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My Life is a Hallmark Story

Do you ever sit around and watch Hallmark movies and think to yourself, “Why can’t it be like that for me?” I mean, it’s just a movie right, not reality.

Well, what if I told you that your life is whatever you make it. You can make your life a Hallmark movie. The first step is easy. Just appreciate everything around you.

It’s ok to expect a little more every now and then, but when you love what you have and are humbled by what the Lord has blessed you with, your life will easily become like a Hallmark movie.

You see, what those movies don’t always show is the work and struggle to have the life of your dreams. They only show you the easy part.

My husband and I have been married for 10 years and together for 13. We have had our ups and downs for sure, but we still try our best for each other. Everything we have, we built together and grew together.

We have 2 beautiful children who fuss and fight, but are also loving and kind. We struggle financially at times, but we always make it through together. My vehicle has broke down more times than I can tell you, and my husband always figures out a way to come to my rescue.

My everyday is a constant go, go, go, taking care of kids, cleaning, serving, and the list goes on. Even though I complain at times, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

My husband and I barely get alone time, so we stay up late after the kids go to bed to watch our favorite shows and talk about our day and well just anything. In return it causes him to oversleep sometimes, but he doesn’t mind.

We don’t live in a big house, sure as hell don’t drive new vehicles, and we don’t have the “fancy things”. But we are not materialistic like that so it doesn’t bother us at all. We have a lot of love and  a lot of fun and that’s what we care about.

You see, this is my Hallmark story. It might not be ideal to all, but I sure as hell love it. I am one lucky woman. I married my best friend and we are living our best life together. We fight together, struggle together, and win together. We have built an amazing family and an amazing life together and we will continue to grow together.

So, just because your life isn’t as “ideal” as a Hallmark movie, love the hell out of it and make it your own. You are responsible for your own happiness, not Hallmark.  

That Place

I wrote this song about six months ago. Of course, I am biased and love it so I wanted to share. I was sitting on my back porch one afternoon playing around on my guitar working on another song, and the lyrics to this one came to me.

The song is inspired by a town that I once lived in. I lived there for quite some time actually. I have some great memories there, but I also have some horrid ones. I was pretty much a good kid growing up, but lost myself for a little bit and got into trouble.

Once I finally left this town, I haven’t really went back. I went back once to finish packing, and once more to visit an old friend. That’s it. I left that place behind me and haven’t looked back.

I hope you enjoy. The lyrics are also available for licensing on Songbay. (link available on homepage)

School During COVID Times

As many parents know, the beginning of the school year for younger children can be a stressful time. Not only are your children not ready to leave home after summer break, or should I say Spring/Summer break, and get emotional, as parents we are stressed by their emotions and our own emotions.

The same goes every year, but this year being the hardest. We are trying to decide what is best when it comes to sending our precious babies back to school during the Covid times.

Do we face the uncertainties and send them face to face, or do the same by virtual learning? Will they be traumatized by going back to school with all the changes or will they struggle trying to learn virtually? Some parents have to send them back due to not having access to online learning or not being home to help, while others prefer just to keep them home to be on the safe side. Some kids do better in a classroom setting than trying to learn on their own on a computer. Some kids do great not working in a classroom setting. Either way we choose, parents are then face with the backlash from others by doing something completely different, because others don’t understand or agree with your decisions.

At first, I confidently made my decision to send mine back.  Of course, I worry about Covid, but I know the schools will take extra precautions to making sure our children are safe and well. After all, they do so every other school year with any other sickness that goes around. My biggest concern with face to face though, is the change in the school environment. If my children were older, I wouldn’t worry so much. But mine are younger. They will be going into 1st and 4th grade.

Maybe if they got to finish out their Kindergarten and 3rd grade year, I wouldn’t be as worried. But, when my son was in Primary, I walked him to class every morning because it helped him feel confident. Once he got to Elementary, he was a big boy and didn’t need my comfort in the school hallways anymore. I intended to do the same for my daughter for as long as she needed me. (Not passed primary school might I add)

But, that all changed this year. In the Primary School, only Pre-K and Kindergarten will be able to be walked to class, but only for the first week. At least the Primary School will have an open house, unlike my son, who is going to 4th grade which is Elementary School. Once I found out he wasn’t going to have an open house, my emotions set in. What if he doesn’t find his class? He is always too shy to ask for help? He won’t even know what his teacher looks like until his first day.

