A Day In The Life of Me

August 10, 2015

Mexican Vacation

Filed under: Uncategorized — by That Girl @ 2:48 pm

Mr. Riley and I recently closed on the sale of all of our rental properties. I hope that we will be able to look more seriously at moving closer to my dream town!

We had not been on a “big” vacation since our honeymoon and both of us were feeling a little burned out and feeling the need to get away from “it all”.  Whatever “it all” entails!

We booked a week at an all-inclusive resort south of Cancun. We weren’t that far from Belize, which would’ve been a cool stamp on my passport!

We had a direct flight from Memphis with other people flying to resorts in and around the Cancun area. No one else was staying as far south as us so we got to enjoy a nice long van ride to our destination. We got to listen to a very loud group of people who, thankfully, weren’t staying at our resort. What is it about people who don’t know how to use their inside voices? One of the 20-something women turned on the music on her phone and sang along with it as if the rest of us weren’t in the van. I arrived at Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort in a bit of a mood.

We arrived late Monday afternoon to the beautiful aroma of drying seaweed. That was sarcasm, folks. One of the most unpleasant smells in the world is old seaweed. It seems that much of the Caribbean had been plagued for months with an enormous amount of seaweed from the Sargasso Sea around South America. Well, that stinks! Literally.

I put on my pretty face because I didn’t want Mr. Riley to get all out of sorts after we’d paid a nice amount of money for this vacation. I could see that there was a team of 20-30 men trying to shovel and rake up the seaweed into garbage bags so that the beach would be beautiful. I love beaches with black plastic garbage bags stacked up all along the water.

Tuesday morning, my pleasant mood broke. I complained that “we could’ve gone to Gulf Shores and stayed at a very nice condo and still saved $1,000!!!  Now Mr. Riley was trying to put on HIS pretty face to keep me calm. We sat on the beach all day and watched the men walk up and down the beach with bags of seaweed on their heads. You know, it’s tough to stay fussy when you have people waiting on you hand and foot, you’re sitting the shade on a sandy beach with the sound of water hitting the sand…  Oh, did I mention the food? Delicious!

We had a buffet for breakfast and lunch each day and then went to gourmet themed restaurants each night. Oh, the food…

We awoke to a pretty nice beach on Wednesday, went on an excursion to Tulum. That was a lot of fun and I learned a lot, too. Even the beaches there had seaweed!

Thursday was the most beautiful day for the beach and water. I learned to paddle board (didn’t even fall off once) and made the decision to snorkel soon. We were really enjoying this vacation and were very ashamed of ourselves for the ugly thoughts we’d been thinking about the place. It certainly wasn’t the fault of the resort that there was seaweed!

I finally snorkeled on Saturday. Did you know that there are animals in the ocean? Not just little fish but Baracuda, Stingrays, and worst of all, big turtles.  I think Mr. Riley could hear me screaming through the snorkel and water. I tried. I really tried to be brave but I HATE animals in the water with me! I wanted to stay and get brave again but I was crying and snotting in my mask so Mr. Riley strongly suggested that I go back to the beach. I feel like I kinda ruined that little adventure. I wish I’d kept the life jacket – I think I would’ve tried again later in the day. Well, maybe.

We left Sunday around lunch and arrived home very late. All in all, it was a fabulous vacation. Last night when we were praying, when it was my turn, I thanked God for frogs. I am really going to work on this water creature fear.  I think.

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June 17, 2015

The Month of Terri’s Birthday

Filed under: Uncategorized — by That Girl @ 1:21 pm

Here we are in the middle of The Month of Terri’s Birthday. I still love celebrating birthdays – even the ones that have big numbers.

I don’t know if I never intended to be over 50 or what but I am surprised every day by some nuance of aging. Yesterday, when I opened my eyes, the first thing I saw was my vein-y hand on the pillow. I almost recognized the hand but not quite. I kept shaking my hand, trying to get the veins to be less prominent but it didn’t work all that well.

Don’t get me wrong, 52 has been a lot of fun – so far. (I’ve only been 52 for 10 days!) I haven’t gotten to have my birthday date, yet. Something to look forward to, I suppose. Maybe I should make sure Mr. Riley knows there should be a birthday date! He was so incredibly ill on the days leading up to my birthday that we let the celebration go. Time to get that back on the front burner!

