Saturday, September 29, 2012


Song of the day: David Crowder, How He Loves

Moment of beauty:

JD cooking!! We are having calzones tonight - JD's specialty.
What's more beautiful than my man cooking for me, as I sit and watch from my comfy place on the couch sipping AlbariƱo? *sigh* This is contentment. :)

Kiss Your Cares Goodbye

Song of the day: Newsboys, Million Pieces (Kissin' Your Cares Goodbye)

Moment of Beauty:

I have had a slight spending problem lately... on dog treats.  Dog treats are so expensive!!  I have no idea why, but they usually range from $3.75 - $10!  You'd think that I would stick with the lower, but no, just last weekend I spent $8 on a bag of dog bones.  *sigh*  I can't help it; the pups are just so happy when they get a new treat and I can't deny them anything!!
Here is Ellie, happily chewing away on the bed... I love her!!
Happy Saturday!!

Friday, September 28, 2012


Yesterday was a day full of ups and downs.  I had the privilege of being on the outside, looking in on a few lives.  I observed life and it's rollercoaster.  I think the overriding factor in all of the different situations is love.  We are creatures of God's making and we are filled with so much love.  We feel pain because we love so much.  When a friend is hurting, we hurt for them... when we lose a loved one, we feel the loss and when we experience the highs in life, we feel our hearts brimming with this love. 
I think the two things that I learned the most are, to be thankful for all the blessings in my life and how special, loving and compassionate my friends and family are.  God has truly surrounded my life with the kindest and most caring individuals.  I believe that God has filled my heart with love and joy and that these souls who I am connected to, refill this love and joy. 
My mother lost a friend yesterday... a furry daughter.  Her basset hound of 12 years passed away.  We are thankful that for all of those years, we were all able to love her as she loved us.  She brought joy to our lives and smiles to our hearts.  She will be missed. 
My sisters learned of a friend's loss yesterday... a tragedy that never should have happened occurred.  I don't understand why and how evil exists and it's incredibly upsetting when it touches your life.  All I know is that God and His love and protection are greater than this. 
One of my best friends learned that the baby she is carrying is a boy!  Love is brimming over the edge.  While I recognize the losses in this world, I am also reminded of the new life that is beginning. 
When I think of my mother, my sisters, my friend, all I see are bright spots in my life. 
JD told me last night that in darkness, all it takes to overcome this darkness is a single candlelight.
I am thankful that these persons in my life are my candle lights.  And they are burning so bright.
My thoughts, my prayers and my love go out to you... I feel your joy and your pain. 
My song of the day goes out to these loved ones... Sidewalk Prophets, The Words I Would Say

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Things to look forward to....

Song of the day: Natalie Grant, Color Blind

Moment of beauty:

A sneak preview of what's to come at our Fall dinner!!  :)  Can't wait!!

Happy Friday!

Song of the day: Safe and Sound by Capital Cities

Beauty moment

Can't wait to try!!

Thai Noodle and Green Bean Salad

JD has been on my case about eating more salads... I just have never been much of a salad-lover.  I know, I know, I'm a vegetarian, how could I possibly not want to eat salad??  I really think it's because I like my food to be warm... and ofcourse my need for carbs is usually part of the issue too....
Last night I decided to try a new salad, if for no other reason than to prove to JD that I too can eat salad.
Side note: this salad doesn't exactly have leafy greens in it... instead it has noodles.  Hey, at least the recipe calls it a salad!!)

From one of my favorite cookbooks: Simple Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin

Thai Noodle and Green Bean Salad

1 pound spaghetti

3 tbls peanut or canola oil
3 tbls oriental sesame oil
3 tbls lime juice
3 tbls tamari soy sauce
2 tbls brown sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsps minced gingerroot
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt

1 pound green beans, cut in half
3 scallions, very thinly sliced
2 bls finely shredded fresh basil
2 tbls finely chopped fresh mint
1 tbls finely chopped cilantro

1. Boil the green beans for 5 minutes and then submerge in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
2.  In the same pot, boil the noodles until al dente
(to make my life easier, I changed this part of the recipe... I just dumped the marinade ingredients in the same bowl as the veggies)
3.  Make the marinade and then add the herbs, scallions and green beans to the bowl. 
4.  When the noodles were ready, I put them in the same bowl as the marinade and then served. 
The recipe says to let the noodles cool and then mix with the marinade and chill for 2 hours.
Since I like warm food, I served the noodle salad at room temperature and it was great!

