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It’s Sunday morning and everyone else is asleep.  It’s the best time for me to get some quiet time with my coffee and book.  Today I decided to take my Bible outside with a devotional to read today before my book.  I have a paper taped to the front of my Bible with a Month of Prayers for your children.  Basically, each day has a verse and a specific thing to pray about for your children.  Everybody struggles from time to time and lately both my kids have struggled with something. Something that I couldn’t fix as a parent or even help with.  People have hurt them and all I can do is pray about the situation and have faith that God had it all under control.  Today I went over every single day.  Every single topic. Every single verse.  I even wrote some down that stood out to me.  I get to the 30th and the verse is Ephesians 4:31-32

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with other forms of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you.

Well….somehow while praying for my kids I became the one that needed this the most.  I have been holding onto unforgiveness.  Someone hurt my kids and I am mad.  I am hurt for them and I have been holding onto that for weeks, months maybe.  Today I realized it was killing me literally.  I have literally been holding this inside and letting to fester and eat me away from the inside out.  I am not this person.  Those of you that truly know me and my heart know that I promote love.  Love for everyone.  I promote encouragement and try to encourage and lift people up everywhere I go.  I am not a person with hate and rage.  I am not a person that holds grudges.  I am not a person that holds onto anger.  But lately that has been me.  I haven’t quite been myself both mentally, spiritually and emotionally for a while now and today it all came to the surface.

I tell you all this because today I was overtaken by emotion after reading that verse and realized that I was doing just the opposite of that and I had bitterness, rage, anger and malice in my heart.  All of these. I’m embarrassed to even type that out for a blog with the title All the Things (with Love).  I was not loving these people at all.  I was anger and hurt and I was holding onto that and making myself sick.

I’m not saying all this to be a martyr or to get any comments about how brave I am or how “you’re a better woman than me”  I say it to remind you all that unforgiveness is disease and it can literally kill you.  It can eat away at your soul and change you as a person.  A person you do not want to be.

So today I made a choice…continue with this mindset or choose to forgive and release myself from the poison.  I chose to take care of myself.  To take care of my heart and my soul and take care of my mind and body.  I chose me.  I chose to take back my heart and soul from the disease and take back my mind from the storm that was turning into a full blown hurricane/tsunami/other really bad weather thingy.

I chose forgiveness.


A Day of Freedom 5-27-19

Freedom is a crazy thing. To most of the people I know it’s like oxygen. It’s like air. It’s not something we see but we know it’s there and we can’t survive without it. It’s essential to life as we know it. But what we fail to remember is that freedom is not a luxury, and trust me it is definitely a luxury, that most of the world has the privilege of knowing. Ever. In their entire lives. Let’s just look at a day in the life of a person that lives with this freedom. I honestly wish I could give you a glimpse into the other side of it but I am not qualified nor will I ever be to even remotely imagine life without freedom. I am extremely grateful for that!

Today, Memorial Day 2019, is the day in America that we celebrate those soldiers that fought for and lost their lives obtaining and defending our freedom. You know the freedom that’s like oxygen. Oxygen is free and everywhere. Freedom is expensive and limited.

Today I had the freedom to wake up in a nice comfy bed with a pillow and blanket. I had the freedom to walk into another room and turn a lever and fresh clean water come out of spout. I had the freedom to urinate in an actual toilet inside my house and pull another lever and it all go away making a clean bowl for the next time. I had the freedom to walk into yet another room and use a machine that required electricity to make a hot drink for myself. And it only took 90 seconds. I had the freedom to walk outside and sit in a comfortable chair OUTSIDE and listen to the birds and animals and feel the breeze on my skin and the sun on my face and I felt safe. I had the freedom to enjoy this quietness and sit there for as long as it took me to drink my hot drink and pet my dogs. Dogs that I have the freedom of owning and loving.

I had the freedom to go for a 3 mile run from my house down a country road and back. Safely and with lots of beautiful scenery to look at. I had nice shoes to run in and clothes especially made for exercise. I had clean water to drink when I got home and a cool house and soft couch to rest on.

I had the freedom to get in my own car and drive down the road and go to a retailer and buy food to cook later. I had the freedom to buy sunscreen to protect my skin.

I had the freedom to have vegetable and fruits available to eat and cook for my family and a place to keep them cool and keep them from rotting. I had milk and meat in this place to keep cool and fresh. I had a stove to cook the food. All I had to do was turn a button and it got hot enough to cook.

I think you get what I’m really trying to say.

