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Faith, Family, Finances, Funnies, and Flarps

Trippin’ on a dime

We went to New York City for under $1k. That’s right! Such a fantastic getaway on a BUDGET! 

10 things you need to know… 

1- nights we had to pay for in the hotel. Other 2 were covered by points 

2- Broadway shows we took in. Got day of (more like hour before) tickets to “Six Degrees of Separation” and found a great deal online for “Sunset Boulevard”

3- days we spent in my favorite city

4- planes we hopped on! (Which were FREE I might add) 

5- the amount I spent on my daughters Fidget Spinner from a street vendor

6- amount of cups of coffee we purchased daily 

7- Uber rides we took over the course of 3 days (plus the 2 cab rides) 

8- meals we ate out! Hells Kitchen and Tavern on the Green are our new favs. (And hey– don’t judge. It’s vacation. You can eat an extra meal on vacation) 

9- amount of times it took us to snap this photo 

10- amount of minutes I felt like I couldn’t form a sentence after seeing Cynthia Nixon just walk across the street like no big deal

New York City is such a magical place! I want to continue the spread the love of my city to anyone who will listen! I intend to write some posts to help first timers make sure they have got their plan down so that no time is wasted!! 

Stay tuuuuned!!

Thanks for reading,

Cara Roxanne 

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When will I stop asking why? 

I write this with big tears running down my cheeks. (Brb- gotta get that under control!!) 

Okay I’m better. So Ava and I are both sick and being lazy upstairs watching tv. She decided to play a game on her iPad so I flipped on live tv (oh the horror– commercials!!!) and Americas Got Talent is on. Why not? 

I see a girl who has obviously been burned walk out and begin to tell her story of surviving a plan crash, losing her best friend in the crash, her painful story of 100 surgeries and finding her strength in music. She survived a crash along with one other person while everyone else lost their life in a fire. 

I hate the month of June. June 1st is when I remember the events (from my perspective) of the day I found out my best friend had been in a plane crash and was in the burn unit at Children’s Hospital. June 10th reminds me of the day her parents had us (me and her other close friends) come to the hospital while the doctor explained everything that was going on with her and this allowed us to pray for her more specifically as we drew strength from each other. June 13th reminds me of when her oldest sister came to stay with me for the week so she could help out with VBS and get away from the hospital for a while. That same day reminds me of she and I checking out at Walmart and the cashier loudly saying “wasn’t that you that was in that crash” causing people to stare and us to leave. (Flipping small town) June 16th reminds me of the day that Rachel passed away. I’m reminded of knowing things had gone from bad to worse and the look on my dads face as he opened my bedroom door. I begged him not to say the words as the tears began to fall. June 19th reminds me of her funeral and the moment at the cemetery when her mom began singing “I have Decided to Follow Jesus” as she sat in her wheel chair from injuries sustained during the crash. And every day after that reminds me of trying to do life without my friend. 

I can’t help but spend this month thinking why. Why did God allow this to happen? Why to her family? Why to my friend? I’m sure God gets tired of me asking why, but I’ve promised Him that when we meet- I will drop it. 

For years I struggled with whether or not it was ok to ask WHY to the Father and Author of the world. It took me a long time to grasp the fact that it is ok. I probably shouldn’t do it, but I’m human and heck– I DO wonder why God took my friend. I wonder what she would be like if she were still here. I wonder what would life would be like if that pilot had just heeded the warnings and turned the plane around. I wonder how I would be different as a person who hadn’t endured such pain at an impressionable age. How different (and better) I might be if Rachel were still here. 

This I know for sure… God is all knowing, all powerful and can see the Big picture. So when I find myself asking WHY I remind myself of that fact. And my prayer is often this: Father I don’t understand but I will keep trying to. And while I try let me ask just ONE more time… why?

Give God your WHY’S. He can take it. He’s been taking mine for 18 years. 

Thanks for reading,

Cara Roxanne 

Letter to my former BFF

Dear former “person”,

I think of you often… you must know that before you keep reading. I hear songs, see movies, or visit places we used to frequent and I think of you. And when I think of you, I smile. 

