Wednesday, October 5, 2016


This last Sunday at church, our pastor talked about identity and how our early life imprints affect us and shape us into the people we become. As he was talking about this my mind wandered to what I recall as my earliest life memory and I became a little sad.

My earliest memory is when I was 3 years old. A little neighbor girl (that was a few years older) and I were playing outside when she suggested we walk to a local park to play. I thought the idea was a good one and off we went. Being 3 the idea of telling anyone did not cross my mind or at least I do not remember thinking about asking. We had fun playing on the swings and slide and after a while my friend said she was going home but I didn’t want to go so she left me there alone.

I was having a lovely time playing until my Mom arrived angry. That’s when she also began “spanking me” holding my one arm lifting me off the ground and hitting me with her free hand. Hitting hard and walking and carrying me by my arm for what I would guess would have been about a mile. Now I know as a Mom how scared she must have been when no one could find me, but I also know that at the time I did not understand what I had done. I just remember being afraid. I still remember getting back to my Grandparent’s house where we lived at the time and my granddaddy trying to step in to stop Mom from hurting me and my Mom getting angry with him too.

I still remember all of the details because they wrapped around me. They laid into my brain and became part of my identity. I was BAD. I have spent much of my life trying to reconcile the physical abuse I received as a child. I remember so many moments of abuse that I am certain that it fed my brains belief that I was not good enough. It formed a false identity that I struggle with today and every day.

It is hard to reframe who you are when your only identity of self was being less than. After years and years and years of therapy and raising three wonderful girls with my best friend /husband I have learned how true love transforms who we are. I have learned that we all do the best we can with what we have and I also have learned that sometimes the best you can do can be even better if you are willing to make the effort.

 I know that in her way my Mom did love me and at the same time I never felt that love. The memory of that identity that wrapped around me and laid into my brain is still a small piece of who I am, but the bigger part of me is the person I became on my own.  I did this by working hard to be all the good things I saw in those friends and loved ones I admired. I work hard every day to have an identity that is the real me and not the bad me I thought I was so long ago. The memory’s and sadness can linger there and every so often rear their ugly heads, but that imprint is small and will always be a reminder of why I want my identity to be the best self I can be for myself and everyone I love.  

Friday, September 23, 2016

Is This Thing On?

The last few weeks were filled with preparing my youngest daughter Avery for a semester abroad in England. There were many things to take into account. Allergy medicine, prescriptions needed for four months worth and inhalers for the same amount of time. Warm clothes, rain boats, cool clothes for the warm days, shoes, underwear, socks, makeup, computer, camera and anything else you can think of that will be enough for four months, fit into one checked bag, a carry on and a back pack. My job was making sure that every little detail was covered without my daughter raising her hand in annoyance and yelling “MOM STOP!”

Many times I would throw in my 15 cents worth of advice. Let’s face it, moms know stuff, we have lived longer, packed more and have radar for what is needed in any given situation. Just ask any one of us and we will mother you up, we’ve got this! So when a mom voices a concern perhaps a few moments should be devoted to her point. The following story is why…

Two days ago I received a text from my daughter in England and it said “The ATM, just ate my debit card. I was withdrawing money to pay my rent” My heart sank and my adrenaline started vibrating like jet fuel was filling in for blood. All I could think of was CRAP!

Back story
 a few weeks ago I had suggest to my daughter and husband that perhaps we should get my daughter a credit card in addition to her debit card in case of an emergency. I’m not a credit card kind of gal, but I do think that there are times when a little back up is necessary. ANYWAY…my husband and daughter felt like that would not be necessary, so OKAY, whatever.

In addition to this my husband is on my daughters account as a backup. Since my husband often travels for work, I suggested that perhaps I should be on her account in case something came up while my husband is gone. So I asked at the credit union when I was there with my daughter and the clerk said “Your husband is on there it should be fine” Apparently I look suspicious or something, who knows. Anyway, I mentioned it a couple more times since I am a royal pain and no one seemed concerned so I just let it go. Convincing myself I was worrying too much.

Story continues:
My girl is now stuck in England with no Debit card and no way to pay rent or even buy food once her cash runs out and my husband, YEP, you guessed it, was out of town for work! AWESOME…Before my daughter left I had told her that when something happens rather than getting upset or panicking you should say to yourself, “how can I fix this” it is way more productive and you tend to come up with a workable plan. But in the moment all I wanted to do was bang my head on the table because I had been talking and no one had listened! GAH!!

