Carnival Craze

I participated in my first ever Cara Box exchange this month, sponsored by Kaitlyn at Wifessionals!
cara (car-rah) noun : beloved friend
The Cara Box Exchange is a monthly box swap with other women.  You can be a blogger or not, but you sign up over on Kaitlyn's blog - I highly recommend it!  You are then paired with two women, one that sends a box of goodies to you and one that you send a box of goodies to.  Over the course of the month, you pretty much stalk these two women in an attempt to really get to know them.  Well, you email them, too, of course ;).  This month, I was paired with two very amazing women: Brittany at Everyday Thoughts and Joanna at River City Essentials.   I sent a box to Brittany, which you can check out here, and Joanna sent a box to me! 
Each month has a theme, and June's was 'Take Me to the Fair!'
She went with a carnival theme after learning that I'm a sucker for date nights with my hubby!  
She learned fairly quickly that I love pink!  I hope it wasn't 'too' obvious! :)  Another part of the Cara Box is that you include an encouraging letter to the woman you're sending too - who doesn't love getting a box of goodies in the mail AND some encouragement from fellow women/bloggers?!  No brainer there! 
Joanna included so many goodies!  She even thought of Ace, our sweet puppy! 
Included were:
//Crystal Light lemonade
//super cute pink & white polka dot napkins
//ping pong balls and cups for a balltoss 
//glitter pink nail polish & lipstick from pure romance
//animal crackers
//caramel corn popped chips
//elephant dog toy for Ace 
//supplies for a kissing booth
I loved all of it! Thanks, Joanna!  Ace seriously is obsessed with his elephant - it's become his favorite toy and he drags it around everywhere he goes!  (if you follow me on Instagram {@brileigh12}, you've already seen a pretty funny video of him and his new friend) My husband also thanks you for the animal crackers - if only you could've seen his face, haha!  It was priceless!  We also plan to have some fun with the kissing booth soon, so stay tuned for that date night!  
I've loved being a part of the Cara Box exchange and I will definitely participate again in the future!  I've met two great ladies and I look forward to following their journey and continue learning more about them. :)  
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Buda Weekend

Another Monday means it's time to lay it all out there.  Or, just recap my amazing weekend. 
And amazing it was! 
Best of this weekend: hanging out with cousins!
Worst of this weekend: spending too much money at H-E-B. Boo.
Saturday, I worked overtime.  Enough said, right? 
After earning some much needed mula, I headed home, where my amazing husband was waiting.  He had the weekend off, y'all.  That's HUGE in this house!  We spent some time together and then decided to head on over to my cousin's house ealier than planned, which turned out great!  We went to church and then out to eat at a small Mexican restaurant in town ... so good!  We then took a mini road trip and had lots of laughs!  Y'all, it was hilarious! It was great to get away from the regular routines and just have some fun with family! Never a dull moment with those two:
Colten took the girls for a late night Wal-Mart trip, how adorable are they?!  Ha. My weird family, yep.  I say those words all too often. 
We ended up spending the night (thanks, Kim!) and got to sleep in late. Bliss!  I hadn't done that in at least two or three weeks - I just work so dang much these days!  But anyway, we spent the morning playing Candy Crush.  And now, I'm addicted.  Yay...
Seriously, all five of us were each on a device playing this game!  But it was great to just relax ALL morning with nothing to worry about.  Definitely much needed.  But then, they got the itch for water balloons, so this happened:
So fun! 
And, as already mentioned, we spent way too much on groceries yesterday evening, but such is life I guess! 
Also, Drop Dead Diva is BACK!  It premiered last night and was fabulous!  I'm so excited that they decided on another season! 
I also watched the series premiere of Devious Maids - it looks promising!  Definitely different, so I'm going to give it a chance. 
How was your weekend?!
*P.S. If you haven't used this product yet, GET IT NOW! Seriously, it's amazing.*
linking up with Sami!
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Poison & Wine

