Where Does The Time Go

Today I went with my son on his final field trip in elementary school!! Where has the time gone? I miss him being a little guy, running around playing and the cute little way he use to talk. I mean right now he still acts like an innocent child, but he looks older and he’s almost taller than me! Then there’s the fact that he’s going to middle school!

I can hardly believe that he’s only going to be in middle school for three short years! I feel like now my husband and I are on this downhill slide into our first child leaving the nest! I know I’m jumping the gun a little bit here, but I can’t help it, my mind just zooms to the college drop off scene. Ekk! At one point I thought time was moving so slowly, and I was wishing for the day that he would be the age that he is now!

As I road back on the luxury coach ( a big fancy bus with stairs, TV’s and bathrooms.) I watched My son from a distance, I wasn’t allowed to sit with him, laughing and talking with his friends and I started to miss him. I know it sounds silly since I was watching him like a creeper from two rows over. Even though he was a few feet away, the fact that he didn’t need to be close to me to be comfortable really resonated with my heart. Of course I’m glad that he’s becoming more independent and mature, but I realize that this is just the beginning of many more trips and outings where he won’t want me to sit with him, or hold his hand. (I have to pause and grab a tissue now.)  What really hit me is that he’s becoming a young man, and everything that we do together, every memory that we create is seasoning his life. I’m going to influence the man that he becomes. Thinking of all the ways that my parents impacted my life and help shape the woman that I am, I asked myself am I doing a good job?

What parent doesn’t want to know that their doing it right? We all need to hear that we’re doing a good job and that we’re helping our children and not hurting them, but I think it’s more complicated than a simple you’re right or wrong. The more I think about it, the more I think it’s a lot like baking a cake, you just have to wait and see. We’re not going to know everything all at once and sometimes things are going to surprise us, and we’re not going to know how to fix every problem. That’s why I have a secret weapon, prayer!

Looking at him today and watching how well behaved he was and how respectful and responsible he was made me so proud to be his momma, but it also made me feel like I need to savor these moments more. If anyone comes up with a time machine, let me know!

I hope you ladies are being sure to cherish the time that you have with your little ones, and if your children are in a different phase of life I hope you still treasure the time that you spend with your kids.

Have a great weekend everyone!

The Insignificant Momma

Even though I am an adult and I know that what I do is important and necessary, I still struggle with the feeling insignificant. I don’t know I this is normal or stay-at-home mom’s, women or mothers in general. I think I get so locked in to the daily grind of cooking cleaning, laundry, and picking up children running them to and fro, that I just start to lose my self importance in the act of caring or my family.

It’s funny because I can’t tell you when it started or at one point I decided to throw myself off the family schedule so that I could give that to someone more important, it just happened. I think as I had more children and more and more of my time was required to care for them I just stopped thinking about myself. I recently went to the nail salon for the first time in like eight years!! I know what have I been doing with my life? Well I was having babies, breastfeeding, potty training, surviving deployments, PCSing, and repeat!

I was building the foundation of my family and a strong foundation is critical to any marriage. I threw myself into my role as a wife and a mother wholeheartedly. The best way to sum up what I’m trying to say is with the words of Viola Davis’s character in the movie she says that her husbands personality is so big that he filled up the whole house and then she went on to say something like. “that was my first mistake, I should have made him leave some room for me.”

Wow!!! Those words hit my like a ton of  bricks! In my desire to be a perfect wife and a perfect mother I gave myself up totally and completely to the point that I had let no more room in my life to care for myself. It left me with a void that I ignored and the more that I ignored myself the more insignificant I became to myself.

For example, if I was shopping and I had something in the shopping cart for myself, the kids and Hubby, and I thought whoa, this shopping trip is getting to expensive, I would never put back what I had in the cart for them, I would easily pick myself as the one to eliminate. I learned somewhere along the way that the mark of a great mother is one who puts her self last. I seem to think that a great mother is constantly sacrificing herself and her own happiness for her family. It pains me to admit that I saw my very own mother do this and I admire her so much that I have patterned my parenting style after her example. The thing that I always try to say to myself whenever I catch myself eliminating myself is, “your mother died at 42 because she never made herself enough of a priority.”

Now that’s not a completely accurate statement, but it is partially true. The doctor’s said that she had been suffering with what was later diagnosed as Colon Cancer for at least ten years. Whenever people asked her why she hadn’t gone to the doctor sooner, she would laugh and say,”I was too busy taking care of my girls.” I love my mother so much, but it scares me to think that I could be just like her in that way.  I realize that I’m not okay with being unimportant anymore. I want to be relevant, and I need to make time to pursue things other than my daily Momma grind. I have come to realize that I need hobbies and girl time, work out classes and coffee dates, even though I hate coffee! I need other interest in my life that make me feel important.

