times we visited them.

In a way I don't regret that one bit because the distance kept her from meddling in my parents relationship and possibly destroying it. Because we didn't live very close to either of their parents, my parents were on their own and had to work through problems and issues together. With no outside agitators, they managed to keep it together and raise three of us in a relatively stable atmosphere. If we had lived near either of my grandmothers, life would have been much different and things would not have turned out like they did.

One thing that that saddens me is that after moving here and living close to her, somehow my grandma just didn't seem able to have an adult relationship with any of us. Not even her own daughter. She has spent these years being fearful that we only wanted what was hers and were scheming to get belongings and money. I'm not sure it ever crossed her mind that we wanted a grandma that we could love and trust more than anything. A grandma we could have a relationship with. 

Her and grandpa's attitude and behavior over the years left us feeling uncomfortable and even unwelcome in their home. Theirs was never the house we just stopped by to say hi, kick off your shoes or get a warm loved feeling when you walked in. We were left feeling more like intruders quite a lot of the time. They welcomed strangers much more readily.

My grandma was always pretty active. She was also a young grandma since my mom was getting married and starting her own family at 16. I know she hated the thought that she was "grandma" so young. She was pregnant with my uncle at the same time that my mom was pregnant with my brother. 

There were good and fun times. We stayed the summer with her when I was around 6 years old. She got out and did things with us. She would get her wagon and hook it up to her little tractor and ride us around, take us to the lake to go swimming, take us to town and stop and the "rock" store..... one day that summer she was coming back home and a large turtle was sitting in the road. She didn't want it to get hit so she got it and brought it back so we could see it before turning it loose on their property. She definitely had her moments where she was fun to be around.

She has also been an incredibly strong woman. She was briefly married a first time to a man that soon after their wedding began abusing her. At a time when woman didn't stand up for themselves or leave such situations for fear of what people would think, she did. Grandpa was career Navy and was stationed all over the place so for many years she packed up the whole family and went where ever he was sent to... even a stint in Japan. 

Twenty seven years ago, she became paralyzed. It was sudden and terrifying for all of us. We had just moved here several months prior. We had lived with them for a short time before renting a house of our own. She was the same on the go grandma we had known her to be and in a matter of days she was in wheelchair. Blood clots had wrapped around her spine and choked off the blood supply. I honestly thought her strength and stubbornness would pull her out of that chair and she would walk again. For awhile, it sure seemed that way. She went to therapy, she worked and she used a walker instead of using the wheelchair whenever she could. There was a fiery, determined look in her eyes back then.

After several years the fire dimmed and she resigned herself to the wheelchair. She lost hope that she would walk again and she became pretty reliant on the attention it commanded. It just became easier to let others do everything for her. Having been told from the start that she would not live very long in that condition, grandpa had resigned himself to doing whatever she wanted. No one expected her to live longer than about five years or so.

In the last two years or so, her eyes have had a sadness behind them. I think she sort of grasped the tragedy of the relationships she has had with us. Not just me, but the whole family. They both pushed the people that cared the most, the furthest away. 

Now even the sadness has been replaced. With fear. Last week she had a fairly massive stroke. It has left her further weakened and mostly unable to talk. Most of her speech comes out garbled, slurred and unintelligible. As she tries to speak, I can see the fear as well as frustration in her eyes. She knows what she is saying, but she can also tell that it isn't coming out right. She just grips my hand and doesn't want to let go

 When she speaks, I can make out that she is telling me she loves me over and over. It literally makes me cry to type that, because that is all I ever really wanted from her...  hearing that and being shown that years ago would have made such an enormous difference! 

But the past is gone. All we can do is be there for her and for Grandpa. It's an uncertain future. We don't know from moment to moment how this will go or what will happen. Grandma is scared and so are we..... It's a goodbye that is imminent, but without a certain time stamp. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

$50 Weekend FLASH Giveaway!

Weekend Flash
The air swirls swiftly
under wing
Dipping and lifting 
soaring and spiraling
a graceful sky dance
drifting, left up to chance
                                                       © Lisa Williams


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For THREE Days ONLY we are offering this Flash Giveaway!
One lucky reader will receive $50 USD Paypal Cash or Amazon Gift Card!!
This giveaway is for THREE Days Only! Enter Now!
We are making it easy peasy to enter! Just use the form below.
Remember, this giveaway ends at 11:59 pm on Jan. 25, 2015! Tell your friends so they can enter, too!


Good Luck!





