Tyisms | Jesus Loves Us


Ty just preached the perfect little sermon to me about how Jesus loves us SO much, and that he loves everyone no matter how bad they are and that Jesus wants everyone to know how much He loves us all so we have to go tell everyone.

Best.feeling.ever!

Quoticisms | Mama


Mama [mah-muh]
-noun
1. the most over-used word in the English language.
2. the first word in every sentence spoken by children ages 2-17.

-Ashley B. Harris

Tyisms | Chopped Suey


Ty (from in the bathtub): I love you Daddy!
(who didn't hear him because he's playing a video game)
Me:  What am I, chopped suey?!
Ty:  Uhhhh....maybe.
(silence)
Ty:  I love you, too, Mama.

Tyisms | I'll Tell Daddy


Ty, on making Christmas Cookies:  "Mama, you just tell me what all we need and I'll tell Daddy to get out of the kitchen."

My Baby Daddy


Lots has been going on these days.

Christmas decorations and preparations.  Parties and get-togethers.

The unfortunate passing of a family member.

The anniversary of another loved one's passing.

Life has been busy and happy and sad all at once.

But today, while we can, let's focus on the happy.

Today, while there's time, let's talk about the joyful.

Because this week, for the first time ever (legally, at least), my son has a daddy.

It's been a work in progress for many months that we started discussing when we started discussing "Someday".

And when we got engaged and "Someday" began to look like "Someday soon", we put the wheels in motion, getting biological paternal rights signed away this summer so that there would be no obstacles for the adoption.

Thankfully I still consider that person somewhat of a friend, so he did the only thing I've asked of him in the 6 years since I found out I was pregnant with Ty.

And after that, all we had to do was get married!

And that's one of the first things my wonderful husband wanted to do after we got home.

We hadn't even made it back from our honeymoon when he brought up the adoption and let me know that he wanted to start it and hopefully have it finalized by Christmas.

And many thanks to our attorney, Paul Lindsey, who was able to do just that!

Because on Wednesday, it was final!  The man that Ty's been calling Daddy for six months now is finally, legally, and completely my little boy's Daddy.

Merry Christmas to you all!  We've already been given the best present we could ask for!

Tyisms | Hundred Dollar Bill


We were talking about loose teeth on the way to school today and Ty asks me to inform the Tooth Fairy that he wants a hundred-dollar bill next time.

Quoticisms | Athiests


Love Shannon Curry-Davis's letter to the editor on Atheists and Christmas!

"Atheists aren't enemies of the church.  Atheists are the reason the churches are built.  Who knew about Jesus Christ before someone told them?

Quoticisms | Without a Brain


"How can you talk if you haven't got a brain?"
"I don't know, but some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don't they?"

-The Wizard of Oz

Tyisms | L-O-F


Ty:  What does "o-f" spell?
Me:  O-f spells "of".
Ty (after a moment of thought):  So L-o-f spells Love?

Be Careful Little Mouth


I was going through some incomplete blogs on here and weeding out ones that I needed to get rid of when I found one that I'd started two months ago after being in a public place with a woman who loudly complained and griped into her cell phone--unaware of who was around her that may or may not know her--where the entire store could hear her discussing her personal situation and verbal attacks against whomever she was speaking with.

She repeatedly spewed venomous comments and toxic remarks to whoever she was talking to about how terrible this other person was for something that seemed, to me, a minor offense, if any offense at all.

For the 10 minutes that I was in that store, that is all that this lady (loudly) did on her cell phone.

And I found that, though I didn't know her at all, I thought very low of this woman for her behavior and her lack of discretion in airing her personal affairs to an entire store without second thought to what she was saying or who all might overhear her in this very public place.


And then it made me think of how much we all say without thinking of it.

How we assume that our personal conversations on our cell phones are private and just between us and the other party, while we speak aloud in public about whatever we choose.

And then my mind took a slight detour from that train of thought to the simple thought of words and their power.

And I started writing, but I never posted it because it seems that every day there's a situation where someone--anyone--uses words unwisely and I didn't want anyone to feel that I was talking about them or referring to them.

So I censored myself.

Which I hate doing.

I should be able to be me--completely and 100% me.

But I did it nonetheless because I didn't want hurt feelings or insult arising where none was meant. It was simply an incident that made me revisit a topic that I've learned to feel very differently about. But if I wait for a day where no one’s said anything that they’ll ever regret…well then, when do we discuss our words if there’s never a time when it won’t hit home with someone?

Words are powerful, detrimental, and destructive.

If they're used improperly, that is.

They're also uplifting, guiding, and healing if they're used right.

The thing that they always are--no matter how you use them--is irreversible.

Seven years ago my Daddy said it best in a way that truly shows the power of your words.

He likened words to a bullet.

When you pull the trigger on a gun you're letting a destructive force loose.

The instant that trigger is pulled you can't take it back.

You can't stop that bullet before it finds its target.

You can't change the damage that it causes.

Bullets wound.

They tear, they destroy, they sometimes kill.

Do you not think words aren't just as destructive?

Sure, no one's ever been talked to death but haven't you ever heard a word or a sentence or a phrase--even a lack of words--that hurt you more than any physical punch could?

What you say you can't take back. You can try. You can apologize. You can cry and beg for forgiveness. And sooner or later, the bullet wound will heal and it will leave a scar. And sooner or later, if you're lucky, your words will be forgotten, but that feeling of pain that they caused--that feeling of insecurity or heartache or disappointment--that one takes longer to vanish. That one takes longer to heal.

Because it's easy to forget words. Words are so quick and fleeting and the second they're said they're gone. Which is why we don't give them as much thought as we should. Words vanish the second they leave the tongue and often-times the only one that remembers them doesn’t include the one that spoke them.

But the feelings they cause don't vanish so quickly. If ever.

Why is it that we, as adults, teach our kids to mind their manners, mind their words, and mind their business but then we, ourselves, turn around and ignore these basic rules of socializing.

We forget the Golden Rules.

"Do unto others as you would have others do unto you".

In other words, I have no right to speak to someone in a way that I would not tolerate them speaking to me. And vice versa. I will not tolerate someone speaking to me in a way that I would never dream of speaking to them.

Or for anyone who grew up with a sibling, you rolled your eyes many times at this one, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all".

My how quiet we'd be if we remembered that one throughout our adult lives!

If we only lived the words and instructions we feed to our children.

If only we lived that precious little song that we teach our kids but never consider ourselves.

"Be careful little mouth what you say!"

There's Only Grace


I'm a faithful listener to KLove, however, my time away on our honeymoon left me feeling like I hadn't listened to KLove in forever.

When I turned my favorite station back on there were so many new songs that I hadn't heard before we'd gotten married.  My two favorite right now are "You Are More" by Tenth Avenue North and "Only Grace" by Matthew West.

And how cleansing that they came out when they did.

Because both songs are about God's forgiveness and our ability to step past our old selves--through Christ--and into a new life free from our old sins.

Because I've felt, for years, that though I've been personally forgiven by God, my sins had still not been forgiven by so many--including myself.

My pregnancy and early years as a single mother were both laced with so much gossip and judgment from others that it was hard not to feel like it would be a permanent part of my life.

There was a lot of talk around my town--initially--about my pregnancy because I never publicly disclosed who my son's father was.  For the people who knew me and loved me, they really didn't care.  It didn't change their feelings for me.