When you first “broke up with me” as your best friend I was hurt. Oh the hurt! It was so painful. I felt pain and confusion like I’ve never known. I questioned everything? What if I done this? What if I had said that? What did I do? Why is she doing this? The questions circled my brain for months. I dreamed about you. I’d wake up and think it wasn’t real… but it was. You had walked away from our friendship and left me broken and confused. 

The hurt faded and the anger hit. And when it hit- it was strong. I was enraged at times over the way you ended “us” without so much as an explaination. I became furious as I would picture times that I dropped everything to go be by your side when you needed me. I was so upset as I recalled times I had gotten you out of trouble with your parents by covering for you. I did these things out of LOVE… yet you just walked away. 

It’s been over 7 years since you called it quits on our friendship. Thankfully I’ve grown over these years. I’ve grown and matured and I no longer feel sadness or anger when I think about what you did to me. In all honesty?? I feel nothing. I look back on our 14 years of friendship and smile as I tell stories of our crazy adventures. I hear songs and smile and can picture me car dancing as you were mortified and hoped no one saw us! And then- when the moment passes- I feel nothing. You don’t hold a piece of my heart anymore… just a piece of my past. 

I miss you and I still care about you in that I want good things for you. I forgive you for the hurt and I thank you for the memories. I’ve missed out on your life and you’ve missed out on mine. It’s sad, really, that we ended up here. But I wouldn’t change anything. I’m better for knowing you and having had you in my life- even if it was just for a season. And I’m stronger for learning the tough lesson that sometimes friends just walk away. That’s what I’m doing now, former friend. I’m walking away. I’ve spent years mulling over in my mind how to reach out and what I would say. I’ve written you countless letters that I didn’t send. So this is it… the closure I’ve needed and the closure than I’m finally giving to myself. 

You were selfish as you left me at a time in my life when I couldn’t have needed you more… and I’m putting my self first now as I say… goodbye. 

Wish you all the best in life,

Cara Roxanne 

Summer is for travel! 

I love to travel. WE love to travel! There is nothing cooler than going somewhere new and/or different. 

Everyone has their “thing”. Ours is travel. My husband and I often go to Lowe’s (I despise that place), furniture stores, flooring stores and so on to get ideas for our home. We come home and take a pen to paper to estimate the cost of a new purchase or project. 99% of the time when we see the bottom line one of us will say “or we could go to–” (fill in the blank with a fun destination) and we decide on a trip instead. It took us nearly 4 years to put down new flooring in our house because we kept choosing a trip instead. And ya know what? For us- that’s just fine. 

This summer we have: NYC, Dallas, Memphis and Cabo on the agenda. If only there were time to squeeze in one more. Due to our constant travel, I can safely say we have it down to an art. Here are some tips we have found that help expedite and iron out the trip kinks. 

1. Use a point credit card 

Yes I know that SOME are pathetic with their rewards programs… but not ALL. I am typing this post from somewhere in the sky between Little Rock and Charlotte from an airplane for which we paid $21.00 out of pocket to be here. We use AA Advantage but I’m sure there are others that are just as good. We booked with points (2 tickets to NYC) and we were only out the required $10.50 per ticket fee. Another PLUS: when you book with points you can change your flight. I originally had us booked leaving at 10:57 this morning because I wasn’t thinking about it being Saturday and I booked the flight thinking I would have to get my kiddo off to school. A week later I realized what I had done and I called and changed it with ZERO fees. Not too shabby! The points add up! We use it for everything. Pay everything you can on your credit card then pay it off. You get the points without the debt. 

2. Buy the TSA Pre-Check. It’s $99 dollars. My husband flys more than me (for work) so it’s in his name. But if you book a flight for more than the one who has the TSA pre-check, the rest of you get it too! That saves so much time in larger airports. Doesn’t make a difference out of a small airport like Little Rock but major airports- it’s totally worth it. It’s good for one year. (Possibly 2). 

