Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Heart Of A Mother

Yesterday evening, I was in the gym working out for a couple of hours.  Usually, while I'm on the treadmill working out super hard, I love to watch CMT music videos.  Well, there ended up being a show on that channel instead, so I started flipping through the tv looking for something else to watch.  I came across a show called 19 Kids and Counting.  It was an episode about one of the daughters having her first baby.  It was going through all the emotions that she was going through just before she had her baby.  It took my mind back to the births of each one of my children.  I made sure to always write a journal entry on the evening after having each one of my children.  I wanted to write about them so that I would never forget those special, tender moments.  I'm hoping to hand those down to each one of my children when they get older and when I get much older.  I came home last night and read through those.  That is the kind of time where I am reminded that I am a woman with something called tears that sometimes slip down my cheeks.
Sometimes I wake up in the mornings and still have to remind myself that I am a mother of 4 children.  Whoa, when did THAT happen?!!!  I have to remind myself constantly of the tremendous responsibility I have in loving, nurturing, protecting & teaching them.  I always have the self-doubt of, "Who am I to teach these perfect children, when I am so full of mistakes & cluelessness along the way at times?"  I find myself reading things like, "You are only as happy as your saddest child" and feeling that WOW, that really is true!!!!  I constantly find myself kneeling in prayer, always away from others, asking for forgiveness for my shortcomings as a mother and for guidance and help in knowing what to do.  I constantly find these little things called tears falling slowly down my cheeks as I struggle to know how to help each one of my children and as I struggle to know how to raise them in a way where God can be proud of me when my life is over.  I also have shed many tears over just thinking about each one of their sweet faces as I drift off to sleep.  My children are my peace, my refuge.  They are the pieces of a puzzle that make MY puzzle complete.  They are precious.  They are sweet.  They are perfect.
Being a mom is so hard.  You always think you can handle every situation and every hard time with grace, humility, compassion, love and maturity.  Then, along came my first child and there was one day I was yelling at her for something super tiny that shouldn't have mattered, and I caught a glimpse of myself in the reflection of the big picture window of my living room....and I remember thinking I looked like a monster.  :(  I immediately stopped and just fell to my knees and cried and told her how sorry I was.  It is crazy.  Here I have this perfect, lovely, beautiful child that trusts me in every way.....and I'm totally screwing them up by yelling at them because I'm stressed out over something that has nothing to do with them.  I think all of us parents can relate and have felt that way MANY times.  Please tell me I'm not alone?!!!!  ;)
I remember going to the hospital to have my very first child.  My sweet Madison Rose.  I was so very nervous and just a wreck emotionally.  I did the whole pregnancy and birth by myself, with no "man" by my side.  I had many questions and doubts going through my mind when I was heading to the hospital to have her....."Am I ready for this? Am I gonna screw this child up? How am I gonna do this? Am I good enough for this? What is my plan? Is she gonna hate me for not having a Dad? Is she going to love me?"   Alone with all of those thoughts, I decided to do what I always did....I put on a brave face and told myself that I could do this.  I was brave and courageous and I was going to love this little girl with all my mind, might & strength.
They say that a child can never save you.....That you have to save yourself.  I disagree.  My little girl, Madison, saved me.  By that, I mean that she gave me purpose in my life again.  She gave me confidence again.  She gave me an energy to pick up broken pieces and keep moving forward.  She gave me hope for the future.  She gave me childlike excitement for things again, such as Christmas, snow angels, lightning bugs, reading a book, baking cookies, letting the rain fall on my face & enjoying it, splashing in muddy puddles, watching birds fly, watching embers from a campfire glow & pop, smiling just because of an amazingly beautiful sky.  She made me want to be better.  She made me want to believe in myself again.  She made me want to forgive everything bad that had happened to me, because she was THAT great of a blessing to me.  She made me want to do everything to make her smile.  She was my life!!!!!  I was a single mom for many years with Madison.  Over half of her life!!!!!  I pushed away a couple really great guys on purpose.....not because they weren't amazing, but because of my fears.  I just had a massive focus of raising her and not letting anything get in the way of my goals with raising her.  But of the things about being a mother to her teaching me that even if you get hurt, LOVE is always the right way in life.  She taught me that it was ok to love someone other than just her.  It was ok to open myself up to someone again, even if it didn't work out.  It was ok to forgive those that had hurt me.  It was ok to put trust in others, because a life of not trusting anyone really isn't a life at all, because then you miss out on EVERYTHING, even if things ultimately don't work out.   Love is amazing and my sweet Madison reminded me of that.  The second she was born.  There was this little tiny 9 1/2 pound baby, with a head full of dark hair.....and moments after she was born, she was laid on my chest & her eyes and my eyes connected & I knew I would never be the same.  You think you are prepared for the moment when they are born.  You think you understand and know how it will be, because Lord knows I imagined it in my mind a million times.  NOTHING prepared me for the intense way her birth touched me and changed me.  There was a huge shift.  I was literally transformed.  I became a completely different person.  Physically, there was a shift.  Mentally, there was a shift.  Spiritually, there was a shift.  I was a stranger to myself, yet I LOVED this new stranger.  I was at perfect peace with this new stranger.  How was it possible to love someone so deeply?  How was it possible to know you'd give your life any second for this perfect person?  The whole time in the hospital, I snuggled my sweet baby girl on my chest.....and every night, when the nursing staff and visitors weren't around, I would pull her so close and whisper in her ear how scared I was, yet how much I loved her and how I promised I would love her for forever.  