People who didn't know me and really didn't care about me, though, were quite the opposite.  I had people stop me in public places and work themselves around to that one particular question.  And when they didn't get the information they wanted, some of them got very self-righteous about it.  A few of them even insisting it was their right to know, as if I were public property.

So it's been hard to completely separate myself from those feelings that I repeatedly felt for so long.  It's been difficult to feel completely and 100% accepted.  And it's sometimes been a struggle to remind myself that my sins are between me and my God.  Unless I've sinned against a person in particular, I don't feel like I should have to worry about when they'll forgive me for a sin that really was none of their business in the first place.

So when these songs started getting played on the air, it was cleansing.

From the chorus of "You are More";


You are more than the choices that you've made
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes, 
You are more than the problems you create, 
You've been remade.


To Matthew West's "Only Grace", which really reached inside of me in a very personal way;


There is no guilt here
There is no shame
No pointing fingers
There is no blame.
What happened yesterday has disappeared
The dirt has washed away 
And now it's clear

There's only grace
There's only love
There's only mercy, and beleive me it's enough.
Your sins are gone
Without a trace
And there's nothing left now
There's only grace.

Quoticisms | Four Things


Four things you can't recover:
  The stone...after the throw,
  The word...after it's said,
  The occasion...after it's missed,
  The time...after it's gone.

Multiple Personalities


Who knew that changing a name could be so complicated?

You just assume that when you're told that it's just a matter of changing it with the Social Security Administration and then notifying everyone you owe money to or handle money with that maybe it's as simple as it sounds.

And it would be if I weren't changing my middle name.

But that pesky middle name keeps confounding EVERYONE!

So for now, I have three different identities.

The one that I was born with.

The one that I'm changing to.

And the in-between one that pretty much everyone but Facebook and Capital One have me listed as.

Who knew a simple change could be so much work!

Chasing Rabbits


After four years as a single mom, my time on my own made me want and expect certain things in a guy.

Kindness being among the top of them.

Kindness in how he treated me and kindness for how he treated my child.  Which is why I never really had a "waiting period" before I let a guy meet Ty.  It was more or less part of the screening process in seeing which direction a guy would go from the "Potential List".

When Jason and I started talking the first time, in January of 2009, I spoke freely of Ty in our conversations and no hindrances were put up on his part.  When March rolled around and things were no more between us, it wasn't anything to do with Ty or conflicts between us or whatnot.  It wasn't the right thing at the right time.

Simple enough.

Sometimes life works that way.

No one ever really has a perfect love story.  But I love ours nonetheless.

In July, when we picked back up in talking to each other, we were both reserved...not sure where this was going or even where we wanted it to go.

But the Butterflies were there.

My goodness were the Butterflies there!

And they brought along their friends Giddiness, Excitement, and Guarded Reservation.

And I spent an equal amount of time with all four.

Every time my phone went off with a text message Butterflies, Giddiness and Excitement rushed over to see what he was saying while Guarded Reservation stood nearby with his hand on Ty's shoulder.

Jason was so perfectly what I needed in every way that the only thing holding me back was how he would connect with Ty.  On one hand, I wanted to introduce him to Ty, see how he'd do and write him off from there....because I just knew that it would be my luck that--though he seemed like the guy who would really try--I just didn't expect them to click.  Such was my luck and I was preparing myself for the disappointment that I'd come to expect over the previous few years.

Nothing could be truly perfect, right?

Except when everything is right.  It's really, really right.

And though I waited several months before we planned a day together, the three of us.  When the time came there was that introductory moment where Ty's unsure and shy and trying to hide behind me, but Jason drew him out and the little boy in him came out to play with the little boy of mine.

And it was sealed from there.

There was no turning back for me.

We spent the day together playing mini-golf and riding go-carts and going up on the mountain and we had such a wonderful time together.  And it was exactly what I needed and more.

So much more.

Because the very next day we were faced with our first trial.  And a big one.

Though, thankfully, one that was by no fault of our own.  Thankfully the guilty party was one that played no role in our relationship at all.  

And we overcame it.  We came out of it with a new understanding of where we were going in our relationship and the level of commitment we were each bringing into it. 

Each and every step along the way has been just like that.

Every obstacle has been a step up to a bigger and better level in our relationship.

The few hard moments we've had have been instances that have refined us, that have made us better, and that prepare us for the next difficulties we'll face together.

Tyisms | Crows


Ty:  "A crow!  He's looking to steal something."

Wonder where he got this bias against crows!

In the beginning....


In the beginning there was one.

Me.

And I was blissfully ignorant in the common stupidity of youth.

And then, surprise!!  There was two!

Me and Ty.

And Mama had to grow up.

At least a little.

Cause what's the fun of having a kid if you can't still occasionally act like one, too?

Days came and went and it was only ever us two.

And we had fun and we did just fine on our own.

Except Mama would get lonely sometimes.

And disappointed.

Because the only guys she ever met or talked to weren't the kinds of guys that she could see herself happy with.

Much less sharing her life and her son with.

So more time went by.

And by....

And by....

And by....

And she started to think that pigs would fly before she ever met a man she could share her heart and soul and life with.

Not to mention her son.

To pass all her spare time that she gained by not having a social life, she spent her evenings with her family or her boy or wasting her life away on the Internet.

Which she has now fully and completely discovered thanks to StumbleUpon, but that's another story for another time.

While "stumbling", one night she came across a pretty, sparkly and shiny webpage and, like a raccoon, she was drawn in.  She started clicking through pages until she was brought to this one page at this one moment and this one thought clicked into her mind, as if it were all meant to be.

"I'm wearing that ring down the aisle on my wedding day, because when I find a man worth marrying pigs will have flown!"

Thus my love for Fern began.

A year or two later this blog began.

I toyed with different title ideas.  I'd gone through various phases on my private blog and MySpace blog.  I went from being Lost In Thought to a Small Town Celebrity and feeling Once Bitten, Twice Shy.  But it was time to move on from my jaded and bitter phases.  It was time to be more optimistic and hopeful.

Cause even if pigs never flew, I could still have a Happily Ever Now, right?

So I took the idea of the adorable pig ring and the thought of pigs flying and decided that I'd have my Fairy Tale, whether it met Disney's standards or not.

And it didn't.

Cause I prefer to break the mold.

Like I said, there's no fun in perfection.

It's when things get messy and silly that you really start to have the best fun.

So I chose what some people call "fantasy".  The idea that great and wonderful things can happen in spite of horrendous odds and the good guy gets what they deserve...as well as the bad guys.

I chose to believe in Happily Ever After.

I chose to be a little girl again and believe in Fairy Tales.

And thus began my journey to from the tower that imprisoned me to the arms of my handsome and wonderful Knight in Shining Armor.


For More on my story with Fern, check out these previous blogs:
Up In The Air
Pigs With Wings
This Little Piggy Came Home

Crazy Little Thing Called Love


Let the wedding blogs begin!

Whew!

We're finally home and still nowhere near settled or unpacked or put away but we'll get around to that.  Life's meant to be enjoyed so we're fitting in the things we enjoy and dealing with the things we don't (like laundry, dishes, and housework) as we need to.

So, of course the only place to start these blogs is at the beginning.


Alllllll the way back to the beginning!

The good, the bad, and the funny.

