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"Merry Christmas Ya'll.."

 Thursday, December 1, 2011

“Christmas is a necessity....There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we're here for something else besides ourselves...."




I realize..as I start this blog off that I have not been writing as much as I normally do...I apologize greatly but I promise there is a good reason...a very good reason...I have been writing, just not on my blog...Time is of the essence and its just not time for some of what I have written to be put on here....yet.... =)

Today is the first day of December...as many of you guys are doing, I am getting ready for the greatest season of all...Christmas...As I was putting together my Christmas tree a couple days ago...getting all the ornaments out and putting them on my tree is my favorite thing to do. I have 2 seperate boxes...the first box is filled with all the balls, glass ornaments, candy canes, and so on...that is the first set of oranments to go up...the second box is the most special...it is all of Khristian's homemade ornaments he has made over the last 10 years. I love taking them out..one by one...and placing them on the tree myself...of all the fancy oranments on my tree..these are my absolute favorite...it brings back so many Christmas memories that I can't help but to smile at each one..from the ones from when he was a baby and he just scribbled all over the paper..to the ones where he had learned to write his name on the back of each one and colored inside the lines...to the intricate paper snowflake he made last year...each one is a treasure...

I laugh as I think back on Travis and I's first Christmas together as a married couple...I had never lived away from my parents before..so not only was this my first christmas as a married adult but it was my first christmas away from home. At my parents house, we always had a huge Christmas tree and it was always carefully decorated with beautiful ornaments with I don't know how many strands of lights on it...the whole house was decorated and smelled so good. It just felt magical....

As a newly married couple, Travis and I were broke..still adjusting to married life...no Christmas tree..no oraments...not one single decoration....Luckily, Travis' mom caught a christmas tree on sale and bought it for us...I was so excited...so I immediatly went home and put it together...I even went by walmart and picked up some colored balls to go on it with several stands of lights...When I put that thing together I almost sat down in the middle of the floor and cryed....it was the smallest Christmas tree I had ever had...I tryed everything to make it bigger..taller...something other than just the little dinky tree it looked like...I put boxes up underneath it...I made Travis help me as I wrapped christmas lights around every single branch of that tree...nothing worked...so we just finished decorating it with the little oranments we had and made do...Travis tryed everything up under the sun to cheer me up...but I just couldnt get into the Christmas spirit...We ended up going and getting a couple small yard decorations to jazz things up a bit...It helped me cheer up some...Khristian was about 4 at the time and all I could remember thinking is I wanted him to have great memories of Christmas...I wanted him to be able to say that Christmas time was magical at his house...

Christmas day came and I have to tell on myself and say that I acted like a spoiled brat...You know those things that while shopping you say "Oh I like that"..it's more of a generic comment than a geniune comment and you would never actually buy it for yourself or want someone to get it for you...well, Travis had not learned that valuable lesson yet...so while shopping he took a mental note of everything I said I "liked" and bought it for me...On Christmas morning I recieved a reversable cake plate...a small rock garden fountain...and a candle...and a shelf I wanted...I was so dissapointed...Bless his heart, he was so proud of himself because he had thought he had done so good...but again, I was being a brat..and I pouted all day (Because thats what I do..and still do)...but regardless of how bratty I was acting I was genuinly excited to see Khristian fall in love with all his gifts from santa...Santa had managed to get him almost everything on his list...his face just lite up...

Later that night, as we had made all our rounds and we were finally getting ready to head home from my parents...Khristian hugged my neck and said "This Christmas has just been like magic mommy...I was scared Santa wouldnt be able to find me this year because we moved houses but he did...he brought me everything I wanted and our whole family is together celebrating Jesus' Birthday!"

Talk about being brought back down to earth by a 4 year old...I had to take a step back and re-evauate my attitude...

We as a family are what makes Christmas a magical time...not the tree, the presents, the decorations, or even the food....its whats in our hearts...it is our ability to believe in the magic of Christmas..we bring about new traditions as well as keep up with the old ones...and lastly but certainly most important...it is the time of year that we celebrate openly the birth of our Lord and Savior...because without him..none of this would be possible...Let us all remember that...

Merry Christmas ya'll... =)

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"Gaining Perspective..."

 Thursday, November 17, 2011

"In desperate times, much more than anything else, folks need perspective... For perspective brings calm... Calm leads to clear thinking... Clear thinking yields new ideas.... And ideas produce the bloom...of an answer. Keep your head and heart clear... Perspective can just as easily be lost as it can be found..."

Here lately, I have been thinking alot about perspective...how sometimes you can be so close to a situation...your focusing so much on the small little details that you can't see anything else...you have tunnel vision and its obstructing your entire view...you are blinded to any other view...However, if you just back away from it...give it just a little bit of time..a little bit of breathing room...then come back...you often times, gain a whole new perspective...

Many people have asked me how I gave Khristian his name...Khristian Miguel Andrews...I am hoping that my step-mother doesn't mind me sharing this story with you...but it's such a big part of our story as a whole...it has been on my mind alot lately...

My daddy and step-mom have been married for 18 years...prior to me having Khristian they had tried on multiple occations to have a baby...Gina would get pregnant and several months into the pregnancy she would miscarry..each time was heartbreaking for her and my dad...I am not sure of the logistics but her body just wasn't able to carry a baby to full term...If I am not mistaken I don't think she was even supposed to get pregnant with my younger step-brother...she calls him her miracle baby. The miscarriages went on for years...there was a total of 13 miscarriages... on the 13th one, Gina told my daddy she just couldn't do it anymore...her heart couldnt take anymore...so she make the decision to have her tubes tied...As I type this I have tears in my eyes because I can't imagine having to endure what she went through on so many different levels...

Gina had just recently went through her last miscarriage when I went into labor...I didn't know if I was having a boy or girl..furthermore, I had no clue as to what I wanted to name this child...People were throwing out suggestions left and right...I even had one of those books with thousands of names...but I wanted his name to mean something. I was scanning through the book while people were still suggesting names...when from over in a chair beside my hospital bed Gina spoke up...She said "I like the name Christian...that's what I was going to name my baby if I had another one.." I thought it over..tossed it around and around in my head and I knew that's what I wanted to name my baby...but gave it a little twist and spelled it with a "K" instead of a "C"...Khristian's biological father is half hispanic so my mom suggested giving a little bit of his heritage in his name..that is where "Miguel" came in...I finally had a name...Khristian Miguel Andrews...

After I brought Khristian home Gina was a huge help to me...she taught me how to be a mom...there was so much I didn't know and she took the time to teach me...to guide me...and to help me grow...Khristian was about 1 month old when Gina told me that she truly believed that God knew that Khristian and I were going to need her..that she believed that is why she couldnt have a baby..that she needed to be there for us...I know that at the time of her final miscarriage she didn't understand what God's plan for her was...she was so close to the situation..so heartbroken that she couldnt see why this had happened...but after several months...a little bit of time...and a little bit of healing..she gained a whole new perspective..and she understood what God's plan for her was...

Everyone knows that PawPaw (my daddy) is Golden in my little boy's eye...but there is also a very special bond between Khristian and Gina that most people do not understand...I believe Khristian helped Gina through the heartbreak of that final miscarriage...he was the baby she couldn't have...He helped her gain a whole new perspective...

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" A kind heart..."

 Thursday, October 27, 2011

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind... the second is to be kind... and the third is to be kind...”




Often times we try to teach our children about the less fortunate people in this world...about the children that do not have name brand clothes or shoes...about the girl and boy that sit alone in the lunchroom that doesnt have many friends because they may be considered "different"...There are very few things that I try to shelter Khristian from... because honestly...whether we want to admit it or not... its reality...I want him to be fully prepared when he is approached with certain situations in this crazy world and I want him to know how to handle them...

 From the time that Khristian was very small I have always tried to instill in him the importance of helping others in need...every Christmas we go to the dollar tree and get things together to make up several shoeboxes to send to children that are less fortunate that we are...I have made him go through his toys periodically so that we could donate them...he takes canned food to school food drives and so forth.. I try to teach him kindness...that one person is no better than another...and that having a kind heart, along with manners, hard work and giving your very best will get you along way in this world...


Sometimes, I don't really know if what I am teaching him is actually sinking in and making a difference or just going in one ear and right out the other...and then instances like yesterday happen..God sends us little signs to let us know we are right on target....and it just makes my heart smile...

I don't mind using Khristian's real name in my blog because he is my son but for the privacy of this little girl and her family I will keep her name private..we will call her "Jane"...

Earlier this week, I overheard a conversation going on between Khristian and Jane...Jane was telling Khristian how much she liked his Zigs tennis shoes...(now personally, I dont see what the big deal is about these Zigs but apparently they are the big thing among kids in school right now ) and Khristian reponded by saying "Yeah I like them to..my mom and dad bought them for me because I really wanted them..they are so cool! You should get a pair!"  Jane got a little sad in the face and told him that she asked her parents but they said no because they cost to much...a couple other things were said before I intervened and suggested another topic of conversation....Later that night, I explained to Khristian again that some childrens parents couldnt afford the nice things like what he has...and there is nothing wrong with that.. that the brand of clothing or shoes that we have on does not define who we are as a person....and we shouldnt brag about what we have because it makes the other person feel bad...He told me he wasnt meaning to brag..to which I told him that I knew he wasnt..but I just wanted to remind him so that he could keep that in the back of his mind if a similiar situation arose again...

