Author Archives: thediaryofahappywhitegirl

A Lover of Love

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A Lover of Love

As far back as I can remember, when I would call my grandmother on the phone the conversation would normally start with me saying “Hey Grandmother!” and her replying in her very Southern and distinct voice “Hi Love!”. We’d then proceed to talk about the weather, the news, upcoming holidays, church happenings, how ‘her boys’ (Adam and Michael) were doing, so on and so forth. There was never a dull moment and before we’d get off the phone she’d tell me that she loved me. Why is this significant? Well I’ll tell you!

My grandmother, Sara Glenn Morris, was a lover of love. She loved everyone. I’m not embellishing the truth. She seriously never met a stranger, and when she wasn’t referring to you as love, she would call you sweetie, dear, sugar, cutie… the list could go on and on. She had many terms of endearment and used them frequently! She always was going to make sure that whomever she interacted with, whether she knew them by name or not, knew that she came with love in her heart. That’s the Sara Morris I will always know and love.

People were not the only ones who received her love. She also loved butterflies. She loved chocolate. She loved being a part of the Middle Tennessee community. She loved her country and she loved her freedom. She also had very specific loves that she talked about frequently.

The first was my grandfather, Edward Morris, whom she met on the lucky day of Friday the 13th, when they went on a blind date. And guess what? They fell in love. Grandmother enjoyed telling everyone their story of love, travel, raising a family, and reminiscing about fun adventures.

She also loved her family. Having three children of their own, my grandparents instilled hard-work, hospitality and discipline, which was all rooted from love. Grandmother also loved her grandchildren and great-grandchild. Whenever we were near, there was no leaving her presence without a hug and the words “I Love You!”. She made sure of it!

She loved her friends……so many friends! When she became a widow at the age of 65 she surrounded herself with friends. They were her family and they were there to help fill a void. She would travel with friends, eat at Cracker Barrel with friends, go shopping with friends, or just sit at her house and chat with friends. She loved them all and they loved her too!

By far and without apology, my grandmother’s number on love was her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. She was incredibly dedicated to God and gave Him all the credit for her blessed life. After being diagnosed with cancer, she repeatedly told me on many occasions that the Lord has always taken care of her and would continue to take care of her in this life and the next. She did not shy away from talking about His presence in her life, and her church family was very much a part of what kept her going day in and day out. Her love for her spirituality was unwavering and is a part of her beautiful legacy. There is no doubt in my mind that God has a special place in heaven for her, and she is looking down on us with love in her heart.

Thanks for being a lover of love Grandmother. You will always be remembered and always be loved!

XOXO

Your proud granddaughter, Jennifer

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YAY for 2015!!

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Happy New Year’s Day to all and welcome to 2015! More importantly, welcome back to this fun blog and my lone resolution this year to write more on a regular basis. I’m not sure what was stopping me from writing so much last year, but I think it’s time to get back to the basics and get my opinion out for all to read (if they so choose).

What’s weird is that the more I thought about what was holding me back in 2014, the more I kept finding various excuses and trying to pinpoint one particular “life” event which I have failed to uncover. Don’t get me wrong, the hubs and I had plenty of great things going on in 2014. Lots of travels to places near and far, and lots of happenings both big and small! Unfortunately, I was having a mental block of sorts. You see, this blog is only meant to express the funny and uplifting stories (hence the name DiaryofaHappyWhiteGirl), and for whatever reason what I really wanted to write about was neither of these two things. I knew I needed to push through this and come to terms with how things had shaken out in the great game of LIFE, before I started acting like all was a-ok and writing about things that weren’t reflective of my normal “glass is always half-full” self!

Luckily, I now feel like I can be open and honest with this blog, even on days that aren’t so great. I don’t have to be the happy, white girl all the time and that’s OK! That being said, Adam and I were blessed with the news that we were going to be parents in July and found out in November that the bun in the oven is a baby BOY! His name is Michael Gordon Vazquez and we can’t wait to meet him in late March 2015. We also found out that sweet Michael has a heart defect, called Ebstein’s  Anamoly, so we are working through what that means upon his arrival and pray that he will be able to lead a normal life. To follow Michael’s story feel free to check out our Caringbridge site here: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelgordon2

I look forward to seeing many of your faces during 2015 and to continue to share life with you! I’ll always try to keep this blog as free-spirited and fun as possible, but know that I’m human, and some days may be easier than others! Here is to a wonderful 2015 and to great friends and family along the way!

