Story of the day

The Life of Mom….

Toughest hood you’ll ever roll through!

Being mom has been the most rewarding, terrifying, exciting, draining, exhilarating, taxing adventure I have ever embarked upon. Marine Corps boot camp was a picnic compared to the stress, work, and insanity of motherhood. And I can say that because I’ve done both!!

I am blessed with five awesome kiddos. I love them all tremendously! They are my greatest joy and my greatest headache. When you decide to have kids, no one ever sits you down and tells you what to really expect.

I earned the title mom one frosty morning in November when my sweet son came screaming into the world. At a young 21 years of age, I was awed and terrified at the little life with big lungs and my eyes. While I may have been young, I was determined to give him the best life I could give him. Little did I know it would include a man who would give him his name and two older siblings!

Just as my little man turned two, we moved into a house we’d call home for the next ten years and my mom adventure shifted from man coverage to zone defense. At 23, mom of three and hilariously out numbered, I had a family and a home.

Three years later, hubby and I welcome a bouncing baby girl making us a crew of six. You know how they say the first one lulls you into that sense of security and the second shows you what parenting is really like? Yeah, believe that. My son was the most chill child ever. Slept like a dream. Ate like a champ. Only cried when wet. My daughter, lovingly known as our hurricane, hated to sleep until the vacuum cleaner ran, refused to eat, and cried because she felt like it. I contemplated pencils in my ears to save my hearing!!!

Now, if you’re really paying attention, you realize I’ve only mentioned four kids. Good job for those who caught it. Everyone else….shame on you! Kidding!! Number five happens to be the best friend of our oldest daughter. She’s been a part of our troop for ten plus years. She comes to family events, spends practically every Friday night here, and is in the family pictures. She’s just as much mine as the two I married into or the two I grew from scratch.

You see, being mom isn’t a walk in the park. Unless your walks in the park involve handling screaming human grenades while cooking thanksgiving dinner for ten in a kitchen with 18 inches of counter space…yeah I did that!! Being a mom is sleepless nights, slamming doors, attitude adjustments, endless laundry, and headaches. It’s skinned knees, science projects, relentless whining, and extra hugs at bedtime. Motherhood is hours of sports practices, moody teens, dinner decisions, and never ending grocery trips. It’s hair cuts, dance recitals, birthday parties, and school plays. It’s punishments, homemade cards, lost stuffed animals, and countless PB&J’s.

It’s an adventure filled with tears, worry, joy, anguish, irritation, happiness, and more love than you can imagine. No one tells you what motherhood is like before you wade in. They let you dive in and get out of it what you want.

Me? I’ve had more joy than I thought humanly possible. More love than I knew a heart could hold. More worry than should be allowed! I love every single moment I’ve had strolling through motherhood. They have made me into the person I am today. Shaped the woman who can bake a stellar cookie while scolding arguing kids and kissing the hubby welcome home.

Moms are amazing. Tough but caring. Strong yet sensitive. Go getters who get it done. So, cheers to all the moms for fighting through the toughest hood out there and crushing it!

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Story of the day

Murky waters

Hard to see clearly to what lies below…

My daughter, goodness love her, is a messy child. It’s taken me eleven frustrating and messy years to realize she simply is what she is. Despite constant reminders, nagging, and bribing, she always leaves a mess in her wake.

Today, she came to me upset because her new favorite hoodie had a stain on it. Never mind the countless others from art projects and trampoline spills. This one was front and center on her pocket, and upset her deeply. Learning from past mistakes in dealing with heightened emotions, I sprang into action.

I took her jacket, scowled at the offending stain, and promised to do my level best to clean her jacket as I ushered her off to school. Super mom dusted off her cape to fight tear-inducing stains today. While she ran off to school, I waged a war on dirt!

I soaked that jacket for two and a half hours. I stirred and scrubbed. I massaged and kneaded. Every single stain was gone, but the one that put that sad look in my sweet girls eye this morning. Eventually, I tossed it in the washing machine in a final attempt at victory.

As I moved to pull the plug on the sink full of murky water, I paused. For reasons I couldn’t quite understand, I felt like that murky water. Grimy. Clouded. Used up. Being a generally peppy person, this thought train bothered me. I sat, staring at a sink full of grimy water and related to it.

I stood in my kitchen and took stock. I realized I haven’t been myself lately. Sure I still laugh like a loon, loud and slightly obnoxious, and I do all the things I normally do. But my typical zest and motivation has been severely lacking. I realized it takes major pep talks from myself just to do things like go for my morning run, clean my house, sit down and write.

