I’ll make the climb.

Happy Sunday sweet people. Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy. My television and social media timelines were filled wit tributes and scenes from 20 years ago. I don’t know about you but, for me, it’s a little hard to look at. I absolutely remember what I was doing on 9/11/2001. Do you? I remember just being in disbelief when my boss came in to my office and told me what had happened. We then turned the television on and watched it all take place. I remember the fear I felt because you just sit there and look at it and there is not one thing that you can do. Just watch and pray. I remember going to my parents home on my lunch and loving on them. My little sister was taking a nap, she was barely 19 years old, and I just kissed her on the head and cried because I was so thankful for my family. I can’t imagine losing m loved one. Just a normal day for those victims. They got on a plane or went to work and just never came home.

Yesterday, in honor of the 9/11 victims, my same little sister (who is now 39 years old) and I completed a memorial stair climb. Oh my goodness. Do you all have one of these in your area? Let me just say if you do, please attend. It’s not a race, you just go and climb. Our local event is held at Bristol Motor Speedway. Our home of NASCAR in our region. The organizer of our race is a local firefighter who happens to be my friend. He works very hard all year to get ready to put on this event and it certainly is top in its class as far as I am concerned. This year was our regions 7th annual. I wanted to use today’s blog to tell you a little about it in case you get the courage to attend one in your area. Caution: I advise you train a little prior to the event. Go to your local high school and get to climbing the bleachers! I made the mistake last year of not pre-climbing as much as I just ran. Well runners, this ain’t no 5k. The break down is this: 2200 steps. That means 2200 steps up. And you gotta go down to get back up. Honestly the down is harder for me than the up. Yes, I’m old and chunky and I have arthritic knees. But, if you practice climbing once a week then it’s definitely doable. P.S. you wont be able on sit in the toilet the next day without help lol.

The climb starts at about 9:30 am but my sister and I arrived about 8:30. We like to see the other 500 folks that are there to climb. Many many fire departments from the area as well as adjacent states attend as a group. As we stand there in our tshirt, shorts, and tennis shoes we watch these heroic firemen and women put on their full gear, including face masks in a lot of cases to climb a hot 2200 steps. It’s truly humbling to watch them get suited up. Police officers (in full uniform) as well as EMS personnel attend. It’s truly something to see. The opening ceremony consists of reminders of the time frame that there was impact at the towers, the pentagon, and in PA. There was a prayer from the fire department chaplain, bagpipes serenading amazing grace, presentation of our beautiful flag, and singing the national anthem. If those few tributes don’t tug at your heart strings and make you proud to live in the greatest country on earth then just wait, there’s more……..Sorry that sounded like an infomercial lol.

We began our climb on the outer stairwell of the speedway. At each platform there are pictures with names of the fallen hero’s who ran into a crumbling building to try to save the lives of the people in the twin towers. Color photos and their names. Y’all tears just fell as I struggled to get my breath trying to climb. Once we entered into the stands, with the heat just smothering you, all that you here are the 911 calls from the rescuers to dispatch dictating what is happening inside those towers 20 years ago. Y’all it is unreal. Marching and climbing up stairs with a fireman in full gear in front of me and another behind me carrying a firehose with the names of the fallen firefighters written on it. You keep pushing. If they can do it so can you. It motivates you. Up and down 4 times and then you repeat it for a total of 4 cycles. You just do it. You take a break when you need to but, you keep climbing. You want to quit and struggle to keep your legs from cramping, but you keep climbing. Each climber carried a small badge on their clothing with a photo and a name of a rescuer who lost his or her life. Each cycle you complete you look at that badge and you look at the photos posted in the stair wells and you feel how blessed you are and you just keep climbing. YOU JUST KEEP CLIMBING! The difference is, I got in my car and drove home. The man on my badge lost his life 20 years ago yesterday. He was someone’s son, brother,husband, and father. Think about it. You would have kept climbing,

When you finally finish (it took my little and I about 88 minutes to complete the climb) you walk over to a stage where a local fireman gives you a microphone so that you can say the name of the brave soul on your badge. You then ring a big bell in his/her honor. I struggled to say his name. Yes, I was tired and my legs were complete jello but, more than anything, I was saying the name of the man that was so brave that he gave his life for other humans. I was so grateful to say his name. Well if you read this entire blog you see now why I will ALWAYS make the climb. This is the second year for myself and my little sister to participate in the 9/11 stair climb in my town. I can promise that it won’t be my last. As long as I can put one foot in front of the other I will participate. And you should too. It is the most rewarding, humbling “race” that I ever do. And even though there’s no cut off time or first place, it’s truly a race against yourself. Your grit, your endurance, your emotions, and your heart will thank you.

One more little thing and yes I know this has been a long blog but the occasion deserved it. Remember 20 years ago after this tragedy happened? Remember how much love you were able to pour out from sheer thankfulness that you woke up the next day? All that love you showed your family and people in general…… that love is what you should be showing everyone now and always. For those who wanna know, I burned 1000 calories today in that climb and my step counter calculated over 6900 steps. I was at peak heart rate of 172 more than once as my watch went nuts wanting me to stop. Talk about a workout. It put a run to shame. Have a wonderful evening and much love to you all. ❤️Always

This is who we climbed for 💚
We did it! My partner in pain.
❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Take a breath

Hello friends. I hope y’all have had a lovely week. Whew what a whirlwind of a few months it’s been. I don’t know about the rest of you but I’m exhausted. Mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted. Sometimes we get that way and that’s okay. As I write this blog I’m listening to music by Lauren Daigle. I just love her voice and I feel like I get a better message listening to her lyrics than I do a church service sometimes. Do you ever feel that way? I sure do. If you like contemporary Christian music and have never listened to her words go listen. Your won’t regret it. Today all i can hear are her words to the song “Salt & Light”. It just lets me know that it’s perfectly fine for me to lean on my God. Its okay to call upon him to help me through times of trials, fear, and exhaustion. It’s okay for you to do the same. Lean on your God. Lean on the person that cares for you most. Lean on your significant other. It’s okay to just “take a breath”.