I hope that you enjoyed reading this post, and I hope that I inspired you to go and do something that makes you smile or even laugh.

Note to Self

As you know I love to write, I love it so much that I write to myself sometimes in my journal. I want to ask you a question this Friday. If you were to ever write a letter to yourself, future self or past self, what would you say?

Would you give your future self advice, or would you lavish yourself with praise and tell yourself to go with flow because you’re doing a great job?

They say looking back is always clear to see why something happen or didn’t happen, but what about the here and now? I think if I could tell my future self anything, I would say stop moving so fast. I would tell myself to slow down and enjoy each and every moment with my children and my husband. I would admonish myself to live out my memories and stop rushing through everyday racing into the future. I would encourage myself to enjoy my life more.

I would love it if you all could play along and leave something in the comments that you would tell your future self.

Happy Friday Everyone!!

Strength In Numbers

Recently my kids have been arguing with each other a lot, and when I say a lot I mean like non-stop. It finally got to the point where I couldn’t take it anymore, so I called them all to me and made them stand in front of me in the order of their birth.  My intentions were to talk to them about how important it was to respect each other because even though their siblings, that doesn’t mean that they have to be friends. My mother use to tell my sister and me this all the time. It was part of the glue that held us together after she died. Knowing that this is one of the few people on this earth that has some of the same memories that of my mother that I do.

Unfortunately, my little talk ended with everyone crying and hugging each other saying, “I don’t want to leave and go to college Mommy!” You guessed it, my talk went sideways a little bit, but I think that they got the point.

I don’t know why it’s so easy for us to be the cruelest to the ones we love the most. For some unknown reason, we seem to hurt the ones whom we are the closest to everyday. Maybe it’s just human nature to take for granted the value of someone is constantly there for us, consistently adding worth to who we are.

As I was talking to my children I made them each say something nice to every one going down the line. Then I told each of them a strength that I admired about them and that I personally wanted to emulate. I then told each of them how many more years they had to live together until they went to college.  When my oldest son heard that he only had about seven more years to live at home sharing a room with his little brothers. That’s what brought on the tears! It hit each and every one of us pretty hard.

We all started to cry because when you put it like that, it’s a really short time to have someone’s full attention. The message that I was trying to get across to them was understood so perfectly in that moment. I started to tear up and then one-by-one they did too. Everybody piled in and started saying things like, “I’m sorry for being so mean to you,” and “I love you too.” It was priceless, that moment.

I was holding all my children close to my heart and trying to reassure them that they could always come home and that we would always be family, but I wanted them to understand how important it is that we treat one another well. I stressed to them that being a large family is not a troublesome burden, but a wonderful blessing. There is always a friend to play with, a shoulder to lean on, and buddy who knows just what your going through. We’ll always have each other. There is strength in numbers.

Family Fun

We probably all have memories of the time we spent together with our family, no matter if it was good or bad. My Mother came from a very large family, she had nineteen brothers and sisters! I know that puts my five in different light doesn’t it? Needless to say, any family event that they had, my mom’s family, was huge and filled with food, music, laughter and plenty of cousins! My Mom was a very family oriented person, she absolutely loved entertaining and doing things with her sisters and brothers. All of my memories of being with my family when I was younger just bring tears of joy to my eyes. I get all warm and fuzzy inside when I reminisce on my childhood memories of spending time with my family.

I never knew that while I was running around at those family barbecues, playing, getting dirty, eating and  having the time of my life, that someone had planed that and made everything come together.

Behind every great family event there is a whole committee of volunteers. Those same Aunts and Uncles had cooked the food, brought items like paper plates, and napkins. Then there where ones that volunteered to stay late and clean up after everyone, giving us kids time to play in the sunset.

It’s only natural that I would want this to be the goal whenever my children think of our family time together. However, the reality is often full of to-do list, plans, and schedules. I wonder how many times my Mom and Aunts worried over food preparations, or what time the family would arrive? I’m curious to know exactly all the headaches they cured while entertaining a small army?  I seem to get so stuck on all the details of our trips, fun family outings, that it spoils all the fun that I set out to have. I wish I could snap my fingers and just enjoy myself like I did when I was a kid, but I can’t. Now I’m the adult and I have to learn how to balance planning family time with enjoying family time. I can’t think of anything worse than taking a well deserved vacation so that you can relax and enjoy your family, and then working the whole time to have FUN!

