Friday, August 14, 2015

the First of Many Firsts

I dropped my baby off at college today and left.  No, I realize it wasn't actual college but it sure felt like it.  It might as well have been college. Today is the first day of her days as a big girl.  She is no longer my little baby who only goes to "school" for a few hours.  No, now she's gone all day. That seems like such a simple sentence, but it's taking a while for it to really sink in.  This morning, I helped her get ready and took her to her first day of kindergarten and left.  I would have stayed had they let me.  Held her hand as we walked right passed all the BIG kids and found some other tiny people that looked lost. We would have found some other little girls that had that same anxious look in her eyes and asked her to play with us.  Instead, all I could do was give her a hug, tell her I loved her, and walk away fighting the tears I refused to let fall until I got to the car.   All morning I've been running through everything in my head; have we given her enough love that she doesn't need the validation of others? Have we given her enough independence that she feels confident enough to stand on her own two feet? Have we taught her how to reason through new problems so that she can make the right choices?  Have we taught her compassion so that she will be able to notice the kids that need a little extra sunshine in their day....and that others will be kind enough to give it back to her? Will she make friends? Will other kids like her?

Peer pressure.  You might think I'm silly for worrying about peer pressure at 5, but it starts somewhere. That first day away from mommy and daddy all day...having to make decisions completely on her own.  It happens over time, very slowly.   Sure, right now it might just be "hey, you shouldn't play with her because she has cooties" but then it's "hey, I don't like her.  We should take her book away!" Next thing you know, "here, try this!"  I realize that she's not gone for good. I understand that today, when I get off work I will go home and she'll be there.  We will talk about her day. She will tell me all the fun new things she did and about all the new kids she played with. We will continue to do this each day.  Hopefully, most days will be good.  She will have only good stories to tell me.  Inevitably, there will be days that aren't as good.  She'll come home and tell me about it and we will talk through it: What happened, how she acted, how she felt and what might be done different or the same next time.  It gives me comfort to know that while she might be more independent after today, she is never ever alone, and the one thing that we both know how to do well is talk :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Lessons on hospital living

It's been a very long, crazy week and when I have long crazy weeks, I take to writing.   Normally, it's in a journal where I can pour out my thoughts and feelings. With this experience though, I feel as if I've taken away some life lessons.  And these life lessons are the ones I can share. Hopefully, you don't already know them and never will, but if you find yourself in a situation where you're forced to live out of a hospital, maybe these will help.

When an emergency happens, whatever has happened or going on in your life stops.  All your energy and time is focused on taking care of that emergency. When you come back to what your life was before, you will have a fresh pair of eyes, roll with it...

Appreciate the little victories.  It's the little ones that allow you to take steps to the big ones!  Any progress is good progress. Celebrate peeing without the help of a catheter! Eating a whole bowl of oatmeal is way better than eating half of a bowl, regardless of the size.

If you know you are going to be staying more than a day, find your spot in the waiting room and claim that bad boy!!   You don't have to be rude about it.  Just leave enough stuff there that says "hey, I know I'm not here at the moment so it's completely acceptable for you to sit in those chairs, but when I get kicked out of my patient's room, y'all are gonna have to move."

Picking the right sleeping spot is paramount!  If you have to choose between a semi-soft chair and a concrete venting ledge, I recommend the ledge. That is, of course, if it's short enough that if you get the urge to jump off it (because you just might,) you don't end up on floor B (otherwise known as the ER). You can bring pillows or blankets from the hospital room to help with the padding and you'll be able to stretch your legs, and you MUST stretch your legs. Bad things happen to your knees and joints when you can't stretch your legs.

If you notice another tiny pseudo home across the waiting room that's been there as long as you have, buy the owner some coffee or something to eat.   It might just be a mother who's teenage daughter is fighting for her life in a coma. She will tell you that she doesn't need anything, but buy it for her anyway.

Look for and appreciate any silver lining you can find. The 6th floor waiting room just might have a wall of windows allowing you to see some of the most breathtaking sunsets.

