Firsts and Lasts - David's First Turkey

This was written by my brother, Matt, who graciously introduced the love of turkey hunting to David just a few weeks ago! I wasn't able to be on the hunt, but Matt's ability to tell this story made me feel like I was a part of the day.



April 5, 2014: 

I walked through the house slid on my boots and stepped outside. The morning air was not quite cool enough to allow you to see your breath but definitely cool enough to warrant the need of a light jacket. David came out of the house followed by his sister and her hunting partner for the morning, and we loaded up and headed, just down the road, to where we planned to park. Upon arrival at the parking spot there was still twenty minutesor so before daylight. David’s sister and her hunting partner had hunted the place in the last few days and had heard a turkey in an area not far from where we had all parked. David’s sister said, “We’re gon go this way, we heard one down here the other day.” Both David and I nodded in agreement and gave them a “Good luck!” as we headed towards the back of the pasture that we parked near. We knew turkeys were in the area. David had been hearing turkeys in the back of the pasture for the past several weeks, and his sister and hunting accomplice had been on turkeys back there as well. David and I had called up several turkeys in the same area the year before as well; all of which ended in one unfortunate manner or another.


As we walked the road that follows the edge of the field on the outside of the pasture fence, the previously calm wind began to pick up. By the time we reached the spot from where I intended for us to break day, just off the southeast corner of the pasture, the wind had probably reached a sustained speed of twelve mph, plus. Wind can, at times, be a turkey hunters best friend, and at times his worst enemy. This time leaned towards the latter. As gobbling time arrived the windblown calls from distant crows received an answer only from the turkey that David’s sister and company had gone after. I could tell as I leaned my shotgun against a nearby tree to ease the wait, the look on David’s face began to turn from a look of anxious excitement to more a lookof desperate frustration. As if to break the tension of the moment, a good 15 minutes after his cue, a turkey gobbled.Inside the pasture fence on the west side of the pasture itself is apine plantation with trees of small log size. The plantation headswest and first up then back downhill away from the field, andthe change is made over to hardwood in the bottom. The estimation of the turkey’s position, though skewed slightly by the high winds, put him straight down the road from David and I, on the edge of the hardwood bottom, likely roosted very close to the timber change.


I picked up my shotgun and we made our way down the road towards the turkey. We covered approximately 125 yards or so and stopped to listen again. I figured we should be very near where we needed to set up by now. At some point during our walk another turkey had started gobbling back north of us across the blacktop road, probably a quarter from David and I, and during lulls in the high winds we could hear him gobble. We stood at our new location for probably close to 5 minutes listening to the turkey across the road with no word out of the one we had initially started toward. I had heard enough. “We might as well go over there to that one.” I whispered to David. “Aight, let’s go!” He replied. He seemed to be waiting for me to say that.


We crossed the fence and headed north through the middle of the pasture. There was plenty of daylight now, far beyond adequate enough to allow for flying down so I was figuring that turkeys should be on the ground by now- if for no other reason – to get out of the wind! We got a good 150 yards into the pasture and up on top of a hill, and, between steps, I thought I heard a different turkey gobble. After the immediate stop and on cue after taking two or three deep breaths to knock off the heavy breathing, he gobbled again to our immediate left (west) and off in the bottom where we had heard the turkey 15 minutes earlier. He was very certainly on the ground and not over 200 yards from the edge of the pasture. “Come on!” I told David as I hurried my steps toward the edge of the woods, and he fell in behind me. We reached the edge of the woods and a crow called as soon as we stopped and this time the turkey gobbled along with two others that were in the bottom and about 200 yards to the north of him. The one we were after was still in about the same place on the edge of the hardwood bottom which put him very near a road left the pasture and ran due west along the inside of the south pasture fence, topped the hill, and continued down into the bottom on the other side. David assured me that he sounded close to the road and on the edge of the bottom and I began to search for a good tree. I sat David just off the edge of the pasture, in the plantation by a tree with a lot of cover in behind it to prevent him from being silhouetted on the bright pasture backdrop. David’s seat put him just under 20 steps from the edge of the road to his left that is running away from him the further right he swings. At 60 yards the road tops the hill andbegins to drop off toward the bottom.