I whispered to her that I am so sorry if I screw up, but that it will never be from lack of effort.  I whispered to her that she IS my heart.  I whispered to her that I couldn't wait for all our adventures together.  I whispered to her that I hoped she would be happy having me for a mommy.  I whispered to her that I would always protect her.  I whispered to her that she is my greatest blessing.  I whispered to her that we would figure life out together.  As I whispered to her, once again, I could feel those strange things called tears falling softly down my cheeks as I felt overwhelming emotions of love & tenderness & peace.   I don't know that my Madison will ever truly understand the joy that she is in my life.  She is a great blessing and I'm so thankful that God trusted me with her sweet spirit.  And now that she's older (almost 16), I can't believe that she is so beautiful and talented and loving.  She tries so hard at everything she does.  She's sooooo stinkin' TALENTED!!!!!!  She's a fantastic singer.  She's a great trombone player.  She is such a great & creative writer.  She excels in school (she's my straight A student).  She is compassionate towards others.  She is non-judgemental.  She loves animals.  She has no fear of the future.  She can't wait to go to college.  And something that means a lot to me is that she always, always, always forgives me at the end of each day.....even if & when I have failed miserably as a mother.  I have learned a lot from all of my children about forgiveness.  I have so many shortcoming and failures & that doesn't matter to my kids.  All that matters to them is LOVE.  They know I try the best I know how.  I am so grateful for the lessons they teach me.  They have taught me how to be a better human being, a better mother, a better wife, a better friend, a better lover, a better teacher, a better daughter.....through their examples to me.  I still have so, so, so much work to do and every single day is a struggle & a blessing at the same time (sounds weird, but TRUE!).....but their love for me will always push me to want to do better and to want to be better to others.
I could go on and on and on about each one of my children, but I'll be brief about the rest, cause I just wanted to mostly write about the very first time I became a mother.  But I can't leave the other ones out, because my 4 children make up my entire heart and they are all equally special to me.
My sweet Journee.  She is the glue that held our family together.  She came along after some really rough times in my marriage and after a long time of trying to have another child.....and also after having had a horrible miscarriage.  She was born with the sweetest cry & was so very beautiful.  Even at birth, she had the cutest dimples in her cheeks.  She was the first child where I had a man beside me throughout the pregnancy and labor.  She was the first child where I got to watch a man love her from birth just the same as I loved her.  It was a truly magical experience.  I will never forget it.  Journee is our little spitfire.  She is so very full of life and energy.  She loves the outdoors.  Her favorite things are: cowboys, horses, farms, tractors, work trucks, Ribeye steak, beef jerky, homemade chicken noodle soup & warm apple juice.  She is so high energy that she can sometimes be very difficult, but I wouldn't trade that for the world.  She reminds me to be extra mindful of how beautiful it is outside.  She comes to me many nights and says things like, "Mom, look at the sunset outside!  You have to take a picture!"  What a blessing to have a child teach me to remember the simple blessings in nature.
My sweet Hudson.  My first and only boy.  The one I was scared to have BECAUSE he was a boy!!!  ;)  I was so worried about being a complete and epic failure to a boy, but I decided to dump my whole heart into it, just like I did my girls.  Boy, am I glad I did!!!!!!!  This little sucker has me soooo wrapped around his finger!!!!!  Very tightly!!!  He is my world!  And he's a momma's boy, which warms my heart.  I've always had a general fear of men, but this little boy of mine made me realize that you don't have to fear all men.  Again, just like my other kids, he taught me how important LOVE is and how important forgiveness is.  Hudson is so laid back and so tender hearted....I love it!  His favorite things are all things boy!!!  Trucks, cars, tools, pretending to fix things with Dad, mowing the lawn, digging in the dirt, wearing his cowboy boots while naked....and MILK.  He is absolutely precious and sweet and I can't get enough of him!  He has been an amazing blessing in our little family & I thank God for him daily!!!  His hugs are my daily medicine!!!  :)  My pregnancy with him is the pregnancy where I developed a severe case of my palsy.  It is the type of palsy that typically goes completely away for the well majority of people.  Mine never went away.  It has been 3 years now, so the doctors say I'm stuck with what's left of it, which is a big bummer and something my self-esteem for sure struggles with......but I will not let it hold me back.  If anything, I try my best to look at it as a hurdle I crossed to get one of my greatest blessings here.  :)
Last, but certainly not least, my sweet Finnlee.  This little girl is the sweetest little thing since cherry pie!!!!  She's soooo stinkin' cute and has the cutest personality.  She is so laid back and is always so happy and is always smiling.  I went through spine surgery while I was pregnant with her and I also had placenta previa with her during my pregnancy.  I was told by several medical staff to plan on losing her.  I tried so hard not to get attached since we were told that, but somewhere deep inside, I knew she would make it and be our miracle baby that would complete our family.  She's our little fighter.  Along with Gods help, she fought to be here & I fought to get her here safely.  She is just such a blessing to our family.  We consider ourselves so lucky and so grateful to have her in our lives.  She is a great joy!!!!!
Inside the heart of me, the mother of 4 beautiful children, are so many buried words that I wish could eloquently say.  But I can't say them, because I don't know how.  Motherhood just CHANGES you.  It's nothing you can describe to anyone else.  It's impossible to describe the feelings that go on in your heart and soul, because they are wordless.  They are just full of feeling and it's a feeling that is better than any possible word.
Thank you to my 4 children for always loving me and for always forgiving me at the end of every day, even when I have failed you miserably.  Thank you for seeing that I try my best and that I love you with all my heart, even when I have no idea what I'm doing.  Thank you for trusting me with each new day.......with the rising of each new sun.  Please know that the reason I believe in God is because of each one of you.