Fall, I love you!

Song of the day: Ellie Goulding, Lights

Moment of beauty:

For the past few days, it has been in the low-mid 70's in the morning and I am loving it!!  I have been driving to work with my windows down and breathing in some fresh air, instead of A/C all the time is so refreshing!  This is the perfect temperature... warm enough to still wear sundresses and flip flops, but cool enough to actually want to be outside for more than 60 seconds.  I am savoring these moments.... :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sidewalk Prophets

Today's song of the day needs it's own post. 
I love the Sidewalk Prophets... they are so talented and this recent song (at least new to me) just floored me.  I identify with these lyrics so much.  This song is a wonderful reminder to hold onto faith and continue to trust in God. 

Sidewalk Prophets, Help Me Find It

I don’t know where to go from here

It all used to seem so clear

I’m finding I can’t do this on my own

I don’t know where to go from here

As long as I know that You are near

I’m done fighting

I’m finally letting go

I will trust in You

You’ve never failed before

I will trust in You


If there’s a road I should walk

Help me find it

If I need to be still

Give me peace for the moment

Whatever Your will

Whatever Your will

Can you help me find it

Can you help me find it

I’m giving You fear and You give faith

I giving you doubt

You give me grace

For every step I’ve never been alone

Even when it hurts, You’ll have Your way

Even in the valley I will say

With every breath

You’ve never let me go

I will wait for You

You’ve never failed before

I will wait for You


I lift my empty hands (come fill me up again)

Have Your way my King (I give my all to You)

I lift my eyes again (Was blind but now I see)

‘Cause You are all I need

I feel the winds of change....

With the new season, I feel that I need to clean up my act and maybe break a few bad habits, while instilling some new good ones?  As JD always says, "I feel the winds of change...."
Along with my "song of the day" and "moment of beauty" that keep me focused on positivity, I am starting a "double C" of the day.
I really enjoy having a "coctail hour" every day after work, but my cocktail hour has also turned into, "lazy hour".... I just sit, veg and watch Barefoot Contessa until it's time to make dinner.  Not very productive.
So now I am going to infuse one "C" with another "C"... Chores! 
I'm using another "C" that has been a saving grace for my relationship with JD, so why not use it on myself? - Compromise!
If I want to enjoy a cocktail, than I will while doing a chore!
I think tonight I'll have a mimosa (made with low-sugar/calorie OJ thank-you-very-much) while folding laundry.... and watching BC!  ;)
JD's cocktail hour
Edit:  Make the above-mentioned mimosa, a peach bellini!  The farm stand had these gorgeous peaches that smelled amazing, so 3 peaches, 1 juicer and 5 minutes later, freshly juiced peach juice!!  YUM!!

Happy, happy, joy, joy

Moment of beauty - make that momentS and really, they are moments of beauty and pure excitement!

In an effort to cut back on calories (hel-lo Starbucks daily splurge of 250 calories), I want to make coffee at home.  Unfortunately our coffee maker broke, so I figured I'd have to make a visit to Bed, Bath and Beyond, or at least Walmart (curses!) to buy a new machine, or maybe even better yet, a french press?
While shopping this afternoon at Publix, I decided to take a chance and see if they had anything down the coffee aisle?
For $7, yes friends, $7, I found a "coffee press" (I guess I can't call it a "french" press... you probably need to at least have double digits in the price to call it that).  Not only did I not have to spend a lot of money (I thought for sure I'd have to spend at least $30 and after our splurges this weekend, I knew now was not a good time for extra purchases), but I also didn't have to make a special stop in my search!  And we all know how much I love shopping.... ;)
Now let's just hope it works as well as I'm hoping it will!!

Next beauty moment?  Oh yes, it does get better than a $7 coffee press.......

