Are you for real?

As I was reading a friend’s post recently, I was amazed at her honesty. She was being very transparent about a struggle that she was dealing with in her life. Of course, then I read well-meaning comments that if you didn’t know the people they could make you think they were trying to “condemn” her for thinking about making a particular choice. I believe her friends were trying to encourage her to hang in there….but “perceived condemnation” is one of my personal fears about opening up to others.I am a genuine person. If I like you, you know it. If I don’t, you should. LOL! BUT, I am also one of the “mask-wearers”. I put on my happy face sometimes when I need to be willing to talk to someone about something that is a very real struggle. I can smile and say I’m fine with the best of them. And honestly, most people believe it. You know why? Because they are doing the exact same thing! The bad thing is, I pretty much know WHY, but opening myself up to change is one of those things that seems too hard to do.

So, here’s a little self-reflecting. When I was a child, I had some men in my life that I wanted desperately to love me! My dad, 2 step-dads and a couple other men that meant a lot to me. I pretended to be this “perfect” child who was smart and funny and I loved performing to get positive attention. The problem is, I didn’t get enough attention. They were happy at the time, but then I felt neglected. {I will tell you now that if you have a little girl and you are a male role model in her life (dad, grandpa, uncle, friend, etc.) PLEASE show her love and affection!!! Girls seek the approval of those around them, but especially males. They need to know (from men who don’t expect anything more out of them) that they are beautiful, smart, funny and loved unconditionally.} I felt like anything I did got me a temporary response, but then it was over. I needed more.

Unfortunately, I had 2 step-fathers who not only gave up on my mom, they gave up on me. They would say they loved me as their own and they would keep in touch, but neither did! I spent many a day crying when they were there (because they were not good people) but also many days crying because they left.  I wanted their love even though they weren’t good for my mom or me. That affected me so much in that when I became a step-mom — I actually dislike even using that word. I call myself Mom and he is my son (or bonus son if someone doesn’t understand that I didn’t actually give birth to him) — I promised myself I would love him and treat him as my own. And I believe I have done that. I would sure hope he would say that. 🙂

Now, I became a Christian at 8 (right after my 1st step-dad left us) and I have always loved God, but trusting Him has been a process that I continue to work on. It is amazing how your life experiences can so invade your world as an adult. I have grown and become more dependent on the Lord for my approval. That is a positive! But, we are human. We all still want the approval of those around us.

So, I said all that to say this–baring my soul and telling people when I am struggling with something is not something that comes naturally to me. I have a genuine distrust for people. I don’t want to say something that is important to me and have it blasted all over to other people, nor do I want people to think that I am not able to deal with things with God’s help! I WANT to trust God to heal me and listen to me, but having others say things about me would really hurt. In most ways I don’t care what people say about me, but there is that little part in me who desires to be loved, accepted, wanted, etc. I just have learned that God is the person who has to fulfill me. He is the only person who can fill the void in my heart.

That’s about as real as I can be. I am honest when I say that I wear a mask sometimes. You would probably be honest by saying that too. If not, I applaud you! But, if you are like me, I leave you with this quote.  you-are-enough-e1384619767723


What do you see when you look in the mirror?


Oh, what a loaded question this is! There are several ways to answer this question, but I can say that I am growing in my ability to look in the mirror more often.

I can tell you that there have been times in my life that I never wanted to see a mirror. They were 2nd ONLY to scales and I thought both were from the devil. HA HA! I still don’t “enjoy” seeing certain aspects of myself in mirrors, but here are some things I have learned on my journey.

1.  I am made in God’s image! I am beautiful in His eyes “Just As I Am”!

2.  Even if there are things about me that I want to change I still have beauty and value! God doesn’t make junk–people do! I have to be comfortable in the skin I’m in. And if I’m not comfortable in that skin, I need to do something about it.

3. I need to learn to accept compliments in better ways. When my husband, kids or friends compliment me, I need to learn to say “Thank You”…..not “Thanks, BUT I still need to……”! This step has been the most difficult for me. But since I don’t like my typical reaction I am “working on it”!