3. Don’t check a bag! Now with our AA Advantage card we each get a bag checked for free.  That’s nice if we are all 3 flying or if we go somewhere that requires a TON of stuff, but otherwise we don’t check a bag. We go to Mexico every summer without checking a bag. We take a roll on small suitcase (carry-on) and you still get a personal item. So right now I have my carry-on suitcase full of clothes packed away in the over head bin while my backpack full of shoes, makeup and books is tucked away under the seat in front of me. This means that, yes, we have  to keep up with them, but we don’t have to wait on bags at La Guardia. No chance of losing our luggage or watching the luggage roller thing go around and around until we finally see our luggage THROWN onto the belt. 

4. Keep 3 ounce items handy! I’ve never understood the 3 ounce thing and I find it ridiculous, but it’s the rule. I hang onto samples that come with my Itsy or Mary Kay orders and stash them away in a travel bag so that when it’s time to go somewhere they are always handy.  My husband spends a ton of time in hotels and he keeps me stocked with the individual makeup remover wipes and lotion. Do it- you will be glad you did! 

5. Sign up for hotel points. Even if it takes you years to rack up enough for a free night, it’s FREE! I typically begrudge my husband being going so much but those free nights in NYC and Cabo make it worth it. Not only do we earn free nights on a regular basis but we get perks like free wifi, free breakfast (beyond what’s laid out for everyone to pick from), late check outs and early check ins, free drinks and snacks, and more! It’s all about the FREE! 

6. Map it  out. Sounds simple but few do it. Look up restaurants online, view menus and know what prices to expect, sign up for mailing lists from places you’d like to visit so you can get the free appetizer emails or discount coupons. Totally worth it. 

Touching down in Charlotte. Hope this helps you plan your next trip! 

Thanks for stopping by,

Roxy

Waste not, want not

I hate WASTE!

It makes me sick to my stomach to dump out a half a can of Sprite that I find upstairs. Like, in all honesty, it bugs me 1000% more than it should. I really wish I didn’t get bugged by waste as much as I do… but I just do. (ANYONE else that way??)

Last week I decided to try Emeals. {Link added for YOUR benefit. They aren’t paying me}. It was recommended by Dave Ramsey [whom I have a love/hate relationship with] and since he recommends that you not spend a dime EVER, I figured it was worth looking into. It’s actually pretty cool! You pick your “Style” so to speak and from that comes a list of 7 meals with <BEST PART EVER> a grocery list!! HALLELUJAH! I couldn’t turn down this opportunity to save money, have 7 new recipes to try and a grocery list premade for me. So far I have cooked 2 meals and they were fantastic!!

But here’s the kicker… yesterday I walked in the kitchen after church and one of the Roma tomatoes that I had to buy for a recipe was covered in mold. {insert scary emoji}I instantly felt that sick feeling from knowing I had wasted something!!! UGH!!! Not only did I waste something but now when it is time to cook THAT meal that required THAT tomato… I have to go BACK to the store.

Why God, WHY?!?!?!?!?!

Ok so I will attempt to turn down the drama. But here’s the deal… I don’t like wasting things and I am reaching out for YOUR help. In this scenario of the veggies going bad before I could use them… what do I do?

  1. Go to the grocery every few days?
  2. Freeze stuff?? (I mean can you freeze tomatoes?)
  3. Quit cooking healthy meals
  4. Have Amazon prime deliver veggies (do they DO that?)
  5. Just get over it….

Wasting stuff MAKES. ME. CRAZY. And nobody needs a crazy lady on their hands.

Having good intentions of saving money, time, cooking healthy meals, etc., gets RUINED when things go to waste. How do YOU do it? Please and THANK YOU!

A frustrated lover of NOT wasting things,

Cara Roxanne

“I didn’t forget” 

Yesterday is was pouring down rain. Not a steady kind of rain but more of an “holy cow this may drowned us” kind of rain. I left work and had to the grocery store. I’m not even kidding when I say it literally rains every time I pull up in the Kroger parking lot. It never fails!!! 

Anyway, I endured the endless list, swiped the debit card, and got soaking flipping wet while getting to my car and loading allllllll the groceries up. My umbrella broke and somehow managed to slice my hand, get blood on my jeans, all while being freezing cold in soaking wet shoes. 

