The Most Difficult Story I Have Ever Told.



Update- Monday April 27, 2015.

I was hoping I would get a few more years before I would have to write this, alas God had other plans.

I had the distinct priviledge of witnessing my brother take his final breath on Thursday, April 23rd, at 11:45 pm.

After our family trip to Gatlinburg, he seemed to be feeling worse. I made the decision to come and stay with my family and visit with him on April 17th. When I arrived  it was obvious he wasn’t well, but I still felt hope.

As the days went by, the difference day to day was astounding, and soul crushing.  He hadn’t eaten in in two weeks because of a neck tumor blocking his esophagus. Drinking was difficult for the same reason. He would take sips, which would result in very painful coughing fits that would sometimes last several minutes.

He was always thirsty, always in pain. He didn’t feel hungry, that urge had left him weeks ago.

Many family members and friends came, and showered him with love. My sisters laid by his side, rubbing his feet and legs. Helping him drink, wiping his face. We spent hours watching “Dirty Jobs,” because that what he wanted. ( I really didn’t mind, since I have a bit of a crush on Mike Rowe.)

Except to bathe and eat, my mom rarely left his side. The entire week, I can count the number of times she left him on one hand. She was his constant companion. She was his giver of pain relief in the form of medicine, the giver of love in the form of leg massages and quiet words. When she wept, she wept quietly so he couldn’t hear. I have never seen so much capacity to love.

On that night, she was completely spent. I was asked to stay with my Aunt, who was also giving her precious time and love to help my mom. The plan was to let my mom sleep in an adjoining room, and my Aunt and I would stay in the room with Justin. My brother was very attached to my mom, there were many times he called out for her, and she wanted to be close in case he needed her.

I arrived to Justin’s house around 10:30. I had spent a few hours with my Dad. We watched “Hot Fuzz” and laughed and laughed. The previous afternoon had been very stressful, so I took a break. I think it prepared me for what was to come.

My Dad dropped me off and went back home. We began getting settled in for bed. My Aunt Joy gave him a dose of his medicine, but he was still restless. I was laying on the bed next to him, thinking to myself…

My Brother isn’t going to be with us when I wake up in the morning…

Aunt Joy got down on her knees at the foot of the bed, and prayed, for what seemed like a very long time. I felt no comfort in this. I wish I did, but I just didn’t.

Aunt Joy laid on the floor next to the bed. We had started out sharing the bed, but she told me she wanted me to sleep next to “your baby brother.”

I laid next to him for a few more minutes. Watching him grimace in pain. I asked him if he needed anything.

He said he was thirsty.

I asked him what he wanted.

He said it didn’t matter.

I was dreading giving him that drink, because everytime he drank, he coughed, and it hurt him. I hated watching him cough and choke. I hated watching him in pain, but there was no hesitation. I got out of bed, and I grabbed a bottle of 7-up that was sitting on the shelf.

I went over to him, and gave him a towel, that he put down on his chest. This was his routine, because he would dribble whatever he was drinking due to his Bells Palsy.

I opened his drink, and handed it to him. He hesitated for a second, so he could get his strength to lift the bottle.

He took a drink of the 7-Up, and handed the bottle back to me.

He didn’t choke. He didn’t cough.

He laid back, relaxed and I watched his eyes open wide. He was looking at something. Intently.

Then I realized.

He was gone.

It was almost instant. It was almost as if he was waiting for that last drink.

My brother, who had been talking to me, moving around, and put his own towel down on this chest only seconds before, was gone.

The next few minutes were a blur. I grabbed my Aunt, I grabbed my Mom, I grabbed my sister in-law who was asleep on the couch.

I made a phone call to my sobbing sister. I called my husband and I couldn’t even speak.

At one point I collapsed onto the floor, because my legs wouldn’t hold me.

Family came. Friends came. Everyone he loved was with him until the funeral home came and took him.

I am crushed. My heart feels a void that can never be filled. I feel immense guilt for being the one who was with him when he passed. I feel such priviledge for being the one who was with him when he passed. I feel like I robbed my parents of a moment that should have been theirs.

The thing I feel the most?

I wasn’t ready.hands





Body Brilliance Liquid Spray Deodorant-Review

*This was sent to me in exchange for review. My opinion is my own*

Listen up, stinky people, there’s a new deodorant in town. And it is good.