Y’all know by now that I live in the beautiful area of East Tennessee. It’s becoming my favorite time of the year and the trees are just about to embark on an unbelievable change in color. A canvas of beauty will drape our area in just a few weeks. I get giddy just thinking about it. Usually I already have my fall decor out and my house has been turned in to a pumpkin spice/apple smelling tribute fall. Well, this year I’m a little late on everything. A little late on decorating and the excitement. Right now in our area we are completely consumed with Covid. I mean our area hospitals are almost full. There are so many people sick and I have a lot of friends whom are suffering. It’s such a frustrating worrisome time here in my wonderful home town. I look at it and I want to just scream and know why can’t we get back to normal? Our kids are masked up, there’s fear to go to large gatherings, you’re afraid to love on people, and our nurses and doctors are completely exhausted. I hate it so much that it makes me want to just cry. But……I step back and tell myself “take a breath”.

I know most people feel the way I do right now. I know you expected to read a wonderfully positive blog from me and guess what? Here it is. Yes, we’re in another spike of what seems to be like this never ending pandemic but, do you know what Covid hasn’t talked from us? Our ability to adapt and love how we can. This week I had my dental check up with my sweet hygienist and we had a great talk. Yes, we talked with her hands in my mouth. I learned to do that very well as I worked as a dental assistant for 23 years lol. Anyway, her sweet daddy is a pastor and has been for 65 years. She told me that she had been so worried about making his sick so, each time she had an exposure she would stay away from him. Until one day (read this part twice) he told her “look I’m old and if it’s my time to go I will go. What I won’t do is not be around my family because of this virus.” Hmmmmm. Think about it. For me, this time period has made me so much closer to my family. I’ve been around my elderly momma every few days and I’ve talked to my siblings almost every day. I cherish the time with my son and I’ve fallen even more in love with my husband. Maybe that’s the reason for all of this. Maybe it’s a wake up call to be a better person and to love people even harder because we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. Maybe it’s to show us how quickly someone can be taken away from us. Maybe it’s showing us that we need to “take a breath”.

That sweet little preacher man stands in his pulpit on Sunday and loves his congregation. He doesn’t fear because he ultimately realizes how precious life is. I realize I should mirror that. I just want you to know it’s okay to feel exhausted right now. For whatever reason it’s okay. This pandemic didn’t take away our heart. It just made us use it a little more. Today, when you feel anxious and frustrated, walk outside. Look up at the beautiful sky. Feel this beautiful life and take a breath. Have a wonderful Friday. ❤️Always

Wear the dress!

I hope that everyone is having a great start to their week. Mine has been just so busy already and that’s okay. That’s how I roll! Tonight I wanted to talk about a subject that is so dear to me. This subject may not hit you fellas the way that it does the gals. Actually I say the gals when truly I hope that no one can read this blog and relate but my gut tells me there are too many of us to count. I wanna talk about self image and self love. Now before you roll your eyes and log off just hear me out. This is something that I struggle with so often and I think other folks do as well. Lately, I have been reading many posts about this same situation. I’ve also come across so many books and workbooks about self care and self love that I was beginning to think it was a sign. So lets get to talking about this and get a few things out in the open.

I want to tell you story about a gal I know pretty well. As a young little girl she was tee tiny. I mean so skinny the child’s knees were bigger than her legs. She had the metabolism of an Olympic athlete. She ate like a pig. Pizza, hot dogs, donuts, and as much bread as she wanted. The poor child couldn’t gain weight. Such a little squirt. So much so that her big brother called her “worm” as a nickname. She came by it pretty honest. Her daddy was tall and had a small build however; he would put on some weight from time to time. She also had a papaw that was a itty bitty man. The kiddo just got those “genes”. Have you ever known a child this way? I’m sure that we all do. My son, even though he is now a grown 6’1” youngin has that same stature. I have never seen anyone eat the way that he does and not gain an ounce. Now don’t get me wrong, he’s a worker. As Ive said before, he works in the heat and cold on a horse farm and its hard hard work. He sweats off probably double the calories that he takes in. I look at kids with this ability to gorge in food and not move the scale and I just think “you wait till you hit 30. Let’s watch you spread” lol.

Fast forward a bit and lets get back to the gal that I know that was all skinny Minnie. During her middle school years she was still super small. She ran cross country and tried out for cheerleader (she didn’t make it. Her cartwheel was less than graceful lol). She ventured on to high school and met a guy 3 years her elder and they began “courting”. This guy loved to eat. Almost as much as she did. They were completely what today you would call “foodies”. After eating plenty of take out food and enjoying every second of it she went from a size 8 to a size 16. She had never owned a weight problem. Ever! Until her junior year in high school. She wasn’t running anymore but she was a singer and in the “show choir” and they were GREAT. They won a lot of competitions but the issue was, the dancing was hard. She was fat. People made fun of the heavy girls. They weren’t attractive. She had to get the weight off but had no desire to do it the right way. Here’s where it all went down hill. She stopped eating. In fact what she did eat she would puke back up. I believe that’s called bulimia. Eventually she was a size 3, her hair was falling out in clumps, she was bruising very easily, and her parents were worried. Her daddy so much so that he bought her a charm bracelet with a fork, spoon, and knife charm to remind her to eat. It had gotten to the point that she basically could keep a KFC biscuit down a day. One plain biscuit or a half of a grilled cheese. Yes, there are girls that feel that way. They take drastic measures to fit in. To feel adequate. Good news is she got better. Thanks to two very loving parents and a pretty swell doctor. She graduated high school at a beautiful size 8. Healthier and emotionally happy. She was very lucky. Some girls don’t get that lucky. Still small or big she saw her faults when she looked at herself in the mirror. Her arms were fat. Her butt was big. Her thighs were large and she hid behind baggy clothes