I drive my husband crazy with my list and my schedules, but I do it with good intentions. No matter where we’re going I have a schedule and a list of places we should, “squeeze in.”  In the name of, Family time and Family Memories, I have rushed us to several places settling for a quick pic or a fun filled afternoon! We end up coming home tired and worn out, and exhausted from all of our fun family time. What I enjoyed so much as a kid about being with my family was how easy and relaxing it was. Now that I’m an adult I realize how important vacations, family trips, family outings and time together are for the health of your family. We all need balance, even our children, but it’s imperative to remember what’s most important about vacations and trips. Spending time together with the people you love most should not be about scheduling  every second of your time away.

I decided that this year that I would unwind a little bit and stop forcing the fun. I want to enjoy myself just as much as everyone else. I promised myself that I would stop and smell the roses. I can get a little obsessive about the perfect picture or eating at a particular restaurant. I look forward to what can happen when you throw away the to-do list and just go with the flow. I’m a little bit embarrassed to say that I’m the Mom with a whistle on vacation telling everyone ,”If we leave right now we can make it to the bridge for our sunset picture!” I am making this vow right now to loosen up a bit for 2017!

How do you plan to make going on vacation easier for you and your family this year? Let me hear ’em in the comments.

Happy Holidays

I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, a very Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year. I have been debating back and forth on if I will write during the busy holiday season and I think the answer is I’m not sure.

I know I don’t have to explain how busy I am to you all, but I am a very busy momma of five and a busy wife as well. I have very little time to do several things at one, let alone do them well. I think I will take this time to focus on my family and I will be back with fresh new material in January.

Thank you guys so much for all of your support and love that you have shown me, your readership has changed my life. I now have friends in places that I have never even seen before. May God Bless you and cause his grace to shine upon you.  Don’t be surprised if I post a few pictures or cool quotes over my holiday break! I still want to connect with you guys!

See ya in 2017!

Room to Grow

If you would have asked me about five years ago if I would be sending my children to public schools I would have told you very politely, “Absolutely not!”  Why, because I was sold out for homeschooling, my mind was made up, and I could not be persuaded to think any other way. I mean I was convinced that everything about the way I was choosing to live my life was not only right, but perfect. Honestly, for me there was no other way, but when things changed for us I had a really hard time letting go of what I thought was perfect. You see in order to grow, we sometimes have to change our actions and opinions. We’ve all probably heard of the saying, “never say never.” The crazy thing is I was in my comfort zone and I would have never left what was comfortable if God had not forced us out by changing our circumstances.

What I found out the hard way is that being set in MY ways and never wanting to change is the perfect recipe for stagnation. By now we all know that nothing good ever comes from a comfort zone. If you want to learn something new, you have to do something different. However, in order to do something different we have to come out our comfort zones, and not only that we have to give ourselves some room to grow.

Whenever I look back on the things that I thought about having children or being married I realize that I put so many limitations on myself, my family and my marriage. The things that I said and the words that I used really limited me and weighed me down.

Seriously ladies, it was so hard for me to send my kids to public school at the time that did, because I had always said that I wouldn’t do it until they were in middle school at the very lest. I don’t even have enough room to tell you guys all the crazy things that I said and changed when the rubber met the road. Life is full of ups and downs and sometimes we start out intending to go one way, but then after we’ve lived a while and gained some experience we have to make some changes. We have to learn how to roll with the punches.

I just wanted to share with someone out there that it’s okay to realize that what worked perfectly two years ago doesn’t fit so well with who you are now. People change and we grow out of things that we thought would last a life time and that’s how life should be. It’s boring to stay the same right?

Truthfully, this is something that I’m still struggling with myself. Even though I know this about life and personal growth, change is still really hard for me to deal with at times. I don’t mean change like a different route to the mall, or switching the couches around either. I mean things that challenge my core values or long held beliefs that I have about myself and who I think I am. It’s harder for me to except that I can still be me, and change my position on something that I thought would never go out of style with me.

Let me ask you all the same question; are you giving yourselves room to grow? Do you ever think back on things that you once deeply believed and laugh because you see things so differently now? How has your perspective about life changed as you’ve added more real world experience? I want to hear about it from you in the comment section.

Also before I go I just want to thank all the readers here in the states and internationally as well. I love seeing that people as far away as Australia, Italy, Spain and South Africa are reading my blog!  Please leave a quick shot out and let me know you’re here! I can’t wait to hear from you!

