Friday, October 28, 2011

Vacation day three; Cracker Barrel, Kim and waterfalls

One of the reasons for this trip was to go see our friend Kim. We had planned to meet up in Pigeon Forge this summer before the whole biopsy fiasco. We promised to come see her as soon as we could. We decided to meet halfway in Greenville, S.C.

I remember going to Cracker Barrel when I was younger but haven't been in years. We don't have them in California. Since it is one of Kim's favorite places, we decided to go there with her. Then we both had heard about Falls Park in downtown Greenville.

We had a great lunch together

Then we headed to the beautiful Falls Park

As we were walking down by the falls. We saw a cyclist go by that looked a lot like one of our favorite pro cyclists George Hincapie. He lives in Greenville and it could have very well been him. Conner saw his face and is certain it was him. He has met him before and would know.

As that happened, we saw a bubble tea store. Kim and Sarah always hear Marty and I going on about bubble tea and we all went in and had some together. It was such a cool moment to be able to share something we love with them.

Then we took Conner to see George Hincapie's sportswear design company. They have a small storefront in Greenville. We got to see some great jersey's that were from George's long career. Conner was in heaven and it was worth the trip.

The worst part of the day was saying goodbye to our friend Kim. We already can't wait to go to Dollywood with her someday.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Vacation day two; a picnic and a reunion

On the second day of vacation, the time change caught up with us.  So we ended up sleeping most of the day away. We met up with our friend Sarah for a picnic lunch at the park by the lake.

Later that evening, we had a opportunity to meet up with our high school friend Melissa and her husband Matt. We ate at a Southern restaurant The Flying Biscuit. It was fun to catch up with Melissa and get to know Matt. We hadn't seen her since we graduated in 1994. It was so nice to hang out and meet up so far away from our home state. She hasn't changed one bit over the years and is such a refreshing person to be around.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Vacation is over. Now I can blog about it.

Finally a blog. I meant to blog on vacation but we were so busy, I didn't even think about it. Next time, I will line up guest posts instead.

We had a love time in Georgia. Our first stop was Dallas for a layover, we were amazed by the size of the airport there. We ate some great BBQ in the airport and then headed on to Atlanta.

We had a nice surprise from our friend waiting for us in the hotel room. Sunflowers, coke and cookies!

We loved seeing our friend Sarah and spending time in her city. There are so many green trees everywhere and the air smells so good. We loved riding along in her golf cart and seeing her community.

Sarah taught my kids to drive the golf cart. They had never driven anything before so this was a big deal to them. They loved driving the golf cart!

Conner driving the golf cart

Elizabeth driving the golf cart

We loved hanging out in a place we had heard so much about and enjoyed being with our friend Sarah. Her husband Jack made us a wonderful dinner and we got to meet her son Jason also. 

She was a great hostess and tour guide for us. She made our vacation wonderful. The kids were sad to leave her yesterday.

To be continued. I have lots to share about our trip that included 5 different states in 8 days.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

It's Just a Vacation, Right? Wrong!

We are so excited to be leaving for Georgia tomorrow. Our first family vacation outside of California since 2004 when we traveled to Hawaii.
Conner was six years old and Elizabeth was four years old. Here is a picture of our family then:

Life just got away from us. Working, establishing careers, homeschooling and then Marty got sick. We couldn't be more than four hours away from Stanford and since he did dialysis at home, it was tough to take on the road.

So to be able to travel, not have to worry about being too far away, dialysis treatments, or anything else is amazing! It's a unbelievable feeling!

Lots of blogs to follow. I love being able to blog from my phone and will be sure to post lots of pictures.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Vote for Taylor's Gift!

I never do this, it's a first but I believe so strongly in the cause that I am posting it on my blog. Taylor's gift is a orginization making great strides in organ donation awareness. Founders Todd and Tara Storch donated their 13 year old daughter Taylor's organs after a skiing accident. Instead of being happy with just doing that, they have taken on the cause of organ donation and are making national headlines.

My husband waited three years, two months and one day for a transplant. He progressively declined and was in pretty bad shape when he finally got the call. We are thankful to the donor family that gave their 18 year old's organs in a selfless effort. As a parent, I cannot imagine facing that decision. So I admired these parents greatly and I get to go on vacation next week because of their choice.