Although I only worked one job (plus overtime) this week, it sure has been a long one!  So, I'm especially thankful that today is FRiDAY! And with that, a few things that I'm LOVING this week!
one. These new fabulous pens I came across the other day and JUST HAD TO HAVE!  Ok, my name is Brianna and I'm a pen addict.  Seriously, I'm always on the hunt for bright, colorful, even-flowing ink pens.  Don't judge me.  Oh wait, go ahead and judge me.  I don't care!  #sorrynotsorry
two. I discovered a new musical duo that I'm absolutely loving this week! 
This song is seriously my favorite and I just can't get enough of it!  Those two are amazing.
three. My husband and I have the weekend off together this weekend!  Although I'll be working for a few hours in the morning to earn some overtime, the rest of the weekend is ours and I'm so excited!  We haven't had a lazy/relaxing weekend with just the two of us in so long!  I often find myself saying that 'I miss my husband', which may seem odd because we live in the same house, but with our schedules pretty much opposite, it's HARD.
four. I'm still loving my Berlin bag that my parents brought back for me from their trip to Germany last month! I've gotten so many compliments, and I just smile because (surprise, surprise) I love it too! :)
five. I'm finally getting over being sick!  I arrived to work on Monday feeling completely terrible, and it's been an uphill battle ever since.  Breathing has been difficult, but I feel like today is the day for it all to improve tremendously!  And it's Friday, so no better day than today! 
*You know it's a great day when you are posting your 'five on friday' post and you want to keep going because your life is unbelievably blessed and you have so many more things that you're loving than just five! Just sayin...*
And I'm still loving this post. :)  

Happy Friday, friends!

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Happy Birthday, {Colten}!


It's my sweet, sweet husband's birthday today! Hooray! 
That's reason enough to celebrate, right?!  Heck yes! 
I honestly have no idea where I would be in my life right now if it weren't for my dear husband.  Seriously, he is the most patient, understanding, and laid back person I've ever met!  And thank goodness for that! Because he's all mine!  I could not have asked for a better husband.  As always, God knew exactly what He was doing when he made our paths cross!  My husband is exactly what I needed, exactly when I needed it.  And I pray that my wonderful husband feels the same about me! :)
My first impression of my husband was that he was a redneck.  Straight up, out of the woods, redneck.  And I know many of my friends and family that have met him probably thought (or still think) the same.  Yes, my husband is as country as it gets without being redneck.  And sometimes, he proves he's got some redneck in him.  But although that's what I initially thought when I first laid eyes on him, he proved from the very first 'howdy' (yes, his first words to me were 'howdy') that he was a true gentleman.  Of course, the more I got to know him, the more he relaxed and showed his 'not so gentlemanly' side, but he's always treated me with the utmost respect and care - and for that, I'm eternally grateful. 
We have been married for a year and a half as of 6/12/13.  Holy cow! Where the heck does time go?!  I can't believe it's been so long already, but it's been such an amazing year and a half that I wouldn't trade for anything.  Many marriages have their ups and downs, and ours is no different.  There are days that we simply don't agree on anything - or so it seems.  But we've always been so good about talking things out and never steaming mad or upset for long.  I absolutely cherish our relationship, and I am more in love with him now than I was on my wedding day.  It's true - true love is AMAZING

Our first dance as husband and wife was to 'From this Moment On' by Shania Twain and Bryan White.  I've loved this song my entire life, and I would always think that it was exactly how I wanted to feel towards my future husband.  Colten wasn't too keen on the song at first - I honestly don't remember what he had requested be our first song, but he knew how much it meant to me and he finally okay'd it!  I was one happy girl!  But seriously, that song just gets to me every.single.time! 
I do swear that I'll always be there.
I'd give anything and everything and I will always care.
Through weakness and strength,
Happiness and sorrow,
For better, for worse,
I will love you with every beat of my heart.

From this moment life has begun
From this moment you are the one
Right beside you is where I belong
From this moment on
From this moment I have been blessed
I live only for your happiness
And for your love I'd give my last breath
From this moment on

I give my hand to you with all my heart
Can't wait to live my life with you, can't wait to start
You and I will never be apart
My dreams came true because of you
From this moment as long as I live
I will love you, I promise you this
There is nothing I wouldn't give
From this moment on

You're the reason I believe in love
And you're the answer to my prayers from up above
All we need is just the two of us
My dreams came true because of you

From this moment as long as I live
I will love you, I promise you this
There is nothing I wouldn't give
From this moment
I will love you as long as I live
From this moment on

I tear up every time I hear this song, as I remember my wedding day and all of the joy, happiness, and love associated with that.  My heart melts.  My husband proved to me again, during that time, that he truly loved me and wanted me to be happy - I know a first dance song may not seem important to lots of guys, but he let me have my way anyway, and that's what a marriage is all about right ladies?! Ha, just kidding, of course! 

