Y’all, the hubby sent me this this morning, and it’s just too dang good not to share.
Disgusting (like her behind), yet for some strange reason, I can’t stop laughing.
This post was inspired by Patience Brewster, a designer of adorable, whimsical Christmas ornaments and gifts, to reflect on my favorite holiday memory.
The magic of the holidays is something that can hardly be described adequately. In fact, the pure magic and wonder of the Christmas season is something my family looks forward to every year. With that anticipation comes our family traditions…
Ever since my sister and I were little girls, my family has put up the Christmas tree and decorated it the day after Thanksgiving. On that Friday night, my parents would pull out the boxes of decorations and tree ornaments, my sister and me leaning over them to peek at the colorful treasures inside. Mom and Dad would sit side-by-side on the couch, and Tracy and I would wait eagerly as they would hand us each one ornament at a time. We would take each one and find the perfect spot for it on the lit tree. As it got fuller with bulbs, bells, and little snowmen and Santas, we would study every empty branch for just the right spot for the next ornament until the entire tree was full of hanging memories. It was then that my dad would take the star out of the box and, with perfect care, place it atop the glowing tree. Tracy and I would “ooh” and “ahh” and stare at the beautiful tree until we would go to bed and eagerly count down the days until Santa’s visit.
Now, my own kids toss and turn with excitement in the nights leading up to Christmas, but not until after they carry on our family’s tradition of decorating our tree the day after Thanksgiving. After we go and pick out the perfect tree and wrap it in shimmering lights, Eugene and I sit beside each other on the couch, and Gerald, Ronald, Jeremy, and Emma take turns placing each ornament in its ideal spot on the tree. Emma and Jeremy are in charge of the bottom branches since they’re too short to reach the top, and Ronald is in charge of the top. Gerald, my perfectionist mini-me, is in charge of rearranging the bulbs and ornaments so they’re evenly spaced out and no one area of branches has more than another! All four munchkins beg to eat “just one candy cane” each as they place them on the tree. Finally, once all the decorations are on the tree, Eugene puts our beautiful angel on the top. Just like Tracy and I did, our kids stare in wide-eyed awe at the finished product and begin their countdown until Christmas!
Do you and your loved ones have any holiday traditions? How did your traditions begin?
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my internet friends and family! This year, and always, please remember that Jesus is the reason for the season. Love to you all. xoxo
Birthdays have a way of making us reflect on our lives – our highs and our lows, our triumphs and our failures. I don’t know why, but this particular birthday has my reminiscent brain in overdrive. And so, I’ve decided to share with you 33 of the life lessons I’ve learned in my long short 33 years.
1. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. I learned this when my granddaddy passed away a couple years ago. I was devastated. He was supposed to live forever.
2. Good credit is important. Really, people – Trust me. I learned this the hard way, after poor decisions when I was a teenager and after a bad divorce.
3. Say “I love you” every time you think it. Everyone needs to hear it.
4. Kids really do grow up way too fast. My hubby has to remind me that our youngest is almost ten already and that I’m not 20 anymore.
5. Kiss your kids while they still let you. Trust me – there will come a day – far too soon – when they won’t want to be anywhere remotely near you. It’s heartbreaking, really.
6. Your life doesn’t revolve around your children. I’ve learned – and am still learning – that we actually have lives beyond our children. We can’t hide behind them forever.
7. Be careful what you say. Words can’t be taken back. Neither can the pain they cause.
8. Keep your word. Doing what you say you’ll do is important. It shows our integrity.
9. Our real character is who we are when no one is looking. If you have to look around to see who may be watching, you probably shouldn’t do it.
10. God is real. I’d rather live as if there is a God and find out there isn’t than live as if there isn’t and find out later that there is.
11. Stand up for what you believe. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your beliefs. Just be respectful in doing so.
12. Love. Even if you don’t see eye-to-eye with someone, love him anyway. “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” ~1 Corinthians 13:13
13. Speak with your actions. The old phrase, “Actions speak louder than words” is true. I’ve learned the hard way that it doesn’t matter what we say if our actions don’t match it.
