Sunday, December 27, 2009

Family Christmas 2009

We have so much to be thankful for this year!

We were all able to get together at Johnny and Maria's new house on December 26, 2009!

We, of course, had tons of food and lots of laughter...good news was abounding...Jason announced all the colleges he had been accepted...and I'm sad..., I mean proud of him for leaning towards University of Tennessee! Christopher is 7 months into his recovery...I'm very proud of him! Marc is running for City Council in Chattanooga and Johnny and Maria will be coming back to the states for good during 2010! Jacob & Jessica will be turning 16! Brylie Jane will start 1st grade in 2010, Collin reads like a 3rd grader (he is only in 1st grade), Kensley made the dance line, Daniel is the band director at Goshen High School, Cleo will graduate college in May 2010, Lucy is working on her degree, Lindsay and Micah are really hitting their stride in Nashville, Jenn and Andy have started their life in Florida, Susan and Troy are rockin' along - steady as ever, Karen and Jason have found a great church home to raise their family and I am working on my Master's Degree. Mama didn't raise lazy kids, that's for sure!

I'm so thankful for my family and the love we have for each other...we can fight with the best of them but at the end of the day we love each other dearly!

Looking forward to what 2010 will bring!

Happy New Year and much love to all!


Friday, December 25, 2009

Coker Christmas Begins with Steaks on the grill...or not!

So, my annual Christmas Eve dinner with Lucy and her kids is always steak and baked potatoes...only this year the wind was so fierce I couldn't get the grill to light! Oh I tried....believe me! For 45 minutes I tried everything I knew to get that fire lit but it was a no go...luckily I have one of those counter top George Forman style grills...problem is it is one steak at a time I cooked our dinner! We ate on time and it was good but not as good as on the grill!

For dinner it was me, Lucy, Jacob and Jessica....Christopher went to Bradford to speak and would meet us later for our annual Christmas lights drive by...

We all went to the 8:00 Contemporary Candlelight service which was beautiful! Kelsey Jones sang an amazing song called Labor of really brought home what Christmas is all about...check it out on youtube...

When Christopher joined us we opened our first present of the season...flannel jammies...Jessica decided she wanted to start a new tradition of new jammies on Christmas Eve so she and I picked out cute ones at Old Navy for everyone....this is something she wants to continue even when she has kids....everyone loved it!

We then hopped in the car and started our search for the best Griswald display....sadly we struck out...the storms and the economy has caused a lack of lights for viewing...but no worries we had a blast anyway! I haven't laughed that hard in a long time!

Then it was on to Lucy's to spend the night and wait for Santa! Our movie of choice this year was The Hangover....funny stuff! We went to bed at 2:30am and were woken up at 7:30am for the presents!!! Grits casserole in the oven and the present opening began! Everyone had a great Christmas and got things they wanted and needed!

I got an Alabama Snuggie, an ambient sound machine to help me get some restful sleep and my sweet niece and nephews got me a portable turntable so I can listen to all the albums I have refused to throw away!

The day after Christmas we will travel to Decatur for the whole family get together and to see Johnny and Maria's new home....can't wait till they move back from Guatemala!

Merry Christmas and much love to all!!!


Saturday, November 28, 2009


...November has come and gone without one post on my Randomness blog....I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and was able to spend some quality time with their family.

This year instead of going to Gatlinburg we opted to stay in the 'Ham...spent Thanksgiving day with my sister Susan and her husbands family. TONS of food and lots of good times.

Planned and booked a ski trip with my 2 oldest nephews...we will be returning to Winterplace, WV in January and will conquer that mountain before we hopefully, head out west next year. We are going over the MLK weekend and the church youth group will be there at the same we will also get to ski with the twins! Here is a picture from the last year trip...

Looking forward to Christmas...we will be going to Decatur to see my brothers new house...he and Maria are still in Guatemala doing mission work but they have bought a house in anticipation of returning to the states...I'm not gonna lie...I look forward to when they are back full time!

Lots of things going on in my life....I am volunteering for VSA arts for Alabama as an artist to work with persons with disabilities to create artwork and I have also taken a part time job as a teacher at the Fultondale Sips N' Strokes...both should be lots of fun!