It’s been a month since I wrote anything outside of a Facebook or Instagram post. Wow!! For a writer, that’s like slowly bleeding out. My brain feels like that sink of murky water; cloudy, gross, muddled. It’s maddening.

I think it stems from the world around me. Mask mandates limit my accessibility to the world. Stores still demand (yeah I said demand because request implies choice) masks be worn. People give filthy looks of immediate judgement when you smile at them. I’m still seen as a criminal endangering by the lives of others simply by trying to live as best I can.

This world is taking a toll on me. It’s hard to find joy when the world sees you as a monster. I want to grocery shop again. And smile at other people. And feel like a functioning member of society. Instead, I feel like murky, used up, grimy water waiting to be let down the drain.

Who else feels like this?
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Story of the day

I’m so angry I could cry…

And I did…

This past year has been one long ride on the struggle bus. Yet, I’ve somehow managed not to end up medicated or in a padded room. With mask mandates handed down with swift execution, I was effectively remanded to my home. Not by choice.

I have a mask handicap. What the hell is that you ask? Well to sum it up in one sentence, I have childhood sexual trauma post traumatic stress. In plain speak, having my breathing restricted freaks me the heck out to a level of panic attacks.

I managed a mask a few times with the help of my wonderful husband, but I had such horrible internal anxiety attacks that I had migraines for days that followed. I could feel my heart running the marathon of its life. My mind threatened to spiral out of control. If he hadn’t been with me, I very likely would have landed in someone’s hospital.

My state lifted its mandate on masks this week. My heart did a small rejoice. But I remained cautious. People were so comfy in their cloth face coverings. I knew they weren’t likely to immediately let them go. My county lifted theirs and I got a little happier. Finally, I could rejoin the human race. Pick up a few things at the grocery store for that random meal idea. Drop that package off at UPS. Stop depending on my husband to do everything outside because my brain takes a trip down the highway to hell at the thought of a mask.

Nope.

Not happening.

I had the nerve to go to my local grocery store sans mask today. Hubby and I needed to pick up a few things to finish off today’s taco bar. Nothing major right? We were almost done shopping when the manager approached us insisting we put on masks. I nicely replied I couldn’t medically. He insisted.

I shut down. I know myself well enough to know that one of two things would have happened. I would have either started shouting at the insanity that has become our society and their ridiculously tight grasp on the mask that doesn’t help. Or, I would have reverted to my pre-Jesus days and let him know what I really thought in not-so-nice terms.

Instead, I stopped talking. But, my husband, my wonderful, well-versed, incredible husband stood up for me. I wanted to chime in, to stand up for my right to choose, but I couldn’t. The sting of tears told me it I kept quiet. I wasn’t upset…I was angry.

For a year, I’ve had to defend my stance on masks, stay at home, only see people at church or if they came to my house. I followed the rules almost to the detriment of my own mental health. I did what was asked because of the mandate they felt needed to be put in place. And now that those were lifted, I still can’t.

Imagine how you’d feel, Mister Manager, if someone offered you a mask you had shoved in your back pocket so they could comply to a store policy even after they told you they couldn’t wear your mask? Would you take that back pocket mask and put it on with a smile? Would you not feel like a criminal in your local grocery store? Degraded? Made to feel ashamed because you thought you were finally free to feel like a member of society once again?

I could have cut him down to size with words, but I didn’t. I could have continued past him and finished my shopping as if he were no more but an annoying fly, but I didn’t. I could have screamed discrimination against the medically handicapped at the top of my lungs, but I didn’t.

Instead, I bit my tongue, let the tears burn my eyes, and cried silently as I walked out of the store, head held high, because I’m the bad guy who won’t wear a mask.

I only cry when I’m angry…
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Story of the day

Someone watching…

Finally, someone snapped a pic!

I’m a mom. As mom, there are hardly any pictures of me doing my mom thing. I cook, clean and counsel with the best of them. I take time and nurture, love on, and antagonize my kids. I give advice, hugs, and reprimands with equal fervor. But, no one ever thinks to snap pictures of it.

I am constantly snapping pictures of my kids being goofy, loving each other, spending time with their dad, and so much more. My camera has some great shots of game nights and hugs. Wrestling matches and backyard play set fun. But, I’m not in them.