14. Girls will always need their moms. There’s still no one who can make me feel better when I’m sick than my mom. There’s nothing like having my head in her lap while she plays with my hair.
15. Your spouse should be your best friend. Remember how your friendship was way back when you fell in love. Don’t let anyone else have that role.
16. Love yourself. There will never be any human who can love you enough to make you love yourself. You’re worth it.
17. Junk food is good every once in a while. Don’t starve yourself. A few brownies won’t kill you. And they may keep you from killing someone else…
18. Don’t be so hard on yourself. I guarantee that no one else has noticed that extra pound you gained. Or that zit on your chin.
19. Beauty on the inside is what matters. It doesn’t matter if you’re gorgeous on the outside if your heart doesn’t match. God don’t like ugly. And neither does the average person.
20. Patience really is a virtue. It’s also what keeps our blood pressure down. I’m still working on this one, but I’m getting better.
21. It’s hard work to look good. All of the shoes that make our legs look the best are the ones that make our feet feel like they’re going to fall off.
22. Dance like no one’s watching. There’s no stress reliever as good as belting out your favorite song and letting loose in your car when you’re stuck in traffic!
23. Hold hands. Your significant other will know you love him/her without your ever having to say a word.
24. Mail cards. There’s nothing like receiving a good old-fashioned handwritten greeting card in the mailbox.
25. Learn the Electric Slide. Every party or event you will ever attend will play that song at least once. And you certainly don’t want to be the only one watching from the sidelines.
26. Memorize a few corny jokes. Everyone loves a good “bad” joke every now and then! ~How did the hamburger introduce his girlfriend? – – – Meet Patty!~ [Ba-dum ching!]
27. Stay in touch with your friends. Good and real friends are hard to come by. Even in spite of our busy and hectic lives, it’s so important to send a text or card every now and then.
28. Say “please” and “thank you.” Common courtesies are becoming more and more rare. Don’t be a jerk.
29. Read books. Nothing opens the gateways to our imaginations like a good book.
30. Keep a list of the movies you’ve watched. It really sucks when you’re halfway through a movie before you realize you’ve already seen it.
31. We are all equal. God loves us all so much more than we can wrap our minds around. If He does, then who are we to treat someone as inferior?
32. Hug. Nothing says, “Everything is going to be okay” quite like a good hug does.
33. Laugh. It really is the best medicine.
*Bonus: Forgive. Do it for yourself, if for no other reason. It’s liberating. I know from experience.
Are there any life lessons you’ve learned as you’ve gotten older? Any advice for others?
Why is it that when we’re at work the time just drags by, but when it comes to our kids it just flies?
As the school year winds down, I am flooded with emotions, which – I’m quite sure – every mom is. We watch with disbelief as our babies become young men and women. We reminisce about the past, and feel a complex mixture of emotions. We long for their innocence and carefree spirits to return, yet we stand in awe of their newly-forming maturity and responsibility.
I still remember the day, 14 years ago, that Gerald was born. He was a perfect little seven pound, fifteen ounce miracle.
And the day that Ronald, my baby boy, made his tiny six pound, thirteen ounce entry into our family…
And even still the time when, literally, overnight, I went from having only two kids to four! Marrying Eugene and blending our families was both the greatest and most difficult thing we’ve ever done.
I get teary-eyed even now as I think of the day we took Gerald to meet his kindergarten teacher, Ronald following his every move through the classroom, wanting to be just like his big brother. I just couldn’t believe that I had a child who was old enough for school already!
It’s bittersweet as I recall Ronald’s graduation from preschool, when he just couldn’t wait to start “big school” that fall.
As much as I’ve tried to slow down their rush to grow up, I have to admit that I’m fascinated and in awe of seeing their personalities develop and character build.
I’ve watched this year as my step-son’s focus has changed from that of an elementary schooler whose hardest decision in life is what snack to take for lunch to how to start choosing friends wisely.