I placed a single hen decoy to our directly to our left between us and the road and while walking back to the tree I made my first call. Two clucks and a soft yelp was immediately answered by our opponent as well as his two accomplices to the north. As I sat down I told David to reposition himself further around the tree in case the turkey did not come up the road like as scripted. My next call was cut off by the gobbler followed by a hen that was just out of sight, between us and the other two gobbling turkeys. I immediately mimicked her. She answered back again and the fight was on for a good solid 45 second or so. When it was over, I was out of breath and all 3 turkeys had gobbled a 4 or 5 times a piece at all the racket. After a minute or two of silence she yelped again and was half way down the hill and taking a heading basically between the turkey we were calling to and the other two gobblers. I called again he answered this time he had cut the distance in half. “He’s coming David. Point your gun toward the road.” “Ok!” He replied. The turkey is now 125 yards and over the hill from us. The only thing that concerned me now was that hen. He would have to walk right by her coming up the hill to us if we were going to kill him and the odds of that happening are far from good.


Not over a minute later I thought I heard him drum. “Ease that safety off.” I whispered to David. He did so and whispered desperately, “You see him?!?” I simply answered, “No.” No more than ten seconds later I heard it again, very distinct this time- Pffftvvvoooooooom. “I hear him strutting.” I whispered. “I heard it too!” David whispered excitedly. No sooner than he said that the turkey gobbled- LOUD! When he did I saw his head come out from behind a tree. “Alright, I see him David. Be still as a mouse, now!” “Where!?!?” David answered anxiously. “He’s in the road on top of the hill. Be still now!!” I told him urgently. David’s breathing immediately got harder as did mine, as he got a better grip on the shotgun and froze there. The turkey walked the road towards us 12 to 15 yards closer, stopped behind a tree and went into about a half strut. It was here at a range of about 50 yards, he saw the decoy. He looked it over for 5 or 6 seconds dropped back down into about a quarter strut and began his approach towards the beautiful young lady. As soon as he crossed the 30 yard line I said “Alright, David go on and kill him when you can.” David, like a seasoned veteran, never corrected; he let the turkey walk right into his sights and squeezed the trigger flattening the gobbler at a range of 23 steps.That’a boy David Tyson!!” I said- this time much above a whisper- as I got up to run and get a foot on the turkeys neck. I reached down and grabbed the gobbler by the neck instead of booting him in the throat to keep from damaging feathers- taking into consideration the photo session that was likely to ensue shortly.


With the gobbler by the neck flapping out his last few nerves, I turned around to see big, normally very reserve man walking my direction with a smile on his face that threatened to sever the top of his head. “Thank ya, Matthew!” he said. “My pleasure Dave, I’m glad I could be here! You see why I love it so much now?!” I asked. “Man I say! That was somethin’ else!” He replied. In that instant looking at David, you could tell something was present that had not been there before, and it had everything to do with the 20 lbs of two year old gobbler that I handed him standing in the middle of that road.

 To us as humans, the life of a wild turkey is very short – it would be safe to say the majority of gobblers die in two to three years or less. Though this day may have been the last spring dance of one’sfew; it was very likely the first of another’s many, and I’m glad I could be there to see it one more time!

Thanks, Matt! For commemorating a memory that you and David will cherish forever! 


SPRANG BREAK - Burn it Down Tour

David and I left off early Saturday morning to the beach for the day! We had big plans to use the tickets I gave him for Christmas to see Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, and Tyler Farr in concert at The Wharf. I was SO pumped! It's the first "REAL" concert I'd been to. David had been to one before me, and of course I have seen a few people in concert at the fair, but those don't count. Right? 

We arrived around lunch time, so we ate at Five Guys in Foley and headed on south. It was cold, a tad rainy, and just all around dreary outside, but we were hopeful that the concert would be dry. We went to the beach, to a few places we like to shop, and then back to the beach so I could use their public restroom to get "decent". Crazy? Yea, I know. However, we have been to this public beach several times and the bathrooms are spotless. So, I plugged in my hair tools, and fixed my hair! I changed in there, got back in the car to do my makeup, and David went to the bathroom to change. It worked perfectly! No one came in the bathroom while I was there, either. Ha! 