I know that my heart holds the memories of all these moments, but would it kill someone to pull out their phone and maybe snap a candid or two of me in those moments?! Lord knows I have enough pictures for hours of video reels when wedding times start to hit! Unfortunately, mom won’t be in most of them.

However, one of my kids must have heard my small rant a few months ago and listened. We were trying to find a photo of the grand-dinosaur. My grandson thinks he’s part dinosaur so we roll with it. And, I couldn’t help but notice I wasn’t in a lot of the pictures. My husband was there. My kids. My grandson. But no nana. Gets a little frustrating some times. But, hey that’s the mom life. I may have verbally lashed out on my lack of photo presence. I’m human…

As I was scrolling through my phone this week, I found a picture that I didn’t take. My heart tipped just a little bit. Someone snagged my phone and took a photo of me and my grandson at the piano. I was playing and he was “helping”. Finally!!! Someone got a picture of me! Maybe now folks will realize I am a part and not just the documentarian of this circus we live in!!

It’s one of my new favorite pictures because I’m not the one taking it. With any luck, someone will capture more.

My second hands lol
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Story of the day

Ready to ruuuuuunnnn!!

I’m not a runner!

Had you asked me a year ago if I liked running, I would have laughed hysterically. I’m talking side-splitting, tears in the eye, can’t catch my breath laughing!

Running was a torturous activity I complained my way through in boot camp many moons ago. I hated it with a burning passion and vowed never, ever to do it unless something was chasing me or I spotted the last case of cranberry Sierra Mist.

Then January of 2020 hit and I made the horrible mistake of stepping on the scale. After I stopped crying in the shower at what that mean machine said, I vowed to lose weight. By no means did I swear off food because food is my love language! But, I did vow to get my lazy buns in gear and get moving.

Fast forward more than a year and I find myself excited when the hubby has new running shoes shipped to me. Regardless of how tired I am, I haul my hind end out of bed before the sun rises and put in five miles. The scale and I are still not on speaking terms, but my clothes thank me daily because they fit better.

And as I retire yet another pair of running shoes, I chuckle a little at what a difference a year can make. So, maybe I am a runner. Who knew?

Another pair bites the dust!
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Story of the day

I am me….

I am a woman.

Strong.

Smart.

Brave.

Adventurous.

Curious.

Industrious.

The only limits are those I put on myself. But, my greatest challenge isn’t to be the best me possible. Instead, it is to help others grow into their best selves possible.

I work tirelessly to show my daughters that they can be strong, yet kind. They can work hard, yet still take care of a family. That they are more than whatever label this world decides to slap upon them. That they are capable, yet still need help occasionally.

I aim to show other woman that we are all works in progress. That their worth does not lie in the things of this world. That there is the One who will love her as the precise daughter of the King she is.

I try to be the example that success is good, but failure is where the true lessons are learned. That your past doesn’t dictate your future. That you can indeed grow through what you grow through. That tragedy teaches even while it hurts.

I am a woman.

Imperfect.

Testy.

Sarcastic.

Snarky.

Sweet.

Funny.

Giving.

Kind.

Simply put, I am me.

Happy International Women’s Day
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Story of the day

She gets that from me…

And, I couldn’t be prouder!

Today my mini me stepped out of her box. Well more like did a flying jump kick with a half twist out of the box. It was her first time on the big church stage with a mic in her hand.

My girl is adventurous. She has very little sense when it comes to self preservation. She’ll try anything fun at least once. I mean this kid used to flip off the furniture like she was a US gymnast in the Olympics for fun! She’s a little crazy.

But, she does shy away from performing in front of groups. She freaks herself out. Gets all up in her own head and creates an entire scenario of catastrophic proportions before any work is actually done. Knowing her like I do, I was prepared to talk her down and reassure, reassure, reassure.

Something strange happened instead. We sat, waiting for worship rehearsal to begin and my typically antsy child was as cool as a spring rain. All smiles and chatty as can be. Being mom, I could see fear crawling along the edges of her eyes when I handed her the microphone. I refused to let her psych herself out.

I kept her engaged the entire rehearsal. Reassuring hands on the shoulder. Smiles. Encouragement. Tips and tricks. We managed to get through rehearsal unscathed but I knew the moment she had too much time to think we’d be in trouble.

I watched. I waited. And then, I prayed. Simply put, I prayed for her peace. And then, the hour was upon us. Microphone in hand, smile in place, my momma heart soared as I watched my youngest dive into the world of leading worship. She was timid but I could hear her. And it sounded so sweet.