FINALLY!!!  Vegetarianism has become mainstream!  Lean Cuisine has a new line of frozen meals, called "Veggie Cuisine" made just for vegetarians!  Our store has 3 different kinds so far and the first one (the enchilada) was very good! 
Continuing in the same vein, I am trying to limit my calorie intake and have found that the easiest way to do this for lunch is to buy lowfat frozen meals.  Bringing leftovers is definitely better than getting take-out, but I usually make dinners that have more calories that I really should be consuming at lunch and there's really only so much Subway I can eat.....
While shopping for vegetarian low-fat frozen meals, I end up with a lot of pasta.  Oh there are a lot of different kinds... cheese ravioli, vegetable lasagna, angel hair pomodoro, etc. etc., but it's all pasta.  BO-RING.  And not only that, but I'm usually looking (and hoping) for something with more protein.  These new meals are using Gardein meat alternatives, or as I like to call it, "faux meat".
I know that there is some concern with soy protein, but as long as I'm only consuming it once a day, I'm not really going to worry myself about it.  Besides, I'm probably more likely to get cancer from my cell phone than from a little tempeh or tofu.
It's sad and probably pathetic, but I am seriously SO excited about my two finds!!!  :)
What do you eat for lunch to keep "on track" with a healthy diet?

One failure, one success....

Last night I thought I would be all creative and come up with a new recipe all my own.  We bought these little peppers at the grocery store and I usually stuff them with cream cheese, but was looking for a different filling.
We had three beautiful avocados, so I thought "why not stuff the peppers with guacamole?".  Everything was going so well... it was so easy to stuff them, unlike the cream cheese, and they blistered beautifully in the foil pack on the grill.
Bomb....... they tasted so weird!!  I thought that the pepper "juices" would marry with the guacamole and make it spicier, but all it did was just make it taste chalky and well, just not good.  :(
All was not lost though... I made a recipe out of one of my vegetarian cookbooks: Polenta with garlic and broccoli.  YUM!!

Note: Have everything ready to go, ie. your mis en place, before you start cooking.  The recipe warned me of this, but I didn't believe it and well, let's just say burnt garlic doesn't taste very good.  :(

Polenta with Broccoli and Garlic
Boil 4 cups of vegetable stock and slowly add 1 1/4 cups of polenta in slowly.  It starts to pop almost immediately, so I put the lid on for a few minutes while it thickens.  Add 2 tbls of butter and 1/4 cup of parmesan and mix until smooth and thick.
Saute 6 cloves of garlic in 2 tbls of evoo for 1 minute.  Add 1 head of broccoli, cut into tiny florets and mix.  Add 1/3 cup of water and cover and cook for 5 minutes.  Toss in 3 tomatoes that have been seeded and chopped into a small dice.  Add s&p to taste.

No song of the day today....
My moment of beauty was seeing my grandmother, who was admitted into the hospital Saturday night, wearing lipstick and a smile sitting in her hospital bed.  She has a bad infection in her foot, but aside from that, she is healthy and in good spirits!  Thank God!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Jamaica, Bahamas, come on pretty momma...

Song of the day: Jeremy Camp, You Never Let Go

Moment of beauty (or hilarity):

At dinner at Tommy Bahamas, I gave my bff, C, a little stuffed kitty for her baby.... For now though, Piper has a new friend, lol.

Happy Birthday, Jimmy!

As a belated birthday dinner, JD and I got together with my parents and had a birthday feast!
There were no vegans here... I even splurged and ate shrimp!
I bought delmonico steaks for JD and Jimmy, we made Ina Gartens baked shrimp scampi and I made twice-baked potatoes. It was delicious!!

On a side note, my song of the day is by Lifehouse. I love them and saw them in concert in 2002. When my Pandora played this song, I recognized it, but it never hit home until now.
I have allowed my OCD to run the show and trap me in a never-ending loop of fear, doubt and worry. In short, I have been on a sick cycle carousel... And like the song says, I know it will only stop when I make the decision to step off.

Friday, September 21, 2012

For my husband.......

Since it's my blog and I make the rules, I'm adding an additional "song of the day".

This is dedicated to my husband...
After almost 13 years, I'm more in love with you than ever before.  The trials we've experienced have only lead to greater strength, loyalty, trust and commitment.  All that is good in me, is because, with God's blessing, you have encouraged and inspired it.  I was broken and lost, but you helped me find myself and you have breathed hope and potential into my heart.
Thank you.  I love you more than I could ever say.

