T is for Fire

Posted by Kim on Sunday Mar 7, 2021 Under Uncategorized

Tonia, the flame –

Tonia didn’t just live life, she burned through life. And everyone in her path was changed. She left her mark upon their heart. She had a fiery passion and a full range of emotion to complement it. She laughed hard, cried hard, and loved deeply.

A beautiful force wild and free.

Tonia, the beauty –

Tonia was captivating. She loved dress-up and make-up, but she had natural smoldering beauty. She’d enter a room and it was instantly warmer, instantly brighter. She radiated personality and charm. When she talked and laughed, she glowed. To be in her presence was to be entranced. Her beauty in life was so big she couldn’t contain it.

It spread like wildfire.

Tonia, the storyteller –

Tonia would tell stories and all I could do was to hang on every word and laugh. I’d laugh until my face was soaked with tears and I couldn’t catch my breath. It seemed as though my laughter was fuel to her fire. She’d be watching me – and as soon as I could breathe, she’d add another layer to the story. Through my blurry vision I’d try to focus on her only to find she’d be laughing as hard as me, but persisted to tell her story. And ever so animated, she’d hit every detail with purpose and had the intonation to match. From gangster ducks to spiders under bowls, she kept me laughing. That’s what Tonia did for me…she kept me in a full on combustion of laughter. And I had a laugh only Tonia could ignite. I miss that laugh. It’s lost inside me now. Time with Tonia left my stomach muscles sore, but my heart so full.

And she burned even brighter.

Tonia, the gamer –

Oh, the nights gaming! I had not ever been a gamer, but playing with Tonia made me want to play. I couldn’t wait to clean up the kitchen after dinner and head over to the office for some Overwatch time. She would send me silly gifs, usually including a cute animal, asking where I was or how much longer. I looked forward to joining and hearing her in my headset. Her happy, clear, beautiful voice. Tonia played a character named Mercy, the healer for our team. She’s an angel that flies around and attaches a beam of light to each player to support them and keep them alive. Her greatest asset is her ability to boost teammates. Ironically, Tonia played this character in life as well, always, always, always boosting others. (I played the tank. It was my job to protect her and the team, but she always managed to save me…in many ways.)

See, gaming wasn’t just about the game. No, it was about our experience together. Every night we would find so much to talk and laugh about. Anything and everything really. Somebody would say something and it would spark a song in Tonia’s head and she would sing. She had songs for the names of each map. She had songs for everything. It was so catching that we would end up singing our own words rather than talking, making up songs as we went. Just set our talk to a rhythm and we would sing. It lit us up! There we were singing and gaming. Singing and gaming.

Tonia would talk in funny voices too and she had many! She would say silly things, do silly things, and even when stuff went wrong and we messed up in the game, she would find the humor in it. (“Did I get anything?…You got Deva…I got Dever????”) I can still hear her even without my headset on. She turned the evening into an event and I had front row seats. I would laugh so hard I would cry and then I couldn’t see the screen to play the game! It was all blurry. (Funny, I only ever had blurry vision when I was with Tonia – Toniavision.) I miss my blurry eyes. They are dark now. I spent most all of those games absolutely straining my eyes to see the screen, but with a song in my heart.

And she burned even brighter.

Tonia, the girl –

So beautiful she made me feel beautiful.

So funny, she made me feel funny.

So happy, she made me feel happy.

Tonia was so fierce in life that it was uncontrollable and she let it spread. When I would laugh, it made her laugh. It stirred her and she fed off this power she had. She wanted to unleash more happiness everywhere. And she didn’t just do this for me. No, she did it for everyone she met. There were no guards up with Tonia, you just melted into her silliness. She was the real deal. Even the guy who poured her gravel called her after leaving her house to chat some more. People couldn’t get enough of Tonia. She threw her complete attention on whoever crossed her path and made them feel like the most important person on Earth. She left little embers wherever she went.

And she burned even brighter.