Once I snapped out of it we were able to start a plan through texts and I was able to piece together a somewhat plausible plan. Of course My husband was in a meeting (which I learned after texting him a zillion times) and I could not get a hold of him and the credit union was not about to let me poke in my daughters business because I was not on her account (GAH! Palm to face…).

So the last few days have been back and forth tweaking of a plan that we hope will get the rent paid and keep our daughter from mooching or standing on a corner with a cardboard sign.  We are going to wire money to the landlord and if he agrees a few extra dollars so that our daughter can make it until we receive a new debit card for her. Then we will have to send it on to her which will probably be at least another seven to ten days. 

 All told this will be a good two weeks of nonsense because everyone thought I was over thinking and overly cautious. Okay, maybe not everybody, I know I am being dramatic, but come on I realize that Mom’s can be worry warts but once again I have to remind you, WE KNOW STUFF!!

So, skip the “MOM STOP” comments and put your stop sign arm away and when Mom taps the mike and says “Is This Thing ON?”

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Aging Eyes

I had this weird moment a few weeks ago. I was laughing and talking and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. That single moment has been in the fore front of my mind ever since.

Every day I get up and do any number of things that include working out, showering, caring for my home, working, shopping, eating and spending time with family and friends. I don’t know about you, but I don’t really spend that much time looking at myself. That quick glance in the mirror caught me off guard because I saw this older lady looking back at me. Not elderly but definitely older.

I tend to forget that I am beyond what is generally regarded the life half way point. I carry myself like I feel which is just like I have always felt. I don’t walk slower or avoid activities. Being active and busy is who I am. But I keep thinking back to that shocking glimpse and wondering if the jig is up. Should I stop kidding myself and “act my age?”

That saying that “the eyes are the mirror to the soul” keeps replaying in my mind. Do these eyes reflect the person that I am? Are they full of life and vibrant or are they lying eyes? I think back to my Grandaddy’s sisters my Great Aunts and cannot help but remember how they would all laugh together and tell jokes and stories. There exterior showed signs of aging but their hearts and minds were filled with youthful exuberance. This makes me think that perhaps aging is the badge we begin to wear to show the world that life is to be lived. Our eyes can still sparkle even with a wrinkle or two hugging them. Our hearts still thrill at good news and break with bad and our eyes soldier on carrying the message of our souls. Perhaps those little lines are actually from the weight of all we learn as we walk through each day of our life.

I am well aware that aging is not something you can stop unless you’re dead, so I am happy to have the opportunity to have these lines of life and experience to share. The next time I catch an unexpected glimpse of myself in the mirror I will be grateful for those lines and the chance to see myself as I really am.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

An Open Letter to My Children

The three of you are now adult women. It is hard to believe that. The time worn saying “where did the time go” does not seem like a good choice, because I know exactly where it went. Every moment of every day had meaning and purpose. Raising each of you has brought me so much joy that there are not enough words to express the extent of the joy. But beyond the entire joy that child rearing offered, I too was growing up and changing and that is where this letter will take you.

First of all, as hard as it is to believe, I am a person. I make mistakes. Many times one or all of you have pointed them out to me. Each one of my mistakes taught me something, usually something valuable about myself or others. I always tried to tuck the lesson away so that I did not have to learn whatever it was again. Example: Once a dear friend asked me to write a letter of reference, one of three that she needed to be submitted so that she could get into a special program in college…I FORGOT…when she called crying to tell me she didn’t get in, I was horrified, and then I lied by NOT telling her it had been me. After I hung up, I tried so hard to convince myself it would be okay, but I knew I could never face her again if I didn’t tell her the truth. I called her back a few minutes later and told her that it had been me. My friend was understanding and showed me more compassion than I deserved. I learned that no matter how hard it is, the truth literally sets you free.