Once we arrived at the Wharf (and hour and a half early) we were directed to go ALL the way around the place to retrieve our tickets since they were on will call. I was SO nervous about this because I had used a different card to make the purchase and Ticketmaster has very strict rules about purchasing. I took everything with me that I could think of to prove I was the one who ordered the tickets except for the computer that I ordered the tickets with!
It was such an easy thing, though. They asked for my license, and since I was the "Alternate pickup  name", there was no problem. Whew! 

We had to wait for around an hour to get in, but once we did I headed straight for the front row. Not like a crazy person, either. I definitely wasn't one who took my shoes off and sprinted to the front. However, that's basically where we ended up. 

I was really nervous that David would get sick of standing the whole time, and we both did eventually, but the concert and experience outweighed our tired feet by the end of the night. 

I was so glad we got to experience it together! I will seriously cherish this memory forever! Jason and FLGALine sing so many songs that mean a lot to the two of us, so it was fun to commemorate that in real life with each other, and being at the beach wasn't so bad either ;) 

The rain held off and made for a beautiful night. It was cool, breezy, but tolerable. Of course it would have been a little sticky if it would have been any warmer because that was A LOT of people standing WAY too close for comfort in my opinion. I overcame my "huge crowd" anxiety, but I think it was because the only thing in front of us was stage {and a couple thousand security guards which also helped my spirits}. 

Tyler Farr is an up and coming artist who plays a few good songs that we like. A familiar one to most is "Redneck Crazy", and that is NOT my fave. I love "Whiskey in my Water" and a couple of his others, but he was very engaging with fans, and we even got a little high five action from him at the end. 
So we are both basically famous now! :)

I have to say, though, Flordia Georgia Line really stole the show for me. I found myself wishing we had seen more of them. They are so talented, so engaging, and they really work the crowd SO well. I love their music, their tune, their harmonies, and the way that you can tell they really appreciate where they are when they're on the stage. They really did set the stage for Jason, and if I dare say -- Jason should be opening for them. 
Wow, huh? 
Maybe I'm just obsessed with their harmonies and their rendition of "Grenade - Bruno Mars" 
because that -- will -- blow -- your -- socks -- off.

And finally, Jason. 

When he came out, after a few songs, David told me "It took me a little while to realize that we are really here. He is really there. It's just kind of surreal."

I'm so glad he thought so! 

Jason was good, don't get me wrong, but what you see him doing in the above photo is basically what he did the whole time. Stayed behind the mic, used his guitar a lot, and didn't really embrace the crowd as much as I had hoped. 

However, Fly Over States will never sound as good on CD now as it did in person. 

We left out when Jason "finished" the first time (before his encore) because we wanted to beat the crowd, and we could hear him anyway, so we started back to our vehicle and got there around 10:40. We were still sitting in our car at 11:40.
David was not happy about this. 
FINALLY, we found a peep hole through the back of the parking lot, wedged our way out of the cluster of people in the way, and cut out between two railroad ties that separated the parking lot from the ditch/road and went straight across to the highway. 
We scrounged up 3.50 in cash for the toll bridge and went well on our merry way home. 
We arrived back around 3am, but it was SUCH a fun day! SUCH a fun memory!!! 

Merry {very late} Christmas to David! 
Love you, always!

And in case you need proof - here's the video I took of "Grenade" 

Blakelyn's Baby Shower!

About a month ago, I was invited to celebrate Kristin & Matt's first baby, Blakelyn, at a shower around where David lives! It is such a blessing to me that these girls have scooped me up into their arms, into their circle of friends and have made me feel like one of their own. I truly value the friendship they have given me in this last year or so of mine & David's journey. It has meant so much to me that they make me feel just as "at home" as David does. 

ANYWAY! Back to this adorable shower. I wish I had taken some more photos, but I didn't! When you walked in, a table was set up for us to sign the guest book. There was also a station for us to write our addresses on the front of the envelope that Kristin would use for "thank you" cards. What a genius idea! I know it saved her a lot of time to have us do that. 