Then, I thought of my daughter, questioning the same things. What if she gets confused walking in? She didn’t even get to finish out Kindergarten. What if she goes down the wrong hall, gets overwhelmed, lost and confused? She gets embarrassed easy, what if someone laughs at her? It didn’t help that I had just recently had a dream of her getting lost at school, and my heart broke.

As parents, we harbor all of these emotions for our children, well, I do any way. I remember how I felt when I was their ages at school, nervous and scared. I just want to be there to take it all away from them and make them feel better.

But unfortunately, I can’t. Even when they get older and go on their first job interview, I can’t be there to take away the anxiety and fear. They have to learn how to overcome it on their own. I will probably be the one who is most upset on the first day to be honest, but I will hold it together. How did I learn to hold it together? Well, it all started when I was young experiencing the same things they have to experience. 

Of course, their experience will be different than mine. Their school year is about to change completely. They will have different rules and regulations than they are use to. Teachers will be wearing facemasks so the kids won’t be comforted by smiling faces. They will have to have their temperatures taken upon entering the school and randomly throughout the days. Recess and gym time will be different and parents won’t be able to come into the schools.

 But, I know they will overcome it. My husband and I discussed that if it becomes too much for them, then I will take them out and home school. But I don’t think we will have a problem. I think the biggest problem though will be me over thinking everything as I always do.

Making decisions this school year is unlike any other school year. It is going to be hard, but we have to do what we as parents think is right for our children. Not what others think is right. My personal decision to send mine back is based on them needing the structure. I think they need the classroom setting and interaction with other students. I think they need to be able to handle authority from other adults.

Not that my children need it, they are honestly very well behaved kids (that’s not just coming from me, but their teachers and others as well). Even though I have contemplated the idea of homeschooling over the past couple of years, mainly so I would have more time with them and we could travel and take vacations more, but I didn’t for the sole purpose of the experience and making memories. School years are crucial in this age frame.

So, for me, I will be sending my kids back to school. For now that is. If it starts getting too crazy or if it’s too overwhelming, I will pull them out and home school in a heartbeat. But, that’s my decision and I will not judge another parent’s decision for their choice in the matter. Do what’s best for your kids. But know, it will be hard, but don’t beat yourself up on doing what you think is right for your child.

As parents, we always second guess our decisions on what’s best for our children. But, just pray on it, and do for your child that you know best.    

God Bless and I hope all have a great school year!

Be Mighty

I woke up late this morning with a massive headache.  As I sat on my porch swing drinking my coffee, I silently scolded myself because I was behind on my morning routines. Here it was already 9 O’clock, I should have already completed my workout, made breakfast, etc.

As I sat there, sipping my coffee, I was thinking of all the things I needed to get done today and felt overwhelmed because I hadn’t even started yet. Suddenly a breeze came through and I heard a whisper in my ear. The whisper was, just because you started late doesn’t mean you won’t end mighty.

I smiled and felt a since of relief.

How true is that with anything. Whether it’s getting your day started, getting into shape, heck even chasing your dreams. Just because you started late doesn’t mean you won’t end mighty. At least your getting started period right?

With that bit of motivation, I jumped up and knocked out my workout, then continued to get my day started. Who cares if it was started late. My kids even enjoyed getting to lay around for a bit before having to get up and get moving.

So, don’t let getting behind stop you. It’s better late than never.

Just because you start late, doesn’t mean you won’t end mighty!

FEAR

FEAR! As we see on motivational posters or blogs, fear can mean two different things. Fear everything and run or Face everything and rise.

I choose to face everything and rise. It’s so easy to be consumed with fear and just sit this one out. But, one thing I have realized, fear is the devil trying not to let you win.

I am a songwriter and of course a blogger. I submitted a song to a publisher sometime back. I was confident about the song and I of course absolutely love the song, but not being a known songwriter, I really didn’t think it would turn a head. It would probably just get pushed to the back of the shelf to collect dust.

Well, to my surprise out of the blue, I received and email from a publisher. You can only imagine my excitement. I have been working towards this opportunity for a long time and it was finally happening. The publisher loved my song and wanted to rerecord it so it would have a great quality soumd to pitch to artists.

Once the song came back, I listened to it and loved the way it sounded. But, then here comes the devil in the back of my mind, why would anyone want to buy this song? You wrote it, it’s sounds so amateur, no one’s going to pick it for an album.

I started feeling so much doubt that I was embarrassed that famous artists were going to be listening to it.