I am now headed to Camp Winnataska for a planning meeting and to collect some camp sticks for some angel drawings/paintings that I am doing...if you are looking for a nice "girlfriend" gift just let me know....metal/beaded crosses for 12.00...angel drawings w/beading for 10.00...will post pictures soon.

Much love to all!


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Another GREAT Halloween Season!

So, another GREAT Halloween season has come and gone! Atrox Factory continues to bring in record numbers and raise tons of money for children's and animal charities! This year I had the pleasure of meeting some really great people!

Each year we bring in celebrity "monsters" to meet, greet and sign autographs for the people waiting to go through the haunt. My job is to meet them at the airport, check them into the hotel, take them to TV and Radio interviews on Fridays and then get them to and from the haunt on Friday and Saturday. As I'm sure you can imagine it is alot of fun to meet so many different people and being with them so much during the weekend you make friends pretty quick!

This past weekend I had the priviledge to meet Chris Carnel...he is a stunt man by trade but also starred in the movie My Bloody Valentine - 3D. He was quite possibly the nicest celeb I have had the pleasure to "host". It's always fun when they are close to my age...pretty sure if he lived in Birmingham we would be friends and he would be a member of the "Scream Team" at Atrox! He says he will visit again with his family and I look forward to meeting his wife...also look forward to seeing him in more movies!

Hope everyone has a great Halloween night - treat your kiddos to some good treats!

Much love!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Such a lazy blogger!

Thank you to my friend Allison who gently nudges me to update my blog :)

Fall is definitely in the air even though it is still very warm...the lighting in the afternoon is gorgeous...that is, when the sun is shining....which it hasn't been doing alot lately!

School is now in full swing and we seem to be in a great routine...I started a workout routine at the school which we do on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons...we use videos and "burn the fat off our thighs" - I haven't really noticed a difference but that is what the drill sargeant in the video tells us :)

As you all know Fall is one of my favorite and Haunted House season! The Atrox Factory will be opening on October is in Leeds, Alabama...come on out and get scared! My job is to "host" the celebrity monsters while they are here for autograph is the list of monsters/celebrities...

Derek Mears - the new Jason in Friday the 13th

Dave Prowse - Darth Vadar - no he is not a "real" monster but he should draw a crowd!

Tony Todd - the CandyMan and the mean General in 24 last season!

Chris Carnel - My Bloody Valentine

I will keep you posted with fun pictures from their visits!

If you make it out to the house on Friday or Saturday, make your way to the celebrity stage and say "Hi!".

Also, I want to thank all of you that have been praying for my family...especially my nephew Christopher...I got to spend Saturday with him and his friends from Steve's and they are remarkable young men....all fighting to stay clean and sober! Christopher has been clean for over 90 days and continues to speak to groups at Bradford about his recovery...we know this is a lifelong struggle but he is doing great!

Much love to you all!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Beach bound and ready for some Bama Football!

Two of my all time favorite things...the beach for a long weekend and Alabama Football!

Taking Friday off so we can be on the beach for 3 full days! If you are in the parking lot of my school on Thursday around better watch out! Lisa and I will be screeching out on 2 tires and headed to the Gulf! Small group this time but everyone is very is a great way to end the summer!

Was very sad that Jacob was not going to be at the beach - he is my football buddy...however, due to some extreme cooties....he can't go to the soccer tournament so I will have him for at least one more season opener! We will go watch the game at Jalepeno's in Gulf Shores and enjoy the comeraderie of other bama fans! Roll Tide!

While I thoroughly enjoy the summer I do believe Fall is my favorite time of the year! Football, leaves changing, sleeping with the windows open and halloween!

Stay tuned to see who the "monsters" are for this years visit to the Atrox

Beach Out!!!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I can't believe it has been 32 years!

32 years ago my mother remarried and we moved to Vestavia...4 days later my absolute favorite singer/actor died...Elvis Presley! Even though I wasn't even born when Elvis was "the thing" I used to stay up late on Saturday nights to watch the late movie which was always an Elvis movie! This was when I was 7-10 years old and no one knew I was awake! I'm still very much a night owl!