We had told Khristian to have his Christmas list us before October 31 so that we could get his list to Santa early and beat the crowd...we told him it could be no longer than 25 things....so, a week ago he presented us with a list of 25 things that is now on the front of the refrigerator...It has everything that a typical 10 year old athletic boy would ask for on there...a X-box 360, some UnderArmour shirts and shorts, a new pair of sperry shoes, a couple of toys that he wants, and so forth.... Not exactly a cheap list but it is do-able....I woke up yesterday morning...came in the kitchen to fix my coffee and found Khristian standing on a stool doing something to the list...I asked him what he was doing...before he answered me he grabbed a pen and wrote something in place of what he had erased...he then turned around and said "Mom...I thought about it all night...I already have a pair of Zigs and a pair of Sperrys..I dont need a new pair so I erased that from my list and instead asked Santa to bring Jane a pair of pink Zigs for Christmas...I just know it will make her happy!" He had given up one of his things on the list and instead asked for something for Jane..All I could do was hug him...I bent down and kissed his forehead...and I told him that I was so very proud of him..that he has such a kind heart and to never lose that....It was one of the most unselfish things I have ever seen him do...He truly amazes me every day of my life..

Somehow...someway...there will be a pair of pink zigs up under my Christmas tree this year with a big bow that has Jane's name on top of them... =)

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" Silent conversations..."

 Thursday, October 20, 2011

"Silence..I discovered, is something you can actually hear...."

This morning, as I woke up extremly to early for some unknown reason...maybe it's all the numerous thoughts that keep running through my head that just won't shut up..or maybe it was the thought that I could enjoy a nice peaceful cup of coffee before the sun came up in silence...whatever the reason, I was up shortly after 5:30. I pulled on my comfy, warm Gap pants..started the coffee maker...and stood by in silent anticipation of my morning goodness...I grabbed my cup and filled it to the brim...snatched my oversized blanket off the back of the couch and gently opened the back door..afraid that If I made any sounds then I would shatter the peaceful silence...and stepped out back to quite a cold morning but It didnt matter...It was quiet...

While I sat there enjoying my 30 minutes of solitude before the choas of the day started...my mind started to wonder as it always does...Seriously, sometimes I don't understand how my small head can hold as many thoughts as it does without busting at the seams...Have you ever really sat and thought about the word silence in detail? What it means? By Wikipedias definition Silence is defined as : the relative or total lack of audible sound...often referred to as no sounds uttered by any body in a room and or area...Hmmm...while this is true I can't help but to think..silence never really is just silent..is it?

There are many forms of silence and each of them means a different thing...There is the silence that comes with the early morning where the world is quiet..There is silence after a rainstorm, and before a rainstorm, and these are not the same...There is the silence of emptiness... the silence of fear...the silence of doubt... There is a certain silence that can be heard from a lifeless object such as from a chair...or from a piano with old dust on its keys..There is angry silence...and there is comfortable silence...There is the silence that claims a picture on the wall....These are the kinds of silences that can speak... It's voice depends on which type it is... the chair may have been left by a laughing child or the last notes of the piano may have been played by happy family at Christmas time...the picture may have been taken on the happiest day of your life...the words from the picture are spoken from the look in your eyes... The angry silence may be unsaid words that are floating between one person to the next...just because they have not been spoken does not mean that you can't hear them loud and clear...The comfortable silence may take place between two friends that no words have to be spoken...you just know...Whatever the mood or the circumstance...the words are there... It is a soundless echo...

Silence can be golden but it can also be brutal...because in those unhinged moments when words have run out and you are now sitting in absolute utter complete silence....there is a unspoken conversation this is going on whether you recognize it or not...

I can remember clearly the day of my wedding...there was a  moment right before my dad walked me down the isle to Travis. I was beyong nervous and I was waiting on my cue to go through the double doors to walk to my future husband...My dad and I stood there in complete silence  but in that quiet moment he squeezed my hand and I looked at him and he smiled at me..."I love you and I am proud of you" is what that silent moment said. My mother and I have not spoken over some differences that we have since February of this year...Silence...there are no words that are being spoken but we both know what is being said. In April, the worst tornado's that my beautiful state of Alabama has ever seen...ripped through Tuscaloosa and the surrounding towns...destroying many people's homes, businesses, and lives....I told Travis and Khristian that for Mothers day all I wanted to do was go volunteer and help...While there I met a family that did not speak very much English and had lost their home along with most eveything they owned. As I was handing the mother a pack of diapers and wipes for her newborn baby...she hugged me so tight and when she finally let me go..the words were clear... "Thank you"..Last night, as I was sitting at the kitchen table doing endless amounts of homework and studing with Khristian...I looked over and Travis was cleaning the kitchen for me..I caught his eye from across the room and without saying a word...he understood how much him helping me out meant to me...

There are so many instances where silence really isn't silent...you can almost see the words hanging in the air...unspoken conversations are going on all around us...Even this morning, when all the world was silent around me... =)



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"What the books didn't tell you about Motherhood..."

 Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of "overtime" when the angel appeared and said. "You're doing a lot of fiddling around on this one." ....And God said, "Have you read the specs on this order?" ...She has to be completely washable, but not plastic. Have 180 moveable parts...all replaceable. Run on black coffee and leftovers. Have a lap that disappears when she stands up. A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair. And six pairs of hands." ...The angel shook her head slowly and said. "Six pairs of hands.... no way." ...It's not the hands that are causing me problems," God remarked, "it's the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have." ...That's on the standard model?" asked the angel. God nodded...."One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, 'What are you kids doing in there?' when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn't but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say. 'I understand and I love you' without so much as uttering a word." ...God," said the angel touching his sleeve gently, "Get some rest tomorrow...." ...I can't," said God, "I'm so close... Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick...can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger...and can get a nine year old to stand under a shower." ...The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. "It's too soft," she sighed. ...But tough!" said God excitedly. "You can imagine what this mother can do or endure." ...Can it think?" said the Angel ...Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise," said the Creator...Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek...."There's a leak," she pronounced. "I told You that You were trying to put too much into this model." ...It's not a leak," said the Lord, "It's a tear." ....What's it for?" said the Angel..."It's for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride." ...You are a genius, " said the angel... Somberly, God said, "I didn't put it there..."

 
Everyone likes to tell you how great being a mother is..how all warm and fuzzy it makes you...how when they smile at you..your heart just simply melts...yes..while all this is true..It is not always fuzzy hugs..and warm kisses..and just absolute bliss...what people like to leave out of all those fun details of motherhood  is how heartbreakingly hard it is...how sometimes instead of preventing your child from hurting..you are the cause of why they are hurting..why they are crying...and sometimes you as a Mother have to make decisions..hard tough decisions...and most of the time, you have no idea what to do...your heart is pulling you in one direction..your mind and sensibility is pulling in another...and all through this you are supposed to be putting on a confident face for your child to see..so that they won't know the internal battle going on within yourself...so that they won't see you faltering..or your lack of parenting skills...you have to be the face of calm assurance..regardless of the complete crushed feeling you have on the inside...

I think last night was the second hardest night of my life as a mother...The first, of course being when we told Khristian that Travis was not his biological dad...and then there is last night....my heart feels so heavy right now...even as I sit here and type this my eyes are tearing up...they already burn from the endless amount of them I cryed last night..5th grade has been tough on Khristian this year...honestly, Khristian has never really been a straight A student..school just doesnt hold his attention...he understands that he has to make the grades..but it is a constant struggle for him...we have had some issues from the very beginning due to his grades...and here recently, it has progressed into grades..attitude...lying...and so forth...

Let me stop here for a moment so that you will understand why this is so hard for me...Football is Khristian's passion...he loves it...I have never seen him more happy than when he is out there on that field...at 7 years old when he made his very first tackle..he walked straight to me and said "Mom..this is what I was made to do!" It makes my heart smile when I see him play...he is good..that is not just me being a biased mother...He is GOOD...he is a complete natural out there...Sure he plays every other sport imaginable..but football is truly where is heart is...

I have threatened him with football before...I have never followed through with it...I have always backed down and allowed him to play..because he loves it..and we love to see him play...but yesterday...it was time to follow through with the one threat that I have never stuck with...I pulled him from the team...it may not sound like that heartbreaking of a decision..but believe me...if you knew what football meant to that little boy then you would understand...nothing else seems to be getting through to him...and believe me..he is not a bad kid...he really isnt...he can be the sweetest child..and the most generous with such a big heart...but like all children..he tryes to push his boundaries just to see how far he can go sometimes...and it is our jobs as parents to teach them that if they choose to make a bad choice..break the rules...make bad grades...then there is consequences, right? Right?? Furthermore...we as parents have to be consistent in the consequences that we have set in place for said rule breaking...right?? Thats what all the parenting books say...you have to be consistent...but what they fail to mention to you...is how unbelievably bad it makes you feel...how much it hurts your heart...