A Firm Foundation

In my last blog I shared with you all about how I feel like I can barley keep up with my life these days. I have been really into listening to the bible on my phone while I get ready in the mornings or an inspiring message from one of my favorite televangelists. This morning I was listening to a message about how important it is to have a firm foundation. He made the point that before we can become what God wants us to be He has to build a firm foundation first. The best way to do that is with adversity and character building problems for us to work through.

The more I thought about how my family is transitioning right now and how we are working hard to overcome the challenges that we face, the more it dawned on me that God is creating in me a firm foundation. I mean there can be no other explanation for all the drama I’m going through right? Okay, I’m kidding, but I really do think that God could be using my trials to help create a strong foundation for my family and myself as well.

You know when I think of some of the things that I have been through in my life and the fact that it was difficult to experience at the time, but I am a much better person because of those trials. I was talking to my little sister today and we were just  reminiscing about the dark days after my mom died and I felt like my life was over. However, it was during that time that I became a woman. The moment they rolled my mother out of my house on a stretcher and put her in the back of an ambulance, I was done being a child. I grew up that day in my yard watching her body being driven away.

We use to think that or Mom was so strict, but after she died everything that she taught us, came bursting through. Not only did my sister and I graduate from high school but, we went away to college and graduated from there too. We got married and had children; and yet, I know none of that would have been possible had she not been the no nonsense type of Mother who pushed us to be the best and never accepted less from us girls. Don’t get me wrong we had a great Mom and a pretty great childhood, which is why I feel so grateful to God that I had her to help create my foundation.

Now, even more things have been added to me, and some of them were good, some not so good. The reason why I’m sharing this with you is because now that I’m a Mother and a Wife I realize how important it is to have a firm foundation. It could be, that in your family the foundation is being built right now, and that is not always a bad thing. It’s so hard to endure trouble and weather the storm, but we have to remember that it’s all working together for our good. You see when you have the right foundation whatever you build on that foundation will be more secure. That house that is built upon the rock will be able to withstand the test of time.

That does not exempt the house with the strong foundation from being beat upon by the winds and waves. In fact sometimes it might feel like every storm comes your way to test the strength of your bonds, and to try the reigns of your heart.  However, all those trials do not destroy the rock, they simply remove all the hardness, and take away the rough places. I would even say that they help make the rock beautiful.

It just recently dawned on me that everything that was put in my foundation has a purpose and helped to make me a better woman. Every storm, every test and trial, contributed to the person that I am still becoming. I do hope at some point I can look back and say, “thank God those days are over!” Although a small part of me might miss these days having young children and being relatively young myself, I will always have the memories of being a young family.

Overcoming My Fear of Success

As you can see in the picture I have finally completed my very first novel! It’s called Victorious in Love and it’s about a 27-year-old widow who goes to Montana on vacation to get away from the steroid scandal that her dead professional football player husband left behind for her to deal with when he died. An unexpected blizzard forces her to stop at what she thought was a friend’s house. However, the house belongs to 32-year-old Cord Law, a broken veteran who came home to Montana to heal from his wounds and to hide from the world. When Victoria walks into his home she turns his whole world upside-down. They come from different backgrounds, different races, and different walks of life, but they soon discover they don’t want to live without each other. 

“I love this story so much and I can’t believe I wrote it sometimes, and to be honest I almost never even finished it. When my husband and I got married I wanted to be a great wife to him and a great mother to our children.”

For me that meant me staying at home with our children and I could not imagine doing it differently. As time went on I began to only see myself as acceptable if I was confined to a box that I made for myself that soon became a stumbling block for me. I thought that if I did certain things differently that my friends and family would condemn me and that I would no longer be giving my family my best. There are so many reasons why I felt this way, but ultimately I became afraid to try certain things because I was scared of succeeding at something other than taking care of my family. I have always loved reading and writing, but I thought I couldn’t do that and be completely dedicated to my family at the same time.

I remember thinking that if I did ever write a book or freelance an article that I would have to hide that or keep it a secret so that my friends wouldn’t know that I was working outside the home. I thought that in order to be a good Christian Wife and Mother I needed to forsake anything that would take my attention away from what I felt God called me to do. Now, I’m not speaking against being a Stay-At-Home Mom, or a Working Mom because I think that every woman has a certain calling and her family needs her to be whatever that is for her family. As funny as it may sound, I was scared of being really good at something, because I didn’t want to be a bad mom.

I actually started writing this book in 2007 while my husband was on his second deployment. I was so excited to finish it, but the closer I got to becoming a published author, the more afraid I became. I wasn’t sure if the book would be successful, but all of a sudden I started to think, “I don’t want this to take me away from my family!” The only thing that I felt I could do was stop writing all together. However in 2014 I started going to a writers group and my flame for writing was reignited. I believe what ultimately caused me to start working on this book again was the strong desire to finish what I started.