The real estate world is certainly busy these days. I’m looking forward to a couple of closings and hopefully, a few more before the summer weather leaves us. I have been looking for houses with one couple for 6 weeks. What happened to the world of “House Hunters” where you look at 3 houses and pick one? Come on people!

All of our rentals are under contract to be sold. We’re moving, ever so slowly, to the point that we can move to my dream city.

April 6, 2015

Home Sweet Home

Filed under: Uncategorized — by That Girl @ 1:42 pm

If Mr. Riley reads this, he will laugh at the way I start this post…

On April 8, 1979, I moved to Cullman, Alabama. We had bought what I thought was the cutest white Cape Cod style house that I had ever seen. I was so excited to move away from people we knew and grow up and be the Terri I was meant to be. I was 25 years old.

A few days before moving day, I went to Cullman to sign papers to close the loan on our new grown-up house. When I made the right turn from Highway 157 onto Highway 31, I was at the top of a hill overlooking what would become “home”. I can never find the right words to describe the way I felt at that moment but I was alone in my car, moving to a town where I knew no one other than the husband that I had married less than a year before. I was overcome with the feeling of “home”.

This past weekend, I made a quick trip home to Cullman. This visit, I didn’t feel sad. I wasn’t nostalgic for the “old days”. I just felt like I was “home”. I will probably never live in Cullman again. Whether or not I live there, the fact that Cullman is “home” remains. This trip, I went to a lot of the old favorite places, 1317 5th St SE, the duck pond, CRMC, the old church building, Wal-Mart (:)) I washed my car at the old car wash, it was a good afternoon. I ran into several friends while shopping (one thing hasn’t changed – I detest shopping at Belk in Cullman) and I realized that even though Cullman is a special town for me, the people are the most special. The old group of friends isn’t together anymore. So many things at the hospital have changed, I wouldn’t have the same job. I never felt “at home” at the new church building. The people. Those are the people I love and will always love.

I lived there from April, 1989 to June 2008 and I grew, failed, cried, and laughed my way into a family.

I told my friend, Donna, that I loved Cullman, but it wasn’t Cullman that I love – although, it IS Cullman that I love – it’s the people – not JUST the people…:)  You get the idea, her eyes rolled a little, too.

It’s good to have a place to call home here on the planet. I’m glad to get my cup filled with “home”, but I’m looking forward to my forever home. When I get there, I hope there is a place to get All-Steak Orange Rolls!

January 15, 2015


Filed under: Uncategorized — by That Girl @ 10:22 am

I think I wanted to say something but I forgot what it was. I’m sure it was important.

December 31, 2014

2014 Wrap Up

Filed under: Uncategorized — by That Girl @ 11:04 am

It’s the last day of the year and no “year-end funk” in sight! I think I have enough to keep me busy so I don’t look back as much I once did.

Last January, Mr. Riley and I were doing a planning session for 2014 and I wondered aloud about when I would ever start that real estate thing.  Mr. Riley encouraged me to talk to some people and get that ball rolling.  After some good advice, I started the education process that led to my real estate license. I am in hopes that this will pave the way to the Middle Tennessee area one day soon. I took my sweet time (along with many tears) to decide if I should actually go active with the license or not but finally decided that July 1 was the day to make my move official. Knowing that I had that license made the last few months at my old job a little uncomfortable because I knew that I would be leaving.  I still miss those folks but am really enjoying my new work. I have had 4 closings and have another planned for January.  I’m not doing as well financially as I would have done but I’ve covered my expenses (and a little more) for the whole real estate thing and hopefully, 2015 will be a great year of growth.

Mr. Riley is still enjoying his work at the bank and is REALLY enjoying his work as a high school football/basketball official.  He stays “in the game” in this role and I get a little Terri Time in the process.  I can’t stand to go to games and hear people yell at my sweetheart so I don’t go to his games very often.

We are continuing our role as coordinators for the Financial Peace University classes at our church. We keep ourselves focused on our financial goals and get to know great folks and see how their lives change in their journey to become debt free.