Several years pass and she is married and has a brand new baby. She is a stay at home mom for a year and right back to working herself a ton, taking care of her child, and loving food. Maybe a little too much food. She ballooned to a 210 pound momma by the time her son was 5. There was a ton of fear and disappointment in herself. She didn’t know what happened. She just knew that it needed to come off and this time she needed to do the right thing. One day while she was working, her coworker asked if she knew anyone that wanted to buy a treadmill. $100.00 later and a lot or coaxing of her husband, the treadmill was in her dining room. A lot of research, a trip to the grocery store, and one last “big” meal she began her journey. She began a low carb life style and started on the treadmill with the ultimate goal of running from her house to her parents house which was a mile. When she first began she could run (at 15 mile pace) for 1 and a half minutes. That’s it. But she did it and she walked. Every day she added more and more seconds until finally she did it. She ran to her mommas. She cried when she got there then her mom drove her back home. Lord knows she wouldn’t run back. That older girl sure wasn’t the cross country team member she was in her younger years. Almost a year after that start she was at 140 pounds, healthy and ran not only a half marathon and a full marathon but also a ultra marathon where she completed 33 miles. It was a huge accomplishment for her. She was proud but, every time she looked in the mirror she saw her “ugly parts”. Her arms looked fat. She had a big butt. Her thighs were big and she hid behind baggy clothing.

Folks (ladies especially) don’t we all go through things like this? No matter how small or large we are we look in the mirror and we find our faults. We see our bad parts instead of looking at the good. Here’s the truth. That gal that I just told you about. The one that suffered with not being able to gain weight when she was little and almost wasting herself away to loose weight. Well that girl was me. Yep that’s right. That story that you just read was my journey. It was me. Yes, the gal that you read her blogs and (hopefully) find a encourager and someone always on your side. I battled. I struggled. Guess what? I still do. I am now 42 years old and truthfully my life is probably half over. I mean I won’t lie I hope I live until I’m 104 like my great granny but…….only if I can be the mean old lady in the nursing home that steals everyone’s dentures. Kidding! It has however; made me realize what is important. And all I can say is FINALLY!! I have hated my self image for most parts of my life. Until now. I am 5’7 and I weigh 165 pound. Yea I will tell you my weight. I’m not afraid. What I want to say is this. I try every day to make healthy choices. I recently began a points system with weight watchers and I like it so far. I don’t feel deprived or hungry so that’s a plus. We are yet to know if it will actually help me loose and weight and if it doesn’t that’s completely okay. Yes, I would love to loose 20 pounds. Yes, I would love to be 100 percent comfortable in a string bikini (lol not really). Baby steps people.

A few weeks ago I actually wore a sleeveless dress to dinner. I know for many this is nothing. But for me its a pretty big deal. I still see the big arms, the big butt, and the thick thighs when I look in the mirror. But, I also see a woman who is grown. Who has raised her son to be a good man. Who loves her husband and is so happy in her marriage. Who works like crazy and doesn’t have idle time. I see a woman who has a huge heart and makes it her goal to make others feel appreciated, accomplished and loved every day. I see a woman who exercises because she loves the therapy it gives her body and her mind. I see me. I see a person that God made completely different from every other single person in this world. I have a life that I am proud of. So yes I’m gonna wear the dress. And be confident in it.

For those of you that struggle with self image and self love, please know that even though you only see the flaws there are so many things completely beautiful about you, You walk out of that house and adjust that crown. Take care of yourself and honor your temple. Make small changes if you can. Be as healthy as possible and get a little exercise even if its going for a walk. More than anything you are beautiful and so loved. Get out there and for God’s sake wear the dress. This little life is too short not to. ❤️ Always. P.S. Yes I was scared to write this post. It’s pretty personal. And yes I cried while I wrote it but, it was too important to make you understand how beautiful you are and you are not the only one that struggles. XOXO

It’s a date!

Woohoo its the weekend. The favorite part of my week. I hope you are enjoying it as much as I am. I am lucky enough to be able to have weekends free and clear with my family. My husband in particular. It’s nice that he works the same hours as I do. Now I wont say it’s uninterrupted time. Between my other side hustles and his band we stay pretty crazy. So much so that a couple of months back I looked over at him and realized we weren’t spending as much time together as I thought we needed. We talked about it and he agreed. So we made a plan. Before I go into it I just want to say ahead of time that it has been the absolute best thing that we as a couple have ever done. Talk about a reset. A chance to fall in love all over again in a different period of our life (yes we are getting old). You should give this a try with your significant other. It will bless you beyond measure. I truly never thought I could feel like a teenage that goes on a date ever again but, I do. And he does too.

Several month back my little sister and her new fiancé, which we love big, ordered a date night book. The book came with a scrapbook where you take photos of your dates and paste them in. Each page has a scratch off date idea. So you have no clue what you are getting. Guys, I laughed at those two ever time they would do one. It looked like so much fun. Some of the dates were absolutely hilarious and others more romantic. I couldn’t wait to hear about their dates. She and I are super close, she’s my best friend really, and she would send me photos along the dates and I would just be so jealous and so happy that she was living this fun. I don’t want to give them all away in case some of you have his particular date book but one was for them to go to a thrift store and pick out an outfit for each other to wear to dinner. Oh my goodness. I prayed for Matt (her fiancé) to buy her an outfit straight outta little house on the prairie. Bonnet and all blahhaha! You can see that I would be very mean when it came to this date but,,,,,,, him being the nice guy that he was, bought something that I wouldn’t care to wear any ole day. The wore it to a fancy restaurant and had a great laugh as they ate their dinner.

One evening on our run I talked to my little about that book. Y’all, its pretty pricey. It does however include a camera and the scrapbook. The camera is a tiny Polaroid which is just nostalgic enough for me to love it of course. After getting home from our run I had discussion with my husband about the expense of the product and decided, for us, it wasn’t worth it. Each time after this point that they went on a “date” I just couldn’t wait to hear about their experience. It was exciting to me and I wasn’t even the one participating. So kudos to the folks that came up with this idea. You’ve got my vote for best idea since sliced bread lol.