4.  I need to look at myself through other people’s eyes. My sons always say I’m beautiful and that I’m 29–mainly because they want something, but really that’s how they feel about me! They see ONLY the best!

5. Don’t speak negatively about yourself in front of your children. I don’t mean don’t admit that you’re wrong–I mean don’t say “I’m so fat.” ” I need to lose weight.” “I’ve got to go back on a diet.” “Look at my stomach.” or anything to that effect. Children, especially smaller ones, look to you for their self worth. You may tell them they are perfect or look good, but if you constantly put yourself down they won’t believe you. This is a prime example of how they get the idea that “you’re just saying that because you’re their parent”.

6. Don’t give empty compliments, but if there is an opportunity to compliment–say it! Sometimes just a couple of sweet words can boost someone’s confidence. They may be having a rough day, but a kind word sets them right back on track!

A couple friends of mine said things to that effect the other day — and immediately I started pointing out my flaws! Why do we do that? Well, I could get real deep here and talk about things that have made me feel flawed, but in reality I must change my attitude and that starts in my mind! I need to look at myself in the mirror and instead of seeing who I have been, I need to see who I am….and even who I can be!

God doesn’t look at us for what’s on the outside–He wants to see our hearts! That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take care of what’s on the outside, though. I can tell you that taking care of the outside seems to help my heart.

At Zumba on Monday, my friend and I stood in a different place than normal. We were directly in front of the mirror. I wasn’t ecstatic about seeing myself dance and jump around in the mirror, but I made a little discovery. There was a little broken section of the mirror and in that section it looked like the “skinny” fun house mirror!! We took turns standing in that spot and then moving to the actual mirror and actually spent a lot of time laughing about it!

So, don’t look at yourself as though that mirror (or Hollywood or movies or People magazine) is your measuring stick–you will never “measure up” if those are your guidelines! God is our measuring stick for every area of our lives…and He has the “skinny” funhouse mirror glasses on….He might even let you borrow them! 🙂

All In

Yesterday was our first sermon from our new Pastor. I enjoyed listening to him preach this message on being “All In” in our Christian life. At the end of the service my boys’ football coach and his family came down to join our church and I was reminded of a theme from Football Camp a couple years ago appropriately titled “All In”. Our team is called the Trojans and a sword is on their helmets. He explained that they needed to be “All In” in every aspect of their life and this would carry onto the football field.

So, I went home and found my “All In” t-shirt. I even took a picture and posted it on Social Media! Ha ha!



What I thought of as I was working yesterday was this:

  • It’s easy to be “All In” when things are going well.
  • It’s easy to be “All In” when you first begin something.
  • It’s easy to be “All In” when you are excited.

But what about the times when things aren’t going well, or you have been doing the same thing for a while with not as many results as you thought, or when you aren’t excited anymore but tired?

I feel like Pastor Tony’s message was for me in more than just the spiritual aspect. I need to be “All In” in LIFE! In my relationship with God, my family, my friends, my health, my finances….EVERY aspect. I am trusting that when I start with being “All In” with my walk with the Lord that it will trickle down into the rest of my life, but I want to take it a step further. I want to APPLY it to all those areas instead of waiting on it to trickle down!

Are you “All In”? I know I am!

Weary Mamas

I saw a post from a friend yesterday about the struggles of her day.  As I read it, I could FEEL the words she wrote.  She was tired, her kids were sick (yet again), one of them was having a meltdown….She was weary to a certain degree.  She craved another Mama to tell her it would all be okay.

Have you been there before? I know I have! I don’t think there is a Mother out there who hasn’t felt overwhelmed at least, oh, a million times!  Sometimes we just need someone that has been there to tell us “this too shall pass”.  Now, before all the Dads get upset that I’m just talking about Moms, I know there are some Dads who do a lot to provide and help with their children, finances and cleaning.  So, I know dads do a lot too.  But for today, I am speaking to Mamas because I am one!

I saw this picture yesterday on FB and I really thought about what it said.  I know that I personally feel like I always have something going on.  Part of that is because I have children (and forgetful children) and part of that is because I am a volunteer–not just because I live in the Volunteer State either!  Ha Ha!  But I never want to be too busy to spend time with God.  I know I couldn’t make it without Him!