We played several games. One involved ice cubes and plastic babies. We all had to put an ice cube with a plastic baby frozen inside into our drink and the first person whose  baby "broke free" from the ice had to yell, "MY WATER BROKE," and I will give ya'll two guesses of who's water broke first.....
If you guessed ME, you're right. 

The other game we played involved us all having 3 clothes pins attached to our clothing and as the shower progressed, no one could say the words "baby", or "Blakelyn". I did not win that one! Ha! 

Kristin got a ton of adorable things, and she had many people there who care about her and her family. I haven't seen her in a few weeks, but I know the time is drawing near and she is SO excited about Blakelyn's arrival. I have to say, I am too! I can't wait to see her and love on her! 
Saturday we are doing their maternity session, and it's my first one to do, so I could NOT be more excited! I cannot wait!

Kristin requested this door hanger, and I decided to make it as her gift! I love how it turned out, and I think she did too.

These two ladies (and Amber, wherever she was!) were definitely the "hostesses with the mostest".  They thought of everything, and everything was perfect! The food, the decor, the games, and the thought they put into everything really did shine through. Kristin is blessed to have friends who wanted to do this for her, and I am so glad that I was asked to be a part of the day as well. These girls have really become some of my great friends, and I am thankful that The Lord saw fit to cross our paths! 

so many people already love you.


ODMFAY: March!

It's weird that another month has come and gone, but I find myself saying that at the beginning of every month! This month was a very low-key date because I knew we would be traveling to the beach (more on that later) and I thought it would be fun to incorporate our date into our trip! So, what better way than to find something to do on our 3 hour drive?
For this month, I found a fun "dating game" type thing on Pinterest, and it was just 39 questions that I would have never thought to ask david. A few examples are, 
.. "Who was your favorite elementary school teacher?"
.. "What's the first outfit you remember wearing as a child?" 
.. "When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?" 

It was fun because sometimes I think we loose sight of "our person," and we like to think that we already know everything about them, but the truth is -- I found out lots of new things about david, and after he answered the questions, I answered them too! So we both spent time talking, learning, and growing with each other. I always look forward to learning more about him, and I am always so surprised at what he has to say. Plus, it was fun to kill an hour talking about meaningful things rather than listening to music! :) 

I think that these dates (the ones that are free and allow us to learn more about each other) will be my favorite. Since it's only the second month of dates, it may be too early to tell - but that's my prediction! 

Can't wait to blog about our trip!! :) 


ODMFAY: February

"ODMFAY" stands for "One Date a Month for a Year". This was one of David's valentines gifts that I decided would be really fun! Basically, you provide 11 pre-planned, pre-paid dates for the months leading up to the month that you give the gift. For instance, I gave it as a valentines gift, so I planned dates until next January!

This is so, so much fun because you can incorporate things you both enjoy together, things you have never done before, and even things you've said you would always do! For us, sometimes our favorite thing to do is just to grab a movie that we already have and chill. So, this gift doesn't have to cost a fortune. However, it is fun to splurge on dates every now and then, {like his birthday month}, as well as just to treat him to a little outing on me! 

This whole gift took me daaaays of planning and about 4 hours to "construct". I liked to add little objects or things that went along with the "theme" of the date as you will see in these posts! I'm so excited to share with you my ideas {some borrowed from others, and some done on my own!} I'm doing this series so that if you've ever considered doing this as a gift you will have some insight about price! I'm also doing it because it was really fun to create, and I want to document the memories we are sure to make through this during the course of this year! Before I dove off into this {and got creative} I assumed it would cost a ton! But! It doesn't have to. So, after that super long intro, here's February's Date!! 

For February, I wanted to do something simple! I knew we would be going out for a date, and I knew the tab would be on david, and even though we aren't huge fans of valentines day, I didn't want it to be all about me, I wanted to buy him something that I knew he would enjoy & I love doing personal things for him because he is always appreciative and thankful for the time I spend on these types of gifts. That makes the planning  time pay off for sure!! :) 

I found this free printable online, printed and cut it out, and used an index card to draw around it to try and create the illusion of a coffee cup! Inside the heart says, "I love you more than coffee!" 