"Hospital teeth" are a thing. Really.  Even if you can find a bathroom on the floor that's decent enough to brush your teeth, it's just not the same. I don't know if it's the air, the hospital food or what, but just know it'll happen, so bring mints.  The mints probably won't help but bring them anyway.

Pack extra underwear.  And that's all I have to say about that.

A hat and/or bandana can do wonders covering up hair that hasn't been washed in days.  On another note, it's a great start to going "no-poo" if you've been wanting to try that sort of thing (see?..silver lining stuff.)

You CAN get by on concealer and cheap mascara.

Bring concealer.   I know, you can't worry about makeup and all that junk in the hospital, but chica, when you don't sleep longer than two hours at a time, you'll thank me.

It's imperative that you accept help when it is offered.   For some of us, that's really really hard to do, but no one can do it all.

I've heard it over and over, but never understood it until now: the nurses you have make all the difference in the world!  It's unbelievable how true this statement is.

Peace out little corner of mine!  Please be kind to the next occupant...

...on to rehab...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

DIY Deodorant

I have not used deodorant for over a year.  Say that again!?!  Maybe I should clarify that statement.  I have not used "deodorant" for over a year.  See those quotation marks?  Those quotation marks make all the difference.  Those quotation marks differentiate between what you may call deodorant and what I call deodorant. If you know me at all, you know that I consider myself "semi-crunchy"  According to the online slang dictionary (totally reliable right?!) crunchy is:

hippie-esque; "all-natural". Refers to the crunch of granola, which (as goes the stereotype) hippies are likely to eat.

I would not consider myself full-on crunchy, mostly because there are some things I just can't give up (while I like being barefoot in the grass, my heels are an accessory I will not relinquish and I just kind of like the smell of my salon shampoo.  I must say that I tried the whole "no poo" thing, but thats for another day.)  Plus, living in this tiny little town, there are some things I can't find and are not easily accessible.  I seriously have to drive 40 minutes to get goat cheese, and that's not even the organic kind!

Back to deodorant.  There are so many reasons why it's a smart choice to ditch the "deodorant" (notice the quotations.)  Yes, even during these summer months.  Just do a quick Google search of "ingredients in deodorant" and you'll have plenty of reading material. That's not even going into the antiperspirant realm.  Don't even get me started!  

When I first started the research on this "hot" topic, I tried some of the natural brands and let me tell you, they just didn't get the job done.  So, in true crunchy  fashion, I decided to just make my own. I tried it once and the rest is history.  It worked so well and the benefits are amazing: super cheap, no nasty chemicals, and you can personalize your scent depending on the essential oils you use. 

I'm not sure who originally came up with the recipe, but I've seen it everywhere with a few tweaks here and there. 

What you need:
Baking soda
Corn Starch
Coconut Oil
Essential Oils (optional)

This is so simple that you really don't need the pictures, but why not?

 Equal parts of baking soda... (I used 1/4 cup)

...and cornstarch (1/4 cup)

Add in enough coconut oil to create the right spreadable consistency.  This will depend on a couple of things.  1.) the temperature of the oil, because coconut oil will melt in the heat and become a solid in cooler temperatures  2.) what kind of consistency you like.  I prefer mine a little more soft.

Next, add the essential oils if you are using them.   Because patchouli is my scent, I added some patchouli oil and a little bit of tea tree oil for it's antibacterial effect.  

That's it!  Put that mixutre in a container and you are good to go!

 Okay, so I'm guessing some of you may be asking how this goes from the container to your pits right?  Simple.  Scoop some onto your fingers and rub it in.  I know.  It was strange for me at first too, but sometimes you just gotta put on your big girl/boy panties and do it.  Trust me, it's worth it!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Who needs water anyway?