And I’ve been simultaneously terrified and amazed at my step-daughter’s transition from a carefree tomboy to an actual, real little girl. She’s begun stressing over what she should wear and how her hair looks. Trying to calm Daddy down and keep him from having a nervous breakdown has been a chore for me in and of itself!
Ronald will be starting seventh grade in the fall, and if any of you have had a seventh grader, you know that means I’m in for a LOT of hard work, heartache, and a tremendous need for patience! As is the case with most kids this age, he’s having to learn to balance school with popularity and a social life – all while being completely managed by out-of-control hormones, causing him to feel every range of emotions within a span of five minutes!
And finally, we move to Gerald… Gerald, who just attended his eighth grade dance. With a girl! Okay, now it’s my turn to have the nervous breakdown! I still can’t believe that he starts high school in the fall. While it’s terrifying to see him mature and become a man, I’m in complete awe of the maturity and responsibility he’s learning. I’m learning what a fine line there is between being a disciplinarian and a confidante and friend. And I’m seeing firsthand how difficult it is trying to balance on that line without falling too far to either side. As parents, we can only hope and pray that we’re raising them to be responsible and be Godly young men and women who will make good decisions once they’re out of our sight.
So, parents, as this school year wraps up and our children continue to grow up far too quickly, know this: You are not alone! You are not the only parent who’s constantly wondering if you’re doing a good job with your kids, and you’re certainly not the only parent who’s terrified of failing. Remember, we’re all doing the best we can with the tools we have. And also remember – our kids love us. They love us despite our rules and mistakes and uncertainty.
We all know how time flies as we watch our children grow up, so I’ll leave you with this – Cherish every second of being a parent… every second of the joys, the accomplishments, the milestones, and yes – even the fights, the arguments, and the trials. We’ll never get another chance to raise our children, so keep doing the best you can, and treasure it even when you want to give up. We all want to throw in the towel at times. I can assure you that you’re not alone in that. But let’s just choose to hold on to the time that we do have, even when it’s flying by.
I’ve added a new page to my blog – It’s called “Say What??!,” and it shares the very best of the best things that I’ve heard in my household. Between the kids and the hubby, you never know what you’ll hear next. Some of them are just too good not to share with you all!
You have all read this post already, but it was from Black Box Warnings, which no longer exists. So, I thought I’d go ahead and copy it here, too.
He is screaming at me so close to my face that I can feel his spit. I close my eyes and hold my breath.
He is wrapping his hands around my neck and squeezing tighter and tighter. I start to see spots.
He is grabbing my hair and shoving my head in the toilet. I try not to breathe, but I have to gasp for air.
He pulls the car over to the side of the road and demands that I get out. When I refuse, he comes around to the passenger side and yanks me out, leaving me standing alone on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere with no money or ID.
He is tearing everything in my purse into shreds. I watch helplessly as my social security card, driver’s license, and photos of my babies float to the floor in hundreds of pieces.
He is cutting into tiny scraps all the homemade Mother’s Day and birthday cards I’ve collected from my babies since they were born.
He is breaking my cell phone into two pieces, ensuring I can never use it again.
He rips every signature from my high school yearbooks. I can only vaguely remember the memories my friends have written so fondly about.
He is bleaching all of my clothes in the bath tub. I panic inside, wondering what I’ll wear to work the next day.
He is burning the boys’ clothes in the fireplace in the living room. The boys don’t dare ask what’s going on.
He is shattering my camera into pieces, stomping on it after it smashes on the concrete.
He throws the kitten across the room and into the brick wall on the fireplace. It immediately begins to bleed profusely from the nose.
He tears the boys’ homework into tiny scraps the second they complete it.
He punches my car windshield in a fit of rage. My heart feels like the shattered glass, spreading over every inch.
But, despite all this, he loves me… He tells me how sorry he is – how it’s my fault that he loses his temper so often. I made a stupid decision that wasn’t good for our family. He can’t bear the thought of living without the boys and me. He promises that he’ll never put his hands on me or the kids again. All those times were mistakes. I’m the mother of his children and his wife. He loves me.