                            Me with the 4 reasons why I'm a better human being!

                                           My Madison Rose!

                                             My Journee Reagan!!!!

                                               My Hudson Jaymes!!!!

My Finnlee Auslynn!!!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

What's In A Season???

Good afternoon, everyone!  :)
SO....the weather has been going absolutely CRAZY out here lately!  First, we had fantastic spring-like weather for a few weeks & now it is cold...more like winter again.  Still, it is beautiful outside and the sun is shining.  I love to soak up the beauty of each day, regardless of whatever kind of weather it ends up being. 
I just want to take a moment to talk about my love for each of the four seasons we have.....spring, fall, winter & summer.  There is something so special about each one.....and anytime I take a moment to think about WHY I love them, I smile.  Inside each season is a gift of warmth, comfort & something magical to enjoy.
Let's start with my favorite season.  FALL.  Literally EVERYTHING about fall is magical to me.  I love the cozy feeling of wearing hooded sweatshirts or flannel button-ups every day.  They are good enough to keep you warm, yet light enough to where you can still feel that amazing fall air on your skin.  The fall season SMELLS amazing.  Inside my house during the fall, I'm always baking things that smell like apple-cinnamon and pumpkin spice.  I usually have the windows atleast cracked to where I get a little smell of that fall breeze coming in the window.  It makes me happy.  :)  Then outside, when I think of fall, I think of bonfires & campfires.....I think of the smell of wood....I think of the smell of amazing, cool, crisp air....I think of the sound of football games....I think of the smell of the tractor as my hubby does work on it.....I think of the feel of the breeze blowing through my hair as I drive out in the country....I think of hay rides....I think of pumpkin patches....I think of corn mazes....I think of all the cute little kids trick-or-treating....I think of homemade cinnamon apple cider....I think of homemade chili simmering all day.....I think of snuggling under a cozy blanket during the cool nights in the back of an old truck underneath the stars.  I think of HUNTING & hiking.  I think of the sound and smell of crunchy leaves.  I think of the smell of burning leaves.
My next favorite season.  SPRING.  When I think of spring, I think of one word.  LIFE.  Life comes into everything and everything starts fresh and new.  Everything has been hibernating all winter & so I wait with great anticipation to see and smell everything again that spring brings.  My favorite smell of spring is SOIL.  I have come to really like planting trees and flowers and spring is the time for all of that!  The first time my hands get to dig in the soil each year is one of my favorite times.  Mmmmm.  Spring rain is also one of my favorite things.  Rain gives everything a huge drink to be able to grow.  It's pretty awesome!  And rain is just so soothing!!!!  And geesh, it smells so good!!!!  If it ever rains in the spring, I always, always, always open the windows so that the smell overtakes the house......and then this momma is a happy, happy, happy momma!!!!!  :)  I love watching trees bud in the spring.  It's a pretty cool process.  I love watching the things I plant grow....TRUE MAGIC!!!  It still stuns me every year that I can plant things and then they grow, with just a little bit of lovin'!  :)  I relate certain things to spring, like my favorite mini Brach's jelly beans & Whoppers Robin Eggs.  I can see something simple in a gas station like a peanut butter cup shaped like an Easter duck or an Easter egg & it totally makes me smile.  Super cute. 
Next.  SUMMER.  The season of being and feeling carefree & light!!!  This is the best time of year for my kids, because we can pretty much be outside ALL the and night.  Summer nights smell amazing.....and it stays light outside till quite late.  I think of lightning bugs (it's a midwest thing!)....I think of camping & camp fires....I think of making smores and hot dogs....I think of swimming in the lake....I think of getting dirty everyday and LOVING it....I think of taking drives up into the mountains to get pictures of glorious, sunny days.  I think of hiking.  I think of popsicles.  I think of county fairs.  I think of rodeos.  I think of the circus.  I think of hot days and perfect, beautiful nights.  I think of being barefoot in lush, green grass.  I think of wearing flip-flops.  I think of exercising OUTSIDE every day.  I think of perfect corn on the cob and beautiful, tasty watermelon.  I think of yielding the results of our gardening from the spring.  I think of bow hunting for elk.  I think of the joy on my kids faces when I watch them play outside in the gorgeous weather.  I think of local parks and wedding venues.  I think of how beautiful the super early mornings are....when the rest of the world seems to be sleeping.
Last.  WINTER.  The season where the world seems to go to sleep for awhile.  My favorite time in the winter is when I drive up into the tops of the mountains WHILE it is snowing.  It is so perfect.  So magical.  So beautiful.  So dreamy.  When you're up there by yourself, I swear you can actually HEAR the gentle snow falling and kissing the earth as it hits the ground.  You can look into the trees and see nothing but a calmness.  Everything is dark, yet still light.  Everything stands still.   When I think of my favorite things during the winter season, I would say they are these things: sledding with my kids, drinking super hot cocoa after coming in from shoveling, making snow angels, taking walks in the snow, cozying up on the couch under big blankets with the big picture window curtains open so that I can watch the snow fall, listening to old Christmas music and country Christmas music, baking sugar cookies and making homemade caramels, the smell of winter air, the look of ice crystals hanging from the house, Christmas lights, Holiday music playing everywhere (sorry, yes, I'm one of those who really enjoys it!!), family movies playing on tv all the time, the smell of gingerbread, a beautiful hot shower after outside evening chores are done, building snowmen and Christmas caroling.
There is SO much more I could say about EVERY season, but I'm limited on time & this is a start.  I just love the smell of every season and the feel the each season brings.  Each season also has the magic ability and power of making me super reminiscent of certain times and things.  LOVE THAT, because in most cases, it's usually a great memory.
Anyhow, OPEN YOUR EYES and take notice of all the beauty around us.  It doesn't matter how bad your day is.  No matter what, we can ALWAYS find beauty if we are open to finding it and seeing it.  You don't even need to look that hard or look that far.   Seasons are POWERFUL!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Monday, February 23, 2015