When I had my youngest child, this was my life.  I had a “bonus” son who was 5, a son who was 22 months old and a newborn.  I worked full-time up until 2 weeks before my last son was born and then I stayed home.  I wanted to be able to stay home at least until my children went to school.  With the costs of daycare it totally made sense.  We even though about homeschooling our children, but that didn’t happen.  I think it was really a combination of things.  I tease it’s because my middle son was strong-willed, but that really wasn’t why.

I remember my husband worked 12 hr shifts at his job and he went to work less than a week after me coming home with our youngest son.  Trying to nurse a baby who wanted to eat every 2-3 hrs, keep up with a toddler who just wanted to go outside and play but it was too cold, trying to rest myself and get a schedule of food and naps while changing diapers and forget about trying to clean–I was exhausted!  He called me on one of his breaks and I just cried on the phone and told him I couldn’t do it.  HA!  Oh, he was so sweet and encouraged me that I really could.  But that was a WEARY time!

I worked for about 9 months right before our youngest turned a year old.  Then, I was home again!  I loved being able to spend that time with my boys–even though it wasn’t always easy.  When our middle son started Kindergarten, I started work.  Now, I understand that everyone can’t stay home and everyone can’t work outside the home.  God made us, and our situations, different.  There are probably people who are working that could stay home and people who are staying home that could work, but that’s not a question I choose to debate.  I believe we do what we feel is right and there should be no judgement on a fellow Mother regardless of whether she works inside the home or outside the home.

I can tell you, since I’ve been on both sides, that you WORK regardless!  Being a Mom is a full-time job!  I think sometimes the world wants us to feel like Stay-at-home moms do nothing but watch TV and lay on the couch while spending all the money their husband makes on QVC….and that Working Moms get away from the children and spend their time in a fantasy world where they don’t worry about the things at home for that 8 hrs and spend all the money we make on clothes & shoes (oh and that we don’t love our children).  Well, NEITHER of those is true!  Though I know that SAH Moms crave & need adult interaction, they are working hard at keeping up with everything that has to be done on the home front as well as the schedules of extra curricular activities and volunteer work.  And working Moms are trying to do their “outside” job, but all the while are thinking of what needs to be done at home, what the schedule for after work is and what they might be missing in their kids’ world this week.

I would like to encourage all you Mamas out there to stick together!  Not just with those Moms who are like you, but also with those who do the opposite of you.  I like having SAHM for friends–they help keep me grounded about what the important things in life are!  They help remind me of the days when my children were younger and now I can look back and see the fun we had.  Even though I missed some things my kids did because I worked, I worked even harder to enjoy the time I had with them.  And, I hope that SAHM can look at me and see that although I don’t have it all together I enjoy my family.  Family is important–whether you have a big family or a small one–and making the most of that time, as well as taking some time for yourself, is a necessity.  Whether you just started your family or like me, are almost an empty nest.

Encourage a Mom this week!  Send her a message, note or card.  Let her know that motherhood can be challenging, but some of the best things in life are worth working for!  Also let her know we don’t have to be perfect!  I could give you a long list of things I’m not perfect at, but I’m thankful that my God sees the good and sometimes sends sweet friends in to remind me that I am loved!


Lord, I pray for all the Mothers who read this.  I pray you give them grace to see through the hard days, peace to know things will get better and rest when they have the opportunity to take it.  I pray you surround them with women who are encouragers who allow them to talk when they need to and let them know it will be okay.  I pray for both the Stay at Home moms and the working outside the home moms would respect each other and love each other–not talk down or be jealous of the other’s “perceived” way of life.  I thank You for the different abilities and strengths you give each of us as Moms, Wives, Sisters, Daughters and Friends!



Here is a snippet of my morning today–just so you can realize that I DON”T have it all together as a mom! Most of my days are similar (& sometimes worse) than this. HA HA!