Because that's what life is.  It's a mess and it's unpredictable and sometimes it's grand and wonderful and sometimes it's the disappointing and bitter difficulties that make those grand and wonderful times all the more majestic when you get the opportunity to savor them.

Life's not perfect.  If it were, I wouldn't have my little prince, Ty, that I love and enjoy so much.  And I wouldn't have my perfect Knight, Jason, that's everything I ever wanted.  Because a perfect life wouldn't have 'uh-ohs' or second chances.  A perfect life would be unequivocally and over-predictably oh-so.....boring.

So, from the top!  My not-so-"perfect" love stories (one for each half of my heart) that brought me to my absolutely perfect-for-me Happy Ending!

Stay tuned, the series will begin--by request--with Fern and how the pigasus became my self-proclaimed trademark for my adventure from life as a single mom to our adventure through dating and in to our new excitement in becoming a happy and wonderfully complete little family.

Today


I will marry my best friend.

A Little Clarification


I had comments, calls and worries expressed to me through several sources regarding the last post and Facebook picture uploads.

So to set everyone's minds at ease:

#1--I got Jason's permission to blog about the stove incident.


We were laughing about it when it happened because we're both just not "there" this week when it comes to getting our mind on what we're doing.

It's almost like we're looking forward to our wedding or something. ;)

So that wasn't a big deal.  Believe me.  I run probably 80% of my online activity past him, especially if I'm not sure how he'd feel about it, simply because I don't want to seem disrespectful, ungrateful, or out of line in any way.

I understand my sense of humor isn't understood by all, so he's my safety.

Sometimes he says "No, don't post that please" sometimes he says "Sure, I don't care!" and sometimes he gives me that cute little grin that says "I'll let you because I love you, even though I'll probably wish I hadn't".

So that blog was Jason approved.

No worries.

#2--Using a dremel on my stovetop is not ruining or destroying it.


I'm glad to see there were more people worried about my sweetheart's feelings about the blog than my stovetop's current condition, but for those who expressed worries, the dremel is working fine on my stovetop.

I'm using a polishing bit to get the remains that the razor blade wouldn't scrape off.  It's softer than my kitchen scrub pad (and half my dish cloths) and I tested it on a small area before I really started using it on a big area.

So don't worry, the stove will be fine too!  I had no worries that it would be forever marred, I just wasn't initially sure how to get it back to normal.

Okay, all that said!!!  I'm tired.  I just had a gazillion messages in my inbox that I wanted to clear up!

Hope everyone has a great evening!  I'm off to enjoy the rest of mine with my boys!

Looking Forward


I'm sitting in my dirty house taking a moment for me.

And you.

I got up this morning and emptied out what's supposed to be a linen closet that was housing small kitchen appliances and some glassware that could be better stored elsewhere.  We're in desperate need of some additional pantry room,so I claimed this hall closet off of the kitchen for exactly that purpose.

Which lead to a complete kitchen reorganization and will end in a clean kitchen sometime this evening..

Even though I just did basically the same thing last week.

Amazing how messy a house can be in a week's time....

So it's been a long day already.

Moving, piling, organizing, cleaning, stacking....

Then Mr. Wonderful fired up the grill and made some of his wonderful grilled chicken that's only one of the gazillion reasons why I'm marrying him.

So I paused the cleaning and made some pasta salad to go with it and opted to skip a side dish of veggies since the chicken is loaded with a rainbow of bell peppers and topped with ooey gooey cheese.

And we sat outside and ate and got full and sleepy.

And since the little boy had an uh-oh in the big boy's bed last night, we all three piled into my bed for a nap.

Of course Ty, the smallest one, claimed the largest portion of the bed, which ended up with Jason and I clinging to our respective sides of the bed and hoping not to fall off.

And now we're all awake and back up and trying to get motivated.

Me so I can continue cleaning and Jason....well, I doubt he does anything until this silly football game is off, but he's grilling steaks for supper, so that's more than forgivable!

But everything I do I find myself more and more ready for our honeymoon.  Yes, for that reason, but for other reasons too!  ;)

Like not having to do laundry or dishes or cooking or any cleaning at all for five blissful days!!

Or the wonderment of not having to carry my cell phone around with me the entire time!  I am SO ready for that!

The family calls and the wedding calls are all expected and, honestly, not as numerous as one would thing, but I get some truly random calls from some truly random places (thanks to Pizza Hut selling my phone number) and so I look forward to not having to, again, say "Please remove me from your calling list".  Even though my cell number is registered on the National Do Not Call Registry.

I feel like I've become a slave to my cell phone and my inbox and so it just seems so nice and peaceful and wonderful to break free of those chains for a few days!

Until then....housework calls!

Counting it Down


Hey there! Remember me?

I'm still here.

Counting down the days till the Big Day!

And we're officially in single digits!

And as crazy and spazzed out as I should be, life is still going on pretty much as normal.

I'm still loving my new job.

And new house.

And new town.

And new family.

::grins::

So how about I just tell a little about how life's been lately, would that work?

To start with, we still don't have our garage cleaned out after moving the first of July.

We can't even get one car in our two-car garage.

So if anyone needs a couch, a microwave, or a bunch of other junk, we'd love to sell it and have a little bit of cash to take on our honeymoon! Or tame some of the bills that have racked up while we're dealing with two houses until my house in Fordyce sells.

What a day that will be! I'm looking forward to that day almost as much as the wedding! At least I know when the wedding will be!

In other news....my soon to be husband threw away the lid for the trash can for the 2nd time in about a week and a half.

This time the sanitation department got it before he could recover it.

What else?

We're gradually chipping away at all the gift cards we were given for shower presents (we were THAT blessed!). Tonight's trip to Walmart/Sams came home with an oscillating heater for the bathroom and a 10pk of Angus Steaks for $14.99 so that my sweet man could feel macho and manly again.

I guess it's something about red meat that enstills a sens of manhood.

Beats me.

But we're sooooo looking forward to the food on the cruise! All you can eat without "all you can't pay!" Totally speaking our language!

Ty's doing wonderfully, too! I'm making him a costume for Halloween. Or attempting to.

I cut out some material without a pattern for a Link costume (from The Legends of Zelda). My mom, God bless her, got me started and did me a TREMENDOUS favor by sewing on the collar and getting me started. Now I just have to finish a sleeve, the sides, a hat and figure out how to do the gloves and boots. I have some ideas....just not sure how they'll work out.

Alright....the boys are having a "Boys Night" tonight so I think I'm going to go get lost in a book for a little bit before bed!

More to come this week, I promise!!

You're gonna miss this...


My boy's growing up.

And any Mama who's half a Mama knows that this is not a pleasant thing.

He's getting all independent and inventive and...yes, a bit mouthy, too. But he's growing up.

His baby face turned into a toddler face and that toddler face turned into a "big boy" face and now...it's official. He's a boy.

All boy.

But there are so many things about him as a little boy that I hope I always remember.

Like when he was 2 and would actually let Mama snuggle him and he so sweetly told, "Mama, you make my heart happy."

(Major melt factor!)

But as much as I hate that he's growing up, I'm loving his creative little mind and his ingenuity and even his vocabulary (wonder who he got that from?).

How he "turns his ears on" instead of listening and how he does all these little boy ninja-fight moves.

Every phase of his life has gone so quickly.

And I know it's not going to slow down.