I have always been a huge Elvis fan and I am solely responsible for my nieces and nephews being fans as well...I have taken most of them at least once and some twice to Graceland....they first have to proclaim themselves true fans and then the fun is on me! Now my students are being slowly but surely converted to Elvis fans! Elvis surely lives in my classroom!

My senior year in high school I chose not to do the Panama City Beach trip and instead went to Graceland...Lisa Marie had just opened it to the public and it was awesome...Aunt Minnie was still living upstairs...there were no ropes or plexiglass...we actually sat on the white sofas in the living room, hung out in the jungle room...somewhere I have a picture of me in the pink jeep from Blue Hawaii!

I know I am a dork and I don't care :)

Long live the KING!!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

It's the final countdown....

Well this is my final week in New York and I can honestly say I have had a great time but I am ready to come home!

A semester's worth of grad school in 5 weeks can be hard on a body, mind and spirit! But, I have done well and while I don't know my final grades yet, I am pleased!

I will have 4 days at home before I start school! But I am ready...have lots of ideas and great projects already planned...just hope my colleagues are ready for all the new stuff I learned that I'm going to coax them into trying :)

I'm ready to lay by the pool, cook steaks on the grill, drink sweet tea with LOTS of ice and drive my car!

Here is a video I put together as my final project for Adult Development...we had to learn something new this 5 weeks and document it...I learned how to get around New York City! Enjoy!

I can't wait to see y'all!!!!!

Much Love

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Celebrity Sighting #3

Today I was waiting on the bus and talking to Lucy on the cell when this guy strolled by...I recognized his face immediately but thought he was some sports guy....had to look him up on the internet when I got home but here's what I found out...

He has been in every cop TV show I have ever watched and he played Jim Carrey's best friend in The Truman Show!

His name is Noah we all know!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Painting #2

I seem to be on a mission to bring home as much of New York as I can and share it with my friends...

This is a photo collage/painting of the church I have been attending and one of the members. I met Brother Clifford Jones on my first Sunday at church and he has welcomed me every week...he has a great sense of style...he wears bright colored suit coats and white patent leather shoes!

He graciously posed for a picture so I could reference it when I did the painting...can't wait for you to see it in person!

Monday, July 13, 2009 idea...

I realize some of you that read this blog are not on Facebook so I wanted to share a painting that I did last week...

I am so totally enthralled with the idea of "living" in New York that I am still looking around everywhere I go and am totally amazed at what and who I see, how they live/exist, how they get around and how most of them seem to do this in total solitude. You have to be "hardy" to live in New York!

This is a combination photograph/painting...the photograph is one I took of the 69th street entrance of Central Park and the painting portion is taken from a photo I snapped on the bus of a random woman lost in thought, listening to an ipod and sipping her coffee.

I wasn't sure of the composition but I think the juxtaposition of the building in the front of her and the park behind hers says something of the way she appears to be feeling...focused on starting a new week but sad to leave the weekend behind? I don't know...what do you think?

I LOVE people watching!

Much love

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Another Week Down....3 more to go!

Got to spend 3 days in the art studio at Parsons this week! 9:00-4:00 - great therapy! Got to know some of the people in the 2nd and 3rd year portion of this program and got to lose myself in the process of art! Love putting in my ipod to paint...listening to Wicked and Camp Songs....great way to spend the day! Went out Friday after class to happy hour and then dinner. We walked a LONG way to the East Village and hung out at a really cool "local" bar...then we walked to SoHo for dinner...can't remember the name of the place but it was really good food....y'all would be proud of me for venturing out of my comfort zone and trying food that I normally would Vietnamese raviloi....delish!!! These are some of the students I'm in school with...

Saturday, I went back to Coney Island to sit on the alot of reading done on the trip to the beach but none while actually laying out....very windy, lots of sand blasting about my head and neck! Still had sand in my ears today!

Today I got up and went to church...same as last week but this week I wore leggings so as not to flash anyone! When I walked in I immediately smelled fried chicken! Made me very happy...they had a fellowship reception after church and there it was...the best fried chicken I have had in a long time! Met lots of new people including the cute little man from last week, here is his picture, his name is Brother Clifford Jones!

After church I came home for more reading and then met Laura Britt and some of her friends from home at Serendipity for Frozen Hot Chocolate! It was to die for! And Serendipity is the cutest place!