I had to tell the devil to shove it, because if it wasn’t any good why would a publisher want to spend so much time with it.

Any who, after a few other email exchanges I was told my song was being sent to the pitching team. I was excited and asked if there was anything else I needed to do. I was told no, unless I had another song I wanted to send.

AAAHHHH WHAT! I was excited, but then quickly sunk into fear. What if I send my websites my lyrics are on and they laugh at what I write or how I play. You know, all the negative thoughts that would keep anyone from moving forward. Definitely something so vulnerable as song lyrics.

I put it off for a few days. Then I said to myself JUMP! A phrase I read from the great book “JUMP” written by Steve Harvey. What’s the worst that could happen? They say no or they say, well these lyrics aren’t what we are looking for.

But what’s the best that could happen. They could love my lyrics and I finally start achieving my dreams and build a relationship with a known publisher.

You see, I almost let fear stop me from chasing my dreams. I almost just halted everything I worked hard for, all because of fear.

The fear of failure, the fear of embarrassment, and honestly a small part of fear of success.

When you fear a step forward in following your dreams, it’s because the devil doesn’t want you to move forward. He doesn’t want you succeeding in God’s will and plan for you.

So the next time you fear the next step, let the devil fall down the slope as you jump towards your next step. What’s the worst that could happen.

(By the way, if you haven’t read “Jump” by Steve Harvey I highly recommend it. You won’t regret it.)

It’s Ok

It’s ok to take time for yourself. 

It’s ok to not play with your kids every second of the day.

It’s ok to let them play by themselves or with each other while you take some time for yourself.

I always feel so guilty if my kids are doing their own thing and I’m not involved. I always tend to feel like I’m supposed to be playing and entertaining all day long because, well you know, they grow so fast and I don’t want to miss anything with their childhood.

But then, I tend to feel overwhelmed and aggravated because I never have a second to myself. I feel  I am always serving and tending to everyone and everything. Then I feel selfish and ungrateful for feeling that way. It’s a never ending cycle.

Today, I came outside to clean out the pool. The kids elected to stay inside for a bit because it was so hot. Then, they made their way outside to the trampoline. As they were jumping, I decided to pull out my layout chair and catch a few rays. The kids decided they were hot and went inside. I followed to make sure they didn’t need anything and they continued playing. They were getting along and having a lots of fun, so I went back outside.

As I laid in my chair, I felt relaxed and peaceful. Then it hit me, it’s ok to do this. It’s ok to give yourself a break.

As a momma, I shouldn’t have to feel guilty for caring for myself and giving myself time. After all, how can I give my all when I don’t give myself a break.

Take it easy momma’s, relax and take some time for you.

I Prayed

I prayed for a way to quit playing on my phone so much because it’s too easy to get distracted and trapped into it. A couple days later, lightning struck close to my house and messed my internet up. It hasn’t been the same since.

I prayed to be able to spend more time with my horses. My kids weren’t so much into hanging out in the pasture, so it was hard to get out there as often as I liked. Out of the blue, my kids love being in the pasture, and sometimes I want a break from it.

My husband and I took the kids to town to play tennis and to rollerblade around a pond. I prayed that we wouldn’t get overheated. While we were eating it rained and cooled down some.

I prayed to be more adventurous and to do more spontaneous things with the kids. I get stuck in a rut of chores and habits often. I later received a last minute call about going to the lake for the day. 

I have prayed a lot. Sometimes my prayers are answered right then, sometimes I have to wait, and sometimes not at all. There are times when I don’t realize my prayers have been answered because of the way they were answered, but when I sat down and thought about it, I realized differently.

The Lord listens and he answers. It might not be in the way we expect or in the time frame you want it, but he is listening. Whenever you have something on your mind, or you need help, even if it’s just to talk, never underestimate the power of the Lord or question him. He knows what’s best and he knows what he’s doing. Just pray about it.

Leave the fort up

This is the Mega Fort my husband put up for the kids. As you can see, it covers just about my whole living room. Then of course my daughter and niece filled it up with pals (aka stuffed animals) and toys. My son built a wall in the middle to separate his side from theirs. They also had supplies such as drinks and snacks to prepare them for the 24 hour challenge. The 24 hour challenge means they can’t leave the fort for 24 hours, the only exception is going to the bathroom. They never make the full 24 hours, they normally pause the game for a while, then go back and pick up where they left off.