These are freedoms that most of us take for granted. We don’t even consider them freedoms at all. We consider them expected. We just expect these things to be there and happen and honestly most of the time we don’t even give them a second thought. We do when they aren’t there. We get upset when they aren’t there. We can’t function normally when they aren’t there but we never stop to think that these are freedoms. Freedoms that most do not and will not ever know or understand.

In saying all this, maybe take a moment out or your day, maybe even everyday and stop and think about the many “freedoms” you have. Dig deep. Because it’s hard to think of such trivial everyday things as “freedoms” because honestly you have no other reference point. Think about the lives lost to obtain this freedom and defend this freedom. Think of all the hard work. The blood. The sweat. The tears. Just so you can walk outside. Have electricity. Running water. I could go on but I hope by now you understand that basic necessities are freedoms and they are like oxygen. Now say a prayer for those that don’t have them. Think of them. Now say a prayer for those families that lost their loved ones whole they were defending these things we take for granted everyday.


Do Not Let the Letters and Numbers Define You

Grades. Let’s just start there. When we start school we are given grades on our performance. We are taught that the different letters mean different things and based on that we are either good or bad. A for good. F for bad. And all ranges in between.

Position on a team. If you have played or even watch sports you know that each player has a job and with that job comes a title. Point guard. Forward. Pitcher. Catcher. Quarterback. Kicker. Wide receiver. Goalie. Anchor. Lead. Most of these are abbreviated for easy reference on the TV screen or stat book. They are represented my letters or a set of letters most of the time but not always. QB. F. WR. You get the picture. These basically tell everyone what you do or are expected to do on the field or court. Where you are supposed to stand or play on that field or court. You also get assigned a number too. Almost all players on a team have a jersey with a number on it to distinguish them from the others. So therefore you are identified by these letters and numbers

Degree. Those of you that have a specific title behind your name know that it is usually abbreviated with letters. MD, PharmD (my favorite for obvious reasons), RN, DPT, Ph.D, DO, LSW, LPN, etc. These are titles as well and tell people what you are educated to do as well as what your vocation is. It represents years of study and hopefully knowledge from all that study.

These are all examples of letters and numbers that tell who we are, what we do, and what we know. They do NOT tell how good or bad we are. How beautiful or handsome we are. How ugly or unfit we are. How smart or stupid we are. How skinny or fat we are. How successful or unsuccessful we are. How rich or poor we are.

I could go on but I won’t.

What I am trying to say is that the numbers and letters do not define you. They may identify us (what we do, what we know about) to other people. They do not tell your story. They do not show your heart. They do not show your mind and soul. They do not DEFINE us. They do not limit us. They do not make us who we truly are. We are so much more than the letters and numbers that we are associated with. We are so much more than what we do for a living. We are so much more than the education that we have.

Don’t let the letters and numbers tell your story. Let your heart tell it. Let your mind tell it. Let your soul tell it. Let the love you share tell it. Let the compassion you have tell it. Let the honor you have tell it. Let the sadness you have tell it.

Don’t let the letters and numbers define you.

being real, Christian, Dog mom, encouragement, family, God, God's Plan, grateful, life, love, slowing down

Love like a Dog..unconditional and intentional

We could all take a lesson from our pets, mainly our dogs.  I’m not a cat person and therefore have no frame of reference there.  I have not always been a dog lover.  My parents had dogs as I was growing up but I was basically indifferent to them after they stopped being the cute little snuggly puppy.  I became a dog owner when Santa himself dropped a basset hound puppy on the door step of my home for my daughter when she was in elementary school.  Don’t worry, the irony of this all does not escape me.  It was basically my dog to care for and feed and clean up after.  ALL THE THINGS.  But that hound loved me.  She thought I was the coolest person in the whole world.  Still the irony of this does not escape me.  She knew who fed her.  But she still loved me when I forgot to feed her.  She still loved me when I came in the house and went straight to bed and never spoke to her.  She still loved me when I left her at home alone for hours.  Dogs have this uncanny ability to love you unconditional and intently every day…all day long…no matter how you react on the other end.  This sweet hound has long since gone and went the special place in heaven for Dogs.  If you have ever loved a dog then you know that there is no doubt such a place.