So I'm trying to savor it, to cherish it and to remember every precious or silly little thing about him because I know that I'm really going to miss this when he's grown.



You're gonna miss this.
You're gonna want this back.
You're gonna wish these days
Hadn't gone by so fast.

These are some good times,
So take a good look around.
You may not know it now,
But you're gonna miss this.
-Trace Adkins; You're Gonna Miss This

On Year Ago...


It's funny the way time changes things.

How things can change drastically in a matter of a short period of time.

We expect our lives to evolve and change over a matter of years and decades.

But breaking it down into singular years or even into months and you wonder how much can change in such a short period of time.

And yet all it takes is a moment.

With all the change that's come into my life over the past few months, it's made me pause to reflect.

I'm one of those people--good or bad--I like to go back to the starting point. I like to pinpoint the moment where things changed. A decision or an action, whether voluntary or involuntary, that changed the path my life has taken.

And I can go back to that exact point with my relationship with Jason.

The moment, a year ago this month, that changed it all.

Or rather a series of moments.

A moment that started with someone else's lie.

An individual who wasn't even involved in our relationship--or our lives--said something about one of us that would have changed everything, were it true.

And I prepared myself and steeled myself and guarded my heart and then I talked to him about it.

And it was a moment that changed everything between us.

Because there was an openness and communication and a willingness to trust that I didn't even realize I could possess.

And then there was another moment.

On May 17th at 6:41 p.m. when he texted (in response to something I said), "and marry me, move to Hot Springs, find a new house, find a good school for Ty and live happily ever after."

And I thought he was kidding or just talking about the "someday" that we spoke often of and looked forward to.

And I told him he'd have to find me a job and a house and a daycare for Ty.

And a month and a half later all three were taken care of.

Funny how time changes things.

Funny how little moments....a lie someone thought they'd never get caught in or a text message sent as a half-joke...can change the course of our lives in such a beautiful way and put me where I am now.

Less than a month away from marrying My Prince and beginning our Happily Ever After together.


An All-In-One


I haven't been writing.

I know.

Bad blogger.

Recent events have humbled me and shown me how incredibly blessed I am to be healthy, to have a healthy and loving fiancĂ© and to have a care-free child that's as happy as he is healthy and active.

So it's hard to write when all you can think about is how truly good you have it, even when times are hard.

But to catch you up on a few things.

There's the cute little conversation I had with Ty recently about how pumpkin-pies (for me) taste like all the best things about fall, all baked together in a wonderful pie.

The happiness and the family and the burning leaves and even a dash of football....it's all baked in there together.

I think that's what makes pumpkin pies soooo good!

Or there's the blog I have in my head from the Sunday School lesson about Solomon and how his worldly ways and lifestyle cost his son.

Because all I could think about is how devastating it would be to know that your sins and your pleasure and your ill-gotten gains caused your child a life of hardship and trouble and loss and despair.

Which gave me a light-bulb moment that kind of put together that missing link in my head as to how Solomon (with his 700 wives and 300 concubines) came to be inspired to pen the Proverbs.

I think that messing one's child's life up might be burden enough to make you rethink what's important and try to pass it along to spare the next generation to follow.

Oh, and there's this.

A video of Jason reading Ty a bedtime story last night.

I love it because Jason didn't even realize he was being taped during the first half of the video!  And the ending of it is just cute to me, too!



Okay!  Well, that's all I've got for now!

The Tale of the Public Toilet Seat



Sit back, get a cup of coffee and let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time (last week) in a land far away (Maumelle, AR) there was a beautiful princess (well, that should be obvious...) who was attending a ball (property & casualty insurance class).

The beautiful princess was very pleased to find that there was a banquet table (meeting table) full of endless beverages (coffee, water and various pops).

The princess sampled several of the beverages while she was at the ball and she enjoyed each of the beverages she tasted.

After sampling a few beverages the princess discovered she needed to visit the royal water closet (public bathroom).

Upon entering the royal water closet the princess found it neat and orderly and was pleased with its cleanliness.

Until she entered a private stall and found tinkle sprinkled on the seat.

She then went to the next stall and again found tinkle sprinkled on that seat as well.

The princess continued to the next and last empty stall and found that it, too, had tinkle sprinkled on the seat.

The princess became quite irritated at this and chose a stall that had the least tinkle on the seat.

She got some tissue from the royal tissue dispenser and wiped the tinkle off the seat and flushed it.

She then sat her royal rump on the now tinkle-free seat and continued with her business.

[Readers gasp in surprise]

Gasp? What do you mean gasp?

Oh! You didn't know! You can actually SIT on public toilet seats! No need to hover, squat, or sprinkle!

You see, the princess--like others--has this handy covering on her body (skin) that provides a barrier between the germs of the outside world and the immune system of her inner workings.

So she understands that she can actually SIT on the toilet seat without worry that she might catch someone else's royal cooties.

And since she limits her physical hands-on contact with her derriere to washing or wiping, she has little worry of spreading the germs she might get from the toilet seat to areas that might cause her to actually get sick or spread them further.

It's actually quite simple, if you SIT on the toilet seat, you don't TINKLE on the toilet seat, which means there are fewer germs and yuck to spread from person to person!

What a novel idea!

And what a fairy-tale to think of a world where women chose to SIT on public toilet seats rather than sprinkle on them!

But the princess, having found a happily ever after with her two princes (Jason and Ty), continues to dream of a happily ever after in the water closet as well.

The End.

Things that make you go "owww"


My life is passing before my eyes.

Not because I'm dying and having any last minute glimpses or anything, just because the days really are passing that fast.

Geeze.

I'm getting married in a matter of double-digit days.

I should be overwhelmed at all that I have to do between now and then, especially when I figure in the cost of things that need to be done between now and then, but honestly, I'm looking forward to it for many reasons.

The forerunners of those reasons are that I'll be marrying the man of my dreams (and my best friend) and I'll get a week of peace and rest and relaxation and not worrying about money or driving here, there, and everywhere.

Heaven.

Instead I'm in a chair, smelling like sweat with potting soil under my nails, spray paint on my fingers and another pulled muscle in my side.

Yes, another.

I pulled a muscle last week from coughing.

And, after a week, it finally was healing and feeling much better.

Until I sneezed this morning and hurt the blessed thing AGAIN.

Except this time it hurts worse.

And I want to be a little wimp about it and curl up in my bed and not cough or sneeze or yawn or do anything that makes it hurt.

Because half of everything I do makes it hurt.

But I can't.

Because I have a son.

And a fiance.

And a home.

And a job.

And an insurance exam tomorrow.

Which puts me in this chair, smelling like sweat with potting soil under my nails, spray paint on my fingers and another pulled muscle in my side, about to study some more for that insurance exam.

Guess I better get to it.

But stay tuned, upcoming blogs include mine and Jason's next phones (if my house in Fordyce sells and we once again have money someday...), bathroom etiquette and my public toilet seat rant, as well as...hmmm.....well, just stick around and see!

Happy Hump Day!

We Can Relate


For those of you women out there who hate skinny women and--jokingly, yet honestly--express their dissatisfaction in our lack of or reduced number of outwardly visible "trouble areas", don't worry, we know just how you feel.

Take for instance when we're in the store looking at bras.

Most of us skinny women aren't nearly as blessed as the rest of the more-curvy population.

So we're in the bra section looking somewhere in the vicinity of the A and B cups.