I felt my heart break into a million peices when I drove that little boy to practice last night...and watched  him break down into tears as he told his coach and teammates that he was off the team...I just wanted to jump in and say "Nevermind Khristian...I change my mind...you don't have to do this.." but that wouldn't have been me being consistent, right...When he sat in the backseat on the way home and cryed his little heart out..I wanted to jump in the backseat with him...and console him... wanted to say how sorry I was...I wanted to beg him not to hate me...

Tell me, all you "Parenting" books...did I do the right thing.. Why don't I feel good about it... Why do I feel as though my heart is crushed just as much as his... Why have I spent the last 12 hours doubting myself...and second guessing if I did the right thing...the choices that I make are going to shape the kind of man this little boy is going to be...what if I made the wrong one..? I feel this huge weight of guilt..Travis has helped coach Khristian's team since he was seven years old...he had already stated that this would be his last year coaching..for the mere fact that Khristian needed to learn to be out there on the field without him for a year before he moves on to the middle school football team...I feel like I took this last year away from Travis...I feel like I cheated both of them...put simply..I feel guilty...

As a mother, we are often the parent who is referred to as "Soft"...but in the end it is us mothers that are expected to have nerves of steel...we are expected to fix everything...to kiss the boo boo and make it better...to heal the broken heart...to have the right answer's...I am none of those things...I feel like a blind stranger fumbling around in this thing called "Motherhood"..trying to figure out what the heck I am doing...You would think after 10 years I would know...but I am still just as lost now as I was at 17...

This morning as Khristian and I were eating breakfast together..which we never do..but I felt like I needed to..I feel like the worst mother and I was trying to make myself feel better and ease some of the guilt...Khristian looked up at me and said "You know I don't hate you, right? Because I could never hate you momma...I love you.." 

Now...if only I could stop hating myself...

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"Your true opponent..."

 Monday, October 3, 2011

There is nothing worse than the crushing feeling of disappointment within yourself...you feel it with every beat of your heart..it pulses through you...it takes over your thoughts..and it just crushes your spirit...at that point, you have 2 choices...Let it consume you and give up...or... fight and do something about it...

This past Saturday, my step-mother (Gina) and I were planning on running in a half marathon...we were set on running it until we saw the registration price..now, although I am a bit frugal, I don't mind paying $30 or possbly $40 dollars to run one of these things..but $75 was a bit much for me...All I could think about what bill I could be paying with that money..that Christmas was coming up soon...Travis needs some new jeans..and so on..my frivalous selfish side wanted nothing more than to enter and nab my shirt and medal at the end of the race..but my more responsible adult side knew that I really didnt need to spend that money..Point being..I just couldnt fork over the cash...

My step-mom and I were in complete agreement over this..I think for both of us the main reason we wanted to enter is to prove to ourselves that we could actually complete it..It wasn't about the shirt..the few little gifts they gave you..or the medal...it was purely about the sense of accomplishment we would both feel as we crossed the finish line...and we wanted to do it together...Instead of letting this stop us...Gina mapped us out 13.1 miles around the city of Troy..On Saturday morning as 300+ runners were strapping on their running shoes..pinning a number on their shirt...and waiting on the word "Go"...Gina and I were stepping outside her front door..putting our Ipods in our ears..determination beating in our hearts..and we started running our very own half marathon...We even had our own little cheering section..my Daddy and Uncle followed us in the car..stopping ever so often to give us a drink of water... a napkin to wipe our face...a thumbs up sign...or just a encouraging smile..
I was already working against myself from the very beginning..the excuses rambled out of my mouth..."My sinuses have been acting up".."I didn't sleep very well last night"... "It's to early..." Gina just popped her gum in her mouth and said "You can do this...just go as far as you can.."

As we started out I said a small prayer for God to give me the strength...our pace was good..my breathing was perfect..the sun was coming up about mile 2...it was breathe taking as it set across the Troy Univeristy stadium...we were in our rythme...miles 3 and 4 passed by effortlessly..I started thinking that this goal was actually within my reach..that I really could finish this...with every mile that passed I felt more confident..I felt great...then came mile 5...I had been having some trouble with my left hip..and this is when it decieded to start rearing its head...the pain was minimal at first...so I slowed my pace a bit and kept going...the more I ran though..the worse it hurt..Mile 6 came.. we stopped to grab a sip of water...It was at this point I let the doubt  pass through my mind...about half way through mile 6, I felt a sharp pain in my hip that took my breathe..I couldnt help it...I had to stop..My dad pulled up beside us and Gina told me to ride a little bit and let my hip rest...I got in that car with the worst feeling of disappointment...it felt like a rock in the pit of my stomach...I hated the feeling of defeat..the feeling of giving up...it was hot and burning in my stomach and then more it burned the madder I got with myself...at one point, I was almost in tears...

On the next stop, I got out of the car..ready to try again...my concentration was shot by this point...I tryed finding my pace..but my mind was on how bad my hip hurt..I turned my music up full blast...prayed a silent prayer again to God.."Please God, give me the strength to finish this..please help me through..I want this so bad..." I ran for a bit more but just couldnt get my head back in the game...It felt like my hip was grinding against something...It was at this time, I accepted total defeat..I stopped running..got in the car...and stared out the window...that rock grew larger in my stomach...I hated the taste of defeat..the taste of giving up..it felt bitter in my mouth...I could feel the disappointment with myself grow with every minute I rode...My dad tryed making me smile...my Uncle told me how good I did...I couldnt hear it..All I could hear were my own thoughts saying "You gave up...I knew you couldnt do this..."  The thoughts were deafening...

One the next stop..I didnt even think..I grabbed my Ipod and opened the door...as Gina rounded the curve I stepped into pace with her..I was determined to finish this with her..regardless of the pain..I was going to do this...the feeling of disappointment can drive you...it can give you strength...and I pushed through the pain...my body was literally screaming at me to stop..I refused to listen and even entertain the idea of giving up again...I have no idea were new found strength came from..but I know what was driving it..determination....when I felt like I couldnt take the pain any longer..I slowed to a walk for a few seconds...walked it out then started running again..Through all this, Gina stayed right with me...she never gave up...We were on the home stretch..I could taste success...it was taking the place of that bitter feeling I had earlier...I told Gina that we were running it out..no stopping till we got to the finish line..no matter how much it hurt..In those last few minutes..It felt like my hip was on fire..and I wanted to stop and walk so badly..but the drive to finish stronge ovetook the pain...I pushed on..and finally the finish came into view....we finished 13.1 miles in 2 hours and 25 minutes...

When all is said and done...I ran about 11 and half..and walked and rode about 2 miles...I learned something new about myself through this expierence...I hate the feeling of defeat..I now know what it means to push your body to the limit...and to surpass that limit...I have a fire within myself that I didnt even know I had...Sometimes, the feeling of disappointment within yoursef can be the best thing to happen to you...its all up to you to make that choice...give up or fight...I chose to fight...

In the end, your true opponent is never really the player on the other side of the field... the swimmer in the next lane... or even the distance between here and the finish line....your opponent is yourself...your negative internal voices..the ones that get in your ear and whisper, planting those nasty seeds of doubt... It is up to you to determine your level of determination...how much grit you have...just how much heart you have..and strive forward with a strength you never knew you had...and only then... can you overcome anything... =)



                                                  

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"Dear Time..."

 Friday, September 30, 2011

"An empty frame...in which the picture is always changing makes a statement about how time is always passing... It doesn't really stop.. even in a single image... It just feels that way.."

Dear Time...

Where have you gone...September is gone and it is three months till Christmas...and then a whole new year starts all over again...I feel as though you are passng me by..and I am running to catch up...the days are turning into weeks..weeks into months...and months into years...

Once again, Summer has come and gone...and the seasons are changing..the leaves are starting to turn a beautiful array of colors..we exchange our brightly colored decor for pumpkins and candy corn... As I sat in bed last night..I couldnt help but to think... it was only yesterday my baby boy was running around the house  exclaiming he was a "Big boy" and going to start Kindergarden..and then I blinked my eyes and he was entering his last year of Elementary School...it feels as though I just tryed on my wedding dress to marry my  best friend...and we just had our 6 year anniversary...we  celebrated my little brothers 25th birthday last night...25..how did that happen...gone is the little boy who would sit in front of the TV and watch back to back episodes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles...he is now a adult making his own way into the world...I can close my eyes and I am right back in my grandmother's kitchen..I can inhale and smell the glorious scents of her chicken and dumplings...but then I open my eyes and remember..she has been gone for over a year now...As I go outside this weekend to cut back my roses...I want to badly to pick up that phone and call Uncle Gene and ask him exactly how to do it..Its so hard to believe that almost a year has passed since he went home to heaven...last night at my daddy's I started looking around at my family.. there was a bit more gray in my dad's hair..though you certainly can't tell it from his spirit..one by one I looked around at all the faces that I once played with as a child..they now have children of there own that are running around and playing with my child...

How did so much time pass without me even realizing it? You view the world with eyes that never really see the change until it's almost to late..When your a child you look forward to Christmas all year long..and it just seems like it won't come quickly enough...Christmas eve comes and you lie awake in bed at the anticipation of Santa Clause coming...you squirm in excitement..wating for the moment to get out of bed so you can run into the living room...you have waited all year long for this day...  As you grow older you can't wait to turn 16 to get your drivers license...and it seems as if that day will never come...and then that faithful hour comes that the Poiceman that gave you your drivers test says you passed....the next future goal is 18..graduation day...then college...a family...We are forever looking at the future..to the next day..the next year...Our whole life ..we have wanted time to pass so quickly..we are constantly planning for the future...and then when you do get to that older age..we all just want it slow down...