So I have a problem.  A problem keeping things alive.  More specifically plants.  I don't know what it is but I just cant keep them living.   No, I know exactly what it is.  I ignore them.  There I said it.  I ignore them and just let them go.  I like the idea of them.  They are pretty.  They smell good. It's the work that it takes to keep them that way that I can't handle.  Every year I start out all gung-ho. I buy the mulch, I buy the potting soil.  My mom comes over and plants new starts from the plants that are just "getting too big."   She's kind of got a green thumb.  She can just walk by a flower or plant and it immediately grows five new buds.   I promise myself every year that this year will be different.   This year, I'll stick with it. This year, I'll have the prettiest yard in the neighborhood.  And then, a week goes by and I realize I forgot to go out and pull those weeds.  Two weeks go by and my mom stops over to cut off the flowers that had bloomed and died and are still there sucking the life out of my new growing ones.  Three weeks go by and "oh crap! I forgot to water them and it hasn't rained yet!" I finally get around to tending to  my beautiful growing flowers, only to see that they've completely dried up.  The buds are withered and the soil has turned to dust.   But you know what's amazing??  Most of the time, if I water them really really good at that point, they'll come back.  Flowers are pretty resilient.   They want to  live and thrive.   Every time I see them bounce back I'm amazed.  How in the world did they survive what I just put them through??

Isn't that how our lives are sometimes?  We want a life full of happiness and joy , but we don't want to do anything about it.   Instead, we neglect it.  We ignore it and hope that  it will just grow on its own because that's easier.   When we finally take a look, we are dried up.... But, just like the flowers, we are resilient.   We want to live and survive. We want to be "beautiful."    Whatever that means to you, do it.  If it means digging into your bible it.  If it means giving up something that you've been holding on to, then just like the dead flowers that were sucking the life out of the ones trying to grow, cut it off.    Whatever it takes to make you bloom, do it.  Yes, it's work. Yes it's hard, but believe me, you are worth it!!

This picture above was taken this morning (eek!)   Here's to hoping that in a few days, this will be the beautiful blue plant that I know it can be!

Friday, June 6, 2014

be still

A few months ago I got my second tattoo.  The words “be still” are now permanently inked on my right shoulder blade.  As I was telling the tattoo artist what I wanted, he verified that I didn’t want  “and know” to be part of the piece.  I told him that the two words were all that I needed.  Most people know this phrase as Psalm 46:10 that says “be still and know that I am God.”  This verse speaks to many and has gotten them through  times they feel they cannot go on, so I’m not discouraging it.  For me, though, the “be still” part is what I was after.   

The older I get, the more I am drawn to nature.  Over the past couple of years, I’ve also gotten into running.  The most perfect thing in the whole wide world to me is a nice long run on a quiet, tree lined trail; no one around but the birds and flowers.  Now granted, I run with music (still haven’t managed to give that up yet), but there is just nowhere in the world I would rather be than out in nature, experiencing it.   When the run is over and the ear buds come out, it’s just me and the trees…and there is something so beautiful about that: just standing there taking in the beauty that God created.

This is what the words “be still” mean to me.  In addition, this is the one time that I am forced to slow down.  If you know me at all, you know that I’m a ‘doer.’  I have to be busy. I enjoy being busy.  I do, but at times, it’s exhausting. Not necessarily physically exhausting, but more mentally exhausting.   I get so wrapped up in things and projects that my mind gets overwhelmed.  It’s very hard for me to just sit still when my head has a list 3 miles long of things that need to be done or finished.  Running is my way of getting away from that.  When I’m running, my mind turns to the bigger things in life.  I don’t know if it’s the extra oxygen being flooded to my head, but instead of laundry and dishes, it starts to wander to life and what’s really important. That clarity for the 45 minutes (or longer depending on the miles) is truly addicting. 

Little did I know that these two little words would continue to take shape and mold into something even greater.  Life is crazy.  Life is hard. It’s beautiful, yes, but it’s also extremely hard some days.  In the times when life isn’t easy, when it’s not all butterflies and roses, when it’s maybe easier to throw your hands in the air and give up, be still.    Be. Still.  Be still and rest in the fact that you may not know some things….and that is okay.  Rest in the beauty that good things take time.  Those trees that bring me so much peace and joy take years to grow.   You may only be able to see one step in front of you, step anyway.  Breath in, breath out…repeat.