I Used To Think I Was Strong.....Then I Became A Mother

When I was a kid, I could do ANYTHING.  I told myself I could FLY, I could jump off bridges, I could grow up to be an anasthesiologist, I could swim with snakes, I could run all day AND all night, I could build things, I could help friends when they were struggling, I could eat cookies and not gain any weight, I could go to bed at night and not have nightmares, I could wrap my hands around my mother's waist and feel like she would ALWAYS be there for me.
In my teenage years, I lived through crushes, a first love, six brothers & four sisters, a car accident, drum corps international, early morning jazz band practices, cross country, getting in trouble for coming home too late after dates, etc.  In my adult years so far, I have lived through spine surgery, five miscarriages, getting stranded on the sides of roads a few times, losing my mother to cancer when I was 20, moving a few times, being a single mom for lots of years, etc.  I have lived through so much in my short life already.....some good things....some bad things.....and some things only I will ever know about.  All in all, I'm so grateful to have gone through everything I've gone through, because I am very happy with the person I have become, especially on the inside.  I am very compassionate towards others & I constantly want to help others, because I know what it's like to go through really hard times and to feel all alone.  Sometimes, even if you know you have a big family....or you have great neighbors....or you have a few good friends.....It is still very hard.  Even if you feel completely blessed.  I used to think I was strong.  I used to think I could always come out on top after ANYTHING.  I used to think my heart was strong.  I used to think strength was a matter of outer strength instead of inner strength.  I never used to understand why I would see my mother cry sometimes.  I never understood why she would get so emotional about pretty much EVERYTHING with us kids.  I couldn't understand why she cared so much about all of us.  Then........I became a mother.
When you become a mother, your entire being changes.  Your entire heart changes.  Your entire brain changes.  All of a sudden, you have a person or people that you would literally die for.  No questions asked.  That first moment you hold their itty-bitt hand in your big hand....and when you hear their first cries and shivers....and when you snuggle them heart to heart for the first time after birth.....They HAVE you.  They are perfect.   So many times, I have asked myself what it is that I have done so right in order to get the blessing of having such amazing children.  They truly are my everything.
Yesterday, I spent the entire day and night in the hospital with my son (unexpectedly).  He ended up having to have emergency surgery after a long day of not knowing what was wrong.  I have had other kids in the hospital before and I've had other kids in lots of pain before.....but I must be getting old or my heart must be getting softer.....because my heart was just dying inside.  (Who am I kidding? My heart is dying inside ANY time ANY of my children have been in this kind of a situation!!!)  When you have 5 or 6 people holding your 2 year old down just to get an IV in his hand and you can hear him screaming for a solid 15 minutes after he just screamed and cryed the whole day because he is scared and, talk about killing me inside.  When they let me carry him back into the surgery room, looking so small in his big comfy heart just tore in two when I had to hand him over to another lady to take him.  I caught my son's eyes & his sweet little bottom lip stuck out because he was sad and scared and didn't understand what they were going to do to him.  He looked at me like, "Please don't leave me".  Then, of course, they had me leave so they could do his surgery.  :(   To think of my babe lyin' on a big surgery table, scared....wanting his Momma....just breaks me.  While I was sitting in the patient room they assigned us to, I was all alone for awhile, and the stress of trying to be strong throughout the day caught up to me.  I sat in the corner of the big hospital room and noticed tears slipping down my cheeks.  When I realized that, I told myself to pull it together and be strong.  :)  I got a few texts from neighbors, and each one of them made me smile.
My Dad called & that made me smile.  He has always been a greath strength to me.   Next thing I knew, there was my cute 4 year old, Journee, coming into the hospital room.....and she had a treat for me, since I had been too stressed to eat all day.  It was a cute lil' 70 calorie pack of beef jerky and a little carton of 2% milk.  Sooo cute!!!!  (I put a picture at the bottom!!!)
Anyway.....Since becoming a mother, these are the things I realize: 1) Even though I'm a perfectionist, I AM HUMAN, and I'm always going to make lots and lots and lots of mistakes.  2) I am ALWAYS learning!!!!!  3) I will always do the best I know how to do......but sometimes, I just don't know how to do things  4) My heart overflows with love constantly from my children.....and I can also feel it literally hurting when my children are suffering  5) I would take the place of ANY of my children when ANY of them are suffering or hurting  6) Children are so naturally loving.  They are SO EASY to love!!!!!!  Even if it weren't easy to love them, I still would love them with all that I have.  7) I am tired, exhausted, hungry, overwhelmed & emotional.....a lot.....but it is for the best cause EVER.  I cherish my role as a mother.  8) I am not strong.  I just pretend to be strong, because I don't know what else to do.  9)  I need a hug.  10)  Having my children will always, always, always be the greatest thing I ever did in this life.  11) When any of my children are hurting, I hurt just as much.  12) I don't have all the answers.  Not even close.  13) I now understand trial and error!  14) Watching any of them sleep MELTS ME inside!!!!  15) I am starting to make sense of life because of my kids.  EVERYTHING has more meaning now!!!!!  EVERYTHING!!!  Bugs are cuter, flowers are brighter, rain is FUN and HAPPY, mountains are glorious, hiking is adventurous, traveling is a great chance to rock out to the radio, the grass is greener.....and every toy you see, you want to buy, just to see them smile.  hahahahaha  16) My kids always needing me secretly makes me really, really happy.  Can't imagine my life without them always needing me.  17) Cleaning never stops.  EVER.  Not even for a couple hours.  18) My brain will always hurt from thinking of everything I could and should be doing better.....but I also know I'm doing the best I can.  19) Sleep is for the birds. 
Children are amazing little beings.  They are absolutely precious.  So innocent.  So sweet.  So willing to be open to learning.  So trusting.  The fact that God trusted me with raising these amazing little people is just awesome.  I may get stressed, but I will always be so beyond grateful for having the greatest kids.....the kids who I was meant to have.  I love them so much it really does hurt!!!  I hope, more than anything, that when they are older and married with their own kids, they will look back and think of their Mom with a smile.....and think, "Wow, I had a Mom that loved me more than anything."