And some poofy-haired, 12-year-old, half-dressed, sorority-girl-wannabe slithers past us to the C and D cups.

Which she obviously needs.

Because she's got them out there for the whole world to see.

Yeah....we know how you fee.

We know how you feel all too well.

Stepping Up


My life has changed over the past few months.  I've found that my roles have switched or altered in some way or another.

I'm no longer a girlfriend, but now I'm a fiancee and soon will be a wife.

I'm no longer a single mom, except by technical definition; now I'm a co-parent.

I'm no longer the girl that holds firm to never settling and looking up to other strong women who have been hurt and survived only to find the man of their dreams.

I'm now the woman that others are coming to saying, "You've inspired me", "You give me hope", "You're an example to others"...

I've been told that so many times recently, and while I love it, I feel like it's been unearned.

All I did was continue to be stubborn.

It came quite naturally to me, actually.

I knew what I wanted and I knew what I needed and I knew while I would reluctantly compromise on the first, I would never compromise on the latter.

Because I was okay with being single, too.

There was nothing wrong with being single.

Especially compared to being in a relationship that would never be completely fulfilling, which often happens when you settle on the important things.

So that's what I tell these women, especially the single mothers, who praise me with such compliments.


#1 - Don't settle.

Never settle.

Even when it's one of those nights that you couldn't possibly feel any more overwhelmed or alone.


You don't want to give up your dreams of Happily Ever After for Happily Ever Now because "now" is such a fleeting period of time.  If you're going to invest your whole heart, you really want to make it last.


#2 - Allow yourself to make a mistake

Don't beat yourself up for doing something that you know isn't necessarily the best idea ever (within reason).

So what if you spent $30 bucks on a pair of shoes, how often do you actually do something for yourself anyway?

Who cares if you don't use your free-time as wisely as you really think you should.  It's your free time and you know better than anyone how preciously limited it is, sometimes it does you more good to waste it than it does to spend it running.

#3 - For those of you single women with children, give them 95% of your attention.

You'll only be able to give them so much undivided attention for so long.

Sooner or later they'll either outgrow dear ol' mom or they'll have another wonderful person to share their time and attention with.

So give them your whole heart while you can, you.will.not.regret.it.

But save that other 5% for yourself.  You have to take care of you if you expect to be able to continue to take care of them.

#4 - Trust in God.  

If you don't believe in God, now is a great time to find Him because he's about to do some crazy and wonderful things in your life.


Those months that you don't know how you'll get by?  You will.  He will get you through them.

Even as recently as yesterday He did this for me.  With the expenses of moving looming over our head and 3 households worth of bills stacked on the night-stand, I was horrified to find that one of them had gotten hidden that was due the day before.

And we're all monied out until our next checks.

So I called to see what could be done and guess what God did?

I didn't owe it.

Someway, somehow a credit appeared on my account that cleared that bill and took a few dollars off of the next month's bill, too.

Another time, a few months after Ty and I had moved out on our own and Christmas had just passed and money was VERY TIGHT when I got a very unexpected check in the mail for almost a thousand dollars.

I called the bank that it came from and asked them about it because surely it was in error.

And it was.

And the guy made all sorts of calls and even called all the way up to the Vice President of the Bank.

And he called back and said that they'd paid me around $800 too much but that it was going to cost them about the same amount to reverse it because they'd already closed their books out for the year, so they gave it to me.

No strings attached.  No "cash it and send us a check for the difference".  Just $800 to use as I needed.

Tell me God wasn't in THAT!  A bank GIVING away money?  Who ever heard of such a thing!

#5 - Spend time with your friends (or family)!

And you don't always have to worry about sacrificing time with your child to do it!  If they love being with you, they'll love being with you and your child, too!  It's the best of both worlds!  And you would be amazed by how many adults are okay with spending a day acting like they're 5 again!  You'll learn this when the right man comes along, too, because instead of him being jealous that your child gets more attention than he does, you'll find you're occasionally the one jealous that your child is getting more attention than you are, but it's such a great thing, too!

The list can go on and on, and they're not rules that I've necessarily created by myself.  I've done what these other women are doing, learning from the examples of others.

Surround yourself with only the best.  Especially during such a time when you really learn who you are and mold and create who you will be.  Surround yourself with strong, wonderful people.  Get rid of the negative and the drama and as much stress as you possibly can.

One day you'll find yourself in their shoes.

I'm a Believer!


So I'm trying to get back to writing with more regularity.

I'm failing miserably, but I'm trying.

Mostly because my mind blanks on topics to write about.

I could write about the stack of bills in the bedroom that occupy a great portion of my mind or I could write about mountain of boxes that occupy my garage.

Or I could write about all the things that change when you take three people from two different households and put them into one.  And to top that, how to do so in a way that sets a good example for an impressionable little one.

But all of that has really been an easy transition.  Certainly much easier than I expected.

However, the one bad thing I've discovered in having two males in the household is that there are now twice as many water rings and water stains on the wooden furniture throughout the house.

Which has driven Mama absolutely nuts.

Until last night.

It all started when I moved a treasure map off of my beautiful wooden table that had been placed there the night before.

When I moved it, I discovered that the map had been quite wet when it was laid there.

As evidenced by the giant water stain on the top of my dark-wood table.

So I attempted to bite my tongue and got out the furniture polish, which we all know does absolutely nothing against water stains.  But I tried anyway.

And then I fumed and went to the computer.

Ahhh, what was life like before the Internet?

How did people solve their problems before this marvelous invention?

Because I would never have magically just had the thought "Hmmmm, maybe if I spread olive oil on my wood table and then let it soak in for a while before following it up with furniture polish (I used my Old English for Dark Wood) maybe those water stains will just magically disappear AND give my table the ultra-shiny appearance that I have a sheet of polished glass on top of it!"

But that's what the Internet told me to do.

And that's what I did.

And that's how it worked out!

And now I don't have to be that woman who follows everyone throughout the house with coasters!

Hurray for the Internet!  Now if it would just solve the problem of the month-long-cough-that-won't-go-away or the too-much-month-at-the-end-of-the-money issues!

Going Ons


My handsome man keeps reminding me that I need to write another blog soon.

And he's right.

I do.

But allocating time and brain energy for it seems to be one of those "Easier said than done" things right now.

So, how about another bulleted entry of what all has been going on.