Life events are passing right before my eyes...I feel like I am in a car... speeding down the interstate at 85 miles per hour..looking out the window at lifes events...I just want to stop and savor the moments...to take it all in..to play in the yard a little bit more with Khristian...to enjoy my wedding reception more instead of worrying so much...to sit down with my grandmother and talk with her a bit more...to get Gene to teach me all he knows about roses...to really get to know my parents better...and so..so many other things...I guess I am feeling a bit nostalgic today...we say things like "I can't wait until today is over so I can enjoy my weekend..please let time hurry up..." ..we are forever wishing time away...because we can't wait to get to the next event our life...Why? Once time is gone..we can't get it back...we will all wake up one in our old age and wish that we had savored each and every minute of our day..every moment..everyconversation...every event in our life...

I often times say that there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish all I need...but what I have come to realize is..there is 24 hours in a day..there is enough time for everything that matter's...God gives us enough time..we just have to prioritize our life..find out what's important versus whats not...We are all getting older...our children are getting older...our family is getting older...Let's all slow down a bit...enjoy life..enjoy time...

Today, I would like to ask you one favor time...Please slow down...let me catch up...because I would hate to wake up one day and realize that I wished my life away..one day at a time...


Love yours truly,
Jess...

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"Just Breathe.."

 Monday, September 26, 2011

"You must remember, family is often born of blood, but it doesn't depend on blood... Nor is it exclusive of friendship... Family members can be your best friends, you know... And best friends, whether or not they are related to you, can be your family..."


Have you ever just needed a break? I mean a complete and total break from everything...work...stress...kids..life..? I think everyone does at some point or another...If not, then I don't think your human...we all need that moment away..that moment where you can gather your thoughts...sit down..close your eyes..enjoy the silenece..quiet your mind...and just breathe...

If you couldn't tell "Just breathe" is my motto in life..On a Monday morning and you spill your coffee on your white skirt..just breathe...your about to kill your child over squished bananas in the bottom of his bookbag..just breathe...the driver that just pulled out in front of you that almost made you hit them and spill your coffee for the second time in one day...just breathe..Your printer has turned into the devil and won't print a single thing and due to the fact that it says "Clear the paper jam" when clearly there is no paper jam to be found..just breathe...you get the point...This was me a couple weeks ago...I was at my breaking point..you know what I am talking about..the point where you feel like you are about to snap...you cry at every little thing...you jump down everyones throat without even realizing it...you feel as though you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders..and just when you feel like you can't carry anymore...the last straw comes in...the teacher calls you and preceeds to tell you how your child has been acting up in class..at this point, "Just Breathe.." won't even begin to dent the mounting level of anxiety and stress you feel...

Thankfully, a girl's weekend away was knocking at my door...It was a Friday afternoon and my boss let me off early so I could leave as soon as possible...by 3:30 that afternoon my 2 aunts, step-mother and myself were packed and headed out to a wonderful weekend at the beach...To be honest, I was a little hesitant about going...I, of course, was the youngest one in the car...this was the first time I had really "hung out" with both of my Aunts away from the rest of the family..and definatly the first time I had spent a entire weekend with them...We unpacked our mountains of bags and shoes... (4 women..what do you expect?)..refreshed our make-up and hair and headed out to a fantastic little restaurant called "The Red Bar"..and WOW at the food...I don't think I have ever tasted food so good in my life...better than the food was the atmosphere..I was instantly in my zone...we all got a few drinks and went to sit down in the most quant seating area and waited while a table opened up..we enjoyed a bit of conversation until we were seated at a booth and we ordered another round of drinks and our food...At first, I held back a bit...hanging out with your friends who you can be completly stupid with and they won't judge you is completly different than hanging out with your family who you have always had to be more reserved around...the more we talked the more relaxed I became..and the break I was getting from back home was more than welcome at the this point..I could feel the stress just melting away with every minute...the more we sat there and talked..laughed...took pictures...and just really enjoyed each others company..I felt more comfortable and was extremly glad I came by the end of the night...we stayed until closing time at which point, I was actually sad to see the night end...

The next day was a girl's dream...after a early morning run on the beach with my step-mom and breakfast at a cute little dinner that had the best coffee....we shopped until our feet hurt...stopped in for lunch at happy hour and some appetizer's...and then shopped some more...My aunt had made reservations for us later that night at "The Firefly" (Which is where President Obama ate when he visited the gulf during the BP oil spill)..we dressed up in our finest dresses..heels...and strutted our stuff to the restaurant..now let me tell you, I didnt think the food could get any better than the previous night...but it did..It was absolutly amazing..the atmosphere was so cozy...we had the friendlist waiter..and it was absolutly beautiful in the restaurant...from the ourside it doesnt look like much..but on the inside..gorgeous..it really is a hidden jewel...Here again, it was a night filled with laughter..great conversation..great food...and some great memories...I had began to feel more comfortable as the day had progressed...and for a moment there I just sat in absolute silence and took everything in...the setting, the mood, the atmosphere, the company...and all I could do was smile...and feel incredibly blessed...gone where the feelings of wanting to cover my head with my blanket and just hide from the world...

The next day was pretty quiet...we all slept in...grabbed some breakfast at the little dinner again...One of my aunts and I layed out on the beach for several hours...at about 12 she went in to take a shower and I stayed out for a little longer...laying there on the beach..with my sunglasses on...music playing beside me...sun beaming down...I realized somewhere along the lines...I had stopped thinking of these ladies as my family..and started to think of them as my friends...I had always thought of them as "My Aunts" and "My step-mom"...they were labeled as my family...never in a million years would I have thought that I would replace that title with "friend"...that weekend was a eye opener for us all I think..because not only did I get to see a side of them I had never seen before as a teenager or a adolescent.. but they also got to see a side of me as a adult instead of a child...When your younger, you dont really want to "hang out" so much with your family..if we are all honest with ourselves, there is a clear seperation in our mind between family and friends...what I come to realize, is the seperation is only there if we choose to put it there...

I gained alot from that weekend...it allowed me to "Just Breathe" again...to get that break from life that I needed...and the best thing of all...To really get to know 3 amazing people that I had only really and truly known from a distance...and I gained 3 new friends.... (=

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"Love is the small things..."

 Friday, September 23, 2011

"What was love, really? Flowers.. chocolate.. and poetry? Or was it something else? Was it being able to finish someone's jokes? Was it having absolute faith that someone was there at your back? Was it knowing someone so well that they instantly understood why you did the things you did and shared those same beliefs?”




We, as human beings, tend to take things for granted alot in our fast paced world...with everything at our fingertips we rarely have time to miss anything...If we want to stop at our favorite coffee place and grab a latte..then we stop..if we want a new dress at the little overpriced boutique in town...we go buy it...if we want to talk to our best friend or husband.. we pick up our cell phone and call (or text) them...if we want to go and see our parents just to say hello...we stop by...and that nice new pair of Jessica Simpson heels that I want...well I go buy them...and the list can go on...We over look the small things in this life that make it so grand...that make us smile for no reason...that make us happy whether we realize it or not...we dont ever stop to think about what would happen if we couldnt just snap our fingers and have everything at our fingertips...I know I am completly guilty of this...and this last couple weeks have brought me back down to earth...

Travis and I have a routine..and to many people it doesnt sound like much..but to us..it's everything...Every morning before Travis leaves the house he comes in the bedroom and kisses me on the forehead to wake me up...I crane my neck up at him and kiss him back (he tells me I look like a duck) and we snuggle for a few minutes (Most of the time, I try to persuade him to lay back down with me) and he tells me he loves me and we kiss one more time before he leaves...then around 8-ish he calls to say Good Morning and to have a good day...we talk for maybe 3 or 4 minutes and then we hang up....I call him at 12 when I take my lunch hour and we talk about our mornings...vent or laugh at things that have happened during our morning....and then he calls me everyday without fail at 4:30 on the dot when he gets off work to see what the plan for the afternoon is..whether he is picking Khristian up or am I...Is he going to meet me at the gym or go home...he tells me a little about his afternoon and I tell him a little about mine...and every phone call we end with "I love you"...

Well, these last few weeks he has had to work late hours at work and where he is located his phone has no service...so that means when he leaves the house at 5 in the morning..in my sleepy haze that is the last time I see or talk to him until around 7 or possibly 8 at night (Depending on whether Khristian has football that night)..I didn't realize how much I would miss our phone calls to each other until they were gone...I find myself during the day wondering what he is doing..or how his morning went...and if something funny happens at work or Khristian does something silly and I want to tell him..I can't just pick up the phone to call him unless I want to hear his voicemail...I got so accustomed to our "routine" that I never really stopped to think how much these little phone calls everyday meant to me...they are just something we do without even thinking much about it...