The first day of the Mega Fort, I’m normally pretty chill about it. The kids are having fun playing while staying out of my hair. But then, by the 2nd day, I am ready to take it down. My OCD kicks in and I am ready to get all the toys off the floor and open the living room back up.

This morning I got up while everyone was still passed out sleeping peacefully. I went out on the porch to drink my coffee, then came back in to start the dishes. I looked into the living room and see this and thought to myself, wow we’ve got to get this cleaned up. The overwhelming feeling of my cluttered house started to get to me.

After working out and getting a shower, I walked out to the kitchen to make breakfast. The girls were giggling and rolling around amongst the pals. My son was building Lego’s and throwing bombs over the wall at the girls. The TV was shut off and they were having good ole fashion childhood fun.

I thought to myself, just leave the fort up. Overlook the clutter, it will be fine. They are enjoying being children and one day their childhood will be over. Let them make the memories, let them play. From now on, I will try not to let my OCD get into the way of my children’s childhood. The fort will stay for as long as they would like….. Well until I need to vacuum.

10 Years

As I am laying out in the yard by our above ground swimming pool listening to the kids jumping on the trampoline, then running back to splash in the pool, I begin to remember a time 10 years ago.

The time when my husband and I first moved into our house. A time before we had grass, before our back porch, heck even before the kids were born.

We sat in our back yard on towels beside a plastic kiddie pool, surrounded by dirt, listening to an old cd player, while sipping on some cold ones. We had just planted our yard with grass seed so there was only dirt, everywhere. We would sit there every afternoon, dreaming of what was to come. We were making plans.

Once our grass grew, we only had a push mower and a big yard. No shade what so ever to hang out in. Our washer and dryer was banged up and worked as good as we needed them to. There was also a lot of work to make the pasture ready for my horses to join us. It was just the beginning of our journey.

About 2 months later, we found out we were expecting. Then slowly, our spare room turned into a nursery, the grass was luscious, the pasture was coming along. Then our family grew once more. Our house became fuller and the carpets became stained. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Wow, how much has changed over time. That old cd player is now in the shop (which also came over time). We have a back porch with a TV on it, that’s how we listen to our music now. We even upgraded to an above the ground pool.

We’ve been through a lot of struggles, a lot of ups and downs, and some rocky roads. We’ve had good times and bad times. But best of all, we built a life together, an amazing one at that.

It’s fun looking back on those times. Who would have known, 10 years ago, our young butts sitting on those towels only dreaming, never knowing how far we would go. But here we are 10 years later. Things might not have turned out quite how we planned, but they turned out even better. I can only imagine what the next 10 years will bring.

Kids can be Kids

Other parents: I’m so sad during this pandemic because my kids are missing out on so much. They don’t get to see their friends or go and enjoy their normal activities.

Me: I see it quite differently. My kids are able to be kids again. Use their imaginations and play. They get to hang out with mommy and daddy more. They’re not worn out from every day stresses. No more long school days, no more tiring late practices in the afternoons after homework, and no more screen time.

Don’t get me wrong school, sports, and screen time to unwind is great. But, our kids, especially young ones are so consumed with it that they forget what its like to be a kid.

It’s sad that 9-10 year olds are more concerned with screen time than putting a puzzle or legos together. Why actually put one together when you can watch someone on youtube do it?

My kids have always loved putting legos and puzzles together, but never have the time. When the weekends roll around, they would rather kick back on the couch and watch screens than spend time with the family, or doing something creative.

Through this pandemic, screens went down and the fun began. The legos came back out, the puzzles came back out, the toys came back out, and best of all their imaginations came back out.

They are riding their bikes again, pretending again, and being a kid again.

Life goes by too fast. Before we know it, their childhood is gone. So, instead of being upset on what they are “missing out” on, be thankful for what they are gaining and getting back.

They are getting back what it’s like to just be a kid. To get dirty, to have fun, to be outside from sun up to sun down, they are getting so much more back than they are missing out on.

I’ve always wanted my kids to have the childhood I had, now they get it. I think they are enjoying it more than ever.

Yes they will fight and we will all get tired of each other here and there, but this is the life.

So don’t let this opportunity pass them by. Let them have fun and heck, have fun with them. As parents, we don’t always get this chance to become kids again or even have time to play with our kids, but now we do.

Teach them the games you use to play to pass time and let them teach you their games. Have some story time and play school.

Don’t be upset because they can’t play with friends, go to the park, go to the beach, or that ball season has been postponed. Be happy that life has slowed down and…. you guessed it….. your kids can be kids!