Edwin McCain, I Could Not Ask for More

Lying here with you

Listening to the rain

Smiling just to see the smile upon your face

These are the moments I thank God that I'm alive

These are the moments I'll remember all my life

I found all I've waited for

And I could not ask for more

Looking in your eyes

Seeing all I need

Everything you are is everything to me

These are the moments

I know heaven must exist

These are the moments I know all I need is this

I have all I've waited for

And I could not ask for more


I could not ask for more than this time together

I could not ask for more than this time with you

Every prayer has been answered

Every dream I have's come true

And right here in this moment is right where I'm meant to be

Here with you here with me

These are the moments I thank God that I'm alive

These are the moments I'll remember all my life

I've got all I've waited for

And I could not ask for more


I could not ask for more than the love you give me

'Coz it's all I've waited for

And I could not ask for more

I could not ask for more

Splurge day

Song of the day:  Hillsong, Mighty to Save

Moment of beauty:

I'm too embarassed to even admit all that I splurged on yesterday... suffice to say, I'm back on track now and will need some sort of cleanse this weekend.  *sigh*  Everybody's gotta have a splurge day every once in a while.  :)  Happy splurging!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Favorite go-to meal

I wish I had taken a picture of it, but I was in too much of a hurry to eat one of my favorite go-to meals. 
This can be made in a variety of different ways, but basically the gist of it is:

Boil spaghetti noodles; while the noodles are cooking, saute onion (or shallot) and garlic in a mixture of evoo and butter and cook until the onions are translucent, then add a carton of grape tomatoes.  Add about 1/4 cup of white wine (or vegetable stock) and let simmer until tomatoes pop.  I usually squish them in the pan a bit with the back of a spoon to help them along.  Season with s&p and any other of your favorite Italian seasonings.
Once the noodles are done, add to the pan with the tomatoes, drizzle a little extra evoo over the top and mix.  Top with shredded parmesan (or asiago).  Serve!

I vary this up by adding other veggies to it if I have some left over; I added swiss chard the last time I made it to amp up the nutrients - I just added the chard to the pan after the tomatoes had popped and let wilt.

This is so easy, yet very satisfying - at least in my book!  Enjoy!!

It's the little things....

Song of the day:  Jon Mclaughlin, Beautiful Disaster

Moment of beauty:
Happy hour at the DeZiel's

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Song of the day:  Casting Crowns, Courageous

Moment of beauty:

I have always believed that God is very real and active in this world.  I believe in the Holy Spirit and it's power.  I think though that I have somewhat doubted myself... doubted my importance and my worth. 
God has a way of nudging you from time to time though... saying "hey, I know what you're going through, I'm right here".
I got a nudge last night.
To start, I really should explain how it all began... it began with an "everyday miracle".
Almost 2 years ago, I received in the mail a little booklet called the Daily Word.  It's made up of daily stories, all relating to a different Bible verse.  Daily devotionals you could call it?
I was going through a really rough time and my heart was searching for answers, reassurance and comfort from God.  This really spoke to me and I was so thankful.
Then I found out that a woman who I barely know, took the time to find my address, contact Daily Word and pay for me to have this subscription. 
I know her from work and she's the nicest woman.  We would always chat when she came in and I always felt so good after she left.
I believe that God used her to get to me... and I am grateful.  I wish I could tell her how much her thought and care means to me.  I only hope to be able to spread this love in the future for someone else.
Now, back to last night... JD and I have a real problem with consistency.  We free feed our dogs, let them run the house, never discipline them and let them do what they want, when they want. 
We set goals for ourselves and rarely reach them and when we do, it's a huge feat.  Besides going to work, we have no set script for our day-to-day lives.  Each time we become "regulars" somewhere or develop some kind of pattern, we instinctively change.  I don't think we mean to, but it just happens... we rebel against predictability.
So with that in mind, we've been "trying" to read these daily devotionals every day.  We really like them and feel very satisfied when we finish reading.
Last night we got to bed in a reasonable time and pulled out our Daily Word.  I snuggled up to my pillow and Choco and was ready for JD to read to me.  JD is the designated reader and has been for a few years now.  We've had some luck finishing a few books together and JD has always been the one to read.
Last night, due to working late hours, JD was not only tired and sore, but was not in the mood to read to me.  He begged me to read and, like a brat, I refused and made a stink about it.  Finally though, I gave in.
Yes, God, I am stubborn.  This daily devotional really spoke to my heart, was exactly what I needed to hear and had been needing to hear for a long time, but perhaps I wasn't ready for it until now?
JD and I were dumbstruck after reading it and truly felt the presence of God in our life.
God lined up all the right people, situations, etc. to reach out to me and what did I do?  I stubbornly resist.  I got the message!! 
This is my moment of beauty... these words written in inspiration of God's love and protection... His hand in my life and in all of our lives... what could be more beautiful?
I invite you to take the time to look around and notice all that God has blessed your life with.  It really is worth the time to "stop and smell the roses".  :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Song of the day:  The Climb by Miley Cyrus