So, today, I wish my darling husband a very happy birthday and that all of his wishes come true.  I pray that his life is all he dreamed of and more, and that he continues to love me each and every day.  He is amazingly supportive, and even just venting to him about something that's weighing on my mind or that I'm upset about helps tremendously.  That's real love.  When all he has to do is look at me, listen to what's bothering me, and hug me, I know that I'm with the man of my dreams and the man God intended for me to walk beside on this journey of life. 

Happy birthday, baby! I hope you have a great day and that you have a fantastic year ahead of you - I know our future holds greatness, and living life with you is amazing.  Thank you for always being there for me and for supporting me in every way possible.  You are amazing, and I am blessed to be your wife.  I will cherish you forever, and I thank God for allowing us to venture on this path together. 

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Shmammered Lady Bug?!


Another Monday, thank goodness! 
Yes, I know ... no one ever says that!  Well, today I am.  Because that means we've made it another week in this world, and that my week without job# 2 is finally HERE for the month! :) That's exciting, people! 
Anyway, linking up today with Sami's Shenanigans for a weekend recap!  And let me tell you, it was a GREAT one with my parents!
Friday was a typical one as of late.  I spent 12 1/2 hours at work earning some overtime, which is great because that means MO MONEY! Yep, I said it. You're welcome.  After a loooong day of work, I headed home and worked on our finance spreadsheet/budget thing - whatever the heck you want to call it!  We have lots of things coming up soon, so it was a time-consuming task - I was so thankful when we were done!  I also made supper so my husband could eat as soon as he got home from work, which was late.  Then I went to bed.  Fantastic Friday, huh?!  But because of these mundane happenings, there are no pictures for Friday.  I know, I know - I was devasted, too!
Saturday was much more fun!  First, I earned some more overtime and headed to work for half a day.  Can you tell I'm serious about earning every cent I possibly can?  Working two jobs AND overtime in five days - sheesh!  Yes, y'all, that's why I'm constantly exhausted.  On my way in, I stopped by Krispy Kreme and picked up some donuts for my parents, as I was headed out of town as soon as work was done. 
Yum, right?! I know.
On the way home, I took the scenic route and documented the journey - it was such a beautiful day and everything was so clear and crisp! So awesome.  Enjoy these views - and again, you're welcome :). 
1. Bastrop post-fire. I'm immediately sad every time I drive by - but so thankful no lives were lost!
2. Just a gorgeous Texas sky!
3. The road I take to head home - so many memories, and so gorg! Yes, gorg :).
4. HAY!  Apparently, this weekend was THE weekend to cut and bale hay.  Seriously.  Even on Father's Day!
5. Low-water bridge on my parents' land. Love it!
Once I got there, my mom and I headed out to my cousin's birthday party - I can't believe she's already 7! Time flies!! And the party was GOOD TIMES!  Let's just wrap it up and say that we had to call a great friend to come pick us up :).  Definitely a great night, and MUCH needed! My mom got a kick out of me calling her 'shmammered' instead of hammered. It was a hot topic for the rest of the night! Ahahahaha!  
 Also, my new favorite drink:
Deliciousness. Yummy, yummy deliciousness. 
We got home about 11:30 or so, and we stayed up even later talking with my dad and his friends that were at the house - and we even played Skip-Bo once Josh got home!  Talk about a long day!
Sunday came way too quick!  I was tired, but can't imagine why.... ;).  We went to church and just about suffocated.  It was hot, but of course my mom was comfortable. I was so miserable that I thought I was going to pass out - and I contemplated walking outside for some fresh air and possibly a breeze to cool down.  It was still a great Father's Day sermon, regardless of the riduclous hotness inside that church.  We then went home and made a Father's Day feast for Dad!  We knocked it out of the park, and he was so thankful...and full! :) He even got an appetizer! Such a hard life ... :)

Love you, Dad! :-D

We then went to attend to a newborn calf that was not expected to live - poor girl!  The vet had to be called on Saturday to pull her from its momma and they didn't think she'd survive.  But she did! However, we were pretty sure she wasn't nursing yet, so that had to be addressed.  She's so tall for just being born and had a hard time feeding!  But my awesome dad helped her out, and she's caught on, now!  Such a beauty.  I'll spare y'all the pic of it immediately after birth...gross.  We named her Lady Bug, because she's lucky to be alive! Aww....
After cleaning up from that, we went to visit with Pops for a while, seeing as it was Father's Day, and all.  He was having such a good day and I even got him to take a picture with me! :) I love that man! 
Once he went for supper, we went to our cousins' house for supper and fun with their kiddos. 
Watching the Spurs/Heat game!