Tonia, the daughter/sister/aunt/friend –

Tonia (Tonzer) loved her friends and family more than anything else. She wholeheartedly wanted to be close to them and surrounded by them always. That was most important to her. Donna (Sisser) became her neighbor and they spent days and nights together. I talked about them so much in the same sentence together (Donna & Tonia, Donna & Tonia, Donna & Tonia) that they organically became “Donia” to me…as if they were one. Sisters and best friends. Back in the day Tonia spent the summers with Grant (Grunky) at his condo and worked at his office. I still remember playing around and taking fun photos in the office and eating at Miyabi every Friday night. Over the years Grant and Tonia still talked nearly every single day. Sister/brother and best friends. Her nieces and nephews stayed with her. Hung out with her. And to be her friend was to have the most loyal and devoted friend ever. Tonia loved those close to her fervently and the bond was powerful and endearing. Her love so pure and rich that we grew from it.

And we burned even brighter.

Tonia, the memory –

I love her so dearly. For the life of me, I cannot believe she is gone. She was the baby sister I never had. She is one of the rare people that made me feel truly good about myself. She’s easily the coolest person I’ve ever known and surely ever will. There’s a million more things that come to mind when I think of Tonia. I could never possibly write them all down. This is just a small flicker of who she was and what she meant to me.

I miss the laugh. I miss the blurry vision.

I miss her flame.

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Life is Like a Tarantula Plant: A Lesson in Perspective

Posted by Kim on Friday Oct 9, 2020 Under Dear Tru, First

Our first pandemic.

Doom and gloom

That’s what it’s been for awhile now. The world is spinning a little more wobbly than normal, it seems. And we are all hanging on tight and trying not to get too dizzy. It started with Coronavirus and the whole world shutdown. Then the riots and the world was getting burned down. But really, for us, it started long before that. COVID was just the last straw.

They say happiness has a tipping point. As long as you can stay above 50%, you’re good. Smile. But once you hit 49%, that tips off the happiness scale and down you go.

Our scale tipped last year in 2019. Grammy got worse. Then Poppy got cancer. Then Grammy got even worse. Then Poppy got worse. Then Grammy died. Then poppy died. Then we got worse. And then the world got worse.

Just when we were drowning in all of the mess of life, the entire world stopped. Yes, came to a sudden halt. Well, that’s never happened before.

With all of the tragedy that has come with the Coronavirus, and it is a nasty thing, I have oddly felt a relief. A gift of some sort. As if the universe is whispering to me, “Hey, things have been super crappy for you and sorry about all of it happening at once. Take a break from life and sort things out.” I feel guilty for saying that knowing that so many have suffered and I know it didn’t happen to help my little family out, but I have to find this gift of time nothing less than miraculous. Just when we needed it most.



Time together.

Whenever tragedy strikes, we try to find the silver lining. Well, the silver lining for me is the timing of it all. When you experience a death in the family everyone sends condolences and offers thoughtful words and tells you to grieve, but really they expect the grieving to end in a few days and you go back to normal. You are expected to move on and be fine. You are judged for how you mourn – if you mourn too long or if you seem too happy too soon, if you cry or if you don’t cry. Most people mean well…I know they do. Others just really don’t care. They give you a little sigh and a moment of sorry, but in the end, they think – get on with it.

Just when I needed to be home with Grant, school shut down. Really? Never before have teachers worked from home. The whole premise of teaching, is in the classroom, with the children, not at my dining room table. But I was home, and together Grant and I took on the monumental task of filling Poppy’s shoes in the shop and in life. He was the anchor of our house. He was here every single day overseeing all of the operations of home and shop and family. Bringing you a plate of sausage or a pack of Reese’s. His presence was reassuring and his absence was terrifying.

Together we found new ways to do things. We figured out how to function and there was no guilt for taking all the time we needed. The whole world was changing how to do things. The whole world was figuring out new ways of operating. The whole world was slowing down and taking a moment of stillness. Like a global deep breath. We all inhaled and slowly exhaled together. The whole world was maybe recognizing the importance of balance. And since the whole world was on pause, we were granted some incredible guilt-free time to mend and heal.

Our breakdown started in 2019.

But 2020 has been about re-visioning. Getting clear. Changing perspective and rising above that tipping point.

A self-retreat, of some sort.