I began writing a little here and there in 2014, and then one day I just decided it was silly to be scared of something that may or may not happen. I finally embraced my passion for writing and made it my personal goal to publish my book. I did still plan to use a pin name so that no one would know who I really was, but then I changed my mind. After all the hard work I put in I wanted everyone to know that I wrote this book!

“Starting a blog, writing a book and all the while raising children and being a wife has been a real journey! Nevertheless, even if I could change something I wouldn’t. The road to self discovery has many twist and turns, and sometimes you have to hit a few bumps along the way to get the best results.”

Finally, I would like to thank some very special people starting with, Ms. Gray, my highschool teacher. You helped me in so many ways, but the most impactful thing that you did for me was to always support my descisions. I don’t know how you managed to support me completely, while encouraging me to go after my dreams at the same time, but I appreciate your efforts.

I have to thank my sister Carmellia for just being my shoulder to lean on. God only knows where I would be had I not had your calm, level-headed advise to help guide me. You always help me work through my writers block by sharing a good laugh with me, and you’re never to busy to sing me a song!

I want to thank my BFF, Adena Mitchell, I cry every time I try to come up with the words to say that accurately capture my grattintde. You have been so supportive of everything that I have tried to do, you helped me proof-read, you inspired me and you volunteered to read my whole book several times! I love you girl!

I can’t end this blog without thanking my very good friend, my old college room mate Victoria. I may have never even wrote this book, had we not been having a spirited conversation that night many years ago. Thank you so much dear friend for encouraging me to write my own happy ending and to do what I love. It was you who told me that I could be a Mom and a Writer with no shame. You always pointed me towards my goal and you pushed me to finish this book, so thank you. I love you girl!

I hope you all plan to buy a copy when it is released and I hope you all enjoy it! Even if Christian Romance isn’t your thing, thank you all so much for reading and supporting my blog. You guys have made my heart sing, God Bless you all!

The Non-Social Media

I must confess to you that I am one of those people who just did not take to social media right away. I did not trust the whole, post your pictures and share them with people. I actually was really turned off by the idea of allowing tons and tons of people into my personal life. I was getting so much grief from certain friends and family members about not being apart of the social world, that it started to become a real hot button issue with me. It eventually got to the point that my husband and I had become divided on that subject. I was still firmly against it, and he had come around to the idea of having a social media presence.

Well, as life does, things changed and I had to embrace social media because I began to pursue a writing career and then I started blogging. It became a necessary step for me and it just kind of snowballed and pretty soon hubby jumped into the social media pool as well. Just as I had suspected there are good things about being social and bad things about being social over the internet. The things that I love most all include reconnecting with friends and family that I haven’t seen in ages! I love my family and I love that we get to be in each others lives again even if it’s only digitally right now. My husbands career means that we have to move around a lot ,so I love that I get to keep in touch with my old neighbors and friends from different walks of life.

Now for the things that I don’t like so much, the opinions of every idiot in the whole world! Yes, I said it, there idiots! I can not believe how mean, rude, cruel, and completely inappropriate some people can be to absolute strangers! The power of social media has connected the whole world, we are now only one click away from anyone. You would think that this would mean that people were being more social, but I think it’s had the exact opposite effect on me. I feel like social media has made me want to be less social! When I see the crazy things on my timeline that my so called friends have shared, liked or posted I instantly don’t want to socialize with them anymore. I think I actually liked some people better before I saw their 600 word rant against fill in the blank. (meaning it could be anything, because people are so angry these days and they love telling others.)

I find that with every horror story of how someone used social media to kidnap a child or rob someone’s house, I retreat. I pull back and heavily scrutinize anything before I post it to the internet, to be out in the world forever. On the one hand I think that could be the responsible thing to do, but on the other hand I don’t want to be afraid to share a picture of my baby swimming in the backyard kiddie pool. My husband, post more things about our family than I do, and that’s fine. I just feel the need to be more selective about what kinds of things I share about my family. I freak out a bit more than he does about stuff like that and I accept that.

Another thing that I don’t love about social media is when you feel obligated to like someone’s post because their your friend, but you disagree with what they’ve posted.

I’m curious to know how you guys feel about the allure of social media? How many friends do you have on social media that aren’t necessarily your friends in real life? How many friends do you have on social media that you don’t actually remember ever meeting? I know it can be tricky to decide if you want to hit the like button or not, so how do you decide whether you’re going to share, like and comment?