“The 100% Natural Secret to Smelling Fresh All Day (Or Night) Without Threatening Your Health With The Dangerous Chemicals Found in Most Antiperspirant Deodorants

The Best and Most Effective Natural Spray Deodorant for Men, Women and Kids.

– Exclusive Resort Spa Quality | Premium Professional Grade Deodorant – Finally Available For You
– Really Works! Hours of antibacterial protection
– Safe for all skin types
– Spray is invisible on your skin and clothingMasterfully blended with seaweed algae extracts, ammonium alum – the liquid form of the “deodorant stone” and essential oils that all work together to kill bacteria that cause foul sweat odor.

– Our formulation of seaweed and algae extracts, mineral salts, and essential oils is designed to kill bacterium that cause body odor.
– Allows the body to perform the way it was intended. Perspiring is a natural bodily function and is a way for our bodies to cool and detoxify.
– You will love its aromatherapy scent! Exclusive essential oil mix includes: lavandin, patchouli, spanish sage, tea tree leaf, cajeput, lemon peel & pine needle.Backed by a Lifetime, No Hassle No Questions Asked Guarantee”

11721346_443853852460814_2068370682_nThis deodorant is fantastic. I had a real struggle for awhile with finding a deodorant that works for me. I have been using mixtures of my own, Lush deodorant bars, and this one. I spray it on in the morning, let it dry, and B.O. isn’t even a worry. Even in the Memphis heat and humidity, my pits were peachy. They had an almost lavendar scent. Very earthy and fresh.


The only thing I don’t like about it, is that it takes a good 5 mins to dry. I feel like I am fanning my pits forever. It is totally worth it though, to have nice smelling pits all day, and even into the next.

I highly recommend natural deodorants, for your health alone. If you don’t mind a bit of drying time, this is a great place to start.



Monthly Sub Monday-Your Bijoux Box-

I have been getting this box for several months now and I have really enjoyed it.

The August box was orange themed. And it was pretty darn good!

Helene Laurel Collar-

“Smokey grey and gold crystals give just a hint of twinkle to this stunning collar. Designed for a night on the town or a glimpse of sparkle beneath a button down blouse.”

11844144_447354332110766_1248231018_nThis necklace is really cool. It has gold, black and clear crystals in a really cool pattern. It almost reminds me of ivy.11830215_447354318777434_699970620_nThe smokey colors are going to be awesome for fall. I love this!

“Helena Studs-

Created to compliment the Helena Laurel Collar and Coral dots scarf, these simple and elegant studs are great for all occasions.”

11853976_447354288777437_47365137_nSorry about the poor picture quality, my camera was being a butt. However, I like these earrings alot. The citrine colored round stones coordinate well with the blackened gold metallic pear shaped stones underneath them. They are great size, a nice weight and look great on the ear. Lots of sparkle!

Coral Dots Scarf-

“A bonus piece to celebrate our second anniversary. Lightweight for Summer and large enough to be worn as a wrap or a sarong. Throw it in your beach bag and you are ready for anything!”11846388_447354365444096_1752345915_nThis scarf is super lightweight and cute. I don’t really wear scarves, so I may pass this on my daughter, but it really is beautiful. The color is so cheery!

Roma Cuff Ring-

“We are so excited to announce our first Fair Trade Piece. This beautiful handmade cocktail ring features light coral check crystals on an adjustable 18k gold overlay band.”

11846024_447354298777436_796797836_nI do not like this piece. I really hate being negative but this one just seemed kinda cheaply made. It was so lightweight, and extremely easy to bend. The crystals were almost the same color as the band, so there was no contrast in color and you really couldn’t see them.


Overall, I was pleased with this box. You really just cannot beat the quality and variety from Your Bijoux Box!


Beauty Blog Coalition Weekly Roundup


Image Skincare Clear Cell Medicated Acne Masque- Review

*This was purchased by me for my own use. My opinion is my own.*


You guys have heard me complain a whole lot lately about my hormonal outbreaks of acne lately. I have found a few products that have helped clear it up, but still have been on the lookout for something that would just zap those suckers. Like Jesus- BE HEALED!

Well, once again I was reading Refinery 29 and they spoke of an acne treatment so effective, it stopped pimples in their tracks.

So what did I do? I googled that sucker and that leads us here today.

*Cue angels singing.”