I called my husband to vent and without laughing he manage to calm me down. I made it home, got it all unloaded and got changed into dry clothes. It was raining so hard I didn’t even check the mail. And for me that’s huge! I love checking the mail. (Weirdo, I know) 

We enjoyed the crockpot lasagna I had started that morning and continued to binge watch “Big Little Lies” (better watch it quick- I only signed up for the 7 day freebie pass). About 7:45 it had stopped raining and I convinced myself and husband that we should take a quick walk while we could. I had that whole food-hangover thing going from the lasagna and it was either walk or sleep. 

We enjoyed a quick walk around the neighborhood (just enough to get my steps in on my Fitbit) and as we were walking towards the front door I remembered I hadn’t checked the mail. 

As neighbor came out to say hi I flipped through the envelopes only to see “the one”. We have our dates for classes!!! (The required ones to adopt) 

There it is. Literally in black and white… the dates and times of our classes. The final BIG step. Boom. There it is. 

Here’s the thing… through my groaning and complaining of wet shoes and broken umbrellas, God hadn’t forgotten about me. He hadn’t forgotten about “our plans” that he is transforming into His will. He knew we wanted dates so desperately and in His time… he gave them to us. He literally said to me “I didn’t forget” 

Here we go! Still a process, still steps to check off, and still tons of waiting… but I needed the reminder that God never forgets about us… and I never have a reason to think otherwise. 

Thanks for being a part of this journey,
Cara Roxanne 

A few of my Favorite things

First of all, one would be THAT song. Gotta love “The Sound of Music.”

But really… in keeping with the whole “let’s keep life light and fun and not stress about how there is NO progress with our adoption” I figured I should write about things that I DO like.

Mary Kay. So about two years ago I had the priviledge of meeting a very spunky and vivacious lady that I now call my friend. She was doing some research and my name had been given as a “strong female” to interview. Come to find out she also sells Mary Kay. Not in the pushy type of way, but it’s what she does. She introduced me to a WHOLE new world of makeup. I was the girl that never knew what I was doing but pretended to the best of my ability. I have good skin (not bragging if it’s a fact– and that is due to my Indian heritage transferred down through my beautiful Granny Hitt) but she made it even better! She gave me some good products to use (as if my dollar store Neutrogena knock offs weren’t good) and I fell in love.

I LOVE MK’s: Timewise skin products, eyeliner pen, foundation, primer and bronzer. Those are MUST have’s!

mary kay

Younique mascara. Yes this goes against my love for MK but I seriously do not know of a better mascara. LOVE it. And combine it with my Mk eye primer it will last LEGIT all day.

younique

Coconut water. I can’t say enough about this stuff. This stuff keeps me going when I cannot have my hot tea.

coconut water

Candles. I could spend $100 bucks on candles and still feel like I need more. I once had a person tell me that you should always have a candle burning. And I agree.

candles

Apples. I probably eat 10 pounds of apples a week. NO lie. And don’t judge me. And If you know of some new found “apples will kill you eventually” theory, please do not share it with me. PLEASE!

apples

Board games. I LOVE games. I mean really, I love to win them, but I sure do love them.

games

The Library. Any library. I love visiting a town and going into their library. The smell, the options, the old stuff, the new stuff. I simply LOVE it all. And the people!!!!!! Best place to people watch…ever. Hands down!

library

Non-fiction, self help books. I have read books on “Finding Joy in cleaning your house”. Okay so that’s not exactly what it’s called but that was the premise. I mean was it the best book ever? No…but I did have a take away. I love random books where is something to be learned from it. Now don’t get me wrong, I can get down with a good Nicholas Sparks love story book, but I would much rather read a self-help book. Maybe that’s why I’m a counselor? Hmmm….

selfhelp

Songs that you have never heard. I’m the girl whose favorite songs were never released on the radio. They were song #7 on the bonus track that came in the 2 pack special from Target. Those are the songs I like. The one’s that maybe aren’t “Catchy” enough for air time, but actually have substance, and acoustics, and none repetitive phrases.

music

Live theatre. There is nothing like it. Talent. Raw, sweaty (literally had swept thrown on me from being so close to the front of the stage) authentic performances. Now THAT is something I can enjoy over and over. I once sat on the front row of Les Miserables performance and the “pick pockets” threw a wallet that landed on me. Handing it back to the actor was one of the highlights of my life.

theater

So… there ya go! Just a few things about me and some things that I keep a part of my life. Keep it light. Keep it fluffy. Keep it simple.