Jump forward several months. Like I said earlier we are busy people. I mean pedal to the metal every day. So late one evening while sitting in our living room, I looked over at my husband, my best friend, and realized I was beginning to get to comfortable with seeing him a few exhausting minutes every night. It just had no meaning. I needed more. Once we talked, so did he. Communication people. You gotta have it. Please don’t get me wrong. I am madly in love with my husband. I still get butterflies when he stops by my office to deliver a package. He still makes all other men look like a big blur. I guess I’m just lucky that way. Still, I needed more. We were becoming old and very comfortable with time spent apart and busy. We opted not to buy the version of date night that my sister and her feller bought because I would rather spend my extra monies on dinners out and vacations. We are planners and savers for special things. After a ton of Pinterest looking I decided to make a date night box on my own. I consulted my hubby for tons of input. I put date ideas in there that we both loved as well as ones that were more important to the other one. My husband wasn’t too happy about the thrift store idea or the pottery painting but its in there. I wasn’t as keen as a night in where he played the drums and I sang (not that I don’t like it but that’s normal for us). We’ve vowed to have a date a week. And for a month and a half now we have succeeded.

Ready to jump in and start dating your special someone again? Buy the date book or if you are a cheapo like me here’s what I did. Feel free to copy my idea. I went to the dollar tree and purchased a good sized box. I also bought colored index cards which I cut in to strips. On each strip I wrote the date ideas that we had. Talking about what to put in the box was sort of like a date in itself. Hint, put the ones in there that the opposite person isn’t too keen on. Put ones in that you don’t particularly care for as well. It’s part of give and take. Mix them up really well. Each Wednesday evening my husband scrambles the folded papers round and picks our date for the week. This gives us a few days to prepare. Put some overnight stay dates in there as well. We haven’t drawn one of those yet but when we do, we will plan a nights stay for a few weeks out and draw another date for that week. And I must also say that he hasn’t drawn one of the dreaded ones that he didn’t want yet. I think he secretly went through and removed to potter and thrift store one lol.

I cant explain how great this has been for us. It is so much fun and I swear my husband loves it more than me. If you are unsure of ideas I will list a few of ours but you can always google date ideas or use your go to Pinterest. There are tons of ideas. And don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of extra funds to go around. There are plethoras of very cheap or even free dates. And you can do them once a month, a quarter, or even weekly. Depending on how much time you have. No excuses. There’s a little bit for everyone.

Here are some quick ideas: Go for a picnic in a park. Go out for a night of dancing. Get dressed up and go to dinner. Go to a play. Go to dinner and the movies. Go paint pottery (eeeek). Make dinner together. Cook an international dinner. Make a ice cream sundae bar. Make a fire pit and s’mores. Go to the thrift store and buy each other outfits to wear to dinner (my favorite idea except really do it. I mean they have Christmas sweaters that you can make your soulmate wear in the middle of summer or even Elvis costumes lol). Rent a convertible and go for a long drive. Jump in and have fun. We certainly have. ❤️ Always.

Our long drive with the top and doors off. Look at that precious smile!
Never too old for a brewery with games!

But, we do judge a book by its cover!

Oh happy day…..It is Friday! Woohoo bring on the weekend with hopefully no alarm clocks for us all. There’s nothing like not hearing my phone ping at 5:30 am. For tomorrow I will sleep in lol. Wishful thinking as I never do. It’s the thought of no alarm that counts. It’s those little things that I appreciate so much.

Every week day I spend my time with a bunch of fellas who help folks leave a legacy by providing financial planning through investments and life insurance. I spend about 8 hours with them every single day. Is it the truth that we spend almost more time with our work family then we do with our families at home. Count the sleep time and I promise your coworkers may know you more than the loved ones at home. Today I was talking with one of the fellas and I realized a little something. Even though I try really very hard not to, I do often judge a book by its cover. I used an example of a salesmen in my discussion. This about this (or “picture it, Sicily 1922 lol. Just kidding its not a golden girls story), a gentlemen walks in to a car dealership to purchase an automobile. He’s very well dressed, clean shaven, and smells of the latest cologne trend which he thinks makes him smell like money. All the salesmen want to take care of the guy. I mean they are bound to sell him the nicest car on the lot. After all he would look just perfect it in. He would “fit” the bill to drive the ultra expensive car. The salesman takes him on a test drive and he’s certain that in about an hour (or 7 if you live around here. Our dealerships are slow as molasses”) he’s gonna get a good commission check in his pocket. They go to the office and the games begin,

Now imagine the same day, same group of salesmen. Same car lot. A little old beards man walks in wearing bibbed overalls. His hair is down his back and his beard is yellow from all the cigarettes he smoked. He smells of heat and dirt and a little cow manure. They salesmen hang out in the cool while the little man walks around the lot looking for a truck. As he starts to walk toward the building, the salesmen disappear as quickly as possible and the 3 that are left draw straws to see who the unlucky one is that gets to help the little smelly man. In their eyes, he gonna be a waste of time. Even if he finds a truck it will have to be the cheapest one on the lot and it probably wont even be a sale. The lone salesman takes his for a test drive in a big dual wheel truck then basically tells the poor fella that he probably cant afford it.

Skip ahead a bit. You’ve got two gentlemen sitting in two offices trying to make a “deal”. (By the way, new cars are never a deal. They are gonna rip you off a little). Mr. “I look like I got it all” in one room and Mr. “I work hard for a living” in another. Do you know where this story is headed? I’m pretty sure you do but, I’m gonna tell you anyway. After a ton of time and wheeling and dealing Mr. perfect leaves with his head low. No vehicle, no commission. He was loaded with debt and can barely make his bills. He’s a month behind on everything. He’s currently in a lease that he cant get out of and it’s about to get ugly when the payment triples in a month. The salesman is floored and is defeated.