I guess the saying is true..Absense makes the heart grow fonder...these past few weeks without seeing Travis as much nor talking to him..has made me really appreciate the time that I do get with him...and this morning when he called to tell me "Good Morning"...I thought to myself how much I truly do love him..You know, the bible tells you what love is supposed to be..." Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres....Love never fails." There is alot of truth to that verse...and we should all abide by it...but there is alot about love that that verse leaves out...

Here is what it doesnt say...love is fun...it is all consuming...and once you get wrapped up in it..you should never let it go...love is cleaning the kitchen without being asked and sticking the pot of spagetti in the refrigerator while it is still in the pot...love is playfully calling each other names to annoy one another...love is doing abs at the gym instead of doing what you had orginally planned just so you can spend that extra 30 minutes with each other...Love is listening to me vent on and on about things that doesnt amount to a hill of beans in the end..and when I am done...you say something stupid to make me smile...love is spending your last 15 dollars on a shirt that you know the other has wanted for a while but just wouldnt go get...Love is going to work at 5 in the morning and getting off at 6:30 PM and instantly going to football to help coach your son's football team and not getting home till after 8...and love is never taking for granted the small things that make a great marriage work...you have to appreciate one another...and the small things...

I learned a new lesson in love last night ...As Travis and I were laying in bed I was being pretty quiet...which is usually uncommon for me as I love to talk his ear off right before we go to sleep...he asked me what I was being quiet and wanted to know what was going on inside my head...and I told him that he didnt want to know..I was afraid he would take it the wrong way...He told me to tell him..that he promised he wouldnt...One of my old fears came back to haunt me...As most of you know, we are trying to have a baby...I had this overwheming fear of being abandoned...the old feeling of anxiety kicked in and I felt my chest tightening..my mind tryed to rationalize with my body...It was as if they were almost at war with each other...In my heart I know Travis would never do that to me...but in the back of my mind..that nagging thought just won't forever go away...Why? That man has stood by my side since Khristian was 1 and half..he accepted all my baggage..he accepted my life...and he wanted to be a part of it...so why all the sudden am I having this thought...I told him all this..afraid that he might think I was doubting him in some way...he took my hand and made me look at him...these were his words..."I don't take this wrong because I know what you have been through..I am not leaving..I never will"  in true Travis fashion he also added "The only way I am leaving is if I am being carried out by six"...

Our marriage is not perfect..but it works for us...I learned that love can be so many different things..but in the end..love is comfortable...love is safe...love is the small things... =)

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" Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.."

 Friday, September 9, 2011

"It was being a runner that mattered, not how fast or how far I could run... the joy was in the act of running and in the journey, not in the destination... We have a better chance of seeing where we are when we stop trying to get somewhere else... We can enjoy every moment of movement, as long as where we are is as good as where we'd like to be... That's not to say that you need to be satisfied forever with where you are today... But you need to honor what you've accomplished, rather than thinking of what's left to be done.."


If your a women, do me a favor...Close your eyes and envision your most delicious weakness...whether it be chocolate, cheesecake, cookies, cake....imagine it...you can taste every morsel of sweet goodness that oozes of it...you eat every single bite..and you enjoy it...right down to the very last crumb...you smile to yourself because it was just that good....you feel relaxed and happy...and satisfied....

For me...I don't get that feeling of satisfaction....I get all panicky on the inside...sure, I smile because I will never tell anyone what I am really thinking...I am already formulating in my head when my next gym trip will be so that I can work off that 500+ calories I just consumed...and then the guilt kicks in...When I go into the bathroom I raise my shirt up and look at my stomach and wonder if anyone can see the piece of cake that I just ate...Here is the problem with losing 115 pounds...I have learned that I will never be satisfied with the way I look...I will always want to lose more weight...look more toned...I work out almost everyday so that I can reach the imagine that I have in my head...truth be known, I don't really even know what the image is anymore...Its a never ending cycle..eat, workout, eat, workout....I wonder if I am the only one with this problem...I have a immence fear of gaining back my weight...it's not just some little bitty fear...but a very consuming one that sometimes can get exhausting...

When I was 230 pounds I never felt guilty for eating Mcdonalds french fries..or going to Dairy Queen and ordering a M&M blizzard...but now that I am at a healthy 135 pounds with leaner muscles than I have had in years...I worry all the time about what I put in my mouth...the calorie percentage...the sodium...the sugar...and this makes me worry about when the time does come that I get pregnant...How will I deal with the weight gain...

I started running about 2 years ago...and I have found that this is the only way to ease my anxiety about food and my weight issues...When I lace up my running shoes and hit that track or treadmill..music flowing through my ears...everything else just melts away...It is so easy for me to forget my daily struggles...my stress...my problems...its just me, the track and my music...As my feet hit the pavement..I find my rythme..my pace...I concentrate on my breathing patterns...and after about 5 minutes..my whole body is insync with itself...most days its my favorite part of my day...its the only time that I feel truly at ease with myself...I am not thinking about what bill I have to pay..what Khristian needs at school..what I have to do at work the next day...what family member I have made mad today by something I have said or written...what the number the scale says..Truth be known, Running has saved me from myself on most days...

Sure, I am happy with my accomplishments..losing weight and keeping it off is not easy...and I have done both...but people need to understand that the struggle does not end when you get to your "Ideal" size...it is a never ending battle with yourself...When I am at the gym and I see women in there working there butt off and sweating just as much as me...I find myself wanting to go over to them and say "You should be proud of yourself"...I want to give them that extra little bit of motivation because I have been there and I know how important that is...I know that struggle...and I want to let them know they are not alone in it...I wish I could tell them that it gets easier..but I know that it won't...

At the end of the day..All I can do is strap on my running shoes on...and hit the open pavement with my music playing in my ears...because thats where my troubles melt away...






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"WIll you remember.."

 Friday, August 26, 2011

"Preserve your memories... keep them well.. what you forget you can never retell..."


Will you remember..sweet boy...when you were a baby and you would curl your little toes up and the only one that would be sticking up is your big toe..or that you would curl your little lip up and smile a crooked lil smile when you would sleep...and sometimes in the quiet of the night as you and I cuddled...you would open your eyes and look at me...as if memorizing my face...and I would look at you..memorizing your face...and then we would fall back asleep...

Will you remember..sweet boy...how as you got a little older and started walking..that your favorite hiding place used to be in trash cabinet...and how you loved the sound of a duck..and you were never a rocker...but more of a bouncer..of how tired my arms got at night from bouncing you but I did it because I loved you so...

Will you remember..sweet boy...how you would carry around a screw driver...not just any ole' screw driver...but a certain one that we could only get from Toy's R Us...and how one night when you were absolutly inconsolable..your Maw-Maw drove all the way to Montgomery just to buy you this screw driver..and when you got it in your sweet little palms..you drifted off to sleep without so much a wimper...and then several months later when you realized that it wasnt like pawpaw's..you didnt want it anymore..you wanted to carry around a real one...just like him...

Will you remember..sweet boy...how you used to climb into your toy box and find every last matchbox car there was...and then you would line them all up..front to back...and make you a trail of cars that ran length of the house...and when we would pass a big truck in the car..you would get all excited saying "Big Truck momma..big truck!"

Will your remember..sweet boy...how when you were at daycare and you thought Superman was the best super hero of all time...that you climbed to the top of the slide and jumped off thinking in your little mind that magic was real and you would fly just like Superman...which ended up with us at the ER..and a cast on your arm the very next day...

Will you remember..sweet boy...how much you loved the movie "Ice Age"...how we had to watch it over and over..as soon as the movie would end..you were saying "Rewind Mommy...I wanna watch it again"...I knew exactly what parts made you giggle..I knew exactly what parts made you cry...and when that tape got so worn out from watching it so much...we went and bought a second one...which we still have...

Will you remember..sweet boy...how as you started getting once again older...that your own little personality started to take off..and you are more like me than I could have ever imagined...how you always have to have the last word...how as much as you try and hide it sometimes...your tender hearted just like me and you can't stand to see someone you love crying...

Will you remember..sweet boy..how sometimes when you would have a bad dream..I would climb into your bed and rub your back for you until you drifted back to sleep...that amongst all the little nicknames I have for you that "Sweet boy" has always been my favorite....My special little name for you...and when someone else called you that you would tell them "Thats my mommy's name for me..."

Will you remember..sweet boy...how at night time I get the first kiss and hug goodnight before daddy...its our special ritual...and how on the first day of school of every year...your daddy and I would take you to eat breakfast at the place of your choosing...or how on every birthday..you get breakfast in bed on our special birthday plate...

Will you remember..sweet boy..that at Christmas time I always read "The night before Christmas" to you...and then we tell the story of Jesus...


As times moves along faster than I want it to...I wonder if you will remember these things...but most of all I wonder if you will remember how much I love you...how much you have made my life worth living...and I wonder...when all is said and done in this life...if you will think back..and think I was the best mother I could be..I wonder if you will know..that I would move any mountain just to see your smile and wipe any tear away from your face...

I think what scares me the most...is that as I get older...and gray starts to take over my hair...wrinkles start to invade my face...and the number of my age starts to creep higher and higher...my memory is not as sharp as it used to be...and old age starts to rob me...

Will I remember these things Sweet boy...

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"We must never let our fear's control us..."

 Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"Even though you may want to move forward in your life, you may have one foot on the brakes. In order to be free, we must learn how to let go. Release the hurt... Release the fear... Refuse to entertain your old pain... The energy it takes to hang onto the past is holding you back from a new life... What is it you would let go of today?"

Fear..that is a very powerful word...or rather we, ourselves, give that word power...We all have fears...fear of the unknown..fear of the fall...fear of change...fear of taking a risk...

Sometimes our own imagination fuels our fear...and almost paralizes us to the point of passing up a perfectly great opportunity...or from making a much needed change in our life because we are creatures of habit...I for one am...Don't get me wrong..I love change..like...changing the color of my living room...re-arranging the furniture at 1 in the morning...changing the color of my hair on the spur of the moment trip to the salon...these are the kinds of changes that I love...but I am comfortable in my life...I am happy with the normal routine of the day..I am content with my little life...and the thought of changing anything scares me...Ahhh, there it is...fear of change...fear..fear..fear...

I have decieded to kick fear to the curb...I am taking a huge (and I do mean huge) life changing leap...I am excited and scared all at the same time..but I feel that it is time..I am holding onto old fears that make in impossible to move on in the present...I'm tired of fear digging its never ending claws into my heart...holding me still in this life and keeping me at bay...

With all this being said....you all know that Khristian is my sunshine..he is my rock..he gave me a reason to get up and fight every day when I had nothing left...It is time for him to have a brother or a sister...

I let go of the fear of abondonment...I let go of the fear of change...and I embrace the excitement of the next chapter in my life...I know I have a wonderful family that will stand by my side...friends that will be there every step of the way...and most of all, a husband that will hold my hand at every doctors appointment...and be there to love and cherish me...and tell me he loves me...

This is a new journey..and one that I am ready to take...I can write this and smile because I have healed from a old wound..and old fear...and it feels good... =)


One last question...ask yourself....What fear are you kicking to the curb today??

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"There's no place like your dreams..."

 Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"Oh, but anyway, Toto, we're home... Home! And this is my room, and you're all here... And I'm not gonna leave here ever, ever again, because I love you all, and - oh, Auntie Em - there's no place like home!"

Summer...ahh, sweet sweet summer in Alabama is unlike any other...flip flops are the shoe of choice for most occations and a pair of cutoff shorts are never far away from your reach...we say "Ya'll" and wave even if we don't a clue of who you are...a 4th of July is never complete without the cutting of a juicy, red watermelon, BBQ, apple pie and fireworks...Saturdays are filled with good food and SEC football and on any given Saturday night you can find your friends hanging out in some barn with the faint sound of a guitar with someone singing "Dinasour" by Hank Williams Jr...you can close your eyes and breathe deeply and your lungs taken in a breathe of fresh pure air...your senses instanly kick into high gear...your nose picks up the sweet scent of honeysuckle and fresh cut grass...you can faintly hear the crickets and the soft rustle of a pine tree in the distance..a gentle breeze tenderly caresses your cheek..without even opening your eyes you can envision the clear, pristine moon up above smiling down on you...

It's night like this..that while sitting under that moon and smelling that sweet honeysuckle that you allow your mind to wonder to places you usually never allow it to go...

Not quite sure where this is going to end up going..just kind of letting me mind wander...

As I think back to when I was a little girl..I can remember feeling as though I had no infinite direction that I wanted to go until second grade....there was a short story contest that our teacher told the class about and encouraged us all to enter...even gave us time during class to write it...I tampered around with the idea of entering...Finally, I jumped head first and started writing a fiction story about a witch named "Matilda"...At this time I cannot remember much about the plot of the story..but I do remember the day I went to class and my teacher called me up to her desk and handed me a certificate for first place in that writing contest...I couldnt wrap my brain around that..I won first place!! I don't know if my family even recalls that memory...but it stands out for me because that contest gave me a direction...I wanted to be a writer...I started writing about everything...I discovered that I could be anyone I wanted to be..It allowed me live in a fantasy world that I would create out of pencil and paper...and I loved it...and so with this new found direction...big dreams were formed of getting out of this small town..I had to...

I hated living in the "Bible belt" known as Alabama..being a small town southern girl my whole life..this is surely where I did not want to end up living for the rest of my life..I could envision myself in the picture perfect movie montage of the women riding down the interstate in her convertable..top down... "to big for her face" sunglasses..scarf wrapped around her hair...and she was leaving this god forsaken town and to where she had not a clue...cliche I know...but you can't tell me that you never thought of it at one point in your life...

Big dreams were formed at a early age..I told myself I would rather die than get stuck here..but here I am sitting in my back yard with the soft glow of the moon shining down on me..listening to "All I can do" by Lynard Skynard...and embracing all that comes with living in the South..Somwhere along the lines I started to not mind living here and actually started to embrace my southern roots..I still have dreams of walking the streets of New York City...visiting the Snow cladden castels of Germany...sitting outside a little cafe in Italy drinking the finest wine available...looking down upon the Grand Canyon and feeling so small in this big "ole world...

 For now though... I am content upon being a small town girl that still has big dreams..writing is my dream...its what I have found that I am good at...and it doesnt matter whether I am in a big city or a small town...I can write anywher..as long as I can still sit outside in my swing at night hearing the song of crickets in the backdrop... =)

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 Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie..."


They say that mother's are born the instant their child is born...the woman was always there...but the Mother is born in that instant...they have a perfect instinct that let's them feel exactly what they should feel...instantly knows how to cuddle the baby just the right way...can sit there and hold the baby for hours on end wondering how they got so lucky...and wondering how they ever lived in this world before becoming a mother...before knowing this kind of love...for some..this happens instantly...for me..It took just a tad bit longer...

Becoming a Mother makes you take a closer look at yourself...makes you look in the mirror and confront the demons behind your eyes..makes you confront the not so perfect things about yourself..you see, your not living just for yourself anymore...when you speak..your not speaking for just one person anymore...your speaking for two...your heart is not just yours anymore...because when you become a mother you hand your child your heart and he carries it within his heart forever...You vow to yourself that your child will always feel loved...You will keep every single pinky promise that you make..that you will never disappointment them...that he or she will never know pain...I mean real gut wrenching pain that brings you to your knees...

Don't we all wish we could all keep our children from knowing pain...but as we all have learned...pain is a part of life..because if we never know pain then we can never know joy..There is not a book that tell's us how to be the perfect mother..Truth be known, there is no perfect mother..we all have our faults..we all have our downfalls..No matter sometimes how much we want to go back and change something..we know we can't..all we can do is love them...and pray to God that he will lead us in the right path..I have my faults...I face them daily...We all lose control..we all neglect the important things..we all often times yell when we know we should be gentle..as much as we all try to avoid these things...it is inevitable...one or all of these things will happen..and we will feel horrible for it...but at night time, when that ten year old little boy kisses me good night and says "Good Night Mom..I love you"...I know I am doing at least one thing right...

This last week...I was sinking in my own thoughts...my own worries..You know the ones... Money..bills...cleaning the house...cooking supper...getting back to school things ready...work...family...and the list could go on and on and on...my mind was so consumed with these ever present worries that when Khristian called me on my cell phone on Tuesday of last week and asked me to come have lunch with him...I am ashamed to say that I acted impatient..selfish..and like I didnt have a hour to come and spend with him...As he asked me to come over to his maw maw and paw paw's (which is where he stays during the summer and after school) and have a turkey sandwich with him...I sighed very heavy and told him "I guess..I will be there in a minute"...his voice got a little quieter and he asked "You don't want to come"?..I reponded with "Honey, I said I would be there in a few minutes"...I then hung up the phone...When I got to my daddy's house and walked in..my little boy gave me a huge hug and preceded to go into the kitchen and make me a turkey sandwich, peel me a banana, grab me a bag of chips and a water..he put everything on the table for me to eat and only then did he start to make his own lunch...It was in this moment that I started to feel the all to familiar weight of guilt...He sat down right beside me at the table and we ate our lunch..talked about his day so far and how he had been helping PawPaw around the house...afterward, we went into the living room and layed on the couch and watched Icarly on the disney channel...right before I had to leave I was talking to my daddy and he delivered the last blow...He said that when Khristian got off the phone with me he turned to him and said "She is mad because she hung up the phone really quick..."..Needless to say, I felt horrible for the way I had acted on the phone...My son thought I was mad at him...that I didnt have time to come and eat lunch with him...I was to consumed with my own worries and I took it out on him...

That lunch turned out to be exactly what I needed...I got back to work and sat in my car a cryed for about 5 minutes before going back inside... Khristian ,whether he knows it or not, alot of times is my rock...No matter what my faults are as a mother..he looks past them and somehow always reminds me what really important in this life...my family..That afternoon when I picked him up and we were driving home in silence...I turned to him at a red light and said "Thank you for lunch today baby...I really appreciated it! There is no other place I would have rather been than eating with you!"...and do you know what my sweet 10 year old boy that I think is wise beyond his years sometimes said?? 

He simply said with a smile "I know mom...I love you to.."

A child's love and willingness to forgive is amazing, isnt it...All this time we as adults think we are teaching our children..but in reality..its our children that are teaching us... =)

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" Looking back..."

 Thursday, July 21, 2011

"But it's a low low road...You've gotta roll down...Before you find your way, my friend...And it's a high, high hill ...You've gotta climb up....Before you get to the top again..."