My kids have this crazy tendency to drive me nuts most days. I often tell them I’m going to stick them outside with a sign that reads “free to a good home”. But, there are moments, the ones of immense pride, when you realize for a brief shining moment that they are paying attention. In those moments, all of the lessons you try to teach, the wisdom you attempt to impart, the examples to hope to set shine bright as the sun.

My girl made me so proud today. She did something she wasn’t sure she wanted to do and did it well. If only she’d learn the lesson about using fewer words!

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Story of the day

A very happy unbirthday to me….

With another birthday ticking by tomorrow, I figured I should reflect on the past year. In short, I made it!😂😂🤣😂

In the last year, I watched my granddaughter come into this world, the second person to hold her, the first to sing to her. I will never forget that moment as long as I live.

The world came to a screeching halt and allowed me and my family to reevaluate and take stock of what matters most….each other.

We stayed apart, gathered together, celebrated one another. We grew closer as the days passed by.

I finished writing a book, drafted three others and decided to turn trauma into triumph as I outline the story of my life. I hope it helps others heal.

I took back my health and physical well being. I still don’t like to run, but Terror and I have an understanding. I can run 5 miles, break one heck of a sweat and not die afterwards. I hit 365 days of movement (Thansk Apple Watch for keeping tabs on me). I’ve lost weight, shaped up and got back some of the confidence that gaining and hiding 30 pounds caused me to lose.

I said goodbye to one adventure and started a new one. I may not be a break out business rockstar but I’ve always felt that slow and steady wins the race anyway.

Yup, 37 was interesting. Do I look 37? Nope! Do I feel 37? Only at 515 when I drag myself out of bed to run! Am I looking forward to 38? ABSOLUTELY!!

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I surrender all….

It’s getting hot in here!

I had the incredible pleasure of coordinating an amazing three day event at my church last week. I walked away full, fulfilled, and exhausted! It was worth the thought-train derailments and loss of sleep when all was said and done. I was in my zone, taking care of people in my happy place; my church.

On top of ensuring an open atmosphere for receiving the Word, I also helped usher in the spirit of worship. Music speaks to my soul. Worship music speaks to my spirit.

When I sing in worship, nothing else matters. Every worry, every thought, my schedule all disappear because it’s my time with God. It doesn’t matter if the sanctuary has 50 or 500 in it; when I sing, it’s just me and God.

God and I had an amazing conversation last week. Friday night, during an absolutely amazing worship set, the Holy Spirit moved in that sanctuary. The energy was high. Hands raised. Eyes closed. Heart abandoned. I felt God in that room. I prayed blessings over every one present. I sang thanks to God. I gave everything I had and then gave more!

I love singing to the Lord. It’s an intimate conversation in a room full of people. And I know when His hand is on me. That sudden heat along the spine. Warmth all over. A smile of comfort and love in my heart.

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Story of the day

Writing on the wall

My neighbors probably think I’m insane!

I started plotting a new book yesterday. I pulled out my trusty neon Post It Notes and my pen flew. Before I knew it, another idea covered my office wall. I’m sure my husband walked into the office we share, took one look at the wall, and walked back out. He knows once a story emerges things could get crazy!

Today, I attempted to work in my office. I’m coordinating the details for a three day event in our church and today was the first day. I’ve been fielding emails, text messages, phone calls, and FaceTime calls with the precision of a general preparing for battle. I’m totally in my element!

However, as I’m trying to pry my cell phone out of my hand because I’m quite sick of it, ideas for the book covering my wall start to flow. Thought train has too many engines on the track at this point.

Now, I need music to work. I have to have it. Doesn’t matter if it’s current worship music or nineties hip hop, I need it to keep my mind steady. And I am not afraid to sing out and dance around to said music as it plays and I work.

My office has a lovely, big window that lets in tons of wonderful light. And faces my neighbors back door and my other neighbors back deck. Today, as I’m making notes on my story, I’m dancing around and singing loudly, desperately trying to calm my overtaxed mind.

As I’m breaking it down, I look over and my neighbor is outside with her dog. I don’t know how long she was standing there, but I’m pretty sure she got a great show as I bust a move, making notes on my wall. Too far gone to be embarrassed, I give her a little wave and proceed to go downstairs and switch the laundry.

I laughed for five minutes straight. I laughed so hard my sides ached. Tears ran down my face. If my neighbors didn’t think I was crazy before, they might now!

Writing on the wall!
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