Now I have been blessed with another such companion, his name is Stitch.  He was part of an accidental litter that was born on our farm.  He is a Texas Heeler and he was the runt of the litter (my favorite).  This guy looks at me like I look at cheesecake.  He thinks I do no wrong and I’m the most beautiful person in the world.  (He told me…we have a special joke).  I sometimes forget to feed him.  I sometimes forget to even speak to him as I walk in the house.  I sometimes pay him no attention at all some days, but when he lays eyes on me I can see the love in his eyes.  I will go on the back deck to relax or read or just be alone with the sounds of the woods and he will show up and look at me and smile.  I swear yall, he smiles at me.  He is a large dog and would literally sit in my lap if I would let him.  But he is always by my side if I am outside and on the occasion that he gets to come in the house he is right beside me or on my lap. When I’m outside he will lay at my feet and just let me be and do what I need to.  I think he knows what is in my heart and in my soul.  I think he can see straight in there to all the mess and he loves me despite it all.  He loves me because of it all.

Humans on the other hand…well.  They don’t see like dogs do.  We need to be more like dogs.  Love unconditionally.  Look at someone and just love them in their mess.  Love them despite there mess and because of their mess.  Love them through their mess.  Intentionally love them.  No agenda for returned love.  Just love because that is what you do.  Be there for people even when you don’t get anything in return.  I think what it boils down to is that dogs do not judge the person on their actions or lack of actions they just love them no matter what.  They see straight into a person’s true heart and loves them right where they are in their heart with their whole heart..every day…all day long.

Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them, and filling an emptiness we didn’t ever know we had.  -Thom Jones

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. -Roger Caras





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Slow Down

I know what you are all thinking…another blog post about how we are all supposed to slow down our lives and try to savor each moment.  Well you are right!!  I was sitting in a hospital waiting room the other night and this concept of slowing down kind of came to me.  I wrote my thoughts down at the time like I usually do but they never quite made it to this blog.  Anyway is this concept unattainable? For some I think it is.  Maybe for myself because my life is really not my own most days.  As a mom of four, mostly teenagers, I don’t usually dictate what my day is going to look like or even what my week is going to look like because it’s usually scheduled out for me.  Practices and games.  School functions and meetings.  Work outside the home and inside the home.  Deadlines and such.  We are all so busy as moms because our life is not our own and we just strive to get everyone where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there.  I will have to say for those mommas with littles it does slow down some when you have a new driver in the family.  But that poses a whole different set of stresses because you are worried sick that they are okay out there without you.  That they aren’t in a ditch somewhere with their car turned upside down.  Slow down you say??  Maybe for some of us that is only a fleeting thought as we hop in the car to take this one to practice and the other to a friend’s house only to make that same circle again in a few hours.  There are times that we do slow down and enjoy each other around the dinner table and there are seasons during the year where this is a regular thing.  But there are also seasons where it’s like our door is one of those revolving where one or two of us goes in while one or two others goes out and this lasts for weeks on end.  We travel in different directions for different activities and occasionally we all meet up at the same place at the same time.  For now I will take it because there is no chance of a slow down here with all the things to do and places to go to but eventually there will be a day that I wake up and there will be no one to take to their game or practice, no one to school or meetings.  They will have lives of their own and eventually they will be taking their own littles and bigs to things.  It’s all part of the circle of life even though sometimes that circle seems like the swirling of a toilet bowl or better yet a tornado.  I’ll just hang on for the tornado ride right now.  I have always heard that there a calm after the storm too.



being a mom and wife, being real, blended family, Christian, Empty nest, encouragement, family, God, God's Plan, grateful, life, love, memories, mom life, slowing down, southern, sports mom

They think we’re fishing

Lately I have seen a few posts from young parents and their little ones fishing with the same caption on all of them….”They think we’re fishing”.  I can relate to this everyday.  In other words, the kids think they are merely fishing but the parents know that this is way more than just fishing.  It’s time spent.  It’s a special time together that they will never get back.  It’s a time to cherish and to soak up every second with their sweet little ones.  It’s a time to hold them close and to talk to them.  It’s a time to teach them something like patience and sitting still.  It doesn’t have to be fishing at all.  It can be anything that you do with your child and yet they don’t realize how special it is to you.  They have no idea how much that you are going to miss this age they are in or the fact that they aren’t little anymore.  They don’t understand that you are holding on as tight as you can while at the same time giving them room to fly.  It’s never just “fishing”.  From a parent perspective it is always so much more.  When they are older and they look back on this time spent, whatever your activity is, they will realize that it was a special time.  When they look back on time spent with a loved one that has now gone to Heaven they will understand that it was much more than “fishing”.  It was a time to learn who you are and where you came from.  It was making memories that you didn’t even realize were memories until much later in life.  They will look back with a smile on their face and a far off look and recall those times with warmth and longing just like I do for those times with my loved ones that have gone on.