Disclosure: This giveaway is organized by Giveaway Booster.com. The participating bloggers were not compensated for this post. If you are a blogger and would like to join in this giveaway event please check this post on Wednesdays to sign up to join. We are not associated with any of the companies named above. No purchase is necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received. Must be 18+ to enter. Confirmed Winner(s) (by Random.org) will be contacted by email. Winner(s) have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. My blog is not responsible for product shipment/delivery. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements. Entrants must only enter with either one email address, IP address and/or Facebook account, anyone found violating these rules will be disqualified. It is at the sole discretion of the admin of the giveaway if the winner has met the rules or not.
If you have any questions about this giveaway please email Tina at branchpropromotions@gmail.com.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

#TBT - Throw Back Thursday - Old Toys

Teto the Clown

My TBT toy this week is a vintage Hazelle's Marionette. Teto was an eBay find several years ago. After seeing something about this company I began to look around and see if any of the marionettes were still around. Once I saw a picture on the web, I knew I wanted to find one! I initially found a Teto that didn't have the box and had some damage to his plastic parts. That one was only a few dollars, so I bought him. A short time later I found this one on eBay. He cost a little more than the first, but not much. I loved that he had the original box and was in such good shape. I ended up selling the first Teto to gentleman wanting a marionette for his grandson. Teto is from the 1950's. I have now had him for about 15 years.



A little about the creator of Teto:

Hazelle Hedges Rollins was born in 1910. She graduated from the University of Kansas and the Kansas Art Institute and later started her business in the basement of her father's house. She married and her husband became her partner in the company.  She owned the company until she sold it in 1975. Her small business that started in her father's basement, became the largest puppet factory in the world! Located in Kansas City MO, the factory made marionettes, hand puppets and finger puppets until the 1980's when the factory closed.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Onite 32 GB OTG USB Flash Drive Review


#Onite

I think I have a fetish for memory! Every since I got my first digital camera, I have amassed memory cards. In the few years, the fetish has grown to include both SD cards and flash drives. I salivate over newer, larger capacity memory devices. 
I received this Onite 32G Dual Purpose USB Flash Drive to review and it is my new favorite! Why? Because it the double ends allow it to work with my laptop AND my tablet! 
This has opened up my world! I can take photos with my Sony camera, upload them to my laptop and if there is something I want to share on Instagram, I can save it to this drive, insert it into my tablet and share it where I want to. I love this because my camera produces MUCH better photos than the tablet does! 
This flash drive is can be used with the regular USB ports on you computer or laptop as well as micro USB ports on cell phones and tablets. 
This great for people that store a lot of photos or info on their phones or devices. My mom saved so many photos on her phone that it quit working correctly! She had to clear out space before it would act right again. This flash Drive gives you portable, expanded storage.
I haven't had any lag or slow speeds. This has transferred back and forth very quickly. The date read speed is 8M - 18M/S and the Write speed is 2M -7M/S. It complies with USB 2.0 specifications and works with the major operating systems such as: Android, Windows, Mac and Linux

The Onite Flash Drive has super a super simple plug and play operation and is lightweight, easy to carry.
#Onite


If you need to expand your memory capabilities or if, like me, you have a slight flash drive obsession, You can find this great 32G Dual USB Flash Drive from Onite at a great price on Amazon.

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Disclosure: I received the item mentioned above for the purpose of review. The Opinions are 100% my own based on my usage of the product. You opinions and experience may differ. This post contains affiliate links, which only serve to help me in my efforts to provide for my family.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Living Colors Light, Colorful Mood Rechargeable LED Light


#Livinglight



Lighting can help improve your mood. Whether you need an uplifting or a calming atmosphere, lighting can help. 






I received one of the Living Colors LED Lights from Onite to review and I love the rainbow of colors it produces. 





A movie or TV show has a special team of people to control the lighting to express the mood of any given scene. You can do the same in your own home. The Living Colors light produces the whole spectrum of lighting colors with just a light touch of the color control on top.



You can select a single color or press the "on" arrow for a few seconds to activate continuous color change and it will automatically flow from one color to the next in an ever changing rainbow.




I can imagine having several of these to light up a room or using them with mirrors or prisms! I was surprised by the calming effect of just one. I put it near my computer while I working and set it on the continuous color change. I really enjoy having it there!


The Living Colors light is small, versatile and can be placed almost anywhere. It is rechargeable using your USB port or a USB wall adapter. It's small, lightweight and has a stylish design that will fit in most with decor. 

You could set the mood for dinner, your romatic Valentine's Day moments or like me, use it anytime you feel like it! Of course if you have a teenager, they might like the fun and funky side of it and steal it from you!  





You can set the mood for your occasions with the Onite Living Colors Light by snagging one... or a few from Amazon.com.

#Livinglight




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Disclosure: I received the item mentioned above for the purpose of review. The opinions stated are 100% my own based on my usage of the product. Your opinions and experience may differ. This post contains affiliate links which simply serve to support me in my efforts. 