Next door, the salesman who always gets the unwanted customers and who drew the short straw is talking to the little stinky man. He’s in awe of what he is learning from him. The little fella is a book of knowledge about almost everything. He even negotiates a price that is a little more fair with the salesman. When the salesman says “now your old truck out there will only get you about $2000.00 of trade in value”, the little man just simply says “I never told you I was trading my old truck in. I will be keeping it”. After a ton of trips back and forth negotiating the price,the salesman gets all of the paperwork out for the financing. The little man stands up and gets an envelope out of his pocket. He proceeds to pay the salesman in cash. Not only that, he leaves his new truck in the parking lot until the next day when he can get his wife of 50 years to bring him back to pick it up. And by the way, he bought the brand new, 4 door, dual wheel truck.

And here’s the rest of the story. How many time are you the salesman racing to the individual that you “think” has it all. How many times are you making time to personally get to know the ones that appear to be less fortunate. Not everything is how it appears on the outside. That person that walks in for the interview that doesn’t “fit the bill” may end up being the best employee that you’ve ever had. That little man that appears to have nothing is probably one of the smartest people you’ve ever met and he’s probably got envelopes of money hiding all around his house. That man that appears to have it all may not have it together one little bit. On the outside people “appear” to be something when truly they are just who they are on the inside. So, don’t judge a book by its cover. Just because a persons path isn’t the same as yours doesn’t mean it is wrong. We all put our pants on the same way every day. Some pants are hand me downs and some are fresh pressed and bought at the fancy department store but, they all go on the same way. Don’t be a judgin. That little smelly man knows more that you or I will ever learn. Have a great weekend. Many blessings ❤️ Always.

I’m out..and that’s okay

Good Thursday night all. We’ve almost made it to the weekend and I couldn’t be more excited. This week has been full of just “stuff”. Enough busyness going on to leave me exhausted mentally and physically. I’m sure that you all experience that from time to time. It makes you look forward to a little down time. We wish our life away by looking forward to the weekends but, for me, sometimes my weekends are busier than my work week. This week will be no less than that. Life is so good and I’m so blessed but man I get tired.

Have you ever noticed that when you have a million things on your plate to do that it effects almost every aspect of your day. I am what you call a planner. I plan everything. I mean everything. I carry a day planner with me every day and if you looked at it you might just think I am a little crazy. You might be right. It may appear that I am very organized if you flip through the pages of that day planner when really I am naturally the opposite. I have a tendency to forget things. If I don’t have things written down in front of me I certainly will forget. Most of you know that I make cakes and cupcakes. It’s a hobby and a love, not a job. People order from me often because I don’t over change, I deliver locally, and well, I’m not bragging, but they are really good. Several months ago I was sitting at my “real” job when I get t text message from my cousin that says “I am in town, what time can I meet you to pick up the cupcakes”. That’s not an odd text. In fact I get texts like that most every day. The problem is, I forgot to make them! You see, I didn’t write it down in my planner which meant as soon as I talked to her about it two weeks prior, I gave it not one more thought. I was sitting there in a huge panic. Thankfully she was my cousin and didn’t actually “need” them until the next night. From that day forward, my big 8X10 planner went everywhere I went. On the outside some of us may seem like we have it all together when really there’s been a huge mess up that has caused us embarrassment which made us do things a little better from that point forward. Check on your friends that seem to be planners and organized…….we are not okay lol!

I am now and have always been a gal who doesn’t like idle time. My down time is literally about 30 minutes in the later evening whenI sit and blog, read, listen to records, or diamond paint (if you haven’t diamond painted before give it a try. It’s cheap and fun and just so relaxing. The finished product is also beautiful.). For me it is a mental healer to stay busy. I hit the floor running every single day and I don’t regret a single second of it except for when I get exhausted. Yes, I get completely mentally, and physically exhausted. Often we get so busy that we keep ourselves awake at night thinking about what all we did or need to do. Do you do that? I do too. And we need to STOP IT. My brain has a hamster that won’t get out of the wheel at about 3 am and it is ridiculous. A few weeks ago I read an article about what a toll not sleeping has on your body. “Your body needs a minimum of 6.5 hours of sleep to simply function. 4 of those hours need to be deep sleep”. I mean for real???? I am lucky to get 4 hours total. Forget deep sleep. I could hear a piece of hair hitting the floor when I’m trying to sleep. 6.5 hours of sleep…..In my dreams (no pun intended). Seriously though, it’s nothing to joke about. Not sleeping enough can cause a rise in blood pressure, blood sugar, and inflammation. That’s just 3 of the side effects. Reading on it explained to link between sleep deprivation and hair loss, weight gain, lazy gut, heart palpitations and so much more. I mean, at this point I outta be in pretty bad shape. SOOOOOO what’s the solution. I don’t have one lol. I can tell you what helps me is to write before I go to sleep. Get all of those ideas, thoughts, anxieties, and worries down on a piece of paper. If I get it out it keeps me from thinking about it at 3 am. Now you could also take a sleep aide but, you also know that I do not like medication so get you a notebook and a good pencil. It will make you feel better.

This week has probably been one of the mentally busiest Ive had in a while. Earlier I told you I hit the ground running every day. Well that lovelies, is the honest truth. And I go until bed time. I get so excited about my planning and checking todo’s off my list. It’s very fulfilling. Then all of the sudden, just as heavy as Thor’s hammer, BAM! Exhaustion. Y’all its good to work. It’s important to be productive. It’s satisfying to mark off the to do’s. However; it’s also extremely important to rest. And P.S. don’t feel one ounce bad about it. Tonight my body said “old gal this body is tired and you are finished”. After dinner, I was sitting talking to my sweet husband when I just couldn’t hold my thoughts together. Immediate brain fog and it was like I had amnesia. I couldn’t remember a single thing that I needed to do. With that I looked at my hubby and said “okay I’m out, and that’s okay”. He looked at me and just said “absolutely, go get comfortable and get some sleep”.