“Wisdom comes once we learn to become still…In the silence of the heart, one learns the journey of the wise.”

Monday, November 18, 2013


Have you ever had one of those conversations that after it's over, you think to yourself "That was all truth!  Surely, anyone and everyone could benefit from that in some way."  I had one of these earlier this past week.  I was telling someone the story of my tattoo and what it means to me.  I won't get into the whole story here, but I'll tell you it's in memory of my the baby I lost eight months ago.  It may seem strange to some of you that have never suffered a miscarriage to hear that I still struggle with this so many months later.  I know that before mine, I never realized how deep a scar it can carry.  I was talking with this person how it's weird that I'll go several days being okay and then something will happen; a song will come on the radio, somebody will say something, or really... any random thing could happen and I'll just burst into tears.  This person told me something that I had already known, but them saying it out loud simply validated it as a truth.  They told me to feel what I'm feeling, no matter how silly or ridiculous it might seem.  Isn't that so simple?  Simple, but completely brilliant.  It's okay to cry when a hip hop rap song comes on the radio, if that's what I'm feeling.  It's okay to mourn the loss of someone who passed several years ago, if that's what you're feeling.  It's okay to feel totally blah if that's where you're at.  Cry.  Do it. Feel it.  Just make sure, you get up the next day ready to face and feel whatever comes.  That's life.  It's hard, it's tough, it's beautiful.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Long Overdue: The Remodel

This is a post that is long overdue.  Going back over the past posts, I realized that I promised to show ya'll the redo of our house after we bought it.  To recap, we repainted pretty much everything in the front rooms and the kitchen.  (Sorry to say but I don't think I have any before and afters of the kitchen.)  Also, we tore up all the carpeting and laid down vinyl flooring.  With Jarrod working 70 hours a week at the time, I laid most of it myself.  I'm not saying this to play down his role by any means (if it weren't for his busting his butt at work, we wouldn't have been able to pay for the flooring.)  I am telling you this, so that when you see the floors, you will know that I. am. a. rockstar.  I'm not kidding of course.  But, it was super hard work and it makes me appreciate my pops even more for what he did and still does to make a living for his family.
Okay, I'll shut up and show you the pictures.

Wow, this is really bad quality.  I apologize.  You never know taking a picture with your phone, what kind of quality you're going to get.  Seriously, sometimes it looks like a professional took it and others you get, well, you get the above picture.  You get the idea though.  You see the color of the paint and the carpet right?

So, first things first.  Gotta tear that carpet up.  I thought this would be super easy.  Boy was I wrong.  I think my back was stuck in the bent over position for two days straight. First, the carpet had to come up. Then, we had to tear up the padding underneath and then (yeah, still not done) we had to hammer down all the nails that were sticking up from the floor.

Again, I apologize for the quality.  I must start using my actual camera. 

Once everything was up, it was time for momma to show her stuff.  Check out these floors!
Now why did this one turn out so good?!  I will never know

Of course Jesalyn had to get in on the action.  Is this not the cutest picture you have ever seen in your entire life?!  She looks like she knows what she's doing doesn't she?  

Before the floors we decided to repaint.  I wanted gray.  A lesson I learned through all this is that there really is no true gray color.  All gray has a little bit of another color in it.  If you read my blog before you know the other lesson I learned.  "If your best friend tells you that the paint chip you took home looks more blue than gray, you should believe her."   Yes,  I picked out what I thought was gray, bought like 4 gallons and started painting the walls.  Halfway through I realized that it did, indeed look blue.  I thought I could handle it and kept painting.  About 3/4 the way through, I decided that I wouldn't be happy so we went out and bought more paint and did the whole thing again.  Luckily, we had lots of people helping us paint or I would probably still be doing it. 
Here is my step-dad.  He was a professional painter for 20 years. Notice the drastic difference!

I must preface that since the "remodel" we have already moved things around and purchased new furniture, but you get the idea.  

and after...