It got kind of late, so I spent another night at my parents' house and left super early this morning to make it to work on time.  And now I feel terrible - the flu, really?! I guess my body is telling me to GET SOME REST!  And I'm absolutely going to give in to that.  As soon as I get home today, it's a shower, and then cuddled up on the couch with the best blanket ever, the remote control, and my little buddy.  I can't wait to see my husband tonight, as we haven't seen each other since Friday! :(  
How was your weekend? 
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{Dear Dad}...

Happy Father's Day!
Today is a day set aside to really celebrate the wonderful fathers in our lives.  And my dad is no exception!  He has played a monumental role in my life, and I know that he will continue to do so for the rest of my life.  I love and cherish my dad 
And in honor of Father's Day, my all-time favorite picture of my dad and me. :-D

My father is my hero.  He knows it.  I know it.  We all know it.  Although I may not communicate that enough, it doesn't take away from my love towards him. 
My dad is all of these things and more.  He is so unbelievably amazing and supportive - I'm so blessed to be his daughter.  Thinking of everything that I want to say on this special day in honor of my father, I couldn't help but revert back to this post about honoring my dad on his birthday this year.  It is heartfelt, compassionate, and it says it all!  But to sum it up, my dad is pretty much amazing.  And completely badass. :)  Yep, be jealous!
My journey through life so far has had its share of bumps in the road, don't we all know it! Haha.  But my dad has never given up on me - and he never will.  And last week was no different.  I vented about having a pretty rough day last week and posted the Instagram picture of Meredith Grey drowning (the title of that episode of Grey's Anatomy was called 'Drowning on Dry Land') - I shared that picture to Facebook, and this is what my dad had to say that day:
And now I will take this opportunity to repeat, MY DAD IS AMAZING! 
Through thick and thin, good days and bad, the highs and lows - he supports every single one of us.  He's a family man and I am forever grateful for his support and encouragement.  
Thank you, daddy!
I pray that all dads are honored and celebrated on this day, whether they are still with us today or have passed.  Take the time to show your dad (or father figure) that you love him and care about him. Don't take the moments you have or had for granted.  I know I don't!  

Happy Father's Day, dad. 

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Lover, Lover

First of all, thank goodness it's Friday!
Second of all, it's been a long, rough week! But no matter how rough it is or how long it is, this man is always there for me and makes me feel better all.the.time.
Seriously, I don't know where I would be if it wasn't for my husband.  He knows me so well (although, I'd hope so!) and always seems to have the exact right thing to say.  Okay, well maybe not 'always', but the majority of the time, he does.  And really, all I need at the end of a stressful day or in the middle of a total freak out is a hug from my husband.  His embrace says so much without any words.  It reminds me that he's there for me, no matter what, and that for better or for worse, he loves me
He knows exactly when I just need some space or time to myself to just think and cool down.  He knows exactly when to keep pushing his luck by not accepting my "I'm fine, really" excuses.  Being his wife has made me a better person and a better friend.  I thank God every day for blessing me with such an amazing husband.  Life is hard, but with him by my side and his love everpresent, I know that it's worth it.  I know that the better days will outshine the bad days. 
I don't know if you'll read this (reading just isn't his thing, y'all!), but I just want you to know (although you already do) that I love you.  I know I don't say it enough, but thank you for all that you do for our family.  You've sacrificed, loved unconditionally, and have grown with me through these past few years, and I will be eternally grateful.  Without you, I would not be as strong, caring, or loving.  You are my rock, and you are my light on the darkest of days. 
Thank you, my love.  You never doubt me or bring me down.  I know that I'm difficult to deal with sometimes (or most of the time...), but you stick by me anyway.  You accept all of my flaws and choose to love me despite them.  You are such a strong and caring man, and words cannot even begin to express my gratitude or love for you.  I know that we have a bright and exciting future ahead, and I can't wait to share each and every day with you. 
I love you! 
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this is {NOT} a happy post.