What I wanted to drive home with tonight’s post is, if “you’re out, its okay”. Don’t allow yourself to be so busy that you completely exhaust yourself. Besides, you cant do good and take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself. Your body is your temple. Protect it and rest it so that it will perform the way you need it to. It’s okay to sleep, take a break and relax when your precious body says “nay, nay we aren’t doin this no more”. So for tonight, before 8:30 pm, I’m out and that’s okay. Have a wonderfully blessed evening. Take a moment and write those thoughts down so they don’t wake you up. Grab your cozies and curl up. It’s okay to rest. Love, Always

They grow up

Hello lovely friends. I hope your summer is going beautifully. Mine sure is. June and July just happen to be two of my very favorite months. Yes, because it’s summer but, more so because two of the most important people in my life celebrate their birthdays. My son was born in June and my husband in July. It makes for great birthday parties in the middle of summer. I can’t say that big fat and pregnant in the middle of the heat was much fun but, it sure was worth it. It’s hard to believe that 19 years ago last month I weighed 100 pounds more than I do now and my little blessing was born. Isn’t it funny how time just flies by when you don’t want it to. Oh how I wish my 6’3” boy was still the little baby that I use to rock to sleep every night. Don’t wish your life away people.

You know those days when youre sitting at work and you are just ready to go home? If you are like me, you sit there thinking about what all you could be doing at home. I have no clue why my mind works that way but it sure does. Especially if my work day isn’t slammed. Most people don’t say this, but I would prefer it be so busy at work that I forget to go to the restroom lol. It makes my day go by faster. On the other hand those slow days seem to make a 10 hour day seem like it’s 965 hours long. I like to get it over with. I mean after all we’re working to pay the bills right? Well……the other day I was sitting there, going crazy because I was all caught up on my work, and wishing it were 5 pm. I realized a few things. While I’m sitting here wishing it were over there are folks out there that would just wish to have my job. I don’t know if I ever told you all what I do but, I work for a life insurance and investment company. I am not an agent but I take care of all of the ins and outs of the office and handle all of the death claims. Y’all, I love it! I know you are saying “death claims and you love it!” Yes, yes I do. This is why. When a person passes away and he or she have a life insurance policy the families come to me. Number one, I get to have interaction with family members who are (95 percent of the time) heartbroken. These folks allow me to listen and I’m able to love on them. That’s right up my alley. Do I feel sorry for them? Always! Do I cry with them? Most of the time. Second, and here’s the biggie, I get to hand those beneficiaries a check. Their loved one cared enough about them to make sure that their final expenses (and they ain’t cheap people) are paid and in a lot of cases, leave a legacy. That is why I love my job. A daughter looses her sweet daddy. She walks in to my office and after being able to listen, I hand her a check that covers not only his funeral bill but pays off her debt and allows her to put money in the bank for her son’s college tuition! Talk about leaving a legacy. Folks if you don’t have life insurance go now, run, go get it. Leave your loved ones well. Life insurance isn’t for you. It’s for the ones you leave behind. It’s a legacy.

Back to wishing my day was over. Not only do people wish for the job that I have, I realized that I not only am I being a negative nelly I was also wishing my life away. Guys, we shouldn’t do that. Time goes by quickly enough without wanted it to go by any faster. That being said I’m trying to savor every second. Even the slow bad ones. For me it’s learning how to make the best of idle time. I clean and “straighten up” a good bit (my grandmother called cleaning, straightening up). I also journal and take a quick walk outside as needed. Find something to do to occupy that down time so that you aren’t wishing your life away. Grab a box of cards and write a note or two to someone you haven’t connected with in a while. It will make their day to receive a compliment or a thinking of you in the mail. And yes I mean real mail. Stamps, paper, pencil. Texts and emails are too impersonal.

Talking about time slipping by so quickly let’s get back to the title of today’s blog. They grow up! Boy do they. I spend a lot of time with my momma. Especially the last 7 years after daddy died. I think my siblings and I just sort of made a pact to not let momma feel alone. For the last several months I’ve been cleaning out the house next door to my parents which they own. Now remember, daddy was a collector (a hoarder might be a better word). I’ve had at least 2 days or evenings a week with momma. I make her sit on the porch swing and dictate what needs to be thrown away, what goes to the antique booth, what needs to be put in a yard sale, and what she just has to keep. It has been a special time for her and I. I just think it’s made us closer. We’ve laughed and cried and wondered what in the hell daddy was thinking keeping such things. Maybe that’s why he did it. To bring us closer and to keep her busy after he died. Who knows. I just know that my heart ached yesterday as she said that we all grew up so fast and that she looked forward to my time there. Now don’t get me wrong, she’s a go getter. She doesn’t sit at home, but she misses her babies. I can’t tell. We grew up. Go set some time to do something with your momma and daddy if you haven’t. They miss their baby and believe me it’s no fun when they are gone. Go love on them and do it today.

My sweet 19 year old baby has grown up so quickly. As I said earlier I am enjoying every single phase of his life and I feel like I couldn’t ever love a human as much as I love him. I thank God every single day for the time I have with him, although it’s getting less and less. They grow up. They need you less. Isn’t that what you’ve been preparing them for all along. I know this boy of mine is just loaned to me for a period of time but, the momma in me never ever leaves. Love on your babies and the people that you love. Savor every second. They grow up. Time marches on by. Don’t regret one second of it. Who you gonna love in today? Think about it. ❤️Always.

Undefeated

Hi y’all and happy Sunday. I hope your day has been great. It has been just beautiful here today. Sunny and 87 degrees. Not a cloud in the sky. Wanna talk about a word. Defeat. What a terrible word. Have you ever been defeated? That feeling of things not turning out the way you wanted them to. The build up of wanting something so badly and then boom, it doesn’t work out. Not performing to the standard that you set for yourself. It bums you out a little doesn’t it? You give it your all but then you fall short. I don’t believe there is feeling much worse than defeat.