Second of all, I have feelings and I have had to learn to manage them. I had a difficult and by some standards horrific childhood. I grew up feeling unloved and unworthy. I had many people in my life that I knew loved me very much, but it was difficult for me to overcome the strong feelings of worthlessness. I had so many dreams and never felt like I had what it took to make those dreams come true. So I let them wither and die.  As I have gotten older I have learned to surround myself with people that support me. I have a strong shield of friends who support me, understand me, and care about me as I do them. I am so fortunate to have that, but it took time and trust to build that. I also needed to find ways to show myself love. I learned to try new things and step into challenges to stretch myself and give myself more confidence.  Life is full of stress and anxiety. Every day is another opportunity to win or fail and since you never know which it will be, my best advice is to jump in with both feet. Do not over think or worry about things you have no control over. Just take a deep breath and dive into the crowd, apply for the job, talk to the cute guy and LIVE. Those feelings of fear and worry and anxiety are your enemy and you can conquer them.

Finally, know you are not who you were. As a young mother I focused so much on wanting to present to the world my best maternal footwork.  I was so worried about the perception of not being good enough (pretty much a theme in my life) that I probably left some of that residue on you. You are good enough! The best part is over time you will become even better. I learned late into my mothering that just loving you and telling you are loved were the greatest gifts I could offer you. I do not think I told you enough how much love I have for each of you. Being your Mom changed my life. While I was busy raising you I grew up too. I am not the Mom that I was in the beginning, I have changed and I know that you will be able to see yourselves change over time. Be open to change, be open to trying things a different way and know you are good enough. As a matter of fact each of you has amazed me with your resilience, your courage and willingness to step out into new horizons. Keep that spirit alive in yourselves and you will never have to look back and wish something could have been different. You are not who you “were” ever because you learn and change and if you do it right you become someone YOU like and you will work to impress yourself. That is the ultimate person you want to become.

Finally, have an open and understanding heart because long ago someone with that heart helped me see what compassion, love and understanding feels like and it changed my life. Be that person that lifts others up and shows Gods love and understanding. Help heal damaged wings and broken hearts. Most of all be your wonderful selves, laugh and love and live.


Mom XxOo

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Bite Size Pieces

Image result for sandwich pictures

Last week was a dozy! I had so much going on…some of it was plans I already knew about and some of it was things I added to my week when I forgot about the plans I already had and some of it was just fun things that came up that I did not want to miss. Ugh! I felt like I was climbing a wall with noodles for arms. Every time I looked at the week ahead I would go into a mental panic. I would beat myself up and flail around in my brain. I was only making it worse than it already was.

As the week cracked open I knew there was no turning back and I found myself searching for a way to make it through the week without losing the few marbles I have left. I sat myself down and took some time (limited time) to think it all through. I decided that rather than panic it would be better to just accept that I was over booked and since I had made the bed I was lying in I should at least enjoy it. That is when I hit on the idea of looking at each day separately. Rather than facing the week like a life sentence I would look at each day as a separate bite.

I thought of it as a life sandwich. I would never shove a whole sandwich in my mouth, so why would I shove a whole week in my brain at one time. Each day I would spend the day mentally focused on that day. I chose not to complain or share my overload with others (well, except the few times I would mention something to my husband, than say out loud that I needed to just take one bite at a time. I know, lucky guy, right?) But quite honestly my crazy idea worked. I faced each day as its own bite and let the rest of the weeks sandwich stay wrapped for freshness.

I ended the week tired, but I had actually enjoyed each day and did not feel stuffed or overwhelmed by the week’s many layers. I learned that life is sometimes busy and overwhelming but it can be enjoyed one day at a time. In bite size pieces, of course!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Tree

Image result for family treeA few weeks ago I decided to go exploring. If you have read much of my blog, you are very aware that my childhood was a hot mess; honestly, “hot mess” is pretty mild. Anyway, I decided to join a website that helps you build your family tree hoping I would learn more about my birth father whom I have never met. When I was 11 months old my Mom and birth father got a divorce. My Mom moved home with my maternal grandparents and that was that. No visitation from the birth father and no child support. Just my Mom and I making a very rocky go of it.

I had in my mind that I wanted to learn about the people on the paternal side of my tree. I don’t have any plans to call or visit anyone; I just wanted to see how that side of the family tree fleshed out. Learning about the other half of me has never been something I particularly cared about, but lately I have been curious. Other than a few wedding photos that I have of my parents I literally know nothing other than the information tainted with anger and disappointment that my Mom had shared with me.