XOXO

JV

MY FAVES

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(Disclaimer: This post gets a little “deep” so stop reading now if you came here for a recipe, sports-related post, or something similar)     

                    

So I’ve been doing A LOT of thinking these days! Not sure if it’s just a “season” of life I am in or what but I’ve found myself to be way more intentional with 90% of the decisions I make each day (striving for 100% but hey, no one is perfect). This is not to say, I haven’t been intentional in the past with decision-making, but for whatever reason, I find myself really thinking about the words that come out of my mouth and how they can affect others, as well as my actions. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not taking myself too seriously by any means. Just trying to be more thoughtful! All that to say, I have also been thinking about those individuals that I have been blessed to be in the presence of, and who have left a lasting impression on me!

Have you ever wondered about someone years, months, days later whom really made a difference in your life? Call me sentimental, curious or just plain nosey, but lately I’ve really wanted to “check-in” with some of those who left that type of impression on me (if they are still around) and whom I consider to be the salt of the earth. Noble and genuine individuals who will forever and always hold special places in my heart! Hence the reason, this sudden “intentional-ness” (is that even a word) has sprung up! I want to ensure these people know that they have played a HUGE part in my life.

I’ve been fortunate enough to meet plenty of amazing folks from all over the world in my short 30 years on the Earth! Some I have met by happenstance (right place, right time) and briefly held a conversation, never to be seen again. Some have met through friends of friends, and whom I see occasionally. And then there are those that have developed into longstanding friendships. I commonly refer to them as “MY FAVES”. MY FAVES include all kinds of folks, young and old, some who are part of this world and some who have passed away. These FAVES I speak of all hold a spot in my heart, and they need to know that. So I’m gonna ensure that no matter what, for the remainder of 2014, I will seek them out and ensure that they know (via note, text, email, convo, etc) that they are one of MY FAVES!

A phrase that was shared with me many moons ago, and which I share with others, in terms of friendship is that “it’s about quality individuals, not the quantity”. My grandfather was the first person I remember telling me this, when I was probably going through some sort of trivial teenage point of life cause some girl hurt my feelings. LOL He was one of MY FAVES! And this phrase has never been more true as I have gotten older and realized that you are who you surround yourself with, which is why I am challenging myself to be surrounded by those who have genuine traits. Nothing fake or phony, or those who are putting on a show for others. I seek genuine and sincere individuals who I know will be a constant sense of encouragement, support and unconditional love in the present and the future! Also, they have to laugh at my jokes. That’s a requirement, or otherwise it’s just not gonna work out between the two of us!

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Have a wonderful week friends!

XOXO

JV

Ragnar: Not your Momma’s Relay Race

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Ya’ll, I just completed my first (and probably final) Ragnar Relay Race a week ago, and let me just say it was a beast! Full of both physical and mental challenges along the way in HOT HOT HOT temperatures, which I was most certainly not accustomed to during training! Running from Miami to Key West was incredibly exhilarating and utterly exhausting all at the same time. 

For those that don’t know what exactly a Ragnar is, let me try to explain in a couple sentences. Basically it’s a team of 12 (2 vans of 6 each) who run 200ish miles, with each person running three legs of various distances, and not sleeping for roughly 36 hours. Image(Disclaimer: I should say, sleeping minimally for 36 hours. We did get a 3 hour cat nap in at 2:40 a.m. on Saturday)

Needless to say you can’t exactly train for this type of event. You can obviously train for the runs, but the lack of sleep and the minimal eating involved is a whole-nother level of CRAZY! And here is the kicker…. people ABSOLUTELY love it! True story.

Being that this was my first Ragnar, I learned quite a bit and had a WONDERFUL team of girls to hang with along the way. The amount of planning that two of our fearless leaders, Margaret and Jenn, tasked themselves with was invaluable and my Ragnar experience would have been awful had it not been for their astute attention to details and helpful guidance! Thank goodness for those two! Here is play-by-play of each leg for your reading pleasure. Enjoy the rundown (get it?!?!) and Ragnar-On peeps! Also, if you ever have a chance to go to Key West…DO IT! Beautiful sights and a relaxing atmosphere! Consider flying though, not running. 