Don’t fault them for not savoring every last moment.  Don’t fault them for being “bored”.  But Momma and Daddy you savor every single moment.  You soak it all up.  Cherish even the rough times because they make the good times even better. And never ever take for granted the time you have with your little ones or your big ones.  This is a luxury that not everyone has and it could be one that may be taken away.  Make every moment count. Love big and Love hard. But always Remember…..






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But That’s Not the Plan!!??

Lots of times we make big plans for ourselves.  We plan to do this and be that and go here and visit there.  BUT……God has a different idea.  He has a different plan all lined out for us and we have no idea which way it will take us.  We think we have it all figured out…you know graduate high school, 4 years of college, graduate college, get a job, get married, buy a house, buy a car, have a few kids.  You know the drill.  Yeah, It NEVER happens that way. Maybe for some it happens this way but I don’t know any of those people and I frankly I don’t want to.  I probably wouldn’t like them very much (just being real here).

Life is an adventure.  I’m sure that’s in the bible somewhere.  Maybe in not so many words or phrased differently.  But none the less it is definitely a roller coaster and sometimes you pee a little on those big upside down loops (forgive me…I have a 44 year old momma brain (and bladder) it’s just the way it is).

God and life have a way of turning your best laid plans upside down.  I’m here to say that it’s all gonna be okay.  Yeah, you are going to cry and laugh and yeah..pee a little. But He has got it all figured out even if you don’t.  It’s gonna suck eggs sometimes and sometimes that suck egg part lasts for a few years.  But then there is the aha moments.  Those moments that you sit there and realize that it’s all going to work out and God has placed you right where you are for a reason.  It’s those moments that you realize that it is all much bigger than yourself.  That your little world is actually much bigger than you thought and you are still a crucial part of it all.  He has work for you to do.  He has ideas for your life that you can never conceive in your tiny little human brain. It takes a while sometimes for your heart and head to catch up to God’s plan and then look back and realized that He was there all along.  He was in the weeds with you and He was in the sunshine too.  He was and is in it all.

I have lots of changes coming in my little world this year with kids leaving the nest and others being the only one left in the nest (as if he was not spoiled enough…don’t judge). We can never prepare ourselves for what the Lord has for us but we have to be open to all the many possibilities that He has for us.  Our lives can take a hairpin turn at any minutes both good and bad.  We have to trust that God has a plan in it all (easy when it’s good, harder when it’s bad) and follow His lead.  Pray for His will, no matter what that may look like and be willing to accept it when it doesn’t look quite like we expected.

Friends, God has our back whether we acknowledge it or not.  He is there and He is in control.  We just have to be open to Him and His plan.

(FYI…Please remind me that I wrote this later this year when my two girls leave the nest and I’m in the fetal position in the corner crying my eyes out.  Please remind me of this…I will need it)

being a mom and wife, being real, Christian, encouragement, God's Plan, grateful, love, memories, slowing down

Family is not always about Blood

Mr. Webster defines family as such

The first thing most of us think of when we hear the word family is those people related to us by blood or marriage. The people we live with. The people we grew up with in the same house. The crazy uncle or cousin that always wanted to pick at you at family gatherings. I know most of us have those and if you don’t you are truly missing out (not really).

But family can be so much more than blood and marriage and crazy relatives. Family can also be those friends that you still have after 40 years that you don’t see very often. You are both busy with life and kids and taking care of business that getting together and hanging out just isn’t a great option. But they are still your family because no matter how far apart you are geographically or no matter how much time it’s been since you saw each other or talked to each other you can pick up right where you left off and still talk about anything and everything. Still share your deepest secrets and fondest memories. They are your PEOPLE. Your family. These are the people whose family is your family because they love you like their own and you love them like your own “blood” family. You walk in their house and look in their fridge cause it’s like home. You never leave them without a hug and an “I love you” much like you do when you leave your own Momma’s house and they do the same when they come to your momma’s house. You know every room in their house and they know yours too. Even now, 40 years later, you could go there and see reminders of your childhood, reminders of yourself. A ceramic duck that she keeps in her room which was a birthday present that you got here forever ago and even though it was something you weren’t, at the time, excited about giving because you forgot to tell your mom about the party and it was the only thing in town that you could find last minute. But she always had it sitting in her room even years later when you both were Mommas of your own. Means the world.