  • We moved into our new house.  (Yay!)  And on the same day that we were loading up the trailer and trucks full of my furniture I got a call from the realtor who said she had a contract on my other house for the full asking price and needed me to come look over it and sign it if I wanted to accept it!  (Hip hip hooray!)  So we marked that under the ever-growing list of "God Things" that have happened in the short span of time since I first considered moving to Hot Springs.  I won't even have to make my next payment on my other house!  How wonderful is that?
  • Ty had his tonsils out on Wednesday and let me tell you, my kid is a champ. Mornings are worst because it's harder to swallow without pain, but once he gets his medicine and a little bit of drink down him he's good to go.  On Thursday I accidentally knocked myself out with some allergy medicine that I thought was non-drowsy cold medicine and I apparently dozed off long enough for Ty to go to the kitchen, pour a massive bowl of fruit loops, crawl back into bed with me (where we'd been watching TV) and start snacking on dry fruit loops.  I finally snapped to consciousness after the 3rd bite, when I'd processed what was going on) and took the fruit loops from him but he insisted they didn't hurt his throat.  I've let him eat some soft solid foods like Ravioli, scrambled eggs, and string cheese.  But he's done wonderful, which I'm sothankful for!
  • We're working on unpacking and decorating and cleaning the new house and it's going much slower than I anticipated.  Who knew I had so much junk!?  I promise to post pictures whenever we get done but we're still currently in the "hiding the boxes so the house looks clean and unpacked" phase.  We're also minus some decorative necessities, such as somewhere to put the mega-DVD collection that happens when Jason and I merge all the videos we've acquired. Good news is, we'll have tons of duplicates to post on Amazon and make a few pennies off of! We also need to find a bed for Ty and a coffee table, if not two end-tables to match.
  • Jason and Ty are on a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles kick.  Every night they're either watching them or pretending to be them.  It's actually quite cute, even if it's a little dorky, too.  Oh, did I mention that Jason can sing the entire theme song from memory?  ;)

Okay, I thought there was a lot more to update with than that but I'm drawing a blank now!
Time to go get ready for a day of shopping with my beautiful mom and wonderful fiancé while my Daddy and little boy bank some quality boy time together!

Bring on the Straight Jacket


In case you're wondering what's going on and where I've been here's the rundown.

About 5 weeks ago Jason asked me to consider moving to Hot Springs this summer instead of next summer as we'd planned.

About 4 weeks ago I got a job interview and a job.

About 3 weeks ago we found a daycare and started looking at houses after not being able to find an apartment.


About 2 weeks ago we made an offer on a house.


About 32 hours ago we closed on aforementioned house.


About 10 hours ago I started a new job.


In about 25 hours we'll be packing up my home in Fordyce and all of the contents of it to move this coming weekend.


And in about 11 days I'll have internet.

So I'm a little less than sane right now and it's probably not going to get much better until July 12th when I'll be able to connect to the Internet in the comfort and privacy of my brand new home in Hot Springs.

But I'll update as I can, whenever I can.

Happily Ever Afterall


Guess what I have to tell you?

Something big.

Something exciting.

And something that's making it so very hard to pack and clean my house the way I need to do!

Because I'm giddy and smiley and excited.

Because I'm getting about 2 Facebook alerts on my phone every minute.

Because I'm marrying my best friend and the love of my life.



And we're both so excited and looking forward to our life together.

In fact, I think that's most of what we talked about all evening long!  How perfect our life will be together and how blessed we already are!

So how'd he do it?

How'd I know that's what you'd be wanting to know!

Well, my ring came in Wednesday and after passing my approval, it was whisked away and into his possession, where he lovingly taunted me with it all night long!

And then he brought it to town this weekend, too, "to show his sister", so he's taunted me with it more.

And since he told me he wanted to surprise me I instantly ruled out this weekend, because there was no way I was going to be surprised knowing he had it with him here in town!

But he managed it anyway because this afternoon after spending time with my parents we came back to my house to pack some more stuff up and move a few small furniture pieces out of the house; I was picking on Jason about him supposedly passing up the perfect opportunity to talk to my Daddy this afternoon (apparently it's very intimidating to talk to a girl's dad and ask his permission to marry his daughter).

Anyway, I'm picking on him and walk into my bedroom and am digging through clothes in my closet to change into before we start packing and I turn around to find Jason on one knee behind me.

After kissing him and hugging him and realizing that he straight-up surprised me when I didn't think he could, he slipped the ring on my finger and Ty ran in, finding me hugging Jason and threw his arms around him as well!  I explained to Ty why I was hugging Jason and explained to him that we were going to be getting married.

Ty might've said something like "Oh, cool" before he ran back off into the living room to play the Wii.

But he's mentioned it to me several times tonight and seems excited that his Jason is going to be a more permanent part of our lives.  He's asked to see my ring again and tells me, "I know what that's about, Mama.  That's about you and Jason getting married and we get to be a family!"

That's right baby.  We're going to be a family.

A happy, complete family.

Out With It


Or part of it at least!

A little secrecy could be fun to maintain for now at least.

Soooo, part of all the vagueness and lack of activity around here for the past few weeks can finally, publicly, be attributed to the fact that I've thrown together a job-hunt, apartment-hunt, and day-care hunt in three weeks time that has absolutely astounded me.

It all started when, three weeks ago, Jason made a comment he's made several times now, but I've never taken seriously.

"Why don't you guys just move up here?"

But you know how men are, they can't say it like they actually want you to do it, they have to say it where it kinda almost sounds like they're kidding....just in case you think they're crazy.

So I considered he was kidding.

But the day that he mentioned it three weeks ago I just had a moment where a lot of things over the previous week or two kinda clicked together and resulted in me saying, "Find me a job, an apartment and a daycare and I will!"

And that night when I went home, he got online and started emailing me job openings.

So I thought, 'What's it hurt to look, right?'.

And I never expected anything to come of it because everything would just have to fall into place in such a short window of time for anything to happen this summer, because moving Ty during the school year is something I wanted to avoid at all costs.

And two weeks after that conversation I had made numerous calls, sent even more resumes by fax or email, and did tons of online searches for jobs, apartments, and daycares.  And they all have to be in close vicinity of each other.  But the problem is, until you have one nailed down, it's kinda hard to nail the others down, except to know that I wanted the daycare and house to be within a certain school district.

Probably the district in Hot Springs with the fewest apartment complexes. And even fewer openings. But there was one that had an opening for July 1st. 


And they were supposed to call me when it was emptied out and where we could look at it.

But another couple came along and put money down on it before it was even available to look at.

Which took us from one apartment available (in a good area we could be comfortable in) to none.

But the job fell into place in the meantime.

It just so happened that I'd contacted every government and hospital office in the area who all had no openings, so I broadened my search to include doctors offices, school offices, real estate offices, and insurance offices.

And I finally got a call back.

An insurance agent for State Farm called me and talked to me for quite some time on the phone.  He seemed immediately impressed with my resume and I just had a good feeling all throughout me when I got off the phone with him.

So when I was in town last weekend, I met up with him and we talked for an hour-and-a-half and he offered me the job that I just really felt I was meant to find.

So with one nailed down, I tackled the others.

A good friend of mine got me into contact with a good friend of hers in hopes that she could help me with a job, however, she had no openings but was a wealth of help in the day-care department and ended up leading me to two wonderful little daycares that I'm going to try to check out this weekend and make a decision on for sure.  Both have availabilities earmarked with Ty's name for July 6th (his birthday, actually) and I'm going to get back with them as soon as I make a decision for certain, though I am leading much more heavily towards one than the other.

That just leaves one last thing to nail down.

A house.

Because a job and daycare doesn't do much good if we don't have somewhere to live.  And Jason's apartment complex won't let him move out of his 1 Bedroom apartment into a 2 or 3 bedroom apartment.

It's in the wrong school district anyway.

So I kept calling and kept calling and the only places with anything available are wanting $100-$150 more a month than we should really be spending, especially since I'll have to pay on my home-loan until we can get it sold.  Or we could just throw all of our money away (and then some) and rent some of the $1200-$1600 a month apartments that were available.

Who needs food anyway, right?

But since we like to eat, we're deciding to be a little more reasonable.

Not having any luck finding apartments outside of the few I'd already checked with, I decided that I had nothing to lose by contacting a Realtor.