Of course we know the negatives but, is there positive to this word. When you sit back and think about it, I sure believe so. If you were running a race and you gave it your all, then who did you beat? You beat yourself. You beat that little voice of doubt in your mind. You beat everyone else that didn’t enter the race. The person that finished in front of you tried just as hard as you did. They gave all the effort that you did. Be happy for those that win and continue to strive yourself. There’s always something to learn from those who do better than you. Challenge yourself to find those lessons. It’s okay (more than okay in my opinion) to not get a “participation trophy”. Besides if everyone gets one then what did the winner really win? Just give me the shirt for participation lol. Leave the trophies to the ones as fast as lightning (I am a turtle lol).

Have you ever been out to dinner at a restaurant that was suggested to you by a friend? You go there because he\she gave it rave reviews. Now if your like me, you’ve watched what you’ve eaten all day long so that you can eat until your hearts content and not get full too quickly. I mean this is suppose to be the best meal you’ve eaten in a very long time according to your friend. You look at the menu on line all day and plan what you want. The full gammon. I mean cocktails, appetizers, your meal, tons of bread and dessert. Now no judgement from you! I like to eat like that when I am going out for the best meal I’ve ever had. Now imagine you get there and the atmosphere is perfect. The service is superb and the place smells devine. You orider that entree that your mouth watered for all day. You take your first bite and “defeat”! I mean you could have gotten a better tasting meal at a drive thru. Some say that is called disappointment but, if I’ve spent my whole day starving myself and gotten that excited believe me brothers and sisters, that’s defeat. So from that you learned not to go there and eat again lol. Or maybe ask the server or chef their suggested dish. Maybe you just picked the wrong one.

Now to today….. When I was a little girl my daddy put out a garden in our back yard. I mean a full on, rototiller garden. It seemed that we harvested a ton of veggies out if that yard every year. We literally had the makings of a farmers market right in our back yard. For that last 3 years I have put 2 raised beds in my back yard. They do okay. Literally just okay. I get some harvest but not what I was expecting (defeated). My daddy has been gone for 7 years. In my heart I know he has a 10 mile garden in heaven right over top of his hunting preserve. I see him carrying his harvest of meat and vegetables to the Lords table every day. And I’m sure they sit there and eat until they are stuffed. All while drinking their RC Cola. (Now that is heaven for my daddy). Back to the story. Last year we had a flash flood in our area. I have a beautiful creek that runs at the back of my yard. We live on an acre so it’s a good ways from the house. But, it wasn’t to far away from my raised beds. Right in front of my eyes the water took my beds, plants and all, right down stream. I literally cried. I worked so hard in that garden. Y’all I even shoveled horse poop in there lol. Defeated.

This year my momma decided that I should put my garden in her back yard where daddy always planted theirs. I spent the last two days rototilling that ground and planting plants. That ground that hasn’t been tilled in probably 11 years. It was hard as a brick. My husband is always my biggest supporter, but today he had some doubts. You see the gas powered tiller quit so I decided to use a smaller, electric tiller, that my sister and I bought for our little raised beds. Both my son and my husband made comments that it wouldn’t work. Can y’all say determination! By George I did it. I tilled that yard with that electric tiller. There are vegetables of all kinds planted in that garden and ready to grow. In my heart I think my daddy was looking down with a little pride. And mom is pretty excited about it. UNDEFEATED!!!! Yes, yes. Undefeated people. I came home and stuck my tongue out at my husband lol. I think secretly he was proud too. Oh, and my son who doubted his old momma came by and brought me some sunscreen on his way to work. I think he was a little proud too.

End result: defeat is just a word. Those little bumps in the road make it so worth it when you finish what you started. Lessons are more important that the win sometimes. All the little defeats make you strong and smarter. It’s all in the way you look at things. It’s really up to you. In the end you are UNDEFEATED. I hope that you stay undefeated all week. Remember you can handle any ole thing that this week throws at you. Have a blessed Sunday evening. ❤️Always.

The drive home.

Happy Saturday. What a beautiful day it is. I don’t know about where you are but it’s absolutely beautiful here. Not a cloud in the sky and a high of 79. I will absolutely take it. Our amazing Hilton Head vacation came to an end this morning and we embarked on the 6 hour drive home. Isn’t it funny how it seems to take forever to get to your destination but the drive home seems to be half the time? Do you just dread returning home after a vacation? It’s sort of a looming feeling of life back to normal. The days of rest, sleeping in, and lounging in the sun are over for a bit. Back to the old grind. Hmmmm. Does it have to be that way? Only if you want it to be. Who says you can’t take those good vibes back with you. Get rid of that dread. Life is good even when you are at home.

When I was a little girl we would go on vacation every year. Typically always to Myrtle Beach, SC. That’s where our daddy and momma liked to go. Boy those trips seem to take forever to arrive. I remember playing car bingo in the car and eating snacks. My momma always packed a huge bag. I think it was her attempt to keep us from yacking the entire way. We were very talkative little girls lol. Car bingo was so much fun. It made you pay attention to your surroundings. Hint for parents of littles; they still carry car bingo cards at Cracker Barrel restaurants. The little windows slide to cover you space so there’s no mess. Go grab some. The kiddos will love them. You can always resort to how many different states you can see on license plates. We did that too. We wrote them all down on a piece of paper lol. Anything to pass the time right? It’s ten times better than playing a video game or popping in a movie. We sure didn’t have that luxury as children.

One thing I learned from my momma was how to prepare for vacation. Of course I get packed up early and double check that I have all of my necessities but, the one stress reliever that she taught me most is something that most people don’t think about. Before I leave for vacation I ALWAYS clean my house. To me there is no better feeling to know that I am coming home to a clean house. It’s the best feeling in the world. The thought of going back to a pile of laundry and a mess piled everywhere makes me sick to my stomach. If you don’t do that, give it a whirl. It will make your drive home less stressful.