Moment of beauty:

I have really enjoyed reading Cassie's (the above blogger) daily updates.  Yesterday was an awesome post, that really hit home for me.  I believe that inspiration can come from many different sources, even "ordinary" people can make a difference and possibly change the course of someone's future. 
JD always says to look for smiles... I have to agree.  It makes me feel all warm inside when I make eye contact with a stranger and they smile back - it's like renewing my faith in the human population. 
If only we could hear the stories of the "everyday man"... how they manage to find hope, love, joy and spread peace, instead of all of the horror that is splashed all over the news.  I know I would tune in every day!
Wishing you a very "extra"ordinary day!  :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Butternut squash lentil risotto

It may still be 90 degrees outside, but in my mind, it's fall!  (and after decorating my office and my home, I can pretend that these fake leaf garlands are real and that the a/c I feel is really the dipping fall temperature)

With fall in mind, I was craving butternut squash.  While I realize that I can purchase butternut squash all year round, I always refrain and wait until fall to then gorge myself on this delictable treat!

I'm trying to make smarter decisions when it comes to my diet, so I knew that I needed a protein source as well.  Enter my favorite bean - the lentil! 

I boiled about 3 cups of water with 1/2 cup of lentils for 20 minutes and then drained.  (side note: I used way too many lentils - I think 1/4 cup would be more than enough)
I sauteed an onion and a clove of garlic minced with a small sprinkling of dried thyme in a tablespoon of evoo and butter.  I then added the lentils and 1 cup of arborio rice.  After coating all of the contents with the oil/butter, I added 1/2 cup of pinot grigio.  After the wine was absorbed, I started adding vegetable stock in slowly, about 3/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each new liquid introduction was absorbed.

While this was happening, I cut the butternut squash in half, scooped out the insides and rubbed with evoo, s&p and roasted at 400 degrees for about 30 min.

Once the squash was cooled, I scooped out the insides and added it to the risotto once the rice/lentils were cooked through.  I then added another tablespoon of butter and about 1/2 cup of shredded asiago cheese.

It's beginning to look a lot like... Fall!!

Moment of beauty....

We decorated for my favorite season of the year yesterday... fall!!  After a somewhat scary trip into the 110 degree attic with only a small flashlight to guide the way, JD managed to wrangle a couple of boxes for me.  Nothing in our house is easy, but the end result is very homey, I think!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Happy 36th Anniversary!!

This weekend was Greek inspired. Friday night we tried a new Greek restaurant, Acropolis in St. Pete. The food was delicious, the setting fun and exuberant and best of all - they have an awesome happy hour! All drinks, including all top shelf is 2 for 1 until 7 pm and after that (all day, every day) sangria and margaritas are 2 for 1.
We split the falafel
a tomato, basil and goat cheese salad and a piece of the most decadent chocolate cake. Amazing!! We highly recommend and will be returning soon!
Saturday night we went to Jd's parent's house to celebrate mom and dad D.'s 36th anniversary. We celebrated with... You guessed it, Greek food!
I made an antipasto platter - one for the carnivores and one for, well, me, haha. I stuffed peppadew peppers (my favorite!) with goat cheese. Very simple, but satisfying. It was sweet, tangy, creamy and just a little bit spicy.
DG made a lovely Greek salad a d some buttery cous cous.
We also grilled some chicken kabobs and veggie kabobs to go with homemade tzatziki sauce I made.
I love pita and a few years ago, I helped my sister, E, make some on a cast iron skillet. Delicious!!
Unfortunately since then, I haven't had the courage to try it on my own... I seem to have very little patience and skill when it comes to any kind of bread making.
Knowing this, I made a little trip to the Greek restaurant on the water by our house and bought some of their wonderful pita!! Yum!!
Everyone seemed to really like the kabobs and tzatziki - here's the recipe (I subbed lamb for ground chicken).
Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of my beauty moment yesterday, but there was a moment last night when I felt complete joy and happiness... We were sitting at the patio table, surrounded by my adoptive family and there was laughter in the air and so much love, it was palpable.
I may not have a physical picture, but in my mind's eye, it is beautiful.
Happy Saturday!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Beauty of the day....