Leg #1- 2.9 miles-Miami Fairgrounds area

Starting out I was psyched to get going for the first leg. It was fairly warm, but given the adrenaline I was feeling, I didn’t care too much. My run started at approximately 11:30am-ish and snaked through the streets of Miami, ending at the Fairgrounds. The scenery wasn’t GREAT, but the fact that after my leg we were going to grab lunch, made me run with a fairly quick pace. First leg was over and done with before I knew it!

Leg #2-7.8 miles-Tavernia, FL

My second leg didn’t start until 11:45pm so needless to say I was feeling a little tired and ready to get this leg over with. The sidewalks we were running on were not paved very well, so I had to catch myself a couple times from stumbling. Also, I hadn’t worn a headlamp during any of my training runs (oops!), and that stupid thing wouldn’t stay on my big ol’ head, so that was interesting to say the least. I will however say that I refused to stop and walk during any of my legs, thanks in large part to my BFF, Angela, who talked to me the entire time on the phone for this portion of the race. It helped TONS to keep me distracted and pushing toward the end goal of getting to the next exchange! After I finished, my van drove 30 miles to our mid-race hotel for a quick 3 hour nap and shower. It was by far the best $30 I spent the entire weekend. My head hit the pillow and didn’t move until it was time to wake up at 5:40 a.m.

Leg #3-2.0 miles- Summerland Key, FL

This was my shortest leg but definitely the toughest without a doubt! It started about 1:30 p.m. and was so incredibly hot and humid outside. I had already ran an extra mile with one of our other girls to help her get through her run about an hour prior so I knew I was going to be sweating like a gorilla during my leg. Folks, I was not wrong! I literally shuffle-stepped my way through these final 2 miles, and thankfully again I had someone on the phone, my hubs, keeping me distracted. My legs had obviously had enough, and fatigue had definitely kicked in. At the end of the run, all I could think about was eating a full meal, and that literally got me to the finish with a smile on my face!

‘Til next time-

Jenny V. 

This girls opinion….

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So a lot of people have been asking me what I think about this whole James Franklin situation. I guess cause they know I am a die-Imagehard Vandy fan and have been for many years. In my 30 short years on this earth, I have attended LOTS of football games and men’s basketball games and love every minute of it! Even through the good times and the bad, I have stayed until the very end for each game. Whether we are up by 10 or down by 40. You can all thank my dad, Tim Gill, for that!

So when I say this is not a BAD time for Vanderbilt University, I mean it! As a matter of fact, it’s been kind of fun to watch the last few days events unfold. Granted, I, like many other fans, wanted Coach Franklin to stay, but pretty much knew by Thursday of this week that we needed to start looking for a new head coach, and to be quite honest, I don’t blame Coach Franklin at all for leaving for Penn State! As a matter of fact, if I was in his shoes, I would have done the same thing. Not go to Penn State obviously (too cold), but I would go where my heart led me, and that is EXACTLY what he is doing. He is taking his dream job, and if someone offered me my dream job, I’d be out the door too. I’m lucky enough to be within in driving distance of my family and most of my friends. Coach Franklin and family not so much in Nashville, but more so at PSU!

So to all those out there that think he has ‘just left us’ or that he ‘used Vandy’ (puh-leaze), think real quick for a minute about what kind of decision you would make if faced with something similar, and I guarantee many of us have been faced with these types of decisions.

At the end of the day, coaching football is someone’s job. Much like the jobs I have had the pleasure of working in, including the world of sports, non-profit, and now healthcare. I was once told by a professor in Grad School that you get your first job, to get your second, to get your third, to then get your fourth, so forth and so on. I firmly believe that this is true for most everyone! More than likely your first job was a stepping stone to your second, or your experience at your third job helped you land your fourth! This is true for folks like James Franklin as well!

Time will tell what effect, if any, it has on Vanderbilt, and time will tell if PSU can be successful under Franklin. But no one can tell him today that he made the wrong choice. No one!

Coach Franklin never promised or said that he would be at Vandy for X-amount of years. He came in, a relative unknown to most, and turned around a football problem that was long overdue for a decent-season. And guess what?  He had a few better-than-decent seasons. He didn’t do this on his own. He had plenty of help. Personnel, assistant coaches, and others at the University (who were there long before Franklin) helped to shape a program into a bowl-eligible and SUPER fun team to watch the last three years, and I thank him for lighting that fire and getting folks like myself amped up!