Back home now and have to write 2 reflection papers before tomorrow....rumor has it that Carly Miller will be here this week so I have to make sure I get everything done so I can go play while she is here.

Hope everyone is doing well and I can't wait to see y'all! I do have 2 blow up mattresses if anyone is interested in have to be able to take care of yourself though....pretty busy during the week :)

Much love!


Sunday, July 5, 2009

....another update and then I really have to write a paper!

I completed my first course last week...Philosophy and Ethics in Education....the bright spot of the 3 days was that it ended in a pizza/beer party!

We had Friday off so I took advantage of the free time and did no studying! I hopped buses and subways losing myself in order to find myself....I feel very comfortable that if I get lost I will be able to get back home...eventually! Hung out in Bryant Park, found Parsons (where my art classes will be) and cruised through Times Square! I woke up Saturday and went to Coney Island! Saw the Nathan's Hotdog eating contest up close and personal (gross!) While there I met a man who reminded me of RainMan...he was telling me how excited he was to be going to Hoboken to see the fireworks and then proceeded to tell me word for word what the news had reported about where the best place to see them would be, the fact that the police would be paying close attention to drinking and that rooftop bar bq's were not allowed....he told me this 3 times...he was awesome! Then I went walking along the boardwalk. Took lots of interesting pictures, rode the Wonder Wheel and basically people watched...I will spend the next few Saturdays on the beach now that the touristy things are under my belt :)

Came back to the city in time to head down to the Hudson River to watch the fireworks! Along with every other person in the city! Got there an hour and a half before the show was to start only to encounter the police lines that had closed down the area due to massive amounts of people...I stood at the front of the line and made small talk with the police :) I thanked them for the job they were doing cause they were catching flak for having to shut down the streets...I told them I was just going to hang out in case they reopened the streets...which they did about 15 minutes before the show started! The police thanked me for being so polite and let me through first :) I have never been in a sea of so many people...the fireworks were incredible as I had expected but trying to get back home was CRAZY!!! I think the next 2 years I will skip this event :)

Sunday I woke up to a beautiful day! Went to the First Baptist Church in New York City and loved it! Big church, small congregation....met some great people, one in particular was an older african american man wearing a bright salmon colored suit coat...he was precious! After the service, which I thoroughly enjoyed...I stepped out into the aisle....onto a grate that obviously shoots the air conditioning up and my dress flew up! Yes, that's right, I flashed all of the deacons who had just served communion!!!

I have had a great week in New York and I'm ready to start the classes that will last for the next 4 weeks. Please pray for me to have time management skills like no other and the ability to sit back and enjoy what I have and what I am able to experience.

Much love!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Second Celebrity Sighting!

As I was waiting for my take-out Chinese I spotted Chef Gordon Ramsey from Hell's Kitchen strolling down the street with his wife...thank goodness he didn't go into the restaurant where I had just ordered food! All of this just one block from my apartment!

This has been a CRAZY week! I have one class that started on Tuesday and ends on Thursday....Philosophy and Ethics in Education! Those of you who know me well know that I don't have much patience for philosophy so much of the class sounds like Charlie Brown's teacher to me but it will be over soon! We had two papers to write, nine articles to read, one book to read and one group presentation on that book....we don't get out of class until 7:30pm so that leaves little time to read the articles for the next day, much less write papers and meet with the group to plan a presentation....but it will be over soon! Oh, and we are graded on our participation in class so I have to come up with deep, philosophical comments to interject....I need to work on my vocabulary!

I'm anticipating a busy weekend preparing for my next 3 classes which all start next week...the good news is that one of the classes is a painting/drawing class that is 9:00am-4:00pm Wed. - Friday! I can't wait for that therapy!

More news after the weekend!

Happy Fourth to all!

Much love!

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Moon and New York City

1st celeb sighting was in North Carolina...while boarding the flight to LaGuardia I immediately recognized Sharon Lawerence...the actress who played Dennis Franz' wife on NYPD Blue and who had an affair with her best friend's son (played by Brian Austin Greene) on a Lifetime movie! She was on our flight...not in first class but actually 3 rows behind me...people were very rude, just taking pictures of her while she was trying to find her seat...I refrained. But here is a picture I found on the internet!