Song of the day:  "You've Got the Love" by Florence and the Machine

Moment of beauty..........

One of the loves my life... Choco

Goodbye Summer!

Goodbye Summer and welcome FALL!!!  It still may be 90 degrees outside (okay, according to my weather app - yes, I have a desktop weather app that I regularly check; I am that dorky - it's 89 degrees to be fair...), but in my eyes, September 1st started fall for me!!
We welcomed fall this year by taking a little jaunt up to my sisters' cabin in Young Harris, GA over Labor Day weekend.  What a FUN trip!!
We did everything I LOOOVE - two visits to two wineries, cooking all day, way into the evening (11:30pm risotto anyone?), drinking wine, exploring and spending time with three of my most favorite people in the whole world!!
Here's a re-cap:
Yonah Mountain Winery - Crush Festival
After 8 hours of driving..... we experienced lots of sunshine, 6 wine tastings, focaccia bread and fun arts and crafts to look at. 

The cabin!  Wine at sunset over the mountains....

We found a friend in the mountains!  Our neighbor has, what we think, an outside dog.  Unfortunately we felt like he wasn't getting enough attention, because he was always at our cabin hanging out on the porch and expectantly waiting for any scrap of love we could send his way.
Let's just say that in 2 days, with 4 dog-loving persons around, Chewy received lots of ear scratchs and hugs!
I named him "Chewy" for Chewbaca because we think he must be teething due to his habit of chewing on everything in sight... including my hands, fingers, feet and arms.  Yes, yes, I know I let him.  Everyone else tried to discipline him in two days and I let him run all over me and lick my face and put clay paw prints on practically everything in my suitcase.  (and sneak him a piece of cookie, shhh)
Totally worth it.

We visited the John C. Campbell Folk School and explored the grounds.  What a COOL place!!  It's expensive, but we all agreed we have to come back and take a class one of these days.  E wants to take a chair-making class, JD is thinking blacksmithing, not sure about R - I don't think she could decide, there are so many, and I want to take a cooking class (shocker).

Crane Creek wine tasting
We visited our absolute favorite winery - Crane Creek - that just happens to be about 10 minutes from the cabin.  A wine tasting, shared bottle of Traminette, pesto gouda and olive oil crackers, I was HAPPY!! 

One really cool story that I will make as brief as possible:
My grandparent's used to own a cabin in Clayton, GA (about 30 min. from Young Harris - coincidence?  I think not) for more than 20 years.  My sister and I spent every summer, some spring breaks and Christmas breaks up there for about 10 of those years.  Let's just say that if you drop me or my sister anywhere on that mountain, we can take you to the cabin site with our eyes closed.
In 2002 they sold the cabin and in 2005 my grandpa passed away.  I have yet to experience another loss that has affected me as much as losing him has... and I hope I never have to (wishful thinking). 
The last time we were at the cabin, I was too emotional to drive by where the cabin is, but this time, I was ready.
Everything looks so different... this once quiet, sleepy little town now boasts mansions, golf courses, a Walmart, etc., etc. 
We were leaving when E points out an address sign that was nailed into a nearby tree.  I have no idea how she saw this... truly I think an angel pointed it out.  The "sign" was an old license plate that had stuck numbers to the back to make an address marker.  It was from Manatee county, FL 1997. 
Yup, I lost it. 
It's amazing that after all this time, there is still a piece of us there.... I know I left a piece of my heart, my life, my past and myself there in 2002 when I said "goodbye", and it was like seeing that in physical form. 

Over the last few years, happiness has been elusive.  I spent most of my time just trying to make it through one OCD moment to the next.  The calm periods have grown... instead of getting lost in self-hatred and fear every 10 minutes (literally), it has now grown into hours and days.  I'm still on shaky ground and am afraid of jinxing myself, but I'm gaining ground.
This trip to GA was exactly what the doctor ordered!!  I laughed more than I have in a long time and had actual moments of pure joy.  JD kept looking at me saying "you're happy, aren't you?" and I honestly answered "yes!".  :*)