I went to bed at 11:30pm, got up at 4:30 am to let the dog out, then got back up at 6:30 to start my day.  I got Brian’s clothes ready, woke Hunter up, fed the dog & let the dog out. Then I went to make lunches for my guys and realized that we had no lunch meat or peanut butter and we had no chips or crackers and the only fruit we had was 1 over ripe banana. So, I proceeded to tell them they would need to eat at school today (which isn’t near the amount of food I pack for them). So, I let the dog back in, get Brian’s medicine for him, pray with him and kiss him goodbye. Then, back off to force Hunter to get out of the bed–that is a fight every morning. I took a quick shower because my hair HAD to be washed, got dressed & left my hair curly and just quick dried it because I didn’t have time to completely dry it. Finally got everything together and headed out the door and I thought we would be good. Then I started the car and my gas light came on. I knew I wouldn’t have time to stop on the way to get Hunter to school or he would be late! So, I drove him to school, asked him where his backpack was (he forgot it in his dad’s truck) and where his checker was (he forgot it at home). I’m not worried about the backpack, but he HAS to have his checker! I went to the closest gas station to put gas in. When I left the house I was burning up because the heat wouldn’t kick off (& I was rushing around), so I forgot to grab a sweater. Here I am pumping gas in the cold with half sleeves on freezing!  I knew I didn’t have time to go home to get his checker, so I grabbed something for breakfast and headed to work. When I got to work, I opened the passenger door and a CD case fell out of the door pocket, opened up and the CD went rolling under my car….thankfully it just kept rolling because it rolled uphill out from under the car and then hit the wheel and fell. I could just see me climbing under my car to get a CD! So, now the only thing I have to do is work, go to the post office and run home to get his checker, drop it off at school, log into the school lunch area and put money on his account (since he doesn’t normally eat at school) and come back to work!  See, life is never boring!

When I get stressed about it all I just try to remember the good times! I hope you can too!

I think about the country song “Don’t Blink”… is so true!

Don’t blink
Just like that you’re six years old and you take a nap and you
Wake up and you’re twenty-five and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife
Don’t blink
You just might miss your babies growing like mine did
Turning into moms and dads next thing you know your “better half”
Of fifty years is there in bed
And you’re praying God takes you instead
Trust me friend a hundred years goes faster than you think
So don’t blink


What I Would Tell My High School Self

I am SO glad that I’m not in high school anymore! Not because I didn’t have friends or have fun, but simply because I am much more satisfied with being who I am now. Young people (and some not so young) can be cruel & make very unwise choices.

Although I have been a Christian since I was 8, I haven’t always lived for Christ. No, I’m not perfect now. Nor do I “have it all together”, but God is much more prevalent in my life now than then. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change the way my life has turned out…I LOVE it! Yes, some t

I was reading a blog the other day that was talking about what this woman would say to her “high school” self as she was preparing for her 10 yr high school reunion. Mainly geared toward single women, her point was that she wasn’t married and didn’t have children like she thought she would. Life hadn’t turned out exactly as she planned. It was a VERY good blog both for those whose life hasn’t turned out exactly like they planned AND for the rest of us whose life hasn’t turned out exactly like we planned. Yes, you read that right! I don’t believe anyone has their life planned out an everything goes exactly according to the plan. If it did, I believe people would have extremely boring lives!

So I thought to myself, “What would I say to me when I was in High School?” Though that has been more than 20 years ago, I still know some changes I would have made. Maybe my life wouldn’t be any different than it is now, but I SURE could have saved myself some heartache! Some of my advice is the same advice I give to young people now.

1. Don’t revolve your life around a boy/girl or lower your (& God’s) standards when it comes to right & wrong. Life moves much more quickly than you think and you WILL look back with regret one day if you do things only because “everyone else is doing such & such”.

2. Don’t be super concerned with your body image. Eat healthy, exercise & take care of your body, but don’t obsess about your body image. See yourself as your friends see you, not as you see you. Your friends love you because you are beautiful, funny, friendly, etc. Look at yourself through their eyes.

3. Surround yourself with positive people. If someone is constantly negative, you need to let them go.

4. Always rely on God and His Word. He will never lead you astray and sometimes friends and especially those who aren’t your friends will.