Well, I may have made a mistake when I first bought my ticket (I thought it was a 7:00am flight...turns out it was a 7:00pm flight) but it turns out that flying into NYC at midnight is pretty darn cool. Looking out over the city lights was awesome and the moon shining down over the city immediately put that song in my head....if you get caught between the moon and New York City...anyway, it was great and of course the place was jumpin'! My cabbie got me to the apartment by 12:30am so all was good.

My new friend, Chris, was waiting for me and we stayed up late talking like we were at a slumber party....turns out her family was skeptical too about us sharing the apartment before her departure to Europe but it was actually the best thing! We woke up on Sunday morning and went to her gym for a "definition" thighs and glutes are screaming today :) She is a member of the gym were Elaine met John Jr. on the Seinfeld episode....VERY nice/upscale...I have a week pass that I intend to use. We showered and dressed there and then hit the city big time....bought a subway/bus pass and went straight to Harlem to see the Apollo and the Michael Jackson memorial wall...even got to sign the wall...from there we went to Bank Street College which is the college I am attending then on to Chinatown...opposite ends of the earth. When we arrived in Chinatown she was somewhat upset that no one asked us if we wanted to buy anything...turns out the police had just done a sweep so everyone was on the down low...but not to worry within 5 minutes we were approached by a young asian women with the hook-up for Coach....we followed her for about a block and a half at which point we began following a young man who escorted us to a rolling Coach Warehouse! We hopped into the back of the vehicle with blacked out windows and an automatic light that came on when the doors closed...all very clandestined and I'm sure illegal! But I got a great deal on an over the shoulder small bag...great for NY! From their we went to Times Square and had a piece of the best cheesecake I have ever had....can't remember the name of the restaurant but I can get back to it! Strolled through a street festival and was sad because I was full...they had every imaginable food on a stick you can think of and I LOVE food on a stick! We hopped on a bus and went back uptown to our neighborhood...a quick stroll through Pottery Barn and then I went to Central Park to finish my book while she went to mass....lying (or laying...not sure which Robie) in the park reading was just too much fun! After mass she met me in the park and we went for a walk, people watching adventure....had a beer at the boathouse, watched people play with remote control boats on the lake and had a 10 minute massage before heading to the Emerald Inn for a beer and cheese sticks! It was a long day but very informational and I feel really comfortable with my location.

I was going to upload pictures to give you an idea of where I am living but my computer is not cooperating....1/2 block from the W69th street exit of Central Park, that's close to Tavern on the Green....rumor has it that Robert De Niro lives on the same block just caddy corner from my apartment...I'll let you know if that is true!

Monday started a little hectic...Chris needed to get up at 5:15 to make her flight....she didn't hear her alarm and woke up with a start at 6:15! She was up and out the door in a flash...hope she has a great time in Europe! I went on and got up to shower and fiddle around then caught my bus to school....have been here ever since.

Was a little nervous but after orientation I am feeling much better! Have a lot of work ahead of me but I'm no further behind in my reading than anyone else in my program....there are 7 of us first year students....4 for creative writing and 3 for art! All women and very nice! Again, I am so thankful for the school system that I am in and after hearing where everyone else comes from and I happy to be from the South!

I will keep you posted periodically and I will add pictures to Facebook and the blog if the computer will quit being so finicky (Jessica loves that word)! I think I am headed to Coney Island on Saturday and then will be back in the city to catch the Macy's Fireworks over the Hudson River....hope everyone has a safe and fun Fourth of July!

Much love!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Summer in Alabama...sweat, bug spray and burning bridges!

Summer is here and the heat and humidity are sweltering but there is nothing like a Friday night at camp to get your summer kicked off just right!