So fear not Vandy fans. This is not the end but rather the beginning. I didn’t start going to Vandy game 20-ish years ago because we had a “winning” football program. My dad took me to games, and I continue to go with him to this day, because it’s all about cheering for a team you love. Through thick and thin, good or bad!

 

Go Dores-ANCHOR DOWN!

JV

Maui…..The Land of Beautiful Beaches, Exquisite Sites and Just About Any Rental Car You Could Want

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Hello out there friends and welcome back to the random ruminations of the Diary of a VERY Happy White Girl! It’s been a while I know, but I was finding it hard to get inspired to write about the heat of summer (even though it rained a majority of the time in Middle TN), and frankly things got busy (selling your house in 12 days can do that)! Anywho, welcome back and so glad you have ten minutes to read about the MOST beautiful place in ‘Merica!

Road to Hana

Road to Hana

That’s right- the hubs and I made a trip across the mainland (literally) to Maui, Hawaii, and it was AMAZING! By far one of the best, if not the BEST trip I have ever been on. It was an incredible place and frankly I felt like I was in an entire different country and kept having to remind myself that Hawaii is a part of the 50 Nifty United States (anyone remember this song from grade school?)! The land was beautiful, the pristine ocean surrounded you, the gardens were lush, and I literally felt like I was in a dream the entire time.

Needless to say the flight was not very fun with a 4.5 hour flight to LAX (Ron Jeremy was on our plane out of Nashville which kind of grossed me out), and then another 5 hour flight to Maui, but American Airlines knows how to show a good movie or two so it wasn’t awful by any means. Once we exited the airport and picked up the rental car (err Jeep Wrangler of course for Adam), we were on our way to a very “event-filled” vacay. And when I say “event-filled” I mean it. Within 24 hours of arriving, we made our way in the wee hours of the morning to Mt. Haleakala, which is a giant volcano that has a looking area at the top of a crater so you can watch the sunrise. It was impressive to say the least. We then opted to ride mountain bikes down the side of Haleakala for 25ish miles

Haleakala

Haleakala

to the town of Paia. So cool, and the sights were amazing! From there we got in some sleep and continued on with our adventures over the next 5 days, including surf lessons, snorkeling in Molekini (it’s legit), going to a Luau (also legit), and spending a day discovering Road to Hana. All were exceptional, and I was pretty stoked when I realized that a lot of the tourists thought Adam was a local! It was almost like we had some street-cred.

A couple other observations that I think are worth mentioning as well since I think EVERYONE should plan a trip. First, the vowel to consonant ratio is insane. I found myself going WAY back to elementary school trying to say street names and such. Kind of embarrassing when you pair that with a southern twang! Also, if the mainland (or any old dude going through a mid-life crisis) is EVER in need of a rental Ford Mustang, I can assure you they are all in Maui. Every color was represented numerous times!

Again, I CAN NOT put into words how amazing this trip was and I think each of you should put it on your list of places to visit. It’s definitely not cheap, but it’s so worth the money!

Safe Travels and so glad that cooler temps are around the corner cause I’m melting!

XOXO

JV

Wood Worker Extraordinaire

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Hey peeps!

It’s time for our next installment of all things DiaryofaHappyWhiteGirl, and this one should really be called DiaryofaHappyMexicanBoy, cause we are gonna spotlight the one and only, Adam Vazquez.

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Dining Room Table

Cute Husband, Father of Rocco and Riley, Fitness Machine (my BFF Angela calls him the Incredible Hulk), and now he has also taken on the role of Woodworker-to-the-Masses (and by masses I mean myself, my parents, and his parents)! That’s right folks, Adam is officially a carpentry day laborer on the weekends! AND HE IS REALLY GOOD AT IT!

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Coffee Table

 

 

He has already built a new office desk, coffee table, TV stand, as well as a new dining room table, record storage boxes, refinished matching chairs, decorative wall art, and mirror boxes. And this has all happened in the last 5 months! Pretty amazing and I though it only fitting that I show off the goods! Granted our one-car garage is now his workshop, but tis the sacrifice that is needed to get new furniture around here so I can suck it up for now and park my little Honda Accord outdoors! Besides I gotta show off the bike rack somehow right? 😉

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TV Stand and you can see the framed wall art in this photo too!

Hope you enjoy the photos!

XOXO

JV