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Tootsie Roll Hot Cocoa Sampler Giveaway


#TootsieRollHotCocoa

I about flipped when I saw this Tootsie Roll Hot Cocoa! I mean it's Tootsie Roll. Lovely, sweet chocolatey Tootsie Roll... AND cocoa! YUM!
I received a box of this to review and I flipped again when I opened it and found not just Tootsie Roll Hot Cocoa, but a slew of other nostalgic flavors too! Forty cups in all! 
Most of them are a little bit of heaven in a mug. Charleston Chew Chocolate is a very good one - smooth and well, chocolatey! Charleston Chew Vanilla is rich and smooth. Sugar Babies is fabulous. It tastes like the candy I remember. Junior Mints is great. It is a steaming cup of minty deliciousness. Tootsie Roll is simply yummy. I have always loved Tootsie Rolls and this didn't disappoint me. My least favorite is the Charleston Chew Strawberry Nougat. It was okay, but I could taste the artificial sweetener in it. It left an aftertaste. 
The ones I love make this box so worth it! This is a great box full of variety that is sure to please everyone in the house. 

These work with most single serve K-cup type machines (however, not with the Keurig 2.0) . Don't have a Keurig or K-cup compatible machine? In that case, you can open them and pour the cocoa directly into your cup. :) I found I like them made with the 8 ounce setting on my machine.

#TootsieRollHotCocoa

How would you like the chance to win a 40 count box of these yummy cocoas? Two Rivers Coffee has graciously allowed a giveaway so one of you can enjoy All These Great Flavors of Hot Cocoa as well! Enter using the Rafflcopter below. There is only one simply mandatory entry. The rest are all optional but increase your chances. Giveaway is open to US residents, 18 and older. Giveaway ends on January 9th at 12:00 AM. Winner will be selected via Random.org. Winner will have 24 hours to respond to my confirmation email. Failure to respond voids the win and another winner will be selected.


GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Disclosure: The Happy Clown With A Frown received the product mentioned above for the purpose of review. The opinions expressed are 100% my own based on my usage of the product. You opinion and experience may differ. This post contains affiliate links, which only serves to help support me and my efforts to contribute to my family.
This giveaway is in no way connected or affiliated with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social media site.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Get Glowing Skin With Valentia Even Glow Vitamin C Serum


Valentia has a wonderful line up of skin care products, Even Glow Vitamin C Serum is but one. I received a bottle to review and I love the way it makes my skin feel.

It goes on very smoothly and absorbs quickly. It doesn't take a lot either. The glass dropper makes it easy for me to measure out what I need on my finger. 

I liked how great it made my face feel, I started applying it to the tops of my hands too! It makes them feel soft and smooth.
Product Information:

Vitamin C: With a 20% concentration does more than boost the body's immune system; it also provides many benefits to keep the skin tight, smooth and looking ageless. Vitamin C has been scientifically proven to reduces the effects of sun exposure on the skin, including sunburn, sun spots, redness and wrinkles.

In addition to helping reduce the signs of aging, Vitamin C is essential for everyday maintenance to strengthen and smooth out the skin, as well as neutralizing free radicals before they can damage the skin.


The smell is fantastic, too! It smells like a fresh peeled orange. It is an energizing peppy scent! Like having a skin serum and aromatherapy all in one! 

I just can't say enough how much I like this serum. It is just a great feeling to put it on and the good feeling lasts and lasts!  

You can find this and other great skin care from Valentia on their website

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Disclosure: I received the product mentioned above for the purpose of review. The opinions expressed are 100% my own based on my usage of the product. Your opinion and experience may differ.

TASTYFACE Organics Winter Skincare Giveaway

TASTYFACE Organics Skincare Giveaway January 14 - 28


Hosted by: Savory Savings


Sponsored by: TASTYFACE







TASTYFACE Organics Winter Skincare Giveaway!


Winter is one of the hardest times on your skin so taking care of it (including your lips!) is extra important right now!  Krista over at Savory Savings recently tried the TASTYFACE Organics skincare line and cannot believe at how much her skin has improved - even in the cold, dry weather!


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Taking care of your skin is getting with quality products is getting better and better!
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Would you like to win a lip balm and moisturizer from TASTYFACE?  If you would like a chance to win, enter with the Giveaway Tool below.  If you have won a giveaway from TASTYFACE from another blog in the last 12 months, you are not eligible to win.  The giveaway will run from January 14 through January 28, 2015 at 11 PM CST and is open to US residents (excluding HI/AK), ages 18 and older.  Entries will be verified.  Winners will be notified via email (consider adding gloriouslygreengal@gmail.com to your safe list) – winner will have 48 hours to respond and claim prize or another winner will be selected.


Good Luck!




Krista from Gloriously Green Gal and Savory Savings received products from this sponsor to facilitate her review, no other compensation was received. All participating blogs are not responsible for prize fulfillment.  This giveaway is in no way associated with social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.