Once you slide the coffee sleeve down, a message is revealed! Attached to the back was a gift card to our favorite coffee shop! I knew david would want to use this on our way home from our date, and sure enough, he did! So, since it was late, we didn't ride a backroad, but we had earlier that day, so that counts right? Sure it does - it's our date!! 

David also wanted to open each envelope for each month, but I told him be had to wait until the beginning of each month to do so! I'm pretty sure he's secretly excited to have something new to do every month, and I am too!! :) 

retreating to monthly updates...

Sometimes I am just too busy to blog, and other times I just don't want to. Then I think, "you're gonna wish you could remember the details about these days," so here I sit. 

For starters, I got a haircut! Well, I got bangs. I had no length cut off {because I am convinced that my hairdresser has put a -wonderful- spell on it that's causing it to GROW} and she always does exactly what I want! This was the first real "dramatic" difference that I have had done while going to her, but I love it. Bangs make me feel fun. 

Two weekends ago, Daddy set up a rabbit hunt because he wanted David to be able to go. Well, of course I tagged along! I was anxious to shoot my "new" gun. You see, my uncle inherited all of my Pawpaw's guns when he passed, but he recently told us that he wanted all of the grands to have one. So, I got my very favorite - a 20 gauge Benelli. 
The gun is a treasure, and I am grateful for it, but I will always wish I could have had the opportunity to go on at least one hunt with Pawpaw.

Matt also went, and he killed the only rabbit that was seen while we were there! 

On that same weekend, Matt wanted to try out his boat, so David & I made the run with him. The weather was nice and we enjoyed being on the water! It definitely felt like Spring.

During the week, I had to drive myself to class without Marty because she was running late, so I decided to do some thrifting, and I found this precious little gem! OH MY GAH, I can hardly contain my excitement over putting this baby in our own home one day! It's in minty condition, and I AM IN LOVE!! 

On February 7th, David & I shared 28 months together, and Mom & Dad shared 33 years! I hope David and I are allowed that many years together, and I know we will be just as happy and in love as these two are! 

I also think that cutting my hair has made me think I have a free pass to dressing like a boy and wearing Kourtney Kardashian sunglasses.. so! I guess the myth to "new hair new you" is somewhat true? Except not really because I was unsure of this the whole time I had it on! 

And next, how could we forget Valentines Day?
I sketched this Chalkboard Wednesday night and finished it Thursday evening before David came on Friday! 
I like doing little personal things for him.

For his gift, I gave him a knife he had been wanting. I also gave him lots of candy. I did the cheesiest thing and labeled them all with cute printables: 

gum: "I chews you"
Sour worms: "Love bugs" 
Jolly Ranchers: "Have a Jolly Valentines" 
Warheads: "Pucker up, it's Valentines Day!" 
Blow Pops: "Sucker for Love!" 

And I gave him the "One Date a Month for a Year." I am SO SO excited about this!! I am a firm believer in David being made to feel special and loved just as I should be made to feel that way. So, I created 11 preplanned, prepaid dates for us to enjoy, and at the beginning of each month, he gets to open the one for that month & it's his choice of when we use it! Some dates are free, and others are ones that require a small fee. I plan to blog about each month's date. Crossing my fingers that happens!

Earlier on Friday I went to Columbus to try and find a decent outfit for our date, and when I came home these were waiting on me! 
"I love you so much, Julie Bug!"
He's into calling me that lately, and I happen to think it's mighty cute!
He also got me a pair of hunting boots I've been eyeing for awhile! He listens so well, and he did way too much for me. 
Oh! And did I mention the tear-jerking card and cute little cow tin full of reese's? The guy knows the way to my heart! Sweet words, chocolate, and COWS!

We waited until Saturday to go on a date since he gets here late on Friday, and we enjoyed some japanese food, Lone Survivor {yep, I went to the theatre} and he even decided to use his February Date and we grabbed coffee at our favorite coffee shop before coming home. 
It was nice to celebrate our love, even though we try to do that every time we are together.

annnnnd on Sunday we did this!