                                                      My sweet Madz
My Sweet Journee
My Sweet Hudson right before surgery yesterday.
My sweet Finnlee  :)
The treat that Journee brought me to eat  :)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Marriage: Fight or Flight?

I have to apologize in advance.  I tend to shoot from the hip when it comes to writing, instead of taking a long time to think about things before I write.   With that being said, here goes.....
Marriage is such a full word.  Sometimes heavy, sometimes light.  A good thing to some, a not-so-good thing to others.  A thing that some people are drawn to & that others are fearful of.  After having been married now for close to 6 1/2 years (and I know that's NOTHING compared to all the sweet ol' couples who have been together for, like, 50 years!!!).....I have learned a lot about marriage.  Some good, some bad, some ugly, some beautiful.    :)
Growing up as a kid, especially as a little girl, I remember that every friend I ever had dreamed about their future wedding day.  And dreamed about meeting Mr. Perfect.  And dreamed about what their wedding dress would look like.  And dreamed about how many children they would have.  And dreamed about sittin' on the front porch on a porch swing living happily ever after.  :)  Oh yeah, don't forget the lemonade with ice in it.  And cookies.  And cows in the pasture and chickens on the lawn.  Come on, you know you had that dream.....  :)
Well, as a teenager, I flip-flopped back and forth over not knowing what I wanted. (SHOCKING, right?!)  hahahaha  :)  I had a couple boyfriends who were SO good to me & because of them, they are ultimately the reason why I began to have thoughts about the "dream" of marriage and the future.  I had some weeks where I couldn't wait to become a "business woman" and make tons and tons of money so that I could buy whatever I wanted.  I had some weeks where I had the typical female dream of wanting what everyone else wanted......a cute, tall, dark, handsome be loved every day....a porch swing.....and maybe a kid or two thrown in there somewhere.   ;)
As a married adult right now (35 years young!), I take note of the CMT channel playing at the gym in the early mornings.  Country music is my favorite....always has been.  There are certain artists in the country world that just really speak to my heart and send a good message.....and remind me what life is about.  What's the point of this?  Well, the CMT channel plays the video's that the artists have made to go with their songs.  In a lot of the songs, they have these perfect love scenes.....either inside or outside.  The inside ones are beautiful, perfect lighting, perfect bodies, perfect landscapes outside the windows.....and you get a big jolt of the electricity that happens between love & desire & passion & lust......between 2 beautiful people.  The outside ones are equally as beautiful....with the perfect country setting, the cutest old trucks, adorable farms, perfect lighting, perfect bodies....and you get the feeling of freedom, fun, adventure, joy, happiness & everything perfect that goes along with the word LOVE.  Again.  The dream.  The fairytale, right?
So, most of you already know.....I write songs.  The first FULL song I wrote was shortly after my Mom died & I still haven't shared it with anyone, not even my husband.  (Sorry, babe!!)  :)  Well, Journee & Hudson have heard me play it and sing it several times.....but they're an easy audience.  :)  They think anything of mine is fabulous, thank goodness!  SO, it is kind of a little secret of mine right now (or NOT so secret now!) that I want to write a country song & make a special video with it that entails something kind of like what MY life is like.  You may ask, "What does that mean?"   And I'll tell you back that I'm not quite sure, but it for sure isn't like most videos I see.   Mine would have my kids bangin' on the bedroom door and/or breakin' in when Mommy & Daddy are trying to get a little lovin' (sorry if I offend anyone, but hey, all you married people know EXACTLY what I'm talkin' about.....It is what it is....there's LOTS of quickies in marriage when you have small children!!!).....and I would include footage of me constantly falling asleep on the couch with 3 small children in my arms.....and I would include the baby puking all over my church outfit after I finally was able to spend 20 minutes getting myself ready (just to be able to now NOT go or to have to go change my clothes again).  I love real life stuff.  The nitty gritty.  It's so hard, but it's so real.....and because it's so real, it's beautiful to me.  The hard stuff is how I learn.  Don't get me wrong, I (just like anyone), dream about amazing romance just like the video's show....and I dream about making love in all kinds of perfect places (or for ANY place kid-free for that matter).....and I dream about all the perfect scenario's that a sometimes single life can bring......but then again.....
I always come back to what I have. 