I stay. For years and years, I stay.
I’m scared of him. Terrified to leave.
If I leave him, he’ll find us. He’ll kill me, or worse, them. Or he’ll kidnap them, and I’ll never see them again. I can’t live without them.
How will I afford to raise two boys on my own? How will I work and pay for daycare?
Where will I go? Who will take in three extra people when they have families of their own to raise and support?
What decent man will ever want me – a 21-year-old girl with a two-year-old and an infant?
How will I ever swallow my pride and tell my daddy that he was right and that I had made one terrible decision after another?
How will it look if I get a divorce and have two young children? Divorce is bad, right?
What if I really am the problem, and I keep provoking him?
What if he really is sorry and will never lay his hands on me again? Will I be throwing away a potentially great marriage?
All boys need their dad, right? How will I ever successfully raise two young men without their father in their lives?
What if the fear that consumes my life is a healthy fear and proof that no one will ever love me as much as he does?
What if he really does love me, and I just have no idea what love is?
What if he really does love me?
Yes, these are really the thoughts that tormented me every single day of my 14-year relationship with my first husband. I was stuck – with no end in sight – in a vicious cycle. I was going crazy… I was literally going crazy.
I had myself convinced that he really loved me and was simply scared of losing the boys and me. I just knew that my family was no good for me and if they really loved me as much as he did, that they would support us and our relationship.
I genuinely believed him every time he swore to never put his hands on me again.
To protect him, I made all the excuses you’ve heard on TV: “I fell down the stairs.” “My son accidentally head-butted me.” “He threw something at me to catch, but I missed it, and it hit me in my face.” “Oh, it was definitely an accident.” “He didn’t mean it.” “But I made him mad.” “Oh, I don’t know where that bruise came from.”
The list could go on, but the point is that I covered for him every time. I even ended up in the emergency room once and lied to the doctors, even when they were quite sure I was being abused. But I refused to budge. I wouldn’t give him up.
FEAR, plain and simple.
Fear of his rage and temper. Fear of being alone. Fear of being judged. FEAR.
I thought I was alone. I thought no one would understand what I was going through day-in and day-out.
For any of you ladies (or men, I suppose) who are in the same type of situation, please listen and hear me when I say this:
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
You don’t need to be abused. You don’t need to be manipulated. You don’t need to be controlled.
Please, if you shrug off every other sentence in this post, just understand this:
You are NOT alone.
Don’t stay silent any longer. You are valuable, and you are loved. No matter what you’ve done, you will never ever deserve to be abused. Speak out. Get help.
You can start here:
Every lie – whether mine or his – that I believed, turned out to be just that… a LIE. I met a wonderful man who loves me and my kids. I can take care of my kids on my own. I am successfully raising two handsome, respectful young men. My family does love and support me. And most importantly – I will never be alone.
Remember, you are loved, and you never deserve to be abused. Stop the cycle.
It’s Draft Day, people!
This is big!
Especially this year, when so many of our South Carolina Gamecocks are looking so good!
I think we all know who’s going first:
That’s right! Our very own: Clowney!!
In case you’ve had your head buried under a rock for the last couple years, here’s a reminder of who Clowney is, exactly:
Yep – He’s that guy!
And then, of course, we have Bruce, Kelcy, and Connor who I’m hopeful will go tonight or tomorrow, as well. They’ve all worked hard, and they’ve given us some awesome football to watch.
Let me tell you – there’s no better place to watch these guys play than at Williams-Brice. But I’ll happily root for whichever pro team they’re picked to play for.
So do me a favor tonight – Help support and and cheer these guys on as they make football history!
Every little girl’s dream while growing up is to be Daddy’s Little Girl. We strive to be the apple of our daddy’s eye. We idealize them and are completely unaware of any of their faults. In fact, a lot of us, as little girls, even somewhat blamed our mothers whenever our parents would get into arguments. Our dads could do very little wrong.