It’s been like the little plant that sits in my bedroom. I loved this plant. So soft and delicate. I thought it was beautiful. It’s a rabbit’s foot fern and when I think of a rabbit’s foot, I think of good luck. So, yay little plant! But one day, you looked at it very curiously and asked why in the world I would have such a plant. You thought it was weird and ugly. You critiqued it pretty harshly. Your nose crinkled up and your mouth turned down. You leaned in closely and said, “Who would want a tarantula plant?” I was shocked. I stopped and looked. I saw it. I totally saw it. I could not deny it. For the first time ever, it did indeed look exactly like a tarantula. It probably looked more like tarantula legs than rabbit’s feet. This plant that always made me smile and brought visions of a sweet little bunny, all of a sudden made me think of a big, scary spider!

Do I get rid of it? What now? I was at an impasse. Is that all I will see when I look at it from now on? It’s beauty ruined for me?

That’s my decision. It’s up to me as to how I see this plant. Beautiful and symbolic in inspiring hope or as terrifying and creating fear?

I choose beautiful and hopeful.

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Posted by Kim on Saturday Jan 11, 2020 Under Tru Soundtrack

Diane and Ray, aka Grammy and Poppy, were two love beams in our world.

Shining so much joy and laughter on us.
Making our days brighter and fuller.
Leaving us all feeling touched by goodness.

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The New Normal

Posted by Kim on Wednesday Jan 1, 2020 Under Dear Tru

Poppy’s gone.

Just 2 words. 2 powerful words with a shattering impact.

He was larger than life. Indestructible. And vital to us all.

He took care of everything. He answered all of our questions.

Everything seemed possible because Poppy would see to it.

See, sometimes in life, we get so used to how things are.

We get into a groove.

A comfortable pattern.

A steady flow in things.

We float. We coast. We skip along.

And everything feels in perfect synchronicity.

Then all of a sudden the lights go out. And we find ourselves stumbling around bumping into everything and we don’t know which way is up.

That’s where we are. Lost in the dark.

Arms out stretched, feeling our environment.

Searching for something recognizable. Something familiar. Something that makes sense. Something safe.

Who will bring you sausage and mustard on Saturday mornings?

Who will eat the candy and stuff that I don’t like or shouldn’t eat?

Who will package boxes for me and see them to the UPS man?

Who will get glass from my foot or a splinter from your hand?

Who will fuss at the dog’s because they crowd the front door?

Who will get the mail and lay it on my desk?

Who will fix the garbage grinder when I jam it up?

Who will tell us stories and make us laugh?

Who will go out into the world and find crazy stuff and show up with it and shock us?

We are realizing that what was, will never be again.

There is a new existence among us. A new world in which we must learn to speak the language, in hopes that one day it will feel normal.

Life is funny like that. Things start off awkward and foreign until, the next thing you know, it’s normal.

Long ago it was just me and Daddy living at the beach in a simple, tidy condo with Byte, our little dog. I was teaching. Daddy was working on computers at his small office. Grammy and Poppy were at their home in North Carolina. We were happy as could be. We didn’t think things could get much better. That was our normal.

Then, when we weren’t even looking, we found a house with an office and warehouse next door. It was the perfect fit for our lifestyle. We snatched it up. Poppy came down and practically remodeled the house, converting it from business use to a home. Daddy just walked across the parking lot to work each day. He was now next door, so I could be with him and at home at the same time. Byte had a yard to explore and we got a golf cart to take rides around Windy Hill. This was perfect. Life was great. That was our normal.

One day I found out I was pregnant. Baby things filled up the rooms of our house and months later we came home with you. The energy in the house totally changed. Rooms were used differently. Stroller rides replaced golf cart rides. New routines and rituals fell into place. Grammy and Poppy moved down to take care of you. They devoted their entire life to you. You were Poppy’s “buddy pal.” Each day when I’d pick you up, Poppy would have a written list of feedings, diaper changes, and they recounted the events of the day and it was all said with laughter. You were everything in their eyes. They were so proud of everything you said and did. It was our home away from home…homes intertwined. Several nights each week Grammy cooked a yummy dinner with dessert. Life was better than we could have ever imagined. We were on top of the world. That was our normal.