I have four beautiful children who are my life! They were made in and through LOVE.   Even though they can totally ruin romantic moments, they are soooo beyond worth it.  And please tell me they'll outgrow this being small stage, right?!  :)  But do I REALLY want them to grow up and get older?!!  :(  They are so precious!  When I look at my kids, all I can think about it LOVE.   They ARE love.  What else do I have?  I have a husband that I have caught several times shootin' me a cute grin when he catches my eye while he's on the tractor working.  I have seen him eyeing me and checking me out when he doesn't know I saw him.  I have seen him make me dinner SEVERAL times.  I have seen him build me things.  I have seen him work extra hours to make ends meet.  I was told that he cried when we had our first really bad miscarriage.....but he stepped out, because he didn't want me to see him crying, because he wanted to be strong for me in my super weak moment.  I have seen him sneak into the shower some days just to get a "feel" and to give me a good hug.....AND to TALK away from the kids.  (Trust me all you young ones....the shower is sometimes the only place to talk).  :)   I have a perfect, beautiful landscape to wake up to every single morning & to go to bed to every single night.  Seriously, it truly is stunning!  I have craziness in this house, but lots of happiness.  I have very energetic kids who don't understand the meaning of "mommy needs a break", but I have HEALTHY children & that will always be the most important thing to me.  I have a small, modest house....yet it is all I want, need & desire.  I'm just not into all those new houses that are built that all look the same.  (Nothing against those of you who live in them and like them....they're just not my thing!)  :)   And my small house means that we're always a really CLOSE family.  My teenager would say "TOO CLOSE!!!", but I love that we're close. 
Ok, so, what is my point and why was this post titled "Marriage: Fight or Flight?"  Well.... Ok.  So.  I'm just gonna say it.....MARRIAGE IS SO FREAKING HARD.  It is.  It's the truth!  And it will constantly go back and forth from awesome.  Crazy to perfect.  Insane to beautiful.  Hmm....To blend two adult personalities and try to meld together a lifetime of learned habits/thinkings/schedules/routines from both, it is hard.  I personally felt like I went straight from being a little girl to being an adult with serious responsibilites!  I mean, I woke up one day and there was a MAN in my bed!!!  (oh yeah, I'm married....When did that happen?!!)  :)  But then I realize, we're ALL little girls and little boys, just inside bodies that unfortunately grow!  Being an adult is difficult!!!
We all always have a choice in marriage....throughout our whole marriage.  We can choose to wake up every day and fight a good, worthy fight for our marriage....or we can fly.  We can run away from it all.  I know an overwhelming number of friends/people that want to get divorced due to the feeling of no more romance in their marriage.  They think it's gone.  They think their husband or wife doesn't love them anymore.  They think their husband or wife doesn't find them attractive anymore.  They no longer make love.  They no longer make time for themselves together away from the kids.  They are overwhelmed by the stresses of life. 
Marriage is not something I was taught a ton about, I just remember my parents always wanted the best for us & they obviously wanted us to marry someone that would be good to us.  But when it comes to marriage, for ME anyway, I was like a deer in the headlights when I got married.  All of a sudden, you get married.....and you're on a honeymoon.....and you're in a beautiful hotel room with a man.  Whoa.  I went back and forth from thinking "this is AWESOME!!!" to "this is crazy" to "this is weird" to "this is FUN!!!!" to "this is hilarious" to "ummmmm".  :)
Again, what is my point.....
We, as a culture, do talk about the "dream" of an amazing wedding a LOT to teens....but I'm hoping we can all do better of portraying what a REAL, NORMAL marriage is like.....especially after the hub-bub of the wedding is done and after the "honeymoon stage".  When marriage gets tough (which it will), fight through.  Remember why you fell in love in the first place.  Remember why you chose each other.  Remember that this person wanted you over anyone else.  Do things for each other constantly.  Almost always, what you give, you will get back!!!!!!!!!!!  Don't forget that!!! 
Along with all of that, don't forget that there is no perfect marriage.  EVERY marriage takes lots and lots and lots and lots of work, patience, understanding, compassion, goals, etc.  AND....there are so many things that go on behind closed doors in a marriage.  What I mean by that is.....Someone can seem perfectly happy from outside appearances, but could maybe be dying inside due to domestic abuse.  Someone can be funny and make jokes a lot, so you think they're super happy, but inside, they're crumbling and making jokes because they don't want to talk about the bad stuff.....because they hurt THAT much.  If you know about these situations, BE THERE for those people!!!!  And if you are one of those people, PLEASE know that you can write me with the promise of complete confidentiality.  I have a good listening ear.   
In MOST normal situations with marriage, I would almost always choose to FIGHT.....Because the blessings of marriage and children are amazing, even with all the added craziness it can add to an already crazy, hard life. 
Please understand.....when I write these blogs, I'm writing mostly to myself.  :)  Always.  :)
Here's something I really like.....