Personally, my dad was quiet and reserved. He rarely spoke, and I never really heard him yell. My mom wore the pants in our house, without a doubt. I always thought he was a gentle spirit, and I knew I wanted to marry a man just like him someday. A lot of little girls end up looking for men who remind them, perhaps even unknowingly, of their daddies. And in this case, that wasn’t a bad thing.
Sure enough, I did grow up a daddy’s girl. I remember many times throughout my childhood, even into my teens, when he and I would stay up long after my mom and sister went to bed and would watch the NBA Finals, a football game, or even all seven long games of one World Series or another.
Things in my relationship with my dad were great, in my jaded world at least, up until I made a poor decision to date the future father of my children. The bottom line is that my dad hated him. For good reason or not, my 16-year-old inner know-it-all was determined to prove my dad wrong. He said there was no way in heck that I was allowed to go out with this guy. What did that mean to me? That there was no way in heck that I wasn’t going to go out with this guy. As you can imagine, my relationship with my dad quickly spiraled downhill at that point. I was on a mission from that point forward to spite him because he didn’t trust me. Because he wouldn’t let me make my own decisions and mistakes. Because he wouldn’t even listen to my side of things, and he was set in his thoughts that I would fail. Oh… and because I was 16, and did I mention I knew everything?
Anyway, my relationship with my dad struggled over the next couple years as I worked my way through high school. I did my best to stay his little girl, however, by making the honor roll every semester, getting accepted into a good college, and graduating in the top seven percent of my class. He had to be proud of me, right?
Of course. That is, until he found out I was pregnant. That’s right. I found out I was pregnant only a few weeks after graduating. Sure, I was still on track for college and my future plans, but the bottom line is that I was pregnant by the guy my father couldn’t stand and forbid me from seeing. To make a long story short, I moved out of my parents’ house and in with future sperm donor the day after graduation. I started college, had my baby, and we ended up getting married. As you can imagine, my dad did not see me that day. Or for many, many days after, I might add. My mom and sister would drive all the way to Charleston every weekend to see the baby and me. Every once in a while, I would go there, and those are the only times my dad had even seen his first grandson and oldest daughter.
As you all already know, my husband ended up being a monster. Every time I would hear someone say that a lot of women end up marrying men like their dads, I would laugh. Not me, I would say. My dad didn’t drink or scream or abuse my mom. My husband did drink and scream and abuse me. The studies were wrong this time. I ended up with a husband far from a man like my dad.
Or so I thought until recently, as my kids have gotten older.
They don’t see their dad anymore really. Generally, over the last couple years, he would see them for a week around Christmas and maybe for a few days over Spring Break. This past year, though, he didn’t see them for either of those. If I recall correctly, he saw his kids for maybe four days total all year. Four. Out of 365.
When that fact first dawned on me, it made me a little uncomfortable. At first, I thought the uneasiness came from the fact that my kids don’t have a relationship with their dad. But really, when I thought about it, that was actually a good thing. So why the depressing feeling that came with it? Suddenly, it dawned on me.
He was like my dad. He had little desire to see his kids, and unless someone else did all the legwork to make a visit happen, he could go a very long time with no contact with his children. That was my dad, too. He had more important things to do than to see his oldest daughter and had excuse after excuse as to why visits had been so few and far between.
I recall a woman my dad had dated for a few years after he and my mom divorced (which was shortly after I left for college). She would often “nag” him into meeting the kids and me for dinner or in coming to visit us. Sure, she had her share of issues, but my sister and I always agreed that she was great at keeping him connected with his daughters. They eventually broke up, and now that push to see the “apple of his eye” is gone, too, I guess. Other than seeing him at my sister’s wedding a year ago and her housewarming party four months ago, I haven’t seen my dad in years. Nope – not even for Christmas. I can’t recall a time he’s ever seen his grandsons (even the one who’s named after him) play a sport, even though they excel at several.