So I Googled Real Estate companies in the school district and shot an email to one that looked good and I explained my situation of having a job that I'd be starting on July 1st (my new boss was great enough to give me a little longer to get things situated and hopefully get moved over here before I start).

This little act wound up being one of those God things.  As if the past few weeks wasn't full enough with a hundred different God things with the way everything was falling together!

The Realtor got back with me and instantly went to work.  Since there were no apartments in our range that were available, he set out looking for houses in our price range and sent me some listings.   I got back with him and told him the ones I liked and he started making calls to see who would work a deal with us to get us into the house by July 1st, even if it was on a temporary rental basis until paperwork was completed to buy the house.

And in doing that, he's brought us to two houses that we're pretty interested in.

That we're going to look at tomorrow.

And I couldn't be happier and more excited about it!

We've had some hiccups and some unexpected obstacles to get around (in more than just this, believe me!) but literally EVERY obstacle or diversion that has come up has been God working to change our attention from where it was to where He needed it to be.

We're on our way to a life together.

We're on our way to our own Happily Ever After.

And I don't think it's possible that I could be any happier or more excited about anything than I am right now!

Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes!


Holy wow.  It seems like the past few weeks have been full of changes.

Big changes.

Little changes.

Potential changes.

Just a lot of changing.

(Which is why I keep hearing David Bowie singing that song in my head over and over again!)

Anyway.  Things have been changing it almost every way it seems possible.  Plans and calls and decisions are being made and it's all fun and exciting and very interesting to sit back at the end of the night and see how things are unfolding in big ways in little spans of time.

I'm being vague, yes I know, but the changes aren't the point of my story so just trust that I will tell you what I can tell you when I can tell you.

The point of my story is how utterly amazed I've been and how amazed my God has made me this week, because any time that a stumbling block or an obstacle or a wall comes up and gets in our way, it has not stopped anything.

Which amazed me in itself.

But instead, those obstacles--or whatever they've presented themselves as--have instead turned things and guided me/us to where it now seems we were intended to be going in the first place.

It just continually amazes me when I can see how God has been a million-steps-ahead of me the whole time.

It leaves me in awe to see how something from yesterday or three weeks ago or five months ago or two years ago or even ten years ago can turn up and have an impact on today.

We come into each new day thinking that it will be its very own day, untouched, untainted, unaffected by anything.

And yet before it even gets here, our every yesterday (thanks to a creative, thoughtful, and caring God) has shaped and perfected and created the perfect today.

Things are changing.  But they're exciting and wonderful changes.

And someday soon, when things change a little bit more, I'll be able to tell you more about it.

Until then.... ;)

Everything Changes


I've been laying low for the last little bit.

I have tons to say but nothing that I really can say at the moment.

So I've laid low.

But last night I was laying in bed thinking about how much life changes.

And how sometimes it's a slow change.

Like last year, when I was waiting on Jason to come to my house for the first time...I was so nervous because I knew that I really liked him but I wasn't yet certain on how he felt.  I was talking on the phone with one of my girl friends who made the comment that in a matter of minutes I could be meeting The One.

Which only served to make me more nervous.

At the end of the night I still knew that I really liked him, but I didn't have any more idea then than before as to if he'd be The One for me or not.

Over time that changed, because today I have no doubt whatsoever that he is.

And then there are other times when life changes in the matter of a moment.  Like the moment a child is born.  Or the moment that a loved one dies.  Or even the moment that it takes to make a decision.

Life is always changing.

And it's always changing for the better these days.

Life Ain't Always Beautiful


I started typing a blog tonight that was titled "Learning to Live With Me" and it started out about how I've used that title many times over the years, usually when I've discovered a part of who I am that I was ignorant of before, or when I've become contented with a part of myself that I'd previously been dissatisfied with.

But the blog wasn't about either of those things, it was about a cute little comment my Jason made tonight about how it's tough adjusting to a woman's way of thinking (in regards to how much information we ask for from men and how little we actually get) and how he was the one who's learning to live with me for a change.

But that title took me down another road.

Because that title is from a song written by Gary Allan in the wake of his wife's suicide in 2004.

And I started thinking about all the wonderful and often-heartwrenching songs he's put out since then that have connected with me because of the suicide that my family and I have been surviving for almost seven years now.

{Read more here if you don't know the story}

For any of you who have read my writings for an extended period of time you'll notice that I always use the word "survive" or "survivor" in terms of those left behind to deal with a suicide.

Because that's really all you can do.

Before December 14, 2003 the term "survivor" (to me) was reserved for people whose lives had been torn apart and irrevocably changed from some great catastrophe such as war or cancer or vicious and violent crimes.

Before December 14, 2003 a survivor was heralded, in my mind, as this great and mighty person who faced whatever evils life brought their way and they overcame and they triumphed and they were victorious.

And survivors are exactly that.

But sometimes a survivor is someone who was broken and hurt and completely overwhelmed by whatever evils life brought their way.  Sometimes a survivor isn't the victor, they're just someone who refused to give-up because they saw just how much giving-up could hurt.

Sometimes a survivor isn't the person who endures terrible times just to come out alive on the other end of it, sometimes a survivor is the person who endures those times and, eventually--when they're able to pick themselves up--chooses to live beyond it.

Jerrid's death was a time-marker in my life.

Without even trying to, I have mentally classified every major event in the 21st century as 'before Jerrid' or 'after Jerrid'.

Before Jerrid, life was more about me and less about others.

Before Jerrid, I was more focused on what I was doing and where I was going and less about what I should be doing and where I should be going.

Before Jerrid, I wasn't so focused on what kind of example I was to others, but what kind of excuses the examples of others could give me for being less than I knew I should be.

Before Jerrid, life was more about superficial beauty instead of real, true, inside-and-out beauty.

After Jerrid, I heard the song that this title came from and something settled inside the hole that was formed in my heart on December 14, 2003.  I chose to see life as Gary Allan wrote it.  Sure, it's hard sometimes, but those hard times have a way of really putting the shine on those good times.

Life ain't always beautiful, but it really, truly is a beautiful ride.


Life ain't always beautiful,
sometimes it's just plain hard.
Life can knock you down, it can break your heart.

Life ain't always beautiful,
You think you're on your way,
And it's just a dead end road at the end of the day.

But the struggles make you stronger
And the changes make you wise
And happiness has its own way of taking its sweet time.

No, life ain't always beautiful,
Tears will fall sometimes.
Life ain't always beautiful,
But it's a beautiful ride.

Life ain't always beautiful,
Some days I miss your smile,
I get tired of walking all these lonely miles.

And I wish for just one minute
I could see your pretty face
Guess I can dream, but life don't work that way.

But the struggles make me stronger
And the changes make me wise,
And happiness has its own way of taking its sweet time.

No, life ain't always beautiful,
But I know I'll be fine
Life ain't always beautiful,
But it's a beautiful ride.
What a beautiful ride.


-Gary Allan

Mama was Right


There, I said it.

She was right.

And on more than one occasion.

But tonight/this morning I'm talking about when I was a teenager and we had the discussion of how late I could stay out and she made the comment that there's nothing worth doing that's going on after a certain hour of the night.

Which is why, though we were never given a curfew, we were expected to be responsible and be home at a reasonable hour, and also up in the morning at a reasonable hour, too.

Well, she was right.