Here is how you can help:

  • vote for the Taylor's Gift video every 24 hours in all 4 cities at or (Houston, Austin and San Antonio's links are at Step 4 on the page)
  • post on your Facebook wall about (this is a TX program, but anyone with a Facebook account can vote!)
  • note we are the underdog and each and every vote will matter on who wins the $150,000 media buy (TV, radio, digital)
  • Buzz in with the QR Code attached

This will give them much needed funding to put more ads on the air and further their message. I am hoping to begin working with them to bring up the numbers in California. We have some of the longest wait times in the nation. It's a tough subject. The fact is, none of us will know when it is our time to die and life isn't forever. Please think of others and know, your decision can change MANY lives.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Joyous reunion at Stanford

Today, we spent 12 hours journeying to Stanford and back. We made the usual two day trip to Stanford in one day. We always have a smidge of anxiety on Stanford days after the scare in June. Especially with our upcoming vacation, the last thing we wanted was another repeat of the scare.

We arrived at Stanford and got to meet our post op coordinator. She is the person who fielded all those anxious,uneasy, tense phone calls pre-op. She is the one who had to deal with us after last September's fiasco. She was actually glad to meet us and we were glad to meet her. Funny how things change?!

We have been wondering about Dr.G, she finished her fellowship and we hadn't seen her since. I was going to ask about her today if we didn't see her. She MADE our transplant experience wonderful and I fully believe, that one of the hold ups( the wait for transplant) was she needed to be at Stanford with Marty.

We were waiting for a different doctor and the coordinator reappeared, she said, " You're going to be seeing a different doctor today, she is one of our new doctors Dr.G" We were elated! What joyous news to hear and break the tension.

We she came in, I jumped up and hugged her. I have never hugged a doctor before in my life. She was just as thrilled to see us, as we were to see her. It was a unbelievable feeling!

She was blown away. The last time she saw Marty, he was still on insulin. She couldn't believe his blood sugar numbers and over all lab values. She didn't think the issue in June was that major. We started asking her about the specific lab values our new primary care doctor was concerned about. Also bringing up several medications the doctor wanted to start in relation to those values.

She smiled and gave us a look like " Aww, isn't that cute" while saying, "That's wonderful he is so thorough but I think this is the reason for those values." It was hilarious, it was almost like a "pfft" and waving him off.

She kept asking us more and more. She ended up spending about thirty minutes just catching up with us. She walking out, she turned to him and said, " You keep it up and you will have this transplant for a very long time."

We left on a cautious cloud nine. We are always going to be a bit on edge while driving home and awaiting the blood results. We got home and took a nap, woke up and got the results. Everything looks really good, no changes! We are thrilled and now we leave on vacation completely unburdened.

I thought about our donor and their family a lot today. So thankful that one life unknowingly saved another and not only one life but four lives. Making a countless impact on thousands of other lives.

God gave us a miracle. I knew miracles happened but never really thought about them before, never had a miracle in my life personally.
Linking up to Brag On God Friday's
Beholding Glory

Friday, October 7, 2011

Favorite things Friday: Joy

 I saw this blog hop link on my friend Stacy's blog and thought I would join in. Friday Favorite Things blog hop. I got confused about the topic and thought it was supposed to be about Joy. So I wrote this post and just decided to stick with it. I love joy and it's a favorite thing.

friday favorite things | finding joy

Joy is one of my favorite things. I love to laugh and have fun. It brings me great joy to enjoy life. I've lived through a time in my life where

 Joy is a word that is often said but rarely lived. I've learned a lot from the scripture Romans 12:12 " Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."

 I have lived this verse. I've waited and held on to hope that things would change, praying without ceasing for a end to affliction. Now I am living on the other side of affliction and simply everything brings me joy. Waking up and not having to do dialysis, not waiting for a phone call 24/7 that life will change instantly, not carrying a heavy burden wondering what the outcome will be. For I know the outcome and it is far greater than could have ever been imagined! My hope is that our miracle brings you hope in your life. Hope in the knowledge that prayers do get answered, hope that even the darkest valley can bring you to a mountain top of joy, hope that good things do happen.

                                                             Joyful before life changed

Joyful during the storm

Indescribable,Uncontainable Joy after

I find joy in laughing with friends, teaching my children, having fun with my husband, dancing while nobody is looking, through music, reading, writing. How do you find joy?

I joined this blog hop also


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs on Organ Donation

While the world talks about the death of Steve Jobs, I think of the fact that he was able to live a longer life thanks to a organ donor.

 As you all know, organ donation is very important to us since it saved our family. I thought of his family and how this gave them more time with him. I have never seen this video until tonight, I actually saw it via Taylor's Gift.

It's so important to donor families and reciepient families to promote organ donation. Organ donors are hero's in life and death. Even to billionaire businessmen.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Just Jules News

I'm finally out of my memory lane blogging mode and moving back into present day blogging mode. I have lots to catch up on. I had a fun birthday month and enjoyed the trip down memory lane but reality calls.

School is intense this year. One 8th grader and 6th grader means a lot of work. It's going great and we continue to love homeschooling. It works well for our family. One nice feature is we can take a family vacation during the school year.