So this is exactly how I'm feeling today. 
 Surprise, surprise.  I'm stressed.  Angry.  Upset.  Mad.  Frustrated. 
And just about any other synonym you can think of to match these.
Because life is hard.  Life isn't fair.  
I know this.  But that doesn't mean I can accept it every single day.  Nope.  That means I'm human and that today is 'one of those days'. 
I struggle every day.  I try so hard to stay on top of EVERYTHING.  And it still all manages to fly out of control and out of my hands.  Maybe it's just the need for me to be in control?  Maybe.  But today, I just want to break.  Today, I want to go home, change into the comfiest clothes I own, hug my pillow, and cry.  
I really try my best to be optimistic.  I know that everyone is different and that good things come to those that wait.  I have complete faith in God that everything will be alright and that 'this too, shall pass'.  But all I want to do right now...right this very cry.  Cry and scream and yell and take out all of my frustrations on something ... maybe a green plastic cup - it seems to be working for her up there!  
I don't want to run away from my problems.  I want to face them head on, and I am.  But my problems are bigger than me today.  
What about me?  When is it going to be my turn?  When will I be able to make my dreams come true?  When can I have some fun?  Why can't I go on a trip or vacation?  Why is it that no matter how hard we try, budget, plan ... that we're still only barely floating above water?
 I work tirelessly and endlessly and think that it will make a difference.  Day after day, week after week, and month after month - it doesn't. 
Now this is where everyone is thinking that I should be thankful for what I have and that my time is coming. 
I am thankful.  I talk about it here, here, here, here, and here, just for a few examples.  I know. I know these things. 
But it still hurts. It's still hard. 
It's hard as hell to sit back and watch your friends and family enjoy the opportunities that come their way.  It's hard to know that your time is coming, and you want nothing more than to be happy for them (and I am, honest!), but to still have that sinking feeling like maybe, just maybe, it's not in the cards for you. 
It's not jealousy.  I truly am so overwhelmingly happy for my loved ones and every great accomplishment and event in each and every one of their lives.  Truly.  I wish nothing but the best for them all. 

But maybe part of it is that I always put others before myself.  I would much rather be hurting myself than to see a loved one in any form of distress.  I try to do things for myself, but then I feel guilty.  I should be responsible and save the money for what I know we need to be spending it on.  I should save.  I should spend my free time doing 'this' or 'that' for so-and-so because they need me.  Or so I think.  Does anyone wonder or care what I need or want?  Am I a priority to anyone?  Is it that difficult for others to show their love, support, and/or encouragement towards me?  Maybe it is. 

And now, by the end of this post.  I'm numb.

I will continue to work diligently and tirelessly, week after week, because I know it's keeping me together.  I will continue to search for answers, especially in my faith.  I will be better tomorrow, or the next day.  And as always, I will put a smile on my face, showing no sign of anger, hatred, frustration, or negativity. 

I know that I am blessed.  I know that I'm loved.  I know that I have things that others may not have or ever have in their lifetime.  I know life isn't fair.  I know that my time will come. 

I know. 

But today, I especially know that life is hard
Happy Wednesday.