The above quote is from a song by Grace Potter & the Nocturnals...this song speaks loud and clear to me...I love music...It's a part of me...it's in my soul...my heart...there is a song for every emotion out there..Often times its comforting to know that somewhere in this overwhelming world..there is someone that shares these emotions....and sometimes when you can't speak the words yourself...someone else can sing them for you...

Everyone has lost their way at one point or another in this life..you have rolled down that hill...feeling as though you don't have a friend in the world... that you are truly at your lowest point..."How could it get any worse? How did this happen?"and the ever present question "Why?"... you revel in your despair.. the heavy weight of sadness...maybe even betrayal...you wonder around aimlessly..blindly...you have lost all sense of direction..you doubt your judgement..doubt everything within yourself...

At this point you have two choices...get up and start the long climb back up that hill..or lay there on the cold, hard ground and slowly let yourself disappear...There have been times in my life that this was me...I was laying on that ground...trying to find my way again...I had no direction..lost...and I felt completly alone...and just when I thought I couldnt go on... an old friend that I left by the waste side a long time ago and my family came and took me by the hand and said "Let's walk this hill together..I won't let you fall again.."

My birthday was this past Saturday and it was kinda special for me...you see, the last birthday party I had was when I came home from the hospital with Khristian..I turned 18...I walked in the door and there was my family...with balloons...and sign that was colored and said "Happy 18th Birthday Jessica" (I still have this tucked away)...and a chocolate cake (even then I loved chocolate)..I made my wish and blew out the candles with my new born son laying awkwardly in my arms...my wish was simple... to just disappear...I held it together long enough to eat cake..socialize... and thank everyone for coming...and then went into my room..shut the door and cryed till my eyes were raw...

This past friday night...my parents threw me a little birthday party when I got off work..I turned 28...there was no sign..no balloons...but there was my daddy and stepmom...my son and my husband...(and a gigantic steak and a 5 layer cake that my daddy worked on for a week) and this year as they sang happy birthday to me and I blew out the candles...I had no wish...because I told God that nothing in the world could possibly be better than this...I did cry on the way home..but it was tears of gratitude and just a overall feeling of love...

As I think back over the last 10 years of my life...I am astounded at how far I have traveled...I have come from being a 17 year old single mother of a new born baby boy with no direction in her life...to being a successful mother of a healthy and extremly active 10 year old boy and I married my best friend 6 years ago...I have lost and found new friends along the way...but more importantly...I found my happiness...and I learned that God's grace abounds....I have encountered many trials..but nothing that I havent overcome..I can't talk about my journey without talking about my family..There have been so many times that I have felt like throwing in the towel and just saying "To heck with it"...wondering what I was doing...and whether it be my daddy..my step-mom...my younger brother...or most recently...my uncle....they have pushed and guided me..giving me the courage to accomplish each one of my goals..The lessons I have learned are priceless...are so are my family...

10 years...a decade...It has been a tough road...a long road...and the journey is not over...there is far more to come as I continue to climb the hill of life...

Oh..and in case your wondering who the old friend was that grabbed my hand at the bottom of that hill...It was my good friend Jesus...and he has never left my side or let me fall since... :)



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"Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness..."

 Friday, July 15, 2011

"A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman.



"I've been thinking," he said, "I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone..."



Can you remember ever having a day when nothing seemed to be going right....you woke up on the wrong side of bed..the kids have a horrible attitude..your running late...then you spill coffee on your brilliantly white shirt..you really don't have to time to change but you have no choice as today is that big meeting that you have with all the bigwigs in your department...you finally get everyone in the car and buckled up only to discover...you walked right out the house without you keys...Its one dillema right after another and before you even get to work you feel like you just want to throw your hands up and say "I'm done..I'm going home!"....When all the sudden a fresh cup of coffee arrives on your desk...you don't know where it came from..or rather who it came from...but its just enough to make you take a nice deep breath, close your eyes for a moment, a slow smile starts to creep across your face...and you feel a sense of calmness come over you....your ready to take on the rest of the day....


I read a friends blog a while back and it was on "Paying it Forward"...now I (as has many of you) have seen the movie...but I never really gave it much thought until I read this very sweet persons blog...She detailed how she challenged herself to do little anonymous things for either total strangers or people she knew....Well...after reading this I decieded that I would challenge myself to do the same thing...The challenge was for one whole week I would do one anonymous nice thing for someone each day...I wanted no credit...It was totally anonymous...


I have a several blank cards at my house that I keep stored for last minute birthdays or just anything else that may pop up unexpectantly...So, on Monday I grabbed one of these cards and wrote on the inside "There are big ships and small ships but the best ship of all is friendship...I hope you have a great day!" I didn't sign my name...I just slipped into a envelope and wrote my friends name on the outside....As I was driving to work...I pulled onto the side of the road and slipped the card into her mailbox and then drove off...I knew this friend needed some kind words...and I could only smile when I talked to her later in the week as she told me about this "random" card that showed up in her mailbox and how it made her smile...


On Tuesday, I stopped and got me a cup of coffee at the bookstore here on campus and while no one was in the bookstore at the time I knew it was only a matter of time before someone came in and ordered another coffee...so what did I do...When I paid for my coffee I told the cashier to also ring up a Venti (large) coffee and give it to the next person that walked in and ordered a coffee...Now, all of you coffee drinkers out there know..sometimes that big cup of caffeine can be your golden ticket to having a good day...


Wednesday was a tad bit harder...I have some rose bushes in my backyard so I cut a beautiful array of roses off and arranged them in a small vase with some water...My plan was to place these flowers on a woman's desk at work that I know that always has a kind word to say or a smile to offer...well...when I got to work she was already seated at her desk...so I periodically had to walk by her office to see when she was gone (I almost felt like a spy)  so I could slid the vase on her desk without anyone seeing me..I attached a note that said..."Have a blessed day!"...I have not talked to her since I placed these flowers on her desk but I can imagine her surprise when she saw them...


By Thursday, I was really loving the way that doing these anonymous nice things made me feel...No matter how frustrated..angry..tired...or anything else I was feeling from my day..I knew that I had made someone out there smile (or at least I hope I did)...So that afternoon before I left work...I put a sticky note on the garbage can under my desk..the note was for the cleaning lady that comes in every night and changes the garbage bags and vacuums the floors....It said " Thank you so much for your service...I don't know you..or your name....but I just wanted to tell you Thank you!" ...well this morning when I came in there was another sticky note attached to my garbage can that said "Your welcome young Lady... You made my night...and my name is Debra.. :)" How awesome is that!?


So to finish out the week... this morning Khristian and I went through the drive thru at Daylight Doughnuts..we both ordered us yummy sausage roll.... when a white car pulled up behind me with a women that looked like she was in the worst mood possible...and what better on a bad morning than a glazed chocolate doughnut...(In my world, Chocolate can just about fix anything)..So, I went ahead and paid for her a chocolate doughnut and told the cashier to give it to her and tell her "Happy Friday" when she pulled up to the window...I had already pulled out onto 231 by the time that the cashier handed her the chocolatey goodness...


As this week comes to a close..I feel a twinge of sadness because I actually looked forward everyday to making some random person smile...no matter what may be going in their life..for just that moment...they felt a tad bit better because I took just a sliver of time out of my day to do something nice for them...I payed it forward...I don't want to get all "Hallmark card" mushy on you...but..what if we all did this? It doesnt have to be everyday...or every week...and you dont have to spend any money...but what if you just offered someone a friendly wave...or a "Hey, how are you?" and actually look interested to hear the answer...We are all guilty of it...we get so consumed with whats going on in our own life that we forget that people around us everyday are fighting his or her own personal battles....The women at the bank that goes home every night to her husband fighting cancer....or the man that is stuggling to pay his mortgage that has a wife and a new baby at home...Or the little old lady that lives out in the country and needs someone to check in on her every now and then...No matter what the situation is...we are all fighting our own battles..and sometimes compassion for another human being can go a long way in a world that has forgotten what the word "Compassion" means...


Too often we underestimate the power of a touch... a smile..a kind word... a listening ear... an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around


So..in closing...I challenge each of you..Try it...Pay it Forward...What could it hurt.. :)

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"God hear's my prayers..."

 Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I am supposed to be working on a faculty list for work right now...but I find myself sitting right here...typing away..writing...I cant concentrate on anything else...

I had someone close to me make a somewhat negative comment quite recently and it has bothered me every since it was said...I guess its my first real encounter with someone's complete lack of faith in me...and it truly bothers me down to my core...every since I have started on this writing journey I have recieved nothing but completely positive feedback from my family and friends...but still I have tryed to prepare myself for the rejection or doubt that I knew would eventually travel my way...but I just didnt expect it to come from a source so close to my heart...

As I layed in bed last night...I let that doubt creep into my mind and start to spread...doubt is truly like poison...it consumes you if you let it...negative thoughts started coming from every which way and I started buying into them...I couldnt help it...If this person that I cared about didnt have faith in me..how could I have faith in myself??