We are taking our first family vacation in years! The last time we went on a major vacation was to Hawaii in 2004. We are long overdue and really excited to get out of California! We are headed to Georgia in 16 days. Very excited to go see friends and visit. We are studying US history this year and looking forward to seeing some Civil War sites and other historical monuments.

I'm thinking long term changes on the blog. Thinking of making some major changes such as a move to Wordpress. Not sure right at the moment. Lots to think about with that. I need to really think about redesign and what I want out of it.

 I have a list of people to call and things to do a mile long. I am trying to keep the blog up and blog faithfully.

Lots going on in the world of Jules! Happy to be busy and have lots of fun things going on!

Saturday, October 1, 2011


I went to a homecoming assembly today, it was my first time going to such a thing since I was in high school. Walking back on a school campus brought back a flood of memories, seeing my friends daughters participate in the assembly brought back even more memories. During the assembly, my friend Olga was telling me about different kids her daughter Kenzy is friends with, lots of boys. Olga said, " since she doesn't date, she has lots of guy friends, you know how that goes?"

I do indeed know how that goes... I grew up in a family of mainly girls, the closest thing I had to a brother was my cousin Andy and my nephew 9 years younger than me. I liked boys, but I was never friends with boys. Somewhere between my Sophmore and Junior years, that all changed

 My friend Carrie started hanging out with Ruben, since I followed Carrie around I started hanging out with them also. Ruben hung out with a group of guys who were like a fraternity. They always had different names for their group and at one point had business cards. When I met them, they hung out at the bottom of a hill on our school campus. I remember being a bit uncomfortable at first, awkward and shy ( I know this shocks some of you.)

 When we returned to school our Junior year, we all started eating lunch together at the top of the hill. The boys had renamed themselves "Hilltop". These boys quickly became my best guy friends, something I never had before in my life. I didn't want to date them and they didn't want to date me, friendship in a pure form. It was really fun to get to know them and just have fun together.

Justin and I bonded over our love of Kevin and Bean and Saturday Night Live. We spent five days a week quoting the previous weeks episode to each other "Get a belt and cinch it" was our catch phrase. Once the two of us, who were goodie two shoes ditched school to find a member of the Kevin and Bean show. We also spent time commiserating our senior year over a particulary wicked English teacher. ( Granted, thanks to her my writing isn't completely atrocious)

Shawn and I just loved to laugh and goof off together. I just have fond memories of his smile and laugh.  I think we spent much time laughing together and just enjoying life. My fondest memories of him are of his sweet nature and big heart.

Mike taught me how to punch someone. I once hit him over some rude comment and he told me. " You hit like a girl." and promptly taught me how to punch. We later ended up working at Disneyland together and sharing that experience out of high school.

Lloyd just was a cut up. He always made me laugh. Truth be told, I spent most of my junior high years terrified of him while riding the bus to and from school. I seem to recall once having the bus held up because of a stunt he pulled. He hung out with us senior year. He was always doing something funny to make us laugh. He once stood in the middle of a fight between Ruben and I, keeping the peace. We helped each other get dates for our senior prom. My famed nickname "Uptown" Julie Brown came from him, I spent many years hearing him scream that across campus.

Ruben and I did lots together. We also shared a love for all things SNL and music. He took me to see a Pauly Shore movie once. Drove me to Hollywood when I won tickets to a movie premier for So I Married An Axe Murder. We spent many months writing each other notes on the most unusual objects we could find. He always won. He once wrote me a entire note on a cassette tape.

Rico and I, it was complicated. We were night and day. He has a dry sense of humor and I have none. He made me cry more often than not and that usually pissed him off. He told me that I cried too much and needed to not. A very intense brother/sister like bickering relationship. We clicked on a intellectual level and enjoyed finding coffee houses and writing each other poetry. We like to dream of opening a coffee house together someday.When we graduated, we walked in to the stadium together. In fact, he knows a secret about what happened to me on the way in to graduation. I think that I learned the most from this friendship.

I am truly proud to be the only girl member of this fraternity. I am the only girl who didn't date any of them and the only girl to just hang out and be friends. They all accepted my wacky,zany ways, almost being indulgent at times. If I threw a party, they all would be there everytime to support me.

 We had some wonderful times together. They truly made my high school experience fun. I am so thankful to still be friends with all of them today. It's been fun watching them become husbands and fathers, they all married very well. Their wives have all been wonderful to me and I have enjoyed getting to know them also.

I've been wanting to write this blog for a long time, my fear has been that I wouldn't do the experience justice and I don't think that I ever could. Ruben posted this a few years back, the only picture of all of us( with the exception of Lloyd) together on our beloved Hilltop.