If you are a Camp Winnataska person you know Friday night is Grail night...everywhere you look campers, leaders, staff, and directors are all wearing white...talking about searching for the Holy Grail, wondering who will be Galahad and waiting for sundown for the evening to begin! It's the last night of a week of fun for the campers! When the bell rings everyone lines up in front of their huts...all lights are off except in the chapel and the camp processes up the center of camp to the chapel for the play...Holy Grail. This is the story of King Arthur and his knights searching for the Holy Grail...the cast is made up of staff and leaders who have proven themselves worthy with their week of service not only to their campers but to God first. There are always too many leaders worthy of these positions and many are disappointed when not chosen. The play unfolds as the knights come back one by one to report of their search, none of which are successful...the final knight comes back with the story of Galahad's search and ultimate success at finding the Grail...but alas as he steps onto the 7th bridge it bursts into flames and Galahad is bourne into Heaven bearing the Holy Grail in his hand. The final paragraph of the play is delivered by King Arthur and is my favorite making it worth all of the hoopla...

"Oh, campers of Winnataska, knighthood is not dead. The pomp and pageantry are mere symbols of the ideals that still exist in the hearts of man. In our troubled world, the flames of knighthood are burning low. Let us, like knights of old, go forth in search of our Holy Grail. Let us keep the purity and courage that are the ideals of knighthood, and dedicate ourselves to a Holy Cause. Let us so live that we may be worthy of attaining the realization of our dream."

With that, the campers file out silently, taking a lit candle and making their way to Hillside which overlooks the gorge, the waterfalls and the bridge. When everyone has entered the bridge bursts into flames and you see Galahad running across the bridge then disappear as the bridge collapses into the falls.
The campers file out silently to their huts singing "Follow the Gleam"...when everyone is on the steps of their hut at a time the campers sing taps and then blow out their candles...all of camp is now dark and in the round chapel is a cross (I call it the Cross a go-go) lights up and stays lit throughout the night...these are the only lights in camp. Campers go into their huts and into their bunks to ponder the evening...during the night they hear the sounds of the Blackfoot Tribe (college boys on staff) "rebuiding" the bridge...scary as it may sound it is actually a very comforting sound to campers who look forward to it every year!

Having been at camp as camper, leader, adult coordinator, weekly director and program director...I look forward to the 1st Grail of the summer. One of my favorite girls (Rachel) was chosen as Galahad this week so I loaded up my niece Jessica and we went to camp to see the bridge. We didn't attend Grail but sat on the dining hall porch to watch the bridge from there...Jessica had to hide her eyes many times because the Blackfeet don't want her to know all of their secrets...this is her last year as a camper. Here are some pictures for you to see a little bit of what we do at Camp Winnataska...enjoy!

1st pic: Kelly and Jessica waiting for the bridge
2nd Pic: Rachel/Galahad running across the burning bridge,
3rd Pic: the bridge falling
4th Pic: Rachel and Jessica

Monday, June 8, 2009

Long time no post....

Wow, where do I start....January & February fairly uneventful....March - jam packed...snow day, spring break cruise to Mexico - my first cruise ever and I LOVED it!...applied to Grad School.
April...accepted to Grad School in New York City!!! I will move on June 27th and live in New York for 7 weeks! I have sublet a studio apartment on West 69th street right next to the park. I will be studying at Bank Street College and Parsons School of Design (think Project Runway). I will be earning a Master's in Leadership with a Focus on the Visual Arts. It will take me 3 summers in New York (YEA!) and 2 school years online! I'm very excited about the program but most especially that I will be in New York...somewhere I have always wanted to live for an extended period of time...not forever!

May - not a great month - end of the school year is always hectic! Watched a friend bury her 27 year old son...please continue to pray for the Towns Family.

Now it's June and I'm working at the Botanical Gardens to earn spending money for New York...I leave at 7:00pm on Saturday, June 27th....yes, I thought my flight was in the A.M. but in my haste to book in between classes....I didn't read too I will be arriving at midnight...oh well, it is the city that never sleeps!

Things/people to pray for:
Nephew Christopher
Sister Lucy
Niece and Husband Karen and Jason
Nephew Daniel
Niece and Husband Jennifer and Andy
Towns Family
Friend Katie Lincoln
Friend Sara Watkins
Friend Cindy Moon

Stay tuned for stories and pictures from my wild adventure in NYC!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Meet Lilly!

This is my BFF's baby girl Lilly. She was born profoundly deaf but just after her one year birthday celebration she received her first cochlear implant. It is AMAZING to watch the progress...In March she received her second implant and is increasing her vocabulary by leaps and bounds!