Thanks for reading,

Cara Roxanne

National siblings day 

In honor of National Siblings Day…

Meet Erica and Sarah


Erica, me and Sarah

Erica is the oldest. She’s 11 years older than me. Sarah is in the middle and she’s 7 years older than me

I love being the baby!!

Anyway— here’s what you should know. Erica is married and has 4 step children and a grand baby. She’s a teacher, a lover of all things old school gospel music, plays a million instruments either by ear or by reading music, and weird things happen to her. She’s been locked in bathrooms, had a squirrel in her house, and may not like to admit that she needs me. Oh yea and we live in the same town. So when she’s on the toilet and is out of TP she will call me. True story. It happened. She was like a second mom to me. Both good and bad. She used to take me for dates when I was younger and I soaked up every minute of it. She’s a neat freak and she’s super organized. She’s also a heck of a lot of fun

Sarah lives 12 hours away in South Carolina with her husband of forever many years (like nearly 20) and their 4 kids. She’s a saint. She works out at like 4 am every day, is a personal trainer while also being an amazing cook, health guru and pastors wife. She’s my go to for nearly everything. She’s always available and I cherish our phone calls. She truly is one of the kindest people that I know. I don’t know how she does it all. 

I’m super thankful today and every day for these two ladies I get to call my sisters! Just think how sad they would have been without me!!!! 

Here’s the whole fam! 

Whew– me and that blonde hair! 

Awwww! They loved me even when I still looked like an alien!


Me and Sarah! 

I’m thankful my sis Erica lives in Hot Springs. I take for granted that I can see whenever I want! 
So there ya go– that’s my family! Good thing none of us look alike! (Hahahahaha) 

Thanks for reading,

Cara Roxanne 

Hope… it’s kind of our thing 

I grew up in a Christian home and attending church. I heard sermons about Hope and sang songs about Hope. It wasn’t until I was much older that I began to understand the depths of that word. 

In one of the dark times in my life I was struggling with infertility. If you have been there than you can totally feel me on this. And if you haven’t, say a prayer of thankfulness. There is such pain and despair that come from suffering with infertility. I truly had lost Hope. I was angry at God and with myself. I felt like less of a woman and I felt like no one understood. Thinking back on those times make me so sad. I hurt for where I was and I’m thankful I’m not there now 

Don’t get me wrong… I’m not fertile now!! But I don’t “suffer” if that makes sense. One day, on January 3rd of 2008 to be exact, it all made sense. God was preparing to be a mommy. Just now in the way I had always planned. 

When I met my daughter I fell in love. She was mine. And I knew God had given her to me. She already knew her name so we never questioned changing it but we did change her middle name… to Hope. The hope that had left me had returned and Hope sure is beautiful. 

Today I sit here wondering what in the world is going on with this adoption process. I’ve sent emails and phone calls and all I get back is that “we are waiting to fit you guys into a class”. Well hurry it up!!! I didn’t say that… not yet anyway. I’m trying to not get upset and I’m truly trying to do the things I failed today the first time. The first time I was trying to become a parent I missed all the lessons. I felt like they were punishments. I missed out on what God may be trying to show me. And I don’t want to do that again. 

My heart isn’t “heavy” but it’s anxious. But this I know…. God makes all things beautiful in his time. And God, while you are making things beautiful– make me beautiful in you, too. Show me what I can do to be better prepared this time around. Show me what I need to work on and things I need to fix in me so that I can be a better wife and mother. And oh Father— Thank you for HOPE! 


Thank you walking this journey with us,

Cara Roxanne 

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