5. If you have a problem that seems like the end of the world, go to God first and always sleep on your decision to say anything. Never react by saying the first thing that comes to mind, but also don’t just ignore everything that people do to you. Basically, speak the truth in love & don’t be someone’s door mat.

6. Don’t be afraid to try new things! If you want to sing, act, drive, play a sport, whatever….don’t be afraid! TRY!

7. Prepare for college as early as you can. Even if you don’t go to college you have life experiences by having filled out applications, given references and interviewed.

8. Save money!!!! It is hard to save when you are young because you don’t make much money, but even if you put away $1 a week you can save! If I had started saving $1 a week when I got my first job, I would have over $8000 in savings JUST from that $1 a week!

9. Never quit! Don’t give up on your dreams even if life doesn’t turn out exactly how you planned it. Keep working toward whatever your goal is.

10. Don’t take your parents & grandparents for granted. You can’t get that time back once they are gone.

These are the first 10 things that popped in my head, but they ALL have meaning! I would encourage you if you are a young person to read these and really think about them. If you are 30 or older, think about or write out what you would tell yourself!

Some of my boys’ friends like to say “YOLO” (you only live once). EVERY time they do, I always reply “YODO” because you only die once, too! Make your life count for something greater than what YOU map it out to be. God has a greater plan…..NEVER doubt that!

3 Grandmas & a baby

There are lots of things in my life that bring me joy and make me laugh. God’s “sense of humor” is sometimes one of those things. He has a way of bringing good out of situations that some people would see no good in.

I recently found out that my oldest son & his girlfriend are expecting a baby. At first, I was a little shocked because I knew they hadn’t exactly “planned” it, but the idea grew on me quickly. Babies have a way of doing that!

So, I had been talking to Chris’ mom. Yes, I talk to my husband’s ex-wife, frequently. I affectionately call her my wife-in-law because when you marry someone you get their family as in-laws. And since she is Chris’ mother, she is family! Chris is my “bonus son”. I received him as a bonus when I married his Dad! Some people don’t understand how I can love a child that isn’t “mine” like my own. Well, he IS mine! Ask any parent of an adopted child and they will tell you the same thing.

We are fortunate to have a good relationship with Tammy & Jeff. We & our kids have stayed at each other’s houses. We have exchanged Christmas gifts & spent holidays together. And we have spent many hours around tables either at our homes or in restaurants during the last 20 years. Tammy & I have spent hours on the phone talking & praying. She even called me 2 yrs ago right after their house had been broken into to ask us to pray for them. Most people think we are weird when we tell them about our relationship, but we think this is what “normal” should be. 🙂

So, back to my original story. I was sitting at work the day after Chris had sent us a recording of the baby’s heartbeat — Oh how precious that sound is!!!! Tammy sent me a text and asked if I wanted to go to visit them. (Chris is in the Army and stationed in Kansas, so it is a long way from East/West TN!) Of course I did!!! So, over the course of the next couple days we got our plans & schedules together with them so we can visit them and our grandbaby in the oven.

I can’t begin to tell you how excited we are! Of course, I joke that maybe we will get a reality show out of this. 😉 You should see the looks on people’s faces when I tell them I’m flying to KC with my husband’s ex-wife and spending 4 days in the same hotel room with her! It is quite amusing. They just don’t realize we are going to have so much fun!

It is amazing the work that God has done in all our lives! He can make people see beyond themselves and do more than they could ever do on their own. More than we ever imagined! I just can’t help but think how blessed this baby will be.

I also can’t wait to meet her parents. I think there is something special about meeting the other grandparents-to-be. There is this common bond that you share. Can you imagine 3 soon to be Grandmas in the same room?! Nothing could be better except when the baby is here and we all get to hold it for the first time!

Be on the lookout, because if you know me you know pictures will be coming soon!!!!! I have already started packing my suitcase and so far it is half full of photography props.


I really can’t tell you how I feel about being able to take maternity pics of my own grandchild! It’s funny how as you get older people tell you to “wait until you have grandchildren”. Now it’s almost here!

Stay tuned…..

Don’t you see that children are God ‘s best gift? The fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you; you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep. (Psalm 127:3-5 MSG)