This is Your People. And though I can’t say what the future holds I venture to guess that they will be in your heart and soul until your heart stops beating. ❤️



On my way to work yesterday before light and in the pouring rain I came around a curve and there across both lanes in the road was a fallen tree. It was completely blocking the road and there was no way to get around it. Thankfully I have a small compact car and I just turned around in the middle of the road and REROUTED. Grateful for more than one way to get where I was going. This scenario reminds me that life is not always a straight easy road. It is sometimes dark rainy and the way you want or plan to go is completely blocked.

Around this time of year every year I am also reminded that my life did not take the road I had originally planned (spoiler alert: it NEVER does). I am reminded that my little wonderful family is not the textbook picket fence that I had planned as a young girl. This is not to say that I’m not completely and utterly happy and content with my current situation. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in my life than right where I am at this very moment. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t have to travel to get here in the dark, in the cold , in the pouring down rain just to get to a point in the metaphoric road where there was a big old metaphoric tree blocking my way. Let’s just say the concept of rerouting is not foreign to me.

Some of these so-called road blocks I totally put there myself and some were just dropped right there without me having anything to do with it. The moral of this story is…you come to a big old tree in the road…guess what you do?? You grumble if you need too but then you REROUTE. I know that all sounds so easy. Just go another way. Yep because that way is not your way to go. The New route may be uphill and rocky and it may be slippery and really really long but it’s getting you where you need to go. Where God has a plan for you to go. He put that tree in your way for a reason!! So embrace the new route whatever it may be because the destination is right where you need to go. Even if you didn’t know that was where you were going and when you get there you will find that you are content and happy and that old tree never really bothered you at all.

Merry Christmas my friends and enjoy the ROUTE!! Even if it’s a detour! ❤️

being a mom and wife, being real, Christian, christmas memories, encouragement, Food, grateful, love, memories, slowing down

Taste and Smell

It’s funny how the slightest scent can bring back such memories.  Taste and smell can recall feelings in your mind, heart and body that you have long forgotten.  Most of these involve food but some are just the smell of people and places and things that make you think of that certain someone.  Doublemint gum…I always think of my Pawpa.  He would always keep a pack in his pocket and give all us grandkids a piece.  He and my Granny didn’t have much at all but he always had that gum handy.  Safeguard Soap… (they have it in the Kroger restroom, just in case you needed to know) it makes me think of their little trailer that we all loved and piled into every Thanksgiving and Christmas when I was a little girl.  It was hot as thirty hells but we loved them and loved being there.  The smell of dressing. Oh my Granny’s dressing was the very best and we loved to “test” it to see if it needed anything else.  She always, always said it needed more sage. Makes me smile as I read this. Petunias…She grew these every year in every corner and spot on the front porch.  They were always beautiful and smelled and looked amazing.  Apricot Salad…Simple dish with cream cheese and apricot jello.  One of my Dad’s sisters would make it every year and in the same clear/opaque Tupperware brand dish.  Years and years…same dish in the same container.  Fried Chicken….My Granny would take a knife with a blade that wasn’t even two inches long with a plastic handle and cut us a whole chicken and fry it.  Now if there is ever a taste of heaven that was it.  I still wish that I had tried to learn her recipes years ago and how to cut up that dang chicken.  She never bought a package of thighs or legs. NEVER EVER was a package of boneless skinless chicken breast ever brought into that little trailer in the country.  AquaNet….My Granny had the typical old lady gray hair helmet.  I don’t ever remember her going to the hair salon but she always had a perm and when you hugged her all you could smell was her hairspray.  Some of the other favorite memories were the nutcrackers and bowl.  She had a bowl that looked like a hollowed out slice of a tree, bark and all on the outside and the inside was always full of nuts and a silver nutcracker.  Every Christmas that would be set out.  More traditional that the Christmas Tree

My grandparents had very little.  My Granny never had a drivers license and my Pawpa took her everywhere she needed to go.  They were happy even with a hard life.  They both worked hard.  He worked at the factory in town and he could fix anything you had mechanical that could break.  She could cook like a well studied chef and she could quilt and crochet anything that you could imagine.  She had a green thumb that I am thankful to have inherited a slight bit.  Everything she touched grew and prospered and she and my Pawpa always had such a beautiful garden.  She canned and froze food for the winter and that chicken trick deserves to be mentioned again.

I miss them all that time and I’m disappointed that my kids did not get the pleasure of meeting them and loving them like my cousins and I did.  They have both since passed on and their little place in the country is occupied by a different family.

Taste and Smells can bring back so many memories.  Savor them when they do.  Remember the people, places, food.. whatever those smells bring back take a minute to conjure up those memories and keep them close to you heart to tell to your grandkids.