Sure, he tells me that I’m welcome at his house anytime, that we can come for dinner whenever we want, but that’s the extent of the warm and welcome attempts at spending time with his little girl. Don’t get me wrong – I do get a text on Christmas and my birthday (if my mom reminds him), and in some ways, that’s more than my kids get from their dad, so I guess I should be a little thankful, at least.
No, I don’t want him to beg to spend time with his daughter and her family, but a little indication of forgiveness would be nice. Yes, I was wrong when I was a teenager, and yes, he was right in that my first husband was a jackass. I may have even been wrong to have kids and get married so young. But the fact remains that I am a well-educated, college graduate with two beautiful and intelligent young men, a loving husband, two stepchildren, and a job that I love. I made a ton of mistakes growing up, but I’ve turned out pretty damn well. It is, after all, those mistakes from which we learn, right?
I’ve been praying that my owns kids will eventually learn to let go of their unrealistic and idealistic hopes for a future with their father, when after all this time, I finally see that I should have been letting go of the same myself. Maybe this memory I’ve been holding onto from childhood was nothing more than my wishful thinking all along.
My dream of being Daddy’s Little Girl is over.
I’ve been out of high school for nearly 15 years already and out of college for 11. So why is it, then, that my worst (and recurring) nightmare is centered around my school days?
Here’s what happens every single time:
It’s the morning of a major test, and I get to school with enough time to spare to take a trip to my locker to get the materials that I’ll need in order to take said test. My hands are overflowing with books – wait, why don’t I just have a bookbag? – and I manage to balance them all in one arm while fumbling with the lock on my locker door. Only, crap… that’s when I realize that I can’t, for the life of me, remember my combination. 27-6- uh… 32? No, that’s not it. 14? Nope, that’s not working either. I start to get nervous as I look at my watch and see that I’ve got to hurry if I’m going to make it to class in time to take my test. Then, relief hits me. I wrote my combination down on the inside of one of my notebooks! I dump my pile of books on floor, and I can finally start to feel the blood rush to my lower arm and hand again. I hadn’t realized just how heavy those books were. I sort through the pile, and it dawns on me that the notebook I need is one of the ones still in my locker – right there with the things I need for my test. Ugh! Why is this happening to me? I don’t have time for this today. I start to feel hot, and I start to get nervous about the time. I decide I better just go to class and just forget the stuff I need for my test. It’s better to be on time and just take the test rather than be late or skip it all together, right?
So I stack my books back up in my arm – here we go again – and as I top off the pile with one last notebook, the one underneath that tumbles to the floor. I have the sudden urge to just throw them all on the floor and stomp on them, but I can’t if I’m going to make it to class in time for this test. It will, after all, make or break my entire grade in this class. I bend down ever so carefully and stack the books back up, balancing the pile on my chin for support.
I turn the corner from my locker and start down the hallway to my class. Room 217. Only now I can’t find Room 217. What in the world is going on? I go to this class every day. Why can’t I find it now? Silly me – It must be the next hallway, after you turn left at the end of this one. As I finally near the end of the hallway and turn left, I’m confident that I’ll still make it in time. I only had a few more doors to go. But wait – Room 217 isn’t down this hallway, either. What the heck?? I decide that maybe I’ve got my schedule all mixed up, and I’m supposed to be on the third floor instead of the second. Maybe it’s Room 317. I start up the stairs, still barely holding on to my teetering pile of books. I make it to the third floor and down the hallway that looks identical to the one I was just on. I frantically race past classroom after classroom, and there’s still no sign of my room. I begin to panic, thinking of how missing this test is going to ruin my entire year and all hopes of getting into my favorite college. By now, I’m in tears and wake up in a cold sweat, heart pounding out of my chest.
The funny thing about it is that, for some reason, I never think to stop and ask someone where my classroom is. Instead, I panic and wake up a nervous wreck. It’s so odd to me that all these years later, I still stress out about school and my grades. I’ve always been a perfectionist, and I’ve always said that it’s my best and worst trait all in one. I guess this is one of those times that it really is my worst.
What about you? Do you have any odd recurring dreams (or nightmares, as is the case for me)?