I don’t think I ever really dread going home. I love my little home town. I love my house and my yard. And, honestly, I miss my family when I’m away from them for more than a couple of days. I guess what I’m trying to say is enjoy your vacations but, love where you live. My husband and I had this discussion on our drive today. He said “isn’t it funny how we got to the beach for our vacation but people that live at the beach head to our mountains for theirs”. It’s so true. I think if I permanently lived in Hilton Head I wouldn’t appreciate it as much as I do when we just visit a few times each year. Now don’t get me wrong, if I won the lottery, this gal would live a month there and a month at home lol. I would LOVE it! But I think I have a 1 in about a 90 million chance of that happening so I will have to just look forward to my 2 or 3 times a year visits. Hey, a girl can dream can’t she? At the rate real estate is priced right now a person would just about have to win the lottery to get a one bedroom apartment 6 blocks from the ocean.

My hope for each of you is that you go on many vacations and that you enjoy every second of them. Memories. Make memories. But, I also hope that you don’t dead going home. Home should be your safe place and where your heart is. Love where you live. Enjoy your drive home. Have a beautiful Saturday! You are so loved. ❤️ Always.

It takes a revelation

Well hello! Boy howdy it’s been a bit. These last few months have consumed my life with more to do than I allowed myself time to do it in. So much so that it finally took its toll on my mind, spirit, and my body. Sometimes you get yourself in that predicament until BAMM you have a revelation! Well that’s where I am folks and where our blog begins. Without getting in to the deep dark story of these last three months I will just say, with 4 jobs and all the responsibilities that go along with it I completely allowed no time for things that were important. It took me a bit to even figure out what was important but, when it hits you let me tell ya, it hits you hard. So with that being said my husband and I took a well needed vacation to Hilton Head this week. In fact we aren’t leaving until tomorrow. My son had to work so it ended up just being the two of us. Y’all we’ve rested. From everything. Our jobs, cake making, Tastefully Simple selling, dental society work, all took a back set this week. More than one night this week we were in bed and asleep by 8:30 pm. All of my time has been devoted to my husband, thinking, praying, exercise, prioritizing my life, and eating entirely too much food. My scales are going to scream at me when I weigh in on Sunday morning lol. You cant out exercise a bad diet but, that’s for another blog. This trip was more than needed for the both of us and I can say this gal was physically and mentally on the brink of exhaustion.

A few days in to our week, while we were walking on the beach, I almost had a break down. I’m not sure if it was the beauty of the ocean, the fact that I was finally rested, or it was just God but, it was a revelation. You ever have one of those? I mean the kind that slaps you right in the face. That voice that said “ole girl you are 42 years old and it’s time to stop pleasing everyone else and take care of you”. Almost like a release that what others demand, think or feel do not matter at all. This short little life is more than that. The stress of being what you feel you have to be and pleasing others is not doing anything except harming your temple. Your temple that God gave specifically to you to cherish, protect, and take care of. Well y’all I wasn’t doing such a great job at it,

I went for a 4 mile run yesterday here on this beautiful island. For the first time in a very long time I used that time to look around. I used it to be thankful for all of the things that make me happy. Really happy. Believe it or not, the success of my jobs wasn’t one of them. Now don’t get me wrong. I truly love every job that I do. Truly. But, I realized I have allowed the success rate of each one of them to take the joy out of it. For example; I use to love the thought of going in my kitchen and baking all day but, now that I’ve had too many orders to fill it went from joy to paranoia that the client might not like the way the cake turned out. About a mile in to my run came the solution. No, longer will I over book myself. No more than 1 cake a week from this point forward. And I won’t take requests for cakes that are above my calling. I have a fried who does an amazing job with fondant and such so I will refer to her from now on. In other words my client will get delicious moist cakes with real icing and they will be beautiful but that’s all. Time to get back in to that kitchen and ENJOY the journey.

That wasn’t the only revelation I’ve had this week. I certainly had one for each of my jobs but more importantly I had time to see how important it is to take care if myself and my family. I love to work hard. You know that I loathe idle time. But, my plan is to work hard on things that I enjoy and that will improve my health rather than scarring it due to the stress. This week I looked over at my husband while we were lying by the pool. He was nose deep into his second book for the week. He’s also a red head (well white haired now) that is currently brown as a gingerbread lol. That’s hard for a red head. Anyway, what I am getting at is the peace that I saw in him. He’s pretty chill all of the time but, this last few years with the sickness and then passing of his mother, I saw a toll it was taking. Yes, his stress was much different than mine but, still it was there. I think whether he admits it or not he’s had some revelation this week too.

I guess the point I’m trying to get to is that I am coming out of this week feeling like a new woman. A woman with different priorities and the ability to say no to stay happy. At the forefront of those priorities are my husband, my son, my family, my God, my health and my mental status. Of course I will continue to work my jobs but, with less stress and more ease. I will always give 100% but I vow to turn the switch off upon completion and not allow it to consume me. Planning and scheduling are a definite go in my future. But, once the time scheduled for that particular task is over then that’s it. I won’t allow myself to stay up until 2 and 3 am consumed with it. And that schedule WILL include time for myself. Self care is so important.

For those of you that struggle with being pulled every direction and not knowing how to slow down I pray for you to somehow have a revelation. Join me in this new step. You just can’t take care of others if you aren’t taking care of yourself. As I say “if it takes your peace it’s not your path”. Jump on another path. Find what makes you happy and gives you peace. Then, for goodness sakes, do THAT. I’m not sure what I’ve been waiting for almost 43 years but lovelies this gal is ready. Ready for each new day. Ready for each fresh start. Ready to smile because I really want to. Ready for complete happiness. If you are on the struggle bus, it begins right here. Get off in that next bus stop. Start new. Every day is a new adventure and a reason to really live. Love this beautiful life and most importantly love yourself. Be the person that makes you happy and that you are proud of. If you have any words to help others please feel free to comment. We’re all in this together. Let’s stay positive and love on each other. Have a beautiful Friday and know how much you are loved. ❤️ Always.

My view and revelation moment.