A few years went by and you grew older and bigger. Before we knew it, you were going to start school. Daddy knew that Poppy would be lost without his buddy pal, so he opened a gun shop for Poppy to run. Poppy had always been a collector. A gun shop would be a fun way for him to spend his days. And he loved every minute of it! Since Poppy didn’t know a stranger, of course he made dozens of friends that sat around each day and listened to his colorful stories. Everybody loved Poppy’s stories. Daddy bought a bunch of chairs for the shop so they all had somewhere to sit and visit. Daddy and I came and went at our leisure as you gamed on your computer at the shop with Poppy. Grammy read her books and took her daily walks. We all found our place. We all fell into a perfect rhythm together. We each did our own thing, right there next to each other. One independent of the other, yet completely connected. It was pure bliss. That was our normal.

We began to unravel when Grammy got sick. Stress and worry entered into our days. Poppy and Daddy were distracted at the shop. Poppy adjusted and would come and go more throughout the day. Daddy researched and tried various things to help Grammy. Daddy started cooking dinner each night since Grammy couldn’t anymore and they came here to eat. Things were tough, but we were all together. That was our normal.

Then Poppy got sick. He struggled with his routine, but he kept on trucking. He didn’t complain, just did what he needed. We all did what he needed. Grammy left us in September. Poppy carried on in high spirits. He got down in October with a broken hip, but he recovered so well from the surgery, that he was better than before. He was on the up and up. He ate dinner with us Saturday night (collards and black-eyed peas with corn bread) and laughed at you catching M&M’s in your mouth, but he didn’t come to breakfast the next morning. He didn’t answer his phone either. He was gone. We found him peacefully laying in his new recliner chair. All of a sudden, we were alone here. All the building of life over the past ten years, the layers of love, blown away in a puff of breath. We are back where we started, just me and Daddy, but now we have you. This big, wonderful life that wove itself around us and through us, is now memories. This is our new normal.

With each normal, life got better and better. At each point, we thought it couldn’t get any better, and lo and behold, it did. Each time we were shocked with more happiness, more joy, and even more love. It didn’t seem possible, yet it continued to happen for us. While I write this in fear, I’m clinging to an even greater hope.

I fear we have arched. We reached the peak. We went so high, that now we must come down. But, I hope that this life taught us many lessons. Knowing Grammy and Poppy wasn’t a simple thing. It was beautifully life-changing. Their capacity to love selflessly is something we are profoundly fortunate to have been the recipients of. When you experience that kind of love in life, you are deeply touched. You carry on differently.

Pa holding Donna, Mama Brown, Poppy, and Grammy
Grammy, Poppy, & Daddy 🙂
Grammy, Tonia, & Poppy

I’m not sure what our normal will be now, but I know their impact will heavily guide us and influence us. Their love is within us, a solid part of who we are and hopefully, who we will become and that makes me feel so very good.

I love you too much.

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Posted by Kim on Monday Feb 5, 2018 Under Tru Soundtrack

This life?


Carefully crafted, it has come to be this way.

Getting better with time

Aging gently over the years

Grown from love

Nurtured with laughter

With the strength of ocean waves

Powerful and beautiful

It is a lovely state of serenity.

Whether it is spotting a beautiful flower on our Saturday morning stroll

or enjoying a warm cup of tea after dinner

or receiving a big box of wild blueberries in the mail

We elaborately live in simple moments

Composing our perfect symphony.

I think of when it all started. Right here in North Myrtle, so many summers ago. I met your daddy on the stretch of beach at the end of our street.

A dear friendship that lasted into the winter and beyond. He chatted with me about everything. Secrets. Problems. Fears. And hopes.

He became someone I trusted. Someone I loved.

Years later I was at a crossroads in my life. I was leaving Florida and heading back to Virginia.

Who helped me? Your daddy. I remember pulling over on the side of the highway and calling him from a payphone. Talking and crying. Lost and broken.

He put me back together. He made me feel special. Like everything would be just fine.

And it was.

It was perfect.

He encouraged me and supported me.

He believed in me.

There was a certain kind of harmony that existed between us.

Now we have you – the sweetest, most tender reflection of our love.

My enraptured soul is reminded of all that is good and beautiful.

So, this life?

Yeah, it is perfectly perfect.

Happy anniversary Grant. ?