From the website:

“Effectively drawing out impurities that clog the pores, this aggressive blend of salicylic and glycolic acid improves even the toughest acne lesions. Active ingredient (Sulfur) dries up lesions overnight and soothes irritated inflamed lesions. May be used as a spot treatment. For use 1-3 times a week”11903521_453139111532288_325400669_nWhen I first got the product, I was kinda bummed because the tube didn’t seem totally full. When I opened it however, I could see why. It is a VERY thick product, it doesn’t take much at all. Since I only use it as a spot treatment, rather than a whole face mask, it will last.11880842_453139064865626_1303815059_n

Anyhoo, it just so happens I was getting a screaming huge chin zit the day after I got this in the mail. It was the kind that is huge under the surface, and HURTS, and probably would come to life and murder you in your sleep. So I busted this stuff out and put it on.

The first application, I left on for about 20 mins. When I rinsed it off, I could see and feel a reduction in the swelling of the death zit. I was dumfounded. I may or may done have busted into a rendition of “Jesus loves me,” but only the lord and I will ever know. I decided to put it on again before bed and sleep with it.

The next day I woke up, and the zit was gone, except for a bit of redness and a dry patch where the mask had been. Folks, did you read that closely? IT WAS GONE. No  hard lump under the skin, no pain. I was hooked.

I decided to give it another go this week when I felt another monster assaulting my cheek. I put the mask on, and left it overnight. I also put it on some of my spots that I keep getting under my chin.

The one on my cheek was a little more stubborn. It took two nights of spot treatment, but it went away.  It didn’t even come to a head, just went away! The spots on my neck were reduced in size, but not completely gone. But I can live with those because they aren’t as obvious, and I will keep working on them.

The price on this stuff is amazing for what it does. It is $28 through the link I provided above. To me, it is worth every penny to keep these jerks at bay. I can honestly say, I have never found an acne treatment that works like this, until now!

Now I will say, it is kinda stinky because of the sulfur, but honestly, I don’t care.


So, what do you think? Would you try this? If you do, please let me know your experience and if it was as good as mine.




Monthly Sub Monday- Pet Gift Box

*This was sent to me for review. My opinion is my own.*

Use code “Stella” for a 25% off discount on your first box!

I am thoroughly enjoying getting these boxes! My cats LOVE all the goodies and toys. What did they get this month? Let’s take a gander!

This months theme was “It’s Workmeowt Time!” How clever is that?11748652_441126812733518_670948142_n11774428_441263196053213_1628906853_n


Knock Out Treat Dispenser- $5.99

“Kitty will feel the burn when working for the yummy treats inside. Burn off calories and get a reward!”11751072_441263182719881_566165348_n
This is really cool. You put treats inside of it, and kitty has to bat it around to get them to come out. It drives Justin crazy. This next product is what we use with it…

Cloud 9 Eggsplosive Treats- $3.99

“Every fitness buff need to fuel their workouts with top quality nutrients, like the ones packed into these yummy treats.”11758980_441263156053217_133710625_n
These treats are like crack for my cats. Actually the dog likes them too, but I try to keep him out of them. Watching the cats try to get them out of the toy is hilarious. We get a huge kick out of it.

Knob Goblin- $5.99

“Jump, swat, lick, repeat. Feline fitness was never this fun. With a bungee inside, this toy bounces back for more.”11212442_441262969386569_1425672716_n

I attached this toy to my bathroom door. MY cats found it almost immediately and played with it for a good 10 minutes. Then the string broke, but what did they do? They literally picked it up, put it in the livingroom and batted it around like a ball. Cats kill me.

“Swat and Bobble Octopus- $5.99

Made of strong, plush fabric and with a suction cup that will stick to any surface, kitty will get a serious workout pouncing all over it.”11753846_441263019386564_803174263_n

This is another ones of those toys my cats demolished in a day. They absolutely loved it! I would suction it to my livingroom hardwood floors, and let them at it. It was hilarious. I thoroughly enjoy watching my cats play.

Play Cave Tunnel- $7.97

“This tunnel has a dangling ball inside to get your cat’s attention, and keep it active. Also purrfect for a post workout nap.”11759043_441263056053227_2101758742_nI really wish I had gotten photos of Justin kitty playing in this tunnel. It was the cutest ever! He would jump in and out, pounce on the dangling ball, run out and then repeat, for what seemed like forever.


This box was a huge success! My cats played with every single thing we got and loved them!


Interested in the box? Click right here! Use code “stella” for 25% off. You’ll thank me later! :-)


Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: