Life

Summary of 2015: Living Paula Edition

As you all know today is the SIXTH day of the New Year(ALREADY?!?).  I honestly can’t believe its 2016!!  Better late than never so I wanted to take some time to look back on 2015.

I’m an extremely analytical person and thrive off of surveying the benefits and/or damages of 2015 (ha-ha).  Hopefully more benefits than damage!!

When I look back on the last year there are a bunch of positive things that stand out.  Some of these things are:

  • I started this blog in November.
  • I taught myself how to cook more.
  • I’ve kept a pretty stable workout routine (consistently since 2013, yay!) at my favorite gym of all time, D1 Nashville.
  • I’ve been soaking up information like crazy. It’s funny how much more you can learn when you are interested.  I’ve listened to countless podcasts (think online radio shows, I’m OBSESSED with these!!!) and read numerous books.

Because I enjoyed these things I wanted to share them with you.  I think you would enjoy them too!  I have rounded up a list of my favorite books, recipe and podcasts of 2015 for you!  Here we go. . .

Favorite Books I read in 2015:

  1. Girl Boss
  2. Proof of Heaven
  3. The Bulletproof Diet

My Favorite Recipe of 2015:

Chile Chicken and White Bean Enchiladas with Red Sauce

I made this ALL the time!!! It is so easy!! You will LOVE it.  This picture is a batch I actually made and took a photo before I ate it.  Yummm. I got the recipe online from Clean Eating Magazine.

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Favorite Podcasts of 2015: (Podcasts are online radio shows!!)

  1. Bulletproof Radio
  2. The James Altucher Show
  3. Start Up (All Gimlet Media)
  4. Serial: Season One and Season Two
  5. This American Life

Favorite Family Trip:

Key West, Florida 
First time my whole family has gone on a trip together in many years. We went snorkeling and deep sea fishing as you can see here!  It was so much fun!  This picture is of me holding one of the fish we caught on our deep sea fishing trip.  
 
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/ Shirt: Columbia / Shorts: Similar/ Sandals: Columbia / Sunglasses: Here/
There was a lot of good in 2015.  My motto was “Hashtag Blessed”!.
My twin sister and I even have matching t-shirts!  Just kidding!  I actually bought these as a joke for us to wear on Christmas because I thought it was funny.  Anyways . . . .
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/ Tank tops: Similar Here / Belt: Free People /
 
Now for the hard part of 2015, this past year was the first year I experienced true loss. My grandfather passed away from cancer at 85 years old in July of 2015.  One day short of his 60th wedding anniversary and three days short of his 86th birthday.  He was diagnosed in February and then passed away 5 months later.  I saw him during that time as much as I could (two flights a month).  He stuck it out three hard weeks in Hospice.  My mother sat with him almost every hour.  I admired how strong she was for him and how she made sure he didn’t have to feel alone.  I can’t begin to describe how it feels to see someone you love, someone you have known 24 years, looking so frail and fragile, knowing there is nothing you can do to help them, even though they’ve been helping you your entire life.  It breaks your heart.  For most people the loss of their grandfather is awful but not devastating.  For me however, he was so much more than a grandfather.  Instead of telling you about how much it hurt to lose him I want to tell you about who he was to me and how much of a beautiful soul he was.  He was born one of 9 kids.  He served 21 years in the Navy, 37 years as a truck driver and his last 24 years as the #1 fan of the Clark kids (my brother, sister and I).  He was heavily involved in our lives.  He definitely knew what it was like to have it rough and get through hard times.  Life wasn’t easy for him between growing up on a farm in Virginia (with no running water! yikes!!), being in the Navy, and losing his son in a farming accident.  All of those things and many others made him the strong man that he was.  If you talked to him about the cancer in his last months, he would say, “well everyone has to go sometime” and he was right.  Everyone does have to go at some time.  He took the pain head on and never flinched.  Along with memories of his humble and strong nature I have so many fond memories of him that I will never forget. 
Some of my favorite memories of him are:
  • He used to hang out in the garage in the heat of the summer.
  • He always had a tan because he could only mow the grass with his shirt off, ha-ha.
  • He would give fresh fruit to his neighbors almost every week.
  • He would snack standing up in the kitchen instead of sitting down for a full meal because he only had a half of a stomach(after surgery a long time ago).
  • He would wear the same navy blue slip on sneakers from Walmart until there were holes in the soles (then he would glue carpet in the bottom of his shoes! Ha-ha).
  • He wore his leather jackets and trucker hats 24/7.
  • He had faded black tattoos on his forearms that he got when he was in the Navy.  Took me years to figure out what they were because they were so faded ha-ha.
  • He would set out bacon strips cut in half, fried biscuits and cut up tomato slices on a Dixie paper plate every morning to eat throughout the day.  I took a picture of it one day and I caught him on a spam instead of bacon day ha-ha.

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  • He would cook me scrambled eggs or grilled cheese anytime I was hungry.
  • He had an unlimited supply of Snapple Peach Tea, A&W Diet Root Beer, Oatmeal Cream Pies, and Banana pudding Blue Bell Ice Cream in the kitchen.
  • You would take a 50/50 gamble if you took a swig of his milk in the fridge because he wouldn’t throw it out unless it was really really bad ha-ha.
  • He loved hard candy and chewing tobacco.
  • He loved to go to all of my brothers baseball/basketball games and buy everyone around him things at the concession stand even if they didn’t want anything, ha-ha.
  • He was constantly working on his 1931 Model A Ford(even though it ran fine) and would take my sister, brother and I driving around the neighborhood in it so we could honk at people.

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My Grandaddy pulling in the driveway of his house in his 1931 Model A Ford and my brother peaking in the window. (2014)

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Last year (2014) when my Grandaddy decorated his car for Halloween.

  • Every year for Christmas he would give my brother some form of an electric mini car/scooter/skateboard/etc because he thought it was cool. Literally EVERY YEAR! Ha-ha.
  • He would cut up his hot dogs into pieces at our family dinners and then try and sneak them down to the dog because he thought we weren’t looking.  We saw it every-time ha-ha.
  • He had two very large posters of my sister, brother and I’s picture in his bedroom because he was so proud of us. I mean LARGE, they took up half the wall!!!
  • He had a magical bond with every pet my family ever owned.
  • He would paint random things around the house red white and blue with an American flag pattern. Think wooden chairs, diving board on the pool deck, horse shoes, etc. I know, kind of random ha-ha.
  • He took care of my grandmother for the last 10 years or so.  He would make her meals, go shopping for her, help her change and bathe if she needed some extra help.  Selfless love.
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My Grandaddy looking at my Grandma holding my twin sister and I when we were babies.
I will miss his hugs and his voice, but I know he is in a better place.  No longer in pain.  Although he was a man of few words, he made you feel loved at all times.  I would love to hear him say one more time, “How’s Nassshhvilllee?” in his make fun country accent.  I am so thankful for the opportunity to have known him and to have had him as a grandfather.  I will continue to think of him every day and be grateful for his long life.  If you read through all of this I truly appreciate you reading about my granddaddy who I loved so much.  I loved him dearly and I still do.
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Thank you! 
 
Now that you have heard the good and the bad of my 2015, I want to wish you a very successful 2016.  
 
May you live it to the fullest and take each day in stride!
 
Best Wishes and thank you for reading!

 

 

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