Without information about your father you cannot say what medical cards are on the table for your other side. You read through medical forms and shrug because you have no clue what lies ahead for you based on the paternal family history. The lack of information is in some ways easier because I cannot worry or obsess about things I know nothing about. Thanks to pictures I have found from my parents wedding, I know that my height and my nose come from my father’s side. I have long legs and a big nose and no one to thank…

I started my tree with the names of my parents. Every so often there would be a little hint from the website that I would pursue and find someone new to add to my tree. I would poke around for a little while each day and then take a break. Each time I went back to the website, there would be another little hint or two or three.

The trouble is that my tree is flourishing on the side that I already know the most about, my maternal side. My paternal side is barely worth calling a branch let alone a tree. I have poked and dug around the roots of the paternal side but nothing seems to be happening there. I find myself looking at the website everyday hoping for a new hint, something, anything, which clears the way to a blooming paternal tree.

Look it’s not like I am walking around with only one functioning side of my body, I know that. It is just that I wanted a little peek into the other people that influenced my being. I had hoped to read about my paternal grandmother. I know that my grandmother came to see me a couple of times but my Mom would not let here in the house because my birth father was not paying the child support that he was instructed to pay by the courts. On one hand I understand my Mom making this line in the sand with my father, but my Grandma? I guess sometimes you flex the power you think you have in hopes of a result. In this case there was no result except that that side of my tree has shriveled away.

I find myself feeling like I have lost something even though there was never really anything there. I hoped I would stumble across a nugget of history that I could hold on to. Just a little pebble from the path I came from…but, for now that is not possible.

I have another month with this family tree service and I plan to use it. It is just hard not to get frustrated, disappointed and sad when you are climbing a tree looking for family fruit and you’re barely two feet off the ground with no hope of going any higher or even grabbing one piece of fruit. I am not going to lie though; I have a really hard time understanding how my birth father or anyone really can just turn their backs on their own children and never look back. When you think about it, this really doesn’t bode well for their character. It also makes for a disappointing and unhealthy family tree.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Release Your Story

It was 46 some odd years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. Every detail is still firmly seeded in my brain. It is something that you never forget but never think about until you hear someone else’s story. I was molested. I was 10 years old and entrusted to the care of my Mom’s boyfriend for one night, the next day her girlfriend would be by to take me to her house. Mom had to go out of town to help care for my aunt who had become very ill and she made quick decisions and left.

I remember the feeling of being left, how alone I felt and when this boyfriend came to comfort me I was immediately uncomfortable. I knew in my young heart that something wasn’t right, but I was alone and I didn’t know what to do. I honestly let myself believe that what happened was nothing. When my Mom’s girlfriend came to have me stay with her until Mom would come home, I let my young brain put a band aid on this wound and tucked the molestation away. I felt I had done something wrong and I didn’t want to get in trouble. So now I was alone and guilty.

This boyfriend eventually broke up with my mom because of me. He told her I was out of control, I had problems and it was just too much for him to take. After he left, my Mom yelled at me and told me what he had said to her and how her sadness was because of me. I remember being hurt and sad because I was still alone with this truth inside me that I felt I couldn’t tell because this would be my fault too.

The problem with the band aid I had applied to my brain was it would slip off now and then. The memory would come up and I would indict myself and shrink back to that little lonely girl. I know that that molestation changed me. I went from trusting and being happy to being angry and lashing out. I was longing for love but afraid to let anyone close.

Once when I was 19 years old I was driving me and my Mom home from an outing. She spotted that old boyfriend on the side of the road with car trouble. She asked me to stop and I told her “NO”, and then I told her why…she didn’t believe me. That was when I knew It was not me that had the problem, that’s when I knew I really was alone and I was the only one that could keep me safe.

I have spent many years going to therapy and counseling working hard to work my way through that young life. It takes time, lots and lots of time and you still can never erase the moment that changed your life. All you can do is decide that what defines you is better than that one moment. I reach out to that lonely little girl as much as I can. I do silly things and try to laugh and live life to its fullest every single day. I had to rip the band aid off to heal. I couldn’t keep pretending to protect others while I let myself suffer.

All it took was a friend talking about girls that are in difficult situations and what she was hoping to do to help them and protect them so that nothing happens to them. That conversation brought back that day long long ago. This time though I decided it was better to tell you about it than turn it back on myself. There are more victims of molestation and rape out there than we know. I think that is because we put that mental band aid on and hope that it protects us from remembering. Eventually you have to talk about it. Release your story into the capable hands of a counselor or therapist and grab your life back. It is great revenge to live your life fully.