A Day In The Life of Me

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.

September 12, 2014

A Done Deal

Filed under: Uncategorized — by That Girl @ 2:02 pm

Woo Hoo! My first deal has actually made it all the way to and through the closing table! I have a “sold” property on my resume! :)


September 3, 2014

Six Years

Filed under: Uncategorized — by That Girl @ 2:49 pm

It seems like I just wrote the post for my 5th anniversary and here it is my 6th anniversary! Time sure does fly!

This year, my Auburn Tigers and Mr. Riley’s Razorbacks played football on our anniversary. It seemed like a great idea to make a trip to the plains for our anniversary gift to each other. I got tickets from a girl with whom I went to high school. I paid more money than I had hoped but it was a special occasion. We made travel arrangements and took off for Auburn, Alabama!

Our first stop was in Tupelo at The Stables Bar and Grill. It was off the square in downtown Tupelo, across from the courthouse. There might have been 10 tables but they were all full so we sat at the bar which was WAY more fun than any table would’ve been! Mr. Riley opened the conversation by saying that we were traveling and had googled “best places to eat in Tupelo”.  That got a lot of different people involved and we quickly moved the conversation to politics and SEC football. I was sitting next to a former (WAY former) Mississippi State player who was smack talking to the Ol’ Miss fan down the bar.  A judge came in and we discussed which lawns needed signs for the election and I was removed from the conversation. I ate one of the, if not THE, best burger I’ve ever had (actually, it was a hamburger steak since I am not eating bread these days).  Mr. Riley had the day’s special which included yams, beans, peas, roast beef, German chocolate cake…

We spent the night in The Gump before driving over to Auburn the next morning. We were expecting rain but it was quite nice and very warm – just like I like it! We got lemonade at Toomer’s Corner, walked all over campus, visited the new basketball arena, sat in some building that was very cool (temp) and had a lot of TVs for watching the end of Game Day. We walked over to Plainsman Park to wait for Tiger Walk and met some very nice people from Fairhope. It’s fun to meet new people. We stood in line at Tiger Walk when a 15 minute downpour came down. Due to my superior planning skills, we had ponchos that kept us dry.  The Tigers finally came through then we saw a friend from Arkansas who is also a good friend of Coach Malzahn so we cut up with him a little and headed into the stadium for a delicious lunch of hot dogs and nachos. (weenie only for me :) )  Our friend started texting pictures of his view (he was in the locker room) so we texted back pictures of our view. We were sitting across the concourse from a men’s restroom. Soon, Mr. Riley got a call.  Our friend had an extra pass and since Mr. Riley had on Razorback attire, I got the pass and got to wander the sidelines before the game. I even went into the hospitality room and got to visit with my new friend, Kristi Malzahn! She has even less of a filter than I have! By the time the game started, I was back in the stands. We had great seats that were next to our friend’s seats so we all had a fun time… until the rains came again. We quickly got to our car and out-of-town.

We decided to drive to Cullman so that I could go to church there on Sunday morning before driving back to Searcy. I was ready to move from Cullman when I moved but I never dreamed I would miss it so much.  It is truly my home however, I don’t think I’d ever live there again.  I want to go somewhere I’ve never lived. Then, I’ll move somewhere else I’ve never lived… it’s just something to do. I loved seeing people who I consider my family but it also made me appreciate the new friends I’ve made. Make new friends, but keep the old.  One is silver – the other, gold.

Now, we are settling in for football season.  Mr. Riley has every Thursday and Friday nights scheduled as an official and he loves that.  I get plenty of Terri Time and I love that!

I’m still waiting for that first sale of mine to close – I’m hoping it will close next Friday. It’s not enough money to get me through the winter and it is quite a cut from the regular pay day I had before but… I’m happy and that is a good thing.

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