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My Search for a {Church}

This has been weighing heavily on my mind and heart lately.  But to be completely honest, it's been much longer than just 'lately'.  Actually, it's been bothering me to some extent for the past two years
I moved to Austin from my small hometown right after graduating high school.  Of course, I have a church at home that I know I have always and will always be a part of, and it has a special place in my heart. 
*And as a side note, I'm super pumped for the upcoming St. John's 4th of July picnic! Check it out here.* 
However, moving to a new city, I longed to have that sense of belonging at a new parish.
Sadly, this did not happen.  Not in the many years since I moved away from home.
Sure, I would go to mass on Sunday morning and participate, week after week.  But I didn't attend a church that I really felt that I belonged to.  Maybe it was because there were not many younger people my age - they were mostly older families, or at least families with babies - no one that was college age, at least that I noticed. 
Moving farther north (I pretty much moved every single year, until I moved in with my husband), we began to attend a church just down the road from our place, and mostly, it was great!  It was more modern and there were definitely people there our age, but something still just wasn't right.  I couldn't place my finger on it exactly, but it bothered me. 
With my faith getting stronger and stronger, the want for finding a church where we belonged ate away at me more and more.  So, it was time to take matters into my own hands.  I didn't want to attend a church that would take us an hour to get to.  We're not morning people, so waking up extra early to travel to church was just out of the picture.  And my research began. 
 This past Friday, I finally found a very possible contender, so Sunday morning, we headed out and attended a new church. 
They are a fairly new community and their service was amazing.  The actual church was so stunning, even more so because they have a giant glass wall looking out towards the trees and it was raining - so it was just glorious!  I'm really excited to have found this parish, and we can't wait to go back week after week, hopefully leading up to becoming new members!  They also do a lot in the community and have many options to dive deeper into our faith through small groups and bible studies. I'm excited for our new adventures to begin and to become more involved! 
Gorgeous, right?! 
I know that to some, looking for a new church is not important or a 'big deal', but to me, it's huge!  It makes a big difference when you attend a parish where you truly feel welcomed and that sense of belonging. 
Here are a few things to assist in looking for a new church:
1. Research your options. 
Instead of just going to the closest church, really come up with a few options that are at an acceptable distance for you to travel.  Then, you can find out more about each one until you make a decision.  I hadn't done this for the longest time and just attended the closest one.  I found out there aren't 'too' many nearby, but enough to still have options! I found this website particularly helpful.
2. Figure out what you want out of a church.
This may seem obvious, but you really have to decide what you are seeking from a church to help make a decision.  For me, I wanted an active community with many volunteer options, as well as opportunities to interact with church members and study our faith.  For example, I really want to be able to attend small groups and/or bible studies.  It's important to both me and my husband, and we wanted to be able to participate with members our age as well as older or younger members.  We haven't had this opportunity yet, so fingers crossed!  I also really want a church that offers Adoration, so this was definitely on my musts list :).  Don't know exactly what you want out of a new church community, please refer to #5, and ASK FOR HELP!  Ask your spirital friends what their favorite thing is about their church, and go from there.
3. Go forth and seek the Lord.
When you've narrowed it down a bit, go to mass at the church of your choice (if there are several, try one each week).  There's no other way to decide if you really enjoy the church without going to a service and meeting the members.  The new church we attended on Sunday had members that were so welcoming.  We didn't feel out of place and it was great. 
4. Do not be afraid.
Trying new things and meeting new people can be overwhelming and a daunting task.  Don't be afraid to really take that step and venture out.  If you don't want to go alone, get a friend to go with you!
5. Ask for help.
If you're lost, stuck, or just don't know where to turn, ask for help.  You never know who may have the knowledge you are seeking.  Upon finding the church we attended this past Sunday, my co-worker also stepped out and asked a friend of hers for any suggestions for my husband and me.  I haven't heard back from her yet, but in the meantime, we have a front-runner!  Don't be afraid to ask others for help.  Whether it be co-workers, friends, family ... like I said, you just never know who holds the key to unlocking exactly what it is you want!
 I am so blessed to be on this journey and for all of the newness that comes along with it.  I'm excited for what our future holds for both myself and my husband in relation with this new church.  Fingers crossed!  And lots of prayers going up.
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{Granny Getschmann}

It's been 9 years since my grandma passed away, but the memories are as vivid and fresh as ever. 

I miss her so much, and I know that she is looking down over all of us, but the pain doesn't ever really go away. 

Although I didn't really know it then, I loved every minute that we got to spend with her, and I truly wish that I could know her now, as an adult, to be able to communicate my love to her in such a deeper way. 
Spending so many days at her house after school, she probably got tired of us! Haha.  But we were her grandkids, and I know she appreciated the invaluable moments with us as well. 

I will never forget that woman's coffee cake.  Seriously, never.  She always had at least two different kinds in the freezer for us to choose from, and she always let us have as much as we wanted!  Boy, could she cook!  I really wish someone would have learned her recipe, as every one I've researched and found just isn't the same - I fear I will never again taste the deliciousness that was her coffee cake.  Dewberry was my favorite, and she knew it too!  Just thinking about it brings back the smells and taste of the melt-in-your mouth dewberry coffee cake.

She loved to cook and was always in the kitchen - ALWAYS!  But none of us ever complained...let's not kid ourselves here.  I don't think I have a single memory of my childhood that didn't involve my granny in the kitchen ... and I just smile thinking about every one of them! :-D

She was such a strong and independent woman.  Raising three kids by herself, she did what she had to do.  I don't know her entire childhood history, but I know that every obstacle and endeavor ultimately formed the character that I grew to know and love.  Seriously, if I could be half the mother, role model, and woman she was, I'd consider myself blessed! 