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The 3-Minute Miracle Blizzard

Posted by Kim on Saturday Jan 6, 2018 Under First

A “Bomb Cyclone” is what it was called. This storm that blew up the east coast and dropped snow everywhere.

We really thought this was our chance. 5 inches of snow! School was cancelled. Groceries bought (and some boots and snow pants) and we were ready.

First it was gonna happen around 9:00, then 1:00, then 3:00, then 5:00. When nothing was happening at 6:00, I gave up. Come to find out we had a big ol’ dry slot over us and it kept the storm off. Go figure. We were bummed, to say the least.

So, when you came running into the house screaming it was snowing, I was surprised. I told you to let me finish cleaning the kitchen and then we would go outside and play. You said to me, “Mama, this is what we’ve been waiting for. We have to go now.” I stopped and we got wrapped up.


I am so thankful I listened to you and your live-in-the-moment kind of thinking because about 3 minutes after playing, it was all over.

I cannot help but think of this hair product I like when I am buying drugstore stuff. It is called 3-Minute Miracle and my hair always feels so awesome afterwards. Well, after a few snowballs we felt awesome! That snow was a beautiful miracle for us. It was magical.

You hope for snow every winter and I remind you that it is not likely for us, but you keep wishing. Fingers crossed.

You have not given up yet. 🙂


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Hey, Future Me

Posted by Kim on Wednesday Nov 1, 2017 Under Dear Tru

I look at you.  All the time.

And every time I am reminded of how much you have changed.

Every six months we mark your height on your closet door frame.

And every time I see how much you have grown.

With all the obvious right in front of me, I remain unable to grasp the truth.

Unable to swallow the fact that you are BIG.

Life has blinded me and I am stuck in a state of dark adaptation.

Constantly trying to adjust.

I mean, in my head, you are a little boy.

In my heart, you are a baby.

I am saturated with memories.

With an abundant archive, I close my eyes and reflect on distant days.

Holding you at bedtime and walking gently around the room. A soft, fuzzy head on my shoulder and plump little legs resting on my arms.

Picking you up out of your crib after your nap. You standing there waiting for me. Smiling, you reach your arms out and the weight of you feels like pure love. I squeeze you.

Oh the little sounds. All the little sounds you made before you could talk. A Morse code of sweetness.

I knew I needed to backup my valuable life data. At the time I tried to soak in every detail knowing that one day I would need to recall those moments. And now that day is here. It is right here knocking on my heart.

As much as I tried to etch details into memory and preserve those little years, it escapes me. I mean, I remember, but I do not remember.

Thank goodness for a massive collection of photos and videos.

I look at you now getting huge. Practically eye to eye with me. No longer am I able to pick you up. Almost having to reach up to hug you. Surprised each time I notice that you are the length of the sofa. What has happened?

So, hey, future me you can not get this back. No matter how much you focus on the present, days from now it too, will be a distant memory. This will be gone. Many of these beautiful details lost on me. Beautiful details that should never be forgotten.

So do yourself a favor future me.

Slow down. Pay attention. Awaken the senses.

And grab the camera.






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Summer 2017

Posted by Kim on Sunday Aug 27, 2017 Under Tru Soundtrack

Summer! Our time to just chill all day, every day and boy, do we ever. There are no fancy trips. We love just being home. Being together. Being free. It is long days filled with porch swings, pool and beach time, late night movies with popcorn, and then repeat.

I love you too much.


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Tru…for Realz

Posted by Kim on Thursday Jul 20, 2017 Under Tru Haiku

Tru, the alchemist

My everyday enchantment

The magic is real.

I love you too much!



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My Account

Posted by Kim on Thursday Jun 22, 2017 Under Tru Soundtrack

As corny as it sounds, every morning I wake up and say “Thank you.”

Yep. Thank you for another day. Another deposit into my life account.

An account that gets richer by the moment. A wealth of memories.

Accumulating interest in the form of complete and total joy.

Like a thief, I’m hacking life. Cashing in on smiles and giggles.

A miser hoarding hugs and kisses.

Every day is payday.

And each night before I drift off to sleep, “Thank you.”

I love you too much.

Song: Alive, Graeme James



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