We began attending a Sunday School class at our church that has really made an impact on us. It was intended for Empty Nesters (I had an empty nest and then got married so I don’t feel like my nest is empty!) but has turned out to be a jump off place for discussions between the two of us.  We thought we had a really fun marriage before but it is getting better and better as we go along. We’re going to attend a Stronger Marriage workshop with Lea and Trey Morgan in a few months – it’ll be fun to meet another blog world friend!

Life isn’t always as rosy as we portray our lives on Facebook but I can’t really remember the less rosy times right now – it’s been a good year for me. I guess age and the memory issues that accompany the higher numbers can be blessings in disguise!

I’m looking forward to enjoying the blessings of 2015 and hope that you are, too!

September 18, 2014

A Survivor Story

Filed under: Uncategorized — by That Girl @ 9:32 am

Tuesday night, Mr. Riley and I went to fundraiser for White County Children’s Safety Center. We attended a reception and dinner honoring Elizabeth Smart before she spoke to a large crowd at Harding University.

We met Elizabeth before the dinner and spoke to her briefly before the dinner.  I thanked her for coming to our little town and said that I wondered how she managed to do these meet and greets with so many people. She smiled politely and said that it wasn’t so bad. She seemed very quiet and filled with a poise that most young women her age rarely have. Mr. Riley mentioned that she seemed overwhelmed by the crowd. I then began to think that she’s been through far worse than meeting and speaking to hundreds and thousands of people in the past few years.

She wasn’t very graphic about her experience – we were all given copies of her book, “My Story” to read the details for ourselves. Her main focus was on being a survivor. She spoke about her faith and memories of her mother’s voice getting her through the worst of times. She even spoke about reminding herself, as a 14-year-old, that things could always be worse.  She was not willing to give up and accept what was happening to her but she used what she was going through to keep her fighting to get back to her family. As an adult, it’s difficult for me to think that she didn’t fight back, make noise or whatever it took to keep from being taken. She was a very shy, naïve little girl who followed rules. As children, we’re taught what to do if we catch on fire – stop, drop, and roll. We’re taught what to do if we’re in the path of a tornado, get in the center of your house on the lowest floor. We’re not taught what to do if we’re awakened in the middle of the night by a man with a knife to our throats threatening to kill our family.

She kept reminding us that we all have problems. Everyone has problems. Yes, some are much worse than others but keep fighting, never give up.

September 15, 2014

Empty Nester?

Filed under: Uncategorized — by That Girl @ 9:47 am

Mr. Riley and I are involved in a class at church called “Empty Nesters”.  I feel like my nest WAS empty but then I got married so I don’t consider myself an empty nester. We’re studying the book “Sacred Marriage“. It is a great book and makes for some fun discussion during class time.

I know, believe me – I know, that divorce is a horrible, horrible thing. However, I learned a lot in that marriage (good and bad) and I believe that I have grown from it.  Mr. Riley and I have learned some lessons the hard way through our previous lives and I think that it has helped us to have a better marriage than some people our age. As nice as it would be to have grown together through the years and have a lot of experiences and adventures upon which to look back, we have been allowed to “start over”. Many of the people in our class who have been married 30 plus years are having to forgive and repent for their actions over the years.  They say things like, “I wish we had known “this” when we were younger.” or “I just think he/she should know better by now.”

I hate that I had to learn about relationships the way I learned. I’m not an expert by any means but what I HAVE learned is that no one else can make me happy. No one else can turn me into another person. I’m responsible for my happiness. I think my reactions are mine, and mine alone.  You can’t MAKE me mad. I can ALLOW your actions to bother me in such a way that I react horribly. I do that a lot.  I don’t argue anymore. I still judge and correct and generally act like a goober sometimes but that’s on me – not another person.

I learned in the 11 years of living alone that if I want something, I need to ask specifically for that thing. If I need a hug, I need to say, “I need a hug.” Of course, that’s just silly! How often would I actually ask for a hug? :)  If I want the trash taken out RIGHT NOW, I to take it out and not expect someone else to alter their schedule for my whims.

Again, the Rileys are not perfect – we’re learning a lot about having a sacred marriage but we’re really happy with the way we work right now.  Yeah, I know – it’s only been six years but if we continue to adjust to the lessons we’ve learned and are learning, I think we’ll continue to be very happy with this relationship.

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