She did everything in her power to make sure her grandkids were happy.  If she was picking us up from school, she would be sure to have a soda wrapped in aluminum foil for the less-than-five-minute-drive to the school, as well as a star crunch.  They aren't the healthiest, but I still buy those things today, if only for the memories with my granny.  She wanted to make sure we had a snack and that the soda was still cold.  No, she could not wait for us to get to her house ten minutes from her leaving.  I'm delighted by these memories, now.  At the time, eyebrows were probably raised at this act, but I will cherish the memory forever.  Seriously, I really do buy those star crunch just because it reminds me of her.  Oh, and they are so much better if you have them in the freezer :).  Right, Josh?!  And I'm pretty sure my sister always thinks back on her marvelous gravy bread.  Basically, it was gravy (that she had made, of course!) over a piece of bread.  But the bread was then cut into small squares, and there was a squirt of ketchup on each and every square.  Seriously, it was a pretty amazing snack!

She also loved her some Houston Astros.  She would yell at the players as if they could hear her criticism and wouldn't think anything else of it.  She was unique and (from what I can remember) didn't care what most people thought of her. 

Christmas was always at her house on Christmas Eve.  My mom's side of the family would gather in her small house to celebrate the holiday.  We would all squish together in her tiny, tiny living room and open gifts, one at a time.  I also remember a few times that we went to midnight mass together as a family.  Seriously, some great memories.  And every one of them is of love, laughter, and joy that was being with family in my grandma's house. 

Granny was also very involved in her faith and her church.  I have countless memories of going with her to mass on Sundays and attending her Vacation Bible School in the summers.  Those would be some of the best weeks of my life!  She would always pick us up, excited to hear about what we did or learned that day, with a huge smile on her face and hurrying us to get in the car.  :)

She also had so many faithful and loyal friends.  Many of them at her church.  I will never forget their smiling faces and reactions to my showing up time and time again.  She was also always on the phone with those friends, a few of them she would talk to in German.  I always wanted to learn the language from her, but that dream was shattered the day that the good Lord called her to His kindgdom. 

I was in high school when it happened.  I had just finished my freshman year of high school.  Josh and I were at her house when our cousins showed up to give us the news.  Being that it was 9 years ago, I don't remember my exact reaction, but I know that we were taken to the nursing home where she was, and I remember looking at her and seeing that she was in peace and no longer in pain.  I don't remember much else of that day, other than my whole family was there in the nursing home, but arrangements had to be made.  I don't know if it was that night or the next night, but I remember that I went to the theater in town to see the Harry Potter movie that was playing.  I remember sitting in the back and just losing it and crying inconsolably. 

My grandma died of pancreatic cancer.  I don't remember much of it, again being that I was only 14 at the time, and it was nine years ago.  I just know that she had been in the hospital after going to her primary care doctor and being told that her aches and pains were that of 'old age' (this I got from stories from family after the fact).  I remember the time I went to visit her in the hospital, probably because everyone knew she didn't have much longer to be with us and I wanted to see her one last time.  She was so yellow, and she was in so much pain.  She was no longer the strong, stubborn woman that I knew as my granny.  She had been plagued by the cancer, which took over her body.  From what I've been told, the doctors had given her a prognosis of a few months, but it was just a few short weeks that she had left with us. 

There were so many people at the funeral, which proved just how much my Granny meant to so many people.  She was inspirational and a blessing to each and every one of our lives, whether we realized it then or not. 

I have a few things of hers that I will absolutely cherish forever, no matter how small or how much it does not go with our decor. 

One year for Christmas, the number one item that I wanted was to have a ring in memory of my grandma.  My mom made sure that it was something I received.  It's a simple band with these words enscribed:

In memory of Evelyn Getschmann.  Truly loved and deeply missed. 

A few years later, I bought a small cross to be worn with the ring.  I absolutely love the outcome and I have cherished it from that Christmas I received it.  I admit that I did lose it once, for quite a long time.  I was so upset and livid with myself for allowing it to be misplaced.  However, I came across it in a bag from when we moved into a new apartment.  It was such a happy day, and words cannot express just how thankful I was to have found it and wear it again. 

Today, I'm reminiscing on the memories that I have of my granny.  Today, I'm thanking God for blessing me with such an amazing grandmother in which to learn from and love.  Today, I know that she is another one of my guardian angels watching over me and protecting me.  Today, I smile knowing just how much she loved me as well. 

I love you, Granny.  And I miss you beyond words. 
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