I'm not sure what woke me up right at 3 a.m. but it's only minutes away from 4 a.m. and there is nothing worth doing that's going on right now.

I could get up and exercise myself into an achy, tired stupor until my body had no choice but to fall asleep, but then I'd most likely wake Ty up since I can't really go anywhere to exercise with my boy asleep here in the house.

I would read but that's a double-edged sword.  I might get tired and go on to sleep if I start a book now, or I might get so into it that I finish it about the time my alarm goes off at 6:30.

And a little more sleep would be much nicer than finishing a book that I hadn't planned to start reading.

I could get on up and shower and start my day almost 3 hours earlier than I normally do (the snooze button is my friend).  But that just doesn't even come close to appealing to me.

It's dark and warm and my bed is so comfy and snuggly and lovable.

Sleep is the problem.

For some reason, I'm tired enough, I just can't seem to slow my brain from wanting to go to sleep to the actual going to sleep.

Mama was sooooo right.  There is NOTHING worth doing at this hour.

My Not So Big Life


There's a series of home and home improvement books by Sarah Susanka that I want to read so badly.

They start with The Not So Big House and go through Creating the Not So Big HouseNot So Big RemodelingOutside the Not So Big House....it's a bunch of books on how to make the most of a not so big house.

And I feel like God's tugging on me to explore that train of thought.

Money's not getting any easier to deal with right now.

And I'm not the only one with those problems.  I know that.

But I feel like God is trying to tell me to make the most of what I have.

I don't have a big house, but I do have so much.

I've recently read about a large family that, not by choice, simplified and condensed down into a much smaller home and are making the most of their situation.

And loving it.

And it's caused me to realize that I should be doing the same.

Simplify.

Use what I have, however I'm able to.

So that's the direction that my heart and thoughts are going in right now.

I just have to see where they're going to lead.

Making it Official


Look what I finally have outside my door....


But it's not just me.

I put one outside the Sheriff's Door....


And everyone else's too.

My inspiration.
For several years I've been hoping for nameplates outside of everyone's doors so that officials, visitors, and other agencies that come through can find their way to the right office.

During this time I've been eying some ClearLook office signs that run from $24.95 to $32.95 (each), depending on what size we want.

With 13 offices that need signs we'd be looking at anywhere between $350-$450 for signs (including tax and shipping).

Figuring our budget could be more wisely spent elsewhere, I've never brought it up.

Until recently when I wondered if I couldn't make something similar to it myself.

All I'd need is some plexi-glass and some way to mount them and hold the paper in the center of the glasses.

So I piddled with sizes and decided that, if I could do it myself, 9"x4" would probably be the best size for what I wanted.  Then I called up a very good friend, Leland Gilliam, who owns Camden Glass and Overhead Door (in Camden, AR) to get a price on some 1/8" plexi cut to that size.

And the very next day his wife Lisa, who I also adore, dropped off 30 pieces cut down to size and insisted that they wanted to donate them to the Sheriff's Office.

Since then they sat on my desk, challenging me to figure out exactly what I was going to do and how I was going to do it.

The main problems were:
  1. How am I going to attach these to the wall and get the metal bolted effect without actually drilling a hole into these and risking messing up the plexiglass?
  2. The design idea was to have a 8"x3" sheet of paper centered between two 9"x4" sheets of plexiglass.  How do I get the paper to stay centered without having to unbolt or unfasten the signs whenever a name or title needs to be changed?
  3. How do I get the look of metal fasteners or bolts or whatever you want to call them without actually using them, and again, without having to drill the plexiglass.
So, I've asked around for suggestions and found myself at a dead end.

And then about a week ago I was telling Jason this brilliant idea I had for an adorable spice-rack (if I were the kind to actually cook or use spices) and I start searching Amazon for the necessary items to wishlist so that someday when I have money to spend on such things, I'll have those items already discovered and wishlisted.


While searching for a certain size of ultra-strong magnets I discovered the wrong size (right) and realized that not only would those be the perfect size for what I wanted to do, but they'd solve the entire issue of getting the metal look without drilling holes.

So I ordered 100 itty-bitty but super-mighty magnets.

After that I designed the signs.

Keeping in mind that the female population here is the absolute minority, I went with something clean and professional looking.  No frills, no 'pretty' fonts, and no feminine flourishes.

Just a standard outline, an interesting yet masculine font, and of course the Sheriff's Office logo.  Instead of printing it on standard copier paper, I got some paper from an Artist Sketch Pad (a brilliant idea I borrowed from a creative genius that I know and love) and printed it on there.

After cutting the signs down to size, I attached them to the center of one piece of plexi with Scotch Double Stick tape and then super-glued one little magnet to the four corners of that plexiglass.

To make sure that the magnets on the top sheet of the plexiglass matched the magnets on the bottom sheet (something that I almost didn't think of) and to make sure that they were lined up close enough to look like a solid bar, I set the top sheet of plexiglass directly on the bottom sheet and dropped four drops of super glue where the magnets on the bottom sheet were.  Then all I had to do was pry a magnet loose (which wasn't as easy as you'd think, the jokers are not only little but they're STRONG) and get it anywhere near the other magnet that it'd be paired with.

After that I got some Duck permanent double-sided foam mounting tape and stuck two pieces to the back of the bottom sheet of plexiglass and mounted them to the walls outside everyone's offices.

Totaling the project up, including shipping tape, ink, paper and magnets, the whole project cost less than $50, so I'm proud of how well it turned out and how much it saved the county in doing it myself!

Happy Boy's Day


My family was explaining the concept of Mother's Day to Ty this weekend, trying to help him understand that it's the one day of the year where Mama is everything and everyone else takes a back seat for at least an hour or two of the day.

In response, Ty asked us "When's Boy's Day?"

I told him simply that there's not a boy's day.

Which of course he had to know why there wasn't a boy's day.

Jason's oh-so-truer-than-true response, "Because you get every other day of the year."

Some day Ty will understand exactly how true that statement is!

Hope all you Mamas out there had a wonderful and heart-warming Mother's Day!  My family and my boy both spoiled me and I got to spend a wonderful day with my family, including my grandma who has been down visiting us this past week so I couldn't have asked for a better Mother's Day!

Cleaning it Up


For as much as I love Facebook, it sure can be a drag some days.

It seems like I use the "Hide" button more than I use the like button some days.

I don't want my days to be filled with negativity and drama and hostility, so for people who continually post nothing but these types of posts I inevitably end up hiding them from my feed.

It's my conscious effort to make a better person of myself.

I can decide to be happy and optimistic and enjoy my life.  Or I can decide to nitpick everything, instigate or perpetuate arguments or disagreements or cast a gloomy pall on everything my life, words, and attitude come in contact with.

So I choose to be happy.  That is my choice.

Which is why I love reading statuses that are uplifting, encouraging, and promote love and friendship.

Or even silly statuses.

Especially the ones about our kids and the sweet and precious and often-hilarious things that they're always doing!

And I don't mind the statuses of trials or heartbreak or difficulty.

Really, I don't.

I've been there and I've seen the other side of many of those types of situations.  My heart goes out to those who endure these times.

It's just the ones who choose to be defeated by these times that bother me.  The ones who give up and wallow in their bitterness and use it as an excuse to hurt others and themselves.

I wish I could change things for them.

But all I can do is prevent them from changing things for me.