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

This beautiful morning & Spice Cake!

Good afternoon!!!  :)  It was an absolutely GORGEOUS morning today!  I left to go to the gym at 4:30 this morning & the moon was SO FULL and SO was GORGEOUS!  Usually I take a flashlight out with me in the mornings since I sneak out the back door so I don't wake my kids up.  It's usually so DARK, but no flashlight was needed today!!!  (The flashlight is something I started using ever since the day I almost stepped on a cougar early in the morning a few weeks ago).  Anyway, got home from the gym.....took a lovely shower and got ready for the day.....made breakfast for the kids.....then stepped out on the deck to take a picture of the gorgeous morning blooming before my eyes.....

I made a spice cake not too long ago.  For the recipe, you can use any spice cake recipe you want (or even a box mix)  ;) .........but I decided to try a new homemade frosting recipe & it turned out to be DIVINE.  Here's a picture of how my Spice Cake turned out.  (It was requested to be made by Journee)  :)  

Here is where I got the frosting recipe - It's amazing.  All my kids loved it and my husband loved it as well:

Have a wonderful day!  :)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Two fantastic recipes that get requested a lot.... :)

Two of my favorite recipes:  Amazing chocolate cake & My Mom's Stroganoff. 
And ahem.....You're welcome.  ;)  You will thank me later. 

My Mom's Stroganoff:
For the rice, I just use a rice cooker, so it's super easy! And instead of regular white rice, I use Basmati white rice (I get it at walmart). While the rice is cooking, I make the sauce to go over it. First, I cook a pound of lean beef. Drain it. Then put the beef into a pan. You'll add 3 regular sized cans of cream of mushroom soup and a 16 ounce container of sour cream & about 1/2 cup to 1 cup of milk (I use whole, but you can use anything but skim). I personally use about 1 cup of milk. Cook all that on medium heat, stirring quite often. Just keep stirring until it's all thinned out and hot!!! That's it! Then just pour it over your rice and enjoy! It's so, so, so, so good!!!!!!!! Here are the end results:

Amazing Chocolate Cake:
First, melt 1 cup butter or margarine (I used margarine) in a pan with 1 cup of water.
In a separate bowl, mix together 2 cups sugar, 2 cups flour & 1/2 cups cocoa. Take the water/butter mixture off the heat. Pour the sugar/flour/cocoa mixture into the water/butter mixture and mix.
Beat in 2 eggs, 1/2 cup buttermilk, 1 teaspoon baking soda & 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Bake at 375 in a large, greased jellyroll pan for 20-25 minutes. (Mine is always done in 20 minutes).
Cover with frosting WHILE HOT!!!!!!
Here is the frosting recipe:
Mix together: 1 stick of melted margarine, 3 Tablespoons of cocoa, 1/4 cup milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/8 teaspoon of salt & 3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar. Once it's all mixed together, frost the cake. Remember, you want to do it while it's hot.

Here's the end results:


The Old Woman Inside My Little Ol' 35 Year Old Self - Written April 25, 2014

The Old Woman Inside My Little Ol' 35 Year Old Self

I have an old soul.  Always have and I imagine I always will.  I have never really felt like I have fit in with the "my age" crowd.  In fact, I don't know that I fit in pretty much ANYWHERE in society.  I get along with all types of people and can manage conversations with anyone.  I can be very social, but that doesn't mean that I feel like I fit in.   I don't like to party and never have liked it, I don't drink, I LOVE being alone in nature, I am kind of a homebody since I got married (cause I LOVE being with my children!!!!), I don't really care at all about style or dressing super nice......etc.   On the other hand, I feel at ease when I see and talk to elderly people.  I love their their their their their their simpleness.   I think that's why I loved being a CNA.  Most days, I was taking care of elderly, and I truly just LOVED taking care of them.  I felt like I fit right in, and most times, I could feel they were comfortable with me helping them so much.
NOW, on to a different kind of OLD.  This past 5 1/2 years, I have aged SO VERY MUCH!   I am NOT the type of gal that looks in the mirror every day and really cares much about what I look like, but one thing I always did take pride in was my smile, because no matter what, I could share it with anybody.  And it didn't matter if I was skinny or had gained weight and was smile was still the same.   After I developed a very severe case of Bell's Palsy back in the year of 2012, I remember waking up and feeling super numb and in so much pain.  I went in the bathroom, looked in the mirror and realized I had a big problem.  Half of my face was paralyzed!!!!!   My doctor said that the majority of people who end up with Bell's Palsy end up making a full recovery within a few months.  It has been almost 2 years, and I still have not made a full recovery.  I have definitely come a LONG way, but not even close to a full recovery.  I still have a NOT full smile, I have to cover my mouth when I chew while eating so that food doesn't fall out, I still wake up with my eye completely swollen shut and lots of pain around the bone structures of the right side of my face (especially if I've been super stressed or if I'm super tired), my eye sometimes twitches out of nowhere, my eye sometimes weeps out of nowhere.....and on really bad days, when the right side of my face is super droopy, people stare and ask what's wrong (especially little children).  While I have gotten used to other people's reactions and am at peace with what I have, it is my own thoughts I still have to get used to.   I LOVE life and LOVE our world, and the way I show that is through my smile.  To not be able to share my entire smile, especially when I am trying so hard to do so, is what kills me the most.  Have you ever just sat and stared at yourself in the mirror SO LONG that you literally don't recognize yourself anymore?????  On the rare occasion that I stop to look in a mirror, I don't even know who I see anymore.  I see a woman who has aged SO VERY MUCH in the last 5 years.  I see wrinkles in the creases of my eyes when I try to smile.  I see bags under my eyes from lack of sleep.  I see pain from sometimes not knowing what to do to best help my children and to best help my husband.  I am old.   The weird thing is.....I'm ok with getting older, TRULY!!!!  But I just want to look in the mirror and recognize myself.  I look into my eyes and see the same eyes I've seen all the years of my life.  But other than that, I'm a stranger to myself.
After all this, fast forward to super recently.  I ended up having spine surgery a month ago (March 11th).  This has changed the way I have to do things on a regular basis.  I used to think that being a strong woman meant that I needed to not only be mentally strong, but I also thought it meant being physically strong.  I used to carry 8 bags of trash out at a time.  I used to carry both of my youngest children in my arms PLUS 8 bags of heavy groceries, all at the same time.  I used to help my husband do every bit of outside work, especially the heavy stuff that he struggles with by himself.  I used to try to do those things by myself so that my hubby would get home from work and be happy, because he would be able to relax once he got home.   I can't lift like that any more, nor will I ever be able to.  How this has changed me!!!!!  It has really messed with my self-esteem!!!!  It was one of the ways I showed love towards my husband, so I have had to change and find other things to replace that one thing that meant a lot to me.
Again, a few days ago, I was looking in the mirror.  I just stared and stared and stared.  I cried as I searched for the young girl I used to see and be.  I couldn't find her or see her anywhere.  I finally had to go away from the mirror and just start into my day with my regular chores.  Still, the thought never left my mind that there was an old woman trapped inside my little ol' 35 year old self.   The more I have thought about it though......I am ok with it.  I am getting older.  I am changing.  I have been through so much in my life, most of only which my husband knows everything. 
All this has been teaching me yet another lesson that has been humbling to me.  I believe each and every person goes through so very much in their life.  Most of us have no idea of what every stranger we come across has been through.  There are so many people who have been through so much pain, so much struggle, so much heartache, so many trials, so many physical problems, so many mental problems.......If only we could look at a person's soul and try to see the person behind the eyes that are aging....the person behind the skin that is aging.....the person behind the imperfect smile............
I just genuinely LOVE people.  I have learned so much, through my experiences, about my own vanity and about the way I love people.  In my young adult years, there were several years where I was so focused on how I looked/how I was perceived where I didn't worry about what mattered.  How I treated people that loved me and that I loved.   Putting myself in their shoes and thinking about how they felt or how I was affecting them.   I have changed.  My heart has changed, my soul has changed, my life has changed.  And it's all for the better.  A LOT better. 
Sometimes my soul is wrecked with pain when I think about the possible pain I caused people in my past.  I don't believe there is anyone that holds anything against me, but.....I always think to myself......geeesh, if I could go back in time and affect the people I hurt in a positive way.....think how I could have maybe helped changed their world and bring happiness to their world.  Think how I could have stopped a cycle of heartbreak.
It's just really, really interesting to learn as we go throughout this life.  We all change based on our experiences.  We all change based on our biggest struggles that we overcome.  We all change based on self-reflecting on why we are the way we are.   I think that MOST all of us do the best we can.  I think that MOST all of us try our hardest to do the best we know how.  I absolutely LOVE that life is literally an educational journey about insight into ourselves.....and finding out who we are and why we are here.  My favorite part of life, as of recently, is all the lessons that have taught me how to be completely non-judgemental and how to love others, despite all of our amazing differences.  Life is full of awesome, amazing people.....all around us.....and we are all on the same journey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We should all always be on the same team!!!!!!!!
Now, back to that old woman inside of me....Even though I still don't recognize her yet, I still love her and want to nourish the fact that she IS me and I AM her.    :)