This pew sat at David's MeMaw's house for awhile, and I have always loved it. His mom told him recently that he should go get it and bring it home, and once he did she asked where I was going to put it! So, David brought it to me this past weekend and we spent the afternoon sanding, cleaning, staining and waxing this beauty, and I will cherish it forever. It is such a sentimental piece for David, and I plan to give it lots of love in that future home that we don't have yet! :) 


Happy New Year?

Is it time for an update? I'd say so! I have so much to say, and so many photos to share! Here's to hoping you're not bored.!

New Years: I should have probably given it it's own post, but then again nothing just really eventful happened! We spent the night around David's around the fire and a few good friends came over to ring in the new year. Sadly, I was SO tired by 12 that I just wanted to sleep! Ha! It was pretty cold, too, which kind of made it a little miserable unless you were packed around the fire. 

One thing that WAS great about it was ringing it in with this handsome fella! I am so blessed and excited to be going into 2014 with him by my side, and I want to spend the rest of my New Years Eve's with him -- and every other day for that matter.

Also during Christmas Break we went to see a movie...AT THE THEATER! This is a major deal because I haven't been since the Colorado shooting. I just couldn't go in one. But we did! Granted, it was the middle of the day, but it was fun - and the laughs from Madea's Christmas made it so much easier to forget about being worried.

We spent a lot of days just being outside, enjoying the cool days with the sun shining. We actually rode up to the barn and cranked up all the tractors, etc to get them prepared for the cold. We made a trip down to the pond and watched the ducks - simple day.

A few weekends at David's, his mom and I were checking their deer cameras, and we ran across this bad boy. I killed him and we scared everyone around their house with it -- and I believe we were the only ones who thought it was funny :)

We also got to see these ladies and their husbands that weekend, along with two other sweet ones that aren't in the pic for some strange reason?? Anyway - this was such a great night! The girls stayed inside in the warm, and the boys were by the fire outside, and we laughed and laughed about everything! I didn't know half the people or places that were brought up, but this group always makes me feel like I've known everyone forever. SO sweet! 

We had a few other dates during the break (my favorite are ones where we don't dress up - HA! How awful?!) But we always have a good time! 

Last sunday, mom gave us the great idea to walk the creek! We haven't done that in quite some time, but we decided  to and had SO much fun! (Even though this picture doesn't show it... we got a big kick our of both of us making the same face :) 

Going to the creek has always been something that my dad and I do together, but he was hunting with Matt, so we went by ourselves. It felt weird with him not being there, but I enjoyed taking David along to a place where I have so many great memories with my dad! 

We enjoyed the day! 

By this time, school has started back, but next week is the first week of tests. That will be the 4th week of school. It's so weird that Christmas is over, New Years has come and gone, and really we are closing in on Valentines Day! I am trying to keep that in mind so that it doesn't slip up on us. Ha!

Also, I have a recent interest. Actually, it's been an interest for awhile but I hadn't taken the plunge into it until recently. Daddy was looking for something in my grandma's old hutch and found the above pyrex pan set. I was ECSTATIC! She used to have a ton of pyrex, and since she died when I was too young to know what I would be interested in keeping, it was all given away - or so I thought. In it's original box & everything! 

Which in turn led to this....

and this... 

But there's a sweet story about the above photo too. David took me to Meridian Saturday and spent most of the day going places and looking out for pyrex for me. It's become like an easter egg hunt! I love not knowing what I will find and I can't wait to go places to see if they have any. Ha! I have always been a fan of old, shabby, rustic things, and pyrex is NOT shabby or rustic - it's actually quite the opposite. 
Anyway, I can't wait to display it in my own home someday. Until then, I can't wait to grow my collection! 

Lastly, from this past weekend while we were sighting in a gun - I just have to say that sometimes I feel so happy that I think my heart will burst. We spend so much of our time just bathing in each others presence. We laugh and share so much with each other that it's hard (SO SO HARD) for me to remember or even think about life without David. I don't ever want to. I've never known an emotion quite like this, and I don't deserve to be loved the way that he loves me, but he is such a gentleman, so respectful, and even more than that - he is a friend to me. A genuine, true, honest friend - and that's irreplaceable.

four letters & a heart.