I had a fitfull night of sleep...tossed and turned...woke up just about evey hour on the hour...and that truly makes a night seem that much longer...because in the silence of the night...when all is quiet in the house...there is no laundry that needs to be done...the kitchen is clean...no kids to take care of...no husband to talk to...there is just you, the silence, and your poisonous thoughts of self doubt...

I prayed a silent prayer in that complete silence...I told God that I felt torn..that I didnt know what I was doing...and I needed his guidance...Every person wants to feel as though they have a purpose on this earth..a talent that was given to them to use in some sort of fashion...Was this the path that I am supposed to take or was I just fooling myself?

Waking up this morning..my eyelids are heavy...my heart is a bit discouraged...and I can't seem to make that smile on my face stay for very long...I have a book sitting right here on my desk at work that while my computer is booting up I read my Daily Devotional...It usually helps me get my day started right at work...

Here is what today's Devotional said:


Thank you God for answering yet another one of my prayers....

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 Friday, July 8, 2011

"If tears could build a stairway..And memories a lane...I'd walk right up to Heaven and bring you home again..."

I ran across this quote a couple weeks ago while just doing a general search on the internet and it has stuck with me...A couple weeks ago was the 1 year anniversary of my grandmother's death...and it seems that every turn I make since seeing this quote I see..smell..or hear something that reminds me of her...

Some of my favorite memories that I often think of is whenever my brother, sister, and I would go to visit her in Birmingham she would always..and I do mean always...have a huge pot of Chicken and Dumplings on the stove..now, I am talking about out of a can chicken and dumplings..no...she would sit in that kitchen for hours cooking enough for a army...the dumplings were homemade and I promise you...those dumplings were the best thing you ever put in your mouth...What I wouldnt give just to have one more pot of that...or just to walk in and see her standing at the kitchen counter pulling the chicken apart and rolling out the dough...or to stand beside her on a chair and help...

Well after you got your belly full of her famous dumplings you could always go to her deep freeze on the back porch and open up the lid...and what was inside....a huge box of chocolate popcycles...and when you decieded you wanted a snack later...there was a huge jar of pickles in the refrigerator...I guess you could say for my grandmother that cooking was love...In the mornings we would wake up to the smell of homemade biscuits and gravy, bacon, eggs and anything else she thought you could fit on your plate...Oh how I smile at thinking of these things...

When I was a little girl I always loved going to her house...you see in her bathroom behing the mirror was any color of nail polish you could possibly want...I would spend hours painting my nails and toenails..and she even let me paint hers every now and then..even though my nail painting skills was quite a bit more sloppy than hers...oh and the jewelry...She would walk into the room and just dissolve into a fit of giggles at the site of me...There I was maybe 50 pounds soak and wet...loaded down with as many necklaces, bracelets and rings as I could get on...along with my bright red finger and toenails...I assure you, I was a sight to see...She would laugh and come give me the biggest kiss on my cheek...Her smile could brighten up any dreary day...I have a huge love of old records...and I have her to thank for this...I would sit in front of her old record player on the living room floor for hours just playing one record after another...I would have them spread out all over the floor...Before I knew it hours had passed...I would get lost in the rythms..the sounds...the words..I guess you could say this is where my love of music first started...right there on that living room floor...

Every year for Christmas she would buy me a porcelian doll...not a cheap one either...but one of quality and let me tell you...she would be the most gorgeous doll...she would hand pick it out..and thats what made it even more special...She would start in July finding just the right present for you..and it couldnt be just any ole present...it had to be the perfect one...Birthdays....we always knew that we were going to get a card in the mail...I dont know about my brother and sister...but I for one looked forward to it every year...She always had a way of making you feel special...she would address the card to "Master Jessica Andrews" or "Princess Jessica Andrews"....and on the inside was a crisp $20.00 bill...as my birthday approaches next week...I know that I wont be getting a card in the mail but I do know that she is smiling down on me in Heaven..probably cooking enough for Gods Army...
I know most of you have seen the necklace I wear a good bit..it is a silver box on a silver chain...It is called a prayer box..she gave me and my sister one a couple years before she got alzeihmers...She knew how much I loved silver...There is not a single time that I put this necklace on and I dont think of her...I have a piece of paper on the inside of the prayer box...and it simply says "Keep my family and friends safe"...and I know that she is up in heaven right now helping God do just that...

The quote at the beginning of this blog says that I'd walk up to heaven and bring you home again...I dont agree with that statement....She is home...The world that she left is not the world that she would be coming back to...the only thing I regret is that Khristian will not be able to know how wonderful of a women she was...I can only keep her alive through these memories..and I intend to do just that...

I love you Nanny...




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"Growing up is not for the faint of heart..."

 Thursday, July 7, 2011

"I know why families were created with all their imperfections... They humanize you... They are made to make you forget yourself occasionally, so that the beautiful balance of life is not destroyed.."


All mother's have to go through it at one point or another...you all know what I'm talking about...the point that you realize your "baby" boy or girl is growing up and they may not need you as much as they used to..they become more and more independant and before long...well...you feel like you are left on the sidelines of their life...just a bystander...More times than not it gets worse as they get older...and over time you realize that they are not hurting you intentionally..they are just doing what is nature...they are growing up...

A couple weeks ago while at baseball practice..Khristian went in for a great catch and fell pretty hard on his left shoulder...now anyone who knows Khristian will tell you he is definatly a first class Drama King...so I thought this time was no different...he cried for a little bit at first and I was about to tell him to suck it up and get back on the field (Yes...I am that type of mother) but as his mother I know when he is "really" hurting...he couldnt even raise his arm all the way and didnt want anyone to touch his shoulder...My parents and I took his shirt off so we could get a better look at it..when I went to rotate his shoulder I felt it pop...I instantly knew we had to go get X-Rays...I called Travis as Khristian was saying "Call daddy and tell him to meet us there"...My parents followed me over to the Doctors office (because thats what they do..and they have always done since he was a baby) and when I got to SARHA Travis was already in the parking lot waiting on us...As soon as Khristian got out of the car he was in tears telling his daddy "What if I don't get to play in the tournament??" I had tryed everything on the car ride over to pursuade Khristian to think postive..we even prayed...and I told him that I'm sure nothing was broken and for us to wait and see what the Doctor said...but nothing I said seemed to stick...but as soon as his daddy told him that "It was alright and he was sure nothing was broken..just jammed..." Khristian instantly took on a whole new attitude....He calmed down and turned to me and said "Mom...I dont think anything is broken anymore"...

Now as happy as I was that he was now calmed down..and not in tears (as all mothers hate to see there children in pain) I was also a little hurt...I had always been the one to calm Khristians fears..wipe his tears...take away his pain...and now it seemed like he didnt need that from me anymore...Travis had now moved into that role...

After we got checked in and the insurance stuff was squared away..they told us to go on back...Travis, Khristian and I made our way to the back of the Doctors office where we sat in a little room..the nurse came in took his temp..his Blood pressure...his weight..and asked him on a scale of 1 - 10 how bad his pain was..he said a 11 (Told he was dramatic)...she then took us upstairs to get X-rays done...I was thinking finally...we get to see what is wrong....I was getting prepared to go in the X-ray room with him when the nurse asked Khristian "Now only one person can go in the room with you...which one do you want?"...to which Khristian replied... "My daddy.."

My heart dropped into my stomach...I placed a smile on my face and gave him a kiss on the forehead and told him I would be right outside..For the first time his 9 years of life...I watched as the door closed and I was left sitting in a chair in the waiting room....Let me tell you....that hurt...I mean, I felt it in my heart...it was then that I really realized...he doesnt need me as much as he used to...he is growing up...I texted my stepmother who was still sitting downstairs in the main waiting room and she told me it was a "Boy" thing...and I understood that...but it sure didnt make my heart feel any better...

I am not going to lie..my feelings were hurt..I dont even know if hurt is the right word but I do know I felt absolutly crushed...I sobbed like a baby on Travis shoulder and he simply sat there and let me..saying nothing...just being there...and kissed me on the forehead when I was done...I looked up at him and said "My little boy is not such a little boy anymore, is he?"...That little boy will be 10 this coming Saturday (the 9th)..what a great 10 years it has been...we have cryed together..laughed together...and honestly we have grown up together...It is hard for me to watch this transition take place...and I know it is just him growing up as all kids do...but again..it doesnt make it any easier on my heart...

The more that I have pondered over this..I have come to realize something..In the moment, my feeling were hurt because I was thinking about myself...how much he didnt need "me" anymore...but once I had a little bit of time to process and see the bigger picture...I am so blessed to have a man like Travis that is such a huge influence in Khristians life...I am in awe of their relationship and I hope it does nothing but grow as Khristian becomes a teenager...I know he still needs me...but I also know that a little boy needs his daddy...daddys teach you how to throw a football...they teach you how to hold the bat just right to get that grand slam...they teach you how to shoot a BB gun...they teach you how to be tough when you are hurt....and they teach you how to be a man...

I cannot tell you how much I have grown and learned over this last 10 years of being Khristians mother...but I can tell you some things that my sweet baby boy has taught me...He has taught me humility...he has taught me about being selfless...he has taught me about a whole new level of love that I never knew could exist...he has taught me how to be a better mother... =)

" I'll love you forever..I like you for always..as long as I living..my baby you'll be..."
(An excert from mine and Khristians favorite book)

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